November 13, 2021

Buffy 2.1, When She Was Bad: What’s Next?

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , at 1:16 pm by Jenn

Guys, you’re supposed to leave room for the Holy Spirit

Summary: Willow and Xander are walking home from somewhere, quizzing each other with movie quotes. They’ve had a very boring summer, which at least means they haven’t had to fight any vampires or monsters. Xander’s almost looking forward to school starting up. Part of that is because Buffy’s been in L.A. with her father all summer, so he hasn’t seen her. They go back to the movie game, but things turn a little intimate, and they almost kiss. As they pull apart, a vampire appears next to them. Xander fights him off, then gets an assist from the Slayer herself. She’s back!

The Scoobies happily reunite, and Buffy chastises Xander and Willow for not carrying weapons with them. They tell her that was the first vampire they’ve seen since the Master died. Buffy also spent the summer without vampires. Xander and Willow tell her that they buried the Master in the cemetery, doing a whole ritual with robes and holy water. Buffy hasn’t seen Giles yet and doesn’t see the need to visit him before school the next day.

Back at home, Hank and Joyce unpack Buffy’s stuff from her summer in L.A. They bicker about how much shopping Hank let Buffy do. Joyce is just glad that their daughter stayed out of trouble, though Hank says she seemed kind of distant. “At least when she was burning stuff down, I knew what to say,” he laments. Joyce hopes Buffy makes it through the school year.

At school the next day, Cordelia complains to a couple of her friends that her summer was terrible. Instead of going to St. Croix, her parents took her to Tuscany. The horror! “No one has suffered like I have suffered,” she says. She acknowledges that adversity builds character, but she already has a lot of character, so now she wonders if it’s possible to have too much character. Never change, Cordy.

Snyder chats with Giles about how teens are like locusts – they just want to feed and mate, and they destroy everything. “I do enjoy these pep talks,” Giles says. You should never change, either, Rupert. He suggests that Snyder find a new line of work. Snyder continues that teen boys are just walking hormones; every time they see a pretty girl, they lost the ability to speak coherently. Just then, Jenny comes over, and Giles…well, loses the ability to speak coherently. Snyder keeps grumbling to himself as Giles and Jenny walk off to flirt.

The other Scoobies arrive, and while Xander and Willow are excited to see Giles, Buffy is pretty subdued. Willow needs to calm down, since she says loudly that Buffy killed a vampire the night before. Jenny’s surprised, since the Hellmouth is closed. There’s still mystical energy in the area, though, so demons and vampires are going to continue to be drawn to Sunnydale. Giles says he’ll consult his books. Xander tells Willow to pay up, as he bet her that Giles would say that within the first ten minutes of the day.

As the kids head off to class, Giles tells Buffy they can wait a few days to start her training back up. She tells him she’s ready now. After school, she gets right back to it, full of energy and focus. She tells Giles that whatever is coming next, she’s ready for it. Looks like someone hasn’t dealt with the trauma of fighting the Master. As for whatever’s coming next, a vampire named Absalom has gathered a bunch of vampires to discuss it with him and Collin. Within three days, someone will arise and they’ll follow him.

The next morning, Xander and Willow find Buffy lost in thought in a school lounge area. She tells them she had weird dreams the night before. Xander comments that dreams can be meaningful. Willow agrees – once she dreamed that Xander…no, wait, nothing happened. And it wasn’t her; it was a friend’s dream, and she doesn’t remember it.

Giles joins them and tells Buffy that what’s coming next is more complicated than they thought. Buffy confidently says she’ll handle it. “I’ve killed you once. It shouldn’t be too difficult to do it again,” he replies. He hits her, then tries to strangle her. Xander and Willow act like nothing’s going on as Buffy pulls off Giles’ face, revealing that he’s really the Master.

It’s just one of those weird dreams Buffy mentioned, and when she wakes up in her room, Angel’s there. She’s not interested in chatting, and she’s also not pleased to learn that this is a business visit, not a social one. Angel tells her that Collin has been gathering forces for some reason. Buffy figures she’ll find out why soon enough. She can handle it, and she’s actually looking forward to some action.

Angel warns that while Collin looks like a child, he has power, and his followers will do anything for him. Buffy cuts the visit short, saying Angel woke her up from a nice dream. As he leaves through the window, he admits that he missed her. She says it back, but he’s already gone.

