August 6, 2022

Buffy 3.17, Enemies: Second Best

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , at 1:04 pm by Jenn

Heh, someone titled this “the happy couple”

Summary: Buffy and Angel are leaving a movie theater after seeing a French film they didn’t expect to be so…adult. They’re uncomfortable since it brought up feelings they can’t act on. She feels bad for accidentally tempting him to do something that would make him lose his soul. He tells her just being around her makes him feel “worked up,” but it’s a good thing, not a bad thing. He’s able to control himself when they’re close. He demonstrates by kissing her.

Faith interrupts the couple’s nice moment to whisk Buffy away for patrolling. The Watchers’ Council has finally cleared Faith for active duty. The two Slayers go to a cemetery, where Faith praises Buffy for enduring a relationship where she can only take things so far. She pauses the conversation so she can fight a demon.

He claims to have information about the Books of Ascension, which Buffy’s never heard of. The demon says they include some “dark stuff,” and the mayor would be ticked if someone else got their hands on them before… He won’t clarify, but he’ll sell the books to the Slayers for $5,000 if they meet up with him tomorrow. He wants to buy a plane ticket and get far away from the Hellmouth. Faith threatens him and he runs off. Buffy doesn’t think he can give them anything helpful, but she would like to get the books and find out what the mayor is up to.

Faith tells the mayor about the demon’s offer, but the mayor is less worried about the books falling into the wrong hands than about the fact that Faith always wears her hair down and doesn’t let people see her nice face. She reminds him that the demon could tell “Buffy and the Super Friends” something they shouldn’t know. Mayor Wilkins tells her she worries too much for someone her age and gives her a glass of milk. That will give her the calcium she needs to track down and kill the demon, then bring the books to the mayor.

Meanwhile, Buffy tells Wesley and the Scoobies about the books. Giles is annoyed that the demon wants to sell them: “Whatever happened to the still-beating heart of a virgin? No one has any standards anymore.” Xander asks what the ascension is, but Giles and Wesley aren’t familiar with the term. Willow, however, remembers reading about it in a book, in a section about genocide. Buffy and Xander smirk at the Watchers for not knowing something.

Giles finds the reference in a journal of a pastor from the 1700s. All it says is, “Tomorrow is the ascension. God help us all.” After that, there’s no record of the pastor or his town. Giles thinks Buffy should meet with the demon. Cordelia arrives just then to ask Wesley to help her with a paper on Friday night. (It’s an English paper and he’s English, so she figured she’d ask for “an insider’s perspective.”) She wants to “study” in a restaurant. Wesley can’t think of a response. “And on the day the words ‘flimsy excuse’ were redefined, we stood in awe and watched,” Xander quips.

Wesley refocuses the group, suggesting that they find the demon and get the books. Faith is already on that, breaking into the demon’s place to beat her way into achieving her goal. The demon still thinks she’s going to give him the money he asked for. Instead, he gets a knife in the gut. He fights back but Faith just keeps stabbing until he’s dead. Unlike when she killed Finch, this shakes her up.

She goes to Angel’s place, telling him she doesn’t have anywhere else to go. She’s in trouble and needs help. He’s been waiting for her to open up to him, so he’s ready to listen. Faith says she’s scaring herself – she gets now what he meant when he said that killing people would make her feel powerful. She still has the demon’s blood on her hands.

Angel tells her she can’t get through this alone. She agrees, worried she’s turning into a cold-blooded killer like Angel. He assures her that she can stop before things go too far. She’s scared that it might be too late for her. He hugs her, which she takes as an invitation to kiss him. He stops her, telling her he can be here for her, but not physically.

Faith backpedals, saying she won’t interfere with his and Buffy’s relationship. She thinks they’re lucky to have each other. She decides to go be alone for a while, but she appreciates knowing that Angel cares. She asks if they might be able to develop something if things were different. Angel isn’t sure, and he says they’ll never know. As they say goodbye and she kisses him on the cheek, Buffy arrives and sees them together.

This was all an act on Faith’s part, as she later tells the mayor that she tried her best to get Angel to sleep with her. She’s annoyed that he only has eyes for Buffy. Mayor Wilkins tries to cheer her up, reminding her that there’s more than one way to skin a cat: “And I happen to know that’s factually true.” They can find another way to take away Angel’s soul. It’ll just have to be more painful than the proven method.

Giles and Wesley haven’t had any luck finding out any more about the ascension in Giles’ books. Giles suggests contacting the Council, but Wesley tells him that they don’t know that Giles is working for him. Okay, with him. Really, I’d say Wesley’s lucky that the Scoobies even acknowledge his presence. He still thinks the best plan is to find the books themselves.

Buffy arrives, mopey about what she saw between Faith and Angel, and says she’ll go find the demon. Wesley wants her to wait for Faith, since the demon will probably be difficult to find. “Found your demon,” Xander announces as he joins the group. “Fashion tip, Wes – mouth looks better closed,” Buffy tells him. Xander got the address from Willy, via polite request and then with a bribe. He asks to get his $28 reimbursed, but he didn’t get a receipt. Giles complains that the demon lives in an actual building instead of “a pit of filth or a nice crypt.” Buffy says she’ll mention that to him.

Faith shows up and offers to tag along on Buffy’s field trip to see the demon. “Is it me or did it just get really cold in here?” Xander asks after seeing how unfriendly Buffy is to Faith. The Slayers go to the demon’s place, where Faith left his body on the floor. Buffy thinks whoever killed him had a little too much fun. Meanwhile, Mayor Wilkins meets with a guy in a shroud, whom he summoned for a special job. Mr. Shroud warns that taking Angel’s soul will require very dark magic. The mayor knows, and he’s very much unconcerned.

Buffy goes back to school, where Willow senses that she’s distracted and encourages her to open up. Buffy confides that she saw Faith and Angel together and thought they seemed “intimate.” Willow’s sure that they didn’t do anything. Yeah, Faith would totally make a move, but Angel wouldn’t give in to her. Buffy’s the only thing that matters to him. Buffy’s still worried, since Angel and Faith have more in common than she and Angel do. Willow advises – well orders, really – her to talk to Angel about her concerns.

Faith gets there first, wanting to apologize to Angel for making a move on him. He tells her it’s okay but keeps his distance from her. He says he wants to trust her, since she needs someone who understands what she’s going through. “Chump,” she spits out as she spins on him and splashes something on his chest. Mr. Shroud appears from the shadows and starts chanting. Faith tells Angel she wanted to “do this the old-fashioned way,” but it’s Angel’s loss. Angel says she doesn’t have to do this. “I know, but it’s fun,” she replies.

Mr. Shroud casts a spell and magic swirls around Angel. When the spell ends, he falls to the floor and Mr. Shroud disappears back into the shadows. Angel gets up and faces Faith, wearing his vamp face. He’s Angelus again.

He kisses her, then thanks her for turning him back into his true self (though he keeps pummeling her, so I guess he just shows his gratitude in strange ways). He’s happy to be back in Sunnydale without his humanity. He’s not sure why Faith had his soul taken away, but he’s glad she did.

He tells her she can’t just have him as a boy toy, and he won’t listen when she tries to explain things. Vampires and Slayers don’t chat. Faith points out that Buffy might disagree with that. She reminds him that last time he lost his soul, Buffy sent him to Hell. If he’ll calm down and play nice, Faith will connect him with the “real power” in Sunnydale. Angelus likes that idea. “Get ready to meet the new boss,” she tells him. Then they make out.

The Scoobies are all gathered in the library, including Cordelia for the first time since she and Xander split up. (It’s clearly just because of Wesley.) Wesley needs them to mobilize to get the Books of Ascension. He wants Angel to participate, too, but Buffy says she doesn’t know where he is. Faith is also MIA. Willow assures her that that doesn’t mean anything.

Giles tells Buffy to search the mayor’s office for the Books of Ascension. Willow hasn’t had any luck with the mayor’s files – she made it through the encryptions, but the files were empty. He must have known someone was digging around. Oz suggests that they go to the Hall of Records and look for information on the mayor there.

Giles sends Wesley and the Scoobies off to do that. Cordelia says she wants to be in Wesley’s group, and Giles points out that there’s only one group. Xander decides to go around town in hopes of overhearing anything that could be helpful (which will conveniently keep him away from Cordelia). Willow’s adorably happy that Oz’s plan was approved. Giles tells Buffy to be careful as everyone leaves.

Faith takes Angelus to the mayor’s office, asking, “Can I keep him?” Mayor Wilkins asks if he can call Angelus “Angel.” Angelus replies that he hoped the mayor would call him “master.” The mayor tells him that attitude might get him attention but he’ll get more respect if he’s polite. After all, the mayor is responsible for his “new attitude.” He tells Angelus that there might be a future for him in Sunnydale.

Angelus has been playing with a letter opener, which he freely admits he was thinking about stabbing the mayor with. The mayor invites him to try. Angelus chucks it at him but the mayor simply puts out his hand and lets the letter opener impale it. He pulls it out and the wound instantly heals. Mayor Wilkins explains that he’s impervious, as part of his plans for the town. Angelus notes that he can’t be killed but he still hates germs.

The mayor asks Angelus’ intentions with Faith, as if he’s her father and Angelus is Faith’s new boyfriend. Angelus plays along, then says he wants to find Buffy, torture her, and kill her. Mayor Wilkins approves. He’s pleased that Angelus isn’t a slacker like a lot of people nowadays. He’s fine with torture, but Buffy’s death needs to be slow. He doesn’t need another Slayer coming along to replace her. He’s sure the next one won’t be like Faith. He sends Angelus and Faith off to have fun, asking Angelus to have his Slayer home by 11:00. “She’s not a little girl anymore,” he comments as they leave.

“‘I love when you talk, Wesley. I love when you sing, Wesley,'” Xander says mockingly as he heads downtown. “Can you say the words ‘jail bait,’ Wesley? Limey bastard.” He comes across Angelus and Faith and starts to tell them to find Buffy. Without responding or even breaking his stride, Angelus punches him so hard he flops onto the sidewalk. “That guy just bugs me,” he grumbles to Faith.

The two of them to go Buffy’s house, where Angelus pretends he’s still Angel as he assures Joyce that they’re not there for anything related to vampires: “The only vampire here is me.” He even compliments her hair. Buffy’s stocking up on weapons before she goes to the mayor’s office, and Angelus says he’s glad they found her before she left. They have the books at his place and want her to come with them to deliver them to Giles. Angelus continues his charade by offering to carry Buffy’s weapons bag.

They go to the mansion, where Buffy gets her first hint that something’s off when Angelus calls her “Buff,” something he never calls her. She thinks something’s wrong but he tells her he hasn’t felt this good in a while. With his vamp face on, he says he never properly thanked her for sending him to Hell. Should he send her a card or a fruit basket? Maybe he’ll just eviscerate her.

Buffy starts crying as Angelus grasps her arms and says she shouldn’t bother thinking that there’s still good inside him that she can reach. “I will kill you before I let you touch me,” she says, fighting him off. She tells Faith they need to leave, but Faith says she likes it there. Angelus punches Buffy out, telling Faith that she’s cute when she’s asleep.

In the Hall of Records, Oz finds something super-helpful: Mayor Wilkins looks exactly like a previous Sunnydale mayor with the same name. Oz guesses they’re actually the same person. Wesley realizes this means the mayor is over 100 years old and can’t be human.

Xander joins the group and says they have another problem. “You know how some people hate to say, ‘I told you so’?” he asks. “Not me. I told you so.” Angel is Angelus again, as Xander suspected would eventually happen. Wesley wants to contact Giles, but Xander thinks their top priority is protecting Buffy. Cordelia tells him not to get mad at Wesley. Xander thinks he should, since he was responsible for Faith, “Angel’s new playmate.”

Buffy wakes up chained to a wall at the mansion. Angelus regrets that they never did anything with chains while they were dating. Buffy warns Faith that she doesn’t know what she’s doing. Faith, however, is enjoying herself. She always wanted a dog – something to love. Now she has Angelus. Buffy has to watch while they two of them kiss.

Faith uncovers a bunch of tools she plans to use to torture Buffy. Buffy tells her that Angelus is a killer, and once he’s done with her, he’ll turn on Faith. Angelus confirms this, but Faith says they can just drag things out to keep Buffy alive. She’s free to scream. Buffy asks why Faith is doing this. What’s in this for her? Faith says she hates how everyone loves Buffy so much, even when Faith does everything right. People say that Faith should be more like Buffy, but not vice versa.

Buffy gets everything – the Watcher, Joyce, the Scoobies. Faith gets nothing. This was supposed to be her town. Buffy must think she’s better than Faith. Buffy says she is and always has been. Faith reminds her that Angelus is with her now. Buffy points out that Faith probably had to use magic to get him. Without it, he would never touch her. Faith smacks Buffy, who notes, “You had to tie me up to beat me.” That makes her a loser.

Faith thinks Buffy’s trying to make her mad so she’ll kill her quickly. Faith wants her stick around instead. Buffy asks if she’s sticking around for the ascension. She’ll stop it. Faith tells her she can’t – no one can. The mayor built the town for demons to feed on, and on graduation day, he’ll get his payout. Faith will be right by his side, and the Scoobies will be eaten. Buffy should think about that when Angelus is cutting into her.

Buffy comments that she didn’t realize Faith was so full of rage. “What can I say? I’m the world’s best actor,” Faith replies. “Second best,” Angelus speaks up. He and Buffy confirm that they have all the information they wanted. “May I say something?” Buffy asks. She pulls her arms out of the chains that weren’t actually restraining her and announces, “Psych.” Faith realizes she was played – Angel was Angel the whole time.

The Scoobies run in, ready to take down Angel, and the Slayers start fighting each other. They end up on their knees, holding weapons to each other’s necks. “What’re you gonna do, B? Kill me?” Faith asks. “You become me. You’re not ready for that.” She kisses Buffy’s forehead and adds, “Yet,” before running off. Willow goes to Buffy, asking if she’s okay. Buffy glances up at Angel, not sure how to respond.

The Scoobies regroup in the library, along with a special guest: Mr. Shroud. Giles had him put on a “light show” to fool Faith into thinking he was taking Angel’s soul. Mr. Shroud tells Giles that he’s restored the balance between them and repaid his debt. After he vanishes, Willow asks what Giles did to earn a favor from Mr. Shroud. “I introduced him to his wife,” Giles replies.

Wesley’s upset that Giles pitted Faith against Buffy and could have gotten them both killed. Also, he didn’t tell Wesley. He’s tattling to the Council. Giles likes that idea – they have a rogue Slayer on their hands. Buffy’s glad that they’ve confirmed which side Faith is on. Plus, they know the mayor is planning something big for graduation day. Willow’s relieved that Angel is still good, though Xander wishes he could have proven that without violence. Buffy reminds him it was all an act, but she doesn’t sound that confident.

Faith tells the mayor everything that happened, and he tries to put a positive spin on it. Faith may have lost some friends but he still has her. And once the ascension starts, the Scoobies will probably all die, so who cares? Faith isn’t happy, so Mayor Wilkins tries to cheer her up by suggesting an outing: miniature golf.

Buffy goes to the mansion, where Angel praises her for putting on a show for Faith. She’s still struggling with what it did to her, even though it was her idea. Angel says that he never wanted things to go as far as they did. Buffy gets that, but she needs some space, a break. “You still my girl?” he asks as she leaves. “Always,” she promises.

Thoughts: When this episode first aired, I fully fell for Buffy and Angel’s scheme. I just figured they’d end it the same way they restored Angel’s soul the first time.

I wish they’d clarified how the Scoobies knew what Faith and the mayor were planning and got Mr. Shroud to help them. Did he just warn Giles when he was summoned? Does it all come down to luck that he was the guy the mayor called on? How did he know that Giles even knew Angel?

I love how the Scoobies openly mock Wesley. Like, they’ll respect that he’s “officially” in charge, but they refuse to like it. I also like that Giles has loosened up because he and the others have this common annoyance and he’s seen how being sarcastic makes it easier to deal with him.

June 18, 2022

Buffy 3.10, Amends: Ghosts of Christmases Past

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , , at 1:13 pm by Jenn

“Santa says you’re on the naughty list. Sorry, buddy”

Summary: In Dublin in 1838, a man named Daniel is trying to flee from Angelus. He owes Angelus money from a card game but can’t pay it. Angelus is willing to accept Daniel’s blood instead. Daniel’s scared, but Angelus thinks he should be more cheerful since it’s Christmas. Angel wakes up from a dream about this, shaken by the memory. He goes downtown and runs into Buffy, who’s doing some Christmas shopping. They both say they’re doing well, but Angelus spots Daniel nearby, so he’s obviously lying.

Buffy tells Xander and Willow about this encounter at school, worrying that something’s going on with Angel. Willow encourages her to talk to Giles, but Buffy knows he won’t want to hear about Angel. Willow thinks Angel’s feeling down about spending the holidays alone. Buffy’s frustrated because she’s trying to stay away from him. She just wants a quiet Christmas break.

