May 27, 2023

Buffy 5.15, I Was Made to Love You: He’s Just Bot That Into You

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

This picture reminds me of this

Summary: Buffy is still hung up on Spike’s declaration of love, but at least she’s using it to fuel her workouts. She feels like she must have done something to lead him on. Giles advises her to calm down. So does Xander, who’s inside the puffy suit she’s been using as a punching bag. Buffy complains that she scares off the nice guys but can’t get the bad ones to leave her alone. Xander promises that she’s not the problem.

She’d just like to know that there’s a good guy out there who won’t run away. She worries that she’ll scare off every guy with her super-strength and self-involvement. Xander disagrees that she’s like that. Buffy’s willing to change. She could cut back on the slaying and laugh more at guys’ jokes. Xander thinks that if she just acts like herself, someone will fall in love with her. Also, maybe she shouldn’t expect to fall in love on the Hellmouth. Cut to a woman named April arriving in Sunnydale and announcing that she’s there to find true love.

Joyce is doing better every day and is getting ready for a date. Buffy and Dawn are happy for her, though they’d like to know her date’s intentions. Joyce is definitely overthinking things and isn’t sure how romantic things should get on a first date. Buffy notes that she’s not the one to turn to for advice. The only two boyfriends she’s ever had both left town. Dawn reminds her that she’s going to a spring break party and could meet someone there. Buffy replies that maybe Joyce’s date has a son, and they could go on “some unspeakably awkward double dates.”

Anya and Tara discuss computers on a walk somewhere. Anya’s had a little trouble learning how to use them (she had enough trouble adjusting to the thought of Lutherans), and Tara’s not big on the Internet because “everyone’s spelling is really bad.” Anya urges her to try online trading. She’s already tripled her earnings from the magic shop. She’s thinking about buying something expensive, like an antelope. They run into April, who’s looking for a guy named Warren and asking everyone she runs into about him.

That night, Buffy and Xander dance at the spring break party while Willow, Tara, and Anya hang out on the sidelines. Anya’s proud of herself for letting her boyfriend dance with someone else, and she expects a big karmic reward. Buffy spots Ben and tries to look nonchalant while standing in his eyeline. Ooh, someone has a crush! She tries out her new idea of laughing at a guy’s jokes more, but she just sounds unhinged. She invites him to dance and he accepts. He leaves to find a place to put his drink first.

Anya’s gushing over Chex mix (there’s so much for a 1,000-plus-year-old ex-demon to discover in the modern world!) when April arrives at the party. She’s still looking for Warren, who’s already there and clearly doesn’t want her to see him. Anya comments that April “speaks with a strange evenness and selects her words a shade too precisely.” Xander replies that some guys like that. That makes her grin.

Warren rushes his girlfriend, Katrina, out of the party before April can see him. She approaches the Scoobies and says she heard that Warren was there. He’s looking for her because he lost her. Tara finds it strange that she’s been searching for the same guy all day. Xander guesses that with how pretty April is, she’ll have a new love interest soon enough. Willow agrees – not that she wants to be that love interest! She’s just observing!

Spike arrives and approaches Buffy, who just glares at him. “If looks could stake,” he comments. He asks if she’s there looking for her “next ex.” Buffy reminds him that she told him to leave town. Spike tells her that if she wants him to go, she can physically force him to. She spits at him to get away from her, and he decides it’s better to listen than to flirt and risk getting turned into a pile of dust.

As he walks away, Ben returns and asks Buffy if Spike was bothering her: “Should I offer to get inappropriately violent or something?” Spike watches them as they talk and Ben gives Buffy his number. She warns that she has a bad history with guys, and Ben might end up having to leave town. He’s fine with taking things slowly and starting with just getting coffee.

Spike comes across April and seizes on the opportunity to flirt and maybe make Buffy jealous. But when he whispers something inappropriate in April’s ear, she picks him up and tosses him through a window like he weighs nothing. She’s very upset that someone would say anything suggestive when she’s dating Warren. He’s the only one who can touch her.

Buffy stops April as she’s leaving, torn between wanting to discuss what the heck just happened and praising her for throwing Spike through a window. April just wants to know if Buffy’s familiar with Warren. When Buffy tells her to chill for a minute, April tosses her across the room. She apologizes for hurting Buffy and hopes that Buffy’s boyfriend will take good care of her.

The Scoobies gather in a lounge to discuss April. They’ve each come to the separate conclusion that she’s a robot. Xander assumes that Warren is the guy who built her. Since he has a pretty uncommon first name, Willow shouldn’t have much trouble finding him. The Scoobies don’t think this is an emergency situation, though – April didn’t seem to want to hurt Warren.

Buffy needs to get home anyway, since Giles is there with Dawn. Tara thinks they’re having a great time. Wrong! Giles isn’t cut out for hanging out with a 14-year-old. Apparently he’s not big on listening to pop music, eating cookie dough, and talking about boys. Buffy tells him about April and invites him to stay for a chat. Joyce comes home just then, very happy with how her date went. Buffy suggests that Giles stick around while Joyce talks about boys. Nope, he’s gone. Buffy teases that Joyce’s date didn’t seem like Prince Charming, since everything looked pretty tame to her. Joyce horrifies her by saying that she left her bra in his car. Just kidding – it was on the dessert cart!

April is now going door to door in hopes of locating Warren. She doesn’t get discouraged when she faces rejection – she just cheerily moves on to the next house. In the morning, the Scoobies meet up at the Magic Box to discuss the situation. Willow hasn’t found Warren yet, and the others aren’t sure what they can do to help. Giles says he has a bunch of books on robots and they can spend a few hours reading them. No, not really. He just wanted to see Xander squirm at the thought of doing research. Heh.

Willow finally tracks down Warren, who went to Sunnydale High for a semester. Buffy offers to go talk to him, but Giles is hesitant to let her since they don’t know Warren’s motivation for building April. Tara and Willow are like, “We all know it’s for sex, but we don’t want to say that word in front of you.” Xander says it out loud, figuring that every guy ever has thought about having a sexbot. Buffy, Anya, Willow, and Tara all stare at him. “Too many girls,” Xander laments. “I miss Oz. He’d get it. He wouldn’t say anything, but he’d get it.”

Anya wonders why someone would build a robot for sex when they could just find a real person to have it with. Willow suggests that Warren couldn’t find a girlfriend. Buffy thinks she’s making excuses for “a big wedge of sleaze.” Willow acknowledges that people get lonely. Buffy can understand that. Tara thinks it’s sad that Warren couldn’t find anyone to be with. Buffy can’t help but take that personally. She goes to the backroom to call Ben, who shifts from being Glory to answer the phone. He agrees to a date, then realizes that he’s wearing a strapless dress. Ooh, wear that on your date!

Warren is eager to get out of Sunnydale, which Katrina doesn’t understand. Why did they come visit from their college town if he doesn’t want to be there? She guesses that there’s something Warren doesn’t want her to see. Just as they’re leaving the house, Buffy comes to the door. Katrina has questions, but Warren tells her to be quiet and wait in the kitchen. She objects to being spoken to that way and kept in the dark, so she leaves.

Buffy introduces herself to Warren, who knows who she is and why she’s there. He tells her that April followed him there. He wants to explain who she is, though Buffy keeps saying that she already knows. “She’s a robot,” he announces after a big build-up. “Uh-huh,” Buffy replies.

Dawn gets brought into the loop at the Magic Box, and she wonders if April is connected to Ted. Spike comes in, having run across town under a blanket because it’s daytime. The Scoobies don’t want him there, and Willow’s even been working on figuring out how to revoke his invitation from a public place. Anya suggests throwing him out the window like April did.

Spike thinks Dawn’s happy to see him, but she’s definitely not. He argues that he’s the victim of “misrepresentations, misunderstandings, slurs, and allegations.” He tries to convince the Scoobies that he and Buffy worked together to get rid of Drusilla. She must have told the Scoobies some things that made it sound like he likes her, but that’s not true.

Giles shoves Spike into a bookcase and sternly tells him, “We are not your friends. We are not your way to Buffy. There is no way to Buffy.” He kicks Spike out and tells him to get over his crush and “move the hell on.” He’s in Ripper mode, and Spike wisely senses that he needs to leave without saying another word.

April’s still making her way around town, asking everyone if they know Warren. A guy lies that she just missed him and sends her off on a wild goose chase. Buffy criticizes Warren for building a sexbot, but he claims that he made April to love him. She’s supportive and caring, just like a girlfriend. Buffy asks if he’s in love with April. Warren thought he would be, since she’s perfect. But she became predictable and boring. She was exactly what he wanted, but he didn’t want her.

When he met Katrina, he realized that he wanted someone real. Buffy’s unhappy that he ditched April, who wouldn’t go away when he told her to. He admits to abandoning her. He thought her batteries would run out while he was gone. Buffy asks if he even talked to April and gave her a chance to fix what was wrong. Warren didn’t see the point, since her batteries were going to run down. She must be recharging herself somehow. Buffy asks if she’s dangerous. Warren says that she’s only programmed to be in love. “Then she’s dangerous,” Buffy replies.

April comes across Katrina in a park, and Katrina angrily says that Warren is her boyfriend. April accuses her of lying and grabs her, holding her so hard that she can’t breathe. Spike angrily gathers all his Buffy-related stuff as Buffy and Warren go looking for April. Apparently she has to respond when she hears his voice. It actually hurts her if she doesn’t. Buffy’s like, “Just when I think you can’t get creepier, you do.”

They finally find April, who’s holding an unconscious Katrina up by her neck. Buffy tells her to put April down, but April will only listen to Warren. He tells her to go back to his dorm and wait for him again, but Buffy insists that he end things the right way. According to the files she sees when she looks at him, he’s the perfect guy, and she’s programmed to only give him what he wants. He tells her that she turned out to not be what he wanted. They’re over.

“But I can be whatever you want,” April says. She loves him and will do whatever he wants. Warren tells her that he doesn’t love her. He loves Buffy. April turns on Buffy, smashing a seesaw to use as a weapon. It looks like her programming has glitched and now she’s a killer robot. Katrina regains consciousness and, seeing some of April’s exposed circuitry, realizes that she’s a robot. Warren promises that she wasn’t just for sex. Katrina, bless her, is creeped out and runs off.

Buffy and April fight, but just as April gets Buffy in a chokehold, her batteries start to fail. She and Buffy sit on swings and talk as they drain. April insists that she was a good girlfriend and did everything she was supposed to. She doesn’t know why Warren left her. “I’m only supposed to love him,” she says. “If I can’t do that, what am I for? What do I exist for?”

Buffy tells her that the way Warren treated her wasn’t fair. April says it’s getting dark; what if Warren comes back and can’t find her? Buffy promises to stay with her. April thinks this could be a test. Maybe she just has to be patient and wait. Buffy lies that Warren said he was impressed with April. He didn’t mean to hurt her. April’s sure that Warren will take her home and things will be good again. When things are sad, you just have to be patient, because there’s always a silver lining. As she’s quoting platitudes, her batteries give out.

Later, Buffy hangs out with Xander as he fixes the window April threw Spike through. She tells him that they misunderstood April. She devoted herself to making someone happy, and once he was gone, she had no reason to exist anymore. Buffy can relate to obsessing about being with someone. She doesn’t need a guy right now – she just needs herself. She wants to get comfortable being on her own. She calls Ben and leaves him a message canceling their date.

Glory hears the message and is confused. Jinx tells her that Ben made a date with the Slayer. Glory thinks that means he’s working against her. Also, she’s upset about being rejected. Warren begs for Katrina’s forgiveness as he packs to go back to college. She hangs up on him, fortunately. Spike suddenly arrives with a box full of his Buffy stuff. He wants to place an order for a robot.

Buffy goes home, where Joyce suggests that they get manicures and talk about their crushes. Buffy’s fine with the manicures but wants to talk about something other than guys. Joyce is very proud of her for being an independent woman who doesn’t need a man to be happy. Wait, hold on.

Buffy goes home and finds Joyce lying on the couch. At first Buffy’s worried that she’s not feeling well, but Joyce is just taking a disco nap so she’s rested for her second date that night. She’s excited and thinks this guy could be the one. Wait, hold on.

Buffy goes home and finds Joyce lying on the couch completely still, her eyes open. “Mom?” Buffy says worriedly. “Mom? Mommy?”

Hold on.

Thoughts: Anya would definitely have crypto in 2023, wouldn’t she?

“If looks could stake” is a great line.

All Xander can focus on after the window tossing is the repairs that need to be made. He’s disappointed that, like his uncle the plumber, he only sees the world through his job now. He says he needs to be shunned. Willow casually replies, “Okay.” Alyson Hannigan’s delivery is perfect.

When you know what happens in season 6, Tara feeling sorry for Warren is just disturbing.

May 20, 2023

Buffy 5.14, Crush: Workplace Romance

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

Drusilla’s back and she’s going to make it everyone’s problem

Summary: The Bronze is holding a grand reopening after undergoing troll-related renovations. The Scoobies are there, and they’re all dancing and enjoying themselves except for Buffy, who’s just sitting by herself. Spike joins her and complains about the changes the Bronze has made. They took his favorite deep-fried onion off the menu! Buffy asks why he’s acting like they’re friends. He says he thought she needed some company. She makes it clear that company from him isn’t welcome.

Spike starts to leave, then comes back to argue that he deserves some friendliness after “fighting the fight” together against Glory. Buffy corrects that he was “sleeping the sleep of the knocked unconscious.” Still, he thinks he’s earned some respect. Xander and Anya approach just then, and Xander tells Spike, “Hey, evil dead, you’re in my seat.” Spike grumps off and Anya says that she thinks Xander hurt his feelings. “And you should never hurt the feelings of a brutal killer,” Xander replies. “You know, that’s actually some pretty good advice.”

