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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Empty Places

Xander: "I'm trying to see your point here, Buff, but I guess it must be a little to my left."

It's the end of the world as we know it, at least as far as Sunnydale is concerned. Everyone is leaving town, the brand new high school is already abandoned, and Buffy is now alone, as advertised.

Tonight, the role of Judas Iscariot will be played by Faith, the Vampire Slayer. No, wait, it was Dawn with the actual Judas kiss, wasn't it? Did Giles deny Buffy three times? Hey, the whole cast is pissing me off.

I can see both sides, though. (Unlike Xander.) Faith has been doing her best and had no intention of starting a rebellion. Xander was freaked out and feeling helpless because of what happened to him (something I still can't bear to watch). Willow and Anya were both angry and fragile because they love Xander so much. The Potentials were understandably terrified because Molly was killed, driving home the fact that they are indeed cannon fodder. Who can blame them for being wary of more of the same?

But Dawn and Giles had absolutely no excuse for the way they treated Buffy. They are her only family. "It's my house, too?" Geez, Dawn, was that you working at Doublemeat Palace to pay the mortgage? Poor Buffy. At least she still has Spike. I can't see him ever turning against her.

Faith's new army may even be right. Nothing has changed; what would be different this time? Buffy really does need a better plan before going back to the appropriately named Shadow Valley Vineyard. But she needed help and feedback, not a revolution.

At least this episode was more fun than last week's. I adored Anya's lecture on Ubervamps, with possible test questions on her sex life and visual aids supplied by Andrew ("Teeth, claws, break-up sex"). Spike's mission to the mission with Andrew was also fun. I loved the conversation about the curly fries and the onion blossom. "Tell anyone we had this conversation, I'll bite you."

And things are looking up. The sign in the mission said, "It is not for thee. It is for her alone to wield." (That was Greek. It's cool that Spike reads Greek.) "Wield" makes it sound like a weapon. And "for her alone to wield" sure makes it sound like Buffy's weapon. Want to bet it works against either Caleb and/or The First? Could it be this easy?


-- How about Giles as an inspector from Interpol, with Willow doing, "These are not the droids you're looking for"? It was also fun to see Clem again during the evacuation scene, complete with a plaid shirt and VW Beetle. And hey, he's given up kittens for Lent. Good for him.

-- Sarah Michelle Gellar again sounded like she had a cold. Made her seem even more fragile.

-- Xander made numerous jokes about his lost eye. He even mentioned his own Halloween costume from last year. I thought it was touching and in character how he couldn't bear to get serious about what happened to him, while Willow was ready to fall apart.

-- How about the instant attraction between Faith and Robin Wood? Is he even considering how Oedipal it is for him to be attracted to Slayers?

-- Anya is blond again. She changes her hair more than Oz did.

-- Amanda is becoming my favorite SIT.

-- Okay, Slayer strength is Slayer strength, but four cops with guns and none of them got off a shot?


Xander: "And I might see you tonight. Without depth perception, of course, but still."

Xander: "Oh, you know what the best part is? No one will ever make me watch Jaws 3-D again."

Amanda: "Do you think there are gonna be questions about her sex life on the test?"

Buffy: "Caleb came back looking for seconds."
Giles: "My God, is he..."
Buffy: "Still able to make me see cartoon birdies all around my head? You betcha. The short lack of consciousness was nice. I feel rested."

Wood: "I think you're worried about her."
Faith: "I think you need to brush up on your Buffy and Faith history."

Good arc episode. Two out of four stakes,

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


  1. I feel really let down by Giles in this series and this episode made me actually dislike him. He is supposed to be there for Buffy "like a father" as she looks to him. Why are they doing this to Giles's character? I do not like it because I used to love him.
    Why did no one stick up for Buffy? It was horrible to watch everyone turn on her. Call themselves her friends?! They turfed her out of HER OWN HOME! It makes me shake with anger. Selfish brats.

  2. About Spike and the Greek:

    First, it isn't Greek. The script is Greek majuscule, but the language is latin. In latin characters, it reads "non tibi est ei solae tractare licet." First, the very idea of an inscription of latin using greek letters seemed very off, but I'm a language specialist so I asked an old professor who is an expert in greek epigraphy. She had never heard of such a thing. Also, Spike's translation and the latin are both off. "non tibi est" literally means "it is not for you" but not with the sense "you can't have it." A better translation is "it isn't yours." The next lines Spike translates as "it is for her alone to wield." First, this time "it is" comes from the single impersonal verb "licet," which means "it is permissible." Second, as Spike doesn't know what "it" is, there's no way he would translate "tractare" as "to wield." The verb means handling, touching, or in general manipulating objects with the hands. One would only translate it as "wield" if the object in question was something one would wield (like a sword or axe), but Spike doesn't know that this translation would work because he doesn't know what the object is.

