December 17, 2022

Buffy 4.14, Goodbye, Iowa: “Maybe I’m the Bad Guy”

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

Yeah, yeah, Frankenstein’s monster, we get it

Summary: Buffy has just arrived at Giles’ after escaping the scenario Walsh set up to kill her. She tells the Scoobies about it, and Spike comments that she has horrible taste in men. Buffy doesn’t know what that has to do with her near-death experience. He thinks Riley was involved in the set-up. The Scoobies are willing to consider the possibility, but Buffy’s sure that Walsh sent Riley away to keep him out of it. Plus, as Willow notes, Riley doesn’t seem like the type to keep a big secret like a murder plot.

Whatever the details are, the Initiative clearly has it in for Buffy. Xander adds that they won’t be happy to learn that she survived and has most likely told the Scoobies what’s going on. That means they’re all in danger now. Giles wonders why Walsh would want to kill Buffy. Buffy and Anya guess that it’s because Buffy was asking a lot of questions and was getting too close to something. The question is, what was Walsh so desperate to hide that she would kill Buffy to keep it hidden? That’s Adam, of course, and he’s now fully alive.

Buffy passes around weapons for what Xander thinks is an attack on the Initiative. He’s all for it until Buffy says they’re actually going to hide. That’s much more up his alley. Buffy wants them to go underground until they can come up with a plan, but they’ll have to go somewhere the Initiative won’t think to look for them. They decide on Xander’s basement. Giles protests, wanting to stay at his place, since it’s unlikely that the Initiative will come looking for them there. That’s when Riley arrives.

He doesn’t know what all happened, so Buffy tells him that Walsh tried to kill her. “It didn’t work but they’re all upset anyway,” Anya says. Thanks, Anya. Riley wants all the details, thinking there was some sort of mistake. He doesn’t want people to jump to any conclusions. Just then he recognizes Spike as hostile 17. Spike tries to put on his American, friend-of-Xander’s persona again but he drops it pretty quickly and admits who he is. Buffy tells Riley that he’s not bad anymore. Spike takes offense to that.

Riley can’t believe that Buffy’s known where Spike was all this time. Spike decides to head out, and he leaves with a big, supportive pair of thumbs up for Riley in case he’s in on the plot to kill Buffy. Riley confronts Buffy for hiding a hostile, but Xander thinks Buffy gets to ask the questions here. Riley says he just knows what Walsh told him and what he saw on the monitors. He thinks someone or something was controlling Walsh.

Giles tells him that Buffy might have been getting too close to something. She asks Riley if it could have been 314. Riley, still in denial, says Walsh could have been trying to test Buffy. Buffy notes that she told Riley that Buffy was dead – that doesn’t sound like a test. Giles brings up what Ethan told him about the Initiative having a darker purpose, but Riley denies that they’re bad guys. He would know if they were. He vows to figure this all out on his own.

Adam comes across a boy who’s playing with an action figure that kind of looks like Adam. Adam asks what he is, and the boy tells him he’s a monster. “I thought so,” Adam says. He asks how the boy “works.” The boy doesn’t know; he just does. He asks about the skewer in Adam’s arm, and Adam smiles as if he’s going to offer the boy a demonstration. Run, kid, run! Riley takes a sad walk around campus, trying to decide if his mentor really tried to kill his girlfriend. Meanwhile, Dr. Angelman finds Walsh’s body in room 314.

The next morning, Giles wakes up in Xander’s basement, where Buffy, Willow, and Anya are watching a Wile E. Coyote/Roadrunner cartoon. Buffy notes that something in the cartoon would never happen. Willow reminds her that it’s a cartoon, not a documentary. Giles isn’t happy about the arrangements, and Buffy has to tell him and Anya not to fight over all the noise they made during the night (he was sleeping on a beach ball and she snores).

Willow assures Buffy that everything will be okay and Riley will come around. Buffy’s worried about him, since his whole world has just blown up. Anya advises her to find a boring boyfriend. Like Xander. But not Xander; Buffy can’t have him. Buffy says Riley was supposed to be “Mr. Joe Guy.” Anya urges her to dump him. But she still can’t have Xander. Buffy says it’s too late – she’s already in deep with Riley. She’ll have to figure out how to make it work.

Xander brings down breakfast and tells the Scoobies to turn on the news. There’s a report about the boy Adam encountered, who was found stabbed with a skewer and mutilated. Buffy quickly puts together that the polgara demon the Initiative captured must have been involved. She feels horrible that they captured it alive. She announces that she’s going to the crime scene while the others try to track down the polgara demon. She’ll kill it in a way that will get justice for its young victim. She wishes her pajamas, which are decorated with pictures of sushi, made her seem a little more commanding.

Forrest runs into Riley, thinking Riley was out all night because he was with Buffy. Riley says he needed to be alone and think some things over. He now believes that Walsh did try to have Buffy killed. Forrest can buy that Buffy got on Walsh’s bad side; she’s nosy and annoying. Maybe Walsh found out that Buffy was up to something devious.

Riley asks why Forrest is so against him hanging out with Buffy. Maybe it’s because she’s a better soldier than Forrest is. Forrest thinks she’s using Riley to infiltrate the Initiative. Walsh isn’t stupid – if she tried to kill Buffy, maybe it’s because Buffy needed killing. Graham comes in just then and announces that Walsh is dead. Now Riley has more deep thoughts to think!

He and Forrest go down to the Initiative and sees Walsh’s body for themselves. Forrest thinks she was staked, which means Buffy’s the killer. Riley notes that it could have been a polgara. If Forrest is going to accuse Buffy of murder, he’d better be ready to back that up. Forrest tells him that the “supernatural freak” is blinding him. Angelman has to break the two up before they start hitting each other.

He tells them the government is sending in a team to investigate, so they’ll have to wait until they get orders. Riley doesn’t want to wait – if the polgara demon they captured killed Walsh, they need to find it. Angelman says the government called for a total lockdown until their team arrives. The commandos are to go to their rooms and wait. Riley pretends to agree, then tells the commandos that he’s in charge until the authorities arrive, and he wants them to find the polgara. This time, they’ll kill it.

They head to a cemetery and start searching crypts. They find Spike’s, but there’s no sign that he’s there. He’s actually hiding under the corpse housed in the crypt, and he’s not going to be happy that Forrest broke his TV. Riley meets up with Buffy at the spot where the boy’s body was found, and she apologizes for how tense things got with the Scoobies. He tells her that Walsh is dead and asks if Buffy’s happy to hear it. He won’t give her details, since they’re classified, but Buffy guesses that the polgara killed her. She promises to take care of that, and then Riley can stop asking if she’s happy about all this death.

Willow goes to Tara’s room and lets her know how much fun she’s been having doing spells with her. She wants it clear that she doesn’t just like hanging out with Tara because they do magic together – she likes the friendship they’re developing. Tara knows, but she guesses that Willow wants to do a spell. Willow thinks they have enough power together to conjure a goddess who will alert them to demonic energy in the area.

Buffy pays a visit to Willy the Snitch, who claims he’s getting away from his old image. He had a spiritual experience after almost getting killed by the apocalyptic demons in “The Zeppo.” He claims he doesn’t talk behind people’s backs anymore, and he’s working on improving his clientele. He can’t be seen talking to Buffy. “I’m gonna have to punch you, aren’t I?” she realizes. “Just once. And it don’t have to hurt; just make it look good,” he says. He yells in pain before she even touches him, then pretends she’s intimidated him into spilling that the polgara demons around recently were captured.

As Buffy’s asking about the Initiative and 314, Riley comes in. He tells her he was going to help her find the polgara, but now he can see that she’s socializing with demons (again) instead of hunting them. He asks Buffy who she is. Willy tries to get him to calm down, and Riley gets aggressive, threatening to take him in. Willy’s human, but since he “harbors demons,” Riley asks if that makes him a good guy like Buffy.

Buffy notices that Riley’s shaking. He’s also sweating a lot. He grabs her by the shoulders and demands to know the truth. She tells him he already knows it, but what happened to Walsh screwed him up so much that he can’t accept it. He spots a bar patron trying to leave and pulls his gun on her. Willy tells him there’s no killing in his bar, but Riley thinks that since other rules have been broken, there’s no point in following them. If he shot the patron, would she die, or is she a vampire? Who can he believe? Buffy tries to calm him, but he ultimately gets control of himself. He wonders what’s happening to him.

