Previously: The trio decided to test Buffy in a variety of stupid ways that ended in her doing shots with Spike and playing poker for kittens. Also, Giles gave her a big fat cheque that sorted out her money problems. Wheeeeeeeeee.
All the Way
Kirsti: We open at the Magic Box, where they’re having their Halloween Bone-anza, and they should REALLY have thought up a different name for that because that does NOT sound like something I would want to attend. (L: Lots of bone jokes lately…) ANYWAY. Xander’s dressed as a pirate and is trying to tell a small child dressed as a fireman that he found the bottle of fireflies he’s holding off the coast of Kathmandu. The small child is dubious, and I am too because apparently Xander’s never cracked an atlas in his life.
Sweeney: BEAT ME TO IT. SAME NOTE.
K: I…have no idea what that means.
Elsewhere, Dawn asks Anya what her costume is. Anya, wearing a tight t-shirt, hot pants and roller skates says that she’s an angel. But a special kind called a Charlie, who “just skate around with perfect hair, fighting crime.” Sounds a little like Buffy, only with crime instead of evil, right? Dawn’s all “Halloween is for babies,” but Anya’s on board with the getting to dress up and play games part, particularly the new game that Xander wants to teach her called Shiver Me Timbers. Tara rushes over to inform Dawn that Willow needs help, and Dawn hurries away. Anya asks Tara if she knows how to play the game, and Tara’s reply is “Not really one for the timber.” Goodness, show. That change of networks has just made you all kinds of smutty, hasn’t it?!
Lor: I’m picking up on the fact that Willow and Tara are gay. It’s just a feeling I’m getting here.
K: They’ve dropped a few hints, that’s for sure!
Willow, meanwhile, is having a rant about stereotypes at a woman dressed as a witch. She quickly changes her tune when an adorable small child comes up in a costume displaying the exact same stereotypes. Willow heads off to get the kid some candy, and Dawn takes advantage of the lack of supervision to get all klepto again, pocketing some kind of gold medallion thing with a dragon on it. Anya asks Buffy to fetch something from the basement, and she heads down there griping about time loops in reference to the last episode. At the bottom of the stairs, she bumps – literally – into Spike and informs him that he needs to get a bell around his neck, which makes me laugh because Xander said exactly the same thing about Angel way back in Spike’s very first episode.
She asks what he’s doing there, and he says that he came to get some disgusting looking weed thing that makes his pig blood taste spicy. She makes a grossed out face, and he says that he was most definitely going to pay for it. She gives him a look, and he’s all “OKAY, FINE. I WAS STEALING.” She asks for help in locating the mandrake root that Anya wanted, and he looks around for a second before locating the jar and handing it to her. Then this happens, and I cackle hysterically over Buffy’s confused face:
SPIKE: Feel like a bit of the rough and tumble?
SPIKE: Me… you…
BUFFY: [stares in shock]
SPIKE: Patrolling? Hello?
BUFFY: Oh. Uh … I … should stay. Maybe tomorrow.
SPIKE: It’s not like I don’t already have plans. Great Pumpkin’s on in twenty.
BUFFY: (to herself) So much easier to talk to when he wanted to kill me.
Sweeney: Indeed. We’re not judging, girl.
She heads upstairs and immediately gets roped into helping Giles behind the register. She suggests that maybe she should go patrol because EW RETAIL, but Giles points out that Halloween is the undead’s night off. She reminds him of That Time Their Costumes Came To Life and That Time There Was a Fear Demon, and he says that she shouldn’t need to patrol because history would indicate that anything bad will happen to one of them. Good point, Giles. And not just on Halloween.
Sweeney: 1430 for Giles!
K: I love it when they acknowledge shit like that. With that, we cut to a street somewhere in town where a bunch of kids in costume are trick or treating. An old guy walks down the street with a bag of groceries, humming “Pop Goes the Weasel” to himself. He heads into his house, which is filled with creepy looking toys, and into the kitchen. He peers out the window at the kids, and says that he’s got something special for them this year as he pulled a massive knife out of a drawer. Roll wolf howl.
