February 12, 2022

Buffy 2.14, Innocence: He’s Got (No) Soul and He’s Super Bad

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

This is how everyone should channel their feelings after a bad breakup

Summary: The Judge has been reassembled, which means Spike and Drusilla have a virtually unstoppable killing machine. Spike should be happy, but he isn’t: Angel and Buffy are still alive, and they know where to find Spike and Drusilla. Drusilla thinks they’re fine staying put, since Angel won’t try to face off with the Judge again. The Judge says he’s preparing, but Spike thinks he’s being lazy. The Judge explains that his strength grows every time he kills someone. Drusilla suddenly starts moaning and says Angel’s name. Then she starts laughing.

Buffy wakes up alone in Angel’s bed. He’s still outside, in pain. He figures out what’s happening to him as a woman who’s stepped out for a smoke comes to check on him. Angel gets up, totally fine, and says the pain is gone. He turns to her, vamped out, and bites her neck, then exhales the smoke from her lungs. “I feel just fine,” he says.

Buffy sneaks into the house in the morning, which is weird because she told Joyce she was spending the night at Willow’s, so she doesn’t need to pretend she was already home. Joyce asks if something’s wrong, since Buffy looks… She trails off. The other Scoobies (and Jenny) are in the library already, worrying about Buffy, since she hasn’t checked in. Xander wants to storm the factory, but Cordelia knows that would just lead to fear and death. Giles and Jenny agree, but Willow sides with Xander.

Before anyone can walk into a certain-death situation, Buffy arrives. The group confirms that no one’s heard from Angel. Buffy tells the others that the Judge has been reassembled. She lies that after she and Angel escaped him, they split up in the sewer tunnels. Giles says their top priority is stopping the Judge, but he and Buffy know that’s beyond something she can do on her own. The kids head to class and Jenny offers to look up info on the Judge on the Internet. Willow worries that Angel went after the Judge by himself. Buffy doesn’t think so, but she’d really like him to get in touch. They don’t notice Jenny eavesdropping on them.

Back at the factory, Drusilla’s naming the stars, even though she can’t see them, and also, it’s daytime. She tells Spike she named them all the same, so there’s “terrible confusion.” He asks if she can see what happens to Angel. Angel arrives just then and makes up a story about getting his break by filling in for a Broadway star. He says he’s not going anywhere until the streets are rid of scum like Spike.

The Judge approaches to try to kill the victim who escaped the night before, but when he touches Angel, nothing happens. Angel taunts that the Judge must be broken. The Judge says Angel can’t be burned – there’s no humanity in him. Drusilla realizes what that means: The good, kind Angel is gone, and the evil, murderous, soulless Angelus is back.

Spike and Drusilla are happy to have their old murder buddy back. Angelus lights a cigarette, in case it wasn’t clear that he’s a bad guy again. Drusilla can’t wait to feed and play with her family. Spike’s glad he doesn’t have to watch Angelus be Buffy’s “lap dog” anymore. Plus, now there are four of them, including the Judge, which is a great ratio against the Slayer. Angelus is more interested in killing her than destroying humanity. Spike’s like, “You realize letting the Judge kill everyone will also kill her, right?” But Angelus wants them to hold off for a night. He’s going to mess with Buffy first. He wants her to pay for making him feel human.

Off looking for Angel, Buffy calls Willow in the library. Willow tries to convince her that Angel’s fine and she doesn’t need to worry. “Say hi for me,” is Xander’s only contribution. Willow reports that Buffy can’t find Angel anywhere, but Giles doesn’t think that means anything, since he’s disappeared before. Willow notes that Buffy’s recent dreams have made her more anxious.

Xander and Cordelia haven’t had any success finding information in Giles’ books. Cordelia has found a book that mentions the Judge, but it just repeats what they already know – he can’t be stopped by any weapons, and it took an army to defeat him the last time. Xander says they need to find a weak spot. They talk about how he was willing to rush into danger to rescue Buffy, something Cordelia thinks he would never do for her. Xander wants to kiss and make up, and though Cordelia doesn’t want to make up, she’s okay with the kissing part.

