July 16, 2022

Buffy 3.14, Bad Girls: Unacceptable

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , at 1:16 pm by Jenn

This is before they get surrounded by horny guys

Summary: Buffy and Faith are fighting vampires together while discussing Buffy’s insistence that she and Xander have never hooked up. She says she loves him, but not in that way. Besides, sleeping with him could ruin their friendship. Faith doesn’t mention that her interest in this topic stems from what she recently did with Xander. Once the vampires are dead, the Slayers go looking for one who got away. Buffy counts to three before they ambush him but Faith jumps the gun. This leaves Faith on the ground while Buffy tries to fight the guy herself. It’s especially bad because he has swords. Faith comes to her rescue just in time.

The Slayers bicker over whether it was okay for Faith to divert from the plan. Faith doesn’t put much…well, faith in plans. And since the vampire’s dead, what does it matter? Buffy decides that they should grab the swords and take them to Giles so he can find out who the vampire was. But when she looks back at where the third vampire was killed, his swords are gone.

Mr. Trick has them, and he delivers them to Mayor Wilkins. Mr. Trick doesn’t recognize the “breed” of vampire who uses them, and he asks if the mayor was expecting any visitors in town. Mayor Wilkins is still thinking about the comics he was just reading – he likes Family Circus while Mr. Trick likes Marmaduke. Mayor Wilkins isn’t a Marmaduke fan since the dog is always on the furniture, which is unsanitary. Mr. Trick likes him because no one can tell him what to do. “I like to read Cathy,” Finch speaks up, because of course he does.

Mayor Wilkins tells the men to keep an eye out. He doesn’t want anything to interfere with an upcoming dedication. Finch suggests postponing it, an idea Mayor Wilkins immediately dismisses. He reminds Finch that the dedication is the final step before his ascension, which he’s been waiting for a long time. He opens a cabinet full of skulls and other occult items, because it’s also where he keeps his wet wipes. A hundred days after the dedication, the mayor will be “on a higher plane” with no more concerns for “the little things.” He hopes any vampires coming to town meet up with the Slayers and they all kill each other.

Willow has started her college search and has already received a bunch of offers for early admission. She’s looking at major schools, including Harvard and Yale. Xander’s intimidated; he figures his rejections will come in the form of slips of paper with “no way” written on them in crayon. (“They’re typing those now,” Oz tells him.) Willow’s excited because colleges are actively trying to “woo” her. Xander says he’s trying to decide between appliance repair and hotel management.

Cordelia approaches the Scoobies in the school lounge so she can insult Xander. Cue their annoying bickering. He vows to come up with the perfect comeback for her last slam later. Buffy has to study for a chemistry test, and Willow offers to help, since chemistry has a lot in common with witchcraft (except for the parts that involve newts). They make plans to meet up that night.

Buffy goes to the library to see Giles, who already has a visitor, Wesley Wyndham-Pryce. He’s Buffy’s new, young, by-the-book Watcher, who thinks he’s special because he’s faced two vampires (“under controlled circumstances”). When Giles introduces him to Buffy, Buffy’s first question is, “Is he evil?” To be fair, the last Watcher was. Wesley says Giles has checked his credentials, but he’s glad Buffy is being cautious. That makes her a good Slayer. Buffy repeats her question about whether he’s evil. “Not in the strictest sense,” Giles replies.

Wesley asks about Buffy and Faith’s experiences on patrol the night before. Buffy’s like, “We saw vampires and killed them. It was great.” She tells him about the swords, which Wesley connects to a group called El Eliminati. They were a cult five centuries ago who became acolytes of a demon named Balthazar. Giles is surprised that Wesley knows so much about them. “I didn’t get this job because of my looks,” Wesley says. “I really, really believe that,” Buffy replies.

Wesley says El Eliminati were driven out of the country a long time ago and Balthazar was killed. So the question is, why are they back? Balthazar supposedly got his strength from an amulet that was stolen by a guy named Gleaves. The amulet was buried with Gleaves, and El Eliminati are probably in town to find it “for sentimental value.” Wesley’s sure the amulet isn’t anything to worry about, but they might as well keep El Eliminati from getting it. He instructs Buffy to get it that night. She taunts Wesley by saying that when Giles give her an assignment, he says “please” and gives her a cookie afterwards.

Faith comes in, confirms that Wesley is her and Buffy’s new Watcher, says, “Screw that,” and walks back out. Buffy wishes she’d done the same thing. Giles sends her to bring Faith back. He and Wesley both pull out handkerchiefs to wipe their glasses at the same time. Out on the quad, Faith urges Buffy not to do what Wesley tells her to. They’re the Chosen Ones; they can do whatever they want. She wants Buffy to admit that slaying excites her. It’s what they were built for, and if Buffy isn’t enjoying it, she’s doing it wrong.

That night, Buffy goes to get the amulet from Gleaves’ crypt, but as she’s about to take it, she hears people approaching. She rushes to hide in a tomb. Ick. Some Eliminati vampires come in and grab the amulet. Faith shows up after they leave and tries to convince Buffy to go after them as they head into the sewers. Buffy wants to think this through, especially since they’re greatly outnumbered, but Faith again just wants to act without a plan. She jumps down after the vampires, basically forcing Buffy to follow her so she doesn’t have to face them alone.

