harsens_rob (harsens_rob) wrote,

"Lie to Me" BTVS episode review

Lie to Me

S2, E 7

Written by: Joss Whedon

DIR: Joss Whedon

Blurb: Buffy is lured into a trap by a group of vampire wannabes who hope Spike will turn them into vampires in exchange for giving him the Slayer.

Spoilers do apply.

Scene 01: We open at night on the creepy image of the merry-go-round spinning slowly by itself. Nearby the swing sets shift in a stiff breeze. At the monkey-bars, a small boy waits. He complains to himself that his mother is always running late.

In the background we see a shape in a white dress and hear Drusilla's voice asking if he's lost....

Drusilla shares creepily (as Dru does everything) that her mommy used to sing her to sleep as song about a lost lamb in a blackberry patch. She asks the little boy what he thinks his mother will sing when they find his body....

Commentary: This whole scene is wonderful up to this point. There is something combining gothic imagery (the vampire woman in the white dress) and Drusilla's air of gothic horror that the character carries with her simply due to her behavior and voice and Juliet Landau's stunning performances and a Lector Hannibal-ishness of a modern serial killer that works fantastically whenever Dru is being quiet and menacingly sweet (Her asking about the song the boy's mom will sing always reminds me of Anthony Hopkins asking the Senator where she'll tickle when her daughter is laid out on the slab -- but this is much more low-key, much more -- almost caring of her, rather than spiteful the way that Hannibal delivers the same idea in "Silence of the Lambs".)

I also love the way that Juliet puts in this wistful, sadness when Dru the vampire speaks of Dru the Human's family. One wonders if this is a partial cause of her continuing madness. That because she was broken so badly before being vamped (which we will learn oh so much more about), that her demon isn't able to provide the proper amount of seperation between the two personalities and can't quite integrate them into a cohesive whole?

Anyway, little boy should be booking his ass outta there, but doesn't. Fortunately, a large black shape comes from behind him. It's Angel, who has the boy run home. Dru is rather put out and they glare at one another. Drusilla asks Angel if he remembers the song that her mother used to sing and he confirms this, looking angsty as per Angel's way ... and, yay! He's dressed in all black, as he should be.

Commentary: Also, so interesting is Drusilla's show of anger when she acknowledges that Angel, of course, remembers the song. In this small exchange and Juliet's performance, we get this ... weight... of personal history between the two vampires. We can feel that much has happened between these two, the details of which we're not privy. It's also a marvelous scene.

Angel warns Drusilla that she needs to take Spike and go (& again, it's very interesting how Angel isn't attacking and staking -- he knows what Dru is [boy, does he] but he is extremely reluctant to eliminate her).

"Or, you'll hurt me?" Dru asks.

Commentary: I'm telling, Juliet rocks this part all over the place. In this single line, between her body language and her eyes and the voice ... she's directing a desire for Angel to do exactly that, while at the same time there is something mocking about it. "You'll hurt me again, you mean?" combined with "I don't think you have the balls to do that again?"

Drusilla tells Angel that he can't hurt her anymore, which manages to be both sad and downright chilling. Angel tries to tell her that if she stays, things will go down badly for her and Spike. Dru dreamily laments that she's lost her boy, and she can sense the Slayer all over him. She complains that he's lost himself to her.

Scene 02: In the meanwhile, Buffy is on a rooftop surveying the night for the monsters. She sees Angel and Dru in the park standing quite closely.

Angel is telling Dru that things have to end, but Dru, amused, tells him both that Buffy has no idea what's inside him and that things are just beginning. There is a definite and pronounced sexual tension between Angel and Drusilla, as she leans up against him, gives him her creepy-ass smile and then wanders away into the night with him watching her and Buffy watching Angel watching Drusilla.

*Insert Kick-Ass Theme & Credits*

Commentary: I LOVE this opening scene. That may be why I've never warmed to this episode the way that other fans have. I've never been able to get into the entire story of Ford or the choice he's faced with later in the episode. And, while I find the end scene to be a great Buffy/Giles moment, of course, the episode itself leaves me with "meh". So, you've been forewarned that my score generally is lower than nearly all other fans... if you're easily pissed when somebody doesn't note the utter brilliance of anything having to do with Joss at all times, you may want to just close this review. [EDIT: I totally am wrong -- I saw so much good stuff in here on the review, that I've actually given it a much higher score ... Yay, surprise for me!]