They start making out, and when they pull apart, Xander sees that Willow has caught them. He follows her into the hallway, where she says she knew this was happening. Well, not in the sense that she had any idea it was happening, but in the sense that something was off with Xander and Cordelia. They were fighting more than usual.

Willow thinks this is unnatural. When they were kids, she and Xander had a We Hate Cordelia Club; he was the treasurer. Xander promises that he was going to tell her, but she thinks he was too ashamed. He says she’s overreacting – they were just kissing. It doesn’t mean anything. Willow sadly replies that it means Xander would rather be with someone he hates than with Willow.

Buffy goes home after an unsuccessful search, then decides to go back to Angel’s place. She’s shocked to find him there. At first he acts like he’s still Angel, but she starts sensing that something’s wrong when he says he didn’t want to stick around after they had sex. “You got a lot to learn about men, kiddo,” he tells her. “Although I guess you proved that last night.” He doesn’t want to talk about their night together, beyond saying, “It happened.”

Buffy emotionally asks if she wasn’t good. Angelus laughs and says she was great, a real pro. She needs to lighten up. They had a good time, but that doesn’t mean they have to turn it into anything meaningful. Buffy says it was meaningful, at least to her. “It’s not like I’ve never been there before,” Angelus says. He should have known she couldn’t handle it. As he leaves, she whispers that she loves him. “Love you, too,” he replies casually, adding that he’ll call her.

Jenny meets up with Enyos, who tells her that for their people, vengeance is alive. It’s something that’s passed down through generations. She promises that she tried to keep Angel and Buffy apart, but she couldn’t control everything. She thinks Angel could help stop the Judge, but Enyos says it’s too late. Angel was cursed to suffer and live like a human. One moment of happiness would mean a moment of not being plagued by his soul. He had that moment, and now his soul is gone.

Enyos wanted to stop that from happening, but now he thinks things were set up to unfold like this. Jenny says Buffy loves Angel, and Enyos replies that she’ll have to kill him. Jenny notes that he could kill her first. Things have spiraled out of control. Enyos reminds her that they don’t serve justice – they serve vengeance. She tells him they’re all fools.

Willow went home to mope for a while, but she’s back at the school now, since the Scoobies need her. She doesn’t want to talk to Xander about his relationship with Cordelia, and she thinks he has “gross emotional problems,” but she can put all that aside for now. He tells her they still don’t have anything useful to help them take down the Judge – no weapons or armies. Suddenly, Xander gets an idea. Then it grows into a plan.

Before they can go back to the library, the lights go out. Angelus shows up and tells Xander and Willow he needs to show them something. He sends Xander to get the other Scoobies, then asks Willow to come closer. Xander’s down the hall already when he realizes something’s wrong. As he turns back to Willow, Jenny arrives holding a cross and tells her to get away from Angelus. He grabs Willow, showing his vamp face, and the three realize that he’s Angelus again.

He has a message for Buffy, who arrives just then and says he can give it to her himself. He tells her it’s not really a message, but the discovery of all her friends’ bodies. Buffy thinks Angelus must still have something inside him that remembers who he was. “Dream on, schoolgirl,” he says. “Your boyfriend is dead.” Xander takes the cross from Jenny and creeps up behind Angelus as Buffy tries to get him to let go of Willow. Xander thrusts the cross at Angelus, who drops Willow and starts to leave. On his way out, he kisses Buffy and tells her, “Things are about to get very interesting.”

The Scoobies regroup in the library and confirm that Angel is Angelus again and they’re all in danger. Buffy’s silent, looking at the ring he gave her. She thinks she should have known from the way he talked to her at his place. Willow asks how Jenny knew that he was Angelus. Jenny just says she saw his vamp face. Giles wishes they knew what triggered Angel to revert to Angelus. Buffy says she doesn’t know and runs off. Giles keeps pressing the issue, but Willow quietly tells him to shut up.

