In every generation there is a chosen one. She alone will have a powerful craving for Hostess fruit pies. She will also recap every episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer with an eye to the following themes:
- Sex is the real villain of the Buffy The Vampire Slayer universe.
- Giles is totally in love with Buffy.
- Joyce is a fucking terrible parent.
- Willow’s magic is utterly useless (this one won’t be an issue until season 2, when she gets a chance to become a witch)
- Xander is a textbook Nice Guy.
- The show isn’t as feminist as people claim.
- All the monsters look like wieners.
- If ambivalence to possible danger were an Olympic sport, Team Sunnydale would take the gold.
- Angel is a dick.
- Harmony is the strongest female character on the show.
- Team sports are portrayed in an extremely negative light.
- Some of this shit is racist as fuck.
- Science and technology are not to be trusted.
- Mental illness is stigmatized.
- Only Willow can use a computer.
- Buffy’s strength is flexible at the plot’s convenience.
- Cheap laughs and desperate grabs at plot plausibility are made through Xenophobia.
- Oz is the Anti-Xander
Have I missed any that were added in past recaps? Let me know in the comments.
WARNING: Some people have mentioned they’re watching along with me, and that’s awesome, but I’ve seen the entire series already and I’ll probably mention things that happen in later seasons. So… you know, take that under consideration, if you’re a person who can’t enjoy something if you know future details about it.
In a season dominated by clever episode titles (“Reptile Boy” coming on the heels of “Inca Mummy Girl?” Don’t strain yourselves, guys), this story always stood out to me as one of my very favorites. But here’s a catch… I haven’t seen it in a while. I did a massive series rewatch last year while I worked on Christmas presents, but I had to go to the hardware store in the middle of “Inca Mummy Girl” and I figured it would just keep playing while I was gone and I’d be back in a jiffy. But then I started talking to the guy at the hardware store about false flag operations, and I came back here and I’d already missed “Reptile Boy.” And I didn’t back up, because I don’t look back. I keep my eyes on the future.
So, I’m excited to see how this episode goes for me.
The episode hits #17 out of the park before the opening credits, as Buffy, Xander, and Willow are all sitting around watching a Bollywood movie and mocking the non-Americanness of it. Well, except for Willow. Willow is pretty into it. Buffy is happy that they have nothing to do but sit around, because that means there are no demons running amok.
Okay, it’s October, I said “amok.” Take a moment, do your Sara Sanderson impression, and we’ll continue like dignified adults.
So, Buffy says things are all okay, which on this show is the red flag that nothing is okay. We cut to the one mansion in Sunnydale:
Seriously, they’re always going to these damn mansions, and I swear it’s the same one over and over from different angles.
Anyway, ominous music, and a girl jumps from a second story window. She is pursued across the lawn, through the woods, and through a cemetery before she is captured by a guy who looks like a young Jaime Lannister.
He tells the terrified girl that the fun is just getting started, and the hooded figures drag her away.
After the opening credits, we’re at Sunnydale High, where Cordelia is working on her fake laugh to impress guys (that’s not me cracking on Cordelia, that’s just what she happens to be doing in the scene) and Buffy is telling Willow about her third consecutive night of Angel sex dreams. Buffy laments the fact that though she and Angel are perfect for one another, they can never be together, because she’s a human and the Slayer, and he’s a vampire.
Buffy/Angel aren’t my ship, but I understand why people dig it. It’s canon. Buffy and Angel are true loves forever, like Romeo and Juliet and Buttercup and Westley. But I guess the question I have is… why? Why are we believing that they’re in love? Angel is an impenetrable wall of gloom. At this point in the show, we barely see them spending any time together. When they are together, all they talk about is the fact that they can’t be together. They don’t see to do anything fun or have any interests in common, and while one could argue that they’re in love because they have that Sam/Diane banter, that would make me ship Cordy/Buffy before I’d ship Buffy/Angel, because their Sam/Diane banter is better. What I’m saying here is, I don’t see the great chemistry between Angel and Buffy that everybody else seems to see.