The friends discuss their holiday plans: Buffy will be celebrating with Joyce, Xander will be camping in his yard, and Willow will be being Jewish. Cordelia boasts that she’s going skiing in Aspen and won’t miss the Scoobies. Buffy notes that she’s back to her old self. Willow thinks they should cut her some slack after what happened to her. Also, Willow’s really into forgiveness right now.

Oz approaches hesitantly and takes Willow to a classroom for a private talk. He tells her that it was horrible to see her with Xander, but he can’t ignore the friends’ history. He’s not sure the two of them will ever be totally over. That said, Oz misses her so much that he feels like he’s lost a part of himself. He’s willing to try to move past her cheating and get back together. Aww, it’s a Christmas Hanukkah miracle!

That night, Buffy and Joyce go to a Christmas tree lot. Joyce suggests inviting Faith to spend Christmas with them. Buffy isn’t really close to the other Slayer, but Joyce guilts her into not letting Faith spend the holidays alone in a motel room. Buffy asks about inviting Giles over, too, but Joyce quickly shuts down that idea. Buffy comes across some dead trees, which an employee says died without warning.

Some demons with symbols carved over their eyes chant somewhere. That’s two nights in a row where Angel wakes up from a disturbing dream. Buffy goes to Faith’s motel to invite her over for Christmas Eve dinner, but Faith claims to be going to a party that night. Giles is surprised to get a visit from Angel, their first in-person encounter since Giles’ abduction. Angel humbly asks for help, not sure where else to turn. Giles grabs a crossbow just in case before inviting Angel into his home.

Angel reveals that he’s been dreaming about the past, dreams that are so vivid that he feels like he’s reliving his memories. He thinks they’re connected to his sudden, inexplicable return from a demon dimension. He might get some peace if he found out why he was sent back. As Giles asks if Angel believes he deserves peace, Angel sees Jenny standing behind him. Giles doesn’t think Angel should become complacent, since the last time he did, bad things happened. Angel is shaken by the sight of Jenny, whom Giles can’t see, and runs out.

He goes home and goes back to sleep, dreaming this time of another past Christmas. Angelus pulls a maid named Margaret away from a party as she protests that she can’t risk getting fired for not doing her job. She has a son she needs to support. Angelus threatens to make a scene to get her to shut up. When he vamps out, Margaret again brings up her son in an attempt to get his sympathy. Angelus just says he’ll kill her son, too. He feeds on her, then looks up to see Buffy nearby. This time, Angel’s not the only one having the dream.

Jenny comes to the mansion, telling Angel that she can’t leave him alone because he won’t let her. He apologizes for killing her, but she’s not there for that. She turns into Daniel, who says he doesn’t want to make Angel feel bad. He wants to show Angel who he is.

Buffy tells Giles about the dream, which she knows was Angel’s since there were things in it she didn’t know about. Giles tells her that Angel came to see him because he wants to know why he’s back. Giles has been looking into that. Buffy wants to help, but only so she can fully separate herself from her ex. She promises they’re not seeing each other anymore. Giles agrees to help, and Xander, who was eavesdropping from right outside Giles’ office, also offers to lend a hand. He chalks it up to Willow’s Hanukkah spirit. Besides, he doesn’t have anything planned for the Christmas break.

Willow doesn’t, either, so she ends up joining the others for a research session. She tells Buffy that Oz is going to come over on Christmas Eve, while her parents are away. She’s nervous about how to make Oz trust her again. Buffy says that Xander has a piece of Willow that Oz can’t touch. Willow just needs to show Oz that he’s more important to her than Xander.

Angel is now dealing with a visit from a guy whose family he killed. That guy turns into Margaret, who reminds Angel that he took more pleasure in killing than most regular beasts would. When Angel tries to escape her, he runs into Daniel, who says he was supposed to get married the week he died. Angel tries to argue that the demon inside him was responsible for his crimes. Jenny’s back, and she doesn’t buy that excuse. It’s not like he was a great person when he was human. As Margaret puts it, he was “a drunken, whoring layabout” and a disappointment to his parents.

Angel says he was young and didn’t have a chance to mature. Margaret taunts that he was worthless even before he became a demon. Angel tearfully begs the ghosts to stop, but Jenny says he needs to remember that cruelty is the only thing he was ever good at. It’s not a curse – it’s his destiny. She’ll show him what she means.

The Scoobies fall asleep at the library, and Buffy and Angel share another dream. This one is of them having sex, but it ends differently than it did the last time. There’s an eyeless demon in the room, and instead of losing his soul, Angel bites Buffy. When he wakes up, Jenny’s with him. She knows he wants Buffy and encourages him to take what he wants. He should put all his frustration and guilt on her – he’ll be free again. He can’t live forever with all his pain. This is why he came back. If he takes Buffy, he’ll be ready to kill her.

Giles has found some information on the First Evil, a power older than humans and demons that could have brought Angel back. Buffy recognizes some drawings of eyeless demons from her most recent dream. (Understandably, she doesn’t want to go into details about this one.) Giles IDs them as Bringers, AKA Harbingers, who serve the First Evil. They can conjure manifestations of the dead and send them to haunt people. Buffy guesses that’s what Angel’s been dealing with.

The problem is that the First Evil isn’t a physical being, so Buffy can’t fight it. She can, however, fight the Bringers. She and Xander visit Willy the Snitch, who greets her by yelling out who she is so any demons in his bar who don’t want to be killed will leave. Xander tries to be intimidating but falls way short of his goal. Willy claims not to be familiar with the Bringers, but he’s heard some rumors about beings that live underground fleeing town. Maybe the Bringers have pushed them out. As Buffy and Xander leave, Willy compliments Xander’s intimidation tactics.

Back outside, Buffy complains that there are way too many underground locations to search. Xander thinks they should take a break to celebrate Christmas, then go back to Scoobying. Willow seems to agree with this idea, since she’s fully invested in having a nice night alone with Oz. But she thinks they should have sex to confirm their recommitment, and he doesn’t want to rush into that. When they have sex for the first time, it should be because they both want it for the same reason. He doesn’t want Willow to feel like she has to prove anything to him.

Buffy teases Joyce for building a fire in the fireplace, since they’re in Southern California and it’s hot out. “Angel’s on top again?” Joyce asks, referring to what they should put on the top of the tree. Faith shows up after all, and Buffy seems genuinely happy that she’s there. She goes upstairs to get some presents and finds Angel waiting for her. He’s tempted to have sex with her, and Jenny tries to talk him into it, but Angel ends up telling Buffy to stay away from him. She urges him to control whatever’s messing with him, but he gets overwhelmed by Jenny’s words and ends up jumping out the window.

Buffy asks Faith to stay with Joyce while she goes looking for Angel. She heads to Giles’ place and asks him to help her figure out where the Bringers are. She knows Angel won’t last much longer, and if he loses his soul again, she might have to kill him. Back at the mansion, Jenny continues trying to convince Angel to sleep with Buffy. She doesn’t think Angel is strong enough to fight temptation. Angel would rather die than hurt Buffy, but Jenny doesn’t think he has the strength to kill himself. He says he doesn’t need strength, just the sun. He ignores her as she says this isn’t the plan (though she’s fine with it).

With no leads on the Bringers’ location, Buffy and Giles turn to research again. He reads that the Bringers live in a place where nothing grows above or below them. Buffy remembers the dead trees in the lot and heads over there. She digs a hole in the ground and finds the Bringers’ lair. From there, it’s just a matter of simple slaying (not too hard when the creatures you’re slaying don’t have eyes). But Jenny shows up and taunts that Buffy can’t fight the First Evil. It’s beyond sin and death: “I am the thing that darkness fears.” It’s everywhere and in every evil thing. “All right, I get it, you’re evil. Do we have to chat about it all day?” Buffy asks.

Jenny tells her that Angel will be dead by sunrise. Buffy refuses to let that happen, but Jenny says she has no idea what she’s dealing with. “Let me guess: Is it…evil?” Buffy replies. She races to the mansion but Angel isn’t there. She eventually finds him standing on a hilltop, waiting for the sun to come up. She begs him to go inside but Angel has seen what he is and will always be. He knows now that he was brought back to be evil.

Buffy tells him he can’t give up just because the First Evil says it was responsible for bringing him back. Angel’s desperate not to become a killer again, but he doesn’t have the strength to fight it. He knows she shared his dream and is aware of what the First Evil wants. He wants her so badly that he can’t fight temptation, even knowing he’ll lose his soul again. He’s weak and always has been. The demon in him doesn’t need killing – the man does.

Buffy tells him everyone’s weak and fails at some point. Even if the First Evil brought Angel back, it’s because it needs him, and Angel can hurt it. He has the power to do good and make amends. If he dies now, he’ll only be remembered by his horrible deeds. Angel tells her to go since she can never understand what he’s done. Buffy refuses to leave him, even hitting him to try to knock some sense into him.

He hits her back, then realizes he’s acting like the monster he doesn’t want to be. He tearfully asks if he’s “a thing worth saving” or “a righteous man.” He thinks the world wants him gone. “What about me?” Buffy asks. She loves him and tried to make him go away, but even killing him didn’t help. She hates how hard this is and how much he can hurt her. She knows everything he did because he did it to her.

Buffy wishes that she wanted Angel to die, but she doesn’t. She can’t feel that way. He asks her again to leave so he can be strong. “Strong is fighting,” she tells him. “It’s hard and it’s painful and it’s every day. It’s what we have to do.” They can do it together, but he’ll have to be brave. If he’s a coward, he can burn. If Buffy can’t convince Angel to live, then she doesn’t know what will. But she won’t stick around and watch him give up, and he can’t expect her to mourn.

Suddenly snow starts falling on them. Around town, the Scoobies notice and are a mixture of stunned and happy. Thanks to the sudden cold front, Sunnydale has a white Christmas…with no sun. Buffy and Angel walk downtown, hand in hand, and enjoy their peaceful Christmas together.

Thoughts: David Boreanaz is really good in this episode, and I say that as someone who isn’t really impressed with his acting in the first two seasons (at least when he’s not Angelus).

Buffy has short bangs in this episode and they make me feel homicidal. Fortunately, they’re gone by the next episode.

Aw, Faith hung up some Christmas lights in her motel room. She’s not as hard as she wants everyone to believe.

We’re going to pretend that the First Evil/Jenny being able to touch Angel didn’t really happen, since we find out later in the series that that’s not possible. Everyone on board for that? Great.

April 9, 2022

Buffy 2.22, Becoming, Part 2: What’s Left?

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

This is in the top 3 of Buffy’s most awesome moments

Summary: We pick up right where we left off, with a cop finding Buffy kneeling next to Kendra’s body. His partner confirms that Kendra’s dead, and the first cop sees Xander up in the stacks, unconscious. The first cop leads Buffy out of the library before she can find out if he’s okay. They run into Snyder, who tells the cop that Buffy’s most definitely behind whatever’s going on.

The cop starts to arrest Buffy, but as he’s reading her her rights, she knocks him out. Snyder just stands there, frozen, while she runs off. The second cop comes out into the hallway and tries to take a shot at Buffy, but Snyder’s in the way and she can’t aim well. She calls in an alert that they have a dangerous 16-year-old fugitive on the loose.

Buffy sneaks into the hospital to find out if the Scoobies are okay. Xander finds her and assures her that he’s fine other than his broken arm. He hugs her to keep her face turned away from some passing cops. He takes her to Willow’s room, where she’s being treated for a head injury and hasn’t woken up yet. Buffy laments letting her do the restoration spell. Angelus must have known somehow.

Willow’s parents are on their way back from an out-of-town trip, and Oz doesn’t know what happened yet, so Willow just has Buffy and Xander for now. Well, also Cordelia, who’s arrived after running as far as she could (solid response to the attack). The Scoobies realize that they don’t know where Giles is.

He’s with Angelus, who wants to use Giles to revisit one of his former favorite activities, torturing people. He’d like to find out what it’s like to use a chainsaw. Giles sees that the sword is still in Acathla, which means Angelus doesn’t know the ritual to wake him. That’s why Angelus brought him there – to fill in the blanks. But he also doesn’t want Giles to fill in the blanks, because torturing it out of him would be more fun.

A detective named Stein goes to the Summerses’ house and fills Joyce in on the attack on the Scoobies. Joyce thought Buffy was at Willow’s house. Stein asks her to call if Buffy comes home. Buffy goes to Giles’ instead, where she runs into Whistler. He expected her to show up. He jokes that he needs a prom date, but Buffy is really, REALLY not in a joking mood. She tells him to give her helpful information if he has any; if not, she’ll turn his ribcage into a hat. “Hello to the imagery!” Whistler replies.

He tells her things weren’t supposed to happen like this. No one saw her coming. Whistler thought Angel would be the big player here, but as the one who stopped Acathla, not the one who woke him. But thanks to sex with Buffy, Angelus is back. Whistler asks what Buffy’s prepared to do. She says she’ll do whatever she needs to. He clarifies that he wants to know what she’s prepared to give up.

Buffy dismisses him as a demon sent down to even the score between good and evil. “Good guess,” he says, impressed. She tells him that if he wants to be helpful, he should fight evil with her instead of just standing by. She’s tired of doing it by herself. “In the end, you’re always by yourself,” he tells her. “You’re all you’ve got. That’s the point.” As she leaves, he warns that the sword Kendra brought her isn’t enough. She needs to be ready and know how to use it.

As Buffy’s walking home, a cop spots her and tries to arrest her. She’s stunned when Spike comes to her rescue. (Most of that astonishment is just because it’s Spike, but I’m sure some is because he doesn’t need his wheelchair after all.) She starts to fight him, but he says he’s there to help her stop Angelus. More specifically, he wants to help her kill Angelus. Buffy thinks he’s tricking her, but he tells her that Angelus kidnapped Giles. Spike wants to help Buffy save the world.

Buffy doesn’t get the angle here. Spike explains that vampires like to talk big, but they’re just posturing. Spike likes the world. He likes dog racing and Manchester United and having his pick of people to feed on. Angelus wants to destroy all that, and Spike knows he could be successful. Buffy asks why Spike would ever want to team with her. He says he wants Drusilla back. He misses the way things were before Angelus resurfaced.

Buffy calls him pathetic. He punches her and she punches him back. She’s upset because she lost a friend (Spike tries to interrupt, saying he wasn’t in on the attack) and could lose more. She’s not going to help Spike get his girlfriend back when she’s facing the end of the world. He says neither of them can stop this on their own. She punches him again and says she hates him. “And I’m all you’ve got,” he replies. Buffy decides to listen to what he has to say, and she stops him from killing the cop he knocked out as they go somewhere to chat.

Cordelia leaves Xander alone with Willow while she gets him some coffee. Xander urges Willow to wake up because he needs her. She’s his best friend and…he loves her. She starts to wake up, but the person she asks for is Oz, not Xander. Oz arrives just then, and Xander’s the only one who knows that he just declared his true feelings for Willow.

Giles has survived some minor torture from Angelus, who’s impressed that he’s holding up so well. Buffy takes Spike to her house, arriving just as Joyce is getting home from searching for her. As mother and daughter are talking, Spike realizes that Joyce doesn’t know about Buffy’s secret identity. Buffy lies that she’s in a band with Spike. (She plays the drums and Spike sings.) They’re on their way inside when a vampire ambushes them. Buffy and Spike tag-team him and stake him. They figure he was one of Angelus’ spies. Joyce has some questions, and for the first time, Buffy reveals to her mother that she’s a Slayer.

Putting a pause on the conversation, Buffy calls Willow, who promises that she’s okay. She’s sorry she couldn’t finish the ritual and restore Angel’s soul. Buffy is starting to accept that she’ll never get him back. That will make it easier to get rid of him. She tells Willow she has a lead on Giles – a lead Willow wouldn’t believe if Buffy told her. That lead is in the living room with Joyce. Both of them are completely silent.

Buffy tells Xander where Angelus and his minions are hiding out. She’s going to go after them when the sun comes up. She thinks Giles is alive, and she wishes he were able to tell her what to do. Back in the living room, Joyce asks Spike if they’ve met before. He reminds her that she hit him with an axe once.

Before Joyce has to make any more small talk, Buffy comes in and tells Spike to outline the terms of their alliance. He wants free passage out of town with Drusilla after he helps Buffy kill Angelus. Buffy wants Drusilla punished for killing Kendra. Spike didn’t know about that and is kind of adorably proud of his girlfriend for killing a Slayer. Buffy regrets inviting him into her house.

Joyce is relieved to hear that Buffy didn’t kill Kendra. Buffy’s understandably offended that Joyce thought she did. Spike says there’s no other deal on the table. He and Drusilla will leave the country and Buffy will never see them again. They ignore Joyce as she asks questions about pretty much everything: Is Buffy sure she’s a Slayer? Has she tried not being a Slayer? Buffy accepts Spike’s deal and sends him home to act like everything’s normal. She warns that if Giles dies, she’ll kill Drusilla.

