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All Shows > Buffy the Vampire Slayer > Season 4

Buffy the Vampire Slayer - 4x03 - The Harsh Light of Day

Synopsis: Buffy the Vampire Layer must overcome a day-walking vampire.

Review: The A-plot of The Harsh Light of Day was clichéd and predictable. Day-walking vampires have been done before. Being restricted to moving around at night is fundamental to the vampire metaphor. At least Spike makes the plot bearable.

The B-plot, which took up a large portion of the episode to compensate for the diminutive A-plot, was about relationships--specifically sexual relationships. Might as well call it Buffy the Vampire Layer. Was their a couple that did not have sex in this episode? The fact that the episode focused on sexual relationships is not bad in itself. A mature television series targeted at mature viewers can occasionally tackle mature topics if handled with care.

The Harsh Light of Day is a jumble. It has a positive message with both Buffy and Harmony. They both rush into a physical relationship, and they are both hurt. The episode seems to be affirming that sex does not equal love. Then it throws Xander and Anya in there and muddles everything. While the episode does have a message about the potential hurt that can come from casual sex, it does not affirm abstinence. It portrays that under the right circumstances, sex before marriage can produce happiness. You cannot portray sex before marriage as potentially harmful and potentially good. It just does not make sense. Maybe the episode is just mirroring society's twisted morals back at society.

The Harsh Light of Day is two mediocre plots sandwiched together to fill the forty minutes of running time. Harmony, who was stuck in by the producers because the actor who played Drusilla was unavailable, provides a new comical character for the series. I am actually grateful. I never liked Drusilla. This muddled plot and message earn a 3 out of 10.

Objectionable Content: Anya visits Xander to discuss their "relationship." While he is looking away, she drops her dress leaving her naked. All that is revealed to the screen is her lower legs. Xander sees all as evidenced by him squeezing a boxed drink empty when he turns around. Harmony lies on a bed wearing lingerie taunting Spike. Spike crawls on top of her, and they begin to passionately kiss. It is implied that they have sex. This scene cuts back to the scene with nude Anya proposing "sexual intercourse" to Xander. The shot is tightly cropped above her breasts. Buffy and Parker are seen passionately kissing and beginning to undress each other. Then they are shown underneath the sheets with each other with sex implied.

Rating: 3 out of 10 (Reviewed by: Matthew Miller)

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