Also, can we talk about Buffy’s outfit here? I understand the see-through top/colored bra dynamic going on. What I don’t get is why she’s wearing a bra that makes it appear as though she dipped her tits in coffee on the way in to school. This is a look I try to avoid in real life, because when you have a large chest, dipping it in things is inevitable.
Xander catches up with Buffy and Willow just in time to start cracking on Cordy for being a slut, and for Cordy to crack on Xander for being too poor. Xander and Cordy, by the way, aren’t doing the Sam/Diane. They’re doing the Sam/Rebecca.
Buffy mentions that she’s supposed to have met Giles in the library, but that he won’t mind, because she’s only ten minutes late and there haven’t been any demons lately. Cut to Giles being absolutely furious with Buffy for being irresponsible and getting lazy during their downtime. Giles tries to sneak attack Buffy to show her how rusty skipping training has made her, and this of course doesn’t end well for him because Buffy gets his arm all twisted behind his back in like five seconds. Nevertheless, Giles tells Buffy that she’s going to start spending more time on training, because Hellmouth and all that. And then Buffy makes this face at him:
But he insists it won’t work, and her pouting will not sway him. But he can’t really look at her, either. Methinks the librarian doth protest too much. #2
Outside of school at the end of the day, Willow and Xander find Buffy intentionally “dawdling” to stick it to Giles and his stupid Watcher rules. A black BMW pulls up, and it’s Cordelia’s boyfriend, Richard, who is also the hooded guy from before the credits. He’s there with his pal, who stares openly at Buffy. When the guys invite Cordelia to a party, they ask about Buffy, and Cordy is quick to pretend that she and Buffy are “like sisters.” The guys ask for an introduction, and Cordelia reluctantly approaches the Scoobies on the steps.
Xander: “Okay, so, tonight, channel fifty-nine, Indian TV, sex, lies and incomprehensible story lines? I’ll bring the betel nuts.”
First of all, in Hindi, they’re called kasaili, and second, why is getting together to mock other cultures a fun thing to do in this town? They just had a freakin’ dance about that very theme in the last episode. #17
Cordelia drags Buffy over to the Beamer, despite Buffy’s insistence that she doesn’t want to meet frat boys. And I can see why. This guy’s opener is “Hi, sweetheart.” Gross, Richard. Actually, I’m gonna call you Dick now. Dick’s friend apologizes for Dick’s bad behavior. Dick’s friend’s name is Tom, and he’s nothing like Dick. He’s nice and polite to Buffy, and even seems a bit flustered to be talking to her. Tom is a senior in college, and Buffy is a junior in high school, and why does that seem somehow creepy to me? I dated college guys when I was in high school. Maybe because my four year old daughter is going as a Monster High character for Halloween and she’s asked for makeup for her birthday, and I can’t deal with the fact that someday she’s going to grow up and you know what? SHE IS NEVER EVER HANGING OUT WITH HER HOT LIBRARIAN. EVER.
I kind of got off topic there, sorry. But seriously guys, she’s like four going on fourteen and I just can’t handle this. I’m Tony Danza in She’s Out of Control, except for way, way less concerned about her sex life.
Tom tells Buffy that the only reason he’s in the frat is because his dad and his grandpa did it, too. Which hits Buffy right in the Slayer spleen; after all, she’s duty bound to do shit she doesn’t want to do, too. Tom asks Buffy if she’d like to come to the party with Cordelia, and she turns him down because she’s “sort of involved.” This entire exchange takes place with interjected jealous Xander dialogue, just to remind us that no one, and I mean no one, deserves that sweet, sweet Slayer V but Xander. Giles comes outside and yells at Buffy and points at his watch, and Buffy has to go, but you can tell she’s slightly disappointed at having to turn down Tom. Xander gives us a good preview of his “I hate college guys” attitude we’ll see more of in season four, then it’s cut to the library.
Giles comes at Buffy with a quarterstaff and a short sword, and he warns her that he won’t pull any punches. This training session, of course, ends up with a winded Giles on the table where he landed. This is a thematic joke that I wish never burns out, but it will. We’ll start to see less and less of “Giles gets his ass kicked training Buffy” beginning after the season 3 episode “Helpless.” I can see why they took a break from it, in light of what happens in that episode, but it could have come back. *sobs helplessly* It was a good joke! It could have come back!
