re: Bad Eggs

Hello, people!

Can I say this was a giant mirror that she saw his non-reflection in? And that a lot of other people were here? Seems bizarrely sloppy.

Can I say this was a giant mirror that she saw his non-reflection in? And that a lot of other people were here? Seems bizarrely sloppy.

So as far as the practicalities of this episode go, I feel like Joelle has gone over it pretty well. I may mention one or two things but for the most part what I want to do is defend Joyce. Because I love Joyce. This is definitely one of the areas where Joelle and I most diverge and I completely disagree with almost everything she said, so I am going to stand up for her here. Because I actually feel that her reactions, while far from perfect, where extremely understandable.

Starting with the mall thing! I will agree that I cannot imagine what outfit Buffy wanted to buy that was more revealing than what she wears to school on a regular basis. But leaving that aside. Come on, this is annoying. You ask her to

This is NOT A FACE that would make me inclined to feel better.

This is NOT A FACE that would make me inclined to feel better.

do literally a single thing for you. You have probably been running all day and getting errands done and working or whatever. She makes fun of you about the store you buy your clothes from (I actually like that bit between them, I think it is cute banter) and she heads off. And then not only does she not get your dress, leaving you to have to find some way to navigate the mall again tomorrow, which let’s face it, is always a fucking nightmare, but she doesn’t even remember. She sits down like you sent her off to wander and now she’s back. Dude, I would be SO ANNOYED.

There are arguments to be made that Joyce should maybe realize that Buffy is the Slayer, although I am never clear on what that means. Like the concept of Slayer does not seem to be a concept widely known in this world either so it’s not like something that she might secretly suspect. Certainly she should know that something is up. And the thing is that I think she does. I think she is very afraid about what might be up and where she might be failing and has all sorts of nighmarish possibilities running through her head. I think she feels overwhelmed and frightened that something terrible will happen and that she does not always cope with that in ideal ways, but one of the reasons I love Joyce is that she seems believably flawed. She does fuck up but I think it is always apparent how fiercely she loves her daughter. I grew up wishing my mother was more like Joyce.

In fact, I think in some ways I connected particularly to Joyce as a television mother because she was so flawed and because there were things that Buffy hid from her consistently. Like even at their best, there were always struggles in their relationship and that made it seem like one that maybe could be attained to me. I never understood these extremely and overwhelmingly loving mother/daughter relationships. Those seemed certainly fictional. Joyce’s flaws made her seem possible to me.

I'm so tired of seeing this pose. Siiiigh.

I’m so tired of seeing this pose. Siiiigh.

ANYWAY. Moving on. Xander and Cordelia, I just… whatever. I hate this aspect of this relationship right now. I like them better when they actually start dating but this whole “I hate you and yet I can’t stop being attracted to you” is something that makes no functional sense in my brain and seems more ridiculous to me the older I get.

I wanted to say about the eggs that almost all of my friends had to do parenting class type things. However, they did not do them with eggs. I didn’t know anyone who did them with eggs. Which makes sense because what sort of insane scheme is that? How can you tell that they didn’t just replace it with a different egg? No, all of my friends got those robotic babies that have to be “fed” and changed and rocked and stuff or they cry. And cry, and cry and cry. If they left them they had to get a babysitter. I babysat one once. Also apparently if you “killed” your baby, you were reported to CPS and they put you on a list? I never looked into if that was true but I remember all of my friends buzzing about that as a thing. So yeah. Parenting definitely, chicken eggs definitely not.

This seems like the appropriate face to make at the egg.

This seems like the appropriate face to make at the egg.

I can’t imagine having much to say about the Gorches except that I like the name Tector. Like maybe for a dog. I kind-of feel like this episode is maybe trying to come up with some kind of unhealthy family dynamic theme sometimes? The Gorches, Buffy’s conflict with her mother, the idea of “mommy bezoar,” etc. but either I’m imagining that or they totally failed to pull it together.

Back to Joyce! I love it when Buffy gets up all worn out in the morning and Joyce teases her about her egg parenting. I find that entire exchange amusing and charming. I love their dynamic generally.

Again, Xander hard boiling the egg is confusing. Can they tell the egg is his? If yes, then how and also they would know he boiled it. If no, then what difference does any of this make and why bother to boil it? It is a puzzle.

This scene creeped me out a lot as a kid. And creeps me out now as an adult in an episode with so much subtext about babies.

This scene creeped me out a lot as a kid. And creeps me out now as an adult in an episode with so much subtext about babies.

Finding out Angel can’t have babies is one of those things to me. Like, as Joelle implied, vampires really SHOULDN’T be able to get erections. But if they can somehow magically do that, do they also have orgasms? Just no sperm? There are vampire mythologies where they can have kids with humans so it shouldn’t just be assumed she would know that. On a side note, the only person I have ever read deeply considering vampire erections was I think Anne Rice? I feel like it was her who determined that they could but only after having recently fed because of the need for blood. Which I suppose makes as much sense as anything else.

Also, of course Buffy is not thinking a lot about the future, Angel. She is 16 years old. That’s how being 16 years old works.

I agree that when you finally see the creature thing, it isn’t that scary. However, I do think when it is scurrying around her room in half seen and sort-of spider-like ways it is pretty creepy. The idea of something giant jumping down on you from your ceiling, for example, is fairly creepy. It’s just something that falls apart a little when the special effects are needed.

And again back to Joyce. I think that her response to Buffy is… perfectly reasonable here. Assuming

This is a woman who is so fucking over it.

This is a woman who is so fucking over it.

Normal Again is not cannon at this point (which, as Joelle has pointed out, it seems safe to assume), Joyce has come from a place where her daughter got in a tremendous amount of trouble. She was sneaking out, she was fighting, she was hanging out with bad people. While drugs are never mentioned, I feel like that is the sort of thing that Joyce is very frightened of, and frankly that is understandable. And here she walks into her room at almost 3 in the morning, the window is wide open, her daughter is fully dressed and just got off the phone with someone and her excuse is very clearly a lie. It would seem completely irresponsible parenting to not be terrified at this point. Also she just woke up herself. Grounding her seems… extremely reasonable.

I love Buffy so much but like... this is a face you would need to vent to someone about sometimes.

I love Buffy so much but like… this is a face you would need to vent to someone about sometimes.

Also when she comes into the library and vents to Giles… I don’t think it’s fair to say she yells at Giles. She comes in and is upset with her daughter and apologizes for sounding frustrated with him. She’s pretty reasonable. She’s just at her wit’s end. What is she going to do? Her daughter isn’t listening and the terrifying thing about being a parent of a teenager is that they don’t have to. And once they realize that… you could very well be screwed. Parenting a teenager is so stressful, even if your daughter is not the Slayer, or like generally a troubled kid or whatever. We read a really fascinating study in one of my classes showing that parents of teenagers actually tend to have higher levels of stress and anxiety than their children do during that time. They have high levels of marital problems, depression, etc. Also, they often feel much more negative about how they’re doing and their relationship with their children than the children themselves do. The kids will tend to get in a huge fight, scream that they hate them and then move past it but the parents do not bounce back so quickly. Anyway. The point is that I feel that Joyce is under a lot of stress and I really hope she has friends she can talk to about it. She doesn’t seem to have a good support system.

But of course in the meantime, she will be taken over by a creepy bug thing. And will hack at cement with a shovel. I mean, you know. You’ll notice I really have skipped all the plot because I can’t imagine the point of going over it twice. I think it is funny that the bezoar eggs look just like chicken eggs. I too would like to know how the teacher got the eggs. Was he already possessed? I wonder what a bezoar would get out of eating a vampire. Wouldn’t it just turn into dust? Seems very unsatisfying.

Finally as they are all out, in the final Joyce scene… yes, I will defend her here too. I think that this is not perfect but goddamn. I imagine most of them are disoriented and probably sore and maybe with headaches? I have no idea what the reaction to neural clamping is but it doesn’t sound pleasant. None of them look in great shape though. I think it is hilarious that there are no ambulances anywhere. Anyway, none of that seems likely to put her in a better mood. And her first response was relief that Buffy was okay. That was absolutely her first response. And then once she realized she was and that in fact she had just once again (as far as she knows) ignored what she directly ordered her to do in order to do what she felt like doing, she makes another attempt to restrain her.

