June 18, 2022

Buffy 3.10, Amends: Ghosts of Christmases Past

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 9, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 22, 2022

Buffy 2.11, Ted: Not in My House

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

Summary: Buffy, Xander, and Willow are walking home from somewhere, and Xander and Willow are arguing over who was in charge, the Captain or Tennille. Buffy isn’t listening – she’s just enjoying the fact that things have been quiet in Sunnydale in the wake of the big fight with Spike and Drusilla. Also, Angel has some sources who have reported that the Order of Taraka’s hit on Buffy has been called off.

The Scoobies get to Buffy’s house, and she’s concerned when she finds the front door slightly open. She leaves Xander and Willow outside and goes in to make sure everything’s okay. She hears a glass breaking in the kitchen and runs in, but Joyce isn’t in danger. She’s just making out with a guy named Ted. Buffy doesn’t have to protect her mother from anything right now, but that doesn’t mean she feels comfortable.

She addresses the fact that Joyce hasn’t mentioned that she’s been seeing someone. She and Ted met when he redid the computer system at her art gallery. Willow has already buddied up with him, and he makes her even happier when he offers her free demos of some software. Xander also likes him, since he’s made some great mini-pizzas. Buffy, however, is hesitant to bond with her mom’s new boyfriend. He tells her he regrets that they met like this. He knows Buffy’s the most important person in Joyce’s life. Buffy says she’s okay with the relationship, but she’s obviously lying.

She takes out her annoyance on a vampire later that night, fighting him much longer than necessary instead of just staking him. Giles asks if she’s okay, and she says she is. She wonders why vampires are hanging out in the park. He thinks it’s because Spike’s gone; they’re scattered without a leader, and they’re just going back to the easiest place to find victims.

Buffy complains that vampires are creeps. People are doing great, and then a vampire comes along and upends everything with his stupid mini-pizzas. “I believe the subtext here is rapidly becoming, uh…text,” Giles says. Buffy doesn’t want to share her feelings, though. She just wants to keep fighting vampires.

At school the next day, Buffy tells Xander to shut up about the mini-pizzas already. She doesn’t think that being a good cook means Ted is a good person. Admittedly, she doesn’t know much about him, but having a good job and seeming nice and making Joyce happy mean nothing. Xander and Willow think this is a Freudian thing; Buffy’s worried about someone taking her mother away from her. “You’re having parental issues,” Xander sing-songs. He claims Freud would have said the same thing, but maybe without his little dance.

Buffy admits that she’s not completely comfortable with the situation, but she thinks she’s justified. Ted seems too perfect, which means something must be wrong. He shows up just then, since he’s been hired to upgrade the software in the guidance office. He invites the Scoobies to play mini-golf with him and Joyce that weekend. There will be mini-pizzas and cookies. Buffy tries to come up with an excuse not to go, and Willow backs her up, but Xander the traitor wants mini-pizzas, and he overrules them.

Giles cautiously approaches Jenny, whom he hasn’t talked to since that whole demon-possession thing. She’s doing fine, though she’s still having trouble sleeping. She would appreciate if Giles would continue keeping his distance, though. She doesn’t like how he keeps giving her looks of pity. “You make me feel bad that I don’t feel better,” she tells him. He apologizes and leaves, which makes her feel bad some more.

Angel’s still recovering from the ritual with Drusilla, so Buffy’s been nursing him back to health. That means she has a captive audience to listen to her ranting about Ted. Angel gently says that while Buffy doesn’t see the need for a new guy in her life, Joyce might. Buffy wishes it were someone other than Ted. Maybe her dad. She finally agrees to give Ted a chance, though she can’t promise she’ll like him.

That weekend, Ted tries to make small talk with Buffy while the group is mini-golfing. He says guys must be eager to go out with her. Willow says they are, but she’s only interested in…studying. Hmm, sounds like Joyce doesn’t know about Angel. Ted is glad to hear that Buffy’s been studying more; hopefully her grades will improve. She’s not happy that Joyce has talked to him about her grades. Joyce says Ted wants to know everything about her so he can be more involved.

Buffy hits a bad shot, and Joyce says they won’t count it in her score. Ted objects – rules are rules, and they need to teach Buffy good lessons now so she’ll take them with her into the outside world. Not that Ted wants to overstep his bounds. He just thinks “right is right.” Buffy goes to the other side of the hole, where she’s blocked from view by a castle, and lies that she hit her ball in already and got a 2. Ted catches her and lectures again that right is right and wrong is wrong.

Buffy reminds him that it’s just a game, but Ted says he’s not wired that way. He hits his golf club against his leg as he says it’s not a game, it counts, and he doesn’t want this kind of “malarkey” in his house. Buffy replies that it’s a good thing they’re not in his house. He threatens to slap her, but when the others join them, he immediately puts on a cheerful face and offers everyone cookies. Now Buffy knows for sure that something is off. And no, Ted, I don’t think she wants a cookie.

On Monday morning, Buffy again rejects food Ted made, and Joyce calls her on her attitude. She doesn’t like how rude Buffy’s been to Ted when he’s gone out of his way to be nice to her. She doesn’t expect Buffy to love Ted like Joyce does, but she needs to be polite. Buffy seizes on the word “love,” and though Joyce hasn’t really thought about it, she guesses she does love him. She just wants Buffy to see that Ted cares about her.

Buffy tells her that Ted threatened to slap her, but Joyce says that didn’t happen. He told her that he caught Buffy cheating, and Joyce thinks it was nice of him not to rat her out to her friends. Ted said they’ll have to wait for Buffy to come around on him. He’s going to try again that night, with dinner. I think Buffy is going to RSVP no.

At school, Buffy asks Willow to look into Ted so they can find any dirt he might be hiding. “Can you say ‘overreaction’?” Xander comments. “Can you say ‘sucking chest wound’?” Buffy replies. Willow thinks she wants Ted to be a bad guy. She and Xander are eating Ted’s cookies throughout the scene. Buffy says that responding the way Ted did to a cheating incident in mini-golf is a red flag. Xander tells her Ted is just uptight, which “isn’t a slaying offense.” He’s on Buffy’s side, but she needs to accept some things in her life.

Cordelia walks by and Xander compliments her outfit. She thinks he’s being sarcastic. Buffy and Willow are confused. Xander goes off with Cordelia, who’s worried that if he’s nice to her in front of his friends, they’ll somehow figure out that they kissed. Xander promises not to tell anyone. Then he asks her to go make out in a utility closet. Cordelia complains that that’s all he thinks about. She’s not saying no, though.

Buffy tells Willow she really thinks something is wrong. Ted acts like she’s in the way, and Joyce has been a little too perfect. Willow agrees to investigate him, starting with where he works. Once she has that location, Buffy goes to Ted’s office, where he sells software over the phone. He’s by far the best salesperson in his division.

After Ted leaves for lunch, Buffy chats with a co-worker who calls Ted “the machine.” He’s a genius who knows everything about computers and never loses a client. He also has a very bare cubicle, only decorated with a picture of Joyce. The co-worker is jealous of Ted’s success and is glad he’s taking off time for his wedding, which is in two months. Buffy checks out the picture on Ted’s desk, which is actually half of a picture of her and Joyce. Buffy’s half has been hidden.

At dinner that night, Ted prays for God to bless the people in the Summerses’ house so they’re more productive and more honest. He asks if Buffy learned anything today. “Quite a bit,” she says coolly. She asks if Ted and Joyce are engaged. Joyce says no, but Ted says things are going great and he might propose someday soon. He asks how Buffy would feel about that, inviting her to feel her feelings and express them out loud. Buffy says she would feel like killing herself.

Ted advises her to get used to him because he’s not going anywhere. Buffy asks to leave the table, and Joyce sends her to her room. She’s embarrassed by her daughter’s behavior, but Ted isn’t going to back down just because Buffy’s upset. He’s salesman of the year; he doesn’t let rejections get to him. He’s sure that Buffy will come around.

