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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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?
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).
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?