Scene 03: We open on Jenny & Giles coming down the stairs at Sunnydale High. It is apparent through dialog that they've agreed on a date, but Jenny won't share with Giles where they're going, in her ongoing subplot of trying to get Rupert to loosen up.

Commentary: And, after last episode, we have an inkling of why Giles has so embraced his uptight tweed-ness. Next episode will make this even more apparent forming a nice bit of character development for him through these three episodes and tying into Buffy's lesson that not everything is black and white and sometimes the good guys do bad things. There is also an interesting parallell between two long lost friends showing up from each of their pasts who turn out not to be welcomed: Angel with Dru, Ethan with Giles and soon to be introduced Fordham with Buffy. I'm not exactly sure if there is supposed to be a greater theme here, or if the blast from the past just seemed like such a good idea that the writers just ran with it.

Jenny and Giles part as Buffy comes in and reviews the night before's patrol....

Scene 04: Giles and Buffy walk down the hallway and blithely discuss her Slayer sweeps... lah-dee-dah... secret not a priority, here.

Rupert notes Buffy's glumness and in his progression away from his S1 persona, he suggests she take a night off. He further suggests she could do something with Angel, but she's smarting at seeing her not-quite-boyfriend in such an intimate encounter with Dru, so she blows this suggestion off.

Scene 05: In class, Buffy & Willow pass notes discussing Drusilla. Remember that right now, they don't know who Dru is... Spike has kept Dru away from the Scooby Gang at this point.

Commentary: In retrospect, it is very hard to remember that Spike and Dru are brand new characters here. James and Juliet fit so seamlessly into the narrative and were such wonderful actors with these characters, that it seems like they've been there from the beginning.

As Buffy & Willow discuss, around them class is ... well, not interesting, so let's just skip over it. Oh, good - bell ring.

Scene 06: In the hallway, Buffy & Willow discuss more when Xan pops in. Willow shares that Angel was seen with a girl and Xan is jokingly-but-not-really glad to hear about Angel doing something wrong.

Xander suggests dancing at the Bronze to ease Buffy's worry, but she seems not-in-the-mood-y, so he suggests mopefest at the Bronze. From behind Buffy, a male voice suggests Oreos dunked in apple juice (gag!) and this is where we meet the blast from the past: Billy 'Ford' Fordham, a friend of Buffy's from L.A. who is finishing his senior year at Sunnydale High.

Xan is immediately less than pleased about the sudden appearance of yet another possible rival for Buffy's affections (because Xander is a bitchy boy about that - he may have slightly better luck at least, if he'd stopped wearing those god awful plaid pants... they're called "blue jeans", Xan... look 'em up!).

Commentary: Okay, yes - the Divinyls' song reference is cute ... as is Xander's friendly "you're only imposing on our Bronze plans in the literal sense" joke. But, from here is where the episode starts to become uninvolving to me. As much as I don't like making personal references about actors if I can help it, perferring to focus on characters - I just don't find Jason Behr to be magnetic in the way that James and Juliet are, so the fact that we're focusing on this guest character just... bores me.

Scene 07: That evening at The Bronze, Xan and Willow are putzing around the pool table. As we pan out, we find Ford there as well. Xander looks extra pissy. Buffy comes in and Willow shares that Ford has been sharing lots of trivia about Buffy's Hemery days to know and share.

Buffy mock-threatens him; he tells her that he knows all of her darkest secrets. Xander snottily wants to wager on that, but Buffy elbows him and the foreshadow falls thick from the ceiling.

Buffy goes to the counter for a drink, where she finds Angel hanging out (ACK! Angel hanging around in The Bronze still strikes my OOC warning button), where he tells her that he was hoping she'd show. Angel's presence doesn't go unnoted by the gang and Willow and Xander share with Ford that Angel is Buffy's "special friend".

In the meanwhile, Buffy and Angel are having an awkward conversation because he's lying to her and she knows he's lying to her. He claims to have spent the night before in all night reading, but Buffy clearly saw him chatting with Drusilla in the playground. She walks away, sullen. He follows. He meets Ford and because he's nearly as bad as Xander, he's immediately got the put-off/jealous thing going over Buffy's ol' L.A. friend having relocated.

