Buffy the Vampire Slayer
"Some Assembly Required"
Blurb: A series of grave robbings leads to a science club member who is trying to create a girlfriend for his brother, whom he has just brought back from the dead.
Scene 01: We open with Buffy sitting on a tombstone waiting for 'Stephen' to rise. She complains to his grave that she has a ton of trig homework yet to do. She is startled by a voice from behind her - it's Angel. She tells him that he's supposed to stomp or maybe yodel when coming up to people in a graveyard.
Buffy complains to Angel that she's supposed to be on the hunt, but her lazy target won't wake up and come out. He assures her he'll show. He mentions how disorienting it can be when you first wake up after dying. She sympathizes with him and tells him how weird it is to think of him going through that.
Angel asks if she's alone, and when she asks why, he tells her he just thought she'd be pairing up with a slay-buddy... he particularly mentions Xander's name. She wonders if he's feeling a bit jealous, which he at first denies, but he does make a comment on Buffy's near-mating with him on the dance floor last episode. This leads to an argument about Buffy and boys and whether Angel isn't being a little over the top.
While so distracted, vampire-boy is able to stroll up on them. Buffy tells Angel she didn't come there to fight, when she's pushed into him from behind, knocking him over. The attacker takes a swing at Buffy, and she says, "Oh, right. I did."
She gets into hand-to-hand with the newly created vampire. Angel tries to help her, but gets nailed in the face by a shovel the newbie picked up from nearby, while Buffy was looking for her stake. She's able to wrestle the shovel from the new-vamp and sends the wooden handle into its heart.
Buffy picks up the argument with Angel right where she left off. He tries to storm away, but she tells him he doesn't get to just walk away from her... she goes to follow, but ends up falling into an open grave, into an open casket... which is empty.
Commentary: First off, I love Buffy's completely inappropriate microskirt and high heels which she decided to wear for Slaying. Second, while a little too cutsie-slapstick, I like Angel's looking down on her after she falls into the empty grave. The problem throughout this scene, which is the same as S1, until they change film stock, is the dark and grainy photography. Also, this repeats a theme that will dog the Buffy/Angel relationship from now on... their on-again/off-again romantic relationship, which on repeat, gets wearying. The fact that they've never really resolved the relationship is a drag on both characters, which continues right into S8 ... which I don't want to talk much about here, because Angel's involvement in S8 makes me want to rant.
Angel tells Buffy that another vampire must have risen before her target-guy, but she points out the drag marks. The body didn't get up and walk, she was dragged away (we know it's a she because of a shoe found nearby).
Commentary: Our bad guys were very conscientious too. They removed six feet worth of dirt and took it all with them. In addition, they were sure to leave the lawn completely clean. And, I admire their precision work - the rectangle of dirt removed is very precise to the size of the coffin. (*Yes, this was all snark.*)
We Have Credits/Kick Ass Music
Scene 02: The next morning, Xander joins Buffy in the library. As they come in, they see Giles propositioning a date from an empty chair. Buffy gives Giles slack about his pick up lines. She also tells him to stop using those long, fancy words... to just speak English, instead of whatever they speak in England.
She advises him to just say, "I have a thing. You have a thing. Maybe we can have a thing."
To which Giles says, "Thank you, Cyrano" as deadpanned as he can get.
Xander joins in on the teasing, asking if he needs to share some facts of life with Giles... like the fact that the whole stork story is a smokescreen. Giles is, naturally, embarrassed. Buffy is smirky.
Giles gets the conversation off of him and his interest in Jenny Calendar by asking about Buffy's evening. She mentions Angel helping her (except, he didn't really) to which Xander says "Angel..." in a snotty tone of voice - Buffy gives him the "get over it" stare. She then tells Giles about the apparent grave robbing.
Giles says, "Graverobbing? That's new. Interesting."
Buffy says, "I know you meant to say gross and disturbing."
Giles returns, "Y-y-yes, yes, of course. Terrible thing. M-must put a stop to it. Damn it."
Commentary: Giles was showing a bit more of a smart-assey side in some of S1's episodes, but he really shines in this scene as someone who can be just as jokey as Buffy, when he's in the right mood. The interaction between he and Buffy and he and Ms. Calendar is really what keeps this episode from being a complete bore. There is one other scene that is actually my favorite, because it has some real and painful emotion in it, but otherwise, this episode is relatively dull, unfortunately. But, we must review before we can get to the good episodes, so let's move forward....
