Previously: The end of the world almost happened but that didn’t matter much. Xander found some inner peace and had sex with Faith and that’s what we were supposed to care about.
Lorraine: Faith and Buffy both land on their backs as they struggle with vampires. Faith: So what, you’re telling me never? Buffy says that mid-slay really isn’t the time to be chatting. Faith doesn’t drop it. I won’t even pretend that I didn’t immediately know she was talking about sex with Xander. That’s a storyline I won’t easily be forgetting.
Sweeney: None of us will, sadly.
K: Nope. Not even a little bit ever.
Lor: Buffy says she’s never done it with Xander just as she stakes her vampire. Faith stakes her own vamp and then says that with all the side-by-side sweating Xander and Buffy do, she finds it hard they “never put in for a little after-hours uunhh.” She says this all while writhing.
K: Please. For the love of God, stop.
Lor: Buffy says after-hours uunhh tends to ruin friendships. Faith is characteristically glib and says that Buffy thinks too much. That Buffy, with all her thinking, notices that there is still a vampire on the loose.
She tries to give a count of three, but Faith jumps right into the fight solo. The vampire gets the upper hand, throwing Faith and then unsheathing two swords. Buffy joins the fight, manages to rid him of the swords, but then he pins her. Thankfully, he just stands there and growls for a solid four seconds, giving Faith time to stake him.
Faith is all, “HIGH FIVE! You distracted him!” but Buffy is less excited about distracting him with her life. Faith says it’s hard to plan slaying. Buffy: “The count of three” ain’t a plan. It’s Sesame Street!
From her response, we can deduce that this is Faith’s version of Sesame Street:
Sweeney: That’s definitely Faith’s version. And a great one at that.
Lor: Faith wants to know who those vampires were. Buffy thinks they should grab the discarded swords to bring back to Giles for identification. Alas, the swords have disappeared.
Cut to the Mayor’s office, where Mr. Trick has the swords. It takes the Mayor a moment to pay attention, because he’s giggling over a comic strip. He says he hasn’t seen anything like the swords in long time and then asks Trick if he likes Family Circus. Trick’s more of a Marmaduke fan. The nervous assistant man says that he’s a Cathy fan and he gets awkward silence and judgey stares in return so he quickly changes the subject back to the swords.
The Mayor says he has a “dedication” coming up and would hate for it to be disturbed. Nervous Assistant tentatively suggests postponing. The Mayor stands up in a way that says, “I’m going to kill you” but just crosses the room to grab a moist towelette. I’ll say it again: that is why the Mayor is creepy. He could either be on his way to kill you or to sanitize.
Sweeney: And by “that is why the Mayor is creepy” we mean “that is why the Mayor is a totally fantastic villain.”
K: Cosigned. I’m also going to point out that against both appearances and all odds, Nervous Assistant is actually the deputy mayor of Sunnydale. He’s about twelve.
Lor: He’s still pretty nervous, though, and he assists, so yeah.
Anyways, there will be no dedication postponing.
The Mayor tells Trick to watch out for the Sword Wielding Vampires and to hint drop any nefarious activity to the Slayers. If those two groups end up killing each other, it’s all the better for the Mayor. Credits.
Sunnydale High School. Xander is checking out Willow’s impressive stack of early admission letters. She’s excited about the possibilities, but the scene is uncomfortable due to Xander’s string of college rejection letter jokes. I don’t like it one bit.
K: I concur. Although I *DO* agree with Xander that he has a potential future in motel management, if for no other reason than motel managers are always weird and a little bit skeevy, and he’s both.
Lor: I wince for all our Xander fans. Kirsti said it you guys!
Things get worse when Cordelia struts over to bleed some more of her character development and make “Xander is poor” jokes. After she’s gone, Buffy notes that before she can think about life after high school, she must pass an upcoming chemistry test. Willow offers to study with her and says chemistry is a lot like witchcraft.
