Bad Eggs

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

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

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

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

This girl missed a major lesson about Stranger Danger.

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

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

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

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

This chain changes position a million times.

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

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

Ew.

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

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

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

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

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

“Honey, I’m infertile.” “Bummer.”

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

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

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

Stabbiness.

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

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

Shut up, Joyce.

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

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

Ew again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

They look concussed to me.

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

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

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

lub you giles ❤

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

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

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

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

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

RE: Ted

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

This is how Ted makes me feel too, Buff.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ughhhh, the creeps. But dat shirt doe.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thoughtfully eating snap peas, never to mention Ted again.

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

Ted

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stop making Buffy make this face!

Stop making Buffy make this face!

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

Look how nerdy and perfect he is!

Look how nerdy and perfect he is!

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

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

It would be hard to deal with this face.

It would be hard to deal with this face.

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

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

Completely appropriate face.

Completely appropriate face.

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

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

She does fantastic awkward teenager body language.

She does fantastic awkward teenager body language.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buffy sits in her room, devastated in her overalls.

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

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

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

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

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

N'awwwww.

N’awwwww.

What’s My Line?: Part 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Xordelia, the beginning.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She digs it.

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

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

Angel’s hand, miraculously healed!

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

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

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

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

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

Spike’s hand, not on fire.

Re: What’s My Line: Pt 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

She’s not happy.

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

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

Team Oslow 5ever

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

So presh.

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

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

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

b’awwwww

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

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

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

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

Right there with you, Buff.

The Dark Age

It’s time for “The Dark Age”! I’ll admit that on this rewatch, I found that this episode dragged a little. I mean, I have watched this season a LOT, so it makes sense that some of the episodes may not thrill me to pieces. However, as you can see, I wrote quite a bit for this episode, and that’s because it’s so important. We finally learn more about Giles’ past and how he came to be the stuffy, rule-following Watcher that he is, and Buffy grows closer to him because of it, and my love for Daddy Giles could move mountains. So let’s get started.

“The Dark Age” opens with a man we’ve never seen before (if you’re playing “Dead or Evil” at home, yup, he’s about to

hahah

be really dead). He’s looking for Giles, helped along by a cranky janitor. BUT! Before he can reach the library door, zombie! Is it a sign of 2015 that the sight of a zombie creature from 1998 instills no fear in me? Especially one that says “Philip…” all menacing-like. Philip helpfully falls down in fear, and then bangs on the library door for help, but Buffy is aerobicizing so loudly (LOL) inside that she and Giles can’t hear him. So yeah, predictably, zombie chokes him to death and then (maybe less predictably) dissolves into a pretty aquamarine gel next to his dead body.

It’s almost sweet.

In the very next scene, Giles awakens from a dream about a Kid Rock castoff yelling and strange tattoos. Weird, but we’ll get to that.

Buffy and Willow are at school that same morning, playing “Anywhere But Here,” which is a truly adorable moment.

I love it so much.

The gang wonders if Giles has ever played such a game; Buffy and Xander think not, that Giles probably lived for school. It’s interesting to me that Willow is the only one who thinks Giles probably got restless as a kid–reflective of her own restlessness, perhaps, and eventual rebellion from her current “good girl” self.

Giles tells Buffy that they must stop a gang of vampires from mugging a medical transport for blood this evening, because those vamps sure are pesky. Giles is clearly distracted in this scene, something that goes unnoticed by the Scoobies. Jenny appears, all cute-like, and we learn that Willow will be helping her out on Saturday tutor some kids who have fallen behind in her class (Xander and Cordelia).

They look almost ashamed here of their heavy petting in the school hallway.

