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Buffy the Vampire Slayer S03 E19 – What’s in the fucking box?

, and on February 28, 2013 · 54 comments in Buffy the Vampire Slayer,Season 3

Previously: Buffy got demon cooties and almost went crazy and Jonathan, the context-less wonder, acquired some context.

Choices

Sweeney: In the mayor’s office, we’re having another creepy daddy/daughter exchange, because he bought Faith a present and also baked her cookies. Her present is a really murdery looking knife, and Faith’s OMG YES I LOVE MURDER face is “his reward” for giving it to her. Also, a package is arriving tomorrow that is totes required for the Ascension.

In the cemetery, Buffy and Angel are fighting vamps together. After, Buffy complains that they are in a rut and never do anything new and I know Team Heartless Cow is thinking, “YEAH. WE KNOW,” and I’m like, “Fuck you,” but also, didn’t she just say that they could be no more like two episodes ago?

K: a) You’re right about what Team Heartless Cow is saying, and b) SERIOUSLY. Shit or get off the pot, Buff. You can’t have it both ways. 

Lor: I was legit confused when I started this episode and thought maybe I clicked out of order. “Hmm, didn’t she break up with him two episodes ago?” Yes, yes she did. But I guess that one time he got a demon’s heart for her set things right. I forgot that.

Sweeney: I did the same thing. I clicked back to my watchlist to double check.

Regardless, I love this scene anyway. Angel jokes about all the fun new demony encounters they get to have! Buffy starts to complain about their future when she’s fifty and he’s… still-the-same-age-he-is-now. I’m not sure that’s quite how age works, but I get her point. More demony noises, and Angel suggests they work on getting her to fifty. Roll credits.

Joyce is upset that Buffy didn’t tell her something and Buffy assumes it was stealing her earrings. Meanwhile, I am surprised that Buffy was able to come to such a quick conclusion on narrowing this down among the many things she doesn’t tell her mother. The actual thing is that she got into Northwestern and Joyce is super proud.

K: I like that Joyce emphasises the word “university” for those of us from Not America. It’s very thoughtful. 

Sweeney: I know she got that 1430, but that would be in the lower end of their average even in 1999, her grades are crap, and she can’t possibly have swung a letter of recommendation from anyone other than Giles, as prior evidence suggests. So no. Just no. She didn’t. That’s a lie.

K: I would say “Slaying scholarship”, but Joyce thoughtfully points out that it’s crazy expensive, which would indicate NOPE.

Lor: I’m not with you here, especially on the 1430. I had to look it up, not to be an asshole, but because we’ve been doling out 1430′s around her like woah, and I’d hate to think each time we were saying, “wow! That joke was the lower end of average.” Remember that a perfect score then was a 1600. The average score in the US in 1999 was 1019. Buffy did way above average.

Sweeney: Right — I should clarify: I meant the lower end of Northwestern’s average. That was my bad (the word “their” was added retroactively). It’s a competitive school and I only meant that while her score was in their range (NU’s range is going to be WAY above the national average) it wasn’t high enough to compensate for all the other areas where she is not competitive. Namely, her terrible attendance, mediocre grades, and lack of extra-curricular activities that she could put on an application.

ANY-really-long-tangent-WAY, Joyce gushes about how proud she is and Buffy gets real uncomfortable, presumably because of the very-far-away-ness of Evanston, IL. As Buffy leaves for school, Joyce tells her to make sure she puts the earrings back and then calls to tell some friend that she’ll never believe where Buffy got into school. No, Joyce, I don’t.

At school, Snyder is being Snyder to random students for no apparent reason. Buffy is telling Willow and Oz that far away places are not an option for her, what with Faith crossing over to the dark side. At least she got into UC Sunnydale!

Willow got into Oxford though and Buffy is excited because “That’s where they  make Gileses!” LOVE.

Lor: SIGN ME UP FOR OXFORD.

Sweeney: Willow’s stoked about the idea of learning and eating scones, but she’s not sure about going to school in a foreign country.

Meanwhile, Xander is sitting by a tree reading On The Road and being ridiculous, so while I’ve pointed out Xander’s feels during these futurey conversations, he totes asked for Buffy’s dumpster comment (K: Agreed).

Lor: Because Oz is getting so few lines, I have to stop and add that Xander says, “Go ahead. Mock me.” and Oz replies, “I think she just did.” Indeed.

Sweeney: Well played, Oz.

Cordelia appears and they have more banter, only now she’s branching out to shitting on all of Willow’s schools and also telling Buffy that “This conversation is reserved for those who actually have a future.” WOAH THERE. Bitch mode activated.

bitchmode

K: The fact that Cordy says Oxford = 4 years of study just goes to show that she knows jack about how the rest of the world operates. THREE YEAR DEGREES FTW. But yeah. She’s clearly running for Uber-Bitch of the Decade. 

Sweeney: She disappears so that Willow can make with the consoling, because she’s an A+ friend. I mean, Cordelia’s comments about Willow getting into every amazing school ever had zero capacity to sting, while she hit Buffy right in her currently prominent feel zone. Still, Willow wins at being a friend. She also tells Xander that maybe he needs a better nature, a comment I am including because it is true.

In the library, Buffy has been inspired by Cordelia’s bitchiness to tell Wesley that she wants to go away to college. He’s totes against it. Giles appears and while he has a proud papa moment when she says she got into Northwestern, he reiterate the basic, “You know that’s not really an option,” thing. Buffy insists that they probably have tons of monsters in Illinois (Zombie voters, anyone? Political humor? No? K.) and if she stops Faith and prevents the Ascension, then all they have to do is hold off the run-of-the-mill monsters long enough for her to come home for every single school break.

K: I’m going to stop and LOL at the fact that Wesley makes a weird little hand symbol that’s like the Junior Watcher version of DFTBA only lame, and says that by the power given to him by the Watchers’ Council, NOPE NOT LEAVING SUNNYDALE EVER EVER EVER. Good luck with that plan, Wes. Also, Buffy looks like she’s wearing a nightie. 

Sweeney: I love you for that description of his weird hand symbol.

Wesley says that if circumstances were different, then maybe, to which Buffy insists that she’ll make them different. She’s sick of waiting for Mayor McSleaze, a nickname that I wish we’d come up with back when they first introduced that creepy daddy/daughter vibe; Buffy is going to take the fight to him. Mostly because this is episode 19 and we have to do some buildup to the finale now.

The first step is figuring out what exactly Mayor McSleaze and Faith are up to, so we segue magic to Sunnydale’s random airport, where a tiny plane is arriving to deliver a package!

K: I love that Sunnydale Airport is set up for both international flights AND dinky little twin props. 

Lor: And for any and all supernatural being transportation. Probably.

Sweeney: A creepy dude exits the plane with a box and meets a vampire who doesn’t have the package-carrying dude’s money, and so he’s pissed. An arrow shoots him through the chest and after he collapses we see Faith standing on a nearby roof with a bow.

K: Bows and arrows make me think of precisely one thing: 

Faith is in no way this much of a BAMF. Sorry, Faith. (Everyone else – you’re welcome for that gratuitous gif of Jeremy Renner’s arms)

Sweeney: Faith jumps down and the vampire is apparently mega stupid and confused. They can’t uncuff the guy from this box because they can’t find the keys, so Faith pulls out her creepy knife. The vamp points out that it won’t cut through steel, and Faith the mega creep responds, “No, but it’ll cut through bone.” Ew.

Lor: Even the vampire looks at her like, “DUDE. GROSS. WHAT THE FUCK?” That’s how you know it’s bad.

Sweeney: Buffy is doing some Angel-grade lurking in the shadows as Faith and the random minion vamp return to City Hall. (I’m just assuming. Is that where the mayor’s office is? Should I know this?) Faith delivers the box and Mayor McSleaze wonders where the courier is so he can pay him, but Faith “made him an offer he couldn’t survive,” which Mayor McSleaze thinks is highlarious. He’s totes impressed with her initiative and skill. Then his compliment becomes a you’re-better-than-Buffy thing and Faith is no longer happy because she’d just rather not think about her Buffy inferiority complex.

