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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Never Leave Me

Spike: "I have come to redefine the terms pain and suffering since I fell in love with you."

Good God. They weren't kidding about going back to their roots. Even the manacles were back.

In one jam-packed episode, we saw:

1. The destruction of the Watcher's Council, with the death of Quentin Travers and the Watchers (some of whom were from the episode "Checkpoint");

2. Confirmation that the Big Bad is indeed the First Evil from "Amends," a third season Christmas episode notable mostly for an erotic dream sequence, miracle snow, and Sarah's tragic experiment with short bangs;

3. The raising of a major nasty called (according to the credits) an Ubervamp; and

4. Some serious and intimate communication, finally, between Buffy and Spike.

This whole First Evil plot is very cool. I'm totally on board now and loving it. The First Evil is of course planning to wipe the Slayers off the face of the Earth by killing all the Slayers-to-be, and then Buffy... and then Faith, right? Faith is the one who actually carries the line of succession. Kill Faith last, when there's no one to take on the mantle after her, and no more Slayer, right? If this is the last season of Buffy, anything could happen — and anyone could die.

The two conversations Buffy and Spike had were very interesting. They actually talked about how Spike got his soul back, and about the sadomasochistic nature of their relationship. Spike hadn't understood Buffy before, but he does now. How about him telling Buffy she needed her men to hurt her, and that it was tied in to being a Slayer? "You hated yourself. And you took it out on me." It was like the second half of Buffy's discussion with Holden in "Conversations with Dead People."

Spike talked about the evil he had done in another attempt to get Buffy to kill him. I noticed that most of it was implied, since he seemed to have trouble vocalizing exactly what evil things he used to do to girls that were "Dawn's age." But if Angel's soul buys him a get-out-of-Hell-free card, if there is a clear difference between soul-less and soul-having, then Spike isn't responsible for what he did back then, is he? He's certainly not responsible for what the First is doing to him.

Buffy has finally acknowledged that pre-soul Spike made a conscious decision to be good, that he chose to change, and she gave him credit for it. My jaw actually dropped when she told Spike that she believed in him. Maybe there's hope for those two after all. Be still, my heart.

There was some truly wonderful comic relief, with Xander and Anya throwing themselves into playing good cop bad cop with Andrew, Andrew's unsuccessful attempt to sacrifice a pig to raise the Ubervamp, and Willow intimidating Andrew outside the butcher shop: "I am Willow. I am Death. If you dare defy me, I will call down my fury, exact fresh vengeance, and make your worst fears come true. (brightly) Okay?"

Jonathan is dead. The Watchers Council go boom. Spike is strapped down and sliced to ribbons. What will happen to Spike now? Is it too much to hope that he'll manage to escape and get back into Angel's manacles, because he looked soooo good in them.

And Giles! AXE! We still don't know; Giles may or may not be dead, too. It has to be "not." Giles is the only logical one to gather the Slayers-to-be and lead the remainder of the Council in a fight against the First, so Giles simply has to be alive.

Bits and pieces:

-- How about Buffy matter-of-factly feeding Spike blood, in a much more revolting manner than a straw in a mug?

-- Please don't tell me that Principal Wood is evil, because I don't believe it. He seemed zombie-like as he was burying Jonathan's body; I thought the First could only take over the Undead? What's going on here?

-- Dawn got in several good shots during the battle with the Harbingers. I even thought she was going to kill one for a moment there.

-- Loved Buffy using Andrew himself as a weapon.

-- Did Spike's chip really stop working? It was working an episode or two ago; I thought it just didn't function when the First possessed him.

-- It's a good thing Xander is a builder, since the house is getting seriously trashed in every episode now.

-- Why is it that all of the new writers seem to have the first name "Drew"? Is this a code, or something?

Quotes:

Warren: "Pretty bitchin', right? I'm like Obi-wan."
Andrew: "Or Patrick Swayze."

Willow: "Xander's installing the new windows, and he keeps giving lectures on proper tool maintenance. Tool talk, not my thing."

Butcher: "This is a butcher shop, Neo. We don't sell toothpaste."

Xander: "Trigger."
Anya: "The horse?"

So much happened in this episode that it was like a near season-ender, but we're not even halfway there yet. Can the Buffy Powers That Be keep up this pace?

This is so a four. Outstanding.

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

4 comments:

  1. Gosh I'm finding this season incredibly dark and to be honest - a little hard to follow. I don't understand this first evil thing. I havent ever watched Angel so I don't get the references from that either.
    I actually miss the "normal" villans. I'm getting a little bored of seeing a character doing something evil and then it turning out to either not be them or they are possessed. I can't trust any conversations in Buffy anymore!

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  2. Perhaps Spike's chip started to malfunction because the First Evil overrode it to make him kill.

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  3. Just over a month ago, Anya was torturing and killing people. For all intents and purposes she was a monster. And now she's encouraging Buffy to kill Spike? I know Anya wasn't born with people skills, but she's learned a lot these last four years, and it bothers me when she falls back to her earlier self. I suspect it was just played for laughs, but still...

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  4. "-- How about Buffy matter-of-factly feeding Spike blood, in a much more revolting manner than a straw in a mug?"
    Yeah lol. Just.. why?

    Generally agree with @Remco. Not very good Anya characterization since Selfless.

    Spike's arc is basically Angel's now if Buffy knew him before he found his mission and learned to relax with the whole coping-with-violent-past. I'm still struggling to adjust. I feel like it's too soon that The First is using him immediately after reclaiming his soul. I liked his conversation with Buffy just to have an extended moment with Spike as we know him, even though I found myself uncharacteristically unsympathetic with her. "You don't know me" YES HE DOES GIRL HE SEES RIGHT THROUGH YOU. But she IS right about "You don't know yourself." This isn't the same person, this was the original man who was forced to serve as a vessel for the demon known as Spike.

    @Tommi: "I havent ever watched Angel so I don't get the references from that either."
    The First never showed up on Angel though, what references? Angel the character was still on this show when it showed up to him that first time, if that's huwhat you meant.

    I loved the Watcher's Council being blown up right after bracing themselves for retaliation. It was.. mean-spirited but it made me laugh. Messed up but honestly really fitting way to cut off the worthless dangling thread that they were. Also last episode's comments section must be cursed because I couldn't think of a single meaningless thing I wanted to say about it and I just found out now that it has no comments at all lol. I was even thinking of leaving a "I have nothing more to contribute" there for funsies but it feels like littering and I think I'll leave the firstie on that page to someone in the future who might actually have something genuine to say. But yeah, what a non-episode that was. "Sleeper"'s a fitting title. This was better. Andrew's fun, some really funny lines even if it's basically all referential (but "Do people still die of smallpox anymore?" made me grin). I don't find him inherently annoying anymore like Halfrek. I feel bad about letting go of Jonathan's murder so quickly though. I'm already over it >_>;

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