Previously: Spike found a way to restore Dru’s health, Angel’s locked in a cage, and a girl with an impossibly bad accent is claiming to be the slayer.
What’s My Line Part II
Sweeney: I both love and hate this episode. I hate this episode for all the heartsick moments it gives me (and the ones it reminds me are coming up oh-so-soon) but I love it, too. Kendra’s awful accent makes me laugh and also reminds me of awesome things to come. This is me being annoyingly pseudo-spoilery for Lor’s benefit. You know when people are all, “OH I JUST REMEMBERED THIS AWESOME THING I HEARD!” and then you say, “What!?” and they’re all, “LOL I CAN’T TELL YOU.” I’m being that guy.
Lorraine: I’d sarcastically thank you, but I realize I’m asking people to keep be spoiler free from episodes that aired more than 10 years ago. I guess being surrounded by a bunch of that guys is the least I can expect.
Sweeney: This episode kicks off right where the last left off: Buffy and Kendra briefly stop their fighting in Angel’s apartment while Buffy loses her shit over Kendra’s claim to be the Vampire Slayer. They have this whole “No you’re not, because I am” “NO, I AM!” exchange until Buffy gets Kendra to agree to a temporary truce while they go to Giles. (But not without Buffy confusing the random fake-accented girl with her inability to use real words — in this case, “wiggy.” And a return of this show’s love of awful Spanglish with her translation – “no kick-o, no fight-o”)
Cut to a shot of Angel, inching away from the approaching sun in that cage where Kendra left him. This scene breaks my heart and I SWEAR TO YOU KIRSTI, I WILL TERMINATE OUR FRIENDSHIP IMMEDIATELY IF YOU SNARK THIS MOMENT.
K: I don’t know if it counts as snark, but every time I watch this episode, I’m cheering for the sun #justsaying. Sorry, Sweeney.
This moment cannot be left alone entirely: WHY IS THIS SHOW SO INCONSISTENT? Vampires were supposed to be able to break through solid concrete by sunrise a few episodes ago, and he can’t even break a fucking chain link fence? No, you assholes, “Because it’s Angel and he sucks,” is not an acceptable answer. I will, however, accept, “What is an example of Whedon’s early problems with consistent world building?” for 300.
K: Oh, Whedon. I love you, but SO MANY PROBLEMS.
Sweeney: Anyway, roll credits and jump to the library, where we go to Giles for all of our weird-hell-mouth-problem-solving needs. Giles verifies that Kendra’s Watcher is a real person. General confusion abounds, with Buffy’s sole contributions being snark directed at Kendra-no-last-name. “Can you say, stuck in the 80’s?‘” she sasses. The flannel shirt of sadness doesn’t do good things for her witty banter.
Kendra sasses Willow, who enters in those sad red corduroys. Buffy is unquestionably the best dressed girl in this room. Giles wins the overall by a million years.
Buffy gets even more offended when Giles alludes to her being difficult, in contrast to militant by-the-book Kendra. More confusion, until Giles realizes that the new slayer is called when the old one dies and Buffy did die. “I was only gone for a minute!” This whole segment also goes in this episode’s contributions to the series-long problems with consistent mythology.
Lor: And the mythology keeps being my least favorite part of a show called Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Sorry I’m not sorry.
K: No one’s sorry. There are a crapton of questions that Whedon never sufficiently answers. I now kind of want to rewatch BtVS the movie to see if he addresses any of them in that. Also, to snark it. Because DAVID ARQUETTE, HILARY SWANK AND LUKE PERRY. It’s the 90s motherload!
Sweeney: Mostly to snark it.
Buffy wants Kendra gone, but Kendra can’t go because her watcher insists that a very dark power is about to rise. Kendra attacked Buffy because she thought she was a vampire after seeing her kiss one. “Buffy would never do that!” cries Willow, until she receives a look from Buffy and adds, “Except you do, sometimes, do that.” I tried to find this gif but I couldn’t and I can’t be bothered to spend more than two minutes on a Google task.
