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

July 30, 2022

Buffy 3.16, Doppelgangland: Old Reliable

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

Alyson Hannigan is excellent in this episode

Summary: Anya is begging her demon boss, D’Hoffryn, to restore her powers, which she lost when Giles destroyed her necklace. D’Hoffryn reminds her that her powers were a gift, and she’s shown that she’s unworthy of them, so she can’t have them back. Anya argues that she was robbed of them, but D’Hoffryn says she was careless.

She reminds him that she had her powers for 1,000 years, and she used them to punish misbehaving men and bring about chaos. She was worshipped and feared. Now she’s stuck in Sunnydale, a mortal teenager. Plus, she’s flunking math. D’Hoffryn isn’t sympathetic. He tells her she’ll live the life of a mortal now and die a mortal’s death. Anya asks for another chance – if D’Hoffryn sends her back in time, she can change what happened. He refuses, so she vows to get her powers back another way. If he won’t help her, she’ll find someone else.

Her best bet is Willow, who’s floating a pencil on the Sunnydale High quad. Buffy’s next to her, doing sit-ups in preparation for some Watchers’ Council testing. She admires Willow’s new skill, which Willow says is about emotional control (plus, of course, magic). She notices that Buffy’s working out more than usual and guesses that she wants to outperform Faith on the tests. Buffy thinks she’s being shallow, but Willow assures her that competition is healthy. At the very least, she’ll beat Faith on the psych tests, as long as she doesn’t “mark the box that says ‘I sometimes like to kill people.'”

Buffy’s still sympathetic toward Faith, even though Faith tried to frame her for Finch’s death. Faith has had it rough, and in different circumstances, Buffy could have wound up the same way. Willow doubts that, since not everyone has it in them to kill and then act like nothing happened. Buffy tries to back out of the conversation, since she knows Willow doesn’t like talking about Faith. Willow says it’s fine, but judging from the way her pencil is spinning a million miles an hour, her emotional control is a little compromised right now.

Willow goes to a meeting with Snyder and a student named Percy. Percy is a star basketball player with a failing grade in history and no motivation to improve it. He argues that he’s challenged. “You’re lazy, self-involved, and spoiled. That’s quite the challenge,” Snyder replies. He wants to ensure that the basketball team has a winning year – they need it after what happened with the swim team last year – so Willow is going to tutor Percy. She objects but Snyder tells her this is her chance to give back to the community. Also, she definitely doesn’t have a choice in the matter.

After the meeting, Willow catches up with Buffy and they go to the library together. Buffy offers to force Snyder to back off, but Willow doesn’t want her to make any trouble. She just hates how Snyder bullies people and assumes their time is his. Giles emerges from his office and tells Willow to try again to access the mayor’s files. She agrees, apparently not realizing that Snyder isn’t the only person who assumes other people’s time is his.

Faith comes in with Wesley after finishing some sort of obstacle course. Wesley says she was a little sloppy, but considering he’s gasping for breath and she looks like she didn’t even break a sweat, I don’t think he has any room to judge. Faith tells Buffy she’ll like the course: “It’s just like fun, only boring.” Giles tells her the evaluations are necessary, and she promises she’s on board. She wishes Buffy good luck and might even mean it.

Faith joins Willow as she’s trying to hack the mayor’s files. Willow says he has some barriers set up but she’s confident she’ll breach them eventually. That night, Faith warns the mayor, who’s just rented her a nice apartment. He doesn’t want her to continue to live in the motel, where there are “immoral liaisons” going on. “Yeah, plus all the screwing,” she replies. (They’ll keep the old motel room so the Scoobies don’t find out about the new place.)

She teases the mayor by calling him her sugar daddy, which he doesn’t appreciate. He’s a family man, after all. He quickly shifts gears, saying it’s time to kill Willow. He’s not going to have Faith do it, though. A vampire attack makes much more sense. Until then, Faith can enjoy the perks of this new arrangement. Her new dad even bought her a PlayStation!

