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.

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: Lie to Me

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.

This boy is much, much braver than me.

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.

Dark image – but yeah, this pretty much screams “vampire” to me.

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.

Also, I will never tire of Willow’s giant slippers.

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

Oh, Chantarelle. Not only will your character get better, but so will your hair.

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.

the guilt is palpable

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.

Halloween

First, I want to apologize for this post being late. It’s just like me to promise to keep a schedule and then immediately break it. In my defense, last week I got a new puppy and a head cold–the combination of which, apparently, renders me useless.

Anyways: yay! This episode is so good. SO GOOD. Not only is it entertaining as hell, but it’s so classically early-Buffy. The theme of “Halloween” is insecurity (Buffy’s, Xander’s, Willow’s) and this episode plays with those insecurities in hilarious ways.

The episode opens with Spike recording Buffy fighting a vampire, which always seems off to me. Would Spike really do this? Later on, we totally know Spike to be a spontaneous, impulsive type, so this is…weird to me. I guess maybe it was more so he could remain unknown to the Slayer for now. Whatevs.

The next scene is in The Bronze, where Cordelia is flirting with Angel and we actually see Angel smile for a change. I

Weird screen capture, but I promise that's a smile forming.

Weird screen capture, but I promise that’s a smile forming.

am totally not a Cangel shipper, but they’re cute here. Until Buffy comes in, sees and starts to leave, and Angel scampers to her. Buffy is a bit messy from the aforementioned vamp-fighting, and Cordelia embarrasses her, and Buffy is sad. Basically, the gist of this scene is that Buffy is feeling insecure about her desirability. This is tied in with her general discontent with being the Slayer, of course. As she tells Angel, “But who am I kidding? Dates are things normal girls have.” She goes on to say that normal girls think about nail polish and facials while she thinks about ambush tactics and beheading. I think she’s forgetting here that Angel is a 200-year-old vampire with a soul, fighting against evil – so, very much interested in ambush tactics and beheading and less interested in nail polish. Again, though, this is about Buffy’s insecurity, which has little to do with what Angel’s actually looking for in a girlfriend.

Next, at school, Snyder forces Buffy and the gang to volunteer to go Trick or Treating with kids. Oh, Snyder. I love that he also makes costumes mandatory. He really just wants to have fun with his constant bullying of high-schoolers. We also find out that nothing supernatural or sinister happens on Halloween, a fact I’ve always loved (even if it doesn’t always turn out to be true.)

Xander’s insecurity is shown next, when Larry (yay Larry! hi I missed you) asks him if Buffy is single and/or interested in him. Larry calls Buffy “fast” which upsets Xander. He tries to do “something damn manly” by making the argument

This sums up Xander's feelings.

This sums up Xander’s feelings.

physical. Larry easily takes control of the situation and is about to punch him when Buffy intervenes. Xander’s pride is wounded. He’s not romantically involved with the girl he likes, he’s not physically fit enough to win a fight, and on top of that, he can’t even get that weird pride thing some guys get from being beaten up AND he was rescued by a girl. Yeah, Xander’s “less than a man” complex is still in full swing here. And he’s a jerk about it.

We immediately switch gears into Buffy’s insecurity as she tells Willow all about her failed date with Angel. Willow assures her that Cordelia isn’t Angel’s type, but Buffy is unconvinced, so Willow suggests (somewhat accidentally) that they check out the Watcher’s diaries for details about Angel’s past. The way they distract Giles to sneak into the library is charming and wonderful.

Charming and wonderful, I say!

Charming and wonderful, I say!

Buffy and Willow find a drawing of…a lady that knew Angel? I always found it weird how vague this was. No name, just a date and a drawing – is that all there is about her? Why? Who bothered to write that down? Also, is this supposed to be Drusilla? Maybe Darla? So many questions. Regardless, this makes Buffy feel even more insecure, and Willow’s hasty comments about the woman’s “weird tiny waist” don’t comfort her. Instead, she fantasizes about what it would be like to be a noblewoman. I’m with Willow on this one: being able to vote is better than getting all dolled up for the delight of men. However, this is still about Buffy’s own insecurities, with herself as a girl and herself as the Slayer. She is equating having the luxury to focus on girly things with the luxury to be “normal,” i.e. not a Slayer.

This bathroom has the best lighting ever.

This bathroom has the best lighting ever.

Also in this scene, Buffy and Willow tell Cordelia that Angel is a vampire. She doesn’t believe them, but she looks really pretty.

Then they are in a costume shop. Willow wants to go as a ghost (a costume that will completely cover/disguise her) but Buffy encourages her to branch out and be “sexy and wild.” Maybe somewhat predictably, all three Scoobies pick costumes that speak to their insecurities: Willow as the ghost, Xander as an army man, and Buffy as a princessy noblewoman.

