Friday, April 29, 2011


There has never been or will there ever be an episode like this one in the Buffy series. After the 2-part season climax, we join the gang in the season finale for a series of dream sequences. Joss Whedon is the god of dreams, seriously. Not only that, but we have a special treat for the write-up… guest bloggers! Sarah wrote up Willow’s dream, Kali wrote Xander’s, our friend Nicole (aka pern_dragon or Good_Witch) wrote Giles, and Sarah's friend Meg wrote Buffy’s dream. There is a lot to talk about to go down so grab a snack, maybe go to the bathroom to prepare yourself…

We begin with the Scooby gang gathering at the Summer’s residence to watch some movies. Riley heads out in order to testify about everything that went on with the battle and the Initiative. Apparently the gang is too buzzed from the battle to sleep so they begin watching Apocalypse Now and before the credits begin, Willow, Xander, Giles, and Buffy fall asleep on the couch in front of the television.

Willow’s Dream 

Guess who's writing Willow's dream? IT'S SARAH! I bet no one saw that coming! I obviously have a very fond attachment to Willow because she's hot so I shall be leading our tour into the realm of Narnia her mind. Let's begin with some hotness, shall we?

Now I'm sure you all are ready to concentrate on disecting Willow's subconscious and aren't at all distracted by Tara's hotness. Anyways, moving on to conversation!

They begin discussing Miss Kitty Fantastico and Tara asks if she's worried about not knowing her name yet.

TARA: You'd think she would have told us her name by now.
WILLOW: She will. She's not all grown yet.

Before I start analyzing, let me point out that this is all dreams so there is no right and wrong. I can say whatever I want about her dream and it all could be nothing like Joss intended it to mean. With that said, here are my thoughts on how to interpret Willow's dream.

I believe that this is a connection on Willow's recent "coming out." Unlike most people, however, Willow hasn't actually come out as something; she's just told people that she's dating Tara. I think this discussion about names and not knowing them yet is a reflection to Willow being confused as to what this relationship makes her. She was with Oz, so can she be a lesbian? She's not sure if she'll be interested in guys again, so can she be bisexual? The world of labeling sexuality is a difficult one and Willow is in the thick of confusion. I won't speak for everyone, but I know that for me, after coming out by telling people that I liked girls, I second guessed myself a lot and was so concerned that I was wrong. On the same point though, I think Willow telling Tara that "she's not grown yet" and that she feels "safe here" is her acknowledging that it's okay to be confused on what to call herself.

TARA: They will find out, you know. About you.
WILLOW: I don't have time to think about that. You know, I have all this homework to finish.

This part makes me think of Inception. Remember when they told the guy about the safe so that he'd put his important information inside of the safe? I think the same is occurring here. Tara is very vague and just tells Willow that they'll find out about her. This could be anything and only Willow knows which piece of her she's most afraid of coming out.

Willow opens the window and we get our first glimpse of a desert landscape which can only mean one thing...

"Are we in Nevada?"

Next we see Willow walking down the halls of school, on her way to drama class, and she runs into Xander and Oz who have this awesome conversation:

XANDER: So, whatchya been doing? Doing spells? (to Oz) She does spells with Tara.
OZ: I heard about that.

WILLOW: I'm gonna be late.
XANDER: Sometimes I think about two women doing a spell… and then I do a spell by myself.

In the commentary, Joss actually talks about how he shouldn't have had the last line because Willow left and this is her dream but it's too freaking funny not to include.

Willow then walks into drama and they're already getting ready for their first production! Both Harmony and Buffy are there to comfort her by telling her "not to step on [Harmony's] cues" and that "[Willow's] whole family is in the front row and they look really angry." And then Riley shows up, being awesome:

"Well you showed up late or you'd have a better part! I'm cowboy guy!"

Are you guys done laughing yet? No? Don't worry, I'm not either. Riley's cowboy guy; this will never stop being funny.

Back to seriousness, Buffy says to Willow: "Your costume is perfect. No one is ever gonna know the truth. You know, about you." And again we get a glimpse at the idea that there's something Willow is trying to hide about herself.

Now done with seriousness; listen to how hilarious Giles is!

GILES: All right, everyone, pay attention. In just a few moments that curtain will open on our very first production. Everyone Willow has ever met is in that audience, including all of us. That means we have to be perfect. Stay in character, remember your lines, and energy energy energy. Especially during the musical numbers. Remember, acting isn't about behaving. It's about hiding. The audience wants to find you, they want to strip you naked and eat you alive so HIDE.
Stop that. Costumes. Sets. The things, you know, things, you touch them and hold them --HARMONY: Props?
RILEY: Props.
GILES: Yes. It's all about subterfuge. (to Harmony) That's very annoying. (to the company) So get out there, lie like dogs and have a wonderful time. If we can stay focussed, keep our heads and if Willow can stop stepping on everybody's cues I know this will be the best production of Death of a Salesman we've ever done. (to Harmony) Stop it.

Three things happen here. First, when Giles forgets the word for props and Harmony tells him he says she's wrong but accepts Riley's answer not even two seconds later. This is obviously because males are smarter than females. Or Riley's just smarter than Harmony. Second, again we see Willow's need to "act" infront of everyone she knows because they want to "strip [her] naked and eat [her] alive." Isn't that beatiful imagery? And third, lmao this scene is hilarious!