After the credits, Dawn ushers the last of the customers out as the Scoobies collapse on the floor in exhaustion. Except Anya, who’s bouncing with excitement over all the money she made. And excitement over the possibility of making all the money again the following day, which she announces is a post-holiday clearance. The Scoobies groan. Buffy teases Xander about his costume, but he only has eyes for Anya, who’s busy teaching Dawn the money dance that she does every night as she closes the till.
Dawn squees, Giles smiles, and Tara offers her congratulations. Buffy looks shocked though, and Willow looks downright horrified. Xander and Anya kiss. Buffy asks Giles if he knew, and he replies “No. Unless I blocked it from my memory, much as I will Xander’s vigorous use of his tongue.” He takes off his glasses to clean them, and Buffy’s all “OMFG, THAT’S WHY YOU CLEAN YOUR GLASSES SO MUCH? SO YOU DON’T SEE WHAT WE’RE DOING??” and I fall about laughing as Giles quietly replies “Tell no one.”
Sweeney: AND ANOTHER ONE! He’s on a roll!
K: It’s the Giles Appreciation Show!
Cut to Chez Summers, where the gang are having a spontaneous party. Tara apologises for the lack of decorations, and Willow instantly casts a spell that covers the room in streamers and paper lanterns. Anya’s thrilled, but Giles and Tara look worried. (L: Buffy and Dawn are oblivious.) Out in the kitchen, Tara voices her concerns and Willow gets defensive to the point where Tara’s stutter comes back. Dawn walks in and gets all “Uhhh. Awkward…” Willow leaves, and Dawn gives Tara an anxious look before following.
Back in the living room, there’s some more squeeing over the engagement, and then Dawn says that she’ll see them all tomorrow because she’s spending the night at a friend’s place. Buffy’s all “…what?” and Dawn says that Buffy promised she could. Giles watches from the other side of the room as Buffy looks to Willow and then him for advice. Neither offers any, and Dawn begs a little harder.
Cut to her walking down the street and grinning with glee. She cuts down a dark alley, then picks up a piece of wood when she hears a noise. Said noise turns out to be two teenagers sucking face, and Dawn apologises before backing away. She backs into someone though – her friend Janice, who I know as Joan of Arcadia. (L: Amber Tamblyn! I know you guys know she was Tibby in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants movies. Don’t lie.) (S: BRAIN SHARE. It’s like the Snow duty, really, to focus on all the, “I know this person from another place!” moments.) (K: I didn’t, because I’ve never seen those movies) Apparently they’re pulling the move Buffy and the gang used to pull in high school – say they’re staying at each other’s houses, and trust that their families don’t care enough to check. Ouch.
The girls head to the park where Joan of Arcadia’s boyfriend is waiting for them with his friend Justin, who’s wearing a Sunnydale letter jacket. Dawn gets a little swoony and then blushy when he says that he’s seen her around. JoA asks the guys what they want to do, and we cut to the guys throwing eggs at houses and letting the air out of tyres and destroying letter boxes while the girls stand around looking bored. They head down the street, and JoA asks Dawn what she thinks of Justin. Dawn squees a little, and it’s kind of adorable. Further up the street, Zack (JoA’s boyfriend) asks Justin what he thinks of Dawn. He says that she’s cute, but that’s not enough for Zack. He wants to know if Justin’s going to go ALL THE WAY.
Lor: Sucks to give this dick a gold star, but he said the thing. He said it.
Sweeney: It’s always sad when we have to sully the star’s good reputation by giving it out to terrible people. BUT RULES ARE RULES.
K: He quickly shuts up before the girls hear. JoA asks if they can do something more exciting than destruction, and Zack says he wants to hit one more house – the old man from earlier’s house.
Back at Chez Summers, Giles is giving Xander an awkward fatherly talk about how Anya should move in now, and they should start saving for a house. Xander gets awkward, and Giles says there’s no rush because they have the rest of their lives to plan. Xander looks terrified.
Lor: Was this on purpose on Giles’s part? I mean it was pretty heavy on the, “HAVE FUN WITH YOUR EX-VENGEANCE DEMON.” He had to totally be doing that on purpose.
