Category Archives: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Go Fish

Season two’s final standalone episode brings forward an aspect of high school life that is almost overlooked on Buffy – sports. Aside from Buffy and Dawn trying out for cheerleading and the football game on “Some Assembly Required,” this is the only episode that gives much emphasis to Sunnydale High’s athletic program. But since none of the gang is into sports, that makes sense. This episode provides two other reasons:

Cordelia:  Well, all I know is, my cheerleading squad wasted a lot of pep on losers. It’s about time our school excelled at something.
Willow:  Hmm. You’re forgetting our high mortality rate.
Xander:  We’re number one!

So I guess it’s understandable that a lot of sport cliches get pushed into this one episode. Jocks’ popularity and sense of entitlement. Winning at all costs. Teachers pressured to give passing grades. Steroid use.

Only, since this is still Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the steroids have more than just their usual effects. The DNA-altering mix is turning the swim team into sea monsters. And who knew Cordelia could draw?

With the piles of skin and the half-eaten nurse, “Go Fish” is one of the show’s more gruesome episodes. Angel only makes a brief appearance, Oz is absent (again), but Jonathan has a couple of fun scenes. Willow interrogating him is hilarious, but I didn’t laugh because all I could see was her trying to kill him, four seasons from now.

After not showing up for most of the season, with this episode and the past one, Principle Snyder is finally making his presence known (likely building up for his role in the two-part finale). And Shane West (Michael from Nikita) has a brief cameo in the episode.

Xander and Cordelia’s relationship was fun to watch, both with Cordy’s new respect when Xander joins the swim team and her comments after she thinks he’s been turned in a sea monster:

It’s me, Cordelia? I know you can’t answer me, but… God, this is all my fault. You joined the swim team to impress me. You were so courageous. And you looked really hot in those Speedos. And I want you to know that I still care about you, no matter what you look like. And… and we can still date. Or, or not. I mean… I understand if you wanna see other fish. I’ll do everything I can to make your quality of life better. Whether that means little bath toys or whatever.

In the end, Xander saves Buffy, and the coach gets his own form of poetic justice. One thing I noticed this time watching season two – quite a few of the episode focus on Xander, and hardly any do on Willow. But of course that will all change in coming seasons . . .

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer – I Only Have Eyes for You

This is one of my very favorite episodes of Buffy – and it’s not just because it features Christopher Gorham (Auggie on Covert Affairs). There’s a symmetry to this episode, sort of a poetic rightness. But more on that in a bit.

The episode opens with a brief scene at the Bronze, where it’s clear Buffy’s still blaming herself for what happened to Angel, and now to Jenny. (Oz is absent again – somehow I’d remembered him playing a larger role in season 2 than he actually did.) The story then moves to a couple fighting, which Buffy interrupts by kicking a gun out of the guy’s hand. A few more strange things happen, including Xander’s locker sprouting an arm and trying to drag him in.

Giles:  Ooh! Sounds like paranormal phenomena.
Willow:  A ghost? Cool!
Xander:  Oh, no, no. No. No cool. This was no wimpy chain rattler. This was ‘I’m dead as hell, and I’m not gonna take it anymore.’
Giles:  Well, despite the Xander-speak, that’s a fairly accurate definition of a poltergeist.

Giles thinks it’s Jenny, but Buffy’s flashback dreams and other clues point to a 1955 murder-suicide. Willow, who has taken to teaching like a toddler to a mud puddle, does some research via Jenny’s files and sites on paganism. (But didn’t Angelus destroy Jenny’s computer? Perhaps they were on her home computer.) But with the sites and the exorcism spell and the healing rose quartz and the scapulas, this episode seems to mark Willow’s first step toward witchcraft.

Xander:  Something weird is going on. Isn’t that our school motto?

Angelus, Drusilla, and Spike move into an abandoned mansion on the edge of town. Things are getting worse between Angel and Spike. Angelus is starting to act almost as crazy as Drusilla (which is saying something), recklessly provoking Spike while Dru loves it that her two guys are fighting over her. But Spike is not the sort of vampire you want to provoke. The murderous intent in his eyes makes the perfect lead-in to the season finale.

I love the feel of the 1950s flashbacks. The music, clothing, and lighting bring the period to life even though the building remains the same. Some of the paranormal occurrences look a little fake, but I thought they did a great job with Cordelia’s perceived disfigurement. And I believe this is the first episode where the mayor is mentioned, and it shows that Principle Snyder is afraid of him (knowing his fate, he has good reason to be).

The gang figures out the ghost keeps reenacting what happened that night, with the same result. (On another tangent, why hasn’t this happened before during the 40-some years since the incident? Is this the first year since then that they’re doing another Sadie Hawkins dance, and that’s what triggered it?)

Buffy:  He wants forgiveness.
Giles:  Yes. I imagine he does. But when James possesses people, they act out exactly what happened that night. So he’s experiencing a form of purgatory instead. I mean, he’s doomed to kill his Ms. Newman over and over and over again, and…forgiveness is impossible.
Buffy:  Good. He doesn’t deserve it.
Giles:  To forgive is an act of compassion, Buffy. It’s, it’s not done because people deserve it. It’s done because they need it.
Buffy:  No. James destroyed the one person he loved the most in a moment of blind passion. And that’s not something you forgive. No matter why he did what he did. And no matter if he knows now that it was wrong and selfish and stupid, it is just something he’s gonna have to live with.
Xander:  He can’t live with it, Buff. He’s dead.

My absolute favorite part of this episode is the climax, where Buffy and Angel act out what happened that night. Only this time, James chooses Buffy to play his role, with all her guilt about destroying the person she loved. And as the scene plays out, they don’t seem to be simply reciting events from decades ago. They are having the conversation they would have if Angelus could be Angel again, just for a few minutes.

Buffy/James:  You can’t make me disappear just because you say it’s over.
Angel/Grace:  I just want you to be able to have some kind of normal life. We can never have that, don’t you see?
Buffy/James:  I don’t give a damn about a normal life! I’m going crazy not seeing you. I think about you every minute.
Angel/Grace:  I know. But it’s over. It has to be!
Buffy/James:  Come back here! We’re not finished! You don’t care anymore, is that it?
Angel/Grace:  It doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter what I feel.
Buffy/James:  Then tell me you don’t love me! Say it!
Angel/Grace:  Is that what you need to hear? Will that help? I don’t. Now let me go.
Buffy/James:  No. A person doesn’t just wake up and stop loving somebody! (Raises a gun.) Love is forever. I’m not afraid to use it, I swear! If I can’t be with you…
Angel/Grace:  Oh, my God!
Buffy/James:  Don’t walk away from me, bitch! Stop it! Stop it! Don’t make me!
Angel/Grace: All right. Just… You know you don’t want to do this. Let’s both…just calm down. Now give me the gun.
Buffy/James:  Don’t. Don’t do that, damn it! Don’t talk to me like I’m some stupid…
(The gun goes off.)

