harsens_rob (harsens_rob) wrote,
harsens_rob
harsens_rob

Buffy reviewed: S3, Episode 16 (warning: fanboy alert)

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Season 3, Episode 16

"Doppelgangland"

Writer: Joss Whedon
DIR: Joss Whedon





Blurb: While casting a magic spell to help Anya regain her powers, Willow and Anya inadvertently summon Willow's evil twin, a vampire, from an alternate universe.


Scene 01: We open on a blue-skinned, multi-horned demon telling someone not to ask about/for something again. This is D'Hoffryn, who will make several appearances in future. The person he is speaking to is Anyanka... the wish granting "scary, veiny good fairie" who tried to help Cordy out, but then lost her powers.

She's in quite a despondent mood over it.

D'Hoffryn isn't in a mood to be generous. He reminds her that her powers were a gift, and that she's proven unworthy of them. Anya points out that it wasn't really her fault as she was robbed of her powers, but he's unswayed, pointing out that she lost them through her own carelessness.

Anya tirades at him that she has brought ruin to men for a thousand years through the wish, and now she's stuck as a weak mortal and a child... plus she's flunking math. (Yep, this is a Whedon script, all right.)

D'Hoffryn tells Anya that her time is passed and that she will live out her current mortal life and die. Anya is not about to let this be the last word. She promises that she's getting her power center back one way or another.


Commentary: Already, with this exchange, we're having a bit of fun in the dramatics and I love this sort of thing. Emma delivers her mundane lines about high school with a bit of tongue in cheek that is fun, and Andy Umberger will always be welcomed as D'Hoffryn.

We're off to a good start.



Scene 02: In the meantime, Willow is outdoors focusing intently on something. We don't know what, until we see a pencil rising via telekinesis into frame. Buffy is doing situps nearby and complaining about all of the tests she has to go through in order to stay in school, because Snyder is a weanie.

Buffy is still forced to see a psychologist regularly to make sure she's not going to be violent, despite the fact that her previous attempt at therapy was interrupted by the school's psychiatrist being mauled.

She notes what Willow is doing, and remarks "neat". Willow notes it's about a bit of magic and some emotional control.

Conversation turns to Buffy's seemingly going out of her way lately to exercise, which Willow rightly guesses is about making sure Buffy comes out better than Faith. Buffy berates herself about being shallow, but Wills assures her that a bit of competition is good for people. Plus, Buffy already has her beat on the psych eval... just don't mark the box that says, "I sometimes like to kill people...".

Buffy offers that Faith may be a bit unstable, but she went through a lot. She offers to Will that under different circumstances, that could've been her. Willow disagrees. She tells Buffy that some people don't have that kind of thing in them.

During this conversation, Willow's floating pencil trick has been off screen, but Buffy notices it spinning wildly now. She brings it to Willow's attention, as the pencil flies straight into the trunk of a tree.

"Emotional control?" says Buffy. "I'm working on it," Willow replies.


Those credits be crediting


Scene 03: We next join Willow and a student named Percy in Snyder's office. Snyder is waxing on about Willow's being the pinnacle for academic achievement, despite her unfortunate choice of friends. He offers Percy up as an ace in basketball.

Together they are a perfect match. Willow is really confused as to why she's in the principal's office and what Percy's presence has to do with her. She asks if Snyder wants them to breed (which is adorably amusing). Snyder must clarify that he wants Willow to be Percy's tutor, because the boy is failing history.

Percy offers he's challenged, and Snyder agrees that he's challenged by being lazy & self-involved. But, nevertheless, if Percy continues to fail, SHS will have to suspend his extracurriculars, which would be very bad for Sunnydale High's thus far winning basketball season.

And ergo, Willow is being drafted to bring Percy's grades up, and quickly.


Scene 04: Later, Willow and Buffy enter the library, where Wills complains about Snyder just assuming that her time is everyone else's, too.

From his office, Rupert comes out and barks orders for Willow to do something on the computer, and she's all like, cheery "Okay!"

Next is Faith and Wes coming in, where nobody seems to blink an eye in the school that neither Wesley nor Faith are enrolled at SHS as faculty or student. Wes is winded in trying to keep up with Faith's run.

Faith does a little belly-aching about how boring the obstacle course was, but at Giles' reminding her this is the Council's orders, in exchange for not wrapping her up to England, she tells them she's onboard - she was shooting off her mouth. She awkwardly offers Buffy good luck on her timed run, but the tension between them over the last few episodes hasn't dissipated much.

