Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Buffy the Vampire Slayer 3.10 Amends

The Dish: Jenny Calendar wants Angel to be a ho ho ho.

Everyone should have some place to go on Christmas. For the ill-fated Daniel, it's the hell away from Angel. In a flashback to Angel's early vampire days, this Daniel fellow runs through the streets of Dublin in sheer terror. Unfortunately, Angel catches up to the poor lad, and turns him into his Christmas dinner. That's when present-day Angel wakes up in a cold sweat.

When I have a bad dream, I just watch porn but Angel decides to head out to the main drag to escape his own head...and runs head long into Buffy, who's out for some Christmas shopping. The two haven't seen each other since the Spike incident, and things are mighty awkward. Whenever I run into exes, I always pray for a friend to materialize as an escape, and it's Angel's lucky day -- Daniel appears behind Buffy. Angel freaks out and runs off leaving Buffy confused and worried. Cheer up, B, at least you won the break-up!

It's the last day of school before the holidays. The gang discusses plans -- Buffy and Joyce will have tree, nog, roast beast; Xander will sleep outside to avoid his drunken family shitshow -- a fact a scorned Cordelia loudly shares; Cordy herself will be skiing in Aspen; Willow will be Jewish, and also missing Oz. Speak of the werewolf-devil, Oz cautiously approaches the group and asks to speak to the redhead in private. The two duck into an empty classroom and Oz says that while Willow's relationship with Xander will always make him nervous, he can't bear to live without her. OZ AND WILLOW ARE BACK TOGETHER! Oh, I am filled with the fuzzy, warm Hanukkah spirit.

Angel certainly isn't. The poor vampire has another nightmare, only this time it's of scary, chanty monks with X's over their eyes.

These demon-monks are almost as ugly as the patch of dead Christmas trees Buffy stumbles upon as she's out shopping with Joyce. Shockingly, Buffy gives them a pass. She suggests that they invite Giles to Christmas dinner and Joyce immediately shuts that idea down -- hey, sipping egg nog with a British librarian I banged on a cop car sounds like a gay old time to me, but I've been told I'm a weirdo. However, Joyce does suggest that Buffy invite Faith, because nothing says Merry Christmas like spending it with someone you beat the crap out of. Good daughter Buffy obliges and drops in on Faith in her shithole room. Things are tres tense between the two Slayers and the interaction ends with Faith declining the invitation to go to some 'cool party' -- in her head.

Don't you just HATE it when your peaceful evening gets ruined by the presence of the vampire who slaughtered your girlfriend and tortured you for hours on end? Giles can relate, as a distraught Angel shows up at his door. Angel tells Giles about recent events, and wants to know why he came back from hell. Giles is understandably snippy but allows the vampire to come on, albeit at crossbow-point. Upon entry, Angel sees Jenny Calendar right behind Giles, and freaks out. Giles has no idea what Angel is babbling about, and Angel gets his tortured soul ass the hell outta there.

So what's a haunted vampire supposed to do but sleep? Bad idea, Angel. The poor guy is regaled with another flashback of his wicked, wicked ways. This time it's at a Downton Abbey-esque party, where he has a helpless maid cornered under the stairs. Evil Angel forces himself on the ridiculously adorable maid and feeds on her. When he looks up, he sees...Buffy?

When Angel wakes up he is crazy scared, and the presence of Jenny and Daniel don't help either. Now they have upgraded to talking to Angel, reminding him of the atrocities he committed against them. Across town, Buffy awakes in her bed with a start, and it's clear she was privy to Angel's dream as well.

Terrified and unsure of what to do, Buffy meets Giles at the library. Slayer assures Watcher that she is no longer seeing Angel, but they can't stay away from each other if they're having the same dream. Giles agrees and the two get to work, only to be joined by Xander, who wants to prove that his caring for Buffy goes way deeper than his hatred for Angel. Willow shows up too and the Scoobies undergo an all-night research party, pizzas and all. In the midst of all this, Willow confesses to Buffy that while she is over-the-moon to be back with Oz, she's nervous to spend time with him alone because she wants him to trust her again. Buffy tells her friend that she just needs to let Oz know he comes first.

As the night progresses, and the research doesn't, the gang finds different corners of the library to fall asleep. After a night of being haunted by his former victims, who remind him of his sadism as well as the fact that he was a drunken ne'er-do-well BEFORE he was a vampire, Angel too succumbs to exhaustion.

Tonight's dream, however, is no killing flashback but a hot-as-hell sex dream, where Angel and Buffy go at it like there's no tomorrow. Both Angel and Buffy toss and turn, sharing this blissful dream like they once shared each other's bodies. However, nothing kills your boner (or girl-boner) like chanty demon-monks. They show up, and in the dream, Angel bites Buffy. He wakes with a start to find another horny, beautiful woman...Jenny Calendar. She urges Angel to take Buffy -- he knows he wants too -- so he can become the monster he is supposed to be. I fully support this plan.

Luckily, things are going much better on Buffy's end. Giles finds the demon-monks in one of his books. These bruisers are called the 'The Bringers' and they work for the First Evil, not even a tangible demon, but the essence of evil, the reason why it exists. The First can conjure manifestations of the deceased -- like Daniel and Jenny. It is likely that the First is behind Angel's return from hell, so he can finish Buffy off once and for all -- like in the dream, wink wink -- and Soulless Angel has always proved to be a loyal servant of evil.

So Buffy's best plan of attack is to find these Bringers. She and Xander go sniffing around Willy's vampire bar but Willy doesn't have much to offer. All he can tell the gang is that demons who dwell underground are skipping town in fear. The teens leave and Buffy is at a loss of what to do. Xander comforts her, telling her to take a break and enjoy the Christmas season. Maybe she could take a nap, and have another steamy sex dream!

Speaking of steamy...Oz shows up at Willow's place, video tapes in hand, ready for a stay-in date night. He's in for a very sexy awakening, when he sees Willow in a skin-tight red dress, curled up on the couch, as Barry White plays in the background. See, Willow took Buffy's advice and wants to prove to Oz that he cums first. This throws Oz for a loop, and as turned on as he may be, he confesses to Willow that he's not ready to have sex with her yet. The sweetest werewolf alive doesn't want their first time to be about proving anything, but because they need it to happen. What about ME, Oz? I need this to happen. Still, it's quite sweet when the two cuddle up on the couch, fully reunited in every sense of the word.

Buffy follows Xander's advice and decks the halls with gay apparel, alongside her mother. There's a knock at the door, and Buffy answers it to find Faith standing on her doorstep. Turns out Faith's 'party' was lame so she thought she'd come over. The brunette Slayer, bearing crappy gifts, is greeted with open arms by the Summers women. Buffy jets upstairs to get her gifts, only to find a mentally deteriorating Angel waiting for her. She can't understand her former lover's incoherent ranting. Once again, Jenny materializes and urges him to take Buffy right then and there. Angel yells for Buffy to stay away from him, and dives out her window. He high-tails it back to the mansion and knows that he has to do something before he succumbs to his desires for Buffy. Jenny, on behalf of the First, is not pleased to learn that Angel's plan is suicide by sunrise. Nor am I. Round Two of Buffy and Angel boning sounds like a much better idea.

At Giles's, he and Buffy kick their research into top gear. Giles skims a passage about the Bringers that mentions that wherever they dwell, nothing will grow above or below. Remember those dead Christmas trees? Buffy certainly does, and she knows that's where the Bringers call home. She gets her ass over to dead section of the tree lot and digs frantically. When she slips underground, Buffy finds the Bringers in a full-on chant fest. She wittily announces her presence and the Bringers run away with a Lyle Gorch level of chicken shit-ness. That's when Buffy sees the Jenny manifestation for the first time, and the dead techno-pagan shifts into a giant, enveloping, holographic-looking demon who tells Buffy that Angel will be dead by sunrise.

Buffy books it to the mansion, and finds Angel alone on a hill, waiting for day. She tries desperately to get Angel to safety, but the vampire is adamant that he needs to die. Angel confesses that he wanted nothing more than to listen to Jenny, and lose himself in Buffy, and that all he has ever brought to the world is destruction and despair. Buffy pleads with Angel and argues that alive, he has the power to make amends for the sins of his past. The two end up brawling, with Angel knocking Buffy to the ground and shaking her. Gone is all traces of a Slayer, and what remains is Buffy, in tears, hopelessly in love. That's when snow starts to fall. Angel and Buffy stop their fighting and stare at it in amazement. The sun never rises.

As each member of the gang peers outside in wonder at this crazy weather phenomenon, Buffy and Angel walk the dark, empty streets hand in hand. I guess snow is all it takes to defeat the First. Too bad the Scoobies don't live in Canada. One winter here, and the First won't be looking so bad!

Liz's BITES:
* We got to see Jenny again! Oh how I enjoyed yet another Season Three episode. That stupid 'Beasts' episode aside, I have been crazy-impressed with every offering from this season. 'Amends' gets MAJOR points from this girl for bringing Jenny back, especially as an evil, devil-on-the-shoulder, sex coach. I'm not normally a fan of Christmas episodes, so really delving into Angel's psyche was a brilliant way of combating the standard holiday fare. Oh, how I felt sorry for that vampire. Imagine a non-stop haunting of all the shitty things you've done to people. It's enough to make anyone lay out in the sun -- even though us humans would just get a sun burn. I'm so glad they addressed the big elephant's boner in the room, and Angel copped to the fact that even though he knows sleeping with Buffy will bring forth unspeakable terror, the red-blooded MAN in him still wants to...and Buffy wants that as well. The fact that these two soulmates can't make love to each other is positively crushing. But there's always evil dreams, courtesy of the First.

* Oh how giddy I am that Oz and Willow are back together. I'm calling it right now, favourite couple on the show...by far. I also have to say, Oz is the master of the world's sweetest rejections. Last year, there was him turning Willow down for a van makeout session because he knew she wanted to make Xander jealous.  This year, he turns her down for sex and it is the sweetest thing I have ever seen. Oh, I am chomping at the bit waiting for this werewolf and redheaded witch to get it on!

* Bringers, come on, you couldn't have put up a BIT of a fight?

* Did anyone else feel bad for Xander? Don't get me wrong, I'm still pissed at him for breaking Cordy's heart, but the poor guy was sleeping OUTSIDE on Christmas.

* It's time to award a Fashion Slayer for the week, and WILLOW gets it again. Oh, slowly but surely, our girl is trading her god-awful wardrobe in for some sexy outfits, like the Oz-cums-first red dress she was sporting. Keep it up, Willow...if you know what I mean.

