harsens_rob (harsens_rob) wrote,

BTVS Reviewage: Innocence (Lost)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Season 2, Episode 14


Written by: Joss Whedon
Directed by: Joss Whedon

Blurb: Buffy must battle not only the Judge, but [I'm not listing the rest because it spoilers the meaning of the end of 'Surprise'].

My Blurb: Last episode, Angel almost left Sunnydale in order to carry a piece of a powerful demon named the Judge away, so that Dru and Spike couldn't reassemble him. This was interrupted by a vamp attack, which got the needed arm to the bad guys. The piece was assembled and Buffy and Angel made a narrow escape. In his apartment, their attraction finally boiled over and they had sex, Buffy losing her virginity. But then something happened -- Angel got dressed and stumbled out into a rainstorm where he yelled in apparent anguish for the Slayer. She didn't hear him....

So, I'm going to spoil the meaning of the end of Surprise in this here review, right? YEP. Not a spoiler free zone, folks.

Scene 01: We open with Spike wheeling into frame as the Judge is kneeling and meditating. His focus is currently on Drusilla, however, as he tries to convince her that they should be vacating the premises now that Buffy and Angel know they survived the Church Organ of Crush, where they're now holed up, and that the Judge is in one piece.

Drusilla gives a "poo-poo" on Angel and Buffy. She's convinced that Angel wouldn't dare come back with the Judge waiting.

Spike bitches at Big Smurf for just sitting on his big blue arse. The Judge, rather than just reaching over and burning Spike up, explains that he's prepping as his strength builds. Dru interrupts this exchange with one of her patent-pending nutso-seer-whines, drawing Spike's immediate attention away from the Judge.

She collapses onto the floor, calling out for Angel. After a few moments of distress, she gives us one of her patented-psychosis-grins....

Scene 02: Back at Angel's, Buffy finally stirs to find him missing from the bed.

Commentary: Why do TV-people always reach out to the pillow in these situations? I always reach out for the back or waist, instead of trying to poke my bedmate in the eye.

Buffy sits up, to find an empty room. Outside, the storm continues.

Scene 03: And, we join Angel still stumbling about and falling all over. He gives a questioning, "Buffy?" and then a plaintive, "Oh, no."

Nearby, woman out late for a smoke in an alleyway see him and rushes over to see if he needs an ambulance. He tells her no, that his pain is gone. Then he turns on her in full vamp-face! And, he kills her! ANGEL?!

Commentary: And, yes, this scene in addition to being shocking is actually darkly funny. The woman just pulled a smoke, when Angel is done (presumably) tearing out her trachea, he blows her cigarette smoke out into the air (which, when you think about it is horrifying... it's also her last gasped breath -- sit with that for a moment). Obviously, everything has changed, but we still have no idea just how much change this episode is going to cause in the Buffyverse. On first watch, it's just shocking, but we're all expecting the status quo to return by the end of the episode and then for Buffy and Angel to wangst a bit about his vampire-self running around.

We'll get a fair bit of this... but not until things get much worse....

Angel escorts us into credits and kick-ass theme song by telling us he feels just fine.

Scene 04: The next morning, Buffy slips into the Summers' kitchen, trying to avoid Joyce. She tries to run upstairs, but has to do a quick turnaround and pretend to be headed downstairs, when her mom calls out a good morning to her.

Joyce asks her if Buffy had fun the night before "at Willow's", and Buffy badly covers but Joyce tends towards cluelessness... so it passes.

Joyce asks Buffy if something is wrong, which she denies. Joyce tells her she looks... and leaves it hanging.

Scene 05: In the library, Xander comes in exhausted from staking out the bus depot all night {remember the Scoobies don't know that all of the Judges parts already made it into town, they've been looking to intercept the shipments}. Everyone else in the library is tense, because Buffy never checked in from her recon mission with Angel.

With their stakeouts a bust, Giles admits that he believes the Judge has probably already been assembled. Since Buffy hasn't returned from her recon, Xan's anxiety shoots up and he suggests saddling up and getting over to The Factory, where the vamps are holed up. Cordelia sensibly asks what they'd do when they got there, except be afraid and then die.

Xan snaps attitude at her, but Giles tells Xander that she has a point. Willow takes Xander's side, outraged that a rescue mission for Buffy and Angel isn't already under way.