Buffy takes him to Xander’s and tries to take care of him, but he’s now scratching at his hand because he feels like something’s crawling inside him. She puts a bandanna from her hair over his hand and urges him to get some rest. He’s anxious about the fact that he doesn’t know what’s right and wrong anymore. “Maybe I’m the bad guy,” he says. “Maybe I’m the thing you should kill.” Buffy firmly says that he shouldn’t think that way. She gets him to lie down, assuring him that he’ll be okay.

She tells the Scoobies that something is physically affecting Riley and it’s getting worse. Anya guesses that Walsh did something to him. Buffy thinks she must have kept records, and there must be someone else who knows what she was up to. She tells Giles and Anya to keep researching while she and Xander go undercover. Anya objects to her enlisting Xander and his military knowledge, but he promises he’ll be careful. Giles asks how Buffy plans to get into the Initiative. She hopes that Walsh didn’t have time to revoke her clearance. He tells her that the polgara hasn’t been seen since it was captured.

Willow and Tara do their goddess-summoning, demon-locating spell…or at least Willow does. Tara only pretends to participate while Willow’s eyes are closed. She plays innocent when the spell doesn’t work. Buffy (who seems to think glasses and a doctor’s coat are a sufficient disguise) and Xander access the Initiative, and once he sees how big the facility is, he gets Buffy’s attraction to Riley. When he spots a couple of commandos, he tries to pull that ploy where two people who are trying to hide make out so the bad guys don’t see them. Buffy tells him that scientists and commandos don’t fraternize here. “Well, maybe that’s what’s wrong with the world,” he says.

Willow returns to Xander’s basement and laments that her and Tara’s spell didn’t work. Giles and Anya don’t think they’re looking for a polgara after all; they don’t normally mutilate their victims, and they have to eat every two hours, so they’d have trouble staying hidden this long. Riley’s up and about now, and he spooks Willow. He wants to go after Buffy, even though he’s visibly worse now. He’s upset to realize that Buffy went to the Initiative. Willow tries to stop him from leaving, but he shoves her aside and runs off.

Buffy and Xander eavesdrop as Angelman and another scientist discuss the commandos not getting their meds and being off their schedules because of Walsh’s death. They could cause a lot of damage while they’re in withdrawal. They don’t know that they’ve been getting meds through their food. The scientists have rounded up and stabilized most of the commandos, but not Finn. Angelman is concerned about him the most: “He’s too important to the work to lose now.”

Spike goes to Willy’s bar, since it’s not safe for him to go back to his crypt right now. A demon comes up to him and knocks him out. Back at the Initiative, Buffy and Xander see Angelman heading toward room 314 and follow him. He’s not surprised to see Buffy. She demands to know what’s going on with Riley and what’s in room 314. Angelman tells her that she’s probably already been spotted on the security monitors, so someone will be coming to get her soon.

Riley appears and says the monitors are all down. Buffy says she had nothing to do with that. Angelman orders Riley to take Buffy into custody, but she asks her boyfriend to wait, since they can get answers from Angelman. Angelman confirms that Walsh wanted Buffy dead, but not on the Initiative’s behalf – she had her own vendetta. It had something to do with 314, who escaped.

Riley doesn’t like Angelman talking about Walsh like she was a psychopath. She just wanted to help people. Buffy tells him that he was being given drugs. Riley gets paranoid and accuses Buffy of messing with him. After all, this all started when she came into his life. Buffy insists that she’s trying to get to the truth. Riley asks what she did to Walsh. She tells him she wasn’t involved, and they need to find out about 314 to get all the answers they’re looking for. A commando’s body suddenly drops from the ceiling, and they look up to see Adam on a catwalk above them.

He tells them he wanted to see the world and learn more about it. He looked inside the boy, but instead of teaching him anything, it made him feel. Now he wants to know why he feels and what he is. He came home to get a computer disk that holds some answers. He inserts it into a drive in his chest and reports that he’s basically a robot who contains some organic materials. Buffy realizes that he was pieced together from demons. Adam says he’s part human and part machine, too. But that still doesn’t tell him who he is.

Walsh wrote down both data and feelings, which means Adam has a job here, and he knows that Walsh loved him. Riley tells him that she didn’t, and she wasn’t Adam’s mother. She was just a scientist. Xander’s like, “Don’t anger the robot.” Adam inserts a disk about Riley and says that Walsh created him, too. She changed his “basic operating system,” taught him how to think and feel, and strengthened him with chemicals. Adam and Riley were her favorite children, “her art.” That means they’re brothers.

Riley denies that he’s like Adam. Adam recognizes that he’s feeling pain, either from the interruption in his feeding schedule or because he misses Walsh. Riley threatens to kill him, but Adam says he won’t do it. He hasn’t been programmed to. Riley says he’s human and can’t be programmed. Adam replies that Walsh had it all planned out, and it will happen. Does Riley want to hear how it ends?

As Riley pulls his gun on Adam, Buffy steps up to fight the robot. But Adam is way stronger than both her and Riley (and definitely Xander), so they barely have any effect on him. Angelman tries to run but gets skewered by Adam’s polgara arm. Commandos try to get into the lab to help as Adam thanks Buffy, Riley, and Xander for the “interesting” encounter, then leaves.

The commandos break in, and Forrest finds it suspicious that Buffy was there when a part-human, part-robot demon attacked. Riley backs her up and sends the commandos after Adam. He needs medical attention, and Forrest refuses to let Buffy accompany him. Xander gets her to back off.

Spike’s attacker is a demon upset that he’s been fighting demons with Buffy. If the demon sees Spike again, he’ll break the no-demon-on-demon-violence code again. Buffy laments to Willow that she’s not allowed to have contact with Riley, so she doesn’t know what’s going on with him. Willow’s sure she’ll find a way to reach him.

Buffy would like to take down the Initiative, but Adam is the bigger threat right now. He’s way too strong for Buffy to fight alone. Walsh made him into a superior warrior. Willow says Adam must have a flaw. “I think the part where he’s pure evil and kills randomly was an oversight,” Buffy replies. She regrets letting the commandos take Riley. Everything he believed in was taken away and he’s alone, with nothing to hold on to. But he does have one thing: The bandanna Buffy put around his hand, which will remind him that she cares about him.

Thoughts: As I’ve said before, Adam is the worst villain in the series, but he makeup and effects the crew used to put him together are really impressive.

Leaving aside people’s views on Riley, I think Marc Blucas is excellent in this episode.

No way would a by-the-book military guy like Riley ever refer to Walsh, his superior, by her first name, even when she’s not there.

In a cute detail, the shirt Anya wears to bed is one we’ve seen on Xander before.

I like how Xander still has his military knowledge. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

July 9, 2022

Buffy 3.13, The Zeppo: Xander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

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

Everyone say hi to Katie

Summary: The Scoobies have found some demon lair, and with an assist from a spell from Willow, the two Slayers and Giles take out three demons. Giles apologizes for walking in less prepared than he would have liked. The Scoobies realize that Xander is MIA, having been buried by some debris during the fight. The Slayers worry that he’ll get himself hurt or killed one of these days. Maybe he shouldn’t be jumping into fights with them. Xander argues that he played a pivotal role by serving as a distraction and letting the lead demon beat him up.

Buffy asks what they should do with the bodies of the three demons they’ve killed – burn them? Willow announces that she brought marshmallows: “Occasionally I’m callous and strange.” Giles says to leave them and find out what they are instead, as well as whether more of them will be coming. He advises Xander to stay behind everyone next time they head into battle. “But gee, Mr. White, if Clark and Lois get all the good stories, I’ll never be a good reporter,” Xander says sarcastically. Giles doesn’t get his Superman/Jimmy Olsen reference.

At school the next day, Xander tries to get one of the football players tossing a ball around on the quad to include him in their game. When one finally does, he doesn’t catch the ball. Instead, it hits a guy named Jack, and he’s not very happy about it. Cordelia watches from nearby as Jack threatens to hurt Xander for the sin of not catching a ball that knocked his lunch to the ground. He warns that when he gets his friends together, they’ll beat Xander up.

Cordelia adds insult to injury by mocking Xander: “Of all the humiliations you’ve had that I’ve witnessed, that was the latest.” He says he could have taken Jack, but Cordelia knows that’s not true – Jack is a psycho (which is still better than being a wuss like Xander). Xander wonders why he’s afraid of a bully like Jack after coming face to face with multiple demons and vampires. Cordelia says that unlike those monsters, Jack noticed Xander.

She notes that it must be hard to be the “little nothing” in a group of supernaturals. He must feel like Jimmy Olsen. Xander insists that he’s an integral part of the Scoobies with a lot to offer. Cordelia disagrees – he’s useless. He’s the Zeppo. Even Jack is cooler than Xander is. She turns to leave, pleased with how much fun she had ripping her ex-boyfriend to shreds.

