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24 January 2013 @ 11:44 am
Review: BTVS' Season 2 episode "Passion"  
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Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Season 2, Episode 17

"Passion"

Written by: Ty King, DIR: Michael E. Gershman

Blurb: Angel steps up his torment of Buffy and her friends even as Jenny Calendar searches for a way to restore his soul.
My Blurb: Just so I don't have to mention it every other scene - "Oh, Jenny *sigh*SPOILERS within


Scene 01: We open in The Bronze, where Buffy and Xander are having a good time dancing without all of the humiliating undertones that were in their dance together in "When She Was Bad".

In the background, Cordelia is at a table with Willow. Also at The Bronze, playing especial attention, is Angelus. Considering his plans for Xander in "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered", I assume this isn't a good thing... and that's even before his voiceover starts. His VO involves the nature of passion and how it opens its jaw and howls, no matter whether we wish it to or not. He's staring stalkerishly at Buffy and Xander during this whole thing.

Buffy... not in the habit of honing... does not sense his attention.


Commentary: So, let's talk about Angelus as far as S2 is concerned. One of the problems with this season, and why even though I really like it generally, it is weaker than S3 or S5 in my opinion is that Angel has been kept too far in the background since "Innocence". Now, I can kind of see where they wanted to give us an episode here and there to break up the tension with 'what is Angelus going to do next and what is Buffy going to do about it'. But... well... the tension slacked way too much. His appearance in 'Phases' was alright, except he killed off a "friend" of Buffy's that we never saw before and no one bothers to talk about again: Hi, Jesse... I remember you, even if your best friends Xander and Willow don't!

It would have had more impact if Jonathon were killed in that episode honestly, but I also could have stood Aphrodesia, Aura, Joy, Owen, Chris Epps... etc. What I'm saying is that there are a wealth of named bit-characters they could have used to heighten Angelus' menace.

Then in B, B & B - we already knew that Xan wasn't in actual danger because the entire tone of the episode was too light and Xander is too major a character to be snuffed out as a one-off death so it didn't have the impact it should have.

Which is why this episode will be so effective. We really needed Angelus to be a far more serious danger to Buffy and her circle and we haven't been getting it. And, just looking forward a bit, he'll once again be relegated too far to the background in "Killed by Death" and "Go Fish". The problem with Angelus as the big bad of the season is that he simply didn't keep the pressure on Buffy the way he needed to. Glory will have the same problem, but there it kinda works better because the season is really about Buffy's taking on the adult responsibilities of taking care of her sister and her coming to terms with what being the Slayer means beyond the hitting things. But this season, Angelus is a very personal villain. Buffy knows him. Buffy loved him. Buffy needed to be far more emotionally crippled by what has happened, then we got to see and that is mostly because Angelus was too much of a background scowler instead of an up-in-Buffy's-face threat.

I think the latter half of Season 2 could have been a real killer if starting here, Buffy was sent into a S6-type dark emotional place culminating in her leaving Sunnydale at the end of the season. Instead, this sort of emotional ringer is only spotted in specific episodes -- this one, 'I Only Have Eyes For You' and 'Becoming'. It's unfortunate, though it doesn't mar the power of the best episodes of the season.



A bit later, the gang leave all smiles. They pass a couple making out, but we don't follow them. Instead the camera-POV stays on our couple in the alley to reveal that the guy wasn't snogging our lucky lady -- it was actually Angelus feeding on a girl right in front of Buffy's face. She didn't sense a thing.


Commentary: At the time, this really bothered me because I felt it didn't make sense that Buffy wouldn't have sensed Angelus this close victimizing someone. But, I'm kinda okay with it... mostly... now. I think there has been enough episodes in future to show that Buffy's honing skills really do require work for her to make work correctly. Episodes like "Buffy vs. Dracula", "No Place Like Home", "Intervention" as well as Faith's lack of Slayer-dreams could indicate that just because these abilities like sensing are innate to the Slayer package doesn't mean that they just work without practice.


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Anyway, Angelus continues to stare at Buffy's gang o'friends right behind them in the alley, and they continue to not be aware of it.


Commentary: Also, Angelus' vamp!face is way too much. Angelus out of vamp!face is wearing too much eyeliner and he should lay off the lipbalm.


Scene 02: Later, Buffy is in her room when she seems to sense that she may be being watched. She checks out the window of her bedroom, but doesn't see anything.


Scene 03: Later, later Buffy crawls into bed. [Kudos to the music, here, as it does ratchet up the tension without being heavy handed] The camera pans and we see that Angelus is at Buffy's window watching her. She fails to sense him.


