Previously: The Scoobies found out about Angel being doubly undead and they were not happy. Apparently your friends won’t appreciate it if your bf tries to kill lots of people. In other news, everyone is had by a fake Watcher, and Faith makes us sad.
Lorraine: We open on the Sunnydale High yard, where Willow is characteristically flipping out about something. This time: SAT scores. ““740? Verbal? I’m pathetic. Illiterate. I’m Cletus the slackjawed yokel.” I got the same score as Willow! The difference was that I saw mine and went, “WOOHOO!”
Sweeney: The fact that Willow is complaining about her actually really awesome score to her idiot best friend is actually a strike against Willow, IMO. Not that defending Xander is ever something I do naturally, it was stupidly insensitive of her to not see/understand where this was all going for him. Plus, just, shut up because that’s an awesome score.
K: Over here on Team From Another Country and Have No Idea What This Means (which I should probably find a shorter name for), I mostly just yelled “OMG, CLETUS THE SLACKJAWED YOKEL!!” at the screen, because I’d forgotten all about him.
Lor: Xander tries to help out her perspective and also reveals that he did terribly, to no one’s surprise. He puts an unfaithful arm around Will and pets her a little, but jumps up when he hears Cordy call out to them. Xander asks how she did. We don’t get a score, but Xander wonders what people will think if they find out he’s “dating a brain.” Cordy gamely replies that she “has some experience covering these things up.” Seriously girl because I would’ve never suspected.
Sweeney: We’re 60 seconds into this episode and I already feel like I’m in a parallel universe because his interaction with Cordy here is actually super cute. You know, if I forget about the fact that he’s a cheating cheater who I’m totally mad at. But still, this was cute.
Lor: Oz grabs Willow’s results and offers, “I can see why you’d be upset.” Willow looks chagrined so Oz clarifies:
Oz: That was my sarcastic voice.
Xander: It sounds a lot like your regular voice.
Oz: I’ve been told that.
This is your episode reminder that I love Oz and that he is adorable.
K: Truth. If you’re not Team Oz, it’s possible that we’ll all disown you. Just FYI.
Lor: Oz suggests a celebratory double date, but Cordy doesn’t like the sound of it.
Sweeney: AND SHE SHOULDN’T.
Lor: Buffy walks up to the gang wearing her, “I just killed my undead boyfriend” face. Seriously. Considering the conversation that follows, it’s a little melodramatic. Xander interprets her look to mean he’ll have company at the local drive through window. Buffy does not in fact say, “SIKE!” but she could’ve seeing as her score is a 1430. LOLWHUT?
Do we buy Buffy with a 1430?
Sweeney: Eh. She’s definitely smart, but with her general lack of class attendance, no.
K: Once again, I have no idea what that means, given that in Australia your score is basically a percentage. Way to keep up that whole crazy Imperial scales of measurement thing, America!! Anyway, those of us outside the US can assume that it’s good based on the general surprise expressed.
Lor: I know the scoring system has changed in recent years, but a 1600 was a perfect score- 800 for verbal and 800 for math.
The Scoobies are all rah rah rah, “your future is bright,” and that is what has Buffy wigged. This whole, “having a future” is really new territory for her. Cordy brightly says that at least now she “can leave and never come back.” This time it isn’t Cordy the Tactless Treasure striking, as she meant it as a positive thing. “Get out of Sunnydale — that’s a good thing. What kind of moron would ever want to come back here?“
SEGUE MAGIC to the “Welcome to Sunnydale” sign we first saw in School Hard and me going, “OH! I KNOW! SPIKE! IT’S SPIIIIKE!” I don’t know the future, so I get to have these little moment. They make me feel smarter than a girl with a 1430 on her SATs!
Sure enough, a car crashes through the sign, the driver side opens, a bottle shatters on the ground, Spike falls out of the car and slurs, “I love you Snark Squad.” What? He was slurring. It was kind of hard to tell.
Sweeney: A+ and a 1430 because that’s obviously what he said.
K: Agreed. When three out of three Buffy contributors agree, it becomes law, yes?
