Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Buffy the Vampire Slayer 3.20 The Prom

The Dish: Hellhounds want to rip my prom dress off! Welcome to Prom 2006 1999!

It's prom time at Sunnydale High, and everyone's excited. Even ex-vengeance demon Anya, who's so desperate for a date she asks the even more desperate Xander, who obviously accepts. Giles grows increasingly frustrated with the Scooby Gang, who are thinking less about the impending Ascension and more about the perfect prom dress. If only a demon would wake these kids up! Careful what you wish for, Giles, as that's exactly what happens. Once again, Xander confronts Cordelia at the dress shoppe, where it's revealed that she's working there to pay for her prom dress after her dad lost all his money to the tax man. That's when a hellhound attacks and nearly mauls a tuxedo-clad kid to death before bizarrely turning around and fleeing the scene.

Meanwhile, Buffy's world is falling apart. The Mayor's candor about her and Angel's relationship has left her vampire boyfriend with some deep thoughts. After Buffy talks about getting 'the girlfriend drawer' at his place and leaving behind a 'Buffy and Angel forever' doodle, Angel's definitely concerned. That gets amped up when Joyce drops by unannounced and tells him that Buffy will never be able to see the doomed relationship for what it is and HE needs to be the one to break it off. This culminates in him breaking up with Buffy in the sewers. Angel tells her that he'll never be able to give her the life she deserves -- a life in daylight, orgasms, etc. He also drops the bomb that after the Ascension, he's skipping town. Buffy is understandably devastated.

That's what makes Tucker Wells's timing impeccable. He's the misanthrope behind the hellhounds. As a completely logical reaction to being rejected for a prom date, he has trained a small army of hellhounds to attack anyone in formal wear, and he plans to unleash them at the prom. After insisting that her much happier friends attend the prom, Buffy confronts Tucker solo. While she makes quick work of subduing the wuss, she's too late and he's already sent them to the school. Buffy catches up with the hounds just before they ruin everyone's prom. She kills them, and shows up in all her gorgeous splendor just in time for Prom '99!

And what a prom it is. Xander suffers through having Anya regale him with vengeance demon stories, and Wesley drools over Cordelia in her sexy dress -- that Xander adorably paid for -- until Giles tells him to nut up and ask her to dance. What really turns the night into a Cinderella moment for Buffy is during the awards, when Jonathan presents her with the new category of 'Class Protector', given to Buffy on behalf of the entire graduating class. As if that's not sweet enough, Angel shows up to dance with Buffy. Talk about a perfect high school moment.

Liz's BITES:
* Well, in this FANTASTIC episode, it is officially The End for Buffy and Angel. I have to confess, they have never been my favourite couple, compared to Willow and Oz, and other couples to come, but I really felt how much they loved each other. You'd have to be made of stone not to. That loss of a first love is what made this break-up so crushing, and Buffy's reaction is exactly what I would expect, and what I've had myself. First the numbness -- 'this isn't real' -- and then the crippling heartbreak -- 'I'm trying to keep from dying'. When she collapses onto Willow's lap, I don't know who cried harder, her or me. And right before the prom!

* The whole hellhound storyline was kinda meh. It was basically just a relief from the relationship drama, and I'm really grateful they didn't make it a 'creature feature' episode, with us seeing Willow and Oz interrogating the friend, etc. I find it very interesting how in the recent 'Earshot', a student about to commit mass-murder was taken with grave seriousness, but here it's just a mere piss-off before the prom. And WHAT happened to Tucker? Did Buffy just leave him chained up and released him to the care of the Sunnydale police after the prom? What did she tell them?

* Buffy should be mighty grateful she has people like Willow and Giles in her life. Both of them are smart cookies and know that ultimately, Buffy and Angel shouldn't be together, but when Angel's inevitable break-up actually happens, there's no 'it's for the best' from either redhead or ex-Watcher. All they can see is a crushed Buffy. Willow does her best friendly duties by bashing Angel, but is so lost and empathetic when Buffy bursts into tears. And that scene between Buffy and Giles in the kink cage was so moving. Giles 1.0 would be overjoyed at Bufy's decision to put aside her feelings to fight the hellhounds. But fatherly Giles is primarily concerned with Buffy's emotional well-being when he finds out about the break-up, even if he can't do much to help. 'I understand this situation requires ice cream of some kind'...oh did my heart melt.

* I have been MIGHTY hard on Xander, both during and post-Smoochiegate. With pride, I declare him fully redeemed. The Xan-man shows genuine sensitivity at the big reveal that Cordelia's broke, even though it's a perfect opportunity to rub her misery in her face. And when he PAID FOR HER PROM DRESS! Awwwww. Oh my stars, that was so sweet. Well, duh!

* Sweetness aside, this begs the question... where the Hellmouth does Xander get all his money? He has made it no secret that his parents are assholes and broke ones to boot, and Xander has no income to speak of. So how does he pay for both Cordelia's dress and his rental tux? Methinks Xander might be a 'creature of the night' if ya know what I mean.

* Anya rocks. A 1000+-year-old demon who can FULLY see the silliness of investing so much into a school dance...but still wants to go anyway! How priceless was Xander's face when Anya was going on and on with her vengeance demon stories? So much that the poor guy was actually happy to see Cordelia and Wesley. TOGETHER!

* Speaking of which, HALLELUJAH! Wesley finally made a move on Cordelia and asked her to dance. I think Giles spoke for us all when he said to Wesley, 'Just have at it and stop fluttering about.'

* Ah, Wesley. Does anyone else wonder how he has justified his presence at the school? As Watcher, Giles has still always fulfilled the role of legitimate librarian. Is Wesley playing the role of Giles's assistant? Somehow I don't think he would go for that. Then does nobody question a late 20s/early 30s well-dressed Brit heading to the library every morning? Not only that, but he's CHAPERONE at the prom.

* Yay, Jonathan. He got a date to prom!

*Double-yay Jonathan, for presenting Buffy with the Class Protector award. That was such a moving scene. Buffy finally got her perfect high school moment. *tear*

* While on the topic of awards, it's time for the Fashion Slayer. The winner is...THE SCOOBY GANG! From Cordelia's perfect dress to Willow's 'look at those' to Oz's snazzy suit to Buffy's girly princessness, everyone looked positively fab. Scoobies, take a bow.

That's all for me this week, my lovely readers. What did you think of the episode? Heart permanently broken for Buffy and Angel? Wondering what the hell happened to Tucker? Who really had the best prom dress? Post a comment and let me know. Check in every Tuesday for my latest Buffy blog.

Dish later;

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Buffy the Vampire Slayer 3.19 Choices

The Dish: Everyone wants to get their hands on the Mayor's box.

Being a spoiled child sure is nice, as Faith learns for the first time when her Mayor-daddy gives her a present in the form of a gorgeous, menacing knife. But he doesn't just give gifts out willy-nilly. Faith is expected to go to the airport to retrieve a package crucial to the Mayor's Ascension. Upon arrival, Faith makes quick work of killing the delivery man, and retrieves what looks like a bigass, ancient box. The Mayor is positively giddy to receive it but warns Faith, DO NOT OPEN THAT BOX.

