Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Buffy the Vampire Slayer 2.12 Bad Eggs

The Dish: Buffy has to contend with two redneck vampires and raise a demon baby egg. No I'm not making this up -- though I wish I were.

A trip to the mall with Joyce Summers is no picnic. Not only is Buffy forbidden from buying an outfit that makes her look like a skinny streetwalker, now she has to pick up Joyce's outfit at the dry cleaner. On her way, Buffy spots a couple looking particularly canoodly, but something's amiss...like the dude's reflection perhaps? Vampire alert! Buffy follows them into an empty arcade, where the cowboy-dressed vampire nibbles at the unsuspecting girl's neck. Buffy announces her presence and the girl splits when she sees the vamp cowboy's bumply face. The vamp introduces himself, in a thick southern twang, as Lyle Gorch. He fights with Buffy, barely able to keep up, and when Buffy pulls out a stake, Lyle runs like a scalded cat. Oh so menacing. Unfortunately for Buffy, this unexpected detour leaves her no time to pick up the dress, and she's met with a responsibility lecture upon her arrival at the food court. See, doesn't shopping with Joyce suck?

At school, Xander and Cordelia continue their clandestine ritual of making out in broom closets. While they may have temporarily satisfied their libidos, their bickering itch still needs to be scratched. In health class, Mr. Whitmore asks the class about consequences of sex and Xander and Cordelia use this as a perfect forum to fight about each other's less than desirable traits. Much to Mr. Whitmore's relief, Willow chimes in and cites pregnancy. This leads to the class's assignment, the tried and true Eggbaby, meaning the students have to pair off and take care of an egg like it's a baby.

Unfortunately for Buffy, she had to miss class to research Lyle Gorch in the library. Willow and Xander bring her egg and some bad news...there's an odd number of students in the class, making Buffy a single egg parent. Giles emerges from his Cage o' Kink with a book referencing Lyle and his brother Tector. Turns out they massacred an entire village BEFORE they were vampires, but the good news is that they're about as stupid as Lyle sounds. Giles still warns Buffy to proceed with caution and she says she'll bring Angel on her patrol...

...to be her smooching buddy. Hey, where's a cute teenage girl with a nagging mom supposed to go for some vampire sugar? The graveyard is perfect. You've got your tombstones, mausoleums...and the Gorches. Lyle, joined with Tector, watch the young(ish) lovers from afar. They argue about their plan of action -- Tector wants to go in guns ablazing, Lyle wants to wait for a more opportune time to make his move. Either way, they want the Slayer dead.

Back at home, Buffy tucks in her egg, adorably named Eggbert, and goes to bed. In the dead of the night, the egg hatches and a slimy tentacle pops out, giving way to a creepy scorpion-looking creature. It slips a tentacle in Buffy's ear and latches itself onto her face. This is turning into Rosemary's Eggbaby!

In one of the stupider scenes the show has ever seen, Lyle and Tector cool their heels in a sewer and have the exact conversation they had in the cemetery. Only this time, Tector strikes a nerve when he suggests Lyle's afraid of the Slayer. So the budding geniuses decide to punch each other out.

That morning Buffy wakes up with perfect hair and makeup...and an intact Eggbert. What is going on? At school, health class is canceled due to Mr. Whitmore's absence so Buffy, Willow and Xander visit Giles in the library. Buffy and Willow flop down on the stairs, both feeling lethargic. Xander on the other hand is full of pep and vigour, as he casually tosses his Eggbaby around. A jock Xander ain't, as he drops his egg on the floor...and it doesn't break. The Scoobies all stare at him with accusing eyes and he confesses to hard-boiling his Eggbaby. Nobody notices another egg hiding out in the stacks. Cordelia barges in and feigns a concern for Mr. Whitmore's absence, not-so-subtly hinting to Xander that they should look for Whitmore in a closet wink, wink. Willow notices their bizarre behaviour but thinks nothing of it.

Angel joins Buffy on her "patrol" again, and in between kisses, the subject of having children comes up, specifically how Angel can't. He wonders what this will mean for his future with Buffy, and Buffy says that all she can see in her future is Angel. Meanwhile back at the school a security guard makes his rounds and comes across the basement door ajar. Message to all Sunnydale residents: Never, EVER go into the high school basement, especially when the door is open. NOTHING good will come from it. Of course, the security guard doesn't heed my warning and goes down. He finds a gigantic hole ripped out of the wall, leading to something unknown. Just as the security guard is about to investigate, he's knocked unconscious by...Mr. Whitmore.

Oh the horrors of parenting, when you walk in on your child doing something unseemly. In Buffy's case, it's walking into Eggbert hatching and releasing the slimy scorpion. She chases it around the room and eventually stabs it with a pair of scissors. Worried about Willow, she calls her in a panic but Willow insists everything's fine. Oh yeah, Willow? Then why is your egg HATCHED? Uh-oh.

Uh-oh is right, for Buffy. Joyce overhears Buffy on the phone and walks in, demanding to know who Buffy's talking to in the wee hours. Things go from bad to worse when she notices that Buffy is wearing her day clothes. Buffy makes a feeble excuse but Joyce isn't having anything of it. She grounds Buffy indefinitely, ordering her to go straight to the library after school until Joyce picks her up.

Remember those god-awful stuffed animal backpacks every girl wore in the late 90s? (I had an Elmo one) The ones that couldn't fit anything? Cordelia proudly takes responsibility for singlehandedly starting this trend. She tells all this to Buffy at school, but Buffy cuts her off and asks her about her egg. Cordelia is puzzled and says her egg is fine and it's in her bear backpack (I stand corrected). Willow joins them and they head over to Xander, nobody noticing the slimy scorpion resting on Willow's back. Yikes. But that's nothing compared to Xander, who decides to hell with the Eggbaby, I'm hungry. He breaks it open and is just about to take a bite when he finds his own slimy scorpion.

The Scoobies take it to the science lab to dissect it. During an argument over who will actually perform the dissection, some creepy tentacles pop out of the eyes of Cordy's bag. Not good. Willow mentions a mother Bezoar, and Buffy and Xander barely have to time to ask what the hell she's talking about before Willow and Cordy knock them unconscious. They, along with a couple other students, lock Buffy and Xander in the broom closet and, in a zombie-like trance, proceed to head to the basement with pickaxes and climb through the hole in the wall.

After school, Joyce goes to the library to pick up Buffy but she's nowhere to be found. Giles is there however and the two have a little chit-chat about parenting which ends with Giles attacking Joyce with the slimy scorpion. They take on the same trance as Willow and Cordy and head to the basement.

In the broom closet, Buffy comes to and wakes up Xander. They break out of the closet and make a beeline for the library. Giles is nowhere to be found but he ever so conveniently left a book open to the exact page about the demon in question, the Bezoar. Xander steps on an egg shell and they surmise that Giles has been infected as well. They read that the eggs are parasites who attach to a host and control them to serve the mother Bezoar. Out in the hall, Jonathan the dweeb cries out as he's being attacked by a Bezoar. Buffy and Xander run out to help, but Jonathan's already been infected and heads to the basement. They follow him into the hole and see all their zombiefied friends digging and preparing eggs, and right there in the floor is the slimy, icky mass that is Mama Bezoar. Xander adopts the zombie walk and goes undercover to stop the spreading of the eggs.

Buffy looks for a bigass weapon to stop Mama but instead comes across the Gorches. Holy bad timing. Buffy hits Tector which enrages Lyle and he tackles her right onto the work floor of the Bezoar operation. The Bezoar-zombies attack and one of the stranger rumbles we've seen occurs, with Buffy and Lyle fending off the zombies WHILE fighting each other.

I'll say this for Tector -- what he lacks in smarts, he makes up for in curiosity. He pulls himself together and walks into the melee, and checks out Mama Bezoar. Idiot. She reaches out a tentacle and pulls him down into her depths. Lyle cries out for his brother and knocks Buffy to the ground in a rage. Mama Bezoar reaches out another tentacle and pulls Buffy in. Down she goes, but not before grabbing a pickaxe. Beating sounds are heard and Mama Bezoar closes her big, ugly eye, dead. The mini-Bezoars fall from their hosts' backs and the hosts all pass out. Buffy emerges, covered in black goo (except for her perfect hair), and Lyle runs off in fear.

