Buffy the Vampire Slayer S03 E12 – Just remember to S.I.N.G.

Previously: Joyce tried to help, but she tried to help the wrong team. Also, Amy got turned into a rat.


Kirsti: We open at the mansion to candles, a picnic, and the Flutes of Lurve. Ten seconds later, we hear fighting, and the camera pans out to reveal Buffy and Angel going at it. NOT LIKE THAT. They’re sparring. Which seems like a terrible plan when vampires are so flammable and there are candles AND an open fire nearby…

Lorraine: Even though all the subtext and grunting and sweating are weird, I will say there are some fantastic moves here, including a sweep kick that sends Angel spinning. It was cool to look at. JEEZ YOU GUYS. NOT LIKE THAT.

K: ANYWAY. Buffy grabs a French bread stick from the picnic, and fake stakes Angel with it. “Satisfied?” she says, and #awkwardAngelboner because she’s straddling him and NO HAPPINESS ALLOWED. There’s some awkward conversation about not having personal satisfaction, and Angel asks Buffy if he’ll see her this weekend, on account of it’s her birthday. She says that she has a thing, and he not at all smoothly asks if it’s a date. “Actually, I do have a date. Older man. Very handsome. Likes it when I call him Daddy“, she replies, and EW. Yes, it’s with her father, but there is no way in hell I would ever word it like that.(L: +1)   Apparently he’s taking her to the ice show.

Sweeney: I got way excited because this is also where a favorite reaction gif comes from, except for the fact that there aren’t nearly enough occasions to use it. SO I’LL USE IT NOW BECAUSE I CAN:


K: BAHAHAHAHAHA. Perfection.

We cut to the Wiggins Library, where Giles is waving weird crystals in front of Buffy and asking her to identify the type of crystal and what you use them for. I’m going to tangent into “this seems like stuff a Slayer doesn’t need to know,” because REALLY?? Aaaaand I just snorted water out of my nose because Giles referred to what they’re doing as “studying vibratory stones.

Sweeney: He’s really not good at avoiding the seeming inappropriateness of their relationship to the outside world.

K: Not even. Anyway, apparently it’s part of Buffy’s training, but she wants no part of it because Faith’s gone walkabout, and someone needs to patrol, dammit! When Giles says that he’d like at least one of them to have proper training, Buffy says “I hate being the good one.” Aww. Life is hard. Giles asks why she’s so keen to patrol, and apparently she has post-Angel energy to burn off.

Lor: There’s a “grab a vibratory stone” joke in here, and I think I just made it.

K: Thank you for always making the tasteless jokes, Lor. I love you for it.

Cut to the park, where she’s fighting a vampire. It’s all business as usual until she’s about to go for the staking. Suddenly she gets all dizzy-looking and sways a little. The vampire gets the jump on her, and starts pushing the stake towards her chest. She’s terrified and powerless and ROLL CREDITS.

Just as the stake is about to go into her chest, Buffy headbutts the vampire before slapping him in the face. He falls back, and in his attempts to hurl himself on top of her again, he lands heart first on her stake. Because apparently vampires are even more stupid than you’d think.

At school the next day, Buffy’s throwing knives in the Wiggins Library. “Giles, something’s wrong,” she says, and we pan across to the target to see that every single knife has missed the target completely. Also, Buffy’s wearing long sleeves and some kind of weird scarf that seems to be attached to her jumper, so I’m gonna go with a big fat “UH HUH” of agreement on something being wrong.


Lor: I was mostly offended by her hair, which came up from the back like two hair-sculpted antennas. Stop it. 

Sweeney: THEY’RE HELD UP BY BUTTERFLY CLIPS. I was obsessed with those things in ’99 but then, I was 11 and shopped at Limited Too.

K: I used to try doing my hair like that back in the day, but it was shorter, so I just ended up looking like a cockatoo with its crest up. Klassy. Buffy’s having a wiggins, but Giles seems only marginally concerned. He suggests that she’s sick, and that she take it easy. She’s all “NOPE. TRAIN HARDER”. That lasts all of thirty seconds – a misthrown knife breaks a lamp, and she flees for the exit. At lunch with the gang, Buffy fangirls about going to the ice show. Xander’s all pro-party in honour of Buffy’s birthday, but after last year’s birthday involved a surprise party and her vagina breaking her boyfriend, she’s not having a bar of it.

Sweeney: If only the gang would catch on and recognize that Buffy birthdays are not such a great idea.

K: At home that night, Buffy enters the kitchen to find a giant arrangement of flowers and a happy birthday balloon. It’s from her dad – he can’t make it to the ice show, and has sent her the tickets so she can go with someone else. Joyce offers to take time off from the gallery to take her, but Buffy tears up and leaves the room. I’m gonna go ahead and say that Hank Summers has now replaced Joyce as the ultimate negligent parent, and that the opposite of the Sandy Cohen Eyebrow Scale should now be named after Hank. What say ye, Traumateers?

Lor: There is so much competition in the Negligent Parent arena. Hank is going to have some competition, mostly in the form of Goosebumps parents…

Sweeney: It’s true. Absentee non-parenting is a slightly different thing than the genuine negligent parenting of epic proportions in R. L. Stine’s books.