While Principal Snyder's on an anti-drug kick and Buffy starts to question her future with Angel, the Scooby Gang makes plans for theirs, post-high school. Xander's going to pull a Jack Kerouac, and I don't mean he's going to mistreat women, whine a lot, and write an overrated book, but backpack across the country. Willow's been accepted to posh schools all over the world and is trying to pick which one to attend. And our good Slayer herself, Buffy, has been accepted to North Western and really wants to go. There's just this small Ascension problem. Being accepted to a good school puts a fire under her ass, and Buffy bursts into the library to tell Giles and Wesley that she's done lying in wait and wants to take the fight to the Mayor. Giles backs up her plan, and that night Buffy goes to City Hall for a recon mission. That's where she sees Faith with the Box.

Giles informs her that it's the Box of Gavrok, capable of unspeakable evils, something they definitely do NOT want in the Mayor's possession. The plan is for Buffy and Angel to steal it, bringing Willow along to disable any magic alarms that may be protecting the Box. Giles and Wesley will drive the getaway car. Oz and Xander will prepare a spell to destroy the Box. Xander goes to the main drag to shop for ingredients and spots Cordelia shopping for prom dresses. He can't resist a little mean-spirited banter, and dismisses her acceptance into quality colleges as having been paid for by Daddy. Cordelia actually seems hurt.

That night, the plan's afoot. As Xander and Oz diligently prep the spell, Giles and Wesley drop off the rest of the Scoobies, who scale the roof of City Hall and easily spot the box. Willow effortlessly performs the spell, and the magic alarm is disabled. Work done, she books it out of there. Buffy and Angel break into the Mayor's office to nab the Box, but they didn't count on an ACTUAL alarm and are quickly fighting for their lives against a horde of minions. They get away with the box and hide in the bushes, while Giles and Wesley's decoy van fools the vamps. Mission: Successful. Only a teeny problem -- Faith kidnaps Willow.

Chaos reigns at Scooby headquarters as Buffy and Xander tear Wesley a new one for suggesting they leave Willow with Team Bad Guy and go ahead with the plan to destroy the Box. Oz settles everything by SMASHING the pedestal needed for the spell and the gang decides to call the Mayor to arrange a trade. Back at City Hall, Willow kills her vampire watchdog and instead of escaping, breaks into the Mayor's office and discovers the Books of Ascension. She pores over them until being caught by Faith. Willow calls Faith out for being a world-class bitch and almost takes a knifing for it, but the Mayor breaks it up with news of the trade.

The Scoobies arrange for it to be in the school cafeteria, blocking off all the entrances but one. Team Bad Guy shows up, with Faith holding Willow at knife-point. Buffy and the Mayor meet each other for the first time, but before the trade, the Mayor takes the opportunity to call out the flaws in Buffy and Angel's relationship. As an immortal, the Mayor had to watch his wife age while he remained the same, and it destroyed them, and he can't help but feel that the same will happen for Buffy and Angel. Sore spots hit, the trade is made clean and simple. Except Snyder then bursts in with a handful of cops, thinking the clandestine meeting is a drug deal. One cop is hit with a cold dose of reality when he opens the Box of Gavrok, only to have a giant spider emerge and rip his face off. Another spider escapes before Buffy closes the box, and now Good Guy and Bad Guy alike are looking to stop the spiders. One gets the Mayor, but his invincibility makes it impossible to kill him. The spider moves on to Buffy, jumping on her back, but she smashes it dead into the ground. Faith spots another one crawling up the wall and hurls her knife at it, killing it instantly. The bad guys leave with the Box in hand, but Buffy takes Faith's knife.

After the fact, Willow tells her war story to Buffy and Giles. Giles is giddy to learn Willow got her hands on the Books of Ascension, and almost faints with pleasure when the redhead hands him a few key pages she tore from the books. The next day, Willow tells Buffy that what she wants to do with her life is fight evil, and as a result, Willow will be joining Buffy at UCSunnydale next year. Buffy is overjoyed. However, not so much with the Mayor's words about her and Angel. In a private moment, Buffy and Angel assure each other they'll be okay but the look on their faces says that neither believe that. Sucks to be them.

Liz's BITES:
* Wowzers, what a doozy of an episode. 'Choices' marks the beginning of the end for Season 3 and its final battle. For the first time, Buffy and the Mayor meet each other face to face. Such formidable adversaries these two are. More than ever, Buffy showed real warlike instinct in planning her Box-snatching mission, with maps and stuff. I have to tip my hat to the Mayor for being a fantastic villain, and I'm going to go out on a limb and say the BEST villain the series has ever seen. He relishes the opportunity to hit his opponent where it hurts, when he dissects Buffy and Angel's relationship and exposes its cracks. The crazy thing is that I detect a note of fatherly caring from the Mayor. It is just that which makes him a fantastic villain, his ability to completely tune into the emotions of others, as he can use it against them. And how creepy were those spiders? Graduation Day will definitely be interesting. I think that's the first time anyone's ever said that.

* This was definitely Willow's night for suave. The girl is a forced to be reckoned with. Not only was she integral in the Box-snatching mission, but she DUSTED HER FIRST VAMP, with a pencil of all things -- which is a throwback to the 'Gingerbread', 'what are you gonna do, float a pencil on them?' episode. That confrontation scene with Faith was pants-moisteningly fabulous. Willow calls Faith out for being a bad person and beautifully encapsulates what I've been thinking from the get-go -- just because you had a shitty childhood doesn't give you the right to be a total asshole. Yes, certain ex-boyfriends, I'm talking to you too. Sure, Willow took a punch and had a knife pulled on her, but notice how Faith HAD to insist that the Mayor cared for her? Willow really got to her. To top everything off, being taken hostage really shows Willow where she belongs and as a result, forgoes all the Ivy League schools she was accepted into, in favour of of staying in Sunnydale to fight evil. I think Buffy speaks for us all when she says 'I think I kind of love you', Willow.

* Woe is me, it looks like the beginning of the end for Buffy and Angel. Buffy is about to be a Grown-Up, and that means she has to think about her future. Even before the Mayor's candor, Angel's immortality, and Buffy's lack of it, plagued Buffy's thoughts. Talk about problems, and the whole no sex thing barely gets broached this episode. What really kicks 'Choices' into high gear is when Buffy wants to defeat the Mayor and survive the Ascension so she can go away to school, and in that moment, she ain't thinking about her vamp-beau. You'll be okay, Buffy and Angel? What, are you on My Lunch?

* Oh, Principal Snyder. In this episode he's on an inexplicable drug witch-hunt, but it added great humour to this tense episode. Man, that dude has some great lines. Case in point -- 'why couldn't you just be dealing drugs like normal people?' Love it.

* I know Buffy's plan was a hasty one, but don't you think 'what happens to Willow after she performs the spell?' should have been explicitly thought out and planned? Some friends.

