snark squad | where nostalgia comes to die

Buffy the Vampire Slayer S07 E11 – Schooled.

and on January 16, 2014 · 79 comments in Buffy the Vampire Slayer,Season 7,TV

Previously: Giles came back to Sunnydale with a few Potentials and Buffy got her ass kicked. But then she gave a good, rally the troops speech, so that was good.

Showtime

Lorraine: Sunnydale Bus Station. A young woman of color (LOOK KIRSTI) (K: Season 7, otherwise known as “that one time Sunnydale had POC characters who survived more than two episodes…) who is wearing some Overalls of Overall Sadness gets off a bus. I don’t actually know if she’s sad, but it’s been a while since we’ve had overalls and I wanted to call them that again.

Sweeney: Season 7 has a lot of nostalgia to deliver and those overalls were definitely plucked from early season Buffy’s closet.

Kirsti: Plus, it lets us bring back a tag that’s been languishing unused since season 3. HURRAH.

Lor: Overall Girl goes to a payphone. She picks up the attached phone book (LOL) and tries to look someone up, but the pages are missing. A shadow creeps up next to her, and it’s a Rage Ninja, or as the show would have you call them, a Bringer. Overall Girl is surrounded by Rage Ninjas. She slumps against the wall, more resigned that I’d expect a potential slayer to be, but thankfully for her Buffy is on hand to take them all down, with some punning to boot.

That all done, Buffy greets Overall Girl, Rona, and says she’d only just learned of her arrival. Rona was under the impression she’d be safe in Sunnydale and Buffy is all, “suuuure. Safe with me.” Her follow-up to that, though, is “the next time you get attacked…” Rona is understandably displeased. Buffy welcomes her to the Hellmouth.

Wolf Howl.

Willow can’t get comfortable, sleeping on the floor in a sleeping bag. Weirdly, Kennedy is just watching her. Like, straight in the dark, propped up on one arm, watching her. (S: SUPER WEIRDLY. STOP IT, GIRL.) (K: Seriously. Willow is decidedly NOT giving off “come hither” vibes. Tone down the creepy juuuuust a touch.) She continues to come on super strong by telling Willow to hop up in the comfy bed with her. Willow plays like she’s perfectly fine on the floor, just uneasy since Buffy is out grabbing another Potential. Giles has the coven looking for more of them, so there should be more coming. Kennedy says that if they don’t get another bathroom with this many girls in a house, things might get ugly. She isn’t speaking from experience, though, because she grew up in a house with wings. Like, sections not appendages that allow it to fly. You probably didn’t need that clarification, but I like to go the extra mile.

K: I approve of this clarification because the idea of a house that could fly suddenly makes Kennedy much more interesting.

Lor: Well, none of that. She meant sections.

Kennedy doesn’t want to talk about her past, though, she’d rather hear about Willow’s witchcraft deal, asking, her to show a trick. Willow’s all, “yeah, no. Go to sleep.” There were some strong feelings about Kennedy in the last post’s comments and one scene does not a character study make, but all I kept thinking was, “YOU ARE NO TARA MACLAY.” Then again, when Tara showed up, I was all, “wtf. Who is this chick?”

Sweeney: I don’t remember her enough to have feelings, but throughout this whole scene she definitely needed to chill the fuck out.

Lor: Downstairs, the other Potentials aren’t sleeping either. Molly tells the story of Annabelle being a big pansy and running away, but I’m only half certain she’s speaking in English. A blonde Potential who has a southern accent for like 1.5 seconds tries to blame Buffy for Annabelle’s death but Molly’s all, “nuh-uh,” ’cause if you’re stupid enough to run away, it’s like natural selection at that point. Something like that. A brunette Potential who only has an accent I don’t entirely catch on the last word she says AND IS MIRANDA FROM LIZZIE MCGUIRE adds that the OG Vamp messed up Buffy pretty bad anyways. FELICIA DAY (whose avatar I will always want to date) corroborates the ass-whooped story.

Sweeney: I know everyone else was all pumped for Felicia Day and YAY FELICIA DAY, but mostly OMG OMG MIRANDA!

K: I am old and therefore have no idea about anything from Lizzie Mcguire, but Felicia Day turning up is the most excited I’ve been about this show in approximately FOREVER.

Lor: At this point, Xander tells them that he needs his sleep. (S: The lone employed person at this slumber party.) From in the corner of the room, Andrew tells them to either keep the chatter down or speak louder so he can hear them. None of these things happen because Buffy arrives with their new guest. Rona’s first question is why Andrew tied to a chair. Giles enters and sends Molly to show Rona around the kitchen.

Still in the living room, Buffy tells Giles about the Rage Ninjas that welcomed Rona into Sunnydale, meaning that The First knows they are gathering Potentials. Giles makes a mental note to warn the coven to be careful. Buffy wants to know how she can hurt The First, but Giles still doesn’t know much about their enemy. Even Anya went hunting around for information from demons and got nothing. On top of that, they also don’t know much about the OG Vamps, other than what won’t kill it.

From his Shame Corner, Andrew asks Giles how Buffy’s going to save Spike if an OG Vamp is guarding the entrance. Buffy begrudgingly admits that Andrew has a point. The blonde Potential, aka Exposition Potential, is all, “oh, Spike the vampire who has been killing people, say wuh?” Yeah, thanks girl. We remember. Buffy tries to explain Spike, but she can’t, much like the very writers responsible for this show. Stutter away, girlfriend. Stutter away.

K: Exposition Potential’s really terrible southern accent makes it sound like she’s saying “Spark” in a really terrible, drawn out attempt at an Australian accent. It’s even worse than True Blood’s Bee-yull and Sookuh.

Lor: Exposition Potential, whose real, real name is Eve, asks if they have any sort of plan. Buffy’s working on it. Giles says there is one thing they haven’t tried yet, but Anya jumps up and protests. She is not a fan of this plan, a plan revolving around visiting an oracle creature in a dark dimension. Just as long as no one is going to a cave, I should be okay.

