In every generation there is a chosen one. She alone wants to track down whoever is responsible for programming Microsoft Word and slash their tires. 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.
- Despite praise for its positive portrayal of non-straight sexualities, some of this shit is homophobic as fuck.
- How do these kids know all these outdated references, anyway?
- Technology is used inconsistently as per its convenience in the script.
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.
CONTENT WARNING: CHILD DEATH
The episode opens with Buffy climbing over a stone wall, into the cemetery. She’s sniffling and coughing, but somehow manages to sneak up on something at the old Alpert crypt. She leaps around the corner and:
Willow, Xander, and Cordelia want to know why Buffy is out patrolling when she’s so sick:
Cordelia: “Half the school is out with this flu. It’s a serious deal, Buffy. We’re all concerned about how gross you look.”
But Buffy is afraid that if she takes a sick day, more people are going to get killed, and probably by Angel. And she’s not going to let that happen.
But that’s the exact minute Angel does show up, and Buffy can barely fight him. He’s beating the crap out of her, and nearly kills her, when the Scoobies jump in and flash crosses at him. Angel retreats, and Buffy collapses.
After the opening credits, they rush Buffy into the ER, where she’s whisked away with a lot of medical jargon. When Joyce arrives, Giles tells her that Buffy is still in the emergency room. I’m giving her a pass on wondering what the hell her kid’s librarian is doing at the hospital with her in the middle of the night, since Joyce is worried that her daughter might be dying. The doctor comes out and tells Joyce that Buffy will be fine, but she needs to stay in the hospital for a few days. But when they try to wheel Buffy to a patient room, she flips out, fighting and begging Giles to tell them that she has to go home and fight the vampires.
The Scoobies make excuses for the vampire talk by saying Buffy has a high fever, etc. Which is again, another time I’ll give anyone a pass on #8. People say loopy things when they have high fevers. For example, I once had an incredibly high fever from the flu and saw my coat hanging over a chair, and I was convinced it was Spike’s coat that he’d left behind in our house somehow. Spike. From this show. So people get real wacky from fevers.
Xander mentions that he’s not used to seeing Buffy so scared, and Joyce drives the Naked Exposition Train right into Convenientown Junction:
Joyce: “She just hates hospitals. Ever since she was a little girl.”
Willow: “What happened?”
Joyce: “When she was eight, her cousin Celia died in a hospital. Buffy was alone with her at the time.”
This is something that happens on pretty much every television show at least once. Someone says they hate hospitals, and it’s always because they had a relative die in one. I feel like hating hospitals is pretty much a universal experience, right? Nobody likes to be in the hospital. I get that for the purposes of this specific episode, Buffy has to have some experience with child death, but this could have been set up a bit more artfully than just, “Oh yeah, she hates hospitals because of this childhood trauma I’ll just tell you all about like it’s no big, even though I myself would have also been affected by my niece dying, possibly with some added burden of survivor’s guilt by proxy because my child lived and my sibling or sibling-in-law’s didn’t.” But more on this clumsy bit of structure later.
Joyce says she’s going to go call Buffy’s father, and Giles tells her he knows where the payphone is. As they walk, Joyce thanks him for looking out for Buffy, and goes on to say that she’s sorry about Ms. Calendar. So, here’s where my patience stops and #8 comes in. Joyce is not only fully aware that Giles hangs out with her daughter and her daughter’s friends on the regular, but that these kids know enough about this grown man’s love life that she’s aware these two teachers were dating. And this doesn’t ring any alarm bells?
I kind of wonder if the reason they wrote Joyce as admiring what should be creepy behavior on Giles’s part is because they were trying to leave some suggestion of a romance between them open later in the series. In “Band Candy” we know they hook up, but nothing ever comes of it. Whatever the reason, the way it’s written in the first two seasons, before Joyce knows Buffy is a Slayer, makes Joyce seem like the most oblivious parent alive.
Willow, Xander, and Cordelia are worried about Angel coming to the hospital to attack Buffy. Well, Cordelia is more worried about Buffy getting botched plastic surgery for a thing on her face that only Cordelia can see. But both are probably valid concerns, right? Even if we don’t notice the thing Cordelia is talking about.