Wesley looks through Watchers’ diaries, reading in the very first entry in Giles’ that Buffy is “willful and insolent.” Giles is worried because Buffy hasn’t come back from her trip to the cemetery yet. Wesley says his “mission scenario” has her coming back in one minute. I think it’s going to take her a little longer, since she and Faith are surrounded by vampires.

One of them tries to kill Buffy by drowning her, but she plays dead to fool him and is able to get the upper hand. “I hate it when they drown me,” she says. Faith decides they can’t defeat all the vampires, so they should run. Buffy snags the amulet first, since that’s what they came for. Faith gets her to admit that she didn’t have a completely horrible time tonight.

The next morning, Buffy gives the amulet to Wesley and lets him know that El Eliminati aren’t as close to extinction as he thought. Giles asks if she’s okay, while Wesley doesn’t care. He knows a good Slayer needs to be ready for anything. The three key words of slaying are “preparation, preparation, preparation.” Buffy points out that that’s just the same word three times. She tells Giles they need to talk, but Wesley reminds her that he’s her Watcher now, so she should only discuss slaying with him. Buffy ignores him, and Giles confirms that they’ll talk later. Wesley complains that Giles isn’t helping. “I know. I feel just sick about it,” Giles replies.

Buffy heads to chemistry to take her test, though all she can think about is how exciting it was to face all those vampires with Faith. Even Xander wants her to shut up about it so he can concentrate. Buffy notices that his eye twitches every time she says Faith’s name. As Buffy finally starts to take the test, Faith shows up at a window. She breathes on the glass and draws a heart. Buffy can’t resist the thought of having more fun with her, so she leaves.

Faith found a nest of vampires, and this is the perfect time to attack – the vampires are asleep and the Slayers have the advantage of sunlight. After killing all the vampires, they go to the Bronze to dance off their excess energy. They catch the attention of some very interested guys. Angel shows up and Buffy literally jumps into his arms. She promises that she’s not interested in the guys. She’s acting flirty and Faith-like, and she doesn’t snap out of it even when Angel tells her that Balthazar isn’t dead after all. Buffy isn’t worried, since they already have his amulet.

Wesley joins them and complains that Buffy didn’t give him a way to contact her while she’s out slaying. He’s taken aback when he learns that Angel knows what’s going on with Balthazar and the amulet. Wesley says the amulet is someplace safe. Buffy easily guesses that he’s keeping it in his suit jacket. She gives it to Angel, who tells Wesley that carrying it around with him makes him a target. Angel will put the amulet in an actual safe place while Buffy does recon on Balthazar. Wesley still thinks Balthazar is dead because he’s out of the loop.

Buffy drags Faith out of the club while El Eliminati tend to Balthazar. He resembles a big blob of dough, and he sits in a tub where his minions have to keep pouring water on him so his skin doesn’t dry out. He’s angry that the Slayers got his amulet. Balthazar doesn’t look intimidating at first glance, but he has telekinetic powers that allow him to draw minions to him so he can kill them. Probably not a guy to mess with.

The Slayers check out his lair, and even though there are about a dozen Eliminati there, Faith wants to run in and fight. Buffy suggests going to the library and getting some weapons. Faith concedes, since “Jacuzzi Boy” isn’t going anywhere, but she doesn’t want to go all the way to the library. She takes Buffy with her to break into a sporting-goods store and steal some weapons. She teaches Buffy the three words she lives by, which are very different from Wesley’s three words: “Want, take, have.” Caught up in the moment, Buffy does some stealing of her own.

A couple of cops catch them before they can leave, and the Slayers drop their weapons. Faith makes jokes as they get arrested. On the way to the police station, one of the cops asks if Buffy and Faith are in a gang. Faith tells him they’re the Slayers. She convinces Buffy to kick in the divider between them and the cops so they can escape the car. The car crashes and Buffy worries about the officers, but Faith wants to focus on escaping.

The next morning, Buffy scours the newspaper for any mentions of her and Faith’s crime wave. There’s nothing. Joyce asks what they did last night, not because she wants to meddle but because she wants to make sure they’re being careful. She remains completely clueless, as usual. Thanks for popping in, Joyce! The mayor wants an update on El Eliminati in between photo ops. One of the members attacks him but Mr. Trick knocks him out. (He also chastises the minion for using a sword instead of, say, an Uzi.) Mayor Wilkins wonders how the minion got into his cabinet. Finch needs to do a better job of ensuring his boss’ security.

Balthazar hears of the minion’s capture and tells his other follows that he had courage and honor. “And I have jack to show for it!” he yells. He’s been powerless for a hundred years and he’s tired of being patient. His minions are to bring the Watchers to him and kill the Slayers and anyone who gets in their way. Balthazar’s only goal is getting the amulet.

