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





season seven  >  lies my parents told me


SP hated this episode [Well, hate's a strong word. I like strong words. No, I didn't hate it, really. I just had read the spoilers, and was both completely irritated by Giles lack of in-characterness and hopeful that the episode might actually be good. The episode only lived up to my first feelings about the spoilers. -SP] Me, not so much. I found it to be useless and trivial (rather than what I'm sure was supposed to be deep, meaningful and fraught with consequence), but I didn't hate it. It did lead me to wonder, however, where the fuck this season has gone. What's been done? Has anything been accomplished? And should we really expect anything, since it'd be damn near impossible for even Joss from the early seasons to dig his way out of the hole that was done by the nothingness that was the middle of the season? It's too bad, too, because this season had promise. It had panache. And then, dammit, it had SiTs. (Thankfully mostly of the missing this week-we're only momentarily saddled with Kennedy and Rona I believe.)


So this week Giles remembers that Spike has/had/may still have a trigger. Well, supposedly he remembered a bit ago and left to find out some things about triggers, which I assume involved doing a bit more than laying around the Summers' living room, watching all the military blockbusters Hollywood Video would let him rent at one time. But we don't know, because it hasn't been explained and it's just really a throwaway excuse to hide the fact that ASH is a fuddy-duddy punishing the fanbase because he doesn't want to work fulltime. Whatever, man, suck it up. SP needs you on a horse! NEEEEDS YOU!


If there's one thing I hate, it's once-stodgily-hot British men being stingy with their horseback time. [Oh me too. Me too!]


So anyway, the stingy British dude that many people are accusing of not being Giles (and fervently praying that he's not) comes back with a rock that needs to crawl into Spike's brain to, I dunno, poke around and somehow be a catalyst for Spike to remember what the really lame song means to him. And this will somehow break the triggers hold. I told you it was just a stupid excuse.


Anyway, Xander chains Spike up so they can do this, and it suddenly occurs to me that no one besides Soulful Spike, Bewasted Buffy, Gregarious Giles and Woeful Wood get any screentime here. Not that this is anything new-the only thing here slightly diverging from this season's formula is that Andrew joins the one-scene club (slightly less known and not nearly as prestigious and/or fun as the mile-high club) rather than hogging all of the Xandman's comic relief spotlight. So instead of pretending that they are characters that affect the show anymore and taking the time to recap their actions, since ME doesn't care enough to give them anything to do, I'm going to just sort of give them one line recaps of their scenes. Don't worry, they should be used to it by now.


Xander: Bemoans lack of chains last week for approximately five seconds while chaining Spike to a cot.

Anya: Drops in in a hideous pink swim cap and polka dotted shirt to bemoan Buffy's being extra forgiving with Spike. (I can only assume Emma lost a bet or drew the short straw when all the glorified extras in the credits were battling for screen time. There is no explanation for that hat.)

Andrew: Picked up the phone and told Willow that she had a call from LA from an effeminate-sounding Fred.

Dawn: Got clocked by Spike's cot when he threw it in a fit of rage or whatever Buffy's calling it these days and then later slept it off.

Willow: Performed some perfunctory, poorly pronounced spell to send the rock into Spike's brain then left for LA.

Rona/Kennedy: Hung out and annoyed me by bitching about Buffy. God they suck.

Mr. Gordo: Once again left out in the cold. That pig must have really pissed Marti off.


Right, with that out of the way, let's focus on the story now, shall we? Oh, a few other things to get this over and done with:


Anytime Spike and Wood are in a scene together, let's just assume that Wood is seething menacingly at Spike and that the production team at ME is working a bit too hard at attempting to make slash without actually making it. Come on guys, off the fence, you can't have it both ways.


Anytime Giles is in a scene, assume he is acting prissy, tired and annoyed. Also, assume he is lecturing Buffy, or preparing to lecture Buffy, on Spike's continued existence. Please try to forget or at least temporarily ignore the fact that this is the man that let Angel continue to exist and never tried to kill him, even though he had ostensibly done much worse than Spike throughout his existence, even if the flashbacks we've seen prove the exact opposite. Apparently "bad ass" and "evil" translate to "annoying, wussy long-haired sissy" at ME.


Lastly, assume Buffy looks tired and drawn out, has her arms crossed when not pummeling a vamp and is defending Spike's existence. All clear?