Speak of the souled devil, here is Spike, chained to a wall. Some Rage Ninjas approach but Spike takes them out and runs away, only to come across Buffy, dressed in a dainty, light colored top. They smile at each other and Spike wakes up, still chained to a wall. First!Buffy, dressed in a dark top, knows what Spike was dreaming of. First!Buffy tries to convince Spike that Buffy doesn’t care about him and won’t face the OG Vamp just for him. First!Buffy keeps villain speeching, but Spike is muttering something under his breath. “She will come for me,” he says over and over again. Aw. I like that better than, “she believes in me.” First!Buffy gets up real close to his face and says, “no, I won’t.”

In an alley, Anya is asking a demon with a really deep hairline to open the doorway she needs, but he’s not having it on account of Anya broke his heart. Anya says it was only one kind of date, and Giles is pretty over all this gross demony reminiscing. Finally, Anya offers to sleep with the demon.

You need to stop asking demons and vampires, friend.

K: She’s like the polar opposite of Xander – he’s inadvertently turned into a demon magnet over the years, whereas Anya seems to suddenly be demon repellent.

Lor: Giles takes over from here and tells Torg to open the portal or else he’ll sic the slayer on him and his clients. Torg quickly makes a fist and pulls on a claw growing out of the back of his hand. He flings some blood, chants a thing and bam. Portal open. Giles and Anya go through.

Once inside, they find a really big eye. LOL, KIRSTI.

K: I hate everything. At least I’ve had 11 years to adjust to this particular eye.

Lor: Chez Summers. Willow answers the phone and it’s someone from the coven. She wants to chit chat, but the person calling has some serious news. In the dining room, Xander is untying Andrew, who asks for some care with his “joystick hand.” Xander: I’m not gonna touch that one. The joke or the hand, Xander, because it should probably be both. Anyway, Buffy threatens Andrew against running away.

Willow joins them and shares the news that there is another Potential in town, staying at a nearby motel. Her Watcher was killed before he was able to tell anyone about it, but a powerful seer in the coven located her. Buffy figures everyone will be safe at Chez Summers since they still have a few hours of daylight left, and takes off with Xander to collect the new Potential. Dawn enters in time to see them headed off and Willow fills her in on where they are going. Dawn is less than excited about another person and doesn’t see how gathering scared Potentials qualifies as “help.”

In the basement, the girls are half-heartedly training. Eve asks why they are even bothering with training, and we learn that Rona only just found out she was a Potential, and never even had a Watcher. I’m trying hard not to think too hard about the logistics here. (K: Good plan. It’s another shining example of Whedon vagueness. I mean, neither Buffy or Faith knew or had a Watcher until they were called. But Kendra did. So it’s a long running point of vagueness at least?) Eve keeps up whining about how she’s never even seen a vampire and any of them could be called to be the slayer, and since there are so few left of them now, they’ll all just be cycled through. Felicia Day heard that there is another Slayer and this just confirms to them all that they have no idea what the hell is going on.

Motel. Buffy knocks on the door of a room while Xander peers in the window. He tells her to kick the door down, and inside, they find a dead Potential. Buffy rolls her body over and finds Eve. Eve who we just saw in the Summers house. We cut there and First!Eve tells the girls she doesn’t think the Slayer can protect them. The First has kind of been showing up and whispering things in people’s ears, but I suppose now we know it can show up in a form that multiple people can see. The First could be anyone. It could be Cordelia sleeping with Connor, WHICH MAKES SO MUCH SENSE NOW. IT WAS PURE EVIL.

Sorry. One day I’ll get over that.

Sweeney: Their numbers in both the OTTP and Brain Bleach categories suggest that nobody expects you/us to get over it anytime soon.

K: It will be with us until the day we die. There is insufficient brain bleach on the planet to counter that horror.

Lor: Chez Summers. Andrew asks Dawn why the slayer always has to be a girl because a guy slayer would apparently kick ninja ass, which he demonstrates with some hand gestures and a bad pun. Dawn assures him that Buffy can kick ninja ass, but Andrew is skeptical, since Buffy was bested by the OG Vamp. Dawn tells him to STFU and stop pretending like anyone there is his friend. HILARIOUSLY, Andrew brings up Spike again, asking why they are even going after him when he’s such a bad killer. Dawn says that he was being controlled by the First and has a soul now and they need his help and OW SHOW. THAT IS MY HEAD YOU KEEP HAMMERING.

Andrew thinks he can help too since he used to be an evil genius. Dawn tells him that she has permission to kill him if he talks enough, leading Andrew into some 007 geek talk that leaves Dawnie super confused.

Andrew huffs over to the couch and laments how alone he is, prompting Dawn to remind him that he did kill his only friend. Andrew says she doesn’t even know, but she doesn’t plan on finding out either. He again insists he can help, since he has his ear to the ground. Dawn just leaves him alone.

Buffy gets back home in a rush, and the Scoobies +Andrew follow her down into the basement. She yells at First!Eve to get away from the Potentials. Everyone wonders what’s going on and, in pieces, she explains that Eve is dead. First!Eve thanks the girls for the slumber party, as she’s gathered a lot of useful information. Plus, she promises to send an OG Vamp later that night to tear them all to pieces. First!Eve disappears.

K: With a jaunty little “TTFN!” as she goes, because she’s a child of the internet generation.

Lor: Beljoxa’s Eye, which is in fact A GIANT EYE MADE UP OF SMALLER EYES. LOL. KIRSTI! LOOK! IT’S PULSATING. Sorry. A little sorry.

Sweeney: LOLOLOLOLOL

K: You’re not even remotely sorry. Either of you.

Lor: That… is true.

Anyway, the Eye says The First cannot be defeated since it’s been around forever and ever. Giles can’t accept this as an answer. Does this mean The First will just win? The Eye can’t see the future, just the present and the past. Anya hilariously says, “Yes, we’ve all got that—it’s called memory.” Giles asks why The First is attacking the slayer line now. The mystical forces surrounding the slayer line have been altered, not by The First but by the slayer herself.

