Like B, I love this episode a lot. I like it more with every re-watch, I think–it’s one of those kinds of episodes that never gets old or rings untrue. I think a huge part of that is the dialogue, which I mention several times throughout this post. The dialogue in “Lie to Me” is ~on point. But it’s also great because it encapsulates what it means to grow up so well, as B discussed in her post.
And it opens with Drusilla about to eat a little boy with a negligent mother. Those damn freerange parents, amirite. Oh, Dru. Crazy Dru. I very much admire the resolve of this little boy, because if some creepy, crazy lady dressed in white approached me on a playground at night to sing a menacing nursery rhyme and ask “What will your mommy say when they find your body?” I would NOT be so brazen as to say, “I’m not supposed to talk to strangers.” No, I would probably just weep. I also have always enjoyed how Angel instructs him to RUN HOME, like that’s the safest option. Escort him maybe, Angel? He’s like four.
In any case. Jumping ahead, I completely love class scenes in BtVS. I’ve mentioned this before, but such scenes have helped me out more than once in actual school. Aside from that, I also love how Buffy doesn’t think Dru is a vampire. I mean…what exactly about Dru’s outfit suggested she wasn’t completely a vampire? It seems like Buffy forgets that Angel is a vampire himself, and that he might have, you know, made a few vamp acquaintances over the centuries.
I love Jenny and Giles, I love Buffy around Ford, and I love the scene at the Bronze. The dialogue here is just great and Buffy-esque and even though Xander is still being a whiny baby, his “you’re not wrong” comments to Ford make me smile, not wince. (Also, he says “Once more with tension” and it makes me laugh.)
I do enjoy that this episode is all about secrets. Sometimes they’re fun (like when Jenny won’t tell Giles what their date is going to be), sometimes they’re literally harmless but still hurt feelings (like Angel not being upfront about Dru), and sometimes they’re deadly (Ford’s whole deal). This episode is about secrets, and it’s about lies (shocker, given the title, right?). Almost everyone on screen in this episode tells a lie of some degree, which I noticed for the first time on this watch-through. Some of the lies are so normal to us as the viewers (Xander not telling Ford who Angel really is, for instance) that they don’t even really register. I think that’s deliberate on the part of the writers.
Can I just give another shout out to the dialogue in this episode? Every time Willow and Buffy speak, I just love it okay. Just love it.
Ford’s lies are the most in-focus, of course, because they have the biggest consequences. He not only lies to Buffy and the gang, but he lies to his lame-o vampire cult followers, all because he’s young and he’s dying and he doesn’t want to die. Which is a heart-wrenching reason to lie, sure…but doesn’t excuse, y’know, mass murder. Especially
when it’s all so NEEDLESS. I think that’s what really gets me about Ford. He doesn’t need to kill everyone in this club, does he? Can’t he just…not involve them? Unless they somehow got him touch with the vampire world, but I highly doubt that, based on how clueless they all are.
I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before, but when I watch BtVS with people who have never seen it, I like to play the “Dead or Evil” game. Basically, whenever there’s a new character, you have to guess right away if they’re going to die or if they’re evil (or a combination thereof). A character’s being evil usually leads to them dying, after all, but bonus points are awarded for specificity. I’ll never forget the time a friend of mine predicted that Forest from Season 4 was “evil, then dead, then more evil” which is…pretty spot-on. ANYWAY, I love Ford for this reason: he’s not quite evil, but his actions are, and they’re unforgivable in that way. The lovely conversation between Giles and Buffy at the end of this episode highlights this nicely. You CAN’T always tell if someone’s evil. Buffy knows this, but is just beginning to learn it.
Also, side note, am I the only one who doubts Ford would be able to bargain with a vampire to steal a book and lead him to Spike’s lair? Seems to me the vamp would either physically defeat him, or pretend to go along with it but…not. Anyway.
I love the scene with Angel and Willow in her bedroom, too much makeup aside. I do want to know more about how he “didn’t use to be” a jealous person. I honestly can’t remember if we learn more about that 100 years he spent with a soul before he met Buffy, eating rats and whatnot, with the show Angel–I’ll be the first to admit I’m not as well-versed with that show, as I’m sure I’ll get into more once we start watching it. But still, in ONE HUNDRED YEARS, he didn’t have sex with anyone? Date? Hang out with people? Form any kind of relationship, friendship or otherwise? (Because I doubt this jealousy thing SPRUNG OUT OF NOWHERE all of a sudden.) That seems crazy to me. Silly brooding Angel.
Also, this scene leads to guilty Willow, which is my favorite Willow. I desperately want to see her overly caffeinated now. My favorite silly moment of the episode definitely comes when Angel, Xander, and Willow discover the vampire fan club, Angel starts talking about how these people know nothing about real vampires, and a guy wearing his exact outfit walks by. Loooool forever.
When Buffy finally confronts Angel about Drusilla, his line about some lies being necessary is really interesting to me. Part of Buffy’s maturation (and, truthfully, part of ALL of our maturation) is figuring this balance out. Separating the necessary lies from the hurtful ones. Determining who is lying to protect us and who is lying to hurt us. And some lies, of course, are just selfish. I don’t know that Angel’s lies in this episode weren’t simply the latter. He’s ashamed of what he did to Drusilla, that’s true, but arguably the vampire Slayer deserves to know everything possible about the big vampires in town. Him holding out on her isn’t fair.
Buffy’s confrontation with Ford at the climax of the episode is great and emotional in every way, and of course leads to this beautiful moment:
That’s Buffy’s whole deal, isn’t it? It’s definitely what has always spoken to me the most in this episode. Buffy doesn’t have good choices all the time. In fact, many of the choices she must make as the Slayer are unfair, painful, or seemingly impossible to make. She has to make them, though…and if that’s not a powerful metaphor for adulthood, I don’t know what is.