And now time for a little snack break:

Mr. Cheese Man =D

Willow then walks through some dirty curtains (seriously, listen to Joss's commentary and learn how rated R he makes these things), she runs into Tara who warns her that  "If they find out, [she'll] be punished. [She] can't help [her] with that." And during this time, the play going on is insanely awesome:

Men, with your groping and spitting, all groin no brain three billion of ya
passin' around the same worn out urge. Men. With your… sales.
Back to Willow, she loses Tara and is attacked by something outside of the curtains. Luckily, Buffy saves her and asks what Willow did wrong because she must have done something wrong. And Willow refutes this claim:

WILLOW: No! I never do anything! I'm very seldom naughty. I just came to class, and then the play was starting…
BUFFY: Play's long over. What are you still doing in costume?
WILLOW: Okay, still having to explain wherein this is just my outfit.
BUFFY: Willow, everybody already knows. Take it off.
WILLOW: No… No, I need it…
BUFFY: Oh, for God's sake just take it OFF

Ha, just kidding...

Aw, Willow just didn't want everyone knowing she's a Nerdfighter

And Willow is suddenly infront of a class full of her friends, reading a book report. She looks and sees Oz lean over and tell Tara that he tried to warn her.
Poor Willow...

She continues on with her presentation until she is attacked and knocked to the ground. But this time Buffy isn't there to save her. In fact, no one seems to care at all.

Buffy puts her head on her desk

And Tara and Oz flirt

Until it's too late to save her...

Thus ends Willow's dream. Now onto...

Xander’s Dream

First, I have to say that Xander’s dream has always been my favorite. While some parts are so easy to analyze, other parts delve much deeper into Xander’s character. This is also the longest dream of the four, which you might find odd since Xander has been feeling like the “unimportant” role this past season.

At the beginning of the dream, we are back in the living room not really sure whether everyone is awake or not. Buffy and Giles are watching Apocalypse Now while Willow twitches in the corner asleep (and being harmed by a strange primal being) and enjoying “New Car Smell” flavored popcorn. Yum.

Giles first claims that the movie is overrated, but Xander promises it will get better. I love Giles next line of “Oh, I'm beginning to understand this now. It's all about the journey, isn't it?” and as Joss Whedon says in the commentary how this applies to the episode, “It’s the journey of life, the journey through these people’s psyche- it’s not about the reveal.”

Xander excuses himself to go to the bathroom, and of course being Xander we have the standard “sexual dream about your friend’s mom”. Yet, it’s written well where there is a reference to how everyone left awhile ago, showing Xander’s fear of being left behind by all his friends. And there’s this great dialogue:
XANDER: I'm a conquistador.

JOYCE:  You sure it isn't comfort?

XANDER: I'm a comfortador also.

Before Xander can have sex with Buffy’s mom, he heads to the bathroom where the entire Initiative is standing there watching him. Again, one of your typical dreams where you are doing something private and the whole world is watching. As Xander leaves, he goes through a door in Buffy’s house, but ends up in his basement. This is a recurring theme throughout the episode that I’ll touch on more a bit later. Just remember, “That’s not the way out.”

Now outside, Xander is at the playground with Giles and Spike on the swings and Buffy playing in the sand. Giles and Spike on the swings is pretty hilarious, but it also goes to Xander feeling like he has no true place in the group. In his dream, Spike is “like a son” to Giles and is being trained to be a Watcher.

A Watcher scoffs at gravity!

We have a great moment between Buffy and Xander when he warns her about playing in the sandbox and she replies:
BUFFY: I'm okay It's not coming for me yet.
XANDER: I just mean ... you can't protect yourself from ... some stuff.
BUFFY: I'm way ahead of you, big brother.
XANDER: Brother?

This shows Xander really understanding the relationship he has with Buffy now. Up until last season, he still had some romantic feelings for her, but now he knows that their relationship is more like that of a brother and a sister.

Another typical dream element we have is where you sometimes watch yourself within the dream. Here we go from Xander watching himself be the ice cream man to actually being in that role watching Xander in the park. Now inside the ice cream truck, Xander and Anya have a very believable conversation about her getting back into the vengeance business. Just keep this in mind, Xander…

Of course, this being Xander’s dream, his mind jumps to this: 

Do you want to come in the back with us?

While Xander (being a guy) tends to sexualize many situations and the females in his life, this goes back to what he was saying about being a “comfortador”. He wants sex, but deep down he is looking for the love and comfort that he is lacking in his home life. Xander crawls through the back and once again ends up in his basement. The pounding on his door continues, but we don’t know what is on the other side yet.

Then of course, in comes the best part of this episode.

“These will not protect you”

Xander runs into Giles, asking him what’s after him. Again, Xander’s friends have gone on ahead and left him behind. In addition, everyone is speaking French implying again that everyone has surpassed him. Xander gets lost in the crowd and his dream begins to mirror the movie that he was watching as he fell asleep (I love and hate when this happens to me, depending on what I’m watching). This scene is just too damn funny to summarize.

MALE VOICE: Where are you from, Harris?
XANDER: Well, the basement, mostly.
MALE VOICE: Were you born there?
XANDER: Possibly.
VOICE: I walked by your guidance counselor's office one time.
(The person sits up partway and we see it's Principal Snyder, with a towel around his neck.)
SNYDER: A bunch of you were sitting there ... waiting to be shepherded.
SNYDER: I remember it smelled like dead flowers. Like decay. Then it hit me. The hope of our nation's future is a bunch of mulch.
XANDER: You know, I never got the chance to tell you how glad I was you were eaten by a snake.
(Snyder sits up slowly. His face is all sweaty.)
SNYDER: Where are you heading?
XANDER: Well, I'm supposed to meet Tara and Willow. And possibly Buffy's mom.
(Snyder's hands lifting water from the bowl and pouring it over his bald head.)
SNYDER: Your time is running out.
XANDER: No, I'm just trying to get away. There's ... something I can't fight.
SNYDER: Are you a soldier?
XANDER: (shakes head) I'm a comfortador.