Buffy tries to explain the whole he’s-a-vampire-but-he’s-good thing. Kendra, in her not-having-a-life time has already read all about Angelus. More awful acting from Kendra who has a line that is meant to seem like it’s cut off, but instead just halts awkwardly. Buffy realizes that Kendra did something to Angel and gets all up in her face about it.
As Buffy is asking what Kendra did, we cut to him dying. Willy comes in, unlocks the cage, and drags him out. He pushes him down into the sewer and jumps down after. Spike appears from the shadows and pays Willy for his services. Willy asks what Spike is going to do with Angel and he quips, “I’m thinking maybe dinner and a movie. I don’t want to rush into anything. I’ve been hurt, you know.”
Back at Buffy’s house, Bug Man is selling makeup to Cordelia. Xander walks up just in time to realize that he is a bug man. Surprisingly, Lor’s very logical prediction does not come true. Rather than falling in insta-love, he and Cordelia flee to the basement. Although, as he is able to turn into a millionty worms and there is a gap below the door, this plan is less successful than they anticipated. I also can’t help but notice that it would have been just as easy to turn toward the door, but whatever.
K: Silly Sweeney. This is Cordy and Xander we’re talking about. They’re not so big with the smarts.
Sweeney: Buffy and Kendra arrive at the cage where Kendra ditched Angel. As there are no ashes, it means Angel didn’t die and Buffy doesn’t need to kill Kendra. Willy walks in during this bitchface show down and Kendra knocks him over, leaving Buffy to be the one erring on the side of not beating people up. Willy halftruths that Angel is “staying underground.”
Spike brings Angel to Drusilla. After a little bit of Creepy Times With Spike & Dru, she asks if she can “have him” until it’s time. Oh, Drusilla, you are so many levels of batshit. Spike is a bit wounded, but laughs it off and agrees.
Back at school, The Scoobies 2.0 (swapping Xander for Kendra. Equal trade for being annoying, but an upgrade for overall usefulness) discuss demony things while walking through the halls, as they often do. Kendra will stick around, since Dru is most likely the great evil she was sent to fight. As Giles tries to give Kendra Sunnydale background, Buffy continues to interject with sub par insults whenever Kendra comments or asks a question. B’s hatred is only upgraded when we learn that Kendra has done her homework, as per the insistence of The Slayer Handbook.
Obviously Willow is the one to first ask, “There’s a slayer handbook?” because if she had known about it, she certainly would have read it already (K: +1. Because Willow’s the kid who always does her homework). Buffy’s jealousy gets the better of her aversion to anything academic and she adds, “There’s a handbook? How come I don’t have a handbook?”
Giles and Kendra giggle about footnotes and shoo Buffy along. As Giles and Kendra scurry off to the library, Buffy mopes about Giles liking the new step-sister. Then she wonders if it would be so bad to be replaced as the slayer, because she could have a normal life and do “Career Day stuff.” I mean, normal life, sure, but her initial plan of going to Disneyland sounded like a better option.
Back in Buffy’s basement, Xander and Cordelia are trapped and useless, as they are both so accustomed to. They banter back and forth about who sucks more. As anyone who has ever seen a rom-com expects, this ends with them making out. This prompts them to escape. Cordelia ends up with some bugs on her, and rather than taking her jacket off, Xander hoses her down. Their combined uselessness is astonishing.
Lor: Because wet worms somehow seemed better than dry ones?
K: I know that if I had worms all over my jacket, I’d DEFINITELY want someone to spray me with a hose, causing all the worms to go down my dress…
Sweeney: At school, Buffy dutifully finds somewhere else to be when Oz approaches Willow. They discuss their respective decisions regarding the super secret opportunity. He responds with a philosophy I can subscribe to: “I’m not really a computer person. Or a work of any kind person.” Word. Mostly to the second part. (K: +1) He “sort of tests well, which is cool, except when it leads to jobs.” Willow is now trying to get him to confess to possessing ambitions of any sort, because that’s kind of a requirement for being liked by Willow.