After, there's a lot of confusion from the former hosts and they happily accept Giles's BS story of a gas leak. A concerned Joyce meets up with Buffy, but when it turns out her daughter's fine, Joyce's concern goes out the window and she punishes Buffy by confining her to her room. Buffy happily complies with these rules, as she sticks her head out the window and kisses Angel. Ever the rule-follower.

Liz's BITES:
* Remember how with last week's Ted I sang the praises of a good popcorn episode? Bad Eggs is definitely a popcorn episode...one that's way too salty and the butter's gone bad. This has to be the most off-the-rails, missed the mark episode in the entire series thus far. There was no character development, no thought-provoking questions, not even a formidable demon foe. Let's start there. Any demon restricted to a single location gets automatic lame-o points. The Master, Machida the frat house reptile, and now the Bezoar, are all BORING. Also, like Machida, the Bezoar doesn't even TALK. There's no dramatic tension, no witty banter with Buffy. The Bezoar is dependent on her minions to do her dirty work and this impotence takes away from the creep factor. Spike has minions but he craves being in the thick of the fight, and that's what makes him such an entertaining, delightfully evil villain. And also, what was the Bezoar's master plan? To just infect as many people as possible? It didn't seem like it wanted to kill anyone, other than non-infected people who got in its way. This is never explained.

* Oh teacher, teacher, I have an explanation! What if it was all part of the assignment, handed out by the conniving Mr. Whitmore? The point was to show the negative consequences of sex, so what if Whitty just decided to up it to the Hellmouth degree? "Don't have sex, kiddos, because you will get pregnant and that will lead to schools giving out egg assignments and that will lead to you getting infected by a Bezoar." Mr. Whitmore getting infected himself was just a small price to pay for this important message to today's youth.

* I love any episode that pits the Scoobies against each other because it ratchets up the tension. Remember when Xander was possessed by the hyena demon and he tried to rape Buffy and HURT WILLOW'S FEELINGS? My stomach was in knots the entire time, I couldn't get enough. Bad Eggs wastes a golden opportunity of pitting Willow (and Cordelia) against Buffy. What if being the host of the Bezoar changed how Willow acted and Buffy didn't know why until the end of the episode? How fascinating would THAT be? Instead the infected hosts just get turned into sluggish zombies and the conflict is one-dimensional.

* The Gorch brothers have to be the most pointless vampires the show has ever, or will ever, see. They pose NO threat whatsoever. Plainly stated, Lyle is a pussy. He ran from Buffy not once but twice in the span of one episode, and every time Tector whined about wanting to attack, Lyle shushed him, saying that they needed to bide their time. Why even come to Sunnydale, home of the fighting Slayer, if you're too chicken-shit to make a move? And could someone PLEASE tell me what the point of the sewer scene was? A marble-mouthed discussion about Buffy and then they just punched each other in the face? These Gorches are like the vamped-up grandpappies of the Jackass cast: moronic, douchey, and a waste of television.

* If I would have given a hoot about the Bezoar or the Gorches, the final rumble in the basement would have been a chaotic cocktail of fun, with these two aforementioned villains and Buffy fighting each other in a bizarre trifecta, where at times they have to gauge the lesser of two evils and briefly team up with the enemy. God, can you imagine if it had been SPIKE in that basement instead of the Gorches? Spike, I am sending you a virtual GET WELL BLOODY SOON card, because these demons just aren't up to scratch.

* Joyce, Joyce, Joyce. All of the beautiful character development you were given in Ted was just ripped away, and you reverted back to a stereotypical, nagging parent with lines like 'you need to show some responsibility' and 'you're grounded'. These lines wouldn't be out of place in a play written by ninth-graders. You deserve better.

* Okay I think I have done a satisfactory job of ripping this episode to shreds, so allow me to touch on the teeny gems I did find. I loved the children discussion between Buffy and Angel in the cemetery. Of course Buffy doesn't care right now that Angel can't have kids, but eventually she may want them. And this thought can lead to other problems down the line, based on Angel's status as an undead citizen. Though things are getting hotter and heavier between the couple, a wee crack has been exposed.

* By far the best moments of the episode belong to Xander and Cordelia. They are obviously growing more attached to each other and can't seem to get through the day without hopping into a broom closet. With such focus on broom closets and basements this episode, it would have been really cool to have linked the Xander and Cordy love plot to the Bezoar. Like maybe they discover the truth while making out in the basement, and they have to lie about how they found out? Willow has already shown the hint of suspicion, they should play that up more.

* This week's winner of the Fashion Slayer award goes to...Cordelia for her bear backpack. Only she would have the balls to boldly announce she started a hideous fashion trend, and that is why I love her.

That will be all for me this week, my lovely readers. What are your thoughts on the episode? Does your hatred for it burn with a Hellmouth-like passion, as mine does? Miss Spike? Wishing Xander and Cordy's makeout closet had room for three? Post a comment and let me know. Check in every Tuesday for my latest Buffy blog.

Dish later;

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Buffy the Vampire Slayer 2.11 Ted

The Dish: Buffy squares off against a robotic Cookie Monster.

Ah, the bliss of a post-Spike Sunnydale. With their leader presumed dead, the vampires are no longer out in full force, and Buffy is basking in the quiet. Now she has time to hang with Xander and Willow, and to play naughty nursemaid to the recovering Angel. Life is a bowl of vampire-free cherries...

...until Buffy comes home to find her mother Joyce sucking face with a strange man, Ted (the late, great John Ritter). Joyce explains that Ted is a computer software salesman and she met him at her gallery. Ted wastes no time in seducing Xander and Willow -- who else wants to see that threesome? -- with orgasmically delicious baked goods and free computer software, respectively. While Buffy makes a half-assed attempt to warm up to the frenetically perky Ted, it is clear she is not okay with the situation.

So what's a Slayer to do but use vampires as an outlet for her frustration? Giles grows a little concerned as he watches Buffy over-zealously pummel a vampire before staking him and even more so when she insists nothing is wrong.

At school the next day, Buffy admits to not liking Ted, despite her mother's obvious happiness at the new relationship. Things become even worse when Ted shows up at school with Willow's upgrades and invites them for a weekend mini-golfing excursion, to which Xander promptly RSVPs "yes". Meanwhile, Giles nuts up and visits Jenny at the computer lab. A thinly veiled excuse for his presence quickly becomes exposed and he just wants to know how she's doing after the whole incident with the Eyghon demon and the sperm tattoo. Jenny brutally tells Giles that his sniffing around, making sad dog eyes at her is making her feel bad for not getting over it. Giles apologizes and leaves with his head drooped and his tail between his legs. Poor puppy Giles!

During a visit with Angel, Buffy rants away about Ted. Angel kindly listens but gently points out that while Ted may not be a welcome presence in Buffy's life, he definitely is in Joyce's, who has probably been pretty lonely since her divorce. Buffy sees the logic in this, and resolves to try and accept Ted.

Oh, and she makes quite the decent effort during mini-golf...for about three seconds, until Ted gets under her skin by making a comment about her poor grades. Buffy then flubs a shot and tries to cheat. Ted catches her and becomes enraged -- do not underestimate the importance of mini-golf to suburbanites. He threatens to slap her face, and Buffy is shocked. She is even more disturbed when he switches back to Dr. Jekyll for the benefit of Joyce, Xander and Willow, offering them cookies.

The next morning, things are a tad frosty between the Summers women, especially after Joyce lets it slip that she loves Ted. Buffy tells her about Ted's threat and Joyce dismisses it. Buffy stalks out of the room and Joyce rolls her eyes, helping herself to a Ted-made stickie bun. Fabulous parenting there, "Joycie".

Buffy meets up with Xander and Willow and asks Willow to cyber-stalk Ted to uncover any dirt. Willow's skeptical of Buffy's suspicions but, like the good friend she is, agrees. Xander compliments a passing-by Cordelia on her outfit which leads into a full-blown private argument that concludes with a makeout session in a utility closet. Ah, forbidden kinda-lust.

Nancy Drew Buffy decides to snoop around Ted's workplace. She plays undercover as a temp and chats up a jolly co-worker who refers to Ted as "The Machine" because of his unbeatable sales record, and he also mentions that Ted is getting married soon. This gives Buffy the serious wiggins, especially when she sees a photo of her and Joyce on Ted's desk...with Buffy's face folded over.

This leads to a dinner at the Summers home so tense you'd think Kevin Spacey would pop out of nowhere and throw a dish of asparagus across the room. Buffy bluntly asks Joyce and Ted if they're engaged and while they both say no, Ted admits to hoping the relationship to progress to marriage someday, and how would Buffy feel about that? Like killing herself, is her response. Joyce is mortified and orders Buffy to her room.

