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18 June 2014
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Episode Guide
The Witch

Review

An episode featuring Sunnydale High's cheerleaders was an obvious one, but here it's given a typical Buffy The Vampire Slayer spin to create something more unusual than you might find in similar circumstances in other teen-based shows.

The allusions to the cheerleaders being a cult are particularly pleasing. Sadly, it's a rather predictable episode, blessed with only one significant plot twist. The first signs of the Buffy / Willow / Xander love triangle appear here. Xander is becoming besotted with Buffy, whilst sidelining Willow with the unintentionally dismissive 'you're my guy for the knows-about-girls stuff'.

Dana Reston's script doesn't sparkle like Whedon's previous two episodes, and often lacks subtlety. One element that does work well is the contrast between Buffy's relatationship with her mother, and Amy and hers.

The depiction of witchcraft, replete with bubbling cauldrons and voodoo dolls, is surely a rather Hollywood concoction, reminiscent of the pseudo-magic in movies like The Craft. The results are rather gruesome but well within the usual television restrictions: Amber's hands erupting into flame; Cordelia's blindness; and their classmate struck dumb are all rather simply accomplished, but nonetheless effective.

Cordelia is given her first real exposure here, (following her brief introduction in Welcome To The Hellmouth), in a nice character-building scene. ''Why would someone want to harm Cordelia?'' asks a genuinely baffled Giles. ''Because they met her?'' suggests Willow. The best scenes, though, belong to the light-headed Buffy, who must be great fun at a party!


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