The next morning (for real this time), Joyce drives Buffy to school, inviting her to open up about what’s obviously not right with her. Buffy stays quiet. At school, Buffy tells Xander and Willow that Angel came by to warn her about vampire activity. Xander says that the band Cibo Matto is playing at the Bronze that night, so they should go.

Cordelia approaches, calling the Scoobies the Three Musketeers, which they don’t find insulting. She asks if they fought any demons over the summer. “Yes, our own personal demons,” Willow replies loudly. Cordelia reminds them of everything that happened on prom night. “Cordelia, your mouth is open. Sound is coming from it. This is never good,” Buffy replies.

Xander and Willow tell Cordelia that they have to keep this kind of stuff quiet. Don’t worry, Cordelia hasn’t told anyone. For one thing, it was super-creepy. For another, she would have to admit that she spent the evening with the Scoobies. Buffy says that’s great – Cordelia won’t tell anyone that Buffy’s the Slayer, and Buffy won’t tell anyone that Cordelia’s a moron. As she leaves, the other three sense that something’s off with her.

At the Bronze that night, Willow brings up her concerns to Xander. Xander doesn’t think there’s anything to worry about, but Willow doesn’t like that Buffy’s mean now. Xander’s distracted by Buffy’s absence, so Willow tries to recreate the previous evening’s circumstances so they’ll kiss (or almost kiss) again. It doesn’t work.

Collin’s followers dig up the Master’s grave, some using their hands even though the ground is consecrated and burns their hands. Meanwhile, Buffy arrives at the Bronze, immediately catching Angel’s attention. She’s sarcastic with him, which makes him think he’s done something to scare or anger her. Is she afraid of the possibility of them being together? Buffy tells him to get over himself since that’s not going to happen. She didn’t spend the summer pining for him. She moved on to the living.

She joins Xander and Willow, inviting Xander to dance with her to a slow song. Buffy gets sexy, and though you’d think Xander would like that, he looks uncomfortable. So do Angel and Willow. After a while, Buffy asks Xander if she ever thanked him for saving her life. When he says no, she asks, “Don’t you wish I would?”

She leaves, and Cordelia follows her outside to call her out for her behavior and give her some advice: “Get over it.” She needs to deal with whatever’s making her act like this before she loses her friends. Buffy tells her to mind her own business, then storms off. Cordelia says she’ll just entertain Angel instead. But before she can go back inside, she’s grabbed by a vampire. She ends up locked up somewhere with an unconscious Jenny.

On her way home, Buffy cuts through a cemetery and sees that the Master’s grave has been dug up. She thinks she sees him next to her. The next day, Willow tells Xander and Giles that Buffy must be possessed. Maybe when the Master died, his evilness infected her. “Why else would she be acting like such a B-I-T-C-H?” Willow asks. Giles tells her they’re all too old to be spelling out curse words. “A bitca?” says a confused Xander.

Anyway, Giles thinks Buffy just has “issues.” She fought the Master and technically died for a few minutes. She just hasn’t dealt with it. Xander spots Buffy approaching them and pretends they were talking about trout. Buffy announces that the Master’s grave is empty – she thinks Collin and his followers are going to use his bones to resurrect him. Giles didn’t warn her that that could happen because no one has ever successfully revived a vampire.

Willow defends Giles, and Buffy snaps at her that she doesn’t need any comments from “civilians” on Slayer business. Xander in turn snaps at her for speaking to Willow like that. Snyder interrupts to send the kids to class, so they’ll have to finish the discussion later. After they leave, Snyder tells Giles that there are some things he can smell. “It’s like a sixth sense,” he says. “Actually, that would be one of the five,” Giles notes. Snyder means that Buffy is trouble. Eventually, she’ll be expelled and possibly sent to jail. Giles thinks she’ll surprise him. Snyder thinks he’s weird for having faith in teenagers.

Later, in the library, Giles tells the Scoobies that to revive the Master, Collin and his followers will need his bones and the blood of someone closest to him. Buffy thinks that’s her. Suddenly someone throws a big rock through the window. A note is wrapped around it, fastened with a bracelet Buffy recognizes as Cordelia’s. The note summons Buffy to the Bronze before the vampires make Cordelia a meal. “They’re going to cook her dinner?” Xander says. Yes, honey. That’s what that means.

