October 1, 2022

Buffy 4.3, The Harsh Light of Day: Meet Sunnydale’s New Super-Couple!

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 1:08 pm by Jenn

Does this count as getting take-out?

Summary: Dingoes Ate My Baby are performing at the Bronze, and Buffy and Willow are in the audience. Willow notices that Parker’s also there, and she’s surprised that Buffy’s being nonchalant about it. It’s just because she’s watching his reflection in a nearby mirror. Willow notes that since they spent all week together, Buffy doesn’t have to be so casual. Buffy says she doesn’t want to crowd him.

When the band’s done, Oz is ready to leave, but Willow wants to let Buffy take her time watching Parker. She notes that, unlike Buffy’s last love interest, this one has a reflection. Willow teases Buffy for having “lusty, wrong feelings,” then realizes there’s nothing wrong with her liking Parker. Parker approaches and offers to walk Buffy home. You know, because it’s not safe for her to go alone. Oh, Parker, if only you knew.

Willow helps Oz and Devon pack up their stuff as they look forward to an upcoming gig in L.A. Harmony approaches Willow and the two of them note that they haven’t seen each other since graduation (Harmony: “Big snake, huh?”). Harmony’s pretty much the same, except for one big difference: She’s a vampire now. She bites Willow but Oz is able to jump in with a microphone stand and a cross. Harmony taunts Willow for hiding behind her boyfriend, then says she has a boyfriend, too, and he’s going to be mad that Willow was mean to her.

On their walk back to campus, Buffy tries to have a normal chat with Parker that doesn’t include anything about vampires or slaying. He notices the scar on her neck from when Angel fed on her. She says it’s from an “angry puppy.” Parker claims all his scars are psychological; for example, his father died last year. He’s not trying to get sympathy, though. He figures Buffy hates guys who brood. “I don’t think I’ve ever met that type,” she lies.

Parker says the saddest part of his father’s death was knowing all the stuff he didn’t get to do. Now Parker thinks about living in the now. Buffy can relate, since she technically died. He thinks most people who talk about living in the moment just want an excuse to goof off. He appreciates finding someone who understands him. Buffy asks what he’ll regret not doing today when he goes to bed tonight. Parker says he’ll regret not asking her to a frat party. So he asks her and she accepts.

While his friends had a fun night out, Xander somehow got stuck shelving books with Giles. Sad. Anya lets herself into Giles’ place and asks to talk to Xander. Giles doesn’t budge, even when Anya tells him straight out to go away, so she pulls Xander outside. She asks where their relationship is going. “Our what? Our who?” he replies. They went on one date, and Anya used to be a demon, so he didn’t exactly expect anything long-term. But Anya can’t stop thinking about him, and she’s even had naked dreams about him. She’s looking for weekly dates. Xander says a relationship has to develop on its own.

Parker delivers Buffy to her room, and as they’re awkwardly about to kiss good night, Willow and Oz run up. They try to relay to Buffy that Harmony’s a vampire now without saying it straight out. Buffy’s like, “Oh, the angry puppy is on the loose again. You’d better go home and lock all your doors and not invite any puppies in, Parker.”

Once he’s gone and Oz is tending to Willow’s neck wound, Buffy notes that Harmony must be freaking out about not having a reflection anymore. Willow’s annoyed that she brought up a boyfriend. She thinks Harmony lied, since she’s always been one of those “you wouldn’t know him; he goes to another school” people. Oz says she dated Devon once but she was too flaky for him, “which, stop and marvel and the concept.” Buffy comments that whoever’s dating a dead Harmony must be incredibly tolerant. He’s also someone she knows: It’s Spike.

He’s up to something underground, having assembled a crew to tunnel into a crypt. Harmony calls him her “little blondie bear” and asks him to kill Willow for messing with her. Spike doesn’t want anyone to know he’s in Sunnydale, and killing the Slayer’s best friend would probably set off some alarms. Plus, he’s close to his goal and doesn’t want anything to interfere.

Harmony whines, but Spike snaps at her to go eat something. She demands to be taken out to eat since the guy they have chained up for on-demand feedings isn’t satisfying her. She wants to go to a party. Spike grabs her, growling, and she tries to seduce him, even though there are people around. He gives in and tells her he’ll take her somewhere nice that night.