This has nothing to do with anything but WHY would Willow wear this shirt today?

This has nothing to do with anything but WHY would Willow wear this shirt today?

I mean, I think we all know this won’t end well. Eventually, in the end of this season, Buffy will freak out and run away. Their relationship is going to be weird for a while. But I think ultimately they end up with something pretty great and I personally like how it all shakes out. And right now, Joyce seems like a good mom who is overwhelmed and trying her hardest to figure out what to do and how to protect her daughter, while being secretly deeply terrified that maybe she can’t. And I love her. Even if this episode is dumb.

So. There is my first, but almost certainly not my last, defense of Joyce. :P

The most fond I have probably ever been of these two.

The most fond I have probably ever been of these two.

In an absolute final note, I was so in love with the last scene in this episode as a kid because you have no idea how many times I made out with my boyfriend at my window (who was only 4 years older than me, not 200) and my relationship with him was one of the reasons I felt a deep kinship with Buffy.

Bad Eggs

This episode is…a thing that happens. It’s just one of those episodes that IS. I watch it, and ones like it, these days without much feeling or interest. It’s a creepy concept, but ends up being one of those throwaway episodes that BtVS occasionally produces. Let’s get to it, shall we?

Just a warning: among many things, Joyce annoys me a lot in this episode. So if you’re a fan of Joyce…WHY. Just kidding. Sort of.

It opens with Buffy and Joyce shopping in the mall, arguing about an outfit Joyce won’t let Buffy get because it makes her look like “a street walker.” Um, Joyce, I know you’re away from home a lot, but not infrequently your daughter is dressed weird as hell / in see-through shirts / in dresses shorter than her jackets. So this is a weird argument to suddenly be having. Weird, but it’s nice to see a semi-normal interaction between Buffy and her mom…so naturally, it’s ruined by the appearance of a vampire, which Buffy senses and follows instead of picking up her mom’s dry cleaning.

The vamp in question is about to munch on an astonishingly unsuspecting girl. Seriously, Buffy practically has to pick up the vampire and hit her with it to get her to finally notice. And man, I’m not feeling this vamp or his brother

This girl missed a major lesson about Stranger Danger.

(the Gorches) in this episode. I just moved to the south after being very much a northern lady my whole life, so I’m pretty burnt out on cowboy hats, honestly. Plus these two are just boring.

After a quick fight, the vampire conveniently mentions his brother and escapes, and Buffy seems extremely willing to let him go and not chase after him. It’s probably because of the hat. Buffy goes to meet Joyce in the food court, forgetting about her dry cleaning. So Joyce gives her a mini-lecture on not being so selfish, and Buffy jokes that she saves the world from vampires. Incidentally, this is another moment where Joyce could and would have flipped, if “Normal Again” really happened. But I digress.

We cut to Xander and Cordelia making out in a closet. It’s Xander and Cordelia, so making out implies a ton of bickering. This leads into a weird sex ed biology lesson scene, wherein the students are all given eggs to take care of like babies. A side note: this ALWAYS happens on TV shows, but I was never given such a task in high school and always felt cheated. Seems like such an easy A.

Buffy didn’t attend class for an unexplained reason. Surely telling Giles about Cowboy Vamp only took about three seconds?

This chain changes position a million times.

But anyway, Willow and Xander meet her in the library to deliver her egg and let her know she’s a single egg mother. The editing in this scene has always driven me nuts, since the chain thingy around Buffy’s egg keeps changing position between cuts. Anyway, Giles reveals that the new vampires in town are the Gorch brothers, who are very stupid, and that even though they’re stupid, Buffy should patrol for them. I mean. I guess she should. Zzzzz.

In the next scene, Buffy and Angel are making out in a cemetery instead of hunting, and the camera pans out to show the Gorch brothers spying on them from a nearby tree, which is not at all creepy. They also recognize Angel, which is a little bizarre and never explained beyond this. I’m not really complaining about it. The Gorches are really boring and I don’t want to write about them any more.


Back at Buffy’s house, she goes to bed after making sure she fed, burped, and changed her egg. She didn’t do any of those things because it’s impossible. Also, she should probably refrigerate her egg. I feel that if more students in Sunnydale refrigerated their eggs, hardly anyone would have become an unwitting host for a demon, but anyway. A creepy crawly thing cracks out of Buffy’s egg, crawls across her bed and goes into her ears and over her face. How the eggs do this but return to an intact state in the morning is another thing that’s never explained. Whatever.

The Gorches are in a sewer, arguing and fighting. Snooooore. I just don’t care about them at all.

Buffy wakes up with a bad egg parasite hangover, and we quickly find out that Willow seems to have an egg hangover too. Xander’s perky, though. Which is quickly partially explained by Xander dropping his egg, but not cracking it. He confesses that he boiled the egg. Again, fewer people in Sunnydale would become unwitting hosts if they boiled their eggs.

Briefly, we see there’s an egg hatching on the shelf Giles is placing books on. Which…what? How come Willow and Buffy’s eggs conveniently hatch at bedtime but this egg is hatching in the middle of the gdamn morning? Makes little sense. Cordelia arrives to kick up a fuss about their absent sex ed teacher, but really it’s just to lure Xander into a closet to make out. Giles is still harping on about Buffy killing the Gorches, which cuts to a new scene of Buffy and Angel making out in a cemetery. (Can you sense my disillusionment with this episode yet?)

In this scene, Buffy discovers that Angel can’t reproduce, so a nice romantic night of vamp hunting gets interrupted by a too-

“Honey, I’m infertile.” “Bummer.”

real conversation between a 200-year-old vampire and his teenage girlfriend about the realities of infertility. What’s most interesting to me is that Angel starts by saying “I don’t…I mean, I can’t…” You don’t WHAT, Angel? Ejaculate? Do vampires ejaculate? This is not the first time I’ve thought about the practicalities of vampire erections, nor will it be the last.

And look, I know there are deeper themes in this episode then “campy egg demons create mayhem.” The lesson about sex in the beginning, the lustful problems Xander and Cordelia are having, the way Buffy and Angel keep making out instead of hunting and this conversation between them about the future: I get that this episode is about giving into your passions and how that can sometimes be a bad thing, like if you completely lose control to an egg demon. I get the connection, I just don’t think the egg demon plot is very interesting or compelling. That’s why I’m joking throughout this review. It’s my way to cope with the campy egg demon, okay?

Anyway, Angel offers to hunt for the Gorches so Buffy can go home early, after more making out. Meanwhile, a janitor at Sunnydale High wanders into the unlocked basement, which is generally never a good idea at Sunnydale High. The lights don’t work, which is also not good. The janitor discovers a giant tunnel in the wall. Missing Teacher guy (who I know has a name, but I keep missing it) appears behind him and knocks him into the tunnel.


As Buffy arrives back into her room through the window, her egg is hatching. She fights the thing that comes out of it, which looks half like a human hand, half like a rubbery scorpion. Not a good look. She stabs it with a huge pair of scissors, then immediately calls Willow to see if her egg is normal. Willow assures her that all is well, but when they hang up, we see that her egg is open and Willow’s staring lifelessly into space. Buffy doesn’t call Xander or Giles or anyone else because Willow is her favorite. Also because Willow suggests it’s a trap planted by the Gorch brothers, which makes less sense than if she had said nothing. How would the Gorch brothers know about this assignment, get in contact with the teacher’s egg supply, etc etc etc? Host Willow is dumb.

Joyce comes into Buffy’s bedroom, having heard her on the phone with Willow. A dramatic fight with an egg demon is

Shut up, Joyce.

apparently quieter than a short conversation. Anyway. I’m so over Joyce not knowing that Buffy’s the Slayer. Joyce grounds Buffy “for the rest of her natural life” which seems to be a slight exaggeration to a late phone call and Buffy not being in her pajamas at the right time.

At school, Cordelia’s wearing a completely weird bear backpack that she defends way too passionately. Buffy asks her about her egg and she confirms that no, nothing’s weird about it. Actually what she says is, “It’s an egg, it doesn’t emote,” which is a great line. Willow, Cordy and Buffy talk eggs and Willow offers to help with the autopsy of the creature Buffy brought with her. The camera shows us that one of the egg demons is attached to Willow’s lower back as they walk along.