After Buffy & Wes leave and Giles returns to his office, Willow is working on the laptop. Faith hops up on the counter to ask what she's so busy with. Wills tells her about trying to access the Mayor's personal files, to Faith's sudden interest. She asks Willow if she thinks she'll be able to get through City Hall's cybersecurity, and Willow offers she'll do it eventually.


Commentary: I like this little scene, because Willow is clearly not onboard with Faith still being in Sunnydale. She's quiet, standoffish. Still trying to be accommodation [as is the general theme for Willow this episode], but you can tell she's not pleased that Faith wasn't taken into custody and sent far away.


Scene 05: Alas, Faith has gone straight to the mayor with this development. In the meantime, Faith is excited at the apartment they're standing in. The Mayor has gotten it for his Slayer, as he informs Faith that the Sunnydale Arms has a seedy reputation.

Faith bounces around her new pad, but when she jumps on the bed, Richard objects to her shoes on it. She bounces up to him and says, "Thank you, Sugar Daddy!" but he's not playing that. He archly tells Faith that he's a family man. And then offers that it's time to kill her little friend.

Faith immediately dead-stops, uncomfortable and shocked [naively, apparently -- what did she think would happen, she's joined Team Evil??]. But Wilkins tells her not to worry. He knows that it's far too much to expect her to do the deed, and he hasn't had a chance to earn her trust fully, yet.





Richard offers that an old fashioned vampire attack will deflect from suspicion, anyway. Faith still seems bothered by this idea, but he tells her she should check the rest of the apartment, as somebody may have a new PlayStation tucked away. This immediately causes Faith more excited grinning, Willow's upcoming horrible death forgotten.


Commentary: It's so weird: Richard and Faith's relationship. It's trying to be this dad-daughter thing, and yet he's also pushing Faith to be his killer-oncall. But I love that, seeing the hesitation about killing Willow, he immediately puts her mind at ease that she won't be the killer, and then distracts from even bringing it up by playing on Faith's need to be pampered and taken care of by someone.

It's this weird dance where it's hard to know just how much the Mayor might care for Faith, and how much is about using her for her powers.

If there is one thing I find slightly annoying over the season, though, it's how quickly plot threads get dropped from episode to episode. In this one, it's the Council's sudden decision not to still come for Faith that happened offscreen. Next, will be how quickly it's forgotten that Willow should be killed off before she can hack anything valuable, and as a way to break Buffy's resolve.

It's a bad habit of the writing, as seen previously in The Three and the Order of Taraka. It'll crop up again with Glory in Season 5, where there is absolutely zero reason why the Big Bad isn't tearing arms off the Scooby Gang to get what she wants.



Scene 06: Back at school, Oz finds Wills in the hallway and she mentions not seeing him the day before. Oz tells her the band had a gig in Monterrey and he got back late. This was Sunday night, and when Willow says that maybe she'd have liked to see them play, he offers back that he didn't think she'd want to risk missing school.

Willow immediately jumps to Oz thinking that she's boring, which takes him by surprise. He tells her that he'd call that a radical interpretation of the text. But Wills is still stinging at the Percy/Snyder situation, and how she was railroaded into using her personal time for somebody else's plans.


Scene 07: Outdoors, Willow sees Percy walking campus and rushes up to him. She tries to make plans with him to study, but he's not interested. In fact, what he took from Snyder was that she'd do his homework for him and he'll just put his name on it. He warns her not to type too good though, or it'll be a dead-giveaway that he didn't do the work.

This just cements for Willow that everyone is taking advantage of her.


Scene 08: Buffy and Xander join her shortly thereafter, and when Xan wonders if she taped the biology course on Friday, and Wills confirms, and Buffy calls her 'Old Reliable', Wills is more annoyed than she would've otherwise been.

Both try to pull back from thinking she's a doormat, when that isn't what they meant, but they just make it worse. Willow storms off in a huff, after having to point out to Buffy - who tries to follow her to make her feel better - that it doesn't really work, if she comes with.


Commentary: It's adorable. I mean, I understand Willow is trying to be storming-off gal... but she's adorable.