* Team Bad Guy also deserves a helping of shitty plan humble pie. Sure, the Box of Gavrok was protected by both a magic alarm and a real one. But just leaving it sitting on the desk, in plain sight? If it were me, I would have hidden it many layers underground with like a bajillion minions guarding it. It's a good thing I'm not looking for an Ascension or BEWARE WORLD!

* When Xander and Cordelia start in on each other, I wanted to hurl my laptop across the room. How many iterations of this must we be subjected to? But things took a turn for the interesting when Cordelia seemed legitimately hurt after the encounter in the dress shoppe. And THEN we find out Queen C WORKS there? I am so intrigued.

* Oz moved me to tears this episode, in a scene I'll never forget. The guy is silent as a mouse as the Scoobies argue over sacrificing his girlfriend to the cause, when he gets up and SMASHES the pedestal, the only way to destroy the box. That speaks louder than words. Oz, you are quite the human. Er, werewolf.

* You know who's NOT? Effing Wesley. He's not completely in the realm of insanity when he suggests that one life and a destroyed Box of Gavrok would benefit literally thousands of people. But that one life belongs to WILLOW. This new Watcher really needs to be punched. After he has sex with Cordelia. Or during.

* Wasn't it adorable how Faith carried around her present from the Mayor like a kid does a beloved teddy bear? Joking aside, it really WAS a bitching knife.

* It's Fashion Slayer award time and it goes to the woman of the hour herself, Willow, for her Wiccan-sexy pink dress she wears to Operation Grab the Mayor's Box. But seriously, for the love of God, what's with all the overalls? Does the costume designer have a farmer cousin who gives them away for free?

That's all for me this week, my lovely readers. What did you think of the episode? Agree or disagree with my claim that the Mayor is the best villain of the series thus far? On a scale of somewhat aroused to passed out, how much did you love Willow? Anyone else ready to sock Wesley in the face? Post a comment and let me know. Check in every Tuesday for my latest Buffy blog.

Dish later;

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Buffy the Vampire Slayer 3.18 Earshot

The Dish: It doesn't take a mind reader like Buffy to know I've got KINK CAGE on the brain.

While out patrolling, Buffy encounters two mouthless demons. One gets away, but she makes neat work of slaying the other but unbeknownst to her, she is branded with its mark. Buffy notices it the next day at school, and brings it to Giles, giving him some much needed reprieve from his fruitless Ascension research. He informs Buffy that due to her exposure to the demon, she has become infected and will eventually possess an 'aspect of the demon'. This sends Buffy into a tailspin. The girl has enough on her worry plate, what with watching her soulmate suck face with her mortal enemy last week. Now she also has to fear the growth of a tail, horns, or even a DEMON WIENER!

While trying to make idle chatter with the Scooby Gang, it's obvious that Xander is extremely jealous of Cordelia and Wesley's mutual attraction for each other. Though he says nothing, Buffy overhears him think as much and that's when the light bulb goes off -- the 'aspect of the demon' is the power of telepathy. Buffy is thrilled and wastes no time in using it to score extra brownie points with her English teacher...much to the chagrin of teacher's pet Nancy. Buffy takes things a step further by visiting Angel and not-so-subtly mentioning Faith in an attempt to read his inner-most thoughts. Unfortunately, she hits a big ole brick wall. Telepathy doesn't work on vampires. Still, Angel assures her that in the 200+ years he's been 'alive', he's only loved one person -- and it ain't the slut-o-rama Slayer, that's for sure.

Buffy excitedly shares her power with the Scooby Gang, but doesn't receive the reaction she's hoping for. While Cordelia is an open book and vocalizes her thoughts seconds after she has them, both Xander and Wesley flee the room in fear of Buffy hearing any more from their dirty minds. Willow starts to worry that Buffy will no longer need her as a friend, and runs off upset with Oz in tow. Buffy quickly realizes that she can't control whose thoughts she hears and this culminates in the cafeteria when everyone's thoughts become a suffocating cacophony, but one evil voice resounds above the crowd: 'This time tomorrow, I'll kill you all.' And Buffy hits the ground.

When she comes to, Buffy finds herself on the grass outside, surrounded by the concerned Scoobies. She tells them about the will-be killer before Giles takes her home. Slayerless and ex-Watcherless, Willow steps up to the plate and cross-references the list of people in the cafeteria with FBI serial killer profiles, and they whittle the list down. Everyone from popular jocks to creepy teachers to the wimpy Jonathan and the now openly gay Larry get interrogated by the Scooby Gang but they come up short. The only person they can't seem to find is Freddy Iverson, pessimistic editor of the school paper.

While Buffy is bed-ridden, and Joyce's attempts to NOT think about boning Giles twice on a cop car prove futile, Angel prowls the streets in search of the other demon who escaped. Giles's research has unearthed that the only way to reverse the 'aspect of the demon' effects are to drink a concoction containing the demon's heart. Angel has very little trouble and in no time, is at Buffy's, holding her in his arms and feeding her a telepathic demon heart milkshake. In no time, Buffy is back on her feet and at school just in time to go confront Freddy with the gang. They discover that the reason behind his skittishness is fear of backlash at an unfavourable review he published on Dingoes Ate My Baby --- Oz immediately assures him it's fair. On top of Freddy's considerably large pile of hate mail, Cordelia finds a letter from a student, apologizing for the horrible thing he is about to do -- and that student is JONATHAN.

The gang fans out to find the pint-sized almost-killer. Buffy sees him up in the clock tower, and bursts in to find him holding a semi-automatic. Jonathan declares he is sick of either being picked on or ignored and wants the pain to go away. Using no Slayer strength, Buffy just listens to him, and when he's finished, she tells him that every single person in the school has their own pain. Jonathan softens and hands the gun over to Buffy. When she mentions that he dodged a bullet -- HEYO -- by not committing mass murder, he gives her a puzzled look. Jonathan had no intention of murdering anybody...he was going to kill himself.

With the killer still on the loose, Xander puts his priorities in order and decides to sneak into the kitchen for an illicit snack...only to find the lunch lady pouring a shitload of rat poison into food about to be served to students. Xander runs into the caf, going apeshit and swatting food out of people's hands. The lunch lady goes after him with a meat cleaver but Buffy shows up in the nick of time and makes quick work of kicking her ass. With the day saved, all is right with the world. Except Giles's nose, after he hits a tree when Buffy calls him out for banging her mom. Shoulda seen that cumming, Giles.

Liz's BITES:
* Ah, the last popcorn episode of the season. I can't say 'Earshot' was perfect, but gosh darn it, I love a good whodunnit, er, whoWILLdunnit. The writers did a fabulous job incorporating a topical issue into the show -- so much that this episode was aired much later out of sensitivity to the then-recent Columbine shootings -- without resorting to medicine theatrics. With so much time spent on the Faith/Mayor storyline, I was quite pleased to see an ensemble episode, with all hands on deck, and I was happy to see the return of old regulars like Larry and especially Jonathan. The whole concept of this episode was a nice reversal from the usual creature feature fare -- typically the school is affected by the Hellmouth, but this time, the Hellmouth actually HELPS fight the mortal bad guy, via Buffy's telepathy.

