beginning | blinding torment | boils | lies | making me bitter | evil compounds evil | blah blah bity blah
season seven > storyteller
Previously: Buffy had really short hair and although that was a big enough deal to do a whole show on it, it seemed to grow long again by the next episode and we never heard another word about it. Willow had really dark hair to let us know that Brunettes Are Bad. Just Like Drugs. And Sex. Jonathan and Andrew learned how to speak Mexicoan. Jonathan was too anemic to open the seal and Andrew learned to bake. A bunch of whiny Buffy wannabes came to crash. Well, they've got the whining down already, I'm not sure what else they need to know to answer the What Would Buffy Do question. Spike killed Wood's mom and Wood was all sad and vengeful.
We open to Andrew's version of Masterpiece Theatre. Andrew goes on about getting caught up in the story: the adventure, heroics, blah blah, dusty books. You see, he's always been a fan of stories. He's into superheroes and Jedi and guys who build anatomically correct robots. He's seen himself on a hero's journey of discovery, not a dorky meander into evil and murder. It's a glimpse into Andrew's soul. You know, we really never asked for a glimpse, thanks anyway.
Here's the thing about Andrew. If I can forget about his character last season, and pretend this is a whole new character, he's not so bad. Just like I can really like Wesley and think he's hot now if I make like season three Wesley never existed. And if I can forget that Andrew's endearing, dorky behavior used to be reserved for Xander, and that Andrew's takeover of the role has effectively cut all screen time for one of the actual main characters of this show, then I can find said endearing behavior endearing rather than intrusive.
But most of the time, I remember that he was a sad pathetic little boy who was eagerly willing to kill Buffy and anyone else if it meant that he could be cooler. That he only recently stabbed Jonathan to death - not under the black-out, don't remember anything control of the First, but on the First's offhand suggestion. That he helped Warren cover up the murder of his ex-girlfriend-turned-the sex slave. And that Buffy is willing to let him "redeem" himself for all this by baking when she's letting Faith rot in prison for not much more. Possibly not any more. (Of course, Faith fucked with her boyfriend -- and fucked her boyfriend, now that I think of it -- so possibly that was clouding Buffy's judgment in weighing baking against prison in Faith's situation.) [Oh, so if Andrew were to go after, say, Spike right now, she'd willingly stick him through with a sword? That'd be cool. -ST]
So, I'll just get all that off my chest, think of Andrew as some brand-new character who's popped in to make some funnel cake, and enjoy the episode.
Andrew begins telling the story of Buffy. Apparently she's taken Warren's place in the who should Andrew hero-worship now question. Although I'm sure she hasn't replaced Warren in Andrew's heart. Xander has. Or possibly Scott Bakula.
I guess I should interject here again. I know a lot of people find meta comments annoying, but I kind of like them. And I like the nods to the fourth wall (which, in Joss and Marti's case, is also known as the Internet, although apparently Marti avoids it now since it makes her cry) and to previous episodes. So, unlike others I've seen commenting around the boards, I'm not overly bitter about the fact that this episode is one big inside joke for the writers. I'm overly bitter about enough other things, believe me.
Turns out, Andrew has been following Buffy around with a video camera (so that's how we've been able to see what she's been up to all this time!). She's not too happy about the whole thing. Andrew asks a question that's been debated for years on the Internet, wondering why vampires show up on video. The writers started this little joke during Halloween, when Spike had some minions taping Buffy taking on some vampires in a pumpkin patch so he could study up on her. The writers have been laughing at our perplexed discussions ever since. And now, the writers don't actually answer the great debate, they just laugh at us for continuing to ask it. And that they've had Andrew ask it should probably tell us what they think of us for continuing to ask it. [So is it also telling that at the beginning when Andrew is in Masterpiece Theater in his head, regaling us with tales of Buffy, that he's really in the bathroom? Sitting on the john? What, exactly, are the writers saying there, hm?]
Andrew meta-babbles on about the show. Buffy is a tragic hero, she slays the vampires, saves the world, sacrifices all. Thanks guys, we've been watching the show for seven years now. We get it.
Anya's hair is remarkably 50's housewife in this episode. As are her clothes. Possibly there's a message there. But I doubt it. Anya then reminds us that the big apocalypse is coming in May and everyone's going to die! Again, watching the show for seven years. Thanks for that.