SNYDER: You're neither. You're a whipping boy. Raised by mongrels and set on a sacrificial stone.
XANDER: (nods) I'm getting a cramp.

Xander walks away and as he runs from whatever is chasing him, he goes through several rooms like Giles’s living room, Buffy’s dorm room, and the college corridor to end up back in his parents’ basement. Again, Xander states “That’s not the way out” while looking at the door to the basement that is still being pounded on. We think that it’s whatever is after everyone, but in fact it turns out to be Xander’s father yelling at him. This is Xander’s biggest fear. That no matter what he does, he will end up in his parent’s basement alone and friendless. He looks at his parents and knows that they aren’t “the way out” in regards to not just leaving the basement, but to leaving behind the life that he doesn’t want to live.

His father turns into the primal Slayer, who in turn rips out Xander's heart (since Xander was "the heart" in the spell they did). This is also a great symbol since Xander feels his heart is being ripped out by his parents, particularly his father.

I think this is why I love Xander’s dream out of everyone’s because I can relate to him here wanting to get out of your parent’s house, wanting to leave your life behind, but still having no idea what to do with your life or even who you are. And onto...

Giles’s Dream

Ah, sleep.  To sleep, perchance to dream…  Yes, I’m quoting the Bard’s Hamlet, but it seemed only fitting since this is Giles’s dream, and he’s British.  *nods convincingly* 

Here we launch into Giles’s dream, opening with him standing before a seated Buffy, telling her to “stop thinking.”  He is dangling a watch (Oho!  I see what you did there, Joss—he’s a WATCHer!) in front of her in the classic hypnotizing stance, which Buffy promptly calls “old-fashioned” and laughs.   *sigh*  Kids today…  

We cut to a scene of a carnival in a cemetery (‘cause that’s where all the fun happens in this show, dontcha know) into which enter Giles, accompanied by his “orgasm buddy” with an empty pram, and a childlike Buffy with pigtails (clearly, Giles strongly identifies as a father figure to Buffy, and this shows his buried yearning to be a normal person with a normal family and life).  Playing along with the Buffy-is-Giles’s-child idea, we see Buffy playing carnival games in which she attempts to stake a game-version vampire and Giles instructs her (proof that no matter how much Giles may long for a normal life, he can’t get away from Buffy’s Slayer birthright and his role as her Watcher), as well as Buffy wanting a treat, to which Giles tells her not to get it all over her face (showing how much Giles tries to keep things from getting “messed up,” but Buffy’s innocently-enough-intended flouting of the rules and marching to the beat of her own drummer always seems to ruin Giles’s most carefully laid plans).  When Buffy turns to him with stuff smeared on her face, Giles says, “I know you.” 

This glimpse of the primitive is quickly diverted by Spike calling for them, “Come on!  You’re gonna miss everything!”  He is standing outside of his crypt, and, strangely enough, there is an abundance of garden gnomes outside it (how… homey?).  Spike says he has hired himself out as an attraction, and when they follow him into the crypt, a crowd of people are taking pictures of Spike in multiple poses (proof that they don’t take Spike seriously as a threat; oh, and the whole thing where people say “I’ll steal your soul!” when they take your picture… Spike hasn’t got one!  *cue Nelson HA HA!*). 

Upon entering, Giles passes his orgasm buddy crying, sitting beside the pram where it is on its side, still empty (further proof that Giles can never have a normal family life like other people; also showing the loss of innocence and disillusionment that continues to happen as the show goes on).  Every time we see Spike being photographed, everything is in black and white, but all the rest is in color (equating Spike with old-timey movie villains who are rather antiseptic and caricatured, unlike the real world of the Hellmouth that is in color, showing how vividly REAL it is—plus, you can see blood and gore much more effectively in color than in sterile black and white). 

 The Cheese Man appears again and says, “I wear the cheese; it does not wear me.” 

Now, I listened to the commentary by Joss, and I know he said that the Cheese Man is just the bit of something that means nothing because all dreams have that, but I disagree.  I think the Cheese Man is there as a reminder of the “cheese factor” inherent in the premise of the entire show.  It’s to remind them that, no matter how seriously they take things, and how straight they try to play them, the Cheese Man will always be lurking in the background, ready to draw attention to the fact that the premise and ‘verse of the show is not only fictional, but exaggeratedly so.

When we get to Giles entering the Bronze, we see his living room in the middle of it, with Xander (sans heart, of course) and Willow there with his beloved books doing research.  Again, Giles’s role is such that he can’t escape it, even when (or particularly when) he tries to take a night off—like going to the Bronze for entertainment.  Willow tells Giles that this is his fault, placing the responsibility on his shoulders, even in the midst of a place of frivolity, reiterating the idea that Giles must be “on” and “working” and “responsible” at all times. 

Anya is onstage, behind Giles, in the background as a stand-up comedienne, but is having a hard time.  She serves as the corporeal manifestation of the things that are always in the back of Giles’s mind, serving to distract him, like his deep-down wish to be a rock star (which we see him singing/performing in other episodes, and I don’t just mean the musical episode).  His inner rock star is a dream that wants to surface, so it does in this dream, and he takes the stage and starts singing.  However, his “fun” is cut short by the looming responsibility and the music stops.  He crawls backstage, following the cord to a huge, hulking pile of tangled cord, in which he finds the watch from the start of the dream (I see what you did there—he’s “tied up” and can’t get away from his responsibility as… wait for it… a WATCHer!).

