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|Some Assembly Required|
|September 22, 1997|
Someone is digging up corpses in Sunnydale, while Giles is fumbling about trying to start a romance with Jenny. Eric and Chris, two science club geeks, seem very keen on Cordelia. Chris and Eric have been making a Frankenstein's Bride for Chris' older brother, who died and was brought back to life by Chris. They kidnap Cordelia to use her head to finish the job, but Buffy and Co. find her in time, Daryl and Buffy fight, and the place is set on fire. Xander rescues Cordy from a horrible flamey death, while Buffy fights an enraged Daryl. The body that was to take Cordy's head is set on fire, and Daryl chooses to die with it rather than "live" alone. Short synopsis by Bruce.
For the full, detailed synopsis, click here.
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The clear inspiration for this episode is the gothic horror classic Frankenstein, written by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797-1851) and published in 1818, in which a brilliant scientist named Victor Frankenstein brings a creature made from parts of dead bodies to life. Considered one of the first works of science fiction, it is one of the most influential works in the history of speculative fiction. There also seems to be some influence from Weird Science, the 1985 John Hughes movie (later made into a syndicated cable TV series) about two bright but socially crippled misfits (Anthony Michael Hall and Ilan Mitchell-Smith) who create a beautiful woman (Kelly LeBrock) from scratch.
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|Dialogue to Die For|
The scene in which Buffy and Xander find Giles practicing to
ask Ms. Calendar out is a classic, from beginning to end a beautiful
example of near-perfect comic writing. Given our druthers, we'd
put the whole scene here, but instead we'll just point out our
Buffy: "Being called an idiot tends to take people out of the dating mood."
Xander: "It actually kinda turns me on."
Buffy: "I fear you."
Xander: "Now, is it time to have a talk about the facts of life?"
Giles: "You know, I'm suddenly deciding this is none of your business."
Xander: "Y'know, because that whole stork thing is a smoke screen."
Giles: "Grave robbing? That's new. Interesting."
Buffy: "I know you meant to say 'gross and disturbing.'"
Giles, halfheartedly: "Yes, yes, yes of course. Uh, terrible thing. Must put a stop to it. Damn it."
Cordelia: "Eww! Why is it that every conversation
you people have has the word corpse in it?"
Willow: "Love makes you do the wacky."
Buffy: "Sorry, but I'm an old fashioned gal. I
was raised to believe that men dig up the corpses and the women
have the babies."
Buffy: "I don't get it. Why would anybody wanna
make a girl?"
Xander, bitter: "You mean
when there's so many pre-made ones just laying around? The things
we do for love."
Buffy: "Love has nothing
to do with this."
Xander, as Willow looks on:
"Maybe not, but I'll tell you this: people don't fall in
love with what's right in front of them. People want the dream.
What they can't have."
Angel, about Xander: "He gets to be there when
I can't. Take your classes, eat your meals, hear your jokes and
complaints. He gets to see you in the sunlight."
More quotes from this episode...
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- "Then if you wouldn't mind a little Gene and Roger..."
Gene Siskel (of the Chicago Tribune) and Roger Ebert (of
the Chicago Sun-Times) are arguably the two most famous film
critics in America.
- "Oh, thank you, Cyrano." In Cyrano de
Bergerac, the classic 1897 play by Edmond Rostand (1868-1918),
the title character (a soldier with a romantic soul and a gift
for words but who is deformed with an immensely long nose) helps
his dim-witted fellow soldier Christian romance the lovely Roxanne
by giving Christian the right words to say to Roxanne, even though
he is desperately in love with Roxanne himself.
- "Sorry to interrupt, Willow, but it's the Bat-Signal." In DC Comics' Batman comics, the authorities of Gotham City have a "Bat-Signal," a large spotlight with the silhouette of a bat in the center, which they project on the clouds or on tall buildings to alert Batman that he is needed.