Out patrolling that night, Buffy finds a piece of jewelry. She’s examining it when Angel pops up and says, “There’s blood on it.” Swoon. Enough with the sweet talk, Angel. He goes on to tell her that he can smell the blood on it. Again, I say unto you guys, why was Buffy supposed to be into him? She hates vamps, she thinks blood stuff is super gross. Yeah, he’s an okay looking guy, but seriously? Buffy mentions that it would be nice to see Angel when it wasn’t a blood-related late night cemetery meet-up and what follows is the most awkward conversation in the history of television lovers:
Angel: “What are you saying, you want a date?”
Angel: “You don’t want a date.”
Buffy: “Who said ‘date?’ I-I-I never said ‘date’.”
Angel: “Right, you just want to have coffee or something.”
Angel: “I knew this was gonna happen.”
Really, Angel? You “knew” someone was going to fall in love with you? Why? Because of your sparkling personality? The fact that you’re impossible to contact because you prefer to live your life like a fucking stalker superhero? He just “knew” that Buffy would fall in love with him, and he goes on to say that she’s too young for him– okay, yeah, let’s touch on this one for a second. I’ve noticed that as I’ve gotten older, people have gotten younger. That is, when I was twenty-two, I wouldn’t look at a seventeen year old and think, “My god, that person is so YOUNG.” But now that I’m in my thirties, I see a seventeen year old and I’m like, “My god, that person is so YOUNG.” And then my hands kind of drift away from my body, my fingers turning all seaweed like as I reach toward them, and I end up being asked to please leave Forever 21 because I’m randomly stroking girls’ hair and trying to absorb their vitality.
Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is, I don’t get why we’re not as weirded out, collectively by Buffy and Angel as we are about Courtney Stodden and Doug Hutchison. And if you don’t know who those people aren’t, just don’t google them and live your life in peace.
Anyway, Angel is on this whole, I-knew-you’d-fall-in-love-with-me-but-we-can’t-be-together-because-I’m-50-shades-of-fucked-up routine and Buffy is buying it like Ana Steele buys nothing because he’ll buy it for her and we need to take a moment here.
You guys. You guys.
I hate to do this. But I have to revise #9.
#9: Angel is
a dick Chedward.
He’s dark, he’s brooding about his past, he does whatever he can to throw himself into Buffy’s path, only so he can reject her later. He’s Chedward in the beginning of the first book.
The next day at school, Cordelia hits up Buffy at the end of class:
Cordelia: “Buffy! Did you lose weight? And your hair… all right, I respect you too much to be dishonest.”
Never change, Cordelia. No, I mean it. Because you do change and it sucks.
Cordy wants Buffy to go to a frat party with her, so she can hang out with Dick some more. See, Cordy can’t go unless she brings a friend, to keep the “ratio” up. In other words, frats are fucking disgusting. Cordelia absolutely has to go to the party so that she can secure her Mrs. degree by landing a rich frat guy. With a haunted look that we know came from her conversation with Angel, Buffy agrees to go to the frat party.
Back at rush week, the guys are all in hooded robes, and Dick is holding a sword to the throat of a pledge. I’ve never been in a fraternity, but this is basically how rush goes down at every single Hollywood frat, ever, so I’m not raising an eyebrow. Except for the part of the oath they’re making the guy take, talking about Machida, whom they serve.
So… that’s probably not great.
Did I mention they were in a dungeon, and they have a young girl chained to the wall? Because that is also happening.
At school, Buffy tells Willow that she decided to go to the frat party because of Angel, which Willow misinterprets as Angel going to the party with Buffy. When Buffy explains that she’s going with Cordelia, Willow is jealous, and Xander says:
Xander: “Cordelia is much better for you than Angel!”
I know, right?!