Giles asks Xander and Buffy to get Willow to research the occupant of the grave for clues into why someone may have wanted to dig her up.
Scene 03: Willow, at that moment, is in the lobby area signing up for the Science Fair. She gets a camera flash in her face, but the guy runs off after another female student's legs before we learn who he was or why he's snapping pictures (all will be clear in a bit though - his name is Eric, and he's a bad guy).
Another student is introduced who retroactively knows Willow. He's the science fair winner every year, and Will always places second to him. We'll know him as Chris... we've never seen him before, and you'll be shocked to learn that after the episode, we'll never see him again (remember Owen and his Owenosity?).
Cordelia Chase walks up to sign up... but before you think that Cordelia signing up for a science fair is out of character, know that she is doing so under protest. In another sign of how seriously Snyder takes school participation, he's apparently made doing a project for the fair mandatory.
Buffy comes to collect Willow, while annoying Eric shoots more photographs of Cordelia (whose only complaint is that she's under florescent lights) and Buffy. Once our two Scoobies leave, Eric wiggles his eyebrows at Cordy, but she gives him a sound of derision and leaves. Chris apparently knows Eric, because he keeps telling him to knock it off with the camera.
Eric tells Chris that Cordy would be perfect for them, but Chris tells him not to be an idiot - she's alive. Camera focuses on Eric, so he can smile creepily and hint to us that he's serial killer material. What we don't know yet is what he and Chris are involved in, but it will clearly involve unburied dead girl.
Scene 04: As Willow is booting up the PC to break into the Coroner's files to find out about the dug up corpse, Cordy has also arrived to ask Willow to help her with her science project for the fair (Tomato... fruit or vegetable?). She mentions in passing her grief for another recently dead student... Darryl, who we've never heard about before, and once this episode is done, will never hear of again.
Everyone ignores her, to her irritation.
We learn here that the missing body belonged to a student at the high school across town (right, Sunnydale the tiny burg with the high death count now has two high schools ... in fact, it's almost hilarious how much we'll find out they've crammed into this town's borders as the series moves onward through the seasons). Anyway, the missing body was a girl at this other high school and she and two others were killed in a simple auto accident. The Scooby Gang makes a date to dig up the other girls to see if their graves have a vacancy as well. Cordy begs off, citing cheerleading practice. We learn here that Buffyverse Zombies are the old school voodoo variety, not the George Romero type.
Commentary: Of course, this makes not one bit of sense. If the graverobbers didn't bother to fill in the other (perfectly symetrically) dug grave, why would they have filled in the others? I think I would have looked for signs of tampering, and if I didn't see anything disturbed, shrugged it off and been done. But then, I'm not a Slayer or on her support team, either.
Scene 05: We jump to that night. Xan and Giles are digging. Buffy and Willow are chatting about Angel's probable jealousy. As the girls talk about men, Buffy brings up Cordy's off hand comment from the library and asks who Darryl is. Willow gives us the background about the former star runningback on the Sunnydale football team. He was killed in a rock climbing accident and was Chris' older brother.
Once this information is shared, Giles and Xander reach the coffin they're digging for. Buffy opens the coffin, but we cut away before we know what they find (or not find).
Scene 06: In the meanwhile, Cordelia is walking out of school with some of the cheer squad, complaining that they don't have down their latest routines. On the way to her car, Cordy hears a noise and starts to feel stalked. She hurries, but then panics (as anyone would who lives in Sunnydale and wanders out into dark parking lots, you'd think) and drops her keys. DOH!
Cordelia fumbles around trying to retrieve her keys from under the car, where they've ... bounced? Can keys bounce? Well, anyway, as she's rooting beneath the car, she sees a pair of dark shoes approaching. Having some survival instincts, after nearly being bitten twice in 'The Harvest' and being abducted in 'Out of Mind, Out of Sight' and 'When She Was Bad', she smartly takes off running.
The person, who we don't see yet, passes by past a dumpster. The lid opens, and Cordelia peeks out. Not seeing anyone, she goes to climb out of the dumpster, only to find Angel RIGHT THERE.
Commentary: Okay - I'd say that Angel wearing THAT jacket would count as 'out of character' ... anyone else?
