January 7, 2023

Buffy 4.17, Superstar: Too Perfect

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

You know, it’s not a bad look

Summary: It’s just another night in Sunnydale – Buffy’s fighting vampires with some assistance from the Scoobies. They chase one into a crypt and find more vampires feeding on a corpse. “I don’t care if it is an orgy of death – there’s still such a thing as a napkin,” Willow says after the Scoobies sneak back out. Buffy thinks she can take on the nest, but Anya convinces her that the Scoobies need backup. They go to a mansion to get help from a very unlikely source: Jonathan.

Instead of staying at the nice, big mansion, the Scoobies gather at Giles’ to get ready for the big fight ahead of them. Xander’s ready to show off his dexterity with a stake. But no, Anya, he can’t open that carton of milk without tearing it. Buffy thanks Jonathan for joining them, but he’s happy to help. Willow finds schematics for the crypt and discovers that there’s only one entrance. Jonathan finds another one and is sure Willow would have eventually come across it.

He starts to give instructions for battle, pausing to continue a chess game he and Giles have been playing for a while. After a little pep talk, Jonathan leads the Scoobies into battle, though he really could have handled all the vampires on his own. Buffy feels bad for letting one get by her, and Jonathan reminds her that the important thing is to do her best. She’s not sure she did.

As the Scoobies leave the crypt, paparazzi call out to Jonathan to pose for pictures. Once they’re gone, the Scoobies debrief, with Xander and Willow thinking they did pretty well. Anya says the vampires weren’t very well-organized. If they’d all come at Buffy at once, they could have easily killed her. “Thanks, Anya. That won’t keep me awake all night,” Buffy replies. Jonathan says that vampires only form nests because it makes hunting easier. They’d rather hang out alone in the shadows. You know, like Spike is right now.

Spike emerges to trade barbs with Jonathan like he usually does with Buffy. Spike calls the Scoobies “Wonder Jonathan and his fluffy battle kittens.” Buffy asks if he thought that up in all the spare time he has now that he can’t hurt people. Jonathan tells her that Spike is still dangerous, and Spike snarks at “Betty” to back off. “It’s Buffy, you big bleached…stupid guy,” Buffy replies. Uh, nice one? Jonathan calls Spike scum and warns that they’ll kill him as soon as he’s back to his old ways.

Willow goes to Tara’s and tells her about the battle while they make a collage. Tara thinks Willow enjoys being a Scooby, despite all the danger. Willow’s proud of how well Buffy did, especially after the Faith mess, and most especially now that she knows that Faith slept with Riley. Tara hopes he and Buffy will be okay. After a lot of taping, we see the finished collage – it’s all pictures of Jonathan.

Buffy goes to see Riley (who has a poster of Jonathan playing basketball under his mini-basketball hoop) and confirms that he’s not still eating the Initiative’s food. He says they claimed they stopped putting drugs in it, but he’s still not eating it, just to be on the safe side. He’s not sure if that will lead to him getting weaker or dumber or, possibly, smarter.

He’s frustrated that they haven’t told him any more about Adam, who’s still running around free. Riley knows he could find Adam if the Initiative would just trust him enough to give him intel. Buffy says she’s felt that way her whole life. Riley sits next to her on the bed, but she gets up to play basketball. She’s not very good, so he starts to coach her, but she accidentally elbows him in his recent injury. Everything’s awkward between them, so she leaves.

She meets up with Jonathan at a coffee shop (which is full of posters of him) and complains about how Faith ruined her relationship with Riley. She fixes up a cup of coffee, then hands it to Jonathan. He thinks she’s actually mad at Riley, not Faith. A woman comes over and asks Jonathan for an autograph. After she’s gone, he tells Buffy that her real problem is that Riley couldn’t tell that Faith wasn’t her. She needs to forgive him.

Another fan, Karen, comes by and gushes over Jonathan. She’s carrying a copy of his book, so he offers to sign it for her. Buffy admits that she may have been blaming Riley for what happened with Faith. She’s worried that now she’s ruined things, and he won’t want to be with her anymore. Jonathan assures her that what they have is special, and if they put in the work, things will be okay. It Buffy wants the relationship to work, she can make it happen, he says under a poster of himself advertising shoes.

The Initiative is under new management in the form of Colonel George Haviland. The facility is under review, but their mission remains the same: Capture Adam. Haviland has brought in a tactical consultant to help out with that. Of course, it’s Jonathan. Graham is happy they’re bringing in the “big guns.” Jonathan wants the commandos to understand Adam better before they can find him. He’s realized that Adam never eats, which led him to discover that Adam’s power source is uranium. It’ll last pretty much forever, so killing Adam will require completely annihilating him. And they still have to find him first.

Karen is outside Jonathan’s mansion, spying with binoculars, when a monster attacks her. Nice security at your huge compound, Jonathan. She’s able to get away from the monster and run off. Back at the Initiative, Riley worries that Buffy will never be able to get past his hookup with Faith. Jonathan says she’s scared of what Riley’s thinking about. Faith is more experienced than Buffy, so it makes sense that Buffy will think he’s comparing the two of them.

Riley swears that he cares about Buffy, not Faith, but Jonathan isn’t sure she can see that, even though it’s right in front of her. He then blindfolds himself and aims a gun at some commandos who are standing in a row with apples on their heads. Jonathan…what the frick, man?

A swing band is playing at the Bronze (kids, ask your parents about the swing revival of the ’90s! See what colors their faces turn when they remember!) and the Scoobies are in the audience. Xander’s mad that Anya moaned Jonathan’s name the night before. Buffy tells Riley that if they start throwing punches, she has $50 on Anya. Riley wonders if they’ll make it.

Jonathan takes the stage in a tux and everyone settles down to listen to him sing. He dedicates a song to Buffy and Riley. Riley invites Buffy to dance, and it looks like the song is just what they need to get past their awkwardness. In fact, when he tries to tell her that she’s the only one he wants, she assures him that she already knows, and they don’t need to talk about it. When the song is over, Jonathan starts playing a trumpet. Tara excitedly says he’s going to play something from his new album. Anya and Xander rush off to have sex.

Karen runs in and Jonathan promises that he can help her. He takes her back to his mansion, where a police officer has come to check out a reported disturbance. Jonathan says he has everything under control, so the officer leaves. Karen tells Jonathan, Buffy, and Riley about the monster, which had a symbol on its forehead. She draws it and Jonathan says he’s familiar with it. The monster is nothing to worry about. It usually stays in the woods and doesn’t go around people. He’ll patrol and take care of it by himself. Buffy starts getting suspicious but stays quiet.

Adam has set up a base of operations in a library and has taken on a new minion, Jape. There’s a fresh kill nearby, but Adam says Jape shouldn’t feed from the body; the human had a blood disease. They would have been dead within the year and didn’t even know it. Like most humans, they didn’t know what they were carrying around inside them. Jape tells Adam that there’s a new monster in town. Jonathan, who’s on a bunch of screens they’re watching, was there.

Adam isn’t familiar with Jonathan, which Jape thinks is crazy. Everyone knows Jonathan! Adam tells him that everything on the screens is a lie. “The world has been changed,” he says. “It’s intriguing, but it’s wrong.” Everyone’s under some kind of spell except Adam, who’s more awake and alive than anyone else has ever been. Jape asks what he’s going to do – kill Jonathan? Adam doesn’t see the need to do anything. The magic making these changes will collapse eventually, leading to chaos. And chaos is exactly what Adam wants.

Jonathan delays going to bed with his twin girlfriends (who are no doubt models), staring into a fire in the fireplace. He removes his robe, revealing that he has the same symbol on his shoulder that Karen saw on the monster. Dun dun dun! Buffy, Willow, and Tara walk home together, discussing Jonathan’s decision to go after the monster on his own. Buffy thought he was scared. Willow reminds her that Jonathan doesn’t get scared. Buffy even mentioned that when she gave him the Class Protector award at the prom.

After Tara heads off to her dorm, Willow tells Buffy that she saw how good things seemed with her and Riley. Buffy says she felt like it was just the two of them, with no Faith, for the first time since that whole mess. Tara encounters the monster on the way to her room and tries to fight it off. She’s able to conjure up some dust to cloud its vision, which allows her to run off and lock herself in a closet.

In the morning, Willow calls Buffy over to Tara’s room. Someone found Tara in the closet, where Willow thinks she spent the night. She’s really shaken up, but she’s able to tell Buffy about the monster, which Buffy quickly guesses is the same one Karen saw. Willow can’t believe that Jonathan could have been wrong when he promised that everyone was safe.

Buffy heads downtown, passing a bunch of ads for Jonathan’s website, which is, fittingly, jonathan.com. She goes to Xander’s but he’s not there. Anya wonders why Buffy doesn’t leave after hearing that news. Buffy asks to come in and look at some of Xander’s stuff. He’s decorated with all sorts of Jonathan-related things, and he has Jonathan trading cards. Anya’s reading Jonathan’s book.

Buffy asks if it ever seems strange to her that Jonathan is good at everything. “He’s Jonathan,” Anya replies dismissively. Buffy grabs the book from her and Anya complains, since she was just at the part where he invents the Internet. Buffy points out that Jonathan fights better than she does, and she’s the Slayer. Anya thinks she just wants a pep talk: “Buck up, you. You kill the best. Go you! Kill, kill.” Buffy thinks Jonathan seems too perfect.

She asks Anya about the wishes she granted when she was a vengeance demon. Could someone wish for an entirely different world? Anya says yes; they could create an alternate reality. For example, you could have a world without shrimp or a world with nothing but shrimp. You could even have a world where Jonathan’s not awesome. Anya wouldn’t want to live there, though.

Buffy gathers the Scoobies at Giles’ to continue discussing Jonathan. She doesn’t get how he could star in The Matrix without ever leaving town. And how did he graduate from med school when he’s only 18? “Effective time management?” Xander suggests. Giles doesn’t get what Buffy’s angling for. Anya asks when Jonathan is going to get there and start the meeting. Buffy tells her this is the meeting.

She asks if anyone else has been thinking that Jonathan is too perfect. Xander says he’s “just perfect enough.” He crushed the Master’s bones, blew up the mayor, and coached the U.S. women’s soccer team to a World Cup victory. They all saw him do those things. Buffy isn’t sure they did, though. She tells Anya to explain alternate universes. Anya starts in on shrimp, so Buffy shuts her down. She thinks Jonathan is manipulating the world and has made everyone his pawns. “Or prawns,” Anya quips. Ha!

Giles thinks Buffy’s out of her depth here. Riley agrees that Buffy’s not making sense, but he also knows her well enough to think that they should listen, since she sometimes sees things that others don’t. Everyone else gets on board, so Buffy announces that she thinks Jonathan ignored evidence, which led to Tara getting hurt. She’s pretty sure he knows something about the monster, since he was familiar with the mark on its forehead.

She remembers something else and asks Giles if he has Jonathan’s swimsuit calendar. Giles says no, then admits that he does. He claims it was a gift. Buffy finds a picture of Jonathan with the monster’s mark on his back. Jonathan comes in just them and Anya blurts that Buffy thinks he sent the monster after Tara. Thanks, Anya!

Buffy tells Jonathan she doesn’t understand how the monster turned out to be dangerous when he said it wasn’t. He announces to the Scoobies that Buffy’s right. Xander’s horrified, like his whole worldview has been turned upside-down. Jonathan says he has a history with the monster, but when he faces it, he gets confused because of some power it possesses. Xander compares it to kryptonite. Jonathan claims he had the monster’s mark tattooed on him to remind him not to underestimate it. Xander’s relieved that his hero is still heroic.

Buffy’s still skeptical, so she suggests that she and Jonathan go after the monster right now. Jonathan thinks it might have left town, which is what it usually does, but he agrees to go anyway. They run into Spike in a cemetery, and he teases that Buffy’s only feisty when she has Jonathan by her side. He’d love to take her on alone some day. Jonathan demands information out of Spike, who is as evasive and unhelpful as ever.

After Jonathan starts to walk away, Buffy starts to intimidate Spike, something he’s not used to her doing. She reminds him that he’s reliant on animal blood from butchers, and Jonathan could easily get them to stop providing it. Spike spills that he heard about vampires getting kicked out of their lair recently. Jonathan tries to pretend that he’s not annoyed that Buffy took charge for a little while.

Back at Giles’, the Scoobies look for a spell that might have been used to make Jonathan the way he is. Riley’s surprised that such powerful spells actually work. Willow tells him they require the spell-caster to be attuned with the universe. Xander agrees, saying you can’t just speak a few words and make magic. But that’s exactly what happens when he speaks a little Latin and the book he’s holding catches on fire. “Xander, don’t speak Latin in front of the books,” Giles admonishes.

Willow finds the monster’s mark, which is part of an augmentation spell. It changed Jonathan and how everyone sees him. It made him everyone’s ideal, the best of everything. The drawback is that the spell had to create an opposite force, the worst of everything. Xander clarifies that Jonathan did a spell just to make everyone thinks he’s cool. Xander finds that very cool in itself. Riley reminds Giles that Buffy and Jonathan are going after the monster. Giles says that if the monster dies, the spell will be broken and Jonathan will revert to whatever he was before. Anya notes that Jonathan won’t want Buffy to kill the monster.

Buffy and Jonathan come across a huge pit in the monster’s lair, and at first it looks like he’s going to push her in, but he refocuses on finding the monster. It finds them first. Willow tries to wrap her head around the realization that Buffy was right about something. Riley asks what the real world is like if this one is fake. Giles thinks it’s mostly the same, just with a different Jonathan. Xander doesn’t want a world like that. Riley notes that if Buffy doesn’t kill the monster, they could be stuck in this fake world forever. Xander’s like, “That wouldn’t be so bad, would it?”

Buffy fights the monster, asking Jonathan what she should do. He holds the monster for her and tells her she’ll need to take care of it on her own. She’ll know what to do, since she used to. He starts to tell her that the more she hurts the monster, the more Jonathan will lose his power, but he doesn’t get out the whole sentence before the monster breaks away. Jonathan hides while Buffy fights it, starting to remember what it was like to be the Slayer on her own. Jonathan jumps back into the battle and shoves the monster into the pit. Buffy grabs his ankle to keep him from falling in as well.

Everything goes back to normal, with all the Jonathan-related stuff turning back into what it used to be. The Scoobies meet for a picnic the next day, trying to adjust to their reality. Xander says he’ll always remember the way Jonathan made him feel about himself, like he was valued and respected. Now he feels empty. “I guess Jonathan hurt you most of all,” Buffy says. Tara raises her hand and Buffy acknowledges that Xander gets second place behind her.

As Riley asks if everyone else felt way too tall and Anya wonders who really did star in The Matrix, Buffy spots Jonathan across the quad. He tells her most people are forgetting the illusion, but some are angry. She asks why he did what he did, then decides she gets it and changes her question to how. He tells her that after his suicide near-attempt, he went to counseling and met a kid with a spell. The kid didn’t mention the monster.

Jonathan feels bad about what happened, swearing that no one was supposed to get hurt. Buffy tells him people aren’t just mad about the monster – they didn’t like being puppets in Jonathan’s theater. He says they weren’t; they were his friends. She replies that he can’t make a big gesture and hope things work out. Things are more complicated than that, and require time and work. Jonathan reminds her of the advice he gave her about Riley. He can’t really remember it, but he thinks he was right, and that it’s similar to what she just said. Things take work, but it’s worth it.

Buffy and Riley end up in his room, making out, which she thinks is a good solution to all of their problems…at least until she moans Jonathan’s name. Ruh-roh!

Thoughts: Jape is played by Rob Benedict, AKA Richard on Felicity. Jonathan’s singing voice is provided by Brad Kane, who played Tucker in “The Prom” (and was also the singing voice of Aladdin).

Fun fact I just learned: Danny Strong (Jonathan), George Hertzburg (Adam), and J. August Richards (Gunn on Angel) all went to the same college and did plays together.

Danny Strong is excellent in this episode. Good for them for taking a risk and giving him so much to do when he’d practically been just an extra before this.

Hee hee hee.

I like how the episode starts with the spell already going. It’s fun to try to figure out what’s happening.

The credits for the episode are slightly different.

So how did Jonathan find out that Adam’s power source is uranium?

September 10, 2022

Buffy 3.22, Graduation Day, Part 2: “Nothing Will Ever Be the Same”

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

I would have paid more attention at my graduations if this had been the speaker

Summary: Buffy has just watched Faith fall off her balcony, taking away Buffy’s only cure for Angel. She leave the dagger on the ledge and climbs down the fire escape just before the mayor arrives and sees the destruction the Slayers left behind. He guesses that Faith took their fight outside, since she doesn’t like to be cooped up. He orders a minion to find the Slayers. This is even more important than the ascension. He tries to convince himself that Faith can handle whatever happened and will be okay.

