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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Choices

Snyder: "You. All of you. Why couldn't you be dealing drugs like normal people?"

The spiders in a box subplot was just that — subordinate to the real action, which appears to be moving toward a big climax, a big split, and almost incidentally, commencement.

UC Sunnydale, huh? Dan and I have been wondering all year what would happen to the series after most of the cast graduates. Who knew there was a University of California campus right there in town? It's been three years, and no one has mentioned it before. Most college towns (and I've lived in way too many of them) hardly keep the college hidden under a bushel. But I'm happy with any way that they can keep the series going and the gang together. Joss Whedon just spent three years satirizing high school. I'm ready to see what he can do with college.

The Cordelia/Xander insult exchanges have gotten nastier and nastier. I thought that Cordelia seemed a lot more bitter and depressed than usual, and bingo — we got the payoff at the end — she's now working in a dress shop. Daddy had a reversal of fortune. Does that mean she's not going to UC Sunnydale with the gang?

Willow is gaining confidence and strength as a crime fighter in leaps and bounds. I absolutely loved that she finally made use of her floating pencil trick. Even a year ago, she would never have hung around searching the Mayor's office; she would have dived for the stairs. And that red dress! Hubba hubba.

I thought the Mayor's speech to Buffy and Angel about how they don't belong together was sort of bizarre. It was like something the writers needed to get into the episode but they didn't know whom to give it to. Yes, the Buffy and Angel's relationship has nowhere to go, like we didn't know that. The two of them seem to be using slaying as a substitute for sex. Definitely in a rut, and moving toward spin-off.

During the showdown scene at the end, was Faith just looking longingly at her new, pretty knife, or was she looking at the spiders and wondering what was going to happen to her? I've been wondering if Faith just might turn on the Mayor at the end and die in a redeeming blaze of glory.

Bits and pieces:

— Buffy and the Mayor finally met. It seemed odd that they haven't before.

— Oz knocking over the bowl was very Oz. He's so understated and calm all the time, but he can make a loud, definitive statement when something really matters to him.

— Faith killed the guy at the airport with a bow and arrow.

— Buffy and Angel did a Mission: Impossible in the Mayor's office.

— The Mayor's language with Faith is always parental. Will I have to separate you two? Faith, you can play with your toy later.

— There were about fifty billion spiders in the box. That's a lot of spiders.

— UC Sunnydale is too far to come home every night? I thought Sunnydale was small.

— This week's dog: Mayor: "Ever have a dog?" Faith: "What?" Mayor: "I did. Rusty. Irish setter. Swell little pooch."


Buffy: "It's just... Do you get the feeling that we're kind of in a rut?"
Angel: "A rut?"
Buffy: "You never take me any place new."
Angel: "What about that fire demon nest in the cave by the beach? I felt that was a nice change of pace."

Buffy: "I mean, I can't believe you got into Oxford."
Willow: "It's pretty exciting."
Oz: "That's some deep academia there."
Buffy: "That's where they make Gileses."
Willow: "I know! I could learn and, and have scones."

Cordelia: "Oxford? Whoopee! Four years in tea-bag central. Sounds thrilling. And MIT is a Clearasil ad with housing. And Yale is a dumping ground for those who didn't get into Harvard."
Willow: "I got into Harvard."

Wesley: "But, you're a Slayer."
Buffy: "Yeah, I'm also a person. You can't just define me by my Slayer-ness. That's... something-ism."

How about a three out of four stakes for this one,

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


  1. Whoa! Cordelia's boss is General Beckman from Chuck!

    That scene in the cafeteria is surely tense!

  2. I love the midnight meeting between the two sides, mostly because it’s so cool to have Buffy and the Scoobies confront the mayor without being able to actually confront him. And Snyder—no one looked surprised at his lack of surprise about Buffy’s powers.

    But I agree that the Mayor's speech to Buffy and Angel is weird. The writers did a similar trick in "Lover's Walk," when Spike told Buffy and Angel they could "never be friends." It's like the writers can't figure out a way to have Buffy and Angel have realizations without outside input. They're stuck in a rut of tragedy and sexual tension.

