November 29, 2022

ER 12.7, The Human Shield: Better Off Dead

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , at 5:00 pm by Jenn

Sir, I’m going to need you to start taking hints. Like, immediately

Summary: A man named Vincent Jansen and a ten-year-old girl named Sydney are eating breakfast in a coffee shop. Sydney isn’t hungry, so she’s coloring on her place mat. Jansen spots someone across the room on the phone, watching him, and asks the waitress for the bill. The waitress says there’s a delay because a machine is out. Jansen gets antsy and pays in cash, telling Sydney they’re going. She decides not to take her picture with them.

They leave through the kitchen, and Jansen scans the parking lot, then takes Sydney’s hand. He tells her he liked her picture and they should keep it. Sydney notices before he does that a police car is speeding toward them. Jansen picks her up, then points a gun at the cops who emerge from the car. He holds Sydney in front of him as the titular human shield and heads toward their car. Paramedics arrive next, including Zadro and a guy named Tony Gates. They hide while a cop shoots Jansen, then approaches to check on Sydney. She’s been hit as well.

At County, Sam yells for security since a big guy named Darrel is holding Clemente up against a wall. He doesn’t appreciate Clemente’s method of checking him for internal bleeding. Clemente wipes Darrel’s own crap on his nose, which gets Darrel to drop him. On the plus side, he’s not bleeding internally! On the down side, now he wants a tetanus shot.

K.J. is MIA, and Eve wants to punt him from the ER. He’s a volunteer, so she should probably calm down. Clemente gathers the residents to tell them they’ll be introducing new equipment and procedures to bring the ER into the 21st century. For starters, they’ll have patient communication boards so patients who are intubated can point to or mark questions or requests. Abby uses her board to write, “This is a%$,” which she flashes at Ray behind Clemente’s back.

Next, the ER will be using something called freedom splints instead of wrist restraints. The splints look like oversized versions of those floaties you put on kids’ arms before they learn how to swim. Clemente and Eve request a volunteer to demonstrate, so Pratt kicks Jerry’s wheelie chair toward them. Neela arrives during the demonstration, and since she’s dressed up, Frank and Clemente make comments (Clemente’s are in Spanish) that should definitely get them disciplined for sexual harassment. She’s dressed up because Gallant is coming to visit. Yay!

Sam pops out of an exam room to tell Clemente that Darrel put his head through a supply cabinet. Clemente tells Ray to distract Darrel (like a rodeo clown) so he can give him a tranquilizer. Why not put the freedom splints on him? Luka comes by, announcing that there are gunshot victims coming in and getting everyone mobilized. Well, except Jerry, who’s still stuck in the freedom splints.

While waiting for the ambulances, Luka tells Abby that a father used his daughter as a human shield. She lets him know that Clemente is making some changes in the ER. She wonders if he’s going to be the new head, which is the rumor. Luka clarifies that she’s talking about the guy who got her and Neela suspended for working on a chimp. If Clemente wants the job, Luka says he can have it: “Maybe he can open a petting zoo in the doctors’ lounge.” Heh.

Sydney arrives first, and when Abby asks her name, she says Jansen calls her Mezoti. (Apparently this is a Star Trek reference.) A cop explains that Jansen isn’t Sydney’s father – he kidnapped her. This cop, Yau, is the one who took down Jansen, but he insists that he had a clear shot and didn’t hit Sydney. He thinks Jansen’s gun accidentally fired when he went down. Sydney asks if Jansen’s dead. She’s also concerned because she dropped her stuffed dog.

Sam tends to a college freshman whose dormmates drew on his face while he was passed out. Frank bugs her about firing Haleh, and of course, when Sam says she was just following orders, he makes a Nazi comparison. Hey, Frank? Don’t compare the firing of one person to mass genocide. Also, shut up. He gives her a letter that Steve sent from prison.

Pratt joins Luka as an ambulance brings in a cop named Howe who was shot in the arm during the gunfight. Luka was told that Jansen had critical injuries, but he’s not there yet. K.J. finally turns up and Pratt sends him to the blood bank. Howe’s really anxious about his injuries, which Pratt and Ray assure him are fixable. Eve distracts Howe by talking about which station he’s from. Her father and brother are cops, and it turns out she and Howe both know a guy named Joe. Howe asks if he’s Eve’s brother. Nope – he gave her her first orgasm. Pratt, Ray, and a paramedic all stare at her for that.

Dubenko’s still using his robot, which saves him a trip to the ER if a patient doesn’t need his immediate attention. He does a consult on Sydney, then goes to check on other patients. Yau tells Luka and Abby that Sydney has been IDed as a girl who was kidnapped in upstate New York in August. She confirms to Abby who she is. Yau quietly says that they need to give her a rape exam. Sydney still just wants to know if Jansen is dead. Chuny checks Sydney and finds signs that Jansen raped her multiple times. Sydney explains that they played a “married game” and Jansen loves her.

Jerry ducks in to tell Luka that Jansen has been brought in. Luka leaves Abby and Chuny to take care of Sydney, and joins Neela to tend to a guy who…let’s be honest, they maybe shouldn’t expend too much energy saving him. Luka’s annoyed that the paramedics didn’t insert a chest tube, but Zadro says they didn’t have time. Jansen shot through their windshield and almost hit Gates. Gates flirts with Neela, who snaps at him to stop it. Yes! Yes, Neela! That’s the way to handle that! Clemente wants to lend a hand but Luka freezes him out.

Howe’s still freaking out about his injuries, so Eve distracts him again. Sam comes to get something and offers to take over for her. Sydney asks if anyone found her stuffed puppy. No, but Yau got her mom on the phone. Abby tells her that Sydney is doing well and is a brave kid. She holds the phone so Sydney can talk to her.

Dubenko comes to the ER in person as Abby assures Sydney that they’re going to take care of her and she’s safe there. Sydney asks about Jansen, and Abby says she doesn’t need to worry about him anymore. Clemente comes in next and talks down to Sydney like she’s five instead of ten. He and Abby disagree about whether Sydney’s low blood pressure is bad or good, based on the treatment Clemente wants to start. Abby would like to confer with Luka, but Clemente shuts her down, since Dubenko backed up his treatment choice.

Luka, Neela, and Malik stabilize Jansen, and Luka praises Neela for her work. He’s heard that Gallant is visiting and hopes to see him this time, since he didn’t the last time Gallant was in town. Neela’s looking forward to a longer visit with him. Jansen wakes up, then thrashes against the team. He grabs Neela’s arm, even though he’s cuffed to the bed, and Luka has to help free her. A cop comes over with his gun drawn, but Luka tells him not to shoot.

He blames Jansen’s impulse-control problems on his head injury, which otherwise shouldn’t cause any lasting damage. Jansen asks where Sydney is and Neela replies, “Safe from you.” He insists that he took care of her and didn’t hurt her. Luka doesn’t buy that, since he raped her. Jansen says she loves him and needed and wanted him. The team ignores him as Dubenko comes to see if he needs surgery. Jansen says he’s sure that Neela wants him to die. She replies that she wants him to shut up. He needs surgery, but he says maybe the team should let him die.

K.J. brings blood to Howe’s trauma room, and while Pratt’s working, he tells K.J. that Eve isn’t happy with him. K.J. says she doesn’t like him. Pratt tells him to respect her because he’s on her turf and is lucky to be working there. He could be doing his community service in a soup kitchen instead. Howe’s arm starts spraying blood and K.J. passes out. Yep, I was waiting for that.

Luka goes to check on Sydney and is annoyed that Clemente is going with a different treatment plan than Luka would have. Neela calls him back to Jansen as Jerry comes in to tell Clemente that Darrel stopped breathing while he was getting a CT scan. For the record, this Darrel stuff doesn’t go anywhere, so I don’t know why they keep bringing him up. Clemente gives Abby instructions for Sydney’s treatment, leaving her to once again have to decide whether to listen to him or Luka.

Jansen’s declining but there won’t be an OR open for him for another ten minutes. Luka doesn’t particularly want to save him, but he thinks Jansen deserves to rot in prison instead of take the easy way out by dying, so he’ll do what’s necessary. Dubenko calls for emergency surgery right there in the ER. Meanwhile, Sydney also declines, and when Abby summons Luka to help her, he overrules Clemente’s instructions.

Howe’s good now, so Pratt goes to make sure K.J.’s okay. He thinks passing out will actually work in K.J.’s favor – now Eve will feel sorry for him and hold off on booting him. Eve tells the cops waiting for news on Howe’s condition that he’s okay. Sam learns that she comes from a family of cops and was engaged to one before he was killed on the job. Sam asks why a prisoner might be transferred from one state to another. Steve is being moved from Colorado to Chicago. Eve says she’ll see what she can find out.

Zoe is back in the ER, this time with her father. He found the prescription Neela gave her and wants to talk to her. Neela’s busy and Sam won’t give Zoe’s father any information that Zoe won’t provide herself, so he threatens a malpractice suit. He has lawyers! Sam, unphased, replies that she has Jerry, who will gladly remove him from the hospital if he doesn’t sit down and wait quietly for Neela. Once he’s subdued, Jerry tells Sam that he hates violence. Sam knows, but Zoe’s father doesn’t. Jerry gives him an intimidating look to continue the act.

Dubenko uses Neela’s hands as clamps as he operates on Jansen. Jerry comes in to tell Neela that a lieutenant in Iraq is on the phone for her with an urgent message. Neela doesn’t have time to realize what that could mean before Jansen starts bleeding out. Luka and Abby also have to cut Sydney open in the ER, and things don’t look good.

Neela and Dubenko stabilize Jansen, who’s then taken up to the OR. Clemente joins Abby and Luka, shocked that Sydney’s condition was as bad as it turned out to be. He thought his treatment plan was reasonable. Luka snaps that Clemente killed her. Abby tells them that they need to keep Sydney alive until her parents arrive, since they think they’re on their way to reunite with her. Luka doesn’t think they can save her, but Clemente wants to keep working.

Gates tries to chat with Neela, who couldn’t be less into him or more obvious about it. Still, he tries to invite her to a hockey game. When she turns him down, he asks if she’s into opera or the theater instead. Buddy, learn to take a hint. Nope, instead he invites her to hang out at home and help him study (he’s a fourth-year med student). Instead of telling him that she’s not interested and/or is seeing someone else, she just says she might hang out another time. Neela, what happened to that backbone you’ve been showing all episode?

She finally has time to call back the lieutenant. She asks Frank if he has anything sarcastic to say. Knowing she’s probably about to get bad news, he quietly says no. As Neela dials the lieutenant, Zoe’s father approaches her and demands to know what Zoe’s prescription is for. Neela refuses to tell him anything. Ray overhears from down the hall and steps in to take the heat for Neela. She pulls him away and reminds him that he committed statutory rape. He should let this go and let Neela take care of this.

Clemente and Abby are still working on Sydney, while Luka has moved to the corner to show that he’s not taking part in this anymore. Abby finally tells Clemente that he needs to stop. Poor Sydney dies without getting to see her parents again and without her stuffed dog.

Neela reaches the lieutenant, who tells her over a staticky connection that there was an incident in Mosul that resulted in a lot of casualties. When the connection clears, he says that Gallant…has a heavy patient load and won’t be able to visit as scheduled. He asked the lieutenant to let her know. Gallant himself is totally fine, to Neela’s relief.

Clemente still thinks his treatment plan for Sydney was the right choice, since it works 95 percent of the time. Luka coolly says that he should tell her family that. He doesn’t care that Clemente did what he thought was best – not everyone agreed. Though Luka knows enough about Clemente from their brief time working together to know that he would have done what he wanted even if Dubenko hadn’t supported it.

Luka says the staff has been there a long time, and Clemente needs to fit in with them, not the other way around. They fight over taking risks and trying to be more cutting-edge, and Clemente angrily says that when he sees a problem, he wants to fix it. His nose suddenly starts bleeding, and Eve rushes over with some tissues. She thinks they should hold a debriefing and help everyone calm down, since people seem tense today. Ray’s like, “Can’t we just drink instead?” He asks Sam who she thinks would win in a fight between Luka and Clemente. You know, that’s a great question.

Abby finds Clemente bleeding, and when he blames it on Luka, she reasonably thinks Luka hit him. Clemente insists that he’s fine but Abby takes care of him anyway. He tells her he’s sorry about Sydney. Whatever Luka thinks, Clemente was trying to save her. He seems to be grasping now that he screwed up, and Sydney’s death is hitting him harder.

Luka asks Weaver if she’s found someone to run the ER. Since Clemente is a front-runner, Luka offers himself up to be considered for the role. She doesn’t think it’s his “style,” but he’s ready to change that. Eve tried to make the debriefing mandatory but Luka doesn’t care. He gives his own version of a debriefing at the admit desk: “Today sucked. Good night.”

Pratt gleefully accepts a patient so he has an excuse not to go to the debriefing. Neela doesn’t have anyone to go to the dinner she planned for Gallant, so she invites Ray to take his place. Eve, Abby, and Clemente were the only ones who showed up for the debriefing, so Eve calls time of death on it and lets Abby go. At least Clemente thought it was a good idea. They agree that the department needs work and a kick in the butt.

Yau thinks Sydney might be better off dead after everything she’s gone through. Abby doesn’t feel like anyone deserves that. He gives her Sydney’s stuffed dog, which was finally recovered from the parking lot where the shootout took place. She sadly tucks the dog in next to Sydney’s body. On their way out of the hospital, Neela and Ray run into Zoe’s father. More specifically, Ray’s face runs right into his fist. Neela yells for security as Zoe’s father beats up Ray, then threatens to kill him if he ever goes near Zoe again.

Abby goes to Luka’s apartment to confront him for putting her in the middle of his issues with Clemente. Luka won’t drop it, since he thinks Clemente’s treatment plan was wrong. Abby tells him it doesn’t matter who was wrong or right – Sydney died. She was ten years old and had already suffered for months. Abby can’t stop thinking about what she must have gone through and how scared she was. She hates that they couldn’t save her. As she fights back tears, Luka slowly approaches her. He takes her face in his hands and kisses her. Then he pulls back and they just look at each other.

Thoughts: Gates is played by John Stamos. Jansen is played by C. Thomas Howell.

Laura Innes (Weaver) directed this episode.

The way Pratt forces Jerry to “volunteer” for Clemente and Eve’s demonstration cracks me up. I love when the characters goof off together.

It really did feel up until now like they were going to put Abby and Clemente together. That makes Abby and Luka’s kiss even more surprising. And I really like them together, so I think it’s a great development.

November 26, 2022

Buffy 4.11, Doomed: Aftershocks

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

What other picture would I use here?

Summary: We pick up right where “Hush” left off, with Buffy and Riley in her room, unsure how to address the fact that they ran into each other while fighting monsters. After a long silence, Riley asks, “What are you?” Buffy gives a sarcastic response about her zodiac sign. He tells her she’s amazing for being so strong and fast. She asks what he is. He can’t tell her, so she guesses that he’s part of a “military monster squad” that delivers their captives to a team who performs experiments on them. During the day, he pretends to be a normal guy from Iowa.

Riley promises that that’s his real name and he’s really from Iowa. He points out that he’s not the only one who’s been secretive. Buffy’s surprised that he hasn’t figured out that she’s the Slayer. He has no idea what that is. “Slayer. Chosen One. She who hangs out a lot in cemeteries,” she elaborates. Still no recognition. “Ask around. Look it up: Slayer comma the,” she says.

They both appreciate each other’s fighting skills, but Riley can’t figure out why Buffy looks like she didn’t battle a bunch of monsters last night. She doesn’t seem to have a scratch on her. She tells him he’s not looking hard enough, and he replies that he’s looking pretty hard. He asks what they should do now. Buffy’s disappointed that he’s not a normal guy, and she wants some time away from him to process everything. Riley agrees. He starts to leave, then pauses to ask Buffy not to tell anyone what she’s learned about him. She promises not to.

Amy suddenly starts squeaking in her cage. Moments later, there’s a big earthquake. Riley’s kind of excited, not being from Southern California and never having experienced an earthquake before. Buffy’s much less excited, since she knows that this could be an omen of something really bad.

The earthquake loosened some pipes in Xander’s room and soaked the chair Spike’s been sleeping in. Xander tells him to fix it since he has to go to work. He’s moved on from construction and is now delivering pizza. Spike looks down on him for that, but a) at least Xander has a job and b) Spike should really ease up on the guy who’s keeping him housed and fed. Xander tells Spike to be a better housekeeper while he’s gone. Behind him, Spike raises a wrench to hit him, but the Initiative’s implant kicks in and gives him a headache that stops him in his tracks.

That night, Willow tells Buffy that a dorm hit with a blackout from the earthquake is having an “aftershock party.” Apparently this dorm really likes to celebrate stuff, since Buffy says they’ve also had a “somebody sneezed” party and a “day that ends in Y” party. Willow suggests that Buffy invite Riley, but Buffy says he’s busy. She’s going to go see Giles, and then she’ll meet Willow at the party. Willow senses that something’s going on but Buffy pretends everything’s fine.

At Giles’, she opens up about her fears that this earthquake indicates disaster. After all, the last time they had one, she died. Giles gets why she’s anxious, but there haven’t been any signs that this was more than just a normal earthquake. There’s no reason to think they’re facing “imminent doom.” He’s working on figuring out more about the commandos, so Buffy steers him away from that subject by talking more about the earthquake. He assures her that if this one was important, there will be signs of something else coming. She needs to stop worrying about what could be and focus on what is.

Riley asks Forrest if he’s heard of the Slayer. Forrest is familiar with the band of the same name, but from what he knows of the person, he thinks she’s just a boogeyman for demons (“eat your vegetables and clean your slime pit or the Slayer will get you!”). There’s no way she’s real. Riley’s disappointed, so Forrest teases him for believing in things that don’t exist. Yeah, demons are real, but they’re just animals. The two pause their conversation to restrain a demon who’s fighting his handlers. Apparently the hostiles are going a little wild today. Forrest blames the earthquake.

Willow goes to the aftershock party, but without any friends there, she just stands around, looking awkward. She finally spots a familiar face: Percy. He goes to USC (on a football scholarship) but is there visiting his girlfriend, Laurie. She’s rude to Willow and pulls Percy away from her, because sometimes mean girls don’t stop being mean after high school. As some partygoers leave in a conga line, a demon hand opens a door. The demon it belongs to attacks a student, slashing him with its claws.

Willow overhears Laurie and Percy talking and learns that Laurie’s jealous – she thinks Percy was flirting with Willow. Percy says she’s just a nerd who tutored him in high school, and not nearly as hot as Laurie. Hurt, Willow goes looking for a room where she can be alone. Unfortunately, she’s chosen a room where the slashed partygoer’s body was stashed, and when the lights suddenly come in, she realizes she’s laid down next to him. A symbol has been carved into his chest.

