Janes (a True Stan) and Nerdy Spice (a New Fan) are watching all of Buffy together and comparing notes.
Season 2, Episode 7 “Lie to Me”
Buffy gets lied to by men left and right this episode.
The first dude to betray her trust is Angel, who she catches having a rather touchy-feely conversation with Drusilla on a deserted playground late at night. She eventually sees a picture of her in one of Giles’ books and realizes she’s a vampire. When she confronts Angel, Angel explains that he used to be obsessed with Drusilla, but then he killed all her family to turn her insane before turning her into a vampire. (This would be a very dark story if it weren’t for the fact that we hear it in Angel’s ridiculously dorky voice.) Angel convinces Buffy that the truth is terrible, or something, and later she asks Giles to lie to her and tell her everything’s going to be OK. (See the notes for my real-time reactions to Angel’s bullshit.)
While Buffy’s still kinda stewing at Angel, an old friend of hers named Ford shows up in Sunnydale, and he just so happens to already know that Buffy is a slayer. If you’re thinking he probably is the baddie of the week, well, you’d be right. But Buffy, who’s still mad at Angel over the Dru thing, agrees to meet up with him one night after a couple days of flirting. Angel, much as Edward (the famously creepy vampire lover who would eventually be inspired by him) would do, enlists Willow’s help to cyberstalk Ford. So inappropriate! They learn that he’s not enrolled at school, and his address is actually some kind of underground club filled with silly Goths who worship vampires as gods and want to be turned into vampires. Angel is hilariously rude to all of them.
But that’s not all Ford has up his sleeve. He has also sought out Spike and Drusilla and promised them Buffy in exchange for them making him a vampire. When Buffy figures this out, she goes to confront him at the club–only to find that it was part of his plan for her to confront him, and he’s removed the locks from the inside of the club so that he can lock himself, her, and all the Goths into the club till night falls and the vampires can come get them. His excuse? He’s got an incurable brain tumor so this is his only way to live.
Buffy, of course, is more than a match for even this situation. As soon as the vampires come to get them, she gets a knife to Drusilla’s throat and forces Spike to stand down. She and the rest of the humans escape, leaving the vampires locked underground temporarily–except for Ford, who is unconscious and who Buffy leaves down with all the vampires. And since he didn’t live up to his part of the bargain by handing them Buffy on a platter, they do not live up to their promise to turn him into a vampire. He’s just dead. Or, as my friend Lauren would say, dead dead dead.
Notes from a New Fan
- It is never explained how this kid Drusilla almost kills, ended up alone on a playground in what appears to be the middle of the night.
- But I dig Drusilla’s goth French manicure, with black nails and white tips.
- How 90s is Ms. Calendar’s calf-length floral dress and giant leather jacket? Love it.
- Xander declares that Angel messing up gives him “a happy.” Ewwww.
- Oh, gee, Xander becomes immediately, inappropriately hostile to a man that Buffy gives the time of day to. Color me shocked.
- Ford asks Buffy if Angel is her boyfriend, which is … a good question. She doesn’t give a very satisfying answer.
- Angel asks Willow for her help. “Help? You mean like on homework? No,” Willow answers her own question. Hee.
- “You aren’t by any chance betraying your secret identity just to impress cute boys, are you?” –Giles. Can’t blame a guy for double checking.
- Buffy kicks a vampire in the head BEHIND HER OWN HEAD. Girl is hella flexible.
- Willow and Xander and Angel are just like wandering around this party blabbing about how they’re suspicious about Ford. Talk about being bad at being stealth, they’re worse at it than Buffy! [But then the guy in the cape doesn’t even bother to tell on them until it’s too late! I never understood that. –Janes]
- It’s weird that Giles calls the vampire that runs through the library (one that Ford claims to have killed while he’s still pretending he’s on Buffy’s team) an “it.” Isn’t it? I mean I’m all for not assuming gender, but it was pretty clearly a lady vampire.
- Angel tells Buffy that she would appreciate his lies more if she had lived long enough. Oh, boo. That is the worst. As Keets’s sister pointed out, if she had lived long enough she would have LAUGHED IN HIS FACE the minute he started trying any of this bullshit on her.
- Angel reveals that he destroyed Drusilla’s sanity to turn her insane and then turned her into a demon. But also he remarks that she used to be “pure and sweet and chaste.” That’s … yucky. Like, would it’ve been OK to destroy her sanity if she was slutty?
- When Buffy says they can come back later “for the body” she’s so DIRE. I love it.
- Ugh, maybe Buffy does ask Giles to lie, but that does not make Angel’s dumb line about how he should get to lie to her because he’s old, OK.
Notes from a True Stan:
- Wait, Buffy goes from identifying a random vampire by his shirt in the pilot, to actively denying that Drusilla is a vampire after seeing her in this dress?