Scene 09: Back in the school, Anya finds Willow. She mentions that she's working on a project, and heard that Willow is the one to go to for help. Wills isn't feeling it, but she tries to be polite anyway. At least, she isn't feeling it until Anya tells her that she's working on a spell. With Willow's recent interest in digging into witchcraft, she's very much interested.

Anya tells her it isn't too dangerous, but Willow asks if they can pretend it is.


Scene 09: In an empty classroom, Anya prepares Willow for her spellworks. She explains that they're going to hopefully create a teensy temporal fold. The purpose is for Anya to retrieve a lost heirloom, which we know as her power center, destroyed by Rupert Giles of the alternate Wish-verse.

With Anya's patron being unsympathetic to her plight, this is her back up plan to restore her own powers.





But while the summoning is in progress, Willow gets flashes of the Alternate Wishverse. This includes seeing versions of herself and Xander. As the temporal fold continues, Willow watches an evil version of herself as Oz rushes toward her. But just as Oz reaches Vampire Willow, she disappears from where she was watching The Slayer stake Vampire Xander.


Commentary: I really liked the way this scene was filmed. With the simple lightshow, the flashes on the episode of "The Wish", and the mild shaky cam, and audiotrack... it all added to a surprising sense of tension while Anya spell was in effect.


Scene 10: When the spell breaks, Willow is shaken. Anya is upset, because the talisman she is after wasn't brought forth.

She offers that they can try again, but Willow backs out. She accuses Anya of not telling her everything and evinces relief when Anya tells her she can't try this spell by herself. Willow offers she should look for her lost necklace between the couch cusions in Hell.


Scene 11: In the meantime, across town, a familiar vampire suddenly materializes in our Sunnydale's version of The Master's factory. The place is abandoned in this Sunnydale, so there isn't anyone around to see this stranger suddenly appear.





Scene 12: Sometime later, Vampire Willow is walking the streets of Sunnydale which are far too lively without the sense of dread and horror that she was expecting. Even children are running along Main Street.


Scene 13: Vampire Willow makes her way to The Bronze, where there isn't people in cages or a room of fellow vampires having fun with the cattle. There are regular people playing pool, and listening to live music. Nothing is the way it was supposed to be.

Percy bumps into her, and after harshing on her outfit, reminds her she is supposed to be writing his history paper for him. Vampire Willow stares at him blabbing on about how until graduation, he owns her ass. She tells him that she's bored now.

With a chest shove, Percy finds himself flipped over a pool table and onto the floor on its otherside. Willow stalks around the table at him, with everyone else actually noticing the weird.

Vampire Willow tells Percy that she's having a horrible night, as she grabs him up by the throat. She asks facetiously if he'd like to make it better.

He goes to punch her but she easily grabs his flailing arm and pin it to the pool table, while continuing to choke the life from him with an amused smile.





This is how Xander finds the scene. But he misinterprets that Percy is doing the manhandling. He rushes in to 'save' Willow, thereby getting Percy out of her grip, and warning him to get away from her. Rather than being pissed at this interruption of her fun though, Vampire Willow is excited to see the recently dusted Xander undead again and back with her.

She gives him a hug, though Xan is still trying to cope with the extreme new clothing she's sporting. Her hands go wandering, and Xander jumps back and complains of hands in new places. Vampire Willow looks confused, and accuses him of being alive.

Before this can be straightened out further, Buffy joins them, and she's equally flabbergasted by the change of Willow's usual clothing style, not to mention her heavy makeup usage. But, though shocked, she tries to play supportive freind at the extreme makeover.

This only gets an, "I don't like you", to Buffy chagrin. She tries to apologize for her earlier making Wills feel like a doormat, but of course, Vampire Willow has no idea what she's talking about and doesn't care.

Vampire Willow tells the two that she's leaving now, and Xander complains that he's not liking the new her. When Buffy follows and grabs her arm to talk to her, Willow vamp faces her with some growling, and tells her to get off. Both Xan and Buffy are left frozen in place in shock that Willow is dead.


Commentary: This scene was all made of very good, too. It's a long one, but Vampire Willow's boredom with Percy's boorishness, Xander's confusion and Buffy's trying to compliment her on her extreme look is all wonderfully acted by Aly. And I can buy that both of our humans would let Vamp!Willow walk away, in shock, for this scene.

But it's really Alyson's acting that makes this scene so delicious.