Buffy goes to a park to both mope and wait for vampires to show themselves. When she gets back home, Ted is waiting for her in her bedroom. He’s been snooping through her stuff, which he thinks is fair since he knows Buffy was at his office earlier. He’s also read her journal and knows she’s a Slayer. She tells him that’s not his business. “Beg to differ, little lady,” Ted replies. “Everything you do is nothing but my business from now on.”

Buffy orders him to leave her room, and he asks if she’ll slay him if he doesn’t. He’s real, not a delusion she made up in her journal. Buffy will do what he says from now on, or he’ll show her journal to her mother. Okay, and she can just say she’s an aspiring writer and it’s fiction. What else you got? Ted vows to be happy with Joyce and not let Buffy stand in her way.

Ted starts to leave, but she won’t let him go without giving back her journal. He slaps her hard enough to make her hit the wall. She’s happy to have a reason to hit back, and the two of them fight even as Joyce comes in and tells them to stop. They end up in the hallway, and Buffy kicks Ted hard enough to send him falling down the stairs. Joyce checks his pulse and realizes he’s dead. Buffy is shell-shocked.

As Ted’s body is taken away, a detective asks Joyce what happened. Instead of branding her daughter as a killer, Joyce just says that Ted fell down the stairs. Buffy admits that she hit him. They’re taken to the police station, where Buffy tells the detective almost the whole truth, only leaving out the contents of her journal. The problem is that Buffy’s Slayer super-powers include quick healing, so she doesn’t have much proof that Ted threw the first punch. The detective believes that things got out of hand, though, and he tells Joyce he’s not charging Buffy with anything right now. Mother and daughter have a silent ride home.

At school the next day, Buffy looks paranoid, like she thinks everyone’s talking about her. (They probably are.) She tells Willow and Xander that she couldn’t stay home, with Joyce ignoring her. The two of them already know what happened, and they tell Buffy that the newspaper is reporting that Ted just fell. Xander asks what he was. He must have been something supernatural, if Buffy killed him. Buffy’s lack of response tells him that’s not true.

Willow thinks Buffy should cling to the fact that Ted started the fight. Buffy says that doesn’t make much of a difference when you’re not a kid. She might still face legal charges. “He was a person…and I killed him,” she says. She knows it’s what everyone’s already saying. As the Slayer, Buffy had no right to hit Ted the way she did. Xander says that he knows Buffy well, and he knows she would never intentionally hurt a human, unless… Buffy finishes: “Unless they were dating my mother?”

She runs into Giles, who tells her to ask if there’s anything she needs. The police are there, asking some questions about Buffy’s behavior. That can’t be good. Later, Xander tells Willow and Cordelia that he wishes he could get his hands on Ted. Cordelia says she thought Xander liked Ted. “I sometimes like things that are not good for me,” Xander replies pointedly. He doesn’t think Buffy would have fought someone innocent. “Nice Uncle Ted” must have been a bad guy.

Willow’s looking into Ted but hasn’t found anything yet. Xander’s delighted to find some leftover cookies in Willow’s backpack. Cordelia thinks that since Buffy’s the Slayer, she should have a special set of rules for who she can fight. Willow sarcastically says that would work in a fascist society. “Right! Why can’t we have one of those?” Cordelia asks.

Willow firmly says it wouldn’t be fair for Buffy to be punished for killing Ted. Giles tells the group that Buffy’s punishing herself more than the legal system ever could. Cordelia says Giles would know, since he “helped raise that demon that killed that guy that time.” Giles says yes: “Let’s bring that up as often as possible.”

He’ll be patrolling that night, to give Buffy a break. Willow’s worried about him going out without the Slayer, but Giles says there is no Slayer until Buffy recovers from this. Cordelia, amazingly, offers her help, but Giles thinks the Scoobies can help the most by continuing looking into Ted. They do, but Willow can’t find anything negative about Ted. It’s like he’s citizen of the year. Xander tells her not to worry; they’ll work it out. Willow starts to suspect that there’s something up with cookies they’ve been eating.

At home that night, Joyce sadly packs up all of Ted’s cooking supplies. Buffy says she didn’t mean to hurt him, but Joyce isn’t ready to talk about Ted yet. Back at school, Willow finds a tranquilizer in the cookies that keeps people compliant and also has an effect like Ecstasy. Xander raves over her work, though some of that praise might be the cookies talking. Cordelia has found some of Ted’s records, including his address, so the three of them head out to continue investigating.

Jenny surprises Giles by joining him in the park to apologize for being distant earlier. Unfortunately, her association with Giles is putting her in danger again, because there’s a vampire approaching them. Buffy gets sick of sitting in her room and decides to go out, but her window has been nailed shut. She doesn’t think the day can get any worse. “Beg to differ,” says Ted as he appears in her room.

He confirms that Buffy killed him and invites her to apologize. She asks what he is, but he just says he’s a salesman – a salesman who always bounces back, no matter what. He throws Buffy across the room. Back in the park, the vampire tackles Giles, who yells for Jenny to get a crossbow from his bag. She’ll just have to wait for a chance to take a shot without hurting Giles.

Ted puts his hand around Buffy’s neck and tells her he had to “shut down” for a while to get away from her. The intern who saw him get off the table at the morgue was pretty surprised. Now Ted’s ready to get to business. So is Jenny, who fires a stake at the vampire but accidentally gets Giles instead. Fortunately, he’s able to pull it out of his back and stake the vampire.

Buffy grabs a nail file from her dresser and uses it to cut a big gash in Ted’s arm. It reveals wires, and Ted starts glitching. He’s a robot! He goes back and forth between being super-nice and threatening Buffy again. When he hears Joyce coming, he kicks Buffy in the head and knocks her out. He assures Buffy that he and Joyce will be very happy.

The other Scoobies break into the place listed as Ted’s address, some kind of shop. His records show four marriage certificates and no divorces. Willow sees that one of those marriages happened in 1957, when Ted was way too young to get married. The place looks abandoned, and Cordelia comments that a rug on the floor doesn’t match the rest of the décor. That’s because it’s hiding a trapdoor.

Ted reveals himself to Joyce, who’s understandably confused. He tells her he was briefly dead but is okay now. It’s a miracle. Joyce promises that Buffy never meant to hurt Ted. He says Joyce doesn’t have to worry about Buffy or anything else: “Daddy’s here.” Joyce, run. Anyone who says that unironically is someone you don’t want to be associated with.

At the shop, the Scoobies go through the trapdoor and find a home setup straight out of the ’50s. In the closet Xander finds all the evidence he says they’ll need to prove that Ted is crazy. He won’t show the girls, which is good, because he’s found the bodies of Ted’s first four wives. In a closet? For decades? Don’t wanna know. Don’t wanna ask any more questions.

Back at the Summerses’, Ted tells Joyce he couldn’t die because he had to come back to her. She wants to talk to Buffy before she sees Ted, but Ted snaps that he’s the one they should be thinking about, since he died. Joyce apologizes, saying she doesn’t know what to do. Ted reminds her that he always tells her what to do. He glitches as he says they’ll go someplace where no one will ever bother them. Joyce suggests that he get some rest, but he says he doesn’t take orders from women – he’s “not wired that way.”

Thanks to Giles’ layers of tweed, the stake Jenny shot him with didn’t cause too much damage. She laughs about how they’ve spent their night, and it sounds like she’s ready to rekindle things. Meanwhile, Buffy regains consciousness as Joyce tries to talk Ted into having a celebratory drink. He tells her they need to get to the house he’s decorated just for her. He’s already packed her things, including clothes that he knows are her size because they always are. “You left me once, but I keep bringing you back,” he says. “Husband and wife is forever.”