At lunch, Xander asks Oz about the “essence of cool.” Who doesn’t have it, who decides who doesn’t have it, and how do you get it? Oz is considered cool, but why? Because he doesn’t talk much? “Could be,” Oz replies. Xander decides it’s because Oz is in a band. Maybe Xander should join one. He asks Oz if it’s hard to play the guitar. “Not the way I play it,” Oz says. Xander realizes that’s a bust since he played the flugelhorn in middle school and wasn’t cool then, either.

He needs something that no one else has. What could that be? “An exciting new obsession, which I think makes you very special,” Oz replies. Xander catches on that Oz is mocking him but says he can handle it because he knows he’s right. He just needs to find his thing. Oz says he’s overthinking this. Xander has identity issues, but it’s not…

“The end of the world,” Giles tells Buffy in the library. The demons they killed were from an apocalyptic cult called the Sisterhood of Jhe. More will be coming to Sunnydale to try to end the world. On top of that, there’s a full moon coming, so Oz will be spending the next three nights in the book cage with Scoobies babysitting him. Buffy asks Giles if he knows why the Jhe are there. He says they want to open the Hellmouth in the library.

The next day, Buffy tells Willow that if the Hellmouth opens, they’ll have to face demons like the one that almost got out the night she died. Willow’s had tons of nightmares about that demon, when she’s not having them about public nudity or academic failures. Actually, once she dreamed that the demon attacked her while she was naked and late for a test. Giles is working on figuring out when the Jhe plan to open the Hellmouth. Willow agrees to help with research, which makes Buffy feel better.

Xander pulls up in front of them in a vintage convertible. He’s decided it’s his thing that makes him cool and unique. (It’s his uncle’s; Roary can’t drive it because of multiple DUIs.) He’s not satisfied by the low level of enthusiasm the girls have, since they’re distracted by the impending end of the world. Xander offers to do whatever they need to help.

For starters, that help is in the form of a donut run. Cordelia comes across him and taunts that something big must be coming if the Scoobies have entrusted him with such a “daredevil mission.” She calls him expendable. His car isn’t going to make him cool; no one cares about it. Just then, a girl named Lysette comes up to Xander to talk about the car. He invites her to go for a drive with him, rubbing it in to Cordelia that he’s getting attention from a pretty girl.

Xander and Lysette end up at the Bronze, where he quickly learns that she only cares about cars and the guys she’s dated. He’s thrilled when Angel arrives and invites him to join them. Angel’s looking for Buffy, though, since he’s heard about an impending apocalypse. Xander assures him that the Scoobies are on top of it. Angel doesn’t think they get how major this is. When Xander offers to help, Angel tells him to stay out of it so he’s safe.

Lysette wants to go for another drive, so she and Xander leave. He’s so busy complaining about being excluded from the Scoobies that he accidentally rear-ends the car in front of him. He tries to convince himself that it’s nothing too bad, and definitely not the end of the world. Maybe not, but it could be the end of his world, since the driver who exits the car is Jack.

In the library, Buffy and Willow try to do research while Oz growls softly in the book cage. Willow wonders if he’s cranky because he senses something coming, like dogs can with earthquakes. Buffy reads that the Jhe like to celebrate their victories by eating their opponents. Giles complains that the Watchers’ Council won’t take his calls, now that they’ve booted him.

Buffy’s getting restless and says she’ll go out on patrol if they don’t learn anything soon. She might talk to Willy the Snitch, too. Giles is on his way to confer with some spirit guides who exist out of time and can see the future. This is really, really important – the fate of the world is at stake here. But the situation isn’t so important that Giles can’t take a moment to complain that there are no jelly donuts left. He wants one if Xander makes another donut run, but Buffy says they’re leaving him out of this. The battle will be easier if they know he’s safe.

Cut to Xander not really being safe, thanks to Jack’s temper. Also, his knife. Lysette thinks it’s cool. Sorry, she’s cool – her name is Katie. Jack mocks Xander for not standing up to him while Lysette is watching. The difference between the guys is fear: Jack has less than Xander. He hands Katie to Xander and eggs him on to attack him.

Lysette announces that she’s bored and wants to go on another drive. Not now, Lysette! Jack grabs Xander and throws him on the hood of his car. Just then a cop comes by. He’s familiar with Jack and guesses that he attacked Xander. Xander pretends they were just messing around. This makes Jack like Xander, so he invites Xander and Lysette to come have some fun with him. He’s going to gather his friends and go for a drive. But they should take Xander’s car, since the other car isn’t actually Jack’s.

It turns out that gathering Jack’s friends isn’t as simple as just going to their houses. No, they have to go to the cemetery so Jack can perform a ritual to raise them from the dead. Just seeing the first, Bob, sends Lysette screaming off into the night. Xander tries to duck out, too, but Jack wants him as their wheel man. Xander will be spending the night as a chauffeur for zombies.

Bob learns that he’s been dead for eight months. Jack had to wait for the stars to align to resurrect him. He confirms that he’s taped all the episodes of Walker, Texas Ranger that Bob missed. Aw, what a good friend. They head to another cemetery and raise another zombie, who’s in the mood for beer. I wonder if his zombie face matches the one on his fake ID.

Giles is in a third cemetery, talking to the spirit guides. They won’t tell him anything about the future, since that will cause chaos. Xander arrives with his new friends and tries to get Giles to let him help with what the Scoobies are doing. Giles declines, saying there’s something different about this apocalyptic threat. It’s like he can smell death in the air. “I think it’s Bob,” Xander tells him. Giles warns that they all might have to fight. He thinks they can prepare well enough over the next few weeks.

No such luck – Willy tells Buffy that it’s going down tonight. He’s been beaten up by some demons who were looking for Angel, knowing Angel could lead them to Buffy. They want her out of the way so they can open the Hellmouth. Buffy promises to stop the demons, but Willy says they’ll be the least of her troubles if the Hellmouth opens. He thinks she and Angel should go somewhere quiet together and decide what to do on their last night on Earth.

Bob has already figured that out for himself: He just wants beer. He, Jack, and their zombie buddies, Parker and Dickie, are having a great time. Bob decides that they should go beat up the liquor-store owner who killed him. Xander offers to drop the guys off somewhere, but Jack isn’t ready to let him go. He chooses Dickie’s idea for what to do tonight, baking a cake. That’s code for something that involves breaking into a hardware store. Xander panics a little as he realizes that he’s now an accessory to a crime.

He spots Willow nearby, leaving a magic shop with supplies for a protection spell. She tells Xander that “it’s” happening tonight, though she doesn’t tell him what that means. She hugs him and tells him she loves him. Xander decides to just leave his new buddies and go help the Scoobies, but Jack isn’t going to let him. He tells his friends that Xander doesn’t feel like part of their gang. The others decide to initiate him. Xander’s up for that until he learns that it means he has to die.

He tries to back out, but Bob accuses him of thinking he’s too good to be dead. Xander points out that Jack isn’t dead. But he is – he was shot in a drive-by three weeks ago. His grandfather resurrected him. The gang wants to make Xander an official member, and they urge him to join them in their supernatural shenanigans. Xander says they’ve forgotten about one thing. Then he takes off running. He makes it to his car and speeds off, stranding the zombies. Plus, they left all their “baking” ingredients in the car, so they have to go back to the hardware store for more.

Xander decides to call it a night and go home, but on the way, he comes across Faith fighting one of the Jhe. He hits the demon with his car and gives Faith a getaway ride. As far as cool goes, I’d say that ranks pretty high. They end up at Faith’s motel room, where she asks him to help her fix her dislocated shoulder. As we know, slaying makes Faith hungry and horny, so she asks Xander if he’s up for…well, let’s just say it’s not satisfying her hunger. Well, not that kind of hunger.

He mentions that he’s a virgin, so she tells him to relax and take his pants off. “Those two concepts are antithetical,” he replies. They make out, their clothes coming off, and she promises to guide him through his first time. “Did I mention I’m having a very strange night?” he asks. And now he’ll remember it forever, because it’s the night he had sex for the first time. Faith will probably find it less memorable later, since she just kicks him out almost immediately afterward, indicating that this isn’t as special for her as it is for him.

In the library, Oz is going wild in the book cage. Giles thinks it means the Hellmouth is about to open. He opens the cage so Willow can shoot Oz with a tranquilizer dart. She hopes he isn’t mad at her in the morning. Xander leaves Faith’s and takes a look at the gang’s “baking” ingredients for the first time. They wouldn’t make a very good cake, but they’d make an excellent bomb. He goes looking for the gang, trying to focus on stopping the zombies instead of the fact that he had sex. He decides to go find Buffy, since she’ll know what to do.

