Sunday, April 28, 2013

a few stats on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.


times Giles gets knocked out:
1) Never Kill a Boy on the First Date
2) ep6: The Pack.
3) ep12: Prophecy Girl (by Buffy).
4)ep29: Passion
5)ep33: becoming part 1.
6)ep38: beauty and the beasts
7)ep39: homecoming
8)ep41: revelations
9)ep44: gingerbread
10)ep104: flooded
11)ep122: grave

times Angel is topless:
1) ep7: Angel
2) ep22: What's My Line, pt. 2.
3)ep25: Surprise
4)ep26: Innocence
5)ep31: I Only Have Eyes for You
6)ep37: faith, hope, and trick
7)ep40: band candy
8)ep41: revelations
9)ep43: amends
10)ep55: graduation day pt 1

Giles cko a book to non-Scooby:
1) ep5: Never Kill a Boy on the First Date
2)ep29: Passion.

1) ep12: Prophecy Girl.
2)ep25: Surprise.
3)ep33/34: becoming.
4)ep47: the Zeppo
5)ep55/56: graduation day
6)ep67: doomed
7)ep100: the gift
8)ep144: chosen

Times Xander saves the world:
1)Prophecy Girl, when he resuscitates Buffy.
2)ep47: the Zeppo, when he diffuses the bomb in the basement while everyone else was fighting a many-headed beast from the Hellmouth
3)ep55/56: graduation day
4)ep122: grave

times Xander falls for a demon of some kind:
1) praying mantis
2) ep16: Inca Mummy Girl.
3) ep54: Anya
4)ep136: first date

Jonathan sightings before season 6:

times Dawn screams "get out get out get OUT":
1) ep91: blood ties
2)ep114: older and far away

*I kept these as I went. At first, I was also counting the times Giles takes his glasses off and cleans them, but he didn't do it much at first and then he did it a LOT in the last few seasons and I lost count. I also may have spaced on a few times he was knocked out as well, but I think these are all pretty accurate.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chosen.

episode 144.
airdate: 20 May 2003.

Caleb isn't actually dead, turns out. Knocks Angel out. They fight. B slices Caleb in half. Angel has an amulet for someone ensouled, stronger than human, a champion. Angel thinks it should be him. B tells him he can't help because she can't risk him. She tells him to be the second front if Sunnydale "goes". Angel asks her about Spike, if he's her bf, etc. Buffy tells him Spike is in her heart. They have a little conversation about B's lovelife. B says with regard to relationships maybe it doesn't matter if she can't make it work because she's not done becoming who she's going to be. She's living in the moment. Angel wants to know when she DOES think that far ahead, who she might consider...Angel surrenders the amulet and starts to leave to work on the "second front". She gives him a little nugget of hope for their future and Angel says, "I'm not getting any older..."

When B gets back home Dawn kicks her in the shin and calls her a "dumbass". B tells the good news about killing Caleb. B goes down to the basement to talk to Spike and he confronts her about the kiss. Spike holds out his hand to take the amulet. She tells him "it's meant for a champion", then she gives it to him. Buffy stays with Spike in the basement. They cuddle again, night #2.

The First as Caleb taunts B in the middle of the night, then turns into her talking about the legacy of the Chosen One, alone. It gives her an epiphany. "We're gonna win."

We see she's shared her plan with the core group (Faith, Willow, Xander, Giles, Dawn, and Anya), but we don't know it. Willow is worried about losing control...big magic. B does a speech to everyone. Says it's about choices. B's planning to lead them into the Hellmouth the next morning.

Giles, Andrew, Xander, and Amanda are playing Dungeons & Dragons. Hot. Night # 3 and Buffy and Spike probably do it. They're at the school. Everyone goes to their jobs and it's just the core four: Buffy, Xander, Giles, and Willow joking about what they're going to do in the morning. Great moment.  Giles even says, "The Earth is definitely doomed."

The Potentials, Slayers and Spike open the seal and go in. Spike is wearing the amulet. They're looking at all the Ubervamps. Willow is using the scythe to do a spell. "I say we change the rule. I say my power will become OUR power." Essentially every Potential becomes a Slayer with Willow's spell. Willow's hair is white during the spell. Kennedy takes the scythe to Buffy. Epic battle-time.

Buffy gets stabbed, goes down, gives the scythe to Faith. Anya dies. Wood is hurt. Amanda dies. The First taunts Buffy as her.  She stands back up and Faith throws the scythe back to her. She's got seniority, so she gets to keep the weapon. Spike's amulet is tingling. It's so great watching all these girls kick ass. Spike becomes a beacon of sunlight killing all the Ubervamps. It's his soul. Everyone is running away now. We realize Spike is a sacrifice. She tells him she loves him. "No you don't, but thanks for sayin' it." She goes. The school is blowing up. Everyone is on a school bus getting away and B is the last one out. She still has the scythe. Buffy is running after them and ends up on the roof of the bus as Sunnydale falls into the Hellmouth. They stop to get out and survey the damage. Sunnydale is gone.

"What are we gonna do now, Buffy?" She's not the one and only Chosen anymore. What a super cool feminist statement. The show started with B being the Chosen ONE. She had to bear the burden of Slayerdom by herself until Kendra, then Faith. Now every Potential is a Slayer and that is soooo cool. Slayers everywhere.

*I am now officially done with my project, but I'd like to watch the commentary now, but because it's fun. My plan of attack (next project, which is really just a continuation of THIS project) is to go back and watch all the commentaries and add notes while I watch the commentaries. After this month of writing about Buffy I've written over 50,000 words and I feel like it's been a good writing camp. I feel like I'm progressing in my craft. A lot of people don't understand what I'm doing when I say I'm writing about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but to be fair, a lot of people don't understand what I'm doing EVER anyway. I think I'll go backwards with the commentaries. There are 36 of them, I think. I'll go back to the corresponding blog on the episode and add commentary comments at the end in a different color or something. Then I'm reading the comics up to date. Then maybe I'll write a book about Buffy, though I don't know what my thesis is yet...maybe I'll know when I get there. Whatever. All I know is that I'm doing two things I love simultaneously: writing and watching the best show ever made, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

**My commentary on the commentary by Joss Whedon:
Making Nathan Fillion evil must have been really hard, but they did it. Joss is talking about how the graveyard is the "perfect iconic place for Buffy". I never thought about it like that, but I think that's one of the reasons I love Buffy so very very much. Because I love graveyards. A LOT. Graveyards are a wonderful setting. This show is so literally dark and I think that's brave and interesting. A metaphorically dark show that's also literally dark. It also makes everyone look hot. Pretty much everyone on this show constantly looks hot and interesting. Angel's exit from this episode was meant to mirror his exit from the first episode he was in. Cool. I forgot he backed away like that. Cool. I'm SUCH a fangirl. To be officially done with a project I've been doing for YEARS and want to just jump back in to do some more is a really awesome feeling. I feel so engaged and happy. Yeay.

Ok, just to hearken back to a theme within my own life (I think I'll allow myself to get a bit more autobiographical during my commentary-commentaries. Is it the commentary within the commentary within the commentary? yikes.), and that theme is isolation. Both Faith and Buffy were shown as being very isolated, and duh, 'cause they're the only two Slayers in the whole world. But don't we all have this thing? The thing about us that makes us feel unlike anyone else in the whole world? Maybe not usually superpower-strength, but maybe a thing that no one else gets about us. The thing we carry like a burden, even when it isn't. The thing that makes some of us famous, some of us geniuses, etc. A feeling of other. The thing most of us don't realize is what they said in the Matrix: belief is not a prerequisite of that right? We, none of us, really speak the same language, but we try to communicate in whatever ways we personally know how. That's art, that's poetry, that's self-expression. We are constantly attempting to interpret our brains to other human beings for that one moment of recognition in the eyes of a like-minded being. That ONE tiny minute of understanding and validation. We seek it with fervor. And it's worth all the pain and suffering we endure to get there. These tiny handful of moments in our lives. It's totally worth it. We're never as isolated as we feel, and yet we are always alone. Life's great oxymoron.

The shot wherein Buffy and Spike are standing apart looking at one another before they spend their third night together, Joss explained that he wanted the viewers to fill in the blanks about what they wanted to have happened during this night. I'll tell you what I want. I want them to have had extremely intense "making luuuuuuuv"-type sex, then fallen into an extremely deep sleep wherein B actually gets 8 whole goddamn hours of restful sleep before an Apocalypse.

The moment when all the girls have to bleed onto the seal to open it was meant as an earthly menstrual cycle thing. Cool. Didn't recognize that either. Also, the thought of even though you've worshipped this character of Buffy the last seven years, find it in yourself now that she's gone from TV. Joss addresses the fact that the Ubervamps were too easy to kill in this episode. He just says, "Yeah, they were." I mean, even Anya is killing them when B couldn't do it mid-season. Whatevs.

I didn't realize that when Andrew tells Xander Anya "died saving my life" he was making it up. He was saying what Xander needed to hear, when really he didn't see what happened.

We're seeing a life that's just beginning, like B's smile at the end of the series. Joss, you devil. I love you. I know you said you'd never make TV again after Dollhouse but you didn't mean it, right? Come back!

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: End of Days.

episode 143.
airdate: 13 May 2003.

It's a sword-in-the-stone kinda thing. Caleb taunts her about not being able to "pry it from solid rock", but she does it with ease, because it belongs to her. Caleb starts backing away, his voice shaking. The First shows and tells her and Caleb "Faith go boom" and Buffy goes before killing Caleb.