Buffy’s door has been locked from the outside, but she just kicks a hole in it and the doorknob comes off. Joyce doesn’t appreciate Ted trying to rush her away, and he doesn’t appreciate her not listening to him, so he knocks her out and decides to carry her to their new home. He leaves her in the hallway when he hears creaking elsewhere in the house. Buffy ambushes him in the kitchen, hitting him with a frying pan. This takes off some of his skin, revealing his robot frame underneath. She hits him again, and his wires short out and he finally shuts down.

Sometime later, Buffy and Joyce hang out, making plans for a movie night. Joyce doesn’t want anything with romance or horror. She’s still edgy about Ted’s creepiness, but Buffy assures her that Ted is “on the scrap heap…of life.” At school, Xander sums it all up: There was originally a human Ted. His wife left him while he was dying, so he built a better Ted. Then he kidnapped his wife and held her hostage until she died. After that, he just replaced her over and over with other women.

Willow says that Ted was actually a genius with really advanced design ideas. Buffy guesses that she kept some parts. “You’re supposed to use your powers for good,” she admonishes. The Scoobies agree to stop talking about the weird robot serial killer and go back to their normal lives. As they’re about to enter the library, Buffy spots something through the window and complains that she can’t walk into a room with adults nowadays. The Scoobies walk away, leaving Giles and Jenny to make out in the library in peace.

Thoughts: Ted is played by the late John Ritter.

Do you think that, along with strength and fast healing abilities, one of the powers possessed by Slayers is having perfectly neat hair after a long fight with a vampire? That’s really the only explanation for it.

I’m surprised Giles is okay making out in the library. That’s like his church. It’s like Rory telling Lane not to talk about sex in front of books.

January 1, 2022

Buffy 2.8, The Dark Age: Return of the Ripper

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

Giles can definitely be intimidating when he wants to be

Summary: A man with a silver case comes to Sunnydale High one night, looking for Giles. A custodian points him toward the library, but before the man can get there, he encounters a demonic-looking woman. He knows her as Diedre and she knows him as Philip. Philip bangs on the outside door to the library, begging for help, but no one comes to save him.

It may be because Buffy’s blasting techno music while working out in the library. Giles complains but doesn’t make her turn it down. Back outside, Diedre chokes Philip, so by the time Buffy turns off the music, there’s nothing to hear from outside. Philip and Diedre both collapse, and she turns into some blue goo that spreads toward Philip’s body.

That night, Giles dreams of some ritualistic activities from decades earlier – someone tattooing their own hand, people chanting with candles, and a guy saying it’s time to go to sleep. Also, there’s a demon. At school, Buffy and Willow play Anywhere But Here, a game where they imagine themselves…well, anywhere but there. Buffy’s on a beach with Gavin Rossdale, and Willow encounters John Cusack in Italy. Xander joins them and offers his usual scenario: hanging out at a water-slide park with Hong Kong actress Amy Yip.

Willow wonders if Giles ever played Anywhere But Here when he was in school. Xander says he must have lived for school and is still bitter that it ended after 12 grades. Buffy guesses that he “sat in math class thinking, ‘There should be more math. This could be mathier.'” Willow isn’t sure he didn’t get restless as a kid. Buffy says he had tweed diapers.

Giles joins the group to talk about Buffy’s assignment for that night: The blood supply at the hospital is getting its monthly replenishment, which means vampires are likely to try to steal themselves some free meals. Buffy and Giles will meet there to protect it. Giles will bring the weapons; Buffy will bring the snacks. He wants her to be serious, so she asks if she’s ever let him down. “Should I answer that or should I just glare?” he replies.

Jenny approaches and reminds Willow that she’s going to help with a tutoring session the next day. Xander learns for the first time that he has to attend. Cordelia will also be there, which means Xander has to a) do an extra day of class b) on Saturday c) with Cordelia. Giles and Jenny head off together, with the other Scoobies admiring their cuteness…until they realize they don’t want to think about the two of them together.

Giles and Jenny chat about a book he loaned her, and she teases him by pretending she marked it up and spilled coffee on it. She tells him he’s a “fuddy-duddy.” Yeah, he’s definitely heard that one before. She adds that he’s also kind of sexy. That one, he hasn’t heard. They agree to meet up the next night for some very adult activities.

A detective named Winslow is waiting for Giles in the library with a couple of cops. They found Philip’s body, and he had Giles’ name and address in his pocket. Cordelia comes in looking for a book for her computer class, completely unphased by the presence of law enforcement. When Giles points out that he’s busy talking to them, Cordelia asks Winslow to help her get a traffic ticket thrown out. (She was pulled over for driving down a one-way street. Yeah, she was going in the wrong direction, but she was only going one way!)

Giles gets sharp, trying to get her to leave. She tells him he doesn’t have to yell – she can take a hint. She needs a hint with the hint, though. He kicks her out, then goes to the morgue with the detective so he can ID Philip’s body. The two of them were friends back in London but haven’t spoken in 20 years. Giles doesn’t know why Philip wanted to get in touch now. He sees a tattoo on Philip’s arm but tells Winslow he doesn’t know what the symbol means.

Buffy’s on time for the blood delivery that night, but Giles is late. She’s happy enough to get to admire a couple of doctors accepting the delivery, until she realizes that doctors probably wouldn’t be handling that. They’re really vampires, and another vampire yells at them for sampling the product. Buffy fights all three of them (one at a time, of course) and is surprised when Angel arrives to lend a hand. One guy gets away, but the blood is safe. Buffy asks Angel to take it inside while she tries to find out why Giles didn’t show up.

She goes to his apartment, where he tells her he’s busy and will see her on Monday. He totally forgot about the blood delivery. He says he’s in the middle of something important, then dismisses her. After Buffy leaves, Giles tries to call Diedre and learns that she died recently. He crosses her name off a list that includes five names: Thomas, Philip, Diedre, Giles, and Ethan. Giles and Ethan’s names are the only ones not crossed off. Giles goes to the bathroom to splash water on his face, first rolling up his sleeve, which reveals that he has the same tattoo as Philip. “So…you’re back,” he says.

In the morgue, Philip wakes up, his eyes glowing yellow. When an attendant comes to check on the occupants, Philip’s drawer is empty. Philip ambushes him and shoves him in the drawer. At Sunnydale High, Jenny, Willow, Xander, and Cordelia are arriving for their Saturday session. Buffy shows up to talk to Jenny about Giles’ weird behavior the day before. Jenny gets concerned when Buffy says that he was drinking by himself. Xander isn’t surprised – people wound tightly like Giles eventually go dark. His uncle Rory was the same way.

Buffy confirms that no one else has noticed anything strange with Giles. Cordelia says he was fine when she talked to him the day before, while he was dealing with the police. She didn’t mention that to the Scoobies earlier because she didn’t think it was important. Buffy goes to the library to call Giles, but before she can, she hears someone in the stacks. It’s Ethan, and he pushes a shelf over on her so he can get away. She stops him and recognizes him as the person behind the Halloween mischief. She punches him and he asks if that makes them even.

Ethan says he’s just there to snoop around. Buffy suggests that she call the police and let them handle whatever’s going on here. He tells her that the police will want to talk to Giles, someone he’s known for a long time and is looking for. Giles is currently passed out at his desk at home, having dreams like the ones he had the night before – tattoos, demons, someone with glowing eyes, all that stuff. Buffy calls and asks him what the Mark of Eyghon is. That would be his tattoo, which Ethan also has.

She tells him she’s with Ethan, and Giles warns that she’s in danger. She needs to get as far away from him as possible. Turns out Ethan isn’t the threat, though – Philip is. He bursts into the library and faces off with Buffy. Ethan tries to escape, but the Scoobies are on their way in, and Buffy tells them to capture him. Cordelia stops him by kicking and tripping him.