K: Seeing as how I know the future and all, I’m not sure that there’s any competition for this title. Hank wins hands down.

We cut to an abandoned old hotel called the Sunnydale Arms. Knowing Sunnydale, this place could literally contains arms. Of either variety! Anyway, the Synthesier of Creepiness plays, as we pan inside and see a man on a ladder bricking up the windows. A man in a suit enters and inspects his work. A man in a dirty apron enters, and Suit Man asks him in an English accent how long it will be until they’re ready. Another five or six hours, apparently. They stare at a large wooden crate with heavy locks on it, and Suit Man says “The Slayer’s preparation is nearly complete.

With that, we’re back at the Wiggins Library where Buffy is trying to persuade Giles to go to the ice show with her.

Lor: It’s kind of heartbreaking. She insists it’s the type of show you’d take a daughter, or student or slayer to. I can’t help but feel that Buffy sees herself as all these things.

Sweeney: This was a brutal moment to be feeling Buffy’s feels.

K: Truth. He wants her instead to stare at a big blue crystal, looking for the flaw in its centre. The camera zooms in on the flaw, then out again to show that Buffy is now in some kind of trance state. Giles pulls a freaking big syringe out of his bag, rolls up Buffy’s sleeve, and injects her with a mysterious liquid that looks scarily like pee.



Lor: WHAT IN THE ACTUAL FUCK YOU GUYS? I am sad and alone in my inability to see the future.

K: At school the next morning, WHAT THE FUCK IS WILLOW WEARING, YOU GUYS?


Lor: She looks like she could have an after school job at some place with “pollo” in the name.

K: And based on those tights, she’d be the one out the front dressed up as a chicken. I can’t even. Anyway, some random is getting all up in Cordy’s face about standing him up at the Bronze. Cordy tries to leave, and he grabs her and pins her against a tree. Buffy’s all “Oh, HELL NO”, but when she grabs his arm, she can’t move him at all. He knocks her back, and she falls over a bench and lands heavily on the ground.

Lor: Cordelia amazingly takes the lead with a nice round of sissy punches.

Sweeney: A+ Cordelia moment. GET IT, GIRL.

K: Cut to Buffy running up to Giles in the corridor. She’s even more wigged out that she was the day before, but Giles is non-committal and vague. But he gives Buffy his word that they’ll get to the bottom of things.

Over at the Sunnydale Arms, Giles is having tea with Suit Man. Apparently the whole powerless Slayer thing is some kind of initiation rite – when the Slayer turns 18, she must undergo Cruciamentum. In case your Latin is rusty, it means torture or torment. (As does Crucio, for the Potter fans amongst us) Suit Man argues that it’s a time honoured thing that’s been in place for 1200 years. Giles, on the other hand, calls it “An archaic exercise in cruelty“. Suit Man (who’s from the Watchers’ Council) argues that the Slayer needs to have cunning as well as strength, and that when it’s over Buffy will be stronger for it. Giles remains unconvinced. After he leaves, a man starts screaming.

Suit Man’s minion-y types head inside and unlock the big wooden crate. Inside is a vampire in a straight jacket, strapped to the back of the crate. One minion picks up a spoon with a metre-long handle, dumps a pill into it, and holds it out to the vampire, whose name is Kralik. The other minion does the same with a glass of water, then Suit Man orders them to lock the crate back up.

Back at the Wiggins Library, the gang are in research mode. Xander suggests that maybe they should be on the hunt for Slayer kryptonite. I’m gonna go ahead and put in the full conversation that follows, because this is totally the kind of conversation I have with my friends at uni, except about Doctor Who and sonic screwdrivers:

Oz: Faulty metaphor. Kryptonite kills.
Xander: You’re assuming I meant the green kryptonite. I was referring, of course, to the red kryptonite, which drains Superman of his powers.
Oz: Wrong. The gold kryptonite’s the power-sucker. The red kryptonite mutates Superman into some sort of weird…
Buffy: Guys? Reality?

Lor: My source for all things Superman is Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, because I’m not-s0-secretly in love with 90’s Dean Cain. There’s a tag dedicated to it on my blog. ANYWAYS. On the show, red kryptonite made him apathetic. Just, FYI.

K: Good to know, seeing as I never watched Lois and Clark!

Back at the Creepy Hotel, the minion-y types are changing napping shift when Kralik starts screaming again. One minion goes to check it out. Kralik demands pills, and when the minion goes to get them, he strains, ripping out of the straight jacket. The minion returns and offers him pills on the stupidly long spoon, but Kralik – who has his eyes shut in apparent pain – claims to have no idea where they are. The minion steps closer, and Kralik grabs him by the neck.

Over at the mansion, Buffy’s unwrapping a birthday present from Angel. It’s a book of sonnets, and she seems less than thrilled. Angel picks up on her not-thrilled-ness, saying “Then why’d you seem more excited last year when you got a severed arm in a box?” She blames it on feeling wiggy about being powerless. Angel gives her a pep talk, but Buffy’s concerned about going back to pre-Slayer Cordelia-esque Buffy. Somehow, it descends from “what do I do if I’m not the Slayer?” into your bog standard YA book as the Flutes of Lurve strike up again:

Buffy: Angel, if I’m not the Slayer, what do I do? What do I have to offer? Why would you like me?
Angel: I saw you before you became the Slayer.
Buffy: What?
Angel: I watched you, and I saw you called. It was a bright afternoon out in front of your school. You walked down the steps… and… and I loved you.
Buffy: Why?
Angel: Cause I could see your heart. You held it before you for everyone to see. And I worried that it would be bruised or torn. And more than anything in my life I wanted to keep it safe… to warm it with my own.
Buffy: That’s beautiful. Or taken literally, incredibly gross.
Angel: I was just thinking that, too.