Ew again.

Nearby, Xander decides to eat his hard boiled egg, which seems to be a really dumb idea even if you don’t know it’s actually a demon because he’s been carrying it around a LOT and it’s probably no longer good to eat. Right as he’s about to bite it, he sees the gross thing inside and freaks.

In the science lab, Cordelia’s egg demon comes out of her bear, unbeknownst to our heroes. Again with the random time thing. It’s pretty amazing that THIS is the bezoar’s master plan. It seems like it worked only out of sheer luck.

SOMETHING needed to get rid of this backpack. Thanks, bezoar baby.

Anyway, Willow says something about how the offspring just want to return to the mother bezoar, Cordy keels over for a minute, and both Willow and Cordy then attack Buffy and Xander and drag them into a closet, before going down to the basement with some other hosts to dig in the tunnel we previously saw.

Joyce arrives at the library to pick up Buffy (which means, Jesus, she and Xander have been unconscious for upwards of 8-10 hours, assuming they went to the science lab straightaway in the morning? They need a hospital). She finds Giles and bitches at him. Agh, shut up, Joyce. Giles shuts her up by putting an egg demon on her, thank goodness. They go down to the basement too, with like ten other people. HOW is the bezoar so good at this? In the basement, they’re all harvesting eggs from the goopy mama bezoar underneath the floor.

Buffy and Xander wake up (finally, probably with brain damage) to discover two eggs in the closet with them. They go to the

They look concussed to me.

library, where Giles helpfully left the bezoar book open to the right page. In the hallway, Jonathan is attacked by an egg demon. Poor Jonathan. They follow him into the basement and through the big tunnel.

Xander stays while Buffy goes to get “a big weapon” which is just..the worst idea. Come on, Buff, Xander’s useless. Also, she grabs the first thing she sees in the basement–some type of ax–and like, there were only about a hundred axes where she was. She runs into the Gorches and they fight. YAWN. They fall through the tunnel and then Buffy and the Gorches are fighting all the people controlled by the bezoar.

Xander’s master plan is to follow Cordelia and punch her. Look, I don’t know what his plan means. Meanwhile, Tector Gorch is…eaten or something by the bezoar. Buffy then gets sucked into the bezoar’s…hole thingy, where she kills it off-camera. I mean, this whole episode and we don’t even get a climactic fight? DOUBLE YAWN. The egg demons fall off their hosts and everyone goes to sleep. Gorch brother #2 runs away after Buffy climbs out of the hole, freaked out by how easily she killed the bezoar.

lub you giles <3

I adore the cover story they use, though, with absolutely no sarcasm. Giles blearily tells everyone coming out of the basement that it was a gas leak. “These gas things will happen.” Then he immediately asks Xander, “What was it, really?” Love you, Giles. Never change. Of course, everyone falls for it because weirder things have been covered up with less of an explanation in Sunnydale, I’m sure.

Joyce immediately yells at Buffy. Ughhhh. Like you couldn’t cut her some slack, given that there was a gas leak that knocked out dozens of people, including Joyce? Whatever, lady. She tells Buffy that she’s confined to her bedroom forever. What?

This shot is disturbing: Buffy, her MUCH older boyfriend, and her stuffed animals. A good grouping.

Episode ends with Buffy and Angel loudly and grossly kissing through her open window. Which is sweet, I guess. Aside from the volume of the thing.

Okay, done! “Bad Eggs” is what it is, in summation. It’s all part of the journey.

RE: Ted

This time, the delay in posts is totally my fault! I’m going to get two up today to try to make up for it.

This is how Ted makes me feel too, Buff.

Onto the episode! I find “Ted” one of the creepiest episodes of Buffy ever. I mean, up until Ted is revealed to be a robot. Not that the creation of Ted the Robot isn’t totally creepy and unnerving in and of itself, but trying to figure out what’s up with Ted–is he abusive? Crazy? Mind-controlling? Is he a wizard?–that’s what creeps me out in this episode. The notion of someone new coming into your life, ALL the way in, assimilating completely and winning over your loved ones and knowing that something is off, but not knowing what…that’s scary as hell!

While I like that Buffy’s intuitions, in this episode and in “Living Conditions,” are often spot on, I think I’d also like for her to be wrong sometimes. Maybe she is wrong sometimes and I’m not remembering correctly. I know that sometimes she gets an “off” vibe about people for the wrong reasons–Principal Wood in S7 comes to mind–but I don’t know. It’s sort of the opposite problem that the Harry Potter series has, where they ALWAYS think the villain is Snape/Malfoy and are ALWAYS wrong (except for a couple times they’re right). I’m undecided on this issue.

While Ted is certainly very manipulative without the drugs, I do think the drugs are necessary, particularly to win over Xander

Your friends are useless and blurry when they’re doped up on cookie and pizza drugs.

and Willow. It seems that as teenagers and Buffy’s allies, they would be harder to win over than Joyce. I’ve always wondered about the drugged food, though. Wouldn’t a tranquilizing type drug do more than just…make people complicit and happy and nice to Cordelia? Like, wouldn’t it possibly react differently depending on the person? Also, how would he have the dose right for every person? It doesn’t seem to matter HOW much people eat, either. Xander is munching on Ted cookies in nearly every scene and he doesn’t get extra lethargic or anything. It’s just a vague oversight that’s weird to me. Anyway.

Ugh, I’m totally over Jenny’s mood, the comment about Giles making her feel bad for not feeling better aside (because I do actually think that’s legitimate, as B said). I just don’t think she has any room as a Romani spy to judge others for their mortal danger or their concern about her.

I love them except for their obnoxiously loud smacking. They always kiss each other in surround sound. Stop it.

I also really enjoy Buffy and Angel in the scene where she’s complaining about Ted. Again, this is one of the things I really like about their relationship, because I think Angel supports her more on this level than her future boyfriends, even though he arguably has the least in common with her at this stage in her life. He tries, he puts herself in her place, he’s patient and understanding and empathetic. He wants to know about her life, as different as it is from his own. I chuckle when I think about him saying just once, “Okay, continue talking about your mom’s new boyfriend, or we could talk about MY TORTURED SOUL.” He doesn’t do that, though. He doesn’t invalidate her feelings, even when he’s immature and they argue. I dunno, y’all, I’ve got Bangel feels to the fullest rn.

The golf scene. THE GOLF SCENE. Ughhh, creepiest part of the episode, IMO. (Also, as a side note, love Buffy’s shirt. Would buy.) Ted’s side comment about her grades, his aggressive cheerfulness, and of course his freak-out and the way he hits his leg with the golf club and threatens Buffy–then immediately flips a switch back to aggressive cheerfulness and cookie delivery man–SO unnerving. Ughh. John Ritter really was exceptional in this episode.

ughhhh, the creeps. But dat shirt doe.

I think there are flaws in Ted’s design, because he is, after all, man-made. It still tickles me to imagine a robot holding down a call center job and going to art galleries. But anyway, I think him attacking Buffy is more…well, he’s basically programmed to “get wife, bring wife back to basement forever.” So his master plan, if a robot can have such a thing, is probably to kill Buffy (and/or anyone else who stands in his way). I think he behaves sloppily because, well, he’s a machine.

I enjoy Buffy kicking his ass, until she thinks she kills him. That’s a bummer. But seriously, that guy needed to get punched.

Here would be a perfect time for Joyce to say, “MENTAL INSTITUTION” if Normal Again had ever actually happened. OK I’ll stop now.

I want to bring up a point that B didn’t touch on, and it’s something I think a LOT about on re-watches. In the Season 6 episode “Normal Again,” we discover that after slaying her first vampire, Buffy told her parents about it and they admitted her to a psych ward. Now, I have my doubts that this actually happened. It always felt a little…sloppy to me, something the writers threw in there for an interesting episode without much thought about consistency throughout the series. For one thing, when Buffy does tell her mother (which is coming up soon!) that she’s a vampire slayer, there’s no mention of the past event. There are other inconsistencies as well.

