Inca Mummy Girl

Note: I’m sorry, I’m publishing this one without pictures right now because the site we were using seems to have vanished and I just could not bring myself to find everything I needed. I am sorry. :(

Apparently Joelle does not love writing about the monster of the week episodes as much as I do. I was initially thinking I did not love this episode so much and then I started watching it and was excited by all the things that amused me in it. I have way a lot to say as it turns out. :P So I guess I’ll just get going on it.

Let me start by asking some basic questions. I know that exchange students exist. I am aware that’s a thing. But I was not aware that they came for such short periods of time? 2 weeks seems like a really brief time to like… go to school and classes and such. Also, while I would totally understand Buffy’s mom deciding to take in one of these exchange students, it does seem weird to me that her mom would choose to have a male exchange student? Particularly considering how little she’s around, the fact that her daughter is 16 years old, the fact that she’s clearly worried about her being in trouble or whatever anyway and oh yeah, the fact that apparently the plan was for the student to sleep in her room. I’m just saying. This seems like a really poorly thought out plan.

I wonder how hard it is for Buffy to not use violence in day to day interactions? Like when that’s really something that she’s in training for on a constant basis and she knows that she has that ability. She is this very physical person and I imagine, while she is certainly an intelligent person, it is certainly true that talking people down is probably not her first impulse.

I wonder to some extent how much tutoring Willow does? It comes up from time to time but I never get a good sense of how much of her time is actually spent on that. Either way. On a much more important note, I wonder what exactly Rodney thought that he wanted with the giant, ugly plate? I mean, he wasn’t even in the room (I don’t think) when the presentation was going on so I don’t think that he heard the part about it being the seal for the curse? At least that I could see being sort-of a “cool” thing. Although I guess before this he was just defacing a mask for no reason so who knows.

I love seeing Buffy in this role of asking Giles almost as a father. “Can I go? Can I go?” As Joelle said in the last entry, obviously at this point Giles is far more connected to the Council at this point and he is still trying to come down on her about balancing her teenager life with her Slayer responsibilities. But I love this scene and how amazing would it have been to be able to kick my dad when he was telling me no? SO AWESOME, is the answer to that question. :P

Oh yeah. We’ve forgotten about something. Rodney. That was a concern. “I don’t think I saw him on the bus back from the field trip.” Okay Sunnydale High. REALLY? REALLY? Do we really not even bother to do head counts? I mean, I realize that students die and disappear in this town all the time but I would really think that even in this school, it would be fairly important when coming back from a trip to make sure that you were coming back with the same number of kids you left with. For shame, for shame. Anyway. They’re sad about his death for a full 8 seconds or so and then we mostly don’t worry about that anymore. Who has time, really? :P

Buffy has a brief talk with Xander about how he doesn’t actually have romantic feelings for Willow. Somehow during this conversation Willow walks in and neither of them notice. This drives me nuts on two levels. On one level it drives me crazy because unless they both lost their peripheral vision recently for no good reason, there is absolutely no excuse for them to have not noticed that door opening. Particularly Buffy, with all her Slayer skills, should definitely have noticed that. And the other level is just that this is one of those things in tv shows and movies that happens all the time and annoys me. How is that people are just constantly walking in and overhearing conversations about themselves? Frequently they walk in long enough to hear exactly the wrong part of a conversation but either way, this is really not something that has ever happened to me and I can’t imagine that it happens so frequently to other people either. It’s just a writer’s trick they use in scripts to move characters along and it always annoys me. JUST SAYING. It is not the last time it’ll happen in this show.

Well, since the museum was apparently really not paying any attention whatsoever to it’s precious collection of ancient South American artifacts, not only did they sneak in to look and discover that the mummy had been replaced by Rodney (wonder what the museum did about that, btw? How much you want to bet they just removed the braces? Not sure how you cover the whole “oops the ancient ugly plate is broken” thing though), but they stole what they could find of the seal too. But since Giles knows nothing about pictograms, Willow is apparently not sure how to use the internet to find them (I always think it’s a little weird that never comes up), so their that is “Well, gee. Ampata is from South America. So he could totally know how to interpret ancient pictograms, right?” Yeah, guys. That seems entirely likely.

Whatever. Buffy scurries off to the bus station to find Ampata. I’m totally confused as to why they would just send this exchange student to like… a bus station. Wouldn’t he fly in somewhere? I’m also confused about how in the world the still half mummified corpse of the Inca princess managed to find her way to the bus station from the museum. I mean, we have no idea of the distance, but however far it was, it still had to have been a difficult task. Especially since there was really no way for her to know where it was and it’s not like she could really ask in her condition. Realistically it would have made more sense for her to life suck someone else, look like a person, ask directions to the bus station. THEN life suck Ampata and meet Buffy. Also, how much of an international incident do you think it would cause for this high school student to just completely disappear? Wouldn’t his parents have been calling? Trying to make sure he was okay and everything? How did she explain the fact that Ampata just disappeared after a few days? This whole storyline takes place in such a completely insane alternate reality that it’s fun to contemplate.

FIRST SIGHTING OF OZ! I have nothing to say about that really, except that he’s funny and charming and adorable.

Xander takes Ampata to the completely deserted bleachers. She’s wearing the most disturbing mom jeans (can these please never come back in fashion?) and has her whole whatever about Twinkies with him. I always struggle somewhat with this idea that Xander is this guy who has never been anything but the MOST UNPOPULAR PERSON IN SCHOOL or whatever. Like it seems ridiculous that he doesn’t have friends besides Willow and Buffy or whatever. I agree he can totally be an asshole but certainly no more than a lot of people in that school and he’s certainly not such a geek that he should be untouchable or whatever. I feel certain that girls would have had crushes on him before. Always annoys me. Unexpectedly they are attacked by the man, who is weirdly fended off by being knocked down the bleachers once. I am really not clear on why he ran away.

Willow tells Xander he should take Ampada to the dance because she’s a better person than she should be. Ampada life sucks her guard. Does Ampada have super strength? I feel like she must but if so, then shouldn’t the guard ALSO have super strength? I feel like it should have been a lot more of a fight.

I really love the scene before the dance. It’s so well choreographed, both of them sort-of dancing around the edge of each other’s secrets as they shut drawers and trunks and stuff. It’s awesome. I love it. Best scene in the whole episode.