At the Baddie Factory (remember? One baddie location ago?) Spike is drunkenly singing and calls out for Drusilla, before giggling. Spike giggles. It’d be cute if he didn’t immediately follow that with tears. He spots Dru’s collection of freaky dolls. We get exposition in the form of Spike picking up a doll and asking it why she left him. I’m mostly wondering why Spike looks so fake against the background, but I get my answer one second later when he puts on his vamp grill and starts abusing the doll. He calls Dru a “stupid, worthless bitch” and tacks on a “look what you’ve done to me” just so that we’re clear that there is some crazy happening in Spike-land right now.
K: Crazy Spike: still a millionty times more fun than Angel and his mopey interpretive dancing in the Brooding Bungalow.
Lor: Back at school the next day, Xander is trying to sell the idea of group bowling date . He notices that Cordy has pictures of him on her locker door and YEAH I HOPE YOU FEEL HORRIBLE. They come across Willow and Oz and finalize their bowling plans.
Sweeney: THAT’S RIGHT. FEEL HORRIBLE. FEEL SO HORRIBLE FOR SUCKING SO MUCH.
Lor: Oz has a gift for Willow and even the fact that it is wrapped in newspaper is kind of adorable. She wants to know what the occasion is and he says, “pretty much you are.” AWWWW I HOPE YOU FEEL HORRIBLE TOO. She opens it and it’s a Pez dispenser with a witch head.
Sweeney: SO CUTE. SO SAD. TEAM FEELS CAN’T HANDLE IT.
K: For once, I’m actually on Team Feels. I guess there’s a first time for everything… Also, I’m gonna go ahead and mention that I’m currently in Washington DC, and last week I saw a box set of presidential Pez dispensers. Because who doesn’t want Pez that came out of a plastic Abraham Lincoln?!
Lor: Willow loves it and wants to find a werewolf Pez dispenser, but Oz doubts they make them. Mmmhmm. My (real) name was never on pencils or magnets or stationary of any kind, so I feel Oz. I had to settle for shit like “Special Girl” and he figures he has to settle for “a wacky, cartoon dog.”
K: I suspect “Special Girl” is better than people going “Hmm. It doesn’t say ‘Kirsti’, but it DOES say ‘Kirsten’/'Kirsty’/'Kristin’. CLOSE ENOUGH!!” and giving it to you anyway… #childhoodtrauma
Willo laments not having anything to give him but Oz puts a hand on her shoulder, smiles and says, “yeah you do.” HE IS SO ADORABLE. I want to keep him in my pocket. She watches him walk away with a look that says, “what I have to give you is lies, cheating, and second hand Xander germs, whoops.”
Cut to the Wiggins Library, where Giles is proud of Buffy’s scores. He assumes that Joyce is as well and B says, “she saw these scores and her head spun around and exploded.” Giles is finally understanding what we’ve been saying about this stuff not being funny when you live in Sunnydale. “I’ve been on the Hellmouth too long. That was metaphorical, yes?” It was. Joyce even brought up maybe perhaps going to college outside of Sunnydale. Buffy expects to be shut down, but Giles thinks she needs to consider her future, and with Faith on hand to man the slayer thing, it’s a total possibility. He offers to talk about it more when he returns, as he’s off to some sort of woodsy retreat. Probably off with the to plot the demise of
Xander unnamed, unappreciated characters. (S: A+ K: Cosign) Giles tells her not to do anything rash but she hasn’t learned the Rules of Talking in Sunnydale and assures him that nothing will happen.
Sweeney: I find this whole thing kind of odd/illogical, because slayers are called all over the world, so why would she have to stay in Sunnydale anyway?
Lor: I always figured it was because of a combination of the Hellmouth the ONE CHOSEN thing. You’d probably want the one slayer in the word (anomaly not withstanding) to be close to the hot bed of vampire activity.
SEGUE MAGIC to Willow flipping out again, this time because something is definitely going to happen. She thinks it’s a mistake and a terrible idea. Of course, she isn’t referring to cheating on her sweet and lovable boyfriend, she’s referring to the Double Date of Doom. Xander thinks all will be well, and tries to sell them being just friends before asking to kiss her earlobe. Willow wobbles, but she don’t fall down. She brandishes the witch Pez at Xander, not unlike a wooden cross. He wishes he could stop being attracted to her and I kind of want to tell him to pretend it was any day prior to Willow having a boyfriend. Just any of those many, many days.
