In every generation there is a chosen one. She alone is considering moving to a country that doesn’t celebrate Christmas. 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
- Spike is capable of love despite his lack of soul
- Don’t freaking tell me the vampires don’t need to breathe because they’re constantly out of frickin’ breath.
- The foreshadowing on this show is freaking amazing.
- Smoking is evil.
Have I missed any that were added in past recaps? Let me know in the comments. Even though I might forget that you mentioned it.
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.
PREVIOUSLY, ON BUFFY: Buffy got her v-card punched.
We open on Spike and Drusilla, who have just been humiliated in their fight against Buffy and Angel. Spike is mad at The Judge, who he feels is being lazy about their plan to destroy the world.
Seriously, Spike? The world? Come on. You live there, and you always chicken out about doing it at the last minute.
While Spike and The Judge argue, Drusilla falls to the ground, wailing Angel’s name. Spike asks her what she sees, but Drusilla just smiles.
Cut to Angel’s bed, where Buffy peacefully slumbers. She notices that Angel isn’t there, and and calls out for him. Meanwhile, Angel is in the alley, crawling around on the ground in the rain, calling out for her. Parallels, am I right?
A woman smoking in a doorway notices him and approaches, asking if he needs help. He rights himself and tells her he’s fine, before revealing his vamp face and biting her. I don’t know if he drinks her blood or what, because the whole thing is really quick, but when he pulls away, he exhales the smoke she had just inhaled, earning this episode a #20. He can’t force air out of his lungs by choice to give Buffy CPR in season one, but he can sure as hell smoke for cool effect.
Buffy goes home and sneaks inside, only to get caught by her mom, who says the dreaded, “You seem different.”
Back at the library, Xander busts in complaining about how the bus station wasn’t up to his classist standards, then realizes that he’s failed to read the room and everyone is super worried about Buffy and the fact that she hasn’t returned and how that almost certainly means The Judge was assembled. Xander is all for going to the factory to look for Buffy and Angel, to which Cordelia says:
Cordelia: “And do what? Besides be afraid and die?”
Giles agrees with Cordelia, but Willow sides with Xander and they’re about to storm off to the factory when Buffy comes in. Giles asks why she didn’t call to let them know she was okay, and she makes up a story on the fly about getting separated from Angel while hiding in the sewers. She tells them that The Judge is all put together like the world’s shittiest jigsaw puzzle, and Giles tells everyone to go to class like they’re not going to be sitting there worried about being sizzled to death by Big Blue.
In the hall, Buffy is troubled that Angel still hasn’t contacted her, and as she expresses this to Willow, Ms. Calendar lurks behind them, eavesdropping. Do all the people in this show have sex radar? I legitimately have two friends who I’m not sure have ever had sex, because I’ve never asked them if they have, they’ve never mentioned it, and you can’t tell by looking at a person. Is this something everyone can tell, except for me?
In the factory, Dru is meddling with forces she doesn’t understand. Like, astronomy. And reality.
Dru: “I’m naming all the stars.”
Spike: “You can’t see the stars, love. That’s the ceiling. Also, it’s day.”
Dru: “I can see them. But I’ve named them all the same name and there’s terrible confusion.”
That’s one of my favorite Dru moments. Again, this totally falls under #14, because it’s this played up portrayal of whimsically evil crazy, but there’s just something so vulnerable about Dru. I would want very much for her to turn me into a vampire, and we could dress up in matching Gothic Lolita stuff and just be generally creepy.
Spike asks Dru if she’s “seen” anything else, like what happened to Angel, for example, and wouldn’t you know it, he shows up. And he’s got his super sarcastic bitchy pants on, too. He calls Spike scum and says he’ll always be wherever injustice is. Spike is all excited because The Judge is right there and can burn him up. Except, oh snap, Angel can’t be burned, because his humanity tank is on E with a warning light that’s been on since thirty miles ago. Drusilla and Spike are psyched to have their friend back, sans soul. And he’s smoking now (#20) and that fully confirms that he is now playing for team evil (#22).