At the dance, we have our first view of Jonathan, Oz’s first view of a brokenhearted Willow and a whole lot of ridiculous costumes. Do exchange students have to speak some English to BE exchange students to America? I actually have no idea but all the exchange students I met briefly when I was younger did so I had always assumed…

Giles rushes to construct the seal. I love his glee at finding the pieces. Ampata kind of kicks his ass, which is another reason I assume she has super strength because he should be able to take some amount of care of himself. Buffy bursts in just in time with her pun about mummies who don’t “kiss and tell”. I feel like she spent the entire car ride thinking that up and was delighted to be able to deliver it. I think it probably ranks in like top 10 worst Buffy puns, which is saying something. It still makes me groan every time. Fight, fight, bang, bang, no more mummy. I do enjoy the last little bit, even if it’s not at all subtle in this episode. It’s a consistent Buffy theme. What makes you the person you are is the choices you end up making when it counts.

Inca Mummy Girl

This is a silly episode.  And pretty racist? But mostly silly.

Buffy, I cannot handle this outfit. Stop it.

It opens with Buffy’s class going to a museum for a whole cultural shebang and talking about the foreign exchange students that will be staying with various students. Well, it opens with that, and Xander’s insanely inappropriate jealousy that a boy will, like, be near Buffy in any capacity. I’m so over you, Xander. Knock it off already and grow and change all that, please. You’re being gross.

I do enjoy how creepy the mummy looks, and find myself wishing (yet again) I had a room full of Buffy props in my house, to the delight and thrill of my guests, I’m sure. I also enjoy how creepy it is that the mummy sucks the life out of…that one kid’s name. (Who, by the way, broke that ancient seal SO UNNECESSARILY. The mummy’s hands clearly are limp and not holding on tightly at all, and the seal is free for a couple seconds before he smashes it all over the place. I can only assume he wanted to be life-sucked by an ancient princess.) (Who doesn’t) (am I right.)

creeeepy

The use of humor in this episode is actually really well done, for as campy and ridiculous as the plot is on paper. Buffy pummeling Giles during training because it’s her duty but also because he doesn’t want her to go to the school dance; related: Buffy’s scone comment; the group sarcastically predicting that Rodney (ah! There’s his name) awoke the mummy and got attacked by it, and the way their faces fall when they realize that’s a very likely scenario in Sunnydale; it’s all in the beginning and it’s all funny and good.

But Xander also hurts Willow’s feelings right away by saying he never thinks about her lips (although that’s going to get better in just a min) and EFF YOU, XANDER. WILLOW IS PERFECT. DON’T HURT HER. SHE HAS LOVELY LIPS.

Ok but for real, Twinkies are gross

So, in the world of the actual plot, Xander asks Ampata to the dance. They’re actually kind of cute together? I mean, as cute as an asshole and a murderous mummy can be.

Buffy’s dance plans are canceled due to mummy that’s on the loose, and oh, can we talk about this dance, please? It’s not “cultural appreciation” to dress up as caricatures of members of that culture. The fact that nobody is like “Hey, this is strange and not okay” is also…bad. I can only assume that the whole thing was constructed in order for us to see Willow in an Eskimo costume. Willow + furry hood = the cutest. (No but seriously NOT OKAY, GUYS. NOT OKAY.)

I will accept this as an apology.

I want to say that despite this episode’s obvious flaws when it comes to race/culture, I really appreciate how they portray Ampata. She’s not demonized. She acts as a foil to Buffy, and she’s a complex, imperfect character who we can relate to, and who Buffy can relate to. In a lot of ways, Buffy is offered as a sacrifice (by the Watchers’ Council) and in turn, has to sacrifice being a normal person to fulfill her duties. We can easily sympathize with Ampata, even if she’s doing bad things.

I love Oz’s “who is that girl?” moment because, well, everything Oz does is lovely and good, and also, because he’s not checking out any of the half-naked ladies in the place; he’s checking out the one who’s bundled up and clearly, well, somewhat individual. He’s a good guy, that Oz.

awww

AND OMG IS THIS THE FIRST TIME WE MEET JONATHAN TOO??

Xander telling Ampata he loves her after 24 hours is gross. For their credit, though, at least she attempts not to life-suck him for about six and a half minutes before surrendering to the urge. But then she dries out and Buffy pulls her and her arms come off and…ew.

There’s not much more to say about this episode. I’m so very glad Oz is in the picture, I want Giles to awkwardly introduce himself to people by saying “Hello, can you translate this?” and stop it, stop it, Xander!

Re: School Hard

Welcome

I love this episode. In large part because I love Spike/Dru so much. I love Spike all the way through, really but there’s no question that he has the most intensity and charm in the opening episodes, where he’s just delightfully evil with none of his sort-of whiny unrequited love nonsense from later episodes. I also love this episode because I think it is absolutely one of the best that shows the balance Buffy has to strike between her responsibilities as a Slayer and her responsibilities as a student. I think you really see her up against a wall in this episode, maybe somewhat wondering if she’s really going to be able to do this at all.

This is a pretty good face to make when you find out someone was stabbed with a trowel.

I do find myself wondering, aside from Joelle’s very good point about Buffy burning down the gym and how that was never actually proven (and how if it had been, probably there would have been a lot more legal problems in the long run), let’s ask another question here. Apparently Sheila stabbed a teacher with a trowel. Yes, let’s repeat that. Stabbed a teacher with a trowel. Now again, dear readers. I have never been to school. I do not much know details about how various punishments and things work outside of things I see in movies. But I do feel like, most often in the world, when you stab someone, there are pretty serious consequences to that. I feel like the stabbing, which is clearly known and admitted to by Sheila, is a bit worse than the alleged burning down of a gymnasium by Buffy (where no one got hurt, btw). I also feel like the consequences would probably not be planning parent/teacher night.  I know nothing about parent/teacher night. Joelle says it doesn’t happen in high school. I am intrigued. I wish for votes on this as well. What’s the point of it, anyway? Do students really plan it? Can a principal do something like this? Like “You two do this and whichever one of you does this better gets to be NOT expelled?” Obviously Snyder doesn’t really work by the rules anyway but I WISH TO KNOW.

Xander proceeds to jinx the whole episode very effectively. This is one of the things about Buffy that made it such a fun thing to watch. In a similar sense as Scream and some other self-aware pop culture, this was the kind of show that would make jokes about how horror worked. It was clever and self-referential when that was just starting to be a thing in some ways and it was awesome.