After Spike leaves, Joyce wonders if Buffy’s a Slayer because she didn’t have a strong father figure. Buffy tells her it’s fate and she needs to accept it. Joyce wants to call the police and tell them Buffy’s innocent (not that there’s any proof). Buffy warns that getting the police involved will get them killed. She’s the only one who can fight demons. Joyce still doesn’t get what’s happening, so Buffy tells her to have another drink.

Joyce throws her glass away and tells Buffy not to talk to her like that. She doesn’t appreciate Buffy dropping a bomb on her, then acting like it’s not a bomb. Buffy’s distracted by her responsibilities, but Joyce wants her to make time to explain herself. She can’t just accept that Buffy’s a Slayer. Buffy reminds her that she’s been involved in fights and weird occurrences for two years. Joyce should have known something was going on.

Joyce announces that it all stops now, but Buffy says it never stops. She didn’t choose this. She’s lonely and always in danger. She’d love to be a normal teenager, but right now, she has to save the world. Again. Joyce thinks Buffy’s talking crazy and needs help. Buffy says she has to go, and Joyce can’t stop her. When Joyce tries, Buffy shoves her aside and heads for the backdoor. Joyce tells her that if she walks out, she shouldn’t come back. Buffy pauses, then leaves.

At the hospital, Willow announces that she wants to try the restoration spell again. Xander doesn’t like the idea of her using powerful magic when she’s weak, but Willow thinks she can do it. Plus, she has her resolve face on, which means no one can stop her. She wants to try to turn Angelus back into Angel and stop him from waking Acathla. Oz realizes he’s missed a lot here because “this is all making the kind of sense that’s…not.” Willow sends him and Cordelia to the library to get her stuff. Then she tells Xander to let Buffy know what they’re doing in case she can stall Angelus.

Angelus offers to end Giles’ pain if Giles tells him what he wants to know. Giles begs for relief, then says that for Angelus to be “worthy” of waking Acathla, he has to perform the ritual in a tutu. “All right, someone get the chainsaw!” Angelus orders. Spike comes in (back in his wheelchair) and notes that killing Giles will lose Angelus his only shot at getting the answers he needs. Plus, Spike doesn’t want to have to clean up the mess. He has a better idea: Let Drusilla handle it.

Buffy goes to the library to get the sword. Snyder catches her and comments that it’s fitting for a criminal to be at a crime scene. She tells him the police will figure out that she didn’t kill Kendra. Snyder replies that Sunnydale’s police are “deeply stupid.” Buffy’s too much of a liability for the school, no matter how the criminal case turns out, so she’s expelled. Buffy pulls out the sword and guesses that Snyder never got a date when he was in high school. He lets her leave because…well, big sword. But after she’s gone, he calls the mayor to give him good news.

If Angelus was the bad cop, Drusilla’s the good cop, treating Giles gently as she figures out how best to manipulate him. She puts him in a trance, then makes herself look like Jenny. He’s confused about her being there but really believes it’s her. He confirms that he didn’t tell Angelus anything because he’s close to figuring out the ritual. “Jenny” asks what to do, promising that when this is over, she and Giles will be together. He tells her they need to get Angelus away from Acathla – his blood is key here.

“Jenny” kisses him, then turns back into Drusilla. Angelus figures out that he has to use his own blood in the ritual. He orders Giles killed, but Spike notes that he could be lying, so they should keep him alive. Angelus appreciates that Spike is looking out for him. They realize that Drusilla’s still kissing Giles and tell her she can wrap it up. “Sorry. I was in the moment,” she says.

Buffy goes back to Giles’ place and asks Whistler what he meant when he said the sword wasn’t enough. He tells her what Angelus just realized, that his blood will wake Acathla. His blood is also the only thing that will close the vortex after all non-demons are sucked into Hell. Once the portal to Hell is closed, Angelus will be sucked in there, too. Whistler advises Buffy to get there before the vortex opens – the faster she kills Angelus, the easier it’ll be on her. Buffy says she can handle whatever happens. She has nothing left to lose. After she leaves, Whistler says she has one more thing.

As the sun comes up, Buffy heads to the vampires’ lair. Xander catches up to her, but she’ll only let him rescue Giles, not join the fight. He admires the sword, which she says is a present for Angelus. Xander starts to tell her that Willow’s going to try the restoration spell again: “She told me to tell you…” “Tell me what?” Buffy prompts. “Kick his a%$,” he replies.

Angelus starts the ritual again as Willow, Oz, and Cordelia start the restoration spell. Angelus cuts his hand and is reaching for the sword when Buffy comes in and kills a minion. “Hello, lover,” she greets Angelus, just as he greeted her the last time they faced off. He says he doesn’t have time for this, and she replies that he doesn’t have a lot of time left. Angelus asks if she thinks she can take on all the vampires there alone. Buffy says she doesn’t, just as Spike rises from his wheelchair and hits Angelus with a tire iron.

Buffy fights minions while Spike uses the tire iron to take out all his anger on Angelus. Eventually, Drusilla tackles him. Xander briefly lends Buffy a hand when he comes in to find Giles. Spike tells Drusilla he doesn’t want to hurt her, then hits her and says that doesn’t mean he won’t hurt her. The restoration spell gets underway as Xander finds and frees Giles. Giles thinks Xander might be another hallucination, since the vampires can make him see things he wants. “Then why would they make you see me?” Xander asks. Giles realizes he’s right and the two of them sneak out.

While Spike is fighting Drusilla and Buffy’s distracted with a minion, Angelus sees his chance. He runs to Acathla and pulls out the sword. In the hospital, Willow’s weakening. Buffy picks up her sword, but Angelus says she’s too late to do anything. Acathla’s going to send her to Hell. “Save me a seat,” she replies. And then they use their swords to fence with each other, and it’s awesome.

Willow’s still weakening, and Oz and Cordelia start to worry. Suddenly she’s filled with power and begins reciting the spell in another language. Angelus gets the better of Buffy and makes her drop her sword. Spike apologetically strangles Drusilla until she’s unconscious, then starts to carry her out. He pauses when he sees that Angelus is closing in on Buffy. He realizes Angelus is going to kill her, then shrugs and keeps moving.

Angelus has Buffy backed up against a wall, still unarmed. “That’s everything, huh? No weapons, no friends, no hope,” he says. “Take all that away, and what’s left?” He thrusts his sword toward her face.

With her eyes closed, Buffy catches the blade between her hands. “Me,” she replies.

She shoves the sword backward and hits Angelus in the face with the hilt. Then she gets up and grabs her sword so they can keep fighting. Meanwhile, Spike speeds out of town with Drusilla in a car with blacked-out windows. Willow continues her spell and the Orb of Thesulah glows. Just as Buffy is about to strike Angelus with her sword, his eyes glow as well. He gasps and doubles over. When he recovers, he’s Angel again.

He doesn’t remember what’s going on and feels like he hasn’t seen Buffy in months. She hugs him with relief, but over his shoulder, she sees that Acathla’s mouth is opening. Angelus asks what’s happening. She shushes him and tells him not to worry. She kisses him and they say they love each other as the portal to Hell swirls behind his head. “Close your eyes,” Buffy says. He does. She fights back tears and kisses him again.

Then she shoves the sword into him and sends him into the vortex. He reaches for her, saying her name, but she can’t help him. This was the only way to save the world.

Buffy walks home and packs some of her things. Later, Joyce finds a goodbye note on her bed. The Scoobies gather at school and confirm that no one’s talked to Buffy. Oz notes that they world didn’t end, since…you know, it’s still there. Giles went back to the lair and found Acathla dormant. Willow thinks the spell worked; she felt something go through her. Xander wonders if it didn’t work in time and Buffy had to kill Angel. Willow suggests that everything turned out fine and Buffy and Angel are just taking some time together. Whatever happened, Buffy will turn up sooner or later.

But not for a while. Buffy watches her friends from a distance, then takes a bus out of Sunnydale.

Thoughts: This episode is so good from start to finish. It’s one of my favorites.

I obviously get Joyce thinking Buffy’s crazy to be talking about vampires and saving the world, but kicking her out makes no sense.

Drusilla’s disguise trick is really cool. I wish they’d had her use it more often.

I didn’t realize it until I rewatched “Becoming, Part 1” but Angel’s life from becoming a vampire until now is bookended by two blonde women telling him to close his eyes. Darla says it right before she turns him, and Buffy says it right before she kills him.

’90s music alert: Sarah McLachlan’s “Full of Grace”

Goodbye, season 2! Next: Faith, Anya, and the world’s scariest mayor.

April 2, 2022

Buffy 2.21, Becoming, Part 1: Someone Worthy

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

A rare glimpse of a pre-Slayer Buffy

Summary: Galway, Ireland, 1753. A guy named Whistler voices over that there are moments in our lives that determine who we’re going to be. Sometimes they’re small and subtle, and sometimes they aren’t. In this particular moment, Angel – still human and known as Liam – is leaving a pub after a night of drunken revelry.

He spots Darla and follows her into an alley. He flirts with her for a while, and she offers to show him things he’s never seen or even heard of. He thinks she means places in the world, but she means, you know, being a vampire. She tells him to close his eyes, then vamps out and bites him. She cuts a line in her chest and makes him drink her blood.

In the present, Angelus looks on as Buffy fights some vampires in a cemetery. She tells one to give Angelus a message: She’s done waiting and is taking the fight to him. But then she stakes the vampire, so he won’t be able to deliver the message. Xander’s also in the cemetery, but a vamp took him out of the fight early on, so Buffy had to handle them all herself. He notes that there have been a lot of vampires around recently. Buffy blames Angelus and says she’s ready to finish things with him. But they’ll have to tackle their finals first. At least it’ll be over soon. From nearby, Angelus agrees.

Giles goes to a Sunnydale history museum to see a man named Doug Perren who asked for an expert on relics. Some construction workers found a big slab of rock with ancient writing on it. Giles takes a sample and alerts Perren to the fact that there’s a seam in the rock, which indicates that it can be opened. He asks Perren to hold off on trying to open it until he’s translated the text on the rock, just to be sure they’re not unleashing something they shouldn’t be.

At lunch at Sunnydale High, Xander reenacts Buffy’s fight with the vamps last night using fishsticks and toothpicks. Oz enjoys it but admits he’s not clear on all the themes. Buffy says one is that Angelus is too much of a coward to face her himself. Xander says another is “buy American.” Willow asks if Buffy’s ready to fight Angelus. Buffy is, and thinks she’ll have more success there than with her finals. Willow is determined to help her pass all her tests (at least the academic kind). Cordelia praises her for testing her skills as a teacher before she goes into the real world. This way she has something to fall forward on instead of back on.

Snyder comes by to bug the Scoobies for showing each other too much affection. Buffy stands up to him, and he challenges her to just give him a reason to kick her out. Willow invites Buffy over that night for an extra study session, but Buffy plans to patrol again. She doesn’t expect Angelus to turn up, but the problem is that he often turns up when she doesn’t think he will.

London, 1860. A human Drusilla goes to confession, unaware that Angelus has just killed the priest on the other side of the confessional. She tells him she’s been having visions again, including one of some miners dying the day before a real cave-in. Her mother thinks she’s cursed and displaying an ability that offends God.

Drusilla desperately says she doesn’t mean to have the visions. She tries to be good; she doesn’t want to be “an evil thing.” Angelus tells her God has a plan for all people, including devil children like her. She’s going to be struck down, so she might as well give in and be evil. Drusilla begs for help, so he tells her to pray and commit an act of contrition. Drusilla’s appeased, but Angelus warns that God is watching her.

In the present, Drusilla tells Spike the moon whispered a bunch of horrible things to her while she was out killing people. Angelus joins them and asks if something is coming. Drusilla says it is – there’s a tomb at the museum with a surprise inside. Spike’s like, “Yeah, that’s not a vision; there’s an article about it in the paper.” Angelus reads about the “mysterious obelisk” Giles was examining earlier. He tells Drusilla the moon will stop whispering to her: “Soon it’ll scream.”

Willow tutors Buffy in Jenny’s classroom, though Buffy doesn’t think there’s a point to learning stuff like chemistry or math or English. When is she going to use any of it in the real world? Willow admonishes her for calling herself stupid. She just needs to spend more time on schoolwork. As they get back to work, Buffy’s pencil rolls off the desk and falls between it and a cabinet – right where Jenny’s computer disk fell. Buffy picks up the pencil, having a flash of déjà vu. She rolls the pencil again, then picks up both it and the disk. Willow puts the disk in the computer and Buffy quickly realizes what’s on it – a way to turn Angelus back into Angel.

Romanian woods, 1898. Angelus’ Romani victim is dead, and a woman is performing the ritual to give Angelus a soul. He runs through the woods as it takes hold. When it’s over, the girl’s father approaches and tells him he’s about to remember every bad thing he’s done over the past 100+ years. Angelus feels shame for the first time since becoming a vampire.

In the present, Buffy and Willow take Jenny’s translated spell to the other Scoobies and tell them that Jenny found a way to restore Angel’s soul. Cordelia’s on board with using it, but Giles says the ritual requires black arts, which he’s not really up on. Willow’s been researching for fun, and she thinks she can handle it. Giles doesn’t want her to channel such powerful magic in case she opens something she can’t close. Willow is aware of the risks but wants to do it anyway.

“Hi! For those of you who’ve just tuned in, everyone here is a crazy person,” Xander speaks up. He doesn’t see the point in giving Angel back his humanity. Why reward a killer and wipe his slate clean? Cordelia sides with him, which he didn’t see coming. Xander says Angelus needs to die. Giles notes that Jenny’s last wish seems to have been to cure him. Xander notes that she’s dead.

The two of them start fighting but Buffy shuts them down. Willow asks her what she wants to do. Buffy isn’t sure. What happened to Angelus wasn’t his fault. Xander replies that what happened to Jenny was. He thinks Buffy wants to forget that Angelus killed her so she can get her boyfriend back. Buffy leaves the library as Willow looks at Xander like she can’t believe who he’s become.

Perren hears whispers at the museum and realizes they’re coming from the obelisk. Drusilla grabs him and drinks from him as Angelus brings in some minions to get the big rock. Buffy stocks up to go out on patrol while talking to Willow on the phone. (Willow is angry with Xander and calls him something we don’t hear but that’s so un-Willow-like, it makes Buffy recoil.) She finds the claddagh ring Angel gave her.

Buffy goes to a cemetery, but instead of finding any vampires, she finds Kendra. Something dark is about to rise in Sunnydale, so Kendra’s Watcher sent her to lend a hand. Angelus and Drusilla take the obelisk home, but Spike isn’t impressed: “It’s a big rock. Can’t wait to tell my friends. They don’t have a rock this big.” Angelus tells him it contains a demon named Acathla. He was supposed to swallow the world, but a knight killed him and he turned to stone. Acathla has been buried ever since, and now they need someone worthy to pull out the sword to wake him up and send the world to Hell. “We’re about to make history…end,” Angelus announces.

In the library, Giles tells Buffy, Willow, and Kendra that Perren is dead and the obelisk is gone. He’s already done his research and knows it’s the tomb of Acathla (not Alfalfa, Buffy). If he’s awoken, Acathla will create a vortex that sucks all non-demon life inside for an eternity of torment. Not to be confused with an eternity of misery. Buffy decides that Willow should do the spell to restore Angel’s soul. Kendra’s on Team Xander here, and Buffy acknowledges that she might have to fight and kill Angelus, but if she can’t or she loses, she wants Willow as backup. As additional backup, Kendra has brought along a sword blessed by the knight who killed Acathla.

Willow needs a little more time to figure out the ritual to restore Angel’s soul. She also needs an Orb of Thesulah. Giles happens to have one; he’s been using it as a paperweight. Willow notes that if she’s working on the ritual, she won’t be able to help Buffy study for her finals. Buffy says she’ll wing it. And if the world goes to Hell, she won’t have to take them anyway. Or maybe her eternal punishment will be taking them forever. Giles says they have some time, since Angelus has to perform a ritual to remove the sword from Acathla.

Spike paces in his room, rushing back to his wheelchair when Drusilla comes to get him. Angelus has found a human he can use for a blood ritual that should make him worthy of pulling the sword out of Acathla. “Bear witness as I ascend…as I become,” Angelus says. He kills the guy and puts blood on his hand as he reaches for the sword, saying everything he’s become has led him here.

Manhattan, 1996. Angel isn’t doing so great. He doesn’t want to feed on humans, so he’s left with rats in an alley. Whistler finds him and tells him this isn’t a good look for him. He knows who Angel is and that he has a soul. He introduces himself and says he’s a demon, but not a bad one. He wants Angel to know that he can become someone. Angel wants to be left alone, but Whistler knows he’s been on his own for almost 100 years, and it’s not going well for him. He wants to show Angel something.