Commentary: And, here I must call BS. This scene... creepy as it is... just doesn't make sense, even fanwanking the general plot-convenience of Buffy's sensing abilities. There just isn't any way she wouldn't pick up on Angelus, of all vampires, right outside of her window! I'm willing to accept this sorta thing with Dracula later, since he has gypsy magicks but not here with Angelus.


Scene 04: Later, to ratchet up the tension further, we see Angelus' shadow moving over Buffy [A Nosferatu reference?]. Thank God that Buffy left all of her makeup on so that she'd look ravishing for his stalker-gaze and that she doesn't have bed-head, yet.

We see his hand come into frame and he very gently strokes her hair as she continues to sleep on. The camera pulls out and he's sitting on her bed as he continues his VO about the nature of passion and its working its will upon us.


Commentary: *C'mon*. Again, I appreciate the creep factor and visual but Buffy isn't new to this game. She's been through too much to sleep this soundly even without her inconsistent vampire-detecting powers. I'm just not buying this -- even though I want to because it is deliciously creepy.


Credits and Kick-Ass Theme Song


Scene 05: The following morning our camera pans across the room and over Buffy's bed as she wakes up from a restful night [where did that branch outside her window come from??]. She finds next to her an envelope. Within this is a sketch of Buffy sleeping.


Commentary: I like the creep factor here, too, but I can't help but think this would have had a larger jolt for the audience if we hadn't seen Angelus in Buffy's room sitting on her bed. If instead we'd seen him lurking outside her house (by that large oak tree in the front yard would have been good), then the credits, and then Buffy finding the envelope and the sketch I would have been much more distrubed and shocked.


Scene 06: In the library later, Buffy complains to Giles about Angel being in her room while she slept. Cordelia is disturbed that he could enter a person's home. Giles tells her that once you've invited a vampire in, you don't have to issue the invitation over and over -- it's an all access pass from then forward.

Xan makes a snotty comment about inviting strange men into bedrooms that makes me want to slap him upside his head. Cordelia has a freakout again that she'd once invited Angel into her car, meaning he can enter her car at any time.

We, alas, don't explore whether an invite is even necessary for a car at this time. Xan jokes that Cordy is now stuck with giving vampires a ride and they never pitch in for gas... she looks at him like he's an ass -- which he is being -- AGAIN [Why do I like him, now?]

Buffy presses Giles for a way to disinvite Angel from her house. Giles is a bit startled by Buffy's sudden panicked tone, but the mood is interupted by Jonathon and random girl coming into the library. Xan snits that they should knock before entering rooms, but Giles reminds him that they're in a school library [somehow both lampshading and ignoring the very problem of doing all of this secret slayer business in the library to begin with]. Xan just asks since when?

With Jon and Random Girl in the library, the others leave. Jonathon comes out of the stacks to ask for some help to find an empty library. It is only mildly humorous.


Scene 07: In the hallway, Giles acknowleges that Angelus is stepping up his game in harrassing Buffy. Cordy wonders why he's playing around with drawings when he could have just slit her throat, or strangled her or cut her heart out... which y'know is a good question, but comes across as insensitive since it's Cordy talking.

Rupert tells Buffy that Angel is just trying to provoke her and throw her off her game and she musn't allow herself to panic. But, she has a good reason to -- Joyce lives in the house too and Buffy can't take to being her bodyguard all night, every night. She suggests it's time to tell her mother. Giles objects strenuously to this plan. Xan remains inappropriately jokey, which judging by Cordy's reaction, even she finds OTT -- so that's say something.

So, I'll say -- "SHUT UP, XANDER!"


Commentary: This scene really bugs me for the simple fact that Giles' wanting to keep Joyce in the dark EVEN NOW WITH ANGELUS IN HER HOUSE AT NIGHT is stupid. He's setting Joyce up to be taken unawares and slaughtered. He knows that Angelus' MO is to kill the family's of those he's tormenting ala Drusilla. It makes ZERO sense at this point to keep counciling Buffy to protect her secret identity from her mother without some damned good arguments and we don't get ANY.

It's unacceptable, scriptwise for this not to be addressed. And the unfortunate thing, is that they actually do have a good reason for approaching this delicately: BECOMING, PART II shows us what will happen with Joyce when she does find out the truth (FINALLY). Giles could have had a line in here about the psychological or emotional damage that can result on someone who isn't ready to receive the truth that the entire world isn't what they thought it was.

