Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Episode Report Card
Ace: C+ | 1 USERS: B+
Triangle Xan, triangle Xan, doin' the things a triangle can

Summers home. Night. Buffy finds her mom dressed, and she and Dawn tease her about finally getting out of her bathrobe. I'm always happy to see Joyce, but the horizontal stripes she's wearing in this scene are not her friends. Dawn and Buffy leave her to get some rest. Buffy enters her bedroom and Dawn tags along behind, asking if she can hang out. She looks over Buffy's mirror and notes that she's taken down her pictures of Riley. Approving of the decision, Dawn says, "I think I would've done that sooner. Like, boom, don't wanna see that face again." Buffy protests that she was never angry with Riley. Liar! Buffy, your pants are sooo on fire. She then admits that "that's a lie" -- thank god, because I don't think I could stand that kind of revisionism occurring between contiguous episodes. Strangely, she then says, "But it's not like I didn't want to see his face," which leaves me confused as to why she took down his pictures. Buffy and Dawn discuss the fact that Buffy's friends have told her Riley's leaving was "gradual," and that she feels bad for not noticing things were wrong with him. Oh barf. Riley and Buffy's break-up is even more annoying than their relationship. I think it's natural for Buffy to feel guilty, but I don't think it's right. Riley never told her about his deeper problems, and besides, her mother had a freakin' brain tumor. Buffy explains to Dawn that the break-up, or Riley's leaving, or her not noticing that he had problems, or something, "hurts in all kinds of horrible ways." For the love of Mike, let this scene be over soon. Dawn puts her head in Buffy's lap, and as Buffy strokes her hair she assures Dawn that the pain of break-ups does eventually go away. Then she sadly muses, "Maybe he'll come back. Maybe he'll hate the jungle or maybe he'll want to give it another try." Or maybe he'll want to get a life that has some depth and doesn't entirely revolve around you, Buffy. Who knows? Stranger things have happened.

Like this next scene, which features Spike in his crypt, holding a large beribboned box of chocolates. He's giving a sincere (that's my reading, sans sound) little speech to an unseen person: "Um, there's something I got to tell you. About showing you Riley in that place." As the camera revolves around Spike and he continues to explain that he was only trying to help the Slayer, we see that he's actually addressing his Buffy stand-in, the mannequin. As he talks, his anger and frustration grow and in his, uh, interior monologue, the Buffyquin is being "dead petty" about the whole thing. Yelling (I guess), "You ungrateful bitch!" he slams the Buffyquin over the head with the box of chocolates, toppling her from her pedestal (ooh, significant symbolism?). Upon my first watching I found this both rather funny and very, very disturbing. Spike's trying, but dude, he's evil. And very angry. Spikes sighs and gathers himself together, replacing the Buffyquin and smoothing her hair. He retrieves the chocolates and tries again: "Buffy, there's something I wanted to tell you."

The ugly set. Tara, Willow, and Anya are all behind the counter. As Anya looks over receipts, Tara and Willow are gathering supplies. I know I've been talking too much about the fashion in this episode, mostly because my whole experience of it has been visual, but Willow's jacket here takes the large and unsavory Bad Fashion Cake. She's got on a Be-Dazzled jeans jacket, and as if the copious amount of studs adorning it weren't bad enough, it also has 3/4 length bell-sleeves, and she wearing a much longer-sleeved shirt underneath. Awful and wrong, just like when Xander wears long-sleeved T-shirts under short-sleeved Hawaiian shirts. Willow discusses one of the magic ingredients she's handling, explaining she tried to use it to de-rat Amy. It didn't work, but she feels Amy is now smarter and peers at Willow like "she's planning something." Anya realizes the witches are helping themselves to supplies from the store and comes over to bitch. Tara explains that they're working on a project to give Buffy a "floating ball of sunlight" to fight vamps. Agitated, Anya complains some more, and Willow accuses her of being like the mood-killing fish in The Cat in the Hat. Will we never come to the next commercial break? Since she has no twentieth-century childhood to speak of, Anya is distressed by the witches' little Dr. Suess in-jokes. Commence bickering between Anya and Willow about stealing and whether Giles would be okay with it. I'm so glad I don't have to listen to this. This way I can just close my eyes and pretend these scenes never happened. Willow offers to teach Anya a few tricks, but Anya doesn't fall for this distraction, labeling it "peer pressure." Just to annoy us all and drag the scene out a little more, Willow shows off by floating various products around the store. Poor Xander chooses this inopportune moment to show up and once again ends up right in the middle of the argument. As Xander hides behind Tara for protection from the nagging, Willow accidentally vanishes the cash register. Remember how Willow used to be a brainy hacker chick who helped out the gang by using skills that none of the others had? Well, now she's a buffoon who hinders her friends with skills possessed by just about everybody else in the gang. Nice character development, huh? I'm going to run through the rest of the scene this real fast: Anya is upset, and Willow brings back the cash register, but messed up. Willow mocks Anya by stating, "I like money better than people. People can so rarely be exchanged for goods and/or services." Xander and Tara look like they'd rather be elsewhere. I feel that, my friends. Xander gets smart and bails. Tara catches a clue, and, telling Willow and Anya they have things to work out, leaves as well.

Some time later, Willow is working on her sunlight spell as Anya notes down the dollar amount of each supply the witch is using. Willow is careful to tell Anya that speaking any word not in the ritual can disrupt the spell, so we can all see what's coming as if it were a neon pink elephant about to sit on our laps. Willow starts the ritual, and a small ring of sparkles rises from the cauldron in front of her. Of course, Anya interrupts, and the young women begin to argue. As they do so, the ring of sparkles spreads and wobbles wildly. Willow encourages Anya to say what's really bothering her, and the circle of light passes over a large purple crystal. There's a flash and some sort of sound effect, I'm sure, and a huge shaggy guy with horns -- played by Abraham Benrubi, who was Jerry the desk clerk on ER and Larry Kubiac on Parker Lewis Can't Lose -- appears in the shop. I must admit I had quite a little crush on Corin Nemec, who played Parker Lewis. He hasn't aged so well, though, and I was totally over him by the time he appeared in The Stand. But, uh, enough about me. Jerry the Troll roars at the girls, who cower, and then begins to trash the store with his large hammer. As he exits the store Willow quietly observes, "He's not a ball of sunshine."

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer




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