Willow and Tara join the others as Xander offers to buy everyone drinks – he’s Payday Man. Then he realizes that Spike stole some of his money. Willow’s not feeling great; she’s been having headaches ever since she and Tara did the spell to teleport Glory away. Buffy would like one night without hearing Glory’s name. Tara suggests that they come up with another name to call her. Buffy blurts out, “Ben,” having just spotted him across the room. She goes to thank him for looking out for Dawn at the hospital.

Xander blasts Spike for stealing the money he worked so hard for. Spike’s like, “Stealing it was also hard work; I guess we’re even.” Xander tells him that since he doesn’t have a chip in his head, he could do a lot more damage to Spike than Spike can do to him right now. Spike sees Buffy talking to Ben and murmurs that Xander can’t hurt him. Meanwhile, a train arrives in Sunnydale full of dead passengers. The station master who went on board to check things out runs screaming from whoever killed them, then gets yanked back on board to be killed himself.

Buffy goes home after the night out that she tells Joyce, Dawn, and Giles she really needed. Joyce is happy to have her there, since she was nervous not having protection at home. Not that Giles wasn’t protective! Joyce was definitely grateful for his presence! Giles assures Buffy that Dawn is doing well considering what she recently learned about her existence. Buffy says that they’ve been going easy on her and letting some things slide. Giles thinks they should treat her normally. Buffy immediately yells at her sister for borrowing her clothes without asking.

The article of clothing she has in mind is a cashmere sweater that Spike stole. He hides it when Harmony tries to seduce him. She complains that he never wants to be intimate anymore. She suggests that they play a game, so he has her role-play as Buffy. Since she’s Harmony, she doesn’t catch on to the real reason he wants to pretend she’s the Slayer.

On campus the next day, Buffy, Willow, and Tara discuss The Hunchback of Notre Dame and how Quasimodo didn’t deserve a happy ending because he was selfish. Buffy didn’t read it, but she did rent the movie. (The Disney version, of course.) She sees a news article about the bodies on the train, and though Tara worries that Glory was responsible, Buffy figures that trauma to the victims’ throats points to a vampire.

Dawn goes to Spike’s crypt after school, wanting to rebel and hang out with a bad guy. He tries to shoo her away, saying he has evil things to do and a child shouldn’t be present for them. Dawn reminds him that she’s not really a child. She likes that he talks to her directly and doesn’t try to keep things from her like the Scoobies do. She feels safe with Spike. He chokes on cigarette smoke and yells, “Take that back!” Dawn continues that Spike is just as tough as Buffy. Buffy must agree, since she worries about what he’ll do when he gets the chip removed. Spike asks what else she says about him.

Joyce is worried because Dawn didn’t come home after school. Buffy assures her that the train murders have nothing to do with Glory. She goes out looking for Dawn, who’s been with Spike for hours, listening to stories about his past evil deeds. He tells her about the time he murdered a whole family, then went looking for a little girl who hid from him.

Buffy interrupts when she bursts in to ask Spike to help her look for Dawn. She’s not happy that the two of them have been hanging out. Dawn asks to hear the end of the story, so Buffy pointedly gives Spike permission to continue filling her head with tales of horror. Spike lies that he rescued the little girl and made sure she was taken in by a good family.

On their way home, Buffy chastises Dawn for wanting to spend time with Spike. She realizes that Dawn has a crush on him. Dawn says she just thinks he’s cool and likes how he treats her. Buffy tells her that she can’t have a crush on a vampire. Dawn’s like, “You spent three years crushing on one.” Buffy says that Angel’s different because he has a soul. Dawn figures that Spike’s chip is pretty much the same thing. Buffy tells her that Spike is a monster. Also, Dawn’s only 14. Dawn says that if she did have a crush on him, he’d never notice – he’s into Buffy. Apparently Buffy had no idea.

The next day, she and Xander check out the train, hoping to confirm that a vampire killed the passengers and maybe determine how many they’re dealing with. Buffy keeps trying to bring up what Dawn told her about Spike, then changing her mind. Finally she blurts out that Dawn said that Spike is in love with Buffy. Xander cracks up.

Buffy finds the situation creepy, but Xander assures her that there’s no way it’s real. He asks how Dawn came up with this theory. Buffy says that she hung out with Spike and might have a crush on him. Xander doesn’t like the sound of that, not because it’s Spike but because it means Xander is no longer the object of Dawn’s affections. They leave the train, not noticing a doll in an overhead compartment.

When Buffy gets home, Spike is hanging out with Dawn and Joyce, talking like they’re all buddies. He pulls Buffy aside to tell her that he has information for her. She replies that she’s out of money and he should hit on – er, hit up Giles. Spike says that he has a lead on the train killer. He wants to take Buffy somewhere, which makes her uneasy.

They stake out (poor choice of words?) a warehouse, sitting awkwardly in his car. He offers her a drink from his flask, and she says “ew” to the thought of both blood and bourbon. He sings a little of “I Wanna Be Sedated” to himself and asks if Buffy likes the Ramones. Just as she’s wondering why he’s doing this when she told him he won’t get paid, he notices a couple of vampires entering the warehouse.

Buffy and Spike follow them in, and though the vampires look like they’ll put up a fight, they just run off. Spike’s “embarrassed for our kind.” Buffy sees that the vamps have a nest there, so they probably weren’t connected to the train murderers – that killer most likely just arrived in town. This was all a waste of time. As they’re leaving, Spike opens the door for Buffy like he’s suddenly a gentleman. Buffy demands to know what all of this is about. Does he consider this a date? Spike laughs that off, then asks if she wants it to be a date.

Buffy finally realizes that he really, truly is in love with her. Spike doesn’t think it’s that unbelievable that they would develop a workplace romance. He says she can’t deny that there are feelings between them. “Loathing. Disgust,” Buffy spits out. “Heat. Desire,” he replies. She argues that he’s a vampire. Spike, of course, brings up Angel, but Buffy says he was good. Spike says he can be, too. He’s changed.

Buffy protests that the chip doesn’t count as “change.” It’s just holding Spike back, like a prison holds back a serial killer. Spike exclaims that women marry serial killers all the time. Okay, we’re going down the wrong path here. He admits that he can’t stop thinking about Buffy. He’s willing to turn his back on evil if it means being with her. Buffy says that he doesn’t know what feelings are. Spike tells her that he lies awake thinking about her all night. “You sleep during the day!” she reminds him.

Spike insists that his feelings are real. He starts to say that he loves Buffy, but she stops him. He really wants to talk, but she firmly says that there’s no “we.” She storms off, and he waits a little while before leaving. He senses someone nearby and asks who’s there. “A happy memory,” Drusilla says, emerging from the shadows. “Look who’s come to make everything right again.”

They go to his crypt and give us a brief recap of what’s been going on over on Angel – Darla was resurrected as a human, Drusilla turned her again, and now they’re trying to get Angel to revert to Angelus. (No luck so far – Angel even set them on fire.) Spike thinks that all that has made Drusilla nostalgic. She says she wants the four of them to be a family again.

Spike isn’t interested in going to L.A., especially when he’s made a good life for himself in Sunnydale. Drusilla is fully aware of the real reason he wants to stay, and she knows about the chip in his head. She doesn’t think it can really stop him if he doesn’t want it to. The pain is just a lie: “It tells you you’re not a bad dog, but you are.”

Harmony comes in just then, upset to see her boyfriend with another woman. She thinks he’s recruited someone to cosplay as Drusilla so they can have a threesome. “My answer is the same as always,” she says. “No threesomes unless it’s boy, boy, girl. Or Charlize Theron.” Spike tells her this is the real Drusilla.

Harmony chastises her for breaking Spike’s heart, which made him put up walls that Harmony has struggled to get through. Drusilla shouldn’t bother trying to get Spike back; he’s done with her. Spike grabs Harmony by the throat and says that it’s been fun while it lasted, but she needs to go. He throws her into a wall. Harmony thinks they’re done because Drusilla’s back. “No – because I am,” Spike replies. He and Drusilla make out.

Buffy tells Willow and Joyce that Spike basically declared his love for her. Joyce asks if she might have unintentionally led him on. “I do beat him up a lot. For Spike, that’s, like, third base,” Buffy says. Joyce worries that Spike could become dangerous, but Buffy reminds her about the chip. She thinks he’ll get over this and fall for a demon soon enough. Willow isn’t so confident. Obsessions can get twisted. She hopes that Buffy made it clear that they’ll never get together. Buffy isn’t sure; she was pretty thrown. Willow encourages her to talk to Spike. If he thinks there’s a chance for them, he could do something crazy.

Spike and Drusilla go to the Bronze and dance while looking for someone to snack on. Buffy’s ready to go find Spike, hopeful that everything has already blown over and he’s gone back to wanting to kill her. Fingers crossed! Buffy turns down Willow’s offer to tag along and back her up by scowling, but she does have something in mind that Willow can do.

Spike and Drusilla approach a couple making out on a catwalk and she breaks their necks. She drinks from the guy while Spike psychs himself up to drink from the woman. When he does, he gets really into it. Buffy goes to his crypt, heading underground when she doesn’t find him there. She discovers a kind of shrine he’s made for her with the mannequin and a bunch of photos and sketches of her.

He catches her there, and Drusilla zaps her with a taser before Buffy even sees her. Spike says that Drusilla came back to him because she can’t live without him. Drusilla zaps Buffy again, saying that she knows what Spike really wants to eat. She hopes to tie Buffy up and play with her before they feed on her. Spike says he’s done playing. Drusilla hands him the taser, which he uses on her. He repeats that he’s done playing.

When Buffy regains consciousness, she finds that Spike has chained both her and Drusilla up. He explains that he wants to prove something. He tells Buffy that he loves her. She’s all he thinks and dreams about. “I’m drowning in you, Summers, I’m drowning in you,” he says. Drusilla laughs, having known this for a while. Spike is sure that Buffy can feel something between them. She replies that it’s revulsion. He can’t love her if he doesn’t have a soul. Drusilla assures her that soulless creatures can still love, even if they don’t do it wisely.

Spike declares that he’s going to prove his love to Buffy by staking Drusilla. Buffy says that that will only prove that he’s a miserable vampire, which she already knows. He thinks this is a big show of love – Drusilla saved him and delivered him from “mediocrity.” For 100 years, she surprised him and took him to new depths. He’s lucky to have known her. But he’ll kill her to show how serious he is about Buffy.

Buffy’s completely unimpressed and doesn’t care if he kills Drusilla. Spike tells her that if she doesn’t admit that she feels something for him, he’ll release Drusilla and let her kill Buffy instead. He wants anything he can get from Buffy, no matter how small. He just wants to know that there’s a chance they can be together some day. Buffy looks like she’s going to relent, but then she tells him that the only chance he had with her was when she was unconscious.

Spike yells in frustration, asking what’s wrong with Buffy and Drusilla. Why do they torture him so much? He blames Drusilla for all of this – if she hadn’t left him for a chaos demon, he wouldn’t have come back to Sunnydale, gotten the chip implanted, and started to believe that he stood a chance with Buffy. She’s destroyed everything that made him who he was. He should kill them both.

Just then, an arrow flies into him. Harmony’s back, and she wants revenge for their breakup. Drusilla eggs her on as she says that she thought that she could change him. She kept coming back because she thought eventually he would be nicer and stop treating her like a dog. Now she knows that he’s a dog and needs to be put down.

They fight as Buffy and Drusilla try to free themselves. Drusilla does it first, and she goes after Buffy, who just kicks her since her arms are restrained. Harmony grab the arrow out of Spike’s back and tries to stake him with it, but he fights her off. With Harmony and Drusilla both temporarily subdued, Spike frees Buffy. Drusilla comments that he’s too lost for her to help him. She walks away sadly. Harmony announces that Spike won’t be seeing her (or her butt) again, then leaves as well. Buffy punches Spike before she heads out.

He follows her home, trying to convince her that one fight doesn’t have to mean anything. She tells him that she wants him out of her town and off the planet. He’s not allowed near her, her family, or her friends. Spike keeps insisting that it’s not that easy and she can’t shut him out. He tries to follow her inside the house, but he can’t get in. It looks like while Buffy was out, Willow did the spell that revokes a vampire’s invitation. Spike is no longer welcome in the Summerses’ house.

Thoughts: This is the last time we see both Drusilla and Harmony (though we see Drusilla later in another form). Farewell, you entertaining nutbars.

Why are the Summerses and the Scoobies letting Dawn go around town alone when they’re worried about Glory? Go pick her up from school, Joyce!

Harmony calls Drusilla “Morticia,” which I hope is a nod to Mercedes McNab (Harmony) being in the ’90s Addams Family movies.

May 13, 2023

Buffy 5.13, Blood Ties: Key Findings

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

This is sweet! (Also clearly Photoshopped, but that can be blamed on the monks)

Summary: It’s Buffy’s 20th birthday, but she doesn’t think this is the right time for a party, what with the recent revelation that Glory is a god. Willow is optimistic that they’ll be able to beat her, but so far, the Scoobies haven’t come up with any ideas. Buffy notes that Glory doesn’t appear to have any special powers like you’d think a god would have. Giles thinks that being in human form is limiting her powers. The important thing to keep in mind is that she’s “immortal, invulnerable, and insane.”

Being in the world seems to be affecting her mental state, though. She has to suck brains to keep going. Tara doesn’t like the thought of that. She almost prefers vampires, who just kill you without leaving you mentally unstable. The Scoobies need to mobilize, and Anya offers to help with research, since she knows a lot (probably more than Giles) about demon dimensions like the one Glory must have come there from.

Xander brings up the key, and Buffy and Giles exchange a glance. Buffy says that they don’t need to worry about that right now. She and Giles know where it is, but they decided not to tell the Scoobies any details, in case Glory targets them. Willow’s hurt about being left out of the loop. Buffy decides it’s time to tell the Scoobies the truth, since they’re risking their lives to help.

Jinx finds the Knights of Byzantium chanting around a fire to chant about how the key is a link that needs to be severed and tells them that their faith is misplaced. Sword-fighting ensues and Jinx gets stabbed. There’s another minion with him, and as the knights turn on him, Glory arrives to protect him.

