Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Passion

Giles: "Since Angel lost his soul, he's regained his sense of whimsy."

Angel totally creeped me out not once but several times. He was the embodiment of everyone's nightmare ex-boyfriend, but with a supernatural, homicidal twist, as he obsessively stalked Buffy and her friends and even deliberately told Joyce that he had sex with Buffy just to hurt them both. That Angel/Joyce scene in the front of the house was amazing. I mean, this was way above and beyond the call of evil.

The first time I saw this episode, I was still in everything-is-going-to-be-all-right-eventually mode and I was completely thrown when Angel actually killed Jenny. And then I was truly shocked at how he displayed her body for Giles the way he did. Could Angel have been any crueler? Having him break her neck instead of biting her was so unambiguous, too; in Sunnydale, where the dead come back all the time, we got the message loud and clear that there would be no resurrection for Jenny.

The non-Angel-related scenes were also outstanding. I was blown away by Buffy telling Jenny that she didn't want Giles to be lonely; Giles dazed in front of the police; Buffy holding Giles as he cried; Buffy telling Giles, "I'm sorry I couldn't kill him for you."

Angel warming his hands over the fire he made of Jenny's computer was symbolic of primitive violence and the supernatural defeating technology. But Angel may be defeated by technology in the end, though, since there is a disk with the curse that still survives.

Bits and pieces:

-- Gold acting stars for David Boreanaz, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Anthony Stewart Head. They were all amazing in this episode.

-- Willow took over Jenny's classes.

-- Jealousy ruled as Angel and Spike practically snarled at each other. Angel implied that he was already sleeping with Drusilla while Spike was incapacitated.

-- I hate to bludgeon a stereotype, but we librarians do indeed know all about sex. We have access to all the books, and we have to answer questions about them, don't we? And some of us actually have sex, believe it or not. That was my sarcastic voice.

-- It's way past time that Joyce knew about Buffy's calling. But then again, wouldn't Joyce be even more upset if she knew Buffy had slept with a vampire? It's bad enough that she thinks Angel is a nasty college boy who's stalking Buffy.

-- Two kids came into the library... for books. Who would have thought?

-- When Cordelia drives up to Buffy's house after Jenny's death, note that her car is full of garlic and crosses.

-- Angel has artistic talent.

-- Willow said she had to go to Xander's house to see "A Charlie Brown Christmas" every year, and talked about Xander doing the Snoopy dance.

-- Jenny's tombstone just said Jennifer Calendar; no dates are given.

-- A little inside info. Anthony Stewart Head did the singing in the graveyard scene.

-- Many obligatory puppy references. After Angel killed Willow's fish, she said, "For the first time, I'm glad my parents didn't let me have a puppy." Drusilla brought Spike a puppy to eat, and ended up carrying it around. At least they didn't show Dru chowing down on the puppy. Although I'm certain she eventually did.

-- Random comment. Did Jenny wear the same outfit two days in a row?

Quotes:

Buffy: "When I woke up, I found a picture he'd left me on my pillow."
Xander: "A visit from the pointed-tooth fairy."

Giles: "It's classic battle strategy to throw one's opponent off his game. He's just trying to provoke you. Uh, to taunt you, to, to goad you into, uh, some mishap of some sort."
Xander: "The nyah-nyah-nuh-nyah-nyah approach to battle?"
Giles: "Yes, Xander, once more you've managed to boil a complex thought down to its simplest possible form."

Jenny: "I know you feel betrayed."
Giles: "Yes. Well, that's one of the unpleasant side effects of betrayal."

Spike: "If you ask me, I find myself preferring the old Buffy-whipped Angelus. This new, improved one is not playing with a full sack."

Another outstanding series-changing episode. Four out of four stakes,

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

17 comments:

The Dark Shape said...

My favorite episode of Buffy. Perfect on every level.

Mark Greig said...

Agree with The Dark Shape, this is a truly brilliant episode. Even all these years later Jenny's murder still gets to me.