Xander’s upset to come home and see that the leaks in his room have gotten worse. The good news is that Spike did laundry. The bad news is that he shrank his clothes and had to borrow some of Xander’s. Instead of his usual black shirt, Spike is wearing one with plants on it. Also, his pants are really short. He demands better clothes and more blood.

Xander’s sick of having him as a house guest. “You’re not the Big Bad anymore,” he tells Spike. “You’re not even the Kind of Naughty. You’re nothing but a waste of space – my space.” Xander has always enjoyed watching Buffy beat up Spike, and he knows even he could take on the vampire now that he’s been neutralized, but Spike isn’t worth it.

Buffy arrives at the party as the dead partygoer’s body is being taken away. She comforts Willow, who tells her about the symbol on the guy’s chest, as well as the fact that Percy called her a nerd. Buffy’s offended on her behalf. Riley’s hanging out with Forrest, still thinking about Buffy, when Graham comes by to report the death at the party. He’s not sure if the guy was killed by a hostile, since he couldn’t get close enough to find out. Riley tells him and Forrest to go to Walsh while he looks into the situation to see if it’s something they should worry about.

The Scoobies gather at Giles’, where Willow continues moping about Percy’s comments, like, Willow, someone was murdered. Maybe that can wait. She reports that the guy was propped up like whatever killed him wanted to drain his blood. Maybe the killer took it with him. She shows Giles a drawing of the symbol on the guy’s chest, which Buffy finds familiar. “It’s the end of the world,” Giles announces. “Again?” the others chorus.

Buffy’s annoyed that Giles blew off her concerns earlier and now accepts that the earthquake was an omen. “I’m so very sorry. My contrition completely dwarfs the impending apocalypse,” he replies. Willow says they’ve done this before and can’t be facing it again. Buffy thinks this is an easy thing to fix, though: She’ll stop the apocalypse.

She goes to a cemetery, where she’d previously seen the symbol on the side of a mausoleum (she calls them “big, freaky cereal boxes of death”). She hears a sound inside and goes in to find the demon from the party stealing some bones. She shoots him with a crossbow and fights him, but he’s huge and is able to overpower her. By the time she’s able to gather herself, he’s gone and Riley’s there instead.

She’s annoyed that he didn’t follow the demon, but Riley doesn’t (well, can’t) fight without weapons or backup. He calls in the demon sighting, using his call sign, Lilac. They’ll go looking for him in the morning. Buffy seems to appreciate the Initiative’s setup. Riley admits that he came there looking for her, since she told him she hangs out in cemeteries a lot.

She doesn’t want to stay and chat, since she needs to track down the demon. He tells her the Initiative will take care of it. Still, Buffy wants to leave – she can’t get into a relationship with someone like him. He doesn’t know what her life is like, and there’s too much risk involved. They’re doomed, and she can’t do doomed right now.

Riley’s confused, since they obviously like each other and have stuff in common. Buffy says that’s not enough. He tells her that he’s never felt this way about anyone else. He’s not going to walk away just because things might not work out. He acknowledges that he doesn’t know what’s happened in her past. “Pain. Death. Apocalypse. None of it fun,” she says.

She asks if he knows what a Hellmouth is. She went to high school on one, and that means they don’t have as much in common as he thinks. Being a commando is Riley’s job and he sees it as an adventure. For her, slaying is her destiny. She can’t change or escape it – she’s stuck. He tells her she doesn’t have to be, since she’s not in high school anymore. Buffy replies firmly that her answer is no.

The Scoobies do some research and find the demon they’re dealing with in a book. The Initiative has also figured out what he is, so the two groups are working on the same thing in different ways. Willow realizes that the demon is gathering things for something called the sacrifice of three. The result is the end of the world, but the book doesn’t say how it will come about. Buffy says they just need to find the third ingredient, the Word of Valios, and keep the demon from getting it. Of course, that’s assuming he hasn’t already, since they don’t know where he’s been.

The Initiative does, since the demon has a strong pheromone signature and they’ve traced it all over town. They’ll need patrol in civilian clothes until they can find him and take him down. The Scoobies split up to continue their search for the Word of Valios. Buffy warns her friends to be careful – she doesn’t want to see anyone get hurt.

Spike is no doubt an exception, so she might be happy to know that he’s about to stake himself at Xander’s. Willow and Xander come in just in time to see him falling off a chair onto a stake. He misses and breaks the coffee table instead. Xander’s upset that Spike was going to kill himself – first of all, he’s wearing Xander’s clothes, and second of all, he should have asked Xander to do the staking.

Willow doesn’t want to let Spike kill himself, but he doesn’t see the point in staying alive. He’s not scary anymore (the shirt isn’t helping), so why keep living? She thinks they should take him with them to the museum where they’re going to continue their work. Spike pretends he’s okay to stay behind, but Xander agrees with Willow. He cheers Spike by telling him that if they don’t succeed in their mission, they’re facing an apocalypse. “Really? You’re not just saying that?” Spike asks.

Buffy runs into Riley downtown, where he’s taking readings of the demon’s pheromones. She tries to avoid having a conversation, but he thinks she’s being stupid about the whole thing. Yeah, that’s the way to win her over! Riley says that Buffy has a doom-and-gloom mentality that’s going to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. “There’s nothing more dangerous than a psych grad student,” she tells him.

He doesn’t get why it would be bad for them to be together. They’re a better match than they thought, considering their similar roles. There are people around, so Riley can’t use words like “Slayer” or “demon hunter.” Instead, he says they’re both fry cooks. Buffy notes that he’s an amateur fry cook and she’s from a lone line of fry cooks who don’t live past 25. He says that attitude is going to bring her down.

Riley loves being a “fry cook”; it’s fun and rewarding. Buffy tells him that the last person she knew who felt that way is now in a coma from having too much fun. She can’t enjoy a job that she never gets to stop doing. She tried having a normal life, but she always gets drawn back in to fighting evil. “Welcome to the story of the world!” Riley exclaims. “Things fall apart, Buffy. And evil – it comes and goes. But the way people manage is they don’t do it alone.” She’d get that if she weren’t so self-involved.

Buffy coolly says that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He doesn’t know her well enough to judge her. Riley guesses that she had a bad relationship and now she wants to stay in a dark place because it’s safer there. They have an opportunity, and she’s just scared to give it a try. She says that’s her business and he needs to leave her alone. Riley finally agrees and walks away.

Xander, Willow, and Spike didn’t have any luck at the museum. Willow thinks Spike shouldn’t be so down about not being able to hurt people anymore. There are still fun things he can do. He just needs to adjust. He’s not interested if it means ending up like her and Xander. They should be happy that the world might end, since their lives are pretty pathetic. Xander lives in his parents’ basement and Willow couldn’t keep Oz around. She’s still a loser like she was in high school.

Willow catches on that Spike is just trying to make them mad enough to stake him. He says he just doesn’t want pity from people even more useless than he is. She argues that they help fight the forces of evil. “Buffy fights the forces of evil,” Spike corrects. “You’re her groupies.” She’d probably do better without them, since she wouldn’t have to save them all the time. They’re the same losers they’ve always been and Buffy’s too nice to ditch them.

Giles finally finds the Word of Valios in a book – it’s a talisman. “Oh, as usual, dear,” he says. He happens to have it in a box full of knickknacks. The demon shows up just then, along with a couple of friends, and they beat him up. When Buffy gets back later, Giles tells her and the others that he had the Word of Talios the whole time. He bought it at a sorcerer’s estate sale, thinking it was a knockoff. The demons have it now, and they’re going to use it in a ritual to open the Hellmouth. “Looks like we’re going back to high school,” Buffy announces.

Everyone but Giles heads over to the ruins of the school, letting Spike tag along. They think the demons may be keeping victims alive there for the sacrifice, so the Scoobies need to prioritize saving them. Xander steps in something he calls “mayor meat – extra-crispy.” Even though things are all burned and gutted, they still know their way around, and they’re able to find the library. The demons are there, chanting, but there are no intended sacrifices around. The Scoobies start grabbing ritual ingredients while Buffy fights the demons.

Spike ends up with the bones for the sacrifice while Willow and Xander join the fight. A demon jumps into a pit, causing another earthquake. Xander realizes that the demons are going to sacrifice themselves, not humans. Spike takes a punch from a demon, and when he instinctively hits back, he discovers that his implant doesn’t keep him from hurting demons. Suddenly things are looking up for him. Too bad he didn’t get the memo about the pit, so he throws a demon into it, thinking he’s helping.

Buffy’s still fighting the remaining demon, and she tells the others to get out before the ruins collapse. Riley arrives in time to help her. Buffy’s smart enough to let him know that they can’t let the demon jump into the pit. But he gets away from them and slides in himself. Buffy tells Riley she’s going in after him, so Riley attaches her to some sort of rappelling wire he carries with him so she’ll be able to get back out. He pulls her and the third demon up, and then…the demon dies? I think? Anyway, the earthquake stops, so the Scoobies have averted another apocalypse.

Buffy and Riley catch up with Willow and Xander, and Riley pretends he was just passing by and heard something going on in the ruins. Willow notes that he’s in his commando gear. Buffy tells Riley it makes him look pretty conspicuous. He says he was playing paintball, but Xander lets him know that they’re familiar with the commandos. Spike’s been trying to melt into the background, but Riley spots him and says he looks familiar. Spike puts on a horrible fake American accent and says he’s an old friend of Xander’s. Xander and Willow agree that it’s weird being back at the school. They head out, having survived it once again.

The next day, Buffy goes to Riley’s room, since she expected him to get in touch and he didn’t. He’s embarrassed by how unstealthy he was with her friends. He thinks that since they know about him, it’s the end of the world. She assures him it isn’t and kisses him. Over at Xander’s, Spike tries to rally Willow and Xander to go fight demons with him “for justice and the safety of puppies and Christmas.” They’d rather just watch TV.

Thoughts: Did Riley make any further effort to learn more about Slayers? I’d be doing Scooby-level amounts of research if I were in his position.

Spike wearing Xander’s clothes is pretty broad comedy, but it brings lightness to an episode that really needs it.

Who gave Riley the call sign Lilac? Should’ve gone with Nighthawk.

What an anticlimax. They just pull the demon out and that’s it, apocalypse averted?

November 22, 2022

ER 12.6, Dream House: Monkey Business

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 5:02 pm by Jenn

Whoever’s responsible for this storyline, show yourself

Summary: Gallant is coming to visit in a few days, and Neela would really like her and Ray’s apartment to be clean when he gets there. Not that Ray has time to clean, between shifts at the hospital, gigs with his band, and bringing home a new bed buddy every couple of nights. The most recent, Zoe, is still there, using Neela’s toothbrush. Ray trusts her not to take anything when they leave her behind to go to work.

Abby and Frank try to eavesdrop on Clemente as he talks quietly on the phone at the admit desk. He’s doing a favor for someone involving an infant warmer, and he recruits Abby to assist him. He tells her to keep things quiet. She asks if they’re going to be treating his illegitimate love child. Nope, it’s a baby chimp. Yeah, you read that right. They’re treating a chimp named Darwin. Kill me now.

Eve tells the nurses that some changes they were hoping for have been approved, but in exchange, they have to give up working overtime. Dubenko arrives in the form of a robot, more or less – he’s working remotely but still maintaining a presence via a screen on top of a mobile metal body. The future is here! Abby does a double take when she sees him.

Haleh sends Pratt to the waiting room, where Chaz has asked to see him. Eve reminds Haleh that no overtime means no overtime, including working shifts in other departments. Haleh isn’t happy to be busted, but she apologizes and says it won’t happen again. We all know that means she just won’t get caught again.

Clemente and Abby examine Darwin as Clemente tries to ease Abby’s discomfort with treating a chimp. It should be fine, since chimps and humans share 96 percent of their DNA. Abby asks if Clemente knows Darwin’s handler because they went to clown school together. Joke’s on her, since the handler actually worked at Ringling Brothers and Clemente had “kind of a circus thing.” He asks if there’s anyone else they can get to help, since he can’t spend all day with a chimp. Abby leaves to get some equipment and Morris offers to help, since he loves babies. She blows him off and enlists Neela instead.

Chaz is at County because he hurt his hand while fighting with Charlie (not a physical fight, though; Chaz got mad and punched something). He tells Pratt that he always felt like there was something going on that he didn’t know about. When he met Pratt, things clicked. Everything was great when he first showed up, but when he cut off Charlie, things went downhill. Chaz feels like Pratt cut him off, too, and he wants a relationship with his brother.

As someone bangs on the door of the suture room where they’re treating Darwin, Clemente tells Abby that baby chimps are susceptible to sepsis. Eve calls the room phone to tell Clemente that it would be really nice if he would do his job and treat some patients. Clemente leaves, telling Abby and Neela to keep the chimp healthy. And then for some reason, “Coconut” by Harry Nilsson comes on the soundtrack (you know, “put the lime in the coconut”), because this plot is wacky! Morris comes in, still wanting to help, and thinks they’re just treating a really ugly baby. Maura Tierney and Parminder Nagra deserve better.

Inez tells Pratt that Chaz is talking to a social worker. He yells at her for filling out a chart for Chaz. Since she has Eve looking over her shoulder and is a mandatory reporter when abuse is suspected, I’m on Inez’s side here. And not just because Pratt’s annoying. Pratt tells the social worker, Liz, that he’s familiar with Chaz’s family and knows they’re stable. Chaz confirms that there was no physical fight; he hit a chair. Liz doesn’t believe him so Pratt announces that Chaz is his brother. That’s enough for her to defer to him.

Sam gets sprayed with some sort of IV fluid by an agitated patient, and Eve finds her while she’s changing into a dry scrub top. She’s pleased with how Sam encouraged Inez recently and praises Sam’s interpersonal skills. She has the respect of younger nurses and the trust of older ones. Eve wants her to move into nursing administration so she can help with staff education and implementing policies. Sam isn’t interested until she learns that the promotion comes with a raise. Unfortunately, her first task is to fire Haleh.

Sam balks at having to do that, but Eve notes that Haleh has been warned three times about breaking the overtime rules. Sam suggests counseling her, but Eve isn’t interested in that. She asks Clemente about the patient being seen in the suture room. He says the patient is a VIP for privacy issues. Eve needs a name for the board, so Clemente says he’s Darwin Magilla. He’ll be transferred back to his referring facility, which is close to where he lives. His mom couldn’t come because she doesn’t drive.

As Clemente runs away before he can be asked anything more, Sam tells Eve that she’s not going to fire Haleh. Eve says she’ll be gone no matter who fires her. She realizes that Sam has never fired anyone before, so she just needs to learn how. Eve will teach her later. So now Sam has to work a shift with Haleh, knowing the whole time that Haleh’s going to be fired.

Clemente returns to the suture room, where Abby and Neela tell him that Darwin’s doing better. They think he should stay for observation, but Clemente wants him gone ASAP so they don’t get caught. He realizes the two residents have grown attached to the chimp and don’t want to see him go. He tells them to discharge Darwin so they can get back to work: “There’s a giraffe out there clogging up triage.” Heh.

Paramedics bring in a 12-year-old named Barry who was crushed by some scaffolding at a construction site. His father, Paul, had a heart attack while trying to dig him out. Pratt, Morris, and Inez tend to Barry until Pratt goes next door to help Ray and Haleh with Paul. Clemente wanders in to observe and Pratt goes back to Barry, figuring out that he has a problem Morris hasn’t discovered yet.

They talk to Barry about the construction site – his father is building his mother’s dream house. Robo-Dubenko checks in, and Barry’s like, “Is that a…?” Morris tells Barry that County is really advanced. Paul is still unconscious after being stabilized, and Clemente and Robo-Dubenko disagree over his best course of treatment. Clemente wants to try induced hypothermia.

Sam tries to make small talk with Haleh without letting on that anything’s wrong. Haleh thinks that even as tough as Eve is, the energy she’s bringing to the ER is going to be good for everyone in the long run. Neela overhears and asks Sam if Eve is really working out well. Sam says she’s a terrorist. Zoe shows up just then and asks Neela for help.

Clemente uses some equipment he apparently stole from his last hospital to induce Paul’s hypothermia. Robo-Dubenko is skeptical that it’s the right treatment. Clemente shoves the “little mechanical b%$@#” out of the trauma room and into the drug lockup. The thing Zoe needs Neela’s help with is pain when she pees. Neela thinks she just has a bladder infection brought on by too much sex. As she’s taking down Zoe’s information, she learns that Zoe is only 14.

Barry looks in on Paul from his trauma room, asking Pratt when he’ll wake up. He spills that Paul cheated on Barry’s mother and she kicked him out. He’s building the house to try to make it up to her. Barry’s mother arrives and Ray tells her that they’re working on waking Paul up. Neela comes to get Ray, informing him that Zoe’s there and, by the way, only 14. “In prison math, I believe 14 equals five to ten,” she says. P.S. Zoe has chlamydia. Ray defends himself, saying he didn’t know how old she was. Neela makes the outrageous suggestion that he talk to the people he sleeps with before they jump in bed.

Ray confronts Zoe, who says she never told him her age because he never asked. Turns out she’s still in the eighth grade – she’s not even in high school yet! She figured Ray wouldn’t like her if she knew she was only 14. He tells her he also doesn’t like courtrooms and prisons and guys named Hank who want to do…you know, the stuff prisoners named Hank might do to you. Neela gives Zoe a prescription and tells her she’ll need to undergo more tests. Zoe wonders who she caught chlamydia from. Ray asks how many possibilities there could be. “Wait, were we being monogamous?” she exclaims.

Eve comes to get Sam so she they can fire Haleh together. Sam begs Eve not to go through with this, but Eve wants to send a message to the other nurses that there are consequences to breaking the rules. They meet with Haleh and break the news that she’s being let go. Eve leaves Sam behind when they’re done, acting like this was just something to cross off her to-do list. And now poor Sam looks like the bad guy.

Chaz goes to say goodbye to Pratt before he leaves, and Pratt puts the blame for the family dynamics on Charlie. Chaz thinks he went through some things that he never talked about – maybe some things that Pratt’s mother never told him the truth about. Luka arrives just as Abby’s getting the results of her recent mammogram. They’re normal. Haleh asks Frank to forward anything for her to her house. Abby lets her know on behalf of everyone that they’re sorry to see her go. Haleh says she’ll come visit sometime. Now everyone’s unhappy with Sam for being the messenger.

Clemente gets a page and tells Abby they’re in a “code banana” situation – Darwin is being brought back. Sam follows Haleh out and tells her how horrible she feels about her firing. Halah covered for Sam tons of times, and she’s mad that Sam was willing to pull the trigger here in exchange for some extra money. But she didn’t know she would have to fire you! Haleh, don’t be mad at Sam! You both just need hugs!