Buffy locks Philip in the book cage, and the Scoobies determine that they’re dealing with a zombie. Giles arrives and makes sure everyone’s okay. “I kicked a guy!” Cordelia boasts. Xander thanks Philip for interrupting class. Giles reminds Ethan that he told him to leave town, but Ethan, who calls him Ripper, says the lease on his costume shop isn’t up until the end of the month. Cordelia wonders why Ethan called Giles “Ripper.” Giles grabs Ethan by the hair, pulling him out of his chair, and says he should have left earlier. Cordelia gets the nickname now.

Giles is coolly furious that Ethan put people he cares about in danger. Ethan wonders why Giles didn’t leave town if he was so worried about them. He knows Giles has been having the dreams, since Ethan’s also having them. They both know what’s coming. Buffy demands answers, but before Giles can give them, Philip breaks out of the book cage, hitting Jenny with the door and knocking her out. Giles checks on her while Buffy fights the zombie, which doesn’t take much effort. He starts convulsing and falls to the ground. Then he turns into blue goo like Diedre did, spreading toward Jenny.

Buffy realizes that Ethan ran off, and she goes off to find him. Jenny regains consciousness and seems okay, except for the part where her eyes can glow now. Buffy returns, having lost Ethan, and again demands answers. Giles doesn’t want to share secrets about his past, but Buffy doesn’t think he has the right to privacy anymore. He sternly tells her that he’s her Watcher, and he’s ordering her to stay out of this.

Giles takes Jenny home, and the Scoobies immediately get to work looking up the Mark of Eyghon. Cordelia wants to help, since she cares about Giles, but she might not care about him enough to work with Xander. Giles takes Jenny to his place instead of hers, and apologizes for getting her mixed up in his mess. Jenny says that since they’re dating, they should be involved in each other’s messes. He tells her he needs to take her home since he’s not a safe person to be around right now. She replies that nothing in the world is safe.

Back at the library, Willow finds information on the Mark of Eyghon, so named for the entity its bearers worship. He’s known as the sleepwalker and only exists in this reality when he temporarily possesses unconscious hosts. That possession gives them “a euphoric feeling of power.” The possession can become permanent, though, if a certain ritual isn’t performed. Then the host can manifest Eyghon. Eyghon can also possess the dead, but he eventually destroys the body he’s in and has to find a new host.

Willow’s familiar with this kind of thing, since ancient groups used to do this to make parties and orgies more fun. Buffy notes that since Philip’s body turned to goo, Eyghon must have left his body. Cordelia thinks there’s nothing to worry about, since no one’s dead. Buffy and Xander realize that someone in the room was unconscious.

Jenny pulls out Giles’ phone line as he brings her some tea. She suggests that instead of taking her home, he take advantage of her. Buffy can’t get a hold of either Giles or Jenny, so she decides to go to Giles’ place. Giles tells Jenny that while he likes her, he’s not going to hook up with her right now. She keeps trying to seduce him, and when he resists, she mocks him for always being so proper and careful. She calls him Ripper and says he never had the strength for her. “You don’t deserve me,” she says. “But guess what: You’ve got me…under your skin.”

Her voice is demonic now, and after she kisses him again, her face is, too. “Was it good for you?” she asks. She beats him up and threatens to kill him. Buffy arrives just then, but instead of fighting her, Jenny/Eyghon says, “Three down, two to go. Be seein’ ya.” Then she jumps out the window. Dramatic! Buffy asks Giles how they stop Eyghon. He’s apologetic about causing this trouble, but Buffy says this is no different from any other demon they’ve taken on. Giles says it is, since he created this one.

As Xander finds a picture of Giles from his 20s, when he looked less like a librarian and more like someone you’d see at a punk concert, Giles tells Buffy his story. He was a student at Oxford, but his studies were boring and he dreaded the future in store for him as a Watcher. He dropped out and moved to London. He got involved with a group of people who practiced magic, and he and Ethan introduced them to Eyghon. They would summon the demon to possess one of them and give them a kind of high. One of them lost control and Eyghon overtook him and killed him. Giles blames himself for the death.

The group thought Eyghon was gone after that, but he’s back and targeting the remaining members of the group. Now just Giles and Ethan are left. Buffy wants Giles to stay put while she takes care of the demon. Giles says he doesn’t know how to stop Eyghon without killing Jenny. Buffy assures him that they’ll come up with a solution. He tells her he’s sorry, and she just says that she knows.

Buffy goes to Ethan’s costume shop, since she has to protect him to protect Giles. Ethan wonders how Giles is able to earn someone’s concern. Buffy says it’s because he’s Giles. Ethan tells her they can’t run; his tattoo is like a homing beacon, so Eyghon will find him wherever he goes. Buffy says she’s not big on running away anyway. “Aren’t we manly?” he remarks. “One of us is,” she replies. She tells him to hide while she takes care of things. Ethan says that’s great, then knocks her out.

When Buffy wakes up, she’s tied face-down to a table, and Ethan is getting ready to give her a Mark of Eyghon tattoo. It’s nothing personal – he kind of likes her. He just likes himself more. She should think of this as a good deed. She’s going to take Ethan’s place so he can live. Buffy wonders if she’ll ruin that good deed by killing him. Ethan starts the tattoo, telling Buffy she’s free to scream if she wants.

Willow, Xander, and Cordelia are now looking for ways to defeat Eyghon. Cordelia’s solution: cut off the demon’s head. She and Xander start fighting, and they’re about to make it physical when Willow yells at them to work with her or get out. They immediately apologize, because angry Willow is kind of scary. Xander comes up with a much better idea: find a body for Eyghon to jump into. Willow notes that that won’t kill Eyghon, just give it a new host. But she gets another, more brilliant idea.

Buffy tries to talk Ethan out of continuing his plan, which next involves him using acid to burn off his tattoo. Giles is hit by flashes of memories from his dreams, as well as a vision of Buffy. He realizes what Ethan’s up to and rushes to the shop to stop him. Ethan’s done, though, and Jenny/Eyghon’s at his door, ready to kill again. She skips over Ethan and goes after Buffy instead.

Buffy’s able to free herself, and she’s fighting Jenny/Eyghon when Giles arrives and offers himself up instead. Buffy tries to get between him and Jenny/Eyghon, but the demon tosses her aside. Just as she’s about to possess Giles, Angel runs in and starts fighting her. The other Scoobies are right behind him, and Willow promises that this will work.

It does – the demon leaves Jenny and possesses Angel, who briefly turns into a demon before passing out. Buffy realizes that Eyghon, thinking he was in danger, jumped into the nearest dead person. Angel already has a demon inside him, and it was stronger than Eyghon. So, to sum up, Eyghon’s gone, Jenny and Angel are fine, and Ethan has escaped (again). Happy ending!

At school on Monday, Buffy complains to Willow and Xander that she was saving her allowance to buy some shoes, and now she’ll have to use the money to get her tattoo removed. She just hopes Joyce doesn’t see it before then. Xander praises Willow for her brilliant idea to put Eyghon into Angel. Buffy thinks she should become a Watcher. Willow doesn’t think she could handle the stress. She doesn’t know how Giles does it. Buffy says he doesn’t have a choice.

Giles runs into Jenny, who’s been avoiding his calls. She says she’s fine, or at least coping. He offers his help, but Jenny clearly doesn’t want to be too involved with him right now. Giles gets it. Buffy asks him how she’s doing, and he tells her he’s not sure Jenny will ever be able to forgive him. Buffy thinks he should forgive himself first. Giles says he never wanted Buffy to see that side of him. She admits that it was scary, but it just let her see him as a person. They’re both flawed, which means they have something in common. That probably won’t ever extend to their music preferences, though.

Thoughts: Some teens drink or use drugs to feel good; some do rituals so they can be possessed by a demon. I get it. We all have our vices.

Cordelia being so proud of herself just for kicking Ethan always cracks me up. I think she expects a reward.