Scene 14: Outside, V-Wills is strolling down a dark alleyway, when from out of the darkness behind her, two vampires call her name. She slyly tells them over her shoulder that she's not supposed to talk to strangers. Dialog-having vampire tells her they won't be talking. She smiles, and when the two would-be assassins try to kill her, she kicks the crap out of both of them.

Dialogless henchman is rendered unconscious so that dialog-having vampire and V-Wills can have a convo. Vamp!Willow offers that henchman has gone and made her cranky. Vampire offers apologies as their target was human. This is mildly interesting, since y'know, they were targeting her which means they thought Willow Rosenberg was still alive.

She asks who he works for, but he tells her that he'll say nothing. This gets him a broken, twisted finger. She asks again, and he offers that he works for the Mayor, which must be even more interesting, though V-Wills apparently doesn't think it is. She snaps another one of his fingers and repeats the question of who he works for. This time dialogy-vampire tells her that he works for her. And that makes up for his making her cranky in the first place.


Commentary: This is another fun scene, thanks to Alyson's acting, and her sadistic side coming out to play. Y'know, this may get a little repetitive - my apologies going forward. But, Aly just owns this episode completely and it's all marvelous from here on out.


Scene 15: In the meantime, Buffy and Xander go to the library, where Giles notices the devastation on their faces.

A quick cut to the trio sitting on the bookstack stairs, looking completely shocked. Xander says this isn't real. Buffy says that she's just in complete shutdown mode. Except for blaming herself, of course, for Willow's having gone out to prove that she wasn't just 'old reliable' and getting herself attacked.

Giles calls Willow the finest of them, and Xander agrees that she was much better than he. Giles agrees, she was much, much better.

Willow joins them, not in her leather fetish gear, shocking them all. She notices the mood, and immediately wonders who died.

Xander jumps forward with a cross to shove in her face. When it doesn't immediately work as expected, it gives it a little shake, like it's broken, and then tries again.

With this Willow not reacting to crosses, Buffy offers that Wills is alive. Not really an observation that she tries to argue against. They mob Wills in hugs, which causes her to ask if they've all done a bunch-o-drugs. That's when Xander offers that they just saw her at The Bronze being all undead.

Everyone looks to Giles for an explanation, but he can only come up with "Something strange is happening".


Commentary: This scene is excellent, too! The sorrow angle is a little weak, really, but that is okay since this is a fun episode, rather than tragic, and the gang don't have to maintain the emotional wreck for long before the real Willow makes an appearance. But the tiny bit with Xander shaking the "not working right" cross was pretty funny.

And I loved Willow's "I'm not a vampire!", like they purposely insulted her by suggesting it. It's all so amusing.



Scene 16: But, back at The Bronze it's less funny as Vampire Willow and her new vampire henchmen make their return to try to get the world back to what it's supposed to be, from her point of view.

Among the attendees are Anya, who can't buy a beer despite being 1120 years old because she doesn't have an ID and Oz and Devon setting up for their gig, post-professional appearance.

The vampires warn everyone not to make any trouble, and not to try to escape. Angel is also off to the side with Oz, as he was there looking for Buffy.

Sizing up the situation, Oz suggests Angel make an exit for backup. Angel thinks he should stay to fight, but when Oz sees Willow as vampire, he swallows his horror and tells Angel to go for Buffy - fast. Angel scales up ropes to make it to the convenient skylight.

Willow threatens everyone a little, biting some random girl, Sandy.

Oz confronts her, and asks who did this to her, only for her to be confused by his talking to her like their friends.

Anya makes her way over, to tell her that he thinks she's somebody else. Anya, as the only person is Sunnydale other than Vampire Willow to remember the other world informs her that she doesn't belong there. But she offers, that she can help her get back home.


Scene 17: Back in the library, trying to figure out how a demonic duplicate of Willow can be walking around has to be put the side for the moment, when Angel comes in. He's devastated at having to tell Buffy that Willow is dead. And just as confused as anyone when Willow gives him a small wave, not being very vampirey.

Angel tells the gang that the other Willow is at The Bronze with up to a dozen friends looking to party. The gang go into action to stop a slaughter. Buffy mentions grabbing Faith, but Rupert tells her that he doesn't want the other Slayer in a combat situation with civilians involved yet.

Willow balks at then going in to kill herself, until they know what the hell is happening. She sends the others ahead though, so she can go back for the tranq gun they use for Oz, when he breaks out of the bookcage.