They wind up at the frat party Parker invited Buffy to. The two pairs run into each other as Spike and Harmony are dragging out a guy they fed on. Spike calls it a double date. He and Buffy banter until Spike decides to just make a run for it. Buffy loses track of him outside and he’s able to ambush her.

She taunts that Drusilla must have dumped him again. He claims he dumped her, but Harmony pops up and says Drusilla left him for a fungus demon. Spike announces that they’re leaving, since “it isn’t time yet.” Harmony warns that when they have the Gem of Amara, Buffy will be sorry. Spike’s furious that she told the Slayer what they’re after.

Xander’s now living in his parents’ basement, and Anya shows up while he’s hanging up a disco ball. She wants to continue their conversation. Nope, strike that – she wants to take off all her clothes and just have sex. Buffy calls Giles to tell him about her run-in with Spike and Harmony, and their search for the Gem of Amara. He says it’s not real. In the tenth century, a bunch of vampires looked for it, thinking it held some kind of power. No one ever found it, so people concluded that it didn’t exist.

Wherever Spike and Harmony are crashing, she definitely decorated it, unless Spike secretly has a love of pink headboards. She asks if Antonio Banderas is a vampire. When Spike says no, she asks if she can turn him. He says no again, then changes his mind, telling her to take her time and turn Melanie Griffith and their kids, too. Harmony realizes she doesn’t have a pulse, which she thinks is cool. She asks if they can eat a doctor so she can get a stethoscope and hear her heart not beating.

Spike yells at her to shut up, but his anger is a turn-on for her. She draws his attention to all the veins on her chest. He joins her on the bed, then suggests that they do something with chains. Harmony isn’t interested, and she thinks that’s the sort of thing he did with Drusilla, whom she calls Dorkus. Again, his anger makes her happy. This is the most dysfunctional couple to appear on the show since…well, since Spike and Drusilla.

As they move toward nudity, Anya remains unclothed in Xander’s room. She’s detailed everything she wants to do with him, and I don’t think he’s moved a centimeter since she started talking. She thinks having sex will help her put him out of her mind. Xander’s hesitant, since they barely know each other, and he doesn’t want to have meaningless sex. Anya manages to talk him into it by saying nice things and simply telling him to take off his clothes. “And the amazing thing? Still more romantic than Faith,” he comments.

Buffy returns to the party and finds Parker. She tells him Spike is an old friend who’s not supposed to drink; she just wanted to help him. Parker asks if they used to date. Buffy laughs really hard at that and promises they didn’t. They dance to a slow song, then talk a little more. He likes history because it’s all about regular people making choices. Everyone always has a choice in every situation. He kisses her, then gives her the choice of stopping. She doesn’t want to. Giles finds something about the Gem of Amara in a book and leaves Buffy a message to call him ASAP. She misses the call because she’s having sex with Parker.

In the morning, Buffy wakes up alone in Parker’s bed. He returns with coffee and the news that his mother’s coming to visit, which Buffy takes as her cue to leave. They agree to catch up later. Xander and Anya also spent the night together, and she unconvincingly says that she’s over him now that she’s slept with him. She’s upset when he accepts that without any conversation.

Spike wakes up to Harmony writing on his back with lipstick. He tells her he has to get back to work. “You love that tunnel more than me,” she whines. “I love syphilis more than you,” he mutters. Giles is in Buffy and Willow’s room when Buffy gets home. She lies that she was studying in the library all (Saturday) night. Giles doesn’t really care where she was, since she’s an adult, and because he probably doesn’t want to think about it. He’s there because the Gem of Amara might be in Sunnydale after all, sealed in an underground crypt.

As soon as Giles leaves, Willow excitedly asks Buffy about her night. Buffy says it was really nice and she can’t wait for Parker to call. Willow’s happy that she’s in the really fun part of a new relationship, where “everything’s a discovery.” Speaking of discoveries, Spike’s crew has reached the crypt and is closing in on the Gem of Amara. He tells everyone they have to stay inside from now on so Buffy doesn’t track anyone to their lair. That means Harmony is “an indoor kitty now.”

Harmony complains because Spike told her he would take her places, like France. He sharply tells her that the gem is the reason he came back to Sunnydale, a place he never wanted to return to, what with all the beatings he’s taken there. When he has the gem, he’s going to kill everyone they both want dead. Until then, Harmony needs to stay inside and shut up about France. For once, Harmony isn’t turned on by Spike’s anger, and she wonders why she lets him treat her the way he does. “Love hurts, baby,” he replies.

