Previously: Buffy learns some deep truths about honesty, growing up and how you should probably avoid Twihards at all costs.
The Dark Age
Lorraine: It’s night, as it often is in Sunnydale, and a man with a briefcase is walking very purposefully through Sunnydale High. The janitor spots him and instead of being all, “uh, weird. It’s night time,” he tells the man where to find Mr. Giles, as that’s who he is looking for. Off Briefcaseman goes toward the library when he suddenly hears scary twig snapping noises behind him. Who is walking on all those conveniently placed branches? A female zombie-looking-thing, who is also wearing a string of pearls. No reason not to keep it classy, am I right?
Sweeney: I respect that commitment to style. There’s so little of it in Sunnydale.
Lor: Briefcaseman recognizes Classy Zombie and freaks out. He tries getting away from her, but trips and falls which I’m 99% sure is what would happen to me in a similar situation. Briefcaseman starts knocking on the library door, screaming for help, but indoors, Buffy is aerobicizing to some really obnoxious music (K: Things that make me irrationally stabby – she’s not in time to the music for most of this scene.). Giles puts it best when he says, “I know music. Music has notes. This is noise.” It’s very ill-timed noise too, because there is totally someone getting choked outside your door, guys. Buffy turns off the music and Giles says, “very good. And the rest is silence.” IRONIC SEGUE MAGIC: Classy Zombie kills Briefcaseman. He’s silent now too, ’cause you know, he’s dead. Classy Zombie falls to the ground and weirdly melts into a puddle of Alex Mack Goo.
We get a quick series of different supernaturaly things like a Ouija board, a weird tattoo and evil laughter. Turns out these are the things Giles nightmares are made of. He wakes with a start. We IRONIC SEGUE MAGIC, over to Buffy and Willow who are apparently sharing some fantasies. Get it, because fantasies are the anti-nightmares. Buffy’s involves Gavin Rossdale and Willow’s involves John Cusack.
K: Tom Hiddleston, the Pyramids of Giza, hot air balloon ride. Oh. Sorry. Were we not supposed to play along?
Xander arrives and asks what’s going on and Buffy explains that they are playing, “anywhere but here.” As they see him approaching, Willow wonders if Giles ever played anywhere but here while he was in school. Xander says nope, “he’s actually still bitter that there were only 12 grades.” Buffy adds, “he probably sat in math class thinking, ‘there should be more math. This could be mathier.'” I giggle.
Giles sees the Scoobies and says something about tonight being very important, as nights often are in Sunnydale. See there is to be a blood delivery at the hospital that night, which Buffy calls a “vampire meals on wheels.” B and Giles are to meet outside the hospital at 8:30pm and he emphasizes that Buffy is not to be late. Buffy: Have I ever let you down? Giles: Do you want me to answer that or should I just glare? Lorraine: BOTH PLEASE.
Ms. Calendar approaches (boo! hiss!) She greets Giles and then informs us about some sort of Saturday class she’s having the next day for students like Xander and Cordelia. A Saturday at school with Cordelia? Xander whines that a little rectal surgery is all that stands between that and a perfect day. Ms. Calendar and Giles take that as their cue to leave.
My sentiments exactly.
K: Mine too. Also? When I first looked at that gif, I thought Buffy’s sunglasses were a headband with mouse ears, and now I can’t stop seeing that.
Lor: Calendar starts going on about some “provocative” book Giles lent to her, that was his father’s. She says it was so good she had to dog-ear all the pages and just started underlining things and then spilled coffee on it. Giles is visibly shaken and very quietly mentions that it’s a first edition. Calendar LOL JAYKAYS and says the book is fine and she just likes to see him squirm.
Sweeney: I’m glad you also understand that Ms. Calendar sucks.
K: Seriously. This scene reminds me of class the other week where we had to watch a video of Mr. Bean(!!) destroying an illuminated manuscript. Half the class had to cover their eyes. Book destruction: horror movies for librarians.
Lor: Calendar tries to make it better by calling Giles a sexy fuddy-duddy, but no. She then makes a Saturday date with Giles and says, “let’s see if I can make you squirm.” SHE’S GOING TO DESTROY A BOOK? Oh, she probably means sex, huh? Ew.
