January 22, 2022

Buffy 2.11, Ted: Not in My House

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thoughts: Ted is played by the late John Ritter.

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

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

December 4, 2021

Buffy 2.4, Inca Mummy Girl: Who’s That Girl?

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

Bro, I don’t know what the rules were 500 years ago, but nowadays, this is considered creepy

Summary: Buffy, Willow, and Xander are on a field trip to a museum, and Buffy’s complaining about how Joyce signed them up to host an exchange student for a couple of weeks. Sunnydale High is doing a whole exchange extravaganza, including a dance. Xander’s looking forward to the events, since they get to learn about other cultures. Buffy asks if he’s ever participated in an exchange program before. “My dad tried to sell me to some Armenians once. Does that count?” he asks.

The museum exhibit they’re there to see is about South America, but Cordelia’s mind is currently on Sweden, since that’s where her family’s exchange student is from. She expects Sven to be hot. Xander gets worried when he learns that Buffy’s student is a guy. Cordelia says she’s living on the edge by not checking out what he looks like ahead of time. Buffy and Willow smirk over Xander suddenly being less excited about the exchange program.

They spot a guy named Rodney (“God’s gift to the bell curve” – Xander) doing something he probably shouldn’t be doing to an artifact. He growls at someone who approaches him. “What he lacks in smarts he makes up in lack of smarts,” Xander continues. Willow knows Xander’s just resentful because Rodney beat him up for five years. Buffy offers to stop him, but Willow thinks this is a situation better left to someone who won’t use violence. She goes to talk to Rodney, whom she’s been tutoring in chemistry. He seems to respect her, or at least he talks to her like a human instead of growling at her.

A tour guide takes the students into an exhibit about an Incan princess. “The human sacrifice is about to begin,” he says. Anything to make a field trip more exciting, right? The guide tells everyone that 500 years ago, the Incas chose a teenage girl to be their princess, then sacrificed her to a mountain god by burying her alive. Willow feels really bad for her. The princess is protected by a cursed seal that warns away anyone who might want to wake her.

Xander isn’t that interested in looking at a 500-year-old dead body, so he brings up Buffy’s exchange student again. His name is Ampata and he’ll be arriving tomorrow night. They leave the mummy behind, and later, Rodney sneaks back into the exhibit. He tries to remove the seal the mummy’s holding, but he breaks it. She wakes up and strangles him.

At school the next day, Buffy asks Giles if she can go to the dance. He says no, since she’s the Chosen One. Buffy says that this one time, she’d like to be the Overlooked One. She mocks his usual speech about her responsibilities and the sacrifices she has to make, ending it with, “I’m so stuffy; give me a scone.” “It’s as if you know me,” he replies.

They’re training while they’re talking, so Buffy takes out her anger on the punching bag Giles is holding. He thinks that Buffy’s going to have a hard enough time keeping her Slayer identity secret from her temporary house guest; she doesn’t need another challenge on top of that. Xander objects to the idea of Ampata living with Buffy, like, he’s not staying in her room, buddy. You need to chill. Buffy thinks going to the dance would help her maintain the illusion that she’s a normal student. Giles is in danger of being kicked again, so he gives in.

Xander offers to drive the Scoobies to the dance, since he’d like a third person present with him and Willow. He’s afraid she’ll get the wrong idea and think they’re on a date. As Willow enters the library, unseen, Buffy asks if Xander has really never thought about kissing Willow in all the years they’ve known each other. He certainly did the day before school started. Xander says he loves Willow and she’s his best friend, but he doesn’t think of her romantically. Willow finds it hard to hide her disappointment.

She tells the others that Rodney’s missing, and his parents say he didn’t come home last night. Buffy realizes he wasn’t on the bus back from the field trip. The Scoobies joke that he might have awakened the mummy and been attacked. Then they realize they shouldn’t joke about that because this is Sunnydale and it’s extremely likely that happened.

They take their own field trip back to the museum, where they find the broken seal. The mummy’s still in the tomb, though, so everything seems okay. Suddenly, a guy runs at them with a knife, yelling. Xander jumps on him, and when the guy sees the mummy, he runs off. Giles decides they should leave before the guy comes back. Willow asks if the Incas were advanced. Yes, but probably not so advanced that their sacrificed princess had braces. Looks like Rodney is the new princess.

The Scoobies return to the library to try to figure out what’s going on. They guess that the pictograms on the broken seal can provide some answers, but it’ll take a while for Giles to translate them. Buffy suddenly remembers that she has to go pick up Ampata from the bus station. Since he’s from South America, she wonders if he could help them translate the seal.

Ampata has already arrived, and while he’s waiting for Buffy to show up, he hears a girl whispering his name. He follows the sound to the mummy, who grabs him and kisses him. Sometime later, the Scoobies arrive and search for Ampata. Instead of a boy, they get a girl. Since she’s pretty, Xander’s back on board with the whole exchange program.

They take Ampata to Buffy’s house and chat with her about things like whether she’s been to America before (she’s toured but hasn’t seen much) and how she speaks English really well (she’s a good listener). Xander is totally in love. At bedtime, Ampata appreciates her soft bed. She tells Buffy that back home, things are “cramped and very dead.” Compared to her, Buffy has a lot. Ampata wants to learn all about what it’s like to be a normal teenager. Buffy’s like, “Yes, I’m exactly the person to teach that.” Outside, the man from the museum is lurking in the bushes.

The next day, Cordelia tells a guy named Devon that she’ll be at the dance that night but she’s not going to be one of his groupies, so she won’t be worshiping him from the edge of the stage. She’ll meet him there after the dance, though. Unfortunately, they’ll have a third party in the form of Sven, who’s not as hot as Cordelia had hoped. She tells Devon the whole exchange thing has been horrible: “They don’t even speak American.”

After she leaves, Devon asks his bandmate Oz what he thinks of Cordelia. Not much, is the answer. Devon asks what a girl has to do to impress Oz. “Well, it involves a feather boa and the theme to A Summer Place,” Oz replies. “I can’t discuss it here.” Devon says he’s too picky for a guy who plays lead guitar, something all girls love. Oz says he’s not picky; Devon’s just impressed by any pretty girl who can walk and talk. “She doesn’t have to talk,” Devon says.

Willow has made her costume for the dance, but Xander hasn’t figured his out yet. He wants to look impressive for his new crush. Buffy’s just arriving with Ampata, and the two go see Giles. He shows Ampata the seal, which she of course recognizes. The Scoobies lie that they have an archaeology club. Ampata asks where the other pieces are, since the Scoobies only have one, then tells them to hide it. Giles asks about a picture of a man with a knife. Ampata says he’s like a bodyguard for the mummy.

Since Buffy now has “archaeology club” responsibilities to handle, she starts to ask Willow to spend the day with Ampata. Xander volunteers instead, because of course he does. Poor Willow can’t ignore how much Ampata and Xander like each other. Later, Xander introduces Ampata to the American wonder that is the Twinkie. She says he’s strange, but in a good way.

Buffy researches the seal while Willow tries to focus on Scooby stuff instead of thinking about Xander and Ampata. Buffy reminds her that Ampata’s only staying for two weeks. Willow’s bummed mostly because Xander actually has a shot with Ampata, which he never did with Buffy. She decides she can either wait for Xander to notice her or she can live her life. Buffy’s proud of her, but Willow says she hasn’t chosen which path to take yet.

Buffy’s research helps Giles figure out that Rodney may have been killed by the mummy. She’s capable of feeding on a person’s life force and basically mummifying them. Now they just need to figure out how to find and stop the mummy. Meanwhile, the guy with the knife (who we now know is a bodyguard) is back, and he demands the seal from Xander. When he sees Ampata, he recognizes her. Xander fights him off and runs away with Ampata.

They go to the library, where Ampata tells Giles that he needs to destroy the seal before anyone gets killed. She’s distressed to learn that Rodney has already died. Xander decides to tell Ampata who the Scoobies really are, but Giles and Buffy object, so Xander says their archaeology club is really a crime club. It’s “kind of like the chess club, only with crime and, um…no chess.” Ampata repeats that the seal has to be destroyed.

She leaves and Xander follows her, promising that he won’t let anyone hurt her. Ampata says the investigation is dangerous, and she just wants a normal life. Willow comes out to check on them, and she suggests that Xander take Ampata to the dance so she can have a normal teenage experience. Willow will go by herself. Xander thanks her by calling her his best friend.

Buffy can’t figure out why the bodyguard wants the seal. Giles guesses he needs to put it back together. The other pieces must still be at the museum. If the Scoobies go back there, the bodyguard will probably show up, too. Buffy’s pleased that she and Giles have come up with a plan. Unfortunately, they need to go tonight, which means Buffy will have to skip the dance.

Xander tells Ampata he likes her and wants to take her to the dance. She admires his courage in telling her how he feels. She says she likes him, too. “You’re not a praying mantis, are you?” he asks. Ampata heads to the bathroom to reapply her lipstick, but the bodyguard is waiting for her there. She begs him not to kill her. He reminds her that she’s already dead. Ampata argues that she was innocent and her death wasn’t fair. The bodyguard points out that the people she’s killing to stay alive were also innocent.

Ampata says she’s in love, but that doesn’t matter to the bodyguard: She’s the Chosen One, so she has to die again. She doesn’t get a choice here. He tries to stab her, but she grabs him and gives him a soul-stealing kiss. When she leaves the bathroom, all smiles, she tells Xander she’ll go to the dance with him. Sorry to whoever finds the mummified bodyguard on the bathroom floor.

While getting ready for the dance that night, Ampata tells Buffy she doesn’t have any lipstick. (Since we just saw her with a tube, I’ll give the writers the benefit of the doubt and pretend she means she doesn’t have lipstick that matches her outfit for the dance.) Buffy says she can borrow one, then tells her that the bus station finally delivered the rest of her things. She offers to unpack for Ampata while she’s at the dance, which Buffy laments she has to miss. Ampata admires that Buffy always puts others before herself. She’s like the Inca princess that way.

As Buffy starts looking through Ampata’s things, finding boy’s clothes, Ampata says that the princess was told that she was the Chosen One of all the girls in her generation. She absently opens one of Buffy’s desk drawers, which Buffy rushes to close before Ampata can notice her cross and holy water. She can obviously relate to the princess and her sacrifices, like not getting a chance to fall in love. Buffy starts to open Ampata’s chest, but the doorbell rings, distracting her before she can see the mummy inside.

Xander arrives dressed like a character from a spaghetti western. Ampata appears to be dressed as…herself, I guess, since she looks like an Inca princess. Joyce thinks Buffy’s voluntarily skipping the dance. Xander tells Buffy to be careful as they head out. Joyce comments that after just two days in America, Ampata already seems like she belongs.

Devon and Oz’s band, Dingoes Ate My Baby, provide music for the dance at the Bronze. Cordelia’s dressed like a luau dancer, and Willow’s dressed like…well, this. Cordelia’s trying hard to ditch Sven, who’s dressed like a viking. One of her friends thinks he’s cute, and that Cordelia should appreciate a guy who doesn’t put her through the horrors of small talk. Cordelia’s mostly annoyed that he doesn’t take orders in her broken English. Xander and Ampata arrive, and Willow feels less than beautiful compared to the princess.

Giles goes to the Summers’ house to tell Buffy that someone found the bodyguard’s body. Buffy doesn’t get why the mummy would kill him. Giles tells her that the bodyguard’s job wasn’t really to protect the princess – it was to make sure she didn’t awaken and escape. Buffy thinks Ampata translated the seal incorrectly, but then she remembers that Ampata’s been uneasy about the seal. They look through Ampata’s things and find the mummy.

Back at the Bronze, Xander and Ampata dance. Oz looks out at the crowd and asks Devon about a girl he sees. Devon thinks he’s talking about Ampata, but he’s talking about Willow. He’s immediately smitten. Giles and Buffy rush to the dance, or try to, since his car doesn’t drive very fast. Ampata’s getting closer and closer to kissing Xander, which could spell his doom. Just as they’re about to smooch, Ampata notices her hand mummifying and runs off.

Still in the car, Buffy and Giles discuss the seal. They realize that Ampata wanted them to destroy the seal because if they put it back together, she’ll be trapped as a mummy again. They need the other pieces. Giles decides to drop Buffy off at the dance and go to the museum himself to put the seal back together. Buffy hopes to arrive in time to stop Xander from getting “smoochy with mummy dearest.”

Xander asks if Willow’s seen Ampata. She shrugs, but her heavy coat makes it hard to notice. Xander tells her to actually say, “Shrug” next time. He leaves, and she says, “Sigh.” Nearby, Sven complains to Cordelia’s friend – in fluent English – about how annoying it is living with Cordelia. Because of her broken English, he wonders if she’s really from America.

