April 1, 2023

Buffy 5.7, Fool for Love: “What Can I Tell You, Baby? I’ve Always Been Bad”

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

I could watch these scenes all day

Summary: Buffy’s fighting a punk-ish vampire in a cemetery, and everything’s going like it should until he somehow gets the better of her and stabs her in the stomach with her own stake. She tries to run away but he catches up to her and prepares to stab her again. At the last moment, Riley tackles him and tries to taze him, but the vampire runs off.

Buffy passes out, and Riley takes her home and patches her up. He thinks she should see a doctor, but she doesn’t want Joyce to find out that she got hurt. Plus, there’s no point when she has her Slayer super-healing (and a boyfriend with combat medical training). Riley asks how many vampires attacked her. Buffy’s embarrassed to admit that it was just one. She’s in the best physical shape of her life, so she doesn’t know how he got the better of her.

Dawn runs into Buffy’s bedroom to let her know that Joyce is on her way in. Riley hides anything that might make her suspicious. Dawn even pretends that the rubbing alcohol he was using is hers, from a nail polish experiment. As a reward, Buffy tells her she got hurt. Mostly that’s because she needs Dawn to help out more around the house while Buffy’s healing. Riley offers to patrol that night, and Buffy asks him to take the Scoobies with him. Sorry, Dawn, you’re not invited.

Riley puts on some of his old camo for the patrol, while Willow, Xander, and Anya don’t bother. They try to interpret his hand signals, and when they can’t, Xander yells to him to ask what they mean. Riley tells them to go check out the Bronze instead of continuing to be unstealthy in the cemetery. They promise to be quieter, which means getting rid of the chips they’re snacking on.

At the Magic Box, Buffy and Giles read up on past Slayers. Buffy wants to know about their last battles and why they lost. She doesn’t get why, after training harder than ever, she almost got killed. If she can understand what went wrong, maybe she can keep it from happening again. Giles notes that after a Slayer dies, it’s pretty hard to find out why. Buffy asks about Watchers’ journals, but Giles thinks that after losing a Slayer, the Watchers can’t bring themselves to write about them.

Buffy realizes that there’s someone she can ask in person about Slayers’ final battles. Spike killed two Slayers, and she tells him that he’s going to show her how. They go to the Bronze so Spike can have a beer while he tells his story. He doesn’t think there’s much to tell, though – he fought the Slayers and they died. The end. Spike realizes that Buffy’s hurt and taunts her about it. She asks if he was born this annoying. “What can I tell you, baby?” he replies. “I’ve always been bad.”

London, 1880: Spike, then known as William, is writing a poem but can’t find a good word that rhymes with “gleaming.” As a human, his speech and clothing aren’t too different from Giles’. He sees a woman he’s interested in, Cecily, and gets some inspiration. They’re at a party where some people are discussing recent disappearances in town. When someone asks his opinion, William says he would rather think about things of beauty than dark stuff like death. The police can deal with that.

Someone swipes his poem and reads it out loud:

“My heart expands
‘Tis grown a bulge in’t
Inspired by
Your beauty effulgent.”

Everyone laughs except Cecily. A woman jokes that he’s called William the Bloody “because of his bloody awful poetry.” The man who read the poem says he’d rather have a railroad spike driven through his head than listen to any more. William leaves the room and finds Cecily, who asks if his poems are about her. He admits that they are and professes his love. She isn’t interested. He tells her that he may be a bad poet, but he’s a good man. Cecily tells him that he’s nothing to her: “You’re beneath me.”

William tears up his poem as he leaves the party. He ends up in a barn, which is where he meets his future girlfriend for the first time. Drusilla says that he’s surrounded by fools who “can’t see his strength, his vision, his glory.” Also, he has burning baby fish swimming around his head. William thinks that Drusilla is a pickpocket, but she says his real wealth is in his heart and mind, his spirit and imagination. He walks in worlds that other people can’t grasp.

William tries to leave, saying his mother is expecting him. Drusilla can see that he wants “something glowing and glistening. Something effulgent.” She asks if he wants it and he says yes. She vamps out and bites him. He yells in pain, then finds the experience pleasurable.

Present: The Scoobies spot the vampire who injured Buffy and track him to a crypt, where he’s telling some buddies about stabbing the Slayer. Riley decides there are too many of them, so they’ll come back in the morning to take them out.

Spike and Buffy play pool as he tells her about becoming a vampire. He says that dying made him feel alive for the first time. He was done with following the rules and decided to make his own. But first he had to get a gang.

Yorkshire, 1880: Drusilla has introduced William – now Spike – to Angelus and Darla, but Angelus isn’t interested in bringing him into their little group. Spike has gone from the quiet guy in the corner of the party to an attention-seeking trouble-maker. They had to flee London, and now they’re hiding in a mine shaft. Angelus complains that every time Spike makes a scene, they become targets.

Darla hopes the guys fight. Spike thinks Angelus should, since he needs to unleash and get out some aggression. Angelus would rather stay civilized, the only thing that makes them different from animals. Spike eggs him on until Angelus attacks, which is just what Spike wanted. Angelus warns that Spike can’t act like this forever. Maybe one day, an angry mob will teach Spike a lesson. Or maybe the Slayer will. This is the first time Spike has heard of one of those.

Present: Spike tells Buffy that he became obsessed with the Slayer. Unlike other vampires, he wasn’t afraid of her. He went looking for her. Buffy asks how he killed the first one. Spike grabs her from behind and tells her that a Slayer should always reach for her weapon. He shows his vamp face and says he already has his. When you become a vampire, there’s nothing to be afraid of except the Slayer..

China, 1900: Spike faces off with the Slayer, who’s Chinese, in a temple as a village burns during the Boxer Rebellion. Spike’s having a great time. The Slayer does some swordplay, slicing Spike’s brow and giving him his iconic scar. He breaks the weapon and she has to switch to hand-to-hand combat. She’s about to stake him when a fire flares nearby and she gets distracted. Eventually Spike is able to grab her from behind and sink his teeth into her neck. As she dies, she asks him to tell her mother that she’s sorry. “Sorry, love, I don’t speak Chinese,” he replies. He’s exhilarated by the kill and says he could get used to this.

Drusilla finds him a little while later, happy about his accomplishment. Spike is turned on, and he has Drusilla lick some of the Slayer’s blood from his finger. They start making out, ignoring the fire around them. Later, they meet up with Darla and Angelus, who was actually Angel again by then, having gotten his soul back two years earlier, and who says that killing the Slayer makes Spike one of them. Spike notes that when the next Slayer is called, Angel can have the first shot at killing her.

Present: Spike says that was the best night of his life. Buffy’s disgusted that he was so turned on by what he did. He thinks she must feel the same about killing vampires. She can stake all the vampires in the world, but they just need one good day to take out the Slayer. She’s so good at what she does that she thinks she’s immortal now. Buffy tells him she just knows how to handle herself. Spike punches her wound, which causes them both pain. She asks if this is the end of the lesson. He says they’re not even close. They’re just changing locations.

Instead of waiting for the morning, Riley goes back to the crypt by himself. He does a pretty cool move where he gets the vampire who stabbed Buffy to drop her stake right into his hand. After he’s staked that guy, Riley leaves the others with a parting gift in the form of a grenade.

In the alley behind the Bronze, Spike continues his story. The second lesson is that Buffy’s asking the wrong question. It’s not about how Spike won the battles with the Slayers; it’s about why the Slayers lost. Buffy doesn’t see a difference. He says it’s a big one. He starts sparring with her, which doesn’t hurt him because he knows he can’t touch her. If he doesn’t intend to hurt someone, he doesn’t feel any pain. Buffy punches him a couple of times and asks again how he killed the Slayers. Spike says she’s not ready to know.

New York City, 1977: Spike, who now has his signature bleached hair and is dressed like a Billy Idol groupie, fights the Slayer (who we’ll later learn is named Nikki) on a moving subway. He tells Buffy in the present that she and Nikki had similar styles. “I could have danced all night with that one,” he says as he and Buffy spar, recreating his fight with Nikki. “You think we’re dancing?” Buffy asks. “That’s all we’ve ever done,” he replies. The dance never stops.

Spike says that every day, you wake up wondering if it’s the day you’ll die. “Death is on your heels, baby, and sooner or later, it’s gonna catch you,” he tells Buffy. In 1977, he’s dislodged a subway pole, which he uses to try to hit Nikki. He thinks that part of Buffy wants to die, not just because it’ll end her uncertainty and fear but because she’s a little in love with it.

