February 26, 2022

Buffy 2.16, Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered: Got the Love

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , , at 1:06 pm by Jenn

I bet Xander has had this exact dream

Summary: Xander is out on patrol with Buffy, asking her opinion on a heart-shaped necklace he bought for Cordelia. She thinks the necklace is fine but the recipient is not. Xander could find someone better. He says the only other person he’s interested in is unavailable. He and Cordelia are getting along better and even enjoying each other’s company a little. Buffy is “almost really” glad to hear that. She tells him not to stress over the present.

Xander wishes dating were more like slaying – just a stake to the heart and that’s it. A vampire they’ve been waiting on rises from his grave and Buffy fights him, because slaying isn’t always as simple as killing and being done with it. It’s also a little more dangerous than dating, as Buffy notes. “Well, you’re obviously not dating Cordelia,” Xander quips.

The next day, Cordelia arrives at school and approaches her friends, who ignore her. They’ve also been avoiding her calls about what they’re all wearing for the Valentine’s Day dance that night. Cordelia’s going to wear red and black, so no one else can. One of her friends asks if Xander likes red and black. “A girl wants to look good for her geek,” Harmony says. She taunts that soon Cordelia and Xander will wear matching outfits.

A teacher asks her students to leave their papers on her desk at the end of class; anyone who doesn’t turn one in will get an F. Xander’s ready, for once, though he doesn’t expect more than a D-. Amy asks Buffy and Willow if they’re going to the dance at the Bronze. Willow happily says her boyfriend’s in the band. Buffy says Valentine’s Day is a gimmick to sell chocolate, which Amy interprets as her saying she had a bad breakup.

Buffy and Willow give the teacher their papers, but Amy just stares at the teacher for a few moments and hands her nothing. The teacher thanks her anyway. Xander’s the only one who sees, and he tells Buffy and Willow that he thinks Amy used witchcraft on their teacher. Buffy says she’s the last person who should be doing magic, considering what her mother did with it.

Giles finds Buffy in the hallway and asks to have a word. She generously says he can have a sentence. Jenny’s approaching, and she and Giles exchange a look, but he doesn’t want to talk to her (though at least he’s polite about it). Buffy won’t even acknowledge her. In the library, Giles tries to cover his sadness. He’s been reading up on Angelus’ past evil deeds and warns Buffy that he likes to cause a ruckus around Valentine’s Day with “brutal displays.” Giles thinks Buffy should stop patrolling for a few nights; he’ll take her place.

At the factory, Spike gives Drusilla a necklace for Valentine’s Day. Angelus one-ups him by giving her a heart. No, not something shaped like a heart – an actual human heart. Romantic! He puts Spike’s necklace on her, as if he doesn’t want to inconvenience Spike, who’s still using a wheelchair. Spike tells him to keep his focus on Buffy, whose present Angelus hasn’t figured out yet. Spike suggests that he just tear her lungs out. Angelus says that “lacks poetry,” but Spike says it doesn’t have to: “What rhymes with ‘lungs’?” Drusilla’s sure that Angelus will figure out the perfect thing.

At the Bronze, Willow enjoys Oz’s performance with Dingoes Ate My Baby (“I think I’m a groupie!”) while Xander waits nervously for Cordelia. When she arrives, her friends ignore her again. Buffy’s at home with Joyce, pointedly not celebrating Valentine’s Day. She hears a knock at the door, but when she goes to check it out, no one’s there. When Buffy returns to the living room, Joyce is gone. She went to the back door, where someone left Buffy a present. It’s a bouquet of roses with a note that just says, “Soon.”

Back at the Bronze, Xander finds Cordelia sitting alone. He tells her he’s been thinking about them a lot lately, and he thinks they could have something more than “tawdry teen lust.” He gives her the necklace, which she loves, but she tells him she wants to break up. She doesn’t think they fit together. Xander blasts her for dumping him on Valentine’s Day, and though she feels bad about that, she doesn’t do anything to make him feel better.

At school the next day, everyone knows what happened, which doesn’t help. Xander tries to talk to Buffy, but she’s rushing to see Giles about her Valentine’s gift. Harmony mocks Xander, which is just adding insult to injury. He finds Amy and accuses her of being a witch. She denies it, but he says he saw her using magic on their teacher. He’s going to blackmail her into getting him some respect. He’s going to use the Hellmouth to his advantage for once.

The two head into a classroom so they can discuss the love spell Xander wants Amy to do. Those are hard to do, since eternity is a pretty long time to make someone have feelings for someone else. Xander doesn’t want it to last quite that long – he won’t survive all of Cordelia’s inane conversations for eternity. He just wants her to want him so he can break up with her and put her through the pain she’s putting him through. Amy’s not sure about that, since love spells require pure intent. Xander says his intent is pure, even though it’s revenge. He threatens blackmail again, so Amy tells him to get a personal object from Cordelia.