In the library, Xander brings Giles coffee while they wait for news from Buffy. Xander notes that Giles is more of a tea drinker, but Giles wants coffee instead of something soothing. “Okay, but you’re destroying a perfectly good cultural stereotype here,” Xander says. They go back to their books to find anything that will help them once the mayor turns into a demon.

Cordelia arrives, demanding to know why Wesley is suddenly unemployed. Giles tells her that Buffy quit the Watchers’ Council, so she doesn’t need a Watcher anymore. Cordelia doesn’t think that means Wesley should have to leave the country – after all, Giles got fired and he still hangs around “like a big loser.” Xander distracts her by asking her to help them stop a massacre. Cordelia agrees but complains that Buffy only thinks about herself.

Willow’s on Angel-care duty, but he’s so out of it that he thinks she’s Buffy. He tells her he was wrong to break up with her; he can’t leave her. After a moment, he realizes who he’s talking to. Willow tells Oz that she feels guilty because everything’s falling apart, but it’s still the best night of her life (Oz must be really good in bed). Buffy arrives and asks them to give her some privacy with Angel. Willow promises to try to find another way to cure him.

Buffy sits with Angel, who’s glad to see her since he doesn’t think he has much longer, and he didn’t want to die without seeing her again. She tells him she can cure him, but he’s ready to go. She won’t accept that, so she presents him with his only other option: Drink her blood. Angel refuses, knowing that he’d have to drink enough to kill her. She thinks he can take enough to cure himself without going that far.

He doesn’t want to even consider doing this, but Buffy won’t let him die. A Slayer’s blood is his only hope. She tells him she killed Faith, so there’s only one Slayer left. Angel continues refusing, even leaving the room to try to get away from her. Buffy won’t take no for an answer, so she punches him until he vamps out. She bares her neck and forces him to drink from her. They fall over as he does, and it becomes almost an intimate moment, like this is the closest they can come to having sex now. Eventually he stops himself, cured, and realizes too late that he’s bled her unconscious.

He rushes her to the hospital, telling a doctor that something bit her and demanding help. Angel can barely contain his desperation, which he takes out on a door handle, ripping it right off. The doctor asks if they’ve been using drugs. (Guess he’s heard about all those gangs on PCP who supposedly terrorize the town.) While Buffy’s tended to, Angel goes to a pay phone. In a room right next to him, a doctor is telling the mayor that Faith has lost a lot of blood and has severe head trauma. It’s a miracle that she’s still alive. There’s very little chance that she’ll ever wake up. The mayor is sad that she’ll have to miss the ascension.

A nurse who was working on Buffy comes to ask Faith’s doctor for assistance. The mayor figures out who her patient is and goes to her room. He tries to smother her with his bare hand, but the nurse catches him. Angel runs in and throws him off, but the mayor knows he’ll have a bigger, better chance to take them both out later. “Misery loves company” and he’s looking forward to sharing it with both of them. Angel throws him into a wall, and the mayor just brushes it off and tells the staff that everything’s okay. “The show’s not over, but there will be a short intermission,” he says. “Don’t want to miss the second act – all kinds of excitement.”

The Scoobies arrive later and Angel tells them that Buffy’s okay. Oz seems to be the only one to notice that Angel’s also okay. Angel tells them that Faith’s “out of the picture,” and that Buffy cured him. Giles guesses that Angel fed on her. Angel assures the Scoobies that he didn’t drink enough of her blood to cause permanent damage, and she won’t become a vampire. Xander snarks that it’s nice to know that when Angel’s backed into a corner, he’ll feed off someone who loves him to save himself. The sun will be rising soon, so Giles sends Angel away. “Gosh, I’m really gonna miss him when he leaves town,” Xander says.

Buffy dreams of going back to Faith’s apartment, where Faith is in the process of packing up to move out. Buffy spots a cat and asks who will look after him. Faith corrects that the cat is a girl and says cats can mostly take care of themselves. Buffy asks if she’s talking about a higher power. No, no really. Buffy can’t quite remember what she’s supposed to be doing. “Miles to go,” Faith replies. “Little Miss Muffet counting down from 730.”

As the cat turns into Faith in a hospital bed, then back again, Faith looks out the broken window leading to the balcony and wonders if it’s ever going to be fixed. Buffy asks about whether Faith will be fixed. “Scar tissue,” Faith says dismissively. “It fades, it all fades.” Her dagger appears in Buffy’s hand, then disappears. Faith tells her that human weakness never goes away, “even his.” Buffy wonders which of their minds this dream is taking place in. Faith isn’t sure. She says it’s almost time, and Buffy asks how she’s going to pack all of her stuff. Faith tells her it’s hers now. She can just take what she needs. “You ready?” Faith asks, reaching out to Buffy.

Buffy wakes up in the hospital, a little weak but mostly okay. She goes to Faith’s room and kisses her on the forehead. Then she gets dressed and joins the Scoobies so they can get to work. She tells them to get Angel and “everyone.” She’s ready for war.

While Snyder awaits the start of the graduation ceremony, Buffy presents her plan to the Scoobies in the library. She knows it sounds crazy, but Cordelia points out that it’s their only idea. And since Buffy’s the Slayer (“Little Miss Likes to Fight”), she should get to call the shots. Buffy needs everyone on board, especially Xander, who’s key to the plan. They’ll be relying on his military knowledge from that brief time he was a soldier. Sorry, no rocket launcher this time.

Giles notes that this is all dependent on their ability to control the mayor. Buffy says that Faith told her to play on his human weakness. Willow asks if that was before or after Buffy put Faith in a coma. “After,” Buffy replies. “Oh,” is all Willow says. The problem is that they don’t know the mayor’s weakness. Oz notes that Angel spent the most time with him. Angel says the mayor hates germs, so Cordelia suggests (totally serious) that they attack him with those. Buffy asks if she’s going to sneeze on him. Cordelia was thinking more along the lines of getting their hands on Ebola, or just pretending they have it.

Angel realizes that Faith is the mayor’s weakness. He’s grieving for her so much that it’s making him crazy. Buffy says she can work with that. Wesley arrives and says they don’t have much time. Buffy tells him that the Council isn’t welcome there, but Wesley wants to help on his own. Cordelia finds that very classy. Buffy accepts his offer, then starts to lay out her plan.

At City Hall, the mayor is doing the same with his minions. His demon transformation will start just as he’s finishing his commencement speech. He’s sad that the minions will have to miss it, since it speaks to everyone and he’s been working on it for 100 years. The minions point out that they won’t be able to do much, since it’ll be the middle of the afternoon and the sun will be out. Mayor Wilkins says that won’t be a problem.

Wesley has discovered the same thing – there will be an eclipse during the ascension. That means Angel can take part. Buffy tells him to work with Xander, who only agrees because he’s still “key guy.” The mayor tasks his minions with surrounding the graduation attendees and keeping them in one spot so he can feed on them. He’d better not see any blood on their lips; this isn’t their snack time.

Since the Scoobies don’t have a volcano to kill the mayor like the one that killed the demon Professor Worth found, they’ll have to make their own. Willow and Oz will set up what they need, and Xander will provide the last ingredient to make it go boom. Buffy asks Giles to be the one to set it off. He thinks it’s fitting, somehow. She tells him to gather weapons while she goes to get something. Mayor Wilkins sends the minions off to prepare, telling them to “watch the swearing.” The Scoobies start gathering their own version of minions, including Harmony and Percy.

Cordelia and Wesley pack up books in the library, still unsure how to talk to each other. He brings up the fact that he’ll be going back to England soon, since he doesn’t have a reason to stay in the States. They move closer to each other and eventually kiss. It’s…bad. The worst possible kiss two people could have. They try again, but it doesn’t get any better. And just like that, they’re no longer interested in each other.

Willow and Oz have bought up a bunch of fertilizer, which Jonathan and Larry help them deliver to the school. After that, they’re free to relax and enjoy themselves. You know, until the giant demon attack. Willow’s scared, but Oz thinks if he sounds confident that they’ll survive, they will. They have some time to kill before the ceremony, and they’re all alone in Oz’s van, so I think we all know what they’re going to do for a while.

Buffy checks in with Angel, who’s gathering stakes. She assures him that she’s pretty much recovered from his feeding. He tells her he’s not going to say goodbye. If they get through the ascension, he’s just going to leave. She’s hurt, but she understands that he doesn’t want to have to face her again before he walks out of her life. After he leaves, she unwraps the thing she went to get: Faith’s dagger.

The ceremony begins and the graduates file in. Snyder greets them with, “Congratulations to the class of 1999. You all proved more or less adequate. This is a time of celebration, so sit still and be quiet.” He also tells someone to spit out their gum. He introduces Mayor Wilkins, then calls someone out for making a rude gesture and tells them to see him after graduation. (Whoever that was, don’t worry about it.)

Willow and Oz arrive a little late, having lost track of time in the van. The mayor notes that today is the 100th anniversary of the town’s founding. He knows the graduates are only focused on what today means for them, not the 100 years of history that came before. Buffy and Willow realize that he’s going to give his whole speech. “Man, just ascend already,” Willow says. “Evil,” Buffy replies.

The mayor says that the graduates have had a long road up to this point. They’ve been through both good times and horrible ones. They’ve grieved and lost. “Some people who should be here today aren’t,” he says. He seems to be speaking directly to Buffy. The Mayor continues that this is their “journey’s end,” then starts waxing poetic about journeys. At the end of one, you’re different – it’s shaped you. “Today is about change,” he tells the crowd. “Graduation doesn’t just mean your circumstances change – it means you do. You ascend to a higher level. Nothing will ever be the same. Nothing.”

The eclipse begins, turning the courtyard dark. The mayor starts feeling the effects of his ascension, but he tries to continue his speech anyway. “Come on,” Buffy whispers, ready to fight. Mayor Wilkins announces that his destiny is getting underway, and though he would have liked to finish his speech, he’ll skip to the end. He then turns into a big snake-like thing, not unlike an evil Loch Ness Monster.

The graduates’ loved ones flee (way to leave your kids to fend for themselves, everyone) as the minions descend on the ceremony. The graduates themselves all stay put, and when Buffy gives them the signal, they take off their robes and grab the weapons under them. One group is equipped with flamethrowers, and they all fire at the mayor together. Xander alerts the next group, who have crossbows and other pointy things. Nothing affects the mayor very much, though.

Snyder is displeased with all of this and berates the crowd for their actions. Some graduates rush the vampire minions, and Oz tells Xander to signal his group, who are equipped with bows and arrows. They light their arrows on fire and shoot them at the minions. As the remaining minions try to run away, they’re met by Angel, Wesley, and some others, who engage in hand-to-hand combat.

Larry gets clipped by the mayor’s tail and is killed. Aww, Larry. Snyder’s still complaining about the students’ actions, and he’s not happy about the mayor’s, either. The mayor shuts him up by eating him. Snyder does NOT get an “aww” from me. Buffy continues calling out orders, and Xander and his group start fighting minions (though Angel’s doing pretty well on his own).

Willow joins a big wave of students who rush the vampires. Harmony gets bitten, but Jonathan gets in a good attack. Xander has to remind a couple of guys that they’re the right flank. (To be fair, they only put this plan together in a few hours.) Cordelia stakes a vampire as students and minions fight all around her. Wesley, who was knocked down about two seconds after he arrived, asks someone to help him up.

Buffy gets the mayor’s attention, showing him Faith’s dagger. She boasts that she stabbed Faith with it: “Just slid in her like she was butter. You wanna get it back from me, Dick?” She runs, knowing he’ll chase her. She leads him into the school, where he destroys everything in his path. She makes it to the library, which is full of the bags of fertilizer Willow and Oz delivered, and goes out the back. The mayor realizes that he’s been led into a trap. “Well, gosh,” he says. Outside, Giles detonates the “volcano,” blowing up both the mayor and the school.

Once the fire has been put out and everything has calmed down, Wesley gets loaded into an ambulance. Xander thinks things turned out pretty well, considering what they were all facing. Buffy’s looking around them, and he guesses she’s looking for Angel. He assures her that he survived. He must have already left.

Giles checks on Buffy, who’s so overwhelmed from the events of the past couple days that all her brain is capable of grasping is “fire bad, tree pretty.” He praises her for her successes, then gives her something he managed to pull out of the debris: her diploma. He thinks she earned it. He launches into a speech about the dramatic irony of the situation, and how it almost seems like they were destined to blow up the school. “Fire bad, tree pretty,” Buffy says.

She looks around again, this time spotting Angel watching her from a distance. They just exchange meaningful looks before he turns and walks away, keeping his word not to say goodbye. She meets up with the Scoobies, who are ready to go home. Buffy wants to sleep until it’s time for college. Oz tells them to take a moment to realize that they survived – “not the battle, high school.” Buffy and Willow finish that moment first, and the friends all go off together. They leave behind a scorched yearbook declaring, “The future is ours!”

Thoughts: When Willow tells Oz that Angel thought she was Buffy, Oz says, “You, too, huh?” That means we missed the chance to not only see Angel acting affectionate toward Oz but Oz trying to figure out how to respond.

I love this exchange:

Cordelia: “I personally don’t think it’s possible to come up with a crazier plan.”
Oz: “We attack the mayor with hummus.”
Cordelia: “I stand corrected.”
Oz: “Just keeping thing in perspective.”
Cordelia: “Thank you.”

And after Cordelia presents her plan to chase the mayor with a box labeled “Ebola”:

Xander: “I’m starting to lean towards the hummus offensive.”
Oz: “He’ll never see it coming.”

Though Buffy was right to send Joyce away, it would have been fun to see her taking part in the big battle.

That’s it for season 3! Next: Riley, Tara, and a whole lot more Spike.

August 27, 2022

Buffy 3.20, The Prom: One Night of Glory

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

I’m not crying, you’re crying

Summary: Buffy’s asleep in Angel’s bed, and he’s watching her kind of creepily. Dude, personal space. They took a nap after patrolling but slept a little longer than expected. Now she has bed head and no mirrors to help her fix it. She suggests getting mirrors and a drawer for her to keep things in at his place. Then she can spend the night sometimes, like maybe after the prom.

Angel isn’t familiar with the prom, but Buffy has obviously already planned on him going. She figures lots of girls will bring older boyfriends, so it’ll be okay. Angel suggests that she get going, but she thinks she still has a few hours until the sun comes up. Wrong! She almost burns Angel with sunlight, which would have been a convenient excuse for him to use to get out of going to the prom.

At school, Anya approaches Xander. He confirms that she still doesn’t have her powers back. She insists that she will eventually. She’s eager to get back to punishing men, since she has no respect for any of them. She’s only talking to Xander because she needs a prom date. He thinks she would have better luck finding one if she didn’t rant about men all the time. “Men are evil. Will you go with me?” she asks. “One of us is very confused, and I honestly don’t know which,” he replies.

Anya blames him for the loss of her powers. He’s the reason she came to the school, since his cheating on Cordelia led to her making a wish. Now Anya’s stuck as a human and is having a bunch of feelings she doesn’t like. All she knows is she wants to go to the prom with someone. Xander asks how she chose him. She says he’s not as horrible as the other alpha males at the school, and he doesn’t have a date. He says he just hasn’t settled on anyone yet. Can we go back to the part where Anya thinks Xander is an alpha male??

She adds that she knows he thinks she’s pretty, since she’s seen him looking at her chest. “Nothing personal, but when a guy does that, it just means his eyes are open,” Xander tells her. He doesn’t have a reason to say no, though, so he ends up agreeing to go with her. He shares the news with Buffy, Oz, and Willow, who plans to say she told him so if Anya gets him killed. That means all the Scoobies have dates. “Some of us are going with demons, but I think that’s a valid lifestyle choice,” Buffy says. Also, she has an awesome dress that’s going to make Angel lose it. (Not his soul.)

At the mansion, Angel finds a notebook Buffy left behind with out-of-character, too-young-for-her-age scribblings like “Buffy & Angel 4 Ever!” Joyce comes by and takes in his living arrangements, which are nice in terms of size and decorations, but also a little scary because there are chains on the wall. She wants to address Buffy and Angel’s unplanned sleepover. She’s not concerned about that, but she’s worried about the couple in general.

Angel promises that he’s not going to lose his soul again. That’s also not why Joyce is there. She understands that Buffy and Angel are from two different worlds, but the problem is that she’s only 18 while he’s…well, much older. Angel has had thoughts about that, too, especially now that Buffy’s decided to stay in Sunnydale.