Meanwhile, Buffy reports to the law enforcement station at career fair, and Ginger Lady Cop calls Buffy’s name and immediately pulls out a gun and opens fire. Oz gets shot in the arm pushing Willow out of the way. Kendra shows up as things are looking bad for B. Ginger Lady Cop hostages her way out of the building by holding a knife to Jonathan, who is making another of his random appearances. After being released, he asks Buffy, “Was that a demonstration?” Normally, asking a fellow student to explain these things would be illogical, but if I went to this school, I’d be asking Buffy what was what too.
Lor: I think it was some sort of distraction method. Like of the “oh, someone asked about the in school shootings so we should totally ignore that everyone else pretty much ignores it!” variety.
Sweeney: Sounds about right.
Back in the library, Willow is bandaging Buffy’s knee. Even though Oz appears to have a giant bullet hole in his arm, the paramedics insist it was “only a scrape.” In walk Xander and Cordelia, but Buffy calls off Kendra before she can even get started. This is unfortunate, because she probably should be sending them away.
Kendra is majorly uncomfortable in Xander’s presence, because of him being a dude. Again, I can’t help but laugh. Who, exactly, decided that she should overact the shit out of this role? IT’S JUST TOO MUCH.
K: Fun and not-even-remotely-related-fact? The dialect coach taught her to do an accent from a really remote and obscure part of Jamaica to give her character some background. Only problem? To everyone else, it just sounds really terrible and fake.
Sweeney: THAT’S AWESOME. THEY DID THIS ON PURPOSE.
Anyway, Xander flirts with her because she’s a slayer and he, “likes that in a woman.” She stutters awkwardly in response.
Giles asks Xander to explain the assassin that they encountered, as Cordelia runs home to shower because she found a bug. “Like that,” he says. Buffy asks him what his deal with bug people is, but he notes that this is completely different because he was a man of bugs, not a man who was a bug. Totally different, you see!
K: Totes. I also have to give a shout out to Xander’s reference to the Beatles (“I am the bugman, goo goo g’joob“), because it’s pretty awesome.
Sweeney: Anyway, Giles now knows, without having this book, going back to Kirsti’s earlier issue with this plot point, that the ritual to revive Drusilla requires her sire. Buffy gets all sullen and reveals that Angel was Drusilla’s sire. After Giles confirms that this ritual will kill him, the Scoobies kick into gear to save Angel.
Kendra is not having this, because stopping Spike is supposed to be their priority. Buffy points out that, at the moment, those two goals coincide. I’m not sure why, other than to be annoying (because Buffy has been non-stop rude to her), Kendra even interjected, since the alignment of these two goals was pretty obvious to everyone else. After getting her little moment of petulance out of the way, Kendra agrees that she’s with Buffy on this one. Buffy then sasses that Spike is officially “going down,” because for all the countless ways he has messed with her, attacking Angel was the final straw. “Nobody messes with my boyfriend.”
Lor: I’m loving her little cray-face at the end there. Go ahead, girlfriend.
K: I feel a little like girlfriend’s about to get into a smackdown on Jerry Springer or Maury with that face…
Sweeney: At this, we cut to Dru pouring holy water on Angel, who is tied to her bed. She’s reminding him of all the people he tortured before turning her. I’m a little confused by this moment, because she seems to reflect on all of this with genuine displeasure, even though the demon-self supposedly doesn’t give a shit about silly human families and stuff, right? Or is she angry about the fact that she’s crazy? I get her torturing him, but I’m only half-sure I follow the motive. I’m just going to go with “literal crazy demon lady” and leave it at that. On that subject, her torture-seducing involves this weird swaying motion, that the internet has thankfully captured in gif form for you all:
In the library, Kendra and Buffy are sharpening weapons in the office while the gang researches. Kendra would probably actually be good at research, but she seems happy to adopt the slayer exemption policy. They take this time to have a good little heart to heart. Kendra’s jealous of Buffy having a life – she was taught that all of the things in Buffy’s life are distractions.