The two of them go to storm out and march to The Factory, but Buffy walks in then, shortcircuiting the suicide mission.

Scene 06: With Buffy returned, she fills them in on the Judge part, but of course, not on the her/Angel part. Buffy claims that she and Angel had to split up in the ubiquitous tunnels under Sunnydale and worries that no one else has heard from him.

Giles dismisses everyone as he returns to his tomes in an effort to locate a weakness in the Judge. He warns Buffy that as soon as the Judge is powered-up, he'll be able to reduce them all to charcoal with a look [it's actually a little worse than that].

Scene 07: In the hall, Willow and Buffy talk briefly about Angel disappearing. In the meantime, Jenny skulks in the background.

Scene 08: At Bad Guys HQ, Dru is still loopied over whatever she saw revolving around Angel. Spike tries to get more detail out of Drusilla over what is going to happen to Angel.

At that time, conveniently, Angel shows up in their HQ. He spins a sarcastic story about how Angel moves to the big city to chase down his dream of dancing on stage, but he's stuck in the background, until one night when the star twists her ankle....

Commentary: I like this scene both because David delivers it with a lot of amusement, but also because we can tell that Angel isn't feeling himself. There is a confidence here a more "alpha-dog" feeling to him than we're used to seeing. He's not sneaking into Spike and Drusilla's, he's just waltzing in like he owns the place... with sarcasm....

He also is spitting out lines about stopping evil!Spike that you'd expect from hero!Angel... except the delivery is clearly parodying Angel. Finally, he delivers his first of the "Spike is in a wheelchair" snide insults to him with evil relish.

I really like David B. as Angelus, and he's only going to get more impressive from here on out. We'll be mentioning Joss' commentary twice in later scenes, but here I just want to throw out there that David has a mean streak in him. And he does glorious, fun work with it.

Spike isn't amused. He sends the Judge after him, but the demon reports he can't burn him... there isn't any humanity left in Angel/Angelus.

Commentary: This part is disturbing, because despite the future attempts to separate Angel and Angelus, Drusilla here refers to him as Angel... EVEN AFTER IT'S CLEAR HE'S EVIL.

Also, there is a nitpit here. ALL vampires have a shade of humanity in them. It informs everything about their undead lives and Anya will even state in the future that all demons currently still on this plain of existence are tainted -- that is why they can exist here. So, the Judge's powers should actually work on every human or demon on Earth regardless of how evil they act out.

The actual purpose of this, of course, is to tell US that we're not dealing with Angel gone mad... we're dealing with an entirely new 'person'... something that Joss chose to remind of us again later ("Passion" ... *sob*).

Scene 09: Spike and Drusilla are pleased (well, at first) that Angel has returned to the fold. Angel tells them he was going through a phase: AS HE LIGHTS A CIGARETTE (EVIL)!!

Commentary: I wonder if that means the alley-woman was evil... she was smoking, y'know. She should at least be suspect.

Spike tells Angel about how sick it made him to see him acting like the Slayer's lapdog. Angel gives him an animal growl, but then a huge kiss on the forehead (Yep - it's slashy; not for the last time, either).

Drusilla shares that they're going to destroy the world, but Angel asks them to give him one night before their big plan. He wants to reach out and hurt Buffy for making him feel human, y'see (And, he's pretty chilling about it).

Scene 10: At the library, the gang minus Buffy are researching. Willow is on the phone to her, where she's obviously worrying about Angel's no-show. Will suggests that Angel has a plan in action and he's trying to protect her from the danger. Buffy isn't much comforted.

Xander complains about their lack of progress in finding a way to kill the Judge. He takes a book back into the stacks for the next one, where he finds Cordelia glancing through a book of her own.

The two of them start another makeout session... as their wont to do lately for unclear reasons. But, alas, this time out there is a snag. It isn't like they've been very circumspect with their jabbering in the hallways about their secret and their slipping into janitor's closets together, but this is a bit too out in the open and Willow has come into the stacks to return her own book for a replacement.

You can imagine the shock and hurt on her face -- despite Oz, she's still yenning for her ol' best friend and she doesn't take his smacking lips with Cordelia at all well.

