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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Dirty Girls

Faith: "Are you the bad slayer now? Am I the good slayer now?"

In "Dead Man's Party," Buffy told Xander, "Didn't anyone ever warn you about playing with pointy sticks? It's all fun and games until somebody loses an eye." That's sort of how I feel about this episode.

Fun and games first, and there was definitely fun to be had.

How did I love Spike and Faith together? Let me count the ways. Instant attraction, sharing cigarettes, flirting, discussion of body swapping, double entendres. Are they cool together, or what? I think there were even some single entendres. I also did not hate Spike sprawled out in bed shirtless, with mussed hair. Spike sure does like his Slayers. Is it me, or was Buffy just a little jealous? If she's not careful, Faith will have Spike flat on his back in no time.

The other Faith scenes were all good. The graveyard was fun. My second favorite after the basement was Andrew giving the Potentials a rundown of Faith's history; much better than the "previously on." I especially liked, "She wrapped evil around her like a large, evil, Mexican serape" and his translation of "vulcanologist" into Mr. Spock.

Xander had some fine moments, after being underutilized this season: dreaming about virgin Potentials propositioning him, and that baby doll pajama pillow fight. And then there was his lecture to the Potentials about Buffy. Which leads me to the heavy stuff. Robin told Buffy that she needed to test the Potentials, but Giles suggested caution. Clearly, Giles was right. Buffy made a serious error in judgment, and now there are casualties.

It's critical when you introduce a villain, especially at virtually the last moment, that you have him do something so frightening, so incredibly despicable, that you'll immediately buy in. That's certainly what they did here. Caleb, a misogynistic minister turned serial killer with a downhome accent, bangs, and turned-around collar, seems to have the strength of Glory. Where did he get it? He also said some fascinating things: he told Shannon that women have no souls. He said that "Satan is a little man." (Is the First supposed to be bigger?) He also mentioned that the Potentials would "take one more step" and follow the First. Maybe this has something to do with the references to the Last Supper (betraying Buffy?) and the whole wine/blood symbolism in that final scene?

I expected the death of at least one Potential; they've had targets drawn on their backs from the beginning. But what happened to Xander was different. I was terribly upset by Caleb gouging out Xander's eye. I actually screamed, and scared my cats. I cried after the show was over. I've seen worse things in movies, but this was different; I have a seven-year relationship with Xander, after all.

This particular development makes me wonder if my "Restless" theory about Xander being the final and most devastating Scooby martyr has merit. He's already been maimed, which is no small thing. And yes, there was foreshadowing; Xander is the one who sees, we've been told more than once. He wore an eyepatch in "All the Way." And in this episode, Xander told the Potentials, "Go for the center. Brain, heart, eyes. Everything's got eyes." Joss Whedon really, really hurt us this time.

Caleb plans to purify Buffy. I almost don't want to know. If there is more like this in store for the final four, I'm going to have a hard time handling it.

Bits and pieces:

-- Nathan Fillion deserves major credit for some extremely creepy and effective acting. By the end of this episode, I was ready to kill him myself.

-- Robin firing Buffy from her high school job was pretty much a non-event, with all that happened in this episode.

-- Faith was right to complain that the Scoobies should have told her about the Bringers.

-- Caleb blew up the Watcher's Council, and organized the Bringers. He's been a busy bee.

-- Buffy and Faith spent about three seconds talking about Angel. Well, it was a busy episode.

-- People are leaving Sunnydale in droves. I bet Sunnydale is going bye-bye at the end of the series, since Buffy, according to that Eye thing, is the last protector of the Hellmouth.

-- There are too many people in the cast now; the Scooby Gang has become a Scooby Crowd. Way too much cannon fodder. It worries me.

Quotes:

Spike: "Nice punch you got there. Lemme guess. Leather pants, nice right cross, doe eyes, holier-than-thou glower... you must be Faith."

Spike: "Angel's dull as a table lamp. And we have very different coloring."

Spike: "Not all that tension was about you. Giles was a part of a plan to kill me, for Buffy's own good."
Faith: "Well, that makes me feel better about me, worse about Giles. Kinda shaky about you."

