I return to catching up on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with I Robot, You Jane, the eighth episode of the first season.
S1x08 “I Robot, You Jane“
Apologies for not putting a lot of Buffy reviews up in a while. I wrote a lot of comics reviews on the Wednesday and Thursday and have been busy with book reviews for The Founding Fields. But never fear, I’m back, with my thoughts on I Robot, You Jane – an episode that whilst being one of the worst of Season 1, still manages to be somewhat entertaining and enjoyable, unlike Teacher’s Pet. The plot of this episode touches on people’s fear of internet dating, and is one of the episodes that really feels dated when I was watching this in 2013, as opposed to 1997 when it was first aired. It’s a shame, because the concept had the potential to be executed so much better as well, really bogging the episode down, with everything about the episode being directed to plot, with little to no attention on character development.
And the Monster of the Week, the demon Moloch, presents another problem to the viewer. Brought across as an ancient demon that’s meant to be smart enough to understand computers and spread control across the internet almost instantly seems a little far-fetched and unbelievable, even for a show named Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This episode probably had one of the greatest potential of all the series, and writers Ashley Gable and Thomas A. Swyden spectacularly mess it up. Sure, it is watchable, but only barely, because of some interesting points – the introduction of Jenny Calendar, who provides another addition to the teaching cast that looks set to allow the Scoobies another person who they can go to help to in the staff who isn’t necessarily Giles, and the interesting dynamic between Jenny and Giles that played a key role in this episode, with Giles’ speech about books at the end being one of its more important moments.
It was also nice that this was another episode that wasn’t Buffy centric. Up until Prophecy Girl, the finale – I never really got behind the character of Buffy Summers, always thinking that she was somewhat meh. This episode puts the spotlight on two of my favourite characters, Giles and Willow – and I was rather pleased by this, but somewhat disappointed that like the Xander-centric Teacher’s Pet, Willow’s episode was a let down. Aside from Giles’ speech about books though, this episode did have another notable sequence, the aftermath, where Buffy and Xander are comforting Willow after the death of Moloch – Buffy claims that “Let’s face it: none of us are ever gonna have a happy, normal relationship,” and from what I’ve heard about the future seasons of the show, that couldn’t be more from the truth. It also allows for an interesting element that isn’t just foreshadowing the future, but also deals with past experiences at the same time.
So, therefore – I Robot, You Jane is one of the weakest episodes of the season (and thus series) so far, but manages to contain a few strong scenes and the fact that it’s not a Buffy centric episode make it still a bearable episode to watch.
BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER SEASON 1 (1997): S1x01: Welcome to the Hellmouth, S1x02: The Harvest, S1x03: Witch, S1x04: Teacher’s Pet, S1x05: Never Kill A Boy on the First Date, S1x06: The Pack, S1x07: Angel, S1x08: I, Robot… You, Jane, S1x09: The Puppet Show, S1x10: Nightmares, S1x011: Out of Mind, Out of Sight, S1x012: Prophecy Girl