That's all for me this week, my lovely readers. What did you think of the episode? Happy to see Jenny again? CRAZY happy that Oz and Willow are back together? Too distracted by the obviously fake snow to really enjoy the ending? Post a comment and let me know. Check in every Tuesday for my latest Buffy blog.

Dish later;

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Buffy the Vampire Slayer 3.9 The Wish

The Dish: Cordelia wishes for Willow to be Angel's dominatrix. (Do you SEE why I love this girl?)

Remember a couple of weeks ago when I questioned what the Scoobies do with demons, like Lagos the Gloveless, when they die, seeing as how they're not vampires who burst into dust? Turns out Lagos wasn't worthy of a proper burial, as that is indeed what Buffy plans to do to the demon she just slayed, with the help of Xander and Willow. As the gang draws straws over who has to bury the squiggly demon in question, Xander and Willow lament about the downward direction their love lives have taken. Willow is desperate to reconnect with Oz, and Xander can't get Cordy to return his calls. I feel so sorry for them, I almost forget what selfish idiots they were for the past few episodes.

Xander, there's a reason why Cordelia isn't returning your phone calls and it's because she is too busy exploring a life path as a pyromaniac. While Xander's increasingly pleading messages play over Cordelia's answering machine, she sits in her room burning pictures of her former beloved. When she shows up for school the next day, Cordelia is dressed to kill. While I may be drooling, her hot get-up does little to win over Harmony and the other popular bitches who Cordelia ditched to be with Xander. They pretend to be Cordelia's friend for about two seconds until they cruelly suggest she date the 'stud' Jonathan. Both the pint-sized punching bag and Cordelia are humiliated as the bitches waddle away. Don't worry Cordelia, just date another frat boy and then Jonathan will look pretty damn good again.

Meanwhile, Willow is a bucket of nerves of she waits by Oz's locker. When the werewolf finally shows up, Willow launches into a well-rehearsed apology speech. Oz cuts her off and bluntly states that all he wants is to be left alone to figure things out. He also calls out Willow for her self-serving apology. Methinks what Oz might need is a night in the kink cage, with Willow chained up. Just putting it out there.

That awkward moment when you run into your ex for the first time after your break up. For some -- NOT me -- it may be in a Tim Hortons line, in NOT my obviously-spent-the-night-with-a-man-who's-not-you bar clothes. For Cordelia, it's her first morning back at school. She locks eyes with Xander across the hall and immediately grabs some 'cute' boy du jour, John Lee, and asks him if she has something in her teeth. While John Lee inspects Cordy's pearly whites, from Xander's perspective it looks like they're making out. He stalks off in unjustified haughtiness. John Lee also wants to make himself scarce, as the douchebag doesn't want to be seen with 'Xander's cast off' BUT he's kind enough to invite Cordelia to find a private locale, wink wink, barf barf.

So Cordy's having a really shitty day, to say the least. When Anya, the newest member of the popular bitches, approaches her, the meanness is too much for Cordelia to handle. But not so fast! Anya actually finds the popular bitches boring and wants to be friends with Cordelia. Anya's totally cool and has a really pretty pendant, and asks Cordelia all about herself -- that's the way to get on the fast track to being Cordy's bestie. Anya asks Cordelia if she wishes anything bad would happen to Xander, but Cordelia is a doer not a dreamer. Why not DO John Lee in the broom closet and then ram a stake through his heart? Maybe he's not a vamp, but that shit's gotta hurt.

That night at the Bronze, Cordelia the go-getter tries to go-get men with Anya, blatantly in front of Xander. He in turn, sits pathetically with Buffy and Willow, trying to act like he's having the time of his life. But Buffy and Willow can't hop on that train with their pal because they feel that Cordy's pretty justified in her actions. Indeed, Buffy watches Cordelia leave the Bronze, discreetly holding her impaled stomach in pain and follows her out. Sympathetic to her heartbreak, Buffy offers an olive branch to Cordelia, but her kind words are interrupted by a vampire attack. With ease, Buffy slays the vamp, but not before it knocks Cordelia into a pile of trash. The popular bitches walk by and laugh hysterically at Cordelia covered in garbage. That is the last straw for our almost Homecoming Queen and she officially blames Buffy for everything bad that has ever happened to her for the past two years.

Cordelia continues her rant to Anya the next day at school. Anya proves to have a better shoulder to cry on than Buffy, because instead of stinky garbage, she lends Cordelia her cool pendant. In the midst of her rant, Cordelia wishes that Buffy had never come to Sunnydale. Anya turns from her and then turns back, only this time her face is all mangled and her teeth are all pointy -- in other words, DEMON IN THE HOUSE. In her scary, raspy voice, Anya says 'done', and in the blink of an eye, Cordelia is alone on the campus. Everyone, including Buffy, has vanished. Being a former Scooby, Cordelia is Hellmouth-saavy enough to realize that her wish made this happen.

Gleeful, Cordelia skips into the school to find the popular bitches dressed in drab clothing. She is delighted to find that in this world, she is once again Queen C. Even John Lee comes up to her, not looking for a private romp, but to take Cordelia to the dance. Could life get any better?

Well, it could certainly get worse. After class, everyone runs out as if their teacher is a praying mantis. Apparently 'curfew' starts in an hour. Huh? When Cordelia asks if the bitches want to go to the Bronze that night, it's clear she committed a faux pas. Cordy plays brain dead and asks the bitches about Xander and Willow. Harmony informs her they're dead.

Cordelia walks home alone that night, and her walk turns into a run when she realizes the streets are deserted. Terrified, she bumps head long into Xander, clad in leather, Nighthawk-style. He's talking all dark and sexy, but the former lovers' foreplay is interrupted by the arrival of Willow, also dressed in leather. Like all over. As I splash some cold water all over my body, Xander and Willow make out. This makes Cordelia's blood boil as her entire wish was to get away from this romantic Scooby Gang shitshow she randomly became a part of. But she is silenced when Xander goes vamp face, and hits the ground running. Literally, she falls and hits the ground. This disappoints Willow, who wanted a more climactic end for her former tormentor. Fortunately for Cordelia, Giles pulls up in a van. Oz, Larry and some random chick named Nancy hop out. Xander refers to them as the 'White Hats', and they appear to be a group of do-gooders who rescue would-be vampire victims. Using crosses, the White Hats are able to stave off Vampire Willow and Xander and safely collect Cordelia and bring her back to the library.

In Cordelia's brave new world, the coolest club in town is now the coolest VAMPIRE club in town. The Bronze makes Fangtasia look like The Max. While you revel in my pop culture brilliance, Willow and Xander report to their boss, THE MASTER, who is very much alive, as Buffy has never been to Sunnydale, and thus never killed him. The vamp couple gives the Master their report about the evening events, and mention that during Cordelia's rant, she mentioned Buffy. This alarms the Master, as he's about to open 'the plant', and doesn't want the Slayer mucking up his plans. He orders Willow and Xander to kill Cordelia immediately.

Back at the library, Cordelia comes to and is relieved to see Giles. She babbles incomprehensibly about Buffy, and about Giles being a Watcher.  This alarms Giles because this has been a detail he has kept secret. Before he can ask Cordelia anymore questions, Giles finds himself locked in the kink cage by Vampire Willow -- hey, I asked for Oz in there, but Giles works too! Xander grabs Cordelia and feeds off her, with Willow joining in for the hottest three-way television has ever seen. The vamped-up Scoobies split and moments later, Oz and Larry return. Random Chick is dead. They free Giles and are about to carry Cordelia off to the incinerator when Giles notices her pendant and takes it. What a fashion eye our Giles has!

Willow and Xander return to their boss with happy news of Cordelia's death. Pleased, the Master allows Willow to play with 'the puppy'. Said puppy turns out to be Angel, kept locked in a cage solely for Willow's sadistic amusement. That may be the most erotic sentence I have ever wrote. Willow enters Angel's cage, still clad in leather, straddles him and rips his shirt open. I don't have asthma, but someone please get me an inhaler. Xander shows up, and he and Willow torture Angel with matches on his already marked chest. SPOILER ALERT, this episode is going to get a very good review from The Liz Channel.

While Angel gets to be Willow's submissive, Giles also has a pretty good day. After fruitless attempts to reach Buffy, and countless hours of researching Cordelia's pendant, Giles finally hits paydirt. The pendant is a sort of calling card for the demon Anyanka, a vengeance demon who grants the wishes of scorned women. That's when Giles clues in that this craptastic world they live in must have been Cordelia's wish -- sucks to be her, am I right? Giles hightails it home, in need of more books. On the way, he spots the Master's minions herding a group of helpless people into a van. Giles puts up a good fight, but the day is really saved by the arrival of Buffy the (Really Bitchy) Vampire Slayer.

Back at Giles's place, new world Buffy is channeling her inner Kendra -- braided hair, ugly wardrobe, and an all work and no social skills attitude. Giles tries to formulate a plan to deal with Anyanka, but when he mentions the Master, Buffy flips her lid. The thoughtless warrior charges out before Giles can say another word, or offer her a blanket to cover up her hideous outfit.

Buffy goes to the vamped-up Bronze to find it empty, except for Willow's 'puppy'. Angel blathers on about how he waited for Buffy, and she yawns her way through his whining but agrees to unchain him if he'll take her to the Master. When Buffy stoops down to reach the chains, her cross almost touches Angel and he flinches, giving himself away as a vampire. Buffy is ready to stake him, but has a change of heart when Angel shows her his exquisitely tortured chest. They leave. What Buffy, that didn't look like fun to you? Colour me Team Willow.

While Giles summons the scary good fairy Anyanka, who is less than pleased, Buffy and Angel go to the factory, which the Master has converted into 'the plant'. Dozens of helpless people in cages, including Oz, gaze in fear at a menacing-looking conveyor belt. The Master, with his trusted Willow and Xander by his side, gathers his crew and orders for a human to be brought forth. The minions grab one of the popular bitches, who wails in terror -- cheer up Cordy, posthumous revenge is still revenge. Said popular bitch is placed onto the conveyor belt where dozens of massive needles pierce her body. As the life slowly goes out of her, her blood travels through a web of tubes into a tap, where a minion pours the blood into a wine glass and presents it to the Master. Just as he's about to drink, an arrow is shot at him from the crowd. Welcome to the Hellmouth, Buffy Summers.

All hell breaks lose at the arrival of the Slayer. While Oz tries to get the humans to safety, Angel gets staked in the fracas -- even in this world he STILL calls out for Buffy. Buffy stakes Xander. I guess she doesn't like the Nighthawk look. Oz and Larry double-team Willow and stab her with a giant piece of wood (ahem). Eventually Buffy has a clear path to the Master...and a clear path to death, as the Master snaps her neck like a twig.