Anyway, he is amused to find Cordy in the trash. He tells Cordelia he was looking for Buffy. Cordy tells him she's in a graveyard at the moment, which surprises Angel as she had told him she'd be home that night. Cordelia takes the opportunity to point out that her night is free, anyway.
As Angel goes to help Cordy out of the dumpster, she complains that her skirt is caught on something. She reaches down to free it, and comes up with a woman's hand... just the hand. Unshockingly, there is much screeching.
Scene 07: The gang return to the library following their excursion to the graves and have found that both of the girls in the accident with mysterious grave number one are also missing from where they're supposed to be. In the library, waiting, is Cordelia Chase hanging on the arm of Angel... who is very obviously annoyed at Buffy for lying about going out on patrol that evening.
Angel tells the gang about finding the parts of girls in the dumpster. Cordelia asks why all of the bad stuff keeps happening to her, which Xander answers with "Karma" behind a fake cough. The fact that the girls' parts are being found sort of puts paid to any notion that somebody is trying to raise an all-girl zombie army.
Buffy questions why somebody would dig up girls, just to hack them up. Angel answers that what they found didn't add up to three whole girls, pointing to their mystery person(s) keeping some of the parts. The fact that the parts were found on school grounds, points to a possible connection. Giles evinces doubt that anyone there would have the knowledge of anatomy to have performed the sort of surgical cutting that Angel reported on the body parts, but Willow corrects him. She states that she can come up with five or six students belonging to the Science Club that could handle that sort of task, including herself. Buffy sends Willow to grab their locker numbers for investigation from school records.
Cordelia chooses to leave at this point, dragging Angel out as an escort because she's still "fragile". Xander makes snotty comments insulting Angel's lack of fidelity, while Buffy looks like she might be giving serious, jealous thought to Angel and Cordelia.
Commentary: I hate these early S2 episodes when its all about the "does Angel like me/does he not" manufactured conflict. The fact that Buffy continues to think that Angel has any interest in Cordy at all is actively irritating and Xander is a real asshole here, egging on her doubts because he's petty and possessive of her attention. He also isn't much better than Cordy herself with his insults, for which he constantly derides her, so "Kettle meet Pot".... Yeah, yeah, I love Nicky and yes, yes, I generally love Xander - but I wish Buffy would speak up and tell him to shut it down for a more than five minutes at a time.
Scene 08: And, we reach the scene that I find so sad. Chris comes out of the basement to tell him mother he's going out. But she's sitting in a chair, watching Darryl's Greatest Football Scenes and doesn't react to him in any way. By his sigh, we can tell that this has been going on for a while, surely since news reached her that her eldest had taken that tumble.
Chris tries one more time to reach out to her before going out the front door, but she might as well be a zombie herself. She continues to completely ignore his presence, her focus completely on wallowing in her loss and the glory days of her football hero son.
Commentary: I kind of really liked Chris right here. Especially since it was obvious from earlier who the real villain is going to be -- Friend Eric is practically wearing dayglow letters across his forehead spelling "PSYCHOPATH IN TRAINING" ... except something shorter, because I don't think his forehead is that big. I kind of hate this mother too, even though I should be feeling sympathy at her broken-ness and I feel slightly bad that I don't more. But really, you have a son standing right there talking to you, and you can't be bothered with a little effort... am I being way too cold toward this woman? Well, maybe I'm a psychopath. I mean, you don't know, I could be building my own zombie-boyfriend right now (except if I had those skills, I'd be much, much more wealthy... or starting a zombie apocalypse, one of those).
We finally get a brief flash of Darryl on the TV, being raised in victory by his team with the cheerleaders all 'round offering up their praise. We don't see much, but I think I was distracted by his do-rag.
Scene 09: Back at school, Giles comes into a hallway where Xander and Buffy are opening lockers with the combinations that Willow procured from school records. Giles tells them he's appalled by their breaking and entering and cannot condone it in any way. Buffy assures him he's now covered his butt and gives him a locker to open up (which sort of negates your butt-covering Giles).
Xander opens Chris Epps' locker and finds anatomy text books. Giles notices that Chris also has the newpaper article stored there about the tragic cheerleader car accident. Buffy has opened creepy-Eric's locker and finds that he's made a cutout girl made of differing pictures ... in his locker... as you certainly would if you were body snatching and leaving discarded parts in trash bins around town.
