December 31, 2022

Buffy 4.16, Who Are You: Things Are No Longer Five by Five

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

Of course she went straight for the leather pants

Summary: The police have arrived at the Summerses’ house to handle Faith. A detective tells Joyce that after Faith is checked out by doctors, she’ll go to jail until her trial. Joyce just wants Faith to get help. The detective says their top priority is making sure she can’t hurt anyone else. As a semi-conscious Faith is wheeled off on a gurney, she sees Buffy taking Joyce’s hand. The detective appreciates the Summerses’ help in apprehending “the kid.” Buffy firmly says that she’s not a kid. She’s strong and shouldn’t be underestimated.

Inside the house, Buffy spins around, worried, when Joyce says Faith’s name. She just wants to know what makes her the way she is. Buffy says she’s crazy. Joyce doesn’t know what could drive a person to act the way Faith does. Buffy suggests that she’s always been that way. Joyce thinks that Faith is “horribly unhappy.” Buffy says the time in jail could rehabilitate her. Or maybe she’ll get abused. Buffy tells Joyce that the thought of Faith hurting her fills her with rage. Joyce hugs her and Buffy makes a face.

Joyce says she’s missed her daughter, and Buffy replies triumphantly that she knew it was because she hasn’t visited. Joyce understands that her life is busy now, but she’d like to spend time together. Buffy says they will. She goes upstairs to take a bath and examine her body. It’s become clear that this isn’t really Buffy – whatever device Faith had on her hand earlier caused them to swap bodies. This is Faith in Buffy’s body, or FIB.

After the bath, FIB makes faces at herself in the mirror and practices talking like Buffy. Mostly it’s telling people they can’t do things because they’re wrong. At the hospital, Buffy in Faith’s body – BIF – tries to fight off the medical staff keeping her there. She yells that she has to go home and protect her mother. They sedate her and think she’s talking crazy when she says that someone’s taken her body.

In Tara’s room, Willow wonders where Faith is. She wishes Faith would make a move already. She’s pretty sure Buffy can handle her, but that doesn’t mean Faith won’t hurt someone. Tara thinks Willow’s safe with her, since her friends don’t even know that Tara exists. Not that that’s a problem for Tara or anything! Willow promises that she’s not trying to hide Tara from her friends. She just likes having something that’s hers alone, not the Scoobies’. As Willow goes to check in with Giles, Tara tells her, “I am, you know.” Willow asks what she means. “Yours,” Tara replies.

FIB puts on some of Buffy’s clothes (gotta make the cleavage pop) and nabs her passport. She uses Joyce’s credit card to buy a plane ticket for the next morning and steals some of her cash. Joyce tells her that Giles called and wants her to meet up with the Scoobies. FIB decides she has time to kill and might as well show up. She takes one of Joyce’s lipsticks, which Joyce recognizes as Harlot, the same one Faith liked. In that case, FIB says she should burn it.

BIF wakes up from the sedative in the back of a police car. Moments later, the car crashes into an armored truck. The three guys from the helicopter pull her out of the car and tell her that she’s being taken into custody by the Watchers’ Council. BIF is too out of it from the sedative to fight them off.

FIB arrives at Giles’ and reports that she took care of Faith. She thinks it’s poetic justice that…well, Faith committed crimes and is going to be punished for them. Maybe that’s just regular justice. Giles tells her that Faith isn’t in police custody anymore – the Watchers’ Council had her captured by a special unit that handles tougher cases. She’ll be taken to England and won’t be their problem anymore. FIB is delighted.

Willow hopes they “throw the book” at Faith. Giles isn’t sure there’s a book that covers what she’s done. “They could throw other things,” Willow says. FIB is uncomfortable with Willow’s level of hatred for her and imagines herself stabbing Willow. Anya asks why Giles called them all over, since he could have just told them over the phone that everything’s fine. Willow notices that FIB has a weird look on her face and asks what’s up with her. “I’d never let her hurt you,” FIB promises.

Xander’s ready for the Scooby gathering to break up, since he and Anya had a romantic evening planned. Anya clarifies that they were going to light candles and have sex near them. “Well, we certainly don’t want to cut into that seven minutes,” FIB quips. She excuses her sarcasm by saying they’re out of danger and can lighten up. Giles mentions Adam, who of course FIB knows nothing about. They don’t have any new information on him, so there’s nothing to do on that front. FIB promises to patrol so the Scoobies can have the night off.

Instead, she goes to the Bronze and lives it up. She bumps into Spike, another person she’s unfamiliar with. He swears he’s only there to drink beer, not blood. He’s “as helpless as a kitten up a tree,” so she can leave him alone. But when she starts to walk away, he complains that she’s throwing it in his face that he can’t hurt people anymore.

FIB realizes who she’s talking to and is thrilled that Spike can’t hurt anyone. He asks if she knows why he really hates her. “‘Cause I’m a stuck-up tight-a%$ with no sense of fun?” she replies. “Well, yeah, that covers a lot of it,” he says. She adds that she can do anything she wants, but instead she chooses to “pout and whine and feel the burden of Slayerness.” She could be rich or famous and have anything or anyone, including him.

She cozies up to him and talks about how impressed he would be if she took him to bed. But she won’t do that, because it’s wrong. Spike warns that when he gets the chip removed, they’re going to “have a confrontation.” FIB replies that she’s counting on it. And then Spike probably has to go take a cold shower, because dang, that was hot.

Adam finds some vampires underground and asks what they’re afraid of. Their leader, Boone, tells a minion to kill Adam, who easily holds him off. He knows that vampires fear crosses, fire, the sun, and decapitation, which he demonstrates by pulling off the minion’s head. Boone quickly offers to let Adam take over their lair. Adam thinks that vampires fear death more than mortals do, even though it’s harder for them to die. They’re paradoxes – as demons in human bodies, they “walk in both worlds and belong to neither.” Adam can relate. He thinks he and the vampires have a lot to talk about.

BIF wakes up again and tries to convince the Council guys that she’s Buffy, and that Faith switched their bodies. Of course, they don’t believe her. She tells them to call Giles, but they remind her that Giles doesn’t work for the Council anymore. Actually, neither does Buffy. BIF is just a package they’re supposed to deliver. One of the guys is very loyal to the Council, and he thinks BIF is trash who “perverted it.” He spits on her and says they should have killed her in her sleep.

Willow takes Tara to the Bronze, where they find FIB cheering on a guy who’s chugging a beer. Willow decides to introduce Tara to her, but since this is Faith, she’s not very warm toward Willow’s friend. When Willow leaves them alone to get drinks, FIB reveals that she’s already guessed that they’re actually more than friends: “So Willow’s not driving stick anymore.” She didn’t expect that. “I guess you never really know someone until you’ve been inside their skin,” she says.

She clarifies that Oz is out of the picture, which surprises her, since he and Willow were so in love. Tara gets uncomfortable about that, which brings out a stutter. FIB taunts her for it, so Tara falls silent. Willow comes back and tells FIB that a guy across the room seems to be a vampire. FIB takes a few moments to realize that that means she needs to go do some slaying.

She goes outside with a pool cue and gets the vampire away from the girl he’s about to feed on. Once he’s dusted, she offers the girl some words of…whatever the opposite of comfort is: “You’ll live.” The girl is really grateful, something FIB isn’t used it. FIB goes back inside and tells Willow that she took care of things. Willow’s on her way out with Tara and asks if FIB will be home later or if she’s going to Riley’s. Suddenly FIB has a new plan for the night.

BIF’s causing trouble for the Council guys, so one of them grabs another sedative. When he gets close enough to inject her, she takes him hostage and forces the other guys to unchain her. The only problem is that these guys are fully willing to die on the job, so they’re not too eager to release someone they think is a psychotic killer in order to save a guy who went into this knowing he might not get back home. They’d rather focus on coming up with a new plan for getting BIF to the Council.

FIB shows up at Riley’s room in full-on seductive mode as Willow and Tara return to Tara’s room. Tara tells Willow that Buffy isn’t her friend. Somehow Tara, who’s never even met Buffy before, has figured out that she isn’t really Buffy. Her energy is “fragmented” and seems forced into a place where it doesn’t belong. Also, she was mean.

Willow wonders if Buffy’s been possessed. She hopes there aren’t any hyenas involved. Tara asks to use something of Buffy’s to figure things out. They can do a ritual to find Buffy in “the nether realm,” which is “beyond the physical world.” To access it, they’d have to do something similar to astral projection. Tara would serve as Willow’s anchor. Willow promises that she trusts Tara.

FIB tells Riley that Faith has been taken care of, so there’s nothing to worry about. Riley admits that he kind of wanted to meet Faith, but now he can’t think of anything but Buffy. FIB says he wouldn’t have liked Faith: “She’s not proper and joyless like a girl should be. She has a tendency to give in to her animal instincts.” Riley’s a little uncomfortable with his supposed girlfriend’s sudden assertiveness, but he just notes that his door is still open. She doesn’t care, but he doesn’t want the other commandos to get a free show.

He’s still in a little pain from his encounter with Adam, but FIB wants to take him “for a test drive.” She climbs onto his bed and asks what he wants to do with her body. Are there any desires he wants to act on? Is she a bad girl? Does he want to hurt her? Riley’s confused, since he’s not one for roleplay. He just wants regular intimacy with the woman he cares about.

Willow and Tara do their ritual, which might actually be more intimate than Riley and FIB’s romp in the sack is about to be. Let’s just say there’s touching and heavy breathing and some extended eye contact. Oh, and moaning. Back in Riley’s room, FIB gets agitated when he says he loves her. She orders him to get off of her, then asks who he is and what he wants from…well, Buffy. She tells him this is meaningless. Riley notices that she’s shaking and covers her up, trying to comfort her. It’s clearly the first time she’s been cared for like this, and she doesn’t know how to react.

Underground, Adam tells the vampires that, unlike other demons, he knows why he’s there: He was created to kill. He’s accepted that responsibility. The vampires have lived in fear because they don’t have that gift. It’s time for them to face their fear. Adam wants Boone to be his “first” and let “them” know he’s coming. He asks what Boone fears more than anything else.

FIB spent the night with Riley, but in the morning, she gets dressed to leave without waking him. Downstairs, she runs into Forrest, who chastises her for not letting Riley recover. He reminds her that they have a mission. FIB laughs at that, since she’s been fighting demons a lot longer than the commandos have. “Yeah, you’re a killer,” Forrest replies sarcastically. She takes offense to that, correcting that she’s the Slayer, and he doesn’t know anything about her. Forrest asks if she really cares what he thinks. FIB claims she doesn’t care at all.

The Council guys have heard that they won’t be able to get secure transport to England, now that BIF is so volatile, and they’ve been authorized to kill her. The guy she took hostage notes that she could have killed him but didn’t. BIF is ready and waiting when they come for her with a gun, and she knocks out one of the guys and grabs the weapon. She manages to get from the back of the armored truck to the front and drive off without them stopping her.

As FIB checks in for her flight at the airport, BIF shows up at Giles’. She tells him she’s Buffy, but since he obviously doesn’t believe her, he asks to tie her up until they find out the truth. She tells him she doesn’t have time “for bondage fun” while FIB is running around in her body. She suggests that he ask her something that will prove who she is. He asks who the president is, which she notes is a question better suited to someone who might have a concussion.

BIF thinks Giles should be able to tell who she is the way she knew who he was when he turned into a demon. He asks for details about that, which she gives. She also mentions Olivia and how he’s been unemployed since they blew up the school, “which is valid, lifestyle-wise.” Also, when she was psychic, she heard Joyce think that he was “like a stevedore during sex“. Giles has heard enough. “What’s a stevedore?” BIF wonders.

Giles is sold now, but BIF wants to hold off on explaining things until they’ve found FIB. Willow and Tara burst in just then, and BIF starts to tell them that she’s really Buffy. They already know, and they’ve even guessed the spell that was probably used. They’ve conjured a katra that will switch FIB and BIF back. Just then, Giles gets a call from Xander alerting him to a news report. Three men whose descriptions make them sound a lot like vampires have taken hostages at a church. FIB sees the same report at the airport.

The hostage-takers are Boone and two other minions, who are facing their fear of churches. Boone would like to know where God is. The vampires will just start killing people and see if He shows up. Outside, Riley pulls rank on the police, telling a cop that they’re not prepared to handle the hostage-takers. FIB arrives ready to go in and save the day. Riley advises her to wait for commandos to serve as backup. She asks how he responded so fast. He didn’t – he was just late for church.

FIB won’t wait for backup, and she won’t let Riley talk her out of going in alone: “I’m Buffy. I have to do this.” He wants to go with her, but he’s not fully recovered, so she tells him to stay outside and help any civilians who get out. She heads into the sanctuary, telling Boone that she’s just there to pray. She refuses to let the vampires kill their hostages, “because it’s wrong.” Boone realizes that he’s dealing with the Slayer. “The one and only,” FIB replies.

