Just watched Innocence again; love the poignancy and commentary on feminism and adulthood in the episode. Just when things are at their worst i.e. growing up, that's when one is at their strongest and doesn't wallow in sympathetic remorse. (Interesting how the previous episode, albeit a good one, revels in soap opera melodrama, and everything is so emotional exasperating and painful. Innocence's reply is "You're so young.") The feminism and maturation are linked so beautifully here precisely because the plot serves as a perfect foundation for the intermingling of those two themes-the saint of a boyfriend who ended up simply using you for sex. The fact that really it’s not Angel that's doing this to Buffy but Angelus shows your grace for metaphor. You can can have Angel be an sob without permanently making him one and disallowing his character any depth in the future. This is why Buffy not only works superlatively well as television but truly brought the art of the metaphor (the supernatural standing in for everyday life) to the forefront of the fantasy genre-the fantasy with depth era that we live in has benefited from your influence. If you want to tell a specific story but feel like you can't do it in your overarching arc, whether you're working in television or film, Buffy shows one that they can not only do that, but that these episodes are generally the best ones-the ones where if even a non fan watched they couldn't help but notice the craft and brilliance of the writing; of the specific story. It's the moments of stray comments away from the drama of the episode, the moments that step away from plot and fantasy simply when a character truthfully speaks, something that is special amidst the beautiful cahos of this show, that get you right where they need to. You can practically feel yourself tingling with awareness of how special this particular script that you're watching is when these moments occur; it’s the moments you're left with after the episode disappears from memory. This kind of stuff doesn't go away-it’s too painful, haunting, accurate to the awareness on your and the characters that you love part that you can't put it any better if you wrote an essay on the themes being noticed. These are not depthful themes for a writer to be proud to have utilized in his script. It's the moments in life when you see who you really are, where you're really going, and why you must leave behind childish things. It’s full on awareness. This is the essence of the constant evolution this show is famous for. How could Giles remain the paternalistic square constantly criticizing Buffy and not allowing her to make her own mistakes i.e. being an adult, after Innocence? How can Willow have any hope in her childish adoration of someone who never possibly will be interested in dating her after Innocence? Willow’s triumph here is that she finally commits herself to a mature relationship. These moments of realization, of literally transforming yourself are terrifying; just as terrifying as Angelus. And yet the brilliance of this episode is that the pain and terror passes, and that’s because growing up is becoming who you truly are-that person that you were terrified to show to others and to yourself precisely because society conditioned you not to reveal this individual. Callowness, authoritarianism, lack of empathy particularly for the opposite sex, are the qualities being criticized in your Innocence. It’s no wonder this show couldn’t stay in high school.