November 26, 2022

Buffy 4.11, Doomed: Aftershocks

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

What other picture would I use here?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 19, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 12, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 5, 2022

Buffy 4.8, Pangs: Just Like Old Times

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 29, 2022

Buffy 4.7, The Initiative: Peculiar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 22, 2022

Buffy 4.6, Wild at Heart: The Animal Inside

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 1:12 pm by Jenn

Get out of here, annoying chick

Summary: Buffy’s running across campus, being chased by a vampire, in an effort to get him away from any other students who might see them. She taunts him for trying to grab an easy meal and accidentally targeting the Slayer. She makes a quip about a late meal and heartburn before staking him, disappointed that he didn’t appreciate it. Well, to be fair, she didn’t give him a chance to respond. Spike watches from nearby, eager to become her worst enemy again. But before he can do a real villain monologue, he’s tazed and captured by commandos.

The next night, the Scoobies hang out at the Bronze, wanting a little familiarity now that their lives have changed. Giles pops up, making Buffy think he’s come to report some trouble. No, he just wanted to join the fun. He claims he’s “down with the new music.” Veruca’s band is performing again, and just like last time, she and Oz lock eyes while she’s singing. Buffy senses Willow’s discomfort and tries to distract Oz, but it doesn’t work. They downplay how talented Veruca is, but Giles doesn’t take the hint.

Willow spends the night at Oz’s and he wakes up to her talking in her sleep (something about a sandblaster, then “all Geminis to the raspberry hats,” though that’s just her teasing him). She has to get to class, so they can’t lounge around. She tries to make plans for that night, but it’s the first of three full moon nights, so Oz will be a little busy. Willow decides to check out a campus Wicca group instead.

Buffy got an A on a paper for Walsh’s class, and Walsh is so impressed that she asks her to lead a class discussion on the topic she wrote about. Willow’s proud of her, but also jealous since her grade wasn’t as good. That just makes Willow even prouder. Buffy wishes Walsh’s reward system was better than assigning her more work.

Oz runs into Veruca on campus and they talk about music. Willow spots them together and manages to play it cool, though her version of cool is still awkward. Oz has to leave, which just makes things even more awkward. Fortunately, Veruca leaves as well, and Buffy joins Willow, who’s all self-conscious now. Buffy doesn’t think it’s a big deal if Oz is checking out someone else – he loves Willow. Willow doesn’t want to make a big deal out of it, either. She just feels guilty when she checks out other guys, so maybe Oz should do the same. Buffy is sure that he’ll get past this soon.

Oz no longer has access to the book cage at the school (since the school no longer has a book cage…or a library…or anything else), so he locks himself up in an underground crypt where he’s installed a cage door. But it isn’t very strong and he easily breaks through it. He goes after Walsh on campus, and though she’s able to get away from him, she runs into…another werewolf. She jumps out of the way and the two wolves attack each other instead of her. Soon their fighting turns to something a bit friendlier. When the sun comes up in the morning, Oz wakes up next to his new werewolf buddy: Veruca.

He doesn’t remember what happened, which she says is normal; he’ll start remembering things soon. She jokes that she’s a “werewolf groupie,” then confirms that she’s actually a werewolf. She thinks Oz figured it out the moment he first saw her. They raid a dorm laundry room for clothes as he wonders how he got out of his cage. Veruca is a free-range werewolf, and she thinks Oz cages himself because he wants to deny who he is.

He says he’s only a wolf three nights a month. Veruca corrects that he’s a wolf all the time, and his human form is just a disguise. Oz leaves to check the newspaper and see if they did any damage. “Oh, we did, but only to each other,” she replies. “I know some part of you remembers that.” She suggests that they go for another round of sex. Oz tells her last night was it and this ends now.

Veruca wants to help him accept that he’s a powerful creature. She feels sorry for humans, who don’t get what it’s like to feel as alive and free as they do. Oz doesn’t want that freedom if it leads to killing. She’s sure that he’ll eventually understand and agree that they belong together. “I know where I belong,” he tells her. But she thinks they’ll see each other again that night.

Walsh tells Riley about her near-attack the night before, then warns Buffy to be careful on campus, since there appear to be huge wild dogs around. Willow goes to Oz’s dressed in a Veruca-type outfit and apologizes for any weirdness she exhibited the day before around him and Veruca. Oz is too distracted to even think about that. She wants sex, but Oz is scraped up from his night with Veruca and also definitely not in the mood. She leaves, disappointed.

Buffy goes to Giles’ to tell him about the “wild dogs” Walsh saw. He says he’ll look for any news reports about attacks while Buffy talks to Oz. Willow visits Xander, who’s on a rent strike since his mom won’t let him put a lock on his door. Apparently she’s afraid he’ll start having sex down in the basement. (Oh, Mrs. Harris, he already has.) Willow confides in him about Oz and his disinterest in sex, and asks if that’s a bad sign. Xander thinks he’s just preoccupied, but she thinks it has to do with Veruca. Xander advises her to talk to him about it.

Oz does some soldering on his cage door in hopes that he won’t get out again that night. Buffy comes by and assures him that there haven’t been any reported attacks. She mentions Walsh’s encounter with two werewolves and he lies that he doesn’t know anything about a second one. Buffy says that if she finds one on patrol tonight, Oz will have some company in his cage. She notes that he’s “more monosyllabic than usual,” but he claims he’s fine.

While Veruca’s band practices, Oz frets by himself and Willow has trouble concentrating on the discussion at the Wicca group. When the sun starts setting, Veruca shows up at Oz’s “Habitrail” – he called here there because he wants her in a cage tonight. He warns that people will be out hunting for her. He’s willing to be in close proximity with her all night if it means they and the innocent people of Sunnydale are safe. Veruca talks about the shift to werewolf form like it’s sex. She’s wanted Oz since before she ever saw him. She asks if he sensed her like she sensed him. Unable to fight his instincts, Oz grabs her and they make out.

The next morning, Willow comes by with breakfast and finds Oz and Veruca asleep together, naked. Oz tries to explain why they’re both in the cage, but it’s no excuse for what they did. Willow notes that he could have told someone instead of just locking himself up with Veruca. Veruca says she has a point, like, hon, this is not the time to get involved. Oz barks at her to leave, the loudest he’s ever been in three seasons on the show.

Willow cries and says she knew something was going on. She’s upset that Oz told her everything was fine. “I know how it feels. I remember,” he replies. Ooooh, wrong thing to say! Willow doesn’t think there’s any comparison here, considering what she and Oz had. Oz admits that he’s not sure what he and Veruca did. When he changes, it’s like he disappears and the wolf part of him takes over.