The bomb has gone off. Several girls are dead. Faith is unconscious. They hear a growl and are trying to escape with Faith in's an Ubervamp after them...a few, actually. Andrew has gotten a bunch of food from an abandoned grocery store. Xander and Willow are trying to find Buffy. The girls are surrounded. Buffy shows up to save them all with her fancy new all-in-one weapon. All the wounded are taken back to the house. The girls think they've been punished because they followed Faith. B tells them it could have just as easily been her leading them into the "trap". Faith is still out. Everyone loves the new weapon. B says she felt like it belongs to her.

Anya and Andrew decide to go to the hospital for supplies. Buffy and Xander are talking about him not being at her side during the fight. Humor is back in the mix. Traditional Xander, Willow, Giles, and Buffy bickering. Thank gawd. Willow and Giles are doing research on the scythe. Willow could do a spell to intuit the origin of it, but she's worried.

Xander kidnaps Dawn and takes her away, per Buffy's request. The First does a spell to enter Caleb. Buffy and Faith bond. Faith understand a bit about what it's like to be B after leading everyone for a few days. Says she'd always been jealous of B, but leading everyone made her feel more alone than ever.

Spike shows up and he and B act weird after the night before. Buffy tells Spike that the reason she's got the scythe is because of him, the strength he gave her. Spike tells B last night was the best night of his life. He's never been close to anyone. He asks her if she was there with him and she says yes. They don't know what that means.

Anya makes a speech about how screwed up humans are. Says that stupid humans fight when it matters and don't quit. Andrew decides he's probably going to die, but he wants to go out as one of the "lame humans trying to do what's right". Buffy is on a quest to figure out why she has the scythe and its origin, letting it lead her.

A matriarch-type is who she finds. A guardian that's been waiting for her. The weapon was forged in secrecy from the shadow men (the ones that raped the original Slayer). The shadow men became the Watchers and the Guardians are women. The weapon was used to kill the last pure demon on earth. Whoa. Caleb breaks the Guardian's neck.

Dawn wakes up and Xander explains he used chloroform to knock her out. He gives her a letter from B. In the middle of reading the letter Dawn tases Xander and turns the car back around. Caleb and B are fighting now. Things are looking bad for B, then Angel shows up and helps, well distracts Caleb, then stands back and watches as B kills him. Buffy and Angel kiss. Spike sees from the shadows.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Touched.

episode 142.
airdate: 6 May 2003.

Everyone is arguing about how to organize things now that Buffy is gone. Faith finally speaks up and tells everyone to just get some rest and everyone can hatch a plan in the morning. Then the lights go out. Electric company has skipped town at this point is the presumption.

Buffy is wandering the streets watching people leaving their houses. She breaks into a house thinking it would be empty, but someone is there still. She scares him out of his own house, waxing existential. Spike and Andrew have to wait in the church throughout the daylight until they can head back. Faith is stepping up in a big way, shutting Kennedy down. She tells everyone that while she's not the one that's been on their backs this whole time, she's also not one of them anymore. She asserts herself as their leader.

Kennedy is bait. They kidnap a Harbinger and bring him back to the house to wring information out of him, but he has no tongue. Dawn knows about a spell that can help him talk without a tongue. Spike and Andrew get back. They have to break the news to Spike that Buffy is gone. He calls them traitors. Faith and Spike fight. Spike leaves to go find B by smell.

Everyone else continues with the spell. The Harbinger talks through Andrew. They're a collective, like the Borg. He (they) say something about building an arsenal underground at the edge of town. Giles slits the Harbinger's throat declaring that's all the information they need. Spike finds Buffy in that house. Buffy is depressed. Spike tells her she's not a quitter.

Back at Slayer Central, they've decided they fight in the morning. There's a place Giles and Faith decide upon on a map, not sure if it's the vineyard. The Mayor/the First shows up to taunt Faith.

Buffy is admitting that she's cut herself off from everyone, she always has. Having all kinds of insight into who she is, with Spike as mirror from a different perspective. Tells her the only thing he's ever been sure of in his 100+ years is her. Tells her he's not asking her for anything. That he loves her not just because he wants her...but because she's "a helluva woman". There it is! Buffy asks him to stay with her and hold her. So sweet.

Wood comes in after Mayor/First leaves. Faith gets defensive for a second, then tells him why she's spooked. They talk. Wood is more likable as he relates to Faith than he has been this whole season. Faith is missing B, but Wood is making her feel better. Faith seduces him. Kennedy has kicked everyone out of her and Willow's room so they can do it. I guess they haven't yet. Willow is hesitant, worried about being out of control. Kennedy tells her she's safe with her and then they do it. Anya and Xander are eating ice cream. Anya is jealous that everyone else is having sex. They end up doing it, too. Buffy and Spike cuddle all night.

Andrew is saying that Caleb and the First are protecting something at the cellar, like B thought.

B has left Spike a note, no, it's letter-sized. B shows at the cellar. Faith and the girls are somewhere else fighting the Harbingers...decoy. B is fighting all Neo-like. B finds the magical Slayer multi-weapon thing. Faith finds a bomb with 7 seconds left.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Empty Places.

episode 141.
airdate: 29 Apr 2003.

Today is the day I finish this Buffy project. Bittersweet, really.

Everyone is leaving town. Even the regular folks know it's time to get out of Sunnydale. The realest Apocalypse. Buffy isn't just going to hold back evil for a bit this time. She's going to change the world.

Buffy and Willow are at the hospital with Xander. Buffy is bailing to work on Apocalypty stuff. Xander is making jokes already. Willow tries to go along, but she starts crying. Restore Xander's goddamn eye, Willow!! This is a mystical eye death. You can fix this.

Morale is bad. Everyone feels hopeless. Anya and Andrew are trying to update the Potentials on how to kill the Ubervamps. Dawn starts asking tons of questions about how Xander is and Buffy evades. Tension everywhere. Buffy decides to leave soon after she arrives. Faith is holding down the fort, so to speak. Buffy goes to the school alone, the way she feels. Alone. Chosen ONE. She sits at her desk and cries looking at a picture of her, Willow, and Xander. Caleb comes in, mocking her crying "just like a woman". They fight. Short fight. He knocks her out and leaves. The bad guys never take their unconscious Slayer opportunities like you'd think they would.

Giles has a mission for Spike. They've found something out about Caleb, sending Spike to investigate...sending Andrew too. Faith suggests taking everyone out to blow off some steam. She takes 'em to the Bronze. Buffy gets home and everyone's out but Giles. Buffy is upset Giles sent Spike out without her input. "You sent away the one person that's been watching my back." That's a bit of an overstatement, B. She's making herself "other" when she doesn't have to be. She's also pissed that Giles let Faith take everyone out. The cops try to take Faith away on outstanding warrants. She goes outside with them and they pull guns on her. A few of the officers stay inside and keep everyone else locked in so they can't help Faith. The girls stand up to the officers and get outside to help Faith who is being beaten. Buffy arrives, tells the girls to go home, then "has a talk" with Faith. Faith suggests the girls need to mess up sometimes. Buffy is talking about the girls' safety and Faith brings up the fact that they weren't very safe when she led them into the vineyard. Good points, F! B punches her, then leaves.

Andrew is riding on the back of Spike's motorcycle. It's a bit of a road trip wherever they're going. Wood and Faith meet. There's gonna be a big meeting at the house. Xander gets home from hospital.

Buffy has a plan to go back to the cellar. Spike and Andrew arrive where they're going. A church that took in Caleb a bit ago. An inscription on the wall in a secret room in the church got Caleb all angry. He killed everyone but this one guy. The inscription says, "It is not for thee. It is for her alone to weild." The power. The Slayerness.

B thinks they need to go to the cellar because the bad guys always go where the power is and no one has been protecting the Hellmouth or the seal, only the wine cellar, so this must be where the power lies. Faith says no, they shouldn't go back in there without proof. Giles weighs in next. Buffy gets defensive and asks Giles if he sent Spike away so everyone could "ambush" her. Willow also says she's  worried about B's judgment. Buffy tells them it can't be a democracy, unfortunately, because democracies don't win battles. "There needs to be a single need someone to lead you." Anya replies, "And it's automatically you." Xander next. We all need to realize that, like it or not, Buffy is the reason two girls are dead and Xander's eye is gone. Buffy is standing her ground about "being together on this" and unwilling to compromise her plan. She tells them to fall in line. Someone suggests Faith be in charge. Faith recoils and says B just needs to "take a siesta". Kennedy suggests a vote. Buffy says "I can't stay here and watch her lead you into some disaster." Dawn tells her "Then you can't stay here." They're ousting her. Faith goes out to talk to B on the porch. B tells her "Don't be afraid to lead them."

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Dirty Girls.

episode 140.
airdate: 15 Apr 2003.

A girl is running from someone. Nathan Fillion shows up in a priest outfit and pickup truck to save her. Turns out the girl is a Potential and is trying to get to Buffy. Caleb (Fillion) tells the girl she's a whore. That all women are whores. That they can't help it. "Born without a soul." Caleb is the embodiment of our society. The literal interpretation of a patriarchal society. He brands her with his ring after heating it with the cigarette lighter in the truck. He has a message for the Slayer. Stabs the girl and whispers the message in her ear and throws her out of the moving truck. Willow finds her and she's with Faith. Faith is back!!! Yeay!!!

Xander is masturbating thinking about the girls. He gets interrupted by one of them. Not sure they knew what he was doing, 'cause he's covered up. Faith and Willow are at the hospital with the injured girl. Faith goes to find Buffy, runs into Spike in the cemetery first. She doesn't recognize him at first. Spike recognizes her by description. B shows up. Faith fights a vamp. Everyone is very guarded around Faith, understandably. Spike explains part of the tension is about Giles trying to kill Spike.

