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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: First Date

Chao-Ahn: "Why is everyone up? Are the flashcard monsters attacking?"

This week's moral lessons are: redemption's a bitch, and never date during an Apocalypse.

We finally found out what's going on with Principal Wood (and Wood is good with the wood! Slay, Robin, slay!). I'm relieved he's a good guy, but obviously, Spike has a problem, redemption being a bitch and all. The woman who played Wood's mother slash the First was supposed to be the same Slayer that Spike killed on the subway in season five's "Fool for Love," but the part wasn't played by the same actress, and I think that hurt the final scene. At least for us obsessive fans who would know the difference.

We also found out where Andrew's sympathies truly lie. I thought the fact that he was chatting up Jonathan slash the First while wearing a wire was hilarious. I also liked Andrew's comment that "Confidentially, a lot of her people are murderers." They are. Redemption isn't going to be easy for Andrew, either, and it shouldn't be.

And we also finally saw what happened with Giles and the axe, proving that the Buffy Powers That Be have just been screwing with us for the past few episodes. Those turkeys. I found this bit, plus the revelation that Spike is now chipless, "free-range Spike," to be anticlimactic.

There was fun to be had with "Date-Fest 2003," though. Buffy thought her date was evil, while Xander didn't have a clue — and it turned out to be just the reverse, with Xander once again proving that he is a demon magnet. The whole "Gay me up, Willow" thing was very cute.

What's with the Turok-Hans, though? Is there a huge supply of them waiting under the Seal? I guess there is, if it's the opening to the Hellmouth. If so, why didn't the First bring up an army of them to take on Buffy? And why did it take a lot less Xander blood than Spike or Jonathan blood to bring it up? And while I'm at it with questions, how did Xander send that text message to Willow if he was tied up at the time?

It was fun to see how jealous Anya was ("observe my bitter ranting.") Are Xander and Anya destined to get back together? Spike was trying very hard not to show it, but he was extremely jealous of Wood, too. The best part of this for me, the shipper, was Buffy realizing that she just can't push Spike out of her life ("I'm not ready for you to not be here.") I think Wood realized at the end, after that scene in the basement, that Buffy's affections lie elsewhere.

I do have some more questions, though. Buffy said, "He can be a good man, Giles.... he's never going to get there if we don't give him the chance." Helloooo? Why didn't she give Spike a chance last year? Later, she said, "Why does everybody in this house think I'm still in love with Spike?" Excuse me? Last year, Buffy said adamantly, over and over, that she did not love Spike; it was a major plot point. Were the writers napping?

I did not like the implication that the First is saving Spike for later. Let's keep him in those manacles, Buffy.

Bits and pieces:

-- We had not one, but two decapitations in this episode. And they weren't even related. That's a lot of decapitating going on. I mean, isn't one decapitation a week the limit for most people?

-- It was fun, how Buffy zeroed right in on Wood's weapons chest. But how come Wood had a bloody knife to put back in it? Was that just supposed to be taken as, oh, he's fighting evil? Or was it something else?

-- The subplot with the lactose-intolerant Chao-Ahn was hilarious. The flashcards reminded me of the wonderful overheads Giles did in "Hush."

-- Buffy looked way hot in that camisole. Spike certainly thought so. I'm not going to comment on the underwear drawer thing.

-- Nick did not look good with his shirt off. I miss the day when he could wear Speedos.

-- It would have been cool if Wood had slayer powers, like Connor.

-- Around the time this episode aired, I interviewed April Weeden-Washington, the original subway slayer, about why she wasn't in this episode. The article is now here.

Quotes:

Giles: "You know this is very dangerous."
Buffy: "Ah, you just heard the horror stories. Wear hoops, they'll catch on something, rip your lobe off, lobes flying everywhere..."

Wood: "Um, what're you doing tonight?"
Buffy: "Preparing for tomorrow's counseling sessions."
Wood: "No, really."
Buffy: "Watching a reality show about a millionaire."

Buffy: "Sure. I'd be happy to have dinner with you."
Wood: "Great. I'll draw up the paperwork."

Buffy: "Maybe he knows that I suspect he's up to something, and he's taking me out to kill me."
Willow: "Well, you'll have to dress for the ambiguity."

Buffy: "There he is, on the Hellmouth, all day, every day. That's got to be like being showered with evil. Only from underneath."
Willow: "Not really a shower."
Buffy: "A bidet. Like a bidet of evil."

Buffy: "So, not the wicked energy, which is nice 'cause I don't want to only be attracted to wicked energy. Or what if he is wicked, in which case, is that why I'm attracted to him?"
Willow: "I'm gonna wait for that sentence to come around again before I jump on."

Giles: "Dear lord, I hate that mall. The shop assistants are rude. And everything in the Food Court is sticky."

Anya: " I think it's part of a plan to make me jealous."
Buffy: "Well, it's not working."
Anya: "Are you nuts? Of course it's working. Observe my bitter ranting. Hear the shrill edge of hysteria in my voice."