Buffy announces that she’s going to the Bronze…alone. She can’t keep an eye on the Scoobies while she’s fighting vampires. Willow and Giles think she’s walking into a trap. Buffy says she can handle it, but Willow’s tired of her saying that. Buffy tells the Scoobies that this is her fight, not theirs.

Angel doesn’t get that memo, so he follows Buffy to the Bronze and insists on backing her up. She tells him she doesn’t trust him, since he’s a vampire. Angel says she has to trust someone, and she can’t do this alone. Buffy says she’s strong enough to do it, and definitely stronger than he is. She knows he’s thought about what would happen if the two of them ever had to fight. Why don’t they find out? Angel says no, but Buffy tries to entice him: “Come on. Kick my a%$.” Angel tells her to go off and fight Collin’s followers already. He’ll stay out of her way.

Inside the Bronze, Buffy finds someone crying, and she quickly determines it’s someone she’s supposed to think is Cordelia. It’s really a vampire, but Angel isn’t sure why she’s serving as bait. Buffy agrees – why would Collin’s followers only send one vampire? In the library, Giles answers that question. The blood in the resurrection ritual needs to come from the person or people physically closest to the Master when he died. That means Willow, Giles, Jenny, and Cordelia. The vampires lured Buffy away so they could invade the library and capture the Scoobies.

Buffy tells Angel to keep an eye on the bait vampire, then rushes back to the library, which is now trashed. Xander has been left behind, and he’s upset that Buffy’s lone-wolf attitude has led to Giles and Willow being kidnapped. If the vampires hurt Willow, Xander will kill Buffy. He explains why the vampires wanted Giles and Willow (as well as Cordelia and Jenny). Now they just need to find out where they all are.

Buffy and Xander go to the Bronze so Buffy can interrogate the bait vampire. She puts her cross necklace down the vampire’s throat to burn her in hopes of getting her to spill. Elsewhere, Absalom orders Collin’s followers to begin the ritual, which involves hanging Willow, Giles, Cordelia, and Jenny upside-down over the Master’s bones so they can bleed down onto him.

As Buffy, Angel, and Xander arrive, she tells the guys to help the Scoobies while she distracts the vampires. Well, I guess “distract” isn’t the right word. She’s just going to kill them. Everything goes according to plan, and once the humans are safe, Angel joins Buffy in fighting the vampires. Xander tells Giles that Buffy is “working out her issues.”

Absalom calls an end to the battle, announcing that he’s going to smash Buffy up. She asks if they’re going to make small talk or get to the fighting. Well, there isn’t any fighting, since she just lights him on fire and kills him. He leaves behind a big mallet, which she uses to smash the Master’s bones. The Scoobies look on as she finally deals with her feelings about what the Master did to her.

At school the next day, Cordelia tells Jenny that what happened will stay with her forever. Well, at least on her clothes. Buffy admits to Giles that she doesn’t think she can face Willow and Xander. He tells her it’s pointless to punish herself, but Buffy knows her behavior put her friends in danger. Giles says this isn’t the worse mistake she’ll ever make. (That’s supposed to be a good thing.)

Buffy gathers her courage and goes to class, where Xander and Willow have saved her a seat. They start talking about their teacher, then their plans for the evening. Willow doesn’t think the Bronze will be that much fun, since it’s the middle of the week. “Well, we could grind our enemies into talcum powder with a sledgehammer, but gosh, we did that last night,” Xander says. And just like that, everything’s okay.

I guess Collin missed all the action, because he comes to his followers’ lair to find smashed bones and no more vampires. “I hate that girl,” he complains.

Thoughts: Absalom is also Nat from ER, which might be the biggest difference I’ve seen in two characters I’ve recapped who were played by the same actor.

Jenny went to Burning Man and tells Giles he should have been there. Please enjoy that visual.

I don’t think I use any word or phrase from this show more often than I use “bitca.”

1 Comment »

  1. Myriam said,

    I love this ep! I agree that the dream scene where Giles transforms into the monster is really well-written and executed. It’s shocking/scary every time I watch it!

    Did you know that the singer of Cibo Matto is John Lennon’s son! So cool right.

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