BTVS: S2, Episode 16
"Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered"
Written by: Marti Noxon
DIR: James A. Contner
Blurb: When Cordelia breaks up with him on Valentine's Day, Xander has a witch put a love spell on Cordelia so he can in turn break up with her.
Scene 01: We open on Buffy and Xander talking to each other. They're in a cemetery, presumably on patrol. Like in oh-so-many other instances, however, this seems less about patrolling, than about personal lives.
Y'see - as the blurb indicates - we're fast approaching Valentine's Day and Xander is concerned with the gift that he picked out for Cordy. A silver heart locket on a silver chain. He seeks Buffy's confirmation that he's chosen well. Buffy jokes that she's not sure Cordelia is familiar with what a heart actually is.
Buffy goes on to claim that she's almost happy that Xan and Cordy seem to be working out, but is more than upfront in admitting she just thinks Xander should have someone better. Xan jokes a reference to his feelings for her, but they let it slip by them without any angsting over it.
Xan tells Buffy that he wishes dating was more no muss-no fuss, like slaying. Which, obviously, is not something you should say on a Hellmouth. Xan's infraction is met by the Fates with a vampire bursting out from the ground... apparently the one that they've been waiting for.
Buffy has ample opportunity to simply stake the vampire through the back, but doesn't (And, I swear this is another repeat-o vamp... one of those which crops up as anonymous vampire #xxxx, no matter how many times he gets staked in other episodes). She chooses to hand-to-hand, even though this leads to a lot of her being slammed into mausoleum walls. Buffy stakes - Xan jokes about the perils of dating Cordy.
Commentary: So, a couple of things: One, it's nice that Xander can joke about his continuing interest in Buffy as date material without the uncomfortable strain. But his comment about "the other girl I'm interested in is unavailable" has an undertone to it now, due to future developments. It's interesting to read his statement as possibly being a Freudian reference to Willow, in addition to Buffy, considering their ill-fated flirtations coming up and the episode 'The Wish'.
Obviously, this is meant to reference Buffy at this point, but it's interesting.
Second, I could have sworn that Xander mentioned her not immediately staking the vampire and her referencing needing to work off some steam over Angel. That doesn't actually happen, and seems odd.
Third: Which leads to my small issue with this episode's timing. It feels odd that we're digressing from Angel out killing Buffy's classmates (Theresa) because of her, when you'd think we'd be much more involved with that particular thread. And, it also feels really tacky to me that Xander would be talking about Valentine's with Buffy instead of Willow, specifically because of the Angelus-problem. Of course, Willow would also cause problems of its own just because she's taken it even less well than Buffy. But, I'd also see Willow playing the supportive-friend to Xan, despite her personal issues with his dating Cordelia, so it could be written around relatively easily.
And, later when Willow's spell-induced Xandermania drives her actions, it would have added that little emotional punch because of this.
So, while I love the humor of this episode, it feels like this should have occurred at least sometime before Angelus has murdered someone Buffy was familiar with especially with Theresa-vamp having been instructed to "give Buffy Angel's love".
Finally, it also feels like the scene is missing Angel's smirking at her and Xander from the deep shadows. Again, this would have added a bit of punch to Angel's deciding to kill Xan, next. And, it would have undercut their levity beautifully, which was really needed during these episodes where Angel basically doesn't do a heck of a lot and the whole Angelus plot just kinda sits there in neutral.
Scene 02: But, here we are. So, after coming back from credits and kick-ass theme song, we get our de rigueur establishing shots of random students in front of Sunnydale High.
We follow Cordelia's progress up the sidewalk. She meets the Cordettes, but they don't give her the time of day to her confusion. Cordy's confusion only grows as she tries to play her Queen B role, and is met with only cutting remarks about "her geek". Somehow, HARMONY has managed to be elevated in the pecking order of the social ladder, now that Cordy's ruined her standing among those that be cool. You'll note that Aura isn't among them any longer. Neither is Aphrodesia.
