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.

September 3, 2022

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

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

LEATHER

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 27, 2022

Buffy 3.20, The Prom: One Night of Glory

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

I’m not crying, you’re crying

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 20, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 13, 2022

Buffy 3.18, Earshot: Everybody Hurts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 6, 2022

Buffy 3.17, Enemies: Second Best

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

Heh, someone titled this “the happy couple”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 30, 2022

Buffy 3.16, Doppelgangland: Old Reliable

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

Alyson Hannigan is excellent in this episode

Summary: Anya is begging her demon boss, D’Hoffryn, to restore her powers, which she lost when Giles destroyed her necklace. D’Hoffryn reminds her that her powers were a gift, and she’s shown that she’s unworthy of them, so she can’t have them back. Anya argues that she was robbed of them, but D’Hoffryn says she was careless.

She reminds him that she had her powers for 1,000 years, and she used them to punish misbehaving men and bring about chaos. She was worshipped and feared. Now she’s stuck in Sunnydale, a mortal teenager. Plus, she’s flunking math. D’Hoffryn isn’t sympathetic. He tells her she’ll live the life of a mortal now and die a mortal’s death. Anya asks for another chance – if D’Hoffryn sends her back in time, she can change what happened. He refuses, so she vows to get her powers back another way. If he won’t help her, she’ll find someone else.

Her best bet is Willow, who’s floating a pencil on the Sunnydale High quad. Buffy’s next to her, doing sit-ups in preparation for some Watchers’ Council testing. She admires Willow’s new skill, which Willow says is about emotional control (plus, of course, magic). She notices that Buffy’s working out more than usual and guesses that she wants to outperform Faith on the tests. Buffy thinks she’s being shallow, but Willow assures her that competition is healthy. At the very least, she’ll beat Faith on the psych tests, as long as she doesn’t “mark the box that says ‘I sometimes like to kill people.'”

Buffy’s still sympathetic toward Faith, even though Faith tried to frame her for Finch’s death. Faith has had it rough, and in different circumstances, Buffy could have wound up the same way. Willow doubts that, since not everyone has it in them to kill and then act like nothing happened. Buffy tries to back out of the conversation, since she knows Willow doesn’t like talking about Faith. Willow says it’s fine, but judging from the way her pencil is spinning a million miles an hour, her emotional control is a little compromised right now.

Willow goes to a meeting with Snyder and a student named Percy. Percy is a star basketball player with a failing grade in history and no motivation to improve it. He argues that he’s challenged. “You’re lazy, self-involved, and spoiled. That’s quite the challenge,” Snyder replies. He wants to ensure that the basketball team has a winning year – they need it after what happened with the swim team last year – so Willow is going to tutor Percy. She objects but Snyder tells her this is her chance to give back to the community. Also, she definitely doesn’t have a choice in the matter.

After the meeting, Willow catches up with Buffy and they go to the library together. Buffy offers to force Snyder to back off, but Willow doesn’t want her to make any trouble. She just hates how Snyder bullies people and assumes their time is his. Giles emerges from his office and tells Willow to try again to access the mayor’s files. She agrees, apparently not realizing that Snyder isn’t the only person who assumes other people’s time is his.

Faith comes in with Wesley after finishing some sort of obstacle course. Wesley says she was a little sloppy, but considering he’s gasping for breath and she looks like she didn’t even break a sweat, I don’t think he has any room to judge. Faith tells Buffy she’ll like the course: “It’s just like fun, only boring.” Giles tells her the evaluations are necessary, and she promises she’s on board. She wishes Buffy good luck and might even mean it.

Faith joins Willow as she’s trying to hack the mayor’s files. Willow says he has some barriers set up but she’s confident she’ll breach them eventually. That night, Faith warns the mayor, who’s just rented her a nice apartment. He doesn’t want her to continue to live in the motel, where there are “immoral liaisons” going on. “Yeah, plus all the screwing,” she replies. (They’ll keep the old motel room so the Scoobies don’t find out about the new place.)

She teases the mayor by calling him her sugar daddy, which he doesn’t appreciate. He’s a family man, after all. He quickly shifts gears, saying it’s time to kill Willow. He’s not going to have Faith do it, though. A vampire attack makes much more sense. Until then, Faith can enjoy the perks of this new arrangement. Her new dad even bought her a PlayStation!

