"I may be love's bitch, but at least I'm man enough to admit it."
There is a very, very low chance that you noticed I failed to include a "favorite moment" in my review of Revelations. Come Season 3, there aren't nearly as many random moments that stick out above the rest. It's all quite arc-y. I reserve to right to name a favorite moment but 9/10 times I have to pick one from everything I've already written, and that's just no fun.
At the beginning of our next episode, the Scoobies receive their SAT scores and derive meaning out of the figure "740 verbal" that, I, a lowly Midwesterner who took the ACT, do not understand. Cordelia reveals herself to be secretly brilliant, and Buffy has something called a "1430 composite," which I assume is a good thing. Buffy had never considered her future possibilities before, or that she may even have a future. Could this score be her one-way ticket out of Sunnydale?
Speaking of leaving Sunnydale, who should crash into the "Welcome to Sunnydale" sign again but Spike! Remember Spike, the impotent lovelorn "villain" from Season 2? Well he's back to bop around, drop some truth bombs, get crunk, and make his graceful exit over the course of one glorious episode.
Well, glorious in one way. Not so glorious in that this is the episode that brings the Xander/Willow romance to a head. Xander too-emphatically suggests to Cordelia that they go on a double date with Oz and Willow, but Queen Cordelia doesn't understand why they should waste a date with a loser couple. And yet she doesn't mind spending her time with Xander. Not only that, but she reveals that she has pictures of the two of them in her locker. Meanwhile, Oz gives Willow a cute witch Pez dispenser. Lay on the guilt thick, y'all.
But Xander and Willow, after a lifetime of friendship, inexplicably have the most sexual chemistry ever and simply cannot be near one another because it's like those bodies are magnetized. Or so I imagine, as I can't see too well from inside of my vomit bag.
Back to Buffy's SAT. Giles thinks that Buffy should consider the possibility of college, what with Faith around to do the heavy lifting. But I seem to remember this get-out-of-Slayer-free card being pulled roundabout the time Kendra came into the picture, and we all know how that turned out.
Buffy should be ecstatic that her mother and Watcher both think she can go to college and have a Normal Life©. But, Jane Espenson notwithstanding, Buffy doesn't give a damn about a normal life (quoth I Only Have Eyes For You). Indeed, when Joyce asks Buffy what could possibly stop her from wanting to leave Sunnydale, we cut to Angel reading New Moon by the fire.
Buffy goes to discuss her future college plans with Angel, hoping that he'll be like "NooOooo Buffy please don't leave, I'll just cry and cry!!" but instead he says "Oh...well...you should go...it'll be best...for you..." and she is like "Oh yeah really Angel! Fine well in that case I have homework to do BYE"
Lest you forget, Spike is still around. He spends much of the episode drunkenly wandering around Sunnydale, visiting his old lair (and Drusilla's abandoned creepy doll collection), Angel's new digs, and...the magic shop, where he asks about supplies for a nasty revenge spell. But when he overhears Willow come into the shop and ask for ingredients for a love spell (or, in her case, an anti-love spell for her and Xander), he changes his plan. Beginning with murdering the shop keeper. Oh yeah, I forgot he was supposedly vicious!
Spike breaks into the Sunnydale High science lab to kidnap Xander and Willow and force them to make him a love spell. As he explains to a petrified Willow, moments after threatening to shove a broken bottle into her face, Drusilla up and left him for a Chaos demon in Brazil, but said they could still be friends. He then turns all vamp-like again and says, "You know, I haven't had a woman in weeks." One thing that impresses me about this creepy encounter is that Spike's character remains consistent throughout his entire time on the show. He is always hopelessly, pathetically devoted to a woman, to the point that he is psychotically obsessed and abusive, right down to the double-entendre conflating sex and murder.
Cordelia and Oz discover something's not right in the science lab and get Buffy on the case. But before she can run to the rescue, she gets a phone call from Joyce--and she hears Spike talking in the background.
Remember that the last time Joyce saw Spike, he had just struck a deal with Buffy to get rid of Angelus and seemed sorta friendly. When we cut from Buffy frantically rushing home to rescue Joyce, we see Spike seated at the Summers table crying on Joyce's shoulder about Drusilla and the Chaos demon. Much hilarity ensues when Angel drops by and tries to rescue Joyce, only she still thinks he's evil and he can't enter the house. Will somebody please give poor Joyce a clue?
Oz and Cordelia, stalwart and true, drive around town looking for their true loves. Oz stops abruptly in the middle of the road and says he senses Willow nearby, leading to this delightful exchange:
Oz: [Sniff] She's afraid.
Spike leads Buffy and Angel to the magic shop where they'll pick up the remaining ingredients for the love spell, head back to Willow and Xander, make the spell, and split up. Call me crazy, but in Season 2 Buffy and Angel would just stake the guy and head along their merry way. But they must have known Spike had too much spin-off potential to die.
At the magic shop, Buffy makes fun of poor Spike for being "a shell of a loser." But using those argumentative skillz he learned on the playground, he lashes out at Buffy and Angel for being glue when he is rubber and whatnot. He laughs at their attempt to just be friends, saying, "You're not friends. You'll never be friends. You'll be in love until it kills you both. You'll fight, and you'll shag, and you'll hate each other 'til it makes you quiver, but you'll never be friends." Well, it'd be a whole different problem if they shagged, but pretty spot-on beyond that. And with this, Angel's irrelevance on the show only deepens.
Back in the love dungeon with Willow and Xander, the two hostages reflect upon their imminent deaths and decide to make out one last time. And if only they would watch the TV show, they'd know that Oz and Cordelia would inevitably find them at this exact compromising moment. And that Cordelia would run away in horror, fall through the wooden stairs, and get impaled on a random metal thingy.
I thought this was seriously the end of Cordelia, and all because of EFFING XANDER. The next scene shows a funeral in a cemetery. And then brilliantly, Buffy strolls past with Willow and says, "So Cordelia's gonna be okay?" You guys.
But even though Spike rediscovered his lust for violence and skips town, everything isn't okay, as evidenced by this sad montage.
Oz won't speak to Willow, even though she like totally realizes now that Oz is all she really wants. Xander visits Cordelia in the hospital, only to have her tell him to GTFO. (Well, actually, that's okay by me.) And Buffy tells Angel that she won't come back to visit again because Spike was right--they're not friends. They can't give what the other needs. They really, really can't be together. And next month, stay tuned for Angel's spin-off series!