February 5, 2022

Buffy 2.13, Surprise: One Minute of Happiness

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 1:13 pm by Jenn

Use protection, guys! Wait, never mind

Summary: Buffy wakes up in the middle of the night and goes to get some water. Drusilla follows without her noticing. Buffy opens a door and ends up in the Bronze, where Willow is talking to a monkey in French. Joyce is also there, and she asks Buffy if she really thinks she’s ready. She drops the mug she’s holding and it shatters. Buffy spots Angel, but before she can reach him, Drusilla stakes him through the back and he turns to dust. “Happy birthday, Buffy,” Drusilla says. In case it wasn’t clear that that was a dream, Buffy wakes up in her bed.

In the morning, she goes to Angel’s lair to make sure he’s okay. He’s fine, and also shirtless. She tells him she dreamed that Drusilla was alive and killed him. It felt real, but Angel promises it wasn’t. Buffy reminds him that the dreams she had about the Master came true. He says not all of her dreams are prophetic. For example, the dream she had about opening an office-supply warehouse with Giles probably won’t come true.

Still, Buffy’s worried that Drusilla’s alive. Angel promises she isn’t (wrong!), then kisses her to take her mind off of things. They start making out, and Buffy tries to slam on the brakes so she can go to school, but Angel’s not done with the kissing. He asks her what she wants for her birthday, and she tells him to surprise her. Buffy likes seeing him first thing in the morning, which is actually his bedtime. She’s finding it harder and harder to say goodbye to him every night.

At school, Buffy tells Willow about this conversation. Willow thinks Angel’s cool and would never push Buffy to do anything she’s not comfortable with. But Buffy’s wrestling with her feelings of wanting to sleep with him and her uncertainty whether she should take that leap. She knows wanting to have sex isn’t a good justification for doing it, but she’s also worried she’ll never feel this way again. Willow gives her the advice Buffy once gave her: carpe diem. (Buffy: “Fish of the day?”) Buffy decides it’s time to go for it.

The girls spot Oz, and Buffy asks if Willow has felt any “sparkage” with him. Willow’s hesitant because Oz is a senior. Buffy points out that him being a whole year older than her is nothing: “My boyfriend had a bicentennial.” She doesn’t want Willow to wait around forever for Xander to realize she’s a good match. Willow’s worried that talking to Oz will lead to awkwardness, but Buffy says she needs to at least try and see what happens.

So Willow approaches Oz, who’s playing his guitar, and uses his band as a conversation starter. He announces that he’s going to ask her out for the next night, but he’s a little nervous. To help with that, Willow tells him she’ll say yes. He asks her out, but she remembers that she already has plans – the Scoobies are throwing Buffy a surprise birthday party. She invites him to come as her date.

Xander is trying to extend the same invitation to Cordelia, who’s upset that she’s expected to cook for the party. By “cook” she means buying chips and dip. Xander awkwardly tries to suggest that they go to the party together. They keep meeting up to make out, so maybe they should bite the bullet and admit that they’re dating. Cordelia objects that they can’t call it dating until they actually go on a date, where he’ll have to pay. Xander agrees to that, mostly because he’s sick of hiding their…relationship or whatever from his friends. Cordelia says it’s shameful for her to be open about their…relationship? I guess?

Xander meets up with Giles as Buffy and Jenny head their way. Buffy tells the others about her Drusilla dream, which she’s still trying to convince herself wasn’t prophetic. Giles says they should be on alert just in case, but Buffy shouldn’t worry too much. She says that since Angel’s involved, she’s automatically going to worry too much.

Dalton delivers a package to Spike, who hasn’t completely recovered from the church fire and is using a wheelchair to get around. He and Drusilla are throwing a party in their lair, but he’s not excited about it. He complains that Sunnydale is cursed for them because of Buffy and Angel. Drusilla promises that she has “good games” for everyone. She has a fit over some flowers and tears them apart. Spike calms her down and lets her take a peek at one of her presents. Whatever it is, “it reeks of death.” Drusilla predicts this will be the best party ever because it’ll be the last.