At school the next day, Willow reunites with Oz, who took the previous day off because his band came back late from an out-of-town gig. She’s disappointed that he didn’t tell her about the gig. She might have wanted to go. Oz says he didn’t think she would have wanted to miss school. Willow translates that as him believing she’s boring. He tells her that’s “a radical interpretation of the text.” He invites her to come to their show at the Bronze that night, but she says she has too much homework.

Willow finds Percy to set up a time to discuss a paper he needs to write on one of the Roosevelts. He’s confused (okay, he’s always confused, but even more so this time) because he was under the impression that she was going to write it for him. Willow agrees to get him the books he needs, and then they can meet up at lunch. Percy vetoes that plan, since lunchtime is reserved for hanging out. He tells her to just type up the paper (but not “too good”) and put his name on it.

Willow grumpily sits down in the quad, pulling out a banana she’s decided to eat even though it’s not lunchtime yet. Buffy and Xander join her and ask if she remembered to tape an episode of Biography. She did, which doesn’t surprise Buffy; she calls Willow “Old Reliable.” Willow doesn’t appreciate being given such a boring nickname. Xander tries to spin it by saying she’s “a geyser of fun that goes off at regular intervals.” Willow tells him that’s Old Faithful. He thought that was the dog that was shot. She tells him that’s Old Yeller. “Xander, I beg you not to help me,” Buffy speaks up.

She reassures Willow that it’s good to be reliable. But Willow wants to be seen as someone who doesn’t just help whenever other people want her to. Maybe she’ll cut class or change her luck. “And I’m eating this banana – lunchtime be damned!” she declares. She tries to walk off but Buffy follows her. Willow tells her that she’s trying to storm off, and being followed ruins it.

Inside, Anya introduces herself to Willow and asks her to help with a project. Willow thinks it’s school-related and confirms that she’s the one to talk to: “Reliable dog geyser person.” She perks up when Anya tells her it’s a spell. She needs a secondary to create a temporal fold. Willow eagerly asks if it’s dangerous and is disappointed when Anya assures her it isn’t. “Can we pretend it is?” Willow replies.

They go to an empty classroom to do a spell to summon some spirit that will open a fold. Then they’ll pour some sand on a representation of Anya’s necklace (which she says was stolen from her mother’s apartment), and the spirit will bring it out of wherever it was lost. The spell goes fine until Willow gets a glimpse of where the necklace last existed. As she and Anya are pouring the sand, it falls on Willow’s hand. Instead of bringing forth the necklace, the spell brings forth Willow in her vampire form at the Bronze.

Willow is freaked out about the kind of dark magic Anya had her use and the world it showed her, which she thinks was a Hell dimension. Anya claims she’s just trying to find her necklace. “Well, did you try looking inside the sofa in Hell?” Willow asks. Anya wants to try again but Willow refuses to participate. She even takes back the chicken feet she contributed. She warns Anya not to toy with magic, then leaves to do Percy’s homework.

Vampire Willow (whom I will call Vamp Willow – inspired, right?) wanders around downtown, confused about the differences between her world and this one. There are humans walking around at night, not worried about being attacked by vampires. They’re also hanging out at the Bronze, blissfully unaware of a vampire in their midst.

Vamp Willow runs into Percy, who’s surprised to see her in very un-Willow-like clothes. He reminds her that she’s supposed to be writing his paper. He brags that until graduation, he owns her. “Bored now,” she says, shoving him over a pool table. She tells him she’s having a bad night and asks him to make it better. She chokes him as people around them point and laugh, because as popular as Percy would be as a star athlete, apparently no one cares that he’s having his butt handed to him by nerdy Willow Rosenberg.