Then, for those newly joining the show, Andrew gives us all a refresher, featuring another big board! Maybe Office Depot gave him a bulk rate.
We get Giles' speech from Welcome to the Hellmouth about how the hellmouth, located under the high school, attracts all kinds of demons and makes strange things happen. Although Andrew's version of the speech is a teeny bit different from Giles'. He mentions the newly added popup door, but brushes over the fact that he activated it. He draws pretty pictures so I think it all evens out. It's a good thing Andrew has taken over Giles' role on the show (as well as Xander's and the viewers') since Giles once again is completely missing with absolutely no explanation. You'd think with all the time for winking and drawing, someone would have time to at least mention him. I'd even be happy with a flashback to him riding a horse!
Andrew gets all the slow viewers up to speed and explains the First, and the bringers, who are "very mobile for blind people." (This is all very similar to what Joss did with the Willow and Tara relationship. He started out subtle with the spells and the glances, but he felt some viewers just didn't get it, so he got out the big board and drew pictures. "See, they're gay! They have hot lesbian girl-on-girl lovin'. They don't like boys. They like girls. Because they're gay!")
Andrew then brings the video camera to breakfast, where we zero in on Xander for the first time all season. We learn that he's the "the heart of the slayer machine", in case we missed Restless.
Spike comes in from the cheery morning sun, miraculously un-singed. Must be due to the coat of Wood's dead mother that he's sporting again. Also, he's smoking, to remind us all that he's all ambiguous again after last week, and may in fact, be going evil again (or possibly to taunt us that he's not smoking from the burning sun). If only we cared enough to, er, care.
Andrew introduces all the new viewers to the gang. He alludes to the hot sex between Spike and Buffy and attempts to answer our questions about why Buffy likes chilly sex so much by claiming Spike's room temperature. Nice try guys, but I don't think so. Because Marti still works on the show, Spike's shirt is off. Again.
Buffy then speaks for Emmy voters when she says that filming Buffy the Vampire Slayer is idiotic and a waste of time. That must have been Joss's contribution to the episode. If he remembers the show's still running, that is.
Buffy starts in again on another boring speech. Andrew speaks for every single one of us in the frickin' world when he thankfully and mercifully cuts away to say that Buffy's motivating speeches tend to get a little long. Andrew thinks we'd rather hear about him than sit through the speech. And I think I speak for everyone, even the hardest of hard core Andrew-haters, when I say he's right. What does it say when the writers admit that the primary plot point of the last four episodes - the hella irritating Buffy Speech - isn't worth sticking around for?
Andrew reminisces about his days with the trio. He was a supervillain, the brains of the operation. And we see where his baking skills come from. He was a master of chemistry. Jonathan thought he was cool! Warren thought he was cute! All he wanted was to make Buffy magnetic, it was Warren who wanted to therefore send metal knives in her direction. I wish my memory was like Andrew's. When I think back on high school, my memories sure wouldn't include bad 80's perms, I tell you what.
Willow and Kennedy are all snuggly, and really, who cares. It may be girl-on-girl action, but it is in no way hot. Andrew mentions that Willow and Kennedy have been having a rough time, since Willow sucked Kennedy's life force from her and all, but I care so little about them as a couple that I barely remembered they were an item, much less having trouble. [And how very lazy of them to completely gloss over Kennedy's little snit fit last week when Willow went brunette again. And how it's not even touched on that Willow might be thinking hey, this is a bad idea. Because she's young and immature and annoys SP and ST. Come to think of it, that might be why the little snot is still around.]
In Andrew's version of history, he successfully blocked all of Willow's naughty black magic. I kind of miss evil Willow. This good Willow, can't do spells for fear of turning brunette, is sorta wearing on me, truth be told.
