Of all the cockamamie reasons to be late for a date, 'I got attacked by a vampire in a pumpkin patch' takes the cake. Unless of course you're Buffy, then that's totally par for the course. She shows up at the Bronze, to find her date Angel engaged in a spirited conversation with Cordelia about Barbie dream cars. Angel spots her and Cordelia makes a scathing comment about Buffy's 'street urchin' look. By the way, the definition of street urchin means one who wears adorable clothes and has perfect hair, apart from two twigs sticking out of it. Embarrassed at her unsightly appearance, Buffy makes a hasty exit.
Thankfully, she decides to wash the microscopic speck of dirt off her face for the next day at school. She laments to Willow about her lack of a date with Angel, and Willow hatches a plan to poke their noses into the Watcher Diaries and get the dish on what kind of women pre-vampire Angel liked to date.
In a scene that would make the Pink Panther proud, Buffy distracts Giles while Willow sneaks into the library and heists the Watcher Diaries. Poring over the volume in the girls washroom, Buffy and Willow find a picture of a beautiful 18th century noblewoman. Cordelia barges in, and even after Buffy tells her Angel's status a pointy-toothed citizen, declares that she has her maneater sights set on him, and that Buffy is no match for her. This threatens Buffy in a way that no demon ever could.
Things go from bad to worse for Buffy when Principal Snyder strong-arms her, Xander and Willow into 'volunteering' to take kids trick-or-treating. The only consolation is that, according to Giles, Halloween is the one night a year that vampires, demons, and the forces of darkness (like what I did there?) take off. Kind of like how some choose not to celebrate Valentine's Day because it's too commercial, the undead choose not to celebrate Halloween because it's too cliché.
Buffy and pals now need costumes so they hit up a new shop in town. Xander buys a toy gun he will combine with army fatigues and Willow looks to hide out in a baggy white sheet of a ghost costume. At the back of the shop, Buffy spots a beautiful gown almost identical to the one worn by the girl in the Watcher Diaries. The soft-spoken British shop owner promises to give Buffy an excellent bargain on the dress and her eyes light up.
Meanwhile, Spike's eyes also light up as he watches a video of Buffy in battle. One of his minions recorded Buffy's brawl in the pumpkin patch, so Spike can study her every move and get back in the game. But Spike's not the only game in town. Late at night, that sweetheart costume shop owner, clad in a robe (Between this episode and the last one with the frat dudes, what IS it with bad guys dressed in robes?), kneels in front of a two-faced statue -- but not a statue of Two-Face -- and prays to the demon of Chaos. Dramatic music swells and you get the feeling something not-good is about to happen.
At Buffy's house, she and Willow get all Halloween-dolled up. Buffy can't stop staring at herself in the mirror, wearing the costume and a fancy brunette wig. After trick-or-treating, Angel is meeting her at the house and she wants to surprise him -- trust me Buffy, 18th century high society roleplay is hot. Willow meanwhile slinks into the room wearing a skimpy rocker girl outfit. She covers her exposed midriff in shyness, clearly not comfortable with Buffy's prodding her to embrace Halloween, Night of the Slut. Soldier Xander and arrives and is unsurprisingly wowed at Buffy's appearance. Wait until he sees Willow...and never mind, the little chicken has hidden her Courtney Love costume over her ghost one.
At the school, the gang picks up their group of kids -- and Ghost Willow bumps into Oz! -- and they head out trick-or-treating. The night is uneventful until the shop owner casts his spell. That's when the candy corn-coated shit hits the fan. A kid dressed into a monster morphs into an actual monster and starts to strangle an elderly woman. Willow tries to stop him but she collapses. She gets up a moment later, dressed in her rocker girl outfit and looks down at...her body. She is a ghost. Spotting Xander, Willow runs over and discovers that his toy gun has been replaced with a real one. He is actually a soldier and doesn't know what the hell is going on except that the streets are crawling with pint-sized demons. Something's really wrong and they need Buffy.
They find her alright but she's no longer the Slayer; she's a quivering noblewoman hot mess. Clearly she's no help and while Private Xander and his nice machine gun are helpful allies, he's no use at getting them out of this Hellmouth shitshow. Willow is on her own. She convinces them to take refuge in Buffy's house. After Xander has secured the perimeter they hear some high-pitched screaming. The cat-costumed Cordelia is being chased by a Bigfoot-esque demon. Xander ushers her into the house and Willow fears that Cordelia has actually turned into a cat, but nope, she's the same sarcastic bitch...just in a cat costume. While Cordelia bemoans her ruined costume and that Party Town won't give her back her deposit, Willow decides she is in over her head and needs Giles's help.
While Spike roams the streets in bafflement and amusement at the chaos before him, Willow scares the bejeepers out of Giles by floating into the library via a wall. She brings him up to speed and they get to work at sorting this mess out, although their efforts are somewhat hindered by Ghost Willow's inability to turn a page. What's puzzling is that everyone transformed except Cordelia and that's when Willow connects the dots that Cordy got her costume at Party Town and everyone else got theirs at the new place, Ethan's. At the mention of that name, Giles's face goes white.
The night's bizarre activity prompts Angel to check in on Buffy and is met with blank looks from her and Xander, who have no clue who he is. Cordy gives him a snarky summary and goes upstairs with Xander to
Giles shows up at the costume shop and confronts the owner, Ethan. Apparently the two know each other. Strange. Giles even says he should have known Ethan was behind the Halloween stunt.
