Story by gelfling21
Written by gelfling21
Directed by CN Winters and Susan Carr
Produced by CN Winters and Susan Carr
Sound Director: Steff
Editing by: Kate
Art direction by: Chris Cook
Artists: Chris Cook, David Zahir, Chantal, Mytryk, CN Winters
Teaser: We start on a lonely stretch of Nevada highway in the dead of night. A prisoner is being transported across the desert, when there is an accident. Except not, because the transport van was hit on purpose. This, you see is a prison break... the prisoner? Ethan Rayne!
Act One: Dawn Summers comes to visit the New Council. As she and Giles are unloading suitcases, Dawn seems uncertain... she tries to tell Giles something but awkwardly changes her mind, it seems, in mid sentence.
Elsewhere, in a classroom, Willow is teaching her magic course. The pupil to focus on here is Jeff as he will be a persistent character in the WaTchersverse. Here, he's learning to summon fire. Willow cuts the class short since Dawn is arriving. There's some humor in this passage, but let's move on. Dawn is here because this is the Thanksgiving break at WaTchers HQ.
The Watchers Compound
Act One also introduces us to the mysterious 'Organization', the outfit which sprang Ethan Rayne. Apparently he has worked for them in the past and they need his unique talents again... but this time he's being paired with a partner (who he adamantly does not welcome)... one Ms. Amy Madison!
Now, surely you recall Ms. Madison? She suffered a mom-caused body swap and was helped out by Buffy. Then, of course, she turned into a rat for a few years which really messed her up. Returned to humanity, she led Willow astray and when Will broke free of her influence she cast that bizarre 'turn into Warren to relive Tara's murder' spell? Remember? Well, she's back and working for this 'Organization'. And, Ethan remains displeased. And Amy, I'm sad to say, is still bitchy and messed up in the head. But, she and Ethan do provide some fantastic, mutual snarkage. I do loves me Snark.
Act One not only re-introduces Amy, the psycho-witch but it also introduces Dawn as lesbian! Yes, that is what she's been trying to get off her chest since she arrived. Dawn has a girlfriend names Skye Tallisker. Buffy is not a-okay with this according to her sister. Dawn's coming out scene to Giles is very sweet and he's surprised, of course, but also really great with the news.
Of course, while Dawn's news is sure to cause a stir, there are more important things going on that the Council is not yet aware of. You see, Ethan and Amy have arrived in Cleveland... and that's not all... Amy is in secret contact with Bonnie, the real estate agent and demonic Presidium go-between! Oh, the plot is getting twisty, just the way I like it.
Act Two: The next morning at the Council and Dawn meets Jeff. He makes a less than great first impression with this little exchange: "Dawn Summers. The human Key. The Slayer's pesky kid sister. The Scooby-dupe. You got baby-sat by Spike and haunted by your mother's ghost. You walked around twiddling your thumbs at The First while everybody else got to be a Slayer. But you're pretty. So you got somethin' goin' for ya."
Don't let the banter fool you, Dawn has made a strong first impression on Jeff Lindquist (Elijah Wood).
Ethan and Amy seem surprised when they see Willow at the local Clerk's office (there's some plumbing issues with the Council and they need work done) so maybe it's coincidence that they're in the same city as the new Watcher's Council?
Well, it doesn't matter why they're there, because Ethan has an ax to grind with Giles (the same one really that he's always had... get over it already) and Amy has a special yen to cause Willow pain (and stealing her power is also high on her agenda). Bitch (and I mean both Amy AND Ethan).
While Ethan's and Amy's spell begin to create chaos at the Council, we get some information about why they're really in the city. It seems the 'Organization' needs some local politicians in their pockets for something. One mass mind control spell coming up!
In the meantime, Jeff the boy wizard is sure that someone is playing around with him and Dawn promises to help him investigate. But first, Willow takes a tumble down the stairs as Amy's hex intensifies.
Act Three: Act Three begins by showing us that Ethan and Amy's hexes are afflicting the Council with widespread trouble with their water, electrical system, and electronic gadgetry. But we also have a chat between Giles and Willow with mentions of Jenny Calender, Buffy and Xander. As we learned last episode, Willow needs to find Xan to save him from a downward spiral.
And we see that the hints of tension between Willow and Kenn continue. They care for each other, but they're so different. You have to wonder if the writers are leading to a break up for these two, or if they just want the Will/Kenn dynamic to not be all roses. I know, of course, but I won't say anything about the future here.
Across town in a hotel suite, Amy and Ethan have words about the chaos that Amy is causing around the whole of town, not just the Council "just for fun". While Ethan appreciates chaos, he appreciates discipline more and Amy is undisciplined in the extreme. Plus, she's arrogant. And she attacks Ethan as she loses more and more control. Obviously, her need to do her own thing is displeasing the 'Organization' and Ethan is ordered to stop her.
Later, at the Council, Ethan is discovered by the crew. Giles and Willow argue about what to do about Ethan's presence. He's more into hitting him, but Willow believes him when Ethan states he's not responsible for the city wide chaos... that was all Amy.
Act Four: A plan is put in place, but the real question is... will Ethan betray Giles and Willow? He seems to spill Giles' plans readily enough to Amy and plans with her to initiate a double cross. Is that really what's on his mind, or is he tricking her? Who will he end up siding with?
The icing on the cake for Amy is that, in Ethan's plan, Willow is killed or incapacitated for her to do as she likes, and Ethan convinces her that Cyril and the Organization will retract the plans to have her eliminated for not following their orders to the letter and creating such media scrutiny of the Cleveland area with her pranks. But, again, is it all a line, or is Ethan playing Giles, Willow and the rest of the Council?
With this being the last act, the trap is sprung... but who wins and who loses?
Amy is no slouch when it comes to throwing around the mojo.
Naturally, I will not spoiler here when its so much fun to read the story. I will say that Amy manages to hurt Kennedy. Do I need to mention this wasn't a good idea:
The Good: Again, character and dialog... so important and so done right. Dawn sounds exactly as she should and Ethan is a lot of fun. Amy continues her character destruction that Joss started in Season 6, unfortunately, but the little asides showing that her time as a rat still weighs heavily on her are great development by the Watchers staff. The continuing back and forth with Will and Kenn between being sweethearts and being prickly with one another is developing into an interesting relationship dynamic. Dawn having a girlfriend was a surprise, especially since it feels like there may have been some sparks between her and Jeff, the wizard. Any scene with Ethan was aces, but especially the not so niceties of his teasing, belittling and mocking Amy throughout. Brilliantly funny. The giant magic battle at the end was exciting, especially when Ethan turns on Giles.
The Bad: The Organization and their plans seemed to be forgotten for large portions of the story... more of a McGuffin to provide Ethan his freedom and give him an excuse to go to Cleveland. There didn't seem much point to including Bonnie in this story, except to remind us that there are things going on with the mysterious Presidium behind the scenes. It wasn't really necessary here.
The Verdict: Fun with Amy/Ethan. Fun with Dawn. The highlight of this one was seeing another of our Buffyverse alumni drop by and the hilarious dialog (almost exclusively by Ethan, though Amy gets a few good ones to). The spellworks were very cool and watching Amy piss Willow off was tense. Another 4.0 out of 5 stars for this one, gang.