Poor Xander -- who to hate more: Angel or Fordham?

Scene 08: So, Buffy has decided the tension is a bit thick and she's still bothered by Angel's meeting with strange women in parks and then not sharing when she obliquely leaves an opening for him to do so. She splits with Ford for a walk back home.

Commentary: And, on rewatch - despite the fact that I do really love the Bangel relationship, honest - it's incredible how many times Angel and Buffy are on again/off again/on, but strained/kinda off, but not really - because they both spend so much time talking around, over and under one another instead of just ASKING STRAIGHTFORWARD QUESTIONS.

Ford asks her about Angel being her boyfriend, which leads Buffy into a noncommittal "can we skip the tough questions" sort of answer. She hears a bang in one of the alleys nearby and her Slayer sense goes off. Claiming she left her purse behind at The Bronze, she sends Ford to retrieve it, so she can pull some vampire stakage.

Scene 09: Ford starts to run for The Bronze, but then he hears the commotion and he turns around skulks toward the alley. He sees that Buffy has grown a few inches taller suddenly and is fighting a lumpy-faced dude. Buffy returns to her original size just in time to stake(s) the vampire to dustsville.

Ford comes out into the open and asks Buffy about what went on. She tries her "lie-on-the-fly", which isn't as disastrous as her other attempts to do this, but since Ford saw everything, he openly tells her that he thought she was slaying a vampire.

This leaves Buffy with WHAAAAAA?!-face.

Buffy is left further stunned when Ford reveals that he knows she's the Slayer, already.

Commentary: I hate this scene, and I can't put my finger on why. The way it plays out, or the way the Jason delivers this revelelation... it just doesn't feel right... this should be a big moment, that someone from Buffy's past has figured out her identity. It should involve her and Ford having a heart to heart about what he'd seen in L.A. (as part of Buffy's backstory) and his having spent these few years trying to understand and wrap his head around the things he saw her do... etc. [And why couldn't this character be Pike, which would make so much more sense].

Instead, it just sort of gets laid there like a big dud scene, and then we've moved on.

Scene 10: Buffy has called Willow to share the news that Ford completely knows about the Slayer stuff. Buffy tells Willow how this will makes things so much easier for her and her old pal.

Scene 11: Ford, however, is not going to be making things easier. He has gone to an underground club for goths... because there are so many of those in a town the size of Sunnydale. But, in addition to changing their names and wearing dark clothes and makeup, they all also seem to be slightly obsessed with vampirism.

Ford shows us that he, too, is obsessed with vampires as he creepily quotes a Dracula movie line for line as it runs on an overhead television.

Scene 12: At Willow's, she gets an unusual guest in Angel. This sends her into a set of nerves, 'cause ... y'know... a boy is in her room. And it's Buffy's boy in her room.

Angel is there to recruit Willow to do a little digging into Billy Fordham. She's reluctant to break Buffy's trust by spying into her friend, but Angel is convinced that he's not just being jealous, but that there is something off with Ford's arrival into Sunnydale.

Commentary: I'm far more concerned with the amount of apparent lipstick and eyeliner Angel is sporting. Hey, I'm all for embracing here, but you might want to learn a little something called subtlety.

Willow's mom interrupts, so she shoos Angel out but promises to look into things. Almost immediately, she's finding that Ford isn't even registered in Sunnydale High even though he's supposed to be finishing up his senior year.

Scene 13: The following day at school, Buffy and Ford come in and Willow, keeping her snooping activities secret from Buffy is a nervous wreck.

Giles comes in to tell Buffy he'll not be at home that evening, as he has a mysterious date with Jenny (Yay!), but he's giving her Ms. Calendar's pager number in case there is a crisis. He tries to keep from talking specifically about slaying, but Buffy tells him Ford knows already. Giles wonders if she's sharing her secret to impress cute boys, but she promises that Ford already knew. She sends him off to his day and assures him he should embrace the fun at his date.

Scene 14: That night, Buffy and Ford are again walking, this time around the high school campus. They see two skulkers hanging around, and Buffy and Ford go to investigate.

Commentary: I like this small scene, because Ford is kinda gawky and cute here. A bit like Jesse - of course, we know this is an act since we've already seen this episode multiple times, but it's a nice little moment nonetheless ... especially Buffy's mild confused surprise when he pulls out a stake of his own.