* Before I dig too much deeper, I have to get this off my chest. The would-be killer was the freaking LUNCH LADY? WTF? I know that this episode had way more layers than just the killer story but SOME motive would be nice. Anything!

* A big congratulations is in order to Larry, for coming out. It's so nice to see a bully shed his douchebaggery in such a courageous way.

* OR in a scared-straight way ala Percy. I loved him clamoring for Willow's approval, and her reciprocal loving but firm demeanor. What a good Domme our Willow is. Maybe SHE should own Percy's ass...in the kink cage.

* Willow also became the Domme of the killer plot, with Buffy out of commission and Giles dedicating his efforts to restoring his Slayer back to health. I thought it was a stroke of brilliance for her to use FBI serial killer profiles to help suss out the prime suspects. See, Willow, Buffy DOES need you. By the by, what's with Willow always being the one to interrogate Jonathan? Remember the 'Go Fish' peeing in the pool incident? That poor boy must be as scared of Willow as Percy. Another submissive for the kink cage!

* I must say, Freddy Iverson made one crappy red herring. Did anyone for a fraction of a second REALLY suspect it was him? It seems like the only reason he was in the episode at all was because all the other recurring students were tapped out. Bore snore.

* Nancy also didn't add much in the way of viable suspects. Still, I kind of enjoyed her in a looser curls, looks like she's 40, Tracy Flick kind of way. I SO wished the episode would have had a tag of her attempting to run up the stairs like Buffy.

* I was tickled lady-parts pink to get confirmation that Wesley is just as into Cordelia as she's into him. What's the ruling on him hooking up with her? She's a high school senior. If she's not of age now, she certainly will be soon. Plus, Wesley isn't HER Watcher. Go for it! And make the increasingly cloying Xander all kinds of jeally.

* By the way, Cordelia was absolutely hilarious this episode. The girl sure speaks her mind, as the telepathic Buffy can tell firsthand. No thoughts are kept secret with Queen C.

* Okay, it's time to talk about The Scene between Buffy and Jonathan. That, more than anything, is what forever imprints this episode in my memory. Here, Buffy proves to be a REAL hero, not just a Slayer. She uses absolutely no powers when convincing Jonathan to give her the gun. Though the mind reading was more a curse than a blessing, it did give Buffy a new outlook on the pain of her fellow students, of her fellow humans. In turn, she shares this with Jonathan and it saves his life. And good god, how much did your stomach plummet when Jonathan gave the big reveal that he planned to kill HIMSELF? Brilliant scene.

* Nothing -- NOTHING -- tops the ending when Buffy oh-so casually calls out Giles for boning Joyce. Ripper crashing into a tree = priceless.

* When our Slayer isn't confronting her mother's former lovers, she is suffering from telepathy at home in ADORABLE cow-print jammies. Buffy wins this week's Fashion Slayer award. I hope that makes up for the permanent mental image of your mother making sweet love to your Watcher on the hood of a police car. If not, rest assure my dear Buffy, I certainly enjoyed it.

That's all for me this week, my lovely readers. What did you think of the ep? Still shaking from that emotional scene between Buffy and Jonathan? Think the red herrings were kinda lame? Have ANY clue what the lunch lady's motivation was? Post a comment and let me know. Check in every Tuesday for my latest Buffy blog.

Dish later;

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Buffy the Vampire Slayer 3.17 Enemies

The Dish: Gentlemen (vampires) prefer brunettes.

While things are heating up between Buffy and Angel, that's nothing compared to the Mayor's countdown to the mysterious 'Ascension'. In Sunnydale, when scary things get scared....not good. Indeed, a meek demon approaches Buffy and Faith offering them 'The Books of Ascension' in exchange for five grand to be spent on a plane ticket out of the Hellmouth. Faith takes this information to the Mayor and he orders her to go back to the demon sans Buffy, kill him and nab the books. She obeys.

The other prong to this plan is to get Angel back on Team Bad Guy...and this means taking his soul via boning. Faith goes to his mansion with her big 'I killed a dude' doe eyes and tries to put the whammy on Angel, but he doesn't bite -- and he's a vampire. Still, Faith plants a less than chaste kiss on Angel's cheek as she leaves, and Buffy witnesses. Willow tries to convince her bestie that Angel only has eyes for her, but Buffy can't deny what she saw.

One little set-back like a flaccid Angel won't get the Mayor down and he quickly puts Faith up to Plan B, which is taking Angel's soul via the black arts. She goes back to the mansion and douses him with blood, bringing forth a shrouded-in-darkness demon. He chants some mumbo jumbo and Angel cries out in pain but afterward goes all soulless vamp-face and kisses Faith. The two rumble and make out, but when Faith is on top of Angel, she wriggles offers Angel a chance to get in the underworld power circle of Sunnydale. She takes her new boy toy back to the Mayor and after the good politician gives Angel the concerned dad working over, he agrees that Angel is an acceptable candidate to date his Faith...and also to torture and eventually kill Buffy.

After Buffy finds the meek demon dead, she meets back with the Scooby Gang who try in vain to find a plan to fight the Mayor, who always seems to be one step ahead of them. They split up, with most of the Scoobies going to look at the town records and find out the skinny on Richard Wilkins III. Oz discovers a hundred-year-old pic of the ORIGINAL Richard Wilkins...and it's the exact same dude. Xander poops the party even more when he shows up after just having gotten decked by Angel, and catches the gang up to speed on the induction of two new members to Team Bad Guy.

Faith and Angel meet up with Buffy and lure her back to the mansion. Upon arrival, they promptly knock her out and chain her up. When she comes to, Faith makes out with Angel a bunch and bitches Buffy out for owning a town that was supposed to be hers, and accuses Buffy of thinking she's better than her. When Buffy does confirm that she is in fact better than Faith, this sets the brunette Slayer off. She clocks Buffy in the face and loudly proclaims that come Graduation Day, all the Scoobies will die while Faith'll watch by the Mayor's side. That's when the truth comes out -- Buffy and Angel played Faith for the fool. Angel does in fact still possess his soul, courtesy of the mysterious demon owing Giles a favour, and now Team Good Guy possesses more knowledge about the Ascnesion. Buffy and Faith rumble and the two pull knives on each other. Faith runs off, leaving Buffy emotionally worse for wear. The next day she tells Angel that she needs a break. And just when these two were getting hot and heavy. PSYCH!