Willow points out that something was going on between him and Veruca before the full moon. It’s like he wanted her “in an animal way.” Maybe more than he wanted Willow. Oz doesn’t respond, which is enough of an answer for her. She runs off and goes for a walk downtown. She’s so distracted that she walks into traffic. Buffy’s nearby and spots her, calling out her name. But it’s Riley who comes to Willow’s rescue, pulling her to safety.

Buffy takes Willow to their room, and after hearing what happened, she announces that she needs to find Veruca before the sun goes down. She’s reluctant to leave Willow alone, and she encourages Willow to blame the responsible parties here, not hurt herself. Willow says she’s fine, then raids Buffy’s weapons chest.

Buffy goes to Oz’s and asks where Veruca is. Oz hasn’t had any luck tracking her down but offers to take Buffy to the places she might go. He tries to explain himself to Buffy, who tells him this would be a good time for his “trademark stoicism.” Back on campus, Willow does a spell to end Oz and Veruca’s feelings for each other. Her beakers and book start levitating.

Oz tracks Veruca’s scent, but only to the clothes Buffy thinks she’s discarded to fool him. Oz quickly guesses that Veruca is going after Willow. He and Buffy race back to the dorm, but on the way, Buffy runs into a commando. Willow can’t bring herself to finish her spell. When Veruca finds her, she says she actually believed for a minute that Willow might “play rough.” She locks the door to the lab they’re in and says sometimes you have to fight dirty “to keep what’s yours.” Sometimes you even have to kill. She notes that the sun is almost down.

Buffy and the commando tussle for a moment, then go their separate ways. Veruca taunts that Willow couldn’t do her spell because she doesn’t have the teeth for it. She gets under Willow’s skin by saying she has Oz’s scent on her. Oz shows up as Veruca’s about to attack and tells her to hurt him instead. Veruca thinks Willow’s the reason Oz has domesticated himself. When she’s gone, he’ll be able to admit who he is.

“You don’t want to find out what I am,” he replies as he starts to shift. “You’re an animal. Animals kill,” Veruca says. “You’re right. We kill,” he agrees before attacking her. The two fight as they continue changing into their wolf forms. It’s vicious, and it ends with Oz biting Veruca’s throat. He turns on Willow, but Buffy arrives in time to pull him away from her and tranq him. She rushes to Willow, who starts sobbing.

The next day, Buffy fills Giles in on the commando and the ones she saw on Halloween. Because of the one she saw last night, she almost didn’t catch up with Oz in time to save Willow. Giles thinks she should focus on her rescue instead of the fact that she couldn’t stop Oz from killing Veruca. Buffy says that Willow wishes she hadn’t been saved. She’s devastated. Giles knows that Buffy got through her own pain when Angel died, but Buffy notes that that involved running away and going to Hell first. She hopes Willow doesn’t try that. She doesn’t know how the Scoobies will deal with this.

Well, Oz is dealing the same way Buffy did after Angel’s death: He’s leaving town. Willow would like a vote on his decision, but he needs to find a way to separate himself from the wolf inside him. Until he does, he shouldn’t be around her or anyone else. He doesn’t know how long he’ll be gone. “Oz, don’t you love me?” Willow asks emotionally. “My whole life, I’ve never loved anything else,” he replies. They embrace and he kisses her forehead, then leaves. He pauses before he drives off, as if he’s changed his mind, but he remembers why he’s doing this and keeps going.

Thoughts: It’s fitting that this episode’s initials are WAH because it makes me go, “WAAAAAAH!”

Willow: “How come you didn’t tell me I look like a crazy birthday cake in this shirt?” Buffy: “I thought that was the point.” Heh. Also, don’t open a can of worms about your wardrobe, Willow. (That said, I really like the shirt she wears when she finds Oz and Veruca together.)

The Oz/Veruca tease was originally intended to go on longer, but Seth Green decided to leave the show. In that way, it’s good that he did because any more than a couple episodes of that would have been torture.

October 15, 2022

Buffy 4.5, Beer Bad: The Pleasure Principle Gone Wild

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

Art bad

Summary: Buffy’s on patrol and things are going the way they normally do…until she realizes that Parker is nearby. She tells him to stay down while she fights a vampire. Some other vampires grab Parker, but Buffy’s able to kill all of them and save him. He’s super-grateful, especially considering the way he treated her. He plans to do whatever it takes to make it up to her. Maybe someday she’ll forgive him?

“No,” says a classmate Parker’s flirting with during one of Professor Walsh’s classes. Buffy comes out of her daydream and tries to ignore them. Walsh talks to the class about the basic needs people want all the time (shelter, food, comfort) because of the id. It doesn’t learn or grow up. The ego and superego try to keep it in line, but the id just wants stuff, no matter how much people have evolved. It’s all about the pleasure principle. So when we can’t have what we want…well, if we’re Buffy, we go back to our daydream, which now features Parker with his shirt unbuttoned, asking for forgiveness while offering flowers and ice cream.

Xander has gotten a job as a bartender at a local pub, and he wants to practice his skills on Buffy and Willow – not skills related to serving drinks but to lighting people’s cigarettes and listening to sad drunks share their sad tales. Willow notes that he’s too young to be a bartender. Xander shows her his fake ID, which includes a picture of him with a really bad mustache. “I don’t believe this is entirely on the up-and-up,” Willow says. “What gives it away?” Xander asks. “Looking at it,” she replies.

Buffy would be happy to play along with Xander’s practice run and tell him her pretend problems, but she’s having enough trouble with her real ones. He wants to practice on those, but it’s clear that she doesn’t want to talk about them. Willow jumps in, making up a scenario where she’s pregnant with her stepbrother’s baby, but he’d rather be with her best friend.

On the way to class, Buffy shifts to her real problems, wondering if Parker put her in a fantasy bubble and will eventually want to be with the real her. Willow gently tells her that she needs to think about something other than Parker. There are better men out there who know that “the mind is stronger than the penis.” Xander scoffs and exclaims, “Nothing can defeat the penis!” He realizes he said that way too loudly. Buffy tries to defend Parker, thinking he has intimacy problems because of his father’s death. Willow’s done with that and tells her to share her problems with the bartender.

That night, Xander works his first shift at the pub and is quickly overwhelmed by all the orders. Buffy comes in, spots Parker with a date, and accidentally bumps into Riley. He, like Willow, is anti-Parker, but Buffy’s too laser-focused on Parker to listen. I need someone to shake her really, really hard until she comes to her senses and realizes that she can do so much better than Parker.