- Why is Buffy like, holding Ford’s hands constantly? She’s allowed to flirt with anyone she wants, but this isn’t even how teenagers flirt!
- Ew to Xander saying that Angel doing things wrong “gives him a happy.” Dirty connotations aside, he could at least pretend to care about his friend’s happiness.
- Xander describes Buffy and Angel’s relationship status thusly: “He’s her beau. Her special friend.” Then when Ford asks if Angel’s her boyfriend, she says, “Yes. No. Maybe.” So I guess we’re supposed to be confused at this point?
- “You made him do that thing where he’s gone!” Hee!
- Ford straight-up catches Buffy staking a vampire, and she tells him that it was actually two cats fighting. Really? That’s the best she could do? Is there like a “covering your secret identity” crash course she can take?
- Ford mouthing the lines in Nosferatu is kind of hilarious.
- Angel is being such a big creep, asking Willow to research Ford. How the hell could he get a “bad feeling” about Ford from a two-second conversation at the Bronze?
- It is a little annoying that Buffy always gives away the twist so early in the episode. These scenes where they’re looking into Ford would be so much more interesting if we didn’t already know that he was evil.
- “100 years, hanging out, feeling guilty. I really honed my brooding skills.” Ha! Love all the meta Angel jokes.
- But like, why did Jenny take Giles to monster trucks? What is this relationship?
- How did Ford even find Spike’s lair? This is never explained.
- Spike’s “take them all, save the slayer for me” strategy is terrible. Obviously you try to kill Buffy first, because it could take many vampires to overpower her. The humans aren’t going anywhere.
- Oh Buffy does sort of fly again! (Yeah, how come she can’t fly all the time? I’m so confused about this. –Nerdy Spice)
- “Uh, where’s the doorknob?” LOL.
- I’ve always loved this episode, especially the last scene between Buffy and Giles. The first season was pretty much just “good vs evil,” and Buffy herself was much more of a straightforward hero, but this episode foreshadows the moral ambiguity to come.
Season 2, Episode 8 “The Dark Age”
Things are going pretty well for Giles right now. He’s getting into a rhythm as Buffy’s watcher, and he’s dating a beautiful, somewhat age-inappropriate woman who’s about to sleep with him for the first time. But then, his mysterious “dark past” starts to catch up with him when a man is killed right outside the school library by a decaying demon lady who then melts into blue goo. The police investigate the murder–which, what? Since when have the police investigated any of the weekly murders on the Sunnydale High campus?–and ask Giles to identify the body. He says the man is an “old friend,” and sees a mark on the man’s arm that freaks him out in a “this is a symbol of my dark past” kind of way.
Giles starts acting weird after that, missing vampire-hunting dates with Buffy and drinking alone in his house at night. (And he’s unshaven! The horror!) Also, he’s having vaguely Satanic nightmares and looking darkly at himself in the mirror, classic staples of the “flawed character grappling with a deep dark secret” genre. He discovers that everyone in his old clique from university is being killed off one-by-one by the demon Eyeghon, and it probably has something to do with that mark, which Giles also has on his arm. Gasp!
Buffy starts to figure all of this out when she finds Giles’ old frenemy Ethan Rayne hiding in the school library. Ethan starts to tell her about Giles’ dark past when the dead friend, who woke up in the morgue with the telltale glowing eyes of demonic possession, breaks into the library and attacks Ethan. Buffy locks him in the book cage, but then he breaks out, knocks out Ms. Calendar, and melts into blue goo. Then the blue goo touches Ms. Calendar while she’s still unconscious, and she gets possessed by Eyeghon. Giles somehow doesn’t figure this out, and we’re treated to a horrifying scene where Ms. Calendar tries to seduce Giles while turning into the demon. Buffy saves him, and Giles finally reveals his dark secret: he and his school buddies conjured Eyeghon for shits and giggles, and it killed one of their friends. Eh. Not as anticlimactic as Gossip Girl’s “I killed someone” fakeout, but still pretty lame, as dark secrets go.
Buffy finds Ethan, because she knows the demon is drawn to him. He blitzes her in the back of the head, ties her up, and tattoos her with the mark of the demon so the demon will come after her instead. And it actually works! Jenny bypasses Ethan to attack Buffy, and Giles tries to sacrifice himself to save her. But it’s Willow who saves the day in the end: she brings Angel to serve as the “dead body” for the demon to jump into. After a few hilariously bad special effects, the demon side of Angel wins an epic battle with Eyeghon, and Eyeghon is destroyed for good. All is well in the world, except Jenny doesn’t want to sleep with Giles anymore. She blows him off in a way that’s kind of sweeping and harsh, considering that they were basically in a relationship, although I guess almost dying after being possessed by your boyfriend’s demonic frenemy would be a turnoff for anyone.