Buffy heads to the high school and it's season one all over again! A girl starts to disappear because no one notices her, but Buffy, having been there, done that, just smacks her in the face. See! People notice you! It's only to smack you around, but still it's something! (Such wonderful life lessons we all can learn from Buffy.) She then tries to keep a kid from exploding by suggesting his friends give him a foot rub. Note: that tactic doesn't work quite as well as the smacking. [Hang on a tic. Did anyone actually explode? There was that whole internal combustion burning up from the inside thing, but that was because of witchcraft, yeah? So who blew up? Literally?] [No one actually. Nor did the mirror ever tell anyone that they were ugly. I think the writers just threw those other things in there, grouped them into the whole "we've all seen this before" category, and hoped we wouldn't notice. Oh, we notice.]
I want to point out Buffy's shirt here. It's completely open in the back, and it looks as though Buffy is wearing a big Ace bandage around her midsection. Or possibly a beige back brace. I'm pretty sure it's some kind of padding for when she gets knocked into things, rather than an actual fashion accessory, so that's either really sloppy on the director's part, or it's another nod to the show's production staff. Maybe they're still trying to keep up the façade that SMG does her own fight scenes. "She has a brown belt and she wears a back brace!" [Whatever it is, it's highly appropriate counselor wear. Can't get those pesky teenage boys in to talk about their problems? Not a problem! Strap on this little number and they'll be begging for your office time!]
Buffy runs in to Wood and he's all whiny because he got hit by a rock. Dude, if the early seasons are back, just be glad you didn't get eaten by a wild pack of hyena students. Buffy and Wood start talking about how it's all hellmouthy, right in front of a school secretary. Way to be stealthy there.
Buffy explains the premise of the show for the slower viewers out there. See, there's this hellmouth. And it's over the school. And it's all supernatural. So, like if someone feels invisible to everyone, they sorta become invisible. And say, someone really feels like throwing a rock at the principal. One day, they just go ahead and throw the damn rock already. She mentions the swim team fish monsters and prom night demon dogs, but I don't know if those are really the best examples of what she's talking about. It's not like the swim team said, "hmmm... I'm really feeling like a fish today", and then turned into them. But whatever. The point is that the writers are at least attempting continuity, so we should give them props for that.
[Well, when you think about it, they were doing the best they could with the lame excuse that was given. The hellmouth percolating? What the hell are they supposed to do with that? I mean, the hellmouth attracts evil stuff, granted, but it has never really been responsible for the goings on, except maybe the invisible girl. Think about it, everything else that's happened has been because someone else did something. Usually something bad. And borderline evil. They hyena people were because the zoo dude had no life, the mayor turned into a snake because he did dark rituals and stuff, etc. It's not the hellmouth. The hellmouth is actually, if we are still to believe season one, a rather silly amalgamation of tiny mouths on long necks that like to nip at Willow's heels. So, see, not their fault.]
Andrew continues to take the part of the viewing public (hopefully freeing Xander's part for Xander), by commenting that Dawn is all sweet and youthful, but used to be the key, whatever the hell that means. And he plays the part of viewer as well as any of us, as he completely ignores Willow and Kennedy making out on the couch because they have the least amount of spark of any couple in the history of couples. With all the meta commentary the writers are doing this week, does this mean that they're acknowledging the completely lacklusterness of Willow and Kennedy's relationship? I can only hope.
Wood notes that the hellmouth's energy is getting all "focus-y" and Buffy metas that the world should be careful or we'll all start talking like her. And that reminds me that we need to upload our handy-dandy dictionary. You can bet focus-y will be there. Along with stripey. And blah blah scone.
Turns out, it's the one year anniversary of Xander leaving Anya at the alter. Dumbass. Sadly, this reminds me that it must be the one year anniversary of one of the worst Buffy episodes ever. The first episode that I actually deleted from the Tivo. Xander and Anya still love each other, Xander thinks he did the right thing by leaving her standing there in the white dress, and hello. Xander. Maybe you shouldn't have gotten married. But leaving her there at the alter? Possibly one should not tell the one left that was the "right thing." Just a hint.
Buffy and Wood go down to stare at the seal. She thinks they should bury it back. Wood doesn't think it wants to stay hidden, although it doesn't appear he's tried. He neglects to mention that time he found a dead body down here and went and buried it in secret by the light of his car. [Which was just one more completely stupid, useless moment-a sacrifice to the evil fairy of misdirection, if you will. You know, we should really count those up this season. I bet, when totaled, that we could have gotten an entire other episode out of wasted, "oooh, are they or aren't they and who the fuck cares" moments. You owe us, ME. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOWE US.]
