Season 3, Episode 12 - “Helpless”
Original airdate: January 19, 1999
Project 310 re-watch date: Feb. 5, 2009
Going into this episode, all I remembered is that there was some kind of thing that made Buffy lose her powers as part of a Slayer training ritual, and it went poorly for everyone involved. And that I didn’t like it.
In fact, this is probably my least-viewed episode of the first three seasons (I’ve even seen “The Pack”, my least-favorite episode, more often).
So did it live up to my lack of expectations?
Well, yeah, pretty much. It’s just a distasteful episode. There’s only one good thing to come out of this episode. We get to really hate the Watchers’ Council. They’re a bunch of annoying British pricks who have no sense of how things work in the real world. That all comes to a head in Season 5 (and then they get blown up in Season 7), but it manifests annoyingly here.
I am happy that Angel reveals to Buffy that he saw her in L.A. before she became the Slayer. It was a touching moment between the two of them, and if all the badness in this episode was needed to get to it well, then, nope, it still wasn’t worth it.
One of the big problems I have with this episode is the existence of an anti-Slayer drug. If such a thing really did exist, then what would stop someone like The Mayor from getting ahold of it and neutralizing every slayer from here to eternity? I’d assume the Watchers’ Council keeps good tabs on something like that, but given how easily stuff has been stolen from them before, maybe they shouldn’t even keep it around (especially for a stupid ritual).
Oh, and the Oz-Xander conversation about Kryptonite is hilarious. I feel like that was put in there just to make me (and other nerds) happy in an episode that is otherwise a complete downer.
All that said, this is a well-crafted episode, just not an enjoyable one.
Xander: You know, maybe we're on the wrong track with the whole spell, curse, and whammy thing. Maybe what we should be looking for is something like, um, Slayer kryptonite.
Oz: Faulty metaphor. Kryptonite kills.
Xander: You're assuming I meant the green kryptonite. I was referring, of course, to the red kryptonite, which drains Superman of his powers.
Oz: Wrong. The gold kryptonite's the power-sucker. The red kryptonite mutates Superman into some sort of weird...
Buffy: Guys. Reality.
(I’m pretty sure PooZ and I have had this exact conversation at some point)