At the Summers home, Joyce is pushing college on Buffy who asks to not talk about it. Joyce keeps talking about it, mentioning that Buffy belongs “at a good old-fashioned college, with keg parties and boys, not here with Hellmouths and vampires.”
K: I’m going to pause to suggest that Joyce ask her daughter what she’s interested in studying before she starts offering up the names of pretty much every college in the continental US. Or do you guys actually pick a college and THEN decide what you want to study?!?!
Sweeney: Yes and no. Unless you want to go into a STEM subject, going to any of the millionty liberal arts schools is probably a safe bet. I picked a school because of what I thought I wanted to study but ended up studying something else, and I think I’m far from alone in that.
Lor: Buffy doesn’t see the difference, and probably because that one time she went to a college party there was a very phallic demon on hand to slay. Joyce wants to know if there is anything keeping her in Sunnydale and we might actually run out of SEGUE MAGIC in this episode because we cut to Angel.
He’s reading La Nausée and that translates to nausea so I laugh and laugh and laugh. Spike is watching him and thanks to a Spangel shipper in the comments I may have had BOMCHICKAWOWWOW music playing in my head. It’s not the right time, though, as Spike is still drunk and talking aloud to himself. He blames Angel for brainwashing Drusilla and tells him he’s going down, before tripping and going down. Har har.
Sweeney: I’m not a Spangel shipper, but I really do love any/all scenes with both of them. It’s guaranteed gold.
Lor: The sun is coming up and Spike is still passed out. The sun is on his hand for like a couple of seconds when it bursts into flames, which is pretty inconsistent with all the inconsistent things we’ve seen about exposure to sun so far. Anyways, he dunks his hand in a nearby fountain, runs out to his car without bursting into flames and douses his hand with alcohol, which, owies.
A woman in an occult-type store hears some movement and looks to see Spike at the back of her store. I’ll now call her Vamp Bait. “Need a curse,” Spike says because at some point between swigs he decided that cursing Angel with leprosy seems like the way to go. This conversation is interrupted by Willow walking into the store with a list of items. Vamp Bait guesses it’s for a love spell, but Willow says it’s more for a “de-lusting.” Vamp Bait rings Willow up and goes back to check on Spike. Vamp grill on, he Capri Sun pouches the woman’s neck and tells us that he’s moved on from needing a curse to a better idea.
Cut to City Hall. The Mayor is doing some putting and is sad his shot keeps veering off to the left. “I swear, I would sell my soul for a decent short game. Of course, it’s a little late for that.” He wonders about selling his assistant’s soul, which rightly creeps out the assistant. “I’m just funnin’.”
The creepiest thing about the mayor is his quirks, like whistling in warning when the assistant sits on his desk. Or like putting this entire time he’s having a conversation about vampires. He’s so calm about it all. It’s not villain-esque in the way the freaks of the weeks are always all, “WE SHALL DESTROY EVERYTHING.” I don’t doubt that the Mayor could destroy everything. It’s just that he’d probably sit down afterwards and have a sandwich. And that is creepy as fuck.
Sweeney: His creepiness is just so incredible. I love him as a villain, because everything out of his mouth is creepy/insane without ever crossing that too-much-of-your-schtick line that some characters tread.
K: The Mayor is my favourite. His special brand of creepy hits the Master for six. Sorry, was that too cricket-centric? Try “knocks the Master out of the park”.
Sweeney: I love you.
Lor: Assistant guy informs the Mayor of Spike’s return and he’s told to handle it via a committee.
Brooding Bungalow. Buffy is discussing college plans with Angel. Basically, she’s fishing. She wants him to be part of the reason she stays in Sunnydale, but he doesn’t bite. He tells her that as a friend, he must advise her to look to the future. That’s Buffy’s cue to make a quick exit.