Wrong – Buffy is currently telling Angel that she doesn’t know what to do. He urges her to let him decide for her. He can buy her enough time for Willow’s spell to bind…whatever. This is worse than anything they’ve ever faced, and his solution is the only way. Buffy tells him she doesn’t want to watch him die again. They declare their love for each other, and Angel says not even death could change how he feels. Buffy says he may be ready to go but she’s not ready to lose him. This is her fight and they’re doing this her way.

Xander interrupts and starts to tell them about his problem, but he realizes it’s a bad time. He offers to help them but they don’t take him up on that. Xander decides that he can handle this on his own – he just has to figure out what the gang might want to blow up. Back at the library, Willow has moved Oz somewhere else so she and Giles can do their binding spell and deal with whatever might come up from beneath them. It might not just be demons, though – the gang is hooking up their bomb in the school’s boiler room, just under the library.

Xander’s arriving outside as the gang is leaving, and they try to jump back in the car. Dickie grabs onto a door and Xander drags him for a few blocks while asking him about the bomb. Dickie is only able to tell him where it is before he gets slammed into a mailbox and his head is knocked off. Xander wishes he’d asked his questions faster. He runs to the school with the gang chasing him.

The other Scoobies are in the library, facing off with the Hellmouth demon, which has grown since they last saw it. The zombies chase Xander down the hall, one of them stopping to peek into the library. They split up and Bob finds Xander first. He goes after Xander with a fire axe, but Xander gets it from him and tips a soda machine over onto him. Nice. He comes across Parker, who runs before Xander can finish his cool-guy-action-hero quip.

As the Scoobies battle the Hellmouth demon, Xander chases Parker with the axe. Both of them turn around and run in the other direction when they come across some of the Jhe. Parker ends up getting eaten. Xander heads to the boiler room alone with less than two minutes left on the bomb’s countdown clock. Jack finds him there and attacks him, not wanting Xander to disarm the bomb (not that Xander knows how to).

The guys fight, and eventually Jack realizes that if he doesn’t run right now, he’s not going to be out by the time the bomb detonates. Xander is willing to stay and die if it means stopping Jack. Once again, it comes down to who has less fear. Jack says he’s not afraid to die – he’s already dead, after all – but Xander notes that he’s not going to be able to come back this time. He doesn’t think Jack is ready for real death. Jack asks if Xander is. “I like the quiet,” Xander replies with a little smile.

Upstairs, the Scoobies are in an all-out battle with the Jhe and the Hellmouth demon. In the boiler room, there’s just the ticking of the countdown clock. With only two seconds left, Jack disarms the bomb. “Good boy,” is all Xander can get out. He tells Jack not to come back to Sunnydale High, then leaves. Jack says to himself that he’s not going anywhere, but as he’s leaving through a different door, he’s taken out by a surprise foe: werewolf Oz.

The next day, the Scoobies, who have some minor injuries, are subdued by the battle. They saw some horrible things, but they won. Buffy’s proud of Giles for doing something really brave. Willow says no one will ever know how close the world came to ending and what they did to stop it. Xander joins them and pretends he had a boring, quiet night without them. He heads off to get a snack (Oz declines to join him since he’s “oddly full today”) and runs into Cordelia. She picks up where she left off mocking him about being a loser. This time he just smiles and walks away without responding.

Thoughts: Bob is played by Michael Cudlitz.

I like the structure of this episode, with the end-of-the-world stuff happening in the background. The Scoobies do a better job than you’d expect keeping things under wraps.

In some nice continuity, Lysette is the friend Cordelia mentions in “Killed by Death” who got her nose done at the hospital where the episode takes place.

June 18, 2022

Buffy 3.10, Amends: Ghosts of Christmases Past

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

“Santa says you’re on the naughty list. Sorry, buddy”

Summary: In Dublin in 1838, a man named Daniel is trying to flee from Angelus. He owes Angelus money from a card game but can’t pay it. Angelus is willing to accept Daniel’s blood instead. Daniel’s scared, but Angelus thinks he should be more cheerful since it’s Christmas. Angel wakes up from a dream about this, shaken by the memory. He goes downtown and runs into Buffy, who’s doing some Christmas shopping. They both say they’re doing well, but Angelus spots Daniel nearby, so he’s obviously lying.

Buffy tells Xander and Willow about this encounter at school, worrying that something’s going on with Angel. Willow encourages her to talk to Giles, but Buffy knows he won’t want to hear about Angel. Willow thinks Angel’s feeling down about spending the holidays alone. Buffy’s frustrated because she’s trying to stay away from him. She just wants a quiet Christmas break.

The friends discuss their holiday plans: Buffy will be celebrating with Joyce, Xander will be camping in his yard, and Willow will be being Jewish. Cordelia boasts that she’s going skiing in Aspen and won’t miss the Scoobies. Buffy notes that she’s back to her old self. Willow thinks they should cut her some slack after what happened to her. Also, Willow’s really into forgiveness right now.

Oz approaches hesitantly and takes Willow to a classroom for a private talk. He tells her that it was horrible to see her with Xander, but he can’t ignore the friends’ history. He’s not sure the two of them will ever be totally over. That said, Oz misses her so much that he feels like he’s lost a part of himself. He’s willing to try to move past her cheating and get back together. Aww, it’s a Christmas Hanukkah miracle!

That night, Buffy and Joyce go to a Christmas tree lot. Joyce suggests inviting Faith to spend Christmas with them. Buffy isn’t really close to the other Slayer, but Joyce guilts her into not letting Faith spend the holidays alone in a motel room. Buffy asks about inviting Giles over, too, but Joyce quickly shuts down that idea. Buffy comes across some dead trees, which an employee says died without warning.

Some demons with symbols carved over their eyes chant somewhere. That’s two nights in a row where Angel wakes up from a disturbing dream. Buffy goes to Faith’s motel to invite her over for Christmas Eve dinner, but Faith claims to be going to a party that night. Giles is surprised to get a visit from Angel, their first in-person encounter since Giles’ abduction. Angel humbly asks for help, not sure where else to turn. Giles grabs a crossbow just in case before inviting Angel into his home.

Angel reveals that he’s been dreaming about the past, dreams that are so vivid that he feels like he’s reliving his memories. He thinks they’re connected to his sudden, inexplicable return from a demon dimension. He might get some peace if he found out why he was sent back. As Giles asks if Angel believes he deserves peace, Angel sees Jenny standing behind him. Giles doesn’t think Angel should become complacent, since the last time he did, bad things happened. Angel is shaken by the sight of Jenny, whom Giles can’t see, and runs out.

He goes home and goes back to sleep, dreaming this time of another past Christmas. Angelus pulls a maid named Margaret away from a party as she protests that she can’t risk getting fired for not doing her job. She has a son she needs to support. Angelus threatens to make a scene to get her to shut up. When he vamps out, Margaret again brings up her son in an attempt to get his sympathy. Angelus just says he’ll kill her son, too. He feeds on her, then looks up to see Buffy nearby. This time, Angel’s not the only one having the dream.

Jenny comes to the mansion, telling Angel that she can’t leave him alone because he won’t let her. He apologizes for killing her, but she’s not there for that. She turns into Daniel, who says he doesn’t want to make Angel feel bad. He wants to show Angel who he is.

Buffy tells Giles about the dream, which she knows was Angel’s since there were things in it she didn’t know about. Giles tells her that Angel came to see him because he wants to know why he’s back. Giles has been looking into that. Buffy wants to help, but only so she can fully separate herself from her ex. She promises they’re not seeing each other anymore. Giles agrees to help, and Xander, who was eavesdropping from right outside Giles’ office, also offers to lend a hand. He chalks it up to Willow’s Hanukkah spirit. Besides, he doesn’t have anything planned for the Christmas break.

Willow doesn’t, either, so she ends up joining the others for a research session. She tells Buffy that Oz is going to come over on Christmas Eve, while her parents are away. She’s nervous about how to make Oz trust her again. Buffy says that Xander has a piece of Willow that Oz can’t touch. Willow just needs to show Oz that he’s more important to her than Xander.

Angel is now dealing with a visit from a guy whose family he killed. That guy turns into Margaret, who reminds Angel that he took more pleasure in killing than most regular beasts would. When Angel tries to escape her, he runs into Daniel, who says he was supposed to get married the week he died. Angel tries to argue that the demon inside him was responsible for his crimes. Jenny’s back, and she doesn’t buy that excuse. It’s not like he was a great person when he was human. As Margaret puts it, he was “a drunken, whoring layabout” and a disappointment to his parents.