In the middle of the night, Buffy wakes to find a little kid standing outside her door. He’s like, a little Omen-looking kid, but if you think he’s creepy, the guy who comes along next is so much worse:
Because Buffy is the Slayer, she has to get up and follow the monster. It’s what she does. Mysteriously, there is a bag with an IV drip beside her bed, but when Buffy stands, she doesn’t have an IV. There’s a janitor in the hallway who sees a patient shambling feverishly and does nothing (a big no-no in every medical facility I’ve worked in), and BAM, Buffy wanders into a flashback.
Is this a flashback from someone else’s life? Because they couldn’t have gotten a kid who looks less like she could grow up to be Sarah Michelle Gellar if they tried.
Anyway, the whole “seeing the creepy dude and getting out of bed thing” was just a dream. Buffy wakes up, and this time she actually does have an IV, which she pulls out because, you know, what ever, who needs fluids when they’re hospitalized for the flu? This time when she shambles feverishly from her room, past the janitor who does nothing, there’s this dude lurking creepily:
And he’s a security guard, so that puts me right at ease.
As Buffy makes her way through the hospital, visibly confused and sweaty, dressed in a hospital gown and a robe, she passes two orderlies pushing a covered body on a gurney. One of them remarks that they hate to lose the young ones. Okay, but there’s a teenage girl who is clearly a patient wandering the halls in the middle of the night. Maybe you want to stop and do something about that?
This hospital is another place where Sunnydale is racking up points in the #8 column like whoa.
Buffy stumbles upon a hushed conversation between two doctors, who are arguing over whether or not a treatment they’re using is safe or effective. When Buffy turns around, two little kids (one of them the boy she’d seen in the hallway) are waiting for her. The little boy says:
Little Boy: “He comes at night. The grownups don’t see him. He was with Tina. He’ll come back for us.”
Buffy asks the boy who he’s talking about, and he tells her it’s death.
Cut to the waiting room, where Xander is sitting, probably on guard in case Angel comes, because that’s exactly what happens. Angel saunters in with a bouquet of roses, and Xander gets in his face and tells him visiting hours are over:
Xander: “Why don’t you come back during the day. Oh, gee, no. I guess you can’t.”
Angel asks if Xander thinks he can stop him, and Xander is pretty realistic about it. But he points out that cops, security guards, and orderlies are all around and would probably notice some shit like a vampire tearing a person to pieces. Angel decides to go another route, taunting Xander about the fact that he still loves Buffy, but Angel got in her pants. Xander doesn’t take the bait, and Angel leaves.
This is a scene where I really love Xander. He knows full well that Angel could kill him, even with all of these people around, but he protects Buffy anyway. And that’s not because he’s trying to prove himself to her. None of the other Scoobies are there to see the confrontation, so there’s no one to tally the points. His only interest is in protecting Buffy the way she has protected him over and over again, and that interest is totally selfless. Congrats on the character growth, Xander.
In another flashback, Buffy is playing superhero with her cousin. That’s a nice touch, that Buffy played at being a superhero before she was one. It’s a scene that’s meant to show us that she was close to her cousin, but it does double duty here. While the writers could have easily reinforced Buffy’s desire for a “normal” life by showing her playing house or something, they show us that deep down, Buffy has always had this heroic instinct.
I bet if Buffy hadn’t been a Slayer, she would have grown up to be a firefighter. Can you imagine present-day Sarah Michelle Gellar all muscular and wearing fire fighter gear? Like, maybe just the pants, not the jacket. But with the suspenders. And a really tight tank top. And she’s sweaty and dirty because she’s just been saving lives, and it’s really hot and she’s pouring a bottle of water over her head.
That’s just something I think about sometimes.
Anyway, the flashback cuts to her seeing her cousin Celia lying in a hospital bed, then Buffy wakes up, and she’s wearing like, all the jewelry in the world:
Even though you can’t see it in this shot, she’s also got on a necklace and earrings. Maybe all hospitals have different policies, but the one I worked at (and was once hospitalized in) would have taken her jewelry and sent it home with Joyce. Why? Because people accuse nurses of stealing shit literally all the time, and it makes everyone’s life easier if that stuff goes home.
One of the doctors from the argument the night before, the one who was stridently anti-nefarious-treatment, is there to check on Buffy. She’s amazed to find that all of the injuries Buffy sustained while fighting Angel are healed. Buffy can’t go home yet, because the virus she has is a bad one. She asks the doctor if it’s the same thing all the children have, but she doesn’t answer, and that’s when the Scoobies show up anyway.
Okay, I’m dying to know if a certain bit of dialogued here is ad-libbed. Xander comes in carrying balloons, and this happens:
Xander: “Flowers for milady.”
