September 10, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I love this exchange:

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

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

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

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

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

August 13, 2022

Buffy 3.18, Earshot: Everybody Hurts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 11, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 16, 2022

Buffy 3.1, Anne: Buffy by Any Other Name Still Kicks Butt

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

The hammer and sickle are because it’s political, or something

Summary: Andrew Hoelich, recently deceased and recently turned into a vampire, is climbing out of his grave in a Sunnydale cemetery. Someone’s there to meet him, but it’s not our Slayer – it’s Willow (and her cute new haircut). Xander grabs Andy and yells for Oz to stake him. Oz fumbles his stake, allowing Andy to shove Xander at Willow and take off running. Oz attempts to throw his stake at Andy, but it doesn’t get anywhere near the vampire. Oz remembers that Andy was a gymnast, so the Scoobies were at a disadvantage as soon as he started putting those skills in action.

Xander has a problem with Willow’s trash talk. She was trying to come up with something clever like Buffy does, but she needs more practice. Xander wishes they hadn’t taken Buffy’s punning for granted when she was around. The Scoobies are trying to be optimistic that Buffy will come back soon. She’s been gone all summer, and school starts the next day. Oz reacts strangely to that reminder, and Willow thinks it’s because they won’t be able to spend much time together, since he graduated last spring.

Xander’s surprised to realize he can’t wait to see Cordelia. Excited to see your girlfriend? What’s wrong with you?? Willow hopes Buffy shows up at school the next day like nothing happened, but Xander reminds her that Buffy was expelled, so that’s not possible. Willow says she just wishes they knew where Buffy was.

Right now she’s on a beach. Angel joins her, even though the sun is out, and puts his arms around her. She asks how he found her there, and he tells her that he would see her even if he were blind. He promises to stay with her forever: “That’s the whole point. I’ll never leave. Not even if you kill me.” Buffy wakes from this dream in a crappy little apartment in L.A.

The next day, she goes to work as a waitress in a diner. She makes herself ignore a guy who flirts with her, as well as his friend, who slaps her butt. She could beat them up before they could blink, but she won’t. Next she waits on an affectionate young couple, Lily and Rickie. Buffy doesn’t realize that she’s met Lily before, but under a different name: Chanterelle.

The couple has very little money since they just got matching tattoos with each other’s names. They’re happy to have them forever. As Rickie says, “That’s the whole point.” Chanterelle recognizes Buffy, who won’t say where she’s from. The name tag on her uniform identifies her as Anne. She turns in their order, then tells a co-worker she’s going home sick.

It’s the first day of a new school year, so the library is busier than usual with students getting books. Willow tells Giles that the Scoobies aren’t quite as good at patrolling as Buffy is, but they’re getting better. He’s happy they’re stepping in but doesn’t want them to get hurt. Willow says part of their mission statement is “don’t get killed.” I’d love to hear the rest.

Cordelia arrives and complains to Willow that her summer sucked. Yeah, she got to go to a resort in Mexico, but it was a sucky resort. She casually asks about Xander, pretending she’s not super-eager to see him again. She’s very concerned about her hair looking good. Oz shows up next and reveals to Willow that he didn’t actually graduate. He had a bunch of incompletes he was supposed to make up in summer school, which he didn’t attend.

They pass a teacher who tells a kid to stop running down the hall; summer’s over, so it’s time to be somber again. (This is the same teacher who wrote James’ words on the board, and we see him again in a fun scene at the end of the season. He’s cool.) Oz says he’d hoped that Willow would find it cute that he has to repeat his senior year. She doesn’t, really, since Oz is really smart and there’s no excuse for him not getting good grades.

Xander comes by looking for Cordelia, just as eager to see her as she is to see him. He’s also concerned about how his hair looks. Larry’s excited to play football again. “If we can focus, keep disciplined, and not have quite as many mysterious deaths, Sunnydale is gonna RULE!” he tells a friend. Willow’s willing to call Oz’s failure to graduate “eccentric,” though she mostly finds it strange. He hopes she’ll eventually find it cool. Xander and Cordelia finally reunite, but they mask their happiness at seeing each other after a summer apart and only spend about ten seconds together.

Buffy gets distracted while opening a sad can of Spaghettios in her sad apartment. She goes back out, passing a homeless woman who’s repeating, “I’m no one” over and over. In the library, Giles tells Willow and Xander that a friend in Oakland heard about a girl fighting vampires there last week. He’s going to fly out and see if that was Buffy. Xander gently says that this keeps happening – Giles gets his hopes up that they’ll find her, the lead doesn’t pan out, and he and Xander both end up sad. Not that he and Willow want Giles to stop looking, though. Xander just doesn’t think Buffy will be found until she wants to be.

That night, though, Lily finds Buffy downtown. She uses Buffy’s real name and promises to keep her identity secret. She reveals that they met when she was Chanterelle. She’s grateful to Buffy for saving her and wanted to thank her. She thinks Buffy’s waiting tables in L.A. instead of at school in Sunnydale because, like Lily, she had to get lost. Lily asks how Buffy chose the name Anne. Buffy explains that it’s her middle name. Lily let Rickie choose her new name from a song. She changes it all the time when she goes through different phases. Buffy lets her know that her last name was a mushroom. (An exotic one, at least.)

Lily asks if Buffy has any money. She knows someone who’s hosting a rave, and they could go hang out there together. Buffy declines the invitation, wanting to be alone. She offers up some money, though, and says she could meet up with Lily and Rickie later. A man walks between them as they’re talking and Lily calls him out on his rudeness. “I’m no one,” he says before walking into the street and standing in front of a truck. Buffy pushes him out of the way and takes the impact of the truck herself.