Buffy reads off her litany of complaints against Angel, while Xander agrees nonstop, until he learns about Tom the frat guy. Raise your hand if you’re getting really, really tired of Xander being suspicious of/openly hating any guy Buffy happens to mention.
Back in the library, Giles is making my entire life by having a sword fight with a real sword and a pretend slayer. No, wait. That sounds like a masturbation euphemism, and it’s really not meant to be. What I’m saying is, he’s practicing sword fighting in the most let’s-play-make-believe way possible when Buffy, Willow, and Xander walk into the library and catch him. It’s clear to the viewer that Giles was locked in fantasy combat with the Slayer, probably imagining a training session where he doesn’t get injured, but the point is that when Buffy isn’t there, Giles is pretending Buffy is there. #2.
Eager to change the subject from “Why is a grown man pretending to be a musketeer?” Giles asks Buffy if she found anything on patrol. She shows him the broken jewelry, I’m not sure if it’s a bracelet or an anklet or a necklace or what, but either way, she tells them about Angel finding blood on it, and Xander immediately jumps in to say that Buffy should patrol. Because he’s trying to c-block her from the party. Instead of asserting her right to go to any damn party she chooses– because that tactic hasn’t worked in the past and only seems to give Giles more incentive to keep her from having a social life– she lies and says she has a ton of homework and her mom is sick and also, she’s sick, and Giles is understanding, so Buffy feels like shit for lying.
Cut to the hallway, where we need to pause a second and consider the effectiveness of this poster in Sunnydale High:
In any other high school, that poster would mean, “Not everyone who drives drunk dies; you could live a long time with a ruggedly handsome face covered in interesting scars that only add to your dark and brooding mystery,” which is a shitty message in itself. But since this is Sunnydale, when I saw this poster in the background, I thought the message was, “Not everyone who drives drunk dies; some of them turn into zombies.”
Willow and Xander give Buffy major shit for lying to Giles, and you know, this is an interesting part of their dynamic. Throughout the series, Giles is given a status apart from other adults. Later on in season two, the kids start become very frank about their personal lives with him, sometimes whether he wants them to or not. When all the adults in town decide to go on a witch hunt in season three, it’s Giles who doesn’t react to the hysteria, because he’s on the side of the teens being persecuted. In the season four episode “A New Man,” the characters feel bad when they realize they’ve been leaving him out of important Scoobie revelations. In turn, Giles is open with them about his grief over Jenny (spoiler alert), his doubts about himself as a Watcher, and he’s able to speak to the Scoobies and argue with them without getting overtly parental. It’s such a cool reaction here, to see Willow and Xander both kind of like, “You lied to Giles,” because it reinforces that they think of Giles as one of their rank; if Buffy lies to Giles, it’s the same as if she lied to Willow or Xander, and not at all like if she lied to her mother or Principal Snyder.
Astute viewers will note that these moments of Xander or Buffy or Willow treating Giles like any other adult usually come paired with Giles treating Xander or Buffy or Willow like a child. Which makes this such a cool, realistic dynamic. For all his alleged discomfort with teenagers, Giles actually treats them like people. And despite Willow, Xander, and Buffy having the entrenched teen belief that anyone over twenty-five is some bizarre alien species, they accept Giles into their ranks. The only time this breaks down is if one side dishonors that bond. Sometimes, to really scary effect, like in season six. Three words: Rank. Arrogant. Amateur.
Still, Buffy isn’t falling for their guilt trip. She’s going to go to this party and have fun.
Cordelia: “This isn’t about fun. This is about duty, your duty to help me achieve permanent prosperity.”
That’s right. Cordy is in this for the rich D that will help her coast into her sixties with a twenty year old face like Kris Jenner did. She’s explaining all the rules of frat party going to Buffy, including tutoring her on fake laughter, when Xander and Willow walk up:
Xander: “So, Cor, are you printing up business cards with your pager number and hours of operation or just going with a halter top tonight?’