But let’s assume, as I think we kind of have to, that this actually had happened. It puts Buffy’s actions into clearer perspective. She’s afraid of coming across as crazy to her mom. She’s unable to fully trust that her perceptions will be taken seriously by Joyce. She doesn’t push the issue in fear that she’ll be rejected by her again. I mean, it’s really actually heartbreaking when viewed through that lens. Maybe, in some recess of her mind, she worries she might actually be crazy, so that when she’s the only one who perceives something, she doesn’t have a lot of confidence in it. It also makes sense that Ted’s threat in her bedroom (that he’ll show Joyce the diary and they’ll put Buffy in a mental institution) is a very REAL threat, and helps to push her over the edge into beating him up. Otherwise, couldn’t she just tell Joyce, “It’s fiction, it’s a novella”? The fact that she freaks at the thought of Ted taking her diary makes sense.

Obviously, again, I’m projecting the events of “Normal Again” onto this episode, as I doubt very much the writers had such an episode in mind while creating “Ted.” Still, it’s interesting to think about!

The Sunnydale police force at work again! First of all, lawyer up, Buffy! Or at least have your mom in the interrogation room, you’re a minor! Anyway, Buffy wears her depression overalls the next day to school, so you know she’s struggling with believing she killed a human. Her friends and Giles don’t help much, with their aghast and whatnot. I do think this is foreshadowing Buffy’s emotional response to the many deaths she is part of unwillingly–Angel’s, the mayor’s dude, etc.

Thoughtfully eating snap peas, never to mention Ted again.

Anyway, the episode gets wrapped up as neatly as such an episode can be. Except that the final conversation between Buffy and Joyce seems to imply Joyce never finds out that Ted was actually a robot. How could that be possible? How was his reemergence explained? Where did Buffy put the robot corpse immediately after destroying him? I mean, it doesn’t make sense. Maybe it’s that good old Sunnydale denial kicking in again. I think finding out your boyfriend was a robot is way easier to handle than finding out your boyfriend was a zombie serial killer who disappeared without explanation and could conceivably appear again at any moment, but that’s just me.


This whole episode is so dark. Prepare for many dark pictures.

This whole episode is so dark. Prepare for many dark pictures.

I want to start out by saying that this was the very first episode of Buffy I ever watched. I think I watched it when it originally aired, which would have made me 13 years old (a couple months away from 14). I was babysitting at night and the kids were asleep and the people didn’t have blinds or curtains on their windows, so I was very aware that people could see in but I couldn’t see out. I was extremely creeped out.

I have to say that I think this is one of the episodes that holds up the absolute best and hits practically every emotional beat dead on. RIP John Ritter, you were pretty amazing. <3

They look sad here but I swear it's a happy conversation.

They look sad here but I swear it’s a happy conversation.

So, jumping right into it, Buffy and the Scoobies are walking home and Xander and Willow are having a passionate debate about the Captain and Tenille. I had no idea who these people were when I was 13 years old and honest, here I am at 31 and I still only know the names so I have no stake in their fight. I’m sure it’s funnier if you know who they’re talking about.

There’s a mandatory line dropped to explain how the evil assassins are totally no longer a problem for… reasons and letting us know that Angel is healing up in his vampiric way and Buffy is taking care of him. The ways that vampires heal or get wounded is baffling to me but I guess in this case Dru probably took some of his life force or something? So probably he is weak? Who knows. I should probably not overthink it. The point is that it has been nice and quiet with Spike and Dru presumed dead, but obviously not.

But then Buffy’s door is not fully closed and her house is abnormally dark (apparently Buffy’s mom doesn’t believe in lights while on a date) and then she walks into her worst imaginable nightmare — her mother making out with a man.

Um. Oops? You are home early?  Unrelated: I love Joyce's dress.

Um. Oops? You are home early?
Unrelated: I love Joyce’s dress.

I like to imagine that this is actually just Alyson Hannigan making this face about how excited she is to be next to John Ritter.

I like to imagine that this is actually just Alyson Hannigan making this face about how excited she is to be next to John Ritter.

Her mother is clearly very happy and desperately wants her to be happy. Her friends are all immediately hitting it off with him, and this is one of my favorite things in this episode. It feels like a betrayal to her that her friends (particularly Xander but even Willow to some extent) do not see what she sees. He seems like a nice guy, he’s getting Willow a computer thing, he’s making amazing food.

One of the most interesting thing about this to me is that this is actually a theme for Buffy. We’ll see it in several other episodes, most notably the evil roommate episode. No one believes her, she comes across like she’s just being crazy and is unhappy with her situation and is trying to turn it INTO something else because she’s unhappy. But that’s not what it is and the fact that no one

Stop making Buffy make this face!

Stop making Buffy make this face!

takes her seriously, that she’s treated like she’s crazy or being hysterical, these are always dangerous things that end up having truly negative consequences. She can’t necessarily put her finger on what’s wrong but she instinctively knows something is wrong. She keeps trying to put it aside when her friends attempt to (usually lovingly) tell her that maybe she’s just being crazy, but she’s not. She’s right and they should have taken her seriously. I think this is one of the most resonant things in this episode to me and it meant a lot when I was a teenager.

Look how nerdy and perfect he is!

Look how nerdy and perfect he is!

I also cannot even deal with how much John Ritter nails this role. Like everything he does is creepy and yet not SPECIFICALLY creepy (at least in front of other people). You can see how it could totally get a teenager’s hackles up and yet make a mother think she’s being unreasonable. His “little lady” and “sweethearts” are not earned, he doesn’t deserve to use them, and yet you can see how Joyce would think it was sweet. Honestly, I don’t think the drugged food is necessary.

Giles is having a really hard time not occasionally stalking Jenny apparently. Also

It would be hard to deal with this face.

It would be hard to deal with this face.

it has apparently only been 3 weeks since she sort-of half turned into a demon. Time is a strange thing in Buffy. I actually really love this scene of Giles checking to see if she’s okay and Jenny being upset that he’s “making her feel bad that she doesn’t feel better.” That really strikes me as legitimate… although a lot of her emotional beats are a little weird given that we know she’s a Romani spy. Giles sad face is heartbreakingly sad.

I also really like Buffy’s one scene with Angel in this episode. He lets her talk about Ted for quite a while, then gently leads her around to how her mom may need someone in her life. She feels better about it by the end of the conversation, understands what may be up. It actually seems like a very healthy interaction and it’s one of the only normal interactions we ever really see them have. I mean, she’s bandaging him at the time but whatever.

Completely appropriate face.

Completely appropriate face.

The miniature golf thing fascinates me because Ted’s turn into outright abusive is completely frightening. It still creeps me out. I cannot understand why no one else could hear him, but let’s ignore that. I remember particularly when I was young I was baffled as to why she didn’t just tell everyone right then immediately what he had just said! Why did she wait so long, why did she tell her mom like she did? But now it makes a lot more sense to me. She’s already feeling like no one’s taking her seriously, her word against his isn’t really going to stand up very well. Not to mention she’s frightened and caught off guard. She really does love her mom, she doesn’t want to hurt her. Her reluctance to finally tell her ends up coming across like it may not even be true and, although it’s a terrible mistake on Joyce’s part (that I suppose we can chalk up to drugs possibly…?), I could almost understand why she didn’t believe her.

It’s interesting to me to watch now because Buffy has so much “evidence”

She does fantastic awkward teenager body language.

She does fantastic awkward teenager body language.

throughout the episode and yet she doesn’t come forward with it. Why not tell her mom the truth? Tell her she went to his work, tell her that he’s telling everyone he’s taking off for their wedding in two months? Well, her mom just wrote her off. She’s isolated and frightened, she doesn’t feel safe or that she has enough to prove anything. Everything is wrong and off but he would probably have an explanation for it all. It’s a tremendous balance to achieve.

So she goes out looking for more vampires, hoping to find something she can actually fight. When she fails, she comes back and her nightmare is worse. Ted is in her room, in her space. He’s threatening her, he’ll expose her life, he’ll destroy her. When he hits her, Buffy feels vindicated, she can finally hit back. And in that moment, she kills him.

Now before I get into that, I want to mention a few confusing things I have about

He looks weird thinner before he's about to go into the fight but also it doesn't look like a stuntman.