Xander: "What do you think happened? Another demon woman was attracted to me. I'm going gay. I've decided I'm turning gay. Willow, gay me up. Come on, let's gay."
Willow: "What?"
Xander: "You heard me. Just tell me what to do. I'm mentally undressing Scott Bakula right now. That's a start, isn't it?"

This is one of those episodes in the middle of the action that doesn't really stand alone. As an arc episode, it was pretty good. But I had a lot of questions, and I think the writers might have made some boo-boos.

Three out of four stakes? Too high?

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

8 comments:

  1. Hey Billie,
    I thought this was a funny tidbit and figured I'd share.

    While Anya is cleaning Buffy's shirt for her date she looks at the stain and says, "well, don't get blood on your shoulder, or maybe it's pizza." This is directly from "Conversations With Dead People" when Dawn, who is eating pizza and holding Buffy's shirt, gets sauce on the shoulder. She just just shrugs and says, "She'll think it's blood."

    I love how the writers come full circle. It makes this show so enjoyable to watch!

    Love your reviews!
    ~Kellie

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  2. Hi Billie,

    The link to the interview with April Weeden-Washington is not working (Page not found error).

    Anyway, great review, as usual (and I'm really liking season seven so far).

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  3. Thanks for catching the broken link, Cesar. I fixed the link. And here it is in the comment, too -- http://billiedoux.blogspot.com/2003/01/interview-with-slayer-april-weeden.html

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  4. I think the reason Buffy didn't give Spike a chance last season is because he didn't have a soul then. Him getting a soul fundamentally changed the way she thinks of him, I think. He chose that, while last season he was being changed by the chip.

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  5. Love me some DB Woodside, but nooooooo she needs to get back with Spike! Very interesting that Spike supposedly killed his mom, things might get bad for our new principal friend if he tries to confront Spike about it.

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  6. I normally don't comment. But as Cantonese, the parts with Chao Ahn were extremely racist. Having a minority character and language barrier for comic relief irked me. The actress wasn't even pronouncing words correctly. If you are going to have a Cantonese character, have her speak in the correct dialect or, better yet, hire an actual Cantonese speaker. Also I'm sure Willow could have used a spell to translate what she was saying! Anyway I know this show was filmed in the early 2000s, prior to the AAPI movement of 2021. Rant over.

    Billie - I enjoyed your reviews as I rewatch the whole Buffy series. Reading these reviews and comments has been fun and getting me through the on and off again pandemic. :)

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  7. Unknown, thanks so much. Sorry that it took so long for this comment to go up. We've been getting some trolls lately and I've been keeping the moderation on at times.

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  8. >>"Redemption isn't going to be easy for Andrew"
    I feel like it's been very easy on him tbh.

    The reveal about Giles' last scene with the axe made me howl with laughter, there is just no way with the way the scene was cut that he'd be able to catch the axe in time. I love how ridiculous that was, I've rewatched it several times and still cackle at it. Ended up still doubting whether it really was our Giles with the scene near the end where he snaps at the Slayerettes for trying to find levity where they can. What a killjoy, apologize at once GUYles.

    Kind of a dumb episode, but Buffy was cute when she asked him if he hired her because he thought she'd be legitimately good at being a counselor and he laughed. She wasn't even offended, just kept staring at him with those imploring eyes like she's waiting for him to please rectify. It's too cute omg.

    >>"The whole "Gay me up, Willow" thing was very cute."
    C'mon, let's gay.

    "If so, why didn't the First bring up an army of them to take on Buffy? And why did it take a lot less Xander blood than Spike or Jonathan blood to bring it up? And while I'm at it with questions, how did Xander send that text message to Willow if he was tied up at the time?"
    Shhh, it's just a TV show, let it go. Enjoy the emotionally charged moments like the very last scene with Wood's mom and ignore the rest of those distractions. It doesn't matter, none of it does. The writers lost the plot's plot but everything else kinda works.

    Buffy is meaner now to Spike than she ever was. Keep him around while you still have something going on with Wood? Jeezus Louisus, let him run and enjoy his newfound freedom if he's asking to leave! Feed him a line about waiting for her or something if she must. It's a more meaningful relationship than romance now, but only to Buffy.

    >>"I think Wood realized at the end, after that scene in the basement, that Buffy's affections lie elsewhere."
    Oh. I didn't pick up on that. Although I never picked up anything off about Giles upon his return either.

    >>"I did not like the implication that the First is saving Spike for later."
    Yeah seriously, please don't do that. Stop jerking him around.

    >>"-- Nick did not look good with his shirt off."
    :(

    @Unknown: "If you are going to have a Cantonese character, have her speak in the correct dialect or, better yet, hire an actual Cantonese speaker."
    Disagree. If she's not going to be prominent, it's not worth the effort. It's curious that people complain about accents on TV the most, but I hope they continue being un-appeased. Just give her funnier material.

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