Kendra insists that emotions are weakness and that it’s necessary to keep an even mind in order to do their job. Buffy insists that her emotions give her power and then amusingly manipulates Kendra. Buffy taunts Kendra by insulting her lack of imagination. Once Kendra’s on the verge of stabbing her (taunting the girl with the knife wasn’t entirely wise, IMHO) she smirks and says, “That would be anger you’re feeling. You feel it right? How the anger gives you fire. A slayer needs that.”
Lor: My biggest problems with this episode comes from this scene. K chastizes Buffy about secret identities, and then mentions “her people” taking the Slayer calling very seriously. Er, so you mean all “your people” know then, huh? Plus her who wah-wah-spiel about being prepared all her life to be a Slayer really made me even! more! confused! about how Slayers are chosen and called. Whatever, show. Whatever.
K: I got seriously confused for a minute there, because I was all “When did I chastise Buffy about keeping her identity secret??”, and now that I’ve figured out that you actually meant Kendra, I feel kind of like an idiot… Carry on.
Sweeney: At a certain point, Whedon decides to get consistent, but only by not-saying-but-saying, “DISREGARD EVERYTHING I’VE TOLD YOU BEFORE.” Unfortunately, Lor, we’re not there yet.
Just then, Xander walks in and Kendra gets all sullen again. Chatting about talking to boys reminds Buffy of Willy. When Kendra asks if he might help them, Buffy mimics Kendra’s accent in her response. Normally, I would be opposed to such rudeness, but now I can only wonder how it took this long.
Back in the lair, Dru is tormenting Angel some more when Spike arrives to tell her that it’s time for the big ceremony. Angel takes this opportunity to taunt Spike. Angel alludes to his history with Drusilla and says that he can tell she’s not satisfied. He offers to give Spike some pointers. Spike takes the bait and gets super pissed. He grabs Angel by the throat and Angel keeps taunting, but Dru stops him just as he’s about to kill Angel, realizing that Angel was doing this on purpose to prevent the Revive The Crazy Vamp Ritual from happening.
Fortunately, Spike elaborates on Angel’s plan, just in case the viewing audience was a bit slow. Then he and Dru do that awkward thing where they look like maybe they’re going to eat each other’s faces, but choose to make out instead.
They return to Willy and he offers to take them to Angel. Kendra insists on going back to Giles first. They argue and it kills me that Kendra is right on this one. The only time Buffy going with her gut is ever wrong on this series is when another character has conveniently been placed there to say, “No, we should go chat about it first!” Granted, this particular scenario really did have TRAP written all over it, what with Willy lying to them the first time around. (Kirsti, now you may use another “Trap” gif to assuage your prior fangirl guilt.)
Sweeney: Willy, the useless sleazoid who runs the demon bar, has acquired Buffy for the Order of ZOMG ASSASSINS. Recap: they were thwarted by the likes of Xander and Cordelia, before having Buffy handed over to them by Willy of all people. I am beginning to think that their terror has been much overstated.
Then we cut to the ritual beginning, in a church. Don’t churchy things have major demon repellant on them? How do they have free run of the place? Maybe these silly California churches haven’t been properly consecrated.
K: Remember how the Master was trapped in a church that sank during an earthquake? Clearly the consecrating people in Sunnydale were freaking slackers.
Willy and the ZOMG ASSASSINS storm in after the ritual has already gotten started. Fortunately, they take enough time to banter for Kendra and the Scoobies to arrive before the ZOMG ASSASSINS can get to the killing. Xander and Cordelia have a moment of being shockingly useful! They lure the bug man (Xander and his bug people!) out of the church, but they slam the door first, so he has to come out in bug form. They have a puddle of glue waiting for him.
Back in the church, B manages to get Spike off of her long enough to run over to Dru and Angel and cut the ritual short. Spike comes after Buffy, but he took so much time bantering with Willy that he’s too late. The witty banter always foils your plans, kids.