Nikki gets Spike on the ground and punches him a few times. The train goes through a tunnel, making everything dark, and when it’s light again, Spike is on top of Nikki. He looks up and says what he’s telling Buffy in the present: “Death is your art. You make it with your hands day after day. That final gasp, that look of peace. Part of you is desperate to know, what’s it like? Where does it lead you?”

That’s the real secret. It’s not about the moves Buffy screwed up during a fight. Nikki wanted death. Every Slayer has a death wish. Spike snaps Nikki’s neck in 1977, telling Buffy in the present that that includes her. He pulls the cord to stop the subway, then goes back to take Nikki’s jacket, the leather one he now wears all the time.

He tells Buffy that she’s only survived as long as she has because she has ties to the world, like her family and friends. But they just make Buffy put off the inevitable: “Sooner or later, you’re gonna want it. And the second – the second that happens, you know I’ll be there. I’ll slip in, have myself a real good day.” Buffy looks a tiny bit shaken. “Here endeth the lesson,” Spike says. He wonders if Buffy will enjoy death as much as Nikki did.

Buffy orders Spike to leave, and he taunts that he got to her. He eggs her on to fight him. When she won’t, he leans in like he’s going to kiss her. She’s disgusted, but he says he knows she wants to “dance.” Buffy shoves him to the ground and tells him that even if she wanted to, she wouldn’t do it with him. She tosses the money she offered him for his help all around him and tells him, “You’re beneath me.”

Spike cries a little as he picks up the money. Then he gets mad. He goes home to grab a gun, telling Harmony that if Buffy thinks he’s beneath her, he’ll put her beneath him – specifically, six feet beneath him. She doesn’t need a death wish. Harmony tries to talk Spike out of going after someone who will beat the crap out of him and then stake him. He thinks he can kill Buffy before she can hurt him. As he storms out, Harmony calls after him that he couldn’t kill Buffy before the chip, and he had plenty of chances.

South America, 1998: “Why can’t you kill her?” Drusilla asks Spike. They’ve fled Sunnydale, and Drusilla knows that Spike is still obsessed with Buffy. He says he tried to push her away for Drusilla, but Drusilla keeps cheating on him. In fact, the chaos demon he caught her making out with is standing right there. Drusilla says that Spike tastes like ashes. The chaos demon decides he shouldn’t be a part of this and leaves. Wait, shouldn’t he enjoy chaos? Drusilla says that Spike is “covered with her.” When she looks at him, all she sees is Buffy.

Present: Buffy goes home and finds Joyce packing a suitcase. Her recent health issues have led to the need for a CAT scan, which requires an overnight stay at the hospital. The doctors are optimistic, thinking that if there’s anything wrong, they caught it early. Joyce assures Buffy that she’ll be fine.

Buffy goes out to the backyard to be alone. Spike finds her there, crying. It would be the perfect moment to kill her – she’s vulnerable and unarmed, and she doesn’t even notice him for a few moments. But when he sees how upset she is, he just asks what’s wrong. Buffy says she doesn’t want to talk about it. Spike gently asks if there’s anything he can do. She doesn’t respond, so he sits down next to her and pats her back a little. She still doesn’t say anything, but she doesn’t send him away, either, so they sit there in silence.

Thoughts: I’d forgotten that this was a companion episode to the Angel episode “Darla.” (Spoiler alert: Darla was resurrected.) In that, we learn that the disappearances people were discussing at the party in London were the work of Angelus, Darla, and Drusilla. Also, Darla tried to help Angel get his groove back in China by urging him to eat a baby.

If I were a Scooby and I found out about Spike’s poem, I would work the word “effulgent” into every conversation I had with him.

How many Slayers have been American? Buffy, Nikki, and Faith all were, and they were all called within a 20-year time frame. There are almost 200 countries in the world and three Slayers in 20 years came from just one of them?

The scene where Spike tells Buffy about killing Nikki is really well done with the way it goes back and forth between eras, as if it’s all happening at once. It starts to feel like a dance.

April 9, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 2, 2022

Buffy 2.21, Becoming, Part 1: Someone Worthy

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

A rare glimpse of a pre-Slayer Buffy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More on Whistler here.

March 19, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 5, 2022

Buffy 2.17, Passion: Howl

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who else needs a hug?

February 26, 2022

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

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

I bet Xander has had this exact dream

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

February 12, 2022

Buffy 2.14, Innocence: He’s Got (No) Soul and He’s Super Bad

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , at 1:14 pm by Jenn

This is how everyone should channel their feelings after a bad breakup

Summary: The Judge has been reassembled, which means Spike and Drusilla have a virtually unstoppable killing machine. Spike should be happy, but he isn’t: Angel and Buffy are still alive, and they know where to find Spike and Drusilla. Drusilla thinks they’re fine staying put, since Angel won’t try to face off with the Judge again. The Judge says he’s preparing, but Spike thinks he’s being lazy. The Judge explains that his strength grows every time he kills someone. Drusilla suddenly starts moaning and says Angel’s name. Then she starts laughing.

Buffy wakes up alone in Angel’s bed. He’s still outside, in pain. He figures out what’s happening to him as a woman who’s stepped out for a smoke comes to check on him. Angel gets up, totally fine, and says the pain is gone. He turns to her, vamped out, and bites her neck, then exhales the smoke from her lungs. “I feel just fine,” he says.

Buffy sneaks into the house in the morning, which is weird because she told Joyce she was spending the night at Willow’s, so she doesn’t need to pretend she was already home. Joyce asks if something’s wrong, since Buffy looks… She trails off. The other Scoobies (and Jenny) are in the library already, worrying about Buffy, since she hasn’t checked in. Xander wants to storm the factory, but Cordelia knows that would just lead to fear and death. Giles and Jenny agree, but Willow sides with Xander.

Before anyone can walk into a certain-death situation, Buffy arrives. The group confirms that no one’s heard from Angel. Buffy tells the others that the Judge has been reassembled. She lies that after she and Angel escaped him, they split up in the sewer tunnels. Giles says their top priority is stopping the Judge, but he and Buffy know that’s beyond something she can do on her own. The kids head to class and Jenny offers to look up info on the Judge on the Internet. Willow worries that Angel went after the Judge by himself. Buffy doesn’t think so, but she’d really like him to get in touch. They don’t notice Jenny eavesdropping on them.

Back at the factory, Drusilla’s naming the stars, even though she can’t see them, and also, it’s daytime. She tells Spike she named them all the same, so there’s “terrible confusion.” He asks if she can see what happens to Angel. Angel arrives just then and makes up a story about getting his break by filling in for a Broadway star. He says he’s not going anywhere until the streets are rid of scum like Spike.

The Judge approaches to try to kill the victim who escaped the night before, but when he touches Angel, nothing happens. Angel taunts that the Judge must be broken. The Judge says Angel can’t be burned – there’s no humanity in him. Drusilla realizes what that means: The good, kind Angel is gone, and the evil, murderous, soulless Angelus is back.

Spike and Drusilla are happy to have their old murder buddy back. Angelus lights a cigarette, in case it wasn’t clear that he’s a bad guy again. Drusilla can’t wait to feed and play with her family. Spike’s glad he doesn’t have to watch Angelus be Buffy’s “lap dog” anymore. Plus, now there are four of them, including the Judge, which is a great ratio against the Slayer. Angelus is more interested in killing her than destroying humanity. Spike’s like, “You realize letting the Judge kill everyone will also kill her, right?” But Angelus wants them to hold off for a night. He’s going to mess with Buffy first. He wants her to pay for making him feel human.

Off looking for Angel, Buffy calls Willow in the library. Willow tries to convince her that Angel’s fine and she doesn’t need to worry. “Say hi for me,” is Xander’s only contribution. Willow reports that Buffy can’t find Angel anywhere, but Giles doesn’t think that means anything, since he’s disappeared before. Willow notes that Buffy’s recent dreams have made her more anxious.

Xander and Cordelia haven’t had any success finding information in Giles’ books. Cordelia has found a book that mentions the Judge, but it just repeats what they already know – he can’t be stopped by any weapons, and it took an army to defeat him the last time. Xander says they need to find a weak spot. They talk about how he was willing to rush into danger to rescue Buffy, something Cordelia thinks he would never do for her. Xander wants to kiss and make up, and though Cordelia doesn’t want to make up, she’s okay with the kissing part.

