re: Bad Eggs

Hello, people!

Can I say this was a giant mirror that she saw his non-reflection in? And that a lot of other people were here? Seems bizarrely sloppy.

Can I say this was a giant mirror that she saw his non-reflection in? And that a lot of other people were here? Seems bizarrely sloppy.

So as far as the practicalities of this episode go, I feel like Joelle has gone over it pretty well. I may mention one or two things but for the most part what I want to do is defend Joyce. Because I love Joyce. This is definitely one of the areas where Joelle and I most diverge and I completely disagree with almost everything she said, so I am going to stand up for her here. Because I actually feel that her reactions, while far from perfect, where extremely understandable.

Starting with the mall thing! I will agree that I cannot imagine what outfit Buffy wanted to buy that was more revealing than what she wears to school on a regular basis. But leaving that aside. Come on, this is annoying. You ask her to

This is NOT A FACE that would make me inclined to feel better.

This is NOT A FACE that would make me inclined to feel better.

do literally a single thing for you. You have probably been running all day and getting errands done and working or whatever. She makes fun of you about the store you buy your clothes from (I actually like that bit between them, I think it is cute banter) and she heads off. And then not only does she not get your dress, leaving you to have to find some way to navigate the mall again tomorrow, which let’s face it, is always a fucking nightmare, but she doesn’t even remember. She sits down like you sent her off to wander and now she’s back. Dude, I would be SO ANNOYED.

There are arguments to be made that Joyce should maybe realize that Buffy is the Slayer, although I am never clear on what that means. Like the concept of Slayer does not seem to be a concept widely known in this world either so it’s not like something that she might secretly suspect. Certainly she should know that something is up. And the thing is that I think she does. I think she is very afraid about what might be up and where she might be failing and has all sorts of nighmarish possibilities running through her head. I think she feels overwhelmed and frightened that something terrible will happen and that she does not always cope with that in ideal ways, but one of the reasons I love Joyce is that she seems believably flawed. She does fuck up but I think it is always apparent how fiercely she loves her daughter. I grew up wishing my mother was more like Joyce.

In fact, I think in some ways I connected particularly to Joyce as a television mother because she was so flawed and because there were things that Buffy hid from her consistently. Like even at their best, there were always struggles in their relationship and that made it seem like one that maybe could be attained to me. I never understood these extremely and overwhelmingly loving mother/daughter relationships. Those seemed certainly fictional. Joyce’s flaws made her seem possible to me.

I'm so tired of seeing this pose. Siiiigh.

I’m so tired of seeing this pose. Siiiigh.

ANYWAY. Moving on. Xander and Cordelia, I just… whatever. I hate this aspect of this relationship right now. I like them better when they actually start dating but this whole “I hate you and yet I can’t stop being attracted to you” is something that makes no functional sense in my brain and seems more ridiculous to me the older I get.

I wanted to say about the eggs that almost all of my friends had to do parenting class type things. However, they did not do them with eggs. I didn’t know anyone who did them with eggs. Which makes sense because what sort of insane scheme is that? How can you tell that they didn’t just replace it with a different egg? No, all of my friends got those robotic babies that have to be “fed” and changed and rocked and stuff or they cry. And cry, and cry and cry. If they left them they had to get a babysitter. I babysat one once. Also apparently if you “killed” your baby, you were reported to CPS and they put you on a list? I never looked into if that was true but I remember all of my friends buzzing about that as a thing. So yeah. Parenting definitely, chicken eggs definitely not.

This seems like the appropriate face to make at the egg.

This seems like the appropriate face to make at the egg.

I can’t imagine having much to say about the Gorches except that I like the name Tector. Like maybe for a dog. I kind-of feel like this episode is maybe trying to come up with some kind of unhealthy family dynamic theme sometimes? The Gorches, Buffy’s conflict with her mother, the idea of “mommy bezoar,” etc. but either I’m imagining that or they totally failed to pull it together.

Back to Joyce! I love it when Buffy gets up all worn out in the morning and Joyce teases her about her egg parenting. I find that entire exchange amusing and charming. I love their dynamic generally.

Again, Xander hard boiling the egg is confusing. Can they tell the egg is his? If yes, then how and also they would know he boiled it. If no, then what difference does any of this make and why bother to boil it? It is a puzzle.

This scene creeped me out a lot as a kid. And creeps me out now as an adult in an episode with so much subtext about babies.

This scene creeped me out a lot as a kid. And creeps me out now as an adult in an episode with so much subtext about babies.

