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season seven  >   selfless


Let it be said that no matter what I write, I think Emma Caulfield did an excellent job, especially during the final few scenes. That doesn’t mean we’re not going to mock the hell out of it, though.


In a small role this week, and even smaller top, Dawn gives Willow cute advice as Willow unpacks, one would assume from her trip across the Atlantic. So then one could also assume that this takes place the day after Same Time, Same Place? Except that Help was in between this and that, so I really have no idea how much time has passed. Nor do I care.

Dawn is giving Willow such good advice as “do what everyone else does” because Willow is going back to school.
And Dawn, being the cool conformist chick she is, obviously believes that being yourself is bad. Very bad. Of course, in Willow’s case, considering she was fairly homicidal just a few months ago, this might be a good idea. The conforming thing. Not the be yourself, homicidal maniac thing. I’d like to point out that Willow ignores Dawn’s advice with disastrous results when getting dressed for school, because nobody else in their right mind would wear that, but we’ll get to that in a bit. Oh, we’ll get to it. There’s absolutely no way we could miss it. I’d also like to note that Dawn is completely comfortable around someone who didn’t finish being not evil and who casts spells that could be deemed dangerous or at least inconvenient without even meaning to [and who, last time she was evil, was thinking of turning Dawn right back into a sparkly glowy green energy thing -SP]. But then, she’s just conforming. Like all the other Scoobs. It’s a beautiful thing, this being like sheep.


In come Buffy and Xander carrying more boxes. So, apparently, when Willow was off slacking in the “how not to be evil” class, Buffy and Xander just packed up all of her shit and put it…where? Storage? The basement? Under the sofa in hell? I know Buffy had to take back her room and symbolically become the head of the household, since the only responsible adult in the Scooby gang died, but when I switched rooms with my brothers we always moved each other’s stuff into their new room. It just seems like oddness that they would take the time to box all her stuff up and put it in storage, rather than just toss it in huge piles on the floor. I mean, she was coming back all along, right? She didn’t take everything with her to England, did she? They didn’t think her clothes were going to turn all evil and attack them in their sleep, did they? They didn’t go pack Buffy’s crap up when she tried to feed them to that demon, did they? Eh. Oddness. I suppose it gave Dawn something to do. And Buffy and Xander something to talk over. And Willow something to do other than act morose and oddly wan. So there you go. They’re bringing back her stuff.


Anyway, Buffy and Xander are talking about Anya, who Dawn thinks should try to act like everyone else. Buffy thinks Xander shouldn’t get his hopes up, Xander thinks Anya isn’t really all vengeance-y anymore, and he’s the one that drove her to it anyway. Xander is feeling all sorts of guilty, folks, in case you didn’t pick up on that. I suppose he should have thought about this whole lifetime of guilt thing before dumping Anya at the altar, but hindsight’s a bitch, right? Anyway, Xander defends Anya. Says her heart’s not really in it. Says she’s going to come ‘round. Then, of course, we cut across a room of extremely dead guys and end up on Anya, sitting listlessly in a corner in a dress that appears to be quite inoffensive (despite being covered in blood) asking herself what she’s done when obviously she’s just slaughtered a whole bunch of people. Yep. She’s coming right around.


After the credits cheerfully roll by we arrive in, um, Sweden? I don’t know, where the hell are they? Somewhere. Possibly in 880. This is the problem with doing these things by memory and being too lazy to look stuff up, I tell you what ©Hank Hill. Anya’s got herself some long brown hair and what is probably a potato sack cinched at the waist. She’s holding a bunny, and her house is just full of the little buggers. She doesn’t appear to be the least bit afraid. So we’re to assume there was some traumatizing event between being human and being annoying that involved bunnies. Can’t wait to see it. I’ll have to, though, because they seemed to have skipped that bit in the script. Of course they did. [No, no, see. Anya thought bunnies were what would make her accepted in her village. She was going to breed them, and give them away as gifts, and everyone would love her! But instead, her boyfriend cheated on her with the bar wench and everyone laughed and pointed. So, to her, the bunnies became a sign of badness. And cheating with bar wenches! Or something.] [That is so. lame. -ST]