Of course, rebel-child Buffy sneaks out. Whereas earlier, she was thrilled at the prospect of no vampires, now she could really use them as a distraction. Sullen, she sneaks back into her room to find Ted waiting for her. While Buffy was out, the bastard went through her things and read her diary, which reveals her identity as the Slayer. Ted threatens to expose Buffy to Joyce as a delusional lunatic, if Buffy doesn't comply with his orders. Nope, Teddy-boy, not gonna work, you ain't leaving with that diary. Ted's response is to give Buffy a good wallop across the face -- he's REALLY strong for a human. The two exchange blows, but Buffy gets the better of him. Joyce runs in to see her daughter beating Ted to a bloody pulp. The beating spills out into the hall and Buffy knocks Ted down the stairs. His neck SNAPS and Joyce runs to him, checking his pulse. Ted's dead, baby, Ted's dead.

The police and coroner arrive at the house and a numb Buffy confesses to killing Ted. She's interrogated at the police station and though no charges are pressed against her, it's clear that she is under suspicion. The car ride home is painfully silent, as neither Buffy nor Joyce can put their emotions into words.

At school, it's clear by Buffy's hideous wardrobe choice -- Size One Million overalls -- that she is distraught. Willow and Xander try and comfort her but Xander makes things worse by assuming Ted must have been a demon. Thanks for the reminder, Xander, that Buffy killed a human. The police presence at the school, looking into Buffy's records, do not do much to assuage Buffy's guilt.

However, luckily for Buffy, she has the best friends on the face of the earth...and Cordelia. The Scoobies congregate at the library, sans Buffy, and Xander is red-hot fired up. Ted is no longer the chipper cookie baker in Xander's eyes, because there must have been something wrong with him for Buffy to have ended his life. Willow's on the case, prowling the net for any nefarious info on Ted. Giles leaves them to their sleuthing as he heads out to patrol in Buffy's place. Frustrated, Xander takes a bite out of a Ted-cookie and instantly mellows out. This perplexes Willow and Cordelia, but then Willow gets a hunch...THE COOKIE!

At home, Buffy tries to talk to Joyce about what happened, but Joyce is not ready. However, back at the school the Scoobies get a crack in their case. Willow examines the cookies in the science lab and discovers they are laced with an Ecstasy-like drug, proving that Ted is in fact a sketch-bag. Cordelia joins them with an armload of files, containing a home address.

The gang goes over to Ted's place which appears to be an abandoned office. Something is seriously up. Cordy discovers a trap door and the three descend into the basement which looks like the original Draper home meets bomb shelter. If that doesn't creep the trio out, the skeletons of Ted's former wives certainly do. What the hell is going on?

Meanwhile, Jenny catches up with Giles during his patrol and apologizes for her earlier harsh words. However her timing couldn't be worse, as the would-be lovers are attacked by a vampire. The vamp wrestles with Giles while Jenny grabs a crossbow and accidentally shoots Giles. Katniss you ain't, Jenny. Giles is able to pull the arrow out and kill the vamp but then collapses. Jenny picks him up and helps him walk and the two burst into laughter at the absurdity of the situation. How sweet (minus the gaping arrow wound).

Confined to her room, (Joyce nailed the window shut) Buffy declares that the day couldn't get any worse. Oh how wrong you are, my dear Slayer. These sentiments are echoed by...TED? What the hell? Guess Ted's not dead, baby. Ted takes advantage of Buffy's shock and throws her across the room. He grabs her by the neck, but Buffy grabs a nail file and jams it into Ted's arm. The skin splits to reveal a rat's nest of wires that spark and hiss, and mechanic noises come out of Ted's mouth almost as if he is...a ROBOT? He kicks Buffy in the face, rendering her unconscious.

In the kitchen, Joyce rehearses a conversation with Buffy and has the holy crap scared out of her by Ted. He fills her head with lies about the coroner having made a mistake in pronouncing him dead. She grows progressively more disturbed at his increasingly crazed, and sometimes disjointed, sentiments. It appears as if Ted's wires are short-circuiting.

Things go from creepy to terrifying as Ted tells Joyce they need to hit the road to run away to the new house he has for them. Joyce tries to leave but Ted slams her into the wall, knocking her out. Fortunately, Buffy rouses and breaks out of her room. She attacks Ted in the kitchen with a frying pan, and the skin peels off his face revealing a robotic skull. Buffy hits him again and he falls to the ground, writhing, while wires crackle and hiss. He stops moving and it's clear his batteries are dead. Boom.

While Joyce is reeling from her atrocious taste in men (or robots), the Scoobies catch Buffy up to speed on their detective work. Turns out that back in the 50s, the real Ted was a dying genius who made a robot version of himself when his wife left him, and proceeded to hold her hostage in his bomb shelter home until she died, and then he replaced her with a newer model. People are into some weird stuff, man. Buffy, once again, is happy that things are back to normal...until she pokes her head in the library and sees another parental figure in the throes of passion. Yep, Giles and Jenny, those crazy kids, are back together. Siiiigh.

Liz's BITES:
* I loved this one and I declare it a classic popcorn episode. I have used this term before and will official define it as an episode that has little to no bearing on the overall arc of the season, pure Monster-of-the-Week fare. Some call it 'filler' but I think that has negative connotations on the better of these episodes. What makes a good popcorn episode is the deeper reveal of character mixed in with the fun. In this case, Buffy had to deal with the real world consequences of taking a human life -- at least, when she thought Ted was a real person. The Slayer is a pretty cut-and-dry job but what happens when that Slayer strength actually injures, and possibly kills someone? Food for thought. I also really enjoyed the development of Joyce's character. For the most part, Joyce has only ever existed in relation to Buffy, being the caring mom/obstacle for Buffy going on patrol. Even though she took more of an active role the last time we saw her, defending Buffy against Spike -- god I loved that scene with the axe -- she has only ever existed as a mother. Now we see her as a woman, an increasingly lonely single parent who has blood pumping through her veins dammit and wants her a man. Though her naiveté was a bit much at times, I really enjoyed the insight into her character.

* One question/possible plot hole, however. How in the Hellmouth did they explain away what happened to Joyce? At the end, it's clear that they didn't tell her the real robot story, so WHAT DID THEY SAY? Joyce mentioned the part about the bodies of the former wives, so maybe they told her he was a serial killer? Did the police catch him then? Did all this happen when Joyce was knocked out? And if that is indeed what they told her, how did they explain away the sounds of Ted's wires short-circuiting, which were loud as a cannon when he was talking to Joyce. Liz wants answers!

* I realize the show is called BUFFY the Vampire Slayer, but the past handful of episodes, though fabulous, have been extremely Buffy-centric and I want me some character development with the other Scoobies. I love the foundations that have been set: Giles and Jenny reigniting their relationship, Xander and Cordelia hate-making out in secret, and a possible blooming romance between Willow and Oz. But it's taking a liiiiittle long to get there. I love all these characters and I want more.

* How cute was Willow's delighted giggle at the prospect of free computer upgrades? Nerds are the best.

* It's time for me to give out my weekly Fashion Slayer award and this time it is...Joyce. She wins for her sexy dress she wore at the beginning of the episode, when Buffy caught her making out with Ted. Any man, real or manufactured, would be a blind idiot not to say 'hubba-hubba' after one look at her. Even certain nerdy female Buffy bloggers are drooling over this MILF. You go, Joyce!

That concludes my blog this week, my lovely readers. What did you think of the episode? Good popcorn fun, or just 'filler'? Anxious to see what the show has in store for the rest of the Scoobies? Becoming increasingly enamoured with the Summers matriarch? Post a comment and let me know. Check in every Tuesday for my latest Buffy blog.

Dish later;

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Buffy the Vampire Slayer 2.10 What's My Line? Part Two

The Dish: Buffy has to learn to play in the sandbox with another Slayer.

Last episode we left off with Buffy and Kendra at each other's throats, and Kendra dropped the shock bomb that she is the Slayer. We resume at this scene, with Buffy and Kendra going back and forth, 'nuh-uh, I am!' Buffy gets Kendra to agree to a truce, and to go to Giles to find out what on God's vampire-infested earth is going on.