The primitive shows up and Giles says, “I know who you are and I can defeat you with my intellect” and “you underestimate me; you never had a Watcher.”  Of course, the primitive responds to this by scalping him, because, what better way is there to defeat Giles than to take away his “brain”?  (BTW, does anyone else find it ironic that the actor who plays Giles has the last name of “Head”?  *rimshot*)

After this, Giles’s dream is over, and we move on to the next, but that’s not my part, so I’ll leave that to my partners in crime to do!

And ending with...

Buffy’s Dream

And so we begin with Buffy waking up in her dorm room, with Anya lying awake in Willow’s bed. I don’t fully understand Anya’s presence, though I suppose it could mean that she’s one of the replacements of “high school Willow.” Though Xander and Willow maintain a close friendship in the later years, Anya has replaced Willow as “the girl who dotes on Xander.” Which he still needs at this point in the series, honestly. But all the same...


Seconds later, Buffy wakes up in her bed at home, and is then magically on the other side of the room with Tara. This scene primarily serves as the foreshadowing of Dawn. The clock reads “7:30,” referencing Faith’s line from Graduation Day Part 2: Little Miss Moffat counting down from 7-3-0. When Tara says, “Oh, that clock’s completely wrong,” she, of course, means that Dawn’s arrival is much closer than it was at the end of the third season. Though that always confused me, because 730 is the number of days in two years, and unless I’m as bad at math as Mr. Shue, there were way less than 730 days between May of 1999 and August/September of 2000...


The making of the bed calls the Faith dream to mind, once again, and is already another reference to sleep. The mentions of sleep are cropping off an awful lot, and they do absolutely have a purpose.

“You think you know what’s to come. Who you are. You haven’t even begun.”

The importance of this line is apparent in its repetition, and in that it asks the age-old question of “who are we?” Or “who am I?” It foreshadows Buffy’s year of self-discovery in the fifth season, which is loaded with Slayer lore, of course. The line, “You haven’t even begun” could be tied directly into how much of Buffy’s character development is dependent on Dawn in the next season. Since Buffy isn’t an older sister yet, she hasn’t begun her role as the sibling protector...the one who will willingly sacrifice her life for another, however annoying, bratty, and useless said other might be.

“Be back before Dawn.”

F*** YOU JOSS WHEDON, for the existence of Michelle Trachtenburg’s character. I felt more sorry for her than anything else in the fifth season (except for when she got screechy), and I actually liked her in the seventh season, but I couldn’t STAND her in the sixth season. And I still think the show would’ve been better off without her.

In the next scene, Buffy finds herself in the halls of UC Sunnydale, and visiting familiar places in one’s dreams isn’t all that unusual. But then she realizes her mom’s face appears through a hole in the wall. Joyce is on the other side of a wall, and it’s a place that Buffy can’t reach unless she breaks down the wall and crosses over to the other side. GREAT, now I’m just thinking about the separation of the Doctor and Rose in Doomsday. Not that walls separating characters metaphorically is at all unique in film and television (see also: Pushing Daisies), but I’ve got Doctor Who on the brain since the sixth season just started.

“You’re dead. Officially, back home."

I have NO idea what this Riley scene means...I honestly think it’s just there because if Riley wasn’t in it he would be considered one of her “friends,” and he’s certainly not among her friends. From the moment they met, Riley was always a potential suitor (or even enemy), but never a true friend. I know people who thought Riley would have been a great addition to the team if he hadn’t been first and foremost Buffy’s boyfriend. The line, “I’ll get some pillows” in response, “We better make a fort” could be seen as a humorous moment mocking the immaturity and futility of Riley’s profession, but I read it as another reference to sleep. And I’ll get back to that later.

Buffy covering herself with grey goop and then light shoots out of her eyes? My first thought: OMG BUFFY’S THE AVATAR! (Airbender? Anyone? Anyone? Oh come on, they’re both The Chosen One but also normal kids who want to be treated as such...never mind.)


“Okay, killer, if that’s the way you want’re on your own,” foreshadows Riley’s departure in 5.10, “Into the Woods,” as well as his reasons for leaving. GOOD RIDDANCE TO THIS SHOW’S EQUIVALENT OF DEAN FROM GILMORE GIRLS!

In the next scene, we’re in the same desert that Buffy will return to for her “spritual journey.” I wonder if that’s significant. I don’t really understand Tara’s role as the voice of the higher power/first slayer. I mean, Amber Benson has a truly beautiful voice that suits the identity of a spirit guide. There’s always the possibility that Joss gave her the chance to speak in this dream episode because she’s the quietest of the group, bless her heart (if true, this will be repeated in the musical episode, in which she sings a great deal because she has been keeping things bottled up inside of her for so long).

CHEESE! I LOVE CHEESE! There’s this Quebec cheddar that the cheese store in my college’s town sells that is just AMAZING...

The two Slayers get into a tussle! Time for a shot in honor of a clear sighting of the SMG stunt-double!