#5 Nearly every time Xander cracks on Cordelia, it’s in a slut-shamey way. That’s because to the Nice Guy, a woman is either a positive sex object or a negative sex object, or sex neutral. Buffy is the positive sex object, because she pays attention to him and he’s pretty sure he can wear her down. He’s not interested in Willow, making her sex neutral, and since he suspects Cordelia would never give him the time of day, Cordelia is a negative sex object. It’s almost always her sexuality he criticizes. Not that fact that she’s a vain, shallow, horrible person at this stage of the game. She has plenty of really terrible personality flaws he could exploit for mockery, but he goes for making cracks about her being a prostitute.
You know, the fact that this remark is made in front of Buffy and Willow and they don’t step in to defend Cordelia makes me say #6 as well.
Xander tells Willow that he plans to follow Buffy to the party, to protect her. Which really, okay, that’s not so bad, Xander. If he hadn’t also agreed with Willow’s assessment that he was going to prove that he was just as manly and cool as the frat guys and perhaps also see an orgy, it would have been even more commendable. The thing I find so frustrating about Xander’s character is that at every turn, they make him a Nice Guy, when they have ample opportunity to make him just a nice guy. “Hey, my friend is going to this frat party, she’s lying about where she’s going, I’m gonna go to the party and just hang back and make sure nothing happens to her because I don’t trust frat guys,” okay. Still a little creepy and invasive, but worlds better than going to a frat party in the hopes that something bad will happen so you can be a hero and prove your worth.
At the party, Buffy is having her doubts, and Dick gives her and Cordelia drinks.
Because Buffy won’t drink alcohol, Cordelia and Dick mock her and leave her alone, to stand awkwardly at the edge of the party. We see Xander sneaking in– fun aside, the lyrics of the song playing when Xander comes through the window are:
You will see why I’m bringing this up in a little bit here.
Xander mills about the party awkwardly, dressed like a on-duty Target employee, and doesn’t spot Buffy standing in the corner. Buffy gives in to temptation and takes a single sip of alcohol, and some random frat guy rushes her like a bull. Another frat guy saves her by asking her to dance, and it turns out it’s the guy from before, Tom. He gives her the old, “You’re so mature for a high school girl” routine to draw her in, while Xander makes himself as conspicuous as possible by cracking stupid Godzilla jokes to impress some college girls. The frat boys decide they’re going to have some fun with Xander, and drag him away, chanting that he’s a new pledge.
Out on the patio, Buffy finds a piece of broken glass, and looks up to see a boarded up window. This is why Giles needs to lighten the fuck up about her training. She can handle this shit. Any other sixteen year old would have been like, “Huh, glass,” before kicking it directly into the lawn before thinking, “Hope no one steps on that.” It’s just how the teen brain works. Buffy, however, thinks, “Broken glass, huh, this is Sunnydale, so probably some monster shit happened and look at that. Broken window.” She appears to be puzzling all this out in her mind when Tom comes back and distracts her. Dick catches up with them to offer them both drinks. Dick wants to toast to some bonds that have just matured, but Tom suggests they toast to maturity. Buffy has a different take on it:
Buffy: “What the hell. I’m tired of being mature.”
Buffy downs her entire drink in one go, to prove how reckless and immature she is.
In the library, Willow and Giles are working overtime trying to figure out what the broken jewelry says, but they only have three letters to go on. Willow remembers that Kent is the name of a prep school outside of town, and that the girls there wear bracelets like the one Buffy found in the cemetery. They discover, via the magic of the internet in 1998, that a girl from Kent is missing… and it’s the girl we saw locked in the dungeon before.
The frat guys put Xander in a wig, lipstick, and a huge padded bra and force him to dance.
Because he’s so busy playing along, he doesn’t notice that Buffy is supremely fucked up and staggering all over hell. She can’t find Tom, so she heads upstairs. It is at this point that I will note that Sarah Michelle Gellar also ran upstairs in Scream 2, leading to her death (start at 5:07):
Anyway, what we’ve determined here is that when threatened, Slayers move to higher ground. Or something.
Buffy finds an empty room and lays down on the bed, where she passes out. In like, no time at all, Dick is there, and his intent is pretty damn clear when he starts weirdly stroking her collar bones. Tom knows what’s up, too:
Dick: “I wasn’t doing anything!”