Angel isn’t interested in Spike and Dru’s plan to destroy the world. Which I can understand, because the world is kind of where they all are. I’ve never quite been sold on the “we’re going to destroy the world” plot that various baddies come up with in TV and movies. It’s like, okay, genius, but how is it a win to destroy the world? You’ll die. You won’t even get to gloat.
Anyway, Angel wants to kill Buffy real, real bad, because now that his soul is gone he’s super disgusted at how human she made him feel. And it’s payback time or something. Honestly, since he uses “Yeah, baby, I’m back,” in this scene already, he might as well have said, “It’s payback time.” Like, 99% of Angelus’s lines are Hollywood cliches of the highest calibre.
Back at the library, everyone is researching, except for Willow, who is on the phone to Buffy, and Buffy, who is not in the library because she’s somewhere else talking on the phone to Willow.
Willow: “Don’t even say that. Angel is not dead.”
Xander: “Say hi for me.”
Fuck you, Xander. Fuck you so much. Earlier in this episode, you were all for going to find Buffy because you cared so much about her (he even accused Giles of being born without feelings because he wasn’t rip-roarin’ to go off to their messy deaths) and now it’s like, “Gosh, I’m glad Buffy is in this emotional turmoil, because if Angel’s dead the line to ride her vagina just got way shorter!” (#5)
Willow explains to Giles and Xander that Buffy is super freaked out by her boyfriend’s disappearance, but that she’s going to show up at the library later. Xander is frustrated with the book he’s reading, and goes to get another. He runs into Cordelia in the stacks, and she points out that while he was snapping at her earlier, he was about to run off and risk his life for Buffy:
Cordelia: “I know, you were too busy rushing off to die for your beloved Buffy. You’d never die for me.”
So, Cordelia legitimately cares about Xander, in a boyfriend/girlfriend way, and wants him to care back. Hey, remember how there was somebody else who wanted him to care about her in a boyfriend/girlfriend way?
Willow runs into the hallway, her spirit completely broken because she hasn’t yet realized that she’s way, way too good for Xander, especially when she’s got Oz the thirty-year-old high schooler on standby.
Willow: “It’s against all laws of God and man. It’s Cordelia! Remember the We Hate Cordelia Club? Of which you are the treasurer?”
Xander tells her to calm down, because they were just kissing and it didn’t mean that much. But Willow isn’t going to let him brush her hurt feelings aside, telling him that what it means is that he’d rather be with a person he hates than be with her.
Here’s the thing: I get Willow’s reaction. I get that she’s upset. But I’m disappointed that she felt as entitled to Xander’s affection as Xander feels entitled to Buffy’s affection. I remember watching this episode in the past and going, “Yeah, tell him, Willow! You deserve him more than Cordelia because you waited for him.” And now like, years and years later I’m going, “Chill out. Nobody stole your man. Stop acting like this.” Though less intense and outwardly antagonistic, Willow’s feelings of ownership over Xander are the same as Xander’s Nice Guy attitude toward Buffy.
Buffy goes to Angel’s apartment and finds him there, wearing leather pants for some reason. She’s so overjoyed to see that he’s alive, she doesn’t even notice it. But I feel like, even if I thought someone was dead for sixteen years, and they showed up on my doorstep tomorrow wearing leather pants, my first reaction would be, “Dead person! What’s up with those leather pants?” Because if someone who has never worn leather pants just suddenly starts wearing them, there’s a story there and I think most people would ask about it.
At first, Angel comforts her, saying he didn’t mean to scare her, while she clings to him and tells him how grateful she is that he’s alive. And then… things become…
I can barely stand to watch this scene, you guys. In response to Buffy’s worry, Angel tells her that he “took off” because the sex was so awful, he couldn’t stand to be around her. And as she tries to process everything he’s saying, she starts blaming herself. She asks if she was good, and he tears her down, then casually dismisses the sex they had as something that “happened,” and was “a good time.” Buffy is hurt and embarrassed, and as a last gambit she tells Angel that she loves him–and he says it back, laden with sarcasm.