Ampata needs to kiss someone to get a life-force boost, and she’s chosen Jonathan, a nerd who has most definitely never kissed a girl before. He’s surprised she’s showing interest, since he saw her with Xander. Xander comes looking for her before the kiss, and Jonathan realizes he needs to leave before Xander catches them together. Xander asks Ampata why she ran away. She says she doesn’t deserve him, which he thinks is funny, since he felt the same way about her.

She’s upset that her dream of falling in love seems to be out of her reach. Xander jokes that she can’t tell him what’s going on with her because then she’d have to kill him. He moves to kiss her, and she can’t resist, even knowing what could happen. After a few moments of kissing, Ampata resists her urge to feed on his life force, even as she starts mummifying.

Somehow, Ampata can sense Giles piecing the seal back together, so now she has something else to worry about. Buffy arrives at the Bronze and tells Willow that Ampata is the mummy. At first Willow’s happy, since they’ll have to get rid of her, but then she realizes that Xander’s in danger. Oz approaches just as they run off, so he doesn’t get a chance to strike up a conversation with his new crush. “Who is that girl?” he asks himself, intrigued.

The girls find Xander, who just remembers having a great kiss. They head off to the museum, where Ampata has already snuck in to stop Giles. He’s one piece away from putting her back in her tomb. She grabs the seal and breaks it again, then strangles Giles. Buffy arrives just then, making a “kiss and tell” joke that isn’t one of her best. Ampata notes that Buffy’s been keeping secrets just like Ampata has. Neither is a normal girl.

They fight, and Ampata wins, trapping Buffy in her tomb. Willow arrives and Ampata strangles her, but Xander offers up himself to save his best friend. He’s accepted that he and Ampata can’t be together. Ampata says she has to kill someone to stay alive, and she has to do it now. Xander again offers himself, challenging her to kill him if she wants to live. She decides she can handle that, and she starts to kiss him as her mummification continues.

Buffy gets out of the tomb and pulls Ampata off of Xander, but Ampata’s body is starting to fall apart, and her arms stay clutched onto his. If that doesn’t traumatize Xander, nothing will. Buffy drops Ampata, who shatters. Xander is single again, but he has his best buddy Willow and his other good friend Buffy to comfort him. Also, Giles. They all leave the museum, like, you’re not going to at least put Ampata back in her tomb?

The next day, Xander’s down because he’s 0 for 2 on choosing a love interest who’s secretly evil. Buffy thinks Ampata really did care about Xander, and she at least didn’t start out evil. Yeah, but she still tried to kill him, so…that’s not a lot of consolation. Buffy is sympathetic toward Ampata since she was sacrificed without having any say in the matter. Buffy went through something similar with the prophecy about her death. Xander notes that Buffy chose to sacrifice herself then because she knew it was the right thing to do. She reminds him that she had him to bring her back.

Thoughts: Oz! Oz! Oz! Who doesn’t like Oz? (The facial hair can go, though.)

This isn’t a great episode, but I like that for once, the audience knows what’s going on before the Scoobies do. Gotta keep things interesting.

I’m sorry, Cordelia would never go for Devon. He’s not high-class enough for her.

November 27, 2021

Buffy 2.3, School Hard: Maybe Nothing Bad Will Happen

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

Yep, they’re here

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 13, 2021

Buffy 2.1, When She Was Bad: What’s Next?

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

Guys, you’re supposed to leave room for the Holy Spirit

Summary: Willow and Xander are walking home from somewhere, quizzing each other with movie quotes. They’ve had a very boring summer, which at least means they haven’t had to fight any vampires or monsters. Xander’s almost looking forward to school starting up. Part of that is because Buffy’s been in L.A. with her father all summer, so he hasn’t seen her. They go back to the movie game, but things turn a little intimate, and they almost kiss. As they pull apart, a vampire appears next to them. Xander fights him off, then gets an assist from the Slayer herself. She’s back!

The Scoobies happily reunite, and Buffy chastises Xander and Willow for not carrying weapons with them. They tell her that was the first vampire they’ve seen since the Master died. Buffy also spent the summer without vampires. Xander and Willow tell her that they buried the Master in the cemetery, doing a whole ritual with robes and holy water. Buffy hasn’t seen Giles yet and doesn’t see the need to visit him before school the next day.

Back at home, Hank and Joyce unpack Buffy’s stuff from her summer in L.A. They bicker about how much shopping Hank let Buffy do. Joyce is just glad that their daughter stayed out of trouble, though Hank says she seemed kind of distant. “At least when she was burning stuff down, I knew what to say,” he laments. Joyce hopes Buffy makes it through the school year.

At school the next day, Cordelia complains to a couple of her friends that her summer was terrible. Instead of going to St. Croix, her parents took her to Tuscany. The horror! “No one has suffered like I have suffered,” she says. She acknowledges that adversity builds character, but she already has a lot of character, so now she wonders if it’s possible to have too much character. Never change, Cordy.

Snyder chats with Giles about how teens are like locusts – they just want to feed and mate, and they destroy everything. “I do enjoy these pep talks,” Giles says. You should never change, either, Rupert. He suggests that Snyder find a new line of work. Snyder continues that teen boys are just walking hormones; every time they see a pretty girl, they lost the ability to speak coherently. Just then, Jenny comes over, and Giles…well, loses the ability to speak coherently. Snyder keeps grumbling to himself as Giles and Jenny walk off to flirt.

The other Scoobies arrive, and while Xander and Willow are excited to see Giles, Buffy is pretty subdued. Willow needs to calm down, since she says loudly that Buffy killed a vampire the night before. Jenny’s surprised, since the Hellmouth is closed. There’s still mystical energy in the area, though, so demons and vampires are going to continue to be drawn to Sunnydale. Giles says he’ll consult his books. Xander tells Willow to pay up, as he bet her that Giles would say that within the first ten minutes of the day.

As the kids head off to class, Giles tells Buffy they can wait a few days to start her training back up. She tells him she’s ready now. After school, she gets right back to it, full of energy and focus. She tells Giles that whatever is coming next, she’s ready for it. Looks like someone hasn’t dealt with the trauma of fighting the Master. As for whatever’s coming next, a vampire named Absalom has gathered a bunch of vampires to discuss it with him and Collin. Within three days, someone will arise and they’ll follow him.

The next morning, Xander and Willow find Buffy lost in thought in a school lounge area. She tells them she had weird dreams the night before. Xander comments that dreams can be meaningful. Willow agrees – once she dreamed that Xander…no, wait, nothing happened. And it wasn’t her; it was a friend’s dream, and she doesn’t remember it.

Giles joins them and tells Buffy that what’s coming next is more complicated than they thought. Buffy confidently says she’ll handle it. “I’ve killed you once. It shouldn’t be too difficult to do it again,” he replies. He hits her, then tries to strangle her. Xander and Willow act like nothing’s going on as Buffy pulls off Giles’ face, revealing that he’s really the Master.

It’s just one of those weird dreams Buffy mentioned, and when she wakes up in her room, Angel’s there. She’s not interested in chatting, and she’s also not pleased to learn that this is a business visit, not a social one. Angel tells her that Collin has been gathering forces for some reason. Buffy figures she’ll find out why soon enough. She can handle it, and she’s actually looking forward to some action.

Angel warns that while Collin looks like a child, he has power, and his followers will do anything for him. Buffy cuts the visit short, saying Angel woke her up from a nice dream. As he leaves through the window, he admits that he missed her. She says it back, but he’s already gone.

The next morning (for real this time), Joyce drives Buffy to school, inviting her to open up about what’s obviously not right with her. Buffy stays quiet. At school, Buffy tells Xander and Willow that Angel came by to warn her about vampire activity. Xander says that the band Cibo Matto is playing at the Bronze that night, so they should go.

Cordelia approaches, calling the Scoobies the Three Musketeers, which they don’t find insulting. She asks if they fought any demons over the summer. “Yes, our own personal demons,” Willow replies loudly. Cordelia reminds them of everything that happened on prom night. “Cordelia, your mouth is open. Sound is coming from it. This is never good,” Buffy replies.

Xander and Willow tell Cordelia that they have to keep this kind of stuff quiet. Don’t worry, Cordelia hasn’t told anyone. For one thing, it was super-creepy. For another, she would have to admit that she spent the evening with the Scoobies. Buffy says that’s great – Cordelia won’t tell anyone that Buffy’s the Slayer, and Buffy won’t tell anyone that Cordelia’s a moron. As she leaves, the other three sense that something’s off with her.

At the Bronze that night, Willow brings up her concerns to Xander. Xander doesn’t think there’s anything to worry about, but Willow doesn’t like that Buffy’s mean now. Xander’s distracted by Buffy’s absence, so Willow tries to recreate the previous evening’s circumstances so they’ll kiss (or almost kiss) again. It doesn’t work.

Collin’s followers dig up the Master’s grave, some using their hands even though the ground is consecrated and burns their hands. Meanwhile, Buffy arrives at the Bronze, immediately catching Angel’s attention. She’s sarcastic with him, which makes him think he’s done something to scare or anger her. Is she afraid of the possibility of them being together? Buffy tells him to get over himself since that’s not going to happen. She didn’t spend the summer pining for him. She moved on to the living.

She joins Xander and Willow, inviting Xander to dance with her to a slow song. Buffy gets sexy, and though you’d think Xander would like that, he looks uncomfortable. So do Angel and Willow. After a while, Buffy asks Xander if she ever thanked him for saving her life. When he says no, she asks, “Don’t you wish I would?”

She leaves, and Cordelia follows her outside to call her out for her behavior and give her some advice: “Get over it.” She needs to deal with whatever’s making her act like this before she loses her friends. Buffy tells her to mind her own business, then storms off. Cordelia says she’ll just entertain Angel instead. But before she can go back inside, she’s grabbed by a vampire. She ends up locked up somewhere with an unconscious Jenny.

On her way home, Buffy cuts through a cemetery and sees that the Master’s grave has been dug up. She thinks she sees him next to her. The next day, Willow tells Xander and Giles that Buffy must be possessed. Maybe when the Master died, his evilness infected her. “Why else would she be acting like such a B-I-T-C-H?” Willow asks. Giles tells her they’re all too old to be spelling out curse words. “A bitca?” says a confused Xander.

Anyway, Giles thinks Buffy just has “issues.” She fought the Master and technically died for a few minutes. She just hasn’t dealt with it. Xander spots Buffy approaching them and pretends they were talking about trout. Buffy announces that the Master’s grave is empty – she thinks Collin and his followers are going to use his bones to resurrect him. Giles didn’t warn her that that could happen because no one has ever successfully revived a vampire.

Willow defends Giles, and Buffy snaps at her that she doesn’t need any comments from “civilians” on Slayer business. Xander in turn snaps at her for speaking to Willow like that. Snyder interrupts to send the kids to class, so they’ll have to finish the discussion later. After they leave, Snyder tells Giles that there are some things he can smell. “It’s like a sixth sense,” he says. “Actually, that would be one of the five,” Giles notes. Snyder means that Buffy is trouble. Eventually, she’ll be expelled and possibly sent to jail. Giles thinks she’ll surprise him. Snyder thinks he’s weird for having faith in teenagers.

Later, in the library, Giles tells the Scoobies that to revive the Master, Collin and his followers will need his bones and the blood of someone closest to him. Buffy thinks that’s her. Suddenly someone throws a big rock through the window. A note is wrapped around it, fastened with a bracelet Buffy recognizes as Cordelia’s. The note summons Buffy to the Bronze before the vampires make Cordelia a meal. “They’re going to cook her dinner?” Xander says. Yes, honey. That’s what that means.

Buffy announces that she’s going to the Bronze…alone. She can’t keep an eye on the Scoobies while she’s fighting vampires. Willow and Giles think she’s walking into a trap. Buffy says she can handle it, but Willow’s tired of her saying that. Buffy tells the Scoobies that this is her fight, not theirs.

Angel doesn’t get that memo, so he follows Buffy to the Bronze and insists on backing her up. She tells him she doesn’t trust him, since he’s a vampire. Angel says she has to trust someone, and she can’t do this alone. Buffy says she’s strong enough to do it, and definitely stronger than he is. She knows he’s thought about what would happen if the two of them ever had to fight. Why don’t they find out? Angel says no, but Buffy tries to entice him: “Come on. Kick my a%$.” Angel tells her to go off and fight Collin’s followers already. He’ll stay out of her way.

Inside the Bronze, Buffy finds someone crying, and she quickly determines it’s someone she’s supposed to think is Cordelia. It’s really a vampire, but Angel isn’t sure why she’s serving as bait. Buffy agrees – why would Collin’s followers only send one vampire? In the library, Giles answers that question. The blood in the resurrection ritual needs to come from the person or people physically closest to the Master when he died. That means Willow, Giles, Jenny, and Cordelia. The vampires lured Buffy away so they could invade the library and capture the Scoobies.