They start making out, and when they pull apart, Xander sees that Willow has caught them. He follows her into the hallway, where she says she knew this was happening. Well, not in the sense that she had any idea it was happening, but in the sense that something was off with Xander and Cordelia. They were fighting more than usual.

Willow thinks this is unnatural. When they were kids, she and Xander had a We Hate Cordelia Club; he was the treasurer. Xander promises that he was going to tell her, but she thinks he was too ashamed. He says she’s overreacting – they were just kissing. It doesn’t mean anything. Willow sadly replies that it means Xander would rather be with someone he hates than with Willow.

Buffy goes home after an unsuccessful search, then decides to go back to Angel’s place. She’s shocked to find him there. At first he acts like he’s still Angel, but she starts sensing that something’s wrong when he says he didn’t want to stick around after they had sex. “You got a lot to learn about men, kiddo,” he tells her. “Although I guess you proved that last night.” He doesn’t want to talk about their night together, beyond saying, “It happened.”

Buffy emotionally asks if she wasn’t good. Angelus laughs and says she was great, a real pro. She needs to lighten up. They had a good time, but that doesn’t mean they have to turn it into anything meaningful. Buffy says it was meaningful, at least to her. “It’s not like I’ve never been there before,” Angelus says. He should have known she couldn’t handle it. As he leaves, she whispers that she loves him. “Love you, too,” he replies casually, adding that he’ll call her.

Jenny meets up with Enyos, who tells her that for their people, vengeance is alive. It’s something that’s passed down through generations. She promises that she tried to keep Angel and Buffy apart, but she couldn’t control everything. She thinks Angel could help stop the Judge, but Enyos says it’s too late. Angel was cursed to suffer and live like a human. One moment of happiness would mean a moment of not being plagued by his soul. He had that moment, and now his soul is gone.

Enyos wanted to stop that from happening, but now he thinks things were set up to unfold like this. Jenny says Buffy loves Angel, and Enyos replies that she’ll have to kill him. Jenny notes that he could kill her first. Things have spiraled out of control. Enyos reminds her that they don’t serve justice – they serve vengeance. She tells him they’re all fools.

Willow went home to mope for a while, but she’s back at the school now, since the Scoobies need her. She doesn’t want to talk to Xander about his relationship with Cordelia, and she thinks he has “gross emotional problems,” but she can put all that aside for now. He tells her they still don’t have anything useful to help them take down the Judge – no weapons or armies. Suddenly, Xander gets an idea. Then it grows into a plan.

Before they can go back to the library, the lights go out. Angelus shows up and tells Xander and Willow he needs to show them something. He sends Xander to get the other Scoobies, then asks Willow to come closer. Xander’s down the hall already when he realizes something’s wrong. As he turns back to Willow, Jenny arrives holding a cross and tells her to get away from Angelus. He grabs Willow, showing his vamp face, and the three realize that he’s Angelus again.

He has a message for Buffy, who arrives just then and says he can give it to her himself. He tells her it’s not really a message, but the discovery of all her friends’ bodies. Buffy thinks Angelus must still have something inside him that remembers who he was. “Dream on, schoolgirl,” he says. “Your boyfriend is dead.” Xander takes the cross from Jenny and creeps up behind Angelus as Buffy tries to get him to let go of Willow. Xander thrusts the cross at Angelus, who drops Willow and starts to leave. On his way out, he kisses Buffy and tells her, “Things are about to get very interesting.”

The Scoobies regroup in the library and confirm that Angel is Angelus again and they’re all in danger. Buffy’s silent, looking at the ring he gave her. She thinks she should have known from the way he talked to her at his place. Willow asks how Jenny knew that he was Angelus. Jenny just says she saw his vamp face. Giles wishes they knew what triggered Angel to revert to Angelus. Buffy says she doesn’t know and runs off. Giles keeps pressing the issue, but Willow quietly tells him to shut up.

Cordelia recaps the situation for us: The Judge is unkillable, Angelus is on his team, and Buffy’s a mess. She thinks this is rock bottom. “I have a plan,” Xander announces. “Oh, no, here’s a lower place,” Cordelia replies. Willow asks what Xander’s plan is, but he says this is something for him and Cordelia to handle. He does need a bigger vehicle than Cordelia’s, though, so Willow volunteers Oz’s van. Cordelia asks how she’s supposed to participate. Xander won’t give her details, just telling her to meet him in an hour, wearing something “trashy…er.” Giles is still worried about Buffy, but Jenny says they should leave her alone for a while.

Angelus returns to the factory to gloat about how he hurt Buffy’s feelings. Spike is like, “Remember how we used to kill people? Let’s kill people.” Drusilla guesses that Angelus doesn’t want to do that just yet – he wants to hurt Buffy like he once hurt Drusilla. Spike’s worried that Buffy will ruin their plans, but Angelus says Spike can’t take her out. She’s too strong. They need to “work from the inside. To kill this girl…you have to love her.”

Buffy goes home, upset, and seeing the cross necklace Angel once gave her doesn’t help. She takes off her claddagh ring and sobs on her bed. When she falls asleep, she dreams about having sex with Angel, how gentle and loving he was. Then she sees him turn into Angelus. The dream moves to a funeral, where Angel tells her, “You have to know what to see.” Buffy turns to the woman next to her, who lifts up her veil to reveal that she’s Jenny.

In the morning, Buffy storms into Jenny’s classroom and slams her down on her desk. Giles sends everyone out of the room as Buffy asks Jenny if she’s responsible for Angel’s transformation. Giles thinks she’s making crazy accusations, but Jenny confirms that she knew something would happen. She was sent to watch Buffy and was told to keep her and Angel apart. He was supposed to pay for what he did to her people. Buffy asks what she was supposed to be paying for.

Jenny repeats that she didn’t know what would happen until after it was done. If she’d known, she would have told Buffy. Buffy realizes this is her fault. Giles is confused, so Jenny explains that Angel was cursed to lose his soul if he had one moment of true happiness. Giles is still confused, but a look from Buffy makes him realize why she thinks she’s responsible for this.

She asks Jenny to curse Angel again and give him back his soul. Jenny says she can’t – her people don’t have that kind of magic anymore. Buffy demands to be taken to someone who can help. That person is Enyos, but unfortunately, Angelus gets to him first.

Xander, Willow, Cordelia, and Oz go to an Army base so Xander and Cordelia can steal something. (Security there isn’t great.) When they get caught, Xander pretends he’s a private who brought a date to the base because apparently girls get turned on by looking at guns. The soldier who caught them doesn’t want to let them go, but Xander busts him for some violations and threatens to turn him in.

He and Cordelia head into the armory, where he explains that he retained all the military knowledge he got when he turned into a soldier on Halloween. Cordelia asks if looking at guns really makes girls want to have sex. Does it make Xander want to? “I’m 17. Looking at linoleum makes me wanna have sex,” he replies.

Back in the van, Oz asks Willow if the Scoobies steal weapons from the Army a lot. “Well, we don’t have cable, so we have to make our own fun,” she replies. She suggests that they make out, shocking Oz. He says he thinks about it sometimes, and it’s something he’d really like, but the time isn’t right. He knows she’s trying to make Xander jealous or get revenge on him. Oz doesn’t want that to be the reason they kiss for the first time. In his fantasies, when he kisses Willow, she kisses him back. He can wait until it’s right.

Jenny takes Buffy and Giles to see Enyos, but he’s dead. Angelus has used his blood to write on the wall, “Was it good for you too?” Giles knows he’s messing with Buffy’s head, but she says he’s actually making things easier. She knows that she needs to kill Angelus.

At the factory, the Judge is ready to take some more lives. Spike is still out of commission, so Angelus and Drusilla are leaving him behind while they enact their plan. Spike asks what will happen if Buffy shows up. Angelus says he’ll give her a kiss. Then he comments that the Judge looks spiffy. Meanwhile, Xander delivers the stolen weapon to the library, joking that it’s a late birthday present for Buffy. Jenny offers her help, but Buffy tells her to leave. Giles backs her up.

The Scoobies go to the factory, even though they’ve already guessed that the Judge won’t be there. Spike hides in the shadows as they try to figure out where the Judge might want to attack a bunch of people at once. They guess correctly: the movie theater at the mall. The Judge proves that he really has powered up, since he’s able to burn people without even touching them. He just zaps them with electricity. Angelus tells some minions to lock the exits, then tells the Judge to go ahead and do his thing.

The Scoobies bring in their weapon as the Judge uses his powers to zap a bunch of people at once. He breaks the connection when an arrow flies into his chest. Buffy’s across the lobby with a crossbow, which the Judge says won’t stop him – no weapon forged will. “That was then. This is now,” she replies, picking up a rocket launcher.