The Scoobies arrive (in the armored truck, because why not?) and Giles distracts a cop so BIF can slip away and get into the church. He rants that their mothers are inside, “and tiny, tiny babies!” Boone tells FIB that they’re not afraid of her, so she suggests that they let the hostages go and face her alone. She starts fighting the vampires, and the parishioners wisely head for the doors.

FIB stakes one vampire, and another heads outside, running into Riley, who tosses him into the sunlight and kills him. BIF has just found him, and she happily hugs her boyfriend, who thinks she’s just a grateful civilian. She asks how many vampires are inside. Confused, he asks who she is. Back inside, Boone smacks FIB around, saying that Adam has shown him the way. He suddenly turns to dust, thanks to a stake in the back courtesy of BIF.

The two Slayers fight each other, and during a brief pause, BIF says that FIB can’t win this. FIB yells that she’s not afraid of BIF. She gets BIF on the ground and pummels her, ranting that she’s nothing, just a “disgusting, murderous b%$@#.” BIF manages to grab FIB’s hand and activate the katra, returning them to their bodies. Buffy’s so shaken that she can’t chase after Faith, who gets away.

Later, in Riley’s room, Buffy tells Riley that there’s no trace of Faith. He thinks he should have been able to pick up on the fact that something was off. Buffy slowly realizes that he slept with Faith. Riley doesn’t see it that way, since he thought she was Buffy, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less. They agree that Faith probably won’t be coming back – she’s had her fun. Faith definitely isn’t having fun now, though. She’s fleeing town in the back of a truck, thinking about all the damage she’s caused and the life she’s been leading up until now. What has it all been for?

Thoughts: It’s not surprising at all but Sarah Michelle Gellar and Eliza Dushku both do an excellent job of imitating each other’s characters, mostly in subtle ways. Gellar even throws in Dushku’s slight Boston accent.

Joyce’s credit card expires in May of 2001, for those of you collecting foreshadowing for “The Gift.”

Not only is FIB’s comment about Xander’s, uh, fast timing funny, but remember that Faith slept with him. It might be the truth.

Here’s the Spike/FIB scene, which I highly recommend watching.

I like that Tara caught on to Faith first, partly because she was mean. No doubt Willow has told her enough about Buffy for her to know that Buffy isn’t like that. Plus, I assume Tara knows that Willow wouldn’t be friends with a mean person.

December 24, 2022

Buffy 4.15, This Year’s Girl: Don’t You Forget About Me

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , at 1:02 pm by Jenn

It’s so weird seeing Faith in clothes like these

Summary: Buffy is making the bed in her old bedroom…with help from Faith. It’s obviously a dream, but whose? Buffy wishes she could stay, but Faith understands why she can’t: “Little sis coming. I know. So much to do before she gets here.” Blood starts dripping on the bed, and she asks Buffy, “Are you ever going to take this thing out?” Buffy’s gripping the knife she used to stab Faith, and she plunges it in further. In the hospital where she’s been comatose since graduation, Faith sleeps through what sounds like thunder and lightning.

The Scoobies are still using Xander’s basement as a hideout, this time to examine one of the Initiatives’ blasters. It’s broken, and Xander isn’t sure how to fix it. Willow suggests just pressing buttons to see what happens. No one seconds that, since something called a blaster probably isn’t a weapon you want to play around with. Xander says he’ll work on it anyway.

Buffy’s impatient and restless, knowing that Adam is out there possibly killing people. Giles suggests that she take a break and get some rest, but she’d rather have a working blaster. It’s the only thing she knows of that will give her a fighting chance against Adam. Willow asks if she’s gotten any updates on Riley. He’s still at an Initiative medical facility, and Buffy has no idea what they’re doing to him. As Xander’s experimentation with the blaster gets him shocked, Willow and Giles try to reassure Buffy that the Initiative won’t hurt Riley. Buffy worries that they’ll brainwash him.

Riley still has Buffy’s bandanna, so he hasn’t been completely turned against her, or at least not yet. He’s better physically, and he wants to go see her. Forrest tries to make him stay put, asking why he thinks leaving is a good idea. Riley says he doesn’t have to explain, since he outranks Forrest. Forrest tells him this is the time for them all to band together. Graham agrees. (Hi, Graham! Why are you here? I mean, like, in general – why are you on this show?) Forrest reminds Riley that when the Initiative has a problem, they deal with it. Right now, they need to keep that problem in the family. Riley scoffs at the idea that they’re a family. He orders Forrest to step aside and let him go.

The thunder and lightning are back, but they’re just in a dream Faith is having. She’s with Mayor Wilkins, having a picnic in a field. He assures her that there won’t be a storm, but she says it seems to always start raining about now. A snake slithers onto their blanket and the mayor says he doesn’t belong there and puts him on the grass. He promises Faith that nothing will spoil their time together. But suddenly Buffy’s there, and she stabs Wilkins and slashes his body. “I told you I had things to do,” she says to Faith. Faith tries to crawl away from her. In reality, her closed eyes are moving around a lot.

Buffy, Willow, and Xander go into the woods that night and find a demon strung up between some trees, opened up like it was autopsied. They return to Xander’s basement and discuss how Adam’s probably cutting demons and humans open to study their biology. Buffy vows to stop him. Xander asks if “hiding in a cabin with stockpiled chocolate goods” will be part of whatever plan she’s working on. Unfortunately, no. “Told you,” Xander says to Willow.

Buffy’s first priority is getting Riley away from the Initiative. She asks Willow to hack into the facility’s mainframe and shut down surveillance. If that doesn’t work, she should use magic. Xander is in charge of gear – equipment for force, not stealth, since that didn’t work last time. “Am I really worth all that?” Riley asks from behind Buffy. Well, that’s one plan the Scoobies can skip. He just walked out of the facility and came to see his girlfriend.

“You know, there’s no polite way to ask you this, but, uh…did they put a chip in your brain?” Xander asks. Uh, never mind. The Scoobies are happy to have Riley back, and they’re forgiving of his recent behavior. He’s up for joining in the mission to take down Adam, as difficult as it will be. Now that Riley’s back and safe, Buffy’s feeling more confident than ever that she can handle whatever Adam throws at them.

Faith is dreaming of Buffy again – she’s running through a cemetery as Buffy strides after her like a villain in a horror movie. Faith’s eyes are moving again, as if she’s on the verge of opening them. In the dream, she falls into an open grave. Buffy jumps in after her and it starts to rain. After a brief struggle, Faith climbs out of the grave and stands under the falling rain. In reality, she wakes up.

Despite being in a coma for months, Faith is able to get out of bed and walk down the hall without any help (probably thanks to her Slayer strength). She runs into a visitor who asks her for directions. Faith asks about graduation – she needs to get to Sunnydale High School right now. The visitor tells her the school isn’t there anymore. Also, it’s February. Faith demands to know what happened to the school. The visitor says it was a tragedy. A bunch of students died, as well as the principal and the mayor. Sometime later, Faith – now wearing the visitor’s clothes – walks out of the hospital.

Buffy and Riley get some alone time in her dorm room, and he tells her that having her bandanna helped him get through their separation. He appreciated knowing that she was out there and cared. He worries that they’re being watched. He doesn’t know what to do now that he’s not taking orders. He always gets the job done. Now, he’s not sure if it’s the right job. Buffy can relate, since she used to have to obey the Watchers’ Council. After she quit, she was scared, but now things are okay.

Riley isn’t used to operating in a gray area. Buffy tells him it’s a choice. He can go back in and make chances from the inside, or he can go off and fight demons in his own way. He’s not sure what his own way is, so Buffy says it’s a good time for him to find out. He wonders what’s left once you take away his identity as a soldier. “A good man,” Buffy replies. She starts kissing him, joking that she’s looking for chips in his head. She tells him he’s been strong long enough and now he’ll have her help. They’ll find Adam and kill him together. Until then, she orders him to stop torturing himself.

The hospital staff has discovered that Faith is missing. A detective chastises her doctor for not having security in the wing, since Faith is a murderer. The doctor insists that there was no possibility that Faith would wake up. An orderly comes in and tells the group that a woman was found unconscious, with her clothes gone. While the doctor and detective go with him, the nurse makes a phone call. “It’s happened,” she says. “Send the team.”

Faith goes to the school and sees for herself that it’s just ruins now. She goes downtown next, seeing a father and his daughter having fun together. She sneaks over to Giles’ place and listens at the door while the Scoobies talk about Adam. They think he’s off the grid because he’s powering up for a killing spree. Riley easily fixes the blaster, so at least the Scoobies will have that on their side.

They wonder if Walsh might have left anything helpful back at the Initiative – not that they would be able to get to it without a major attack on the facility. Riley notes that he can get in. He agrees to be an inside man; it’s the least he can do. Buffy gets a phone call just then from the hospital, letting her know that Faith has woken up and escaped. Great, now the Scoobies have two crises to handle at the same time!

Giles shifts everyone’s focus from Adam to Faith. “I’d hate to see the pursuit of a homicidal lunatic get in the way of pursuing a homicidal lunatic,” Xander quips. Buffy notes that Faith won’t keep a low profile, so she shouldn’t be hard to track. Willow suggests that when she finds Faith, she employs violence. Surprisingly, that’s not Buffy’s first instinct here.

They need to decide what to do when they capture Faith. The police wouldn’t know what to do with her, and the Council wasn’t successful at containing her last time. (To be fair, part of that was because of Wesley’s incompetence.) Giles notes that the Initiative would be able to hold her, though, of course, there’s that whole thing where they’re evil.

Buffy reluctantly accepts that Faith is her responsibility. “That was the funnest coma ever,” Willow says. Buffy notes that they don’t know where Faith is, or what she’s thinking or feeling. Or, as Xander adds, “who she’s doing.” Buffy thinks she could be scared or have no memory of what happened. Or maybe she’s sorry for everything she did. Giles says there could be a way to rehabilitate her. If not, Willow still suggests violence. Buffy won’t discount that, but first, she needs to find Faith. Riley speaks up for the first time since the phone call: “Who’s Faith?”

The next day, Buffy tells Willow that she explained to Riley that Faith is her identical cousin from England, and “wacky hijinks ensue” whenever she visits. No, not really – she told him the truth, mostly. She left out the parts about Angel, since they haven’t discussed him before and this isn’t a good time. I’m not sure there will ever be a good time for that whole story.

Buffy spent some time looking for Faith but didn’t find her. Willow guesses that the police are on the hunt, too. As they approach a campus notice board, Buffy says that if she were Faith, she’d get out of town ASAP. A woman at the board turns around – it’s Faith. “You’re not me,” she tells Buffy.

Buffy says that she’s been looking for Faith. Faith notes that she was in the same place for eight months, so Buffy must not have been looking very hard. Buffy asks if she’s okay. Faith’s five by five, as usual, and ready for revenge on the person who gutted her. Buffy thinks Faith would have done the same to her if she’d had the chance. Faith suggests that they fight again and see who wins this time.

They’re surrounded by people, so Buffy doesn’t want to fight there, but Faith doesn’t see an issue. She clearly hasn’t changed after her near-death experience. Faith notes that Buffy hasn’t changed, either – she still thinks she’s superior to Faith. She mentions the recurring dream she had about Buffy stabbing her. As Willow starts slowly moving to get behind Faith, Faith says it was because of a guy. Without turning around, she warns Willow not to try anything.

Faith continues that she woke up to discover that Buffy isn’t even with Angel anymore. She’s ditched the love of her life for the first college guy she could find and forgotten about the person she almost killed for him. She asks the “college girl” to interpret the dream for her. Buffy says it means that Faith is still talking about things she doesn’t understand.

They hear sirens in the distance and Buffy guesses that the police are coming for Faith. Faith decides this is a good time to start fighting. Willow gets in a smack with her bag, but she doesn’t do much damage. Faith warns that she’s going to pay Buffy back for taking her life. She fights off a couple of cops, then runs away. Buffy chases her but loses her.

Willow enlists Tara to help her search for Faith. It’s just recon, though. Tara’s kind of excited to be working with a “cool monster-fighter,” but she isn’t going to do anything violent, mostly because she’s not good at it. Willow says Buffy can handle Faith, and Tara will be safe with her.

That night, Xander and Giles do their own recon. Xander thinks Faith could come for him because of their “history.” They hear a noise in an alley downtown, but it’s just Spike. They tell him they’re looking for a rogue Slayer, whom Xander describes. Spike says he’ll help find her…then send her after the Scoobies and enjoy watching her kill them.

“Can’t any one of your damned little Scooby club at least try to remember that I hate you all?” he exclaims. He may not be able to hurt them himself anymore, but he can “aim a loose cannon” at them. His night is suddenly looking up! Xander notes that Spike doesn’t know what Faith looks like, having forgotten that he just described her. “We’re dumb,” Xander tells Giles. Hey, leave Giles out of it – that was all you.