Back at Buffy’s house, Felicia Day thinks they should run, but Buffy tells them that it’s safer in than out. That’s hard for them to believe, since The First was living among them for a few days and no one noticed. Buffy tries to give them a pep talk about sticking together, but Xander reminds her that the uber-vamp is on its way. Buffy tentatively asks Willow for a protective barrier, and she says she’ll try. They don’t have many other options. The Potentials all start arguing, complaining and fearing for their lives again. Buffy looks at Willow across the table and without a word, they both stand and walk out of the room. Xander sees them and says, “what?” though Kennedy thinks he’s speaking to her. He walks out with B and Willow, and in the kitchen, they listen to the Potentials still bickering.

Sweeney: I love this little scene – with or without the reveal of what’s actually happening there. Seven seasons later the Scoobies are now the grown-ups, guiding a new generation of teenagers through apocalyptic terror.

Lor: Torture Caves. First!Eve sends OG Vamp to the Summers home to kill them all except for “her.” The First morphs into First!Buffy and creeps about having Spike all to herself.

Chez Summers. The Rage Ninjas all line-up outside, not moving, but just looking at the house. I hope none of the neighbors look outside for any reason, though I’m sure if you live on Revello Drive, you stopped looking outside years ago. Buffy hands a sword to Rona who asks what the point is. Self preservation, dummy. Kennedy says the point is what you stick into the bad guy. Arya Stark would appreciate that.

Andrew wants a weapon too, since he’s also in danger. Buffy hands him a big bottle of holy water. He looks at it apprehensively for a beat but then hugs it to his chest.

K: It’s times like this I really like Andrew’s character. He has his little moment of “HEY, I CAN FIGHT TOO” crankiness when she hands it to him, but then gets all “Yeah, legit choice” and accepts it. 

Lor: Willow is alone in the hall, levitating a candle and repeating to herself that she’s facing her fears. Kennedy interrupts her, having apparently heard about Dark Willow and claiming she would’ve almost like to see that. It’s a stupid thing to say. YOU ARE NO TARA MACLAY. Ahem. Sorry. Willow explains all about The First breaking and entering into her body the last time she used magic. She could feel and taste evil. Kennedy asks what evil tastes like and Willow, bless her heart, says “a little chalky.”

The OG Vamp arrives. It bangs on the door and the camera pans a little so we see everyone standing in the Summers living room, just waiting. OG breaks down the door and Willow starts to chant, slowly, and like it pains her. Her eyes dark out and the shield goes up, but she’s not sure she can hold it up. Buffy tells everyone to run, and they all do.

Outside, they take out the few Rage Ninjas stationed there and keep running. Inside, the shield goes down, and OG takes after them.

Alley. Giles and Anya exit the portal, Anya’s hair looking like it, well, just traveled between dimensions. Legit. Giles exposits that it isn’t Buffy’s death that set things off balance, but the fact that she still lives. That isn’t Buffy’s fault. Anya realizes what this means. This falls back on her, Tara (!), Willow and Xander for bringing Buffy back from the dead. Anya: The world would’ve been better off if Buffy had just stayed dead. Giles looks like that wasn’t really what he wanted to hear.

Sweeney: That’s a truth that burns all around.

K: As if we/they haven’t suffered enough for that particular turn of events and its consequences…

Lor: Sunnydale street. Buffy decides that they need to split up. What she really means is that she wants Xander and Willow to take everyone to a safe location while she tries to distract and lead the OG vamp astray. There are some protests, but Buffy’s plan wins out. She grabs Andrew’s holy water and sends them away.

Buffy heads towards OG at a run and tries to kick him in the chest. She falls to the ground and when he leans over her, she smashes him with the holy water. It hurts him, but not a ton. Buffy runs off and OG follows her a little bit, but then stops. By the time Buffy turns around, OG Vamp is gone.

Xander is trying to rush everyone down into the safe location, which is a construction site. Rona keeps complaining and DEAR GOD. SHUT HER UP. (S: FUCKING RIGHT? EVERYONE IS AWARE OF THE GENERAL LACK OF GOOD OPTIONS, SO UNLESS YOU’VE GOT A USEFUL SUGGESTION, STFU.) (K: YUP.) Willow tells them all to take position, but the OG vamp has followed them. It’s here. Suddenly, the flood lights all come on and we see Buffy standing above them on a ledge, looking down into the construction site. Kennedy starts to load her crossbow, but Willow calls her off. “Just watch,” she says. “It’s show time.”

title star

Willow leads them away. They climb back up the scaffolding and watch as Buffy confronts the OG Vamp. Buffy tells OG that it must look good, all of them waiting for him. She forward flips off the ledge down into the open area.

“That’s all they’ve been doing for days. Waiting to be picked off. Having nightmares about monsters that can’t be killed. But I don’t believe in that. I always find a way. I’m the thing that monsters have nightmares about. And right now, you and me are gonna show ‘em why. It’s time. Welcome to Thunderdome.”

Andrew appreciates the reference and finishes, “two men enter, one man leaves.” They start to fight, and Buffy manages to get a hit in every so often, but she’s still taking some painful blows. Up on the scaffolding, Dawn figures out that they planned this all, letting the barrier fall and drawing the OG Vamp to this location. (S: Snaps for clever Dawnie.)

We cut back to that scene at Chez Summers where Buffy looks across the table at Willow. In her mind, Buffy asks, “Willow, can you hear me?” Willow answers back telepathically. B tells her to grab Xander and meet her in the kitchen. Willow calls Xander telepathically and he answers outloud, “what?” explaining that little outburst from before. In the kitchen, they aren’t listening, they are mind-talking. Buffy wants to slay the OG Vamp to get into the cave, but she wants the Potentials to see her do it. Willow says the house is not the best place for that, but Xander’s got just the place.

K: I love this. The original Scoobies, doing what they do best and showing the noobs what a Slayer really is.

Lor: We cut back to the fight in progress. OG throws Buffy through the air and she slams into the scaffolding, knocking the crossbow out of Kennedy’s hands. Buffy picks it up and shoots OG with an arrow. It barely flinches. Buffy next picks up a pipe and uses that to propel herself away from OG, but he’s right on her tail. He throws her back into the open space, and punches her repeatedly, into a pile of cinder blocks and then under the scaffolding. He picks her up and throws her up into the scaffolding, though she lands on the platform up top. OG follows her up there, grabs her by the throat, lifts her in the air and chokes her.