At school after hours because no one cares about that shit in Sunnydale, Willow is mixing up her magics. Xander walks in and she feeds him some crap about an experiment that doesn’t make any sense because regardless of SAT scores, Xander was bound to notice the freaky ingredients or the incantation or the book you have that is clearly marked WITCHCRAFT, Willow. She owns up to wanting to de-lust them as Xander earlier said he wished their feelings would go away. “Yeah, I wish for a lot of things! I told you I wished I was a fireman in sixth grade, but you didn’t follow through on that!” I nod and agree with Xander, and feel a little dirty afterwards.
Sweeney: Right? I don’t know what’s happening to the world.
K: SRSLY. Also, can we just stop and marvel at the incompetence that would be Xander the Fireman?
Lor: Xander makes to turn on the lights and Spike comes out of nowhere. I was half expecting either Cordy or Oz to have overheard the conversation, so Spike was a nice touch and it made me jump. Spike grabs Xander and they struggle a bit, but not for long before Spike knocks him out with a, “we’re all gonna be very best friends.”
Sweeney: The joy I felt at Xander getting knocked out made me feel like the world was right again. PUNCH HIM AGAIN!
Lor: At the Baddie Factory, Xander is still passed out. Spike wants Willow to make him a love potion to use on Drusilla. She says she’ll try, but Spike wigs as try is not good enough. He threatens her with a piece of broken bottle and while James Marsters is giving excellent crazy, I’m finding Alyson Hannigan’s reactions a little lacking. Just a little.
Spike sits and gives us the entire break-up story: Drusilla accused Spike of going soft after he made a truce with Buffy. Plus, he caught her making out with a Chaos Demon, which are apparently “all slime and antlers.” Spike breaks down and cries on Willow’s shoulder.
K: SPIKE IS THE BEST.
Lor: She keeps giving him some pretty great WTF looks. Mid-cry though, he gets a whiff of her and just like that, he’s back in vamp grill. Willow jumps back and tells him, rather shakily, that she will make the potion but he’s got to ease up on the broken glass threats and the wanting to eat her.
Sweeney: I do hear that makes it difficult to work with people.
Lor: But, what do you know, she’s left an essential spell book somewhere. Spike wants to know where and we cut to Buffy working out in the Wiggins Library. Cordy and Oz come rushing in and take Buffy to the lab, where all the signs of struggle remain. B wants them to find Giles on his retreat. She goes back to the library and the phone rings. It’s Joyce wanting to schedule some time to talk about college. Buffy’s trying to hang up with her, but she hears Spike’s voice in the background as he greets Joyce. She clears it.
We cut to Joyce pouring Spike some tea and I was NOT expecting that. I love it. Especially as Spike starts telling her his break-up story in the exact same words. It is fantastic. Joyce spouts some wisdom as Spike insists that his love with Dru was “eternal, literally.” He then smiles and asks for little marshmallows and I find myself going back to the comments I made about the Mayor. Granted, Spike isn’t as subtle, especially when he’s vamping out and drinking from people’s necks, but the fact that he seems to be going back and forth between crazy, love sick, crazy and blood thirsty make him scarier. AND AWESOMER. I also love that it’s comedic relief without having the detached feeling that some of the fluffy episodes inserted into the seasons have. It’s part of the larger story arc, so far, but it’s light and funny.
Sweeney: I love their whole exchange. Not only is Spike awesome here, I actually don’t hate-and-dare-I-say-it-LIKE Joyce here too. It’s a topsy-turvy world.
K: As much as I’ve been very strongly on Team JOYCE SUCKS so far in these recaps, the scenes with Spike and Joyce are phenomenal.
Lor: Angel is being creepy out in the shadows by Buffy’s house. He sees Spike and tries to run in, but can’t thanks to that one time Buffy revoked his Permanent Invitation. Joyce jumps up and threatens to stake Angel herself. Spike, meanwhile, is standing behind her making some amazing facial expressions and hand gestures.
K: I just looked through my Tumblr for a second gif that I wanted to add here. I didn’t find it, but HOLY CRAP AM I EXCITED ABOUT SPIKE BEING AROUND MORE. Soon, my pretties. Soon.
