Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Buffy the Vampire Slayer 6.15 As You Were

The Dish: Captain Cardboard needs his smelling salts when he walks in on Buffy and Spike.

In 'How I Met Your Mother', the romantic Ted Mosby spoke of the art of 'winning the breakup'. This is a cold war contest between exes to determine who is doing better post-breakup, thus winning. When Riley rolls back into Sunnydale, he's got Buffy dead to rights.

When Buffy's not missing garbage day, she spends her time slaving over a deep-fryer, thus branding her with a perma-stench of fat, grease, and other Doublemeat funkiness, all the while wearing the most unattractive uniform on the planet. Meanwhile, Riley is crushing it at his cool black ops job...and oh yeah, he's married to one of the most beautiful women on the planet. Buffy the Burger Slayer, meet Samantha Finn.

Still, they need the help of the Slayer. Something to do with a dealer selling massacre-causing demon eggs blah, blah, blah. The demon is bore snore, but Riley's mission finds him at Spike's crypt... where he catches Hostile 17 boning his former flame. Yep, Buffy and Spike are done caught. They slay the demon no prob, and on his way out of town, Riley and Buffy finally give their relationship the dignified closure it deserves. Which inspires Buffy to go all Looney Tunes and end things with Spike. Told yall the Slayer is a masochist.

Liz's BITES:
* Yes indeed, it's gotta sting when your ex-boyfriend waltzes back into town with a shiny new badass hottie of a wife and a super-cool job, while you, on the other hand, have found employment that requires you to wear a stuffed cow on your head. Like Buffy, I have worked my fair share of degrading service industry jobs -- blissfully none that require me to don plush livestock -- and if I ran into an ex while working, I would be mortified. But Buffy seemed to get a lot out of Riley's heartfelt pep talk at the end of the episode, so good for her. I guess. 'Cuz honestly, I thought it was bullshit. Here's mine:

Buffy, last year your mother died. You were forced to drop out of school to support your sister. You died, saving her and the world. You were ripped from heaven by your best friends, only to find yourself broke as shit. Your mentor and father figure left you. You had to take whatever job you could to continue supporting your sister, all the while saving the fucking world on a nightly basis. What's Riley's biggest problem? That you dumped him. Buffy, you won the breakup. Girl power, bitches.

* "What a bitch". Seriously, could Sam be any more perfect? She's a badass, independent woman. The woman could write a book on wedding planning on a budget. She loves and respects her husband, but isn't afraid to call him out -- seriously, the woman makes Riley seem attractive and charismatic. Is she a witch? Speaking of "witch", Sam's one social gaffe with Willow results in the former magic addict getting the world's best pep talk. Really, Sam's words to Willow bodyslammed Riley's 'quite the hottie' to Buffy speech into the ground. Instead of being petty and jealous, Sam is respectful and even reverent to Buffy...her husband's first real love. Who else wants to be this woman?

But here's the rub: she's had this perfect marriage to Riley for four months, eh? But in a heart to heart with Buffy, she admitted it took Riley over a year to get over the Slayer. If memory serves, Riley left Sunnydale just over a year ago. That means Sam married Riley while he was still into Buffy. Sure, Sam has a pretty demanding job where she may not have much opportunity to court suitors, but still, she is a bloody amazing woman. Why settle for a man pining for another woman? It's a shame this is the one and only episode Sam is featured in. She's a super intriguing character.

* Holy shit, Xander and Anya's wedding crept up fast -- a sentiment I'm sure the groom agrees with. With Willow's magic addiction and Buffy's sexytimes with Spike -- sorry, let me just pause for a delicious mental picture -- the wedding always seemed to be in the periphery. But now the wedding bells are about to ring, and both bride and groom are stressing. Well really, Xander's been all a-flutter about his upcoming nuptials since they announced the engagement. But now with the arrival of family, and a Chinese puzzle box of a seating chart, Anya's piled onto Xander's stressball. Okay, I get it, weddings are stressful. I'm about to start planning one myself. But that stress-eating was over-the-top. One bag of chips, no prob. Piles of bags in your car? Come on. Still, I loved their scene in the bathroom, where Xander told Anya that while he's dreading the headache of the wedding, he's looking forward to the marriage and spending the rest of his life with her. I've almost forgotten how much I love these two together. But while the romance is all fine and dandy, I also crave their 'shiver me timbers', if you  know what I'm sayin'.