At the bar, Xander chats with a student with horrible bangs, but a guy named Colm (I think – two of the guys look a lot alike and the IMDb is no help) interrupts and makes Xander look dumb for not being an intellectual. He tells Xander that while the students are the future of the country, Xander just fills the bowls of peanuts. “We are what these girls want,” Colm says. Xander tries to one-up him by asking for ID before giving him a pitcher of beer, but his boss, Jack, walks by and tells Xander to serve him.

Xander finally gets the chance to put his empathetic-listening skills to use when he notices how down Buffy looks. She tells him that Parker’s only intimacy problem is not being able to get enough of it. She admits that she knew what he was. Would it be murder if she left him tied up in a cave and let vampires attack him? She calls herself a slut and an idiot. Xander tries to comfort her but he gets called back to work.

Buffy starts to leave but bumps into a guy who’s friends with Colm. He invites her to stay, and Colm and a third guy join in to flirt with her and ask her to hang out with them. Buffy spots Parker leaving with his date and decides this is the better place to be right now. Yeah, surrounded by snobby college guys – that sounds like an awesome night!

Oz and Willow are at the Bronze, where he gets a weird feeling as a band takes the stage. The lead singer is Veruca, and she locks eyes with him while she sings. Now Willow has a weird feeling, too. Back at the pub, Buffy drinks with a table of guys. She was brought up to believe that beer was bad (thanks, Joyce), but since she’s chugging it, she must not think that way anymore. Colm says that if philosophers had developed theories of morality while drinking, there would be no good or evil, just “‘kind of nice’ and ‘pretty cool.'”

The next day, Willow complains to herself about Oz and Veruca’s connection. She asks if Buffy has heard of Veruca: “Dresses like Faith, voice like an albatross.” Buffy’s too busy watching TV to listen to her. All her brain can handle right now is the tiny people and bright colors. “I’m suffering the afterness of a bad night of…badness,” she explains. Willow thinks she hooked up with Parker again. Buffy says she was with four smart guys, which disturbs Willow a little, though she just asks if Buffy’s okay.

Buffy explains that she went to see Xander, then saw Parker, then drank beer. There was no sex, just lots of drinking. Willow rants about Parker frying Buffy’s brain. He deserves a slow, torturous death by spider bites. Until they can set that up, they’ll throw spitballs at him in class. Buffy agrees and starts to leave, still wearing her pajamas.

In Walsh’s class, Buffy continues acting weird. She grabs a sandwich from a classmate, apparently not seeing anything strange about that. In a lab somewhere, someone combines a bunch of chemicals that ultimately drip into a keg labeled Black Frost, the same kind of beer Buffy was drinking with the guys at the pub.

Buffy goes back to the pub that night and drinks with the guys again. Their conversation style has changed from intellectual to barely able to string five words together. Xander’s so concerned that he doesn’t take pick up on the perfect opportunity to put his empathetic-listening skills to use with a student.

Oz catches Willow as she’s leaving her dorm, and she notes that he skipped class. He invites her to go see Veruca’s band with him; they asked him to sit in. Willow doesn’t want to be a groupie, so she tells him she’s just going to study. Even without werewolf instincts or enhanced senses, Oz would be able to tell that something’s going on with her.

Buffy and her drinking buddies’ conversation has devolved into them just calling each other stupid. Xander puts a song on the jukebox and Buffy runs over to see where the music’s coming from. He tells her it’s time to go home, but she just wants more music and beer. He informs her that he’s cut her off. “Did it hurt?” she asks. He has to hold her back from going back to the table and drinking more. “Beer good,” she insists. “Beer bad,” he corrects, then wonders what he’s saying. He sends her home to bed.

Willow goes to a coffeehouse, where runs into Parker. She glares at him until he asks if she wants something. She slams him for hurting Buffy, but he claims not to understand that he did anything wrong. Parker says some relationships are intimate, but most are just a couple of people encountering each other briefly. Can’t two people feel attraction and “create something wonderful” one night, then go back to their lives the next day without making more out of the encounter than it was?

Willow explains that some people, like her and Buffy, equate intimacy with respect and friendship. People shouldn’t have to ask ahead of time if the other person is going to move on the next day. Parker argues that they also shouldn’t have to go into casual sex with the disclaimer that they won’t stay together. That removes the fire from it. Willow concedes that he might be right. Parker says he doesn’t regret what happened with Buffy, but he’s sorry for hurting and misleading her. He’s impressed that Willow cares about her so much.

The guys at the pub have now devolved so much that they’re basically monkeys. Xander’s closing things down, and he takes advantage of their poor mental state to get a bigger tip. He hears crashing noises from the restroom, and Colm bursts out, now fully a caveman. He knocks Xander out, then yells him awake. The other guys have suddenly sobered and smartened up a little, and they realize they should leave, but before they can, they also go full caveman.

Xander yells for help, then realizes he might be able to save himself: The lighter he’s been carrying around with him spooks them. “Fire bad. Fire pretty,” Colm says. “Fire angry!” Xander exclaims, chasing the guys off. He runs to the backroom to get Jack, calmly telling him that some of the patrons have turned into cavemen. “They had it coming,” Jack says.

The cavemen run around campus, generally acting like…you know, cavemen. One trips and another laughs at him, so the first one hits him with a branch. Jack tells Xander that he’s been dealing with – and annoyed by – snooty college kids for decades. Beer makes everyone equal. Xander puts together that the beer is responsible for the guys’ devolution. Jack is proud of himself; his warlock brother-in-law showed him what to do. Xander realizes that Buffy could be suffering the same fate. Jack tells him the effects will wear off in a day or so, but Xander knows someone could get killed before then.

The cavemen make a mess on campus as one of them gets really interested in cars. He gets hit by one, and the other three guys chase off the driver, then smash his car. They spot a couple of women running away in fear and go after them. What kind of alert do you put out on campus to let people know there are cavemen running around? Is there a code for that? Code Neanderthal?

Xander does the smartest thing anyone can do in this situation: He gets Giles. They go to Buffy’s dorm, bickering over whether it was okay for Xander to give her beer, evil or not. “Well, excuse me, Mr. I Spent the ’60s in an Electric Kool-Aid Funky Satan Groove,” Xander snarks. “It was the early ’70s and you should know better,” Giles replies. Xander notes that he’s not Buffy’s father; she’s an adult. Not that she’s acting like one, since she’s drawing on her wall and looks kind of feral. “Parker bad,” she says.