Angelus and Drusilla realize they need to get out of the way fast, but the Judge isn’t familiar with modern weaponry. “What’s that do?” he asks. Well, it fires a rocket into you and turns you into rubble. But you wouldn’t understand that because you’re dead now. The Scoobies pick up the pieces (Cordelia: “Our job sucks!”) as Buffy goes after Angelus.

The fire from the blast sets off sprinklers, so when Buffy finds Angelus, they face off in a downpour. He tells her the worst part of this was pretending he loved her. If he’d known how easily she would “give it up,” he wouldn’t have bothered. Buffy says he’s not Angel, so what he’s saying won’t hurt her. He says it doesn’t matter – she made him the man he is today. That sets Buffy off, and she really starts fighting. Meanwhile, Oz finds one of the Judge’s arms and announces, “Uh…arm.”

Buffy and Angelus keep fighting, and he taunts that he knows she wants to beat him up. She gets in some good hits, but when she pulls out a stake to finish him off, she can’t bring herself to use it. Angelus taunts her for not being able to kill her boyfriend. Instead, she kicks him in the…little Angeluses. “Give me time,” she says as she walks away.

Giles drives Buffy home, warning her that Angelus is going to target her personally. She thinks Giles is disappointed in her. He promises he isn’t. Buffy still blames herself for Angel’s transformation, but Giles doesn’t. She couldn’t have known what would happen. They’re in for some tough times, and Giles will only offer his support and respect.

Later that night, Buffy and Joyce watch an old movie. Joyce brings in some cupcakes and asks Buffy what she did for her birthday. “I got older,” Buffy says. Joyce thinks she looks the same. She lights a candle in a cupcake and wishes her daughter a happy birthday. Instead of making a wish and blowing out the candle, Buffy says she’ll just let it burn.

Thoughts: This may be an unpopular opinion but at this point in his career, I think David Boreanaz was a better actor as Angelus than as Angel. His take on Angel is dull. His Angelus is truly entertaining.

I love the specificity that Xander was the treasurer of the We Hate Cordelia Club, not the president or vice president. (I assume Willow was one and Jesse was the other.)

I also love that Xander’s the one who comes up with the plan to take down the Judge. He doesn’t get to prove his worth to the Scoobies often enough. And though he’s not as intelligent as Willow, he was smart enough to apply “it took an army” to modern weaponry.

February 5, 2022

Buffy 2.13, Surprise: One Minute of Happiness

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

Use protection, guys! Wait, never mind

Summary: Buffy wakes up in the middle of the night and goes to get some water. Drusilla follows without her noticing. Buffy opens a door and ends up in the Bronze, where Willow is talking to a monkey in French. Joyce is also there, and she asks Buffy if she really thinks she’s ready. She drops the mug she’s holding and it shatters. Buffy spots Angel, but before she can reach him, Drusilla stakes him through the back and he turns to dust. “Happy birthday, Buffy,” Drusilla says. In case it wasn’t clear that that was a dream, Buffy wakes up in her bed.

In the morning, she goes to Angel’s lair to make sure he’s okay. He’s fine, and also shirtless. She tells him she dreamed that Drusilla was alive and killed him. It felt real, but Angel promises it wasn’t. Buffy reminds him that the dreams she had about the Master came true. He says not all of her dreams are prophetic. For example, the dream she had about opening an office-supply warehouse with Giles probably won’t come true.

Still, Buffy’s worried that Drusilla’s alive. Angel promises she isn’t (wrong!), then kisses her to take her mind off of things. They start making out, and Buffy tries to slam on the brakes so she can go to school, but Angel’s not done with the kissing. He asks her what she wants for her birthday, and she tells him to surprise her. Buffy likes seeing him first thing in the morning, which is actually his bedtime. She’s finding it harder and harder to say goodbye to him every night.

At school, Buffy tells Willow about this conversation. Willow thinks Angel’s cool and would never push Buffy to do anything she’s not comfortable with. But Buffy’s wrestling with her feelings of wanting to sleep with him and her uncertainty whether she should take that leap. She knows wanting to have sex isn’t a good justification for doing it, but she’s also worried she’ll never feel this way again. Willow gives her the advice Buffy once gave her: carpe diem. (Buffy: “Fish of the day?”) Buffy decides it’s time to go for it.

The girls spot Oz, and Buffy asks if Willow has felt any “sparkage” with him. Willow’s hesitant because Oz is a senior. Buffy points out that him being a whole year older than her is nothing: “My boyfriend had a bicentennial.” She doesn’t want Willow to wait around forever for Xander to realize she’s a good match. Willow’s worried that talking to Oz will lead to awkwardness, but Buffy says she needs to at least try and see what happens.

So Willow approaches Oz, who’s playing his guitar, and uses his band as a conversation starter. He announces that he’s going to ask her out for the next night, but he’s a little nervous. To help with that, Willow tells him she’ll say yes. He asks her out, but she remembers that she already has plans – the Scoobies are throwing Buffy a surprise birthday party. She invites him to come as her date.

Xander is trying to extend the same invitation to Cordelia, who’s upset that she’s expected to cook for the party. By “cook” she means buying chips and dip. Xander awkwardly tries to suggest that they go to the party together. They keep meeting up to make out, so maybe they should bite the bullet and admit that they’re dating. Cordelia objects that they can’t call it dating until they actually go on a date, where he’ll have to pay. Xander agrees to that, mostly because he’s sick of hiding their…relationship or whatever from his friends. Cordelia says it’s shameful for her to be open about their…relationship? I guess?

Xander meets up with Giles as Buffy and Jenny head their way. Buffy tells the others about her Drusilla dream, which she’s still trying to convince herself wasn’t prophetic. Giles says they should be on alert just in case, but Buffy shouldn’t worry too much. She says that since Angel’s involved, she’s automatically going to worry too much.

Dalton delivers a package to Spike, who hasn’t completely recovered from the church fire and is using a wheelchair to get around. He and Drusilla are throwing a party in their lair, but he’s not excited about it. He complains that Sunnydale is cursed for them because of Buffy and Angel. Drusilla promises that she has “good games” for everyone. She has a fit over some flowers and tears them apart. Spike calms her down and lets her take a peek at one of her presents. Whatever it is, “it reeks of death.” Drusilla predicts this will be the best party ever because it’ll be the last.

The next day is Buffy’s 17th birthday. She asks Joyce about trying again to get her driver’s license. Joyce asks if she really thinks she’s ready, then drops her plate like she did the mug in Buffy’s dream. At school, Jenny gets a visit from a man named Enyos, who’s annoyed that she hasn’t been in touch more. (They don’t directly mention it in this episode, but he’s her uncle.) She’s ignoring her responsibility to her people. An elder has read in the signs that something is different. Jenny promises that the curse is still in place.

Enyos disagrees – the elder says “his” pain isn’t as strong anymore. Jenny reluctantly tells him that there’s a girl. Angel is still suffering, but he’s trying to make amends for his past deeds. He even saved Jenny’s life. Enyos reminds her that Angel killed their tribe’s most beloved daughter. His pain should be eternal. He shouldn’t get even one minute of happiness from Buffy – that would be too much. Jenny is still Janna of the Kalderash people, a Romani. She needs to prove her loyalty. No more watching – she needs to make sure Angel loses Buffy.

In the library, Buffy tells Giles about her conversation with Joyce and how similar it was to her dream. Xander and Willow try to cheer her up, since it’s her birthday, but she can’t stop worrying about Drusilla. Giles reminds her that dreams aren’t actually prophecies – she dreamed that the Master rose, but she stopped him. That means they can protect Angel.

Giles says he’ll read up on Drusilla, and Buffy can meet him back at the library that night to catch up. After Buffy leaves, Willow and Xander lament that they’ll have to cancel her surprise party. Giles tells them the party is still on. Yes, Buffy and Angel might be in danger, but they can still have some fun. He’s learned from living on the Hellmouth that there’s never really a good time to relax. Buffy’s only going to turn 17 once, and she deserves a fun night.

Buffy returns to the school that night and runs into Jenny, who tells her Giles has changed their plans and wants to meet her somewhere else. She offers to give Buffy a ride. They end up at the Bronze, where Dalton is outside, getting another package for Spike and Drusilla. Buffy fights some vampires while Dalton runs off. Inside, the Scoobies are waiting for the birthday girl, who makes a grand entrance by flying through a window with a vampire. After she stakes him, Cordelia jumps out and yells, “Surprise!” “That pretty much sums it up,” Oz comments.

