Story by CN Winters and Susan Carr
Written by CN Winters and Susan Carr (with additional writing from CSR)
Directed by CN Winters and Susan Carr
Produced by CN Winters and Susan Carr
Edited by Sharon Kierein
Sound by Steff
Art Direction by Chris Cook
Artists: Chris Cook, David Zahir, Humaira, Rob and Chantal
Scene 01: We open with Ro and Willow in bed, engaged in some loving sex. Ro suddenly tenses up and makes Willow stop. She's unable to relax yet because of her past trauma, but Willow assures her that they can just take things a step at a time until she feels more comfortable. Ro ends up snuggling up to Will and staying the night.
Scene 02: We jump to blue demon Brell and his cousin-by-marriage, Clem in a bus. They drive to a dark alley, where they expect to find a portal open.
Brell and Clem greet more refugee escapees (like themselves) from one of the warring dimensions currently under the Presidium's assault. Strawn, an elderly refugee who Brell already knows, warns him that hunters are not far behind them.
The group leave the area as quickly as possible and soon three human-looking figures come through the portal....
One of them is Lance Henriksen, Film God.
Scene 03: The following morning, we're with Becca at her doctor's office where she receives some shocking news. Her recent bouts of "menopause" have been nothing of the sort - turns out that she's knocked up by Giles!
Scene 04: We come back from a fade out (from where opening credits and commercial would be) still in Becca's doctor's office. Becca is in a state of shock, to say the least.
Her doctor discusses the situation with her and points out that carrying to term isn't her only option and warns her that if she chooses to carry the baby that there are certain risks due to her age.
Among them is Mia. The instructor is, of course, cinematic hard-ass R. Lee Ermey. Robin has some qualms about 'Gunny' teaching the Slayers to use deadly force with firearms but his... concerns... are ignored by the instructor.
Scene 05: Jumping to the Council's firing range, we see a group of Slayers being given a talk down by a weapons instructor, with Robin nearby. These Slayers have been chosen to be trained as an elite squad for 'black ops' missions.
Commentary: The Slayer "black ops" group caused quite a controversy among the fans of WATCHERS when it was introduced, so I'll just put my two cents in here: The idea of a black-ops Slayer group who use guns made me really uneasy. I'm generally with Buffy on this one - they're already super strong, resiliant, faster, inherently better fighters - putting guns in their hands felt like a bad idea. This was especially true, my thinking went, because for the most part guns weren't useful against demons and the Slayer army shouldn't be engaging regular people in combat. I also thought that the idea of the team wasn't bad in and of itself - nor their being trained in gun use - I was just... concerned. Much like Robin in this scene, but I'm glad the staff created the team because we got some really good episode ideas out of it (with plenty of strang and durn) and in addition to giving Mia more development, we'll be introduced to another wonderful character in future connected with the Black Ops teams (Amira, for those who've already read all of the stories). I remember being involved in some intense discussion of this development on the forum, but they're no longer there so I wasn't able to see exactly what I said at the time.
Scene 06: As Robin is dealing with this new training program, Becca has arrived at the Council's lobby and is walking in a daze.
Her state of mind doesn't escape Kenn's notice, but she doesn't share the reasons for her curious behavior.
Scene 07: Continuing to the library, Becca meets up with Giles....
Scene 08: Meanwhile, back in the lobby, Willow is complimenting Kennedy. In passing she mentions that Robin and Faith will be on another recruiting trip soon and Kenn will be taking over while Faith is gone. This news doesn't exactly thrill Kennedy thanks to her previous performance in the role back in S1, Episode 17 - Scarecrow.
Willow points out that she's come a long way since then and she's earned the confidence of the Council's leadership.
The two also reinforce that there are no lingering resentments between them (which caused Kennedy problems in S1, Eps 11-13). Though it's also obvious that Kenn still doesn't much like Ro at this point.
Scene 09: Back with Giles and Becca... she's obviously just broken the news and Giles and her have a serious discussion about their lives together and their age. With a baby, they'll both be seen automatically as grandparents for their son or daughter rather than parents.