As with everything in this show, the story is made up of real teen fears/experiences, with a supernatural twist thrown at them. So when Angel becomes inexplicably cruel to her, we know that it’s because he’s turned evil. Buffy doesn’t. She’s having the heartbreaking experience that many, many people go through in their teen years and young adulthood; she’s finding out that sex doesn’t make the other person feel the same about you as you did about them, and that some people will say whatever it takes, pretend whatever they need to, in order to gain access to your body for sex.
Do we have a number for “Some of this shit is way too real?”
In a hotel room somewhere, Jenny Calendar’s uncle is wearing a shoe string for a tie and giving her a lecture on vengeance. She’s trying to make a case for saving Angel, because he could be helpful. But her uncle is like, whoops, he’s not cursed anymore:
Creepy Uncle: “Angel was meant to suffer, not to live as human. One moment of true happiness, of contentment, one moment where the soul that we restored no longer plagues his thoughts, and that soul is taken from him.”
So, Ms. Calendar is furious, because if Angel is evil now, bad stuff is going to go down, and her Uncle basically has to remind her that they’re not living in a musical comedy, they’re in a goddamn Shakespearean tragedy, complete with offensive stereotypes of minority groups.
But hold up. This is something that has always bugged me. Angel can’t have “one moment of true happiness, of contentment.” Here, that means having sex with Buffy. In season three we’ll see them making out and having to stop because, whoa, hormones and we might fuck your soul away again. But spending time with Buffy, being around her in that situation, none of it counts as “true happiness” until he puts his dick in her and has an orgasm. Uh… what? Does the soul get pushed through the vans deferens and shot out his possibly fanged urethra? Or is his love for Buffy not complete until he completes? Is sex with Buffy so important to Angel’s happiness that he can’t possibly feel joy or contentment if he’s not getting off physically? That’s fucked up.
Even more fucked up is when you consider that Angel is a (much) older man, sleeping with a teenage girl who removes his soul through the act of sexual intercourse. There’s a very weird Lolita dynamic there that is just super ooky to me. Either way you look at it, I’m tagging this both #6 and #9, for both setting up canon in which the hero’s love isn’t whole until he’s plugging the heroine’s hole, and for Angel apparently seeing it that way, too.
Willow returns to school and tells Xander that while she’s not okay with him hiding something so important from her and basically just daring to like someone who isn’t her or Buffy, they have to work together to solve this whole “no weapon forged” thing. Xander starts to get what sounds like a really good idea, but the power goes out and distracts them.
Good thing Angel is there! He tells Xander to go get everyone from the library, because he’s got something to show them. Xander runs off, and then one of the greatest scenes in television history happens.
As Willow approaches Angel, Xander suddenly understands:
And so does Ms. Calendar, who shows up with a cross out of nowhere:
…and finally, so does Willow. She’s the last to understand what’s happening, and she looks heartbreakingly betrayed.
Ms. Calendar warns Willow and Xander that Angel just isn’t Angel anymore. He corrects her, saying something like he hasn’t been himself in a long time or something. You get the gist. Then he says:
Angel: “I’ve got a message for Buffy.”
And from out of nowhere, Buffy says:
Buffy: “Why don’t you give it to me yourself.”
Angel explains that he’s going to kill all her friends. Buffy is hopeful that she’s going to reach something in Angel that’s still human, but no dice. While Angel is monologuing like the villain in The Incredibles, Xander sneaks up and flashes Ms. Calendar’s cross at him. Angel lets go of Willow then threatens Buffy, kisses her, and throws her into a wall. And Xander is like, “Buffy, are you okay?” and NO, OBVIOUSLY NOT XANDER GOD.
In the library, Buffy tells the gang that she knew something was wrong because of the way Angel had treated her earlier.
Jenny: “But you didn’t know he’d turned bad?”
Willow: “How did you?”
And the point goes to Willow. Jenny says she knew because she’d seen his face. So… you just roam the halls of Sunnydale High armed with a cross?
Well, that’s not a bad idea, actually.
But they kind of gloss past this when Giles says:
Giles: “If only we knew how it happened.”
Buffy: “What do you mean?”
Giles: “Well something set it off, some, some event must have triggered his transformation. If anyone would know, Buffy, it should be you.”
Buffy: “I don’t.”