* Now that Willow's far down the road to recovery, she's back as the best friend ever. 'Cuz as nice as Sam may be, the redhead is right: it is the best friend's certified duty to be as bitchy and hateful to their best friend's ex's new flame. It was hella adorbs when Willow agreed to stay in touch with Sam, and then turned around and called her a bitch to Buffy. Still, let's take this return to Queen Bestie one day at a time. Did you see that mountain of dishes Willow and Dawn left behind before they headed out to the Bronze? What, is overworked Cinder-Buffy just supposed to do them after her shift? And I really don't think Willow is paying Buffy any dough for her lodgings. So while the freaking Slayer has to sling burgers to get by, Willow gets to follow her academic pursuits while living rent-free in a master bedroom in a really nice house. Maybe before she went cold turkey, the redhead really should have conjured up some magic rent.

* When you end a long term relationship, it's not just the one person you break up with, it's the family. And Dawn feels dumped. As boring as the Iowan melba toast was, he was a good big brother figure to the little bit, and having him leave without a word has gotta smart. Dawn really hasn't had an easy go of it, and Riley's return really ripped open old wounds for her. But she was still big enough to forgive him. Take that, haters.

* Methinks someone needs to call the men in white coats. Because Buffy just ended her bang-ship with Spike. I've said it before, I really don't think Buffy is doing anything wrong. She says she's 'using Spike', but she has always been upfront about her feelings for him. He's a big boy and can make his own decisions. When Riley walked in on them, Buffy acted so ashamed, you'd think the soldier boy caught her raping a three-legged puppy. Okay, I would be embarrassed at how petty Spike was acting towards Riley, but that aside, he was the one who left her. Buffy is free to shag whomever she pleases, be it a model citizen or an 'evil, disgusting thing'. Still, Buffy is clearly full of self-loathing for her actions, so for her peace-of-mind, I support her decision to end things.

* But man alive, Slayer, way to pour salt on Spikey's sexy wounds. When she showed up at his crypt to hand Spike a one-way ticket to Dumpsville, she looked absolutely, positively, bloody gorgeous. That purple shirt is one of the most stunning pieces of fashion ever to appear on the show, and it's beautifully paired with those jeans and that exquisite pendant. As much as I wanted to give it to Sam for her sexy black ops look, the Slayer is quite the hottie and wins this week's Fashion Slayer award.

That's all for me this week, my lovely readers. What did you think of this episode? How much do you love Sam? Buffy leaving Spike's bed -- sound decision, or worst idea ever? Whose wedding would you rather go to -- Xander and Anya's or Riley and Sam's? Post a comment and let me know. Check in every Tuesday for my latest Buffy blog.

Dish later;

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Buffy the Vampire Slayer 6.14 Older and Far Away

The Dish: Buffy puts on her birthday suit.

Work. Spellcasters Anonymous. Demon-slaying. It seems everyone has something better to do than hang out with the Dawnster. The only person who really seems to sympathize with her is her shiny new guidance counselor, a woman baring a remarkably close appearance to Anya's vengeance demon gal-pal Halfrek. Dawn innocently wishes that nobody would be able to leave her.

Meanwhile, it's happy birthday Buffy! The Scoobies throw a high class party complete with awkward friends from work, sexual tension, and presents, presents, presents. Everyone has a great time and the bash quickly evolves into a slumber party. But come morning, the Scoobies have a dilemma -- nobody can leave!

This is bad enough -- people have jobs, class, kitten poker -- but matters are made worse when a demon Buffy thought she killed shows up and attacks. Buffy's 'date' Richard get seriously slashed, and Xander takes a flesh wound. Tara tries a spell but when it fails, Anya tries, but fails, to intimidate Willow into breaking her sobriety and magicking them out of the house.

After it is revealed that Dawn made a wish to her 'guidance counselor', Anya puts two and two together and summons her bestie. After a scrimmage with the sword-happy demon, ending in Buffy killing it once and for all, Halfrek chastises the group for neglecting Dawn, and she refuses to lift the spell. Small problem with that. She can't leave. Having more children to avenge, Halfrek lifts the spell and the Scoobies blissfully leave the Summers house. All save Buffy, who decides to spend time with Dawn. And rack up a list of how much crap Miss Sticky Fingers 2002 stole.