The next day is Buffy’s 17th birthday. She asks Joyce about trying again to get her driver’s license. Joyce asks if she really thinks she’s ready, then drops her plate like she did the mug in Buffy’s dream. At school, Jenny gets a visit from a man named Enyos, who’s annoyed that she hasn’t been in touch more. (They don’t directly mention it in this episode, but he’s her uncle.) She’s ignoring her responsibility to her people. An elder has read in the signs that something is different. Jenny promises that the curse is still in place.

Enyos disagrees – the elder says “his” pain isn’t as strong anymore. Jenny reluctantly tells him that there’s a girl. Angel is still suffering, but he’s trying to make amends for his past deeds. He even saved Jenny’s life. Enyos reminds her that Angel killed their tribe’s most beloved daughter. His pain should be eternal. He shouldn’t get even one minute of happiness from Buffy – that would be too much. Jenny is still Janna of the Kalderash people, a Romani. She needs to prove her loyalty. No more watching – she needs to make sure Angel loses Buffy.

In the library, Buffy tells Giles about her conversation with Joyce and how similar it was to her dream. Xander and Willow try to cheer her up, since it’s her birthday, but she can’t stop worrying about Drusilla. Giles reminds her that dreams aren’t actually prophecies – she dreamed that the Master rose, but she stopped him. That means they can protect Angel.

Giles says he’ll read up on Drusilla, and Buffy can meet him back at the library that night to catch up. After Buffy leaves, Willow and Xander lament that they’ll have to cancel her surprise party. Giles tells them the party is still on. Yes, Buffy and Angel might be in danger, but they can still have some fun. He’s learned from living on the Hellmouth that there’s never really a good time to relax. Buffy’s only going to turn 17 once, and she deserves a fun night.

Buffy returns to the school that night and runs into Jenny, who tells her Giles has changed their plans and wants to meet her somewhere else. She offers to give Buffy a ride. They end up at the Bronze, where Dalton is outside, getting another package for Spike and Drusilla. Buffy fights some vampires while Dalton runs off. Inside, the Scoobies are waiting for the birthday girl, who makes a grand entrance by flying through a window with a vampire. After she stakes him, Cordelia jumps out and yells, “Surprise!” “That pretty much sums it up,” Oz comments.

Buffy’s really touched that her friends arranged the whole party for her. Oz is confused but not scared about learning that vampires are real. Xander tells him Willow will fill him in on the details. Willow starts to ease into it, but Oz says, “Actually, it explains a lot.” Jenny brings in a package that was left behind, a big metal arm. It grabs Buffy around the throat, and Angel has to wrestle it back into its box.

He knows what they’re dealing with and what it means. There’s a legend about a demon that can be brought forth to get rid of all humanity. The righteous will be separated from the wicked, and the righteous will be destroyed. The demon is called the Judge, a name Giles is familiar with. The Judge couldn’t be killed, but an army dismembered him and buried pieces of him around the world. Drusilla must be having the pieces brought together so she can reassemble the Judge and bring an end to humanity.

Giles announces that they need to get the arm out of town. Jenny nominates Angel to do the job, though it’ll require a months-long trip. Angel agrees that it should be him, and that he should leave as soon as possible. Sorry about your birthday, Buffy. Jenny offers to drive Angel to the docks so he can take a cargo ship to a remote part of Asia where the arm will never be found.

Drusilla is very disappointed in Dalton for losing the arm. She breaks his glasses, then tells him to make a wish before she blows out the candles. Spike suggests giving him a chance to find the arm before she does anything to him (or, more specifically, his eyes). Dalton promises that he can get it back. Drusilla agrees, then puts his glasses back on him.

Buffy goes to the docks with Angel to say goodbye. He promises he’ll come back, but she’s worried that they won’t live long enough to be reunited. He reminds her that life is uncertain. He gives her her birthday present, a claddagh ring. It’s a sign of devotion in his Irish heritage, and if she wears it with the heart pointing towards her, it means she belongs to someone.

Buffy asks Angel not to go, though they both know he has to. After they share a long kiss goodbye, he’s about to say something when they’re attacked by two vampires. While Buffy and Angel are distracted, Dalton comes in and steals the Judge’s arm. Angel is able to tackle him, but another vampire grabs the box and runs off. Buffy winds up in the water, and Angel jumps in after her.