Cordelia recaps the situation for us: The Judge is unkillable, Angelus is on his team, and Buffy’s a mess. She thinks this is rock bottom. “I have a plan,” Xander announces. “Oh, no, here’s a lower place,” Cordelia replies. Willow asks what Xander’s plan is, but he says this is something for him and Cordelia to handle. He does need a bigger vehicle than Cordelia’s, though, so Willow volunteers Oz’s van. Cordelia asks how she’s supposed to participate. Xander won’t give her details, just telling her to meet him in an hour, wearing something “trashy…er.” Giles is still worried about Buffy, but Jenny says they should leave her alone for a while.

Angelus returns to the factory to gloat about how he hurt Buffy’s feelings. Spike is like, “Remember how we used to kill people? Let’s kill people.” Drusilla guesses that Angelus doesn’t want to do that just yet – he wants to hurt Buffy like he once hurt Drusilla. Spike’s worried that Buffy will ruin their plans, but Angelus says Spike can’t take her out. She’s too strong. They need to “work from the inside. To kill this girl…you have to love her.”

Buffy goes home, upset, and seeing the cross necklace Angel once gave her doesn’t help. She takes off her claddagh ring and sobs on her bed. When she falls asleep, she dreams about having sex with Angel, how gentle and loving he was. Then she sees him turn into Angelus. The dream moves to a funeral, where Angel tells her, “You have to know what to see.” Buffy turns to the woman next to her, who lifts up her veil to reveal that she’s Jenny.

In the morning, Buffy storms into Jenny’s classroom and slams her down on her desk. Giles sends everyone out of the room as Buffy asks Jenny if she’s responsible for Angel’s transformation. Giles thinks she’s making crazy accusations, but Jenny confirms that she knew something would happen. She was sent to watch Buffy and was told to keep her and Angel apart. He was supposed to pay for what he did to her people. Buffy asks what she was supposed to be paying for.

Jenny repeats that she didn’t know what would happen until after it was done. If she’d known, she would have told Buffy. Buffy realizes this is her fault. Giles is confused, so Jenny explains that Angel was cursed to lose his soul if he had one moment of true happiness. Giles is still confused, but a look from Buffy makes him realize why she thinks she’s responsible for this.

She asks Jenny to curse Angel again and give him back his soul. Jenny says she can’t – her people don’t have that kind of magic anymore. Buffy demands to be taken to someone who can help. That person is Enyos, but unfortunately, Angelus gets to him first.

Xander, Willow, Cordelia, and Oz go to an Army base so Xander and Cordelia can steal something. (Security there isn’t great.) When they get caught, Xander pretends he’s a private who brought a date to the base because apparently girls get turned on by looking at guns. The soldier who caught them doesn’t want to let them go, but Xander busts him for some violations and threatens to turn him in.

He and Cordelia head into the armory, where he explains that he retained all the military knowledge he got when he turned into a soldier on Halloween. Cordelia asks if looking at guns really makes girls want to have sex. Does it make Xander want to? “I’m 17. Looking at linoleum makes me wanna have sex,” he replies.

Back in the van, Oz asks Willow if the Scoobies steal weapons from the Army a lot. “Well, we don’t have cable, so we have to make our own fun,” she replies. She suggests that they make out, shocking Oz. He says he thinks about it sometimes, and it’s something he’d really like, but the time isn’t right. He knows she’s trying to make Xander jealous or get revenge on him. Oz doesn’t want that to be the reason they kiss for the first time. In his fantasies, when he kisses Willow, she kisses him back. He can wait until it’s right.

Jenny takes Buffy and Giles to see Enyos, but he’s dead. Angelus has used his blood to write on the wall, “Was it good for you too?” Giles knows he’s messing with Buffy’s head, but she says he’s actually making things easier. She knows that she needs to kill Angelus.

At the factory, the Judge is ready to take some more lives. Spike is still out of commission, so Angelus and Drusilla are leaving him behind while they enact their plan. Spike asks what will happen if Buffy shows up. Angelus says he’ll give her a kiss. Then he comments that the Judge looks spiffy. Meanwhile, Xander delivers the stolen weapon to the library, joking that it’s a late birthday present for Buffy. Jenny offers her help, but Buffy tells her to leave. Giles backs her up.