At school the next day, Willow reunites with Oz, who took the previous day off because his band came back late from an out-of-town gig. She’s disappointed that he didn’t tell her about the gig. She might have wanted to go. Oz says he didn’t think she would have wanted to miss school. Willow translates that as him believing she’s boring. He tells her that’s “a radical interpretation of the text.” He invites her to come to their show at the Bronze that night, but she says she has too much homework.

Willow finds Percy to set up a time to discuss a paper he needs to write on one of the Roosevelts. He’s confused (okay, he’s always confused, but even more so this time) because he was under the impression that she was going to write it for him. Willow agrees to get him the books he needs, and then they can meet up at lunch. Percy vetoes that plan, since lunchtime is reserved for hanging out. He tells her to just type up the paper (but not “too good”) and put his name on it.

Willow grumpily sits down in the quad, pulling out a banana she’s decided to eat even though it’s not lunchtime yet. Buffy and Xander join her and ask if she remembered to tape an episode of Biography. She did, which doesn’t surprise Buffy; she calls Willow “Old Reliable.” Willow doesn’t appreciate being given such a boring nickname. Xander tries to spin it by saying she’s “a geyser of fun that goes off at regular intervals.” Willow tells him that’s Old Faithful. He thought that was the dog that was shot. She tells him that’s Old Yeller. “Xander, I beg you not to help me,” Buffy speaks up.

She reassures Willow that it’s good to be reliable. But Willow wants to be seen as someone who doesn’t just help whenever other people want her to. Maybe she’ll cut class or change her luck. “And I’m eating this banana – lunchtime be damned!” she declares. She tries to walk off but Buffy follows her. Willow tells her that she’s trying to storm off, and being followed ruins it.

Inside, Anya introduces herself to Willow and asks her to help with a project. Willow thinks it’s school-related and confirms that she’s the one to talk to: “Reliable dog geyser person.” She perks up when Anya tells her it’s a spell. She needs a secondary to create a temporal fold. Willow eagerly asks if it’s dangerous and is disappointed when Anya assures her it isn’t. “Can we pretend it is?” Willow replies.

They go to an empty classroom to do a spell to summon some spirit that will open a fold. Then they’ll pour some sand on a representation of Anya’s necklace (which she says was stolen from her mother’s apartment), and the spirit will bring it out of wherever it was lost. The spell goes fine until Willow gets a glimpse of where the necklace last existed. As she and Anya are pouring the sand, it falls on Willow’s hand. Instead of bringing forth the necklace, the spell brings forth Willow in her vampire form at the Bronze.

Willow is freaked out about the kind of dark magic Anya had her use and the world it showed her, which she thinks was a Hell dimension. Anya claims she’s just trying to find her necklace. “Well, did you try looking inside the sofa in Hell?” Willow asks. Anya wants to try again but Willow refuses to participate. She even takes back the chicken feet she contributed. She warns Anya not to toy with magic, then leaves to do Percy’s homework.

Vampire Willow (whom I will call Vamp Willow – inspired, right?) wanders around downtown, confused about the differences between her world and this one. There are humans walking around at night, not worried about being attacked by vampires. They’re also hanging out at the Bronze, blissfully unaware of a vampire in their midst.

Vamp Willow runs into Percy, who’s surprised to see her in very un-Willow-like clothes. He reminds her that she’s supposed to be writing his paper. He brags that until graduation, he owns her. “Bored now,” she says, shoving him over a pool table. She tells him she’s having a bad night and asks him to make it better. She chokes him as people around them point and laugh, because as popular as Percy would be as a star athlete, apparently no one cares that he’s having his butt handed to him by nerdy Willow Rosenberg.

Xander notices that people are interested in something and runs to Vamp Willow and Percy. He thinks Percy is messing with Willow, though, since that makes more sense. Percy scampers off, not wanting any more trouble with Vamp Willow. Xander takes in her new look, thinking she’s trying something out like she said she would. She’s happy to see that he’s alive (since Buffy had just killed him right before she was brought out of her world) and feels him up, which freaks him out. She’s disappointed to realize that he’s alive alive, as in human. She laments that everything’s different.

Buffy arrives and tries to be positive about Willow’s new look. Vamp Willow tells Buffy she doesn’t like her. Buffy thinks she’s upset about what happened at school and says Willow doesn’t need to prove anything. Vamp Willow turns to leave, and when Buffy tries to stop her, she vamps out and roars for Buffy to back off. Buffy and Xander are horrified to think that their best friend has been turned into a vampire.