Pratt finds Charlie on a basketball court and accuses him of calling Pratt’s mother a liar. He snaps at Charlie not to ever call him “son.” He’s not one of the Ceasefire kids who think Charlie’s a good mentor. He’s not a role model. Charlie tells him that he doesn’t know everything that happened when Pratt was a kid. Pratt doesn’t want to hear it. He warns that if Charlie isn’t careful, he’ll lose Chaz the way he lost Pratt. He shouldn’t talk to Chaz about Pratt.

Charlie thinks that since Chaz asked what happened, he deserves to know. Pratt’s mad that Charlie only told Chaz his side of the story. Pratt’s mother raised him without any help from Charlie, and he feels like she wasted her life. Charlie says that he tried to come back but she wouldn’t let him. He doesn’t want to have this discussion when they’ve both clearly had rough days, so he tells Pratt to come by his house sometime. He wants Pratt to have something that used to belong to him and Pratt’s mother anyway. Pratt demands that he hand it over right now.

Darwin’s having trouble breathing, so his handler, Alonzo, brought him back. (He also takes care of Darwin’s mother, Cookie, and their owner’s llama.) Apparently Darwin did develop sepsis after all, and Clemente doesn’t think they can save him, but Abby wants to keep working. Well, yeah – no one wants to be the one to tell someone that their baby monkey died.

Charlie takes Pratt to his place but Pratt won’t go inside. Charlie rings the bell instead of unlocking the door, then tells Chaz he has to get something for Pratt. (I thought this was building up to the news that Charlie’s wife kicked him out, but that doesn’t happen.) Chaz thinks Pratt went to talk to Charlie because of him. Chaz invites Pratt in for dinner, and Pratt finally gives in. Back at County, Neela feels bad that the girl Ray liked turned out to be jail bait. On the plus side, she didn’t give him chlamydia. He’ll have to get tested for other stuff, though.

Neela goes to the suture room, where Clemente and Abby are still trying to save Darwin. It’s been more than half an hour, and Clemente thinks they’ve put him through enough and need to let him go. Alonzo wants to get Cookie so she can be with him when he dies. She should know why her baby was taken away from her. Clemente doesn’t see the point but Abby and Neela think it’s a good idea. He tells them they’re taking this too far. “Oh, come on, you’re the one that started this whole monkey business,” Abby reminds him. She realizes what she said and whispers, “I didn’t mean to say that.”

Charlie’s family sits down for dinner without him. Pratt learns that his stepmother had surgery for a broken hip at County, and he had no idea. Charlie hasn’t found what he was trying to get for Pratt, so Pratt follows him to the basement while he keeps looking. He asks why Charlie didn’t tell him that Evelyn had surgery at County – Pratt could have helped. Charlie says he didn’t seem to be in the mood.

He gives Pratt a stack of letters his mother wrote Charlie while he was in prison. He also has a picture of Pratt with his mother when he was a kid. Charlie says he made mistakes and never denied them. He went to prison for “stupid, petty stuff” and has regretted his decisions, but life is more complicated than Pratt things.

Cookie is at the hospital, and she gives Abby a little kiss for helping to make Darwin comfortable. I again request that someone kill me now. Darwin dies. Cookie pets him and grooms Abby. Maura Tierney calls her agent. Clemente checks in with Morris, who tells him that Paul’s treatment worked. So that’s one patient Clemente saved today and one he didn’t.

Abby tells Clemente that they see a lot of patients and some days they don’t even register for her, so she’s not sure why it was so sad to see Darwin die. Clemente reveals he’s facing suspension – apparently Eve wasn’t pleased when she found out about his super-top-secret patient. He wanted a robot and a monkey as a kid, and now he’s over it. Throughout the episode, Clemente has been calling Abby “Lockhart,” and she’s corrected him with her first name every time. This time when she does it, he says he knows her name.

Something else that’s been happening all episode: Clemente’s phone keeps ringing. It happens again as he’s heading out, and he tells the woman on the other end, Jodie, to stop calling him. She yells something unintelligible. He won’t tell her where he is, only saying he’s not in New York. She yells so much that he can’t get a word out, so he throws the phone in a bin of infectious waste.

On his way home, Pratt starts reading his mother’s letters to his father. He ends up at an abandoned house and sits on a bench outside to keep reading. Charlie finds him there and Pratt tells him this is where he and his mother lived. He’s upset that his mother pushed Charlie away when he tried to come back into their lives. He asks what Charlie did to make her hate him.

Charlie says he got into trouble, so maybe Pratt’s mother was trying to protect him. When Charlie got out of prison, he wanted them to be a family. Pratt notes that he was still a kid when his mother died, but Charlie didn’t show up. Charlie says he tried, but Pratt had moved to Detroit by then. Charlie regrets giving up instead of looking for him. He had his second family by then and was trying to hold them together.

Charlie’s done his penance and continues to do it every day. He still needs forgiveness from Pratt, though. Pratt acknowledges that he’s heard everything Charlie’s said, and he gives him a hug, but the past is past. Even if the truth is more complicated than what Pratt knows about the past 20 years, Charlie wasn’t there. It doesn’t matter why – he was gone, and they can’t change that. Charlie insists that they can fix their relationship, but Pratt disagrees. Instead of pressing, Charlie just sighs and walks away. Pratt looks at the picture of himself and his mother as he goes.

Thoughts: Imagine being in the writers’ room of this show when someone pitched a plot about a chimp. How would that person not get laughed out of the room?

Neela’s “oh crap oh crap oh crap” fake smile when she realizes Zoe’s a teenager is Emmy-worthy.

I don’t think I could ever go back and visit a workplace I was fired from, especially not while the people who fired me were there. In fact, I’d probably refuse to go, and I’d tell my co-workers that if they ever wanted to see me again, they’d have to come to me.

Were they trying to make us think that Abby and Clemente were going to get together? Otherwise I don’t get the stuff with her name.

November 19, 2022

Buffy 4.10, Hush: You’re Gonna Die Screaming But You Won’t Be Heard

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 1:17 pm by Jenn

If I’m going to have nightmares about these guys, I’m taking you all with me

Summary: Buffy’s in Professor Walsh’s class, where the topic of the day is communication. She talks about thoughts and experiences, then calls on Buffy and Riley to assist in a demonstration. She has Buffy lie down on her desk and tells Riley to be a good boy. “Don’t worry – if I kiss you, it’ll make the sun go down,” Riley tells Buffy. They kiss as if no one’s watching them, even though everyone is.

The sun does, indeed, go down, and suddenly the room is empty. “Fortune favors the brave,” Buffy says. She hears singing and follows the sound to the hallway. A blond girl is there, holding a box in her hands. She sings:

“Can’t even shout, can’t even cry
The Gentlemen are coming by
Looking in windows, knocking on doors
They need to take seven and they might take yours
Can’t call to Mom, can’t say a word
You’re gonna die screaming but you won’t be heard.”

Riley joins Buffy and puts his hand on her shoulder. When she turns around, he’s turned into a demonic-looking man. Buffy wakes up from her dream to find that she’s missed the rest of the class. Willow teases that they covered everything they’ll need to know for the final. Riley joins them and says that Buffy looked peaceful. Willow heads off alone so they can talk in private, then sneaks around to eavesdrop on them. She’s happy to hear that Riley made an appearance in Buffy’s dream, though Buffy won’t tell him what happened.

He asks what she’s doing that night and she blurts out, “Patrolling” without thinking. She changes that to “petroleum,” which, of course, makes a lot more sense. He can’t tell her about his plans for the evening, either, so this relationship is really starting out great, huh? When they say goodbye, they clearly want to kiss each other, but Buffy gets distracted by the thought of the papers Riley said he had to grade, since they haven’t submitted any. This ruins the moment, and she chastises herself with, “Fortune favors the brave” as they split up without kissing.

She calls Giles to tell him about her dream and the girl’s song. He’s not sure if this is a prophetic dream or just “the eternal mystery” of Buffy’s brain. He asks Spike if he’s heard of the Gentlemen. No, and he wants more Wheetabix, which he likes to mix with blood. Giles is suitably grossed out.

Xander and Anya come over, bickering about whether he actually cares about her. She accuses him of just wanting her around for “lots of orgasms.” Spike is hilariously interested in seeing where this conversation goes. Xander reminds Anya that they discussed how private conversations aren’t private when they’re in front of his friends. “Oh, we’re not your friends. Go on,” Spike says.

Giles asked Xander to come over so he could take Spike home with him for a few days. Giles has a friend coming to town and wants them to have some time alone. Anya guesses that he means “an orgasm friend.” “Yes, that’s exactly the most appalling thing you could have said,” he replies. Xander will only let Spike stay with him if he gets tied up again (Giles is letting him have free reign of the apartment, I guess since he can’t hurt anyone). Spike refuses to stay in a basement where Xander and Anya are just going to have sex near him.

Willow attends a meeting of the campus Wicca group, which doesn’t include as much magic as she’d like. More specifically, it doesn’t include magic at all. They don’t want to play into stereotypes about witches. One attendee, Tara, is interested in Willow’s suggestion that they do actual spells, but she’s shy and stammers, so she doesn’t feel comfortable supporting her in public.

Willow meets up with Buffy later and complains that the group is full of “wanna-blessed-bes.” She’s stuck at the level of floating pencils. She asks how Buffy and Riley’s conversation went, but the fact that it was only a conversation bugs Buffy. She, like Willow, would like to move to the next level. She doesn’t like having to keep secrets from Riley about being the Slayer.

Riley is in a similar boat, not being able to tell Buffy about the Initiative. Forrest can empathize – they have a job that would make any woman fall at their feet, but they have to “Clark Kent” their way through dating, never being able to tell anyone. “Thank God we’re pretty,” he says. Riley thinks Buffy’s special (he’s said this a bunch, according to Forrest), and he wants to be able to talk to her about his life.

Xander ties Spike to a chair before going to bed. Spike doesn’t see the point, since he has no desire to bite Xander. Xander argues that he’s totally biteable. Spike uses falsetto to imitate Anya and complain about their relationship issues. Giles is still focused on the song from Buffy’s dream, but he’s stalled on figuring out what “they need to take seven” refers to. Olivia arrives and they quickly get to kissing. Giles is getting more action than Buffy is!

That night, the demonic-looking man from Buffy’s dream – one of the Gentlemen from the song – opens the box the girl was holding in a clock tower. While everyone’s asleep, their voices are drawn to the box and sealed inside. From this point until almost the end of the episode, there’s no dialogue outside of a TV report and computers.

In the morning, Buffy goes down the hall to use the dorm bathroom. On her way back to her room, she passes someone who’s crying. Willow wakes up as she returns and they try to greet each other but find that they can’t speak. Buffy sticks her head out of the room and sees that no one else in the dorm can speak, either. Xander and Spike are both afflicted as well, and Xander blames the vampire. Spike gives him the British version of the finger. Xander calls Buffy, but when she answers the phone, they both realize that was a stupid idea, since neither of them can talk. Too bad texting won’t be popular for a few more years.

Riley and Forrest head to the Initiative’s underground headquarters, having heard that the sudden loss of speech is a town-wide problem. Another problem: Without their voices, they can’t use the elevator’s vocal identification security procedure. Since their identities can’t be verified, they’ll be treated like hostiles. Riley opens a panel to try to override the system but can’t remember the access code. Just as gas starts to fill the elevator, it arrives in the lab. Amused, Walsh points to sign on the wall telling people to use the stairs when there’s an emergency.

The lobby of Tara’s dorm is as quiet as anywhere else on campus. A guy drops a bottle and the sound of it smashing makes everyone jump. Downtown, businesses are closed (except the liquor store) and people are distraught. A priest who must think the end is near tries to lead a Bible study, but all the attendees can do is read Scripture.

Buffy and Willow spot a guy selling dry-erase boards and take a couple to Giles’, where Xander and Anya are already hanging out. Buffy thinks the song from her dream could be connected to this. A new report states that the town has been quarantined because of a supposed laryngitis epidemic. Officials are saying it’s a bad side effect of recent flu vaccinations, and some people are calling it a hoax. A mass illness being considered a hoax? Who would ever think that?? Buffy writes on her board for Giles to keep researching. She wants to be in town tonight.

Walsh wants the same from the commandos. She uses a text-to-speech feature on a computer to tell them to dress in street clothes and keep the peace. The Initiative is as in the dark about what’s happening as everyone else is. That night, Buffy walks around town, where things are slowly spiraling into post-apocalyptic conditions. She spots Riley breaking up a fight between two men. One of the guys picks up a pipe to hit him, but Buffy casually breaks his arm to stop him before Riley even sees him. Buffy and Riley hug and silently confirm that they’re both doing okay. As they split up to continue their versions of patrolling, they pause long enough to kiss.

In the middle of the night, the Gentlemen float around town, accompanied by demonic-looking guys in straightjackets. Olivia wakes up and sees a couple of Gentlemen floating by the apartment. Two of them go to Buffy and Willow’s dorm, passing their room on their way to knock on someone else’s door. When he answers it, the straightjacketed minions grab him and hold him down.

He screams silently as a Gentleman opens a medical bag, pulls on a scalpel, and starts cutting him up. He takes the student’s heart to the clock tower, placing it next to some other hearts. The other Gentlemen give him golf claps, but he gestures modestly that it was nothing.

In the morning, Buffy sneaks into the student’s room and sees his body. Olivia sketches one of the Gentlemen as Giles sees that the lead story in the newspaper is about various murders around town. He starts putting the pieces together and goes to find a book of fairy tales.

He gathers the Scoobies in a classroom on campus and relays what he’s figured out via an overhead projector. (He adds his own soundtrack, “Danse Macabre” by Camille Saint-Saëns.) He informs the Scoobies that the Gentlemen are fairy-tale monsters. Willow points to her chest, trying to indicate that they want hearts. Xander thinks she means breasts. Anya, who’s eating popcorn, is enjoying herself.

Giles gives an overview of the Gentlemen’s story illustrated with his own drawings: They go to a town, take everyone’s voices so they can’t scream, and start cutting out hearts. Giles may have gone overboard with the red marker to show all the blood. He says the Gentlemen need seven hearts and have at least two already. Xander asks how to kill them. Buffy gestures that she can stake them, but without an actual stake in her hand, the movement looks…suggestive.

Giles doesn’t think it’ll work, since in the story, no swords could kill the Gentlemen. Instead, they were taken out by a princess’ scream. Willow suggests music, but it has to be a real, human voice. Buffy asks how she gets her voice back (because of course she’s the princess here). Giles doesn’t know. He puts up a slide saying she needs to patrol that night. She objects to the size of her hips in his drawing. Priorities, Buffy!

The Initiative has moved on from keeping the peace as civilians to suiting up in case they have to go to battle. Riley ends up alone near the clock tower, where he sees shadows moving behind the blinds. Tara has been reading up on spells that involve speech and silence, and she looks up Willow’s dorm so she can pay her a visit. On her way across campus, she trips and drops her books. Two Gentlemen and some minions silently move toward her without her noticing. As soon as she sees them, she runs. Buffy also spots a Gentleman in a neighborhood and gets ambushed by a minion.

Tara bangs on doors in Buffy and Willow’s dorm, hoping someone will let her hide in their room. No luck, so she has to keep running. Buffy kills a minion and chases after another as Riley goes into the clock tower and gets attacked by more. Tara finally makes it to Buffy and Willow’s hall, but Willow’s hesitant to respond to someone banging on a door. It turns out Tara’s at the wrong room, and she’s just moments too late to stop a Gentleman from cutting out another heart.

Some Gentlemen and minions chase her again as Willow comes out of her room to see what’s going on. Tara plows into her and Willow falls, hurting her ankle. They head to the stairs to keep escaping. In the clock tower, Riley tries to reach his gun and take out the minions. Buffy bursts in and starts fighting them. Riley gets up with his gun, pointing it straight at Buffy, who’s pointing a crossbow straight at him.

Though they both obviously want to know why the other is there, the two go right back to fighting the minions. Buffy takes out one by swinging into him on a rope. Back at Giles’, Spike gets a snack from the fridge (still using Giles’ “kiss the librarian” mug and starts picking up books while Anya naps on the couch. Xander comes in and sees Spike vamped out with blood on his lips next to a sleeping Anya. He gets the wrong idea and attacks Spike. Anya assures him that she’s okay, and Xander kisses her happily. She ruins the moment by making a gesture to invite him to go have sex.

Willow and Tara hide in the dorm’s laundry room, trying to move a soda machine to block the door. They’re not strong enough and Willow’s injury keeps her from accomplishing much. As she tries to use magic to move the machine with her mind, Tara realizes what she’s doing. She takes Willow’s hand and together they’re able to magically move the machine in front of the door.

Buffy and Riley are outnumbered by minions in the clock tower. She spots all the hearts as the Gentlemen arrive and one picks up a scalpel. Riley blasts him with a stun gun, and he and Buffy fight some more. The Gentleman with the scalpel is able to cut Buffy, and a minion grabs her from behind.

She spots the box from her dream and bangs on something to get Riley’s attention. She gestures for him to smash the box, but he doesn’t catch on to what she’s looking at and he smashes something else instead. Buffy makes an open-and-close motion that gets through to him, and he destroys the box. Everyone’s voices swoosh out and go back to the people they belong to. With one loud, long scream, Buffy makes the Gentlemen’s heads explode in goo.

Once everything’s back to normal, Tara tells Willow that she went looking for her so they could try a spell to restore everyone’s voices. She got a sense at the Wicca group that Willow, unlike the others, has actual powers. Tara’s been practicing magic since she was a kid; her mother had a lot of power like Willow does. Willow’s modest about her abilities and says she’s not anything special. “No, you are,” Tara says.

Olivia’s still at Giles’, trying to wrap her head around the fact that all his previous talk about witchcraft and the supernatural was real. He says everything he’s told her is true, except for his claim that he was one of the original members of Pink Floyd. Olivia finds it scary – maybe too scary to continue a relationship with him. And since we never see her again…yeah, I don’t think she’s ready for the supernatural world.

Riley goes to Buffy and Willow’s room so he and Buffy can finally talk about everything they’ve been keeping from each other. But after days of not being able to speak, having their voices back doesn’t mean they know what to say. They just sit there in silence.

Thoughts: One of the Gentlemen is played by Doug Jones. The late Andy Hallett, who later played Lorne on Angel, has an uncredited appearance as a student in the first scenes.

The Gentlemen are easily the creepiest villains in the whole series. I’ve seen less creepy monsters in horror movies.

We’ve seen it a little before and I notice here, too, that Buffy and Willow say hi or wave to people around campus. It’s a nice little indication that, unlike in high school, they have friends outside the Scoobies.

I think my favorite visual joke in this episode is Forrest writing, “Come on” on his notepad while Riley’s trying to trigger the vocal verification in the elevator, even though Riley’s facing away from him and can’t see it.

The priest’s study is on Revelation 15:1, which is a nice red herring since it mentions seven angels and seven plagues.

Shout-out to the guy who realized he could make a killing on dry-erase boards during a “laryngitis epidemic.”

