Monday, August 22, 2011

Anne

Season #3, Episode #1: Anne

"I just wanna be alone and quiet in a room with a chair and a fireplace and a tea cozy. I don't even know what a tea cozy is, but I want one."


Ahh, Season 3! I hardly knew ye! It came and went so fast the first time around, with little old me irritated and confused by its resolution. But I'm pretty sure Season 3 is widely regarded as the best in all of Buffy, and now that I know better what will become of the new major character (whose name begins with an "F" and ends with a "orced character development"), I hope I'll see the light!

Right off the bat, we have some notable changes: new opening credits, this time featuring Seth Green (!), and a cute new big girl haircut for Willow, but unfortunately no big girl personality.


But when we begin, it looks as if nothing has changed at all. A vampire rises from its grave. We see a woman's legs in fashionable jeans doing a power stance and hear her make a terrible joke. Only it's Willow--and the words "Come and get it, big boy!" rocket to the top of my Top 10 Things I Never Want To Hear Willow Say Again.


The Scoobies have spent the summer trying to pick up the slack that Buffy left, but are hopelessly inept at slaying. As for Buffy, she wakes up at her apartment in a sordid hellhole of a town full of ugly street fronts and whining ambulances. It must be Los Angeles.

Meanwhile at Sunnydale High, it's the first day of school, and we get an impressive continuous shot beginning in the library with Willow and Giles and continuing into the hallway where it picks up various conversations. Cordelia and Xander are all excited to see one another again. Oz surprises Willow by telling her he's going to come back to Sunnydale High to finish his senior year. Larry the oaf thinks this will be the best year EVER!


Impressive as this shot is, the Scoobies seem awkward and aimless without Buffy. And I don't mean in the obvious sense, I mean in the sense that the actors don't seem to know what they should be doing or what their relationships were to one another for the past two seasons.

Buffy works as a waitress in a cheesy diner with a name tag reading "Anne." Her boss is gross and she gets sexually harassed by two trucker dudes, but while Buffy wouldn't have put up with it, "Anne" lets it go. Two of her customers are Rickie and Lily, the latter looking suspiciously familiar...


It's Chanterelle from Lie To Me! She chases after Buffy to thank her for saving her life, and renounces the vampire groupie cult. One notices that they've given Chanterelle/Lily a 90s heroin chic makeover, but there also seems to be an attempt to draw a parallel between her and Buffy, with juxtaposed close-ups of each of their faces showing how similar they look. And they do bond, commiserating about how they're always changing, picking up new names, disappearing when necessary.


If you didn't get the major identity crisis thing, everywhere the two of them go, they see old people muttering to themselves, "I'm nobody! I am nothing!" Cue a montage of lost young people looking sad and dirty and hopeless.



[Hey, isn't this still in the opening credits to Angel?]

Over the summer in Sunnydale, Giles and Joyce bonded over searching for Buffy--a daughter figure for both. Giles hops on a plane at any mention of Slayer-ish activity to no avail. Joyce thanks him for helping, but also blames him for making Buffy what she is. Joyce is still not understanding the whole One Girl In All The World "SHE IS THE SLAYEEER" thing.

Lily comes to Buffy begging for help when Rickie goes missing. They search his old haunts, where the people they question all put on their best eerie suspicious faces. Buffy stalks around various dilapidated buildings until she finds the body of an old man--with Rickie's tattoo! Mystery abound.


When Buffy breaks the news to Lily, we get some more Major Themes that, having seen the rest of the series, I was impressed cropped up this early! Lily refuses to accept that Rickie is dead, but the new, jaded Buffy has little patience for grief. She gets agitated and insists that Lily is just going to have to deal because these kinds of things happen all the time. Bristling at this treatment, Lily asks if Buffy didn't bring the monsters and evil with her because she's the Slayer. We will be angsting over this for the next three seasons.

Buffy just totally doesn't want to deal with this BS anymore, and is quite angry at whoever is doing evil in LA for interrupting her one true wish--to be alone. This wish has replaced the one to be a normal teenager, as she's now accepted its futility.

Lily runs into the street where she sees a kindly straight-laced lookin' dude who runs a cultish-seeming home for young people. He tells her that Rickie is very much alive and staying with them, ominously insisting, "He's no more dead than I am!"