Outside, a couple of the mayor’s minions find Willow and attack her, surprised when she fights back. She breaks one guy’s fingers until he tells her who he works for. When she keeps asking, he catches on and switches his allegiance to her. She tells him to gather his buddies so they can make the real world like the world she came from, starting with the Bronze.

Buffy and Xander go to the library, stunned by Willow’s apparent death. They fill Giles in and the three all sit together numbly. “She was truly the finest of all of us,” Giles says. “Way better than me,” Xander replies. “Much, much better,” Giles agrees. Buffy blames herself – Willow must have gone out and gotten attacked because she wanted to show that she wasn’t Old Reliable. Now Buffy’s best friend is…

Here in the library, actually. Willow comes in, sees three sad faces, and asks who died. Then she remembers she lives in Sunnydale and realizes someone might have actually died. Xander holds up a cross and tells her to get back. When that doesn’t do anything, he shakes the cross like it might be broken. Buffy and Xander happily hug their friend, relieved that she’s alive. Willow asks Giles why they’re acting weird, but she can’t get the question out before he hugs her, too.

Willow says it’s nice that everyone missed her. “Say, you all didn’t happen to do a bunch of drugs, did ya?” she asks brightly. Xander tells her they saw her at the Bronze, but she was a vampire. Willow seems offended. Buffy asks Giles for an explanation, but all he can manage is, “Something…something, um, very strange is happening.” “Can you believe the Watchers’ Council let this guy go?” Xander quips.

Back at the Bronze, Anya tries to order a beer but the bartender won’t serve her without an ID. “I’m 1,120 years old – just give me a fricking beer!” she yells. He still says no, so she sighs and asks for a Coke instead. Dingoes Ate My Baby are setting up to perform, and Devon tells Oz that they need a roadie, since other bands have them. Oz points out that other bands can also play more than three chords.

Angel shows up looking for Buffy, just in time for Vamp Willow’s new gang to walk in and take everyone hostage. Angel tells Oz he can escape through a skylight. Angel wants to stay, but Oz tells him it’ll be him against too many vampires to defeat. Just then, Vamp Willow strolls in, happy that everyone’s afraid, “just like old times.” Oz tells Angel to get Buffy ASAP. As Angel scales some ropes to get to the skylight, Devon admires Oz’s girlfriend’s new look.

Vamp Willow approaches a girl named Sandy and pulls her out of her seat. She tells Sandy she doesn’t have to be afraid just to please Vamp Willow. If everyone’s good, the vampires will make them all young and strong forever. If they’re not good…well, they’ll be bitten, like Vamp Willow bites Sandy. “Questions? Comments?” Vamp Willow says.

Oz tries to stop Vamp Willow, telling her she doesn’t want to do this. “But I’m so good at it,” she says. She recognizes him as a White Hat from her world and wonders why he’s acting like they’re friends. Anya explains that he thinks she’s the Willow from this reality. She confirms to Vamp Willow that she’s in the wrong world and tells her they have a common goal: They both want to get back there.

At the library, Willow’s freaked out by the thought of there being a vampire out there who looks just like her. Xander and Buffy tell her they’re exactly alike, except for Vamp Willow’s seeming dominatrix tendencies. Willow jokes that she and Oz do that stuff, too, which sends Xander and Buffy to “a scary visual place.”

Angel bursts in and, without seeing Willow behind him, tells the Scoobies that Willow’s dead. As she steps forward, he notices her and casually says hi to her. Wow, Angel might be as dumb as Percy. He tells the Scoobies that Vamp Willow is at the Bronze with a gang of vampires, wanting to cause trouble. They all head out to take care of that situation, but Willow wants to know what they’ll do with Vamp Willow. Buffy isn’t sure; their first priority is just protecting the humans. Willow thinks of something she can do and heads back to the library. That means she’s alone when Vamp Willow finds her.

The two Willows get their first look at each other. Vamp Willow is unimpressed, mostly because Willow’s wearing a fluffy pink sweater. “What do I want with you?” Willow asks. Vamp Willow tells her that Anya said Willow could get her back to her world. But now Vamp Willow likes the idea of teaming up with…well, herself. Willow would have to come around to her “way of thinking,” though.

Willow wonders if that includes snuggling. Vamp Willow licks her neck and asks if she wants to be bad. Willow’s understandably disturbed and just wants to get away, but all she has handy to protect herself is a cross. However, when Vamp Willow tosses her over the counter, she’s able to grab a dart gun and shoot her double with a tranquilizer.