Tom: “I saw what you were doing.”
Dick: “I was just having a little fun.”
Tom: “Well, she’s not here for your fun, you pervert.”
Tom: “She’s here for the pleasure of the one we serve.”
Boo Tom! That’s a bad Tom!
I’m not sure how I feel about this episode. It’s very clear that they’ve taken the “girls can get raped at parties” scenario and turned it into something more, but at this point in the episode, it’s hard to tell if they’re exploring the theme, or exploiting it.
Tom reminds Dick that “the other one” is also for their master, and the camera pans down to reveal that Cordelia was there, passed out on the floor all along.
Back at the library, Giles is looking fine as hell:
He and Willow discover there are more missing girls than they thought, and when Giles wants to call Buffy, Willow does some obvious quick lying to cover for her. She tells Giles to call Angel, since they’re going to need all the help they can get, and amazingly, it works and he doesn’t call Buffy, blowing her entire party time ruse.
At the frat, the party is over, and Xander is getting thrown out, giant bra and all. They won’t let him stay to look for Buffy, probably because in the basement, everybody has their robes on again and Buffy and Cordelia are chained to the wall. Tom is getting something inscribed on his back with a sword, too, so this just got freaky. The other missing girl is still there, chained up, and she tells Buffy and Cordelia that Tom is like, basically pure evil, no matter how nice he seemed before. He takes out three rocks and washes them in water from a chalice, and says that Buffy is going to be last. But they don’t know for what, and we cut back to the library.
Angel tells Giles and Willow that Buffy found the bracelet in the cemetery, near the south wall. I like how Sunnydale supposedly has this crazy high number of cemeteries, but they always just say “the” cemetery and everyone knows exactly which cemetery they’re talking about. Anyway, during the conversation, Willow is doing this:
Giles: “What are you doing?”
Willow: “Oh. Sorry. [to Angel] The reflection thing, that you don’t have… Angel, how do you shave?”
This is one of my very favorite Willow lines. It’s one of the lines that makes me thank God that Alyson Hannigan got the role. Willow realizes that the area they’re describing is real close to the frat house where Buffy and Cordelia are partying, and she spills all the beans, everywhere. Not just a little bit. When Giles is hurt that Buffy lied to him and Angel is worried about Buffy having a date, Willow goes into outraged Willow overdrive mode:
Willow: “Well, why do you think she went to that party? Because you gave her the brush off! And you never let her do anything except work and patrol, and I know she’s the chosen one, but you’re killing her with the pressure! I mean, she’s sixteen going on forty. And you! I mean, you’re gonna live forever, you don’t have time for a cup of coffee?”
Her rant doesn’t make her feel better, and Giles and Angel look like this:
Outside the frat, Xander has learned a hard truth about life:
Xander: “One day, I’ll have money, prestige, power… and on that day, they’ll still have more.”
He sulks past Cordelia’s car and notices her QUEEN C vanity plate, and realizes that she and Buffy are still in the house.
In the basement, the frat guys are worshipping Machida. The point is that all their “bounty” comes from Machida, and they have to make an offering. The girls are the offering, but it’s not clear what exactly is going to happen to the “offerings.” Machida emerges, and it turns out he’s a giant snake man:
Okay, wait a second. I’m confused by this whole episode. Is this or is this not blatant allegory for frat house gang rape? I mean, the monster looks like a penis. The guys roofied the girls. Again, I can’t tell if this episode is supposed to be a warning or subversion or just a really poor taste gotcha; “Thought they were gonna get raped? GOTCHA!” The reason I can’t tell is because frequently on this show, we get all three of those types of episodes.
The guys are talking about how they have to feed Machida, while outside, Giles, Willow, and Angel run into Xander, who has put on robes he found in the trash. He says he saw everyone wearing robes and heading to the basement, so he planned to sneak inside. Giles realizes there is ritual afoot, and Angel vamps out at the thought of it involving Buffy.
