November 27, 2021

Buffy 2.3, School Hard: Maybe Nothing Bad Will Happen

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

Yep, they’re here

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 13, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 30, 2021

Buffy 1.11, Out of Mind, Out of Sight: I’m Looking Through You

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

Hmm, this kind of foreshadows “Homecoming” from season 3

Summary: It’s a beautiful spring day, and Cordelia is looking forward to the end-of-school dance. Harmony predicts that she’ll be elected May Queen. They run into Buffy, who drops all the weapons she’s carrying. She lies that they’re for history class. Harmony and Cordelia already think she’s weird, so they don’t seem that surprised to see her doing something…well, weird.

In English class, the kids are studying The Merchant of Venice. Their teacher, Mrs. Miller, asks about how the “if you prick us, do we not bleed?” speech relates to their discussion about society’s outcasts being angry. Cordelia thinks Shylock is self-involved and whiny. His desire to get revenge isn’t justice. He needs to get over himself. Cordelia has no sympathy for people who think their problems are more important than other people’s. Mrs. Miller’s just happy she did the reading. Cordelia has even started thinking about the paper she has to write on the play.

Her latest love interest, Mitch, takes a shower in the school locker room, then chats with some friends about how he’s totally going to nail Cordelia after the dance. After the friends leave, he hears a girl laughing nearby but doesn’t see anyone. Suddenly the baseball bat on top of his locker floats into the air, then swings and hits him.

Cordelia’s passing out candy with the letter C on it in hopes that people will associate her with something sweet and vote her May Queen. Willow and Xander laugh about something that happened with her in sixth grade. Buffy wishes she were in on the joke. Xander doesn’t get why anyone would want to be May Queen anyway. Buffy admits that she was the equivalent at her old school. He tells her she doesn’t need that sort of stuff anymore – she has the Scoobies.

A guy reports that Mitch was beaten up, and Snyder rushes to assure all the students that he’s alive. “There are no dead students here…this week,” he declares. As Mitch is taken off by paramedics, Buffy asks him what happened. He says a bat hit him all on its own. Buffy heads to the locker room to take a look around, but Snyder tells her to stop nosing into situations that don’t involve her. Willow and Xander distract Snyder by loudly talking about how Mitch claimed he was going to sue the school.

Buffy finds the bat in the locker room, as well as the word “look” spray-painted on some lockers. In the cafeteria, she shares the news with the Scoobies, noting that most monsters don’t leave messages. Giles thinks they could be dealing with someone who has telekinesis, an invisible monster, or a ghost. Willow says a ghost means a dead student, so Buffy asks her to make a list of people who might fit the bill. Xander gets assigned to help Giles with research, which Xander considers homework. The alternative is talking to Mitch’s friends, like Cordelia, so research it is.

Cordelia has visited Mitch already, and he’s not badly hurt, but she’s concerned: How is he going to look in their prom pictures? We cut to a flashback of Cordelia telling Harmony that Mitch has just become single, so now Cordelia has a shot with them. A girl approaches and tries to chat with them, but Cordelia is snotty to her. In the present, as Buffy asks Cordelia if they can talk, Harmony suddenly falls down the stairs. She insists that she was pushed.

Buffy hears the same laughter Mitch heard in the locker room and sees the door to the band room closing. She goes in after the laugher, who bumps into her, but she doesn’t see anyone. Later, as two men in black suits hang out on campus, the Scoobies talk about ghosts. Giles has encountered one, and it wasn’t a great experience. It passed right through him and felt really cold. Buffy says she bumped into someone but they didn’t pass through her, which means they’re probably dealing with someone who’s invisible.

Xander thinks that’s cool, though if he had the same ability, he’d use it for good instead of evil (“good” meaning spying on girls in the locker room). Giles thinks it’s probably a difficult thing to leave with. Willow wonders if the invisible girl is a witch; that would be nice, since they know how to fight a witch. Xander mentions that in Greek myths, usually only gods had the power to become invisible. Everyone’s impressed that he’s remembered something from his research. Buffy and Willow doubt this is a god, since she’s petty and vengeful.

Since the girl’s two victims were Mitch and Harmony, who both have Cordelia in common, that’s where they should start. Willow will bring in the list of missing students tomorrow. As she and Xander head off, Giles says he’ll look into ways someone can become invisible. Buffy will try to find this invisible girl without being able to see her. That will most likely involve listening, something Buffy doesn’t always do.