The other Scoobies return and lock Vamp Willow in a book cage while she’s unconscious. Giles is intrigued by the doubles but Willow thinks it’s horrible: “That’s me as a vampire? I’m so evil and skanky. And I think I’m kind of gay.” Buffy tells her that a vampire’s personality has nothing to do with the human they were. Angel starts to contradict her, then changes his mind. The Scoobies still need to get to the Bronze, but they’re not sure how to save all the hostages without setting off a killing spree. “I have a really bad idea,” Buffy offers.

They all go back to the Bronze, where Angel peeks inside and reports that nothing’s happened yet. He guesses that the vampire minions are afraid of their new boss and won’t do anything without an order. Willow has changed into Vamp Willow’s outfit to take her place, and her job is to keep things calm and send out some vampires so the Scoobies can kill them. If she gets into any trouble, she just needs to scream and the Scoobies will come to her rescue. She promises Buffy that she won’t do “anything that can be interpreted as brave.”

Willow steels herself, then knocks to be let back into the Bronze. She says she killed the real Willow, which was, of course, the opposite of what Anya needed her to do. She sends a vampire minion outside to check on a noise, and he walks right into his death. Anya criticizes “Vamp Willow” for killing Willow, who tries to go dark by threatening to have her taken out by the minions. She pauses to give Oz a little wave, letting him know who she really is. For once in his life, he changes expressions (though only slightly), relieved that she’s alive.

Anya complains that vampires always think with their teeth. “Vamp Willow” says that Willow was too accommodating and let people walk all over her, then took it out on her friends. She sends a minion to check on the first minion she sent outside. Another one suggests that they start killing hostages, since they don’t have any reason to wait anymore.

Vamp Willow wakes up in the book cage wearing Willow’s clothes. Cordelia comes in wearing a sparkly dress; she claims she needs books but she’s obviously just hoping to run into Wesley. Vamp Willow pretends she got locked in the cage accidentally and asks Cordelia to let her out. Before Cordelia does, she decides this is a good time for a chat about Willow’s fling with Xander.

Willow tries to delay any killing at the Bronze. She attempts to run her fingers through a hostage’s hair but they get stuck. She thinks it would be too easy to kill the hostages – maybe they should let them go and hunt them. Anya catches on that this isn’t Vamp Willow.

Cordelia rants to the real Vamp Willow, who can’t keep her eyes off of Cordelia’s neck. Cordelia thinks it’s because she’s getting a pimple. Vamp Willow apologizes for stealing Xander and promises never to steal another boyfriend from her. Cordelia doubts that she could anyway. She finally unlocks the cage and is rewarded with a chase. She tries to appease Vamp Willow by blessing her relationship with Xander, but Vamp Willow says she’s over him. She wants fresh blood.

In the hallway, Wesley hears Cordelia screaming and runs toward the sound. Vamp Willow has cornered her in a bathroom but Wesley is able to get her to leave with the double threats of a cross and holy water. Cordelia tells him he saved her life and hugs him tightly. Only then do they acknowledge that Willow is a vampire. They’re sad for about three seconds, and then Cordelia asks Wesley if he has any plans.

Anya’s tired of all this and doesn’t even care about getting her powers back. She thinks the minions should eat Willow. Willow says Anya has psychiatric problems. “I’m a bloodsucking fiend! Look at my outfit!” she says. Plus, if she’s human, could she do this? By “this,” she means scream. Anya and a minion are like, “Yeah, of course.” But that was Willow’s signal for the Scoobies to come in, and when they do, the hostage crisis is all over.

The hostages run while the Scoobies take on the vampires. Willow does her part by punching Anya before running off with Oz. Vamp Willow stops them and shoves Oz aside. “No more snuggles?” Willow asks. Xander and Giles tag-team a minion while Vamp Willow chokes her doppelganger on the stage. It takes Buffy a while to notice, but when she does, she runs up to help. She’s about to stake Vamp Willow with a pool cue when Willow yells for her not to. Buffy immediately stops and restrains Vamp Willow instead. Willow compliments her reflexes. Vamp Willow complains that this world is no fun. “You noticed that, too?” Willow replies.

