beginning | blinding torment | boils | lies | making me bitter | evil compounds evil | blah blah bity blah
First, you all should be very glad I'm doing the recap, because I just got ST's version:
"Choices were made. they were bad. Bet Oz feels pretty stupid about
breaking that thing that could kill those things, considering Willow dumped
him for a chick, huh?"
"how goes Choices? Did they, like, make choices? were they bad? of course they were bad. in 7 years, name one good choice they made."
You do almost have to feel a little sorry for Faith in this episode though. She so obviously just wants to fit in and belong and have someone love her. And the Mayor is the only person who's ever shown any interest, other than that fake Watcher who was just in it for the glove of many lightning bolts and your heart has to break a little when she gets so excited that the Mayor gave her a present. But, as Willow points out later, Faith really is a big whiny baby who did get acceptance from the group (remember "tell us more about wrestling alligators naked!") but because everyone wasn't asking to braid her hair every ten minutes, it wasn't enough. Plus, the gift she's getting so excited about it a big 'ole knife, so there's that.
But anyway, the Mayor wants Faith to go down to the airport and pick up some cargo for him. He can't go himself, because he can't get his hands dirty (being scared of germs and all) and Trick, who he would normally send, is all dusted and since that's Faith's fault, in that she did the dusting, the least she can do is pick up where Trick left off. She's all pouty, but she's goes anyway. She might get to use her shiny new knife!
Buffy is also being all whiny. She goes from "I want to know your thoughts. Do you reeeeeeealy love me?" last episode to "wah. all we ever do is fight demons. you never take me anywhere nice" this episode. Give the guy a break already. No wonder he's about to leave you.
When Buffy gets home, her mom is all excited because apparently she opened all her daughter's mail and found out that Buffy can go to college after all! She's not as dumb as Joyce thought! And Buffy's all mopey AGAIN, and didn't we already do the Buffy mopes about having no future episode? Anyway, as you might imagine, the trouble is the vampires and the mayor and all. Although the Mayor's going to kill them all at graduation, so that would be why I would be mopey about not being able to go to college. Dammit, I'll be dead! I'll miss all those frat parties! That's what I would say.
But no, Buffy blames Faith. If only she were still around and could fill in as slayer, Buffy could go have a normal life! And Faith... er, wouldn't! Way to go Buffy for only thinking about yourself. No wonder Faith didn't feel loved.
And since Buffy only hangs out with bitches, everyone takes this opportunity to talk about their fabulous futures so Buffy can really feel crappy. Willow is going to go eat scones in England, Xander is going to take a road trip (where he learns the finer points of stripping, but I'm getting way ahead), and Buffy is going nowhere! Nowhere, they remind her. Many times.
So, Buffy's all, screw these rub-it-in-ers, and goes to whine to Wesley. Damn, there's a lot of whining in this episode. Wesley forbids her from ever stepping foot beyond the Sunnydale sign, because Lord knows, you have to stay in Sunnydale to fight the forces of evil, which is why he certainly never hit the road to become a rogue demon hunter or ended up in LA and had his hands full with evil er, forces. Nu uh. He stuck it out in Sunnydale, for the good of world!
Giles thinks maybe she can go to college somewhere other than Sunnydale if she can figure out how to defeat the mayor. Well, good one Giles, because if she doesn't defeat the Mayor, she's probably going to die. Right.
Back at the airport, Faith is too evil for even a vampire, who is just shocked at her evil behavior. Her new knife is super sharp and evil cuts through bone! The vampire, who apparently was Amish or something, runs away in fear and outrage.
The mayor has none of the vampire's outrage because Faith has initiative and spirit! And a big knife! But he still doesn't want her to peek into his box and really, I think we're all glad of that. Also, Faith is still mopey that Angel looooooves Buffy and not her, so I'm glad this episode is an equal opportunity mope fest. Seriously, the title should be "Moping" rather than "Choices."
And in one of the many scenes on this show I so do not get, Buffy finds the Amish vamp and asks him what's in the box. And for some reason he knows, even though Faith obviously didn't. Because if he didn't know, then Buffy would have no lead and we just can't have that. Ok, so maybe I do get the scene after all. So, it's the Box of Gavrock and who knows where the mayor got it but he has to eat whatever's in the box in order to ascend apparently. And the vampire even knows exactly where the mayor is planning to stash it! Which is a handy duex ex machina really, especially if like that vase Anya got on eBay to bring her back to life there's only one, because Buffy just has to snag the box and their problems are solved! She can go to college after all!
Giles and Willow come in with big maps of city hall because I guess they've finally locked down the "here's how you break into the mayor's office web site" so they had to check the maps out of the library. Then, they decide that they have to destroy the box, not just steal it. I guess because the mayor could steal it back or something. And no need to worry about how to destroy it because Willow says that "Breath of the Atropyx is standard for this sort of thing". Which, OK, she's knows more about magic than they give her credit for, but "standard for this type of thing" that they have never heard of before, and can't find any record of?