Scene 03: Later and elsewhere, we join the end of a class. This class manages to not only have Xander, Willow and Buffy in the same course at the same time, but also has Amy! Yay, Amy ... no wait, boo-hiss -- later.
Anyway. There is brief discussion of the Valentine's Day dance at The Bronze (where else?), which Buffy is avoiding due to post-Angel break-uppage. Willow is geeking out happily however, as she gets to tell everyone that her boyfriend is in the band. She's so cute.
Everyone is turning in papers, with Xan and Amy being the last two. Amy clearly does not have a paper to turn in, yet the teacher smiles benignly at her and thanks her for one, after Amy does a brief staredown. Xan is shocked at this turn of events, which is a precursor of where both Amy and Willow are going to go with their magical abilities.
Commentary: But, also, this seems a bit ill thought out. Amy? Isn't she going to be actually grading these papers later? And isn't she NOT going to be recording a score for your not-there paper? And isn't that going to get you an "Amy, I didn't receive a paper from you" later?
I suppose it is possible she'll think that she just misplaced it... but in my experience, teachers never take that tact. They make you re-do it and turn it in again. I don't think you've gotten as far out of doing this assignment as you think. Also -- this was a pretty blatant public display, which considering your experiences and who you go to school with, seems awfully clumsy of you.
Page 04: In the hallway, Willow is bothered by the thought of Buffy spending Valentine's solo (*sigh* yeah -- it can be rough, but thankfully not having a significant other any longer in no way makes loading on chocolate illegal).
Xander rushes up to them and tells them about what he just saw of Amy-whammies, but their discussion is interrupted by Giles.
Whatever he wants is now interrupted in turn by Jenny Calendar (you guessed it -- *sigh, Jenny*) coming out of her classroom. There is uncomfortableness from Buffy and long looks from Giles to Jenny. She greets him with 'Rupert', but gets a 'Ms. Calendar' in return causing crestfallen!Jenny. She carries on anyway and asks that Rupert give her a minute, but he blows her off to return to whatever he needs to speak to Buffy about.
Buffy gives Jenny a quick, hard glance and she leaves with her Watcher, leaving more crestfallen!Jenny in her wake.
Commentary: Also, I love Nicky and Aly in this scene. Neither is the focus, but we can see their characters so clearly in their reaction-faces. Xander - always on Buffy's side - glaring at Jenny as well. Willow - always wanting to be sympathetic - just looking hurt for the whole situation, but not having any animus really toward Jenny.
Not to mention Giles, trying to look neutral and dispassionate. It's the little things that make Buffy so special on rewatching for the dozenth time.
Oh, can I also just throw in how much I appreciate my eyes not being burned out of their sockets by the fashion. Was there a guest costumer for this episode?
Page 05: In the library, Buffy manages to evince sympathy for Giles' clear heartache over the Jenny-fallout from 'Surprise'. However, Giles must put this aside to warn Buffy that Angelus can be particularly brutal around this time of year in shows "of affection", and with his still being hung-up on her....
He tells Buffy that she should take a few nights off and stay off the streets after dark and decides he'll run patrols until after Valentine's Night.
Commentary: Which, no, doesn't make any sense whatsoever. ALL of the Scoobies should be avoiding after dark if Angelus is going to be particularly looking to 'show affection' in his vamp!evil way. Giles is practically painting a target on his forehead with this lack of logic.
Scene 06: Speaking of vampires, we join Spike and Drusilla where he's given her a fancy necklace. Spike is upstaged however by Angelus, who has brought her the heart of a shopgirl, which y'know... Dru thinks is a bit more special. Because she's gross.
Commentary: I do wonder why Angelus is acting so campy, though. In either 'Welcome to the Hellmouth' or 'The Harvest', I brought up Angel's felt jacket and referred to Liberace... David is returning to Angel's flamboyance in this scene. And, although I get what they're trying to do by making him so pale in order to put some distance in our minds between Angel and Angelus -- his makeup is awful.
This leads to some pretty nasty words and innuendos between Spike and Angelus over Drusilla's affection and we can see that Angelus is going to be in for a ton of hurt, as soon as Spike is free of that wheelchair. Of course, we had no idea what sort of awesomeness this was leading to!
