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





season seven  >  killer in me


Before I get into this week's rant, I thought I'd just take a moment and focus on the parts of the episode I enjoyed. Because it's all about me. And because I need to remember why I still watch this show when the pain is beginning to get as intense as X-Files, season 9. So in the interest of being nice, and because my mother says if you can't say anything nice you shouldn't say anything at all, let's review the good bits. Even if they were surrounded by bad ones. Sorry mom. I tried. Really.


Things ST enjoyed, not necessarily in order

-The opening scene, with the friends teasing each other, Buffy drinking tea on the couch going "oh yeah", Anya coming in to report that Rona stuffed Vi in the trunk and Giles wishing he was anywhere but there [And Giles telling Dawn to smack the random notebook-laying around potential in the head -SP]. It was all good. It was almost as if they'd been friends for 7 years or something.

-The way the Initiative scenes were filmed. Someone took their "Cinematography for spookiness 101" course and passed with flying colors!

-Riley Finn labeling Spike "Assface". I am endlessly amused that he finally gets a personality after he's written off the show.

-The cut from Kennedy being with Amy to Kennedy in the Summers' backyard. Very nicely done.

-Willow saying she knew she was gay three years ago not because of women, but because of a woman. Though I'd still like props to be given to the Ozman, this was much better than her giving some spiel about forever.


-Willow's breakdown in the backyard was extremely well acted.

-The SiTs were referenced, but never seen. Keep that up. Except for the referencing them part.


There. I was nice. Now I'm going to be not so nice.


The show opens on the aforementioned scene of nicely done chaos as Giles prepares to take all the SiTs [even Amanda? How lucky is she to get a vision quest already, five minutes after she found out vampires existed, when Buffy had to wait like five years] but Kennedy (who is faking being sick) on a vision quest. Why? Because they need to understand THEIR POWER. Which they don't have yet [and may never have at all]. But which the scooby gang seems to think they have already. But I'm just going to let it go. Because fuck if I can waste anymore time on making it make sense when the writers aren't even trying. It's sloppy, contrived, stupid, and way worse than giving Scully and Mulder a child with alien powers. Okay, fine. Almost way worse. Whatever. Giles asks Dawn to take one of the stupid SiTs notebook out to the car, because he certainly couldn't do it on his way out to the car because then he'd definitely be touching something, rather than ambiguously maybe touching something, be sitting on it, or leaning on it, and then the misdirection fairy of the "oooh, is he dead" mystique would just be lost. Say it with me: whatever [I'm sensing a theme here. Not sure what's tipping me off exactly..].


There is, however, much goodness in this scene. Buffy and Giles almost seem to have a rapport again, what with Giles being snitty about Buffy being snide about her past vision quest, Buffy's "that's not exactly how I put it" and her teasing of Willow taking tea to Kennedy. Of course, any and all goodness go out the door with the man that used to be known as Ripper, who leaves to take the girls out into the desert. The girls, by the way, are the ones driving because Giles didn't "renew his license" and because if he drove then he'd definitely be grasping a steering wheel and therefore once again, the whole is-he-or-isn't-he would just be shot to hell.


Anyone who actually thought they were going to kill Giles, raise your hand. That's what I thought. [Don't even joke about that! Ack! To calm myself down, I'd better go look at some of those pictures of Giles on a horse again. OK. All better now. Carry on.]


So Giles leaves, Buffy goes to the basement to chat it up with Spike, who is chaining himself to the walls these days. Just in case, or so he says. Personally, I think this is his way of trying to charm his way back into her pants, since the 'cuffs worked so smashingly last time, but that might just be me and my disillusionment with this "noble" character. I say "noble" because he's tied up to protect the girls. He's either on the leash or with the Buffster, end of story. He doesn't want to risk the stupid "evil" plot contrivance getting into his head again. *sniff* Oh. That was so sweet. I think I might be *sniff* tearing up.


Anyway, Buffy buys into this noble crap and tells him they'll find a way to deprogram him. Perhaps they could use Xander's vast military knowledge? I'm sure he's got it somewhere, sandwiched between how to do hospital corners and the proper way to polish his boots. There is a sense of "urgency", however, because the vamp's in pain. His head hurts. A lot. Bummer. Probably much like it hurt his victims to have their throats torn out, but different. They didn't have military chips in their heads misfiring. Buffy is concerned. Staking him could ease his pain, in case anyone wanted to know my opinion. But no, no one cares.