Finding out Angel can’t have babies is one of those things to me. Like, as Joelle implied, vampires really SHOULDN’T be able to get erections. But if they can somehow magically do that, do they also have orgasms? Just no sperm? There are vampire mythologies where they can have kids with humans so it shouldn’t just be assumed she would know that. On a side note, the only person I have ever read deeply considering vampire erections was I think Anne Rice? I feel like it was her who determined that they could but only after having recently fed because of the need for blood. Which I suppose makes as much sense as anything else.

Also, of course Buffy is not thinking a lot about the future, Angel. She is 16 years old. That’s how being 16 years old works.

I agree that when you finally see the creature thing, it isn’t that scary. However, I do think when it is scurrying around her room in half seen and sort-of spider-like ways it is pretty creepy. The idea of something giant jumping down on you from your ceiling, for example, is fairly creepy. It’s just something that falls apart a little when the special effects are needed.

And again back to Joyce. I think that her response to Buffy is… perfectly reasonable here. Assuming

This is a woman who is so fucking over it.

This is a woman who is so fucking over it.

Normal Again is not cannon at this point (which, as Joelle has pointed out, it seems safe to assume), Joyce has come from a place where her daughter got in a tremendous amount of trouble. She was sneaking out, she was fighting, she was hanging out with bad people. While drugs are never mentioned, I feel like that is the sort of thing that Joyce is very frightened of, and frankly that is understandable. And here she walks into her room at almost 3 in the morning, the window is wide open, her daughter is fully dressed and just got off the phone with someone and her excuse is very clearly a lie. It would seem completely irresponsible parenting to not be terrified at this point. Also she just woke up herself. Grounding her seems… extremely reasonable.

I love Buffy so much but like... this is a face you would need to vent to someone about sometimes.

I love Buffy so much but like… this is a face you would need to vent to someone about sometimes.

Also when she comes into the library and vents to Giles… I don’t think it’s fair to say she yells at Giles. She comes in and is upset with her daughter and apologizes for sounding frustrated with him. She’s pretty reasonable. She’s just at her wit’s end. What is she going to do? Her daughter isn’t listening and the terrifying thing about being a parent of a teenager is that they don’t have to. And once they realize that… you could very well be screwed. Parenting a teenager is so stressful, even if your daughter is not the Slayer, or like generally a troubled kid or whatever. We read a really fascinating study in one of my classes showing that parents of teenagers actually tend to have higher levels of stress and anxiety than their children do during that time. They have high levels of marital problems, depression, etc. Also, they often feel much more negative about how they’re doing and their relationship with their children than the children themselves do. The kids will tend to get in a huge fight, scream that they hate them and then move past it but the parents do not bounce back so quickly. Anyway. The point is that I feel that Joyce is under a lot of stress and I really hope she has friends she can talk to about it. She doesn’t seem to have a good support system.

But of course in the meantime, she will be taken over by a creepy bug thing. And will hack at cement with a shovel. I mean, you know. You’ll notice I really have skipped all the plot because I can’t imagine the point of going over it twice. I think it is funny that the bezoar eggs look just like chicken eggs. I too would like to know how the teacher got the eggs. Was he already possessed? I wonder what a bezoar would get out of eating a vampire. Wouldn’t it just turn into dust? Seems very unsatisfying.

Finally as they are all out, in the final Joyce scene… yes, I will defend her here too. I think that this is not perfect but goddamn. I imagine most of them are disoriented and probably sore and maybe with headaches? I have no idea what the reaction to neural clamping is but it doesn’t sound pleasant. None of them look in great shape though. I think it is hilarious that there are no ambulances anywhere. Anyway, none of that seems likely to put her in a better mood. And her first response was relief that Buffy was okay. That was absolutely her first response. And then once she realized she was and that in fact she had just once again (as far as she knows) ignored what she directly ordered her to do in order to do what she felt like doing, she makes another attempt to restrain her.

This has nothing to do with anything but WHY would Willow wear this shirt today?

This has nothing to do with anything but WHY would Willow wear this shirt today?

I mean, I think we all know this won’t end well. Eventually, in the end of this season, Buffy will freak out and run away. Their relationship is going to be weird for a while. But I think ultimately they end up with something pretty great and I personally like how it all shakes out. And right now, Joyce seems like a good mom who is overwhelmed and trying her hardest to figure out what to do and how to protect her daughter, while being secretly deeply terrified that maybe she can’t. And I love her. Even if this episode is dumb.

So. There is my first, but almost certainly not my last, defense of Joyce. 😛

The most fond I have probably ever been of these two.

The most fond I have probably ever been of these two.

In an absolute final note, I was so in love with the last scene in this episode as a kid because you have no idea how many times I made out with my boyfriend at my window (who was only 4 years older than me, not 200) and my relationship with him was one of the reasons I felt a deep kinship with Buffy.