Commentary: And, again, the graininess of this episode is just horrible in these dimly lit scenes. I'll try not to let that impact my scoring any, but it is egregious in its badness.
Scene 10: In the secret lab of dissection, Chris is preparing another body for a leg amputation. Creepy-Eric (who is also trying to chew what little scenery there is on this set) is singing 'My Girl' jauntily. Because he's a nutso-cuckoo... do you get it, yet?
As Eric pushes Chris to hurry up with the part harvesting, he's hanging up face-photos. They are, of course, of Willow, Buffy and Cordelia. The camera focuses on Ms. Chase, so I don't think Willow or Buffy actually had a fair chance of having their heads be used on the new combo-girl.
Commentary: You know, this episode is actually way more nasty for what is underneath the scenes than what I remember. Not only in the objectification of the female cast members, but just the Oversheen of Filthiness it has (which may actually be enhanced here by the cheaper film stock actually). I'm finding this episode not just pretty dull (due to the scripting and pacing) but rather unpleasant to give any thought about. Must I really finish a scene by scene walk through of this one? Oh. Well, since you love my words so much, alright... but I'm blaming you for my queasy stomach, just so you know.
Scene 11: The next morning, Buffy meets Xander and Willow outside. She reports that she hasn't seen Chris or Eric yet. There is some talk about why someone would want to make a girl, rather than -you know- deal with one that already comes with the free feature of being alive. This gives Xander a chance to beat Buffy over the head with the "I am romantically interested, why can't you see me the way you do Angel" sledgehammer by talking about people not wanting what is right in front of them, instead going after what they can't have... Shut Up, Xander... and stop glaring.
Poor Willow looks at Xander, completely understanding his point since she's wishing that he would see her like he looks at Buffy... Shut Up, Willow's Hurt Face.
At least Buffy's downward glances say that she's not still pretending that Xan's feelings are unclear after she shot him down in Prophecy Girl.
Willow saves any more uncomfortable pressure from Xan to make something appear that isn't there by turning conversation back to Creepy-Eric and depressed-Chris.
Commentary: Jeez, Buffy - how about saving those pants for bedtime instead of wearing them in public?
They spot Giles and walk up to him, where Buffy asks about any creepy junior Frankenstein sightings. Giles answers inappropriately because he isn't paying attention. His focus is on Jenny speaking with a student... even though her hair is awful... just awful.
They wish Rupert luck in his Jenny-date-hunting and walk off. He greets Ms. Calender, but she tells him to call her Jenny - Ms. Calender is her father. What, I thought that was cute!
Scene 12: We follow Giles and Calender. He completely blows him attempt to ask her out by stumbling and heeing/hawing through the attempt and then runs out of time, because the bell rings and she has to rush into her classroom (And, apparently Sunnydale High has a staggered classroom schedule because there are an awful lot of students still walking around the hallways).
Giles berates himself for being un-smooth, not to mention unclear in what he was trying to ask her. She saves him by popping out the classroom a few seconds later to tell him she'll be at the football game later that afternoon/evening and they can talk about whatever he was trying to share with her then... AHHH - THEY'RE SO FREAKING CUTE, TOGETHER.
Commentary: Jenny's hair makes her face look huge! Like she walked into a hornet's nest and they got her or a balloon that has been overinflated. But, take a look at this screen cap and compare her to Kennedy... was not WATCHERS inspired to make them related? Well, I think so, and that's all that matters around here.
borrowed from: http://community.livejournal.com/iyarilimon
She's flirty, he's gobsmacked and it's all adorable, which immediately lifts this whole episode (as Giles/Jenny had previously done in the "I Robot, You Jane" episode).
Scene 13: In an empty classroom (which seem to be available as often as the library in the middle of the day) Xander is joking around with a head model. You know the ones, they show the musculature of the face? Anyway, Willow is browsing through a textbook (anatomy more than likely) trying to figure out how Chris could hope to re-animate dead tissue. One wonders if this is completely academic, or if she's just a bit jealous of him even now as he is even more brilliant than she.
Buffy comes in and confirms that Chris and Eric didn't show up that day. Buffy worries over what will happen if they've already succeeded... she's worried over what the poor girl might be thinking and feeling right about then. Willow wonders what they plan on doing with her, but since that is repulsive and gross, we'll not dwell on it. Oh, Giles! Thank you for rescuing us... what have you got to share?