Liz's BITES:
* I love the episode. Not a super pivotal one to the seasonal arc, but lots of fun. With Buffy and Willow's recent trauma-ramas, we haven't had much Scooby Gang action so it's nice to see them all in one place -- I guess that was the idea, eh Dawnie? Also, the past handful of episodes were either way too goofy, or hella depressing. 'Older and Far Away' was on the lighter side, but still packs a good character punch.

* And of course, this marks another epicly dangerous, bloody awful birthday for Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But was it really THAT bad? Here are my official Buffy Birthday Power Rankings - Best to Worst:

1. Season 4 - 19th birthday

Really, other than a little taco-blocking, nothing went wrong for the Buffster. Her friends threw her a great surprise birthday, and she got to show off her new boy-toy Captain Cardboard Riley. The only downside to the birthday itself was that it was the inciting incident to Giles feeling inadequate, leading him to get sloshed with Ethan Rayne and temporarily turned into a Fyarl demon.

2. Season 6 - 21st birthday

Told ya this one wasn't that bad. If it wasn't for dumb Dawn making that wish and dumber Buffy bringing that demon-loaded sword into the house, it would have been a perfectly lovely little shindig... or gathering... or hootenanny -- where's Oz when you need him? Really since Buffy came back from the dead, this is the first time we see her normal and happy.

3. Season 5 - 20th birthday

A slightly sadder house party last year, on account of Buffy being recently dumped by Riley and all. Plus the gathering -- too lame to be a shindig, sorry -- took a definite nosedive when upon discovering she was the Key, Dawn hacked up her arms and ran out...into the arms of evil hell goddess Glory.

4. Season 3 - 18th birthday

Talk about betrayal of the dads. The whole catastrophe starts with Hank Douchebag Summers reneging on his promise to take Buffy to the ice show -- don't all laugh at once -- and ending with Buffy and Joyce almost being murdered by a criminally insane vampire. Oh, and did I mention that Buffy was absolutely defenseless because Giles drugged her as part of a sadistic Watchers' Council test?

5. Season 2 - 17th birthday

This has to be the worst of the worst. Buffy's wonderful party gets crashed to shit by the news that Spike and Dru are alive and well -- more or less -- and that they intend to assemble the Judge and end the world. Things take a definite erectly upturn when Buffy loses her virginity to the love of her life, Angel...only for Angel's curse to be lifted, taking away his soul, making him Angelus, and Buffy's mortal enemy for the rest of Season 2.

As far as birthdays go, Buffy should just let them burn.

* In addition to the Scoobies, this year's Buffy birthday bash brought some new faces to the group, all of varying levels of entertaining. Here are my Buffy Birthday Guest Power Rankings (can you tell I love power rankings?):

1. Clem

Hands down, the best of the bunch. If the aforementioned party is no indication, Clem is the only one of these three ever to be seen again. 'Skin condition' aside, Clem is the perfect party guest. He gets along with everyone! He dances with the ladies, plays poker with the fellas, and watches cartoons with the young'ins. Make sure you never forget to invite this floppy-eared barrel of fun to your next shindig. (Yes, it's a shindig).

2. Richard

Talk about Carpenter Cardboard. Sure, he's cute...in a bland, nice guy frat boy -- if such a thing exists -- kinda way. Really, he wasn't even there to have fun, so much as try to mack on Buffy at the behest of Xander and Anya -- okay, mainly Anya. Sure, he was a good person for the demon to seriously injure. Would anyone really have given a shit of Richie would have kicked it? And the only reason he squeaked into the #2 spot is because he unintentionally made Spike jealous. And a jealous Spike is an entertaining Spike -- 'Oh Buffy, can I get you a soda pop? I think I'm in looove.'

3. Sophie

Since when in all six season of the show has any member of the Scoobies cared about expanding their social circle? Okay, I'm willing to let Sophie's invitation slide because Buffy is trying to establish a sense of normalcy, and it doesn't get much more normal than bonding with a coworker and having fun outside of the workplace. Really Sophie added nothing to the party, other than some mildly amusing social awkwardness. Though I will admit, she was pretty funny when she admitted that her shift at the Doublemeat Palace did not warrant a good reason for her leaving.