Molly yells that they have to do something but Willow yells at them to wait. Buffy grabs the arrow out of its chest and stabs OG in the eye. (S: An actual eyeball stabbing for Kirsti!) (K: This episode is just begging for my hatred. -_-) He drops her and Buffy uses this chance to punch it around. She’s got the upper hand now, as she grabs a piece of barbed wire and uses it to slice-choke its head off. It falls in a pile of dust.

Buffy brushes the dust off her shoulders hands and then rousing speeches the Potentials one more time:

“See? Dust. Just like the rest of ‘em. I don’t know what’s coming next, but I do know it’s gonna be just like this. Hard. Painful. But in the end it’s gonna be us. If we all do our parts, believe it, we’ll be the ones left standing. Here endeth the lesson.”

K: I LOVE the “here endeth the lesson”, because it’s a great throwback to the Master saying the exact same thing in Never Kill a Boy on a First Date, and also to Spike saying the exact same thing in Fool for Love. Buffy’s learnt her lesson well over the years, and now she’s the teacher.

Lor: Kennedy smiles appreciatively and we see the girls following Buffy out of the construction site. As they leave, we see First!Eve watching them and scowling, for today it lost an uber-vamp and next, a Spike.

Torture Caves. Spike is still tied up when he sees someone coming. It’s Buffy, and we know it’s really her because her face is still cut up from her recent fight and because she’s wearing a white, flowy shirt. She’s holding up a knife for reasons that amount to, “suspense” and “because.” Spike tells Buffy, thinking that it is the First, that it can’t hurt him. Buffy approaches him slowly and cuts him loose. He touches her, realizes she’s real and smiles. They give each other super intense looks and she helps him out of the cave.

That was a good scene. I like when they don’t talk too much.

Now, I totally get what they are trying to do with the Potentials. Buffy greets Rona, “Welcome to the Hellmouth,” which brings us all the way back to the beginning. So many of the hang-ups they all have are ones we’ve heard Buffy express, from “what’s the point,” to, “I don’t want to die.” I get that, but having them all expressed together and over and over again and once we’ve already matured with the show? It became grating at times, which is a shame, because with a little more dexterity (and perhaps a more talented cast of Potentials…) it could’ve been a wonderful piece of commentary. But again, as with some many things in this last couple of season, it’s heavy handed.

Sweeney: Indeed. I realized in the comments section on the last post that I need to be prepared to eat my flail on the subject of the Potentials, because mostly I adore the concept – unfortunately, it seems to fall into that same sledgehammer storytelling that they’ve been relying on for a season and a half now.

Lor: That, in large part, caused the first half of the episode to drag. It was a lot of repetition of things that really could’ve gone without saying. The whole eye in the portal thing was weird. Like it belonged on Angel weird. (S: Accurate description of inexplicable levels of weirdness.) The Spike scenes were also repetitive. Since Spike is a sleeper agent, I really don’t get why The First is spending any time on him. Sing a little song, First, and send him on his evil way. I’m glad that’s (apparently) over.

I enjoyed the big showdown. From the moment the Bringers surrounded the Summers house, things got creepy. I liked the confidence that Buffy had in herself to defeat the vampire and I liked the confidence her friends showed in her to let her. I liked that in the end, Buffy fought this thing all alone, all for the purpose of recruiting some allies.

It equals out to a net #meh for me.

K: That’s pretty much where it’s sitting for me too. There were some great scenes and some awesome reminders of how far we’ve (the Scoobies have) come over the past seven seasons. But some of this stuff is like being hit repeatedly with an anvil. The idea of the Potentials is great. The execution – having to develop that many individual personalities in so little time – is, as the girls have already said, lacking.  

 

Next time: Buffy takes the Potentials out on the town and Dawnie feels left out in Buffy the Vampire Slayer S07 E12 – Potential.

 

Lorraine (all posts)

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





Sweeney (all posts)

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





Kirsti (all posts)

I'm a 30-something under-employed librarian and I still live with my parents because I'm super broke. Leader of Team Heartless Cow. I have an inexplicable love for 90s television, eat too much chocolate, and tweet about the random crap that happens to me on public transport more than I should.





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  • kat

    Can I just say how much of a great actor James Marsters is? The look on his face at the end of the episode when Buffy rescues him speaks so many volumes.

    • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

      Even with one eye swollen shut!

      • Zovc

        You’re just trying to provoke Kirsti, aren’t you?

        • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

          UNINTENTIONAL BONUS.

          • Melbourne on my Mind

            >.<

    • Alicia

      Agreed. SMG is awesome in that scene too. Sometimes with either of those two I’m just like what is your face? They both have some lovely face-acting moments in the series, no words required. It seems to be a particular strength of his though. I’m thinking of things like when he goes from wanting to kill Buffy to wanting to comfort her in ‘Fool for Love’ or when he sees her alive in ‘Afterlife’.

  • Laura

    This is my least favorite episode, sandwiched neatly in my least favorite season. I also find it incredibly grating and heavy-handed. I think most of my problem with season 7 (exemplified by this episode) is that the writers started off with a definite endgame in mind, but very little idea of what to visit along the way. So we have a storyline that would have, in any earlier season, been a one-act maximum plot… and they stretch it out over an entire episode. Season seven is almost all menacing evil, rousing speech, repeat ad nauseum all season until one final grandiose finale. It would have made a much better mini series or movie to wrap up the series than entire season of television.

  • Democracy Diva

    The look on Giles’s face when Anya offers to sleep with the demon . . . that is the only reaction gif I will ever need again, as long as I live. IT’S JUST TOO GOOD.

  • Zovc

    OK, confession time: I haven’t seen Doctor Horrible. As a result, I only have a vague idea of who Felicia Day is, and thus was not overly excited to see her, since this is the only thing I’ve seen her in. She is the second-least annoying potential, though, so there’s that.

    Sorry not sorry that I’m glad Eve died. That “Southern” accent causes me physical pain. I don’t understand the terribleness of these accents; it seems to me the production staff would have figured out who can do what accent during the casting process. Apparently not.

    I thought I didn’t dislike Kennedy, but it turns out I do. I just remembered the stupid/insensitive/bratty stuff she is going to do and say, so I’ll join in complaints later. For now I will just question the idea that someone who had a watcher apparently understands so little about magic.