The “just wake up and stop loving someone” part is so perfect for Angel and Buffy, and the normal life part screams the end of season three. Yet to continue the perfection of this scene – this time Grace doesn’t die. Because Angel is a vampire and can’t be killed by a bullet. So this time, when James goes to reenact his suicide, Grace is able to stop him.

Buffy/James:  Grace!
Angel/Grace:  Don’t do this.
Buffy/James:  But-but I killed you.
Angel/Grace:  It was an accident. It wasn’t your fault.
Buffy/James:  Oh, it *is* my fault. How could I…
Angel/Grace:  Shhh. I’m the one who should be sorry, James. You thought I stopped loving you. But I never did. I loved you with my last breath.

Ooo, that last line is so perfect. All I can see is Angel in the alley, screaming Buffy’s name as his soul leaves him. But my heart breaks for Buffy, in that one moment after the kiss, when Grace and James’ spirits have gone. Buffy whispers, “Angel?” and for that half second you can see the wild hope that rises in her. Maybe Angel is back. Maybe he really does forgive her for what she did. But then he shoves her away, and she shatters.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Killed By Death

Okay, I don’t know who came up for the title for this episode, but it’s vague to the point of annoyance. I had to see a screenshot of the episode to remember what it was about. On top of that, it seems inanely redundant. I know the kid calls the monster “Death” and its German name means “child death,” but even as someone who watched the episode before, I didn’t make the connection of the title to this episode. Death is all too common in the Buffyverse.

Names aside, this is one of the few Buffy episodes that’s as spooky as Supernatural. Hospitals are creepy enough on their own, but add an invisible life-sucking creature that goes after kids and you have the stuff nightmares are made of. Buffy’s memories of what happened to her cousin and her delirious state only add to the dream-like quality.

This episode follows up with “Passion” well, having Angel come after Buffy twice in her weakened state, but her friends (especially Xander) have her back. Is Angel ready to kill her yet, or just torment her in her weakened state? At the cemetery it seems that his plan is to pick off her friends, one by one, preferably in front of her.

Despite the seriousness of the situation, the Scooby gang manages to add a huge helping of humor to an otherwise somber episode, perhaps to prove that laughter is the best medicine?

Xander:  Man, Buffy! My whole life just flashed before my eyes! I gotta get me a life!

Cordelia:  So this isn’t about you being afraid of hospitals ’cause your friend died and you wanna conjure up a monster that you can fight so you can save everybody and not feel so helpless?
Giles:  Cordelia, have you actually ever heard of tact?
Cordelia:  Tact is just not saying true stuff. I’ll pass.

Xander:  Finding out who this thing is takes priority. Cordy, you should go with Giles.
Giles:  Why do I have to have… Uh, good thinking. I could do with a research assistant.
Cordelia:  Let’s go, tact-guy.

I love Willow pretending she’s crazy by screaming that she’s covered with frogs (if I remember right, that’s the one animal she’s afraid of) to distract the security guards. One of the guards (the one Cordelia distracted earlier) is played by Willie Garson (Mozzie on White Collar). Until Eliza Dushku’s guest role on White Collar a few weeks ago, he was only credited actor to ever appear on both shows.

Other notable bits in this episode: We get to see Buffy as a little girl, and she sees herself in the role of the hero even then (perhaps an early hint of her awareness as a Potential?). Cordelia knows Xander’s not over Buffy. And Oz is once again absent.

The episode ends with a fun scene as the trio of friends lounge in Buffy’s room, watching TV and generally acting like six-year-olds:

Buffy:  Oh, mom?
Joyce:  Mm-hm?
Buffy:  I wanted crunchy peanut butter.
Joyce:  Oh, sorry.
Buffy:  A-and I said extra jelly.
Joyce:  Anything to help my daughter get well.
Willow:  Oh, and while you’re up, could I get a refill? It’s just I’m so comfortable.
Joyce:  Of course.
Willow:  Thanks.
Xander:  Oh, oh, oh, and another bag of cheesy chips.
Joyce:  Uh, you ate the last one.
Xander:  No, there’s another bag hidden behind the raisins.
Joyce:  (sighs) I’m on it.
Xander:  Your mom’s tryin’ to Bogart the cheesy chips. What’s that all about?

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Passion

As soon as Angelus begins narrating this episode, you know it’s going to be dark and deadly. After two episodes of biding his time, sending Buffy undead classmates and roses, Angel begins to strike at her, both directly and indirectly.

At first, he’s merely watching from the shadows. Buffy doesn’t sense that he’s there, though she was able to do it quite easily before, when he had a soul. None of the four leaving the Bronze even notice as he kills someone right in the alley. (Speaking of which, where was Oz in this episode? Perhaps his band had a gig out of town, but would he really be absent from school for several days?) Angelus sneaks into bedrooms, leaving drawings and dead fish. And then he goes after Buffy’s mom.

As Spike warns him, he’s playing a dangerous game, taunting a Slayer. But Angelus doesn’t seem to care. Perhaps he’s trying to create a new masterpiece, to top what he did to Drusilla. I don’t think he’s intending to turn Buffy into a vampire (though that would be a volatile mix, being a Slayer and a vampire, especially if he drives her insane first), just to hurt her. He tends to be pretty picky about who he turns, and having her around, even as a vampire, would be a constant reminder of the humanity he was once reduced to. After all, he didn’t turn his family into vampires, but simply destroyed them and any connection he had to humanity. Becoming a vampire, to him, is an honor, a reward, and he wants to punish Buffy. Now I could see him turning someone close to her to punish her, but not Buffy herself.

Of course, the tragedy of this episode is the cruel end to Giles and Jenny’s love story. First Giles’ past gets between them, then Jenny’s, and just as they get past that AND just as Jenny discovers a way to restore Angel’s soul, Angelus strikes. Joss Whedon is so mean. (Spoilers ahead for the season eight comics!) And it’s horribly sad but almost right in a way that both Jenny and Giles die in the same way. At the hand of the same person. (Though controlled by Angelus in one instance and Twilight in the other.) Side note: I think that’s one reason why people liked Spike even when he was still evil. He never killed anyone we cared about.