Scene 07: Later at The Bronze, Willow is engrossed in watching Oz play with Dingoes as Xander nervously fidgets with Cordy's gift. Willow grins widely and tells Xander excitedly that she thinks she's become a groupy... It's ADORKABLE (yes, all caps).
In the meantime, Cordy has come into The Bronze. She's looking particularly ravishing in her dress under the color filtering lighting of the club. This does not help her any when she says another hello to her former Cordettes, who give her looks of disdain in return. They turn their backs on her.
Scene 08: At Buffy's home, she and Joyce are watching television, when a knock comes from the front door. Buffy finds no one there, but when she returns to the living room, Joyce is gone. She freaks a little bit, especially when she goes looking for her and finds one of the kitchen door open.
Fortunately, it's just a false scare.
Joyce has found that someone left a box for Buffy at the rear door. Within this box is a dozen roses and a not saying, 'soon'. Buffy is less than thrilled. Joyce notices.
But, no time to discuss this, as we must rush back to The Bronze where Dingoes continues wailing.
Scene 09: And continues and continues... finally, Xander notices that Cordelia has arrived, but she's sitting off at a table alone. This seems off, to say the least. And, it's only feeling worse when Xan goes up to her and Cord isn't all that excited to see him.
Xander, by the way, is looking spiffy in a suit jacket, but no tie way.
Xander bumbles forward with a teen!speech about maybe they're not just being driven by teen!hormones and maybe they are a real thing. It's all heartfelt, but we can't help but notice that Cordy looks like she may have been about to give the dreaded "let's be friends" speech. He turns over the heart necklace to her.
She accepts with amazement... but then immediately turns around and tells him she wants to break up.
Obviously, this not only leaves Xander stunned, but also deeply hurt and angry that she'd pick that particular moment to dump as - no doubt - this is feeling far more humiliating to him than Cordelia meant it. He skulks away. She's left conflicted over her actions.
Scene 10: Back at school, Queen C's latest has made the rounds and random-guy congratulates Xan on his getting dumped on Valentine's. Another layer of embarrassment for our Xan.
Buffy walks by in powerstride, and he tries to grab her attention, but she's upset about Angel dropping by her home with those flowers. He asks if she needs help, but she's on a tear for Giles' office and blows him off. Random!Bitches then walk by so they can snicker in his face. But, the humiliation and hurt is not over.
He passes the Harmonettes, with which Cordelia is sitting in an obvious attempt to recover her social standing. Harmony makes snark at him because she's a vindictive cow (or a sheep... whatever). He gives them wordless glare. Cordelia at least looks like she feels badly about the emotional turmoil she has wrought.
In the hallway, as he stomps away, he sees Amy....
Scene 11: Rushing up on her, he grabs her and pulls her to the side to her annoyance. Xander tells Amy all about his eyeful of her whammying the teacher earlier and brings up the fact he's about to blackmail her. He goes on a rant about his lack of respect from the student body. He informs Amy that they're going to be casting a little spell, with ominous-stare at Cordelia Chase.
Scene 12: Amy and Xander find an empty classroom where they discuss his plans. His plan is to whammy Cordy, make her desperately want him, and then break up with her so that she'll feel some of the misery that he's currently subjected to.
Amy tries to dissuade him, as playing with emotional spells could easily lead to unintended consequences. Xander blows off these warnings and adds the threat of running off to Buffy in regards to Amy's invisible homework deed. She tells him to get a personal item from Cordy.
Scene 13: In the library, meantime, Buffy finally arrives after the longest stride down a hallway ever. She's wearing a skirt that she should not have on for school. Marching up to Giles, she plants the note that Angelus left with the flowers onto the page of the book that Giles is reading.
Buffy demands that Giles tell her everything about Angelus' habits... no matter how disturbing.
Scene 14: Elsewhere, Xander enacts Operation: Personal Item Retrieve. This turns out to be rather easy. He just demands the necklace back, which Cordy manages to be appalled about, but he's insistent. She reports its in her locker, but he demands it immediately and won't be put off.
