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Date Posted: 01:07:32 05/28/03 Wed
Author: 3Strikes
Subject: The Last Charge of the Malcontent's Brigade: A Review of Chosen

Of Chosen and Choices...
A Series Finale is a time of great moment, a chance for quiet reflection and the appreciation of all that's come before...oh, who am I kidding ?
You didn't open this post for some sissy-assed, weak kneed, yellow bellied, namby pamby retrospective...no! You've come for a great big slab of raw and brutal honesty, preferably served with some eye watering red peppers.
Well, let me be honest then. Chosen was Crap. And not your ordinary kind of Crap either... Oh No! Some really, really *special* Crap. Crap that will stay with the viewer for a long time, like a stench that just won't go away no matter how hard you scrub. Where to start ? By giving JW is propers of course (don't worry, that'll be rather short).

As a stand alone (and I mean *utterly* stand alone) with no connection whatsoever either in continuity or context to what came before, Chosen is actually a decent (read adequate episode): it's fast paced, action oriented with good special effects, little or no thinking required, and funny enough in places to counter-balance some truly horrendous, cringe worthy dialogue. In this context, I'd give Chosen a 7.5. As a mid-season episode, it would be fine if nothing special. Unfortunately, it's neither a mid-season episode, nor does it exist in a vaccuum. Here endeth the positive part of the review (until the very end). At this point, Pollyanna Lemmings should beat a hasty retreat off the bus, as the Hatchets are about to make an appearance.
Let us now proceed with the proper contextual dissection of Whedon's final Opus in Chronological order. I am a somewhat forebearing fellow. Mind the P's and Q's, tie off loose ends, add some humor, and I am quite content. If ever there was a time to tie off loose ends, you'd think a Series Finale would be the time. Not for Jossy apparently. In his Universe, a series finale is the time to unearth decomposing storylines, cast some bad mojo on the poor animals, have them perform a grotesque danse macabre and add has many loose ends as advertisers will bear. Yep, you guessed it. I'm talking about B/A. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the last time they spoke well nigh 2 years ago ? And didn't Forever neatly tie off their story line ? Also, not to seem picky or anything, but didn't Angel just lose the woman he *loves* (to a coma mind you...not talking about CC's unfortunate downsizing -her firing you dolts! not the birth of her progeny!- to make room for Spike) and his son ?
Awfully chipper ain't he, for someone who's "lost everything" ? Chipper...until Spike's soul is mentioned...then wonders of wonders, Whedon turns a 240 years old vampire into a Temper tantrum throwing 4 year old. So given all this, could there ever be anything less convincing and stilted than this entire fake dynamic ? Well okay, I'll grant you the really bad puns (Split, snort, 'splainy), ear drum busting metaphors (Kooky Doh!) and laughable dialogue (Dawson, etc...) run a really close second...but to see S3 B/A being dug out of its mouldering grave really augured badly for the rest of the episode. And alas that prediction was soon born out. It also examplified one of ME's unfortunate tendencies in the later seasons. Don't worry, we'll return to the cookie dough, "that far ahead" and the mall jokes as part of the season and 7 year run review.

Next comes Buffy's return. There were many pointless moments this season. Too many to count (well no, not really. Just too tedious too count). But in terms of futility, the kidnapping of Dawn ranks in the top 5. What exactly did the kidnapping tell us about the Dawnster, except that she has a magic zapper that appears out of nowhere ? The pointless moment is capped by a kick to the leg (Listen closely! Buffy has a wooden peg leg!) and a really cringe worthy joke by Xander. Pointless...but better than what comes next...
What happens when parts of a script rely on a really fake dynamic established in another part ?....It turns into the same kind of crap. Since B/A was fake beyond belief, Spike's *jealousy* was equally as fake. His *angry* declamations, and chewing of the furniture were as brattish as Angel's earlier devolution. Isn't this the fellow who got his rocks back in GiD and LTWTM ? And to top it of, Buffy gave us the "Starving Rat finds Cheddar" look as she handed Spike the amulet, the same look she got when she first beheld the Scythe. Could be because she found herself a burro to carry the suicide device...er I mean the "Whatket". *roll eyes*
But worse it gets...when the FE finally makes an appearance to confront Buffy. Because up to this point, it was possible, with the generous assistance of Fine Malt Beverages, to ignore the giant, intellect crushing Plot holes. Alas the FE just had to open its Big Yap...and it all came back...

So when the FE's armies have overrun the earth, it will be made flesh ?
And this is a bad thing how ? If the #$%# earth has been overrun, who gives a flying mongoose if the FE is made flesh ? Who the hell will be left to care ? Now is the time to ask the questions THAT *ME* RAISED with their idiot plotting!!

If the FE's plans was to raise armies all along, why didn't it raise them last year when the highschool was completely abandoned, and Buffy and the scoobies were imploding ?
Why did it call attention to itself and its plans by targeting the Slayer line ?
Why did it destroy the Watcher's council ?
Why was the Slayer line important ?
What was the weakness in the Slayer line that allowed it to strike ?
Why the #$%#$ did it dig up the Scythe, the instrument that brought about the demise of its plans, when Buffy had absolutely no clue it even existed ?
Why did it raise only 3 Noodles in EoD, and 1 in BotN, when it's obviously a cinch to open up the seal ?
Why did it get involved with Spike at all ? What were its plans for Spike (that it proclaimed LOUDLY in FD) ?
Why did it want "her" spared, and who's "her" ?

