beginning | blinding torment | boils | lies | making me bitter | evil compounds evil | blah blah bity blah
This, people? This is never okay.
season four > The Freshman
In response to the accusation that there's been a lack of bitterness around here of late, I’ve decided to move on from Season Three and into the exciting realm of Season Four! Season Four! I hate Season Four! Well, not all of it, but most of it! It has Adam! I hate Adam! And the Initiative! I totally hate the Initiative! Oz left! I hate that Oz left! It has zombies that I abhor and Riley who I don’t exactly hate, but who I find kind of annoying! He’s just like Season One David Boreanaz, minus the cro-mag forehead and crypticness and more with the saying of stupid stuff! It also has the episode of endless, disturbing Buffy/Riley sex! I don’t know about you, but I for one am VERY excited!
As we open the season, Buffy lacks my excitement! She’s going back to school, and she’s not happy about it. She’s acting all disoriented and overwhelmed by the whole college thing but really, can someone who’s fought really evil things for years be disoriented that much by conflicting class schedules and pushy people with causes shoving flyers in your face? I think not. The real reason, as we all know, for Buffy’s lack of joy is that she’s no longer the cool kid in school. Sure, she was the juvenile delinquent outcast for most of her illustrious Sunnydale High career, which totally carries with it its own special cool kid cache, but at the end of her senior year as you may all recall, and lord knows I can’t forget no matter how hard I try, she was presented with her class protector award, meaning she was cool for being her, not for her ability to beat people up in the halls.
Which, come to think of it, is kind of the same thing, isn’t it? But anyway, Giles has decreed that she be all secret-identity girl again. Which you’d think would be kind of hard to go back to, seeing as Sunnydale’s a tiny one Starbucks, one nightclub, one high school, 2 private school, 3 college, one bad side of the tracks, one beach, one vast expanse of desert, one major industrial seaport, 60 cemetary, one military base kind of town, and all the evil things out there know who she is by now anyway because evil things talk over their shots of yak piss, but apparently not. So she’s secret identity girl. Secret identity girl with a stranger as a roommate. To add insult to injury, her geeky soon-to-be-gay friend has a boyfriend, but she doesn’t. Woe, oh woe is she.
The geek being Willow, in fabulous new hair that almost, but not quite, allows me to forgive her atrocious outfit, and the boyfriend being Oz. Oh, Oz. He’s leaving soon, you know. I’m not sure how I’m going to handle it. Just to warn you.
Anyway, Buffy and Willow introduce themselves to the huge new library that is not, sadly, dark and dank and musty and empty like Sunnydale High’s old hang out, but is actually a place where people read and where the students are expected to whisper. Nothing like my school library, you had better luck studying in By George at high noon than you did in the libraries, but whatever. I’m not bitter. But Buffy sure is! She wants her old craptastic comfy library and her stodgy British librarian back right quick. Willow, on the other hand, is excited to be in a library that includes books not titled things such as Blood Rites of the evil and criminally insane and Something really wicked this way comes: prophecies for the discerning fighter of evil. Willow likes the library, Buffy doesn’t, Buffy pines for the fjords, Willow can’t wait to spurt knowledge—Willow like change, Buffy no like change. Change bad. Beer good. Change make Buffy sad. Buffy no--Sorry, I started channeling the upcoming super fantastic Beer Bad. These things happen.
Once they’re done gaping at the library and its insanely lofty ceiling, they introduce themselves to the student store and meet the new love interest that will alternately amuse us with his wit (ie, I’ve never courted someone like you before) and horrify us with his…self (ie, I’ve never courted someone like you before), one Mr. Riley “Dumbass the III” Finn. He and Willow have a brainmeld of a moment and possibly for half a second we're supposed to think he'll go for the geek, but we know that's not true. Not because she's with Oz, not because she's really gay, not because it's the obvious choice to knock Buffy deeper into the bad "poor me" place, but more because he's got way too much wooden-y goodness in him to be wasted on Willow. The stiffness of the acting? The stilted delivery of the lines? The deer-in-the-headlight look of "I'm on TV!" shock? He's all Buffy's, baby. He has all the requisite characteristics to be Buff's leading man, save one. Sure, he has a pulse, and we the viewer know this to be a problem, but bless her soul-it seems the Buffster has yet to figure this out. And isn't that what college is really about? Discovering yourself and embracing your sick tendencies, all while safely ensconced in the nurturing dorm environment of a state University with community bathrooms?