The nurse who placed the phone call earlier goes out to greet a helicopter arriving in Sunnydale with three men wearing leather jackets and carrying briefcases. Faith is back downtown, checking out some knives in a store window (the same store she and Buffy once broke into). As a police car comes by, she hides in a group of college students and sneaks into an alley. There, a demon recognizes her and says a friend sent him with a remembrance. Faith kills the demon and takes his “remembrance,” a big envelope.

She evades the police again and goes to what I think is a TV studio to watch the tape she found in the envelope. It’s from the mayor, who recorded an “if you’re seeing this, it means I’m dead” video for her before the ascension. He acknowledges that they might have succeeded, and a bunch of kids are watching this message in a museum dedicated to him. (“Hi, kids.”) He doubts that, though.

Mayor Wilkins doesn’t believe the doctors’ claims that Faith might never wake up. He’s sure she will, but she’ll wake up in a changed world. He wishes he could make it better for her, but even his power to protect her has limits. Once he’s gone, Faith’s days will be numbered. The mayor knows she’s smart and capable, but there’s no place for her in the world anymore. Even if she feels alone, she isn’t. She’ll always have him. She’ll also have something inside a box that was in the envelope. It may be over for her, but she can still go out with a bang.

Buffy goes to Riley’s room to try to convince him that he’s not in good enough shape to help take down Faith. She doesn’t think he gets how dangerous Faith is. He wants to know more about what Faith did to Buffy, but she’s not ready to give him details. She’s eager to go back on the hunt. She makes it clear that this is a serious situation. Faith is basically a super-villain, and she thinks Buffy ruined her life. Faith is going to go after Buffy and her loved ones. And she’s starting right now, with Joyce.

Faith raids Joyce’s makeup, settling on a lipstick shade called Harlot. She kisses the mirror after she puts it on, then asks Joyce how she looks. “Psychotic,” Joyce replies. Faith guesses that Joyce is thinking that she’ll never get away with this. Joyce says she was actually thinking about how Buffy’s going to kill Faith. Faith has found a bunch of Buffy’s mail, which she hasn’t picked up from the house, and taunts that Buffy hasn’t come to visit her mother or called to warn her about Faith. She’s too into her new college life.

Joyce says that Faith doesn’t know anything about her or Buffy. Faith thinks she can relate to Joyce, since they both thought they were part of something, then got ditched. The rest of the world kept moving while they were stuck. Joyce is like, “Can you just kill me now so I don’t have to keep listening to you?” Faith tells her that she’s served her purpose – she raised her child, and now she might as well be dead. No one cares about or remembers her. “She was over us a long time ago, Joyce,” Faith insists. Buffy’s too busy with her new boyfriend to think about the people who matter.

Faith grabs a knife, ready to get violent, but Buffy bursts through a window right then. “Hi, Mom,” she greets Joyce casually. “Hi, honey,” Joyce replies, never having lost confidence that her daughter would come to her rescue. She calls 911 as the Slayers fight each other, ending up in the living room. Faith bets that Buffy expected her to go after Riley, who looks like he could use a trip to the bedroom with Faith. Buffy tells her she’s not his type: “He’s not big on sleaze.” Also, how “tired” of her to go after Buffy’s boyfriend again. Buffy says that everyone forgot about Faith because they wanted to.

Giles comes home to find the three guys from the helicopter in his apartment. Meanwhile, police are on their way to the Summerses’ house, so Faith tries to get in as many hits on Buffy as she can before they come in. Finally she puts on the device the mayor left her, a little contraption that fits on her hand. She grabs Buffy’s hand and something glows between them. They’re both a little stunned until Buffy punches Faith so hard she’s knocked out.

Joyce comes to check on things, and Buffy tells her that Faith’s weapon, whatever it was, didn’t work. She stomps on it and destroys it. The police pound on the door, and Buffy says Faith is their problem now. Joyce asks again if Buffy’s okay. “Five by five,” she replies. To be continued…

Thoughts: If I have to see Willow and Xander’s outfits from this episode, so do you.

Riley, re: the Council’s orders: “Ever obey them?” Buffy: “Sure. …The ones I was going to do anyway.” Heh. That’s our Buffy.

Speaking of the Council, I feel like they would have their own medical facilities to keep an eye on, say, injured potential Slayers and, in this case, killer ones.

Speaking of the Council again, wouldn’t it have been interesting if they’d been in on the Initiatives’ practices? Wouldn’t they want to monitor and experiment on demons, too?

Willow, imitating Faith: “Check me out. I’m wicked cool. I’m five by five.” Tara: “Five by five? Five what by five what?” Willow: “See, that’s the thing – no one knows.” Heh again.

October 8, 2022

Buffy 4.4, Fear, Itself: A House Divided

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 17, 2022

Buffy 4.1, The Freshman: Sunday, Bloody Sunday

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

Sunday and her minions make fun of people’s clothes but Buffy doesn’t make even ONE comment about this ridiculous hairstyle? Tragic

Summary: Buffy and Willow are in a cemetery, combining patrol with the selection of Buffy’s first-semester college courses. Willow insists that they both take a psychology course, since the professor is supposed to be great. She’s world-renowned. Buffy wonders if you can be renowned without having to be nowned first. I think you can in Europe. Willow finds her a class about pop culture, then knocks her for waiting until the last minute to set her schedule.

They chat about the transition from high school to college as the vampire they’ve been waiting for climbs out of his grave. Buffy knows she’ll have to keep her Slayer identity a secret again, which might be difficult with a roommate. But she’s excited for this new chapter in her life. As the vampire creeps up behind them, he sees Buffy’s crossbow and realizes he’s walking into certain death. Buffy tells Willow she needs to stay sharp as she completely fails to notice the vampire approaching, then leaving.

In her first minutes on the campus of UC Sunnydale, Buffy immediately feels overwhelmed. There’s all sorts of stuff going on around her, involving people she doesn’t know and places she’s unfamiliar with. She’s relieved to run into Willow, who seems very comfortable in their new surroundings. She’s happy to be in a place where she can soak up knowledge everywhere. Except she phrases it in a way that sounds a little R-rated.

Oz joins them, and since he acknowledges how crazy things are around them, Buffy thinks he’s Team This Is Overwhelming. Instead, Oz is practically an alum, since he already knows people on campus and has played at parties there before. Willow and Buffy go to the library, wishing Giles could work there. Apparently he’s a “gentleman of leisure” now, which Buffy translates as “British for ‘unemployed.'” They haven’t heard from Xander, who’s been on a road trip all summer. Buffy hopes the whole gang can reunite soon and hang out in the library. Maybe not this one, though – it’s huge and full of people who are using it for its intended purposes.

Next they go to the bookstore, where Buffy accidentally knocks some books onto a guy’s head. He’s Riley Finn, and he’s the TA in the psych course they’re taking. Buffy quickly gets awkward and struggles to get out a coherent sentence. She goes back to her new dorm room, which is bigger than any two-person dorm room has ever been in the history of colleges, and I’m including Felicity and Meghan’s room in that. She meets her roommate, Kathy, who’s friendly and bubbly, and also has a Celine Dion poster. Also, she snores. Sorry college sucks so far, Buffy.

Buffy’s first class is the pop culture course Willow found for her, but she only spends about two minutes in it. The professor busts her for asking a classmate a question while he’s talking, and he makes her stand up and address the whole class. He tells her she’s sucking energy from everyone in the room, and since she hasn’t signed up for the course yet, she has to leave.

On her way to psychology, she runs into Riley, who only remembers her as Willow’s friend. She asks if the psych professor will yell at her and kick her out. He assures her that that’s not in Professor Walsh’s lesson plan. Buffy sits with Willow, telling her that she’s not going to take the pop culture class after all, since it seemed boring. Professor Walsh starts the class, warning that the course is difficult and she expects a lot from her students. Buffy’s college experience just keeps getting more and more intimidating.

That night, Buffy gets lost on campus and runs into another freshman, Eddie. They use his map to figure out where they need to go. Buffy’s finally found someone who’s as overwhelmed as she is. Eddie tells her he always keeps a copy of Of Human Bondage by his bed as a kind of security blanket (and no, Buffy, it’s not what you think it is based on the title). She decides Mr. Pointy (Kendra’s stake) is her security blanket, though she can’t explain what it is to Eddie. They agree to help each other navigate their new lives, then split up. Seconds later, Eddie is grabbed by a group of vampires.

They steal all his stuff from his dorm room and leave a note behind on his bare mattress. The next morning, Buffy’s disappointed not to see Eddie in psych class. She goes to his room, where his RA says he left. He’s one of the handful of freshman who can’t handle the transition to college and just take off. But Buffy finds Eddie’s copy of Of Human Bondage in his dresser, a clue that he didn’t leave voluntarily.

The vampires who grabbed him have taken him to an abandoned house and are helping themselves to his stuff. Their leader, Sunday, doesn’t find anything interesting in his belongings and tells her crew that they need to kill some cooler people. Another vampire reminds her that they’re only targeting weak victims. A third vampire adds a Klimt poster to their collection; they’re keeping score between Klimts and Monets, two of the most popular posters college students hang up. Sunday has a strong hold on her crew, but she’s sick of them. She’s going to let Eddie, now a vampire, get dinner for them.

Buffy goes to Giles’ place, where she’s surprised by a few things: Giles is lounging around in a bathrobe, he hasn’t cleaned in a while, and a woman named Olivia is hanging out pantless, wearing one of Giles’ shirts. Buffy came to get her Watcher’s help, but she doesn’t want to interrupt anything. She thinks Giles is taking his sudden unemployment a little too well. He asks if he’s not allowed to have free time. “No, because you’re very, very old, and it’s gross,” she replies.

She tells him that Eddie has gone missing. She went back to the spot where she last saw him and noticed signs of a struggle. Since Eddie’s RA says students disappear a lot, Buffy thinks there could be a gang of vampires kidnapping them. They need to do research and make charts and all that stuff. Giles doesn’t know why she needs his help for that. He’s not her Watcher anymore. It’s time for her to take care of herself.

That night, Buffy tries to patrol on campus, but it’s hard when there are a lot of people around. She spots Eddie and follows him, quickly discovering that he’s a vampire now. She easily dusts him, feeling horrible for killing the first friend she made in college. Sunday’s there to see it all, and she’s pretty sure she can take on the Slayer. Buffy’s not worried, even when she sees that Sunday has minions. Sunday wants the Slayer all to herself, and she puts up a good fight. In fact, she’s so good that Buffy ends up with an injured arm and the sense that she’s not going to be able to win this one. She runs.

The next day, she avoids Oz and Willow on campus. Sunday’s crew laughs over Buffy’s clothes and how weak she is. Sunday tells her minions to go after her. Buffy goes home and discovers that Joyce has already turned her room into a storage space for the gallery. Joyce didn’t expect her to come back so soon. Buffy didn’t expect it, either. She answers the phone when it rings, but the caller doesn’t say anything. (In the first episode of the Angel spin-off, we find out it was Angel.)

Buffy goes back to her dorm and finds all of her things gone, just like what happened with Eddie. Sunday’s minions even left a similar note saying college was too much for her and she had to leave. She goes to the Bronze, where she thinks she sees Angel. She happily reunites with Xander, who decided not to call her and Willow when he got back to town because he wanted to let them enjoy their “college adventure” (and because he didn’t want to help them move).

He admits that his road trip didn’t go as planned. His car engine fell out, and he had to wash dishes at a strip club to make money for the repairs. He mostly stayed in the shadows until one night when a male stripper called in sick, and…Xander refuses to finish that story. He came home and moved back in with his parents, who now charge him rent to live in their basement.

Buffy tells him that college is great, at least for Oz and Willow. Her biggest problem right now is Sunday. Xander says they should assemble the Scoobies to go after her, but Buffy doesn’t want to disrupt Oz and Willow’s new lives. She admits that she’s worried that she can’t handle things now. Xander tells her that she’s just afraid, and she can’t let that fear control her. She’s Buffy.

She doesn’t feel like that means anything in this new atmosphere, but Xander does. Whenever it’s dark and he’s alone and scared, he thinks, “What would Buffy do?” She’s his hero. Also, sometimes when it’s dark and he’s alone, he asks, “What is Buffy wearing?” Buffy suggests that he add that to the end of his strip club story in his collection of things he never tells her. She’s grateful for the pep talk. “And nothing says ‘thank you’ like dollars in the waistband,” he replies.

They look into the other student disappearances, which started in 1982. Xander finds an article about a frat house that lost its charter then and has been empty since, due to zoning issues. They figure that’s where Sunday’s crew is hiding all the stuff they steal. Xander suggests they do some reconnaissance, then has to explain that he doesn’t mean the Renaissance.