    I love Willow’s line about evil tasting “a little chalky” to death. I always think of Pepto-bismol, because I swear that’s liquid chalk.

    I understood everything Andrew said about Bond. This makes me happy and sad at the same time.

    Again, didn’t like Buffy’s speeches. She always seems to have one ready, and they’re not all particularly well-written. It would be one thing if these semi-prepared speeches were a trait of this show, like in The Dark Knight or The West Wing, but they weren’t a thing before now.

    Eyeballs, eyeballs everywhere, and not a stick to poke. There seems to be a lot of eyballs and trauma to them this season. Sorry, Kirsti. Seriously, though, “there’s a portal to an oracle in another dimension” is the most Angel-y thing ever on the show.

    Overall, it’s the same story it’s been for the last few episodes: a couple nice character moments, but nothing special outside of the plot advancing.

    • Clément Polge

      Yeah agreed for the speeches, they have some cool part, but they just drag on for EVER, and in this case the fight that followed was underwhelming, to say the least.

      And Dr Horrible is great, you really should watch it.

      Felicia Day also wrote and star in The Guild, which is a really cool webserie.

      • http://www.saraswearsalot.blogspot.com/ Sara

        And apparently she’s in Eureka? I’m only on S3 of Eureka, so I don’t know her yet…

        • Zovc

          Wow, you got to season three of a SciFi original series that *isn’t* Battlestar Galactica? That’s pretty impressive in my book. I saw about half of season one of Eureka a few years back, and Ms. Day had yet to show up.

          • http://www.saraswearsalot.blogspot.com/ Sara

            Season 2 of Eureka was wonderful! Season 3 is much harder to get through. And I actually never finished BSG. Weird? I made it halfway through the last season and stopped watching…

        • Nicole von St Ange

          She is! And if you like geekiness, watch the Guild. It’s fantastic and eps are quite short!

    • Melbourne on my Mind

      DUDE. MIND MELD, because I always think of Mylanta when Willow says that evil tastes chalky. Ain’t nothing chalkier than antacids, except for actual chalk. Also, thanks for reminding me of the pending future eyeball trauma. I’ve just established that I have to cover that episode, so excuse me while I go and cry for the next week. Knowing what’s coming doesn’t make it any less traumatic.

      • Zovc

        I hadn’t thought about the schedule, so my sympathies on covering that incident. These shows really throw everything at the audience to freak them out. The one that gets to me is (Angel spoilers) jura Natry tbg fhax gb gur obggbz bs gur bprna. JNGRE VF RIVY.

  • SnazzyO

    Dear Snark Ladies –
    Thank you. This went up unexpectedly early and I was able to have my post-workout morning cuppa while laughing thru your review. Bless. You guys make my day sometimes. Please stay around. A lot.
    SnazzyO

    So I felt like commenting on every third thing you said because there was an awesome level of snark today (and the tea is good). Here’s a summary of my running commentary:
    - We just don’t appreciate the punning like we should.
    - Rona gets two thumbs up for immediately noticing Andrew tied to a chair.
    - Dawn vs Andrew. It’s beyond funny for me because this high school girl pwns him every time.
    - Ah Kennedy. The long scars of TV trauma (thankyou Smallville) have taught me to zen pass your blatant NOTTara-ness and appreciate that you at least appreciate our Willow. Hurt her and die.
    - Look at team Xander/Buffy. This episode was a reminder of the differences between a mature team and the potentials newbieness. I like his sudden serious “kick down the door”. It nicely changed the tone as he got all srs bzn.
    - BTW: Thanks for the Xander shout-out! I mean really, who is paying for the food for these teens? I’m guessing its a combo Xander/Buffy/Giles retirement account. Ms Wings should have brought her trust fund with her. Just sayin’. They eat a lot.

    Two favorite bits (one you’ve already emphasized):
    - The silent conversation and the way they step up as the leadership. Our babies are all grow’d up now and everything. I’m so proud.
    - The First is here because of the spell Willow/Tara/Xander/Anya did. Well damn. Now you just can’t unring that bell so MORE consequences. It’s a cautionary tale — what are the odds people will listen?

    • Zovc

      It is good that Kennedy appreciates Willow, but they’re still almost totally wrong for each other. I second your “Hurt her and die”

      I actually hate that they used the resurrection as the justification for why the First can wipe out the Slayer line. It doesn’t make sense because A: Buffy is not the active Slayer, Faith is, B: the Slayer line was altered back in “Prophecy Girl”, and C: If killing all potentials would destroy the Slayer line, why didn’t the First try that years ago? Plus, the resurrection caused ENOUGH trauma already.

      Sorry about the word vomit.

      • SnazzyO

        Legit point about Xander splitting the line first but in the choice between CPR or invoking Dark Magic, I’m okay with them blaming the dark magic disruption to the force or whatever.

        • Zovc

          It definitely is more dramatic if it’s the resurrection, but in a season with lousy continuity, that being one of the things that they choose to reference/use frustrates me.

          • darkalter2000

            Buffy was activated twice. Let me explain. Buffy was brought back and the magic had already departed her, because of deadness, and the magic forcibly restored her to her original state before death.

            My theory here is that her first death was fine and moved the Slayer magic down the line to Kendra then Faith. Buffy just continued being a slayer due to ontological inertia. She was infused with magic but lost the part that moves to the next slayer to infuse that slayer with magic. But when Buffy was buried for months her body wasn’t maintaining the magic (or anything) so it leached away. The resurrection spell had to reactivate her thus creating a flaw in the slayer lineage magic.

            I think my theory is supported by what we see in the show, if you don’t think so suggest refinements or rebuttals, please and thank you.

          • Zovc

            I think your theory is valid, and similar to my own handwave, but the show never bothers to give an explanation, or really talk about what the oracle/beholder said, and that’s part of my frustration.

          • Clément Polge

            I think it’s part of the First being part of a power cosmic or something, and have super-duper-cosmic rules to abides to, which explains why it couldn’t act until then.

            When Buffy was ressurected through magic, the natural order of things was changed, and it “legitimised” the First’s actions. At least, that’s my understanding.