  3. I can see their point about Buffy. She was warned about a trap. It was.

  4. Doing a rewatch here and I realized that this is about the point in S7 that it kind of loses its magic because it gets so dark for Buffy. I think it's really crappy having everyone turn on her, while at the same time acknowledging that they have a point - what would be different this time? I can't help but feel that if Buffy had taken the time to listen and to find another way (like she has done in the past) then maybe things wouldn't have turned out that way. I also get that Buffy IS the general and a war is coming. She feels that weight, but also acknowledges that sometimes you have to make sacrifices to win the war (as much as Giles seems to think she's lost site of that in her feelings for Spike - she hasn't! She's right that he's one of the strongest fighters she has and they need all the allies they get for the war that is coming). Still this episode was a big downer with Buffy getting the boot and poor Xander looking all sad with his eye bandaged up. However, I do like Faith getting a chance to lead and see how hard it is. She's never worn the weight of the world like Buffy before.

  5. "Of course, these guys have incredibly strong sternums so it's a lot like driving a wooden stake through solid steel. But you guys are all super-strong, right?"
    "Um... no?"

    Made me grin, and it made the kicking-out scene slightly easier to swallow. There is no reason why these girls should agree to hitting the same spot again or why they shouldn't assume Caleb has already planned for Buffy to obsess over returning to her only real clue.

    Anyway the dread of last episode was gone, even with Caleb's surprise appearance here. It was a more enjoyable episode even knowing this is the episode that ended with Buffy being kicked out. Faith came out looking OK despite her stupid "Could you follow?" And Xander's utmost reluctance is understandable too. Willow was more disappointing than enraging. It really wasn't that bad... well, Anya did piss me off. Giles, too. I keep thinking of him and Professor Walsh, how she was the more masculine of the two in their parental approaches. I'm not feeling this version of Giles at all.

    So does Andrew and Spike being absent mean they would've stuck up for her? I really wish they were there. Also WHY COULDN'T THEY JUST TURN HER INTO A NON-VOTING AFFILIATE? IT'S NOT SAFE OUT THERE BUFFY DRY YOUR PEEPS AND COME BACK INSIDE AT ONCE

  6. There’s defeat in the air. Sunnydale has surrendered, Clem is fleeing, the police are seemingly possessed.

    The potentials are terrified of Caleb and think he’s unbeatable.
    Rona: I’m mostly terrified of him.
    Amanda: Nothing works, nothing will.
    Kennedy: His ability to render a slayer useless with one punch.

    It does seem like he’s just playing with Buffy. I guess he’s just waiting for the First’s army to be amassed? She’s the only one to feel the urgency to fight before he’s at full strength. But Caleb puts her lights out while plans are being made.

    — Dawn notices the connection of the Mission.
    — Giles sends off Spike & Andrew on the Mission mission, his two least favorites, to check out the very tenuous lead. I’m not trusting Giles here. If it’s so important, why slow Spike down with Andrew? And if Caleb is there, gathering souvenirs, who’s going to watch Spike’s back?
    — What could be taking Buffy so long at the school? Who knows? Couldn’t be Caleb. While we do more waiting, let’s go to the Bronze. That’ll help. Good thing all the potentials brought their dress up clothes while they were fleeing for their lives.

    Buffy returns and asks Giles if the police files she’d left with them had been helpful. Giles at first seems confused. “Uh, uh, yes. Very much so, I think.” Or, in other words, Police files? What police files? Oh yeah, the ones I sent Spike to check out.”

    It’s nice to hear that she recognizes Spike is the only one who always watches her back. (And dang, is she ever proven right!) A lot has changed since she taunted him with it in “Smashed.” (“What are you going to do, walk behind me to death?” And, “All you can do is follow me around, making moon eyes.”)

    A lot of Spike’s watching is understated, the way he always flanks her, or follows her, supports her decisions and defends her in battle, not expecting her to defend him, like everyone else needs her to do. And she almost always listens to his advice about their adversaries, voiced from a century’s experience on the dark side. Too bad Giles can’t recognize that. If he wants to convince her they all have her back, then conspiring behind it to kill Spike is not exactly the way.

    Faith makes her views clear that she thinks Buffy was wrong to take the girls to the vineyard, even before she knew Buffy wanted to return there, saying she had put the casualties in danger. Hasn’t Faith ever learned that losing a battle doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have fought?

    The betrayal. Geez, it’s hard to comment on. Xander’s home! Yay! Just in time to negate his trust Buffy speech from yesterday. Welcome home, Xand. Sorry we didn’t have time to decorate, we were doing important stuff at the Bronze.

    Buffy laid out the need to go back to the vineyard very succinctly. But no one wanted to follow. They were all understandably afraid, Xander, Willow, even Giles, but they didn’t want to discuss strategies, like Buffy did. They just flat out didn’t want to go. And they staged a coup over it. Wow, I wanted to throttle the worthless Anya. Faith may have protested the outcome, but hers was the first voice in the Nay column. Dawn’s was the last. Horrific. Poor Buffy.

    Huh. I didn’t realize how bitterly I felt about this episode till I started writing this comment.


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