They spy on Sunday and her crew through a skylight, and Buffy objects to them taking her clothes and messing around with Mr. Gordo. Now she’s really ready to fight. She sends Xander to find her weapons chest, since she doesn’t see it in the lair. They did take her diary, though, so now Buffy’s even madder. As she waits to channel that anger into violence, the skylight she’s leaning on breaks and she falls into the lair.

Sunday taunts Buffy for her “diabolical plan” to come in with an injured arm and no weapons. Buffy tells her she made one mistake. Not that she knows what that mistake is. She just figures it’s a statistical probability. As they start fighting, Oz and Willow find the note in Buffy’s room and tell Kathy that she wouldn’t just run away. At least not after that one time she just ran away. Kathy’s worried that she’s been housed with someone who’s unstable.

Willow thinks she’s a bad friend for not noticing that Buffy was going through something. Oz says it’s also possible that she was robbed. Xander arrives and announces that it was a prank. He hugs Willow, then Kathy, before realizing he doesn’t know her. (Oz and Xander decide they’re “too manly” to hug.) Xander tells the group that some friends of Buffy’s took her stuff, and she needs help getting it back. Those friends “sleep all day and have no tans.” Kathy remains clueless as the others head off to find weapons.

Buffy spots her weapons chest in the vampires’ lair, but before she can get to it, Sunday steps in front of her. She’s holding the class protector award, and she stomps on it and snaps the umbrella’s handle. She grabs Buffy’s injured arm, but Buffy says she only needs one. She starts fighting harder, taking on Sunday and the minions with only one good arm. The Scoobies arrive shortly after and jump right in. Two vamps get away, but the Scoobies fight the other minions and Buffy knocks out Sunday. She twirls Mr. Pointy in her hand before throwing it (him?) across the room to stake Sunday.

As the Scoobies leave the lair with Buffy’s stuff (discussing whether it would be okay to take the other things left behind in the lair), Giles arrives. He feels bad for sending Buffy off to slay on her own, even in the name of self-reliance. He’s ready to back her up. She’s grateful, but there’s no evil to fight right now. He can help carry boxes, though.

Xander gets Buffy to admit that college isn’t so tough after all. She says it’s more like high school than she thought. At least she knows what to expect. Unlike one of Sunday’s escaped minions, who finds himself surrounded by commandos in the woods. They point big guns at him as they tase and capture him.

Thoughts: Eddie is played by an almost unrecognizable Pedro Pascal. Lindsay Crouse, who plays Walsh, has connections to three Buffy actors: She was in an after-school special called I Want to Go Home with Seth Green (Oz), and she was in Bye Bye Love with Eliza Dushku (Faith) and Amber Benson (Tara).

Riley’s a pretty polarizing character, but I don’t have a problem with him. I even kind of like him, at least in the beginning. But y’all can speak freely about him; I’m not that committed to defending him.

Xander’s summer plans:

Willow: “He said he wasn’t coming back until he’d driven to all 50 states.”
Buffy: “Did you explain about Hawaii?”
Willow: “Well, he seemed so determined.”

Buffy: “Can’t wait till Mom gets the bill for these books. I hope it’s a funny aneurysm.” People who have seen season 5: (x)

I’m disappointed that this is Sunday’s only episode. I would have liked to see more of her.

September 3, 2022

Buffy 3.21, Graduation Day, Part 1: You Gotta Have Faith

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

LEATHER

Summary: Graduation is nearing and the seniors at Sunnydale High are picking up their caps and gowns. Cordelia complains about the color to Xander; she wanted teal, but no one listened to her because she’s a “lone fashionable wolf.” He likes the maroon, since it’s more dignified. Cordelia’s confused about him having dignity when it comes to clothes: “I’m awash in a sea of confusion.”

Xander says he’d like to look respectable in the outfit he’ll probably die in. He’s pretty sure he won’t be getting out of the school alive. Cordelia tells him he’s “mastered the power of positive giving up.” He just thinks he’s been lucky too many times and his time is almost up. She still doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Here’s the nutshell, Cordy: Ascensions do not have a high survival rate.

Willow’s happily signing yearbooks for people she’s not even friends with, like Harmony. Harmony wishes they’d gotten to know each other better. She admires how smart Willow is. They make those typical end-of-school promises to hang out sometime. Buffy joins Willow, surprised when she claims she’s going to miss Harmony, despite hating her “with a fiery vengeance.” She’s just missing everything she’s going to leave behind after graduation. Buffy can’t relate, since she doesn’t get the significance of graduation. She’s even thinking about skipping it. The ascension is much more important anyway.

Xander joins them and shares the news that their commencement speaker has been announced. Sorry, Willow, it’s not Siegfried, Roy, or one of their tigers. It’s the mayor. That means once the ascension turns him into a demon, he’ll have a bunch of graduates and family members right there to feed on.

Faith goes to see a professor named Worth, who’s already been contacted by the mayor about some research he’s done. Faith pulls out the knife she’s using instead of the dagger she had to leave behind and kills him, admitting that she doesn’t know why she was sent after him. She meets up with the mayor later at her apartment, which the mayor tidies up for her. He’s bought her a very un-Faith-like dress to wear to the ascension.

Mayor Wilkins tells her that no one knows what she is. The ascension will be her time to blossom and show everyone how powerful she is. He’s proud of what she’s done and what she’ll do after this – as proud as a father would be. Faith hopes she won’t let him down. He promises her that that’s impossible. Also, it’s time to go get an Icee.

At school, Willow is also proud, since Percy got a B- on his history final. He feels like a scholar. He thanks her for her help and patience, and for not getting physical again with him like that one time at the Bronze. Willow starts to tell him that wasn’t her, then changes her mind. Oz joins them as Percy says how happy he is to be graduating tomorrow. Now he can forget all the history crap he had to learn. That’s the spirit! Oz notes to Willow that he might not have a chance to forget anything. (He just wants to keep things light.) Willow’s determined to find a way to stop the ascension.

Xander slips into Mr. Miller’s class late and sits next to Anya. Mr. Miller doesn’t want class participation to slack just because finals are over and the seniors are about to graduate. They will play Hangman and they will enjoy themselves. While the rest of the class plays, Anya asks Xander out, apparently thinking he had a great time at the prom. She doesn’t know what he likes, but she guesses it’s sports, because he’s a guy. Xander tells her he’s not sure he’ll be alive for a date. He’ll let her know if he survives the ascension. The A word sets off an alarm in her head.

In the library, Giles and Wesley fence while discussing Worth’s murder, which Buffy is sure was Faith’s work. The Watchers agree, though they’re not sure what her motive would be. “Everyone does seem to be going a bit mad lately,” Wesley notes. “Faith has something of a head start.” Buffy thinks she was following the mayor’s orders, which means Worth knew or had something connected to the ascension. Wesley says that by trying to hide a big clue, the mayor may have actually led the Scoobies right to it. Buffy tells him to try to keep up.

Wesley instructs her to search Worth’s apartment that night. “I just love it when you take charge, you man, you,” Buffy says. Giles is worried that Faith will show up, but Buffy doubts she’ll return to the scene of the crime. And if she does, Buffy won’t kill her – she doesn’t have that in her. But she’ll do what she can to make Faith suffer in other ways. Wesley reminds her that stopping the ascension is their first priority.

Xander arrives with Anya and announces that they suddenly have an advantage. Anya’s the only living person who’s ever been to an ascension. She tells the group about a sorcerer who became a demon about 800 years ago. The demon destroyed the village within hours. It was the worst thing Anya’s ever seen, and that’s saying a lot, since she did a lot of horrible thing as a vengeance demon.

Wesley’s underwhelmed, since the demon the sorcerer turned into isn’t one of the vicious kinds. Anya replies that he’s never seen a demon. The ones in the world are human hybrids, like vampires. In an ascension, a human becomes pure demon, which is much different. For starters, they’re bigger.

Snyder walks Mayor Wilkins through how the graduation ceremony will go as people set up for the big day. The mayor’s pretty casual about it, and he tells Snyder he doesn’t need to worry about anything but making sure the graduates show up. Anyone who doesn’t will have to live without a diploma. The mayor appreciates how Snyder’s kept things under control at the school. “Sunnydale owes you a debt. It will be repaid,” he promises.

As Willow and Oz join the rest of the Scoobies in the library, Anya says that she doesn’t think the mayor is going to turn into the demon she saw 800 years ago. Willow doesn’t like that “evil girl” is there, but since Anya has firsthand knowledge of what they’re dealing with, Willow backs off. The mayor comes in next, having heard from Faith that the Scoobies consider the library their headquarters. He loves that there are still young people who like to read. And since they didn’t hide their books, he knows they’re reading about the ascension.

He reads a passage about darkness covering the Earth and all the races of humans being terrified. He thinks it’s sweet, all those different kinds of people coming together in a shared experience. “You never get even a little tired of hearing yourself speak, do you?” Buffy says. Mayor Wilkins tells Giles that he’s “raised” a spunky girl. “I’m gonna eat her,” he says. Giles immediately stabs him with his epee, but the mayor just pulls it out of himself and chastises Giles for being violent in front of the children. He knows the Scoobies are scared, and he tells them that if it helps, some of them will die quickly. He hopes they don’t miss his commencement speech.

Anya quickly tries to flee, wanting to get as far away from the ascension as possible. She tells Xander it can’t be stopped, and the only thing any sane person can do now is run. Cordelia (who missed the Scooby meeting) wonders what’s up with her, and Xander explains that the mayor is going to kill everyone at graduation. “Oh. Are you gonna go to fifth period?” Cordelia asks. He was thinking about skipping it.

Buffy packs a suitcase for Joyce so she can flee town, too. She doesn’t want her mother around for a pointless ceremony that’s going to end in mass murder. Joyce is like, “In hindsight, maybe you should have enrolled in a different school.” She doesn’t want to leave Buffy behind to face whatever’s coming – if Joyce is leaving town, Buffy needs to come with her. Of course, Buffy can’t do that.

She says she knows that Joyce wishes Buffy were different. Joyce denies that, but Buffy continues – she wishes she could be a great student or athlete or just normal. But slaying is something she does better than anyone else in the world, so she’s going to do it. She just needs Joyce far away and safe, so Buffy has one less thing to worry about.

Willow and Oz do ascension research in her bedroom, though they don’t have any luck finding a way to stop it. All Willow finds are tips for turning ferns invisible and communicating with shrimp. “Our lives are different than other people’s,” Oz notes. Willow doesn’t think she has enough witchy talent to do an ascension-stopping spell anyway; she can’t even turn Amy human again. Oz thinks Amy’s “in a good place emotionally,” though.

Willow wishes he would be a little more emotional about what’s happening, even if that means panicking. They would have something to share during this time of crisis. She’s overwhelmed with thoughts of what’s coming and how she might not get to do all the things she wanted to after high school. Oz calms her by kissing her, which he calls his version of panicking.

Angel shows up at Worth’s apartment while Buffy’s there; he checked in with Giles, who asked Angel to check in with her. Buffy knows it’s because Giles is worried about Faith turning up. She’s sure it’ll happen sooner or later. She hasn’t found anything helpful or even anything that ties the mayor to Worth, who studied volcanoes. She’s put together some stuff for Giles in case he can find anything, and Angel offers to carry the box for her (as if it’s too heavy for a Slayer).

Buffy declines Angel’s invitation to walk her to the library, since she feels like he’s crowding her. Plus, he’s been MIA since the prom, and she figured he’d already left town. He asks if she’s mad at him for being around too much or not enough. “Yes. Duh,” she replies. He asks if she’s making this harder to make it easier on herself. Buffy says she just wishes this were all over. But she knows the Scoobies need Angel’s help, and she’s willing to work with him. This will be her last “office romance,” though.

Frustrated, Angel drops the box at her feet and says he’s leaving. She asks if this isn’t even a little hard for him. He tells her of course it is; he just doesn’t have to act like a brat to get through it. Ooh, ouch. (She is being a brat, though.) Buffy gets upset, saying she can’t have him in her life when she’s trying to move on. Suddenly an arrow flies into Angel’s back and through his shoulder. Buffy grabs for him as he collapses. Faith has shot him from the roof of the nearby movie theater. “Missed the heart,” a vampire minion notes. “Meant to,” she replies.

Buffy takes Angel to the library, where she and Giles remove the arrow. Buffy’s sure Faith fired it: “I’ve narrowed down my list of one suspect.” Wesley, who’s been looking through Worth’s research instead of caring about Angel, reports that Worth did an excavation in Hawaii and found a huge carcass buried by a volcanic eruption. He thought it belonged to an undiscovered kind of dinosaur, but it was most likely a demon. Giles guesses that the mayor had him killed to keep that quiet. Since the demon was able to die, that means they can kill the mayor after he transforms.