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.

What’s My Line: Part 1

For the record, it is ENTIRELY MY FAULT this time that we have been offline for a couple of weeks. Finals buried me and I just completely failed all my external projects. But now we are back and I have a whole glorious summer with nothing but projects, hooray!

So I always feel like this is one of those episodes that has a lot of great ideas and things that I really want to get behind but never quite becomes an episode I love? Like there are things in it I am amused by and yet… well, we’ll get there.

Willow loves a test.

Willow loves a test.

Okay, so we open on career day at Sunnydale High School. I have always been SO CURIOUS about this, so help me out folks! Is this a thing? Or at least in this way? Do you fill out aptitude tests and get a box you’re supposed to fit in and booths to go to? I mean, it seems super ridiculous but also not so much that I wouldn’t believe it was possible? So fill me in all you school attending children!

Anyway. My personal curiosity aside, Buffy is super bummed out. This is more or

Buffy's woe face. There will be a lot of that this episode.

Buffy’s woe face. There will be a lot of that this episode.

less the perfect thing to remind her of everything that most upsets her these days (and really for the foreseeable future) — that she will never be able to have a normal life, never be able to be excited about the things that everyone else gets to be excited about. It highlights everything about her life that she most hates and makes her feel extremely isolated.

It’s important to note though, that the rest of the Scooby gang will ALSO feel pretty isolated by this. Everyone is terrified about their future (except Cordelia, and her time is coming). Xander is afraid that his life is not going to go anywhere, that he’ll be a loser, end up in a job he hates. Even Willow will be split off from her friends and classmates, not getting a box at all. No one knows where they fit. Everyone is afraid that growing up is coming a little too fast and maybe it won’t be everything they hoped. This is certainly one of the excellent ideas that the story has that rings true…. although I never feel like it is played out as well as I’d like.

Cordelia likes tests that will tell her happy things about herself.

Cordelia likes tests that will tell her happy things about herself.

Buffy and Willow wonder if they are on the side of shrubs (I say no to shrubs personally as I feel that they are small and boring and also what would a question like that tell you about a person?) while Xander ponders his lack of future. Cordelia thinks about how much she likes to help people as long as they are not smelly and gross and I am amused thinking about her future.

What is interesting to me is that Buffy just immediately gives up on the possibility of her having another job in the future. Willow was the one who suggested looking in the Watcher diaries for previous vampire stuff when they were wondering about Angel. For this she could probably actually just ask Giles. Like I can’t imagine he wouldn’t look. What DID the last few Slayers do? Have some of them had jobs? Maybe she could find something that would allow her to work from home. Transcription or something. Or a Private Investigator like Angel becomes? Although I guess Buffy isn’t very good at monetizing her skills. But I think there really are options. That said, I can also understand how it might seem pretty bleak right now. It’s the weight of destiny and the lack of choices already that seems so crushing.

How do you get these oober smart vampires anyway? Did Spike vamp him just for this?

How do you get these oober smart vampires anyway? Did Spike vamp him just for this?

As Buffy mopes about her future, we come to Spike beating an underling vampire (we know he’s an underling who doesn’t matter because of how he’s in full vamp face the entire time) because he cannot decipher the book that they stole from Giles’ library last time. We find out that there is something in this book that contains Druscilla’s cure. I would like to note that I have always been very unclear on what is actually wrong with Dru? Like she was attacked by an angry mob and was then struck by some kind of waning disease or consumption? We never really see that anywhere else in the mythology and I really don’t understand how it fits with the vampire thing. Like how could a vampire be permanently made weak? I HAVE QUESTIONS, OKAY? Prepare for more of those.

Spike snaps at Dru when she asks him to dance and she pretty much falls into

Look! A totally generic crypt!

Look! A totally generic crypt!

pieces and he immediately disintegrates in the way that he does. But it’s all fine because as he is desperate about the transcriber figuring out the the strange language, Dru’s magic Tarot deck tells her that he can’t help them without the key. Not only that but apparently the deck has a picture of the exact mausoleum that it’s hidden in. Which I would say is implausible except that this picture is an incredibly generic mausoleum. So maybe he just realized it would be in Du Lac’s tomb? I don’t know. The point is he is very happy and picks Dru up and says he will dance with her all OVER the Slayer’s grave and they prance about and it’s cute in the way that they are.

Aww. Mr. Gordo!

Aww. Mr. Gordo!