Cordelia and her friends stay at school late, getting her ready for her possible election as May Queen. Buffy feels a pang of regret that that part of her life is behind her. She hears a flute playing, which Giles can also hear from the library. When a door squeaks, Giles suspects that the invisible girl has come to pay him a visit. Nope – it’s Angel. He promises he’s not there to eat Giles. He’s also not there to see Buffy; it’s too hard for him to be around her. “A vampire in love with a Slayer – it’s rather poetic, in a maudlin sort of way,” Giles says.

Angel wants to talk about the Master. He knows something big is in motion, though he doesn’t know just what. Giles has been trying to research whatever Buffy might face, but the relevant books are unavailable, including something called the Codex. Angel says he can get it. He can’t help with the invisible girl, though. Giles says that’s not part of his expertise, but he’s fascinated by the idea of going around unseen. Angel (who, as a vampire, has no reflection) says that not being able to see yourself in the mirror isn’t as great as he might think.

Another flashback: A girl named Marcie tries to win over Cordelia and her friends by joining their conversation in the bathroom. They ignore her. In the present, Cordelia is crowned May Queen and thanks the voters for making the right choice and showing how much they love her. Nearby, Willow notices the two men in suits as Buffy looks over the list of missing students. She singles out Marcie, whom Willow and Xander don’t remember. She played the flute, and Buffy heard flute music, so she figures this is the lead to follow.

She goes back to the music room, where she finds a shoe print on the floor under a vent. She climbs up into the ceiling and finds signs that someone’s been living up there, as well as a flute, sheet music, and a teddy bear. She opens a yearbook and confirms that the person who’s been living there is Marcie. Unfortunately, her Slayer/spidey sense doesn’t alert her to the fact that there’s a knife floating near her head.

Buffy leaves with the yearbook as invisible Marcie goes to Mrs. Miller’s classroom for some more mischief. She puts a plastic bag over the teacher’s head and tries to suffocate her. Fortunately, Cordelia arrives moments later and saves her. An invisible hand picks up a piece of chalk and writes “listen” on the chalkboard.

Buffy shows Marcie’s yearbook to the Scoobies; it’s full of generic “have a nice summer” messages, indicating that Marcie wasn’t close enough friends with anyone for anything else. Willow and Xander both still claim not to have known Marcie, but Buffy points out that they both signed her yearbook. Willow realizes that they also had a bunch of classes with her last year. The Scoobies decide that Marcie must have become invisible because no one noticed her.

Giles regrets not thinking about the physics of the situation. There’s a concept that reality is shaped by how people perceive it. People saw Marcie as invisible, so she turned invisible. Flashback: Mrs. Miller doesn’t call on Marcie in class, so she starts to literally disappear. In the present, Buffy feels bad that Marcie’s condition is out of her control. The Scoobies can understand why she’s mad.

Just as Buffy figures out that Cordelia is Marcie’s biggest target, Cordelia shows up in the library, looking for Buffy. Despite Buffy being a loser who hangs out with losers, Cordelia knows she can help. She’s also figured out that everything that’s happened in the past few days has to do with her. “This is all about me! Me, me, me!” she exclaims. “Wow. For once, she’s right,” Xander quips.

Buffy’s always around when weird stuff happens, and she’s strong and has weapons, so Cordelia was hoping she’s in a gang and can protect her. She has no one else to turn to. Giles invites her to sit and work with the Scoobies. He notes that he’s never seen her in the library before. “Oh, no. I have a life,” Cordelia replies brightly. She asks the Scoobies to get rid of whatever or whoever is after her. Buffy shows her a picture of Marcie, but Cordelia doesn’t recognize her.

Up in the ceiling, Marcie rants about Cordelia and how everyone needs to be taught a lesson. Back in the library, Buffy suggests that Marcie is going to do something to try to stop Cordelia’s coronation and celebration at the Bronze that night. Cordelia refuses to stay away – that will let Marcie win. Buffy’s surprised to find herself agreeing. Plus, they can use Cordelia as bait to draw Marcie out. Of course, the problem with dealing with an invisible enemy is that that enemy can listen in on your plans without you knowing, which is exactly what’s happening.