Angel says he was young and didn’t have a chance to mature. Margaret taunts that he was worthless even before he became a demon. Angel tearfully begs the ghosts to stop, but Jenny says he needs to remember that cruelty is the only thing he was ever good at. It’s not a curse – it’s his destiny. She’ll show him what she means.

The Scoobies fall asleep at the library, and Buffy and Angel share another dream. This one is of them having sex, but it ends differently than it did the last time. There’s an eyeless demon in the room, and instead of losing his soul, Angel bites Buffy. When he wakes up, Jenny’s with him. She knows he wants Buffy and encourages him to take what he wants. He should put all his frustration and guilt on her – he’ll be free again. He can’t live forever with all his pain. This is why he came back. If he takes Buffy, he’ll be ready to kill her.

Giles has found some information on the First Evil, a power older than humans and demons that could have brought Angel back. Buffy recognizes some drawings of eyeless demons from her most recent dream. (Understandably, she doesn’t want to go into details about this one.) Giles IDs them as Bringers, AKA Harbingers, who serve the First Evil. They can conjure manifestations of the dead and send them to haunt people. Buffy guesses that’s what Angel’s been dealing with.

The problem is that the First Evil isn’t a physical being, so Buffy can’t fight it. She can, however, fight the Bringers. She and Xander visit Willy the Snitch, who greets her by yelling out who she is so any demons in his bar who don’t want to be killed will leave. Xander tries to be intimidating but falls way short of his goal. Willy claims not to be familiar with the Bringers, but he’s heard some rumors about beings that live underground fleeing town. Maybe the Bringers have pushed them out. As Buffy and Xander leave, Willy compliments Xander’s intimidation tactics.

Back outside, Buffy complains that there are way too many underground locations to search. Xander thinks they should take a break to celebrate Christmas, then go back to Scoobying. Willow seems to agree with this idea, since she’s fully invested in having a nice night alone with Oz. But she thinks they should have sex to confirm their recommitment, and he doesn’t want to rush into that. When they have sex for the first time, it should be because they both want it for the same reason. He doesn’t want Willow to feel like she has to prove anything to him.

Buffy teases Joyce for building a fire in the fireplace, since they’re in Southern California and it’s hot out. “Angel’s on top again?” Joyce asks, referring to what they should put on the top of the tree. Faith shows up after all, and Buffy seems genuinely happy that she’s there. She goes upstairs to get some presents and finds Angel waiting for her. He’s tempted to have sex with her, and Jenny tries to talk him into it, but Angel ends up telling Buffy to stay away from him. She urges him to control whatever’s messing with him, but he gets overwhelmed by Jenny’s words and ends up jumping out the window.

Buffy asks Faith to stay with Joyce while she goes looking for Angel. She heads to Giles’ place and asks him to help her figure out where the Bringers are. She knows Angel won’t last much longer, and if he loses his soul again, she might have to kill him. Back at the mansion, Jenny continues trying to convince Angel to sleep with Buffy. She doesn’t think Angel is strong enough to fight temptation. Angel would rather die than hurt Buffy, but Jenny doesn’t think he has the strength to kill himself. He says he doesn’t need strength, just the sun. He ignores her as she says this isn’t the plan (though she’s fine with it).

With no leads on the Bringers’ location, Buffy and Giles turn to research again. He reads that the Bringers live in a place where nothing grows above or below them. Buffy remembers the dead trees in the lot and heads over there. She digs a hole in the ground and finds the Bringers’ lair. From there, it’s just a matter of simple slaying (not too hard when the creatures you’re slaying don’t have eyes). But Jenny shows up and taunts that Buffy can’t fight the First Evil. It’s beyond sin and death: “I am the thing that darkness fears.” It’s everywhere and in every evil thing. “All right, I get it, you’re evil. Do we have to chat about it all day?” Buffy asks.

Jenny tells her that Angel will be dead by sunrise. Buffy refuses to let that happen, but Jenny says she has no idea what she’s dealing with. “Let me guess: Is it…evil?” Buffy replies. She races to the mansion but Angel isn’t there. She eventually finds him standing on a hilltop, waiting for the sun to come up. She begs him to go inside but Angel has seen what he is and will always be. He knows now that he was brought back to be evil.

Buffy tells him he can’t give up just because the First Evil says it was responsible for bringing him back. Angel’s desperate not to become a killer again, but he doesn’t have the strength to fight it. He knows she shared his dream and is aware of what the First Evil wants. He wants her so badly that he can’t fight temptation, even knowing he’ll lose his soul again. He’s weak and always has been. The demon in him doesn’t need killing – the man does.

Buffy tells him everyone’s weak and fails at some point. Even if the First Evil brought Angel back, it’s because it needs him, and Angel can hurt it. He has the power to do good and make amends. If he dies now, he’ll only be remembered by his horrible deeds. Angel tells her to go since she can never understand what he’s done. Buffy refuses to leave him, even hitting him to try to knock some sense into him.

He hits her back, then realizes he’s acting like the monster he doesn’t want to be. He tearfully asks if he’s “a thing worth saving” or “a righteous man.” He thinks the world wants him gone. “What about me?” Buffy asks. She loves him and tried to make him go away, but even killing him didn’t help. She hates how hard this is and how much he can hurt her. She knows everything he did because he did it to her.

Buffy wishes that she wanted Angel to die, but she doesn’t. She can’t feel that way. He asks her again to leave so he can be strong. “Strong is fighting,” she tells him. “It’s hard and it’s painful and it’s every day. It’s what we have to do.” They can do it together, but he’ll have to be brave. If he’s a coward, he can burn. If Buffy can’t convince Angel to live, then she doesn’t know what will. But she won’t stick around and watch him give up, and he can’t expect her to mourn.

Suddenly snow starts falling on them. Around town, the Scoobies notice and are a mixture of stunned and happy. Thanks to the sudden cold front, Sunnydale has a white Christmas…with no sun. Buffy and Angel walk downtown, hand in hand, and enjoy their peaceful Christmas together.

Thoughts: David Boreanaz is really good in this episode, and I say that as someone who isn’t really impressed with his acting in the first two seasons (at least when he’s not Angelus).

Buffy has short bangs in this episode and they make me feel homicidal. Fortunately, they’re gone by the next episode.

Aw, Faith hung up some Christmas lights in her motel room. She’s not as hard as she wants everyone to believe.

We’re going to pretend that the First Evil/Jenny being able to touch Angel didn’t really happen, since we find out later in the series that that’s not possible. Everyone on board for that? Great.

January 15, 2022

Buffy 2.10, What’s My Line?, Part 2: Two Slayers, No Waiting

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

I’m not sure if beauty is a prerequisite for being a Slayer or if we only get to see the pretty ones

Summary: Buffy and Kendra are still poised to fight each other in Angel’s lair, though they’ve paused so Buffy can tell Kendra that claiming to be the Slayer only works if you’re not talking to the actual Slayer. Kendra warns that if Buffy kills her, she’ll be replaced by another Slayer. Each denies that the other could be the Slayer. Buffy calls a truce so they can go to Giles and figure things out.

Kendra says her Watcher sent her there to, you know, slay. Angel’s about to be one of her victims, as he’s still stuck in the storage cage, with the sun coming up and inching toward him. The girls head to the library, and Giles confirms that Kendra’s Watcher is a real person. He says there must be some misunderstanding. When Willow comes in, Kendra (no last name) orders her to identify herself. “Back off, Pink Ranger,” Buffy tells her. She explains that Willow’s a friend, a concept foreign to Kendra.

Giles tells her that there are some people who know that Buffy’s the Slayer. They hang out socially. Kendra’s surprised that Giles allows that, since the Slayer’s supposed to work in secret. Giles says he has to allow some flexibility when it comes to Buffy. They fill Willow in, wondering how there can be two Slayers, since traditionally, one is only called after the previous one dies. Giles remembers that Buffy did die, and apparently the length of that death doesn’t matter. Kendra can’t believe Buffy died. “Just a little,” Buffy says defensively.

She thinks this is easily fixed – Kendra’s not supposed to be there, so she can just go home. Buffy admits that having Kendra around creeps her out. Kendra won’t leave, since her Watcher gave her an assignment. A dark power is about to rise, and Kendra needs to stop it. Buffy asks what her plan is. Is she just going to attack people until she gets the right one, like she attacked Buffy?

Kendra says she thought Buffy was a vampire, since she saw her kissing another vampire. Willow objects, saying Buffy would never do that…well, except when she does that. Buffy explains that Angel’s a vampire, but a good one. Kendra knows him as Angelus, so she disagrees. Giles backs Buffy up, but Kendra says Angel looked like just another animal when she…she doesn’t want to finish that sentence.