It’s Drusilla’s vision that tips Angelus off that Jenny’s trying to restore Angel’s soul. That’s one thing that bugs me about Drusilla – she doesn’t fight fair with all her psychic visions and hypnosis. But she’s hilarious in this episode, carrying the owner-less (thanks to her) puppy around. I love how she names it Sunshine, which for a human would be like naming it Radioactive Poisoning or Arsenic.

Speaking of lighter moments, I love how excited Willow gets about covering the class for a few minutes:

Jenny:  Um, I might be a little late tomorrow. Do you think you could cover my class till I show?
Willow:  Really? Me? Teach the class? Sure!
Jenny:  Cool.
Willow:  Oh, wait. W-what if they don’t recognize my authority? What if they try to convince me that you always let them leave class early? What if there’s a fire drill? What if there’s a fire?
Jenny:  Willow, you’re gonna be fine. And I’ll try not to be too late, okay?
Willow:  Okay. Good. Earlier is good. Will I have the power to assign detention? Or make ‘em run laps?

The episode ends on a somber note as Willow prepares to take over the class until a new teacher arrives. And a lone floppy disk falls to the floor, awaiting a future episode . . .

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered

I love how this show has both humorous and serious episodes, with many being a macabre mix of both elements (“Tabula Rasa” comes to mind as one). This episode definitely falls on the comedy side as Xander faces the consequences of a love spell gone wrong.

Xander and Cordelia’s relationship is finally out in the open, and since it’s causing her popularity to wane, Cordelia decides to break up with him, right after he gives her a sweet little heart-shaped necklace for Valentine’s Day. I think the moment I finally began to like Cordelia’s character was when Xander asked for the necklace back and we find out Cordelia’s wearing it, hidden under her shirt. The look on her face when she takes it off is heartbreaking.

Amy’s back to cast the spell gone awry, and while most of the special effects seem cheesy, it’s interesting to note that her eyes go black and even red, consistent with what we’ll see in season 6. But I wonder why no one even thought of going to Amy for help with the gypsy curse later on this season? Of course, her error in this episode might give them cause to discard the idea.

In a recent roundtable discussion, Sarah Michelle Gellar mentioned this episode, saying something along the lines of, “I was getting burned out, so they turned me into a rat for an episode.” (Tried to find the exact quote but couldn’t.) And I love it that Oz punched Xander, and his fumbling statement afterwards:

Oz:  I was on the phone all night, listening to Willow cry about you. Now, I don’t know exactly what happened, but I was left with a very strong urge to…hit you.

I also found it a bit odd that Giles was so hard on Xander in this episode. In fact, now that I think about it, I don’t remember Giles and Xander ever connecting very well. Which is a shame, since considering what Xander’s dad was like he could have really used a good father figure.

My favorite “discovery” on rewatching the episode was this little gem:

Angelus:  Dear Buffy. I’m still trying to decide the best way to send my regards.
Spike:  Why don’t you rip her lungs out? It might make an impression.
Angelus:  Lacks… poetry.
Spike:  It doesn’t have to. What rhymes with lungs?

Nearly three entire seasons after this, in our first introduction to Spike as a human, he’s an awkward young poet trying to find a word that rhymes. Side note: I didn’t realize until I read the new Spike comic (thanks to Erin on Twitter since I don’t live near a comic store to get the exclusive code) that what William chose to rhyme with effulgent was “a bulge in it,” not ebulgent as I’ve seen it written many times. And it’s not just in relation to the poem, so BtVS may have created a new word! Not that they haven’t reformed many other words over the years.

But the scene with the different gifts for Drusilla further clarifies just how different Angel and Spike are. Spike, evil vampire, gives Dru a necklace (interestingly, the same gift Xander gives Cordelia). Angelus, evil vampire, gives Dru a fresh human heart.

Since the gift of a necklace makes a stark parallel between the relationship of Spike and Dru, and Xander and Cordelia (or Cora, which is a name only Xander calls her), I think it’s worth exploring a few others. Both Dru and Cordelia sometimes treat their guys as mere boys, with disdain and condescension. Both break up with them because of perceived love for someone else. Both will or have been involved with Angel/Angelus. Xander used to be in love with Buffy, Spike will be in love with Buffy. Any other parallels I’m missing?

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Phases

This Oz-centric episode firmly establishes him as part of the Scooby gang. I love how he’s still his typical contemplative self, even when faced with the fact that he’s a werewolf. And I think it’s hilarious that he became one because his little cousin bit his finger.

Giles:  Meaning the accepted legend that werewolves only prowl during a full moon might be erroneous.
Cordelia:  Or it could be a crock.
Xander:  Unless the werewolf was using last year’s almanac.
Buffy:  Looks like Giles has some schooling to do.
Giles:  (gets excited) Yes, I must admit I am intrigued. Werewolves, it’s… it’s one of the classics. I’m sure my books and I are in for a fascinating afternoon. (leaves)
Buffy:  He needs to get a pet.

Having werewolves change for three nights instead of one puts a unique twist on the myth, and was probably very helpful to the writers. Willow’s comment about it at the end of the episode was fun, too, in the midst of this sweet exchange:

Oz:  I spoke to Giles. He said I’ll be okay. I just have to lock myself up around the full moon. Only he used more words than that. And a globe.
Willow:  I’m sorry about how all this ended up. With me shooting you and all.
Oz:  It’s okay. I’m sorry I almost ate you.
Willow:  It’s okay. I kind of thought you would have told me.
Oz:  I didn’t know what to say. I mean, it’s not everyday you find out you’re a werewolf. That’s fairly freaksome. It may take a couple days getting used to.
Willow:  Yeah. It’s a complication.
Oz:  So… Maybe it’d be best if I just… sorta…
Willow:  What?
Oz:  Well, you know, like, stayed out of your way for awhile.
Willow:  I don’t know. I’m kind of okay with you being in my way.
Oz:  You mean, you’d still…
Willow:  Well, I like you. You’re nice and you’re funny. And you don’t smoke. Yeah, okay, werewolf, but that’s not all the time. I mean, three days out of the month I’m not much fun to be around either.
Oz:  You are quite the human.
Willow:  So, I’d still if you’d still.
Oz:  I’d still. I’d very still.

By the way, I love Willow and Cordelia connecting over their frustration with guys. And Xander’s reaction to them hanging out. Poor Xander, having to deal with the girl he used to love, the girl who used to be in love with him, and the girl he used to hate but now is starting to like. Which makes this a great lead-in episode for “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered.”

Giles:  It acts on-on pure instinct. No conscience, predatory and aggressive.
Buffy:  In other words, your typical male.
Xander:  On behalf of my gender, hey.
Giles:  Yes, let’s not jump to any conclusions.
Buffy:  I didn’t jump. I took a tiny step, and there conclusions were.

