Saturday, June 25, 2011

Innocence

Season #2, Episode #14: Innocence

"To kill this girl, you have to love her."


The Surprise/Innocence double-whammy is considered one of Buffy's finest moments because of their big major plot points and lofty thematics. I feel like I need to do something special for this momentous occasion. I'm reviewing Innocence. And yeah, it's an incredible episode. We're not worthy.

It's a wonder that this episode doesn't completely squander my goodwill right off the bat, as it opens on Drusilla lying on the ground going, "OoooOOooooooOOO!!" But we cut quickly to see what exactly she's OOoO-ing about. She's had a vision of Angel, stumbling about in the rain. A woman approaches him, smoking a cigarette, asking if he needs help.

What happens next may shock you.
Angel, with his vamp face on, turns around, kills the woman, and exhales her cigarette smoke.

Ohhhh boy.

Buffy is unaware of Angel's new bloodlust. But the Scoobies know even less, and when Buffy doesn't return to the library all night, they think Buffy and Angel were killed by The Judge. When she finally turns up, Angel is still AWOL. There's a good bit of tension in the fact that Buffy is worried that he ran off right after they first had sex, and the Scoobies, unaware of this fact, are worried that he's gone on some vigilante mission to kill The Judge.

And he has, in a way. He repairs to Spike and Drusilla's lair, acts a bit like a frat boy, and confronts The Judge. But the big blue guy, who sucks the humanity out of any creature, verifies that there is no humanity in Angel. The soul is gone. And Spike and Dru are ready to party. Angel, minus the soul, is Angelus. In my humble opinion, Angelus is the most sinister, terrifying villain on the series.

Okay, so this is HUGE right? I'll get into thematic details later, but just a word on David Boreanaz. He seems so, so much more comfortable playing Angel sans soul. He jokes around, smokes cigarettes, gives crooked smiles, and has 500% more lines. One appreciates his versatility, and the vast improvements in his acting since Season 1. More on this in later reviews.

Buffy wanders around town in search of Angel, a more sinister version of Buffy <3 Angel 4eva scoring her quest. She finds him back at home, getting dressed like nothing's happened. And when she asks him what happened, he taunts her, telling her he didn't want to stick around, and laughing when she asks if she wasn't good. He giggles as he says, "Really, I thought were a pro." Sarah Michelle Gellar is really wonderful in these dramatic scenes, and it's just heartbreaking to watch her try to keep her composure as Angel tears her apart. The whole thing is so, so brutal. More on this later, too.



Jenny/Janna's uncle approaches her so they can give us some more exposition about WTF is going on. The Gypsy curse placed upon Angel that restored his soul (remember Angel?) was revoked when he achieved one moment of pure happiness. It stands to reason that if Angel is happy, then the curse is pointless, and so his soul will be removed. Jenny is incensed, and argues that now Angel will kill Buffy. But he tells her, "It is not justice we serve. It's vengeance."

Angelus shows up at school and tries to kill Willow, so the Scoobies have a group meeting to try to figure out WTF is going on. But everyone has secrets--Jenny, about the curse, and Buffy, about having sex with Angel. Giles insists that some event must have triggered his turning back into Angelus, and harassess Buffy until she runs out of the library in tears. Willow suddenly realizes what happened between Buffy and Angel, and tells Giles to shut up. Willow can get on my last nerve, but I love the shock and understanding playing across Willow's face in that second--one of her finest moments.


Buffy has a prophetic dream that implicates Jenny. It speaks to Buffy's current mental state that this alone gives her reason to storm into Jenny's classroom and choke her until she reveals her secret. Jenny tells Buffy and Giles the whole story, including that she was sent to Sunnydale High to monitor Buffy and Angel. Buffy considers this to be some pretty deep betrayal, but she is more concerned with the issue at hand--getting Jenny to curse him again and restore his soul.


Unfortunately, the only person who would know how to use such powerful magic is Jenny's uncle, who is immediately slaughtered by Angelus. The three discover his corpse, and also a message left for Buffy in his blood reading, "Was it good for you too?" This Manson-esque behavior is just a hint as to what we can expect from Angelus. But upon reading his message, Buffy realizes what she always knew (since Season 1!) but didn't want to accept. She has to kill him.