Liz's BITES:
* What a doozy of an episode. I don't think the show has ever pulled the ole bait and switch plot device on us, and I LOVED it. As heartbreaking as it was to watch Buffy endure her man 'losing his soul' again, I was positively titillated by the possibility of Faith and Angel as Sunnydale's new power couple. We really get a big splash to the face of just how jealous Faith is of Buffy, and that's what makes Angel so attractive to Faith...that he's Buffy's and therefore Faith wants him HERS. There is zero love for Angel, but lust is another story. That rumble-and-wriggle scene could have gone on for another twenty minutes and I would have been happy as an aroused clam. By the way, great commitment to the cause, Buffy and Angel, who are apparently now officially back together. All that pretending must have been hella tough, especially for Buffy who didn't have the privilege of a hottie brunette Slayer riding her like a pony. I practically stood up and cheered when Buffy finally nutted up and admitted the thing she's been thinking since Faith came to town, that she really IS better than Faith. And look on the bright side, bondage really DOES look good on you, B.

* This ep is so good it totes has a place on my favourites list BUT I do find it just a smidge too convenient that the only demon capable of taking Angel's soul just HAPPENED to owe Giles a favour. I'm willing to forgive this blunder but it's still noteworthy.

* Okay, I thought that Angel's 'one true moment of happiness' was achieving orgasm with his soulmate, aka Buffy. But the Mayor and Faith made it seem like achieving orgasm with ANY human would do, as Faith really gave it the old college try. If Angel and Faith actually did get jiggy with it, would Angel really and truly lose his soul? Kind of cheapens his forbidden love deal with Buffy, don't you think?

* I felt so bad for that meek, horned little demon. All the poor 'guy' wanted was to skip town. I'm really a fan when they add a 'not on Team Bad Guy' demon to the mix. But they always seem so lonely. He and Whistler should form a bowling league.

* I thought it was a really cute moment between Willow and Oz when she's all proud that the Scoobies liked his plan to check out the town records. In all this Mayor hoopla, I'm ashamed to say I've forgotten about these two and how cute they are, but now that I've been reminded, I want more!

* Yay for Xander for taking the initative to go out and get Nice Guy Demon's address. But BOO to Xander for being all snippy and mocking Cordelia for her attraction to Wesley. You had your chance Xander, and you messed it up royally. Also, towards the end of their relationship it seemed like Xander's attraction to Cordelia was at an all-time low. So you don't necessarily want Cordy for yourself, but you don't want anyone else to have her either, huh Xander? Methinks Xander actually did deserve that non-bruising deck to the face Angel delivered him.

* When Giles and Wesley work together, they actually make a pretty adorable team. Giles was hilarious this episode, lamenting about the lack of contemporary demon standards, that their living conditions should be a pit of filth or a swanky crypt, and that instead of cash they should covet the still-beating heart of a virgin.

* If that were the case, Cordy would be in trouble. She really needs to climb Wesley like a tree.

* As sweet as this developing father-daughter relationship is between Faith and the Mayor, miniature golf solves nothing. Faith, here are the REAL two words that make all the pain go away: Red. Wine.

* Willow was on like Donkey Kong this ep. I just adored the scene where Buffy is worrying about Angel and Faith, and Willow temporarily forgets her friend's pain while getting carried away with hating on the brunette Slayer. I really hope our resident nerd caught the bloodlust bug after punching out Anya last week. Faith really deserves the old one-two, dork style.

* Welcome to the 90s, where saying PSYCH is a legitimate badass one-liner.

* It's time for our Fashion Slayer award and this week it goes to Willow for her sexy, baggy-as-hell overalls. PSYCH! (Hey that IS fun!) Willow actually wins for her adorable hippy coat she wore to poke through the town records. Unlike last episode's fuzzy, pink barf number, this coat is cute and Willowy but actually stylish, and dare I say it, sexy. Our little witch really is growing up!

That's all for me this week, my lovely readers. What did you think of the episode? Faith and Angel = hot, hot hot? Faith and the Mayor = adorable? Can someone clear up the 'moment of true happiness' thing for me? Post a comment and let me know. Check in every Tuesday for my latest Buffy blog.

Dish later;

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Buffy the Vampire Slayer 3.16 Doppelgangland

The Dish: Don't you just wish you could live in a world with people in chains you could ride like ponies? Willow does.

It looks like Anya the vengeance demon is out of a job. After the Cordelia wish, where Giles smashed her pendant, Anya's boss D'Hoffryn strips her of her powers, and she is forced to carry out the rest of her days as a mortal teen at Sunnydale High. This does not bode well for Anya, and she seeks Willow's help in performing a spell to get the necklace back. Anya's timing is impeccable, as a little foray into the black arts is just what Willow needs. The poor redhead has not had the best day as she became the homework bitch for a domineering jock named Percy, not invited to Oz's away gig because he didn't think she'd want to miss school AND to top it all off, Buffy deigned to call Willow 'reliable'. Willow meets Anya at the school and the two start the spell, but when Willow catches a glimpse at the horror show that was the Cordelia wish world, she leaves posthaste, leaving Anya high and dry. The former vengeance demon smashes a plate used in the spell, and in doing so, unknowingly transports Vampire Willow into their world.

And Vampire Willow is none too pleased about the state of Sunnydale, what with humans happily running around all willy-nilly. She goes to the Bronze, horrified that it isn't a vampire bondage torture chamber, and vents her frustration by carelessly tossing Percy across the club. When Xander and Buffy approach, Vampire Willow gropes Xander until she finds out he's human, and snarls at her arch-nemesis Buffy, before getting the eff out of there. Buffy and Xander are left speechless and numb at Willow's vampire face. They think their best friend is dead.

Meanwhile, Faith has been playing double agent for the Mayor, trying to find out anything she can about the Scoobies' plan to fight him. Reporting back at her bitchin' new pad, Faith tells the Mayor about Willow's attempts to hack into his personal files. The good politician puts a hit out on Willow and sends his vampire minions to finish the redhead off. Unfortunately for them, they stumble upon Vampire Willow instead. The pale-faced dominatrix tortures the minions into becoming HER minions, and their first mission is to storm the Bronze. Anya happens to be there, drowning her sorrows in soft drinks, and offers Vampire Willow a chance to go back to the world she loves so much.

Real human Willow shows up at the library to find the Scoobies heartbroken at her death. When she convinces them that she's very much alive, confusion ensues but they can't dwell on the why for long. Angel shows up, after having snuck out of the Bronze, and tells the gang about Vampire Willow's holding pattern. The Scoobies sans Willow rush off, and that's when Vampire Willow shows up. After lots of hands and licking, real Willow is able to shoot her vamp counterpart with the Oz tranquilizer and lock her in the kink cage. The Scoobies reassemble and come up with the plan for real Willow to dress up in the vamp's clothes and they'll try and take back the Bronze.

Vampire Willow wakes up in the kink cage, dressed in Willow's hideously wholesome clothes. Things go from bad to worse when Cordelia shows up and takes advantage of Willow's bound state to lecture her about stealing Xander. Eventually, Cordelia lets Willow out and the vampire chases her throughout the school, but luckily Cordy is saved by the 'brave' Wesley.