Anya’s olde tyme puttering is disrupted by the entry of Olaf, pre-Troll. He smells of musk and blood and Anya loves the big lug. Only she’s not Anya, she’s Aud (pronounced “odd”. Ahahahaha. Get it? Get it?) Oh, and everyone’s talking in maybe something Nordic and probably not real, with subtitles that capture everything from Aud’s jealousy of the barmaid with dumps like a truck to her desire to be loved by the general populace, even if she is strange and off-putting. And here, folks, is where you’re about to take your first detour into what we like to call the land of “What the Fuck, Joss?”. Olaf mentions that the townspeople don’t like Aud because she’s strangely literal. Now, correct us if we’re wrong, and we’re not wrong, but it was implied when Anya first started hanging around Xander that she was strange and off-putting because she had just recently become human after a couple of thousand years of being a demon. Hmmm….and now we have Aud being strangely literal with her translations and putting people off. Right. However, leaving the land of “What the Fuck, Joss?” (heretofore referred to as WtFJ, except in season six, where it is known as WtFM) for a moment, let’s go back to Aud and Olaf.


Ha, ha, ha! Sweet Aud! Your logic is insane and happenstance, like that of a troll.


Olaf tells her not to worry and that he loves her, after we get a glimpse of Aud’s dark, dark heart. That look she gives Olaf when he mentions going to the pub? Not one of an innocent bunny lover. So she hugs him and tells him she loves him so much it seems she’ll burst and then we assume they get to the sex. Because I’m sure Aud was also all about the sex, since she’s Anya. Totally and completely. Unless of course we’re supposed to take Aud’s putting off of sex as a sign that Anya’s a completely different person, but I doubt it. It probably just means that Olaf’s not really a Viking after all. If you know what I mean, and I think you do. So I guess a couple thousand years of just hanging out wreaking havoc incurred absolutely no growth in her personal development. And I’m sure that’s interesting and there’s lots to say about that, but instead we see modern day Anya back in her non-revolting retro dress scrubbing the blood off of her hands in some bathroom.











Leaving our poor little conflicted vengeance demon, we join Ms. Rosenberg walking along, haranguing some poor college professor we’ve never seen before. Willow’s begging to be let back into school, and rather than argue with the admissions office like most people would do at a large university, she deems the personal approach of harassing your old professors a better way to go about things. And it seems that Willow may have somehow cheated on her exams at the end of last year—whether this was right before she went evil, after she went evil, while she was evil or during the period of time when she swore off magic forever, we’ll never know. Because it’s an “amusing” bit of throwaway dialogue and we’re not really meant to question how sweet little Rosenberg who loves herself some tests and who prides herself on what was her massive brain power could be brought to use magic to pass a class [she must have wiggled her nose in the direction of the school when she was headed over to that hill to end the world. Just in case the school survived the apocalypse, she wanted her grades to be covered]. Willow sees Anya stumbling like a druggie across the school and trots on over to say “yo”. Willow goes retro for a bit and tries to share her geeker joy over getting extra make-up tests, but it just feels empty. Anya really just doesn’t care. Oh, she pretends to. And she makes up some story about having just had lots of sex with a new boyfriend, to which Willow makes up being happy for her, but she’s not really into the whole friend thing. Not right now. Not so soon after Willow denied her being sexy. Making a fatal flaw, Anya messes with her hair, exposing a bit of blood on her hand. Willow, god bless her, follows those homicidal instincts and instantly gets suspicious of Anya’s intentions on campus. Allowing Anya to continue staggering drunkenly across the UC Sunnydale campus, Willow heads straight to the frat house. In a red shirt. A humongous, just-this-side-of-ugly necklace. A brown skirt, that may or may not be suede. Red. Fucking. Tights. And boots, possibly brown. Possibly stolen from Robin Hood and his band of merry men. But seriously. Red tights. I just don’t even know how I’m supposed to react to those.


Right. Bigger issues going on. Must. Ignore. Red. Tights.


Willow, enters le house de frat. Inside she finds lots of dead guys. Lots of ‘em. And she looks a little ill. It’s sorta refreshing to know she’s not all jaded after seven years of seeing bloody scenes and causing a few of them, ya know? She finds some girl in a closet rocking back and forth and mumbling that she takes it back. Takes what back? Why, her wish that all those stupid frat boys would know what it felt like to have their hearts ripped out, that’s what! I’m kind of confused if Anya was even invited or summoned by this girl, or if she just popped up and said “done”, when every other time she had to work the room or pretend to be a teenager in high school and hang out with a vapid cheerleader to elicit wishes, but then I’m also confused why she’d call up a big CGI spider to do the job, so I suppose I should just accept this and move on. The big CGI spider, by the way, that Anya did not wish out of there after the fact. Because it is in fact about to eat Willow’s heart. Fortunately Willow goes all black-eyed and shoots it magically out of the room. And yeah, she yells at the girl to be quiet. Ooooh, she’s evil when she’s working the mojo. Oooh, aaah.