Giles heads to the Wiggins Library, looking all doofy and happy, but there are police officers waiting for him there. A so-called Detective Winslow says that Giles has to go with her because of that whole Briefcaseman being dead thing. If you haven’t actually seen this episode, feel free to picture Detective Winslow like this:
Sweeney: BEST. EVER.
Lor: Briefcaseman had no ID on him, but he did have a slip of paper with Giles’ name and address on it. Enter Cordelia whining about her Saturday school with Ms. Calendar. She wah-wahs about having to read a book about computers. “Isn’t the point of computers to replace books?” Nuh-uh girl. Don’t you fall out of favor with me too. She leaves after Giles sternly asks that she come back later.
At the morgue, Giles ID’s the dead body as Briefcaseman (Phillip Henry), an old London friend he hadn’t seen in 20 years. Giles is staring at the tattoo on Briefcaseman’s arm which also happens to be the tattoo of his nightmares.
Outside of the hospital, Buffy snits about Giles being late. The Blood Delivery Van comes with one cooler of blood bags and this all seems really sketch, but I don’t know enough about medical type things to really call BS. Just know I’m calling it under my breath. Two doctors come out to grab the cooler o’ blood and that’s when Buffy notices something is amiss. Sure enough, they are Dr. Vampires. Buffy goes to get her slay on and gets a little help from Angel. After the vampires are dealt with, Buffy asks if Angel can make sure the hospital gets the blood. There’s a cute little facial expression,”you know what I’m saying…” and “yessss, fiiine okay,” exchange between them. I get really excited whenever David Boreanaz shows facial expression.
Buffy is worried about Giles because he didn’t show. She goes over to his house and he is not himself, forgot completely about the whole hospital thing and basically closes the door in Buffy’s face.
Lor: Giles makes a phone call and asks for Classy Zombie (Dierdre). The person on the other end of the line presumably tells Giles that Classy Deirdre is super dead. Giles apologizes, says he had no idea and asks when it happened. It was recent. Giles gives his condolences and then hangs up the phone without saying good bye which is a TV thing that makes me so angry.
Sweeney: gif repeat.
Lor: Anyhow, Giles is distraught. We see that he is crossing names off a list (some guy, Briefcaseman, Classy Dierdre) and the two names left are Ethan Rayne and Giles. Giles gets up to wash his face and as he’s rolling up his sleeves, we see he’s also sporting the Nightmare Tattoo. He splashes water on his face, and stares at himself in the mirror. “So. You’re back,” he says to his reflection and I just want him to dial the crazy down a notch.
Morgue. Briefcaseman wakes up from being dead and we cut to black. When we come back, a morgue worker just doesn’t even know what he’s in for. He opens one of the dead people lockers (?) like he’s checking something? Like, “yep. Dead guy in there. Check.” It’d be more stupid if he didn’t in fact reach Briefcaseman’s locker to find it suspiciously empty. Briefcaseman attacks him from behind and shoves him into the dead people locker.
Saturday, at school, Xander is forever complaining, this time about having to be at school on a Saturday. Conveniently, Xander and Cordelia are the only two remedial students at Sunnydale and Willow is the only smart kid. Buffy shows up.
UGH. Why does stupid Xander get good lines?
K: I have an all day class this Saturday. I have a feeling I’m going to morph into Xander, you guys. Except hopefully without the being a douche part, because that would suck.
Lor: Buffy tells Ms. Calendar that she’s worried about Giles since he was acting whack the night before, and she thinks he was… DRINKING. “But tea, right?” Willow asks hopefully. Not tea, girlfriend. Buffy asks if anyone has noticed anything weird about Giles, and Cordelia’s all, “he seemed perfectly normal when Carl Winslow was questioning him.” After the Scoobies berate her for not saying the police were around sooner, Cordelia remembers that they were talking about a homicide. Buffy stomps off to go call Giles.