Buffy shows Giles Angelus’ note and asks what “soon” means. She wants Giles to stop holding back and protecting her from what Angelus might do. She can’t prepare if she doesn’t know what she’s preparing for. Xander tracks down Cordelia and demands that she give back the necklace. She doesn’t want to give it up, but she agrees to get it from her locker. She’s actually wearing it under her shirt, and she uses her locker door to shield him from seeing her take it off. She pretends she’s happy to give it back so she doesn’t have to act like she likes it.

That night, Amy and Xander do the love spell in a classroom. Amy asks Diana (whom she says is the goddess of love and the hunt, but really just the hunt; you’re not good at this, Amy) to not let Xander’s true love rest until “she submits to his will only.” Ew. The next day, Xander approaches Cordelia full of confidence…but she treats him like she normally does. “Is this love? Because maybe on you, it doesn’t look that different,” he comments. He quickly realizes that the spell didn’t work on her.

Giles and Buffy are back in the library, going over horrible things Angelus has done on past Valentine’s Days. For example, one year he did something awful to a puppy. Buffy and I both object to hearing more details. As Giles goes to get more books, Xander arrives and laments how bad his life is right now. Buffy says it’s Cordelia’s loss, then suggests that the two of them do something together that night. She starts getting flirtatious, which confuses Xander. Buffy says she’s seen him every day for a while but is just now really seeing him.

They’re about to kiss when Amy interrupts and pulls Xander into the hallway. She tells him the spell didn’t work, but Xander isn’t so upset about that anymore. Amy offers to try again, or they can just hang out. Xander’s watching Buffy through the window, and he’s distracted by her seductive body language. He suddenly realizes that Amy’s hitting on him. She says the same thing Buffy did about seeing him every day but not really seeing him. Just then, another girl approaches and invites Xander to study with her that night. Xander gets freaked out and flees.

He goes home, where Willow surprises him in his bed (and one of his shirts). Xander has realized that the spell backfired and made basically every girl except Cordelia fall in love with him. Willow wants them to be together – in fact, she wants him to be her first. “Baseman!” Xander replies. “Please tell me we’re talking baseball.” She tells him they both know it’s right, then tries to kiss him.

Xander protests, though he doesn’t want Willow to think he’s not attracted to her. Willow assures him that Oz won’t be an issue. He’s sweet, but he’s not Xander. Xander says he is, and Willow should go to him, because he’s Xander. Willow kisses him, and Xander warns that he doesn’t want to use force to get her to back off, but he will if he needs to. She’s okay with that. Xander announces that it’s time for him to “act like a man…and hide.”

Back at school, Harmony confronts Cordelia for hurting Xander. Only someone really sick would dump him, even if her friends didn’t like him. Cordelia can’t understand what her friends want her to do. Xander returns to school and does a slow-motion walk down a hallway with the Average White Band’s “Got the Love” playing. Girls line the hallway, watching him like he’s a celebrity. At least one teacher shares their feelings. All the guys around glare at him.

Xander goes to the library, where Giles is completely clueless about what’s going on. Xander admits that he had Amy do a love spell that somehow made every woman in town fall for him. Jenny enters just then to talk to Giles, but she strokes Xander’s arm the whole time, even while she’s telling Giles she’s not ready to give up on making something with him work.

Giles pulls Jenny off her student and blasts Xander for being foolish enough to do a love spell. Jenny keeps gazing at Xander as Giles asks if Amy has tried to reverse the spell. Xander says that she only wants to talk about honeymoon plans when they’re near each other. Giles warns that people under the influence of a love spell can be dangerous and lose the ability to reason. Jenny is definitely demonstrating that, since she looks like she’s about to tear her clothes off. Giles orders Xander to stay in the library while he finds Amy and fixes things. He drags a protesting Jenny out with him.

Xander tries to barricade the doors to the library, but that won’t work when he only puts a card catalog in front of one of them, leaving the other free to open. Buffy comes in wearing a raincoat – a very short raincoat – which she starts to open. Xander tries to slam on the brakes. Even though this is what he’s wanted for a long time, he doesn’t want it like this. Buffy only wants him because of a spell, and she doesn’t know what this would mean to him if it were real.

Buffy turns on him, asking if this is a game. He made her feel this way, and now he’s rejecting her. She’s not a toy. Amy comes in and tells Buffy to get away from her guy. Buffy orders Xander to tell Amy to back off. She punches Amy and asks Xander if he’s two-timing her. Amy can’t beat the Slayer in a physical fight, but she does have an advantage Buffy doesn’t. She calls on Hecate (the goddess of magic) and does a spell that makes Buffy disappear.

Giles and Jenny return in time to see that that’s not exactly accurate. Buffy’s still there – she’s just a rat now. She runs off as Amy tries to convince Xander to come someplace private with her. Xander won’t go anywhere until Amy turns Buffy human again. Giles tries to chase the Buffy rat while Amy and Jenny start fighting over Xander. Amy calls on Hecate again, but Xander stops her, snapping, “Quit with the Hecate!”

