Season 2, Episode 1 - “When She Was Bad”
Original airdate: September 15, 1997
Project 310 re-watch date: Jan. 3, 2009
I don’t want to dwell too much on this episode, in part because it’s more of a continuation of Season 1 rather than a start of Season 2 (in fact, the big story of Season 2 really doesn’t get started until episode 3).
There are a couple things I picked up upon when watching this episode in quick succession after all of Season 1:
-the special effects are much improved in Season 2. The dusting effect works better (most noticeably in the final fight just before Buffy destroys the bones of The Master)
-Cordelia’s voice sounds different. I’m not sure if Charisma Carpenter had a cold or was just trying something different, but its kind of disconcerting (my memory tells me it changes back in “future” episodes, but I guess we’ll see)
-As part of his upgrade to full cast member, Angel gets a lot more screen time in this episode (and is semi-integral to the plot, too). He was a semi-bit player in Season 1, aside from “Angel” and “Prophecy Girl”, so it’s nice to see that finally change
-In the last full scene of the episode, Xander, Willow and Buffy discuss their new teacher, but you don’t really see him, aside from one shot of his back. This is a departure from Season 1, during which we saw a lot of random teachers who had a few lines, then were never seen again. In fact, this starts a trend of seeing less and less actual school in the lives of the Scooby Gang (a trend that keeps trending toward less school until we get to Season 7).
I know I’m supposed to comment on Buffy’s “bitca” attitude (as so eloquently misquoted by Xander) in this episode, but I have a hard time getting worked up about it. Giles had the right idea when he said to Willow and Xander that she was really just having “issues” and by the end of the episode, she’s worked them out. It’s really no big deal. Plus, it leads to the great Buffy-Xander dance, which is really the only thread of hope Buffy-Xander shippers will get for, oh, the rest of the series or so.