January 1, 2022

Buffy 2.8, The Dark Age: Return of the Ripper

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

Giles can definitely be intimidating when he wants to be

Summary: A man with a silver case comes to Sunnydale High one night, looking for Giles. A custodian points him toward the library, but before the man can get there, he encounters a demonic-looking woman. He knows her as Diedre and she knows him as Philip. Philip bangs on the outside door to the library, begging for help, but no one comes to save him.

It may be because Buffy’s blasting techno music while working out in the library. Giles complains but doesn’t make her turn it down. Back outside, Diedre chokes Philip, so by the time Buffy turns off the music, there’s nothing to hear from outside. Philip and Diedre both collapse, and she turns into some blue goo that spreads toward Philip’s body.

That night, Giles dreams of some ritualistic activities from decades earlier – someone tattooing their own hand, people chanting with candles, and a guy saying it’s time to go to sleep. Also, there’s a demon. At school, Buffy and Willow play Anywhere But Here, a game where they imagine themselves…well, anywhere but there. Buffy’s on a beach with Gavin Rossdale, and Willow encounters John Cusack in Italy. Xander joins them and offers his usual scenario: hanging out at a water-slide park with Hong Kong actress Amy Yip.

Willow wonders if Giles ever played Anywhere But Here when he was in school. Xander says he must have lived for school and is still bitter that it ended after 12 grades. Buffy guesses that he “sat in math class thinking, ‘There should be more math. This could be mathier.'” Willow isn’t sure he didn’t get restless as a kid. Buffy says he had tweed diapers.

Giles joins the group to talk about Buffy’s assignment for that night: The blood supply at the hospital is getting its monthly replenishment, which means vampires are likely to try to steal themselves some free meals. Buffy and Giles will meet there to protect it. Giles will bring the weapons; Buffy will bring the snacks. He wants her to be serious, so she asks if she’s ever let him down. “Should I answer that or should I just glare?” he replies.

Jenny approaches and reminds Willow that she’s going to help with a tutoring session the next day. Xander learns for the first time that he has to attend. Cordelia will also be there, which means Xander has to a) do an extra day of class b) on Saturday c) with Cordelia. Giles and Jenny head off together, with the other Scoobies admiring their cuteness…until they realize they don’t want to think about the two of them together.

Giles and Jenny chat about a book he loaned her, and she teases him by pretending she marked it up and spilled coffee on it. She tells him he’s a “fuddy-duddy.” Yeah, he’s definitely heard that one before. She adds that he’s also kind of sexy. That one, he hasn’t heard. They agree to meet up the next night for some very adult activities.

A detective named Winslow is waiting for Giles in the library with a couple of cops. They found Philip’s body, and he had Giles’ name and address in his pocket. Cordelia comes in looking for a book for her computer class, completely unphased by the presence of law enforcement. When Giles points out that he’s busy talking to them, Cordelia asks Winslow to help her get a traffic ticket thrown out. (She was pulled over for driving down a one-way street. Yeah, she was going in the wrong direction, but she was only going one way!)

Giles gets sharp, trying to get her to leave. She tells him he doesn’t have to yell – she can take a hint. She needs a hint with the hint, though. He kicks her out, then goes to the morgue with the detective so he can ID Philip’s body. The two of them were friends back in London but haven’t spoken in 20 years. Giles doesn’t know why Philip wanted to get in touch now. He sees a tattoo on Philip’s arm but tells Winslow he doesn’t know what the symbol means.

Buffy’s on time for the blood delivery that night, but Giles is late. She’s happy enough to get to admire a couple of doctors accepting the delivery, until she realizes that doctors probably wouldn’t be handling that. They’re really vampires, and another vampire yells at them for sampling the product. Buffy fights all three of them (one at a time, of course) and is surprised when Angel arrives to lend a hand. One guy gets away, but the blood is safe. Buffy asks Angel to take it inside while she tries to find out why Giles didn’t show up.

She goes to his apartment, where he tells her he’s busy and will see her on Monday. He totally forgot about the blood delivery. He says he’s in the middle of something important, then dismisses her. After Buffy leaves, Giles tries to call Diedre and learns that she died recently. He crosses her name off a list that includes five names: Thomas, Philip, Diedre, Giles, and Ethan. Giles and Ethan’s names are the only ones not crossed off. Giles goes to the bathroom to splash water on his face, first rolling up his sleeve, which reveals that he has the same tattoo as Philip. “So…you’re back,” he says.

In the morgue, Philip wakes up, his eyes glowing yellow. When an attendant comes to check on the occupants, Philip’s drawer is empty. Philip ambushes him and shoves him in the drawer. At Sunnydale High, Jenny, Willow, Xander, and Cordelia are arriving for their Saturday session. Buffy shows up to talk to Jenny about Giles’ weird behavior the day before. Jenny gets concerned when Buffy says that he was drinking by himself. Xander isn’t surprised – people wound tightly like Giles eventually go dark. His uncle Rory was the same way.