Willow brings Buffy a little sachet she put herbs in for protection. She’s ready to go slaying with Buffy that night, but Buffy doesn’t want her to come along, since it’ll be dangerous. Willow clearly feels hurt that Buffy’s been spending time with Faith instead of her. The Slayers go back to Balthazar’s lair with the weapons they were caught stealing (which Faith went back for). She’s already thinking about what to eat after they’re done.

In the library, Wesley criticizes Giles for getting too emotionally attached to Buffy. He embarrassed the Council. Giles doesn’t like having his methods critiqued. Wesley reminds him that he’s no longer qualified to be a Watcher, so he’s been replaced. Hopefully Wesley knows how to fight the way Giles does, because they’re suddenly surrounded by Eliminati.

Buffy and Faith only have to deal with two minions, who attack one at a time, so they figure they can get to Balthazar’s lair without too much trouble. But when they come across a third and Faith instinctively goes to stake him, Buffy realizes he’s not a minion – he’s Finch. Faith doesn’t react to her warning fast enough, and she stakes him in the chest. Buffy tells her to call an ambulance and help her stop Finch’s bleeding. Faith doesn’t move, and Buffy can’t do anything other than watch Finch die.

Again, Faith gets Buffy to flee instead of staying back to get caught or face any consequences. They split up and Buffy runs into Angel. He sees blood on her hand but she says she’s okay. He tells her he went to Balthazar’s lair and saw that the minions had kidnapped Giles. (And Wesley, but Angel doesn’t mention that, which is funny when you think about it.) Faith goes back to Finch’s body and slowly reaches out to touch him, as if she needs to feel for herself that he didn’t turn to dust like a vampire would.

Wesley’s scared about his and Giles’ situation, and he tells a fairly sedate Giles to stay calm. “Thank God you’re here; I was planning to panic,” Giles replies. He gets snarky with Balthazar, which Wesley thinks is a bad idea. Giles points out that they’re going to be killed anyway, so why not have some fun first? Wesley offers to trade the amulet for their freedom but Balthazar isn’t interested. Wesley then says he’ll point the minions in Angel’s direction so they can get the amulet from him. Giles tells Wesley to shut up for what definitely won’t be the last time.

Balthazar is willing to accept Wesley’s offer, but the problem is that Wesley doesn’t know Angel’s name, let alone where to find him. Giles says he’ll tell Balthazar whatever he wants to know if he lets “Captain Courageous” go. Balthazar says there’s only one deal: The Watchers will die quickly or they’ll die slowly. My man, that’s not a deal. As he demands Angel’s name, Angel himself arrives with Buffy and they get to fighting.

Giles tackles Wesley out of the way as Buffy and Angel take on the minions. Balthazar flails his arms and yells, “Unacceptable!” Giles grabs a sword and takes care of a couple of minions on his own. Buffy and Angel do a good job with the others, but then Balthazar uses his telekinesis to draw Angel to him to kill him. Buffy thinks fast, pulling down an electrical wire so it falls into Balthazar’s tub and electrocutes him. Just when she thinks he’s dead, he opens his eyes and warns, “When he rises…you’ll wish I’d killed you all.” Then he dies for real.

In his office, the mayor chants something in a pentagram made of salt. The building shakes for a few moments. Mayor Wilkins wonders where Finch is, since he’s not usually late. Mr. Trick asks if whatever Mayor Wilkins did worked. Mayor Wilkins tells him to open the cage where they’re keeping the last of Balthazar’s minions. (First he gives the minion a sword.) The minion runs at the mayor, bringing the sword down on his head and splitting it in half. Moments later, Mayor Wilkins’ head repairs itself. Mr. Trick kills the minion and the mayor checks “become invincible” off his to-do list. Ha! Now the hundred days begin, and the mayor is invincible until his ascension.

The next day, Buffy goes to Faith’s motel room, where she’s washing blood out of her clothes. Buffy wants to talk about what they should do. Faith says they did their job. Buffy reminds her that being the Slayer isn’t the same as being a killer. She doesn’t want Faith to shut her out when they’ve both gone through something traumatic. Faith insists that she doesn’t need any help.

Buffy warns that someone will find Finch’s body and investigate his death. Faith tells her she got rid of the body, so that won’t be an issue. Buffy argues that getting rid of the evidence doesn’t erase what happened. “Faith, you don’t get it: You killed a man,” she says. “No, you don’t get it,” Faith replies. “I don’t care.”

Thoughts: I think most people know this but just in case: Alyson Hannigan (Willow) and Alexis Denisof (Wesley) started dating not long after this season and have been married since 2003.

Balthazar is the most unintentionally hilarious villain in the series. He’s just a big, loud pile of goo. Him waving his arms and yelling, “Unacceptable!” always cracks me up.

I can’t believe Snyder doesn’t have someone constantly watching the Scoobies to tell him that Faith, a non-student, keeps showing up on campus. Actually, he would be smart to hide surveillance cameras in the library so he can always know what they’re up to.

How hard would it be to give Angel something to do this season? David Boreanaz is lucky they gave him a spin-off. Without it, he’d have maybe two scenes an episode, doing nothing more than encouraging Buffy, telling her to be safe, and occasionally fighting vampires.

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