At the Bronze, Willow tries her gosh darn hardest to convince the vamps she's one of them, but they ain't biting -- oh yes I did. Once Willow's made, the gang storms in and an all-out brawl ensues. Willow's thrilled to punch out Anya but her celebration is short-lived when Vampire Willow shows up and attacks her. Buffy is about to stake Vampire Willow but real Willow stops her at the last second, unable to let her die. Instead, the gang agrees to cast a spell to send Vampire Willow back to her world, where she is promptly staked by Oz upon arrival. The next day, Willow is left feeling the guilt for the sins of her vampire counterpart. That is, until a petrified Percy presents her with a mountain of completed homework and an apple. Nobody messes with the Mistress of Pain.

Liz's BITES:
* In 'The Zeppo', we saw Xander forever part with the high school boy he was, and become the man he is. Now it's Willow's turn -- only, girl way. Unlike Xander, Willow didn't have much growing to do as she's already done so much. She's gone from shy nerd to girlfriend of a werewolf rocker dude, and she's becoming a more powerful witch every day. The evil Mayor even has a hit out on her because she poses such a threat. Still, all it takes is some intimidation from an asshole jock, and Willow reverts right back to that pushover wallflower she once was. Insult is added to injury when she realizes that her friends still pretty much see her as an old reliable dog/geyser person. Enter Vampire Willow who may be an evil, psychotic, kinda gay dominatrix but dammit, bitch gets what she wants. Even though Willow is horrified that there's a vampire walking around in her face, through this counterpart she learns that if she wants respect, she has to command it, and she does. Congrats on your first punch by the way, Willow. You kicked that ex-vengeance demon's ass!

* Let this be a lesson to all you privileged jock bullies out there. Try and mess with the school nerd and she'll dress like a dominatrix and make you her bitch in front of the whole school. On second thought, that sounds awesome. Never mind. But you're still a dick, Percy.

* Speaking of all things kink, I was tickled fifty shades of pink at all the sadomasochistic imagery this episode. Percy: Until the end of the school year, I own your ass. Vampire Willow: In my world there were people in changes and we could ride them like ponies. Willow: Like Oz and I play 'Mistress of Pain' every night. Did anyone else go to a sexy visual place? Multiple times?

* Even though the Mayor/Faith storyline wasn't the focal point of the episode, I'm really happy they kept them in, especially with Season 3 being almost over. I also LOVED the relationship dynamic between our good Mayor and our bad Slayer. I always got the impression that Faith was jealous of the father-daughter relationship between Buffy and Giles, and now the brunette Slayer gets to have one of her own. Faith isn't used to being treated well by men, and even expects that she'll have to pay for her new digs with sex. When the Mayor shoots her down, citing that he's a family man, I completely forgot they were evil and just wanted them to be happy.

* Awesome villains abound this episode, as I am so enthralled by this Anya chick and I can't wait to see more of her. Geeze Louise it must suck going from an all-powerful vengeance demon to a boring, run-of-the-mill teenager -- especially one who's flunking math. First human lesson, Anya -- when ordering a beer, next time say 'please'. What, were you married to a troll or something?

* We don't get to see it often, but it always melts my heart to sees Giles's love for Willow. Though they don't nearly have the sort of father-daughter dynamic Giles has with Buffy, I think Giles is especially protective of Willow because he sees a lot of himself in her. Throughout this season, we've seen Giles keep a watchful eye over Willow as she progresses in her magic skills, and I believe he's thinking of his Ripper days. I also got a kick out of the awkward sexual moments between Giles and Willow, like when he gave her a very un-Gilesy hug at having found out she's alive...and then backing off immediately after. Also his expressions during the 'Mistress of Pain' and 'gosh, look at those' lines were PRICELESS. Anybody think that if Willow was a few years older and not a student, something might go down between them? Delicious food for thought.

* Even though we obviously knew the whole time Willow wasn't dead, my heart broke for Buffy and Xander, especially Buffy. Buffy really values her friendship with Willow and truly believed that her calling Willow reliable was what got her friend killed. I think this is spill-over from their only recently recovered friendship from the last couple episodes. Why can't we have more women on TV with a friendship like these two?

* Welcome back, Oz! After a brief hiatus while we were dealing with Faith, my favourite bass-playing werewolf is back. Even though he has a small part, it was very important. I so enjoyed the look of pride on his face as he watches his girlfriend pretend to be a vampire and command the Bronze like she owns it. You've nabbed yourself a keeper, Willow.

* Everyone was so on point this episode, and it wouldn't be The Liz Channel if I didn't talk about my girl Cordy. I'm so happy we're continuing along this Cordelia-Wesley plotline. I thought she was fabulous, showing up at the library in the middle of the night in a skin-tight outfit, hoping that Wesley is there.

* It is those reasons that make Cordelia the winner of this week's Fashion Slayer award. That sparkly, 'come hither, Wesley' dress was beyond stunning. That candy-ass new Watcher better count his lucky stars and hop on that train quick.

That's all for me this week, my lovely readers. What did you think of the episode? Thrilled to see Willow come out of her shell in such a kink-tastic way? Adore the Mayor-Faith relationship? Where does Percy rank in the list of Sunnydale bullies who really needs his ass KICKED? Post a comment and let me know. Check in every Tuesday for my latest Buffy blog.

Dish later;

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Buffy the Vampire Slayer 3.15 Consequences

The Dish: Faith must face the consequences of killing Allan...that every man in town wants to tie her up. What a bummer.

Of all the classes Faith has ditched in her life, she most certainly should have attended How to Dispose of a Body 101, as evidence by Allan's body being discovered about three seconds after she dumped it. This sends Buffy into a panic, especially because Wesley wants his Slayers to investigate the murder. Tension is mounting at an alarming rate between Buffy and Faith, as Buffy is desperate to tell someone about Allan's death, while Faith assures her that if the truth comes out, they'll BOTH go down.

While the Mayor is mildly saddened by the loss of his deputy, he perks right up when Mr. Trick delivers the coroner's report, confirming Allan died via stake. The two are so celebratory, they don't notice those meddling Slayers poking around Allan's office. The fact that Mayor Wilkins is confirmed to be on Team Bad Guy is the least of Buffy's worries, as Faith is spinning out of control. The brunette Slayer dismisses Allan's death when held in comparison to the hundreds of people the Slayers have saved.

The cops are onto Buffy and Faith, and both girls arrive home to an interrogation. Buffy is at a loss, and turns to Willow for help. All tension between the two besties is forgotten, and Willow urges Buffy to go Giles. She does, but Faith gets there first...and pins the murder on Buffy. Buffy is shocked and horrified, but when Faith leaves, Giles reveals that the slut-o-rama is a shitty liar, and he believes Buffy's version. Unfortunately, Wesley overhears everything. The next day, the Scoobies meet sans new Watcher and over a discussion of who should reach out to Faith, it is revealed that Xander slept with her. Willow is crushed, and so is Xander himself when Buffy tells him that all Faith's conquests are nothing more than a big joke to her.