Thank you, Joss Whedon, for redeeming yourself at the end of that schmaltz. #TeamHeartlessCow4Lyfe

Over at the Creepy Hotel, the minion has been turned into a vampire in a moment of Whedon-can’t-be-bothered-being-consistent-with-his-how-long-it-takes-to-become-a-vampire-timeline. Seriously. Some people? They’re at the funeral home for days, get buried, THEN become vampires. This dude? Like ten minutes.

Lor: YES. Also, homeboy has one hand free. How exactly did the minion drink his blood?

K: MAGIC. OBVS. Anyway, Minion Vamp picks up a fire axe and breaks Kralik free from the metal bindings. Kralik says that they’re still going to play the game. Just not by the Council’s rules…

After the Not Ad Break, Giles is walking into the Creepy Hotel. He looks around for the Council dudes, and instead finds blood. Being a resourceful chap, he breaks off part of a window frame into a stake, and heads for the wooden crate. When he finds it empty, he looks concerned, then follows a blood trail on the floor to find a dead minion. It’s apparently pretty gruesome because he runs for the exit with a hand over his mouth.

Across town, Buffy – in a red coat – is walking home in the dark. A couple of dudes in their 30s ask for a lap dance, which is super creepy and seems more like something that should have happened to her way back in episode 1, when she was in LA. I mean, Sunnydale has a population of 20,000 people (according to the sign on the way into town that Spike keeps driving into). If these dudes like to hang around in the streets after dark, surely they’d have seen Buffy kicking some vampire arse?!

Sweeney: If we’ve learned anything about Sunnydale it’s that a Hellmouth is essentially an underground contrivance mechanism.

K: Good point. She’s having a wiggins about being a weak little girly girl out after dark, and wishes that she’d asked Angel to walk her home.

She hears a guy humming, and then smacks face first into Kralik. She screams for help and runs, leaving him holding her red coat. She encounters various obstacles that would usually present no problems to emphasise just how helpless she is.

Lor: Mostly, she looks a lot like I would look like trying to climb a fence.

Sweeney: +1

K: Right there with you. Just as Minion Vamp is about to grab her, Giles pulls up. She jumps in and they drive off.

Back at the Wiggins Library, Buffy is crying, wrapped in a blanket, and telling Giles all about her super extreme feebleness. He shows her the syringe and pee coloured liquid, and tells her that she’ll be back to normal in a few days. Buffy is visibly hurt that Giles – her surrogate father – would do such a thing. He tells her that it’s a test, and that Kralik was, before he was turned, a psychopath who killed a dozen women before being committed to an asylum. AWESOME CHOICE, WATCHER’S COUNCIL. Buffy, meanwhile, is focusing on the whole lying father figure thing (understandably) and is ugly crying:

Buffy: You bastard. All this time, you saw what it was doing to me. All this time, and you didn’t say a word!
Giles: I wanted to.
Buffy: Liar.
Giles: In matters of tradition and protocol, I must answer to the Council. My role in this… was very specific. I was to administer the injections and to direct you to the old boardinghouse on Prescott Lane.
Buffy: I can’t… I can’t hear this.
Giles: Buffy, please.
Buffy: Who are you? How could you do this to me?
Giles: I am deeply sorry, Buffy, and you have to understand…
Buffy: If you touch me, I’ll kill you.

Happy birthday, Buff. Betrayed by both your father figures in one day.

Lor: The scene is heartbreaking. I know Buffy often says she wants a normal life, but maybe she never understood what that meant. I once, long ago mentioned how awesome it must be to walk around, knowing that you can take care of yourself. To have that stripped away, and as a betrayal by the one person you’ve consistently counted on? Ouch.

Sweeney: This. It’s one thing to navigate the world based on your known strengths and weaknesses, but to suddenly find yourself robbed of that strength by way of betrayal is horrifying. SMG has a habit of overacting some of B’s more dramatic scenes, but this one felt far more honest, perhaps in part because of alltheepicfeels; it’s hard to overdo that.

K: Giles says that the test is invalid now that he’s told her about it, and that he’ll take care of Kralik. Cordelia enters, takes one look at Buffy’s face and asks if the world is ending. Buffy basically tells Giles that he’s dead to her, and asks Cordy for a ride home.

Lor: A+ to Cordy who just immediately says yes. I loved her in that second.

Sweeney: It’s interesting that in an episode where Buffy takes a stab at her, Cordelia is consistently awesome, and assisting Buffy with that awesome. Well played, Whedon.

K: So much. Cut to the Summers residence. Joyce hears a noise outside, and follows it to the porch. Kralik is lying there wrapped in Buffy’s red coat.


