May 17, 2022

ER 11.1, One for the Road: To Everything There Is a Season

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 4:57 pm by Jenn

Admittedly, I admire Pratt for trying to run someone else’s trauma while being treated himself

Summary: We rewind a little to just before the end of “Drive,” when an angry driver started shooting at Pratt, Chen, and Elgin. Pratt tries to escape him while Chen says helpful things like, “We’ve got to get away from him!” The guy keeps firing, eventually hitting Chen in the leg. He intentionally crashes into Pratt’s car (and another), and Pratt’s unable to keep control. He drives off the bridge and into the river.

Chen’s unable to move, and when Pratt tells Elgin to get out of the car, Elgin says he can’t feel his legs. Pratt decides to pull Elgin out, but Elgin can’t move his arms to take Pratt’s hand. Chen calls 911 while Pratt uses a flashlight to assess her and Elgin’s injuries. As the car sinks, Elgin says he doesn’t want to die. Pratt calmly frees Chen from her seatbelt, assuring Elgin that he’ll help him next. He thinks Elgin broke his neck. The front end of the car tips forward because of the engine’s weight.

At County, Morris is doing what he does best: eating and complaining. All the interns got to go on vacation, so he’s stuck working an overnight shift. Wah. You’re not drowning in a car. You can deal. Frank points out that he called in sick a bunch, so it’s only fair. Morris is disappointed to see that the attending on duty is Weaver, who most definitely won’t let him go early or, like, be nice or anything.

Pratt and Chen keep Elgin above water as the car continues sinking. Pratt plans to open a window so everyone can swim out, though Elgin isn’t going to be able to do that on his own. Unfortunately, Pratt’s spiffy new Chrysler has power windows, so they won’t open. Elsewhere, in some unspecified location, Sam and Alex stop at a motel for the night.

Pratt struggles to open a door but doesn’t have any luck. He’s starting to get more stressed, but he’s still pretty calm (much calmer than most people would be in this situation). Elgin remembers from his physics class that they need to wait for the water pressure to equalize. That means letting the water get even higher. The car fully submerges and hits the bottom of the river. The three wait until they can escape.

As Sam checks into the motel, Alex tells the clerk to call the police because she kidnapped him. Sam, leave him there and go somewhere tropical. You deserve a vacation. Pratt tells Chen to go underwater and open the passenger-side front door. She’s scared but she gets out and swims to the surface. As Pratt takes Elgin underwater, Chen gets help from a crew on a police boat. Pratt surfaces without Elgin, who got stuck on the door, and yells for help. The rescuers tell him to get on the boat while they send divers to get Elgin.

Carter wraps up a shift as Luka returns from trying to keep Sam and Alex from leaving town. Weaver’s annoyed that he left during his shift, even though he blames a family emergency. She tells him he can go home because she’s filling in for him. If he ever leaves in the middle of another shift, he shouldn’t bother to come back. Luka tells Frank to call someone in administration and tell them Sam no longer works at County.

Carter asks Weaver how court went. She just says it was okay. As he leaves, she joins Morris to deal with a new patient. A cop has dragged in a drug dealer he thinks tucked her stash inside herself when she was busted. And by “inside herself,” I mean exactly what you think I mean. Since the dealer (no name; I’ll call her Amanda after the actress playing her) doesn’t have any medical complaints, Weaver won’t agree to retrieve the drugs. She can’t do a pelvic exam without a patient’s consent.

Luka and Carter are heading out at the same time, and Carter asks what’s up with Sam. Luka says she left with Alex and he doesn’t think they’ll be coming back. Abby is finishing up her last nursing shift before starting her internship. Neela shows up, having driven back from Michigan after ditching her internship before it started. The cop (also without a name; I’ll call him DiMaggio after the actor playing him) bugs Weaver to help him with Amanda, but she continues to refuse.

Paramedics radio in about Pratt, Chen, and Elgin’s accident, which also injured people on the bridge. Weaver immediately regrets sending Luka home. She asks Abby to stay, though “asks” isn’t really accurate when Weaver wants you to do something. Abby will be staying. Pratt waits for news on Elgin at the river while Chen is taken off to the hospital. The rescuers have pulled Elgin onto the police boat but aren’t doing anything to save him. Pratt is upset to learn that he didn’t survive.

A woman brings in a preteen boy who stuffed LED lights up his nose. I guarantee this kid would be Alex’s best friend if they ever met. Abby can’t believe Neela left so soon after getting to Michigan. Neela offers to help when victims from the car crash start coming in, but Weaver tells her that since she’s not a student at County anymore, she’s not covered to work there. All she can do is observe.

Chen and Pratt are brought in next, and she IDs Morris’ patient as the shooter. Pratt insists on skipping a medical exam, but Abby won’t let him since he has a head injury. He’s stable while Chen is struggling to breathe. Pratt gives instructions for her care from his trauma room. Neela jumps in to tend to him, saying that since he’s a resident, no one will care if she kills him. Heh.

Morales the paramedic comes in snottily asking for a doctor. Um, they’re all busy, dude. Don’t act like they’re ignoring you because they’re slacking off. He reveals that Elgin isn’t dead after all – he still has a pulse. Neela’s sad to learn that Elgin was also involved in the crash. Weaver sends Abby to take care of him, giving her a 12-hour early start on her internship. Elizabeth joins her, proud that Abby gets to run the trauma.

Pratt gets cleared but needs a few stitches. Instead of letting Morris do them, Pratt wants to do them himself. Probably a good call. Chen isn’t doing well, and Pratt tries to join Weaver to take care of her. “Back off, Pratt, or I’ll check your rectal tone with my crutch,” Weaver says. Chen asks someone to call her father’s nurse and ask her to stay with him longer. As she continues declining, Chuny tells Weaver that Abby needs her. She leaves Elizabeth to take over Chen’s care.

Frank tells Weaver that Sandy’s brother, Eduardo, is on the phone and sounds upset. She thinks something’s wrong with Henry and orders Frank to find out if he’s okay. DiMaggio is in the process of getting a search warrant for Amanda, but Weaver isn’t intimidated. She blows off the mom of the kid with the LED nose and some other patient’s family member so she can take care of Elgin. Frank tells her that Henry’s fine but Eduardo wants to meet with her ASAP. Weaver has to blow him off, too. She and Abby disagree about some sort of treatment, which isn’t a great way for Abby to start her internship.

Pratt ends up letting Morris do his stitches after all. Weaver has gone back to Chen’s trauma room, but Chuny comes to tell her that Abby is giving Elgin a thoracotomy, a procedure that’s usually done by a surgeon and definitely NOT done by a baby intern. Weaver’s upset, but when Abby tells her that he had a bunch of blood in his chest, her actions are a little more understandable. Meanwhile, Neela leaves Elgin’s mom a message about the crash.

Morris finishes Pratt’s stitches, which he’s slept through. Morris thinks he was knocked out by the morphine he was given, but Pratt won’t wake up when Morris shakes him. He realizes Pratt’s head injury is worse than anyone thought. Amazingly, Morris proves that he knows how to do his job and he swings into action.

Abby’s attempt to save Elgin hasn’t worked, and there’s nothing Elizabeth can do. Lily comes to get someone to help Morris with Pratt, and all of Elgin’s doctors go with her. Neela stays behind and tells Chuny they should close Elgin’s chest so his mother doesn’t have to see him like this. Morris sends Pratt to surgery, and Weaver is surprisingly worried about his condition.

Carter goes home to get Kem so they can go out to dinner. She wants to stay in instead, and she appears to want to keep her distance from him. Back at County, Abby tells Neela that Pratt needs surgery and might have long-term complications. She starts to help Neela finish getting Elgin ready for his mom to see him, though Neela urges her to go home and get some sleep before she has to start her internship. Mostly, Neela doesn’t want her there asking questions about why she left Michigan.

Luka and Sam both have trouble sleeping, so he calls her, but she doesn’t answer the phone. Carter also has a sleepless night, his last with Kem before she goes back to the Congo. Elizabeth takes Pratt to the ICU after his operation and puts him next to Chen, who’s sad to see her ex in such bad shape. When Luka arrives for his shift in the morning, Weaver tells him that Pratt hasn’t woken up yet.

Frank tells Weaver that Eduardo has left two more messages. Dude, unless Henry is in actual danger, stop it. Two interns, Howard and Ray, arrive for their orientation. Only Ray will have a significant role on the show, so don’t get too attached to Howard. Abby’s a couple minutes late, but Weaver puts her to work instead of sending her to orientation (she already knows everything about the hospital anyway). She gives Abby a lab coat and says, “Welcome to County, Dr. Lockhart.” DiMaggio’s like, “Awesome, a new doctor to bug about Amanda.”

Luka tells a couple that their baby has botulism and will need a breathing machine for as long as a month. Her father sheepishly admits to giving her honey, which long-time viewers of the show will remember is a big no-no. As the couple fights, Abby asks Luka if he knows anything about a search warrant. He just tells her they’re not honoring it. When DiMaggio complains, Abby notes that there’s nothing in the warrant that says someone at County has to do Amanda’s exam. They can’t follow the police’s orders to do cavity searches; people will hear about it and stop coming to the ER.

LED kid is still waiting for treatment. Abby wonders when the batteries will die. She accepts the next patient the paramedics bring in, a man named George who has tonsil cancer. Who knew that was a thing? He’s bleeding and needs medical intervention to get it to stop. Haleh joins Abby, complimenting her new coat. Fortunately, George doesn’t get anything on it when he coughs up blood. Abby suggests a breathing tube and a transfusion, but George has a DNR. If he starts bleeding to death, it will just mean his time is up.

Alex tries to get attention by pretending he drowned in the motel pool. Sam, I’m telling you, ditch him. She suggests places they can go, but Alex only wants to go back to Chicago. When he refuses to get out of the pool, she jumps in fully clothed and pretends to agree that they’ll just stay there for the rest of their lives.

Abby wants to try to treat George with nebulized epinephrine, which could constrict his blood vessels enough to stop his bleeding. It would only be temporary, so George declines, though he’s shaken over having to make that decision. He’s getting tired from blood loss and worries that his death will be painful. Haleh promises that they’ll give him morphine if it is. George asks Abby to stay with him for a while, but as a doctor, she can’t do that anymore. Haleh says she’ll stay with him.

Pratt’s awake and not happy to have a tube down his throat. Chen gets a nurse to give him a pen and paper so he can communicate. The first thing he writes is, “I have a shift at 8 a.m.” Chen teases that he’s four hours late. (But the fact that he remembers his schedule and knows where he is and who she is are good signs.)

Luka tells Abby that her doctor’s coat suits her. He gets a collect call as Neela invites Abby to get breakfast with her. Neela gave up her apartment to move to Michigan so she spent the night in the on-call room. Abby asks for an update on Pratt and Chen; Neela says Chen’s okay but she thinks Pratt is still unconscious.

Weaver’s back at court, which is where Eduardo finally gets in touch with her. She doesn’t want to talk to him, and Brooks tells him it’s not appropriate anyway. Eduardo makes the argument that his parents are retired, so they’re home all the time and can take care of Henry. He asks for two minutes to talk. We fast-forward to the outcome of that conversation: Weaver gets custody of Henry, but the Lopezes will take care of him when she’s at work and get to see him on holidays. After all that drama, everyone’s happy.

Abby is handling her caseload like a pro. Luka has ducked out of another shift and left her instructions to look after Ray and Howard. Isn’t there a chief resident to do this stuff? Thanks to that collect call from Alex, Luka is at the motel to try again to get Sam not to leave Chicago. Luka, is she really worth all this? You still barely know each other. I’m just saying, if you let her go, you might wind up with someone better.

Carter and Kem to the river to scatter the baby’s ashes. They’re not sure what to say to make the ritual special. Carter tells the baby he’ll always be in their hearts. Kem recites Ecclesiastes 3 in French (“To everything there is a season…”) and cries as Carter releases the ashes. He asks her to stay in Chicago, but she says she can’t. He tells her he wants to marry her, but even that doesn’t change her mind.

Amanda’s annoyed that she’s been kept at County for 18 hours, but Abby’s even more annoyed that she’s taken up a bed and required two court orders to deal with. Now the head of the public health department is coming to do her exam. This guy hasn’t done a pelvic exam in ten years, by the way, so it might not be pleasant. Amanda starts to realize that she’s overplayed her hand. Abby gives her the option of letting her do the exam right now instead. Cut to Abby delivering the drugs to DiMaggio after Amanda retrieved them herself.

Haleh asks Abby to sign George’s death certificate. He bled out about an hour ago. Abby’s upset that Haleh didn’t come get her, but Haleh says she was busy. Abby confirms that Haleh stayed with George and made sure he was comfortable. Neela brings Abby coffee and finally tells her about how she left her internship in Michigan. Abby can’t believe that after eight years of school, Neela has just one year of internship standing in the way of her becoming a real doctor, and she won’t take it on. Neela admits that she’s not sure she wants to be a doctor.

Luka bugs Sam about running away, and she reminds him that she never stays in one place for a long time. He tells her she can’t keep running away forever. Sam thinks she can. She has to, for Alex. Luka asks if this is the life she wants for her son or herself. She admits that she doesn’t know what else to do. He promises that he’ll help her with whatever she needs back in Chicago. Sam struggles to let people help her, but Luka thinks trying would be a better option than always being on the run.

Carter and Kem sit by the water until she has to go to the airport. They’re going to try a long-distance relationship, but she wants some time to herself. He gently asks for an answer to his sort-of marriage proposal from earlier, but he understands that she’s not ready to make that commitment yet. She’s emotional that their whirlwind romance came to this point after everything felt so right. Carter is willing to give her the time she needs to figure things out, but unfortunately, they’ll be thousands of miles away from each other while she takes it.

Thoughts: Ray is played by Shane West.

This episode is not to be confused with the similarly titled “One More for the Road.”

I guess all the good Samaritans in the city were at the scene of Linda’s crash because no one helps Pratt, Chen, and Elgin.

Imagine getting a role on ER and having to tell your family and friends that you play a woman who stuffs a bag of drugs inside herself.

After years of med school, it must be really cool to have someone call you a doctor for the first time. Probably also a little terrifying.

The Weaver/Lopez thing is ridiculous. All they wanted was time with Henry, so they took Weaver to court?? Unbelievable.

May 14, 2022

Buffy 3.5, Homecoming: Welcome to Slayer Fest

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , at 1:12 pm by Jenn

Let the games begin

Summary: It’s another Bronze night for the Scoobies. Everyone except Buffy is talking about the upcoming homecoming dance, their last as high-schoolers. Cordelia expects to be homecoming queen, and she’d like a limo. Buffy reveals that she might not go. Scott joins the group and Willow tries to stop the conversation. Cordelia guesses that Buffy’s down because Scott hasn’t asked her to the dance yet. Scott says he thought she would find it corny, but they awkwardly agree to go together. They even kiss.

Buffy leaves her new boyfriend to go see her old boyfriend, who’s still hanging out in his old mansion and is jumpy but not feral anymore. She brings him some blood and asks how he’s feeling. He says it hurts less. She tells him she hasn’t told anyone about his return yet, and she isn’t going to. They wouldn’t understand that he’s okay. She’ll keep helping him, but her life has changed and she wants to devote more time to it. She mentions Scott, and Angel isn’t happy to hear that she’s seeing someone else. She tells him she appreciates having someone she can count on.

Cut to the next day, when Scott tells Buffy they should break up. She seems to be distracted all the time. She promises that she’s going to get better about that, but that’s not enough for Scott. They’re done. As Scott walks away, someone watches Buffy through binoculars. That someone is in a van full of surveillance equipment. The watcher has a twin, who calls someone (no name; I’ll call him Ian after the actor playing him) so he can connect his own surveillance equipment. Mr. Trick is there, pleased that the equipment will help him keep an eye on his “target.”

Deputy Mayor Allan Finch nervously enters his boss’ office with what might be bad news. His boss is Mayor Richard Wilkins, and the news is that the twins from the van (Frederick and Hans) are in town. They’re suspected terrorists and murderers. Wilkins smells the paper Finch handed him with the twins’ mugshots, then asks to see Finch’s hands. He doesn’t think they’re clean enough. People need to scrub their hands after every meal. After all, cleanliness is next to godliness. Wilkins tells Finch to put the twins under surveillance and inform him of any other sketchy people spotted in Sunnydale.

Over at Sunnydale High, it’s picture day. Cordelia’s is pretty much perfect, Xander’s is cheesy, Willow’s is uncertain, and Oz’s is…Oz. He doesn’t change his expression for the camera. Willow tells Xander she needs his help picking an outfit for the dance. She wants to wear something that will make Oz have a reaction. Cordelia checks out her competition for homecoming queen, Holly and Michelle. She only sees one of them as a threat.

Willow worries that Buffy will miss photo time. She’s in the library, training with Faith, and Oz isn’t sure anyone told her it was picture day. Cordelia offers to go get her now. Buffy will need to clean up a little first, since she’s working up a sweat taking out her anger over her breakup. Faith thinks that rage will give her an edge in slaying. She offers to go to the dance with Buffy, wanting her to have a fun night even without a date. As Cordelia is about to enter the library to talk to Buffy, she gets distracted and starts chatting with a couple of guys whose votes she needs.

The next day, Buffy tracks down one of her former teachers to ask if she’ll write a letter of recommendation to allow Buffy to come back to school. Unfortunately, the teacher has no idea who Buffy is. At lunch, Buffy mopes while Cordelia tries to drum up support from her classmates. Buffy laments how different her life is at Sunnydale High from how it was at her previous school. There, the yearbook was full of pictures of her. Here, she’ll just have one. The Scoobies break it to her that she won’t even have that one – she missed picture day.