Well, really, he wants to show Angel someone. Whistler takes him to L.A., where Buffy is still an ordinary teenager unburdened by the knowledge that she’s the Slayer or that vampires exist. Merrick (not played by Donald Sutherland here) approaches her and tells her she needs to come with him to learn about her destiny. She’s the Chosen One, the only one who can stop the vampires. “Huh?” Buffy replies.

He takes her on patrol that night, but it doesn’t go well. He’s basically throwing her to the wolves, but the wolves are vampires. Angelus watches as she misses a vampire’s heart on her first try at staking him. But when she finally gets him, Merrick tells her that now she can see her power. Buffy goes home, where Joyce is curious about where she was. Buffy lies that she was with a guy. Joyce is disappointed that her daughter is so irresponsible. This leads to an argument with Hank, one of many Buffy’s parents have been having lately.

Angel watches from outside as Buffy cries alone in her bathroom. Whistler tells him that she has a rough road ahead of her. Angel announces that he wants to help her. He wants to become someone. Whistler comments that this Slayer must be prettier than the last one. He warns that it won’t be easy. Angel will see how separate he is from the world. And he’ll have to get himself together, because he won’t be any good to Buffy in the state he’s in. Angel says he’s ready to learn from Whistler, but he doesn’t want to dress like him. Heh.

In the present, Angelus continues his ritual to awaken Acathla. He grabs the hilt of the sword, but it doesn’t budge. “Someone wasn’t worthy,” Spike sing-songs. Drusilla is disappointed and distressed. Angelus tells her they’ll have to turn to an old friend like they always do when they need help. He promises they’ll still have their armageddon.

As Buffy takes an exam, a vampire comes to her classroom and gives her a verbal invitation (well, demand, really) to meet Angelus in the cemetery that night. If she doesn’t, more people will die. The vampire removes her cloak so the sunlight burns her. How do you think Snyder and Police Chief Bob will explain that to the people of Sunnydale?

In the library, Buffy tells the Scoobies she’s going to do what Angelus demanded. Kendra volunteers to tag along, but Buffy wants her to stay back just in case. She notes that if Angelus is fighting her, he can’t do anything with Acathla. It’s time to do the spell to restore his soul, whether Willow’s ready or not. Willow needs about half an hour for the spell, so Buffy will have to fight Angelus that long to stall him. Cordelia thinks she should stay in the library for a while and let Angelus find her, but Buffy doesn’t want him to hurt anyone else. As she leaves, Kendra hands over her lucky stake in case Buffy needs it. It’s called Mr. Pointy.

In the cemetery, Angelus greets Buffy with, “Hello, lover.” She comments that she thought he would be too busy to fight her, what with “pulling the sword out of Al Franken or whatever.” He says he wanted to see her one last time; she’s the only thing on Earth he’ll actually miss. “This is a beautiful moment we’re having. Can we please fight?” Buffy asks. Angelus jokes that he came to get back together. Never mind, they can fight.

The Scoobies start the restoration ritual as Buffy and Angelus fight. Vampires invade the library, and though Kendra takes care of herself fine, Willow ends up under a bookcase a vampire pushes over onto her, and Xander gets his arm broken. Cordelia’s frozen in fear until Xander tells her to run. In the cemetery, Angelus says Buffy’s heart doesn’t seem to be in this. Maybe he’ll just go destroy the world already. She tells him she’s ready to finish this. “This wasn’t about you,” he tells her. “This was never about you. And you fall for it every single time!” She realizes what’s happening and takes off running.

Drusilla enters the library and calls an end to the fighting. She faces off with Kendra, eventually overpowering her. She puts Kendra in a trance, then slashes her throat with her fingernail. Drusilla tells her minions to get what they came for: Giles.

Buffy’s race to the school goes slow-motion. Whistler voices over that even when you see big moments coming, you’re not ready for them. No one asks for their life to change, but it does. Buffy reaches the library and finds Kendra’s body. Whistler asks if we’re helpless or just puppets. No. We can’t control the big moments, but what’s important is what happens after them. That’s when we find out who we are. Behind Buffy, a police officer points his gun at her and yells for her to freeze. “You’ll see what I mean,” Whistler says.

Thoughts: Enough has already been said about David Boreanaz’s Irish accent so I won’t pile on.

Even now, years after first seeing this episode, Buffy finding the computer disk gives me a little thrill.

I accidentally typed 1989 instead of 1898 as the date of the Romanian flashback, and now I really want to see 1980s Angel.

More on Whistler here.

March 26, 2022

Buffy 2.20, Go Fish: Water the Scoobies Going to Do About the Monster of the Week?

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

Sadly, there were no good shots of Xander in his red Speedo

Summary: There’s a party on a beach in Sunnydale, though Xander argues that it’s too cold to be there. Cordelia reminds him that the swim team chose the location to celebrate their victory. He complains about that, too, since he’s not impressed by them, but Cordelia thinks he’s just jealous. Xander says it’s too easy for losers to suddenly become cool when they join the team. Cordelia, however, appreciates that the school has a team who can win. They’re finally good at something. Willow points out that they also have a high mortality rate. “We’re number one!” Xander cheers.

Buffy’s sitting alone, looking out at the water. A guy named Cameron joins her and waxes poetic about the ocean. He and some other swimmers train there once a week, swimming against the current. Now he wants to celebrate winning the state semifinals by hanging out with Buffy. But Buffy gets distracted when she spots another swimmer, Dodd, dunking Jonathan’s head in a bucket of ice. She pulls Dodd off, commenting on his shark tattoo. Cameron smirks because Dodd had it coming to him.

A teammate named Gage takes Dodd away to get dried off. Buffy checks on Jonathan, who doesn’t appreciate having to be rescued again. He says he can take care of himself. As Gage and Dodd are walking by the water, Dodd suddenly freezes and just stares out at the waves. Gage doesn’t notice and keeps walking. A minute later, he smells something gross. It’s probably Dodd’s body, which is now dismembered and recognizable only because of his tattoo. Something that looks like a monster heads off into a sewer pipe.

At school the next day, Jenny’s class, now taught by Willow, continues to go well. She busts Gage for playing Solitaire (with nude women on the cards) instead of working on pie charts like the rest of the class. Snyder comes in as the class ends and asks Willow to continue teaching through the end of the year. She’d be happy to. He praises her for being a team player, which means she wants everyone on the team to succeed. Even problematic team members like Gage, who doesn’t do any work. She needs to show school spirit by passing him so he can stay on the swim team.

Willow tells Xander and Cordelia about this after class, and while Xander sides with Willow that this is unfair, Cordelia thinks winners like Gage deserve special privileges. Xander reminds her that all people are supposed to be created equal. “Propaganda spouted out by the ugly and less deserving,” Cordelia replies. He points out that Abraham Lincoln came up with the idea. “Disgusting mole and stupid hat,” she says. Willow corrects that it was Thomas Jefferson. Cordelia just notes that he had slaves. Okay, that’s a fair point.

Xander complains that Buffy isn’t there to be as outraged as he is because she’s off with Cameron. But she’s realizing that they’re not a good fit because all he talks about is swimming and the ocean and sea life. She does appreciate having a conversation with a guy that doesn’t involve romantic pressure, though. However, she backs off of that appreciation when Cameron asks if she’s wearing a bra.

He locks his car doors so she can’t leave, then says he’s not going to hurt her. “Oh, it’s not me I’m worried about,” she says. When he says she must like it rough, she grabs him by the back of his head and slams his face into his steering wheel. Snyder sees, and he wants to have a word with Buffy.

They take Cameron to the school nurse, Greenleigh, and he tries to argue that Buffy led him on. After all, look how she dresses. Before Buffy can hit him again, the swim coach, Marin, comes in to check on his star swimmer. At least Cameron’s his star now that something’s happened to Dodd. Marin tells Cameron to go to the steam room so his sinuses will stay open. Then he tells Buffy to dress more appropriately because this isn’t a club.

Buffy goes to the library and complains to the Scoobies about how Cameron gets away with everything because the swim team (all of whom have become jerks recently) is so revered. The Scoobies are barely listening, since they’re trying to work. Dodd’s remains were found on the beach, having been ripped open and cleaned out inside. “Like an Oreo cookie,” Willow says helpfully. The students aren’t supposed to know, most likely so the other swimmers don’t find out and get distracted from their big meet on Friday.

Something’s lurking around the steam room. After Cameron’s done in there, he runs into Xander and treats him like every stereotypical jock treats anyone he sees as beneath him. Xander mocks him for getting beaten up by Buffy; he loves when guys mess with her and get what they deserve. Cameron is on his way to the cafeteria, which is supposed to be closed, but will still serve someone as wonderful and special as he is. He smells something gross, and a few moments later, Xander hears him yell. He finds signs of a struggle, Cameron’s skin, and the monster from the beach.

Xander tries to describe the monster to Cordelia so she can draw it. That goes about as well as you’d expect. She gets him to admit that he didn’t get a good look at it because he was too busy running away. Buffy and Willow get confirmation that Dodd and Cameron were the two best swimmers on the team, which means Gage, the third best, will probably be the next target. Cordelia laments that they’ll never win the state championship now. “I think I’ve lost all will to cheerlead,” she says.

The Scoobies guess that someone wants revenge on the swim team and somehow brought forth a sea monster to act on his behalf. Willow suggests Jonathan, so Buffy sends her to question him. Giles tells Buffy to keep an eye on Gage. Cordelia advises Xander to practice running like a man. Well, that’s reductive.

As Buffy unsubtly watches Gage in a student lounge, Willow interrogates Jonathan. She knows he tried out for the swim team but didn’t make it. He seems okay with that, since he has asthma and just couldn’t keep up. He admits to being upset that the swimmers bullied him, but when Willow suggests that he used dark magic to conjure up a sea monster, he’s confused. He just peed in the pool.

Snyder and Marin discuss the swimmers’ deaths, and how they need to keep quiet so the other swimmers won’t be too upset to compete. Really, this is Snyder’s insistence; Marin is more concerned with finding a replacement for Cameron and Dodd so they can even be eligible to compete. They’re having tryouts that afternoon. Snyder notes that they don’t need someone to actually swim, just to wear a bathing suit. Xander overhears and gets an idea.

That night, Buffy continues watching Gage at the Bronze, and he continues being completely aware that she’s watching him. He finally confronts her, and she says she’s a swim-team groupie. He doesn’t buy it, so she tells him the truth: Something’s killing people and he might be next. Gage has heard from Cameron that Buffy likes to play games with guys, and he doesn’t want her anywhere near him. Okay, then you get to be fish food next.

As Gage is leaving, Angelus overhears him complaining about Buffy. He feeds Gage’s annoyance, agreeing when Gage says Buffy acts like she’s so special: “Who is she, the Chosen One?” Angelus says she needs to be knocked down from her high horse. Then he vamps out and says he’s looking for recruits. Buffy hears Gage yelling for help and rushes to his rescue, but he doesn’t need it – Angelus is spitting out his blood. Buffy pulls out a hair accessory to use as a stake (nice), but Angelus just throws Gage at her and runs off. Gage is like, “Now I have to deal with a vampire AND whatever’s killing swimmers?” He asks Buffy to walk him home.

The next day, Buffy, Willow, and Cordelia attend swim practice. Gage is suddenly very into Buffy. The girls discuss Angelus’ behavior, wondering if he spit out Gage’s blood because there was something in it he didn’t like. Maybe Gage is using steroids. If the whole team is using, that would explain their recent jerkiness and their winning streak. It could also be attracting the fish monster to them.

A new swimmer enters, and Cordelia checks him out from the feet up before realizing he’s Xander. He tells the girls he’s undercover. “Not under much,” Buffy quips, since he’s wearing a Speedo. Xander reveals that he tried out and made the team. Now he can keep an eye on Gage when Buffy can’t. “When you’re nude? I meant to say changing,” Willow says. Cordelia’s proud to be dating someone on the swim team. She’s not so proud when Xander jumps in the water just as Willow reveals that Jonathan peed in the pool.

After practice, the guys hang out in the steam room. The fish monster is on its way. Xander passes off Gage-sitting duty to Buffy, which is a mistake because now no one’s in the locker room with Gage. When the fish monster arrives and Gage yells, Buffy runs in to save him. But it turns out there’s not much she can do because Gage is turning into a fish monster himself. That explains why the swimmers’ skin is the only thing left of them – they shed it when they become monsters.

Buffy fights both fish monsters until Marin comes to her aid. The monsters slip away through a grate in the floor. Marin takes Buffy to Nurse Greenleigh so she can fix up a bite from one of the monsters. Giles is like, “The good news is that no one’s dead!” Of course, the bad news is that they’re monsters. Marin’s disappointed that they weren’t improving because of his coaching. He admits that he never asked if the guys were taking anything to enhance their performance.

Willow gets access to the school’s medical records and sees that the guys who’ve turned into monsters were treated for symptoms that indicate steroid abuse. Buffy thinks Nurse Greenleigh knew, since she treated all of them. Willow doesn’t get why athletes would take something that could harm them. Buffy notes that they were benefiting and being praised. Of course they would keep taking the risk.

The two of them and Xander decide to hold off on confronting Nurse Greenleigh until the next day. Buffy sends Xander to find out what the guys have been using. She herself is off to go fishing with Giles and a tranquilizer gun. This requires a field trip into the sewer. Well, they can’t all be trips to the zoo. Wait, the last trip to the zoo went horribly. Maybe the Scoobies should stop going on field trips.

Xander goes back to the steam room, trying to get his teammates to open up about steroids. A guy named Sean says they’re in the steam. At the pool, Nurse Greenleigh urges Marin to stop what he’s been doing. He thinks they just need to adjust the mix of drugs they’ve been using. He wants the best. Nurse Greenleigh warns that he’ll just get more monsters. Marin responds by throwing her into the sewer so his three fish monsters can eat her for dinner.

The Scoobies reconvene in the library, where Xander panics about the steroids he unknowingly absorbed. Buffy doesn’t think he should be too worried, since he was only exposed once. Or was it twice? “Three times a fish guy,” Xander admits. Cordelia says he should stop worrying about himself – she’s the one who could be dating the Creature from the Blue Lagoon. Xander corrects that she means Black Lagoon – “the Creature from the Blue Lagoon was Brooke Shields.”

Buffy suggests that they round up and lock up the rest of the swimmers. Willow offers to interrogate Nurse Greenleigh in hopes of getting an antidote, and Buffy heads off to talk to Marin. He tells her about experiments the Soviets did on their swimmers using fish DNA. He tried to perfect the experiment so he could improve his team. He seems to think they can still win the state championships. Buffy’s like, “You’re insane and your fish swimmers aren’t going to the finals.” He pulls out a gun and forces her to jump into the sewer. He wants her to fulfill his boys’ needs – and he doesn’t mean the need to feed.

Xander and Cordelia go to the pool, looking for swimmers, but no one’s there. Xander’s freaking out about possibly growing scales and runs to the bathroom to look in a mirror. A few moments later, a fish monster jumps in the pool. Cordelia thinks it’s Xander. She blames herself for his transformation, thinking he joined the team to impress her. She promises that she still cares about him and wants to stay with him, unless he wants to date other fish. She’ll do whatever she can to give him a good life, including providing bath toys. She’s shocked when Xander, still human, rejoins her.

Giles locks the simmers in a book cage, having found all but one, Sean. Xander and Cordelia arrive and she says they found Sean “in the pool, skinless-dipping.” Heh. The only person who’s unaccounted for is Buffy. She’s looking for a way out of the sewer, hoping she doesn’t get a reputation for hooking up with the whole swim team.

Xander finds Marin and asks where Buffy is. Marin just glances down at the gun by his hand. Buffy fights off the fish monsters as Xander knocks out Marin. They’re right over the entrance to the sewer, and Buffy’s able to grab Xander’s hand and get pulled up before the fish monsters can have their way with her. Marin tries to attack, but Buffy knocks him over and he starts to fall into the sewer. Buffy is unable to hold onto his leg, and though she tries to pull him out after he falls through, the fish monsters make him their dessert.

The next day, Xander tells the Scoobies he’s meeting the other swimmers that afternoon for the plasma treatments that are supposed to un-fish their DNA. Cordelia says he’s proven himself to her, and he doesn’t have to stay on the swim team. She’d be just as happy if he played football. Giles tells them the fish monsters have taken off, and Buffy says they probably won’t come back. She guesses correctly that they’re in their new home, the ocean.

Thoughts: Gage is played by Wentworth Miller in his very first onscreen role. Nurse Greenleigh is played by the late Conchata Ferrell. Sean is played by Shane West, who’s soon to feature in my ER recaps.

Someone should start a class called Self-Defense the Buffy Summers Way.

Xander in a red Speedo just isn’t the same as Mulder in a red Speedo.

March 19, 2022

Buffy 2.19, I Only Have Eyes for You: If I Can’t Have You

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

I’m sure Buffy got at least a little closure from shooting Angelus

Summary: There’s live music at the Bronze tonight, and the Scoobies are among the attendees. Buffy’s up on the balcony, where a classmate named Ben approaches her and strikes up a conversation. He asks if she’s going to the Sadie Hawkins dance the next night and invites her to ask him. She tells him she’s sworn off dating.