Andrew: "She wrapped evil around her like a large, evil Mexican serape."

Faith: "No more Starbucks for the wannabes, man. They've been spazzing for, like, hours."

Buffy: "Well, it's nice to see you two getting along so well."
Faith: "Yeah. You just know all the cool vampires."

Giles: "You don't even know what this man has of yours, if he, in fact, has anything."
Buffy: "It could be a girl, a potential trying to get to us."
Giles: "Could be a stapler."

Kennedy: "I don't care if it's Godzilla. I want to get in this thing."
Andrew: "Godzilla's mostly Tokyo-based, so he's probably a no-show."
Amanda: "Besides, if Matthew Broderick can kill Godzilla, how tough is he?"

Buffy: "Looks like an old vineyard."
Kennedy: "An evil vineyard, huh?"
Spike: "Like Falcon Crest."

Three out of four stakes,

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

11 comments:

  1. This was just horrific. Xanders scream is still ringing in my ears and I am just praying that there will be a way to save his eye. After all it IS Buffy!
    Poor poor Xander :( This will haunt me for a long time.

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  2. I just saw this episode again fir the second time. It really bothered me this time that Buffy took the potentials with her. It doesn't seem like a Buffy move. Why wouldn't she have gone in with Faith and Spike for the first time. Giles was definitely right. The Xander scene was horrible to watch even knowing it was coming.

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  3. It bothered me the first time as well Suzanne. I think that she just couldn't concieve of a being as strong as Caleb that none of them had heard of. She should have learned from Glory but I understand.
    I hated that Caleb took out Xanders eye. I jumped off my couch and just stood there with my mouth open. Having just finished season 7 every time it comes up in a "previously on" I shudder. Props to Nicholas Brdnden for selling that I suppose.

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  4. "The Ray Charles brigade"!!! Lol even the villains in terrifying sequences get hilarious lines. Possibly my favorite thing about this show 😂

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  5. I seem to remember reading somewhere that Joss Whedon had originally intended to kill Xander this episode

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  6. The horrific ending aside...this is a terrific episode.

    Faith coming back is everything here. Her interaction with Buffy was fun, her interaction with Spike was 'interesting', and Andrew's recap of Faith's past was hilarious.

    What can I say, I'm a Faith fan, and she really brought it here...

    Overall - Great stuff!

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  7. CALEB <3 He's so fucking hammy but I love him. Always alternating between finding him funny and being intimidated by him.

    >>"-- Robin firing Buffy from her high school job was pretty much a non-event"
    It still made me a little sad, I still pine for an alternate s7 that's just Buffy winding down with no final Big Bad to deal with. I need her to have a happy ending.

    @Suzanne: "The Xander scene was horrible to watch even knowing it was coming."
    ESPECIALLY knowing it was coming. It does not get easier, and Xander giving a rousing speech in defense of Buffy just before it makes it heinous.

    The sequence in the vineyard being recapped for one of the future episodes was possibly my first experience seeing the show, with a cousin. We were both genuinely disturbed by it and switched the channel right after. And after having just watched the whole thing expecting to find the eye-gouging less bad than I recalled, I was unpleasantly surprised again lol. God that was disgusting, that was somehow worse than *Game of Thrones s4 spoilers* Oberyn having both his eyes gouged out and the outcome there was much, much more violent and fatal. It's just... that fucking squishy sound. God. I hope I'm remembering incorrectly about it being shown in recaps.

    @Unknown: "Having just finished season 7 every time it comes up in a "previously on" I shudder."
    ...Ah.

    It's comforting to have Faith there with them now, even if they're overstuffed. I just like the presence... knowing Faith's history but also knowing she can totally be relied on.

    Buffy looking like prey meeting Caleb is probably gonna leave a more lasting impression on me than Xander's eye. All that unpleasant "hardening" we've seen overcoming her in these past few episodes completely failed her in that moment so I'm not sure why we had to sit through all that to begin with. THIS seemed like the point where she'd start closing herself off and pushing everyone too hard. Meh, ignoring the context she did look cute there at least.