They decide to have the baby, however. Giles' only stipulation is moving the wedding up so the baby won't be born out of wedlock.
Commentary: Awesome. It's nice that Giles is getting 'rewarded' with family after all he's sacrificed in service to keeping the world safe. What's more though, is I like that he's insistant on not having the baby out of wedlock not out of some sense of shame but because everything else in his life is already unconventional. He wants to do this one thing 'properly'... it's just cute.
Scene 10: In the computer center of the Council, Willow hears from an IM from Brell. He requests Slayer support to protect the latest refugees from Galas. He warns her that Hunters are going to be a problem....
Scene 11: Becca leaves Giles to get back to her bookstore, relieved that he's taken this sudden news so well. She does raise the ugly spectre of a miscarry though, when they discuss briefly whether to inform everyone of this pregnancy.
Scene 14: At the same time, in the lobby, Clem is able to get caught up with Dawn. He's feeling a bit of guilt over running out of Sunnydale when the S7 'end of the world' stuff was going down and now wants to try to make up for it by joining Brell in getting fellow escapees to safety.
Scene 12: In one of the gyms, Willow is getting Faith up to speed on the latest demon problem. Lori and Vi are tapped to lead a team of Slayers to play escort duty and Hunter hunters to keep the refugees safe.
He also expresses sorrow that Anya didn't make it out of Sunnydale alive....
Scene 15: As the gang at the Council prepare for their mission, Becca is at her store. She nearly bites the head off of a customer, calling "Lady Chatterly's Lover" trash and smut and comparing it with Hustler. She quickly orders him out of her store... telling us right away that something is wrong with her. Becca loves literature; it is highly unlikely that she'd compare a fan of D.H. Lawrence to a 'pervert'.
Scene 16: Later that evening at dinner, with his family surrounding him, Giles shares the good news about his forth-coming baby. Everyone is shocked at first, but then quickly thrilled. The positive feelings are slightly dampened however when Becca takes an innocent joke from Faith about a 'shot gun wedding' seriously and storms off offended.
Giles mentions that she's been edgy all that day, but thinks it's just 'hormones' causing her to overreact when Faith tries to apologize for her joking comment.
Scene 17: Rupert catches up with Becca, but her attempts at apologizing for flying off the handle go wrong when she flies off the handle at him. She even physically pushes him away, making an odd comment at the same time. He tries to ask her to stop, but she storms home on him instead....
Scene 18: Elsewhere, Kennedy and Mia are dashing off to somewhere in one of the vans. Kenn is supposedly taking her to someplace romantic, but tells her that before when she told Mia she had something special planned, she really didn't (last episode). She tells her that she's was afraid of failing a pop-quiz when she was put on the spot. She also tells her that she wants them to work and she suffers with knowing that she isn't the kind of person who picks up well on little hints or thinks of the small, romantic gestures out of the blue.
They have a good talk about what type of people they are and that they're both interested in making something more than Slaying and sex between them...
... which may be in doubt when Kenn arrives at the 'romantic getaway spot' and it turns out to be a soup kitchen?!
Scene 19: Back at her apartment, Becca makes a strange pronouncement and begins to tear up her apartment looking for something specific... she howls in rage when she doesn't find it.
Scene 20: Back at the dining table, Faith apologizes again to Giles for ruining the evening, but he repeats that it wasn't her that caused any problem. He tells the group about the odd muttered phrase he didn't quite catch when he was trying to get Becca to rejoin them.
Ro worries that Becca may be suffering a chemical imbalance or something and offers to look in a few texts to see if 'odd muttering' could be a symptom of anything. In the meantime, Giles tells them he's heading over to Becca's apartment to check on her.
Faith shares with Xander that she thinks there is something odd going on between Willow and Rowena, but can't explain what exactly she thinks she saw in their reactions to one another.
Commentary: I'm a bit confused along with Xan, too, at Faith's statement here. She sees Willow place her hand on the small of Ro's back and thinks there's something wrong...?
Scene 21: Willow and Ro show up at Skye's door and request her help with research. But not with demonology... with psychology....