So we start with Nikki (but not the real Nikki from Fool for Love. Bah.) and Spike battling it out in what appears to be fake rain in what is supposed to be Central Park. Nikki, being the working mom that she is, seems to have brought Robin along with her on patrol and has stuck him behind a park bench. Spike lets her go because he doesn't want the dance to end yet. Whatever the hell that means. [It was a lame attempt at continuity with Fool for Love since the more obvious continuity of using the same actress would be too mundane. I didn't know what the hell Spike was talking about with the whole dance thing back then either. And either did Buffy, which makes me think that Spike has this whole alternate reality going on in his head and he just assumes that he's right and everyone else is wrong. He has a tendency to make these grand proclamations that everyone is supposed to believe and seriously, he's gotten so tiring that I just want to tell him to get the hell over himself already. Which is sad because he used to be one of my favorite characters. I also want to tell Buffy to get the hell over him already. Also over herself. Anyway, carry on.] People who cannot be bothered to make the vampire characters they created be what they claimed them to be when they first created them and who do not attempt to even keep history the least bit straight or even only slightly curved should not be allowed to create said characters. And that's all I have to say about that. Except that, you know, a vampire that can blithely spit out that he killed a lot of people's mothers as if it's nothing after he's supposed to be all soulful and full of guilt and who insinuated to Buffy that he's done naughty things to children would totally go after a small child hiding behind a park bench. Especially a slayer's child. And don't tell me a vampire couldn't tell the kid was there. They have super hearing and smelling and shit. Or at least they used to. Who the hell knows anymore?


So, Nikki. Wearing her coat. Spike stops his non-dramatic exit long enough to tell her he loves her coat. Ooooh, continuity! Don't get used to it. Nikki grabs Wood from behind the bench and tells him he's going to hang at Crowley's from now on because home isn't safe [even though VAMPIRES CAN'T GET INSIDE YOUR HOUSE UNLESS YOU INVITE THEM so unless Nikki has invited Spike in like the rest of Sunnydale had done by around season two, Wood should probably safe there. Whatever.] and she loves Wood, but like she's always told this 4 year old, the mission is what matters the most. So, which of those is the lie? That she loves him, or that the mission comes first? [Or maybe both! It's not like the two are mutually exclusive as Spike would like Wood to think.] I'd ponder this, but I'm busy pondering how Buffy hasn't put two and two and Wood's angry glares at Spike together to figure out that the NY Slayer Spike told her about was Wood's mom. It's not like we've seen a lot of black Slayers. It's not like a lot of them in the 70's were probably based out of NY. It just sort of seems like she should get it, you know, rather than taking Wood and Spike on patrol together with her. Which she does in the next scene. And I only mention this because the fight is supremely boring except for a little wall run thingy Buffy does, and only noteworthy because at the end as Spike and Wood have another moment that the writers are just hoping subtly screams SEXUAL TENSION, NOT THAT WE ENDORSE IT OR MEAN FOR IT TO BE THERE, BUT IT'S SORTA THERE, DON'T YOU THINK?, Buffy is in the background, straddling a vampire and just going to town on his face with her fist. It's very Faith-like, and I seem to recall Buffy lecturing Faith on her similar technique in Season Three. Is it a sign that Buffy's walking on the edge, or that the stunt coordinator was out of cool moves and didn't have the budget for another dusting this ep? I mean, I'm sure they spent the entire budget on Emma's swim cap. It looked kinda pricey.


Okay, so the next day we get some exposition in the school office about everything being back to normal but how it can't be over just because Buffy closed the shield and dear god, was the last new episode we saw really Storyteller? For fuck's sake, we've got to do something about these schedules. All in favor of the networks just fucking showing everything in a row and then using the rest of the year to show repeats and/or new shows, raise your hands. Because you know what Fox and UPN and ABC and NBC? You're not fooling anyone, we all know a series doesn't really last a year. So stop it, you're pissing me off.


Sorry, tangent there. But I've got a month between new Aliases and new Buffys and I just sort of think that's fucked up. I'm stressed out here! I need my distractions! Not repeats of episodes I barely made it through the first time! And don't give me that "you've got new Angel line"! Because you know what? That show's been sucking ass for quite awhile now, and it's time for everyone to just sort of suck it up and admit it. Sucks. Ass.