I love Xander clutching his bag.

 

So let’s head into the Master’s former lair. What I found myself thinking about while rewatching the episode this time is the whole vampire pecking order. How does this work, exactly? I mean, look, it seems fairly obvious why the Master was in charge. He’s like…. the oldest vampire and apparently was stronger than the rest of them and far more powerful or whatever. Had all the nifty mind powers on top of looking like a bat. I understand that. But when the Master dies, why is the Annoying One now in charge? I guess the vampire sect that worshiped the Master is particularly superstitious and so maybe that’s the deal. But honestly, clearly the poor man’s Haley Joel Osmont doesn’t have any particular skills or powers. He was important because of his part in prophecy last year but his place in prophecy is over now. Religious vampires don’t seem to do all that well, to be honest. Anarchist sorts like Spike seem to do better. That said, it’s more complicated than just the Annoying One being in charge. Because they listen to him but the angry vampire says that whoever kills the Slayer will take up the Master’s mantle. Does that mean that he’s like a priest of some kind? And whoever kills the Slayer gets to be King? That’s my current theory. I realize it never ends up mattering but these are the things I think about, okay?

My favorite couple in this season. <3

Spike gives his fantastic opening speech. Dru gives her fantastic opening speech. Honestly, I could spend this entire thing just quoting Dru lines. I adore original Dru. I feel like after second and third season, they never really get her back to where she was before? They always try to give her those crazy lines again but they’re never as good as they were here. For the first time here I noticed something she said though. “Do you like daisies? I plant them but they always die. Everything I put in the ground withers and dies…” Which is just a line I’ve always loved because it’s so dramatic and insane and that’s what Dru does but it’s also what she says right before Spike says “Me and Dru here, we’re moving in.” I suspect there’s a connection there with the roots they’re putting down in Sunnydale and what it’s going to do and I was kind-of delighted to notice it, honestly. I love still finding new things after having watched this show more times than I actually want to admit.

I completely agree this is definitely a good scene to show Joyce’s worst aspects as a parent. I still love Joyce but absolutely these are her weakest attributes. I think she does want to be comforting in a way, I think she does really want to say the right thing. I think she wants her daughter to succeed and do what she knows she can do and she is undoubtedly still hurt and upset about what happened before. On top of which, I’m sure she’s really worried now that it looks like her daughter could be getting in trouble again and worry makes people do and say stupid and crazy shit that is totally unhelpful. None of this is an excuse and it is a shitty way for her to handle the situation. It’s also a shitty way for the writers to handle the situation because to me it really seems like they heightened these attributes in this scene so that her turnaround at the end will be more impactful. Just saying. I hate the scene too though.

If Spike had been paying attention when he first sent a vampire in to test Buffy, he would have actually seen a sign of the family and friends aspect of the brochure. Angel’s comment about Spike as goal oriented and thorough is total bullshit, incidentally. He flits around like a little butterfly half the time. He’s all impulse and only occasionally follow-through. The point is that, while Joyce’s rescue of Buffy will be the most dramatic example, a tiny thing happens in this scene which is also important. Xander comes running out into the alley, into harm’s way and he calls out to Buffy and tosses her a stake. Spike takes no notice of that, which I find strange. How many other Slayers has that happened with? It matters. It absolutely matters.

During the commotion, Sheila gets picked up by a couple of losers in the Bronze and eventually by Spike. It’s hard to believe that Sheila has survived this long in Sunnydale if she is this lacking in caution. This town is crawling with vampires and she is clearly wandering out with whoever she happens to meet. At least, that’s certainly what her few lines of dialogue seem to indicate? There’s no indication she’s met these guys before. If it hadn’t been Spike, there’s no reason that these guys she left with couldn’t have been vampires. Whatever. She’s now not long for this world.

‘Cause I’m crazy about a Cad.

 

Angel comes in to give them more cryptic warnings. Angel, I HATE YOU. Seriously. Other than the fact that what you say about Spike really isn’t even true (except for the fact that he’s dangerous), you know an incredible amount about Spike. You spent YEARS WITH SPIKE. Do you know what would be really helpful right now? You could actually stay in the fucking room and give them useful information on how to hunt and kill Spike instead of just being like, “Be careful. He’ll never stop. He’ll hunt you down.” *poof* Why can you not just give them this information?

I adore Dru and her dolls. I’ll restrain myself from saying anymore of her lines. I will say that I am skeptical she could have vamped Sheila or WOULD have vamped Sheila. Vamping takes strength and the whole point of getting Sheila for her was because she needed to eat because she was weak. Why vamp her? They didn’t need her for anything, she wouldn’t be useful to them. And I’m honestly just not even convinced that Dru is strong enough to be vamping anyone.

But I just got so bored…

Back to parent/teacher conferences. How does this work? Is it even possible to keep parents away from teachers? Like I would assume that there would be like slated times or something? Also, I would assume a lot of people would complain about lemonade with no sugar in it. Poor Buffy. I had never thought about how Spike would even know Buffy was in the school that night, although it’s an excellent point. I also want to know why Spike thinks the school is a good idea at all. I mean, really it doesn’t seem like the best place for an attack. Tons of doors, tons of emergency exits. Closets, rooms, passages. Seems like there’s not really any way to corral that many people effectively in that kind of space.  And in fact, as it turns out, there’s not. Which is another way to prove that Spike is really not all that effective in his plans. Again, all impulse. It occasionally works out for him and usually when Buffy is around, it goes terribly for him. This is another example of terrible quality in the dark shots.

Buffy does completely kick ass in this episode though. Let’s all take a minute to appreciate just how much she kicks ass. Let’s also take a minute for this.

Giles: Let me help you.
Buffy: Giles, my mother’s in that room. If I don’t make it out of here, I know you’ll make sure she does.
Giles: Bloody right I will.
B: *bawling*

 

So Angel decides to go with his worst idea ever. As Joelle says, it doesn’t make any sense at all. We know he hates Xander but clearly he wasn’t actually planning on vamping or killing Xander. I have never even considered the possibility that sire could refer to like…. a grandsire. I always just assumed it was an inconsistency in the writing, due to the fact that they probably hadn’t worked out the family tree yet. Also because there are about a thousand inconsistencies in this scene. Well, not a thousand but a lot. I love the Anne Rice bit but Angel is not Spike’s sire, Angel absolutely WAS one for company (he traveled with a group for like…. decades). There’s so many things Spike should know that he doesn’t. A lot of it I don’t really hold against anyone because I really just assume that most of that stuff they figured out way later in the writing of the show so right now they were just kind-of making it up as they went along. But honestly? Why doesn’t Xander know what a sire is yet? Why don’t ALL the Scoobies know what a sire is?