Mind you, those are only the FE related loose ends...if we bring up all the others (Pod Giles, Joyce, Xander seeing everything, Dawn), this season will unravel faster than the Lakers against the Spurs. So having remembered all this, how does the FE compound its ineptitude ? (Paraphrase)
"You're ALONE...You have 30 GIRLS... can't share the POWER..."...Can you HEAR ME NOW BUFFY? Is this on ? Hello! Hello! Is this on ? Testing ! Testing! Can you HEAR WHAT I'M SAYING ? "ALONE...GIRLS...POWER" Buffy's lone remaining neuron finally fires and she has the Eureka moment. Boredom is making 3Strikes weep. Of course, as Willow noted, later days Buffy is not that bright, and her plan would make Charlton Heston and the NRA proud.
Short interlude, with Whedon making sure he gets as much buck from his Willow/Kennedy Lesploitation as he did from the blacksploitation of Wood.
But never fear, he manages to find yet a lower place later on. To be fair Giles and Anya are pretty good in the scene where Buffy reveals her plan.

Speech...Booooring...it'd be less boring if the material was fresh and the FE less of an idiot. Hard to care about a non-threat like the FE...of course we later learn that the plan is about half baked as Buffy's cookies.
The next segments are Whedon's attempt to pay lip service to the 2 genius inventions of this season: the profound and deeply meaningful Food, and the extraordinary, astounding, mythic, ground breaking Wennedy. Yes, truly, I can not stress how much these relationships and these characters have meant to me. *3Strikes is frothing at the mouth*...Aaarghhh! DIE KENNEDY! DIE! DIE! DIE! And take Food with you!
Ring-Ring! Kennedy, you pint sized troll, the San Diego Zoo is calling...they're short a rabid Platypus. To hear that little monster call herself a brat is an insult to brats everywhere. I taped Hitler: The rise of Evil last night, and let's just say Platypus has more in common with Rohm than she does with Bart Simpson. Maybe now that the show is ending, she can take her kite and vamoose pronto to Timbuktu. Far, FAR away from the continental US. Not much else to add about that scene except that it beats the Aztec 2 step...by a whisker.

And now for the single most offensive moment of the episode...Food and the continued attempt by ME and Whedon to transform Faith into a Hood Rat (no offense to rats everywhere)....get what I'm sayin' yo ? I could try tellin' ya that this segment was da bomb, but I's gots ta keep it real Dawg! Anyhoo, don't know how the booty call gave Woodsy cause to question Faith's mad skillz...far as I'm concerned he's just a playa hata.
Boy bedda recognize before she busta cap in his ass, yo! Getting all up in her cookie dough like dat(Faith's, not Buffy's), cat's just askin' to be bitch slapped and mollywopped. You get the picture. Just add a few BLING-BLING'S and "raise the roofs" and it's disgustingly obvious Whedon and his crew of Studio Gangstas are just frontin'. Yo.
Watching Faith as newly written by Whedon is like listening to *rap* by Vanilla ice. Or watching Bud Bundy of Married with Children impersonating Grand Master P. Yo! Offensive. Or hilariously bad. Take your pick. I'm definitely in the offensive camp since this caps Faith's journey in the Buffyverse. After watching her evolution on ATS and comparing it to what happened to her over the past 5 episodes, I wish she had never shown up on BTVS. What a freaking waste. Moving on.

Next, we have the D&D scene which was funny and sweet, and the cryptic Spuffy scene which was not. I'm thinking Gutless for the Spuffy scene, but more on that later.
Short bus trip to hell, and we come to the other good scene: the scooby four. It's good...and bad. Good because it harks back to the golden years of the show...bad because it showcases how much potential ME wasted along the way with their focus on extraneous characters and plotlines.

A little blood, and presto, the seal opens up like a can of tuna. RING-RING! Jossy! Jossy you fat &#$@! It's Peter Jackson...he'd like the Isengard caves set back! Now to be sure the effects were impressive...but it's very hard to care about 10 million interchangeable noodles...or for 30 interchangeable whiners. Kill them all and let the PTBs sort them out. Let's not forget however, how we got there....first we had to endure the *empowering* orgasm wave and Buffy's master plan: share the power, share the cooties...praise the lord and pass the amunition! Uzis for everyone...especially young children. Power for everyone...regardless of the consequences. Let's examine some of those consequences, shall we ? With the Bat Girl as a case study (about 10 years old IMO). Hypothetical conversation.
Mom: "Honey, did you finish your homework ?'
BG: "Nope. No need to. I had a *conversation* with teach...bitch won't bother me again . Won't walk straight for a week either. No tests ...just straight As."
Dad: "OMG! Go to your room!"
BG: "Do we need to have the *talk* again ?" Father cringes. "Hand over the car keys Daddy-o. And a c-note. Gotta get me some smokes. Want. Have. Take...Capish ?"
Mom: "You can't do this"
BG, twirling her baton and speaking in Cartman's voice: "No you say ? I'll teach you to respect my authoritay!"