A bunch of people run to check on Buffy, who’s fine thanks to the quick healing that comes with being a Slayer. She doesn’t want any attention, so she takes off. She runs into a guy named Ken who’s distributing fliers for a place called Family Home. He invites her to stop by sometime to get a meal for both her body and her mind. He’s worried about young people who come to L.A. and get old fast. Despair drains the life out of them. They have nothing to go home to, so this ends up being their last stop.

After a depressing montage of young homeless L.A. residents, we go back to Sunnydale, where Xander and Willow are hanging out at the Bronze. There’s live music, but it’s maudlin, so they’re kind of down. He can’t stop thinking about how Cordelia must have had a great summer without him and probably doesn’t want to be with him anymore. She can’t stop thinking about Buffy.

Oz joins them as they talk about how badly slaying has been going. He thinks they’re getting a rhythm down. Xander notes that they’re losing half the vampires. “Yeah, but rhythmically,” Oz replies. Willow thinks they need to work on their timing. Xander spots Cordelia arriving and decides they need bait instead.

The next day, Joyce hears a knock on her front door and rushes to answer it, obviously hoping Buffy’s on the other side. It’s Giles, though, bringing news that the lead in Oakland didn’t pan out. (The “vampires” were just goth teens.) Joyce admits that she’s having a hard time. She doesn’t like leaving the house because she’s afraid she’ll miss a call from her daughter.

Giles assures her that Buffy probably isn’t in danger. Joyce regrets her fight with Buffy, and he tells her not to blame herself. Joyce doesn’t – she blames Giles. He was a big influence on Buffy and had a whole relationship with her behind Joyce’s back. Joyce feels like Giles took her daughter away. He says he didn’t make Buffy who she is. Joyce asks who she is, exactly.

Lily returns to the diner and tells Buffy that Rickie’s missing. She can’t call the police because he skipped out on his parole. (Also, let’s be honest, how hard is the LAPD going to look for a homeless teen?) She asks Buffy to help her find him. Buffy says she can’t – she doesn’t help people anymore. Lily’s desperate and doesn’t know what to do, so Buffy gives in.

They go to a blood bank where Lily and Rickie sometimes donate to get some money (and free cookies). A doctor (no name; I’ll call her Dr. Green after the actress playing her) checks the sign-in log to see if he’s been there recently. Buffy suggests that she and Lily split up to check out other places Rickie might have gone. “Can I come with you?” Lily asks, failing to grasp what “split up” means. Dr. Green says Rickie hasn’t been in, but if he shows up, she’ll tell him they were looking for him. After the girls leave, her faces changes from “I am being pleasantly helpful” to “we have a problem.”

The girls split up and Buffy goes to an alley that’s a popular nighttime spot for homeless people. She finds the body of an older man who appears to have killed himself. She recognizes Rickie’s tattoo on his arm. She goes back to her apartment and tells Lily that she thinks Rickie’s dead. “But…he takes care of me,” Lily says, sounding like a child. They were so hopeful that they were going to turn their lives around.

Buffy tells her that the man she found was way older than Rickie. It was like something drained Rickie’s life out of him. It couldn’t have been a vampire, though; they can’t make people age faster. Buffy wonders if there was something in Rickie’s blood. Lily’s in denial that Rickie’s dead, since he didn’t do anything wrong. Buffy angrily tells her that bad things like this happen all the time. You can’t ignore them and wait for them to go away. Not that she’s speaking from experience or anything!

Lily thinks this could be related to Buffy. Maybe she brought something evil to L.A. with her. Buffy says she didn’t, and she also didn’t ask to get brought into this. If Lily can’t deal with her problems, she can’t just push them onto Buffy. Lily leaves, upset, and encounters Ken outside. He offers to try to help her with whatever’s making her sad. He wants her and people like her to remember to hope. When Lily mentions Rickie, Ken guesses who she is. “Rickie’s with us now,” he says. He’s definitely not dead, and Lily should come to Family Home with Ken.

Buffy breaks into the blood bank and looks through some files. She finds one on Rickie that labels him a “candidate.” Dr. Green catches her and asks what she’s doing. “Breaking into your office and going through your private files,” Buffy replies casually. Dr. Green threatens to call the police, so Buffy rips the phone out of the wall. She sees that other patients have been labeled the same as Rickie and guesses they’re missing, too.

Dr. Green warns that Buffy’s getting herself into a lot of trouble. Buffy replies that she doesn’t want that – she wants a quiet place with a fireplace and a chair and a tea cozy (and she doesn’t even know what a tea cozy is). But trouble keeps finding her, and she’s “more than willing to share.” She demands to know what’s happening to the “candidates.” Dr. Green admits that she gives the healthy ones’ names to someone. That someone is Ken, who’s preparing Lily for something called a cleansing. He promises that she’ll see Rickie afterward.

In Sunnydale, the Scoobies head to the cemetery to use Cordelia as vampire bait. She objects, trying to pass the task on to Willow, but since Andy has already seen her, they know he won’t approach her. The other Scoobies hide while Cordelia tells Xander that she’s only doing this for Buffy’s sake, not his. He tells her the plan is for Andy to attack her and kill her while the others rejoice. As they’re bickering about their relationship, Andy sneaks up on Willow.

Ken takes Lily to her cleansing, which is kind of like a baptism if your baptism was led by a creepy guy lying to you about your boyfriend still being alive, and if your baptismal was full of something that looked like tar. Buffy has arrived at Family Home, pretending she’s sick of sinning and wants to be cleansed. She realizes she’s not pulling this off and just asks for Ken. She finds him and Lily just as Lily is about to be cleansed. She asks how Ken makes young people old. Before he can tell her, Lily gets sucked into the tar.