As Giles prepares to send Vamp Willow back to her world, Xander asks if he’s really a tough vampire over there. Vamp Willow just rolls her eyes at him. Buffy’s worried about sending her back, but Willow doesn’t want to kill her. She gets that they’re not the same person, but she knows she’s only a bite away from being in the same situation. If they send Vamp Willow back to her world, she has a chance.

Giles tells Anya they’re ready, and she’d better not pull any tricks. Anya says that when she gets her powers back, everyone will grovel before her. Both Willows scoff at that. Willow says goodbye to Vamp Willow, telling her not to kill anyone. They hug but it doesn’t last long since Vamp Willow can’t keep her hands to herself. Anya sends her back to her world, but two seconds later, Oz pushes her into a broken piece of wood and stakes her. Thus ends the story of Vamp Willow.

At school the next day, Buffy asks Willow if she wants to go out that night. Willow says she feels like being very, very good and doing things like flossing and never having sex. She has “double guilt coupons” thanks to all the bad things her doppelganger did. She never wants to be like that. Percy comes over and gives Willow an outline he wrote on Roosevelt. He didn’t know which one he was supposed to write about, so he did one for each. He even typed up a bibliography. He’s open to any notes and will do whatever Willow says. He gives her an apple before running off. Buffy asks Willow again if she wants to go out that night, and this time Willow agrees.

Thoughts: This is my favorite episode. I took forever to write this recap because there are so many great moments in the episode and I didn’t want to leave anything out.

Why does Anya go to school if she’s over 1,000 years old and hates it?

“I know Faith’s not going to be on the cover of Sanity Fair…” What an awesome line.

Oh, the ’90s, when you had to tape shows on a VCR and pass the tapes around if other people wanted to watch them.

When Anya introduces herself to Willow, she says she’s kind of friends with Cordelia. Willow replies with a sarcastic, “Oh, fun.” There’s a great little moment where Anya chirps,” Yeah,” in a way that says, “I know, I don’t like her, either.”

It cracks me up that the bartender doesn’t even blink when Anya says she’s 1,120. You know that guy’s heard it all.

There’s a deleted scene where Devon asks Angel if he wants to be the band’s roadie and Angel replies, “Less than you’d think.” And in another deleted scene, Xander blames himself for Willow’s death, and when Giles asks why, Xander says it’s a “statistical probability.”

July 23, 2022

Buffy 3.15, Consequences: Into the Darkness

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

Uh-oh, Father is disappointed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 16, 2022

Buffy 3.14, Bad Girls: Unacceptable

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

This is before they get surrounded by horny guys

Summary: Buffy and Faith are fighting vampires together while discussing Buffy’s insistence that she and Xander have never hooked up. She says she loves him, but not in that way. Besides, sleeping with him could ruin their friendship. Faith doesn’t mention that her interest in this topic stems from what she recently did with Xander. Once the vampires are dead, the Slayers go looking for one who got away. Buffy counts to three before they ambush him but Faith jumps the gun. This leaves Faith on the ground while Buffy tries to fight the guy herself. It’s especially bad because he has swords. Faith comes to her rescue just in time.

The Slayers bicker over whether it was okay for Faith to divert from the plan. Faith doesn’t put much…well, faith in plans. And since the vampire’s dead, what does it matter? Buffy decides that they should grab the swords and take them to Giles so he can find out who the vampire was. But when she looks back at where the third vampire was killed, his swords are gone.

Mr. Trick has them, and he delivers them to Mayor Wilkins. Mr. Trick doesn’t recognize the “breed” of vampire who uses them, and he asks if the mayor was expecting any visitors in town. Mayor Wilkins is still thinking about the comics he was just reading – he likes Family Circus while Mr. Trick likes Marmaduke. Mayor Wilkins isn’t a Marmaduke fan since the dog is always on the furniture, which is unsanitary. Mr. Trick likes him because no one can tell him what to do. “I like to read Cathy,” Finch speaks up, because of course he does.

Mayor Wilkins tells the men to keep an eye out. He doesn’t want anything to interfere with an upcoming dedication. Finch suggests postponing it, an idea Mayor Wilkins immediately dismisses. He reminds Finch that the dedication is the final step before his ascension, which he’s been waiting for a long time. He opens a cabinet full of skulls and other occult items, because it’s also where he keeps his wet wipes. A hundred days after the dedication, the mayor will be “on a higher plane” with no more concerns for “the little things.” He hopes any vampires coming to town meet up with the Slayers and they all kill each other.