Blah blah, Buffy does some investigating so she can get back to her peace and quiet and tea cozies, and finds herself trying to sneak her way into the youth home, telling them, "I'm bad! With the sex, and the envy, and that loud music us kids listen to nowadays!" She breaks in just in time to see Lily fall through some oily looking goo into a gigantic warehouse that = hell.

In case you didn't get the identity crisis thing from the name-changing and the "I'm no one!" old people and the weird cult, Buffy and Lily find the warehouse/hell to be full of people in nondescript burlap sacks working as slaves. Evil preacher guy explains that time moves more quickly in hell, so they bring young people with no friends and no life to work until they die--all of which happens in the span of one day on earth.


But Buffy's had enough. Faced with life in an eternal hell dimension, she rediscovers her mission in life, kind of like when Angel saw her in 1996 and thought she was a babe. The slaves are forced to stand in a line and renounce their identity by answering the question, "Who are you?" with, "No one." But when they get to Buffy, she says, "I'm Buffy the Vampire Slayer," and kicks the crap out of them. This is one of those rousing moments that makes you wanna stand up and cheer, like when the underdog hockey team scores the game-winning goal or a group of ragtag youngsters from the streets win the song and dance competition.

Long story short, Buffy leads an insurrection that involves Lily summoning her inner resolve and taking care of business on her own. It's actually a pretty hilarious moment--Preacher Guy takes Lily hostage before all the rest of the slaves, and begins a grand speech about the price of rebellion. Lily cuts it short by pushing him off the ledge.

With renewed sense of purpose, Buffy offers her apartment, her job, and the name "Anne" to Lily. She heads back to Sunnydale, the episode ending in a tearful reunion between her and Joyce. But oh, the angst is sooo not over.


A good episode, though not totally memorable. Adequately sets up themes. Deals with Runaway Buffy. And remember this face in the future:

Favorite moment: Way at the beginning of the episodes, when the Scoobies minus Buffy try to stake a vampire on their own, Oz makes a last ditch effort to throw a stake in its back while it runs away. The triumphant music swells, Oz winds up, and...

Completely misses.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Season 2 Overview

After five months (!), I've finally gotten through Season 2. The highlights:

Angel turns into evil Angelus and is doomed to never have sex again.
Buffy kills Angel. Her life really sucks now.
Spike and Drusilla are British vampires. Spike is Billy Idol. Drusilla is ~*~crazy~*~
Giles and Jenny Calendar fall in love until she is killed by Angelus.
Willow does magic.
Xander is still a douche.
Joyce KNOWS.

Rose Ranks Episodes:

1. I Only Have Eyes For You
2. Becoming Pt. 2
3. Passion
4. Innocence
5. Lie To Me
6. Becoming Pt. 1
7. Ted
8. Surprise
9. What's My Line Pt. 2
10. The Dark Age
11. Halloween
12. School Hard
13. What's My Line Pt. 1
14. Phases
15. When She Was Bad
16. Bad Eggs
17. Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered
18. Killed By Death
19. Inca Mummy Girl
20. Some Assembly Required
21. Reptile Boy
22. Go Fish

Rose Ranks Seasons:
Season 2 >>> Season 1

Becoming Pt. 2

Season #2, Episode #22: Becoming Pt. 2

"Are you sure you're the Slayer?"


The episode opens on Buffy getting arreste--oh, nevermind, she punches the cop in the face and runs away.

But the Scoobies aren't out of the woods yet, as a bookshelf fell on top of Willow and she suffered from head trauma. Is that meant to be ironic? Giles fares even worse--Angelus promises torture, which he used to love back in the day "before they had chainsaws."

On top of all that, the police show up at the Summers home to give Joyce a rude awakening re: Buffy killing Kendra, which they believe because, as Principal Snyder says, "The police of Sunnydale are deeply stupid."

Buffy isn't at home--she's looking for Giles at his apartment, but finds Whistler there instead. He intimates that the sword is not enough to kill Acathla and some other deep philosophical thought-provoking stuff I can't remember, but Buffy so does not have time for him.

Xander gets to look like a big dope in the hospital when he holds Willow's hand and meaningfully tells her how important she is and that--wait for it--he loves her? She comes to, as all unconscious people do when told meaningful things about love, and says, "Oz?" Ooooouch.



Spike shows up out of nowhere to save Buffy from some cops. He wants to strike a deal with Buffy--he'll help her kill Angelus because he wants Drusilla back, and he kinda doesn't really want to bring forth the apocalypse. He says, "I like this world. You've got dog racing. Manchester United. And you've got people."