Buffy: “I think they call those balloons.”
Xander: “Yeah, stick them in water, maybe they’ll grow.”
The reason I wonder if it’s ad-libbed is because after he says it, there’s a weird pause where no one says anything before Buffy points out that they’re balloons.
Also, I would be wholly remiss if I didn’t point out that Xander is a “Milady” guy. #5 just got to a whole new level.
Willow brought Buffy some homework, but Buffy isn’t as excited about it as Willow is. Buffy wanted chocolate. Then Willow mentions casually that she’s already done all the homework. Willow is a good friend. Giles brought grapes. Cordelia brought nothing, but here’s the thing: she’s actually angry that she showed up without a gift while everyone else brought something. That means that Cordelia actually cares about Buffy’s feelings and is upset when it seems as though she cares less than the others. Cordelia is also growing!
Everybody goes for a walk, where Buffy fills them in on what happened the night before. She tells them everything, from the sick kids being experimented on to the scary hallway corpse man, and the whole thing about the kids seeing Death. And Cordelia proves super insightful, out of the blue:
Cordelia: “So this isn’t about you being afraid of hospitals ’cause your friend died and you want to conjure up a monster that you can fight so you can save everybody and not feel so helpless?”
Giles: “Cordelia, have you actually ever heard of tact?”
Cordelia: “Tact is just not saying true stuff. I’ll pass.”
Nothing Cordelia is saying here is wrong. Even though we know that since it’s a monster show, Buffy is totally not making it up, Cordy delivers that very possible scenario like a pro. And don’t we all wish we could be like her, just saying everything that came to mind, just because?
Buffy wants to check it out more, but since she’s still sick, she can’t really make with the Mystery Machine. Instead, Xander and Cordelia have to sneak through the hospital’s records and find out what the little girl died from the night before. They go to a room full of cabinets with manilla folders in them. They start poking around and are promptly caught by a guard.
You know what would have probably worked better? If they’d sent Willow in to hack the hospital’s computers. This is a really interesting part, and let me tell you why. You may or may not recall that there was this really odd period of time in the late 90’s, early 00’s where a lot of stuff was becoming the domain of the computer, but other things still hadn’t quite caught up. Fiction is one of these places. See, take Sunnydale High’s library, for instance. It still has a card catalogue. But at the time, a lot of high schools had their catalogs on local computer data bases. The computer is only used at times when it’s convenient to the plot; they need Xander and Cordelia to be caught by a security guard so that they can have a big, jealous confrontation later, so no one thinks to even check the hospital’s computer system (which I guarantee they have in 1997). The same stuff goes down in season five, after Willow digitizes all of Giles’s Watcher books. They never look anything up on the computer after that happens, and the entire “scanned books” thing never really comes up ever again. They all need something to do in the Eureka! expositions scenes, and a nice round table full of books is way more interesting than Willow sitting at a computer and reading things off. So, welcome to #25: Technology is used inconsistently as per its convenience in the script.
Back at the library, Giles isn’t that excited about the idea of researching the whole “kids seeing death” thing. He thinks Cordelia has a point; with Jenny’s recent death, Buffy might be looking for a way to defeat the very concept of mortality. Willow points out that they still live on the Hellmouth, and therefore they should look into all the possibilities. They try to remember if they’ve ever heard of a monster that only children can see. Giles suggests that maybe what’s happening is that the children are seeing an adult’s true self. You know, just like the episode with the little league kid in season one.
It’s weird how they forgot about that.
Willow and Giles decide to look up doctor Backer, the dude behind the experimental treatments.
Back at the hospital, Cordelia is flirting with the security guard in order to distract him while Xander sneaks out. And while she is, admittedly, all the fuck over this dude, calling him sexy and brave and shit, she’s doing it so Xander can sneak out. When she meets up with him later, he’s pretty friggin’ ungrateful, considering that his girlfriend just had to invite unwanted advances and shit to save his ass. She asks him if he’s jealous, and he denies it. He tells her to take the file they stole to Giles, and she asks why Xander isn’t coming:
Cordelia: “Oh right, your obsession with protecting Buffy. Have I told you how attractive that’s not?”
Xander: “Cordelia, someone’s got to watch her back.”
Cordelia: “Yeah, well I’ve seen you watch her back.”
Xander: “What’s that supposed to mean?”