Spike has now put two-and-two together and come up with a vulnerable Slayer. He assembles an army of kiddies-turned-demons and they go a-hunting. Willow meets up with the Scoobies and they also pursue Buffy. They find her moments ahead of Spike and the grade-school cronies, and hole up in a warehouse. It takes Spike and company approximately three seconds to break their way in and keep the Scoobies at bay. Spike is practically salivating at the transformed Buffy. He strikes her across the face (anyone else think that was kinda hot?) and gets ready to claim his third Slayer-kill.
Back at the costume shop, Giles knocks Ethan to the ground and kicks him repeatedly, demanding to know how to break the spell. Okay between this and the slap, I am getting majorly turned on. Anyway, Ethan cracks and tells Giles to break the two-faced statue. Giles raises it over his head and throws it on the ground (because he's an ADULT).
That does the trick and just as Xander breaks loose from the demons and is about to shoot Spike, he finds that he once again has a toy gun. The roars of the mini-demons are replaced by the cries for mommies and Spike has no idea what the eff is going on. Buffy, now the Slayer again, kicks Spike's hottie blond ass and sends him running off into the night. Angel embraces his beloved Buffy while Xander tells a pissed-off Cordelia there is no point at trying to break them up. He then looks around and asks, 'Where's Willow?'
Good question. She finds herself on the porch where she first turned into a ghost and is once again blissfully corporeal. Picking herself up, she is about to put her ghost costume back on, but a dead-sexy wry smile comes over her face and she drops it into a garbage bin, heading off into the night as a rock and roll badass. Speaking of rock and roll badasses, Oz spots her and asks himself once again 'who is that girl?'.
Buffy, having swapped her petticoats for sweatpants, embarrassingly tells Angel her reasons for dressing up in that costume. Angel laughs lovingly and tells her that those girls were simpering idiots and he much prefers someone more interesting liiiiiiiiike...ooh smoochie time!
In the harsh light of the day, Giles discovers that Ethan has abandoned the costume shop but left behind a little note:
You made me your bitch and I liked it.
No, for realsies, it actually promised Giles he would return soon. Please do, Ethan, because we all love it when Giles gets out of the library and kicks some Chaos-worshipping ass.
* OMG this episode TOTES made up for last week's fraternity nightmare. Fact: ever since I first saw this episode I always imagine that, wherever I am on Halloween, this spell occurs and what that would look like given the costumes surrounding me. I suggest you all try it, as it is a super-fun game from a super-fun episode. I would go out on a limb as to say this is the most fun episode yet.
* I also loved how every character gets to shine in this episode. Let's take a look:
Cordelia - Not a huge episode for her but she had a great scene with Oz, leaving him scratching his head at how psychotically high-maintenance she can be. Plus, she looked foxy fabulous in her cat costume.
Angel - Not a big episode for him either, but he wins major points for being such a decent guy/vampire. Women's hearts everywhere melted at the end of Bridget Jones when Mark Darcy told Bridget he loves her just the way she is. Angel gave Buffy a Hellmouth version of that speech at the end of the episode and the guy won me over.
Xander - I loved seeing him in soldier-mode, as a warrior completely void of his insecurities. And you may have picked up on the fact that I hate all things bully, so when Xander punched out Pirate Larry, I cheered. Again, Xander the Frat Boy Slayer, let's make this show happen.
Giles - Oooooh what a thrill to see his darker side. Yes, we've seen him fight alongside Buffy against some demons but he positively kicks Ethan Rayne's ass, a HUMAN BEING, and he does it so mercilessly. I am intrigued.
Buffy - I love any episode where Buffy is relatable. While I can't relate to the Slayer, I can relate to a teenage girl doing something silly to impress a boy she likes. However, whereas I merely come off looking like a buffoon, in the Hellmouth, changing yourself for your honey almost gets you killed. Still, it was nice to see Buffy's insecurities. Totally (almost) makes up for flirting with a frat boy last week. Buffy also gets points for being a fantastic friend to Willow, encouraging her to step out of her shell. And anyone looking to justify their slutty Halloween costume, just listen to the pep talk Buffy gives Willow at the shop.
WILLOW - What an ep for her, what a transformation. She starts out being too shy to wear a sexy outfit on HALLOWEEN, and a bizarre turn of events forces her to take charge and save the day. And she delivers. I have never been more proud of her as I was when her newfound confidence prompts her to own the streets in her rocker costume. Who is that girl, Oz asks. I asked myself the same thing.
* One minor quibble with the whole Ghost Willow thing: She is non-corporeal. She walks through walls and Xander walks through HER; she is unable to turn the page in Giles's book. So why do we hear the clompety-clomp of her boots every time she walks? Shouldn't those be non-corporeal too?
* Snyder had a hilarious line when he listed the delinquent activities he envisioned Buffy getting up to on Halloween: 'egging houses, keying cars, bobbing for apples.'
* Based on my harping on Willow's sexy outfit, you may have guessed... she is my Fashion Slayer. Congrats Willow, maybe next time you'll win for your actual wardrobe, not just a costume.
My lovely readers, I hope you enjoyed this week's blog and please leave me a comment letting me know what you thought about the episode. Next week there will be no blog as my wonderful boyfriend is taking me away on vacation for some fun in the sun. Not to be a bitch, Buffy, but could Angel do that for you? I think not. I will be back at it on Tuesday, March 11th so check in then.