Meanwhile, Drusilla has a vision about Halloween making Buffy weak so Spike decides to cause mayhem. Ethan Rayne then does his mojo in the costume shop. Etc, etc.

Willow is....this.

Willow is….this.

On Halloween, Buffy’s all dolled up in her princess costume, excited to show Angel later that day. She managed to convince Willow to dress as…um…well, in an outfit that may have been sexy in 1998. By the time Xander arrives, though, she’s in her ghost costume, too insecure to be all midriff-y and alluring or whatever.

So then we have some Trick or Treating fun. Ethan finishes his spell and then shit goes down. Little kids turn into demons, Willow collapses and steps out of her body, Xander becomes capable and strong in the face of chaos and Buffy becomes utterly useless. I have to say, this episode was the first and only time I found Xander Harris attractive.

I don’t have much in the way of analysis about the actual switched-ness of this episode. It’s entertaining to see the characters we know so well acting completely out-of-character. Also, Willow walking through things and startling Giles is always fun. It’s interesting to me that Willow’s the only one who retains her memories. I guess “ghost costume” means she’s still Willow, but as a ghost. It doesn’t really make sense why Xander isn’t still Xander, but a Marine (or whatever). Still, I suppose the episode needed one of the Scoobies to be “themselves” and figure it out. Plus, then we get lines like: “She’s not Buffy.” “Who’s Buffy?” “Oh, this is fun.” Also, it makes sense with regard to the resolution, which I’ll get to in a minute.

halloween 6

She falls down a lot.

Although adding comedic value, Buffy’s mannerisms and speech have always kind of grated on me in this episode. I don’t know if it’s due to Sarah Michelle Gellar’s acting, or the writing (that’s not how an 18th-century woman would necessarily speak, for one thing; for another, her lines are so straightforward [“I’m not meant to understand things!”] that it’s annoying), but yeah. Irritating. Anyway. There’s a lot of hijinks in the meantime, which I thoroughly enjoy watching, but to keep this review less than a novel’s length, I’m going to go ahead and skip ahead.

Giles and Willow figure out that Ethan’s costume shop must be responsible for the mayhem, and Giles goes to confront Ethan. This is the first inkling we get that Giles is kind of a total badass, which I love. So the spell is reversed in the nick of time, and Buffy isn’t eaten by Spike and instead pulls off her wig and kicks his ass. Yay!

To sum up the resolution to the Scoobies’ insecurities:

Xander: It’s interesting to note that he’s very self-confident as Army Xander, such that when Princess Buffy accuses him of being feeble for taking orders from Willow, he doesn’t care. Regular Xander definitely would have been annoyed by the suggestion that a woman has more power than him (as he was in the beginning of the episode) but Army Xander is like meh, whatever, I’ve got some barricading to do. Basically, what makes Army Xander more manly than Regular Xander is the security he has in his masculinity. I don’t know for sure if this confidence rubs off on Xander (either right away or later on) but it’s interesting anyway.

Regular clothes again. Btw: I have no idea why all these screenshots are so DARK. In the episode, she's not nearly as ominous standing there.

Regular clothes again. Btw: I have no idea why all these screenshots are so DARK. In the episode, she’s not nearly as ominous standing there.

Buffy: At the very end of the episode, she’s told by Angel that he never liked noblewomen anyway and finds her much more interesting. Which I guess she needed to hear. Anyway, her abilities as a Slayer saved the day yet again, so that probably helped her confidence some. Besides which, as an 18th-century girl, she was terrified by vampy Angel, so a relationship with him in that state literally wasn’t possible. He likes Slayer Buffy, and that seems to appease her (for now).

Willow: As I mentioned, there’s another reason Willow had to retain her memories as a ghost. By doing so, she gets over her insecurity of being visible/sexy/noticed. Once Giles breaks Ethan’s spell and she’s back in her ghost costume, she makes the choice to take it off, throw it away, and walk home in her sexy outfit. Yay, Willow! Also, we get another cute Oz “who IS that girl?” moment. Can they just be dating already?

Oh, and lest I forget, the episode ends on this glorious shot of Giles after reading an ominous message written by Ethan. Bless this episode.

halloween 7

Re: Reptile Boy

It feels good to be back! It feels less good to be back with this episode, but that’s okay.

Do you want to know something funny? I’ve seen Buffy, the series, dozens of times through. I’ve seen Season 2 probably the most (or close to it). Season 2 was what introduced me to Buffy as it aired on TV, I’ve watched each episode countless times, and I don’t think I’ve ever watched this episode with “campus rape” in mind.