Cordelia: “Well, I was using the phrase ‘watch her back’ as a euphemism for looking at her butt. You know, sort of a pun.”
In this scene, Cordelia is both clearly pleased that she’s made Xander jealous, and still unhappy that her boyfriend is in love with someone else. Charisma Carpenter is underrated as an actress. This scene is flawless, and it’s not the writing. I mean, as far as dialogue and story goes, this is probably the weakest episode of the season. But she manages to say so much about her character in the few lines she has in this scene that it’s god damn breathtaking.
Like, imagine if she were wearing the fire fighter outfit, okay? And like, maybe she and SMG fire fighter are stripping off their gear back at the fire house. Maybe somebody gets pushed up against the truck, you know? Or accidentally gets their hands tied above their heads to the pole. And CC fire fighter has a really butch haircut, like maybe half her head buzzed or something.
Look, if this episode were more interesting, I wouldn’t have to be writing hardcore girl-on-girl fire fighter erotica in my head, okay?
Later that night, Buffy is free roaming the hospital without any questions asked of her (Sunnydale General, what the fuck?) where she finds the little boy who said the creepy death thing. He’s doing some late night coloring, and he’s drawing a picture of the exact scary guy Buffy saw in her dream. She promises the kid that she’ll protect all of them, because she fights monsters. And then the kid goes:
Little Boy: “You can’t fight Death.”
That’s a fucking solid line to have a kid deliver.
Back at the library, Willow is all sorts of hacked into the hospital’s personnel files. Hey! The hospital has computer files. Which means the scene that we just saw with Cordelia and Xander was completely manufactured just to fill time and give them something to do! In reality, the conversation should have gone something like this: “We can sneak into the records and steal the file!” “No, that’s a bad idea, why don’t we just have Willow hack it?” “Hey, that’s much better, this way no one will get caught.” SCENE. So, like I said before: #25.
Doctor Backer has some dubious charges on his file:
If you can’t read the stuff on that screen, this is what’s in his file:
- Reprimands for controversial experiments
- Censure for risky procedures
- Court actions: malpractice suit
- Abuse of laboratory services
- Improper use of NIH funds
- State board ethics violations: cloning
- DEA investigations schedule IV drug abuses.
My first reaction to this list was “Wow, all that and only one malpractice suit?” my second was, “How the fuck is this guy still employed? How has he not lost his license.” Seriously, I realize they had to make him look like a bad guy, but this dick is a super villain. And it’s beyond unrealistic; a doctor at a small local hospital is somehow going to have access to cloning experiments?
The class IV drug abuses? That’s a pretty legit charge. Those are less seriously addictive than stuff like Oxy or Vicodin, but it’s stuff that still gets abused. Xanax, for example, Versed, Valium, a lot of benzos are classed IV, and a lot of people abuse those.
Anyway, this dude should not still be employed. #8, Sunnydale. Get your shit together.
Dr. Backer is in his office, reading something that was clearly printed on a dot matrix printer. Man, those were something. He’s really intense about his work, muttering to himself and all.
Xander is still at the hospital waiting, and Cordelia returns with donuts and coffee for him, but she doesn’t say anything. And he doesn’t even thank her for the donuts, because apparently Krispy Kreme doesn’t fix emotional wounds in the Buffyverse.
That’s possibly the most unrealistic thing on the show. Even beyond the vampires.
Buffy, again, still just roaming around the hospital with her deadly illness, follows Dr. Backer into the pediatric ward, where he injects something into a kid’s IV. He hears an ominous giggle, then he’s attacked by something he can’t see:
As the little boy from before (does he have a name? I’ve never caught his name watching this) watches, the invisible thing shreds Dr. Backer and throws him into the hallway. Invisible thing shoves Buffy into a wall and drags Dr. Backer’s lifeless, bloodied corpse down the hallway and into a commercial break.
The next morning, the Scoobies come back. Giles tells Buffy that Tina, the dead girl, died from her fever, but only after showing improvement. They also tell Buffy about Dr. Backer’s dubious professional record:
Buffy: “It wasn’t Backer. He was clean.”
Cordelia: “What do you mean ‘clean’?”
Xander: “What do you mean ‘was’?”
Buffy tells them what happened, and shows them the drawing the little boy made:
and then Giles asks:
Giles: “This is your work?”
Buffy: “No. One of the kids.”