She warns him to stay close to her.

Scene 15: Buffy and Ford lose sight of them for a moment, until Buffy is suddenly grabbed from behind. She gets tackled over a railing. Ford looks out of his depth, for a moment, before he tells vampire the second that he'll let her go if she shares some information he's interested in.

In the meanwhile, Buffy makes short work of vampire the first, though we don't know what the vamps were up to at this time.

Buffy rushes back to Ford, only to find him fine. She asks about the other vamp, and he states (the little cough was a nice touch) that he killed her, surprising Buffy.

Scene 16: Elsewhere, Willow is walking with Angel and sharing the things she found on the 'net regarding Ford. Xander has been bought into the know, as well. The three of them find the club scene where we saw the goth club.

So, Willow and Xander cotton onto the fact that the whole club scene seems to be "Vampires, YAY!" and this is only reinforced when our recurring character, Chanterelle here, tells them all about how vampires don't want to hurt anyone. They're just lonely, poor dearest ones.

Angel calls Chanterelle a fool, which has her sulking off and Xan berating Angel for being insulting.

Commentary: Actually, despite Xan's mouthy attitude when it comes to Angel, I think I'd prefer it if he was the one to have insulted Chanterelle in this scene. I can see why the line was given to Angel, since he's run into this before and he knows these kids are setting themselves up in a fantasy that will lead to them being dinner. But, this would have been the perfect place for Xander to be the usual snotty one, have Willow admonish him for being a prick toward Chanterelle after sulks off, and then have Xander remind Willow that they know first hand what vampires are (with Angel rejoining them from behind, Xander turns and looks directly at him) and how they kill off their friends.

This way, it reinforces why Xander doesn't trust Angel beyond his relationship with Buffy and we'd get a shout out to the never-mentioned Jesse. There would have been a more emotional kick to the scene than just having Angel drive Chanterelle away and Xan commenting on his lack of people skills the way it plays here.

Xander and Willow both have a very definite reason for being angry at the, as they see it, stupidity on display by these kids. Willow wouldn't express it so readily, but Xander certainly would.

And, if Angel is going to where so much lipstick, I wish he'd pick a less brightly pink color... something more dark reddish, perhaps, like a subconscious que of blood on his mouth.

Willow complains to Angel that no one will talk to them, now, but he tells her he's already sized up the whole deal, here. Angel goes on a mini-rant about these delusional kids not knowing anything about vampires, including the way they dress -- which is generally not in goth -- just as one of the kids walks by wearing his exact outfit.

Commentary: Cute on first watch... not all that humorous on rewatch.

As they leave the club, Willow and Xander are on board with Angel that something isn't right with Bill Fordham and his involvement in this scene. "Diego" aka Marvin ovehears this and gets a worried look on his face.

Scene 17: At the school, Buffy has in fact beeped Giles and Jenny about the weirdness earlier with the vampires skulking around the school.

Commentary: No. I don't buy this. There wasn't anything all that mysterious that should have prompted Buffy to interrupt the date, rather than to mention the following day. This was totally in order to have a the cute-joke about Jenny's taking Giles to a monster truck rally for their date. It is cute, really, but it didn't need to be here rather than a mention in a library scene the following morning.

As Giles, Jenny and Buffy wonder about what the vampires wanted at the school (which apparently involves looking in books, but what exactly their supposed to be looking for is a question -- I mean they literally have zero to go on and even less to suggest the vampires weren't just stalking a convenient janitor).

On the table, Buffy sees an old-timey photo of Drusilla and instantly recognizes her as the woman that Angel was speaking to in the chilling opening scene. Giles describes her as a "sometime paramour" of Spike's. Giles reports she was killed in Prague by an angry mob (so he has her photo laying out... because....), but Buffy puts paid to that. All of them are disturbed by Buffy's report that Angel was seen chatting her up. Jenny tells them they should read up on this 'nice lady'.

When Giles goes to his office for a volume that speaks more about Spike and Dru, the female vampire that Ford claimed to have staked comes rushing out of the office with a volume in her hands.

She dashes off through the stacks to that mysterious door? window? that is buried back there that we hear about occasionally. Giles is appalled by the book thievery. Buffy is much more disturbed by the fact that she recognizes the vampire as Ford's kill, looking very much not disintegrated.

