January 8, 2022

Buffy 2.9, What’s My Line?, Part 1: The Rest of Your Life

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 1:11 pm by Jenn

If she can love him like this, it’s true love

Summary: Willow arrives at school in a good mood and signs up for the upcoming career fair. Everyone’s taking career-aptitude tests. Xander’s stumped by a question about whether he’s a people person or likes to be with others. He’s a people person but is often alone for reasons he can’t control. Buffy tells him to mark “none of the above,” which isn’t an option. Willow joins them as Xander complains that a multiple-choice test isn’t a good indicator of what they’ll be doing for the rest of their lives.

Willow’s curious about what kind of career she could have. Xander would prefer to be in the dark so he can continue being spontaneous and dumb. Cordelia comes by, reading a question on the test about whether she wants to help other people. She says yes, as long as those people aren’t dirty or gross. Xander mocks her, of course, and she mocks him back. “Is murder always a crime?” Xander wonders out loud.

Buffy can’t decide whether she likes shrubs. That right there tells me this is a bogus test. She figures it doesn’t matter anyway, since her destiny has already been determined. She’ll be killing vampires for free for the rest of her life. But Snyder is making her take the test, so here she is. Willow thinks Buffy must be at least a little curious about what kind of job she’s suited for, even if she’ll never have that job. Buffy doesn’t see the point in even thinking about it. Unless Hell freezes over and all the vampires in town leave, Buffy’s future is sealed.

Spike is consulting with a vampire named Dalton who’s trying to decipher a book. Drusilla is reading tarot cards and wants some alone time with her boyfriend. Spike’s frustrated because the book should hold the key to a cure for Drusilla, but Dalton isn’t having any luck with it. Spike tells Drusilla they’re running out of time – Buffy keeps interfering. Drusilla’s sure that Spike will solve everything.

Dalton determines that the book isn’t in a language he can read. In fact, he’s not sure it’s a real language. Spike beats him up, trying to inspire him to work harder. Drusilla consults her cards and announces that Dalton can’t help without “the key.” No, no, that’s not until season 5. The book is written in code, and they’ll find the key in a mausoleum. To celebrate, Spike dances with Drusilla, promising to dance with her again on Buffy’s grave.

That night, Buffy catches Dalton chipping away at something in a mausoleum. She patiently waits for him to come out, but he runs off while she’s fighting another vampire. Angel’s waiting in her room when she gets home, and she teases him for holding her stuffed pig, Mr. Gordo. She tells him Joyce is out of town, so they don’t have to whisper. (She’s sneaking in her bedroom window out of habit.)

Angel says he wanted to make sure Buffy was okay because he had a bad feeling. She thinks that means he has bad news. She apologizes for being grumpy; the career fair is getting to her. Angel knows all about it already: “I lurk.” Buffy’s frustrated that everyone else is playing What’s My Line? while she has her future already set in stone. She wishes she had a normal life, like she had before.

Angel thinks she means she wants the life she had before she met him. No, sweetie, she means before she became the Slayer. Buffy assures him that he’s the best part of her weird life. She just wishes they could be normal teens sometimes. Well, a regular kid and her “cradle-robbing, creature-of-the-night boyfriend.”

He spots a picture of her ice skating as a kid, and she admits that she went through a big Dorothy Hamill phase. She used skating as an escape when her parents started fighting. It’s been a while since she skated, but Angel knows of a rink that’s closed on Tuesdays. Conveniently, tomorrow is Tuesday.

At school the next day, Cordelia is thrilled to see that the careers she’s most suited for are personal shopper or motivational speaker. She laughs at Xander’s results. He tells Buffy and Willow he’s been pegged as a future prison guard. Buffy notes that at least he’ll be on the right side of the bars. So will she, as she’s been assigned to learn more about law enforcement. That makes perfect sense.

Buffy says she’ll jump off that bridge when she comes to it. First she has to meet with Giles, who’s become super-efficient and wants to see her every day after homeroom. Willow asks Xander where she was assigned. He tells her she wasn’t on the list telling them which seminar to attend. That confuses and worries her.

