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.

Advertisements

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.

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.

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.

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.

Re: School Hard

Welcome

I love this episode. In large part because I love Spike/Dru so much. I love Spike all the way through, really but there’s no question that he has the most intensity and charm in the opening episodes, where he’s just delightfully evil with none of his sort-of whiny unrequited love nonsense from later episodes. I also love this episode because I think it is absolutely one of the best that shows the balance Buffy has to strike between her responsibilities as a Slayer and her responsibilities as a student. I think you really see her up against a wall in this episode, maybe somewhat wondering if she’s really going to be able to do this at all.

This is a pretty good face to make when you find out someone was stabbed with a trowel.

I do find myself wondering, aside from Joelle’s very good point about Buffy burning down the gym and how that was never actually proven (and how if it had been, probably there would have been a lot more legal problems in the long run), let’s ask another question here. Apparently Sheila stabbed a teacher with a trowel. Yes, let’s repeat that. Stabbed a teacher with a trowel. Now again, dear readers. I have never been to school. I do not much know details about how various punishments and things work outside of things I see in movies. But I do feel like, most often in the world, when you stab someone, there are pretty serious consequences to that. I feel like the stabbing, which is clearly known and admitted to by Sheila, is a bit worse than the alleged burning down of a gymnasium by Buffy (where no one got hurt, btw). I also feel like the consequences would probably not be planning parent/teacher night.  I know nothing about parent/teacher night. Joelle says it doesn’t happen in high school. I am intrigued. I wish for votes on this as well. What’s the point of it, anyway? Do students really plan it? Can a principal do something like this? Like “You two do this and whichever one of you does this better gets to be NOT expelled?” Obviously Snyder doesn’t really work by the rules anyway but I WISH TO KNOW.

Xander proceeds to jinx the whole episode very effectively. This is one of the things about Buffy that made it such a fun thing to watch. In a similar sense as Scream and some other self-aware pop culture, this was the kind of show that would make jokes about how horror worked. It was clever and self-referential when that was just starting to be a thing in some ways and it was awesome.

I love Xander clutching his bag.

 

So let’s head into the Master’s former lair. What I found myself thinking about while rewatching the episode this time is the whole vampire pecking order. How does this work, exactly? I mean, look, it seems fairly obvious why the Master was in charge. He’s like…. the oldest vampire and apparently was stronger than the rest of them and far more powerful or whatever. Had all the nifty mind powers on top of looking like a bat. I understand that. But when the Master dies, why is the Annoying One now in charge? I guess the vampire sect that worshiped the Master is particularly superstitious and so maybe that’s the deal. But honestly, clearly the poor man’s Haley Joel Osmont doesn’t have any particular skills or powers. He was important because of his part in prophecy last year but his place in prophecy is over now. Religious vampires don’t seem to do all that well, to be honest. Anarchist sorts like Spike seem to do better. That said, it’s more complicated than just the Annoying One being in charge. Because they listen to him but the angry vampire says that whoever kills the Slayer will take up the Master’s mantle. Does that mean that he’s like a priest of some kind? And whoever kills the Slayer gets to be King? That’s my current theory. I realize it never ends up mattering but these are the things I think about, okay?

My favorite couple in this season. ❤

Spike gives his fantastic opening speech. Dru gives her fantastic opening speech. Honestly, I could spend this entire thing just quoting Dru lines. I adore original Dru. I feel like after second and third season, they never really get her back to where she was before? They always try to give her those crazy lines again but they’re never as good as they were here. For the first time here I noticed something she said though. “Do you like daisies? I plant them but they always die. Everything I put in the ground withers and dies…” Which is just a line I’ve always loved because it’s so dramatic and insane and that’s what Dru does but it’s also what she says right before Spike says “Me and Dru here, we’re moving in.” I suspect there’s a connection there with the roots they’re putting down in Sunnydale and what it’s going to do and I was kind-of delighted to notice it, honestly. I love still finding new things after having watched this show more times than I actually want to admit.

I completely agree this is definitely a good scene to show Joyce’s worst aspects as a parent. I still love Joyce but absolutely these are her weakest attributes. I think she does want to be comforting in a way, I think she does really want to say the right thing. I think she wants her daughter to succeed and do what she knows she can do and she is undoubtedly still hurt and upset about what happened before. On top of which, I’m sure she’s really worried now that it looks like her daughter could be getting in trouble again and worry makes people do and say stupid and crazy shit that is totally unhelpful. None of this is an excuse and it is a shitty way for her to handle the situation. It’s also a shitty way for the writers to handle the situation because to me it really seems like they heightened these attributes in this scene so that her turnaround at the end will be more impactful. Just saying. I hate the scene too though.

If Spike had been paying attention when he first sent a vampire in to test Buffy, he would have actually seen a sign of the family and friends aspect of the brochure. Angel’s comment about Spike as goal oriented and thorough is total bullshit, incidentally. He flits around like a little butterfly half the time. He’s all impulse and only occasionally follow-through. The point is that, while Joyce’s rescue of Buffy will be the most dramatic example, a tiny thing happens in this scene which is also important. Xander comes running out into the alley, into harm’s way and he calls out to Buffy and tosses her a stake. Spike takes no notice of that, which I find strange. How many other Slayers has that happened with? It matters. It absolutely matters.