Buffy tells Angel to keep an eye on the bait vampire, then rushes back to the library, which is now trashed. Xander has been left behind, and he’s upset that Buffy’s lone-wolf attitude has led to Giles and Willow being kidnapped. If the vampires hurt Willow, Xander will kill Buffy. He explains why the vampires wanted Giles and Willow (as well as Cordelia and Jenny). Now they just need to find out where they all are.

Buffy and Xander go to the Bronze so Buffy can interrogate the bait vampire. She puts her cross necklace down the vampire’s throat to burn her in hopes of getting her to spill. Elsewhere, Absalom orders Collin’s followers to begin the ritual, which involves hanging Willow, Giles, Cordelia, and Jenny upside-down over the Master’s bones so they can bleed down onto him.

As Buffy, Angel, and Xander arrive, she tells the guys to help the Scoobies while she distracts the vampires. Well, I guess “distract” isn’t the right word. She’s just going to kill them. Everything goes according to plan, and once the humans are safe, Angel joins Buffy in fighting the vampires. Xander tells Giles that Buffy is “working out her issues.”

Absalom calls an end to the battle, announcing that he’s going to smash Buffy up. She asks if they’re going to make small talk or get to the fighting. Well, there isn’t any fighting, since she just lights him on fire and kills him. He leaves behind a big mallet, which she uses to smash the Master’s bones. The Scoobies look on as she finally deals with her feelings about what the Master did to her.

At school the next day, Cordelia tells Jenny that what happened will stay with her forever. Well, at least on her clothes. Buffy admits to Giles that she doesn’t think she can face Willow and Xander. He tells her it’s pointless to punish herself, but Buffy knows her behavior put her friends in danger. Giles says this isn’t the worse mistake she’ll ever make. (That’s supposed to be a good thing.)

Buffy gathers her courage and goes to class, where Xander and Willow have saved her a seat. They start talking about their teacher, then their plans for the evening. Willow doesn’t think the Bronze will be that much fun, since it’s the middle of the week. “Well, we could grind our enemies into talcum powder with a sledgehammer, but gosh, we did that last night,” Xander says. And just like that, everything’s okay.

I guess Collin missed all the action, because he comes to his followers’ lair to find smashed bones and no more vampires. “I hate that girl,” he complains.

Thoughts: Absalom is also Nat from ER, which might be the biggest difference I’ve seen in two characters I’ve recapped who were played by the same actor.

Jenny went to Burning Man and tells Giles he should have been there. Please enjoy that visual.

I don’t think I use any word or phrase from this show more often than I use “bitca.”

November 6, 2021

Buffy 1.12, Prophecy Girl: As It Is Written

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

It’s time

Summary: The Scoobies are at the Bronze, and Xander is finally declaring his feelings for Buffy. No, wait, he’s declaring them for Willow. No, wait, he’s just practicing on Willow. He wants to take Buffy to the Spring Fling, AKA the prom. He’s not very good at the asking-out part. He decides to just go for it, but Buffy isn’t there.

That’s because she’s slaying. Cordelia happens to be nearby, making out with a guy named Kevin in a car. She hears the sounds of Buffy’s fight with a vampire, which turn into the sounds of the vampire dying. Buffy notes that she’s killed three vampires in one night. At the library, Giles is reading the Codex Angel brought him, which contains a prophecy he’s been looking for: “The Master shall rise, and the Slayer…” He doesn’t finish the sentence, but it’s something bad. Just then, there’s an earthquake felt all over Sunnydale. The Master is the only one happy about it – this means he’s nearing his time to rise.

The next day, the Scoobies leave a science class that was so boring, even Willow the science nerd hated it. Xander gets her to leave so he can ask Buffy to the dance. (He also makes some random guy sitting on a bench leave. Don’t be a bully, Xander.) He starts to launch into his awkward speech, then cuts to the chase and asks Buffy to the dance. He tells her he wants more than just a friendship with her.

Buffy gently says she doesn’t want to spoil that friendship. Xander thinks that you either feel something more or you don’t. Buffy says straight out that she doesn’t. She doesn’t think of him as a romantic prospect. Xander’s hurt, and he guesses that she would rather be with Angel. Buffy feels bad for turning him down, but he doesn’t want to hear her expressing any sympathy.

Jenny catches Giles making a call to someone he insists on seeing that night. She notes that he’s wearing the same clothes he had on the previous day. Something big must be happening. She did some sleuthing and found stories about weird things that have happened recently, like a cat giving birth to snakes and a boiling lake. She thinks the apocalypse is nearing.

Giles isn’t sure he can trust Jenny, but it turns out she has information that’s useful to him. A monk emailed her from Cortona about the Anointed One. Giles is surprised to hear anything about him, since the Anointed One is supposed to be dead. He tells Jenny to email the monk. Even though he’s impatient and short with her, she agrees to help.

Cordelia and Kevin flirt while discussing plans for the Spring Fling, which will be at the Bronze. She asks Willow to help them set up the sound system. She’ll even be nice to Willow and talk to her at the dance. Willow agrees, though she’s distracted by the sight of Xander moping over being rejected by Buffy. “On a scale from 1 to 10? It sucked,” he tells her. Willow says at least now he knows how Buffy feels. Xander suggests that the two of them go to the dance together instead. Willow says no, since he’ll spend the whole night pining for Buffy. Xander decides to spend the evening listening to country music, “the music of pain.”

That night, Buffy hangs around school before going out to patrol. She’s shocked to see the water in the bathroom sink turning to blood. She heads to the library, where she’s shocked again – Angel is there conferring with Giles. She eavesdrops as they talk about the prophecy from the Codex. Giles says everything prophesied in the book comes true, and no matter how much Angel insists he read this one wrong, it’ll happen: Tomorrow night, Buffy will fight the Master…and die.

The guys are alerted to Buffy’s presence when she starts laughing. She wonders who will take her place as the Slayer, since a new one gets called when the current one dies. Will Giles be her Watcher, too? She asks if the Codex says how she’ll die. Scared, she asks if it’ll hurt. Angel moves to comfort her, but she doesn’t want that from him since he and Giles kept this from her.

Giles says he was hoping he would never have to tell Buffy, that he would have found a way around it. Buffy has a solution: She’ll quit. Someone else can fight the Master. Giles starts to tell her that’s not possible, because of the signs. She throws books at him, yelling, “Read me the signs! Tell me my fortune!” He and his books aren’t as helpful as he’d always seemed to be.

Angel tries to express his sympathy, but Buffy notes that he’s never going to die, so there’s no way he could understand what she’s dealing with. Angel says he doesn’t want her to die – he wouldn’t be able to stand it. They need to find a way to get out of this. Buffy repeats that she’s quitting, and she doesn’t care what happens if the Master rises. “Giles, I’m 16 years old. I don’t wanna die,” she says sadly. She tears off the cross necklace Angel gave her and throws it on the ground.

Willow calls Xander, who hangs up the phone without answering it. He’s listening to Patsy Cline. Joyce finds Buffy looking through a photo album in her bedroom and asks what’s going on with her. Buffy tries to talk her into going on a trip, immediately. Forget about school and Joyce’s job. They’ll just get out of Sunnydale.

Joyce thinks she’s brooding because no one asked her to the Spring Fling. She bought Buffy a dress she liked and encourages her to go to the dance. Buffy says she can’t go alone. “Says who? Is it written somewhere?” Joyce asks. She went to Homecoming alone her freshman year of college, and that’s where she met Buffy’s father. It was a great night. Buffy notes that Joyce had her whole life ahead of her. “Must be nice,” she says softly.

Cordelia and Willow meet up at school the next morning to get the stuff Kevin was supposed to take to the Bronze for dance set-up. Cordelia’s surprised to find herself not being upset with him for not doing what he was supposed to do. She even thinks it’s cute. Also cute: Kevin and his friends are hanging out in a lounge, watching cartoons. Well, not really – they’re all dead. It’s not cute anymore.

Buffy’s getting ready for the dance when Willow calls, then comes over to tell her what happened. She’s really shaken by the sight of all those dead classmates. She can’t find the words to express how hard it was to see the bodies of people she knows. “It wasn’t our world anymore,” she says. “They made it theirs. And they had fun.” Buffy tells her they’ll do what they have to. As she heads off to take back her job as Slayer, Willow compliments her dress.

Underground, the Master tells Collin that it’s almost time. In the library, Giles has filled Jenny in on everything she needs to know about the Slayer and the Master. She’s surprised someone as little as Buffy has such an important role. Jenny hasn’t been able to get in touch with the monk who emailed her, but he sent out an email to his followers mentioning Isaiah 11:6. Giles knows it by heart – it’s about how normally combative animals will live in harmony, “and a little child shall lead them.” Add that to another prophecy Giles has read and it probably means the Anointed One is a child who will lead Buffy into Hell.

Giles has decided that he’ll face the Master in Buffy’s place. But Buffy’s there, wearing her nice dress and Angel’s jacket, and ready to fulfill her destiny. He tries to talk her out of it, since he’s the adult here and she’s supposed to follow his orders, but she refuses to listen. Knowing she can’t change his mind, she punches him unconscious. Buffy puts her cross necklace back on and says to Jenny, “When he wakes up, tell him…I don’t know. Think of something cool; tell him I said it.” Jenny reminds her that she’ll die if she fights the Master. Buffy replies that she might take him with her.

It doesn’t take Buffy long to come across Collin. He lets him take her hand and lead her away. The other Scoobies gather in the library, trying to figure out how to help Buffy. Jenny points out that they also have a pending apocalypse, but Xander doesn’t care about that. He thinks he can find out where Buffy is.

Collin takes Buffy to the Master’s lair as Xander shows up at Angel’s…well, lair. He tells Angel that Buffy went to kill the Master, and the two of them are going to save her. Angel refuses to take Xander to the Master, knowing there’s no way Xander would survive that confrontation. Xander holds up a cross and says he hates Angel, but Buffy doesn’t, so he needs to prove that she’s right to like him. “You’re in love with her,” Angel realizes. “Aren’t you?” Xander replies.

Back at the library, Jenny asks where the Hellmouth will open. She and Willow start researching. Underground, Buffy finally comes face to face with the Master. He welcomes her and she thanks him for having her over, then tells him to have a contractor look at the water damage in the lair. “Oh, good, the feeble banter portion of the fight,” he says. Buffy moves things along by firing a crossbow at him, but he’s fast enough to catch the bolt.

Xander and Angel are now underground as well, looking for the Master’s lair. Xander accuses Angel of eyeing his neck. “I told you to eat before we left,” Xander says. Buffy reloads as the Master vanishes from her sight. He tells her she doesn’t get that she’s not the hunter here – she’s the lamb. In the library, Giles, Jenny, and Willow figure out that Master has probably sent an army of vampires to the Bronze, where the prom is currently taking place.

As Willow and Jenny leave to go to the Bronze, Buffy goes looking for the Master, who wants to drag out their fight. Buffy would rather get it over with. He sneaks up behind her and grabs her neck. Willow and Jenny realize too late that the vampire army isn’t at the Bronze – they’re at the school, slowly approaching the two of them.

Back underground, the Master is able to mesmerize Buffy in some way, so there isn’t much of a fight. He praises her for trying to fight him – and the prophecy – but she’s there to fulfill her destiny. If she hadn’t come there, the Master wouldn’t be able to rise. He bites her, thrilled with the power it gives him. He drops Buffy face-down in a pool of water and compliments her dress.

The prophecy has been fulfilled, and the Master begins to ascend. Xander and Angel make it to his lair and realize they’re too late to stop him. They’re also too late to save Buffy…almost. Xander points out that if she drowned, they might be able to revive her with CPR. Xander administers it, since Angel, as a vampire, can’t do the rescue breathing part of it.

Willow and Jenny are seemingly hopeless until Cordelia drives up to rescue them. Back underground, Xander’s successful with CPR and Buffy wakes up. Willow and Jenny tell Cordelia to get them to the library, so she drives her car right into the school. “What’s happening?” Giles asks when they run in and start barricading the doors. “Guess!” Jenny yells. As they try to protect themselves from the vampire army, another threat lurks in the stacks: snakes.

The Master takes in the view of Sunnydale from the roof of the school as Xander and Angel tell Buffy he rose. They think she’s too weak to fight him, but Buffy says she feels different – stronger. Vampires start coming in through the library windows as Buffy, Angel, and Xander head toward the Master (Buffy somehow knows where he is). She easily takes out a vampire, then goes up to the roof by herself. She tells the guys that no matter what happens next, it won’t take long.

Giles realizes that Hellmouth creatures are starting to invade the library. The Master watches through a skylight, thrilled. He’s shocked to see Buffy behind him – her death was written in a prophecy. “What can I say? I flunked the written,” she replies. Giles hits some big, ugly thing with an axe while Buffy tries not to be killed by another ugly thing. The Master is no longer able to mesmerize her, which means this is more of a fair fight.