Apparently, using some reporter contacts, Rupert has found out that all three dead girls' heads were located among the found remains. No head, not project completion, no reanimation just yet. We breathe a sigh of relief as we realize that Creepy-Eric and Depressed-Chris are still a step away from putting somebody through the torture of reanimating with different parts everywhere.
Commentary: We also get a stupid swoop in/close up of the model head... just in case we're too stupid to get what the final piece is that the boys need after all we've just heard. I feel slightly insulted.
Scene 14: In Chris' basement, Eric is pushing his friend to get the last piece before the rest of their stolen parts atrophy beyond their ability to compensate for. Chris looks less than comfortable with their project, now that the moment is close to hand.
Commentary: And you know, in the light and from quarter behind profile, Chris Epps looks a heck of a lot like Oz! They could be brothers. But, we'll never see them side by side, since Chris will never be seen again.
Anyway, Creepy-Eric is holding a hand-scythe and talking creepy about not being able to wait for a lucky accident to drop a fresh head in their laps (must we have another sexual image when we're basically talking about putting together a woman from scratch - remember that ill feeling I mentioned? It's back with Creepy-Eric and this scene). He starts to strongly suggest that to complete this project, they're going to have to harvest a head from somebody.
Chris objects, telling someone off screen that he can't kill anyone and begging not to be made to do it. From out of the shadows, where a cot has been set up comes Darryl Epps... not so dead (or very dead), but looking tore up. Darryl reminds Chris that he promised him he wouldn't be alone.
Commentary: So, we're transitioning from Frankenstein to Bride of Frankenstein, then. Also, the building a woman part of the story isn't any better, but I do feel less ill knowing that Creepy-Eric isn't trying to build her for his own amusement, though I'm still lost as to why he's such a creep. We also get motivation for Chris, now, as well. It is still an icky script, though with its insinuations. And it's equally repugnant that Mom Epps is still upstairs while her formerly dead son is hiding out right beneath her.
Scene 15: We come back from a commercial break to find Darryl desperate to make his brother do whatever he has to in order to reanimate a companion for him because he's so repulsive, he never wants to be seen by people ever. Creepy-Eric is creeping about how taking a life to make a life will be no harm/no foul, because it will all wash out.
I'm left wondering why Chris never realized (and still might not) that his friend is a raving sociopath.
Darryl uses guilt and a big game, football metaphor to put the thumbscrews to Chris to complete the girlfriend project. Naturally Eric needs no such handholding.
Eric shows Darryl his selections of heads, and he picks Cordy, which Eric then oozes about disgustingly, while singing some more of "My Girl". I want Eric to die.
Scene 16: In the library, Willow can't find any obits that would provide a suitable head. Xan questions why they didn't use one of the three they already had with the grave robbing, and Willow realizes it is the embalming. Giles gets her point that they need a fresh head. Buffy isn't willing to extend the benefit of the doubt when it comes to them not murdering to get it.
Commentary: Obviously this is wise, but Willow seems to really like Chris and doesn't think he'd hurt anyone for his experiment. Of course, they don't know about why he's doing all of this yet. And, none of them really know Eric.
They split up to find the science geeks and put a stop to their possible plans, like, right now. Giles remembers his date with Jenny and Buffy sends him to keep his date. She tells him they'll meet him at the game later. Willow asks Buffy not to be too hard on Chris and reminds her that he isn't a vampire, but Buffy isn't very sympathetic, calling him a ghoul.
Scene 17: Buffy shows up at Chris' house. Mom Epps gets away from the television long enough to answer the door, but when Buffy asks after Chris, she just walks away without a word to return to her videotapes. Buffy enters. As Buffy tries to get Mom Epps to tell her if Chris is home, she quickly comes to understand that Mom Epps is so lost in Darryl-Worship-Land that she has no clue that her other son even still exists.
Despite herself, it's a bit hard for Buffy not to sympathize with the younger Epps son. Mom Epps mentions that Darryl would have been 19 the next week, but Buffy is now focused on the "Keep Out" signs plastering the basement door and goes to investigate.
Scene 18: Buffy goes down the Epps basement stairs. She looks around and comes across the photos of her, Willow and Cordelia on a table. In the background, Darryl lurks and closes in on her, as she spots Cordy's head photo, which Eric has taped to a page of the human musculature structure, even though he didn't bother to do that with any of the other girl parts, so this is a bit of a too obvious clue about where Buffy needs to go next.