As Machida goes for Cordelia, Buffy taunts him, saying he doesn’t want to eat someone as skinny as Cordy because he’ll just be hungry again later. Excuse me, maybe Machida is watching his cholesterol and only going for lean meats. You don’t know his life, Buffy. Anyway, Tom is all pissed off because a woman spoke to Machida– I like that they’re keeping with the sexist culture around frats by having even their pet penis monster be a total misogynist– and clocks her, warning that if she speaks again, he’ll cut her throat. Maybe Machida doesn’t like having his meat cut for him, Tom. You guys need to stop being the food police here.
Xander comes to the door and pretends he’s one of the basement Jawas who got locked out. When he opens the door, he punches out the Frankenstein who charged Buffy earlier, then Angel runs in. Now, wait a gosh darn minute. When the guy opened the door, only Xander was standing there, and the guy told Xander to “come on.” How did Angel get in? Wouldn’t he need an invitation? Would “Come on,” directed at someone else actually work to extend the invitation to him? Should I be more careful when calling my dogs into the house at night?
Downstairs, the basement Jawas unchain Cordelia and are about to feed her to Machida when Buffy gets loose and takes on all the dudes, and Tom (who has a sword) and Machida at the same time. Upstairs, Angel and Xander and Giles beat up some guys while Willow finds where Buffy is. Willow is like, come on guys, stop having so much fun beating up everybody because Buffy is going to fucking die already, and they run into the basement. Machida is about to bite into Cordelia with his teensy mouth– seriously, being eaten by a Machida has got to be the slowest and stupidest death ever– when Buffy throws Tom into a table, takes his sword, and pauses to make a quip before slicing into Machida’s midsection. So speed attacks are not really Machida’s speciality here.
Cordelia is a wreck. She stumbles toward Buffy, thanking her for saving them, then lurches into Angel’s arms, revealing that her praise was all for him despite Buffy handling everything just fine. Then Cordy tells the Scoobies she hates them because weird stuff always happens when they’re around. Then she sees Tom, grabs him by his stupid choir robes and says:
Cordelia: “And you! You’re going to jail for fifteen thousand years!”
So glad Cordy is never going to be a judge, but so happy she is just exactly who she is.
The rest of the gang wrangle Tom upstairs, leaving Buffy to face Giles knowing that she’s totally busted:
Buffy: “I told one lie. I had one drink.”
Giles: “Yes, and you were very nearly devoured by a giant demon snake. The words ‘let that be a lesson’ are a tad redundant at this juncture.”
Buffy: “I’m sorry.”
Giles: “So am I. I… I drive you too hard because I know what you have to face. From now on, no more pushing, no more prodding. Just, um… an inordinate amount of nudging.”
With their friendship mended, Giles and Buffy leave the dungeon, and we cut to the Bronze, where Cordelia is treating Jonathon like a servant. So, things are back the way God intended them, and Xander reads from the paper that all the frat guys got consecutive life sentences. So… the courts must work way faster in Sunnydale than they do in the real world. All the businesses run by prominent alums of the frat are failing, too, and since this shit had been going on for fifty years, you’d think this would cause some kind of massive economic collapse. Oh, Buffyverse. You make so little sense.
Willow asks Buffy if she’s heard from Angel, and says that when he got angry at the thought of Buffy being in danger, it was amazing. Which bums me out, because that’s some 50 Shades Darker bullshit right there. I treat you like shit 90% of the time, but that 10% that you’re in danger, raaaawwwwr nobody fuck with her, she’s mine! Gross.
Angel just happens to be in the Bronze (#9) and swings on by just as Willow is talking him up. He mentions that the Bronze has coffee, and maybe Buffy would like to get some with him sometime. She says she’ll let him know, and, with a smirk, she walks away.
So, tell me how you see this episode, guys. I didn’t find it as victim blamey as it could have been– Giles even gives Buffy a pass about the whole lying thing, suggesting she didn’t deserve the consequences– but then again, it was just using frat rape as framework for the giant snake. Was this supposed to be a wink/nod to rape culture, or was it trying to highlight it? Overall, I think it’s a solidly written episode, but I find so many things about it potentially troubling… tell me what you think, because I’m totally stumped on this one.