Buffy goes straight to Cordelia to confront her for not telling her about picture day and for generally being self-centered. Cordelia argues that she’s under a lot of pressure. She doesn’t think Buffy gets how much work goes into campaigning for homecoming queen. Maybe she’d win if it were about monsters and blood. Buffy decides to prove herself and join the race. “You’ve awakened the prom queen within,” she warns.

Mr. Trick tells a group of people (including the twins and Lyle Gorch) that competition is a great thing. Everyone has a desire to win. He’s gathered some humans, vampires, and demons for a special competition. There’s an entry fee, and Lyle pays his with the money he and his new bride, Candy, were going to use for their honeymoon. (That money seems to be from a bank robbery. It’s blood-stained but nonsequential, so I think Mr. Trick will accept it.) Mr. Trick announces that the games will begin soon. It’l be open season for the two targets, Buffy and Faith. Welcome to Slayer Fest ’98!

Willow tries on some potential homecoming outfits in her room as Xander makes sure his tux fits. She’s really intent on having a nice experience since this is her first big dance with a boyfriend. She helps Xander with his tie and remembers how he wore a clip-on for a fancy eighth-grade dance. Now it’s four years later and they’re still friends. Xander thinks they’ll end up in neighboring rest homes and she’ll still be helping him out.

He asks how far Willow and Oz have gone. She says it’s none of his business, so he guesses they’re rounding second base. When she shows him her next outfit possibility, a simple but nice black dress, he tells her she looks gorgeous. Willow says he looks great, too. She starts worrying about dancing, so Xander offers to give her a practice spin. Their closeness makes them weak and they end up kissing. After a few seconds, they both stop and admit they made a huge mistake. They blame the fancy clothes and vow not to let it happen again.

The next day, Buffy gathers Xander, Willow, and Oz in the library and shows them a chart of all of her homecoming-queen competitors’ pros and cons. She knows she has a tough fight here, since this is a popularity contest and she’s not really popular. Then again, she’s not unpopular – after all, there was a good turnout at her welcome-home party. You know, the party where a bunch of people were killed by zombies. Still, everyone had a good time before that!

Buffy asks Willow to make a database so they can keep track of people’s votes. She wants Oz to talk to the less popular students and those who wouldn’t normally vote. Cordelia comes in and Buffy says she wants to keep things friendly; the Scoobies don’t need to choose sides. Unfortunately for Buffy, Cordelia has already recruited them to work for her. To be fair, Xander’s dating her. And I think Willow’s too scared to say no. And Oz just does whatever Willow does, so there goes Buffy’s whole crew.

As the others leave, Giles joins Buffy and says he doesn’t get why the girls are making such a big deal out of a little title. She lies that no one’s taking it that seriously, then clutches a glass bottle so hard that it breaks. Music montage! The girls chat with their classmates and try to get votes while the Slayer Fest competitors test out their weapons (or, in the Gorches’ case, make out). One demon, Kulak, has blades that come out of his arms. Convenient!

Buffy runs into Scott, who promises her his vote. She humbly accepts it, acting like she doesn’t want him to feel obligated, but after he leaves, she checks his name off a list of votes she wanted. More of the music montage! Buffy bribes her constituents with cupcakes, but Cordelia overshadows her with gift baskets. I guess the faculty doesn’t monitor this kind of stuff and there are no rules about it.

Willow is awkward around Buffy, who says it’s fine that her best friend is helping someone else, though she’s really trying to lay on the guilt. Willow agrees to give her 15 minutes with Cordelia’s database. The twins are watching them and now have microphones capable of hearing them, even though the girls are in a classroom and the twins are in their van. They learn that the Scoobies are going to the dance in a limo, and Faith will be riding with them.

Buffy gives Jonathan a cupcake and tries to get his support. He tells her Cordelia already bought his vote (with actual money). Buffy confronts Cordelia, who accuses Buffy of trying to be like her. She needs to stop trying to recapture her “glory days.” Buffy calls her out for being mean and asks if she has parents. Cordelia replies that she has two of them, unlike some people. Wow, really? What is this, second grade?

Cordelia tells Buffy to stay out of her way, then starts to push her a little as she walks off. Buffy grabs Cordelia’s hand and tells her not to do that again. Willow and Xander are approaching, and Xander tries to break up the fight before the rivals say something they’ll regret. “Crazy freak!” Cordelia exclaims. “Vapid whore!” Buffy spits back. Too late, Xander.

That night, Willow and Xander are back in her room, distressed because their friends are fighting. Willow thinks it’s her and Xander’s fault – they felt so bad about kissing that they overcompensated by siding with Cordelia, which messed up the Scoobies’ dynamic. They try to come up with a solution, but it’s hard when they can’t stop thinking about kissing each other again.

The night of the dance, Buffy happily gets in the limo at her house, then quickly loses her happiness when she sees that Cordelia is the only other passenger. The other Scoobies want the girls to take this time to work out their problems. They’ve also nicely left the girls wrist corsages. But now they have a new problem: Their driver is one of the twins, and instead of the dance, they’re being taken to Slayer Fest.

When they arrive, the twin runs off and the girls realize they’ve been left in the woods. Buffy quickly senses that something’s wrong. Nearby are a TV and VCR with a note telling them to press play. Mr. Trick appears on the TV screen and welcomes them to Slayer Fest ’98. They’re the prey for a bunch of hunters and have just seconds to get a head start running for their lives. Cordelia doesn’t get it, just calling out that she’s not a Slayer. When there’s a boom and the TV and VCR explode, the girls realize this is for real.

The other Scoobies are at the dance, but Willow and Xander aren’t having a good time. (Oz’s band is performing so he’s not with them.) Faith doesn’t get why they’re moping. She spots Scott with another girl and calls him a sleazebag. Giles arrives and tells Xander and Willow that something has happened and they need to find Buffy. Then he admits he was just messing with them and heads off to find food.

Buffy and Cordelia run through the woods, though Cordelia thinks she can get herself out of the competition by explaining to the hunters that she’s not a Slayer and shouldn’t be there. Buffy steps in a bear trap but is able to get out of it before it can snap onto her leg. Behind them, a hunter takes a shot, but Buffy throws the trap at him and immobilizes him. She takes his gun and makes him tell her what they’re dealing with. He gives her a rundown of the other hunters and the surveillance. As Cordelia tries to politely request an exemption from the competition, Kulak narrowly misses hitting her with his arm blades.

Faith amuses herself by pretending she and Scott had sex and one of them gave the other an STD. His date isn’t so interested in him anymore. Giles tries to cheer up Xander and Willow, then decides to leave until it’s time for the homecoming-queen announcement. He praises the Scoobies for their plan to make Buffy and Cordelia spend time together. Xander notes that they haven’t arrived yet, so they must be having an intense fight.

Buffy and Cordelia find a rundown cabin to use for shelter. Buffy’s the only one with a weapon, so she tells Cordelia to find one of her own. Cordelia’s starting to grasp the reality of the situation and is too worried about dying to think about anything else. Buffy tries to cover the windows and actually protect them as Cordelia frets that her life is going to end too soon. Buffy promises that they’ll get out of there and get some weapons from the library. Then Buffy will take out the hunters AND win homecoming queen. That lights a fire under Cordelia, making her angry rather than scared.

She looks for a weapon but only finds a spatula and a phone. Buffy’s like, “Remember what a phone is used for? Do you think that might be useful right now?” But leaving Giles a message gives Mr. Trick and Ian a heads up about where the girls are. Ian sends the twins after them. Giles gets Buffy’s message as Cordelia asks why things always end badly when she’s around Buffy. “Welcome to my life,” Buffy says. Cordelia would rather be in her own life, thank you. Buffy invites her to leave any time she wants.

Cordelia says that all she wanted was to be homecoming queen. That’s all Buffy wanted, too. Cordelia doesn’t know why Buffy cares about that when she gets to be a hero all the time. But that’s exactly why Buffy wanted something as normal as being crowned homecoming queen. Her life is all about being a Slayer. She wanted something she could look back on to remind her that she got to be like everyone else. It would be proof that she was chosen for something other than being a Slayer. “Besides, I look cute in a tiara,” she says.

Kulak crashes in through a window and tackles Buffy, making her drop her gun. She throws him off and grabs a pair of antlers from the wall to use as a weapon. Cordelia tries to be helpful by whacking him with the spatula. Buffy tells her to go for the gun, but Cordelia’s a bad shot. Buffy tells her to try the spatula again. Outside, the twins arrive and fire up a grenade launcher. When the grenade flies into the cabin, Buffy and Cordelia jump out a window. Kulak tries to do the same, only the window he chooses is boarded up. The cabin blows up with him inside it.

The girls head to the library, but the Gorches are there waiting for them. They knocked out Giles, those jerks. Mr. Trick is surprised that the girls got away, but Ian assures him it’s just temporary. Just then, some men arrive at their lair and drag Mr. Trick away. When the girls get to the school, they discuss their plan, which goes out the window as soon as they step into the library and encounter the Gorches.

Candy fights Buffy, but Cordelia has finally seen how helpful the spatula really is. She tosses it to Buffy, who uses the wooden handle to stake Candy. Lyle is upset but Cordelia is no longer scared. She tells him that she and Buffy have taken out four hunters and Cordelia hasn’t even broken a sweat. “In the end, Buffy’s just the runner-up. I’m the queen,” she says. And that means Lyle should be very worried about what she’s capable of. Lyle decides not to find out. He says goodbye and heads off.

Giles regains consciousness and starts cleaning up the mess in the library. He feels a little responsible for the girls’ night, since he approved of the Scoobies’ plans to put them in the limo together. Buffy’s okay with it, since she and Cordelia got some “quality death time.” Plus, as Cordelia mentions, they got free corsages. Giles didn’t know about those, and Buffy realizes they weren’t from the Scoobies. The corsages contain tracking devices, which the hunters have been using to follow the girls.

As the twins arrive at the school, Buffy tells Giles to get her some wet toilet paper. Ian gives the twins the girls’ coordinates and watches eagerly as they close in. Buffy runs out of the library, drawing the twins’ fire. When one follows her into a classroom, Ian directs the other toward Cordelia’s signal. Buffy throws the wet toilet paper at the twin following her, and Ian tells the twins to adjust their coordinates. They end up facing each other and shooting each other through a wall. When the corsage signals die, Ian declares himself the winner of Slayer Fest.

Mr. Trick is taken to City Hall, where he meets Wilkins. He knows Mr. Trick isn’t human, and he wants to make sure no one disrupts what’s going to be a big year for him. Mr. Trick thinks he’s going to be kicked out of Sunnydale for racist reasons. Instead, Wilkins talks about how children need to be looked after, and rebellious children need to be controlled. Mr. Trick thinks he’s talking about Buffy and Faith, and he says he’s taken care of them. Wilkins has heard about Slayer Fest and thinks it was a smart idea. He wants Mr. Trick to work for him.

Buffy and Cordelia finally make it to the dance, filthy and tired and a little bloody. “Long story,” Buffy tells the Scoobies. “Got hunted,” Cordelia says. “Apparently not that long,” Buffy replies. She acknowledges that Cordelia isn’t to be messed with. They’re just in time for the homecoming-queen announcement, but after all they’ve been through, it’s no longer that important to them. Just kidding – it’s still really important. Devon reveals that there’s a tie. The two winners are…Holly and Michelle. Buffy and Cordelia walk out in disgust. Hey, at least they won Slayer Fest!

Thoughts: Continuing the excellent casting this season, Harry Groener is perfect as Wilkins.

I love this exchange between Mr. Trick and Kulak:

Mr. Trick: “We all have the desire to win. Whether we’re human…vampire…and whatever the hell you are, my brother. You got them spiny-looking head things. I ain’t never seen that before.”
Kulak: “I am Kulak, of the Miquot Clan.”
Mr. Trick: “Isn’t that nice.”

Buffy’s problem in the campaign is that no one fears her. Everyone’s too scared of Cordelia not to give her their support (or at least lie that they’ll vote for her). Which is actually a good thing, because that means Buffy’s nice.

I love that someone working for Mr. Trick took the time to come up with a Slayer Fest logo for the end of his welcome video.

May 10, 2022

ER 10.22, Drive: Role Models

Posted in TV tagged , , at 5:03 pm by Jenn

Chen is having a bad day and it’s only going to get worse

Summary: Abby is trying to draw blood from a very sensitive patient while Sam asks to switch shifts with her. Weaver tells her to find someone else, since Abby is now an intern. Abby’s still waiting to get her board results, though, so she’s still taking nursing shifts. Weaver doesn’t get what’s taking so long with her test results. Abby finishes with her patient, who’s repeated, “Ow” over and over for a whole minute, but who immediately tells Abby she’s “God’s gift to nursing.”

Neela comes to finish wrapping up everything she needs to at County before starting her internship elsewhere. Abby thinks she should spend her last day of freedom doing something fun instead. A man comes to the admit desk looking for a doctor and asks Neela if she’s one. She says no, and Elizabeth tells her to start referring to herself as one or her patients won’t have any confidence in her. Neela admits that she doesn’t feel like she’s earned the title yet. Elizabeth advises her to fake it until she does.

Neela is going to the University of Michigan, so this will be her last day in Chicago. Pratt teases that Abby’s decided to stay at County and do “God’s work.” He boasts that he just leased a new Chrysler. He takes Abby and Neela to the ambulance bay to see it, though they’re not impressed. (Malik is.) Chen passes by on her way in but doesn’t stop to ooh and ahh over the car. Pratt needs to move it anyway, since, you know, ambulances are supposed to go there.

There’s one arriving now carrying a man named Mr. Gould who has end-stage cancer. He stopped receiving chemo a few weeks ago, since it wasn’t working, and doesn’t have a doctor anymore. He wanted to die at home, so Morales the paramedic wonders why he called 911. Probably because he has some liver problem that made him turn yellow, and he freaked out!

Luka’s driving somewhere when he comes across a woman named Linda whose car broke down. He pulls over to help her. They’re right by a construction zone, which means one lane on the three-lane road is already blocked, and Linda’s car is holding up a second. Needless to say, people are mad. Linda’s son, Michael, is in the backseat and complains that he needs to go to the bathroom.

Linda thinks her battery’s dead, so Luka goes back to his car to get jumper cables. As he does, a car swerves out of Linda’s lane and into the one blocked by construction. It plows through some cones, then comes back into Linda’s lane, hitting the pickup truck behind her. That sends the pickup truck into Linda’s car, which she’s standing behind. She ends up pinned between the two vehicles, her legs dangling off the ground.

Carter is back at work for his first shift after the baby’s death. Chuny and Frank both express their condolences, but Carter clearly just wants to focus on his job. Weaver asks how he’s doing and he asks her how Henry is. She hasn’t see him all week, but she’s going to court today. She notes that it helps to keep busy, acknowledging that they’re both handling their grief the same way.

Luka calls 911 for Linda, who can’t feel her legs. Another driver checks on Michael and finds that his door is jammed. Luka puts people to work and gets Michael’s door open, but the boy is unconscious. The driver who caused the crash takes off running. A bold choice, since there are a ton of witnesses.

Chen, sporting a black eye, joins Abby to take care of Mr. Gould. Abby and Chuny choose not to comment on it. Mr. Gould has a DNR but says he’s not ready to die. Abby lists the tests Chen will want to run, and Chen comments that she thought Abby was a nurse today. “Abby’s a nurse every day,” Chuny says. “That’s why she’s gonna kick a%$ as a doctor.”

Chen asks how Abby did on her boards. She knows it’s getting close to the time when she would need to start an internship. Abby asks Chen if she’s okay but Chen ignores her question. Ahh, so the theme of this episode is doctors avoiding having to deal with their feelings. Pratt notices Chen’s eye and tries to get answers out of her, not buying her story that she ran into a door because she didn’t turn on the light.

Neela asks Pratt if he’s going to visit Elgin, who’s being released from the hospital today. She thinks Pratt could be a good role model for him. Paramedics have arrived to tend to Linda, and Luka insists on helping them. Once she’s no longer pinned between the vehicles, he rushes to stop her bleeding. The paramedics don’t want to let Luka ride in the ambulance, but when Linda begs him not to leave her, he declares that he’s going.

Pratt goes to see Elgin so he can pretend to be a good role model or whatever. Elgin wants Pratt to be his family’s regular doctor from now on. Pratt says he works in the ER and usually just sees patients once or twice. The family should go to a clinic instead. Down in the ER, Carter and Sam treat a teen who got hurt in a horseback-riding accident. She wants to keep riding, and Carter isn’t sure if she’s fearless or reckless.

Frank tells Sam that Alex’s school called and reported him absent. Sam calls her apartment to try to get in touch with Steve, guessing that he let Alex play hooky. Abby asks Carter how he and Kem are doing. He doesn’t respond, probably because he’s trying not to cry. She assures him that he’ll get through this. Frank tells them there are a bunch of accident victims coming in, including Linda.

Chen joins Luka to work on Linda while Abby and Carter start examining Michael. The next patient is Antwan, the driver who caused the crash. Pratt tells a paramedic to give him Narcan because he’s showing signs of drug use. Antwan asks Pratt to have his back, since they’re both Black, but Pratt won’t go to bat for a guy who’s under suspicion of DUI.

Linda’s distressed because she still can’t feel her legs. Luka tries to assure her that it might be for a reason other than paralysis. Elizabeth comes to get her for surgery, and Luka tells Linda that Michael is in good hands. He’s also giving Abby and Carter quite a challenge, since he’s not happy to be in the hospital and keeps fighting them. Carter has to pause for a moment when Michael calls out for his father.

Antwan is stable but may have hit his head on something when he tried to run. He tested positive for opiates, so he’s in a lot of trouble. Michael is still in bad shape and Carter is starting to get impatient, so Weaver steps in to help. Frank warns that she’ll be late for court, so Weaver asks Chen to help Carter instead. She admits that he might be too “emotionally vulnerable” to take care of a child right now. Elizabeth is eager to get Linda to the OR, since she has internal bleeding along with damage to her legs. Luka tries to keep her calm.