          • SnazzyO

            1) I love the fact that you have a detailed theory in the first place
            2) I think this is well reasons. 20 points to Ravenclaw

          • Melbourne on my Mind

            Headcanon accepted.

        • thelovelyjazmin

          My theory is that the First got the idea to destroy the slayer line after Xander breathed all over Buffy but had to wait several years because the fancy shield and ubervampires were under the library and the First cares about book preservation.

          But really I’m convinced that the First is supposed to represent mental illness so maybe the sluggishness was appropriate.

          Or maybe Eyeballs is a liar.

  • behind blueiz

    I believe the reason why the First had placed so much stock in Spike is that he, it, whatever, believed Spike was Buffy’s Achilles’ Heel and can get the closest to Buffy. This in turn would leave her vulnerable and be killed easier. Or so the First thought. In my mind, those that are closest to you can be the most deadly. You usually don’t expect danger to come from within.

    As for why the First is here, I think it started well before Buffy’s resurrection in Season Six. It goes back to Season One when Xander brought Buffy back after the Master drowned her. That was when the Slayer line was toyed with, splintered. Buffy’s death in Season Five righted this, but then she was brought back so…

  • Angi Black

    “She’s like the polar opposite of Xander –
    he’s inadvertently turned into a demon magnet over the years, whereas
    Anya seems to suddenly be demon repellent.”

    Yes. And herein lies the chink in Whedon’s armor. He’s obsessed with opposites attract. Look in any of his work and you will find it. this is why I think the redemption story for Spike and Buffy still being drawn to him comes from, in it’s basest form.

    • Melbourne on my Mind

      The minute you said that Whedon was obsessed with opposites attracting, my brain went “HEY, LOOK AT FIREFLY”, and holy crap you are so right.

  • darkalter2000

    “Then maybe you shouldn’t have killed your only friend.” Dayyymn Dawnie. Just Damn. But also yes, legitimate criticism. Consequences happen.

    Speaking of consequences I kinda love that we had three tiers of them for the resurrection spell.
    We had the “This spell may cause apparitions”, short term consequence. We had the “This raising may cause emotional trauma”, medium term consequence. And now we have the “Warning using this spell on ancient mystical lines may cause disruption of their fundamental power causing unpredictable effects”, long term consequence. Tara said that this form of spell-casting was fraught with danger and the scoobies Didn’t Heed Her Wise Counsel. Now they have to deal with the /real/ backlash.

    • Alicia

      I never thought about the consequences exactly that way before, but you’re right. Willow(and the Scoobies alongside her), really were just ‘rank, arrogant amateurs’ to even mess with life and death like they did. Buffy being a Slayer makes everything so much worse too.

  • Wilhelmina Upton

    I love BAMF Buffy and am always happy to see her again and I am also a sucker for a good speech so these last two episodes has great moments for me.

    I am way more excited for Miranda from Lizzie McGuire than Felicia Day. #sorrynotsorry

    While Anya and Giles were with the weird I thingy, I was wondering how it actually managed to talk. I mean the thing was all eyes and no mouth.

  • Clément Polge

    I kinda want to call bullshit for this episode… I mean, they know how the First works, right ? She can appear as dead people, but she can’t take physical form. So maybe, I don’t know, have everyone shake hand before breakfast in the morning ? Ask them to do their bed ? SOME TEST OR ANOTHER, ANYTHING rather than spending a whole week with the first in the middle of everyone delivering “we”re all going to die” speeches. Morons.

    Talking of speeches, I usually like Buffy’s, but If I remember correctly we’re entering the period where each episode has a buffy speech and they’re all snoozefest. They often has one or two cool lines, and the rest is really just boring filler. The arena was a nice example of that, did we REALLY need that long a speech spread before AND after ? This bit would have been so much better with just a little bit more sobriety…

    And so much disappointment on the übervamp too, how is he in ANY WAY über ? He kicked Buffy’s ass twice, sure, but she just need to get her srsbsnss face on and she wins ? He doesn’t even seem stronger than Angelus… He’s really just a vampire, except he can’t stand straight, can’t speak, and stake to the heart doesn’t seem to work, that doesn’t really say “über” to me.

    • Alex

      Haha, I think every season 7 discussion I’ve ever seen has involved multiple people suggesting some sort of ‘handshake test’ for The First. It would make so much sense! I guess they didn’t go down that route because they wanted to keep emphasising the ‘it could be anyone’ point, but that plot point really isn’t as interesting as the writers seem to think it is.

      • Clément Polge

        But it just feels so much like common sense… This is the First’s only weakness, why wouldn’t they exploit it ?

        • Alex

          Yeah, I’m totally with you there. I also call bullshit on a non-corporeal entity being able to live in such close quarters with so many people for a couple of days without anyone noticing. I mean, at the start of this episode the Potentials are all sitting cosily together on the living-room floor. Surely it wouldn’t be long before someone accidentally bumped into her, or gave her a playful nudge, or tried to hand her a drink or something? It’s easy enough to film scenes which don’t SHOW Eve touching anything or anyone, but when you think even slightly about the logistics it doesn’t make any sense.

          • Alex

            Naq qba’g rira trg zr fgnegrq ba gur yhqvpebhf fhttrfgvba gung Tvyrf zvtug or Gur Svefg.

    • lev36

      Yes, this is definitely the season of General Buffy’s Inspirational Speeches. They do, alas, get old, but towards the season’s end, there’s one that never fails to inspire me.

      “Znxr lbhe pubvpr. Ner lbh ernql gb or fgebat?”

      • Clément Polge

        That was just the best.

      • Alicia

        I didn’t even have to decode that to know what it says!

      • Alex

        V srry yvxr gung’f xvaq bs gur cbvag. Fur znxrf n ybg bs fcrrpurf juvpu zbfgyl snyy ba qrns rnef, be whfg freir gb evyr hc gur Cbgragvnyf naq qvfgnapr urefrys sebz gurz rira zber. Ohg gura va gur raq fur svanyyl trgf vg, naq znxrf gur cresrpg fcrrpu :-)

    • Jojo

      so yes! I’ve always thought half the trauma in the house could have been avoided if any people who interact start with a high five. At least make it a challenge for the First to do some mindf*cking.

