June 4, 2022

Buffy 3.8, Lovers Walk: Gone Soft

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

“There, there”

Summary: Willow and Xander have gotten their SAT scores, and Willow is devastated to see that she only got a 740 (out of 800) in the verbal section. She thinks that means she’s dumb. Xander notes that that was practically his total score out of 1600, so she has nothing to worry about. As he’s comforting her, Oz and Cordelia join them and Xander springs up so it doesn’t look like he was getting too close to someone who’s only supposed to be his friend.

Remember when Cordelia said she does well on standardized tests? She was right, and she scored well. She doesn’t want that to get out, though. Oz looks at Willow’s score and says he understands why she’s upset. He clarifies that that was his sarcastic voice. “It sounds a lot like your regular voice,” Xander comments. “I’ve been told that,” Oz replies. He wants to celebrate.

Buffy arrives in a daze, which Xander thinks means she also scored poorly. Instead, she got a 1430. Oz notes that she could apply to pretty much any college she wants to attend. Her future is wide open. But Buffy hasn’t given her future much thought, since she never thought she would get this opportunity, or any future at all. “This is great! Now you can leave and never come back!” Cordelia exclaims. She meant that in a good way. She doesn’t know who would ever want to come back to Sunnydale.

That night, Spike drives through the Welcome to Sunnydale sign and says, “Home sweet home,” just like he did the first time he came to town. This time, however, he’s drunk. He goes to the old factory, warbling “My Way” and pretending he’s come home to Drusilla. He’s both laughing and crying. Turns out Drusilla left him and it’s broken him. He takes out his anger on one of her dolls.

At school, Xander tries to talk Cordelia into a bowling double date with Oz and Willow. She’s the only one who hasn’t approved the plans, which isn’t surprising. Xander sees that she’s put up pictures of them in her locker. He didn’t realize he was worthy of that. They run into Oz and Willow, and the four confirm their plans. Once they’re alone again, Oz gives Willow a for-no-real-reason gift – a witch Pez dispenser. She’s thrilled and wants to find a werewolf dispenser to go with it. She’s touched by his thoughtfulness, but also feels guilty.

Giles has finally been invited on a retreat, so he’ll be spending the weekend in the woods. Buffy teases him for overpacking. He admires her SAT score and guesses that Joyce will want to put it on the fridge. Buffy says her head spun around and exploded when she saw it. Giles asks her to clarify that she’s exaggerating, since that’s something that could very well happen in Sunnydale.

They start discussing college, and Buffy’s surprised that Giles would be okay with her leaving Sunnydale. He points out that Faith could fill in while she’s gone. He puts a hold on the conversation until after he returns, telling Buffy to do some training until then. He also cautions her not to do anything rash. Specifically, he doesn’t want her to do anything rash with Angel. She promises they’re just friends and don’t want anything beyond that.

Willow’s worried that the double date is going to be a disaster. She thinks Oz and Cordelia will figure out that she and Xander have been making out behind their backs. Xander denies that there’s anything to hide. Yes, they’ve had a couple of “indiscretions,” but they’re just friends. Well, as much as they can be friends when one wants to kiss the other’s earlobe. Willow shakes the Pez dispenser in Xander’s face to remind him that they’re not together.

At home that night, Joyce tries to get Buffy excited about college possibilities. Buffy comments that it feels like everyone’s trying to get her to leave town. Joyce just thinks she deserves a typical college experience. This is her chance to have the normal life she’s always wanted. She needs to think about her future. Is there anything even keeping her here?

Yes, and Spike is spying on him now at the mansion. Spike is drunk again/still and mad because he thinks Angel turned Drusilla against him. “I’ll show you who’s a cool guy. You’re going down,” Spike vows before tripping and knocking himself out. He wakes up the next morning when the sun burns his hand. He has to dive into the backseat of his car and pour alcohol on the burn.

Later he heads to a magic shop and asks the clerk for a curse. He wants to give Angel boils or leprosy or something equally gross. “We don’t carry leprosy,” the clerk tells him. She goes to help her next customer, who happens to be Willow. She wants ingredients for an anti-love spell. After she leaves, Spike feeds on the clerk and says he just got a better idea.

It must be a slow day, politics-wise, because instead of working, Mayor Wilkins is trying to perfect his golf skills. “I’d sell my soul for a decent short game,” he tells Finch. “Of course, it’s a little late for that.” Finch gets worry when Wilkins jokes that he’ll take his soul instead. Finch is there to report that Spike has been spotted back in town and is already causing trouble. Wilkins says they spent a lot of time last year trying to guess what he would do next. But this year is too important to let Spike disrupt things, so he tells Finch to put together a “committee” and take care of it.

Buffy visits Angel to talk about her college prospects and how happy Joyce is for her. Angel realizes that she hasn’t told Joyce that he’s back. Buffy doesn’t want to pile more on top of what her mother has recently learned about Buffy’s Slayer duties. Angel asks what reasons she might have to stay in Sunnydale, but Buffy just names her Slayer duties. As a friend, Angel thinks she should leave. He doesn’t say what he would advise if they were more than friends. Buffy decides to cut the visit short, but she promises to come back soon.