Neela drives to Michigan as Chen, Carter, and Abby try to stabilize Michael. Carter can’t figure out why his condition hasn’t improved. Chuny comes to get Abby, since Mr. Gould was asking for her, and Carter snaps at them to decide who’s working on Michael. Abby goes to Mr. Gould, who just has complaints about being in the hospital and doesn’t actually need a nurse.

Weaver calls from her car to ask if Abby has gotten her test results yet. She wants Abby to call and bug someone about them. This is definitely a good use of Abby’s time. While she’s looking up the number, Linda’s husband Martin arrives. She takes him to Michael’s trauma room, where he’s still not stable. I’m sure Carter appreciates the pressure of his patient’s father looking over his shoulder.

Sam goes home to confront Steve for letting Alex skip school. Steve also has a friend over, but he leaves as soon as Sam arrives. Sam guesses that that guy brought Steve some drugs, because she’s pretty sure he’s high now. Alex announces that Steve is about to get a job at an apartment building, which will provide him with an apartment with plenty of room for Alex. He’s excited to get to split his time between his parents.

Weaver talks with Brooks before going into a hearing about who can provide Henry with better care. Even though Weaver works during the day, she argues that Sandy’s parents are older, so they can’t rely on them to live long enough to see Henry through his childhood. Brooks tells her that they have a larger support system. The judge is conservative, so Weaver’s at a huge disadvantage here as a single parent (and probably also as a lesbian). Weaver rants that there’s no perfect family arrangement for everyone. The Lopezes arrive with Henry, but Brooks won’t let Weaver go to him.

Sam asks Steve who the guy he had over was. Steve says he was someone with a “business proposition.” I’m going to guess that proposition was dealing drugs. Steve says things seem to be coming together to keep him in Chicago. Alex said he loved him, which makes Steve even more interested in sticking around. He has to go to Dallas to get some of his stuff, but when he comes back in a few days, he’d like to spend time together as a family. Sam pretends to approve of that plan while not actually saying it’ll happen.

Mr. Gould refuses to let Abby bring him a bedpan, since it’s undignified. He thinks he has a week left, at most. She chats with him about his career as an algebra teacher. He wonders what all that teaching was for, since he’s just ended up alone. Luka stops by Linda’s OR, where Elizabeth tells him there’s not much she can do. The orthopedic surgeon wants to try to save Linda’s legs, but Elizabeth notes that they won’t do her much good if her organs are too damaged for her to survive.

Carter, Chen, and Chuny are still working on Michael, and Chen thinks his injuries are too severe for him to recover. Carter finally figures out what the problem is and comes up with a solution. Chen notes that Michael may have been deprived of oxygen for too long to recover, but Carter convinces her to give him a shot. His solution works, and he tells Martin that while Michael has a serious injury, they hope to be able to fix it.

Pratt asks Carter if Chen seems okay. They debate whether she’s dating someone who hit her, or whether her father is responsible for her black eye. Pratt doesn’t want to be the one to ask her what really happened, since their relationship is complicated, so Carter says he’ll do it. Pratt then goes back to Antwan, who’s drunk as well as high. Also, this is his third strike, so he’s going to prison for at least 25 years and possibly the rest of his life. He’s only 20.

Pratt has no sympathy for him since he injured a mother and child. Antwan says he doesn’t have anything anyway, so what does it matter? It’s not like he could get a meaningful job after getting out of prison. He thinks Pratt’s judging him because he grew up somewhere posh, but Pratt is from a rough area and had to build a life for himself from nothing. Antwan says he must be lucky, but Pratt says it’s not about luck. “I guess it’s about not looking back once you’re gone,” Antwan says angrily.

Neela stops to smoke on her way to Michigan. Someone picked up a bad habit from Abby! Sam rushes to pack her and Alex’s things, telling him they’re moving. He refuses to go, as if he has a choice. He calls her a word that should get his mouth washed out with soap and says he’s sick of Sam moving all the time because she’s screwed up. Sam replies that she’s sick of pretending that Steve is a good person. Every time he loses his job, he tracks them down and buys Alex’s affection. He’s a loser, and Sam isn’t going to let him turn Alex into one.

Linda’s surgery is over, so Luka offers to talk to Martin. Though the surgeons were able to stabilize Linda’s internal injuries and are sure she’ll recover, they had to amputate both of her legs. Abby finally gets someone on the phone to ask about her board results, and she’s told that they were sent to County instead of her home. Frank filed the letter and never mentioned it to her.

A man named Ed shows up looking for Mr. Gould – he’s a former student. Mr. Gould remembers flunking him for not following directions on the final. Ed retook the course and now teaches math. He says someone called their old school and told them about Mr. Gould’s situation. Mr. Gould guesses it was Abby, who casually looks away, trying to play innocent.

The judge in Weaver’s case is about to dismiss everyone for the day when Weaver starts advocating for herself. She announces that she loves Henry and loved Sandy. They decided to have a baby together, and she’s grateful they did. Weaver has been there at every moment of his life. The three of them were a family, even if the city or state or country won’t acknowledge that. They still are a family. The judge doesn’t show any sign that she’s moved by this.

Sam and Alex are starting to pack up their car, but Alex sneaks a phone call to County so he can ask Luka to come over. Sam catches him and hangs up. Neela arrives at the University of Michigan as Carter goes to the ICU, where Martin is waiting for Linda and Michael to wake up. He asks if Carter has kids, and Carter says no. Linda wakes up and Martin gently tells her that her legs were amputated, but she’ll be okay.

Abby finds her letter but doesn’t open it right away. Neela goes to an orientation session, then asks to speak to the doctor running it. Trivia: Neela eventually wants to be a dermatologist. Exciting. Abby opens her letter outside the hospital and is thrilled to see that she passed. She tells Carter, though she seems a little uncomfortable having such good news when he’s struggling. He tells her he never doubted that she would pass.

Neela tells her new boss that she never actually chose to become a doctor. She announced that that’s what she wanted when she was a kid, and ever since then, that’s what her family assumed she would be. Now that she’s finished med school, she doesn’t think she can do it. Instead of trying to change her mind or ask why she’s making this decision, the doctor just confirms that she wants to leave the residency program she hasn’t even started yet. Then he complains that she’s leaving them with an empty spot. Oh, boo-hoo. Neela gets that she can’t become a licensed doctor without an internship. Clearly she doesn’t want that anyway.

Ed has been joined by another former student, and they’re having a nice conversation with Mr. Gould. Abby passes him off to Dori, since her shift is over, and Mr. Gould asks if Abby will be his nurse tomorrow. She says no, but she’ll be at County. He can just ask for Dr. Lockhart.

Luka arrives at Sam’s apartment as she and Alex are getting in the car to leave. She tells him they have to go and it’s complicated. She can’t let Steve keep messing with their lives. Luka tries to keep her there to talk, but she drives off. Alex helplessly looks back at Luka as his mom drives him away from the life he’s grown to like.

Pratt finally gets another chance to chat with Chen, who admits without being pressed that her father lashed out and hit her. He doesn’t know what he’s doing anymore. Pratt urges her to talk to someone about her situation, but Chen says she’ll be okay. He tries to convince her to get her father’s nurse to stay with him for a few extra hours so Pratt can take her to dinner. He promises that he’s still her friend.

Antwan is discharged and taken away by the police. Elgin has also been discharged, but he doesn’t have a ride home, so Pratt offers to take him. (Mostly he wants to show off his new car.) The two of them head out with Chen, enjoying the sound system. Well, the guys enjoy it. Chen, not so much. The driver behind them gets mad because Pratt doesn’t take off from a stop fast enough, so he drives up next to them and yells. Elgin flips him off and laughs.

Pratt speeds off, which makes Chen nervous. The other driver catches up to them and Chen is horrified to see that he has a gun. He fires it into their car but doesn’t hit anyone. The two cars start a high-speed chase, but they’re on a bridge, so Pratt can’t get away from the other driver. He takes aim and fires again, and Chen screams.

Thoughts: I like that not only does Luka stop to help Linda but after the crash, other people come over to help, too. They could have said, “Not my problem,” but they tried to be good Samaritans. Humanity isn’t completely horrible after all!

I also like how Abby and Carter have finally gotten past their drama and are able to offer support to each other in difficult times and genuine happiness in good ones.

Pratt doesn’t seem like a Chrysler guy. I would expect him to get something flashy that he could use to impress women. Maybe he just wants to look more professional.

Done with season 10, which means we’re 2/3rds of the way through the series. Next: Lots of guest stars, and then Carter leaves.

May 7, 2022

Buffy 3.4, Beauty and the Beasts: Two Kinds of Monsters

Posted in TV tagged , , at 1:05 pm by Jenn

Where do Oz’s parents think he spends the night three times a month?

Summary: Buffy voices over a passage from The Call of the Wild, which Willow is reading to Oz in the library in the middle of the night. There’s a full moon, so Oz is in his werewolf form, locked in a book cage. Xander arrives for his turn babysitting, and Willow warns him not to read the parts about rabbits, which rile Oz up. There’s some discussion of how Oz will be naked when he becomes human again, and how Willow isn’t quite comfortable seeing that yet. Anyway, it’s night one of his three-night transformation, and he won’t be really wild until night three, so Xander shouldn’t have much to worry about.

Buffy and Faith are out patrolling in a cemetery, but the night seems quiet. Faith wants to talk about Buffy’s relationship with Scott. They’ve gone on a few dates, which Faith thinks means they’ll be stepping things up soon, at least in the bedroom department. Buffy isn’t ready for that, though she likes him (and appreciates that he seems to be human). Faith warns her that all men are beasts, no matter how sensitive they seem. They’re all in it for the chase. In fact, one is being chased right now. Too bad the Slayers aren’t there to save him from whoever or whatever is after him.

At school the next day, Willow disagrees with Faith’s assertion that all guys want to chase girls. Scott comes over to say hi to Buffy, who’s with Willow and Oz. They’re joined by two of Scott’s friends, Debbie and Pete. Debbie knows Oz from jazz band, though he’s not in it this year because he couldn’t handle the pressure of marching and playing at the same time. Buffy didn’t even know they had a marching jazz band. Apparently it’s all improvisational, which makes it hard for the players to stay in formation.

Buffy admires the flowers Pete gave Debbie. Pete says Scott probably brings Buffy flowers all the time. No, they’re not up to that place in their relationship yet. Buffy heads off to see Mr. Platt, the school counselor, to fulfill the part of her readmittance agreement that says she has to be confirmed not to be a violent threat. Debbie doesn’t like Mr. Platt, whom she’s had to see because she’s flunking biology and has been determined to have “success issues.” Oz offers to loan her his notes.

Giles and Xander are panicking a little in the library, though they try to convince Oz and Willow that they’re not. A student named Jeff was found dead in the woods, having been mauled. Giles is worried that Oz was responsible. Xander insists that all the library’s exits were secure the night before, so he couldn’t have gotten out. But he can’t be sure because he fell asleep. He spots an open window at the top of the book cage and realizes he might be wrong. But Oz was in the cage in the morning, so the chances are slim that he killed Jeff. Oz doesn’t care how slim they are if they exist at all.

Buffy meets with Mr. Platt, who really shouldn’t be smoking in his office. She tells him she’ll cooperate with the terms of her agreement, but she doesn’t want to get into anything too personal, and she’s not going to become friends with the counselor. Mr. Platt doesn’t want that, either, since friends tend to agree with you and tell you what you want to hear. Buffy needs an honest opinion from a trained professional. He tells her that everyone has problems – demons, even. But demons can be fought and people can change.

He wants to start with why she ran away over the summer. Buffy doesn’t want to go into details, especially since she’s moving on and doing better. She’s even dating someone new. Mr. Platt says that’s great, but he’s joining her at the end of a movie and needs the backstory. Buffy says she was dating someone and it ended badly. That combined with a fight with her mother drove her to leave.

Mr. Platt asks for more information on “bad ending guy.” She says he was her first love, but he… Mr. Platt finishes for her, saying the guy changed. He got mean and she still loved him. Mr. Platt assures Buffy that a lot of people go through something like that, getting lost in love. The trick is to not stay lost. You have to get back to yourself. Buffy asks what happens if you can’t. “Love becomes your master, and you’re just its dog,” he replies.

After her session, Buffy goes to the library and learns that Oz may have killed Jeff. Oz and Giles note that they could be dealing with another werewolf, or some other demon. Buffy is confident that they can figure this out. Giles tells her to patrol the woods while the other Scoobies go to the morgue and find out if Jeff was killed by a werewolf. Welcome to Sunnydale High, where sometimes you go on a field trip to see dead bodies!

Oz needs a babysitter again that night, so Giles suggests Faith. Oz thinks he wants a Slayer there for extra protection. He starts to leave and Willow tries to stop him. He tells her he needs to bail on the conversation even though it’s dramatic; it’s a guy thing. The problem is that the sun is about to set, so it’s cage time. He tells Willow to get away from the cage so he doesn’t accidentally hurt her.

That night, Buffy patrols the woods. She spots someone running around and chases him. But it’s not Oz or another werewolf – it’s Angel. He acts feral, as if he doesn’t recognize her, and he tries to attack her. She fights him and knocks him out, finally getting a moment to realize that her supposedly dead boyfriend has come back.

Willow and Xander go to the morgue, where one of them is much more comfortable looking at a dead body than the other. Cordelia joins them, spooking Xander, who admonishes, “We’re doing crime here! You don’t sneak up during crime!” Willow takes some samples from Jeff’s body and examines his wounds, but she can’t be sure what killed him. When she’s done, she passes out. Xander and Cordelia think all signs point to Oz, unfortunately.

Buffy takes Angel to his old mansion and chains him up. Then she goes to the library, where Faith is listening to loud music and doesn’t hear her come in. Faith punches her for sneaking up on her. Buffy says she’ll take Faith’s place on Oz-sitting duty, so Faith decides to go patrolling. Buffy looks through a card catalog after she leaves.

In the morning, Oz is human again, and Giles casually unlocks his book cage while he sleeps. Buffy’s asleep, too, having dozed off while reading about Acathla and demon dimensions. She lies that they’re Faith’s books. Giles gets her to open up, and she says she had a dream about Angel that brought up some questions. She dreamed that he came back. Giles thinks that’s understandable; he dreamed the same about Jenny after her death. In those dreams, he was able to save her.

Buffy says hers are a little different – more vivid and real. Giles asks if they could have been prophetic. She says no, but they make her wonder if Angel could come back. He tells her there’s no record of someone returning from a demon dimension after a gate was closed. Uh, how many times have portals to demon dimensions been opened? Just curious.

Buffy asks what Angel would be like if he hypothetically did come back. Giles says he would have been tormented in a world where time moves differently. He would have been there for hundreds of years full of torture. It would be really difficult to hold on to any of his humanity. He’d probably come back a monster. “A lost cause,” Buffy says. Giles tells her there are two kinds of monsters: those who can be redeemed, who want to be, and those who are completely void of humanity and can’t respond to reason or love.

Willow arrives, surprised that Buffy’s awake so early. She doesn’t have good news about her morgue visit – her findings were inconclusive. Buffy panics a little. At lunch she sits with Scott, Debbie, and Pete, telling them she didn’t sleep well the night before. Debbie cautions her not to tell Mr. Platt, or he’ll make her keep a dream journal. Pete asks if that’s related to Barbie somehow: “Dear dream journal, how come Ken hasn’t come around since he got that earring?”

Buffy admits that she likes Mr. Platt, which Debbie can’t really relate to. She doesn’t always like what he says. Scott says his mom is pro-therapy, and when Pete makes fun of her, Scott jokes to Buffy they’re not really friends; he hired people to make himself look social so she would like him. He tries to cheer her up, but her mind is elsewhere, and she comes up with an excuse to leave. She goes to the mansion, where Angel is still chained up and still basically feral.

After school, someone watches Debbie and Pete together. They duck into a closet, where he spots a jar with something green and glowing at the bottom. He asks Debbie if she drank the contents. She promises she didn’t, but he thinks something’s going on.

Buffy goes to another appointment with Mr. Platt, who’s facing away from the door. She tells him not to turn his chair around; she just wants him to listen. She wants to tell him everything that’s going on, even though she knows it’ll sound crazy. She can’t talk to anyone else. Buffy says she needs help because she’s scared. She stops when she realizes that Mr. Platt’s cigarette has been in the same position for a while, and the ash has been accumulating. As we see that he’s been mauled and killed, Buffy says softly, “He’s come back.”

Back in the closet, Debbie admits to Pete that she was trying to get rid of the contents of the jar. When he drinks it, he gets… Pete breaks in and says it doesn’t do anything to him. He’s past that now. He breaks the jar, spooking her, then smashes other jars in the closet. Debbie can pour out everything he’s made and it wouldn’t matter because now all it takes to affect him is Debbie and her grating voice. His face changes and he becomes a monster.

He says Debbie’s the reason he “started the formulas” in the first place. He was trying to be the man she wanted. Now she’s paying him back by hanging out with other guys and taunting him. Debbie swears that she doesn’t even look at other guys. Pete hits her and throws her on the ground.

He mocks that her shrink must have taught her to share and communicate, which just makes Pete mad. He tells her that Mr. Platt won’t be listening to her “pathetic ramblings” anymore. Pete is all she has now. Suddenly he realizes what he’s turned into and becomes human again. He acts like he’s sorry for what happened, but he tells Debbie she knows better than to make him mad. She holds him as if he’s the one who just got yelled at.

In the library, Giles tells Buffy, Willow, and Faith that Platt’s death wasn’t a pleasant one. But the coroner determined that he was killed not long before Buffy found him, which means he died during the day. Willow cheers because that means Oz didn’t kill him. (Of course, this also means Angel didn’t kill him, both because he was chained up and because he can’t go out during the day.)