I also love all the references to season one in this episode. We have Oz noticing that the cheerleading statue’s eyes follow him, from “Witch.” Xander mentions being possessed by a hyena, a reference to “The Pack,” though he flubs up with keeping up the appearance of memory loss. And both “Teacher’s Pet” and “I Robot, You Jane” are mentioned here:

Xander:  Buffy, you can’t blame yourself for every death that happens in Sunnydale. If it weren’t for you people’d be lined up five deep waitin’ to get themselves buried. Willow would be Robbie the Robot’s love slave, I wouldn’t even have a head, (looks at the coffin) and Theresa’s a vampire.

After Theresa hurried away from an approaching werewolf only to run into Angelus, I felt kind of sad. For half a second I’d thought, “Great, she’ll be okay now,” and then I remembered. Angel isn’t Angel anymore.

Which brings to mind another thought. If vampires rise the night after they’re turned, why are so many of them already buried? Yes, there have been a few episodes, like this one, where they rise in the morgue or at a funeral home, but it seems the majority of them in Sunnydale claw out of graves. And those graves usually already have inscribed headstones. Maybe things are different in California, but I live next to a cemetery and it takes weeks or longer for new graves to get a marker, and they’re usually the flat ones that are flush to the ground. But I guess the show thought recreating the iconic image of a vampire rising out of the dirt backed by a headstone was more important than being strictly realistic for the few people who would mind.

The werewolf hunter, Kane, going after Oz seems to foreshadow when the Initiative goes after him in season four. It also brings to light the whole monsters vs. monsters debate that will play a major role in several future episodes, both in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel (especially “That Old Gang of Mine”). And things just get murkier as you delve deeper into the Buffyverse. (Hmm, now I’m imagining someone writing a thesis on Buffy and the death penalty.) Where would you draw the line on creatures Buffy should slay versus those she shouldn’t?

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Innocence

Or rather the loss of it.

This is easily one of the most heartbreaking episodes of the show. Angel is gone; Angelus is back – and yearning for a good kill. And to break Buffy’s heart in the process.

Buffy goes from waking up alone, to worrying when Angel doesn’t contact her, to reeling from his cruel words, to realizing he’s now a soulless monster, to finding she’s the reason he lost his soul. All in about 36 hours.

(Quick sidebar here on a couple Angel vs. Spike soul issues. I’ve read several posts and comments wondering why Angel didn’t just go through the demon trials to get his soul back – he wouldn’t have to deal with this annoying curse and he and Buffy could be together. The main reason? Soulless Angel – Angelus – doesn’t want a soul. Angelus would probably be willing to go through the trials just to KEEP from getting his soul back. Look how hard he tries to prevent in later episodes of this season and in season four of Angel. Spike wanted a soul. That’s why he was willing to fight for it. And one brilliant post I read talked about why Spike got such blind devotion from Buffy in season 7. Love for Buffy had cost one vampire his soul, and that “I am poison” mentality echoed through Buffy’s relationships thereafter. But Spike’s actions changed that. Now, love for Buffy had caused a vampire to get his soul back.)

It’s surprising how many of the significant moments in this episode and the previous one involve water. Angel jumping in to save Buffy at the dock. Their escape from the factory (and what follows). Angel stumbling outside in the rain just before his soul leaves him. Their fight as water pours from the sprinkler system at the mall.

With the Slayer an emotional wreck, it’s up to the others to figure out how to save the day. And Xander comes through brilliantly:

Xander:  Whoa. Whoa! I… I think I’m having a thought. Yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s a thought. Now I’m having a plan. (The lights suddenly go out.) Now I’m having a wiggins.

Giles:  And we’re absolutely certain that, that Angel has reverted to his former self?
Xander:  Yeah, uh, we’re all certain. Anyone not feeling certain here?
Willow:  Giles, you wouldn’t have believed him. He was so… He came here to kill us.
Cordelia:  What are we gonna do?
Giles:  I’m leaning towards blind panic myself.

Cordelia:  This is great. There’s an unkillable demon in town, Angel’s joined his team, the Slayer is a basket case… I’d say we’ve hit bottom.
Xander:  I have a plan.
Cordelia:  Oh, no, here’s a lower place.

Willow also has a significant emotional journey in this episode, from finding out that Xander and Cordelia are together to gaining new respect for Oz.

Xander:  Willow, we were just kissing. It doesn’t mean that much.
Willow:  No. It just means that you’d rather be with someone you hate than be with me.

Oz:  So, do you guys steal weapons from the Army a lot?
Willow:  Well, we don’t have cable, so we have to make our own fun.

One thing that bugged me about this episode was that Spike was all fine with destroying the world, but by the season’s end he’s against it. Yes, it did seem to be more Drusilla’s plan while he was along for the ride, but it’s a little odd that his perspective would switch like that. Of course, the Judge’s version of the end of the world might have been nicer that Acathla’s. Or deep down, Spike knew that Buffy would stop the Judge (she’d always managed to pull out a win before). Or sitting around in a wheelchair for half a season gave Spike time to think of what things would really be like if the world ended. Or both times, it was all about Dru.

Spike:  Are we feeling better, then?
Drusilla:  I’m naming all the stars.
Spike:  You can’t see the stars, love. That’s the ceiling. Also, it’s day.
Drusilla:  I can see them. But I’ve named them all the same name. And there’s terrible confusion.

I think it was genius for the network to use this two-part episode, aired on consecutive days, to transition the show from Mondays to Tuesdays. (Hmm, looked it up to double check – yep, the show stayed in its Tuesday 8PM slot for the rest of its run. That’s when I watch NCIS now, which debuted the year after Buffy the Vampire Slayer ended. And when the show moved to UPN, guess what the WB replaced it with? Gilmore Girls. To think of all the drama I missed because I didn’t start watching live TV until 2009.)

I was surprised (and pleased) to see how strongly Giles was on Buffy’s side, even when it meant turning against Jenny after she hid her past and motives for being there. (To be fair, she was pretty harsh to Giles after he hid his past.) It’s a little sad, knowing that she’d still be alive if Buffy had been able to kill Angel at the end of this episode. But the implications would be farther reaching that just that. If he’d been dusted as Angelus, would he have still been brought back somehow? It’s never mentioned that the First or the Powers That Be could do that, but it doesn’t seem out of their scope. And of course Wolfram and Hart brought back Darla, so they would have had both the means and the motivation (wanting him to fulfill prophecy) to bring back Angel, and if they used the same method, he would have come back as a human, which would have created a whole different set of issues.

Wow, this post went off on an awful lot of tangents – hope you don’t mind!

