"She couldn't have dressed up like Xena?"
It's Friday Friday Friday ohh! So what am I doing? Outside my dorm window there's a 90s party goin' on, and I was just treated to a transition between "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and "Who Let The Dogs Out?" Ahh, that's exactly how I remember the 90s.
Me, I'm sitting in my room hacking up a lung and drinking cranberry juice and Emergen-C and feeling sorry for myself. No sooner did I hear the dulcet tones of Sisqo from outside than I realized it's time for me to distract myself with this blog.
The past two episodes have been quite awful, a direct consequence of their Xander-centrism. I have much higher hopes for "Halloween," the most 90s of all holidays.
Buffy sees Cordelia flirting with Angel at The Bronze, and we experience the joy of David Boreanaz Acting as he laughs jovially at Cordelia's Barbie jokes, sees Buffy, and pathetically whimpers. Cordelia tries to make him feel better by ordering him a cappuccino, leaving you to wonder who actually does things like that.
Principal Snyder coerces the Scoobies into taking a bunch of kids trick-or-treating. Xander takes out his frustration on a pop machine (yes, yes, it is a pop machine, sez this Chicagoan) that just won't give him his Diet Dr. Pepper! Larry, a big oaf jock type, tries to pummel Xander because of testosterone, and when Buffy intervenes and saves the day, Xander is VERY upset by her affront to his masculinity.
Buffy is still worried that Angel may secretly be in love with Cordelia. She and Willow conspire to sneak past Giles and steal some of the old Watcher diaries to learn more about Angel's 240-year-long love life. Now is a good time to mention that any time Giles has an epiphany or gets flustered he dramatically takes off his glasses, e.g. after Buffy tries to distract him by yelling, "Miss Calendar thinks you're a babe!"
The gang go shopping for Halloween costumes: Xander is an army dude, Willow is a ghost because get it she's meek and wants to cover herself up, and Buffy goes gaga for a super ugly Victorian dress, the kind of thing she suspects Angel likes. It's episodes like these that remind you for all her slaying, Buffy originated as a ditzy teenager.
And then...Spike and Drusilla are back! "Do you love my insides?" Drusilla asks. Spike entertains her tedious questions, but is more intent on studying the Buffy-slaying video one of his minions recorded. He reveals that once Buffy is out of the way, Drusilla can "get strong" again. So what, she's weak? Sick? Is it the drugs?
Everyone puts on their costumes, and Buffy encourages Willow to ditch her ghost outfit and dress up like A Girl in a Midriff Top.
The guy who we previously saw selling the Scoobies their Halloween costumes is now partaking in some Satanic ritual. Geez, aren't there any honest citizens in this town? It seems his spell turns everyone into their costumes, so little kids become monsters and attack poor old ladies, Willow turns into her own ghost, Buffy into a damsel-in-distress, etc. Nobody, except for Willow, has any recollection of their true selves. Oh boy, I see hijinks in our future!
Xander is much more tolerable as a no-nonsense soldier--finally, the masculinity he craves! But Buffy grates on the nerves a bit as 1700s Dame Buffy. She thinks cars are demons and just wants to get married to a nice baron and won't take orders from Willow because she's a woman.
Willow and Giles go to confront the shopkeeper, and...Giles knows him by name! It's Ethan Rayne, an old acquaintance. This should have been evident as they are the only two people in Sunnydale with British accents. Well, except Spike. And apparently Drusilla.
Ethan says to Giles, "Hello, Ripper!" Ripper? He alludes to some dark secret in Giles' past that he hasn't revealed to anyone. Seriously, no honest citizens! Giles isn't having any of it, and he beats the crap out of Ethan, calmly wiping his bloody knuckles clean. Then Giles breaks the fourth wall! This is all so startling! What ever could it all mean?
Giles manages to break the spell just as Spike is about to sink his fangs into Buffy--instead, she pops up and says, "Hi honey! I'm home!" Ahh, there's the Buffy I missed.
But is Angel a little disappointed that Buffy has changed back? Why, not at all! In fact, the two have a romantic moment in which he tells her, "I hated the girls back then. They were just incredibly dull! Simpering morons!" Now, that's a progressive message!
Rote review + lack of snark = strong episode. You are redeemed, Joss Whedon. For now.
Seth Green (who we now know to be Oz) sees Willow dressed in her Girl in a Midriff Top from afar and says, "Who's that girl?"
Please please please let's accelerate this plot and decelerate the Xander crush thing oh god :(