Sunday, April 21, 2013

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Lessons.

episode 123.
airdate: 24 Sept 2002.

Season opens in Istanbul. Nice music. A woman is being chased.

Buffy is teaching Dawn to slay. They're talking about something ominous that's back. The high school. Where the hell were they going to school this whole time?

Giles is riding a frickin' horse in a peaceful countryside. Willow is making a flower grow with magic. Willow is talking about how everything is connected. Willow is learning from the Devon coven, I guess. Willow no longer has the choice to not do magic, because it's a part of her and she is responsible for/to it. "In the end we all are who we are, no matter how much we may appear to have changed." says Giles.

Dawn's getting ready for her first day at the new high school. Xander has the blueprints for the high school. The Hellmouth is now under the principal's office. Buffy gives Dawn a cell phone as a first day of school gift. Do they EVER use that cell phone, aside from mayyyybe this episode? This is 2002, so it's still believable that a small town like Sunnydale didn't use them a lot then, I suppose. I had one starting in like 2000. Everyone is suuuuuper worried about the rebuilt high school when no one has even really mentioned the Hellmouth for three years. This episode is very bright, though. Already, we're meant to think this season won't be nearly as dark as the last. Buffy meets the principal before Dawn even makes it to class. "That was suspicious." It's much brighter than the old high school. I'm not into that. Buffy pokes around. She immediately sees dead things in the bathroom, of course. Buffy barges into Dawn's classroom embarrassing her.

Halfrek and Anya are having coffee. Halfrek tells Anya she's not very hardcore as a vengeance demon anymore. Also tells her there's something coming. "It's a bad time to be a good guy."

Buffy goes to tell Xander about the angry dead she saw in the bathroom. Dawn sees something in her class later. They're acting like she doesn't know anyone, but wouldn't she? It's not like everyone would be to the school, but wouldn't some of her classmates have existed at whatever other school they went to during the interim of the school being rebuilt? Dawn sees someone crying in the bathroom that also saw something. They start getting attacked.

Meanwhile, Willow is freaking out about something. She feels the earth, some of it is deep black and not good. Something about the Hellmouth opening and "swallowing us all". They're not wasting any time on fluff episodes this season! Buffy runs into the principal again and he tells her he's read her file, all the violence in her school past, etc. Dawn and the chick she met in the bathroom find someone in the basement. The angry dead are talking about how everyone dies there, etc. Dawn calls Buffy, she goes to help her. The angry dead are taunting Buffy, telling her she let them die, didn't protect her, etc.  The high school was built on their graves.

And there's Spike in the basement. Why would he be in the school's basement? That doesn't make any sense. Why wouldn't he be at home in his crypt? He looks different. He's crazy. Muttering. Not making any sense. He's been cutting himself, tried to cut out his heart. Buffy can't figure out what the angry dead are. Spike knows..."manifest spirits controlled by a talisman". Buffy asks Spike to help, but he's too nuts, so Buffy leaves him. Dawn is fighting the angry dead, Xander is looking for a talisman, per Buffy's cell phoned instructions. Buffy shows and helps fight. They're just holding off the angry dead while Xander finds and destroys the talisman. Buffy saw it earlier in the bathroom. He does and the angry dead disappear. Dawn asks Buffy how she knew about the talisman and she says "There's always a talisman." So she's hiding her knowledge of Spike, of course.

The principal sees B again and convinces her to be an almost-peer counselor. Warren is talking to Spike, then morphs into Glory, then Adam, then the Mayor, then Drusilla, then the Master, finally Buffy. They are not wasting ANY time. They've already introduced the Big Bad, revealed Spike, and Buffy already has her new job and something spooky has already happened at the high school. Whoa.

Commentary (by Joss Whedon and David Solomon) notes added 5.3.13: 

The cemetery during the teaser is actually an indoor set. So THAT'S why this scene looks so weird. It really doesn't look like the outdoors. It's all yellow. The shots in England were shot in Tony's front yard. I'm so bored with these commentaries. This is only the seventh one I've watched. Am I not a real fan? Maybe they're just bad in the seventh season. And I'm watching them backwards so maybe that will add an element of interesting to it. At least in the ones with Joss, if he's not interesting, he comments on the absurdity of his uninterestingness.