He looks weird thinner before he’s about to go into the fight but also it doesn’t look like a stuntman.

this whole section. My first is how did Ted intend to explain the bruise or broken jaw Buffy would have? She didn’t have one because she’s the Slayer but I assume he didn’t really believe that and would have no way of knowing her capacities anyway. It seems sloppy. My second question is, at this point Joyce does not know that Buffy is the Slayer obviously. So how did she internally explain to herself the fact that her daughter performed martial arts and a tremendous amount of fighting prowess as she knocked Ted down the hall? She didn’t just walk out when he was at the top of the stairs, she saw the whole hall fight and it doesn’t make a lot of sense. I’m just saying.

As it is though, Buffy does not bruise. So it’s a little hard to prove that he brutally hit her in the jaw and it’s a bit of a thing to the cops as to why she might have killed him. Incidentally, I believe we will see this detective in later episodes? I mean, I guess Buffy ultimately gets off of murder charges because the body is missing and Joyce and Buffy both insist they saw him. That seems a little flimsy to me but on the other hand, this is Sunnydale and police work is probably a little different here.

I really should get tired of Buffy's excellent devastated face but I never do.

I really should get tired of Buffy’s excellent devastated face but I never do.

Buffy is devastated by her taking of a human life and what I’m kind-of interested in is the fact that Ted was not human does not actually substantially change that. Like it does change it but it doesn’t change that she has the capacity for that, if that makes sense? I feel like it’s a darkness element that will stay with her and who knows, maybe it’s part of her reaction to when her and Faith accidentally kill a man. I also think it’s interesting that Giles makes a big deal about taking human life even though we absolutely know via end of Season 5 that he will be more than capable and with no regrets that we see. Although obviously that is different in the sense of him believing the world depends on it, it’s still a human life and he takes it pretty mercilessly.

Anyway. Giles is out patrolling when Jenny for some reason chooses THIS time

Jenny looks great with a crossbow, even if she... cannot use it at all.

Jenny looks great with a crossbow, even if she… cannot use it at all.

in the middle of the dark night to come apologize to him and they are attacked by a vampire. She accidentally shoots him with a crossbow, he is very badass and pulls it out of his back to stake the vampire and they go together to the hospital, laughing and being chummy again. I would really like to know what the Sunnydale hospital is like. I hate medical dramas but I would watch ALL of that one.

Buffy sits in her room, devastated in her overalls.

This is not her in her room but I wanted to show the overalls. I love that Buffy's mourning outfit is overalls.

This is not her in her room but I wanted to show the overalls. I love that Buffy’s mourning outfit is overalls.

And then Ted arrives, ready to make things right, while the Scoobies put together the final pieces investigating his house. I mean, you know. The end is what it is. John Ritter has some AMAZING lines. Apparently Ted is a serial killer robot who thinks he’s going after the wife who left him. He just keeps killing them and putting them in his closet, which seems like not a sustainable plan and also why does no one ever look for these women or connect them? Does he get new jobs each time? Does he space them out? Do they all look similar to Joyce? Is there some kind of checklist? Regardless, none of that is really the point. He tries to take Joyce away but Buffy comes to save the day (while Joyce is conveniently unconscious) and uses his beloved cast iron skillet. He tells her he will not stand for this kind of malarkey in his house and she assures him this is not his house before exposing all his robot brains.

Buffy and her mom bond on the porch and talk about renting Thelma and Louise because it apparently has no horror and no men…. even though it definitely has both those things. It doesn’t have romance though, unless you count the two women. That is true.

Buffy wanders through the halls with her friends (including Cordelia, who is now just hanging out with them) explaining the details we haven’t gotten yet. And then, just as she’s about to go into the library she freaks out and runs away… and we see Giles and Jenny kissing. Awwwww…. grown-ups. Enjoy your very short-lived romance. Sigh.



re: What’s My Line? – Part 2

I would like to note that this episode opens with Giles saying “Last week on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” I assume this is because it is a two part episode, so he’s specifically referring to events that just happened and not to things that have happened at some point previously but it stood out to me because I didn’t remember him saying that before. This has no relevance to anything. I just will observe WHATEVER I FEEL LIKE OBSERVING!

Okay, I’m good.

Kendra really does look like a fish here, which is sad. Also Buffy wears this outfit almost the entire episode BUT STILL LOOKS BEAUTIFUL.

Kendra really does look like a fish here, which is sad. Also Buffy wears this outfit almost the entire episode BUT STILL LOOKS BEAUTIFUL.

I agree that Bianca Lawson looks great in her strange pink pants. I also think Buffy looks weirdly beautiful in the opening scene, all rumpled and shit. I am basically just in love with Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy forever, which is sad because it is impossible to be in love with her as basically anything else but I was SO CONNECTED to her in this role.

Anyway. I am glad Joelle pointed out that the terrible accent is not Bianca Lawson’s fault. It was definitely a terrible mistake. I would like to point out another thing about Bianca Lawson, because I love her. This thing is that Bianca Lawson is the world’s oldest teenager. No, really. She has been playing a

It is not impossible to speculate that Bianca Lawson herself might be an immortal being.

It is not impossible to speculate that Bianca Lawson herself might be an immortal being.

teenager for much longer than any human has been a teenager. Based on her imdb you can see that her first real role was in Saved By the Bell: The New Class in 1993, where it is more than safe to say she was playing a teenager (and in fact she would have only been 14 at that point). Her ongoing credits include things like Dawson’s Creek, Sister, Sister and The Secret Life of an American Teenager. As recently as 2012 she was playing a high school girl’s same age girlfriend in Pretty Little Liars and her most recent credits are in Teen Wolf up to this year, where I cannot with certainty say she is playing a teenager but… you know. I hope so. Even if she is not, that is twenty years of playing teenage roles, and for like 3/4 of those she was… not a teenager. I just wanted to point this out. Because it amuses me every time I see her. That said, she is fucking awesome and I love her to pieces and I am always happy to see her.

I would like to note that I love the Pink Ranger insult. I did not watch Power Rangers because I was not allowed to but it SEEMS apt.

Giles is deeply concerned and serious about this.

Giles is deeply concerned and serious about this.

Now the whole thing about the watchers possibly expunging records of previous Slayers who had died is interesting. I had never ever thought that. I guess that’s possible, but I had always assumed that what made Buffy special was that she had someone around to save her, whereas other Slayers work in basically complete isolation. More on that later. Also, it couldn’t be precedented, could it? Because when Kendra dies, then Faith is called up. So if it had happened before then we would have already had more than one Slayer out there. Are we to assume that possibly there are multiple Slayers running around due to something that could have happened a hundred years ago? Like you can’t shut the magic off, can you? Or am I missing something?

It’s interesting that Willy brings Angel to Spike but this may to some extent be a downside of how Buffy doesn’t kill anyone? I mean, that’s probably known. Like she’s not going to kill Willy, no matter what he does to her. He may be slime but he’s human slime. Spike, on the other hand…

This picture does not do justice to how TERRIBLE this CGI was.

This picture does not do justice to how TERRIBLE this CGI was.

Seriously, why does no one worry about Xander and Cordelia? Like I know there’s a lot going on but you sent them to a death house, Giles. Good lord. Whatever. They argue, they kiss. It’s silly. I mean, I do actually like Xander/Cordelia (I’m inexplicably opposed to joined names) but I mostly like them once they’re actually a couple. I do enjoy the crazy music in the background when they kiss. That’s fun.

I totally agree with Joelle. Bug guy is the least creepy villain ever. I could definitely kill him. Also, when he falls down all over

Look at the bugs. Almost nowhere but her cardigan.

Look at the bugs. Almost nowhere but her cardigan.

Cordelia, why doesn’t she take off her cardigan? Like the vast majority of those on are her cardigan (and still are when they run off, incidentally) and it seems like the obvious first thing to do. How do the worms kill people? Do they have teeth? Do they come down your throat? I am super unclear. No way I can imagine seems plausible.

Buffy’s immediate hostility to Kendra is interesting. I mean, I feel like it comes in waves a

Giles is just so oblivious.

