September 17, 2022

Buffy 4.1, The Freshman: Sunday, Bloody Sunday

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 1:09 pm by Jenn

Sunday and her minions make fun of people’s clothes but Buffy doesn’t make even ONE comment about this ridiculous hairstyle? Tragic

Summary: Buffy and Willow are in a cemetery, combining patrol with the selection of Buffy’s first-semester college courses. Willow insists that they both take a psychology course, since the professor is supposed to be great. She’s world-renowned. Buffy wonders if you can be renowned without having to be nowned first. I think you can in Europe. Willow finds her a class about pop culture, then knocks her for waiting until the last minute to set her schedule.

They chat about the transition from high school to college as the vampire they’ve been waiting for climbs out of his grave. Buffy knows she’ll have to keep her Slayer identity a secret again, which might be difficult with a roommate. But she’s excited for this new chapter in her life. As the vampire creeps up behind them, he sees Buffy’s crossbow and realizes he’s walking into certain death. Buffy tells Willow she needs to stay sharp as she completely fails to notice the vampire approaching, then leaving.

In her first minutes on the campus of UC Sunnydale, Buffy immediately feels overwhelmed. There’s all sorts of stuff going on around her, involving people she doesn’t know and places she’s unfamiliar with. She’s relieved to run into Willow, who seems very comfortable in their new surroundings. She’s happy to be in a place where she can soak up knowledge everywhere. Except she phrases it in a way that sounds a little R-rated.

Oz joins them, and since he acknowledges how crazy things are around them, Buffy thinks he’s Team This Is Overwhelming. Instead, Oz is practically an alum, since he already knows people on campus and has played at parties there before. Willow and Buffy go to the library, wishing Giles could work there. Apparently he’s a “gentleman of leisure” now, which Buffy translates as “British for ‘unemployed.'” They haven’t heard from Xander, who’s been on a road trip all summer. Buffy hopes the whole gang can reunite soon and hang out in the library. Maybe not this one, though – it’s huge and full of people who are using it for its intended purposes.

Next they go to the bookstore, where Buffy accidentally knocks some books onto a guy’s head. He’s Riley Finn, and he’s the TA in the psych course they’re taking. Buffy quickly gets awkward and struggles to get out a coherent sentence. She goes back to her new dorm room, which is bigger than any two-person dorm room has ever been in the history of colleges, and I’m including Felicity and Meghan’s room in that. She meets her roommate, Kathy, who’s friendly and bubbly, and also has a Celine Dion poster. Also, she snores. Sorry college sucks so far, Buffy.

Buffy’s first class is the pop culture course Willow found for her, but she only spends about two minutes in it. The professor busts her for asking a classmate a question while he’s talking, and he makes her stand up and address the whole class. He tells her she’s sucking energy from everyone in the room, and since she hasn’t signed up for the course yet, she has to leave.

On her way to psychology, she runs into Riley, who only remembers her as Willow’s friend. She asks if the psych professor will yell at her and kick her out. He assures her that that’s not in Professor Walsh’s lesson plan. Buffy sits with Willow, telling her that she’s not going to take the pop culture class after all, since it seemed boring. Professor Walsh starts the class, warning that the course is difficult and she expects a lot from her students. Buffy’s college experience just keeps getting more and more intimidating.

That night, Buffy gets lost on campus and runs into another freshman, Eddie. They use his map to figure out where they need to go. Buffy’s finally found someone who’s as overwhelmed as she is. Eddie tells her he always keeps a copy of Of Human Bondage by his bed as a kind of security blanket (and no, Buffy, it’s not what you think it is based on the title). She decides Mr. Pointy (Kendra’s stake) is her security blanket, though she can’t explain what it is to Eddie. They agree to help each other navigate their new lives, then split up. Seconds later, Eddie is grabbed by a group of vampires.

They steal all his stuff from his dorm room and leave a note behind on his bare mattress. The next morning, Buffy’s disappointed not to see Eddie in psych class. She goes to his room, where his RA says he left. He’s one of the handful of freshman who can’t handle the transition to college and just take off. But Buffy finds Eddie’s copy of Of Human Bondage in his dresser, a clue that he didn’t leave voluntarily.

The vampires who grabbed him have taken him to an abandoned house and are helping themselves to his stuff. Their leader, Sunday, doesn’t find anything interesting in his belongings and tells her crew that they need to kill some cooler people. Another vampire reminds her that they’re only targeting weak victims. A third vampire adds a Klimt poster to their collection; they’re keeping score between Klimts and Monets, two of the most popular posters college students hang up. Sunday has a strong hold on her crew, but she’s sick of them. She’s going to let Eddie, now a vampire, get dinner for them.

Buffy goes to Giles’ place, where she’s surprised by a few things: Giles is lounging around in a bathrobe, he hasn’t cleaned in a while, and a woman named Olivia is hanging out pantless, wearing one of Giles’ shirts. Buffy came to get her Watcher’s help, but she doesn’t want to interrupt anything. She thinks Giles is taking his sudden unemployment a little too well. He asks if he’s not allowed to have free time. “No, because you’re very, very old, and it’s gross,” she replies.

She tells him that Eddie has gone missing. She went back to the spot where she last saw him and noticed signs of a struggle. Since Eddie’s RA says students disappear a lot, Buffy thinks there could be a gang of vampires kidnapping them. They need to do research and make charts and all that stuff. Giles doesn’t know why she needs his help for that. He’s not her Watcher anymore. It’s time for her to take care of herself.