Buffy tries to follow her but Ken holds her back. She decides to throw both him and herself into the tar. They land in a tunnel, totally fine except for some damage to Ken’s face. But it’s okay because it’s not real. He’s a demon who literally glues on a human face to look normal. Buffy and Lily try to make a break for it, but Ken calls for demon guards to chase them. Also, there’s no place for them to go. They’re on a catwalk overlooking a giant pit where humans are being forced to do manual labor. Ken knocks Buffy out and tells Lily that she’s never going to leave this place.

Xander and Cordelia are still bickering. Each thinks the other developed feelings for someone else over the summer and wants to break up. They finally realize that Willow’s in danger and hurry to help her and Oz take care of Andy. It’s not pretty, but they succeed. Also, Cordelia winds up lying on top of Xander after she pushes Andy into him and Xander’s stake goes into the vampire. That makes it easy for them to start making out.

Buffy regains consciousness and finds herself locked in a cage with Lily. Lily says she always felt she belonged where they are: Hell. Buffy doesn’t think that’s where they are, but Ken notes that Hell is the absence of hope, so Lily’s right. Rickie was there, too, and after a while, he forgot her. It took years; time moves much faster there than in the real world. 100 years there is just a day on Earth. Buffy realizes that the demons work humans until they’re too old, then return them to the real world.

Ken confirms that the girls will die of old age before anyone misses them. That’s why he chooses people who don’t have loved ones to look for them. Buffy notes that she wasn’t chosen (for once in her life, she’s not the Chosen One!). Ken knows that Buffy’s scared and determined to run away from whoever she used to be. She wanted to disappear, and now she’s going to get her wish.

All of Ken’s prisoners are sent to work. They’re not allowed to do anything other than work. Their pasts don’t matter. They’re no one now and mean nothing. A demon guard asks a teen who he is. The teen gives his name and gets smacked in response. Lily proves to be smarter than she’s let on before because when the guard asks her name, she says she’s no one. The guard continues with other prisoners until he gets to Buffy. She introduces herself by name and tells him she’s a Slayer.

She takes on the guards, then leads a mass escape with the prisoners. They hide under a stairwell to formulate a plan. Buffy assigns Lily to lead the others out of the pit, even though Lily doesn’t trust in her ability to take charge. Buffy says she can handle this. Lily starts to leave, then comes back to apologize for blaming Buffy for everything. She just wanted to get that out there in case they don’t survive.

The demon guards chase Buffy as the other prisoners head for freedom. Buffy fights the guards on a raised platform, displeasing Ken, who’s never had to handle a human fighting back before. Buffy steals a couple of the guards’ weapons and gives herself even more of an advantage. Ken catches up to the escapees and threatens to kill Lily for Buffy’s disobedience. While he’s making a big deal out of how he’s going to make Buffy pay, Lily just reaches out and shoves him into the pit.

Buffy climbs a chain to get back to the other prisoners, who are trapped from escaping by a big wooden gate. Buffy lifts it and is on her way out with them when Ken tackles her. She drops the gate on him and it stabs him through his calves, trapping him on the ground. He whines that Buffy ruined his plans. “Hey, Ken, wanna see my impression of Gandhi?” Buffy asks before killing him. Lily doesn’t get it. Buffy says that was Gandhi if he were really mad. The prisoners all make it back to the cleansing room, and the entrance to the pit bricks itself up. Sorry, everyone else trapped down there!

Buffy takes Lily back to her apartment, where Lily will now be living. She can also have Buffy’s job at the diner. Lily says she’s not good at taking care of herself, like, yeah, we’ve noticed. Buffy promises it’ll get easier. Lily asks if she can be Anne now.

Joyce is fixing her dishwasher when she hears a knock at the front door. She takes her time going to it, not wanting to get her hopes up again that Buffy’s there. But she is, and Joyce welcomes her home silently, with just a hug.

Thoughts: Lily later turns up on the spin-off Angel, using the name Anne.

Everything from Willow’s conversation with Giles about patrolling through Xander and Cordelia meeting up – over three minutes – is one take. Very impressive.

Buffy’s hair in this part of the season is…not my favorite.

No wonder Lily joined a vampire-worshipping cult. She has absolutely no ability to think for herself.

February 19, 2022

Buffy 2.15, Phases: People for the Ethical Treatment of Werewolves

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 12:59 pm by Jenn

Find yourself a guy who tucks in your shirt tag

Summary: Oz is studying a cheerleading trophy at school, and when Willow joins him, he says he feels like its eyes follow him wherever he goes. (He likes it.) The two of them saw a movie together the night before, and they awkwardly agree that they enjoyed their time together. She runs off to join Buffy when she appears. Aww, poor, nerdy Willow.

Larry approaches Oz and says he’d love to get some action with Buffy and Willow, if Oz knows what he means. “That’s great, Larry, you’ve really mastered the single entendre,” Oz replies. Larry knocks the books out of a girl’s arms and ogles her when she bends down to pick them up. He asks if Oz is dating a junior because he likes her “innocent schoolgirl thing.” Oz quips that Willow is “actually an evil mastermind. It’s fun.” Larry says they must be having sex, because what’s the point, otherwise? What are they going to do, talk? He pushes Oz to spill how far they’ve gotten.

Elsewhere on campus, Willow tells Buffy that they’ve gotten nowhere. Oz said he would wait until she’s ready to go to the next level of dating (which in their case is just kissing), but Willow’s ready now. Buffy likes that Oz isn’t “just being an animal.” Willow says she’s dropped huge hints, but Oz hasn’t gotten them yet. Buffy knows he’ll come around soon, since Willow has charms no guy can resist. Well, except the many guys who have already resisted them. Buffy declares that “they all get an F in Willow.”