At Giles's place, Anyanka wants to do the same thing to the Watcher. She slams him into the wall, but sadly doesn't pull a Willow and rip his shirt open. Giles is able to fight Anyanka off and much to the vengeance demon's horror, smashes her pendant.

In the blink of an eye, Cordelia is back on the Sunnydale campus, wishing that Buffy had never come to Sunnydale. A pendantless Anya once again says 'done', only this time NOTHING happens. Her power is gone. None the wiser, Cordelia continues her increasingly hilarious wish list, failing to notice that Anya is no longer listening. That's okay, Cordelia doesn't need anyone but herself. Eat that, Nighthawk.

Liz's BITES:
* I spoiled it for you in The Dish, but I really freaking dug this episode. I get such a kick out of 'what if' scenarios, when characters get to explore another branch of themselves. I think this is the only episode where nobody, except for Anya, realizes anything happened, which is a really original idea and I salute the writers. But most of all, I'm pleased as punch to get a Cordelia-centric episode. My heart went out to her at the beginning, when she was crying over her pictures of Xander. She really loved him, and vulnerability is not something she likes to feel. So instead of dealing with said feelings, she finds an easy scapegoat in Buffy, one of the only innocents in terms of Cordelia and Xander's break-up. Why cry over a broken heart when you can place the blame on the shoulders of someone you've never liked? My only criticism of the episode was that Cordelia got killed off so quickly. I wish Willow and Xander would have vamped her up, and the three of them could have a menage a so-damn-hot.

* It's also worth noting that Slayer recovery time has NOTHING on Cordelia. The girl gets IMPALED and she only misses a week of school? Next episode, could Anyanka give us a Cordelia the Vampire Slayer world?

* Last week, they brought back an old villain in Spike and it worked, so why not do it again? Some of you may recall my distaste for the Master in Season One, so you may be surprised to read that I really liked him in this episode. What I hated in Season One was that he was a passive villain, confined to the church and dependent on his minions to do his bidding. But in Cordelia's new world, he's free and he is a straight-up, cold BADASS. If the Judge were to touch him, he would find no humanity in the Master. I also enjoyed how tech-saavy the Master was, with his blood espresso machine. If in that reality, the Master is still alive I bet he's enjoying blood K-Cups right now.

* As much as I love my Cordy, the real star of this episode, at least for me, was Willow. Not whiny, 'take me back Oz' Willow, but VAMPIRE Willow. Locking Giles in a kink cage, dominating Angel -- a scene I have watched probably over one hundred times -- and that OUTFIT. In stating the obvious, I declare Vampire Willow the winner of this week's Fashion Slayer award, for her drool-inducing dominatrix get-up.

That's all for me this week, my lovely readers. What did you think of the episode? Happy to see Cordy get a little spotlight? Have fun seeing the Master again? Love or hate Vampire Willow and Xander? Post a comment and let me know. Check in every Tuesday for my latest Buffy blog.

Dish later;

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Buffy the Vampire Slayer 3.8 Lovers Walk

The Dish: Spike has trouble performing and needs Willow's help.

Everyone can take a collective breath. The nail-biter of the season is finally over -- the Scoobies' SAT results are in! While some like Xander are looking for ways to celebrate its dreaded conclusion, Buffy is extremely disquieted. As Willow would say, she kicked ass. Up until this point, Buffy has never thought about her future before but her scores have opened up some doors -- you've got a poet blogger this week, folks -- and there's a real possibility of her getting out of Sunnydale. After all, as Cordy puts it, what idiot would ever want to come back here?

Oh, a certain smoking-hot, bleach-blond vampire named Spike, perhaps? In similar fashion to his last arrival, he drives into the 'Welcome to Sunnydale' sign, knocking it into the dirt. But this time, instead of slinking out of the car, full of piss and vinegar and sexy badassness, he FALLS out, along with a bajillion empty bottles of booze. Home sweet home, indeed. Spike drunkenly makes his way back to the very-singed (courtesy of Giles) factory where he rants and raves about Drusilla. Through the slurring, it is revealed that Drusilla dumped poor Spike -- SKANKY MORON! -- and what's a fella to do but come home...to me...in the kink cage.

It's Guilt-a-Palooza for everyone's favourite adulterous best friends, Xander and Willow. While Cordelia has elevated Xander to Locker Picture Worthiness, Oz gives Willow one of those 'just because' gifts that all great boyfriends give their ladies, a PEZ witch. Willow is touched, and ready to implode with guilt as a result. She confesses to Xander her fears about their impending celebratory double date and it is clear the two still have not cut ties. Why not just make it easy for everyone and have a four-way? That sounds WAY classier than bowling.

Just weeks ago the adults in Buffy's life were chowing down on cursed candy that made them bone behind her back, but now they're happy as horny clams about Buffy's SAT scores. Buffy is bowled over when Giles the Watcher encourages her to leave Sunnydale, siting that the futureless Faith can take over her Slaylerly duties. A charmingly enthusiastic Joyce echoes Giles's sentiments, because apart from the slaying, what's really keeping Buffy in Sunnydale?

Oh maybe her cradle-robbing, creature of the night ex-boyfriend? The vampire in question sits in his dingy mansion, reading some depressing looking book. But Angel's not alone. The piss-drunk Spike spies on his former rival. In the blondie's stupor, he blames Angel for ruining things between him and Drusilla. Then Mr. Badass trips over his own two feet and promptly passes out. Fortunately, the world's best alarm clock is your hand bursting into flame from the sunlight. A burning Spike stumbles his way to his blacked-out windows car and hits the bricks.

Never one to take things lying down, Spike hatches a plan. He slinks into a dingy magic shop in search of a curse for Angel, preferably something in the leprosy department. The Namaste-inclined shopkeeper happily scurries away when another customer arrives. And that customer happens to be Willow. As Spike hides in the shadows, he eavesdrops on the conversation. Poor Willow is at a crossroads with her heart wanting to be faithful to Oz, but her redheaded nether-regions wanting to hop on the Xander train. So what's a PEZ-witch to do but perform an un-love spell? After Willow leaves, Spike ditches the leprosy for a better idea. But not before making a meal out of the shopkeeper.

It turns out that Spike has an unknown enemy: the Mayor. Richard Wilkins the Third runs Sunnydale like a tight ship -- er, boat. And he doesn't need a loose cannon like Spike rocking that boat. Allan, always so eager to please, assures the good mayor that he will get a 'committee' together to take care of the Spike situation. I volunteer to take care of the Spike situation. In the kink cage.

While Buffy and Angel try to 'hang as friends' and discuss the increasing possibility of her leaving Sunnydale, Willow is hard at work on her de-lusting spell. Xander shows up under the pretense of meeting for their double date -- because the best meeting spot EVER is a high school chem lab. He quickly discovers what Willow is up to, and as a victim of a love spell gone awry, is understandably livid. The two besties are in the midst of their first lovers' quarrel when Spike storms in. He knocks Xander out and kidnaps Willow, wanting to take advantage of her 'talents'. Too bad it's not cheating on her boyfriend, because Spike and Willow would be all kinds of freaking hot.

Spike takes them to the factory, leaving the unconscious Xander in a corner. He demands that Willow perform a love spell to make Drusilla fall for him again. A terrified Willow doubts her abilities to perform the spell and this enrages Spike. He smashes his latest bottle and threatens her with the broken glass. Willow submissively says she will perform the spell (and I just about pass out from arousal). Spike then shifts from angry-drunk to sadsack-drunk and slumps down next to Willow, pouring his heart out about how things went downhill with Dru after he made the deal with Buffy. Apparently after that, Drusilla cheated on Spike with everyone and their chaos demon brother and they broke up. While Willow tries to a be a good shoulder to cry on, she cautiously delivers some bad news to Spike: she doesn't have her book...and it's at the one place in the world Spike never wants to go again.

That place is the Summers residence. Joyce is home alone and, remembering Spike as a Team Good Guy vamp who made an alliance with Buffy, makes him cocoa and has a heart-to-heart with him about Drusilla. Angel, out for his neighbourhood Buffy-stalk, sees Spike with his soulmate's mother and charges into the house. Er, tries to. Remember, Buffy de-invited him. Spike is in seventh heaven, watching Angel impotently try to gain entry to the house. However, his fun is short-lived when Buffy shows up and incapacitates him as she invites Angel in. The Scoobies found the upturned chem lab, and Spike confesses to kidnapping Willow and Xander...and he's sure as hell not revealing their whereabouts until he gets what he wants. Buffy and Angel have no choice but to be his posse for a night.

Oz and Cordelia comb the streets in his van, fruitlessly looking for their honeys. That is until Oz's werewolf sense is tingling and he can smell Willow. He and Cordelia charge into the factory...to find Willow and Xander in the throes of a life-in-peril makeout session. Cordelia runs out of the room, but ends up falling through the crumbling stairs...and getting IMPALED on a piece of protruding metal.

Meanwhile on the main drag, Spike is driving Buffy and Angel bloody nuts with his whiny reminiscing of his romance with Drusilla. They break into the magic shop turned crime scene to find supplies for Willow's spell. As they peruse the aisles, Buffy mocks Spike for being pathetic and he turns on her and calls her and Angel out for their futile attempt at 'being friends'. The trio finish their shopping in awkward silence and leave the store...only to be surrounded by Spike's former minions. As luck would have it, they are the ones who form Allan's special 'committee'...and they want Spike's blood. On any other night, Buffy would happily let them have at it, but she needs to ensure her friends remain alive. Her and Angel stay and fight.

Buffy is able to get in enough stakings to keep the vamp crew at bay as she takes refuge with Spike and Angel back inside the shop. They're not able to hold the crew off for very long, and are soon under siege. While Buffy and Angel pelt most of the vamps with holy water, Spike takes utmost pleasure in beating his former employee to a bloody pulp. The vampires that manage to survive run off into the night, and Spike is left with a new perspective on things. Gone is the drunken moper, and he is replaced with the good ole rough-and-tumble Spike. And that, he realizes, is the Spike that Drusilla was missing. All he needs to do is tie me her up, torture me her until she wants him back. He tells Buffy and Angel that the Scoobies are holed up in the factory and trots out with a spring in his step.

After the cruelest fake-out scene in television history, where we think Cordelia is dead, it is revealed that she will make a full recovery. Xander visits her in the hospital, and she coldly, and justifiably, tells him to stay away from her. Buffy has a gentler version of that conversation with Angel, in which she agrees with Spike that she and Angel will never be friends and thus can't see each other anymore. We see a montage of all the Scoobies, alone and miserable at the direction their love lives have taken. On the other hand, an empowered Spike drives off to fetch his fair, skanky, insane maiden. Oh how I wish that were me -- if I had it my waaaaaaaaaaaaaay.