At Cordy's locker, though, we see (with Xan's view blocked) that Cordy didn't have it in there at all. She's actually been wearing it this whole time....
She manages to sneak it off from around her neck without Xan being the wiser. She tells Xan that she's glad she doesn't have to pretend she likes it anymore, but we know Cordy is stinging from calling things off with him over her "friends".
Commentary: Ah, teenagers. All of the overblown drama, none of the good-reasoning.
Scene 15: That night, at the school of course, Amy and Xander perform a ritual spell in one of the Chem Labs.
Scene 16: The following day, Xander interrupts a sitdown by Cordy with the Harmonettes, who she appears to be starting to work her way back in with. He, of course, expects that she'll immediately be driven to love him and is shocked and disappointed when she so isn't. In fact, she insults his trinket and accuses him of turning into a stalker, driving him away in embarrassment.
Scene 17: Meanwhile, Giles is flipping through a small book. It turns out he's helping Buffy with that information she wanted on Angelus' proclivities around the Hallmark Holiday. Well, he's trying to help her with the information she demanded. Once he mentions that Angelus once nailed a puppy to a door, she just decides to skip over the details.
As Giles goes off to get another batch of Watcher Diaries to check through, Xander comes in complaining about how much his life sucks at the moment. Buffy manages to be sympathetic, when *something* passes over her face. She offers to spend the evening with Xan, just the two of them to comfort each other in regards to their disastrous lovelives.
He jokes about maybe Buffy giving him a comforting lap dance, and Buffy tells him to play his cards right. And then she keeps looking intently at him as she starts to invade his personal space, giving him a bit of the willies. Buffy goes to kiss him, but they're interrupted by Amy coming into the library, telling Xan she needs to speak to him immediately.
Scene 18: In the hallway outside of the library, Amy tries to tell Xan that she doesn't think the spell worked out right. He's just grateful for Buffy's attention and tells Amy it isn't a big deal that the spell bombed. Xan tries to ditch Amy when she suggests trying the spell again, seeing Buffy giving him sexy looks via the round window through the library doors. He distractedly tells her that he doesn't need to do that, so she switches tactics and suggests they could just hang out together. Amy then echoes what Buffy had just told him about seeing someone everyday, but not really seeing them and he suddenly realizes that the spell may not have worked as planned, but certainly it worked.
His heart breaks right there for the never-will-have Buffy, again.
Amy is going on with her confession that she really likes Xander, when random girl with an odd-flip-type 'do walks up to him and tells him about how she'd love to have a study date with him that evening.
Amy's a little put out by this interruption in her conversation with the (sudden) man of her dreams, but Xan takes this as a door to get out of the school as fast as possible.
Scene 19: Unfortunately, going home doesn't help a lot. It seems that Willow also had the sudden inspiration to visit Xander's bedroom... and she waiting in his bed! Thankfully, she has on a nightshirt... but still....
Things quickly degrade, as Willow tells Xander she's been thinking and really wants him to take her virginity -- which freaks him right the hell out, but in addition to Willow's unleashed desire, she's also decided to not take no for an answer. Xander has to run away, leaving Willow confused in her nightshirt.
Scene 20: Back at the school, the situation is just starting to spin out of control, though we don't know just how far out it's going to get. Cordelia comes into a hallway with Harmony and the gang and they give her the cold shoulder, again. She asks them what she did this time to earn their ire.
It turns out that they're quite pissed at Cordelia for 'wounding' Xander-lamb and despise Cordy for letting him get away just because her friends wanted her to dump him.
They storm off.
Scene 21: We rejoin Xander who gets one of the most awesome entries in Entryland. We start by focusing on his shoes as he strides forward in slow motion over Average White Band's "Got the Love".
As he's passing down the hallway, looking very uncomfortable, we see all of the ladies of Sunnydale High have stopped what they're doing to smile and look on him with adoration and a bit of lust in their eyes. All of the guys glare at him, far less pleased with this sudden attention to him... well, almost all of them. I could swear that one of our background boys isn't glaring, but is checking him out appreciably. And, it isn't Larry.