Giles without glasses is a whole different look, and Jenny finding him sexy is a lot more understandable.

December 25, 2021

Buffy 2.7, Lie to Me: The Lonely Ones

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

He really does look dorky

Summary: A boy is waiting for his mom in an empty playground at night. Drusilla approaches and offers to walk him home. The kid has good instincts and can see there’s something off with Drusilla. If his instincts were better, he would run. Fortunately, Angel appears and tells him to leave. Drusilla greets him as “my Angel” – they definitely know each other.

He tells her that she and Spike need to leave town. Drusilla asks if Angel will hurt her if they don’t, then realizes he can’t hurt her anymore. Angel warns that if they don’t leave, it’ll be bad for all of them. She knows he’s now aligned with Buffy, who’s currently up on a roof, looking down at them. Drusilla says that Buffy has no idea what’s in store. Angel tells her this has to end. She gets close to him, as if she’s going to kiss him, and says this is just the beginning.

At school the next day, Giles tries to get Jenny to tell him what she has planned for their upcoming date. She wants to surprise him and bring out his adventurous side. After she leaves, Buffy tells Giles that she patrolled the night before but didn’t come across anything “vampire-y.” He says he’s been researching Spike but hasn’t found anything. Buffy’s subdued, obviously hurt by Angel’s closeness with Drusilla, and Giles encourages her to take the night off and spend time with her boyfriend.

In history class, Buffy and Willow pass each other notes about Angel’s mystery woman. Cordelia complains that people are too hard on Marie Antoinette. She worked hard to look as good as she did. Yeah, the peasants were depressed (Xander corrects her, saying they were oppressed), but she cared about them: “She was gonna let them have cake!”

After class, Buffy and Willow talk more about Drusilla. Buffy doesn’t think she’s a vampire. Xander’s eager for information, since he’d love to know if Angel did something wrong. He suggests that the three of them go to the Bronze that night to cheer Buffy up. A guy approaches them and says that in the past, Oreos dunked in apple juice have done the trick. Buffy recognizes him as Ford, a friend/old crush from L.A. His dad just got transferred to Sunnydale. Xander’s annoyed that there’s another guy competing for Buffy’s affections.

Buffy says she spent months moping over Ford when he wouldn’t give her any attention. She listened to “I Touch Myself” a lot (though she was too young to know what it was about). She invites Ford to the Bronze with the Scoobies that night. After they leave, Xander complains about Buffy always being friends with attractive guys. Willow suddenly realizes what “I Touch Myself” is about.

That night, the group hangs out at the Bronze, and Ford tells Xander and Willow some embarrassing stories from Buffy’s past. She runs into Angel, whom Ford comments looks older than Buffy. “You’re not wrong,” Xander says. Buffy asks Angel what he did the night before, and he lies that he stayed in and read. She walks away instead of calling him out on his lie.

Angel meets Ford, who comments that Angel’s hands are cold. “You’re not wrong,” Xander repeats. Buffy invites Ford to take a walk, then blows Angel off. Angel’s clearly jealous, and he disappears without saying goodbye to Xander and Willow. “You made him do that thing where he’s gone!” Willow complains.

Buffy tells Ford that Angel is possibly her boyfriend, then hears sounds of a struggle in an alley. She sends Ford back to the Bronze to get her purse, then runs to the alley, where a girl is being attacked. Ford follows her and sees her fighting and staking a vampire. Buffy lies that the sounds in the alley were from two cats fighting. “Oh. I thought you were just slaying a vampire,” Ford says. “What? Whating a what?” Buffy replies. He tells her he knows she’s the Slayer.

At home later that night, Buffy calls Willow to talk about Ford and what he knows. She likes that he already knows her big secret, so she doesn’t have to hide. Meanwhile, Ford goes to an old building where a bunch of goths are gathered. A guy named Diego (real name: Marvin) asks for an update, and Ford promises that everything will be fine.

He reminds Diego and a girl named Chanterelle that they need to be ready when he says to be: “True believers only.” They don’t know what he’s planning, but they’re trying to trust him, since he’s helping them do the two things every teen in the country wants to do: “Die young and stay pretty.” There are TVs in the building, playing a ’70s adaption of Dracula, and Ford mouths the lines along with the vampire.

Angel stops by Willow’s house as she’s getting ready for bed. She invites him in, worrying that she’ll get in trouble for having a boy in her room. He asks her to use “the Net” to find out anything she can on Ford. She hesitantly tells him he’s being jealous. He admits that things were simpler before – he spent a hundred years just hanging around, feeling guilty: “I really honed my brooding skills.” Then Buffy came into his life, and now he has, like, feelings and stuff. But he also has good instincts about people, and Ford raises a red flag for him.

Willow can’t find Ford’s records in the school’s system, which is surprising. He isn’t registered for classes. Her mother calls for her to go to bed, so Willow rushes Angel out and tells him to come back tomorrow night for an update. She asks him not to say anything to Buffy until they have more information. Willow tries to convince herself that there’s nothing to be concerned about.

At school the next day, Willow has a hard time acting normal around Buffy and Ford. Buffy thinks she’s just overcaffeinated. Giles gives Buffy Jenny’s beeper number in case there’s a slaying emergency (though he doesn’t say those words, since Ford is right there). Buffy tells him that Ford knows who she is, so Giles doesn’t have to be so vague.

That night, Buffy gives Ford a tour of Sunnydale, which ends when they spot a couple of vampires entering the school. She gives Ford a cross and a stake, and they go check things out together. The vampires jump Buffy, and as she fights one, Ford questions the other. By the time Buffy gets back to them, Ford is alone. He tells Buffy he dusted the vampire.

Willow has found an address associated with Ford, so she, Angel, and Xander go check it out. It’s the building Ford went to the night before, a place called the Sunset Club. Willow and Xander are wearing colorful clothes, so they’re going to have a hard time blending in with all the goths. Willow ponders the accuracy of the phrase “stick out like sore thumbs.” Xander tells her she has too many thoughts.

They quickly pick up on the theme of the club, which Willow calls “vampires, yay.” Chanterelle greets them, saying the people there welcome anyone who’s interested in “the lonely ones.” Angel translates that as vampires. This group wants to correct the misconception that all vampires are evil. They should be exalted since they’re above humans.

Angel blurts out that Chanterelle is a fool. Hurt, she encourages him to listen to other people’s viewpoints. Willow’s disappointed that Angel has outed them as nonbelievers and ruined their chances of talking to anyone in the club. He scoffs that the group has made up stories about friendly vampires to make themselves feel better. They don’t know anything about vampires or how they live or even dress. Just then, a lonely one walks by wearing the exact same outfit as Angel. Xander refocuses the investigation on Ford, wondering why he’s hanging out with vampire wannabes. They pass Diego, who hears them talking about Ford.

Buffy summons Giles and Jenny to the library to talk about the vampires she and Ford saw. Giles is secretly thrilled to have been called away from his date – he and Jenny were watching monster trucks. Buffy has sent Ford away so he doesn’t have to get more involved in the situation. She’s impressed that he killed a vampire on his first try, though.

She spots a picture of Drusilla, whom Giles IDs for her as Spike’s girlfriend. She was supposedly killed by a mob in Prague. Buffy announces that she’s alive, and was last seen talking to Angel. Before they can discuss more why Angel would be talking to Spike’s girlfriend, they’re ambushed by a vampire who’s fleeing Giles’ office with a stolen book. Buffy recognizes her as the vampire Ford said he killed.

Drusilla is encouraging her (dead) pet bird to sing when Spike finds her and mentions that she went out alone the other night. He knows she ran into Angel and asks what they talked about. He doesn’t want them to be friendly with each other, since Angel’s the enemy. Drusilla is focused on the bird, and an annoyed Spike tells her it’s dead, just like the last one; she never feeds them. Dru gets upset, and like a classic abusive boyfriend, he says he just worries about her, then offers her a new bird.