Giles is completely baffled at the possibility of two Slayers, because another Slayer is only brought forth when the previous one dies. That's when the light bulb goes on -- Buffy did die, at the hands of the Master. Just as they're letting this notion sink in, Willow enters and nearly gets decked by Kendra. Buffy bitchily explains that Willow knows about Buffy's identity as the Slayer. Kendra is disapproving of Buffy not keeping this secret, and then she claims that she thought Buffy was a vampire because she was kissing Angel. The Scoobies convince Kendra that Angel is actually a good guy. Woops, says Kendra, recalling that she kinda sorta left him to die in a cage.

Oh yeah, that. Sunlight is creeping into the cage at Willy's bar, and Angel is pressed into a teeny little corner of darkness, and is very weak to the point of almost passing out. Willy steps in and drags him out of the cage, down into the sewer. There he meets Spike who tosses Willy a few bucks and then orders his minions to take Angel away.

Back at Buffy's house, Cordelia is chatting makeup with the Worm Assassin. She notices one of the icky worms crawling on the guy's hand and gets seriously creeped out. Xander comes downstairs and is startled by Wormy's presence. He and Cordy slowly back out of the room but Wormy explodes into thousands of little worms and chases them through the house. The thrown-together couple take refuge in the basement, Xander taping the crack under the door to keep them safe.

Buffy and Kendra show up at Willy's bar and find the cage empty. On the bright side, no ashes so that looks good for Angel...and Kendra, as Buffy proclaims that if Angel had died, she would have killed Kendra. Willy enters and breaks up any potential for another catfight. Kendra knocks him down and Buffy interrogates him on Angel's whereabouts. Willy claims he saved Angel, and that the poor vamp was staying under ground, recuperating. For some unbeknownst reason, Buffy believes the skeeze-muffin and she leaves with Kendra.

Spike shows up at home with a treat for Drusilla...Angel in bondage. As luck would have it, the ritual for restoring Drusilla's strength involves a full moon...and the sacrifice of her sire. Drusilla pleads with Spike to let her 'play' with Angel and he kindly agrees to his pet's wishes, providing she doesn't kill him because he needs to be alive for the ritual. Drusilla is pleased as punch, and she slaps Angel. He's been a very bad daddy. Phew, this storyline is gettin' a little steamy.

Buffy, the perpetual only child, is none too thrilled about having to share her Watcher with Kendra. She grows quite envious at Giles and Kendra's academic shoptalk. Willow comforts her, insisting Buffy will always be Giles's favourite. This makes Buffy feel better, but then she wonders if having Kendra taking her place would be so bad. Then she could have what she has been pining for, a normal life.

Things are mighty tense in the basement at the Summers residence. Cordy is more neurotic than Woody Allen on crack and she venomously pooh-poohs Xander's decision to passively wait for Buffy to come save them. He snaps back at Cordelia for being the dummy who let Wormy into the house in the first place. She gets in his face and hurls insults at him; he reciprocates. They are nose to nose and then...they kiss. Passionately. Like really passionately. I'm getting the vapours just watching them. They break apart, horrified at what they've just done. But hey, now they're on the same page about getting out of the basement. They peel back the tape and cautiously exit. Xander declares the coast clear and heads for the door. Cordelia's not so lucky as a boatload of worms fall on top of her. She runs out the door, screaming bloody murder and calling for Xander to help. He over-enthusiastically sprays her with the gardening hose and the two hop in Cordy's car and tear off.

Buffy decides to placate Principal Snyder and show her face at Career Week. As she wanders the booths, she spots Oz staring at Willow. More like hardcore checking her out. Willow shrugs it off, but is surprised when Oz comes over to chat. Buffy, being a good wingwoman, makes herself scarce. Oz and Willow have a cute little chat about their career potential and there is some serious flirty undertones. Meanwhile, Buffy checks into the police booth and the cop lady pulls a gun on her. Turns out she's the Jaguar Assassin. Buffy kicks the gun out of her hands, but Jaguar's got another one. She aims at Buffy, Buffy ducks and Oz pushes Willow out of the way, literally taking a bullet for her. Awwwwwwww. Okay, it grazed his shoulder, but still. Jaguar advances on Buffy and then takes a swift kick in the face...from Kendra. Realizing she can't take on two Slayers at once (I think that would be Xander's dream), she runs off.

The Scoobies regroup in the library, where Xander and Cordy meet up with them. Kendra is annoyingly awkward around him, 'I tink I can be of service, sir'. Barf. Still, the girl gets some much-deserved points from Buffy for saving her life. Giles announces that his research has uncovered that Spike needs to complete the ritual in a church and he relays the bit about needing Drusilla's sire. That's a big uh-oh for Buffy, because that person happens to be her squeeze. She gets red-hot fired up about the prospect of Angel dying and declares they need to stop Spike, it's go time.

In a totally disturbing, and not at all sexy-as-hell scene, Drusilla 'plays' with Angel. Her definition of play involves Angel bound to the bed posts as she cruelly reminds him of all the family and friends of hers he killed while evil. As she does this, she douses him with holy water, his skin burning. Phhhhewwwwwwww. Anyone else aroused horrified?

At the library, the Scoobies are in full battle-plan mode. Willow looks up churches online to figure out where the ritual will take place, while Xander and Cordelia look over mugshots of the Order of Taraka, trying to identify Wormy. They find him and discover that the only way he can be killed is in his disassembled state. In Giles's office, Buffy and Kendra prepare weapons, and Buffy gets a little insight into who Kendra is. Turns out the girl's life has been entirely devoted to being the Slayer, from an early age when her parents sent her to her Watcher. Now she knows only slaying -- no boys, no friends, no family. Bummer. Buffy says that sounds like a lonely-ass life and Kendra chastises her for entertaining her emotions, that it hinders her slaying abilities. Buffy disagrees and says that her emotions empower her. Either way, they need to find Angel and they decide to revisit Willy's.

Meanwhile, Spike interrupts Drusilla's kinky play-date as it's time to go. Angel takes the opportunity to chirp Spike a bit, claiming Drusilla is seriously sexually frustrated. Spike takes the bait and almost stakes him, but DRUSILLA is the voice of reason and reminds him that Angel needs to be kept alive.

Buffy intimidates Willy into taking her to the ritual, but Kendra intervenes. They need to go back to Giles and await further instructions. Buffy explodes -- the whole ritual could happen during that time. She leaves Kendra, dragging Willy with her. Willy leads Buffy to the church alright, and right into the hands of Spike's minions, alongside Jaguar and Wormy.

The ritual is in full swing, as Spike chants some mumbo-jumbo while Angel and Drusilla are bound together at the head of the church. Willy and the minions drag Buffy in, and Spike loses his shit at the Slayer, the very person he hired the Order of Taraka to eliminate, being present at the ritual. He orders Jaguar to kill Buffy and that's when Kendra busts in. She attacks Spike while Buffy fights Jaguar.

The rest of the Scoobies show up and while Giles and Willow keep the minions at bay, Xander lures Wormy, in his disassembled state, into the hallway where a sticky surprise -- liquid adhesive -- awaits. Xander and Cordy take gleeful pleasure in stepping on their former aggressor. Sounds like a great first date to me.

Back in the chapel, the fight is in full swing. Buffy yells to Kendra for them to switch opponents -- Buffy would rather be fighting Spike, the son-of-a-vampire-bitch who messed with her man. In the Kendra vs. Jaguar bout, Jaguar slashes at Kendra with a knife, and tears Kendra's shirt, her only shirt. This fires Kendra up and she uses her emotions to beat Jaguar to an absolute bloody pulp.

Drusilla weakly calls out for Spike. He picks up his frail kitten, throws a flaming torch in Buffy and Angel's general direction and books it toward the exit. Buffy grabs a censer and throws it at Spike, knocking him into the head. He falls smack into an organ...and the entire thing collapses upon him and Dru. Kendra runs over to Buffy and the two help carry the weakened Angel out of the burning church.

The next day at school, Willow thanks a sling-wearing Oz for saving her life. The two have an adorable discussion about animal crackers, during which Oz interjects to tell Willow she has the sweetest smile he's ever seen.

While Willow and Oz are getting closer, Xander wants to repel Cordelia. He pulls her into an empty classroom to make sure their kiss was an isolated incident. She vehemently agrees...and then they kiss again.

Buffy says goodbye to a newly-shirted Kendra, just before she's about to get in a cab to the airport. The two have obviously bonded, and admit their mutual respect for each other. They both saved the day.

