Previously: Willow cast a spell to mend her broken heart that resulted in demon magnetism, blindness, and a Buffy/Spike engagement.
Sweeney: I talk about this a lot because the luck of the draw gave me a lot of the legit awesome episodes. For those of you who don’t join the party in the comments section, we snark ladies have something of a debate over whether it’s worse to be stuck spending more time with an episode that is awful (taking lead on a post is obviously more time consuming than contributing commentary) or attempting to snark something that is genuinely awesome. On the whole, I’m not complaining about having to do the former less often than the latter. (L: And really, the jury is still out.) All of that being said, this episode, buried in the abysmal season 4, is the only episode in the entire series to garner an Emmy nomination, because it’s nothing short of brilliant. With that in mind: (1) the handful of you that read these posts without watching the show need to watch this episode. NO JAYKAY GO DO IT NOW. -and- (2) for the rest of you, know that we’re just all going to hang out and soak up this episode’s awesomeness, all right?
K: Agreed. This episode is the bomb.
Sweeney: I nearly forgot that there is actual dialogue on this episode, because this episode was Whedon’s (awesomely successful) way of saying, “Oh, witty dialogue is our only strength? LOL WATCH ME.” But there is dialogue and the episode begins with a lecture from Professor Walsh about communication and how it differs from language and things that we have actual words for. She calls Buffy up for a demonstration, hilariously (for the viewer) referring to her as “A typical college girl.” Riley is called for a demonstration and it gets feelsy and awkward and it’s very clear that this is a dream, around the time he says, “Don’t worry, if I kiss you it will make the sun go down.”
Lorraine: Isn’t it great that not only does Buffy attend this class every day, ever, she also has to go there in her dreams!
K: WORST. CLASS. EVER. Also, I’m going to stop and point out that Riley’s had a haircut. Hurrah to no more 90s curtain rails! I mean, I’m still not Team Riley or anything. But at least he’s less greasy looking now. WIN.
Sweeney: The sun does, indeed, go down, and then she hears a creepy kid singing a crazy nursery rhyme. Creepy kids are the worst. Recapping this show means that you get to know my terrors. Basically anything involving kids (sad kid stories, creepy kid stories) will automatically have the desired effect (tears/terror, respectively).
K: Dear Sweeney, NEVER WATCH SUPERNATURAL YOU WILL DIE OF TERROR OMFG. Love, Kirsti.
Sweeney: I have no desire to watch it because I hate Jared Padalkasdfljasdlfkjsaf’s stupid face, but thanks forgiving me an excuse that won’t inspire fangirl rage.
Anyway, creepy kid chants:
Can’t even shout. Can’t even cry. The gentlemen are coming by. Looking in windows knocking on doors. They need to take seven and they might take yours. Can’t call to mom. Can’t say a word. You’re gonna die screaming but you won’t be heard.
Buffy turns around and Riley has turned into a horrifying looking creature. When we first met Fun Dip: Original Flavor on GoT, I mentioned how much he looked like this particular Buffyverse terror. While “looking like they just ate a mouth full of blue Fun Dip” isn’t at all how I’d describe these WAY CREEPIER characters, I can’t help but refer to them as Fun Dip from here on out. Plus, this might mitigate the nightmare factor of recapping this episode. FUN DIP FUN DIP FUN DIP.
Lor: A+. Also, after this little sequence I was determined to come tell the Internet how creepy creepy kids are. They are indeed the worst.
Sweeney: The worst. Buffy wakes up to the end of class, and Willow (and later Riley) makes with the teasing for her sleeping through class. It’s cute. Willow BFFs and excuse to leave and actually just loiters to confirm that Riley and Buffy are flirting. The best part of this relationship is Willow’s endorsement of it.
Riley and Buffy are about to kiss, when she realizes that he mentioned grading papers as his evening activities and they haven’t actually had any recently. He recovers and insists that it’s just late papers. They part ways and the credits roll.
Lor: This is me realizing there is still an Oz and Willow cuddling clip in the credits. D:
K: Excuse me while I cry.
Sweeney: After the crying and the credits, Buffy is on the phone (THE PHONE! SEE HOW MUCH EASIER THIS IS, GIRL?) explaining the dream to Giles. He teases her that this could just be “the eternal mystery that is your brain.” After she hangs up, he asks Spike if he knows anything about The Gentlemen, because Spike is now living with Giles, because of reasons. By which I mean, “for the inexplicable lolz.” Spike’s arc this season carries with it a 1:1 ratio of illogical/unexplained things to amusing things. It’s pretty much the only way Whedon gets away with this. AND HE TOTALLY KNOWS IT TOO.