Ford suddenly arrives, since Spike’s minions apparently suck at security. The vampire Ford didn’t kill gives Spike the book she stole from the library. Ford wants to make a deal with Spike, and he expects Spike to now pull out a watch and give him 30 seconds to convince Spike not to kill him. This isn’t a movie, though, and Spike is too impatient for that. He just grabs Ford by the ear and tells him to talk.

Ford really wants to live out the fantasy, so Spike plays along. Anyway, Ford wants to become a vampire. Spike is like, “I hate you after meeting you two seconds ago; I’m not giving you the opportunity to keep annoying me forever.” Ford offers up a trade: turn him and he’ll hand over Buffy.

Angel goes by Buffy’s house, politely asking to come in even though he’s been invited and can come in whenever he wants. He tells her that Willow looked up Ford, and the two of them and Xander went to dig up information on him. Buffy notes that this is another topic Angel has kept a secret about. She wants to know who Drusilla is.

Angel says he was justified in keeping her a secret because the truth is bad. Buffy insists that she can handle it. He asks if she loves him, and after thinking about it, she says she does, but she’s not sure if she can trust him. Angel replies that maybe she shouldn’t do either. She thinks she should be the one to decide that for herself.

He tells her that when he became a vampire, he did a lot of bad things, but Drusilla was the worst. He was obsessed with her. She was a chaste, sweet girl, and he ruined her. He killed everyone she loved and tortured her. She fled to a convent, and the day she took her holy orders, he turned her into a vampire. Buffy’s hurt by this glimpse into her boyfriend, but she acknowledges that she wanted the truth. Turning the topic back to Ford, Angel says that he’s part of some group that worships vampires. He’s not sure what Ford wants from Buffy, but she can’t trust him.

At school the next day, Buffy keeps this in mind when Ford approaches her. He wants to take her to a surprise location that night. She agrees, then goes to see Willow and Xander. She’s not happy with them for going behind her back. Xander’s even less happy to hear that Willow talked with Angel in her bedroom. “Ours is a forbidden love,” she says.

Ford goes to the Sunset Club to make sure Diego and Chanterelle have everything ready for that night. They believe that Spike and his minions will bless them. Diego asks about Ford’s other friends, the Scoobies. Ford had no idea they were at the club. He assures Diego and Chanterelle that the vampires will come through and everything will be fine. Buffy, who’s also found the club, tells him he’s wrong.

She blasts him for lying to her, but he says everyone lies. She demands to know what he’s up to. Ford says he’s going to become a vampire, and Buffy easily guesses that he was going to trade her for that opportunity. He was actually hoping she would figure it out. In fact, his plan isn’t going down that night – it’s already in motion. The door to the club has a special lock and can only be opened from the outside. Whoever’s there now will still be there when the vampires arrive.

The lonely ones are all in for what they think will be a glorious transformation and ascension to a new consciousness. “No one gets out of here alive,” Ford tells Buffy. She starts looking for another way out, but they’re in a bomb shelter surrounded by concrete. The lonely ones don’t get why Buffy isn’t excited to become a vampire. This is a wonderful opportunity.

Buffy tells them that they’re not going to turn into vampires – Spike and his minions will kill them and dine at the “all-you-can-eat moron bar.” Diego calls her an unbeliever. Buffy tells him they’re taking a huge risk and she’s trying to save them. Their only chance to survive is to get out of the club right now. P.S. Diego’s outfit is dorky. (Ford agrees.)

The sun is setting, so Buffy’s running out of time to save these idiots. Spike gathers his minions for their feast, promising Drusilla a special treat. Back at the club, Buffy keeps looking for a way out as she tells Ford that he’s the bad guy in this situation. She’s guessed that his deal with Spike only applies to him. She tells him that he’ll just turn into a demon; he won’t really be his current self forever.

Ford says it’s better than nothing. Buffy tells him the lonely ones don’t deserve to die. Ford says he doesn’t, either, but it doesn’t matter – he’s still dying. He has six months left, if that, and when he dies, it won’t be pleasant. He wants to go now, still looking like himself, not whatever his brain tumors will turn him into. Buffy’s sympathetic but still thinks he’s being an idiot.

He tells her the lonely ones are sheep. They’re bored and miserable, so they want to change their lives. Ford doesn’t feel like he has a choice. Buffy says he does – he can choose not to kill a bunch of innocent people. He’s trying to live out some fantasy, and she won’t let it continue. If the vampires do show up and start killing people, Buffy will take Ford out herself.

The vampires arrive, and Buffy begs Ford to help her stop things before they get out of control. He won’t, so Buffy tells everyone that they’re going to die. Ford attacks her and knocks her out. Spike and his minions enter the club, and Chanterelle immediately realizes that she made a mistake. He bites her first, telling the others to kill whoever they want but leave Buffy for him.

Instead of stopping the massacre, Buffy gets a better idea. She takes Drusilla hostage and threatens to kill her if Spike doesn’t let everyone go. Once the lonely ones have left, Buffy runs out, locking the door behind her to trap all the vampires inside. Angel, Xander, and Willow arrive outside as the lonely ones disperse (or possibly head to another location to reform their vampire cult). Buffy tells the Scoobies they should go; they can come back later. Come back for what? Ford’s body. He’s stuck in the club with the vampires, and he wants his “reward” for keeping his end of the deal with Spike.

The next day, Buffy returns to the club. The vampires have fled, leaving Ford’s body behind. That night, Buffy and Giles go to his grave, where she wonders what to say. She wishes she hated Ford; she thinks he wanted her to. But he was just scared. Buffy’s struggling to work through all the complicated pieces of her life. She never knows who to love or trust. The more she learns, the more complicated it gets. Giles says that’s what growing up is about.

Buffy asks if it ever gets easy. Just then, Ford emerges from his grave as a vampire. Buffy casually stakes him and turns him to dust. Giles clarifies that Buffy wants to know if life gets easier. He’s not sure what to tell her. She asks him to lie to her. Giles says it’s very easy: The good guys are always good. The bad guys are easy to defeat. “No one ever dies, and everyone lives happily ever after,” he says. “Liar,” Buffy replies.

Thoughts: The idea of the combination of Oreos and apple juice makes me cringe.

“The Net.” Adorable.

I’m mad that we didn’t get to see Giles at the monster truck rally. That scene basically writes itself.

Giles is very relatable when he complains that a vampire took one of his books. I get it. You don’t mess with someone’s book collection.

November 27, 2021

Buffy 2.3, School Hard: Maybe Nothing Bad Will Happen

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 1:19 pm by Jenn

Yep, they’re here

Summary: Snyder has Buffy and a student named Sheila in his office for a little intimidation session. He knows some principals want their students to see them as pals. In Snyder’s case, he wants his students to see him as their judge, jury, and executioner. He asks who they think is the school’s most troublesome student. Sheila looks at Buffy, but Snyder says it’s probably a tie. After all, Sheila stabbed a teacher with pruning shears (and she’s proud of it), but Buffy burned down her last school. She blames mice. Snyder doesn’t buy that, of course. “Mice that were smoking?” Buffy offers.

Both girls have gotten in fights and cut a bunch of classes, so it’s a close race. The winner gets expelled. As punishment for their misdeeds, both girls will have to plan the upcoming parent-teacher night. If they do a good job, Snyder may have nice things to say about them to their parents. Buffy immediately agrees, even before Snyder warns that if the girls don’t succeed, the next time their parents come to the school will be to clean out their lockers.

Sheila jets off as soon as they’re done, and Buffy wonders if her mom sees her the same way everyone sees Sheila, as a bad seed. Xander thinks Sheila’s much worse. Willow says she started smoking in fifth grade, and Willow even served as her lookout once. Buffy thinks she should be allowed to fight and cut classes since she’s the Slayer. Is she the only Chosen One who had to go to high school?