The closing song of this episode always makes me tear up a little. I have it on my iPod just so I can play it when I want to feel sad or am already feeling sad (the same with “Goodbye to You” and “Close Your Eyes”). I’ve heard complaints that the song doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the show, but just read the lyrics. They’re absolutely perfect for this episode (especially the last line):

Goodnight, my love, my moment with you now is ending…sleep tight, my love, goodnight, my love, remember that you’re my sweetheart.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Surprise

This episode’s opening dream sets just the right amount of foreboding and mystery for the episode. I love how Willow’s interaction with the monkey directly ties into her and Oz’s earlier conversation – she’s speaking French, and saying that the hippo stole the monkey’s pants.

I’m surprised Drusilla didn’t show up much in later seasons of Buffy and Angel. She’s a great villain – creepy and crazy and psychic and hypnotic. Definitely not the sort of person you want to meet in a nightmare, let alone for real.

Finding out Jenny’s past adds an eerie twist to the surprise birthday party – where is Jenny really taking Buffy? And is it just me, or does her uncle’s outfit and mannerisms seem very similar to Merrick’s in the Buffy movie?

This is the first of the “birthday” episodes, and probably the most significant, as Buffy faces losing Angel, at Drusilla’s hand or the Judge’s, or for months when he plans to leave. And in the end, she does lose him, in likely the worst way possible. How could the sex education class in the previous episode miss the consequence of “having your boyfriend lose his soul”?

“Surprise” also marks Oz’s initiation into the Scooby Gang, even though he doesn’t quite join in on research parties just yet. I love his calm response to the fact that there are vampires. Angel’s help researching the Judge has a touch of pensiveness, knowing this will be his last happy interaction with the gang for quite a while.

Giles:  Still, best to be, uh, on the alert. If Drusilla is alive, it could be a fairly…cataclysmic state of affairs.
Xander:  Again, so many words! Couldn’t you just say, ‘we’d be in trouble’?
Giles:  Go to class, Xander.
Xander:  Gone. Notice the economy of phrasing: ‘gone.’ Simple. Direct.

Giles:  No, you won’t. We’re having a party tonight.
Xander:  Looks like Mr. Caution Man, but the sound he makes is funny.
Giles:  Buffy’s surprise party will go ahead as we planned. Except I won’t be wearing the little hat.
Willow:  But Buffy and Angel…
Giles:  May well be in danger… as they have been before, and, I imagine, will be again. One thing I’ve learned in my tenure here on the Hellmouth is that there is no good time to relax. And Buffy’s turning 17 just this once, and she deserves a party.
Xander:  You’re a great man of our time.
Willow:  And anyway, Angel’s coming. So she’ll be able to protect him *and* have cake.

I find it interesting that the Judge can kill on touch those with humanity, and some vampires have it (Spike, Drusilla, and Dalton) and some don’t (as we’ll discover in the next episode). Why is that? Was having that spark of humanity what made Spike able to change in later seasons?

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Ted and Bad Eggs

These two standalone episodes are sandwiched in between two important double-parters, and I wasn’t looking forward to rewatching them. But they surprised me, especially the first one.

“Ted”

I enjoyed this episode the second time through more than the first watching. Knowing what Ted truly was made him easier to stomach. It was interesting comparing Buffy’s reaction to having (as far as she knew) killed a human being to Faith’s in season three. And this episode was a fun precursor to season five’s robotics. Though I had to smile at Willow’s brand new 9-gig hard drive.

“Ted” also reminded me of season four’s “Living Conditions,” where Buffy “knows” that a new annoying person in her life is evil, while everyone else thinks she’s crazy.

Buffy:  Vampires are creeps.
Giles:  Yes, that’s why one slays them.
Buffy:  I mean, people are perfectly happy getting along, and then vampires come, and they run around and they kill people, and they take over your whole house, they start making these stupid little mini pizzas, and everyone’s like, ‘I like your mini pizzas,’ but I’m telling you, I am…
Giles:  Uh, Buffy! I believe the subtext here is rapidly becoming text. Are you sure there’s nothing you want to share?

Xander:  You’re having parental issues, you’re having parental issues…
Willow:  Xander…
Xander:  What? Freud would’ve said the exact same thing. Except he might not have done that little dance.

Cordelia seems to have settled into the Scooby Gang, without a bit of whining about helping out. And is it just me, or did the shop they investigate look a lot like the set of the Magic Box?

My favorite part of this episode was Giles and Jenny making up in a rather awkward but sweet fashion. Their scenes have added poignancy since I know what’s coming.

 

“Bad Eggs”

A rather bland monster-of-the-week episode, with one standout aspect being probably more kissing than any other episode of the show.

Xander:  Apparently Buffy has decided the problem with the English language is all those pesky words. You… Angel… big… smoochies?
Buffy:  Shut… up.

The highlight of the episode was the introduction of the vampire cowboys, Lyle and Tector Gorch, second to only Spike and Dru for a hilarious twosome of vampires. Though I do find it a bit hard to believe they survived a whole century as vampires with their intelligence levels.

Tector:  That the Slayer?
Lyle:  Yep.
Tector:  Ain’t that Angelus with her?
Lyle:  Yep.
Tector:  Well, how come she ain’t slayin’? And how come he’s about to make me blush?
Lyle:  Well, I don’t know, Tector. And how come you’s always askin’ me so many stupid questions?
Tector:  So, you wanna take him, or, uh, you want me to, Lyle?
Lyle:  I say we leave it. Wait till she’s alone.
Tector:  Why? You scared?
Lyle:  Nope. I could whip ‘em both right now if I wanted to.
Tector:  Then why don’t ya?
Lyle:  ‘Cause I got me a plan. I’m the one that does the thinkin’, ‘member?
Tector:  Yeah. You do the thinkin’, Lyle. That is definitely your department. So why don’t you tell me again why we can’t kill ‘em now?

Jonathan makes a brief appearance in this episode, but Oz and Jenny are noticeably absent, as well as Principal Snyder (shouldn’t he be the one spinning the cover story?). But the whole egg parenting was cute:

Xander:  Well, you know, it’s the whole ‘sex leads to responsibility’ thing, which I personally don’t get. You gotta take care of the egg. It’s a baby. You gotta keep it safe and teach it Christian values.
Willow:  My egg is Jewish.
Xander:  Then teach it that Dreidel song.

While some of the visual effects of this episode’s creature were a bit laughable, the thing that jumps out at Buffy was definitely creepy.

Xander:  Can I just say Gyughhh!
Buffy:  I see your ‘Gyughhh!’ and raise you a Nyaghhh!

Can you think of a typical high school experience that didn’t get a supernatural makeover on Buffy, but you wish it had?