Willy finds Angel in the cage and drags him out. He dumps him through a trapdoor into a sewer, where Spike and some minions are waiting. Spike pays Willy and warns him not to tell anyone about this. Willy asks what Spike plans to do with Angel. Spike jokes that he’s going to start with dinner and a movie since he doesn’t want to rush into anything.

At the Summerses’ house, Cordelia is chatting with Norman, still believing he’s just a makeup salesman. He’s getting impatient, since she’s not the girl he was looking for there. She spots a worm crawling out of his sleeve, and when Xander comes downstairs, Cordelia kicks Norman out. A bug crawls across Norman’s face, and Xander and Cordelia take off running. They’re just in time to escape as Norman explodes into a bunch of worms. He blocks them from leaving through the backdoor, so they lock themselves in the basement.

Buffy rushes to the cage where Kendra locked up Angel. Kendra notes that there are no ashes, which means Angel’s still alive, or at least he didn’t die in the cage. Willy arrives and Kendra attacks him, sensing that he’s a bad guy. Buffy confirms that he is, but they need to keep him alive and conscious so they can get information out of him. Willy says he and Angel are friends, so of course he didn’t let Angel die. He claims Angel went somewhere to recuperate.

Kendra buys it and says they should go back to Giles for more orders. Buffy says she doesn’t take orders – she does things her way. “No wonder you died,” Kendra quips. As they’re leaving, Willy asks if either girl has considered modeling. He has a friend who takes photos. They’re totally classy and artsy. Hey, creep, I don’t know how old Kendra is, but Buffy’s a teenager. Stop being gross.

Drusilla wakes from a dream about Spike doing something with a branding iron in Paris. There were worms in her baguette. Spike shows her that he’s captured Angel, which means they’re just hours from restoring Drusilla to her full health. They’ll kill Angel during that night’s new moon. As if Angel weren’t already suffering enough, now he has to watch the two of them make out. Drusilla asks to spend the rest of the day playing with Angel. And when she says “playing,” she doesn’t mean Pictionary.

Giles has spoken to Kendra’s Watcher, and they’ve agreed that she should stick around until they’ve dealt with the Spike situation. Buffy isn’t pleased. Giles thinks Spike and Drusilla’s desire to restore Dru’s health is the dark power Kendra has been told about. Kendra suggests that they simply kill Spike. But with the Order of Taraka lurking, there’s more than just Spike to worry about. Kendra’s read about the order, as well as tons of other stuff in the Slayer Handbook. Buffy and Willow have never heard of this handbook. Giles says it wouldn’t be any use in Buffy’s case, which offends her.

Giles obviously appreciates working with a Slayer who’s done her homework. Buffy brands Kendra a nerd. Giles tells Buffy that Snyder’s looking for her, so she needs to put in an appearance at the career fair. Kendra confirms that Buffy’s a student at Sunnydale High, as if they would just be hanging out there for no reason. She taunts that Buffy’s probably a cheerleader, too. How does Kendra know about cheerleaders but not friends?

As Kendra and Giles head off, Buffy complains to Willow about the new Watcher’s pet. She bets Giles wishes she were a book geek. Willow thinks Giles is enough of a book geek for both of them. (She doesn’t mention that since she herself is a book geek, she fills that role for Buffy anyway.) Willow assures Buffy that no one could ever replace her as Giles’ favorite. Buffy wonders if being replaced would be that bad. She could retire and let Kendra take over as the Slayer. Buffy could have a normal life.

Xander’s plan to escape Norman is to wait until Buffy saves him and Cordelia. Cordelia asks how she’ll even know where to find them. Xander reminds her that they’re in Buffy’s home, so the odds are pretty good that she’ll come across them sooner or later. Cordelia wants to check and see if Norman is still there. She doesn’t want to slack and let someone else save them. She yells that Xander’s a loser, and he says she’s an idiot for letting Norman inside in the first place.

After a little more shouting, Cordelia announces that she’s leaving – she’d rather get eaten by worms than spend another minute with Xander. Xander tells her to go already. She not surprised that he’s going to let a girl possibly go off to her doom. “Not just any girl. You’re special,” he replies. Cordelia can’t believe that she’s spending what could be her last moments on Earth with Xander. He hopes these are his last few moments on Earth. She calls him a coward. He calls her a moron. They both say they hate each other. And then…they kiss. When they pull apart, they agree that they need to get out of there.

They don’t hear anything at the door, so they make a run for it. The worms are still there, and Xander manages to outrun them, but Cordelia gets them all over her. Xander sprays her with a hose outside, maybe for a little longer than necessary. They’re able to make it to Cordelia’s car without any more wormy encounters.

Buffy and Willow go to the career fair, and Buffy notices that Oz is checking Willow out. Willow says he’s “expressing computer nerd solidarity.” He comes over to talk (Buffy gives them some privacy), and he and Willow discuss how they were both recruited for that software company but neither wants a job there, at least not right now. They have a good rapport and clearly like each other.

Buffy signs up at the law enforcement booth, but her time at the career fair doesn’t last long. As soon as the police officer running the booth confirms Buffy’s identity, she draws her gun. Buffy holds her off, but the officer gets off a few shots. Everyone nearby hides while Buffy faces off with the cop. Kendra arrives in time to help out, but after briefly taking Jonathan hostage, the cop is able to escape. Oz’s shoulder was grazed by a bullet, and he’s so stunned that he doesn’t know what to say. Jonathan asks if that was a demonstration.

In the library, where Willow tends to Buffy’s minor wounds, Buffy says that the cop was definitely an assassin from the Order of Taraka. Fortunately, Oz wasn’t hurt badly. Xander and Cordelia arrive (“Down, girl,” Buffy tells Kendra), and he asks who sponsored the career fair, “the British soccer fan association?” He starts telling the other Scoobies about his and Cordelia’s run-in with Norman, but he gets distracted when he realizes there’s a new face there. He teases Buffy that he knew her claim that she was the only Slayer was a cry for attention. Kendra is suddenly shy, since she’s never talked to a boy before.

Cordelia finds a worm in her hair and runs off to take a shower. Buffy comments that Xander has a bad history with bugs. The Scoobies acknowledge that the Order of Taraka is a serious threat, and Buffy says it’s a good thing they have Kendra, a serious threat in her own right. Giles has figured out what Drusilla needs for her cure – her sire and a new moon. Buffy knows who that sire is, which makes this even more serious. The ritual will kill Angel.

The Scoobies have five hours to figure out where the ritual will take place and stop it. Kendra reminds them that stopping Drusilla is their priority, not saving Angel. Xander tells her that Angel’s their friend (“except I don’t like him”). Buffy tells Kendra that they really have the same priority right now, so they should work together. Kendra agrees. Buffy is completely fed up with Spike and determined to take him down. Assassins are one thing, but she won’t stand for Spike messing with her boyfriend.

Drusilla tortures Angel with holy water while talking about her mother. It sounds like Angel starts to apologize, but Dru isn’t about to forgive him for killing her family. Back at the library, Giles is surprised to learn that there are 43 churches in Sunnydale. Willow says the Hellmouth makes people pray harder. Cordelia’s returned, having showered and changed clothes, and she and Xander look up bug people in some books.

In Giles’ office, Kendra criticizes Buffy for letting so many people know about her secret identity. She picks up a crossbow, and Buffy warns her to be careful with it. Kendra says she’s an expert in all weapons. Of course, she accidentally fires it, breaking a lamp. Giles asks if everything’s okay, and Buffy says Kendra “killed the bad lamp.” Kendra extends an olive branch, asking Buffy to show her how to use the crossbow later.

Xander finds info on Norman, who can only be killed when he’s in his bug state. He and Cordelia bicker some more. The other Scoobies must find them exhausting. Kendra tells Buffy that she was taught that things like friendship and school distract Slayers from their calling. Kendra isn’t even allowed to have contact with her family. Her parents sent her to live with her Watcher when she was young. Her people take the calling that seriously. But Kendra doesn’t feel sorry for herself and doesn’t want Buffy to, either.

Buffy says it sounds lonely. Kendra tells her that emotions are weaknesses, so Buffy shouldn’t even think about them. Buffy disagrees – her emotions give her power. Kendra would rather “keep an even mind.” Buffy says that explains Kendra’s flawless technique, but Buffy would have won if they’d fought each other. Kendra has no imagination. You have to know how to improvise and adapt.