It wouldn't be a perfect argument by any means, considering the very real and present danger, but at least it's something. The way they leave this point with Buffy's mother sitting, it comes across as Giles' backsliding into the Council-approved Idiocy rather than trying to be protective of Buffy's mother by keeping her in the dark about what is actually happening.


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Scene 08: A bit later, we join Jenny in her computer class. Willow is a student in the course, explaining her absence from the library and Buffy's revelations about Angel. As the bell rings for end of period, Jenny holds Wills back to ask her to take over the class the following day for just a bit, in case she's late as she needs to run an errand.

Willow goes into geekgasm-cuteness, but then panics as she wonders what to do in a series of increasingly unlikely scenarios. Jenny calms her down and tells her she'll try not to be too late. Willow lets go of her panic and starts to wonder if she can assign detention... and she's so adorable, because she's Aly.

Alas, Buffy and Giles show up to put the kibosh on any further joy by introducing uncomfortableness. Buffy asks Willow to come with, which she does, apologizing a bit too loudly about respecting teachers, even Jenny.


Scene 09: Giles loiters behind. He and Ms. Calendar exchange uncomfortable dialog as Giles informs her about Angelus' stalking Buffy more aggressively. He mentions having to find a way to keep Angel out of Buffy's house and Jenny hands him a spell book she'd been reading since Angel's turn.

They gaze awkwardly and longingly at one another. Jenny asks after Buffy's emotional wellbeing with Angel's stalking and all. She then apologizes to Rupert but mentions that she wasn't intending to hurt anyone by hiding her mission in Sunnydale. She tells him that her duty to her people was the first thing she'd been taught as a child. She didn't know what was going to happen. She also didn't know that she was going to fall in love with Giles when she was lying-through-omissioning him.

He's taken aback, but you know he's fallen for her too. But, his first duty is to Buffy. He tells her in no uncertain terms that it's she that Jenny has to make things up to.

My heart breaks a little bit from the cute/hurt -- I mean forget about what's coming.


Scene 10: That evening at dinner, Joyce notices Buffy's mood. They have a discussion and Buffy warns Joyce not to invite Angel in, presenting the situation as them kinda dating, but then he turned into a jerk and they're not seeing each other anymore but he's sending her notes and hanging around when she doesn't want to talk to him.

Joyce is understanding... rather than a bit peeved that her teenage daughter was hanging around some "college boy" that she didn't deign to tell her she was actually dating, rather than just getting tutoring from [although, I think Joyce figured the real situation from "Angel" the episode, anyway - so that could explain it].


Scene 11: Later-later, Willow is on the phone with Buffy getting the update about Joyce being given a tiny warning -- but obvs nowhere near as much as Buffy really wanted to give her.

Willow tells Buffy she agrees with Giles about Angel's just playing mindgames on her to throw her off. Buffy tells her she'll feel better when Giles comes up with the "keep out" spell. Willow absent-mindedly throws fishfood in her tank. I notice it appears to be empty and wonder why the prop department couldn't include fish?!

She babbles on that Buffy needs to try to keep happy thoughts... but her words are cut off as she sees something puzzling.

It turns out to be an envelope... containing the fish that I thought the prop department ignored! OOOHHHHHH! and OH, SHIT!

You do remember that Angel was in Willow's room in "Lie to Me", right... 'cause I had forgotten that detail until now. OH, SHIT!

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Scene 12: Jump to Willow sitting next to Buffy on her bed fumbling with a stake, surrounded by garlic and nervously watching Buffy's bedroom window.

Willow exposits that she's glad her parents didn't allow her to have a puppy (it would have been found nailed to a door). Buffy whimpers that the first thing she still thinks when stuff like this is happening is running to Angel. She's having a hard time believing he's so different now from the man she was falling for.

Willow disturbs everybody by pointing out that Angel and Angelus aren't completely different: Buffy is still the only thing Angel/Angelus is thinking about.

Geez, thank you for that Willow.


Commentary: What I really like about this scene is underneath it, they've placed the Angel/Buffy love theme. It's quietly done, so you don't really notice it if you're not... oh... analyzing every scene for details because you want to write something a little more than "aw, cute / aw, scary / aw, NO!" for a review, but it's there and it's very well placed.


Scene 13: Back at The Factory, Drusilla has brought Spike something to eat... a little puppy [this show has an obsession with mentioning puppies - I think somebody just likes that word]. "Poor thing. She's an orphan. Her owner died... (add mirth) without a fight." [I do loves me some Drusilla -- bitch.]

But Spike is not in a mood to enjoy a treat, as he complains that he'll not be handfed like he's a child. I can assure you that Angelus just happens to show up right about then to pour a cup o' salt in that wound.