Liz's BITES:
* What a fabulous episode. It was so fun, yet developed the characters so much. I loved all things Spike! I defy you to find me a better entrance AND exit for a character in a single episode. Every scene he was in just secreted charm. He has some of the most delicious onscreen chemistry with Joyce and their heart-to-heart did not disappoint. It was cool seeing the Mayor's take on Spike, perceiving him as a town nuisance -- it makes me want them to go back and do Season 2 from the Mayor's perspective. That monologue Spike delivered to Buffy and Angel about love was positively gut-wrenching and chilling. But the best, the BEST scene was with Spike and Willow. How fantastic would it be if Spike 'had' Willow and the two became the latest vampire couple, hunting Buffy by day and shagging by night? Oh, makes me quiver just thinking about it!

* I am so happy that it appears to be the end of the Willow and Xander storyline. It just made me feel icky, and the person I felt the most sorry for was my girl Cordelia. This episode just made it so painfully clear how much more she loved Xander than he did her. When a teenage girl puts up pictures of a boy in her locker, that's it, her heart belongs to him. If Xander loved her just as much, he would not have accepted Cordelia's order to stay away from her. When you love someone, you fight tooth and nail to keep them, not slump out of a hospital room with your tail between your legs and your balls in your hand. I am not impressed, Alexander Lavelle Harris.

* So Angel is something of an uber-vamp, is that correct? Can give a pretty good fight, even with the Slayer? Has honed instincts? Well, when Spike was spying on him, the blondie made enough noise to wake the dead -- or living, it was pretty late at night and the dead were probably already up. Spike did everything but stalk Angel while playing a tuba, and Angel heard NOTHING. I say soul-boy's gone soft.

* The shopkeeper had the best line of the episode, that never fails to make me laugh: 'We don't carry leprosy.'

* It's that magical time to award this week's Fashion Slayer and the winner is...Cordelia! For her gorgeous sweater she wore when she went to rescue her man. Such a shame she had to ruin it by getting herself impaled.

That's all for me this week, my lovely readers. What did you think of the episode? Was your pink tickled pink to see Spike again? Which Scoobie do you feel sorriest for? Can you think of a worse way to ruin a killer outfit than impalement? Post a comment and let me know. Check in every Tuesday for my latest Buffy blog.

Dish later;

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Buffy the Vampire Slayer 3.7 Revelations

The Dish: No glove (of Myhnegon) means no love.

Xander and Willow should never be poker players. Or secret agents. Or make out with each other behind their partners' backs because they are NOT good at hiding their emotions. At the Bronze, they go out of their way to avoid touching each other in front of Oz and Cordelia and end up sending a tray of drinks crashing to the floor. Nice play, Shakespeare. Luckily the gang is distracted with speculation regarding Buffy's frequent disappearances. Could she be seeing someone new -- or old, like her crazy ex who tried to kill them all? Buffy shows up briefly to confirm she actually IS seeing someone on a pretty regular basis. And that someone is...

Faith. Once at each other's throats, the two Slayers now have each other's backs. They slay vampires in perfect synchronization, like a well-trained, two-Slayer boy band. Giles looks on with pride. When there's nothing left but a pile of dust, the trio celebrates with pats on the back, hugs and a circle jerk...which is rudely interrupted. The cock-blocker in question is Mrs. Gwendolyn Post, who is very British, very much Faith's new Watcher, and very much a bitch.

You know when you're so pissed off, you start seeing white spots in your eyes? Back at the library, it would appear that is what's happening to Giles, as Gwen Post (figuratively) tears his book collection apart for being akin to the Canadian Netflix, aka lackluster. I seriously almost thought Ripper would come out, and I got really excited. Unfortunately, Giles is able to control himself, and even helps simmer Faith down, who makes it obnoxiously clear she has no use for a new Watcher. The Watcher's Council disagrees, according to Gwen, and it also believes that Giles has become 'too American', and wishes her to report back on his performance. I think Joyce will give him a good reference for his performance on the cop car. Gwen's THIRD reason for being there -- does this twat ever shut up? -- is that there's a new demon in town named Lagos, who is after a mysterious and dangerous fashion accessory called the Glove of Myhnegon, which is located in a crypt in one of the many cemeteries in Sunnydale. So the plan is to pull a Chris and Eric, and go grave-robbing.

Looks like Buffy has become Angel's new tai chi partner -- you bastard, you totally stood me up for yoga. She practices with him, until things get all steamy-like when they accidentally touch. This quickly degenerates into an almost-kiss, until Buffy splashes a bucket of cold water on Angel's boner by talking shop. She tells him about Lagos and the Glove, and he agrees to help search the local graveyards. Just let him sit down first, he's having trouble walking.

Good ole Gwen Post has seriously grated Giles's cheese, and he takes it out on Willow and Xander by barking orders at them as they research the Glove of Myhnegon. After he stalks off to have a relaxation wank in the kink cage tea, Willow complains of an exhaustion headache. Xander massages her and the two practice far less restraint than Buffy and Angel, as they make out like there's not tomorrow. They're nearly caught by Giles but thankfully the nerd has his head in a book. Good news! Giles has found out which cemetery the glove is hidden in. Out of guilt, Xander volunteers to go retrieve it. Just let him sit down first, he's having trouble...you get the picture.

Geeze Louise, when Faith isn't beating the tar out of demons and vamps, all she does is talk about sex. I can't help but wonder if she wouldn't fit in with the 'Sex and the City' chicks. After fruitless Glove of Myhnegon hunting with Buffy, Faith grills her about what sex with Angel was like. It seems that 'boinking the undead' is the one thing left on Faith's bucket list. Buffy immediately gets hyper-defensive and Faith is kind enough to back off. The Slayers decide to call it a night, but Faith volunteers to go on a solo mission to one more cemetery. And who should be there but the Viking-esque demon himself, Lagos? 'Come here often?' Faith purrs, and the two get it on. Bucket list complete. Just joshin', but they do get intimate...intimately violent. All this sex talk has apparently distracted Faith, and Lagos gets the best of her, knocking her to the ground and winding her. Luckily for Faith, Lagos doesn't have time to kill her. There's a certain accessory he's after, and drat the luck, Ardene is closed.

A skittish Xander arrives at Restfield Cemetery, home of the fighting Glove of Myhnegon. He finds the Glove of alright, except Angel's gotten to it first. This is a big shock to Xander, as he thought Angel had signed the lease on a condo in hell. Xander follows Angel back to the mansion and finds him...KISSING BUFFY! The shocked Scooby hightails it over to Giles's place, and the Watcher is only too happy to abandon his researching session with Gwen to discuss the matter.

The next day at school, Buffy trots into the library, ready to shower the gang with good news of the captured Glove. Parade, it's time to meet rain. The entire gang is there and they sit Buffy down for an intervention about Angel. Willow is sympathetic but Cordelia, and especially Xander, are wicked pissed. Buffy gets defensive and Giles sends everyone except his Slayer out of the library. After an awkward silence, Buffy thanks Giles for standing up for her, but he's having nothing of it. Of all the Scoobies, Angel hurt Giles the most by far, having murdered his Jenny and tortured him for hours. Buffy is ashamed.

Across town at the local Ritz Carlton, Faith and Gwen have a meeting of their own. When the new Watcher on the block lets it slip about the Scooby Gang meeting, Faith is envious and really hurt that she was left out. Since Gwen's not about to have a dish and bitch session about former lovers, Faith settles on some training.

Later on, Faith heads to the Bronze where she runs into a stewing Xander. She casually brings up the meeting she was left out of, as if it's no big deal, and Xander drops the Angel bomb on her. Faith's Slayer/jealous of Buffy instincts come out and she decides it's time Angel bit the big one. Xander's only too happy to tag along for the ride.

Meanwhile, Gwen checks in with Giles at the library to see if there's been any Glove developments. Giles tells her about the Glove being safe at Angel's mansion. Naturally, Gwen is happy so of course she...knocks Giles out with a lamp? Methinks we have a rogue Watcher on our hands.

Luckily for Buffy, Willow's own guilt about Xander has made her super-empathetic to her friend. At the Restfield Cemetery, Willow asks Buffy about what keeping such a big secret was like, and Buffy admits to being relieved the Angel-cat is out of the bag. This prompts Willow to ALMOST confess to Buffy, but that's when Lagos decides to show up. Buffy makes quick work of vanquishing him, but by that time Willow has chickened out and her torrid secret lives to see another day.

Finally, SOMEONE is using the kink cage. Faith and Xander burst into the library and ransack the cage for weapons. They hear a moan -- no, it's not an aroused me -- and find Giles unconscious in the office. For Xander, all plans of killing Angel go out the window as he calls 911. Faith is convinced this is the handiwork of Buffy's former lover and charges out, on the warpath. Raincheck on the kink cage then? Minutes later, Buffy and Willow arrive on the scene to see Giles being taken away by paramedics. He's barely conscious but is able to tell the gang that the only way to destroy the Glove of Myhnegon is to create 'living flame'.

I guess Angel got Giles's text then, because he's already conjuring up some living flame at the mansion. Unfortunately, the party is crashed by Gwen Post. After introductions, Angel is suspicious but still tells her where the Glove is. Bad move, soul-vamp. Gwen knocks him out. I think she has a fetish or something. However, she didn't get the memo that Angel is a pointy-toothed citizen and he quickly recovers. The two fight, and while Gwen may be a certified badass when it comes to dissing someone's book collection -- again, what a BITCH -- she is no match for a rumble with a vampire. That's when Faith storms in and perceives Angel as the instigator in this pathetically one-sided battle. Looks like Angel's about to rassle with his second Slayer.

While Xander and Willow hurriedly prepare living flame, Buffy shows up at the mansion to find Faith pummeling her honey. The two Slayers go at it like they are the Real Housewives of Sunnydale, brutally kicking the crap out of each other. Xander and Willow show up and Xander tries to break up the Slayer-fight. Bad move, dude. Faith quickly tosses him aside like he's a deadbeat drummer. In the midst of the chaos, Gwen recovers and gets the Glove of Myhnegon. It clamps onto her arm, permanently binding evil fashion accessory to psychobitch Watcher. She raises her gloved hand to the heavens, seemingly in a gesture of victory but it turns out the Glove's power is that it gives the wearer the ability to shoot lightning at people. Gwen takes aim and Buffy and Faith and narrowly misses them. She then turns her eyes on an unprotected Willow and almost fries the world's most adorable nerd to a crisp, but Angel saves her in the nick of time. While all this crazy shit is going down, the Slayers dispense with their differences and hatch a plan. Faith runs across the mansion, distracting the gloved Gwen. Buffy grabs a throwing star and takes aim. What a markswoman! The star hacks off Gwen's gloved arm, instantly killing the evil Watcher. Now how's about we celebrate with some living flame?