Darryl is considering attacking Buffy from behind.
Just before he can try to grab her by the back of the neck, sounds come from the basement door and Buffy dashes to the basement window and climbs out. Darryl looks after her with an expression I can't decipher - I would expect a glare, but that isn't it. Maybe he's reconsidering his choice of Cordy-head?
Scene 19: Back at the school, Cordelia is touching up her makeup before running out onto the field for the cheer routine. Chris startles her and is acting all regretful. When she tries to ask him about what is wrong, Eric comes up behind her and puts a bag over her face, kidnapping her... AGAIN... poor Cordy. Somebody should count up all of the times Cordelia gets abducted to go with the "Giles gets knocked out" count.
Scene 20: Buffy rushes into the school and asks Joy, the head cheerleader after Cordy's whereabouts. She tells Buffy that Cordy has a big game to be prepared for and can't waste her time with losers. I want Buffy to punch her right there.
Instead, Buffy slams her palm onto the wall, near Joy's head, blocking her attempt to push past her and repeats her question threateningly....
Scene 21: In the locker room, Eric is tying Cordy's hands. Buffy shows up though, surprising him. She gives him a jump kick to the face, which is the most satisfying hit she has delivered since she told the Master he had fruit punch mouth. She quickly releases Cordy.
Eric takes the opportunity to run off, like the little bitch he is. Cordy thanks Buffy, but recovers from this ordeal pretty quickly when she hears the music outside and realizes she has to help form the cheer pyramid.
Buffy in the meantime hears a rattle from deeper in the locker room and calls out to Chris. She starts to talk to him, even though she can't see him yet, about his not having hurt anyone yet. He steps out from between the lockers and she tries to sympathize that she knows what it's like to lose someone close (still thinking Darryl is in the ground).
Chris goes on a "he needs...." and Buffy thinks he talking about Creepy-Eric. Buffy realizes with growing horror that he's talking about his supposed to be dead brother.
Scene 22: Back in the Epps basement, Darryl is raging that Cordelia got away... Creepy-Eric ran straight for Chris' house to rat out about Buffy's interference. Despite all of the screaming and tipping over metal shelves, Mom Epps apparently doesn't hear a thing.
Darryl shows he has enhanced strength as a Frankensteinian-Monster by lifting Creepy-Eric up one handed. Eric assures him that nothing has changed, that he is still prepared to help Darryl get his girl.
Commentary: Eric is overacted again. He also appears to be operating with a fair amount of jealousy over Chris' brains, too. His smirky comment about Darryl's brother not being the only one to be able to create life says a lot to me about his actual motivation. Plus, he's the murderous nutburger of the partnership.
They apparently leave.
Commentary: It looks like they're headed toward the basement door, so that might explain why Mom Epps hasn't rushed downstairs. It kind of doesn't make sense. They should have had them heading in the direction of the window, since it seems pretty clear that Mom Epps can barely force herself away from the tv long enough to see to the basic necessities. I don't see her actually leaving the house.
Scene 23: Chris and Buffy arrive back at his basement, but Creepy-Eric and Darryl are already gone. Buffy realizes that Darryl has left to pick up where his brother stopped... and Cordelia is still at risk. They take off back toward the school.
Scene 24: Cordy is cheering her self into a frenzy, all smiles and twirling. In the meantime, the football game continues as Jenny leads Rupert to their seats with flags and popcorn and her going on enthusiastically about sports that Giles doesn't have the faintest notion of.
Giles insults footballer's use of padding and helmets to play rugby. Jenny acts insulted on behalf of "our nation's pasttime".
Commentary: Which of course is actually baseball. I would like to say that this is a clever foreshadowing that Jenny's past isn't as American as she's pretending, but they had no idea she was going to be a gypsy at this point, so no. It's just a clumsy goof, but we can use our powers of fanwankery to fix it so that it is clever, because we're good like that.
Jenny comments on Giles' strategy of impressing her on their first date, which sends him into smiles of adorableness, that makes me either grin until my face hurts, or makes me want to vomit from the sweetness - I'll get back to you on that.
Xander and Willow return from Eric's, but report a bust. Giles tries to suggest they circulate closer to the field to be on the lookout, but they rudely plop themselves down in front of Giles and Jenny and Xander grabs a bag of their popcorn, busting in on the grin worthiness of the episode.