Buffy comes home to an empty house. She pushes the bouquet of flowers from her dad into the rubbish bin (YES, LOR. RUBBISH BIN) (L: LOL.)  and walks towards the front of the house. The front door is open, and a polaroid of Kralik holding Joyce by the throat is stuck to the doorframe. Buffy immediately heads upstairs. She packs a bag of Slayer supplies, which she can barely lift, and slips a bottle of holy water into the pocket of the Overalls of Overall Sadness.

Lor: It’s a nice little touch there. No Ass Kicking Trench Coat today, folks. I mean, if you can overlook the fact that she took time to change and re-comb her hair.

K: Over at the Creepy Hotel, Joyce is tied to a chair with a gag in her mouth as Kralik takes polaroids of her. He spills his entire plan, as bad guys are so prone to doing – he’s going to turn Buffy into a vampire, and then have her eat Joyce. Meanwhile, Buffy is walking in the front door with her trusty crossbow ready. She props the door open with a stake, and heads towards a door as the obligatory spooky music starts playing. Just then, a hand reaches out and pulls the stake from the door, which promptly slams. Buffy hides in the shadows as Minion Vamp looks around.

Back in the Wiggins Library, Giles is cranky with Suit Man and his “perfectly controlled test.” Suit Man tells Giles that the test has already begun because Buffy has entered the field of battle. At that, Giles shoves Suit Man to one side and heads off to save his Slayer. Meanwhile, Buffy and her crossbow are on the prowl. Minion Vamp growls behind her and she spins, firing the crossbow and missing by a mile. He grabs her round the neck, and she embraces the Gracie Hart approach to fighting:

Somehow, she manages to pull a bookshelf over on him, then beats him over the head with…a book?? I honestly have no idea. Meanwhile, Kralik is on the prowl, whispering to her. He grabs her around the neck, but she holds him off with a teeny tiny crucifix. This works for a second, but on account of him being crazy and all, he grabs it and holds it to his chest before pushing her hand and the crucifix down, and…you know what? This whole episode is kind of a giant ball of “girls are helpless and guys can be kind of rapey.” Gross.

Sweeney: I’d really like us to cover less rapey things on Snark Squad. We need to work on a rapey vetting process.

K: Buffy hides in the kitchen, which contains the Mangled Dead Minion.

Lor: Slayer strengthless or not, I love that she doesn’t seem to even flinch at the sight. Meanwhile, Ripper got all gaggy.

K: To steal an idea from a very early episode, a Slayer slays and a Watcher watches. Homegirl never flinches.

When Kralik stops banging on the door, she makes a run for the stairs. But he’s waiting underneath and grabs her legs. She breaks free, and runs upstairs, hiding in a dark room. She turns on the light to find that the walls are covered in polaroids of Joyce. It reminds me of Memento, which probably isn’t good for anyone concerned. Kralik breaks through the wall, and Buffy makes a run for it again. But he catches up and overpowers her. Just as he’s about to drain her blood, he starts grabbing his head in pain. Apparently it’s time for more pills. Buffy grabs the pill bottle from him and dives down the laundry chute, landing in yet another Basement of Don’t Go In There next to a tied up Joyce. Kralik runs in and grabs the pills from her. He goes for a nearby glass of water, and swallows the pills with relief. He starts to lecture Buffy about her place in the game before stopping dead in his tracks and saying “Oh my.” I giggle hysterically for fairly obvious reasons.


Sweeney: YES.

K: Kralik thinks Buffy’s done something to his pills. But LOL, NOPE. She filled up his glass with the holy water that she shoved in the pocket of her Overalls of Sadness. Pockets: They’re important to have, kids.

If I were at full Slayer power, I’d be punning right about now,” Buffy says as he turns to dust. I love that her punning power and her superstrength go hand in hand, I really do.

Lor: +1

Sweeney: +1

K: She goes to untie Joyce, and Minion Vamp appears behind her. But luckily Giles has arrived and takes care of Minion Vamp. Cut back to the Wiggins Library, where Suit Man is telling Buffy that she’s passed the test. “Do I get a gold star?” she asks. She’s super cranky with him, and rightly so. Suit Man then tells Giles that Buffy may have passed the test, but he failed, and is fired because his fatherly love for Buffy makes him ,”useless to the cause“. Buffy tears up at that, until Suit Man congratulates her. “Bite me,” she sneers, and it’s freaking awesome.

She puts her hand to her head and cringes as she touches her cut. Giles comes over and takes a cloth from her, and begins to dab her cut as the Flutes of Sadness strike up. All is forgiven between them.

Sweeney: Forgiveness isn’t one of Buffy’s major strengths but that’s an awful lot to forgive so quickly. I get why, but that still seems like a big thing for her.

K: Agreed. At the Summers’ house the next day, all the Scoobies (minus Giles) are making sandwiches in the kitchen. Willow’s freaking out about Giles being fired, and holy hell, I’m pretty sure she stole this from The Cat in the Hat:


Anyway, Buffy says that at least she got to keep up her birthday tradition of epic suckitude, and then struggles to open a jar of peanut butter. “Give you a hand with that, little lady?” Xander says, and I briefly want to punch him before he too is unable to open the jar. As we fade to black, we hear him say “Uh, Will? Give me a hand with that?” and HAHAHAHAHA.