Buffy sneaks in her window and sees Angel looking at her things. She frightens him and he clutches a stuffed pig. I enjoy both that that happens and also that she mocks him for doing it. Although his complete lack of humor in response to that is one of the reasons that I really just hate him. But don’t worry! More are coming!

She eventually has to explain to him that she’s sad because of what’s going on at school after she is mean to him and hurts his sad demon feelers. He knows that it is Career week because “he lurks.” She

My poor feelings have been hurt. Were you talking about yourself? I forgot.

My poor feelings have been hurt. Were you talking about yourself? I forgot.

does not think this is creepy but I think that Angel lurking around a high school actually is creepy and I wish he’d stop. So she tries to explain her feelings in what is a perfectly rational way. That this whole thing makes her remember that she has no place in this world like other people, that she’s feeling shitty about that, that she just wishes she could have a normal life and Angel…. makes it all about himself because he is the fucking worst. “You mean your life would be better without me.” NO ANGEL. NO THAT IS NOT WHAT I MEAN OR WHAT I SAID. Maybe perhaps even if you weren’t in my life I would still be bound by destiny and totally fucked and maybe I was trying to explain something to you and I shouldn’t now be comforting you but I am BECAUSE YOU ARE A CHILD.

Okay. Deep breaths. I just have moments where I cannot stand him. That said, in this scene, I do think him wanting to take her ice skating to help her relax and escape is a nice touch and shows him listening in a way he was not even remotely only a minute before. So it’s always kind-of hit and miss. Also I love the idea that Buffy was obsessed with Dorothy Hamill enough to get a Dorothy Hamill haircut. How adorable. I mean… I have no idea what that haircut looks like but I’m sure it was adorable.

I googled it. I think maybe the haircut looked like this?

I googled it. I think maybe the haircut looked like this?

The next day we arrive back at school and Buffy is wearing an outfit that I

What is on your SHOULDER?

What is on your SHOULDER?

unexpectedly kind-of like but she is inexplicably carrying a giant fuzzy leopard print bag with it that is… I just can’t even. Baffling. Cordelia finds out that she is set to be a motivational speaker or personal shopper and I again am amused by her future. And Xander finds out that he is apparently perfectly suited for being a prison guard. Which I think would in fact be super depressing and his friends are not very supportive. Willow finds out that she’s not on the list and is distressed by this news. And Buffy finds out that she is apparently perfectly set to be a law enforcement officer, which upsets her. I don’t really see Buffy as a great police officer, honestly. And probably part of why she gets so upset about it is because she realizes it is a possibility with her destiny and stuff.

I will say that Grimm is sort of like what if Buffy were a police officer and male? And also hated females. Every female. And basically became terrible in every possible way and made you want to gouge out your eyes and… I think I’ve gotten off track.

She goes to the library and isn’t super happy. She wonders what the “whole nine yards” means as she tells Giles that the vampires she went after last night were robbing things. I fondly smile at her and tell her that someday she’ll have a smart phone and when she has a question like that she can find out the answer immediately and what a good day that will be.

Giles, she's discussing how her life is no better than being dead. Stop WAFFLING, MAN.

Giles, she’s discussing how her life is no better than being dead. Stop WAFFLING, MAN.

Anyway. This first half of the episode is another time where Giles is really struggling to connect with Buffy and really doesn’t understand why she’s so upset. He’s also not giving her a lot of leeway, even though I think she has a good reason to be upset. Also, when your student starts talking about how it wouldn’t make any difference if she were dead or alive? That’s a suicidal warning sign, GILES. Don’t just ignore this crap. I mean, I know Buffy isn’t suicidal but in general that’s an important thing.

Spike and Dru stare lovingly at the “key” which is actually a large and ornate gilded cross thing. I have no idea how it is a key. Nor will we ever find out. We’re just taking their word for it, I guess. But they’re very happy because success.

A key! That will help us decode words... somehow.

A key! That will help us decode words… somehow.

In the meantime Spike has decided that the Slayer has just gotten too much in the way and he’s going to put a stop to it. He is going to call… THE ORDER OF TAKARA. These have to be the villains with the absolute most build-up and least pay off in all of this show. Like they spend so much time trying to make them scary and yet there is never a moment when I actually feel that. Mostly they just feel like silly, second tier bad guys. Even though everyone goes nuts freaking out about them constantly. But Dru assures us there will be three of them and for the whole first episode here, we pretend Kendra might be one of them instead of just a Slayer in pajama pants bringing an offensive and horrendous accent.

I am the worst principal imaginable. I hate children and the world. I will end you.

I am the worst principal imaginable. I hate children and the world. I will end you.