The First is talking to Caleb within Buffy's visage. Caleb used to be a priest, but now serves the dark side. Caleb was the one who blew up the Council and organized the Harbingers.

Andrew sums up Faith to the Potentials in a dramatic montage of of flashbacks of her story arc on the show. We even see her fight a Vulcan because Andrew got the volcanologist Faith killed confused with a Vulcan. Buffy makes up with Wood. He fires her. Tells her she needs to focus on the fight, the "mission". B needs to figure out how to get paid for this shit.

Faith goes to the basement to smoke a cigarette away from the girls upstairs. Spike is down there on his bed. They bond a little. Both of them on a redemptive path. Faith flirting a bit, mentions when they met when Faith was in Buffy's body. Spike remembers exactly what she said to him. That whole bit about galluping and warm champagne. Faith says he should have known it "wasn't blondie behind the wheel. She'd never throw down like that." Spike disagrees. B sees them talking in Spike's bed.

The girl Caleb stabbed is awake. The message is that Caleb has something of the Slayer's. So, he's calling her out. B is going to get whatever it is back and she's bringing the girls. Buffy asks Faith why she came back. Faith is a little defensive. Buffy is trying to forgive, but it's hard. She's a bit jealous because Faith helped Angel and was flirting with Spike, though she's not saying it.

The Potentials are questioning Buffy's motives and Xander defends her

Xander: I've been through more battles with Buffy than you all can ever imagine. She's stopped everything that's ever come up against her. (Buffy and Faith walk in, unbeknownst to Xander.) She's laid down her life, literally, to protect the people around her. This girl has died two times and she's still standing. You're scared. That's smart. You got questions, you should. But you doubt her motives, you think Buffy's all about the kill, then you take the little bus to battle. I've seen her heart, and this time not literally. And I'm telling you right now that she cares more about your lives than you will ever know. You gotta trust her. She's earned it.

Faith: Damn! I never knew you were that cool.

The Potentials have to fight a bunch of Harbingers in an old vineyard. Caleb shows. Kicks Buffy and Spike's ass real quick. Breaks the arm of one Potential. Kills two others. They retreat, but not before Caleb pokes out Xander's left eye. Omg, Xander!

The last scene is everyone in the hospital. Everyone blames Buffy for taking them there. She keeps trying to be proactive, but it's feeling pretty hopeless at this point.

Commentary notes:

Commentary by Drew Goddard and Nicholas Brendon: It seems like this might be one of those commentaries wherein it's less about concepts and ideas and more about "Remember shooting this scene?" So, I may have nothing to say.

Ohhhh, Xander is in his apartment in the scene when he's masturbating. I never realized he wasn't at Buffy's. This makes sooo much more sense that he was at his apartment and several of the Potentials were staying with him. ok. I was assuming everyone was staying at Buffy's, including Xander.

Drew says each act starts with the different ways men objectify women/how the male gaze misinterprets women. Act 1 is Xander having a pretty harmless fantasy about a few of the Potentials. Nicholas Brendon is a little crude and he might have just made a slightly racist joke, but I didn't get it, so I might be wrong.

Themes of Big Bads-
season 2: bad boyfriend
season 3: male authority figure
season 7: ways men try to take power away from women

act 2 begins with Andrew retelling Faith's story arc with all the clips. Not sure how that's about the male gaze objectifying and misunderstanding women, besides Andrew not really being there for Faith's arc.

Ew. Apparently they were thinking of having a Faith spinoff with Spike as another main character which was why they had that scene with Faith and Spike. That would have been weird. I can't wait to get caught up on the comics. Even just beyond the Buffy comics, there are Angel and Spike and Faith comics, I think too. I want to know ALL the Buffyverse! Bwa ha haaaa.

Nicholas' favorite episodes are: Once More With Feeling, Hush, The Body, and Restless. Lots of really good ones.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Lies My Parents Told Me.

episode 139.
airdate: 25 Mar 2003.

1977 is when Spike kills Wood's mommy. And Wood sees some of the fighting. In present time, Spike saves Wood. He wants to avenge his mom, anyway. Giles is ranting about the new library at the school: "Not a book in sight!" Giles and Buffy talk about Spike, his trigger, his chip, and his soul in front of Wood. Giles is going to put a bug in Spike's head so they can find out what the trigger of the trigger is. It takes him back to his past, reading his poetry to his mother.  She's sickly with tuberculosis. She begins singing to him. It's the jaunty tune that triggers him. He goes nuts, then the bug crawls out of his eye. Giles asks him about the song. He's reluctant to talk, but through flashbacks we see that after he was turned he wanted to turn his mom, but Dru was against it. Ok, another hole in the plot: In season 6 Spike mentions he had to crawl out of his grave, but his mom just revealed that she'd been worried about him being missing, presumably for the days it took for him to change. She would have thought him dead if he had been buried, yes? Since Dru turned him on purpose, wouldn't she have kept his body somewhere so that he didn't need to resurrect from a grave? Spike turns his mom. Willow gets a call from L.A. from Fred. She has to go away for a few days. Buffy unchains Spike against Giles' wishes.

Wood talks with Giles about the "problem" of Spike. Wood mentions the name of the Watcher that raised him and Giles puts it together that Spike killed his mom. Wood says Spike's "an instrument of evil" and wants Giles' help. Keeping Buffy at bay for a couple of hours while Wood kills Spike. I forgot Giles agrees to this. He takes B out for a training session in the cemetery. Wood is "looking after" Spike in the meantime. Takes him to his garage which is decorated with crosses. Wood pulls up the mp3 of Spike's trigger song on his computer and plays it because he wants to feel less guilty about killing Spike by killing the monster in the man.

Another Spike flashback. His mom is changed now and she is super mean to him and doesn't want to spend eternity with him. So the lie both Wood and Spike's mom told their sons was that they were important to them, but they were a lot less important than they needed to be. The lie Giles is telling Buffy is the deception of distracting her while Wood attempts to kill Spike. Giles intuits that Buffy would sacrifice Dawn to save the world, if faced with the same choice now. She agrees. Wood is actually doing some damage to Spike. Spike's mom tries to rape him, he kills her. Flashbacks endeth and he comes to, he's worked out the trigger after getting some closure on the whole killing-his-mom thing. He's gotten over it and is now fighting back with Wood. Spike is all Neo now. Just in case we were still worried about the trigger, Spike goes over and plays it from the computer again and he doesn't change. He tells Wood he's going to kill him and bites his neck.

Buffy realizes Giles is distracting her and she runs to Spike. He didn't kill Wood after all. Spike tells Buffy he gave him a pass and let him live because he killed his mother. Buffy goes to Wood's aid. He's pretty beat up. Buffy tells Wood she understands, but Spike is a warrior they need. Buffy threatens Wood that if he ever tries to kill Spike again, he'll kill him and B will let him. "The mission is what matters." which is the same thing his mom used to say to him.

Giles tries to explain to Buffy. Buffy says to Giles, "I think you've taught me everything I need to know." She shuts her bedroom door on him. Giles, why? Damnit, Giles.

Commentary notes [5.1.13]:

Commentary by David Fury, Drew Goddard, James Marsters, and D.B. Woodside: I'm almost ten minutes into the commentary on this episode and haven't had anything to say yet. This scene wasn't really shot in New York, this shot was hard to do, bla bla. No new insights into the show itself. James isn't talking a lot, which is sad. It is kind of cool to know that the shot where the stone that drops from Spike's eye took 30 minutes, just to shoot a rock and get it in frame. If it were me doing that I'd be so impatient and think I was wasting my time, but art takes time, man. I love it. I read a quote today from Gloria Steinem...something like "writing is the only thing I do that I don't wish I was doing something else while I'm doing it." I'm paraphrasing, but that was essentially it. And I love that thought. When you're doing your thing, taking half an hour to get a two second shot of something is worth it. It's your fucking art. You take hours/days/weeks to paint a masterpiece if you're a painter and these things can be translating to any passion. Weeks to knit an afghan. A month to write the first draft of a novel. Etc etc. I love it. I want to do the art!

Ew. They picked the actress that played Spike's mom because she looked like an older Buffy and they named her "Anne" because that's B's middle name. Oedipal stuff. Ew. 

Spike is an anomaly as a vampire. He's the only vampire on the entire show that retained a portion of his humanity as a vampire (without a soul). When Angel becomes Angelus, he doesn't retain any humanity and no other vampire really does either. They might have a semblance of their former personality, but no empathy, really. 

The scene with Giles and Buffy in the cemetery was shot like ten days apart or something. They're not even in the same space at the same time. Weird. I notice the disconnect now that I know about it. I felt weird about that scene before, but I thought it was because I was mad at Giles for plotting to take out Spike.

Originally the scene with Giles and Buffy included Giles admitting that he killed Ben. That makes me feel better knowing that. It makes sense that he would choose that moment to tell her, when he's giving a speech about when to sacrifice and when not to sacrifice people for the greater good. Nice knowing a version like that exists, as Lloyd Dobler would say...

This episode is about killing your parents, both literally and figuratively. B has to shut out Giles after what he did. Spike actually literally kills his mother. Wood has to live on when his mother has been killed, and he has to move on without the kind of closure he thought he'd get. Spike has some closure too, beyond whatever closure he might have felt by killing his mother.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Storyteller.

episode 138.
airdate: 24 Feb 2003.

Andrew is telling his version of everything that's going on through his own video diaries. It's super hilarious and awesome, of course. He's interviewing everyone and following B around as she slays. Buffy gets into another speech and Andrew slips out of the room as B tells everyone about the vision she saw. Via Andrew, we get a much needed reprieve from Buffy's speeches. Andrew is retelling the story of him being a "super villain" and "facing Dark Willow". It's also cute. I love episodes like this.