Back at school, the Scoobies fill Oz and Cordelia in on their epic night. Giles joins the group and informs them that Gwendolyn Post was indeed a rogue Watcher, recently thrown out of the Council for use of dark magic. They should have known never to trust a woman with that stuffy a wardrobe. It is also the consensus of the group that Angel is back in the good books, on account of having saved everyone's favourite redhead. All is right with the world.

Almost. Buffy stops by Faith's motel room to check in. Though Faith puts up a front of aloof toughness, Buffy is not convinced. She can see that Faith is clearly livid with herself for having broke her 'trust nobody' rule, and having let Gwendolyn Post in. Buffy assures Faith that she can trust HER, but Faith sluffs her off and goes back to reading her magazine. Maybe she's reading Carrie Bradshaw's take on what to do when your Watcher tries to kill everyone. I can't help but wonder.

Liz's BITES:
* After a couple of 'palette cleanser' episode, we are thrown right back into the thick of things and 'Revelations' is yet another episode in what is shaping up to be a very strong season. I LOVE internal group conflict and the best way to show that is through the feeling of betrayal. That Buffy intervention scene was so deliciously tense, and was an emotional ping-pong game to watch. I felt bad for Buffy! But I agree with Xander! And POOR GILES! Our Scoobies are growing up, and that comes with more gray area, and with gray area comes more conflict because not everyone agrees on the best course of action, and everyone can be both right and wrong. I feel like this is a pivotal point in our Scoobies' journey, both as a group and individuals.

* This episode was the first time I really saw Faith as a person, and not just a tough-talking, skank-bomb Slayer. Her attitude is clearly a front, and behind it is essentially an innocent, terrified that someone will betray her. I was heartbroken when I saw the look on her face after Gwen told her that the Scoobies had a meeting without her, never mind the fact that the meeting had everything to do with the events surrounding Angel the previous year, before Faith. The last scene proved that Faith has emotionally frozen Buffy out and I doubt their relationship will ever be the same.

* How freaking AWESOME was Gwen Post as a villain? Oh, how I LOVED to hate her. Her clipped tone and her verbal ASSAULT on Giles's library. That bitch made my blood boil. I also enjoyed yet another mention of this ominous Watcher's Council, who seems to really have it out for Giles. They almost have a Principal Snyder/Buffy relationship. Things should get very interesting.

* Willow and Xander, knock it off.

* How hilarious was Faith's 'welcome' to Gwen Post at her motel room, threatening her at stake-point? I think Faith really missed her calling as a greeter at Walmart.

* We all know that the best way to kill a demon is to cut off its head and Buffy does just that to Lagos. However, Lagos is not a vampire and does not burst into dust upon being killed. After his death, Buffy and Willow just LEAVE him there. Is that par for the course? Do the cops handle it? God knows they don't seem to do anything of importance. Or do the Scoobies just leave decapitated demons all over Sunnydale willy-nilly? Maybe the local kids take the heads and use them for soccer balls. 'Look, I'm David Beckham!'

* It is time to award a Fashion Slayer for the week and it goes to the Original Gangster Slayer herself, Buffy Summers, for her sexy black tai chi outfit she wore at Angel's place. I certainly admire his restraint because if I were him, let me tell you I would have happily lost my soul as soon as she walked in the door.

That will be all for me this week, my lovely readers. What did you think of the episode? Think that a heated intervention should be a weekly occurrence? Love to hate Gwen Post? Wish you had a hot exercise buddy like Buffy? Post a comment and let me know. Check in every Tuesday for my latest Buffy blog.

Dish later;

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Buffy the Vampire Slayer 3.6 Band Candy

The Dish: Ethan Rayne's candy bar makes Giles really horny.

A wise, evil lion named Scar once sang to us, 'Be Prepared'. All major events in life require strenuous preparation. For every American teen it's the SATs, as Buffy knows all too well, pulling double duty with Giles, patrolling and studying. For the Mayor and his new employee, Mr. Trick, it's pulling off a dastardly plot. If the Mayor being on Team Bad Guy was slightly vague before, it is now painfully clear as he has a cabinet full of weapons and occult paraphernalia -- but sadly, no scotch. The two baddies discuss said non-descript plot and the Mayor is concerned about Trick's decision to seek an outsider's help. Trick assures the Mayor all is well, his guy has worked the town before. Umm Tricky, is that what you said about Lyle Gorch?

SATs are on the Scooby Gang's brain as they lament about the impending test. So what a pleasant surprise it is when they discover Principal Snyder passing out boxes of candy bars. Seems too good to be true, doesn't it? That's because it is. Much in the way of the Halloween Trick-or-Treat program, Snyder strong-arms the gang into selling candy bars to raise money for the school band. Apparently they are the one yearly extracurricular group Snyder supports. Let's just hope they don't go the way of the swim team...

At the Summers residence, Buffy is thrilled when Joyce lightens her band candy burden by purchasing twenty bars. However, the happy feeling is short-lived when Buffy broaches the subject of getting her driver's license. Joyce is strongly against it, as she doesn't trust Buffy not to run away again. Feathers are seriously ruffled.

Buffy is officially in a snit. She resents the amount of control both Joyce and Giles assert over her life, and in classy, mature fashion throws a ball at Giles. To be fair, he did ask for it. Buffy blows off the rest of her training by lying about Joyce insisting she be at home. Let's hope you don't get any gasoline near those liar pants, young lady.

Meanwhile, Angel works on getting his strength back by practicing tai chi -- OMG Angel, you should totally come to yoga with me. I'll even take a night class. Buffy drops in with fresh blood from the butcher's. At this point, she must have a reputation there as the 'blood girl'. 

When Buffy gets home, she continues her lying streak by complaining to Joyce about Giles keeping her out late. Then Giles enters the room. Busted. Buffy makes up some bogus lie about The Bronze, and Joyce reams her out while stress-eating a band candy bar. At least she's laying off the booze. Giles tries to calm the Summers women by stressing that they shouldn't 'freak out'. Buffy raises her eyebrows at his choice of words but still ultimately stalks off in a huff. Mother and Watcher eat candy.

As much drama as there may be in Buffy's home life, all seems to be quiet on the Hellmouth front. At the candy bar factory, a line worker tries to sneak a bite of this addictive treat but is reprimanded by his employer...ETHAN RAYNE. So much for the quiet.

The next day in study hall, Cordelia regales Buffy with her BX (Before Xander) flirting tips while Willow and Xander play footsies. This is all well and awkward, but where's Giles? He's supposed to be in charge of study hall. Principal Snyder, even whinier than usual, makes the elderly Ms. Barton cover for Giles. Or so he thinks. As soon as the Snyde-Man is out of earshot, Barton informs the kids they have her go-ahead to blow off the rest of the class. The teens are in heaven.

However, Buffy is nervous about Giles's uncharacteristic absenteeism. She stops by his house to check in only to find him with...Joyce? Giles informs Buffy that her two parental figures have decided to put their heads together and come up with a more reasonable schedule for her. At first Buffy is a little weirded out, but that notion goes out the window when Joyce gives Buffy the keys to the car. After Buffy skips out, Giles LIGHTS UP A CIGARETTE? and Joyce pulls out a bottle of booze with a guilty like on her face, as if she hasn't been legally permitted to drink for the past twenty years. Something weird...and kinda sexy?...is going on. That really should be the school motto.

If one thing is clear, it's that Buffy has no business owning a driver's license. Our Slayer parking-break drives -- more like swerves -- through the streets of Sunnydale, terrifying passenger Willow. When they come to a screeching halt at the Bronze, Willow thanks her lucky stars that Buffy's atrocious driving is the scariest thing she'll see that night.

Guess again, red. When the girls enter the club, they see it is overrun by grown-ups. Willow witnesses her doctor, shirtless, and a few of his buddies storm the stage to sing a drunken rendition of 'Louie Louie'. Ms. Barton passes by and is completely hammered, and maybe a little high. Who doesn't crave nachos when they're high? But the scariest person they see there is...Principal Snyder? Only now the Snyde isn't acting like his usual impotent Nazi-self. Instead he's acting like a try-hard dork. In other words, exactly like a teenager. Buffy and Willow deduce that there is something Hellmouthy wrong with this picture. They grab Oz and drive off to investigate, with Snyder tagging along. Try-hard. In the car, Buffy expresses worry about her mom, especially because she's with Giles. And we're not talking Watcher Giles -- we're talking teen Ripper Giles.

After listening to some panty-peeling hot tunes by Cream, teen rebel Giles and teeny bopper Joyce decide to go out and paint the town red. They stroll along the town's main drag and Joyce spots a 'very Juice Newton' coat in a store window. Badass Giles breaks into the closed shop and steals the coat for his gal. Unfortunately, they're held at gunpoint by a police officer. More unfortunately for the obviously band candy-less cop, Giles knocks him out. Every teeny bopper loves a bad boy, and Joyce gets all hot and bothered by Giles's 'very Burt Reynolds' behaviour. So much so that they MAKE OUT ON THE COP CAR!

As Buffy drives through the streets like a wild woman, her worry for her mother, combined with her shitastic driving, causes her to get in a bit of a car accident. Everyone gets out of the car and thankfully nobody's hurt, but as Buffy catches her breath, she looks around. Really looks. She sees dozens of adults, acting like completely self-absorbed teenagers. This should be an all-you-can-eat buffet for the vampires. So where are they? Something must be going on. As a forty-year-old teenager steals Snyder's candy bar, it clicks in for Buffy that the candy must be cursed. She grills Snyder on his information about the supplier and mortal enemies Slayer and Snyder hop in the (dented) Joyce-mobile.

When Buffy and Snyder get to the factory, they find a horde of 'teens' screaming like they're at a concert -- Billy Idol or Juice Newton? -- as the factory workers are giving away dozens of free chocolate bars. Among those teens is Joyce...full-on making out with Giles. Buffy swallows the vomit in her mouth and violently forces her way into the factory, dragging Joyce with her. Giles and Snyder follow.

When the gang bursts in, they find Ethan Rayne. Ethan then goes all alpha male on their asses, and proceeds to run and hide. Clearly Ethan is not smarter than a fifth grader, as noted by his shitty Hide and Seek skills. Buffy finds him in a matter of seconds and interrogates him, giving him the old one-two, much to Giles's pleasure. Ethan spills the beans about being in cahoots with Mr. Trick. The cursed candy bars are a distraction to get adults out of the way, so Trick's men can collect the 'tribute' for a demon named Lurconis. That's all the rat bastard knows. Buffy gets the Scoobies on the phone, who have been feverishly researching at the library. They inform the Slayer that Lurconis eats babies.