Xander notices that people are interested in something and runs to Vamp Willow and Percy. He thinks Percy is messing with Willow, though, since that makes more sense. Percy scampers off, not wanting any more trouble with Vamp Willow. Xander takes in her new look, thinking she’s trying something out like she said she would. She’s happy to see that he’s alive (since Buffy had just killed him right before she was brought out of her world) and feels him up, which freaks him out. She’s disappointed to realize that he’s alive alive, as in human. She laments that everything’s different.

Buffy arrives and tries to be positive about Willow’s new look. Vamp Willow tells Buffy she doesn’t like her. Buffy thinks she’s upset about what happened at school and says Willow doesn’t need to prove anything. Vamp Willow turns to leave, and when Buffy tries to stop her, she vamps out and roars for Buffy to back off. Buffy and Xander are horrified to think that their best friend has been turned into a vampire.

Outside, a couple of the mayor’s minions find Willow and attack her, surprised when she fights back. She breaks one guy’s fingers until he tells her who he works for. When she keeps asking, he catches on and switches his allegiance to her. She tells him to gather his buddies so they can make the real world like the world she came from, starting with the Bronze.

Buffy and Xander go to the library, stunned by Willow’s apparent death. They fill Giles in and the three all sit together numbly. “She was truly the finest of all of us,” Giles says. “Way better than me,” Xander replies. “Much, much better,” Giles agrees. Buffy blames herself – Willow must have gone out and gotten attacked because she wanted to show that she wasn’t Old Reliable. Now Buffy’s best friend is…

Here in the library, actually. Willow comes in, sees three sad faces, and asks who died. Then she remembers she lives in Sunnydale and realizes someone might have actually died. Xander holds up a cross and tells her to get back. When that doesn’t do anything, he shakes the cross like it might be broken. Buffy and Xander happily hug their friend, relieved that she’s alive. Willow asks Giles why they’re acting weird, but she can’t get the question out before he hugs her, too.

Willow says it’s nice that everyone missed her. “Say, you all didn’t happen to do a bunch of drugs, did ya?” she asks brightly. Xander tells her they saw her at the Bronze, but she was a vampire. Willow seems offended. Buffy asks Giles for an explanation, but all he can manage is, “Something…something, um, very strange is happening.” “Can you believe the Watchers’ Council let this guy go?” Xander quips.

Back at the Bronze, Anya tries to order a beer but the bartender won’t serve her without an ID. “I’m 1,120 years old – just give me a fricking beer!” she yells. He still says no, so she sighs and asks for a Coke instead. Dingoes Ate My Baby are setting up to perform, and Devon tells Oz that they need a roadie, since other bands have them. Oz points out that other bands can also play more than three chords.

Angel shows up looking for Buffy, just in time for Vamp Willow’s new gang to walk in and take everyone hostage. Angel tells Oz he can escape through a skylight. Angel wants to stay, but Oz tells him it’ll be him against too many vampires to defeat. Just then, Vamp Willow strolls in, happy that everyone’s afraid, “just like old times.” Oz tells Angel to get Buffy ASAP. As Angel scales some ropes to get to the skylight, Devon admires Oz’s girlfriend’s new look.

Vamp Willow approaches a girl named Sandy and pulls her out of her seat. She tells Sandy she doesn’t have to be afraid just to please Vamp Willow. If everyone’s good, the vampires will make them all young and strong forever. If they’re not good…well, they’ll be bitten, like Vamp Willow bites Sandy. “Questions? Comments?” Vamp Willow says.

Oz tries to stop Vamp Willow, telling her she doesn’t want to do this. “But I’m so good at it,” she says. She recognizes him as a White Hat from her world and wonders why he’s acting like they’re friends. Anya explains that he thinks she’s the Willow from this reality. She confirms to Vamp Willow that she’s in the wrong world and tells her they have a common goal: They both want to get back there.

At the library, Willow’s freaked out by the thought of there being a vampire out there who looks just like her. Xander and Buffy tell her they’re exactly alike, except for Vamp Willow’s seeming dominatrix tendencies. Willow jokes that she and Oz do that stuff, too, which sends Xander and Buffy to “a scary visual place.”