Everything is crazy at school. Buffy is trying to help everyone. A girl is disappearing, someone throws rocks at Wood, a kid explodes from stress. Andrew interviews Anya and Xander. Anya tells Xander "You still love me." Buffy tells Wood about the vision at the seal. He gets possessed for a second, calls Buffy a "whore". Xander and Anya love each other and both admit they don't know what that means. Andrew gets it on tape and watches it over and over.

Flashback to Andrew and Jonathan in Mexico. They dreamed about the First Evil. There was a flash of the row of cheese from "Restless" too for a sec. Why are they dreaming about it? They don't have special powers or anything and I can't imagine the First really finds them useful enough to lure them back to Sunnydale. They're questioning Andrew, since he was the first to see the seal. The knife the First had him get to kill Jonathan has an inscription on it. So maybe since the knife was in Mexico, that's why the First used him for its bidding. There's been rioting at the school. They're taking Andrew to the seal because he knows the language on the knife that the seal responds to, or something. There's still kids rioting and they're violent. When Andrew and Buffy get to the seal they find chanting kids that have turned themselves into Harbingers. Anya and Xander did it. They're unsure what this means. They decide it was probably a "one more time" and now they're ready to move on.

The seal is glowing. Buffy tells Andrew his blood (the blood of the one that opened it) is the thing that closes it. She taunts him. He cries. When his tears hit the seal, it closes. After it closes (or stops glowing, rather) the rioting upstairs stops. Andrew tells the camera he might not live through the fight and that he killed his best friend. He's finally dealing with what he did.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Get It Done.

episode 137.
airdate: 18 Feb 2003.

Buffy is checking on everyone sleeping. There are so many girls everywhere. The First Slayer pushes her down the stairs and tells her "It's not enough". Dream.

Spike and Anya are bonding about how crowded the house is getting, hanging out, on their way to the Bronze to get drunk together. Anya keeps making allusions to when they had sex, hinting that she'd like to again. Spike tells her to drop it.

There's pandemonium at the school. Things are percolating. Wood gives B a bag of Slayer stuff that used to belong to his mother. It was supposed to be passed down to the next Slayer when she was called, but he wasn't able to part with it until now. Wood wants to see where she works. B shows him her house. The Potentials are all training in the backyard. Kennedy is training them military-style. Wood is analyzing their form. Like HE gets to say if they're ready or not. Then he says "Show me the vampire." Why is she just following his orders? Ugh. I don't like him, in case you haven't noticed. Wood is mean to Spike, asking him a lot of pointed questions. Dawn went through the Slayer bag and updates B on the contents. Some books, weapons, and an "unopenable" box. They find Chloe (a Potential) has hanged herself. The First convinced her to off herself and makes threats to everyone in Chloe's visage. Buffy buries her and does a speech to everyone. "Chloe was an idiot, weak." Tells them they need to use the power they have. Spike tries to leave because he's "neither a girl nor waiting". Buffy confronts him too. She doesn't think anyone is using their full potential. Buffy tells Spike he was a better fighter when he didn't have a soul.

They break out the Slayer bag and invite Wood over as Buffy breaks open the box. Inside the box are some puppets that cast shadows on the wall. They tell the story of the origin of the Slayer. Earth, then demons, then men, then the men found a girl and made her fight the demons, by chaining her to the earth, then darkness. The thing starts spinning out of control, then there's a portal. B goes through it. A demon replaces her. Now without Buffy, everyone needs to use their full potential to fight this demon. Spike especially steps up to the plate. Lots of house destruction, as per usual. Willow needs to find a way to get Buffy back. Buffy is in the desert. Anya suggests they leave Buffy there, because of her "Everyone-sucks-but-me speech". Willow is worried about going off the deep-end if she does a spell as intense as opening a portal, but she knows she has to step up, too. They figure that they have to send the demon back in order to regain Buffy.

Spike is going after the demon, but he needs to get something first. Some tribal-dudes tell B she's the "hellmouth's last guardian". They tell her they can give her power and knock her out. Willow's starting the portal. Why don't they do this outside? Buffy wakes up chained to the earth. They tell her they brought her back to the beginning. She says she brought herself here and that she doesn't need any more power. They ignore her. They used the spirit of a demon, its essence, to essentially rape a girl and THAT'S how they created the Slayer. Men raping is how the almighty chick warrior was created. If that's how it's done, why aren't we all Slayers? The black energy is coming at her, to "become one" with her. They tell her this is how it HAS to be. She screams it out of her mouth, it goes for her other end.

Spike is putting on his leather jacket for the first time since before the soul. Willow is all black-eyed trying to open the portal. Xander thinks she should stop. She sucks all the energy out of Kennedy and Anya, then the portal opens. Xander pulls Willow out of the circle as her hair turns turns back after she gets out of it. Spike is fighting the demon with his old gusto. Wood has seen him in the coat. Even though it looks like a normal leather trenchcoat, he recognizes it as his mother's.

Buffy's refuses to be "knocked up by some demon dust". She wishes to retain her humanity and fight the First on her own terms, not theirs. She frees herself, tells them they violated the girl that became the first Slayer, and fights them. Spike kills the demon and lights a match on his tusk. The lead tribal-dude accepts that Buffy is not going to take the power offered to her and shows her a vision. We don't see it at this time. Spike brings back the dead demon to the portal and B is transported back. Willow apologizes for taking Kennedy's power. Kennedy is having a hard time dealing with it and doesn't want to spend the night with Willow.

Willow talks to B. She tells her she rejected the power offered to her. Now we see an army of Ubervamps, too many to count. Like a Zion orgy of Ubervamps. OMG.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: First Date.

episode 136.
airdate: 11 Feb 2003.

Let me just start by saying that it makes NO SENSE WHATSOEVER for Buffy to go on a date with Principal Wood. He's not my type (he's too clean), but it's not the whether-or-not-she-could-be-attracted-to-him thing that's throwing me, it's that there's a big honkin' evil brewin' and it's out of character for her to let loose and go on a date with some guy that she THINKS doesn't know her sitch, plus there has been ZERO flirtation between them before this episode. ZERO. It would be too exhausting for B to do something like this. I guess it fits in with her periodical I-wish-I-could-be-a-normal-girl whine, but it just feels flimsy. It feels like the writers did this as a way to integrate Wood into the storyline quickly and make Spike jealous at the same time. Another episode I just want to get over with, so let's do it...

We finally see Giles responding to the ax incident with some serious BADASSERY. Hot. See, it can be hot for a man to kickass too, but in mainstream pop culture it's just taken for granted that every male protagonist is a badass and that's boring. On Buffy when someone is a badass, they've earned it. Giles is recounting his story of being a badass in the cemetery with B, Amanda, Kennedy and a new Potential from China, when Spike attacks him. Giles notices his chip didn't go off and Spike notices simultaneously that Giles isn't the First, which is why he attacked him (which is also weak plot-wise, because why would Spike launch himself into Giles if he suspected he wasn't corporeal? He would then fall facefirst into the ground if Giles was the First and reveal he no longer has the chip, as he did do, if he wasn't. Ugh. So many things to criticize in this season). In my hastiness of bitching about the plot details I paused the DVD and Giles just asked Spike how it was supposed to help if he was the First that he just launched himself into him. That helps a little. So now the topic of discussion is why isn't Spike in pain? Buffy and Spike explain. Giles is upset, like he would be. He's regularly touching things again. It's soooo obvious. Urg. 'Course I say this now, but I didn't notice it the first time around.

Giles confronts B about making the decision to remove Spike's chip. Buffy tells him Spike can be a good man. Giles tells her he can hear in her voice that her feelings for him are "coloring her judgment". He's not wrong, but I think she made the right decision. If she chose to repair the chip and Spike kept to his path of redemption, it would have malfunctioned in another three years maybe anyway and they'd never know if he really means to be good. This way, if he intends to be bad again, B will know definitively and be able to make the choice to kill him. This is all my two cents, not something that is said in Giles and Buffy's convo.

Xander sees Ashanti at some outdoor tool place and asks her out. He is always so charming when he meets a cute girl and asks her out. Boys, THIS is how you pick up a girl. Study Xander Harris on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He employs humor, awkwardness, and doesn't AT ANY POINT mention her looks. This is such a cliche and should never be done. Here endeth the lesson.

Wood asks B out by simply saying, "I'd like to take you out to dinner tonight, if that's all right." Lame. If these two men were asking me out, assuming I didn't know either of them before the meeting and all I had to go on was their style of the asking, I'd choose Xander every time. Even if the Xander-outer-package were something other than Xander's cutie face. Wood has a weapons arsenal behind a dry erase board in his office.

Buffy thinks she might like him. Willow and B are having a normal BFF convo about getting a date which is sweet. Then Xander comes in and shares about his date.

Willow: She evil?
Xander: She's interested in me, so there's a good chance, but I'm hoping for the best.

Jonathan/the First tries again to get Andrew on their side. Tries to convince him to kill the Potentials with the gun Willow got when she was turning into Warren. Anya is telling B she thinks Xander's date is not a real date, that he's trying to make her jealous.

Buffy: Well, it's not working...
Anya: Are you nuts? Of course it's working! Observe my bitter ranting and the shrill edge of hysteria in my voice!

Buffy runs into Spike in the hallway and Spike lets her know he knows about her date and acts real big about it. It's so hot when he's mature. Willow, Kennedy, Dawn, and Amanda are researching Wood and can't find anything from before he moved to Sunnydale. Giles thinks people shouldn't be dating right now. Wood is leading B through a dark alley to a restaurant. They get ambushed by vamps and they both start fighting, staking them all in no time. She's confused, but he isn't. He knows she's the Slayer. Ashanti and X are talking about Anya on their coffee date. Another disparity between these two men's dating styles is that Xander asked Ashanti to coffee and Wood asked B to a super-fancy dinner. I'd rather the less-pressure coffee situation.