Wood decides to go hang out on top of the seal, and seal-influence-y meta babbles about how all the scoobies have been evil at one point or another. Buffy claims she's never been evil and Wood thinks that you're evil if you're doing evil, if you know what he means, and I think you do. And actually, although Buffy is often whiny and seldom selfless, she's never really been evil, even as a vampire. All the others however, mostly have. Xander had the whole hyena thing. Even Giles has his dark (and oh so sexy) past.
Spike acts all scary for the camera, once again going back to Restless. He poses. He yells. He still has the cigarette and the coat. It's all very dramatic.
Xander and Anya are on the do-you-still-love-me go round. It's all very touching, and yet at the same time creepy since Andrew's apparently watching it all on repeat (and repeat) and seeing himself in the role of Anya.
While Wood and Buffy are trying to get Andrew to reveal the mysteries of the seal (although why he would know anything beyond "Warren-slash-the-first told me to go there, dig it up, and stab Jonathan; I did" is beyond me.), some high school kids are discovering the lure of the seal for themselves.
And now we're in Mexico, back when Jonathan was still Andrew's future stabbee. Andrew and Jonathan are having some shared dreams. Starring the cheese man, as most shared dreams do. Oh the cheese man. You wore the cheese, it did not wear you.
Buffy and gang are trying to get Andrew to talk. The gang and Kennedy, I should say. Why the hell is Kennedy the boss of everyone now? And why does she have to be involved in everything? Why does she have to haunt and torment me? Why?
Back in Mexico, Andrew is doing the same shtick on Warren-slash-the-first as he did with Jonathan-slash-the-first when he thought the First wanted to see Buffy's underwear but actually he wanted to see the gun. Only this time it's nifty demon weapons and the super special stabby knife that the First wants Andrew to use on Jonathan. Andrew could seriously use some new material.
Andrew isn't sure he wants to kill Jonathan, since after all, Jonathan offered to buy him a burro. Just go with it. This is one of the "light, comedic" episodes.
And in case you don't believe, make note of the next "we are as gods" scene, with the evil trio frolicking with harps in a field of sunflowers. With a pile of gold bars. (That's the writers making sure we know this is pure comedy gold. As if we wouldn't notice that for ourselves.)
Willow decides they need to look at the knife. Andrew's been conveniently storing it in the kitchen with the rest of the utensils. Andrew says he saw carving on the knife, but he just thought it was a pattern. Of course, once Kennedy (why is she there?!) brings him the knife, he barely glances at it and decides it's demon writing. That he can easily read. (Is that the writer's nod to sloppy writing this season?) [No, that would have been if Dawn had decided it was demon reading that she could easily read. Because she used to be a key. And stuff.]
Wood, Spike, Buffy, and Andrew head to the school to check out the seal. The school's all riot-y and burn-y. Andrew, again, takes on the viewer's role as he comments on the sexual tension between Wood and Spike.
Let's review: Xander and Anya who have been split up for a year after Xander left Anya at the alter - more spark than Willow and Kennedy; Wood and Spike who hate each other, both because Wood is dating the girl Spike used to roll under the rug with and because Spike killed Wood's mom - more spark than Willow and Kennedy; Andrew, who is gay, and Dawn, who recently was willing to kill Andrew because she found him so annoying - more spark than Willow and Kennedy.
The kids attack our little band of heroes, although for someone reason, not Andrew, I guess because someone had to hold the camera. Andrew and Buffy head down to the seal. Andrew tells Buffy a couple of versions of the whole stabbing Jonathan thing to see which one she likes better. Turns out, neither.
When they get there, they find those pesky kids are still hanging around. And we find out where bringers come from! I always wondered about that. Turns out they start out as regular high school students, are lured by the promises of a freaky evil seal in the basement of the school, worship for a while, then carve their own eyes out! Good times for everyone! [Aw, but this brings up a tricky question. Buffy's always prided herself on not killing humans, no matter how bad (i.e. Warren) or annoying (i.e. Warren). And here she's been running all around town, slaughtering Bringers left and right. Shouldn't she be calling the sheriff about now and asking them to round up their posse? Bring the baddies in, see that they get a fair trial and that our justice system locks them away for life? Shouldn't she be turning herself in for killing humans? Or if they're carrying big knives and have sewn up their eyes, does that mean they're fair game? But then, even so, knowing that they may be innocent people possessed by the seal-and hey, that seal's been buried for quite some time so where'd those other bringers come from?--shouldn't that change her 'slaugher first, take prisoners later' approach? And why hasn't she tried to capture one and interrogated it? Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy? Oh hell, why do I care? Carry on.] [It's best just not to question these things.]