After surviving the first day of massive confusion and asininely long lines for everything from her student ID card to her on-campus boyfriend, Buffy tries to get into some class that watches commercials for credit and is humiliated by the “I’ve got tenure, so I can and will say whatever the hell I want to you, now cry freshman bitch, cry!” professor. Ah, the bitchy professor and the coveted slacker class…I know you well. And fyi, for all you soon-to-be-freshman, Rocks for Jocks, aka Geology 101? Not as easy as people tell you. Don’t do it. Seriously. All those fucking rocks? Look exactly the same. Consider that little warning my gift to you. Go for Biology, you’ll thank me later.
Buffy, humiliated, unloved, sad and just generally mopey, walks her dejected ass back to her dorm that night, or at least tries to. She gets lost. One would think that the mystical slayer powers would come with things like an internal compass and the ability to find your way home, but one would be wrong. Luckily, along comes Eddie. I like Eddie. Almost as much as I like Holden. He’s a dork and he’s sweet and he says nerdy things and he's one of those guys that knows he doesn't have a chance so he actually talks to you and I know Eddie dies this episode, but I think he should come back. Maybe as, like, Holden’s assistant. Or something. He could pull off a lab coat, don’t you think?
Eddie has a map yet shares my devastating affliction of being unable to read a map. Together they figure it out and help each other find their dorms. Along the way, all of two feet or so, they make grand promises to help each other survive their shared psych class, have a hilarious misunderstanding about bondage and Buffy not doing that sort of thing (oh, the innocence of Season Four), and go their separate ways. Eddie’s high over having had a witty and almost-fulfilling discussion with a pretty lady is short-lived, as is Eddie, since he is accosted by this week's baddie Sunday and her hilarious posse of bitter dead college kleptos, including one fabulous stoner, as soon as he leaves the Buffster. Way for that spidey sense to kick in there, Buffy. Because of you, Eddie becomes dead Eddie, and we take a moment to mourn his passing.
Why oh why must all of the non-annoying good people die, joss? WHY?
Buffy gets concerned that her new bestest friend who is also afraid of big kids' school isn't in class the next day. She is so concerned that she fails to knock Willow’s head across the room when Willow condescendingly goes “aw, you made a friend? Good for you!” Like, shut it, bitch. I’m no defender of the Buffster, especially after the lecture-a-thon from hell she subjected us to in Season Seven, but come on—how many times has she saved Red’s ass? And, hey, let’s not forget that she befriended Will when geeks wouldn’t even talk to Will unless they needed help on that really hard Calculus word problem. (fyi: fuck calculus. Fuck word problems. And imaginary numbers? You can kiss my ass.) So shut it, bitch.
Buffy, bored out of her mind and missing high school, as do I, goes to his dorm and finds that his room has been cleared out but that his favorite book that he just told her he goes nowhere without (of human bondage) was left behind and makes up some dire scenario in her head that oddly enough does not include Eddie being the butt of a vicious hazing prank or so under the influence of something mind-altering that he gave away all of his possessions in a substance-induced fit of minimalism, wrote a note saying he was so over the school thing and then promptly passed out in the community lounge in the middle of a Melrose Place rerun, runs to Giles to help her because evil is afoot, only to find that Giles is no longer Giles. He’s not yet Asshole!Giles or even Slightly!indifferent!to!things!Giles, but more Hugh!Hefner!Giles, which means he gads about in a robe, sipping alcohol out of a tumbler for breakfast while his scantily clad piece of tail lounges about his posh pad. Buffy, disturbed that someone over the age of 40 has had sex, gets all pissy. Giles is all “help yourself, you’re a big girl.” Because, you know, since she was randomly endowed with super strength, it’s simply her job and her job alone to fight evil now that Giles is retired and gadding about like a ponce. I’m sure Buffy takes comfort in the fact that if Giles was the one specially endowed she’d be the one telling him to grow up and prancing about in a robe while drinking scotch. More interesting than the beginning of the end of Giles' character is that Olivia, the scantily clad piece of tail, does not really question a young, hot freshman bursting in to Giles’ house to chat, and believes that she’s a former student coming to him for advice. I know I always look up my old high school librarian when I’m in a quandary. Or would, if I could remember who the hell they were.
Buffy hunts on school grounds that night, and pretty much exclusively for the rest of the year since now that she's in college vamps have abandoned the rest of the town. She finds Dead!Eddie and stakes him, that cold-hearted bitch. Sunday, upset that Buffy staked her new lackey, shows up to kick her ass. Actually Sunday’s much-larger-than-Sunday stunt double kicks Sophia’s ass, but it’s sort of the same. Sunday pops in for a quip or two while her posse of stoners and bitter girls who look purple in purple stand around watching. Sunday's stunt double continues to kick Sophia's ass all over the set until she breaks Buffy's spirit and her arm. Sunday, following the great tradition of all villains on TV, allows Buffy to run away. At least she let her go just because, and not because it wasn't time yet. We must appreciate the little things, especially when we know things like Adam and zombies are coming up, mustn't we?