Before the double date, Willow mixes up the anti-love spell in a school lab, pretending it’s just an experiment that will help Xander catch up for a chemistry test. Xander catches on that she’s actually using magic. He reminds her that he has bad luck with love spells. They get heated about whether or not it’s appropriate to use magic to fight their attraction to each other. Spike interrupts, announcing that he needs to borrow Willow. She and Xander both try to fight him, but Xander ends up unconscious.

Spike takes them both to the factory and tells Willow she’s going to do a love spell for him. He’s going to get what’s his. He threatens to hurt Willow if she doesn’t do what he wants, and she begs him not to. Spike laments that Drusilla left instead of doing him the courtesy of killing him. “Is that too much to ask?” he says. “Some little sign that she cared?”

Spike blames the demise of the relationship on his truce with Buffy. It made Drusilla see him as too soft. He told her it didn’t mean anything and he was thinking of her the whole time, but that didn’t help. They went to Brazil and she started flirting with other guys. He caught her making out with a chaos demon, a disgusting creature with antlers and slime. Spike tucks some of Willow’s hair behind her ear as she tries not to freak out.

He continues that they broke up after that, though Drusilla wanted to stay friends. He cries and says he’s devastated. “There, there,” Willow says, too scared not to pretend to comfort him. Spike thinks the offer of friendship was just added cruelty. He sniffs Willow’s neck and remembers that he hasn’t fed on a woman in weeks, other than the clerk that morning. Willow puts her foot down, saying she’ll do the spell but only if Spike keeps his fangs and other body parts to himself. He agrees, as long as Willow knows that if she can’t get it done, he’ll kill Xander.

Willow determines that Spike doesn’t have all the necessary ingredients. Plus, she needs her spell book. It’s in the library, where Buffy is jumping rope. Oz and Cordelia rush in, worried that Xander and Willow weren’t in the classroom where they were supposed to meet for the double date. Cordelia’s scared that Willow accidentally turned Xander into something gross. But there are signs of the fight with Spike, so Buffy thinks they either ran or were kidnapped. She tells Oz and Cordelia to get Giles while she tries to find Willow and Xander.

Buffy goes back to the library to get weapons, but she’s interrupted when Joyce calls to try to schedule a time to talk about colleges. She’s going to stop pushing Buffy to leave Sunnydale, so she’s gotten brochures from closer schools. Buffy suddenly hears Spike’s voice in the background. She immediately drops the phone and runs.

She has nothing to worry about, though. Instead of hurting Joyce, Spike pours his heart out to her about Drusilla while she makes him a cup of cocoa. Joyce isn’t scared, and she offers him advice about moving on from a broken relationship. Spike protests that this is different from her split with Buffy’s father – his and Drusilla’s love was supposed to be literally eternal. He pauses to ask for marshmallows.

Angel is lurking outside, and he tries to run into the house when he sees Spike. He can’t get in, though, since he hasn’t been back since his invitation was revoked. Joyce is shocked to see him and thinks he’s still evil. Spike doesn’t correct that perception, and instead stands behind Joyce and gestures like he’s going to hurt her while Angel watches. Angel demands that Joyce invite him in, then threatens to kill Spike if he hurts her. Spike taunts that Angel’s helpless, but he’s not anymore, since Buffy has just arrived.

She grabs Spike and invites Angel in, which worries and confuses Joyce. Buffy figures she might as well just stake Spike right now, but he blurts out that he knows where Willow is, and Buffy will never find her if she kills him. Spike calls Willow a witch, which is news to Joyce. He says he has Xander, too, and Joyce asks if he’s also a witch. Joyce, shhh for now.

Angel demands their location but Spike isn’t going to just give it up. He asks when Angel got his soul back; he thought Angel “outgrew that.” Spike says that Willow is going to do a spell for him, and then he’ll let her and Xander go. Buffy doesn’t trust him to follow through on that, so Spike invites her and Angel to come with him. If they get in his way, though, he’ll kill Xander and Willow.

As Oz and Cordelia speed toward the woods to get Giles, Oz picks up Willow’s scent. He and Cordelia both think that’s a freaky ability to have. On the way to get more supplies with Buffy and Angel, Spike starts sobering up, which makes him miserable. He says he wishes he was dead, a request Buffy is more than willing to fulfill. Angel holds her off, reminding her that they need Spike. Buffy doubts that – she’s sure he just has Willow and Oz stashed at the factory. Spike is like, “Nuh-uh! I’m not that dumb!”

They pass a bench where Spike reminisces about killing someone with Drusilla. He sits down and chuckles over how the victim begged for mercy. “I guess you had to be there,” Buffy says blankly. They go to the magic shop to gather ingredients while Spike continues reminiscing. Angel taunts that he’s going to a lot of trouble for someone who doesn’t actually care about him and who’s always been fickle. Spike gets angry and the guys start fighting each other. Buffy breaks it up.