Kendra thinks she could beat Buffy in a fight right now. Buffy smiles, since she’s introduced Kendra to anger, something that will fuel her fighting abilities. Xander comes in, and Kendra gets quiet again. Buffy guesses that she’s never gone on a date. Kendra isn’t even allowed to talk to boys. Buffy notes that she’s allowed to beat them up, though, thinking of Willy. She realizes that Willy might be able to tell them something.

Drusilla continues torturing Angel until Spike comes to get them for the ritual. Angel gets in a jab about their sex life, getting under Spike’s skin because Angel and Drusilla used to sleep together. Spike grabs a stake and raises it to kill Angel, but Drusilla reminds him that they need him for the sacrifice. Spike realizes that Angel was trying to anger him so he and Drusilla couldn’t do the ritual, which would in turn protect the Scoobies. Instead, Angel will die a horrible death, and Spike and Drusilla will take over Sunnydale.

Buffy and Kendra go to Willy’s bar and interrogate him. Kendra urges Buffy to use violence. Willy says he’ll take the Slayers to the place where the ritual will happen. Kendra thinks they should consult with Giles first, but Buffy knows they don’t have time. Angel’s life is on the line. Kendra warns that Buffy’s relationship clouds her judgment. Buffy reminds her that Angel’s going to die. Kendra replies that he’s a vampire, so he should die. Buffy takes Willy and heads off without her.

At the church, Buffy comes face to face with the assassin who tried to kill her. Norman is also there, along with some vampire minions. In the sanctuary, Spike starts the ritual, which involves stabbing the du Lac cross through Angel and Drusilla’s hands so his blood will flow into her. Willy comes in with Buffy, thinking he’s doing Spike a favor by bringing the Slayer to him. Spike tells Buffy that in about five minutes, Angel will be dead. Buffy won’t live that long.

Spike is going to let the assassins take care of Buffy, but before anyone can make a move, Kendra bursts in. That means that despite having minions, Spike’s really outnumbered. “Two Slayers,” Kendra says. “No waiting,” Buffy finishes. Kendra fights Spike while Buffy takes on the assassins. The Scoobies show up to help out with the minions. Xander lures Norman out to the hall, and once he’s turned into his bug form, he and Cordelia start stomping on him.

Buffy and Kendra swap opponents, with Kendra fighting the cop while Buffy takes on Spike (which both of them say they prefer anyway). Willy tries to escape, but Spike stops him. Buffy rushes to free Angel from the ritual, and when Spike goes to stop her, Willy’s able to run away. Now only the cop is left, and she slashes a tear in Kendra’s sleeve. Kendra’s upset because it’s her favorite shirt. Make that her only shirt. Dang, Kendra’s Watcher, get your girl some more clothes.

Spike lights the church on fire so he can create a diversion and escape with Drusilla. He hopes she got enough of Angel’s blood to restore her health. Buffy grabs a…thing (I think the thing you put incense in? I’m not Catholic, in case that’s not clear) and flings it at Spike, hitting him in the head. He collapses against an organ, and the whole thing comes crashing down on him and Drusilla. Buffy tends to Angel, and Kendra, surprisingly, helps her get him out of the burning church. I guess they all assume that Spike and Drusilla are dead, and if they’re not, the fire will eventually take care of them.

Willow runs into Oz at school the next day and he offers her an animal cracker. She hopes his arm injury won’t interfere with his guitar playing. She helps him open his box of cookies, since his arm is in a sling, and thanks him for protecting her from the assassin. Oz doesn’t like being thanked, since it embarrasses him, so Willow tells him to forget it.

He shows her a monkey animal cracker and notes that the monkeys are the only ones that get to wear clothes. When Willow smiles, he tells her she has the sweetest smile he’s ever seen. They continue talking about animal crackers and how the other animals might be jealous of the monkeys for getting to have clothes. Also, all monkeys are French.

Xander pulls Cordelia into a classroom so they can talk about how awkward things are now that they’ve kissed. They can’t agree on who kissed who. They still hate each other, and they don’t want to kiss ever again. They also won’t ever tell anyone what happened. They plan to forget all about it. Then they kiss again.

Buffy has given Kendra one of her shirts and is sending her home. Kendra plans to not tell her Watcher about Buffy’s relationship with a vampire. She admits that Angel’s cute, so Buffy says maybe she won’t get fired for dating him. Kendra notes that Buffy always talks about slaying like it’s a job when it’s who she is. Buffy taught her that. Buffy knows she can’t fight her destiny, but at least she’s not the only one in her position anymore.

Back at the church, Spike and Drusilla are still alive. Spike’s hurt, but thanks to the ritual with Angel, Drusilla’s back to her full strength. She’ll make sure Spike recovers as well.

Thoughts: I wish we knew more about how/why some Slayers-in-waiting know they’re Slayers-in-waiting while others, like Buffy, are blindsided when they’re activated. How many Slayers-in-waiting are there in the world? And how do some of their families know while Joyce and Hank are in the dark?

I love the twist that the third assassin was at the school the whole time. You can’t see it coming.

The music is part of what makes Xander and Cordelia’s kisses so great, so here are the scenes with all the elements.

January 8, 2022

Buffy 2.9, What’s My Line?, Part 1: The Rest of Your Life

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

If she can love him like this, it’s true love

Summary: Willow arrives at school in a good mood and signs up for the upcoming career fair. Everyone’s taking career-aptitude tests. Xander’s stumped by a question about whether he’s a people person or likes to be with others. He’s a people person but is often alone for reasons he can’t control. Buffy tells him to mark “none of the above,” which isn’t an option. Willow joins them as Xander complains that a multiple-choice test isn’t a good indicator of what they’ll be doing for the rest of their lives.

Willow’s curious about what kind of career she could have. Xander would prefer to be in the dark so he can continue being spontaneous and dumb. Cordelia comes by, reading a question on the test about whether she wants to help other people. She says yes, as long as those people aren’t dirty or gross. Xander mocks her, of course, and she mocks him back. “Is murder always a crime?” Xander wonders out loud.

Buffy can’t decide whether she likes shrubs. That right there tells me this is a bogus test. She figures it doesn’t matter anyway, since her destiny has already been determined. She’ll be killing vampires for free for the rest of her life. But Snyder is making her take the test, so here she is. Willow thinks Buffy must be at least a little curious about what kind of job she’s suited for, even if she’ll never have that job. Buffy doesn’t see the point in even thinking about it. Unless Hell freezes over and all the vampires in town leave, Buffy’s future is sealed.

Spike is consulting with a vampire named Dalton who’s trying to decipher a book. Drusilla is reading tarot cards and wants some alone time with her boyfriend. Spike’s frustrated because the book should hold the key to a cure for Drusilla, but Dalton isn’t having any luck with it. Spike tells Drusilla they’re running out of time – Buffy keeps interfering. Drusilla’s sure that Spike will solve everything.

Dalton determines that the book isn’t in a language he can read. In fact, he’s not sure it’s a real language. Spike beats him up, trying to inspire him to work harder. Drusilla consults her cards and announces that Dalton can’t help without “the key.” No, no, that’s not until season 5. The book is written in code, and they’ll find the key in a mausoleum. To celebrate, Spike dances with Drusilla, promising to dance with her again on Buffy’s grave.

That night, Buffy catches Dalton chipping away at something in a mausoleum. She patiently waits for him to come out, but he runs off while she’s fighting another vampire. Angel’s waiting in her room when she gets home, and she teases him for holding her stuffed pig, Mr. Gordo. She tells him Joyce is out of town, so they don’t have to whisper. (She’s sneaking in her bedroom window out of habit.)

Angel says he wanted to make sure Buffy was okay because he had a bad feeling. She thinks that means he has bad news. She apologizes for being grumpy; the career fair is getting to her. Angel knows all about it already: “I lurk.” Buffy’s frustrated that everyone else is playing What’s My Line? while she has her future already set in stone. She wishes she had a normal life, like she had before.

Angel thinks she means she wants the life she had before she met him. No, sweetie, she means before she became the Slayer. Buffy assures him that he’s the best part of her weird life. She just wishes they could be normal teens sometimes. Well, a regular kid and her “cradle-robbing, creature-of-the-night boyfriend.”

He spots a picture of her ice skating as a kid, and she admits that she went through a big Dorothy Hamill phase. She used skating as an escape when her parents started fighting. It’s been a while since she skated, but Angel knows of a rink that’s closed on Tuesdays. Conveniently, tomorrow is Tuesday.