Or did they? Back at the church amidst the rubble and an unconscious Spike, Drusilla arises and picks him up. She vows that she will make him strong again...like her. Guess the ritual worked.

Liz's BITES:
* I love the dynamic between Buffy and Kendra, and the teen-girl take on the buddy cop story. Buffy is the rogue, fast and loose type and Kendra is strictly by-the-book. I also love how much Buffy really shows she's an only child. Even though she constantly curses her fate as the Chosen One, boy do her feathers get ruffled when she discovers she's not the only ONE. She even comes across as Cordelia-esque in her biting comments towards Kendra and it's pretty fun to watch. But Buffy isn't all bitch. She gives credit where credit is due and comes to respect Kendra. This episode showed Buffy as both funny AND character-revealing.

* I get that Kendra has never been around boys before, but what was with the harem-girl act when Xander showed up? Annoying and not sexy. Buffy, your bitchiness is rubbing off on me (and I kinda like it).

* While I enjoyed both episodes of this two-parter, there was an awkward tonal shift from Part One to Two. Last episode ended with doom and gloom at the Order of Taraka being after Buffy. Angel and Giles all but ordered Buffy to go into hiding. Now Kendra shows up and Buffy's back at school, making public appearances at Career Week, as if the Order of Taraka was just a dream? Weird. And also, why did nobody think to question where Xander and Cordy were? Giles was the one who sent them over to Buffy's to go look for her. Did he not find it odd when nobody reported back? If I were Xander or Cordy I'd be pissed...clearly they are at the bottom of the totem pole. Geeze, guys.

* Speaking of Sunnydale's newest couple, I was all over the Xander and Cordelia story. Their first kiss can be chalked up to the thrown-together-in-peril situation. At the end, that's what they try to convince themselves, but it's clear that there's a strong, lusty attraction there. And by the way, I'm going to have to agree with Cordelia that the first kiss was all Xander. He dove right in there.

* Even though the Willow and Oz storyline was more of a setup for future episodes, I found it really sweet and I enjoyed seeing her and Xander apart. I was happy for her that she got to take a break from futilely mooning over Xander and actually got to spend some time with a boy whose blood clearly runs hot for her.

* Things are just coming up Willow all over the place...as she wins this week's Fashion Slayer award, and NOT for a costume but for her actual clothes. Those bigass overalls are so...not why she is winning. In the animal cracker flirty scene with Oz, she was actually well-dressed, in an adorable grey sweater. What really topped off the look was her hair in the cute little braids. They really bring out her smile. The sweetest smile Oz has ever seen. Dear me, I'm in love.

That concludes this blog, my lovely readers. What did you think of the episode? What did you think of Buffy: biting or bratty? Who made the first move: Xander or Cordy? Can you believe Willow won the Fashion Slayer award in her own right? Post a comment and let me know. Come on back every Tuesday for my latest Buffy blog.

Dish later;

Saturday, 29 March 2014

If only we could all have Buffy's Slayer strength...

Not to mention her group of supportive friends, her quick wit and seemingly endless supply of stylish yet affordable boots.

But we can't all have Slayer strength, and it's a tragic fact that every day women die from domestic abuse.

Sellis Gonzales was one of them. I am co-writing a film telling her tragic tale, and it is being released alongside a book written by her brother, Kirt Gonzales. It's called Monster Next Door.

We have just launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds we need to tell this important, horrifying story. Any small contribution will help, and will be greatly appreciated: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1412514882/monster-next-door-book-and-film

My lovely readers, thank you for taking the time to read this post. It is very dear to my heart. My regular blogging will resume, as always, on Tuesday.


Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Buffy the Vampire Slayer 2.9 What's My Line? Part One

The Dish: Buffy questions her future during Career Week while Spike decides to send a trio of assassins after her. (The man just loooves to upstage school functions, doesn’t he?)


You know that moment in high school when your academic oppressors ram the idea into your head that you must pick what to do with your entire life right now or be a loser forever? At Sunnydale High that’s called Career Week. While Willow’s overjoyed to participate and Xander sneers at the whole deal with self-deprecating derision, Buffy feels in the dark and isolated. Her destiny as the Slayer has been pre-determined, and she grumpily tells Willow and Xander that there’s no point in even entertaining the possibility of a normal career.


Remember when Buffy’s vampire-wannabe friend Ford let one of Spike’s minions live and she proceeded to steal one of Giles’s ancient books? Turns out that ancient book contains the cure for Drusilla to get her strength back. If only they could, ya know, read it. Spike has put his ‘big brain’ minion Dalton on the case and even he can’t figure out what language it’s written in. Well one use for the book is a frustration device, as Spike demonstrates by smacking Dalton in the face with it. Drusilla draws Spike away with her boobs latest plaything, tarot cards. She points to a particular card and says that is where they'll find the key to decoding the book. Spike's eyes light up with a fiendish glee and he whisks Drusilla up in his arms. Aaah, young 200+ year-old love.

While out patrolling at the cemetery that night, Buffy overhears some commotion in a mausoleum. She pokes her head in and spies Big Brain Dalton chiselling away at an unseen object. She patiently waits for him to finish -- like any good Slayer, or girlfriend -- but barely has time to throw him one of her trademark pithy comments before she's attacked by another minion, who we can call Big Brawn. She stakes him and then turns on Dalton...only the little weasel has escaped. Dammit.

After a hard day at the office, Buffy slips back into her house via her bedroom window (even though her mom is away until Thursday, sneaking in is still a habit). She's surprised to find Angel waiting for her because the sweetie just had a 'bad feeling'. Angel, your timing is impeccable. After initially snapping at him, Buffy apologizes and tells him that Career Week has really gotten her bummed. Angel spots a photo of kid Buffy figure skating and she confesses that skating was her childhood passion, before she became the Slayer. Angel suggests they go skating the following night, and every teenage girl in the 90s lets out a collective 'awwww'. 

Back at school, the Career Week test results are in and Buffy and Xander are crestfallen to find out that they are meant to be a police officer and a prison guard, respectively. Willow is baffled and a little bit worried when she finds her name not posted. Buffy checks in with Giles at the library and tells him about Dalton stealing from the mausoleum. Giles ruffles her feathers when he reprimands her for not making an attempt to find out what Dalton took. They decide to go back and investigate.

Oh, oh, Mr. Giles! I have the answer! An ancient, gawdy cross. Dingbat Drusilla confirms it's what they need because it 'hums'. Dalton points out that Buffy showed up and nearly botched the whole plan, and Spike admits that things would go a lot smoother if Buffy were taken out of the equation. He plans to enlist the Order of Taraka, a guild of assassins. Drusilla turns over her cards and says that three will come. The cards reveal a cyclops, a worm and a jaguar.

At school, Career Week is in full swing. Willow is approached by a man in a suit who leads her to the quad, which has been sectioned off. The man tells her that she's being looked at by the world's leading software company. Only her and one other Sunnydale student has met their criteria. Curious, Willow turns and sees...Oz. Oooh, things are about to get hot in hurrr.

Speaking of heated exchanges, Buffy is wicked pissed at Giles for his harsh words back at the library and even more so when he suggests that a career in policing might be a good pairing with being the Slayer -- since when did being a cop become the worst career ever? They arrive at the mausoleum and Giles informs Buffy that its occupant is du Lac, an ex-communicated monk who wrote the book that was stolen by Spike's girl-minion, which contains dark magics. He correctly guesses that the vamps stole the cross to be able to read the book.

Roll out the red carpet, folks, the assassins are coming to town. At the Sunnydale bus terminal, home to many a Hispanic teen cross-dresser (see my Inca Mummy Girl blog), a one-eyed biker dude (the cyclops), who looks like he ate the entire cast of Sons of Anarchy for breakfast, menacingly gets off a bus. A creepy-looking door-to-door salesman (the worm) casually walks past Buffy's house to the home of her next-door-neighbour. Upon him telling her that he has free cosmetic samples, she invites him in and lets out a blood-curdling scream when the door closes. In the cargo section of a plane, an airport employee hears a noise and is violently incapacitated by a beautiful, young Caribbean woman (the jaguar).