The Scoobies go to the factory, even though they’ve already guessed that the Judge won’t be there. Spike hides in the shadows as they try to figure out where the Judge might want to attack a bunch of people at once. They guess correctly: the movie theater at the mall. The Judge proves that he really has powered up, since he’s able to burn people without even touching them. He just zaps them with electricity. Angelus tells some minions to lock the exits, then tells the Judge to go ahead and do his thing.

The Scoobies bring in their weapon as the Judge uses his powers to zap a bunch of people at once. He breaks the connection when an arrow flies into his chest. Buffy’s across the lobby with a crossbow, which the Judge says won’t stop him – no weapon forged will. “That was then. This is now,” she replies, picking up a rocket launcher.

Angelus and Drusilla realize they need to get out of the way fast, but the Judge isn’t familiar with modern weaponry. “What’s that do?” he asks. Well, it fires a rocket into you and turns you into rubble. But you wouldn’t understand that because you’re dead now. The Scoobies pick up the pieces (Cordelia: “Our job sucks!”) as Buffy goes after Angelus.

The fire from the blast sets off sprinklers, so when Buffy finds Angelus, they face off in a downpour. He tells her the worst part of this was pretending he loved her. If he’d known how easily she would “give it up,” he wouldn’t have bothered. Buffy says he’s not Angel, so what he’s saying won’t hurt her. He says it doesn’t matter – she made him the man he is today. That sets Buffy off, and she really starts fighting. Meanwhile, Oz finds one of the Judge’s arms and announces, “Uh…arm.”

Buffy and Angelus keep fighting, and he taunts that he knows she wants to beat him up. She gets in some good hits, but when she pulls out a stake to finish him off, she can’t bring herself to use it. Angelus taunts her for not being able to kill her boyfriend. Instead, she kicks him in the…little Angeluses. “Give me time,” she says as she walks away.

Giles drives Buffy home, warning her that Angelus is going to target her personally. She thinks Giles is disappointed in her. He promises he isn’t. Buffy still blames herself for Angel’s transformation, but Giles doesn’t. She couldn’t have known what would happen. They’re in for some tough times, and Giles will only offer his support and respect.

Later that night, Buffy and Joyce watch an old movie. Joyce brings in some cupcakes and asks Buffy what she did for her birthday. “I got older,” Buffy says. Joyce thinks she looks the same. She lights a candle in a cupcake and wishes her daughter a happy birthday. Instead of making a wish and blowing out the candle, Buffy says she’ll just let it burn.

Thoughts: This may be an unpopular opinion but at this point in his career, I think David Boreanaz was a better actor as Angelus than as Angel. His take on Angel is dull. His Angelus is truly entertaining.

I love the specificity that Xander was the treasurer of the We Hate Cordelia Club, not the president or vice president. (I assume Willow was one and Jesse was the other.)

I also love that Xander’s the one who comes up with the plan to take down the Judge. He doesn’t get to prove his worth to the Scoobies often enough. And though he’s not as intelligent as Willow, he was smart enough to apply “it took an army” to modern weaponry.

1 Comment »

  1. Myriam said,

    This ep is just so so good! The writing is simply perfect. You really feel for Buffy. David Boreanaz really gets to shine and show off his acting skills. Watching Angelus on screen is like watching an entirely different actor.

    I really like the 2 last scenes (i.e. Buffy talking with Giles in his car, and then watching a movie with her mom). So well-done.

    There’s a few things that bug me a bit about this ep tho. I took me many, many re-watches to catch them, anyone watching this ep is unlikely to catch these. But for instance, how does Oz know about Willow’ crush on Xander and/or that Xander is now involved with someone else? Is this well-known info at the school? Seems unlikely that the other students would gossip about their love lives. There’s at least 4-5 little things like that in this one ep alone. I can’t remember the others because I haven’t watched it recently but it bugs me every time haha.

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