Buffy tells Willow she’s done for the night and is going to stop by the library to see if Giles wants her to patrol. Willow says she’s been doing that a lot lately and needs to have more fun. For example, she should go out with Ben. Buffy isn’t ready to date again, but Willow encourages her to be impulsive. Buffy thinks her last impulsive decision, sleeping with Angel, had enough big consequences to keep her playing it safe for a long time. Willow reminds her that love isn’t always that way. It can be nice.

At the school, love is currently not being nice. A guy is fighting with his girlfriend about why she wants to break up with him. (They don’t get names; I’ll call them Brian and Sarah, after the actors playing them.) Brian orders Sarah to admit she doesn’t love him. When she says she doesn’t, he denies that someone could just wake up one morning and stop having feelings for the person they love. He points a gun at her and says, “Love is forever.”

Buffy arrives as Brian implies that if he can’t be with Sarah, he’s going to make sure no one else is, either. “Don’t walk away from me, b%$@#!” he yells as Sarah starts to leave. Buffy runs at Brian and uses some self-defense moves to make him drop the gun. A custodian, George, runs in at the same time and checks on Sarah. Brian suddenly doesn’t remember what happened, other than getting mad at Sarah. She says they weren’t even fighting a few minutes ago. Brian doesn’t know where the gun came from. George notices that the gun isn’t even there anymore.

The next day, Snyder calls Buffy to his office to accuse her of inciting “mayhem, chaos, and disorder.” She argues that she tried to stop all that. He can ask George for confirmation. But Snyder wouldn’t believe him, because Buffy could have coerced George to say what she wanted him to. “I’m no stranger to conspiracy,” Snyder says. “I saw JFK.”

He wants the truth. He’s going to look at all the pieces of the puzzle until he puts them together and sees how they point at Buffy. Then he gets called away to deal with a kid who chained himself to a vending machine again. “Pathetic little no-life vegan,” Snyder grumbles. He tells Buffy to stay put while he’s gone. After he leaves, a yearbook from 1955 falls off of one of his bookshelves. Buffy notices but just puts it back.

Willow’s doing much better with teaching Jenny’s class, and she’s thrilled when the students laugh at one of her jokes. Giles asks if she needs anything, but she’s following Jenny’s lesson plans and isn’t having many problems. She tells Giles she found some files and websites on paganism and magic. She also found a rose quartz that Jenny once told her has healing powers. She thinks Jenny would want Giles to have it.

Buffy tries to stay awake in history class, where the teacher is lecturing about the New Deal. She suddenly finds herself in a class in 1955. She watches a student named James chat with his teacher, Grace. They’re a little more intimate than a teacher and student should be. Buffy snaps back to reality as her teacher is writing on the board, but not something related to the New Deal. He’s shocked to realize he’s written, “DON’T WALK AWAY FROM ME B%$@#!”

After class, Buffy tells Xander that something weird is going on. He notes that that’s basically their school motto. Whatever it is, it bugs her. Xander thinks it’s Hellmouth-related. He opens his locker and is suddenly grabbed by a monstrous arm inside. Buffy saves him, then checks out the locker, but there’s nothing inside.

They head to the library, where Willow asks if Xander’s shirt is torn because Cordelia got a little too aggressive in a broom-closet makeout session. He tells her he was attacked by a locker monster. Giles hears that as Loch Ness Monster. Buffy and Xander tell the others about the weird recent events, which Giles thinks could be the work of a ghost. Xander notes that this ghost seems angry, but Giles says that fits with a poltergeist.

Willow asks why the ghost is there. Giles says he might not know. He might not be able to find a way to make peace, so he lashes out in confusion. Buffy comments that sounds like a normal teen. Giles says the only way to stop a poltergeist is to figure out why it’s still there and help resolve its issues. First they’ll have to find out whose ghost they’re dealing with.

That night, George chats with a teacher named Ms. Frank as she leaves for the night. Then their conversation suddenly turns into one between two people who are on the verge of breaking up. He can’t walk away just because she’s ending things, and she knows they can’t stay together because no one would accept it. They wouldn’t be able to have a normal life.

Ms. Frank leave and George follows her, saying the same things Brian said to Sarah the night before. Ms. Frank repeats Sarah’s words as well. George is suddenly holding a gun, just like Brian was. In the library, Giles hears George yelling and starts to go see what’s happening. He hears a woman’s voice whispering, “I need you” and thinks it’s Jenny. In the hallway, he sees George and Ms. Frank out on a balcony. George shoots Ms. Frank and she falls to the ground below. Giles chases George and tackles him, making him drop the gun, which disappears. George, like Brian, has no idea what just happened.

Angelus takes Spike and Drusilla to their new home, which has a garden Drusilla loves. Angelus: still making comments about Spike’s wheelchair and flirting with Drusilla. Spike: still annoyed at everything Angelus says. Drusilla: clueless about pretty much everything. Me: bored and disappointed that these characters are being wasted.

At school the next day, Giles tells the Scoobies what happened with George and Ms. Frank, and how it was just like what happened with Brian and Sarah. Except in this case, George and Ms. Frank didn’t have a relationship. Giles has decided that this all has to do with Jenny. She’s trapped in the school. Willow points out that Jenny wasn’t killed with a gun. Giles thinks that’s unimportant; the key here is a violent death.

Buffy and Willow think there’s a pattern here that doesn’t fit with Jenny. Giles acknowledges their disagreement with his theory and praises them for standing up to authority. But in this case, he’s right and they’re wrong. Buffy, Willow, and Xander go to Jenny’s classroom to continue talking about Giles’ insistence on something that can’t be right. Buffy can sympathize with his inability to think about anything other than his ex.

Willow starts looking into other shootings at Sunnydale High and quickly finds a news story about a student who killed a teacher the night of a Sadie Hawkins dance. That student and teacher were James and Grace. They were rumored to be having an affair. After he killed her, he shot himself in the music room. Buffy guesses that it happened in 1955.

She shows the Scoobies the 1955 yearbook and tells them about her dream. Xander notes that her dreams are becoming very accurate. Has she dreamed about him getting a lot of money or having sex? Focus, Xander! Buffy thinks James was crazy for killing Grace because he couldn’t make her love him. Willow notes that he was smart – he was on the honor roll – but Xander says killing someone and then yourself are two pretty dumb things to do.

Willow feels kind of bad for James, but Buffy only feels bad for Grace. James is a murderer and should be punished. “The quality of mercy is not Buffy,” Xander remarks. Willow asks whose ghost they’re dealing with. Buffy guesses it’s James’, considering the violence. Willow suggests that they use Jenny’s witchy resources to find a way to communicate with James and see what he wants. Buffy would rather just stop him before he hurts anyone else.

But first, lunch! Cordelia joins the Scoobies there, announcing that she’s organizing an alternative to the Sadie Hawkins dance. She objects to the idea of girls asking guys out and having to pay for everything. They need to shut this kind of stuff down before it gets scary. Someone across the cafeteria starts screaming because the room is full of something much scarier than feminism: snakes. Cordelia even gets bitten on the cheek before everyone runs out.

While police and pest control clear the school, Snyder and the police chief, Bob, discuss the cover story they’re going to use. They go with “backed-up sewer line.” Snyder warns that sooner or later, people are going to figure out that they’re on a Hellmouth. Bob reminds Snyder that he assured the City Council that he could handle this job. If he can’t, he can take it up with the mayor. That scares Snyder into promising he can take care of things. (As we’ll find out in season 3, this is a 100% understandable reaction to anything involving the mayor.)

The Scoobies gather at Buffy’s house, where Willow says that Buffy was right – they need to make a big move and take down the ghost. Specifically, they need to do an exorcism. Cordelia objects, since she saw The Exorcist, but Buffy’s on board. Willow tells her the balcony is the hot spot where the “bad mojo” is coming through. They need to create a triangle to bind James’ spirit from harming anyone else. Buffy offers to take the hot spot, though Xander notes that James seems to be focusing on her. She says she hopes he shows.

The Scoobies go to the school with plans to do their triangle thing at midnight. Willow hands out scapulars, bags of herbs they can wear around their necks for protection. All the doors around them slam shut, so if they wanted to back out, it’s too late. Meanwhile, Drusilla gets a vision and says a gate is opening and something is coming for Buffy. She tells Angelus that Buffy’s ready for him. Spike says he won’t do anything; he’s “all hat and no cattle.” Angelus gets waaaaaay too touchy-feely with Drusilla and says he’s ready to focus on something else.

Giles catches Willow outside the library and admits that he’s trying to find a way to contact Jenny. He sends her away in case something paranormal happens when he succeeds. The other Scoobies are spreading out to form a triangle. Buffy hears the song “I Only Have Eyes for You” playing and finds a flier for the 1955 dance outside the music room. Inside, James and Grace are dancing.

As the other Scoobies find their spots (poor Xander has to deal with the snakes that are still in the cafeteria), Buffy sees James’ face changing into something demonic. Cordelia’s face changes, too, as if her snake bite is infected and it’s spreading. Willow gets grabbed from below by something that looks like the arm from Xander’s locker. She gets pulled into a swirling pit like there’s quicksand below her. She yells for Giles, who comes running and saves her.

On the balcony, Buffy has a vision of James and Grace fighting, followed by him shooting her, then himself. His demon-faced ghost grabs her and yells for her to get out. Then he disappears, along with Cordelia’s infection and the swirl that tried to get Willow. Willow tells Giles that this can’t be Jenny – she would never be this cruel. He agrees, disappointed that he won’t get to communicate with her.

It’s midnight, so the Scoobies light candles and chant something to “expel all evil.” The candles all blow out and there’s silence. Then a swarm of wasps flies down the hallway toward Willow and Giles. All the Scoobies meet up in the hall and run out together as the swarm engulfs the school.

They head to Buffy’s house to discuss what to do next. Cordelia asks if they automatically graduate if the school shuts down forever. Xander isn’t the least focused Scooby for once, and he asks what James wants. Giles says he’s trying to resolve the issues keeping him in limbo. Buffy speaks up that James wants forgiveness. Giles thinks that makes sense. But when James possesses people, they act out what happened in 1955, so it’s like he’s doomed to relive what happened over and over. Forgiveness isn’t possible.

Buffy doesn’t think he deserves it anyway, but Giles says forgiveness is about compassion. It’s not given because someone deserves it, but because they need it. Buffy disagrees – James killed the person he loved the most. His intentions and regrets don’t matter. He has to live with them. Xander notes that he can’t live with them, since he’s dead. “Okay. Overidentify much?” Cordelia comments as Buffy leaves.

Buffy finds a flier for the dance in the kitchen, then hears a voice that sounds like Angel’s whispering, “I need you.” She leaves the house through the kitchen door. The Scoobies go back to trying to figure out how to defeat James’ ghost as Buffy returns to the school. The wasps part to let her inside. Willow realizes that Buffy left, so the Scoobies go back to the school, thinking Buffy’s under James’ thrall. Giles believes he’s going to make her relive the shootings again so he can change things. Willow says that’s not possible, so Buffy’s about to get shot.

Giles says the school’s deserted, so there’s no man for James to possess. Buffy should be fine until they can get her out. Wrong! Buffy’s not the only person inside – Angelus is also there. Buffy tells him that he’s the only person she can talk to. He doesn’t realize that she’s started saying what James said to Grace the night he killed her. Then he starts repeating what Grace said that night.

Buffy says she thinks about Angelus every minute. We go back and forth between the real James and Grace in the ’50s and Buffy and Angelus now, saying the same things. So Buffy-as-James confronts Angelus-and-Grace for suddenly turning on her and ending their relationship. The gun appears and Buffy continues James’ words, threatening to shoot Angelus and telling him not to walk away.

They end up on the balcony, like Grace and James. Buffy fires the gun, and on the ground outside, the Scoobies hear the shot. As Grace falls off the balcony in 1955, so does Angelus in the present. James and Buffy both go to the music room as Angelus, who can’t be killed with a gun or by a fall, changes the story by waking up.

Buffy puts on “I Only Have Eyes for You” and looks in a mirror, seeing herself as James. She starts to raise the gun to her head, but Angelus stops her. He says the shooting was an accident, and she doesn’t need to apologize. He never stopped loving her, even as he was dying. They start to kiss, and a flash shows James and Grace getting the same happy-ish ending in the past. Their spirits leave Buffy and Angelus, who take a moment to realize they’ve been making out. He growls and runs away.

The Scoobies regroup in the library after searching the school and finding no traces of the weird goings-on. That means the school can reopen. Yay? Buffy’s still thinking about what happened. She’s sad that James thought she was the only person he could relate to. Giles says James and Grace can both rest now. Buffy doesn’t understand how Grace could forgive James. Giles asks if it matters, and she says no.

Angelus is home now, scrubbing himself as if that’ll erase his makeout session with Buffy. Drusilla asks if he was possessed by a demon, and he says it was love. They go out hunting for a snack, leaving Spike behind. After they go, Spike stands up from his wheelchair, totally healed.

Thoughts: James is played by Christopher Gorham. George is played by John Hawkes.

If they ever do a(nother) Buffy movie, the plot should be about the Loch Ness Monster.

Spike and Drusilla get so little to do during this part of the season that leaving the main plot to watch them feels like switching to another TV show.

March 12, 2022

Buffy 2.18, Killed by Death: You Give Me Fever

Posted in TV tagged , , at 1:11 pm by Jenn

Hello, would you like to have nightmares?

Summary: Buffy’s on patrol despite being sick. She runs into the Scoobies, accidentally coming close to staking Xander. “My whole life just flashed before my eyes,” he says. “I gotta get me a life!” The Scoobies wanted to take her place so she could rest while she’s battling the flu, but she doesn’t want to take a night off because Angelus probably won’t. Xander notes that she wouldn’t be able to put up a good fight if she did encounter him.

Angelus proves this by showing up and tackling Cordelia. Buffy’s able to fight him pretty well, but he eventually overpowers her. Willow and Xander lend a hand, and they send him away by holding up crosses. Buffy, however, has used up all her strength, and she passes out. The Scoobies rush her to the hospital, then call Joyce and Giles.

By the time Joyce arrives, Buffy’s stable, and a doctor named Wilkinson assures everyone that she’ll be fine. She does need to stay in the hospital for a few days, though. They get to see her later, but she’s a little delirious. “Shh. Hospital zone. No singing,” she tells Xander. When she learns that she has to stay in the hospital, she tries to leave, yelling for Giles to explain to everyone that she has to kill vampires. Good thing the Scoobies can blame that on her fever.

Xander notes that he’s not used to seeing Buffy scared. Joyce tells the Scoobies that Buffy hates hospitals. When she was eight, she visited her cousin Celia in a hospital and was with her when she died. Giles goes with Joyce to find a phone to call Hank, and she thanks him for looking out for Buffy. She also expresses her condolences about Jenny. Buffy’s been down since then, which may have contributed to her getting sick.

Xander’s worried about Buffy, and Cordelia doesn’t help by saying the hospital isn’t great. Her friend got her nose done there and the results were bad. Willow reminds her that Buffy isn’t there for cosmetic surgery. Cordelia replies that while she’s there, she might as well get “that thing” done. Xander and Willow don’t know what she means. They’re more worried about Angelus coming after Buffy there.

At 2:27 in the morning, Buffy wakes up to find a boy standing in her doorway. As he heads down the hall, she sees a scary-looking demon following him. She follows them, flashing back to her childhood when she went to visit Celia. It’s all a dream, but when Buffy wakes up for real (again at 2:27), she gets out of bed and goes down the hall like she did in the dream. A security guard watches her.

She sees a couple of orderlies taking away a child’s body, then hears Dr. Wilkinson talking to another doctor, Backer, in the children’s ward. Dr. Wilkinson wants them to cut back on dosages for a while. Dr. Backer argues that the patients are getting worse, so that’s a bad idea. Dr. Wilkinson objects to him raising the patients’ temperature on purpose. Dr. Backer says he has their parents’ treatment, and Dr. Wilkinson can talk to the hospital board if she has a problem with Dr. Backer’s methods. She says she already has.

Buffy turns to go and finds two kids behind her, one of them the boy from her dream (Ryan). He tells her “he” comes at night but the adults don’t see him. He was with Tina, the girl who died, and will come back for the others. Buffy asks who “he” is, and Ryan says, “Death.”

The next day, Angelus comes by with flowers, but Xander’s there to stop him from getting anywhere near Buffy. Angelus knows Xander can’t actually stop him from doing anything, but Xander notes that there are cops and security guards and various other people around who might get it done. He’d kind of like to see what happens if Angelus fights him. Angelus mocks that he’s “Buffy’s white knight.” He knows Xander still loves her. Xander must hate the Angelus got there first. “You’re gonna die and I’m gonna be there,” Xander says.