Giles: “Well did anything happen last night that–”
Buffy: “Giles, please, I can’t–”
And Buffy gets up and runs out, with Giles calling after her. Remember how Willow was the last one to know that Angel was evil (well, besides Ms. Calendar). Well this time she’s horribly, terribly the first one to know what’s going on with Buffy.
Willow: “Giles, shut up.”
Despite Cordelia’s snark, Xander has formulated a plan, but he needs Cordelia’s help. Willow offers Oz’s van to help, in a sort of snooty way because it’s pretend like you don’t care day on Tiny Toons. Xander tells Cordelia to meet him in a half hour in “trashier” clothes than she’s already wearing (swoon). Giles says he can imagine what Buffy’s going through, and Willow puts the very quiet, very sad smackdown on that notion quick.
At the factory, Angel is bragging about how he really hurt the Slayer’s feelings, to which Spike is kind of like, uh, why didn’t you just kill her?
Drusilla: “You don’t want to kill her. You want to hurt her. Just like you hurt me.”
She’s thrilled about this, by the way. That’s how much Angel tortured her (we find out exactly how much in an episode of Angel, I believe, or possibly season 3 of this show. Or both).
Spike thinks Angel is really underestimating the severity of the whole “the Slayer could fuck up our plans” dynamic, but Angel tells him that he knows what he’s doing. He’s going to break Buffy down emotionally because she can’t be killed with force.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Buffy comes home, devastated and finally able to let her feelings out in the privacy of her room. She curls up in her bed and sobs, and it is here that I will bring up another teen vampire breakup, just to get some stuff off my chest. Despite all its problematic content, I’m rereading Twilight and I really like it. No, I don’t think Edward wasn’t creepy, but I also don’t think Angel isn’t creepy. I’ve always said there was a lot in common between Buffy and Twilight. There are a lot of readers who would say that Buffy was a stronger character than Bella because Bella was this girl who was completely destroyed by losing her boyfriend and Buffy was out kicking ass and stuff.
But it takes Buffy like… the entire rest of the series to get over Angel. And you never get the sense that she ever will. And like Buffy and Angel, Bella fought vampires with Edward. Bella faced danger with him, then felt betrayed (sure, Edward didn’t leave because he turned evil, but still). So, I don’t get why Buffy’s experience is somehow less “wimpy,” or why we can’t accept that teenagers can get break up feels without being “weak.”
Back to business.
Buffy has vague dreams of slow breathing and blankets moving and fingers touching, and it’s surprisingly erotic, given that he’s a couple hundred years older than her and she’s a teenage girl (here again, Twilight comparison because it’s on my mind; in Twilight you never get a sense that Edward has matured beyond being a teenager; all of the vampires seem basically frozen in time. Angel is very clear that he’s a grown fucking man, weary of the world). The dream changes and Buffy is standing at a grave. Angel is there, and he tells her that she needs to see something. When Buffy turns, Jenny Calendar is standing behind her, dressed in funeral clothes.
When Buffy wakes up, she realizes that Ms. Calendar has something to do with Angel going evil. She marches mad-style into school and throws Jenny across a desk in front of a class of horrified students. Giles was already there talking to Jenny, and he freaks out on Buffy, saying she can’t just accuse people. That’s when Ms. Calendar opens up and spills the entire beans, saying she was sent to Sunnydale to keep Angel and Buffy apart.
Jenny Calendar first showed up in “I Robot, You Jane,” episode eight of season one. At that point, while there was romantic tension between Angel and Buffy, how could Jenny’s family have possibly known that Buffy and Angel would fall in love and get to that, ahem, moment of happiness? This feels like retconning in the first degree. First of all, it’s a giant leap that a Slayer would fall in love with a vampire. Second, it’s just a giant leap in general that two random people are going to fall into a love that defies the ages anyway.
Jenny confirms to Buffy that the nookie was the reason Angel went bad, but Giles can’t quite grasp the double meaning behind “moment of happiness.” He asks Buffy how she knows it was her fault that Angel had that moment of happiness and:
Buffy tells Jenny to curse Angel again, and Jenny is like, no dice because nobody knows the magic anymore. Buffy says to take her to someone who can. Cut to creepy bolo tie uncle in his hotel room, smoking a pipe. The door opens and he’s like, “I knew she would bring you,” like he knows exactly who’s walking in. But he doesn’t, because it’s Angel. BLAM. You are dead, sir.
