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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Pangs

Giles: "Buffy, Xander is in real danger. Are you sure the solution is pie?"

Thanksgiving episodes on series TV tend to be a tad too heartwarming for my taste, because a part of me is always aware of the 'ritual sacrifice of an animal to celebrate the slaughter of indigenous peoples' aspect of the holiday. Finally, a Thanksgiving episode for me (she said joyously) as poor, alienated, new-to-college, post-Angel Buffy is compelled to create her own version of a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, all the while being attacked by perhaps justifiably homicidal Native American spirits.

Whedon et al. continued to make Spike more sympathetic, starting with that hilarious Dickensian scene of Spike, frozen and starving, peering into a window at vampires feasting (I thought I'd bust a gut laughing at that one) and secondly, having him tied to a chair and hit with arrows during the second half of the episode. Poor Spike may be suffering because of his "little trip to the vet," but he was always a lot more fun when he was forced to work with the gang and this whole defanging business works for me. I'm sure James Marsters doesn't mind being a series regular now, either.

It struck me this time that the commandos are the Sunnydale version of the ROTC. I'm wondering how long it will take for Buffy and Riley to run into each other in the dark. (Or did they already during "Wild at Heart"?)

I really do like former demon Anya. She's sort of like Cordelia in "Earshot"; she says what she thinks, all the time, and there's something delightful about a character who does that. (Also sort of like the Estelle Getty character on Golden Girls. Didn't she always get the best lines?)

Sarah Michelle Gellar was simply wonderful in this episode. Light comic touch, pathos, total cuteness, she has it all. It was also a lot of fun to see Angel stalking Buffy again. Ah, memories.

Quotes: (and what a quotable episode this is)

Willow: "Thanksgiving isn't about blending of two cultures. It's about one culture wiping out another. And then they make animated specials about the part where, with the maize and the big, big belt buckles. They don't show you the next scene, where all the bison die and Squanto takes a musket ball in the stomach."
Buffy: "Okay. Now, for some of that, you were channeling your mother?"

Willow: "Buffy, earlier you agreed with me about Thanksgiving. It's a sham. It's all about death."
Buffy: "It is a sham, but it's a sham with yams. It's a yam sham."
Willow: "You're not gonna jokey-rhyme your way out of this one."

Buffy: "Do you even own a turkey pan?"
Giles: "Tell me again why we're not doing this at your house."
Buffy: "Giles, if you would like to get by in American society, then you are going to have to follow our traditions. You're the patriarch. You have to host the festivities, or it's all meaningless."
Giles: "And this is in no way an elaborate scheme to stick me with the cleanup?"
Buffy: "How about that ceremonial knife, huh? Pretty juicy piece of clueage, don't you think?"

Willow: "But you have whipped cream. I saw it in Giles' fridge."
Buffy: "But that's whipped cream in a canister. It's only right if you whip it yourself."
Willow: "Hey, and then later, we can churn our own butter and make sweaters out of sheep."

Riley: "That sounds so great, but I'm outta here tonight. I caught a last-minute flight back to Iowa."
Buffy: "Iowa. That's one of the ones in the middle, right?"

Buffy: "And the thing is, I like my evil like I like my men: evil. You know, straight up, black hat, tied to the train tracks, soon my electro-ray will destroy Metropolis bad. Not all mixed up with guilt and the destruction of an indigenous culture."
This is an interesting thing to say about men. Taken literally, it means she likes bad boys.

Buffy: "You don't have a ricer? What do you mean? How could someone not have a ricer?"
Giles: "Well, do you have one at home?"
Buffy: "I don't know. What's a ricer?"
Giles: "We'll mash them with forks, much as the pilgrims must have."

Giles: "Well, that's good, but this is why I think we should all keep a level head in this."
Willow: "And I happen to think mine is the level head, and yours is the one things would roll off of."

Willow: "Sarcasm accomplishes nothing, Giles."
Giles: "It's sort of an end in itself."

Spike: "I just can't take all this mamby-pamby boo-hooing about the bloody Indians."
Willow: "Uh, the preferred term..."
Spike: "You won. All right? You came in and you killed them and you took their land. That's what conquering nations do. It's what Caesar did, and he's not going around saying, I came, I conquered, I feel really bad about it."

Xander: "I think he thought we were crazy."
Willow: "Maybe if Anya hadn't opened the conversation with, Everybody got both ears?"

Buffy: "Wasn't exactly a perfect Thanksgiving."
Xander: "I don't know. Seemed kinda right to me. A bunch of anticipation, a big fight, and now we're all sleepy."

We have another winner here. Four out of four stakes,

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


  1. Spike: “A bear! You made a bear!”
    Buffy: “I didn't mean to.”
    Spike: “Undo it! Undo it!”

    Not the best episode but has some great moments. Most of them involving Spike.

  2. "It was just like old times"

    It was indeed, which is probably why I liked this episode so much. I sat through it this time with a huge grin on my face for the majority of it. It was very nice to have the gang back together again fighting a common foe. And there was loads of great dialogue. I loved the running bit about everyone thinking Angel was evil again.

    And poor Spike, all de-fanged and left alone in the complete lack of cold. What's a vampire that can't kill to do.

  3. All things improve with Spike, and this episode is where it all begins. Every time I watch it, I laugh out loud and, as Mark says, it always involves Spike. He is fantastic throughout.

    His speech is one of my favorites in the entire Buffy universe. The disdain with which he treats all the PC-ness going on makes the speech that much better. Not to mention the fact that what he says is true.

    Great episode. One of my favorites.

  4. I love this one, too, and really like how you put it, ChrisB. All things do improve with Spike. His speech was a riot and like you said so true.

  5. No arguments from me over all things improving with Spike.

    I do also love this episode for highlighting the very uncomfortable aspect of thanksgiving (speaking as a Brit) while also giving the cold hard truth from the mouth of Spike, and less forcefully from Giles.

    Angel also has one of my favorite lines in the episode when he first meets Willow while Buffy's talking to Riley. He seems to be talking about the task at hand 'if you can just tell me...' then, a bit like a lost puppy 'who's that guy'. DB delivers those kinds of lines so well.

  6. After this episode, Thanksgiving will always be "a ritual sacrifice. With pie." Thank you, Anya.

    I also like the bicycle "cavalry" with the classic western music.

    So many good moments in this episode. It's one of my favorites.


  7. Basically, ditto everything everyone's said. This episode is practically perfect. Absolutely hilarious. I watch it every Thanksgiving.

  8. All things improve indeed with Spike :-) I love this ep. It has so many hilarious scenes. I love the moment at the end when Xander blurts out their Little secret.

  9. This is one of my favorite episodes, but rewatching it I had a moment of "Hey, Angel's in this?" Sure, the "pangs" Buffy feels are the title of the episode, but for me it will always be the one with Spike, the bear, and the funny syphilis.

  10. So awesome. The last episode was funny but this one had me laughing out loud - alot. The bit with the bear was priceless - thanks for adding that in Mark. Reading the reviews just makes it all that more enjoyable - thanks Billie.

  11. I liked this one. :)

    Just a small correction...in the quotes you have "Buffy: "Uh, the preferred term..." but it was actually Willow that said it.

  12. Arie, you're right -- I can hear it in my head. (I don't even have to watch it!) I fixed it.


  13. A great episode. I was getting ready to give up on the show (or at least on season 4) after Beer Bad, but that was first rate.


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