Scene 18: At the Aurelious hideout, Spike has just heard about Dru's foray the other night and her convo with Angel from one of the henchman. He's obviously jealous and pissy. Dru is off in her own little world, trying to get her dead bird to sing her song. He becomes impatient with her, but when she whimpers, he's all apologies.

They're interrupted by Ford showing up unannounced in their hideout. The book thief also arrives and Spike is pleased by the delivery (we'll see this referred to in "What's My Line") but he's less pleased by the human waltzing in.

The bottom line is that Ford makes a deal with Spike to deliver the Slayer to him in exchange for being turned into a vampire -- which, meh.

Commentary: The plot kind of loses me here, because I just don't see Spike as listening to the twit doddle on about his grand plans to deliver Buffy. Spike could just as easily come up with a "trap" involving locking Buffy into a steel-doored room on his own. A simple -- great plan, mate - ta, and then giving Ford to Drusilla right there as a present to make up for being snippy with her would have made much more sense. And Ford is boring me, so it would make me happy, too.

Ford, annoyingly, acts like he's in a tv show running in his own mind. Spike and Dru, even more irritatingly, play along.

Scene 19: At Buffy's, she's moping in the kitchen when Angel drops by to share that something is wrong with this whole Ford situation. Buffy surprises him by beating him to the punch.

Buffy is angry that Angel conspired with both Willow and Xander behind her back, but more to the point she's really angry that Angel hasn't told her about Drusilla. Angel asks Buffy if she loves him, and she does, but she isn't sure she can trust him.

Angel tells her all about Drusilla and what he'd done to drive her mad before turning her. This rocks Buffy's image that she had of Angel.

Commentary: I love this scene for two reasons: One, it is just nicely acted by Sarah and David. Whenever Buffy is rocking a scene, it elevates David's work -- and I *think* it's right about here that we start to see less painfully awkward line delivery from him. He's really nailing down the McBroody-Pants persona and his regret is nicely acted out. Of course, we won't really see him come into his own as an actor until the appearance of Angelus, but I really appreciate the scene here. Second, it raises so many issues about Buffy's world and the complicated relationship between Slayer and Vampire and between Buffy and Angel specifically. Despite all of the stories about Angel's past, Buffy has been in this state of denial over what exactly he was, the things he did when he was soulless... she in effect, constructed a fairy tale about how tortured his past is and how he overcame it with some vague and easily glossed over acknowledgement that he fed on people before. This is as much a fairy tale as the Vampire-Wanna-bes have constructed. Angel wasn't a tortured man forced by his condition to perform awful acts to survive -- he was Evil. Evil, Murderous, and Torturing ... and he embraced these qualities and reveled in them. Angel was as bad as Spike (in fact, we'll find out that Angelus is actually worse than Spike).

Buffy's perception of Angel is running into the reality of what it means for him to have been a demon running around. This, of course, fits in with the overall theme of the episode and is outstandingly leading her and us into more grey areas in which the world isn't divided between good guys and bad guys. And this leads directly to an overarching theme of Buffy entering adulthood, where she has to learn, the way we all do, that there is more moral ambiguity and people shocking and disappointing us in sometimes devastating ways than we ever believed as children. We'll see some of our favorite characters do dispicable things as the world becomes more complicated from Angel/Angelus, to Giles, to Willow, to Gunn ... the world isn't divided between heroes and villains with a thick black and convenient line.

Angel steers the conversation back to Ford and his vampire-please club.

Commentary: I also love the shot from outside of Buffy's house looking in at her and Angel as he's delivering the message that she can't trust Ford... she looks so small due to way that this was filmed. It could have easily just been a straight two shot from the dining room, but Joss put this spin in the direction, and the emotional moment for Buffy is enhanced for it.

Scene 20: The following day, outside of the school, Ford meets up with Buffy briefly. He invites her out for that night. She agrees to meet him.

Commentary: Again, this direction in interesting as the camera keeps circling the two... giving the impression of a game being played. Ford is planning on betraying Buffy, but she's aware that he's into something shady - though we're not sure if she's exactly expecting the betrayal, although she certainly might be. They're both pretending that everything is normal and that they're still the friends they were. And this is all being relayed to us by the off kilter way this simple dialog scene was shot by Joss.