Willow hopes Oz hurries to get with the program. She doesn’t want to be the only girl in school without a boyfriend. Then she realizes she’s talking to a girl who just broke up with her boyfriend because he went evil and wants to kill her and her friends. (Not that she says that. That’s me talking.) Buffy says she’s handling things okay, but she’d like a fun night with Willow and Xander to take her mind off of Angelus. Willow says she’ll call Xander: “What’s his number? Oh, yeah: 1-800-I’m-dating-a-skanky-ho.” Buffy gives her a “meow” for that, which Willow appreciates. She wonders what Xander sees in Cordelia.

That night, Xander and Cordelia make out in her dad’s car, but he’s distracted by thoughts of what Willow sees in Oz. Yeah, he’s a senior and he’s attractive (not that Xander thinks he is), but he’s in a band, and those guys attract bad elements. Cordelia asks if Xander actually wants to be there with her, since all he talks about nowadays is Willow and Buffy. They should be appreciating the scenery and their privacy. Well, not complete privacy, since some big, hairy creature is watching them.

Xander interrupts the makeout session again when he thinks he hears something. “Is Willow sending out some sort of distress signal that only you can hear?” Cordelia asks. They start to kiss again, but Xander hears another noise. Cordelia decides they should call it a night, but before they can head out, the creature growls and reaches through the sunroof, trying to grab them. Cordelia backs up the car, and when she slams on the brakes, the creature falls off. Xander says he told her he heard something.

The next day, the Scoobies examine the car as Xander tells them about the creature, which he thinks was a wolf. Cordelia cares less about the possible new monster than she does about the car. I guess that’s fair. I mean, how is she supposed to explain this to her father? Giles reports that animals have recently been found mutilated, which upsets Willow, especially if any of them were bunnies. Oz assures her that despite their appearances, bunnies can take care of themselves.

Giles says no people have been injured, which is new for Sunnydale. He guesses the wolf is a werewolf and will be back at next month’s full moon. Willow points out that the full moon is that night. Looks like the legend about werewolves only coming out during a full moon is wrong. Giles is excited to do more research.

The Scoobies all have gym class together, and their teacher has wisely decided to teach them self-defense today. Oz tucks the tag of Willow’s shirt inside her collar, which makes Xander complain about him touching her in public. “I think you splashed on just a little too much Obsession for Dorks,” Cordelia tells him. The class splits into groups, and Xander notices a bandage on Larry’s arm. He says he was bitten by a dog. Oz sympathizes – his cousin Jordy demonstrated how much he hate being tickled by biting Oz.

Larry’s happy to see that a girl named Theresa is in his group. Buffy’s also with them, and Willow reminds her to hide the fighting skills she’s learned as a Slayer. The class starts with moves to use if someone attacks from behind. Larry “attacks” Buffy, who pretends she’s not strong enough to flip him over her shoulder. When he grabs her butt, she slams him onto his back.

After school, Giles talks to the Scoobies about the moon. There’s no scientific proof that the moon affects people’s psyches, but it seems the moon’s phases do have some psychological influence. The full moon brings out people’s darkest qualities. Werewolves are extreme representations of people’s animalistic traits. They’re active for three nights, during the full moon and on the nights immediately before and after it. They act on pure instinct, aggressive and predatory without a conscience.

Buffy says that sounds like every guy. Xander objects, and Giles tells Buffy not to jump to conclusions. “I didn’t jump. I took a tiny step and there conclusions where,” she replies. Giles clarifies that the werewolf could be a man or a woman, anyone who was bitten by a werewolf. They can’t bring it down with silver bullets. It’s still a human, and that human might not even know they’re a werewolf. On tonight’s patrol, there will be no slaying.

Giles and Buffy go out together that night, but all they find is a classmate cheating on his girlfriend. They’re at a popular parking/makeout spot for Sunnydale High students, and Giles considers knocking on car windows to ask if anyone’s seen anything. Buffy’s like, “Trust me, they’re not looking at their surroundings.”

They split up to keep looking for the werewolf, and Buffy ends up caught in a big net. A guy with a gun is happy to have captured her. She calls for Giles, who comes running. The guy, Cain, lets Buffy out of the net and makes a gross comment implying that he thinks Giles and Buffy are out there because they’re dating. They tell him they’re actually hunting werewolves. Cain laughs at them since he doesn’t think they’re qualified. Giles “looks like he’s auditioning to be a librarian,” and Buffy is a girl.

Giles assures Cain that Buffy is very capable of taking on a werewolf. Cain calls her “sweetheart” and asks how many she’s killed. He’s wearing a necklace made of teeth he’s pulled from the mouth of every werewolf he’s killed. The next one will be his 12th. Giles and Buffy are unhappy that Cain seems to hunt werewolves for sport. He says he’s actually in it for the money – their pelts go for a high price. He doesn’t care that they’re humans for most of the month.

He asks where else teens in Sunnydale hang out, since that’s where the werewolf will go. They like places with lots of sexual heat. Buffy won’t give him any information, and Cain thinks it’s because she doesn’t know anything. After he leaves, Buffy tells Giles that she has an idea, but they’ll need to beat “mein furrier” there.

Theresa’s walking home alone when she hears growling nearby. She starts running and bumps into Angelus. Oh, dear. He recognizes her as one of Buffy’s classmates, and since he knows someone she knows, Theresa feels comfortable letting him walk her home. Meanwhile, Cordelia’s at the Bronze, complaining about how Xander only cares about Buffy and Willow. It turns out she’s complaining to Willow. Willow has her own complaints about how Xander should appreciate that he’s with Cordelia. Cordelia agrees with Willow that Oz needs to move things along with her.