Whew! This is all SO dramatic, let's dial it down a little. So there's another ongoing plot involving the rest of the Scoobies (now including Oz!). Willow finds out about Xander and Cordelia and is really super pissed off that Xander would be with someone he hates before he'd consider Willow. Blah blah Willow, you have Oz now, Xander sux, get over it! They let bygones be bygones when Xander comes up with a cunning plan to kill The Judge, which involves (slut-shaming Cordelia and) using residual military knowledge from Halloween to break into an army base.

But what for? You see, legend has it that an army came after The Judge and could not defeat him with any weapon. "That was then. This is now," Buffy says, holding up a gigantic bazooka. "What's that do?" are his last words. His sudden anticlimactic death barely even registers as cheap considering the rest of the DRAMA in this episode.


But we're not out of the woods yet. Angelus comes after Buffy, telling her that he's glad he doesn't have to pretend he has to love her anymore as he pummels her. Although she's understandably been a complete wreck for the entire episode, weeping in bed, wandering listlessly like a shadow of her former self, she summons her inner resolve and kicks him in the balls. He tells her that she can't kill him, that she still loves him. "Give me time," she responds.

Favorite moment: Okay let me do as brief an analysis of this episode as I possibly can. Although I've never spoken with anyone who argued this, I imagine that one could say Buffy is punished for having sex with Angel and that it's kind of a pro-abstinence message. I'm torn on this issue. What I think is brilliant about Angel's turning into Angelus is that it successfully marries the scary demon stuff with the interpersonal relationship stuff. Buffy's reality, which is a more or less typical teenage fear, is that after having sex with Angel, he becomes evil. He no longer wants her, he belittles her, and he says that he never loved her. Add to this the fact that Buffy knew about this "demon" existed inside of him all along. And for this reason, I think Angelus is absolutely the show's most brilliant invention.

And yes, I agree that punishing your lead character for having sex is problematic. And Buffy is punished. She will continue to be punished in the worst possible way. But this is where the mystical otherworldliness of Buffy saves the day, because the show itself, as well as its moral mouthpieces, aren't the ones doing the punishing. A huge part of what rescues this plot from being super offensive is the reaction from Buffy's parental figures. Which leads to one of my top favorite moments in the entire series!

At the end of the episode, Giles drives Buffy home. She asks him if he's disappointed in her, because it's all her fault that Angelus returned. But underneath that statement is anxiety that she had sex and because of the fallout, she feels that she is now less, broken. Giles assures her that Angel loved her, and that she is not at all responsible, and "if it's guilt you're looking for, Buffy, I'm not your man. All you'll get from me is my support, and my respect." Omg <3333 Giles <3333

At home, Buffy curls up on the couch watching old movies with Joyce. They have this exchange:

Joyce: So what'd you do for your birthday? Did you have fun?
Buffy: I got older.
Joyce: You look the same to me.


Joyce may have no idea what's going on, but the tacit approval from her parental figures is so touching and cathartic after the emotional beating Buffy gets in this episode.

Surprise

Season #2, Episode #13: Surprise

"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?


Enter ANGELUS.

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

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Bad Eggs

Season #2, Episode #12: Bad Eggs

"I see your GYEARAARH and raise you a NYUURGH!"


Bad Eggs is goofy. I enjoy it, and I wouldn't call it throwaway, but Season 2 as I know it has not even begun and we're already twelve episodes in! The next episode begins what I think is the best invention of the Buffy franchise, and I am just getting SO IRRITABLE Y'ALL. So let's get this over with.

The kids at Sunnydale High are learning about sex--namely, as Cordelia says, that sex in the car can be disastrous, and as Xander points out, halitosis is a major turn-off. The unresolved sexual tension, brimming underneath the surface, causes the two to make out only in the privacy of janitor's closets. And then take long, long showers to wash off the filth. Shockingly, the whole Xander-Cordelia thing doesn't make me want to vomit.

As part of their sex education, everyone has to couple up and raise a baby egg. Basically this entails not breaking the egg. Easy enough, right?


But Buffy has other things on her mind, as some cowboy vampires (the Gorch brothers) are in town, and they're strong. They watch Buffy and Angel getting hot and heavy in the graveyard rather than slaying. We're meant to understand that Buffy really is concerned about these vamps, but she and Angel just can't help but succumb to their animalistic passion. So hot or whatever.