Commentary: OH, HOW CAN YOU NOT INCLUDE LARRY THE GAY FOOTBALL PLAYER IN THIS MONTAGE?! I cannot tell you how disappointing it was to not find Larry anywhere in this episode.
Scene 22: After getting through the walk of adoration/hate/shame in order to get to the library, Xan works himself up to confessing to Giles about what he's played at. He tells Giles about all of the women in school wanting him.
Rupert doesn't have a chance to sift through if this is real, or some of Xan's inane babblings before Jenny Calendar comes into the library to confront Giles on his anger toward her over that spy-mission she was a party to. She immediately compliments Xan's shirt, but otherwise appears unaffected by Xan's supposed love spell backfire-whammie as she goes on with her speech to Giles about his needing to forgive her.
Well... for a moment anyway. Her hand has a mind of its own and won't stop rubbing Xander's shirt sleeve. And then, she gets a bit distracted and compliments Xan's muscles and then starts making turned on cooing noises. Xan nods at her to show Giles that he's telling the truth and is correct about what is happening.
Rupert immediately drags Jenny away from Xan, much to her disappointment. As Giles is trying to work out what exactly he did, Jenny keeps looking at Xander lustfully and recommends that she talk to him alone, much to Giles' dismay.
Giles, for one of the very few instances in the show's history, gets seriously pissed off at Xander and berates him forward and backward for playing around irresponsibly with magic. He warns Xander that people under love spells can be deadly as they lose all sense of reason. He orders Xan to remain in the library while he goes to find Amy and see about reversing her casting.
As soon as Rupert walks away, Jenny comes sidling up to Xan again, but Giles returns to grab her by the arm and drag her out with him. She whines a bit and stretches out her arm, her eyes pleading with Xan as she's hauled away.
Commentary: Robia is utterly hilarious in this sequence.
As soon as Giles and Jenny make their exit, Xander pushes the card catalog against the doors. But when Buffy arrives a moment later, she just opens them outward and walks right in behind him anyway.
Scene 23: Buffy is dressed in a short raincoat and a pair of heels... and is implied to be wearing nothing else. She starts trying to seduce Xan as he begs her not to open the raincoat. She tells him she wants him to 'open your present', but he turns her down since she has no idea how much the possibility that she may look at him even once in that way would mean to him. But, it's all just a spell.
Buffy is left looking confused. But then ... oh, oh... she starts getting really pissed off, accusing him of playing with her emotions like a toy [which is exactly what he was trying to do to Cordelia]. Before she really taps that Slayer-rage and hurts him though, Amy has returned looking for him and she orders Buffy to get away from him.
Things now really start to escalate quickly as Buffy and Amy argue over who Xan really wants. This leads to Amy getting a Buffy fist to the face. Alas, Buffy then refocuses on Xander, accusing him of two-timing her. She really should have made sure Amy was knocked out cold. Since she didn't... she gets a faceful of spell power, instead.
We don't see immediately what happened to her - as we have to go to commercial first - but we do see Xan looking shocked and hear him "Oh my god"ding.
Scene 24: When we return, we see nothing but Buffy's raincoat lying on the floor. Giles and the now-grinning-due-to-seeing-Xander Jenny return to find Xan in a state of shock at Buffy's sudden... nothingness.
Thankfully, it's okay... or not exactly okay, but at least Buffy wasn't transported to a hell dimension or disintegrated. She has been turned into a rat however.
While Giles tries to catch Buffy-rat before she can escape, Amy snarks at Ms. Calendar and then puts her hands all over Xan. He tries to get her to focus on changing Buffy back, but Ms. Calendar butts in to antagonize Amy's unwanted presence. This earns her a rat-spell, but he's able to cover Amy's mouth and drag her away before Jenny joins Buffy in running around on all fours.
Scene 25: Since Cordelia remains immune to the spell's effects, since it was her necklace used to power it, things are going even less well for her than they are for Xander.