The next day, Willow and Tara do a spell outside the Magic Box that will set off an alarm if Glory comes by. (They did the spell at the Summerses’ house already.) Dawn wants to help, but Willow doubts that Buffy would be okay with that. She and Tara are having trouble grasping the thought that Dawn isn’t really human. At least they treat her like normal – Xander and Anya act like they’re overcaffeinated.

Giles thinks Buffy’s progressed so much in training that they should step things up. He hides some notes from Dawn in a not-at-all-subtle manner. She asks to help with Scooby stuff, and when Buffy says no, Dawn taunts that she’s just scared about fighting someone prettier than she is. Buffy seriously tells her that Glory is a major threat (and also not prettier than Buffy). Dawn doesn’t think she looked that tough.

Glory has taken a knight named Orlando to her place so she can force him to tell her where the key is. He won’t talk, and she thinks it’s because he’s afraid of intimacy. She makes double entendres about relaxing and opening up. Then she just sucks his brain.

Buffy changed her mind about a birthday party and is very glad she did, because presents! Willow and Tara give her a dress she actually seems to like, even though Willow has horrible fashion sense. Anya has trouble not just taking all the gifts for herself. Dawn gives her sister a picture of the two of them from a vacation, in a frame decorated with shells from the beach they went to. Everyone gets a little down, knowing that that never really happened.

Later on in the evening, Joyce, Buffy, and Giles discuss Glory in the kitchen while Dawn eavesdrops. Joyce wants to know more about her intentions. Buffy catches Dawn listening in, so Dawn goes to the living room, where everyone clams up. She asks why they keep acting weird around her. She thinks they’re all talking about her. Anya says she and Xander were talking about sex. Knowing them, that might be the truth.

Dawn storms off to her room, then sneaks out the window. She runs into Spike, who came by with a present for Buffy. Two, actually – one of them is the box of chocolates he beat her mannequin with. Dawn tells him that Buffy won’t want anything from him. He tries to intimidate her, but it’s a complete failure. She thinks she’s “badder” than he is. He’s lurking around the house while she’s heading to the Magic Box to steal stuff. Spike worries that demons or vampires will go after a “Little Red Riding Hood” like her along the way. Dawn says she can handle herself, but she invites him along to steal with her.

He breaks into the shop for her and asks what she’s after. Dawn just wants the book Giles has been keeping notes in. She finds it and reads about the key. Spike looks around the shop and finds Olaf’s hammer. He tries to take it but it’s too heavy, so he says it doesn’t go with his stuff. Dawn reads that “only those outside reality can see the key’s true nature.” Spike clarifies that that means people with second sight, or even just mentally unstable people. That makes Dawn remember the two men who said weird things to her.

The key can also be detected by necromanced animals, especially dogs and snakes. That reminds Dawn of King Cobra. As she starts to put things together, Spike takes the notes from her and reads that the monks from the Order of Dagon can bend reality and transform energy. The Council thinks that the monks tried to hide the key but were interrupted by Glory. They needed the Slayer to protect it, so they sent it to her in human form – “in the form of a sister.”

Buffy’s disappointed not to have heard from Riley on her birthday, though she wasn’t expecting to. She’s ready to start a new tradition of celebrating birthdays without boyfriends. Willow and Tara are like, “We’re way ahead of you.” Just then, Tara spots Dawn behind Buffy. She’s holding a knife and her arm is bleeding. “Is this blood?” Dawn asks numbly. “It can’t be me. I’m not a key. I’m not a thing.” She asks Joyce what she is: “Am I real? Am I anything?”

Willow, Tara, and Giles leave so the Summerses can deal with this sudden family crisis on their own. Dawn’s unhappy that no one told her that she was the key. Joyce thought they should wait until she was older. Dawn asks how old she is now – not in human years but in the sense of how much time has passed since the monks made her. It’s only been six months, though Joyce says she’s been “alive” a lot longer than that to them.

Dawn says that’s not real. Everything about her is made up. Buffy assures her that their love for her is real. She cares and worries about her sister. Dawn says that she’s only worried because it’s her job to protect the key. Buffy replies that she’s worried because her sister is hurting herself. Dawn mocks that it could be a fake memory from her fake family. She screams for Buffy and Joyce to get out of her room.

The next day, the Scoobies gather at the magic shop to find out more about the key. Xander thinks they also need to know why Glory wants it, but Buffy would rather focus on Dawn. She deserves to know where she came from. Giles wonders how Dawn got into the shop and found his notes. Anya answers that question when she finds an urn Spike used as an ashtray.

Buffy goes straight to his crypt, slides back the lid of the coffin he’s sitting on so he falls inside, and uses the lid to pin him in place. She asks if he really hates her so much that he would let Dawn find out what she is from notes instead of a person. Spike points out that he didn’t know what Dawn was. Buffy argues that he could have stopped her.

He complains that she always blames him whenever something goes wrong. (To be fair, that’s because it’s usually his fault.) Dawn would have found a way to break into the shop with or without his help. He went along to protect her. Buffy’s still understandably upset that Dawn found out the way she did. Spike doubts that she thought she could keep the truth from Dawn forever. She should have been more honest with Dawn in the first place. She’s just there yelling at him to make herself feel better.

Dawn doesn’t see the point in going to school, since “blobs of energy don’t need an education.” Joyce treats her like she’s sick, but Dawn doesn’t want anything from her. She says Joyce isn’t her mother. She decides not to hang out at home all day and leaves for school after all.

Ben takes medication to the psych ward, which has a new patient: Orlando. Ben recognizes the tattoo on his forehead as a mark of the Knights of Byzantium. Jinx appears and confirms that the knights have arrived in town, which was expected. He says they’re like ants – they’ll trickle in slowly, then come in a swarm. He reminds Ben that his fate is linked to Glory, and if he keeps resisting her, she’ll…well, she’ll do nothing. Ben is fully aware that she can’t do anything to him.

That night, Dawn reads through her old diaries, now knowing that everything in them is made up. Downstairs, Joyce frets about giving her space, but Buffy wants to respect her wishes. Joyce reports that Dawn was suspended for yelling at a teacher. Buffy guesses that she feels like she can get away with anything right now. Dawn eavesdrops as Buffy expresses her sister’s thoughts that she’s not real and the Summerses aren’t her family. Dawn misinterprets this as Buffy feeling that way herself. She goes back to her room and trashes it.

Joyce insists that she and Buffy show Dawn that they love her and she’s still a part of their family. Buffy says it’s not that simple. They can’t fix this like they could fix Dawn’s problems when she was a child. She needs real answers about what she is and where she came from. Joyce replies that she needs her sister, not the Slayer. Buffy says she’s the only thing standing between Dawn and Glory.

An alarm goes off, and at first Buffy thinks it’s from Willow’s spell. Joyce recognizes it as the smoke alarm instead. They find a fire in Dawn’s room – she set fire to her diaries and then went out the window again. The Scoobies (plus Spike) gather at the magic shop to strategize before going out to look for Dawn. She’s gone to a playground where she remembers (well, “remembers”) Buffy pushing her on a swing when they were younger.

Xander’s struggling with accepting that his memories of Dawn aren’t real. He figures that in her original form, she must have been really powerful. Giles agrees, since people are willing to kill and die for the key. Xander’s proud that that super-powerful being has a crush on him. Giles isn’t impressed. While searching together, Buffy admits to Spike that he’s right about this being her fault. She should have told Dawn the truth sooner. Spike thinks she would have reacted the same way – blob of energy or not, she’s still a 14-year-old girl. He assures Buffy that they’ll find her.

A passing ambulance gives Dawn the idea to go to the hospital and visit the psych ward, since someone there might have answers for her. The patients immediately sense the key’s presence and get agitated. One says something about frequency and repeats over and over, “Can’t hear it, can’t hear it.” Dawn asks what she is, and Orlando – who’s still a little clear-headed – says she’s the key. He’s grateful that he finally found it. She asks where she came from and who made her, but Orlando starts talking about destruction and severing the link.

As Dawn’s leaving, she runs into Ben. He thinks she’s there because Joyce was brought back in. She says her “mom” (you can hear the air quotes in her voice) is fine. When Ben offers to call Buffy, Dawn says she doesn’t have a sister. He guesses that they had a fight. He has a sister, too, and knows they can be annoying. He’s spent a lot of time wishing his didn’t exist, either. Dawn replies that she’s the one who doesn’t exist.

Ben assures her that when she gets older, things will change. Dawn rants that she’s nothing, a thing the monks made so Glory couldn’t find her. Ben immediately realizes that she’s the key. He orders her to leave before Glory finds her. Somehow, Glory always knows where the key is. Dawn wants more information from Ben, but he says she’s just a kid and doesn’t understand. She needs to go because Glory will hurt her. He senses her coming and again sends Dawn away. “She’s here!” he yells, grabbing Dawn’s arms. Then he…turns into Glory! “Hey, don’t I know you?” she asks.

Dawn considers running, but Glory warns that she’ll never make it out alive. She wants to know why the Slayer’s little sister is hanging out with “Gentle Ben.” Dawn realizes that Glory doesn’t remember the conversation she just had with Ben. A security guard comes in just then, and Glory snaps his neck, then smoothly turns back to Dawn. She plans to take Dawn off somewhere for a long talk.

The Scoobies meet back up in a cemetery, obviously having had no luck finding Dawn. Buffy notes that something could have happened to her outside of a run-in with Glory, so they head to the hospital to make sure she’s not injured. Glory’s tired of dragging things out and asks Dawn if she knows where Buffy hid the key. Dawn plays dumb and asks for more information about it. Glory doesn’t look happy about that, but she agrees to talk more.

The Scoobies have arrived, and when they hear about the security guard’s death, they quickly guess that Glory’s there. She tells Dawn that the key has been around “just this side of forever,” almost as long as Glory has. Dawn asks if it’s evil. Glory says it is, but not really. It’s about perspective. Dawn notes that a key has to have a lock. So what does the key open? Glory gets suspicious and accuses Dawn of getting close to Ben to find out more about her. She decides that Dawn doesn’t know anything about the key. That means Glory can suck her brain, which will also send a message to Buffy.

Buffy enters just then and starts fighting Glory. Spike grabs Glory so Buffy can punch her, but Glory throws him off and knocks him out. She snarks to Buffy that when her boyfriend wakes up, she should tell him to watch his mouth. Of course, Buffy denies that Spike is her boyfriend. Willow and Tara start a spell, and Giles tries to shoot Glory with a crossbow. It doesn’t cause any damage, though it does distract her long enough for Xander to sneak up behind her and hit her with a tire iron (which also…doesn’t cause any damage).

Glory throws the tire iron at Dawn, but Buffy leaps in front of her and gets impaled instead. As Glory’s mocking the Scoobies for their failed efforts, she inadvertently steps between Willow and Tara, who toss magical dust over her. They use to it teleport her out of the hospital, though they’re not sure where they sent her. Hmmm, looks like a few miles up in the sky. She’s not happy about gravity kicking in. Giles says the spell was too dangerous for witches at Willow and Tara’s level, and Willow agrees that they shouldn’t try it again any time soon.

Buffy checks on Dawn, who’s still mad and doesn’t think Buffy really cares about her. The wound on Dawn’s arm has reopened, and Buffy tells her that her blood is Summerses’ blood, just like Buffy’s. She’s Buffy’s sister no matter where she came from. She wouldn’t annoy Buffy so much if that weren’t true. Dawn embraces Buffy and admits that she was scared. Buffy says she was, too.

As the Scoobies start to leave, Dawn remembers that Ben was there and may have been trying to help. However, she can’t remember what happened to him. He must have left before Glory got there. Buffy’s ready to go home, and she assures Dawn that she probably won’t get in trouble for the fire; her recent trauma should let her off the hook. Dawn asks if Joyce might raise her allowance, too. “Don’t push it,” Buffy replies.

Thoughts: Michelle Trachtenberg (Dawn) gets mocked for her acting when she has to do angsty teen stuff, but I don’t think she’s that bad. Also, it’s not like there was a blueprint for her to follow on how to pretend to be a girl who just found out she’s really a ball of mystical energy.

Tara and Willow would save everyone a lot of trouble if they expanded their god alarm to include all vampires and other monsters.

When Anya says that she wishes she could have the dress that Tara and Willow gave Buffy, she adds that the others were probably thinking the same thing. Giles denies that, then says as an aside to Xander, “I’ve got one just like it.” Heh.


May 6, 2023

Buffy 5.12, Checkpoint: Power Play

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

Oh, hi. We’re here to ruin everyone’s day

Summary: The Scoobies have gathered at the Summerses’ house so Giles can tell them that the Watchers’ Council is coming to give them some news, presumably about Glory. No one’s excited about that. Tara figures they’re just a group of Gileses, but Buffy says they’re “scary and horrible.” Giles diplomatically explains that they have the same goal as the Scoobies: Save the world and kill demons. Anya would like clarification that they’re only interested in current demons, not ex-vengeance demons who aren’t causing any trouble.

Buffy protests their visit, since she doesn’t trust them after “Helpless” and “Who Are You.” She’d rather not be almost killed right now. Anya would also like to not deal with people who don’t sound like they’re “ex-demon compatible.” Tara’s confused – she thought English people were kind and gentle. Willow tries to be optimistic that they’ll be nicer this time, knowing that Buffy isn’t Faith.

Buffy tries to argue that this isn’t a good time. She needs to take care of Dawn. Xander points out that that’s always the case. As Dawn creeps downstairs to eavesdrop again, Buffy adds Glory to the list of things that are a higher priority than a visit from her boss’ ex-bosses. Giles notes that Glory is the whole reason the Watchers need to come. Joyce catches Dawn on the staircase, and Buffy worries that she heard something she shouldn’t have. Willow doesn’t think it’s a big deal – who’s she going to tell about the Watchers? Giles continues that if the Watchers know something about Glory, they could use the help.

