Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Amends

Joyce: "So... Angel's on top again?"

When Angel returned from the demon dimension, we all wondered where the hell he had been (sorry, couldn't resist) and how he managed to get back. Of course he was returned so that he could kill Buffy! It makes perfect sense. A few weak moments... a little passion... bingo.

Buffy and Angel can never have each other again. In this episode, they finally confronted this insurmountable problem — insurmountable, because of course they still love each other. That scene on the cliff at the end was just terrific; Gellar and Boreanaz can act, and act well. I actually started to tear up. And great use of dreams in this episode. That scene where Angel and Buffy were both sleeping and writhing on their backs as they were making love in their shared dream was the stuff fantasies are made of. (My fantasies, anyway.) The other dreams were equally effective, if not quite as sexy.

Angel was not a good guy before he was born to darkness. Rather than turn me off, I think this made me like Angel even more. Perhaps age, coupled with the return of his soul, truly made a good person out of him. Or will make a good person of him.

I've been waiting for a Giles/Angel scene, and we got a GREAT one. Giles inviting Angel in... but only while holding a crossbow. Giles probably wanted Angel to attack so that he'd have an excuse to kill him. Jenny's ghost (or we think it's Jenny's ghost) appearing behind Giles, and caressing Giles' shoulder. (do do do do, do do do do...)

The miracle snow was way hokey and something of a turn-off, but it could be taken as a message from The Powers That Be that Angel is important, that he is needed, and that Something wants him to live.

Bits and pieces:

-- Willow staging a seduction with Barry White and soda pop in an ice bucket was just priceless.

-- Loved an obviously still embarrassed Joyce not wanting to invite Giles over for Christmas Eve.

-- The jokes about the heat were great. Is Joss Whedon psychic or just projecting the weather pattern that was probably just beginning when he wrote this?

-- Giles is the king of line delivery. "They're rebels and they'll never ever be any good."

-- KTLA is the WB's station in Los Angeles, and the weatherman we saw was a real one.

-- Angel. Long hair. No. This episode was also notable for Buffy's disastrous experiment with short bangs.

-- This week's dog reference: Faith: "Yeah, I'll play watch dog."

-- The "Grr argh" at the end featured the creature in a Santa hat.


Buffy: "I don't wanna bug Giles. He's still kinda twitchy when it comes to the subject of Angel."
Xander: "Well, it must be that whole Angel-killed-his-girlfriend-and-tortured-him thing. Hey, Giles is pretty petty when it comes to stuff like that."

Xander: "So, you doing anything special?"
Buffy: "Tree. Nog. Roast beast. Just me and Mom and hopefully an excess of gifts. What are you doing for Christmas?"
Willow: "Being Jewish. Remember, people? Not everybody worships Santa."

Angel: "A demon isn't a man. I was a man once."
Jenny: "Oh, yes, and what a man you were."
Margaret: "A drunken, whoring layabout, and a terrible disappointment to your parents."
Angel: "I was young. I never had a chance to..."
Margaret: "To die of syphilis?"

Willy: "Well... I heard a few things, you know, from the underground."
Xander: "The underground?"
Willy: "Yeah, you know. From things that live under the ground."

Buffy: "Nothing like a roaring fire to keep away the blistering heat."
Joyce: "Oh, come on. It's lovely. Maybe I should turn the air conditioning on."

Buffy: "Why don't you come in from the entire lack of cold?"

Buffy: "'A child shall be born of man and goat and have two heads, and The First shall speak only in riddles...' No wonder you like this stuff. It's like reading The Sun."
Giles: "Yes. Ah."
Buffy: "Priests?"
Giles: "Um... Yes, but, uh, more, more posturing, I'm afraid. Um, 'For they are the Harbingers of death. Nothing shall grow above or below them. No seed shall flower, neither in man nor...' They're rebels and they'll never ever be any good."

Jenny/The First: "You think you can fight me? I'm not a demon, little girl. I am something that you can't even conceive. The First Evil. Beyond sin, beyond death. I am the thing the darkness fears. You'll never see me, but I am everywhere. Every being, every thought, every drop of hate."
Buffy: "All right, I get it. You're evil. Do we have to chat about it all day?"

Jenny/The First: "You have no idea what you're dealing with."
Buffy: "Lemme guess. Is it... evil?"

This one had some weak and hokey moments, but I liked it anyway. I'm giving it three out of four stakes,

Billie Doux reviewed all of Buffy and Angel, so she knows the plural of apocalypse.