Xander tells her that as long as nothing bad happens in the next three days, before parent-teacher night, everything will be great. Buffy and Willow slam him for jinxing things. Xander defends himself, saying maybe this time things will be different and nothing bad will happen. That night, a car drives right through the Welcome to Sunnydale sign, and out steps the one and only Spike. “Home sweet home,” he says.

The Master and Anointed One’s remaining faithful have gathered to discuss their #1 problem, Buffy. One guy thinks he can take her out. When he does, “it’ll be the greatest event since the crucifixion.” He would know, since he was there. Spike arrives in the lair and challenges that claim. If every vampire who says they were at the crucifixion was actually there, “it would have been like Woodstock.” Spike was at the actual Woodstock and spent six hours staring at his hand because of the drugs he ingested when he fed off someone.

Spike asks who the vampires kill for fun in Sunnydale, then introduces himself. He’s familiar with Collin and his problem with Buffy. Spike agrees that killing her is the best option. He’s killed a couple Slayers himself, not that he wants to brag. “Who am I kidding? I love to brag!” he says. As he starts telling his story, his girlfriend, Drusilla, comes in. She’s not at her full strength, and she’s not all there mentally, but she can sense Collin’s power. She tells him she likes planting daisies, but everything she puts in the ground dies. Drusilla tells Spike she’s cold, so he gives her his coat. She says she’s a princess, then cuts his cheek and licks the blood.

Spike announces that the two of them are moving in, and they’re ready to see who thinks they’re stronger than Spike. He’ll kill the Slayer as long as Collin keeps the other vampires from messing with him. Drusilla frets that she can’t see Buffy because it’s dark wherever she is. She urges Spike to kill Buffy for her. Spike would do anything for Drusilla, so he’s already on board. He asks the other vampires if Buffy is tough.

Currently, she’s not – she’s trying to deal with a new cream rinse she’s been using on her hair that has disappointingly turned out to be “neither creamy nor rinse-y.” Joyce tells her she’s gotten a notice about parent-teacher night, which Buffy never mentioned to her. Joyce wonders what Buffy’s teachers will say about her. Buffy thinks they’ll all agree that she’s always ready to take notes. Her test scores might not say much about her, though Joyce warns that they’ll say whether Buffy can still have a social life.

She tells Buffy that life is more than school, but she’d prefer not to have to move again. She’d also like to not be disappointed in her daughter again. Buffy doesn’t want that, either. She tells Joyce that she has a lot of pressure on her right now. Joyce thinks she should wait until she gets a job to complain about pressure. Of course, Buffy already has a job, albeit an unconventional, non-paying one.

At school the next day, Buffy enlists Willow to help her paint a banner for parent-teacher night, since Sheila didn’t show up to do her share of the work. Buffy asks Willow to help her study that night, but when she realizes that that means skipping an evening at the Bronze, where Angel might meet some other girl, she changes her mind. She’s sure she can juggle school, partying, and parent-teacher night. She just can’t throw slaying into the mix.

Too bad! Giles and Jenny tell the other Scoobies that that Saturday is the Night of St. Vigeous. Basically, the vampires are going to cause trouble. Giles doesn’t want Buffy to put the rest of her life before slaying right now, but Buffy doesn’t really have a choice. Xander and Willow promise to help Buffy prepare for the big battle, though of course, she’ll have to fight on her own.

Snyder catches the group and calls Willow and Xander out for helping Buffy in Sheila’s place. He threatens to expel Sheila, but Buffy covers for her, saying she’s been helping for hours and just left to get more paint. Sheila shows up just then, looking hungover. Buffy continues the charade, and Snyder either buys it or just lets it go. Sheila asks if Buffy really burned down a school. She thinks it’s cool.

That night, Buffy tries to combine studying and partying by doing her French homework at the Bronze. She’s distracted since Angel hasn’t shown up yet. Xander convinces her and Willow to take a break and dance with him. Spike shows up and gets his first look at the Slayer he’s sure he can defeat. She doesn’t look so intimidating on the dance floor.

Spike sends a lackey outside to find a snack, then announces within Buffy’s earshot that there’s someone outside trying to bite someone. Buffy immediately runs out to the alley to do her thing. Xander and Willow save the would-be snack, and Xander runs into the club to get a stake from Buffy’s bag (no, Xander, a tampon won’t help in this situation). The lackey gets Buffy on the ground and tells her he’s not going to wait until the Night of St. Vigeous to kill her. She gets back up, so he asks Spike for help. Too late – Buffy’s already taken out the lackey.

Spike steps out of the shadows and gives Buffy a slow clap. He tells her he’s going to kill her on Saturday. Okay, but don’t get any blood on her cool purple jacket. Elsewhere in town, Sheila leaves a bar with a couple of guys who suddenly disappear. Spike takes their place, then gets Sheila to come with him.

The Scoobies (plus Jenny) meet up in the library to discuss their new threat, Spike. Giles isn’t familiar with his name. Xander suggests that they all just run away if Buffy’s going to be facing a big group of vampires on Saturday. Willow says they can’t run. Maybe they can hide, though. Giles doesn’t think Spike can be any worse than any other enemy Buffy’s taken on. “He’s worse,” Angel announces as he comes in. He knows that Spike will keep killing until he’s gotten rid of anything in his path.

Buffy and Angel have a brief conversation about how she wanted him to come to the Bronze, and how she never said definitively that she would be there, and how he should know after 200 years of dating what it means when a girl says she might be somewhere. Willow remarks that 200 years of dating is a lot, and even if Angel only had two dates a year, that would be 400 dates with 400 different… She catches herself and changes the subject to a nearby weapon: “Why do they call it a mace?” Giles gets everyone back on track, asking about Spike’s other names, but Angel’s already left. Xander suggests that they put a collar and bell on him.

The vampires are preparing for Saturday like they’re a religious order preparing for some holiday. Drusilla is sitting this one out, instead spending time with her doll collection. Spike wants her to eat something, but she’s not hungry. She misses Prague, even though she almost died there, thanks to a mob. Spike thinks this new home will help her get healthy again, with the added bonus of providing them a bunch of people to eat and a whole town to burn. Drusilla tells Spike to go join the others so they’ll start to trust him. Spike agrees, as long as Drusilla eats something. Well, someone – Sheila.

The day of parent-teacher night, Cordelia joins the Scoobies for weapons prep, though Buffy’s using her weapon to cut up vegetables. Giles tells them that the vampires will spend three nights in a scourge, then commit a huge, bloody attack. Buffy’s more concerned with making sure everything’s ready for parent-teacher night. Cordelia thinks her three minutes of carving stakes is enough, since Buffy isn’t going to live that long anyway. Not that Cordelia isn’t rooting for her on Saturday. Too bad she scheduled a leg waxing that day, so she can’t come and cheer her on.

Buffy leaves to make punch, briefly turning back to tell the Scoobies not to eat any of the snacks that are supposed to be for the parents. Willow checks on her later and lies that her sugarless lemonade is good. Buffy’s next goal is keeping Joyce and Snyder apart. Willow lends a hand, rushing Joyce to a classroom before Snyder can approach her. Buffy tells Snyder that her mom doesn’t speak English anyway.

The hours pass and everything seems to be going well. Cordelia might disagree, since she thinks Buffy looks tired. Buffy reminds her that she has a lot of things going on right now, and none of them mesh: “It’s kind of like oil and water and a…third unmeshable thing.” Cordelia comments that she can see the oil. She spots Joyce and praises her moisturizing routine.

Joyce comments that, strangely, every time she gets to a classroom, Buffy’s teacher has just stepped out. Snyder approaches, and this time Buffy can’t keep them apart. It’s time for Joyce to hear exactly what Snyder thinks of her daughter. Cordelia predicts that Buffy will still be grounded at their tenth high school reunion. Willow tells her to try the lemonade.