Parker really bad, since he’s now trying to charm Willow the same way he charmed Buffy. Just when it looks like she’s falling for it, she calls him out. He’s just operating on the pleasure principle, not sharing or connecting. “That’s right, I got your number, Id Boy,” she says. She rants about how men only want sex – they “haven’t changed since the dawn of time.” Just then, the cavemen burst in. “See?” Willow says.

Xander and Giles watch as Buffy spins herself around in a desk chair until she falls off. She tries to turn on the TV, saying she wants the people and doesn’t know where they went. Giles tells her slowly and loudly, like he thinks she’s deaf, that the TV is off. She hits it and says she wants the people. Giles thinks Xander should stay with her, but when Buffy gets up close to Xander and starts sniffing him, Giles decides they should leave her alone.

Xander wants to find the cavemen before they cause any trouble. Buffy asks for beer, and when Giles says she can’t have any, she demands it. “Giles, don’t make cave-Slayer unhappy,” Xander cautions. “Buffy strong,” Buffy says. “Buffy get beer.” She throws Giles across the room and runs out.

At the coffeehouse, the cavemen have knocked out Willow and started a fire. They’re confused about their inability to reach donuts in a glass case. The fire quickly gets out of control, so the guys flee. Xander manages to find Buffy on the quad and uses cave-talk to communicate with her. He hopes there’s still a bit of the Slayer left in her. She smells smoke from the coffeehouse and the two of them head over there.

The cavemen are rounding up the women in the coffeehouse when Buffy arrives. Something breaks through her cave-brain and she grabs a fire extinguisher, though she doesn’t know how to use it. Sorry, Buffy, throwing it at the fire won’t do anything. But her protective instincts are still there, and she jumps over the flames to get to Willow. Meanwhile, Giles questions Buffy’s dormmates, hoping someone’s seen her. He describes her hair color, her height, and her newly acquired sideways limp.

Trapped by the fire, Buffy spots a window up high on a wall and does some gymnastics moves to reach it and kick it open. The cavemen and their would-be conquests get out as Buffy picks up Willow and rescues her. She goes back in and finds Parker, who was knocked out and is just now coming to. She knocks him back out with one of the cavemen’s branches, then rescues him, too.

Once everyone’s safe and the fire’s out, Xander asks Buffy if she’s learned a lesson about beer. “Foamy,” she says. “Good. Just as long as that’s clear,” he replies. She goes to the van the cavemen have been placed in and shares a last moment with them. Parker approaches her and says almost the same things he said her in daydream. Cave-Buffy responds by hitting him with the branch again. The Scoobies give him a satisfied glance, then head off.

Thoughts: One of the cavemen is played by Kal Penn.

Did anyone ever fact-check Parker’s story? I’m inclined to believe that his father isn’t really dead. He seems like the type to lie about that.

Oz continues to get the best lines:

Oz: “You got a table.”
Willow: “I had to kill a man.”
Oz: “Well, it’s a really good table.”

Buffy may have caveman brain for half the episode but it doesn’t affect her hairstyling skills (until the end) – her hair looks great here.

October 8, 2022

Buffy 4.4, Fear, Itself: A House Divided

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

If you want insurance in case you turn into your costume, you can’t go wrong with a superhero

Summary: The Scoobies are carving jack o’lanterns in Xander’s basement room, though Buffy’s kind of ruining the mood by moping about Parker. The friends were going to spend Halloween (which is the next day) watching a horror movie but Xander accidentally rented Fantasia instead of Phantasm. “Maybe it’s because of all the horrific things we’ve seen but hippos wearing tutus just don’t unnerve me the way they used to,” Oz says. Willow would rather go to a haunted house/party at a frat house. Xander’s upset about not being invited, but Willow tells him he can come, too.

Buffy decides to head home without even carving her pumpkin. Oz notes that she’s “still suffering a little post-Parker depression.” The Scoobies want to smack Parker for the way he treated her. (So does the audience.) On her way home, Buffy encounters a demon and punches him. It’s actually a guy in a Halloween mask. He’s mad that he got hit, but I say that if you jump out to scare a woman walking alone at night, you deserve whatever she does to you.

The next day, Willow tells Buffy that she feels like she’s plateaued in terms of learning magic. She’s gotten the basics down, but the next step is stuff like conjuring and transmutation, which is close to scary forces. Buffy advises her not to push too hard if she doesn’t feel ready. Willow was looking for encouragement instead of caution. She figures that since she’s in college, she might as well experiment. She’ll know when she’s reached her limit.

Oz joins the conversation, which he thinks is about alcohol. He’s on Buffy’s side, thinking that Willow shouldn’t take any big risks. As a werewolf, he knows what it’s like to have power he can’t control. But whatever Willow wants to do, he’ll support her. She admits that she kind of likes it when he worries. Buffy spots Parker nearby and takes off, not wanting to be around him. Willow doesn’t want her to let him chase her off, but Buffy would like a break from dealing with her feelings about him. Willow hopes she’ll meet someone at the party that night. Buffy’s not interested, and she’s decided to go patrolling instead of celebrate Halloween.

She heads to Giles’ place, where the normally anti-Halloween former Watcher has gone all out with candy, decorations, and a (culturally insensitive) Mexican costume. He claims he never hated Halloween; he just hasn’t appreciated it before, since he was always busy with Watcher duties. Buffy tells him she wants to patrol tonight, since they could end up dealing with something they don’t see coming, like when Ethan wreaked havoc in town. Giles reminds her that supernatural creatures tend to stay hidden on Halloween, finding the day “crass.” He doubts that anything supernatural will happen that night.

The frat hosting the haunted house/party is working on their decorations and scares. They’re worried the sound system is too weak, but one of them knows Oz and thinks he’d loan them something better. They need to go all out so they can scare chicks enough to make them fall into the guys’ arms. As one guy claims, Halloween isn’t about anything spooky – it’s about getting laid. “Is there any holiday that’s not about getting laid?” another guy asks. “Arbor Day,” the first guy replies. Well, of course. The second guy gives the first a symbol he found in a book that they can paint upstairs.

Anya goes to Xander’s to complain that he never called her after they slept together. He reminds her that she said she was over him. Well, she lied, and he should have gotten that. He’s not exactly unhappy to see her, so she suggests that they celebrate the one-week anniversary of their night together by going out. Xander tells her he has plans with the Scoobies.