November 15, 2022

ER 12.5, Wake Up: Learn Your Lessons Well

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 5:02 pm by Jenn

Hi, I work here now

Summary: Weaver has hired a new attending named Victor Clemente, but he hasn’t shown up for his first shift yet. Morris notes that he’s not making a great first impression, and if someone like Morris knows that, it’s really bad. Luka’s on his way out but offers to come back if Clemente never comes in. Weaver tells Morris to find a moonlighter instead. Luka runs into Abby as he’s on his way upstairs. She asks why, then decides she doesn’t want to know: “Last time I reached out to someone, Dubenko tried to make me his concubine.”

Pratt shows up just as Sam brings a man with chest pain in from the waiting room. Morris asks if Susan is on, and Weaver makes the official announcement that she’s no longer working at County. Weaver brought in Clemente to replace her, and they’re forming a search committee for the new department head. Ray pops in from his toxicology elective to remind everyone that he has a gig that night. Apparently it’s at a strip club. Well, a gig is a gig, right?

Morris hands out assignments to a couple of pre-med students, one of whom comments that they’re not really doctors. “That never stopped Morris,” Pratt quips. High five, Pratt. That might be the funniest thing you’ve ever said. They’re research assistants who are supposed to collect data for Weaver. She tells Pratt to step up his responsibilities as a senior resident, and also don’t bug her while she’s working in the lounge.

Sam comes to get Pratt to take care of her patient, who stops Pratt before he can administer some nitro for his chest pain. The patient did coke, drank tequila, and took three Viagra the night before. Sounds like a party! Pratt asks why he didn’t say something, and the patient notes that doctors are supposed to take a history. It turns out the patient is Clemente, and he’s just learned that at least one of the doctors at County isn’t as competent as he’d hoped.

Weaver tries to convince Clemente that Pratt is normally very thorough, as if it’s okay that he slipped up one time when he could have killed someone. She considers sticking around the ER, but Clemente says that he and “Dr. Kevorkian” will keep things moving smoothly. He excuses his stunt by saying he just wanted to get the lay of the land. At another hospital, he took things even farther and had to submit to a rectal exam. Here, it sounds like he just had to have his chest shaved. That said, it took 24 minutes for him to have his vitals taken, which is ridiculous.

Morris agrees and eagerly introduces himself to Clemente, who’s like, “Got it, you’re the kiss-up.” He acknowledges that his EKG was administered quickly, but Pratt was sloppy. Pratt defends himself, saying the ER is busy. Clemente replies that they’re always busy, and even though they don’t have a lot of time to spend with each patient, they need to be efficient, like marksmen. They need to hone in on the important symptoms, hit the target with a single shot, and move on. Abby whispers to Neela that he needs a psych consult.

Clemente asks who Abby is, and when she tells him, he says Weaver talked to him about her. It wasn’t all good. He shifts focus to clearing the board, though he doesn’t want to use the actual board. He’d rather do walking rounds. Neela tells Abby that she thinks Clemente is kind of hot. Abby reminds her that she’s dating Gallant. “He’s at war and so are my hormones,” Neela replies.

Luka’s upstairs to visit Blaire, whom he’s become friendly with since she came out of her coma. She’s having trouble with her muscles, but she’s improving. She’s also in a pretty good mood, considering her situation, though she’d be happier if someone would let her smoke pot. She asks Luka if her doctor has said anything about the accident that put her in a coma. All she remembers is going with her mom for her final fitting for her wedding dress. Now her mother is dead and her fiancé has ditched her. She hasn’t spoken to him yet.

Morris compliments Clemente’s shoes, to which Clemente replies, “Get laid, Morris.” He speaks English, Spanish, and Russian, which is three more languages than Morris can speak coherently. (I’m really enjoying having someone around who dislikes Morris as much as I do but isn’t too scared to say so out loud.) Pratt ducks out of rounds when he recognizes a former colleague named Dorsey, who’s there to visit a patient.

Luka cheers Blaire on as she calls her ex-fiancé, Jason. Her neurologist tells Luka that she’s making great progress. He’s been treating her for a few years, so he knows the details of her car accident, but he doesn’t think she should know yet. It turns out the car accident wasn’t actually a car accident: Blaire and her mother were carjacked, and Blaire’s mother was raped and shot. Blaire tried to fight off the carjackers and got pistol-whipped. She probably only survived because someone interrupted.

Luka thinks she should know everything, but her neurologist wants to hold off until she’s stronger. She should also hear the news from someone she’s close to. Luka notes that she doesn’t have any family. The neurologist tells Luka that Blaire will be filled in when the time is right. This guy obviously doesn’t know Luka or he’d have guessed that Luka’s probably going to tell Blaire himself.

The residents discuss a patient who has migraines that she used to have treated by the removal of spinal fluid. Clemente knows of a better treatment and even knows which issue of the Annals of Medicine it appeared in. “If you ever say he’s hot again, I’ll kneecap you,” Abby tells Neela. Haleh pulls Abby away to go see Stephanie, who’s up in oncology and is really upset.

A nurse up there tells Abby that Stephanie’s upset because she can’t have reconstructive surgery after having a breast removed, due to an enlarged lymph node. She threw a tantrum and broke a mirror. Stephanie doesn’t want to see Abby, whom she blames for her situation – Abby talked her into getting traditional medical treatment, and now she could have cancer.

Abby tries to reassure her that her feelings are normal and she needs to be patient. Stephanie’s still focused on finding a husband, and she doesn’t think anyone will want to marry a woman who could need chemo for the next ten years. Ma’am, I think your priorities are out of whack. Abby tells Stephanie that since her doctors are having trouble making a diagnosis, she might not have cancer. If she does, at least they caught it early. She did what she needed to do and it was brave. Stephanie doesn’t agree, but Abby acknowledges that she’s in a scary situation. Stephanie blows her off and starts to leave the hospital, but she ends up staying.

Abby takes care of some cuts Stephanie got from breaking the mirror while Stephanie talks about going on dating sites. She hasn’t heard from Lou since she had surgery. Abby’s glad that she found out early that he’s not a good catch. Stephanie doesn’t want to freeze her eggs or lose the chance to nurse any babies she might have. She asks if Abby’s scared that she’ll end up just being an aunt, or “forced to adopt some kid from Cambodia.” Because adoption is just a last resort when you can’t have biological children, and Cambodia is a cesspool where the only kids available for adoption are from the bottom of the barrel? Shut up, Stephanie.

She’s obviously jumping to her worst-case scenario, and Abby tells her that there’s a chance that she’ll have her reconstructive surgery and get to fulfill her dreams. Stephanie doesn’t think Abby understands where she’s coming from. But Abby’s grandmother and aunt both died of breast cancer, so she knows the possible outcomes. However, she herself has never even had a mammogram.

Paramedics bring in a stabbing victim named Tony, and the pre-med students hurry to take notes and ask him questions. Despite taking a knife to the neck, Tony is very calm, though he’s not happy with his attacker, who happens to be his wife. Clemente chases the pre-med students off, saying the patients aren’t here for their amusement.

In the cafeteria, which we haven’t seen in ages, Blaire tells Luka that Jason is married now. She’s struggling to grasp that things that feel recent to her happened years ago, and everyone around her has moved on. Also, Jason only came to see her twice when she was in the hospital. Ugh, you’re better off, Blaire. Luka asks if Blaire would have wanted Jason to wait around for her to wake up, which no one thought would happen. That’s fair, but…twice! He only saw her twice! He was going to marry her, and that’s all she meant to him! Blaire jokes that she could become his mistress. I kind of love Blaire.

Clemente quizzes the residents while they take care of Tony. Tony asks if they can hurry up treating him so he can go stop his wife before she sets fire to his truck. Apparently he cheated on her…with her mother. Your truck is the least of your worries, man. Clemente wants Tony to get a thorough exam, even though there are no indications that he needs one. Pratt gets fed up and leaves, since he doesn’t like being overruled by (checks notes) his boss.

Sam’s on the phone with Eve, who’s given her a bunch of tasks to do. One is emphasizing the importance of using hand sanitizer before touching patients. Sam gives Chuny a pin to remind everyone to “scrub or rub.” Chuny thinks that sounds kinky. Pratt calls Olivia to set up a date as he returns from a trip to the mini-mart. Charlie’s waiting outside the hospital when he gets back. He claims he’s there to see a sick friend. Pratt snarks that he might have another illegitimate kid inside. Charlie wants to hang out with his son, but Pratt has no interest in developing a relationship with him.

Charlie reminds Pratt that he has a younger brother. Chaz wants to get to know him. (I guess his sister doesn’t.) Pratt’s mad that Charlie would use Chaz like that. Plus, they only met once. Charlie doesn’t know what Pratt’s mother told him about his father, but he guesses it wasn’t the whole story. He wants to explain himself. Pratt snaps that he doesn’t have the time for that, and Charlie needs to drop it. Charlie says he will, but Pratt will have to live with that decision.

Blaire talks to Luka about her mother. They never really discussed marriage, but when she learned that Blaire and Jason were engaged, she jumped right in to help plan the wedding. Blaire asks Luka to stop at a window so she can look outside. She begs him to take her to the other side of the hospital so she can see Lake Michigan. Luka’s hesitant, since she shouldn’t even be out of her room, but she’s really charming and it’s Luka, so of course he’s going to take her.

Neela and Morris discuss Clemente, whom she doesn’t like. He needs to give it a rest with the non-stop teaching. Morris agrees, and Neela reminds him that he complimented Clemente’s shoes. Morris doesn’t think finding someone annoying means you can’t say nice things to them. Upstairs, Ray is super-bored in the poison-control center, and he calls Jerry to complain. Jerry tells him to picture all the women there naked. Ew, Jerry.

Paramedics bring in a girl named Lola who was crushed by a teen or 20-something named Tommy who fell off a ride at a fair. Hoping drugs are involved, Ray volunteers himself to help out. Dorsey ducks into Lola’s trauma room to say goodbye to Pratt, who’s working with Neela and Chuny. Dorsey notices a roach on the floor and stomps on it. Pratt jokes that he just killed their mascot. Dorsey invites him to hang out with some of their old colleagues that night.

Neela goes to Tommy’s trauma room to try to help Morris and Haleh, since Tommy’s really combative. Ray joins them, but Haleh thinks Pratt should be in there. He tells her to get Clemente instead. Neela votes no on that, saying they can handle Tommy themselves. Clemente comes in anyway, passive-aggressively wondering why no one summoned him. He sends Haleh to get his briefcase at the admit desk, then determines what Tommy took.

Haleh brings his briefcase and Clemente uses a piece of demo equipment inside to do some sort of scan. Neela’s impressed and not so annoyed by him anymore. Clemente’s not happy with Ray now, though, since he jumped to give Tommy a medication because he assumed Tommy was on drugs. Clemente tells the team that even if they don’t like him, the shouldn’t let their personal feelings affect patient care.

Dubenko comes to the ER to visit Abby before being released from the hospital after his cancer surgery. In case anyone was curious, everything is…functioning properly. Also, he had a “date” with Shauna and knows that Abby’s to thank. Lou finally turns up to see Stephanie, and it turns out that a) he didn’t know Stephanie was having a breast removed and b) the last time he tried to visit her, she didn’t want to see him. He’s called her a few times and she never told him why she was there. She just said she wasn’t in a good place to date. Lou’s still interested, though.

Neela interrupts Clemente while he’s playing with a GameBoy; he thinks she should get one for herself. She apologizes for not calling him in to help with Tommy’s trauma. He tells her that the treatment she wanted to give him – a surgical procedure – should only be a last resort. Neela thought he fit the criteria. Clemente gets what it’s like to be a resident who thinks they know everything, but there are always new things to learn. He’s there to teach her.

Neela notes that there are some things residents want to do on their own. Clemente knows, but it’s more important to give patients the proper care. He sees the residents as an investment in the future. When they save a life, he gets a return on his investment. P.S. He thinks Neela should consider a surgical elective, since she was so quick to want to do something surgical to Tommy.

Abby takes Lou to see Stephanie, who’s surprisingly pleased to see him and invites him to stay a while. As she’s leaving the floor, Abby convinces herself to schedule a mammogram. Back in the ER, Ray’s supervisor chastises him for missing morning rounds and ditching the poison-control center. Ray argues that he’s trying to identify a plant that a Buddhist monk ingested. The supervisor can’t ID it, either, but just a glance at it from outside the room gave Clemente the answer. He writes, “Tobaco gigante!” on a tablet and holds it up to the window. Ray runs with it and takes credit for the win. (Clemente’s okay with it.)

Weaver’s unhappy that Clemente sent her pre-med students away instead of letting them collect data like they’re supposed to. He tells her they were getting in the way and he didn’t want to overstep by telling them to back off. Instead, he told them the study was useless. Weaver quietly says that she knows what happened at Newark, where Clemente used to work, and no one wants a repeat. Nearby, Abby eavesdrops.

Clemente reminds Weaver that she hired him to make the ER more efficient. If they start to employ bedside registration, her study really will be irrelevant. Weaver tells him she has a $100,000 grant that says otherwise. He asks why they don’t go digital with that kind of money. She shuts him down, saying she runs the hospital, so every decision made there goes through her.

To no one’s surprise, Luka has taken Blaire to the roof so she can look out at the lake. She teases him for worrying so much, but to be fair, as he says, he’s always had things to worry about. After a pause, she asks if he thinks God or science is the reason she woke up. He tells her that he’s seen very religious people unhelped by prayer, and he’s seen skeptics have miraculous recoveries. Blaire wonders if it was fate instead. Luke just says he’s glad they’re both there and able to wonder about it. Good answer!

Pratt goes to the Ceasefire offices to meet Olivia and comes across a session Charlie’s leading with some teen boys. He tells them that if they get a girl pregnant, they’ll face “18 years of lockdown.” Half of their paycheck will go to the government and the other half to the baby’s mother. If they miss a child-support payment, the mother will come after them. Now Pratt knows – or thinks he knows – why Charlie didn’t want to be his father.

Blaire and Luka chat about Croatia and Chicago. She has a brief flash of a woman next to a car and tells him that she’s starting to recover her memories of her mother’s death. She’s started piecing together that there was no car accident, and she’s desperate to know what really happened. But as she gets more and more agitated, her speech slows and she can’t get out a full sentence.

He rushes her to the ER, where he tells Abby and Clemente that she’s stopped talking. Clemente tries to kick him out, thinking he’s just a friend, but Abby tells him who Luka is, and Clemente backs off. He tries to run their standard protocol for a patient in Blaire’s condition, since no one bothers to tell him what her situation is. Luka ignores him and sends Abby to the pharmacy to get what he knows Blaire needs.

Weaver joins the doctors as Luka tells Clemente that the medications Blaire’s neurologist was giving her woke her from her coma, so she just needs more of them. Clemente’s hesitant to go with that theory, but Weaver’s willing to let Luka do this. She does warn him that if he’s wrong, there could be an inquiry. Luka figures it’s worth a try. Weaver agrees to give him five minutes to try to help Blaire.

Clemente happily steps aside, making Luka the doctor on record in case Blaire’s family sues. Luka’s like, “Good thing she doesn’t have any family – gimme those drugs!” They wake Blaire up, but then she starts seizing. It’s not clear if it’s the result of withdrawal from the drugs she was given before or a reaction to the ones Luka just gave her.

Ray leaves his gig with a girl named Zoe who’s not coy at all about wanting to spend the night with him. Neela, Morris, and Jerry arrive late, since Clemente made them find journal articles to justify all their treatments today. Ray would much rather leave with Zoe than spend time with his co-workers, and though Morris is considered for a double date with one of Zoe’s friends, he’s definitely not cool enough to make the cut.

Blaire is unconscious again, which means Luka’s brooding again. Abby tries to reassure him that he might not be responsible for her decline. Weaver tells him that a state conservator agreed to let Blaire be admitted for two days. If she doesn’t start improving in that time, she’ll be sent back to her nursing facility.

Pratt and Olivia go to an open-mic night with Dorsey. Pratt’s giving Olivia the cold shoulder since she didn’t tell him that Charlie would be at Ceasefire when Pratt came by. Oh, boo-hoo. Be a grown-up. She notes that Charlie’s helping teens. Pratt tells her that he ends up sewing up those teens after they leave Ceasefire. Olivia argues that his father tries to help them before they get to Pratt. Pratt tells her that Charlie isn’t his father beyond getting his mother pregnant. He made the same mistake he’s telling the kids not to make.

Pratt leaves, and Olivia follows him out to tell him that as much as he might hate Charlie, Charlie’s a good guy. He spends 20 hours a week at Ceasefire, runs a basketball league, and rehabs houses for poor people. That’s what’s bugging Pratt – he’s waited his whole life to spit in Charlie’s face, and now he’s learned that Charlie isn’t a villain. Olivia refuses to let Pratt walk away angry, but instead of talking through his issues, they just go home and have sex.

Also having sex: Ray and Zoe. Not having sex, but getting naked: Abby, who has her mammogram after work. Neither having sex nor getting naked: Luka and Blaire, who are still in the ER. Even though she’s unconscious, he tells her the truth about what happened to her and her mother.

Thoughts: Clemente is played by John Leguizamo. Zoe is played by Kat Dennings.

Mekhi Pfifer (Pratt) and Jeffrey D. Sams (Dorsey) were also in Soul Food together, and Linda Cardellini (Sam) and John Leguizamo were in Bloodline together after this. (That reminds me: I never finished Bloodline.) Also, he’s not in this episode but I just found out and might as well put it here: Garret Dillahunt (Steve) is in season 3 of Dead to Me, which reunites him with Linda Cardellini.

Maura Tierney (Abby) actually did develop breast cancer in 2009, but her treatment was successful an as far as I know, she’s been in remission since then.

Blaire and Luka would have made a cute couple.

Imagine if Danny Glover invited you to have gumbo with him AND YOU SAID NO. Crazy.

’00s music alert: “You’re Beautiful” by James Blunt

November 12, 2022

Buffy 4.9, Something Blue: Willow’s Will Be Done

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 1:10 pm by Jenn

This was great until it inspired some annoying stuff in seasons 6 and 7

Summary: Oz’s room has remained untouched since he left, and Willow’s over there sitting with the stuff he left behind. In a student lounge, Buffy spots Riley helping someone hang up a banner advertising the campus’ Lesbian Alliance. “Is there something you want to tell me?” she teases. “Yes, I am a lesbian,” is his deadpan reply. She admires his openness.

He invites her to have a picnic with him, thinking they talked about this before. He realizes he was just practicing that conversation in his head. Sometimes he preps before talking to Buffy, since she can be “tricky.” He never knows how she’ll react to something. That’s part of what makes him like her so much – she’s a mystery. A lot about her needs “puzzling out.”