Giles and Jenny then have a more private conversation–this episode is, after all, primarily about Giles. Jenny pretends to have destroyed a book she borrowed from him just to tease him and get him worked up. It works. Part of what’s great about this episode is how it contrasts who Giles was as a young man to who he is now. His past, which is about to be revealed to us, shines light on why he is a no-nonsense rule follower now. His unshakable desire to do the right thing (study hard, train Buffy, keep a schedule, take care of his possessions) is obviously because of how reckless he used to be. People got hurt (and are continuing to get hurt, RIP Philip) because of his past actions. He never wants that to happen again, so he went as far as possible in the opposite direction. Luckily, Buffy’s influence will eventually help him relax a little on authoritative rules and instead do what’s right according to his own moral code, but he’s not quite there yet. At this point, I don’t think he trusts his own moral code.

Anyway, Jenny calls him a “sexy fuddy-duddy” in this scene, which will always be bizarre. Whatever, they’re cute. Then she tells him she wants to “stay in” this weekend to “make him squirm.” OKAY YOU GUYS THERE ARE CHILDREN MILLING ABOUT.

The most casual murder investigation ever.

Giles enters the library to find police officers waiting. They tell him there was a homicide outside of the library last night, with nothing on the body except for a slip of paper with Giles’ name and address on it. (I’m assuming they mean the school’s address? Weird. He doesn’t live there, police officers!) Also, in any other universe, school would be closed pending a homicide investigation on campus, but this is Sunnydale, after all. Cordelia comes into the library, needing a book, totally and hilariously oblivious to Giles’ awkward situation. I like this scene because it’s clearly a nightmare for Giles: a direct confrontation of his old life (homicide) with his new (helping silly high-schoolers find books).

Giles identifies Philip’s body at the morgue. The camera zooms in on Philip’s weird tattoo, accompanied by ominous music.

How ominous! How bruised! How did his body get so bruised, anyway? I mean, ignore this maybe, I know next to nothing about the bodies of people choked to death by demonic zombies.

Then we cut to Buffy at nighttime, alone near the hospital, effectively ditched by Giles and forced to intercept the blood-stealing vampires alone. It turns out some vamps have disguised themselves as doctors–how they managed that successfully, I have no clue. Little scamps. Angel appears out of the darkness to help her, which is good since she is very outnumbered. When she asks, “How did you know about this?” and he says, “It’s delivery day, everybody knows about this,” I can’t help but laugh. Are we forgetting the time in S1 that Angel had bags of human blood in his fridge? He knows about it because he used to maybe participate in it, ha! I don’t know if the writers are purposely alluding to that–probably not. I think it’s just a continuity error, but it’s funny to me anyway.

Scruffy Daddy Giles.

Buffy goes to Giles’ house to confront him about ditching her. He’s even more noticeably distracted (and unshaven and messy and drunk–poor Daddy Giles). Buffy definitely notices his weird behavior now. Giles sends her away, and inside, he’s making phone calls, basically going through a list of names and crossing them out as he finds out they’ve died. Then he rolls up his sleeve and we see that he has the same strange tattoo that Philip had–never seen at all before or after this episode, by the way.

And then Philip’s body is reanimated in the morgue and he stuffs the morgue employee into the…dead-people drawer. This kind of thing must happen a lot in morgues near Sunnydale, it’s not a job I would want. This also begs the question: are all of Giles’ old friends currently in America? It seems unlikely, though not impossible, I suppose. But if not, did a reanimated corpse (either Diedre’s or the other guy on the list) book an international flight and come to California? I HOPE SO because that’s amazing.

The next day is Saturday, and Willow, Xander, and Cordelia are at school with Jenny for the computer

This doesn’t really capture it, but Willow looks SO EXCITED to see Buffy in the episode. It’s cute.

class. I think it’s weird that Jenny’s holding a Saturday class, with an assistant, just for two students. But what do I know? Buffy appears, which leads to the wonderful line:

JENNY: The first thing we’re gonna do is–Buffy.
XANDER: Huh? Did I fall asleep already?