* The little bit has officially been taken off the sidelines and placed front and centre. The pain stemming from her constant neglect has finally reached a fever pitch. Up until this recent viewing, every time I watched 'Older and Far Away', I have wanted to throttle Dawn for being such a brat. Her haughty, insolent triumph that the others can't leave her, and the second iteration of 'get out, get out, GET OUT' -- interestingly, both times shrieked at a Buffy birthday bonanza -- are enough to make your ears bleed and your blood boil. Yes, Dawn was a complete brat. But as we see, Dawn has a point when she really has nobody. Her only real friend is Janice the bad egg, and I get the sense that they're only 'hanging out friends', not 'share each others' misery friends'. Dawn hasn't really had anyone planted in her emotional corner since Joyce. Let's hope this wish fiasco was a wake-up call to Buffy, and she starts paying more attention to the Dawnster.

* Remember quiet, church mouse, s-s-s-stuttering Tara? Well, that girl is gone baby gone. Not only did this veritable badass stand-up to Spike...she cockblocked him. See there's the girlfriends who are bitchy cockblocks, either because they're manhaters or jealous, but there's the girlfriends who cockblock because she is looking out for her friend, and that's what Tara's doing. Even though I personally think all Buffy needs is a perspective adjustment, Tara just wants to eliminate what makes her friend sad, and that is Spike and his advances. But her badassness didn't stop there. I was so damn proud of her for getting in Anya's face and not just telling her, but ordering her to back off Willow. That's my good witch.

* As much as I loved Tara standing by her former lady, I must say that in this whole demon-on-the-loose-we-can't-leave-the-house debacle, I am totally Team Anya. After Tara's spell flopped, Anya was the only one persistently looking for solutions. And let me tell you, if I was trapped in a house with a demon that attacked my man, and there was someone with the ability to get us out but refused to do so, whoa-ho, peeps be having Glory flashback, know what I'm sayin'? And really, I'm probably one of the only people who feels sad for Dawn, but I'm glad Anya really let her have it for her stupid klepto shenanigans. Damn, that ex-vengeance -- er, justice -- demon has got me fired up. Anya should give motivational speeches.

* It's a common motif in the Buffyverse for an actor to play different characters. Luke and the Judge, Zachary Kralik and Rack, Harmony's minion and Andrew. Same person. But in the case of Cecily, William the Bloody's love interest, and Halfrek, it appears that they're not just the same actress...they're the same person. When she shows up, Halfrek and Spike recognize each other and she even calls him 'William'...but SPOILER ALERT(ish) nothing ever goes past this. It's never mentioned again, and I don't believe they ever interact beyond this episode. So why have this extra little detail? Please comment and let me know.

* Hey yall, did ya catch the latest? Willow's on the road to recovery from her magic addiction. You might have heard, on account of every episode making a point to beat us over the head with it. This episode actually made interesting use of this, with Willow being potentially the only one able to save the day. So, umm, why Spellcasters Anonymous? (A name only slightly less stupid than Witches Anonymous...but I guess they can't exclude the dudes). It seems like Willow has done a pretty good job of going cold turkey and being aided by the help of the Scoobies. It's not that I don't buy that a group like Spellcasters Anonymous could exist, especially in Sunnydale. I mean, there's a positive smorgasbord of members in Rack's waiting room. But if we're not going to see it, and its only real point was to give Willow a reason why she couldn't hang out with Dawn, then it's taking the addiction metaphor a little too far.

* It should not have come down to Anya snooping through Dawn's possessions for the little bit to be outed as a klepto. Buffy has been working double shifts at the Doublemeat Palace in order to put food on the table for her and Dawn. Basically the Slayer has no money. So Dawn definitely has no money. So how in the hell would she be able to afford a brand spanking new leather fucking jacket? Was Buffy really just thinking 'ooooh pretty'? Get it together, girl!

* Well you know that for Buffy's birthday, everyone dresses to the nines. Willow steals a shirt from a genie, Richard selects the reddest of his red polos collection, and Buffy goes for the goth-by-Claire's-accessories look. All valiant efforts, but there can only be one Fashion Slayer, and it is the klepto herself, Dawn Summers, for her baby blue long-sleeved tee/khaki miniskirt combo. They're nice clothes, Dawnie, don't get your sticky fingers all over them.