Lor: Wait, you guys, Giles is FIRED? WHAT THE HELL?

K: Fired as Watcher, Lor. Not as librarian. It’ll be okay.

Lor: This means a new watcher, though, doesn’t it? Damn it.


Next time on Buffy the Vampire Slayer:  Watch Sweeney go insane as she has to cover a Xander-centric episode! Find out if she survives with her sanity intact when we cover BtVS S03 E13 – The Zeppo. 

Marines (all posts)

I'm a 20-something south Floridan who loves the beach but cannot swim. Such is my life, full of small contradictions and little trivialities. My main life goals are never to take life too seriously, but to do everything I attempt seriously well. After that, my life goals devolve into things like not wearing pants and eating all of the Zebra Cakes in the world. THE WORLD.

Sweeney (all posts)

I collect elaborate false eyelashes, panda gifs, and passport stamps. I earned my MA in Global Communications and watching too many YouTube videos. Now people pay me to edit YouTube videos. The circle of life. Reconciling my aversion to leaving the house/wearing pants with my deep desire to explore everything is my life's great struggle.

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  • 3hours

    Yes, new watcher. Weeee to that, because upcoming scenes of lol and spoilers! 😀

    And am I wrong in saying that this is Lor’s first proper introduction to what the Watcher’s Council (WC for short, because they are very much a toilet) are really like? And have you noticed yet that they are all adult/older men controlling a young girl for extra added ugh? Obv the Cruciamentum is a culling process, where they toss easy vampires at Slayers they can control and tough ones at Slayers who are too independent. Which is why our girl got a homocidal psychopath turned vampire, she’s beaten both Angelus and William the Bloody in battle so they had to bring out the big guns to try and take her out of the game.

    I think it’s absolutely amazing that the WC have to deal with not one but *two* highly independent Slayers at once. Fuck you, WC. Fuck you.

    • I want to ask questions about this new, inevitable Watcher, but I will refrain and watch and be patient. Harumph.

      You know, with everything that was going on in this episode and Giles role in it all, I didn’t even really pause to consider the Watcher’s Council. To be honest, my opinion of them was really cemented back when they didn’t invite Giles to the retreat. (I can’t even remember if the retreat was real. I remember Faith lied about her watcher being there, but not if the whole retreat was a lie. But, there you have it. That’s what sold me against them.)

      You are absolutely right, though, and this entire set-up is super creepy and WTF, WC? Buffy needs to look no further for what people with souls can do than this shit. She’s just a girl, and they are throwing her to the wolves.

      Amen to that. I miss Faith, by the way.

      • 3hours

        New, inevitable Watcher will be a Watcher. Then spoilers and spoilers and more spoilers. Oh! And spoilers!

        Giles was bullied by the WC into doing what he did. That’s as much leave as I will grant him for this fuckery. And he *still* ended up fired! Which I kind of applaud because the more distance between him & Buffy and the WC the better.

        I know this is sliiiightly spoilery, but I think it’s mild enough that you won’t mind: For creepy/nasty shit people with souls can do, see season 4. All of it.

        Faith will return! Hang in there 😀

        • OMG S/HE WILL BE A WATCHER? You should’ve spoiler tagged that. I feel ruined.

          He was being bullied and I feel bad for the consequences he faced, but he was sending Buffy into a very dangerous situation. That’s rough.

          All I know about season 4 is that Sweeney HATES it. And now that souled people do nasty/creepy shit. Should be fun, yeah?

          Hanging in. Just waiting for Faith or Spike to show up…

          • 3hours

            Season 4 actually has some of the best episodes. HLOD (panther crawl!), Pangs (bears!), Something Blue (I don’t need to say anything at all here, do I).. and also one more that I can’t remember the name of off the top of my head. Very much looking forward to those! 😀

            I do wonder how you are going to handle the upcoming story arcs for both Faith and Spike… *chews on nails*

          • JEL

            Every season of BtVS has people who love it (including season 1) and people who hate it. The same could be said for which season people think is best (even season 1, which I have a little trouble understanding, but they do exist) / worst. The same diversity of opinions happens with respect to individual episodes. (And people sometimes change their minds on repeat viewings too, so they aren’t even consistent with themselves.) There are some semi-objective things that one can say about season 4 (which probably should be left to the end of the season 4 to avoid spoiling anything) but whether one loves it or hates it or is somewhere in the middle is clearly a matter of opinion. (My own view of season 4 is slightly altered by always watching a few of the cross over episodes of AtS at the same time.) We’ll just have to let Lor make up her own mind!

          • 3hours

            Oh ofc, that goes without saying 🙂 I am merely providing my own opinion in contrast to Sweeney’s.

          • To be fair and IIRC Sweeney’s gripe is with the season long story arc and will also admit some of the individual episodes are good.

            I hope my opinions don’t let the whole Internet down! I’m so excited!

          • 3hours

            Yeah, I’ve got issues with the main story arc of season 4 as well. Also, major squicks are involved.

            *taps fingers* I want to push you towards all the good stuff!