In the middle of the night--at 2:03am exactly--Buffy's egg, Eggbert, hatches. And it's not a little baby chick, but a long spindly tentacle that creeps up and wraps around her face. I don't know about you, but when floppy alien fingers probe my eyeballs in my sleep, I tend to wake up.


But not Buffy. She wakes up the next morning, feeling a little iffy, but none worse for the wear. And, even stranger, Eggbert is still intact! Back at the library, she and Willow collapse on the stairs, clutching their baby eggs, meant to be like young mothers exhausted from screaming babies. Or, you know, alien eggs. Xander doesn't have this problem, as he hard-boiled his egg.

Angel and Buffy make out in the graveyard again. Kids these days! Eggbert gets them on the topic of parenthood, and Angel reveals that he can't have kids. Because he's impotent? No, because he's a vampire--although the show doesn't really specify. But Buffy doesn't care and says, "When I look into the future, all I see is you! All I want is you!" Rote as this romance plot is, it works in context. They would have attractive babies if Angel weren't impotent or whatever.


Buffy's late night make-out session brings her back to her room just in time see little Eggbert hatch. He's a gross spidery crustacean type alien that, after a long creepy sequence, Buffy stabs to death with some scissors.


She calls Willow to warn her, but all is well at the Rosenbergs.
Or so it seems! Pan out, and we see that Willow's egg has already hatched! It turns out the alien crustaceans have latched onto their mommies and taken over their brain activity.


[No, that's not a tramp stamp.]


Right when Xander and Buffy are about to dissect Eggbert, they get whacked unconscious by Willow and Cordelia. The possessed of Sunnydale High march into the basement carrying eggs to or from a gigantic vagina dentata? I stopped paying attention because eww.

A while back, Joyce caught Buffy sneaking back into her room late at night. For those of you keeping score, Joyce still doesn't know about Angel, let alone the fact that Buffy is the Slayer. She grounds Buffy for forever, and comes to Sunnydale High when Buffy doesn't come home from school. Giles gets her possessed by Eggbert's sister.

Xander and Buffy come to, and it's cute how lost they are without Giles' and Willow's book smarts. Things get a bit awkward when possessed Joyce keeps trying to bash Buffy's brain in, and the Gorch brothers turn up only to have one of them get eaten by the big vagina in the basement. Buffy jumps inside to kill it, and comes out looking all oily and not-to-be-messed with. The remaining Gorch runs away in fear. God, I've missed this Buffy.


Favorite moment: The very end--it's cute. All those possessed at Sunnydale High leave under the impression that there was some kind of gas leak that made them pass out. Remembering nothing, Joyce tells Buffy that she's now grounded for even longer than forever. But no matter! Buffy and Angel can still make out--through her bedroom window.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Ted

Season #2, Episode #11: Ted

"I believe the subtext here is rapidly becoming.. text."


Since I've started this blog, all of my secret Buffy fan friends have come out of the woodwork to talk episodes with me. Buffy fandom is quite humongous and scary, and I find it endlessly fascinating to hear the general consensus on different characters and episodes that I'm essentially seeing for the first time.

Case in point: Ted. Apparently, people hate this episode. It's icky and dramatic in a goofy way, which for me is usually a formula for disaster. But what can I say? I think it's a standout.

We open. SHE IS THE SLAYER!!! etc.

Normally I would not waste my precious time describing the mundane details of each episode, like Count the Unsuccessful Puns, or which lines of dialogue did Joss Whedon really hope were going to revolutionize teen jargon? But I have to point out Willow's outfit in the opening scene as the Scoobies walk home from a wild night out. It is the worst outfit of all time.


Buffy walks in on Joyce...making out with some GUY in the KITCHEN. A GUY! A MAN! John Ritter, in fact. Joyce introduces Buffy to her manfriend. "Hi," says skeptical Buffy.

"This is Ted," Joyce says. Aaaand, cue the opening credits.

The Scoobies instantly take to Ted, who seduces Willow with thoughts of computers with nine gig hard-drives. Xander is really obsessed with Ted's mini-pizzas. But Buffy is still skeptical, and takes out her unresolved rage for her mom's secret boyfriend on some vampires. Is there a term for like, and Elektra complex, but with your mom?