In the library, Giles finally finds something about Spike in a book. His nickname is William the Bloody, but everyone calls him Spike because he likes torturing people with railroad spikes. He’s not as old as Angel – he’s barely 200 – which Giles thinks is good, but when he reads on, he discovers that it doesn’t matter. Spike has already killed two Slayers.

Joyce returns from her meeting with Snyder unhappy and tells Buffy they’re leaving. The night is over, and as Snyder starts turning off lights, a group of vampires jumps through the windows. Spike tells Buffy he couldn’t wait until Saturday. So really, the night isn’t over after all.

Buffy throws a chair at Spike to try to hold him off for a little while, then leads Joyce, Snyder, and another guy through the hallways to find someplace safe to hide. Spike tells his minions not to let anyone escape. Willow gets a moment of awesomeness when she hits a vampire with a big bust. Buffy gets her group into a classroom as Giles, Xander, and Jenny barricade themselves in the library.

The vampires cut the power, and one tells Spike that Buffy’s still in the school, though he doesn’t know where she is. Spike kills a human just to make himself feel better. Giles realizes the phone lines are out, so he can’t call Angel. He remembers that there’s a boarded-up cellar behind the stacks, and he sends Xander to get Angel. Xander doesn’t want to leave until he’s sure Buffy and Willow are okay. Giles says no one will be okay without Angel’s help.

The people in Buffy’s group aren’t sure what’s going on. Snyder says they’re under attack by a gang on PCP. He wants to go out through a window, but Buffy tells him that everyone in the room will die if they don’t listen to her. No one can leave until she says it’s okay. Snyder hates being challenged, especially by a child, but Buffy says she knows how to stop their attackers. She tells Joyce she’s going up through the ceiling.

Spike calls for Buffy in an empty hallway like she’s a missing cat. He warns that if he finds one of her friends, he’ll kill them. He’s approaching the utility closet Willow and Cordelia are hiding in, and he’s about to kick in the door when a lackey hears Buffy in the ceiling. Giles wants to go check on her, so he prepares to leave Jenny alone in the library. Before he can leave, Buffy drops down from the ceiling. She grabs some weapons, planning to take out the vampires in the hallway while Giles gets Joyce and any other civilians out of the school.

As Buffy goes back up into the ceiling, Snyder tries to deny that anything bad is happening, as if that will end it all. Joyce wants to follow Buffy’s orders, and she tells Snyder and Other Guy to stay put. Snyder notes that she and her daughter are a lot alike. A vampire tries to break open the door to their classroom, but it’s too strong for him. Spike tells him to use his head. Specifically, he should use his head to break the glass over a nearby fire axe, then use the axe on the door.

The vampire gets through the door as Snyder and Other Guy break through the slats covering the window leading outside. Another vampire is already out there, though, and he grabs Other Guy and drags him out. R.I.P., Other Guy. Joyce should get a medal for not telling Snyder why he should have listened to her and Buffy. Spike hears Buffy in the ceiling again and follows her along to her destination.

Xander and Angel arrive outside, and when Xander asks what the plan is, Angel grabs him around the throat and drags him inside. Willow and Cordelia decide to stay put in their closet, even though they don’t think there are any vampires waiting for them in the hallway. Spike and another vampire use long poles to poke through the ceiling, trying to get to Buffy. The vampire with the axe is close to getting into Joyce and Snyder’s hideout, but Buffy gets to him before he finishes. Joyce is peeking through the hole the axe made in the door, but she doesn’t see Buffy staking the vampire.

Buffy tells her mother she needs a minute, then goes to ambush another vampire. That’s when Sheila arrives, having missed all the festivities. She grabs the abandoned axe and joins Buffy for a fight. Meanwhile, Angel encounters Spike, who calls him Angelus. They’re old buddies. Angel acts like he’s still his old, evil stuff, even saying he’s fooled Buffy into thinking he’s a good guy. Xander, whom he’s still holding around the neck, calls him “undead liar guy.” Angel exposes Xander’s neck and offers Spike a snack before they go after Buffy.

Buffy continues sneaking up on a vampire, thinking Sheila’s her backup. If she looked behind her, she would see that Sheila’s now a vampire. Fortunately, Giles can see through a library window that Sheila has raised her axe to hit Buffy, and he calls out a warning. Buffy takes out the vampire she’s been stalking, and Sheila realizes this isn’t someone she should mess with, so she runs off. With the hallway clear, Buffy gets Joyce and Snyder out of their classroom so Giles can take them to safety.

Spike wonders why Angel hasn’t killed Buffy yet. Is his tortured-vampire thing an act? Is he “house-broken”? Angel says that Buffy killed the Master, so he doesn’t think he can take her on by himself. Spike agrees to have a snack with Angel, but as they lean in to bite Xander, Spike punches Angel. He knows Angel isn’t his old self. He’s upset, since Angel was his sire (sort of; more on that later) and his Yoda. They’re demons; they shouldn’t change. Angel’s an Uncle Tom.

Spike urges his minions to join him in finding Buffy, but she’s already found them and is ready to fight. Spike agrees to go hand-to-hand, no weapons. He tells her that the last Slayer he killed begged for her life. He doesn’t think Buffy will do the same. She tells him he shouldn’t have come, and she’s going to make sure she gets in a good beating before finishing him off.

As they fight, Giles takes Joyce to the library to escape. Xander takes on a vampire himself, though Angel helps him out in the end. Spike’s surprised that Buffy is such a good fighter, and he’s even more surprised when, just as he’s about to shove a wooden beam into her, he gets hit in the head with an axe handle. Joyce has come to find her daughter, and she’s not going to let some supposed stoned gangster hurt Buffy. “Women!” Spike huffs before running off.

Once the siege is over, Snyder meets up with the police chief outside to discuss the two dead bodies they’re left with. Giles tells Jenny that he’ll understand if she doesn’t want to spend any more time with him. She makes it clear that she doesn’t feel that way. Xander chastises Angel for using him to try to convince Spike they were on the same side. He’d also like to know what Spike meant when he said Angel was his sire. Snyder and the police chief agree that they’ll tell the press the same thing they always do: This was a gang-related, PCP-fueled situation. It’s not like they can tell the truth.

Buffy finally gets to ask Joyce what she and Snyder talked about. Joyce says Snyder called her a troublemaker, but after tonight, Joyce doesn’t care. Buffy is brave and resourceful, and she looked out for others in the middle of a crisis. Joyce will sleep well knowing that (at least until Buffy gets in trouble again and that good will disappears). Willow and Cordelia are still in the closet, by the way, and Cordelia’s praying. She promises God that she’ll be a good person from now on, as long as no one earns her wrath. Bored, Willow tells her to ask for some aspirin.

Spike goes home to Drusilla, whining that he didn’t sign up to fight a Slayer who has a family and friends. He calls Collin the “Annoying One,” then approaches him to grovel. A lackey thinks Spike should die because he ruined the Night of St. Vigeous and got a bunch of vampires killed. Spike admits that he was rash, but if he had a second chance…well, he’d do the same thing over again. First, though, he’d do what he’s doing now – locking Collin in a cage and raising it up to a window so he’ll burn in the sunlight. From now on, Spike declares, the vampires in Sunnydale are going to do fewer rituals and have more fun.

Thoughts: James Marsters’ (Spike) British accent is so good that when I learned a few seasons into the show that he’s actually American, I thought it was a joke.

This rewatch is reminding me of all my favorite random moments and lines from the series, like, “Why do they call it a mace?”

So somewhere in here, Cordelia has decided to become a Scooby. I wish we’d gotten details on that. Did they invite her or did she just start showing up to their meet-ups?

Also, please join me in imagining Cordelia literally cheering Buffy on as she slays, pompoms and all.

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