Spaced Newbie Recap, “Battles”
We finally got more Mike this week!
With this weeks episode of Spaced I saw two more Edgar Wright-isms introduced in the early stages of his career. First, there was his love of people jumping out of windows and out of scene, which would of course come back in Scott Pilgrim vs The World and The Worlds End. Then, Tim says to Brian “you’ve got some paint on you” which can’t help but make me remember “you’ve got red on you” from Shaun of the Dead.
Obviously I need to just write some egregious Edgar Wright feature, but for now the focus remains solely on Spaced, which simply keeps getting better with each episode.
“Battles” begins with stylistic flare, as it’s Daisy’s turn to daydream a bit. She’s seemingly on the phone, in the midst of a breakup with her boyfriend Richard (whose name I’d forgotten due to what little importance he serves). In the dream everything is shot in warm sepia tones; she’s dressed lavishly; and, crucially, she’s the one who’s breaking up with him. We soon return to real life, however, where everything is a bit more drab, a bit more gray, and she’s the one being broken up with.
Daisy’s upset and crying, which makes the punchline of her being dumped because she’d been screwing around with other men all the more timely. The comic timing is so intelligently done on this show; there’s a rhythmic procession to it that you can almost feel the actors landing on the beats without it ever feeling too rehearsed.
I apologize if any of you wanted a more unbiased, critical reviewer, and instead got me.
This break-up leads to Daisy moping about a bit, and, once neither Tim or Brian lend the support she’s looking for, she goes upstairs to Martha. Daisy confesses to Martha that she and her boyfriend broke up, forgetting that she’s supposed to be pretending to date Tim. This allows for a floating head sequence where versions of herself and Tim berate her. Daisy trips over herself to not be caught in a lie, and tells Martha that the shouting she heard was Tim yelling at Lara Croft in his video game. Still not able to find a suitable excuse, she blurts out that she and Tim should get a dog, as that would solve all of their problems. Martha is still obviously confused, but Daisy is so proud about her own idea that she hardly realizes it. Despite Tim’s phobia of dogs, Daisy convinces him that they should get one, and we’re treated to dual flashbacks: one where a younger Tim is being chased by a hoard of dogs, and one where a young Daisy is chasing said dogs, trying to find friends.
This, coupled with a later flashback where young Daisy is pulling a box as a stand-in dog, makes me think her childhood might have been a lonely one.
Daisy goes and adopts Colin, her new dog, and afterwards bonds over him with Brian. Firstly though, Mark Heap has the best delivery of the episode with his simple “oh my god” in regards to accidentally sitting on Colin. His voice mixed with his appalled face is hilarious.
Tim spends most of the episode in an unsurprisingly grumpy state. He received a letter from his ex explaining why the two of them had to break up, and it’s put him in a foul mood. To remedy this, he and Mike are going to partake in paintball.
I don’t understand the fun of paintball. At all. It just seems like it would hurt.
While there, Tim and Mike run into Dwayne, the man with whom his girlfriend cheat, and so starts their rivalry. They’re put on the same team, but Dwayne is soon backstabbing their unit tries to shoot Tim with a paintball. In a moment of frustration Tim gets mad at Mike (nooo) and they separate, which allows the standoff between Dwayne and Tim to occur. I loved how this moment was shot. Despite what had to have been budgetary restrictions and a narrative that put the characters smack dab in the middle of a paintball field, Wright still shoots it all with an epic spin. There are rotational aerial shots; there are shots from a low pointed angled that makes the two look like they’re about to have a fight to the death. Thankfully, Tim is saved by Mike, but gets shot in the process.
After Tim shoots Dwayne, he and Mike play out Mike’s “death” scene, which both Simon Pegg and Nick Frost play admirably straight.
This makes the ending moments where they’re packing up and leaving all the funnier. The episode ends on an ominous tone, with two of Tim’s worst fears (dogs and bamboo) lying in his bed.
What an odd sentence to end this on.
Allyson Johnson is a twenty something writer and a lover of film and all things pop-culture. She’s a film and television enthusiast and critic over at TheYoungFolks.com who spends too much of her free time on Netflix. Her idols are Jo March, Illana Glazer, and Amy Poehler. Check her out at her twitter @AllysonAJ or at The Young Folks.