Buffy’s mom coming in to save her is absolutely incredibly important. It’s one of the coolest things that it is her mom and not Giles or Angel or one of the other guys. It’s great that her mom recognizes how awesome her daughter is and how much of a worthless little jerk Snyder is. Which of course will be something of a continuing thing as the show goes on. Also, it’s cool that she managed to hit him like perfectly with the flat of the ax. I feel like I would have accidentally… I don’t know…. not hit him with the flat somehow. I feel like that would take talent. Of course, I’ve never hit anything with an ax so I really don’t know.

Here we get our first indications that there is a conspiracy in Sunnydale. Which is great and makes perfect sense because honestly the police would HAVE to have some idea that something was up. But if you look at crime stats on Sunnydale, do they just show an incredibly high rate of PCP gang related incidents? Like is Sunnydale the PCP capital of the US in this universe?

They just look so happy together!

 

I laugh hysterically at the idea of Spike laying down his life because of… well, because of anything, really. Much less because he somehow messed up a ceremony. Does the feast of St. Viggus really increase their power somehow? How does that work, I wonder? And why does it never come up again? And, last but not least, the killing of the Annoying One is just an absolutely fantastic and fun scene. No one will miss him and it’s time for a new leader of evil in Sunnydale.

School Hard

I love this episode!  A lot.  Mostly because I love Early-Series Spike, but I’ll get to that.

It opens with the usual holding-what-Buffy-allegedly-did-at-her-old-school-against-her routine by Snyder.  I never really understood this.  Well, I mean, Snyder’s evil, but even Principal Flutie stuck this Bad Seed label onto Buffy as soon as he found out about her “colorful transcripts.”  I get that burning down a gymnasium is bad, but I also assume it was never officially proven?  Otherwise, Buffy would be in juvie or possibly even jail right now.  So for it to even be on her permanent record is a little weird.  Unless the punishment went as far as her expulsion, but ARSON seems a little more serious than that.

Sheila. She gets vamped and I totally forget to write about it at all in this review. Yep.

Buffy is juxtaposed in this episode by Sheila, an actual troublemaker who apparently makes out with Dog the Bounty Hunter sometimes. Buffy’s reaction to Sheila is one of resentment and maybe a little bit of jealousy.  “It’s not fair,” she says, “I’m the Slayer. It requires a certain amount of cutting and fighting.  What’s Sheila’s excuse?”  She has a point.  Sheila is just a punk, and Buffy resents being compared to her, and maybe wishes she didn’t have an excuse and could just be a normal kid.

Regardless, Buffy and Sheila are put in charge of the Parent-Teacher Night and have to paint banners and make salads and stuff?  Not really sure what’s going on here.  Didn’t Parent-Teacher night end in eighth grade? I don’t recall a single one in high school.  No matter. (Edit: I have been informed by a former classmate that yes, we had Parent-Teacher Night every year. So. Yeah, okay.)

And then Spikey rolls into town to some badass intro music and my heart is filled with oh so much joy.  I loooooove Spike here and until otherwise mentioned.  I love his ‘tude.  I love how his first interaction with the vamps of Sunnydale involves him calling one of them out for claiming to have been present at Jesus’ crucifixion.  And I love how he just smirks at the Anointed One’s bodyguard (hey

Awwww.

yeah, remember the Anointed One is still around?  Me neither) and how we found out he’s killed a couple of Slayers before.  And I love how his face softens and he gets all puppydoggy when Drusilla walks in.  It’s all such a good introduction to him, really.

I don’t believe vampires can love (I’m sure I’ll get to that in later episodes) but obviously Spike and Drusilla care about each other.  And I just love how absolutely insane Dru is.

And then we cut to a Buffy/Joyce scene that makes my blood boil.  Joyce means well in most of the things she does but she’s so clueless about who her daughter is, and the part that really bugs me is that I don’t think she wants to know who her daughter is.  This goes deep into my own Mommy Issues which I won’t get into (you’re all welcome) but when she says, “What I don’t want is to be disappointed in you again,” I want to punch her in the jaw.  Then when Buffy says she’s under a lot of pressure and Joyce says, “Wait until you have a job,” I want to punch her again, harder.  Way to totally invalidate your kid’s experience/life struggles/pain.  Buffy’s parents recently got divorced, she got expelled from school and had to pick up and move away from all her friends and start over, and yeah, being a teenager generally sucks, but nope, Joyce doesn’t even acknowledge any of that.  Blegh.

Seriously, picture Giles in PJs! And bunny slippers!

It’s a bit weird to see Giles still being all “You can’t let your life interfere with your slaying.”  The Watchers’ Council is still in full force in Giles’ life, and this is reflected very much with how he acts pre-season 3.  I think he definitely cares about Buffy at this point, but also probably feels more duty-bound to his Watcher duties than anything else.  And, right now, his Watcher duties don’t include snuggles and sleepovers and OH MY GOD I WANT A SLEEPOVER WITH GILES.  NOW.

Then Xander, Willow and Buffy are at the Bronze in hopes of preventing Angel from hooking up with another girl.  Well, I guess that’s really only Buffy’s motivation.  And, um, does it even seem remotely likely Angel is trying to hook up with girls?  He can barely blunder around with the one he’s got.  Okay, okay, I mostly kid.  There’s some dancing and I swear one of these days I’m gonna make a whole bunch of People Dancing at the Bronze gifs because, oh my god, it’s always perfect.

Spike watches Buffy dance like a creeper, then sends one of his vamp buddies out to eat someone to bait Buffy.  They meet, sort of.  This is Buffy’s reaction when a stranger with bleached hair says he’s going to kill her on Saturday:

You know, c’est la vie, or whatever.

Buffy and Co. return to the library to research Spike, and Angel helpfully appears from the shadows where he was lurking to talk about his ex-buddy:

He’s worse. Once he starts something, he doesn’t stop until everything in his path is dead.

Then he disappears before he can, you know, divulge any helpful information.