You know, I'd always given this episode a 2.75, possibly 3.0 score, but I missed so much before. There is much more going on as the episode proceeds that I wasn't conscious of when I first watched the episode air. I can see that it is much more well constructed and is weaving threads into place for the season and the deeper we get into the episode, the more impressed and subsequently the more I like it, now.

Scene 21: In the high school hallway, Buffy, Willow and Xander have a tense meeting. Buffy tells Willow that Angel told her everything, and it is obvious that Buffy is hurt and angry still about Wills snooping behind her back.

Commentary: I could actually see Buffy shrugging this off, if it was just Xander. She knows that he turns into a butt whenever a new man makes the scene around her. I think her feelings of betrayal are much more intense when it comes to Willow -- she didn't see her best girl friend doing this, without coming to her immediately. It is just one more thread in what we talked about, Buffy is having to deal with shades of grey, even when it comes to her nearest and dearest friends.

After Buffy walks away, Xander exclaims to Willow about Angel being in her bedroom. She responds with the deadpanned, "Ours is a forbidden love...", and the look on Nicky's face is awesome.

Scene 22: In the secret club, Billy finds out about his 'friends' having visited the night before from Diego and is mad that it wasn't mentioned before now. Chantarelle immediately worries that this is putting a crimp in their plans to be "blessed", but Ford tells her snippily that it will be fine.

Except, Buffy has followed him and she tells him from the shadows that it really isn't.

Buffy confronts Ford, figuring out the plan to trade her for his being vamped -- another blow to her faith in her friends. She's sealed, along with the goth kids, into the club with doors that only open from outside. Chantarelle, especially, goes on about being gifted by the lonely ones and I kinda want to see Buffy punch her out, but their too far apart.

Of course, I also want to see her beat Ford to a pulp.

Scene 23: So, in the bomb shelter, Buffy is trying to convince everyone that they're going to be dinner not be given immortality. Even if they believed her though, which they don't, Ford has had the room prepared to ensure that Buffy can't escape which means there isn't a way for the rest to get out either, even if they would run away before it's too late.

Scene 24: At the Aurelious hide out, Spike and his gang get ready to go. He double checks on Dru, but she assures him she's ready to partake.

Scene 25: At the bomb shelter, Buffy is still trying to figure out a way to get everyone out alive. She returns to the catwalk where Ford follows. Buffy confronts him again with the fact that he's set up his cronies to be fodder in exchange for being changed... along with her.

Ford goes on a self-righteous rant (while accusing her of being the same) because he's dying of brain tumors and he doesn't want to go out bald and shiveled and smelling bad. She's sad about the news, but he asks her if his impending liquified brain is ruining her self-righteous indignation.

Commentary: And, the answer is "no", you asshat. God, I wanted Buffy to hit him and knock him on his ass, here. I mean, honestly. His suck-ass circumstances does nothing to justify his involvement in a slaughter --- one of which was his effing best friend. There is nothing here that even sounds self-justified, at the least. HIT HIM BUFFY - HIT HIM!

Buffy explains to Ford that what comes back after he's vamped isn't going to be him at all, but he's not listening. When Buffy tries to get everyone to understand that Spike's arrival "isn't the mother ship", Ford clubs her twice, stunning her.

Scene 26: Spike arrives and Chantarelle is horrified by his bumpy-face and growling. He orders all of them taken, leaving Buffy for himself. He bites deep on Chatarelle (but she won't be killed, because we'll see her character again later), while down on the floor, Ford continues trying to club Buffy into unconsciousness so she can't interefere.

This gets him a pile driver into a cement wall, which is quite nice if not painful enough.

Buffy then looks around in despair as the kids are being fed on. She spots Dru and makes a beeline for her. With an awesome Slayer-leap, she reaches the upper level again, and grabs Dru from around the shoulders with a stake to her heart.

This causes Spike to order an immediate stop on the attack. She has Spike order his minions to let everyone go so they can retreat in exchange for her not ashing Drusilla right there and then. As we know, Spike's adoration of Dru knows no bounds at this time, so she has him over the barrel.

