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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Lessons

Buffy: "You could still drop out. Only nerds finish high school."
Dawn: "You know, I don't really think it's fair for you to try and scare me on my first day of high school, because it's so redundant."

Buffy sure seems a lot happier now, a lot more like the Buffy of old. But poor, souled Spike! Has the guilt driven him insane? Was he trying to cut his soul out of his body?

It sounds like he's reliving his human childhood; he was muttering, "Don't you think I'm trying? I'm not fast. Not a quick study. I dropped my board in the water, and the chalk all ran. Sure to be caned." Poor baby! Why is he trapped in the Sunnydale High basement? Because of its proximity to the Hellmouth, maybe? And is he still a vampire?

I liked the new principal. Robin Wood is an interesting name for a principal. Interesting also that his office is now where the library used to be, and coincidentally where the Hellmouth is. Xander said at one point, "The last two principals were eaten. Who'd even apply for that job?" Indeed. Who would? He's either incredibly evil, or he's a sweetheart; no middle ground for a principal at Sunnydale High. I guess if Buffy now has a job at the school, we're going to find out. At least there's no more DoubleMeat Palace; she can make substandard wages doing something else.

Dawn is a lot more likeable this year, at least so far, but I hope she's not going to be the center of the story. Especially since Kit and Carlos, her new troublemaking friends, do not excite me.

The Westbury, England scenes with Giles and Willow had them looking tired and somehow older. I'm glad Willow is not going to just magically recover from what she did. I'm also pleased that the Coven isn't taking power away from Willow, but teaching her how to use it properly. If the Coven is still afraid of Willow, though, she obviously has a long way to go.

I like the new grown-up look on Xander; he looks spiffy and natural in a suit. And it's cool that Anya ("they're calling you Miss Softserve") still doesn't have the heart to hurt anyone. Is Halfrek really her only demon friend now? (And damn it, are we ever going to find out if Halfrek is Cecily? I'm hoping for more about Spike's past, and Cecily is part of his past...)

Okay, I've put it off long enough.

When we had that string of morphs, Warren, to Glory, to Adam, to the Mayor, to Drusilla, to the Master, and then Buffy, I was so startled I practically jumped out of my comfy chair. It strongly reminded me of the First Evil in the episode "Amends," the one where Angel was tormented by his morphing victims. Will the Scooby Gang be facing the First Evil this year? Maybe something from the time when demons walked the earth and there were no humans?

The Master said that they were going back to the beginning. Willow mentioned roots to Giles in both of her scenes; even the vamp in the teaser caught his foot on a root, ha-ha. (And wait. What about Spike's roots? :) Halfrek told Anya that something older than the old ones was rising.

And the episode began with Buffy telling Dawn, "It's about power. Who's got it, who knows how to use it." The episode ended with "Buffy" telling Spike, "it's not about right, it's not about wrong. It's about power."

I dunno. You think maybe it's about power? :) And roots. And going back to the beginning. They're dropping anvil hints on us.

Bits and pieces:

-- What the hell was that Istanbul thing in the beginning about? For a moment, I thought I was watching Alias.

-- Liked the cell phone. It makes sense. And unlike Angel, Buffy can actually use one.

-- Loved the teaser comment about the vamps magically acquiring martial art skills after death. It's so typical of this show, satirizing itself.

-- In the morphing sequence, everyone was dead but Drusilla and Buffy, coincidentally Spike's two main squeezes. Well, except Drusilla is a vampire and technically dead, and Buffy twice rose from the dead... hmmm.

-- In this week's hair report, is Sarah wearing an extension? Could anyone grow hair that fast, even the Slayer? Dawn's is nearly a foot shorter with highlights, very becoming. Anya is a brunette again; I like her as a brunette. Xander's hair is getting longer again (yay!). Last but not least, Spike looked like James Marsters at the end of the summer, with dark roots and curls, which is a first.

-- Buffy did tell Spike "I'll get back to you" when she left him in the basement. She'd better do it soon.


Willow: "Is there anything you don't know everything about?"
Giles: "Synchronized swimming. Complete mystery to me."

Buffy: "You're going to be late."
Dawn: "I'm comfortable with that."

Xander: "How exactly do you make cereal?"
Buffy: "Ah. You put the box near the milk. I saw it on the Food Channel."

Buffy: "My sister's about to go to the same high school that tried to kill me for three years. I can't change districts, I can't afford private school, and I can't begin to prepare for what could possibly come out of there. So... peachy with a side of keen, that would be me."

Dawn: "Hey. Check out Double-O Xander."
Buffy: "Go. Talk with your mouth full."

Wood: "Well, I better get back to work. Got to start deadening young minds."

Dawn: "I know! You never know what's coming, the stake is not the power, to serve man is a cookbook, I love you! Go away!"

Dawn: "I love to dance, I like music, I'm very into Britney Spears' early work before she sold out, so mostly her fingerpainting and macaroni art..."

Principal Wood: "The school board recommended that I spend a little time reading your record. It's quite a page-turner, kind of a checkered past..."
Buffy: "More like a plaid, kind of a clan tartan of badness, really."

Buffy: "What are you after? Fear? Revenge? Tasty brains?"
Dead guy: "I think I'd like Dawn to be my girlfriend."
Buffy: "Again, wrong sister. I'm the one who dates dead guys. And no offense, but they were hotties."

I was feeling mildly let down throughout until the last fifteen minutes, which were electrifying. And I'm seriously, seriously intrigued about what's going on.

Not a four, but very good. Three out of four stakes,

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


  1. Spike's hair scared me. I am glad he changed it back to how it was in the end.

  2. I am re-watching Buffy. It's been a few years since the last time.

    That final scene still gets me. It's just brilliant.

  3. Last scene was very cool but only for the old faces showcase (and Evil Dead Smiling Buffy will always be intrinsically disturbing to look at). The lines were cool too until the last one. Why does every villain do that shit? THERE IS NO GOOD AND EVIL, THERE IS ONLY POWAH, AND THOSE TOO WEAK TO SEEK IT. There has got to be a better point to make than strokin' it to the concept of power. Willow already went through this.

    I like the return to low stakes though, and while a focus on Dawn and friends doesn't interest me I still love that they're back to highschool.

  4. Brilliant ending. Spike looks so different, so human. Although a bit too tanned. Does that mean he's no longer a vampire? I'm not that interested in Dawn and seeing Buffy in the mother's role, so I hope the season doesn't focus too much on it. Although it does seem like the show creators were trying to see if Dawn could somehow carry the show and replace SMG eventually?

  5. I thought that it was a nice change for Dawn to see her behaving as the voice of experience while she was with the underground with The Scoobies: TNG.

  6. I so loved Buffy’s first meeting with Spike. She is stunned, took her a few beats to get out his name. Asks if he’s real, then confused by his crazy laughter. Aaand my favorite quote:
    Spike: Buffy, duck. (Gently touches her face - and she doesn’t flinch!)
    Buffy: Whaa-t? Duck? There’s a duck?
    And lol.


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