Restless (Joss Whedon)
Whatever you think of Restless, and I can imagine it rarely provokes a neutral reaction, it must be one of the most extraordinary programmes ever shown on mainstream television. How did Joss Whedon get away with it? It is complex, pretentious, metaphorical, gorgeously photographed and scored, weird, clever, beautifully acted, funny and silly. It’s never dull or boring.
But, it’s not an episode I love despite Willow painting on Tara’s back, a giant Miss Kitty Fantastico, Willow being "very seldom naughty", Giles and Spike on the swings, Anya’s emphatic steering, Snyder as Colonel Kurtz, Anya doing stand-up, Spike posing in black and white, Amber Benson’s bare midriff, Sarah Michelle Gellar looking beautiful in the bright, sun-drenched scenes, the fight in the desert sands and Buffy’s final eye-roll as the First Slayer attacks her yet again.
I appreciate the fantastic thing it is but I can’t love it. I think the cheese man is a mistake because he literally and figuratively gets in the way. The episode never awes me. I want to use the word it lacks emotion (it’s an umbrella word like nice but it’ll do) and goes for the intellect instead. Oh, I dunno really, it is funny and endlessly rewatchable so what am I complaining about?
Two reviews worth reading: Mikejer ("and the Cheese Man appears for the first time. This guy rocks!") and Kip Manley ("I’m not even going to dignify the Cheese Guy. Nor does Buffy").