Instead, she calls Riley Finn. Yeah. Riley. Somehow she gets a number and calls for Riley Finn. Spike, by the way, falls to the ground off and on and grimaces with pain. Sometimes he screams. It's all very tense and, you know, exciting. Spike feels the chip is eroding because it wasn't designed for him to last this long. Which also makes no sense, but with most things in this episode, and this season for that matter, you just kind of have to roll with it. Because it doesn't ever get any better and it never makes sense. At this point, I'm going to crush a few hopes here when I say it's never going to make sense, so stop waiting for it to. Okay? It's just not. [I don't know, the whole calling the flower shop and acting like a total dolt storyline really moved me! Especially when I had the whole unseen portion of the story going in my head: Riley saying, "what? Buffy says Spike is in pain? I must send 20 of my best men to help him now! I can't bear to think that the vampire I hate most of all vampires, who used to taunt me when Buffy wouldn't let me just drive a stake through his heart, who I walked in on having sex with the girl who broke my heart, even though I loved her most of all, the vampire who spent a hundred years torturing and killing for the fun, who last I saw did not have a soul and as I far as I know he still doesn't because it's not like Buffy included in that in her message or anything... I just can't bear that he might be suffering, even a little bit!]


I completely forgot, in all my bitterness, that I left Willow taking tea to Kennedy. Kennedy, rather than hocking up phlegm and being generally unattractive, is slipping on her dancing boots and preparing to hit the town. Willow, sadly showing a huge lack of her former intelligence, skeptically buys Kennedy's excuse that she couldn't go with the other girls because she has her own mission to go on. It would have been completely believable, miss thang, if you had just said you hate them and you need a break from them and a drink. A strong drink. And we all would have understood. [Although I would think that Kennedy, the only one who seems to get any part of this slayer thing at all, would be a little less eager to miss out on this chance to cozy up with the spirit of the First Slayer or whatever the hell. Seems a little petty that she would skip it for a chance for some hot girl-on-girl action. Or maybe not.]


Willow continues not to rip Kennedy a new one for not taking things seriously [as they both seem to have forgotten all about this big unstoppable evil that is going to kill them all] as they sit at the Bronze sipping froo froo drinks discussing when they knew they were gay. Willow says three years ago and as mentioned before, I have decided to just go with it. Kennedy says she knew since she was five. Which I have no problem with. Yeah, I know, you're all gasping in shock. But I don't. What I'm wondering about more is Kennedy's age. She's 19 according to the script, right [or maybe just according to casting side spoilers. It all blurs together after a while]? Let's assume she has a fake ID and just write that one off. I'm just wondering if she's really 19, or if ME decided to play one of their "get out of keeping an age consistent free" cards. Not so much because she's drinking but because she tries to seduce Willow in a fairly adult manner, with a whole bunch of lines like "I like to look in a woman's eyes" and "the fun is in getting to know the woman" and "I love how you turn off the Moulin Rouge DVD at chapter 32 so it always has a happy ending". If she's 19, she's the most mature 19 year old I've never met. However, having her continually hit on Willow whenWillow is obviously so attached to the memory of Tara and still speaks about her in the present tense without meaning too, lends credence to the whole 19 thing. Because only someone that young could be that crass.


Willow continues to go along with everything and they end up back at Willow's stop, aka her room. Kennedy moves in for a kiss and Willow turns into Warren. Wackiness ensues, the end.



No? Fine.


Kennedy freaks out because she doesn't really hold truck with the whole magic thing, but she puts up with it because it's important to Willow. Never mind that she saw Willow float a candle and put up a protective barrier, thereby proving its reality and its validity, but she's 19 and into skater rock. There are many things we have to overlook. So Kennedy freaks out because she kissed a boy and Willow freaks out because she has a penis. You know, if it was a guy who'd changed into a girl the first thing they would have done is check out their rack. But does Willow check out her package? Not even close. Proving once again that girls are more mature than boys. Thank you and goodnight.


Willow goes downstairs, followed by Kennedy. Buffy punches Willow hard in the face and does not break it, which just goes to show that you can write a handy manual for the writing staff, but that doesn't mean they're going to follow it. Xander, Dawn and Anya freak out, Willow yells unconvincingly that it's her and Andrew comes in and blames WillowWarren for everything he's done. Yeah, he made you kill Jonathon, rat boy. Go back to Mexico. The untimely death of WillowWarren is averted by Willow threatening to tell a story about Xander not involving yellow crayons (and seriously, if Buffy gets to hang on to her "I killed Angel" glory, why does Xander get so much shit for his yellow crayon speech? Oh, yeah. Because the writers hate Xander. Carry on.) and having something to do with aquaman underoos. But come on, seriously, which of us doesn't have a story like that floating around out there? There's no shame in that people. Embrace the underoos memories. Do not allow them to own you.


