beginning | blinding torment | boils | lies | making me bitter | evil compounds evil | blah blah bity blah





season seven  >  first date


An interesting thing happened during the first 10 minutes of this week's Buffy. Settling into the now familiar rising of dismay over what was going on in the episode I had an epiphany. It wasn't that bad. It was frustrating in an overall bad arc way, but taken scene by scene? I liked it. Buffy-stupid, precocious, defending-herself-to-Giles Buffy was very much like Buffy of six or seven years ago. Xander's giddiness over a date and going in blind and hoping for the best was cute. Willow was sort of Willowish again. It worked. I didn't even hate Andrew. Well, I still kinda hate Andrew, if only because I don't even really understand why he's THERE, but much in the way I've decided to accept Spike (another epiphany, by the way), I can accept Andrew. Someone's gotta be the comic relief around here, and since the writers hate Xander, they've gotta give the geek lines to someone. So there ya go. It didn't suck. I still think the overall enemy/arc/SiTs suck and suck hardcore, but if I take it one episode at a time and pretend they're all standalones, I might be able to make this work.


So, anyway, Buffy and Giles and Kennedy and Amanda (uh, the awkard one? Is that her name? [yup. Amanda. Yay for the addition of another uninteresting one-dimensional SiT. -SP]) and the new non-English SiT Chao Ann are walking through the graveyard discussing how Giles got away from the Harbringer and Giles is acting all manly and pretending he got off because of his finely honed instincts rather than the bringer's squeaky shoes and Spike tackles him to the ground. Because Anya told Spike Giles was evil. See, the new, happier ST isn't going to dwell on the fact that this is stupid because Anya already gave Giles the touch test. Isn't the new ST more fun? [Hell no. That was frickin' annoying. Spike was in the (previously cemented-in and lightly salted) Initiative having the chip-removal surgery that illustrated Buffy's undying stupidity, I mean, love and faith when Anya and gang decided Giles was evil, ran to the desert, and felt him up. What, did Anya text message Spike on the road trip?] [And on top of this the old ST would be seriously annoyed that this night appears to happen at least a whole day later, so theoretically everyone would have had time to get filled in on lack of chipness and verification of corporealness. What the hell are the Scoobs talking about? Andrew's hair?]


Some pissiness from Giles over Spike being able to tackle him and some hemming later and we learn along with Giles that Spike's chip was removed. Giles is, understandably, annoyed that Buffy made this huge decision to de-neuter Spike. Probably much like most of the fanbase was distressed that they never staked the bugger in season four, eh? Probably. Giles lectures Buffy, Buffy flippantly disregards him and my heart sings again. It really is back to the beginning! All we need now is for Buffy to sport some biggish hair, a short skirt and some highly inappropriate boots!


Buffy poo poos Giles, gives him some crap about knowing that you can't fight evil with evil and it was wrong to keep Spike leashed and she knows he can be a good man if they let him. You know, the new, improved ST isn't making this a very sassy recap. Perhaps I should have the still extremely bitter SP finish it up?


Yeah, the new and improved ST is kind of scaring me.


See, here's the thing. You would think that SouledSpike would be similar to SouledAngel. Angel was a different person than Angelus. You can't blame what Angelus did on Angel. But, see, Joss told us that the SouledSpike story would be different! Unique! So, obviously, the gang has to feel and act completely different. For one thing, Spike doesn't have two names. That right there tells us it's a whole new story. If it were Angel: the sequel, then Spike would have to be called "Spi" now. Also, Spike, as a soulless vampire, can be influenced by the First. The First was never able to get to Angel or make him… Um, forget I brought that up, actually strenuous trials to get his soul back. Angel didn't want anything to do with a soul, and in fact, killed someone who was offering it to him freely. So, obviously, one would assume that Spike would be much more dangerous with a soul than Angel would… I mean, nevermind. Then, there's the whole deal where the First can take control of Spike...


Spike is just different, OK? He's scary with a soul. Angel was all puppy dogs and cotton candy. Just go with it.


The SiTs, it turns out, didn't know about the chip. What, they thought that Buffy was just having them spar with a vampire who might suck them dry at any time? Well, no wonder they seemed a little scared of him during fighting practice. You'd think Buffy would have mentioned it to them, to ease their minds a little. Maybe she thought it was funny to mess with them. I know I'd mess with them every chance I got. Maybe that's just me.