I'm impressed by how consistently the show contrasts Spike's values with other vampires--he's the Billy Idol character, who lusts for life, kills for the thrill of it, and is governed by romantic whimsy. He isn't just wandering around being evil for the sake of being evil. Buffy realized this and reluctantly invites him to her home before punching him a bunch of times and saying, "I hate you!" Eerie foreshadowing.

Once at the Summers home, Buffy explains Spike to Joyce by saying that they're in a band together. Spike giggles a little over the fact that Joyce doesn't know that SHE IS THE SLAAAYEERR, but the gig is up when a vampire appears out of nowhere and Buffy stakes him right in Joyce's face. She is finally--FINALLY--forced to say the words to Joyce: "I'm a vampire slayer."



Joyce...let's just say that Joyce doesn't deal with the new information well. She refuses to accept that Buffy is really a Slayer, and tells her that she's not allowed to go out and...slay. Buffy tells her that she doesn't have a choice, and that the world is at stake, and she would love to be a normal teenager©, etc. Then she shoves Joyce away and walks out the door despite Joyce telling her not to bother ever coming back. Ooooouch.

As if being kicked out of her house weren't bad enough, when Buffy goes back to Sunnydale to retrieve the magic sword, Principal Snyder tells her that she's expelled.

At the hospital, Willow decides she wants to try to restore Angel's soul one last time. Xander tells her not to because he's a big jealous douche, but Willow has summoned her inner resolve and tells him to go find Buffy and let her know to hold off on, y'know, killing Angelus.


But like an enormous tool, he runs off to tell Buffy: "Willow told me to tell you...kick his ass." In case you are wondering if anyone will ever confront Xander for willfully lying while everyone's lives and mental and emotional health hang in the balance--nope. (I'm saving analysis of this for my inevitable "SHUT UP XANDER" essay.)

Angelus continues to torture Giles, who finally reveals, "In order to be worthy, you must perform the ritual in a tutu. Pillock." You guys, I love Giles so much :(
As a last resort, Drusilla glamours Giles and makes him think that he's speaking to Jenny. He cries with joy and it is so so sad, and then he reveals to her the secret to awakening Acathla--only Angelus's blood can serve as an offering. Then they make out, which Drusilla is a little too happy about.

With no home, no future, and no other options, Buffy goes to speak to Whistler to find out what else is needed to stop Acathla. He reveals what we already know, that Angelus's blood is the key to opening the vortex--and also to closing it. Once the portal is open, she will have no choice but to kill him. (I've often wondered why they couldn't just have him shake some blood droplets into the portal to close it, but it's better not to ask those kinds of questions.)

Cordelia, Oz, and Willow perform the spell, while Xander rescues Giles, and Spike and Buffy fight Angelus. Just to clarify. The moment Buffy takes her eyes off of him, Angelus awakens Acathla. Whoops! Bad timing, as Willow seems to get possessed on her hospital bed, overwhelmed with power, speaking in tongues (foreshadowing!!!).



Buffy and Angelus are left alone for the FINAL BATTLE. Angelus gets her pinned in a corner and asks, "No weapons, no friends, no hope. Take all that away, and what's left?" Buffy catches his sword between her hands and says, "Me." Man, there's inner resolve all over this episode!


This may be a surprising controversial opinion for someone who doesn't spend her time writing lots of fan fiction about Angel/Buffy, but I honestly think this next scene is the saddest scene in the entire series.

Right when Buffy is about to slice off Angelus's head, Willow completes the spell and restores Angel's soul. He doesn't remember where he is or what's going on, and gives Buffy a great big hug. Buffy tells him, "Don't worry about it," while the portal opens behind them.


Then she says, "I love you. Close your eyes." And stabs him through the heart with the sword!!!


I have to tell you, I imagined many different ways that the show would resolve the Angelus arc, but I definitely did not see that coming the first time around. I mentioned in the review for I Only Have Eyes For You that Joss Whedon decided Angel should have a spin-off when they filmed that episode. Hopefully this isn't a spoiler--Angel comes back, due to having his own TV show that is not a looong flashback and doesn't take place in a hell dimension. But this means that originally, this was supposed to be it for Angel. Like, he was originally going to die and never come back. At Buffy's hands. That is a bold move even for Joss Whedon, who relishes in killing off characters all willy-nilly.