At the Sunnydale military base, Xander lies his way into the armory, saying he’s a soldier and Cordelia is a date he’s trying to impress. He knows how to do this because he wore that Army costume at Halloween and got turned into a real soldier. Get used to this, because Xander’s “I was a soldier for a couple hours, so I know military things” is a plot point that get used at least twice more in the series.
While Willow and Oz wait in the van, they are adorable:
Oz: “So do you guys steal weapons from the army a lot?”
Willow: “Well we don’t have cable, so we have to make our own fun.”
And also they are heart-melting and awkward. Willow asks Oz if he wants to make out with her and he says:
Oz: “Sometimes when I’m sitting in class, you know, I’m not thinking about class, because that would never happen. I think about kissing you. And it’s like everything stops. It’s like, it’s like, freeze-frame. Willow kissage. Oh, I’m not going to kiss you.”
Willow: “What? But… freeze-frame.”
Oz: “Well, to the casual observer it would appear that you’re trying to make your friend Xander jealous. Or even the score or something. And that’s on the empty side. See, in my fantasy, when I’m kissing you, you’re kissing me. It’s okay; I can wait.”
This is the kind of romantic hero we should want girls to want. Not a cold and possessive vampire. Not a tattooed bad boy who calls them bird names. We should want them to be with the guy who’s willing to go at an appropriate pace for both of them.
Buffy, Jenny, and Giles arrive at weird uncle’s hotel room to find him dead beneath a message from Angel:
I know this is supposed to be blood, but all I can think about is the women’s bathroom at the National Park Services headquarter on Boston’s Freedom Trail. I was traumatized.
Giles: “He’s doing this deliberately, Buffy.”
Hate to interrupt, Giles, but… yeah, obviously. Or else that’s that most serendipitous splatter pattern in the world. Quick, someone get Dexter!
Giles: “He’s trying to make it harder for you.”
Buffy: “He’s only making it easier. I know what I have to do.”
Usually the dialogue in Buffy is amazing. This is one of those cases where it totally isn’t. It makes Giles sound stupid because he’s pointing out something the audience already knows and which is totally obvious. It makes it seem like the writer believes the audience to be stupid; the audience wants to reach certain conclusions on their own. If the lines had been just, “He’s trying to make it harder for you.” “He’s only making it easier.” then we would know that she’s going to kill Angel. Instead we have the most thoughtful and analytical occult specialist on the show wondering what a vampire slayer is going to do to a vampire who’s killing all her friends.
Drusilla, Angel, and The Judge are headed out to cause mayhem, but Spike can’t go because he’s in a wheelchair and can’t escape to the sewers and shit like that. Angel is a total d-bag about it, so we’re like, “Grrr, ableist” and it helps us to hate Evil!Angel even more. Spike warns Angel that he’s going to eventually recover, subtext, there will be hell to pay, but Angel just laughs him off and they go on their merry way.
Back at Scoobie headquarters, Oz and Xander deliver a big crate, and Jenny Calendar wants to be helpful. Oh now you wanna be helpful?
Jenny: “Do you, uh, is there something I can do?”
Buffy: “Get out.”
Jenny: “I just wanna help.”
Giles: “She said get out.”
His face is the saddest.
The Scoobies go to the factory, where they find exactly what they were expecting; Angel isn’t there. Spike listens to them, but wisely hides in a corner. As they try to figure out their next step, Cordelia makes a comment about how people won’t line up to get killed. And then Oz is like, hey, you know where there are typically lines?
Cut to the movie theatre in the mall. Which is a really good idea. Lots and lots of people. Dru and Angel and The Judge emerge with some vampire pals and just start fucking shit up. Buffy and the gang announce their presence with a crossbow bolt to The Judge’s chest, and he’s all, ha ha, no weapon forged, remember? And she gets out the huge fucking bazooka that Xander and Cordelia liberated from the armory.