Sam said...

In need of a Buffy rewatch!!!

natedagreat said...

Just after watchin this ep again and even after al this time it still shocks me by how gud it is.. Just wondering does anyone know if angel was every invited into Giles houses before this ep.. Its jst been so long since i've watched season 2 that i can't remember lol..

celticmarc said...

(Being in advance in the rewatch since it's the funeral tomorrow) (and wow, quite a slap in the face episode) (but great)

OMG ! I take some advance and here we have a major shocker. I am so sad to loose such a great character. And I made the mistake...of watching Joss' interview about this one before the actual watching. (I'm still in shock after the loss of TWO great characters in Serenity. Sometimes you can be cruel Joss, you know that ?)

Powerful episode. Frankly Billie, I do not regret buying the entire series. (Glad to read that you still....have your sarcastic voice.) Hopefully, someone will find that floppy disk.

One of the interrupting kids in the library is, yes, Danny Strong. "This IS the school library." "Since when?" Loved also the garlic on Buffy's bed head.

Powerful. Awesome. Excellent. Buffian delight, but on the dark side.

Billie Doux said...

BUFFY RE-WATCH comments begin here! Remember, no spoilers for future episodes. Want to talk spoilers and foreshadowing? Post them here.

sunbunny said...

Everyone always cites this episode as one of the best in the series. While I objectively understand that it is good, it's just not one of my favorites. The scene with Joyce and Angel in front of the house: I was totally convinced Angel was going to at least try to kill her. Also, I always forget this episode doesn't end with Buffy and Willow learning about Jenny's death. There's the whole fire at the factory scene I always forget about.

Buffy and Willow learning Angel has killed Ms. Calendar is my favorite scene of the ep. Buffy is just shocked and Willow? I've said it before, I'll say it again: when Alyson Hannigan cries, you cry.

Jane said...

Wow, I thought this was stunningly good. I don't know that I'd want to re-watch it often, but it was such a well written story that it will stay with me for a while.

For me the Angel voice-over added to that emotional punch. It was written in such a way that the meaning could go either way and David Boreanaz did a nice job of just barely letting it cross from loving to neutral to chilling. It really added to the tension as I worried over who (or how many) Angel was going to kill.

a.m. said...

I really enjoyed this episode, but wow Angelus is E V I L!

There have been so many times that he or Spike or Dru have come close to killing one of the major characters and yet that character (like Xander recently) somehow escapes, so I assumed the same would happen with Jenny...how wrong I was. Is this the beginning of people cursing Whedon's name? I think it was even worse considering she and Giles were just about to make up. Now I know why all of the fans on here were so happy to see Jenny when when the rewatch began!

So why is it taking Spike so long to heal? I mean, Angel lost most of his blood and he seems healed and strong. What injuries is he suffering from anyway? I really just want him to jump up out of that chair and punch Angelus in the face sometimes, just to have the old Spike back. The scene with Dru sticking the puppy in his face was just so pitiful!

Of all the scary/exciting moments, the thing I felt the need to write down so I wouldn't forget it was: Dot Matrix Printer!!! and 3.5 Floppy Disk!!! Sometimes this show doesn't feel very old at all and then all of a sudden their old tech is so obvious or their lack of new tech (like cellphones) means the story plays out in way that would never happen these days. Their lack of easy communication via texting really changes the things that can go wrong and the level of suspense or confusion that can occur. After seeing this episode, I was looking around on Pinterest (the Geek board just makes me happy) and found this great graphic:

http://humortrain.com/post/52923334141

It hasn't been very many years since I had boxes of those 3.5 disks and kids these days wouldn't even understand what that was if they saw this episode...

ChrisB said...

This is one of the best. Like Billie, I was completely shocked the first time I saw it. It was another example of how I knew this show was going to change my expectations of television.