That night, Buffy tries to patrol on campus, but it’s hard when there are a lot of people around. She spots Eddie and follows him, quickly discovering that he’s a vampire now. She easily dusts him, feeling horrible for killing the first friend she made in college. Sunday’s there to see it all, and she’s pretty sure she can take on the Slayer. Buffy’s not worried, even when she sees that Sunday has minions. Sunday wants the Slayer all to herself, and she puts up a good fight. In fact, she’s so good that Buffy ends up with an injured arm and the sense that she’s not going to be able to win this one. She runs.

The next day, she avoids Oz and Willow on campus. Sunday’s crew laughs over Buffy’s clothes and how weak she is. Sunday tells her minions to go after her. Buffy goes home and discovers that Joyce has already turned her room into a storage space for the gallery. Joyce didn’t expect her to come back so soon. Buffy didn’t expect it, either. She answers the phone when it rings, but the caller doesn’t say anything. (In the first episode of the Angel spin-off, we find out it was Angel.)

Buffy goes back to her dorm and finds all of her things gone, just like what happened with Eddie. Sunday’s minions even left a similar note saying college was too much for her and she had to leave. She goes to the Bronze, where she thinks she sees Angel. She happily reunites with Xander, who decided not to call her and Willow when he got back to town because he wanted to let them enjoy their “college adventure” (and because he didn’t want to help them move).

He admits that his road trip didn’t go as planned. His car engine fell out, and he had to wash dishes at a strip club to make money for the repairs. He mostly stayed in the shadows until one night when a male stripper called in sick, and…Xander refuses to finish that story. He came home and moved back in with his parents, who now charge him rent to live in their basement.

Buffy tells him that college is great, at least for Oz and Willow. Her biggest problem right now is Sunday. Xander says they should assemble the Scoobies to go after her, but Buffy doesn’t want to disrupt Oz and Willow’s new lives. She admits that she’s worried that she can’t handle things now. Xander tells her that she’s just afraid, and she can’t let that fear control her. She’s Buffy.

She doesn’t feel like that means anything in this new atmosphere, but Xander does. Whenever it’s dark and he’s alone and scared, he thinks, “What would Buffy do?” She’s his hero. Also, sometimes when it’s dark and he’s alone, he asks, “What is Buffy wearing?” Buffy suggests that he add that to the end of his strip club story in his collection of things he never tells her. She’s grateful for the pep talk. “And nothing says ‘thank you’ like dollars in the waistband,” he replies.

They look into the other student disappearances, which started in 1982. Xander finds an article about a frat house that lost its charter then and has been empty since, due to zoning issues. They figure that’s where Sunday’s crew is hiding all the stuff they steal. Xander suggests they do some reconnaissance, then has to explain that he doesn’t mean the Renaissance.

They spy on Sunday and her crew through a skylight, and Buffy objects to them taking her clothes and messing around with Mr. Gordo. Now she’s really ready to fight. She sends Xander to find her weapons chest, since she doesn’t see it in the lair. They did take her diary, though, so now Buffy’s even madder. As she waits to channel that anger into violence, the skylight she’s leaning on breaks and she falls into the lair.

Sunday taunts Buffy for her “diabolical plan” to come in with an injured arm and no weapons. Buffy tells her she made one mistake. Not that she knows what that mistake is. She just figures it’s a statistical probability. As they start fighting, Oz and Willow find the note in Buffy’s room and tell Kathy that she wouldn’t just run away. At least not after that one time she just ran away. Kathy’s worried that she’s been housed with someone who’s unstable.

Willow thinks she’s a bad friend for not noticing that Buffy was going through something. Oz says it’s also possible that she was robbed. Xander arrives and announces that it was a prank. He hugs Willow, then Kathy, before realizing he doesn’t know her. (Oz and Xander decide they’re “too manly” to hug.) Xander tells the group that some friends of Buffy’s took her stuff, and she needs help getting it back. Those friends “sleep all day and have no tans.” Kathy remains clueless as the others head off to find weapons.

Buffy spots her weapons chest in the vampires’ lair, but before she can get to it, Sunday steps in front of her. She’s holding the class protector award, and she stomps on it and snaps the umbrella’s handle. She grabs Buffy’s injured arm, but Buffy says she only needs one. She starts fighting harder, taking on Sunday and the minions with only one good arm. The Scoobies arrive shortly after and jump right in. Two vamps get away, but the Scoobies fight the other minions and Buffy knocks out Sunday. She twirls Mr. Pointy in her hand before throwing it (him?) across the room to stake Sunday.

As the Scoobies leave the lair with Buffy’s stuff (discussing whether it would be okay to take the other things left behind in the lair), Giles arrives. He feels bad for sending Buffy off to slay on her own, even in the name of self-reliance. He’s ready to back her up. She’s grateful, but there’s no evil to fight right now. He can help carry boxes, though.

Xander gets Buffy to admit that college isn’t so tough after all. She says it’s more like high school than she thought. At least she knows what to expect. Unlike one of Sunday’s escaped minions, who finds himself surrounded by commandos in the woods. They point big guns at him as they tase and capture him.

Thoughts: Eddie is played by an almost unrecognizable Pedro Pascal. Lindsay Crouse, who plays Walsh, has connections to three Buffy actors: She was in an after-school special called I Want to Go Home with Seth Green (Oz), and she was in Bye Bye Love with Eliza Dushku (Faith) and Amber Benson (Tara).

Riley’s a pretty polarizing character, but I don’t have a problem with him. I even kind of like him, at least in the beginning. But y’all can speak freely about him; I’m not that committed to defending him.

Xander’s summer plans:

Willow: “He said he wasn’t coming back until he’d driven to all 50 states.”
Buffy: “Did you explain about Hawaii?”
Willow: “Well, he seemed so determined.”

Buffy: “Can’t wait till Mom gets the bill for these books. I hope it’s a funny aneurysm.” People who have seen season 5: (x)

I’m disappointed that this is Sunday’s only episode. I would have liked to see more of her.

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