He makes pointed comments in regards to Spike's wheelchair boundness and implies that he's either banging Dru again, or soon will be while Spike is unable to handle that responsibility.... [And I do loves me some politically incorrect Angelus barbs -- bitch.]

Drusilla is amused and flattered at Angelus and Spike's fighting over her so, as Spike glares death at Angelus. But her mirth soon turns to worry and pain as she receives a vision that an old enemy is seeking help to break up their happy family.


Scene 14: That old enemy is Ms. Jenny Calendar, who is running late for school because she's dropping off at the local magic shop. The shop keeper strange-accents a welcome and asks if she's looking for love charms, etc. She cuts through the crap by asking for an Orb of Thesulah, which lets him know that she's in the real craft.

Immediately, he immediately sounds like the local baker [I don't know why I find this so amusing, but it's just cute]. They chat while he retrieves the Orb and we find out that he knows she's Janna Calderash and states his regret that Enyos got killed. He presents the Orb, but tells her they're basically purchased as New Age paperweights [which will be called back to a bit later in a jokey aside] because it's useless without the accompanying ritual for summoning a soul to it and that magic is lost. He advises her that there aren't refunds.

She's cool with that. She's working on a transliteration program that samples random text to try to reconstruct the proper words for the lost ritual. Her obvious goal is to summon Liam's soul back to the Orb and then give it to Angelus to restore Angel to normalcy ... or as close as he comes, anyway.


Scene 15: As Jenny is doing this, the gang is arriving for the day.


Commentary: Goddammit, Xander! And costumer! His pants are giving me a headache.


Willow's excitement at sitting in for Ms. Calendar in her class is dashed when they see her striding across the yard. It turns out she didn't run late after all. Wills face falls at the wasted 5 hours of lesson planning she'd put in [oh, Willow... you are so nerdy-precious]. Buffy excuses herself to talk to Jenny and I LOVE this scene, especially because of the way the episode goes. Way to twist the knife, BTVS.

Buffy: Look, I know you feel badly about what happened... and... I just wanted to say... (glares at her) Good, keep it up.

Jenny: (nods that she probably deserves that, but her tone is kind of "enough already") Don't worry, I will.

Buffy: Uh, wait. Um... he misses you. He doesn't say anything to me, but I know he does and I don't want him to be lonely. I don't want anyone to.


Commentary: Again, I think I'm going to put the wonder of this scene in the undermusic. Although SMG really does a nice job of disliking Jenny, but wanting really badly to put that to the side on behalf of Giles' happiness. I MIGHT tear up a little bit, sometimes, during this scene just because this is a really big thing for Buffy to do considering and it also shows that she is aware of Giles as more than her guy-who-looks-things-up person.


Jenny starts to tell Buffy she's working on a fixing things, but Buff cuts her off with a curt, "We're good here. Let's just leave it."


Scene 16: Buffy finds Giles to get an update on the "no pulse, no entry" spell he's been looking for. He tells her he has made progress. Cordy has wandered up during this and expresses her extreme relief to hear a spell is coming. She mentions... completely unselfconsciousless naturally... that she had to convince her grandmother to trade cars with her. [I always laugh out loud at the way Charisma delivers this line... completely not acknowledging that she traded her grandmother's safety for her own.]


Scene 17: We skip to that night, where Buffy and Cordy are with Willow in the latter's room. She's hanging a cross, which is part of the ritual to disinvite Angel, behind a curtain. Willow worries about her dad seeing it, as she's not even allowed to watch 'A Charlie Brown Christmas' in the house every year. She also mentions Xander's penchant for the Snoopy Dance as part of that tradition, which we'll finally see performed briefly in "The Replacement".

Cordelia mentions to Willow that there aren't any fish in her aquarium, and Buffy tells Cord since they've performed the ritual in her car already she can take off.

Cordy is picking up a sweater whose color I'm not really sure would match her outfit and ergo seems out of character to me, and finds another ominous envelope that they'd failed to notice before on Willow's bed. It turns out this one was left at Willow's but is for Buffy... it's Angelus' sketch of Joyce sleeping!


Scene 18: We skip to Joyce pulling up to the house in her Jeep. Angelus is waiting for her, looking creepy as all hell. She doesn't immediately kick him in the balls, which is unfortunate.

Angelus plays the 'scorned boyfriend who can't let go' while Joyce tries to warn him off from harrassing her daughter. Angel "lets slip" that he and Buffy had sex, which is coming as a shock to Joyce. Buffy had left that part out when trying to warn her that Angel was clinging. But what's more, Angelus' words start to scare Joyce to and she fumbles at the front door to get into the house, while Angelus gets more amused by her obviously growing discomfort.