On patrol that night, Buffy tells Willow about the date. She’s kind of excited to go out during the daytime for once. Plus, Riley’s going to bring everything, so she just has to show up and eat, which she’s good at. Willow’s glad that she’s met someone nice and that they have some chemistry. Buffy really likes Riley, but she feels like something’s missing. Willow suggests that it’s that he’s not hurting her.

Buffy doesn’t see him as the kind of guy who would break her heart. Willow jokes that she should get out now. Buffy knows she needs to stop falling for bad boys. She went to L.A. to see Angel after he came to Sunnydale, and even though they only spent a few minutes together, she was reminded of all the pain their relationship caused her. Still, isn’t that where the intensity and fire come from? Can she still have that in a safe relationship? Part of her believes that passion and real love go along with pain and fighting. Buffy pauses to casually stake a vampire, then wonders where she got that idea.

Spike’s graduated from being tied to a chair in Giles’ living room to being manacled in his bathtub. Buffy interrogates him about the commandos but doesn’t get much out of him, partly because he doesn’t know much and partly because he doesn’t want to talk. Giles brings him a mug of blood (a “kiss the librarian mug,” to be specific) and Buffy holds it while Spike drinks. He’s surprised she’s grossed out, since he figured she did this for Angel at some point.

She takes away his meal and tells him the kitchen is closed until he can give them something useful. He claims the trauma of his captivity and escape messed with his memory. Also, he’s pretty sure Buffy will kill him after he tells her anything helpful, so he has no incentive to say anything. Giles promises that they’re not going to kill him while he’s “harmless.” They just need to know what was done to him and make sure he’s “impotent.” Spike objects to that term so Buffy substitutes with “flaccid.”

Spike threatens her, but Buffy knows he can’t do anything: “Giles, help! He’s gonna scold me.” She thinks Spike’s delaying things because he wants to stay. Maybe they should make things less comfortable for him. You know, as uncomfortable as he could be on top of being chained in a bathtub and drinking pig blood. Buffy tempts him by exposing her neck, and Spike whines for Giles to make her stop. Giles leaves the bathroom and tells Willow that if the two of them don’t kill each other, he might help them out.

Willow suggests using a truth spell to make “the undead English patient” talk. She’ll get the ingredients and bring them by in the morning, along with donuts. Giles thanks her and goes back to the bathroom, where Buffy is feeding Spike again. She and Giles think Willow’s doing better after her breakup with Oz, but Spike says she’s barely hanging on.

Willow goes back to Oz’s room, which is now empty. Back in her room, she tearfully tells Buffy that he asked Devon to send his stuff to him. He must not plan to come back. “I feel like I’ve been split down the center and half of me is lost,” Willow says. Buffy tries to comfort her, having been through her own painful breakup, but there’s not much she can say that will make Willow feel better.

The next morning, Giles tries to call Willow when she doesn’t come by with the ingredients. Spike yells from the bathtub that he needs his TV time (he likes Passions). He tries to be intimidating but Giles knows the most danger he poses right now is licking someone to death. Buffy’s out at her picnic with Riley, having a normal conversation that doesn’t involve vampires or demons. In fact, they’re just talking about driving, which turns into a metaphor for dating, and how Buffy should just relax and let whatever happens happen. Willow comes across them and Riley invites her to join them. She’s an immediate mood-killer.

That night, the Scoobies go to the Bronze and Buffy tells Xander and Anya about how Oz sent for his things. They both feel bad for Willow, and Anya even wishes she had her vengeance-demon powers so she could liquefy Oz’s entrails. So how’s Willow handling things? Great! She’s on the dance floor, dancing “the dance of a Brave Little Toaster,” as Xander says. She tells her friends that she’s ready to shake off her sad mood. She’s gotten a little help from some beer, though. She thinks it’s okay, since it’s light beer. Buffy reminds her that she herself had a bad experience with beer, so it’s not a good idea.

Xander tries to confiscate Willow’s bottle, but she thinks she’s justified since she’s in a lot of pain. He tells her they all have pain. Willow mocks him since his worst problem right now is living in his parents’ basement. Buffy decides it’s time for Willow to stop partying; if she keeps drinking and being mean, she’s going to lose all her friends. Willow says she just wants the pain to be over. Buffy promises it’ll pass, but it’ll take time. She has to go through it instead of making it go away.

In the middle of the night, Willow gets up to do a spell in the dorm bathroom. It’s to grant her the ability to have her will done. In the morning, Willow tries to use it to heal her heart, but nothing happens. She also can’t get a book to speak to her or unbend a Q-tip. Giles comes by, worried because Willow never showed up to do the truth spell. He knows she’s going through a tough time, but she still needs to fulfill her responsibilities. It’s not like her to drop the ball like this.

Willow admits that she’s having a tough time. She thinks that’s why her “have my will done” spell didn’t work. Giles doesn’t think she should do spells while her energy is “unfocused,” at least not without supervision. She complains that everyone says they care about her but they don’t want to hear about her problems. Giles may say he understands what she’s going through, but he doesn’t see anything. Willow’s eyes briefly flash like little thunderstorms and Giles rubs his eyes. On his way out of the dorm, he bumps into someone as if he didn’t see him.

He tries to do the truth spell himself, but he can’t read the words clearly. As he’s cleaning his glasses, Spike realizes that he dropped the key to Spike’s manacles. He hides it and protests that Giles shouldn’t do any magic when he’s having trouble reading. He unchains himself without Giles noticing and races out of the apartment.

Back at the dorm, Buffy defends Giles to Willow, since he just wants to make sure she’s not doing anything dangerous. Willow says she’s a bad witch. If she had real power, she could have made Oz stay with her. Buffy tells her that she wouldn’t have wanted him to stay if it wasn’t his choice. Willow continues that she didn’t have the guts to do the spell on Veruca, and her “have my will done” spell didn’t work. The only real witch there is Amy, who’s still a rat but at least has some tubes to run through.

Willow wishes Amy were human again, since she has access to powers Willow doesn’t. “First she’s a perfectly normal girl,” she says. Her eyes flash and Amy turns back into her human self on Willow’s bed. But Buffy and Willow don’t notice before Willow says, “Then poof, she’s a rat,” and Amy becomes one again. Awww, poor Amy.

Giles calls to tell Buffy that Spike escaped, so she heads out to find him. Willow wants Buffy to stay in and mope with her, but obviously Spike is the priority here. Willow says he’s probably just standing around and Buffy will find him within seconds. Thanks to Willow’s spell, that’s exactly what happens. Spike thinks he’s in the spot where he came above ground after escaping the Initiative, but there’s no door. He yanks grass from the ground, yelling for the commandos to open up and fix him. Buffy’s ready to gag him, so he hits her to stop her, which makes his head hurt. Then it hurts some more when she punches him in the nose.

She gets him back to Giles’, where Spike says Buffy doesn’t have the “stones” to do anything to him. She’s all talk. “Giles! I accidentally killed Spike – that’s okay, right?” Buffy calls out. Giles is in the bathroom, putting in eye drops and still struggling with his vision. Meanwhile, Willow’s complaining to Xander that Buffy won’t make her a priority. Xander thinks she’s right to put Spike first right now.

Spike threatens to kill Buffy once he gets whatever’s going on with him reversed. She dares him to try, since she’d love to slay him. Xander reminds Willow that Buffy’s trying to find out what’s up with the commandos, so she needs Spike right now. “Well, fine – why doesn’t she just go marry him?” Willow says sarcastically. Your will be done, Will! When Giles gets to the living room, Spike is on his knees in front of Buffy, proposing. She happily accepts and they kiss.

Xander tells Willow that everything she’s feeling right now is because of her and Oz, not the Scoobies. She’ll meet someone else and move on. Willow doubts that she’ll have a relationship without troubles. They’re all “doomed to badness.” He disagrees, but Willow notes that his dating history – a praying mantis, a mummy, and Anya – makes him a demon magnet. If Cordelia were here, you know she’d object.

Giles tries to call Willow, leaving her a message that something weird is going on. He thinks his vision is blurry because of a spell, which must also be the reason for Buffy and Spike’s behavior. She’s now happily providing him with his mug of blood and making out with him. She wants to get started on wedding planning, but it’s not going to be easy. For starters, Spike refuses to get married in a church. They also can’t have a daytime ceremony, for obvious reasons.

Buffy understands why Giles isn’t excited about this pairing, but she wants the wedding to be about family – her real family, not her deadbeat father – so she asks him to walk her down the aisle. Giles is touched until he remembers the ridiculous circumstances they’re in. Buffy and Spike still think it’s all normal. Things get tense again when he mentions Angel, and she brings up Drusilla in retaliation, but they quickly get over it and start kissing again.

Giles spills his drink and Buffy finally realizes that something’s wrong with him. He’s lost all his vision now. Spike starts looking for a spell to fix it, since Giles is practically his father-in-law. Buffy volunteers to get supplies, telling Giles that from now on, the three of them are a family. Giles is like, “I’m pretty sure more Scotch will make this better.”

Downtown to get magic supplies, Buffy gets distracted by a wedding dress in a store window. Riley comes across her and she tells him that she really likes him and he means a lot to her. In fact, she’d like him to come to her wedding. He’s shocked. Buffy thinks she and Spike fought all these years because they couldn’t admit their real feelings for each other. She tells Riley he’ll like Spike. Well, probably not, since no one actually likes Spike, including Buffy herself. But she loves him. Poor, doofy Riley is super-confused, so he decides to “go far away and be…away.” Buffy’s upset that people keep ruining her happy day.

Anya goes over to Xander’s and, after a snack of Fruit Roll-Ups, he tries to put Willow out of his mind so they can make out. But before long, a demon breaks down the door and attacks Xander. Xander manages to wrap a clothesline around his neck, but Anya recognizes the demon and knows it has to be drowned. Good thing the laundry room is right there. As they’re dealing with that demon, another breaks a window and tries to get in.

Instead of spell ingredients, which the shop was out of, Buffy has brought a cake topper back to Giles’. Spike doesn’t like the look of the groom, so Buffy suggests smearing a little red paint on his mouth. Giles tells them to stop kissing, since he can hear the smacking. Buffy and Spike bicker over their names, then Joyce, before Xander and Anya run in to hide from the demons that have started chasing them. Xander’s shocked to see Spike untied.

Buffy wonders if the demons have something to do with Giles’ blindness. Xander waves his fingers in front of Giles’ face to see if that’s true. Giles tells him to stop whatever he’s doing, since he smells like Fruit Roll-Ups. “This is the crack team that foils my every plan?” Spike asks. “I am deeply shamed.” Anya notices that he and Buffy are holding hands, so the “couple” announces their engagement. “How? What? How?” Xander asks. “Three excellent questions,” Giles replies. When Buffy and Spike start kissing again, Xander asks if he can be blind, too.

He suddenly starts to figure out what’s going on: Everything that’s happening is connected to Willow. Giles realizes that the spell she did worked after all. Buffy thinks she escaped the effects because of some Slayer immunity. Xander snarks that she must be marrying Spike because they’re such a good match. Spike tells him he’s off the usher list. The Scoobies note that Willow could be causing a lot of trouble, so they need to find her. But D’Hoffryn has found her first.

The Scoobies head to the dorm, including Spike, who doesn’t really want to be there. He also doesn’t want Buffy to keep slaying after they’re married. They find a big scorch mark in the carpet of Buffy and Willow’s room, and Anya realizes that D’Hoffryn opened a portal there. On the plus side, she doesn’t think he attacked Willow. In fact, D’Hoffryn has taken Willow somewhere for a chat. Her magic is strong and her pain is even stronger, so he heard her call. She meekly says she’ll try to keep her rage quiet. But he’s there because he’s noticed her potential.

As the Scoobies head to a cemetery, Anya explains that D’Hoffryn found her while she was doing minor vengeance spells and offered to “elevate” her and make her a demon. Buffy’s hopeful that Anya can summon him and keep him from doing the same to Willow. She gets distracted by a crypt that she thinks would be the perfect place for pictures. A demon shows up and Buffy tries to fight him without ruining the surrounding foliage. More demons arrive and the Scoobies run to a crypt. They barricade a door while Anya starts summoning D’Hoffryn.

D’Hoffryn finds Willow’s pain inspiring and wants her to join him as a demon. She’s a little freaked out. Anya tries to continue her summoning, but she can’t remember the right words. It probably doesn’t help that Buffy, Xander, and Spike are fighting demons and aren’t very quiet about it. Spike warns Buffy that the demons are stronger than them and he can’t protect her. As if she needs his protection!

D’Hoffryn shows Willow what her friends are going through because of her powers. She’ll make a great vengeance demon. She begs him to help the Scoobies, but he doesn’t care about them. He just wants a new demon. Willow politely tells him that she doesn’t want to be one. She just wants to go help her friends. D’Hoffryn is displeased, but instead of getting angry, he just sighs. He gives her a talisman she can use to contact him if she changes her mind.

A demon knocks Spike down, and Buffy kneels over him to make sure he’s okay. They start making out while Anya and Xander try to take out another demon. D’Hoffryn sends Willow to the crypt and she quickly ends her “have my will done” spell. It breaks in the middle of Buffy and Spike’s makeout session, leaving them disgusted with each other. “Spike lips! Lips of Spike!” Buffy exclaims.

Willow tries to make up for her mistakes by baking a bunch of cookies. Giles also got her to agree to detail his car. He wishes she’d given him better vision when she restored it, though. Buffy won’t let Spike have a cookie, but he’d really like to get the taste of her out of his mouth. He reveals that she wanted their first dance to be to “Wind Beneath My Wings.” Buffy’s still grossed out by feeling love for Spike, but Willow notes that at least they got along for a while. Buffy’s officially over bad guys and wants her next boyfriend to be nice. That reminds her that Riley thinks she’s engaged.

The next time Buffy sees Riley, she plays the whole thing off as a joke. She would never marry a guy named Spike! She wanted to give him a hard time because he looked scared when he saw her admiring the wedding dress. “So…you’re insane,” Riley says. “Uh-huh!” Buffy replies. But she’s single, so he’ll pretend this is just another piece of the puzzle that is Buffy. She tells him he has a lot to learn about women, and he replies, “You’re gonna teach me.”

Thoughts: I adore Buffy and Giles taunting Spike. “I accidentally killed Spike – that’s okay, right?” cracks me up every time.

Willow clearly didn’t learn her lesson with Spike because she calls out for Giles to come in when he knocks on her door, even though she doesn’t know who’s there. [Malory Archer voice] Do you want vampires? Because that’s how you get vampires!

There are two bits of foreshadowing in this episode: 1) the Lesbian Alliance banner, and 2) the shirt Willow wears in the last scene, which says, “Speak no evil.”

’90s music alert: “All the Small Things” by Blink-182

November 8, 2022

ER 12.4, Blame It on the Rain: Satisfaction Not Guaranteed

Posted in TV tagged , , at 5:06 pm by Jenn

Six years in a coma and her hair still looks better than mine

Summary: There’s a thunderstorm brewing outside and Frank counts between the thunder and lightning to determine that it’s getting closer to County. Abby heads out for a coffee run anyway before starting her shift. Eve tells Morris that the ER is getting backed up, so they should move some people along. Morris doesn’t care for her opinion, even though she’s ten times smarter than he is. In fact, she claims that her knowledge of human anatomy is so extensive, she could kill him with one finger. Do it! Do it! She ends up just poking him in the collarbone, which is good enough for me. (For now.)

Weaver slips on the floor behind Morris and he catches her before she falls. He crows that he saved her life. She asks why things are so busy, shutting him up when he starts to answer because she wants to hear from Eve instead. Eve says all the ERs in the city are nearing max capacity. Weaver sides with her about moving on more patients who don’t need extensive workups. As thunder rumbles again, Jerry cringes.

On her way back with coffee, Abby drops something, and when she crouches to pick it up, a car has to swerve to miss hitting her. He yells at her for going out in the rain. She throws a cup at him and blasts him for not paying more attention in the crosswalk. She has a good arm, and it must be pretty satisfying, but someone’s going to be upset about not getting their coffee.

Pratt has done what Morris couldn’t and helped clear the board at the end of his shift. He tells Morris that “Doc Rock” (AKA Ray) will be with him, but Ray is actually stating a toxicology elective. Neela, who’s leaning toward neurology, didn’t get an elective. Morris tells her she still has to do some paramedic ride-alongs, since she didn’t do them as an intern.

Abby returns with wet donuts and spilled coffee. Still, it’s better than Sam’s situation, which is working nights and barely seeing Alex. Haleh arrives, complaining that rain makes Chicagoans idiots. She’s there to fill in for a sick Conni, but Eve won’t let her work since she’s already maxed out her overtime. Poor Haleh turns right around to head back into the rain. Eve asks Sam to fill in until she can find another nurse.

A woman named Blaire is brought in from a nursing facility for treatment for an infection. She’s been comatose for six years. Luka doesn’t think she needs to be treated in the hospital, but the guys transporting her don’t get paid to make return trips and they have another patient to pick up, so they just ditch her. Sam volunteers to work with Luka, but Eve sends her off to work somewhere else. Luka complains to Weaver, who says that Eve gets to make all nursing decisions.

Ray checks in with his supervisor, who’s studying snake venom. That means there are snakes all over his lab, which is right up Ray’s alley. He’ll be working in the poison-control center, though, which means answering phone calls and telling people whether or not they’re dying, I guess. Back in the ER, paramedics bring in a woman named Judy who was in a car accident. She tells Weaver and Neela that someone forced her off the road. Her baby, Grace, is arriving in another ambulance, and Neela takes Judy, leaving Weaver to wait for Grace.

Dubenko comes to the ER to consult on a patient who fell on a fence post and now has it sticking out of his leg. Yeah, I’d say he needs surgery, all right. Abby asks if Dubenko’s okay, admitting that she saw him getting examined on the oncology floor. He reveals that he has prostate cancer, but it doesn’t sound like he’s too worried about it – they caught it early and his prognosis is good once he has surgery. Abby offers to talk if he wants to, which is pretty generous of her, considering she’s never wanted to talk to him before.

Frank tells Abby that a patient who just came in was scalded by coffee thrown at him while he was driving by the hospital. She’s not a suspect since he thinks the culprit was a nurse. “Probably someone from ICU. They’re really wacky up there,” Abby says. Sam calls her over to help with a man named Lee who’s having chest pain. Grace arrives, and paramedics tell Weaver that she was ejected from Judy’s car; her car seat must not have been secure. Judy tells a police officer about the driver who forced her off the road. She thinks he and his passenger wanted to steal her car.

Weaver bumps Luka and Blaire from a trauma room so she can take care of Grace. He comes over to help her, offering to take over the case. Weaver thinks he doesn’t trust her skills since she hasn’t worked in the ER in a while. They disagree about whether Grace needs an intubation or has a head injury. Weaver wants to follow her gut, which says that she should be intubated.