Buffy asks around town to find out if anyone’s seen Harmony. Whenever she has a chance, she checks her messages, hoping for one from Parker. He hasn’t left any. Spike, on the other hand, has achieved his goal and has made it into the crypt. Right away he finds a big green gem on a chain. Harmony follows him in and asks if she can take some of the other treasures there.

He puts the gem around his neck and tests its power by reaching for a cross. It burns him, indicating that the gem hasn’t done what it’s supposed to. Harmony babbles about France as she puts on jewelry and accessories she’s found. Spike gets fed up and stakes her…but the wound immediately closes. He realizes one of the rings she put on is the Gem of Amara, and it’s made her invulnerable. He grabs it from her and says he’s going outside.

The Scoobies continue helping Giles organize his place. While Oz admires his record collection, Xander’s shocked to see that Giles has a TV. “He’s shallow, like us!” he exclaims. It even works. And it’s helpful – it lets them see a news report about tunneling near UC Sunnydale’s campus, which gives them a clue about where Spike’s been hanging out and what he’s been up to.

On campus, Buffy comes across Parker, who’s chatting with a classmate, giving her the same monologue he gave Buffy about living in the moment. He seems confused about why he would have called Buffy within a couple days of sleeping with her. She suggests that they do something that night, but he has plans. In general, he’s very casual about things and doesn’t seem interested in spending more time with Buffy.

He tells her their night together was fun and indicates that he doesn’t want anything beyond it. He asks if she really wants a commitment right now. He thought he was pretty clear that their hookup wasn’t going to lead to anything else. Buffy’s hurt but thinks she made some mistake that drove him away. As Parker heads off, Spike arrives and mocks Buffy for being pathetic. Then he punches her. It’s the middle of the day, so it’s understandable that Buffy’s off her game – she didn’t expect any vampires to ambush her. They fight and she’s able to stake him, but the gem keeps him from dying.

Giles, Oz, and Willow head into the tunnel and find Harmony, who’s moping about how her life has turned out. Xander goes to Buffy’s room, brushing Anya off when she shows up to try to talk to him again. Harmony tells the others that Spike has the gem. She would have given it to him if he’d asked instead of just taking it. He’s her “platinum baby.” Giles asks where he went.

Buffy and Spike continue fighting, and though he’s not affected by sunlight or stakes anymore, he’s still at the mercy of her Slayer strength. Xander finds them and tries to help out, but Spike knocks him out within seconds. He mocks Buffy about her disappointing sexual experience with Parker, wondering if she was too strong for a human. He brings up Angel, which just refuels Buffy’s desire to kill him. She grabs his hand and starts to pull off the gem. He tells her if she does, they’ll both burn. She’s willing to take the chance, so she yanks it off. Nothing happens to her, but he has to run for the shadows before he burns in the sunlight.

The Scoobies regroup at Giles’, where Giles says they need to destroy the ring before another vampire snags it and becomes invulnerable. Buffy and Oz wordlessly agree about what they should do with it. Since Oz is going to L.A. for a gig, he’ll take it to Angel. (Willow has to spell it out for Xander.)

That night, Buffy worries that she’s doomed to always have guys turn evil after she sleeps with them. Willow tries to cheer her up, telling her that Parker manipulated her and there’s nothing wrong with her. Buffy still has some hope that she and Parker could work things out. I think Willow will remind her every time she needs it that she should stay far away from him. Buffy, Anya, and Harmony all end the night moping alone about their guy troubles.

Thoughts: I’m not sure Willow’s oversized wool coat with applique flowers is really necessary in Southern California.

I absolutely, 100% do not ever want to know what a fungus demon is.

Spike’s level of willpower is impressive – I’m surprised he held out so long before trying to kill Harmony.

I wish these three deleted moments had made it into the episode:

Willow: “You know what else I love about college? How when the professor comes in, the class gets all quiet.”
Buffy: “Oh, I hate that. I’m always like, what? Did something scary come in? Do I have to kill it?”

Devon: “Man, that looked like Harmony. Weird. I saw her get bit at graduation. I didn’t tell you?”

Buffy: “I mean, I thought Spike and Dru were a forever kind of deal, didn’t you? Where’s the commitment?”
Giles: “I’m disillusioned. I shall never love again.”

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