Angel and Xander join the fight in the library as the Master taunts Buffy for not making quips anymore. He says she’s been laughing while Hell has been unleashed on Earth. Through the skylight she spots a big, broken piece of wood in the library – basically a huge stake. She tells the Master that if he loves Hell so much, he can go there. Then she tosses him through the skylight and down onto the wood, killing him.

The Hellmouth creatures leave and the Scoobies gather at the Master’s bones in the library (since, for some reason, he didn’t turn to dust like vampires usually do). Giles is pleased that even death didn’t stop Buffy from defeating the Master. Everyone wants to do something fun to take their minds off of what just happened, so they decide to go to the prom. As they all head off together, Angel starts to tell Buffy he likes her dress. She says it was a hit with everyone. I guess they figure all the debris and the skeleton in the library are tomorrow’s problem. I hope no one from the janitorial staff comes in overnight.

Thoughts: Sarah Michelle Gellar is so good in the scene where she addresses the prophecy. It’s that scene that takes the show from “this is just a dumb teen show” to “this is actually a serious drama.”

I like how Xander asks Angel if he can come in, then just walks inside, with an unspoken, “Ha ha, I don’t have to be invited because I’m not a vampire.”

I also like how Cordelia has no questions about what’s going on. “Oh, we’re fighting snakes and vampires? Cool, no problem.”

Season 1 is short, so we’re already done with it. Next up: Spike, Drusilla, Oz…and Angelus.

October 23, 2021

Buffy 1.10, Nightmares: Fear Factor

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

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Summary: Buffy creeps into the Master’s lair, where he’s ready for another face-off. She’s not. She’s so nervous that she drops her stake and doesn’t fight him when he backs her up against a wall. He puts his hand around her neck and leans in for the kill. Fortunately, it’s just a dream. Buffy’s so happy to be awake and not in danger that she almost gets excited about going to school. Joyce confirms that her father, Hank, will be visiting that weekend.

At school, Willow asks Buffy a little about her dad and his divorce from Joyce. Willow’s not familiar with parents who can’t stand each other. Hers only bicker, and sometimes they glare, but other than that, they’re fine. Buffy thinks the trouble she was getting into at the time of the divorce didn’t help anything.

In a classroom, Cordelia complains that a guy named Wendell is standing between her and the sunlight she’s using to check herself out in a mirror. Xander comes to his rescue. He asks if they had any homework, and his friends remind him that they’ve been studying active listening. As class begins, Buffy notices a young boy standing in the doorway. Suddenly, Wendell starts yelling – his textbook is full of tarantulas. “Sorry about that,” the boy in the doorway says as the whole class panics.

Underground, the Master tells Collin that fear is the most powerful force in the world, stronger than love or hate. When Collin was mortal, before he became the Anointed One, he feared monsters. The Master admits to being scared of crosses, but “fear is in the mind,” and he can control it. That means his fear can’t control him. He knows there’s some new powerful force above-ground, and change is coming – bad change.

Buffy had more nightmares the previous night, and she’s distracted when Joyce drops her off at school. She realizes she forgot her overnight bag, so she and Hank will have to go by the house before he takes her to L.A. for the weekend. Joyce is a little surprised that she’s nervous. She reminds Buffy that Hank loves her.

Willow has been obsessing about the tarantulas, since spiders freak her out. “What do they need all those legs for anyway?” she asks Buffy and Xander. “I’ll tell you: For crawling across your face in the middle of the night.” Xander doesn’t think things like spiders are that scary now that he’s faced so much supernatural stuff. Plus, if there’s something Hellmouth-y going on, Buffy will take care of it.

The Scoobies go to the library, where Giles is a little off, having gotten lost in the stacks. He also hasn’t found anything helpful on what happened with the spiders, so he suggests that the Scoobies talk to Wendell. When they do, he’s still pretty shaken. He admits that this has happened to him before. He loves spiders, but they hate him. Cordelia walks by and comments that she hopes Buffy studied for the test they have in fourth period. Buffy knew nothing about it, so she runs off to cram.

Wendell tells Xander and Willow that he used to have a huge collection of spiders. His brother didn’t tend to them properly while Wendell was away at camp, and they all died. Since then, Wendell has had a recurring nightmare about spiders crawling out of his textbook in class. He figures his spiders are mad because he didn’t take care of them. When it happened again yesterday, he thought he’d fallen asleep in class, until everyone else started screaming.

Buffy has trouble finding the class where she’s supposed to take that test she didn’t know about. Cordelia notes that she keeps cutting class, so of course she’s not prepared. Buffy struggles with the test, as well as with time management, since the whole class period flies by before she can even write her name. No one else seems to have the same problem. Also, the boy from the day before is in the doorway again.

He heads into the hallway, spotting a girl named Laura who’s sneaking into the basement to smoke. A demonic-looking guy is lurking down there and greets her with, “Lucky 19.” He beats her (ironically, right near a poster that says, “Smoking kills”). Later, Giles and Buffy go to the hospital where Laura’s been admitted. She’s too traumatized to tell them any details about what happened to her, but she tells them that her attacker said, “Lucky 19.”

Giles and Buffy talk to Laura’s doctor, who says she came out of her assault pretty well, considering. Another patient was attacked in the exact same way recently, but he’s in much worse shape, and he’s still in a coma. The doctor says someone needs to find the guy who attacked both of his patients. Buffy assures him that someone will.

Back at school, a guy who thinks a leather jacket makes you tough tells his friends he’s willing to fight a guy who wants to fight him. Willow and Xander discuss whether what happened to Wendell is connected to Laura’s attack. Way Cool Guy (as he’s officially credited – love it) gets a surprise when his mom shows up to coo over him. Who’s the tough guy now, Way Cool Guy? When Willow and Xander get to class, Xander’s confused to hear everyone laughing at him. He’s walked into the room wearing just his boxers. He thinks he’s in a dream, but when he pinches himself and doesn’t wake up, he realizes he’s not.

In the library, Giles has trouble doing any further research because he suddenly can’t read. Buffy picks up the newspaper article he was trying to read and realizes that Laura’s doctor’s other patient is the boy she keeps seeing around school. His name is Billy, and he was beaten after a baseball game last week. In other words, he’s in a coma and shouldn’t be at Sunnydale High. Giles suggests that this is a case of astral projection; Billy’s able to move around in the world even though he’s physically in another place. Buffy sees that Billy’s number is 19, as in lucky 19.

Just then, Hank arrives, hours early to pick up Buffy. He takes Buffy for a walk so he can tell her that she’s the reason he and Joyce split up. Raising her and seeing her every day was too much for him. He’s not surprised she didn’t figure it out herself; she’s pretty selfish, after all. Buffy wasn’t the child he wanted, so he just left her. Hank doesn’t appreciate her crying about this when he’s just trying to be honest. Also, he doesn’t get anything out of their weekends together, so he’s done with those. As he leaves, Billy appears again.

Xander and Willow head to the library to tell Giles about the latest weird occurrence. Willow pretends she didn’t enjoy seeing Xander in his boxers, though she acknowledges that having everyone stare at her would be awful. When Xander says it was a “total nightmare,” Willow realizes that something is going on with people’s dreams. Wendell has a recurring dream about spiders, and it happened in real life. Giles agrees – he dreamed about getting lost in the stacks, and then it happened. He tells them about Billy and how he might be influencing events in the real world while comatose.

The longer this goes on, the more Sunnydale citizens will face their worst nightmares, like Cordelia having a horrible hair day. Poor baby. Buffy has real problems to deal with! She spots Billy going into the school gym and follows him in. She tries to talk to him about his attack, but he doesn’t remember what happened after the game. He confirms that “the ugly man,” Laura’s attacker, calls him lucky 19. Before Buffy can get any more information, the ugly man attacks. Buffy’s able to fight back, unlike in her nightmare about the Master, but it’s a tough fight and she ends up running away.

The other Scoobies split up to find Buffy, though Willow doesn’t think that’s the safest option. Buffy traps the ugly man in the gym, and Billy tells her they need to hide, even though the ugly man will find them. After spotting Cordelia – now wearing clothes she would never willingly wear – getting dragged to a chess club meeting, Willow hears Buffy calling to her from the basement. She gathers her courage to go down there, where someone grabs her. Xander finds himself in an abandoned wing of the school, which has been trashed and graffitied with swastikas. He finds a trail of candy bars on the ground and follows them, because Xander is a child.

Meanwhile, Buffy gets turned around on the way to the library, and she and Billy end up by the school’s baseball field. He comments that losing a baseball game is bad. His team lost their game last week, and Billy blames himself because he missed a catch. Buffy points out that there are other players on the team, so he can’t blame the loss on one player. Billy tells her that someone else blamed him for the loss. Buffy guesses that’s the man who hurt him. They spot the ugly man and go back inside, but somehow find themselves in a cemetery instead.

Willow, now dressed in a kimono, is backstage in the auditorium, about to take the stage with an opera singer. Willow is supposedly “the world’s finest soprano.” Willow doesn’t know the words to the duet she’s supposed to sing with the other singer, and he’s not happy about it. Xander follows the candy-bar trail to his own worst nightmare, a clown from his sixth birthday party. To be fair, the clown has a knife, which is pretty scary.

In the cemetery, Billy points Buffy’s attention to an empty grave. The Master appears and taunts that he’s free because that’s what Buffy fears. People’s nightmares are coming true, and the world is now crumbling. He grabs Buffy, telling her this is real, not a dream. Then he drops her into the grave, where she falls into an open casket. The lid closes and the Master starts to bury her alive.

Xander finds Willow, who run into Giles while trying to escape the killer clown. But instead of running, Xander stops and attacks the clown. “You were a lousy clown!” he shouts. “Your balloon animals were pathetic! Anyone can make a giraffe!” The three Scoobies head outside, where things are chaotic. Giles warns that if they don’t end this nightmare stuff soon, the dream world will envelop the real world. They need to find Buffy. Hey, maybe the cemetery that’s suddenly appeared across the street will provide them with some answers!

As the three head over, Giles realizes that they’re in his nightmare. He finds Buffy’s headstone, which means he failed in his duty to train and protect the Slayer. Fortunately, she’s not dead, as she demonstrates by reaching out of her grave and pulling herself out. Unfortunately, she’s a vampire. Now the Scoobies are in one of Buffy’s nightmares. Giles tells Buffy that if they can wake Billy up, they may be able to return the world to normal. Buffy will just need to keep it together long enough to do that. She says they should hurry, since she’s getting hungry. Willow worries that they won’t be able to wake Billy. “Willow, do shut up,” Giles tells her.

At the hospital, the Scoobies encounter both the real Billy and his dream self. The ugly man is on his way, and dream Billy says he needs to stay asleep so he can hide. Buffy isn’t scared, though. She faces the ugly man, knowing he’s not the scariest enemy she’ll ever face. “There are a lot scarier things than you – and I’m one of them,” she says. They fight, and this time she’s stronger than he is. Buffy tells Billy to finish him off so he can stop hiding.

Once Billy pulls off the ugly man’s face, a bright light shines out. The world returns to normal and Billy wakes up. Moments later, his baseball coach arrives and tells the Scoobies that he comes to visit Billy every day – he just has to see his lucky 19. Buffy realizes the coach beat Billy because he blamed Billy for losing the game. But Billy no longer blames himself, and Buffy’s proud to hear him repeat what she said about one player not being responsible for a team’s loss.

The Scoobies head back to school after making sure the coach has been arrested. Hank arrives to pick up Buffy for the weekend, both of them happy to see each other. Willow asks Xander if he was still attracted to Buffy while she was a vampire. He pretends that’s a horrible question, then admits that the answer is yes.

Thoughts: Jeremy Foley, who plays Billy, looks amazingly like Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Wendell: “They’re arachnids.” Xander: “They’re from the Middle East?” Stay in school, buddy.

I wish Cordelia’s nightmares had been less shallow. I think it would be realistic for her to worry that her friends don’t really like her, or that her money and popularity won’t mean anything when she’s out of school and in the real world, or that her shallowness means she’s not prepared for life beyond high school.

October 16, 2021

Buffy 1.9, The Puppet Show: Slaying for Dummies

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

Sid also gives me the wig

Summary: “I will be whole. I will be new,” vows a deep voice. We’re backstage in Sunnydale High’s auditorium, where rehearsals for a talent show are underway. Cordelia sings “The Greatest Love of All” and makes babies cry across the five nearest counties. The Scoobies arrive to tease Giles for having to run the show. It’s on the orders of the new principal, Snyder, who wants Giles to have more contact with the students instead of hiding in the library. Buffy teases that he can’t escape his destiny. She’s going to watch, like he usually does.