It’s almost sunset but Oz is still outside, waiting to meet with Debbie so he can give her his notes. She shows up bruised and uses the age-old excuse that she walked into a doorknob. Pete watches from across the quad as his girlfriend talks to another guy. Oz offers to listen if Debbie wants to talk, but she leaves as soon as she can.

He heads to the library, where Willow happily tells him that he definitely didn’t kill anyone. Giles wonders if Jeff and Mr. Platt had anything in common. Oz suggests Debbie, who was in counseling with Mr. Platt and knew Jeff from jazz band. The two of them would joke around a lot. Oz mentions Debbie’s bruises, which make Willow wonder if she killed Mr. Platt and he fought back. Buffy says he died quickly, still holding his cigarette. Maybe Pete killed him.

The others head off to find Pete and Debbie while Oz locks himself up. Buffy and Willow catch Debbie covering her bruises with makeup in the girls’ locker room. Buffy is sure Debbie knows what’s going on and demands that she spill. Debbie defends Pete, saying he’s not himself when he gets violent. She’s the reason he gets that way, and he acts the way he does because he loves her so much. Buffy realizes that Pete becomes a monster. Debbie doesn’t want to talk anymore, since she never asked for help. Willow notes that if Pete kills her, it’ll be too late for her to get help.

As the sun goes down, Angel manages to break free from his chains. Buffy asks Debbie where Pete is, but she won’t say. Buffy asks why she’s protecting someone who would hurt her the way Pete does. He doesn’t really love her. Debbie doesn’t want to turn on her boyfriend if it means he’ll be taken away. She’s his everything. Buffy angrily says that while they’re having their supposedly fairy-tale romance, people are dying.

Pete goes to the library, where Oz is waiting to transform. He tells Pete to leave, but Pete is only thinking about the possibility that Oz is sneaking around with Debbie. Oz starts to warn that when the sun goes down, something bad will happen. Pete tells him he won’t live that long, then transforms into his monster self. He tears the door off the cage and attacks Oz.

In the locker room, Debbie is repeating, “He does love me” over and over. Buffy tells Willow they don’t have time for this; they need to find Pete. Willow thinks they broke Debbie, but Buffy says she was already broken. Pete throws Oz around in the library until the moon comes out and Oz gets the upper hand. Er, paw. It’s monster vs. werewolf now, and the Scoobies arrive in the middle of the fight. Buffy tries to shoot Oz with a tranquilizer dart but Debbie pushes her and Buffy accidentally shoots Giles instead.

Oz runs off so Buffy tells Faith to tranq him while she fights Pete. Pete pushes a bookcase down on her and also escapes the library. He climbs through a high window in a hallway and Buffy loses his trail. He finds Debbie hiding in some storage space, and she tells him he needs to leave town. He accuses her of telling Buffy what he was and spits out that Debbie’s a screw-up and a waste of space.

As Buffy spots some blood Pete left up by the window, Faith and Willow catch up to Oz. Buffy follows the blood to the storage space, where she finds Debbie dead. She doesn’t have time to react before Pete attacks her. Willow pulls Oz off of Faith and lets him chase her, but Faith tranqs him before he can hurt her. As Pete is fighting Buffy, Angel shows up and takes over for her. He ends up strangling Pete with his chains, killing him. When he turns to look at Buffy, his face, which has been in vamp mode since he got back, becomes normal and he says her name. He drops to his knees and hugs her, crying.

The next day, the Scoobies talk about how everyone knows what happened with Pete and Debbie, except for the monster part. Their classmates have some weird theories about what happened. Cordelia has somehow been left out of the loop, so Willow explains that Pete was doing a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde thing. He thought Debbie was going to leave him, so he made some concoction to make himself more macho. After a while, he was able to become that way without the concoction. In the end, he wasn’t a monster anymore, just himself.

Buffy splits off from the group to talk to Scott. She wants to comfort him over the loss of two of his friends but she doesn’t know what to say. Scott’s struggling with the fact that he didn’t know what was going on with Pete and Debbie. That night, Buffy sits with Angel as he sleeps in the mansion. She voices over more of The Call of the Wild, a passage that says the wolf retained his wildness even after being somewhat domesticated because “a call still sounded.”

Thoughts: Oz is usually the comic relief, and Seth Green mostly does comedy, but he’s really good with the dramatic stuff in this episode. He makes you feel sorry for Oz, both because he has to deal with something he can’t control and because he’s so concerned about hurting people he cares about.

The theme of this episode is fine but the Debbie/Pete stuff is too heavy-handed. I wonder if it would have worked better if they’d kept Pete human. It would be a reminder that someone doesn’t have to be a literally monster to act like one.

It’s cute enough that Willow keeps her corpse-examining tools in a lunchbox. It’s even cuter that it’s a Scooby-Doo lunchbox.

Okay, where did Angel get pants and shoes? And why would he want them if he’s basically an animal?

May 3, 2022

ER 10.21, Midnight: Just Bad Luck

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , , , at 5:01 pm by Jenn

You will want tissues for this

Summary: Carter and Kem are at their brownstone, opening baby gifts. Elizabeth sent a book called The American Way of Birth. Heh. Carter tells Kem not to let her OB, Dr. Ford, see it; the author thinks American OBs are greedy. Kem has her own criticisms about America’s technology-reliant obstetric practices, which don’t seem to help anything, considering the country’s horrible infant mortality rate. Carter thinks it’s at least better than the Congo.

They’re trying to pick out a paint color for the nursery, as well as brainstorm baby names. Carter likes the name George. Pros: the first president and the quiet Beatle. Cons: the current (at the time) president. Carter asks the baby if he would rather be born on the floor of a mud hut in Africa (shut up, Carter) or in a modern hospital in America. The baby doesn’t express a preference.

Steve returns to Sam’s apartment after taking Alex to school, and she confronts him for giving Alex a condom. Steve doesn’t see the big deal. Also, I think he wants it back so he can sleep with Sam. He tries to butter her up but she’s not in the mood. She asks him to stay with Alex that night because she has something to do. He guesses she has a date.

It’s the day before Abby, Neela, and Lester graduate med school. Pratt isn’t especially congratulatory, since all that means is they’ll be more responsible for their patients. Morris is…also there. Neela’s going to the airport at midnight to pick up family members from London. She has around 18 coming. Lester’s family’s coming, too, but no one cares about Lester. Abby’s mother and brother aren’t coming. She says they’re not that close: “We’re more like survivors of a particularly brutal carjacking than family.” The med students seem like more of a family, considering the way they trade off coming up with insults for Pratt.

Sam does, indeed, have plans with Luka that night, and she’s so eager to spend time with him that she doesn’t care if they actually do anything. They greet an ambulance bringing in an elderly man named Mr. Ferguson who’s altered and thinks the paramedics stole his watch. Frank is back at work and people are surprisingly happy to see him. He claims that he and his wife were getting on each other’s nerves anyway, but from what we saw of her and their relationship after his heart attack, I feel like they never annoy each other.

Carter’s hovering over Kem a little, wondering if she’s been counting the baby’s kicks. She hasn’t, since he’s very active, but she tells him she will so he’ll leave her alone. Neela’s concerned about Elgin, since a test shows he has a heart issue but he hasn’t made an appointment to discuss it or get treatment. She’s worried that his condition is worse than it seems. Pratt brushes her off since Elgin is too young to have the problems she thinks he might have.

Abby presents Mr. Ferguson to Luka while Mr. Ferguson presents his bare butt to us. Thanks, show! Luka confirms that Abby’s graduating the next day and asks if she’s gotten the results of her retaken boards yet. She hasn’t, which means she can walk in the graduation ceremony but won’t get her diploma until she passes the boards. In case you were wondering, Morris: No, we don’t care what you think about that.

Rachel shows up at the admit desk, looking for Elizabeth. Jerry recognizes her but Frank doesn’t. Carter rushes Kem to County, parking his Jeep in the ambulance bay and giving the keys to a security guard to move it. Neela tries to call Elgin but can’t reach him. Abby, like Luka, doesn’t think he’s as sick as Neela believes. Mr. Ferguson wanders by, fully naked, and Abby calls him “Larry Godiva” and asks Malik to take him back to his room. Steve sends Sam a bunch of ice cream sundaes, which she hands out to her co-workers.

Once she’s seen Rachel (and her boyfriend, B.J.), Elizabeth calls Jen to let her know she’s in Chicago. Jen had no idea since Rachel doesn’t live with her anymore. She and a friend got a place together. Who’s renting an apartment to two teenagers?? Lawson interrupts to talk to Elizabeth about a patient, then a date. Elizabeth keeps the conversation professional, but Rachel guesses they’re seeing each other. She and B.J. want to stay with Elizabeth for a couple of days while Rachel looks at Chicago colleges. Elizabeth is fine with that as long as they sleep in separate bedrooms.

Sam explains the sundaes to Abby and Neela: She was working in an ice cream shop at the mall when she and Steve met. Abby chastises Frank for eating ice cream so soon after bypass surgery. Sam talks about how hot Steve was when they were younger. He’d come pick her up at school in his Mustang and they’d go to an arcade or park somewhere. Her parents protested but Sam ignored them. Then, of course, she got pregnant.

Dr. Ford examines Kem, but sadly, as the two of them and Carter all figure out on their own, the baby has no heartbeat. Dr. Ford can’t pinpoint the reason and says they might never know what happened. Kem will have to be induced and deliver the baby. Carter can’t wrap his head around how Kem could be completely healthy and still have a stillbirth.

Neela bugs Pratt about Elgin again; he called in sick to work and she’s really worried about him. She wants to go by his place and examine him there. Morris: Stupid comment. Pratt doesn’t want Neela going alone, since Elgin lives in a rough neighborhood, so he agrees to go with her after his shift. (She has to buy him dinner in exchange.)

Weaver tells Abby to get control of Mr. Ferguson so he doesn’t keep walking around the ER naked. This is a stupid plot. Frank gets a call from security and tells Luka that his car alarm is going off in the parking garage. Morris invites Neela to go to dinner with him to celebrate wherever her match letter says she’ll be working next year. He’s sure she’ll get a good placement. Abby, however, is going to disappoint wherever she matched because she hasn’t passed her boards yet.

Kem is taken to a private room, and though the nurses tending to her are kind, that doesn’t help her feel better. It also doesn’t help that they’re on the OB floor and can hear other people’s babies crying. Luka goes to the garage, where Steve is waiting for him at his car. He tries to make small talk, but Luka wants to cut to the chase. Steve says he’s screwed things up with his family, but this time he’s going to fix everything. He doesn’t see a place for Luka in Sam and Alex’s life.

Pratt and Neela go to Elgin’s apartment and leave him a note since no one’s home. As they’re leaving, they run into Elgin, who’s coming home and doesn’t feel well. He hasn’t taken any of the medical advice Neela gave him previously, and she wants to run some tests. Elgin has to take care of his younger siblings, though, so Pratt tells him to come in another time. Neela doesn’t feel right about letting his long-term needs slide while he takes care of his short-term needs.

Luka wants to go to Abby’s graduation, which she’s so uninterested in that she might not even go herself. She’s not sure she’ll even get to practice medicine, so why go to the ceremony, and why have anyone she cares about there? Weaver pulls her aside to ask if she’s gotten her match list. Off the record, County put Abby in their top 20, so if she put them on her list, she’ll probably get to work there.

Abby guesses that Weaver knows she failed her boards the first time. Weaver says that if she hypothetically fails again, the intern program expecting her might hypothetically delete her from their list. That would hypothetically give her the chance to match with her second choice. Abby says then she would hypothetically lodge a complaint with the national board about that program’s chief of staff discussing something she shouldn’t.

Sam meets up with Luka for their date, but he says he’s too tired for it. She easily guesses that Steve is somehow involved. Luka tries to use Alex as an excuse, thinking he’s confused about Sam dating Luka while Steve is around. Carter offers to call Kem’s family in the Congo, but she doesn’t want anyone to know yet that the baby died. At Elizabeth’s, Rachel tells her that Dave called. She’s figured out that Elizabeth is dating two guys at once. Elizabeth finally asks why she’s really in Chicago. Rachel admits that she needs plan B, the morning-after pill.

Kem’s labor is progressing but she still has hours to go. She tries to remain stoic when Carter leaves for a short break; she obviously doesn’t want him to go, but she also doesn’t want to ask him to stay. He chats with an expectant father whose wife is having their fourth girl. Carter acts like he’s any other father in the maternity ward, just waiting for his baby to arrive.

Steve tries to seduce Sam again at her place, and she’s still not interested. She asks if he said something to Luka at County. Steve says he wants another chance with her, but she just tells him not to approach Luka again. Steve continues his attempted seduction, progressing to kissing Sam and telling her he loves her. She manages to keep fighting temptation to do something she know she’ll regret.

Kem is finally in active labor, and she and Carter tearfully welcome their son. Dr. Ford determines that the baby was so active that he accidentally tied a knot in the umbilical cord, which led to his death. There’s nothing Kem could have done to prevent it: “It was just bad luck.” Kem refuses to look at the baby. As Carter takes a break, Jack finds him in the hallway. Carter goes to him like a child and cries as his father holds him.

A few hours later, Chen, Elizabeth, and Weaver discuss the news about the baby. Morris tries to be sympathetic but doesn’t sound like he actually cares. Neela takes her family on a tour of the hospital, keeping her cool when they come across a still-naked Mr. Ferguson. Abby! Do your job! I guarantee that the kids in the family will only remember this from their entire time in Chicago.

In Kem’s room, a nurse does the things normally done with a newborn – clipping a lock of hair, taking a footprint, etc. Kem still won’t look at the baby. Elizabeth asks Lawson to write Rachel a prescription for plan B and some other medications. Dr. Ford tells Carter that she wants Kem to stay in the hospital for the rest of the day as a precaution, but not in the maternity ward. She also wants Kem to hold the baby. If she doesn’t say goodbye, she’ll regret it for the rest of her life.

Elizabeth gives Rachel her prescriptions, as well as some birth-control pills. She explains that she got Lawson to write the prescriptions because Jen will inevitably find them, and Elizabeth doesn’t want to be connected to them. Smart! Rachel asks about Elizabeth’s two boyfriends, assuring her that Mark would be okay with her dating. He would want her to be happy. They both say they miss him.

Abby and Luka visit Carter, who appreciates their support but doesn’t want them to hang around too long. He also dismisses Jack, who won’t leave because he’s finally decided to be a good parent. Neela looks for Abby as their class gets ready to graduate, but she’s not there. Carter gently tells Kem that when they move her to another room, they’re going to take the baby away. He wants her to hold him. Kem doesn’t respond.

Luka is late to the graduation ceremony, which means he missed a speech from Molly Ivins, but he doesn’t know who that is, so whatever. Susan’s there, even though she’s a week overdue and is supposed to be on bed rest. Lester shows Neela the top of his cap, which has a greeting for his mom. Aw. Neela’s still looking for Abby.

Paramedics bring in Elgin, who has fluid in his lungs from congestive heart failure, one of the things Neela was worried about. Hmmm, maybe people should have listened to her. Abby arrives at graduation just seconds before her name is called. Trivia: Her middle name is Marjorie. Luka, Susan, and Sam give her a standing ovation. Neela gets her own from her family.

Jack finds Carter studying the lock of the baby’s hair. He says that when Carter’s brother Bobby died, he hated everyone’s platitudes (“there are no words,” etc.). He tries to remind Carter that the baby’s death was an accident. “The whole thing was an accident,” Carter replies. Jack reminds him that he and Kem love each other. Carter isn’t sure she’ll want to try for another child.

Luka and Susan congratulate Abby and invite her to get something to eat with them, but she turns them down. Luka spots Sam, who’s brought Steve and Alex with her, but keeps his distance. Abby calls Maggie and lets her know that she just graduated. If I were Maggie, I’d be mad that my daughter didn’t invite me to her big day, but whatever.

Carter goes back to Kem, telling her again that the baby is going to be taken away. They’ll never see him again. He admits that he doesn’t know what to say or do. The death was an accident; they didn’t do anything wrong. He loves her and wants to spend the rest of his life with her. Right now, though, they need to say goodbye to their son. Carter needs to figure out how to help Kem do that. He asks her to help him. Kem, who’s been silent every time Carter has tried to talk to her, finally sits up in bed and agrees to hold the baby. She cries over him as Carter just repeats that he loves them.

Thoughts: Dr. Ford is played by Blair Brown.

Thandie Newton and Noah Wyle are both excellent in this episode, dealing with really difficult material. It’s some of Wyle’s best acting on the show.

B.J. looks exactly like the kind of guy you’d expect Rachel to date, by which I mean the last guy you would want your daughter to be with.

When Sam and Steve met, she was 15 and he was 23. GROSS.

April 30, 2022

Buffy 3.3, Faith, Hope and Trick: The Third Slayer

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 1:08 pm by Jenn

She’s five by five

Summary: The Scoobies are about to take advantage of one of the perks of being a senior at Sunnydale High: off-campus lunch. Willow wants to savor the moment, but Xander and Oz want to eat, so they drag her across the street. She worries that she’ll get in trouble for some change to the rule she didn’t know about, and her so-far unblemished record will be tarnished. Once she breathes, though, she enjoys the freedom.

They’re about to meet up with Buffy, and they decide that the two couples shouldn’t be too couply around her since, as Cordelia notes, her last boyfriend turned into a killer and had to be killed himself. “Can she cram complex issues into a nutshell or what?” Xander says. Buffy has brought a picnic for everyone, prompting Cordelia to compare her to Martha Stewart. Buffy thinks she’s better than Ms. Stewart. Xander says Martha probably doesn’t slay, but Oz says he heard she can and just doesn’t like to.