Willow has started her college search and has already received a bunch of offers for early admission. She’s looking at major schools, including Harvard and Yale. Xander’s intimidated; he figures his rejections will come in the form of slips of paper with “no way” written on them in crayon. (“They’re typing those now,” Oz tells him.) Willow’s excited because colleges are actively trying to “woo” her. Xander says he’s trying to decide between appliance repair and hotel management.

Cordelia approaches the Scoobies in the school lounge so she can insult Xander. Cue their annoying bickering. He vows to come up with the perfect comeback for her last slam later. Buffy has to study for a chemistry test, and Willow offers to help, since chemistry has a lot in common with witchcraft (except for the parts that involve newts). They make plans to meet up that night.

Buffy goes to the library to see Giles, who already has a visitor, Wesley Wyndham-Pryce. He’s Buffy’s new, young, by-the-book Watcher, who thinks he’s special because he’s faced two vampires (“under controlled circumstances”). When Giles introduces him to Buffy, Buffy’s first question is, “Is he evil?” To be fair, the last Watcher was. Wesley says Giles has checked his credentials, but he’s glad Buffy is being cautious. That makes her a good Slayer. Buffy repeats her question about whether he’s evil. “Not in the strictest sense,” Giles replies.

Wesley asks about Buffy and Faith’s experiences on patrol the night before. Buffy’s like, “We saw vampires and killed them. It was great.” She tells him about the swords, which Wesley connects to a group called El Eliminati. They were a cult five centuries ago who became acolytes of a demon named Balthazar. Giles is surprised that Wesley knows so much about them. “I didn’t get this job because of my looks,” Wesley says. “I really, really believe that,” Buffy replies.

Wesley says El Eliminati were driven out of the country a long time ago and Balthazar was killed. So the question is, why are they back? Balthazar supposedly got his strength from an amulet that was stolen by a guy named Gleaves. The amulet was buried with Gleaves, and El Eliminati are probably in town to find it “for sentimental value.” Wesley’s sure the amulet isn’t anything to worry about, but they might as well keep El Eliminati from getting it. He instructs Buffy to get it that night. She taunts Wesley by saying that when Giles give her an assignment, he says “please” and gives her a cookie afterwards.

Faith comes in, confirms that Wesley is her and Buffy’s new Watcher, says, “Screw that,” and walks back out. Buffy wishes she’d done the same thing. Giles sends her to bring Faith back. He and Wesley both pull out handkerchiefs to wipe their glasses at the same time. Out on the quad, Faith urges Buffy not to do what Wesley tells her to. They’re the Chosen Ones; they can do whatever they want. She wants Buffy to admit that slaying excites her. It’s what they were built for, and if Buffy isn’t enjoying it, she’s doing it wrong.

That night, Buffy goes to get the amulet from Gleaves’ crypt, but as she’s about to take it, she hears people approaching. She rushes to hide in a tomb. Ick. Some Eliminati vampires come in and grab the amulet. Faith shows up after they leave and tries to convince Buffy to go after them as they head into the sewers. Buffy wants to think this through, especially since they’re greatly outnumbered, but Faith again just wants to act without a plan. She jumps down after the vampires, basically forcing Buffy to follow her so she doesn’t have to face them alone.

Wesley looks through Watchers’ diaries, reading in the very first entry in Giles’ that Buffy is “willful and insolent.” Giles is worried because Buffy hasn’t come back from her trip to the cemetery yet. Wesley says his “mission scenario” has her coming back in one minute. I think it’s going to take her a little longer, since she and Faith are surrounded by vampires.

One of them tries to kill Buffy by drowning her, but she plays dead to fool him and is able to get the upper hand. “I hate it when they drown me,” she says. Faith decides they can’t defeat all the vampires, so they should run. Buffy snags the amulet first, since that’s what they came for. Faith gets her to admit that she didn’t have a completely horrible time tonight.

The next morning, Buffy gives the amulet to Wesley and lets him know that El Eliminati aren’t as close to extinction as he thought. Giles asks if she’s okay, while Wesley doesn’t care. He knows a good Slayer needs to be ready for anything. The three key words of slaying are “preparation, preparation, preparation.” Buffy points out that that’s just the same word three times. She tells Giles they need to talk, but Wesley reminds her that he’s her Watcher now, so she should only discuss slaying with him. Buffy ignores him, and Giles confirms that they’ll talk later. Wesley complains that Giles isn’t helping. “I know. I feel just sick about it,” Giles replies.