          • JEL

            Yes, that is the usual knock against season 4 (the arc). How people feel about season 4 seems to depend a lot on how much weight they put on the arc aspect. (I.e. some people hate the arc and that colors their whole view of the season and others hate the arc but still like the season for all the other good things about it. And of course, in keeping with all views get represented, some people aren’t bothered by the arc at all. 🙂 )

          • wlreed

            I can’t ever think about season 4 without automatically thinking of Hush, which is probably my favorite episode of television ever. Plus it has the introduction of one of my favorite characters (seriously, I have a cat named after her. I am a sad,sad individual sometimes) so I will always love it. The arc isn’t great, but I think it leads to some interesting debates, so I’m looking forward to seeing it here.

          • 3hours

            YES! Hush! And the new character. So much looooove <3

    • SnazzyO

      Let me join the hate parade for the WC. Quentin Travers (suit man) needs that tea cup shoved up somewhere.

      • I like the idea of a hate parade. We can cruise along on our floats, hating shit.

      • I like calling it the Council of Watchers for the abbreviation, although I see the advantage of WC, too.

        • I’ve seen the abbreviation CoW abouts Buffy sits on the Internet. THAT MAKES SENSE.

  • SnazzyO

    Let me start out by saying that I am AGGRESSIVELY AMBIVALENT about Bangel somedays and this episode is a classic example. They can be cute with their sonnets vs severed arms present comparisons and hot with their sweaty kickboxing sparring. OTOH, this episode gives me the wiggins regarding Buffy and older men and ANGEL FITS INTO THAT A BIT. Clearly Buffy has Daddy issues – and rightly so. What Hank Summers did is fulfilling Buffy’s nightmare from S1 — he’s actively abandoning her. But then Angel reminds us of his STALKER behavior from when she was a freshman (that’s 14 people!) in LA. And he tells us he fell in love with her heart then? She was sucking on that phallic lollipop Angel, are you sure that it was her heart you fell in love with? Arrrrggghhh. And then Angel is all social awkward despite handsome creature of the night and you feel like maybe he’s got the maturity of a 14 year old so it’s not so bad. IDK. I struggle with these two in a relationship while she’s still in high school YET I see them as very compatible if it wasn’t for the soul loss-age issue.

    /ambivalent rant off

    Whew! That felt good.

    Now onto Giles. Buffy cut him to the quick with her words and I was so “RIGHT ON!” when she did it. And yet I can forgive him as well as he clearly has already thrown out most of the Watcher’s Manual when it comes to her already. He also adores her like a father. He has to answer to the council, however, and loses his job over doing the right thing (reason #298703 for hating the WC). My wee little problem is that I feel like they threw the losing his job in thing to make his earlier actions OK. I wish he had groveled a little more before Buffy forgave him. I would have traded the final peanut butter scene for a Giles/Buffy scene that explained better why he felt paralyzed to violate the council’s “wisdom” and drugged her.

    And can I just pile on and say — would YOU trust the guy who betrayed you like that if you had taken the Cruciamentum WITHOUT him breaking the rules? What does that say about other Slayer/Watcher relationships. Or does no one make it past 18 because the WC is full of misogynistic pigs.BTW… this also means Faith is YOUNGER than Buffy. She sure doesn’t act like it.

    BTW all hail SMG for ripping out my heart in her scenes with Giles. The “please take me to the ice capades” was almost as bad as the “who are you” scene.

    • OMG, when you consider how much older than her Angel is, that whole “daddy” line gets ickier. Nightmare from S1 is one of my favorite episodes so far, and you are right. He is slowly fulfilling her deepest fear. Also, when you think of what Giles did to her in terms of this fear of being abandoned, IT JUST SUCKS SO MUCH.

      The “I watched you” thing was pretty gross. That whole entire scene just felt heavy-handed, to be honest. I get what Angel was trying to do- to reassure her that he didn’t love her just because she was the Slayer, but “I fell in love with your heart” as I saw you walk down so stairs? Nah, man. And 14!!! I tend to forget ages. I have remind myself a lot, especially with Xander, that these are high school kids. But 14. Yick.

      As a whole, I liked Buffy and Angel in season 1 and 2. I liked them a lot, and I think it was an excellent story line and I think that a lot of the times, Buffy needed Angel for he taught her, or helped her through, or for giving her moments of normal, despite being a vampire and a slayer in a relationship. I’ve had more difficulty dealing with S3 Buffy and Angel. I’m sure when it’s all said and done I’ll be able to put my finger on it, but for now the most I can manage is: meh.

      I think Buffy forgiving Giles quickly is understandable, to an extent. Especially in that moment where that exhale of adrenaline and OMG I DIDN’T DIE happens. After she see the Suit Man walk away and notes how many people are rooting for her to fail. Giles did have a hand in it, but there he still is, you know? Also, the part where the Suit Man says that Giles loves her like a father? Bam. Right in the feels. I think part of the reason this all destroyed Buffy so much is because of what was happening with her real dad. I think that just that confirmation from someone else, that Giles really does love her, even if he isn’t perfect? It helped her forgive him. I don’t think him being fired made it better, but clearly, he’s been doled out his punishment. What can Buffy gain from pushing him away? More explanation would’ve been ideal.

      GOOD POINT. We are led to believe that Buffy/Giles relationship is out of the “ordinary” watcher/slayer anyways, but this highlights it even more. I can’t imagine any Slayer surviving that and being okay with her Watcher. Unless, they never reveal it. And word, Faith seems older. Maybe her 18th birthday happened during that time she was sans Watcher.