Buffy has a lot of free time on her hands since she hasn’t been allowed back into school yet, despite Giles’ intimidation methods. But there’s nothing keeping her from having lunch with her friends right off of school property. Willow spots a classmate named Scott Hope and says he likes Buffy. She encourages Buffy to go for him. When he walks by the Scoobies, he says hi to her and she says hi back. Willow declares that a successful interaction. Cordelia’s just happy that he didn’t try to kill them. Buffy isn’t interested in dating (yet); she just wants her normal life back.

That night, a limo pulls into a fast-food restaurant. A vampire named Mr. Trick orders a soda and tells his companion, a vampire named Kakistos, that Sunnydale seems like a nice place. True, it’s not very diverse (“strictly the Caucasian persuasion here in the ‘Dale”), so Mr. Trick may stand out as a Black man, but he loves the death rate there. “It makes D.C. look like Mayberry,” he says. They’re going to fit in and have fun. Kakistos reminds him that they’re there for one reason: to kill the Slayer. Mr. Trick decides to have an appetizer by killing the guy who gives him his soda.

It’s a live-music night at the Bronze…at least in Buffy’s dream. She’s dancing with Angel as the other Scoobies watch silently from a nearby table. She reaches for Angel’s hand and her claddagh ring falls off. He picks it up and she remembers killing him. “I had to,” she says. He squeezes the ring in his fist and blood oozes out. It appears on his chest as well. “Go to Hell!” he yells. His face suddenly looks decayed and he chuckles: “I did.” When Buffy wakes up, she gets her ring out of a drawer and just looks at it.

Next she faces a waking nightmare: a meeting with Snyder. He’ll let her back into school if she a) passes makeup tests for every class she missed last year, b) gets a letter of recommendation from any faculty member other than Giles, and c) gets confirmation from the school psychologist that she’s not a threat to anyone.

Joyce doesn’t like all this, since she spoke to the school board and they said Snyder has to let Buffy back in. Buffy gloats that the school board overruled Snyder, which means they probably don’t trust him to do his job. “I think what my daughter’s trying to say is, ‘Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah,'” Joyce summarizes. After they leave, Snyder faces his own waking nightmare: a call from the mayor.

Buffy goes straight to the library to meet with Giles. Willow goes with her and gets caught making fun of the sound Giles makes when he’s mad. He wants to ensure that Acathla stays dormant, so he’s going to do a binding spell. Willow offers to help, but Giles says it’s complicated. He’ll need details about how Buffy defeated Acathla (and Angel). Buffy steels herself to answer some questions, but she doesn’t give any details about exactly how Angel died and the portal to Hell closed.

After she leaves, Giles tries to get Willow to assure him that she hasn’t been messing with any dangerous magic. She says she’s just been doing small things. The biggest spell she did was the one to restore Angel’s soul. As far as the Scoobies know, it didn’t work, or at least not before Buffy had to kill him to close the portal to Hell.

That night, the Scoobies go to the Bronze for real. Buffy’s in a good mood and feels like she’s really getting her life back. Scott comes by, having been invited by Willow, and he asks Buffy to dance. She turns him down, too nervous to get into something with a new guy, but he tells her he’ll be by the dance floor if she changes her mind.

Cordelia tells the Scoobies that there’s someone out on the floor who’s drawing a lot of attention to herself. (Really, Cordelia says she’s being slutty, but dancing while wearing leather pants doesn’t make you a slut, so shut up, writers.) Buffy’s attention goes to her dance partner, who’s dressed like it’s still the ’70s. That’s a classic sign that someone’s a vampire, and when he and the girl head for the door, she decides to follow them. Scott thinks she’s coming to see him, and she feels bad about having to blow him off.

The Scoobies go out to the alley and hear sounds of a struggle. But their ’70s vampire’s victim doesn’t need any help. She casually tells Buffy she can take care of this while she fights the vampire. She even knows who Buffy is. She’s Faith, and as Oz correctly guesses, she’s a Slayer. She borrows Buffy’s stake to finish off the vampire and thanks her for her contribution.

The group goes back inside and Faith tells them a story about a time she had to fight three vampires while naked. “They should film that story and show it every Christmas,” Xander says. Faith is hungry; slaying makes her crave both food and sex. Buffy can’t relate. Cordelia finally puts together that Faith was called as a Slayer after Kendra died. Faith clarifies that she came to meet Buffy while her Watcher’s away at a retreat. She wants to know if Buffy really killed a demon with a rocket launcher.

Xander asks for more Faith stories, especially if they also include her being naked. Faith turns the spotlight back to Buffy, asking about her toughest kill. Buffy remembers killing Angel again but doesn’t say anything about him. Oz asks Faith about her position on killing werewolves. Willow clarifies that he’s a werewolf, and Buffy says it’s a long story. “I got bit,” Oz explains. “Apparently not that long,” Buffy replies. Faith says that as long as Oz doesn’t try anything on her, they’re five by five. Vampires, however, need to watch out because Faith plans to have a good time slaying with Buffy, especially since their Watchers are both away.

That’s news to Buffy, who asks Giles about that the next day. He tells the Scoobies that there’s a Watchers’ retreat in the Cotswolds every year, but he’s never been invited. Faith thinks it’s too stuffy for someone like Giles, who’s so cute and young. “Raise your hand if ew,” Buffy replies. Giles is flattered. Anyway, he says it’s good that Faith is there because there have been a couple of disappearances recently, so something big might be coming.

Buffy says she’ll patrol after dinner with her mother. Xander and Willow give her pointed looks, so she invites Faith to come to dinner. Then they can patrol together. Buffy has a makeup test to take, so Xander and Willow happily offer to hang out with Faith. After they leave, Giles comments that Faith has a lot of “zest.” He asks Buffy for more details about her defeat of Acathla, but she still gives the bare minimum, acting like it wasn’t a big deal.

Willow and Xander give Faith a tour of Sunnydale High, pointing out spots where their lives were put in danger. Xander quips that some people say kids don’t learn anything in school nowadays, but he’s learned to be afraid. Faith loves the Scoobies and says if she’d had friends like them in high school, she probably still would have dropped out, but she might have been sad to do it.

She asks what’s up with “B,” who seems tightly wound and “needs to find the fun a little.” Cordelia joins the group and asks why Xander always falls for Slayers. Faith runs into Scott and they start chatting as Buffy catches up with the Scoobies. Willow notes how happy Faith and Scott seem together; maybe the two of them should go out instead of Scott and Buffy. Buffy’s a little jealous, but she doesn’t want to rush into a relationship. “You really do need to find the fun, B…uffy,” Willow says.

Mr. Trick and Kakistos have connected with some minions and found a lair. Their plan is to start an evil empire. Well, at least that’s Mr. Trick’s plan. Kakistos just wants the Slayer. It turns out the Slayer he wants is Faith; he didn’t realize Buffy lived in Sunnydale. But now that he knows, he’ll just add her to his list of victims. He wants Faith to pay for attacking him and giving him a huge scar on his face. Mr. Trick promises that as soon as the sun goes down, they’ll go hunting.

Joyce hits it off with Faith, happy to chat with someone who actually opens up to her and enjoys her role as a Slayer. When they’re alone, Buffy complains to Joyce that Faith is inserting herself in Buffy’s life. Buffy, however, is the only one bothered. Joyce comments that it’s probably good that Buffy’s an only child. Cough.

Buffy’s understandably bugged that she’s getting her life back just as someone is swooping in to disrupt it. Joyce points out that if Faith stays, Buffy will be able to share her slaying responsibilities, which would be safer. Or maybe Buffy could retire and let Faith take over. Then she could go off to college and a normal life. Buffy tells Joyce that a new Slayer only takes over when the old one dies. This is the first Joyce is hearing that Buffy died, even though it was just for a few minutes.

Joyce is upset about this new wrinkle in her daughter’s life. She’s tried to be supportive and “march in the Slayer pride parade,” but it’s hitting her now how dangerous Buffy’s responsibilities are. Buffy promises that she knows how to do her job. Plus, now she has help, whether she wants it or not.

When the Slayers go out patrolling together, tensions rise. Buffy thinks Faith is implying that she’s been the Slayer too long. Faith thinks Buffy has an attitude and is keeping something bottled up. She figures it has to do with Angel. Buffy tells her to shut up about Angel and everything else in Buffy’s life. “What are you getting so strung out for, B?” Faith asks. “Why are your lips still moving, F?” Buffy shoots back. Just as things are about to turn physical, Buffy spots vampires.

The Slayers fight together, but Faith takes longer with one of the vampires than Buffy would like. She pounds on him, leaving Buffy to face multiple vampires on her own, almost unable to save herself. One of them says they’re killing in Kakistos’ name. Eventually Buffy takes out her vampires and finishes off the one Faith was pounding on instead of killing. She thinks Faith enjoys the fighting part of slaying more than she should. The point is to kill vampires. Faith says she thought Buffy could handle herself.

At school the next day, Buffy tells Giles that Faith has some major issues: “The girl’s not playing with a full deck, Giles. She has almost no deck. She has a 3.” Giles says she probably just got carried away. She focuses on slaying because she doesn’t have the kind of life Buffy does. Buffy complains that Faith is trying to take over that life. She acknowledges that she’s cranky, but still, something’s not right with Faith. Giles says he’ll call her Watcher. Then he gets lost in thoughts of his exclusion from the retreat.

He asks about the vampires so he can figure out who they were. Buffy remembers one of them mentioning “kissing toast.” Giles translates that as Kakistos. He’s a vampire so old that he has cloven hands and feet. Buffy doesn’t think it’s a coincidence that Kakistos showed up in town at the same time as her “bestest new little sister.” (Buffy doesn’t believe in coincidences. Leprechauns, either.) She decides to ask Faith if “khaki trousers” rings a bell for her.

Buffy runs into Scott, who says he’s going to make one last effort to ask her out. He wants to take her to a Buster Keaton film festival. Buffy decides it’s a good time to give him a chance, so she accepts the invitation. Scott got her a gift from a retro shop, one the clerk said was a symbol of friendship. It’s a claddagh ring. Buffy freaks out at the sight of it as Giles approaches. But there’s no time for Buffy to become emotional. Giles has news: Faith’s Watcher is dead.

Buffy tracks Faith down in the motel where she’s staying and asks her what she knows about Kakistos. Faith immediately starts packing her things. Buffy knows she came to town for a reason and offers to help. Faith says she can handle this on her own. Buffy reminds her that she said Buffy should deal with her problem and move on. Faith doesn’t seem to be dealing with her own problem. Is she going to leave Buffy to handle it?

As Faith is about to leave, Buffy stops her by asking about her Watcher. She’s figured out that Kakistos killed her. There’s a knock on the door and Faith looks through the peephole to see the motel manager. Buffy tells her that if she runs, Kakistos will just follow her. But he’s already there – he killed the manager and used him to trick Faith into opening the door.

The Slayers manage to escape as Mr. Trick and some minions chase them. Once they’re in a safe spot, Faith tells Buffy that she was there when Kakistos killed her Watcher. She couldn’t fight him, so she ran. She feels guilty, but Buffy thinks she did the right thing. The first rule of slaying is to stay alive. She thinks they can take him on together, but they quickly realize that they’re not in a space spot after all. The minions drove them to their lair.

Buffy fights the minions while Faith faces Kakistos. Buffy reminds her not to die. Mr. Trick watches as Kakistos grabs Faith and beats her the way she beat the vampire she couldn’t stop fighting. Buffy takes on Kakistos as Mr. Trick comments to a minion that if they don’t help, Kakistos will get killed. After a pause, Mr. Trick says, “Well, our prayers are with him,” then heads out. He tells the minion that Kakistos’ style of crusading for vengeance is outdated. As a modern vampire, Mr. Trick sees the big picture. Buffy keeps trying to stake Kakistos, but apparently it’s not enough to kill him. Faith grabs a ceiling beam, which does the trick. Buffy realizes she’s hungry and they go off to get something to eat.

The next day, Giles tells Buffy and Willow that Faith will be allowed to stay in Sunnydale until she gets a new Watcher. Buffy’s pleased with that, since Faith turned out to be a great ally in the end, once she got past her trauma. And now Buffy wants to get past her own. She announces that Willow’s restoration spell worked, and Angel became himself again. But it was too late, and she had to send him to Hell: “So I told him that I loved him, and I kissed him…and I killed him,” she says.

Giles tells her that he thinks that will help with his spell. Willow’s sorry for what Buffy went through, but Buffy is relieved to finally share what happened to her. After she leaves the library, Willow again offers to help Giles with the spell to keep Acathla dormant. He admits that there isn’t a spell.

Buffy finds Scott and babbles about the ring and Buster Keaton and friendship for a while until she finally says she wants to go out with him. He tells her he’ll have to think about it, starts to walk away, then immediately returns and says he wants to go. She has one thing to do that night, but then they can meet up.

That night she goes to the mansion where Angelus, Spike, and Drusilla were staying when they were in town. She puts her claddagh ring on the ground and leaves without a word. The mansion goes dark, but then a light shines down on the ring and it begins to shake. The room grows bright and someone falls from the sky onto the ring. It’s Angel.

Thoughts: K. Todd Freeman is so good as Mr. Trick. I love when the villains aren’t the way you would expect them to be. And it goes without saying that Eliza Dushku is perfectly cast as Faith.

After all these years and all my rewatches, it’s still fun to hear Faith say “five by five.”

Scott doesn’t seem like Buffy’s type. Yeah, he’s cute and nice, but he’s just…bland.

Why doesn’t the Watchers’ Council send a bunch of potential Slayers to Hellmouths and demon hotspots? Why make Buffy fight alone? Yeah, yeah, Chosen One, she’s supposed to work alone, but come on. Do they WANT her to die?

April 26, 2022

ER 10.20, Abby Normal: Real Live Doctors

Posted in TV tagged , , at 4:59 pm by Jenn

Julianne Nicholson, who plays Jordan, is also very good in “Mare of Easttown”

Summary: Weaver is meeting with Brooks in her office to discuss the visitation offer on the table for Henry. She’s justifiably upset that she’ll only get to see her son two weekends a month until custody is decided. Brooks warns her not to violate the order. Florina will be there to pick up Henry at noon, and Weaver needs to hand him over. Brooks agrees that this is a horrible arrangement, but until the trial is over, there’s nothing he can do.

At the airport to pick up Kem, Carter smiles at a little girl running to meet her dad. His face lights up even more when he sees Kem after weeks apart. At County, Neela’s made herself at home in the neuro lab and seems to know what Colin and Yuri are doing even better than they do. Abby’s still in her psych rotation, and she’s squeezing in some study time so she can retake her boards. Nelson advises her to choose TB whenever it’s an answer option.

Abby runs a group-therapy session, welcoming a new patient, George the flasher. One patient is missing and the others inform Abby that he killed himself. You’d think Nelson would have mentioned that to Abby ahead of time. The patients assure Abby that it had nothing to do with her. The rest of them really enjoy her sessions.

Monday: Weaver is in the middle of booking a flight when Elizabeth brings over some hand-me-downs. She notices Weaver’s suitcase, so Weaver says she’s taking Henry to see a friend in Seattle. Elizabeth asks if traveling to Seattle requires a passport now. Weaver says she lost her license and needed another ID. Elizabeth warns her not to do anything she’ll regret.

Abby does a psych consult on one of Morris’ patients, a guy who was found walking down Michigan Avenue with a sword. Um, he was practicing for the Battle Royale. Mind your own business. He only hurt a guinea pig. Jordan is brought into the ER with another seizure (well, a “seizure”). Abby stops Chen from giving her medication and tells her and Morris that Jordan has a conversion disorder. She wouldn’t meet with psych, so she’s not receiving treatment.

Her husband, Nick, tells Abby that she’s been having multiple “seizures” a day. Abby says she needs to see a psychiatrist. Nick asks to talk to “a real live doctor,” but she says any other doctor will say the same thing – Jordan won’t get better if she doesn’t talk to a psychiatrist. Nick doesn’t really respond, so Abby calls Nelson.

Elizabeth asks Abby if she’s talked to Weaver lately. She’s worried that Weaver is going to run away with Henry. She thinks Abby should talk to her about it. Abby says she’s sympathetic but not a close enough friend to talk Weaver out of it if that’s what she’s decided to do. Elizabeth implies that Weaver doesn’t have any closer friends.

Sam and Luka make small talk in the lounge, with Steve still the elephant in the room. She tells Luka he should be leaving soon, and also, they’re not sleeping together. Luka doesn’t have a response to that. Carter takes Kem to their new home, that brownstone he bought, which he’s fixed up pretty well. He’s gotten started on the nursery.

Weaver takes Henry to work with her since Florina will be picking him up there. Abby offers to come get her when Florina arrives, but Weaver doesn’t want to keep her from her work. She admits that she’s not sure she can hand her son over to someone else. Abby assures her that Henry will end up living with her permanently.

Nelson and Abby try to convince Jordan that her condition is psychological, not neurological. They want to admit her to the psych ward until they figure out what’s going on. Jordan’s understandably worried about that, but Abby notes that she could accidentally hurt her baby, Caroline, if she goes home without any treatment or explanation of what’s going on with her. Jordan and Nick agree that she should stay.

Nelson praises Abby for having the perception of a psychiatrist, the bedside manner of an ER doctor, and the sympathy of a nurse. Abby jokes that she has the whole package, minus the board certification. Florina arrives and asks Abby if she’s going to get Henry for her. Someone told her to look for Abby, and Florina thought it was because Weaver wanted to avoid her.

Abby tells Florina to stay in the waiting area while she goes to the lounge. Weaver and Henry aren’t there. The guy with Florina (who I assume is her lawyer) warns that if Weaver doesn’t give them Henry by the appointed time, she’ll be violating a court order. Abby really doesn’t care and even tells the guy to shut up. She heads outside and finds Weaver in the ambulance bay, showing no intentions of running away. She reluctantly gives Henry to Florina, who doesn’t say anything to her.

