I adore Buffy and Willow’s boy talks. Just saying, I do. I personally doubt that much time has actually passed in this opening scene. I suspect that it’s more because, when you’re 16, a few minutes can seem like a long time to not have a boyfriend and it’s not like Angel is actually boyfriendly (more stalker than romance) and they just want to gush. Whatever, I was an insanely boy crazy teenager and I find all this sort of cute.
Then there’s the Three. Okay, seriously, these guys are so damn weak. They walk angrily around the corner and all these bikers back up and stuff. Why? Cause they’re wearing super shitty looking armor? I guess it could be cause their faces are all distorted. Also, is there a motorcycle bar in Sunnydale? I mean, when that demon biker gang comes through in season 6, I don’t remember there being a bar… but I could be forgetting. Anyway, I digress. The point is that these guys are pathetic. It takes them all of about 5 seconds to corner Buffy and hold her still waiting to kill her. One of them jumps down from seemingly nowhere, presumably to make it a really dramatic kill because vampires do seem to have a flair for drama. Just when it looks hopeless and like our titular character is about to be killed pathetically easily by giant LARPers she is saved by her stalker. Which we all know is terribly romantic and liable to make the ladies swoon. Also, by “saved” I more mean that he knocked them down and they run really fast together.
Bravely, ran away…away…
When danger reared its ugly head
He bravely turned his tail and fled…
Whatever, it amuses me. I’m just saying, it’s a pretty pathetic fight all told. I mean, we will, in a few years, see Buffy take on a goddess for heaven’s sake. These guys didn’t even really qualify as monster of the week. In fact, their only characteristic that I noticed at all was that even though they apparently can’t come in unless invited, one of their hands is apparently exempt and goes neatly through the doorway. JUST SAYING.
Well, clearly there is no choice but to strip naked right now so that Buffy can help him bandage this cut that I literally can hardly see ever, even though I’ve seen this episode a thousand times. Really it’s just so we can view his tattoo (and his shoulders, of course). I can never decide if I like his tattoo or not. I lean towards no but we don’t actually see it that often and I have never been able to make up my mind. Buffy, in very Bella Swan sort-of form, seems extremely attracted to the fact that this guy has been stalking her through the night for who knows how long now. Nothing turns a lady on like hiding in the shadows. Oh wait! Oops! The door is opening! It’s Joyce! Buffy is suddenly quite worried about her because of how there were 3 killer vampires out there like two minutes ago but mostly because she realizes she has a half naked man in the kitchen and parents just don’t understand. As Joelle said, Angel comes wandering out because THAT IS OBVIOUSLY THE SMART THING TO DO. I mean, come on, Angel. I know you killed off your parents like a couple hundred years ago now but I still feel like this is not a hard thing to think through.
Aside from how fucking creepy Angel is, I will take this moment to say how I feel about him in general. The thing is that to me Angel just isn’t that much of a character. I like a lot of the things he facilitates but that’s all he ever feels like to me. I never feel like I have a strong sense of their relationship or what the hell they talk about between monsters. I never feel like I know Angel that well or, to be perfectly honest, that there’s really that much there to know. This gets a little bit better when he gets his own show but at the end of the day? I just find him to be a really boring person. I like people around him and I often like how people around him react to him but I don’t find there to be anything interesting about him personally. The strongest reaction I ever have to him is irritation. Most of the time I’m just bemused by him. Certainly I agree that his character is much more shallow and ridiculous and stalker-like at the beginning of the show then as it goes on and I’m sure that the reasons Joelle gives are decent enough reasons but in his three seasons I never really cared about him at all. The only time I have fun watching him on screen is when he’s evil.
I was pondering the geography of the house while watching the incredibly not quiet tryst in the bedroom. I believe, assuming I’m not totally making this up, that Joyce’s bedroom is at one end of the hallway and Buffy’s is at the other. Opposite ends of the house, whatever. However, I believe that Joyce’s bedroom door is right next to the stairs, with the bathroom and another bedroom somewhere in between in the hallway. So, Angel is huge and I feel like it would be hard to sneak him past the door, especially when she’s probably suspicious. Also, I know my parents were strict, but I feel like my mom would have been wanting to have a conversation with me immediately after he left about how this was an unacceptable position to be found in but whatever, she’s tired I guess. Joyce has a bathroom in her bedroom as well (dammit, don’t judge me, you see all of this throughout the course of the show) so she probably wouldn’t be coming out to go to the bathroom. You know who could go to the bathroom? Buffy. To change. Which is absolutely what I would have done in her situation. 16 years old, in your bedroom, getting ready for bed and some guy you barely know is in the room? Go to the bathroom, brush your teeth, change into pj’s and come back then. Don’t just tell him to turn his back. But apparently we’ve already established I might have been weird about that so maybe it’s just me. I just feel like I can’t have been the only teenager who would feel weird about that situation. Anyway, flirty talking and blah, blah, blah. You know what Angel definitely does know? HE DEFINITELY KNOWS THAT HE DOES NOT SNORE BECAUSE OF HOW HE DOES NOT BREATHE. Which is a totally and completely stupid thing, in my opinion, but dammit, it’s their mythology and if he can’t give Buffy CPR because he has no breath (whatever, I’ll rant about this more when the time comes, I’m sure), he sure as fuck doesn’t snore. Also, know what? Totally room for both of them in that bed. I would have been way more comfortable with that as a teenager then changing in front of him.