Glory could also use help, judging by how weak and sick she looks. Dreg and another minion, Jinx, bring her a mailman whose brain she can suck out. She immediately feels better. The poor mailman…not so much. Jinx tells her that “the signs of the alignment are moving faster than expected.” She needs to get the key quickly if she wants to use it. Glory’s eager to do so; she’s sick of Sunnydale, with its lack of retail outlets, especially as compared to the number of demons it has. She thinks Buffy knows where the key is, and it won’t take much to get her out of the way.

Giles is helping a customer at the Magic Box when a bunch of Watchers suddenly arrive. Travers judges Giles for not keeping dangerous items in a backroom where customers can’t get their hands on them. The other Watchers look around the shop and make criticisms as well. Too be fair, a statue for sale was illegally removed from Burma, and when it’s triggered, it can melt people’s eyeballs. “In that case, I’ve severely underpriced it,” Giles says.

Anya stands around, looking confused as the Watchers kick out all the customers. They’re shutting the shop down while they’re in town for a review. Realizing who they are, Anya tries to scamper out. Travers stops her and asks if she works there. She says she moved there from southeastern Indiana, where she was raised by two parents. Giles lets her leave, then asks what this “review” is about. Travers is disappointed that Giles doesn’t respect his former colleagues anymore. He used to be one of them. Giles points out that they used to pay him. He doesn’t work for them anymore.

Travers reminds him that the Watchers have a lot of resources available to them. They’ve collected a lot of information on Glory that’s both important and disturbing. They won’t give it to the Scoobies until they’re sure that Buffy and Giles are prepared for it. Giles refuses to submit to a test, but Travers says it’s “a check of her methods.” They need to be confident that Buffy can handle what she’s going to learn. Giles says that she’s made a lot of progress recently and is now very focused.

Maybe not in history class, though, since she’s currently yawning through a lecture on Rasputin. She perks up when the professor brings up how difficult he was to kill. She’s skeptical that he died when everyone says he did. Apparently Buffy has expressed thoughts like this before in class, and the professor isn’t pleased with her for speculating that history didn’t happen the way we’ve always believed it did. She gets shamed into sitting down and shutting up.

Buffy takes out her frustrations with the professor on a vampire that night. Spike jumps in for the kill shot (well, stake), looking for some “heartfelt gratitude” in return. Buffy has none of that for him, since he got in her way. She was just regrouping. “You were about to be regrouped into separate piles,” Spike replies. Buffy tells him that she didn’t need his help. She never needs him.

Spike complains that she just doesn’t like that he was the one who rescued her. She would have preferred Riley (“your boyfriend, what’s his height”), but oh, no, he ran off. Buffy denies that she needs a boyfriend for rescue or any other reason. Spike taunts that guys keep leaving her. Did she push them away, or is she too clingy? Maybe she’s just not as pretty as she used to be. “The more I get to know you, the more I wish I didn’t,” Buffy spits out. Spike suggests that she doesn’t hold guys’ interest anymore.

Jinx ambushes Ben at the hospital and tells him that Glory wants more information on Buffy. Ben’s skeptical that Buffy’s the Slayer, and he’s definitely not going to tell Glory anything that might get Buffy hurt. Buffy’s already bad day gets worse when she goes to the Magic Box and finds all the Watchers there. Travers wants a demonstration of her newly honed skills. The Watchers are also going to talk to the Scoobies, since they’re part of the fight against evil.

Travers reminds Buffy that Glory is stronger and more powerful than she is. The Scoobies need the information that the Watchers have. Yet the Watchers will only hand it over if Buffy passes their tests. Giles notes that they’ll consider it failure if she doesn’t do everything they say. He angrily tells Travers that Buffy isn’t his “instrument.”

Travers gets that Giles doesn’t think this is fair, but there are factors that should motivate him to submit. For starters, the Watchers could get the magic shop shut down permanently. And if Buffy keeps fighting them, they’ll have Giles deported. “You’re dealing with grown-ups now,” Travers tells her. The Watchers don’t make idle threats.

Jinx returns to Glory after being beaten up by Ben. Glory’s not happy that Ben won’t help, especially since it would be so easy for him to seduce Buffy and sex the information out of her. Glory says that Jinx is the only one who understands how annoyed she is with Ben, though she acknowledges that that’s probably because she hasn’t sucked Jinx’s brain out (yet). She wishes she could get her hands on Ben and hurt him.

After the Watchers leave, Giles complains to Buffy about their “power play.” “Big power outage in Buffy County,” she mopes. He wishes he’d sicced her on them. Buffy acknowledges that Travers is old, so she can’t hit him. Or can she? Giles agrees that she can’t, but he can. He will! He confirms that the Watchers could easily get him deported. They’re the best in the world at political moves and pulling strings.

Buffy quietly asks if she’ll be able to get through their review. Giles notes that they’ll make the physical stuff hard, but she’s more worried about answering their questions. She’s worried that they’ll leave without providing any information and she won’t know how to protect Dawn. Giles assures her that she hasn’t done anything wrong. It’s unfair that the Watchers are holding information (and his immigration status) hostage. Buffy notes that they picked the perfect leverage – she can’t lose him.

The Watchers start interviewing the Scoobies the next morning. Anya has come up with a backstory for herself: Her full name is Anya Christina Emanuella Jenkins, she’s 20, and her birthday is July 4th. A Watcher asks Willow and Tara about their relationship, and they declare that they’re girlfriends, or lovers, or “lesbian gay-type lovers.” Then the realize that the Watcher meant their relationship with Buffy.

Xander tells a Watcher that he and Willow have gone out patrolling with Buffy from the beginning. The interviewer confirms that he doesn’t have any special powers or abilities that help with that. Anya tells him that Xander’s enthusiastic about killing demons: “Go, deadness for the demons.” Xander says that he helps – for example, he was “the heart part of a super-Buffy.” The interviewer asks if the Slayer needs that kind of help a lot.

Willow and Tara get asked the same kind of thing, and they insist that Buffy can take care of things fine without the Scoobies. In fact, sometimes she goes off alone to fight evil without telling them. Not that she’s a weird loner or anything! Willow mentions the ball-of-sunshine spell she’s been working on, which will make slaying easier. Their interviewer asks for Willow’s level of magical proficiency. She babbles something until Tara blurts out, “Five.” That seems to satisfy the interviewer, but then he asks if the two of them are registered as practicing witches under the names they provided. Well, of course they are!

Anya and Xander’s interviewer asks if they know anything about the key. They’re able to honestly say that they don’t. He asks if Buffy sometimes protects the Scoobies from the dangerous parts of her work. Xander says she’s saved him a lot of times. The vampires in Sunnydale hate her.

Cut to a vampire who definitely doesn’t hate her – Spike. Three Watchers have gone to his crypt to interview him; they’re standing at a safe distance, two holding a cross and a crossbow in front of them. Spike confirms that he helps Buffy when she pays him, either in money or blood from a dying victim. He’s noticed that her work is declining because of her inability to keep a boyfriend. One of the Watchers is surprised that Spike doesn’t want to kill Buffy. After all, he’s killed Slayers before. Spike is pleased that she’s heard of him. In fact, she wrote her thesis on him. He asks if Buffy’s doing well on her tests.

It’s time for a physical assessment, which involves Buffy being blindfolded and tasked with protecting a dummy as if it’s “precious.” She’s expected to do this while following Travers’ instructions, which will include the Japanese names of moves. Giles translates for her, but this isn’t something they’ve ever covered before. Travers isn’t impressed with how Giles trains his Slayer. “I’ve been training her to win,” Giles says.

Buffy announces that she’s going to do this her way. She’s able to take down the Watcher pretending to attack her, but the dummy she was supposed to protect ends up with an axe in its chest. Buffy says she can do better and asks to try again, but Harris wants to move on to a discussion of strategy and plans. He’d like to know what’s going on in Buffy’s head. They’ll give her until 7:00 that night to prepare (or, you know, start considering stuff she’s never considered before).

Buffy goes home and finds Glory waiting for her. As she looks around the house, Buffy goes for a fireplace poker. Glory isn’t there to fight, though (and if she were, Buffy “could tell by the being dead already”). She just wants to know where the key is. In fact, that’s the only reason Glory’s letting Buffy live. She “may be tiny queen in vampire world,” but she’s just a bug to Glory. Buffy should be worshipping her.

Dawn comes into the room behind Glory, and Buffy signals with her eyes that she needs to leave. Dawn starts to back out before Glory can notice her, but Glory calls her back in at the last moment. Buffy tells her to leave Dawn out of this. Glory coos over Dawn and tells her that Buffy took her key and won’t give it back. She tries to get Dawn to tell her where it is.

Buffy says that Dawn doesn’t know anything. Offended, Dawn protests that she knows some stuff. Glory tries to empathize, saying that Buffy probably takes Dawn’s stuff all the time without asking. Dawn hates that her sister is always talking about things that she’s not supposed to hear, and she vows to figure out what Buffy’s hiding. After Dawn leaves, Glory threatens to kill her, Joyce, and the Scoobies, and make Buffy watch. Or Buffy can just tell her where the key is and this will all be over. This is a one-time-only deal. The next time they meet, Buffy will lose someone she loves.

Joyce comes in as Glory is leaving, and Buffy tells her to pack a bag. She then takes Joyce and Dawn to Spike’s crypt and asks him to protect them. He’s the only one who’s strong enough to do it. Spike welcomes them to his home, though Dawn isn’t excited about being there. “I love what you’ve, um, neglected to do with the place,” Joyce says. She and Spike quickly bond because they both watch Passions.

Willow, Xander, Anya, and Tara sit in the loft of the Magic Box as the Watchers mill around in the shop, waiting for Buffy. She’s 20 minutes late for her next test. On her way, she runs into some guys in chain mail. She asks for a rain check, but they surround her. If only the Watchers were there and could see her fight them all with her bare hands – they might finally be impressed.

She unmasks the last one standing and sees that he’s human. He tells her he’s part of a “vast army” called the Knights of Byzantium. She thinks they work for Glory, but they hate her, too. They’ll send as many knights as necessary after Buffy as long as she’s protecting the key. Their goal is to destroy it and Buffy, who they know is the Slayer. If she kills them, more will replace them. Buffy lets this one live, though she keeps his sword.

She takes it to the Magic Box, where she announces that the Watchers’ review is over. She’s not jumping through hoops anymore or answering questions she can’t actually answer. Also, no interruptions. She’s sick of hearing how unimportant she is. In truth, she has the power here. Glory came to her house today and talked about how she could kill Buffy in a second, but didn’t do anything. They only talked because she needs something from Buffy – Buffy has power over her.

Buffy continues that the Watchers didn’t come all the way to Sunnydale to see if she’s good enough to be let back into their group. They came to beg her to let them back into hers. They need her to give their jobs and lives a semblance of meaning. A Watcher starts to protest, so Buffy flings the sword at him, embedding it in a wall. She reminds him that she said there would be no interruptions. (Xander loves this.)

Buffy reminds the Watchers that without a Slayer, they have nothing to do. They can’t stop Glory or do anything with their information on her, “except maybe publish it in the Everyone Thinks We’re Insane-os Home Journal.” They’re going to give Buffy the information they have on Glory, then leave. They’ll only contact her in the future if they have more to add. The Magic Box will stay open, Giles will be reinstated as a Watcher at his full salary (“retroactive,” Giles coughs), and Buffy will continue working with the Scoobies.

A Watcher who hopes not to have a sword thrown at her points out that the Scoobies are civilians and basically children. Buffy replies that they include two powerful witches and a thousand-year-old ex-demon. “Willow’s a demon??” Anya exclaims. As for Xander, even without powers, he’s “clocked more field time” than any of the Watchers, and he’s “part of the unit.” Willow whispers that that’s “Riley-speak.” Xander likes it.

Buffy continues that the Watchers may be good at their jobs, but they’ll only demonstrate that if they can work with her. Travers accepts her terms, and the Scoobies all cheer. Travers asks Giles to get some scotch he hid in the shop. First, though, Buffy wants to know what Glory is. Travers tells her that Glory isn’t a demon – she’s a god. “Oh,” is all Buffy can think to respond.

Thoughts: Giles to a bunch of Watchers: “You all, stand around and look somber. Good job.” Ha!

Please, writers, no one has ever found a lecture on Rasputin boring. Plus, the professor seems like the type to make even boring topics more interesting.

“Willow’s a demon??” cracks me up every time.

A deleted line from Willow that also cracks me up: “I didn’t create the troll. I didn’t date the troll. In fact, I hate the troll. I helped deflate the troll.”

April 15, 2023

Buffy 5.9, Listening to Fear: You’ve Been Quelled

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

Why are its teeth like that? WHAT DOES IT NEED TEETH LIKE THAT FOR??

Summary: Joyce is still in the hospital after her biopsy, and her daughters are sticking close by her side. There’s a lot of talk about Jell-o. Joyce’s doctor, Kriegel, announces that she’s scheduled for surgery the day after tomorrow. Joyce is in good spirits about it, though she doesn’t look forward to having to spend more time in the hospital. She keeps trying to get Buffy and Dawn to leave so they don’t have to be there, too. Buffy assures her that they’re fine, and Riley is leading the Scoobies on patrol.

Except he’s not, and Willow, Xander, and Giles are getting their butts kicked by a pack of vampires. Willow finally turns the tables by staking one in the back. Giles almost stakes Xander when the vampire attacking him moves out of the way, but Giles has good reflexes. Willow takes out that vampire as well and is proud of herself, as she should be. The Scoobies are annoyed that Riley ditched them for what turns out to be another session of letting a female vampire drink his blood. Riley, you’re gross. Get it together.

Willow goes by the hospital with a care package for all of the Summerses. She compares herself to Santa, except for the part where she’s thinner, younger, female, and Jewish. She brought Joyce a beer helmet, for some reason. Dawn gets a book about magic and Buffy gets homework. “I don’t believe in tiny Jewish Santa anymore,” Buffy grumbles. She’s much happier when Willow gives her a yo-yo.