Buffy’s really touched that her friends arranged the whole party for her. Oz is confused but not scared about learning that vampires are real. Xander tells him Willow will fill him in on the details. Willow starts to ease into it, but Oz says, “Actually, it explains a lot.” Jenny brings in a package that was left behind, a big metal arm. It grabs Buffy around the throat, and Angel has to wrestle it back into its box.

He knows what they’re dealing with and what it means. There’s a legend about a demon that can be brought forth to get rid of all humanity. The righteous will be separated from the wicked, and the righteous will be destroyed. The demon is called the Judge, a name Giles is familiar with. The Judge couldn’t be killed, but an army dismembered him and buried pieces of him around the world. Drusilla must be having the pieces brought together so she can reassemble the Judge and bring an end to humanity.

Giles announces that they need to get the arm out of town. Jenny nominates Angel to do the job, though it’ll require a months-long trip. Angel agrees that it should be him, and that he should leave as soon as possible. Sorry about your birthday, Buffy. Jenny offers to drive Angel to the docks so he can take a cargo ship to a remote part of Asia where the arm will never be found.

Drusilla is very disappointed in Dalton for losing the arm. She breaks his glasses, then tells him to make a wish before she blows out the candles. Spike suggests giving him a chance to find the arm before she does anything to him (or, more specifically, his eyes). Dalton promises that he can get it back. Drusilla agrees, then puts his glasses back on him.

Buffy goes to the docks with Angel to say goodbye. He promises he’ll come back, but she’s worried that they won’t live long enough to be reunited. He reminds her that life is uncertain. He gives her her birthday present, a claddagh ring. It’s a sign of devotion in his Irish heritage, and if she wears it with the heart pointing towards her, it means she belongs to someone.

Buffy asks Angel not to go, though they both know he has to. After they share a long kiss goodbye, he’s about to say something when they’re attacked by two vampires. While Buffy and Angel are distracted, Dalton comes in and steals the Judge’s arm. Angel is able to tackle him, but another vampire grabs the box and runs off. Buffy winds up in the water, and Angel jumps in after her.

The Scoobies wait for Buffy in the library, worried that she’s not back and sad that she has to say goodbye to Angel. Xander thinks this is for the best, because what kind of life would Buffy and Angel have together? She’ll lose interest in him eventually. Xander also imagines himself swooping in and sweeping Buffy off her feet.

Buffy arrives and announces that Drusilla got the arm. Jenny took Angel to get dry clothes (Buffy had a change of clothes at school, for some reason). Giles has learned that the Judge burns people alive once they’ve been judged righteous. Someone who’s truly evil can survive his touch because they have no humanity left, but humans will definitely die. Xander jokes that they can send Cordelia to fight him.

Buffy asks how they stop the Judge without an army. Giles’ texts say that “no weapon forged” can defeat him. Their best option is to stop Drusilla from reassembling him. The Scoobies will have to work all night, so they call their parents to pretend they’re spending the night at each other’s houses. They settle in for a long study session, though Willow’s distracted by thoughts of Oz.

Angel arrives as Buffy is falling asleep in Giles’ office. He knows Buffy hasn’t been sleeping well recently – not because he’s been in bed with her, but because she told him about her dreams. Buffy’s having another one right now: She’s in Spike and Drusilla’s lair, as is Jenny, though Buffy only sees her from behind. She finds the pieces of the Judge, but before she can do anything, Drusilla gets her attention and puts a knife to Angel’s throat. Buffy wakes up yelling her boyfriend’s name.

Drusilla starts the party at her and Spike’s place as Spike brings her the last piece of the Judge. He emerges from his boxes, reassembled. He thinks Drusilla and Spike have some humanity in them, since they’re in love, but Spike doesn’t think that means anything. The Judge tells some minions to bring Dalton to him so he can practice killing. He puts his hand on Dalton’s chest and burns him into nothing. Drusilla’s thrilled.

Buffy tells Giles that she thinks she knows where Spike and Drusilla are. She and Angel are going to check out their lair while the other Scoobies look into places where they might be accepting shipments of the pieces of the Judge. They need to stop Spike and Drusilla from getting all the boxes in one place.

Angel and Buffy go to the old factory where Spike and Drusilla are living, and Buffy recognizes the setup from her dream. They realize they’re too late and the Judge has already been reassembled. The Judge spots them and some minions capture the intruders. Angel offers himself up as the Judge’s next victim instead of Buffy, but Spike tells him that’s a waste of energy since they’re both going to die.

Drusilla wants Buffy to go first so Angel has to watch her die. As Buffy tries to fight the Judge without touching him, Angel pulls a chain that brings down a bunch of TVs hanging up together. This is somehow enough to provide a barrier and distraction that allows Buffy and Angel to escape into the sewer. Drusilla sends minions after them, but they’re not good at tracking people.

Buffy and Angel run to his place to hide out and dry out from the rain they’ve just run through. He gives her some clothes and tells her to warm up in his bed. She’s still upset that he almost left town – she feels like she lost him without actually losing him. She remembers what he said about life being uncertain and how they can’t be sure of anything.

He starts to say what he wanted to tell her on the docks: He loves her. They both have tried to stop feeling the way they do about each other, but they can’t do it. They start kissing, and though Angel thinks they shouldn’t go too far, Buffy’s ready. They have sex (off-screen) and fall asleep in his bed. Sometime later, Angel wakes up gasping. He runs outside, groaning in pain and yelling Buffy’s name. Inside, she’s still asleep. To be continued…

Thoughts: Vincent Schiavelli, who plays Enyos, also played Lanny in “Humbug.” Brian Thompson, who plays the Judge, also played Luke.

Oz and Willow are adorable together. ADORABLE.

Finding out who Jenny really was during the original run of the series felt like such a betrayal. There’s a lot to be said for watching a show without any knowledge of what’s going to happen, which is so much harder to do now that you can find so many spoilers on the Internet. The same goes for the ending of this episode and the whole “one minute of happiness” thing. We knew it meant consequences, but we had no idea what they would be.

January 15, 2022

Buffy 2.10, What’s My Line?, Part 2: Two Slayers, No Waiting

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

I’m not sure if beauty is a prerequisite for being a Slayer or if we only get to see the pretty ones

Summary: Buffy and Kendra are still poised to fight each other in Angel’s lair, though they’ve paused so Buffy can tell Kendra that claiming to be the Slayer only works if you’re not talking to the actual Slayer. Kendra warns that if Buffy kills her, she’ll be replaced by another Slayer. Each denies that the other could be the Slayer. Buffy calls a truce so they can go to Giles and figure things out.

Kendra says her Watcher sent her there to, you know, slay. Angel’s about to be one of her victims, as he’s still stuck in the storage cage, with the sun coming up and inching toward him. The girls head to the library, and Giles confirms that Kendra’s Watcher is a real person. He says there must be some misunderstanding. When Willow comes in, Kendra (no last name) orders her to identify herself. “Back off, Pink Ranger,” Buffy tells her. She explains that Willow’s a friend, a concept foreign to Kendra.

Giles tells her that there are some people who know that Buffy’s the Slayer. They hang out socially. Kendra’s surprised that Giles allows that, since the Slayer’s supposed to work in secret. Giles says he has to allow some flexibility when it comes to Buffy. They fill Willow in, wondering how there can be two Slayers, since traditionally, one is only called after the previous one dies. Giles remembers that Buffy did die, and apparently the length of that death doesn’t matter. Kendra can’t believe Buffy died. “Just a little,” Buffy says defensively.

She thinks this is easily fixed – Kendra’s not supposed to be there, so she can just go home. Buffy admits that having Kendra around creeps her out. Kendra won’t leave, since her Watcher gave her an assignment. A dark power is about to rise, and Kendra needs to stop it. Buffy asks what her plan is. Is she just going to attack people until she gets the right one, like she attacked Buffy?

Kendra says she thought Buffy was a vampire, since she saw her kissing another vampire. Willow objects, saying Buffy would never do that…well, except when she does that. Buffy explains that Angel’s a vampire, but a good one. Kendra knows him as Angelus, so she disagrees. Giles backs Buffy up, but Kendra says Angel looked like just another animal when she…she doesn’t want to finish that sentence.

