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





Lessons We've Learned


Also check out:

Lessons episode recap

Quotes from Lessons


So, they're going back to the beginning. Well, that's cool, because we just wrote those season one recaps, and they'll be easy enough to retitle. Woo!

In spite of my bitter and cynical ways, I was downright giddy about the new season. [Me too! Me too! I can only mock old episodes for so long.  I needed moooooooooooore. -ST]  Sure, it had a little something to do with what I knew was coming early in the episode, but there's just something about the new season of Buffy, all shiny and full of promise. Melts right through my bitter heart. Sometimes my hope is rewarded and I get Once More With Feeling. Other times, I feel the painful stake of Adam. Or Willow the teenage witch.

We liked a lot about this episode. Sure, we spend the rest of this article mocking it, but we did mostly like it. Once we got past Dawn's hideous sweater anyway, but we'll get to that later. [I have a pet theory.  I believe that the person attempting to fill Cynthia's shoes tried to wean the fans away from their traditional fare of clashing patterns and god awful colors.  The sweater was the coup de grace. The methadone to our morphine.  Dress everyone else how she wanted, but leave Dawn to wear the requisite hideous sweater.  Distract the fans from the overall issue.  However, she thought wrong.  For one, the colors were much too tasteful.  For another, it wasn't fuzzy.  And, seriously, did she just expect us to forget about Cynthia by throwing a diamond pattern at us?  Please, as if.  For god's sake, the pants matched!  Cynthia would never go so far as to have the pants match! -ST]  

I've been reading the reaction to this episode online, by people who were unspoiled for it. I forgot that some of the stuff that happened is all surprising. I bet that made it even better. For those who weren't spoiled. I wonder what that's like. I don't wonder enough to try it though.

Anyway, we felt fewer anvils than almost any season six episode, so we didn't have to spend the episode hiding under the couch. They really seemed to beat us over the head with the "beginning" thing, but it might just seem that way to us since we've read three hundred interviews with Joss telling me that's where things are going. So, maybe we felt beat over the head before the episode even started. We do think they could have done without explicitly telling us, but all those new UPN viewers might not get the nice subtle references throughout the episode.

Check back shortly for a full episode recap, but for now, we give you the joy and the sorrow, the bitterness and the boils.


Things that disturbed ST

  • Kit.  She's pushing 25, folks.  Not 15.  Dear UPN, please learn to hire people in the appropriate generational bracket.  Thanks.  

  • Giles. The forehead was out of control.  It was, like, he saw all the press Michael Vartan's forehead was getting and just couldn't let it go.  I don't want condescending Giles, I want smarmy, British, confused-at-our-bloody-colonial-ways Giles. [I thought Giles was absolutely magnificent in all scenes. Even his forehead. He and his forehead can do no wrong. -SP] [But he was condescending Giles!  I'm not in this for the condescending, pursed brow action!  If I want that, I can turn on Alias!  You must admit, it was puckered to the point of being strained. -ST] [No. Giles is perfect. Always. -SP]  

  • Repetition. We get it, we're at the beginning.  Use a line or two more than once, no big deal.  Use a hundred old lines again, and you border on being a dumbass.  Also, Willow, we get it.  Everything's connected.  Not everything in the earth is good.  Thanks for the lesson.  *gasp*  Lesson?  Get it?  Like the name of the episode!  Get it?  Can you please stop repeating it?  Thanks.  Also also, just because the school is reopened doesn't mean it's wiggins time. The hellmouth could have been opened just as easily in the charred remains.  As a matter of fact, I believe some psycho-demons attempted that just a few short painful seasons ago.  If you don't remember, don't worry, I'm sure it'll be reused later this season.   

  • The Scoobygang redux.  Obviously Dawn's building her own posse of misfits and slackers.  So, Kit=Willow.  (only she rather wisely goes for the black color scheme, I noticed, over orange and pink.  Bold choice on Kit's part.) and Carlos?=Xander.  No, wait, I know, I know…we're back at the beginning, aren't we?

  • Anya's shirt.  Did she go Puritan on us?  Do Puritans wear see through shirts, no matter how high and chaste the collar?