That's all for me this week, my lovely readers. What did you think of the episode? Minus the demon, it was a pretty good shindig -- hell, I'm gonna call it a hootenanny -- wasn't it? Do we finally have some sympathy for the Dawnster -- or is she just a klepto brat? Party Guest Ding, Marry, Kill: Clem, Richard, Sophie? Post a comment and let me know. Check in every Tuesday for my latest Buffy blog.

Dish later;


Monday, 25 January 2016

Buffy the Vampire Slayer 6.13 Dead Things

The Dish: What young lady is foolish enough to turn down Spike with handcuffs? Hello, Buffy.

Too bad Faith went all murdery. 'Cos home-Slayer Buffy really needs to be hit with another 'find the fun, B' speech. She visits Spike on a regular basis, but is disgusted with herself, and still haunted by the question of whether she came back 'wrong'. Wanting to keep Willow clear of anything magic-related, Buffy asks Tara to investigate her query.

The Trio has hatched up another scheme. This time it's using magic on women, turning them into their personal sex slaves. When Warren goes scouting, he bumps into none other than his ex, Katrina. He puts the love whammy on her and before they know it, Katrina is back at the Trio's layer, serving them champagne in a French maid outfit, calling them master, and ready to blow Warren to high heaven. But the spell wears off and Katrina is pissed.

She accuses them of rape and flees. Warren stops her via a champagne bottle to the head, killing his former flame. Panic ensues, as the Trio fears incarceration and, of course, the wrath of Buffy. That's when the misogynistic leader hatches a plan: put some mojo on Buffy and make her think she killed Katrina.

The guys are good. Buffy thinks she killed Katrina, and much to the dismay of Spike and Dawn, is ready to turn herself into the police. Until she hears Katrina's name and puts two and two together. Buffy's mission is now clear -- get the Trio, especially Warren.

Tara gets back to Buffy and happily informs the Slayer there's nothing wrong with her. The reason Spike can hurt Buffy is purely molecular. On the one hand, yay, Buffy's not a demon. But Buffy comes to the frightening realization that it's not some inner demon making her sleep with Spike, it's her. The Slayer breaks down crying, begging Tara not to tell anybody, and not to forgive her. Well Buffy, I don't forgive you. Keeping Spike all to yourself, tsk tsk.

Liz's BITES:
* If only Buffy could watch 'Buffy'. Then the poor hot mess in distress would realize that the greatest thing to happen to anyone ever in the 'Buffy' canon would be to boink Spike. The first scene between them was actually really sweet and, for real, you can have fabulous sex with someone you don't love and that doesn't make it wrong. It's funny that what set Buffy off was Spike calling her an 'animal'. She goes all Scarlett O'Hara on him, all but insisting she is a 'lady' and giving him a dramatic slap.

* Which is ironic because being an 'animal' has been the only reason Buffy can live with herself. When Tara informs her that's not true, my heart breaks for Buffy, not because she's so sad, but because she's not doing anything bloody wrong! I suppose a case could be made that between her hours at the Doublemeat Palace, patrolling and her trysts with Spike, Buffy is neglecting Dawn. But honey, wake up and smell the handcuffs. You've got a good thing going.

* Buffy, I have solved your moral quagmire. Just admit you're a sexual submissive. Then you wouldn't be all bashful/high and mighty when Spike introduced handcuffs -- seriously, who else wanted to smack her in the face when she turned them down? Also, if Buffy would just wake up and spank her inner kinky moppet, she wouldn't feel all dirty and ashamed after Spike degrades her -- at least not in a negative way. Because let's be real here , that scene at the Bronze was all kinds of hot. Think of how orgasmically delicious is would have been if Buffy stopped punishing herself...and let Spike do it for her.

* With all the Spike sexytimes, I'd forgotten how much I missed Tara. Seeing her back felt like reuniting with an old friend. And Tara is the very definition of friend. She did all this extra work for Buffy and was so sympathetic and non-judgy when Buffy broke down...not that there's anything to judge. I adored the good witch's interaction with Willow. I've never seen exes be more dignified and respectful to each other. But it was also crushing to watch because there's still clearly so much love between them. Dammit Willow, why'd you have to go and get all addicty? I miss you two together!