Commentary: I've decided to go with grinning until my face hurts over sweetness-induced vomit. Giles and Jenny are so achingly cute ... Oh, Jenny... *sigh*
Scene 25: On the field, the game continues, as Darryl stalks under the bleachers and then gets lost in glory-day memories of everyone holding him up as a hero and loving him... back when he didn't look like he was a lifesize patchwork doll.
Commentary: This is supposed to be all tragic and stuff, but the actual tragedy is how much I don't care about his story anymore. I'm just disappointed that we've lost Giles and Jenny's continued flirting.
He spots Cordelia, and gets a ... well... freaky, happy look on his face that is entirely too creepy. Cordy has ran to grab a cup of Gatorade, which is tucked behind the bleachers. Unshockingly, she gets herself nabbed once again.
Scene 26: Buffy and Chris arrive, but they don't see Cordelia.
Scene 27: Cordy has been moved to a secret location, where her head's new home is located. Eric and animated-Darryl have strapped her down to a table. She's blindfolded, so can't see Darryl yet, but she promises if they uncover her eyes, she won't scream or anything. Obviously, this is a load of crap.
Eric can't stop himself from being psychopathically unfunny, even though he thinks he's being cute.
Darryl uncovers Cordy's eyes, and naturally she completely screeches in Darryl's undead face. Eric tells her to scream all she wants, but no one will hear. When she screams again, he changes his mind and threatens to bash her head in with a metal tray. Darryl in the meanwhile decides to try to convince her about how wonderful their new life will be together, when she's as hideously scarred up as he is.
Naturally, her opinion isn't seeked. Eric shows Cordy her new body, fully to hear her scream again, I think - nutjob.
Scene 28: Back on the field, Buffy is getting more frantic for any clue as to where Cordy could have been taken. She turns on Chris, who is still only half-heartedly helping her, not sure whether he should be stopping his brother or helping him not be alone. Buffy doesn't have time for that BS and reminds him that they're going to commit murder. He finally coughs up that Sunnydale High has an old, abandoned science lab sitting around where they put together the dead girl parts.
She sends him to locate Willow and Xander as she rushes off to save Cordy.
Commentary: I really think Buffy should have punched out Chris when he hesitated. Please tell me, he isn't going to be able to just walk away from his part in all of this....
Scene 29: In the old lab, Cordy tries to convince Darryl that she'll be with him on her own body, but he's not that naive. In the meanwhile, Eric has set up a gas flame to sterilize the blade he'll use to cut off her head, which strikes me as funny... not ha-ha funny, but absurd-funny.
Commentary: Notice too, that Eric is all ready to cut off Cordelia's head... while she's conscious!
Buffy kicks in the door, just before the first slice is made. Eric throws the blade in Buffy's general direction. She snatches it out of mid-air, with a pissed look on her face - I cheer. Eric runs. Darryl grimaces. Cordelia begs to be saved.
Buffy tries to reason with Darryl as Eric runs toward the back to make his escape so he can continue his burgeoning serial killer career elsewhere. Darryl doesn't want to believe that Chris sent Buffy to stop what he is planning. With things starting to go pear shaped for Darryl, he grabs a cleaver to finish Cordy's decapitation, despite having no chance of figuring out how to reattach her head or reanimating her, or being allowed to do either with Buffy standing there.
She attacks before he can proceed. They trade a few blows over Cordy. Darryl pushes Cordy's gurney out of his way, which knocks over the gas can powering the sterilizing flame that Eric had set up. Naturally big fire ensues as Buffy and he continue to fight and Cordelia continues to whimper and plead.
Eric finds he can't get out the way he went and comes back. When he tries to get around Darryl, he gets grabbed and thrown to the floor with his enhanced strength and is knocked out, obviously aware that Giles isn't available for that duty.
But even an enhanced strength, reanimated football player is still just a football player and Buffy quickly adjusts to kick the bejeezus outta Darryl. Xander arrives and is directed to get Cordy out, while Buffy continues her fight.
Commentary: And naturally, because they're dealing with a real flame here, they're so careful on set that the fire is actually nowhere near large enough to account for the gasoline, and isn't near any of the actors or anything flammable, so it should just sputter out. Just as naturally, it will somehow burn down the whole concrete lined building instead in minutes.