      Excellent comment. 🙂

      • Start by considering how much older than her Angel was when he became a vampire (it says on his tombstone) and then add Angelus’ escapades, not to mention a century of soulful, rat-eating self-pity. Then consider the scene in which pretty pink baby Buffy sucks the sugar stick on the high school steps while Angel lurks behind the blacked out windows of his stalker sedan (with a great big trunk) watching her. It’s all very, very…well. As the mother of two daughters, I have to say I would stake him myself.

        • SnazzyO

          This is part of my aggressive ambivalence. You’ve captured it well so one side of me said “rock on” puts up a lighter (if I had one).

          So the ONLY way I can wrap my head around it is to stand on one foot, squint my left eye and make the following fanwanky rationalizations:
          – Angel’s kind of mentally a mess, I could see him looking at Buffy as someone who is in “his world”, fighting the good fight and represents a “goodness” that he so desperately wants
          – Whistler told him to help her – that brings out his inner champion – and makes him think SHE is his salvation for staying on a good path. Since she’s been in his life, he hasn’t gone back to living in the alleyways
          – His world-view may have been stuck back in the 1800’s when older men and younger women was not uncommon or considered creepy — it’s not like he’s really kept up with society that much. And they still had child brides in the 19th century before he went to rat land.

          – Most importantly, he LIKES her. Beyond the “goodness” worship, they’ve shown themselves to be pretty compatible as people. So…she probably seems absolutely perfect to him.

          On Buffy’s side – well she’s young and not the first teenager to think the sun and moon and stars rise and fall with a guy. Sexy undead dude can be sexy (although I really hated the S2 guyliner of evil). Plus she’s got the whole vagina breaking him guilt — sort of like …if this wasn’t EPIC than that whole debacle was stupid. I think she’d rather it was EPIC tragedy than “meh”. Finally, he’s STRONGER than her. It’s an anti-feminist girly-girl thing but Buffy is not immune to that. Add her Daddy issues and the idea that there is someone who can literally protect her and she’s drawn to it — because being the hero can be a bitch sometimes.

          So this was not a strong defense for the pro-Bangel aggressively ambivalent side but I’ll just finish with … if you ignore the age difference, they connect on many levels and I could see both of them clinging to it.

          • Hmm. Actually, he’s not stronger than her, though I’d have to post spoilers to say how I know that. =P

  • Melodye

    As someone who was 17-18 in 1999, I will come out and say: I did my hair like that with the butterfly clips. However, mine looked MUCH better (considering) than Buffy’s did. Also, I’m pretty sure that I never saw anyone at my high school or in 1999, at all, wearing a hat like Willow’s. Where did the costume department shop for this crap?!

    • SnazzyO

      Buffy- Dolce & Gabana (seriously) and high end fashion houses

      Xander – I’m thinking “Goodwill”
      Willow – First it was the softer side of Sears, then I’m thinking some store for “knitters anonymous” because…damn.

      • A lot of Buffy’s outfits are dated, but not horrible. Willow, though. WILLOW. Not good in any decade, girl.

  • Danna

    Great review, you guys! Thanks! (I’m off to watch the episode now while I do my exercises.)

    • It’s a good one to motivate you. “Must not be helpless. Must be able to kill a vamp.”

      Etc. 🙂

  • Angi Black

    Just FYI – red Kryptonite on Smallville makes Clark Kent all loud mouthed, kind of a dick and wanting all the sexytimes. Always wearing leather and your basic hot bad boy. 🙂

    • SnazzyO

      True that. And the rest of the colors:
      – Green makes you weak
      – Gold kills you
      – A rainbow looking one made some psychedelic thing happen (one of the FUNNIEST Smallville’s ever IMO)
      – Black spits you into good & bad I think…can’t quite remember

      Don’t remember if there was any more.

      • I remember the red Kyptonite on Smallville! In his class ring! I also remember his heat vision being eye ejaculation on account of being horny, or something like that, right? I watched a couple of seasons of it but then gave up. (That should be no surprise. I’ve seen a few episodes of practically everything. Commitment though? PFFT.)

        • SnazzyO

          Smallville broke me due to shipper wars. It’s part of my internet trauma now. Smart move getting out early.

          • I’m sorry you’re broken but this made me LOL.

          • SnazzyO

            That’s okay – that was my intention.

            On a more serious note, I did garner a few “school of hard knocks lessons learned” —
            1) PERSPECTIVE – people can lose it, back away…back away…
            2) Better to come to a fandom AFTER the entire series has aired and binge view it. The individual desires of people who (consciously or unconsciously) want a future story line to fit their vision raises the stakes when people debate events and characters on the show. Waiting til it’s all over REMOVES that pressure.
            3) The internet is a Chinese Buffet: take what is good and leave the rest
            4) There’s really no “RIGHT” answer – they argue in the writer’s room too.