    I don't like the idea of Xander being killed here and becoming The First's image to taunt Buffy. That's just... yeah. Even if he's somehow put on even more pounds this episode I still love the guy. I might've accepted it happening to Giles, seeing what direction they've decided to take him in. While I do feel some satisfaction over Buffy's "you should be with people who still need you" jab (I guess I'm still hung up on his leaving last season even though it was out of the writers' hands), I keep thinking back to the dynamic he had against Maggie Walsh, and how he was the softer between the two. I wish that was maintained. More indecisive, and less of this Greater Good stuff.

    Excellent episode though, one of the best of the season.

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  8. x( Credit really has to be given for that eye-gouging scene. Not just for the nasty squishy sound but the way Xander's actor did his scream. The most upsetting scene ever on the show, and yes I'm including The Body and Seeing Red. Both of those still had a surreal air while with Dirty Girls it just felt fully.. lucid or something. I had a physical reaction to it, it wasn't just a mood. It was really hard to return to just so I could listen to the commentary lol.. Glad I did though, I didn't want that season 6 extra "American Television Arts & Science Panel Discussion" to be the only time I ever saw Nicholas Brendon outside the show because he was really annoying there (and honestly so was Joss Whedon), but he was fully charming in the commentary.

    Sheesh, we got the super-est super team we've ever had together even with Giles and Willow split off. Buffy, Faith, Spike and Xander. It was hard to see them get their asses handed to them somehow worse than they've ever had. Happy to see them all together though. RIP to that Potential who had to watch her friend's neck get snapped before taking a sword to the belly herself. What a sorry way to go.

    Caleb <3 In all his terrifying hamminess, though I just can't buy him singling out Xander as The One Who Sees. Enjoyed the dread I felt finally reaching this point again but I don't really wanna linger in it. I still don't particularly like how they did it, evocative or not. Buffy suddenly looking scared when confronting Caleb, all that growing hardness she was acknowledging in herself throughout the season suddenly meaningless. Maybe that was the point, but it just felt ugly and humiliating to me. Although there's something to be said about how she seemed to know she was fucked before he even threw that first punch.

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  9. This ep started heavy and ended heavy with a lot of whiplash in the middle. I really don’t like Caleb. In fact, I can’t and won’t rewatch his conversation with the First. Ugh.

    I do like Faith, and I’m glad she’s back. Another strong warrior on Buffy’s side. Although this is true: Faith - “Do you think I’m stupid? “ Spike: “Well, yeah.”

    Oh gosh, I cracked up watching frame by frame Buffy & Spike’s faces following Faith’s fight with the vampire who should wear a sign. Like a tennis match. Until Faith grabs Buffy’s stake. Lolol.

    Man, Buffy really did have a bad day. She got fired from her job and came home to find Faith in bed with Spike. Well she was, lol. And I did laugh out loud when Buffy appeared in the basement. Yeah, she was definitely jealous.

    She’s still rejecting Giles as a teacher, understandably. But she took Robin’s advice on testing the girls in battle. That didn’t work either. I don’t think either counsel was right. Time was up, but more collaboration would’ve been nice. Except at this point no one wants to collaborate.

    Xander’s day started well with a good dream and a good support speech for Buffy. Didn’t end well.

    The fight sequence at the vineyard was awesome. Spike decked a Bringer with 4 cool ducks and a punch. Everyone was doing pretty well till Caleb appeared. Buffy was floored with one punch and a collision with the cellar wall. Spike and Faith both got acquainted with the inside of wine barrels. The poor potentials and Xander fared much worse. Dang. Xander. At least he’s not dead.

    Spike’s flying takedown of Caleb to free Xander is infinitely rewatchable, and gets all of a fraction of a second screen time.

    A permanent takedown is in order.

    *****************************************
    - A question - Billie,
    Does anyone know what happened to my “Touched” comment? I don’t remember it having spoilers and I didn’t keep a copy to check.

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  10. Måge, there's no unpublished comment on "Touched." Sometimes people report that their comments disappear. I have no idea why.

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    1. Thanks for checking. I guess I get to re-doux it. He he.

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