Joyce suddenly gets aggressive, then doesn’t seem to remember saying something weird. The others clear out so she can rest. Buffy tells Dawn that the tumor might make Joyce say strange stuff. Willow adds that once the tumor has been removed, Joyce will be back to normal. The three of them pass a guy who acts like Glory’s other mind-muddled victims. He babbles that there’s no data or pictures on Dawn. “There’s no one in there,” he says. Ben approaches after the guy is gone and tells them that the psych ward is past capacity. He’s not happy that the guy is being taken home. His family will have to watch him 24/7.

That night, Willow and Tara star-gaze on the roof of what I guess is their dorm. Willow points out some constellations, and Tara makes up some, like the Big Pineapple, Short Man Looking Uncomfortable, Moose Getting a Sponge Bath, and Little Pile o’ Crackers. Willow spots what looks like a meteor zooming toward the ground. The result is a huge, flaming crater. The guy from the hospital is wandering around nearby, and an alien-like creature drops out of a tree onto his back.

The alien-like creature (ALC) crawls on the ceiling of the hospital as Joyce tries to ring a nurse. She asks Buffy to convince Kriegel to let her go home for the night. Joyce is getting stir-crazy and is having a harder time keeping a good attitude for her daughters’ sake. Buffy doesn’t see any reason for Joyce to stay there if she’s not actively receiving treatment. Kriegel warns that Buffy will have to monitor her mother closely, but he’s willing to give his approval. In the waiting area, ALC watches Dawn from the ceiling.

The Scoobies go out to check out the crater. Riley apologizes for missing the last group activity. Anya warns that if the site of the impact is hot, there could be radiation that could cause sterility. Xander scrambles out of the crater as fast as he can. Riley reports that it’s not hot, and the meteorite, or whatever left the impact, is hollow. The Scoobies guess that something crashed in it and then “slithered” away. Giles protests that it might not have slithered. “I’m sure it frisked about like a fluffy lamb,” Anya replies sarcastically.

They find the guy from the hospital dead nearby. “The space lamb got him,” Anya says. Xander notes that he doesn’t have any marks on his body. Willow recognizes the guy from the hospital. Riley finds some sort of goo in the guy’s mouth. Willow wants to call Buffy, but the Scoobies are intent on letting her focus on Joyce. They consider looking around in the woods, but they decide they’d rather do research. Riley stays behind to check out the scene more. “I don’t want to be the one that finds the bodies anymore,” Willow says as the Scoobies leave. Once they’re gone, Riley calls Graham.

The psych ward at the hospital is closed for the night, and one of the patients isn’t happy about it. He doesn’t get any happier when he hears something skittering around the room. ALC is there, and we get to see how it attacks its victims. It involves spitting the same goo found in the previous victim’s mouth all over their face. I don’t think you need me to tell you that it’s gross.

Kriegel signs off on Joyce’s departure, though she experiences another moment of weirdness as he’s saying goodbye. ALC is lurking around. As the Summerses get home, Graham, a major named Ellis, and some other military guys join Riley at the crater via helicopter. Graham notes that this is the kind of situation Buffy usually handles. Riley takes everyone to the body and gives Ellis a sample of the goo, which seems to be some kind of alkaloid. He thinks they’re dealing with something extraterrestrial. The alkaloid is breaking down quickly, so they won’t be able to track it to ALC. Riley suggests tracking radiation instead.

ALC has invaded the Summerses’ house, where Buffy and Dawn are watching TV in the living room. Joyce comes downstairs and they hear her making noise in the kitchen. She thinks it’s morning and she needs to make breakfast. Buffy and Dawn take her back to bed and give her medication that will help her sleep. She seems okay, but she suddenly sits up and tells Dawn not to touch her. She calls Dawn a thing, a shadow. Dawn runs off, understandably freaked out.

Once Joyce is calm again, Buffy checks on Dawn, who thinks her mother hates her. Buffy reminds her that it’s the tumor causing her to say weird things, but Dawn tells her that this isn’t the first time that’s happened. In addition to the guy at the hospital, the man outside the Magic Box said she doesn’t belong and isn’t real. Buffy promises that it’s not about her. People sometimes have a short-circuit in their brains that make them feel like nothing is real except them. She urges Dawn not to listen, no matter who says things like that to her.

The Scoobies return to their roots, going to UC Sunnydale’s library to do research on what Xander calls a “killer snot monster.” Giles says that demons enter the world in numerous ways; this time, they’re dealing with one that came from outer space. Willow has found accounts of a similar situation in Russia in 1917. There were a bunch before that, starting with what’s called the Queller impact in the 12th century. Xander finds something about primitive people thinking the moon caused insanity and praying for a meteor that would quell crazy people. Looks like that happened to the guy in the woods.

Willow reads that in the Middle Ages, there were “sweeping plagues of madness” that subsided around the times there were meteor events. Tara notes that it sounds like the Queller has to be summoned, so who would have done that? Xander thinks it’s pretty obvious that it’s Glory. Willow again wants to call Buffy, but Giles suggests calling Riley.

All of what the Scoobies found makes sense to Riley, who’s just gone to the hospital to check out the deaths of five patients in the psych ward. He assures Willow that Joyce isn’t there; Ben told him that Buffy and Dawn took her home earlier in the evening. As for the Queller, they think they’ve cornered it in the air ducts. Willow thinks the Scoobies should come help Riley (not realizing that he already has help), but he just hangs up.

Joyce’s moments of mental instability are now lasting longer. She’s babbling to herself in bed, staring at the ceiling. Dawn can hear her through the wall, and it’s getting to her. Buffy turns on some loud salsa music in the kitchen, where she’s washing dishes and trying (unsuccessfully) not to cry. Joyce continues talking at the ceiling, where ALC is looming over her.

Graham locates the end of ALC’s radiation trail in the hospital parking lot. Riley guesses that it hitched a ride on someone’s car. He quickly realizes that that car might belong to the Summerses. ALC jumps down on Joyce and spits goo on her. Dawn hears her crying out and goes in to see what’s happening. She smartly grabs a coat rack and hits ALC with it. ALC chases her but she’s able to hide.

Dawn yells for Buffy, who can’t hear her over the sound of running water. She hears her the second time and races upstairs. ALC jumps on her outside Joyce’s bedroom and they both roll down the stairs. ALC skitters off and Buffy grabs a knife from the kitchen before going to look for it. Spike suddenly appears in the house, claiming that he was stealing from the basement. Buffy’s busting him for actually grabbing pictures of her when ALC jumps on him.

Buffy fights off ALC until Spike tosses her the knife she dropped and she stabs the creature to death. Riley, Graham, Ellis, and their buddies burst in moments too late to be helpful. Buffy goes upstairs to let her mother and sister know that their home invader is dead and everything’s okay. You know, except for the tumor that’s still in Joyce’s brain.

Ben is leaving the hospital for the night when he finds Dreg in his car. He thinks Ben is causing chaos and drawing attention to places it shouldn’t be. Ben kicks him out, and Dreg, calling him sir, asks why he summoned ALC. Ben replies that he’s “cleaning up Glory’s mess, just like I’ve done my whole damn life.” Intriguing!

The next day, Joyce returns to the hospital. Alone with Buffy, she reveals that during one of her weird moments, something came to her that she knows sounds crazy, but is still true: Dawn isn’t hers. Buffy reluctantly confirms this. “She does belong to us, though,” Joyce says. Buffy agrees.

Joyce gets that Dawn is important to the world and loves her as much as she loves Buffy. She makes Buffy promise that if anything happens and she doesn’t recover, Buffy will take care of Dawn. Buffy promises. Joyce hugs her and asks what she would do without Buffy. Buffy looks to be thinking the same about Joyce. Sometime later, Joyce is wheeled off to surgery. The Scoobies are all there to see her off.

Thoughts: Nick Chinlund, who plays Ellis, also played Donnie Pfaster.

Seeing Joyce in such a confused state is scarier than most of the supernatural stuff we’ve seen on this show.

Kriegel has developed a better bedside manner since “Shadow.” It’s nice to see.

The book where Xander finds info about the Queller impact is called Meteors and You! Love it.

April 8, 2023

Buffy 5.8, Shadow: Magical Mystery Cure

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 1:18 pm by Jenn

“Hi, one monster-creating bloodstone, please. Yes, I have a coupon”

Summary: Joyce undergoes her CAT scan as Buffy and Dawn wait impatiently for it to be over. Buffy’s a little annoyed with Dawn’s questions about where the name of the test came from, but she stops herself before she says anything mean, knowing her sister is just scared. At the Magic Box, Tara admires the ad Giles has placed for the shop in the phone book. (Kids, ask your parents.) Xander and Willow come in, him complaining that Riley took care of the crypt full of vampires without them. Giles asks all the Scoobies to help research what Glory might be.

Speaking of Glory, she’s set herself up in a mansion and taken on a demon minion named Dreg. He sucks up to her more than anyone has ever sucked up to anyone. He’s brought her a spell that he promises will work. Glory plans to get all the other items she needs for it at the Magic Box, which she knows about because of Giles’ new ad.

Riley goes to the Summerses’ house, letting himself in when no one comes to the door. He finds a discarded blanket in the foyer and catches Spike in Buffy’s bedroom, smelling one of her sweaters. He claims it’s “a predator thing.” Riley drags Spike out of the room and Spike snags something from Buffy’s underwear drawer on the way out. He claims that Buffy wouldn’t have a problem with him being there. They spent a bunch of time together last night.

Riley doesn’t buy that they’re buddies now, so Spike points out that Buffy has had Willow do deinvitation spells on the house twice, but never for him. Riley says it’s because Spike is harmless. “Takes one to know, I suppose,” Spike replies. He tells “white bread” that Buffy has a type, and Riley isn’t it. He’s not dark enough for the Slayer. Riley grabs Spike and holds him outside in the sun, trying to prove his darkness. Spike gets him to back off by telling him that the Summerses are at the hospital. It’s strange that Buffy didn’t tell Riley about Joyce’s CAT scan.

He goes over to the hospital, saying he understands why Buffy didn’t tell him what was going on. She asks him to sit with Dawn while she goes to talk to the doctor and find out the results of the scan. The news is bad: There’s a shadow on the CAT scan, and Joyce needs a biopsy so the doctors can figure out what it is. They’ve told her it’s too early to be concerned. For now, it’s nothing scary – just a shadow.

The Scoobies haven’t had any luck with their research, and Tara wonders if Glory is something other than a demon or sorceress or something else the books cover. Maybe she’s something old – so old that she predates written language. Willow remembers that the Dagon Sphere was created to ward off ancient evil that can’t be named. Giles says that in that case, they have no way of knowing where Glory is or what she’ll do next. She’s actually in the Magic Box right now, buying something, but none of the Scoobies have seen her before, so they think she’s just a regular customer.

Dawn falls asleep at the hospital and Buffy watches as Riley puts his jacket over her like a blanket. Maybe a boyfriend who isn’t dark isn’t so bad after all. The biopsy is over quickly, but the results are terrifying: Joyce has a brain tumor. The doctor tells Buffy that her symptoms might progress quickly. She could lose vision and muscle control, and experience mood swings. There’s not much they can do until they determine whether the tumor is operable. If it’s not, there are a lot of treatments they can try. Joyce’s prognosis is good in medical terms, but not in terms that most people would consider good: Nearly one in three people recover well.

Buffy tries to answer the doctors’ questions about insurance and things Joyce may have been exposed to, but she’s obviously a little distracted. Ben comes over and sends the doctor to the ICU. He noticed that Buffy was struggling and wanted to let her have a break. He promises that, though the doctor isn’t great at relating to people, he’s terrific at his job, and Joyce is in good hands. Buffy laments that there’s nothing she can do for her mother. Ben suggests that she take a break while Joyce is asleep and come back later.

Buffy tells Riley that the situation is bad and she wants to find some sort of magical solution. He gently tells her that people get sick and magic doesn’t always help. She replies that his attitude also isn’t helpful. She has to try. She asks him to take Dawn to school; Buffy’s going to the Magic Box. She doesn’t want Dawn to know anything yet.

Anya looks through receipts at the Magic Box and notices that Giles sold someone an amulet and a bloodstone that should never be used together. An ancient Egyptian cult called the Sobekites used the amulet for transmogrification. Giles doesn’t think there’s anything to worry about – there’s no way the young woman he sold them to would know that kind of magic. The Scoobies quickly realize that the woman was Glory.

Instead of school, Riley takes Dawn to a park, where they eat ice cream by a carousel. Her fake memories tell her that she had her tenth birthday party there. Joyce rented the carousel for an hour for Dawn and her friends, but they’d just moved to Sunnydale and she hadn’t made any friends yet. The Summerses rode it alone, over and over.

Dawn doesn’t think that Joyce is going to get better. Riley promises that she will, since Summers women are tough. Dawn tells him that she’s glad he’s there. Buffy is, too, even if she doesn’t say it. Dawn notes that she cries less with him than she did when she was with Angel. “Everything with him was all ‘eeeeee,’ you know?” she says. “You know, ‘my boyfriend’s a vampire,’ crazy, crazy? Every day was like the end of the world.” Buffy doesn’t get worked up that way about Riley. He’s been good for her. But dang it, Riley wants a girlfriend who gets worked up over him!

Buffy tells the Scoobies about Joyce’s condition and asks for their help finding a magical remedy. Giles reluctantly tells her that there probably isn’t one. When the brain is involved, things are too delicate for magical solutions. Anya mentions that they’ve already screwed things up. Xander lies that she broke something, but it takes Anya a little while to realize that he doesn’t want her to tell Buffy what happened.

Buffy catches on quickly and the Scoobies admit that Glory got some items that can create a monster. Anya busts Giles for selling them to her. He notes that he may have overcharged Glory, if that makes things better. The other positive is that Anya could be on to what Glory’s up to. She tells Buffy about the Sobekites, who worshipped a reptile demon. “Just once, I would like to run into a cult of bunny worshippers,” Xander says. Anya would not – as we know, she’s afraid of bunnies.