The episode ends on the most downer note in the history of downers. I mean a Sarah McLachlan song plays throughout the segment, no joke. Joyce finds Buffy's empty bedroom with a note, ostensibly reading that Buffy has left. The Scoobies don't know what happened between Buffy and Angelus, only that the world didn't end, and think that they'll see her soon because, after all, they have school!

Then we see Buffy in her sad pants headed for a bus to nowhere. THE END.

Back to when I said this is the saddest moment in the series. After discussing this episode with a brilliant Buffy fan, we decided that this episode marks Buffy's true Becoming a Slayer. For two seasons she only wanted a normal life©, but now she accepts that is not only impossible, but will cause excruciating pain and dire consequences for everyone around her. She was forced to actually kill the love of her life to fulfill her sacred mission. Thus begins the show's descent into All Work and No Play Makes Buffy a Dull Teenager. And I don't mind the show taking that direction, but that means the sad moments in later seasons (The Body) aren't quite as shocking and gamechanging in context as the sword through Angel's gut.

It's been a wild ride, y'all.

Favorite moment: Joyce and Spike are absolutely precious. After Buffy reveals her secret to Joyce, they have a heart-to-heart in the living room as they wait for Buffy to gather weapons. Spike reminds her how they met (in School Hard)--"You hit me over the head with an axe, remember?"

Later, when Spike and Buffy strategize, Joyce keeps interrupting with questions like, "Have you ever tried not being a Slayer?" and "It's because you didn't have a strong father figure, isn't it?" When they reveal who really killed Kendra, Joyce asks, "Did she explode like that man out there?"

For the rest of the series, Joyce can't fully accept that Buffy is the Slayer and still clings to the idea that it is a delusion or a temporary habit. Buffy may have given up on the desire to be a normal teenager, but Joyce never will.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Becoming Pt. 1

Season #2, Episode #21: Becoming Pt. 1

"We're about to make history...end."


At last, we've reached Becoming--the third two-parter in Season 2 (not confusing at all) after What's My Line Pts. 1+2 and Surprise/Innocence, and arguably the best.

One the one hand, I feel like I have been reviewing Season 2 for my entire life. And on the other hand, I can't believe it's almost over! My second viewing has radically changed my perception of it--did Spike seem so totally impotent and uninteresting the first time around? And where is Angelus?? I remember him dominating the second half of the season, and while his presence looms, he's only made more than a cameo appearance in three episodes (Innocence, Passion, and I Only Have Eyes For You)!

Let's hope Becoming hasn't changed too much. Last time, you had to pick me up off the floor.

We begin in Galway in 1753. I do believe this is our very first flashback, which means this is also the first time we are treated to David Boreanaz's most earnest attempt at an Irish accent. Irish Angel is a drunkard (because he's Irish, duh) stumbling around the Galway streets, actin' like a frat boy, when he sees...Darla! We witness Angel being turned into a vampire, which is highly erotic as Darla slices across her own chest for Angel to drink. Also, this begins the treatment of turning people into vampires as a birthing.

Flashbacks to important moments in the transition from Angelus to Angel show up intermittently throughout this episode because it is very thematically important, okay?

Cut back to the present, where Buffy and Xander are worried about--of all things--finals! Angelus spies on them from a distance and when Buffy says (of her dreaded exams), "It will all be over soon," Angelus says, "Yes, my love. It will." Cue opening credits. OH the SUSPENSE!

A museum curator calls Giles in to examine an ancient artifact because Giles is such a smartypants. Meanwhile, the Scoobies are gathered in the school cafeteria fretting about Angelus--but mostly finals! You will also be shocked to see Willow sitting on Oz's lap, because remember Oz?

Drusilla and Angelus are all excited because of a story they saw in the newspaper about the gigantic artifact in the museum. This is apparently front page news in Sunnydale, where demons prowls and dozens die nightly. Spike couldn't really care less and is above all the melodramatic doom and gloom, but Drusilla and Angelus tremble in anticipation of their dastardly evil plan, with David Boreanaz making his most earnest attempt at evil faces.

Buffy and Willow study in the computer science classroom, and when Buffy drops her pencil she discovers...Jenny Calendar's floppy disk of yore! The one that contains the ways and means of restoring Angel's soul!

Rousing Percussive War Theme #1 plays inappropriately in ye olden days in Romania at the time Angelus is cursed with a soul. One of the men in the clan giggles as he tells Angel how badly he will hurt and how the memories of all he killed will haunt him, but it seems to me he's more likely to be haunted by this haircut.