Wednesday: Carter and Kem have set up a lot of the nursery but will need to find room for the crib the ER staff sent them (though they already have one). Kem’s a little freaked out about having a boy, and about having a baby in general after so little time together. Carter’s pretty calm, saying they chose to have a baby together because they thought it was right. He invites her to meet Jack that night.

Ken and Abby meet with Jordan and Nick to discuss how their marriage is after having a baby. Ken asks if Jordan is worried about how her condition affects her ability to take care of her daughter. Jordan gets defensive when he implies that she might not want to get better. Abby gently says that some patients feel safer in a hospital environment. Jordan insists that’s not her and accuses Abby of believing that she’s faking her condition.

Later, Ken tells Abby that Jordan can have outpatient therapy, but if she doesn’t improve, he’ll have to file a report with the state saying she’s not a safe caregiver. Abby knows that’ll make things worse. She doesn’t think Jordan is abusive. Ken says he would do the same if she had, say, epilepsy and wasn’t being treated. Abby promises not to release Jordan until her condition is under control and she’s not a danger to Caroline.

Kem and Carter go to the Carter mansion, where she meets Jack for the first time. He’s friendly but not very warm since they’re about to attend a Carter Foundation meeting. There, Carter announces that he’s donating the mansion to Northwestern for use as a conference center and housing. The foundation was supposed to be for the arts, so this is a big departure from what Millicent and John I intended. The board isn’t happy.

After the meeting, Jack asks if Carter’s making all these changes in his life because he’s using drugs again. Carter just laughs him off. Jack turns down Kem’s invitation to have lunch with them. Carter reminds Jack that Millicent left him money and the house because she trusted his judgment in their use. Jack doesn’t think she would be pleased with what Carter’s doing with them. He says goodbye to Kem, adding that he’s looking forward to getting a wedding announcement from her and Carter.

Jordan and Nick’s neighbor brings Caroline by to see them while Abby’s trying to ignore George, who’s annoyed that a vending machine ate his money. George, buddy, be glad you’re not in jail for flashing teen girls. Jordan has a “seizure” while holding Caroline, and Nick decides she’s not getting better, so he should take her home. Abby and Nelson think that since her last “seizure” occurred when Nick was visiting, he might be the stressor triggering her condition. But he was there yesterday and she was fine, so Abby disagrees. She thinks Caroline is the trigger. Jordan tearfully tells Abby that she just wants it to stop.

Neela treats a teen named Elgin who burned his hands working at a burger place. Pratt, who knows him, comes by to say hi and Haleh shows him that Elgin’s blood pressure is really high. Pratt asks if Elgin is on drugs, but Elgin insists that he doesn’t use. Pratt doesn’t believe him and tells Neela to order a tox screen. She has to go back to the neuro lab, though, to do something with a mouse brain. Glamorous!

Luka runs into Sam and they make more awkward small talk. He’s still avoiding her because of Steve. Neela finds Yuri and Colin experimenting with ketamine, but not on a mouse – Yuri took it himself. They’ve been doing this for a while, hopefully not while they’re supposed to be working. Abby has a session with Jordan, trying to get her to talk about anything she’s keeping buried that might be causing her condition. Jordan won’t open up because Abby won’t share her own secrets.

Abby gives in and shares her struggles to follow through in her life. She always looks for an excuse to stop when things get hard because it’s easier to give up than risk being disappointed. This applies to relationship, family, and career. Jordan thinks Abby’s family must be proud that she’s in med school. It’s her turn to talk, but she won’t, so Abby calls it a day.

Jordan stops her by revealing that she had a baby eight years ago, before she met Nick. Charlie died of SIDS when he was two months old. Abby asks why Jordan never mentioned her son before – obviously it’s relevant information. Jordan disagrees, thinking that was just something horrible that happened to her years ago and isn’t related to her psychological disorder. Oh, Jordan.

Yuri is high and declaring his love for Neela. His heart rate starts rising so Neela makes him lie down on the floor. He has some sort of minor heart condition, and the ketamine has kicked it into overdrive, so Neela and Colin take him to the ER. Colin wants to keep the situation quiet since no one’s supposed to know about this side project. Pratt helps Neela stabilize Yuri in the middle of the ER, with no time to get him to a real bed. Yuri declines to be admitted and monitored so there won’t be a record of what happened.

Elgin’s tox screen was negative, and it doesn’t sound like Pratt found an explanation for his high blood pressure. Elgin tells him and Neela that he and his mother work different shifts to trade off caring for his four younger siblings. The kids’ fathers are no help. Elgin’s blood pressure is still high, but Pratt thinks he just gets nervous around doctors.

Neela’s concerned, but Pratt doesn’t care about her opinion since she’s spending more time in the lab than in the ER. Pratt brings up Gallant, thinking Neela should feel worse about how that whole situation turned out. His friend took a hit and Neela’s being wishy-washy about what she wants her specialty to be. If she doesn’t want to be a trauma doctor, fine, but she needs to decide because right now she’s just “taking up space.”

Monday (these time stamps are dumb): Abby meets with Jordan in her room, wanting to talk more about Charlie. She didn’t have any counseling after his death, and Abby doesn’t think she’ll get past it if she doesn’t talk to someone. She says Jordan’s mind is playing tricks on her, and there’s more going on than Jordan realizes. Abby offers her some medication that will help her open up about Charlie so Abby can determine if there’s something else Jordan has buried about him.

Yuri’s in trooooooooouble. Colin thinks their experiments are getting them closer to a breakthrough that will help them understand…something about the brain. Neela promises that she didn’t rat them out, and she doesn’t think anyone in the ER did, either. She likes the lab; she’s more comfortable there than in the ER.

Nelson won’t agree to the therapy Abby wants to try with Jordan since it’s not standard. Abby insists that something else has to be going on with Jordan. Nelson worries that giving her the drug will ruin the bond Abby’s developed with her patient. Plus, if she gets the dose wrong, there are serious risks. Abby has covered all her bases but Nelson still won’t give her permission. Abby reveals that she got another doctor to approve the treatment. She’s willing to go to great lengths to keep Jordan from losing Caroline.

Nelson, Ken, and Nick observe as Abby talks to Jordan while she’s on the medication, which basically sedates her while making her more open to talking. Abby asks Jordan about when she realized something was wrong with Charlie. Jordan says she’d had a fight with Charlie’s father, Jake, and he berated her for being terrible at everything, including parenting. He was abusive, and when Charlie started crying, Jordan worried that Jake would hurt him. Abby determines that Jordan accidentally smothered the baby to keep him quiet, and she’s afraid of hurting Caroline.

Elizabeth leaves a message for Weaver, who listens as she records it but won’t pick up the phone and talk to her. Elizabeth is really worried about her and offers her support. It’s a huge change from how much she used to despise Weaver. Back at County, Ken is pleased with Jordan’s treatment but has a new issue to deal with now – Jordan killed her first child. Abby insists that it won’t happen again, but the family will still be monitored until Jordan proves that she’s not a danger to Caroline.

Nelson has more praise for Abby, since she was able to get to the truth, no matter how depressing it was. He offers to help her study for her boards. She’s on her way to take them right now, though, so the next time we see Abby, she might be an honest-to-goodness, board-certified, “real live doctor.” And we’ll get to move on to a plotline that doesn’t involve dead babies! Yay! (Sob.)

Thoughts: Mark and Weaver didn’t get along but I bet he would be happy that Elizabeth gave her Ella’s old baby stuff. Bygones.

I can’t imagine having a baby with someone whose family I’ve never met. I also can’t imagine being Jack and not meeting my grandchild’s mother until she’s almost full-term.

I looked up amytal, the drug Abby gives Jordan, and the two most common result categories were for addiction and truth serum. So let’s keep that away from Yuri and Colin.

April 23, 2022

Buffy 3.2, Dead Man’s Party: Mask Casualties

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 1:14 pm by Jenn

So much for trying to appreciate art from another culture

Summary: After unpacking in her room upon her return to Sunnydale, Buffy goes to Joyce’s room and accidentally scares her. Joyce is hanging up a mask that was part of a shipment her gallery got from Nigeria. She wants to brighten the room, but Buffy thinks the mask is actually “angry at the room” and “wants the room to suffer.” Joyce asks if she’s going out, and Buffy asks permission to go find Xander and Willow. Joyce wants to know if she’ll be slaying anything. “Only if they give me lip,” Buffy replies. Joyce wants to be supportive, but she also wants to be protective. She eventually lets Buffy go.

Buffy heads to the Bronze, where she comes across a guy in an alley and suspects that he’s shady. It’s actually Xander, and he’s patrolling. She jokes that he shouldn’t play with pointy things: “It’s all fun and games until somebody loses an eye.” Everyone who’s seen season 7 cringes. He’s shocked to see her, but he doesn’t get much time to react because suddenly a vampire is attacking them.

The Scoobies are now using walkie-talkies to communicate, and Buffy has some questions when Cordelia contacts Xander using the code name Nighthawk. She, Willow, and Oz come running, but even all four Scoobies combined can’t take out the vampire. Buffy winds up doing it herself. She greets her friends awkwardly, knowing her time away is going to cause some issues.

The Scoobies all go to Giles’ place so Buffy can reunite with him as well. She’s hesitant, worrying that he’ll be mad that she disappeared without a word. When Giles opens the door, Xander fills the shocked silence by telling him he’s back on the clock as a Watcher. Giles just welcomes Buffy home and invites the Scoobies in.

Oz notes that Buffy isn’t wanted for murder anymore. Yay! Xander asks if she went to Belgium. Buffy asks why she would go there. Xander thinks the better question is why wouldn’t she? Giles makes tea and listens from the kitchen as the Scoobies get back into their groove like no time has passed. He’s pleased to have Buffy home but doesn’t want to show his emotions.

The Scoobies want to know what Buffy was up to while she was gone, but Giles tells them to go easy on her. Xander suggests that she take her time getting back into slaying, since the Scoobies have things covered. Buffy thinks the walkie-talkies are a smart addition. Cordelia has some critiques about their outfits, since they’re not sporty enough. Willow proudly says they’ve been killing nine out of ten vampires. Oz corrects her that it’s really six out of ten.

Buffy says she wants to get back to her normal routine of school, slaying, and socializing. She wants to hang out with her friends the next day, though they already have plans. Giles tells Buffy she’ll need to talk to Snyder before she can be readmitted to Sunnydale High. Joyce has already made an appointment, and Buffy’s sure she’ll be able to break Snyder.

“Absolutely not,” is his response to Joyce’s request to unexpel Buffy. He claims to have the right to make that decision. Plus, it makes him happy. Joyce points out that Buffy was cleared of the murder charges. Snyder notes that she’s still a horrible student and a troublemaker. He’s sure she’ll find a way to fill her time, such as working in fast food. Joyce threatens to keep pressing the issue, even if she has to take her fight all the way up to the mayor. Snyder thinks that would be interesting.

Joyce tells Buffy that they might be able to get her into a private school instead. Buffy suggests homeschooling instead. Joyce drops her off to meet Willow, who doesn’t show. When Buffy gets home, she meets Joyce’s friend Pat. She’s an incredibly cheery woman who has been looking after Joyce during Buffy’s absence. Joyce tells Buffy that Willow called and made an excuse about being held up somewhere.

Joyce wants to have all the Scoobies and Giles over for dinner the next night, an idea Buffy isn’t too thrilled about. Joyce sends her to the basement to get their nice plates, even though Buffy thinks her friends would be fine with normal ones. While looking for the plates, Buffy finds a picture of herself with Willow and Xander in happier times. Then she finds a dead cat from what I don’t think were happier times.

They bury the cat in the backyard but Buffy isn’t sure how to eulogize it: “Thanks for stopping by and dying?” Joyce says she hopes the cat who lost its way eventually finds it. That night, the eyes of the mask on Joyce’s wall glow red. The cat emerges from its grave, very unhappy about being buried.

Buffy dreams about going to an empty Sunnydale High and running into Angel. He tells her that her friends are waiting for her and she needs to go. She says she’s afraid, and he replies that she should be. When the bell rings, Buffy wakes up. She barely listens as Joyce talks to her in the kitchen about meeting with the superintendent about letting her back into school. If that doesn’t work, she has a chance at going to a girls’ school.

Buffy thinks she’s being punished, but Joyce points out that she made bad choices and might have to face some consequences. She softens and says that nothing’s settled yet. She thinks people should make allowances for Buffy and her unusual circumstances. Buffy says she’s a Slayer, not someone with special needs. Joyce suggests that she tell people like Snyder and the police that she’s a Slayer. She opens the door to take out the trash and the not-so-dead cat runs into the house.

Giles comes over with a cage so he can retrieve and study the cat. He admires Joyce’s mask, but Buffy calls off their attempt at small talk by saying they should get to work learning more about the cat. Giles reminds her that she’s not allowed on school property, so she can’t help him. Plus, he thinks she should stay with Joyce.

The other Scoobies get to study the cat instead. Oz likes it and suggests calling it Patches. Willow brings up dinner at the Summerses’ house that night and says she told Joyce they would bring stuff. “I’m the dip,” Cordelia announces. Oz wonders if they’re going to a gathering, a shindig, or a hootenanny. The first features brie and mellow music. The second features dip and less mellow music, and maybe beer. The third is “chock full of hoot, just a little bit of nanny.”

Xander asks what they’re supposed to talk about during the dinner party – Buffy’s secret vacation and how upset they are with her for abandoning them? Willow says Buffy wanted to loosen up, so maybe Dingoes Ate My Baby can change their scheduled rehearsal to a performance at the Summerses’. Giles doesn’t think a shindig is the best idea (Oz says this would qualify as a hootnanny). He doesn’t want Buffy to feel overwhelmed. But the other Scoobies want to turn the small dinner party into a big welcome-home party. Distracted, Giles misses a page in his demon reference book that’s illustrated with a picture of Joyce’s mask.

That night, Pat is the first guest to arrive for the party. Buffy has no idea how to talk to her. The band is next, followed by dozens of people who definitely want to welcome Buffy home and don’t just want to party. Buffy tries to talk to Willow but the music’s too loud for conversation. Buffy’s disappointed that she doesn’t get to spend quality time with her friends and get back to her normal life.

She takes Willow upstairs so they can talk. Buffy asks if Willow’s avoiding her, and Willow promises that everything’s great. The Scoobies just wanted to throw Buffy a party to show how happy they are that she’s back. Down the hall, the mask’s eyes glow again. Somewhere in town, a man who appears to have died after being hit by a car wakes up.

Xander takes a break from making out with Cordelia to chat with Buffy. Everything’s great! Everyone’s happy to see Buffy! Cordelia lures back to the makeout session by calling Xander “Nighthawk.” Buffy leaves before she gets sick. The mask keeps glowing and a man who’s just been pronounced dead from massive burns gets out of his hospital bed and attacks the staff.

Buffy hits her breaking point when she hears some guy at the party asks the occasion and his friend replies that he heard it was for a girl who just got back from rehab. In the kitchen, Joyce and Pat are either clueless about or ignoring everything happening at the party. Joyce admits that Buffy’s return isn’t as happy as she’d hoped. It’s actually made things worse in some ways. Buffy overhears this and goes to her room to repack her things. Meanwhile, a bunch of recently risen dead people head for the Summerses’ house.

At the library, the cat is restless. Giles finally sees the page he missed in his book and realizes what’s happening. He tries to call Buffy but no one hears the phone over the loud music. When someone finally answers, he doesn’t know who Buffy is. He asks around for someone named Buddy and calls Giles “Mr. Belvedere,” which is awesome.

Willow catches Buffy packing and blasts her for running away again. Buffy says no one will mind. She claims she tried to readjust to her normal life, but Willow disagrees. Her leaving won’t make things easier. Buffy says the Scoobies did fine without her, but Willow says they didn’t have a choice. Buffy tells her that she didn’t know what Buffy was going through and wouldn’t have understood it. Willow replies that she might not need to understand. She just wants Buffy to open up to her.

Buffy points out that Willow’s been avoiding her, so how could she open up? Willow says they’ve both been going through difficult things. Her life has completely changed – she’s dating a werewolf and studying witchcraft and taking on slaying responsibilities. She didn’t have anyone to talk to about scary things. Her best friend just walked away.

Giles speeds toward the Summerses’ house, annoyed that Joyce’s mask has caused trouble: “‘Do you like my mask? Isn’t it pretty? It raises the dead.’ Americans!” He accidentally hits someone with his car, but it’s okay – he didn’t hurt the person. It’s hard to hurt someone who’s already dead. The problem is that the zombie has some friends, and Giles is now out of his car and about to be outnumbered.

Buffy tells Willow that she missed all the Scoobies and wanted to call every day. Willow doesn’t think that matters, since she didn’t contact them. Joyce finds them and Willow tells her that Buffy is trying to run away again. Buffy says she’s not, then admits that she’s not sure. Joyce chastises her for thinking she can run away whenever she feels like it. Buffy repeats that she doesn’t know. She doesn’t know what she’s doing.

She runs downstairs, looking for an exit that isn’t blocked by partygoers. As Joyce starts berating her, driven by anger and schnapps, the music stops and all the guests hear the fight. Joyce rants at Buffy for leaving her behind for months of worrying about where she was. Buffy reminds Joyce that she told her not to come back if she left. She found out who her daughter really was and couldn’t deal.

A few partygoers leave, probably thinking Buffy’s a lesbian. Joyce is upset that Buffy punished her for not handling the news well. Buffy says she wasn’t punishing Joyce. Xander jumps into the fight, saying that’s what happened. Buffy asks if anyone else wants to join in on piling on her. Maybe Jonathan? “No, thanks,” he says meekly.