Buffy has a dream about playing with Celia – she’s a superhero and saves Celia from an avalanche. Then she returns to her memory of going to see Celia in the hospital. When she wakes up, Dr. Wilkinson is impressed by how much better she is. She still has a fever, though, so Buffy can’t leave yet. Buffy asks if she has the same flu virus the kids have.

The Scoobies arrive for a visit, Xander with balloons and Willow with completed homework that Buffy can just pretend she did. Cordelia didn’t bring anything since no one told her to bring a gift. “It’s traditional among, um…people,” Giles says. He brought grapes. Weird. They all go for a walk so they can have some privacy while Buffy tells them about what happened the night before. She’s suspicious of Dr. Backer and his experimental treatments. Plus, there’s the fact that Ryan mentioned death.

Cordelia thinks Buffy might be overreacting because of her childhood trauma and could have created a villain to fight because she can’t actually defeat death. “Cordelia, have you ever actually heard of tact?” Giles asks. “Tact is just not saying true stuff. I’ll pass,” she replies. Buffy insists that this has nothing to do with Celia. Ryan is scared of something real. If Buffy has to be stuck in the hospital, she’s going to find out what’s going on.

Xander and Cordelia snoop in the hospital’s records as she complains that Buffy’s taking advantage of their compassion. The security guard who was watching Buffy the night before catches Cordelia. Meanwhile, Giles and Willow go to the library to look into any past weird incidents at the hospital. He admits that Cordelia might be right about Buffy creating an opponent to fight. Jenny’s death probably didn’t help there.

Willow points out that they’re on a Hellmouth, so there might be an actual monster. Giles isn’t sure about them dealing with a monster that only kids see, but then again, sometimes children see who adults really are. They could just be afraid of a regular person. Willow guesses that’s Dr. Backer, so she gets started looking into him.

Back at the hospital, Cordelia chats with the security guard, making him feel better about not having a more interesting job. While she flirts, Xander finds some helpful records. Cordelia asks the guard about Dr. Backer, but the guard has nothing bad to say about the doctor. “He understands the real truth about children,” the guard says. And that is? “Sometimes they die.” Cordelia continues flirting while Xander sneaks out of the room.

When they meet up again, Xander complains, but Cordelia makes it clear he has nothing to be jealous about. Plus, she has to put up with his obsession with Buffy. He says someone has to watch Buffy’s back, but Cordelia think he really means look at her butt. He accuses her of being jealous, so she tells him to watch her back as she walks away. He does.

Buffy goes to the children’s ward, where Ryan is drawing a picture of the demon she saw in her dream. He warns that the demon will come again tonight. Buffy promises to protect all the kids – she believes him that there are real monsters. But there are also heroes who fight those monsters. “Can’t fight death,” he tells her.

Giles and Willow find a bunch of reprimands on Dr. Backer’s record, plus a malpractice suit that was dropped. That plus Buffy’s instincts that he’s a bad guy add up to a probable villain. Now they need to figure out what he’s doing to the kids. Back at the hospital, Dr. Backer is working late and Xander is playing bodyguard in the hallway. Cordelia brings him donuts and joins him for the night watch without saying anything.

Buffy follows Dr. Backer as he goes to the children’s ward and gives a child some medication. There’s a chuckle behind him, but when he turns, he doesn’t see anyone there. Suddenly he’s attacked by something invisible. Ryan watches from across the room as the invisible being kills Dr. Backer and throws him out of the room. The being knocks Buffy down when she tries to intervene, then drags Dr. Backer’s body down the hall.

The next day, the Scoobies tell Buffy that while Tina died of the virus, she seemed to be getting better before that. They share Dr. Backer’s record, but Buffy says he’s clearly not their guy. She shows them Ryan’s picture and says they have a real monster – something she can fight. Giles still doesn’t get how it’s invisible to Buffy now, but not the kids.

Joyce interrupts before the Scoobies can figure out what’s changed to make the monster invisible to Buffy. Buffy’s being discharged, but she tells Joyce that she feels worse now, so she should stay another day or so. After Joyce leaves, Buffy asks Giles to get more information on the monster. She’ll snoop in Dr. Backer’s office to see if she can find out why the monster would kill him.

Willow agrees to help with any medical stuff, since she and Xander used to play doctor as kids. He clarifies that she means that literally. (Willow doesn’t know there was any other way to play it.) Xander volunteers to keep playing bodyguard in case Angelus or the demon show up again. He sends Cordelia to help Giles with research. Giles starts to whine about having to work with her, so Cordelia calls him “tact guy.”

Buffy and Willow go to Dr. Backer’s office, where Buffy laments not being able to save him. Willow discovers that he was trying to cure the kids with what amounted to vaccines. He was giving them small doses of the virus to raise their temperatures and burn the fever out of them. So there’s confirmation that Dr. Backer was a good guy all along.

In the library, Cordelia isn’t much help with research, since she just keeps asking Giles questions about various demons. At least she’s learning stuff, right? He’s not sure they’ll be able to find a picture of their monster anyway, since only certain people can see it. But it turns out that the monster is on the cover of the book Cordelia’s reading.

Cordelia calls Buffy to report that the monster is called Der Kindestod, AKA “child death.” Yeah, I’m not typing that over and over. It’s called D.K. It feeds off children by sucking the life out of them and making it look like they died of a virus instead. Buffy guesses that D.K. killed Dr. Backer because he was curing the kids and taking away D.K.’s main food source.

Giles gets on the phone and tells Buffy that D.K. feeds by sitting on top of his victim and immobilizing them. Buffy flashes back to Celia’s death, which included Celia screaming and trying to fight off something above her. She tells Willow that D.K. killed Celia. They need to stop him before he can kill anyone else.

Buffy figures out that her fever was what allowed her to see him. That means to see him again, she needs another fever. They go back to Dr. Backer’s office so Buffy can take the medication he was giving the kids to raise their temperatures. This means she’ll be weakened again, but at least she’ll be able to see what she’s fighting.

The girls go to the children’s ward and discover that all the kids are gone. Fortunately, it’s because Ryan is leading them in a prison break to save them from D.K. Buffy’s temperature is high enough now to allow her to see D.K. in the children’s ward. He sees her watching him as he heads through a door giving him access to the basement, where the kids are.

Before Buffy can go after him, Dr. Wilkinson finds her and tries to get her to go back to her room. Buffy shoves her away and runs off with Willow. Dr. Wilkinson calls security, and when the guards catch up to Buffy and Willow, Willow distracts them by pretending she’s hallucinating a bunch of frogs crawling all over her. Buffy is able to escape before Dr. Wilkinson tells the guards they’ve been fooled. “No more frogs!” Willow says, suddenly lucid.

Buffy finds Xander, who helps her get to the basement. Ryan hides all the kids, but D.K. finds them and grabs him. On their way to the basement, Xander notes that Buffy doesn’t know how to kill D.K. “Thought I might try violence,” she says. “Solid call,” he replies. D.K. prepares to kill Ryan, which involves really gross-looking things coming out of his eyes and attaching themselves to Ryan’s head. But Buffy stops him, telling D.K., “You make me sick.”

Xander gets the kids to safety while Buffy fights D.K. Xander returns to check on her but can only see Buffy fighting something invisible. It looks like D.K.’s going to win, but Buffy’s able to snap his neck. Xander asks her to confirm that D.K.’s dead, since he didn’t get to see it happen.

Once Buffy’s recovered and home from the hospital, Joyce finds herself waiting on her, Xander, and Willow. She gives Buffy a letter Ryan sent her. It’s a drawing of Buffy standing heroically over D.K.’s broken, bleeding body. “How…nice,” Joyce says.

Thoughts: The security guard is played by the late Willie Garson.

Xander’s right, it’s weird to see Buffy afraid of something that’s not supernatural. She faces down vampires without blinking, but just the thought of spending the night in a hospital has her panicking.

Willow’s clothes usually verge on horrendous, but I would wear the purple sweater she has on at the beginning of the episode. I would also wear Buffy’s shiny pajama pants.

March 5, 2022

Buffy 2.17, Passion: Howl

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

If only this were a crystal ball and could tell Jenny her future

Summary: Angelus stalks Buffy at the Bronze, voicing over that passion lurks in everyone, and eventually “it will stir, open its jaws, and howl.” He hangs outside all night while Buffy has fun with the Scoobies, unaware that he’s there. He even follows her home and watches her while she sleeps. He comes into her room and touches her face. He voices over that “passion rules us all, and we obey. What other choice do we have?” In the morning, Buffy finds a sketch of herself on her pillow.

In the library, she tells Giles, Xander, and Cordelia that Angelus came into her room. Cordelia thought vampires always had to be invited in, but Giles clarifies that once you invite them in, they can come and go whenever they want. Xander notes that that’s a good reason for the girls not to invite strange men into their bedrooms. Cordelia worries because she let Angelus in her car once. (I’m not sure that counts.) Buffy asks if there’s a way to reverse the invitation or put up a barrier. Giles offers to check.

Jonathan and another student come in to get some books, and Xander tries to shoo them away, because he’s forgotten where he is. The Scoobies move their conversation to the hallway to continue talking about Angelus. Cordelia asks why he bothers to watch Buffy while she sleeps – why not just kill her? “I’m trying to help,” she insists.

Giles says this is a battle strategy to throw Buffy off her game and goad her into a fight. “The nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah approach to battle,” Xander clarifies. “Yes. Once more you’ve managed to boil a complex thought down to its simplest possible form,” Giles replies. Buffy remembers that Angelus killed Drusilla’s family when he was first obsessed with her. She may need to tell Joyce what’s going on.

Xander protests, since what fun is having a secret if everyone knows it? Buffy is willing to reveal hers if it means her mom is safe. Giles promises that they’ll find a spell to keep Angelus out of the Summerses’ home. Until then, Cordelia offers her chauffeur services. Thanks, Cordy! Giles tells Buffy to keep a level head: “As the Slayer, you don’t have the luxury of being a slave to your passions.” She can’t let Angelus get to her, no matter how far he goes. Buffy sums up that he wants her to ignore Angelus. Xander complains that the “Watcher’s pet” doesn’t get snark about simplifying something.

So where’s Willow during all this? In a class with Jenny, who asks her to cover the next day’s session for her because she might be a little late. Willow worries that the students will revolt or there will be an emergency. Then she wonders if she gets to give detention or punishments. Buffy and Giles come by, and Buffy ignores Jenny while leaving with Willow. Willow apologizes for talking to Buffy’s enemy, but she’d never disrespect a teacher.

Giles stays behind and lets Jenny know that Angelus is making things difficult for Buffy. She gives him a book that might help him find a spell to keep him out of the house. She’s been looking into Angelus on her own. Jenny asks how Giles has been, which he thinks is a ridiculous question. She starts to reply that she knows he feels betrayed. “Yes, well, that’s one of the unpleasant side effects of betrayal,” he says.

Jenny reminds him that she was raised by the people Angelus hurt the most. She just came to town to fulfill her duty; that’s the only reason she lied to Giles. She didn’t know what would happen, or that she would fall in love with him. Jenny regrets blurting that out, but she also doesn’t take it back. She just wants to make things up to Giles. He tells her he’s not the one she needs to make amends with.

At home that night, Buffy tells Joyce that she and Angel (whom Joyce just thinks was a college guy who was tutoring Buffy) dated for a while but ended things. Joyce guesses that he changed and isn’t the guy Buffy fell for anymore. Buffy says that he’s been stalking her, so if he shows up at the house, Joyce shouldn’t invite him in. She doesn’t mention that if Joyce sends him away, he won’t listen.

Later, Buffy talks to Willow on the phone about not letting Angelus get to her. Buffy’s eager for Giles to find a spell to keep Angelus out of her house. Willow feeds her fish, then finds an envelope on her bed. Inside are her fish, dead and strung together. She winds up camping out in Buffy’s room, armed with a stake and some garlic. She’s glad she didn’t have a puppy for Angelus to kill. Buffy admits that her first instinct is still to turn to Angel. She can’t believe how different he is now. Willow notes that one thing hasn’t changed: He still only thinks about Buffy.

Over at the factory, Drusilla brings Spike a puppy in an attempt to cheer him up. He hasn’t been eating, so she thought he might like a dog. Angelus joins them and mocks Spike a bunch for still using a wheelchair. He also wants to sleep with Drusilla, and he keeps bringing it up because he knows it makes Spike mad. Drusilla’s amused, but then she starts getting distressed: “An old enemy is seeking help – help to destroy our happy home.”

Jenny goes to a magic shop the next morning and asks for an Orb of Thesulah. The shopkeeper has heard about her via her uncle, who used to be one of his customers. He has an orb on hand but has never sold one to someone who wants to use it for its intended purpose. Usually people buy them as “New Age” paperweights. (New Agers make up the bulk of his clientele, and their sales helped send one of his kids to college.)

The shopkeeper warns that the text for the restoration spell that uses the orb are gone, which Jenny knows. Without the text, the orb is useless. But Jenny’s working on a translation program to get the spell. The shopkeeper asks what she plans to conjure up if she can translate the text. Jenny says she’s working on a present for a friend: “His soul.”

At school, Willow’s disappointed that Jenny’s on time, which means her five hours of lesson planning were for nothing. Buffy approaches Jenny and says she knows Jenny feels bad about what happened with Angelus. It looks like Buffy’s going to say something comforting or even forgive Jenny, but instead she tells Jenny to keep feeling bad. Then she confides that Giles misses Jenny, and Buffy doesn’t want him to be lonely. Jenny starts to say that she wants to make things up to her, but Buffy cuts her off.

She finds Giles, who found a spell to revoke Angelus’ invitation. Cordelia’s happy, since she had to trade cars with her grandmother to protect herself from a guy who has zero interest in her. That night, Buffy and Cordelia help Willow de-vampify her room, which includes hanging up a cross Willow hopes her Jewish father never sees. He’s so devoted to his religion that Willow has to go to Xander’s every year to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas (though it’s worth it because he does Snoopy’s dance).

Cordelia, observant as ever, notices that there are no fish in Willow’s aquarium. She also notices another envelope on Willow’s bed. It’s actually for Buffy – it’s a sketch of Joyce sleeping. Angelus is currently at Buffy’s house, ready to greet Joyce when she gets home. He wants her to convince Buffy to get back together with him. Joyce tells him to leave Buffy alone, but he speaks of her desperately, saying they’ll die without each other.

Joyce interprets that as a threat and says she’s calling the police. She rushes to get in the house but fumbles with her keys. Angelus tells her that he hasn’t been able to sleep since the night he and Buffy had sex. He needs her. Joyce finally gets the front door open, but when Angelus tries to follow her in, he finds out he can no longer enter. Buffy and Willow are already there and are finishing up the spell to revoke his invitation. They tell him they’ve “changed the locks.”

Jenny’s working late in the computer lab, and Giles comes in for a chat. She tells him what Buffy said about him missing her. Jenny asks to see Giles a little later, when she might have some news about what she’s working on. He invites her to come to his place when she’s done. Meanwhile, Drusilla goes to the magic shop (still toting the puppy around) and asks what the owner talked to Jenny about.

Jenny’s translation program works, and she saves the translation to a computer disk and prints out a copy. She suddenly realizes that Angelus is in her classroom. The sign in front of the school says, “Enter all ye who seek knowledge,” which counts as an invitation. (I don’t think vampires need an invitation into any building that isn’t a residence, but whatever.) Jenny tells him she has good news, but Angelus already knows what she’s been up to. He also knows why she has an Orb of Thesulah, a place to store a soul until it’s ready to be put into a body. He throws it at her and it smashes against the wall.

As Jenny inches toward the door, which is, unfortunately, locked, Angelus destroys her computer and burns the printout of the spell in the resulting fire. He doesn’t want his soul back. Jenny tries to make a break for it, but Angelus stops her. She makes it to a door and runs, which just makes Angelus happy, because he loves a good chase. Jenny runs through the school, but eventually he catches up to her. He snaps her neck and drops her body to the ground.

Giles goes to the Summerses’ to get the book with the deinvitation spell. Willow tells him about Angelus’ visit and what he told Joyce (though Willow isn’t sure Giles knew that Buffy and Angelus had sex, because librarians might not know about that stuff). Giles offers to help smooth things over between Buffy and Joyce, but when Willow asks what he would say, he can’t think of anything.

In Buffy’s room, she tells Joyce that she and Willow just chanted Latin to Angelus because he’s superstitious. Joyce is much more interested in the part of the evening where Angelus revealed that he and Buffy had sex. Yes, he was her first, and yes, he’s too old for her. Oh, and he’s pretty unstable. Joyce wishes Buffy had shown more judgment. Buffy says he wasn’t like this before.

Joyce asks if she loved him, and if they were careful. Buffy tries to end the conversation, but Joyce is upset that her daughter had sex with a guy she didn’t even mention she was dating. Buffy admits that she made a mistake. Joyce doesn’t like that Buffy keeps her out of her life sometimes, but she will never stop caring about her daughter. Most teenagers might roll their eyes at that, but Buffy appreciates it. Joyce notes that she made it through her first sex talk.