The way she “chops” this cucumber will never not annoy me beyond reason.

It’s the day of Parent-Teacher Night, and Buffy is stressing about the preparations while Giles and Jenny are mostly just stressing about Spike and some prophecy that says Saturday night is going to be really, really bad.  Or it’s possible I made that part up.  Her friends are making stakes, which is cute.  Though if Buffy would just stop leaving her stakes inside vampires she could probably save a lot of trees. This is the stuff I think about, okay?

Willow distracts Buffy’s mom a lot that night so she can’t talk to Snyder, and Buffy poisons a lot of people with un-sweetened lemonade.  Snyder eventually does get to talk to Joyce, though, and just as Joyce is about to lay the smack down on her kid, Spike and some buddies burst through the window.  Was there a memo in the underworld that said “Slayer will be preoccupied hosting Parent-Teacher Night.  Free-for-all”?  I mean, I don’t really get how Spike knew she’d be at school that night.

Anyway, everyone splits up and hides.  Snyder accuses the vampires of being a gang on PCP which will amuse me forever.  Xander sneaks out to go warn Angel.  Spike is righteously and hilariously angry.  Willow is in the closet, which is pretty funny.

Buffy formulates a plan and starts taking out vamps one by one.  Joyce argues with Snyder a lot, which is good and makes me slightly less mad at her.  This episode is actually really good for Joyce and Buffy, by showing Joyce that her daughter is capable and dependable and Snyder is a grouchy asshole.  Their conversation at the end of the episode shows Joyce’s improved opinion of Buffy, which is nice.

What.

Angel pretends to be evil and uses Xander as his hostage in what might actually be the worst possible plan in the history of plans.  I mean, it would have probably resulted in Xander’s death which would have been nice at this point in the series, but seriously?  WHAT KIND OF PLAN IS THIS.  I think it’s just so that we, the audience, might be tricked into thinking Angel actually is still evil and his ensouled routine was just an act, which seems like pretty cheap writing to me.  Regardless, Spike doesn’t fall for it and gets cranky.  We find out that Angel is Spike’s sire, though actually he’s Spike’s grand-sire and I wonder if that was a mistake on the writer’s part, or if “sire” sort of means general ancestor rather than “vampire who bit me and turned me into one.”

Buffy and Spike run into each other and decide to abandon their weapons, which seems like a silly move on Buffy’s part.  Spike says that the last Slayer he killed begged for her life, though I’m not sure Nikki Woods did?  I mean, he broke her neck in the middle of a pretty rowdy fight.  So.  I’ll see if I remember this when that episode comes up, though.

At one point, Buffy gets knocked down and Joyce appears, hitting Spike on the head with an ax.  This is super important!  It proves (just like Xander resuscitating her with CPR) that Buffy is unique, un-killable by a vampire who has killed two Slayers before, simply for the fact that she isn’t alone.  She has friends and family to help her and it makes her stronger and more powerful.  This is so important to the overall Slayer arc that carries us through until the last episode.

We also find out that Snyder knows more about the Hellmouth activity than we previously thought, which is cool.  I CAN’T WAIT FOR THE MAYOR OMG.

And then Spike kills the Anointed One.  Thank God.  That kid was annoying as hell.

Re: Some Assembly Required

Well, I’m sure that B won’t be the only one to blame for the slowness of this blog from here on out. Work, school, and sociability is pretty much ruining any serious free time I used to have. So. Yeah. This blog is a work in progress but one that I really really like and don’t plan on giving up on. :)

I don’t have the strong dislike for this episode that B seems to have, but then, I haven’t ever watched it critically either. So we’ll see!

Really quickly, OMG YO-YOS ARE SO 90s. And Buffy has a trig class? And I am impressed with both of these things.

I would agree with B that the theme of this episode seems to be “love makes you do the wacky,” and since she did an excellent job of summarizing, I’ll focus this post on the wacky kinds of love that appear here.

Buffy/Angel

I know this was always Joss’s intention for BtVS, but I really love that Angel doesn’t swoop in and save Buffy during fights. In fact, in the beginning of this episode, he tries to swoop in and promptly gets knocked down with a shovel, giving Buffy room to jump in and actually do the killing. I think, as Buffy fans, we might take moments like this for granted–but honestly, how often does this happen in TV shows or movies? Just casual, “no thanks, guy, I got this” girly-type awesomeness? Without the addition of spandex, cleavage, or lesbian make-out scenes, I mean.

I do agree that Angel is annoying in this episode…though I don’t think it’s totally his fault. Buffy did dance with Xander solely to make him jealous, after all, and some of the things Angel is peeved about (her grinding on Xander to bother him, her constantly bringing up his vampirism in fights) is valid. The difference is that Buffy is sixteen years old…a mature sixteen years old, sure, but still very much a teenager. Angel is 241. So yeah, the immaturity/jealousy/whatever is a bit more jarring on him. This is actually an issue I have with the writers quite often. I don’t think Buffy and Angel’s relationship is immature on its own…it is of high school, but it’s never seemed like a typical high school relationship to me (which I’ll get more into at the end of this season). I think the writers do some sloppy things to remind us that Buffy’s young and this is her first serious relationship, though. And I think for the most part, it’s heavy-handed and out-of-character for both of them, and doesn’t do their relationship justice.

Also, Angel has been out of the dating game for awhile. He’s actually been out of the socializing-with-human-beings game for awhile so it makes sense that he’s sort of…stunted, emotionally, and therefore sort of on the same maturity level as Buffy? It’s possible he’s never grown very much–emotionally/romantically–from the eighteen-year-old he was when he was vamp’d, because he’s never really had the opportunity (with a soul) to do so. This is just a theory, of course. Mostly I think it’s probably just sloppy writing.

IT IS SO WEIRD THAT ANGEL FOLLOWS CORDELIA and says he’s looking for Buffy and it’s something I never really noticed before? Like, Cordy is very obviously not Buffy, ever, but she’s extra not-Buffy in this scene. Angel does say “I wasn’t sure it was you at first”–so it’s possible he realized it was Cordelia pretty quickly, but followed her to ask her if she knew where Buffy was? It’s also pretty weird that Cordy calls out, “Xander Harris, if this is some kind of joke–!” Like, I know Xander sucks right now, but how often does he actually stalk Cordelia in dark parking lots? Weird, weird, weird, all of it.