Faith starts to open the box, but Mayor McSleaze stops her before she can see. Segue magic to Buffy yanking the stupid minion vampire out of the car to ask him what’s in the box.

K: 

Sorry. Couldn’t resist. Again…

Sweeney: Segue magic again to the library where she’s answering Brad Pitt’s question: it’s the Box of Gavrok and it is filled with all sorts of creepy shit because, you know, duh.

Giles and Willow walk up with “maps and stuff,” and the team makes quick work of coming up with a strategy over the map as Wesley tries to interject while being unsurprisingly ignored. Wesley freaks out and tries to shut their operation down. What if they have supernatural safeguards? They all give him SRSLY? faces. Buffy’s all, “LOL, Willow, you’re on it, right?” And then they leave.

We start with Xander’s stuff-getting-guy mission. He sees Cordelia inside a store, looking at a dress. He decides to seize this opportunity to go in and torment Cordelia.

K: If nothing else, this scene speaks to his lack of brain power. 

Sweeney: He insists that she was being snide because she didn’t get into any good schools. Cordelia just happens to have her acceptance letters handy because of reasons. Sidebar on one of my great tv/film pet peeves: THEY ARE ALL IN STANDARD LETTER ENVELOPES. COLLEGE ACCEPTANCE LETTERS DO NOT COME IN STANDARD LETTER ENVELOPES. Envelope size is how you know a rejection (or wait list) letter before you open it.

K: Because Australia is super rock n roll, we do all our applications through a central government agency and list them in preference order, and they print the offers in the newspaper. But even *I* knew that skinny envelope = bad news. 

Sweeney: Anyway, Xander says that they must have seen a different side of her father’s money. He goes off to help the gang “save some lives,” and we get a tight shot of Brooding Cordelia, which is a Cordelia we have never seen before. Her brooding reverie ends when a bell rings in the store.

Lor: I was going to make a comment about how Willow’s “get a better nature” comment was a little unfair, seeing as how Cordelia is usually the one to start the bitch-fest. But. Xander HAD to walk into the store, right? He had to and he couldn’t walk away on his mission to save the world. Cordelia was this episode’s Jell-o.

It’s hard to say who “deserves” what between these two anymore. When they are being awful to each other, they both suck.

Sweeney: Our watchers drop off Buffy, Willow, and Angel, and it’s got this hilarious, “Dropping the kids off at a party!” feel to it. Wesley wants them to synchronize their watches which, obvs, they do not have. Giles tells them to be careful, like the good Parental Stand-In that he is.

K: GILES. HONEY. That is not a thermos. I used one of those for water when I was on an archaeological dig in the desert where it was 100 degrees F in the shade. It’s not even remotely insulated. Your tea’s already cold. 

Lor: …iced tea?

Sweeney: Oz and Xander are teamed up in the library and before the scene even starts, I’m kind of excited because I feel that I might kind of like Xander when paired with Oz, but I realize now that this is mostly because that’s just the kind of character Oz is, so whatever. Oz pulls out a diagram of what they’re supposed to be doing but it quickly becomes clear that it’s not actually a productive diagram at all.

Lor: But it has stick figures drawn by Willow! Okay, fine. Probably not productive.

Sweeney: Up on the roof, Angel opens the skylight and Willow dumps out some powder while she reads some Latin out loud from a book. The powder looks like magic special effects glitter as it falls over the box, which has a cool little invisible shield dome thing. This description is probably about the level of clarity that the special effects team was working with to make this happen.

K: Agreed. 1430, special effects team. It doesn’t look half bad! (Unlike 90% of the special effects this season…)

Sweeney: Anyway, the magic apparently worked because the powder all collapses, so the shield thing is gone.

Lor: I’m annoyed here when Buffy sends Willow away. It seems like such a silly thing to be all, “Okay! Run off into the dark with no protection and no slayer BFF with evil people afoot.” I can’t tell if I’m more annoyed because it’s WILLOW! or contrivance.

Sweeney: All of the above.

Angel lowers Buffy into the room with a harness-pulley thing that’s very Mission Impossible. As soon as B grabs the box, the alarm goes off. Unfortunately, at that same time, the pulley system locks up, so she stays stuck long enough for two vamps to come in.

Angel jumps down and they all fight. She gets down much sooner than I would have liked because that could have made for some cool stunt stuff.

They don’t manage to actually kill either of the vampires, because of reasons, but they do flip a table on them and run away with the box. They get them to chase a black van, but then we see the two of them team-lurking in the shadows.

Mayor McSleaze is seriously pissed with his minion vamps, what with them tearing up the building at tax payer expense and also losing his box. Faith enternounces that while the Scoobies have the box, they have something else: we see her holding a knife to Willow’s throat. AND DON’T YOU DARE HURT HER FAITH. YOU STOP THREATENING WILLOW RIGHT FREAKING NOW.

K: Agreed.

Sweeney: Back at Wiggins Library, Buffy starts to ask how they could let this happen, but corrects herself to be more diplomatic and rephrases, “How did this happen,” because of character growth. Angel apologizes for leaving Willow up there by herself, but, you know, if I had to choose between Buffy and Willow, I’d choose B too, except that hypothetical Willow death is already giving me loads of feels so let’s just stop this now.

Buffy promises Oz that she won’t let them hurt Willow, which is cute because Buffy is the most visibly rattled, and nobody doubts how much Buffy loves Willow. Xander says that they have to go back and that’s that. As they speculate about Willow death some more, Buffy realizes that Team Evil knows how valuable Willow is and won’t kill her as long as DRAMATIC PAUSE they have the box.

K: That DRAMATIC PAUSE was both super dramatic and hilariously over the top. 

Sweeney: Buffy suggests a trade, as it is the only way. Wesley is not having that because the box needs to be destroyed, and it’s a fascinating scene because the entire gang is all WILLOW and Wesley is all, “HEY, SAVING THE WORLD!”

Lor: I totally get Wesley’s point. I even understand his feels as exemplified by the earlier scene when he was being ignored. My beef with him mostly come in his method. He isn’t winning any friends, and if he wants say and pull within this group, he isn’t doing it the smart way. Namely, no one is going to like you, Wesley, if you suggest letting Willow die.

Sweeney: This whole scene is good in that way. He absolutely does have a point, but, as usual, his tactics are all sorts of wrong.

Giles is hesitant to say anything either way, so bickering ensues. Everyone is shouting except Oz, who says nothing during this entire scene. He merely gets up, during the bickering, and smashes a pot that was probably super old and magical.

K: It was the pot that they needed to use to destroy the box. So basically, Oz decided the argument for them. SUCK ON THAT, WESLEY. 

Sweeney: OH. Got it. I should have been paying closer attention. Anyway, the crashing noise shuts everyone up and Buffy instructs Giles to call the mayor.

Back in captivity, Willow is searching her windowless room for crap that she can use to get free. A vampire appears and goes in for “a little taste,” but fortunately one of the things she did find was a pencil that she levitates from the drawer and into the vamps back for a pretty fantastic staking.

Elsewhere in the building, Faith is telling Mayor McSleaze that they won’t be stupid enough to come back tonight. The mayor responds by talking about his dog who was loyal beyond the point of self-preservation. Buffy, he says, is the same. Which, you know, true.

Willow makes her way into the mayor’s office and breaks into his creepy cabinet of creepy magic. She pokes around and happens to find the hiding spot for the Books of Ascension. We montage between shots of her going through the books with them sprawled out all over the floor.

K: I like to think that in the same situation, I’d have taken the books, run away, and looked at them later. But I’m pretty sure the lure of old books overpowers self preservation, so…yeah. I’d be sitting on the floor surrounded by books too. 

Lor: I love books, but fuck that. I’m running and I’ll read later.

Sweeney: YUP! RUN FIRST. READ LATER.

And then! Faith shows up and says that if she were smart she would have tried to escape (which, you know, true) but she had to keep “Nancy Drewing” (we like to call that “detecting the shit out of things”). Faith says that now she knows too much and that leads to killing. When Willow starts to speak, she tells her to go ahead and give the speech again, about how it’s not too late.