Then we're off to Home Depot. What do they have a contract now like Alias has with Ford? Next time the bringers throw someone through the window is Buffy going to say, "thank goodness for Home Depot! What would we do without that great store?"Are all the stakes going to have little "sponsored by Home Depot" logos on them? Anyway, Xander is hanging around, because he's a construction worker after all. Like Joe Millionaire only without the fake 50 million or the bulldozer. Or the annoying hair. He notices Ashanti looking at varieties of rope. He immediately grabs the rope and ties her up, telling her that he'll only untie her after she promises to never sing ever again. Even in the shower. Or her car. Oh wait, maybe that only happened in my head. Actually, he asks her out and she says yes, and I'm really not sure why ME thought anyone would be surprised that she turns out to be a demon. . [But, see, they're following the guidelines! The handy character chart! They know they messed up the other week by not having WillowWarren's head fly across the room and they're making it up to us! It's refreshing, actually, to have this bit of continuity on the show now. We get so little of it these days. We can't count on liking Willow or Giles or Buffy anymore, but damn if we don't know that anyone Xander's going to fall for is going to be a demon. It's comforting, like hot cocoa with the little marshmallows and whip cream and Baileys. Without the fun buzz. Or the chocolatey goodness. Or…damn, this being nice thing is hard, yo. -ST]


Meanwhile, Principal Wood catches Buffy sneaking around in his office, looking for clues of badness. Dude, he's a minority and he's the Sunndale high school principal. He's evil, soon dead, or both. Do you really need to snoop? [Seriously, Buffy, I can see why Giles is pissed at you. This should be intuitive by now. Come on, let's get with the program.] He does what any good boss does when they find an employee sneaking around. He asks her out. Obviously.


And once she leaves, he wipes off his bloody knife and puts it with the rest of his big-ass knife collection. Seriously, what was he killing in the middle of the school day? And where? Maybe my questions will be answered later in the episode. Or maybe this was just a big-ole scene of misdirection that we'll never hear about again. Surely, not that last thing, right?



Then Xander and Buffy engage in their I-have-a-possibly-more-evil-date than you competition. Overall, Xander is ahead is sheer numbers, but Buffy is winning the quality portion with the whole boyfriend-tried-to-kill-all-her-friends incident. Plus all that hot sex with an evil vampire under the rug… in the Bronze balcony… while invisible... and stuff.


I guess I should mention the new SiT, Chao-Ann. She speaks no English, you see. And Giles speaks no Cantonese. And although Giles has learned many archaic forgotten languages over the years (languages that I assume had no dummies books available in the local bookstores) [No, no, just the other day I was in B&N and saw Dead Syrian for Superfluous and Ridiculous Prophecies for Dummies. Seriously. It was sitting right next to Storylines Pulled Out of Your Ass for Dummies. I'll pick up a copy for you next time. I think they even had a Joss Whedon autographed copy.] in the interest of translating prophecies and such, it doesn't cross his mind to, oh, I dunno, pick up a Cantonese-English dictionary or something. Which makes you wonder how he convinced her to leave her family and country and head with him over to demon central. Maybe he made her flashcards. So, anyway, hilarity ensues with the whole language barrier and Giles looks like a dumbass. I so love when the writers have someone act completely out of character for the sake of humor.


[Stepping out of nice mode for a moment, what the fuck was up with that foyer scene? Giles went to the mall to buy her clothes? And the foodcourt was sticky? It was just so very not Giles. Are we still supposed to think he's secretly not Giles, even if he is corporeal? Was Spike stupidly tackling him not just a waste of space as previously thought, but a glaring clue? Honestly, at this point, I hope Giles isn't Giles and is an evil replica of Giles. Maybe Sloane crossed over from Alias. Maybe Rambaldi lives on the hellmouth. Maybe Giles is Rambaldi. Maybe I don't care anymore, as long as it isn't Giles.]


Andrew's in the kitchen trying to figure out the new microwave. You know, since Dawn exploded the last one. Dead Jonathan comes up and tries to talk Andrew into using the gun from last week to kill all the SiTs. First, that was the incredible disappearing gun, so good luck finding it. Second, kill all the SiTs? I thought the First was evil? That sounds like a plan that's good for everyone! (Later, Andrew hooks up with Willow and the gang to try and secretly tape the First. I sort of skip the whole thing in the recap. Because, well, for one thing, I forgot all about it, but also, how lame is that? What, they need the First on tape to prove he's evil? They want to be sure about the First's plans and they want to hear it for themselves rather than rely on Andrew telling them that the First wants all the SiTs dead? It's just not worth the recapping effort, really.)


In the bathroom, Anya is hand-washing Buffy's shirt for her date. The hell? Anya is washing Buffy's shirt? Who is this person? But it's all just an excuse for a big angst-fest. Anya is all angsty about Xander's date. Spike is angsty because he sees Buffy sans-shirt in a lacy camisole before her date. It's all very touching.


Next we see Xander and no-one-said-she's-an-actor-she's-a-performing-artist out on their date, but really, it's all just filler before the big I'm-dating-a-demon-again-dammit scene, isn't it?


Wood leads Buffy down a dark alley when they are suddenly attacked by vampires, and surely this can't be yet another case of misdirection, right? Right?