The scene where we watch Buffy and Willow learn about Jenny's death is brilliantly filmed. Because we see it from Angel's perspective, it makes the grief and their reactions all the more difficult to watch as we are not identifying with him. At least, I hope we are not.

sunbunny said...

a.m. - Yes, this is where Joss got his "I kill people when they get too happy" relationship. Spike's long convalescence drives me insane. It never happens again in the show. Vampires always heal extremely quickly. From a story standpoint, it was done to complicate the love triangle, but it definitely does not mesh with the show's mythology.

a.m. said...

Maybe Spike's depressed...he had a great plan, and Buffy and Kendra ruined it. Then Angelus shows back up and he's not the only one for Dru anymore. Maybe after he's done mourning the ruination of his plans, he'll be able to get up and kick some ass again...I know most of you know when that'll happen, but since I don't, I just thought I'd throw it out there :)

Also, the fact that Joss is willing to go against tradition and kill off major characters makes me like the show a little more. It keeps me from being able to be too cynical about it. Now I feel like every time one of the Scoobies is chased and caught by a vampire or demon, they might be leaving. I know a few more things that have to happen with a couple of characters, so thankfully some will be around, but still, I know not to get too comfortable since Joss is in charge. He's not quite Moffat but he's getting there...

Suzanne said...

I rarely cry while watching t.v. But this one always gets to me. There are a few tear worthy scenes, but the one that gets me every time is when Buffy hits Giles at the end and says "you can't do this to me," pleading with Giles not to leave her alone. The look n his face when he realizes how much she needs him is powerful.

As usual, Joss combines the funny with the tragic so well, too. Dru calling Jenny the "mean teacher" and Xander kidding Cordy about her car worries by saying something about how vamps in cars make lousy passengers since they never offer to pay for gas was priceless.

Jenny will be missed as she always has been for me in previous watches. Seeing Giles delight at the sight of what he thought would be a romantic night was heart wrenching.

pucklady said...

Newbie report:

This was a very good episode, especially the way it was filmed. The scene where Giles finds Jenny and stands there frozen, then there are red and blue lights behind him was very powerful. Giles is catatonic as time passes. Very nicely done.

The threat of Angelus is a great addition. Buffy knows that he killed all of Dru's family, so none of her friends are safe. I can imagine that watching the series live, it would have been difficult to wait for the next episode. If they had done this one and then gone on hiatus, it would have been worse. Thankfully, we don't have that problem.

I had to Google Danny Strong to see where I've seen him before. It didn't help much, because his best and most famous work is as a writer.

Well, Jenny Calendar is gone.


Oh look! There's a rose on the door
And champagne cooling, ready to pour
But there in his bed
Giles discovered instead
That Jenny, his love, was no more

drnanamom said...

By the end of this episode I wanted Buffy to kill Angel and I've seen the series before. He is cruel and malicious and obsessed. This is the evil side of Passion. Just a comment about Spike healing - I think it was because he was burned. Dru was very weak because she had been caught in a fire. Maybe healing from fire takes longer.

Arie said...

This is a great episode, and I remember being totally shocked at the "big twist" (oops...bad pun). Two things bother me about this episode:

1. Why was Jenny so talkative about her plans with the magic shop owner? It was so stupid, and pretty out of character for any of the Scoobies (I guess Jenny is sort of a Scooby?) to tell a complete stranger about a ritual/spell/paranormal activity. It felt like really cheap storytelling. I would've been fine with Angel simply showing up in her classroom just checking in on what she was doing in a creepy stalker way, seeing the orb and going "I know what you're doing and stop it" and the rest of the story unfolding as it did.
2. I teach, and there is no way a student would be asked to teach a class if I was maybe going to be late. I would need to orgaize my own relief and it would be another teacher. There's also no way on God's green earth a student be asked to cover classes indefinitely. Stuff like that drives me nuts!

Unknown said...

Look at it like this, Arie. If Willow wasn't teaching/going through Jenny's files, then what happens at the end of the season wouldn't have happened and her sparked interest in magick also, probably, wouldn't have started to give us awesome episodes down the road.