Suddenly the werewolf drops in (literally) and everyone runs out of the club screaming. Giles and Buffy are just arriving, and Willow tells Buffy that the werewolf is inside. Buffy goes in alone and tries to capture the wolf with a chain. The wolf gets away and runs off into the night. Sometime later, Cain arrives and complains that Buffy “let” the wolf get away. He’s also unhappy that she was just going to lock it up. He says this is what happens when a woman tries to do a man’s job.

Giles points out that Buffy risked her life trying to capture the werewolf Cain hasn’t even seen yet. “Daddy’s doing a great job carrying her bag of milk bones,” Cain snots. He tells Buffy that if the werewolf hurts anyone, it’ll be her fault. He hopes she can live with that. “I live with that every day,” she replies. Cain leaves, complaining that first he had to stop hunting elephants for their ivory; now he’s dealing with “People for the Ethical Treatment of Werewolves.” Giles calls him a pillock, which is a great word.

The werewolf follows a trail of blood to Theresa’s body. Angelus is still there with his fresh kill, and the two supernatural beings growl at each other. Angelus is the first to back off. Buffy and Giles go back on patrol, but it’s so quiet that Giles falls asleep in the car. They hear a news report on the radio that Theresa has been found dead, probably the victim of the animal that’s already attacked people.

Giles says they should go home, since the werewolf will become human again when the sun comes up. The werewolf gets some sleep in the woods, then turns back into its human form…Oz. His response to finding himself naked in the woods: “Huh.”

He goes home and calls his aunt to ask straight out if Jordy is a werewolf. We don’t hear the other end of the conversation, but the answer must be yes, because Oz asks how long that’s been going on. No, he doesn’t have a reason to ask. He goes to school, trying to wrap his head around what he’s just discovered about himself.

In the library, Buffy tells Willow, Xander, and Giles that she should have killed the werewolf when she had the chance. Oz arrives in time to learn that there was another attack. He’s happy that no one was bitten or scratched, so no one else will become a werewolf, but he’s sad to hear that Theresa’s dead. He’s also distressed to be reminded that there will be another night of this.

Xander thinks the werewolf is out there laughing about the incompetent Scoobies. Oz notes that there’s no way to tell who it is. Xander thinks Giles can figure it out. Plus, Xander considers himself an expert on human/animal hybrids because of his time as a hyena. He knows what it’s like to be taken over by your urge to kill. Buffy reminds him that he said he didn’t remember anything about that. Xander changes the subject.

He thinks he can get into the werewolf’s head, so he does a little role-playing. He suddenly says the answer is right in front of them. Oz, who’s literally right in front of Xander, gets worried, but Xander thinks the werewolf is Larry. After all, he’s aggressive and hairy, and he was recently bitten by what he says was a dog.

Xander goes off to talk to Larry while Giles tells Willow to look into other possible were-students. Buffy says she’s looking forward to fighting whoever it is. Willow asks if Oz is okay, since he knew Theresa. She invites him to help the Scoobies by doing research with her. Oz, of course, can’t be there that night, at least not without killing Willow, so he says he’s busy, then runs off. Buffy sees how sad Willow is about that and feels sad herself.

Xander finds Larry in the boys’ locker room and asks if there’s anything he’s hiding. He says he knows Larry’s secret about what he’s been doing at night. Larry threatens him with violence, but Xander says that won’t help – people will still find out. Larry offers him hush money, which Xander declines since he just wants to help.

Larry asks if he thinks he has a cure. Xander says he knows what Larry’s going through because he’s been there. He urges Larry to talk about it. Larry says that’s easy for Xander to say. He’s a nobody, but Larry has a reputation. His secret can’t get out. He’ll get kicked off the football team and run out of town. “How are people going to look at me when they find out I’m gay?” he says.

Xander’s confused, but Larry feels surprisingly good. Xander is the first person he’s ever told. Larry thinks Xander brought the truth out of him because it was easy to come out to someone who’s been there. Maybe Larry always wanted to beat up Xander because he recognized something in Xander that he couldn’t admit about himself. Xander tries to deny that he’s gay, and Larry promises not to out him.

Back in the library, Willow tells Buffy that the only person who fits the profile for an aggressive, violent, authority-dodging Sunnydale student is Buffy herself. Willow teases that she should count to 10 when she’s angry. Buffy starts counting right then. She brings up Oz, sorry that he’s sending Willow such mixed signals. Buffy can relate, since she’s familiar with guys not telling girls what they want. She suggests that Willow do something daring and make the first move.

As they leave the library, Willow complains that it used to be much easier to tell if a boy liked you: He would punch you on the arm and then run back to his friends. Xander joins them and punches Buffy on the arm. Willow heads off to help Cordelia with her homework, and Xander notes that it might not be good that the two of them are spending so much time together. Buffy asks how things went with Larry, and Xander tries not to freak out. He insists that Larry isn’t the werewolf, and there are no more questions to ask.

Buffy’s disappointed that their #1 suspect is no longer a suspect. Then she realizes that there’s something they haven’t considered: Theresa died the same night a werewolf was out and about, but she wasn’t mauled. Maybe she wasn’t killed by the werewolf. A trip to the funeral home where Theresa’s body is ready for her service confirms that she was killed by a vampire. Xander thinks that’s good, but it just means Buffy failed to protect a classmate from two different threats.

Xander gently tells Buffy that she can’t blame herself for every death in Sunnydale. Without her, plenty more people would be dead, including him and Willow. Just then, he sees Theresa sitting up in her casket. Looks like Angelus turned her instead of killing her. Buffy faces off with Theresa, who does more psychological damage than physical damage when she says, “Angel sends his love.” Xander stakes Theresa, then comforts Buffy when she realizes Angelus is going to keep targeting her. He tells her not to let Angelus get to her – he’s not the same guy anymore. They share a meaningful look, and Xander laments how complicated his life has become.