Harmony's Squad has had a few hours to stew about the injustices that Cordy heaped on Xander and has decided to retaliate. They begin to physically assault her.
Commentary: I really like how this episode starts off as slapstick, but now turns actually dangerous as the spell begins twisting 'love' into obsession. It's still comedic through portions of it, but it's a darker comedy that doesn't ignore how raging-out-of-control emotion can turn to murder. I appreciate Marti, Joss, et al for not allowing Xander off the hook by keeping everything farcical and light.
Scene 26: Back in the library, Giles orders the girls to sit and not speak, which they do - glaring at one another the whole time. He and Xander try to capture the Buffy-rat before she can escape from the library.
Commentary: We won't see Buffy again in this episode until the very end because she had to leave the production early to host SNL. The script was written to allow SMG to film all of her scenes quickly and then film the rest of the episode around her absence.
Unfortunately, just as Xander is getting ready to catch her, Oz comes into frame. AND HE PUNCHES XANDER OUT! OZ! PUNCHES!
He then immediately deadpans that it kinda hurt, which Xan exclaims 'Kinda hurt?!' while the Buffy-rat makes her escape into the school hallway.
Scene 27: Xander asks what the hell that was about, and Oz explains that he was up all night on the phone with Willow listening to her cry. He admits he doesn't know exactly what happened between them, but he was left with a strong urge to hit Xan in the face.
Oz helps him to his feet. Rupert asks Oz to locate Buffy before she gets herself lost or hurt. He orders Xander to go back home and stay there until he, Jenny and Amy can get the spell broken. Xander tries to offer more help, but Rupert is disgusted and orders him out of his sight.
Xan is left to run the gauntlet again feeling about 2 inches high. As he should.
Scene 28: Xan enters the hallway only to find Harmony and the girl squad pulling and hitting at Cordelia. No one else seems interested in helping her. The girls' attention however, very quickly shifts to Xan as soon as his presence is known and they start mobbing him to gain his attention.
Xander breaks away, with Cordelia in his arms and runs for the exit with the girls all chasing after him screaming for him.
Scene 29: Back in the library, Giles tries to reason out where Amy's original intent went wrong in the actual spell. Alas, he can't get any answers out of her, as she's too upset that he sent Xan away. And, Jenny isn't helping any with her jibes about how Xander and her love is real, while Amy is just delusional.
Amy opines that Giles doesn't understand what she's going through, but he goes on a spiel about how it isn't love, but uncontrollable obsession and it's putting Xander in grave danger. While it's all fine to try to force Amy to help by playing on her supposed feelings to help save Xan, he really should have kept one eye on Jenny.
She uses the distraction to slip out of the library to Giles' frustration.
Scene 30: Meanwhile, Xander and Cordelia are running for their lives from the school as the entire female population has decided to stop worshipping him from afar.
They run right into a second mob... this one including Willow, who is HOLDING AN AXE!
Wills lets out a stream that one can't help but think is her real feelings, although turned up to 1 quadbillion. She's devastated to find Xander with Cordy and tells him straight out that she'd rather see him dead, than be with Cordelia.
Commentary: And, of course, Aly is giving us hurt-face and the whole teary thing and you really feel bad for her even though you probably should be more worried about Xander (despite his appalling stupidity and skeeziness) and Cordelia (despite her being weak-willed and too worried about what others think of her choices). And I will feel badly for both of them... right after the camera stops focusing on Willow-Hurt....
Scene 31: Fortunately for Xander, Harmony's mob has found he and Cordy and Harmony is upset to see her Xan being threatened. This causes a mob war, allowing Cordy and he to make their escape, as Harmony wrestles Willow for the axe.
Scene 32: Meanwhile, Oz follows Buffy-rat to the basement, but loses track of her. Buffy gets threatened by a cat... a black cat, even.
Scene 33: Sometime later, after dark has fallen, Xan and Cordy are STILL running (wow, quite the athleticism). They've made their way to Buffy's house and take cover inside.
Scene 34: Joyce expresses her worry when she notices how disheveled and scratched up Xander is and wants to know what is happening. Something that Cordelia would also very much like to know.