Buffy goes to the library, where Giles has been indexing past Watchers’ diaries. She tells him about Dalton’s theft but doesn’t know what he took. Giles chastises her for not trying to find out what it was. Buffy tells him that if he doesn’t like the way she does her job, he can find someone else to do it. Oh, right, there’s no one else as long as Buffy’s alive. She could just die. Giles isn’t amused that she’s joking about that. Buffy says her life might as well be over, since she doesn’t get to control it. Giles ask her to hold off on introspection until they find out what Dalton stole.

It’s a cross, and Drusilla can sense that it has some sort of power. Spike tells her they’ll have a big party when she’s well. Dalton’s worried that Buffy will interfere yet again. Spike complains about how she always does; they’ll never cure Drusilla with Buffy around all the time. He decides to call in some bounty hunters from the Order of Taraka. Drusilla’s tarot cards show three of them coming. Dalton thinks that’s overkill, but Spike says it’s “just enough kill.”

Willow and Xander suck up to Snyder for putting on a great career fair, hoping to distract him from noticing that Buffy’s not attending (since she’s gone on a field trip with Giles). Snyder doesn’t fall for it. He tells Xander that everything he says is “a waste of breath, an airborne toxic event.” Xander appreciates Snyder’s honesty and hopes to be in the position to be just as honest with him someday.

Xander leaves Willow for his seminar, and two guys in suits come by to take her to a private space with classical music and canapes. She’s been chosen to meet with a recruiter for a software company. She’s told that the aptitude test was irrelevant; the company has been keeping an eye on Willow for a while. They’re very selective, and only one other Sunnydale student has met their criteria: Oz. He’s finally alone with the girl he keeps thinking about.

Giles and Buffy go to the mausoleum to find out what Dalton stole. She’s upset with him for being critical of her. He tells her she can be the Slayer and have a job, like he’s a Watcher and a librarian. Buffy thinks that makes sense, though – those two positions “go together like chicken and…another chicken.” There’s nothing out there for her that fits with being the Slayer. Giles suggests law enforcement. She’s not amused.

In the mausoleum, Giles sees that Dalton broke into a reliquary, a spot that houses meaningful religious artifacts. Sometimes those artifacts are things like a saint’s finger. “Note to self: Religion freaky,” Buffy says. He spots the name on the mausoleum, du Lac, and realizes they’re dealing with someone who was so evil, he was excommunicated and sent to Sunnydale.

The book that was stolen from the library was also by du Lac. It contains spells and rituals that bring forth evil. It was written in archaic Latin, and only people from du Lac’s sect can understand it. Buffy thinks that’s okay, since chances are good that no one can read the book. But Giles thinks someone must have the key to decode it, which means something bad is coming their way.

A big, unfriendly-looking guy arrives in town via bus. Meanwhile, a salesman named Norman Pfister offers one of Buffy’s neighbors some free makeup samples. After she lets him in her house, she screams. At the airport, a crewman finds someone stowing away in a plane. It’s a young woman (Kendra) who beats him up, then sneaks away.

Back at school, Buffy and Giles fill Xander and Willow in on what they’re dealing with. The cross Dalton stole is called, fittingly, the du Lac Cross (which Xander thinks is a weak name). It’s basically a decoder ring for the book. It’s the only one that still exists; du Lac destroyed the others out of fear that they would fall into the wrong hands. The Scoobies’ best bet is discovering what’s in the book before Dalton does.

Giles wants the group to stay as long as necessary to find out what’s in the book, but Buffy excuses herself, since she has that skating date with Angel. She points out that she’s not very helpful with the book stuff anyway. Willow backs her up, and Giles doesn’t put up a fight. Only Xander thinks Buffy should stay, partly because she usually provides snacks.

Buffy gets to the rink before Angel and skates around for a little while. (Sarah Michelle Gellar was a competitive skater before she got into acting.) The big guy from the bus is watching her, but she doesn’t notice until she takes a fall and he’s able to grab her. Angel arrives in time to save her, though Buffy then saves him by slitting the guy’s throat with her skate. In her lair, Drusilla turns over the guy’s tarot card, having sensed that he’s dead. Spike isn’t worried, since they’re close to decoding the manuscript.