Buffy heads to chemistry to take her test, though all she can think about is how exciting it was to face all those vampires with Faith. Even Xander wants her to shut up about it so he can concentrate. Buffy notices that his eye twitches every time she says Faith’s name. As Buffy finally starts to take the test, Faith shows up at a window. She breathes on the glass and draws a heart. Buffy can’t resist the thought of having more fun with her, so she leaves.

Faith found a nest of vampires, and this is the perfect time to attack – the vampires are asleep and the Slayers have the advantage of sunlight. After killing all the vampires, they go to the Bronze to dance off their excess energy. They catch the attention of some very interested guys. Angel shows up and Buffy literally jumps into his arms. She promises that she’s not interested in the guys. She’s acting flirty and Faith-like, and she doesn’t snap out of it even when Angel tells her that Balthazar isn’t dead after all. Buffy isn’t worried, since they already have his amulet.

Wesley joins them and complains that Buffy didn’t give him a way to contact her while she’s out slaying. He’s taken aback when he learns that Angel knows what’s going on with Balthazar and the amulet. Wesley says the amulet is someplace safe. Buffy easily guesses that he’s keeping it in his suit jacket. She gives it to Angel, who tells Wesley that carrying it around with him makes him a target. Angel will put the amulet in an actual safe place while Buffy does recon on Balthazar. Wesley still thinks Balthazar is dead because he’s out of the loop.

Buffy drags Faith out of the club while El Eliminati tend to Balthazar. He resembles a big blob of dough, and he sits in a tub where his minions have to keep pouring water on him so his skin doesn’t dry out. He’s angry that the Slayers got his amulet. Balthazar doesn’t look intimidating at first glance, but he has telekinetic powers that allow him to draw minions to him so he can kill them. Probably not a guy to mess with.

The Slayers check out his lair, and even though there are about a dozen Eliminati there, Faith wants to run in and fight. Buffy suggests going to the library and getting some weapons. Faith concedes, since “Jacuzzi Boy” isn’t going anywhere, but she doesn’t want to go all the way to the library. She takes Buffy with her to break into a sporting-goods store and steal some weapons. She teaches Buffy the three words she lives by, which are very different from Wesley’s three words: “Want, take, have.” Caught up in the moment, Buffy does some stealing of her own.

A couple of cops catch them before they can leave, and the Slayers drop their weapons. Faith makes jokes as they get arrested. On the way to the police station, one of the cops asks if Buffy and Faith are in a gang. Faith tells him they’re the Slayers. She convinces Buffy to kick in the divider between them and the cops so they can escape the car. The car crashes and Buffy worries about the officers, but Faith wants to focus on escaping.

The next morning, Buffy scours the newspaper for any mentions of her and Faith’s crime wave. There’s nothing. Joyce asks what they did last night, not because she wants to meddle but because she wants to make sure they’re being careful. She remains completely clueless, as usual. Thanks for popping in, Joyce! The mayor wants an update on El Eliminati in between photo ops. One of the members attacks him but Mr. Trick knocks him out. (He also chastises the minion for using a sword instead of, say, an Uzi.) Mayor Wilkins wonders how the minion got into his cabinet. Finch needs to do a better job of ensuring his boss’ security.

Balthazar hears of the minion’s capture and tells his other follows that he had courage and honor. “And I have jack to show for it!” he yells. He’s been powerless for a hundred years and he’s tired of being patient. His minions are to bring the Watchers to him and kill the Slayers and anyone who gets in their way. Balthazar’s only goal is getting the amulet.

Willow brings Buffy a little sachet she put herbs in for protection. She’s ready to go slaying with Buffy that night, but Buffy doesn’t want her to come along, since it’ll be dangerous. Willow clearly feels hurt that Buffy’s been spending time with Faith instead of her. The Slayers go back to Balthazar’s lair with the weapons they were caught stealing (which Faith went back for). She’s already thinking about what to eat after they’re done.

In the library, Wesley criticizes Giles for getting too emotionally attached to Buffy. He embarrassed the Council. Giles doesn’t like having his methods critiqued. Wesley reminds him that he’s no longer qualified to be a Watcher, so he’s been replaced. Hopefully Wesley knows how to fight the way Giles does, because they’re suddenly surrounded by Eliminati.