Giles is just so oblivious.

little and they just don’t handle it very well. On the one hand, Kendra did attack her out of nowhere and, let’s be fair, is not super nice to Buffy either. Also as much as Buffy wants out of her life, she does have that very ambiguous relationship with it where she is protective of it as well and is really very insecure (I feel like we see that played out much better when Faith comes along). Also, I really do think it sort-of taps her daddy issues when Kendra and Giles start bonding about stuff. Buffy’s daddy issues are rarely touched on directly in the show but they are TREMENDOUS obviously and she definitely has a hard time realizing she is smart and capable, even if not in all the traditional ways. And I think particularly at this point, it’s clear that Daddy Giles is not at all attuned to her feelings and he does not reassure her at all.

This is something I’ve really picked up on a lot more in the rewatch is just how distant Buffy and Giles were initially? Like that is a relationship that really did develop over a lot of time and I appreciate that. Just a sidenote.

Dru torturing Angel is a thing that puzzles me. Like my initial reaction is that she

But Dru is so pretty being crazy. She has such a unique look.

But Dru is so pretty being crazy. She has such a unique look.

must be torturing him with all the details of her dead family because she knows how upset Angel will be about what Angelus did. But she seems genuinely distraught about it. While I suppose this could be put off on her being insane, the truth is that it is one of the many cracks in the Buffy vampire lore. I mean, Dru is a demon. She’s not the woman she was. If he had vamped her before murdering all of her family, she almost certainly would have murdered them herself. So mourning their deaths is unreasonable. I like her monologue because I like all of Dru’s monologues but it doesn’t make a lot of sense.

Does the Slayer handbook every come up again? I feel like when the Watchers came back and got all unhappy with Giles for his training methods, it would have made a lot of sense to be like “and also you totally ignored THIS ENTIRE HANDBOOK YOU HAD” but I don’t think they did.

Pause for a Willow/Oz conversation.
“Your hair… is brown.”
“Yeah, sometimes.”
I know that the cookie conversation is everyone’s favorite and I love that one a lot too but I feel like that interchange is overlooked because it is just an adorable line.

I am probably the only person to ever smile so much about getting shot.

I am probably the only person to ever smile so much about getting shot.

So Buffy shows up to the seminar and the police woman there immediately begins shooting up the school, takes poor Jonathan hostage (hey Jonathan! It’s so good to see you!) and like… yeah. I love that Sunnydale is to the point where a policewoman can shoot up a school and school doesn’t even close down. Or really anything. That is how disengaged this town is. I mean, my initial thought was that probably she was not a real policewoman but how would she have been able to teach the seminar unless she had done at least SOME time on a real force? It’s crazy. This town is just literally crazy. I love it. Also Oz takes what looks like an extremely direct hit in the shoulder but apparently he was only grazed somehow.

I did not notice until Joelle pointed it out that Spike says this is the full moon and the Scoobies say this is the new moon. Come ON, folks. You could have like… checked basic writing.

My explanation for the ritual not killing him growing up was that probably no one had ever bothered trying to stop it before it killed them. Like vampires being evil and all if anyone ever used it, they probably just went all the way. But since they do actually seem to care about each other, I’m not sure that really holds up.

Mostly I just love everyone's expressions here but I think that Kendra's inability to even look a male her age in the eye also does not scream "things are fine."

Mostly I just love everyone’s expressions here but I think that Kendra’s inability to even look a male her age in the eye also does not scream “things are fine.”

I do not agree with Joelle on the whole difference in their upbringings. I feel like the show overall clearly posits the idea that it’s Buffy’s support, her family and friends that give her strength, that make her a DIFFERENT type of Slayer than the others have been able to do. Everything we know about the creation of the entire Slayer line is about subjugation and women being cut off from community and from others to fill a calling created by and overseen by men. The show ends by cutting that out and by empowering those women (theoretically) to have a community of friends and others like them — to have connection to what they’re fighting for. Kendra says not to feel sorry for her and I agree pity is a useless emotion but I don’t think it follows that we’re supposed to be okay with how she’s been raised or what has been done to her. And I think it’s arguable that there’s even more of an othering there because she’s black, and more specifically because she’s the only PoC we’ve seen. Granted, this is in context of the whole show more than what we’ve seen so far but I still think it’s relevant. It’s true that Buffy is more impulsive than Kendra (particularly when it comes to her friends) and that is the downside of her ties to the world but overall, it’s pretty exclusively spelled out in the show that intimately knowing the world she’s fighting for is what allows her to have a longer life than most.

Let’s see, big final battle. Lots of kicking and stuff. They clearly have a bigger

I like Willow's fight face.

I like Willow’s fight face.

budget for this these days. I agree that Patrice does in fact seem human, which I had never thought about before. But she doesn’t fight with anything supernatural at all so… that is a little troubling. Also, Cordelia and Xander kill the bug man with a gallon jug of liquid adhesive. What would you need a gallon of liquid adhesive for? Like, other than this, obviously.

Buffy knocks Spike unconscious and then just…

Hey you two. This is super touching. Maybe it could wait until the building wasn't burning down around you.

Hey you two. This is super touching. Maybe it could wait until the building wasn’t burning down around you.

leave him and Dru there? I know that they should have both caught fire and died. Like that would make sense. But also they are big and evil and maybe while they are unconscious and easy targets, you should just finish the job. Obviously I’m glad you didn’t but it’s not great strategy. Whatever. Buffy is busy having a super poorly timed staring into Angel’s eyes moment while the building burns down around them.

Oz says adorable things to Willow and I mostly focus on how I used to have one of those EXACT NECKLACES and so did absolutely everyone I

I know Joelle used this already but focus on the necklace.

I know Joelle used this already but focus on the necklace.

knew in the 90’s. I haven’t seen one in forever. I think the takeaway from the conversation is that all monkeys are french. I like Willow fine but do not think she has the sweetest smile I’ve ever seen. I am not enamored with Alyson Hannigan, although obviously I think she does well in the role.

Buffy tells Kendra that her shirt totally looked better on Buffy, which is nonsense, because Kendra has amazing boobs and Buffy (who is

They both look not great here but 1) check out the shirt and 2) check out Buffy's pants.

They both look not great here but 1) check out the shirt and 2) check out Buffy’s pants.

absolutely stunning) has… basically no boobs, and that shirt looks much better with a figure. Then they have a touching goodbye scene, during which I am always distracted by the TERRIBLE EDITING. In almost all scenes where we are looking at Buffy and seeing Kendra’s back, her braid is over her shoulder, but then when we switch positions it is behind her back. I know it’s a stupid thing but it’s also so glaringly obvious and it has driven me nuts for years. Also Buffy’s pants are a disturbing shade of green again. Joelle basically said all the important and emotional things about this part so I’m sticking with editing and pants.

Over the shoulder in one frame...

Over the shoulder in one frame…

Behind her back in the next.

Behind her back in the next.

Next I get to do Ted AND I AM SO EXCITED.

What’s My Line?: Part 2

So here we go! Part 2 of the two-parter you may or may not want two parts of. What I mostly have to say is: holy inconsistencies. I will admit, however, that these two episodes are important for the plot of the show. I mean, Kendra’s appearance adds SO MUCH to Slayer lore / is the first time Buffy feels less alone as the Slayer / will eventually lead to Faith, etc etc. So yeah. Important episode, even if parts of it annoy me. Let’s get into it.

The episode opens where the last one ended with Buffy and Kendra facing off. I don’t remember what we’re supposed to think during this cliffhanger. It was a really long time ago that I first saw this episode and I was a tiny child at the time. So needless to say, I don’t know what reaction we’re *supposed* to have. Buffy is suspicious of Kendra, obviously, but considering this girl viciously attacked her out of nowhere, lowers her guard REALLY QUICKLY and suggests they go talk to Giles.

It was hard to find a screenshot of Kendra where she didn’t look like a dead fish, but I promise she looks lovely in the episode.

We find out that Kendra was sent by her Watcher to Sunnydale to “do her duty” and “kill vampires” which is utterly vague and unhelpful. Bianca Lawson looks beautiful, though, even in her silk pants.

Can I have a time-out here for a second? Because the accent. We need to address the accent. I don’t blame Bianca Lawson for this at ALL. In fact, when she auditioned for the part, Kendra had no accent. The day before they shot, the people in charge said, “What about a Jamaican accent?” So Bianca had one day to prepare. Bianca pointed out that Kendra doesn’t actually talk like a Jamaican person with Jamaican patois, and they ignored her and told her to keep the lines as they were, otherwise the average viewer wouldn’t understand her. So that’s really gross and unfortunate and honestly, makes Bianca herself look bad when it was a completely avoidable situation by the writers (or whoever’s in charge of such decisions). Sigh.