She calls Buffy, who is really busy balancing a pencil cup on her head when she’s wasting valuable “harass the crazy vampire in the basement” time [she's doing this balancing act in an open cube even where everyone can see her being a loon! Maybe I should try that at work to make people even more scared of me than they already are. Although my NSYNC marionette dolls and Buffy action figure, complete with crossbow and stakes, does a pretty good job of keeping coworkers away]. I suppose she figures since she already got it in that day that her duties are done. But I don’t think interrupting Spike’s fantasy that Buffy’s dressed in white and cares enough about him to speak in soothing tones while caressing his head and listening to him talk about Drusilla with her bitchy self clad in black really counts as putting in a full days work.


She told him to get out of the basement, if you’re interested. Not because he’s severely unbalanced and a danger to the kids in the school, if you were wondering. But because it’s bad for him. There’s evil down in them thar parts. And he should listen, cuz she’s the law. Yippee I O kay ay.


So Willow tells Buffy about the beast and Buffy and Xander go hunt for it. Somehow they know where to go. And there’s some silly stuff where Xander gets pushed out of the way and then I’m really glad to see some Slayery talents displayed as Buffy just sort of tosses the axe up and along comes the spider with an axe through the gut. All dead.



Oh, no, don't feel bad. I, uh, I don't talk to people much. I mean, I talk to them, but they don't talk to me. Except to say that your questions are irksome, and perhaps you should take your furs and your literal interpretations to the other side of the river.

And before all of this, we had another flashback. But it just didn’t jibe with my narrative flow, I’m sure you understand. A mob chases Olaf the now troll while Aud watches from afar. The mob says funny things, like that the troll is doing an Olaf impression and that they should pelt it with various fruits and meats. So, basically, everyone speaks like Aud and is annoying like Aud, but nobody likes Aud because of how she speaks and acts. Got that? Aud, looking either sad or empty or both, watches Olaf chase people down with a hammer and probably wonders, like me, when he gets sent to his little troll dimension and becomes a god with a hammer. D’Hoffryn interrupts our reverie, however, and Aud doesn’t seemed too surprised to see him. In fact, she reacts not at all to his blue skin and horns. They were talking rather laxly about trolls earlier, though, so maybe demon sightings were more prevalent in 880. Anyway, Aud is told by D’Hoffryn over and over and over that while her name may be Aud, she’s IS Anyanka [and he tells her in English, rather than the freakish made-up language she was speaking before. And she answers him in English. Because now that she's turned Olaf into a troll, she doesn't speak freakish made-up language anymore. Obviously]. Whatever. Anyanka apologizes for her lack of social graces, saying she doesn’t talk to people much because they tell her to take her literal interpretations and shove them where the sun don’t shine. Except she wasn’t literal when she was a demon before, when she was a-courting Cordelia. She was normal. She spoke excellent, non-stilted English. She understood how to interact with people. She didn’t ask annoying questions. She didn’t dance with money. Perhaps she needed her special demon powers for that? Eh. Anyway, she accepts the job, saying all men deserve it, and D’Hoffryn admits that that’s where he was going with the whole “only to those that deserve it” vengeance thing.


Willow, meanwhile, having cleverly sent the Slayer after the CGI spider, interrupts Hallie and Anya bonding. Which is too bad, too, because I think Hallie almost had Anya over that whole guilty conscience thing. Willow rudely orders Hallie out. Anya looks awfully prepared for a bitchslapping. I find myself wondering where Anya lived when she was a vengeance demon before. And why she’s still in this apartment. Is it a sad cry for the people that pretended to be her friends before to let her back in? Probably. Sad, huh? Willow, of course, gets none of this. I guess I’m just deeper than that bad ass Wicca who’s connected to everything. Yep.


You're here to- Well, that's great, Willow. Flayed anybody lately, have you?