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Joyce makes it inside, but Angelus follows her and I don't even want to think what he planned on doing when Joyce went for the phone to call the police as she warned him she was going to do. Thankfully, we won't find out. He finds his path blocked by the "don't come in" barrier restored. Buffy is there with Willow.

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She awesomes, "Sorry, Angel. Changed the locks" and slams the door in his face.


Scene 19: At the school, Giles is looking in on Ms. Calendar since she's there working late. We know she's working on the translation program, but she hides this from him until she knows it will work in restoring the text of the ritual they need to save Angel. They flirt. They make plans to get together later that evening.

MY HEART BREAKS BECAUSE I KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING. Damn It!


Scene 20: Meanwhile, at that magic store, the shop keeper is trying to close up for the night when he gets an unwelcome visitor. It's effing Drusilla. (It's cute though that she's carrying that puppy around, but considering how conscientious she was about taking care of her songbird... well... poor little starving puppy.)

She's become aware due to her vision of Ms. Calendar as their threat: "Ms. Sunshine here tells me you had a visitor today. But she worries. She wants to know what you and the mean teacher talked about."

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Commentary: So I have a good and bad during this scene: First, I have zero belief that the magic shop owner, who clearly knows who Drusilla is already, would not have anti-vampire measures set up in his store if he's going to be staying there after dark. It's ridiculous, despite the actor's good work.

But, I like this scene because Juliet does that amazing whimsical line delivery, while giving a death scowl at him. She sends chills right up my spine here so I'm willing to overlook the stupid script-logic fail for it. I wish we'd see her put that puppy down somewhere safe though.



Scene 21: At the school, Jenny continues her hard work, not paying attention to anything around her which will be her undoing. *OH, JENNY!!!!"

She has a breakthrough and is happy that she'll have a way to help Giles and Buffy. In a nice callback to the scene with her students, she saves her work to both diskette and printing out a paper copy.

Unfortunately, as she looks at the printout running, she happens to look up and gets a shock-music sting. That, and Angelus... having slipped into the classroom as quiet as the proverbial churchmouse. He's sitting smirking at her in the back of the classroom. *NO! No, no, no, no.... sigh*

Jenny tries to remain calm and asks 'Angel' what he's doing there. Angel smirks he was invited by the sign on the front of the school telling all who seek knowledge to enter.


Commentary: There has been a lot of speculation on if this is a mistake, or just smirky-Angelus evil. Obviously, Jenny should be fully aware that Angelus has free access to the school, since Angel has been in there several times. As well, Sunnydale High is a public building and so Angel never needed an invitation to enter which is a fact that Jenny - with her revealed backstory - would have memorized. So, there is the implication in the way the scene plays out that Jenny is somehow being taken by surprise that Angelus is there because she didn't expect he'd be able to enter, causing Angelus to point out the invitation to all on the front of the building.

But, I think that's reading too much into this scene. I don't believe that it is actually fanwank to believe that Jenny asks what he's doing there *now* and his giving the smirky-answer purely as playful snark toward the woman that he knew he was going to kill when he entered the building. We've been told over and over that Angelus is sadistic and likes to toy with people before killing them. We've even seen it with Theresa and then with Joyce that very evening [I believe that Joyce was going to be left for Buffy]. I don't see any of this scene as a continuity issue, personally. Jenny was asking "What are you doing here?" as a shocked utterance, not as a serious "How could you enter the building?" question.



So, Jenny tries to tell Angel about her good news, but he is already aware of it... and from his perspective, it ain't so good. He taunts her a bit and then smashes the Orb, her computer, her printout and then tells her straight up that he's going to kill her now.

Jenny tries to take off through a door near her desk, but it's been closed and locked on her.


Commentary: And, I'll call bullshit on this one - even though I'm loving the scene for the horrible tenseness of it all. Tenseness that exists despite the bit of OTT acting on David's part that tips it into cheesy. This mysteriously closed and locked door is the same that Giles had been standing in just a bit before.

Now, I'll go as far as Angelus quietly closing the door while Jenn was engrossed in her work but how in the hell did he lock it?! That makes no sense.



Angelus throws Jenny hard into the door, knocking it open and leaving her with a cut on her head. She doesn't let that stop her from running... in that damned long dress of hers.