Anyway. Buffy and Kendra go to see Giles, who is incredibly perplexed by the situation. And Buffy is being aggressively

Chill, Buffy. Also, what is with her outfit in this scene?

dismissive and cold toward Kendra for…no real reason? I mean, I’m trying to find a reason and can’t. We know (and will continue to learn) that Buffy has her own Slayer style and really doesn’t like people messing with her groove. But still. She’s so mean! Even before Kendra tries to mess with her groove.

Giles figures out that Buffy dying at the end of S1 must have triggered Kendra’s activation. (And I love Buffy’s “Just a little!” line.) It wasn’t until this particular viewing that I figured something out myself: I’d always been sort of puzzled as to how one Slayer dying, being revived, and two Slayers existing could possibly be unprecedented, as Giles claims. I mean, in the history of the world, that never happened? Seems unlikely. But now I think that even if it had happened, the Council would have probably covered it up, expunge those records, whatever. They wouldn’t necessarily want Slayers to know that they could share their duties. That would make controlling them harder. Just a thought.

Kendra reveals that she trapped Angel and left him for dead. Before Buffy can rescue him, Willy snatches him up and dumps him in the sewer for Spike. Oh, Willy. It’s probably better for you (and your clientele) if you stay on the Slayer’s good side.

What’s a season of Buffy without terrible bug CGI?

Back at Buffy’s house, Cordy is talking to fake-makeup-salesman, who turns into a bunch of maggots, all maggoty like. Xander and Cordy hide in the basement and block off the crack under the door and…I don’t know, guys, this guy (demon? Bug? What is he?) just seems really easy to kill. A couple matches, some heavy boots, squishing the bugs as they come under the door…that’d do the trick, wouldn’t it? Do you really need to research that? This is one Buffy villain even I think I could handle, and I am an absurdly out of shape, weak person.

At Willy’s place, Kendra and Buffy see that Angel’s missing but not dead, based on the absence of ashes. Kendra then attacks Willy on-sight, which is entertaining. He lies and they believe him (??) and they leave. Meanwhile, Spike presents Angel to Dru, as an ingredient in the recipe to restore her back to health. I agree with B’s observation last time: this whole ritual is very vague. Gilded cross + ancient text + sire + full moon = restore a sick vampire from mysterious ailment? Okay then.

I like this shot. Just get along, guys! You could be friends! Look at your mutual stank eyes!

At Buffy’s school, Kendra goes completely unnoticed by faculty and the other students despite her loud accent and strange clothing. I feel strongly that IRL, Giles would be questioned/reprimanded by the administration more than he is. Anyway, Kendra and Giles geek out over books together and we learn more and more about Kendra. She’s a stickler for the rules, she’s been training to be a Slayer her whole life, she’s book smart, she goes about her Slayer duties in a way that’s 100% different from Buffy’s. (But can I say, I find it highly unlikely that Giles would not have at least mentioned the Slayer handbook to Buffy by now? ‘Cause yeah, that’s unlikely.)

Anyway, Giles and Kendra go off and Buffy wonders if it would be so bad being replaced by Slayer #2 so that she could have a normal life. Oh, Buffy. This is something she’ll think about from now until, well, the very last episode of the show.

Xordelia, the beginning.

Given that Giles knows about Spike’s ritual, and given that just a few hours ago they were all freaked out about never-ending assassins, NOBODY seems concerned that Angel, Cordelia and Xander are missing. Cordy and Xander in particular. Giles sent them off to check on Buffy and they weren’t heard from again and didn’t show up to school. Surely that warrants some concern? Regardless, they’re still trapped in Buffy’s basement, bickering as they always do. And then they kiss right in the middle. I love Xordelia. After the kiss, they make a mad dash to escape and the maggots move really fast and get on Cordy and Xander hoses her down. Yawn.

Willow and Oz talk more, which yay! Love it. No complaints there.

Buffy (again, seeming to have forgotten completely about any and all assassins, when just yesterday she was grabbing innocent students by their throats) is attacked by one pretending to be a cop. Honestly, she acts exactly like every other Sunnydale cop by shooting for no reason, so if I were Buffy I wouldn’t automatically think “assassin.” I kid. Oz gets shot in the shoulder which seems like it should be a huge deal, but isn’t for some reason. Assassin escapes.

Giles, you’re really dropping the ball this episode, dude.

In the library, Willow bandages Buffy’s knee (what? must have missed that injury) and Xander and Cordy arrive. Suddenly, everyone’s all panicked about the Order of Taraka again. Kendra gets impossibly awkward around Xander. Et cetera. The gang finally figures out that Spike might have Angel. How Giles didn’t know that Angel sired Drusilla, based on all that he does seem to know about Dru’s past, is bizarre. Also, suddenly the ritual has to happen on the new moon, not the full moon as Spike said earlier, but conveniently both are happening tonight anyway. Have I mentioned that I am annoyed by this ritual a lot? Even the writers don’t seem to care about it.

Buffy’s all ragey and ready for action, which will come in handy because at that very moment, Dru is torturing Angel for funsies. I like Dru’s craziness, as usual.

Scoobies are in full research mode in the library. Cordy and Xander are inexplicably trying to find Bug Man and Cop Lady in the Order of Taraka handbook or whatever. But why? The Order will never stop coming, right, unless called back? Is there really a master list of infinity assassins somewhere? I don’t need to repeat that I dislike this whole Order thing, but I will.

Again, dead fish. I promise it’s not all the time.

What I like about Kendra (because there’s at least one thing) is that her situation isn’t played up for pity. Through her, we get to see someone who thoroughly enjoys being a Slayer, who thrives on it, who has gladly dedicated her life to it. She also keeps her secret identity very secret and shuts herself off from civilians. This could have been bad chracterization, leading to a whole “poor foreign girl’s life is so markedly different and sad” but it’s not. In the library scene, she remarks that Buffy’s life is very different from hers, that she was taught not to make room for distractions from her calling (even family). Being a Slayer is the most important thing to her people (which people?? ughhh I still wish she had more of a cohesive back story). But she tells Buffy point-black not to pity her, that they are different people with different opinions and that’s okay. I really like that.

It irritates me a little bit that even after that discussion, Buffy still feels the need to coach her. Maybe she’s right in that a Slayer needs to harness her emotions and use them to her advantage, but honestly? Kendra hasn’t stumbled or messed up yet, not once. So maybe it’s okay that they have different fighting styles and Buffy should just accept that?

Here’s a tip: don’t trust someone named Snitch.

Buffy figures out that Willy the Snitch probably knows which church Spike is going to use for the ritual (but why? Why would Spike tell Willy that?) and Angel tries to get Spike to dust him before the ritual can start. The only thing I like about whimpering Angel in this scene is that he’s acting a lot like Angelus when he’s taunting Spike about Dru, and that’s interesting to me. Anyway, Dru stops Spike from killing Angel, and Spike remarks that if he kills him now, “Dru doesn’t have a chance.” And if Dru dies, Sunnydale would be spared her true strength. This is even more confusing. So whatever’s wrong with Dru, done to her by a mob in Prague, is eventually going to kill her? WHAT is it? Also, the only noticeable change in Dru after the ritual is that she is a bit stronger and can do her mind-trick power thing again, right? This is all so vague.

Buffy and Kendra argue about the merit of saving a vampire’s life, blah blah, Buffy goes off with Willy who promptly leads her into a vamp trap. Seriously, why is she getting fooled more than once in this episode by someone whose moniker is SNITCH?

She digs it.

Spike starts the ritual. Turns out the golden cross is actually a knife (is that its whole purpose, then?) which he stabs through Angel and Dru’s tied-together hands. Dru seems to like it. Willy and the vamps bring Buffy right to Spike which, as Spike points out, is arguably the dumbest thing they could do. Buffy flips out at the sight of Angel all limp and hand-bleedy. Kendra backflips through a wall to help save Buffy and they tag team Spike, which I’ve always enjoyed. (I just want everyone to get along, okay.)