Joyce dispatches Cordy to the upstairs first though for bandages. This turns out to be a ruse to get Cordy out of the way, so that Joyce can begin to flirt shamelessly with Xan in a manner much like Jenny had.
Scene 35: Cordelia comes back in to find Joyce kissing at the back of Xander's neck. Joyce tries to tell her to go back upstairs, but Cordelia tells her how grossed out her mom-aged mitts on Xan is making her. She forces Joyce out of the kitchen door and locks her out.
She turns back on Xan to find out what the hell is going on with him.
They end up arguing about his attractiveness and she stumbles onto witchcraft as the answer. Before they can argue further though, Joyce starts breaking into her house through a door pane and pleading with Xan to let "Joycie" in. Xan and Cordy run out of the kitchen.
Scene 36: The two of them make it up to Buffy's bedroom. When Xan looks out the window, he's relieved to find the mob not having found them yet. But, he isn't all that safe... Angelus has decided to make an appearance and yanks Xan out of the window, obviously deciding on him as his little present for Buffy.
Scene 37: Meanwhile, Buffy-rat is still running around the basement, where she comes upon a mousetrap set with cheese....
Commentary: The cuts to Buffy-rat are really unnecessary and pointless. And, what happened to the cat? Where is Oz?
Scene 38: Back at Buffy's Xan yells at Cordy to get out of there, since Angelus has access to Buffy's house still. He's then thrown off of the roof with Angelus following. Angelus leans in for a bite of Xan, when suddenly he is thrown against a tree instead.
It turns out that his rescuer is Drusilla! She's under the love spell, too and warns Angelus off so she can be with her "real man". Of course, in Dru's world that means that Xan would make an excellent vampire. So, he avoids Angelus' homoerotic fangs, just to get bitten and turned by Dru?
Not quite. It's close, but the mob has now found him and they bum rush Dru and he in order to grab a bit of Xan for themselves. Willow retains the axe that she and Harmony were wrestling over, and she's about to chop him because "all you had to do was love me!", but he's saved again. This time by Cordelia, who returns the favor of grabbing him to his feet and rushing him away... back inside Buffy's house, where at least there is a locked door between them and the violent attackers.
Of course, the door doesn't really hold when Drusilla uses her vampire strength to slam it off of its hinges. But, you know what does work? Her not having an invitation into Buffy's home. A fact which gives Angelus a great deal of glee.
Scene 39: Y'know what else that door doesn't stop? Joyce having gotten in through the back and now confronting Xander with a large butcher knife. She tells him that it'll never work between them, and she has to end it.
Cordy and Xan retreat, this time to the basement via the dining room and kitchen. For some reason, the basement door has a latch on the inside. Just what were the previous owners doing down there? Or did Joyce install it? Why?
Scene 40: Back with pointless scene, Oz is still trying to track down Buffy before she gets herself snapped in the mousetrap.
Commentary: And, James Contner desperately uses a canted angle to try to make this somehow tense. It fails. Until the spell is broken, we really don't need to follow Buffy-rat, or Oz' quest. It's dull.
Scene 41: In the Chem Lab, Rupert has Amy's potion ready for her to recant her spell.
Scene 42: Meanwhile, Xander and Cordy try to block the door as the screaming girls try to break in. They argue a bit more over who is responsible for the havok brought about (No, Xander - you have no case). Cordelia finds out that the spell was supposed to be for her, not every other girl. For some reason, this seems to impress her.
Commentary: This is the only part about this episode that I wholly object to. Cordelia should still want to kick his ass at the earliest opportunity and should be on a rant against his attempted mindcontrol via dark arts. Her reaction plays completely wrong, and it sets up a 'false ending' in which all will be forgiven when it 100% should not be. She has no idea that he wasn't planning on staying with her, so if anything she should be railing against him for his intent to basically give her the magical equivalent of a date-rape drug. Now, maybe her thought process just doesn't extend this far because of the butcher knife coming through the door, but the episode never addresses this at all and with Cordy and Xan being civil again at the end of the episode the implications of Xan's
actions and what Cordy should have thought was his actions just sits there like a dark fog.