Lor: Angel threatens to cut his head off if he touches Joyce’s, but Spike would like to know with what army. That’s Buffy’s cue to come in and be an army. She invites Angel in and they get to threatening. Spike lets them know, however, that he has Willow and Xander and that he wants some magics but then he will let them go. Buffy’s not too much with the believing him, but he invites them to tag along, so long as they don’t interfere with his plan. Also, he calls Angel “peaches” and “the great poof” in this scene because of all the reasons.
Sweeney: I’d also like to add, for her defenders, that Joyce’s questions as she tries to process all this new information (who is bad? who is a witch?) are cute and funny and generally demonstrates how lovable she can be when she tries.
Lor: This episode is really rocking our world.
Cordy and Oz are driving but he stops suddenly-and mid-Cordy-panic- because he can smell Willow nearby. I die laughing.
Cordy: Oh my God. Is this some sort of residual werewolf thing? This is really disturbing.
Oz: I really agree.
Oh, these two.
Spike is leading Angel and Buffy around, and he’s complaining about sobering up. He wishes he were dead, but Willow isn’t on hand to be all, “DID SOMEONE SAY WISH?” Instead, Buffy pulls out a stake and says maybe if he closes his eyes… Angel stops her because they “need” him. Buffy’s guessing that her friends are at the Baddie Factory and Spike’s all ruh-roh, because making master evil plans while being drunk is hard. Also, Spike reminisces about killing a homeless man with Dru. I’m not making that up.
Sweeney: I wanted this scene to go on forever. Buffy and Angel stopped with the brooding because they had a task, and drunk Spike is hilarious and I just loved all of this so much. Also, this happened after the dead homeless man reverie and I have to include it because I’m me and whatever:
Lor: Double A+.
Back at the occult store, they get to looking for the ingredients Willow needs. Buffy snarks that all the moping that Spike’s doing is going to definitely going to Dru back. Angel internally says, “it’s working pretty well for me…” Out loud, Angel says it seems to be an awful lot of work to go through for someone who is “fickle” and doesn’t care about him. This riles Spike up and he punches Angel (K: Team Heartless Cow cheered a little) before Buffy pulls him off. She calls him ” a shell of a loser,” but Spike brings it home and tells them they really have no room to talk, as they are back to making “googly eyes” at each other. They rah-rah-we’re-just-friends, but Spike ain’t buying it.
“You’re not friends. You’ll never be friends. You’ll be in love ’til 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.”
I would’ve only added “you’ll shag until one day it gives you a moment of true happiness and the soul gets sucked right out of him.” But his version is super good too. Especially this part:
THEY GOT TOLD.
Sweeney: A+ and a 1430 times infinity for Spike. That speech, cosigned by everyone.
K: SO MUCH.
Lor: Back at the Baddie Factory, Willow is trying to break out when Xander starts to come to. He’s dizzy and fuzzy on the details, and really, so am I because they start making out and I really wish this scene had ended in any of the AND THEN THEY DIE ways Willow was enumerating. Because as they make out, Cordy and Oz walk in and… my heart.
I can’t decide if Cordy’s shock, the way Charisma Carpenter looks like she’s really going to puke, or Oz still needing to get them out of there and safe is worse. I hate this moment so much.
Sweeney: IT’S TOO MUCH FOR TEAM FEELS TO HANDLE.
Lor: Cordy runs off, but as she stomps up the stairs, they give out and she falls through. Xander runs up to see her as she manages an, “I fell.” The camera pans down and we see that she’s been pierced by a piece of metal BECAUSE HER LIFE WASN’T QUITE RUINED ENOUGH.
K: Welcome to the wonderful world of Whedon. He really likes to kick his characters while they’re down.
Lor: Please. I’m a Firefly fan.
Spike, Buffy and Angel walk out of the shop with their supplies. Just as Spike is promising no trouble at all, the aforementioned committee sent by the Mayor shows up. There is a big, extended fight sequence. They seem to give James very simple, fluid choreography. It never looks like he is going to break a sweat. Despite a few dustings, they get corned back into the occult shop where they try to hold off the vampires.
We go back to the factory. Oz has gone for help and Xander climbs down to be with Cordy. She isn’t looking good.