Scene 22: Jenny makes a panicked flight through the school as Angelus trots along after her [Very much like a horror movie, in fact... the victim runs all out, the killer barely walks fast, and yet somehow they're always right behind them -- was this just cliche, or homage? You make the call on that one].


Commentary: And I am going to issue a bit of a slam against both David's almost pantomiming overacting in power-striding after Jenny and the Angelus makeup brow which is looking particularly neaderthalish and looks crappy.


So after an interminably long time in which our hearts are beating hard and fast and we're wondering where the hell the calvary is to save her, Jenny takes off down The Last Hallway. She knocks Angelus over with a janitor's cart [Bad execution and lazy stunt work, or sadistic way to give Jenny hope of escape by Angelus - you can make the call on that one, too].

She takes The Last Stairs.


Scene 23: Where Angelus has gotten ahead of her with those vamp!powers [or fake offscreen teleporting -- you make the call; also - another homage to horror films, or more cliche -- make a double make-the-call on this one].

She literally runs right into the grinning, laughing Angelus to her utter despairing horror (AND MINE!). [Oh, and that effing car driving by in the background...!]

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Commentary: So, I was really into this exciting chase scene and the sudden shock of Angelus being ahead of her and the whole menace thing. It was really fun. But, this is Jenny Calendar and her and Giles have an obvious arc and plus she is obviously set to play a major role in getting Angel's soul back so there can be the redemptive reconciliation with the gang so we'll have lots of future jokes about the cuteness that is Giles and Jenny, right? And that would shift the big bad focus back on Spike and Dru.

I mean, I was POSITIVE I knew where this scene was going. Buffy's fist, or foot would be coming in from off frame at any moment while Angelus was busy giving bad guy monologue. It was obvious, but I was ready to be happy with it anyway because they'd done such a fine job of making this chase exciting and menacing and stressful.


Yeah. And then....


Angelus snaps Jenny's neck.

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Commentary: I fall apart in shock... literal jaw hanging open... yelling out loud, "Jenny!?!" Not believing that I saw what I'd just seen.

Oh, and shut up Angelus' smirky comment! Oh, and also --- gross to the panting in sexual-release type gratification at snapping her neck! GROSS.



Scene 24: While I'm left reeling and incapable of forming coherent thought, Giles... oh, my poor Rupert... drops in at Buffy's house. He's greeted by Willow. He's there to pick up the "keep out" spell book for his apartment next and Willow has to cutely explain in her nervous-roundabout way about Angel's telling Joyce about banging her daughter that kicked off this reign of terror and trauma.

Giles offers to say something to Joyce, but when Wills asks him what he'd say, he comes up completely blank. He quickly exits.


Scene 25: Upstairs, Buffy is spinning a story for Joyce about Angel just being really superstitious to explain that Latin and smoking herbs thing. The Sunnydale "Don't Look At This" aura allows Joyce to buy and forget this latest weirdness. Her focus is on Buffy's having had underaged sex with an inappropriately 'college-aged' guy, who is obviously mentally unstable.

Joyce complains to Buffy about how she never tells her anything that is happening in her life. She tells her that she's pretty much gotten used to her always being shut out, but that she'll never stop loving her daughter more than anything. They bond.


Scene 26: OH, GOD.

Giles returns to his apartment. There is a single, red rose on the door waiting for him and opera playing loudly within his apartment. I'm feeling sick, because I'm expecting Angelus to be waiting inside for him... foolish, naive, first-time watching Robert... I knew NOTHING.

Inside, Giles calls for Jenny who doesn't answer. But there is a bottle of chilling wine and some glasses waiting. He smiles and gets all cute as he realizes she's waiting upstairs and their reconciliation is going to be the delayed THE NIGHT. (*Sob*)

There is another piece of parchment paper with the wine which directs him upstairs.

He... oh, god; okay breathe... He follows the stairs upward and there have been candles lit along them and roses left on each stair for his big night of romantic sex.

Giles comes to the top of the stairs to find Jenny in his bed. He and We quickly see that yes, her dead open eyes are staring sightlessly at him. The wine bottle drops from his nerveless hands.

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(*Sob*)


Scene 27: We see Giles standing in shock at his door as an ambulance crew hauls Jenny's body away. A police officer tells him that he'll have to accompany them to the station for a statement, and he - still in a state of shock - agrees, but needs to make a call first....


Scene 28: We rejoin Buffy and Willow smiling at her house, while Angelus starts VoiceOvering again about passion and I want to stick a dirty sock dipped in holy water down his throat.

The phone rings. It's Giles with news about what Angelus has done. Buffy collapses. Willow goes into hysterics. Joyce is confused. Angelus is smirky, as he's been hanging out watching through the window for this moment of pain.