Elsewhere in the church, Ginger Cop Lady is fighting Kendra and she cuts her shirt sleeve. Kendra says, “That’s me favorite shirt. That was me only shirt!” (K: In the interests of accuracy, I feel the need to report that she says “Dat”, not “That”. I say this only because it gives you a sense of just how bad her fake accent is…) HONEY. YOU ONLY HAVE ONE SHIRT AND THIS IS THE ONE YOU CHOOSE? Je ne comprends pas. Is this kind of fashion sense part of the slayer gig too?
Lor: To be fair, the shirt was the nicest part of that whole outfit…
Spike grabs Dru and goes to flee. Buffy grabs some sort of ball chain thing that I can’t identify because I don’t really do church (L: I’m guessing incense thingy? Sorry. No speakey Catholicism. K: I suspect it’s an incense burner, used for what my mother refers to as “Bells and Smells” ceremonies.) and Indiana Jones’ it across the room, causing this big wall-like thing to collapse on Spike and Dru. I know, you can all thank me for the astounding clarity of this recap.
Buffy then helps Angel out of the chain situation and leads him out of the church along with the rest of the Scoobies. Of course, they don’t just double down and torch the thing for realsies, or do anything whatsoever to verify that this collapsed thing killed them. Obviously, all prior experience suggests that it wouldn’t have, but they are probably unconscious and therefore easy pickings. But, you know, because of
contrivance REASONS, this occurs to nobody and they leave.
Shots of ominous flames fade into a vending machine at the high school, a lol-worthy transition. Oz is getting animal crackers from the vending machine, as Willow comes to thank him. He flirts with her about animal crackers and they have this adorable little exchange:
Oz: Oh, look, monkey. And he has a little hat, and little pants.
Willow: Yeah, I-I see.
Oz: The monkey’s the only cookie animal that gets to wear clothes, you know that?
Oz: You have the sweetest smile I’ve ever seen. So I’m wonderin’, do the other cookie animals feel sorta ripped? Like is the hippo goin’, “Hey man, where are my pants? I have my hippo dignity.” And, you know, the monkey’s just, “I mock you with my monkey pants!” And then there’s a big coup in the zoo.
Willow: The monkey is French?
Oz: All monkeys are French. You didn’t know that?
And then we all let out a giant AWWW at their general cuteness. Like so:
K: For the non-Angel fans among us, I hereby provide a Marshall Eriksen instead:
Sweeney: I approve 100%. It’s a win for me either way.
We then jump to Xander and Cordelia. They go into a classroom to be all, “Let’s pretend it didn’t happen,” and then argue all “You kissed me,” “No you kissed me!” And then, of course, they make out again. Blah, blah, LOLZ.
Outside the school, Buffy has lent Kendra a shirt and now she truly looks like she is wearing pajamas. Also, while Buffy has the problem of visibly not-wearing a bra, Kendra’s choice of underwear with her pajama pants is problematically visible:
Lor: Lord, the bunching. If B is in danger of being poked in the eye, Kendra must be in constant danger of taking herself out via extreme wedgie.
K: I’m being reminded of that scene in Bring It On where Missy falls during a cheer and someone catches her by her knickers…
Sweeney: They then have another heart-to-heart about all the things they’ve learned from each other. Kendra tells Buffy to stop talking about slaying like it’s a job, because it’s who she is. Buffy acknowledges that she can’t fight it, because it’s who she is, but now she’s not alone. Then Kendra backs off all, “I DON’T HUG.” and I laugh.
Cut to the post-fire church, with vamp-faced Dru emerging from the wreckage. She picks up the still unconscious Spike and promises to make him strong again, “Like her.” She is every bit as wonderfully creepy and horrifying as you would expect.
K: Seriously. Fun fact #2? Spike was meant to die in this episode. But the audience loved him so much in the test viewings that Joss rewrote the script to keep him alive. Yeah. That happened. (Sorry, Sweeney. I promise I’ll stop now.)
Sweeney: It’s fine, many seriously awesome things happen as a result of this choice.
Next time on Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Joyce starts dating and Buffy takes it about as well as a super strong hormonal teenager would. Find out how long before she kicks him in S02 E11 – Ted.