In the Wiggins Library, Buffy hears someone sneaking around. She goes to have a look and we get a flash of Ethan Rayne. He pushes a shelf of books on Buffy, but she does a super quick ninja roll to avoid it. Ethan tries to run away, but Buffy grabs him. She recognizes him from the costume shop and punches him in the face for making her wear that ridiculous wig. OR, I mean, for almost getting them killed. Buffy threatens him with the police and he’s all, “LOL. THE POLICE,” because they are useless. Or, wait, I mean because they’d have to question Giles, which he probably wouldn’t like. Ethan says he and Giles go waaay back, and asks Buffy if she knows where he is.
More flashes of Giles’ nightmares. He wakes up seated at his desk to the sound of the phone ringing. It’s Buffy. He tries to give her the brush off but then she asks, “what’s the Mark of Eyghon?” and the alcohol from last night instantly disappears from his system. Buffy says she’s in the office with Ethan, and Giles tries to warn her to get away because she is in danger. On cue, Zombie Briefcaseman busts through a library window (MOAR LIBRARY DAMAGE). (S: We should probably start keeping track of the endless suffering of the poor Wiggins Library.) Ethan hilariously uses Buffy as a shield as the Zombie approaches them. Buffy jumps into action and Ethan makes to escape, but the Scoobies enter at that moment. Xander tries to stop him, but Ethan easily pushes him aside. It is Cordelia that knees him in the crotch like a boss.
K: Cordy FTW.
Lor: Buffy kicks the Zombie Briefcaseman into the Baddie Time Out cage in the library and locks him in there. Willow says that she isn’t going to get close enough to check his pulse but that ZBcm looks suspiciously dead.
A still disheveled Giles comes running into the library, asking if everyone is okay. They confirm, as Giles sees the ZBcm, and stares in disbelief. Ethan smarms, and greets him with a “Hello, Ripper.”
As dumb as the name Ripper is, WHAT UP BADASS GILES?
Sweeney: IT’S SO AMAZING. I flail whenever Badass Giles shows his face.
K: Mine is more like this:
Lor: Buffy is shocked at his manhandling Ethan, but Giles is very angry that the people he cares about have been put in danger. “If you cared about them so much, why didn’t you leave town then?” Ethan asks. As they are giving each other very hard looks, the Zombie finally breaks out of Baddie Time Out, hitting Ms. Calendar with the door on the way out. Giles runs to her, while Buffy kicks ZBcm a few more times. He stands, spazzes and goes the way of Classy Zombie: puddle of Alex Mack Goo. The goo touches Ms. Calendar’s hand and a quick musical chime lets us know this is probably a bad thing.
Ms. Calendar comes to and Giles helps her up, asking if she is okay. “Lean on me,” he instructs her. “It’ll be okay, ” he assures her. “Promise?” Ms. Calendar asks. “Promise,” Giles confirms. I’m now 100% sure things will not be okay for Ms. Calendar. I’d feel bad but I still hold “I Robot… You Jane” against her.
Lor: After a fade to black, we’re back in the library. Ms. Calander is icing her zombie-infected head. Buffy enter-nnounces that she’s lost Ethan, who escaped during the commotion. Buffy presses Giles for information, but he pulls the authority card and says that as her Watcher, he demands that she MYOB. Buffy should say, “WELL FIGHT YOU OWN DAMN ZOMBIE NEXT TIME,” but she doesn’t. Giles leaves to take Cal home.
Buffy doesn’t even wait until Giles is out of listening distance to start ordering the Scoobs to not MYOB. Willow is on research duty. Xander is on digging through Giles’ personal files duty. Cordelia reluctantly agrees to work with Xander.
Willow locates the Mark of Eyghon in a book. I’m not actually very good at following the supernatural elements in these plots, you guys, but here’s my best take on what Eyghon is: Alright, so this Eyghon thing can possess people, right? But it is really polite and can only do it in an unconscious host because it’d be pretty rude to just bust in on a conscious person and possess all their being and stuff. Eyghon can permanently possess someone, and that sucks. Eyghon can also possess the dead, but all its energy melts the host body, and it has to let itself into the nearest dead on unconscious person’s body. The End.
Sweeney: I like that you led with “I don’t get it,” and then gave a really accurate, easy to follow description of this nonsense. I think Lor has a secret side-project: she’s starting her own BtVS wiki.
K: I really quite desperately want this to be true.
Lor: I have a feeling I’d end up pissing off every Buffy fan there ever was.