Neela tries to reassure Judy about Grace as she stitches up a cut on Judy’s cheek. Judy wishes she’d waited to go out until the rain had stopped, but Grace was fussy and Judy thought a drive would calm her down. Weaver asks Jerry to go buy a present for a birthday party Henry’s going to. Jerry’s anxious about going out in the storm. After all, he’s pretty tall, so he could get struck by lightning. Weaver advises him to run “in a zigzag pattern.”

There don’t seem to be any hard feelings between Weaver and Luka, though he still doesn’t approve of Grace’s intubation. Judy’s husband, Brad, arrives as Frank snarks that he thought Luka and a nearby Sam were supposed to stay 50 feet apart. He tells Luka he’s better off without her. New policy: Everyone is now advised to stay 50 feet away from Frank.

Lee is doing better and doesn’t appear to have had a heart attack, but he may have angina, so he needs to stick around for observation and tests. Shauna, the woman who came in with him, says she’ll come back later. Abby advises her to stay in case the cardiologist has questions for her and Lee. Abby thinks Shauna is Lee’s wife, but she’s actually his “satisfaction facilitator.” In other words, people have sex with her because they’re not getting enough fulfillment from their partners.

While Luka’s tending to Blaire, Abby asks him what kind of man goes to a “satisfaction facilitator” (which she, like me, thinks is just a fancy name for a call girl). He thinks it’s a smart move, actually. Dubenko interrupts to take Abby up on her offer for a chat. Weaver takes Brad to see Judy, and they both assure Judy that Grace should be okay. After Brad leaves to see Grace, Judy apologizes to Neela for crying so much, since she’s not usually like that.

Ray tells a caller that Venus fly traps aren’t lethal if ingested, then jokes that big ones like to eat animals and children. The caller isn’t amused. Neither is Ray’s supervisor. Dubenko asks Abby if she told anyone that she saw him on the oncology floor. She didn’t and she won’t. He tells her that the surgery he’s decided to have has a 25 percent chance of affecting his ability to have an erection. Abby silently prays for a huge trauma to interrupt the conversation as he talks about possible treatments after that.

Dubenko’s shaken by the thought of never having sex again, and he uses a bunch of words to say that he wants to hook up with Abby in case it’s his last hurrah. She figures out where he’s going partway through the question. She kindly tells him that she’s flattered but not interested. He asks if she’d sleep with him after the surgery, just to let him see if everything still works. Nope, sorry. Abby gets summoned for a trauma, and she asks Dubenko, “You wanna hop on? I mean, are you coming?” Oh, Abby.

A cop brings Judy some mugshots to see if she can identify the man who ran her off the road. She says everything happened too fast for her to remember anything, then shortly says she can’t look. She tells Neela that the rain caused the car to skid and made it hard to see what was happening. But she also says that she kept driving even though she knew she was going to hit a wall.

She didn’t know that Grace’s car seat wasn’t clicked in properly. She would never purposely hurt her baby. Neela asks if she crashed the car intentionally. Judy confides that sometimes she feels overwhelmed, and she just wanted it to stop. She won’t answer Neela’s question about whether she crashed to hurt herself.

Neela goes to Luka to talk about the possibility that Judy has postpartum depression. He approves her request to get a psych consult. She can’t tell Brad what’s going on, so she tells him Judy needs to stay for more observation. She asks if Judy drinks or uses drugs, pretending she’s just worried about drug interactions. Brad hasn’t noticed anything Neela would see as a red flag, but then again, when you have a three-month-old baby, your whole life is upside-down and it’s easy to miss things.

Eve asks Luka to confer with her so they can clear out some patients. She tells him about a new policy: When they call for a consult, the resident who’s supposed to be on call has 60 minutes to respond, or an attending gets paged instead. All the departments agreed except psych. Yeah, ’cause then they’d have to do their job!

Luka’s annoyed that Blaire hasn’t been picked up yet to be taken back to her facility. The facility’s assistant director is there, since they have a policy of checking on patients before they’re transferred. She explains that they had Blaire taken to County because they don’t have the staff to give her the treatment she needed on short notice. Blaire doesn’t have any family; her mother died in the crash that left her in a coma, and her boyfriend ditched her a long time ago. She gets ditched again when Luka goes to tend to a man named Lawrence who was hit by a car.

Myers (hey, it’s Myers! He’s been gone a long time) comes to talk to Judy, who pretends she never said anything to Neela to make her a candidate for a psych consult. Since Myers doesn’t see any signs of depression, he can’t keep her there. Eve is with the driver who hit Lawrence, who just has pain in his thumbs. Aww, poor baby. Neela goes to Weaver about Judy, wondering if she should call social services. Weaver advises her to talk to Brad and see if he can convince Judy to admit herself.

Jerry’s MIA, having never returned from Weaver’s errand. Weaver doesn’t get why everyone’s so worried about a guy who went out in the rain. Lawrence’s kids arrive and Sam starts to take them to see him. Eve tells her she got a replacement for Conni, so she can go home. Sam wants to stay with the kids, but she’ll be off the clock if she does. Be a nice person on your own time, Sam!

Neela talks to Brad about Judy’s mental state, which he thinks is fine. He still believes Judy’s story that she was forced off the road. Neela encourages him to ask her what really happened. Eve sends Inez away while she’s trying to work with Luka, making Luka wonder if he’s allowed to work with any of the nurses. Looks like it’s more that he’s grumpy and Eve doesn’t want her nurses subjected to that. She sends Inez back to him when Abby needs something that Inez doesn’t know how to do. Luka calls in Sam to assist him instead, and Eve watches from the next trauma room as the exes work together completely professionally and comfortably.

Judy has changed her story, due to supposed confusion, but Brad still doesn’t believe that she crashed the car on purpose. Neela threatens to put her on a forced psych hold, but he calls her bluff. Lawrence has internal injuries, and Sam tells his kids that they’re going to try to fix him, but his condition is serious. His oldest kid, Jason, feels horrible because he was supposed to go get their dinner but he didn’t want to go out in the rain. Lawrence went instead and got hurt.

Jason recognizes the driver and grabs the phone he was talking on while he was driving. He throws the phone aside and asks what was so important that he had to take the call while he was driving. Luka pulls Jason off and calmly tells him that he needs to look after his younger and brother sister right now. (Luka also tells the driver to shut up, which is awesome.)

Inez lets Luka know that one of his patients is getting agitated. He thinks she’s confused when she says it’s Blaire, since people in comas don’t get agitated. Well, at some point in the past few minutes, Blaire came out of her coma. Luka’s hesitant to tell her what happened, especially since that means breaking the news that her mother died.

He chats with Sam, who was able to reach family members who can come be with Lawrence’s kids. Eve pulls Inez aside to tell her that she has great potential but isn’t doing enough to improve her skills. Sam steps in to say that if Eve wants the ER to run efficiently, she needs to let the people who work well together continue to team up. She also needs to treat them like professionals. Sam and Luka proved that they can work the same shifts, and if Eve isn’t convinced, she doesn’t know her job as well as she thinks she does. Eve reveals that she already changed the schedules and Sam can go back to her regular shift.

Sam gives Inez a pep talk, assuring her that every newbie runs into the same problems she’s been having. If she needs help, she can come find Sam. Shauna returns to see Lee just moments before his wife, Viv, shows up. She has no idea who Shauna is. Abby lies that she’s from cardiology, and Shauna sells it by repeating all the medical stuff Abby just told them. When they’re alone, Shauna thanks Abby for the cover and offers her services if Abby ever needs them. Abby spots Dubenko and asks if Shauna does pro bono work. [Insert your own pro bono/pro boner work joke here.]

Neela goes over Myers’ head to try to get Judy a second assessment. Jerry finally returns with Weaver’s toy, which is scorched. Frank guesses that Jerry got hit by lightning…again. Weaver doesn’t buy that until he gives her her change, which is all melted together. She rushes him to the ER to get some tests done (he seems fine, though).

Neela finally gets a doctor to agree to assess Judy. She also gets Weaver to agree to back up her theory of postpartum depression. But Judy won’t agree to stay, and Brad still doesn’t believe that there’s anything wrong. Neela warns that Judy could act on her impulses again, and something worse could happen – she or Grace could die. Judy and Brad ignore her and drive off into the rain.

Thoughts: Blaire is played by Stana Katic. Judy is played by Megan Ward. Degrassi fans will recognize Daniel Clark (Jason), who played Sean.

Paul McCrane (Romano) directed this episode.

Blaire’s eyes are slightly open even though she’s comatose, so shoutout to Stana Katic for staring at nothing for a long time without blinking.

For the record, Abraham Benrubi is 6’7″. You read that right.

November 5, 2022

Buffy 4.8, Pangs: Just Like Old Times

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , at 1:03 pm by Jenn

I love that there’s an arrow in the stuffed pilgrim

Summary: A guy in a very ’90s fleece vest is walking through the park at night when he hears noises behind him. He spins around and comes face to face with Buffy. Though he looks like a normal college student, he’s a vampire, and he’s very unhappy to see the Slayer. He tells her to go back where she came from, since things were great before she came. “And they say one person can’t make a difference,” she says as she stakes him. She seems to feel someone else’s presence, so she looks around a little, but she doesn’t see anyone. That’s because the person watching her is a master at lurking – it’s Angel.

UC Sunnydale is breaking ground on a new cultural center, and the dean, Guerrero, introduces an anthropology professor so she can give a speech before the construction begins. Buffy, Willow, and Anya are in the audience, and Xander is on the construction crew. Anya gushes over his masculinity (I will say that he has impressive biceps) and how much better this job is than his last one. Willow misses the free hot dogs on sticks, though. Anya says she’s imagining having sex with Xander right now. Considering those biceps, she’s probably not the only one.

The professor likes that they’re breaking ground on the cultural center right before Thanksgiving because living in a melting pot is about contributions from other cultures making ours stronger. Willow objects – Thanksgiving is about one culture killing another; we just don’t talk about it. Buffy thinks part of her anger comes from the way her mother raised her. Sheila doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving or Columbus Day, and Willow thinks her viewpoint is right.

Buffy decides she’s better off not celebrating Thanksgiving this year, since her mom is going out of town. Anya disagrees, since she enjoys ritual sacrifices. Buffy says that’s not what Thanksgiving is, but Anya points out that it involves killing and eating an animal to commemorate something that happened in the past: “It’s a ritual sacrifice with pie.”

The professor ends her speech and makes the ceremonial first dig. Anya’s unhappy, since she wanted to watch Xander dig. He gets his chance next, so Anya’s day is made. She imagines having sex with him again. “Imaginary Xander is quite the machine,” Buffy comments. Suddenly he falls through the ground into some ruins.

That night, Angel lurks around Buffy and Willow’s dorm, where they’re talking about the accidental discovery of an old mission everyone thought was lost. Well, Willow’s talking about it; Buffy’s at the window, still feeling like she’s being watched. She wonders how an entire mission could be lost. Willow explains that there was a huge earthquake in 1812 and everyone thought it was leveled. They built over it like they did with the church the Master was in. It makes Willow wonder what else is underground. In Buffy’s experience, it’s mostly sewers full of demons.

Midterms are over and everyone in the dorm is excited to go home for Thanksgiving. Not Buffy, though, since she doesn’t get to have a family holiday. She decides to host her own Thanksgiving for the Scoobies. Willow’s disappointed that she changed her mind about the holiday being a sham. Buffy says it is, but it’s “a sham with yams. It’s a yam sham.” She wants to recreate the memories she has of childhood Thanksgivings, since everything’s different now. “Well, I supposed there could be slight yams,” Willow allows. She suggests not inviting Anya, but Buffy wants to capture the spirit of everyone having a place to go.

Spike has been out in the cold (well, as cold as it gets in L.A.) since escaping the Initiative, and he’s still trying to stay a step ahead of them. Riley, Forrest, and Graham search for him while discussing their Thanksgiving plans. Riley only gets a short break since Spike is still at large. Forrest doesn’t see him as much of a threat, since he has that implant that keeps him from hurting people. He taunts Riley for being a Mama’s boy, since he obeys Walsh’s orders so closely.

Anya goes to Xander’s the next morning, wanting to accompany him to the worksite so she can watch him dig some more. But he’s sick, and she thinks it’s bad enough for him to stay home. She knows about illnesses since she gave a lot of them to horrible men when she was a vengeance demon. She decides to stay with him even if she might get sick, too, since it would be romantic for them to die together. Xander says she’s a strange girlfriend. She appreciates being given that label. (Maybe not the strange part, though.)

In the mission, green smoke drifts out of the hole Xander made when he fell. The anthropology professor is eager to take a look around down there, though she’s disappointed that the cultural center will have to be built somewhere else. The green smoke enters a display case in her office and surrounds a knife. It takes human form, and the human uses the knife to slit the professor’s throat.

Buffy and Willow search the office that night after hearing about the murder. Willow found out that the professor had an ear cut off, so they could be dealing with a witch, since there are some great spells that are improved with ears. Or maybe it’s an ear-harvesting demon that’s building another demon out of ears. Or maybe the professor cut off her own ear, like Van Gogh. Actually, Willow can’t make that theory work. Buffy realizes that something’s missing and IDs it as a Chumash knife from the early 1800s.

She goes to Giles’ place to both update him on the murder investigation and start cooking for Thanksgiving. He’s familiar with the Chumash, who were indigenous to the area. He thinks the knife was a convenient weapon for the killer, but Buffy says there was also a big pair of scissors nearby, so the killer purposely chose the knife. She’s annoyed that Giles doesn’t own a turkey pan. He asks why they’re not doing this at Buffy’s house. She says he’s the patriarch, and in American tradition, the patriarch hosts. Otherwise, it’s meaningless. He guesses she just wants him to have to clean everything up.

Buffy heads out to get more supplies, and as soon as she leaves, Angel emerges from another room in the apartment. He’s there because his buddy Doyle (from the spin-off) had a vision about Buffy, and Angel thinks she’s in danger. He wants to do more than just keep an eye on her. Giles reminds him that he doesn’t have to protect Buffy; she’s not his responsibility anymore. Angel points out that she’s not Giles’, either, but he’s obviously not going to ditch her to look after herself.

Giles wants to tell her that Angel’s around, but Angel doesn’t want to get in her way. Giles thinks there’s a connection between the vision and the mission. Obviously something in the ruins was disturbed and is angry. Angel says it could have been trapped but was released when Xander fell through. He suggests that Giles talk to a priest named Gabriel who has a long history with the town.

Angel wants to go follow Buffy again, and Giles says that she would object – it’s not fair that Angel gets to see Buffy but she doesn’t get to see him. Angel tells him that he’s not exactly enjoying this. He doesn’t like being on the outside looking in on his ex. He’d forgotten how bad it feels. Spike can relate, since he’s unable to join some other vampires as they feed on a human. Poor Little Match Girl Spike!

Buffy and Willow meet up downtown, discussing the importance of homemade whipped cream. Buffy promises this is the last thing she’ll be so old-fashioned about. Not that she has time for anything else, since she has to take a break from cooking to meet with Father Gabriel. Riley joins the two of them, having spotted them a few blocks away and run to catch up with them. Willow ducks out to give them some privacy.

She heads into a coffee shop, where Angel grabs her, putting a hand over her mouth so she can’t scream. She thinks he’s evil again, but he tells her he’s there to help Buffy. Willow urges him to tell her, but Angel thinks that would make it worse. She rants that leaving for someone’s own good is bull; you can’t just run away because there are problems. She apologizes, explaining that she’s dealing with personal stuff.

She gets that Angel wants to keep his distance. He laments that everything’s different now. Willow asks if it’s true that he’s working with Cordelia. (It is.) She’d love to talk more about that but Angel is focused on helping Buffy and doesn’t have time for the personal stuff. Well, maybe he has time for one question: Who’s the guy Buffy’s talking to?

Buffy’s telling Riley about the Thanksgiving she has planned for the Scoobies. She invites him to come if he doesn’t have plans, promising that she’s a great cook “in theory.” Riley says he’s leaving tonight; he got a last-minute flight home to Iowa. “That’s one of the ones in the middle, right?” Buffy asks. Heh. Like her, he has happy memories of childhood Thanksgivings. He always has fun back home. They paraphrase the Robert Frost quote, “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.”

…Unless you’re Spike, in which case, no, Harmony doesn’t have to take you in. She’s been doing some self-help reading and has taken control of her own power. She refuses to take him back. He tries to seduce her, but she remembers her reading at the last minute and won’t give in. She even has a stake ready for him. Spike doesn’t think she’d actually kill him, but she definitely looks angry enough. He asks for someone to eat before he goes, but she chases him off.

Buffy goes to meet Father Gabriel at his church but she’s moments too late – the man who killed the professor is there, and he’s strung up the priest to kill him as well. Buffy fights the man, who tells her, “I am vengeance. I am my people’s cry. They call for Hus, for the avenging spirit to carve out justice.” Buffy asks if they told him to start an ear collection. They fight some more, and just as it looks like Buffy’s going to be able to finish him off, something makes her stop. Hus says she slaughtered his people and is now killing their spirit. Then he turns into a bunch of birds that all fly away.

Buffy takes all this back to Giles, wondering why she didn’t take Hus out. “I like my evil like I like my men: evil,” she says. She thinks guilt stopped her. Giles reminds her that Hus killed innocent people. She pauses the conversation to give him instructions for cooking the potatoes. He doesn’t have a ricer! How could Giles not have a ricer? Also, what’s a ricer? He dryly says they’ll mash them with forks, which the Pilgrims must have done. Back to Hus: Buffy wants to stop him, but she’d prefer to do it without killing him.

Willow arrives with books and peas. Buffy objects to the peas being frozen. Willow didn’t have time to buy and shell fresh ones, since she was reading about the Chumash’s battles. Giles says they were peaceful, but Willow’s research says that changed after the white settlers came along. Buffy worries that the peas will be mushy. Giles announces that he likes mushy peas. “You’re the reason we had to have Pilgrims in the first place,” Buffy shoots back.

Willow continues that the white settlers enslaved and imprisoned the Chumash, hanging the ones who tried to rebel. They were sent to a mission, where they got sick. Another group was accused of stealing cattle, and after they were killed, the killers cut off their ears to bring back as proof. In other words, Hus’ desire for vengeance is pretty justified, and he’s carrying it out by doing all the things that were done to his people.

A wolf watches from outside as the three discuss when and how to handle the situation. Giles wants to stop Hus, Buffy wants to wait until after dinner, and Willow thinks they should actually be helping Hus in some way. They can at least bring the tragedies that happened to the Chumash to light. Maybe they can even give them back their land. Buffy tries to keep the peace, eventually heading back to the kitchen to tend to the turkey.

Giles quietly tells Willow that he thinks Buffy’s in danger. Willow tells him she saw Angel (he may have lost his edge when it comes to being stealthy). As they’re about to start bickering again, Xander and Anya arrive. Giles and Willow are concerned since Xander looks so sick, but Buffy just notices that he doesn’t have the rolls he was supposed to bring.