Willy finds Angel in the cage and drags him out. He dumps him through a trapdoor into a sewer, where Spike and some minions are waiting. Spike pays Willy and warns him not to tell anyone about this. Willy asks what Spike plans to do with Angel. Spike jokes that he’s going to start with dinner and a movie since he doesn’t want to rush into anything.

At the Summerses’ house, Cordelia is chatting with Norman, still believing he’s just a makeup salesman. He’s getting impatient, since she’s not the girl he was looking for there. She spots a worm crawling out of his sleeve, and when Xander comes downstairs, Cordelia kicks Norman out. A bug crawls across Norman’s face, and Xander and Cordelia take off running. They’re just in time to escape as Norman explodes into a bunch of worms. He blocks them from leaving through the backdoor, so they lock themselves in the basement.

Buffy rushes to the cage where Kendra locked up Angel. Kendra notes that there are no ashes, which means Angel’s still alive, or at least he didn’t die in the cage. Willy arrives and Kendra attacks him, sensing that he’s a bad guy. Buffy confirms that he is, but they need to keep him alive and conscious so they can get information out of him. Willy says he and Angel are friends, so of course he didn’t let Angel die. He claims Angel went somewhere to recuperate.

Kendra buys it and says they should go back to Giles for more orders. Buffy says she doesn’t take orders – she does things her way. “No wonder you died,” Kendra quips. As they’re leaving, Willy asks if either girl has considered modeling. He has a friend who takes photos. They’re totally classy and artsy. Hey, creep, I don’t know how old Kendra is, but Buffy’s a teenager. Stop being gross.

Drusilla wakes from a dream about Spike doing something with a branding iron in Paris. There were worms in her baguette. Spike shows her that he’s captured Angel, which means they’re just hours from restoring Drusilla to her full health. They’ll kill Angel during that night’s new moon. As if Angel weren’t already suffering enough, now he has to watch the two of them make out. Drusilla asks to spend the rest of the day playing with Angel. And when she says “playing,” she doesn’t mean Pictionary.

Giles has spoken to Kendra’s Watcher, and they’ve agreed that she should stick around until they’ve dealt with the Spike situation. Buffy isn’t pleased. Giles thinks Spike and Drusilla’s desire to restore Dru’s health is the dark power Kendra has been told about. Kendra suggests that they simply kill Spike. But with the Order of Taraka lurking, there’s more than just Spike to worry about. Kendra’s read about the order, as well as tons of other stuff in the Slayer Handbook. Buffy and Willow have never heard of this handbook. Giles says it wouldn’t be any use in Buffy’s case, which offends her.

Giles obviously appreciates working with a Slayer who’s done her homework. Buffy brands Kendra a nerd. Giles tells Buffy that Snyder’s looking for her, so she needs to put in an appearance at the career fair. Kendra confirms that Buffy’s a student at Sunnydale High, as if they would just be hanging out there for no reason. She taunts that Buffy’s probably a cheerleader, too. How does Kendra know about cheerleaders but not friends?

As Kendra and Giles head off, Buffy complains to Willow about the new Watcher’s pet. She bets Giles wishes she were a book geek. Willow thinks Giles is enough of a book geek for both of them. (She doesn’t mention that since she herself is a book geek, she fills that role for Buffy anyway.) Willow assures Buffy that no one could ever replace her as Giles’ favorite. Buffy wonders if being replaced would be that bad. She could retire and let Kendra take over as the Slayer. Buffy could have a normal life.

Xander’s plan to escape Norman is to wait until Buffy saves him and Cordelia. Cordelia asks how she’ll even know where to find them. Xander reminds her that they’re in Buffy’s home, so the odds are pretty good that she’ll come across them sooner or later. Cordelia wants to check and see if Norman is still there. She doesn’t want to slack and let someone else save them. She yells that Xander’s a loser, and he says she’s an idiot for letting Norman inside in the first place.

After a little more shouting, Cordelia announces that she’s leaving – she’d rather get eaten by worms than spend another minute with Xander. Xander tells her to go already. She not surprised that he’s going to let a girl possibly go off to her doom. “Not just any girl. You’re special,” he replies. Cordelia can’t believe that she’s spending what could be her last moments on Earth with Xander. He hopes these are his last few moments on Earth. She calls him a coward. He calls her a moron. They both say they hate each other. And then…they kiss. When they pull apart, they agree that they need to get out of there.

They don’t hear anything at the door, so they make a run for it. The worms are still there, and Xander manages to outrun them, but Cordelia gets them all over her. Xander sprays her with a hose outside, maybe for a little longer than necessary. They’re able to make it to Cordelia’s car without any more wormy encounters.

Buffy and Willow go to the career fair, and Buffy notices that Oz is checking Willow out. Willow says he’s “expressing computer nerd solidarity.” He comes over to talk (Buffy gives them some privacy), and he and Willow discuss how they were both recruited for that software company but neither wants a job there, at least not right now. They have a good rapport and clearly like each other.

Buffy signs up at the law enforcement booth, but her time at the career fair doesn’t last long. As soon as the police officer running the booth confirms Buffy’s identity, she draws her gun. Buffy holds her off, but the officer gets off a few shots. Everyone nearby hides while Buffy faces off with the cop. Kendra arrives in time to help out, but after briefly taking Jonathan hostage, the cop is able to escape. Oz’s shoulder was grazed by a bullet, and he’s so stunned that he doesn’t know what to say. Jonathan asks if that was a demonstration.

In the library, where Willow tends to Buffy’s minor wounds, Buffy says that the cop was definitely an assassin from the Order of Taraka. Fortunately, Oz wasn’t hurt badly. Xander and Cordelia arrive (“Down, girl,” Buffy tells Kendra), and he asks who sponsored the career fair, “the British soccer fan association?” He starts telling the other Scoobies about his and Cordelia’s run-in with Norman, but he gets distracted when he realizes there’s a new face there. He teases Buffy that he knew her claim that she was the only Slayer was a cry for attention. Kendra is suddenly shy, since she’s never talked to a boy before.

Cordelia finds a worm in her hair and runs off to take a shower. Buffy comments that Xander has a bad history with bugs. The Scoobies acknowledge that the Order of Taraka is a serious threat, and Buffy says it’s a good thing they have Kendra, a serious threat in her own right. Giles has figured out what Drusilla needs for her cure – her sire and a new moon. Buffy knows who that sire is, which makes this even more serious. The ritual will kill Angel.

The Scoobies have five hours to figure out where the ritual will take place and stop it. Kendra reminds them that stopping Drusilla is their priority, not saving Angel. Xander tells her that Angel’s their friend (“except I don’t like him”). Buffy tells Kendra that they really have the same priority right now, so they should work together. Kendra agrees. Buffy is completely fed up with Spike and determined to take him down. Assassins are one thing, but she won’t stand for Spike messing with her boyfriend.

Drusilla tortures Angel with holy water while talking about her mother. It sounds like Angel starts to apologize, but Dru isn’t about to forgive him for killing her family. Back at the library, Giles is surprised to learn that there are 43 churches in Sunnydale. Willow says the Hellmouth makes people pray harder. Cordelia’s returned, having showered and changed clothes, and she and Xander look up bug people in some books.

In Giles’ office, Kendra criticizes Buffy for letting so many people know about her secret identity. She picks up a crossbow, and Buffy warns her to be careful with it. Kendra says she’s an expert in all weapons. Of course, she accidentally fires it, breaking a lamp. Giles asks if everything’s okay, and Buffy says Kendra “killed the bad lamp.” Kendra extends an olive branch, asking Buffy to show her how to use the crossbow later.

Xander finds info on Norman, who can only be killed when he’s in his bug state. He and Cordelia bicker some more. The other Scoobies must find them exhausting. Kendra tells Buffy that she was taught that things like friendship and school distract Slayers from their calling. Kendra isn’t even allowed to have contact with her family. Her parents sent her to live with her Watcher when she was young. Her people take the calling that seriously. But Kendra doesn’t feel sorry for herself and doesn’t want Buffy to, either.

Buffy says it sounds lonely. Kendra tells her that emotions are weaknesses, so Buffy shouldn’t even think about them. Buffy disagrees – her emotions give her power. Kendra would rather “keep an even mind.” Buffy says that explains Kendra’s flawless technique, but Buffy would have won if they’d fought each other. Kendra has no imagination. You have to know how to improvise and adapt.

Kendra thinks she could beat Buffy in a fight right now. Buffy smiles, since she’s introduced Kendra to anger, something that will fuel her fighting abilities. Xander comes in, and Kendra gets quiet again. Buffy guesses that she’s never gone on a date. Kendra isn’t even allowed to talk to boys. Buffy notes that she’s allowed to beat them up, though, thinking of Willy. She realizes that Willy might be able to tell them something.