Wood hired B because she was the Slayer and he knows something big is coming and wants to align himself with B for the fight. He's known about B since before he came to Sunnydale, possibly why he came. He reveals that his mom was a Slayer, killed when he was 4. So that makes 1975 the time period if he's ten years older than B and it's 2003? Why doesn't she put this together immediately that his mom is Spike's second Slayer? Whatever. B asks him if he has any Slayer powers and he says no, but his mom's Watcher raised him and taught him some skills. Andrew finds the gun and shows it to Jonathan/the First. Andrew asks him about his weaknesses. Andrew is wearing a wire. Willow is listening in the basement on headphones.

Ashanti has Xander tied up at the seal and she's planning to bleed him. Ashanti has a nice Akasha vibe going on. Willow gets a text from Xander in code. Spike goes to get Buffy. They know Xander is at the school because Willow did a locater spell. Spike, Wood, and Buffy in a car together. The seal starts to open as Wood cuts Xander down and B and Spike are fighting Ashanti. After Buffy beheads Ashanti, she checks on Spike first, before Xander or Wood. Xander asks B how her date's going. Wood gives a pointed look to B and Spike. Nipped THAT in the bud real quick, thank gawwd.

Everyone makes fun of Spike for demon's being attracted to him. Giles silences them from their joking, makes them get serious. Killjoy.

Buffy and Spike talk. Spike tells her the First told Andrew it "wasn't time for me yet". Spike says he should go before it is time for him, leave town. B says she needs him, because she's not ready for him to not be here. Spike asks about Wood. She doesn't say anything.

Wood is being haunted by his mommy/the First. She's beautiful. She tells him Spike is the one that killed her. Wonder what's going to happen now.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Killer In Me.

episode 135.
airdate: 28 Jan 2003.

Giles is still not touching things. I didn't realize they dragged it out this long. Giles is taking the girls out to the desert for a vision quest like the one he took B on in season 5. Spike is chained up in the basement. Kennedy faked the flu to stay home with Willow. Spike's chip starts malfunctioning, going off without reason. Kennedy takes Willow to the Bronze on a "mission". A mission that's really a date.

Spike is dealing with some intense neurological pain. Kennedy and Willow are relating. Buffy is trying to call Initiative dudes. When they get back to the house, Kennedy kisses Willow. Willow turns into Warren during the kiss. Kennedy is freaked out. Willow looks in the mirror. She runs downstairs and everyone else freaks out. Willow thinks she brought it on herself because she feels bad about killing him. Buffy offers to help. Willow says she'll figure out how to fix it herself. Kennedy follows her. Buffy and Spike go to the Initiative caves. Spike thinks there might be some sedatives down there, 'cause they used them on him before when he was captive there.

Xander gets a call from England. The Council-guy describes the sitch we saw with Giles' head almost getting an ax in it. They (Xander, Andrew, Anya, and Dawn) realize they haven't hugged him or seen him touch anything since he arrived. They have to find him in the desert, since he's alone with the girls. That's so lame that he couldn't touch anything for like 4 episodes. He seemed weird the whole time. Shouldn't have dragged it out so long.

Willow goes to consult with the old Wiccan group she tried to join when she was a freshman. Amy is there and she apologizes to Willow for being a bad friend and shizz. The group tries to help. Willow calls Amy a "dumb bitch" and slaps her. The "glamour" of Warren is making her turn into him.

Wouldn't there be like, NO oxygen in the Initiative after 3 years being sealed off? They hear something, decide something must have survived. Kennedy pokes around after the Wiccas disassemble and Amy mentions something about Kennedy being a Potential, when she hadn't mentioned that. "Oops" says Amy. WillowWarren is buying a gun.

Everyone attacks Giles in the desert. It's funny. He's not the First.

B kills the thing in the Initiative. Then all the lights turn on and the combat dudes show up. Riley has sent them to give Buffy whatever she needs to help "assface" (what Riley called Spike). The dudes give B the choice to either repair the chip or take it out. Big decision, B. Whatcha gonna do? Time to work without the safety net?

Amy tells Kennedy she did a penance malediction spell. Willow's subconscious chose the way she'd be punished. Amy is jealous of Willow. Amy transports Kennedy to B's backyard and WillowWarren shows up with the gun, trying to reenact when he killed Tara and shot Buffy. Kennedy talks Willow into triumphing over Warren. Willow feels super guilty about kissing Kennedy, because it means she let Tara be dead. Kennedy kisses her back into Willow. Lame.

Commentary notes added 5.2.13: 

Commentary by David Solomon and Drew Greenburg- I'm almost thinking it's not worth my time to listen/watch the commentaries not done by Joss Whedon. It's mildly entertaining to hear their cute stories about what happened during the filming of the episodes, but I feel idle when I have nothing to write about, like now. When I originally wrote the blog above, I had a lot more to say. Usually in these commentaries, which is why I haven't watched many of them until now, there's a lot of stroking each other's egos. "You acted so well in this scene!" "Sarah did incredible here." "Remember when you broke your finger and couldn't shoot this scene?" Which is all normal stuff people that made a thing would say while watching the thing, but not particularly interesting.

Every single scene with Warren/Willow was shot (every line AND every angle) by both actors. In the Initiative scenes when they were lit with only flashlights, the camera-operators were wearing mylar so that when Sarah and James shined the flashlights in their direction it reflected back at them. Cool.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Potential.

episode 134.
airdate: 21 Jan 2003.

Spike is being used in a lesson. He pretends to attack the Potentials while B teaches them skills. There's some sexual tension between Buffy and Spike. I know this makes me a big girl, but some of my favorite scenes are the ones where Spike gives one of his "you're a helluva woman" speeches to Buffy.

Giles thinks the First is in remission for a bit. Buffy is doing another speech about it. Telling the Potentials they're special. Dawn is sitting on the stairs feeling left out because she's not one of the Potentials.

Willow just got news. A Potential is in Sunnydale according to someone in the coven. B is taking all the Potentials out for a group patrol. Willow is doing a spell to lead her to the Potential in Sunnydale. The light hits Dawn so they think she's a Potential. It's a big deal. Dawn has to process. She sneaks out.

B takes the Potentials to a demon bar. They run into Clem. Dawn runs into a friend from school. She got attacked by a vampire. She trapped it in a school-room and ran away. She was on her way to Buffy's to get her, because people talk. So Dawn and her friend (Amanda, I think) go back to the school. Dawn thinks she can fight it, since she's a Potential. The vamp is after them now that they've opened the door. They run. Dawn hits it with a fire extinguisher.

B is giving the Potentials a tour of a crypt. A vampire wakes up, recently turned. Buffy is telling them to know their environment and how to use it. As she's saying this Dawn is fighting pretty valiantly in the chem lab. Buffy and Spike lock the girls up in the crypt to kill the vamp on their own. As Dawn and Amanda are fighting the vampire a bunch of Harbingers show up and grab Amanda. This is Dawn's moment of realizing she's not the Potential, Amanda is. But the really cool thing is that even though she's not, she was the one fighting while Amanda was cowering in the corner. Dawn believed she was a Potential. Maybe there's not something totally special about the girls called. Dawn can fight because she believes she can. Because it's all about knowing your own strength, your environment, all that stuff Buffy said. So now, not only are Dawn and Amanda fighting the vampire, they're fighting the Harbingers. Dawn surrenders her weapon to Amanda who does some serious damage all of a sudden. Buffy shows up with Spike, Xander and Willow. Buffy is never told they thought Dawn was a Potential.

Xander gives Dawn an extremely moving speech about how they (Potentials, Buffy, Magical Willow, Werewolf Oz, all their friends with special powers) will never know how it feels to be ordinary, like he and she are. He tells her he saw how she handed the reigns to Amanda the second she realized Amanda was the Potential. He said, "You're not special, you're extraordinary." It was great. Really wonderful moment. I gotta wonder if Joss knew about them already.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Showtime.

episode 133.
airdate: 14 Jan 2003.

Another Potential arrives in town. Harbingers finds her, but B is in tow and kills 'em real quick. Potentials are arriving to stay with Buffy daily from all over the world.

Kennedy is flirting with Willow. She insisted upon staying with her in her room. Xander is there too. Why doesn't he sleep at his own apartment? No one can sleep. Anya's hair is getting lighter again. I was enjoying her brunette-ness, but she is always a vision. The Potentials are all worried all the time. Spike has been being tortured for days now, at least. He's fighting his way out right now. He sees B. Oh, wait, that was all a hallucination. He's still tied up and the First-as-Buffy is taunting him. Telling him Buffy won't be saving him.

Anya has an idea to talk to an Oracle to get information, but they need a demon to open a portal, so Anya is trying to sweet-talk a demon she slept with once into doing it for her. She offers him sex and he rejects her, then Giles threatens burning down his restaurant or something. What does that mean, feminism-wise? He responds to the threat from Gile, but not the offer of sex, because Anya is a human now and the demon doesn't find her attractive in human form. I don't know what it means, but this season is weaker than I remember it being. Joss didn't write very many of the episodes. Just the first and last and maybe another one or two I think. The overall story arc is still solid, but a lot of the details are sloppy.