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer – What’s My Line?

“Part One”

This first episode of a pivotal two-parter sets up the story well. Buffy is feeling depressed about Career Week, since her future vocation is already set.

Buffy:  Y’know, if you don’t like the way I’m doing my job, why don’t you find somebody else? Oh, that’s right, there can only be one. As long as I’m alive, there is no one else. Well, there you go! I don’t have to be the Slayer. I could be dead.
Giles:  That wasn’t terribly funny. You notice I don’t laugh.
Buffy:  Wouldn’t be much of a change. Either way I’m bored, constricted, I never get to shop, and my hair and fingernails still continue to grow. So really, when you think about it, what’s the diff?

Spike, Dru, and the book stolen in “Lie to Me” come to the forefront as Spike tries to find a cure for Drusilla. Spike is getting tired of the Slayer messing up his plans, so he sends an order of deadly assassins after her. I loved the way the episode sets it up so that Kendra looks like one of them at first.

Angel taking Buffy ice skating was a sweet gesture, and provided another opportunity to show Buffy’s resourcefulness with death by ice skate. Oz is back in this episode, and it’s the first time we see Willy (a bartender who caters to demons and the undead and tends to get beat up for information a lot). It’s also the first time the group gets its most prominent moniker:

Xander:  C’mon, Cordelia. You wanna be a member of the Scooby Gang you gotta be willing to be inconvenienced every now and then.
Cordelia:  Oh, right, ’cause I lie awake at night hoping you tweakos will be my best friends.

“Part Two”

Xander and Cordelia’s retreat to the basement after fleeing the maggot assassin leads to their first kiss of mutual hatred:

Xander:  What, is he supposed to have an arrow with the word ‘assassin’ over his head?! All it took was the prospect of a free makeover, and you licked his hand like a big, dumb dog!
Cordelia:  You know what? I’m going. I’d rather be worm food than look at *your* pathetic face!
Xander:  Then go! I’m not stopping ya!
Cordelia:  I bet you wouldn’t! I bet you’d let a girl go off to her doom all by herself!
Xander:  Not just any girl. You’re special.
Cordelia:  I can’t believe that I’m stuck spending what will probably be my last few moments on Earth here WITH YOU!
Xander:  I *hope* these are my last few moments! Three more seconds with you, and I’m gonna…
Cordelia:  I’m gonna what? Coward!
Xander:  Moron!
Cordelia:  I hate you!
Xander:  I hate you!
(They kiss passionately.)
Xander:  We *so* need to get outta here.

Buffy takes Kendra back to Giles, and we begin to find out just how unorthodox a Slayer Buffy really is. Though the explanation of why there are two Slayers brought to mind something that’s been bugging me since season six – why wasn’t there another Slayer activated at the end of season five? Did we just not hear about her? Did the fact that the death was mystical cause the activation not to occur (if that’s the case, I find it pretty hard to believe that not a single Slayer over the centuries died in a somewhat supernatural way)?

We finally get some Oz/Willow sparkage, with Oz even taking a bullet as he knocks Willow out of danger. I think they’re the cutest couple of the entire Buffyverse. I love their conversation at the end of the episode:

Oz:  Oh, hey! (offers the box) Animal cracker?
Willow:  No, thank you. How’s your arm?
Oz:  Suddenly painless.
Willow:  You can still play the guitar okay?
Oz:  Oh, not well, but not worse.
Willow:  Y’know, I never really thanked you.
Oz:  Ooo, yeah, please don’t. I don’t do thanks. I get all red. Have to bail. It’s not pretty.
Willow:  Well, then forget that thing. Especially with the part where I kind of owe you my life.
Oz:  (pulls out a cookie and stops) Oh, look! Monkey! And he has a little hat. And little pants.
Willow:  (smiles) Yeah, I-I see!
Oz:  The monkey’s the only cookie animal that gets to wear clothes, you know that? You have the sweetest smile I’ve ever seen. So, I’m wondering, do the other cookie animals feel sorta ripped? Like, is the hippo going, ‘Hey, man, where are *my* pants? I have my hippo dignity!’
(Willow laughs.)
Oz:  And you know the monkey’s just, (with a French accent) ‘I mock you with my monkey pants!’ And there’s a big coup in the zoo.
Willow:  The monkey is French?
Oz:  All monkeys are French. You didn’t know that?

We also get some hints of the past (and future) Angel/Drusilla/Spike love triangle, and Spike’s jealousy of Angel, which will play a major role in the final episode of the season. This two-part episode also shows that Spike’s obsession with killing the Slayer is growing, but as with Xander and Cordelia, seething hatred seems only a step away from passion.

Spike:  I’d rather be fightin’ you anyway.
Buffy:  Mutual.

Each had opportunity to finish each other off in this episode, but instead went to rescue Angel/Drusilla. And Buffy’s parting blow was to be the end of Spike according to the original plan, but the writers decided to keep him around. It’s also in this episode that we get a glimpse of Drusilla’s darkness and the part it will play in the future.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer – The Dark Age

Aside from the “so over-the-top it’s corny” music at the beginning of this episode, “The Dark Age” is pretty much perfect. We know the scared guy walking in the night isn’t just an ordinary victim as soon as he asks for Giles (by the way, whatever was in his metal briefcase?). We know the creepy dead woman isn’t just another zombie as soon as she dissolves into a blue puddle.

And of course Giles’ past comes back to haunt him at the worst possible moment – just when things are going well with Jenny. Was this the start of Joss Whedon’s mean streak? I feel so sad for Giles at the end of this episode, but at least Buffy knows how to lessen his pain a little:

Buffy:  And you know what? I have just the perfect music. Go on, say it. You know you want to.
Giles:  It’s not music, it’s just meaningless sounds.
Buffy:  There. Feel better?
Giles:  Yes. Thanks.

I’m glad they finally did a Giles episode. Up until this point, he’s mostly been the smart one who gets made fun of:

Xander:  Giles lived for school. He’s actually still bitter that there are only twelve grades.
Buffy:  He probably sat in math class thinking, ‘There should be more math. This could be mathier.’
Willow:  C’mon, you don’t think he ever got restless as a kid?
Buffy:  Are you kidding? His diapers were tweed.

Of course, they only pick on him because they love him. Even Jenny gets in on it:

Jenny:  Yeah, y’know how you have to dog-ear your favorite pages so you can go back to them?
Giles:  Uh, uh, uh, what?
Jenny:  Well, I mean, I practically had to fold back every single page. So finally I just started underlining all the pages I really wanted to discuss.
Giles:  U-u-underlined…?
Jenny:  But then, of course, I spilled coffee all over it, I can’t even read it…
Giles:  It’s a first edition!
Jenny:  I’m lying, Rupert. The book’s fine. I just love to see you squirm.