Buffy confirms that no one else has noticed anything strange with Giles. Cordelia says he was fine when she talked to him the day before, while he was dealing with the police. She didn’t mention that to the Scoobies earlier because she didn’t think it was important. Buffy goes to the library to call Giles, but before she can, she hears someone in the stacks. It’s Ethan, and he pushes a shelf over on her so he can get away. She stops him and recognizes him as the person behind the Halloween mischief. She punches him and he asks if that makes them even.

Ethan says he’s just there to snoop around. Buffy suggests that she call the police and let them handle whatever’s going on here. He tells her that the police will want to talk to Giles, someone he’s known for a long time and is looking for. Giles is currently passed out at his desk at home, having dreams like the ones he had the night before – tattoos, demons, someone with glowing eyes, all that stuff. Buffy calls and asks him what the Mark of Eyghon is. That would be his tattoo, which Ethan also has.

She tells him she’s with Ethan, and Giles warns that she’s in danger. She needs to get as far away from him as possible. Turns out Ethan isn’t the threat, though – Philip is. He bursts into the library and faces off with Buffy. Ethan tries to escape, but the Scoobies are on their way in, and Buffy tells them to capture him. Cordelia stops him by kicking and tripping him.

Buffy locks Philip in the book cage, and the Scoobies determine that they’re dealing with a zombie. Giles arrives and makes sure everyone’s okay. “I kicked a guy!” Cordelia boasts. Xander thanks Philip for interrupting class. Giles reminds Ethan that he told him to leave town, but Ethan, who calls him Ripper, says the lease on his costume shop isn’t up until the end of the month. Cordelia wonders why Ethan called Giles “Ripper.” Giles grabs Ethan by the hair, pulling him out of his chair, and says he should have left earlier. Cordelia gets the nickname now.

Giles is coolly furious that Ethan put people he cares about in danger. Ethan wonders why Giles didn’t leave town if he was so worried about them. He knows Giles has been having the dreams, since Ethan’s also having them. They both know what’s coming. Buffy demands answers, but before Giles can give them, Philip breaks out of the book cage, hitting Jenny with the door and knocking her out. Giles checks on her while Buffy fights the zombie, which doesn’t take much effort. He starts convulsing and falls to the ground. Then he turns into blue goo like Diedre did, spreading toward Jenny.

Buffy realizes that Ethan ran off, and she goes off to find him. Jenny regains consciousness and seems okay, except for the part where her eyes can glow now. Buffy returns, having lost Ethan, and again demands answers. Giles doesn’t want to share secrets about his past, but Buffy doesn’t think he has the right to privacy anymore. He sternly tells her that he’s her Watcher, and he’s ordering her to stay out of this.

Giles takes Jenny home, and the Scoobies immediately get to work looking up the Mark of Eyghon. Cordelia wants to help, since she cares about Giles, but she might not care about him enough to work with Xander. Giles takes Jenny to his place instead of hers, and apologizes for getting her mixed up in his mess. Jenny says that since they’re dating, they should be involved in each other’s messes. He tells her he needs to take her home since he’s not a safe person to be around right now. She replies that nothing in the world is safe.

Back at the library, Willow finds information on the Mark of Eyghon, so named for the entity its bearers worship. He’s known as the sleepwalker and only exists in this reality when he temporarily possesses unconscious hosts. That possession gives them “a euphoric feeling of power.” The possession can become permanent, though, if a certain ritual isn’t performed. Then the host can manifest Eyghon. Eyghon can also possess the dead, but he eventually destroys the body he’s in and has to find a new host.

Willow’s familiar with this kind of thing, since ancient groups used to do this to make parties and orgies more fun. Buffy notes that since Philip’s body turned to goo, Eyghon must have left his body. Cordelia thinks there’s nothing to worry about, since no one’s dead. Buffy and Xander realize that someone in the room was unconscious.

Jenny pulls out Giles’ phone line as he brings her some tea. She suggests that instead of taking her home, he take advantage of her. Buffy can’t get a hold of either Giles or Jenny, so she decides to go to Giles’ place. Giles tells Jenny that while he likes her, he’s not going to hook up with her right now. She keeps trying to seduce him, and when he resists, she mocks him for always being so proper and careful. She calls him Ripper and says he never had the strength for her. “You don’t deserve me,” she says. “But guess what: You’ve got me…under your skin.”