Scene 11: Willow runs out into the hallway, with Xan giving chase. She turns on him.

This part is funny, even though it's also rough seeing Wills so upset, so we get a quote:

"I KNEW it! I knew it! Well, not knew it in the sense of having the slightest idea, but I knew there was something I didn't know!"

Xan tries to sympathize that he knows it's weird, but Willow lets loose with all of the frustration she's felt through the years toward him for not noticing her the way he's looked at other girls. She finally runs off again.

Scene 12: Back at the house, Buffy walks up to the porch (she told Willow on the phone she'd be stopping by there first before coming into the library), but finds she can't face going in without knowing what is happening with Angel. She rushes off to his place instead.

Scene 13: Angel is there, in fact... no doubt timing his entrance for what is about to come... prick.

Buffy throws herself into his arms with a big kiss, so relieved that nothing bad has happened to him (uh-huh). Angel's all casual. Way too casual.

Commentary: This is one of the things I'd like to bring up about the commentary track, which is awesomely done by Joss, for this episode. He shares that this scene we're about to suffer through -- and, oh yes, we'll be suffering through this -- was supposed to take place in the prior scene. Angel was supposed to be waiting for Buffy at her house and then he does what he's about to on her front lawn. Sarah had a lot of trouble reaching the right emotional place to make the scene work and she and the crew were getting really frustrated with how the scene wouldn't come together. THANK YOU, SARAH.

Because they couldn't get the scene filmed the way they wanted, it gave Joss time to think through why it wasn't working and he realized that of course it HAD to take place here, where Buffy had her first time, for her (and us) to really be kicked in the stomach. I can't tell you how fortunate we are that they didn't just do the best they could at the Summers' and thrown it out there. This scene works so perfectly because Sarah and David use that awesome chemistry of theirs, because both actors as individuals hit their notes perfectly and yes, because it is taking place here... feet from the bed where this nightmare started and after having made sure we saw Buffy staring at it, so this is uppermost in her mind. THANK YOU, JOSS.

Also, I mentioned before about David's well of mean streak (THANK YOU, DAVID), but you really need to read the script divorced of the actors in order to really get a sense of just how awful the dialog is here... awful-painful-great, not awful-bad movie. Joss mentions on the commentary how he disturbed himself at dialog that he came up with for this scene and I have to say that when I see Joss smiling and joking around and looking like a big teddy bear, I do always have this scene come back to me. There is just this little shadow that hangs over him in my eyes now... and that's before Passion.

Okay, deep breath - so Angel is being much too casual over Buffy's insane worry about what happened to him when he just vanished. (And, sidenote, why wasn't Sarah given a decent bra... did they lower the temperature in the studio for this scene... was she really, really into David's half-nakedness? I mean, really, how was she allowed to stand on screen with her nips out there like that?)

Buffy complains that he just took off (and seriously, I could just quote this whole scene) and he blows her off with a "Like I really wanted to stick around after that".

As you might expect, Buffy is taken completely offguard. Angel implies that he could tell it was Buffy's first time and she questions if she wasn't good. He pretends to assure her that she was great... before tossing out that he thought she was a pro (PRICK!). Buffy's all "how can you say this to me" and Angel's all "it was just sex, it wasn't a big deal".

Of course, for Buffy, it really was (and for Angel too... just for the wrong reason) and she tries to point this out. He though talks down to her like she's just a stupid kid. He laughs at her with a "C'mon Buffy, it's not like I never been there before" ... and just to twist the knife, he reaches out a finger to stroke a tear from her face, 'cause y'know, he's so caring and all.

Naturally, she reacts with a violent "don't touch me!", which he uses as a way to again speak to her like she's an idiot, little girl. He goes to leave with a wide grin.

Desperately, Buffy tells him that she loves him. He gives her a cocked finger point and an indifferent, "Love you, too. I'll call ya."

Commentary: I cannot watch this scene without both admiring the work, and also feeling sick to my stomach. It's both brilliant... and horrible....

Scene 14: While we're trying to pull ourselves together from that mess, Jenny is meeting with old Uncle Enyos. She's trying to get out of him what will happen if she can't get Angel away from Buffy, but he's on a lecture about the nature of vengeance (also, he's a prick, too).