Fortunately, or not, vampire Willow has become intrigued by Anya's sharing that she has a twin in this world. She's come to the library, and is ever so happy to have a chance to talk to her fuzzily-dressed counterpart.

Vampire Willow has come because Anya told her that Willow brought her to this world, and would be able to set up a return trip. But now that V-Wills has seen her counterpart up close, she's working on a new plan where they can play together in all sorts of twisted ways... if Fuzzy-Willow came over to her way of thinking....





Willow complains that this can't get more disturbing. V-Wills changes her mind by grabbing her ass. Willow tries to get around V-Wills, but when she grabs up the cross that Xan had tried using, it's too much for V-Wills and she bats it from Willow's hand and sends her flying over the book counter painfully.

Which is a good thing, since that is also where the tranq gun is that she wanted in the first place.

V-Wills gets a knock out dose.


Commentary: From here on out, it really is the Willow show. And god bless it for being so. Alyson Hannigan is absolutely marvelous (I know, I know, I keep saying things like this but it's just so true). She's played Willow and V-Wills. Now, she'll be asked to play Willow-being-Vampire Willow (not awfully convincingly) and V-Wills playing at Fuzzy-Willow (rather badly, but it's for Cordy so cluelessness pretty much lets that work out), and all of it is super-fun.


Scene 18: Apparently, Willow took to long to catch up with the gang, because they've returned to help drag the drugged V-Wills into the book cage. Giles calls her extraordinary, while Willow calls her disturbing. She's bothered at how evil and skanky her counterpart is... plus, she thinks she's kinda gay.

Buffy tells Wills not to worry too much about it, as the vampire isn't anything to do with her. Angel tries to correct Buffy about the vampire taking aspects of the human's personality that they used to be, but Buffy shoots a look at him, and he lamely changes his mind to agreeing.

Xander brings up their plans now, and Giles reminds them that they still have a cadre of vampires threatening everyone in The Bronze. They may begin a feeding frenzy, if V-Wills doesn't get back soon enough. Xander says they should storm the place, but Giles is worried about the high casualty rate that may result.

Buffy holds up her hand, and tells them that she has a really bad idea....


Scene 19: Cut to The Bronze, and the gang's arrival. Willow is decked out in V-Wills' outfit, looking very uncomfortable. She complains about how binding it is, and looking down at herself, notices her own cleavage, "Gosh! Look at those!"

The general plan is to keep control of the vampires, and get at least a few of them to come out, so they can be picked off and even up the odds for when the real battle starts. And if Willow screams, it's the signal to come in hard and fast, and let the chips fall for the people trapped where they may.

Buffy worries about Willow going through with this, but Wills assures her she won't do anything that could be conceived of as brave, with a worried grin.


Scene 20: Wills is met by Anya and dialog-minion vamp. They both want to know where "the girl" is, and Wills responds that she killed her, "and sucked her blood, as we vampires are wont to do". She sends the minion at the door outside to "check on a noise" to be staked.

In the meantime, Anya complains at "Vampire-Willow" that she wasn't supposed to kill her counterpart, as the entire plan was about getting the Wishverse world back.

Willow gives Oz a small wave, to let him know she's there and not-a-vampire, and then explains to Anya that she couldn't let wimpy Willow live because she was so meek and accommodating. Then sends another minion-vamp out after the first to get staked.

But there is a complication when dialog-minion suggests that since kidnapping her counterpart fell apart, now would be a good time to start killing everyone.


Scene 21: In the meantime, V-Wills wakes up in the book cage. She takes one look at herself wearing Willow's fuzzy sweater get up, and proclaims herself stuck in a nightmare.

Cordelia walks into the library with no clue of what is happening. She's decked out in a cocktail dress and heels... just happening to stop by casually. Obvs looking for Wes to impress.

She notices that Willow somehow got herself locked in the book cage, and wonders where everyone else is.

V-Wills has to put on the personality of Fuzzy-Willow to try to get Cordy to let her out.

Cordelia is just about to let her out... when it suddenly occurs to her that she and Willow have never had time to talk woman to woman. She decides now is a good time to talk to Willow about the ethics of boyfriend stealing.


Commentary: V-Wills trying so hard to act like Willow, is hilarious. The only thing she has grasped is that Wills like books, 'cause she's shy. The looks on Aly's face is crack-up worthy, and Charisma is fantastic at thinking she's dealing with Willow finally over those Xander-smoochies that caused their breakup.