Sweeney: I REALLY WISH MY SISTER WERE STILL WATCHING WITH ME. She would love this moment. A+ FOR GIRLS WHO ARE GOOD AT SCIENCE! Granted, Willow is good at everything so it’s not quite full girls + science brownie points.
Lor: Almost, though! As an ex-sort-of-chemistry-major who sometimes misses long days in the lab, I can’t vouch for the witchcraft, but I can say that baking often gives me lab flashbacks. But, you know, tastier.
K: Yay science but BOO TO BUFFY’S WEIRD HAIR FLOWER AND LACK (once again) OF A BRA.
Lor: The flower is super distracting.
Buffy heads off to the library and Willow warns her that Giles is in a mood.
We see why immediately: a new Watcher. A NEW WATCHER.
New Watcher is going on about how things now-a-days are more about “field work” and not at all about theory and book work. In one moment, New Watcher confirms just how out of touch the Watcher’s Council truly is.
New Watcher: “I have, in fact, faced two vampires myself. Under controlled circumstances, of course.”
Giles: “Well, no danger of finding those here.”
New Watcher: “Vampires?”
Giles: “Controlled circumstances.”
K: I like to imagine that Ripper is just sitting there listening to him talk and secretly plotting ways in which to kill him.
Lor: Buffy enters the library. New Watcher approaches Buffy and she asks, “new watcher?” I squee because THAT’S WHAT I SAID. And I mean, sure, it is what he is, but still. LET ME FANGIRL.
Sweeney: I’m totally proud of you.
Lor: Thank you! I’m so good at TV!
His name is Wesley, by the way.
Wesley extends his hand and Buffy is all, “NOPE.” about shaking it. Instead, she goes and stands next to Giles. Without taking her eyes off Wesley, she asks if he is evil. Valid question, if you remember Gwendolyn Post. Wesley assures he isn’t evil, and as he leans in to tell Buffy that “a good slayer is a cautious slayer,” I am in love with how both Buffy and Giles lean slightly away from him.
Buffy regards Wesley for a second and turns back to Giles. “Is he evil?” Probably not the way we’re used to around here.
Wesley gets down to business and asks Buffy for details about the previous night’s patrol. There were vampires and she killed them. After getting a little nod of encouragement from Giles, Buffy divulges one other detail: one was carrying a sword. Wesley quickly uses a book to identify the Sword Wielding Vampire as part of El Eliminati, a cult that was driven out of Sunnydale 100 years ago. The remaining Eliminati are looking for an amulet that belonged to their now-dead leader, Balthazar. Wesley sends Buffy after it and uses the word “fetch.”
Wesley: Are you not used to being given orders?
Buffy: Whenever Giles sends me on a mission he always says ‘please.’ And afterwards, I get a cookie!”
Buffy’s line is almost as good as the smirk it gets from Giles.
Sweeney: His reactions are the highlight of what is an all-around great scene.
Lor: Faith enters the Wiggins Library and regards Wesley with a slight tinge of disgust. “New watcher,” she asks and this time both Buffy and Giles (and Lorraine) confirm: new watcher. “Screw that,” Faith says and she leaves. “Why didn’t I just say that?” Buffy asks and now I must sidebar:
This has been a very interesting transition for Buffy. She’s never been the good girl, per se, but having Faith around has really highlighted how much she’s settled into her role as the Slayer. Faith is a great foil. Also, it helps that they put Buffy in pastel colors and Faith in way-too-dark lipstick.
Sweeney: I feel like they have definitely shifted Buffy’s wardrobe more in that direction on the whole since Faith arrived, but this scene in particular was pretty heavy with the good girl/bad girl wardrobe choices.
Also, I love these sidebars.
K: +1. Faith’s lipstick is completely ridiculous.
Lor: Good Girl Buffy goes after Bad Girl Faith. Giles and Wesley watch them go, and both pull out handkerchiefs to clean their glasses. When Giles notices this, he promptly decides he’d rather have dirty glasses and stops.