K: Seriously. Angel: “Vampires only eat blood, nothing else EVER EVER EVER. Coffee’s okay though.” Spike: “Can I have a cookie? Oh, and we need more Weetabix because they give the blood texture. And ooooh are those chocolate digestives? Pass the peanut butter.” It’s infuriating. Also, I now want a chocolate digestive. DAMMIT.
Sweeney: Xander and Anya are having a weird fight in which Anya is accusing him of using her due to the fact that he still treats her like a former vengeance demon and hasn’t actually evolved much as a boyfriend. For what it’s worth Anya, Xander hasn’t done an epic amount of evolving period. The fight continues as they walk into Giles’s apartment, and Anya says, “All you care about is lots of orgasms,” which causes Spike to sit up from the sofa and look at her and me to pause the show so that I can laugh and collect myself.
Lor: Giles’s complimentary reaction is A+ too. I’m with you on how illogical Spike being here is, but okay, yeah, it’s funny.
K: I would watch an entire show of just Spike and Giles having to live together. Can you imagine the sarcasm? And them bonding over Passions? And the rest of the Scoobies would periodically stop by like Newman in Seinfeld. It would be AMAZING.
Sweeney: Giles asked Xander there because he needs him to take Spike for a few days (L: Like he’s a puppy, lol.) and obviously nobody else likes this plan. Giles has a friend coming to town. Anya correctly guesses that it’s an “orgasm friend” because she’s awesome. Then Giles tries to hide in his books as the other three devolve into crazy bickering about how NOT OK they are with this plan.
Willow goes to her Wicca group meeting and it’s way lame because they’re all total witch posers, you see. When Willow suggests that maybe they do actual spells, she is shot down for being insufficiently empowering (which is also almost hilarious when you consider the sheer awesomeness that Willow represents, as a television character) and sucking the energy from the group. Another girl, TARA (!!) tries to speak up in Willow’s defense, but she’s too sheepish/shy/lacking the kind of BAMF-status that I could appreciate on first watch.
Lor: I’m weirdly spoiled on Tara, in that I know that she’s significant to Willow but I wasn’t really aware of what she looked like. So when they named the shy, blonde girl as Tara, I asked my episode, “THAT’S TARA?”
K: Poor Tara. Not only does she get stuck sitting on the floor and being mocked by the bitchy Muggles, but she has a terrible zigzag part in her hair. It seems fitting for the last Buffy episode to air in the 90s.
Sweeney: Willow is complaining about this mega boring meeting to Buffy (L: “wanna-blessed-bes.” Hilar.) and then she asks her about Riley and she responds, “See above, re: talk. All talk.” Plus, it’s rough because she has to lie all the time about the Slayer thing. Segue magic to Riley in the Abysmal Plot Arc Research Facility lamenting the same secrecy dramz to Forrest.
In Xander’s basement, he’s tying Spike up before he goes to bed. Spike’s all, “LIKE I’D EAT YOU ANYWAY.” Back at his place, Giles opens the door and his orgasm friend is there. It’s the same one from the beginning of the season. They get to the hooking up.
K: Spike impersonating Anya as Xander’s trying to sleep is brilliant. I would totally do the same thing.
Sweeney: As Sunnydale sleeps (or orgasms) (K: I just snorted water out of my nose) a creepy hand puts a box on a desk and opens it. We see random, unnamed sleeping people. Back at the desk, the box is filling with a strange smoke, and said creepy hand closes it and we pan up to see it attached to none other than the ORIGINAL Original Flavor Fun Dip.
The next morning, Buffy wakes up and goes to the bathroom and all that jazz before anybody else seems to have woken up. A girl walks by crying as she goes back into the Bigger On The Inside Dorm Room. Willow wakes up and they quickly realize that they can no longer speak. Guys, HOW DO WE RECAP AN EPISODE WITHOUT DIALOGUE?
K: Best plan ever.
Sweeney: Thank you for using the pretty one in your matching Supernatural gifs.
Just to confirm that this is citywide, we cut to elsewhere at Contrivance U, as well as Xander and Spike. Spike gives Xander an excellent, “You’re a moron” face when he tries to call Buffy and Willow. (L: As well as a two-finger-salute. I giggled.)
K: Because I can’t not:
I also just noticed that Nicholas Brendon has a tattoo on his arm that they’ve really poorly covered with make up. I’m going to be playing a tattoo spotting game for the rest of the series now. UGH.
Sweeney: In the crazy secure elevator down to The Abysmal Plot Arc Research Facility, Riley and Forrest had their retinal scans accepted, but unauthorized being countermeasures are activated when they can’t offer vocal confirmation. They manage to pull a circuit or some other explanation I didn’t quite follow just in time and are able to get in. (K: Override code) When the elevator opens, Walsh points to a sign about using the stairs in case of emergency.