Angel, in a rare show of personality, tells Buffy that she should lay off and that Joyce needs a special someone, too. Grandfather Giles can tell something is wrong. Willow and Xander tell Buffy that she's just being goofy and has separation anxiety. At that exact moment, Ted pops up to invite the gang to go miniature golfing and have a picnic. Ted is played by John Ritter, who is eerily accurate as a straight-laced average Joe who is just a touch over-the-top.

Jenny Calendar comes back from taking a mental health month, but she is quite mean to Giles when he asks if she's okay. "You make me feel bad that I don't feel better," she says. Well, I guess Giles did inadvertently get her possessed by a drug-inducing demon. But look at this face!


The writers of this episode slowly introduce small details about Ted that are unsettling, but not necessarily obvious. He already knows a little too much about Buffy's bad grades and is a bit too involved in trying to teach her how to live her life. For a while it's unclear if Buffy is overreacting to his intrusion into her life, or if there really is something wrong.

For a while. At the gang's mini-golf date, Ted catches Buffy cheating, and threatens, "Do you want me to slap that smartass mouth of yours?" Then turns around and yells to the rest of the group, "Who's up for dessert?" God, I forgot how creepy this episode is!


Joyce, Xander, and Willow all side with Ted. Now that we know Ted is a creep, it becomes more and more frustrating to watch him drive a wedge between Buffy and the rest of the group. She's forced to go rogue, stalking him at his job, where he is top salesman and has a picture of Joyce on his desk--with Buffy cut out.

Buffy is mad as hell and she is not going to take it anymore. At dinner, she tells Ted that the idea of him and her mom getting engaged makes her want to kill herself. Joyce is outraged--but doesn't she find it a tad weird that Ted has taken over the family and already wants to get married? Get it together, Joyce. I hate how oblivious she is in the beginning of the series.

Buffy gets sent to her room, but she sneaks out to swing on a swingset and return to her childhood. When she comes back, Ted is in her room, reading her diary, asking her about slayers, calling her "little lady."


What happens next was SO SHOCKING to me the first time around that I could do nothing but laugh and laugh in disbelief. Ted threatens to have Buffy institutionalized, and then smacks her across the face. It's so brutal to watch, but Buffy takes it in stride and says, "I was so hoping you'd do that." She takes it as an invitation to fight back, but then she accidentally kicks him down the stairs in full view of Joyce.

And he dies.

BUFFY KILLS TED! HUMAN TED!

The first half of this episode somehow manages to be a fully realized family melodrama, totally different from anything else on the show. The whole thing is just so weird in the way that it's not supernatural, morally ambiguous, and creepy as hell. You're left with Buffy being questioned by the police, unable to convince them that Ted hit her first because her Slayer body heals so quickly. Even the music here, these pretty (and a 'lil cheesy) delicate orchestral swells, seems so out of place.

Buffy is totally traumatized. Xander and Willow want to believe© that Ted ended up being a demon, and that's why Buffy killed him. What happens to her entire moral universe if she kills a human? Was it really in self-defense, or did she let herself lose control because of her issues with losing her mother to a new boyfriend? Another thing to notice in this scene is that Sarah Michelle Gellar is truly a great dramatic actress, and runs rings around Xander and Willow, who are trying so so hard.

The rest of the Scoobies, who originally refused to believe that there was anything wrong with Ted, can't accept that Buffy killed a human, and do some research in an attempt to prove that there was really something wrong with him. Xander snacks on the last batch of cookies Ted will ever cook while Willow frets over Ted's lack of a criminal record. Xander stops her and says, "Don't sweat it, cute buddy! We'll work it out! Worrying isn't going to solve any problems!"

Willow analyzes the cookies and discovers that "the secret ingredient isn't love." Instead, it is a tranquilizer/ecstasy. Ted, you bad boy!!!

Back at home, Buffy and Joyce try to mend the pieces of, you know, Buffy murdering Joyce's boyfriend. But things are strained, so Buffy retires to her bedroom, where she sees...TED? Alive and well?

Oh thank god he wasn't really human.

(A dear friend of mine would like me to point out that when the evil guy from the first half of the episode returns, a moment that should be terrifying and climactic, we all breathe a sigh of relief. Why? Because the first half of the episode is so emotionally fraught and nerve-shattering, and the fallout would almost be too much to bear.)