Notes from a New Fan:
- I’m excited to find out about Giles’s dark past, which Hulu tells me is going to come up in this episode. [Update after watching the episode: it wasn’t that dark after all]
- Buffy’s ultra-80s workout outfit–a green tank top, blue leggings, thick white socks, high ponytail–and equally 80s step-based calisthenic routine is amazing.
- I think I see Buffy’s audio mic thingy clipped onto the back of her shirt!
- I was going to say that Xander managed to play “Anywhere but here” without being any creepier than Buffy and Willow, since the whole point is to crush on celebrities. Then I googled Amy Yip, his choice of imaginary celebrity girlfriend, who I’d never heard of, and learned that she’s known for her “slender figure and disproportionately large breasts.” Now I feel stupid for thinking anything Xander did was anything less than maximally creepy. Ever.
- Ah, Giles likes Forster. I love Forster too!
- Miss Calendar pulls a little prank where she convinces Giles that she ruined his first-edition Forster (let’s pretend it’s in any way realistic for Giles to own a first edition of one of the most prominent British modernist novelists). She totally had me going! I was gasping and laughing out loud in horrified shock and 100% convinced they were going to break up.
- “Let’s see if I can make you squirm” is … not a great seduction line.
- Cordelia complains, “There are books about computers? Isn’t the point of computers to replace books?” Hee! To be fair to her, whenever I read a book about computers I get at least one know-it-all fellow engineer scoffing at using such a thing as a learning tool.
- Some of the burns in this episode are not exactly very… burning. “You’ve got some shlub on your shoe”? What? And then Cordelia grumbles that Giles needs to “visit decaf land.” Weak.
- Wait, why does Buffy get so mad at vampires for eating hospital blood? And then leave Angel in charge of it? How does she think Angel feeds himself? Why does she think he’s there? Isn’t that way better than eating, you know, neck blood?
- I’m glad Giles wrote his own name on the list of names he’s checking off, just in case he forgets himself.
- Buffy shows up at computer class and Xander says, “Did I fall asleep already?” Stop sharing that you have sex dreams about your female friends, Xander. Actually, just stop. Everything.
- Ha, I love when the demon breaks into the library and Ethan flat-out hides behind Buffy. Then Xander tries to overpower Ethan only to be thrown to the side like a ragdoll, while Cordelia neatly takes him down with a knee to the groin. Then later Buffy tells Ethan to “hide until it’s over.” Girl power every which way!
- Awww, Xander totally leapt in front of Cordelia when the demon broke out of his cage. That’s kind of touching.
- Oh no! The demon goop touched Miss Calendar’s hand!
- Love the chemistry between Xander and Cordelia. Seriously, he’s so much less annoying around her. I mean, he’s still annoying, but.
- The mannequins in this costume shop are like, seriously pornographic, aren’t they? What’s with the one lying on the counter with one of her legs lifted in the air?
- Wow, love the special effects when the demon goes into (or out of?) Angel. Did they let someone’s twelve-year-old nephew do them in Photoshop?
- Giles’s dark past turned out not to be that exciting. All he did was do a few occult rituals. I was hoping he did something really juicy! But whatever, I still really dug this episode. Also I’m fully “shipping” Xander and Cordelia now. [I love them too!! –Janes]
Notes from a True Stan:
- I love that this poor guy dies because Buffy was playing her workout music too loud. So dark!
- Gavin Rossdale and John Cusack were weird celebrity crushes even in the 90s. And who is Amy Yipp? (you don’t want to know — Nerdy Spice)
- The “it was a one-way street and I was going one way” schtick is such an old joke.
- It’s cute that Giles writes his own name down on the demon’s hit list, just in case he forgets.
- When Buffy comes to visit Ms. Calendar during remedial computer class, Xander says, “Did I fall asleep already?” Ew! What a perv! (Word –Nerdy Spice)
- Hee, I love that Xander tries and fails to stop Ethan from running away and then Cordelia, of all people, kicks him down.
- They really have faith in that book cage to hold all the super-strong possessed people, and it never works.
- I don’t know what’s more horrifying–Giles opening his eyes to find out that he’s making out with a full-on demon, or Ms. Calendar telling him to “take advantage of [her] in [her] weakened state.”
- I like that Buffy and Giles are bonding over their unwanted “destinies,” but it also raises so many questions for me (that are only partially answered later on). Why was Giles “chosen” to be a Watcher? Is it magic, like being chosen to be a Slayer, or is it passed down in families? How many Watchers go to watcher school, and how many of them actually end up assigned to a Slayer? There aren’t that many Slayers to go around!
Season 2, Episode 9 “What’s My Line?”
It’s Career Week at Sunnydale High, which leads to one of Buffy’s rather frequent bouts of feeling bad for herself that her destiny is already set out for her and she doesn’t get to do normal kid things like being told by a quiz that she should be a prison guard (this happens to Xander) (and by normal kid things, I mean things that only happen on teen TV shows from the 90s).