“It’s way too late,” Willow responds. She goes on to give a speech that mirrors a lot of the discussion we’ve been having recently about Faith. Faith had a lot of bad breaks, but she also had things in her life, including a friend like Buffy (which I love less because of what a great point it is and more because of how Willow says it, with all of her best-friend-adoration). Now, however, she is nothing. “You’re just a big selfish, worthless waste.

K: Willow Rosenberg: BAMF. 

Sweeney: That causes Faith to deck Willow, because if Willow hurts Faith, Faith will hurt her. Willow tells Faith that she’s not afraid of her, so Faith breaks out the creepy knife. Mayor McSleaze returns in time to break up the fight because he just received “a heck of an interesting phone call.”

The gang is holed up in the cafeteria because of the moonlight providing window and, “One way out means one way in.” (But what about that window?) The lights go out. Xander guesses they’re shy. The mayor and his posse arrive with Willow.

They exchange some banter and I realize that the mayor and Buffy have never actually met, which is weird. Going back a few posts, the way in which elements of this arc are revealed differently to the audience and Buffy is really interesting.

K: Huh. You know, that had never actually occurred to me!! All their interactions took place through Mr. Trick or through Faith. Nifty.

Sweeney: Mayor McSleaze says that Buffy is pretty but a little skinny, and he can’t see why things didn’t work out between Angel and Faith. Angel likes them sane, he says. (Uhh, Dru? K: That was Angelus. S: Fair.) Faith tightens her grip on Willow and Oz has the most tragic puppy angry-petrified look ever. The mayor uses this opportunity to rehash the whole Buffy/Angel-can’t-work thing because Whedon thinks it’s hilarious to annoy everyone (K: Team Heartless Cow says “by ‘annoy everyone’, you mean ‘state the bleeding obvious’, yes?”). The takeaway from this conversation is that Angel is holding Buffy back and, “Is that what [he] came back from hell for? Is that [his] greater purpose?” In other words, spinoff justification!

The other important thing that happens here is a bit more subtle: the mayor starts talking about how he got married in aught-three and was faithful until the very end, when she was old and crazy.

Lor: Funny story: he’s old and crazy. They were the same, he just doesn’t LOOK old. He looks crazy though so there is that.

Sweeney: Pointless banter over, they make their trade. But then! Snyder shows up with police. Buffy tries to make him leave, but he’s not listening to that. He snatches the box, assuming it’s drugs, and Faith pulls her crazy murdering knife. Then the mayor appears from the shadows to try to diplomatically resolve the situation, but it’s too late because one of the cops is already opening the box.

K: The look on Snyder’s face when the Mayor appears is HILAR. A world of “Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh SHIT.” 

Sweeney: The mayor hears it happening and tells him to stop, but, again, too late. A crazy fucking spider comes out and MURDERS THE COP’S FACE OFF. (Lor, I love how often faces get literally murdered off! It seemed like such an outlandish phrase AND YET IT IS EVERYWHERE.)

Lor: “Murdered your face off” is actually one of those phrases (like chanting! chanting! chanting!) that came to the blog via my real life. Now that I’ve written that out it’s either the weirdest or best thing I’ve ever told you all about myself.

Sweeney: BEST.

They rally together to get rid of the spider. It attacks the mayor, because of the impending finale which makes it about the right time for the whole gang to see the mayor’s invincibility in action.

Buffy slams the box shut before too many more can get out. One falls off the ceiling and lands on her back. She flips over and crushes it pretty easily. Faith sees one behind Wesley and scares the shit out of him as she throws her crazy murder knife and kills it. As the mayor is gathering his box, Oz asks if that’s the last of them, and he answers that there are actually about fifty billion of them in there, because the box is, you know, magical.

K: Hermione had the same deal, only smaller and more stylish. Just saying, Mr. Mayor…

Lor: Um. The TARDIS: Best example of bigger on the inside.

Sweeney: He offers to let them put their hands in to see, and uses this to drive home the “invulnerable” thing. He tells Faith to go with him as he leaves. She glances back at the spider held to the wall by her murdery knife and hesitates due to the epic evil, but goes anyway.

Lor: She always goes. Also, that knife didn’t last long. This is why Faith can’t have nice things.

Buffy asks Snyder if he’s all right and he has his best moment all season:

Then he walks off to go deal with his PTSD.

Buffy yanks Faith’s crazy murder knife off the wall. Wesley is peeved, but B doesn’t give any shits because she saved her friend.

K: Wesley should just be thrilled that his crazy Slayer saved his pathetic little arse with her crazy murder knife.

Sweeney: The pair are sitting on the counter in the Wiggins Library as Willow talks about her ordeal with Faith. Giles cuts her off to get back to the Books of Ascension, because, you know, useful stuff. She tells him they were way overwritten and there were parts that were really involved and so she didn’t get a chance to read them very thoroughly. This is all just her teasing Giles before she pulls out the pages that she stole from the books and Giles gets SUPER GIDDY as he runs off with his new homework.

Buffy jokes that Willow should get captured more often because it was her night for suave. Wesley is being a buzzkill and jumps in to say that he hopes that there is something useful in those pages because the mayor has the box and they’re right back where they started.

The next day, Buffy and Willow chat at school about how Buffy is sure she is never getting out of Sunnydale. She kept thinking that if she stopped the mayor or found some way, she could get out, but she is realizing that she has no options. Willow then does more teasing by listening all of her many choices as a lead-in to telling Buffy that she’s going to UC Sunnydale too. THEN THE TACKLE HUG MOMENT!

buffywillowtacklehug

Lor: TACKLE HUG! Sweeney once gifted me this gif, and I wish I could remember in what post (almost certain Fifty Shades Darker) and why. It’s cool to see it in context.

Sweeney: But then Buffy says that she can’t let Willow do that. Willow’s response is one of my new favorite sentences, as there are so many characters we need to introduce it to: “Of the two people here, which is the boss of me?

K: I think I’m going to start using that line on my parents. Also, the tackle hug is the best. 

Lor: Best ever. Be prepared to see that often.

Sweeney: Buffy says that she can’t let Willow stay because of her. Willow says that this isn’t really about Buffy because being captured by Faith and doing all of that helped make things clear. B has been there fighting evil for three years and Willow has helped some; last night she realized that that is what she wants to be doing. She wants to fight evil and help people. She adds that she doesn’t think that Buffy does it because she has to either, revisiting a recurring theme, in which other people help remind Buffy of how much slayerdom is who she is, at her core, rather than just a fate that she endures.

This whole speech is filled with all of the amazing mythical-meets-real that this show does so brilliantly. Willow talking about figuring out what she wants to do, who she wants to be, is the sort of thing that I imagine many a high school senior appreciated hearing when this first aired. Her understanding of Buffy is just the icing on the cake of what was an awesome episode for their epic friendship.

K: A+.

Lor: Agreed. I think Buffy gets caught up in the stream of what others are doing. Everyone is talking about going away to college and she gets dazed by it. Having Willow here to sort of make things clear about her calling, her purpose and the good she does… I’m all warm and fuzzy.

Sweeney: All the fuzzies! Helping you sift through the noise around you is one of those essential best friend duties.

Oh, but we’re not done. They go off to get more sugar than their bodies can handle, because they’re adorable. Sometimes you look at things and it’s not what it seems, Buffy says. This segue magics us to Cordelia standing in front of the mirror holding up a pretty dress before an older lady comes in and tells her to go sweep up the storage room, so that we understand that Cordelia works there now.

Back in the cemetery, Buffy is telling Angel about all of her staying-in-Sunnydale plans as they sit on a picnic blanket, leaned against a tombstone (K: Mmmm, ROMANTIC). Buffy tries to say that she has no idea what the mayor is talking about, since the most lasting relationship he’s ever had was probably with evil. She insists that they’re going to be all right, but Angel is pretty checked out of this conversation. And so: roll credits.