And Willow gets to go into teacher mode and yell at people again (is it any wonder Alyson Hannigan is a teacher on How I Met Your Mother?). This time it’s Xander and Cordelia, and for a moment, they look like they might kiss (though that’s not far away).

The pain that Giles feels because a demon has taken over the woman he loves seems to foreshadow the story of another Watcher, another innocent woman, and another demon, in another show. (Though that time Angel can’t save the day without terrible cost.) While this episode pales in comparison to “A Hole in the World,” you have to take into consideration that this is only the twentieth episode of Buffy, and Jenny survives. (“Passion” would be a better episode to compare “A Hole in the World” to.)

I think that Ethan Rayne makes almost as good of a villain as Spike (perhaps British accents are clouding my judgment? I’ve already determined that Mark Strong is far scarier with one). He’s a genius at out-of-the-box evil plans, like tattooing someone else to throw off a demon. And when a character introduced himself as Ethan Rayne on a recent episode of Burn Notice, I felt a tingle up my spine. Despite only having 4 episodes in Buffy, he makes it into the video game and the season 8 comics.

Does your favorite villain have an accent?

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Lie to Me

Joss Whedon recently gave the reason why the seventh episode of his shows’ seasons were often so pivotal and powerful – that was usually the first episode he got to write, and he “saved the best stuff” for himself.

“Lie to Me” is no exception. It’s where the season takes a darker, more serious turn. We find out Drusilla and Angel’s history and the reason why she’s insane. Buffy learns of her existence for the first time.

Buffy’s past also comes calling in the form of her old friend (and grade school crush) Ford. Xander, of course, is immediately jealous, but it’s Angel who senses that something’s off about him, and in a surprising move, turns to Willow.

Angel:  I guess I need help.
Willow:  Help? You mean like on homework? No, ’cause you’re old and you already know stuff.

And you have to love a show that’s not afraid to make fun of itself:

Angel:  Things used to be pretty simple. A hundred years, just hanging out, feeling guilty… I really honed my brooding skills.

A key aspect to the story is the wannabe vampire society. (Now they’d just be Twilight fans. By the way, I love that the Spike comics make fun of Twilight.) It’s the first appearance of the girl who will later be known as Anne on Angel. I find it somewhat humorous that a group of people so into vampires doesn’t even notice when one’s in their midst.

There are still plenty of funny moments even though this episode is more somber than previous ones (something I miss in many episodes of Angel). I love how Xander keeps saying “You’re not wrong” when Ford says things that hint at Angel being a vampire. And I love how Willow is terrible at keeping secrets and how her mind goes off on fun tangents:

Buffy:  Okay, Will, fess up.
Willow:  What?
Buffy:  Are you drinking coffee again? ‘Cause we’ve talked about this.

Willow:  Okay, but do they really stick out?
Xander:  What?
Willow:  Sore thumbs. Do they stick out? I mean, have you ever seen a thumb and gone, ‘Wow! That baby is sore!’
Xander:  You have too many thoughts.

Cordelia only makes a brief appearance in this episode (to ignorantly identify with Marie Antoinette), and Jenny is only there to give Giles a surprise date:

Buffy:  Sorry to beep you guys in the middle of… stuff, but it seemed really weird.
Giles:  No, you did the right thing. Absolutely.
Jenny:  You hated it that much?
Giles:  No! But, but, uh, vampires on campus is, could have implications. Very, very grave…
Jenny:  You coulda just said something.
Giles:  Uh, honestly, I, I’ve always, I’ve always been interested in, uh, monster trucks.
Buffy:  You took him to monster trucks?
Jenny:  I thought it would be a change!
Giles:  It was a change.
Jenny:  Look, we could’ve just left.
Giles:  What, and miss the nitro-burning funny cars? No, couldn’t have that.

This episode nicely sets up “What’s My Line,” with the stealing of the book and Drusilla playing a larger role.

Spike:  The bird’s dead, Dru. You left it in a cage, and you didn’t feed it, and now it’s all dead, just like the last one.

Ford:  Oh, c’mon! Say it! It’s no fun if you don’t say it.
Spike:  What? Oh. (rolls his eyes) You’ve got thirty seconds to convince me not to kill you.
Ford:  Yes! See, this is the best! I wanna be like you. A vampire.
Spike:  I’ve known you for two minutes, and I can’t stand you. I don’t really feature you livin’ forever. (to Drusilla) Can I eat him now, love?

I find it interesting that Spike kept his promise to turn Ford into a vampire, even though Buffy ruined all their plans. Was he that honorable, or did he do it to get back at Buffy? Either way, it nicely sets up the closing scene, as Buffy and Giles talk while waiting for Ford to emerge. It’s one of my favorite conversations of the show:

Buffy:  Nothing’s ever simple anymore. I’m constantly trying to work it out. Who to love or hate. Who to trust. It’s just, like, the more I know, the more confused I get.
Giles:  I believe that’s called growing up.
Buffy:  I’d like to stop then, okay?
Giles:  I know the feeling.
Buffy:  Does it ever get easy?
Giles:  You mean life?
Buffy:  Yeah. Does it get easy?
Giles:  What do you want me to say?
Buffy:  Lie to me.
Giles:  Yes, it’s terribly simple. The good guys are always stalwart and true, the bad guys are easily distinguished by their pointy horns or black hats, and we always defeat them and save the day. No one ever dies, and everybody lives happily ever after.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Halloween

It’s my third time watching this episode, and while the simplistic plot failed to capture my attention during this viewing, I’m in awe how much the writers packed into a single episode.

First, we get a new reoccurring villain and our first hint of Giles’ past. In his initial moments on screen, Ethan Rayne seems to be nothing more than an ordinary store owner, with a kindhearted streak to persuade Buffy to get the Halloween costume she really wants. Instead, he’s into dark arts with a gift for creating chaos. In this episode, it’s having people turn into whatever they dress up as for Halloween.

That chaos is a perfect opportunity for Spike, who has been having his vampire minions videotape Buffy so he can study her. (And it’s kind of fun watching the minion mess with the dying camcorder.) This explains why we haven’t seen Spike and Drusilla at all for past two episodes. Having them as secondary villains in this episode is a good setup for the rest of the season. And Drusilla’s insane ramblings are hilarious.

Drusilla:  Do you know what I miss? Leeches.