Indeed, Trick's men stroll into a completely unprotected hospital and clean out the baby stock. Buffy and the adults arrive too late, and Buffy goes into panic mode about what to do next. A little too conveniently, the effects of the candy seem to be wearing off, and Giles recalls that Lurconis lives in the sewers.

Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to the sewers we go. Trick and the Mayor are already there, along with a dozen robed, chanty vamps. The whole scene is reminiscent of the frat house in 'Reptile Boy', except there's no Buffy in Chains -- I love that band. One of the vamps starts to perform some sort of effed up baptism on the babies and that's when Buffy and crew burst in and all hell breaks loose.

The Mayor immediately splits and Buffy takes on the robed vamps. Joyce and Giles use the chaos to get the babies to safety. After Buffy wastes the vamps, Lurconis joins the party and he appears to be a big-ass ugly snake. Like so big he could have eaten Machida for breakfast, that big. Before Lurconis can do any real damage, Buffy grabs a gas pipe and dips it into the ritual fire. She burns Lurconis and the day is saved, but not before Mr. Trick drops the obligatory 'I'll get you yet, Gadget'.

Poor Mr. Trick is in hot water with the boss. The Mayor is none too pleased that the tribute failed to go off. This will be the first of many tributes needed to be performed, although for what purpose is still shrouded in mystery.

Back at school the next day, everything is back to normal as displayed by Snyder being a crotchety dick. He forces the Scooby Gang to clean up the vandalism that occurred the night before -- I blame Ms. Barton. It also dawns on me that this must be how Snyder so quickly gets Hellmouth damage to the school cleaned up. Slave teen labour.

After school, Buffy and Giles stroll along campus and Buffy confesses that she felt alone and terrified. It seems as though she is speaking of the band candy incident, but is referring to the SATs, which she just sat that morning. Buffy and Giles arrive at Joyce's dented car, which Buffy gets in but not before stating loud and clear that Giles and Joyce should be thanking her for getting to them before they 'did anything'. Giles and Joyce exchange a quick glance that says TOO LATE! Oh tell me more, tell me more. Like does he have a kink cage?

Liz's BITES:
* After a heavy start to Season 3, we are treated to our second popcorn episode in a row. Although it's a bit of a come-down from last week's shenanigans, I still thoroughly enjoyed myself. Role-reversal gets me every time, and I had a ball getting some real insight into our adult characters. It turns out Joyce was a real wild child when she was in her teens. That's a spin-off I'd like to see! We knew Giles was a rebel in his youth, but I thought it was more of a defying my expected role by my square parents things, as opposed to a British Danny Zuko thing. Snyder was by far the most entertaining because although he was comically annoying as hell, he was actually NICE -- for the most part. I guess there's only so much rejection one can take before they turn into a bigoted rodent man.

* I am so pleased that this season has given me such quality villains. I'm willing to overlook Kakistos. Mr. Trick continues to entertain and I am enthralled by Mayor Wilkins. He's the first villain who really has to lead a double life, being an evil we don't know what yet, and the mayor with a sterling reputation. Did you see the way he high-tailed it out of the sewer when Buffy showed up? I can't wait for these two to come up against each other.

* Giles and Joyce banging on the cop car...pretty hot, very Burt Reynolds. But why, oh WHY, would they not make good use of the library kink cage? Now don't pooh-pooh me and tell me 'oh Liz, not everyone's a weirdo like you'. Joyce stole the handcuffs. Case closed.

* I think Angel's spent enough time in the penalty box. Let's really get him in the mix here.

* It's time to award the Fashion Slayer for this week aaaaaaand...who could it be but Joyce Summers for her wild-child, stolen, Juice Newton coat. She should dress like that more often. And have sex with Giles more often. In the kink cage.

That's all for me this week, my lovely readers. What did you think of the episode? Do you wish Giles and Joyce kept a secret supply of band candy? Intrigued by the Mayor? Wonder why anyone would want to kiss rocks? Post a comment and let me know. Check in every Tuesday for my latest Buffy blog.

Dish later;

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Buffy the Vampire Slayer 3.5 Homecoming

The Dish: Buffy and Cordelia vie for Homecoming Queen and get hunted by German assassins .You know, girlie stuff.

As countless teen movies and TV shows have taught me, Homecoming is the cornerstone of the American high school experience and the Scoobies are no exception. Cordelia is thrilled to be in the race – and let’s be real here, eventually win – and the gang decide to do up their last Homecoming big and rent a limo. Scott even asks a distracted Buffy to be his date.

What could be plaguing our blonde Slayer’s thoughts? Perhaps the return of her ex-boyfriend? Angel is almost back to normal – meaning a functioning vampire with a soul who just returned from hell – but he stills needs some help. Buffy shows up at the mansion with a takeout container of blood. I hope that wasn’t from Happy Burger. She tells Angel that she will keep his return a secret from the gang, and also drops the Scott bomb on him. Angel is visibly hurt. Whiner. At least you’re not in hell anymore.

And I’m not in hell anymore, as Scott the Snoozer dumps Buffy for being too distracted. She’s not quite as happy as I am, and gets all mopey in the halls. Boohoo (read: YAY).

While Buffy contemplates running home to change into her Sad Sack overalls, she is being WATCHED by two militaristic men in a van. They have binoculars and a camera that is linked up to a state-of-the-art, late 90s computer. The Buffy feed transmits to an elderly wheelchair bound man, who’s hanging out in what appears to be the mansion from ‘Clue’. Then we see Mr. Trick, with a cool suit, in the lounge. He confirms to the tech-savvy senior that Buffy is  the ‘target’. Time to bust out the candlestick and lead pipe.

At long last we get to meet the famous Mayor Richard Wilkins III. This terrifying man, who puts the fear of god into Snyder…and every germ in a one-hundred mile radius, is actually quite jovial, as Deputy Mayor Allan Finch brings him a file about the two Buffy-stalking dudes. Turns out they’re not military, but German terrorists. The Mayor, who appears to be very aware that he’s the mayor of the Hellmouth, tells Allan to keep an eye out for other ‘colourful characters’.

How should I pose for my yearbook picture? Cute like Cordy? Goofy like Xander? Oz-like like Oz? After the Scoobies, sans Buffy, complete this time-honoured ritual, Cordelia sizes up her Homecoming Queen competition. There’s Holly, a cute but bland girl, and Michelle, a huge threat due to her extreme popularity with the male student body. Literally.

It is unfortunate that Buffy has some bizarre ethical problem with using Scott the Dull’s face as a punching bag. So she settles on a real punching bag instead, as she trains in the library with Faith. The brunette Slayer commends her comrade on her ferocity and cheers Buffy up by offering to take Scott’s place as her date. Cordelia almost gets in the middle of the Slayer (Love)Fest ’98, to remind Buffy about the yearbook pictures, but spots a couple of cute guys in the hall and seizes the opportunity to do some campaigning.

The next day at school, Buffy solicits her favourite teacher for the letter of re-entry recommendation that Snyder demands. Unfortunately, said favourite teacher has no idea who Buffy is. Buffy mopes about this over lunch with the Scoobies, and her poutiness turns into vicious anger when the gang tells her she missed the yearbook pictures and it’s all because of Cordelia. Buffy stalks across the room and confronts Cordy, chewing her out for being so selfish. Cordelia’s flip attitude about the matter fuels Buffy’s fire and the little Slayer that could announces that she WILL…run against Cordy for Homecoming Queen.

Back at the Clue mansion, Mr. Trick plays host to a very interesting cast of characters – just don’t let any of them near your revolver. In addition to the Germans and their wired-in boss, there’s a ‘Duck Dynasty’-looking dude (only with a pathetic beard), a yellow demon with spikes on his head and knives that shoot out of his arms, and the return of the crappiest vampire in history, redneck Lyle Gorch and his brand new skank-wife, Candy. They are all gathered there to hunt and kill Buffy and Faith as part of a game that Trick ingeniously calls Slayer Fest ’98.

At Willow’s place, she tries to pick out a dress for the dance and Xander struggles to put on his borrowed tuxedo. The two friends try to suss out how far the other has gone with their respective partner. When Willow emerges in a very non-Willowy slinky black number, Xander’s legs go to mush – but another part of him stays pretty hard. Before they know it, the two not-single best friends are kissing!

The next day, Buffy holds a Scoobies meeting in the library to discuss campaign strategy but the event is somewhat ruined when Cordelia shows up and steals the gang away from Buffy. But our Slayer gets the last laugh as she smashes a bottle in her hand. Giles is baffled at these American teenagers and the stupid things they care about.

It’s time for a montage, folks! Even Rocky had a montage. The contestants in Slayer Fest ’98 prepare for festivities, some more than others – ahem, Lyle and Candy. Buffy and Cordelia turn Sunnydale High into their balls-out battleground, where weapons include cute dresses, entirely lame fliers, ginormous cupcakes aaaand cash briberies. Yep, like so many corrupt politicians before her, Cordelia has taken to paying the likes of Jonathan a whopping $6.00 for his vote. This does not sit well with Buffy, who publicly confronts Cordelia. Cordelia in turn mocks Buffy for being a child of divorce – because this is actually the 1950s – and tries to brush past the Slayer. Bad idea. The crazy freak and the vapid whore (their words) hurl insults at each other, which leaves witnesses Willow and Xander in a tres awkward position. No, not reverse cowgirl.

Willow is filled to the brim with guilt, both for her indiscretion with Xander and throwing her support to Cordelia instead of her best friend. While Buffy only knows about the latter, it’s enough for the Slayer to guilt-trip Willow into allowing her to look at Cordelia’s campaign database. While the two friends talks dance plans, the Germans are wired in and overhear a crucial bit of information…the limo will be picking Faith up first, then Buffy.

So imagine Buffy’s sheer frustration when the limo pulls up, containing not her wild-child counterpart, but Cordelia. The Scoobies pulled a fast one on these battling beauties, and left them to have the limo to themselves, expecting a full reconciliation by the time they arrive at the dance. As a gesture of sweetness, they even sprang for some corsages. Cordelia takes the orchid.

However, the well-meaning Scoobies didn’t count on Slayer Fest ’98, as the limo driver happens to resemble a certain German terrorist. He drops Buffy and Cordy off in the middle of the woods and runs off. Set up is a television and a brand-spanking new VCR with a note on it, ‘play me’. Buffy does and the snazzy Mr. Trick appears, explaining the competition to the two Slayers. Cordelia yells out that they have the wrong girl, but she’s too late. Slayer Fest ’98 has officially commenced.