Whatever. Xander's off to get ingredients. Everyone has a plan and now it's Wesley's turn to mope! I told you everyone would get their chance this episode. See, they're making plans without him. They're not deferring to his superior wisdom and knowledge. Poor, poor Wesley. He has such valuable information to contribute, if only they would let him. But no. They didn't learn their lesson when they scorned Faith. Now they're doing it again and watch if he doesn't kill a mayor's aide! Well, OK, not really. He just mopes. But they don't know what he might do! They're lucky that he's so full of inaction.
As Xander heads to the magic shop, he stops in to snark at Cordelia, who's looking at prom dresses. And she looks so sad. But why? Why is Cordelia sad? Well, we'll just have to wait to find out.
Angel, Buffy, and Willow are off to the coordinates that the vampire gave them. As he's Amish, he's obviously trustworthy, so no problem there. They climb up to the roof as Xander and Oz are back at the library getting together the "standard for these things"-type spell.
Willow gets rid of the spell protecting the box and Angel lowers Buffy down. All is fine until Angel can't get Buffy back up. I'd insert some joke here about Buffy eating twinkies or whatever, but as she's a teeny twig, I just can't in good conscience do it. [I would have gone for the “Angel’s a wee little girly man. I have no conscience, so it was easy – ST] Anyway, Buffy gets busted, Angel jumps down to help her, and they grab the box and run. All is hunky dory except somehow Faith got ahold of Willow. How, I have no idea, as she wasn't even inside. Maybe Faith sensed she was up on the roof or something.
So, Buffy and Angel get back to the library before they realize they forgot to do that thing that you learn in kindergarten when you count to make sure you have everybody. And they only had to count to three! So, everyone realizes Willow must be kidnapped, although it's possible she just stopped for a mocha on her way back.
Everyone wants to trade Willow for the box and Wesley rightly points out that if they destroy the box, only Willow will die, but if they trade, then everyone will die, including Willow, which is basically the same thing Giles said about Dawn in The Gift, but of course, everyone thinks Wesley is a big jerk, which of course he is, but he's actually sort of right here.
Oz decides the whole thing by destroying the big bowl with the spell stuff that he and Xander just put together and yeah, it's all dramatic and stuff, but really, they still have Willow's notes. And even if he set those on fire, they'd still have the book Willow got the spell from, and even if he tore out the page with the spell on it and ate it, they could still do what Angel was planning to do with the judge arm and sail it around the world or something, so it's not like everyone should be thinking "huh. well, the big bowl's gone. I guess we have no choice but to give this box back." But whatever. That's basically what they think.
[But now let’s just think how different Sunnydale could have been, had different choices been made! Willow more than likely would be dead, meaning no Tara, meaning nobody angry at ME for killing lesbians. Or, alternately, they could have filled the Willow-sized whole in their selfish hearts with Vampire!Willow! They could have brought her back! And then, like, Oz could have stayed, because V!Willow, well. We know how she likes it! Fun for all! And the Mayor wouldn’t have ascended, so he and Faith could have moved on out to suburbia and started a gun club or something. The library wouldn’t have been blown up, so Giles would be employed, and he wouldn’t have had to go away and become an asshole! Big Gay Larry would be alive! Or as alive as an imaginary character on a sci-fi show can be! Amy would have – okay, Amy would have still been a rat, but maybe she wouldn’t have turned into such an unholy, crazy-ass bitch when she returned. Because you know what? I bet it was the news of Larry’s demise that did her in. Called her to the dark side. Made her a stupid, stupid waste of a character. Etc. You know, the more I think about this, the angrier with Oz I get. Damn you Oz! DAMN YOU! – ST]
Faith comes to taunt Willow, who says "boo hoo on you bitch and your sad lame life" so I guess she doesn't feel too sorry for Faith.
They do the trade in the school cafeteria in the middle of the night and the mayor whines (they all get their whiny chance!) about how he's immortal, just like Angel, and he loved a human, just like Angel, and it really sucked when she got all old and wrinkly and he was zesty and youthful. Synder takes this opportunity to bust in, looking for drug dealers, but when he looks in the box, well, he finds that it's not full of drugs at all. Just 50 billion huge spiders. Woo!
So, the mayor gets his box back and Oz gets his Willow back, but Faith has to leave her knife behind and Synder is beginning to think that maybe he should have taken the hint when he found out that the principal job was open because the last one got eaten and taken a job somewhere a little more safe, like a war zone.
Turns out, Willow tore some pages from the Books of Ascension when she was there, and no one frisked her on the way out, so it's OK that they didn't have that five thousand dollars that kept them saving the world before.
We're now firmly in wrap up land, as Willow decides to stay in Sunnydale and go to college with Buffy, rather than in England with scones (and we know how well that turned out). Cordelia has to put the dress down (how many days has she been standing there in front of the mirror anyway?) because she has to go back to work (gasp!) and Angel and Buffy are back in the cemetery, being all snuggly, as Angel once again assures Buffy he's going to stay with her forever. Or at least until the very next episode when he dumps her. But those are sort of the same thing, right?