Wrong, sadly. But at least we find out Wood's deal. Although I don't know how satisfied I am with the explanation we get for all his lurking around, talking about how he likes mysteries, wiping off bloody knives, and burying dead bodies that he happens to come across in the school basement, rather than, oh, I dunno, calling the cops to alert them of a killer on the loose or trying to figure out who the dead person is as to notify his family for a proper funeral (possibly he thinks dumping dirt on someone by the light of the Buick is a proper funeral).


Turns out he's Nikki Wood's son. You know, the slayer who Spike killed in the subway? The one who was ready to die because she had nothing left the live for, oh other than that four-old son who she loved so much. [Ha, yeah, take that Wood. Your mama, she didn't love you. You weren't enough. Ahahahahaha…man, they so could have found something cooler for him to be. Though it does my heart good, to know that the dumbass PTB aren't discriminatory and will call anyone, anytime, including a young, presumably teenaged mother. Whose son obviously has a deadbeat dad, if he was raised by the Watcher, unless the Watcher was the dad and then just…ew.]


And the reason he was stealithly burying bodies and keeping extensive weaponry behind his whiteboard was that he wasn't ready to be involved yet. [Generally, when I'm not ready to get involved, and I come across a dead body on an evil seal, I sort of nonchalantly whistle and walk away. I find, if the body's really dead, that works 9 out of 10 times. Just something for Wood to keep in mind. In case, you know, this sort of thing ever happens again.]


Let's just pretend it makes sense by concentrating on how pretty he is.


So, Buffy's date is going great, what with the dusting vampires, and the slayer bonding, and the romantic French restaurant, but Xander is gaining the lead in the my-date-is-hella-more-evil-than-yours ongoing battle. See, his date brought along the rope he helped her pick out. Normally, a date breaking out the bondage gear would be a sign of good times, but this is Xander we're talking about. His date uses the rope to string him up over the ubervamp pez dispenser. Obviously.


You'd think that since both Buffy and Wood are at that school every day, knowing the pop-up of evil was right below them, one of the other of them might have, at some point, taken a little break and poured a little concrete over it or something. But no. They've left it wide open for every bondage-loving demon in town. Even demons who inflict pain on the world by attempting to sing. And now act.


So, Xander's all strung up and all, yet somehow finds a way to text message Willow. Maybe he used telepathy to communicate with his phone since they all apparently have that handy skill now.


The gang wants to go find Buffy to help, but Willow despairs because she doesn't know where Buffy is! And in the next breath, she does a locator spell to find Xander. Well, yes it does makes sense, because there had to be some reason that Spike goes to get Buffy and therefore meet up with and fight next to Wood. Because it's poetic since he murdered Spike's mom and all and then stole her coat. And how does Spike find Buffy? Why, he tracks her scent of course! Scent tracking. Almost as handy as telepathy!


[Okay, wait, hang on. When did Willow do the locator spell? Spike takes off after Buffy's scent while Willow's still all hemming and hawing, and then gets to the restaurant and tells Buffy that Xander's at the school. Does Spike carry a cell phone? Was Spike lying about the locator spell, because he was too embarrassed to admit to Buffy that he knew Xander was at the school because he could smell him? Because he secretly loves him? Was that it? Because that I'd buy.]


So, off Buffy goes in the car of uncomfortableness. What with Spike, who Buffy's had lots of hot sex with, and Wood, her current date. And plus, that whole pesky killing of Wood's mom. Wood glances at Spike in his rearview mirror as they drive, except that Spike has no reflection and all, but I'm choosing to believe that Wood was having false memories of what Spike looks like and thought he saw Spike in the rearview mirror. Or possibly the mirror was really foggy. Or dirty. Or maybe it had no glass and Wood just hadn't gotten around to fixing it yet.


They get to the school, Spike vamps out, and Wood acts all shocked! "A vampire! And I thought my mirror was just defective!" They chop off poor Ashanti's head, get Xander down, and everyone's happy! [Not ST! Even though she chose to accept this episode and pretend it was good, she was still bitter! About Buffy checking on stupid Spike before Xander! On Xander not going to the hospital when he had a gaping abdominal wound! There was a wound! There was a long sword! Through his gut! There was blood! Apparently more blood came from Xander's gut than Jonathon's entire tiny body, because the ubervamp was coming out! But they didn't take him to the hospital! What, did Buffy give him a cookie and some orange juice and tell him to lie down for 10 minutes? What the fuck?

But, you know….good episode. Go ME!]


Well, except that Buffy and Wood's date is all ruined, and the First comes to Wood later as his mom and tells him how she really died and who has her damn jacket. It makes him just a bit upset. Just wait 'til he hears about all that hot sex Spike used to have with his date.




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