Sweeney: This definitely felt deliberate. Xander probably gets the least substitute parenting from Giles, but Giles was definitely aware of the fact that Xander hadn’t really considered all the long-term consequences of this decision. He was laying that THIS IS FOREVER and BIG ADULT DECISIONS stuff on pretty thick.
K: Better now than after they’re married?
Outside the old man’s house, the teenagers discuss how the old man’s meant to be bonkers. Zack pressuring JoA to go smash the pumpkins on the old man’s porch, but she won’t. Dawn volunteers, and heads slowly up the path. She picks up the pumpkin and stands with it over her head ready to smash. A hand grabs her wrist, and the pumpkin falls to the ground. The old man crazies to Dawn that sometimes pumpkins bite, and the others rush up to defend her. Creepy Old Man just laughs crazily and invites them inside. JoA wants to leave, but they end up inside anyway.
Zack asks about the toys, and Creepy Old Man says that he used to design them back in the day, and he loved it and blah blah blah one mistake and they take it all away. He then asks who wants to help Daddy in the kitchen, and refers to Dawn as ‘Sally.’ Justin offers to help, and follows COM away. The girls want to leave, but Zack says that COM is a millionty and therefore harmless. Out in the kitchen, COM closes the door behind him, then picks up the big knife. Over his shoulder, we see Justin vamp out (PLOT TWIST!) as we fade to black.
After the Not Commercial Break, Justin gets his bite on. COM falls to the floor, simultaneously revealing that the big knife of deception was to cut up a tray of rice bubble squares.
Lor: Wow. So this creepy old man really did just like singing Pop Goes the Weasel to himself sometimes and ranting about his toy making days. Huh.
K: Out in the living room, the girls hear the sound of the knife dropping to the floor and freak out. Justin runs out of the kitchen, claiming that he swiped COM’s wallet and that they need to run. The girls do so. Justin and Zack follow at a more leisurely pace, as Justin complains about COM tasting gross. Zack wants to know if the girls are “Lunchables? Or should we go all the way and turn ‘em?” Dude. You already had one gold star. Now you’re just being greedy. (L: Rude.)
Back at Chez Summers, Anya is wibbling away about wedding plans to Buffy and Giles as Xander looks increasingly nauseated. She mentions babies and Xander’s face drops. Giles suggests Rupert as a baby name and the gang all laugh. Poor Giles…
Sweeney: Season 6 Buffy: turning even jokes into moments that hurt your feels.
K: A+, Sweeney. Buffy notices Xander’s expression and drags him out to the porch for a break. She asks if he’s okay, and he says that he’s a little overwhelmed. She points out that this is the good stuff, and how life is meant to work out, and he replies that he’s wallowing, not drowning. Could have fooled me, my friend. He heads back in, but Buffy says she’s all happy-endinged out and is going to go find Spike and patrol. She heads out as Xander takes a deep breath and heads back inside.
Elsewhere, Dawn and Justin flirt a little as they walk down the street, which includes her referencing her shoplifting habits. He notices that she’s cold and offers her his jacket, which she takes gladly. JoA appears and asks where Zack is. Justin says that he went to get the car. Cut to Zack biting and carjacking some random woman and driving away.
Buffy wanders the streets as the Piano of Feels starts up. She sadly notices happy couples walking by, then stops as an ambulance screams past. She follows it to a crowd standing around as the random woman is loaded into the ambulance with a giant conspicuous bite mark on her neck. (L: DARN BBQ FORKS.) Back at Chez Summers, the phone rings. Giles answers, and it’s JoA’s mother. They quickly realise what’s happened, and Giles hurries back to the gang. Tara’s watching with a hurt expression as Willow dances merrily with Xander and Anya. Giles turns the music off, and tells Willow and Tara to check downtown for Dawn while he tries to catch Buffy at Spike’s. He hurries out the door without waiting for a response.
Cut to the car, parked in the woods. JoA and Zack scramble out, and she giggles and runs off. Zack tells Justin not to do anything he wouldn’t do before vamping out and chasing her. In the car, Dawn awkwards that it’s cold and asks Justin if he wants his jacket back. When he says that he doesn’t feel the cold, she replies that he must be Superman. He says that he’s not, but that he does have some special powers. He leans in to kiss her as I cackle at the worst line in the history of EVER.