Willow tells Anya to stop. Anya says Willow doesn’t understand, that Anya’s a vengeance demon, those frat boys had it coming for embarrassing the poor girl, and then Willow goes to tell on Anya. But she pretends not to enjoy it. Good for her. She does a pretty good job, looking all morose sitting in Buffy’s living room in her red. Fucking. Tights. No, I know. We’re pretending they’re not there. I just. I can’t help it. It’s like waving the red cape in front of the damn bull. I can’t believe Xander and Buffy aren’t reacting the same way I am. Or, wait….wait…maybe they ARE! Maybe that’s why everyone’s acting so off in this scene! Which I shall now recap for you!


Hey, no one has ever accused me of being linear. Perhaps SP should be writing this thing. [Hmm... that would require actual work and stuff. I think non-linear, someone other than me writing would be best.]


The scene: Xander and Buffy enter rather jovially talking about the monster, wondering where it came from. Willow greets them, morosely as previously stated, with “I know where it came from.” Xander gets all hysterical and wants to know why Willow didn’t tell them, which is really besides the point. But Xander’s in guilt and possible love, so he’s forgiven. Buffy declares that she has to kill Anya, and rather unconvincingly says she doesn’t want to, but she has to. She’s the law, she’s making a list and she’s checking it twice, gonna find out who’s naughty in a good way and who’s naughty in a “Buffy’s decided it’s bad” way. Demons, humans and vampires with souls who are no longer boning her tremble in fear. Xander pleads with Buffy, saying that Anya’s one of her best friends. Because, yeah. After Xander broke Anya’s heart, Buffy and Willow were over there with tubs of ice cream and chick flicks. Oh, wait, no. That didn’t happen. They weren’t friends. Anya was the girlfriend they tolerated because for some reason they wanted to keep Xander’s carpenter ass around. But it doesn’t matter, anyway. Buffy’s thought about it, yo. Anya’s going down. Xander accuses her of being one cold mama. Willow just kind of sits there. It’s all very compelling, I assure you.


No, of course not. You know, if there's a mass-murdering demon that you're, oh, say, boning, then it's all gray area.


Buffy also reminds them that she killed Angel. I cheer up at the memory. But she keeps going. I get bored. She goes on rather clumsily, in my opinion, to berate them for cheering her on. She brings up Xander giving poor little her the message “kick his ass” from Willow. Four or five years too late, guys. But whatever. Because it doesn’t matter. Years and years and years of a debate on message boards, oooooh—the lie, and it’s all wrapped up with a “hey, I never said that” from Willow, a moment of panic in Xander’s eyes and absolutely nothing from Buffy. It’s odd. And does nothing but throw fans a ridiculous bone of misplaced continuity, but eh. Of course, maybe it’ll come up again in a later episode and I’ll have to compose an ode of my wrongness, but I’m not going to start rhyming just yet. Either way, Xander storms out after Buffy tells him to find another way. Buffy then grabs a big sword and storms out. Willow doesn’t storm out. She can’t. She just can’t. Instead she storms upstairs, grabs the D’Hoffryn pendant and summons his demon ass to talk about Anya. Because everyone knows what’s best for Anya but Anya.


Somewhere in all of this we saw Anya and Hallie in 1905 in Russia. Anya started that little Russian upheaval granting a scorned woman’s wish! Isn’t that funny? She’s all business, of course, wanting to move on to the next scorned woman, but Hallie wants to go have some fun. Poor, poor Hallie. She should’ve run and had her fun. Basically what we’re supposed to get from this scene is summed up in Anya’s last line “Vengeance is what I am.” You’re supposed to be picking up on this whole theme of Anya needing to be something (Olaf’s woman, vengeance, Mrs. Xander Harris, vengeance again, etc), by the way. It’s sort of the whole point of the episode. Well, that and putting Emma Caulfield in as many different wigs and period costumes as possible.


Xander finds Anya tenderly touching blood stains on the wall of the frat house. For some reason, the police have yet to be called. There are jokes to be made about the fuzz and frat boys, but that’s just poor taste. Xander makes some snide remark, Anya makes a snide remark about everyone caring so much now she really should have slaughtered people earlier. Ah, so sad. So true. No one ever really seems to get help around the Scoobs until they’re off murdering people. Perhaps the Scoobs should look into preventive care? Have weekly hug sessions? Therapy? A security blanket to calm them down? Friends that care all the time? Where was I? Oh, with Xander and Anya. Xander tries to get her out of there, but if Anya really wanted out of there, she’d be out of there. Instead, she seems to kind of not really care that Buffy is on her way over with a really big sword. And not a single person will stop and question Buffy on her walk over. I so love Sunnydale.