The Scoobies leave, running into Snyder on their way out. He doesn’t appreciate that they’re not taking this seriously. He also knows that they all left campus the previous afternoon. Buffy starts to tell him that they were fighting a demon. Buffy, come on. Xander corrects that they left to avoid fighting. Snyder tells the Scoobies they’re too antisocial and need to be more involved in school activities. He orders them to participate in the talent show. The Scoobies would rather face a vampire than do that, but Snyder isn’t like Flutie. There will be no touchy-feely principaling here.

Up next on stage is a guy named Morgan who does a ventriloquist act. Buffy tells Willow that dummies have given her “the wig” since she was a kid. When Willow asks for details, Buffy says, “I saw a dummy; it gave me the wig.” Morgan isn’t very good, either at the jokes in his “humorous” act or the ventriloquism part. No one’s impressed until the dummy, Sid, starts mocking him.

A girl named Emily is alone in the locker room when she hears someone else in the room. There’s heavy breathing coming from a low height. Whatever’s there attacks her, declaring, “I will be flesh.” The next day, the Scoobies try to rehearse their “talent,” a scene from a play. Xander doesn’t want to do it. He points out that Willow plays the piano, so Buffy suggests that she play while they sing. Willow backs out, since she’s terrified of singing in front of an audience.

From nearby, Sid ogles the girls. Buffy and Willow are impressed with how well Morgan is doing as a ventriloquist. Sid keeps hitting on the girls, asking them out. “You know what they say: Once you go wood, nothing’s as good,” he says. Buffy tells Morgan it’s time to put an end to the sexually harassing part of his routine, or she’ll burn the dummy.

Snyder tells Giles that kids need more discipline than Flutie was willing to give them. Flutie’s belief that kids are humans and need understanding was “the kind of woolly-headed liberal thinking that leads to being eaten.” Snyder knows all about the strange things that have gone on at the school, and he wants to put a stop to them. He’s going to keep an eye on the Scoobies and turn things around.

Too late! Emily’s dead in the locker room. Giles tells the Scoobies that Emily’s heart was removed with a knife. That means the killer is probably a human. Buffy disagrees, since they’re on the Hellmouth and all. Willow’s freaked out because the killer could be anyone, even her. Okay, not her. Giles tells the Scoobies to question the other talent show participants in case they know something.

Buffy questions a tuba player named Lisa, Giles talks to a magician named Marc, Willow chats with a guy named Elliot, and Xander’s stuck with Cordelia. All of them say they didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary with Emily, but that Morgan was acting weird the other day. Elliot thinks he was arguing with Sid. Cordelia’s freaked out about “Emma”‘s death and says she could have been the one who died. “We can dream,” Xander quips.

Buffy goes to see Morgan, who’s talking to Sid in the auditorium. He says he was working on throwing his voice. She asks him if Emily said anything to him yesterday, or if he saw her fighting with someone. Morgan says no, then pauses when his head starts to hurt. Sid tells Buffy to leave him alone. Buffy doesn’t appreciate that, so Morgan puts Sid in his carrying case. He starts to tell Buffy something about the dummy, then leaves.

The Scoobies meet up in the library, agreeing that Morgan is a person of interest here. Buffy cautions them not to jump from “Morgan is weird” straight to “Morgan killed Emily.” There could still be a demon element here. Giles hasn’t had time to look into that, thanks to his responsibilities with the talent show. The Scoobies think the investigation should be a priority, but Giles warns that Snyder is keeping a close eye on them, so “the show must go on.” He sends Buffy to check out Morgan’s locker for anything suspicious.

Buffy breaks into Morgan’s locker, but Snyder catches her before she can do much looking around. He tells her there are some things he won’t tolerate on school grounds: “Students loitering on campus after school. Horrible murders with hearts being removed. And also smoking.” He knows there’s something going on with her, and sooner or later, he’ll figure it out.

Buffy says she’s just there to get Sid, but he’s not in his case. That’s because he’s with Morgan, watching Buffy and Snyder talk. They return to the auditorium, where Sid tries to convince Morgan that Buffy is “the one.” Morgan declines to do whatever Sid wants him to do. Sid says she’s the last; after this one, he’ll be free.

Over at Buffy’s house, Joyce is eager to see whatever the Scoobies decide to do in the talent show. She wants to be supportive. Buffy would like her to show her support by staying away. Joyce asks if something’s bothering her, but Buffy just says there’s a lot going on in her life. She goes to bed, not noticing that Sid is lurking outside her window. Sometime later that night, Sid opens the window and jumps onto Buffy’s bed. Joyce hears her scream and comes in, but there’s nothing there. She guesses that Buffy had a nightmare. Buffy agrees, though she notices that the window that was closed when she went to bed is now open.

At school the next day, Marc practices his magic routine. He’s not very good. Cordelia complains about her slot in the show, not wanting to follow a rock band since no one will be in a sappy mood for her sappy song. Giles gets rid of her by making a vague comment about her hair that makes her run off to find a mirror. (He credits Xander with that tip.)

Buffy tells the Scoobies that she thinks Sid came into her room last night – alone and alive. Xander thinks it was a cat, and Giles thinks it was a nightmare. Willow allows that Morgan could have been involved. Buffy wishes she could separate him from Sid and have a real conversation with him. Giles has made some progress with his research, finding information on a brotherhood of seven demons that steal human organs every seven years so they can maintain their human forms. Maybe Morgan is one of those demons. The only thing is that those demons are really strong, while Morgan seems to be getting weaker every day.

In history class, Buffy stares at Morgan instead of listening to a lecture on the Monroe Doctrine. Sid turns his head around to look at her. It’s pretty creepy. Cordelia teases that someone has a crush on Buffy. Sid whispers something to Morgan, so the teacher confiscates him and puts him in a cupboard. Sid says he’s still watching. Buffy is, too.

After school, Morgan goes to get his dummy back, but first the teacher wants to talk about how he’s seemed off lately. Morgan is completely focused on getting Sid. Too bad he’s not there. Morgan is distressed – Sid knew to wait for him. Xander has nabbed Sid so Buffy can have a conversation with Morgan alone. He creeps Buffy out with the dummy, then bangs its head on a table to remind Buffy that it’s not real.

Buffy goes to the auditorium to find Morgan but instead encounters Snyder. He tells her that with everything going on, a girl might not be safe there alone. Buffy says she knows how to take care of herself. Back in the library, Willow finds something that says dolls and mannequins with consciousness have been known to harvest organs in an attempt to become human. Maybe Sid had something to do with Emily’s murder. While Xander’s back is turned, Sid disappears.

Buffy finally finds Morgan backstage, but he’s not going to be any help: His brain has been removed. A chandelier falls on Buffy, knocking her out, and even her Slayer strength won’t help her lift it. Sid ambushes her and tries to stab her, but her Slayer strength finally kicks in and gives her an advantage (as do her opposable thumbs). He admits defeat and tells her to go ahead and move on with Emily’s heart and Morgan’s brain. Buffy tells him he lost and will never be human. He says she won’t, either. They’re both confused.

The story comes out in the library: Sid is a demon hunter. Well, he was before he was cursed and turned into a dummy. Morgan wanted Sid to team up with Buffy, but Sid thought she was the demon who killed Emily. He hits on her again, like, she’s 16, dude. Gross. Anyway, the demon has a heart and brain now, which means he gets to keep his human form for seven more years. Giles remarks that it’s nice to have someone else do all this explaining for once.

Sid has killed seven of the brotherhood of the demons. Once he kills the seventh, he’ll be free of his dummy form. He’s sure the seventh is involved in the talent show, so they’ll just need to see who’s missing that night to figure out who the demon is. Giles suddenly remembers that the show is supposed to be starting…well, now. Sid tells him to gather all the participants for a power circle so they can see who’s missing. Giles has no idea what a power circle is. I guess Sunnydale High School has no drama department. Just put everyone in a circle and tell them to have a good show.

Cordelia has state fright, which is probably good, because no one’s going to want to hear her sing. Giles advises her to picture the audience in their underwear. She thinks that’s a horrible idea. Up on a catwalk, Buffy tells Sid she’s the Slayer. He knew one in the ’30s, a hot Korean woman. It sounds like they hooked up. Buffy confirms that when Sid is released from his dummy form, he won’t return to his body. But Sid’s lived a full life, and he’s ready to die.

The power circle gathers, but Giles doesn’t provide them much motivation. Once they all leave to get ready for the show, Buffy jumps down to tell Giles that everyone was present and accounted for. Sid disappears from the catwalk as Giles runs into Snyder, who’s lurking backstage. While looking for Sid, Buffy feels something dripping down on her. It’s some sort of grossness coming off of a brain.

In the library, Xander suggests that Sid lied to them. Buffy thinks the demon just rejected Morgan’s brain, though she can’t figure out why, since Morgan’s super-smart. Willow finds the answer in his school file: He’s missed a bunch of school and his emergency contact is an oncologist. Morgan must have had a tumor that made his brain unusable. Buffy says the demon will now go looking for the smartest person around.

While Marc asks Giles to help him with something backstage, Buffy and Xander worry that Willow is the demon’s next target. Buffy promises to protect her. Yeah, that won’t be a problem. Marc needs Giles to help him with a trick involving a guillotine that will most definitely cut off Giles’ head. The Scoobies realize that the demon was there for the power circle, and that Giles is the next target.

They run to the auditorium, where Marc is locking Giles in for his skull to be cut open. As he chops at the rope keeping the blade up, Buffy tackles him. The rope snaps and the blade falls, but Xander grabs the rope before it can hit Giles. Willow then chops the lock off to free Giles. Buffy tries to trap Marc inside the box attached, but he almost overpowers her. Fortunately, Sid’s there with a knife to help her out.

They get Marc under the blade and use it to kill him. Sid says he’ll come back unless they stab him in the heart. Once Sid does, he dies, finally free. Buffy cradles him in her arms and says it’s over. Just then, the curtains open and everyone there for the talent show gets a good look at the aftermath of the demon fight. “I don’t get it,” Snyder says. “What is it, avant-garde?”

Over the credits, Buffy, Xander, and Willow do a scene from Oedipus Rex. Willow and Xander are nervous, while Buffy can’t hide that she’d rather be anywhere else. Willow runs off, leaving Buffy and Xander alone on the stage. Still, it’s better than Cordelia’s singing.

Thoughts: Snyder is a great “love to hate him” villain, and Armin Shimerman plays him perfectly.

I can’t tell if it’s because of Snyder’s leadership style or because there are so many deaths in Sunnydale, but after Emily dies, there’s no offer of grief counseling and really, no one seems to care that one of their classmates was murdered. The school would be a great place for a psychologist to do a study on the effects of multiple traumas. Okay, that’s enough nerdery from me.

It would have been funny if, after Buffy said to “watch the dummy” while she talked to Morgan, Willow had said, “Okay, I’ll keep an eye on Xander.”

I love that when Xander realizes that Sid is gone, he jumps up on a table like Sid’s a snake he doesn’t want near his feet.

October 2, 2021

Buffy 1.7, Angel: Kill or Be Killed

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 1:03 pm by Jenn

I, too, like to make out with mysterious guys I know nothing about

Summary: Collin and the Master are hanging out underground, still waiting for their minions to do their jobs so the Master can ascend. The Master complains to Darla that Buffy killed another one of his minions. He’s tired of the Slayer taking out all his guys. Collin suggests that the Master kill her, so Darla volunteers to do the job. The Master decides to send the Three instead.

The Bronze is about to close for a few days for fumigation, which means it’s time for their annual fumigation party. Catch a roach, get a free drink! Willow thinks it’s fun, but Buffy’s distracted. She laments that she’s single. Willow suggests that she date Angel, but since he’s not around much, that doesn’t appeal to Buffy. Still, she does like when he is around.

Xander is dancing dorkily, trying to find someone to dance dorkily with him. Cordelia taunts him and he taunts her back. So…same as usual. Xander joins Buffy and Willow, but Buffy thinks she’s bringing down everyone’s mood, so she leaves. On her way out, she passes a lurking Angel, but when she turns to double-check that he was really there, he disappears.

On her way home, Buffy senses a vampire and prepares to stake him and be on her way. Unfortunately, it’s not one vampire, it’s three. Specifically, it’s the Three. They’re all really strong, and she’s more outnumbered than she would be with just three regular vampires. Fortunately, Angel comes to her rescue and makes it a more even fight. But they don’t finish any of the vampires off, and Angel takes a metal post to the stomach. The two run to Buffy’s house, which the Three can’t enter without an invitation.

Buffy goes to get some bandages for Angel’s wound, telling him to take off his jacket and shirt. That’s a little treat for the audience. Buffy asks how he happened to be in the right place at the right time. Angel pretends he wasn’t stalking her and was just out for a walk. Buffy says it’s not a huge problem if he’s been hanging around her, but she’d like to know why. “Maybe I like you,” he says.