I love how disgusted Buffy looks at the idea that she only draws as good as a child. What’s even funnier is that Giles sounds impressed by the drawing. In season four and season seven we see how shabby Giles’s art skills are, so he might have actually been thinking, “Wow, this is a really good crayon drawing of a monster. Way to go, Buffy.”
PS. this is what I would call character continuity.
Giles wonders why only the children can see the monster, but Cordelia points out that Buffy saw it. Buffy says she was delirious from her fever, and they’re almost there with the conclusion they’ll inevitably come to, but Joyce arrives, stopping all the action.
Joyce: “Ooh, looks like I interrupted a secret meeting.”
Cordelia: “You sure didn’t!”
Joyce tells Buffy that the doctor is going to discharge her, but Buffy has to stay because, you know. Child murdering monster. They all convince Joyce that Buffy isn’t well enough to go home, and after Joyce leaves, they go back into planning mode. Giles is going to try to find the monster in his books, using the drawing as a guide. Buffy is going to sneak around Dr. Backer’s office, because why not, nobody notices patients doing anything they’re not supposed to in this hospital, anyway. She mentions that she won’t know what she’s looking for, and asks Willow for help:
Buffy: “Course if I find anything I won’t know what it means so…Will?”
Willow: “Oh yeah, I’m good at medical stuff. Xander and I used to play doctor all the time.”
I don’t know how international the phrase “play doctor” is, so just to briefly explain, it’s a euphemism for mild sexual exploration in young children of the same age group. Or that’s what we say it is, but I guess I was out of the loop, because when I played doctor with kids my age, we always did surgery. Vague, nebulous sort of surgeries where we would lay on the ground and pull up our shirts and stick out our tummies while someone else pretended to cut us open. I don’t remember any touchy naughty stuff going on.
Anyway, that was apparently Willow and Xander’s experience, too. Xander explains that their version of doctor involved Willow diagnosing him with random diseases. Which, okay. Hang on. We know that Willow is smart. We know that she’s good with computers and school. But how is she “good at medical stuff?” It’s not like medicine is something you just pick up by being smart.
Once again, Xander and is going to stay at the hospital to watch out for Angel, and he tells Cordelia to go with Giles to the library. Giles whines about having to take Cordelia with him, right in front of her, which isn’t very nice, Giles. You’re better than this.
Later that night, the little boy is trying to sneak out of his room, but hides when a security guard comes. Meanwhile, Buffy and Willow are breaking into Doctor Backer’s office. They find his research on the kids, and he wasn’t doing anything sinister. He was just trying to raise the children’s temperatures to burn the sickness out of them. Whatever the monster is, it stopped him from doing that.
Back at the library, Cordelia is annoying the everliving fuck out of Giles as they look through a bunch of books:
Cordelia: “Ew. What does this do?”
Cordelia: “What does this do?”
Giles: “Uh..it uh, extracts vital organs to replenish its own mutating cells.”
Cordelia: “Wow. What does this one do?”
Giles: “Um, it elongates its mouth to, uh, engulf its victims head with its incisors.”
Cordelia: “Ouch. Wait, what does this one do?”
Giles: “It asks endless questions of those with whom it’s supposed to be working so that nothing is getting done.”
Cordelia: “Boy, there’s a demon for everything.”
I like this scene, not just because it’s always fun to see Giles get so frustrated with the teens that he’s on the verge of losing his damn mind, but because it shows us that Cordelia is starting to become more fully integrated into the group. In the past, she’s said she doesn’t want anything to do with all the monster nonsense, but here she’s curious and eager to learn. Maybe if there wasn’t a time limit having to do with dead kids hanging over their heads, Giles wouldn’t be so frustrated about it, but I’m glad that he is, because he plays with his hair and I’m a big fan of that.
Giles says that their research could be hopeless, since only a few people know what the monster looks like. Disheartened, Cordelia closes the book she’s been reading and boom:
Cordelia calls Buffy and tells her that the monster is der Kindestod, or “child death.” But Buffy doesn’t want to talk to Cordelia, she wants to talk to Giles. Cordelia asserts that she found the monster, and she knows the details. Cordy is getting treated pretty badly by this episode. First, she has to flirt with a gross security guard to save Xander’s bacon, then he treats her like shit for doing that. Then Giles is like, why do I have to take Cordelia with me, and now Buffy is like, hey, you’re too dumb to regurgitate what you just read in that book.
I’m glad she’s sticking up for herself.