To comfort her, Angel invites her to go ice skating at a closed rink. It’s not clear why they need to break and enter instead of going on the six days of the week when they could legally skate, but whatever.
Unfortunately, their date is interrupted by one of several things called Bounty Hunters which will all hunt the same target no matter how many of them get killed doing it. One of them has moved into Buffy’s next door neighbor’s house by … well, I’m not sure exactly, but he seems to have given the neighbor beauty products that turned her body into a slithering pile of maggots. It’s gross, and also it doesn’t really make sense. [Ha, I think he’s made of maggots! –Janes]
Meanwhile, Spike is using a book stolen from Giles’ library to try to “cure” Drusilla of something, but he spends most of the episode frustrated because the vampires can’t translate ancient Latin.
There’s someone else after Buffy, who at first we think is another Bounty Hunter. She totally kicks Angel’s ass, locks him in a cage that’s exposed to sunlight, and comes very close to overpowering Buffy while she’s having herself a melancholy little nap in Angel’s apartment. But then Buffy asks who she is and she says, “I’m Kendra the vampire slayer.” Twist!!
So at the end of the episode–the first of a two-parter–Xander and Cordelia are alone in Buffy’s house with the beauty salesman, Angel is still locked in the cage and the sun is beginning to come up, and Buffy is staring in shock at her doppelganger.
Notes from a New Fan:
- What exactly is Spike trying to cure Drusilla of, anyway? Galloping consumption? What makes you very tired, very weird, and unable to keep a pet alive?
- Drusilla is entertaining but I kind of miss Darla! She was fun!
- I get so happy whenever someone is sneaking up on Buffy and it seems like she doesn’t know, but she totally does and she just turns around and kicks their ass.
- “I lurk,” Angel announces. Gee, ya think?
- Buffy makes a joke about Angel being a cradle robber, but seriously, HE IS TWO HUNDRED.
- Oh, Willow. The sky blue tights are cute, and the sky blue skirt is fine, but together… no.
- Snyder tells Xander, “Whatever comes out of your mouth is a meaningless waste of breath. An airborne toxic event.” OK, I love Snyder.
- This shot of Buffy skating is pretty and everything, but where are the spins and jumps? Put in a little effort, Buff!
- Why does Giles need a magnifying glass to look at this perfectly normal-sized ring?
- Oh, do we need to have these maggots? Grossssssssssss. The sound effects make it even worse!!!
- Xander calls Cordelia his witless foil. Xander, honey, that’s you.
Notes from a True Stan:
- I’m convinced that no teenager has ever had to fill out an “aptitude test” that told you what you should do for a living. That being said, my school made me fill out a long multiple choice personality test before applying to colleges that turned out to be scary accurate.
- Mr. Gordo is a super cute name for a stuffed pig. I’m jealous of little Buffy’s naming skills.
- So funny when Angel asks why Buffy came in her window, even though her mom isn’t home, and she says, “Habit.” That sounds like Nerdy Spice and my other sister back in high school.
- It’s so savage when Xander begs Buffy and Willow to tell him he doesn’t seem like a future prison guard, and Buffy says he looks like a “crossing guard” instead. So not comforting.
- Buffy is such a teenager in this episode. It’s like Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix up in here.
- I know that Willow coming out as a lesbian is amazing and important, but part of me still wishes she and Oz had ended up together and had genius ginger babies.
- This is just the first of many despairing posts about Kendra but… what is she wearing. [Hey, be cool, man, in part 2 we learn she only owns one shirt. -Nerdy Spice]
- Fun fact: Bianca Lawson, aka Kendra, aka Nikki from Save the Last Dance, aka Nicki from Dawson’s Creek, aka that ageless woman who is still playing teenagers after twenty years, was originally supposed to play Cordelia. I can totally see it!
- This montage of Buffy skating is lovely, but goes on for a weirdly long time. Does SMG really know how to figure skate or something?
- It’s adorable (and a little creepy) that Buffy didn’t notice Angel’s vamp face until he said something. I feel like that’s totally something that would happen if you were dating a vampire!
- The special effects for the Bug Man are pretty bad, but it’s also super disturbing when one little maggot is left on his reconstructed arm.
- The Order of Taraka is so stressful. Why didn’t anyone try to kill Buffy this way before?
- You know things are really dire when Buffy starts wearing the flannel-and-mom-jeans outfit of depression.
- Buffy stans, say it with me: what the hell is that accent?? According to Marti Noxon, they brought in a dialect coach to teach Bianca Lawson an accent from a very specific region of Jamaica, I think to signal that she was brought up in an unpopulated area. But as many have noted, it just sounds like a terrible, possibly racist impersonation of a Jamaican accent. (That being said, I actually like Kendra, and this cliffhanger blew my mind when I first saw it.)