Back to the fight, Buffy stakes a vampire. The back door falls on top of Angel and takes him out. Spike meanwhile is being confronted by the lead vamp who says he’s gone soft “like baby food.” He threatens to let baby have a taste and this is really just the weirdest threat ever. (K: SO MUCH) Angel and Buffy have discovered a shelf of holy water. Spike is now repeatedly bashing the lead vamp’s head against a table and asking if “baby likes his supper.” He stakes that vamp and then Buffy instructs him to duck. As the barricade they set up at the front of the store falls, Angel and Buffy throw bottles of holy water, and it is enough to get them all to flee.
Sweeney: I WANT THIS WEIRD SUPER TEAM TO BE THE SHOW FOREVER.
K: Agreed. Except maybe without Angel… I’m not Team Heartless Cow for nothing, you know.
Lor: Spike is basking in the post-violence glow. Angel is in pain, so Buffy supports him, causing Spike to snit about their “just friends” status. B asks about his dumb spell and Spike’s all “sod the spell” because violence has made him realize that he needs to stop whining and just win back Dru’s love with torture. Something like that. He strolls off and the VAMPIRE SLAYER watches him do it. Not that I’m sad about it. Just sayin’.
Sweeney: People seem to be spared “because of reasons” pretty frequently. We’re going to need to come up with a name for this phenomenon.
Lor: I’ll get back to you on that one.
We cut to a funeral. If I weren’t the level of spoiled you are when you are watching a TV show more than 10 years later, this would’ve freaked me out. But I know Cordelia survives and that is confirmed by Buffy and Willow casually walking past the funeral talking about how Cordy is going to be okay. That was really heavy handed. I want to kick whoever put that in this great episode.
Sweeney: But this show so consistently shies away from (permanently) killing major characters that it’s hard to really take that seriously, with or without spoilers.
Lor: Willow exposits that Xander will see Cordy today, as she wasn’t allowed to have visitors before. When B asks after Oz, we get this speech:
“I never knew there was anything inside me that could feel this bad. For the longest time, I didn’t know what I wanted. I wanted everything. And now, I just want him to talk to me again.”
I’ve been very hard on both Willow and Xander; Willow because I love her and Xander because I hate him. It’s easy to forget that these characters are high school kids. This little speech from Willow really brings it home.
We see Xander come into Cordy’s hospital room, her face turned away from him. She looks drawn, which is a nice job by the make-up department. Xander puts some flowers down and starts to deliver his big speech, but he doesn’t even get a few words out before Cordy stops him. “Stay away from me,” she says, and really, what could he have said to her in this situation? He leaves and Cordy breaks down.
Angel is sitting around the Brooding Bungalow, and really what he needs is a life. I’m serious. He needs a purpose because all this sitting around hasn’t been good for him. (S: EXACTLY. That’s why I loved this episode so much prior to this point; I love Angel when he has shit to do.) Anyways, B comes in to break-up their non-lationship. They can’t be friends because Spike said so. Also, because they are still in love. Angel tries to say otherwise, but Buffy is firm and then walks away.
My problem with this relationship as it exists in season 3 is that it’s never had a confrontation. They’ve been dancing around the topic and it’s been long, boring, and drawn out. AND THIS IS IT? It was completely unemotional, dry and it will either be another chip in the “is it over yet?” pool or an unsatisfactory break to their non-lationship.
Sweeney: It’s only episode 8, so I’ll let you take a wild guess.
K: Team Heartless Cow says UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGH. Or possibly SNOOOOOOOORE because it sounds less like a sound an actual cow (heartless or otherwise) would make.
Lor: I’ll be over here mentally preparing.
Cue the montage of broken hearts: Angel broods, Willow plays with her witch Pez, Oz plays the guitar, Xander is in the library sorting books (?!), Cordy is in the hospital bed looking broken and finally Buffy is depressed and not only because she’s wearing a pink leopard shirt.
A beat. We cut to Spike singing “I did it my waaaaay!” as he rides around in his rape-mobile, leaving the heart break in his dust.
He did it his way, indeed.
Next time on Buffy the Vampire Slayer: There’s a new girl in town, and she has some super special skills. Find out what they are in BtVS S03 E09 – The Wish.