Anya wonders why he keeps hanging out with them now that they have nothing in common. He tells her their friendship goes beyond that. He invites her to the party, which she interprets as a date, though he won’t fully admit that. He tells her she’ll need to get a costume, preferably something scary. Anya can’t think of anything, but Xander figures that after centuries of terrorizing people as a demon, she’ll be able to come up with something.

Buffy goes to see Professor Walsh after skipping her class “for personal reasons.” Walsh is unsympathetic and tells her to deal with her problems on her own time. If she misses another class, she’s out. Riley hears the whole conversation and tells Buffy that Walsh means her threat. Buffy needs to get herself together and make the class a bigger priority. She says she’ll do the work she missed that night, but Riley thinks she should enjoy herself on Halloween. It’s a time to put aside your responsibilities. Buffy appreciates the encouragement (and the fact that he actually listened to her, unlike Walsh).

A frat guy is painting the symbol on the attic floor when Oz and Xander bring over Oz’s sound system. Xander asks what the symbol means, but the guy doesn’t know. Xander isn’t really that interested anyway, and he quickly gets distracted by a bowl of peeled grapes (to serve as eyeballs for blindfolded women who will hopefully be scared enough to, well, fall into the guys’ arms).

One of the guys encourages Xander to pledge their frat, but Oz says he’s a “civilian.” Xander doesn’t appreciate being outed like that. Oz uses a pocketknife to fix a problem with a wire, accidentally cutting himself. He shakes off the injury, dripping blood on the painted symbol, which shimmers. A fake spider turns into a tarantula and crawls away without any of the guys noticing.

Joyce modifies an old Little Red Riding Hood costume for Buffy so she can wear it to the party. Joyce gets nostalgic about past Halloweens, when Hank used to take Buffy trick-or-treating. Buffy was always annoyed by him – not because he was protective like Joyce thinks, but because he wanted to steal her candy. Joyce admits that he stole the candy for her. Hank really did want to spend time with Buffy, unlike now.

Joyce reassures Buffy that their divorce had nothing to do with her. Buffy, however, can’t help feeling like there’s a pattern of opening her heart to someone and getting abandoned. Maybe it would be better if she kept herself closed off. Joyce can relate, since she didn’t want to make any connections when they first moved to Sunnydale. She was afraid that she couldn’t trust anyone. But now she has a good group of friends. It took work, though, and it didn’t help that the first guy she dated after her divorce was a killer robot. She reminds Buffy that she has her friends and mother for support. She has nothing to be afraid of.

That night, while college students throw around toilet paper and shoot each other with silly string, Willow (dressed in chain mail) arranges to meet Oz before the party. She wants to make sure Buffy has fun. If Parker shows up, they’ll kill him, which is appropriate for Halloween. She chats with a dormmate, then passes a guy dressed as a lobster who’s trying to convince his girlfriend that he’s not interested in anyone else. The frat house is now a mixture of haunted-house spooky and college-party fun. I’m not sure which category the grape eyeballs fall into when they turn into real eyeballs.

Xander, who’s wearing a tux, meets up with Little Red Riding Hood Buffy and asks what’s in her basket. It’s weapons. Xander’s dressed as James Bond in case they turn into their costumes again and he needs to be cool. Buffy warns that he could turn into a waiter instead. “As long as I’m cool and wield some kind of power,” he says.

Willow and Oz join them and explain their costumes. Willow’s Joan of Arc, since she relates to her – Willow was almost burned at the stake and has a close relationship with God. Oz is simply wearing a name tag that says he’s God. Xander wishes he’d thought of being God. “Blasphemer,” Oz says. On their way to the party, they pass some commandos and wonder who they’re supposed to be. Oz guesses NATO. Xander tells the others that he invited Anya, but since she’s having trouble finding a costume, she’ll meet them there.

Buffy’s bummed that she’ll be the only one in the group without a date. Willow assures her that they’ll have a great time. Probably a better time than the people already at the party, who are running around, screaming in fear. One guy falls down the stairs. “Release me!” a voice growls. But when the Scoobies enter the house, they don’t hear anything, and they’re the only people downstairs.

The haunted house isn’t that impressive in terms of scares, though I have to give the frat guys credit for doing a lot of decorating. Of course, as Oz notes, the cobwebs might be real, considering frat guys don’t do a lot of cleaning. Xander gets spooked by a fake skeleton that springs out of a closet with a knife. He says he wasn’t scared, just in the spirit. Willow’s next for a scare when the tarantula from the attic appears on her shoulder.

The Scoobies are ready to get through the haunted house to the party. Oz is confused when the path he thought led to the attic doesn’t take them there. Buffy finds real blood on the floor, then hears a squeaking noise. The Scoobies look up and see a huge swarm of bats above them. They all fly away, and when Oz picks up one left behind, he sees that it’s just rubber. Xander guesses that they’re just dealing with normal Halloween frights. But the voice growls, “Release me!” again, indicating that something else is going on.

Outside, Anya arrives in a costume most people wouldn’t find scary: She’s a bunny. The door has disappeared, so she can’t get in. She goes around the house, looking for someone to let her in, and sees one of the party guests banging on a window and screaming for help. The bricks surrounding the window move together and cover it up.

Inside, the Scoobies can’t find stairs or a door, and they can’t figure out where they are. Oz shuts off the soundtrack of screams and spooky sounds, prompting Buffy to say, “Thank the Lord” without even thinking about Oz’s costume. Willow thinks they should get out of there, since they don’t know what’s going on. Xander hears a hissing noise, frustrated when Buffy repeats what he’s saying without seeming to hear him. The sound leads her to a closet where a frat guy is freaking out. “It’s alive,” he tells the Scoobies. Nearby, the skeleton that scared Xander turns into a real skeleton and starts moving on its own.

Buffy tries to get the frat guy to tell the Scoobies what’s going on. He spots the skeleton over her shoulder and cries out. Buffy fights the skeleton, which turns back into plastic. The fight was real, though, and Buffy has a cut on her shoulder to prove it. The frat guy wisely goes back into the closet to hide, and the closet disappears.

Buffy tells the Scoobies to find a way out of the house and leave while she goes upstairs to see if anyone needs help. Willow doesn’t want to leave her behind, but Buffy needs the Scoobies to get the only person who can figure out what’s happening. That would be Giles, who’s alone at home, waiting for trick-or-treaters. Anya comes over and tells him they need to save Xander. Okay, and the others, too. She tells him what she saw at the frat house and he starts gathering supplies. He doesn’t think she should worry about Xander, who’s at least with friends.