Dawn turns away, reaching for the radio. She makes some more nervous small talk, then asks what he expects, but he interrupts to say that he just wants to taste her (EW). He leans in, and they kiss and the camera is SUPER CLOSE and it’s making me very uncomfortable. Thankfully, we cut to black.
After the Not Commercial Break, Dawn and Justin are still kissing, but the camera is further away. Dawn breaks the kiss and squees a little, and Justin’s all “OMG, that was your first kiss, wasn’t it?” She tries to claim that it wasn’t, and ends up word vomiting all over the place before admitting that he’s right and she’s sorry that she’s awful at it. He says that it was perfect, and kisses her again.
Lor: They could calm down on the smacking noises just a tad, thanks.
Sweeney: They make Dawn seem so young that I didn’t realize that Michelle Trachtenberg was already 16 here. She’s still like 14 in my head so I had to do an actor age check. (16 and 22, which might be awkward, but pretty much NBD given that I looked it up because it seemed like 14 and 26.)
K: 16 and 22 is still pretty skeezy… Cut to the Bronze. There’s a band playing, and it’s packed. Willow and Tara walk in, and get grossed out expressions over a girl dressed as Princess Leia grinding with a guy dressed as Luke Skywalker, because EW SIBLINGS. Tara asks if Willow thinks Dawn is there, and she replies that it’s where she would have come if she’d snuck out at the age of fifteen. They head up to the balcony, and Willow complains that there are too many people to see clearly. Tara suggests asking security, but Willow says it will take too long. She heads to the edge of the balcony and starts casting a spell. Tara grabs her hand and asks what the hell she’s doing. Willow says she’s going to shift everyone who’s not a fifteen year old girl into an alternate dimension for a few seconds, just to check if Dawn’s there. Tara’s horrified and says that Willow can’t do it, because what if something went wrong? Willow has no fucks to give, so Tara asks what Giles would think. With that, Willow utters a one word spell that silences all the noise around them.
Willow accuses Tara of talking to Giles behind her back, and taking his side over hers, and Tara snaps:
Tara: Willow, you are using too much magic. What do you want me to do, just, just sit back and keep my mouth shut?
Willow: Well, that’d be a good start.
Tara: If I didn’t love you so damn much I would!
Tara storms away and Willow calls sadly after her, but doesn’t move.
Lor: UGH. DISLIKE. I hate disliking Willow.
K: Back in the woods, Dawn and Justin are still face-nomming. She pulls back a little and starts to say something, but he tells her that she’s beautiful, and she goes back to the kissing.
Lor: I get a decidedly She’s All That vibe from his beautiful line.
K: 1430, Lor. She trails her hand up his arm and onto his cheek. He’s vamped out now, and we see her shocked expression as she realises mid-kiss.
Cut to the TARDIS crypt. Buffy bursts in with a stake drawn, and tells Spike to grab his gear. He asks if Giles found her and she’s confused because NOPE. He fills her in on the Dawn situation, and says that he’s checked the tunnels and that Giles is searching the cemetery. She grabs some weapons from Spike’s stash, and tosses him a crossbow. Elsewhere in the cemetery (I assume? It could be any one of Sunnydale’s millionty cemeteries), Giles is wandering around in the fog by torchlight. He monologues, and then promptly trips over.
Sweeney: Apparently these guys have been around for a while, because he even got time to have last words! Not very good ones, but still. I’m going to assume that it was actually the result of power granted to him by the gold star.
K: Definitely. Back at the car, Dawn makes a run for it. But Justin catches her, and then uses a bunch of cheesy lines – she’s not like other girls, he just wants to spend time with her, she’s special, blah blah blah. She’s falling for it, and he says that it’ll only hurt for a second as he lowers his head towards her neck. “I bet you say that to all the girls,” says Giles. Dawn is horrified, and Justin grabs her by the neck. Giles stalks forward, saying they can do it the easy way or the hard way, but then a light gets shone in his eyes. They’re surrounded by other cars, also filled with teenage vampires. Fade to black.