Buffy and Faith only have to deal with two minions, who attack one at a time, so they figure they can get to Balthazar’s lair without too much trouble. But when they come across a third and Faith instinctively goes to stake him, Buffy realizes he’s not a minion – he’s Finch. Faith doesn’t react to her warning fast enough, and she stakes him in the chest. Buffy tells her to call an ambulance and help her stop Finch’s bleeding. Faith doesn’t move, and Buffy can’t do anything other than watch Finch die.

Again, Faith gets Buffy to flee instead of staying back to get caught or face any consequences. They split up and Buffy runs into Angel. He sees blood on her hand but she says she’s okay. He tells her he went to Balthazar’s lair and saw that the minions had kidnapped Giles. (And Wesley, but Angel doesn’t mention that, which is funny when you think about it.) Faith goes back to Finch’s body and slowly reaches out to touch him, as if she needs to feel for herself that he didn’t turn to dust like a vampire would.

Wesley’s scared about his and Giles’ situation, and he tells a fairly sedate Giles to stay calm. “Thank God you’re here; I was planning to panic,” Giles replies. He gets snarky with Balthazar, which Wesley thinks is a bad idea. Giles points out that they’re going to be killed anyway, so why not have some fun first? Wesley offers to trade the amulet for their freedom but Balthazar isn’t interested. Wesley then says he’ll point the minions in Angel’s direction so they can get the amulet from him. Giles tells Wesley to shut up for what definitely won’t be the last time.

Balthazar is willing to accept Wesley’s offer, but the problem is that Wesley doesn’t know Angel’s name, let alone where to find him. Giles says he’ll tell Balthazar whatever he wants to know if he lets “Captain Courageous” go. Balthazar says there’s only one deal: The Watchers will die quickly or they’ll die slowly. My man, that’s not a deal. As he demands Angel’s name, Angel himself arrives with Buffy and they get to fighting.

Giles tackles Wesley out of the way as Buffy and Angel take on the minions. Balthazar flails his arms and yells, “Unacceptable!” Giles grabs a sword and takes care of a couple of minions on his own. Buffy and Angel do a good job with the others, but then Balthazar uses his telekinesis to draw Angel to him to kill him. Buffy thinks fast, pulling down an electrical wire so it falls into Balthazar’s tub and electrocutes him. Just when she thinks he’s dead, he opens his eyes and warns, “When he rises…you’ll wish I’d killed you all.” Then he dies for real.

In his office, the mayor chants something in a pentagram made of salt. The building shakes for a few moments. Mayor Wilkins wonders where Finch is, since he’s not usually late. Mr. Trick asks if whatever Mayor Wilkins did worked. Mayor Wilkins tells him to open the cage where they’re keeping the last of Balthazar’s minions. (First he gives the minion a sword.) The minion runs at the mayor, bringing the sword down on his head and splitting it in half. Moments later, Mayor Wilkins’ head repairs itself. Mr. Trick kills the minion and the mayor checks “become invincible” off his to-do list. Ha! Now the hundred days begin, and the mayor is invincible until his ascension.

The next day, Buffy goes to Faith’s motel room, where she’s washing blood out of her clothes. Buffy wants to talk about what they should do. Faith says they did their job. Buffy reminds her that being the Slayer isn’t the same as being a killer. She doesn’t want Faith to shut her out when they’ve both gone through something traumatic. Faith insists that she doesn’t need any help.

Buffy warns that someone will find Finch’s body and investigate his death. Faith tells her she got rid of the body, so that won’t be an issue. Buffy argues that getting rid of the evidence doesn’t erase what happened. “Faith, you don’t get it: You killed a man,” she says. “No, you don’t get it,” Faith replies. “I don’t care.”

Thoughts: I think most people know this but just in case: Alyson Hannigan (Willow) and Alexis Denisof (Wesley) started dating not long after this season and have been married since 2003.

Balthazar is the most unintentionally hilarious villain in the series. He’s just a big, loud pile of goo. Him waving his arms and yelling, “Unacceptable!” always cracks me up.

I can’t believe Snyder doesn’t have someone constantly watching the Scoobies to tell him that Faith, a non-student, keeps showing up on campus. Actually, he would be smart to hide surveillance cameras in the library so he can always know what they’re up to.

How hard would it be to give Angel something to do this season? David Boreanaz is lucky they gave him a spin-off. Without it, he’d have maybe two scenes an episode, doing nothing more than encouraging Buffy, telling her to be safe, and occasionally fighting vampires.