This is the part that’s never quite made sense to me, because I don’t think the script was very clear on it: a bazook is metal. It’s totally forged. So, is “no weapon forged” a mystical stipulation, or just an observation? “We tried a sword, we tried arrows, but no dice. No weapon forged can kill him. Write it down.” Buffy does say,
Buffy: “That was then. This is now.”
so it could be that just no weapon forged at the time was capable of doing it. But this is a show with spells and monsters and stuff, so for a long time I assumed it was like a fairytale catch, like they had to find a way around this thing and it would be totally obvious that he could be defeated with water or whatever.
Wait, if the judge can’t be killed, why are there any humans left on earth? Obviously he was contained at some point. If it wasn’t a mystical thing, why didn’t they just write down, “…but we figured it out, this is totally how you do it,” after the “no weapon forged” thing?
Whatever, let’s just move on.
Angel and Drusilla dive the fuck out of the way, while The Judge is standing there like, I’m acquainted with most weapons forged, so I’m pretty confident that this is going to go my way. And it doesn’t because Buffy blows him up. She tells the others to go and gather up the pieces of the judge and keep them apart in case he’s not dead.
Cordelia: “Pieces? We get the pieces? Our job sucks.”
The fire sprinklers go off, and Buffy pursues Angel through the freaking out crowd. When they finally meet up and fight, he tries to demoralize her into giving up by saying he was just pretending to love her and shit like that. And she says some stuff, but I’m really excited about the Quest for Camelot poster in the background!
The gist of the scene is that Buffy and Angel fight each other, but in a moment of weakness, Buffy can’t kill him. He gloats about it, so she kicks him super hard in the balls and says,
Buffy: “Give me time.”
while walking away like a stone cold badass.
Giles drives Buffy home to one of my all time favorite scenes in the entire show. He tells her that Angel will come after her, and that things are going to get bad. Then she says:
Buffy: “You must be so disappointed in me.”
Giles: “No. No, no I’m not.”
Buffy: “But this is all my fault.”
Giles: “I don’t believe it is. Do you want me to wag my finger at you and tell you that you acted rashly; you did, and I can. But I know that you loved him, and he, has proven more than once that he loved you. You couldn’t have known what would happen. The coming months are going to be hard, I suspect on all of us. But if it’s guilt you’re looking for, Buffy, I’m not your man. All you will get from me is my support. And my respect.”
This. This is how people should react to teenagers during breakups with sexual partners. Look, I don’t want to place some artificial value on virginity, but it really does suck and hurt when you share something very intimate, for the first time, with someone you love only to have them turn out to be terrible to you and use it as a weapon later. I remember when the kid I lost my virginity to called me a whore during our breakup. I will never forget how cruel that felt, but the response I got from adults I talked to was, “What were you doing having sex in the first place? This is your screwup.” Instead of telling Buffy that she shouldn’t have had sex with Angel, Giles makes it clear that he understands why she made the choices she did, even though a Slayer sleeping with a vampire is probably not smart (hence the “rash” part). He doesn’t talk down to her like she’s a child that needs to be scolded because having sex is somehow unforgivable. He offers his support and makes it clear that he doesn’t think she did anything wrong.
This is one of the first scenes I’ll have in mind when we get to season four and I start talking about #2 (LOL, talking about number two). I know a lot of people say, “Giles was a father figure, he didn’t have any other feelings for Buffy,” and while I don’t think this is a Buffy/Giles ship scene, I do think it points to the fact that while Giles is an older authority figure, he doesn’t view Buffy as a child he he has to protect, but as a near-adult capable of making life decisions without his guidance. I’m not saying that no parents on earth are capable of this, just that in this case it will feed into Giles viewing Buffy as a full-fledged adult when she transitions to college, and their relationship becoming less paternal, right up through their break-up in season six.
Yeah, I call it a break-up.
Anyway, we’ll contrast this scene with a parental reaction later this season.
Buffy and her mom have cocoa and cupcakes while they watch an old movie. Joyce asks Buffy what she did for her birthday, and Buffy says that she got older. Joyce says she seems the same, which kind of…how much attention have you been paying to your daughter, Joyce?
The episode ends with Buffy refusing to blow out her birthday candle, and it’s super depressing.