Buffy charms her way out of researching the du Lac cross with Giles and the gang, and heads to the skating rink for her date with Angel. She gets there early and has some blissfully beautiful moments skating on her own. We have never seen her look so relaxed. Of course that's against the rules of the Hellmouth and the cyclops assassin quickly rectifies that by attacking Buffy. Angel shows up and aids her, and Buffy is able to kill him by slashing his throat with the blade of her skate -- any douche who ever said figure skating isn't a sport should watch that scene. Angel notices the cyclops's ring and his face goes white, whiter than usual. He tells Buffy she's in grave danger and she should stay at home until he tells her otherwise. Buffy is concerned about a cut Angel acquired on his (vampire) face and he turns away from her in shame, he doesn't want Buffy seeing him like that. Buffy says she didn't even notice. The jaguar assassin stealthily watches the romantic exchange from a distance.

Being a good Slayer, Buffy takes the ring to Giles and he informs her that the Order of Taraka is after her, and that Angel's worry is entirely sound. Giles reiterates Angel's advice on hiding out. Meanwhile the worm assassin, who is actually comprised of thousands of worms, makes a snack out of the next-door neighbour while spying on Buffy's house.

Buffy is paranoid to the max and skulks down the school hallway, looking at every passerby as a potential threat, and she even attacks Oz. On her way home, Buffy decides to go to Angel's instead. He's not home and the poor Buffy really must be terrified -- she completely forgoes a golden opportunity to snoop through her boyfriend's stuff and instead crawls right into bed. Giles, Xander and Willow are really worried about her when she doesn't pick up at home.

At a dingy bar, Angel interrogates the resident barkeep Willy, a human with ties to the underworld. Willy tells Angel that Spike called forth the Order of Taraka and before he can tell Angel where to find Spike, the jaguar assassin attacks. She gets the better of him, and locks him in a cage. In a bizarre Irish-Caribbean accent, she points out a curtainless window and reminds Angel of the impending sun.

Good news and bad news back at the library. Good news: Giles and Willow discover that Spike is using the du Lac book to restore Drusilla back to health. Bad news: Buffy is still not picking up her phone. Giles calls Xander and asks him to check on her. Xander agrees and nabs a ride from a less-than-perky Cordelia. While Xander combs the house looking for Buffy, there's a knock at the door. Cordy answers and it's the worm assassin, performing his makeup salesman schtick. Cordy lets him in so fast, he might as well be a crack salesman at Rob Ford's house.

While Angel tries to break his way out of the cage before getting dusted by the sun, Buffy is rudely woken up by the jaguar assassin. They rumble and this jaguar bitch is really strong. Buffy demands to know who she is and the jaguar says that she is Kendra...the Vampire Slayer. Wtf?!

Liz's BITES:
* This was the first in a two-part episode, and thus a lot of setting up. It wasn't the most exciting in its own right, but it raised a lot of interesting questions that I'm eager to learn the answer to. However, the episode did a great job of showing the ever-growing depths to Buffy's character. Career Week sees her being grumpy with Willow, Angel and Giles but unlike the premiere when she was Bitchzilla, we understand her. She's been living her Slayer life day-to-day, bemoaning her pitiful social life, but has never until now thought of what her calling might mean for her future. Growing up and figuring out what to do with your life is confusing enough, but imagine being told you don't even get to try? Tough stuff, especially for a sixteen-year-old. In the Season One finale when she overheard the prophecy that she would die, Buffy had a very outward reaction, throwing things and crying. Now, upon hearing that she is the target of the Order of Taraka, she internalizes everything because she really and truly is alone. Someone really needs a cuddle with Mr. Gordo!

* Between Angel and Spike, the two are really making a case that vampires make the best boyfriends. Let's start with Angel showing up at Buffy's. Ladies, we've all dated a guy or two (or three...or four) who didn't give a hoot and holler about our problems and wouldn't listen to a word. Not only does Angel lovingly listen to Buffy's woes but she didn't even need to tell him anything initially. He just sensed she was upset. And then he comes up with the incredibly romantic idea to take her ice skating. Clearly he loves her and Buffy reciprocates that love by being completely oblivious to Angel's vampire face after the cyclops attack. As for Spike, the guy is on a come hell or high water mission to restore Drusilla back to strength. He repeatedly gets foiled by the Slayer, but never ever stops trying, because he loves his crazy gal.

* Speaking of Drusilla, how fabulous does she have it? She gets to hang out in vintage negligees all day, whispering insane spoken word poetry and playing with tarot cards. All the while getting to have mad-hot monkey sex with the aforementioned Boyfriend of the Year, Spike. Yeah, she's weak and can't go out but...so what?

* This week's Fashion Slayer Award winner is...Kendra. If anyone can rock satin, magenta MC Hammer pants, it's an Irish-Caribbean jaguar assassin/second Vampire Slayer.

That will be all for me this week my lovely readers. What did you think of the episode? Bummed for Buffy? Jelly of Drusilla? Better boyfriend - Angel or Spike? Post a comment and let me know. Don't forget to check in every Tuesday for my latest Buffy blog.

Dish later;

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Buffy the Vampire Slaye 2.8 The Dark Age

The Dish: Giles gets cock-blocked by a demon from his past. (This is, indeed, what happens when you have school on a Saturday.)

In the dead of the night a formally dressed British man runs like the Dickens across the campus of Sunnydale High. He spots a lone janitor and insists he needs to see Rupert Giles immediately. The janitor is surprisingly nonplussed by this and points the Brit in the direction of the library. Maybe strangers running across campus in the wee hours in search of faculty is a normal occurrence. It is Sunnydale after all.

The British gent appears to be in quite the panicked state as he repeatedly bangs on the back door of the library. Unfortunately he picked the precise moment when Buffy is training with Giles and blasting very loud work-out music (or "noise" as Giles calls it). They can't hear the knocking. At that point the Brit is joined by a woman who looks like a female Giles...except as a corpse. The woman strangles the Brit until he falls to the ground dead. Then she herself dissolves into a blue goo that seeps into the dead Brit's skin. Somehow I don't think that'll make his hands soft and velvety smooth...

The next day at school everything is business as usual for Buffy and the gang. She and Giles discuss plans to patrol at the hospital that night -- it's blood delivery day and they are worried about interception by those of the fanged persuasion. Xander good-naturedly teases Willow and Ms. Calendar about having a computer class on a Saturday...at which point Ms. Calendar tells him to show up at nine and to add insult to injury, Cordelia will be in the class.

After the kids disperse, Ms. Calendar, or Jenny, wants to discuss Saturday plans with Giles. He asks if she wants to go out and Jenny says no, she'd rather stay in, wink wink if ya know what I mean. (SEX! SHE MEANS SEX!) Giles, being the sexy fuddy-duddy that he is, is flustered but clearly elated and agrees. He floats to the library on a cloud of horniness but is sent crashing back to Earth at the presence of two police officers and a detective. The detective tells Giles that a man was found dead outside the library last night with no identification and only Giles's contact info. Cordelia enters and, completely oblivious to the police officers, starts ranting to Giles about being forced to take Saturday's computer class. When she notices the cops she unsuccessfully tries to talk her way out of a driving ticket -- can't accuse that girl of not being opportunistic -- and gets shooed out by Giles. The detective tells Giles to identify the body.

At the morgue, Giles identifies the Brit as Philip Henry, a friend of his from London. He spots a tattoo on Philip's arm that looks kind of like a sperm with webbed hands. The detective asks Giles if he knows the tattoo's meaning and he insists he does not.

That night, Buffy is camped outside the hospital waiting for Giles to show up. He's late which is so unlike him -- "tardiness is, like, the eighth deadly sin". I guess the vamps didn't get the message that Giles was a no-show because they carry on as planned, disguising themselves as doctors and accepting the blood delivery. Buffy crashes their party (and their heads in) and Angel shows up and helps her dust the vamps. Angel can see that Buffy is clearly worried about Giles and offers to get the blood to its proper location so Buffy can check on him. What a sweetie. I swear, every guy I dated in high school (one) should get turned into a vampire and then cursed with a soul. Or just cursed with something. Mua-ha-ha.

Anyway, rocketing back to the episode, Buffy shows up at Giles's house and asks WTF. Giles is very short with her...and do we suspect a little intoxicated? He all but slams the door in her face, telling her that he'll see her on Monday. When she leaves, Giles has a sip of his drink, tsk tsk, and makes a phone call to London asking for a woman named Deirdre. Funny, that's what Philip called the corpse lady....Somehow I don't think Giles will get her on the phone. And shock of all shocks, he is informed that Deirdre has died. He hangs up and crosses her name off a list of five. The only two remaining are his and Ethan Rayne's. Remember, that creep from the costume shop? Giles takes a good hard look at himself in the mirror and rolls up his sleeve to reveal...THE SPERM TATTOO. Something is afoot. Like perhaps the corpse of Philip Henry waking up, eyes flashing yellow, and escaping from the morgue? Yeah, something like that.