Hus gathers some more weapons from the anthropology department as Xander tells the Scoobies that the doctor he saw couldn’t figure out what’s wrong with him. Buffy thinks his illness is related to Hus – the Chumash in the mission got sick, so maybe Xander has what they had. And what did they have? Malaria, smallpox, and syphilis. Xander has all three? The Chumash are so generous! Willow assures Xander that since the illnesses are mystical, they should go away once this is all over.

The question now is how to make this all be over. Giles snarks that they should give Hus some land. “Sarcasm accomplishes nothing, Giles,” Buffy admonishes. “It’s sort of an end in itself,” he mutters. Xander wants to go back to the part where he has syphilis. Anya assures him that, while it’ll make him blind and insane, it won’t kill him. (The smallpox will, though.) Willow thinks she might be able to find a spell that can cure him. Anya unhelpfully offers Xander some pictures of what will happen to him.

Willow says that Hus is just doing what was done to him. Xander notes that he didn’t give anyone syphilis. Giles says that when Xander freed Hus’ spirit, he saw Xander as one of his oppressors and punished him accordingly. Giles wonders why he targeted the professor and Father Gabriel. Xander doesn’t care – Buffy just needs to slay Hus. She says there’s some debate about that. Willow adds that there are two sides to the situation. “Well, the representative from syphilis votes yea,” Xander says.

Willow argues that it’s not that simple. Xander doesn’t agree – Hus is a vengeance demon, so he needs to be killed. Anya’s taken aback by her boyfriend’s attitude toward something she used to be. Willow and Giles note that Hus is a spirit, not a demon, and they don’t know what will kill it. As the group starts to argue about the complexities of the situation, Buffy blurts out that the pie she’s been making needs more condensed milk. She’s going to focus on dinner right now so they can have a perfect Thanksgiving. Giles tells her that Hus won’t stop. His vengeance won’t be satisfied. “Hatred is a cycle,” and he’ll just keep killing.

There’s a knock at the door, and when Buffy opens it, she’s confused because no one’s there. Spike pops up and asks for help. He’s covered in a blanket to keep him safe from the sun, but when she shoves him back, he gets a little burned. He begs to be invited in, but Buffy and Giles both refuse. Spike tells them he can’t bite anyone, asking Willow to back him up. She reminds him that he vowed to kill her and Buffy, so she’s not really motivated to help him out here, but she confirms that he “had trouble performing.”

He says he’s been neutralized for good: “Spike had a little trip to the vet and now he doesn’t chase the other puppies anymore.” He can’t bite or hit anyone. Buffy doesn’t consider that enough of a reason to help him. He offers up information on the commandos. What does Buffy have to be afraid of? Well, Hus, who’s summoning more spirits to help him in his quest for vengeance.

Giles has invited Spike in but the Scoobies are taking all precautions by tying him to a chair. He complains that Buffy’s tying the ropes too tightly and cutting off his circulation. She reminds him that he doesn’t have any circulation. He says he came to her in friendship (“well, all right, seething hatred”) and she shouldn’t mistreat the person who’s offered her information. However, he won’t give up that information until he’s gotten something to eat.

While Anya takes over cooking and Spike asks for brandy, Giles realizes that other than Xander, Hus has gone after authority figures. Buffy thinks Dean Guerrero could be next. Willow hasn’t found a “nice, non-judgmental way” to kill Hus, and she says they’re not in a western. They’re dealing with one oppressed warrior. Buffy really feels bad about this (not bad enough not to keep giving Anya cooking instructions in the middle of the conversation) but they have to stop Hus. Apologizing won’t cut it.

“Oh, someone put a stake in me,” Spike says, annoyed. “You got a lot of volunteers in here,” Xander replies. Spike tells the Scoobies that the settlers won. They came in, killed the Chumash, and took their land. That’s what conquering nations do. Caesar did it, and his famous quote isn’t, “I came, I conquered, I felt really bad about it.” History is about defeating your opponents. They can’t fight Hus if they’re feeling apologetic.

Buffy and Willow say they don’t want to fight anyone. Willow would like to sit down and talk to Hus, but Spike doesn’t think he’d feel better after chatting with someone he sees as responsible for genocide. It’s kill or be killed here. “Maybe it’s the syphilis talking here but some of that made sense,” Xander says. Giles grumbles that he said a lot of that stuff earlier but no one listened to him.

Buffy decides that warning the dean should be the priority right now. Willow and Anya volunteer, and Xander apparently feels well enough to tag along. Spike would prefer if he stayed, since he thinks he can bite someone if they’re dead, and it doesn’t look like it’ll be long before Xander is. Buffy tells the Scoobies to hurry, not because they need to save the dean but because dinner is being served in an hour.

Spike requests food again, asking if Buffy and Giles knows what happens to vampires who don’t feed. Apparently they turn into living skeletons. Buffy offers him gravy, since that has blood in it. “Do you know what else has blood in it? Blood,” he replies. She considers gagging him so the Scoobies can have a peaceful dinner. She’s determined to make sure it’s quiet and civilized.

An arrow flies into the apartment and lodges into a wall. Hus has arrived. Buffy tells him that they really do feel terrible about what happened to the Chumash, and they’re trying to help. “You can have casinos now!” she exclaims. The other spirits join Hus and fire more arrows into the apartment. Still tied up, Spike can’t do anything to defend himself, and he almost takes an arrow to the heart.

Willow, Xander, and Anya leave the dean’s house, having confirmed that he’s safe. Willow thinks he got a crazy vibe from them. Xander says it’s probably because Anya started things off with, “Everybody got both ears?” On the plus side, the dean’s wife gave them a pie. They run into Angel, whom Anya, meeting him for the first time, describes as “large and glowery.” Xander suspects that he’s evil again, making Angel wonder why everyone thinks that. Willow says he’s there to protect Buffy. “I haven’t been evil for a long time,” Angel protests. Willow adds that Buffy doesn’t know he’s there.

He reports that all the weapons were taken and asks why the Scoobies went to see Dean Guerrero. Willow explains that they think Hus is going after leaders. Angel says that since Hus is a warrior, a leader to him is the strongest fighter. That means the Slayer. Angel says he’ll call her and warn her while the others head back to Giles’. He breaks the locks on some nearby bikes so they don’t have to walk.

Giles takes Angel’s call in the middle of the war zone, casually saying they’re fully aware of the situation and currently under siege. Since he’s British, he says thank you. Buffy asks who called and Giles just says, “Someone.” Spike, who’s full of arrows, would like to know what the plan is. Buffy goes for Giles’ weapons chest and takes an arrow in the arm. Spike announces that apologizing wouldn’t be such a bad strategy after all. He calls out to Hus that they’re sorry. Yeah, Hus doesn’t care.

As the other Scoobies bike across campus, Buffy and Giles start fighting back against the spirits. Xander arrives just as one is about to fire another arrow, and he hits the spirit over the head with a flowerpot. Anya and Willow team up, using gardening tools as weapons. The spirits start entering the apartment, which they soon discover was a mistake, since Buffy’s really good at hand-to-hand combat. Spike just stays put and keeps getting shot with arrows.

Buffy stabs a spirit but her knife doesn’t have any effect on him. Willow and Anya’s tools aren’t doing much, either. Angel arrives, takes in the scene, and jumps in to snap the neck of the spirit Willow and Anya are fighting. “What’s he like when he is evil?” Anya asks. Inside, Buffy fights a spirit while another sneaks up on her. Angel throws something into his chest from the courtyard without Buffy even noticing.

After some more fighting, Buffy discovers that Hus’ knife can hurt the spirits. But before she can start killing, Hus suddenly turns into a bear. “You made a bear!” Spike says in horror. “I didn’t mean to,” Buffy replies meekly. “Undo it! Undo it!” he yells. He tries to get away, scooting his chair around, but he tips over and ends up on his back.

Xander manages to save the day by distracting the Hus-bear. He calls him Gentle Ben and throws rolls at him for giving Xander syphilis. Buffy’s able to run up behind Hus and stab him with his knife. He turns back into his human form, then goes up in green smoke. The other spirits do the same, and the fight is over. Angel stays outside, never seen by Buffy. “What happened? Did we win?” Spike asks from the floor.

He’s allowed to sit at the table with the Scoobies while they eat dinner together. Despite all the complications, apparently the food turned out well. Willow feels bad for fighting the spirits, and Giles tells her that instincts take over when violence is involved. “Yeah, that’s the fun,” Spike says. He’s annoyed that after all the fighting, none of the Scoobies bled.

Giles compliments Buffy for her successes both with the meal and the battle. She’s disappointed that Thanksgiving wasn’t as perfect as she’d hoped. Xander thinks it was pretty traditional – there was a lot of anticipation, then a big fight, and now they’re all tired. Giles notes that everyone survived. Buffy cheers up, agreeing that her first Thanksgiving in charge was successful after all, since they all got through it.

Xander suggestively tells Anya that his syphilis seems to be clearing up. “And they say romance is dead,” Buffy comments. “Or maybe they just wish it.” Willow thinks they might have started a new tradition. Okay, maybe not, but with everyone working together, it was like old times. “Yeah, especially with Angel being here and everything,” Xander replies casually. Buffy looks up in surprise and everyone waits to see how she’ll react. Spike smirks at the blindsiding. “Oops,” Xander says.

Thoughts: This is the first Thanksgiving episode of a TV show I remember discussing the unsavory history of the holiday. And yet it still manages to give us scenes of togetherness and friendship without being sappy.

I was going to write something about Buffy, Willow, and Anya’s outfits at the groundbreaking ceremony, but nothing I could say would capture their essence. As they say, a picture is worth 1,000 words, so here’s the picture.

Anya is blunt and self-centered and doesn’t get a lot of social cues, but if you watch her during the Scoobies’ scenes, she takes really good care of Xander. She definitely cares about him beyond just having sex with him.

November 1, 2022

ER 12.3, Man With No Name: Nursing a Grudge

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 5:05 pm by Jenn

I wouldn’t mess with any one of these people

Summary: Luka’s asleep – drink! He fell asleep watching TV after a night of drinking and smoking. Oh, no, Luka, not nicotine! He wakes up when his housekeeper shows up. He tells her that Sam, who hired her, moved out. She disapproves of his messy living conditions. What’s Spanish for “bachelor pad”?

At County, Morris tries to wrangle a kid dressed as a Power Ranger while Weaver leads a tour for a couple of grant officers. They’re thinking about doing a pilot study at the hospital. Morris complains to her about Eve Peyton, the new nurse manager, who’s slowing things down in the ER. Abby clarifies that she’s just holding a staff meeting. Morris says they’re only allowed to do that if he gives them permission. Wow, Morris, how does your head fit through the door?

Weaver tells Abby the rumors she’s heard are semi-true – Susan is shopping around for a tenured position somewhere else. What they don’t mention is that the last time we saw her, in “Cañon City,” was her last official episode. Pratt joins Abby in telling Morris to chill about the nurses having a meeting. Morris goes to pull Sam out, but she ignores him, then tells him to shut up. Eve calls him out for interrupting and questions the treatment he wanted Sam to administer. In about 15 seconds, she proves to know more than Morris.

Luka arrives late for a shift as Weaver is wrapping up with the grant officers. While she’s berating him, they hear yelling. A man with horrible burned skin runs into the ambulance bay, asking for help. Morris has changed his tune about the nurses, telling Abby and Pratt that they’re “autonomous professionals” and are allowed to have a meeting whenever they want. Pratt guesses that Eve read him the riot act. “It was all a blur,” Morris says.

Weaver and Luka bring in the burned patient, pulling in Sam and Inez to help them. That means Sam and Luka will be working together, which should be lots of fun for everyone around them. Neela takes Frank’s picture at the admit desk, explaining to Pratt that she’s putting together a care package for Gallant. She invites him to come up with something to put in. Frank, for example, has put in a porn movie. Neela takes it back out.

K.J.’s still volunteering at the hospital and still unhappy about it. Olivia comes by to see Pratt after visiting a gang member who was stabbed. They have lunch plans, so I guess they’re officially dating. She mentions that she saw Charlie last week and he mentioned that he’d come by County. Pratt says he wasn’t there long, and they don’t have much to talk about.

The burned man (who’s the titular man with no name, so I’ll use the name of the actor playing him, Raphael) tells Inez that he doesn’t know what happened to him. Eve oversees her and Sam’s work, but Luka doesn’t appreciate her taking on a leadership role in the middle of a trauma, especially one he should be running. Weaver wisely pulls Eve out of the room.

Penny’s back for another trauma rotation, and Abby suggests that Neela help her with her patient, a man dressed in a bodysuit decorated with human anatomy. Heh, it’s a body bodysuit. He slipped and fell while doing an educational performance at a school. (His song about the reproductive system is called “Ova Here, Ova There.” I love it.) He knows more about anatomy than Penny does, and he complains that she doesn’t know how to do her job even though she has pictures to let her know what’s where. Neela points out that they’re not all accurate – for example, he doesn’t have any genitalia.

Abby puts up a hand at the last minute as Neela takes her picture for Gallant’s care package. Neela made him a mix CD but is hesitant to include it. Apparently Gallant likes Barry Manilow. Okay, let’s keep all the male staff members from finding out about that – Gallant will never hear the end of it. She has some other options and is probably overthinking this.

Raphael has been intubated, and since he didn’t identify himself and doesn’t have anything on him to identify him, the police aren’t able to contact his family. Luka and Sam are a little awkward around each other but keep things civil. She asks him to keep his plans with Alex for that weekend; it’ll be good for all of them. Luka wants them to move slowly and not make any final decisions about their relationship just yet. Sam tells him they’ve been pretending and she doesn’t want to do that anymore. After Abby sends Sam off to do something, Luka angrily punches the cage around the med lock-up where they’ve been talking.

Inez and Abby try to restrain a drunk, combative 16-year-old named Erik who thinks he’s smarter than them because he got a 2200 on his SAT and they work for the County. Yeah, but they don’t have to have a Foley catheter inserted in them because they just wet themselves, so I think they’re doing better than you, budy. Abby chats with Luka, amazed that Raphael was able to walk up to the hospital after suffering such severe burns. He joins Sam to treat an 11-year-old named Robbie who crashed his motorized scooter. Eve steps in to help but Luka turns her down. Then he hands the case off to Pratt.

Robbie crashed because a roller-blader named Stephanie ran into him after getting dizzy. Abby notices a burn on her stomach and guesses it came from Robbie’s scooter’s tailpipe. Luka thinks Stephanie is bleeding internally. Morris takes her date, Lou, off to fix up a cut. He left his shoes at the place where they rented the blades, so he’s still wearing the wheels. Inez asks Abby what Morris does, and Abby replies that he’s chief resident. “No, seriously,” Inez says. Heh.

Pratt has trouble intubating Robbie, so he tells Sam to get a fiberoptic scope set up. Dubenko comes to the ER to examine Stephanie and complains that Luka called him in before it was necessary. Something else is making him grumpy, but it doesn’t stop him from teaching his favorite student, Abby. They determine that Stephanie has anemia, not internal bleeding, so her case isn’t surgical. He tells Luka to use his medical skills next time before he calls a surgeon. Oh, no, Luka was too proactive in making sure a woman didn’t bleed to death! What a horrible doctor he is!

Eve has questions for Sam, not about Robbie or her work but about Luka. Sam tries to get him to come back to Robbie’s trauma room, but he’s a little busy taking care of Stephanie. He asks Stephanie if there’s anything in her medical history they should know. She mentions testing positive for BRCA1, a genetic mutation that increases your chances for breast and ovarian cancer, but she doesn’t have any tumors.

Eve bugs Sam about how long it’ll be before Luka comes back to Robbie. Sam manages not to reply that she’s not his personal assistant and doesn’t read minds. Eve goes to Stephanie’s trauma room to bring Luka over to Robbie, since he needs a doctor with more experience than Pratt. Luka thinks he’ll do fine with Robbie, but Eve insists that he switch cases. As Abby asks Stephanie questions to determine if something has made her sick, Eve grabs some equipment to take to Robbie’s trauma room. Luka calls her Ms. Peyton, but Eve says she has a Ph.D., so he should actually call her Doctor.

Stephanie finally reveals to Abby that she’s been doing experimental treatments in Mexico to try to prevent her from developing cancer. Abby realizes that the treatments gave her lead poisoning. Stephanie didn’t say anything sooner because she was afraid of what would happen to her medical coverage. Luka finally goes to Robbie’s trauma room, where Eve is showing Pratt how to do a difficult intubation. She sharply advises Luka to train the residents better on these kinds of procedures (and also stop thinking that nurses aren’t as competent as doctors).

Sam’s impressed with Eve already, but Eve is wary of Sam – she’s figured out that she has a history with Luka. Sam promises that it won’t be an issue. Pratt hopes he didn’t screw up too badly with Robbie, since he told Luka he could handle the intubation. Malik and Inez complain to Sam about Eve (Malik says that if he weren’t a feminist, he would call her a b%$@#) and her micromanagement. “Beware the blood countess,” Frank says.

Pratt has had the brilliant idea of sending Gallant a pizza. While I’m sure he would love a classic Chicago-style pie, he probably wouldn’t find it edible after it spent a week in transit. K.J. suggests looking into flash-freezing. Pratt plans to come up with another idea. Gallant will at least get a picture of the pizza. I guess this is an it’s-the-thought-that-counts situation.

Morris chats with Lou about his relationship with Stephanie. They met at a Jewish speed-dating event. Morris isn’t Jewish but he once had a crush on a girl who was, so he spent a lot of time in a synagogue. Lou has only been on a few dates with Stephanie but he really likes her. Robbie is brought back to the ER for more help with his breathing. Eve helps Luka and Pratt with him while lecturing Luka for not prioritizing the more critical patient earlier. She thinks he ditched Robbie because he didn’t want to work with Sam.

Neela’s still trying to figure out what to send Gallant. She wrote him a poem (on scented paper!), but the only compliment Abby can think to give it is, “It rhymes.” She tells Neela that men at war have “certain needs,” and Neela should meet her in the family room in ten minutes. Looks like Frank’s porn is going to get some equally naked company!

Eve again bugs Luka about the Sam situation, but he says it’s not a problem. However, he also says they’re still a couple, which…come on, buddy. You’re not. Eve says she’ll back off and just focus on how the nurses are best put to use in the ER. Luka accepts this and drops his prickliness. In the family room, Abby takes boudoir photos of Neela. Morris hears through the window when Abby tells Neela to take her bra off, and he stands on a chair to try to see through a high window. The Power Ranger shoots him with a Nerf gun and he falls off.

Abby goes back to Stephanie, who should recover from her lead poisoning. Abby suggests that she talk to a real doctor about her BRCA1. Stephanie already did, after her mother died of cancer. She’s not interested in having her breasts or ovaries removed as a preventive measure. She wants a husband and kids, and what guy would want her if she lost her breasts? Plus, she’d still have a 10 percent chance of getting cancer, and she’d lose months to recovery with no guarantees. It’s like picking between poisons.