          • JEL

            All very good points, especially the first. It is just a TV show about fictional characters after all. (Or is that heresy? 🙂 )

          • SnazzyO

            Totally heresy, go sacrifice a goat in the parking lot. (j/k)

          • JEL

            Apparently people suffered a lot of internet trauma inducing shipper & other wars when BtVS first aired. I never thought to look for Buffy discussions back then so I avoided all that, for which I’m grateful. Mark at http://unpaidsophistry.blogspot.com/ talks a lot about what happened back then; it makes interesting reading. (And even now, 10 years later, season 6 of BtVS caused a bit of an internet storm over at “Mark Watches” (different Mark).) Happily there are some sites (including this one) where the discourse is more civil.

  • JEL

    There are actually women Watchers (we saw a disgraced, former one just a few episodes ago). But somehow it always feels like the Watchers Council is just composed of old men. The women Watchers just blend right in.

    To answer the question from Lorraine in comments about the last episode: The Cordelia moment I really like here is the second one where she immediately (and with apparent compassion) says “Of course” when Buffy asks for a ride. Part of the reason I like it is because I can’t see the season 1 or 2 Cordelia responding that way, but at this point in the show it feels in character. Cordelia has grown. (The other Cordelia moment is nice too, but I think could have been done by Cordelia at any point.)

    Lois & Clark! I liked that show when it aired but it has been a while since I’ve thought about it. Still remember some moments though. Like “When were you planning to tell me, when our babies started flying around the room?!” (Or something like that.) And the episode where Clark’s powers transferred to Lois and she went around doing his job and came back asking how did he manage to deal with all the need that was out there. Too bad the show kind of lost its way and got cancelled. It was pretty good for a while.

    Many years ago I was at a Sci Fi convention and attended a panel discussion about women in science fiction. During a time when the audience could make comments I mentioned that I didn’t notice much difference between female & male writers but one thing I did notice was that there seemed to be a lot more attention and detailed descriptions about clothes in the women’s work compared to the men’s. Which made the all women panel laugh. Since getting re-enthralled with Buffy recently and this time looking for discussions on the web, I’ve found several places on the web with compelling reviews and discussions. But mostly by men and, you know, they don’t pay near as much attention to the clothes either. (Sometimes, but not often.) I do enjoy your different perspective on things. It is refreshing.

    • JEL

      PS In your discussion of the opening scene with Giles you don’t mention that Buffy is somewhat suggestively playing with one of the crystals. Which I wouldn’t have noticed except it is brought up by the guy in the commentary on the DVD! (Kind of wish he hadn’t said anything about it. But now I share it with you.)

    • Cordelia has a tendency to dig her heels in when it won’t get anybody killed and then come through in the clinch.

      • That’s what I’m learning about her. I’ve loved Buffy and Willow from the start and disliked Xander from the start, but Cordy always lands somewhere in the middle for me. Moments like this really tend to get me because of that.

    • I loved that moment. The first Cordelia moment was typical, funny Cordy, but the offering help was fantastic, especially considering the strained relationship she’s had with the rest of the Scoobies since breaking up with Xander. It was such a small moment, but just really brilliant.

      I was obssessed with that show when it aired. I revisited it over a couple of days when I was sick and that’s when I realized I was in love with 90’s Dean Cain. I remember both of them! She goes on in that episode about all the cries for help he can’t answer, and it just makes you think. Oddly enough, I *think* the power transfer happens thanks to red kryptonite in that episode… It got even more campy as it went along, but I watched it until the bitter end.

      HA! I guess we fell right into that typical woman thing with all the clothes comments, but it just needs to be said. LOOK AT WILLOW’S TIGHTS.

      • JEL

        “but I watched it until the bitter end” – proving that you can commit after all. 🙂

        • It was the 90’s. I was young, innocent and full of good feelings but not nearly as many feels. 😉

  • I really enjoyed this one too. I think she is way more of a BAMF than she realized, until it came time to suck it up and help her mom. Also, I think this episode put into perspective how awesome the Scoobies are. Every day they face these same demon-y things with no Slayer powers, and sure, they don’t always fare well, but they help and they are brave, and they keep trying. That is so excellent in light of how helpless Buffy felt.

    As I mentioned, though, I think it came more from the sudden loss of powers than anything else. It’s one thing to be weak all your life, but to know strength and to have it taken away? It’s a different ball game. I commented a bit in a comment above about her forgiving Giles. I’m okay with it. I would’ve been a little more pissed, but in the scope of this story, I was okay with in.

    I LOVE THINK GEEK. I only view when I have extra cash because I want all of the things. I’m currently debating how many Dr. Who related items I can put on my desk before my boss tells me to calm it down.

    A JAYNE HAT. I love you. Can I be your son?

    • wlreed

      I don’t think you can be my son. I’ll have to settle for being your extremely cool out of state aunt who sends you awesome presents your parents would never know you want.

  • The WC is not a good institution. At least this time, he wasn’t a faux. I don’t understand why you would put a layer through all that stuff anyway on the rare occasion that she even turns 18. What did that test show? Aside from Giles being too attached to B which I find endearing. Ugh, stupid WC.

    At least the new Watcher is kind of fun. On a side note. I watched the upcoming episode by chance last year when I was in Toronto and had Kirsti tell me from my horrible 140 character description via Twitter which episode it was and what it was called. At least I think it was this episode?! Either way, Kirsti has mad skills!

    • She’s a talented one, that Kirsti. We keep her around to make us look better. 🙂

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