Xander thinks Buffy needs to hear how selfish and stupid her decision was. She can accept that, but no one has any idea what she went through or what she was feeling. He asks if she ever tried talking to anyone about it. She says no one could have done anything anyway. She had to deal with it on her own. Xander tells her that she can’t bury stuff – it’ll come right back up to get her. Cut to the zombies Giles is facing off with. He manages to get in his car, but he left his keys on the ground. He hotwires the engine (“like riding a bloody bicycle”) and makes his escape.

Buffy turns on Xander, saying she couldn’t have gone to him since he didn’t want her to be with Angel. He replies that he’s sorry her boyfriend was a demon, but most girls don’t run away over “boy troubles.” Cordelia steps in, advising Xander to put himself in Buffy’s shoes: “I’m Buffy, freak of nature, right? Naturally I pick a freak for a boyfriend. And then he turns into Mr. Killing Spree, which is pretty much my fault–.” Buffy interrupts: “Cordy, get out of my shoes.”

Willow tries to address Buffy, who’s too upset to listen to more from her. Xander thinks Buffy owes it to Willow to let her finish. He says Buffy’s been acting like an idiot, but she thinks his use of the code name “Nighthawk” makes this a pot-calling-the-kettle-idiot situation. Oz tries to end the fight, but Willow says they should stop trying to talk things out and turn to violence. Zombies burst into the house and Willow clarifies that she was being sarcastic.

The Scoobies put aside their problems to mobilize against the zombies. Joyce even gets into the fight, knocking one out with a vase. Since they’re not dealing with vampires, traditional staking won’t work here, and the Scoobies have trouble taking the zombies down. Pat gets grabbed and Jonathan risks Oz’s wrath (not that Oz ever feels wrath) by threatening a zombie with his guitar.

The partygoers start shoving zombies outside and trying to barricade the doors. That doesn’t do much since the zombies can break through the doors and grab them. Joyce finds Pat, and Buffy, Xander, and Willow take the two of them into Joyce’s bedroom for safety. Joyce determines that Pat’s dead, but thanks to the mask, that doesn’t mean anything.

Everything’s quiet downstairs, so Oz and Cordelia, who were hiding in a closet, creep out to check out the situation. They run into Giles, but Cordelia isn’t sure it’s really him and not a zombie version of him. “Cordelia, do stop being tiresome,” he says. That’s all it takes to convince her that he’s the real deal. Oz says the “dead man’s party” has moved upstairs. Giles guesses it’s because that’s where the mask is. It holds the power of a zombie demon called the Evil Eye. If a zombie puts the mask on, they’ll become the demon incarnate.

As the Scoobies in Joyce’s room fight a zombie, Joyce realizes that Pat’s alive. She shoves Joyce aside and puts on the mask. The zombie gets scared of Pat, which Xander says can’t be good. Her eyes flash at Buffy, stunning her and allowing Zombie Pat to throw her aside. Pat gets Willow in her sights and Buffy warns her not to look into Pat’s eyes. Willow doesn’t listen and the flash stuns her. Buffy tackles Pat and they fly through a window, landing on the back lawn.

Giles, Oz, and Cordelia hear the crash and rush to help as Buffy runs from Pat, repeating, “Not looking! Not looking!” Joyce smacks a zombie with a bat. Giles, Oz, and Cordelia get stalled on the stairs by a zombie, so Giles sends Oz to the backyard with instructions on how to take out Pat: Go for the eyes. By the time Oz arrives, though, Buffy has already figured it out. She rams a shovel into the mask’s eyes. Pat and all the zombies vanish. Aw, man, now the humans have to clean up the house! Joyce asks if this is a typical day in a Slayer’s life. Buffy says it was nothing. Now everyone really is happy to have her back.

The next day, Giles goes to Snyder’s office and calmly says he has no grounds to expel Buffy. As a minor, she’s entitled to a public education whether Snyder likes her or not. If Snyder fights that, Giles will go to the state Supreme Court. He’ll make life for Snyder very, very difficult. Snyder refuses to cooperate, saying he’s not convinced. Giles grabs him by the collar and pushes him up against a cabinet. “Would you like me to convince you?” he asks with a “just try me” smile.

Buffy and Willow meet up at a coffee place and talk about Willow’s dabbles in witchcraft. She admits to doing some scary things, and Buffy wishes she could have been there for her. But Willow understands why she left and forgives her. Buffy thinks she’s just being morally superior. She’s willing to take some slack for a while. Willow says she’ll back off, then teases that Buffy’s a runaway and a quitter. Buffy calls her a whiner and the two trade some good-natured barbs like “harpy,” “delinquent,” and “bad seed.”

Thoughts: How is it that no one asks Buffy about Angel? We find out later that she told the Scoobies that she killed him, but that happens off-screen. We should have seen someone asking and Buffy having to figure out what to say without retraumatizing herself.

“Thanks for stopping by and dying” and Giles mocking Joyce crack me up every time.

Dingoes Ate My Baby’s drummer is at least 30 years old. I hope we’re not supposed to believe he’s one of the Scoobies’ classmates.

As fun as it is to see Giles stand up to Snyder, it would have been really satisfying if Joyce had been the one to break him.

April 19, 2022

ER 10.19, Just a Touch: Abby and Psych Go Together Like Pratt and Flirting

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 4:58 pm by Jenn

Would you trust this woman to help you through your mental-heath crises?

Summary: Sam comes home from a trip to the grocery store to find Steve teaching Alex to play the guitar. Steve gives her some money to help pay her bills, as well as to ease his guilt over never supporting his child. She’s clearly not happy to have him around but also doesn’t want to send him away, since Alex loves him so much. Also, I think when he plays the guitar, she remembers what made her fall for him back when they were teens.

At County, Morris and Malik are struggling to subdue a very agitated patient, Mrs. Garrison. Luka steps in, since he’s familiar with her, and tells Morris not to restrain her; she’ll be fine once they give her Haldol. Mrs. Garrison makes him regret that decision by biting him, then grabbing Morris’ junk. Scott Grimes, why haven’t you called your agent yet? I know you’re on a hit show, but at what cost?

Weaver talks to a lawyer named Brooks who fills her in on the Lopezes’ case for wanting to take Henry away from her. Since Sandy was his birth mother and Weaver never legally adopted him, she doesn’t have rights. Weaver says they were in the middle of the adoption process. Brooks says the baby’s biological father could help by giving Weaver his parental rights, but he was an anonymous donor, so that won’t get them anywhere.

Brooks promises to try to come up with temporary arrangements that will let Weaver see her son. The good news is that Illinois doesn’t discriminate against same-sex couples when it comes to custody. But Weaver’s single now, and she has a demanding job that eats into her time with Henry. The Lopezes have a blood connection to Henry and are able to take care of him 24/7. Weaver offers to change her schedule and even quit if she has to.

Luka’s surprised to see Weaver at work. It’s like he’s never met her before. She’s not going to sit at home crying. She tells Brooks that she has the money to fight the Lopezes in court. She wants them to know that, too. After Brooks leaves, Weaver notices Morris icing his junk and is truly speechless. Writers, this is not compelling TV. Fix it.

Luka chats with Sam, saying that Alex must be excited for spring break. He suggests that they take him bowling. Sam says that Steve is in town; he shows up unannounced every once in a while. She wishes he would go away for good. He only stays long enough to raid her fridge and wrack up a big phone bill. And, I assume, to make Alex think he’s sticking around for good this time, then break his heart.

Abby is doing a psych rotation, and she jokes to Sam and Luka that she’s keeping an extra ID on her so no one mistakes her for a patient. Pratt finds Lester and Morris fighting over a patient Lester says Morris is trying to steal. The patient is an attractive woman, so Pratt takes her for himself. Neela tells the guys they’re ridiculous, then gets assigned to care for a woman who’s throwing up. The woman happens to have blue skin. I guess Morris and Lester don’t consider her attractive enough to treat. That’s discriminatory against blue people!

Mrs. Garrison is now stable, just as Luka predicted. Abby admits to him that she’s a little scared about her psych rotation – not because of the patients but because she’s enjoying it. She asks how he’s doing and he tells her about Steve. Uh-oh, someone feels threatened! As if anyone would choose another guy over Luka. Uh, unless that someone was George Clooney.

Carter asks Abby to get Chen’s father admitted; he fell and hurt his arm, which means he’ll be even less able to care for himself than usual. Chen complains that he keeps driving away home-care nurses, so Abby offers to help out, since she needs extra money. She asks about Kem, whom Carter just got back from visiting. She’s probably not as desperate to be done with her pregnancy as Susan is. Abby says she threatened to deliver the baby herself if it doesn’t hurry up and get born already.

Pratt examines his stolen patient, Ms. Campbell, who has back pain but doesn’t know why. She has a swollen lymph node and hasn’t had a mammogram or done any breast self-exams, so Pratt decides to do one himself. He brings Sam over, since hospital protocol is to have a woman present when a male doctor does a breast exam.

Pratt tries to lighten the mood before he puts his hands all over a stranger’s chest. Sam takes a phone call, so she’s still in the vicinity but not paying attention. Pratt examines Ms. Cambell, telling her how to do a self-exam each month. Ms. Campbell looks really uncomfortable, but Pratt doesn’t feel anything concerning.

Paramedics bring in a man named James who was in a car accident and is agitated and demanding pain medication. Luka gives him to Pratt and tends to the driver of James’ car, Rena. James tells Pratt that he met Rena last night, and she was driving him home after they spent the night at her place. Neela helps Luka with Rena, who asks for Pratt to be her doctor. Pratt finishes up with James, then goes next door to help with Rena, whom he doesn’t recognize. She reminds him that they met on the El last year and hooked up. Pratt pretends he remembers her.

Abby goes to the psych floor and meets up with her supervisor, Dr. Nelson. He tells her she can lead his group therapy session today. Way to spring it on the patients that their usual doctor won’t be there. James is ready to be discharged, and he doesn’t see a point in waiting to see how Rena is. Pratt and Sam are unimpressed. Rena needs surgery, and she asks Pratt to come visit her later. He says he will, which makes Luka think they’re friends.

Pratt asks Neela to do something for a patient, but she’s helping out with research on stroke treatments in the neuro lab, which Pratt calls the “mouse house.” She feels like she’s not effective in the ER and is looking for other areas to be useful. She goes back to the blue puker, Denise, whose vomiting has been accompanied by weakness in her hands and feet. Her blue skin is apparently normal – it’s a side effect of medication she takes for a heart arrhythmia. Guys at her school call her Smurf, because of course they do.

Pratt determines that Ms. Campbell must have strained a muscle without realizing it. She’s not satisfied with the diagnosis, but he tells her how to treat it and to come back if she gets worse. He gets called away to tend to a woman named Jordan who passed out. Ms. Campbell asks Sam if she can talk to Pratt’s supervisor. Ruh-roh! And in more ruh-roh! news, Steve is there. He wants to take Sam to lunch (with Alex). Alex is currently showing Luka the guitar Steve bought him. Sam silently begs Steve to leave. Neela helps Pratt with Jordan, and they disagree about her diagnosis and treatment options.

Chen finds Carter in the lounge, making arrangements for someone to bring him paperwork he was supposed to go sign somewhere. (I think Carter was visiting Chen at home when her father fell, and he came with her to make sure everything’s okay.) He asks her opinion on nursery themes, then realizes she never got to pick out a theme for her own baby. She assures him that she’s not offended. She’s been thinking about her son a lot. After her father dies, she won’t have any more family. Carter asks if she’s ever gotten to visit her son. She says no, and he suggests that she go. “Maybe I should have kept him,” Chen replies.

Abby runs the group-therapy session, which mainly involves trying to keep the patients from yelling at each other. When they won’t stop fighting, Abby lights a cigarette. Suddenly the patients all agree on something – Abby’s breaking the rules. Watching from outside the room, Nelson is pleased. Abby puts out the cigarette and starts a discussion about personal goals.

Ms. Campbell tells Weaver that Pratt made her feel uncomfortable because he seemed to enjoy giving her a breast exam. Weaver assures her that he’s professional, but she’s free to file a formal complaint. Ms. Campbell doesn’t want to go that far; she just wanted to make her feelings known and ask for someone to talk to Pratt.

As Weaver goes looking for him, she asks Sam if there was anything unusual about the exam. For example, why did Pratt give a breast exam to someone who complained of back pain? Sam says she didn’t know the woman’s medical complaints and was on the phone the whole time. Morris says it sounds like Pratt TUBEd Ms. Campbell. Weaver overhears and asks where that term came from. Morris looks around for someone to blame.

Jordan regains consciousness and Pratt tells her that she seems healthy, so they haven’t determined what made her pass out. She says she had seizures as a kid but grew out of them and hasn’t had one for about 20 years. Weaver pulls Pratt away to ask him about Ms. Campbell. She accuses him of giving Ms. Campbell an unnecessary exam so he had the excuse to feel her up. This could lead to a sexual harassment lawsuit.

Pratt notes that he could have saved Ms. Campbell’s life if he’d found anything during the exam. He doesn’t think he did anything wrong. Her symptoms fit with those of breast cancer. Weaver asks if the exam had anything to do with Pratt being attracted to Ms. Campbell. He thinks Weaver would have done everything he did if she were in his position. Then he asks if she’s ever gotten turned on while performing a breast exam. Pratt, stop talking.

Weaver thinks Pratt’s use of the term “TUBE” is a smoking gun. Pratt insists that he didn’t come up with it; he heard it in med school. Plus, if Ms. Campbell had been that uncomfortable, she should have said something. Weaver suggests that she was intimidated, which makes Pratt think she’s maligning him for being Black. She says it’s not about race, but to Pratt, more things are about race than white people think.

The argument ends when Weaver takes a call from Brooks and Pratt gets summoned to tend to Denise, who’s collapsed. Neela tells him about her heart arrhythmia as she joins him. Pratt blasts Morris for opening his big mouth and getting him in trouble with Weaver. Morris lies that he didn’t say anything: “That hot patient was complaining about you.” Ugh.

Neela notes that when male doctors refer to female patients as “hot,” they’re not getting things off on the right foot. She asks Pratt if he can understand how Ms. Campbell must have felt coming to the ER and having a stranger grope her. Malik reports that Denise, who’s now stable, doesn’t have any of her heart medication in her system. She had to have stopped taking it weeks ago for her level to be zero. Pratt asks Neela if Denise said anything about why she might stop taking her medication. “Maybe because men are idiots,” Neela replies. Is that your professional diagnosis?

Sam has been roped into lunch with Steve and Alex after all, and she’s definitely not enjoying herself. After Alex leaves the table to play pinball, Steve compliments her on her parenting and says Alex is a “cool kid.” Uh, no, he’s not. She tells him about all the trouble Alex causes, which Steve thinks is amusing. After a minute of him making small talk, Sam asks straight out how long Steve will be in Chicago, since he’s never around for long. He says he might stick around this time.

Luka wants to send Jordan out of the ER for more tests and treatment, but Pratt says he hasn’t figured out what happened yet. Luka doesn’t think she had a seizure. Pratt notes that Jordan has a baby, so it wouldn’t be wise to send her home without knowing she won’t pass out again. He wants her to have an EEG.

Neela gives Pratt some info on Denise (we don’t get the end of that storyline), and Luka wishes her good luck on her work in the neuro lab. After she leaves, Pratt asks Luka if he feels awkward giving breast exams to attractive women. He agrees with Pratt that it’s strange for both parties. Pratt allows that he might come across as unprofessional and asks how Luka keeps that from happening. Luka just thinks of breast exams as no different from any other medical procedure. Morris shares a tip he picked up from an attending on his OB rotation: He pretends he’s examining his mom. Morris, shut up some more.

Neela goes to the neuro lab and gets a tour from a guy named Colin. He’s in a Ph.D. program and has been there for eight years. DUDE. He has to discover something new in neuroscience to get his degree. Neela will be working with Colin, a guy named Yuri, and some mice. Neela doesn’t seem too happy about that last part.

Jordan’s husband, Nick, arrives with their daughter as Jordan is undergoing an EEG. It’ll take a few hours to determine if she’s having unusual brain activity. Pratt blasts Sam for not being more helpful during Ms. Campbell’s exam. He insists that he tried to put her at ease without being creepy. Sam says he’s a flirt.

She compliments his package, trying to give him a taste of his own medicine. Pratt insists again that he was completely professional; he wasn’t even thinking anything inappropriate. Even if he was, she couldn’t read his mind. Sam says everyone can read his mind. He’s a guy, and guys only think about food, sports, and sex. Women don’t appreciate always being ogled.

Malik comes to get Pratt, telling him that Jordan’s having a seizure. Luka joins him to help but Pratt has already stabilized Jordan. He thinks that once she goes on the proper medication, she’ll be fine. But Luka examines the EEG results and tells Pratt that Jordan didn’t have a seizure – she faked it. She doesn’t need a neurologist, she needs a psychiatrist.

Abby says goodbye to one of her patients (in Klingon, since that’s all he’ll speak), then chats with Nelson, thinking he doesn’t approve of her behavior during the group session. Instead, he says he’s never seen the patients respond to anyone like they did to her. It might be because they were scared of her, though. He offers to help her quit smoking, but Abby’s not interested.

Jerry has either volunteered or been volunteered to stand in for Ms. Campbell so Pratt can demonstrate for Weaver how her exam went. Malik walks in to get Weaver and will mostly likely be teasing Jerry about this for the next ten years or so. Weaver tells Pratt he’ll have to present a lecture to the med students about “gender sensitivity.” Jerry, you can put your shirt back on.

Neela’s finding her new assistant role interesting. She accidentally spills some coffee on a sample Yuri’s using, which will set him back six weeks. Maybe you shouldn’t keep your cup right next to your sample, then. Abby tells Pratt that Jordan may not have faked her seizure. She could be experiencing some disorder that manifests itself like this. But Jordan doesn’t want to stick around to talk to her, and they can’t make her stay. “That was my easiest consult all day,” Abby quips.