Big fight ensues, which the Scoobies join in on. (Wait, how did they know which church it was?) Giles and Willow dust a vampire, which is nice. Cordy and Xander kill Bug Man, BORING. Cop Lady is part of the fight, this time with knives, BORING. I am so sick of the Order. Also, Kendra hits and presumably kills Cop Lady, which calls into question: Cop Lady was human, right? We find out moments before she’s knocked out that her name is Patrice, which certainly sounds human. Does Kendra not get as hung up on that fact as Buffy does?

Angel’s hand, miraculously healed!

Buffy frees Angel from his bondage. Spike sets fire to the church and grabs Dru to leave. Buffy hits him with a lantern, he falls and gets crushed by the pipe organ. Angel’s hand is IMMEDIATELY fine and injury-free, which may be due to the knife being mystical…who even knows with this ritual anymore.

And then we’re at the end. Willow and Oz have their animal cracker conversation, and Oz tells her she has the sweetest smile he’s ever seen, and this is one of my favorite Ozlow moments (of which there are thousands).

Okay but seriously, Alyson Hannigan has the sweetest smile any of us have ever seen.

Xander and Cordelia also kiss again in a classroom, suggesting it won’t be just a one-time fluke. And Kendra goes back home (to Jamaica? Will we ever know? No). Anyway, the Slayers have a sweet moment where Buffy thanks her for helping Angel. And then Kendra says my favorite line of the episode: “You always do that, talk about slaying like it’s a job. It’s not. It’s who you are.” This is a lesson Buffy will literally be learning for the whole show, so it’s a nice moment here. Also, their little glimmer of camaraderie in this scene is good. All in all, an okay ending.

Oh, and then Dru pulls Spike out of the burned-out wreckage of the church because apparently Angel DIDN’T have to die for the ritual to work and you’d think Giles’ books might have mentioned that. Also, I get how they survived the pipe organ falling on them, but the fire? Spike is underneath charred wood pieces and he’s a vampire. I think we’ve scene vamps burst into flame for way less than that. Oh well. What’s one more inconsistency at this point?

Spike’s hand, not on fire.

Re: What’s My Line: Pt 1

I’ll start this off by saying that I’m completely unable to answer B’s burning questions about the typical high school experience because, well, I was totally detached for my duration of high school. To the point where I was just flipping through my yearbook the other day and had NO familiarity with about 80-90% of its content. Who are all those people? What the hell is Winter Festival? Etc. I didn’t spend my high school years trying to engage myself at all. In fact, I spent them mostly staying in and watching Buffy reruns so…here we are.

Did this happen at my high school? It’s entirely possible. It’s also entirely possible I never went to high school with how much I actually remember.

So yeah, I haven’t the slightest clue whether or not my school had a career fair like this or if students filled out surveys. I know that I explicitly did not do this thing, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Anyway.

I do generally like this episode, a far bit more than B does, I think. I don’t know. I’m always happy to get to it when I get to it, though I suppose I’ve never singled it out as one I want to watch on its lonesome.

In this post, I’m going to touch on what I think this episode does well, what it sets up for the future, and where it definitely lacks.

First things first: Buffy’s gloom and doom. I feel like this is one of the mopey Buffy instances that people who hate mopey Buffy really hate, but I don’t know. I get it. As a somewhat listless post-college slightly unemployed person myself, Buffy’s concerns about growing up and doing something with

She’s not happy.

her life are all of our concerns, except, you know. She can’t do anything in her life. Not anything that requires excessive amounts of training and man hours, at least. At any moment, she could be required to kill demons or stop an apocalypse and that’s just not conducive to studying or interning or working long hours somewhere. That’s not to say she won’t have jobs, but a career? Nah.

Oz and Willow. Oh my god yessss, this is the first time they actually meet, isn’t it? GO OZLOW I LOVE YOU. Oz being a genius was always funny to be because he’s such a sarcastic, humorously self-deprecating slacker and I think it’s funny. I do think this story line ultimately lacks because, well, we just don’t get enough Oz on screen to explore it. I want more! I want to know what he’ll major in! What career path he’ll go down! His upcoming wolfiness gets in the way of developing his academic and professional pursuits but still, I’m curious.  The problem here is that we need more Oz. More Oz is always the solution.

Team Oslow 5ever

The Order of Taraka. I don’t disagree that they’re lame. However, I think they’re only lame because they give up really fast. I could see how an unrelenting troop of baddies coming at you from all directions and not slowing down or stopping would be troublesome (for one thing, when/where would you sleep?), even if individually they might be easy to kill. (And who says they all are easy to kill, anyway? What if Buffy just lucked out with some duds?) But yeah, the Order of Taraka always reminds me of The Three from S1. Oh, you don’t remember the Three? Neither do I, until at one point Buffy is telling Faith they were one of her toughest kills. What? I guess maybe, in theory…

So presh.

Buffy and Angel. I agree that Buffy’s bedroom scene is not Angel’s best moment, aside from him clutching Mr. Gordo to his chest while he waits for her. They’re both acting like 16-year-olds here when really only the 16-year-old can get away with doing that. His behavior comes down to his petulant insecurity about having relationships with people and, well, his deep-seated belief that he’s no good for Buffy.

I don’t think he’s TOTALLY off base with assuming Buffy’s wish to “have a normal life, like she did before” refers to him, though. Hear me out. Right before Buffy turns to him to say that, she looks in the mirror where only her reflection shines back. I think she means it when she tells him, “You’re the one freaky thing in my freaky world that still makes sense to me.” But I also think she’s being incredibly naive. I mean, of course she is. She’s 16 and in love for the first time. The fact that she tells him she wishes they could be normal kids is a red flag, honestly. She’s able to forget that he’s actually a 200-year-old tormented demon with a soul, and he’s never able to do that.

I love Bangel but he should probably just end things after this scene. Buffy’s in a weird, potentially dangerous place of romanticizing the “weirdness” of their relationship without taking into account that, yes, dating Angel will hold her back in a thousand different ways. They’re not on the same point in their lives, and she tends to forget that – either willfully or by accident. Angel handles it TERRIBLY but again, it’s quite possible he spent 150 years eating rats and not talking to humans ever, so I mean…he needs practice? I don’t know. There should be studies about the kinds of personality disorders that 200-year-old vampires with souls develop but until then, we can only speculate.


I do LOVE the ice skating scene, though. One of my favorite Buffy/Angel moments, corniness be damned. And I, too, have always felt a twinge of nervousness when anyone makes out with a vamp face. Be careful!

I think the ice-skating scene (“you shouldn’t have to touch me when I’m like this”) goes back to Angel’s insecurity and sheds more light on it. He’s aware of his demon side and aware that Buffy is the opposite of it. It’s ironic, how aware of it he is, based on what’s to come. There are so many hints to the fact that Angel is going to lose his soul that I didn’t notice before. Buffy’s line, then, “I didn’t even notice,” is indicative of her naivety again. She implicitly trusts Angel, even when she probably shouldn’t. He knows that she shouldn’t (maybe just because he’s aware of how EVIL his evil side is) and seems to struggle with whether or not to spare her from it. I don’t know. It’s not a situation I’d want to be in, even though as an adult I can totally see why he should probably end things.

Also, as badly as Angel behaves in the bedroom scene, this episode does highlight one of my favorite aspects of their relationship: he listens to her. He doesn’t belittle her feelings. Yeah, he misinterprets them, he gets emotional and takes them out of context sometimes, but he doesn’t make her feel silly for talking about school stuff, her parents, or her Dorothy Hamill phase. He pays close attention to what she says and I don’t know. That’s sweet. And particularly important in episodes like this one where, yes, her parental figure (Giles) is totally clueless about how she feels.

Okay, now onto the not-so-great stuff. Which I mean…other than the plot problems B already pointed out, pretty much begins and ends for me with Kendra. Oh, Kendra. I want to love you. You’re the first PoC of significance on the show (which is a huge problem in and of itself, obviously) and your character is just so….yeah. The put-on, terrible accent. The vague references to cultural norms that may or may not exist in Kendra’s “actual” culture. You know what? I guess most of this comes in the next episode, so maybe I should press pause and cover this stuff later. But yeah. We meet Kendra, THE VOMPEYRRR SLEYYYERR, and it ends on a cliffhanger. Oh boy.

Right there with you, Buff.