"I like seeing you at bedtime."
Okay y'all. We've now moved onto disc four. The picture on the main menu is a very sultry shot of Angel and Buffy. The two have spent the last several episodes making out and doing little else. It's Buffy's birthday. THINGS ARE HAPPENING. THINGS. FINALLY.
Buffy birthday episodes tend to run together in my mind. I've been trying to remember what happens in this episode but I keep getting it mixed up with Buffy's next birthday and expecting Faith to show up (spoilers! Who's Faith?) But I have spent days anticipating Surprise. This had better not be a letdown.
We open with a Dream Sequence. The show is quite good at these. Buffy is followed out of her bedroom by Drusilla, and ends up at The Bronze, where Willow is talking in Spanish to a monkey, and Joyce shows up dropping plates on the floor, asking, "Do you really think you're ready, Buffy?"
Oh. She's ready.
From all the confusion emerges Angel, just in time to get staked by Drusilla, who wishes Buffy a happy birthday. You and I, dear reader, realize that dreams may not be real, but Buffy has to rush to Angel's lair to make sure he is not actually dead. Angel says, "Shut up, Buffy, I hear the twinkly Buffy <3 Angel 4eva piano theme in the background, it's time for us to make out!" She has to get to school, but the two just cannot keep their hands off of each other. I've said it before and I'll say it again--these two have real chemistry, and pull off the teenage lust thing quite convincingly. (Except that Angel is 300 years old. Whatever.)
Anyhow, Angel asks Buffy what she wants for her birthday. Buffy says, "Surprise me." Then somehow or another she mentions that she likes Angel at bedtime. If you've never seen the show you may not realize it yet, but everything up to this point has been very on-the-nose. Joss Whedon must have written this episode. [ETA: It was actually written by Marti Noxon. Ehh, close enough.]
Buffy reveals to Willow that she thinks she's ready. Willow gets a little tingly at this thought, and rushes off to flirt with Oz. And finally, after 28374234 episodes, Oz asks her out. Willow invites him to Buffy's Surprise party. Xander has less luck asking Cordelia to come to the party as his date. I derive way too much pleasure from seeing Xander humiliated.
Although it is entirely likely that you've forgotten they even exist, Spike and Drusilla turn up in a new secret lair, only this time Spike is in a wheelchair and Drusilla is strong. They're preparing for an apocalyptic event for Buffy's birthday--remember when this was every demon's M.O.? Drusilla acts crazy. She has a creepy vein. Maniacal laugh. Aaaand scene.
This is the point when things start to get strange, and I bop up and down in my chair because yayyy things are happening! First, Joyce repeats the line from Buffy's dream and shatters her plate in the kitchen. Buffy and Giles believe this might prove that Drusilla is really alive and coming for Angel.
Then, a tall guy in a hat creeps up on Jenny Calendar at school babbling about some curse. But Jenny seems to know about him, and the curse, which she believes is still going strong. You see, they're discussing Angel, and some kind of revenge curse placed upon him by Her People. Mr. Hat is quite angry that Angel seems to be a little happy because of his new girlfriend, and spouts out some exposition about how "If this girl gives him one minute of happiness, it is one minute too much." It turns out he's her uncle, and she is not Jenny Calendar, but Janna of the Kalderash tribe. WHAT! JENNY CALENDAR ARE YOU EVIL???
Despite all this, the party must go on. Jenny intercepts Buffy at the library and tells her that there's been a change of plans. She's trying to direct Buffy toward the Surprise party, but now that we don't really know who Jenny is anymore, her motives are all suspect! They drive to The Bronze together, but run into one of Spike's minions, who is stealing a large crate. Inside of the crate is a metal arm that tries to choke Buffy. Angel recognizes it as belonging to The Judge, a figure of legend who can't be killed and whose sole purpose is to bring about Armageddon. This is Drusilla's kooky new plan. I wonder if Buffy will thwart it?
Jenny, who we now know has it out for Angel, suggests that he must take it to the remotest part of the world on the back of a steamship, which will separate him from Buffy for months. Angel thinks this is a keen idea, but Buffy can't let go. Angel gives her a Claddagh ring (Angel is Irish, which will make for many hilarious flashbacks to come). Somewhere, softly, Buffy <3 Angel 4eva plays.
It's been a while since I've mentioned that Xander is the worst person on the face of the planet, so here we go. Buffy and Angel get attacked at the dock and lose The Judge's arm, so it turns out they won't be separated after all. But before Xander finds out, he is ecstatic that Angel will be gone and Buffy will still be around for the taking. He tells Willow his epic fantasy in which Buffy wastes years of her life with Angel only to have Xander swoop in and save her, laughing as he tells Willow that he delights in thinking of Buffy crying. Ughh.
Back at Drusilla's party, which features some Diet Girl Goth soundtrack with ~weird~ violins, her minions assemble The Judge.
Buffy and Angel crash, falling right into Spike and Drusilla's trap. They manage to escape into a sewer. Outside, it's raining. They rush to Angel's lair for shelter. Do I hear Buffy <3 Angel 4eva?
Buffy starts crying. You see, all episode long, she's been dreaming of Angel's imminent death-by-Drusilla. Recent events hit too close to home. She can't bear to lose Angel. She looooves him sooo much. He's like the real true bona fide luv of her life. She can't wait a moment longer. She is so ready. Angel says he loves her. And then they make sweet, saturated, extreme close-up love.
It's all very romantic. So why does Angel wake up in the night, looking like he has a severe case of indigestion? Why does he run outside in the rain, in pain, shrieking Buffy's name?
Favorite moment: This episode is the first of a two-parter, and is a bit lackluster when you think of what is about to happen. Important info to retain:
1. Jenny Calendar is not who she says she is. Something about a Gypsy curse placed upon Angel.
2. Buffy and Angel had sex.
3. The Judge is mean.
So a cute moment that lightens the mood--Buffy crashes into her birthday party in the midst of a vampire fight. Oz sees his very first staking, but accepts the existence of vampire because "that explains a lot." Hey, this kid has got a head on his shoulders! Cordelia, on the other hand, misses the brouhaha, pops out from behind the cake, and yells, "Surprise!"
I love her <3333