Buffy spends some quality time alone with her bitter thoughts in her dark dorm room. She got taken down by a lame goth-wanna-be, her friends are having fun in school rather than sharing her misery and her psych professor insists on using long words. How is she supposed to face these trials with a happy face? She can’t, so she avoids her happy buds the next day and mopes around town, sporting a fashionable bruise on her cheek and holding her arm like it’s hurt real bad. She winds up at home and is shocked and appalled to see that her mother has turned her room into storage. Joyce didn’t even wait for the bed to get cold. Joyce is one cold motherfucker.
Buffy mopes her way to the Bronze and finds Xander. Xander! He may not have driven across all 50 states as planned, and he may not have made it out of California, but he did make it to the fabulous ladies’ night club where he got the dollars, the women and the lovin’, so that's something. Actually, I'm not really sure about that last part, but I like to think he got some lovin’. I’ve seen Xander in speedos, and no matter how personally upsetting I find speedos, I still wouldn’t turn him away. That’s all I’m sayin’.
Xander kindly peps Buffy up by saying sweet things like "when it's dark, I think of you" instead of telling her to stop being such a stuck-on-herself dumbass, because Xander is only second to Oz in the sweetest boy ever pageant. Buffy, ecstatic to have her whipping boy back, breaks into the school’s registrar office, hacks into those computers and pulls up all sorts of interesting stuff like abandoned houses on campus and whatnot. Over they go, hee hee, ho ho, to stake out the sitch. Without weapons, I might add, which seems a tad insane when going to meet up with a chick that kicked your ass without breaking a sweat, but hey—I’m no slayer.
Xander goes for weapons while Buffy decides that waiting perched atop the skylight of an abandoned and probably decaying house, since I’m pretty sure vampires don’t think of things like roof maintenance, is the intelligent thing to do. She, of course, falls in while watching them make fun of her clothes (can you blame them?), her diary, Mr. Gordo and her Class Protector Award (Honestly, people. She saved your lives how many times? And all your graduating class could come up with was a tacky umbrella? My class came up with a new electronic sign for the school, but whatever. If I were Buffy, I’d be pretty pissed if the largest graduating class ever came up with nothing but a craptastic, tacky umbrella.). She, of course, gets her ass kicked again.
Whilst Buffy gets soundly trounced, Willow, Oz and Kathy, the strange roommate, ponder Buffy’s cleared out side of the room and the good bye note in someone else's handwriting. I may have forgotten to mention this, but Sunday's gang picks off weak freshmen, steals their stuff, leaves a note behind saying the now-dead freshman couldn't deal with all the partying and the exhilaration of being free from their parents so they're taking off, takes their stuff back to the lair and make fun of it.
Buffy’s roommate Kathy is unamused by the note and the emptiness, since she specifically asked for a mentally stable roommate and this behavior seems to be the exact opposite of that. Like they care what you put down on your app. They so don’t. Willow and Oz are perplexed, as this taking off is not like Buffy except for the one time it was like Buffy. Xander somehow finds Buffy's dorm and tells them that Buffy’s friends who like to stay up all night and cannot tan are playing a joke on Buffy. Since her tanless friends also stole her weapons chest, the gang goes for supplies, walking as slow as molasses because they think they have time.
Which they don't, seeing as Buffy has lost the will to kick ass. But then Sunday makes the mistake of touching Buffy's stuff, and we all know how bad Buffy is at sharing her stuff. She steps on the ugly-as-sin umbrella and it's on like Donkey Kong. Buffy dishes out the fu with a tennis racket, her quips fly like monkeys with wings and we say good bye to Sunday ere we knew her.
Why, joss, WHY?
The gang gathers up the Buffster’s stuff and Xander lays claim to some workout equipment because it’s not like anyone’s coming to claim that shit anyway. Giles somehow finds them and runs up with big weapons and tells Buffy that he’s sorry, he was wrong and he’s ready to fight with her. Which is funny, see, cuz they’re done. Buffy allows Giles to feel useful by allowing him to carry a box, and they all walk off into the night.
This season’s going to be fun. As long as we ignore the final scene where one of Sunday's vamps gets captured by men in cammo, that is.