Scene 22: At The Bronze, Willow tells the other vampires that she's not sure she's in the mood right now for killing. She expresses boredom. She tries to do something vaguely lesbian, by running her fingers through some random girl's hair, but her fingertips get tangled and she has to gently retrieve her fingers.

Willow tells dialog-vamp that it would be like hunting fish in a barrel and that's boring, but he offers that the fun would be in the eating part. Wills suggests they let everyone go with a 30-second head start. This is enough to get Anya to start thinking they're all be played.

She accuses Willow of not being V-Wills, at all!


Scene 23: Back at the library, Cordy is waxing on how Xander wasn't even that big of a catch, with V-Wills so obviously bored out of her mind. She finally tells Cordelia that she realizes she was wrong, and she'll never steal her boyfriend again.

Cordy tells her she should leave her in there for the rest of the night, but being such a humanitarian, she'll let her out.

But she better come up with a way to make up her betrayal to her.





V-Wills answer is to offer to make her dinner, in vamp-face.


Commentary: So, I do love Willow trying to be V-Wills and save everyone at The Bronze, but I always find this scene to be my favorite. The utter look of boredom on Aly's face as V-Wills having to listen on and on to Cordelia's blathering just strikes my funny bone in the right way.

And I love the way she stares at Cordy, and Cordelia asking if she has something on her neck. V-Wills' response is a quiet, "Not yet", which is again, hilarious.

I spend this whole episode wildly grinning and snorting with amusement! The whole thing!



Scene 24: V-Wills chases Cordy through the school, where Wesley (On his way to the library?? Because that is the only thing that makes sense for him to be here) hears her screams.

He catches up in the bathroom, where he uses a crucifix to ward off V-Wills. He orders her, a little floridly, to leave this place. When she informs him that she doesn't want to, he pulls out holy water to threaten her with.

She sighs with more boredom, but does leave. This leaves Cordy to try to a pick-up of Wes, blowing off that Willow has been turned into a vampire to focus on dating.


Scene 25: In The Bronze, Anya is complaining about how tired she is of having gotten stuck around humans. She tells Willow that she thinks dialog-henchman should eat her.

She tells the vampires that Anya has a history of mental issues dating back to childhood and should be disbelieved. She points to her outfit as proof that she's a blood sucking fiend. But now that it's been brought to his attention that she's been acting not very demony, hench-vamp is no longer fooled.

Willow tries one last trick, asking if a non-vampire could do this? She screams.

Both Anya and dialog-vamp agree that humans pretty much always do that.


Scene 26: Willow's signal does its job though, and the calvary rushes in.

With Buffy and Angel beginning to tear through the vampires, and people rushing around trying to escape, Anya is left to confusedly stand around. Willow actually balls up her fist, and punches her out!

She exclaims in pain over her hand, as Oz drags her toward the less dangerous stage.

As Oz, Willow and Devon head for the stage door exit, V-Wills shows back up. She tosses Oz into Devon taking them both out as they tumble over band equipment. Willow asks V-Wills if this means no more snuggles, and it's her turn to get punched out.


Scene 27: At the back door, Xander and Giles come in to team up on a door guard vampire. And Xander has actually picked up some nice moves when we all weren't looking.

In the meantime, V-Wills is throttling her counterpart in angry frustration, plus she kinda owes her for that dart to the chest thing.





Buffy sees this, and breaks away from the general melee to intercept. Taking out vamps as she goes, including dialog-vampire.


Commentary: In addition to all of the great character work for this episode, this free-for-all is some of the best stuntperson work to this point, as well. There are some really brutal kicks to the faces, using billiard balls and cues, and tossing body stunts galore! I loved it!


Scene 28: Buffy rushes up to the stage behind V-Wills, and goes to stake her through the back, but Wills shouts for Buffy not to kill her, for reasons. Buffy stops just short of the fatal blow, and manhandles V-Wills, instead.

With V-Wills surrounded by The Slayer and The Puppy, she gives up the fight while cleanup goes on around The Bronze.

V-Wills complains that this world is no fun, and Willow sympathizes that she feels that way too.


Scene 29: Later, the gang set up a ritual to return to sender on V-Wills. Buffy admits to Willow that she doesn't feel so right about releasing her "back into the wild", but Willow justifies it as just returning the status back to quo.

Anya is there, too, having been forced to cooperate in getting the return done.