As self-centered as she usually is, Cordelia actually feels bad for Marcie. She tells Buffy that it’s awful to feel so lonely. Her own popularity and cuteness don’t make her happy all the time. Even though she’s constantly surrounded by people, Cordelia doesn’t know for sure that they’re really her friends or if they even like her. People just like being around popular people. Sometimes when Cordelia talks, everyone is so eager to agree with her that she doesn’t think they’re really listening. Buffy asks why she works so hard to be popular, then. “Well, it beats being alone all by yourself,” Cordelia replies.

While they head off to get ready for the coronation, the other Scoobies hear flute music in the library. They consider taking Marcie on themselves, since it’ll be three against one. Cordelia changes into her May Queen gown in a mop closet (Buffy promises to never tell anyone that) while the other Scoobies follow the flute music to the boiler room. They quickly realize that the music is coming from a boom box, and they were lured there. The door slams shut and they hear gas filling the room.

Through the closet door, Buffy tells Cordelia that she understands feeling lonely while being popular. She always felt like something was missing from her previous friendships. She hears something crashing in the closet and busts in to find Cordelia being pulled up through a hole in the ceiling. Buffy uses her gymnastics skills to flip up there and follow her.

As the other Scoobies try to escape the boiler room, Buffy finds Cordelia unconscious in Marcie’s ceiling hideout. Marcie throws Buffy down into a classroom and injects her with something from a medical bag. Buffy passes out and wakes up at the Bronze, where she and Cordelia have been tied to chairs. Cordelia’s worried because her face is numb. Also, “learn” is written on a nearby curtain.

The Scoobies haven’t found a way out of the boiler room or a way to shut off the gas. Giles guesses that Marcie’s loneliness has driven her crazy. At the Bronze, Buffy and Cordelia tell Marcie they’re ready to listen to whatever she wants them to hear. Marcie tells Cordelia that everyone wants what she has – to be seen. Marcie’s going to give her “a face no one will ever forget.”

Buffy protests, but Marcie hits her and says Buffy should have stayed out of her way. She thought Buffy would understand Marcie’s “vision,” but she’s just like Cordelia. Marcie prepares to start cutting up Cordelia’s face, telling her to be grateful because she’ll be memorable forever. In the boiler room, the other Scoobies are blacking out.

Cordelia tries to stall Marcie as Buffy stretches to reach a scalpel and cut the ropes tied around her. But Marcie doesn’t want to listen to Cordelia. “I see right through you,” Marcie says. Buffy manages to cut herself free, but before she can get Cordelia out of her ropes, Marcie attacks her. In the boiler room, the Scoobies are rescued by Angel, who smelled the gas when he came in through the basement to deliver the Codex to Giles. He can shut off the gas without putting himself in danger, since he can go without oxygen a lot longer than the Scoobies can.

Buffy continues fighting Marcie, quickly losing the sympathy she had for her. Marcie taunts that Buffy can’t fight something she can’t see. Buffy uses her Slayer powers to give her the upper hand. No, wait – she tells Cordelia to be quiet and then listens until she hears where Marcie is. She punches her into a curtain, which gives her form.

The two men in suits come in and announce that they’re FBI agents and will be taking care of things from here on out. Buffy wishes they’d come in a little sooner, before Marcie started trying to give Cordelia plastic surgery. She asks if they can cure Marcie. They say they can rehabilitate her and make her “a useful member of society.” Buffy guesses that this has happened before at other schools.

At school the next day, the Scoobies tell Buffy that a janitor saved them in the boiler room. Cordelia thanks them for their help, especially since they didn’t have to do anything for her. They invite her to get lunch with them, but Cordelia’s not about to hang out with them voluntarily when she can be with the popular crowd. Elsewhere, Marcie is taken to a new school full of students just like her. They’ll be studying assassination and infiltration, starting with cults. Marcie’s thrilled.

Thoughts: Marcie is played by Clea DuVall, who’s also in The Grudge with Sarah Michelle Gellar. Mrs. Miller is also Ms. Teasley from Beverly Hills, 90210.

Like Mrs. Miller, I’m impressed that Cordelia did the reading – Shakespeare, no less – and is thinking ahead about her paper. The girl has hidden depths!

I’ve never really thought about it before now but it’s interesting that Giles trusts Angel. As a Watcher, Giles has been raised and taught to believe that all vampires are demons. But Angel’s actions have proven that he’s different, and he’s willing to let Angel keep showing that he’s on the Scoobies’ side. You’d think it would be more likely that Buffy would have to convince Giles that they can trust Angel.

October 16, 2021

Buffy 1.9, The Puppet Show: Slaying for Dummies

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

Sid also gives me the wig

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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