Cordelia’s friends surround her, and Harmony blasts her for using Xander and never really caring about him. Cordelia tries to brush her off, but her friends close in on her. Back in the library, Giles and Xander keep looking for the Buffy rat, but soon Xander has a new problem: Oz’s fist. Buffy slips out of the library as Oz tells Xander that Willow spent the whole previous night crying on the phone to him about Xander. Xander promises that nothing happened between them.

Oz joins the search for Buffy, though Giles thinks Xander should go home and stay out of trouble instead of helping. In the hallway, Xander sees Cordelia’s friends attacking her and rushes to save her. The girls swarm him like groupies, but he manages to get Cordelia away from them. Giles thinks Cordelia’s necklace wound up protecting her from the spell instead of binding it to her, and the effects should be easy to reverse. Amy probably won’t be the one to undo the spell, though, since all she can think about is Xander.

She and Jenny bicker again over which of them has something real with Xander. Giles snaps at Amy that what she has with him isn’t love, it’s obsession. Xander’s in danger, and if Amy really cares about him, she’ll help Giles save him. She gives in, but unfortunately, Jenny has snuck out of the library during the conversation.

Xander gets Cordelia out of the school only to come across another horde of girls, led by an axe-wielding Willow. She’s willing to kill Xander if it means keeping him from being with Cordelia. A riot breaks out, and Xander and Cordelia are able to slip away again. Meanwhile, Oz tracks Buffy to the school basement, where she encounters a cat.

Xander and Cordelia make it to Buffy’s house, which they figure is a good place to hide. They didn’t think it through, though, because the love spell somehow managed to get Joyce, too. Cordelia catches her touching Xander in a way that’s totally inappropriate for a grown woman, and she locks Joyce and her “mom-aged mitts” out of the house.

Cordelia asks Xander why everyone has gone insane. Xander’s offended that she thinks no one else could possibly have feelings for him. She says the only way he could attract this much attention is through witchcraft. Joyce is so desperate to get back in that she breaks a window in the back door, so Xander and Cordelia run upstairs to Buffy’s room. That’s when Angelus arrives and pulls Xander out a window.

As the Buffy rat comes across a mousetrap, Angelus pounds on Xander and asks where Buffy is. He decides to use Xander for a special Valentine’s Day present for Buffy. Drusilla swoops in and saves him, since the love spell worked on her, too. So on the plus side, Xander’s safe now, but on the minus side, an insane vampire is now in love with him, and she wants to spend eternity with him.

Just as Drusilla is about to bite Xander, Willow and her angry mob arrive. Cordelia stops her from hurting Xander with the axe and gets him back inside the house. Drusilla breaks down the backdoor, but since she’s never been invited in, she can’t join the mob as they rush in. Xander and Cordelia end up in the same place their relationship began, the Summerses’ basement.

As Oz continues looking for Buffy, and Giles and Amy start the spell to reverse all this madness, Xander nails boards across the basement door to keep out the mob. Cordelia mocks him for using magic. He says it’s not his fault that it didn’t work on her. She realizes the spell was to win her back, not get him attention from other girls. They back away from the door, which is in danger of being broken down, but the mob is trying to get in through a window, too.

Before undoing the love spell, Amy changes Buffy back into a human. Willow gets through the basement door and the mob streams into the basement. Giles does the reversal spell just in time, and everyone in the mob recovers at once, confused about what’s going on. Buffy and Oz try to keep things casual when they realize she’s naked. Cordelia comes up with a cover story for the mob, telling them they were all participating in a scavenger hunt.

Buffy questions that at school the next day, but Xander says that Joyce bought it. Or at least she’s pretending to buy it, instead of accepting the fact that she hit on one of her daughter’s friends. Xander laments that he’s unpopular again, though at least it’s better than having a bunch of people want to murder him. Buffy assures him that Willow, who won’t talk to him yet, will get over this. It’s just harder for her than anyone else because she already had feelings for him. Buffy remembers everything that happened, including Xander’s refusal to take advantage of her (and her sudden desire for cheese).

Xander runs into Cordelia while she’s with her friends, and when Harmony insults him, Cordelia finally stands up to her. She calls Harmony a sheep for trying to be cool, while Cordelia’s cool because she does what she wants without worrying about other people’s approval. That means she’ll date whoever she wants to date, “no matter how lame he is.” Cordelia goes off with Xander, panicking that she’s torpedoed her social life, but he promises that they can fight around her friends if it’ll help.

Thoughts: Sarah Michelle Gellar was hosting Saturday Night Live the week this episode was being filmed, so they had Buffy turn into a rat so they could write her out.

Buffy acting seductive with Xander is hilarious. SMG really leans into it. And Robia LaMorte plays Jenny’s attraction to Xander perfectly.

Darn you, past me, for using “I Want You to Want Me” for another recap title.

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