Buffy explains that Giles is being weird. She looks very beautiful in this scene, by the way. I love how FREAKED OUT everyone gets by the notion of an adult man drinking alone inside his home on a Friday night. It’s like, surely in the whole scheme of things Giles could have been doing, that’s pretty tame, right? Regardless, Cordelia reveals that Giles had been talking to the police the day before about a homicide, and Buffy rushes off to contact him. I suppose she goes to the library in order to…use the phone? Surely there are other phones on campus? Anyway, she finds Ethan Rayne in the library, sneaking around as he tends to do. (WHY do none of these people try to find Giles at his actual home? He doesn’t live in the library, guys.) Buffy recognizes him and, just as quickly, punches him in the face, which seems a bit premature to me but hey, I’m not a Slayer.

She seriously does look SO pretty for most of this episode.

Ethan explains that he and Giles go way back, and it cuts to Giles being woken up from a nap on his desk (poor thing) by Buffy’s phone call. She asks him about the Mark of Eyghon. When Giles finds out she’s with Ethan, he freaks–and just then, Dead Philip bursts in through a window and Buffy starts fighting him. These zombie types sure have a keen sense of direction.

The Scoobies and Jenny come into the library, and Cordelia manages to keep Ethan from getting away when Xander fails to, which is funny. Buffy locks Philip in the book cage, which is one of many times it’ll come in handy. Giles arrives. He and Ethan have a very tense discussion; Giles tells Ethan that he’s put people he cares about in danger by staying in Sunnydale, and Ethan points out that Giles should have left town, too. He makes a good point: Giles’ choice to stay in Sunnydale and try to figure things out by himself was probably not the wises move. However, it comes down to the fact that Giles is in denial about his past coming to get him. As I said, his past and present are colliding and he’s not coping with it well. Leaving town would be admitting, in a way, that his past finally caught up to him and he can’t maintain his current life, which is not something he’s willing to do.

Someone really should have locked that cage. Also, LOL Jenny!

Just then, Philip quite easily breaks out of the cage–weird, since they will eventually keep a werewolf in that cage once a month for nearly two years without such an incident, though I suppose they might reinforce the lock before that. Buffy knocks him down and he dissolves into the same blue goo as before. It touches Jenny, and then she gets all flashy-eyed and possessed, though no one notices.

Ethan gets away, and Buffy argues with Giles, wanting to know what’s going on. Giles tells her it’s not her battle. He gets all beady-eyed with anger in this scene. The dude is panicking. He pulls the “I’m your Watcher” card, telling her to stay out of his private situation, then leaves with Jenny, who’s nursing a head injury from the cage door and a demonic possession from the goo. Buffy, of course, doesn’t listen and gives the Scoobies jobs to do. I love how Willow tells Buffy that “mark of Eyghon” probably won’t be on the internet and instead they should consult books. Oh, the 90s, you were such a different time. I also love how Buffy doesn’t initially give a job to Cordelia, who protests, “I care about Giles!” Cordy, you big softy, you.

Back at Giles’ house, Jenny goes all homicidal because of the zombie goo…look, the mysticism behind this particular brand of zombies is very hazy and confusing, all right? The Scoobies do find out more about the demon Eyghon: it can only possess an “unconscious host,” which includes dead people, but disintegrates dead people after a while and must jump to the next unconscious or dead person. I guess it worked out pretty conveniently, then, this whole episode. I still have about a hundred more questions about this, but I’ll leave it for now.

This is the look of a desperate man who doesn’t yet know his girlfriend is possessed by the demon he used to summon as a kid. Oh, Giles.

Meanwhile, Jenny is cutting the phone line, which Buffy discovers by calling an operator. Different and delightful times, remember? Giles is refusing to sex Jenny up because he feels he would be taking advantage–again, highlighting how focused he is on doing the right thing. Eyghon-Jenny calls him out on this, mocking him for being too weak to handle…it. Meaning Eyghon. Then Jenny’s face gets all creepy and her voice is manly and she beats Giles up. Buffy arrives in the nick of time and they fight. Eyghon-Jenny bursts through a window (Eyghon really likes doing that, doesn’t he?) and Giles. Is. A. Wreck. Ugh, he makes my heart hurt in this scene. He’s basically babbling and useless. Buffy tells him to “be Giles!” After all, this is what they do, they fight monsters and they win. Giles reveals that it’s different this time because he created this monster while he studied history and the occult at Oxford. I love that he studied history and the occult at Oxford.