Which is crazy, because as B said, it’s totally obvious. I mean, not subtle in the least. So I have to wonder why it is that I’ve never viewed this episode through this lens. It could be that this episode is just…not my favorite, generally. Maybe I’ve paid less attention to it for that reason – and in fact, maybe it’s one of my least favorites because I was picking up on all that yucky campus rape, victim blaming nonsense subconsciously. Or maybe I get overwhelmed with the Whedonized version of sex (aka “sex will always be treated horribly within the Whedonverse”) that I miss glaring examples of it. Who knows? I just thought that was bizarre.

To be clear, obviously the episode deals with sexual assault on a level that you can’t ignore. I mean, the scene where Buffy gets drugged and then a dude-bro starts touching her, you’re totally meant to think that he’s going to assault her, so like yeah. Overtones are definitely there. I just never framed this episode in terms of the larger issue of campus (particularly fraternity) sexual assault.

Anyway, B already summarized it well, so I’ll try to stick to our original *Episode Post* *Re-Episode Post* format here. There are a few things I want to touch on.

Except these pants. Don't want to touch on these pants. Keep them, Buffy.

Except these pants. Don’t want to touch on these pants. Keep them, Buffy.

First of all, the way that the fraternity behaves in their quest for sacrificial murder is clumsy, ill-planned, and stupid. But I actually like that, especially in terms of a sustained, ingrained, systemic abuse of privilege (like, yes, campus rape). These boys don’t NEED to be subtle about this. They seem to target whichever girl is pretty and popular for no other reason than they want to. They don’t bother figuring out logistics like what they’ll do with their cars or how they’ll explain themselves. I have a feeling Girl #1 escaped because of poor planning (perhaps they sometimes offer sacrifices by force? Gross) or because they simply didn’t want to drug her. I’m assuming, since these sacrifices have been happening for generations, that there’s some kind of higher protection in place for these frat bros. Maybe their parents donate a lot of money to the school, so they look the other way. Maybe they have parents in the Sunnydale police department. (So, basically the same thing that happens to IRL frat dudes who do horrible things. God, this metaphor is really obvious and I feel really dumb.)

Anyway, framed that way, it’s a lot creepier and more depressing than it was before. Although, yes, Sunnydale’s occasional INSTA-JUSTICE is nice.

Rewinding a bit so I don’t get ahead of myself: the scene between Buffy and

draaaaama

draaaaama

Angel in the graveyard. OH LORD. I get it. It’s supposed to be painfully melodramatic and everything, and to my 10-year-old self watching this kind of thing for the first time, this was the epitome of romance. Still. It’s cringe-worthy now. I don’t think I appreciate it the same way B does. When Buffy says *that* line and runs away, I wish I could run away too. (And I laugh every time, imagining she’s running away, in part, due to humiliation.)

Giles is another point of interest in this episode. It’s completely clear that, at this point, he’s more of a father figure to Buffy than her actual father. We haven’t seen Hank at all recently, except in a Hellmouth-induced nightmare and in the season opener when he was unpacking some shoes. So Giles, for all extents and purposes, is the person guiding Buffy right now – not just with her Slayer duties, but with…well, everything. So it makes sense that he’s hard on her.

I even understand that his disapproval with Buffy’s choices throughout this episode aren’t supposed to be victim-blamey. At least, I don’t think they are. When Buffy says, “I told one lie. I had one drink,” and Giles responds with, “And you were very nearly eaten by a giant demonic snake,” he’s not supposed to be judging her actions as a girl. Rather, he’s holding her to a higher standard because she is the Slayer. Still, I’m troubled by how often Buffy’s slayer-ness is used as a metaphor for her woman-ness, and I think that’s definitely at play here.

Poor Buff.

Poor Buff.

That’s apparent early on in the episode, too, when Giles asks her, “You think I don’t know what it’s like to be sixteen?” Buffy answers, “No, I think you don’t know what it’s like to be sixteen and a girl and the Slayer.” And that’s what Giles’ dissociation really comes down to. Buffy can’t separate parts of her identity. She can’t be a good obedient Slayer, somehow disconnecting her age, maturity, experiences, and gender from that. She shouldn’t be expected to.

That’s a problem she’ll run into a lot with Giles. I just wish the episode dealt with that problem better. Giles does admit he’s pushing her too much, but he still essentially blamed her for nearly getting eaten (the metaphor of which we all know by now) and that’s messed up.

Like B, I don’t want to get into Xander’s gross needy possessiveness. Blah. My frustration with how Xander is NEVER called out on this kind of behavior will only grow, so stay tuned for that.

So, yeah. That’s pretty much all I wanted to say about this episode. Except that snakes on Buffy are always terrible-looking and there will be many more examples of this.

oooh, so snakey, so lifelike

oooh, so snakey, so lifelike

Inca Mummy Girl

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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