 

Next time: It’s time for prom in Sunnydale, y’all! Something tells me it’s going to get hellmouthy. Find out how on Buffy the Vampire Slayer S03 E20 – The Prom

 

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  • Polge Clément

    I know it’s a rehash, but I actually do like the Mayor’s jab about Buffy and Angel relationship… It really just sums everything up to make it ready to move a little bit, AT LAST. And I actually do get the relationship, it must be hard when you know you have to stop things for reason, but neither of the two actually wants to stop… The problem is more that it’s just a lot of running around in circle, and not that interesting to watch.

    I’m so excited at the idea of you snarking season 4, I do love that season because it has some awesome moments, but it also have some huge fail which are really snark-worthy. And get ready for the end of season 3, because if that shield effect looked so neat, it’s because they spent every last cent on it. The next special effects will be OVER 9000!!!!!11

    The scene where Willow say she want to say is just awesome, it’s obvious she couldn’t go because we love her so much, but everytime I see that scene I start thinking “she’s just throwing her life away for friendship… It’s not a good thing, and it’s definitely not healthy”, but everytime she does win me, and I totally get her and why this is actually a great choice. She’s trying to be part of something bigger than herself, and I totally respect that. Season 4 is also the season where Willow look hotter than all of the ever.

    And I’m actually glad to be French, because northeastern and 1430 didn’t mean ANYTHING AT ALL for me, so I thought it just meant that buffy was sort of “good average” (like, I don’t know, 12/20 ?), and that northeastern was actually just one of the best school she could hope for. You’ve shattered my headcanon with actual facts, damn you all!

  • Jojo

    I think maybe Angel is finally getting the point – which indicates a totally flat learning curve! And I have to say that at 240 years old it’s really sad that he appears to be only now realizing that he will outlive a human – even Buffy.

    This is the first glimpse of the fact that Wesley has a BAMF in him struggling to get out – because everyone else is kinda willing to let the world go to hell, which is kinda counter productive because Willow – yeah she is part of the world. But Wesley is willing to make the hard decision. Of course, if the guy had any people skills it would help to get the point across. This trait comes to flower in another time and another place where that character trait is more throughly nurtured. Not to say he makes the right decision all the time – just that he is willing to make the hard decision.

    Yeah – now we see why Cordy was an uber-bitch early on – all Daddy’s money is gone and she has to get a job and her boss is a bitch and she has to hide all this from her school chums.- like the incredibly self absorbed and flaky Harmony who keeps trying to take her premier popular spot.

    Speaking of self absorbed, we have evil!badass Faith being even more evil!badass but I suspect this is the first time she has ever had cookies baked for her. So to hell with the world because warm from the oven chocolate chip cookies are so good. And a knife – because an armed Faith is a happy Faith. But no threatening Will because only drunk Spike is allowed to threaten Willow. And can I say +infinity on Willow’s slapdown of Faith!

    And, yes – season 4 is full of yummy and this is a Buffy rule = Spike brings a load of yummy wherever he goes. Not to say he’s coming back…okay, I’m saying it because there is no possible way that this is a spoiler. The great thing about Spike is he sees things – he has really terrific insight (You’ll never be friends) and he tends to lob his insights like grenades. The show just keeps getting better and better!

    • Polge Clément

      Angel is actually quite hard to date because, yeah, he’s 240, but a lot of that was actually Angelus, and another lot was just being a hobo living on the streets… Not much time to be his actual broody philosopher self.

      • Jojo

        Actually that’s not true at all, but the information comes in the spinoff. Would it be a spoiler to say more? I’ll be as vague as possible. He does speak of several events in his life that were definitely not hobo times.

        Hey, I’m a Spangel shipper so I love Angel! But the fact that he can be clueless is one of his charms. :D

        • Polge Clément

          Yeah I watched the spin-off, but to be honest I don’t remember all of it when it comes to Angel’s past, but I still seem to remember that spending all of his days brooding in a damp basement is sort of the high point ?

          But anyway, my point being that he’s not an Anne Rice character, the kind of immortal just watching time goes by comfortably sitting on his chair with his servants, and that a lot of his years as Angel were kind of “lost”.

          But I might be wrong, as I said, I mostly remember the hobo stuff, and the early days after reversing to Angel, and none of those strike me as a time where he was totally balanced or anything :)

          • Jojo

            Ur gnyxrq nobhg tbvat gb Ryivf’f jrqqvat naq unatvat bhg jvgu gur Oeng Cnpx. Ur nyfb unq gur jubyr Ulcrevba ubgry vapvqrag – juvpu juvyr vg jnf cerggl njshy vg jnf abg uvqvat va n pbeare rngvat engf. Ur qvq vagrenpg jvgu gur crbcyr – ng yrnfg hagvy gur uhat uvz. Ur nyfb jrag gb gur erfgnhenag jvgu Snvgu va uvf zrzbevrf – naq ur jnf qerffrq nccebcevngryl sbe gur gvzr (tnt!) Gurer jrer bgure guvatf ur fcbxr bs – rirag gung ur nggraqrq. V’z guvaxvat fbzrguvat unccrarq orsber gur 90′f gung guerj uvz onpx vagb gur nyyrl – eng zbqr.

            Zl cbvag jnf whfg gung ur unq gb ernyvmr uhzna qvr – Ohssl jbhyq tebj byq naq qvr. V guvax ur unq rabhtu yvsr rkcrevrapr jvgu gung.

            Got to rot13 to uncypher – not sure who knows it exists. :)

          • Polge Clément

            Lrnu ohg qhevat nyy guvf gvzr, ur qvqa’g ernyyl frggyr, abe qvq ur ernyyl pbaarpg jvgu nalbar. Ur fghpx nebhaq jvgu gur tnat n yvggyr nsgre orpbzvat Natry, ohg nsgre gung ur ernyyl whfg jrag guebhtu uvf (ha)yvsr jvgubhg ernyyl yvivat vg.

            V’z npghnyyl abg nethvat gung ur qvqa’g whfg yvir n ubob yvsr, V zbfgyl fnvq gung va zl svefg zrffntr gb nibvq fcbvyre, ohg zl cbvag jnf ernyyl gung ur qvqa’g ernyyl “yvir” nf zhpu nf oerrmrq guebhtu n ovt cneg bs uvf lrnef.

            Fb whfg gb or pyrne, V gbgnyyl nterr jvgu jung lbh fnvq, ohg V’z abg fher vs lbh qvfnterr jvgu zl fgngrzrag fnlvat gung vg’f uneq gb fnl ubj byq ur vf “cflpubybtvpnyyl” ?

            And for the record, I do love Angel… In his own show, not so much on Buffy :) And when it comes to shipping:

            V’z gbgnyyl pbaivaprq gung gur jrerjbys puvpx sebz F5 vf cresrpg sbe uvz, va gur pbzvpf fur nccrnef n ovg va “Nsgre Gur Snyy”, ohg V unira’g ernq nsgre gung (Natry pbzvpf sebz VQJ ner zvtugl rkcrafvir!), naq gur pnabavpvgl vf funql ng orfg naljnl. Xvaqn ubcvat fur’q nccrne va Natry & Snvgu gubhtu…

          • Jojo

            Yeah – I definitely agree with you there. In fact, I think we’re are just approaching the issue from opposite ends. It explains his adorable clueless moments. I do think Buffy taught him how to connect.

            Ernq guvf fbzrjurer naq ybirq vg – Ohssl shpxrq gur fbhy bhg bs Natry naq shpxrq bar vagb Fcvxr. Ohg – sbe guvf gb or gehr – Natry unq gb unir rkcrevraprq zber jvgu ure guna ur qvq va nyy gur lrnef bs gur phefr. Abg fher nobhg Fcvxr – juvyr ur qravrf orvat nalguvat yvxr Natry ur pyrneyl sbyybj gur cbapr nyy gur jnl gb gur fbhy genva!

  • 3hours

    Faith tightens her grip on Angel and Oz has the most tragic puppy angry-petrified look ever. – I don’t think Oz cares about Angel quite that much, yo ;)

    I believe the Mayor’s speech about Buffy and Angel’s relationship is a significant event. Why? Because Angel is clearly leaning towards the Mayor being right. Buffy is willing to fight for the relationship, Angel is not.