Cordelia explains to Buffy that der Kindestod sucks the life out of the children and makes it look like they were sick all along. Der Kindestod killed Dr. Backer because he was interrupting the food source. When Giles shows Cordelia a picture of what it looks like when the monster feeds, she freaks out and wants to know why they “drag” her into their monster fighting. But we already know from the previous scene that deep down, she secretly likes it.
Der Kindestod sits on its victim and immobilizes them. Giles editorializes that it’s pretty terrifying, which, thanks, Giles. We all need to imagine little sick kids dying in terror. Buffy didn’t really need to imagine it, either, because she has experience with the monster, herself. She flashes back to the day her cousin Celia died:
So, Buffy knows exactly what’s up with der Kindestod.
Buffy realizes that the only way she can see the monster is by having a high fever. She and Willow sneak into Dr. Backer’s office again. They find the virus just sitting in there in a refrigerator. Like, literally, a refrigerator. There’s a bottled water in there. Buffy’s about to chug a vial of sickness, when Willow stops her and says its 100% pure and will kill her instantly. How did Willow know this, and why would a 100% potent and alive disease be stored in a refrigerator in someone’s apparently easy-to-break-into office? What is this nonsense?
Willow says she needs to dilute the disease, so she grabs the bottled water and puts a few drops of the virus into it. Are you serious with this?
Buffy immediately develops the sickness and can suddenly see der Kindestod, but the kids are missing. They’re running through some kind of utility corridor, because the unlocked door to the hospital basement is in the pediatric ward.
This episode is high in the running for “stupidest Buffy episode ever”. Maybe when I reach the end of these recaps in ten years, I’ll do a definitive ranking of the worst ones. This will be near the top.
For the first time since Buffy has been admitted to the hospital, someone notices that she’s roaming the halls. This time, it’s her doctor, who tries to get her back to bed. But Buffy shoves her aside and makes a run for it, while the doctor calls for security. When the security guards come, Willow pretends to be hallucinating, screaming about frogs all over her. This gives Buffy a chance to run away and find Xander in the waiting room. She tells him they need to get to the basement.
Cut to the basement. The kids are sneaking around, trying to hide from the monster, but he finds them and HOLY FUCKING CHRIST WHY WOULD ANYONE THINK THIS THING UP?!
Buffy rushes in and saves the kid, and proves she’s not too ill to pun:
Buffy: “You make me sick.”
Get it? Because hospital.
Xander gets the kids to safety while Buffy fights the monster. But how are you actually going to kill death? Xander just sees Buffy fighting nothing, but nothing throws her down and tries to pull his weird eye sucker thing on her, but she snaps his neck and he’s dead.
That’s it. That’s all Buffy has to do to kill this big bad monster that eats children and nobody can see. She just has to break his neck after a very short fight scene.
The next scene opens with Joyce bringing Buffy a sandwich and some juice. Then the shot pans out to reveal Xander laying next to her on the bed, and Willow sitting beside it.
Let me talk a minute about the whole “platonic friends can lay around in bed together” thing. Platonic friends? Can absolutely lay around in bed together. But Xander is doing this even though he A) has feelings that aren’t platonic for Buffy, and B) knows that his absent girlfriend would be extremely uncomfortable with him doing so. #5, Xander. If the grass is greener across the fence from Cordelia, it’s time to break up with her, rather than waiting for something better to come along.
The kids all make demands of Joyce like she’s a waitress, which she is very patient about, and then she remembers that Buffy has some mail. It’s from Ryan, the boy from the hospital. Is this the first time we’re hearing his name? I can’t remember and I’m not going to go rewatch this one to find out. Buffy opens the envelope to reveal a picture he’s drawn for her:
Joyce: “Oh, he drew you a picture. How…nice.”
Okay, let me level with you: I don’t like this episode. Not because it’s poorly written, not because kids die, not because it’s super boring and formulaic. I mean, it is all of those things. But I dislike it because it does not live up to the promise of “Passion,” its predecessor, nor can it hold a candle to “I Only Have Eyes For You,” its successor. This was a run-of-the-mill monster-of-the-week episode that would have been grea earlier in the season (minus the infuriatingly inaccurate medical science parts), but feels like filler here. The only thing I really enjoy about this episode is the character development we see from Cordelia, and Charisma Carpenter’s spot-on delivery.
But the next episode is one of my favorites and I can’t wait to write about it and tell you how awesome it is. Unless it’s not as awesome upon rewatch and I end up eating a pint of ice cream and crying about the unfairness of nostalgia.