Giles still isn't touching anything, in case you were wondering. They untie Andrew because they're sick of watching him, but he's still not allowed to leave--an obedient hostage. Willow talks to the Coven on the phone and they tell her another Potential is staying at a motel in town...arrived two nights ago. They've turned the basement into a training area. Xander and Buffy arrive at the motel room. Potential Chick doesn't answer, so they break in. The Potential is dead and it's Eve, one of the Potentials that's already at B's house, or so they thought. She's garnering dissent towards Buffy, telling the others Buffy can't protect them, etc. Andrew is so nerdy and hilarious. Buffy confronts the First.

The Oracle says the First cannot be destroyed. It has always existed and will always exist. Giles asks why it hasn't tried to destroy the Slayer line before now, and the Oracle says the opportunity hasn't presented itself until now. Something about how the mystical forces surrounding the Chosen One have been altered (with Buffy's resurrection? When Faith was called? something else?). Giles asks. Oracle answers that the Slayer altered it. By having friends?

The Potentials are being super annoying. But they would be. Buffy, Xander, and Willow are talking telepathically, but you don't see what they say. The First sends the Ubervamp to Buffy's with instruction to kill everyone except B. Willow is doing a protective barrier spell. Willow describes what it felt like to be embodied by the First when she tried to do that locating spell's all scary and descriptive, then she says, "I could taste it." Kennedy asks, "How's evil taste?"

"Kinda chalky." ;)

Willow can't hold the spell long, so they go out the back door, killing Harbingers along the way. It slows the Ubervamp down a bit. The Oracle has concluded that the reason the Slayer-line vulnerability exists is because Buffy came back from being dead. Anya feels guilty for bringing her back. They're splitting up...B is distracting the Ubervamp while Xander gets them all to a safe place. Xander takes them to his site, the future Sunnydale Public Library. Ubervamp shows up soon after. Everyone is expected to fight. Buffy is standing back. It was a setup, Dawn realizes. We see the scene when X, W, and B talk to each other in their minds. They planned it all, even down to Willow not being able to hold her barrier spell. Buffy has brought them here to learn how to fight. To see a fight actually happen instead of waiting at the house all the time, worrying.

That's so cool they can talk to each other telepathically. It must be leftover from their conjoining spell at the end of season 4, because Buffy initiated it, not Willow. She finally decapitates him with barb wire and he dusts, after a totally epic battle. Buffy does a speechy-speech.

Buffy finds Spike. Spike thinks it's the First. She cuts him down. They both cry. He leans on her and I think this is the first time he touches her since you-know-when when she hasn't recoiled.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Bring On the Night.

episode 132.
airdate: 17 Dec 2002.

Xander is fixing the house, again. "It's a loop, like the mummy hand." Buffy sees Joyce for the first time. The thing that's super haunting about the First Evil is that it's effectively dead people. It embodies the persona of people that have lived. It becomes them. When she's talking to what looks like her mother, it acts like her mother, talks like her mother, remembers everything her mother would remember. Everything. It is the PERFECT plot device for the last season of this show too because it means you get to see anyone that has died, anyone Buffy has killed, all the old villains, even any vampire is fair game since they're technically dead. Joyce tells Buffy to wake up. Joyce was in a dream instead of in person, apparently. Buffy keeps it a secret from Xander who was the one actually telling her to wake up. Spike is being taunted at the seal by himself, then Drusilla.

Anya and Dawn are still enjoying torturing Andrew, who is now unconscious. Xander calls the seal "Satanic man-hole cover" and "goat-heady badness". Buffy decides they should cover the seal (Spike wasn't there, by the way) and they shovel, like you WOULD shovel, not like Wood shovels. And they see him in the basement. They've all got shovels, attempting to explain why they all have shovels. Willow attempts to do a locating spell to see if they can find the First, but it embodies Willow and there's red lightning and it's super scary. Willow is pretty freaked out and B promises they won't use magic again until they know what they're dealing with. Buffy decides to go out willy-nilly to find the First by herself when she finds Giles at her door with three Potential Slayers. Giles tells them the First's plan is to kill Faith and Buffy and ALL the Potential Slayers so that another is never called ever again. Pretty straightforward evil. Giles took a bunch of books and files from the Council concerning the First before they got blowed up. He tells them the First can only appear as someone who has died.

*Foreboding note: Giles isn't touching anything. He always touches stuff. That's part of why Tony Head is such a compelling actor, because he uses props (eating, glasses, mugs) all the time as he talks, but he's just walking around with his hands in his pockets and no one even hugged him when he got there. This is so they can make you think he's the First in an episode or two. And they are actually not letting him touch anything. And we never saw how he got out of the whole ax-behind-the-back thing from a couple of eps ago. I'm paying super attention this time to see if he actually ever touches anything.

The Ubervamp is torturing Spike. I don't know why. Just for fun? Kennedy is flirting with Willow already. Giles and Buffy are investigating the Christmas tree lot where the Harbingers were camped out 4 years-ish ago when the First tried to get Angel to kill himself. B finds the Ubervamp. She stakes him but he doesn't dust. He's really strong, but not quite as strong as Glory. Buffy decides to run. The sun was coming up, so it recoils when it follows her above ground.

Buffy goes to work and Googles "manifestations of evil". Wood acts real suspicious. I guess the reason they're torturing Spike is to try to convince him to join their side. He won't, of course. The Ubervamp is beating him to death.

The Potentials are super worried about sundown. Giles is putting a lot of pressure on B. Annabelle, one of the Potentials, runs away and gets killed by the Ubervamp real quick. Buffy goes after her and finds her dead. Another Ubervamp fight ensues. He's beating the living tar out of our heroine. M keeps saying, "Level up, Buffy!" Xander, Giles, and Willow find Buffy under a bunch of rubble. Not sure why the Ubervamp didn't finish her off. Morale is real bad because Buffy is so badly beat up.

Buffy makes a rousing speech. "We just became an army."

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Never Leave Me.

episode 131.
airdate: 26 Nov 2002.

Xander is fixing the house. Anya, Dawn, Willow, and Xander are worrying about Spike being evil again. Warren is trying to get Andrew to kill someone else. Jonathan didn't have enough blood to open the seal, apparently; anemic.

Bondage fun with Spike and Buffy. Well, not as fun as their bondage used to be, presumably. But, um, he's tied to a WOODEN chair. Like he's not strong enough to get out of that. And he's tied up in Buffy's room? Wowwww. Ok.

Dawn goes to tell principal Wood Buffy is sick and is way graphic about it. She really needs to call the Council about stuff. The Council doesn't know where Giles is. Spike is having withdrawals from human blood. Andrew is supposed to kill a pig. It's really cute. The pig AND the attempted stabbing. He has to go to the butcher shop instead to get the required blood. If he could just go to the butcher shop this whole time for the blood required, why did he have to kill Jonathan in the first place? Willow sees Andrew at the butcher shop because she was there getting some blood for Spike. Andrew and Willow have a fun nerd-off. Willow drags him to B's as hostage. They tie him to a chair and "torture" him for information. It's hilarious. Anya slaps him. Buffy's room is so girly. It's so contrary to how she dresses and who she is. I suppose she's still clinging to the girliness of her youth?

Spike explains that having a soul is about self-loathing and he understands why B had sex with him, because she hated herself. "As evil and as wretched as I was, I never truly hated myself back then." Buffy hears Spike singing through the door before she goes back into the room after checking on Anya and Xander. He breaks through the chair, as predicted, and pulls Andrew through the friggin' wall, biting him.

Buffy explains the sitch to everyone and Xander intuits that the song is a trigger. She hatches a plan: Willow and Dawn are in research mode and Xander is doing something. Principal Wood goes to the basement of the school and finds Jonathan's body on the seal.

Back at B's, they now have Spike chained up for REAL this time, in the basement with metal chains. Spike tries to convince Buffy to kill him. Taunts her with information about how badddd he used to be. She gives him a rousing speech about how he can be a better man, that she believes in him.

Wood is burying Jonathan. He does NOT know how to cover a grave. Pretty boy ("with perfect almond shaped eyes. Is he an Egyptian prince?" says my husband) has never operated a shovel in his life, probably. I think they picked the wrong actor for this character. He's so vanilla for a Slayer's son.

Harbingers break into Buffy's house and wreak a ton of havoc. They take Spike. B tells everyone it's the First because B recognizes the Harbingers. There's pandemonium at the Council. Casualties. The First Evil has declared war. Quentin wants to fight back, finally, and is giving a big speech, then they blow up, like the building, with explosives and everything.

The Harbingers are bleeding Spike at the seal. Why would they choose him? It would only alert the Slayer to what they were doing. The seal activates and the first Ubervamp comes out. He's scary and stuff.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Sleeper.

episode 130.
airdate: 19 Nov 2002.

Buffy wakes Xander up at 4:30 in the morning looking for Spike. He's digging a grave, humming a jaunty tune.

London: a black robed figure is killing people from the Council. Willow arrives home to see Dawn amidst the wreckage of their house. Dawn tells her about her mom talking to her. Willow tells her not to trust what Joyce said to her. Xander and B talking about Spike when he gets back. I think they put Vaseline under Spike's eyes to make him look so sweet. B mentions Holden (psychoanalyst-vampire) and Spike doesn't bat an eye. Buffy convinces Xander to get Anya to watch Spike, not let him leave the house, in case he is killing again.

Buffy gets home and Willow explains what they went through the night before. "This big evil that keeps promising to devour us? Well, I think it's started chomping."