I really love the little moment they share at the end of the episode,

d’aww

actually. Angel fesses up to his jealousy and the ridiculousness of it, and I’m not really bothered by his “He gets to see you in the sunlight” comment. Because seeing Buffy in the sunlight means more than, you know, creeping on her. He’s upset because he can’t truly be a part of her life–her normal, human life and, well. That’s reasonable to be upset about. And then Buffy offers to walk him home and he takes her hand and awww. They’re cute.

Giles/Jenny

Oh, Giles, you are so awkward.

Giles is the cutest thing that’s ever lived. Watching him practice flirting with a chair, and then awkwardly flirting with Jenny, and then going on a date awkwardly, and oh my heart it’s too much. I’ve always loved the Giles/Jenny pairing. They compliment each other so well, I think, with Giles’ social anxiety, stuttering, rigid ways, and total geekiness, and with how cool and collected and outgoing Jenny is…it just works really, really well. I love that Jenny takes him to a football game, of all things. And I love that Giles goes because he’s super into her. It’s all just so sweet and perfect, okay.

I love HOW MANY SNACKS they have and how Giles is carrying them all.

Willow/Xander

This is a ship I will hate and fight until the end of time, especially when it’s actually more relevant and soul-destroying in S3, but dudes. There is such a poignancy to Xander’s mini-monologue here:

People don’t fall in love with what’s right in front of them. People want the dream, what they can’t have. The more unattainable, the more attractive.

my heart my heart

It’s especially awesome and sad because he’s clearly talking about his crush on Buffy, but Willow is right next to him and looking at him and oh, it breaks my heart. She’s attributing those words to him, and Buffy understands it from both points of view, and ugh. DEEP.

Chris/Daryl

It’s not just romantic love that makes people do the wacky in this episode. Chris’s actions, to reanimate his dead brother, to try to connect with his mother, and to be totally creepy in order to build  a girlfriend for his brother, are all done out of love. This storyline always makes me really sad, especially seeing his mom smoking in an armchair, watching videos of Daryl playing football and ignoring Chris (which I get the feeling happened when Daryl was still alive, too). Just sad, man.

Eric: Scream all you want, we’re in an abandoned warehouse. Cordy: AHHHHHHHHH! Eric: Okay, that’s enough.

It’s important to remember that there are definitely downright BAD things going on here, no matter why they’re going on, and there’s no justification for chopping up dead people in order to reanimate the parts or, you know, cutting the heads off of living people. Also, Eric’s motivations are not done out of love, and are totally gross.

At the end of the day, it’s made very clear that what Chris and Eric are doing is wrong, wrong, wrong. And that’s important to drive home. Just because something is done out of love (in Chris’s case) doesn’t mean it should be done. There are definite, important limits here.

I don’t really want to discuss zombie love, because I’m not sure zombie-Daryl is capable of it, or if it was just a matter of sex, or what. But during this viewing, I thought of something I hadn’t thought of before: has Chris or Eric tried to get Daryl a regular girlfriend? Because when Cordy is promising to be with Daryl so that they won’t kill her, he says, “When you’re finished, you won’t go out. You won’t run away. But we can hide together.” It makes me think that they may have kidnapped a living girl to be with Daryl and she ended up escaping and UGH, so SO creepy.

Favorite quotes:

*Giles practicing asking Jenny out on a chair*
Buffy: Boy, I guess we never realized how much you liked that chair.

Xander: You know, this might go a lot faster if you femmes actually picked up a shovel, too.
Giles: Hear, hear.
Buffy: Sorry, but I’m an old-fashioned gal. I was raised to believe that men dig up the corpses and the women have the babies.

Angel: What I saw didn’t add up to three whole girls. I think they kept some parts.
Buffy: Could this get yuckier?
Willow: They probably kept the other parts to eat!
Buffy: Question answered.

In conclusion, Giles is perfect.

Some Assembly Required

For the record, how long it often takes between blog entries is entirely on me. I don’t have extremely awesome excuses. I’m busy, it’s been a rough couple of months, blah, blah, who cares. The point is that it is all my fault. :P I would say that it won’t happen again but that’s bullshit and I won’t say that. What I will say is that I will keep plugging away at this blog, even if it’s slow, because I do really like it. I keep looking and seeing people still check this thing and then I feel both terrible and good at the same time because people want to read it and I’m not keeping up but at the same time, people are interested and that’s awesome. Anyway. It took a 5 day vacation, but I’ve finished this entry at last. Here’s hoping the next one comes a BIT sooner. :P

I have never much liked this episode. Something about the whole Frankenstein angle just really bores me and the extreme high school jealousy nonsense between Buffy and Angel makes me very much want to break my television. That said, I had a little more fun watching it for this project than I’ve typically had watching it just cause. So yay, I guess?

We open in the graveyard as Buffy waits for a vampire to rise. Now there are times later where they will actually go straight into funeral homes and such. Which actually makes a lot more sense. I mean, if you think about it, if a vampire is rising the night after they die or even a night or two later, surely there can’t be that many of them clawing their way out of the ground? Hasty burials were a big deal and not unimportant in olden times but this is the present century and in the present, death has a little bit of time. I would say maybe the don’t rise until they’re buried but then we know that’s not true either, as we’ve already seen at least one rise in a funeral home. I’m left to conclude that somehow it must differ from vampire to vampire but if that’s the case, how does she know he’s going to rise tonight? I mean, if you take vampirism as some kind of poison (which, okay is from Twilight but it’s in other vampire stories too) then maybe it takes longer to work on some people than on others but in that case, you would think you would always have a window of a few nights when vampires could potentially be rising. Unless it’s part of her Slayer powers to know. I don’t think it is; I just think this is something that they never actually explain. Actually I never really thought about it till writing this right now.

I’m not jealous. What? No. Just grumpy and 12 years old.

Angels skulks out to whine for a while. Look, I know that so many people are really big fans of Angel but surely everyone has to admit this is just awful, right? I mean, for heaven’s sake. Man up. Either admit you were jealous of the 16 year old boy that the 16 year old love of your eternal life was dancing sexy with (so many things wrong…) or don’t come out there to begin with but don’t come out to act all aloof and stupid. Whatever. They have a really dumb fight and he tries to sweep out dramatically. She cunningly stops that from happening by falling into the giant open grave. I do wonder how exactly she had been sitting in the graveyard for who knows how long and hadn’t noticed the open grave. I also wonder why Angel, who was just giving us the tips and tricks of climbing out of a grave, thought that this gaping hole looked like another vampire might have come out of it. I mean…. it’s a big hole. It’s not like caved in on itself. It was clearly dug up. I guess jealous Angel is dumber than normal Angel. So. Bodies being dug up.