Robbie’s father arrives and thinks that Luka wants to take him into a private room for a talk because Robbie died. He runs through the ER, calling for his son. Robbie’s not dead, but he does have swelling in his brain and he’s hooked up to a bunch of machinery. His mother apologizes for letting him ride the scooter without a helmet. His father attacks her and Luka has to wrestle him to the ground until security can restrain him.

Weaver stitches up a cut on Luka’s brow, telling him that until they can replace Carter and Susan, she’ll be taking shifts. Luka asks a cop for an update on Raphael, who still hasn’t been able to tell anyone his name. Pratt catches Frank eating Gallant’s pizza, and Frank tells him to send one from a place that does overnight shipments. To Iraq? Morris offers to take more photos for Neela if she wants. She and I both tell him to shut up. He tries to pull rank, demanding to know and see what she and Abby were doing in the family room on the clock. Neela shows him a picture of a gross abscess instead. Ha!

Abby has talked Stephanie into consulting with an oncologist, though Stephanie is sure she already knows what they’ll say. She doesn’t want to give up pieces of her body. Abby notes that if she gets cancer, she won’t be able to get the things she wants. Stephanie asks what Abby would do in her position. Abby says that life sometimes changes when we don’t want it to, and she hopes she would be brave enough to change, too. As she’s leaving the floor, she spots Dubenko getting an exam from an oncologist.

Luka admits to Sam that he shouldn’t have left Robbie. He did it for the wrong reason. He suggests that they try again tomorrow for a peaceful working relationship. Eve hears the tail-end of their conversation, and after Luka leaves, she questions Sam about their relationship. Sam says they’re done, but Eve doesn’t think that’ll ever truly be the case. She doesn’t want them working together, so Sam’s schedule will have to change. If she doesn’t agree, she’ll get transferred to another part of the hospital.

Neela takes Gallant’s care package home, where Ray is “having a sleepover.” At least one of them is getting some. Abby stops by Ike Ryan’s on her way home to pick up a takeout order and finds Luka moping at the bar. She tells him about Stephanie, who’s at a point in her life where she worries that she’ll never have the things she wants. Abby feels bad for her. Luka asks if she misses drinking. “You’d be a terrible sponsor,” she teases. She suggests that he cut himself off since he’s had plenty of beer.

Neela tries to write a letter to Gallant while Ray and his overnight guest have sex in the next room. The guest is extremely loud. Poor Neela. Abby takes Luka home, where he lights a cigarette and says he can’t stop thinking about Raphael. His body was so damaged but he was desperate to live. Abby notes that he survived. Luka wonders if anyone would know who he was if he were in Raphael’s position. She thinks she would.

Abby looks around at the mess, for once the together, stable person. Luka falls asleep and she leaves him in front of another movie. It’s High Plains Drifter, starring Clint Eastwood as a man known only as the Stranger. A character says someone named Sam is right, and another asks what happens after their impending showdown. “Then you live with it,” the Stranger replies.

Thoughts: Eve is played by Kristen Johnston.

I’m disappointed that Sherry Stringfield (Susan) doesn’t get a proper second send-off. Fortunately, we do see her again later in the series.

I love how Inez seems a little timid at first, but then when she has to deal with Erik, a flicker of feistiness comes out.

Enjoy those sexy photos of Neela with pictures of babies and animals in the background, Gallant! Maybe the family room wasn’t the best choice of setting.

It’s probably bad that I didn’t notice that Ray hadn’t been in the episode yet until he popped up six minutes from the end.

’00s music alert: Cable Car” by the Fray

October 29, 2022

Buffy 4.7, The Initiative: Peculiar

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , at 1:07 pm by Jenn

I would go insane in a space like this within two hours

Summary: Riley is in the cafeteria with his friend Forrest, who’s talking about how great it is to be surrounded by so many pretty women. He hopes a lot of them show up to the party they’re throwing. Riley’s not listening, since he’s trying to grade papers. “How you gonna learn anything if you keep doing schoolwork?” Forrest asks.

Someone new catches his attention and he tells Riley to check her out. It’s Buffy, and Forrest is impressed that Riley already knows her. Riley says he hasn’t thought much about her. There’s something about her that seems peculiar. As the guys talk about her, she first has trouble filling a soda cup without spilling, then getting some ice cream without the cup overflowing (maybe her Slayer strength broke the machine?).

The guys’ friend Graham joins them and Forrest asks for his opinion on Buffy. (He asks if she’s “mattressable.” Shut up, Forrest.) Riley says it feels like she’s never completely present when he talks to her. He prefers women he can “get a grip on.” There’s something off about Buffy. “Maybe she’s Canadian,” Graham offers up.

Forrest knows that Buffy was involved with Parker for a little while, which just makes Riley think she has bad taste. He can’t deny that she’s pretty, but he doesn’t see himself dating her. And that’s even before she trips and drops her soda and ice cream (the machine is still malfunctioning in the background). Forrest would clearly nail anything that moves, so he’s not turned off. He thinks a lot of guys would like to get their hands on Buffy.

That includes Spike, who’s talking in his sleep about how he wants to kill the Slayer. He’s not in any shape to do anything to her, though, as he’s locked up in a cell, having been captured by commandos. The cell’s glass door is electrified, so he can’t even touch it. He’s just one of at least a dozen prisoners in a hallway full of identical bare cells.

Giles is working on finding out more about the commandos, but all he has to go on is Buffy’s description of their uniforms, which Xander calls “the latest in fall fascism.” Giles thinks they’re human, so there’s no point in researching. Xander’s pleased by that. He’s less pleased that Giles doesn’t think they’re needed for this particular mystery at all. He suggests using a Ouija board to summon some evil and fight it themselves. It might be unethical but at least they’ll have fun!

Buffy comes by Giles’ place and tells him she’s taking the night off from patrolling so she can go to a party with her dormmates. She’s trying to cheer up Willow, who’s been struggling since Oz left. Giles and Xander will need to fill in for her on patrol. Hopefully Xander leaves the Ouija board at home.

Spike paces in his cell, frustrated that he can’t find a way out. A bag of blood drops from a little opening in the ceiling, but when Spike starts to open it, the prisoner in the next cell warns him that it’s drugged. The prisoner, Tom, was Sunday’s minion and he tells Spike they’re all lab rats. They’re going to be starved, drugged, and experimented on. He doesn’t know how he got there; the last thing he was doing was running from Buffy. Spike thinks she’s responsible for their imprisonment. “I always worried what would happen when that b%$@# got some funding,” he grumbles. He plans to kill her no matter how smart she is.

Exactly how smart is Buffy? Not smart enough not to get ink all over her class notes. I think Spike might still stand a chance against her. At the end of a psych class, Willow approaches Riley and notes that he left Oz’s name off of role call. For the very first time, we learn that Oz’s real name is Daniel Osborne. Riley says he heard that Oz dropped out. Willow says he only left temporarily.

Walsh butts in and says he won’t be allowed back into her class. She lectures Willow about exceptions and feeling like her “exception is exceptional.” Walsh isn’t a freshman or a narcissist, so she has to think about the whole class. If Oz can’t respect her schedule, he shouldn’t come back. Willow walks away sadly, and Buffy confronts Walsh for not having any sympathy. After she leaves as well, Walsh tells Riley that she likes Buffy. “You don’t think she’s a little peculiar?” he asks.

Xander has a bunch of military gear left over from his brief time as a soldier, so he and Giles have a lot of options for equipment in case they come up against the commandos. Not that Xander necessarily knows how to use it. Giles thinks he’ll be ready if there’s a face-off. Xander promises that he’s great at hand-to-hand combat. Just then, his mother calls down to his basement room to offer him and Giles some fruit punch. Xander’s not thrilled by the interruption, which doesn’t make him look very tough, but Giles wouldn’t say no if the punch is raspberry-flavored.

Riley tells Forrest and Graham about Walsh and Buffy’s exchange, which just makes Buffy more appealing to Forrest. Riley thinks she’s nuts for talking to Walsh the way she did. Parker passes by and Forrest asks for info on Buffy. Parker says she’s whiny and clingy. They had sex once and then she was all over him like they were engaged. Parker raves about her skills in bed, then compares her to a toilet seat. Riley punches him.

Forrest worries that Parker will report Riley and get him in trouble, but Graham thinks he’s too embarrassed to say anything. Riley’s shocked that he reacted the way he did. Forrest notes that Riley has heard him say a lot grosser things than what Parker said. “And most of those are about your own mother,” Riley replies. He just didn’t like hearing Parker say those things about Buffy. Maybe he kind of likes her. “You’re kind of like a moron,” Forrest tells him. Graham adds that everyone has already figured it out. “I guess I’m gonna go see a girl,” Riley says, heading off alone.

Two men in lab coats go to Spike’s cell, where he’s unconscious on the floor. They pull him out and strap him to a gurney. That’s when Spike reveals that he’s not really unconscious. “Sorry, can’t stay,” he announces, grabbing one of the men by the throat. “Got to go see a girl.”

He tries to fight his way out as an alarm blares. Tom asks Spike to free him, saying he knows how to get out. Spike gets one of the men to accidentally sedate the other, then knocks out the second. He frees Tom from his cell and the two of them run for the exit, sliding under a door just as it’s closing. Some men in gas masks find them and Spike shoves Tom at them so he can escape.

Willow’s moping in her room when Riley shows up looking for Buffy. He wants to ask Buffy out but doesn’t know a lot about her. Willow notices that a bag of weapons is poking out from under Buffy’s bed, and she slowly goes over to nudge it back under without Riley seeing. He’s such a gentleman that he leans over and helps her move it without noticing what’s in it.

He asks for advice on what to talk about with Buffy. Willow isn’t sure why he would bother, since any relationship they have will eventually end horribly when one of them leaves and the other is reduced to “a broken, hollow mockery of the human condition.” “Yep, that’s the plan!” Riley replies. He gets that Willow isn’t in the mood to discuss this sort of thing, but he doesn’t know how to approach someone like Buffy.

Willow asks why she should trust him as someone who would be good for Buffy. Riley says he hoped she’d think he has an honest face. “I’ve seen honest faces before. They usually come attached to liars,” she replies. He decides to give up on this angle, though he admires how protective Willow is. He thinks Buffy brings that out in people.

As he’s leaving, Willow offers up a few conversation topics: cheese, Mr. Gordo, and the Ice Capades. Also, they’re going to a party that night. It happens to be the one Riley and his friends are throwing. Willow warns him not to get “fresh” with Buffy. He asks if she ever talks about him. Nope, sorry. But he thinks that Willow’s been helpful. She just wants it clear that she’s not his accomplice.

Spike makes his way to his old lair, where Harmony is still living. She’s not happy to see him, which is reasonable, since he dumped her, staked her, and abandoned her. He says he also missed her, and she immediately takes him back. He’s just there for weapons so he can take on Buffy. Harmony seduces him to distract him from returning to his Slayer obsession. Giles and Xander are on patrol, though they’re just observing right now. Xander tries to make it more dramatic by saying how they’re waiting for an enemy without a face and any thought they have could be their last. Giles tells him to shut up.

Buffy and Willow arrive at the party, and though Willow isn’t really up for it, she gives Riley some guidance so Buffy might have a good time. She tells him to have a light conversation with her, then warns that if he hurts Buffy, Willow will kill him with a shovel. “A vague disclaimer is nobody’s friend,” she says. “Have fun!” Riley approaches Buffy awkwardly, and everything Willow said flies out of his head. He asks her a school-related question, then offers him some cheese.

Giles and Xander split up and Xander comes across the first interesting thing he’s seen all night: Harmony is about to burn a bunch of Spike’s stuff. Each thinks the other can win in a fight, which Harmony starts with a slap. Xander kicks her, and then it’s on. And by “it,” I mean a slow-motion slap fight that ends in a draw. They agree to go their separate ways, but when she mentions that Spike’s back, Xander realizes there’s a problem.

Having struck out with Buffy, Riley goes to mope with Willow. He’s shaken because he’s usually good at everything. “Well, you failed extremely well,” she says encouragingly. He needs to relax. His goal right now is to get a reaction – any reaction. A Dingoes Ate My Baby song suddenly comes on and Willow’s mood drops. Without even knowing why, beyond Willow having a bad association with the song, Riley tells a friend to skip it. That definitely wins him some points with her, and she tells him to go give chatting with Buffy another try. Willow’s going to head home.

Riley approaches Buffy again, but before he can try to make less awkward conversation than before, Xander runs in. He tells Buffy they have “unfinished business” to deal with. She leaves with him, and Forrest and Graham pop up, both to tease Riley for getting rejected in favor of Xander and to take him downstairs for something. Forrest says it might be better this way, since now Riley won’t spend the next few months pining for a freshman.

The guys stand in front of a mirror, where green beams suddenly appear and a computerized voice accepts their retinal scan. Graham says he likes Buffy as the mirror slides aside, revealing an elevator. As it takes the guys underground, Forrest says he’s better at dating than Riley is because he knows girls. Riley replies that he’s just talking about one girl here. He repeats, “One girl,” into a panel, and a computerized voice says his vocal match is complete. He’s been confirmed to be Special Agent Riley Rinn.

The guys emerge in a basement facility as Riley wonders what kind of woman would want to date a guy who acts normal by day but is secretly a demon hunter at night. “Maybe a peculiar one,” Graham says. The facility is the one where Spike and Tom were prisoners, and Tom was right about the captives there undergoing experiments. The guys are there to respond to a code-red situation. “Hostile 17 has escaped,” according to their boss, Professor Walsh.

As the guys put on their commando uniforms, Walsh tells them that Hostile 17 escaped that afternoon, which means “it” has a big head start. It was captured locally, so they can assume that it knows the area, which gives it a big advantage. If they can’t recapture it, everything they’ve worked for – “the Initiative itself” – will be at risk. Riley promises that no one will fail on his watch. The guys grab weapons and meet up with some other commandos. Walsh announces that Finn is in charge. He gives orders and everyone heads above-ground to catch the escapee.

At Giles’, Buffy complains that not only is Spike back but he’s interrupting her night off. Xander snarks that he probably would have waited if he’d known that Buffy was “busy with Teutonic boy-toy.” She says Riley’s a doof, not Teutonic. She plans to kill Spike, and she’s going after him alone. Xander offers her a flare gun so she can signal for help if she needs it.

Spike breaks into an admin office and uses a computer to find Buffy’s dorm room. Riley, Graham, and Forrest search campus for him, coming across Buffy, who’s sitting out in the open, waiting for Spike to find her. Forrest notes that at least she’s not having sex with Xander. He contemplates using her as bait for Spike, but Riley shuts him down, pulling rank.

He decides to take off his commando uniform and find a way to talk Buffy into leaving. She wants the same from him, and neither will budge. Riley is in protective mode again, and when Buffy gets him to admit that he thinks guys need to take care of women, she calls him Teutonic. He tells her that as long as she’s out there, he’s staying. She says the same about him. But when they hear a scream, they head off in different directions.

Riley, Graham, and Forrest use a tracker implanted in Spike to find out that he’s at Buffy and Willow’s dorm. When he knocks on their door, Willow invites him in without realizing who she’s talking to. She thinks he’s there to make her do a spell, so she agrees to help, then tries to make a run for it. He stops her and tells her she has a choice: Die for good or die temporarily and come back as a vampire. She threatens to scream, which doesn’t deter him. He just turns up her music and wrestles her onto her bed.

Willow survives the encounter, thanks to some problem on Spike’s end. It’s something that’s never happened to him before. She suggests that he was nervous. He tries to bite her again but a sudden pain in his head makes him back off. She thinks this is something that happens to every vampire. Nope, not Spike. Willow worries that she’s the problem – Spike settled for her since Buffy wasn’t there. He didn’t really want to bite Willow.

Spike scoffs at that, but Willow knows she’s not the person vampires usually go for. They see her more as a friend or sister. He assures her that he’d bite her in a second if he could. He thought about it the last time they saw each other. Willow’s surprised, since he didn’t show any signs of having bloodlust for her. “I hate being obvious. All fangy and ‘rrrr.’ Takes the mystery out,” Spike replies. Willow promises that his failure here doesn’t make him any less scary. “Don’t patronize me!” he says.

The commandos lock in on Spike’s location, using a thermal scanner to pinpoint where he is, since he’s the only being in the building who’s at room temperature. Riley calls in a lockdown. Back in the room, Spike beats himself up for his failure to perform at such a young age (he’s only 126). Willow says he’s being too hard on himself. They can wait a while and try again. Then she realizes what she’s saying and smashes a lamp over his head.

She runs for the door but it’s locked and she can’t get it open before the lights in the dorm go out. The commandos storm the building wearing night-vision goggles. They break down Buffy and Willow’s door, finally letting Willow escape. One of the commandos mistakes her for their target, but Riley recognizes her and yells for him not to shoot her. Spike tries to attack a commando, but the pain returns and he gets recaptured.

Forrest doesn’t want to leave without Willow – she needs to be quarantined in case Spike turned her. Riley tells him to ignore that protocol. Spike is able to break free and grab a fire extinguisher, which he uses to hit a commando in the face. The spray clouds the hallway, making it even harder to see. As Forrest grabs Willow before she can crawl away, Buffy arrives and starts fighting the guys. They don’t recognize her because of the darkness and spray. They also don’t see Spike escaping until he’s already on his way into the woods. Buffy fights Riley, neither of them recognizing each other. He calls for a retreat and the commandos all leave.

Walsh isn’t happy with the way things turned out. The commandos think that Buffy helped Spike escape, and that she’ll be hard to capture or take down. On the plus side, the implant they put in Spike works – there’s something in his head that keeps him from hurting anyone without intense pain. Riley promises that they’ll recapture him.

The next day, Riley runs into Buffy and they make up, both playing innocent about why they insisted on being alone on campus. The official story about the commandos’ raid is that it was a frat prank. Riley mentions that he asked Willow to help him with a “project.” He’s not sure yet how it worked out. Buffy asks what he wanted to tell her at the party. Riley’s still awkward, so all he comes up with to say is, “Did Willow tell you I like cheese?” “You’re a little peculiar,” Buffy replies. He decides he can live with that.

Thoughts: The good news: This is the only episode where Forrest is this obnoxious. The bad news: After this, he’s just annoying in a regular way.

Apparently “maybe she’s Canadian” was an inside joke about someone who worked on the show. Shouldn’t inside jokes be funny?

I love, love, love Buffy standing up for Willow with Walsh. We all need a friend like that.

Riley uses the word “courted” when talking about trying to date Buffy. You know, like any normal 1990s college student.

Spike’s off-the-cuff pet names for Harmony: “my little foam latte,” “mon petite crème brûlée” (which she thinks is Italian), “my little mentholated pack of smokes.”

“Riley’s a doof” is 100 percent correct. Thank you for the perfect description, Buffy.

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