The Scoobies wait for Buffy in the library, worried that she’s not back and sad that she has to say goodbye to Angel. Xander thinks this is for the best, because what kind of life would Buffy and Angel have together? She’ll lose interest in him eventually. Xander also imagines himself swooping in and sweeping Buffy off her feet.

Buffy arrives and announces that Drusilla got the arm. Jenny took Angel to get dry clothes (Buffy had a change of clothes at school, for some reason). Giles has learned that the Judge burns people alive once they’ve been judged righteous. Someone who’s truly evil can survive his touch because they have no humanity left, but humans will definitely die. Xander jokes that they can send Cordelia to fight him.

Buffy asks how they stop the Judge without an army. Giles’ texts say that “no weapon forged” can defeat him. Their best option is to stop Drusilla from reassembling him. The Scoobies will have to work all night, so they call their parents to pretend they’re spending the night at each other’s houses. They settle in for a long study session, though Willow’s distracted by thoughts of Oz.

Angel arrives as Buffy is falling asleep in Giles’ office. He knows Buffy hasn’t been sleeping well recently – not because he’s been in bed with her, but because she told him about her dreams. Buffy’s having another one right now: She’s in Spike and Drusilla’s lair, as is Jenny, though Buffy only sees her from behind. She finds the pieces of the Judge, but before she can do anything, Drusilla gets her attention and puts a knife to Angel’s throat. Buffy wakes up yelling her boyfriend’s name.

Drusilla starts the party at her and Spike’s place as Spike brings her the last piece of the Judge. He emerges from his boxes, reassembled. He thinks Drusilla and Spike have some humanity in them, since they’re in love, but Spike doesn’t think that means anything. The Judge tells some minions to bring Dalton to him so he can practice killing. He puts his hand on Dalton’s chest and burns him into nothing. Drusilla’s thrilled.

Buffy tells Giles that she thinks she knows where Spike and Drusilla are. She and Angel are going to check out their lair while the other Scoobies look into places where they might be accepting shipments of the pieces of the Judge. They need to stop Spike and Drusilla from getting all the boxes in one place.

Angel and Buffy go to the old factory where Spike and Drusilla are living, and Buffy recognizes the setup from her dream. They realize they’re too late and the Judge has already been reassembled. The Judge spots them and some minions capture the intruders. Angel offers himself up as the Judge’s next victim instead of Buffy, but Spike tells him that’s a waste of energy since they’re both going to die.

Drusilla wants Buffy to go first so Angel has to watch her die. As Buffy tries to fight the Judge without touching him, Angel pulls a chain that brings down a bunch of TVs hanging up together. This is somehow enough to provide a barrier and distraction that allows Buffy and Angel to escape into the sewer. Drusilla sends minions after them, but they’re not good at tracking people.

Buffy and Angel run to his place to hide out and dry out from the rain they’ve just run through. He gives her some clothes and tells her to warm up in his bed. She’s still upset that he almost left town – she feels like she lost him without actually losing him. She remembers what he said about life being uncertain and how they can’t be sure of anything.

He starts to say what he wanted to tell her on the docks: He loves her. They both have tried to stop feeling the way they do about each other, but they can’t do it. They start kissing, and though Angel thinks they shouldn’t go too far, Buffy’s ready. They have sex (off-screen) and fall asleep in his bed. Sometime later, Angel wakes up gasping. He runs outside, groaning in pain and yelling Buffy’s name. Inside, she’s still asleep. To be continued…

Thoughts: Vincent Schiavelli, who plays Enyos, also played Lanny in “Humbug.” Brian Thompson, who plays the Judge, also played Luke.

Oz and Willow are adorable together. ADORABLE.

Finding out who Jenny really was during the original run of the series felt like such a betrayal. There’s a lot to be said for watching a show without any knowledge of what’s going to happen, which is so much harder to do now that you can find so many spoilers on the Internet. The same goes for the ending of this episode and the whole “one minute of happiness” thing. We knew it meant consequences, but we had no idea what they would be.

1 Comment »

  1. Myriam said,

    Now that we know a bit more about Jenny, I really wonder if she knew Buffy was the slayer in S1? It’s really hard to tell. It’s possible that her elders sent her to Sunnydale because this is where Angel was at the time, and she truly was surprised to learn that Buffy is the slayer when Giles told her in S1.

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