This definitely looks like a grave someone clawed their way out of, right?

DUN DUN DUNNNNNNNNNNNN.

Poor Giles. Practice at home.

This episode is full of men acting like fools. I guess that’s the common thread or something. Love makes you do the wacky? However in some cases, like in Angel’s, it’s excruciating to watch. In other cases, like in Giles, it’s so adorable that I just want to hug him forever. Come on, Giles. Not in the library. Don’t practicein the library. I mean, we know no one else ever goes in there but you know who does? The only people who will make fun of you for this forever and ever. Come on, hun. You were Ripper not so long ago. You are super hot. You can do this. I want to pep talk him. I think I would do a much better job than Buffy and Xander. They talk about graverobbing for a while and how awful that is. Although honestly, on the scale of Sunnydale crimes, it seems like that one would be way down the list. I mean, for now. Once they figure out the devious plot, I imagine it would shoot up there. Also, I feel like the tiny bits of information they give about zombies in this episode imply that they have a different understanding of zombies in the Buffyverse than I have always had? But I care so little about zombies that I just can’t be bothered to dissect that. :P

I just like seeing Willow talking to other people sometimes. She looks so cute.

Next homeschooler question: Is there a mandatory science fair? Or participation in a science fair that is mandatory? I don’t really understand the whole science fair thing anyway. It’s one of those concepts that I don’t think I actually believe exists outside of teen melodrama. I never had a friend tell me about participating in or going to a science fair. I simply don’t remember ever coming in contact with it IRL. TELL ME, PEOPLE. Creeper runs around taking pictures, which do not come back with the faces they were making when the flashes went off, incidentally. Away they rush towards the “bat signal.” I know they think they’re being covert here and it’s adorable and all but what do other people think that the bat signal means? I mean, I feel like by the end of high school we’ve more or less confirmed that yeah, the high schoolers aren’t that dumb and they’ve had some ideas on what was happening this whole time. Do they just let them pretend to be sneaky? Cause that would be funny.

Giles “deals with Cordelia’s pain” which should be mentioned because it’s just so awesome. Then later, in the graveyard, Willow tries to explain what happened to Darren. “He was a running…. he was a person who runs.” It’s really impressive when there’s anyone who actually knows less about football than me. One of the things I love about the graveside discussion is when Willow matter-of-factly addresses the sexy dance. We’re not going to pretend that didn’t happen or didn’t hurt or wasn’t crappy. We’re not going to have something we can’t talk about or dance around (no pun intended). We’ll acknowledge it and acknowledge it sucked and poke fun at you for it. That’s cool. That’s a pretty good friend. Also, other bodies are missing.

“Look, I love you. But yes. That was pretty shitty. No more of that, k?”

Meanwhile, Cordy comes out from her cheerleader practice, berating her team for not being quite cheery enough. They walk way out into the very, very deserted, very, very darkened parking lot (really Sunnydale? not even STREETLIGHTS are really in the budget here?) and soon she is alone attempting to get into her car. Personally, I feel like after what I’ve seen, if I was her, I’d be parking basically like… next to the front door if I was going to be there after dark. Like literally. Who cares if I get a ticket? I’ll be alive and stuff. But no. Someone is coming. Someone is stalking her through the darkened parking lot. Frantically she tries to get into her car, instead wildly throwing her keys underneath it. Okay, seriously now. This is a thing that happens in movies and shows not super infrequently. I have dropped my keys many times. I am clumsy and it happens, especially if I’m in a hurry to get into my car or house. But keys don’t roll well. They’re not roll-y by nature. I am trying to imagine the truly phenomenal feat it must have been for those keys to have rolled so far under the car that she actually couldn’t reach them. I mean, even if you’re on an incline (which she wasn’t) that doesn’t seem that likely. She runs as fast as she can, diving into the nearest trash can. But, surprise! It’s just Angel. Wearing really weirdly light colors (for him).

I have dropped the keys SO FAR UNDER MY CAR. HELP!!!! Seriously. I just can’t believe this has ever happened to anyone.

He claims to have thought she was Buffy, which is really weird on many levels. It’s weird because Cordelia is taller, and has much darker hair than Buffy. It’s weird because even if Buffy wasn’t digging up bodies in a cemetery, why would she be at the school? It’s weird because, if he thought it was Buffy, why didn’t he call her name? It’s weird because Cordelia was very clearly wearing a cheerleader uniform, which Buffy would clearly not be wearing. It’s weird because Angel has predatory senses, which include a keen sense of smell, so we know she wouldn’t have smelled like Buffy. It’s weird because Buffy doesn’t have a car, so why would she have been walking to one? In short, I am forced to live in my own world where Angel was just stalking Cordelia for reasons of his own. If someone has another explanation, please let me know.

Here’s Cordy. Looking absolutely nothing like Buffy in any capacity.

As Angel helps her out of the dumpster, which would smell like way more than your typical dumpster, given the fact that it is full of rotting flesh, Cordelia gets to pull up an arm and give one of her excellent screams. She really is great at that. Then presumably she sat in the parking lot, while Angel dumpster dived to find all the parts and lay them out. Still keeping his weirdly light clothes spotless. Oh, to be a vampire. So many superpowers.

And where do you think YOU have been all this time, young lady?

Cordelia finds new clothes and she waits while Angel stands there, trying his best “And where do YOU think you’ve been, young lady?” when Buffy walks in the door. Shut up, Angel. You’re not her father. Yeah, she probably shouldn’t have lied to you but it is also a very good argument that she does not have to tell you her every move and just shut up because I want to hit your stupid face all through this episode. During this discussion, they eventually decide that it must be students killing girls because they’re throwing away the body parts near the school. It seems odd to me that they would choose the school dumpsters still. I mean, aren’t there other dumpsters? Why would you throw away body parts right next to a school? Why did students from different schools get buried in Sunnydale anyway? Off they go to search the lockers of the students smart enough to dissect bodies. In a scene that has the worst quality possible. I don’t know if something happened to the print or what but I have shot better footage in the dark on my handheld camera.