The Scoobies somehow figure out that all that nonsense means that Ms. Calendar is now, or soon to be, a demonically possessed Ms. Calendar.
Over at Giles’ place, he is apologizing to Ms. Calendar for getting her involved in his major dramz. She’s all, “no sweat.” Giles tells her she should be getting home because it isn’t safe to be around him. I’d be all, “okay! Call me when the zombies are gone!” but Cal’s take on this is, “nothing in this world is safe.” We next see her ripping out the phone line. Giles says he’s going to take her home, but Calendar gives him an eyebrow wiggle and says he should take advantage of her. Giles begs off, saying it isn’t right, but Calendar pushes him down on a chair, straddles him and kisses him. He pushes her back, saying he can’t take advantage of him. She’s pissed and says he never changes with all his being proper and polite and not taking advantage of women. “You’re like a woman, Ripper. You cry at every funeral,” she says, so we know for real for real that she is Eyghon infected. “You don’t deserve me,” Eyghon-dar says. “But you’ve got me. Under your skin.” This is punctuated by a weird kiss, Calendar’s face going ugly and some ass kicking.
Before it gets too bad for Giles, Buffy barrels in and kicks Eyghon-dar IN THE FACE. (S: AND IT WAS AWESOME.) Eyghon-dar leaves by JUMPING THROUGH A WINDOW. Mother fucker! There was an open door right there.
K: Further proof of the rudeness of the demon population in Sunnydale. GOD. Just because you’re undead doesn’t mean you can’t have manners!
Lor: At the Library, Xander has found a picture of a young Giles in a leather jacket and we SEGUE MAGIC back to Giles’ apartment where he’s telling Buffy about yester-year. He studied history at Oxford, but hated it and dropped out. He went to London and “fell in with the worst crowd that would have [him.]” A weekly Dungeons and Dragons gathering?
They practiced some small-time magic until Ethan and Giles discovered Eyghon. One D&D’er would go into a deep sleep and the others would summon Eyghon, because temporary possession would give them a high. This seemed like a better idea to them than, say, drugs. (Please don’t do drugs.)
K: You left out the part where the picture of young Giles in the leather jacket is HILARIOUS, Lor:
Lor: One of the D&D’ers lost control while under the influence of Eyghon and the demon took him whole. The other D&D’ers tried to exorcise the demon, but ended up killing their friend. Whoops. Giles thought Eyghon was gone for good after that, but now it’s back and killing them off one by one. Buffy figures she’d better go after Ethan, as that’s likely where Eyghon-dar went off to. Giles mopes that he doesn’t know how to get rid of it without killing Ms. Calendar. Buffy says she’ll try to contain it until they figure something out. Giles says he’s sorry, and Buffy, the adult in this episode, says she knows.
Buffy goes to the costume shop, which is now the shop of boxes and oddly placed naked mannequins. I am uncomfortable. B calls out to Ethan and they have some banter about her being there to protect him and him being a jerk. The second Buffy turns her back, Ethan takes a handy something or other and knocks her out.
When she comes to, she’s tied face down onto a table. Ethan says she’s missing all the fun of her “initiation.” Buffy doesn’t want to join his club, and Ethan snarks that he already voted her in. Buffy says she’s going to kill him and I hope to Youth Mauling Bear that she eventually makes good on this promise because he creeps me out. Ethan sets up to give Buffy her very own Nightmare Tattoo and says, “you can go ahead and scream if you’d like.” #creepyasshit
K: Seriously. There’s nothing in the Slayer handbook about “What do you if you wake up tied to a table by a total creeper who’s giving you a tattoo”.
Lor: At the library the Scoobs are having a hard time figuring out how to get rid of the demon without maiming their computer teacher. Cordelia and Xander get into a little tiff in which Cordelia gets the gem line, “know what you need besides a year’s supply of acne cream?” and also asserts that she can take him. Willow is again the best of them all, however, when she tells them to either concentrate or get the hell out of her library. She even points towards the door and it is adorable. Cordelia meekly apologizes and they get back to brainstorming. A suggestion to have a dead body on hand for Eyghon to jump into gives Willow an idea.