At school the next day, Cordelia is thrilled to see that the careers she’s most suited for are personal shopper or motivational speaker. She laughs at Xander’s results. He tells Buffy and Willow he’s been pegged as a future prison guard. Buffy notes that at least he’ll be on the right side of the bars. So will she, as she’s been assigned to learn more about law enforcement. That makes perfect sense.

Buffy says she’ll jump off that bridge when she comes to it. First she has to meet with Giles, who’s become super-efficient and wants to see her every day after homeroom. Willow asks Xander where she was assigned. He tells her she wasn’t on the list telling them which seminar to attend. That confuses and worries her.

Buffy goes to the library, where Giles has been indexing past Watchers’ diaries. She tells him about Dalton’s theft but doesn’t know what he took. Giles chastises her for not trying to find out what it was. Buffy tells him that if he doesn’t like the way she does her job, he can find someone else to do it. Oh, right, there’s no one else as long as Buffy’s alive. She could just die. Giles isn’t amused that she’s joking about that. Buffy says her life might as well be over, since she doesn’t get to control it. Giles ask her to hold off on introspection until they find out what Dalton stole.

It’s a cross, and Drusilla can sense that it has some sort of power. Spike tells her they’ll have a big party when she’s well. Dalton’s worried that Buffy will interfere yet again. Spike complains about how she always does; they’ll never cure Drusilla with Buffy around all the time. He decides to call in some bounty hunters from the Order of Taraka. Drusilla’s tarot cards show three of them coming. Dalton thinks that’s overkill, but Spike says it’s “just enough kill.”

Willow and Xander suck up to Snyder for putting on a great career fair, hoping to distract him from noticing that Buffy’s not attending (since she’s gone on a field trip with Giles). Snyder doesn’t fall for it. He tells Xander that everything he says is “a waste of breath, an airborne toxic event.” Xander appreciates Snyder’s honesty and hopes to be in the position to be just as honest with him someday.

Xander leaves Willow for his seminar, and two guys in suits come by to take her to a private space with classical music and canapes. She’s been chosen to meet with a recruiter for a software company. She’s told that the aptitude test was irrelevant; the company has been keeping an eye on Willow for a while. They’re very selective, and only one other Sunnydale student has met their criteria: Oz. He’s finally alone with the girl he keeps thinking about.

Giles and Buffy go to the mausoleum to find out what Dalton stole. She’s upset with him for being critical of her. He tells her she can be the Slayer and have a job, like he’s a Watcher and a librarian. Buffy thinks that makes sense, though – those two positions “go together like chicken and…another chicken.” There’s nothing out there for her that fits with being the Slayer. Giles suggests law enforcement. She’s not amused.

In the mausoleum, Giles sees that Dalton broke into a reliquary, a spot that houses meaningful religious artifacts. Sometimes those artifacts are things like a saint’s finger. “Note to self: Religion freaky,” Buffy says. He spots the name on the mausoleum, du Lac, and realizes they’re dealing with someone who was so evil, he was excommunicated and sent to Sunnydale.

The book that was stolen from the library was also by du Lac. It contains spells and rituals that bring forth evil. It was written in archaic Latin, and only people from du Lac’s sect can understand it. Buffy thinks that’s okay, since chances are good that no one can read the book. But Giles thinks someone must have the key to decode it, which means something bad is coming their way.

A big, unfriendly-looking guy arrives in town via bus. Meanwhile, a salesman named Norman Pfister offers one of Buffy’s neighbors some free makeup samples. After she lets him in her house, she screams. At the airport, a crewman finds someone stowing away in a plane. It’s a young woman (Kendra) who beats him up, then sneaks away.

Back at school, Buffy and Giles fill Xander and Willow in on what they’re dealing with. The cross Dalton stole is called, fittingly, the du Lac Cross (which Xander thinks is a weak name). It’s basically a decoder ring for the book. It’s the only one that still exists; du Lac destroyed the others out of fear that they would fall into the wrong hands. The Scoobies’ best bet is discovering what’s in the book before Dalton does.

Giles wants the group to stay as long as necessary to find out what’s in the book, but Buffy excuses herself, since she has that skating date with Angel. She points out that she’s not very helpful with the book stuff anyway. Willow backs her up, and Giles doesn’t put up a fight. Only Xander thinks Buffy should stay, partly because she usually provides snacks.

Buffy gets to the rink before Angel and skates around for a little while. (Sarah Michelle Gellar was a competitive skater before she got into acting.) The big guy from the bus is watching her, but she doesn’t notice until she takes a fall and he’s able to grab her. Angel arrives in time to save her, though Buffy then saves him by slitting the guy’s throat with her skate. In her lair, Drusilla turns over the guy’s tarot card, having sensed that he’s dead. Spike isn’t worried, since they’re close to decoding the manuscript.

Angel recognizes the guy’s ring and tells Buffy she’s in danger. She needs to go home and wait until she hears from him. Buffy’s worried about a cut on Angel’s forehead, but he just wants her to go somewhere safe. He also doesn’t want her to touch him while he’s vamped out. Buffy doesn’t mind, and she says she didn’t even notice. They kiss as Kendra watches them from across the rink.

Buffy takes the ring to Giles, who also recognizes it. Assassins from the Order of Taraka are after Buffy. Xander makes quips about the group until Giles tells him this is a serious matter. Buffy wonders why the assassins are after her; she hasn’t killed that many vampires lately. Giles agrees with Angel that she needs to hide somewhere.

Buffy asks if that means she’s not strong enough to fight the assassins. Giles tells her that they only work toward the goal of collecting their bounty, and nothing gets in their way. They don’t stop until they eliminate their target. Buffy can kill as many as she can, but they’ll keep coming until she’s dead. They all work alone, in their own ways. Some are human and some aren’t. Like Norman, who’s made of bugs and is now staking out the Summerses’ home from the neighbor’s house.

It’s hard to go back to your normal teen life when you know unidentifiable assassins are after you, so Buffy struggles to overcome her paranoia at the career fair. Poor Oz gets very confused when she grabs him and challenges him to try to kill her. That night, Buffy can’t bring herself to go home to her empty house.

Willow and Giles are still at the library, looking for information on the stolen book. Xander has tried calling Buffy, but she’s not answering. Giles worries that he spooked her too much. Buffy goes to Angel’s lair, letting herself in when he doesn’t answer the door. She curls up in his bed and waits for him.

Angel’s at a bar, meeting with a guy known as Willy the Snitch. He claims he’s staying out of bad stuff, but Angel doesn’t believe him. He asks who sent the Order of Taraka after Buffy. Willy lies that he’s out of the loop, which Angel also doesn’t believe. He guesses Spike is responsible. He threatens to torture Willy if he doesn’t give him information. Willy starts to tell him where Spike and Drusilla are, but Kendra interrupts and starts fighting Angel.

They’re pretty evenly matched, but she wins and gets him on the ground. Angel says he won’t hurt her if she tells him something useful. Kendra locks him in a big storage cage and mentions Buffy (in a famously bad Caribbean accent). Angel threatens to hurt her if she goes after Buffy, but Kendra doesn’t think he’ll be able to stop her. The sun will be up in a few hours, and Angel’s cage faces east.

Giles sends Xander to Buffy’s house to check on her, since no one’s heard from her. Xander doesn’t have a ride, so Giles suggests that he ask Cordelia to drive him. Willow is still in the library, having fallen asleep, and when Giles wakes her, she exclaims, “Don’t warn the tadpoles!” She admits that she’s afraid of frogs. He tells her he’s found a description of the missing book. It contains a ritual that may restore a vampire’s health. They guess Spike wants it for Drusilla.

Dalton has finished his work, and Spike realizes the cure was nearby the whole time. Drusilla presses his fingers to a tarot card depicting an angel. Cordelia takes Xander to Buffy’s, and they bicker while breaking in. She taunts that even if Buffy’s in trouble, Xander won’t be able to help her. While he’s looking around upstairs, Norman comes to the door with his sample case. Cordelia lets him in the house.

Angel’s not having any luck getting out of the cage, and the sun is up and moving his way. At his place, Buffy wakes up when Kendra arrives. Buffy guesses this is the Order of Taraka’s second attempt to take her out. They fight until Kendra asks who Buffy is. Buffy points out that Kendra’s the one who attacked her, so who’s Kendra? “I’m Kendra the vampire slayer,” she replies. To be continued!

Thoughts: Kendra is played by Bianca Lawson.

Buffy will have to get a job to make money, so I don’t see the big deal here. Sure, she’s limited in what she can do – she can’t be, say, a doctor because she’ll need her nights free for slaying – but there are plenty of possibilities.

I’m surprised Spike is willing to outsource Buffy’s murder to assassins. He’d probably still take credit for the kill, though.