The Scoobies discuss Jenny's floppy disk spell in the library--Willow is convinced she will be able to channel dark magic to complete the spell and is pretty excited about it, but Xander decides to be a patronizing douche and say, "Who cares if we restore his soul? Angel is a killer, he must die, I want Buffy so so so so bad I am such a loser :'( :'(" One wonders why, of all people, Xander is the most blood thirsty and unforgiving. This mystery comes to the foreground when Giles says restoring Angel's soul was Jenny's last wish, and Xander says, "Yeah? Well Jenny's dead," like a big gigantic idiotic tool. He and Giles nearly throw down over this. Then Buffy makes this face at Xander when he tells her, "You want to forget all about Miss Calendar so you can get your boyfriend back":

Ughh, SHUT UP XANDER. Is that worse than wanting to exploit's Miss Calendar's death because you're insanely jealous of Buffy's ex-boyfriend?

Buffy goes on patrol and who should jump out of the bushes but Kendra the vampire slayer! She heard of a dark mysterious event brewing in Sunnydale and wanted to lend her services. Her Watcher explained that the museum artifact contains a demon named Acathla who, when awoken, will create a vortex that sucks all non-demons into eternal hellish suffering. AKA the apocalypse, again.

Luckily, Kendra has a fancy sword that was made expressly to kill said demon. Life is funny that way sometimes.

Jump to Manhattan 1996, where Angel prowls the streets for rats to feed on. Hasn't he had a soul for like, a century now? And he's still wandering around looking bewildered and inept? A goofball in a dumb hat approaches him and says as much--his name is Whistler, and he's a demon whose demon purpose is to set Angel on the right track. They drive alllll the way to Los Angeles so that Angel can see preppy Buffy being approached by the Watcher's Council for the very first time.

Then he watches her fight off her very first vampire. Then he watches as she lies to Joyce about her whereabouts and then listens to her parents fighting--it is implied that Buffy's "troublemaking" was an impetus for their divorce. Then he watches her cry in the bathroom. Sarah Michelle Gellar's acting in this part is adorable, but you may find it more than a little bit creepy that Angel is literally staring in this sixteen-year-old girl's bathroom window.

Oops, sorry...


Anyway, seeing the new Slayer in action gives Angel his mission to fight the forces of evil. I'm not entirely sure why. Cos she's so cute?

Angelus tries to awaken the demon but he just can't figure out the secret password, so he comes up with another cunning plan to find the one person who can help. But who could it be??

He sends a vampire to Buffy's algebra classroom, who tells her that she must meet Angelus in the graveyard tonight or more will die, and self-immolates. The rest of the students chalk it up to a PCP gang, I'm sure.


Buffy plans to fight off Angelus in the cemetery while the rest of the Scoobies attempt to restore Angel's soul. Kendra gives Buffy her lucky stake, Mr. Pointy. It's all touching and moving, but as soon as Buffy leaves, the Scoobies get interrupted by a group of vampires. Kendra manages to fend off all of them, until Drusilla shows up, glamours her, and slits her throat with a fingernail. It was all a trap!

Well, if you couldn't see that coming after the charming anecdote about Mr. Pointy...

Drusilla kidnaps Giles, the one person who can help them awaken Acathla, as he is a smartypants. To me, this is a far more dramatic moment than Kendra's death. I mean, yeah, it's sad when she dies. She named her stake, that's cute. But it's mostly sad on the part of the show, which brought back the socially regressive generically ethnic killing machine for half of one episode just to be killed off. In this episode, her character exists to die and up the stakes, pure and simple.

But beyond that, this episode is actually even better than I thought. Reluctant kudos to Joss Whedon--you just keep me coming back for more (even if you are a douche).

Favorite moment: This isn't my favorite moment but I've pretty much run out of moments to describe. The episode ends with a meaningful voiceover from Whistler as Buffy runs into Sunnydale High, finds Kendra dead in the library along with many injured Scoobies and missing Giles, and is then caught by the police. The police! Isn't that novel?

Whistler says, "Bottom line is, even if you see them coming, you're not ready for the big moments. No one asks for their life to change, not really. But it does. So what are we, helpless? Puppets? No. The big moments are gonna come. You can't help that. It's what you do afterwards that counts. That's when you find out who you are. You'll see what I mean." And you will see what he means!!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Go Fish

Season #2, Episode #20: Go Fish

"The creature from the blue lagoon was Brooke Shields."