Out in the streets of Sunnydale, Buffy and Willow are taking in all the END OF DAYS sadness. A guy is preaching using a dry erase board. An awesomely opportunistic guy is selling dry erase boards for $10 each. (K: ENTREPRENEURSHIP FTW!) They buy them and go to Giles’, where Xander, Anya, and Orgasm Friend are already waiting.
Giles tries to comfort Buffy as she sees the books, and he shakes his head to indicate that he still doesn’t have an answer. She spots the notebook where he wrote down note about her dream, but he shrugs, indicating that he still hasn’t found anything.
Lor: I have to point out that Willow takes this moment to write a little, “Hi Giles,” on her white board and he adorably goes over and gives her a little hug and JUST ADORABLE.
K: Can we just go ahead and give Giles ALL THE SANDY COHEN EYEBROWS? Because he deserves them.
Sweeney: He gets a whole separate category for being the greatest Substitute Parent in the history of ever.
Xander then turns on the TV where another city’s news report is conveniently discussing AT JUST THAT MOMENT the citywide laryngitis outbreak. The entire town is quarantined — nobody can go in or out.
Buffy writes a note to Giles that she needs to be IN TOWN that night. He asks why and we cut to Walsh speaking through a type-to-speech computer, answering his question: “Because there will be chaos.” Members of The Initiative are to go into town as civilians to help mitigate that chaos.
Lor: There is a car crashed into a hydrant. Apparently, when you lose your voice you also lose… hand eye coordination?
K: There’s also a store in the background with a “YES, WE’RE OPEN” sign made out of a sheet, and I have to stop and wonder if it’s a nod to Clerks.
Sweeney: As expected, there is looting and chaos, which Buffy and Riley are separately intercepting when they come across each other. They are relieved to see each other, when they hear a Not Good noise, so they both fake that they have to go away, but not before they finally kiss.
Later that night, the many Fun Dip are floating (reminds me of whatsherbitchface from The Craft) out of some clock tower deal and out into Sunnydale. Nobody is really out now, though, because I guess they all got tired of looting and went home?
Lor: I also have to mention that part of why The Gentlemen are so creepy are their mannerisms. It is fantastic, the way they move slowly, deliberately and even gracefully. It’s a nice directional choice.
K: And the fact that, despite all their buckets o’ crazy, they ARE actually gentlemen. They’re well dressed, they’re elegant, and they make “No, no, after YOU” gestures at each other.
Sweeney: Indeed. They are fantastic characters, all around. It’s too bad they have to die. Except not, because I want to be able to sleep tonight.
Giles is asleep but his Orgasm Friend wakes up and goes downstairs. She looks out the window and sees a Fun Dip and tries to scream, but obvs that’s not happening. Two Fun Dip with weird floppy hunchback henchmen make their way into Buffy’s dorm. They’re all, “Nope, not that one!” to almost every room they pass until they get to room 118. Unlucky #118 is held to his bed by the floppy henchmen and the Fun Dip bust out a scalpel and CUT HIS FUCKING HEART OUT.
Sorry, we don’t actually learn what they cut until after the Not Commercial Break, when the Fun Dip return to their clock tower with a jar containing a heart. They are met with applause from the other Fun Dip. It has only just occurred to me that I’ve chosen to make Fun Dip singular and plural. IDK IDK.
Lor: We do what we want.
K: I think that gif needs a round of applause for being perfect:
Also, I just noticed that they used the same set for Dead College Boy’s room as they did for Poop Head Parker’s room, and WHY COULDN’T PARKER HAVE BEEN KILLED INSTEAD? Asshat.
Sweeney: Orgasm Friend spots an article in the paper about the killing and then points to a drawing she did of the thing she saw and Giles instantly puts it together. He grabs a book titled, “Fairy Tales.” He meets The Scoobies in a lecture hall at Contrivance U, where he proceeds to give a presentation (via projector with transparent sheets! Can we all just agree to ditch PowerPoint and go back to this because it was awesome?) on “The Gentlemen.”
K: Ugh. In undergrad, I had to sit through many lectures featuring entire transparency sheets filled with bullet points, and you’d only ever get through writing down four of them before the lecturer would be onto the next sheet. It was the WORST. As was the number of times a lecture that a transparency would be upside down or back to front and the lecturer wouldn’t realise (Giles is no better on this). So, NOPE. Sorry, Sweeney.