Stephen said...

I've never noticed before, but some of the music playing over the end "snow montage" is really similar to the overture of "Once More With Feeling", mostly the bit with Giles and Xander. I love the end scene between Buffy & Angel, i love a bit of cheesiness :) I wear it, it doesn't wear me!

Billie Doux said...

Stephen wrote: i love a bit of cheesiness :) I wear it, it doesn't wear me!

Excellent comment, Stephen. How can anyone truly love Buffy the Vampire Slayer and not love a bit of cheese, indeed?

Billie Doux said...

BUFFY RE-WATCH comments begin here! Remember, no spoilers for future episodes. Want to talk spoilers and foreshadowing? Post them here.

When I was really into Buffy/Angel, I loved this episode. But I'm aware that fans are split in their opinion of this episode and that some really hate it. I won't be offended if you say so. :)

Jane said...

I liked this one a lot. The theme of redemption is perfect for a holiday episode. The cliff scene with the dawn of Christmas being the promise of possible salvation for Angel with all of his many past sins is a sweet idea that, for me, wasn't played as saccharine. He can become a better man, but he's going to have to work for it and he still won't get everything he wants. I find that real and hopeful.

I am puzzled though. Was there a time limit on the First that I missed? The ultimate evil is basically vanquished by Angel not killing Buffy or himself. That's it?

sunbunny said...

I'm not nuts about this one because of the cheesiness of the snow and Buffy's absolutely horrendous bangs.

I do like the scene on the cliff; "If you die now, all you ever were was a monster" is such a great line.

There've been Christmases in my house where we literally have the A/C on and a fire lit. :)

Josie Kafka said...

I always feel like I should love this episode, or hate it, or feel some intense passionate emotion...but I don't. Maybe it's the Christmas theme, which doesn't do much for me. Or maybe it's that I like Angel so much more on Angel than on Buffy.

Josie Kafka said...

Sunbunny, my parents do that, too.

drnanamom said...

My favourite bit of this episode was the Willow seduction scene. So nice and corny - totally Willow which was nice after last episode's evil Willow. Yes the snow was hokey but it was a Christmas episode so I would say they get a pass on that. No so much on the hair though. I agree with the bad hair comments. I felt sad for Faith and was glad that she finally showed up at Buffy's house. I just hope that eventually there was good food and presents. Being alone at Christmas/Hanukkah sucks.

Suzanne said...

I always enjoy this episode more than I think I will. The ending scene really gets to me. SMG did an especially fine job of delivering the cheese. She got to me with her speech and declaration of love. I agree, though, that Angel is a lot better on his own show. He is too mopey and hunched shouldered in Buffy. I like him with a little spunk, which I saw a glimpse of in Lover's Walk when he made a little snide comment to Spike about Dru being fickle. We don't get to see that side of him often enough in Buffy. That being said, I really bought their romance in this one, especially at the end. I also like the idea of Buffy wanting someone who can fight beside her. Maybe that is what she finds so fascinating about Angel; he is the only one who can truly be her equal in fighting evil. Of course, that comes with some major drawbacks!

Willow and Oz = adorable. How much better can they get. I love them together, and I am so happy the Xander stuff is over. Speaking of Xander, I felt so bad for him put in his sleeping bag. It was a nice revelation that he confided something in Cordy that he hadn't told the gang. I guess they had a deeper relationship than it appeared they had.

Annie said...

I like this episode well enough but it is too angsty and cheesy to be a favourite.
I absolutely agree that Angel is much more fun in Angel. The Buffy Angel romance kind of bores me by this stage. I like both characters, and I believe in their hurt (the acting is spot on) but I always feel the urge to roll my eyes and tell them to get over it, there's a feeling of too much drama for me.

Poor Xander, he really doesn't have the best home life does he. Its a wonder he turned out as well as he did!

Mrs. Darling said...

I laughed so hard during the seduction scene, W & O of course. I love that Oz says he is not ready, such a wonderful character. Was I the only one thinking "Edward Scissorhands" at the end?

a.m. said...

I liked this episode well enough until the horrible fake snow at the end. When it was falling, it wasn't horrible, but then it looked like foam all over the ground. It kind of ruined the moment for me.

I loved the W&O moments, including the make up conversation and especially the seduction. I even loved the little moment wi them watching the snow in their PJs.