Drusilla continues torturing Angel until Spike comes to get them for the ritual. Angel gets in a jab about their sex life, getting under Spike’s skin because Angel and Drusilla used to sleep together. Spike grabs a stake and raises it to kill Angel, but Drusilla reminds him that they need him for the sacrifice. Spike realizes that Angel was trying to anger him so he and Drusilla couldn’t do the ritual, which would in turn protect the Scoobies. Instead, Angel will die a horrible death, and Spike and Drusilla will take over Sunnydale.

Buffy and Kendra go to Willy’s bar and interrogate him. Kendra urges Buffy to use violence. Willy says he’ll take the Slayers to the place where the ritual will happen. Kendra thinks they should consult with Giles first, but Buffy knows they don’t have time. Angel’s life is on the line. Kendra warns that Buffy’s relationship clouds her judgment. Buffy reminds her that Angel’s going to die. Kendra replies that he’s a vampire, so he should die. Buffy takes Willy and heads off without her.

At the church, Buffy comes face to face with the assassin who tried to kill her. Norman is also there, along with some vampire minions. In the sanctuary, Spike starts the ritual, which involves stabbing the du Lac cross through Angel and Drusilla’s hands so his blood will flow into her. Willy comes in with Buffy, thinking he’s doing Spike a favor by bringing the Slayer to him. Spike tells Buffy that in about five minutes, Angel will be dead. Buffy won’t live that long.

Spike is going to let the assassins take care of Buffy, but before anyone can make a move, Kendra bursts in. That means that despite having minions, Spike’s really outnumbered. “Two Slayers,” Kendra says. “No waiting,” Buffy finishes. Kendra fights Spike while Buffy takes on the assassins. The Scoobies show up to help out with the minions. Xander lures Norman out to the hall, and once he’s turned into his bug form, he and Cordelia start stomping on him.

Buffy and Kendra swap opponents, with Kendra fighting the cop while Buffy takes on Spike (which both of them say they prefer anyway). Willy tries to escape, but Spike stops him. Buffy rushes to free Angel from the ritual, and when Spike goes to stop her, Willy’s able to run away. Now only the cop is left, and she slashes a tear in Kendra’s sleeve. Kendra’s upset because it’s her favorite shirt. Make that her only shirt. Dang, Kendra’s Watcher, get your girl some more clothes.

Spike lights the church on fire so he can create a diversion and escape with Drusilla. He hopes she got enough of Angel’s blood to restore her health. Buffy grabs a…thing (I think the thing you put incense in? I’m not Catholic, in case that’s not clear) and flings it at Spike, hitting him in the head. He collapses against an organ, and the whole thing comes crashing down on him and Drusilla. Buffy tends to Angel, and Kendra, surprisingly, helps her get him out of the burning church. I guess they all assume that Spike and Drusilla are dead, and if they’re not, the fire will eventually take care of them.

Willow runs into Oz at school the next day and he offers her an animal cracker. She hopes his arm injury won’t interfere with his guitar playing. She helps him open his box of cookies, since his arm is in a sling, and thanks him for protecting her from the assassin. Oz doesn’t like being thanked, since it embarrasses him, so Willow tells him to forget it.

He shows her a monkey animal cracker and notes that the monkeys are the only ones that get to wear clothes. When Willow smiles, he tells her she has the sweetest smile he’s ever seen. They continue talking about animal crackers and how the other animals might be jealous of the monkeys for getting to have clothes. Also, all monkeys are French.

Xander pulls Cordelia into a classroom so they can talk about how awkward things are now that they’ve kissed. They can’t agree on who kissed who. They still hate each other, and they don’t want to kiss ever again. They also won’t ever tell anyone what happened. They plan to forget all about it. Then they kiss again.

Buffy has given Kendra one of her shirts and is sending her home. Kendra plans to not tell her Watcher about Buffy’s relationship with a vampire. She admits that Angel’s cute, so Buffy says maybe she won’t get fired for dating him. Kendra notes that Buffy always talks about slaying like it’s a job when it’s who she is. Buffy taught her that. Buffy knows she can’t fight her destiny, but at least she’s not the only one in her position anymore.

Back at the church, Spike and Drusilla are still alive. Spike’s hurt, but thanks to the ritual with Angel, Drusilla’s back to her full strength. She’ll make sure Spike recovers as well.

Thoughts: I wish we knew more about how/why some Slayers-in-waiting know they’re Slayers-in-waiting while others, like Buffy, are blindsided when they’re activated. How many Slayers-in-waiting are there in the world? And how do some of their families know while Joyce and Hank are in the dark?

I love the twist that the third assassin was at the school the whole time. You can’t see it coming.

The music is part of what makes Xander and Cordelia’s kisses so great, so here are the scenes with all the elements.

January 8, 2022

Buffy 2.9, What’s My Line?, Part 1: The Rest of Your Life

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

If she can love him like this, it’s true love

Summary: Willow arrives at school in a good mood and signs up for the upcoming career fair. Everyone’s taking career-aptitude tests. Xander’s stumped by a question about whether he’s a people person or likes to be with others. He’s a people person but is often alone for reasons he can’t control. Buffy tells him to mark “none of the above,” which isn’t an option. Willow joins them as Xander complains that a multiple-choice test isn’t a good indicator of what they’ll be doing for the rest of their lives.

Willow’s curious about what kind of career she could have. Xander would prefer to be in the dark so he can continue being spontaneous and dumb. Cordelia comes by, reading a question on the test about whether she wants to help other people. She says yes, as long as those people aren’t dirty or gross. Xander mocks her, of course, and she mocks him back. “Is murder always a crime?” Xander wonders out loud.

Buffy can’t decide whether she likes shrubs. That right there tells me this is a bogus test. She figures it doesn’t matter anyway, since her destiny has already been determined. She’ll be killing vampires for free for the rest of her life. But Snyder is making her take the test, so here she is. Willow thinks Buffy must be at least a little curious about what kind of job she’s suited for, even if she’ll never have that job. Buffy doesn’t see the point in even thinking about it. Unless Hell freezes over and all the vampires in town leave, Buffy’s future is sealed.

Spike is consulting with a vampire named Dalton who’s trying to decipher a book. Drusilla is reading tarot cards and wants some alone time with her boyfriend. Spike’s frustrated because the book should hold the key to a cure for Drusilla, but Dalton isn’t having any luck with it. Spike tells Drusilla they’re running out of time – Buffy keeps interfering. Drusilla’s sure that Spike will solve everything.

Dalton determines that the book isn’t in a language he can read. In fact, he’s not sure it’s a real language. Spike beats him up, trying to inspire him to work harder. Drusilla consults her cards and announces that Dalton can’t help without “the key.” No, no, that’s not until season 5. The book is written in code, and they’ll find the key in a mausoleum. To celebrate, Spike dances with Drusilla, promising to dance with her again on Buffy’s grave.

That night, Buffy catches Dalton chipping away at something in a mausoleum. She patiently waits for him to come out, but he runs off while she’s fighting another vampire. Angel’s waiting in her room when she gets home, and she teases him for holding her stuffed pig, Mr. Gordo. She tells him Joyce is out of town, so they don’t have to whisper. (She’s sneaking in her bedroom window out of habit.)

Angel says he wanted to make sure Buffy was okay because he had a bad feeling. She thinks that means he has bad news. She apologizes for being grumpy; the career fair is getting to her. Angel knows all about it already: “I lurk.” Buffy’s frustrated that everyone else is playing What’s My Line? while she has her future already set in stone. She wishes she had a normal life, like she had before.

Angel thinks she means she wants the life she had before she met him. No, sweetie, she means before she became the Slayer. Buffy assures him that he’s the best part of her weird life. She just wishes they could be normal teens sometimes. Well, a regular kid and her “cradle-robbing, creature-of-the-night boyfriend.”

He spots a picture of her ice skating as a kid, and she admits that she went through a big Dorothy Hamill phase. She used skating as an escape when her parents started fighting. It’s been a while since she skated, but Angel knows of a rink that’s closed on Tuesdays. Conveniently, tomorrow is Tuesday.

At school the next day, Cordelia is thrilled to see that the careers she’s most suited for are personal shopper or motivational speaker. She laughs at Xander’s results. He tells Buffy and Willow he’s been pegged as a future prison guard. Buffy notes that at least he’ll be on the right side of the bars. So will she, as she’s been assigned to learn more about law enforcement. That makes perfect sense.