Willow and Buffy bicker about whether the Scoobies should leave and whether Buffy has the right to boss them around. Willow wants to do a guiding spell that will conjure an “emissary” to help them get out. Buffy notes that Willow doesn’t have a great track record with even basic spells, so moving ahead to conjuring might be a bad idea. Willow protests that she’s not Buffy’s sidekick.

As Oz goes off with Willow to calm her down, Xander tries to tell Buffy that this isn’t a good time for in-group arguments. But Buffy somehow can’t see or hear him, and she’s annoyed that he’s seemingly wandered off. She goes off looking for him as he calls after her, wondering what’s going on. He ends up alone in a hallway.

Willow complains to Oz about Buffy’s skepticism that she can handle dark magic. They’ve found the stairs, and as they go up, Oz realizes that he’s starting to change into his wolf form, even though there’s no full moon. Willow suggests that they find a way to restrain him, but he says there’s no time. She tells him she can try the guiding spell instead. Oz accidentally scratches her with his claws, then runs off to keep from hurting her further. She calls after him not to leave her, and her voice echoes throughout the house.

Xander finds a mirror and is relieved to see that he’s not invisible. A bleeding, decapitated head behind him says he can see Xander, too. Oz sits in an empty bathtub, whispering to himself over and over, “You’re not gonna change. You’re not gonna change.” As Buffy searches the house, crossbow in hand, Willow does her conjuring spell. She creates a little green light and tells it to take her to Oz. As she’s thinking about all the things she needs to do, the light multiplies and she gets swarmed.

Buffy hears Willow yelling for help but can’t get to her. She breaks down a door and finds herself falling into a basement. The guy who fell down the stairs appears and tells her that everyone she opens her heart to will run away from her. But she’s not alone anymore. Hands reach up from underground and grab at her.

Outside, Giles and Anya have arrived, and he determines that they’ll have to create a door. Good thing he brought a chainsaw! Buffy fights off the zombies the arms are attached to, but the dead partygoer tells her that no matter how hard she fights, she’ll end up in the same place. Why does she even bother? Buffy makes her way to a little door, which is normal-sized when she emerges on the other side. She realizes she’s made it upstairs to the party.

Everyone up there is quiet, too scared from whatever they’ve seen to do anything but cower. As Buffy spots Oz, Willow runs in, swatting at the lights that are no longer surrounding her. Xander’s also there, and the others can see and hear him again. Oz realizes that the house separated them to scare them. Buffy thinks it also brought them together again for some reason.

Xander sees the symbol on the floor and finds the book it came from. Willow identifies the symbol as the Mark of Gachnar, which is used to summon…well, Gachnar. The spell must have been triggered somehow, and now Gachnar is feeding on fear to manifest himself. As the demon growls to be released, the Scoobies decide to get everyone out of the frat house so their fears will stop feeding him.

Giles arrives just then with his chainsaw (and Anya). He tells the Scoobies that the walls have been closing up behind them. He’s familiar with Gachnar and says his presence is changing the reality of the house. They can’t let him fully manifest. Buffy thinks she could fight him, but Giles shows her a picture of the demon and she realizes she doesn’t want to have to face him. They’ll need to break the spell instead.

Giles starts reading from the book how to shut down the spell. “Destroying the Mark of Gachnar…,” he begins. Buffy punches a hole through the symbol without letting him finish: “Is not one of them and will, in fact, immediately bring forth the fear demon itself.” Oops! A light shines out of the broken symbol and Gachnar rises up from the floorboards. He looks scary…but it’s just a trick of the camera. He’s actually just a few inches tall. “Big overture, little show,” Xander comments.

Gachnar tries to convince the Scoobies that he’s “the dark lord of nightmares” and they should tremble before him. Willow says he’s cute. “Who’s a little fear demon?” Xander coos, like Gachnar’s a baby or a cute animal. Giles tells him not to taunt Gachnar – not because Gachnar can hurt him but because “it’s just tacky.” Buffy decides that “size doesn’t matter” and slaying is slaying. Gachnar tells her that everyone’s going to abandon her. “Yeah, yeah,” she replies dismissively before stomping on him with her foot.

The Scoobies head to Giles’ house to eat his leftover candy. Buffy declares that there’s no problem that can’t be solved with chocolate. Willow comes up with one: feeling sick from eating too much candy. Xander questions Anya’s costume, which she explains by revealing that she’s scared of bunnies. Giles realizes that he overlooked something in the book and they were never in danger. The caption under the picture of Gachnar reads, “Actual size.”

Thoughts: When Oz delivers his sound system to the frat house, he says, “Mi Casio es su Casio.” Oz, I love you.

I doubt he was thinking that way but if the Scoobies had turned into their costumes again, Oz would have been able to save the day.

Buffy: “Your basic spells are usually only about 50-50.” Willow: “Oh, yeah? Well…so’s your face!” I love a good “so’s your face,” even when it doesn’t make sense.

I want to give Oz a big hug after the “you’re not gonna change” scene. How horrible to have no control over yourself like that.

October 1, 2022

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

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

Does this count as getting take-out?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 24, 2022

Buffy 4.2, Living Conditions: Two’s a Crowd

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

This alone, apart from all of Kathy’s other quirks, would make me want to move out

Summary: Kathy is ironing her jeans and listening to Cher’s “Believe,” which is pretty much all you need to know about who she is. Buffy tells her she’s going to get coffee, even though it’s nighttime and Kathy figures the caffeine will keep her awake. Buffy promises to be quiet when she gets back to their room. Kathy asks her to log her phone calls so they can split their phone bill appropriately. Also, she wants to make sure Buffy’s the one who drank some of her milk, and that they weren’t victims of a thief. Not that there’s a problem with Buffy drinking her milk! It’s totally fine! Kathy is totally fine with everything!

Buffy meets up with Willow, who jokes that Buffy’s back to sneaking out of her room to go patrolling. Buffy’s trying to adjust to living with a roommate, especially one who’s so bubbly. She thinks sooner or later, Kathy will find her own reasons to be out of the dorm. Willow admits that she’s facing some challenges with her roommate, too. The two of them agree that they can take on this challenge, since, as Willow says, “Did we not put the ‘grrr’ in ‘girl’?”

Willow heads off to see Oz while Buffy goes on patrol in the woods. A demon with glowing eyes watches her from the shadows. Buffy hears a noise nearby and guesses she’s come across something she needs to kill. Instead, it’s Kathy. She decided to come with Buffy to get coffee. Yay, roommate bonding time! Super-fun!