That night, Cain makes some silver bullets in his van. Oz starts chaining himself up at home, but he’s interrupted when Willow shows up. She wants to talk about how he seems to care about her, but then backs off. He tries to get her to leave, but Willow doesn’t want to put off the conversation. Oz tells her the problem is him, not her – he’s going through changes. She says she’s going through a lot, too. Oz says it’s not the same.

Willow sees the chains as Oz starts to transform into a wolf. She runs out screaming, and the Oz-wolf chases her down the street. She fights him off with a garbage can. Cain hears a howl as he drives through Sunnydale and follows it. In the library, Buffy tells Giles that Theresa turned into a vampire, thanks to Angelus. She wants to focus on getting the werewolf. Giles has a tranq gun all ready for that.

Oz chases Willow for a while, then gets interested in something that smells better. She races to the library and tells Buffy and Giles that Oz is the werewolf. They promise not to hurt him, just sedate him. Oz comes across Cain, who’s set up bait in the form of raw meat. Just as Cain is about to shoot him, Buffy attacks Cain. Then Oz joins the fight, so Giles has a hard time getting a good shot.

Willow ends up being the one to knock out her love interest. She’s upset about it, but it was necessary to save Giles and Buffy. Cain taunts that no one in Sunnydale is man enough to kill the monsters that keep showing up. Buffy bends his gun in half and kicks him out of town. Giles assures Willow that Oz will be fine in the morning, and back to himself.

At school the next day, Xander wonders how to act around someone he’s just learned such shocking details about. Buffy says Oz is still human, most of the time, and the same person they’ve always known. Xander was actually thinking about Larry but doesn’t want to tell her that. As some jerk knocks the books out of a girl’s hands, Larry approaches and picks them up for her. He thanks Xander for his help. Again, Xander doesn’t want to go into detail around Buffy.

Buffy comments that their encounter was weird, not because Larry was nice but because he didn’t try to look up her skirt. She thinks the moon really is messing with people. It’s definitely going to affect Oz and Willow’s relationship. Xander doesn’t think they can have one, since he’ll need obedience school and might turn on his “owner.” Buffy thinks Willow will still want to be with him. She tells Xander he doesn’t get a say in this.

Willow meets up with Oz outside, and he tells her that Giles said he’ll be fine but will need to lock himself up around the full moon. Willow apologizes for shooting him, but Oz thinks it’s fair, since he almost ate her. Willow wishes he’d told her he’s a werewolf. He’s still getting used to it and says he didn’t know how to tell her.

Oz suggests that he give Willow some space for a while, but she’s totally okay with dating a werewolf. He has lots of good qualities, and he’ll only be a wolf three days a month. “I mean, three days out of the month, I’m not much fun to be around, either,” she notes. Oz says she’s “quite the human” and agrees to keep dating her. (No biting.) Willow heads off to class, then comes back and kisses him before leaving again. “A werewolf in love,” Oz says to himself happily.

Thoughts: Is there a law that requires all vampire movies, TV shows, and book series to include werewolves?

Oz gets all the best lines. He’s just so quotable.

Theresa, girl, why would you walk home alone at night in freaking Sunnydale? You must be new.

I love the moment when Oz finds out there was another werewolf sighting and gets so worried that someone was bitten or scratched, which means they’ll become a werewolf, too. He’s struggling to grasp what it means that he’s the werewolf, but right then, he doesn’t care about himself, just innocent people – not just people he might attack but people who might wind up like him. It says so much about his character.

December 18, 2021

Buffy 2.6, Halloween: Come as You Aren’t

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

Willow’s already scared and nothing’s even happened yet!

Summary: It’s two days before Halloween, and Buffy’s fighting a vampire near a pumpkin stand. She throws a stake at him and he uses a jack-o-lantern-headed scarecrow as a shield. Another vampire tapes the fight, which ends when Buffy uses a sign post as a stake.

Meanwhile, Angel’s waiting for Buffy at the Bronze. Cordelia’s there alone, since Devon flaked on her, and when Buffy arrives, she sees the two of them talking. Angel is smiling and laughing. It’s weird! Buffy starts to leave without Angel seeing her, but he spots her and runs over to her. Cordelia insults her because her hair’s mussed from her vamp fight. Angel wants Buffy to stay, but she’s decided she’s not normal enough to date. Most of her thoughts are occupied by beheadings and the best way to ambush a vampire.

At school the next day, Snyder wrangles volunteers for a safety program where high-schoolers take kids trick-or-treating. Though I’m not sure it counts as volunteering when Snyder forces you to sign up. Buffy would prefer slaying to looking after sugar-hyped kids, but Snyder doesn’t care what she wants. And no, her alleged carpal tunnel syndrome that won’t allow her to hold a flashlight isn’t a viable excuse. Xander and Willow are also forced to volunteer. They’re annoyed that they’ll all have to wear costumes.

Buffy was looking forward to hanging out at home, relaxing. Apparently Halloween is the one night of the year the undead don’t go out. Xander goes to get a soda from a nearby machine, and a guy named Larry approaches him and asks if he thinks Buffy would go out with him. Larry heard that she’s “fast.” “I hope you mean ‘like the wind,'” Xander replies. He defends Buffy, but if this is going to turn into a physical confrontation, Xander is at a clear disadvantage, since he’s half Larry’s size.

Fortunately, Buffy’s there to handle Larry herself. As a bonus, she gets Xander’s soda unstuck from the machine. Xander’s annoyed that Buffy had to come to his rescue. He’s going to be branded a coward for the next 20 years. Buffy tells Willow she just “violated the boy code.” Willow laments that boys are fragile.