Before we know it, Buffy’s back in her living room, but the first Slayer’s still there, so she’s still asleep. Some dialogue and stabbing ensues, concluded with: “...What kind of impression am I making in the workplace, because-” And then she’s suddenly interrupted by waking up. I read this as another reference to Buffy’s Slayerhood, because she currently still views her slaying as a job. The graveyard is her workplace, and for those concerned, she’s not exactly well-respected. I never thought vampires found a petite, blonde girl all that intimidating (pre-stake-age, of course), and the Watchers Council certainly finds her irritating. It’s also a reference to how Buffy is a completely different kind of Slayer, and representing the change and modernization of who the Slayer is. Her choice method of criticizing the original Slayer is her fashion sense.

The most important running themes in Buffy’s dream are sleep and the act of waking up, and the absence of her closest friends and mentor. We’ll tackle the latter first, because it’s simple: Buffy is really alone in this journey. Sure, her closest friends are present in her life, but in her own life journey, she has to do everything on her own. She’s looking for their support, but they’ll never be able to give her everything she needs.

Sleep, of course, represents death. Joss’ overwhelming use of sleep and dreaming and symbols that we associate with sleep foreshadow the deep, long sleep awaiting Buffy at the end of this next journey, which is confirmed when she’s told that “death is her gift.” No matter where she is, Buffy can’t escape sleep. It’s like Inception. Except really well-written.*


*I AM NOT COMPLETELY DISSING INCEPTION. It was a pretty good movie, but much more of a popcorn movie than a high-art one.



Well, that was fun, huh? Hope you enjoyed this four person write up doingness. This episode is so important and awesome that we felt it would be really neat to have someone handle each person's dream. But to wrap everything up, this episode tells us a lot about each person's insecurities. These should all be remembered as we go on because, after this, we're back into real life where people don't normally talk about their insecurities but instead act on them and make decisions because of them and also to avoid finding out that there is some truth to their fears. Also, Buffy's run-in with the First Slayer in her dream will have a profound effect on her for all of Season Five starting with the first episode.

I highly recommend watching this episode again, with commentary and then without, and look for yourself to see what you feel everything means. As stated before, there is no way to correctly analyze a dream. A path is put into place by Joss for you to follow, but it is impossible for you not to add your own experiences, insecurities, and fears to their unconscious states.

Happy dreaming!

Best Wishes,

The Two Wits + their very special friends =)

P.S. Tomorrow there will be a written recap of Season 4, and HOLY CRAP Season 5 starts on Monday!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Season 4, Episode 21


Just as Harry Potter learned in the fourth book that he could accomplish much more with the help of his friends than without, Buffy learns that same lesson at the end of Season 4. The parallels are endless! Anyways, we begin where last episode left off. Buffy told the Scoobies that she would go get help from the one person that she could count on.


So where is Riley? Oh he’s kicking it with his new homeboy, Adam. Apparently Professor Walsh did put a chip inside Riley (I won’t point out how the thoracic nerve would in no possible way be able to control Riley’s behavior because if I start pointing out all the things that can’t happen well… you get the idea). So Adam activated this chip and is controlling Riley now. Adam tells him how they are brothers and together they will rule the world or some shit like that.

Spike shows up and talks about how he totally succeeded in his great plan.

Adam: That's how I want her.  Where I want her is down in the
Initiative.  (stops walking) She will ensure that as many demons die
as humans, she will achieve maximum carnage before she's too weak to
go on.
Spike: Right.  The Initiative.  But getting her there--that's what the
bleeding disks are for, isn't it?  Our little witch gives her the info
and pop--Alice heads back down the rabbit hole.
Adam: The witch.
Spike: Uh, Willow.  (uses his hands to demonstrate height) About so
high, perky, good with math.  Natural choice.
Adam: A friend.
Spike: Right.
Adam: One of the friends from whom you so efficiently separated her.
Spike: Damn right I did.  You should've seen her.  They won't be
talking to each other for a long, long--
Adam looks down at Spike.
Spike: Hang on.  I think I might've detected a small flaw.

Back at the Batcave, Alfred Giles is quite hungover from drinking to dull the pain of being a lonely, middle-aged ex-Watcher. Willow drops by with Tara to get her laptop, Xander lies in his bed brooding (I think he got that from Angel), and Buffy packs up weapons after being sad over her friends’ separation.

In the creeper’s new lair, Adam is having fun with zombies. And demon-hybrids. Zombie-Forrest is all excited that Riley is back as his new play-toy. I’m with Xander on this one.

After a run-in with Spike, Buffy figures out that they’ve been had… by Spike. I really feel like the Scoobies deserve to be punished for being so dumb sometimes. Hey, kinda like Harry. Buffy gets everyone to gather at the college campus and Giles says what everyone is thinking.

“I’m very stupid”

 Buffy figures out Adam’s evil plan and the breakdown goes like this:

Buffy: Those demons were just too easy to catch.  It's like they

wanted in that place.
Giles: The Trojan horse.
Buffy: Adam's gonna make sure the demons attack the Initiative from
the inside.
Xander: Demons versus soldiers.  Massacre, massacre.
Willow: And Adam has a neat pile of body parts to start assembling his
army.  Diabolical, yet...(makes a face) Gross.
In order to defeat Adam, Xander comes up with the plan. That is not a typo; Xander really did come up with the idea that leads to the plan to take down Adam.
Xander: So no problem, all we need is combo Buffy--her with Slayer
strength, Giles' multi-lingual know how, and Willow's witchy power.

On their way down the elevator shaft to the Initiative, Buffy has a heart to heart with Willow and realizes how important her friends really are.

 Oh and then they get captured by the Initiative.

With all your planning did you really think that the Initiative wouldn’t have like a camera or sensor in the elevator. REALLY?! Anyway, the military man thinks he knows everything like they tend to do. Buffy tells him that he doesn’t know shit, she’s the mother-fucking Slayer, and he needs to back the hell off because she’s the bitch in charge. Or something like that.