    Allow me to waffle on about Angel vs Spike for a while, because reasons.

    Disclaimer: I am only taking into account events that have already happened (and that we know of). In future episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel the Series we will see examples of what both Angel and Spike are willing to do, endure & overcome in the name of love, but those events have not happened yet. I am talking about up to this specific point in time, for the sake of an unspoiled Lor. End Disclaimer.

    Spike spent a hundred and twenty years loving and caring for an insane partner. He is shown to be completely devoted to her:
    * When she is sick he moves them across half the world in effort to cure her.
    * When the Slayer holds a stake to Dru’s heart, he drops everything and is prepared to do whatever Buffy wants to keep her from harming Dru.
    * When Angelus returns and takes Dru away from him (+ wants to end the world) he’s willing to go as far as to team up with his mortal enemy. His only demand? That he and Dru are allowed to get the fuck out of Dodge.
    * When Dru dumps him and cheats on him, he doesn’t give up, but – after a short break to clear his head of the massive hangover – sets off to do whatever it takes to win her back. (While his methods are kinda icky for us humans, vampires tend to view things like torture in a different light).

    Angel, on the other hand, acts very different. We know that as Angelus he had relationships with both Darla and Dru. As Angel, he kills Darla and seemed perfectly prepared to kill Dru, too, or at least watch while Buffy kills her. Granted, the soul/no soul makes a mess of things here, but even when he is temporarily Angelus he doesn’t seem to spend any time whatsoever dwelling on the fact that he killed Darla or mourn her, nor does he seem to care much about Dru beyond using her to rile up Spike. When they’re at the mall with the Judge for example, and they see Buffy aim her big fuck-off rocket launcher at them, they exchange a quick glance and jump aside. They even jump in different directions – Angel doesn’t pull Dru with him, he presumably figures she’ll save herself. When Dru suddenly has the hots for Xander due to spell-gone-wrong, they have this exchange:

    Drusilla: Just because I finally found a *real* man… (turns Xander to
    face her)
    Angelus: I guess I really *did* drive you crazy. (backs away)

    And then he leaves. He just walks away!

    In conclusion: Angel kind of sucks as a boyfriend? He doesn’t put much effort into maintaining a relationship, whereas Spike will walk through fire and water for his love.

    If it was Spike in Angels shoes with the Mayor going on about their relationship being doomed, the Mayor would get punched in the face. And then Spike would be reassuring Buffy afterward instead of the other way around. *sage nod*

    • Polge Clément

      Well, Angel and Angelus aren’t really the same persona, and yeah, indubitably Angelus is just an ass ready to roll over anyone just for a bit of fun.

      I think Angel really was into the relationship, but we tend to see things from Buffy perspective, and we should see things from his perspective too: he lived a shitty life for a looong time, trying to get over what he did as Angelus, he finally get his shit together, find himself a girl, and BAM, back to square one. Then he’s sent to hell for a hundred years give or take a few decades, and he comes back, knowing he’ll never be able to be happy, but still having the key to happiness right on his doorstep… Not really sure how I would handle it.

      Kinda agree with what you say on Spike though, even as a vampire he’s surprisingly awesome, in his very own way… But still, we have to admit he’s just doing all of that out of selfishness, not ouf of dedication to Dru. He just wants to be happy, to have someone, and she’s the only someone who actually make him happy. Should I remind that part of his plan to escape sunnydale involved knocking out Dru with a nice little punch ? :) So yeah, Spike would walk through fire and water to get his love, but he wouldn’t really care what she wants :)

      As for the mayor speech, haven’t seen the episode in a while, but I remember agreeing with him… Buffy is mostly in denial because she still wants to believe because of ALL OF HER FEELS, and it seems to me that Angel is actually starting to get it, and is rather looking for a way to break up with her fo’ real. Hence the non-reassuring and blank stare at the end of the episode.

      • 3hours

        I don’t separate Angel and Angelus as much as most people seem to – to me he is one person, albeit with a multiple personality disorder brought on by trauma. I don’t excuse all the shit he does as Angelus. Also, I don’t buy the whole unable-to-be-happy-ever. Because come on! Of course he can’t risk the moment of perfect happiness, but dude can safely be content and even dabble in reasonably-happy territory. I guess what rubs me the most about Angel is that he seems to want to be miserable.

        Anyway, I maintain that if Spike and Angel swapped roles, Spike wouldn’t let something like the happiness clause stand in his way. He’d be satisfied just to be with Buffy and would approach the relationship with a can-do attitude, where Angel mopes and glooms and thinks of all the negative stuff.

        Also, I don’t belong in the Spike-knocked-Dru-out camp, I’m firmly planted in the broke-her-neck camp. And on that note, see my previous comment about vampires seeing things like pain and physical harm differently than humans do. I don’t see it as a bad thing at all, whether he knocked her out or broke her neck. You could argue that Spike’s actions were selfish, but you can make the exact same argument about everyone else in the show, too. Like Buffy saving Angel from Spike at the church when he was curing Dru for example: Buffy wanted Angel in order to be happy, to have someone, and he’s the one that makes her happy. She didn’t care if it meant Dru’s death (granted, Dru was evil, but still). Or like Oz knocking over the urn in this episode, potentially sacrificing the entire world for the sake of saving Willow. Or like Xander trying to make Cordelia love him just so he can dump her. Or Willow words and actions when Buffy returned to Sunnydale after Anne. Or Jenny keeping the info on the re-curse spell to herself in order to win back favor with Giles & co if she could bring it to them ready-solved. Or Angel not telling the truth about vampires versus the humans they once were, so that Buffy won’t think less of him in Doppelgangland. And so many, many more. All selfish actions.

        I also disagree that Spike wouldn’t care what Dru wants, he spends a lot of time humoring her. Especially when she wants to destroy the world with the Judge – Spike explicitly says in Becoming that he does not want the world to end, but he humors Dru anyway – likely because he doesn’t think she’ll actually succeed what with being crazy. Note how in his speech to Buffy in Becoming he says that Angelus is the one that may actually be able to pull off the Acathla stunt – not Dru.

        Also, he puts up with all her creepy dolls. That is true love right there, man! (I bet she made him sit and have tea parties with the dolls and he let her. Totally headcanon. Could you imagine Angel or Angelus putting up with the same?)

        Plus, James says he consciously played Spike as caring for Dru despite not having a soul. Says it all right there, really.

        That said, I agree that the Mayor points out valid issues in his speech. I’m not saying Angel and Buffy shouldn’t be concerned (and probably ought to sit down and have a serious talk about their relationship, like, yesterday), I’m just annoyed by Angels determination to be miserable and not fight it, in comparison with Spike’s relentless optimism. Sure, Angel’s faced a lot of setbacks and keeps being smacked down every time he seems to get on top, but so does Spike, yaknow? He might not have been sent to Hell, but he was paralyzed for months while Angelus macked on his girlfriend in front of his face. That’s probably Spike’s very own personal Hell right there. Then, when he thinks he’s finally fixed everything and got rid of all his problems, Dru dumps him. And still he bounces back!

        • Polge Clément

          Well there is a big difference between the characters being selfish and Spike, for everyone it’s more a “once in a while” thing, but they’re generally trying to do the right thing, Spike isn’t as reckless as Angel in his selfishness, but it still seems to me that it’s the only force driving him. He does humor Dru, but in sort of a wicked way, he does not humor her to be nice to her, but because he want her to stay… He calls her pet, and that’s kind of the way he treats her.

          I do agree that if we switched Spike and Angel in this situation, Spike wouldn’t just let things go, but I’m not sure he would be right. He’s sort of a daredevil, a “fuck it all I’ll just do what makes me happy, and hope that the world doesn’t fall into hell”. For instance, if Dru had to go for some or some reasons, whatever good the reason, Spike wouldn’t let her go. Because he would only what he loses.

          There will be some character growth though, and at one point I’ll totally agree with everything you said :) But right now, I don’t really see it.