I don't want Buffy to save him, anymore.


Scene 29: A bit later, Cordy and Xander pull up to the waiting Buffy and Willow at the curb. They head over to Giles' apartment.


Scene 30: At Giles' apartment, he fills his bags with weaponry [which again, will not get used for the most part so what is the point of constantly bringing enough weapons for five people everywhere?] and storms out of his place on a mission of revenge.

We also see that Angelus had left behind another sketch that we didn't see the first time... Jenny lying with her broken neck. (UGH!)


Scene 31: A bit later, the gang arrive but Giles is already gone. [I like that Xander is trying to play protective guy by taking point to spare Buffy in case Angelus is there; that was sweet of him in a completely practically-pointless way. Uh, but I don't buy that Giles would have left the crime scene tape intact.]

Xan sees the setup and offers that Giles had had a big night planned with Jenny, but Buffy intuits from the sketch that Angelus had set the romantic vibe up as "the wrapping for the gift".

The gang quickly deduce that Giles is going after Angelus and Xander applauds him for it. Willow is appalled on Buffy's behalf, but Xander points out that he should be given credit for not being more of a jerk about letting Angelus live long before now and he's glad that finally somebody is willing to put a stop to the vampire.


Commentary: Yes. I agree that he's being a jerk -- again -- and brutally insensitive. I still agree with him. I think Angel should've been dealt with after Theresa bought it for no other reason than that she'd known Buffy back in "Phases". I don't like his phrasing particularly... but I agree with his sentiment that Buffy has been allowing her feelings for the vampire she knew to allow Angelus to continue murdering people.

Of course, this is going to come back to bite Xander in the ass when it comes to Anya -- but that's not for a few years. And, I'll agree with Buffy there, despite Xan's feelings about it.



Buffy also agrees with Xan that she's allowed things to go too long, but she fears that Giles is walking into being killed.


Scene 32: At The Factory, Spike is berating Angelus' sense of whimsy instead of just killing The Slayer already. Drusilla reminds him that Calendar was going to restore Angel, but Spike says he preferred the "Buffy-whipped" Angelus to the current half-crazy version they're dealing with. Angelus insists that he has everything under control... which is Giles' cue to throw a molotov cocktail from offscreen and light the central table on fire [oh, not that beautiful table Rupert -- it was an innocent!] and marching with purpose carrying a baseball bat.

Awesomely, as Giles strides forward he tips the bat into the flames. Obviously he'd splashed gasoline on its end first, and then he smashes Angelus' face with the flaming bat. It Is Glorious.

Giles continues to whale on Angelus with his flaming bat and when Dru goes to intervene, Spike awesomely holds her back to allow Angel to continue getting his ass pummeled and enjoying the show [Fist pump to Spike].

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Scene 33: Unfortunately, Giles tries a two-hand, overhead swing which allows Angelus the time to react. He grabs Giles and disarms him, raising him by the neck off the floor and promising him "fun".

But, now Buffy's swinging limbs come in from off camera.


Scene 34: While Giles is left on the floor stunned or unconscious... somehow... and Spike is rolled out of harms way by Drusilla, Buffy and Angelus start fighting with Buffy unleashing some of that frustration she's been building toward this whole situation.

Buffy beats Angelus up a bit, but he just giggles at her and points out that the fire is getting awfully close to Giles on the floor. Her distraction allows him to flip her over a catwalk and make his escape as she focuses on saving Rupert.


Scene 35: Giles comes around, unsteadily, as Buffy half carries him out of the burning factory.

In the alleyway though, Rupert isn't very greatful. He pushes her away and shouts at her for interfering. She punches him back and he falls to the alley with wrenching sobs (And, now I cry. Every Time). Buffy also starts crying as she looks down at him and tells him that he can't leave her. She drops to her knees to hold him as he sobs in her arms and tells him that she can't do this (face and beat Angelus) without him.

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Commentary: I continue crying... not really sobbing... but there are definitely teardrops falling. ASH and SMG rock this scene for all it is worth, and watching Anthony soundlessly, wrenchingly crying his eyes out.... It is so, so more heartbreaking than even watching Jenny get her neck snapped earlier. How was this episode not nominated for some kinda Emmy?! FUCK YOU, AWARD SHOW FOR 1998.

Also, the music that starts here and follows us into the next scene enhances the whole thing... if that was even required... instead of getting in the way, so kudos to that as well. Now... Deep Breath, so we can wrap this up....