The killing of the Three seems super wasteful and ridiculous to me. I know the Master is supposed to be all crazy evil and fine, whatever. But regardless of the “taking of a life” speech, the bottom line is that there are only so many of you and having 3 big, badass vampires who will fight on your side without question and who actually owe their lives to you actually seems like it would only be useful. I mean, he’s planning on heading to the top and taking over and these guys seem like the sorts of guys you would want on your side when you did that.
When Buffy heads back that night and assumes, rightly obviously, that Angel has just hung out in a totally creepy way in her room, what is IN that bag of dinner she brings him? It looks like a bag of vegetables. Also, am I the only person who is completely creeped out by the idea of Joyce humming and tidying and whatever else in Buffy’s room while Angel stands silently in the closet? They kiss and apparently it is just so amazing that Angelus comes out to play and he goes diving out the window as if he’s been burned (which is funny, considering he doesn’t move when he’s actually being burned later) and Buffy does her spectacular horror movie scream (she is a really great screamer) and when Joyce comes running in, understandably freaked out by her daughter’s scream of complete terror, her response is “I thought I saw something”? Really?
I actually am always a little frustrated that Buffy is automatically amazing with the staff. Why should she be? That’s something that it makes sense she would have to train with and it doesn’t seem reasonable to me that Giles should so completely misjudge her abilities. Even if things that she had learned so far contributed to learning the staff (and I’m not totally convinced that they should have), he’s been training with her and he should know that. I don’t know, it always feels like it’s played for a cheap laugh to me. No need to beat up Giles is what I’m basically saying! This is also one of hundreds of scenes where I like to imagine someone walking into the library. (If that sounded familiar, it’s because I put it in my review of The Pack, not remembering that it was in this episode. Oops! I watched them both at the same time)
Just as I probably hold more than I should against Angel, I think Joelle holds more than she should against Xander. He acts like a jealous kid because he is a jealous kid. He’s crazy about Buffy and is too chickenshit to do anything about it (something I suspect was only made more problematic by the fact he tried to rape her and remembers that) and he’s super shitty about it. He’s passive aggressive and a jackass because he has no idea how to deal with his feelings. That’s not an excuse but it always seems really realistic to me and yeah, frustrating, but I’m okay with it.
As far as Darla and the Master scheming to get Angel back into the fold, I don’t know, I think it might still be possible. As has been established in Joelle’s brief rant about the Buffy ideas of a soul (and I’ll try to respond to that too), it’s not like having one actually stops you from doing evil things. Obviously Angel still wants to kill and feed and I think it would be possible for him to make that choice. I mean, I don’t think he will and I think because they don’t have any empathy themselves, they’re really overestimating how easy it would be to put that behind them but you know, I think it’s possible. The idea of the demon living inside him is complicated. There seems to definitely be an indication that the demon is a separate thing in some ways, maybe they think there’s a way to… draw him out in a more permanent way? I don’t know. I don’t think it would happen but I think I can kind-of see where they’re coming from.
Anyway, Darla wanders in and Joyce immediately starts offering to make her food. Which is nice of her and all. Angel is holding Joyce when Buffy walks in. Look, I’m not sure that Buffy would have listened to any explanations BUT HE COULD HAVE TRIED. He seems to think that because he wanted to drink her blood, that’s somehow as bad? Which is absurd and part of Angel’s irritating as hell self-flagellation nonsense. And why DOES Joyce lose all memory of what happened? Mild anemia does not cause that. Also, her whole “the teachers really do care at this school” is totally absurd. This is clearly suspicious, Joyce! PAY ATTENTION. Anyway, whatever. Boring fight scene at the Bronze, which is totally empty, even though it seems like it can’t be THAT late at night, lots of dumb little puns from Darla and dramatic and emotional dialogue between Angel and Buffy, throwing themselves into their passionate feelings. When Darla dies, she appears to turn into green spores, which I find amusing.
Then there’s the kissing scene at the Bronze which, no matter how much I hate Angel, I totally love. Buffy looks amazing and Angel looks all right and I love the music in the scene and it’s all so bittersweet and sad but WHY OH WHY WOULD THEY NOT SMELL BURNING FLESH? Okay, that obvious question aside, dammit, I love this scene so much. It’s so emo and ridiculous and dramatic and over the top and… well. High school.