At Career Week Willow and Xander encounter Snider and Xander babbles away about how he hopes to someday fill his shoes but “not your actual shoes of course, because you’re a tiny person!” which is one of my favorite lines in this episode. Snider is obviously looking for Buffy because he basically doesn’t care about anything else. Buffy is on a field trip with Giles to a crypt because neither of them have any sense of logic.

Willow gets pulled into a back room and offered canape by men in suits. She’s told that she’s been targeted by an anonymous

Oz offers canape while Willow looks bemused.

Oz offers canape while Willow looks bemused.

major software company and her test didn’t matter. Basically this whole scene is pointless except to sit her down next to Oz. I always forget that Oz is also supposed to be a super genius? Like does that ever come up again after this? It all seems silly and forced to me but whatever.

Buffy and Giles argue through the cemetery about her possible futures and I really do not feel like he is being very empathetic. They make it to the Du Lac crypt and Giles explains how usually these crypts contain a religious relic like a finger or something exciting like that. Giles is certain somehow all these things add up. The book that was stolen was also by De Lac, he’s sure there’s a reason. He’s sure something is coming. I mean, I think all that is coming is Kendra’s accent (not insignificant) but you know.

Why does she look like a crazy person from the 50's?

Why does she look like a crazy person from the 50’s?

A creepy man goes up the Summer’s street, goes to the house across the street and knocks on the door. He makes his way into the house by promising free beauty supplies. I was a little baffled by the idea that you would just accept that someone was walking door to door with beauty products. Is that a thing that still happens, even like 15 years ago? Also when he comes in, she screams at the top of her lungs and I was also confused why no one anywhere in the neighborhood heard this and called someone but maybe in Sunnydale no one listens to screams anymore.

SMG skates around the rink and looks like she’s having a pretty good time. It’s

I think I read that SMG actually did enjoy ice skating as a kid? I can't remember for sure anymore.

I think I read that SMG actually did enjoy ice skating as a kid? I can’t remember for sure anymore.

nice. I wish she had gotten to have her date but of course she does not get nice things. Since as she is sitting on the ice (apparently she forgot that whole stopping thing since she was a child) she is attacked by an assassin. Angel rushes in and the two of them fight him off. I am sort-of touched by the whole thing where she doesn’t even notice that he’s in vamp face. I mean, it’s dorky but I like it. Although I also always think when she’s making out with him that his vampire teeth are very sharp and what if he like nicked her tongue or lips?

Anyway. Angel is insanely freaked out about the ring showing that they are from the Takara people, just like everyone else will be and also for no reason. Also, while they’re making out Kendra is watching them.

This is Giles serious fear face.

This is Giles serious fear face.

Giles lies glibly to everyone in the library that Angel had every reason to be terrified and he proceeds to make them all terrified as well. He explains that the order is “A society of powerful assassins, dating back to King Solomon” which makes me crack up every time. I mean, the idea seems to be that there are just too many of them and they’ll just keep coming and she’ll never be able to kill enough of them but they do not seem that hard to kill REALLY. I guess it’s like being attacked by lots of ants.

Although he may not have terrified me, he certainly succeeded at terrifying Buffy

This is what you do not want your Slayer doing.

This is what you do not want your Slayer doing.

who walks down the hallway feeling terrified and paranoid of everyone. I would like to suggest that this is not actually a great way to make sure your Slayer is prepared for things. Especially since she attacks Oz in the hallway. Fortunately Oz just shakes it off after and endearingly says “That’s a tense person.” Because he’s adorable. Still. The point is that your Slayer is going to go nuts and just start killing people in that state. It’s not a solid plan.

This is Angel's house. It is lit by some untraceable source that also sucks.

This is Angel’s house. It is lit by some untraceable source that also sucks.

She doesn’t want to go home (which was probably pretty smart and I can’t believe they were going to let her) so instead she ends up going to Angel’s place. I would like to note that it is especially in this episode that I have noticed that the bedroom sets are SUPER poorly lit? Both Buffy’s and Angel’s. Anyway. She curls up in his bed, which here has a red blanket but white sheets, but will later (like all men Buffy first has sex with) most definitely have red sheets.

Angel is not there because he is at Willy’s place. I would like to note that I forgot about Willy existing. And if you had pressed me I could probably have

Look, it's Willy. Looking like a snitch type person. Like he does.

Look, it’s Willy. Looking like a snitch type person. Like he does.

remembered that he existed, but not necessarily if he was in Buffy or Angel. Anyway, Angel claims to be trying to find out who sicced Taraka on Buffy. But that seems a little pointless because he obviously know it’s Spike. So mostly I guess he wants to know where to find Spike? But he doesn’t start with that and by the time he gets around to demanding that information Kendra has appeared and has an exciting fight where she knocks him into a cage before we finally have to hear her speak. I am saddened that the subtitles give no clue of her accent because that’s ridiculous. Anyway. Kendra leaves Angel in a cage with east-facing exposure and heads off to find Buffy.