Giles goes home and finds a red rose waiting for him. Inside, opera is playing and there’s a bottle of champagne on ice. He thinks Jenny has snuck in to make things romantic. With the champagne is a note that just says, “Upstairs.” Giles goes up, passing little candles and roses on the staircase. They lead him to his bedroom, where Jenny is lying on the bed, dead.

Later, the coroner’s office takes the body away and the police ask Giles to come to the station to answer some questions. He asks to make a phone call first. Angelus voices over that passion can fuel our finest moments, both happy and horrible. He’s lurking outside the Summerses’ house and watches as Buffy answers Giles’ phone call. She sinks to the ground as Willow breaks down over the news of Jenny’s murder.

Xander and Cordelia come over and tell Buffy and Willow they got to the police station too late to catch Giles. Buffy asks Cordelia to drive them to Giles’ place. Willow thinks they should leave him alone, but Buffy’s worried that he’ll do something reckless. Indeed, Giles is gathering weapons. There’s no doubt in his mind who killed Jenny – Angelus left him a sketch of her body.

The Scoobies go to Giles’ place and see the staging Angelus set up. Willow notices that Giles’ weapons are all gone. Buffy guesses he’s on his way to the factory to kill Angelus. Xander’s on board with that idea, but Buffy knows Giles is going to get himself killed. At the factory, Spike chastises Angelus for killing Jenny instead of Buffy. He kind of misses Angel when he was “Buffy-whipped.” He’s just going to tick her off. Angelus says he has everything under control.

Just then, a Molotov cocktail flies through the window and sets the factory on fire. Giles comes in, lights a stick on fire, and starts beating Angelus with it. Drusilla wants to join the fight but Spike says Angelus has to tag her in first. Angelus grabs Giles by the throat and calls off the fight, but Buffy’s there now, ready to take over for Giles. Spike and Drusilla wisely leave while the Slayer and the vampire battle it out.

It goes on for a while, including a fight on a catwalk, but it ends when Angelus points out to Buffy that Giles will burn in the fire if she doesn’t get him out. That gives Angelus the chance to escape. Giles is upset that Buffy came to stop him from killing Angelus. She punches him and blasts him for going on a suicide mission. They cry and hug each other. She tells him he can’t leave her – she can’t get through this alone.

As Giles goes home, Angelus voices over that without passion, our lives would be hollow: “We’d be truly dead.” Sometime later, Giles and Buffy visit Jenny’s grave together. He says he’s buried a lot of people as a Watcher, but Jenny was the first he loved. Buffy apologizes for not being able to kill Angelus when she had the chance. She wasn’t ready then, but she is now.

Willow takes over Jenny’s class until a new teacher arrives. Buffy continues that she can’t hold on to the past – Angel is gone and there’s no way to bring him back. As Willow starts to sit at Jenny’s desk, she knocks over the computer disk holding the spell that will give Angel back his soul. It falls to the floor between the desk and a cabinet, unseen.

Thoughts: The preview for this episode hinted that someone would die, and I was so worried it would be Oz that it was almost anticlimactic that it was Jenny. Like, I was fine with losing Jenny if it meant Oz was okay.

The summer after this season aired, the Claire’s at my local mall sold neon-colored computer disks from a box labeled “as seen on Buffy.”

I love how casual Spike is when Giles attacks Angelus. I think part of it is that he wants Giles to kill Angelus and part is the amusement of a librarian fighting a vampire.

Who else needs a hug?

February 26, 2022

Buffy 2.16, Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered: Got the Love

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

I bet Xander has had this exact dream

Summary: Xander is out on patrol with Buffy, asking her opinion on a heart-shaped necklace he bought for Cordelia. She thinks the necklace is fine but the recipient is not. Xander could find someone better. He says the only other person he’s interested in is unavailable. He and Cordelia are getting along better and even enjoying each other’s company a little. Buffy is “almost really” glad to hear that. She tells him not to stress over the present.

Xander wishes dating were more like slaying – just a stake to the heart and that’s it. A vampire they’ve been waiting on rises from his grave and Buffy fights him, because slaying isn’t always as simple as killing and being done with it. It’s also a little more dangerous than dating, as Buffy notes. “Well, you’re obviously not dating Cordelia,” Xander quips.

The next day, Cordelia arrives at school and approaches her friends, who ignore her. They’ve also been avoiding her calls about what they’re all wearing for the Valentine’s Day dance that night. Cordelia’s going to wear red and black, so no one else can. One of her friends asks if Xander likes red and black. “A girl wants to look good for her geek,” Harmony says. She taunts that soon Cordelia and Xander will wear matching outfits.

A teacher asks her students to leave their papers on her desk at the end of class; anyone who doesn’t turn one in will get an F. Xander’s ready, for once, though he doesn’t expect more than a D-. Amy asks Buffy and Willow if they’re going to the dance at the Bronze. Willow happily says her boyfriend’s in the band. Buffy says Valentine’s Day is a gimmick to sell chocolate, which Amy interprets as her saying she had a bad breakup.

Buffy and Willow give the teacher their papers, but Amy just stares at the teacher for a few moments and hands her nothing. The teacher thanks her anyway. Xander’s the only one who sees, and he tells Buffy and Willow that he thinks Amy used witchcraft on their teacher. Buffy says she’s the last person who should be doing magic, considering what her mother did with it.

Giles finds Buffy in the hallway and asks to have a word. She generously says he can have a sentence. Jenny’s approaching, and she and Giles exchange a look, but he doesn’t want to talk to her (though at least he’s polite about it). Buffy won’t even acknowledge her. In the library, Giles tries to cover his sadness. He’s been reading up on Angelus’ past evil deeds and warns Buffy that he likes to cause a ruckus around Valentine’s Day with “brutal displays.” Giles thinks Buffy should stop patrolling for a few nights; he’ll take her place.

At the factory, Spike gives Drusilla a necklace for Valentine’s Day. Angelus one-ups him by giving her a heart. No, not something shaped like a heart – an actual human heart. Romantic! He puts Spike’s necklace on her, as if he doesn’t want to inconvenience Spike, who’s still using a wheelchair. Spike tells him to keep his focus on Buffy, whose present Angelus hasn’t figured out yet. Spike suggests that he just tear her lungs out. Angelus says that “lacks poetry,” but Spike says it doesn’t have to: “What rhymes with ‘lungs’?” Drusilla’s sure that Angelus will figure out the perfect thing.

At the Bronze, Willow enjoys Oz’s performance with Dingoes Ate My Baby (“I think I’m a groupie!”) while Xander waits nervously for Cordelia. When she arrives, her friends ignore her again. Buffy’s at home with Joyce, pointedly not celebrating Valentine’s Day. She hears a knock at the door, but when she goes to check it out, no one’s there. When Buffy returns to the living room, Joyce is gone. She went to the back door, where someone left Buffy a present. It’s a bouquet of roses with a note that just says, “Soon.”

Back at the Bronze, Xander finds Cordelia sitting alone. He tells her he’s been thinking about them a lot lately, and he thinks they could have something more than “tawdry teen lust.” He gives her the necklace, which she loves, but she tells him she wants to break up. She doesn’t think they fit together. Xander blasts her for dumping him on Valentine’s Day, and though she feels bad about that, she doesn’t do anything to make him feel better.

At school the next day, everyone knows what happened, which doesn’t help. Xander tries to talk to Buffy, but she’s rushing to see Giles about her Valentine’s gift. Harmony mocks Xander, which is just adding insult to injury. He finds Amy and accuses her of being a witch. She denies it, but he says he saw her using magic on their teacher. He’s going to blackmail her into getting him some respect. He’s going to use the Hellmouth to his advantage for once.

The two head into a classroom so they can discuss the love spell Xander wants Amy to do. Those are hard to do, since eternity is a pretty long time to make someone have feelings for someone else. Xander doesn’t want it to last quite that long – he won’t survive all of Cordelia’s inane conversations for eternity. He just wants her to want him so he can break up with her and put her through the pain she’s putting him through. Amy’s not sure about that, since love spells require pure intent. Xander says his intent is pure, even though it’s revenge. He threatens blackmail again, so Amy tells him to get a personal object from Cordelia.

Buffy shows Giles Angelus’ note and asks what “soon” means. She wants Giles to stop holding back and protecting her from what Angelus might do. She can’t prepare if she doesn’t know what she’s preparing for. Xander tracks down Cordelia and demands that she give back the necklace. She doesn’t want to give it up, but she agrees to get it from her locker. She’s actually wearing it under her shirt, and she uses her locker door to shield him from seeing her take it off. She pretends she’s happy to give it back so she doesn’t have to act like she likes it.

That night, Amy and Xander do the love spell in a classroom. Amy asks Diana (whom she says is the goddess of love and the hunt, but really just the hunt; you’re not good at this, Amy) to not let Xander’s true love rest until “she submits to his will only.” Ew. The next day, Xander approaches Cordelia full of confidence…but she treats him like she normally does. “Is this love? Because maybe on you, it doesn’t look that different,” he comments. He quickly realizes that the spell didn’t work on her.

Giles and Buffy are back in the library, going over horrible things Angelus has done on past Valentine’s Days. For example, one year he did something awful to a puppy. Buffy and I both object to hearing more details. As Giles goes to get more books, Xander arrives and laments how bad his life is right now. Buffy says it’s Cordelia’s loss, then suggests that the two of them do something together that night. She starts getting flirtatious, which confuses Xander. Buffy says she’s seen him every day for a while but is just now really seeing him.

They’re about to kiss when Amy interrupts and pulls Xander into the hallway. She tells him the spell didn’t work, but Xander isn’t so upset about that anymore. Amy offers to try again, or they can just hang out. Xander’s watching Buffy through the window, and he’s distracted by her seductive body language. He suddenly realizes that Amy’s hitting on him. She says the same thing Buffy did about seeing him every day but not really seeing him. Just then, another girl approaches and invites Xander to study with her that night. Xander gets freaked out and flees.

He goes home, where Willow surprises him in his bed (and one of his shirts). Xander has realized that the spell backfired and made basically every girl except Cordelia fall in love with him. Willow wants them to be together – in fact, she wants him to be her first. “Baseman!” Xander replies. “Please tell me we’re talking baseball.” She tells him they both know it’s right, then tries to kiss him.

Xander protests, though he doesn’t want Willow to think he’s not attracted to her. Willow assures him that Oz won’t be an issue. He’s sweet, but he’s not Xander. Xander says he is, and Willow should go to him, because he’s Xander. Willow kisses him, and Xander warns that he doesn’t want to use force to get her to back off, but he will if he needs to. She’s okay with that. Xander announces that it’s time for him to “act like a man…and hide.”

Back at school, Harmony confronts Cordelia for hurting Xander. Only someone really sick would dump him, even if her friends didn’t like him. Cordelia can’t understand what her friends want her to do. Xander returns to school and does a slow-motion walk down a hallway with the Average White Band’s “Got the Love” playing. Girls line the hallway, watching him like he’s a celebrity. At least one teacher shares their feelings. All the guys around glare at him.

Xander goes to the library, where Giles is completely clueless about what’s going on. Xander admits that he had Amy do a love spell that somehow made every woman in town fall for him. Jenny enters just then to talk to Giles, but she strokes Xander’s arm the whole time, even while she’s telling Giles she’s not ready to give up on making something with him work.

Giles pulls Jenny off her student and blasts Xander for being foolish enough to do a love spell. Jenny keeps gazing at Xander as Giles asks if Amy has tried to reverse the spell. Xander says that she only wants to talk about honeymoon plans when they’re near each other. Giles warns that people under the influence of a love spell can be dangerous and lose the ability to reason. Jenny is definitely demonstrating that, since she looks like she’s about to tear her clothes off. Giles orders Xander to stay in the library while he finds Amy and fixes things. He drags a protesting Jenny out with him.

Xander tries to barricade the doors to the library, but that won’t work when he only puts a card catalog in front of one of them, leaving the other free to open. Buffy comes in wearing a raincoat – a very short raincoat – which she starts to open. Xander tries to slam on the brakes. Even though this is what he’s wanted for a long time, he doesn’t want it like this. Buffy only wants him because of a spell, and she doesn’t know what this would mean to him if it were real.

Buffy turns on him, asking if this is a game. He made her feel this way, and now he’s rejecting her. She’s not a toy. Amy comes in and tells Buffy to get away from her guy. Buffy orders Xander to tell Amy to back off. She punches Amy and asks Xander if he’s two-timing her. Amy can’t beat the Slayer in a physical fight, but she does have an advantage Buffy doesn’t. She calls on Hecate (the goddess of magic) and does a spell that makes Buffy disappear.

Giles and Jenny return in time to see that that’s not exactly accurate. Buffy’s still there – she’s just a rat now. She runs off as Amy tries to convince Xander to come someplace private with her. Xander won’t go anywhere until Amy turns Buffy human again. Giles tries to chase the Buffy rat while Amy and Jenny start fighting over Xander. Amy calls on Hecate again, but Xander stops her, snapping, “Quit with the Hecate!”

Cordelia’s friends surround her, and Harmony blasts her for using Xander and never really caring about him. Cordelia tries to brush her off, but her friends close in on her. Back in the library, Giles and Xander keep looking for the Buffy rat, but soon Xander has a new problem: Oz’s fist. Buffy slips out of the library as Oz tells Xander that Willow spent the whole previous night crying on the phone to him about Xander. Xander promises that nothing happened between them.

Oz joins the search for Buffy, though Giles thinks Xander should go home and stay out of trouble instead of helping. In the hallway, Xander sees Cordelia’s friends attacking her and rushes to save her. The girls swarm him like groupies, but he manages to get Cordelia away from them. Giles thinks Cordelia’s necklace wound up protecting her from the spell instead of binding it to her, and the effects should be easy to reverse. Amy probably won’t be the one to undo the spell, though, since all she can think about is Xander.

She and Jenny bicker again over which of them has something real with Xander. Giles snaps at Amy that what she has with him isn’t love, it’s obsession. Xander’s in danger, and if Amy really cares about him, she’ll help Giles save him. She gives in, but unfortunately, Jenny has snuck out of the library during the conversation.

Xander gets Cordelia out of the school only to come across another horde of girls, led by an axe-wielding Willow. She’s willing to kill Xander if it means keeping him from being with Cordelia. A riot breaks out, and Xander and Cordelia are able to slip away again. Meanwhile, Oz tracks Buffy to the school basement, where she encounters a cat.

Xander and Cordelia make it to Buffy’s house, which they figure is a good place to hide. They didn’t think it through, though, because the love spell somehow managed to get Joyce, too. Cordelia catches her touching Xander in a way that’s totally inappropriate for a grown woman, and she locks Joyce and her “mom-aged mitts” out of the house.

Cordelia asks Xander why everyone has gone insane. Xander’s offended that she thinks no one else could possibly have feelings for him. She says the only way he could attract this much attention is through witchcraft. Joyce is so desperate to get back in that she breaks a window in the back door, so Xander and Cordelia run upstairs to Buffy’s room. That’s when Angelus arrives and pulls Xander out a window.

As the Buffy rat comes across a mousetrap, Angelus pounds on Xander and asks where Buffy is. He decides to use Xander for a special Valentine’s Day present for Buffy. Drusilla swoops in and saves him, since the love spell worked on her, too. So on the plus side, Xander’s safe now, but on the minus side, an insane vampire is now in love with him, and she wants to spend eternity with him.

Just as Drusilla is about to bite Xander, Willow and her angry mob arrive. Cordelia stops her from hurting Xander with the axe and gets him back inside the house. Drusilla breaks down the backdoor, but since she’s never been invited in, she can’t join the mob as they rush in. Xander and Cordelia end up in the same place their relationship began, the Summerses’ basement.

As Oz continues looking for Buffy, and Giles and Amy start the spell to reverse all this madness, Xander nails boards across the basement door to keep out the mob. Cordelia mocks him for using magic. He says it’s not his fault that it didn’t work on her. She realizes the spell was to win her back, not get him attention from other girls. They back away from the door, which is in danger of being broken down, but the mob is trying to get in through a window, too.

Before undoing the love spell, Amy changes Buffy back into a human. Willow gets through the basement door and the mob streams into the basement. Giles does the reversal spell just in time, and everyone in the mob recovers at once, confused about what’s going on. Buffy and Oz try to keep things casual when they realize she’s naked. Cordelia comes up with a cover story for the mob, telling them they were all participating in a scavenger hunt.

Buffy questions that at school the next day, but Xander says that Joyce bought it. Or at least she’s pretending to buy it, instead of accepting the fact that she hit on one of her daughter’s friends. Xander laments that he’s unpopular again, though at least it’s better than having a bunch of people want to murder him. Buffy assures him that Willow, who won’t talk to him yet, will get over this. It’s just harder for her than anyone else because she already had feelings for him. Buffy remembers everything that happened, including Xander’s refusal to take advantage of her (and her sudden desire for cheese).