Angel bursts in and, without seeing Willow behind him, tells the Scoobies that Willow’s dead. As she steps forward, he notices her and casually says hi to her. Wow, Angel might be as dumb as Percy. He tells the Scoobies that Vamp Willow is at the Bronze with a gang of vampires, wanting to cause trouble. They all head out to take care of that situation, but Willow wants to know what they’ll do with Vamp Willow. Buffy isn’t sure; their first priority is just protecting the humans. Willow thinks of something she can do and heads back to the library. That means she’s alone when Vamp Willow finds her.

The two Willows get their first look at each other. Vamp Willow is unimpressed, mostly because Willow’s wearing a fluffy pink sweater. “What do I want with you?” Willow asks. Vamp Willow tells her that Anya said Willow could get her back to her world. But now Vamp Willow likes the idea of teaming up with…well, herself. Willow would have to come around to her “way of thinking,” though.

Willow wonders if that includes snuggling. Vamp Willow licks her neck and asks if she wants to be bad. Willow’s understandably disturbed and just wants to get away, but all she has handy to protect herself is a cross. However, when Vamp Willow tosses her over the counter, she’s able to grab a dart gun and shoot her double with a tranquilizer.

The other Scoobies return and lock Vamp Willow in a book cage while she’s unconscious. Giles is intrigued by the doubles but Willow thinks it’s horrible: “That’s me as a vampire? I’m so evil and skanky. And I think I’m kind of gay.” Buffy tells her that a vampire’s personality has nothing to do with the human they were. Angel starts to contradict her, then changes his mind. The Scoobies still need to get to the Bronze, but they’re not sure how to save all the hostages without setting off a killing spree. “I have a really bad idea,” Buffy offers.

They all go back to the Bronze, where Angel peeks inside and reports that nothing’s happened yet. He guesses that the vampire minions are afraid of their new boss and won’t do anything without an order. Willow has changed into Vamp Willow’s outfit to take her place, and her job is to keep things calm and send out some vampires so the Scoobies can kill them. If she gets into any trouble, she just needs to scream and the Scoobies will come to her rescue. She promises Buffy that she won’t do “anything that can be interpreted as brave.”

Willow steels herself, then knocks to be let back into the Bronze. She says she killed the real Willow, which was, of course, the opposite of what Anya needed her to do. She sends a vampire minion outside to check on a noise, and he walks right into his death. Anya criticizes “Vamp Willow” for killing Willow, who tries to go dark by threatening to have her taken out by the minions. She pauses to give Oz a little wave, letting him know who she really is. For once in his life, he changes expressions (though only slightly), relieved that she’s alive.

Anya complains that vampires always think with their teeth. “Vamp Willow” says that Willow was too accommodating and let people walk all over her, then took it out on her friends. She sends a minion to check on the first minion she sent outside. Another one suggests that they start killing hostages, since they don’t have any reason to wait anymore.

Vamp Willow wakes up in the book cage wearing Willow’s clothes. Cordelia comes in wearing a sparkly dress; she claims she needs books but she’s obviously just hoping to run into Wesley. Vamp Willow pretends she got locked in the cage accidentally and asks Cordelia to let her out. Before Cordelia does, she decides this is a good time for a chat about Willow’s fling with Xander.

Willow tries to delay any killing at the Bronze. She attempts to run her fingers through a hostage’s hair but they get stuck. She thinks it would be too easy to kill the hostages – maybe they should let them go and hunt them. Anya catches on that this isn’t Vamp Willow.

Cordelia rants to the real Vamp Willow, who can’t keep her eyes off of Cordelia’s neck. Cordelia thinks it’s because she’s getting a pimple. Vamp Willow apologizes for stealing Xander and promises never to steal another boyfriend from her. Cordelia doubts that she could anyway. She finally unlocks the cage and is rewarded with a chase. She tries to appease Vamp Willow by blessing her relationship with Xander, but Vamp Willow says she’s over him. She wants fresh blood.