Buffy stabs Ted with a nail file and discovers that he's secretly a robot. Okay, that's fine, the last robot we had was a demon on the Internet, so this is a definite improvement. The show loses steam after the first half, but they tie things up as well as could be expected given the fact that Buffy is not ready to delve into themes this deep until Season 3.

It turns out that mortal Ted built a Ted robot who, after his death, would continue to marry women, bring them to his 50s-style love dungeon, force them to be the perfect housewife, kill them, and hide them in the closet. This is really creepy, but abstract enough and handled with nuance that makes it seem less exploitative.

One thing I will say, however, is that I could tell without looking that this is a Joss Whedon episode. Why? Because Joss Whedon's villains are always just egregiously misogynistic dudes. The frat boys in Reptile Boy. Ted, as he tells Joyce, "I don't take orders from women. I'm not wired that way." Several Big Bads to come. He's sometimes successful at this (Warren in Season 6 springs to mind), but usually it falls flat. We get it, Joss. You are such a good feminist, and misogynists are bad. By making all of your villains misogynists, you have successful absolved yourself of being a dude. You get to be an honorary woman. Congratulations, Joss. High-five. Okay?

But you still have to apologize for Xander.

Favorite moment: Buffy is too emotionally fragile to go a-Slayin', so Giles takes over her place. Jenny Calendar follows him to apologize for being so harsh, and then accidentally shoots an arrow into his back instead of the vampire attacking him. After this tension release, a subtle way for them to move past the events of The Dark Age, we see them making out in the library at the end of the episode.

Aww!!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

What's My Line Pt. 2

Season #2, Episode #10: What's My Line Pt. 2

"Kendra? You slay. I'm going to Disneyland."


Oops. I swear I planned on reviewing this episode right after Pt. 1, but my busy schedule of being unemployed is more trying than I expected. Not to mention the fact that every time I considered reviewing What's My Line, my brain would inevitably jump to "What's My Name?" by Rihanna (feat. Drake, unfortunately), at which point I would watch all of Rihanna's music videos On Demand, feel very badly about myself, and apply to six more jobs. Luckily I have managed to break this vicious cycle by turning off my television. So let's do this.

If you recall, we left off with Kendra the Probably Jamaican Vampire Slayer in a death match with Buffy. Meanwhile, Angel is huffing and puffing in terror as sunshine creeps into his cage. This is where we begin.

Buffy and Kendra agree to go to Giles and try to figure out WTF is going on--Buffy, of course, does not yet know that her one true love is on the brink of death! Giles thinks about it a 'lil, removes and replaces his glasses a few times, and realizes that Buffy died temporarily in Season 1 finale Prophecy Girl, at which point Kendra was called to be the new Slayer. Two Slayers at once! Spike must be peeing his pants right now.

The two Slayers do not get along well. Kendra, who has no last name and is all business, looks down on Buffy with her friends and her attitude. Buffy is exasperated with Kendra's inability to understand the lives of American teenagers. Keep this in mind, because it's about to get real gross real soon.

Spike pays Willie the bartender to rescue Angel from his cage and deliver him, something something, I stopped paying attention because Spike is inexplicably boring in this season. This leaves Buffy flummoxed when she runs to rescue Angel from his cage, only to find it empty. They beat up Willie for information and we have Personality Clash #12--Kendra wants to go back to Giles for orders, but Buffy has to do things ~her own way~.

Spike presents Angel, all tied-up and helpless, to Drusilla. Angel is forced to watch the two of them make out while Drusilla says, "Spooooiiikee? Can I have him?" and other creepily whimsical musings. This is the cruelest torture the show has devised so far.


Personality clash #13: Kendra likes to study The Slayer Handbook and other books that Buffy finds hopelessly nerdy. This endears Giles to Kendra and makes Buffy feel all jealous and inadequate. The silver lining here is that Buffy decides she can turn over Slayer duties to Kendra, who is obviously more dedicated. Then she can be--you guessed it--a normal teenager!

Remember Xander and Cordelia, locked in Buffy's house with the worm assassin? They discover his worminess and hide in the basement, where they bicker and shout about how much they hate one another and then...