Joyce reminds him that Buffy’s just like any other 18-year-old in love. “You’re all she can see of tomorrow,” she says. The couple is going to have to face some difficult choices, and if Buffy can’t make them, Angel will have to. Joyce knows that he cares about her daughter, but she doesn’t know if he cares enough.

In the library, Buffy and Willow take a break from research to discuss prom dresses (though Giles thinks they’re talking about frilly blue demons). The pages Willow stole from the Books of Ascension have provided a little help, but knowing that the mayor is going to transform into a demon doesn’t give them enough information. There are thousands of species, and they can’t plan ahead how to fight him.

Wesley thinks they should stop wasting their time on frivolous things like school dances. Cordelia wishes they wouldn’t, since he would “look way 007 in a tux.” Wesley has volunteered himself to chaperone along with Giles. So when a random guy no one knows volunteered to chaperone the prom, the school was just like, “Yeah, sure, that’s fine”?

Buffy assures Willow that they’ll find her a dress. They can check out a store called April Fool’s. Cordelia quickly tells them not to. Giles asks the group to get back to work, but Buffy thinks they should get a last “night of glory” if they’re all going to die at graduation. In a rundown house somewhere in Sunnydale, a creature that looks like it’s part dog and part demon gets really worked up in its cage.

Apparently Buffy and Angel have skipped right over “let’s go to the prom together” to “let’s get married.” It’s just them and a priest. After they’re married and kiss, the bride and groom head down the aisle. It’s daytime, and Angel gets anxious about going out into the sun. When they walk outside, though, Buffy’s the one who burns up. Angel wakes up gasping from this nightmare.

He and Buffy go patrolling that night, ending up in a sewer tunnel. She brings up prom attire, but he, like Giles, wants to focus on more important things. Buffy stakes a vampire, then goes right back to their conversation. She’s noticed that Angel doesn’t like talking about the prom. He says he just doesn’t want her to get too invested in it. Buffy thinks the prom is exactly the sort of thing she should get invested in. It’s part of growing up.

Angel tries to pretend he’s not preoccupied by something serious, but he finally says that they should have a talk. Buffy insists on having it now, despite the possibility that a vampire will interrupt. He tells her he’s been thinking about their future. He’s started to believe that their relationship is unfair to her. Buffy thinks what the mayor said about them is getting to him, and Angel should ignore the musings of a villain. Angel tells her that she deserves more – something “outside of demons and darkness.” She should be with someone who can take her into the light.

Part of Angel’s concerns is the knowledge that he and Buffy can never have sex. She says that’s not important to her, but he thinks she’ll change her mind. Plus, she might want children some day. Buffy says he’s jumping the gun – she can’t even keep a goldfish alive – but he tells her time will go fast, and she’ll want a normal life sooner rather than later. She reminds him that she’ll never have a normal life. Angel knows that, but being burdened by the responsibilities of a Slayer is even more reason for Buffy to have a real relationship, not a “freak show.”

Buffy wants to leave, but Angel stops her to apologize. He loves her and it hurts him to say this. Buffy tells him not to, then. She’s thought about this, too, though he doubts she’s done it enough. She accuses him of seeing her as a “swoony little schoolgirl.” Angel says he’s trying to do what’s right. He’s trying to think with his head instead of his heart. “You have a heart? It isn’t even beating,” Buffy spits out. She can’t stop loving him, and she’s never going to change. She can’t. She wants to have a life with Angel. “I don’t,” he whispers. And that’s the final nail, something they can’t come back from.

Buffy asks how she’s supposed to stay away from Angel. He tells her that after they’ve dealt with the ascension and the mayor and Faith – if they survive – he’ll leave town. He hasn’t decided where to go yet. Buffy’s in shock and wonders if this is really happening.

They mope separately that night, and the next day, Willow goes to Buffy’s house to offer comfort. She thinks Angel’s being a jerk, especially for breaking up with Buffy right before the prom. Buffy isn’t mad about that, since he doesn’t really get the prom, and she tells Willow she doesn’t have to make Angel the bad guy. Willow says that’s her job as Buffy’s best friend. Buffy, however, thinks that in the long run, Angel’s right. Willow feels the same, though she tried to hope for the best for them. Not that that makes it any easier for Buffy, who’s so grief-stricken that she feels like she can’t breathe.

The dog/demon creature is even more riled up than before, and it’s able to escape its cage. Downtown, Xander spots Cordelia in April Fool’s, seemingly shopping for a dress like she was the last time he saw her there. She plays along until a co-worker tells her to get back to work. Xander’s confused, since Cordelia’s rich and shouldn’t have to earn money to buy a prom dress.

She admits that she has nothing now. Her father “made a little mistake on his taxes…for the last 12 years,” and the IRS took everything the family owned. Cordelia can’t go to college because she can no longer afford it, and she can’t stay home because they lost their house. She expects Xander to laugh at her, but he doesn’t.

The dog/demon creature bursts in through the store’s front window, and Xander pushes Cordelia aside to try to take it on. The creature leaves him alone but attacks a guy trying on a tux. It looks over some other people in the store but also leaves them alone. Then it just heads out the door like it was browsing and didn’t find anything it wanted to buy.

The Scoobies watch security footage of the attack in the library, wondering why the creature acted the way it did. Cordelia notes that it had good taste, since it skipped over Xander and went for the guy in the tux. Buffy doesn’t want to watch the video again, figuring she can fight the creature without knowing all its moves. Wesley thinks it’s a hellhound, which Giles says is a kind of “demon foot-soldier” trained to kill.

Wesley asks why Xander and Cordelia were together at the time of the attack. Xander covers for her, saying they were shopping at the same time. Oz notices someone outside the boutique who looks unconcerned about the creature. In fact, he’s holding a device that he might even be using to control the hellhound. A look through the yearbook IDs him as Tucker Wells, a quiet Sunnydale student who never struck anyone as the kind to get involved in this sort of thing.

Willow hacks into his email account and finds a message he sent someone about surprising his classmates on their “big night.” Giles puts together that he’s going to attack the prom with a hellhound. “Once again, the Hellmouth puts the ‘special’ in ‘special occasion,'” Oz notes. Willow guesses that this means the prom will have to be canceled, but Buffy refuses. They need to have a normal, fun evening even if she has to kill everyone on the planet to do it. “Yay?” Xander replies.

Buffy sends Wesley to Tucker’s house (yes, he can take Cordelia) and Willow and Oz to talk to the guy Tucker emailed. Buffy asks Wesley and Cordelia to also go by the magic shop next to April Fool’s, but Xander offers to do that. He’ll be trying to find out if anyone’s been there to buy hellhound-related items. And since hellhounds eat brains, Buffy goes to a meat-packing plant, where she learns that Tucker’s been buying cow brains.

Angel happens to be there, too, picking up an order of blood. They’re awkward around each other, but she doesn’t want any kind of meaningful conversation, since being around him makes her want to shut down. She tells him she’s trying to stop a prom disaster, and that she’s still going, just without a date. She’s “over the Buffy-gets-one-perfect-high-school-moment thing,” but she wants the rest of her classmates to have a good time. Angel offers his help but she turns him down.

It’s almost prom time, but Cordelia leaves a shift at April Fool’s resigned to not going, since she hasn’t been able to make all the money she needs. Her co-worker tells her that her dress has been paid for. The other Scoobies are still at the library, where Buffy tells them she’s going to take care of Tucker while they get ready for the prom. She won’t even consider letting them help her.

Giles thinks she’s being rash for planning to go confront Tucker, but Buffy is determined to let the others have a good night. Giles guesses that she’s trying to cover up her feelings because Angel won’t be taking her to the prom. She tells him that Angel’s leaving town (and her). Giles isn’t sure how to comfort her, but he knows ice cream is a good bet. Buffy says they can save that till later – first, she needs to deal with Tucker.

The prom gets underway, and Xander quickly realizes that attending with Anya means he’s in for a rough night. (She talks a lot.) Giles and Wesley are out of their element, having gone to all-boys’ schools in England. Cordelia arrives and Wesley almost chokes. Willow and Oz come in soon after and she suggests that they dance while they can, in case something arrives to ruin the festivities. Oz convinces her that Buffy will take care of things.

Wesley approaches Cordelia and tells her she looks “smashing.” Xander is unreasonably thrilled to see them, since it means he can talk to someone other than Anya. Cordelia pointedly thanks him and he comments, “It looks good on you.” He paid for the dress! What a hero! Giles watches the doorway, waiting for Buffy to show up.

She’s at Tucker’s house, where she catches him as he’s about to take the hellhound to the prom. He tries to knock her out, then grabs something sharp as a weapon. She sees a bunch of videotapes of movies that involve prom scenes and guesses that he used them to brainwash the hellhound to attack people in formal wear. She doesn’t get why he would want to ruin his classmates’ happy night. Tucker doesn’t even have a good reason – he just couldn’t get a prom date.

He’s not very imposing, so Buffy figures she can just tie him up and then go to the prom. Unfortunately, the sight of a bunch of empty cages clues her in to the fact that Tucker doesn’t have just one hellhound. Three more are already on their way to the prom. But Buffy must know a shortcut because she’s able to get to the school just as they do. She shoots one with a crossbow and lets the other two chase her. They do until they hear the song “Celebration” coming from inside and head toward it.

Buffy fights them in the hallway, killing one with a knife. The other almost attacks a student but Buffy is able to wrestle it and then snap its neck. The student is shaken but just asks Buffy where the bathroom is. She drags the hellhounds’ bodies into the woods, then retrieves her weapons bag. Tonight it contains both stakes and her prom dress. She gets cleaned up and heads into the gym with plenty of time left to enjoy her night. There haven’t been any other incidents, and Willow tells her everything’s perfect.

Later in the night, some students are given awards, like a guy named Jack who’s picked as class clown. (Xander feels robbed.) Jonathan takes the stage to give the last award of the night. It’s for Buffy. A bunch of students wrote her in for a new category, and the prom committee asked Jonathan to read an explanation.

“We’re not good friends,” it begins. “Most of us never found the time to get to know you, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t noticed you. We don’t talk about it much, but it’s no secret that Sunnydale High isn’t really like other high schools. A lot of weird stuff happens here.” A few people in the audience offer up examples: “Zombies!” “Hyena people!” “Snyder!”

Jonathan continues: “But whenever there was a problem or something creepy happened, you seemed to show up and stop it. Most of the people here have been saved by you, or helped by you at one time or another. We’re proud to say that the class of ’99 has the lowest mortality rate of any graduating class in Sunnydale history.” That gets a round of applause.

The class knows that Buffy’s responsible for a lot of their survival, so they’ve gotten her a little umbrella. It’s the class protector award. Everyone cheers and claps for Buffy as she goes up to the stage to get it. All these people she thought never saw her at the beginning of the year have really seen her all along.

The prom continues and Wesley uses 100 words to ask Giles if it would be inappropriate for him to ask Cordelia to dance. Giles impatiently tells him that Cordelia’s 18. Also, Wesley “has the emotional maturity of a blueberry scone.” He should just do it already. (Hee’s not her teacher or in any way employed by the school, so who is he scared will come down on him?)

A cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses” comes on, and everyone partners up to slow dance. Well, everyone but Buffy. Giles praises her for her successful night and notes that her classmates are very gracious for acknowledging her. He points her attention to the door, where Angel has just appeared. He’s in a tux, and he’s there to help make her big night what she wanted it to be, even if this is the last time they share a moment like this.

Thoughts: The class protector award makes me choke up every time. EVERY TIME. To me, it’s more emotional than Buffy and Angel’s breakup. Of course they weren’t going to be together forever. She’s 18 and he was leaving for the spin-off! This was a rough way for the audience to have to accept that, though.

There’s no mention of Jonathan asking Buffy to the prom, as she thought he might, but he has a date, so good for him.

“Wild Horses” is great and all but it’s an odd choice for Buffy and Angel. “Wild horses couldn’t drag me away,” but Angel’s leaving.

’90s music alert: “Praise You” by Fatboy Slim

August 13, 2022

Buffy 3.18, Earshot: Everybody Hurts

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

Hey, could everyone make Buffy’s life a little easier and stop thinking for a couple of hours? Thanks

Summary: Buffy’s being chased through a park by a couple of mouthless demons. She trips and falls to the ground, but it’s just a ploy to get them within stabbing distance. One runs off but she kills the other. Some of its silver blood gets on her hand and absorbs into her skin, though she doesn’t seem to feel it.

The next day, Buffy tells Willow about the encounter. Willow doesn’t like that the demons didn’t have mouths, though Buffy notes that that means they also didn’t have teeth. Giles tells the two of them that he, Xander, and Oz have been looking into the mayor’s ascension. They’ve ruled out a couple of things but haven’t gotten any closer to figuring out what they’ll be dealing with. Buffy worries that the whole Angelus scheme was for nothing. Giles points out that it helped them confirm that they can’t trust Faith.

Buffy scratches her hand where the blood touched her as Wesley arrives late for the Scooby gathering. He gets in a good dig about Giles not having much information to share with the group. Giles is sure that Wesley, who has the Watchers’ Council’s resources, will be able to give them something they can use. Wrong! The Scoobies leave before he can even finish ruling out something they’ve already ruled out.

On the way to class, Willow asks if Buffy’s talked to Angel lately. She hasn’t, since it was too hard to see him pretending to be Angelus and hanging out with Faith. She thinks he might have been tempted to go back to his evil ways. Willow encourages her to ask him how it felt. Buffy doesn’t think he’d tell her, though.

Down the hall, a guy congratulates a jock named Hogan on a great basketball game. Xander complains that Hogan’s full of himself just because he can put a ball through a hoop. When Hogan greets Xander by name, Xander practically melts. Percy is with him, and he tells Willow he needs to reschedule their study session. He hasn’t finished the required reading yet but promises to do it at lunch. Hogan praises Willow for making Percy smarter, though I’d argue he couldn’t get much dumber.

Buffy’s disappointed that all the Scoobies are going to the next basketball game while she has to patrol. She’s also annoyed that her hand still itches. She goes back to the library to talk to Giles about it. He finds the demon she killed in a book and reads that it can infect a host. That freaks Buffy out, especially since the only clarification in the book is that the host can take on an “aspect” of the demon. She worries that she’ll get scaly like the demon.

The Scoobies go to a pep rally for the basketball team, which isn’t very exciting. A student journalist named Freddy feels the same, judging from an article he wrote. Willow thinks the paper has gotten really depressing lately. Oz hasn’t noticed since he only reads the obituaries. Buffy’s fidgeting, feeling her head for horns, and Willow tries to reassure her that she’ll be okay. Then she realizes that if the demon was male, Buffy really could have a problem.

Oz and Xander comment on the cheerleaders’ improved spelling as the pep rally continues. Xander wonders why he wasted his time on Cordelia when there are plenty of other pretty girls at school. He freaks out when he spots Wesley pausing to look at her with his “filthy, adult, Pierce Brosnan-y eyes.” “You’re a very complex man, aren’t you?” Oz comments. Buffy frets that she’ll become something different because of the demon. Willow pauses to cheer for Percy (“he’s needy”), then assures Buffy again that she’ll be fine.

That night, Buffy goes patrolling alone, checking a mirror to confirm that she still has a mouth. Angel sneaks up behind her (that whole pesky no-reflection thing), wanting to keep her company in case Faith pulls something. Buffy asks if he’s tracking her or Faith. Angel can tell that something’s wrong, but Buffy just talks about the demon and the aspect she might take on. He tells her that some demons exaggerate their powers, so it’s possible that nothing will happen.

Buffy notes that she spends all her time patrolling in the dark instead of doing normal teenager stuff, so becoming a demon wouldn’t be that big of an issue. Angel promises not to let anything happen to her if he can help it. He’ll always be with her, no matter what. He’ll love her even if she’s covered in slime. “I liked everything until that part,” she replies.

The next day, Willow, Oz, and Xander gush about the previous night’s basketball game but shut up when Buffy joins them in the student lounge. Cordelia hears them downplaying the excitement and says they’re crazy. Buffy’s night was much less interesting, since there were no demons. She saw a dog, but she’s not as excited as I would be.

Xander glances back at Cordelia and wonders if she and Wesley have kissed. Buffy hears this without him saying it out loud. “Man, you read my mind,” he says when she brings it up. Suddenly Buffy realizes the aspect of the demon she’s taken on.

As she walks through the hallway, she starts to hear everyone’s thoughts. She bumps into a teacher named Mr. Beach who thinks, If we could just get rid of all the students. A nerd can’t wait until he’s super-rich and his mean classmates are working at fast-food restaurants. A girl regrets taking French, and a guy with saggy pants worries that they’ll fall off one day. Buffy pauses as a guy checks her out, but she runs off when his thoughts go beyond PG-13.