      Yeah – Buffy speech season. I have to say I kinda feel bad for her. “I could conquer the world if I could get everyone pointing their weapon in the same direction.” She does have reason for her speeches – it seems that most everyone (mainly potentials here) spends more time complaining and dragging their feet then actually doing something. Which is another reason to like Vi, and a reason to moderate my dislike of Kennedy.

      Ubervamp is uber enough for me. Much stronger and it would seem more contrived that Buffy could win on her own. But yeas – both Angel and Spike could take it down. And speaking of taking it down – that one look as Spike squeezes Buffy’s should to make sure she’s real…….FEELS.

    • Alicia

      I think the speeches do have a purpose. They’re supposed to be boring and.pretty unhelpful. It’s all part of Buffy’s arc as a leader and how well or not well she does.

  • Alex

    I think I’m with Sweeney on the Potentials. I love the whole idea of Potential Slayers, but introducing so many of them half way through the final season (and they just keep on coming) means that we just have a bunch of interchangeable girls walking around who contribute very little to the story. Most of them don’t even get lines, and those who do are written with the shallowest characterisation possible. It’s pretty weak. I think I would have loved it if there had just been two or three of them, and if they’d been introduced at the beginning of the season so that they could have time to develop as characters… but then that probably wouldn’t have worked for other reasons.

    And thank you for pointing out that the vague concept of Potential Slayers goes back as far as Kendra. When she first got introduced, I always found myself wondering why on earth she would have had a Watcher from such a young age if she wasn’t the Slayer until now.

    On a slightly tangential but still sort of related note, I always felt like the role of the Watchers’ council was never very clearly defined. They’re supposed to be inextricably linked with the Slayer, but then why does Giles apparently rank so low on the food chain? I mean, they have a Watchers’ retreat but they don’t invite Giles, the Watcher in charge of the actual active Slayer? Isn’t that job a pretty big deal? Or is babysitting the Slayer seen as the boring field assignment that you make the low-ranking Watchers do because no one else wants to do it?

    • Clément Polge

      The Watcher’s Council seem to be more about people feeling self-important than actually doing things… How many times did they retain information from Buffy when she’s the one supposed to be fighting ? How on earth does that make any kind of sense ?

      They had information on Glory, and were making her jump through hoops to give it to her (until she BAMF’d her way in at the end), now they had information on The First and on Giles that they also refused to share with her, and then they exploded…

    • Melbourne on my Mind

      Also, where the hell does the Council’s money come from?!

      • Jojo

        I kinda got the feeling that Watchers give birth to other Watchers – and the council has been around forever. I suspect when a watcher line dies out that the estate is left to the council. Then – a bit of magic and some investments – voila, a comfortable living for everyone except the damn slayer.

      • Zovc

        Just remembered that in “Sanctuary”, it’s mentioned that there are alchemists who work for the council, so presumably they turn base metals into gold. Stupid, but an explanation.

        • Jojo

          Thus raising the supply and making it less valuable.

          • Zovc

            Really, given what we know about the Watcher’s Council, are you surprised they would cause economic problems so blithely?

          • Jojo

            They probably us it as a weapon :)

  • Jessica

    I just love love love Andrew. I just love him like a really terrible puppy that poops in your shoes but then falls asleep while eating and is adorable so you keep him.

    I know the writers have failed us on Spike sometimes, but there is just something there that I can’t explain. Something that makes me love him. The chemistry, the struggle for redemption (even if it is poorly done at times), plus there is something that rings true to me about having those people you can’t explain. I have a friend like that (which is why I hated the rape scene because there is a difference between someone that you can’t explain your willingness to be patient with and a rapist).

    I’m with everyone else- love the potentials in theory, hate all of them in practice. I find them all icky.

    And the way y’all feel about Spike? That’s how I feel about Kennedy. I loathe everything about her and want to punch my tv when she is on it. She just rubs me the wrong way.

    • lev36

      I love Andrew too; he continues to get more and more endearing in a very lame and geeky way. And I’m there with you on Spike.

    • Ashlea K.

      I LOVE ANDREW. He is one of my favorites :)

    • Jojo

      I agree! Can I point out it was an attempted rape – not a rape. It kinda grows in the telling. Yes, it was only attempted because Buffy is able to defend herself, but Spike also realized and left instead of trying again. I just hate the whole -Spike raped Buffy. If you like Spike you support rape and rapists. I like Willow but I don’t like flaying people. I like Buffy but I son’t like killing humans and trying to feed them to my boyfriend. I like Giles but I don’t like him murdering someone on the chance there will be another problem someday. I like Xander but I don’t like humiliating someone I love because I am too cowardly to speak up. Hell, I like Angel but I’m not big on lawyer-snacks. But I can accept all of these things because it’s how we massively screw up that leads us to change. It takes massive screw up because if you’re sitting watching Netflix with popcorn – who wants to change?

      All the things they all screwed up oin have brought the Scoobie to where they are – wiser, more mature, more caring, and that’s true of Spike if you don’t see him as a scooby. I agree with everything you say about him.

      • Jessica

        I think the rape situation has been discussed so thoroughly here, it didn’t require clarification.

        • Jojo

          That honestly wasn’t my point, but thanks for the input.

    • Alicia

      I feel like the character transcends the occasional bad writing. I can’t really explain why I love him so much either. I’m so glad he didn’t get killed off after 5 episodes. I think he’s something special as a character, despite any construction issues(which don’t really bother me). Spike makes sense to me, even if he doesn’t to others. He’s nothing like me, but I always feel that I get where he’s coming from.

      • Jojo

        He can be a very subtle actor and he has a tremendous range. His character arc is also incredible – from who he is when he appears to who he is at the end of the series. Yeah, he’s nothing like me too – which is why I find him kind of mesmerizing. I like to deconstruct characters from a variety of media and he is fascinating to deconstruct.

        Willow and Wesley also have mesmerizing arcs – though Willow doesn’t change as much outwardly.