Everyone realizes it's Willow, blah blah blah, Spike falls to the ground in pain, blah blah blah, Willow wants to fix this on her own because she thinks she subconsciously did this, blah blah blah, Buffy tenderly takes care of Spike, gag gag gag, and we're off! Willow stalks away, followed by Kennedy who's not going to let her go alone, and Buffy and Spike are off to what remains of the Initiative. Dawn, Anya and Xander fulfill their roles this season as the glorified babysitters of Andrew. There's a whole lot of cutting back and forth here, so I think I'm just going to focus on a plot point at a time. Got a problem with that, send me hate mail, but I'm doing it. [I like how no one really questions much that Willow has turned into Warren. Like they don't think maybe it's a new trick of the First, or some other evilness. And they just let Willow go off on her own. No fuss, no muss. Whatever (I think I'm beginning to understand this week's recap theme.)]


Plot A: Xander, Anya, Dawn and Andrew twiddle their thumbs until Andrew picks up the phone and it's Robson. Robson being the British dude who looked well on his way to being dead when Giles may or may not have been killed. Robson claims he blacked out and when he came to there was no Giles. [That Robson guy was so extremely dead last we saw him. He was resurrected totally and completely because the characters were too stupid to notice weird-acting, non-touchable Giles and the writers couldn't figure out a way to work themselves into the plot as to yell "how self-absorbed did we write you people? Didn't we give you one scrap of selflessness to look beyond yourselves and notice when others are behaving out of character? To pay attention when people aren't touching anything when after all the big 'ole evil that's so bad and scary and is going to kill everyone keeps infiltrating your group by looking exactly like people you know except for the minor detail that they can't touch anything?! " Once those writers got a taste of writing themselves in to the show in Once More With Feeling, they've been looking for another chance ever since and I know they must have looked for every way to do it in this episode, but in the end, they realized that they lost all of their creative inspirations right around season four when they came up with the whole Initiative thing, so they made Robson non-dead instead.]


The gang then tries to remember if Giles has touched anything or if they have touched him and honestly people, how do so many people live in one house for that many weeks and NOT BUMP INTO EACH OTHER? At least once? No? Not at all? Not that the gang can remember anyway [And how could they not have hugged him when he came back. Bitches!]. So they all pile into the car, fretting about sending all of the SiTs out into the desert with a maybe evil dead guy. Blessed by what must be extraordinary internal compass skills and a homing device of some sort, they pinpoint Giles' exact location in the desert and tackle him. Which was cute. They poke and prod him and Andrew really goes to town, so happy he is to be a part of the gang. So Giles is alive, okay? Can we stop wasting time on stupid plot contrivances now and actually tell a fucking story? Preferably one that does not involve the First Evil or the SiTs? In fact, if you could just have someone wake up and go "it was all a dream" I wouldn't bitch a bit at this point. Seriously. [I won't even mention Giles' completely out of character comment about not touching girls on camping trips, because it is so totally out of place and so completely not Giles that in my version of the episode, the comment didn't exist. It's happily living in the world without shrimp along with Olaf.]



Plot B: Buffy/Spike head to the Initiative to find Spikey-boy some drugs. Because those compassionate Initiative doctors always cared enough to dope him up when the chip kicked in. They're like Mary Kay, without the testing on fuzzy bunnys. I wonder if the Initiative ever put mascara in their subjects' eyes and taped them open? (Humanely, of course.) They dig up an old entry in a random cemetery and drop on down. Now, I know SP is really upset that it wasn't filled in with concrete, but we are talking about the military. Sure, they make grand statements like "burn it to the ground and throw salt on its ashes" or "fill it with concrete", but when it comes right down to it, that's a whole lotta work. Work that could be better spent plotting wars and sneaky ways to take over the world's oil supply. Or maybe bureaucratic red tape stood in the way of their grandiose plans. Maybe some pencil pusher balked at the cost of cement and decided that just locking it up and throwing away the key would be just as effective, considering it was secret and everything inside was dead and all. [I'm not going to say a word. I ranted in the forums already, and if I continued here, this recap would go on a few pages longer than it already is. So, I'll be good. The Initiative still around? Of course it is. And the scoobies never thought to check it out before, say when they were thinking "outside the box" for ways to defeat Glory? Of course they didn't. Makes perfect sense to me. Moving on...]