Things about this episode that make SP bitter

  • Dawn's horrifying sweater. Seriously, she went dressed like that on the first day of high school? I so hope this new costume designer didn't say to herself, "hmm.. Cynthia Bergstom had those crazy hats. I need a thing too. I think I'll go with ugly sweaters!"  

  • Missing Xander. I realize that the storyline didn't leave much room for Xander, but this had been not be a sign of things to come for his character.  [But he had a suit!  And a car!  And a cell phone!  7 years of evil fighting, and they discover cell phones! -ST]

  • Anya's truly hideous blouse. With that hair and that outfit, she looked like she really had gone back to those days of which she was so happily reminiscing. Did she lose the blonde because she was brunette in her "beginning" on the show or what? Or maybe she mistook "going back to the beginning" to "going back to your roots".

  • The scrappies. I knew they were coming. I was prepared. Doesn't mean I have to like them. [That's right, say it sisterfriend.  Scrappie doo was a bane on society, and they are too -ST.]




Things that ST would give 2 snaps and a twist to, if she could snap

  • Buffy/Xander goodness. Not in a 'shipper way, in a good friends way. They actually talked, and were nice, and almost issue-free!  Fabulous.

  • Dawn. I did not hate Dawn this episode. I don't agree with non-slayer strengthy Dawn fighting vampires-what happened to the Buffy that wouldn't let her friends fight?  But that aside, I actually quite liked her when she fell off the chair screaming.  And who here never attempted to be aloofly amusing on class intro day, only to fail miserably?  Ah, high school. [I too, liked Dawn a lot more in this episode than most all of season six. A bee! She thinks a lot faster on her feet than "I thought you were in danger of smoking" Buffy. -SP] [Yeah, well, we've known that Buffy's a dumbass for a long time now, haven't we?-ST]

  • Principal What's-'is-name.  I refuse to learn it until he's lasted at least six episodes. [For those who want to name the potential snack or evil villain, it's Robin Wood. I think. Definitely not Robin Hood. -SP]  He's got big shoes to fill, what with following Snyder and all. [I'm assuming that by "big", you mean "really teeny tiny". As Xander once said to Synder, "I want to walk in your shoes. Not your actual shoes, of course. Because you're a tiny person." -SP]  He's got some things going for him.  He's also got some things going against him, like the fact that he appears to be 18 and the last two principals were eaten.  A rather alarming trend, if you ask me.  Oh, and he appears to be macking on Buffy.  Even with her mom hair.


The joy of Lessons, according to SP

  • Giles. On a horse!

  • Giles. On screen!

  • The swift and cunning turn away from the never-should-have-happened Willow as crack whore storyline. Goodbye annoying storyline! You will not be missed! [Right, because as Giles said, it's not addiction.  bah. -ST]

  • "I just want to be Willow." So do we Willow! That's who we want you to be too!

  • Buff Xander!

  • Spike's heartbreaking scenes. Of course, James Marsters always steals any scene he's in. I'm actually optimistic about the potential Spike arc this season, even though season two Evil! Spike will always hold that special place in my heart.  [As long as he keeps his shirt on, I'm all for Spike.  I mean, if they're not ever going to dust him anyway, we mine as well enjoy having him around, yes?-ST]

  • The return of the Warren! The Mayor! Dru! And the Master! Note the pointed absense of glee at the return of Adam.

  • That we (and of course by "we", I mean "the unspoiled") have no idea what the hell is going on after all that. Hell, I'm as spoiled as they come and I have no idea what the hell is going on.


Things ST is reserving judgment on

  • The clothes.  This new person is no Cynthia.  Buffy's outfit, while not something I would ever wear, was not altogether offensive.  Xander's clothes matched-a shock I'm still trying to recuperate from.  And Willow?  Willow wasn't in anything fuzzy.  I'm not sure how I feel about this.  Also, there was a distinct lack of hats…


Things of interest to SP

  • The use of quotes from previous seasons. I noticed they started doing this last season, but they really stepped it up this episode.  They also started and ended the episode with the same line, which is interesting since they're (in some form or another) planning to return to the beginning in this late season.

  • Giles! On a horse! Did I mention that already?


Also check out:

Lessons episode recap

Quotes from Lessons


Did you like Lessons? What moments gave you joy and what made you bitter? Tell us all about it in the discussion forums.