The Sobekites’ high priest forged an amulet that can turn a living thing into another living thing. Based on the markings on the bloodstone she bought, Glory’s going to make a cobra. That’s as far as the Scoobies have gotten in figuring out her plans, though. Buffy’s eager to go after Glory and fight her again. The Scoobies don’t think she’s up for it, since Glory fought her so hard last time. Buffy tells them she needs to go do something instead of just sitting around.

Glory also gets proactive, stealing a cobra from the zoo. She tells it that she’s going to make it a star. Dreg does the spell to transmogrify it, but Buffy interrupts and starts beating Glory up. Glory tells Dreg to keep doing the spell as they fight. She eventually throws Buffy into a reptile case, leaving Glory free to witness the rising of her new giant pet cobra. Buffy runs out as Glory tasks the cobra with finding the key.

Riley goes to the Magic Box, where the Scoobies give him a brief summary of what’s going on with Glory. He’s not happy that Buffy’s going after her on her own. Xander’s like, “Yeah, no one in this group should ever go after a dangerous enemy on their own, hint, hint.” Buffy needs something she can fight and solve, but what’s Riley’s excuse for going after all those vampires by himself?

Glory thinks the key is in a holy place, so the cobra (I’ll call it King Cobra) goes to a church first. Ooh, swing and a miss. Buffy calls Giles to let him know that she had no luck fighting Glory, and also, the cobra is on the loose. School’s over and Dawn is on her way to the shop, so Giles promises that the Scoobies will keep her safe. Buffy asks him not to say anything about Joyce, since Dawn doesn’t know how bad things are yet.

Riley goes back to Willy’s and drinks while Buffy waits alone for Joyce to wake up at the hospital. Sandy joins Riley again as Joyce learns the details of her condition. Sandy takes Riley to some dark corner of the bar and bites his neck. He lets her drink his blood for a while, looking like he might enjoy it. After a few moments, he stakes her.

That night, King Cobra slithers through town. It pauses at the carousel, apparently picking up Dawn’s scent. Buffy returns to the Magic Box to get Dawn and find out if anyone’s reported seeing King Cobra. Willow’s just telling her that there’s been no sign of it when it bursts through the window. It heads straight for Dawn, but instead of attacking her, it just turns and goes right back out. Willow thinks it was afraid of her, but Buffy believes differently. “It knows,” she tells Giles.

King Cobra slithers back down the street, scaring and confusing some Sunnydale residents. Buffy chases it on foot until Giles pulls up in his car. King Cobra pulls a Dumpster into their path, which delays them a little. At Glory’s penthouse, Dreg grovels before his master, trying to convince her to be patient. She tells him she’s on a schedule and needs to know where the key is ASAP.

Buffy and Giles follow King Cobra until it goes into a park and Buffy has to chase it on foot again. She grabs a chain from a fence and jumps on the cobra’s back to strangle it. At first it looks like she’s successful, but it’s just playing dead. Buffy ends up punching the snake over and over. They’re just yards away from the mansion. Sorry, Glory – your new pet won’t be able to tell you where the key is.

Buffy goes back to the hospital, where Joyce says she wants to talk to Dawn about her condition alone. Riley comes by, and Buffy tells him that she’s okay physically; her problems right now are mostly emotional. He encourages her to let herself cry, but she wants to stay strong for her mother and sister. She goes back into Joyce’s room, closing the door behind her and leaving Riley alone.

Thoughts: Dreg is played by Kevin Weisman.

I can’t be the only one who thinks of Calvin and Hobbes when they hear the word “transmogrify.”

Sarah Michelle Gellar’s acting in the scene where the doctor tells her the results of the biopsy is perfect. She looks like she’s thinking and feeling ten things at once, all of them bad.

Six adults in the Magic Box and not one of them runs over to protect Dawn from King Cobra. Buffy is the only one with an excuse, since King Cobra pushed something onto her and she was pinned. The rest of them should be ashamed of themselves.

March 25, 2023

Buffy 5.6, Family: A Place in the World

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 1:15 pm by Jenn


Summary: While Miss Kitty Fantastico plays with yarn, Willow asks Tara to tell her a story. Tara makes one up about a kitty who was all alone and was taken to the pound, which was full of different animals, including dolphins and half of a camel. Then the kitty was chosen by nice people and taken home and got a happy ending.

Willow’s ready for bed but Tara wants to read up on some spells. She’s been working hard on magic recently so she can feel more useful to the Scoobies. Willow promises her that she’s essential to the group. They wonder if Buffy found out anything during her return trip to the factory. Willow guesses that if she did, she would have called.

Buffy only called Giles, who has no idea how to respond to the news that Dawn is a key. Buffy doesn’t want to tell her, since she would freak out. They need to keep Dawn safe. Giles suggests sending her away, since Glory must know that Buffy knows what’s going on. They could send Dawn to Hank. Apparently Hank ran off to Spain with his secretary, and he didn’t even get in touch after Buffy let him know that Joyce was sick. JERK.

Buffy says that Dawn cried for a week when their father left. Now she knows that wasn’t real, but she still feels it. The monks sent Dawn to Buffy, and she feels responsible for her not-really sister. She wants to take care of Dawn. Buffy doesn’t think they should let the other Scoobies in on the secret, since they would act weird around Dawn. It’s safer if they don’t know. Giles says they need to find out more about Glory, in case she comes after Buffy. Buffy’s sure she will. Back at the factory, Glory emerges from the rubble of the collapse she caused and says, “Okay. Now I’m upset.”

The next day, the Scoobies help Buffy move out of her gigantic single dorm room. She notices that Giles isn’t exactly contributing. He says he saw himself in more of a “patriarchal role,” pointing and scowling. He demonstrates by snapping at Xander and Riley to stop wrestling with each other. Xander says that Riley called him a bad name, or possibly just something in Latin.

Buffy’s moving back to the Summerses’ house since she’s always there anyway. She notices that Dawn hs disappeared, but it’s just because she’s been removing things from the room like she was supposed to. Buffy’s sore from her fight with Glory, and the Scoobies promise that they’ll provide backup the next time she comes around. Tara says that if Buffy learns Glory’s source, they can introduce her to her insect reflection. Apparently that’s a good joke “if you studied Taglarin mythic rites and are a complete dork.” “Then how come Xander didn’t laugh?” Riley quips. Heh.

When Tara leaves the room, Willow reminds everyone else to be at the Bronze by 8:00 the next night. They completely forgot about Tara’s surprise birthday party. Buffy’s looking forward to a break from the current craziness. Speaking of crazy, Ben notices the admittance of another patient with the symptoms the security guard from the factory had. It seems to be a spreading epidemic. As Ben is changing in the hospital locker room after a shift, a gross-looking demon with a snake-like tongue creeps toward him. Glory holds it back and tells it she needs a favor.

Anya’s already improved her customer-relations skills, thanking a Magic Box customer for shopping there and saying they value her patronage: “Please come again for more purchases!” Giles thinks she’s a little too enthusiastic, but how can she not be? The customers give them money in exchange for items, Giles gives Anya money for working for him, and Anya feels like she has a place in the world. She’s part of the system, a working gal. But she only wants to be part of the system when it involves interesting tasks.

Buffy and Xander come in talking about Tara’s party, which neither of them is really that thrilled to attend. Giles has been looking into Glory, but Buffy didn’t give him much to go on. He asks for more info on what she’s like. “She was kind of like Cordelia, actually,” Buffy tells him. “I’m pretty sure she dyes her hair.” Giles sarcastically replies that that should help him narrow it down.

Xander joins Buffy to do research, and also to talk about presents for Tara. They don’t know her well enough to know what to get her. She’s nice and all, but they don’t really click with her. They anticipate a lot of Wiccans at the party and worry that they won’t fit in. Xander notes that Willow has something new in her life, but she’s still the old Willow, so they get her. All they know about Tara is that she likes Willow, and, as Xander notes, “she already has one of those.” Buffy complains that Tara’s birthday is one too many things for her to worry about. Xander suggests that she train or do something to work off the tension.

Buffy takes his advice that night when she fights Spike in his crypt. He tells her that if she wants him, she can come and get him. She replies that she’s coming right now. Cut to Spike having sex with Harmony while daydreaming about Buffy. Harmony is, as usual, completely clueless.

Giles checks in with Buffy and Xander, asking if they’ve made any progress. They think he’s talking about brainstorming presents for Tara rather than figuring out what Glory is. He reminds them that they’re in a magic shop, so if they can’t figure out what to get a witch while sitting in a room full of things witches like, they’re both idiots. Xander asks what they’re supposed to get Tara, a crystal ball? Giles says no, since he’s already wrapped one.

A customer notices the pile of books Buffy and Xander are looking through, and Giles tells him they’re part of a private collection. The guy asks if the books are full of spells that do things like turn people into frogs. Xander quips that, yes, they’re “building a race of frog people.” The guy asks if everyone there is a witch and jokes that they shouldn’t do a spell on him. Tara and Willow arrive just then (Willow didn’t hear the “insect reflection” joke earlier, and she’s laughing at it now) and Tara is surprised to see the customer. He’s her older brother, Donny.

Tara’s stutter, which had mostly disappeared, returns when she talks to her brother. He tells her they came down to surprise her and have been looking for her all over campus. “They” refers to their father and cousin Beth, who come in next. Willow looks a little disappointed when Tara introduces the Scoobies as her friends but doesn’t single her out as someone more significant. Tara’s relationship with her family isn’t warm at all, but she agrees to have dinner with them.

After the research session, Buffy goes home, where Riley’s been unpacking her stuff for her. Dawn’s about to head out to have dinner at a friend’s house, but Buffy won’t let her go. She says it’s not safe, which makes no sense to Dawn, since the friend lives just across the street. Buffy declares this family night. Plus, she doesn’t think Melinda’s a good influence: “I don’t like you hanging out with someone that…short.” Dawn’s not looking forward to having her controlling big sister living in the house again.

Riley agrees with Dawn that Buffy is being too strict. He senses that something’s going on, but Buffy won’t tell him anything. He offers to contact Graham about helping them figure out what Glory is, but Buffy firmly says no. She thinks it’ll be safer for them the fewer people they get involved. Riley’s annoyed that she seems to be pushing him away. She promises that she wants him to help, but she’s not exactly showing him that.

Tara’s father is waiting for her when she gets home (she and Willoa aren’t in an apartment as I first thought; they have a dorm room in the same dorm Buffy and Willow lived in last season). He thinks she left out all her witchy stuff so he would see it. He snipes that she doesn’t even try to hide it anymore. He’d hoped she’d gotten past “the whole witchcraft thing.”

Tara says that she didn’t know her family was coming. Mr. Maclay thinks she should have. They haven’t heard from her in months, and her birthday is almost here. She knows what that means. Tara starts to say that she doesn’t think it will mean anything. Mr. Maclay reminds her that she’s turning 20, the same age her mother was when she…something. He asks if Tara’s friends know. She says yes, but he can tell she’s lying.

He announces that she’s coming home with her family. “You can’t control what’s going to happen,” he tells her. “You have evil inside of you, and it will come out. And letting yourself work all this magic is only going to make it worse. Where do you think that power comes from?” Tara timidly says that it doesn’t feel evil. “Evil never does,” he replies. He gives her the night to say goodbye; they’re leaving in the morning. He says her family loves her no matter what. Her friends might not feel the same when they see her “true face.”

Glory has chained up the demon in her huge closet full of nice clothes. She’s very unhappy about Buffy’s interference with her plans. The demon IDs Buffy as a Slayer, which makes Glory feel worse. She can’t believe she was bested by someone that common. She tells the demon to gather its friends and kill Buffy.

Willow comes home and tells Tara that Giles has called a Scooby meeting about Glory. Willow wants to try the demon-locating spell they didn’t have luck with last time (because Tara purposely botched it). Tara says her family’s there, so she can’t drop everything to go be a Scooby. Not everything is about them. She backs off and says she’s just tired and has a lot going on. She’ll see Willow in the morning. After Willow leaves, Tara looks up a spell. She sneaks into the Magic Box and performs it without the Scoobies noticing.

Willy’s bar is still in business, though Willy himself isn’t working tonight. Apparently Riley has been coming in a lot. Sandy, who is somehow not dead, joins him at the bar and flirts with him. She invites him to go somewhere private with him, but he says he’s seeing someone. Also, he doesn’t date vampires.

Spike is admiring the head of his Buffy-substitute mannequin when Harmony comes home after a shopping spree. Well, I don’t know if it qualifies as a shopping spree when she stole everything. She ran into another vampire who told her that a demon is recruiting people to help kill Buffy. Spike says he’s happy to hear it. Harmony suggests getting the killers a gift basket if they pull it off. Ha! Spike heads out, saying he wants a front-row seat if they’re successful.

Tara runs into Beth back on campus and tells her she’s not going home with their family. Beth, who’s been very pleasant this whole time, calls her a selfish b^%#$ who doesn’t care about how worried her father has been since she left. Donny and Mr. Maclay have had to take care of themselves (the horror!) while Tara has been in Sunnydale, “living God knows what kind of lifestyle.” Beth is looking forward to the Scoobies finding out the truth about Tara. No matter how innocent she acts, they’ll see the real her. That is, unless Tara did a spell on them. Beth realizes she did and threatens to tell Mr. Maclay.

Tara says she only did a spell so the Scoobies wouldn’t see the demon part of her. She bets Beth not to tell her father. It was a harmless spell. Maybe it was in terms of Tara’s true nature, but it’s blinded the Scoobies to all demons. That means that when a couple of them show up at the Magic Box to kill Buffy, Willow doesn’t see them.

Beth tells Tara that she’s out of control – she’s been lying to her friends for a year, and now she’s done a spell on them. “Is that right? Is that a human thing to do?” she asks. She’s going to tell Mr. Maclay, and she expects that if he doesn’t force Tara to come home with them, he’ll spill everything to the Scoobies. Tara should tell them first, then say goodbye.