Buffy is disappoint.

We also find out that Baby Giles rebelled, in part, because he caved to the “overwhelming pressure of his destiny.” I’ve always enjoyed this connection to Buffy and took this scene to mean that Giles knew he’d be a Watcher and was trained for it, much like Buffy trains as the Slayer. Giles tells her that he and his friends used to summon Eyghon to get high, until one of their friends got killed during the process. This, then, was Giles’ turning point from rejecting his destiny and running from responsibility to following every rule.

Buffy goes off, alone, to handle the problem and before she goes, Giles apologizes to her. Noooo Daddy Giles! His face! It’s so sad! This–the girl he’s supposed to protect and teach, being forced to clean up after his past–is pretty hard for him to endure. His girlfriend is in immediate danger and might die, his protegee is disappointed in him, things are looking pretty glum in Giles Land.

Buffy finds Ethan in the costume shop. This scene is pretty whatever. He tattoos the mark of Eyghon onto her

This does not look like a sterile tattoo environment to me.

back (again, which we never see again after this episode, though at the end of this she does mention needing to get it removed) in order to trick Eyghon into going after her instead of him because the mark’s like a homing beacon. (Why did none of the others simply get the mark removed, then? Weird.) Blah, blah, we know Buffy’s gonna kick ass somehow. I do like this exchange, though (emphasis mine):

ETHAN: How does Ripper inspire such goodness?
BUFFY: Because he’s Giles.

Here, Buffy outright rejects Giles’ old identity in favor of the identity she knows, the one that’s good and responsible and moral. She might be disappointed to learn about Giles’ past, but she still has faith in his goodness. Ahh my little heart can’t take it.

Back at the library, Willow yells at Xander and Cordy to stop bickering, which I love because she’s so cute. Then Willow figures out that they can lure the demon into Angel, who can then–fight it off? I don’t know, this seems like a HUGE shot in the dark that could have easily backfired, but whatever.

Eyghon-Jenny attacks Buffy in the costume shop. Giles arrives and offers himself to Eyghon, which is such a quick

This is how Angel’s demon fights Zombie Demon. All right.

moment, but really means that Giles is willing to die to save Jenny and the others (Daddy Giiilllleeesss!). Angel bursts in, chokes Eyghon-Jenny until Eyghon freaks and leaps out of her body and into his. The plan works, and Angel defeats Eyghon somehow, because, as he explains, “I’ve had a demon inside me for a couple hundred years, just waiting for a good fight.” Look, none of this makes much sense to me at all, okay, but let’s go with it.

At the end of the episode, Giles and Jenny sort of break up. Jenny’s freaked out. I get it, but this has always kind of annoyed me, based on Jenny’s secret “I know things about Angel that I’m not telling” plan. Like, I don’t know. You’re involved in dangerous shit, you’re aware of it, so why do you have to act all holier than thou about it? Meh.

Anyway, just before this scene, the Scoobies are talking on campus again, but this time, about how much pressure

And all is forgiven. Oh, my heart.

Giles is under. Willow says, “I don’t know how Giles does it,” and Buffy responds, “I don’t think he has a choice.” Again, connecting his path to hers. Even if he wasn’t destined by his familial line to be a Watcher (which is ambiguous), his actions now will always be a result of his actions in the past. He can never escape what he’s done; he can only make amends. Buffy and the gang recognize this and, I think, have a new appreciation of Giles because of it. Buffy certainly does, as illustrated by her lovely chat with Giles in the last scene. She sees him as a well-rounded person now who shares something important in common with her. So while this episode is kind of…whatever. It’s not my favorite, it’s not terrible. But it is super important for the storyline, for Buffy and Giles’ relationship, and for the series as a whole. It’s the first time Buffy has had to deal with one of Giles’ mistakes. It humanizes him, and it makes their bond grow even deeper.

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.