During the commotion, Sheila gets picked up by a couple of losers in the Bronze and eventually by Spike. It’s hard to believe that Sheila has survived this long in Sunnydale if she is this lacking in caution. This town is crawling with vampires and she is clearly wandering out with whoever she happens to meet. At least, that’s certainly what her few lines of dialogue seem to indicate? There’s no indication she’s met these guys before. If it hadn’t been Spike, there’s no reason that these guys she left with couldn’t have been vampires. Whatever. She’s now not long for this world.

‘Cause I’m crazy about a Cad.

 

Angel comes in to give them more cryptic warnings. Angel, I HATE YOU. Seriously. Other than the fact that what you say about Spike really isn’t even true (except for the fact that he’s dangerous), you know an incredible amount about Spike. You spent YEARS WITH SPIKE. Do you know what would be really helpful right now? You could actually stay in the fucking room and give them useful information on how to hunt and kill Spike instead of just being like, “Be careful. He’ll never stop. He’ll hunt you down.” *poof* Why can you not just give them this information?

I adore Dru and her dolls. I’ll restrain myself from saying anymore of her lines. I will say that I am skeptical she could have vamped Sheila or WOULD have vamped Sheila. Vamping takes strength and the whole point of getting Sheila for her was because she needed to eat because she was weak. Why vamp her? They didn’t need her for anything, she wouldn’t be useful to them. And I’m honestly just not even convinced that Dru is strong enough to be vamping anyone.

But I just got so bored…

Back to parent/teacher conferences. How does this work? Is it even possible to keep parents away from teachers? Like I would assume that there would be like slated times or something? Also, I would assume a lot of people would complain about lemonade with no sugar in it. Poor Buffy. I had never thought about how Spike would even know Buffy was in the school that night, although it’s an excellent point. I also want to know why Spike thinks the school is a good idea at all. I mean, really it doesn’t seem like the best place for an attack. Tons of doors, tons of emergency exits. Closets, rooms, passages. Seems like there’s not really any way to corral that many people effectively in that kind of space.  And in fact, as it turns out, there’s not. Which is another way to prove that Spike is really not all that effective in his plans. Again, all impulse. It occasionally works out for him and usually when Buffy is around, it goes terribly for him. This is another example of terrible quality in the dark shots.

Buffy does completely kick ass in this episode though. Let’s all take a minute to appreciate just how much she kicks ass. Let’s also take a minute for this.

Giles: Let me help you.
Buffy: Giles, my mother’s in that room. If I don’t make it out of here, I know you’ll make sure she does.
Giles: Bloody right I will.
B: *bawling*

 

So Angel decides to go with his worst idea ever. As Joelle says, it doesn’t make any sense at all. We know he hates Xander but clearly he wasn’t actually planning on vamping or killing Xander. I have never even considered the possibility that sire could refer to like…. a grandsire. I always just assumed it was an inconsistency in the writing, due to the fact that they probably hadn’t worked out the family tree yet. Also because there are about a thousand inconsistencies in this scene. Well, not a thousand but a lot. I love the Anne Rice bit but Angel is not Spike’s sire, Angel absolutely WAS one for company (he traveled with a group for like…. decades). There’s so many things Spike should know that he doesn’t. A lot of it I don’t really hold against anyone because I really just assume that most of that stuff they figured out way later in the writing of the show so right now they were just kind-of making it up as they went along. But honestly? Why doesn’t Xander know what a sire is yet? Why don’t ALL the Scoobies know what a sire is?

Buffy’s mom coming in to save her is absolutely incredibly important. It’s one of the coolest things that it is her mom and not Giles or Angel or one of the other guys. It’s great that her mom recognizes how awesome her daughter is and how much of a worthless little jerk Snyder is. Which of course will be something of a continuing thing as the show goes on. Also, it’s cool that she managed to hit him like perfectly with the flat of the ax. I feel like I would have accidentally… I don’t know…. not hit him with the flat somehow. I feel like that would take talent. Of course, I’ve never hit anything with an ax so I really don’t know.

Here we get our first indications that there is a conspiracy in Sunnydale. Which is great and makes perfect sense because honestly the police would HAVE to have some idea that something was up. But if you look at crime stats on Sunnydale, do they just show an incredibly high rate of PCP gang related incidents? Like is Sunnydale the PCP capital of the US in this universe?

They just look so happy together!

 

I laugh hysterically at the idea of Spike laying down his life because of… well, because of anything, really. Much less because he somehow messed up a ceremony. Does the feast of St. Viggus really increase their power somehow? How does that work, I wonder? And why does it never come up again? And, last but not least, the killing of the Annoying One is just an absolutely fantastic and fun scene. No one will miss him and it’s time for a new leader of evil in Sunnydale.