Xander tries talking to Faith anyway, but Faith turns on him. She almost rapes him, and threatens to kill him, but Angel shows up and knocks Faith out. The vamp takes her back to the mansion where he chains her up...but just to talk, he swears. Of all the Scoobies, Angel is the one who ultimately has the greatest connection with Faith, as he's the only one to kill a human being. He even makes a teeny bit of progress at cracking her shell, before Wesley and the Watcher's Council burst in. They beat the crap out of Angel and arrest Faith. More bondage!

Wesley's brilliant plan is to take Faith to England for a trial before the Watcher's Council, but her evading capture puts a wrench in that. The Scoobies are livid when they find out, and they split up to find Faith. Buffy finds her at the docks, looking to get the hell outta Sunnydale. Buffy tries to reason with Faith, and ends up decking her when Faith says some bitchy stuff about Angel and Buffy's lust/bloodlust, but the potential girl-fight is interrupted by the arrival of Mr. Trick and his posse. The Mayor is none too pleased about the Slayers discovering his affiliations to the forces of darkness, and has ordered his right-hand man to kill them. While Faith fights off the minions, Mr. Trick almost kills Buffy via strangulation with a snazzy tie. But Faith comes through in the end and stakes Trick, saving Buffy's life, and comes back into town with her. While Buffy and the Scoobies breathe a sigh of relief that Faith is on the road to recovery, the brunette Slayer shows up at the Mayor's office. And she wants Trick's job.

Liz's BITES:
*  At the end of last week's 'Bad Girls', we really saw the differences between Buffy and Faith, and 'Consequences', yet another stellar Season 3 episode, highlights these differences even more. For all of Faith's bravado, she is just a chicken shit, quaking in her massive, uglyass boots at being caught for Allan's murder. As much as I wanted to smack Faith REPEATEDLY for her behaviour, at the end of the day, I'm with Buffy when I believe Faith isn't a lost cause. Same as last week, I truly believe that feigning callous indifference is easier for Faith than having to take responsibility for her actions. The problem is that the longer she convinces herself she doesn't care...THE LESS SHE STARTS TO CARE, and the easier it is to descend to evil, and eventually wind up at the Mayor's doorstep. That brings us to Buffy. Faith would believe that Buffy is a scared little girl, wanting to run to Mommy and ex-Watcher-daddy but Buffy is the brave one. It takes a lot of guts to say you made a huge mistake, particularly a murderous one. Not only does Buffy do it because it's the right thing, but because she NEEDS to do it. That code of right and wrong runs through her body like blood. This sets the stage for a very epic Slayer vs. Slayer rest of Season 3.

* Did anyone notice Faith continuing her HORRENDOUS murder cover-up by having an absolute SCREAMING match with Buffy in the street? I KILLED ALLAN BUT YOU BETTER NOT TELL ANYBODY! Makes the Detective's work easier, that's for sure. Which presents a problem for Buffy, as it's the same guy who interrogated her for the murders of Ted and Kendra. That guy should get his own parking spot in the Summers' garage.

* Dear me, my heart positively plummeted for the split second when it looked like Giles believed Faith's version of events. But sure as Hellmouth, the Watcher came through. Ex-Watcher I should say.

* The current Watcher is someone I want to currently punch in the face. Last week, Wesley was a basically harmless, pompous doof desperate to prove himself and failing miserably. Does the Watcher's Council give a merit badge for sealing a rogue Slayer's fate? Wesley needs to nut up and be a man instead of getting down on his knees for Quentin Travers with an open mouth.

* My favourite part of the entire episode was the confrontation scene between Buffy and Willow. This show is ahead of its time when it comes to depicting REAL female friendship. I've said it before, Willow is the BEST friend in the world. She was really hurt by Buffy's actions, and unleashes those emotions on Buffy, but all that melts away in a split second when she realizes her friend needs her help. Now THAT deserves a merit badge.

* Willow just had it going on this episode. We rarely see the caring computer nerd take a tough love stance on anything, but she held her ground when she stated her belief that Faith belongs behind bars. And it's not because Willow's a jealous bitch, but she loves her friends and is hellbent on their safety. What a woman!

* Speaking of women, I am tickled pink to see Cordelia finally move on from her 'I hate Xander' ranting and raving. Though Wesley may not be my favourite person in the world -- see above -- I completely get the appeal for Cordy. There's not many eligible men in Sweatydale so when an older, reasonably dollsome, British man strolls into town, a scorned single girl HAS to make a move, am I right? Can't wait to see more on this.

* Man alive, that scene between Xander and Faith was INTENSE. 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' may be all about vampires and demons, but its brilliance is in the REAL LIFE scary moments. How many TV dramas, past and present, have depicted women in some form of sexual danger? It was refreshing to see a man in this situation, because that can happen too and shouldn't be ignored. If Angel hadn't shown up, do I believe Faith would have killed Xander? No. But every fibre in my soul says that she would have raped him and that is truly chilling.

* Along with being out of the Scooby Gang, Faith is out of my good books too. All that sexy as hell bondage imagery was wasted because I didn't even care, I was that angry with her. I DIDN'T CARE ABOUT BONDAGE! Look at the effect this evil Slayer has on me.

* RIP Mr. Trick. The Buffyverse lost a fabulous villain. Yet the blow was severely cushioned by this intriguing development with Faith. I just hope this means she starts wearing snazzy suits!

* And that brings me to my Fashion Slayer award. How could it not go to the late, great Mr. Trick? I don't think anyone has tried to strangle the Slayer with a fashion accessory so Mr. Trick wins for his almost Buffy-killing tie.

* My answers to Faith's questions: Lights on, kinks.

That's all for me this week, my lovely readers. What did you think of the episode? Fascinated as hell at Faith's fall from grace? Wesley and Cordy, potential cutest couple? Miss Mr. Trick? Post a comment and let me know. Check in every Tuesday for my latest Buffy blog.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Buffy the Vampire Slayer 3.14 Bad Girls

The Dish: Buffy gets seduced by Faith's badass ways and the result is 2 girls, 1 corpse.

With the end of high school in sight, the Scoobies begin to contemplate their future, or lack thereof. As for Buffy, she's stuck contemplating her less than thrilling present, with the arrival of the shiny, new Watcher, Wesley Wyndam-Pryce. WWP is basically a young version of Giles, if Giles was a nebbish douche, and I think the former Watcher would feel the same. Wesley tells Buffy about the arrival of El Eliminati, a vampire cult who served the powerful demon Balthazar. Though Wesley assures Buffy and Giles that Balthazar is very much dead, El Eliminati are still after his amulet, and Wesley suggests Buffy kill them. True to form, Faith shows up late to the meeting and promptly turns on her heel after her introduction to Wesley.

The Slayers aren't the only enemies of El Eliminati. None other than Mayor Richard Wilkins III wants them out of the way in time for his mysterious 'Ascension', and he relays as much to right-hand men Mr. Trick and the ever-so keen Allan. Wilkins's best case scenario is that the Slayers and the El Eliminati take each other out. Buffy works on at least half of that plan, as she goes to the tomb where the amulet is located but narrowly misses a cadre of the El Eliminati. Faith shows up and follows the vamp gang into a manhole. Buffy reluctantly follows and an all-out rumble ensues with Buffy almost getting drowned -- again. But she recovers, and nabs the amulet.