Buffy has him go down the stairs before she marches Dru to the door. You can see Buffy consider staking her anyway, but instead she throws her down to Spike to catch. She leaves, closing that door that can only be opened from outside (which Spike will somehow break out of anyway -- combined vamp strength should help), while leaving her ex-friend Ford unconscious down below.

Commentary: I don't know ... was this just convenient plotting, or was this meant to say that even Buffy herself is going to have to be more morally grey? It doesn't seem like there isn't any reason that she couldn't have had Ford brought upstairs and then make a quick swap before stepping out of the steel door and shutting the vampires in. But, it isn't even brought up -- she just leaves him there, knocked out in a room full of fangs.

Scene 27: Outdoors, Willow, Xander and Angel have arrived though I don't know exactly why. Buffy specifically states that the vampires are contained for the moment, but that they'll return for Ford's body later ... so she didn't just forget he was left there in the confusion or anything.

Scene 28: In the bomb shelter, Ford comes around to an unhappy Spike. He insists he kept his part of the deal though, and should be turned anyway. We cut away before we know his fate.

Scene 29: Buffy returns sometime later to find Ford lying on the floor dead.

Scene 30: Another night... unless he was instantly buried... Buffy is on patrol with Giles. They stop by Billy's grave, so she can lay flowers. She talks to Giles about how hard everything is getting when trying to decide who to love or hate, who is the villain, who she can trust.

Giles sympathizes that she's growing up -- she expresses she'd like to stop doing that, now.

From Ford's grave, he bursts out of the ground... or you know, the vampire who has set up shop in his body - but he's nearly instantly staked by Buffy.

Buffy asks Giles then if it ever gets easier and he tells her he doesn't know what she wants to hear. She asks him to lie to her.

He gives the wonderful "everything is simple, the good guys wear white hats, the bad guys have horns, they're always defeated and no one ever dies" speech.

Buffy gives him a droll, "Liar".

Commentary: Obviously, I love the Giles/Buffy interaction here as well. And, I love the themes of this episode and the real character growth experienced by the Slayer.

The Good: That opening scene is one of the most chilling of BTVS -- Drusilla isn't just a wacky sidekick to Spike in this scene. She's horrifying in her own right. And the way that Juliet and David play off one another is wonderful.

I absolutely love the themes of this episode and the writing and direction work in the latter half of the episode. There is so much more going on here than I got out of it when the episode first aired and now I wish that I had rewatched this with the DVD set, instead of skipping over it. It's much better than I remembered.

I adore the scene with Angel telling Buffy about Dru and how it rattles her perception of Angel. Also, that last scene with Giles make me feel warm and fuzzy, despite the subject and Buffy's struggle to understand how she's supposed to know who to trust.

Spike is fun in this - thank you Fates, again, for the casting James Marsters.

The Bad: The only bad things are technical in nature: David's makeup is too heavy. And, The Bronze continues to suffer from the lighting and film stock that makes it look dreary and boring as a set.

Ford's revelation to Buffy that he knows about the Slayer thing seems really off ... either badly played, or just badly written, or a combination of both.

Other Thoughts: I also thought Jason Behr did a good job as Ford, especially in the latter half when he and Buffy are stuck in the bomb shelter waiting on Spike, but before that scene, he was just not engaging. I also never got the feeling that he and Buffy were as close of friends as their history was supposed to be intimating. It felt more like they were reciting to us about how close they were, rather than having been friends who missed one another (again, until the scene where Ford explains why he was doing all of this).

I'm not sure I can buy the insta-suspicion of Angel either, at least not to the point that Willow would go along with digging into Ford's past on Angel's spider-sense that something was wrong with his story.

I'm also not entirely sold on Spike changing Ford, the way he wanted. I'd feel better about it if he'd told Ford that he was granting him his vampire dream entirely to stick it to the Slayer, but without this acknowledgement that it wasn't about Ford's deal, the plot point feels a bit OOC to me for Spike.

The Score: I was very pleasantly surprised to find myself enjoying the episode much more than expected. I think this ep gains a lot in retrospect because we can see the themes of trust and your trusted ones disappointing you that are going to play big after Angelus' return and into S3 with Faith and Giles, S4 with the Initiative, S6 with her friends again, S7 with Giles again and S8 with Angel, Faith and Giles again.

4.0 out of 5 stars....

Tags: buffy season 2 reviews

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