* I told you fuckers lovely readers that the Trio is more than a band of nerds, that they pose a real threat. I present to you Exhibit A and B -- attempted rape and successful fucking murder. At the top of the ep, they were still the same old dorks, giggling about magicking women into being their personal sex bunnies. And how creepy was Warren? In that scene, he was literally heaving and shuddering at the prospect of their idea. But when the spell went awry and Katrina pointed out they're not playing a geeky little game, they're committing rape, a threshold was officially crossed. That look on Jonathan's face when he realized that Katrina was bang on, and what he has done...haunting.

* The morality lines between the Trio have officially been drawn. First, we have Warren the sociopath. Nothing will stop him from going after what he wants, not even hurting somebody. In fact, often what he wants is exactly to hurt someone. Warren's polar opposite is Jonathan. Jonathan has a heart and a conscience and really just wants to live in the harmless geek world he thought he signed up for. His remorse is all over his face, and he's full of regret for his complicity in dumping Katrina's body. Then we have Andrew. He's certainly not sadistic like Warren. When Katrina died, Andrew had a genuinely negative, sorry reaction. But we later see that is directly correlated with getting caught, and not because he helped kidnap and murder another human. This whole situation is such a psychological thriller in and of itself, how can you people hate the Trio?

* I've said it before, Katrina is an absolute bombshell. She wins this week's Fashion Slayer award for her French maid costume. This may be a controversial decision, given the insidiousness of that scene but if you can detach yourself from the contest, the girl really does look slamming. Katrina should lend that costume to Buffy, so she can go tidy up Spike's crypt. It would behoove her to do so, seeing as they do bang on the floor.

That's all for me this week, my lovely readers. What did you think of the episode? Still think the Trio is lame? Fantasize about how they would fare in jail? Shouldn't Buffy give herself permission to enjoy sex with Spike? Post a comment and let me know. Check in every Tuesday for my latest Buffy blog.

Dish later;

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Buffy the Vampire Slayer 6.12 Doublemeat Palace

The Dish: Buffy must get to the bottom of a Grinder incident.

Buffy Summers has saved the world from vampires, demons, and the forces of darkness. Anya's right, she really should have been charging. 'Cuz now she's stuck flipping burgers at the local Doublemeat Palace. The employees seem like mindless automatons, except for Manny the Manager, who is cray-cray proud of the restaurant's signature dish, the Doublemeat Medley -- a marriage of chicken and beef...and a secret ingredient. The whole thing is about the size of a basketball.

But Buffy's spidey sense is tingling. Manny is super CIA about the Medley's secret ingredient. Add that to the high number of employees who have just stopped showing up to work, and that spells monster to our Slayer. The Scoobies aren't so sure, but when Buffy finds a finger in the meat grinder, she's cracked the case. The 'secret ingredient' is PEOPLE!

Buffy enlists Willow who uses slow-ass chemistry to test the ingredient, while Buffy goes back to do some recon. The former witch discovers it's actually a vegetable product, NOT people. But what about that finger? At the restaurant, Buffy gets attacked by none other than Wig Lady, a nice regular. Wig Lady is actually a demon who eats fast food employees, by paralyzing them so they can't find back. Lucky for our Slayer, Willow shows up to share her results. Just as Buffy is about to become a Doublemeat Medley herself, Willow slays the Wig Lady demon. The day is saved and Buffy gets to keep her job at the fast food joint. Yay?

Liz's BITES:
* Did anyone really have any high hopes for an episode called 'Doublemeat Palace'? Sigh. Yes, Buffy is broke again. She got a big fat cheque from Giles, keeping her and the Dawnster comfy for about three months, during which time Buffy did fuck all to plan for the future. Well, now the future is bringing the hammer down. I totes believe the only job Buffy would be able to get would be something shitty like slinging burgers. She has little to no work experience. But do we really need a whole episode about it?

I swear, the first page of my notes was nothing more than a training shift at the Doublemeat Palace. We have seen Buffy blow up a school and sacrifice herself to save the world. Is it entirely necessary to spend three minutes of our lives watching Buffy learn how to work a fryer?

* Wig Lady? That's this week's featured creature? She has to be one of the worst, am I right? I love Jane Espenson and I think this script was supposed to be a satirical take on the high turnover of service industry employees. But it misses the mark for two reasons. The first is no fault of Espenson. 'Doublemeat Palace' is coming on the heels of 'Gone', another silly, throwaway episode. If this came after a heavy one, it might have a more pleasant, palate cleansery feeling. But then again, oh yeah, there's reason #2. The big bad is an old lady who's really a demonic worm who paralyzes fast food employees so she can eat them. Read that sentence one more time. Mic dropped.