Speaking of boys (well, men), she asks how Buffy’s date with Angel went. Buffy tells her that it didn’t go at all, since Cordelia was there. Willow doesn’t think Buffy has anything to worry about – Cordelia’s not Angel’s type. Buffy doesn’t know what his type is, tough. Willow wishes they could sneak a peek at Giles’ Watcher records to learn more about Angel. Oh, wait – they can!

Buffy tries to creep into Giles’ office to grab a look, but Giles catches her and starts a conversation about battle techniques. Buffy encourages him to do something fun for once. She distracts him while Willow sneaks into his office. Eventually Buffy blurts out that Jenny said Giles was a babe, a “hunk of burning…something or other.” Once Willow has the book she wants, Buffy chastises herself for overstepping and runs out. Giles, however, is happy to be called a babe.

Buffy and Willow look through the book of Watcher diary entries in the bathroom and see what women in Angel’s day looked like. Buffy doesn’t think she can compete with them. She thinks it must have been nice to dress up and go to balls like a princess. Willow thinks it’s better to be a woman now, since they have the right to vote.

Cordelia comes in and taunts Buffy for being late to her date the night before. She asks what Angel’s story is, since she never sees him around. “Not during the day, anyway,” Willow says. Cordelia thinks that means he still lives at home and has to wait to use his parents’ car. Buffy tells her that Angel’s a vampire. She thought Cordelia already knew that. Cordelia thinks she’s lying, since Angel isn’t mean – he must be “the cuddly kind, like a Care Bear with fangs.” She accuses Buffy of trying to scare off the competition. But when it comes to dating, Cordelia, not Buffy, is the Slayer.

After school, the Scoobies check out a new costume shop in town. Willow chooses a ghost costume, but Buffy thinks she should dress wild, since Halloween is the chance to “come as you aren’t.” Willow doesn’t think wild is a good look for her. Buffy encourages her not to underestimate herself.

Xander just picks out a toy gun; he has military fatigues at home for the rest of his look. Buffy apologizes for rescuing him from Larry, promising that in the future, she’ll let him get beaten up. Xander’s strangely happy about that. Buffy gets distracted when she finds the perfect costume for herself: a dress typically worn by a woman from Angel’s day, or possibly a Disney princess. The store’s owner, Ethan Rayne, appears and agrees to make her a great deal so she can afford the dress.

Spike reviews the tape of Buffy’s fight from the night before so he can study the Slayer’s moves. Drusilla joins him, being weird as usual. She tells him that “everything’s switching, outside to inside. It makes her weak” (“her” being Buffy). Spike tries to get her to tell him more about this vision she’s obviously had. She tells him it’ll happen tomorrow: “Someone’s come to change it all. Someone new.” That someone is Ethan, who ends his day with a blood ritual and a promise to bring chaos.

Buffy and Willow get dressed together the next day, and though Willow has picked out a skin-bearing outfit, she wants to wear her ghost costume over it. Buffy still wants her to give being someone other than herself a chance. Xander arrives and gushes over Buffy’s dress. That wouldn’t help Willow’s self-confidence, even if she hadn’t already put on her ghost costume.

The three head to school and meet up with their assigned kids (though Snyder tells Buffy not to talk to hers). Larry, dressed as a pirate, asks Xander if his bodyguard is curling her hair. Cordelia, dressed as a cat, finds Oz, who comments that she looks like…well, a big cat. She clarifies that that’s her costume. Yes, good, I’m not sure he got that. Cordelia tells him that he can tell Devon she doesn’t want to see him, and she won’t be at their show tonight, and she doesn’t even care. Oz isn’t sure what he’s supposed to tell Devon. “Nothing. Geez, get with the program,” Cordelia says. “Why can’t I meet a nice girl like that?” Oz asks himself before running into Willow.

Xander gives his kids some pointers on how to maximize their candy-collecting experience. Buffy turns out to be pretty good with kids, and I’m sure they appreciate her hostility toward a woman who gave them toothbrushes. Back in his shop, Ethan is doing another ritual, speaking to the god Janus, and it kicks in toward the end of the kids’ trick-or-treating time. Two kids dressed as demons turn into actual demons.

The streets suddenly get chaotic as everyone starts turning into what they’re dressed as. That’s especially bad for Willow, who’s dressed as a ghost. Xander’s suddenly an actual soldier with a real gun. Willow’s realized she’s a real ghost now, but at least she’s the kind of ghost people can see (and see a lot of, since her ghost costume is gone and she’s now in her “wild” clothes). She finds Xander, but he doesn’t know who she is. She tells him they’re on the same side. Xander doesn’t believe her claim that they’ve turned into their costumes.

Xander turns his gun on someone who’s growling nearby, but Willow orders him not to shoot anyone, since everyone they see is still a human being (and most likely a child). She spots Buffy, who would ordinarily be great in this kind of situation, but since she’s now an 18th-century noblewoman…not so much. She passes out at the sight of monsters.

Willow’s the only person aware of what’s going on, and she doesn’t know how to get through this situation without the Slayer. Buffy doesn’t even know what a car is. Willow tries to explain to Xander that that makes sense because Buffy’s from the past. Xander isn’t sure he trusts Willow, but he decides to listen to her and follow her to Buffy’s house.

As monsters bang on the doors, Buffy finds a picture of herself. Though she recognizes her face, she doesn’t remember her real life. She’s distressed at the thought that she can’t go home because she’s already there. “She couldn’t have dressed up like Xena?” Willow says to herself. A monster breaks a window and grabs at Xander, who fires his gun outside the house. Willow isn’t happy, but Xander’s just shooting to make noise and scare away any attackers, not to actually hurt anyone.