With the arrow out of him, Angel seems okay, but he suddenly collapses again. His shoulder’s numb and he has a fever. He thinks the arrow was coated in poison. Giles decides to call the other Scoobies while Buffy takes Angel home before the sun comes up. Surprisingly, Wesley offers to contact the Watchers’ Council, since they have records of toxins and could help them identify what’s at play here.

Willow and Oz have ditched research and given themselves an early graduation present: sex. It was her first time, and she’s pleased that it went well. Unfortunately, they don’t get much time to enjoy the aftermath, since it’s time for the Scoobies to assemble. Meanwhile, Faith tells the mayor that she’s taken care of Angel. Now Buffy will be distracted, and the mayor can start eating all the spiders in the Box of Gavrok.

Faith wants another assignment, since she’s full of energy. Mayor Wilkins calls her a firecracker, something her mom used to call her because she was always running around. She asks if she’ll get to fight at the ascension. The mayor assures her that he’ll always need her. Faith tells him that when she was a kid, she was the only one brave enough to jump off a high rock into a quarry. She was never scared. The mayor tells her to rest up for their big day.

Xander, Willow, and Oz work together to figure out what’s making Angel sick. Anya shows up at the school to invite Xander to leave town with her. She tells him he’ll die if he stays, but Xander’s willing to risk that. Anya’s not used to worrying that something bad might happen to someone she cares about. Xander won’t even think about leaving, since he has friends to look out for. She tells him he won’t be able to help them, and he’ll probably just get in the way. “Your stock’s plummeting, sweetheart,” he replies. She snaps that she hopes he dies. As he walks away, she asks, “Aren’t we going to kiss?”

Buffy tends to Angel at the mansion, though there’s not much she can do for him. Wesley arrives and tells her and Giles that the Council refused to help. Why would they cure a vampire, even a good vampire? Buffy tells him to talk to them again. She doesn’t care about their ancient laws – this is about saving Angel. Wesley tells her that the Council’s orders are to focus on the ascension. “I don’t think I’m going to be taking any more orders,” she replies.

Wesley says she can’t turn her back on the Council. Buffy won’t budge, and Giles sides with her, so Wesley’s out of a job until the next Slayer comes along. He tells Buffy that Faith is obviously trying to distract her and keep her out of the mayor’s way. They need a strategy. Buffy says she has one, but Wesley’s not part of it. “This is mutiny,” he says. “I like to think of it as graduation,” she replies. She’s too restless to stay at the mansion, so she asks Giles to look after Angel while she meets up with the other Scoobies. Wesley protests that she doesn’t know what she’s doing. She just tells him to get a job.

Willow has determined that Angel was poisoned with something called “killer of the dead,” a toxin specifically for vampires. Only a couple of victims have been cured, but the details of those cases are pretty vague. Oz finds something new, but he’s hesitant to share it. The only cure for the poison is draining the blood of a Slayer. Buffy says the solution is simple: She’ll just kill Faith.

While Willow and Oz look through city records to find out where Faith’s been living, Buffy asks Xander to help Giles with Angel. Xander wants to make sure she understands what her plan means. She’s going to kill someone. He doesn’t want to lose her to the dark side. Buffy’s resigned to this, though, and she’s even going to bring Faith’s dagger along.

She gets ready for battle as Faith works out with a punching bag. As soon as Willow finds Faith’s address, Buffy goes to her apartment (in an amazing outfit that includes red leather pants) for a face-off. “Is he dead yet?” Faith asks brightly. Buffy tells her that Angel’s going to be okay because the cure is Faith’s blood. She thinks this is poetic justice. Faith warns that Buffy won’t be able to take her alive. “Not a problem,” Buffy replies.

“Look at you, all dressed up in big sister’s clothes,” Faith says. Buffy reminds Faith that she said Buffy was just like her but was holding back. Faith asks if she’s ready to cut loose. Buffy is. “Give us a kiss,” Faith says. Buffy throws the first punch, and they’re off. They fight viciously, knowing the only way this will end is with one of them dead. They end up crashing through a window onto Faith’s balcony. Buffy is able to slap a pair of handcuffs on Faith to ensure that she can’t get away.

Willow and Oz sit with Angel while they worry about Buffy. Giles finds a hint about the demon Worth may have found, which could help the Scoobies know what they’re in for with the mayor. He looks it up in a book and shows Xander a picture. The page folds out like a magazine centerfold. “We’re gonna need a bigger boat,” Xander says.

The mayor chows down on spiders, taking in their power. He tells a minion that his body is already starting to change. Plus, he appreciates all the fiber they contain. A minion comes in (“we don’t knock during dark rituals?” the mayor chastises) and announces that there’s a problem at Faith’s.

The two Slayers continue fighting on the balcony. Faith is able to break out of the handcuffs and grab a pipe from some construction supplies. Buffy pulls out her dagger, telling Faith she’s about to get it back. They both end up on the ledge of the balcony. Ready to throw Buffy over, Faith says she’ll miss this. But Buffy gets out of her grasp and stabs her in the stomach with the dagger.

“You did it,” Faith says. She punches Buffy and knocks her back onto the balcony. “You killed me,” she says. She gets back up on the ledge and sees a truck approaching. She tells Buffy that she still won’t be able to help Angel. “You should’ve been there, B,” Faith says. “Quite a ride.” She lets herself fall backwards off the balcony, into the bed of the truck. Buffy can only watch as her only hope for saving Angel is driven away. To be continued…

Thoughts: I can’t decide if Giles is able to fence with Wesley without looking because he’s just that good or because he knows all of Wesley’s moves. Either way, it’s really impressive.

I wish we’d gotten to see the mayor interact more with the Scoobies throughout the season. It’s kind of weird that the season’s Big Bad barely had any scenes with them.

Instead of making his usual stealthy, lurky entrance, Angel slips into the doorway of Worth’s apartment and tells Buffy he thinks someone just mopped the floor. I love it.

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 20, 2022

Buffy 3.19, Choices: Where There’s a Willow, There’s a Way

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

I’d be sobbing by now, so good for Willow

Summary: Mayor Wilkins has a surprise for Faith, which he hopes will get her to agree to do a favor for him at the airport. When she pushes back, he threatens to take back her gift, worried he’s spoiling her, so she gives in. He just needs her to pick up a package from Central America. It’s crucial to his ascension. Faith finally gets to open her present, a shiny new dagger. The mayor warns her not to put out anyone’s eye…until he tells her to.

Buffy has apparently taken back her decision to keep her distance from Angel for a while because he’s joined her on a cemetery patrol. I guess the couple that slays together stays together. After they kill a couple of vampires, Buffy complains that Angel never takes her anywhere nice. (The fire-demon lair they recently raided doesn’t count.) She worries that this will be how the rest of their lives go.

The next morning, Joyce finds an acceptance letter Buffy got from Northwestern University. She’s proud, so Buffy decides not to bring up the possibility that she won’t be able to leave Sunnydale for college. Joyce thinks it’s great that she has choices. At school, Snyder busts a guy for bringing a brown paper bag to another guy. He thinks he’s caught someone dealing drugs. Instead, he’s just caught someone bringing his friend lunch. Deflated, Snyder tells the lunch bringer to sit up straight.

Willow, Oz, and Buffy discuss Joyce, whom Willow thinks is in denial about Buffy’s future. (Willow might be in denial a little, too.) At least Buffy has the option of going to UC Sunnydale, so she won’t have to miss out on college altogether. As for Willow, she has the chance to go all the way to England, since she got into Oxford. “That’s where they make Gileses!” Buffy notes. Willow isn’t sure she wants to go that far away, though.

Xander speaks up from under a nearby tree that everywhere is a foreign country. He’s been reading Jack Kerouac because he thinks he’s “bohemian” and “anti-establishment.” Buffy teases him, and Xander says people like him have always been targeted. “Well, sure – you’re all so weird,” Oz says. Willow admires Xander for wanting to travel and see the world. Cordelia joins the group in time to add that she’s ready to see him go away.

She doesn’t have anything nice to say about any of the schools Willow got into, which include Harvard. She also won’t tell the Scoobies where she was accepted. Buffy tells her and Xander to remember to breathe between insults. Cordelia shoots back that their conversation is only for people who have a future. The other Scoobies try to cheer Buffy up after that hit, but it doesn’t work.

Buffy goes to Wesley to announce that she wants to leave Sunnydale after high school. “You can’t just define me by my slayerness,” she argues. “That’s…something-ism.” Giles joins the conversation, which he’s had with Buffy before, and is just as proud as Joyce when she tells him she got into Northwestern. Wesley declares that she can’t leave Sunnydale – he forbids it, by the power invested in him by the Watchers’ Council. “Oh, yes, that should settle it,” Giles says.

Wesley points out that they’re dealing with a lot right now, what with the ascension approaching and Faith working with the bad guys. Buffy’s fully aware that she might not live long enough to graduate. But if she stops the ascension and captures Faith, then Giles and Wesley just have to deal with regular old vampires while she’s at school. She’ll come back for every break and be a Slayer then.

Wesley still won’t budge, so Buffy decides they should be proactive – they’ll stop waiting for whatever the mayor is going to do next and go on the offensive. Giles likes that idea and asks her what her plan is. Buffy doesn’t have one, so he advises her to find out what the mayor is up to. She’s fine with that; she just thought he meant a plan involving things like maps.

That night, a guy arrives in Sunnydale via private plane, carrying a very fancy box. He objects to being met by one of the mayor’s vampire minions instead of the mayor himself. He threatens to raise his price for the box, but an arrow in his back, courtesy of Faith, knocks it down to $0. “You killed him!” the minion exclaims. “What are you, the narrator?” Faith replies. Heh. The guy with the box handcuffed it to himself, and the minion can’t find the key, so Faith uses her new dagger to cut off his hand.

The minion drives her to City Hall, where Buffy lurks outside and sees her taking the box in. The mayor is pleased that Faith both saved him money and showed initiative. She just needs to stop putting her feet up on his desk. He tells her that if Buffy walked in and asked to join their side, he would turn her down, since Faith is all the Slayer he needs. She doesn’t like the mention of Buffy, but she says it’s not because of Angel. She starts to open the box, and the mayor slams the lid back down, telling her not to touch it. Meanwhile, Buffy follows the minion and asks him what’s in the box.

The next morning, she takes the information she got from him to the library. The Box of Gavrok holds some kind of demonic energy that the mayor needs to consume for the ascension. The Scoobies plan to steal it, which will require a mini-heist. Yay, heists! I love heists! Wesley tries to give orders, but Buffy, Willow, Xander, and Giles, plow ahead without his input. Buffy and Angel will grab the box, and Willow will use magic to destroy it.

Wesley tells everyone to stop so they can come up with a better strategy. Buffy advises him to get on board or get out of their way. He points out that Mayor Wilkins will probably have something supernatural protecting the box, so it won’t be as easy to grab it as they think. Buffy says Willow can handle it. They all leave while Wesley pouts.

Xander heads downtown, possibly for a donut run, and spots Cordelia in a boutique. He goes in to pick a fight with her, guessing that she didn’t want to talk about college plans because she didn’t get into any. She gives him “the gold medal in the being-wrong event” by showing him a pile of acceptance letters from respectable schools including Columbia and Duke. Xander assumes her father paid her way in.

That night, Buffy, Angel, Willow, Giles, and Wesley head to City Hall. The Watchers will stay in their black we’re-doing-something-shady van while the other three get the box. Wesley wants everyone to synchronize their watches, but Buffy, Willow, and Angel don’t wear them. Also, I’m not sure why they would need to synchronize them if they’re not operating under any time constraints.

Oz and Xander are in the library, tasked with mixing up a potion that Willow will later use to destroy the box. They’re not sure which ingredients are which, but Willow has left them very detailed instructions. She even drew a diagram featuring Oz, Xander, and the pedestal that will hold the urn they’re using for the mixture. (Oz knows which stick figure is him because he’s holding a guitar.)

Buffy, Angel, and Willow go to the roof of City Hall, where they get a clear view of the box through a skylight. Willow does a spell to neutralize any supernatural safeguards on it, then heads back to the van. Buffy suits up in a harness and Angel lowers her through the skylight so she can grab the box. Unfortunately, there’s still an alarm attached to it, and when Angel tries to pull her back up, the mechanism jams. When a couple of vampire minions burst into the room, there’s not much Angel can do other than jump down and help Buffy fight them.

He grabs the box and uses it as a weapon while she gets herself out of the harness. There’s a bunch of fighting and some tossing around of the box, but eventually Buffy and Angel get away with it. Giles and Wesley pull up outside and make the vampires think Buffy and Angel jumped in and are driving away. This diversion allows them to escape undetected. So the whole evening was a success, right? Wrong. The Scoobies may have the box, but the bad guys have something they’ll want even more: Willow.