She heads to the library to tell Giles that she can now read thoughts. As far as demon aspects go, this one isn’t too bad. Giles isn’t sure she’s not just projecting her own thoughts onto other people. She disproves that theory by telling him that when she walked in, he mentally criticized her shoes. Giles realizes that the mouthless demons must communicate through telepathy. He’s amazed that Buffy knows what he’s thinking before he says it. She tells him Snyder has “Walk Like an Egyptian” stuck in his head, and the boys of Sunnydale High are “seriously disturbed.”

Buffy’s excited for what this could mean. Giles is, too, since she could use this newfound ability to her advantage in slaying. Instead, she uses it to increase her class participation. In English, she reads the teacher’s mind to get all the answers to her questions about Othello. Willow’s surprised that Buffy both did and understood the assigned reading. Xander wonders if he was supposed to study. Also, he thinks the teacher is kind of hot.

A girl named Nancy thinks hateful thoughts toward Buffy, who just beams at her. Freddy thinks hateful thoughts toward everyone, since he’s one of those guys who thinks that participating in class is for losers. Buffy analyzes Cassio’s behavior, saying that it’s like he’s Othello’s dark half. Everyone in the room is impressed. The teacher praises her, not realizing that Buffy lifted the idea out of her head. She expands on thoughts about jealousy and suspicion, which is conveniently relevant to Buffy’s situation with Angel.

Buffy goes to his place and tries to read his thoughts, but she doesn’t get anything. He guesses what she’s doing and tells her that she can’t get into his mind. Just like he doesn’t have a reflection in a mirror, she can’t see a reflection of his thoughts. He tells her she doesn’t have to play games with him – she can just ask what he’s thinking.

Angel promises that he hated hurting Buffy. She says she would understand if he was tempted to be with Faith instead of her. He tells her that kissing Faith meant nothing. He’s done the bad-girl thing dozens of times before and he’s past it. In 243 years, Buffy is the only person he’s ever loved. Next time she wants to know how he’s feeling, she should just ask. Angel warns her to be careful with this new gift. Some things that seem great at first end up being painful. Buffy asks if he means immortality. “Exactly. I’m dying to get rid of that,” he quips. She sarcastically says that was funny. “I’m a funny guy,” he deadpans.

Buffy heads back to school for a Scooby meeting to inform everyone of her new ability. Xander freaks out about her being able to read all of his thoughts. I don’t see what this has to do with me, Cordelia thinks before saying the exact same words out loud. Willow says it’s great, but she secretly worries that Buffy won’t need her anymore. Oz gets philosophical, thinking that if Buffy can read all his thoughts, she becomes him and he ceases to exist. “Hmm,” he says.

Xander panics some more, knowing that all he ever thinks about is sex. He decides to leave before things get too disturbing. Wesley warns the others that they’re probably going to start thinking the things they least want Buffy to hear. For example, he starts thinking about Cordelia. Buffy’s amused. She assures Willow that she still needs her. She wants to share what’s going on with her. She feels like a bunch of doors are opening to her. Oz continues philosophizing: We think, therefore she is. Willow frets because now Buffy knows what Oz is thinking, while Willow never does.

Willow runs off and Oz follows her. Cordelia wonders when she can go, then asks out loud if she can. Wesley ducks his head out of the office to ask if Buffy can hear his thoughts in there or if he should leave. Buffy decides to go instead, but that means she’s bombarded by her fellow students’ thoughts in the hallway. They range from people hating their bodies to people worrying about schoolwork to people fretting that they’ll never have sex. Giles finds an account of a man who also became telepathic, but it doesn’t have a happy ending. He lives in isolation because he can’t shut off the power.

In the cafeteria, Buffy continues to hear everyone’s thoughts. Jonathan asks her a question, and when she doesn’t respond, he thinks that she doesn’t even know he’s there. Everyone wants a car or has thoughts on their classmates or is worried about tests they forgot to study for. She gets overwhelmed by all the thoughts as they grow louder and harder to separate. Then everything suddenly goes quiet. This time tomorrow, I’ll kill you all, someone thinks.

Buffy drops her tray, earning a sarcastic round of applause. She tries to read individual thoughts to figure out who was thinking about killing people, but she can’t identify the right voice. She covers her ears to try to block out all the thoughts, but that doesn’t help. She gets so overwhelmed that she passes out.

She wakes up outside with the Scoobies around her and tells them there’s a killer in the cafeteria. Xander quips that he’s been saying for years that the lunch lady is going to kill everyone with her mulligan stew. Buffy wants to go back in and find the plotter, though she doesn’t even know their gender, since the voice she heard was ambiguous. But her new gift has amplified, and now just stepping toward the school overwhelms her again.

Giles wants Buffy to go home, but before she leaves, she tells the Scoobies to make a list of everyone in the cafeteria. They promise to find the killer before lunch tomorrow. Buffy worriedly tells Giles that she can’t shut out everyone’s thoughts. It’s like strangers are walking around inside her head. She’s upset that she can’t be around people anymore. Giles promises that he and Wesley will find a way to help her. Buffy asks for reassurance that she’ll be okay even if the telepathy doesn’t go away. Giles gives her a vague reassurance, but he thinks, If it doesn’t go away, she’ll go insane.

The Scoobies make the list of people in the cafeteria and prepare to start narrowing down suspects. Xander’s disturbed by the thought of someone shooting a bunch of people. Cordelia notes that it’s become common in American schools. “It’s bordering on trendy at this point,” Oz says. Plus, as Willow points out, they’re on a Hellmouth, which just ramps up people’s desire to commit evil.

Joyce tends to Buffy like she’s sick, then makes excuses to keep her distance. Buffy’s horrified to realize that it’s because Joyce is doing what Wesley warned everyone would happen – she’s thinking something she doesn’t want Buffy to know. Specifically, she’s thinking about how she and Giles had sex (twice!) when they were under the influence of the candy. They did it on the hood of a police car at least once. Joyce flees before she does any more damage.

Willow hands out narrowed-down lists to the other Scoobies so they know who to question. Cordelia says she wants to work with Wesley. Xander tells her she has no shame. “Oh, please. Like shame is something to be proud of?” she replies. Willow sends them off to complete their tasks, asking them to write neatly and label their worksheets.

She starts with Jonathan, trying to get him to open up about his fantasies. She knows everyone thinks about being powerful and respected and getting people’s attention. Jonathan tucks that idea away for a future episode. Willow thinks he’s plotting mass murder to get attention, but he doesn’t catch on to her hints. Oz questions Hogan, pretending he’s doing a personality profile for the yearbook. He asks if Hogan ever feels like he’s created a false persona for himself and whether that puts a lot of strain on him. Hogan says it’s a moderate strain, then asks if that’s a good answer – he wants to get this right.

Cordelia goes for the straight-forward method, asking Mr. Beach if he’s planning to kill a bunch of people tomorrow. “It’s for the yearbook,” she clarifies. Xander questions three girls together, but instead of finding out whether they’re homicidal, he asks their turn-ons and what they’d do on a perfect date. Oz goes to the newspaper office to question Freddy, whose op-eds have started to indicate that he should probably be seen by a psychiatrist. He hides under a desk and Oz doesn’t see him.

That night, Buffy stands at her window to get some fresh air, but that just makes it easier for her to hear all the neighbors’ thoughts. They keep her awake as she tries to fall asleep. In the library, Giles and Wesley work on a potential cure, but it requires a heart from a demon like the one that infected Buffy, and they can’t really get that without a Slayer. Fortunately, Angel has taken it upon himself to get it for them.

Joyce sits with Buffy as she sleeps restlessly into the next morning. Willow questions Nancy, who doesn’t seem to have any paranoid thoughts. Xander talks to Larry, suspecting that he’s full of resentment because he’s in the closet. On the contrary – Larry’s fully out. He’s so out that his grandmother is trying to play matchmaker for him. He still thinks Xander’s gay, too, so he encourages him to come out via the school paper.

Oz goes back to the newspaper office to try to talk to Freddy again, but Freddy spots him outside the door and avoids him. He’s the last suspect on the Scoobies’ list, but all they have to go on are his op-eds expressing annoyance with his classmates. That’s not enough to let them say for sure that he’s plotting to kill a bunch of people.

Back at the Summerses’ house, Giles tells Joyce that Buffy can no longer differentiate the thoughts she’s hearing. Angel shows up with the demon heart (he had to cover himself with a blanket since the sun’s out – what a good boyfriend!), and he wakes Buffy and makes her drink Giles and Wesley’s concoction. At school, it’s almost lunchtime. Jonathan goes up to the clock tower and starts to assemble a rifle.

Buffy wakes up with only her own thoughts in her head. Now the Scoobies can focus solely on finding the plotter. They finally ambush Freddy, who thinks they’ve just been looking for him because he gave Dingoes Ate My Baby a bad review. (Oz actually thinks it’s pretty accurate.) That’s their last lead, but Buffy arrives and says they still have a little time to find the plotter. For starters, they’ll get Snyder to evacuate the school.

Cordelia reads a letter from someone talking about death and why they had to do something. Willow sees that it’s from Jonathan. Everyone splits up to find him as he continues assembling the gun. Xander gets distracted by Jell-o in the cafeteria. Thanks for helping, Xander. Buffy spots Jonatghan in the clock tower as he’s about to put his gun to use. She runs up the railing of a staircase and flips up into the tower. “I could’ve done that,” Nancy scoffs.

Buffy bursts into the tower and Jonathan aims the gun at her. He tells her not to try to stop him. She tries to keep him calm, but he doesn’t want her to act like they’re friends. He knows everything thinks he’s an idiot. Buffy says she doesn’t, but that’s just because she doesn’t think much about him at all. No one does – they don’t pay attention to his pain or his feelings.

She can empathize, since she understands his pain. He doubts that, but she tells him, “My life happens to, on occasion, suck beyond the telling of it.” And she’s not the only one – everyone ignores Jonathan’s pain because they have their own. All of them, even the popular and beautiful ones. Everyone in their school is going through their own issues and hiding their feelings. They look quiet, but inside, their thoughts are deafening.

Buffy notes that she could have taken Jonathan’s gun by now. He says he knows. Instead, she wants him to hand it over willingly, which he does. She unloads it as he says he just wanted it to stop. He’s confused when Buffy says she thought he was going to kill a bunch of people. That was never his plan. He was just going to kill himself.

That means the plotter is still unidentified, which is why Xander is so surprised when he sneaks into the kitchen and spots the lunch lady pouring rat poison in the food. He races back to the cafeteria and starts upending trays and tables so no one eats anything. The lunch lady chases him with a cleaver, but Buffy stops her from hurting anyone. The lunch lady says the students are vermin who eat filth. Buffy fights her and knocks her out.

The next day, life goes back to normal (or as normal as it can be on a Hellmouth). Buffy tells Willow that she and Angel talked. Then he fed her a demon’s heart, and then they talked more. “See? That’s how it should work,” Willow says. She heads off to take the student profiles to the yearbook office, since they turned out interesting.

Giles checks on Buffy, who’s enjoying not hearing other people’s thoughts anymore. She tells him that Jonathan was suspended but will probably be okay. Buffy likes that she was able to help someone “in a non-slaying capacity.” She thinks he might invite her to prom, though, and she’s not going to go along with that. Giles asks if she’s up to training, and she says they can get together after school…if he’s not too busy having sex with Joyce. Stunned, Giles walks into a tree.

Thoughts: The original airing of this episode was famously delayed because it was supposed to air right after the shootings at Columbine High. Definitely a good decision.

So no one at the school has a problem with Wesley, who’s not a student or staff member, hanging out on campus? He doesn’t even try to sneak around. He walks through the quad in the middle of the day. I wish they’d made him get a job as a cover. Make him wear a janitorial jumpsuit or a hairnet in the cafeteria.

Angel’s blank-faced “I’m a funny guy” cracks me up every time.

I love how Cordelia’s thoughts and words always match. It’s no surprise, really.

It’s telling that even though the warning is vague – “I’ll kill you all” – Xander automatically thinks that means a mass shooting. And this was only in 1999.

Giles walking into the tree is great, and even better when you know that Anthony Stewart Head improvised it.

June 11, 2022

Buffy 3.9, The Wish: It’s a Horrible Life

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

Vamp Xander is kind of hot (when he’s not vamped out)

Summary: It’s a beautiful day in Sunnydale, and Buffy is being strangled in a park by a monster that looks like an alien crossed with a swamp creature. Xander’s on the ground, having already been knocked out of this fight, and Willow’s trying to interpret Buffy’s requests for a “nerf.” She finally realizes that that means “knife,” and she gives Buffy one so she can stab the creature. They decide to go back to their picnic before they bury its body.

Xander asks why Faith hasn’t been around to help with slaying. Buffy says she couldn’t reach her, and they haven’t been hanging out much. Buffy’s worried, since it’s not healthy for a Slayer to be alone a lot. Xander laments that he hasn’t been able to get in touch with Cordelia, either. He tries to put the blame on Cordelia and Oz for catching him and Willow together. It was the last time they were going to kiss! Oz and Cordelia should have knocked! “Your logic does not resemble our Earth logic,” Buffy tells him.

Willow’s looking forward to school the next day, when she can beg Oz for forgiveness. She’s trying to be strong, but the thought of losing Oz forever saddens her. Buffy can relate. Xander asks how she’s able to keep going, knowing she and Angel are done. Buffy says being friends with them helps. Cordelia wants to go the opposite route – she’s home from the hospital, listening to Xander’s messages and burning pictures of him.

At school the next day, Willow waits for Oz near his locker, but he hasn’t been by. Buffy asks if Xander has seen Cordelia yet (no, but Amy saw her at the mall the night before, so they’re sure she’ll be at school). Cordelia shows up looking like she didn’t just get out of the hospital or have her heart broken. Harmony introduces her to a new classmate, Anya, who impresses Cordelia by recognizing the designer of her purse. Cordelia’s friends are pleased that Cordelia is moving on from Xander and seem supportive. Then Harmony ruins Cordelia’s grand return by teasing that she should date Jonathan.

Willow finally encounters Oz, but he doesn’t want to talk to her. She wants to make everything up to him, but right now he just wants her to leave him alone. Since he already told her what he needs, he feels like she just wants to talk so she can make herself feel better. That’s not his problem.

Cordelia gets revenge on Xander by pretending to make out with a guy named John Lee. He tells her they can’t get involved publicly because he’d be ridiculed for dating “Xander Harris’ castoff.” Cordelia runs into Anya, who makes it clear that she would rather be friends with Cordelia than with Harmony. Cordelia admires her necklace, which Anya says is kind of a good-luck charm. They bond over disliking men, and Anya invites Cordelia to say what she wishes would happen to Xander. Cordelia has decided to move on by showing him how over him she is.

At the Bronze that night, Cordelia and Anya chat with some guys while Xander tries to pretend that he, Buffy, and Willow are having an awesome time. Buffy doesn’t like that they’re supposed to turn on Cordelia after what she’s gone through. Willow thinks Cordelia’s justified in hating them; she should make them pay. A lot. But Xander wants them to move on and live in the moment. Buffy and Willow try to get on board “the joy train,” but they’re not sure how, so they opt to eat chocolate.

Xander puts his hand on Willow’s while he’s watching Cordelia, and when Willow tells him to stop, he says they have nothing to be ashamed of. They’ve always touched each other in friendly ways. Willow says it’s different now that they’ve had their fling. She wants to reserve all her body parts for Oz.

Buffy spots Cordelia leaving with a hand on her stomach, where her wound from the rebar is. She follows Cordelia out to an alley and asks how she’s doing. She knows what it’s like to be hurt as much as Cordelia was, and it helped to talk to her friends. Suddenly a vampire ambushes them, and as Buffy’s fighting him, she accidentally knocks him into Cordelia, who winds up in a pile of garbage. Of course, that’s right when a bunch of Cordelia’s friends walk by.

Cordelia tells Buffy that she’s been asking herself a lot lately why she’s the one who gets impaled and bitten by a snake and hurt by a loser. She’s finally figured it out. At school the next day, she tells Anya that Buffy is the problem. Cordelia’s life started falling apart when Buffy came to Sunnydale. Her friends come by, mocking her. Anya loans Cordelia her necklace so she can get some good luck. She thinks Xander is the real problem, and she again tries to get Cordelia to wish something bad for him.

Cordelia says she wouldn’t have given Xander a second thought if he hadn’t become “marginally cooler” by hanging out with Buffy. “I wish Buffy Summers had never come to Sunnydale,” Cordelia declares. Anya turns around, her face suddenly demonic. “Done,” she replies.