Buffy says she’ll jump off that bridge when she comes to it. First she has to meet with Giles, who’s become super-efficient and wants to see her every day after homeroom. Willow asks Xander where she was assigned. He tells her she wasn’t on the list telling them which seminar to attend. That confuses and worries her.

Buffy goes to the library, where Giles has been indexing past Watchers’ diaries. She tells him about Dalton’s theft but doesn’t know what he took. Giles chastises her for not trying to find out what it was. Buffy tells him that if he doesn’t like the way she does her job, he can find someone else to do it. Oh, right, there’s no one else as long as Buffy’s alive. She could just die. Giles isn’t amused that she’s joking about that. Buffy says her life might as well be over, since she doesn’t get to control it. Giles ask her to hold off on introspection until they find out what Dalton stole.

It’s a cross, and Drusilla can sense that it has some sort of power. Spike tells her they’ll have a big party when she’s well. Dalton’s worried that Buffy will interfere yet again. Spike complains about how she always does; they’ll never cure Drusilla with Buffy around all the time. He decides to call in some bounty hunters from the Order of Taraka. Drusilla’s tarot cards show three of them coming. Dalton thinks that’s overkill, but Spike says it’s “just enough kill.”

Willow and Xander suck up to Snyder for putting on a great career fair, hoping to distract him from noticing that Buffy’s not attending (since she’s gone on a field trip with Giles). Snyder doesn’t fall for it. He tells Xander that everything he says is “a waste of breath, an airborne toxic event.” Xander appreciates Snyder’s honesty and hopes to be in the position to be just as honest with him someday.

Xander leaves Willow for his seminar, and two guys in suits come by to take her to a private space with classical music and canapes. She’s been chosen to meet with a recruiter for a software company. She’s told that the aptitude test was irrelevant; the company has been keeping an eye on Willow for a while. They’re very selective, and only one other Sunnydale student has met their criteria: Oz. He’s finally alone with the girl he keeps thinking about.

Giles and Buffy go to the mausoleum to find out what Dalton stole. She’s upset with him for being critical of her. He tells her she can be the Slayer and have a job, like he’s a Watcher and a librarian. Buffy thinks that makes sense, though – those two positions “go together like chicken and…another chicken.” There’s nothing out there for her that fits with being the Slayer. Giles suggests law enforcement. She’s not amused.

In the mausoleum, Giles sees that Dalton broke into a reliquary, a spot that houses meaningful religious artifacts. Sometimes those artifacts are things like a saint’s finger. “Note to self: Religion freaky,” Buffy says. He spots the name on the mausoleum, du Lac, and realizes they’re dealing with someone who was so evil, he was excommunicated and sent to Sunnydale.

The book that was stolen from the library was also by du Lac. It contains spells and rituals that bring forth evil. It was written in archaic Latin, and only people from du Lac’s sect can understand it. Buffy thinks that’s okay, since chances are good that no one can read the book. But Giles thinks someone must have the key to decode it, which means something bad is coming their way.

A big, unfriendly-looking guy arrives in town via bus. Meanwhile, a salesman named Norman Pfister offers one of Buffy’s neighbors some free makeup samples. After she lets him in her house, she screams. At the airport, a crewman finds someone stowing away in a plane. It’s a young woman (Kendra) who beats him up, then sneaks away.

Back at school, Buffy and Giles fill Xander and Willow in on what they’re dealing with. The cross Dalton stole is called, fittingly, the du Lac Cross (which Xander thinks is a weak name). It’s basically a decoder ring for the book. It’s the only one that still exists; du Lac destroyed the others out of fear that they would fall into the wrong hands. The Scoobies’ best bet is discovering what’s in the book before Dalton does.

Giles wants the group to stay as long as necessary to find out what’s in the book, but Buffy excuses herself, since she has that skating date with Angel. She points out that she’s not very helpful with the book stuff anyway. Willow backs her up, and Giles doesn’t put up a fight. Only Xander thinks Buffy should stay, partly because she usually provides snacks.

Buffy gets to the rink before Angel and skates around for a little while. (Sarah Michelle Gellar was a competitive skater before she got into acting.) The big guy from the bus is watching her, but she doesn’t notice until she takes a fall and he’s able to grab her. Angel arrives in time to save her, though Buffy then saves him by slitting the guy’s throat with her skate. In her lair, Drusilla turns over the guy’s tarot card, having sensed that he’s dead. Spike isn’t worried, since they’re close to decoding the manuscript.

Angel recognizes the guy’s ring and tells Buffy she’s in danger. She needs to go home and wait until she hears from him. Buffy’s worried about a cut on Angel’s forehead, but he just wants her to go somewhere safe. He also doesn’t want her to touch him while he’s vamped out. Buffy doesn’t mind, and she says she didn’t even notice. They kiss as Kendra watches them from across the rink.

Buffy takes the ring to Giles, who also recognizes it. Assassins from the Order of Taraka are after Buffy. Xander makes quips about the group until Giles tells him this is a serious matter. Buffy wonders why the assassins are after her; she hasn’t killed that many vampires lately. Giles agrees with Angel that she needs to hide somewhere.

Buffy asks if that means she’s not strong enough to fight the assassins. Giles tells her that they only work toward the goal of collecting their bounty, and nothing gets in their way. They don’t stop until they eliminate their target. Buffy can kill as many as she can, but they’ll keep coming until she’s dead. They all work alone, in their own ways. Some are human and some aren’t. Like Norman, who’s made of bugs and is now staking out the Summerses’ home from the neighbor’s house.

It’s hard to go back to your normal teen life when you know unidentifiable assassins are after you, so Buffy struggles to overcome her paranoia at the career fair. Poor Oz gets very confused when she grabs him and challenges him to try to kill her. That night, Buffy can’t bring herself to go home to her empty house.

Willow and Giles are still at the library, looking for information on the stolen book. Xander has tried calling Buffy, but she’s not answering. Giles worries that he spooked her too much. Buffy goes to Angel’s lair, letting herself in when he doesn’t answer the door. She curls up in his bed and waits for him.

Angel’s at a bar, meeting with a guy known as Willy the Snitch. He claims he’s staying out of bad stuff, but Angel doesn’t believe him. He asks who sent the Order of Taraka after Buffy. Willy lies that he’s out of the loop, which Angel also doesn’t believe. He guesses Spike is responsible. He threatens to torture Willy if he doesn’t give him information. Willy starts to tell him where Spike and Drusilla are, but Kendra interrupts and starts fighting Angel.

They’re pretty evenly matched, but she wins and gets him on the ground. Angel says he won’t hurt her if she tells him something useful. Kendra locks him in a big storage cage and mentions Buffy (in a famously bad Caribbean accent). Angel threatens to hurt her if she goes after Buffy, but Kendra doesn’t think he’ll be able to stop her. The sun will be up in a few hours, and Angel’s cage faces east.

Giles sends Xander to Buffy’s house to check on her, since no one’s heard from her. Xander doesn’t have a ride, so Giles suggests that he ask Cordelia to drive him. Willow is still in the library, having fallen asleep, and when Giles wakes her, she exclaims, “Don’t warn the tadpoles!” She admits that she’s afraid of frogs. He tells her he’s found a description of the missing book. It contains a ritual that may restore a vampire’s health. They guess Spike wants it for Drusilla.

Dalton has finished his work, and Spike realizes the cure was nearby the whole time. Drusilla presses his fingers to a tarot card depicting an angel. Cordelia takes Xander to Buffy’s, and they bicker while breaking in. She taunts that even if Buffy’s in trouble, Xander won’t be able to help her. While he’s looking around upstairs, Norman comes to the door with his sample case. Cordelia lets him in the house.

Angel’s not having any luck getting out of the cage, and the sun is up and moving his way. At his place, Buffy wakes up when Kendra arrives. Buffy guesses this is the Order of Taraka’s second attempt to take her out. They fight until Kendra asks who Buffy is. Buffy points out that Kendra’s the one who attacked her, so who’s Kendra? “I’m Kendra the vampire slayer,” she replies. To be continued!

Thoughts: Kendra is played by Bianca Lawson.

Buffy will have to get a job to make money, so I don’t see the big deal here. Sure, she’s limited in what she can do – she can’t be, say, a doctor because she’ll need her nights free for slaying – but there are plenty of possibilities.

I’m surprised Spike is willing to outsource Buffy’s murder to assassins. He’d probably still take credit for the kill, though.

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