by Billie Doux
Buffy: "Oh, my god. What happened?"
Willow: "I think we're under attack... why are you naked in bed with Satsu?"
Xander and Renee are on the castle battlements. Even after noticing that there are wolves down below scouting the perimeter, romantic vibes are in the air and Renee gets Xander to ask her out. Cut to Buffy, post-really-good-sex, in bed with... Satsu. Cut to Willow flying with Andrew, who is of course quoting Superman I with himself in the role of Lois Lane. Willow drops Andrew at the castle. A woman, whom we later learn is named Kumiko, attacks Willow from behind -- in mid-air.
Buffy and Satsu have the "talk." Buffy had a great night and a good time but she doesn't plan on making it a permanent thing and she doesn't want anyone to know. At this point, practically everyone stumbles into the room, one at a time, and expresses shock:
-- Xander to tell Buffy about the wolves ("Oh, Merciful Zeus!" "Oh, my eye. My burning, beautiful eye");
-- Renee, asking if she should sound the alarm;
-- Andrew, in order to tell them that he just saw a dozen wolves in the hall;
-- Giant Dawn, who is peering in the window;
-- Willow, who crashes through the ceiling and plummets to the floor.
Apparently, there's a new faction of Japanese goth vampires that can turn into wolves, panthers, bees, or even fog, and they are invading the castle. Two of the ninja vampires turn into fog and rematerialize in the Slayer armory. Buffy, in hastily donned sleep gear, engages them, but the one called Raidon turns into a panther, grabs the Scythe in his jaws and takes off with it, while the other vamp literally vanishes in a puff of smoke. Raidon the panther smashes out of a window to the ground and passes the Scythe to Kumiko, who flies off with it.
The fog jogs Buffy's memory. She looks right at Xander, who says, "Aw, crap." In the last few panels, Xander and Renee travel by helicopter to another castle, Xander asks Renee to look out for him in case the guy makes him wonky, and then Xander meets... Dracula. And calls him "master."
Fluffy fun, for the most part. Gotta love French farce, with absolutely everyone barging in on Buffy with Satsu. You know, I was just starting to think they were finally putting Buffy with Xander. Now I'm starting to wonder if they're going to put Buffy with Willow. But I really can't see that happening. Besides, this whole situation feels oh, so familiar. Buffy knows that Satsu is in love with her, and knows that she will probably never return Satsu's feelings... but she slept with her, anyway. This is exactly what she did to Spike. Come on. If Buffy is this desperate, can't they move comicbook Spike from L.A. to Scotland, and make a lot of us shippers happy?
I'm not sure how I feel about the return of Dracula. He was pretty much played for laughs in his one and only appearance in the series. Probably not this time. Dracula's little nest or coven of ninja vamps appear to have very special, unvamplike powers. They can turn into wolves, bees, panthers, and fog, and Kumiko, the one who nabbed Willow in midair, could fly. I seem to remember Dracula with the smoke, but not the other stuff. Witchcraft, I assume? Maybe Kumiko was a powerful witch, like Willow.
We were led to believe that Buffy sent Xander in undercover, but I wonder if Xander really has been turned. We did get a little clue that he had been. In the opening scene on the battlements with Renee, he mentioned that for all he knew, it could be bees. Later, there were bees.
No Twilight in this one. Unless Twilight was behind Dracula's vampire ninja caper to capture the Scythe and use it to reverse Willow's superspell on the potential slayers. Yeah, that sounds about right.
Bits and pieces:
-- I liked Buffy's paranoia that she hadn't done the gay sex thing right.
-- Where is Drac's castle? I was wondering where the copter landed, seeing that it was unlikely that Xander and Renee took a copter from Scotland to Romania. And then I remembered that Dracula had a moveable castle. He's probably somewhere in the neighborhood.
-- Lots of references to old episodes, pleasing the Buffy fan within.
-- Dawn is still the size of a football field, and sleeping in the barn. Guess Willow hasn't broken that spell yet.
-- Why did Andrew come? Because of the Slayers in Italy who went rogue?
-- The sign on the armory had it spelled the American way, "Armory," not "Armoury," which is probably what you'd see in the UK. But then again, it probably wasn't an armory before Buffy took over. Never mind.
Xander: "Okay, hang on. Back up. Nobody's babysitting anyone here... if anything, that fantasy comes much later and only if we both agree to it and have a safeword."
Willow: "You know, most people just scream and hold on for dear life when I fly them places."
Andrew: "I took a Dramamine."
Xander: "I'm not even sure who we alert. A zoo? Do they have zoos in Scotland?"
Renee: "Nope. Scotland's a primitive society. Their men hunt with clubs and their women wear corsets to bed."
Satsu: "I know what this is. I know you didn't just... turn gay all of a sudden."
Renee: "What's the verdict? Are we supposed to sound the alarm?"
Xander: (looking at Buffy and Satsu in bed) "I wasn't aware we had an alarm for this, but yes, sound the alarm."
Andrew: "Oh, hi Buffy. Hi, nude Asian girl. (pause) How much Dramamine did I take?"
Buffy: "This isn't what it looks like!"
Xander: "Oh, thank God. This is a dream."
Renee: "I don't think it's a dream."
Xander: "No, I've had this one before. You're here. They're here. I'm just gonna go sit in the corner and wait for Willow to arrive."
A little call-back to "Restless".
Buffy: "They took the scythe."
Xander: "I know."
Buffy: "The *scythe* scythe. My scythe. That *can't* be a coincidence -- they must know about the spell."
Xander: "Yes, granted. This counts as 'bad'. But we'll track 'em down. How many Japanese vampire goth gangs can there possibly be out there?"
This was a story set-up issue, so yes, it was full of set-up. It was also pretty funny. I think I'd go for three out of four stakes. The reader poll gave it four out of four stakes,