Outside, Faith says she doesn’t want to take orders from Wesley as he’ll take all the fun out of slaying. Buffy doesn’t think killing is fun, but Faith challenges that notion. “Tell me that if you don’t get in a good slaying, after a while, you just start itching for some vamp to show up so you can give him a good uunhh!” She’s writhing again, and Buffy and I both don’t like how Faith seems to use the same words for sex and killing.
Sweeney: Also this happens! Not with these words, but I get really excited when I see these reaction gifs back in context:
Lor: Faith insists that Buffy is doing Slaying wrong if she isn’t enjoying it. I think she is comfortable with slaying and I think Buffy has settled into slaying. It’s different. Probably. There’s a lot of episode to go.
Faith leaves and says Buffy can go fetch the amulet alone.
That night, Buffy goes to the crypt where this amulet is supposed to be. She finds it quickly but hears someone approaching and has to hide in a crypt. That reminds me of Welcome to the Hellmouth and it seems so long ago!
K: Awww. Back in the days when we were young and foolish enough to think that we’d cover three episodes each post. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
Lor: I FORGOT ABOUT THAT PLAN. We were so cute.
Anyflashback, El Eliminati enter and grab the amulet they want. After they are gone, Buffy emerges from her hiding spot only to be startled by Faith, who came after all. They take after the Eliminati and watch as they jump into a manhole. Buffy wants to stop, wait and think, but Faith isn’t a fan of any of those things. She wants to jump into the dangerous situation because killing vampires gives her an #awkwardboner.
She says if Buffy doesn’t come after her, she may die. Between having sex with Xander and this episode, Faith is walking the thin line that separates my fickle emotions for characters.
Sweeney: I have a love/hate relationship with Faith too. We’ve gotten much of the love. Sadly, this episode is sort of the turning point on that for this season.
K: I blame Xander. I don’t know why. I just do.
Lor: Kirsti said it!
Wiggins Library. Wesley goes over Giles’ Watcher Diaries, in which he had some critical things to say about Buffy. Giles is pacing as he’s worried about our slayer, but Wes isn’t sweating it.
Cut to Buffy and Faith fighting, surrounded and outnumbered. As per usual, Buffy outlasts Faith just a little longer in the fight, but then she’s grabbed by a vampire. He pushes her under some nearby water. She struggles for a bit but then goes limp. The vampire grins a self-congratulatory grin, but Buffy’s a faker. She emerges from the water, sword in hand. “I hate it when they drown me,” she BAMFs, and that is also a nice callback to season 1.
Sweeney: Buffy Summers is my hero.
K: At least she’s more practically dressed this time.
Lor: Buffy takes back the amulet. “Tell me you don’t get off on this,” Faith says. “It didn’t suck,” Buffy replies.
Wiggins Library. Wesley examines the amulet while Buffy calls him out on his misinformation. He said the Eliminati were almost extinct, which not so much. Giles makes sure Buffy’s okay, and she appreciates his concern. Wesley, on the other hand, gags up some platitude about the three key Slayer words: preparation, preparation, preparation.
Buffy: That’s one word, three times.
I love her.
K: SO MUCH.
Lor: The bell rings and Buffy’s off to take her chem test. She tells Giles they’ll talk, but Wesley stops her. He’s her Watcher now and she should only be talking to Mr. Giles about over-due book fees. Buffy turns back to Giles. “We’ll talk,” she says again. “Of course,” Giles replies and she leaves. Wesley says Giles isn’t helping and he agrees that he isn’t. “I feel just sick about it,” he deadpans.
Sweeney: HOW DO I GET A GILES?
K: Giles is my librarian inspiration for my future. Except hopefully with less tweed. And demons…
Sweeney: Great. Let me know when you have your librarian gig and I can move to Australia to slay bad books. Or something like that.
Lor: I’m in!
Chem class (they had chem already in S1 right?). Buffy is going on to Willow and Xander about how she let go and stopped caring. I thought maybe something Hellmouth-y happened to Buffy, making her lose her inhibitions. I’m not sure what about almost drowning made her decide she should care less, but there you have it. Buffy is still chatting after their test starts and she notices Xander gets twitchy when she mentions Faith.