The world around Cordelia changes and Anya disappears. Cordelia realizes that Anya was a kind of “scary, veiny good fairy” who made her wish come true. She heads out of the nearly empty, not-quite-so-clean-and-pretty courtyard and into the school. It looks mostly the same, but the hallways aren’t as clean and some people have hung crosses and garlic on their lockers. Cordelia’s friends’ clothes have changed, too; they’re all wearing muted colors. They admire Cordelia for wearing bright blue.

John Lee invites Cordelia to a winter brunch with him and is excited just to get a maybe as an answer. Cordelia doesn’t know what brunch he’s talking about, though. At the end of the school day, the students and teachers rush to leave. There won’t be classes the next day because of a monthly memorial. Cordelia doesn’t get why everyone wants to get home and no one wants to go out. Her friends remind her that curfew starts in an hour. Also, they can’t go to the Bronze. Cordelia thinks it’s just not cool in this alternate reality.

When Harmony asks what’s up with her, she pretends that she bumped her head and is having trouble remembering things. She asks if Xander and Willow are as loser-ish as she hopes they are. Harmony informs her that they’re both dead. Cordelia starts to realize that she may have screwed something up. She goes to find her car, but a maintenance worker tells her students aren’t allowed to drive to school. He reminds her to get home before the sun goes down.

Instead, Cordelia walks downtown, past closed or closing businesses. It’s as if every part of Sunnydale is now the bad part of town. She’s surprised to run into Xander, who looks like he raided Angel’s closet for a white tank top and leather jacket. She asks if someone’s playing a bad joke on her; Harmony said he was dead. She tells him they need to find Buffy – Cordelia’s realized that things were better with her around.

“Bored now,” Willow declares as she joins the two of them. She’s also raided someone else’s closet, maybe Faith’s. I can’t think of anyone else who would own a leather bustier. She asks Xander if it’s time to play now, and he reminds her that it’s his turn. “No way! I wish us into Bizarro Land and you guys are still together?” Cordelia exclaims. “I cannot win!” Xander agrees, vamping out. “But I’ll give you a head start,” he tells her. He and Willow kiss, then chase after Cordelia.

Just as they knock her out, they get interrupted by some people in a van. Xander calls them White Hats. They’re this reality’s version of the Scoobies: Giles, Oz, Larry, and a girl named Nancy. They hold off Xander and Willow, then pull Cordelia into the van and take her to the library. Nancy can’t believe Cordelia wore a bright color, which would draw attention from vampires. Larry knows Cordelia well enough to know she cares more about appearance than safety.

The Bronze is now a vampire hangout, where they’re free to feed on humans or just keep them in cages for their amusement. The place is also under new management in the form of the Master. Xander and Willow are two of his minions. Xander tells him that they ran into Cordelia, but the White Hats rescued her before they could kill her. He says Cordelia mentioned Buffy, which the vampires recognize as the name of the Slayer. Xander and Willow aren’t worried, but the Master is. His plant is started operations in less than 24 hours, and they can’t risk the Slayer showing up. Xander and Willow need to find and kill Cordelia before she can contact Buffy.

Cordelia regains consciousness and tells Giles that all of this is her fault. She tells him to get Buffy so she can change everything. When she was around, things were better and people were happy. Cordelia wonders why Giles is in Sunnydale when Buffy isn’t – why have a Watcher where there’s no Slayer? Giles is surprised that she knows he used to be a Watcher.

He goes to the book cage to get some weapons, but Willow locks him in before he can come back out. Xander grabs Cordelia and gives the Watcher something to watch: him and Willow feeding on Cordelia until she dies.

Giles busts his way out of the cage as Oz and Larry come in and reveal that Xander and Willow also killed Nancy. Giles asks the guys to take Cordelia’s body to the incinerator. He spots her necklace and takes it off of her as they go. Back at the Bronze, the Master serves himself blood out of a cappuccino maker as Willow and Xander return with the good news that Cordelia is dead. As a reward, Willow gets to “play with the puppy.”

Giles makes a call to whoever Buffy’s Watcher is in this reality. They’re in Cleveland, and they don’t believe Giles’ insistence that Sunnydale is on a Hellmouth. The next morning, Willow complains about being stuck inside while the sun is out. She’ll have to entertain herself with the puppy. That “puppy” is actually one of a bunch of prisoners locked up in cages under the Bronze. Some may be human, but this one is a vampire – it’s Angel. Willow tells him the plant will open today, and all the people he tried to save will die quickly. Angel, however, will die a slow death: “Willow’s gonna make you bark.” Xander helps by providing some matches.

At the library, Giles finds Cordelia’s necklace in a book. It’s the symbol of Anyanka, a “patron saint of scorned women” who grants wishes. “Cordelia wished for something? Well, if it was a long, healthy life, she should get her money back,” Oz quips. Giles remembers her saying that the world is different and isn’t supposed to be like this. “The entire world sucks because some dead ditz made a wish?” Larry asks. “I just want it clear.”

Giles continues that Cordelia said Buffy was supposed to be there. He wants to do some further research. He heads home, driving by a group of vampires who are rounding up some victims. He helps the humans escape, then finds himself on the ground (but not knocked out, for once). Someone else has taken over handling the vampires. It’s Buffy, and she doesn’t seem pleased to be in Sunnydale.

Giles takes her to his place while he does more research. He learns that destroying Anyanka’s power center will take away her wish-granting abilities and make her human. Then everything will reset. Buffy – scarred, jaded, and impatient – asks what that power center is. You’d think Giles would be able to figure that out pretty quickly, but I guess in this reality, he’s not as smart. Buffy suggests just staking Anyanka, even though she’s not a vampire. Stakes work on a lot of creatures. Giles would prefer making her reverse what she’s done instead of killing her.

Buffy notes that she’s pretty much humoring him right now. She doesn’t think there’s another reality out there better than this: “World is what it is. We fight, we die. Wishing doesn’t change that.” Giles disagrees, saying he has to believe in a better world. Buffy replies that she has to live in this one.

Giles thinks the fact that Cordelia knew about Buffy means something. The Master wouldn’t have sent his most vicious minions to kill her if her knowledge wasn’t important. Buffy can’t believe that Giles knows where the Master operates but hasn’t tried to kill him. Giles says they have tried, but without a Slayer, it’s not that easy. She offers to take care of that problem for him. When he says she should take backup, she replies, “I don’t play well with others.”

She goes to the Bronze alone, but it’s mostly empty. The only people left are the prisoners downstairs. Angel recognizes Buffy when she comes down, because in this reality, he still went to L.A. to see her. He tells her he waited for her to come to Sunnydale but she never showed up. He was supposed to help her. Buffy finds that ridiculous. Angel says that the Master let him live as punishment. Angel kept clinging to the hope that his “destiny” would join him. “Is this a get-in-my-pants thing?” Buffy asks.

She’d like to get down to business. Angel tells her everyone’s at the factory and offers to take her there. Buffy’s wary about working with him, even more so when she realizes he’s a vampire. He promises he wants to help. He shows her the scars he’s received from being the Master’s prisoner and declares that he wants the Master dead.

At the factory, where a bunch of humans and vampires are gathered, the Master announces that he’s created technology that will let the vampires remain the “superior race” through the wonders of the human concept of mass production. At home, Giles does a spell to summon Anyanka. She’s not pleased to be called by a man.

The Master uses one of Cordelia’s friends for a demonstration of his new technology. It pierces her and sucks out her blood so vampires can have it on demand, like turning on a faucet to drink water. Buffy and Angel arrive and he asks what the plan is. “Don’t fall on this,” she replies, holding up a stake. They hide in the crowd as the Master raises a glass of blood and toasts to the future.

Buffy fires a crossbow at him but the Master uses Xander as a shield. Everyone starts running as Buffy fights vampires and Angel frees the humans. Oz and Larry stay behind to help with the slaying. Giles asks Anyanka what Cordelia wished for. “Brave new world,” Anyanka replies. “I hope she likes it.” He orders her to change it back, but she’s not about to listen to him.

Buffy fights Willow and Xander but doesn’t kill them. Xander winds up staking Angel, and Buffy barely blinks as he dies. Anyanka tells Giles that this is the real world now. It’s the one they made. Things go slow-motion as Buffy fights Xander again, staking him this time. Oz and Larry grab Willow and use a piece of broken wood from the humans’ cages to stake her. The Master and Buffy spot each other at the same time and head toward each other.

Giles finally figures out that Anyanka’s necklace is her power center. When it glows, he rips it off of her. Buffy and the Master fight as Anyanka tells Giles he’s an idiot – how does he know the other world is better than this one? “Because it has to be,” he replies. As he raises a paperweight to smash the necklace, the Master breaks Buffy’s neck. Ignoring Anyanka’s protests, Giles crushes the necklace.

“I wish Buffy Summers had never come to Sunnydale,” Cordelia says. This time, Anya’s face doesn’t change and the wish isn’t granted. Cordelia changes her mind – she wishes Buffy had never been born. Then she wishes Xander were celibate forever and Willow woke up covered in monkey hair. Anya’s distressed not to be able to grant any of her wishes. All is right with the world, and no one has a clue about the way things might have been.

Thoughts: One of Cordelia’s friends (the one who gets to be the guinea pig for the blood technology) is played by Nicole Bilderback.

I like the twist of killing off Cordelia halfway through the episode. It makes it more real that this reality is one that no one would knowingly wish for.

Xander and Willow are basically Spike and Drusilla here, and while I don’t think he pulls it off, she does.

No wonder Buffy’s so serious in the alternate reality. She would hate Cleveland.

May 14, 2022

Buffy 3.5, Homecoming: Welcome to Slayer Fest

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

Let the games begin

Summary: It’s another Bronze night for the Scoobies. Everyone except Buffy is talking about the upcoming homecoming dance, their last as high-schoolers. Cordelia expects to be homecoming queen, and she’d like a limo. Buffy reveals that she might not go. Scott joins the group and Willow tries to stop the conversation. Cordelia guesses that Buffy’s down because Scott hasn’t asked her to the dance yet. Scott says he thought she would find it corny, but they awkwardly agree to go together. They even kiss.

Buffy leaves her new boyfriend to go see her old boyfriend, who’s still hanging out in his old mansion and is jumpy but not feral anymore. She brings him some blood and asks how he’s feeling. He says it hurts less. She tells him she hasn’t told anyone about his return yet, and she isn’t going to. They wouldn’t understand that he’s okay. She’ll keep helping him, but her life has changed and she wants to devote more time to it. She mentions Scott, and Angel isn’t happy to hear that she’s seeing someone else. She tells him she appreciates having someone she can count on.

Cut to the next day, when Scott tells Buffy they should break up. She seems to be distracted all the time. She promises that she’s going to get better about that, but that’s not enough for Scott. They’re done. As Scott walks away, someone watches Buffy through binoculars. That someone is in a van full of surveillance equipment. The watcher has a twin, who calls someone (no name; I’ll call him Ian after the actor playing him) so he can connect his own surveillance equipment. Mr. Trick is there, pleased that the equipment will help him keep an eye on his “target.”

Deputy Mayor Allan Finch nervously enters his boss’ office with what might be bad news. His boss is Mayor Richard Wilkins, and the news is that the twins from the van (Frederick and Hans) are in town. They’re suspected terrorists and murderers. Wilkins smells the paper Finch handed him with the twins’ mugshots, then asks to see Finch’s hands. He doesn’t think they’re clean enough. People need to scrub their hands after every meal. After all, cleanliness is next to godliness. Wilkins tells Finch to put the twins under surveillance and inform him of any other sketchy people spotted in Sunnydale.

Over at Sunnydale High, it’s picture day. Cordelia’s is pretty much perfect, Xander’s is cheesy, Willow’s is uncertain, and Oz’s is…Oz. He doesn’t change his expression for the camera. Willow tells Xander she needs his help picking an outfit for the dance. She wants to wear something that will make Oz have a reaction. Cordelia checks out her competition for homecoming queen, Holly and Michelle. She only sees one of them as a threat.

Willow worries that Buffy will miss photo time. She’s in the library, training with Faith, and Oz isn’t sure anyone told her it was picture day. Cordelia offers to go get her now. Buffy will need to clean up a little first, since she’s working up a sweat taking out her anger over her breakup. Faith thinks that rage will give her an edge in slaying. She offers to go to the dance with Buffy, wanting her to have a fun night even without a date. As Cordelia is about to enter the library to talk to Buffy, she gets distracted and starts chatting with a couple of guys whose votes she needs.

The next day, Buffy tracks down one of her former teachers to ask if she’ll write a letter of recommendation to allow Buffy to come back to school. Unfortunately, the teacher has no idea who Buffy is. At lunch, Buffy mopes while Cordelia tries to drum up support from her classmates. Buffy laments how different her life is at Sunnydale High from how it was at her previous school. There, the yearbook was full of pictures of her. Here, she’ll just have one. The Scoobies break it to her that she won’t even have that one – she missed picture day.

Buffy goes straight to Cordelia to confront her for not telling her about picture day and for generally being self-centered. Cordelia argues that she’s under a lot of pressure. She doesn’t think Buffy gets how much work goes into campaigning for homecoming queen. Maybe she’d win if it were about monsters and blood. Buffy decides to prove herself and join the race. “You’ve awakened the prom queen within,” she warns.

Mr. Trick tells a group of people (including the twins and Lyle Gorch) that competition is a great thing. Everyone has a desire to win. He’s gathered some humans, vampires, and demons for a special competition. There’s an entry fee, and Lyle pays his with the money he and his new bride, Candy, were going to use for their honeymoon. (That money seems to be from a bank robbery. It’s blood-stained but nonsequential, so I think Mr. Trick will accept it.) Mr. Trick announces that the games will begin soon. It’l be open season for the two targets, Buffy and Faith. Welcome to Slayer Fest ’98!

Willow tries on some potential homecoming outfits in her room as Xander makes sure his tux fits. She’s really intent on having a nice experience since this is her first big dance with a boyfriend. She helps Xander with his tie and remembers how he wore a clip-on for a fancy eighth-grade dance. Now it’s four years later and they’re still friends. Xander thinks they’ll end up in neighboring rest homes and she’ll still be helping him out.

He asks how far Willow and Oz have gone. She says it’s none of his business, so he guesses they’re rounding second base. When she shows him her next outfit possibility, a simple but nice black dress, he tells her she looks gorgeous. Willow says he looks great, too. She starts worrying about dancing, so Xander offers to give her a practice spin. Their closeness makes them weak and they end up kissing. After a few seconds, they both stop and admit they made a huge mistake. They blame the fancy clothes and vow not to let it happen again.

The next day, Buffy gathers Xander, Willow, and Oz in the library and shows them a chart of all of her homecoming-queen competitors’ pros and cons. She knows she has a tough fight here, since this is a popularity contest and she’s not really popular. Then again, she’s not unpopular – after all, there was a good turnout at her welcome-home party. You know, the party where a bunch of people were killed by zombies. Still, everyone had a good time before that!

Buffy asks Willow to make a database so they can keep track of people’s votes. She wants Oz to talk to the less popular students and those who wouldn’t normally vote. Cordelia comes in and Buffy says she wants to keep things friendly; the Scoobies don’t need to choose sides. Unfortunately for Buffy, Cordelia has already recruited them to work for her. To be fair, Xander’s dating her. And I think Willow’s too scared to say no. And Oz just does whatever Willow does, so there goes Buffy’s whole crew.

As the others leave, Giles joins Buffy and says he doesn’t get why the girls are making such a big deal out of a little title. She lies that no one’s taking it that seriously, then clutches a glass bottle so hard that it breaks. Music montage! The girls chat with their classmates and try to get votes while the Slayer Fest competitors test out their weapons (or, in the Gorches’ case, make out). One demon, Kulak, has blades that come out of his arms. Convenient!

Buffy runs into Scott, who promises her his vote. She humbly accepts it, acting like she doesn’t want him to feel obligated, but after he leaves, she checks his name off a list of votes she wanted. More of the music montage! Buffy bribes her constituents with cupcakes, but Cordelia overshadows her with gift baskets. I guess the faculty doesn’t monitor this kind of stuff and there are no rules about it.

Willow is awkward around Buffy, who says it’s fine that her best friend is helping someone else, though she’s really trying to lay on the guilt. Willow agrees to give her 15 minutes with Cordelia’s database. The twins are watching them and now have microphones capable of hearing them, even though the girls are in a classroom and the twins are in their van. They learn that the Scoobies are going to the dance in a limo, and Faith will be riding with them.