Sweeney: FINE THEN. I think I was in middle school the last time I had a teacher use transparency sheets…
The Gentlemen (FUN DIP.) steal all the voices so that no one can scream. Then they cut people up and steal hearts. They need seven; they have at least two. The presentation is filled with super graphic drawings that get, “WHY, GILES?” looks from Buffy and Willow, while Anya’s all *nom nom popcorn* “Good show!” and Xander is feverishly taking notes like Demonology is the one class he’d actually be good at.
Jokes, his note is actually a question: “How do we kill them?” Buffy makes what looks like a jerking off gesture and everyone’s all, “WUT?” (But I’m sure this porn version of Buffy exists somewhere in the universe.) She grabs a stake because that’s obvs what she meant, you perverts. Buffy’s way better at handjobs than that!
Giles continues the fairytale presentation. A princess screamed and it killed them. Willow grabs a CD, suggesting that noise would be sufficient, but NOPE, only a real human voice will do the trick. Buffy wants to know how to get her voice back and Giles gives her the best, “FUCK IF I KNOW?” reaction ever.
Lor: This also happened:
K: I was literally about to go and search for this gif. Thank you, Lor. I also feel like we need to stop and appreciate Giles’ drawing skills, because they’re going to come back in season 7:
Sweeney: His plan is for Buffy to patrol and everyone else to get to the research. Underground, The Initiative members are ditching the civilian gear and suiting up, though sans the usual facial cover. Not sure why tonight, when everyone is mega suspicious of everything seemed like a good time for this, BUT OK GUYS.
Cut to Tara, gathering some books to go to Willow’s. She trips and falls, just in time to be hunted by the henchmen-having Fun Dip. Leave her alone! She has so much awesome to prove! Inside the building, she is pounding on all the doors but ain’t nobody trying to die tonight, so everyone just sits up in their beds and nobody lets her in. Fortunately for her, floating seems to be a very slow means of transportation.
Shots of Tara’s desperate search for an open door are mixed in with Buffy and Riley, separately, fighting. Willow hears the banging and Tara has finally found a door that opens, but it turns out to be another Fun Dip, this one already holding a heart. Then, Willow appears to rescue her, because she’s awesome.
Elsewhere, Buffy and Riley continue battling their way through town until they stumble upon each other, weapons in hand. Good thing you guys recently decided, for no apparent reason, to stop covering your faces!
They don’t have time to dwell on this WTF moment because they immediately have to get back to fighting Fun Dip henchmen.
Spike grabs a mug of blood from the fridge and vamps out after he drinks it, and gets a blood mustache of sorts. Xander walks in to see Anya passed out on the couch and Spike, sitting beside that couch, vamped out with blood mouth. He immediately tackles Spike. It’s kind of sweet. Suicidal, because if that were possible, he’d get killed for this, but sweet. Anya wakes up and breaks it up. They make out, and then she suggests that they go have sex.
K: There are literally no words for how much I love this episode and its ridiculous hand gestures. And the disgusted expressions on everyone else after said ridiculous hand gestures.
Sweeney: Back in the dorm building, Tara and Willow hide in the laundry room. Willow tries to push the vending machine in front of the door, but can’t and elaborately falls backwards. Then she tries to magic it and only manages to wiggle it a bit. She and Tara lock hands and together they make it move mega quick.
Buffy fights her way up to the top of the clock tower. She’s outnumbered when Riley appears there too, electrocuting the guys currently detaining her. More fighting ensues and it’s not going well for Buffy.Then Buffy spots the desk containing the jars of hearts (CUE CHRISTINA PERRI) (L: OH GOD PLEASE DON’T.) (K: FIXED IT:
) (S: Well played.) and the box of voices. She can’t do anything, but gets Riley’s attention. He smashes the wrong thing before he gets the memo. He smashes the box and then Buffy gets her voice back. She screams and the Fun Dip heads all explode. FUN DIP DEFEATED.
Lor: Buffy is the princess who destroyed the monsters.
Sweeney: The next day, Tara is explaining to Willow that she had gone to her, figuring that she was a legit witch and that the two of them together could maybe cast a spell. Tara’s back story is that her mother was powerful when Tara was young. Also, she thinks Willow is totes special.
Giles is asking Orgasm Friend how she found this nightmare-filled visit. Apparently he had been telling her about the monster shit all along and she never believed him. She’s not sure if this is all too scary for her or not.
Back in the Bigger On The Inside Dorm Room, Buffy is alone and Riley comes over. Lots of awkward silence. They acknowledge that they have to talk, but they just resume the awkward silence.
Lor: I’m glad to see confirmation that they are perfect for each other, except for if they have to talk to each other. Cool.
Sweeney: BRB, off to have Fun Dip filled nightmares.
Next time on Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Someone tries to open the Hellmouth. No, for real, like again in S04 E11 – Doomed.