Spike blames the two of them for the breakup, then says he’s nothing without Drusilla. Buffy agrees – he’s gone beyond being a loser and is now “a shell of a loser.” Spike thinks she is, too, since he last saw her and Angel fighting to the death. Now they’re pretending to be friends when they’re clearly more than that. “You’ll never be friends,” he says. “You’ll be in love until it kills you both. You’ll fight and you’ll shag and you’ll hate each other until it makes you quiver, but you’ll never be friends. Love isn’t brains, children. It’s blood – blood screaming inside you to work its will. I may be love’s b&%#$ but at least I’m man enough to admit it.”

Xander regains consciousness as Willow is trying to break down the door of the factory’s basement. He remembers fighting with Spike and hopes he won. They figure that since they’re locked in the factory, which is in the middle of nowhere, they’re not going to be rescued anytime soon. Willow tells him that Spike wants her to do a spell to make Drusilla come back to him. “Gee, and we had all hoped those crazy kids would make it work,” Xander quips.

He asks what their options are. Willow has thought of three: 1) She refuses to do the spell and Spike kills them. 2) She does the spell and Spike kills them. 3) Spike is so drunk that he forgets about them and they starve to death. She’s hoping for that one. Xander tries to reassure her that Spike will get sloppy, and then Xander can attack him. Not that he’s in any shape to take on Spike.

The two wind up lying down together, and they can’t fight their temptation to kiss. Xander thinks it’s okay since they’re probably going to die. But as they make out, the camera pans around to show that Oz and Cordelia have found them. Cordelia is devastated, while Oz is his typical Oz self, keeping his facial expression the same. He just says they need to get out of there. Cordelia starts to run back upstairs but the steps give out and she falls through to a concrete floor, impaling herself on a piece of rebar.

Now that Spike has everything he needs for the spell, Buffy wants to wrap things up. But first she, Angel, and Spike will have to deal with a group of vampires who hold a grudge against Spike. Their leader, Lenny, is fine with letting Buffy and Angel go, but Spike reminds them that they need him alive. Buffy apologetically tells Lenny they’re staying. Even though it’s three against a dozen or so, the three perform better in the fight, mostly because they have a Slayer on their side and she’s good at turning random items into weapons. They end up barricading themselves in the magic shop and arming themselves with stakes.

Xander climbs down through the hole in the stairs so he can check on Cordelia. While Buffy and Angel continue fighting vampires and figuring out how to escape, Lenny taunts that Spike has gone soft. Spike decides to disprove that. With Angel weakened from the fight and his time in Hell, Buffy is really the only one left to take on the horde of vampires waiting to infiltrate the shop. Fortunately, there’s a large selection of holy water available. While Spike beats the crap out of Lenny, then stakes him, Buffy and Angel arm themselves with bottles that basically serve as grenades. The remaining vampires retreat.

Spike announces that he had fun. He feels like the fight put things in perspective for him. Buffy’s holding Angel up, and Spike comments that they’re not doing a great job proving that they’re not more than friends. He’s decided he doesn’t need the spell after all, so he tells Buffy and Angel that Willow and Xander are at the factory. He’s done moping and is going to be the man Drusilla fell in love with so he can win her back. He’ll find her, tie her up, and torture her until she likes him again. “Love’s a funny thing,” he says as he leaves.

Cordelia’s in bad shape, and she passes out, to Xander’s horror. Cut to a funeral, but it’s not Cordelia’s – it’s just one Buffy and Willow are walking past as they talk about how Cordelia lost a lot of blood but doesn’t have any serious injuries. Xander hasn’t gotten to see her yet, so Willow doesn’t know where they stand. She feels horrible for hurting Oz. She wanted both him and Xander for a long time, but now she just wants Oz to talk to her again. Buffy advises her to give Oz some time and be prepared to grovel.

Xander visits Cordelia in the hospital but she only acknowledges his presence long enough to tell him to stay away from her. Buffy goes to the mansion to tell Angel that this will be the last time she comes there. They’re not friends and never were. She can’t deny it any longer. “What I want from you I can never have,” she says. He’s strong enough not to need her anymore. Angel doesn’t want to accept this; he thinks there has to be a way they can still see each other. Buffy says there is: “Tell me that you don’t love me.” He can’t, so she leaves.

Everyone mopes alone: Angel and Willow in their homes, Oz at the Bronze, Xander at the library, Cordelia in the hospital, and Buffy outside somewhere. Who’s not moping? Spike, who speeds out of Sunnydale, singing “My Way” again as he goes to win back the love of his life.

Thoughts: Giles camping? Can’t picture it.

Willow and Xander are so indiscreet that I can’t believe no one caught them before this episode.

I would have liked to see Oz and Cordelia hanging out more often. I wonder what they think of each other. She probably loves that she can do all the talking.

Charisma Carpenter actually did get impaled by rebar when she was a kid. It must have been weird for her to reenact that.

I love Buffy telling Spike, “I violently dislike you.”

I’d forgotten about the funeral fake-out. Mean!

The last scene is kind of an inside joke. The version of “My Way” that Spike listens to is from the movie Sid and Nancy, the same people Spike and Drusilla’s characters were inspired by.

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