Buffy gives Jonathan a cupcake and tries to get his support. He tells her Cordelia already bought his vote (with actual money). Buffy confronts Cordelia, who accuses Buffy of trying to be like her. She needs to stop trying to recapture her “glory days.” Buffy calls her out for being mean and asks if she has parents. Cordelia replies that she has two of them, unlike some people. Wow, really? What is this, second grade?

Cordelia tells Buffy to stay out of her way, then starts to push her a little as she walks off. Buffy grabs Cordelia’s hand and tells her not to do that again. Willow and Xander are approaching, and Xander tries to break up the fight before the rivals say something they’ll regret. “Crazy freak!” Cordelia exclaims. “Vapid whore!” Buffy spits back. Too late, Xander.

That night, Willow and Xander are back in her room, distressed because their friends are fighting. Willow thinks it’s her and Xander’s fault – they felt so bad about kissing that they overcompensated by siding with Cordelia, which messed up the Scoobies’ dynamic. They try to come up with a solution, but it’s hard when they can’t stop thinking about kissing each other again.

The night of the dance, Buffy happily gets in the limo at her house, then quickly loses her happiness when she sees that Cordelia is the only other passenger. The other Scoobies want the girls to take this time to work out their problems. They’ve also nicely left the girls wrist corsages. But now they have a new problem: Their driver is one of the twins, and instead of the dance, they’re being taken to Slayer Fest.

When they arrive, the twin runs off and the girls realize they’ve been left in the woods. Buffy quickly senses that something’s wrong. Nearby are a TV and VCR with a note telling them to press play. Mr. Trick appears on the TV screen and welcomes them to Slayer Fest ’98. They’re the prey for a bunch of hunters and have just seconds to get a head start running for their lives. Cordelia doesn’t get it, just calling out that she’s not a Slayer. When there’s a boom and the TV and VCR explode, the girls realize this is for real.

The other Scoobies are at the dance, but Willow and Xander aren’t having a good time. (Oz’s band is performing so he’s not with them.) Faith doesn’t get why they’re moping. She spots Scott with another girl and calls him a sleazebag. Giles arrives and tells Xander and Willow that something has happened and they need to find Buffy. Then he admits he was just messing with them and heads off to find food.

Buffy and Cordelia run through the woods, though Cordelia thinks she can get herself out of the competition by explaining to the hunters that she’s not a Slayer and shouldn’t be there. Buffy steps in a bear trap but is able to get out of it before it can snap onto her leg. Behind them, a hunter takes a shot, but Buffy throws the trap at him and immobilizes him. She takes his gun and makes him tell her what they’re dealing with. He gives her a rundown of the other hunters and the surveillance. As Cordelia tries to politely request an exemption from the competition, Kulak narrowly misses hitting her with his arm blades.

Faith amuses herself by pretending she and Scott had sex and one of them gave the other an STD. His date isn’t so interested in him anymore. Giles tries to cheer up Xander and Willow, then decides to leave until it’s time for the homecoming-queen announcement. He praises the Scoobies for their plan to make Buffy and Cordelia spend time together. Xander notes that they haven’t arrived yet, so they must be having an intense fight.

Buffy and Cordelia find a rundown cabin to use for shelter. Buffy’s the only one with a weapon, so she tells Cordelia to find one of her own. Cordelia’s starting to grasp the reality of the situation and is too worried about dying to think about anything else. Buffy tries to cover the windows and actually protect them as Cordelia frets that her life is going to end too soon. Buffy promises that they’ll get out of there and get some weapons from the library. Then Buffy will take out the hunters AND win homecoming queen. That lights a fire under Cordelia, making her angry rather than scared.

She looks for a weapon but only finds a spatula and a phone. Buffy’s like, “Remember what a phone is used for? Do you think that might be useful right now?” But leaving Giles a message gives Mr. Trick and Ian a heads up about where the girls are. Ian sends the twins after them. Giles gets Buffy’s message as Cordelia asks why things always end badly when she’s around Buffy. “Welcome to my life,” Buffy says. Cordelia would rather be in her own life, thank you. Buffy invites her to leave any time she wants.

Cordelia says that all she wanted was to be homecoming queen. That’s all Buffy wanted, too. Cordelia doesn’t know why Buffy cares about that when she gets to be a hero all the time. But that’s exactly why Buffy wanted something as normal as being crowned homecoming queen. Her life is all about being a Slayer. She wanted something she could look back on to remind her that she got to be like everyone else. It would be proof that she was chosen for something other than being a Slayer. “Besides, I look cute in a tiara,” she says.

Kulak crashes in through a window and tackles Buffy, making her drop her gun. She throws him off and grabs a pair of antlers from the wall to use as a weapon. Cordelia tries to be helpful by whacking him with the spatula. Buffy tells her to go for the gun, but Cordelia’s a bad shot. Buffy tells her to try the spatula again. Outside, the twins arrive and fire up a grenade launcher. When the grenade flies into the cabin, Buffy and Cordelia jump out a window. Kulak tries to do the same, only the window he chooses is boarded up. The cabin blows up with him inside it.

The girls head to the library, but the Gorches are there waiting for them. They knocked out Giles, those jerks. Mr. Trick is surprised that the girls got away, but Ian assures him it’s just temporary. Just then, some men arrive at their lair and drag Mr. Trick away. When the girls get to the school, they discuss their plan, which goes out the window as soon as they step into the library and encounter the Gorches.

Candy fights Buffy, but Cordelia has finally seen how helpful the spatula really is. She tosses it to Buffy, who uses the wooden handle to stake Candy. Lyle is upset but Cordelia is no longer scared. She tells him that she and Buffy have taken out four hunters and Cordelia hasn’t even broken a sweat. “In the end, Buffy’s just the runner-up. I’m the queen,” she says. And that means Lyle should be very worried about what she’s capable of. Lyle decides not to find out. He says goodbye and heads off.

Giles regains consciousness and starts cleaning up the mess in the library. He feels a little responsible for the girls’ night, since he approved of the Scoobies’ plans to put them in the limo together. Buffy’s okay with it, since she and Cordelia got some “quality death time.” Plus, as Cordelia mentions, they got free corsages. Giles didn’t know about those, and Buffy realizes they weren’t from the Scoobies. The corsages contain tracking devices, which the hunters have been using to follow the girls.

As the twins arrive at the school, Buffy tells Giles to get her some wet toilet paper. Ian gives the twins the girls’ coordinates and watches eagerly as they close in. Buffy runs out of the library, drawing the twins’ fire. When one follows her into a classroom, Ian directs the other toward Cordelia’s signal. Buffy throws the wet toilet paper at the twin following her, and Ian tells the twins to adjust their coordinates. They end up facing each other and shooting each other through a wall. When the corsage signals die, Ian declares himself the winner of Slayer Fest.

Mr. Trick is taken to City Hall, where he meets Wilkins. He knows Mr. Trick isn’t human, and he wants to make sure no one disrupts what’s going to be a big year for him. Mr. Trick thinks he’s going to be kicked out of Sunnydale for racist reasons. Instead, Wilkins talks about how children need to be looked after, and rebellious children need to be controlled. Mr. Trick thinks he’s talking about Buffy and Faith, and he says he’s taken care of them. Wilkins has heard about Slayer Fest and thinks it was a smart idea. He wants Mr. Trick to work for him.

Buffy and Cordelia finally make it to the dance, filthy and tired and a little bloody. “Long story,” Buffy tells the Scoobies. “Got hunted,” Cordelia says. “Apparently not that long,” Buffy replies. She acknowledges that Cordelia isn’t to be messed with. They’re just in time for the homecoming-queen announcement, but after all they’ve been through, it’s no longer that important to them. Just kidding – it’s still really important. Devon reveals that there’s a tie. The two winners are…Holly and Michelle. Buffy and Cordelia walk out in disgust. Hey, at least they won Slayer Fest!

Thoughts: Continuing the excellent casting this season, Harry Groener is perfect as Wilkins.

I love this exchange between Mr. Trick and Kulak:

Mr. Trick: “We all have the desire to win. Whether we’re human…vampire…and whatever the hell you are, my brother. You got them spiny-looking head things. I ain’t never seen that before.”
Kulak: “I am Kulak, of the Miquot Clan.”
Mr. Trick: “Isn’t that nice.”

Buffy’s problem in the campaign is that no one fears her. Everyone’s too scared of Cordelia not to give her their support (or at least lie that they’ll vote for her). Which is actually a good thing, because that means Buffy’s nice.

I love that someone working for Mr. Trick took the time to come up with a Slayer Fest logo for the end of his welcome video.

April 23, 2022

Buffy 3.2, Dead Man’s Party: Mask Casualties

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

So much for trying to appreciate art from another culture

Summary: After unpacking in her room upon her return to Sunnydale, Buffy goes to Joyce’s room and accidentally scares her. Joyce is hanging up a mask that was part of a shipment her gallery got from Nigeria. She wants to brighten the room, but Buffy thinks the mask is actually “angry at the room” and “wants the room to suffer.” Joyce asks if she’s going out, and Buffy asks permission to go find Xander and Willow. Joyce wants to know if she’ll be slaying anything. “Only if they give me lip,” Buffy replies. Joyce wants to be supportive, but she also wants to be protective. She eventually lets Buffy go.

Buffy heads to the Bronze, where she comes across a guy in an alley and suspects that he’s shady. It’s actually Xander, and he’s patrolling. She jokes that he shouldn’t play with pointy things: “It’s all fun and games until somebody loses an eye.” Everyone who’s seen season 7 cringes. He’s shocked to see her, but he doesn’t get much time to react because suddenly a vampire is attacking them.

The Scoobies are now using walkie-talkies to communicate, and Buffy has some questions when Cordelia contacts Xander using the code name Nighthawk. She, Willow, and Oz come running, but even all four Scoobies combined can’t take out the vampire. Buffy winds up doing it herself. She greets her friends awkwardly, knowing her time away is going to cause some issues.

The Scoobies all go to Giles’ place so Buffy can reunite with him as well. She’s hesitant, worrying that he’ll be mad that she disappeared without a word. When Giles opens the door, Xander fills the shocked silence by telling him he’s back on the clock as a Watcher. Giles just welcomes Buffy home and invites the Scoobies in.

Oz notes that Buffy isn’t wanted for murder anymore. Yay! Xander asks if she went to Belgium. Buffy asks why she would go there. Xander thinks the better question is why wouldn’t she? Giles makes tea and listens from the kitchen as the Scoobies get back into their groove like no time has passed. He’s pleased to have Buffy home but doesn’t want to show his emotions.

The Scoobies want to know what Buffy was up to while she was gone, but Giles tells them to go easy on her. Xander suggests that she take her time getting back into slaying, since the Scoobies have things covered. Buffy thinks the walkie-talkies are a smart addition. Cordelia has some critiques about their outfits, since they’re not sporty enough. Willow proudly says they’ve been killing nine out of ten vampires. Oz corrects her that it’s really six out of ten.

Buffy says she wants to get back to her normal routine of school, slaying, and socializing. She wants to hang out with her friends the next day, though they already have plans. Giles tells Buffy she’ll need to talk to Snyder before she can be readmitted to Sunnydale High. Joyce has already made an appointment, and Buffy’s sure she’ll be able to break Snyder.

“Absolutely not,” is his response to Joyce’s request to unexpel Buffy. He claims to have the right to make that decision. Plus, it makes him happy. Joyce points out that Buffy was cleared of the murder charges. Snyder notes that she’s still a horrible student and a troublemaker. He’s sure she’ll find a way to fill her time, such as working in fast food. Joyce threatens to keep pressing the issue, even if she has to take her fight all the way up to the mayor. Snyder thinks that would be interesting.

Joyce tells Buffy that they might be able to get her into a private school instead. Buffy suggests homeschooling instead. Joyce drops her off to meet Willow, who doesn’t show. When Buffy gets home, she meets Joyce’s friend Pat. She’s an incredibly cheery woman who has been looking after Joyce during Buffy’s absence. Joyce tells Buffy that Willow called and made an excuse about being held up somewhere.

Joyce wants to have all the Scoobies and Giles over for dinner the next night, an idea Buffy isn’t too thrilled about. Joyce sends her to the basement to get their nice plates, even though Buffy thinks her friends would be fine with normal ones. While looking for the plates, Buffy finds a picture of herself with Willow and Xander in happier times. Then she finds a dead cat from what I don’t think were happier times.

They bury the cat in the backyard but Buffy isn’t sure how to eulogize it: “Thanks for stopping by and dying?” Joyce says she hopes the cat who lost its way eventually finds it. That night, the eyes of the mask on Joyce’s wall glow red. The cat emerges from its grave, very unhappy about being buried.

Buffy dreams about going to an empty Sunnydale High and running into Angel. He tells her that her friends are waiting for her and she needs to go. She says she’s afraid, and he replies that she should be. When the bell rings, Buffy wakes up. She barely listens as Joyce talks to her in the kitchen about meeting with the superintendent about letting her back into school. If that doesn’t work, she has a chance at going to a girls’ school.

Buffy thinks she’s being punished, but Joyce points out that she made bad choices and might have to face some consequences. She softens and says that nothing’s settled yet. She thinks people should make allowances for Buffy and her unusual circumstances. Buffy says she’s a Slayer, not someone with special needs. Joyce suggests that she tell people like Snyder and the police that she’s a Slayer. She opens the door to take out the trash and the not-so-dead cat runs into the house.

Giles comes over with a cage so he can retrieve and study the cat. He admires Joyce’s mask, but Buffy calls off their attempt at small talk by saying they should get to work learning more about the cat. Giles reminds her that she’s not allowed on school property, so she can’t help him. Plus, he thinks she should stay with Joyce.

The other Scoobies get to study the cat instead. Oz likes it and suggests calling it Patches. Willow brings up dinner at the Summerses’ house that night and says she told Joyce they would bring stuff. “I’m the dip,” Cordelia announces. Oz wonders if they’re going to a gathering, a shindig, or a hootenanny. The first features brie and mellow music. The second features dip and less mellow music, and maybe beer. The third is “chock full of hoot, just a little bit of nanny.”

Xander asks what they’re supposed to talk about during the dinner party – Buffy’s secret vacation and how upset they are with her for abandoning them? Willow says Buffy wanted to loosen up, so maybe Dingoes Ate My Baby can change their scheduled rehearsal to a performance at the Summerses’. Giles doesn’t think a shindig is the best idea (Oz says this would qualify as a hootnanny). He doesn’t want Buffy to feel overwhelmed. But the other Scoobies want to turn the small dinner party into a big welcome-home party. Distracted, Giles misses a page in his demon reference book that’s illustrated with a picture of Joyce’s mask.

That night, Pat is the first guest to arrive for the party. Buffy has no idea how to talk to her. The band is next, followed by dozens of people who definitely want to welcome Buffy home and don’t just want to party. Buffy tries to talk to Willow but the music’s too loud for conversation. Buffy’s disappointed that she doesn’t get to spend quality time with her friends and get back to her normal life.

She takes Willow upstairs so they can talk. Buffy asks if Willow’s avoiding her, and Willow promises that everything’s great. The Scoobies just wanted to throw Buffy a party to show how happy they are that she’s back. Down the hall, the mask’s eyes glow again. Somewhere in town, a man who appears to have died after being hit by a car wakes up.

Xander takes a break from making out with Cordelia to chat with Buffy. Everything’s great! Everyone’s happy to see Buffy! Cordelia lures back to the makeout session by calling Xander “Nighthawk.” Buffy leaves before she gets sick. The mask keeps glowing and a man who’s just been pronounced dead from massive burns gets out of his hospital bed and attacks the staff.

Buffy hits her breaking point when she hears some guy at the party asks the occasion and his friend replies that he heard it was for a girl who just got back from rehab. In the kitchen, Joyce and Pat are either clueless about or ignoring everything happening at the party. Joyce admits that Buffy’s return isn’t as happy as she’d hoped. It’s actually made things worse in some ways. Buffy overhears this and goes to her room to repack her things. Meanwhile, a bunch of recently risen dead people head for the Summerses’ house.

At the library, the cat is restless. Giles finally sees the page he missed in his book and realizes what’s happening. He tries to call Buffy but no one hears the phone over the loud music. When someone finally answers, he doesn’t know who Buffy is. He asks around for someone named Buddy and calls Giles “Mr. Belvedere,” which is awesome.

Willow catches Buffy packing and blasts her for running away again. Buffy says no one will mind. She claims she tried to readjust to her normal life, but Willow disagrees. Her leaving won’t make things easier. Buffy says the Scoobies did fine without her, but Willow says they didn’t have a choice. Buffy tells her that she didn’t know what Buffy was going through and wouldn’t have understood it. Willow replies that she might not need to understand. She just wants Buffy to open up to her.

