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
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?!
* 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.