This lights a wild-child fire in Buffy, the likes of which we have never seen. Much to Willow's dismay, Buffy skips out on a test for an impromptu slaying session with Faith that culminates in them partying at the Bronze. Angel shows up and informs Buffy that word on the street is that Balthazar is very much alive, and that the amulet will restore his strength. New dork on the block, Wesley, shows up and Angel takes the amulet off him for safekeeping. Buffy grabs Faith and they follow Angel's lead to an abandoned warehouse, where they see Balthazar in all his obese, bathtub-bound glory. The Slayers brilliantly decide to break into a nearby sporting goods store to stock up on weapons...and they promptly get arrested. They use Slayer strength to evade the cops, and Buffy is super-relieved the next morning when there's nothing about it in the papers.

After ditching Willow AGAIN, Buffy continues her badass streak with Faith and they decide to put Fatty Balthy in the ground. They're especially motivated because the El Eliminati have kidnapped both current and former Watcher and are holding them hostage. On the way to Balthazar's layer, the Slayers are constantly attacked by the El Eliminati. They get so used to staking them, Faith doesn't notice that the next person to get in her path is ALLAN and not a vampire. She stakes the poor deputy mayor, and with a sickening CRUNCH, Allan is dead. Faith splits, but later goes back, and Buffy has no choice but to leave and deal with Balthazar. With Angel and a freed Giles holding off the El Eliminati, Buffy throws the fat baby out with the bathwater, and electrocutes Balthazar in his tub. But not before he delivers the ominous message that 'when he rises, you'll wish I killed you all'.

While puzzled at the absence of Allan, the Mayor is thrilled at the news of Balthazar's death, and especially thrilled at having achieved his goal of being invincible. Now there's nothing standing between him and the Ascension. Except maybe a couple of Slayers, who are now very much divided. Buffy goes to Faith to discuss what they're going to do about the whole murdering Allan debacle, but Faith callously informs a shocked Buffy that she dumped Allan's body, and feels no remorse for killing him. Poor dweeby Allan.

Liz's BITES:
* Oooooh what a deliciously tumultuous episode. I love this exploration into Buffy's character. Up until very recently, Buffy's calling has always been a massive chore and she has felt bound by it as opposed to empowered. Enter Faith, who gets off on it and Buffy starts to embrace her inner badass. Living through her second drowning makes Buffy feel as invincible as the Mayor, and petty obligations like school just go by the wayside. Slaying becomes an ecstasy-like drug, but like all drugs, the comedown is hard and fast. Unlike all drugs, said comedown is a dead Allan. In the blink of an eye, Buffy and Faith's differences are immediately brought to the centre. Buffy wants to do the right thing and deal with the situation, and Faith sluffs it off. I have to say, however, that I don't believe she doesn't care about accidentally killing Allan. When she went back for the body, it wasn't strictly for disposal. Faith looked at him with a boatload of remorse in her eyes. Still, convincing herself it's nothing is a shitload better than dealing with the consequences.

* Oh, where to start with Mr. Wesley Wyndam-Pryce? While Quentin Travers made my blood boil, his pet Wesley is so hopeless and awkward, I almost felt bad for the guy. Almost. Wesley's greenness really shows the biggest flaw in the Watcher's Council which is that they're a bunch of academics with no practical experience in a world where that can cost you your life. Think about it, there is only ever one acting Watcher per Slayer so most are just left to study in the classroom or fight vampires in 'controlled circumstances'. Wesley is STILL probably wearing the egg on his face from so emphatically failing his first mission in Sunnydale. What I loved about him most was the rebellious nature he brought out in Giles. Giles has either lived his life as the dark, violent Ripper or following the rules as librarian/Watcher, but now he's a mirthful mix between the two. Free of his obligations to the Council, Giles gets to delight in Wesley's horrible reception from the Slayers. But notice how calm Giles is in the face of certain death? Our Ripper's not gone completely.

* Oh my poor Willow! As enthralled as I was with Buffy, I wanted to punch her in her stupid face for being such a shitty friend to Willow. First she ditches a chemistry study session, which can be excused for amulet rescue mission. But still, Buff, you don't own a cell phone? Oh, it's the 90s. Well, I'm sure you could have found a phone with a rotary dial, geeze. Anyways, that was nothing compared to the scene in Buffy's room where Buffy uses some bullshit excuse about safety to keep Willow from coming on patrol with her and her new slut-o-rama bestie, Faith. This leaves Willow to feel like the Woody to Faith's Buzz Lightyear. I would have worn your protection talisman, Willow!

* Xander showed such growth in the last episode, I was a little disappointed to him reverting back to his self-deprecating perma-loser self during the college discussion with the gang. It just seemed like a way to shoehorn Cordelia in so she could make fun of him. Speaking of which, I said as much last week, Cordelia needs a new thing besides needling Xander. I want more for my girl.

* I know Balthazar is in direct violation of my rule that the featured creature CAN'T be trapped in a warehouse/basement, and dependent on his minions to do his bidding. But dammit, I liked the obese demon. He was just so GROSS, with the way he just sat in his huge bath and had his minions pour hot water over him. Blech! But awesome!

* Oh, how giddy I was to see the return of my favourite couple of the series, the Mayor and Mr. Trick. Sorry, Willow and Oz, you've been dethroned. Well, maybe not quite but I still love this evil politician and his snazzy-dressed vamp sidekick. I love how they can go from wholesome discussions about The Family Circus to bloodcurdling evil doers in the blink of an eye. I am so psyched to see this Ascension storyline progress. Who's for a root beer?

* I thought Joyce was adorable in her small part this episode, discussing waffles. I love the line she says to Buffy, 'they only don't have calories if I don't make them for you'. So sweet. And she's only got about a million-gabajillion waffles to go before fully making up for almost burning her daughter at the stake.

*  What's with the recent, ever-present Sunnydale police? Last week, they were trying to save Xander from Jack O'Toole, and now they're hot like a shot when it comes to catching Buffy and Faith breaking into the store. Can't control our demon population, but dammit if we can't save our youth from making bad choices? Hmmm. Well, points for trying.

* Ummmm, since when are Buffy and Angel kissing again? They clearly planted a be-careful smooch right in the lower centre of each other's faces. They best proceed with caution. They've been celibate so long, a little kiss might be all Angel needs to have a premature 'moment of true happiness' right in his pants.

* It's time to award a Fashion Slayer and I've gotta give it to the Buffster herself. Her wardrobe had it going ON this episode. I'm torn between her adorable good-girl purple coat and her slutty, badass Slayer top and pants she had when she ditched school. Ah, you readers know me. Slutty always wins. Congrats, B.

That's all for me this week, my lovely readers. What did you think of the episode? Dig Buffy as a rebel? Love or hate Wesley? Are the Mayor and Mr. Trick in contention for best Buffy couple? Post a comment and let me know. Check in every Tuesday for my latest Buffy blog.

Dish later;