WHATTTTTT!?!??!!? WHAT!
WHAT!
CORDELIA! WHAT ARE YOU THINKING!?!?!?!?
The two are properly horrified by what they've done and run out of the house, worms raining from the ceiling. And then Xander hoses her down, literally. Jesus show, what is going on???


Lest you forget it's career day, Oz and Willow flirt about their elite status, and the law enforcement representative turns out to be one of the assassins and tries to shoot Buffy. The Scoobies reconvene in the library to figure out how to stop Spike and his assassins, and somehow mystically divine the secret villainous plan. Spike needs Drusilla's sire, Angel, to complete some ritual that will make her strong again.

In the middle of all this, Xander and Cordelia come running in to warn about worm guy, but get distracted by Kendra, whom they haven't met. Kendra gets super fidgety when approached by Xander and stammers and twitches awkwardly. Remember this for purposes of future grossness.

Kendra and Buffy have a heart-to-heart and address their differences. Kendra explains that she was taught not to have and friends or emotions, and that her parents gave her up to her Watcher when she was young. But, wait a second, Buffy died less than a year ago, so how could Kendra's parents have known that she was going to maybe be a Slayer one day? These are questions you shouldn't ask while watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

I guess this is as good a time as any to address the grossness I've been alluding to. Kendra is the first person of color to appear on the show in any significant way, as I mentioned in my last review. So it was probably not in the show's best interests that her character comes from some distant, foreign culture that is never identified and Buffy finds totally backwards. Every single thing Buffy says to or about Kendra is dripping with disdain for her rigid social mores. Not until they have this heart-to-heart does Buffy treat her with any respect at all, and the major lesson derived from their conversation is that Kendra needs to loosen up a little and be more like plucky American Buffy. The show also NEVER addresses Kendra's behavior around Xander except to say that she is not allowed to speak to boys. Her weakness in the face of Xander and subservience to men (except for vampire Angel) is just left to hang there as an example of the superiority of Buffy and her culture. This will become a perennial problem in the series whenever it addresses other/former slayers, but I'll address that more thoroughly when the time comes.

Anyhow, Drusilla ties Angel up and pours holy water over him in a super kinky fashion, reminding him that he slaughtered all of her family members and was a bad bad boy. Angel tells Spike that Drusilla is obviously relieving all of her sexual frustration and that Spike needs to take care of her better. "Oh no, not my masculinity!" Spike cries into the night.


Buffy goes to pump Willie for information yet again, but because he is a slimeball, he delivers her to the assassins. Conveniently, he brings her to the exact place where Spike, Drusilla, and Angel are holding the ritual. Spike is none too pleased by this, but is still confident that he can kill Buffy and complete the ritual. "At least Angel has one thing you don't have. Five minutes," he tells Buffy. And at home you're like, okay Spike, sure. You weren't even strong enough to fight Buffy's mom.

Blah blah, Kendra shows up just in the nick of time to help Buffy fight off all the assassins. Kendra learns to ~use her emotions~ when law enforcement lady ruins her only shirt, and becomes, like, sooo much stronger because of it. Buffy collapses an organ on Spike and Drusilla, rendering Spike even more useless. But, dun dun dun, the ritual was still successful and Drusilla is strong again! You may make the same mistake I did by thinking this will make her whimper less, but no.

I forgot to mention that Oz got shot in the face or something earlier this episode. He survived, and in true romance novel fashion, it brought him and Willow closer together. They lurk around the school hallways together saying cutesy things like, "You have the sweetest smile I've ever seen <3 <3 <3!"


Xander and Cordelia are still embarrassed by the HORRIBLE HORRIBLE THING that happened in the basement that I don't even want to discuss, and shout at each other loudly, like, "You're a pervert!" "It's your fault!" "I would never kiss you you have cooties!!!"

And then they make out again :'( :'( :'(

Favorite moment: I got a little bit overzealous with this review and mentioned basically everything that happened in Pt. 2. Perhaps I should point out that this episode features what may be the first piece of Xander dialogue that didn't make me want to throw tomatoes at his head. When he and Cordelia research the worm assassin in the library, and he takes a break from treating Cordelia like a child because he's the worst person ever, he finds a picture of the assassin and says, "I am the bug man! Coo-coo-ca-choo!" And it's almost cute.