    Not that I'm complaining, since I love Angel so much. :-)

  3. I found this episode hard to watch and I'm not sure why. Maybe because it was kind of broody and not much fun. I did like the Willow parts. I thought she was going to go WIcca on Faith's ass. She certainly is finding her inner power. The ending was wonderful and I'm glad that Willow isn't staying at USC just for Buffy because passing up Harvard, Oxford and MIT, especially if she got a free ride would be just a little bit too much sacrifice for a friend - it might even be too much sacrifice for saving the world! I'm also not sure why the writer's keep beating us over the head with the futility of Buffy and Angel but I didn't find it out of character for the mayor to give that little speech. He seems to be some weird hybrid of Leave it to Beaver Dad and pure evil. Actually I think I just got Josh's point - those too are not that far apart.

  4. I feel like the arc episodes in season three (with a couple notable exceptions) seem to lack punch for whatever reason. This is one of the punchless ones.

    I can't believe Wesley wouldn't trade a box for his wife. She must hold that over his head all the time.

  5. sunbunny, that is all I'm gonna think about whenever I see that episode in future! ;)

  6. I thought it was a good episode, but I am starting to feel impatient to see the graduation/ascension plot play out so this one felt a little like marking time to me.

    I like Buffy and Angel together, but the heavy angst is kind of wearing on me at this point. I'm not spoiled in general for most of the series, but there are a few of the biggie plot points I know already so that might be why I'm not so patient waiting for this one to develop.

    I was so proud of Willow when she staked the vampire with her pencil trick. Also I loved her literary critique of the Books of Ascension - "Way over written."

  7. I love this episode.

    Willow is just fantastic, the scene with Faith is just fabulous, as is the one when she's relaying her encounter with Faith to Buffy...I would have happily have heard the full account and was a bit disappointed when Giles interrupted with more pressing matters. Then the way she teases Giles about the Book of ascension before giving him the pages (Giles' visible delight at getting the pages is quite cute) and finally the scene with Buffy at the end was a really nice friendship moment.

    As always the mayor shines, and I really like his speech to Buffy and Angel, it seems quite appropriate for his character.

    Wesley's squeal when he thinks Faith is targeting him makes me laugh, he has good reason to be afraid as Faith is certainly a threatening character here but its funny all the same. Faith seemed a bit confused after saving Wesley from the Spider creature, I wonder what was going through her mind? Was it her instinct to protect, or the evil creatures that her boss is collecting that concern her?

  8. I like this one because we are beginning to see the kids all growing up as the end of high school approaches and they all begin to move into the new phases of their lives.

    Willow is simply wonderful in this episode. I love her speech to Faith and the fact that she delivers it in an almost loving tone, as though without too much effort, Faith could come back into the fold.

    Likewise, I finally gain some respect for Wesley. He has been so timid with the others when the fact is that he is the one in charge. I like the way he finally stands up for himself. As much as I love Giles, I have never liked the way he treats another watcher. If he can't respect the man, he should at least respect the position.

    I struggle with the idea of Willow going to Sunnydale when she got into every other college on the planet. Surely her parents would have had something to say about this?

  9. This episode was fine, but I do feel like I'm just waiting for the season finale when (hopefully) these ends will all be tied up nicely.

    I did have to laugh at the airport scene when that vampire said, " You killed him." And Faith replied, "What are you? The narrator?" It made me think of all the conversation about the over narration by characters in Under the Dome. Maybe the limo driver was meant to be in a Stephen King show...

    I hate spiders, so I was glad those three got killed. How did they kill people anyway? Suffocation? If 500billion come back on graduation day, I'll have Joss to blame for all my nightmares!

    Annie, I hadn't even thought about Faith killing that spider to protect Wesley, I just thought she was doing it just to get rid of the spider. But you might be right and that would explain her look, though I thought she was just looking longingly at the knife. Now that Buffy has it, I'm sure that will come back up. (Buffy always gets the nice toys, Dad!)

  10. Yes! you're right it must be over the knife, I'd overlooked that - silly me. I think her slayer instincts took over with the pinning the spider to the wall.

  11. I agree with other comments that the arc episodes of this season don’t seem to be as strong as some of the stand alones. Which is the opposite of last seasons when the arc episodes were the strongest. This is my third rewatch but I can’t remember how the finale plays out. Hopefully all this build up will culminate in an epic fashion.


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