“I think anyone who cuts dead girls into little pieces does not get the benefit of any doubt.”
-Buffy Summers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer S2E2: “Some Assembly Required”
Brief synopsis: When Buffy discovers an empty grave, she discovers that some kids at school are piecing together a body, and now they’re hoping to get a living head.
Title significance: “Some Assembly Required” refers to how Chris and Eric are putting together, assembling if you will, their own woman. They are taking dead girls, cutting them up into parts, and sewing them together in order to meet the specifications given to them by Dylan.
The phrase “Some Assembly Requires” really gives off the vibe of something having separate parts. One of the creepiest things about the episode is how the boys are going over these different girls bodies, picking and choosing which parts to keep and which parts to toss in the dumpster, and I think this title really highlights that.
Girl Power: Once again, Buffy kicks butt this episode. But it’s already been established that Buffy kicks butt, and will continue to do so in almost every area. I just want to shout out to Cordelia once again for keeping her head on her shoulders, running away from the mysterious person and finding a place to hide. She really is pretty strong on the inside.
We also get some cool role reversal with Miss Jenny Calendar this episode. Giles practices and stutters and struggles with asking her out. Finally, Miss Calendar just asks him out instead. She also asks him out on a second date as well. She takes on a task that is traditionally performed by a man and she does so with great success.
Success of girl power: I love the role reversal with Miss Jenny and Giles.
What “Some Assembly Required” does right:
- Continuity – Buffy was a real bitch last episode. I am thrilled to find that her actions have not been forgotten this episode, by Willow or Angel. Angel’s jealousy really stands out. It creates a nice sense of some sort of accountability for her actions, and it would have been weird to ignore it.
- Cordelia – I just think Cordelia is becoming more and more of an interesting character. She has gone through some pretty horrible things, not least in this episode. Her thanking Xander continued her trend of showing appreciation when her life has been saved. She is capable of having a heart and of seeing good in people, and I think she has demonstrated remarkable bravery.
- Chris and Dylan’s mom – I think this was really where the emotional core of the episode was, and I do wish they had done a bit more with her. However, I think the portrayal of the mother was heartbreaking. The raggedness, the cigarette, the viewing of old football games where Dylan was the star. We can see how much losing her son destroyed her. We can begin to understand why Chris was so desperate to bring Dylan back.
What “Some Assembly Required” could have done better:
- Formaldehyde – So, the boys were unable to use any of the three heads belonging to the dead girls because the formaldehyde sped up the deterioration. So . . . this makes me wonder how exactly they were able to get Dylan together without the formaldehyde messing him up. Why was it only a problem with the girls?
- Kick to the face – Buffy, the Slayer, kicks Eric in the face. And he’s fine. He’s conscious. He’s able to scramble away and go get Dylan to help him get Cordelia. There’s no blood on his face, no bruising. What the heck? Is this kid magically able to heal himself. He’s not hurt, he’s not deterred. If someone kicked me in the nose like Buffy did, I would assume my nose would at least be a bit bloody.
- Missed opportunity – So, we have a bit of a Frankenstein-esque episode here. There are so many great themes to explore here, about life and death and loneliness (and opportunities for foreshadowing). They hint at it, but they barely scratch the surface. This episode should have been downright depressing. Instead, it was just a bit blah.
Overall: Pretty lackluster.