Adam shuts down the power which release all of the demons from their containment cells. All hell breaks loose as do the Scoobies when the Initiative men try to arrest them. The gang runs off to find an area to perform the very tricky Adjoining Spell. Buffy goes behind 314 and has a sweet moment with her BFFs before she goes:

Xander: Buffy, I still don't like you going in alone.
Buffy: I won't be.
Buffy breaks into the lab and begins to fight Zombie-Forrest on Adam’s command while Willow begins the spell with Xander and Giles. Forrest is totally kicking her ass so Riley fights against the chips control and does this:

EW and AWW.
After removing the chip, Riley is able to fight on his own and kill Zombie-Forrest. Willow performs a spell where she is the spirit, Giles is the mind, Xander is the heart, and Buffy is the body/vessel. They join together in Buffy's body in order to perform another spell that will allow her to remove Adam's power-core.

Look guys, I can do magic now!
Buffy/Xander/Willow/Giles: You could never hope to grasp the source of your power. But yours is right here.

After destroying the uranium power-core with a super awesome spell, Adam is dead and Riley joins Buffy to celebrate and do a happy dance. Rest of the Scoobies are drained after performing the spell and when a demon gets through their barricade, in comes Spike to save the day!

Spike: Nasty sort of fellow.  Lucky for you blighters I was here, eh?
Giles: Yes, thank you. Although your heroism has been slightly muted by the fact that you were helping Adam to start a war that would kill us all.
Xander: You probably just saved us so we wouldn't stake you right here.
Spike: Did it work?
They all get up.
Spike: Well, then everything's all right.  And we all get to be not staked through the heart.  Good work, team.

The Scoobies rally together to finish off rest of the demons. The military men talk about what an utter failure the Initiative was. And just like the government, they abandon everything and are supposed to fill it in with concrete, but never do. But yay! Buffy and the gang saved the day once again! Well, that wraps up Season 4- wait, there's still one episode left? But the Big Bads were defeated, everyone lived happily ever after, what else is there? Only one of the best Buffy episodes EVER MADE!


Sarah's Notes
WORK SUCKS AND MAKES IT SO I CAN'T POST MY NOTES! I don't have them now, so instead I'll just....I don't know. I'm too tired. Simple sentences for now.

This episode rocks
I <3 Buffy and Willow's comversation
Everything about this is made of win
Spike made me giggle
Willow is hot

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Episode 20: The Yoko Factor

Season Four, Episode Twenty
"The Yoko Factor"

Note: Kali is going to creep her notes into the episode because she wants to be a creeper today.
We start this episode off by learning about everything that is currently going wrong with the Initiative. Morale is low, everyone is having a sad about Professor Walsh, etc. And plus now Riley fell in with "a bad crowd" and left the commando life behind. The upper commando guys understand that he is with a Buffy Summers and say they don't have much information on her. The stupid head says she's "just a girl."

Cue Spike telling Adam how Buffy is "more than just a girl." He tells Adam how badass Buffy is. And then Adam says something that makes me nervous:

SPIKE: Just wanted you to know, when the Big Ugly goes down, Slayer's gonna be right in the thick of it. You ready for that?
ADAM: I'm counting on it.

Mr. Creepo is Creepy

Adam promises to restore Spike to the "savage" he once was once he gets Buffy where he wants her. Spike tells Adam how the scoobies are the piece of the puzzle that messes up their chances:

SPIKE: Easier said. She's crafty. She and her little friends.
ADAM: Friends…
SPIKE: Yeah. There's your… whatcha call it - variable. This slayer's got pals. You want her evening the odds in a scrape, you don't want her slayerettes mucking about.
ADAM: Take them away from her.
SPIKE: Yeah, that's a plan. She's working solo, she won't have a chance to come after us when the wild rumpus begins. Plus it'll make her miserable, and I never get tired of that.
Oh yeah. Leave them to me.
ADAM: You can't hurt them. What can you do to make sure they're out of the picture?
SPIKE: Not a blessed thing. They're gonna do it for me.

And now we know exactly where this episode is going. In order for Spike to succeed, he has to play at the scoobies biggest insecurities and get them to turn against each other. This goes back to how in Lovers Walk, Spike was able to see the reality about the Angel/Buffy relationship and how earlier this season he saw that Willow was in more pain than she was letting on when Oz left. Spike really has a gift for seeing into people and understanding them better than even their friends can. One of the many reasons I love him. Now, let's think as to what these insecurities could be...

Target One: Giles
-Used to be Buffy's Watcher and now is her grown up friend with an apartment they can use for Scooby meetings

Target Two: Willow
-Is vulnerable and concerned because she just came out to Buffy and she didn't handle it so amazingly at first

Target Three: Xander
-Besides his insane military knowledge from his two minute long soldier days, he really's got nothing to offer the gang besides his friendship

After this big reveal, we get to creepily watch Buffy sleep. You know something happened with Angel when we go back to watching Buffy sleep. *waves hi*

Next, Xander brings Riley some clothes while his laundry is getting washed. Looks like Xander suddenly became Riley's bitch; when did this happen?