Anya starts snooping around while Spike is sleeping. He's naked. One thing about this show I'm not sure if I've mentioned: men are almost always the ones shown naked. Spike has been shown in a lot of almost-nudity, in a sexualized manner, several times. And Angel too. I believe most of the gender roles on this show are just straight reversed. Spike does look yummy laying there with a little side-flank showing. I'm really starting to think that it's not that women have less sexual desire, just that our sexuality is so fused with guilt and so NOT pandered to, at all, in our culture, that we just think we don't think about it. Having desire and not following through makes us teases. Not having desire makes us prude. But we're supposed to react sexually to a man just because he WANTS us. I'd rather see some effort, myself. A little side flank, perhaps? But not overly sexualized, like women. I'd like NO ONE to have to be overly sexualized, please. Nudity shown on Buffy is almost always male, sexy, but not flaunted in a trying-too-hard or vulnerable way. Male or female, confident, just-there nudity is a concept I can get behind!

So, Anya's snooping and Spike wakes up. She tells him she wants him, again. He rejects her and she's a little offended. After the sun goes down, Spike leaves and Anya let's B know. Spike hums a jaunty tune again and B is following him this time. Watches him flirt with a girl and take her off somewhere. There's a big crowd (some kind of festival?) so it takes a second to catch up to him. When she does, she taunts him, "You know you want it. You know I want you to." Then he bites the girl. Then he runs away guilty as B turns into Spike. You get that it's the First at this point, yes? Next scene the real B pushes Spike out of bed asking him if he killed the girl. Spike says he talked to the girl is all. Tells her he can barely live with what he did, says it haunts him. He says he talks to other women because he can't talk to her. Tells her he got the soul for her. That he passes the time, but it's still all about her.

B tells Spike that Holden told her he sired her. Spike is genuinely confused. B says he looked like he was on the prowl, not lonely. Asks him what happened. Spike is fuzzy on the details but he knows he wouldn't forget the taste of human blood.

The next night Spike starts to worry he did do it. Xander tries to stop him from going out, but he punches him. And it hurts, so the chip still works. Spike is asking around for a girl he remembers talking to at the Bronze. Aimee Mann is playing. He's in the balcony drinking out of a flask. A vampire comes up and starts hitting on him. She tells him he bit her. They start fighting. Spike stakes her and she falls over the balcony, dusting as she falls, interrupting Mann's "Pavlov's Bell". Everyone stares for a second, then the band goes on. Buffy is trying to find Spike. As the band is leaving, Mann says, "Man, I hate playing vampire towns." He he. Spike is on the payphone to B, telling her he's starting to remember doing bad things. Then he's faced with himself telling him he's going "against the plan". Spike shows B to the house where he's been burying the bodies. He's telling Buffy everything. As he's telling her everything he remembers, which isn't much, the fake Spike starts singing the jaunty tune. Sees him change. They fight. The buried resurrect as they're fighting, so B has to fight all of them. Suddenly Spike remembers everything and he freaks out, leaving B to fight the others alone. She kills 'em all real quick.

Spike is cowering in the corner. He offers her his chest. Buffy can't kill him. He asks her for help. She says she will. B isn't letting Spike out of her sight.

Giles finds the other Council members, something comes up from behind with an ax....credits.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Conversations with Dead People.

episode 129.
airdate: 12 Nov 2002.

This is an important episode, so don't fuck it up, Stephanie.

Take us home, Angie Hart. Love this song. In fact, I think I need to post the lyrics, because it was made FOR this episode, so it's important and relevant to the storyline:

Night falls, I fall
And where were you?
And where were you?
Warm skin, wolf grin
and where were you?

I fell into the moon and it covered you in blue
I fell into the moon
Can I make it right?
Can I spend the night?

High tide, inside
The air is dew
and where were you?
While I died
and where were you?

I crawled out of the world
and you said I shouldn't stay
I crawled out of the world
Can I make it right?
Can I spend the night....alone?

As the lyrics state, everyone is alone in this episode, and they (spoiler!) will talk to dead people. Buffy is in the cemetery. Willow is falling asleep at the school library. Dawn is at home alone.

Andrew and Jonathan are shown for the first time this season. They're coming back from Mexico. They're both having "from beneath you it devours" dreams, only Andrew translates it as "It eats you starting with your bottom."

Willow sees Cassie in the library, mentions Tara. Dawn is being terrorized by some weird spirit and can't turn the TV off, etc. Buffy is fighting a vamp that turns out to recognize her, but she doesn't recognize him. He majored in psych, so he psychoanalyzes B and it's really one of the better analyses of Buffy on the show. Dawn is hardcore being poltergeised or something. She hears her mother's voice on the radio and sees her mom a few times. Jonathan and Andrew arrive at the new school library. They are still hilarious, in case you were wondering. Andrew sees Warren. There's some sort of plan orchestrated by dead Warren. Andrew has to sacrifice Jonathan at the Hellmouth. Cassie tells Willow Tara couldn't come herself because of what Willow did. "You killed people. You can't see her. That's just how it is." It breaks my heart when Willow says "Tara". We see Spike meeting and later walking with a woman. Cassie tells Willow she can't use magic every again. Tells her she's going to kill everybody. Jonathan makes a sweet speech about how all the pain of high school has melted away with time. Dawn is doing a spell to cast out the poltergeist. Buffy admits Spike loved her but she didn't want to be loved. Psychoanalyst-vampire tells B she has a superiority complex and an inferiority complex about it. Dawn casts the demon out, then sees her mom. Cassie is trying to convince Willow to either give up magic completely or kill herself. This is when Willow realizes this isn't Cassie talking for Tara. We see Spike bite the chick he was on a walk with. Joyce tells Dawn Buffy won't choose her when "it's bad", then she disappears. When Buffy mentions Spike's name, psychoanalyst-vampire mentions that Spike is the name of the vampire that sired him.

Andrew stabs Jonathan. Cassie threatens Willow. Mentions "the whole balancing the scales, mortal-coil thing? I'm over it." That's the clue that it's the First. Jonathan's blood fills the Seal over the Hellmouth. Buffy slays. Spike kills the girl. Dawn is sitting in the middle of her destroyed house that looks a lot like mine looked after the damn tornado.

Commentary notes 5.2.13:

Commentary by Nick Marck, Jane Espenson, Drew Goddard, Danny Strong, and Tom Lenk- Joss wrote the segments with Buffy in the cemetery, Marti Noxon wrote Willow and Cassie's part, Jane Espenson wrote Dawn's horror part, and Drew Goddard wrote the scenes with Jonathan and Andrew. This is the only episode without Xander. Now THAT is an interesting tidbit. Cassie was originally supposed to be Tara, but Amber Benson wasn't available. 

Both Cassie and Joyce were the First and they can be in more than one place at a time. That's what I assumed, but it's nice to confirm it. Jane here is talking about how Buffy is a very moral show. Everything character-driven, personal consequences, etc, but no conclusion on if there's a god or not ("eh, jury's still out"), leaving it up to the viewer to put in their own theology into the mix. Though I'd like a more Atheist stance myself, I get why they did this. Religious symbolism (crosses, cemeteries, hell and heaven dimensions) is powerful and interesting, even though I so KNOW there's no "God". 

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Him.

episode 128.
airdate: 5 Nov 2002.

Xander is putting Spike up, at Buffy's behest. Everyone wants to know why Buffy is choosing to help Spike. She doesn't know what she's feeling. Dawn doesn't get people and their complicated feelings of love. Pf course, as she's ranting about "what's up with love" she sees a boy in a letter jacket she decides is the bee's knees. He's not, in case you were wondering.

Buffy is fighting a demon for Anya. D'Hoffryn is sending demons after Anya, apparently. Anya is trying to figure out who she is and trying to be alone, but B thinks they all need to help each other.

Ugh, I so don't care about lovesick-for-football-boy Dawn. Dawn tries out for the cheerleading squad in Buffy's old outfit. Dawn is crying over this boy that she says she loves when she's known him less than 24 hours. She's acting super-psycho, so of course there's a spell involved.

Buffy has weird bangs.

Xander, Buffy, and Willow are Bronze-ing it. They see the boy there with Dawn dancing pretty provocatively in a skimpy shirt. A girl confronts her outside when Buffy makes her leave. There's hair-pulling. Then Buffy gets transfixed too as soon as he puts the jacket on. Groooooss. I just can't even comment on the grossness that's happening right now. Yes, this is going back to the beginning of the series. Dumb high school hijinks. I like it better when it's the main characters and what they're going through. Buffy is making out with Letter-jacket boy and Dawn sees. Xander, Willow, and Anya work on breaking the spell. Xander has an actual flashback to "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered". Xander gets Spike to help. They go talk to RJ's older brother. I guess Xander knew him in high school. The letter-jacket used to be his. Passed down from his dad. RJ comes over to the house and bewitches Willow and Anya too. Now all four of them are fighting. They all separate to try to get the boy. Willow is doing a spell, Buffy is going to kill the principal, Anya is robbing a bank, and Dawn is going to kill herself on the railroad tracks. Lame. Xander stops the spell. Ew, Principal Wood is listening to lame elevator music. Like a Narada sampler or something.

Xander distracts Buffy before she slays. Willow does a spell to find Dawn. Buffy saves her just in time.  Xander and Spike steal the jacket and burn it.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Selfless.

episode 127.
airdate: 22 Oct 2002.

Anya-centric episode. Xander, Buffy, and Dawn are helping Willow unpack in Buffy's old room as Xander is explaining that Anya isn't into vengeance anymore. She's going to come around. Then we see Anya sitting amid a dozen dead fratboys.

Anya, 880. Her name was Aud then. I think that's pretty much the coolest name ever. Her troll comes homes from work or something. They have rabbits everywhere.