Speak of the devil, she shows up and opens the classroom window and yells in. Apparently, the teacher doesn’t mind.
Faith breathes on the window pane and draws a heart with a stake running through it. Either that or she hearts Buffy and wants to be BFFs.
Willow tells Buffy she can’t, but this is Buffy’s honey badger episode, so she don’t care and she leaves. Outside, Faith explains that she’s found a nest of vampires. We see the Slayers bust in on the nest, the sunlight igniting one of the sleeping vamps.
Cut to the Bronze with loud music, strobe lights and Bad Girl Dancing.
K: I find this scene hilarious, because this is what I expect when I hear “club,” but 99.9% of the time, the Bronze is more mopey emo song stylings and candles. This is literally the only time it meets with what I’d expect.
Lor: The Bronze conveniently caters to Buffy’s moods.
Angel walks in, Buffy spots him, runs over and hops onto him. I wonder if she did that to a non-Doubly Undead Boyfriend if she would just knock him out. ‘Cause of being strong and all.
Angel lets a little bit of jealous shine through, but Buffy assures him that she likes him. That settled, he leads Buffy to a nearby couch to talk business, namely Balthazar. Buffy snuggles up to Angel a little during this decidedly unsexy conversation, and I giggle when he gets up and moves to the opposite couch. See, Balthazar isn’t dead. He’s holed up in a warehouse while his minions search for the amulet.
Enter Wesley. He sits down next to Buffy and starts chastising her for not being in chastising distance at all times (or something). Angel brings up the amulet, and taken aback that someone knows their super speshul slayer secrets, says in it’s in a safe place. Buffy reaches into his jacket pocket and grabs the amulet. She tosses it to Angel who now chastises Wesley for carrying such a thing around. Buffy agrees to look into Balthazar (but he’s dead! says Wesley, because you see, he’s useless). Angel gives her a kiss and leaves.
It should be said that my favorite Buffy/Angel moments seem to be when they are being useful together. I clearly remember the first moment I felt swoon-y over him was when he vamped out in defense of Buffy back in season 1. So maybe I just like them as a crime fighting duo?
Sweeney: These are the moments I like too. You know, without this annoying curse dynamic that ruins all the fun.
K: Even Team Heartless Cow likes this scene, but mostly because it makes Wesley look like an incompetent twat.
Lor: We cut to a Baddie Factory. I don’t know if it’s THE Baddie Factory, but let’s just assume there are lots of factories to choose from in Sunnydale. Like graveyards. There is a really gross pile of blubber who we understand to be Balthazar sitting in a vat being constantly hydrated. He yells at his minions for losing the amulet. This blubbery demon reminds me of something and I can’t quite put my finger on it. Anyone? I kind of feel like maybe it’s from Doctor Who.
K: He reminds me of two things from Doctor Who: 1. Cassandra, the last human, who’s literally just skin with a face and spends her time yelling “MOISTURISE ME!!” 2. The Abzorbaloff, who touches people and absorbs them into himself. And who, I should add, was designed by a nine year old. This demon is kind of the love child of the two.
Lor: Abzorbaloff! THAT’S IT. The only other thing I could imagine he reminded me of was Fat Bastard. Today we learned:
MOVING ON: Blubbery Balthazar shows us that he has a some sort of crazy telekinesis power, which I guess is why none of these stupid vampires try running away. Point: he wants the amulet.
Outside, Buffy and Faith are spying. Buffy wants to go back to the library and gather weapons. Instead, Faith spots a sporting goods store across the street and breaks into it. Buffy is hesitant but Faith explains her Slayer philosophy: Want. Take. Have.
Buffy repeats this little criminal mantra and liberates a knife from a glass display case. Of course, that’s the cue for police to show up. Buffy puts her weapon down but Faith sasses and flirts her weapons down. It’s a thing that I’m sure only Faith could manage.