I was surprised that Cordelia didn’t know Angel was a vampire until this episode, so while rewatching up until this point I took note of their earlier interactions – nope, no game face slip-ups or conversational allusions (anything said was too vague for Cordelia to come to that conclusion). Having now seen all 5 seasons of Angel, I was curious to see if there was any hints about their future relationship. Even though Cordy and Angel do share a laugh in this episode, it’s far easier to see foreshadowings of Spike and Buffy’s future.

Spike:  (chuckles) She’s tricky. Baby likes to play. You see that? The way she stakes him with that thing? That’s what’s called resourceful. Rewind it again.

Buffy:  (to Spike) Hi, honey. I’m home.

And all of the core four have story arcs in this episode that will influence the future:

Giles is hiding his past, dealing with his evil counterpart (who will return), and showing that he does have some fighting skills of his own.

Willow learns to be more confident and stop hiding, and it’s fun to see her take charge of the situation while the others forget who they are. And Oz gets another glimpse of her (and we get another glimpse of Oz!).

Xander goes from having Buffy rescue and embarrass him to rescuing her (and getting to beat up the guy who threatened him). Plus all his soldier knowledge will come in handy later on.

Xander:  A black eye heals, Buffy, but cowardice has an unlimited shelf life. Oh, thanks! Thanks a lot for *your* help.
Buffy:  I think I just violated the guy code big time.
Willow:  Poor Xander. Boys are so fragile.

Buffy:  Hey, look, Xander… I’m… really sorry about this morning.
Xander:  Do you mind, Buffy? I’m trying to repress.
Buffy:  Okay, then I promise, from now on I’ll let you get pummeled.
Xander:  Thank you. Okay, y’know, actually I think I could’ve t…
(Buffy is distracted and walks away.)
Xander:  Hello! That was our touching reconciliation moment there!

Buffy doesn’t quite pull off the damsel-in-distress role (can’t imagine what Sarah Michelle Gellar would have been like as Cordelia), but she makes a good effort and really shines in a few places (including her scream when she sees that Angel is a vampire). The uncertainty in her relationship with Angel finally seems to settle as the episode ends – which is the first time that they really seem to be boyfriend and girlfriend.

I love how Xander acts with the kids he takes trick-or-treating:

Xander:  Okay, on sleazing extra candy: tears are key. Tears will normally get you the double-bagger. You can also try the old ‘you missed me’ routine, but it’s risky. Only go there for chocolate. Understood? Okay, troops. Let’s move out.

If the Buffy comics go on long enough, I think it’s going to be fun seeing Xander with kids of his own. I also love Willow and Buffy trying to research Angel’s past:

Willow:  True. It’s too bad we can’t sneak a look at the Watcher diaries and read up on Angel. I’m sure it’s full of fun facts to know and tell.
Buffy:  Yeah. It’s too bad. That stuff is private.
Willow:  Also Giles keeps them in his office. In his personal files.
Buffy:  Most importantly, it would be wrong

I love Giles’ reaction when ghost Willow walks through the wall in the library. Though the episode does have a major goof when Giles and Willow confront Ethan in his shop. Giles tells Willow to leave, and we see her move the curtain as she turns, then we hear her footsteps and the shop door opening and closing as she walks out.

 

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Reptile Boy

This is such a fun, classic Buffy episode – laughable monsters, corny moments, plenty of puns, and a solid moral ending:

Buffy:  I told one lie, I had one drink.
Giles:  Yes, and you were very nearly devoured by a giant demon snake. The words ‘let that be a lesson’ are a tad redundant at this juncture.

I love the beginning of the episode where Buffy, Xander, and Willow are trying to decipher the plot of an Indian movie (sans subtitles). That’s one of my favorite parts of the show – the three of them hanging out together.

Xander:  Hmm. And we thought just because we didn’t have any money or anyplace to go this would be a lackluster evening.
Willow:  I know! We could go to the Bronze and sneak in our own tea bags and ask for hot water.
Xander:  Hop off the outlaw train, Will, before you land us all in jail.

This episode’s monster puts a Buffy twist on the typical “secret fraternal society.” Burn Notice’s Coby Bell (Jesse) shows up for a brief minute as a new initiate.

A few things stretched credibility – like how Willow finding the exact right missing girls when other Hellmouth activity would be the cause of many more. But I love how Willow gave both Giles and Angel a talking-to. And how Willow and Xander react to Buffy fibbing:

Buffy:  Well, say it.
Xander:  I’m not gonna say it.
Willow:  You lied to Giles.
Xander:  ‘Cause she will.

For all the epicness of Buffy and Angel’s relationship, they’re not actually together all that much of season two. In this episode, they’re still in that awkward stage of never saying the right thing to each other. Buffy doesn’t want to be just friends any longer, and Angel knows dating will bring complications (though he can’t imagine the twist things will take).

Angel:  This isn’t some fairy tale. When I kiss you, you don’t wake up from a deep sleep and live happily ever after.
Buffy:  No. When you kiss me I wanna die.

And that’s a fitting intro to one of my favorite Buffyverse music videos (though I’m pretty surprised this quote didn’t make it into the video). It’s the first time I’m trying a video embed on this site. Like? Dislike? Let me know in the comments! And yes, there are plenty of spoilers in this video, so skip if you haven’t seen all of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel yet.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer – Inca Mummy Girl

Poor Xander. He always seems to fall for the wrong girls. This time, though, it’s hard to blame him. The mummy had everyone fooled that she was an innocent, sweet exchange student. And except for mummifying people to stay alive, that’s basically what she was.

One of the highlights of this episode for me was the introduction of Oz (Seth Green). I love how he notices Willow in her Eskimo garb, at a moment when she’s doing her best to be happy for Xander even while her heart is breaking. I wonder how the show would have been different if Oz stayed through season 4 and beyond. The episode also has the first appearance of Jonathan, who will affect events into season 7. I’m mostly familiar with Danny Strong as Doyle on Gilmore Girls. Looked up a bit of trivia on him – he tried out for the part of Xander, and also went to college (and was in school stage productions) with the George Hertzberg (Adam in season 4) and J. August Richards (Gunn on Angel).

Other than the introduction of two new characters and a sympathetic villain, there isn’t much remarkable about this episode. Even most of the dialogue seems to lack its usual sparkle, though there’s still a few good bits:

Xander:  What he lacks in smarts he makes up in lack of smarts.
Willow:  You just don’t like him ’cause of that time he beat you up every day for five years.

Buffy:  Oh! I know this one! Slaying entails certain sacrifices, blah, blah, bity blah, I’m so stuffy, give me a scone.

Oh, and since I keep bashing the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie, I figured should at least finish it. I’d only made it through a half hour in the past. And now that I’ve seen the whole thing, I can say with authority – it’s awful. The only thing I liked about it was the actor who played Pike.

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