Even more traumatizing though is the prospect of school on a Saturday, at least for Cordelia and Xander, who meet up with Jenny and Willow for the shotgun computer class. Xander is all too thrilled by the unexpected arrival of Buffy, until he sees the worry on her face. Buffy fills the group in on Giles's odd behaviour last night, asking Jenny if anything was up. Cordelia waits a good few minutes into the conversation before volunteering the information about the police looking for Giles. This sets Buffy's Worry-Meter into overdrive and she runs to the library to call Giles.

Upon her arrival, she notices the shadow of someone creeping through the stacks. She heads up there and almost gets killed by a falling shelf of books courtesy of...Ethan Rayne. Recognition sets in for Buffy, who remembers him from the costume shop. Confused, she calls Giles and brings him up to speed with Ethan looking on. Ethan also sports the sperm tattoo which he refers to as the Mark of Eyghon. Giles insists that Buffy is in grave danger as long as she is with Ethan...and boy is he right. Guess who crashes the party? None other than the dead Philip Henry. Ethan tries to run just as Xander and the rest of the Scoobies enter the library. Buffy yells for them to stop Ethan and CORDELIA pushes him to the ground. Philip tries to attack but Buffy is able to trap and lock him in Giles's kinky library cage.

Giles shows up and nobody has any clue what is going on, how Ethan knows Giles and why the hell is Ethan calling him "Ripper"? At this point, Philip breaks out of the cage, knocking Jenny unconscious in the process. Buffy gives him a swift kick and Philip turns into blue goo like the Deirdre lady earlier in the episode. Everyone is hella confused, did they kill him? Nobody notices the blue goo seeping into Jenny's skin. She comes too and Giles comforts her, pulling her in for an embrace. Jenny smiles and her eyes flash yellow...just like Philip's.

Amidst the chaos, Ethan is able to escape and Buffy turns to Giles demanding answers. Giles snaps at her and tells her to leave the matter alone and mind her own business. He leaves with Jenny and he's not gone for a second before Buffy gets the gang on the case. Even Cordelia is eager to help. Hellmouth hath frozen over.

Willow discovers the Mark of Eyghon in one of Giles's books and the gang learns that it is a possession demon, who will use the nearest dead or unconscious body as a host. Nobody in the room was dead...but Jenny was unconscious. Buffy phones Giles immediately only to find his phone disconnected.

That's because the Eyghon-infected Jenny unplugged it. She bats her doe-eyes at Giles, thanking him for allowing her to take refuge at his place. That's when she puts the moves on him, but given the events as of late, Giles is not really in the mood. Jenny's voice deepens and her face takes on a demonic look. She attacks Giles but Buffy bursts in and the two rumble. Demon Jenny runs off into the night and Buffy turns to Giles. She needs answers and she needs them now.

Giles ashamedly tells her about his dark past. In his early 20s he fell in with a crowd obsessed with the occult, Ethan among them. They would take turns falling into a deep unconsciousness while the others would summon Eyghon who would give the unconscious host a temporary but powerful high. But things got out of control and a member of their group died. Now Eyghon is back and it won't stop until it kills off the last remaining members: Giles and Ethan.

Buffy is shaken to the core at seeing this side of Giles but her Slayer instincts kick in and she goes off in search of Ethan. Meanwhile back at the library, the gang are looking for ways of killing Eyghon without killing Jenny in the process. So Cordelia's suggestion of cutting Jenny's head off quickly gets pooh-poohed. But a spark comes across Willow's face. She has a plan.

Buffy tracks Ethan down at the costume shop. You would think Buffy would have learned that really bad things happen when she's around this dude, but she's sworn to protect people and blah blah blah. So Ethan being Ethan knocks Buffy out and when she comes to she finds herself tied up face down on a table. No it's not what you think. Ethan gives Buffy the Mark of Eyghon (sperm) tattoo and uses chemicals to remove his own. Now Eyghon will be after Buffy and not him. And sure enough, Eyghon Jenny shows up and attacks Buffy. Angel runs in with the Scoobies hot on his heels. He grabs Jenny and strangles the crap out of her. Giles is worried that Angel's killing her but Willow insists that he won't. Eyghon jumps out of Jenny and into Angel, the nearest dead body. Except Angel isn't dead, he's undead and therefore has demonic energy already inside him. That energy overpowers Eyghon and kills it once and for all. Angel is shaken, but ultimately unharmed and Jenny is back to normal.

Back at school, things are a liiiiiiiiittle awkward between Giles and Jenny. You know because he only got her possessed by a demon and almost killed? Though she's not outright angry, she's definitely in need of some serious space. Giles understands, though any fool can see he is heartbroken. Buffy witnesses this and comforts Giles by allowing him to disapprove of her work-out music. Or noise, as he calls it.

Liz's BITES:
* This is the first Giles-centric episode and man oh man did it deliver, in what has been overall a fabulous season. The characters on this show are so rich and well-layered and The Dark Age gives us that in Giles. Behind this tweed-clad bookworm is a man with a dark past. Like so many before him, Giles made a stupid decision in his early twenties. Now, twenty plus years later, that decision has come back to haunt him and harm innocent people he loves. He was getting really close with Jenny and it was plain to see that the two were falling in love. Now to be thrown apart because of Giles's involvement with Eyghon is absolutely heart-wrenching. And just as damaging to Giles, if not more so, is Buffy's exposure to his past. Though nothing has been directly said, Giles is rapidly becoming a sort of father-figure to Buffy. She certainly has a strong, disturbed reaction when Giles tells her his history. When he says he's sorry for the mess he has created, Buffy's voice is dripping venom when she replies "I know". Until then, Giles never wavered from the nagging but reliable Watcher who was always there to tell Buffy what to do. He really hurt Buffy when he didn't show up at the hospital, and she felt completely abandoned when he not only refused to help her with Eyghon, but ordered her to drop it. But Buffy showed remarkable forgiveness and maturity when she confesses to Giles that although it's scary, she is okay with knowing that Giles isn't just a grown-up, but a person. The ending of this episode was also phenomenal. Last episode, Buffy took comfort in Giles 'lying' to her about the easiness of growing up; this ep, Giles took comfort in Buffy. When she showed him the CD and dared him to disapprove of her music, she was allowing things to be simple and easy for Giles. Their relationship has really grown and it has been complex and thrilling to watch.

* Cordelia is a constant source of comedic relief and she did not disappoint. This was one of the heavier episodes, so her ditzy, self-centeredness was a welcome contrast. Her best moment for me was after the melee with Philip in the library, she just looks at all the chaos and says 'This is what happens when you have school on a Saturday'. But what was even better than her comedic touch was the small growth of character. When Buffy assigns roles in researching Eyghon, Cordelia is not only willing to help out, but eager and she even admits she cares about Giles. When she thinks she has found the solution to killing Eyghon (cutting off Jenny's head), there is a look of pride and accomplishment on her face I have never seen. Though she would never admit this with a gun to her head -- or vampire at her neck -- she has found a sense of purpose in joining Buffy and crew in fighting evil, one that she has never come close to finding in her quest for popularity.

* Willow had a great moment in this episode, when she turned into a fiery little Watcher-in-training. The mini-Giles was sipping tea, poring over ancient texts, and positively snapped at Xander and Cordelia when they started bickering. Any time Willow goes off, it is a sheer delight to watch. It shows just how loyal and caring she is, that every second Xander and Cordy spend fighting is one where Jenny might die and if they can't help, then GET THE HELL OUT OF HER LIBRARY. So badass.

* I need to give out a Fashion Slayer Award and this week's lucky recipient is... the sexy fuddy-duddy himself, Giles. Nobody can rock a demonic sperm-looking tattoo quite like him. It revealed his dark past, his inner demons, and was just a bit sexy. Okay, just a lot sexy.

That concludes my blog this week, my lovely readers. What did you think of this episode? Fascinated at getting to know Giles a bit more? Proud of Cordelia for taking an active role in the fight against the forces of darkness? Realize that sperm tattoos on British librarians are hot as Hellmouth? Post a comment and let me know. Check in every Tuesday for my latest Buffy blog.

Dish later;

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Buffy the Vampire Slayer 2.7 Lie to Me

The Dish: Buffy's old friend has a vampire fetish.