Her voice is demonic now, and after she kisses him again, her face is, too. “Was it good for you?” she asks. She beats him up and threatens to kill him. Buffy arrives just then, but instead of fighting her, Jenny/Eyghon says, “Three down, two to go. Be seein’ ya.” Then she jumps out the window. Dramatic! Buffy asks Giles how they stop Eyghon. He’s apologetic about causing this trouble, but Buffy says this is no different from any other demon they’ve taken on. Giles says it is, since he created this one.

As Xander finds a picture of Giles from his 20s, when he looked less like a librarian and more like someone you’d see at a punk concert, Giles tells Buffy his story. He was a student at Oxford, but his studies were boring and he dreaded the future in store for him as a Watcher. He dropped out and moved to London. He got involved with a group of people who practiced magic, and he and Ethan introduced them to Eyghon. They would summon the demon to possess one of them and give them a kind of high. One of them lost control and Eyghon overtook him and killed him. Giles blames himself for the death.

The group thought Eyghon was gone after that, but he’s back and targeting the remaining members of the group. Now just Giles and Ethan are left. Buffy wants Giles to stay put while she takes care of the demon. Giles says he doesn’t know how to stop Eyghon without killing Jenny. Buffy assures him that they’ll come up with a solution. He tells her he’s sorry, and she just says that she knows.

Buffy goes to Ethan’s costume shop, since she has to protect him to protect Giles. Ethan wonders how Giles is able to earn someone’s concern. Buffy says it’s because he’s Giles. Ethan tells her they can’t run; his tattoo is like a homing beacon, so Eyghon will find him wherever he goes. Buffy says she’s not big on running away anyway. “Aren’t we manly?” he remarks. “One of us is,” she replies. She tells him to hide while she takes care of things. Ethan says that’s great, then knocks her out.

When Buffy wakes up, she’s tied face-down to a table, and Ethan is getting ready to give her a Mark of Eyghon tattoo. It’s nothing personal – he kind of likes her. He just likes himself more. She should think of this as a good deed. She’s going to take Ethan’s place so he can live. Buffy wonders if she’ll ruin that good deed by killing him. Ethan starts the tattoo, telling Buffy she’s free to scream if she wants.

Willow, Xander, and Cordelia are now looking for ways to defeat Eyghon. Cordelia’s solution: cut off the demon’s head. She and Xander start fighting, and they’re about to make it physical when Willow yells at them to work with her or get out. They immediately apologize, because angry Willow is kind of scary. Xander comes up with a much better idea: find a body for Eyghon to jump into. Willow notes that that won’t kill Eyghon, just give it a new host. But she gets another, more brilliant idea.

Buffy tries to talk Ethan out of continuing his plan, which next involves him using acid to burn off his tattoo. Giles is hit by flashes of memories from his dreams, as well as a vision of Buffy. He realizes what Ethan’s up to and rushes to the shop to stop him. Ethan’s done, though, and Jenny/Eyghon’s at his door, ready to kill again. She skips over Ethan and goes after Buffy instead.

Buffy’s able to free herself, and she’s fighting Jenny/Eyghon when Giles arrives and offers himself up instead. Buffy tries to get between him and Jenny/Eyghon, but the demon tosses her aside. Just as she’s about to possess Giles, Angel runs in and starts fighting her. The other Scoobies are right behind him, and Willow promises that this will work.

It does – the demon leaves Jenny and possesses Angel, who briefly turns into a demon before passing out. Buffy realizes that Eyghon, thinking he was in danger, jumped into the nearest dead person. Angel already has a demon inside him, and it was stronger than Eyghon. So, to sum up, Eyghon’s gone, Jenny and Angel are fine, and Ethan has escaped (again). Happy ending!

At school on Monday, Buffy complains to Willow and Xander that she was saving her allowance to buy some shoes, and now she’ll have to use the money to get her tattoo removed. She just hopes Joyce doesn’t see it before then. Xander praises Willow for her brilliant idea to put Eyghon into Angel. Buffy thinks she should become a Watcher. Willow doesn’t think she could handle the stress. She doesn’t know how Giles does it. Buffy says he doesn’t have a choice.

Giles runs into Jenny, who’s been avoiding his calls. She says she’s fine, or at least coping. He offers his help, but Jenny clearly doesn’t want to be too involved with him right now. Giles gets it. Buffy asks him how she’s doing, and he tells her he’s not sure Jenny will ever be able to forgive him. Buffy thinks he should forgive himself first. Giles says he never wanted Buffy to see that side of him. She admits that it was scary, but it just let her see him as a person. They’re both flawed, which means they have something in common. That probably won’t ever extend to their music preferences, though.

Thoughts: Some teens drink or use drugs to feel good; some do rituals so they can be possessed by a demon. I get it. We all have our vices.

Cordelia being so proud of herself just for kicking Ethan always cracks me up. I think she expects a reward.

Giles without glasses is a whole different look, and Jenny finding him sexy is a lot more understandable.

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