They both talk about their distain for Angel:

XANDER: What did Buffy tell you?
RILEY: About Angel? Everything. More than I wanted to know, sometimes. She loved him. He turned evil. He killed people. She cured him. He left.
XANDER: "And they all lived happily ever after." Did she happen to mention what turned him evil?
RILEY: He was cursed. Some kind of gypsy thing. And then… I dunno. Hundred years passed or the moon hit a certain phase or…
XANDER: One moment's happiness.
RILEY: What about it?
XANDER: It's his trigger. Angel's an okay guy - so long as he's mopey and sad and brooding. But give him even one second of pure, real pleasure…
RILEY: And that sets him off.
XANDER: Only in a big old kill-your-friends kind of way. And you know what makes Angel happiest? Give you a hint: it's not crème brulee.
RILEY: Buffy. Sex. With Buffy

Looks like someone only gave Riley the spark notes version of her and Angel's sexy little romance.

And now, just in case you didn't get enough of sexy Giles singing, we get an encore performance in his living room. Giles singing "Free Bird" here is one of the sexiest things ever.

And just to make things more awesome, Spike walks in on him and the lulz begin. Spike makes himself a cup o' blood and begins telling Giles how he's looking for Buffy to give her some information about Initiative files. He asks for some compensation: "Year's supply of blood, guaranteed protection, merry bushels of cash and - most important - a guarantee that I'm not to be in any way slain." Thus proving that Giles has been spending too much time with Anya, he responds to Spike's list of requests by saying "done" but Spike ain't to quick to take his word for it:

SPIKE: With a smile and a nod from you? Sorry - not close to good enough. This deal's with the Slayer.
GILES: I'll tell her.
SPIKE: Oh, you'll tell her. Great comfort, that. What makes you think she'll listen to you?
GILES: Because.
SPIKE: Very convincing.
GILES: I am her Watcher.
SPIKE: Think you're neglecting the past tense there, Rupert. Besides, she barely listened when you were in charge. I've seen the way she treats you.
GILES: Yes? A-and how's that?
SPIKE: Very much like a retired librarian. Look. I've got what she wants - long as she has what I want. Pass the word. She knows where to find me.

Target One: Giles
☑ Insecurity seed planted

Giles responds to this in the best way possible, by having himself some alcohol. Drunk Giles FTW.

Time for some adorable action! Willow and Tara are discussing the newest addition to their little family: Miss Kitty Fantastico!

I am surprised Sarah didn't put this picture up herself because of its adorableness.
Besides the obvious kitty cuteness, they both spend the scene talking about important crap such as next semesters schedules and living situations for next year. And we see some more of Willow's insecurities without Spike even talking to her.

WILLOW: We haven't really talked about it. I used to just assume we'd be roomies through grad school and into little old ladyhood -- you know, cheating at Bingo together and forgetting to take our pills.
TARA: But…
WILLOW: But, I don't know. It hardly feels like we're roommates now. She's all busy with Riley, and I'm gone a lot too. And when we are there together, it's just Slayer business talk and feeding Amy the rat. I guess I should ask her…

It looks like she's going to be pretty easy to sway...

Insecure Willow is Insanely Vulnerable to Mr. Chiphead's Evil Scheme

And now I'm not even going to pretend I'm interested in Buffy and Riley's conversation. I'm sure you are just distracted by Riley's clown pants. They both are in such different places and are mad the other isn't there to help them through and talk about what they're keeping hidden. Well, this mainly applies to Riley since he knows about Angel but Buffy doesn't know that he knows. This reminds me of Friends when Joey found out about Monica and Chandler but couldn't tell anyone and then Rachel found out and they both had an awkward conversation before learning they both knew. Then Phoebe found out and they decided to mess with Monica and Chandler who didn't know that they knew. But then of course they found out and messed with Rachel and Phoebe since they didn't know that they knew that they knew about them. And then....oh, wait, we're discussing Buffy, aren't we? Sorry, wrong obsession, moving on...

Xander gives Spike some clothes and Anya tells him that Xander "did Riley yesterday"

Anya will never stop being awesome and, damn, now I want In-N-Out... Me too!

Now Spike's attempt to make Xander feel more insecure is clever. Just like the show uses his military knowledge every chance they get, he's gonna use it too:

XANDER: Can I tell you how much I really don't care?
SIPKE: Attitude. We'll see how far that takes you at boot camp. Hey, s'pose you'll get a tough-as-nails drill sergeant who's only hard on the men 'cause he's trying to keep 'em alive when the bullets start flying? I love that stuff.
XANDER: Boot camp? Yeah, like I'd go there.
SPIKE: Oh, you changed your mind? Not gonna join?
Anya jumps up, goes to Xander. Smacks him on the arm.
ANYA: You're joining the army?!
XANDER: (to Anya) Okay, one: ow. Two. (to Spike) Where'd you get that idea? And three: (to Anya) Ow! I am not joining the army.
ANYA: Well, good. Stopped that nonsense just in time.
XANDER: I was never--(to Spike) Who told you this?
SPIKE: Your little girlie-mates were talking… something about being "all you can be" or "all you can be." Having a laugh… I figured you were signing up. Say, you got anything larger in the toy gun line?
XANDER: All I can… can you believe that? Like I'm some useless lunk. It happens that I'm good at lots of things! I help with all kinds of… stuff… I have… skills, and strategems, I'm very…(to Anya) Help me out.
ANYA: He's a viking in the sack.
SPIKE: T'rific.(examining clothes) You didn't have these cleaned after the last time, did you?
XANDER: This is so like them lately. It's all about them and the college life. You know what college is? It's high school without the actual going to class. Well, high school was sort of like that too but the point is, I'm the one working hard to earn a living and it's a huge joke to them. (mocking) "Xander got fired from Starbucks." "Xander got fired from the phone sex place…"
ANYA: They look down on you.
XANDER: And they hate you…
ANYA: But they don't look down on me.
SPIKE: It was just a laugh. Don't have to go insane over it.
XANDER: Is anybody talking to you?
SPIKE: Sir, no, Sir.
Target Two: Xander
☑ Insecurity seed planted

And this next scene is boring because I hate Forrest so here's what you need to know: Apparently, Buffy is the "first girlfriend Riley's had" [insert Riley/Forrest joke here] and Forrest is killed by Adam and nobody cares.