The Scoobies regroup in the library, where Buffy can barely contain her anger over the failure to protect Willow. She promises Oz that they’ll rescue her. Xander suggests that they just stage an assault on City Hall, but Giles thinks the bad guys will kill Willow. Wesley notes that they might have already. Buffy doubts that, since they’ll know how valuable she is for a trade. All they have to do is offer up the Box of Gavrok in exchange for Willow.

Wesley objects, because of course he does. They need to destroy the box. “I need a volunteer to hit Wesley,” Xander says. Wesley asks Giles to back him up, and Buffy advises Wesley to take cover before they all attack him. He snaps at her, reminding her that the box is key to the ascension, and they could save thousands of lives by destroying it. He wants to help Willow, but they’ll have to do it another way. Buffy tells him there is no other way.

Wesley notes that she wanted to take the fight to the mayor. She was right, and the way to do that is to protect the town by getting rid of the box. If Buffy wants to leave after graduation (Angel looks a little pained at that), this will clear the way for her. Buffy can’t believe that Wesley thinks that’s important to her right now.

Giles calls for a rational discussion, but that just sets everyone off and causes yelling. Wesley’s shocked that the Scoobies are willing to sacrifice thousands of lives, including their own families and friends, to save one person. Ooh, it’s like the trolley problem! In the background, Oz – who hasn’t said a word through the entire discussion – gets up and crosses the room.

Wesley tells the Scoobies that this can all end right now. They have all they need to get rid of the box. Behind him, Oz throws the pedestal across the room, smashing the urn and all the ingredients they were going to use to destroy the box. He gives Buffy a little nod that says, “You know what to do.” She tells Giles to call City Hall and arrange the trade.

Willow searches the office she’s been locked up in for a weapon. A vampire minion catches her and eyes her as a midnight snack. She warns him not to “eat the hostage,” but he just wants a taste. As he’s leaning over her, she uses her pencil-floating skills to levitate a pencil and plunge it into his back, dusting him. Excellent.

Willow makes a run for it, hiding when she hears Mayor Wilkins and Faith approaching. He compares Buffy to a dog, a loyal creature who values friendship more than reason or self-preservation. The mayor plans to kill her like a dog. Once they’ve passed, Willow runs in the opposite direction and comes across the mayor’s office. She takes a look around, finding his cabinet of occult items (and wet wipes). It’s where he’s stashed the Books of Ascension, which Willow gets a good peek at.

Faith catches her there sometime later and slams her for “Nancy Drewing” instead of running for her life when she had the chance. Now she knows too much, so they’ll have to kill her. Willow tries to delay that by saying she wants to talk. Faith doesn’t want to hear another lecture about how it’s not too late for her to go back to the good side. Willow says that, actually, it’s way too late. It didn’t have to be this way, but Faith made her choice.

Willow doesn’t have any sympathy for Faith – yeah, she had a bad life, but she had more than some people. She had friends like Buffy, and now she has no one. She went from being a Slayer to being nothing. She’s “a big, selfish, worthless waste.” Faith punches her for that, figuring that’s a more efficient way to hurt Willow than to insult her. Willow taunts that Faith just doesn’t have a good comeback.

Faith is ready to hurt Willow, who tries to be brave as she says she’s not afraid of Faith. That’s before she sees Faith’s new dagger, though. Mayor Wilkins finds them and tells Faith she’ll have to play with her new toy later. “I got someone,” Faith tells Willow – she has the mayor.

The Scoobies go to the school cafeteria, locking it down so there’s only one way in and out. This is where they’ll make the trade for Willow. The lights go out, leaving Angel the only person able to see clearly. The mayor, Faith, and Willow come in with a few minions, and Buffy and the mayor face off. He’s excited about the dramatic setting and thinks they should have worn trenchcoats.

Buffy tells him to let Willow go, but he refuses until he has the box. He comments that Buffy’s the “little girl” who’s been causing so much trouble. He tells Angel she’s pretty, but he wishes Angel and Faith could have made things work. Angel must just have weird taste in women. “Well, what can I say – I like ’em sane,” Angel replies. Faith doesn’t appreciate that, and Oz worries that she’ll take it out on Willow.

The mayor says he wishes Buffy and Angel the best, but he doesn’t think they’ll last (and not just because he plans to kill them both). Kids don’t like to make plans or think about the future. They need to respect their elders and listen to him right now. Angel notes that he’s older than the mayor. Mayor Wilkins says that’s one of the obstacles he and Buffy are facing: Angel’s immortal and Buffy isn’t.

The mayor married his wife in ’03 (no clarification if that’s 1903 or 1803) and stayed with her until she died. It wasn’t pleasant. Plus, Angel and Buffy have the added issue of not being able to have sex without him turning evil. He can’t offer her much of a life. They can’t even go out in the sun together. Angel’s selfish for keeping Buffy from the life she could have. “Is that what you came back from Hell for?” Mayor Wilkins asks. “Is that your greater purpose?”

Okay, enough talking – it’s time to trade. Faith and Angel exchange Willow and the box with no problems. But before the two groups can go their separate ways, Snyder bursts in with some security guards. The mayor steps back into the shadows as Snyder accuses the Scoobies of making a drug deal. Faith is ready to let her dagger take care of things when the mayor steps forward and announces his presence. Snyder’s scared of him, so he backs off.

But one of the security guards is curious about the contents of the box, and he starts to open it before the mayor can stop him. A giant spider jumps out and attacks the guard’s face. Once he’s dead, the spider scampers off. Snyder tells another guard to open one of the locked doors, but Giles warns him not to in case the spider escapes. Buffy quiets everyone so she can listen for it. It jumps down from the ceiling, right on the mayor’s face.

Faith goes to help him as another spider escapes the box. Faith throws the first one off, and the mayor’s face heals from the wounds the spider gave him. Buffy slams the box shut as another spider is trying to get out, but one jumps down from the ceiling onto her back. Faith spots one on a wall behind Wesley and whips her dagger at it.

The mayor decides this is a good time to leave, so he picks up the box. He tells the Scoobies that it contains billions more spiders and offers to show them. “Raise your hand if you’re invulnerable,” he teases. He summons Faith to leave with him, and she’s distressed to have to leave her dagger behind. Snyder takes everything in from behind a chair he’s picked up to use as a shield. He wishes the Scoobies would just deal drugs like normal people.

Once all the bad guys are gone, Buffy pulls Faith’s dagger out of the wall. “Well, that went swimmingly,” Wesley comments. “We did all right,” Buffy replies, looking at Willow. They head to the library, where Willow tells Buffy about her encounter with Faith. Giles interrupts to ask about her time with the Books of Ascension. She didn’t get much information out of what she read…but she stole a bunch of pages, which delights Giles. Wesley says they’re back where they started, having lost the box, so clearly he doesn’t care that they saved Willow, since they lost their one advantage in the process.

Sometime later, Buffy and Willow meet up on the quad for another conversation about Buffy’s future. She thinks she really won’t ever be able to leave Sunnydale. There will always be something that she has to take care of. Willow says she has the option to go pretty much anywhere she wants, but she’s chosen to attend UC Sunnydale with Buffy.

Buffy doesn’t want her to give up the great opportunities she could have, but being a hostage made Willow realize what she wants to do with her life: fight evil. It’s not always something you do because you have to. Plus, Sunnydale is a great place for her to develop her magic skills. Buffy comments that it’s nice how sometimes you see another side of something. At the boutique where Xander ran into Cordelia before, she’s admiring the same dress he saw her with. She’s not there to shop, though – she’s working there.

Buffy and Angel hang out in a cemetery that night, talking about her college plans. She tries to act like the mayor doesn’t know what he’s talking about. There’s no reason they can’t have a lasting relationship. “Probably the only lasting relationship he’s ever had is…with…evil,” Buffy says. “Big, stupid evil guy.” But she and Angel both clearly doubt that they’ll be able to prove the mayor wrong and be together forever.

Thoughts: I love the line “that’s where they make Gileses!”

The scene where Oz smashes the urn is perfect. Always keep an eye on the quiet ones. They’re doing the most thinking.

Snyder’s freakout over the lunch bag “drug deal” is even funnier later, when Xander brings a paper bag of spell ingredients into the school. Snyder has the right idea, I guess, but once again isn’t monitoring the right people.

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.

August 6, 2022

Buffy 3.17, Enemies: Second Best

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , at 1:04 pm by Jenn

Heh, someone titled this “the happy couple”

Summary: Buffy and Angel are leaving a movie theater after seeing a French film they didn’t expect to be so…adult. They’re uncomfortable since it brought up feelings they can’t act on. She feels bad for accidentally tempting him to do something that would make him lose his soul. He tells her just being around her makes him feel “worked up,” but it’s a good thing, not a bad thing. He’s able to control himself when they’re close. He demonstrates by kissing her.

Faith interrupts the couple’s nice moment to whisk Buffy away for patrolling. The Watchers’ Council has finally cleared Faith for active duty. The two Slayers go to a cemetery, where Faith praises Buffy for enduring a relationship where she can only take things so far. She pauses the conversation so she can fight a demon.

He claims to have information about the Books of Ascension, which Buffy’s never heard of. The demon says they include some “dark stuff,” and the mayor would be ticked if someone else got their hands on them before… He won’t clarify, but he’ll sell the books to the Slayers for $5,000 if they meet up with him tomorrow. He wants to buy a plane ticket and get far away from the Hellmouth. Faith threatens him and he runs off. Buffy doesn’t think he can give them anything helpful, but she would like to get the books and find out what the mayor is up to.

Faith tells the mayor about the demon’s offer, but the mayor is less worried about the books falling into the wrong hands than about the fact that Faith always wears her hair down and doesn’t let people see her nice face. She reminds him that the demon could tell “Buffy and the Super Friends” something they shouldn’t know. Mayor Wilkins tells her she worries too much for someone her age and gives her a glass of milk. That will give her the calcium she needs to track down and kill the demon, then bring the books to the mayor.

Meanwhile, Buffy tells Wesley and the Scoobies about the books. Giles is annoyed that the demon wants to sell them: “Whatever happened to the still-beating heart of a virgin? No one has any standards anymore.” Xander asks what the ascension is, but Giles and Wesley aren’t familiar with the term. Willow, however, remembers reading about it in a book, in a section about genocide. Buffy and Xander smirk at the Watchers for not knowing something.

Giles finds the reference in a journal of a pastor from the 1700s. All it says is, “Tomorrow is the ascension. God help us all.” After that, there’s no record of the pastor or his town. Giles thinks Buffy should meet with the demon. Cordelia arrives just then to ask Wesley to help her with a paper on Friday night. (It’s an English paper and he’s English, so she figured she’d ask for “an insider’s perspective.”) She wants to “study” in a restaurant. Wesley can’t think of a response. “And on the day the words ‘flimsy excuse’ were redefined, we stood in awe and watched,” Xander quips.

Wesley refocuses the group, suggesting that they find the demon and get the books. Faith is already on that, breaking into the demon’s place to beat her way into achieving her goal. The demon still thinks she’s going to give him the money he asked for. Instead, he gets a knife in the gut. He fights back but Faith just keeps stabbing until he’s dead. Unlike when she killed Finch, this shakes her up.

She goes to Angel’s place, telling him she doesn’t have anywhere else to go. She’s in trouble and needs help. He’s been waiting for her to open up to him, so he’s ready to listen. Faith says she’s scaring herself – she gets now what he meant when he said that killing people would make her feel powerful. She still has the demon’s blood on her hands.

Angel tells her she can’t get through this alone. She agrees, worried she’s turning into a cold-blooded killer like Angel. He assures her that she can stop before things go too far. She’s scared that it might be too late for her. He hugs her, which she takes as an invitation to kiss him. He stops her, telling her he can be here for her, but not physically.

Faith backpedals, saying she won’t interfere with his and Buffy’s relationship. She thinks they’re lucky to have each other. She decides to go be alone for a while, but she appreciates knowing that Angel cares. She asks if they might be able to develop something if things were different. Angel isn’t sure, and he says they’ll never know. As they say goodbye and she kisses him on the cheek, Buffy arrives and sees them together.

This was all an act on Faith’s part, as she later tells the mayor that she tried her best to get Angel to sleep with her. She’s annoyed that he only has eyes for Buffy. Mayor Wilkins tries to cheer her up, reminding her that there’s more than one way to skin a cat: “And I happen to know that’s factually true.” They can find another way to take away Angel’s soul. It’ll just have to be more painful than the proven method.

Giles and Wesley haven’t had any luck finding out any more about the ascension in Giles’ books. Giles suggests contacting the Council, but Wesley tells him that they don’t know that Giles is working for him. Okay, with him. Really, I’d say Wesley’s lucky that the Scoobies even acknowledge his presence. He still thinks the best plan is to find the books themselves.