Commentary: And, I want to talk about this a bit more, too. Joss brings this up in commentary as well that the reason he had Enyos tell us about vengeance being a living thing is because he did recognize that the gypsy's curse, objectively speaking, is really stupid. Like self-endangeringly stupid. Since the curse requires Angel losing every bit of his humanity (read caveat/rant from before though about this), it would be in the cursing gypsy's best interest to ensure that it NEVER takes effect... which makes you wonder why they'd include that provision at all. Just to make him suffer? Only if they want Angelus to make a return call for his own vengeance when he's free again.

There is plenty of fan speculation/fanon surrounding this issue and I'm not going to go into it all here. I'm just going to point the part of Enyos' speechifying where he tells "Janna" that they control nothing - that each of them can only play a part -- this, to me, suggests that they didn't have any choices when it came to the drawback of the curse.

They wanted vengeance. Whatever magic they tapped could provide it... for a cost... and because "vengeance is a living thing" that stretches across generations, the cost was something that their forbears may have to pay back. It was a neat bow to tie around some pretty messy plot-ends, so good show to Joss again, I say.

Enyos finally comes out with the details of the curse and Jenny is appalled by the stupidity and waste of human life it will lead to. Her uncle points out that the curse was never about Justice against Angelus... it was always about Vengeance... and he states that he now realizes that Angelus' return was always destined to happen (that cost for the curse?) and The Slayer will now have to kill him. Jenny tells him their entire family are fools and storms out.

Scene 15: Back at the high school, Willow has returned. Xan tries to see how she's doing. She's pretty pissy and hurt, still. But, she tells him that they have Scooby work to do.

Commentary: Also, nice work with Aly jutting her lower jaw like that too, giving Nicky a real death glare:

Xander reports that they're still stuck with the "no weapon forged", "it takes an army" repeat-rinse-repeat in all of the books. But, suddenly his eyes light up and he reports that he thinks he is having a thought, which is quickly leading to a plan, which is SO SHOCKING that all of the lights suddenly go out in the school. Oh, wait, those may not have been related.

They start to head to the library....

Scene 16: ... when ANGEL calls her name! (RUN, WILLOW, RUN... she doesn't)

Angel tells them that he has something to show them and sends Xander off to fetch the others from the library. Angel is standing in deep shadow this whole time and when he calls Willow over to him, she goes... slowly though... like she knows this doesn't feel right, but she isn't sure why.

Xander stops his jog for the library as something about this strikes him wrong, too... plus, y'know, he's always been naturally suspicious of Angel anyway.

Then, Jenny shows up between Xan and Will holding a big-honkin'-Crucifix and tells Willow to get away from Angel. But Will, confused, doesn't move fast enough and Angel shows up in the ambient light with vamp!face and grabs Willow around the throat!

As Willow chokes and gasps, Xander comes back to realize that Angel isn't Buffy's Angel anymore. Angel reports he has a message for Buffy, and she says from behind him that he can give it to her himself. He tells her lightheartedly that its more of a visual message than a verbal one, the sort where she finds all of the bodies of her friends.

While Buffy keeps him distracted, Xan takes the cross from Jenny and slips up behind him, shoving the symbol into his face. Angel throws Willow into Xander.

Angel goes to leave and Buffy is too devastated to know what to do. He grabs her and whispers that things are about to get very interesting before kissing her and then throwing her down onto the floor against the wall and rushing out into the night.

Scene 17: Moments later in the library, the lights have returned and Giles is in a bit of a panic at the thought of trying to face down Angelus at the same time as they're trying to deal with the Judge. In the meantime, Buffy is sitting in pained shock. Willow goes to her and asks if she's alright, which Buffy is truthful about. But, she's more kicking herself for not realizing he'd switched sides back at the apartment [which she refers to as "the house", telling us this scene was wrapped up before Angel taunts Buffy about their sexing].

As they discuss things, Giles points out that there must have been a triggering event and pushes Buffy about what happened the night before. She flips out and runs out of the library in tears. Giles calls after her, but realization has hit Willow about what must be the 'trigger', and she tells Giles to shut up.

Commentary: I love this scene. I love it for Jenny's almost giving herself away and Willow noting that she knew Angel had turned bad before she should have. I love it for Sarah's acting. I love it for Giles being too focused on the danger to deal with Buffy's emotional trauma. I love Willow's realizing what the trauma actually is (beyond Angel's turn). I love the background music use, which yes is again "Close Your Eyes".