* Hello ladies, welcome to 'How to Be a Hot Mess 101', as taught by Buffy Summers and Willow Rosenberg. Just follow these simple steps and you are well on your way to becoming a cliched, fucked up, damsel in distress:

1. When the chips are down, lop off your hair. With it will go all your problems. Right?! *sniffle*

2. Cry in the shower, as you try in futile to wash away the guilt of all the horrible things you have done.

3. Aaaaand of course, get nailed by your hate-fuck buddy behind the shitty restaurant you work at, while you're on break.

If these three criteria aren't enough to tell us that a TV/movie gal is in a really bad place, golly gee, I don't know what is.

* As roll-your-eyes cliche as that alley sex scene was, I got mega nether regions tingly, as I always do when Buffy descends further into the gutter of her own degradation. And Spike was such an asshole, pulling a work attack on Buffy.

work attack (noun): When a former paramour shows up at your service industry job, wanting to talk (or bone), knowing full well that you cannot leave, and must maintain a polite and friendly composure.

God, that gives me flashbacks. Such douchey behavior. But Spike is perfect, so when he does it, it's just hot. "Service me." Don't mind if I do!

* Can we all just agree, Buffy is the worst employee ever? There's the aforementioned sex on the clock -- no, not a literal clock, it'd break, dummy. But it doesn't stop there. Buffy also just up and walks away from Manny the Manager in the middle of a training session to poke around an obscenely large tub of dehydrated pickles. Add that to snooping in the freezer before she thought there were murdery shenanigans going on, plus wanting to take an extra break on her first day, and you've got the work ethic of a bratty fifteen-year-old.

* Kind of like Dawn? Oh wait, she was beyond adorable this episode. The little bit was mega supportive about Buffy diving into the work force. But what choked me up was how damn sympathetic Dawn was about her sister's future, as expressed to Xander. Realizing the Buffy's calling prohibits her from pursuing a rewarding career shows that Dawn is mature beyond her years. Suck it, haters.

* I am thrilled that for two episodes in a row, it has been magic-free Willow who saved the day. Too bad said episodes have been sub-par. I really didn't think Willow's addiction struggle went anywhere in 'Doublemeat Palace'. When Amy zapped her, I thought something ca-raaaaazy would happen, but the redhead just successfully hid it from the others, only to endearingly confess to Buffy and continue her path to recoveryyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy... oh sorry, I fell asleep. This whole subplot could have been redeemed if she would have given Amy a good clock to her stupid, former rat face. But no, Willow had to go all high road, which is never a good time.

* Finally! We have some real Anya screen time. I missed her funny jokes and money fetish. As the wedding bells loom nearer, Xander is getting his stupid cold feet and that's not helped when Halfrek, Anya's former vengeance demon co-worker, shows up. This is a classic Hellmouth take on someone meeting their partner's former bestie... and absolutely hating them. While I think Xander should man up and look past the scaly skin, he should really be more concerned about Halfrek in Anya's ear, chirping him hardcore. What's really poignant is that some of what Hallie's saying is true. Xander does get too embarrassed by Anya. Personally, I think Xander needs a smack upside the head and appreciate his devoted, frank-talking lady.

* Okay Buffy, I get you're a girly girl and want to wear makeup to work. Got no problem with that. But when your uniform is pylon-orange, you maybe kinda-sorta want to think twice before pairing it with ruby-red lipstick. Just a thought, don't throw me in the grinder.

* I will say this for the future Doublemeat Palace employee of the month, she sure cleans up pretty well after her shift. As in better than most of us look on a fantastic day. Congrats to Buffy on her second consecutive Fashion Slayer award, for her after work chic number. Maybe she can find Spike and the two can shag behind a Walmart. Y'know, just to spice things up.

That's all for me this week, my lovely readers. What did you think of the episode? Did it succeed in making fast food work more terrifying that it already is? Wig Lady -- worst villain of the Buffyverse? Speaking of which, Ding, Marry, Kill: Wig Lady, Manny the Manager, or Greasy-Eared Todd? Post a comment and let me know.

Dish later;