Xander runs into Cordelia while she’s with her friends, and when Harmony insults him, Cordelia finally stands up to her. She calls Harmony a sheep for trying to be cool, while Cordelia’s cool because she does what she wants without worrying about other people’s approval. That means she’ll date whoever she wants to date, “no matter how lame he is.” Cordelia goes off with Xander, panicking that she’s torpedoed her social life, but he promises that they can fight around her friends if it’ll help.

Thoughts: Sarah Michelle Gellar was hosting Saturday Night Live the week this episode was being filmed, so they had Buffy turn into a rat so they could write her out.

Buffy acting seductive with Xander is hilarious. SMG really leans into it. And Robia LaMorte plays Jenny’s attraction to Xander perfectly.

Darn you, past me, for using “I Want You to Want Me” for another recap title.

February 19, 2022

Buffy 2.15, Phases: People for the Ethical Treatment of Werewolves

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 12:59 pm by Jenn

Find yourself a guy who tucks in your shirt tag

Summary: Oz is studying a cheerleading trophy at school, and when Willow joins him, he says he feels like its eyes follow him wherever he goes. (He likes it.) The two of them saw a movie together the night before, and they awkwardly agree that they enjoyed their time together. She runs off to join Buffy when she appears. Aww, poor, nerdy Willow.

Larry approaches Oz and says he’d love to get some action with Buffy and Willow, if Oz knows what he means. “That’s great, Larry, you’ve really mastered the single entendre,” Oz replies. Larry knocks the books out of a girl’s arms and ogles her when she bends down to pick them up. He asks if Oz is dating a junior because he likes her “innocent schoolgirl thing.” Oz quips that Willow is “actually an evil mastermind. It’s fun.” Larry says they must be having sex, because what’s the point, otherwise? What are they going to do, talk? He pushes Oz to spill how far they’ve gotten.

Elsewhere on campus, Willow tells Buffy that they’ve gotten nowhere. Oz said he would wait until she’s ready to go to the next level of dating (which in their case is just kissing), but Willow’s ready now. Buffy likes that Oz isn’t “just being an animal.” Willow says she’s dropped huge hints, but Oz hasn’t gotten them yet. Buffy knows he’ll come around soon, since Willow has charms no guy can resist. Well, except the many guys who have already resisted them. Buffy declares that “they all get an F in Willow.”

Willow hopes Oz hurries to get with the program. She doesn’t want to be the only girl in school without a boyfriend. Then she realizes she’s talking to a girl who just broke up with her boyfriend because he went evil and wants to kill her and her friends. (Not that she says that. That’s me talking.) Buffy says she’s handling things okay, but she’d like a fun night with Willow and Xander to take her mind off of Angelus. Willow says she’ll call Xander: “What’s his number? Oh, yeah: 1-800-I’m-dating-a-skanky-ho.” Buffy gives her a “meow” for that, which Willow appreciates. She wonders what Xander sees in Cordelia.

That night, Xander and Cordelia make out in her dad’s car, but he’s distracted by thoughts of what Willow sees in Oz. Yeah, he’s a senior and he’s attractive (not that Xander thinks he is), but he’s in a band, and those guys attract bad elements. Cordelia asks if Xander actually wants to be there with her, since all he talks about nowadays is Willow and Buffy. They should be appreciating the scenery and their privacy. Well, not complete privacy, since some big, hairy creature is watching them.

Xander interrupts the makeout session again when he thinks he hears something. “Is Willow sending out some sort of distress signal that only you can hear?” Cordelia asks. They start to kiss again, but Xander hears another noise. Cordelia decides they should call it a night, but before they can head out, the creature growls and reaches through the sunroof, trying to grab them. Cordelia backs up the car, and when she slams on the brakes, the creature falls off. Xander says he told her he heard something.

The next day, the Scoobies examine the car as Xander tells them about the creature, which he thinks was a wolf. Cordelia cares less about the possible new monster than she does about the car. I guess that’s fair. I mean, how is she supposed to explain this to her father? Giles reports that animals have recently been found mutilated, which upsets Willow, especially if any of them were bunnies. Oz assures her that despite their appearances, bunnies can take care of themselves.

Giles says no people have been injured, which is new for Sunnydale. He guesses the wolf is a werewolf and will be back at next month’s full moon. Willow points out that the full moon is that night. Looks like the legend about werewolves only coming out during a full moon is wrong. Giles is excited to do more research.

The Scoobies all have gym class together, and their teacher has wisely decided to teach them self-defense today. Oz tucks the tag of Willow’s shirt inside her collar, which makes Xander complain about him touching her in public. “I think you splashed on just a little too much Obsession for Dorks,” Cordelia tells him. The class splits into groups, and Xander notices a bandage on Larry’s arm. He says he was bitten by a dog. Oz sympathizes – his cousin Jordy demonstrated how much he hate being tickled by biting Oz.

Larry’s happy to see that a girl named Theresa is in his group. Buffy’s also with them, and Willow reminds her to hide the fighting skills she’s learned as a Slayer. The class starts with moves to use if someone attacks from behind. Larry “attacks” Buffy, who pretends she’s not strong enough to flip him over her shoulder. When he grabs her butt, she slams him onto his back.

After school, Giles talks to the Scoobies about the moon. There’s no scientific proof that the moon affects people’s psyches, but it seems the moon’s phases do have some psychological influence. The full moon brings out people’s darkest qualities. Werewolves are extreme representations of people’s animalistic traits. They’re active for three nights, during the full moon and on the nights immediately before and after it. They act on pure instinct, aggressive and predatory without a conscience.

Buffy says that sounds like every guy. Xander objects, and Giles tells Buffy not to jump to conclusions. “I didn’t jump. I took a tiny step and there conclusions where,” she replies. Giles clarifies that the werewolf could be a man or a woman, anyone who was bitten by a werewolf. They can’t bring it down with silver bullets. It’s still a human, and that human might not even know they’re a werewolf. On tonight’s patrol, there will be no slaying.

Giles and Buffy go out together that night, but all they find is a classmate cheating on his girlfriend. They’re at a popular parking/makeout spot for Sunnydale High students, and Giles considers knocking on car windows to ask if anyone’s seen anything. Buffy’s like, “Trust me, they’re not looking at their surroundings.”

They split up to keep looking for the werewolf, and Buffy ends up caught in a big net. A guy with a gun is happy to have captured her. She calls for Giles, who comes running. The guy, Cain, lets Buffy out of the net and makes a gross comment implying that he thinks Giles and Buffy are out there because they’re dating. They tell him they’re actually hunting werewolves. Cain laughs at them since he doesn’t think they’re qualified. Giles “looks like he’s auditioning to be a librarian,” and Buffy is a girl.

Giles assures Cain that Buffy is very capable of taking on a werewolf. Cain calls her “sweetheart” and asks how many she’s killed. He’s wearing a necklace made of teeth he’s pulled from the mouth of every werewolf he’s killed. The next one will be his 12th. Giles and Buffy are unhappy that Cain seems to hunt werewolves for sport. He says he’s actually in it for the money – their pelts go for a high price. He doesn’t care that they’re humans for most of the month.

He asks where else teens in Sunnydale hang out, since that’s where the werewolf will go. They like places with lots of sexual heat. Buffy won’t give him any information, and Cain thinks it’s because she doesn’t know anything. After he leaves, Buffy tells Giles that she has an idea, but they’ll need to beat “mein furrier” there.

Theresa’s walking home alone when she hears growling nearby. She starts running and bumps into Angelus. Oh, dear. He recognizes her as one of Buffy’s classmates, and since he knows someone she knows, Theresa feels comfortable letting him walk her home. Meanwhile, Cordelia’s at the Bronze, complaining about how Xander only cares about Buffy and Willow. It turns out she’s complaining to Willow. Willow has her own complaints about how Xander should appreciate that he’s with Cordelia. Cordelia agrees with Willow that Oz needs to move things along with her.

Suddenly the werewolf drops in (literally) and everyone runs out of the club screaming. Giles and Buffy are just arriving, and Willow tells Buffy that the werewolf is inside. Buffy goes in alone and tries to capture the wolf with a chain. The wolf gets away and runs off into the night. Sometime later, Cain arrives and complains that Buffy “let” the wolf get away. He’s also unhappy that she was just going to lock it up. He says this is what happens when a woman tries to do a man’s job.

Giles points out that Buffy risked her life trying to capture the werewolf Cain hasn’t even seen yet. “Daddy’s doing a great job carrying her bag of milk bones,” Cain snots. He tells Buffy that if the werewolf hurts anyone, it’ll be her fault. He hopes she can live with that. “I live with that every day,” she replies. Cain leaves, complaining that first he had to stop hunting elephants for their ivory; now he’s dealing with “People for the Ethical Treatment of Werewolves.” Giles calls him a pillock, which is a great word.

The werewolf follows a trail of blood to Theresa’s body. Angelus is still there with his fresh kill, and the two supernatural beings growl at each other. Angelus is the first to back off. Buffy and Giles go back on patrol, but it’s so quiet that Giles falls asleep in the car. They hear a news report on the radio that Theresa has been found dead, probably the victim of the animal that’s already attacked people.

Giles says they should go home, since the werewolf will become human again when the sun comes up. The werewolf gets some sleep in the woods, then turns back into its human form…Oz. His response to finding himself naked in the woods: “Huh.”

He goes home and calls his aunt to ask straight out if Jordy is a werewolf. We don’t hear the other end of the conversation, but the answer must be yes, because Oz asks how long that’s been going on. No, he doesn’t have a reason to ask. He goes to school, trying to wrap his head around what he’s just discovered about himself.

In the library, Buffy tells Willow, Xander, and Giles that she should have killed the werewolf when she had the chance. Oz arrives in time to learn that there was another attack. He’s happy that no one was bitten or scratched, so no one else will become a werewolf, but he’s sad to hear that Theresa’s dead. He’s also distressed to be reminded that there will be another night of this.

Xander thinks the werewolf is out there laughing about the incompetent Scoobies. Oz notes that there’s no way to tell who it is. Xander thinks Giles can figure it out. Plus, Xander considers himself an expert on human/animal hybrids because of his time as a hyena. He knows what it’s like to be taken over by your urge to kill. Buffy reminds him that he said he didn’t remember anything about that. Xander changes the subject.

He thinks he can get into the werewolf’s head, so he does a little role-playing. He suddenly says the answer is right in front of them. Oz, who’s literally right in front of Xander, gets worried, but Xander thinks the werewolf is Larry. After all, he’s aggressive and hairy, and he was recently bitten by what he says was a dog.

Xander goes off to talk to Larry while Giles tells Willow to look into other possible were-students. Buffy says she’s looking forward to fighting whoever it is. Willow asks if Oz is okay, since he knew Theresa. She invites him to help the Scoobies by doing research with her. Oz, of course, can’t be there that night, at least not without killing Willow, so he says he’s busy, then runs off. Buffy sees how sad Willow is about that and feels sad herself.

Xander finds Larry in the boys’ locker room and asks if there’s anything he’s hiding. He says he knows Larry’s secret about what he’s been doing at night. Larry threatens him with violence, but Xander says that won’t help – people will still find out. Larry offers him hush money, which Xander declines since he just wants to help.

Larry asks if he thinks he has a cure. Xander says he knows what Larry’s going through because he’s been there. He urges Larry to talk about it. Larry says that’s easy for Xander to say. He’s a nobody, but Larry has a reputation. His secret can’t get out. He’ll get kicked off the football team and run out of town. “How are people going to look at me when they find out I’m gay?” he says.

Xander’s confused, but Larry feels surprisingly good. Xander is the first person he’s ever told. Larry thinks Xander brought the truth out of him because it was easy to come out to someone who’s been there. Maybe Larry always wanted to beat up Xander because he recognized something in Xander that he couldn’t admit about himself. Xander tries to deny that he’s gay, and Larry promises not to out him.

Back in the library, Willow tells Buffy that the only person who fits the profile for an aggressive, violent, authority-dodging Sunnydale student is Buffy herself. Willow teases that she should count to 10 when she’s angry. Buffy starts counting right then. She brings up Oz, sorry that he’s sending Willow such mixed signals. Buffy can relate, since she’s familiar with guys not telling girls what they want. She suggests that Willow do something daring and make the first move.

As they leave the library, Willow complains that it used to be much easier to tell if a boy liked you: He would punch you on the arm and then run back to his friends. Xander joins them and punches Buffy on the arm. Willow heads off to help Cordelia with her homework, and Xander notes that it might not be good that the two of them are spending so much time together. Buffy asks how things went with Larry, and Xander tries not to freak out. He insists that Larry isn’t the werewolf, and there are no more questions to ask.

Buffy’s disappointed that their #1 suspect is no longer a suspect. Then she realizes that there’s something they haven’t considered: Theresa died the same night a werewolf was out and about, but she wasn’t mauled. Maybe she wasn’t killed by the werewolf. A trip to the funeral home where Theresa’s body is ready for her service confirms that she was killed by a vampire. Xander thinks that’s good, but it just means Buffy failed to protect a classmate from two different threats.

Xander gently tells Buffy that she can’t blame herself for every death in Sunnydale. Without her, plenty more people would be dead, including him and Willow. Just then, he sees Theresa sitting up in her casket. Looks like Angelus turned her instead of killing her. Buffy faces off with Theresa, who does more psychological damage than physical damage when she says, “Angel sends his love.” Xander stakes Theresa, then comforts Buffy when she realizes Angelus is going to keep targeting her. He tells her not to let Angelus get to her – he’s not the same guy anymore. They share a meaningful look, and Xander laments how complicated his life has become.

That night, Cain makes some silver bullets in his van. Oz starts chaining himself up at home, but he’s interrupted when Willow shows up. She wants to talk about how he seems to care about her, but then backs off. He tries to get her to leave, but Willow doesn’t want to put off the conversation. Oz tells her the problem is him, not her – he’s going through changes. She says she’s going through a lot, too. Oz says it’s not the same.

Willow sees the chains as Oz starts to transform into a wolf. She runs out screaming, and the Oz-wolf chases her down the street. She fights him off with a garbage can. Cain hears a howl as he drives through Sunnydale and follows it. In the library, Buffy tells Giles that Theresa turned into a vampire, thanks to Angelus. She wants to focus on getting the werewolf. Giles has a tranq gun all ready for that.

Oz chases Willow for a while, then gets interested in something that smells better. She races to the library and tells Buffy and Giles that Oz is the werewolf. They promise not to hurt him, just sedate him. Oz comes across Cain, who’s set up bait in the form of raw meat. Just as Cain is about to shoot him, Buffy attacks Cain. Then Oz joins the fight, so Giles has a hard time getting a good shot.

Willow ends up being the one to knock out her love interest. She’s upset about it, but it was necessary to save Giles and Buffy. Cain taunts that no one in Sunnydale is man enough to kill the monsters that keep showing up. Buffy bends his gun in half and kicks him out of town. Giles assures Willow that Oz will be fine in the morning, and back to himself.

At school the next day, Xander wonders how to act around someone he’s just learned such shocking details about. Buffy says Oz is still human, most of the time, and the same person they’ve always known. Xander was actually thinking about Larry but doesn’t want to tell her that. As some jerk knocks the books out of a girl’s hands, Larry approaches and picks them up for her. He thanks Xander for his help. Again, Xander doesn’t want to go into detail around Buffy.

Buffy comments that their encounter was weird, not because Larry was nice but because he didn’t try to look up her skirt. She thinks the moon really is messing with people. It’s definitely going to affect Oz and Willow’s relationship. Xander doesn’t think they can have one, since he’ll need obedience school and might turn on his “owner.” Buffy thinks Willow will still want to be with him. She tells Xander he doesn’t get a say in this.

Willow meets up with Oz outside, and he tells her that Giles said he’ll be fine but will need to lock himself up around the full moon. Willow apologizes for shooting him, but Oz thinks it’s fair, since he almost ate her. Willow wishes he’d told her he’s a werewolf. He’s still getting used to it and says he didn’t know how to tell her.

Oz suggests that he give Willow some space for a while, but she’s totally okay with dating a werewolf. He has lots of good qualities, and he’ll only be a wolf three days a month. “I mean, three days out of the month, I’m not much fun to be around, either,” she notes. Oz says she’s “quite the human” and agrees to keep dating her. (No biting.) Willow heads off to class, then comes back and kisses him before leaving again. “A werewolf in love,” Oz says to himself happily.

Thoughts: Is there a law that requires all vampire movies, TV shows, and book series to include werewolves?

Oz gets all the best lines. He’s just so quotable.

Theresa, girl, why would you walk home alone at night in freaking Sunnydale? You must be new.

I love the moment when Oz finds out there was another werewolf sighting and gets so worried that someone was bitten or scratched, which means they’ll become a werewolf, too. He’s struggling to grasp what it means that he’s the werewolf, but right then, he doesn’t care about himself, just innocent people – not just people he might attack but people who might wind up like him. It says so much about his character.

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