"You're gonna live forever and you don't have time for a cup of coffee?"
So after Inca Mummy Girl we have Reptile Boy--a match made in heaven! We've already been introduced to Spike, so it wears on one's patience a little to have a bunch of goofy standalone episodes afterwards that do not feature Spike at all. I demand justice.
The episode opens with a girl jumping off of a roof and running from a group of hooded dudes. She's intercepted by a bro with frosty highlights who says, "Where are you going? The night has just started." This is already gross.
Buffy tells Willow that she had a dirty dream about Angel. "In surround sound!" she says. Oh yeah, I forgot about that guy! Buffy's trying to forget about him too because they can't be together because vampire and she's a slayer and yeah. She runs off to train with Giles and they actually have another conversation about how she just wants to party and have fun but she can't because of her sacred calling. Right now we're averaging about three an episode.
Cordelia brags about her college boyfriend after school, and he pulls up in a sweet car, rolls down the window and...is the frosty-tipped bro! His friend starts flirting with Buffy and is super charming and invites her to a frat party, but that darn Giles turns up and drags her back for training!
Buffy finds a bracelet in the cemetery and Angel suddenly materializes to tell her that there's blood on it! They have another lover's spat in which Buffy wants to date but Angel thinks it's too dangerous and also he's 241--Stephanie Meyer, take notes!--and they have this weird exchange:
Angel: This isn't a fairy tale! When I kiss you, you don't wake up and live happily ever after!
Buffy: No. When you kiss me, I want to die.
The frat boys have a pretty kinky initiation process that involves stripping down in a dungeon, threatening each other with swords, promising to pledge themselves to some mythical creature, and then shotgunning beers. "In blood I was baptized. And in blood I shall reign. In his name." Pretty sure that's a Slayer album, bro.
Buffy tells Willow and Giles about her relationship woes, which gets Xander really excited because Buffy is his, ALL HIS! Then he gets super pissed off when she says she's going to the frat party with Tom, the frat boy. MINE ALL MINE!!!
Buffy lies to Giles about being sick and having work to do so she can avoid training and go to the frat party with Cordelia. Xander is so offended and feels he must go to the party to protect Buffy and also show her what a manly man he is. Eventually Willow will identify the frat house as a place of evildoing based on the bracelet in the cemetery, but too late to warn Buffy!
Frosty Tips offers Buffy a drink--with alcohol in it! Buffy just says no, but changes her mind after she's left all uncomfortable and alone. Tom comes by to keep her company, and they have a slow dance. Notice how he's a warm-blooded human, all non-vampirey and alive!
Meanwhile, Xander breaks in and is having the time of his life ogling all the bodacious babes!!! But he's identified as a crasher and gets hazed and kicked out. Oh no, no more babes :(
Buffy decides to drink up because she's sick of being mature! But it turns out her drink was drugged, and she stumbles into a bedroom and passes out next to a passed-out Cordelia. Frosty Tips comes in and tries to grope her, but is interrupted by Tom, who shouts, "She's not here for your pleasure, you perv! She's here for the pleasure of the one we serve!" This is really gross. Joss Whedon, could we cut it out with the frivolous rape episodes?
Buffy and Cordelia get tied up in the dungeon with the girl from the beginning. The girl warns them against Tom, who seems nicer but is actually the most dangerous. The frat boys, led by Tom, begin a ritual, pledging new offerings to Machida. But what is Machida? Why, he's a gigantic phallic reptile who brings wealth and success to all the frat boys in the land! "No woman speaks to him!" "Talk again and I'll slit your throat!" "You bitch, I'll serve you to him in pieces!" Tom yells when Buffy tries to sass Machida.
This episode is awful. In about 6,000 ways. I guess now is as good a time as any to reveal my dark secret: I hate Joss Whedon. Okay, maybe that's a bit strong--I think Joss Whedon is an asshole, and I would rather leave his version of feminism than take it. He is so self-satisfied and smug and creepy, one example (of many) being his tendency to create these creepy plotlines in which women are stalked and threatened with rape and it's so exciting! If that's what I wanted, I would just watch Law & Order: SVU.
Whedon didn't write this episode, and I realize I'm committing several intentional fallacies here, but his control over the show and the treatment of these topics in his other shows (again, I'm looking at you, Dollhouse), to me says that it wouldn't be unfair to consider him at least partially responsible for the creepier aspects of Buffy. (In fact, the show will intermittently become really good at dealing with these issues in later seasons...after Whedon has relinquished control.) His idea of being a good feminist is lusting over Buffy because she can kick ass, and he completely lacks critical distance. He has said multiple times that he aligns himself with Xander. And the lesson of this episode is that frat boys are scum, that they may seem nice but really if you go to their parties that they will drug and rape you. "They hate women, unlike me, Joss Whedon!" Turns out Xander was right to go and protect her!
But it's not just Xander. Look at this delightful piece of dialogue, which occurs after the Scoobies + Angel break in and help Buffy kill Machida:
Buffy: (sheepishly) I told one lie...I had one drink...
Giles: Yes. And you were very nearly devoured by a giant demon snake. The words 'let this be a lesson' are a tad redundant.
Yeah, Buffy. Next time you want to drink an alcoholic beverage, you better know the consequences.
Favorite Moment: None.
Oh okay. I don't think I've done justice to Cordelia, who is always a dazzling addition to any scene. She gets all of the best lines, and Charisma Carpenter pulls off her diva-ness in a really endearing way. After the gang kill Machida, she gives Angel a big hug, starts crying, and says, "I've never been so happy to see anyone in my life! I...I hate you guys! The weirdest stuff always happens when you're around!" She elevates this episode to a 1/10.