Buffy hears Joyce come home and runs to the front door to make sure the Three aren’t still outside the house. She rushes Joyce upstairs before she can realize that there’s someone else there. But Angel makes himself seen, so Buffy has to introduce him to her mother. She lies that he’s a college student who’s been tutoring her in history.

After Joyce goes upstairs, Buffy pretends to see Angel off, then sneaks him up to her room so he won’t have to face the Three. She offers to let him sleep in her bed while she sleeps on the floor. He’s too chivalrous for that, and also too chivalrous not to look away while she’s changing clothes. They chat while he looks out the window to see if the Three are still there.

Buffy asks why Angel has taken on the tasks she’s destined for as the Chosen One. He says someone has to protect humanity. His family’s dead, and Buffy guesses vampires are to blame. They are, but Angel says it was a long time ago. He changes the subject, telling Buffy how pretty she is. As they get in bed/floor, she asks if he snores. He doesn’t know, since it’s been a long time since he’s slept close enough to someone who might hear.

Xander’s upset to hear the next day that Angel spent the night in Buffy’s room. Willow thinks it’s romantic and wonders if anything happened. Buffy happily says that Angel was a gentleman. Xander thinks Angel set this all up to impress her. Giles asks about the Three, who he’s identified as warrior vampires. Willow wonders how Giles always knows what’s going on. She never knows what’s going on. Giles tells Buffy they need to step up her training. Xander suggests that Buffy stay with him for a while. Willow can tell Angel to leave town. Xander, stop talking. Giles says Buffy and Angel aren’t in immediate danger. The Three won’t be a problem again.

Indeed, the Three admit to the Master that they failed to kill the Slayer, which means the Master is allowed/expected to kill them. The Master tells Collin that this is part of the responsibility that comes with their power. He doesn’t see the point in killing the Three, but he lets Darla kill them anyway, because why not find joy wherever you can?

Buffy raids the book cage, where Giles keeps the weapons they haven’t gotten to use yet. She’s especially interested in using a crossbow. He wants her to start with a quarterstaff instead. They spar, and she quickly disarms him and flips him onto his back. That’s enough for Giles to allow her to try the crossbow instead.

Angel’s been hanging out in Buffy’s room all day, so she brings him dinner. In a bag. I guess it’s the thought that counts. She gets upset when she thinks he read her diary, since she’s written a bunch of stuff about someone named A. Not that A is Angel! He’s Achmed, a charming exchange student! Buffy loves Achmed! You heard it here first! Angel tells her that Joyce moved the diary when she came in to straighten up the room. Angel hid in the closet and didn’t read it.

He’s decided he can’t hang out with Buffy because when they’re around each other, all he can think about is how much he wants to kiss her. Since he’s older, this can’t happen. Buffy isn’t deterred by that, so they kiss. But he pulls away, and when he turns back to her, his face has changed – he’s vamped out. Buffy screams and Angel jumps out the window. When Joyce runs into find out what happened, Buffy says she just got spooked by a shadow.

The next day, Buffy shares the news with the other Scoobies. She wonders if a vampire can ever be a good person. Giles says no – even with his memories from his human life, he’s been taken over by a demon. Buffy wonders why Angel was so nice to her, then. Is this something the Master cooked up? Xander doesn’t care – Angel’s a vampire, so Buffy has to slay him.

That won’t be so easy, since Buffy has developed feelings for Angel. You might even say she’s in love with him. Xander exclaims that she’s out of her mind for falling for a vampire. Cordelia overhears, so Xander corrects himself: Buffy’s in love with an umpire. Cordelia quickly moves on to confront a girl who’s wearing the same dress she is. “You think we have problems,” Buffy quips.

Angel goes home to what can only be described as a lair. Darla’s waiting for him there, and this isn’t their first encounter. In fact, they’ve known each other for decades. They used to wreak havoc together, but now Angel’s hanging out with a Slayer and acting like a human. Angel acknowledges that he’s not human, but he’s also not like other vampires. Darla points out that he still needs blood to survive. (Unlike other vampires, he drinks from blood bags.)

Darla tries to entice Angel to let his real nature come out. She knows it’s brewing inside him, and she hopes she’s around when it finally explodes out of him. She taunts that Buffy’s probably afraid of him. Or maybe not. Maybe if Angel tells her about the curse, she’ll change her mind. But if she still doesn’t trust him, Angel knows where he can find Darla.

The Scoobies do some research in the library, but they have trouble finding any information on Angel. Giles comes across something about Angelus, so named because of his angelic face. That means Angel’s about 240, which isn’t as old as many vampires, but is still pretty old. Angelus came from Ireland, caused trouble in Europe for decades, and then came to the U.S. about 80 years ago and basically became a hermit. Willow thinks that means he’s a good vampire after all. Buffy agrees, since Angel never fed on her.

Underground, Darla presents a plan to the Master: Have Angel kill Buffy, then return to their fold. The Master is a big fan of Angel’s, or at least the evil version of him, Angelus. Darla plans to force Angel to kill Buffy to keep her from killing him. The Master is pleased that his “family” is looking out for each other.

Buffy and Willow try to study in the library, but Buffy’s understandably distracted. Willow gets that Buffy’s still hung up on Angel. She herself can’t help fantasizing about Xander just grabbing her and kissing her. Buffy encourages her to speak up if she wants to be with Xander. Willow knows that’ll end badly, so she’s not going there.

Darla lurks in the shelves upstairs as Buffy and Willow talk about Buffy’s kiss with Angel. Willow thinks it’s nice that Angel will always be young and handsome, though it’s not quite as nice when she thinks about how Buffy will grow old and die. Plus, what if they have kids? Buffy wants to get all this out of her system and come to terms with the fact that Angel’s a vampire, so nothing can happen between them.

At home, Joyce hears creaking noises outside and checks to make sure she’s alone. She’s not – Darla’s outside. She introduces herself as a friend of Buffy’s who’s there to study. Joyce naïvely invites her in and offers her a snack. Angel’s lurking outside as well, and he almost knocks on the door to see if Buffy will talk to him. That means he’s close enough to hear Joyce when she screams.

Angel bursts into the house (thanks to Buffy’s earlier invitation) and tells Darla to let Joyce go. Darla tries to tempt him into drinking some of her blood. He vamps out but struggles to stop himself. Of course, that’s when Buffy comes home and catches him in vamp face, bent over her unconscious mother. She throws him out a window and tells him that if he comes back, she’ll kill him.

Buffy calls an ambulance, telling the 911 operator that Joyce cut herself. The Scoobies reconvene at the hospital, where Joyce is told that she slipped and cut herself on something resembling a barbecue fork (which the Summerses don’t have). She meets Giles for the first time and is impressed by how caring the teachers are in Sunnydale.

Buffy thinks she was stupid to trust Angel and not kill him after she found out that he’s a vampire. Willow thinks it’s reasonable that she couldn’t bring herself to kill someone she cares about. But now Buffy is ready to make sure Angel never hurts anyone else she cares about. Giles reminds her that Angel knows she’s a Slayer and has taken on the Three. This isn’t going to be an easy kill.

Darla goes back to Angel’s lair to tell him that Buffy’s looking for him. She taunts him for letting himself believe that Buffy might accept him. As Buffy gets in some crossbow practice, Darla urges Angel to kill Buffy before she can kill him: “Kill. Feed. Live.” Angel tells her he wants this over, which Darla is happy to hear.

Since Buffy knows Angel lives near the Bronze, she goes there to try to figure out where he might be. Back at the hospital, Giles chats with Joyce about Buffy’s trouble with history. Since Buffy “lives very much in the now,” she has a hard time learning about things that have already happened. Joyce says she’s trying, since she’s studying with both Willow and Darla. Giles isn’t familiar with Darla, whom Joyce notes was still in the house when she had her “accident.” Giles figures out that Darla, not Angel, attacked Joyce.

Buffy follows some noises into the closed Bronze, hunting Angel. He appears to her with his vamp face on, ready to fight. But when she has her chance to send an arrow into his heart, she hesitates. He morphs out of his vamp face and encourages her to go ahead and stake him. Buffy asks why he’s acted the way he has. He was nice to her, and now he’s her enemy. Why go after her family? Angel says he killed his own family, so why not?

For 100 years, Angel killed everyone he met, and he did it happily. Then one day he killed a Romani girl about Buffy’s age. Her elders came up with a creative punishment: They restored his soul. When you become a vampire, your soul disappears, leaving you without a conscience or guilt. That makes it easier to kill innocent people. “You have no idea what it’s like to have done the things I’ve done…and to care,” Angel says. He hasn’t fed on a human since that day.

Buffy wonders why Angel suddenly chose to attack Joyce. He says he didn’t, but he knew Buffy wouldn’t believe him if he said so. Plus, his demon side took over and he truly wanted to kill her. Buffy puts down her crossbow and walks up to him, offering him the chance to do it. When he doesn’t move, she says it must not be as easy as it seems. Darla, who’s just arrived, disagrees.

As the other Scoobies search for Buffy, Darla lets Buffy know that she and Angel were involved for a long time. Buffy just insults Darla’s outfit, hair, and wrinkles. Darla reminds Angel that he threw away his shot at ruling with her in the Master’s court because he wanted to get to know Buffy. He’ll always be sick, and he’ll spend the rest of his eternal life remembering what it was like to watch Buffy die.

Buffy picks up her crossbow again, but Darla isn’t scared, since she has two guns. She shoots Angel, though a bullet won’t kill a vampire. She continues firing at Buffy, who’s able to hide from her. The Scoobies are outside and hear the shots. Buffy’s a better shot with her crossbow than Darla is with her guns, though she doesn’t get an arrow in Darla’s heart.

Xander suggests that the Scoobies distract Darla, so Willow yells out that Darla was the one who attacked Joyce. Darla starts shooting at them but keeps missing. Still, the distraction works, and Buffy is almost able to get the upper hand. While Darla’s focused on her, Angel comes up behind Darla and jams an arrow through her back, into her heart. Darla says his name, surprised, then turns to dust. Angel leaves without saying anything to Buffy.

Underground, the Master is distraught to lose his favorite vampire. Collin says Darla was weak and they don’t need her. He’ll kill the Slayer. The Master is also sad that Angel won’t be returning to the fold to sit at his right hand. Collin says everyone’s against the Master, but he’ll rise soon and they’ll kill everyone.

The Scoobies (minus Giles) go back to the Bronze for the post-fumigation party. Angel’s been radio-silent, but Buffy feels like he’s still watching her. Willow notices that he’s lurking in the shadows once again. Xander decides not to watch, which means his full attention is on Willow.

Angel approaches Buffy, saying he just wanted to make sure she and Joyce were both okay. He knows he and Buffy can never have any kind of relationship. She understands, and she agrees that they both need to walk away. But neither of them does. Instead, they kiss again. Willow decides not to tell Xander about that. This time, Angel doesn’t vamp out, though he says it hurts. When Buffy leaves, saying she’ll see him around, we see what Angel meant: Her cross necklace burned his chest.

Thoughts: The show uses the word “gypsy,” but that’s considered a slur, so I’ll be using “Romani.”

For the record, Buffy telling Angel, “Get in” when they get to her house counts as an invitation.

I’d forgotten how little Willow gets to do this early in the season. It’s too bad, especially since Alyson Hannigan is so funny. But at least she gets more to do than Charisma Carpenter.

September 4, 2021

Buffy 1.3, Witch: I’ve Heard of Living Vicariously Through Your Child, But This Is Too Much

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

Amy will be back

Summary: Giles is upset with Buffy for putting aside her Slayer responsibilities for something else. That something else is the cheerleading squad. He doesn’t want her to set aside her “sacred birthright” to try out for the squad. As her Watcher, he forbids it. Buffy promises that she’ll have time to cheer and slay vampires. She just wants to do something normal and safe. Elsewhere, someone’s doing something witchy with a cauldron and a doll.

Buffy heads to tryouts with Willow and Xander, noting that she hasn’t seen a vampire in a week, so this isn’t as irresponsible as Giles thinks it is. Xander appreciates the cheerleaders’ commitment to school spirit. Keep your eyes in your head, buddy. He gives Buffy a bracelet as a good-luck present. It’s engraved “yours, always,” which Xander claims is standard for all bracelets of that design.

Cordelia complains to Willow (probably not realizing that’s who she’s talking to, since she wouldn’t normally talk to Willow voluntarily) about a girl named Amber who seems to be taking this too seriously. Willow catches up with a friend named Amy, who’s also trying out. Willow notes that Amy recently lost a lot of weight. Amy says she had to. Amber does the first tryout, and Buffy’s intimidated. Amy tells her that Amber trains with a coach named Benson, one of the best. Amy herself trains with her mom for hours every day.

As Amber finishes her routine, smoke starts coming out of her pompoms. Willow yells out that she’s on fire. “Enough with the hyperbole,” says Cordelia, who’s turned away and doesn’t realize that Amber is literally going up in flames. As Amber’s hands light up, Buffy grabs a banner to smother the flames. Looks like even with vampires on temporary hiatus, Buffy can’t escape the supernatural in her everyday life.