Buffy’s new tattoo is done and Ethan burns his own off with acid. HE IS SO CRAY YOU GUYS. Just as he’s about to leave, Eyghon-dar shows up. Buffy is trying to cut her ropes loose and the motion she’s making to do it and her position face down on the table make for a very uncomfortable second of television.
K: Replace the Dalek with a table and you pretty much have this. (Apologies to Hank Green and/or for the trauma if you’re not a Nerdfighter and have NO idea what’s going on here.)
Lor: This is accurate, amazing and a Doctor Who reference to boot. A+.
Eyghon-dar is no longer interested in Ethan and hones in on Buffy. She breaks free in time, but she’s getting pushed around pretty seriously by Eyghon-dar. Giles shows up and is all, “take me!” so Eyghon-dar goes after him instead. The Scoobies barge in with a dead body, aka Angel. I was missing him this episode!
Angel strangles Eyghon-dar and Eyghon abandons Ms. Calendar and enters Angel. What follows are some pretty great special effects.
JUST KIDDING. They aren’t great, they are amazing.
K: +1. Quite possibly my favourite ever thing featuring Angel. Except for that episode of Angel the Series where he gets turned into a puppet and his nose is removable.
Lor: Angel warps and we see pixels jump out from his body and he drops to the ground. The Scoobies run to him as Giles goes for Ms. Calendar. Angels recaps for us that he’s had a demon inside of him just waiting for a good fight. Cordelia says at least it’s over and we get a shot of Giles helping Ms. Calendar out of the shop. Um… HOW ABOUT A THANK YOU? OR A GOODBYE? Damn, I hate that.
Sweeney: Again: rude.
Lor: At school, Buffy is complaining about having to now spend her allowance on getting her tattoo removed. Well, damn, girl. How much is your allowance?? Also, she should probably insist on some sort of Slayer Damages Fund, I think. (S: +2 from my sister and I. Giles definitely owes her that much. K: Seriously. If you’re the one girl in all the world blah blah blah highly likely to die before you’re old enough to drink, YOU SHOULD GET PAID.) Buffy compliments Will on her cool using Angel plan, and says she should consider being a Watcher. She hedges, saying she couldn’t handle the pressure and wonders how Giles does it. “I don’t think he has a choice,” Buffy concludes.
Inside, Giles finds Ms. Calendar and says he tried calling her (K: With the phone that she ripped out of the wall??). She looks a little like she was recently possessed or something. Not a great look. Giles says he wants to help her cope, suggests talking or dinner or a drink and Ms. Calendar is distant and finally says she has to go. She won’t even let Giles touch her shoulder.
Buffy watches from a sad, sad distance as Giles sad, sadly watches Ms. Calendar walk away. She greets him and he says he doesn’t think Ms. Calendar will ever forgive him. Whatever. She’s the techo-pagan, right? She was the one all hot for teacher because he was into the occult. She can suck it. Giles says he never wanted Buffy to see that side of him, and I’m guessing he means the side of him that drinks and doesn’t bathe. Or, oh, maybe he means that whole demon-possessed thing. Buffy says that it did freak her out a bit. “I’m so used to you being a grown-up and then I find out that you’re a person.” “Most grown-ups are,” Giles replies. This is a sweet scene.
Buffy says that they’ve found out that they have something in common, which is weird, but okay. It goes back to what I said about Buffy being the adult in this episode. Giles, for a change, is shown as reluctant in his role, haunted by his past (this is his burning the school down), hopeless in his love life, and short sighted. Buffy helped him fight his demon today. Even though this was far from my favorite episode, it was solid, and I appreciate the chance we got to further develop the Slayer/Watcher dynamic. Plus, these episodes are tending to some more serious territory. Interesting.
Lor: We end with Giles and Buffy going off to train. Buffy’s brought her music and she prompts Giles to say what he has to. “It’s not music. It’s just meaningless sounds,” he manages. “Bay City Rollers,” he goes on. “Now that’s music.”
“I didn’t hear that, ” Buffy says.
I can’t imagine Giles ever being that excited about Saturday night.
Next time on Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Buffy gets attacked on an ice rink? Tune in for S02 E09 – What’s My Line (Part 1)