Still on a tangent. Sorry. Giles somehow knows where everyone is and walks into the office whining about the new, computer laden and bookless library. Because this is supposed to make us go "gee, that really IS Giles". Don't fall for it, folks. Would Giles wear that coat? Would he? Anyway, this is just his cute way of meeting Wood, who closes the door when Giles starts blathering away about him being a freelance demon hunter. I guess all those years of being able to openly train his Slayer in the middle of the library secretly made his skills at sneakily discussing the mission kind of dull (because, in case you missed it the ten times or so it was mentioned this ep, it's a mission. They're on missions. All of 'em. Yep. Missions.). And that's how Buffy put it? Freelance? Why? So Giles couldn't tell her that that must make Wood the son of the Slayer that Spike killed? Probably.


Anyway, he brought back a rock. Not a big rock, a little rock. That liquefies thanks to some bad spellcasting and lets Spike remember that he used to be a really bad poet with really bad hair who had a truly horrific and disturbing relationship with his TB ridden mother. Hey, I've seen Moulin Rouge, I know what the bright red blood in the crisp white hanky means. And apparently so does William, because he looks all apprehensive and shit. But he loves him his mum. She pretends to like his poetry. He talks about finding a woman some day to join their happy twosome and I shudder as he sits at her feet and leans into her as she sings--*gasp* the trigger song! *double*gasp*! Spike comes out of this memory roaring in vamp face, giving Wood the chance to glare at him ominously some more and tossing the aforementioned cot at Dawn. He says he doesn't know why the song would work because he got along famously with his mother and to let him go.


Giles, Buffy and Wood all sort of stand around and look stern-faced and pouty because Giles doesn't want to unchain him and Wood's all "his trigger still works" in a darkly ominous way (as is everything involving Wood and Spike, and yet no one figures out what's going on. It's most annoying.) and Buffy decides that Spike doesn't know anything and is harmless and unchains him, much to Giles' annoyance. Then Wood and Giles have a powwow where Giles immediately figures out who he is and Wood convinces Giles rather easily that the monster must be put down to protect the mission. Right. Kill an asset, when Giles just mentioned 10 minutes ago how they need all the help they can get. Whatever. Why Giles is so bitter at Spike shall remain ever a mystery. I sort of bet that if he wasn't in love with Buffy, Giles wouldn't give a rat's ass if he stayed or left. Which is why it's annoying. The over-protective father. We get it, we've been there, do we really need a replay of all this? It annoyed me no end when Joyce went to Angel and guilted him into leaving, even though I despised B/A, and it's bothering me no end that Giles is now doing the same thing. Only with more lecturing and nagging and plotting to have him staked. Why doesn't he just have a few toughs beat Spike up and dump him outside of town after demanding that he keep his dirty hands off his little girl? That's what any other self-respecting over-protective father would do.


Flashback after flashback, and the story basically comes out to Spike having creeped out Drusilla, the queen of creep outs, by insisting on siring his mother in the interests of them being together forever and her being all better and murdering all of London and then traveling with he and Dru and his mother thanking him for eternal non-life by turning into a raging bitch and saying some nasty things about him while pseudo-seducing him (as disturbing as it sounds), so he stakes her. But he feels really, really bad and torn up about it. And this, I think we are to assume, is what turned him into such a Billy Idol wannabe. Which is interesting. William, see, is basically the same person pre and post siring. He's a mama's boy who has no clue his poetry sucks. There's no real hint of demon in him at all at this point. He's basically the antithesis of everything we've ever been told about vampires--he's not just a demon that set up shop in his body with his memories, he's actually still William. His mother, on the other hand, acts like a demon who has just set up shop and is using its body's memories to torture its sirer. In fact, later, after Spike smacks down Wood like a little bitch, he pontificates on how he now realizes that it wasn't his mother talking that made him cry that night, it was a demon. [And if that's the case anyway, she didn't make him cry, she just made the demon who set up shop in his body cry, right? Sigh.] What this proves, I have no idea, other than that ME can't even keep their shit straight in the same scene, let alone the same script.


As already hinted at, Spike and Wood have a showdown. Because Giles has hopped on the kill Spike train (three seasons too late) and distracts Buffy by taking her to a graveyard for some "training". What she gets is a really long lecture where we learn that Buffy would now sacrifice Dawn if she had to, for the mission, and the privilege of beating up a new random vampire for 10 minutes because Giles lamely says that he doesn't want her to kill it yet. Buffy always falls for this shit. I'm embarrassed for her. I'd also like to know if she'd only sacrifice Dawn now because she went to a good place so she assumes Dawn would do the same, or if she'd feel the same if she'd gone to hell. But that would actually delve into a character's motives and psyche, and we can't have that now, can we? No, we can have pursed lips and speeches aplenty that go on forever (by the way, nice "have you HEARD my speeches?" I adore the fact that ME knows we find the speeches torturous and, rather than discontinuing them, just sort of mock them. Fuckers.) and characterizations go to hell, but we can't have an actual reason for any of it. Except, you know, it's all about the mission. It never has been before. Nope. Then it was about hair care products and cute boys. Now, on our 100th apocalypse, now we're getting to the mission.