Buffy points out that Willow’s been avoiding her, so how could she open up? Willow says they’ve both been going through difficult things. Her life has completely changed – she’s dating a werewolf and studying witchcraft and taking on slaying responsibilities. She didn’t have anyone to talk to about scary things. Her best friend just walked away.

Giles speeds toward the Summerses’ house, annoyed that Joyce’s mask has caused trouble: “‘Do you like my mask? Isn’t it pretty? It raises the dead.’ Americans!” He accidentally hits someone with his car, but it’s okay – he didn’t hurt the person. It’s hard to hurt someone who’s already dead. The problem is that the zombie has some friends, and Giles is now out of his car and about to be outnumbered.

Buffy tells Willow that she missed all the Scoobies and wanted to call every day. Willow doesn’t think that matters, since she didn’t contact them. Joyce finds them and Willow tells her that Buffy is trying to run away again. Buffy says she’s not, then admits that she’s not sure. Joyce chastises her for thinking she can run away whenever she feels like it. Buffy repeats that she doesn’t know. She doesn’t know what she’s doing.

She runs downstairs, looking for an exit that isn’t blocked by partygoers. As Joyce starts berating her, driven by anger and schnapps, the music stops and all the guests hear the fight. Joyce rants at Buffy for leaving her behind for months of worrying about where she was. Buffy reminds Joyce that she told her not to come back if she left. She found out who her daughter really was and couldn’t deal.

A few partygoers leave, probably thinking Buffy’s a lesbian. Joyce is upset that Buffy punished her for not handling the news well. Buffy says she wasn’t punishing Joyce. Xander jumps into the fight, saying that’s what happened. Buffy asks if anyone else wants to join in on piling on her. Maybe Jonathan? “No, thanks,” he says meekly.

Xander thinks Buffy needs to hear how selfish and stupid her decision was. She can accept that, but no one has any idea what she went through or what she was feeling. He asks if she ever tried talking to anyone about it. She says no one could have done anything anyway. She had to deal with it on her own. Xander tells her that she can’t bury stuff – it’ll come right back up to get her. Cut to the zombies Giles is facing off with. He manages to get in his car, but he left his keys on the ground. He hotwires the engine (“like riding a bloody bicycle”) and makes his escape.

Buffy turns on Xander, saying she couldn’t have gone to him since he didn’t want her to be with Angel. He replies that he’s sorry her boyfriend was a demon, but most girls don’t run away over “boy troubles.” Cordelia steps in, advising Xander to put himself in Buffy’s shoes: “I’m Buffy, freak of nature, right? Naturally I pick a freak for a boyfriend. And then he turns into Mr. Killing Spree, which is pretty much my fault–.” Buffy interrupts: “Cordy, get out of my shoes.”

Willow tries to address Buffy, who’s too upset to listen to more from her. Xander thinks Buffy owes it to Willow to let her finish. He says Buffy’s been acting like an idiot, but she thinks his use of the code name “Nighthawk” makes this a pot-calling-the-kettle-idiot situation. Oz tries to end the fight, but Willow says they should stop trying to talk things out and turn to violence. Zombies burst into the house and Willow clarifies that she was being sarcastic.

The Scoobies put aside their problems to mobilize against the zombies. Joyce even gets into the fight, knocking one out with a vase. Since they’re not dealing with vampires, traditional staking won’t work here, and the Scoobies have trouble taking the zombies down. Pat gets grabbed and Jonathan risks Oz’s wrath (not that Oz ever feels wrath) by threatening a zombie with his guitar.

The partygoers start shoving zombies outside and trying to barricade the doors. That doesn’t do much since the zombies can break through the doors and grab them. Joyce finds Pat, and Buffy, Xander, and Willow take the two of them into Joyce’s bedroom for safety. Joyce determines that Pat’s dead, but thanks to the mask, that doesn’t mean anything.

Everything’s quiet downstairs, so Oz and Cordelia, who were hiding in a closet, creep out to check out the situation. They run into Giles, but Cordelia isn’t sure it’s really him and not a zombie version of him. “Cordelia, do stop being tiresome,” he says. That’s all it takes to convince her that he’s the real deal. Oz says the “dead man’s party” has moved upstairs. Giles guesses it’s because that’s where the mask is. It holds the power of a zombie demon called the Evil Eye. If a zombie puts the mask on, they’ll become the demon incarnate.

As the Scoobies in Joyce’s room fight a zombie, Joyce realizes that Pat’s alive. She shoves Joyce aside and puts on the mask. The zombie gets scared of Pat, which Xander says can’t be good. Her eyes flash at Buffy, stunning her and allowing Zombie Pat to throw her aside. Pat gets Willow in her sights and Buffy warns her not to look into Pat’s eyes. Willow doesn’t listen and the flash stuns her. Buffy tackles Pat and they fly through a window, landing on the back lawn.

Giles, Oz, and Cordelia hear the crash and rush to help as Buffy runs from Pat, repeating, “Not looking! Not looking!” Joyce smacks a zombie with a bat. Giles, Oz, and Cordelia get stalled on the stairs by a zombie, so Giles sends Oz to the backyard with instructions on how to take out Pat: Go for the eyes. By the time Oz arrives, though, Buffy has already figured it out. She rams a shovel into the mask’s eyes. Pat and all the zombies vanish. Aw, man, now the humans have to clean up the house! Joyce asks if this is a typical day in a Slayer’s life. Buffy says it was nothing. Now everyone really is happy to have her back.

The next day, Giles goes to Snyder’s office and calmly says he has no grounds to expel Buffy. As a minor, she’s entitled to a public education whether Snyder likes her or not. If Snyder fights that, Giles will go to the state Supreme Court. He’ll make life for Snyder very, very difficult. Snyder refuses to cooperate, saying he’s not convinced. Giles grabs him by the collar and pushes him up against a cabinet. “Would you like me to convince you?” he asks with a “just try me” smile.

Buffy and Willow meet up at a coffee place and talk about Willow’s dabbles in witchcraft. She admits to doing some scary things, and Buffy wishes she could have been there for her. But Willow understands why she left and forgives her. Buffy thinks she’s just being morally superior. She’s willing to take some slack for a while. Willow says she’ll back off, then teases that Buffy’s a runaway and a quitter. Buffy calls her a whiner and the two trade some good-natured barbs like “harpy,” “delinquent,” and “bad seed.”

Thoughts: How is it that no one asks Buffy about Angel? We find out later that she told the Scoobies that she killed him, but that happens off-screen. We should have seen someone asking and Buffy having to figure out what to say without retraumatizing herself.

“Thanks for stopping by and dying” and Giles mocking Joyce crack me up every time.

Dingoes Ate My Baby’s drummer is at least 30 years old. I hope we’re not supposed to believe he’s one of the Scoobies’ classmates.

As fun as it is to see Giles stand up to Snyder, it would have been really satisfying if Joyce had been the one to break him.

March 26, 2022

Buffy 2.20, Go Fish: Water the Scoobies Going to Do About the Monster of the Week?

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

Sadly, there were no good shots of Xander in his red Speedo

Summary: There’s a party on a beach in Sunnydale, though Xander argues that it’s too cold to be there. Cordelia reminds him that the swim team chose the location to celebrate their victory. He complains about that, too, since he’s not impressed by them, but Cordelia thinks he’s just jealous. Xander says it’s too easy for losers to suddenly become cool when they join the team. Cordelia, however, appreciates that the school has a team who can win. They’re finally good at something. Willow points out that they also have a high mortality rate. “We’re number one!” Xander cheers.

Buffy’s sitting alone, looking out at the water. A guy named Cameron joins her and waxes poetic about the ocean. He and some other swimmers train there once a week, swimming against the current. Now he wants to celebrate winning the state semifinals by hanging out with Buffy. But Buffy gets distracted when she spots another swimmer, Dodd, dunking Jonathan’s head in a bucket of ice. She pulls Dodd off, commenting on his shark tattoo. Cameron smirks because Dodd had it coming to him.

A teammate named Gage takes Dodd away to get dried off. Buffy checks on Jonathan, who doesn’t appreciate having to be rescued again. He says he can take care of himself. As Gage and Dodd are walking by the water, Dodd suddenly freezes and just stares out at the waves. Gage doesn’t notice and keeps walking. A minute later, he smells something gross. It’s probably Dodd’s body, which is now dismembered and recognizable only because of his tattoo. Something that looks like a monster heads off into a sewer pipe.

At school the next day, Jenny’s class, now taught by Willow, continues to go well. She busts Gage for playing Solitaire (with nude women on the cards) instead of working on pie charts like the rest of the class. Snyder comes in as the class ends and asks Willow to continue teaching through the end of the year. She’d be happy to. He praises her for being a team player, which means she wants everyone on the team to succeed. Even problematic team members like Gage, who doesn’t do any work. She needs to show school spirit by passing him so he can stay on the swim team.

Willow tells Xander and Cordelia about this after class, and while Xander sides with Willow that this is unfair, Cordelia thinks winners like Gage deserve special privileges. Xander reminds her that all people are supposed to be created equal. “Propaganda spouted out by the ugly and less deserving,” Cordelia replies. He points out that Abraham Lincoln came up with the idea. “Disgusting mole and stupid hat,” she says. Willow corrects that it was Thomas Jefferson. Cordelia just notes that he had slaves. Okay, that’s a fair point.

Xander complains that Buffy isn’t there to be as outraged as he is because she’s off with Cameron. But she’s realizing that they’re not a good fit because all he talks about is swimming and the ocean and sea life. She does appreciate having a conversation with a guy that doesn’t involve romantic pressure, though. However, she backs off of that appreciation when Cameron asks if she’s wearing a bra.

He locks his car doors so she can’t leave, then says he’s not going to hurt her. “Oh, it’s not me I’m worried about,” she says. When he says she must like it rough, she grabs him by the back of his head and slams his face into his steering wheel. Snyder sees, and he wants to have a word with Buffy.

They take Cameron to the school nurse, Greenleigh, and he tries to argue that Buffy led him on. After all, look how she dresses. Before Buffy can hit him again, the swim coach, Marin, comes in to check on his star swimmer. At least Cameron’s his star now that something’s happened to Dodd. Marin tells Cameron to go to the steam room so his sinuses will stay open. Then he tells Buffy to dress more appropriately because this isn’t a club.

Buffy goes to the library and complains to the Scoobies about how Cameron gets away with everything because the swim team (all of whom have become jerks recently) is so revered. The Scoobies are barely listening, since they’re trying to work. Dodd’s remains were found on the beach, having been ripped open and cleaned out inside. “Like an Oreo cookie,” Willow says helpfully. The students aren’t supposed to know, most likely so the other swimmers don’t find out and get distracted from their big meet on Friday.

Something’s lurking around the steam room. After Cameron’s done in there, he runs into Xander and treats him like every stereotypical jock treats anyone he sees as beneath him. Xander mocks him for getting beaten up by Buffy; he loves when guys mess with her and get what they deserve. Cameron is on his way to the cafeteria, which is supposed to be closed, but will still serve someone as wonderful and special as he is. He smells something gross, and a few moments later, Xander hears him yell. He finds signs of a struggle, Cameron’s skin, and the monster from the beach.

Xander tries to describe the monster to Cordelia so she can draw it. That goes about as well as you’d expect. She gets him to admit that he didn’t get a good look at it because he was too busy running away. Buffy and Willow get confirmation that Dodd and Cameron were the two best swimmers on the team, which means Gage, the third best, will probably be the next target. Cordelia laments that they’ll never win the state championship now. “I think I’ve lost all will to cheerlead,” she says.

The Scoobies guess that someone wants revenge on the swim team and somehow brought forth a sea monster to act on his behalf. Willow suggests Jonathan, so Buffy sends her to question him. Giles tells Buffy to keep an eye on Gage. Cordelia advises Xander to practice running like a man. Well, that’s reductive.

As Buffy unsubtly watches Gage in a student lounge, Willow interrogates Jonathan. She knows he tried out for the swim team but didn’t make it. He seems okay with that, since he has asthma and just couldn’t keep up. He admits to being upset that the swimmers bullied him, but when Willow suggests that he used dark magic to conjure up a sea monster, he’s confused. He just peed in the pool.

Snyder and Marin discuss the swimmers’ deaths, and how they need to keep quiet so the other swimmers won’t be too upset to compete. Really, this is Snyder’s insistence; Marin is more concerned with finding a replacement for Cameron and Dodd so they can even be eligible to compete. They’re having tryouts that afternoon. Snyder notes that they don’t need someone to actually swim, just to wear a bathing suit. Xander overhears and gets an idea.

That night, Buffy continues watching Gage at the Bronze, and he continues being completely aware that she’s watching him. He finally confronts her, and she says she’s a swim-team groupie. He doesn’t buy it, so she tells him the truth: Something’s killing people and he might be next. Gage has heard from Cameron that Buffy likes to play games with guys, and he doesn’t want her anywhere near him. Okay, then you get to be fish food next.

As Gage is leaving, Angelus overhears him complaining about Buffy. He feeds Gage’s annoyance, agreeing when Gage says Buffy acts like she’s so special: “Who is she, the Chosen One?” Angelus says she needs to be knocked down from her high horse. Then he vamps out and says he’s looking for recruits. Buffy hears Gage yelling for help and rushes to his rescue, but he doesn’t need it – Angelus is spitting out his blood. Buffy pulls out a hair accessory to use as a stake (nice), but Angelus just throws Gage at her and runs off. Gage is like, “Now I have to deal with a vampire AND whatever’s killing swimmers?” He asks Buffy to walk him home.

The next day, Buffy, Willow, and Cordelia attend swim practice. Gage is suddenly very into Buffy. The girls discuss Angelus’ behavior, wondering if he spit out Gage’s blood because there was something in it he didn’t like. Maybe Gage is using steroids. If the whole team is using, that would explain their recent jerkiness and their winning streak. It could also be attracting the fish monster to them.

A new swimmer enters, and Cordelia checks him out from the feet up before realizing he’s Xander. He tells the girls he’s undercover. “Not under much,” Buffy quips, since he’s wearing a Speedo. Xander reveals that he tried out and made the team. Now he can keep an eye on Gage when Buffy can’t. “When you’re nude? I meant to say changing,” Willow says. Cordelia’s proud to be dating someone on the swim team. She’s not so proud when Xander jumps in the water just as Willow reveals that Jonathan peed in the pool.

After practice, the guys hang out in the steam room. The fish monster is on its way. Xander passes off Gage-sitting duty to Buffy, which is a mistake because now no one’s in the locker room with Gage. When the fish monster arrives and Gage yells, Buffy runs in to save him. But it turns out there’s not much she can do because Gage is turning into a fish monster himself. That explains why the swimmers’ skin is the only thing left of them – they shed it when they become monsters.

Buffy fights both fish monsters until Marin comes to her aid. The monsters slip away through a grate in the floor. Marin takes Buffy to Nurse Greenleigh so she can fix up a bite from one of the monsters. Giles is like, “The good news is that no one’s dead!” Of course, the bad news is that they’re monsters. Marin’s disappointed that they weren’t improving because of his coaching. He admits that he never asked if the guys were taking anything to enhance their performance.

Willow gets access to the school’s medical records and sees that the guys who’ve turned into monsters were treated for symptoms that indicate steroid abuse. Buffy thinks Nurse Greenleigh knew, since she treated all of them. Willow doesn’t get why athletes would take something that could harm them. Buffy notes that they were benefiting and being praised. Of course they would keep taking the risk.

The two of them and Xander decide to hold off on confronting Nurse Greenleigh until the next day. Buffy sends Xander to find out what the guys have been using. She herself is off to go fishing with Giles and a tranquilizer gun. This requires a field trip into the sewer. Well, they can’t all be trips to the zoo. Wait, the last trip to the zoo went horribly. Maybe the Scoobies should stop going on field trips.

Xander goes back to the steam room, trying to get his teammates to open up about steroids. A guy named Sean says they’re in the steam. At the pool, Nurse Greenleigh urges Marin to stop what he’s been doing. He thinks they just need to adjust the mix of drugs they’ve been using. He wants the best. Nurse Greenleigh warns that he’ll just get more monsters. Marin responds by throwing her into the sewer so his three fish monsters can eat her for dinner.

The Scoobies reconvene in the library, where Xander panics about the steroids he unknowingly absorbed. Buffy doesn’t think he should be too worried, since he was only exposed once. Or was it twice? “Three times a fish guy,” Xander admits. Cordelia says he should stop worrying about himself – she’s the one who could be dating the Creature from the Blue Lagoon. Xander corrects that she means Black Lagoon – “the Creature from the Blue Lagoon was Brooke Shields.”