After the Not Commercial Break, the vampires close in. A hand claps down on Giles’shoulder and he jumps, but it’s just Spike. Buffy runs up and starts to ask if Dawn’s alright, but then sees Justin and is all “YOU WERE PARKING WITH A VAMPIRE?!?!?!?” Dawn’s briefly embarrassed, then uses the “You did the same thing when you were my age” routine. Buffy claims it was different.
Meanwhile, Spike is fighting the “can we fight yet?” vamp, who wants to know what Spike’s problem is. “It’s Halloween, you nit! We take the night off. Those are the rules.” Spike replies. The vamp says that his gang don’t follow rules because they’re rebels. “I’m the rebel. You’re an idiot,” Spike says as he shoots the vamp with a crossbow. He reloads and gets taken down by another vamp. Buffy’s fighting a vampire who’s trying to garotte her with a car antennae. She runs up the side of the car and flips over his head before decapitating him with the car door. Awesome.
Dawn’s somehow wandering alone in the woods. Justin grabs her from behind and drags her to the ground. He straddles her, and she tearfully says that she thought he liked her. He says that he does and goes to bite her, but hits the crossbow bolt she’s sneakily holding instead and turns to dust. Nice work, Dawnie!
Lor: Her first time? She looks less than thrilled.
K: I would too because she probably inhaled half a vamp worth of dust…
Cut to Chez Summers. Buffy apologises for the early finish to the party as she ushers Xander and Anya out the door. Spike leaves too as Willow apologises for missing the monster hunting. Tara says that she’s glad Dawn’s okay, then announces that she’s going to bed. Willow looks hurt and calls after her, but Tara doesn’t stop. Willow goes after her. In the background, Dawn’s sitting by herself in the dining room. Giles comes up and says that they can’t tolerate that kind of behaviour from Dawn. Buffy agrees, and says that she’s glad Giles is there to deal with it for her. She heads upstairs and Giles looks concerned then resigned.
He heads in to talk to Dawn. She makes a comment along the lines of “not angry, just disappointed, right?” and he agrees. Except for the part about not being angry. Dawn looks scared. Upstairs, Willow apologises to Tara in a really half arsed way. Tara is having none of her shit. Willow makes a joke about doing more magic to make it better, and Tara stares at her in disbelief before getting into bed. Willow suggests they forget it ever happened, then turns and picks up a sprig of some kind of flower. She holds it in her palm and murmurs “Forget.” The flower glows. Willow turns off the light and climbs into bed. Tara giggles and snuggles up next to her. Willow asks if she’s still mad, and Tara replies “About what?” Willow smiles to herself and closes her eyes. Fade to black.
I’m not a huge fan of this episode. It’s kind of a look-at-all-the-problems-they’re-not-dealing-with episode. Things come to light, but nothing gets resolved. It’s definitely the worst Halloween episode of the three, that’s for sure. And I would say that at least Dawn got some face-nomming out of it, but the face-nomming was creepy, so I’m still coming down on the side of nope.
Lor: I’m more in camp #meh. There was development, I think. The Xander/Anya engagement keeps raising red flags. Buffy’s changing perception of Spike is evident in this episode, from the “rough and tumble” line up to when she compliments his fighting before he leaves. It’s a casual sort of thing to say, but speaks about the leaps and bounds they’ve come already. Buffy keeps shoving her responsibility off on Giles. Willow is being awful. Surprisingly, we spend the most amount of time with Dawn but get the least amount of development from her. Her entire story line was slow, which is why this episodes suffers some.
Sweeney: It also reminded me of this repeated theme of using demonic stuff as a parallel for heartbreak, and I have to say that this shit has gotten disproportionately dumped on the ladies and we’re not even done yet. I couldn’t stop thinking about that, watching Dawnie feels in the dining room. It didn’t have to be this way, either. Xander had some demonic heartbreak of his own, but it was always played for laughs. I’m not entirely sure where I’m going with this, but it’s a thought I just had and I’d like everyone in the comments to please give me some ideas on how I should feel about these things.
Next time: IT’S HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERE!!!!!!!!!!!!! Watch us flail like idiots in Buffy the Vampire Slayer S06 E07 – Once More With Feeling.