Buffy arrives, mopey about what she saw between Faith and Angel, and says she’ll go find the demon. Wesley wants her to wait for Faith, since the demon will probably be difficult to find. “Found your demon,” Xander announces as he joins the group. “Fashion tip, Wes – mouth looks better closed,” Buffy tells him. Xander got the address from Willy, via polite request and then with a bribe. He asks to get his $28 reimbursed, but he didn’t get a receipt. Giles complains that the demon lives in an actual building instead of “a pit of filth or a nice crypt.” Buffy says she’ll mention that to him.

Faith shows up and offers to tag along on Buffy’s field trip to see the demon. “Is it me or did it just get really cold in here?” Xander asks after seeing how unfriendly Buffy is to Faith. The Slayers go to the demon’s place, where Faith left his body on the floor. Buffy thinks whoever killed him had a little too much fun. Meanwhile, Mayor Wilkins meets with a guy in a shroud, whom he summoned for a special job. Mr. Shroud warns that taking Angel’s soul will require very dark magic. The mayor knows, and he’s very much unconcerned.

Buffy goes back to school, where Willow senses that she’s distracted and encourages her to open up. Buffy confides that she saw Faith and Angel together and thought they seemed “intimate.” Willow’s sure that they didn’t do anything. Yeah, Faith would totally make a move, but Angel wouldn’t give in to her. Buffy’s the only thing that matters to him. Buffy’s still worried, since Angel and Faith have more in common than she and Angel do. Willow advises – well orders, really – her to talk to Angel about her concerns.

Faith gets there first, wanting to apologize to Angel for making a move on him. He tells her it’s okay but keeps his distance from her. He says he wants to trust her, since she needs someone who understands what she’s going through. “Chump,” she spits out as she spins on him and splashes something on his chest. Mr. Shroud appears from the shadows and starts chanting. Faith tells Angel she wanted to “do this the old-fashioned way,” but it’s Angel’s loss. Angel says she doesn’t have to do this. “I know, but it’s fun,” she replies.

Mr. Shroud casts a spell and magic swirls around Angel. When the spell ends, he falls to the floor and Mr. Shroud disappears back into the shadows. Angel gets up and faces Faith, wearing his vamp face. He’s Angelus again.

He kisses her, then thanks her for turning him back into his true self (though he keeps pummeling her, so I guess he just shows his gratitude in strange ways). He’s happy to be back in Sunnydale without his humanity. He’s not sure why Faith had his soul taken away, but he’s glad she did.

He tells her she can’t just have him as a boy toy, and he won’t listen when she tries to explain things. Vampires and Slayers don’t chat. Faith points out that Buffy might disagree with that. She reminds him that last time he lost his soul, Buffy sent him to Hell. If he’ll calm down and play nice, Faith will connect him with the “real power” in Sunnydale. Angelus likes that idea. “Get ready to meet the new boss,” she tells him. Then they make out.

The Scoobies are all gathered in the library, including Cordelia for the first time since she and Xander split up. (It’s clearly just because of Wesley.) Wesley needs them to mobilize to get the Books of Ascension. He wants Angel to participate, too, but Buffy says she doesn’t know where he is. Faith is also MIA. Willow assures her that that doesn’t mean anything.

Giles tells Buffy to search the mayor’s office for the Books of Ascension. Willow hasn’t had any luck with the mayor’s files – she made it through the encryptions, but the files were empty. He must have known someone was digging around. Oz suggests that they go to the Hall of Records and look for information on the mayor there.

Giles sends Wesley and the Scoobies off to do that. Cordelia says she wants to be in Wesley’s group, and Giles points out that there’s only one group. Xander decides to go around town in hopes of overhearing anything that could be helpful (which will conveniently keep him away from Cordelia). Willow’s adorably happy that Oz’s plan was approved. Giles tells Buffy to be careful as everyone leaves.

Faith takes Angelus to the mayor’s office, asking, “Can I keep him?” Mayor Wilkins asks if he can call Angelus “Angel.” Angelus replies that he hoped the mayor would call him “master.” The mayor tells him that attitude might get him attention but he’ll get more respect if he’s polite. After all, the mayor is responsible for his “new attitude.” He tells Angelus that there might be a future for him in Sunnydale.

Angelus has been playing with a letter opener, which he freely admits he was thinking about stabbing the mayor with. The mayor invites him to try. Angelus chucks it at him but the mayor simply puts out his hand and lets the letter opener impale it. He pulls it out and the wound instantly heals. Mayor Wilkins explains that he’s impervious, as part of his plans for the town. Angelus notes that he can’t be killed but he still hates germs.

The mayor asks Angelus’ intentions with Faith, as if he’s her father and Angelus is Faith’s new boyfriend. Angelus plays along, then says he wants to find Buffy, torture her, and kill her. Mayor Wilkins approves. He’s pleased that Angelus isn’t a slacker like a lot of people nowadays. He’s fine with torture, but Buffy’s death needs to be slow. He doesn’t need another Slayer coming along to replace her. He’s sure the next one won’t be like Faith. He sends Angelus and Faith off to have fun, asking Angelus to have his Slayer home by 11:00. “She’s not a little girl anymore,” he comments as they leave.

“‘I love when you talk, Wesley. I love when you sing, Wesley,'” Xander says mockingly as he heads downtown. “Can you say the words ‘jail bait,’ Wesley? Limey bastard.” He comes across Angelus and Faith and starts to tell them to find Buffy. Without responding or even breaking his stride, Angelus punches him so hard he flops onto the sidewalk. “That guy just bugs me,” he grumbles to Faith.

The two of them to go Buffy’s house, where Angelus pretends he’s still Angel as he assures Joyce that they’re not there for anything related to vampires: “The only vampire here is me.” He even compliments her hair. Buffy’s stocking up on weapons before she goes to the mayor’s office, and Angelus says he’s glad they found her before she left. They have the books at his place and want her to come with them to deliver them to Giles. Angelus continues his charade by offering to carry Buffy’s weapons bag.

They go to the mansion, where Buffy gets her first hint that something’s off when Angelus calls her “Buff,” something he never calls her. She thinks something’s wrong but he tells her he hasn’t felt this good in a while. With his vamp face on, he says he never properly thanked her for sending him to Hell. Should he send her a card or a fruit basket? Maybe he’ll just eviscerate her.

Buffy starts crying as Angelus grasps her arms and says she shouldn’t bother thinking that there’s still good inside him that she can reach. “I will kill you before I let you touch me,” she says, fighting him off. She tells Faith they need to leave, but Faith says she likes it there. Angelus punches Buffy out, telling Faith that she’s cute when she’s asleep.

In the Hall of Records, Oz finds something super-helpful: Mayor Wilkins looks exactly like a previous Sunnydale mayor with the same name. Oz guesses they’re actually the same person. Wesley realizes this means the mayor is over 100 years old and can’t be human.

Xander joins the group and says they have another problem. “You know how some people hate to say, ‘I told you so’?” he asks. “Not me. I told you so.” Angel is Angelus again, as Xander suspected would eventually happen. Wesley wants to contact Giles, but Xander thinks their top priority is protecting Buffy. Cordelia tells him not to get mad at Wesley. Xander thinks he should, since he was responsible for Faith, “Angel’s new playmate.”

Buffy wakes up chained to a wall at the mansion. Angelus regrets that they never did anything with chains while they were dating. Buffy warns Faith that she doesn’t know what she’s doing. Faith, however, is enjoying herself. She always wanted a dog – something to love. Now she has Angelus. Buffy has to watch while they two of them kiss.

Faith uncovers a bunch of tools she plans to use to torture Buffy. Buffy tells her that Angelus is a killer, and once he’s done with her, he’ll turn on Faith. Angelus confirms this, but Faith says they can just drag things out to keep Buffy alive. She’s free to scream. Buffy asks why Faith is doing this. What’s in this for her? Faith says she hates how everyone loves Buffy so much, even when Faith does everything right. People say that Faith should be more like Buffy, but not vice versa.

Buffy gets everything – the Watcher, Joyce, the Scoobies. Faith gets nothing. This was supposed to be her town. Buffy must think she’s better than Faith. Buffy says she is and always has been. Faith reminds her that Angelus is with her now. Buffy points out that Faith probably had to use magic to get him. Without it, he would never touch her. Faith smacks Buffy, who notes, “You had to tie me up to beat me.” That makes her a loser.

Faith thinks Buffy’s trying to make her mad so she’ll kill her quickly. Faith wants her stick around instead. Buffy asks if she’s sticking around for the ascension. She’ll stop it. Faith tells her she can’t – no one can. The mayor built the town for demons to feed on, and on graduation day, he’ll get his payout. Faith will be right by his side, and the Scoobies will be eaten. Buffy should think about that when Angelus is cutting into her.

Buffy comments that she didn’t realize Faith was so full of rage. “What can I say? I’m the world’s best actor,” Faith replies. “Second best,” Angelus speaks up. He and Buffy confirm that they have all the information they wanted. “May I say something?” Buffy asks. She pulls her arms out of the chains that weren’t actually restraining her and announces, “Psych.” Faith realizes she was played – Angel was Angel the whole time.

The Scoobies run in, ready to take down Angel, and the Slayers start fighting each other. They end up on their knees, holding weapons to each other’s necks. “What’re you gonna do, B? Kill me?” Faith asks. “You become me. You’re not ready for that.” She kisses Buffy’s forehead and adds, “Yet,” before running off. Willow goes to Buffy, asking if she’s okay. Buffy glances up at Angel, not sure how to respond.

The Scoobies regroup in the library, along with a special guest: Mr. Shroud. Giles had him put on a “light show” to fool Faith into thinking he was taking Angel’s soul. Mr. Shroud tells Giles that he’s restored the balance between them and repaid his debt. After he vanishes, Willow asks what Giles did to earn a favor from Mr. Shroud. “I introduced him to his wife,” Giles replies.

Wesley’s upset that Giles pitted Faith against Buffy and could have gotten them both killed. Also, he didn’t tell Wesley. He’s tattling to the Council. Giles likes that idea – they have a rogue Slayer on their hands. Buffy’s glad that they’ve confirmed which side Faith is on. Plus, they know the mayor is planning something big for graduation day. Willow’s relieved that Angel is still good, though Xander wishes he could have proven that without violence. Buffy reminds him it was all an act, but she doesn’t sound that confident.

Faith tells the mayor everything that happened, and he tries to put a positive spin on it. Faith may have lost some friends but he still has her. And once the ascension starts, the Scoobies will probably all die, so who cares? Faith isn’t happy, so Mayor Wilkins tries to cheer her up by suggesting an outing: miniature golf.

Buffy goes to the mansion, where Angel praises her for putting on a show for Faith. She’s still struggling with what it did to her, even though it was her idea. Angel says that he never wanted things to go as far as they did. Buffy gets that, but she needs some space, a break. “You still my girl?” he asks as she leaves. “Always,” she promises.

Thoughts: When this episode first aired, I fully fell for Buffy and Angel’s scheme. I just figured they’d end it the same way they restored Angel’s soul the first time.

I wish they’d clarified how the Scoobies knew what Faith and the mayor were planning and got Mr. Shroud to help them. Did he just warn Giles when he was summoned? Does it all come down to luck that he was the guy the mayor called on? How did he know that Giles even knew Angel?

I love how the Scoobies openly mock Wesley. Like, they’ll respect that he’s “officially” in charge, but they refuse to like it. I also like that Giles has loosened up because he and the others have this common annoyance and he’s seen how being sarcastic makes it easier to deal with him.

July 23, 2022

Buffy 3.15, Consequences: Into the Darkness

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

Uh-oh, Father is disappointed

Summary: Buffy is underwater, struggling to reach the surface. Finch grabs her ankle and tries to pull her back down, but she’s able to fight him and come up for air. Faith is waiting for her there and pushes her back under.

Buffy wakes up from this nightmare and hears noise from a TV down the hall. Joyce is watching a news report about the discovery of Finch’s body. Mayor Wilkins makes a statement that Finch was both his deputy mayor and his friend. The mayor won’t rest until his killer is brought to justice. Joyce notices that Buffy is awake and comments that the death is horrible.

Later that morning, Wesley instructs Buffy and Faith to investigate Finch’s murder. Buffy notes that that’s not really their area, but Faith accepts the assignment. Giles sides with Buffy – the murder appears to be the act of a human, so the Slayers don’t need to get involved. Wesley overrules him.

Cordelia comes into the library to get some books, and Wesley is immediately smitten with her. She calls him “Giles, the next generation.” Wesley’s so attracted to her that he can’t get out a full sentence. Faith, amused, tells Cordelia that he’s the new Watcher. Wesley asks if everyone at school knows Buffy’s the Slayer. Buffy explains that Cordelia’s a friend, though Cordelia wouldn’t go that far. She finds Wesley cute, but he backs off when he learns that she’s a student, not a teacher. He admires her as she leaves, and Faith speaks up, “First word: jail, second word: bait.”