Or are they? Guess again my friends! Soon after dropping into the moodily lit Initiative, Buffy and Spike are beset upon by a beast that looks like it borrowed its face from the ubervamp. I have no idea how it survived as long as it did, unless it ate the carcasses of its brethren, and that's really not a pleasant thought, so let's just leave it at that, okay? They beat the bad guy and the lights come on. Buffy and Spike find themselves surrounded by a bunch of extras in fatigues pointing fake guns at them. Apparently Riley sent them to help Buffy help Assface. How Riley knew they would break into the Initiative is beyond me. Why Riley would send 20 people is also beyond me. [And how Riley became grand commander of all, able to order troops to a conveniently non-cemented in basement, with power to rehostile a hostile is beyond me too.] I think our special services have a bit too much money on their hands. They test Spike and the long and the short of it is that the chip is eroding and they can either replace it or remove it. God, I'd give back quite a bit to have heard that in season four. Now, there is no impact. He's all weepy. Weepy!Spike's no fun. He's not going to go all deliciously evil on anyone's ass. It's too little, too late.


Plot C: Kennedy and Willow stalk out of the Summers' home. Willow heads to some "old friends". By "old friends" she means the Wicca group she lasted a whole week in in season four and who she mocked for focusing more on bake sales than magic ["more" meaning "at all"]. They're as close as she and Buffy are, I tell you what. [Why she would head to a group that last she saw was completely devoid of magic entirely other than because it made things all convenient is something that makes my head really hurt, so I'm just going to skip it.] But what is this! Upon arriving, WillowWarren finds them chanting and stuff, rather than arguing about who spilled wax on whose altar. Gee, Willow, you mean if you hadn't been elitist and left the group, you might have been grounded in a more stable Wiccan environment and not gotten dumped by Tara and not gone evil when she died because she might not have died and then you wouldn't have had to try and destroy the world? Bummer.


The group pretends not to know who she is because she looks like Warren, but really it's because they have no idea who she is. She went to one meeting, people. It's not even the same group of girls. And I see they've gone PC and let boys play. How very of them. Everyone's disbelief is put to an end, sadly, when Amy, formerly known as Amy the junkie formerly known as Amy the rat formerly known as Amy the Wiccan formerly known as Amy the junior witch formerly known as Amy trapped in her mother's body because her evil witch mother swapped bodies with her, stands up and says "hey, that's Willow". That Amy. You remember her, right? No? Well that's probably because she's an entirely different character every time she shows up. Amy then launches into an apology straight out of the 12 steps of addiction that is not even thinly veiled. I'm so glad they brought the addiction metaphor back, instead of blaming her temporary insanity on being a rat and doing nothing but eating cheese and running on a wheel for three years. That whole addiction metaphor? That's gold, baby. [And isn't it convenient that Amy just happens to be in the one little non-witch group that Willow heads to.]


Amy tries to do a spell while the rest of the group watches, and I'm really not sure what these other Wiccans do with magic. Cleanse auras? Make things glow? Sit around and discuss how they hit rock bottom and how they had nowhere to go until they saw the light? God I hate what they're doing. If you can't handle a storyline, don't start it people. If you think the whole Willow magic thing might get out of your control, do something else. They can't even make it work on Charmed, and that's a show devoted to chicks who do magic. Obviously, it's a hard plot to tackle and can go very, very wrong. Just something to think about, if you're thinking of staying in the storytelling biz.


It's really hard to keep track of the story through all the ranting, isn't it? Sorry. I'll reign that right on in. The spell Amy does doesn't work. [I'm shocked! Why Willow bought the whole "I'm changed; I'm sorry" act in the first place, and let Amy the evil witch have her witchy way with her, I have no idea. I mean, Amy could tell Warren was Willow, but Willow couldn't tell Amy was a backstabbing bitch?] Willow slaps her and calls her a bitch. [Oh finally, she can tell!] Willow takes off and is mean to Kennedy because she's turning into Warren. Kennedy goes back in to Amy and Amy lets slip that she knows Kennedy's an SiT. Okay, let's hold the phone here. How many-wait. No ranting. Right.


This clues Kennedy into the fact that all is not right in Denmark, and she demands to know what Amy did to Willow. Amy, by the way, has become a righteous bitch apparently. And a bitter one at that. She's mad that Willow killed people and still everyone loves her. Instead of, say, being mad at Willow for leaving her as a rat for three years when she obviously had the power to turn her back or, say, hating the writers for assassinating her character. So she hexed Willow, allowing Willow's own guilt to choose the punishment. Willow chose Warren. I'm sure there's much to say there, but I choose not to. I just want to point out, in a non-ranty fashion, that Amy never answers the question. She never says how she knew Kennedy was an SiT. Is Amy down with evil? Or does she just know cuz she's cool like that?



But back to the "action"!