Anyway, it takes way too long, but Buffy finally realizes that Giles is stalling her when he brings up Spike. Was Giles always this big of a dumbass? I mean, if he's going to be a dumbass, shouldn't he be a smart one? Why bring up Spike and the fact that he's a liability when you are trying to distract her from the fact that you've set him up to be killed? Why not, I don't know, talk about the First? Or something not involving Spike? Why not just hang a big sign around your neck saying SPIKE IS ABOUT TO BE STAKED IN WOOD'S PRIVATE DUNGEON OF NON-DELIGHTS, LOCATED AT 123 SUNNYDALE AVENUE. TAKE A LEFT OFF OF MAIN, GO DOWN 2 BLOCKS AND THEN A RIGHT ON SUNNYDALE AVENUE. IT'S THE 3 RD SPOOKY GARAGE ON THE RIGHT? Because that would be less obvious than Giles' approach of "hey, you know, glad to hear you'd kill Dawn for the mission. So, like, Spike, hey how about him?"


Buffy does one of her fun runs over to Wood's crib, because she still doesn't seem to drive. It really seems like it'd be good for the mission if she did, so maybe she should look into that. If it's for the mission and all.


Spike, thankfully, doesn't need her because he's able to apologize to his mother in his head once he realizes that it was the demon hurting his feelings and not her and that she loved him. She really, really loved him. He beats the crap out of Wood, who had beaten the crap out of Spike a moment before (read. The. Freaking. Manual.), rubs it in a bit that his mother never really loved him when Spike's mother really loved him and to be fair, it's not like Spike's mom had a mission or anything. He blathers on about how Nikki didn't walk away, so clearly she didn't love Wood, and not to poke holes in this or anything, because I wouldn't want to take ME's job away from itself, but was that really an option? Walking away from being the Slayer? Is there a way to say "hey, no thanks for that power. Here, why don't we give it to that girl?" Because if there was, she probably would have done it. I can only assume that she was a mother before a Slayer, and I would sort of think a presumably teenish single mother would forgo a sacred mission of doom and death to raise her child. Of course, I've tried to assume things with this show before, and look where it's gotten me. Absolutely nowhere. [And didn't Buffy try to quit all the time because she's a whiny baby, and the forces of the universe would have none of it? Even when she quits by dying? Twice?]


So Spike makes Wood cry. I really thought this scene was nicely done, I realize it may not sound like that. And by nicely done I mean well written and nicely acted, if taken as a stand-alone scene. It's when you attempt to tie it to the rest of the series that it gets annoying and blows up. I'm not talking about Spike's obvious double during the fight scenes-and hey, while I'm on the subject, for years Sophia had her hair done the exact same way as SMG. How long has this guy been doubling Spike? Can we fix his hair? Or at least get a better freaking wig? It's bad enough that his body shape is nothing like Spike's and he's used in shots where he doesn't need to be used, but the hair. It's offensive, it's done so poorly.-I'm talking about the actual plot. But I'm not going to get into it. I'll start rambling, this will never get done, people will be sad that it's not ever done, so I'm going to stop now.


Buffy gets there as Spike is leaving. Spike doesn't even leave Robin his mother's coat, the heartless bastard, and Buffy goes in to tell a beaten and bloody and crying Wood that she lost her mother so she understands, though technically she doesn't because she didn't lose her mother to someone she would later be expected to fight next to, but if he tries it again she'll let Spike kill him and then echoes his mother from the opening scene and lets him know that it's the mission uber alles. [And also that she needs Spike because he's the most powerful "warrior" (at least she didn't say champion) she's got. She's all about the power. It's the power that's important. Not who's right or wrong; good or evil. I tell you (like I rambled on about on the boards), the First is manipulating Buffy big time and has gotten her over to its way of thinking. So Spike kills a few people. He's powerful, so it's OK! Anyone who gets in the way of the power is toast. Toast!]


She then goes to stroke Dawn's sleeping head in what I assume is penance for saying that she'd kill her and shuts a door in Giles face. Because he's taught her all she needs to know. The rat bastard.




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