She grumps that when she gets her power center back, they'll all suffer but both Willow's just give her an eye-roll.





Willow hugs V-Wills goodbye and sunnily tells her to try not to kill people. V-Wills answers by giving Willow another disturbing ass-grab.


Scene 30: V-Wills transit is pretty easy, and she appears just after Buffy has released the vampires' prisoners and is heading toward her destiny with The Master.

But.

She appears in her place and time just before her vanishing, which means Oz is there to intercept her, driving her back onto that wood slat that took her out the first time.

She dusts away with an, "Aww, Fu--!"





Commentary: Which leaves me a little sad. Even though that feels so wrong.

It also causes me some existential issues with this Wishverse. Does it exist, or not? I think it's only in existance a limited time. When Giles destroy Anya's power center, this place should still collapse into itself and vanish. Which, I think is borne out in the fact that Anya never does recover her power source. It makes sense that it remains destroyed and lost with this realities implosion. Okay, I guess I'm not having such a crisis about it, after all. Nevermind.



Scene 31: Back at school, Willow is feeling a little guilty over her evil counterpart, describing how she destroyed everything she touched. She's suddenly feeling like she should be ultra-good just to make up for her.

Buffy tells her that she can OD on virtue, but Wills tells her she's worried about messing up everything around her by falling to vice.

Percy wanders up. The encounter with V-Wills has shaken the self-entitlement out of him.

He offers that he did his Roosevelt report, but he found out there were two of them. Since he didn't know which one was the correct one, he made a synopsis of both. And he offers to retype anything that he didn't do right, and to flesh out his outlines of the correct Roosevelt.

Percy leaves her with the homework he completed, and leave an apple for her.

Buffy repeats her question about going out, and this time Willow says, "Nine sound good?".



The Good: Okay. So first thing is that I'm almost tempted to just put "Everything" here and call it a day on this review. But lets start at the beginning. Emma Caulfield's line delivery as a petulant Anya is wonderful. I love how she goes from complaining about not having her powers to her boss, to whining about flunking math.

Armin's acting when Willow thinks that he wants her to breed with Percy is great.

I like the ambiguity with Faith and her involvement with The Mayor, and his weird fatherly vibe with her, even when he's discussing killing her "friends".

The scene of Willow storming off, and then having to tell Buffy that is what she's trying to do, and it doesn't work if Buffy comes with is adorable. Y'know what, it's all adorable, what am I talking about.

I liked the sense of tension due to the way it was filmed, so kudos to the director, when Anya goes after her lost talisman, and Willow gets visions of that world. Yeah, it's a Joss episode.

I love everything with V-Wills. All of it.

I love Willow being V-Wills and V-Wills trying to be Willow for Cordy's benefit. All of it.

Xander shaking the malfunctioning cross to make it work.

V-Wills being darted by Willow: "Bitch."

Alyson throughout as Willow, V-Wills, Willow playing at being V-Wills, and V-Wills having to roll her eyes through playing at Willow. And vampire Willow's response when she sees she's wearing Willow's fuzzy sweater number.

The energetic stuntwork for the final battle in The Bronze!

Anya's getting the double-Willow eye roll.

I even enjoyed Percy's return at the tail end to become all super-student for Willow.

And finally, a kudo to the split screening. It still holds up really well.


The Bad: The only misstep for me in the comedy arena are Cordelia and Wesley's "date" offer after the confrontation with Vampire Willow. It was just that little too much vapidness for a Season Three Cordelia, I think.

Okay, I do have to mention as well that we get zero idea as to why Wes and Faith are allowed to walk around school, when they're not either faculty or student. It is ridiculous.


Other Thoughts: I do have thoughts on this show's introducing things like the Council, and then have them actually do a lot of nothing. The Faith situation is being allowed to just sit, and it comes across wrong, after they cared enough about taking her into custody to send over a special team for that purpose last episode.

I was going to put the sorrow-acting of the gang in the library in the bad, because the "everything is numb" isn't very convincing. But it's all to do with the humor as real Willow strolls in, and it's short and to the point to get back to the fun, so I let it slide by.

The vampires not knowing that Willow was alive, and not their undead boss, was pretty goofily clumsy of the scripting, too. But again, fun episode - let it pass.


The Score: Easily 4.75 out of 5 and recommended viewing!


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Tags: buffy season 3 reviews, recommendation
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