The teens go to the library to fill Giles in. He says spontaneous human combustion is rare, but it’s been documented for centuries. He’s a little too happy that there’s so much supernatural stuff to learn about so close to the Hellmouth. In most cases of human combustion, the victim was feeling rage. Xander says that means Amber has a superpower: “It’s like the Human Torch, only it hurts.”

Buffy wants to find out if Amber has had any experiences like this before. Willow and Xander immediately offer to help. They’re a team now. Willow says Buffy’s the Slayer and they’re the Slayerettes. I prefer “Scoobies,” but thanks anyway. Buffy’s worried that her new friends will put themselves in danger. “I laugh in the face of danger,” Xander replies. “Then I hide till it goes away.” Buffy notes that Amber might not have been the cause of what happened.

At home, Joyce is opening a shipment of tribal art for her gallery. Buffy tells her there was an accident at tryouts, so she didn’t get to have a turn yet. Joyce gives her some vague encouragement, though Buffy can tell she doesn’t know what Buffy was trying out for. Still, Joyce was supportive, so that’s nice. She’s struggling to open a crate, but thanks to her Slayer strength, Buffy easily gets the lid off. Joyce is happy that Buffy wants to be a cheerleader again, since it’ll keep her out of trouble. Buffy brings up Amy and how she trains with her mother, angling for Joyce to offer to work with her. Joyce is too busy, though.

The next day, the tryouts continue, because they can’t let a little fire ruin things for the other girls. This time the girls do a group routine. Amy falls over at the end, bumping into Cordelia, who desperately hopes that doesn’t count against her. Afterward, Buffy finds Amy looking at a cheerleading trophy in a case. Her mother, Catherine, was a Sunnydale cheerleader and led the squad to a championship. Amy’s father left a few years ago, and Catherine did an amazing job of raising Amy on her own while going to cosmetology school.

Buffy tells Amy that she doesn’t have to be as devoted to cheerleading as her mother was. Amy says that Catherine was the best, but Amy can’t get herself to the same level. She runs off to change clothes as Willow approaches. She tells Buffy that Catherine is really strict about her weight, which explains why Amy “had to” lose her extra pounds. In middle school, when Catherine got serious about dieting, Willow would bring Amy to her house and they would eat brownies together,

Willow doesn’t have much of an update on Amber – she’s a regular student who’s only been in trouble once, when she got detention for smoking (cigarette smoking, not being on fire). Buffy says they’ll have to wait and see if something else happens. Maybe nothing will. In the locker room, Cordelia corners Amy to make it clear that she’s not going to let Amy’s clumsiness keep Cordelia from making the squad. If Amy messes things up for Cordelia again, she’ll be sorry.

Xander asks Willow if Buffy’s wearing the bracelet he gave her. He thinks they’re basically going out. You know, without all the stuff that comes with going out, or Buffy’s knowledge that they’re going out. Xander says Willow’s a great friend – like a guy who knows about girl stuff. Yay? The list is up announcing who made the squad, and Amy’s lucky because Cordelia’s on it. Buffy is the first alternate, and Amy is third.

Amy runs off, upset. Buffy follows her, noting that on the bright side, tryouts are over. She invites Amy over to hang out after school and eat brownies. Amy says she can’t do any more than she’s already done to make the squad. This would never happen to Catherine. Someone uses the cauldron and dolls again, this time naming a doll Cordelia, wrapping a band around the doll’s eyes, and asking something or another to “feed on her.”

The next day, Joyce shows Buffy her high school yearbook and suggests that she join the yearbook staff. Joyce was photo editor of hers and got to be on every page. Buffy tells her that’s for nerds. Joyce enjoyed it, but Buffy says she’s into other things. Joyce notes that those things got her kicked out of her old school. They had to move all the way to Sunnydale to find a decent school that would let her attend. That’s too far, and Buffy has hurt feelings now. Joyce beats herself up for that.

At school, Xander and Willow notice Cordelia wandering down the hall, not stopping to insult them. It’s like they’re invisible – kind of how Xander is to Buffy. He blends into the scenery when they’re together. He decides to stop being subtle and just ask her out. As Buffy approaches and Xander psychs himself up, Buffy sees that Cordelia is acting weird. She ditches her friends to follow Cordelia.

It’s Cordelia’s turn to drive in driver’s ed, though she doesn’t want to. The teacher makes her, and she takes the car on a bit of a joyride before crashing. Cordelia gets out of the car and ends up in the middle of the road. Buffy runs over to push her out of the way just before a truck runs her over. Cordelia’s eyes have turned white, and she can’t see anything.

In the library, Giles says this is classic witchcraft. He just doesn’t know why someone would want to hurt Cordelia. “Maybe because they met her?” Willow quips. Since this is the second cheerleader who’s been harmed, they’re probably dealing with someone who doesn’t like cheerleading…or someone who likes it too much. Willow and Buffy both suggest Amy. Maybe she’s turned to witchcraft to get a spot on the squad.

Giles thinks that’s crazy, but Buffy gets it – if you’re not a “picture-perfect carbon copy” of a parent, that parent might not be happy. Xander thinks they should just grab Amy and get to the bottom of things. Giles notes that if they’re right about her being a witch, that’s too dangerous. Willow checks the computer to see if Amy’s checked out books on witchcraft, as Xander protests. That’s just because he’s checked out books on witchcraft. (He just likes to look at the semi-nude engravings.)

Giles says they need to do a test involving Amy’s hair and a couple other ingredients available in the science lab. If Amy’s skin turns blue when it comes in contact with the ingredients, they’ll know that she’s cast a spell in the past 48 hours. They’ll also need some eye of newt, though the closest the teens can get is the eye of a dissected frog. Buffy is able to pull some of Amy’s hair out of her hairbrush without Amy noticing.

She slips it to Willow, who mixes everything up instead of doing whatever experiment their chemistry class is supposed to be doing. Buffy then spills the concoction on Amy, and her skin immediately turns blue. Amy’s confused, of course, but luckily, there’s a distraction. Unfortunately, that distraction is a cheerleader named Lishanne whose mouth has suddenly disappeared. Amy looks as surprised as Buffy does.

After class, Buffy tells Amy and Willow that the test was positive, so maybe Amy doesn’t realize she’s been doing witchcraft. She thinks they should talk to Catherine. Maybe she’s created a monster. Meanwhile, Amy goes home to the house where the cauldron and dolls are being used. Catherine is there, and she’s clearly nervous around Amy. Amy complains that she’s not on the squad yet, and that Buffy and her friends are doing weird things. She shows Catherine that she’s snagged Buffy’s bracelet.

The next morning, Buffy is in a great mood. She’s excited to take Lishanne’s place on the cheerleading squad. Joyce apologizes for what she said the day before, but Buffy says it’s fine. After all, she did get kicked out of school. Joyce doesn’t get it and wouldn’t want to. Buffy mentions that she’s a Slayer, so Joyce asks if she’s okay. Buffy says everything’s great! She’s going to school and cheer practice, and she’s going to sing “Macho Man” the whole time.

At practice, Buffy is a little too energetic. Willow and Xander notice but are unable to get her out of there before she accidentally flips a girl across the room. This gets her removed from the squad, with Amy taking her spot. (No, I don’t know who the second alternate was. Don’t worry about it!) Xander and Willow rush Buffy out of the gym before she can announce that Amy’s a witch.

Buffy gushes over Xander in the hallway, like she’s had too much to drink and wants her friend to know how good a friend he is. She says he’s not like other boys. He’s one of the girls. Suddenly, whatever’s happening to her starts wearing off, and she passes out. Willow and Xander take her to the library, where Giles recognizes that Buffy’s the victim of a vengeance spell. Amy is obviously on to them. They’ll need to reverse the spell in the next few hours to save Buffy.

This will require either getting Amy’s spell book or cutting off her head. Xander’s fine with that second option, but Buffy has sympathy for Amy. She only became a witch to survive her mother. Buffy says she and Giles will go to Amy’s house and get her book while Xander and Willow stay at school and keep an eye on Amy.

At Amy’s, Buffy and Giles meet Catherine, who tries to resist talking to them about Amy. Giles gets stern, telling Catherine that Amy is accessing some very powerful magic and using it to hurt people. Catherine’s obsession with cheerleading is to blame. Catherine says she doesn’t care about cheerleading, and it’s not her fault that Amy is using witchcraft. As they bicker, Buffy notices the plate of brownies Catherine was eating. That plus Catherine’s fear of Amy and her reference to “Dad” instead of “Amy’s dad” makes Buffy realize that Catherine and Amy switched bodies.

Catherine – really Amy – confirms this. Her mother said she was wasting her youth, so she took it. Amy didn’t know that Catherine was a witch. She wanted to go with her father when he left, but Catherine kept them separated. She would rant about how easy Amy had it and how she didn’t know how hard it was to be Catherine. Buffy promises that things will be okay. Amy says she woke up in her mother’s bed a few months ago and didn’t know what had happened.

She shows Giles to the attic, where Catherine does her spells. He finds all the dolls Catherine has used as voodoo dolls to harm the cheerleaders. He’s pretty sure they can reverse her spells if they can find her spell book. He finds it in a chest, being guarded by a black cat. They head back to school as the first basketball game of the season starts, attended by all the cheerleaders.

Giles puts Buffy down on a table in the science lab and promises that he’ll fix this. They only have a few minutes left before the vengeance spell kills Buffy. As Catherine cheers at the game, happy to be back to her teenage self, Amy helps Giles reverse her mother’s spells. Catherine and Amy both feel the effects. Catherine screws up a stunt, then glares at all the other cheerleaders before running out of the gym. Amy warns Giles that she’s coming.

Willow tries to delay Catherine, offering to help her. She knows of a really great cauldron. Also, does Catherine ride a broom? Xander tries to sneak up behind Catherine, but she magically chokes him into unconsciousness, then knocks Willow out with a punch. Giles continues the spell-reversal as Catherine grabs an axe, chops down the door to the lab, and goes after Buffy. The spell finishes just before she can swing the axe, so instead of a vengeful witch, Buffy just has a confused teenager standing over her.

Catherine tackles Buffy, then faces her daughter. She magically makes the axe fly into her own hand and rants about how ungrateful Amy is. Buffy has recovered, so she’s able to fight Catherine and keep her from hurting Amy. Catherine tries a spell that will send Buffy to a dark place, but Buffy kicks down the mirrored cover of a lab table so the witchcraft reflects off of it. It goes into Catherine, making her disappear.

Giles, who’s been knocked unconscious for the first of many times in this series, wakes up hoping everything worked. Buffy assures him that he reversed the spell and saved her. Xander runs in and grabs Amy to save Buffy. Buffy and Giles tell him Amy wasn’t the bad one here, and also, they fixed everything. Willow runs in next, ready to hurt anyone who wants to hurt her friends. Xander tells her he already took care of things.

At home, Joyce tells Buffy she’s been trying to figure out how to relate to her. Maybe there’s a biological imperative that says a parent can’t understand a teen because the parent isn’t a teen anymore. Buffy asks if Joyce ever wishes she could be 16 again. Joyce says she wouldn’t go through all that angst again even if it made her understand Buffy. (People who have seen season 3’s “Band Candy” start giggling.)

At school the next day (I guess), Amy tells Buffy how protective her dad is being now that she’s living with him. He feels guilty for all the time they spent apart, and how horrible her mother was. Of course, Amy secretly loves it. Cordelia taunts the girls for being knocked back to their alternate slots, so everything’s back to normal there, too. Amy doesn’t actually want to be a cheerleader, and Buffy has decided to leave that behind, too. Amy hasn’t heard from her mother and doesn’t think she’ll cause any more trouble. They don’t realize that the eyes of Catherine’s cheerleading trophy are now human, and there’s a muffled scream coming from inside it.

Thoughts: An okay show would have had the twist be that Amy was the witch. A good show would have had it be that Catherine was the witch. Buffy is a great show because it had the double twist of Catherine being the witch and switching bodies with Amy.

I giggled at the discussion about Amber training with a coach named Benson because later in the series, actress Amber Benson joins the cast.

I like how friendly Buffy is to Amy. She could have made an excuse that she’s too busy with slaying and cheering to care about someone else, but she really wants to cheer Amy up.

We couldn’t put on Grease at my high school but Sunnydale’s library is allowed to have books on witchcraft? Even more ridiculous, no one complains about that until season 3.

August 28, 2021

Buffy 1.2, The Harvest: The Fun Is Just Beginning

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 1:23 pm by Jenn

Don’t mess with this girl

Summary: Luke is just about to bite Buffy when he gets a shock. Well, a burn. She’s wearing the cross necklace Angel gave her, and it burns his hand. Buffy takes the opportunity to escape into the cemetery. She saves Willow from a vampire, then goes after one trying to take Xander away. He tells Buffy that Darla ran off with Jesse.