Scene 18: With Buffy having fled, Cordelia sums up their current situation in her own style. She's convinced that they've hit bottom, until Xan reveals he still has a plan.

He tells Willow that he'll need Cordelia, which she rolls her eyes about. Then he tells them that they'll also need a set of wheels bigger than Cordy's car. This allows Willow to point out that she can get Oz, since he has a van, and to do so in a self-pleased manner whose point Xan gets as they share meaningful looks at one another.

'Natch, we'll not be privy to the grand plan yet.

Scene 19: Meanwhile, back at The Factory, Angelus is savoring and gloating over the emotional wreck that is Buffy. Spike is pissed that he failed to kill her, but Drusilla knows Angelus and reports that he wants to hurt her... the way he hurt herself... and she says so in a creepily-pleased grin!

Commentary: Ugh. Sometimes, Juliet just creeps me right the hell out.

Spike insists they should be slaying the Slayer before she gets in their way, but Angelus impatiently informs him that going up against her directly only causes them to lose. As Spike himself is an example of. He delivers the line, "To kill this girl, you have to love her" after explaining to Spike that they need to work from the inside... not with external force.

Scene 20: Buffy returns home to her room, where she starts weeping on seeing Angel's cross that he gave her in "Welcome to the Hellmouth". She also takes off his ring, collapses on the bed, and sobs her heart out... metaphorically only - this is Sunnydale, so I should clarify.

Scene 21: Next, we jarringly cut with a peal of thunder to Buffy and Angel in bed doing the horizontal-wacky. It's pretty steamy, while showing us nothing objectionable.

This turns out to be a Slayer dream, though, because suddenly Buffy is standing in a graveyard in front of a freshly filled in grave. It is brightly sunny, but Angel/Angelus is there with her. He tells her that she has to know what to see... and she turns her head to see Jenny Calendar lifting a veal from her face....

Buffy snaps awake.

Scene 22: At the school, it is morning and Buffy is power striding with a purpose (but again, a strong bra would have been appropriate to supply for this scene).

She powerwalks into Jenny's room and in front of Giles and the classful of students, slams Jenny down on her desk with her hand around her throat (It's beautiful). Giles calms the students and sends them out before they can get Snyder... or the police... conveniently. (Oh, please... like no one would ignore the librarian?)

Buffy accuses Jenny of either causing Angel to change, or at least of knowing what was going to happen. Jenny denies this, but does admit her role in the tragedy to Giles' dismay and shock (so much shock and dismay in this episode). She also gives Buffy the lowdown on the curse, confirming that in her way she is responsible for what happened - though no one but the Kalerash clan are to blame for what happened, an important distinction.

Giles is left confused about how Buffy could have triggered Angel's reversion, until she looks at him and the pieces fall into place.

Buffy tells Jenny to curse Angel again, but she states the magics were lost and she can't help her. Buffy insists she take her to somebody who can assist.

Scene 23: We cut to Uncle Enyos, who is still hanging around in his hotel room. He tells, presumably Buffy, that he knew she'd come to him. But, oops... it's Angelus. And, because this is a hotel room, Uncle Enyos doesn't have the protection of the owner-invite clause. Really oops.

Scene 24: Okay, now the timeline gets all fucked up. Jenny and Buffy's confrontation is in the morning. She tells Jenny to take her to Enyos. Angelus gets there first, so it has to still be early morning and Angelus used the tunnel system and avoidance to get to his room.

Suddenly we're at night... in the rain, again. We're with Xander and Cordelia putting his plan into action, which was supposed to take place the evening before while Buffy was weeping in her bedroom over her Angel memorabilia.

Xan and Cordy play soldier and horny girlfriend. He browbeats another soldier to let them have access to the least secured weapons armory on the planet. They've arrived with Willow and Oz in his van, as planned... the night before Buffy's assault on Jenny and Angelus' coming assault on Enyos.

Xander data dumps that he still has all of his memories about being a soldier, one apparently who happened to have come from this base, and he still has memories of all of it. Which is really, really convenient.