When a demon growls and runs up on them, Buffy shoves Kathy out of the way, into some bushes. The demon runs off, and Buffy tells Kathy he was just a mugger. Kathy wishes Buffy hadn’t tried to fight him herself. Also, her sweater is ruined. The demon, who looks just like the first one, meets up with him and tells him to follow “her.”

The next day, Buffy finds Giles exercising at his place. She thinks that plus his motorbike magazine subscription mean he’s having a mid-life crisis. She really hopes not, since she’s still recovering from the last time he revisited his youth. Anyway, Buffy fought a demon but he got away. She mentions that Kathy was there but didn’t see anything. Giles thinks Buffy invited her along, but she corrects that Kathy invited herself.

She tries to make plans with Giles so she doesn’t have to go back to her room while Kathy’s there. She admits that she’s being a jerk, but then again, Kathy is really annoying. She measures her pencils to make sure they’re all the same size after she sharpens them. I feel like Giles would have that in common with her, actually. Giles advises Buffy to learn to tolerate people’s quirks. She decides to change her attitude and become a model roommate.

Kathy tries to clean dirt off of her sweater, but it’s pretty much a lost cause. She goes to Buffy’s closet and helps herself to one of her sweaters. She also spots Buffy’s bag of weapons and checks out a crossbow and a cross. She goes to the cafeteria, where Buffy spots her in line and tries to hide. The guy she ducks in front of, Parker, asks if she’s hiding from an ex or a loan shark. She jokes that it’s both. He teaches her how to game the dining-card system to get more bang for her buck (okay, let’s be honest – he teaches her to steal).

Buffy goes to sit with Willow, Oz, and a visiting Xander, just like they’re back in high school. Willow wants to encourage a Buffy/Parker pairing. The guys are sure he’s fallen for her charms already and will come back for more. The Scoobies discuss her demon run-in the night before, which makes Xander excited for possible action. Kathy joins them and Buffy notices that Kathy borrowed her sweater. Kathy thought it was okay, since they’re practically sisters now. Buffy tries to brush this off, but her rage level rises when Kathy drips ketchup on the sweater.

That night, Buffy talks to Willow on the phone about Kathy. Willow thinks Kathy’s just having a harder time adjusting to college since, unlike Buffy, she doesn’t know anyone there. Willow also clearly thinks Buffy’s problems aren’t that big since she doesn’t have to live with a roommate who throws loud, crowded parties like Willow’s does.

Kathy returns from the bathroom and starts flossing in bed. Buffy goes to the fridge and finds that she’s labeled all of her food, including each individual egg she has in a bowl. Buffy opens a window Kathy had obviously closed earlier, then plays innocent when Kathy accuses her of leaving gum on her bedside table. They both go to bed, and Buffy dreams of the demon from the woods doing some ritual with her involving a scorpion, blood, and some sort of energy or life-force transfer. “Do you always make that noise when you sleep?” Kathy asks when she wakes up in the morning.

Buffy tells Willow, Oz, and Giles (who’s visiting campus) about her dream, saying waking up with Kathy in her room was the worst part. Giles suggests analyzing the dream. Kathy joins the group and Willow introduces Giles with, “He’s our grown-up friend. N-not in a creepy way.” Kathy tells Giles that she had a dream about a monster that sat on her and did weird stuff to her. Sounds like she and Buffy had the same dream. The two make passive-aggressive jabs at each other until Kathy leaves. Buffy can’t believe Kathy stole her sweater and is now stealing her dreams. Also, ugh, the floss.

Giles thinks the shared dreams mean something happened to Buffy and Kathy when they encountered the demon in the woods. Willow suggests that they look into the ritual they dreamed about. Buffy tells the Scoobies to “do the brain thing” while she goes to class, which Oz notes could also be called “the brain thing.” After she leaves, Willow says that Buffy’s acting like Cordelia. Giles thinks she’s just adjusting to having a roommate. They’ll keep an eye on her, but they shouldn’t be too concerned.

That night, the two demons meet up and confirm that “she” is the one they’ve been looking for. They do a ritual to summon “the great one,” Tapparich. Buffy gets home (where Kathy’s playing “Believe” for the millionth time) and finds Parker chatting with Kathy. He brought Buffy some plastic baggies to help her sneak food out of the cafeteria. Buffy’s not thrilled that her roommate spent a bunch of time chatting with a guy she’s kind of interested in. She dismisses him, saying she has a lot of work to do, then realizes she was too harsh.

After he leaves, the roommates ramp up the battle that’s been brewing for a few days. Kathy closes the window while Buffy puts a padlock on her closet. Kathy flosses and complains when Buffy opens the window. She thinks Buffy’s spoiled and needs to learn to share. In response, Buffy chugs from her milk carton, spilling it all over the floor.

Oz walks Willow to her room as they talk about Buffy’s dream and changed personality. She has an English paper to write and can’t check in with Buffy right now, so Oz offers to do it for her. He’ll keep an eye out for signs that she’s losing it. He heads across campus to find Buffy on patrol, passing a woman we’ll later learn is named Veruca. They both pause and look back at each other as they cross paths. Neither of them sees a group of commandos moving stealthily nearby.

Oz finds Buffy, who complains about Kathy a bunch. She’s curious about why he volunteered to come on patrol with her. He pretends it’s not because he’s checking on her Kathy-related emotional state. He suggests that she stop ranting about Kathy, since she’s probably scaring off vampires. Buffy whines that now Kathy’s affecting her job. Oz is like, “Yes, this is fine, there’s nothing to worry about here.”

Kathy clips her toenails while Buffy tries to study. Okay, Buffy would have a legitimate complaint here if she spoke up – not just because of the noise but because Kathy’s clipping her nails on the bed and not cleaning them up. Gross! The noise is amplified in Buffy’s mind, just as the sound of Buffy tapping her pencil on her book is for Kathy. Kathy cranks up the Cher and Buffy puts on headphones, but they don’t block out the noise of Kathy cracking the shell of one of her individually labeled hard-boiled eggs.

Buffy decides to go to bed, and somehow she falls asleep despite the music. She has the same dream she had before, but this time the demon draws symbols on her stomach in blood. When she wakes up, Kathy’s also having a disturbing dream.

Later, Kathy complains about Buffy to Willow, who thinks the roommates should communicate better. Buffy approaches as Kathy says she thinks Buffy isn’t exactly normal. Buffy glares, thinking her best friend is betraying her by chatting with her new nemesis. Willow tells Buffy she needs to deal with her less-than-ideal living situation. Buffy agrees. She’s been thinking about things and knows how to fix them. Kathy’s evil and Buffy’s an evil fighter, so she’ll just have to kill her roommate.