          Also, Spike having tea with Dru and her dolls headcanon ? Totally accepted.

        • anona

          I’ve got to give a big THIS to everything you said, 3hours! At this point, I see everything you’ve got in here emerging (again, Spike girl here!) and kudos on making these arguments work so early. IMHO, we only get more as the seasons go on, but the character seeds were totally there from the beginning no matter what changes in later plots. I <3 you!

      • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

        Breaking my non-interference policy on Angel/Spike related comments to say: THIS to basically everything you said. And I’m only saying “basically” to have an out later, because I actually mean all of what you said.

    • SnazzyO

      ***Runs around shouting SPANGEL FOREVER!!***

      Angel DID tell Dru to clear town (thus causing Buffy insecurity and Halloween hilarity). But yeah, he didn’t seem too sad to lose Darla. Angel is 1 part ass, 2 parts doofus, 1 part badass, and 3 parts guilt. Stir, add blood and let brood for 20 mins.

      Spike is Love’s Bitch and that makes me have a soft part in my heart forever for him. Angel, not so much Love’s Bitch but if you tell him that he’ll brood on it for a while.

      • Jojo

        Joins you in running around!!

    • http://profiles.google.com/justdisa Disa Marnesdottr

      This. Exactly this. Also, Angel completely ignored Buffy’s attempt to break up with him. The relationship was not over until HE said it was over. Grrrr…

  • savoringtheprocess

    Team Heartless Cow 4EVAHHHH!!!
    SorryNotSorry I only ship Willow and Oz. Their awesomeness as individuals and together knows no bounds (Willow’s acts of insanity aka crushing on/making out with Xander McLamey Stupidpants are beyond repulsive and I refuse to acknowledge them). Boyfriends should be witty and adorable and be in bands, not broody and lurk-y and… y’know… dead. Also, Buffy deserves someone she can have sex with without having to worry about her magic vajayjay turning them evil. I mean she saves the entire world on a weekly basis, so I really don’t think think that’s asking too much. I don’t want to live in a world where Anastasia Steele gets more crazy good sexy times than Buffy.

    Random sidenote: As for lesbian Willow, I ship her and Hermione Granger because of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqbjxxP8GyY

    • http://twitter.com/WillieSun Wilhelmina Upton

      Aaaahhhhhh the video!! Thank you, I now ship Willow/Hermione! Awesome!

  • geff

    Hahahaha. Yes, we can suspend our disbelief for monsters, demons, and ensouled vampires but Buffy getting into Northwestern? Preposterous!(I agree, by the way, I’m just teasing. That whole tangent was hilarious. It does bother me when TV shows and movies act like it’s so easy to get into
    colleges… grumble grumble no it’s not. At least on BtVS they discuss school and seem to study a lot)

    Many fabulous character moments in this episode. It does a great job of furthering the plot while demonstrating all the character growth that’s happened this season, especially for Willow*. And I love the moment where Oz smashes the pot. Did I mention I love the characters on this show? Oh, well in case you didn’t notice, I do.

    The Mayor’s comments regarding Buffy & Angel’s relationship felt really weird and out of place when I first saw it. I get more now that it’s his personality, but it’s still strange.

    Question – Was the whole rich-girl-loses-everything-due-to-tax-evasion not a cliché when this episode aired? Because I remember thinking “ughhhh, they’re doing this storyline?” at first. Then again, it does give Xander an opportunity to do something genuinely sweet for once.

    *Bit of a rambly rant with some spoilers ahead: Lovelovelovelove Buffy/Willow in this episode. As usual. Can their friendship stay like this forever, please? <3 And I really admired Willow for deciding that fighting evil was what she wanted to do with her life. Given all her experiences it felt genuine rather than just some way to keep the gang together post-high school. It's a shame that even though she'll continuously demonstrate that she in many ways understands Buffy, that she gets what it means to be the Slayer (well, as much as she can), fur raqf hc pbafhzrq ol gur vqrn bs cbjre. Na rira ovttre funzr gung gur zrgncube (vs lbh pna pnyy vg gung) gurl hfr va F6 sbe guvf qbrfa'g nqqerff gur snpg gung ure ceboyrz vf jvgu pbageby, cbjre, naq uhoevf. Gur frrqf sbe ure hfvat zntvp gb nibvq pbasyvpg naq npg yvxr fur xabjf jung'f orfg sbe bguref jrer cynagrq fb jryy bire gvzr, naq nyernql va Orpbzvat Cneg VV naq Ybire'f Jnyx. Naq gung'yy pbagvahr va F4&5. V qba'g ungr F6 yvxr znal crbcyr qb, ohg V qb jvfu gur jevgref unq nqqerffrq Jvyybj'f nep zber vagrerfgvatyl/jvgu zber fhogyrgl. Okay, rant over, sorry.

    The next three episodes are pretty fabulous, I'm looking forward to your posts :)

    • SnazzyO

      Season 3 is IMO when the seams of contrivance quilting started to show a tad more. Jello Xander and now Jello Cordy plots.

      OTOH, now on my 83rd rewatch I finally figured out the Mayor’s motivation. I think he ran Bangle down to help Faith get over the previous insult. I missed that the first 82 times but this time I noticed he mentions the “psyche!” plot as still bothering her. He see’s Faith as “his girl”. Of course there’s the added insidious plot to rattle your enemy. His speechifying is pretty effective as well. So, while the seams of the contrivance quilt are showing (hello spinoff!), I think there’s a fairly decent in-story explanation.

      Of course if it takes 83 times for me to spot it, perhaps it’s a tad too subtle.

      • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

        I love this theory. I actually came here just to say that I love this theory and then I realized that I was all “someone else said” thinking that your comment was on the entry not a reply to the same comment I was responding to, so now I look ridiculous.

        ANYWAY. That’s a fantastic observation. I absolutely did not catch that on either of my two watches, but now that you point it out I’m pretty certain it’s true.

        That said, while the speech was equal parts for Faith / mess with your enemies, the final lines, the part I quoted, is still pretty much just setting up for the end of the season / spinoff. But you are right — this isn’t totally contrivancey and is absolutely fair within the story.

        • SnazzyO

          I’m telliing you … 83 times. It takes that long to figure this stuff out. <3 for the comment.

      • geff

        Good point! When he says “Still don’t understand why it couldn’t work out with you and my Faith” I understood a bit of where he was coming from, but the whole spiel always felt slightly off to me. Like I said, though, upon rewatch it doesn’t bother me as much.

    • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

      NO. I CANNOT SUSPEND THAT DISBELIEF. I actually emailed the girls after I read their comments because: I took the SAT on the 2400 system (in the first wave of testing that offered the third section, actually) and my score was pretty much the same as hers — 700 range on all three sections. I, however, got good grades and was president of stupid things (in spite of hating everyone I went to school with). And I was rejected by Northwestern. Granted, my application was actually a little late, so maybe it’s not the fairest comparison BUT STILL, my point is that my issue with this is probably more bitterness than anything else.

      Also the fact that the way that movies/TV shows deal with college admissions is generally ridiculous. It’s a broader pet peeve of mine. You’re right, though, in that they appear to be more present with the school thing than a lot of shows.

      Honestly, I get why the mayor had his Buffy/Angel comment. Someone else made a brilliant observation about how that was as much for Faith’s benefit as it was about getting to his enemies. I don’t question its legitimacy for his character.

      HOKAY. SO. Re: Willow. I’ve only seen the show once, so if something didn’t strike me on first watch, I am unlikely to remember it until we re-watch. I agree with everything you so eloquently said about where the character is going and what seeds have already been planted and all of that jazz. The only thing that I’m unclear on is why you feel that their approach was too aggressive and what you would have liked to see different.

      Also, I didn’t know S6 hate was a thing. It’s a thing? Why? I think that I loved S3 and hated S4 so much that it was really hard for me to develop strong feelings about 5/6/7 as seasons. Like, I have a favorite and a least favorite and the rest is just good stuff in the middle. I enjoyed the arc in all three, though.