Xander grabs Cordy's gurney and rides it (and her, sort of) out of the quickly spreading fire. In the meantime, Darryl tries to bear hug Buffy into submission. Giles and Willow have arrived, and they grab still out Eric, even though I'm of the general opinion that deliberate murderers who'd behead their victims while they're conscious and screaming for mercy should just be left to their fate... locked into the burning building, in fact, but then I'm not a hero.
With the others out of the way, Buffy can now be knocked dazed to the floor, so she is. Darryl is about to crush her head with a spare desk, when Chris and Ms. Calender show up. He yells at his reanimated brother to stop.
Darryl puts the desk down, but can't bare to go on alone. He sees the flames threatening his un-reanimated, headless girlfriend and joins her in the thick of the flames, as Chris shouts at him.
Scene 30: Later, after the fire is put out: Chris is telling Buffy that he was just trying to look out for his brother. Angel rushes up, still wearing that entirely out-of-character jacket of his. Giles bring Jenny coffee, while the extras behind her try to shove their faces toward the camera so any producers watching will get a good look and hopefully a job with actual lines will be offered.
Jenny tells Giles that on a first date, you shouldn't do anything so exciting that a second date won't be able to follow it up. Giles tells her that on a Hellmouth, this whole thing was actually a quiet night... then catches her sly "we'll be having a second date" implication.
Commentary: AHHHH - Giles is so fricking adorable with her, I can't barely stand it! Especially since I know how it ends... *sob*
Scene 31: Xander whines to Willow about how everyone is pairing up... complaining about Angel/Buffy and Giles/Jenny, apparently not thinking for a moment about Willow's own obvious and unrequited crush lusting after somebody else all day, every day. Shut up, Xander.
It sets up a little joke where Xander complains to Willow about how they never have any dates, right after interrupting Cordy trying to thank him graciously for saving her life. It's a really minor joke, but I like the look on Cordelia's face.
Scene 32: Much later sometime, Angel and Buffy are walking. They have a romance moment, where Angel confesses his jealousy of Xander because he can see Buffy during the day as she's doing all those little things people do in their daily lives. They hold hands.
We pan down to see Darryl Epps' gravestone.
The Good: I liked some of the set design and lighting that combined fortuitously with the cheaper film stock to enhance the scuzziness in the tale.
Giles and Jenny/Jenny and Giles, Giles/Jenny and Jenny/Giles.
Giles' continuing smartassery development is fun - I especially like his deadpan response to Buffy's comments about the graverobbing.
The scenes with Mom Epps have an emotional power.
The Bad: That lighting design is a mixed bag... sometimes it combines with the cheap grain stock in the wrong way and looks like shit.
Eric PsychoNustso was often overacted terribly.
The obvious plot holes that practically dare you to ignore them... I failed (the whole disappearing dirt, filling in two graves but not the third, the ability of high school students to perform reanimations and limb replacements, etc).
I don't enjoy the very slimy undercurrent running throughout the episode regarding what they're going TO DO with the reanimated girl. I wish there was more outrage shown over seeing women as parts to use on our heroes side to counteract the obvious skeeziness of Eric's leering.
The pacing is really slow whenever we focus on the "investigating the newest weirdness" part of the episode... and really, anytime we leave Giles and Jenny.
I really don't like Chris Epps being given a free pass on what he tried to do because there should have been outrage on behalf of the potential reanimated girl, not just that he was setting up Cordelia for a beheading (although, certainly that too). Buffy needed to hit him somewhere along the way, or had him turned over to the police for the graverobbings, or something. He's allowed to skate away far too easily by the Gang at the end.
Much of this episode spends time with the bad guys, so we're lacking in Buffy-isms and the associated wit and wordplay we enjoy.
Once again, Angel disappears from large portions of the episode without any kind of reason (he knows Buffy is investigating body snatchings, but he doesn't show up until the whole thing is over).
I wish the Buffy crew would stop trying to use fire... they don't fake it well (as well as snakes - they should avoid snakes- especially puppet or CGI ones, but that isn't an issue here).
What this script really needed was more angst with Chris... perhaps scenes between he and Willow where he nearly confesses to her, but his held back by his guilt and loyalty to his brother, rather than so much overacted Eric or boring Darryl.
The Score: Eh. Not much else to say, is there? 2.75 out of 5