Things aren’t much better at the Homecoming Dance. Well, minus the assassination games. Giles is baffled as to why Xander and Willow are so mopey, completely oblivious to their guilt.

You know who SHOULD feel guilty? Scott the Bore. Make that Scott the Douche. He has moved on from the Buffster hella quick, with some skanky blonde. Well, you can only fight skank with skank and that’s where Faith comes in. She sidles up to Scott the Pooface all sexy-like, and lets it slip that the sexy-like infection he gave her is clearing up nicely. Cold-blooded and I love it. This girl is warming up to me. Just don’t try to get me between the sheets until you’ve finished that ointment.

As Buffy and Cordelia run in terror throughout the woods, Buffy almost steps into Duck Dynasty’s bear trap but the Slayer ends up trapping HIM instead. She pulls his gun on him and he coughs up the names of the other players. Their tea party is quickly interrupted by the yellow knife – is he FROM Yellowknife? – demon who narrowly misses stabbing Buffy and Cordelia.

The pair hole up in a nearby cabin as Buffy comes up with a plan. Careful Buff, the last person who was thrown together in peril with Cordelia was Xander and look what happened. Unfortunately for my viewing pleasure, there’s less kissy more talkey, as Cordelia is freaking out. In the midst of her ramblings, she lets it slip that she is in love with Xander which softens Buffy. They have a little ‘Breakfast Club’ moment, where Buffy admits that the Homecoming Queen title isn't about a crown, but about achieving concrete proof that there is more to her than JUST being the Slayer.

However, they ARE in the middle of being hunted and can’t afford to rest on their cute laurels. Buffy has Duck Dynasty’s gun and gets Cordelia to find a weapon. She settles on a spatula instead of a working telephone. An increasingly impatient Buffy lets Cordy keep her spatula, but uses the telephone to leave a message for Giles. This somewhat pisses off the Germans’ boss, who cuts the phone line in the middle of the call.

Not good. Even more not good is that Mellow Yellow bursts in and attacks. He rumbles with Buffy, and Cordelia gets an A for Effort for hitting him with the spatula. The whole fight quickly becomes moot as the Germans launch a grenade into the cabin. Buffy and Cordelia escape but Mellow Yellow isn’t so lucky and becomes Mellow Smithereens.

Buffy and Cordelia make their way back to the library where they are greeted by the Gorches and a knocked-out Giles. Candy steps up to the plate, wanting to kill Buffy as a wedding present to Lyle, but ends up meeting the unfortunate end of a not-so-useless spatula and explodes into dust. Lyle is enraged and turns his wrath on the ‘Slayers’ but he didn’t plan for Cordelia. The girl has had it up to HERE, having her entire Homecoming night ruined by a gang of incompetent demons who can’t even keep track of who the real Slayer is. She gets in Lyle’s face and the good ole chicken shit runs away.

Giles comes to and apologizes to the girls for giving the Scoobies the go-ahead to switch the limo plans. He notices the corsages and doesn’t recall the gang mentioning them as part of the plan. That’s when Buffy clues in that the corsages have trackers in them, and that’s how the Germans have been one step ahead of them.

Indeed, the Germans are in the school with their boss tracking the Slayers’ coordinates. But Buffy is too smart for them. She gets one of them to chase her into a classroom where she hides behind a desk. Quickly, she throws the corsages, wrapped in wet toilet paper, at the back of the German and it sticks. The boss yells ‘FIRE’ and the two Germans take each other out. Congrats Buffy, you won Slayer Fest ’98.

You know who DIDN’T? I mean, besides Duck Dynasty, Mello Yellow, the Gorches and the Germans? Mr. Trick. All is well for this cool cat, until the local police arrest him and drag him into the mayor’s office. Wilkins sits Trick down and proceeds to praise him for his enterprising idea that is Slayer Fest ’98. The mayor wholesomely but menacingly informs Trick that he’s now working for City Hall and not-so-subtley informs him that they have the same goal – kill the Slayers.

At long last, a disheveled Buffy and Cordelia arrive at the Homecoming dance, where one of them will FINALLY get that hard-earned crown. Or so they think. When the results are in it is a TIE…for Holly and Michelle. The two unimpressed ‘Slayers’ promptly leave. Maybe to go back to the cabin? A blogger can dream.

Liz’s BITES:

  • FINALLY, a Cordelia-centric episode. Oh man, this one was fun fun FUN. After she has been CRIMINALLY underused, we get some real insight into her character. I’ll get this out of the way right off the bat – as much as I love me some Cordy, I think what she did to Buffy, not telling her about the yearbook pictures, was a BITCH move. That being said, I still kinda wanted her to win. We all have our biases. What I really liked was that in the midst of this crazy episode where SO many things happened, we got some gosh darn character insight. Buffy and Cordelia have only ever been ‘almost friends’, but here they really step into the other's shoes. We see Buffy really care about the same things as Cordelia, and she’s almost able to beat Cordelia at her own game with her ruthless campaigning. The selfish (there I said it) Cordelia is able to identify with Buffy and the unfairness that goes along with her calling, because Cordelia’s night is completely ruined by the fact that she’s mistaken for the Slayer. I loved their moments together, both the buddy-cop dynamic and the deeper conversation in the cabin.
  • Often what I find lacking in these popcorn episodes is a good demon, and this episode was a CORNUCOPIA of good demons. So much that I want to discuss each one individually:

  • Mayor Richard Wilkins III: This episode was really only setting him up but what a rich character. I love the swirl of terrifying evil and Opie-level innocence. Can’t wait to see more of him.
  • Trick: Slayer Fest ’98? Brilliant. So glad he’s sticking around
  • Duck Dynasty: He’s the one I couldn’t really care too much about. The only thing interesting about him was that he’s a HUMAN hunting a Slayer, which adds another level to things. What I thought would have been cool is if instead of this guy, they brought back Cain the werewolf hunter. Slayer Fest ’98 would be right up his alley.
  • Mello Yellow: Didn’t do too much, but cool knives!
  • The Gorches: As much as I hated the brothers in ‘Bad Eggs’, I thought their strategy of cherry-picking the competition was brilliant. Lyle actually showed intelligence, having faced off against Buffy before and knowing she would probably make it out of the woods alive. But he’s still a chicken shit.
  • The Germans: Again, cool that they’re humans, and I really liked the technological approach they took to Slayer Fest ’98. We never see demons really using technology to fight Buffy and friends. However there was one BIG plot hole with them. WHY weren’t they tracking Faith? I know that Trick said that Faith is more elusive than Buffy, but the two patrol together EVERY night. Is it not reasonable to think that these law-evading German terrorists would follow Buffy on patrol and then subsequently follow Faith…and then subsequently realize that her and Cordelia are NOT the same person?
  • Okay we need to talk about this. Willow and Xander. The kiss heard round the world. I wanted to be LIVID about this. I love Cordelia and Oz, and Willow and Xander smooching around behind their back ought to enrage me. Instead though, I just felt sad. It took Xander seventeen years and a sexy black dress to wake up and realize that his bestie is a smokeshow. On the other hand, it took Oz less than a second to look at Willow, clad in a ridiculous, unflattering costume, and fall in love with her. I feel a little queasy every time I watch this scene and I can’t wait for this storyline to be over.
  • Let’s talk about Buffy’s campaign posters. While she looked absolutely stunning, they are HORRIBLE posters. Mainly because, oh I don’t know, they don’t say ONE DAMN THING about being Homecoming Queen. All they say is Buffy’s name. Are these headshots? Way to drop the ball, Slayer.
  • Yay, no more Scott!
  • It is time to award a Fashion Slayer. Oh, I want to give it to everybody for their sexy formalwear (except Faith). But I can’t justify a six-way tie, so I have to give it to…Queen C herself. Sorry Buffy, Cordy’s green dress makes her the belle of the ball. I think it’s the orchid.

That will be all for me this week, my lovely readers. What did you think of the episode? Rejoicing in the Cordelia-ness of it all? Who’s your favourite demon? Want to bash Willow and Xander’s heads together? Who won YOUR Fashion Slayer award? Post a comment and let me know. Check in every Tuesday for my latest Buffy blog.

Dish later;


Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Buffy the Vampire Slayer 3.4 Beauty and the Beasts

The Dish: My boyfriend can maul more people to death than your boyfriend.

And my boyfriend is such a savage beast we have to lock him in the library kink cage. Sounds pretty hot, right? Not as much as you think. The solution to Oz's werewolf situation is that he locks himself in the kink cage on his wolfie nights, while a member of the Scoobies keeps watch with a tranquilizer handy. Willow reads 'The Call of the Wild' to him because it soothes him (except for the parts about rabbits.....GRRRR). Xander shows up to take over the watch, and 'The Call of the Wild' becomes 'The Call of the Sleepy' as he uses the book as a pillow, and the library table as a bed.

Meanwhile, Buffy and Faith are out patrolling and appear to be getting along much better than before, as they have graduated to Boy Talk territory. Buffy is still seeing Scott and really likes him, although they haven't gotten physical yet. In a smack-you-over-the-head stating of the episode's theme, Faith says she thinks that all men, no matter how sensitive they appear to be, are beasts. Is that a problem?

Hey Slayers! How about instead of running your gobs about boys, you actually save one? Like poor Jeff Walken who runs haplessly through the woods, pursued by a vicious, snarling...something. The something catches up with him and Jeff cries out in terror.

The next day at school, Buffy FINALLY gets to enjoy a normal teen life, being all coupley with Scott as they chat with Willow and Oz. The group is joined by another couple, Pete and Debbie who are friends of Scott's. You know, the kind of friends who jokingly razz you about anything and everything whenever they can. Friends like that. In other words, douches, especially Pete. Debbie also knows Oz from jazz band. The group chit-chats and Buffy mentions that she's being forced to see Mr. Platt, the school's therapist. Debbie warns her the guy's a quack, as she's had to see him because she's flunking bio -- because a public school on a Hellmouth can afford that. Oz offers to lend Debbie his bio notes to help her study.

Willow and Oz head to the library and Giles breaks the news that Jeff Walken was mauled to death the night before. Oz is stoically upset -- meaning he wears the same expression he always does -- because he knew Jeff (intimately?). Matters are even more complicated by the fact that the mauling could have been the handiwork of...Werewolf Oz. Xander confesses to a furious Giles that he maybe might have fallen asleep during Oz-Watch and the kink cage window is very much ajar. Things do not look good for our favourite guitar-playing werewolf. But they look even worse for Jeff Walken.