- As he works in the basement, Eric sings "My Girl,"
the 1965 hit written by Smokey Robinson and Ronald White which
became the signature song of Motown superstars the Temptations.
|Goofs and Gaffes|
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- In their newspaper photo, the three dead cheerleaders from
Fondren High, inexplicably, have the letter J on their
- Ms. Calendar refers to football as America's national pastime,
but in point of fact that's baseball. No idea if this is an unintentional
mistake, or a deliberate jab by someone in the writing area who
happens to be a football fan.
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- Anthony Stewart Head recites the opening narration for the
first time, replacing the announcer who recited the lines throughout
the first season.
- Amanda Wilmshurst reprises her role as the head cheerleader,
last seen in "The Witch."
Buffy addresses her as Joy.
- In the opening scene, Angel and Buffy fight about her dance
with Xander in "When She Was Bad,"
an incident which is referred to later in the episode by Willow.
- Fondren High is a high school that is nearby. Xander's joke
about Fondren beating Sunnydale in the cross-town body count
competition seems to imply that Fondren High is actually in Sunnydale,
but earlier comments about Sunnydale's small size would seem
to contradict that.
- In spite of endless speculation by fan fiction authors that
her first name was either Nikki or Samantha, Ms. Calendar reveals
in this episode that her first name is Jenny. (In fact, Joss
Whedon originally intended her first name to be Nikki, but changed
those plans at the last moment to avoid confusion with Nicholas
Brendon, who is referred to on the set as "Nicky.")
- Angel is 241 years old at the time of this episode.
- I noticed the addition of X-Files
writer and producer Howard Gordon in the credits as a "Consulting
Producer," and his influence shows here. "Some Assembly
Required" comes off as The X-Files with hormones.
I seriously expected to hear Mark Snow music at some points,
especially during the scenes with the creepy Mrs. Epps. I also
noticed that all the characters are taking their relationships
more seriously now. Xander's jealousy of Angel is more forceful
and pronounced, as is the strained romance between Angel and
Buffy. It all seems to point to a darker direction for the emotional
aspects of the show, and the continued fall-out from Buffy's
now-infamous Xander Dance leads me to believe that Joss is setting
up several season-long romantic sub-plots. I applaud all these
developments. All in all, everything about this episode glowed
the continued integration of Cordelia into the Slayer
clique, the loose threads from "When
She Was Bad" which were picked up, the hyped-up group
dynamics involving Buffy, Angel, Cordelia, and Xander, and even
the sweetness with which the Angel/Buffy and Giles/Calendar storylines
were handled. I consider this a serious improvement over the
uneven season premiere, and a worthy entry into the series canon.
If not for the season premiere's sheer necessity, I would
have picked this episode, rather than "When She Was Bad"
as the season opener. (9/10)
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- I have recently been enlightened to
two very simple truths: There is a God (his name is Joss) and
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one of the best shows on television.
After the disappointment that I encountered with the season premiere,
this week's episode had nowhere to go but up. I was very pleasantly
surprised to find that everything that I love about this show
has returned. In the season premiere it seemed like Joss was
trying too hard to recreate last season's drama. With "Some
Assembly Required," the writers were able to capture the
essence of the show. It was fun, witty, intelligent, and most
of all, true to the show and the characters. Buffy has returned
to her form from last season. There seems to be an impending
relationship brewing between Giles and Ms. Calendar (of which
I absolutely love the idea). Giles is so adorably awkward and
nervous about speaking to her. It is priceless. The frequent
presence of Angel is a bit annoying because he seems to be acting
like a guardian angel. It seems unnecessary. Cordelia's role
in this episode was far less abrasive than in the season premiere.
Her attempts to be sincere are still a bit hard to swallow, but
I was able to deal with it. My only objection to this episode
is that the existence of the thought-to-be-dead brother was a
little corny. I believed it, but I thought that there could have
been a better reason for two high school guys to be harvesting
female body parts. Overall, Joss has redeemed himself with this
P.S. Note to Joss: Please address the ice
cream on the nose incident... please... (9/10)
|September 22, 1997
||100 of 109
|December 15, 1997
||100 of 113 (tie)
|June 23, 1998
||102 of 117 (tie)
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