What to do when you're bored and lonely, and your honey is out working late? Prey on children at the local playground of course! Drusilla's just about to sink her teeth into an unfortunate young boy when Angel steps in and totally fang-blocks her. Dick. He warns Drusilla to take Spike and get their sexy vampire asses out of town (I'm paraphrasing). Clearly the two know each other, and have history as the look on Drusilla's face suggests she's trying to suppress an orgasm at the notion of seeing Angel again. Even though Angel is purely talking business, to the casual observer it would look as if the two are canoodling. And by the casual observer, I mean Buffy, who happens to be on patrol and witnesses their exchange.

The next day at school, Buffy is seriously bummed. Who is this bitch in her skanky pajamas making ho-eyes at my man? she wonders via notes in class to Willow -- god, remember the medieval days when clandestine gossiping actually involved a pen and paper? Do they even still make those things?

Buffy's quickly dragged out of her blahs by the arrival of Ford, a friend from her old school, and a former love object of hers. Ford informs her that he's officially transferred to Sunnydale High, and Buffy wastes no time in rolling out the welcome wagon by inviting him to the Bronze. Xander is less than thrilled at having his 'Angel is the bad guy' high come crashing down by yet another prospective gent who might get into Buffy's Slayerpants.

Still, Xander puts on a good effort that night, playing pool with Willow and Ford. Buffy finds Angel and subtly asks him what he did last night. He lies and says he stayed in. This pisses Buffy off and she decides to make him jealous by leaving with Ford. After their exit, Buffy tries to explain her complicated relationship but then hears sounds of a vampire attack. She tries to shake Ford but he follows her and witnesses her stake a vamp. Buffy is surprised at Ford's lack of reaction and then he drops a doozy on Buffy: he knows she's the Slayer. Buffy is initially shocked but then later admits to Willow over the phone (with a cord and everything!) that it's a bit of a relief that she won't have to lie to Ford about her identity.

After Willow says good night, she is startled by Angel knocking at her door. She lets him in and is adorably flustered at having a boy in her room. For virginal nerds, that's like second base. But Angel's not there for a booty call (too bad). Something's not right about Ford, and Angel assures Willow it goes deeper than simple jealousy. He asks her to cyberstalk Ford and get some info. And there's none -- no school records, nothing at all on Ford. This raises some undead eyebrows.

Angel's suspicions just might have merit, as Ford turns up at a shadyass club in an underground industrial warehouse. The place is packed with young hotties dressed up in cheesy goth clothes. Ford assures two of them, Chanterelle and Marvin Diego that the 'plan' is still in motion, a plan involving dying young.

The following night, Buffy gives Ford a tour of Sunnydale, and they end up back on campus where they spot a couple of vampires. Buffy goes after the dude vamp while Ford tackles the chick, telling her that he'll let her live, if she tells him what he wants to know. After Buffy kills her vamp, she comes back to find Ford alone. He tells Buffy that he killed the chick-vamp and although Buffy is surprised, she buys it.

Meanwhile, Willow's further online sleuthing gave her the name of the warehouse club Ford visited earlier. She investigates with Angel and Xander and they find out that it's an almost-cult of teens who idolize vampires. The trio surmises that Ford's participation can only spell trouble for Buffy.

At the library, Buffy meets up with Giles and Ms. Calendar -- who were on a date, awwwwwww. She summarizes the night's events but then is distracted by a picture of Drusilla. Giles tells her that she was Spike's old lady before she was killed by an angry mob in Prague (as opposed to a cheerful one?). Buffy informs him that Drusilla is actually alive and well, relatively speaking. Before they can ponder this any further, the chick-vamp from earlier breaks into the library and steals one of Giles's books. But isn't that the vamp Ford 'killed'? Something's up.

Oh Buffy, is it ever. Ford shows up at Spike's lair and declares he wants Spike to make him a vampire. Spike rolls his sexy badass eyes, but Ford gives him an offer he can't refuse: if Spike agrees to sire him, Ford will deliver him Buffy.

Angel shows up at Buffy's house to tell her about Ford's involvement with the vamp wannabe cult, but she flips the script and demands to know about Drusilla. Angel is taken aback but he tells Buffy the truth: he made Drusilla a vampire, but not before driving her insane by killing all her friends and family, forcing her to flee to a convent where he sired her on the day she took her vows. Dick move, dude. After coming out as an ex-violent psychopath, Angel awkwardly segues into the bit about Ford. Buffy is understandably upset, feeling betrayed by just about everyone.

The next day at school, Buffy is a tad frosty towards Willow and Xander, as they did go behind her back with Angel, investigating Ford. Later, when she runs into Ford he asks her to meet him at the school that night for a 'surprise'. Buffy agrees, knowing that he plans to betray her so she follows him to the nightclub.

Upon her arrival, Ford and the wannabes trap her. The warehouse is actually an old bomb shelter and the one door can only be opened by someone from outside. And that someone will be Spike. Buffy tries to reason with Ford, pleading him not to go through with his plan. That's when Ford drops some shocking news: he has brain cancer and will be dead in a matter of months. He is determined not to go out that way, and even though he knows that Spike and crew will kill all the others, that's a small price to pay for immortality. Buffy, still reeling, shares her sympathy but insists what Ford's doing is still wrong.

Show time. Spike, ever so punctual, shows up and lets his crew start feeding. Buffy knocks Ford out and spots Drusilla. She holds the undead ho at stakepoint, and threatens to turn her to dust if Spike doesn't let all the humans go. He reluctantly agrees and they all flee into the night. Buffy throws Drusilla at Spike and leaves the bomb shelter, locking the vamps in with Ford. Angel shows up and Buffy tells him what happened. She says that Spike will find a way to get out and she'll go back in the morning for the body. Ford's body. Tear.

Buffy's had a rough week. She's felt betrayed by her friends and kind-of boyfriend and she feels uneasy about Ford's complicated villainy. Giles listens to these feelings as they wait by Ford's grave, waiting for him to rise (Spike held up his end of the deal). He does and Buffy stakes him right away. She turns to Giles and asks him if life ever gets less complicated. Giles asks what Buffy wants to hear and she looks at him with big, sad eyes and asks him to lie to her. He poetically and kindly obliges and Buffy calls him a liar as they walk off into the night.

Liz's BITES:
* What a knockout episode. Between this and last week's Halloween adventure, I boldly declare that this is where the show officially found its footing. The characters are no longer just likeable and fun, they are REAL. I have never felt more sympathy for Buffy as I have this episode. Being the Slayer is complicated enough, but it has never interfered with her personal life on such a magnanimous level. In the real world, when a new boyfriend spills a secret, it's usual that he has a kid, or the clap, or four wives (or if you're really unlucky, all of those things). Buffy knew Angel had killed people as a vampire, but to hear the sadistic, gory details is a hard pill to swallow. So it's a big comfort to have an old friend like Ford show up, right? Well sure, if you take out the part where he plans to kill her. It's not so simple as putting a stake through Ford's heart or chopping his head off. He's a bad guy, who is human. Shit got real, yo. The last scene with Giles was extremely emotional as I watched Buffy cling to the last vestiges of innocence and simplicity. Things can only get messier from here on out and I cannot wait to watch.

* On the fun side of things, this episode was a total throwback to 90s technology. Like when Buffy and Willow are talking about Drusilla via passing notes. No texting for these ladies, they had to be stealth. And how about when Angel had to ask Willow for help in finding out info about Ford...online. If this took place today, even vamps would be tech-savvy and Angel could do that himself. But then we wouldn't have had that adorable scene in Willow's bedroom. Also, there was Giles giving Buffy the number of Ms. Calendar's 'beeper thing'....so fun.

* Speaking of so fun, I think it would have been a barrel of laughs to have seen Giles watching monster trucks. Who else is with me?

* Without further ado, let me award a Fashion Slayer. In the real world, I balk at people wearing their pajamas in public. DON'T YOU OWN PANTS? However these people ain't got nothing on my favourite crazylady vamp, Drusilla. Buffy had reason to be jealous... because Dru was a total smokeshow in that white nightgown. If I were Spike, I'd want to keep her locked up too.

That will be all for me this week, my lovely readers. I hope you didn't miss me too much. Please leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts. Did you love this ep as much as I? Did the note-passing make you yearn for the days of simpler times? Is Drusilla the next undead fashion plate? Don't forget to check in every Tuesday for my latest blog.

Dish later;