In the library the next day, Giles tells the three teens that demons walked the Earth for ages and made it their own version of Hell. Over time, mortals took over, and there are only a few versions left of the “old ones.” Xander is having a hard time wrapping his head around the fact that vampires are real. Buffy tells him she was in denial when she first saw vampires. Well, after she stopped screaming. Willow says she needs to sit down, but she already is.

Giles tells the teens that before the last demon left reality, he mixed his blood with a human, creating the first vampire. That vampire passed along his kind of demon possession to others by biting people. Now, vampires wait for humans to die out so the old ones can come back.

Underground, Darla and Luke take Jesse to the Master. They think he’s a “good one,” since he has pure blood. The Master isn’t happy that Darla has already had a taste and is now bringing him her leftovers. The Master has waited underground for decades until he can ascend and live in the world again. Darla should show more respect. She and Luke tell the Master that they ran into trouble in the form of a teen girl. The Master guesses that she’s a Slayer.

Giles explains that to Xander and Willow: The Slayer has existed as long as vampires has; she’s the one girl in the whole world with the power to kill vampires. They need to keep Buffy’s secret identity…well, secret. Xander wants to help save Jesse, but Buffy says that’s her job. She feels like she failed in her responsibility to keep Jesse safe. Willow notes that Buffy saved her and Xander, so she hasn’t failed as much as she might feel she has.

Buffy tells Giles that Luke mentioned the Master. Jesse might still be alive, if the Master hasn’t fed on him yet. Willow suggests that they call the police, but Buffy tells her they wouldn’t be able to help. Their guns won’t take down a vampire. The group decides the vampires must be underground, since they disappeared from the cemetery and didn’t seem to have transportation. Buffy notes that vampires use sewer systems to travel during the day. Xander tells her there are tunnels that run under the whole town. They don’t have time to get blueprints, but Willow has an idea.

The Master asks for confirmation that Buffy is a Slayer. Luke’s only proof is that she fought him and he didn’t kill her, which doesn’t happen often. The Master insists that Buffy can’t interfere with the harvest. He hopes Jesse will work well as bait to draw Buffy to them. At least that means they won’t eat him yet.

Willow is a tech whiz, and she’s able to hack into the city council’s security system and find city plans. Buffy’s impatient and frustrated because she wasn’t able to stay a step ahead of Luke. But as she remembers what happened, she realizes that he came up behind her. The entrance to the tunnels must be in the crypt where they fought.

Xander still wants to tag along to save Jesse, but Buffy says it’s too dangerous. The Slayer has to work alone. Xander takes it personally, as if she’s saying he’s incompetent. Willow also wants to help, though she’s not as eager to ride into battle. Giles asks her to use the computer to find out more details on the harvest (since Giles is technologically challenged). Buffy promises to bring Jesse back if he’s still alive. And no, Giles doesn’t need to tell her to be careful.

As Buffy heads off to find Jesse, Mr. Flutie catches her trying to leave school grounds. That certainly wouldn’t be a good idea on her second day at a new school, especially since she was kicked out of her last school for delinquency. Buffy lies that Giles asked her to get a book for him from the store. She has a free period and is a big reader. Mr. Flutie doesn’t buy that excuse and closes a tall gate to keep her from leaving. He’s happy that she’s a “sensible girl with her feet on the ground.” As soon as he’s gone, she jumps the gate.

Willow and Xander make a list of natural disasters that could lead them to vampires. Xander still feels useless, even though staying out of things means he won’t get hurt. Yesterday, Xander’s biggest problem was the possibility of a pop quiz. Today, he could be facing death and destruction. It’s hard to have this big secret that no one else knows. Willow promises that Buffy will be okay. She seems like she’s able to handle anything.

Buffy returns to the crypt, where Angel has been waiting for her. He expected her to find the entrance to the tunnels a little sooner. Buffy asks his name, since she suspects that he’ll be showing up again. He warns her not to go into the tunnels right before the harvest. If she can’t prevent it, the Master will ascend. Buffy asks why Angel doesn’t stop it, then. He admits that he’s afraid. Buffy isn’t, so she makes it clear she’s going into the tunnels. She has a potential friend to save. Accepting that Buffy’s really going to do this, Angel tells her to head toward the school when she gets underground.

Buffy sneaks around for a little while until she gets surprised by Xander. Of course he didn’t listen when Buffy and Willow told him not to get involved. He’s determined to save his best friend. As they look for the vampires, Xander admits that he doesn’t have much in the way of weapons. He just brought a big cross with him. Buffy tells him stakes, fire, beheading, sunlight, and holy water will all do the trick. She knows beheading works because she killed a football player-turned-vampire with an X-acto knife.

In the library, Giles reads up on the harvest and realizes it’s happening tonight. Meanwhile, Cordelia and Willow are both in the computer lab. Cordelia tells her friend Harmony about her run-in with Buffy at the Bronze the night before and how weird Buffy is. They can’t figure out the computer program they’re working on, so Cordelia tells Harmony to look at Willow’s work, but Willow’s looking up natural disasters.

Cordelia lies that Buffy waved a stake around the night before and threatened to kill her. Willow eavesdrops while Harmony tells Cordelia and another student that Buffy was kicked out of her last school. Willow defends Buffy, saying she’s not a psycho like Cordelia says she is. Cordelia tears into Willow, calling her boring. As revenge, Willow tells her to save her computer program by hitting “DEL” for deliver. Instead, Cordelia deletes all her work.

In the tunnels, Buffy and Xander find Jesse, who’s alive but chained up. Fortunately, Buffy has super-strength and is easily able to free him. Jesse tells her that the vampires knew she was going to come. Indeed, they’re waiting for her, and they’re going to make it hard for the teens to escape the tunnels. Jesse thinks he knows the way out, but he instead leads Xander and Buffy to a dead end. It might be a literal dead end – Jesse is a vampire and he wants to kill them.

He tells Xander that things are awesome now. He’s strong and he feels connected to everything. He knows what the Master wants and is ready to serve his purpose. That means killing and feeding on Xander. Buffy reminds Xander that he has a cross, though it’s not much help when the person you’re facing off with is really strong. Also, more just like Jesse are coming, and Buffy and Xander are outnumbered. They manage to close a door to keep out more vampires, but they’ll still have to find a way out of the tunnels.

They find a hatch in the ceiling and are able to climb up before the vampires can get to where they are. They crawl through some ducts and surface through a manhole. Since it’s still light out, the vampires can’t follow them. The Master is unhappy to learn that the Slayer escaped, even though the vampires laid a trap for her. Still, he doesn’t think Buffy will stop the harvest. He’ll just get to eat her once he goes above ground. The Master makes the vampire who failed at trapping Buffy apologize for screwing up. Then the Master gouges out his eye.

Willow has been looking into a big earthquake back in 1937 and discovered that there were a bunch of murders right before it. Giles says things are coming together, though he wishes they weren’t. Back underground, the harvest is also coming together. Luke drinks some of the Master’s blood in a ritual that binds them together. Luke is the vessel, and whenever he eats someone, their soul and strength will go into the Master. After receiving enough souls, the Master will be able to ascend.

Buffy and Xander join Willow in the library and give her the bad news that they couldn’t save Jesse. Giles has even more bad news: They could be facing the end of the world. In 1937, the Master came to Sunnydale because it’s on top of a Hellmouth. It’s like a portal between Earth and Hell, and the Master wanted to open it. The earthquake buried him underground. Now the Master is trying again. Once Luke has fed him enough power, the Master will be able to open the Hellmouth.

Buffy thinks this will be easy to stop: The vessel sports a unique symbol, so Buffy just has to kill anyone with that symbol. Xander guesses the vampires will go to the Bronze, where everyone young and healthy will be hanging out. The four of them head off to stop the harvest, though Buffy says she needs to make a stop first so she can get some supplies.

Buffy changes clothes at home, where Joyce worries that she’s getting in trouble again. She seems to have been out all night, and Mr. Flutie called to tell Joyce that she skipped some classes. Buffy promises that things are different now, but she has to go out. Joyce thinks she places too much importance on her personal life. The world won’t end if Buffy stays home tonight. After Joyce leaves her room, Buffy digs out a trunk in her closet where she’s hidden her vampire-fighting supplies, then sneaks out her bedroom window.

The sun is down, so the vampires are free to go wherever they want. At the Bronze, Cordelia gushes to her friends about how she wants a senior boyfriend, not a child like Jesse. Speaking of Jesse, guess who’s at the Bronze? He watches Cordelia dance for a while, then confidently gets her to dance with him.

Outside, Darla arrives with a group of vampires. They block the exit and shut off the lights. In his vamp face, Luke addresses the crowd from the stage, telling them there’s no reason to be afraid. Well, there is, but it won’t help. Cordelia is shocked to see that Jesse has the same vamp face as Luke. Luke requests his first course, the bouncer, and drinks his blood in front of everyone. Underground, the Master can feel his strength growing already.

Buffy, Xander, Willow, and Giles (hereafter collectively known as the Scoobies) arrive but can’t get through the front door. Buffy tells the others to find a way in and get all the humans out; they shouldn’t try to fight any vampires. As they head off, Giles tells Xander and Willow that they need to remember that Jesse is dead. When they see him, they’ll be looking at the demon that killed him.

Luke continues feeding, and the Master continues to grow more powerful. He’s almost free. Jesse wants to eat Cordelia himself, but Darla tells him everyone there is for the Master. Buffy finds a way into the club and easily figures out that Luke is the vessel. Darla takes Cordelia to Luke, but before he can bite her, Buffy makes her presence known by throwing a vampire off the balcony. She does some gymnastics to jump down and land on a pool table. Then she uses a cue to stake a vampire.

Luke is more than willing to trade Cordelia for Buffy, even if it gets him kicked in the face. He fights the Slayer again, making her drop her stake. Elsewhere in the club, the other Scoobies find a way in and start sneaking people out. A vampire grabs Xander, but Buffy yanks a cymbal off of a nearby drum, throws it like a Frisbee, and decapitates the vampire. “Heads up,” Xander quips. Buffy’s amused. That doesn’t last, since her distraction allows Luke to grab her from behind again.

Jesse goes after Cordelia, so Xander threatens to stake him. As Luke revels in the chance to kill a Slayer, Darla tackles Giles. Jesse tells Xander that when he was human, he was a loser. Now he’s a new man. Luke guesses that Buffy is the last meal the Master needs, and then the Master will be free. Buffy isn’t about to let that happen.

Willow is armed with holy water, which she uses on Darla, getting her to leave Giles alone. Xander still has his stake, and he’s still ready to use it on Jesse. It turns out he doesn’t have to. As someone is running out of the club, she accidentally knocks Jesse forward, right into Xander’s stake. He’s dusted.

Buffy grabs a microphone stand as a weapon, though Luke says she forgot something: Metal won’t hurt him. She tells him he also forgot about something: Sunrise. She throws the stand like a javelin, breaking the window behind him…but there’s no sunlight. Sunrise isn’t for hours. Still, she’s able to get the better of Luke and stake him in the back. As he dies, his connection to the Master is cut.

Some vampires are ready to kill Xander, but when they see Buffy standing on the stage, having just killed a powerful vampire who’s never lost a fight, they decide they’d be smart to just leave. Angel has been watching, and he’s pleased that Buffy stopped the harvest. Buffy confirms to the Scoobies that they averted the apocalypse. Xander notes that nothing will be the same from now on.

At school the next day, Cordelia tells one of her friends about the craziness at the Bronze. The cover story everyone’s been fed is about a fight between rival gangs. Xander’s underwhelmed by how everyone’s carrying on like things are normal. People rose from the dead – they should at least have an assembly. Giles says that people try to rationalize anything they can’t understand.

Willow says she’ll never forget what they did and saw. Giles tells her that’s good – next time, they’ll all be prepared. The Master isn’t going to stop trying to free himself just because he failed this time. “I’d say the fun is just beginning,” Giles announces. Next time they could face something different. They might be what stands between Earth and its complete destruction. Buffy looks on the bright side: She could still be kicked out of school. Willow suggest that she blow something up, since the school wouldn’t appreciate that. “The Earth is doomed,” Giles says to himself as the teens head to class like today is just another day.

Thoughts: Season 1 Angel is so different from how he is in later episodes. He’s like a completely different character.

I wish Jesse had been mentioned more throughout the series. He’s obviously the reason Xander wants to take out vampires, but it seems strange for a teen to lose his best friend and barely talk about him ever again.

I’ve been immersed in the Vampire Diaries universe for a while, and sometimes it’s hard to keep the different vampire rules straight. For example, a cross won’t do anything to a vampire in The Vampire Diaries except make them laugh at you for trying to use it as a weapon.

 

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