Luka gives Sam some pictures from the camping trip they took with Alex. She tries to smooth things over about Steve’s visit, as if it’s her fault that he’s there, or she should feel bad about it, or she’s given any indication that she wants to ditch Luka for him. Pratt goes to the surgical floor and asks Elizabeth how Rena is. She had a lot of injuries but Elizabeth thinks she’ll be okay. Lawson comes by next and asks Elizabeth to dinner, but she has plans. Dave arrives to pick her up, and Elizabeth tries not to freak out about her two boyfriends meeting each other. Lawson seems to get that she’s seeing Dave, but not vice versa.

Abby asks Weaver for more nursing shifts so she can pay her med-school tuition. Weaver’s trying not to cry, so Abby tells her to take time off to grieve. Weaver says she doesn’t have that luxury. She lost her partner and is trying not to lose her son, too. She had to fight just get him for the weekend. Abby offers to help however she can. Weaver thanks her, then reveals that Abby’s tuition has been paid through graduation.

The Lopezes have brought Henry to the hospital so Weaver can take him for the weekend, but first she has to sign a form promising to give him back. Absolutely ridiculous. Florina’s there, but the person who hands Henry over is Sandy’s brother Carlos, and he tells Weaver he doesn’t agree with his parents’ desire to take her child from her. He knows Sandy would be upset if she knew what was happening – she would want Weaver and Henry to be together.

Abby tracks down Carter, having guessed that he’s the one who paid her tuition. She won’t take the money – she’s not a charity. Carter wants her to think of it as an investment. He already has more money than she’ll ever make. Abby jokes that in that case, she’ll take a new car, too. A guy rides up on a motorcycle and Abby heads off with him, telling Carter she’ll pay him back. He chastises the guy for not wearing a helmet, and Abby flips him off.

Pratt’s by Rena’s side when she wakes up post-surgery. She didn’t think he would come, even though he said he would. After all, he said he would call and never did. She’s realized that he doesn’t remember her. Pratt confirms that, but she says it’s okay. I think she’s just happy to have a friendly face with her now.

Thoughts: Brace yourselves because I’m going to defend Pratt: He didn’t do anything wrong. He was completely professional. If I were his patient, I would have felt at ease. The only criticism I have is that he should have asked Ms. Campbell if she was comfortable with him doing the exam or if she wanted a female doctor instead.

That said, Ms. Campbell was completely justified in speaking up. If your doctor or nurse or whoever does something that makes you uncomfortable, you have the right to say something.

Imagine how horrible a person you’d have to be to respond to your daughter’s death with, “Let’s take her kid away from her grieving partner, who love him and hasn’t harmed him in any way.”

How effective can your group therapy be if the patients all hate each other?

April 16, 2022

Buffy 3.1, Anne: Buffy by Any Other Name Still Kicks Butt

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 1:06 pm by Jenn

The hammer and sickle are because it’s political, or something

Summary: Andrew Hoelich, recently deceased and recently turned into a vampire, is climbing out of his grave in a Sunnydale cemetery. Someone’s there to meet him, but it’s not our Slayer – it’s Willow (and her cute new haircut). Xander grabs Andy and yells for Oz to stake him. Oz fumbles his stake, allowing Andy to shove Xander at Willow and take off running. Oz attempts to throw his stake at Andy, but it doesn’t get anywhere near the vampire. Oz remembers that Andy was a gymnast, so the Scoobies were at a disadvantage as soon as he started putting those skills in action.

Xander has a problem with Willow’s trash talk. She was trying to come up with something clever like Buffy does, but she needs more practice. Xander wishes they hadn’t taken Buffy’s punning for granted when she was around. The Scoobies are trying to be optimistic that Buffy will come back soon. She’s been gone all summer, and school starts the next day. Oz reacts strangely to that reminder, and Willow thinks it’s because they won’t be able to spend much time together, since he graduated last spring.

Xander’s surprised to realize he can’t wait to see Cordelia. Excited to see your girlfriend? What’s wrong with you?? Willow hopes Buffy shows up at school the next day like nothing happened, but Xander reminds her that Buffy was expelled, so that’s not possible. Willow says she just wishes they knew where Buffy was.

Right now she’s on a beach. Angel joins her, even though the sun is out, and puts his arms around her. She asks how he found her there, and he tells her that he would see her even if he were blind. He promises to stay with her forever: “That’s the whole point. I’ll never leave. Not even if you kill me.” Buffy wakes from this dream in a crappy little apartment in L.A.

The next day, she goes to work as a waitress in a diner. She makes herself ignore a guy who flirts with her, as well as his friend, who slaps her butt. She could beat them up before they could blink, but she won’t. Next she waits on an affectionate young couple, Lily and Rickie. Buffy doesn’t realize that she’s met Lily before, but under a different name: Chanterelle.

The couple has very little money since they just got matching tattoos with each other’s names. They’re happy to have them forever. As Rickie says, “That’s the whole point.” Chanterelle recognizes Buffy, who won’t say where she’s from. The name tag on her uniform identifies her as Anne. She turns in their order, then tells a co-worker she’s going home sick.

It’s the first day of a new school year, so the library is busier than usual with students getting books. Willow tells Giles that the Scoobies aren’t quite as good at patrolling as Buffy is, but they’re getting better. He’s happy they’re stepping in but doesn’t want them to get hurt. Willow says part of their mission statement is “don’t get killed.” I’d love to hear the rest.

Cordelia arrives and complains to Willow that her summer sucked. Yeah, she got to go to a resort in Mexico, but it was a sucky resort. She casually asks about Xander, pretending she’s not super-eager to see him again. She’s very concerned about her hair looking good. Oz shows up next and reveals to Willow that he didn’t actually graduate. He had a bunch of incompletes he was supposed to make up in summer school, which he didn’t attend.

They pass a teacher who tells a kid to stop running down the hall; summer’s over, so it’s time to be somber again. (This is the same teacher who wrote James’ words on the board, and we see him again in a fun scene at the end of the season. He’s cool.) Oz says he’d hoped that Willow would find it cute that he has to repeat his senior year. She doesn’t, really, since Oz is really smart and there’s no excuse for him not getting good grades.

Xander comes by looking for Cordelia, just as eager to see her as she is to see him. He’s also concerned about how his hair looks. Larry’s excited to play football again. “If we can focus, keep disciplined, and not have quite as many mysterious deaths, Sunnydale is gonna RULE!” he tells a friend. Willow’s willing to call Oz’s failure to graduate “eccentric,” though she mostly finds it strange. He hopes she’ll eventually find it cool. Xander and Cordelia finally reunite, but they mask their happiness at seeing each other after a summer apart and only spend about ten seconds together.

Buffy gets distracted while opening a sad can of Spaghettios in her sad apartment. She goes back out, passing a homeless woman who’s repeating, “I’m no one” over and over. In the library, Giles tells Willow and Xander that a friend in Oakland heard about a girl fighting vampires there last week. He’s going to fly out and see if that was Buffy. Xander gently says that this keeps happening – Giles gets his hopes up that they’ll find her, the lead doesn’t pan out, and he and Xander both end up sad. Not that he and Willow want Giles to stop looking, though. Xander just doesn’t think Buffy will be found until she wants to be.

That night, though, Lily finds Buffy downtown. She uses Buffy’s real name and promises to keep her identity secret. She reveals that they met when she was Chanterelle. She’s grateful to Buffy for saving her and wanted to thank her. She thinks Buffy’s waiting tables in L.A. instead of at school in Sunnydale because, like Lily, she had to get lost. Lily asks how Buffy chose the name Anne. Buffy explains that it’s her middle name. Lily let Rickie choose her new name from a song. She changes it all the time when she goes through different phases. Buffy lets her know that her last name was a mushroom. (An exotic one, at least.)

Lily asks if Buffy has any money. She knows someone who’s hosting a rave, and they could go hang out there together. Buffy declines the invitation, wanting to be alone. She offers up some money, though, and says she could meet up with Lily and Rickie later. A man walks between them as they’re talking and Lily calls him out on his rudeness. “I’m no one,” he says before walking into the street and standing in front of a truck. Buffy pushes him out of the way and takes the impact of the truck herself.

A bunch of people run to check on Buffy, who’s fine thanks to the quick healing that comes with being a Slayer. She doesn’t want any attention, so she takes off. She runs into a guy named Ken who’s distributing fliers for a place called Family Home. He invites her to stop by sometime to get a meal for both her body and her mind. He’s worried about young people who come to L.A. and get old fast. Despair drains the life out of them. They have nothing to go home to, so this ends up being their last stop.

After a depressing montage of young homeless L.A. residents, we go back to Sunnydale, where Xander and Willow are hanging out at the Bronze. There’s live music, but it’s maudlin, so they’re kind of down. He can’t stop thinking about how Cordelia must have had a great summer without him and probably doesn’t want to be with him anymore. She can’t stop thinking about Buffy.

Oz joins them as they talk about how badly slaying has been going. He thinks they’re getting a rhythm down. Xander notes that they’re losing half the vampires. “Yeah, but rhythmically,” Oz replies. Willow thinks they need to work on their timing. Xander spots Cordelia arriving and decides they need bait instead.

The next day, Joyce hears a knock on her front door and rushes to answer it, obviously hoping Buffy’s on the other side. It’s Giles, though, bringing news that the lead in Oakland didn’t pan out. (The “vampires” were just goth teens.) Joyce admits that she’s having a hard time. She doesn’t like leaving the house because she’s afraid she’ll miss a call from her daughter.

Giles assures her that Buffy probably isn’t in danger. Joyce regrets her fight with Buffy, and he tells her not to blame herself. Joyce doesn’t – she blames Giles. He was a big influence on Buffy and had a whole relationship with her behind Joyce’s back. Joyce feels like Giles took her daughter away. He says he didn’t make Buffy who she is. Joyce asks who she is, exactly.

Lily returns to the diner and tells Buffy that Rickie’s missing. She can’t call the police because he skipped out on his parole. (Also, let’s be honest, how hard is the LAPD going to look for a homeless teen?) She asks Buffy to help her find him. Buffy says she can’t – she doesn’t help people anymore. Lily’s desperate and doesn’t know what to do, so Buffy gives in.

They go to a blood bank where Lily and Rickie sometimes donate to get some money (and free cookies). A doctor (no name; I’ll call her Dr. Green after the actress playing her) checks the sign-in log to see if he’s been there recently. Buffy suggests that she and Lily split up to check out other places Rickie might have gone. “Can I come with you?” Lily asks, failing to grasp what “split up” means. Dr. Green says Rickie hasn’t been in, but if he shows up, she’ll tell him they were looking for him. After the girls leave, her faces changes from “I am being pleasantly helpful” to “we have a problem.”

The girls split up and Buffy goes to an alley that’s a popular nighttime spot for homeless people. She finds the body of an older man who appears to have killed himself. She recognizes Rickie’s tattoo on his arm. She goes back to her apartment and tells Lily that she thinks Rickie’s dead. “But…he takes care of me,” Lily says, sounding like a child. They were so hopeful that they were going to turn their lives around.

Buffy tells her that the man she found was way older than Rickie. It was like something drained Rickie’s life out of him. It couldn’t have been a vampire, though; they can’t make people age faster. Buffy wonders if there was something in Rickie’s blood. Lily’s in denial that Rickie’s dead, since he didn’t do anything wrong. Buffy angrily tells her that bad things like this happen all the time. You can’t ignore them and wait for them to go away. Not that she’s speaking from experience or anything!

Lily thinks this could be related to Buffy. Maybe she brought something evil to L.A. with her. Buffy says she didn’t, and she also didn’t ask to get brought into this. If Lily can’t deal with her problems, she can’t just push them onto Buffy. Lily leaves, upset, and encounters Ken outside. He offers to try to help her with whatever’s making her sad. He wants her and people like her to remember to hope. When Lily mentions Rickie, Ken guesses who she is. “Rickie’s with us now,” he says. He’s definitely not dead, and Lily should come to Family Home with Ken.

Buffy breaks into the blood bank and looks through some files. She finds one on Rickie that labels him a “candidate.” Dr. Green catches her and asks what she’s doing. “Breaking into your office and going through your private files,” Buffy replies casually. Dr. Green threatens to call the police, so Buffy rips the phone out of the wall. She sees that other patients have been labeled the same as Rickie and guesses they’re missing, too.

Dr. Green warns that Buffy’s getting herself into a lot of trouble. Buffy replies that she doesn’t want that – she wants a quiet place with a fireplace and a chair and a tea cozy (and she doesn’t even know what a tea cozy is). But trouble keeps finding her, and she’s “more than willing to share.” She demands to know what’s happening to the “candidates.” Dr. Green admits that she gives the healthy ones’ names to someone. That someone is Ken, who’s preparing Lily for something called a cleansing. He promises that she’ll see Rickie afterward.

In Sunnydale, the Scoobies head to the cemetery to use Cordelia as vampire bait. She objects, trying to pass the task on to Willow, but since Andy has already seen her, they know he won’t approach her. The other Scoobies hide while Cordelia tells Xander that she’s only doing this for Buffy’s sake, not his. He tells her the plan is for Andy to attack her and kill her while the others rejoice. As they’re bickering about their relationship, Andy sneaks up on Willow.

Ken takes Lily to her cleansing, which is kind of like a baptism if your baptism was led by a creepy guy lying to you about your boyfriend still being alive, and if your baptismal was full of something that looked like tar. Buffy has arrived at Family Home, pretending she’s sick of sinning and wants to be cleansed. She realizes she’s not pulling this off and just asks for Ken. She finds him and Lily just as Lily is about to be cleansed. She asks how Ken makes young people old. Before he can tell her, Lily gets sucked into the tar.

Buffy tries to follow her but Ken holds her back. She decides to throw both him and herself into the tar. They land in a tunnel, totally fine except for some damage to Ken’s face. But it’s okay because it’s not real. He’s a demon who literally glues on a human face to look normal. Buffy and Lily try to make a break for it, but Ken calls for demon guards to chase them. Also, there’s no place for them to go. They’re on a catwalk overlooking a giant pit where humans are being forced to do manual labor. Ken knocks Buffy out and tells Lily that she’s never going to leave this place.

Xander and Cordelia are still bickering. Each thinks the other developed feelings for someone else over the summer and wants to break up. They finally realize that Willow’s in danger and hurry to help her and Oz take care of Andy. It’s not pretty, but they succeed. Also, Cordelia winds up lying on top of Xander after she pushes Andy into him and Xander’s stake goes into the vampire. That makes it easy for them to start making out.

Buffy regains consciousness and finds herself locked in a cage with Lily. Lily says she always felt she belonged where they are: Hell. Buffy doesn’t think that’s where they are, but Ken notes that Hell is the absence of hope, so Lily’s right. Rickie was there, too, and after a while, he forgot her. It took years; time moves much faster there than in the real world. 100 years there is just a day on Earth. Buffy realizes that the demons work humans until they’re too old, then return them to the real world.

Ken confirms that the girls will die of old age before anyone misses them. That’s why he chooses people who don’t have loved ones to look for them. Buffy notes that she wasn’t chosen (for once in her life, she’s not the Chosen One!). Ken knows that Buffy’s scared and determined to run away from whoever she used to be. She wanted to disappear, and now she’s going to get her wish.

All of Ken’s prisoners are sent to work. They’re not allowed to do anything other than work. Their pasts don’t matter. They’re no one now and mean nothing. A demon guard asks a teen who he is. The teen gives his name and gets smacked in response. Lily proves to be smarter than she’s let on before because when the guard asks her name, she says she’s no one. The guard continues with other prisoners until he gets to Buffy. She introduces herself by name and tells him she’s a Slayer.

She takes on the guards, then leads a mass escape with the prisoners. They hide under a stairwell to formulate a plan. Buffy assigns Lily to lead the others out of the pit, even though Lily doesn’t trust in her ability to take charge. Buffy says she can handle this. Lily starts to leave, then comes back to apologize for blaming Buffy for everything. She just wanted to get that out there in case they don’t survive.

The demon guards chase Buffy as the other prisoners head for freedom. Buffy fights the guards on a raised platform, displeasing Ken, who’s never had to handle a human fighting back before. Buffy steals a couple of the guards’ weapons and gives herself even more of an advantage. Ken catches up to the escapees and threatens to kill Lily for Buffy’s disobedience. While he’s making a big deal out of how he’s going to make Buffy pay, Lily just reaches out and shoves him into the pit.

Buffy climbs a chain to get back to the other prisoners, who are trapped from escaping by a big wooden gate. Buffy lifts it and is on her way out with them when Ken tackles her. She drops the gate on him and it stabs him through his calves, trapping him on the ground. He whines that Buffy ruined his plans. “Hey, Ken, wanna see my impression of Gandhi?” Buffy asks before killing him. Lily doesn’t get it. Buffy says that was Gandhi if he were really mad. The prisoners all make it back to the cleansing room, and the entrance to the pit bricks itself up. Sorry, everyone else trapped down there!

Buffy takes Lily back to her apartment, where Lily will now be living. She can also have Buffy’s job at the diner. Lily says she’s not good at taking care of herself, like, yeah, we’ve noticed. Buffy promises it’ll get easier. Lily asks if she can be Anne now.

Joyce is fixing her dishwasher when she hears a knock at the front door. She takes her time going to it, not wanting to get her hopes up again that Buffy’s there. But she is, and Joyce welcomes her home silently, with just a hug.

Thoughts: Lily later turns up on the spin-off Angel, using the name Anne.

Everything from Willow’s conversation with Giles about patrolling through Xander and Cordelia meeting up – over three minutes – is one take. Very impressive.

Buffy’s hair in this part of the season is…not my favorite.

No wonder Lily joined a vampire-worshipping cult. She has absolutely no ability to think for herself.

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