Three demons enter the Magic Box and walk around completely unnoticed. Buffy seems to sense them, but she doesn’t get confirmation that they’re there until one growls a little. She starts fighting them and yells for Giles. One of the demons stops Xander from running in to help her, which just confuses Willow, who sees him fighting nothing. They quickly realize they’re dealing with invisible enemies and do the best they can.

Spike arrives, eager to watch Buffy get killed, but it doesn’t take long for him to decide to lend the Scoobies a hand instead. Buffy’s able to get out of the training room and join her friends in the main shop. She tells them to be quiet so she can hear where the demons are. Tara arrives just then and warns her that one is behind her. She realizes that her spell has put the Scoobies in danger, so she quickly ends it.

Tara’s family shows up as Buffy is finishing off the last demon. Spike, who killed one in the training room, comes in and IDs them. Tara apologetically says that she was trying to hide so Willow wouldn’t see what she is. Mr. Maclay announces that the women in the family “have demon in them.” Tara’s mother did. It was the source of her magic. They came to get Tara before this sort of thing started happening.

Giles realizes that Tara did a spell to keep them from seeing demons. The Scoobies aren’t happy about that, but Willow doesn’t want them to write Tara off for doing a spell that went wrong. Mr. Maclay says that Tara isn’t Willow’s concern. She belongs with her family, since they know how to “control her problem.” Willow says that she trusted Tara more than anyone in her life. Was it all a lie? Tara promises it wasn’t.

Willow asks if Tara wants to leave. Mr. Maclay says it’s not her decision. Willow snaps that she knows, then asks Tara again. Tara doesn’t want to go, but Mr. Maclay says it’s what’s right. It should be clear that Tara belongs with her family. Buffy says it is, and if Mr. Maclay wants Tara, he can take her. Tara’s sad to hear that until Buffy adds, “You just gotta go through me.”

Dawn joins her and Mr. Maclay scoffs at the idea of “two little girls” standing in his way. Dawn tells him he doesn’t want to mess with them. Buffy confirms that Dawn fights dirty: “She’s a hair-puller.” Giles stands behind the sisters, saying they’re not the only people the Maclays will have to go through. Xander agrees – the Maclays are dealing with all of them. “‘Cept me,” Spike speaks up. “‘Cept Spike,” Xander confirms. “I don’t care what happens,” Spike says. Mr. Maclay tells the Scoobies that they have no right to get involved here. The Maclays are Tara’s blood kin. Who are the Scoobies? “We’re family,” Buffy says.

Donny threatens to beat his sister if she doesn’t get in the car. Xander threatens him right back. Beth says she hopes the Scoobies will be happy hanging out with a “disgusting demon.” Anya raises her hand to ask what kind of demon Tara is. After all, not all demons are evil; some are “useful members of society.” The Maclays don’t think it matters, since evil is evil. Anya asks them to narrow it down.

Spike decides to lend a hand to answer the question. Literally, he lends a hand by punching Tara in the nose. Willow’s upset on her behalf until she realizes that the action hurt Spike’s head. That means Tara’s human. Spike guesses that the family tells their women that they have demons in them in order to keep them under the men’s control. He’s kind of impressed. Tara’s relieved to realize that she’s not a demon.

Mr. Maclay reminds Tara that her family has cared for her and supported her for her entire life. She just tells him to leave. Beth is angry at her for disturbing the family dynamic, but Tara’s thrilled to be able to live her life the way she wants. It’s the perfect time for a celebration, which the Scoobies have at the Bronze in honor of Tara’s birthday. Even the ones who weren’t excited for the party a couple days ago have a good time.

As Buffy and Riley make up, Tara tries to explain the “insect reflection” joke to Anya. She still doesn’t think it’s funny. Willow comes to get Tara so they can slow dance together. She’s a little bummed that Tara didn’t tell her about her family, but Tara says she was afraid that Willow wouldn’t want to be with her. Instead, Willow’s proud to see how well Tara has come out of what she grew up with. It makes her love Tara more. Tara says that even when she’s at her worst, Willow makes her feel special. How does she do that? Willow smiles and says it’s magic. They embrace as they dance, eventually levitating off the floor.

Thoughts: Beth is played by Amy Adams.

I like the little throwaway moment where Buffy and Xander worry about not fitting in with Tara’s friends, having no idea that she has the same concerns about their group. Everyone feels awkward sometimes! We’re all dorks! Isn’t it great?

In another instance of what I think qualifies as irony, Glory calls Buffy short not long after Buffy says the same thing to Dawn about her friend.

So now we have an answer for why Tara blew the spell in “Goodbye, Iowa” – she thought it would identify her as a demon.

Beth’s criticism of Tara’s use of magic is even more significant if you’ve seen season 6. Tara gets concerned that Willow’s using it too much, and may be thinking of what Beth says here about it not being “a human thing to do.”

March 18, 2023

Buffy 5.5, No Place Like Home: Pull the Curtain Back

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

Glory may hate a lot of things about the world, but she certainly doesn’t hate fashion

Summary: Two months ago: Some monks are running around a very old church, racing to do a ritual to protect something they call a key. As they’re chanting, someone or something pounds on a door, trying to break it down. Just as they finish their ritual, the door is busted down.

Now: Buffy’s fighting a vampire outside an abandoned factory. After she slays him, she runs into a security guard who tells her that if she’s looking for a rave, she’s in the wrong place. He finds a glowing orb on the ground and thinks it belongs to her. It didn’t before, but it does now.

The next morning, Buffy makes breakfast for Joyce, wanting to keep taking care of her after her health scare. Dawn takes credit for the gesture. Joyce is still having headaches, even though the doctors told her they would go away. She’ll have to go back for more tests. Buffy is eager to figure out what’s going on, but Joyce doesn’t seem worried. She thinks her daughters should relax and let her be the mom.

Joyce brings back one of Dawn’s old nicknames, “my little pumpkin belly,” and Buffy asks if she ever got any weird nicknames. “I got some names for ya,” Dawn says. Heh. Joyce sends Buffy to the Magic Box for Giles’ grand reopening. She and Dawn will be having a meeting of their book club tonight. Buffy tries but fails to hide her jealousy that her sister and mother have such a close relationship.

The sisters head to the Magic Box, where Giles has dressed up as a wizard for the grand reopening. Buffy doesn’t approve. The place looks great but no customers have come in. He thinks business will eventually be good, though. Buffy tells him that Joyce is still sick and the doctors haven’t figured anything out. Giles is optimistic about that, too.

Willow and Riley come in next, and Buffy shows them the glowing orb. Giles think it’s paranormal based solely on its shininess. Riley offers to go patrolling with Buffy that night, but Dawn blurts out that Buffy said it would be easier if she didn’t have to look out for him. Dawn can relate, since Buffy never lets her go on patrol, either.

As Buffy’s about to leave with Dawn, Willow asks her to go easy on her sister. Buffy complains that Dawn is even more annoying than usual. Buffy has to be the adult and take care of both Dawn and Joyce instead of being her mother’s little pumpkin belly. Willow reminds her that Dawn is the youngest and the baby; maybe Joyce needs that right now. Buffy admits that she wishes she were an only child.

The sisters go home and find Joyce lying down with another headache. Buffy immediately wants to take her back to the doctor. Joyce asks her to fill a prescription instead. Buffy does, and as she’s leaving the hospital with it, she runs into Ben, Joyce’s doctor. He’s with a patient who’s agitated and doesn’t seem mentally stable. Buffy uses her Slayer strength to help restrain him. Ben jokes that her strength must come from a radioactive spider bite.

The patient grabs the hand Buffy’s holding Joyce’s pills in and says that they won’t make any difference. Buffy recognizes him as the security guard who found her outside the factory. She tells Ben that he’s not crazy, despite how he’s acting right now. “They’re coming at you,” the guard warns her. “Don’t think you’re above it, missy. They come through the family. They get to your family.” She’d like more information on that, but Ben sends him off for treatment. Buffy tells him that Joyce will be better soon – she’s starting to figure out what’s wrong.

In the factory where Buffy fought the vampire, one of the monks from the opening is looking at a map. Someone or something pounds on the door, and the monk calls it the beast. This beast is more of a beauty, though – when the door comes down, a blond woman in a red dress walks through. She’s happy to have found the monk, as she’s been looking all over for him.

Giles makes his first sale at the Magic Box and adorably expresses his excitement to Willow. There are other customers looking around, so chances are that won’t be the only sale of the day. Well, if Anya keeps her mouth shut – when she comes in, she announces that Giles’ conjuring powder is really overpriced. She apologizes, saying she’s bitter because she’s running out of money. (As a vengeance demon, she never had to buy things, so she’s not used to budgeting.) She tells Giles he’s getting ripped off and she can connect him with the troll who sheds the powder.

Buffy comes in to tell Giles that she thinks she knows why Joyce is sick. It’s supernatural. The guard who found the glowing orb went crazy overnight. Giles, Anya, and Willow all hilariously back away from it at the same time. Buffy doesn’t think it’ll hurt them, though, since she had it with her all night and is fine. She thinks the guard can see things that no one else can. Someone’s hurting Joyce to get to Buffy. Giles isn’t sure they should go off of what a crazy guy said, but Buffy figures it’s a good place to start.

The blond woman, who we’ll later learn is named Glory, has tied up the monk at the factory. She doesn’t want to be there – “there” as in “the whole mortal coil” – and everything disgusts her. She thinks the monk has been selfish. She just wants the key, and all he has to do is tell her where it is. Glory is going a little crazy trying to get answers. Instead of telling her anything, the monk invites her to kill him.

Glory wishes that the monk could feel what she’s feeling right now. She’s captured another guard, and he thinks she’s on drugs. He asks to be spared because he has a wife and two kids. Glory ignores him and begs the monk again to tell her where the key is. She feels like he’s torturing her. She starts ranting, as if she’s crazier than the guard at the hospital. Then she sticks her fingers in this guard’s head until she feels better.

Willow and Anya are helping Giles at the Magic Box, which is now full of customers. When Xander comes in, Giles whimpers that there are too many people and they all want stuff. “I hear ya. Stay British,” Xander replies. He goes to the cash register, where Anya needs some work on her customer-relations skills, as she sends someone off after a sale with, “Please go.” When Xander advises her to say, “Have a nice day” instead, she doesn’t get why: “I have their money. Who cares what kind of day they have?” He tells her it’s “a long cultural tradition of raging insincerity. Embrace it.”

As Willow struggles to wrap something pretty unwrappable, Buffy tells Xander that someone put a spell on Joyce to make her sick. She hasn’t made any progress figuring out who it was. Anya and Giles know of a French sorcerer who could do a spell that translates to “pull the curtain back.” It was basically a trance that let people see spells. Spells leave traces, so this “pull the curtain back” spell could let Buffy see what’s affecting Joyce. Willow and Giles don’t think Buffy could handle what it requires, but she says she’ll do whatever it takes.

She enlists Riley to help her, which gives him something to do while he’s not allowed to patrol. He claims he’s fine being normal again. He suggests that instead of Buffy taking care of him, they can take care of each other. Then he ditches her to do the trance on her own. Okay, that seems like a bad idea. Never go hiking alone, and never go into a magical trance alone, especially when you’ve never done it before.

Buffy can’t get the trance started because Dawn won’t leave her alone. She guesses that Buffy’s doing magic and begs to be allowed to watch. When she gets rejected, she threatens to tell Joyce. Oh, is there a rule about magic not being allowed in the house? Doubtful. Buffy finally gets rid of Dawn, and after a while, she gets her trance going. She goes looking for spell traces in the house but doesn’t see anything.

There’s nothing around Joyce, either. In fact, Joyce is feeling a lot better. But while Buffy’s talking to her, she notices something strange about a photo behind her: It’s of Joyce, Dawn, and Buffy, but Dawn keeps flickering in and out. The same thing happens in another photo of the three of them. Buffy goes to Dawn’s room, seeing it both as her sister’s bedroom and as a room for Joyce’s art storage. When Dawn finds her there, she flickers in and out as well. “You’re not my sister,” Buffy says.

As the trance ends, Buffy grabs Dawn and demands to know what she is. She orders Dawn to stay away from Joyce. Giles calls to tell Buffy that the Scoobies have finally discovered something about the orb. It’s called a Dagon Sphere, and it’s a protective device used to ward off ancient evil. There’s no info on what that evil looks like, and accounts are pretty vague. The Dagon Sphere was made to “repel that which cannot be named.”

Buffy decides to go back to the factory. Giles warns her to be very careful – anything that isn’t named is usually the subject of worship or fear, sometimes both. He asks about the trance and Buffy starts to tell him about Dawn. But Dawn’s in the room, so she says that the trance didn’t work. Buffy heads out on Slayer business (I guess Dawn’s allowed to stay home alone now), saying she’ll be home before Joyce gets back.

On her way out, Buffy senses someone around and yanks Spike out of the shadows. She punches him and demands to know what he’s doing there in five words or less. “Out for a walk,” he replies, counting his words. When he realizes he has one left, he adds, “B&^$%.” Buffy calls him William and says she doesn’t have time for him. He claims he’s just passing by on his way somewhere else. Also, he never really liked her, and she has stupid hair. Ohhh, someone’s still feeling the effects of his make-out dream! Dawn watches from a window as Buffy sees a bunch of cigarette butts on the ground, indicting that Spike was there for a while.

Buffy returns to the factory and sees the door Glory broke down. Joyce gets home, where Dawn greets her with some tea. She says Joyce doesn’t need to worry about Buffy. Buffy finds the monk and guesses that he’s the one who planted the Dagon Sphere. Glory sneaks up on her, but Buffy can sense her coming. She thinks she’s pretty capable of defeating Glory, but when Glory throws her into a wall and breaks it, Buffy realizes she’ll need to reconsider that.

The workday is done and the Scoobies are exhausted from serving customers all day. Well, except for Anya, who’s invigorated and has lots of ideas for how Giles can make even more money. He offers her a job and she happily accepts. Glory keeps throwing Buffy around at the factory, planning to beat her to death, even though it’s going to take up a lot of her precious time. She wonders if ripping Buffy in half will give her two Buffys.