Anya, in present time, is washing blood from her hands. Buffy is talking to Spike. He's telling her he's seeing things lately. Buffy wants to help. She tells him "It's you and it's me and we'll get through this." She's overly comforting...then the real Buffy comes in. She wants him to leave the basement. He tells her he doesn't have anywhere else to go. Willow sees Anya leaving the frat-house and tells her how excited she is to be coming back to school. Anya has a cover story of a boy she's sleeping with. Willow notices blood on Anya's hand and goes into the frat-house to check it out. She finds a lot of blood and then a crying girl in the closet. The girl tells Willow a story about being humiliated in front of all the frat-boys and she says she said "I wish you could know what it was like to have your hearts ripped out". Oh no, Anya. It was a gigantic spider that Willow threw out the window real quick.

Back to 880: Anya has just turned Olaf into a troll and D'Hoffryn visits her, introduces himself. Suddenly they're speaking English. He renames her Anyanka and offers her a job.

Willow calls B to tell her about the spider demon. Halfrek is congratulating Anya on her frat-boy mayhem. Anya is upset. Willow goes to confront Anya. Anya tries to tell Willow those boys got what they deserved. Xander and Buffy go to find the spider demon. They find it. Buffy kills it. They go back to Buffy's and B talks about "hitting the research" but Willow is there and tells them how it got there. Buffy says she has to kill Anya.

1905: Halfrek and Anya are celebrating after she facilitated a huge massacre. Xander is defending Anya. He wants there to be some way to not have to kill Anya. "This isn't new ground for us. When our friends go all crazy and start killing people, we help them." Buffy makes a big speech about how someone has to draw the line and "it's always going to be me". Xander is telling her she acts like she's "the law" and she totally does. He brings up Spike. Buffy really could try to talk Anya out of being a demon...give her a little chance. Xander leaves to try to find another way as Buffy leaves with a weapon. Willow does a spell to summon D'Hoffryn. She wants to talk to him about Anya.

Xander finds Anya, lamenting about her kill. Warns her Buffy is on her way. Then she arrives and Buffy and Anya fight. Buffy stabs her in the chest.

2001: Flashback to "Once More, With Feeling" episode. Anya sings a sweet song about becoming his wife. Flash-cut to Anya waking up from being stabbed. She pulls out the sword. They fight some more and Xander pushes Buffy out of the way before she stabs her again. D'Hoffryn arrives. Deal is this: the life of a vengeance demon to take back the lives of the frat-boys. Anya chooses to sacrifice herself. D'Hoffryn chooses to kill Halfrek instead, right in front of them. She's ousted as a demon and she wishes she was dead. Xander goes after her. He tells her she shouldn't be alone. Anya tells him she's always let herself be defined by others. She needs to be alone for the first time. Anya is so interesting.

Commentary (by Drew Goddard and David Solomon) notes added 5.3.13:

Anya and Olaf (actors that played them, of course) spoke 8 pages of Swedish for the scene with Aud and Olaf. Aud is the name of an actual Viking woman known for her sense of humor and money-managing skills. How hilarious is that? God, I love the name Aud. LOVELOVELOVE. I have to make a character named Aud in a novel or something.

The thematic death of the vengeance demon in Anya was when Anya gets stabbed just as she's saying, "I'm a vengeance....."

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Help.

episode 126.
airdate: 15 Oct 2002.

Buffy, Dawn and Xander crawl out of coffins in the mortuary in order to stalk a potential vampire. So, usually they don't rise 'til they get to the cemetery...why do they think this one will rise before the grave? Seriously, was someone else writing this season. Joss, you still there? The chick does come back and Buffy slays.

It's B's first week talking to the kids in her counselor role. Xander and Willow are talking about whether or not she can control her power. Xander makes a power versus control hammer analogy that's pretty awesome. They're visiting Tara. That's such a piece of total scheibe (I know that's not accurate, but I am approximating without German characters) that Tara's gone. She was the most like me of any character, I think. She was shy, goth-like, sweet, and wise. Not that I think I'm wise, but if I were more actualized as a person, I'd be a lot like Tara, I think.

B is talking to a cool chick (pictured) who says she hasn't been doing her homework because she's not going to graduate high school. Buffy asks her why she's not going to graduate and she says next Friday she's going to die. Buffy first suspects suicide, but she says she doesn't want to hurt herself, there are just some things that she knows. Buffy tells the principal. He says, "We just do what we can." Buffy gets Dawn to befriend Cassie to see why she thinks she's going to die next Friday.

Buffy is snooping around a lot and Willow and Xander think she's "seeing paranormal where there's just normal." They find out Cassie's dad is a drunk so they go talk to him. He yells at them, drunkenly. He only gets his daughter one weekend a month and it was last weekend, so it's not him. Cassie sees them outside her dad's house and she convinces them she wants to live, but she simply won't get to.

Buffy goes to see Spike, ask him if he knows anything. He refers to himself as William a lot now. He starts beating himself up because he "hurt the girl", meaning Buffy. Buffy's detective-ing and it's the day Cassie's supposed to die. Buffy is doing really well being a counselor. She just wants to "help". Some boys are doing a ritual in red hoods. They've kidnapped Cassie. Buffy stops them, but they've already raised the demon. Buffy slays, Spike shows up. They save the girl. Cassie tells Spike, "She'll tell you. Someday she'll tell you." Aw.

Buffy even stops an arrow from hitting Cassie on the way out, but then she dies of a heart condition or something. She was going to die no matter what. Sometimes you just can't help. This is very after school special. Lame.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Same Time, Same Place.

episode 125.
airdate: 8 Oct 2002.

Before I start this ep, I wanted to mention that I read an academic paper on the character of Spike today ( and the author (Andrew F. Herrmann) mentioned two reasons Spike was never looking to get his chip removed, which are both totally DUH. Why didn't I think of them? So, the first reason is that in Buffy they've always been very clear about the human/mystical rules. Human deaths have to be dealt with by human rules and vise versa. Spike's chip is a human device. He would not have gone to a shaman to take the chip out of his head. I was completely distracted by the plot device of Spike saying over and over that the Slayer will get what she deserves. It just threw me that Spike would be using the same language he has always used when his intention was to KILL the Slayer. And he kept calling her "bitch" too. If he was as remorseful as we now know he was, why was he using that language? The only reason is to make us, the audience, THINK his intentions were other, and that's just cheap. Anyway, the second reason Spike was for sure intent upon a soul (and I REALLY feel like a dunce for this one) is that he could hurt Buffy with the chip. He didn't need it to be removed in order to kill her, if that was his intent. I feel sooo stupid for that one. So Spike's character growth (with respect to Buffy) is essentially thus: he was obsessed with killing her and failed, so the want to possess her changed from kill to fuck...then after being neutered he learned a bit of what it's like to be good, so that fuck turned to love and then when he realized even while in love with the girl he could still have it in him to try to rape her, he had to change. He had to BECOME the "man" he was on the precipice of becoming for the last couple of years. Cool.

Ok, on with an episode NOT entirely to do with Spike: Dawn, Xander, and Buffy are waiting for Willow at the airport. Xander is bragging about how he saved the world with his mouth (talking). They don't see her get off the plane.

We see the scene replay with Willow getting off the plane, not seeing anyone waiting for her.

A demon attacks a graffiti artist.

Willow arrives back at Buffy's. Her old room is now Buffy's, I think. No one is home. The guys get home at the same time she did, but don't see her. So they can't see or hear her. Or feel her, because they're sitting on the same couch she's laying upon. Except Willow hears the door shut when Xander closed it and they hear something upstairs just as they shut the door. Why would they hear that, but not anything else? Willow sees Anya. Anya sees her back. She's remorseful about the destruction of Anya's shop, which she is still cleaning up. Anya's wearing labradorite, I think. Willow goes to find Xander at his site, but doesn't see him. She finds a de-skinned guy that Xander and Buffy are looking at too. Xander and Buffy are suspecting maybe Willow did it. Willow goes to the school to find Buffy, or Dawn, or Spike (Anya told her Spike's "insane in the basement".). She finds Spike. Spike is talking to both Buffy and Willow, but since he's crazy, no one thinks anything of it. "Everyone's talking to me. No one's talking to each other." Now we see it from Xander and Buffy's POV. Again, why is he in the basement of the school?

Willow goes to Anya's apartment for help. I heart Anya, reason 357:
Willow: So, will you help me?
Anya: Is it difficult or time-consuming?

Anya and Willow do a spell to reveal all the demons in town. The Hellmouth section on the map catches on fire. Willow asks Anya to teleport to a spot on the map she thinks might be the thing that killed the boy and Anya says she's only allowed to teleport on official business now and that her job isn't as fulfilling as it used to be. "Turns out it's really upsetting." They kind of bond. Dawn, Xander, and B are in research mode. Dawn finds a demon that paralyzes its victim, then uses its huge fingernails to strip the skin off him/her. They decide to use Spike to lead them to the trail of blood that the demon had to have tracked back to its lair. Spike leads them to a cave. Willow finds it too. Dawn gets slashed by the demon and they take her out and seal the cave, essentially sealing Willow in. The demon is taunting Willow, talking about her friends leaving her to die. Buffy calls Anya to come watch Dawn while they go back and kill the demon. Anya mentions helping Willow and they're all like "You saw Willow?" and Anya mentions she was going to a cave. So now they know Willow might be there in trouble. They take Anya with them after all. Poor Willow is getting eaten. Anya sees Willow when they don't and Anya reassures Willow that Buffy and Xander are there. Buffy kills the demon and Anya goes to find help and Buffy and Xander start talking to where Willow is and then she appears. The next morning Buffy sees Willow meditating in her old room. Meditation healing. They talk. Willow tells B she was so worried about seeing her and Xander, that she did the spell. Buffy admits that she thought it was Willow that did the flaying. Willow understands. Buffy meditates with Willow to help her heal. It's sweet.