Worst quality ever. What happened to this footage?

Now we are let in on the deep, dark plan of our boys here. Apparently they’ve been sucked into the plot of Bride of Frankenstein, with only a few less homosexual subtexts and they’re going to make a bride for Chris’s not as dead as everyone thinks he is brother, Daryl. This is one of those plans I would really like to hear the conversation leading up to it. I mean, how did they get to this point anyway? How was this plan formed? It seems like it was not part of the original bringing his brother back to life plan but more of a “I’m so sorry I brought you back to life but here, I’ll compensate you by making sure you have someone to have sex with” thing. I’m just saying it would have been a peculiar conversation to hear. The important things we’re supposed to gain from this conversation obviously is that Daryl has a soul but is morally torn because of how much he loves his brother and Eric has no soul and no moral reservations whatsoever. Presumably he doesn’t think he’s going to get to have sex with this girl but I theorize he imagines if this works, maybe he’ll get to have a crack at the next one.

I will take a moment here to note that in this next scene in particular but in the beginning of this whole season in general, I am a big fan of Buffy’s make up and look. I think they go out of their way to make her look really soft and pretty and I just like how she looks in these scenes. Oh, SMG. I heart you. Or at least you as Buffy. My feelings on SMG herself are a different story that don’t necessarily belong in this entry. And I’m moving on now.

Despite Buffy’s well intentioned but not super helpful attempts to help Giles ask Miss Calender out, it is the glorious Jenny herself who beats him to the punch. “What? You have something to ask me? Well, I’d love to talk. Yes, you go ahead and pick me up and we’ll have dinner and it’ll be awesome and sure, let’s go ahead and do that.” Bless you, Jenny. You’re not just going to hang out and wait for poor Giles to steel himself. He would eventually but it would probably be painful to watch and she’s not a sadist. She knows what she wants, after all.

How can anyone not love Giles?

Also, is Sunnydale any good at football? I feel like it’s never mentioned in any other episode. Obviously Daryl seems to have been a really good football player but there’s never much indication that Sunnydale has any special skills besides attracting demons. Still, the stands are as packed as any Dyllon Panthers game and that just seems so unlikely if they’re not really good? I do not know. I don’t care about football, high school or otherwise so I’m not one to judge. It just seems odd to me.

This strip of metal is clearly helping…. keep absolutely nothing in place.

Was Daryl this much of a dick before he died, I wonder? Treating his brother like dirt? I mean, there are clues he might have been, I guess. He says something to Cordy about how he didn’t treat her very well before and he would now and such. I’m just wondering if it was being dead that made him super insane and thereby super rapey or if he just always was. Eric loves to facilitate rape though, so off they go to make dreams come true. Also, every time I watch this episode, I look at Daryl, trying to figure out how exactly he had to “sew” Daryl together to make him look that way. It’s not making a whole lot of logical sense but I like his random and seemingly useless strip of metal on his arm.

Buffy comes in and tries to bond with Chris, still not understanding what’s really going on. She tells him she has lost someone close to her too. My immediate question was who has Buffy lost that she’s close to? But actually just as I’m typing this right this moment, I remembered her cousin who will come up in later episodes, so I guess that’s a thing. Also, I don’t remember if she lost people in the movie, because I don’t remember the movie super well but maybe she did. I would also like to note that “industrial strength therapy” is one of my most frequently used Buffy phrases.

I would like to take yet another brief sidenote and ask how exactly Chris managed to bring his brother back? Look, here’s the thing. According to the incredibly brief description we have of his death, he was rock climbing and fell or whatever. I guess they don’t seem to need to get him immediately to bring him back to life but they do need him before the formaldehyde thing happens so how did he get the body prior to the funeral? Also was Chris already working on this? Like was he already hanging out in his basement, pondering how to create life, reading Frankenstein over and over again? Or did he manage to put this together incredibly quickly after his brother died? How did Eric get involved in this bizarre little plot anyway? It’s not like he seems like an incredibly amazing lab assistant. I WANT DETAILS.

Moving on and back to Giles date with Jenny. Jenny who is being ridiculous and claiming that football is the national pastime (it’s baseball, sweetie) but oh well. The date is interrupted by Xander and Willow who are… just being mean? I mean, come on. They are not this dense. Seriously. We know they are not this dense. Just leave them alone and let them have their date, guys! :(

JUST LEAVE THEM ALONE! Look at poor Jenny’s face. :(

Oh well, no date is to be had and they must rush off to save Cordelia from an admittedly pretty gruesome fate. Certainly I would never have wanted anything to happen to her but I have always wondered a bit what would have happened. How would the body have worked? It’s all Cordy’s brain, obviously so I assume she only would have remembered being Cordy but would she have like muscle memory from the other girls? I don’t know, I wonder things. The convenient fire is started and enraged and saddened Daryl, unable to live without the idea of getting laid again, mounts his sewn together corpse to die in the flames. Ew.

There’s some talk about how screwed up Daryl was and how “love makes you do the wacky.” What absolutely no one discusses is the fact that Chris FIGURED OUT HOW TO CREATE LIFE. Big picture here, guys. Big picture. I guess maybe it wouldn’t work off the Hellmouth anyway but really? No one is even going to look into it? Also we’ll never hear from Chris again. Hopefully he went off to get some industrial strength therapy.

Angel at lasts admits to his jealousy. Congratulations, Angel. You stupid, annoying child. “He gets to see you in the sunlight.” Oh, you’ve gotten to see her in the sunlight too, Angel. Just in way more creepy and stalker-like kinds of ways. What you mean is “He gets to see you in the sunlight not through a pair of binoculars or a spray painted window.” But whatever. Not the time, I guess.

Buffy will walk Angel home at the end of the night, which is a tiny little touch that I do really love. <3

<3

A quick note

For the record, how long it often takes between blog entries is entirely on me. I don’t have extremely awesome excuses. I’m busy, it’s been a rough couple of months, blah, blah, who cares. The point is that it is all my fault. :P I would say that it won’t happen again but that’s bullshit and I won’t say that. What I will say is that I will keep plugging away at this blog, even if it’s slow, because I do really like it. I’m not giving up! I am in fact still writing at the next one even as we speak. Maybe I’ll even finish it today. Don’t give up on us cause of how I am so slow and lame.

 

This announcement has now concluded.