In the meantime Giles is super worried about how no one has heard from Buffy so he calls Xander and tells him he should go over to her house and probably call Cordelia for a ride. I feel that perhaps this is a wildly stupid. Like Giles knows that a deadly group of assassins who are looking for Buffy and presumably her house would be one of the first places that they’d look? And in fact a man made of bugs is right across the street. So possibly sending Xander and Cordelia is not the best possible plan. In fact, it will not be! Way to go Daddy Giles.

I have just discovered that these old men whose books I own were complete idiots, Willow.

I have just discovered that these old men whose books I own were complete idiots, Willow.

He then goes to tell Willow that he has figured out what the vampires were after. That what Du Lac had in that book was a magic spell to restore a weakened vampire back to health. Which… why would he have that? What possible good purpose could that serve? Why wouldn’t he have destroyed that shit? But apparently he was an idiot and did not.

So Xander and Cordelia snipe at each other and say amusing things and Cordy looks incredibly sporty in her outfit and then she is… bizarrely stupid and not only opens Buffy’s door (which why?) but also for some reason

Being sporty in the morning. High ponytail and all.

Being sporty in the morning. High ponytail and all.

believes that a salesman is wandering around handing out free beauty samples at what cannot be later than like 7am. And lets him into Buffy’s house, which is like an impossibly stupid thing for her to do, which I dislike because Cordelia is not stupid. Grumble.

Angel struggles to get out of the cage as the sun rises. Buffy is attacked by Kendra. They fight and finally, in the final line, the big reveal that Kendra is the Slayer. DUN DUN DUN.

I am basically the first significant PoC in this show. That is just as bad and actually worse than you think.

I am basically the first significant PoC in this show. That is just as bad and actually worse than you think.

re: The Dark Age

I completely agree with Joelle that this episode does drag in spots. It is certainly not my favorite. But what was interesting to me about it is that I think I liked it a lot better when I was younger, and I think that the reason why is because it is really written more for teenagers than for adults. At least this is my theory about why it doesn’t work so well for me now, Joelle may feel totally different.

Maybe I'm just no longer as charmed by Giles's striped pajamas.  I'm just kidding, that is clearly not possible.

Maybe I’m just no longer as charmed by Giles’s striped pajamas.
I’m just kidding, that is clearly not possible.

This is ultimately an episode about realizing that your parents/caregivers are human beings who made mistakes in their past. Sometimes terrible mistakes, things they are still paying for, things that have impacted who they are today. But that’s not news to me at 31. I’ve known just how human and flawed my parents (and every more grown-up person than me that I have) are for a long time. The kick of discovering that when you’re a teenager, which is certainly when it most frequently happens, should not be underestimated and I am really glad he did an episode on it. But I think it just doesn’t hold the same punch when we are the adults. At least not for me.

So let’s get into this.

This is a great spot to go looking for someone. Not his home.

This is a great spot to go looking for someone. Not his home.

I have never, ever understood why Phillip goes looking for Giles at the school in the middle of the night. Or evening. It’s probably evening, we’re looking at after Halloween I suppose, so it’s getting dark early. What it certainly is not is anywhere near school hours. There’s no reason to assume he lives here and since they’re going to introduce Giles’ house in this episode, it seems particularly silly.

I have always found it especially charming that Phillip asks Deirdre if it is her, while her face is clearly dead and basically disintegrating. I mean, probably it is not her, Phillip. I’m just suggesting. What I have not found charming is the fact that he didn’t actually run instead of pounding ineffectually at a door until she slowly ambled up to him and unimpressively strangled him to death. It just seems so dumb.

Presumably this is not what Deirdre normally looked like.

Presumably this is not what Deirdre normally looked like.

I have to say that I am 100% on the side of Giles in the aerobic music battle and I don’t care if it makes me old. Whatever the fuck Buffy is listening to is TERRIBLE and my ears actually ring with appreciation when she turns it off. Why couldn’t she be listening to 90’s pop or something? That had a beat too! I do love her work-out clothes however.

Remember him?

Remember him?

I would like to say that Joelle did not mention how astonishingly dated their game of “anywhere but here” is. It cracks me up every time. I mean, Gavin Rossdale? John Cusack? These are hard 90’s picks. I love John Cusack but he is nowhere near an anywhere but here list for me these days. I never cared for Gavin Rossdale. But either way.