In the hallway, Wesley hears Cordelia screaming and runs toward the sound. Vamp Willow has cornered her in a bathroom but Wesley is able to get her to leave with the double threats of a cross and holy water. Cordelia tells him he saved her life and hugs him tightly. Only then do they acknowledge that Willow is a vampire. They’re sad for about three seconds, and then Cordelia asks Wesley if he has any plans.

Anya’s tired of all this and doesn’t even care about getting her powers back. She thinks the minions should eat Willow. Willow says Anya has psychiatric problems. “I’m a bloodsucking fiend! Look at my outfit!” she says. Plus, if she’s human, could she do this? By “this,” she means scream. Anya and a minion are like, “Yeah, of course.” But that was Willow’s signal for the Scoobies to come in, and when they do, the hostage crisis is all over.

The hostages run while the Scoobies take on the vampires. Willow does her part by punching Anya before running off with Oz. Vamp Willow stops them and shoves Oz aside. “No more snuggles?” Willow asks. Xander and Giles tag-team a minion while Vamp Willow chokes her doppelganger on the stage. It takes Buffy a while to notice, but when she does, she runs up to help. She’s about to stake Vamp Willow with a pool cue when Willow yells for her not to. Buffy immediately stops and restrains Vamp Willow instead. Willow compliments her reflexes. Vamp Willow complains that this world is no fun. “You noticed that, too?” Willow replies.

As Giles prepares to send Vamp Willow back to her world, Xander asks if he’s really a tough vampire over there. Vamp Willow just rolls her eyes at him. Buffy’s worried about sending her back, but Willow doesn’t want to kill her. She gets that they’re not the same person, but she knows she’s only a bite away from being in the same situation. If they send Vamp Willow back to her world, she has a chance.

Giles tells Anya they’re ready, and she’d better not pull any tricks. Anya says that when she gets her powers back, everyone will grovel before her. Both Willows scoff at that. Willow says goodbye to Vamp Willow, telling her not to kill anyone. They hug but it doesn’t last long since Vamp Willow can’t keep her hands to herself. Anya sends her back to her world, but two seconds later, Oz pushes her into a broken piece of wood and stakes her. Thus ends the story of Vamp Willow.

At school the next day, Buffy asks Willow if she wants to go out that night. Willow says she feels like being very, very good and doing things like flossing and never having sex. She has “double guilt coupons” thanks to all the bad things her doppelganger did. She never wants to be like that. Percy comes over and gives Willow an outline he wrote on Roosevelt. He didn’t know which one he was supposed to write about, so he did one for each. He even typed up a bibliography. He’s open to any notes and will do whatever Willow says. He gives her an apple before running off. Buffy asks Willow again if she wants to go out that night, and this time Willow agrees.

Thoughts: This is my favorite episode. I took forever to write this recap because there are so many great moments in the episode and I didn’t want to leave anything out.

Why does Anya go to school if she’s over 1,000 years old and hates it?

“I know Faith’s not going to be on the cover of Sanity Fair…” What an awesome line.

Oh, the ’90s, when you had to tape shows on a VCR and pass the tapes around if other people wanted to watch them.

When Anya introduces herself to Willow, she says she’s kind of friends with Cordelia. Willow replies with a sarcastic, “Oh, fun.” There’s a great little moment where Anya chirps,” Yeah,” in a way that says, “I know, I don’t like her, either.”

It cracks me up that the bartender doesn’t even blink when Anya says she’s 1,120. You know that guy’s heard it all.

There’s a deleted scene where Devon asks Angel if he wants to be the band’s roadie and Angel replies, “Less than you’d think.” And in another deleted scene, Xander blames himself for Willow’s death, and when Giles asks why, Xander says it’s a “statistical probability.”