        • Alicia

          Yes! The entire show is Buffy’s journey to adulthood and all the challenges she has to overcome, with a supernatural twist. The other Scoobies also grow up over the course of the series. And Spike does too. Maybe that’s why I’m more understanding of him than some others, because I think he’s also becoming an adult, just like the other characters. He mostly learns the hard way, but he does learn eventually. Becoming a vampire really seems to freeze you where you were at the time of turning in terms of emotional maturity.

  • Ashlea K.

    I’ve always really enjoyed this episode, mostly for the bit at the end with some Scoobies nostalgia thrown in, but also for lots of good Andrew lines. Sorry not sorry, guys. I adore him.

    May I just say as a southerner, Eve’s accent is AWFUL. Seriously.

    Ugh, Rona. I hate her so much, even more than Kennedy. She’s useless.

    I LOVE the Slayer Thunderdome at the end with Buffy as the teacher. Also, I had slight Spike feels when Buffy actually did come for him. So there’s that.

    LOL forever at all the eyeball trauma for poor Kirsti. I was giggling at that all throughout the recap. :)

    • Zovc

      GOD, that accent. It makes me think of Jeremy Irons in Die Hard with a Vengeance, except that was *intentionally* comedic.

      • Ashlea K.

        It’s horrible. They should have just hired a southern actress or done away with the accent altogether.

        • Zovc

          Well, they managed to find someone else who could fake a southern accent later…

          • Ashlea K.

            Why, yes. Yes they did ;)

    • Alicia

      Andrew ftw!

      • Alex

        Yes! I love Andrew in this season. He went from being a silly comedy afterthought in the last season to… well, still kind of a silly comedy afterthought, but the only surviving member of the Trio! That’s pretty big. I get the impression that Whedon just found him adorable and decided to keep him around, but I do think he has a nice little arc in the background of this season.

        • Alicia

          Yeah I know he really annoys a lot of people for taking up screentime amon other things. But to me, he’s so funny I don’t care. Tom Lenk has great line delivery too. Plus the arc thing you mentioned.

  • Alicia

    This recap was particularly amusing for some reason:)

    I’m so on the OMG MIRANDA! train with Sweeney. I used to LOVE Lizzie Maguire. I think I only watched ‘Dr Horrible’ after watching Buffy so I didn’t know who Felicia Day was. I still am unsure why people get so excited about her? And from what I recall, what happens to her character made me roll my eyes a lot. I was pretty underwhelmed by it really, but that probably had something to do with how much my flatmate talked it up as being the best thing ever!

    Andrew’s line about the Potentials quieting down or speaking louder so he could hear cracked me up. Actually just Andrew in general. The scene between him and Dawn was gold. He’s such a little shit-stirrer though, when he melodramatically brings up Buffy needing to get past the Ubervamp to rescue Spike. I love how Buffy can’t even coherently explain why they should rescue a killer like Spike. It’s what I was trying to argue yesterday, that the ‘We need Spike’s muscle’ thing is partly just an excuse for getting him back. I think Buffy wants to rescue him just because. She can’t really explain it.

    I just realised that I’ve only heard Southern accents from fictional characters on TV, so I have no idea what a real one would sound like to compare it to awful fake ones. I do think that The-First-as-Eve was pretty effective in causing some trouble and sowing seeds of doubt and fear in the Potentials.

    Poor Anya, her offers of sex really aren’t going well. She’s definitely been looking in the wrong places. I love her and Giles as a team though. The eye thingy is very silly looking, in the grand tradition of Buffyverse monsters. It always sobers me up though, when Anya says that it’s her and the other Scoobies’ faults that the slayer line was screwed up. I think there’s still some uncertainty on the world being better off with Buffy dead question though.

    Buffy vs Ubervamp is a pretty good fight. But I’m not sure if I was a Potential that I would be exactly inspired by how long it takes Buffy to take him down. It seems like she struggles a lot with it. I do love the callbacks that Kirsti brought up with the “Here endeth the lesson” line. It’s definitely one of my favourites. I kinda wish that Spike was there to hear it.

    Speaking of Spike, he’s so the damsel in distress in this episode, dreaming of rescue by Buffy’s brave knight. I think the inversion is great. His dream Buffy smiles at him and is very beautiful. She’s all bright and glowy, and radiating goodness. Because that’s how he sees her. I love Spike’s little “She will come for me” mantra that he uses to keep faith.

    And, of course, I also really love the final scene when Buffy rescues him. It’s one of my favourite Spike and Buffy moments ever. I think I made the exact same little ‘oh’ noise that Spike does the first time I watched it. I love that he tries to keep up the bravado and his utter relief when she cuts him down. I love the way he sort of falls and puts his hand on her shoulder and then realises that it’s the really real Buffy. I love the way he looks at her in wonder and the way she looks at him with such emotion in her eyes. And i love the way they leave the cave together, Spike being supported by Buffy’s strength. Man, I turn into such a sap over this tiny little scene it’s embarrassing. So feels-inducing though!

    • Jojo

      Seriously agree on that scene. Yeah – the subversion of the sex roles is nice, and as I recall it’s kind of a thing this season. Of course, the men are all supporting players and not primary threats, at least at this time.

      I do like Giles and Anya together ever since Tabula Rasa – I can see why some people make them an OTP.

    • http://stephaniec.tumblr.com/ stephynee

      I think a lot of Felicia Day excitement doesn’t just come from Dr. Horrible, it’s the combination of geeky stuff she’s involved in and created herself. Aside from Whedon shows (Buffy, Dollhouse, Dr. Horrible), she’s also really successful on the internet with her web series The Guild that she wrote and starred in, and she is co-founder of Geek and Sundry. I’m pretty sure I listened to an interview where Whedon said Felicia was a big part of helping him understand how releasing Dr Horrible on the internet would work.

      I’m just realizing that I know way more about Felicia Day than I thought I did.

      • Jojo

        Don’t forget her guest starring on Supernatural!

      • Alicia

        Thanks for the info!:) She sounds cool.

  • Nicole von St Ange

    Haven’t read yet but have to say: OMG FELICIA DAY!
    *Fangirl flails everywhere*

    EDIT:
    “Like, sections not appendages that allow it to fly.” Yeah, I totally needed that clarification. Evidently I read too much fantasy.

    • lev36

      Headcanon accepted.

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