Scene 22: Elsewhere, Lori and Vi are getting their refugee-charges settled in to one of the Council's safe houses.
Scene 23: At Becca's apartment, Giles hears crashing from within and busts down the door. What he finds is Becca in the rest room cowering, but when he tries to help her she yells at him that a mysterious 'he' will make her hurt him.
Rupert tries to console her, but she ends up pulling a knife on him! Before he knows how to react, he's been slashed across the stomach and left with a deep stab wound into his shoulder as Becca runs out of the apartment.
Scene 24: At the HQ, in the kitchen, little Slayer Marsha is helping Andrew and Tracey clean up. She's there to see Andy's heartbreak when he's about to ask Tracey out officially. We've seen him and her dancing at a party earlier and it seemed that there were sparks going on, but we haven't seen any indication of romantic interest since then from her.
Andrew has obviously been working up to this moment for a few episodes now, though. But, then she introduces Andy to her date for the evening, Steve, smashing his dreams. Marsha can tell right off just what was happening and tries to buck up his spirits, but he tells her to take off for the evening and then sits in the kitchen alone and depressed.
Scene 25: Xander is discussing an order with an anonymous assistant when Ms. Neel, Jeff's attorney, makes a call to check on him and on the safety changes she and the social worker assigned to Jeff's case had requested.
Xander makes a few snide comments, but escorts her to his workshop.
Commentary: This scene seems really out of place here. Bad enough to spend time with Andrew and Tracey when it has nothing to do with the two real plots of the episode, but this really reeks of padding. This scene really feels pointless, despite my love for Xan. And, I don't like the immediate jerkish behavior by him either.
Scene 26: Ah-ha! I've got the point of Faith's comment now. No one at the Council knows that Ro and Willow are seeing one another. They know of Will's interest in pursuing Rowena and previous comments have suggested that they know of Ro's interest in Willow, but the two of them have not shared that Ro has been in Willow's bed.
We find this out when Xander stops by Willow's apartment to talk to her about Faith's odd comment, concerned that Willow is dating Ro and she hasn't shared it with him. Willow completely fudges the truth here, by stating that she hasn't been dating Ro - as that would involve her inviting her out on the town. Assured that he's not 'out of the loop', Xander now shares that he has scored a date with Alex Neel during her brief visit... explaining that clumsy scene I just complained about.
Commentary: Okay, I'll admit that the Faith comment works now that I know that Ro/Will is being kept hush-hush, but the Xan/Alex scene was still really ham-fisted in for this revelation. I'm wondering if this episode was short and no one could come up with a satisfying way to stretch the Vi/Lori demon refugees or the Becca plot out any more?
I like the character development scenes usually (and I did enjoy the Kenn/Mia sideline) but this Xan/Alex thing seems to have been crowbarred into this story and the Andy/Tracey development could have happened anywhere - why in this story?
Anyway, back in Will's apartment, she has a tense exchange with Ro about having to tell half-truths to hide the state of their relationship, but quickly turns the discussion back to finding a hint on the causes of Becca's odd behavior.
Scene 27: Back at Becca's, Giles manages to stumble outside before collapsing. A passing cabbie comes to his aid.
Scene 28: At the soup kitchen, Kenn tells Mia that in all fairness, she hadn't used the word 'romantic' to describe her plans for them for the evening.
The scene allows them to discuss their past history and we get more details into Kenn's privilidged upbringing and Mia's pretty average life before she ended up in Julia's street gang. It also allows some forward movement of their relationship.
Scene 29: Back at Willow's, Becca surprises the girls. She tells them that Giles wanted her to come back and talk things out about earlier and apologizes for her erratic behavior. She also does some fishing for the location of the safehouse that the Council has the refugees tucked away in.
Willow almost tells her off-handedly, before noticing that Becca has blood on her shoes. Before she can do more than react with a questioning look, however, Becca has slapped tape over her mouth and shoved her into the room.
When Rowena tries to reason with her, Becca tells her that "Imbethit's power fills me now" and I start thinking that her whole pregnancy is a mystical sham and that leads me to hurt for Giles....