I do like that they all assume that Giles could never have been restless in school. It’s a good place to start it, because it is that concept of who the adult in your life is that cannot be shaken. It frustrates you, it often gets under your skin, but at the same time, there is a certainty to it that you can tell gives them comfort even as they are mocking it. It is that exact certainty that will be shaken during this episode.

I would love to know why Xander was unaware he was going to have to be in school that Saturday. I would think that was something that you would be required to alert students to in advance.

Giles makes a lot of great expressions in this moment, but this was one of my favorites.

Giles makes a lot of great expressions in this moment, but this was one of my favorites.

I adore Jenny teasing Giles about his book. I would love nothing more than to do this to David but I would never be able to keep a straight face like she does. Also, sexy fuddy duddy makes COMPLETE sense to me, for reasons I will not go into because a certain person would probably murder me when I saw them this week. I’m just saying.

As Giles is being confronted in the library about the homicide and Cordelia breezes in… I just love her obliviousness to everything. It is my favorite. I particularly love her “Why is everyone always yelling my name?” She just sounds so hurt.

So yes, it is Giles friend that is there and I think it is a funny thing that the woman

Being a homicide detective in Sunnydale must be the WORST. Mostly I'm taking note of her because she is one of the only people of color we see in this show.

Being a homicide detective in Sunnydale must be the WORST. Mostly I’m taking note of her because she is one of the only people of color we see in this show.

asks him if this friend he hasn’t seen in 20 years would “have any reason to contact him?” Instead of the much more obvious question of “so… would your friend have any reason to fly to a different continent and show up at your place of employment with no luggage or identification of any kind?” Speaking of which, how did he get to America with no identification?

Buffy is waiting for the blood delivery. It all seems kind-of silly to me. I mean, as far as vamp hijinx go, this seems fairly low key and also confusing. Do vampires who do NOT have souls even like to drink cold blood? Like it cannot taste the same, right? Why not just go eat people? Also like… I know hospitals need blood but it’s one delivery and can probably be replaced. Just don’t make a habit of it, you crazy fellows. And finally, when it comes to things that are biological in nature, don’t they keep a closer eye on them than dropping them off in a deserted back alley parking lot in the middle of the night? Oh, Sunnydale.

Awww. Sad Buffy. Door.

Awww. Sad Buffy. Door.

Worried Buffy goes to Giles house and I was so excited to see it for the first time! I love Giles house. It has very strong vibes of any number of 90’s television shows and it’s clearly on a stage and I just love it. I love his door. I love all of it. Anyway. Poor Giles, all muddled up and not okay and it’s freaking Buffy out because his entire job is to be okay and be predictable.

More crazy questions about how corpses and British people travel. It really is a pretty gaping plot hole. Also, I know we don’t see the tattoo on Giles again, but does he ever roll up his sleeves again? I mean, seriously, I’m not sure.

That is SUPER high up his arm...

That is SUPER high up his arm…

So Buffy goes to school the next morning to sound the alarm because something is wrong with Giles. While yes, I understand drinking alone is fairly low on the scale of things he could be doing, as a kid this would have sent me into a spiral of absolute panic. It screams of an adult who is having a breakdown or who cannot deal with what is happening to them. It is a situation of possibly having to take care of an adult instead of having them do the taking care of that they are supposed to do and that is the most profoundly frightening thing ever. It makes sense to me that they are all freaked out by that possibility. To be fair, it really is out of character as far as anything they’ve ever seen of him.

I am personally thrilled to see his face. Awwww. <3

I am personally thrilled to see his face. Awwww. ❤

IS it weird that Buffy punches Ethan in the face immediately? Because I love Ethan as a villain a lot and I love his face but he really did sell them costumes that almost got all of them killed and also he just greeted her by trying to throw a bookcase on her head. Punching him in the face seems like the exact thing that I would assume Buffy would do, to be honest.

I don’t have a lot to say about much of the middle goings on here, except that sometimes I feel like the young dialogue is heightened in this episode. I particularly took note of Cordelia’s “I’m going to be in therapy till I’m 30,” which now seems like such a high school thing to say. Who could possibly think beyond 30? I say from 31.

So whatever. Zombie Phillip inexplicably breaks out of the book cage, knocking

I just love everything about this picture.

I just love everything about this picture.

Jenny unconscious and sealing her fate, and temporarily the fate of her and Giles’ relationship. I do assume they reinforced the book cage when keeping a werewolf in there? Of course, they also kept crazy strong hyena possessed Xander in there and he couldn’t break out. Maybe Zombie Phillip was much more cunning than we gave him credit for. Or… let’s be honest. This villain is just really poorly constructed. Like Joelle said. None of it makes much sense, it’s pointless to break your brain on the specifics.