      • geff

        That’s nice to hear that you didn’t know about S6 hate. I’m an obsessed dork and looked into a lot of the commentary and reviews on the show as I was watching (well, obviously I’m STILL looking into reviews of this show lol). S6&7 were pretty controversial, but the fact that they didn’t bother you as you watched just goes to show that a lot of the vitriol could’ve been a case of group/mob mentality. Like, if you hear a bunch of criticism it can paint something in a much more negative light. Nevertheless, both of those seasons have their weaknesses. There’s a lot I LOVE about S6, though I’m not crazy about much of the second half of S7. But that’s a discussion for when we get there, sometime in the future ;)

        To specifically answer your question, crbcyr UNGRQ Jvyybj’f urnil-unaqrq nqqvpgvba fgbelyvar (be Penpx!Zntvp nf znal pnyyrq vg). Vg qvqa’g obgure zr nf zhpu nf vg obgurerq bgure crbcyr, ohg V qb guvax gur jevgref jnfgrq na bccbeghavgl – vg’f bxnl gb punatr gur zntvp zrgncube sebz fbzrguvat snagnfgvpny naq ybivat (nf vg jnf bsgra nqqerffrq va F4/fbzr bs 5) gb fbzrguvat zber fvavfgre jvgu gur jubyr ‘zntvp nyjnlf unf pbafrdhraprf’ fghss, ohg V guvax vg jbhyq’ir orra zber vagrerfgvat gb frr n zrgncubevpny qvfphffvba bs Jvyybj’f vffhrf jvgu cbjre engure guna na nqqvpgvba gb zntvp. Gurer ner bgure guvatf crbcyr ernyyl ungrq va F6, yvxr gur nggrzcgrq encr naq Gnen’f qrngu, ohg V’z fher jr’yy nyy qvfphff gung jura gur gvzr pbzrf.

        • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

          I have mixed emotions about S7, namely that I like what the finale does for its own sake, but I felt even then, but more so upon rewatch, that it jacks up the mythology. And yes, absolutely to the group/mob mentality thing. I watched completely by myself. I sent emails to friends who loved the show, but I didn’t look into reviews or anything like that. My limited exchanges with people were a lot of “OH YEAH THAT’S AWFUL” or whatever. I think I MAYBE had one person warn me that S4 was bad, but that was about it. And as a diehard Angel fan, I was bound to have issues with the initial period after his departure anyway.

          Nnnu! V trg jung lbh ner fnlvat. Gung’f n ernyyl vagrerfgvat cbvag. V unqa’g gubhtug nobhg vg gung jnl, gubhtu V thrff V nz vapyvarq gb nterr, be ng yrnfg haqrefgnaq. Gurl ner fhcre urnil-unaqrq jvgu gur nqqvpgvba guvat gb gur qrgevzrag bs gur npghny vffhr juvpu vf, nf lbh’ir cbvagrq bhg, cbjre. Vg frrzf xvaq bs yvxr n pbc bhg, abj gung V’z guvaxvat nobhg vg, gb znxr vg zber yvxr n fhofgnapr nqqvpgvba guna gur ynetre crefbanyvgl guvat. Fgvyy, V guvax gurl qvq rabhtu vagrerfgvat guvatf jvgu vg, gung V’z abg fher V snhyg gur nep nf n jubyr. Abj. Jr’yy frr ubj V srry jura jr tb guebhtu vg ntnva! (Gurer’f n tbbq punapr V jba’g cnegvpvcngr va nal pbzzrag frpgvba pbairefngvba nobhg gur nggrzcgrq encr orpnhfr bs gur vagrafvgl jvgu juvpu bhe pbzzrag frpgvba qrsraqf Fcvxr, naq V’z abg fher V pna fgbznpu crbcyr qrsraqvat/znxvat rkphfrf.)

          • geff

            So cool to see all these different perspectives – from people who’ve watched Buffy for 10+ years with their friends to first time viewers. I was introduced over a year ago but only started REALLY watching last October, I think. But as I got more into it I couldn’t resist looking up articles and reviews, many of which affected the way I viewed the show. A second viewing also affected that.

            I totally agree with your Spike point. I’m definitely not looking to get into any icky, problematic discussions or to be in the middle of any shouting matches, which conversations about that usually devolve into (though I doubt that would happen on the consistently awesome comment section of this site). I only mentioned it to answer your question. ANYWAY sorry about going into stuff waaaay down the line. Very much looking forward to seeing you all wrap up the excellent S3 and get into S4, certainly a snarkable season, though it has its highlights.

          • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

            That is part of what has been so fun for all of us. I like that all three of us are at different points in our ~relationship~ with the show. My first viewing started when I finished my spring semester of grad school. I hadn’t really slept in days and I got back from my final paper presentation and it was the middle of the day and I was WAY too wired to sleep. I tried to read a book (LOL) but couldn’t handle that. I needed something that required minimal mental engagement. I thought I’d watch one or two episodes and go to sleep early. I think I made it to episode 8 before my eyes were like, “CAN’T. STAY. OPEN. QUIT.” Rewatching was funny because this time I wasn’t delirious. Definitely changed things…

            We are lucky to have enough people to get good discussion without also having so many that the conversations turn ugly, which is good. I am excited to snark the shit out of S4. Plus, I was so traumatized by it that I feel confident that it can’t be any worse than my expectations!

          • http://twitter.com/WillieSun Wilhelmina Upton

            Ugh, season 4 is just meh!! I was so happy for everything from that season to be over that I couldn’t care too much about hating the rest of the show.

          • Polge Clément

            Heh, funny, I know that season 4 isn’t all that appreciated, but I kinda like it. And I think that the 7th season is the best: best season arc, and every episode serve to advance the season arc, while still having a little bit of awesome.

            Season 4 is also when it starts to be less about the big bad, or even less about the monster-of-the-week, and much more about the characters themselves. Which changed back for S8 (which was one of the reason I didn’t like it this much), but seem to be changing back back in S9 (which I find awesome so far, 2TPB in).

            And I don’t remember what is your cthulhu speak or how to translate it, so I won’t give any thoughts on that :p

          • geff

            oh, it’s rot13.com, to avoid spoilers :)

          • Polge Clément

            Oh, ok. Well now I HAVE to make a few comments :D

            Gur nqqvpgvba fgbelyvar jnf fbeg bs “zru” sbe zr gbb, ohg V guvax gur znva vffhr jnf gung Jvyybj jnf orpbzvat n ybg zber cbjreshy guna Ohssl, naq gurl arrqrq gb gbar vg qbja n yvggyr… V guvax gung’f jul fur qbrfa’g orpbzr nqqvpgrq gb cbjre, ohg ernyyl gb zntvp yvxr n fhofgnapr. Orpnhfr vs vg jnf nobhg cbjre, gura znlor fbzrbar ryfr zvtug or whfg nf cbjreshy ohg jvgubhg gur qbjafvqr. Vs vg’f nobhg nqqvpgvba, vg’f zber bs n culfvpny erfcbafr gung rirelbar jbhyq tb guebhtu, juvpu yrgf Ohssl fgnl ba gbc bs gur sbbq punva.

            Nobhg gur encr guvat… V’ir fnvq vg gvzrf naq ntnva, V’z n Fcvxr sna, naq V qb trg uvf jubyr nep va F6, jurer ur’f whfg ybfg naq pna’g haqrefgnaq jung Ohssl arrqf, naq nebhaq gur raq bs gur frnfba fur fgnegf fyvccvat njnl sebz uvz, naq ur’f whfg qrfcrengr, naq vg whfg qrfgebl zr gb frr uvz gel gb encr ure va jung vf ernyyl whfg na npg bs qrfcrengvba. Gur fprar vf oevyyvnagyl qbar naq whfg wnj-pyrapuvat. V unira’g ernyyl ernq n ybg bs ernpgvbaf nobhg vg, fb V qba’g xabj jung xvaq bs onq ernpgvba lbh’er rkcrpgvat (ubcr V’z abg bar bs gurz!), ohg lbh pyrneyl jba’g urne zr fnl gung vg jnf Ohssl’f snhyg, be gung vg’f abg gung onq be nalguvat, vg’f pyrneyl ubeevoyr, ohg guvf fprar tvirf zr n ybg bs srryf sbe obgu punenpgref.