Scene 30: But then I remember the Hunter's touching her and the static charge that passed from him to her earlier. It gives me hope that the pregnancy is totally seperate from what is happening right now.
Before we get anymore on Becca though - we check in with Giles in the hospital who is quickly sedated.
Scene 31: In Willow's apartment, Rowena bargains with the clearly possessed Becca to release Willow in exchange for the safehouse location.
Becca quickly exits, but when Will yanks the tape of her mouth to chant a spell, Ro stops her. She has a plan to use Becca to find the other Hunters, hoping she'll meet with them to give them the location of the refugees. It's a dangerous plan but Ro is thinking of the big picture.
In the meanwhile, Willow is afraid for Giles, fearing the blood on Becca's shoes is his (and it is).
Ro has Will contact Vi's Slayer squad to move the refugees, while she contacts Faith to meet them in the conference room.
Scene 32: Once gathered, Ro is able to provide enough information to explain what is happening to Becca. Plans are being discussed when Giles comes in from the hospital. Together he and Dawn start translating some Sumerian that Ro can't read to find out if there is a ritual to release Becca from Imbethit's control (who would be Lance's demon).
In the meantime, Faith tells Willow to call Kenn and Mia and let them know their romantic night is cancelled.
Scene 33: Faith has the Slayers staking out the original safehouse and she informs Vi over their radio that she's on her own for the moment. Then Becca comes into view and she gets ready to carry out Giles' orders to retrieve her, but we know from Ro's research that she'll be imbued with great strength. This should be interesting.
Scene 34: Kenn and Mia have relocated from the soup kitchen to a grassy hill to star gaze. Just as things are getting romantic though, Willow's phone call rings through calling them to duty.
Scene 35: Back at the safehouse, Faith discovers that Becca - in point of fact - is NOT there! The Hunters have shown up, but Becca has been sent to check the other safehouses just in case the refugees have been moved. As the other Slayers rush to engage the superstrong Presidium team, Faith yells over the phone to Vi to beware of Becca's arrival.
With Faith's warning cut off in the sounds of fighting in progress, Vi and Lori decide to move the refugees again to be safe. When she opens the back door though, Becca is already there - and she knocks Vi to the floor with a solid fist to the face!
Scene 36: Cutting between the two safe houses, we get the two battles. Faith and the huge group of Slayers take on the three assassin/hunters from the Presidium, while Kenn and Mia arrive just in time to help Lori and Vi restrain Becca.
Commentary: Actually, the battles were really a let down. There's little effort put in and everything is resolved.
Scene 37: Becca, now captured (too easily to be fun) is dunked in a tub of ice water and a spell frees her.
Commentary: Anti-climactic, again.
Scene 38: Later that evening, Becca and Giles are snuggled together. There is a brief mention of Becca leaving... not just for the night, but for good, but Giles puts the kibosh on both.
Scene 39: We end with The Lover of the Presidium... and the Presidium's victory over Galas....
I like the basic idea of this plot and the implication of major things happening with the Presidium that is only
adding to their strength.
I like the unraveling of Becca after she falls under the sway of Imbethit and her shocking knife attack on Giles.
Going out on the Presidium victorious was a good decision. The Lover is an engaging villainess and is well realized.
I also really like the episode poster for this one.
The Bad: I don't like how such a strong start in Act 1 petered out into such an anti-climactic end in Act 4.
I don't like the diversions in this one into the Andrew/Tracey situation, but especially annoying was the empty and out of left field Xander/Alex business.
Scoring: I didn't really remember anything about this one and when it started I was wondering why because I thought I'd remember at least Becca's being possessed and doing battle with the Slayers. By the end of Act Four, I realized why I didn't recall this story... nothing happened.
Oh, sure, the motions of something happening were there with the exciting Becca cuts Giles and Becca punches out Vi but the resolution was so quick and pat that in the end it turned out to be a lot of build up for nothing. I'm glad to see that WATCHERS cutest couple is progressing toward marriage and family, meaning that Becca will stick around and I am also glad to see the Mia/Kenn relationship. There isn't much else to say about this one, alas....
2.75 out of 5