So pretty. I really just dig her whole look.

So pretty. I really just dig her whole look.

I do think Jenny looks extremely pretty in this episode before she sprouts strange blue gem things all over her head area. Like she just has a lot going on that I appreciate. And while I in theory appreciate the general idea of Giles not being willing to “take advantage” of a situation, that actually… does not make a lot of sense to me even from this perspective, to be honest? And in fact I am kind-of frustrated by it. Like before he knew she was a demon, obviously. Clearly it ended up being the right call, but if she had not been possessed by crazed demonic energy, I don’t actually see anything about this situation that makes her incapable of making an adult decision to want to have sex. She’s not drunk, she’s not incapacitated. She’s had a bad and frightening day, but you can still make decisions with that. As a grown-up. Now, if this is GILES saying that he does not feel comfortable with this being their first time, that is totally different. And in truth, I think this has almost nothing to do with Jenny at all and has everything to do with what Joelle was saying about Giles being frightened of his own moral compass, but I think this is actually an example of him going overboard and I find it frustrating. Again, because of what we know, it ends up being the right call and it’s good that they don’t have sex, obviously, but sans demon I think it would have been kind-of shitty to make his issues about her.

I would also like to know if in olden days the operator could really tell you that a phone was out of order when someone broke the cord. That never made any sense to me. Surely it would just ring, right? Is there something I’m missing there?

So whatever, big drama, big demon, running away and then Buffy having to deal

So hard. :(

So hard. 😦

with a breaking down Giles. I think her line here about “Don’t be sorry, be Giles!” is probably the most telling line. Watching the people who are supposed to be the grown-ups have the freak outs and break downs and have to take care of them is a lot to take for any teenager. Giles is her strong place and demons she can handle, but Giles as a blubbering mess on the floor is not something she actually wants to deal with.

I had a hard time finding a picture that showed it but I really think it's the same one.

I had a hard time finding a picture that showed it but I really think it’s the same one.

So she goes running off to rescue Ethan and she still does not really realize how much of a glorious and delightful asshole Ethan is. God, I love him so much. I am so sad at how few episodes he appears in. Also, I would like to know how he got the table that they used in the marionette episode to tie Buffy up on. Like Joelle, I’m more than a little confused why Giles and Ethan both didn’t just have their tattoos removed ages ago? I mean, I know they thought they were rid of the demon but surely better safe than sorry? Also, has anyone noticed the rather huge plot hole where they never explain why they weren’t rid of the demon? Like did Deirdre or whoever the other one was summon it again for old time’s sake, or did it magically regain power somehow or…? This is never addressed at all and it doesn’t make sense. Sigh.

So you know. Whatever. Angel has an interior demon battle, which mostly consists of pretty dreadful CGI. Ethan runs away, like he does. I know Buffy wanted to punch him, but he obviously had to run away because like… there was nothing else plot-wise they could have done with him. They can’t exactly put him in jail at this point. Dark Giles might kill him but I think we’ve got some time to get to that. Also, this means he’ll be back, which is the best. Hooray!

I would like to only note in closing to this long and rambling thing that if Buffy

There is no way that the tattoo is not clearly obvious in this shirt.

There is no way that the tattoo is not clearly obvious in this shirt.

would like to hide her tattoo from her mother, perhaps she might consider wearing a shirt that does not expose her entire upper back? I think it is a cute shirt, but perhaps a cardigan could be considered until she convinces whoever she is going to convince to do a tattoo removal without parental consent.

And finally, I don’t know how I feel about Jenny breaking up with Giles. I feel like they decided she was going to have secrets about Angel later (maybe not, but it always felt written in suddenly to me) so it’s hard to read it that way. And also, I have no real concept of how she experienced the possession or if she has much experience with trauma that might have made it more difficult for her or… anything really. Like we don’t actually know much of anything about Jenny for as much as I enjoy her. I can think of a number of reasons I might need a break after something like that. I don’t really hold it against her, but I wish I understood more of her perspective.

Tentative re-bonding. Growing up. <3

Tentative re-bonding. Growing up. ❤

In all, I feel like this show sets up a lot of themes that will in some ways be explored better in next season’s episode Band Candy? That will have these same ideas of kids being absolutely terrified by the adults in their lives being people with pasts that are unacceptable and hard to cope with (and being able to see them in full color, which is the worst nightmare), as well as having to take care of them instead of being taken care of. It will also be a more fun episode. AND it will have Ethan. I’m just saying. This feels a little like a practice run in some ways.

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.