Kennedy moves towards Amy threateningly, Amy says it was just fun and she wasn't going to hurt anyone and then proves the exact opposite by sending Kennedy (in what I said was a nice moment) to the Summers' backyard, in the daytime, just in time for WillowWarren to come screaming at her with a gun. By the way, WillowWarren, though I guess she's more WarrenWillow at this point, went to buy a gun. [And why even Warren-as-Willow would want his first act on being back on earth to buy a gun and relive the backyard moment of death a la I Only Have Eyes for You, I have no idea.] (Cuz Warren feels all bad and shit. And maybe it's that time again and the Sadie Hawkins dance is coming up and Warren wanted to ask Tara but couldn't because she was dead. The whole lesbian thing not being an issue for him cuz he's cool like that. And, like, because we're going back to the beginning. I guess season two counts as the beginning, yes?) [Sure, if you're bad at math. Which OK, I guess ME is.]


Can we just pause a moment here and ask if anyone else knows what the hell has happened to Amy? We went from shy, polite young Amy with a crazy mother to an Amy that dabbled in magic so she could cheat in school to an Amy that was part of a sort of Wicca group with Willow in high school. All good so far, I can assume this is normal teenage development for someone who had a crazy witch mother. Now, if we are to believe the Wrecked, during this time she was on the smack with Rack? The fuck? When? Was that why her hair went dark? Aw, stupid me, I assumed that was the evil machinations of Lady Clairol, rather than the evil machinations of evil. So apparently this nice high school girl, who shows no signs of addiction, is tripping the light fantastic with Rack in her spare time.


Then along comes the whole "burn them at the stake" moment in season three and she turns herself into a rat. [even though if she was high on evil Rack power, you'd think she could have done a little better than turning into a rat. Speaking of… if she was high on the evil Rack power, then maybe MOO wasn't so far off thinking her something other than bringer of protection spells for the slayer's birthday. Hey! Maybe the reason Willow and Amy used the same symbol for Buffy's protection spell as was on the little kids' hands is that it really was the symbol of the scary demon, not the symbol of protection, and Amy was trying to sneak evil in even then!] She remains a rat (even though Giles was with Amy when she deratted Buffy and he should have damn well known how to do it) with a brief fivesecond interlude of humanity in Something Blue, until last season when Willow got lonely and needed a friend.


Amy is deratted and is understandably confused for a bit. Great. Because we don't know about Rack yet, this is all great. But then she goes to the Bronze with Willow and shows more magical skill in her pinky than she did in the entire first three seasons, before she became a rat [Yeah, before she became a rat, she couldn't even do a love spell right]. One might think that being a rat for that long might dull your mental skills. Perhaps she watched Willow and Tara really closely. Of course, that would insinuate that she was fully cognizant of the world around her, and the fact that she didn't know Larry was gay or that he was dead or that it wasn't the same year she became a rat really sort of implies that she doesn't. So somehow, she learned lots of magic as a rat. Useful magic, like turning people into sheep and making boys into girls. And then she and Willow got bored and she took Willow to the crack house. Once again: the fuck? So Willow's floating on the ceiling and Amy's spinning like a crackwhore and it just goes nowhere. We have Amy stealing spices out of Willow's stuff because she's so hard up for a hit and then, we assume, she hit bottom. Whatever. But she's powerful enough now to hex Willow and to send Kennedy elsewhere. I take back what I said about this not being as painful as the Mulder/Scully child of stupidity. Why even bring Amy back? Why not have this be a trick of Willow's subconscious again? Or the First? Or anything but Amy?


Whatever. Willow freaks out and screams and cries and says that Warren's winning, even though Warren's dead, and she apologizes to Tara for forgetting about her when she kissed Kennedy and allowing her to be dead for that moment and like I said, it's extremely well acted. I just hate it. Kennedy then does something crasser than she did in the Bronze, she says she's got this magic figured out and it is like a fairy tale and she kisses Willow. So not only is this dumber than the snow at the end of Amends, it just proves that 19 year olds have no tact. She kisses someone openly grieving her dead loved one. Could she maybe have just talked to her? Told her she understood that she needed more time, and that it's no big? That Willow didn't kill Tara and that it was just a spell placed on her by Amy and that she could beat it? No? No? [Yeah, she didn't even mention the whole Amy thing. She just let Willow think that she brought it all on herself. And she responds to someone who is feeling guilty about kissing her and betraying the memory of her dead lover by… kissing her.]


Kennedy then helps Willow into the house and offers to make her tea and I'm sure they live happily ever after. Whatever. [It still was better than the last three episodes. Almost no grand speeches about beating evil with pure gumption. No stupid plot-contrived new and improved vampire. No Buffy getting the hell beat out of her only to ultimately triumph much in the manner of Rocky or similar. And I don't even think Spike was wearing the stupid blue shirt.]






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