In the back of the cop car, Faith reasons that they can’t exactly save the world while being taken to jail. She slinks down in the seat and waits for Buffy to do the same. They kick the grill in front of them, causing the cop to crash. The girls exit the car and manage their cuffs off. Buffy hesitates as she sees the knocked out cops. She wants to call the ambulance but Faith talks her out of that too, and off they go.
The next morning, Buffy is frantically going through the paper, presumably looking for news of her criminal activities. Joyce comes down to chat about waffles and how she’ll only make them if Buffy wants some. Buffy has lost the desire to eat now that she’s basically a fugitive.
K: I must admit that the first time I saw this episode, I adopted Joyce’s “the waffles only don’t have calories if I make them for you” logic, and turned it into “baked goods have no calories if I share them with others.” It’s working out pretty great.
Lor: Mayor’s office. The Mayor opens his cabinet of Occult Things and Moist Towelettes. An Eliminati is hiding inside and attacks him. Mr. Trick promptly knocks the vamp out. Mayor: “Thank you, Mr. Trick. That was very thoughtful of you.” No, Mayor. It was very thoughtful of you to say so.
Summer’s house. Willow presents Buffy with a lavender scented protection spell. Willow wants to know what the plan is for the night but Buffy would rather Willow sit this one out. Gee, The Zeppo. See how easy that was to do without 10 pounds of contrivance? Sorry. I’ll get over it eventually. Faith arrives and the Slayers soon leave together. Willow regards her protection spell and mutters, “stupid.” My heart breaks for her.
Sweeney: The Xander fans will hate us for this, but yeah, +1. I want to hug her.
K: Right there with you.
Lor: I get the feeling that B wanted Willow to sit out less for the bad guys and more for the Bad Girl.
Sweeney: Again, +1.
Lor: Case in point, Faith went back to the sporting goods store and stole the long bow anyways. Faith is excited to use it, and what do you know, here comes an acrobatic vampire to test it on. Seriously, he flips into the scene out of nowhere.
Wiggins Library. Wesley is being a prick about Giles being too involved with Buffy and says his methods suck. Giles: If you want to criticize my methods, fine. But you can keep your snide remarks to yourself. And while you’re at it don’t criticize my methods. Let ‘em know Ripper. Wesley goes on about how it’s time for someone else to take the field. Giles says that this is a good time then, and when Wesley turns, we see a group of Eliminati just standing outside Giles’s office. I like that they set that up. “You stand there. Not there! You’re blocking my face. Good. Now, look menacing and wait until they turn around. Any second now. Wait for it…”
Sweeney: I do love villains that have a proper appreciation for the theatrics.
K: It’s just so thoughtful of them!
Lor: Back in the alley, Buffy and Faith fight off vampires after Faith discards the bow she went through all that trouble to steal. They dust a couple of vampires, walk a little further into the alley and another vampire jumps in. They dust him. A few more steps and out of the shadows, someone reaches out for Buffy. Buffy throws him up against a dumpster and we see him go down, with a pause on his face so that we see that it’s Nervous Assistant (K: /Deputy Mayor). There is another pause and cut to Buffy as she screams, “Faith, no!” But either it’s too late, or Faith isn’t in the habit of stopping just because someone asked her to. She stakes Nervous Assistant.
Buffy pushes Faith out of the way and tries to think of something to do. Faith is clearly shaken too. She didn’t know, she says. She looks around lost, all bravdo and attitude gone for just a second. Buffy continues to try to help. It’s no use, however, and Nervous Assistant, whose character’s name is really Allan, dies.
Faith pulls Buffy up, saying they have to go. Buffy doesn’t seem to want to follow Faith at this moment and they split up.
Angel finds Buffy. I think he smells it on her because he pulls her hand and sees it covered in Allan’s blood. She says she’s okay. He accepts that and says he’s been looking for her because the Eliminati have Giles. They also have Wesley, but LOL. Angel don’t care.