Willow thinks that’s too harsh, especially when Buffy could just change rooms. Buffy says this doesn’t just affect her. She collected Kathy’s toenail clippings (thanks for the plastic baggies, Parker!) and thinks they’re evil. Willow says she was smart to pick them up, since they could have attacked her and left “little half-moon marks” all over her. Buffy’s like, “That’s crazy – they’re evil because they grew overnight.” That means Kathy must be a demon.

Willow plays along and tells Buffy to talk to Giles before she does anything. Willow will stick around the dorm and keep an eye on Kathy. After Buffy leaves, Willow calls Giles to warn that she’s losing it and headed his way. When Buffy gets to Giles’, he, Oz, and Xander trap her under a big net like she’s a wild animal in the jungle. They tell her they’re stopping her from doing something she can’t take back.

Buffy tells Giles to look at the toenails. She lists Kathy’s behaviors that clearly point to her being evil. She irons her jeans! She listens to lite FM! Giles is surer than ever that the demon Buffy and Kathy encountered in the woods did something to make Buffy like this. He heads to a magic shop to get supplies, leaving Xander and Oz to keep an eye on her.

Willow goes to Buffy’s room and advises Kathy to move out before Buffy gets back. Kathy objects to being kicked out when she’s not the one who obviously has psychological issues. She wouldn’t be surprised if Buffy dropped out or did something horrible to herself, or possibly someone else. She implies that Buffy’s behavior might push someone over the edge to act against her. Oz calls to tell Willow that Buffy’s been captured. Willow pretends that Kathy got her to change her mind and should be allowed to stay.

Buffy can’t believe that Xander and Oz don’t believe her theory that her roommate is evil. Xander starts to reply but Oz tells him not to engage. As Buffy struggles against the ropes they’ve tied around her wrists, they wonder if they tied her up securely enough. Neither is eager to get close enough to check. As they carefully approach her, Buffy frees herself and knocks them both out.

She goes to her dorm, ready for a final showdown with Kathy. Kathy’s ready, too, and when Buffy musses up her rug, she throws the first punch. The two grapple until Buffy grabs Kathy’s face…which peels off. Under her human disguise, she looks just like the glowing-eyed demons. “I knew it!” Buffy exclaims just before Kathy tackles her.

Speaking of those demons, they’ve just summoned Tapparich. Kathy tells Buffy to stop fighting and let her finish her ritual. At a magic shop, Giles has found information on that ritual, which involves ingestion of animal blood while the victim is asleep. He and Buffy realize at the same time that her dreams were real. Kathy explains that she left her dimension to go to college, and her demon clan sent people to come get her.

Giles reads that the demons can recognize each other, even in disguise, due to their lack of soul. Kathy’s been doing the ritual on Buffy to steal her soul. “Without even asking,” Buffy notes. Now, when the demons come looking for Kathy, they’ll think she’s Buffy and take her instead. Buffy’s just glad she won’t have to watch Kathy floss anymore.

The two continue fighting, and Kathy throws Buffy through her closet door. Buffy tries to strangle Kathy with the sweater she borrowed, but Kathy just rips it in half. Well, that’s one way to share it. Meanwhile, Xander and Oz both regain consciousness at Giles’. Xander wishes Giles had shackles “like any self-respecting bachelor.” Willow arrives and decides to call Kathy to warn her that Buffy’s coming for her.

Kathy doesn’t get the call, though, since she’s using the phone to smack Buffy around while complaining that Buffy didn’t log her calls. Giles comes home, blurting out, “Toenails!” Thanks, Giles. Buffy was right about their regeneration indicating that Kathy’s evil – it’s a demon characteristic. He knows Kathy’s been stealing Buffy’s soul, which could explain why Buffy’s been acting weird. “Later on, big remorse,” Willow promises.

Giles has found a spell to reverse the soul transfer. He and Willow start it while Oz and Xander head back to campus to help Buffy. Not that Buffy really needs help, since she’s the Slayer. She breaks a bunch of Kathy’s pencils, then throws her into a wall. A guy who lives next door sticks his head into the hallway to say, “Do you mind? People are trying to study.”

Kathy throws Buffy partway through the window they’ve been fighting over, asking if she’s happy now that it’s open. She’s able to corner Buffy against her bed, but Buffy won’t open her mouth to let Kathy finish taking her soul. Giles and Willow’s spell reverses her ritual and Buffy’s soul returns to her. Just then, Tapparich appears in the room. He tells Kathy she’s in a lot of trouble and chastises her for the tone she uses with him. “I’m 3,000 years old! When are you going to stop treating me like I’m 900?” she whines.

Xander and Oz arrive and start to enter the room, but they wisely stay back when they see Tapparich. He opens a portal in the floor and Kathy gets sucked inside. He follows her through and the portal closes like nothing ever happened. Thanks for your help, Xander and Oz! Buffy couldn’t have done it without you.

Instead of just keeping the giant room for herself, Buffy winds up getting a new roommate: Willow. Willow’s sorry for doubting Buffy, but Buffy knows she had reason. Kathy was probably pretty normal as far as roommates go. And Buffy herself isn’t a bad roommate. She doesn’t have any big issues. Well, maybe one. When Willow steals her sandwich, Buffy glares like she’s ready for another fight.

Thoughts: Veruca is played by Paige Moss.

Willow mentioned in the previous episode that Oz is living with some friends off-campus, so why doesn’t she go over there when her roommate has people over? Or just because she can, now that she’s an adult and doesn’t have parents checking in on where she spends the night?

Why do the dorm closets have deadbolt locks on the outside of the doors? That’s just asking for people to prank others by locking them inside. Also, that lock isn’t going to keep anyone out – you just slide it open! Also also, what dorm room has closets at all? Mine just had dressers and bureaus.

This exchange is great:

Buffy: “So then Kathy’s like, ‘It’s share time.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh yeah? Share this!'” (punching the air)
Oz: “So either you hit her or you did your wacky mime routine for her.”
Buffy: “Well, I didn’t do either, actually. But she deserves it, don’t you think?”
Oz: “Nobody deserves a mime, Buffy.”

I love how Willow tells Giles that Buffy’s verging on homicidal, then brightly adds that she’s on her way to his place, like, “Sorry, Giles, she’s your problem now.”

I doubt someone who irons her jeans would wear shoes while lounging on her bed, don’t you?

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