They hear screaming outside, and Xander runs out to be a hero. He finds Cordelia running from monsters and takes her to Buffy’s house. Willow explains to Cordelia that she’s a high-schooler, not a real cat. Cordelia’s aware of that – she didn’t turn into her costume. Willow decides to leave the others there and go get help. Buffy says that some men will likely come to protect them. Now Cordelia gets that there’s something really wrong. Willow explains that it’s like amnesia, then tells her to stay put. “Who died and made her the boss?” Cordelia asks as Willow leaves the house by walking right through a wall.

The costumed monsters aren’t the only ones out tonight – Spike is also walking through Sunnydale. He’s thrilled by all the chaos. Xander starts barricading the windows, telling Buffy that they’re going to follow Willow’s orders. He spots a picture of himself, Buffy, and Willow, and realizes Willow was right about them being friends. Buffy denies that they could have amnesia – she bathes too often to catch that.

Xander asks what she thinks is going on, then. Buffy says she wasn’t brought up to think for herself. She’s just supposed to look pretty and eventually get married. Xander warns that she’s going to have to fight the monsters at some point. Buffy says she’d rather die. Just then, Angel arrives to lend a hand. Buffy and Xander, of course, have no idea who he is.

At the library, Giles has no idea what’s going on outside until he hears screams and sirens. Then Willow comes through a wall and accidentally scares him. Back at the Summers’ house, Cordelia finally clues Angel in on what’s happening. The lights go out and Buffy grabs Cordelia out of fear. “Do you mind?” Cordelia asks, annoyed. Xander tells Buffy to go with Angel, though Buffy would prefer to stay with Xander, since he has a gun. If only real Xander were able to hear her pick him over Angel.

Angel finds the back door open, which has let in a monster. He yells for Buffy to get him a stake. She only has a knife, which won’t help. Angel’s in fight mode and has vamped out, and when Buffy sees his face, she screams and runs out of the house. Back at the library, Willow explains everything to Giles, who’s confused because she’s definitely not dressed like a ghost. Willow argues that Cordelia’s costume is even more revealing. They realize that the fact that Cordelia didn’t change is significant. It must be because she got her costume at a different place.

Xander, Angel, and Cordelia search for Buffy, knowing she’s helpless without her Slayer identity. Spike overhears and realizes this is the perfect chance to kill a Slayer. Larry finds Buffy and chases her as Giles and Willow go to Ethan’s shop. They find his shrine to Janus, which Giles says symbolizes “the division of self” into light and dark, or male and female. Ethan joins them and offers the example of the division between chunky and creamy, like peanut butter. Giles tells Willow to leave, then greets Ethan, whom he knows. “Hello, Ripper,” Ethan replies.

Just as Larry’s about to do whatever you think a pirate would do to a helpless woman, Xander comes to Buffy’s rescue and starts pummeling him. She cowers at the sight of Angel again, telling Cordelia he’s a vampire. Cordelia promises that he’s a good vampire and won’t hurt Buffy. Xander finishes up with Larry, telling Angel that beating him up gave him “a weird sense of closure.” Willow finds the group and tells them to find a safe place to hide. Spike and some minions are on the warpath.

Giles is surprised that he didn’t figure out that Ethan was behind what’s going on. It’s just like him – something sick and brutal that hurts innocent people. Ethan accuses Giles of putting on his own persona as the Watcher. He’s not the kind of person who wears tweed and meekly looks after the Slayer. Ethan knows who Giles is and what he’s capable of. He guesses the Scoobies have no clue about his past. Giles tells Ethan to break the spell and leave Sunnydale forever. Otherwise, Giles will kill him. Ethan’s not intimidated, but Giles demonstrates that’s he’s willing to fight.

The Scoobies find a warehouse to hide in, and the guys try to barricade the door, but they can’t hold off Spike and his minions for long. Back at the shop, Giles orders Ethan to tell him how to stop the spell. Ethan wants Giles to beg. Giles wants Ethan to bleed. Spike approaches Buffy as the minions hold off Angel and Xander. Buffy cries and doesn’t try to fight back.

Ethan has finally had enough of being beaten up, so he tells Giles that breaking his statue of Janus will end the spell. Xander starts fighting the minions, and Willow tells him he’s allowed to shoot Spike. But Giles has already broken the statue, and Xander’s gun is back to being a toy. That means the Slayer is also back to herself. “Hi, honey. I’m home,” she tells Spike before starting to fight him.

Ethan has managed to escape, and Spike runs off as well, realizing he’s not going to beat the Slayer tonight. Xander remembers everything that happened; it was like he was trapped and couldn’t get out. Cordelia starts to talk about her tight costume, but Angel ignores her, instead checking on Buffy. Xander tells Cordelia to learn what he’s already learned – they’re never going to get between Buffy and Angel. Willow has traveled back to where she left her body when she turned into a ghost. She feels bold now, so she doesn’t put her ghost costume back on. She passes Oz on her way home, and he asks himself again who she is.

Buffy and Angel hang out in her room, her now in her normal clothes. He asks why she thinks he would have liked her more as a girl from his time period. He hated the girls back then, especially the ones from noble families. They were boring. He always wanted to meet someone interesting and exciting. They start making out. I think it’s safe to say they’re officially together.

The next day, Giles goes to Ethan’s shop, which is empty. Looks like someone fled town in a hurry. He finds a note Ethan left for him: “Be seeing you…”

Thoughts: In a surprising twist on “The Simpsons did it,” Buffy did this episode before the similarly themed Treehouse of Horror segment “I’ve Grown a Costume on Your Face.”

Ethan is an awesome villain. I’m torn between wishing he’d been on the show a little more and being happy that they didn’t overuse him.

Did guys in 1997 still describe girls as “fast”?

I used to play an online Buffy trivia game, and I’ll never forget that one of the players called Willow’s costume in this episode “the Ghost of Hookers Past.”