Anya and Xander seem to be all naked in a bed in Buffy's basement. My first question is what happened to Xander's apartment? Wouldn't it be less full of young, impressionable SiTs? My second question is whose bed is that? Since it's in the basement, I assume that it's Spike's, since he's the only one who seems to live down there, and if so, they slept together in Spike's bed? My third question is, they stopped long enough to light a bunch of candles? Who does that really? Or is that question a sign of my lack of romantic nature?
They complain that Spike's chains aren't up anymore, so I'm guessing that is Spike's bed. Good thing Spike is busy beating up students back at the school and doesn't want to come home and go to sleep or anything.
Anya and Xander decide that was their one last time and now they can move on, but Xander doesn't seem too convinced. I would feel all bad for him, but then I remember about how he left Anya at the alter and made me suffer through one of the worst episodes ever, and I have no sympathy. [But it's so stupid. They just went through the previous scene of do you still love me? Of course I do. Why did they make us sit through that if they were just going to shag and be done with it? And what the hell is the point? Was it not obvious to everyone in the audience that it was OVER? I realize that Anya and Xander need screentime, but we meant USEFUL screentime.]
Spike and Wood fight together to ward off the kids, and then Wood picks up a convenient stake as to finally get his revenge on his mother's killer. Spike has other plans. Buffy fights all the newly carved up bringers, who aren't quite so blind and mobile as the old school ones.
Buffy holds up the big knife and tells Andrew that his blood will close the seal. He goes on about redemption, she goes on about stories, and responsibilities, and it would be truly sad and touching if I weren't so distracted by her ugly earrings and really glossy lips. She says that good people are going to die, "maybe me" and I really was expecting her to add "again". In my head, she does. It's another big dramatic Buffy speech about we're not all going to make it, since every episode needs one, and we cut away from the one earlier.
Andrew cries, realizes he's not in a story, gets all sad that he killed Jonathan and dammit if his lame-o tears don't deactivate the seal. As I mentioned on our boards, I so wish that Andrew would have realized that he could never make up for what he'd done, but he could at least undo some of it, grabbed the knife out of Buffy's hands, and stabbed himself. Without crying. Then he'd be dead and the seal would still be open. That would have been funny. Sadly, we instead learn that tears make everything better. If only the world cried more, it would be a better place!
[So now I'm confused. Is the seal permanently closed or just closed for repairs? Is the First effectively blocked off from its pez dispenser? If so, why waste the budget on the really stupid scene of all the ubervamps last week, as if it was unavoidable? Are all problems in the Buffyverse so easily solved? If so, why can't we solve the enigma of why the hell Dawn is still around? Or Anya's hair? Or a myriad of other things that are just sort of laying around, stagnant, waiting for the end? Or is this that it's really closed and it's another meta-comment on the writer's part on all the tears we, the fans, have been shedding lately and how they realize they made huge errors when coming up with "interesting" plot lines this year, and this is them, making it up to us? Trying to fix it? So, just like Buffy showed mercy to Andrew, we are supposed to show mercy on the writers and not sacrifice them to the gods of stupidity and hate? Or am I reading too much into this?]
With the bad blocking it's hard to tell, but it seems that the Spike/Wood fight is broken up by another student attack, which is then broken up by the seal deactivating. It's unclear if Spike just is too polite to mention that Wood tried to stake him, or if he thought Wood was just being influenced by the seal. Maybe we're supposed to think Wood was influenced by the seal. Who knows because they inexplicably don't mention it and wander off.
Later, Andrew starts to tell the real story, but decides to turn off the camera. Just like ME's turning off the cameras for a whole month, since it's no longer sweeps. At least we get the mutant enemy guy singing the "we are as gods" song. That guy should have his own show.
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