Buffy's plan has basically created a entire generation of monsters, and in the worst case scenario, a self perpetuating and enduring menace. Because power as presented by ME is never benign...it always enhances the worst aspects of the human make up. Greed, lust, jealousy, etc...Power can only be controlled by training and self discipline. Something Buffy learned the hard way...and something that will be denied to most of her victims since the Watchers, for good and bad, are gone. Look how bad it got for Buffy even though she had an *exceptional* support system...what will happen to all those who don't have that support system ? S3 Faith might well be a best case scenario.

In any event, to make this happen, Willow goes through another cringe worthy segment -Oh my goodness! Willow! The Goddess has stuck a poodle on your head! The horror! The horror! Somebody shoot it quick!- and the Slayers are activated. Anything *but* nifty.

Cut to the Big battle....the entire production budget stolen from all the other episodes is spent kung fu fighting...wait! what's that sound ? RING-RING! Oh Jooosssy, you plagiarizing bastard! Last of the Mohican is calling. They'd like their soundtrack back. Buffy is stabbed..Buffy is dying...Spike looks like Liz Taylor...no worries mates! The FE to the rescue! A little taunting...some tough macho talk, and Buffy is ready to demonstrate how the Scythe chops better than Ginsu knives. A few noodles later, and it's time for Spike's big production. The soul is really there!! Can you imagine if it wasn't! All these times when Buffy was braying: "But He's got a soul!" Oh, the embarrassment if Lurky had lied, or Spike had misplaced it! And finally, the culmination of all the ME gutlessness...another gutless moment. "I love you...no you don't, blah blah blah"...except of course, that during the B/A danse macabre,
Buffy stated point blank that she sometimes thought that far ahead. Stopping Angel as he was leaving. ME and Jossy have so *cleverly* (pardon the sarcasm) muddled the waters that they've left every possibility open. Every single possibility. That's not clever or original...that's deceitful and cowardly (I'll elaborate in my season, and show review). Is Buffy telling the truth or is she trying to comfort a dying Spike? After the past 2 seasons, does she even know what love is and is she mistaken about what she feels ? Does Spike know she's telling the truth and is he trying to comfort *her* to make her leaving easier? Or is the melting of his brain confusing his truth sense so that he doesn't know she's really telling the truth ? Is he calling her bluff of kindness knowing she really doesn't love him, or is he trying to give her a final gift of truth by telling her she really doesn't love him ?...
WHO KNOWS AND WHO GIVES A SH$T! There's no greater hater of Spike and Spuffy than me, but at this point, Whedon has done such a great job of dragging that storyline through the gutter that I'm beyond relieved when Buffy dictches her so called *love* like yesterday's garbage and skidaddles up the chimney like a sooty santa. Unlike Angel I'm not getting any younger.
Cut back to what happened earlier...a daring band of limp raviolis escapes through the chimney and into the waiting arms of the civilians...call me crazy, but ME stopped making Noodles like they used to: Giles and Wood dispatch Noodles like Roseanne scarfing down Bonbons, poor Anya (who has another great scene with Andrew) molests those poor noodles like they were evil fluffy Bunnies, before being tastelessly gutted like a carp by a treacherous Bringer, and Dawn introduces them to the joys of California sunshine. All in all, not very convincing, after seeing what Noodle the Original did to Buffy. Continuity, sweet continuity where have you gone.
The Whatket does its business...school starts to crumble...Xander is looking for Anya...I feel a little sad...but Anya is finally safe from Whedon's hands and in a better place(Grrr! No! not at the bottom of the sink hole! In Vengeance Demon heaven torturing trollish writers who care nothing for plot and characterization, and who make promises their overlarge asses can't cash)...Back on the bus.
Back to Buffy...running, jumping from building to building in her stylish boots...SAFE! Time for the curtain call...one more tasteless Food scene with the death fake out...a semi-emotional scene between Xander and Andrew about Anya's passing completely negated not 30 seconds later by some tasteless Mall jokes...and Buffy's final legacy: after foisting her powers and responsabilities on the unsuspecting shoulders of the innocent, she smiles at the thought that there's blue light special calling her name in the next town's Walmart. "No" you say ? She's thinking about cookie dough?
Pfft! You know nothing! Buffy is sans shoes *wink wink nudhe nudge*! To be continued next year on ATS, in the Buffy movie, or in whatever comic Jossy will drum up next. Robert Jordan would be proud.

In conclusion, Anya owned the few scenes she got, D&D and cartoon Angel were funny, Core four shout out was good...the rest was pathetic. This finale examplified and magnified the plot problems that have plagued the show in the latter part of the season, and provided neither closure nor resolution. But the failure goes much deeper than that. As we'll see later.

This concludes the episode review. I know I promised a season and show review, but this post is already overlong. I'll address the larger context tomorrow or Friday, and how and why Buffy failed as much in the larger sense as it did in the details. A sad ending to a once proud show.

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