Scene 36: Angelus' voiceover tells us that maybe if we didn't have passion we'd know peace, but then we'd also be hollow and empty. I don't care - SHUT UP.

Giles stands before his apartment door, not really wanting to reenter.


Scene 37: An indeterminate amount of time later, Giles is lying flowers on Jenny's grave in Sunnydale with Buffy standing with him. She apologizes for not being able to kill Angelus before now, but she just wasn't ready to face it. She believes that she's finally prepared (alas, we have to waste time with a few more episodes first though).


Scene 38: As Buffy's voiceover is telling Giles about how she thinks she's finally ready to kill her former lover, Willow is walking into Jenny's classroom. As she was so excited to take over Jenn's class for a little bit while Jenny was running late, now she is much more subdued at being asked to sub for her by Snyder until the replacement teacher arrives.


Commentary: Oh, please. No - I call HUGE bullshit on this one. Huge, obvious bullshit on this one.


Buffy goes on in VO telling Giles that she can't hold onto the past, that Angel is gone and there is never, ever going to be a way that he's coming back to them.

Which -- yeah, remember how Jenny also saved the translation of her soul-restoring spell onto diskette... well, that survived and is currently tumbling onto the floor between her desk and the file cabinet, nice and safe to be found later.

The question is... Do We Want Angel Returned? Is it time to just kill him for good?


Commentary: Now, of course, I'd say 'yes, save him -- none of this is his fault', but at the end of this episode, I really just wanted Angelus killed. I remember I actually yelled, "No, Buffy, KILL HIM NOW!" as we went to black. I was SO done with trying to save him.


The Good: I like the creep-factor/stalker-vibe that starts the episode off and continues throughout the whole thing, including in Angelus' bit-too-wordy prose on passion (I thought Spike was the poet-dude).

Robia, Anthony and Sarah all do outstanding work. They have some fantastic scenes together and they really excel at them.

Juliet pulls out the wicked acting again when Drusilla is in the magic shop. She sent shivers down my spine with the "But she worries. She wants to know what YOU and the mean teacher talked about." I remembered that line long after the episode just because of her delivery.

I LOVED the slow burn the episode took up until Angelus confronted Jenny in her classroom. From there you had that excruciatingly tense chase scene, the utterly shocking death, and when you think that was the crescendo for the episode... it GETS WORSE with Giles' arrival to his apartment with the romantic motif when we already know that Jenny is dead, so she didn't set anything up for them. The pacing was outstanding.


The Bad: One of the weaker things about the episode is the sheer amount of times that Angelus is able to approach Buffy, right up to SITTING ON HER BED, without any kinda slayer-sense buzzing. It's such an obvious script conceipt that its glaring, even though you appreciate the scenes themselves. Would it really have been hard to throw a line in there about Buffy's familiarity with Angel messing up her Angelus-sense?

The untenable position with Joyce is simply ridiculous and has stopped working. There is no way that Buffy would not tell her in no uncertain terms to stay the hell away from Angel. Her wimpy "just don't let him in" rings false under the circumstances and with all she knows about Angelus' penchant for murder-to-torment.

Okay, that crap with Willow taking over a course... even temporarily... OH, PLEASE.


Other Thoughts: I really didn't like the makeup used for Angelus, either looking human or the vamp!face for some reason this episode. Everything seemed to heavily done and it was distracting.

Xander's beginning snottiness wears thin on my nerves. I fully get it after Jenny's found in Giles' apartment, but his barbs in the library long before that is really making it hard to sympathize with him, and I wish the writers had lightened up on it.

David's Angelus-work (something he's usually very good at) does swerve into the too-campy in some scenes. When he's menacing though, he's still great.

There was fun to be had with Giles beating Angelus with a flaming baseball bat and I cheered when Spike stopped Drusilla from stopping him.  Hee-heee.


The Score: This is easily one of the most powerful episodes of S2 and is the most shocking (yeah, even more so than BECOMING's ending), but it isn't without its problems. There are some really lazy script-conceipts going on to allow Angelus to be menacing and creepy, while keeping Buffy from beating the crap out of him immediately. And there is the continuing problem with Joyce being kept in the dark with absolutely no sense as to why at this point. But the highpoints of the episode more than outweigh the weakness in the script.

4.50 out of 5 (though, some days I'm willing to tick up to 4.75)

--end--

Next Review: I'm not sure. It was going to be Buffy, Season 9 #1 ... but after this episode? I think I need some space so I don't judge it too harshly in unintended comparison. I'm leaning toward "ALIEN" again... but... it's so long....

I don't know.