Angel recognizes the guy’s ring and tells Buffy she’s in danger. She needs to go home and wait until she hears from him. Buffy’s worried about a cut on Angel’s forehead, but he just wants her to go somewhere safe. He also doesn’t want her to touch him while he’s vamped out. Buffy doesn’t mind, and she says she didn’t even notice. They kiss as Kendra watches them from across the rink.

Buffy takes the ring to Giles, who also recognizes it. Assassins from the Order of Taraka are after Buffy. Xander makes quips about the group until Giles tells him this is a serious matter. Buffy wonders why the assassins are after her; she hasn’t killed that many vampires lately. Giles agrees with Angel that she needs to hide somewhere.

Buffy asks if that means she’s not strong enough to fight the assassins. Giles tells her that they only work toward the goal of collecting their bounty, and nothing gets in their way. They don’t stop until they eliminate their target. Buffy can kill as many as she can, but they’ll keep coming until she’s dead. They all work alone, in their own ways. Some are human and some aren’t. Like Norman, who’s made of bugs and is now staking out the Summerses’ home from the neighbor’s house.

It’s hard to go back to your normal teen life when you know unidentifiable assassins are after you, so Buffy struggles to overcome her paranoia at the career fair. Poor Oz gets very confused when she grabs him and challenges him to try to kill her. That night, Buffy can’t bring herself to go home to her empty house.

Willow and Giles are still at the library, looking for information on the stolen book. Xander has tried calling Buffy, but she’s not answering. Giles worries that he spooked her too much. Buffy goes to Angel’s lair, letting herself in when he doesn’t answer the door. She curls up in his bed and waits for him.

Angel’s at a bar, meeting with a guy known as Willy the Snitch. He claims he’s staying out of bad stuff, but Angel doesn’t believe him. He asks who sent the Order of Taraka after Buffy. Willy lies that he’s out of the loop, which Angel also doesn’t believe. He guesses Spike is responsible. He threatens to torture Willy if he doesn’t give him information. Willy starts to tell him where Spike and Drusilla are, but Kendra interrupts and starts fighting Angel.

They’re pretty evenly matched, but she wins and gets him on the ground. Angel says he won’t hurt her if she tells him something useful. Kendra locks him in a big storage cage and mentions Buffy (in a famously bad Caribbean accent). Angel threatens to hurt her if she goes after Buffy, but Kendra doesn’t think he’ll be able to stop her. The sun will be up in a few hours, and Angel’s cage faces east.

Giles sends Xander to Buffy’s house to check on her, since no one’s heard from her. Xander doesn’t have a ride, so Giles suggests that he ask Cordelia to drive him. Willow is still in the library, having fallen asleep, and when Giles wakes her, she exclaims, “Don’t warn the tadpoles!” She admits that she’s afraid of frogs. He tells her he’s found a description of the missing book. It contains a ritual that may restore a vampire’s health. They guess Spike wants it for Drusilla.

Dalton has finished his work, and Spike realizes the cure was nearby the whole time. Drusilla presses his fingers to a tarot card depicting an angel. Cordelia takes Xander to Buffy’s, and they bicker while breaking in. She taunts that even if Buffy’s in trouble, Xander won’t be able to help her. While he’s looking around upstairs, Norman comes to the door with his sample case. Cordelia lets him in the house.

Angel’s not having any luck getting out of the cage, and the sun is up and moving his way. At his place, Buffy wakes up when Kendra arrives. Buffy guesses this is the Order of Taraka’s second attempt to take her out. They fight until Kendra asks who Buffy is. Buffy points out that Kendra’s the one who attacked her, so who’s Kendra? “I’m Kendra the vampire slayer,” she replies. To be continued!

Thoughts: Kendra is played by Bianca Lawson.

Buffy will have to get a job to make money, so I don’t see the big deal here. Sure, she’s limited in what she can do – she can’t be, say, a doctor because she’ll need her nights free for slaying – but there are plenty of possibilities.

I’m surprised Spike is willing to outsource Buffy’s murder to assassins. He’d probably still take credit for the kill, though.

1 Comment »

  1. Deja said,

    I never liked how Buffy was so rude to Kendra as if she wasn’t just doing her job…

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