Sweeney: Lots of honey badgers around here today, it seems.
K: Solely because I feel like we need an ACTUAL honey badger around here:
Faith is now back at Allan’s dead body. She regards it warily and sort of pokes the wound. Most things she’s killed before evaporate soon after. I don’t think she’s used to looking at dead things. Like, real dead, not undead dead.
Sweeney: Possibly, though I think it’s more the knowledge that it’s a real dead, not undead dead thing that she personally took from living to real dead. From what we know of Faith’s backstory, it’s not like she’s never seen people killed before. It’s just that this is the first time she’s done the killing of a not undead being.
Lor: Baddie Factory and Blubbery Balthazar. The best part of Wesley so far is that he’s brought out snarky Giles, which is a Giles I love. (K: +1) Wesley’s all, “stay calm, ” and Giles says, “Thank god you’re here. I was planning to panic.” Blubbery B makes it real clear that they are going to die no matter what. Wesley is still willing to give up information, including the fact that someone else has the amulet. Blubbery B demands to know the name of the person who has it, and on cue, Angel strides in. “His name is Angel.” It’s no, “I’m Buffy, the vampire slayer, and you are?” but not a bad moment for Angel over all.
Sweeney: I’m curious at what point Whedon decided to give Angel his own series. It seems like someone finally got the memo that if they’re going to get him through the rest of the season, he has to have more shit to do than pine for Buffy. Regardless, I’m obviously super happy about all of this.
Lor: Group fight scene. We focus on Giles for a bit. He manages to head butt a vampire, get Wesley untied, and then sword fight with another vampire. My crush on Giles is spinning out of control, you guys.
K: He really is the bestest.
Lor: We get more shots of both Buffy and Angel fighting, and these Eliminati even getting their asses kicked acrobatically. The Blubber Demon uses his freaky telekinesis on Angel. Buffy sees this and releases one of the over head lamps, which lands in his vat and electrocutes him dead. Except, JAYKAY! He isn’t dead. He wakes up to say, “Slayer! You think you’ve won. When he rises you’ll wish I’d killed you all.” Then he dies. For real. I think.
The Mayor is chanting some Latin while kneeling in a pentagram drawn on the ground. The ground shakes as he finishes. The Mayor briefly wonders about Allan and then decides to test if his chanting worked. They release their previously captured Eliminati who comes over and slices the Mayor’s head in half. It’s totally cool though because IT JUST COMES BACK TOGETHER.
Sweeney: LOLFOREVER. I love the BtVS special effects team.
K: Oh, 1990s. How I don’t miss you.
Lor: The Mayor pulls out his to-do list that has things like, “call temp agency,” and “haircut.” He checks off “become invincible.” (S: AWESOME.) He tells Mr. Trick that this commences the 100 days and that nothing can harm him until the ascension. Then he giggles.
Motel of Misery. Faith is hand washing one of her tank tops. Buffy is at the door wearing a powder blue, calf length dress with matching calf length jacket.
Sweeney: Wardrobe to signify her return to Good Girl status. Good Girls wear powder colors.
K: This is about the point where I tell you guys that as a 2 year old, I had a hot pink sweatshirt that said “GOOD GIRL” across the front in big white letters. Yeah. That’s a thing that happened. And I have the photos to prove it.
Lor: I think your mom was trying for brainwashing.
Buffy wants to talk about the death of Allan but Faith shuts her down. B says that there is a difference between being a killer and a slayer. She wants to help Faith, because eventually, someone will find the body. Faith says this is the last time they’ll talk about it. She dumped the body and claims that that’s the end of it.
Buffy: Faith, you don’t get it. You killed a man.
Faith: No, you don’t get it. I don’t care.
Of course, that isn’t true at all. She does care, but she’s choosing not to. That’s worse, I think, and it does not bode well for our Slayer relations moving forward.
Next time on Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Someone didn’t do that good of a job disposing of the body. Find out if Faith gets caught in BtVS S03 E15 – Consequences.