Commentary: Yes. I do dislike this clumsy scene and the way they'll get a hold of the special present for Buffy that we'll see. The end makes it worth it, but there had to be a better way than this.

Anyway, their pretending to get in leads to Cordy to ask Xander about wanting to have sex, which leads to a quip about teenage boys... let's move on to the good scene.

Scene 25: Willow AND Oz! Together... alone... together!

Oz asks Willow if they steal weapons from the army a lot and she responds with a quip about making their own fun... lack of cable, y'know.

Willow then comes up with the best sequitor, ever: "Do you wanna make out with me?"

This leads to shock and awe from Oz, but he admits he'd like that... before telling her it isn't going to happen. Willow asks why, still stinging from the lack of makeout she's ever gotten from Xander, obviously. He points out to Wills that it appears to him that she may want to get back at Xander for something, and that is striking him as a bit shallow. He tells her that in his daydream, when he's kissing her, she's really kissing him back. He tells her that it's okay, he can wait.

Commentary: OMG. I love you, Oz.

Seriously, this scene is a perfect blend of funny and sweet without being gag-worthy.

Scene 26: We rejoin Jenny, Giles and Buffy the next day again. They've gone to the hotel to meet Enyos, and like with all tv-hotel rooms, you don't need a key to just open the door and go in.

They find Enyos... who is not talking, but saying plenty... none of it good:

Scene 27: Back at the Lair of Blue Doom, The Judge has finally gotten around to deciding he's ready to get to work.

Angelus, Dru and their pack o' random vamps join him. Spike has to stay behind, due to his wheelchair-boundness.

Scene 28: At the library, Xan's plan moves toward fruition. We know he grabbed a weapon from the army base... something not forged, presumably... but we're not shown what. Jenny wants to know if she can help and Buffy orders her out. Giles takes Buffy's side, even though he really liked Ms. Calendar.

Scene 29: The gang first check The Factory, but as expected, Team Evil isn't there [except Spike, who is hiding]. They discuss where they should check next and Oz tells 'em where he'd go if it is a crowd of people in line they're looking for.

Scene 30: Sunnydale "nothing to do around here, except go to The Bronze", now has a mall. With a theatre.

Which is where the vampires and Big Blue show up. The Judge starts a combusti-thon by ashifying a man on the stairs.

Scene 31: Buffy and gang arrive.

Scene 32: Somehow, no one notices the weirdos standing at the top of the stairs or the man getting disintegrated. The Judge sends out streamers of energy which freeze everyone is place, so that he can drain 'em/combust 'em en mass.

He's interrupted by Buffy's firing a crossbow bolt from across the room.

This annoys him, but does little else. He tells her that "no weapon forged" can stop him, and I must say the crowd is remarkably calm. Buffy pulls out Xander's gift... a rocket launcher... and informs him that was then, this is now.

Having not seen one of these before, he wonders what it does, but doesn't seem overly concerned. Angelus and Dru though share a look between them and then jump for safety.

Buffy shows the Judge what a rocket launcher can do.

Scene 33: On the floor, Angelus gets up to run. Drusilla prances away screeching and brushing at the Judge parts in her clothes. Buffy tells Xan it was her best present ever.

But, they can't be sure that the Judge was killed by even this, so the Scoobies and Oz get the unenviable task of gathering Judge pieces while trying to keep them separate so he doesn't reform. Bet Jenny will be glad she's on the outs with the gang today. Bet Cordelia wishes she was still on the outside of the gang, too, today.

Buffy, from her vantage point on top of the snack kiosk, looks for Angel. She sees him headed for an exit and goes off in pursuit, while the mob gets in her and Angel's way.

Scene 34: As smoke from the rocket explosion sets off the sprinklers, Buffy makes it to the lobby, or a restroom lounge... I don't know what this room is.

She runs into Angel's fist. And his hateful words.

Buffy and Angelus get into a drawn out fight, in which Buffy comes out the worse. Angelus really gets in the best punches and kicks, knocking her all over the room.

Scene 35: Back in the main snack area, Oz points to an arm, unwilling to actually pick it up. He's not a full Scooby yet, after all.

Scene 36: Back in the side room, Angel taunts one time too many and Buffy proceeds to beat some crap outta him. She has him back against a wall with her stake drawn.