Buffy’s eager to leave, too, and Faith opts to go with her. Wesley tells them to report whatever they learn about Finch’s death, whether or not it’s supernatural-related. The Slayers go to an empty classroom, where Faith asks if Buffy is going to rat her out for killing Finch. Buffy says she can’t keep it a secret, especially while they’re supposed to investigate what happened.

Faith notes that she had no problem keeping Angel’s return a secret, since she wanted to protect him. Buffy argues that she’s trying to protect Faith, too. If they don’t come forward, things will get worse for Faith. Faith knows she’ll go to prison, and she’s not going to do anything to risk her freedom. She reminds Buffy that she was there, so she’s an accomplice. If Faith has to answer for anything, so does Buffy.

Buffy finds Willow in the student lounge, but Willow doesn’t have time to chat, since she and Michael are going to meet up and work on making Amy human again. Plus, she’s still hurt by all the time Buffy’s been spending with Faith, though she doesn’t mention that. That night, a detective named Stein questions a witness who heard Finch scream when he was killed. Angel watches a crime-scene tech collecting a blood sample and remembers seeing blood on Buffy’s hand the night before.

At City Hall, Mayor Wilkins tries to cheer himself up by shredding documents. (That usually works.) He’s annoyed that Finch left a paper trail about their “dealings.” He doesn’t want to think about the possibility that Finch was going to betray him. Plus, with Finch dead, the mayor will never get to scold him. Mr. Trick gives him a copy of a police report stating that Finch was staked. A Slayer must have killed him. Mayor Wilkins worries that Finch was talking to Buffy and/or Faith, and they killed him. That means one of them could go to prison. Unlike the shredder, this gives him the pick-me-up he was looking for.

Buffy and Faith break into Finch’s office, and though Faith claims not to care that she killed him, she can’t help giving a picture of him a sad look. She says he came out of nowhere. Buffy’s sympathetic, but Faith quickly snaps out of it, saying she’s “not looking to hug and cry and learn and grow.” She doesn’t see the point in looking into what Finch was up to or why he was in the alley where he died.

Buffy, however, thinks he was looking for them, and she wants to know why. Her first hint that something’s off is the discovery that his file folders are all empty, as if his paperwork has been taken. As the Slayers are about to leave, they spot Mr. Trick and Mayor Wilkins talking down the hall. They don’t get spotted, and now they have another hint that something strange is going on.

They head downtown, discussing the fact that the mayor is a “black hat,” as Faith says. Buffy admits to being surprised, since she never got a vibe from him that he was anything but the nice guy he presents himself to be. Faith tells her that nine times out of ten, the face a person shows you isn’t real. Buffy comments that Faith knows a lot about that. She’s acting like everything is fine less than 24 hours after she killed someone. This can’t be her real face. Buffy knows Faith must be feeling the same way she is.

Faith invites her to elaborate. Buffy says she feels dirty, like something is lurking inside her and she can’t get it out. She keeps hoping it’s a nightmare, but it’s not. Faith is done listening to her. Buffy begs Faith to let her tell Giles what happened. Faith refuses – no one else can know what happened. They just need to wait for everything to blow over. If it doesn’t, they can leave town. She already knows a freighter she can jump on.

Buffy asks how Faith will be able to live with herself, seeing Finch’s body in her head every day. Faith says she won’t see anything. Finch’s death was an accident, and she’s sorry he died, but these things happen. The number of people they’ve saved overshadows this one death. Buffy reminds her that helping people doesn’t give them the freedom to do whatever they want. Faith reminds her that Finch was mixed up in bad things, so who cares?

Buffy notes that he could have been coming to them for help. Faith doesn’t think it matters. They’re warriors – they’re different than other people. They’re built to kill. Buffy protests that they’re only supposed to kill demons. They don’t get to pass judgment like they’re better than other people. Faith insists that they are better. People need the Slayers to survive. Finch got caught in the crossfire, and no one’s going to cry over him. “I am,” Buffy replies. Faith tells her it’s her loss.

Stein is waiting for Buffy when she gets home, since he somehow knows that she was out late with Faith the night before. We go back and forth between him questioning Buffy and Faith separately. They alibi each other, saying they were hanging out at Faith’s place. Stein tells them that a couple of witnesses saw them near the alley. He mentions that Finch was killed with a wooden weapon, which Faith just brushes off. Stein urges both Slayers to come clean if they know anything or are covering for anyone. Both claim ignorance. Angel’s lurking outside Faith’s motel as Stein leaves.

Buffy goes to Willow’s and asks to talk. Willow’s glad she’s there because she wants to clear the air about Buffy and Faith’s friendship. She wants to be understanding, since the Slayers should bond, but she doesn’t like feeling excluded. Buffy usually talks to her about everything. Now it feels like Willow isn’t cool enough for Buffy because she can’t kill things with her bare hands.

That makes Buffy break down in tears, which Willow thinks is her fault. She apologizes for being too harsh. Buffy just tells her she’s in trouble. After spilling everything, Buffy worries that Stein knows she lied to him. Willow advises her to go to Giles – he’ll know what to do. So Buffy goes to the library, not even waiting until the morning, and is about to tell Giles everything when Faith emerges from his office. She already told him…except what she told him is that Buffy killed Finch.

Buffy protests that she didn’t do it but Giles won’t listen to her. He sends Faith away, snapping at Buffy to wait in his office. As soon as Faith’s gone, Giles assures Buffy that he knows Faith lied. He just wants her to believe he’s on her side since he’s not sure how far she’ll take this. He’s not happy that Buffy didn’t come to him immediately; this sort of thing has happened before, and they could have handled it. Normally they would need to speak to the Watchers’ Council but Giles doesn’t want to get them involved.

Faith is unstable and can’t accept responsibility for what she did. They can’t help her until she admits what happened. Buffy is willing to try to talk to her, but she decides she might be too close. Maybe “one of the guys” should do it instead. (Xander? Angel? Oz? Who knows?) She and Giles agree that until they decide on their next step, no one can know what’s going on. They don’t want to run the risk of scaring Faith off. Unfortunately, their library voices aren’t quiet enough and Wesley has heard everything.

As he calls the Council to speak to Travers (trivia: The code word is “monkey”), Buffy and Giles fill Willow and Xander in on what’s going on. So I guess when Giles said no one else could know, he just meant Wesley. He likes Buffy’s idea of having someone talk to her one-on-one, and Xander volunteers to do it, since they have a connection. That’s one word for it. Giles isn’t sure about that, since he thinks Faith and Xander have had the least contact of all the Scoobies. Xander dances around the fact that they’ve already hung out one-on-one, in a sense. Willow figures out what he means before Buffy and Giles do.

Buffy doesn’t think Faith will open up to Xander, since she doesn’t take the guys she’s slept with seriously. Xander pretends not to be offended. Giles puts him to work with research instead, since they need to know what the mayor and Mr. Trick are up to. Giles still isn’t sure what to do about Faith, but Buffy wants to get moving quickly. Faith needs help now, and Buffy owes it to her.

Willow takes a few moments to cry in a bathroom over the thought of Xander having sex for the first time with someone who isn’t her. Xander also takes some time to himself, probably thinking about how his first time was with someone who killed a human. He goes to Faith’s motel room and offers his friendship, since he believes Buffy’s story and knows Faith killed Finch. He also knows it was an accident, and he wants to support her no matter what happens.

Faith thinks he’d love to be called to testify at a murder trial so he could state for the record that he slept with her. She suspects that he’s really there so they can have another romp in the sack. Xander says he’d be up for it again in the future, but not now and not like this. Faith tries to seduce him but he’s miraculously able to not give in. He says he thought they had a connection.

She throws him on her bed, ready to make another “connection” with him. Similarly to what she taught Buffy in the last episode – “want, take, have” – she’s ready to put her philosophy to work: “I see, I want, I take.” Things start getting really disturbing, with Faith on top of Xander, moments away from committing rape. She tells him she can make him scream…or die. She chokes him, but before she can really hurt him, Angel comes in and knocks her out with a baseball bat.

She wakes up chained to a wall in the mansion and insists that she and Xander were just “playing.” Angel says he just wants to talk, which Faith has heard from guys before. They say that, then talk their way into spending the night, promising not to try anything. Angel’s willing to wait her out, since he’s “not getting any older.” He goes outside, where Buffy’s waiting, and assures her that he’ll keep trying with Faith. But if she doesn’t want help, they might not be able to do anything. Faith has killed someone, and that’s changed her. Now she has a taste for it.

Mayor Wilkins and Mr. Trick watch surveillance footage from City Hall that shows Buffy and Faith snooping around. The mayor isn’t happy that thanks to lax security, they saw him and Mr. Trick together. Mr. Trick isn’t worried, since he thinks the Slayers will end up in jail, but Mayor Wilkins knows there isn’t enough evidence to convict them. Mr. Trick will have to come up with a way to handle them, and quickly.

Back at the mansion, Angel empathizes with Faith over killing a human. It’s a powerful feeling, one he thought of like a drug. When he got his soul back, things changed. Faith has a choice now. She probably felt like a god when she killed Finch, but if she continues killing, it’ll ruined her. “You can’t imagine the price for true evil,” Angel says. “Yeah? I hope evil takes MasterCard,” Faith replies. (Ugh, who wrote that line? Bad! Bad writer!)

Angel says he and Faith are alike. He used to believe that humans only existed to hurt each other. Then he came to Sunnydale and met different types of people. Some of them really want to do the right thing. They make mistakes, but they keep caring and trying. If Faith trusts the Scoobies, they can keep her from disappearing into the darkness.

Just then Wesley and a few other guys burst in. They overpower Angel and beat him up while Wesley frees Faith, though it’s only to take her into custody on behalf of the Watchers’ Council. He’s going to take her to England so she can face a disciplinary committee. But on the way to the airport, Faith gets Wesley to free her again by threatening to kill one of his co-workers. She jumps out the back of the truck they’re in and takes off.

Buffy returns to the mansion with some of Faith’s things and founds Angel tied up. They head to the library and tell the other Scoobies that Wesley took Faith. Giles says she’ll probably end up imprisoned. Buffy wants to get her back, but Willow thinks she deserves punishment. Buffy wants Angel to keep trying to get through to Faith. She thinks he was getting somewhere. Wesley arrives and reports that Faith escaped. He insists that he was trying to save her, but Buffy says he just made things worse. The Scoobies split up to find Faith, and when Wesley offers his help, Buffy tells him to use his ticket back to England.

She finds Faith on the docks, waiting for that freighter she’d considered taking out of town. Faith rejects her offer to change, since she doesn’t want to be like Buffy. Buffy says she doesn’t have to be, but she can’t go on the way she is. Faith guesses that Buffy’s scared because she knows Faith is right: “We don’t need the law. We are the law.”

She taunts that Buffy has it in her to be exactly how Faith is. She has the same lust in her, and not just for Angel. She knows Buffy gets a thrill out of the danger of dating a vampire. She might have felt it even after he lost his soul. Faith thinks Buffy wants her to behave because seeing her go wild tempts Buffy to do the same. Buffy punches her, which just pleases Faith because she’s letting her dark side out.

Buffy tries to leave but Faith wants her to admit that misbehaving is fun. Buffy spots a crate dangling over them and shoves Faith out of the way before it can fall on her. Some vampires are around, and while Buffy’s in a daze on the ground, Faith takes them all on by herself. By the time Buffy recovers enough to get up, Mr. Trick is waiting for her. They fight, but he gets the upper hand.

Faith is done with her vampires, and she has a choice: Help Buffy or leave her to fend for herself. At the last minute, she chooses to help. She sneaks up behind Mr. Trick and stakes him. “Oh, no. No, this is no good at all,” he says before turning to dust.

Buffy goes back to the library and tells Giles that Faith could have left her to die, but she didn’t. Buffy won’t give up on her while there’s still hope that she can be saved. Giles says that in that case, Faith stands a chance. But maybe not yet: Faith goes to the mayor’s office to report that she killed Mr. Trick. She wants to take his place as the mayor’s partner in crime.

Thoughts: In some nice continuity, Stein also appeared in “Ted” and “Becoming, Part 2.”

Buffy is less upset about Finch’s death or being framed for it than she is about the thought that Giles might not believe she’s innocent. It’s actually heartbreaking to see her believe, even for a few seconds, that Giles would listen to Faith over her, or that someone who always has her back might not have it this time.

I’d think the Watchers’ Council would have some way to cover up an accidental human death, since, as Giles mentions, it’s happened before. Blame it on a serial killer or something. Giles only mentions them in relation to appropriate punishments, though. And why didn’t we hear about this in “Ted”?

Fun fact: The song that plays while Willow’s crying is sung by Kathleen Wilhoite, AKA Chloe Lewis.

For more K. Todd Freeman (Mr. Trick), watch Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events or the first episode of HBO’s new show The Rehearsal, which I coincidentally watched just after this episode.

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