            Nyfb, vg znqr gung jbaqreshy fprar va gur Puhepu va frnfba 7 unccra, gur bar jurer gur abj er-rafbhyrq Fcvxr unf gb qrny jvgu jung ur’f qbar. Cebonoyl zl snibevgr fprar bs gur jubyr fubj.

            And if Cthlhu arrives, I’ll definitely say it’s your fault.

          • Jojo

            +1, brother! ;)

      • http://www.facebook.com/regina.doran Regina Doran

        It was obvious from your writing that you’re really smart, but here’s the proof :)
        I loved the Mayor and thought it was hilarious that he’s the only one Buffy will hear the unvarnished truth about her relationship with Angel from!

  • JEL

    With respect to Buffy & Angel being back together at the beginning, I believe Buffy ended the break during Earshot when she tried to read Angel’s thoughts, couldn’t and then they actually talked about what was bothering Buffy. That was the end of the break.

    I agree with the others who mention the significance of Mayor’s speech. The Mayor is a strange mixture, but I think he is being genuine when he talks about the difficulty of being an immortal married to a mortal. And yes, Buffy is in denial over what he said but it seems to have gotten to Angel.

    • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

      Oh! Got it. I didn’t realize that. I didn’t actually have time to rewatch Earshot, which was a bummer because I was so damn excited about that episode. And it’s upsetting my fauxCD, so I’ll have to fix that in a couple weeks when my life decides to calm the fuck down.

  • behind blueiz

    A little BTV tidbit: Jeremy Renner played one of Angelus’ childes, Penn. (Don’t know if his arms looked that good then)

    • SnazzyO

      Not remotely. He was skinny and not NEARLY as charismatic as he is now.

    • Melbourne on my Mind

      NO WAY. OMFG. Dammit. Now I have to rewatch Angel just for this.

      • behind blueiz

        It was Angel Season One, episode 11, Somnambulist.

  • Danna

    I found this episode a little boring. But the stand out moments for me were Oz breaking that pot and Willow saying “It’s way too late”. Other than that, just kind of setting up some great moments in future episodes. Although I can be really put off by contrivances in other shows or movies, it rarely gets in my way when I watch Buffy. But it really doesn’t get any better, and actually probably worse. Maybe you guys should give each episode a contrivance score. :)

    • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

      I love the idea of a contrivance score. Except that I have no idea how we would do it and it would be ultra meta because our contrivance scores would be fully contrived. ;)

  • SnazzyO

    So let me get the important stuff out of the way straight off:
    - Bitch mode .gif is made of awesomesauce. Can I have permission to use it because I NEED it like air.
    - Northwestern rant … yo go girl. True facts. Also: Cordy got into Columbia? THE Columbia? USC, Columbia and Duke are waaaaaay up there. Colorado State (where my child, whom I love more than life itself, is currently enrolled), is not in the same weight class. And yet Cordy rattles it off like it’s extra special. How could the writers not know this???

    Oh, the episode:

    - Willow REALLY moves to the top of the heap in S3. First Dopplegangland and now this episode.
    - Xander going Kerouac… well, it’s something. Does anyone else wonder if Giles suggested it? I’d like to think so because I haven’t seen a single influencing adult who would comment on Xander’s future and it’s more literate than our usual guy.
    - I love the Xander/Oz friendship. It’s mostly due to Oz being COMPLETELY comfortable about his relationship with Willow and her relationship with Xander despite the fluke — but still, they have a little “Willow Appreciation Society” that they share and I like it.
    - Wesley’s odd signage as he pronounced Buffy’s fate to stay in Sunnydale forever…. WTFO? Gile’s snark was excellent as usual. I’m a little tired of “Wesley is an idiot” jokes. Again with the seams.
    - Is it wrong that I really like the Mayor/Faith father/daughter relationship? I may need help. Is there a hotline? Seriously, I love how much she laps up his parenting like a cat with cream. She is so desperate for approval! While I completely enjoyed Willow’s unexpected smackdown, I still like the Mayor/Faith dynamic.

    - And I love the Mayor. I KNOW he’s evil but .. gosh, he’s just so darn funny (say it like the Mayor).
    - Cordy — I actually love you but this is not your finest season. Payback is a bitch. And now you are dealing with sucktastic customers and bosses and learning how the rest of the world lives. Sucks to be you.

    - Finally, Bangel. Oy. Buffy Buffy Buffy. Angel is a hottie and you have a lot in common (fighting supernatural evil and all), but trying to translate your relationship into something normal is a disaster waiting to happen. It’s a poverty of friendship that no one but the Mayor is telling you the facts of life. Xander is out (too much baggage). Willow is out (her role is to be the best friend who supports you no matter how stupid you are). Giles has baggage with Angelus so I can see him keeping quiet. Wesley doesn’t have the stones. Oz would never engage. And Cordy has baggage. That leaves Mayor Richard Wilkins to tell you the obvious — this relationship is NEVER going to approach the realm of normal. If you are okay with that … REALLY okay with that… then fine. If not, what ARE you doing. /end Heartless Cow Rant

    Lovely review as always ladies.

    • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

      - Obviously. Thank the Tumblr gods.

      - We don’t really know enough about Cordelia’s academic standing for me to comment on it. She seems to have pretty good standing and is clearly portrayed as the smart-but-ditzy girl, so whatever. But yeah, college stuff on TV shows almost always annoys me with it’s general failure to reflect reality.

      - Willow <3 It's true, her best moments yet (not of all, but YET) are absolutely in this season. S1/S2 Willow doesn't even compare to S3 Willow.

      - I love this theory. I accept your Giles-gave-Xander-a-book headcanon and I make it mine.

      - I also +1 your Xander/Oz comment.

      - Agreed. Wesley has been incredibly static. He's like S1 Cordelia.

      - No, I like the creepy relationship between Faith and the mayor for all of the reasons you stated. I just think it's creepy and enjoy making fun of it.

      - And I also love the mayor. He's one of my favorite villains. He's pretty awesome.

      - No comment. <3

  • http://twitter.com/WillieSun Wilhelmina Upton

    LOL, my translation made the inhabitants of the box 3 decimal powers less. Why? No idea, maybe to make it less scary? Who knows.

    Snyder is so cool. He doesn’t seem to have a handle on what is going on in Sunnydale at all. Hellmouth? LOL, nope! Just be goddamn drug dealers! I love Snyder.

    I have no clue as to the rest of Europe but over here in good old Germany, a decent university degree was 4.5 years before Bologna. As I’m still studying under the old curriculum, my engineering degree requires at least 4.5 years, so does my friends law thing. I’m in year 5 now *cries*

    • Polge Clément

      Well he’s aware that vampires exist though, isn’t he ? In the “School hard” episode, where Joyce threaten Spike with an axe, isn’t he the one telling the police to create a cover story to hide the fact that it was vampire ?

      But it’s understandable that people meeting at night in the school would trigger more the “drug dealer” flag than “mayor preparing for an ascension and having captured the cuttest redhead of ever to swap it for its evil box of evil evilness” flag.

      • http://twitter.com/WillieSun Wilhelmina Upton

        “having captured the cuttest redhead of ever” lovely description of Willow!!!

        Sure it’s understandable, in every normal school, but Sunnydale High? I don’t know. Maybe you wouldn’t expect the Mayor planning Ascension thing but something demony? -Sure, why not. But yes, Snyder is not ignorant to what happens in general, I know that ;-)

        • Polge Clément

          It was actually a genuine question, I wasn’t totally sure that it was Snyder who talked to the police in this episode… But anyway, he’s not shown to be the sharpest pencil of the box :)

          • behind blueiz

            Actually, I feel Snyder is shown quite the opposite. He is well aware of what is going on in Sunnydale and how to handle the “unexplained.” However, I think his “Little Man” syndrome with a side of delusions of grandeur, will eventually “swallow him whole.”

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