But, as Angelus points out, Buffy isn't ready to kill Angel. It doesn't mean she can't do anything, though. A Slayer kick to his nads should leave a mark....

Buffy leaves him gasping with a promise that she just needs a little time.

Scene 37: Later, Giles drives Buffy home in his ratty old car. After they've stopped at the curb, Buffy is still plainly upset. Giles tells her that she probably knows that it isn't over.

And because this is so awesome, I must quote:

Buffy (angry at herself): You must be so disappointed in me.

Giles (clearly surprised): No. No, no, I'm not.

Buffy (upset again): But, this is all my fault.

Giles (so fucking awesome): No. I don't believe it is. Do you want me to wag my finger at you, and tell you that you acted rashly? You did, a-and I can. Now, I know that you loved him. And he... has proven more than once that he loved you. You couldn't have known what would happen....

But, if it's guilt you're looking for Buffy, I-I-I'm not your man. All you will get from me is-is my support... and my respect.

This leaves Buffy teary.

Commentary: Oh, me too. Shut up!

Scene 38: In the house now, Buffy and Joyce settle in with an old movie. Joyce didn't have time to make Buffy a cake, but she managed to scrounge up two cup cakes and a candle.

Joyce asks Buffy about her day and whether she did anything special for her birthday. She answers that she got older. Joyce lights the candle and tells her to make a wish, but Buffy decides to just let it burn. Joyce, seeing Buffy's mood quietly strokes her head as Buffy cuddles (and huddles) in her mother's arms.

The Good: That scene with the woman trying to give aid and Angel showing us his true colors was pretty sweet.

David B. does some wonderful work being the newly re-eviled Angel. And, that's before his scenes with Sarah.

The bedroom scene. Oh, my god, the bedroom scene.

Willow making the connection and the heartbreak on her face as she tells Giles to shut it in the library after Buffy runs out.

Buffy power striding into Jenny's room and slamming her on the desk one handed was awesome.

Willow and Oz in the van. The whole damned thing. If Seth has ever been cuter, I don't want to see it - my head may explode.

Buffy/rocket launcher.

The Angelus vs. Buffy fight (with one tiny caveat in 'Other Thoughts')

Giles. Car. He's perfect.

The Bad: I think the whole 'destroy the world' part of the plan is a bit dumb. The Judge never gives the impression that he could be a world destroying force and the fact that an army did manage to stop him before kinda tells us that he can be defeated even without the modern armament. His part of the story and Dru's fruitloops plan doesn't actually gel well.

Badly marred timeline there in the middle. Obviously plotting and editing did not meet in the middle, here. And then, on top of it, they pull out that "I remember everything about being a soldier and he just so happened to have been a Sunnydale base soldier, too, and the weapons aren't very secure so we can get to high explosives" junk. JUNK.

Other Thoughts: Well, as per usual we have a villain who is spoken of as if he's the end-all, be-all of baddery... only to do nothing. In this case it is justified though, because we know that Angel/Angelus is the big bad. The Judge was just a distraction. I do wish that they had him do something though... especially in the end of part I and beginning of part II to make him a bit more legitimately distractiony before his boom.

The gypsy plan is really dumb, too. It's fanwankable, but c'mon... you're going to give the evil vampire who murders gyspies the key to getting free again?! The reason it stays outta The Bad for me though, is that there is enough of the "we serve Vengeance, not Justice, which is a living thing" mysticism for me to look past the ridiculous for as long as I don't dwell on it, so storywise I can let this daft explanation go over my head and stay in the story. I really do like Jenny's "everyone are fools" response.

I'm also torn on the Angel-threatens-Willow scene. I kinda accept it, but at the same time, with Buffy standing right there it seems like he'd have done something to hurt Willow, if not immediately kill her both to show Buffy that if she tries charging him, he will kill her friend but also just to hear the anguish of Willow's cry of pain.

Man, do I wish they hadn't broken up the Angelus vs. Buffy fight for that silly gag with Oz and the arm. Wrong place for that tidbit, seriously!

I like the closing scene so very much between Joyce and Buffy.

The Score: 4.50 out of 5 ... I love this episode. I would definitely reiterate my suggestion though that you watch it back to back with Surprise.

Tags: buffy season 2 reviews, recommendation

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