Buffy suggests that they round up and lock up the rest of the swimmers. Willow offers to interrogate Nurse Greenleigh in hopes of getting an antidote, and Buffy heads off to talk to Marin. He tells her about experiments the Soviets did on their swimmers using fish DNA. He tried to perfect the experiment so he could improve his team. He seems to think they can still win the state championships. Buffy’s like, “You’re insane and your fish swimmers aren’t going to the finals.” He pulls out a gun and forces her to jump into the sewer. He wants her to fulfill his boys’ needs – and he doesn’t mean the need to feed.

Xander and Cordelia go to the pool, looking for swimmers, but no one’s there. Xander’s freaking out about possibly growing scales and runs to the bathroom to look in a mirror. A few moments later, a fish monster jumps in the pool. Cordelia thinks it’s Xander. She blames herself for his transformation, thinking he joined the team to impress her. She promises that she still cares about him and wants to stay with him, unless he wants to date other fish. She’ll do whatever she can to give him a good life, including providing bath toys. She’s shocked when Xander, still human, rejoins her.

Giles locks the simmers in a book cage, having found all but one, Sean. Xander and Cordelia arrive and she says they found Sean “in the pool, skinless-dipping.” Heh. The only person who’s unaccounted for is Buffy. She’s looking for a way out of the sewer, hoping she doesn’t get a reputation for hooking up with the whole swim team.

Xander finds Marin and asks where Buffy is. Marin just glances down at the gun by his hand. Buffy fights off the fish monsters as Xander knocks out Marin. They’re right over the entrance to the sewer, and Buffy’s able to grab Xander’s hand and get pulled up before the fish monsters can have their way with her. Marin tries to attack, but Buffy knocks him over and he starts to fall into the sewer. Buffy is unable to hold onto his leg, and though she tries to pull him out after he falls through, the fish monsters make him their dessert.

The next day, Xander tells the Scoobies he’s meeting the other swimmers that afternoon for the plasma treatments that are supposed to un-fish their DNA. Cordelia says he’s proven himself to her, and he doesn’t have to stay on the swim team. She’d be just as happy if he played football. Giles tells them the fish monsters have taken off, and Buffy says they probably won’t come back. She guesses correctly that they’re in their new home, the ocean.

Thoughts: Gage is played by Wentworth Miller in his very first onscreen role. Nurse Greenleigh is played by the late Conchata Ferrell. Sean is played by Shane West, who’s soon to feature in my ER recaps.

Someone should start a class called Self-Defense the Buffy Summers Way.

Xander in a red Speedo just isn’t the same as Mulder in a red Speedo.

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?

January 29, 2022

Buffy 2.12, Bad Eggs: Suddenly a Vegan Diet Doesn’t Seem Like Such a Bad Idea

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

A watched egg never emotes

Summary: Buffy and Joyce are at the mall, arguing over an outfit Buffy wants to buy that Joyce thinks makes her look like a streetwalker. Buffy complains that Joyce will say she’s too young to wear it until she’s too old to wear it. Joyce says that’s the idea. They split up to do some errands, and Buffy spots a guy in a cowboy hat flirting with a woman. Totally normal (except for maybe the cowboy hat), right? Wrong – the guy doesn’t have a reflection.

Buffy follows the couple to an empty arcade (I want a mall with an arcade!), where the guy is about to bite the woman. Buffy pretends she’s the guy’s girlfriend, which is enough to get the woman to scram. She sees the guy’s face, which is now vamped out, and runs off. With a “giddyup,” the guy (Lyle) welcomes a fight with the Slayer. They only spar for a little while before he takes off, promising they’ll meet again.

Joyce is waiting for Buffy in the food court, and she’s not happy that Buffy forgot to do her errand. She guesses that Buffy got distracted by a boy. “Technically,” Buffy replies. Joyce wishes her daughter could be a little more responsible. Does she think about anything other than boys and clothes? “Saving the world from vampires,” Buffy replies. Of course, Joyce thinks she’s joking.

The next day, Xander and Cordelia make out in a utility closet at school, so that’s still going on. She’s worried they’ll miss class. Xander would prefer it if she didn’t talk. Cordelia would prefer it if they kept the light off. He thinks that means she can’t look at him while they’re kissing. She clarifies that it’s more like she doesn’t want to. They bicker about how messed up this whole thing is, then go back to kissing.

Fittingly, the class they have next is about sex. The health teacher, Mr. Whitmore, asks how many of them have lost hours to thoughts of sex. Xander raises his hand, and Mr. Whitmore tells him he was asking rhetorically, not taking a poll. Teens are especially horny, so they often forget about the negative consequences of having sex. Cordelia asks if Mr. Whitmore means sex in a car or elsewhere. A friend was having sex in a Miata and accidentally kicked the gearshift. Cordelia and Xander make semi-veiled complains about each other, pretending they’re speaking generally and hypothetically.

Willow brings the discussion back on track by naming unwanted pregnancy as a negative consequence of sex. This is what Mr. Whitmore was trying to get at. He’s already told the kids that they’re going to be parenting eggs, and it’s time to pick partners and get their “children.” Willow automatically tries to pair up with Xander, but he wants to work with Cordelia. She quickly picks someone else, so Xander goes for another girl.

Buffy skipped class, so Willow brings her an egg in the library. Xander reminds her of the assignment – they have to protect their eggs and teach them Christian values. Willow’s egg is Jewish, so Xander suggests that she teach it “that dreidel song.” Buffy frets about having to take care of something, which isn’t her forte. She killed her Giga Pet. Willow thinks she’ll do fine.

Xander’s only concern is when they tell the “children” they’re adopted. Buffy says she’ll let her partner handle that. She asks who she was paired with, and Willow breaks the news that there were an uneven number of students, so Buffy’s a single mother. Buffy worries that she’s doomed to end up like her mother. Xander tells her the whole thing is pointless, so she shouldn’t worry about it.

Giles has been researching through this whole conversation, and he almost puts his book down on top of Buffy’s egg. He’s found info on Lyle Gorch and his brother, Tector. They’re from Texas and became famous after they killed a bunch of people before they even became vampires. Giles doesn’t think they’re in Sunnydale for anything major; they probably were just drawn by the Hellmouth. He suddenly notices that the three kids are holding eggs. Willow suggests that Buffy enlist Angel to help her hunt the Gorch brothers. Xander doesn’t think they’ll be able to pay attention to the job at hand.

He’s right, and Buffy and Angel spend their patrolling time making out. The Gorch brothers watch from a distance, annoyed that the infamous Angelus is kissing the Slayer. Lyle says they should wait until she’s alone to go after her. It’s not because he’s afraid of Angel. He just has a plan. Apparently he’s the smart one. But Tector’s at least smart enough to ask why they shouldn’t kill both Angel and Buffy right now.

Back at home, Buffy gets her egg ready for bed (sort of), which means she’s taking the assignment more seriously than expected. She’s also named her child Eggbert, which is awesome. A little after 2:00 in the morning, the egg cracks open and a long, thin arm with long, thin fingers comes out. It attaches itself to Buffy’s face.

The Gorches are hanging out in a sewer tunnel, trying to stay hidden until they get rid of Buffy. Tector’s still annoyed that Angel is seeing Buffy. Lyle thinks his brother should be more grateful, since Lyle has practically raised him on his own. They need to play it safe and just follow Buffy around for a while. Tector thinks Lyle is afraid of Buffy. Lyle threatens to beat him “like a redheaded stepchild” and throw him out in the sun. The brothers start punching each other. I get the feeling they do this a lot.

The egg arm is gone by the time Buffy wakes up, and Eggbert looks normal. Joyce questions whether he’s secure in the basket Buffy’s set him up in. She rejects Joyce’s “backseat momming” and says she didn’t sleep well. Joyce teases that her egg must have kept her up all night. Buffy acknowledges that parenting is a hard job.

Health class was canceled for the day, since Mr. Whitmore’s out and no one bothered to call a substitute, so the Scoobies go to the library to hang out. Willow’s as low on energy as Buffy is, but Xander seems like his normal self. Giles asks Buffy how patrolling went the night before. “No go,” she replies, then has to clarify that she and Angel didn’t see anything. Xander teases her for using so few words: “You. Angel. Big. Smoochies?” Buffy replies, “Shut. Up.”

Giles asks the girls if they’re okay, and Willow says they might have eaten something weird. Xander thinks they’re struggling with the burden of parenting. He’s gone for a “more balanced approach.” He starts tossing his egg in the air, making Willow anxious. He tells her she can’t stress about everything; her child will pick up on that energy. Xander fumbles the egg, but it doesn’t break. He admits that he hard-boiled it.

Giles, who’s putting away books, doesn’t notice in egg on one of the bookshelves. Xander tries to argue that he didn’t cheat – he just took a shortcut. “I suppose there is a sort of Machiavellian ingenuity to your transgression,” Giles admits. “I resent that!” Xander exclaims. “Or possibly thank you.”

Cordelia arrives and announces that Mr. Whitmore is missing and presumed dead. Well, presumed by her. She suggests that Xander come with her to look for him. They can check some closets, hint hint. Willow thinks they’re getting weirder. Buffy asks if she should feel guilty for not looking for Mr. Whitmore. Giles advises her to save her energy for the Gorches. Buffy thinks she’ll feel better that night, and she can go patrolling again. Willow notes that Angel will be there, and Buffy says he does what he can.

Cut to Buffy and Angel making out again. He tells her she can head out, and he’ll keep an eye out for the Gorches. She tells him about the egg assignment, which she thinks is dumb because she doesn’t plan on having kids anytime soon. She might someday, but definitely not now, with all she already has going on. Angel admits that he’s not able to have kids.

Buffy takes it well, and he asks if that means she doesn’t think about the future. She says she doesn’t. Angel is surprised that she doesn’t wonder about what things could be like in five or ten years. She tells him that when she looks into the future, she only sees him. She only wants him. Angel feels the same. They make out some more up against a headstone that says, “In loving memory.”

A security guard at Sunnydale High hears some noises in the basement and goes to see what’s going on. He finds the opening to a tunnel, but before he can check it out, Mr. Whitmore comes up behind him with a pickaxe and shoves him inside. Meanwhile, Buffy gets home from patrolling and sees Eggbert cracking open like the night before. A big bug-like creature bursts out and skitters under the bed.

Buffy picks up an iron as a weapon, but she loses track of the creature. It drops onto her from the ceiling, then skitters away again. She grabs a pair of scissors and is able to stab it when it crawls up the wall. She immediately calls Willow to make sure her egg hasn’t attacked her, too. She tells Willow to smash it immediately. Willow tells her that her egg is fine, and maybe the Gorches planted something in Eggbert to mess with Buffy. When Willow hangs up, we see that her egg has also hatched.

Joyce has heard Buffy on the phone, and she comes to see what’s going on. She’s not happy to see that Buffy’s fully dressed at 2:45 a.m. Buffy lies that she was just checking on Willow, who was sick earlier. Then she says she had a bad dream. Joyce tells her she’s about to have one. She doles out punishment the next day, telling Buffy she’s grounded until further notice. She’s to study in the library after school until Joyce picks her up.

On her way into school, Buffy runs into Cordelia, who’s wearing a backpack shaped like a stuffed bear. Cordelia thinks she started a nationwide trend by wearing it. Buffy just wants to know if her egg is acting weird. “It’s an egg, Buffy, it doesn’t emote,” Cordelia replies. So that’s a no. Elsewhere on campus, Xander’s hungry – hungry enough to sacrifice his grade in health class by eating his child.

Willow asks Buffy about the weird egg stuff, and Buffy says she’s probably right about the Gorches, since no one else has reported their eggs hatching. She’s brought the dead creature to school so Giles can see it. Willow’s creature is currently attached to her lower back, and Xander’s about to eat his. Fortunately, he notices that his egg isn’t really an egg before he takes a bite.

The Scoobies take the egg to a science lab so they can autopsy it. (Since it’s not a human, I guess it’s a necropsy, but is that just for animals, or does it include unidentified creatures that hatch from eggs? Giles, help me out here.) Willow reports that Giles can’t make it yet, so they should start without him. Xander thinks Buffy should do the dissection, since she’s the Slayer. Buffy notes that she already did her job, which was the slaying, so this is someone else’s responsibility.

As Willow gets started, Cordelia’s egg hatches inside her bear. The long arms shoot out of the bear’s eyes. The Scoobies guess that Mr. Whitmore went missing because he was the victim of an egg. Willow says he might be okay – “maybe the offspring used him to return to the mother bezoar.” As Buffy and Xander are asking what that means, Cordelia and Willow grab a couple of heavy things and knock them out.

Some students stash Buffy and Xander in a closet, then robotically grab pickaxes and head to the basement. They go through the tunnel the security guard found. Joyce goes to the library to get Buffy, whom Giles says he hasn’t seen. Joyce is upset about how irresponsible and disobedient her daughter is. She complains that children are such a…she doesn’t want to say “burden,” but really, she does want to say “burden.”

She spots a couple of books about demons, and Giles tells her they’re a hobby of his, and definitely have nothing to do with Buffy. He tries to assure her that there’s nothing to worry about, even though Buffy’s technically missing. When he hears a sound outside and Joyce turns to see what’s going on, he pulls an egg creature out of his drawer and puts it on Joyce’s back.

The two of them robotically join the others as Buffy and Xander wake up in the closet. He comments that his last visit to the closet was a lot nicer. Then he pretends he’s talking crazy because of a head injury. They guess that Willow and Cordelia are acting weird because of the hatched eggs. Xander wonders why they put the two of them in the closet instead of killing them.

They notice two eggs on the floor that are starting to hatch. Buffy smashes them and they leave the closet and head to the library. Of course, Giles has already left, so Buffy and Xander will have to piece things together on their own. That means researching the bezoar Willow mentioned. Fortunately, Giles did the work before he got egged, so they just have to read about what they’re dealing with.

Giles and Joyce are part of the next group in the tunnel. They’re given tools, and they join a bunch of other robots who are breaking the concrete floor open to pull out eggs. There’s something huge and gross down there, too. Buffy reads about it in the book: It’s a parasite that lays eggs that attach themselves to hosts and control them through neural clamping. Basically, the bezoar has built an army to harvest eggs for some big plan.

Buffy and Xander hear Jonathan yelling for help in the hallway. He’s the latest victim of a baby bezoar. By the time they get to him, he’s gone full robot and says he’s fine. They decide to follow him to the bezoar. Once they get a look at what they’re dealing with, Buffy tells Xander to stick around while she goes to find a big weapon to use against the bezoar.

Xander plays bezoar minion while Buffy leaves the tunnel…and runs into the Gorches. She tells them this isn’t a good time for a fight, but, uh, they don’t care. She winds up tackling Lyle into the tunnel, where she realizes Joyce is one of the bezoar’s slaves. Lyle, however, is completely clueless about what’s going on. Willow tells some others to kill the intruders, so now Buffy has to fight a vampire AND a bunch of minions. Lyle helps her take care of a few minions, then remembers he’s there to fight the Slayer.

Xander finds Cordelia, and when she immediately tries to take a swing at him, he tells her he doesn’t want to hurt her, at least sometimes. She hits him and he complains that she struck the bump on his head. Then he knocks her out. Tector comes into the tunnel and gets a look at the bezoar. He gets too close, though, and she drags him down into her pit. Well, that’s one less Gorch brother Buffy has to deal with.

Lyle shoves Buffy to the ground, where Joyce almost hits her with a pickaxe. The bezoar grabs Buffy and drags her into its pit. There are some fighting sounds, and then the baby bezoars drop off their hosts and the humans all pass out. Lyle is the only one left standing, at least until Buffy climbs out of the pit, having killed the bezoar with a pickaxe. Lyle realizes it would be a mistake to stick around right now, so he runs off.

Once the humans have recovered, Giles uses the old gas leak excuse to explain why everyone passed out. Xander promises to tell him the truth tomorrow. Willow feels bad for hitting Xander, while Cordelia feels…maybe not that bad. Xander tells Buffy that Joyce is fine, just confused. Buffy tells her mother she was in the gym, so she wasn’t affected by the gas leak. She insists that she was on her way to the library. Joyce doesn’t care, and Buffy is double-grounded. She can’t even leave her room unless she’s going to school. Good thing Angel can still come by and they can make out at her window.

Thoughts: Interestingly, the discussion about sex kind of foreshadows the next episode.

I like how Lyle and Tector are red herrings who have nothing to do with the main plot. It’s funny when the villains have no idea what’s going on.

I can see backpacks shaped like stuffed bears being popular, but not with high schoolers and definitely not with Cordelia. I feel like her dad bought it because he didn’t know what to get her, and he lied that they’re popular in Europe, so she feels like she’s an American trendsetter when she isn’t.

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