Overall the Angel and Buffy moments made the episode worth it but I could have done without that snow fall...the New England winters have made me such a snow snob :)

ChrisB said...

Yes, this episode is cheesy, but I love it. The cliff scene makes me tear up every time I watch it and, yes the snow is badly done, but the walk through the town is just lovely in its simplicity. While taken to an extreme in this show, many young people fall in love with the wrong person and I like the fact that this episode addresses the issue head on.

Not only are Buffy's bangs truly horrible (and I don't often notice things like that), Oz sports five o'clock shadow in the make-up scene with Willow. I don't know many eighteen-year-olds with that problem.

David Young said...

So much sweetness in this episode. Oz's speech about waiting - which mirrors his first kiss speech - Faith coming round on Xmas Eve - and an oh so brief glimpse of a Xmas stocking in the library during a pan with "Mr. Giles" written upon it.

I thought the falling snow was a brilliant ending to an insurmountable obstacle - Angel's big question of "Why am I here?" - Not just "Why did I escape the hell dimension?" but literally, "Why am I here?" It's one of those questions that don't have an answer. So, let it snow.

Jeez, you could almost say this episode carved out Angel's character - he's always been guilt ridden, but it was Buffy (and the First) who gave him the idea of some sort of salvation through fighting and doing good.

Again, the miracle snow was hokey, but keep in mind this was a Christmas episode and a miracle had to happen. There was no way the Peanuts gang could have transformed that crappy tree that Charlie Brown bought into the beautiful decorated thing that it was, but they did! And it makes us cry every year - I think that's what the snow was supposed to be in this episode. That wacky nostalgic feeling of Christmas.

Done now.

sunbunny said...

David - Yeah, but the Peanuts was a cartoon. Buffy is much more realistic with its vampires and demons and talking ventriloquist dummies.

Nonei said...

As much as I liked the Buffy/Angel storyline in this one, especially the scene on the cliff, I really can't say I enjoyed this episode. It felt incomplete and rushed to me, like it should have been a two-parter.
Granted, I don't know if the First Evil is coming back, but really? Its plans were spoiled by Angel not killing either himself or Buffy and Buffy kicking its spell around a little?

I don't think it was "miracle snow"... I felt like the snow was an explanation I didn't quite understand for something, maybe a vacuum left by the First Evil leaving. Especially since it was mentioned several times that it was hotter than usual for the time of year, and Buddy made a kind of "ah hah" expression when air conditioning was mentioned the second time. But then it was never brought up verbally.

It also bothered me that Buffy was panicking about sunrise on top of the cliff overlooking the town, but as soon as it started snowing, suddenly they were strolling down the street in the dark in town.

Ah well, I would give this episode mostly 4/4 and partly 1/4 since those issues really pulled me out.

Unknown said...

Not much to say that hasn't been said. This episode seems to divide a bit. As for me, I fall in the love camp. I know that it's not the greatest, due to a very high cheese factor but it seems to hit me right in the soft spot of my heart. I agree with ChrisB and David Young. Cheesy but the good overpowers the hokey, in my opinion.
Also, I just wanted to mention that I as much as I love Oz's middle of the play line and when he needs to stand up for a dramatic gesture. I'd be quite impressed if there was a 17/18 year old single and straight man alive who could've said no to Willow at that moment. I get why he did but I don't think that I'd have had the willpower.

Lamounier said...

After three awesome episodes, things were fairly average with this one.

I’m with sunbunny on the cliff scene and the “all you ever were was a monster” line. That is a great line and SMG handled the scene really well.

Cordelia has been a really good character so far this season, so I was bummed that she appeared for five seconds on this episode and was not included on the magical snow scene.

As this episode was about making amends, I was very happy to see Xander finally being nice to Buffy about Angel, even helping her. It felt rushed that he would act that way, but I didn’t mind.

So The First brought Angel back to kill Buffy? It seems an awful lot of work because (1) he needed to bring Angel from another dimension and (2) he needed to extract Angel’s soul somehow. Plus, how it could guarantee Angelus would kill Buffy? Buffy kicked his ass every time they fought. I like the concept of The First (it’s a terrific idea, really), but its actions don’t make much sense.

Anyway, the Giles and Angel scene rocked. In fact, Giles rocks all the time. God, I love him.

Victoria Grossack said...

Great episode - but given the monsters roaming round Sunnydale, why would Xander ever sleep outside?