Buffy arrives, Anya demons out and pushes Xander away and so begins one of the lamest fights ever in this show’s history. It totally eclipses the awfulness of the fight between Buffy and Toth in The Replacement. No suspense. No surprises. Buffy did very nicely apologize to Anya before pinning her to the wall with a sword through her heart, which could be considered above and beyond the call of duty, considering how Anya taunted her during the fight. (Some say this is a sign of Anya looking for death as her way out. I say that it was just Anya’s cry for help. She wanted some love, dammit. Willow went all evil, and she got some love. Where’s Anya’s love? It’s a cry for help, except instead of cutting herself or composing odd poetry, she ripped the hearts out of a few frat boys. Potato, potahto.)


This is getting to be a pattern with you, Buffy. Are there any friends of your left you haven't tried to kill?


We then flash back, again, except this time it’s fairly recent. It’s supposed to be during Once More With Feeling, however Anya has hideous blond hair and they appear to not be in Xander’s apartment. I think the truly awful song was supposed to distract you from these things. I’ll save you the trauma of having to watch it and just tell you that the song is about Anya becoming Xander’s Mrs.. Because she needs it to feel like she is someone. Got that? Out of my misery comes a really nice scene cut—Anya out on the balcony in her wedding dress ecstatically singing her little lungs out about being Xander’s Mrs. directly to silence as Anya stands, pinned to the wall with a tear falling down her cheek, seemingly dead. Of course, anyone with half a brain (not Buffy, apparently) remembers Hallie being stabbed through with a sword and her promptly hopping back up again and declaring that you can’t kill a vengeance demon that way. How you kill one is really never said. But this is not it. However, it was a nice cut. See, I can say complimentary things.


Anya comes to and goes after Buffy with her own sword. Anya chides Buffy, saying she should know that she can’t kill Anya that way, to which Buffy disturbingly responds that she’s just getting started. Seriously. I’m disturbed. What is up with the Buff? How many people did Angel kill? Before and after Buffy? And did she go there with the intent to make it slow? What are we supposed to be getting from this? That Buffy’s gone crazy?


Part two of the most boring Buffy fight ever commences. There’s some running, some jumping, some stabbing mixed with some leaping and then Xander rushes in all gallantly and is once again shoved to the floor. Then everyone’s shoved to the floor when D’Hoffryn pops on in. He realizes that no one’s asked Anya what she wants. Well, first he picks on Buffy’s method of solving problems, then he asks Anya what she wants. Anya wants to take it back. This seems to be a problem. Not that it was a problem when Giles broke Anya’s pendant in The Wish ( a completely different pendant, btw. But since Anya was a completely different character then, that makes sense. And yes, that is a dig at the writers, thanks for noticing.) and you’d think that Anya would know that she just needs to break her necklace or have someone break it for her, since it’s probably against the vengeance demon code and all, but it’s not even addressed. Because now it’s gonna take the life and soul of a vengeance demon. Anya gallantly says do it, as she’s not sure who she is or if she can be saved when really someone should have gotten scorned and then just wished her human, and D’Hoffryn sheds that nice guy image everyone seemed to be falling for and fries Hallie.


Bet we didn’t see that one coming, eh? We did, but we’re spoiler whores. But we bet you weren’t expecting that one. Yep.


Anya is really upset about that. Ah, the power of the wish. D’Hoffryn verbally bitch slaps Anya, reminding everyone who he is, tosses out that really annoying phrase “from beneath you it devours” and all I need is some young lady to mysteriously run through and be taken down by men in black robes to just wrap this whole season up right here, right now. D’Hoffryn goes away, Anya leaves, Buffy goes to check on the frat boys and generously tells Xander to go after Anya, who wants to be alone. But really, she wants a hug. She does. She just thinks she needs to be by herself, to find herself. Finding yourself is a huge myth, people. Don’t fall for it. Anya tearfully asks Xander if she’s nothing and Xander tells her not to be a dope. She then clings to being a dope and asks Xander if she’s a dope.


Oh, of course you are, Anya. Of course you are.





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