So, the knife through the door. They retreat down the basement stairs, now trapped with nowhere left to run.
Scene 43: Buffy-rat crawls on the mousetrap and starts to nibble at the cheese. Does any of us believe Buffy the Vampire Slayer is about to be killed by a mousetrap? No. We are therefore unmoved by her "danger".
Scene 44: Upstairs from Oz and Buffy, Amy completes her anti-spell spell.
Scene 45: Downstairs, Buffy returns to normal. Oz is glad she's alright. Buffy points out she appears to be nude. Oz points out she's not a rat, so it's a plus.
Scene 46: In the basement, everyone returns to their senses before Cordelia's brutal murder and Xander's probable sexual assault and murder (Willow and Joyce appear to be interested in killing him... the other girls appear to still want him out of his clothes).
Scene 47: The following day, Buffy and Xander talk about the Great Sunnydale Repression. Buffy tells him she remembers everything, including his refusal to take advantage of her when he had the opportunity. But, we also find out that Willow refuses to even speak to him and Buffy brings up how much Willow loved him before the 'great Ruffie spirit'. She suggests it'll be a month of groveling at the least.
Commentary: And, again, considering what Xander has just done -- this feels way too pat on Buffy's part.
Scene 48: Meanwhile, Cordelia is chirping away with Harmony as they're apparently tight again, probably because of the whole embarrassment thing with them all wanting Cordy's ex.
When Xander bumps into her, Harmony insults him mercilessly, as per usual. But this time Cordelia can't take it and can't fake it. She tells Harm to shut up.
She then goes off on a rant over how Harmony is nothing but a sheep and that she is way cooler than Harmony ever was because she isn't one. She tells Harmony that she'll do what she wants, wear what she wants, and date who she wants... no matter how lame he is.
She ends up back with Xander, although there is a moment of panic when she realizes what she's just done....
The Good: For the good, I'm going to give a special kudos to the actors: ASH, Aly, Nicky, Mercedes, Kristine, Elizabeth Anne and especially Robia all embraced their roles and had a load of fun with them and it comes across the screen.
I really liked the scene with Spike and Angelus sparring over Dru's affections -- the 'I found it in a quaint little shopgirl', especially.
Willow Adorkable is so much awesome, my glee can barely be contained.
The Bad: Why is Angelus being so campy-tastic in the factory? And why, pray tell, would he have allowed Dru's fascination with Xander to suddenly derail his entire evil scheme to inflict suffering on Buffy? Especially when their confrontation was badly acted.
I am really bothered by the lack of consequences from Cordelia toward Xander when she finds out the mind-whammy was meant for her. The way the episode is tied up in a neat bow is disingenuous to say the least!
Other Thoughts: Well, there are a few small logical flaws that we have to look past. Especially noticeable though, because they particularly bring attention to it, is how little Angelus does for all of their worry. He goes after Xander, but this is totally about joking around with Drusilla being under the love whammy. Angelus actually has little point in the episode, really. That wouldn't be a problem, if the beginning scenes didn't have Giles so worried and we hadn't found out about all of the 'particularly brutal' exploits of Angelus for Valentine's Day... that never materialize.
Also, I have to say that the pacing toward the end starts to get draggy, what with the constant jumps back to Oz' non-event of trying to find a rat and Buffy's supposed threat that never feels like she's in realistic danger. Also, the wrap up scenes begin to drag as well, though I do love Cordy's power-moment against Harmony, while continuing to be insulting toward Xander in the same breath.
The Score: As you can see from the above commentary, I didn't have a lot to comment on with this one. It's an enjoyable time-waster episode, but it's also wrapped up much too easily, considering Xander's actions and the havok it caused. Also, it's just in a weird place in the line-up and would have worked better without the Angelus angle... or at least as the episode following the "Oz is a werewolf" one. Now seems a bit late in to involve Angelus, since he can't really do anything really upsetting yet.
3.75 out of 5