Before Buffy goes to her appointment, she steps in a TV-time machine and is transported to another world. She falls off a skyscraper, as 1960s ads appear around her. When she lands, Buffy finds she is in 'Mad Men', as evidence by the school therapist SMOKING A CIGARETTE IN HIS OFFICE. Oh Mr. Platt, don't you remember Laura? (Actually, I think I'm the only one who remembers Laura. Consult my Season One 'Nightmares' blog to get the hilarious joke). Smokey Platt invites the reticent Buffy to sit down -- I'm surprised he didn't offer her a scotch. Don Draper would have -- and though she's aloof, his kind but direct approach helps Buffy open up. She gives Coffin Nail Platt a Hellmouth-censored version of what happened with Angel.

After her appointment, Buffy meets up with the Scoobies in the library where there is a definite pall over the room. In her only line of the entire damn episode, Cordelia pipes up that it's because Oz ate someone. Willow stands by her (wolf)man and argues that Oz MAY have ate someone. The Scoobies form a plan to investigate that night and they decide it's best if they put Faith on Oz-Watch. The idea that Oz is enough of a flight-and-maul risk that it takes a Slayer to watch him, really upsets Oz and he starts to storm off until Willow points out that it's almost sun-down. Oz locks himself in the cage and sluffs off Willow's attempts to comfort him before turns into his werewolf self.

Buffy patrols the woods where Jeff was attacked, looking for any other potential suspects. And boy does she find one. Her ex-boyfriend Angel, who's like a feral, snarling bat out of hell. Angel attacks a shocked Buffy and she fights back. She easily knocks him out and somehow gets him back to the mansion. I guess on a Hellmouth, when you see a little blond girl dragging a shirtless man twice her size down the street, you look the other way and don't ask questions. Buffy finds some shackles amidst Drusilla's abandoned doll collection -- oh that kinky little skank! -- and chains Angel up.

The rest of the teens break into the morgue to play CSI on Jeff's body. Xander and Cordy don't have the stomach to look at Jeff's mauled face, but Willow is a regular Horatio Caine, minus the sunglasses and cheesy one-liners. She examines the body, collects some hair samples...and faints. I guess this job isn't for the...faint of heart. AAAAAHHHH!! (Quick, somebody cue up 'Won't Get Fooled Again').

Seeing your ex-boyfriend who you sent to hell does a doozy on your ability to sleep, so Buffy relieves Faith from her Oz-Watch. Once alone, minus the sleeping werewolf, Buffy gets to work and researches Acathla. In the morning, Giles finds her curled up in a chair with a pile of books, ASLEEP. Funny how he doesn't yell at HER for falling asleep on the job. Watcher's Pet. Buffy tells Giles she dreamt Angel came back from hell and asks him what would happen to someone in that situation. Remembering that one day in hell is equal to a hundred years on earth, Giles informs Buffy that Angel would have been down there for hundreds of years of torture, and that anyone returning would most likely be reduced to an uncontrollable, feral animal. Bummer, dude.

Willow shows up bearing 'I'm feeling guilty as hell' jelly donuts. She's really upset that her break-in to the morgue didn't produce a conclusive answer as to what killed Jeff. Of course, these feelings come from the fact that Willow couldn't clear Oz's name, but Buffy is upset because Angel could be the culprit.

Over lunch with Scott, Debbie and Douchey Pete, Buffy tries to be the Normal Girlfriend but her thoughts are elsewhere. She bails in the middle of their conversation and heads to the mansion. When she arrives, she finds the bound Angel crying softly. Is he back to normal? She gently touches him, and he snarls at her. Guess not.

Buffy's not the only one who has to be afraid of her honey. When Debbie and Pete sneak into the school's storage closet for a little hanky-panky time, things take a turn for the too-kinky (even for me) when Pete notices a comically glowing, almost empty, jar of green liquid. Apparently, it's the Hellmouth version of steroids, and it's supposed to turn Pete into an alpha-douche -- idiot, don't you remember the swim team? Pete accuses Debbie of dumping it and proceeds to turn into the Hulk -- except he keeps his clothes (lame) and his face just goes red and wrinkly (silly). He gives Debbie a couple of brutal smacks to the face and informs her that he doesn't need the glowy goo anymore. All it takes is Debbie for him to turn into Mr. Hulk-Hyde. He goes back to normal and comforts Debbie but softly chastises her for making him this way. And welcome to the heavy-handed metaphorical third act, folks.

Buffy is in official freak-out mode and can't go to her friends so she bursts into Cancer Stick Platt's office, ready to give him an unabridged version of current events, when she notices his burnt up cigarette. He should have learned from Laura's mistake, as he has been mauled. To death.

Oz meets up with Debbie to give her his bio notes and picks up on her clumsy attempt to hide her boyfriend-sponsored shiner. He asks if she wants to talk about it, but she shrugs him off and leaves. Meanwhile, Pete watches their exchange from the shadows.

Willow is overjoyed by the death of the nicotine-happy therapist...but only because it means that Oz is in the clear because whatever killed Marlboro Man Platt was a daytime-hours demon. Not a werewolf. Oz too is relieved. It also clears Angel the vampire, which means the Scoobies need to figure out who's behind these attacks. Were Smoking Kills Platt and Jeff Walken somehow connected? Debbie was quite vocal about her dislike for Puff the Magic Therapist and as plot contrivance would have it, she was in jazz band with Jeff and they were quite flirty with each other. So the Scoobies conclude that it's either Debbie or her asshole boyfriend responsible for the attacks.

Buffy and Willow find Debbie in the washroom, powdering her bruise. Buffy interrogates Debbie but the girl stands by her (Hulk)man and insists everything is all her fault, and worries that Pete might get taken away. This enrages Buffy and she bitches Debbie out, leaving Debbie in a near catatonic state.

In the library, it's almost time for the moon to rise and Oz is securely locked in the kink cage. Unfortunately, Pete shows up and chews Oz out for putting the moves on Debbie. He goes into Hulk-Hyde mode and rips Oz out of the cage and proceeds to beat the crap out of him. The Scoobies hear the commotion in the hallway and run in to investigate.

While all this shit is going down, Angel breaks free of his chains.

By the time the Scoobies burst into the library, Oz has gone into wolf mode, and he and Pete are in a full-fledged battle of the beasty. Buffy grabs the tranquilizer to hit...any one of them really, but Debbie pushes Buffy and she winds up shooting Giles who goes down like a sack of bricks. In the commotion, Oz runs off and Willow and Faith pursue him, gun in hand. Debbie takes off and Buffy is left to rumble with Pete. They scrap a bit, until he runs off too. Buffy gives chase.

In the halls, Willow distracts Oz so Faith can shoot him safely. Meanwhile, Pete runs from Buffy, clambers up some lockers and out a window. Thanks to his bloody handprint he conveniently left behind, Buffy follows him out the window.

Buffy finds Pete in the storage closet but she's too late. He's killed Debbie. Pete now sets his sights on Buffy but his attack doesn't last long because ANGEL shows up and fights Pete, eventually killing him. Standing in the sea of young dead lovers, a shaken Angel turns to an even more shaken Buffy. He looks at her not with the eyes of a feral demon, but of a lost man and whispers 'Buffy?' Yeah baby, he's back.

In the harsh light of the day, as rumors about Debbie and Pete's deaths float around the school, Buffy comforts Scott over the loss of his two friends. However as strong as her efforts may be, her mind is elsewhere. Like with Angel. She sits at the mansion and watches her former lover in the throes of a tormented sleep. Good night.

Liz's BITES:
* This episode is the very definition of a mixed bag for me. There some elements I loved and some I hated. It's always fun to start with the negative, so what really pissed me off about this episode was, say it with me kids... DEBBIE AND PETE. Up until the point where they both died, I was wondering if they were being set up to get their own spinoff because they got so much freaking screen time. Their scenes ALONE probably took up a third of the episode and that MAYBE would have been okay if they weren't such annoying characters -- she was a whiner, and he was a dick. Why are we wasting our time? Also, any plot development surrounding these two turkeys was heavy-handed and clunky. All we know about Jeff Walken at the beginning is that Oz knew him but when we need to connect him to Debbie in the eleventh hour, oh by the way, wouldn't ya thunk it but they were friends. Sloppy, just sloppy. And, when Pete gets away from Buffy and goes out the window, he easily hops through it and has NO REASON WHATSOVER to touch the wall with his bloody hand, EXCEPT that the plot requires him to do so in order for Buffy to know where he went. Honestly, their whole story reads to me like a bad Season One episode, meaning a Hellmouth take on a real-world problem. In this case it was male aggression, as pointed out mega-phone loud and clear by Faith at the beginning. I really wish we would have spent more time with our Scoobies.

* Meaning, say it with me kids...WHERE WAS CORDELIA? She has been so underused this season and it is simply insulting that we have such a great CAST character and some bozos like Debbie and Pete get five gazillion times more screen time than my Cordy. Could we not have incorporated her into the episode JUST A LITTLE? Maybe she could have been Pete's ex-girlfriend and he started pounding that alpha male, glowy green jizz juice in order to make himself more appealing to her. Anything!

* Okay, let's get to what I actually DID like about the episode and that is...Oz. Since last season's 'Phases', he has never been centre stage for an episode and I really actually liked this one for the first half when it was entirely focused on Oz. He has a really compelling story, being a way decent guy who just happens to have this demon affliction. When he thought he killed someone, even those his face barely moved, we could tell it was tearing him apart inside, Jeff Walken style. It was nice to see this character get explored.

* I do have a werewolf question that someone could possibly clear up for me. When the full moon goes down and Oz reverts back to himself, he is always naked. Willow has towels up in the kink cage for his privacy in the morning, but also so he can strip before he turns wolfie. However, in 'Phases' and in this episode when Pete attacked him, Oz didn't have time to take off his clothes and just turned anyway. So...are those clothes just gone?

* Speaking of bizarre clothes situations, let me get this straight. Angel comes back from hell as a completely feral beast, and last episode we saw that he came back naked as a fanged jaybird. Yet, when he attacks Buffy in the woods, he has pants on. How can a feral beast comprehend pants? HOW DID HE GET THEM ON?

* It's time to award a Fashion Slayer and this week it's a tie between the aforementioned Oz, for his magically disappearing 'Psychic' graphic tee, and Angel, for his magically appearing pants. Oh demon boys.

That will be all for me this week my lovely readers. What did you think of the episode? Think Debbie and Pete were lame-o? Enjoyed getting to know Oz a bit better? Banging your head against the wall (since 1998) wondering how Angel figured out how to get his pants on? Post a comment and let me know. Check in every Tuesday for my latest Buffy blog.

Dish later;