As fate would have it, I now have about two hours before work during which I am sat in a cafe with WiFi and nothing to do. This is my new designated Buffy review time, which means I may actually finish Season 2 by Christmas!

At the same time...I'm so tired, and why does Go Fish even exist?

The episode opens on the Scoobies at a beach party celebrating the swim team's victory, and you're like, who invited Xander and Willow to this? Buffy is, understandably, off on her own staring into the ocean and brooding when a hunky swimmer waxes poetic about the waves and struggling against the current and Buffy, haven't you learned to avoid guys like this?

Wentworth Miller shows up in a horrible turtleneck taking a stroll along the beach and shouting, "Yo DUDE, what's that SMELL!!!"

Turns out this was the smell.

Willow is still subbing for Jenny Calendar--aren't there any substitute teachers in Sunnydale who aren't gigantic preying mantises? Willow adapts to the role well, wandering around and complimenting everyone on their pie charts. I guess I don't understand computer science.

Everyone, that is, but Wentworth Miller (I think his character's name is Gauge? Cage???), who is failing the class and spends his time playing naked lady solitaire. Principal Snyder tells Willow in no uncertain terms that Wentworth will pass the class, which sends Willow into a righteous rage. You go, Willow! A glimmer of a real live personality!

Xander, too, is pissed that Buffy can't share in his moral outrage at swim team perks because she's busy "being one of them." Because that's not reductive. We cut to Buffy on her date with hunky swim boy, who turns out to be a big egotistical bore--and also an attacker! He locks Buffy in the car and tells her, "Look how you dress!" and she breaks his nose. This displeases Principal Snyder, who magically materializes in the middle of Buffy's date.


The Scoobies find out about the eviscerated corpse of one member of the swim team and do some investigating. Xander investigates his way into the school cafeteria, where broken nose boy has been eviscerated by this thing:

They deduce that Wentworth (whose actual character name is Gage Petronzi lol) is probably next on the list, so Buffy keeps on his trail. At school. At The Bronze. In a detective jacket. For some reason, Wentworth finds this creepy and storms out, where he runs into Angelus. Angelus offers to take Buffy off her pedestal because he once made the mistake of being in a relationship with her. Wentworth yells, "My condolences, dude!"

Angelus attacks him, yadda yadda, the important thing we learn is that there's something in Wentworth's blood that repulses Angel--could it be steroids?

The Scoobies get distracted by the new hot bod walking to the pool, which turns out to be XANDER, who joined the swim team to do some investigating from the inside. Ughhhhhhhhhh

My thoughts exactly.

I have almost completely lost interest here. Buffy witnesses the sea demon emerge from Wentworth--they're not dying, they're turning into monsters! Shane West explains that the swim coach pumps steroids into the steam room to make them better swimmers (like, duh!), and hey, giant ocean monsters are probably real good at swimming!

What poor Shane doesn't know is that they are evil magic drugs developed by evil Soviet scientists. Seriously.

Evil swim coach tosses the school nurse into the sewer to feed his swimmers. The school nurse was also featured on forgotten TGIF hit Teen Angel. Don't you wish you were watching Teen Angel right now?

Anyhow, the coach then pushes Buffy into the sewer and says, "They've already had their dinner, but boys have other needs." Ew. I see whoever wrote this episode graduated from the Joss Whedon School of Villains.

She escapes, swim coach gets eaten, Xander rids his body of Soviet drugs, and the episode ends on a shot of the fallen swim team free at last, at home in the ocean, swimming against the current.

LOL. This episode is horrible. It isn't even fit to lick Season 1's shoes. Not only does it totally interrupt the arc of the season right at the dramatic climax, but it's also just downright goofy and only occasionally in the funny sense. Not to mention the inherent grossness in Buffy's attempt to deal with macho misogynist teen boys. This is basically Reptile Boy with steroids rather than roofies. Let us not speak of this episode again.

Favorite moment: Cordelia sees a sea monster swimming in the pool and assumes it's Xander. Melancholy music plays as Cordelia mourns the loss of Xander and says, "I still care about you, no matter what you look like. And we can still date! I'll do anything you want to make your quality of life better, whether that means little bath toys, or..." It's very touching--Xander thinks so, too, when he shows up to tell Cordelia that isn't him.