Buffy fights back and Glory objects. She realizes that Buffy has superpowers and wonders if she can fly. If sliding across the floor after being thrown counts as flying, then yes. Buffy gets that she’s not going to win this one, so she grabs the monk and jumps out a window with him. Glory’s less upset about that than she is about one of her shoes breaking. She stomps on the ground, which shakes the building so much that it collapses.

Outside, the monk thinks he’s dying, so he tells Buffy that she needs to protect the key. If she doesn’t, a lot of people will die. He explains that the key is energy – a portal. Like a typical key, it opens a door. Buffy thinks he means the Dagon Sphere. The monk says that the key had no form for centuries. The monks protected it until “the abomination” found them and they had to hide it. They made it human and sent it to Buffy. Buffy realizes that Dawn is the key.

She’s upset that the monks put something in her house and messed with her and Joyce’s memories. She demands that he reverse everything. The monk tells her she can’t get out of this. Buffy asks what Dawn is, exactly. The monk says she’s human now. She’s helpless and is an innocent. Buffy needs to protect her. She may know that Dawn isn’t her sister, but Dawn is clueless about that. The monk dies, leaving Buffy with a million unanswered questions

She goes home and finds Joyce and Dawn cuddling on the couch. Dawn leaves the room, anticipating that Buffy will accuse her of bothering Joyce. Buffy tells Joyce they’re just dealing with “sister stuff.” She apologizes to Dawn for their fight, and Dawn shares her theory that Buffy isn’t really her sister – Joyce adopted her from a shoebox full of howler monkeys. Buffy complains that Dawn can’t take an apology. She’s never been able to. Dawn’s still a little mad, but she’s also scared for Joyce. Buffy has to admit that she doesn’t know what’s wrong with their mother.

Thoughts: I wonder if the first part of the season would have been better if we hadn’t been told right away that Dawn was the key. They could have let us be detectives for a little while.

“No Place Like Home” seems like a weak title until you realize that it and “pull the curtain back” are both Wizard of Oz references. Oh, and Giles dressed up as a wizard! It’s like a whole theme!

Speaking of which, here’s the Buffy/Wizard Giles scene, which is too good not to share.

Dawn, knocking on Buffy’s door: “What are you doing?” Buffy: “My boyfriend.” Ha!

March 11, 2023

Buffy 5.4, Out of My Mind: Power Surge

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

Spike’s insurance provider is I Punch You in the Face and You Do What I Tell You

Summary: Buffy’s in a cemetery, watching for vampires from the top of a mausoleum. She takes off running, stops, then bends down to stake a vampire just as he’s coming out of his grave. Another vampire rises and she fights with him until Riley runs in and takes him down. He thought she was in another section of the cemetery and just wanted to help.

Another vampire emerges from a grave, and this time Spike jumps into the action. Buffy wonders why she even patrols anymore. She shoves Spike out of the way just as a fourth vampire starts to attack him. She tells him to stop getting in her way, and Riley backs her up. Spike notices that Buffy doesn’t seem excited to have Riley there, either.

Buffy and Riley leave together, and she tries to get through to him that she doesn’t like it when he patrols alone. He just doesn’t appreciate being left out. He wants to do more slaying, but it doesn’t look like there’s anything left to slay (other than Spike). As they head out, Spike vows to kill Buffy. Then he falls into an open grave. Womp womp.

The next day, I guess, Buffy and Willow have a debate about the French revolution. Willow’s thrilled that they’re having a school-related conversation, something she’s wanted with her best friend forever. Buffy’s trying harder in school, but she’s also doing more training and studying with Giles. She expected a movie-like montage, but instead she’s just working a lot and getting headaches.

Giles is also working hard, trying to spiff up the Magic Box with help from Xander, Anya, and Tara. Willow’s excited to get her witch supplies there. Tara thinks they should have a psychic read fortunes in the shop. Willow suggests that Tara do it, though Tara doesn’t think she’s good enough. Willow offers up her hand for some palm-reading, and the two of them flirt a little. Buffy, Giles, and Xander head into the new training area, where Riley tackles Buffy. She loves the room, which includes a punching bag, a pommel horse, and a dummy/scarecrow.

That night, Spike is watching Dawson’s Creek in his crypt when Harmony shows up. She thinks Buffy’s looking for her on patrol. Harmony had to go on the lam, since she’s Buffy’s new arch-nemesis. She begs to hide out with Spike, who’s clearly willing to take her in if it means their clothes will come off. She has no problem with that.

She steals one of his cigarettes, having taken up smoking since that’s what villains do and she sees herself as a villain now. Spike tells her that Buffy will hunt her down until she’s dead. Harmony should kill her first. “I tried! It was all hard and stuff!” Harmony whines. She thinks Spike should do it instead. He’d love to, but he can’t while he has the chip in his head. Harmony gives in and says she’ll do it, as long as Spike helps “with the thinking.” Elsewhere, Buffy has followed patrolling with sex, and Riley’s eager for another round.

Dawn nabs the prize from a cereal box the next morning, then requests eggs for breakfast. As Joyce is serving them, she suddenly stops in her tracks and asks, “Who are you?” before collapsing. Dawn quickly calls 911, and Buffy and Riley meet her at the hospital. Joyce’s doctor, Ben, tells them that Joyce is doing better, but they’re not sure why she collapsed. Dawn plays with his stethoscope, which lets her hear that Buffy and Ben’s heart rates are normal, but Riley’s is super-fast.

Riley gets examined but doesn’t listen to his doctor’s recommendation that he stay for observation. Buffy remains quiet, knowing she won’t be able to talk him out of leaving against medical advice. He thinks his heart just works differently now, after all the stuff the Initiative did to him. Joyce is also leaving, after undergoing a bunch of tests.

Buffy, Dawn, and Willow tend to her when she gets home, then discuss Riley’s situation. Buffy wants to do something, but she’s not sure what. Dawn just offers up facts about the CIA and Fidel Castro. Shh, Dawn. Willow suggests that Buffy call the Initiative – if they know what’s wrong with Riley, they’ll have to help.

Buffy notes that all traces of the group have been erased, so she doesn’t know how to reach them. She’s annoyed that, like Big Brother, the government can spy on you all the time, then ignore you when you actually have something to say. “Sounds more like big sister,” Dawn grumbles. She thinks that if the government really is spying on Buffy, all she has to do is say something they can hear. Riley isn’t at his place (wherever that is now) when Buffy goes looking for him there, so she picks up the phone and says, “Riley’s in trouble. He needs help.”

He doesn’t need help on the basketball court, though, as he’s single-handedly beating everyone he’s playing in a pickup game. Graham shows up with a couple of agents and tells him he needs medical treatment immediately. Riley has no interest in going anywhere the government can take advantage of him again.

Graham, who’s still working for them, promises that he wouldn’t let anything happen to his friend, but Riley can’t trust the orders Graham is following. Graham acknowledges that Walsh messed with them, Riley the worst. He needs to get fixed up ASAP, and Graham won’t give him a choice. Riley seems like he’s going to give in, but instead, he punches Graham out. He fights off the other agents and takes off.

Buffy’s understandably upset when she meets up with Graham to discuss Riley. He tells her that Riley has “hyper-adrenal overload,” which makes him stronger than he should be. His heart won’t be able to take it much longer. There’s a specialist waiting at the hospital. Buffy promises to get Riley there, threatening to beat Graham up if he tells her to hurry.

The Scoobies gather at the Magic Box to discuss how Riley’s gone AWOL. Xander thinks he just needs time alone. He had a friend once who liked a girl and was worried that she didn’t like him back, so it made him act like a jerk. Confused, Willow asks what he’s talking about. Xander replies that maybe Riley just wants attention. Anya assures him that she cares about him, and he shouldn’t be insecure. She has a friend who likes his friend, and…okay, that’s not important right now.

Buffy sends the Scoobies off to search places where Riley might be hanging out. Willow suggests the school ruins, since he stayed there for a while and might find them “homey.” That makes Buffy think that he went back to the Initiative’s caves. She just doesn’t know them well enough to search them. “We do have an associate who knows those caves like the back of his melanin-deprived hand,” Giles notes. Buffy doesn’t want to deal with Spike right now; he’s been making her want to kill him even more than usual. She’s sure he’s up to something nasty, hanging out in his crypt all day.

Not right now, he’s not – he and Harmony are playing 20 Questions. The thing she’s thinking of isn’t bigger or smaller than a breadbox; it’s an actual breadbox. She hides when they hear banging on the door just before Buffy bursts in. She offers him money to find Riley and take him to the hospital. “Oh, dear, is the enormous hall monitor sick?” Spike snarks. Buffy slaps him and tells him Riley isn’t the only person who can die. Spike asks for half his money up front, so Buffy rips the bills in half and throws them at him. After she leaves, Harmony emerges from her hiding place and asks what Buffy said about her.

Graham checks in with the doctor, Overheiser, who warns that it might already be too late for Riley. Spike and Harmony come in, knock out Graham, and tell Overheiser that he has a new patient. They take him to an operating room at UC Sunnydale’s med school and order him to remove the chip from Spike’s head. Overheiser says he can’t. It’s deeply embedded and removing it could cause permanent damage. Spike thinks that the crossbow Harmony is pointing at Overheiser is enough motivation for him to operate successfully.

Willow and Tara check out the school ruins, which are dark. Willow does a lighting spell she tweaked to be brighter. Buffy’s in the caves, where she finds Riley punching a wall. His hand is bleeding but he doesn’t feel any pain. She insists on taking him to Overheiser, but Riley doesn’t want treatment from a government doctor when the government made him the way he is. Buffy says that Overheiser is the only one who understands what’s wrong with him. Riley, however, doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with him. He’s more powerful than most people could even dream of being.

Buffy tells him that his body isn’t equipped to handle the stress this new power is putting on it. He thinks he can handle it, and he tells her to back off. She doesn’t understand why he’s acting the way he is. Riley admits that he’s afraid of going back to being normal. He doesn’t think he’d be enough for her. After all, her last boyfriend wasn’t a “civilian.”

Buffy is frustrated that Riley’s willing to endanger his life because he’s feeling competitive about Angel. Riley says it’s about them – Buffy’s getting stronger and more powerful every day, which puts her further and further from his reach. She tells him she’s not the one running away. She can’t believe that he thinks she’ll dump him because he’s “not in the super-club.” He says it’s human nature.

She tells him that no one has ever known her the way he does. He must not think much of her if he believes she’s only with him because he’s strong. If Buffy wanted someone with super-powers, she’d date Spike. She needs Riley, and that means he needs to be healthy. If he wants to throw it all away because he doesn’t trust her, fine, but she’ll still make him go to see Overheiser. Riley gives in, then tells her that loving her is the scariest thing he’s ever done. She replies that she doesn’t know why.

Overheiser digs around in Spike’s brain while Harmony observes. She’s intrigued by the fact that he’s still awake, since he was only given local anesthesia. She claims that since the chip keeps him from hurting living things, he can’t even pick flowers. Overheiser begs her to shut up. Buffy and Riley find Graham, who tells them that Spike and a blonde knocked him out. Buffy guesses the blonde is Harmony, and that they took Overheiser to make him remove Spike’s chip. Riley’s starting to power down, so they need to find Overheiser quickly.

Graham heads off to send people to check local clinics and animal hospitals. Riley wants to make up with him, but Graham says that can wait until later, assuming Riley survives all this. Buffy insists that he will. She starts brainstorming how she’ll kill Spike when this is over. Coincidentally, he’s brainstorming what he’ll do to her. Harmony, who’s smoking again, excitedly spots the chip in his brain. Overheiser declares the operation over, and Spike eagerly anticipates being stitched up so he can go kill Buffy.

Once Overheiser is done, Spike declares his intent to make him an appetizer. Buffy and Riley arrive just then and face off with the vampires. Spike announces that his “bug-zapper” is gone, which Buffy thinks makes him fair game for slaying now. Harmony accidentally shoots Riley with the crossbow, and he fights her while Buffy and Spike fight each other. Spike gets Buffy on the ground and moves to bite her, but pain in his head keeps him from doing it. Riley is similarly incapacitated and goes down.

As Buffy checks on him, Spike looks in the dish where Overheiser supposedly put the chip after he removed it. It contains a penny. Harmony’s back was turned when he pulled out the “chip,” so she and Spike only heard something hit the bottom of the dish and assumed it was the chip. Overheiser reminds Spike that he said he couldn’t remove it. Spike and Harmony flee as Overheiser goes over to help Riley. Spike complains that Buffy is everywhere he turns. She’s made it her personal project to torture him. He can’t get rid of her; she’s haunting him. He declares that it has to end.

Riley’s surgery was much more successful, and he tells Buffy he’s back to normal, whatever that is now. She makes it clear that she’s not going anywhere. Well, not long-term. Right now, she wants to go check on Joyce. Graham tells Riley that it’s a good thing Buffy found him when she did. She’s always impressed him. But he doesn’t think Riley belongs in Sunnydale: “You’re nothing here.” He used to have a mission, but now he’s just the Slayer’s boyfriend. He belongs in the military.

Buffy bursts into Spike’s crypt and complains about the mess he made. She’s done with him, and she should have killed him years ago. He tells her to do it already – it’ll end his torment. He’s sick of seeing her everywhere he goes. “Take me out of a world that has you in it,” he says. Buffy moves to stake him, but she stops. He grabs her and kisses her. She jumps back after a moment, then approaches him and kisses him some more. She whispers that she wants him, and he replies that he loves her.

Spike wakes from this dream with a gasp. Harmony’s the only blonde in his crypt. “Please, no,” he says.

Thoughts: This episode really overestimates how much the viewers care about Riley.

Giles suggesting that Buffy team up with Spike feels out of character.

There’s a funny moment when Overheiser tells Harmony to put out her cigarette, since smoking isn’t allowed. She resists until he points out a no-smoking sign. Then she gets really apologetic. And that’s why Harmony isn’t the new Big Bad.