Congrats, Forrest. Out of everyone Joss has ever killed off, you are possibly the one that everyone cared least about. Or at least I cared least about. I cried for weeks over Forrest's death Sarah! Gosh. He was probably one of the best characters Joss ever came up- HA, ok, I can't keep a straight face anymore. No one cares about Forrest unless he's running.

Now back to people I do care about: Willow and Tara! Spike gives Willow some discs and she tries to break into them to get some information. Spike asks when he gets paid and Giles says that he'll get paid once Willow lets him know that they have some useful information. He looks over and sees his in:

SPIKE: Well, why did… can you fix them?
WILLOW: Crack a government encryption code on my laptop? Easy as really difficult pie.
SPIKE: You're not exactly the whiz these days either. God, I'm never getting paid.
WILLOW: I am a whiz!
TARA: She is a whiz.
WILLOW: If ever a whiz there was… I just need some time.
SPIKE: No, I just heard you weren't… your mates said you weren't playing with computers so much. Into the new thing.
WILLOW: What new thing?
SPIKE: You know: you two, the whole… wicca thing.
WILLOW: They were talking about that?
SPIKE: Can we get back to business here? I got a deal at stake.
WILLOW: What'd they say?
SPIKE: Talking about, you know, it's a phase, you'll get over it.
WILLOW: What? Who said that?
TARA: Maybe we should focus on the gobbledygook…
WILLOW: Was it Buffy? (to Tara) 'Cause you know what she means by that…
SPIKE: She was defending you. 'Cause Xander said you were just being trendy.
WILLOW: Trendy?
SPIKE: I didn't see why they were going on. Person wants to be a witch, that's their business.
WILLOW: I knew Buffy was freaked.
TARA: You should talk to her, 'cause I'm sure…
SPIKE: Pressing business, ladies. Let's not get sidetracked. Still got your monsters to fight.

Target Three: Willow
☑ Insecurity seed planted

Look who's back, bitches!

Next scene is fun. Angel comes back and who else besides Riley will be there to welcome him back to Sunnydale. I really hate whenever Buffy boyfriends and exes do this throughout the series; they claim her as their property. Why would you do this? Buffy can kick each and every one of your asses and still have enough energy to pun.

After Angel and Riley fight, Angel goes to see Buffy. I love what Buffy says to Angel about why he's there. "You thought of something else really hurtful to say and, well, you couldn't tell me on the phone because the funniest part is that look on my face--"  Riley remains very sane and points a gun at Angel's head. Luckily Buffy's here to stop all of this stupidness: "I see any more displays of testosterone poisoning, I will personally put you both in the hospital. Anybody think I'm exaggerating?"

Angel asks to talk to Buffy but Riley says he's not leaving so Buffy responds accordingly. And leaves.

"Not moving a muscle"

They go outside and discuss what just recently happened on Angel to confuse everyone who isn't watching that series and trick them into thinking Buffy is more connected to it than the show actually is. Angel has a few moments where watching the series helps you understand Buffy but they are very much two separate series. But Angel is good and, if you like Buffy, you should consider watching it. 

Back to the point of this episode. Spike goes to Adam and tells him that he's accomplished his task and everything is set in place. And Adam tells him there is still one thing...

And then some funny shit happens when Riley thinks that the Angel he just met was Angelus. Maybe someone should let him watch season two of this show and let him understand how much the man he just met is not Angelus. After discussing Angel for a bit, Buffy lets Riley know that Forrest is dead. Poor girl, needing to relay this horrible message to him. And poor Riley, as if he doesn't already have enough going on.

The scoobies all reconvine once more at Giles' place and the buttons Spike pushed become very apparent:

BUFFY: Sorry everyone, but we're on a clock here. Adam was at that cave. Maybe he was there for a reason. I can go back, scope it out, track him if I have to…
WILLOW: Right! And maybe you'll get lucky and he'll still be there and he can rip your arms off for you! Buffy, you can't go back alone.
GILES: (cheerful smile) You never train with me anymore. Adam's gonna kick your ass.
BUFFY: Giles?!
GILES: Sorry! Didn't mean to be so honest. Terribly sorry.
XANDER: So she doesn't go alone. Giles, weapons all around--
BUFFY: You're not coming, Xander. You'd get hurt. It'll be easier for me if I'm not worrying about protecting you.
XANDER: Oh. Okay. You and Willow go do the superpower thing. I'll stay behind and putter around the batcave (indicates Giles) with crusty old Alfred here.
GILES: Ahh. I am no Alfred, sir. You forget - Alfred had a job.
BUFFY: Willow stays behind too. I'll do it alone.
WILLOW: Great. And then, when you've got your new no arms, we'll all say, gee, it's a good thing we weren't there getting in the way of that!
XANDER: Right, and maybe we can help in other ways. Need some fightin' pants, Buff? I could go get you some fightin' pants.
BUFFY: Guys, you're just making this harder.
WILLOW: Wow. We're already getting in the way. We're good at this, huh, Xander?
XANDER: Right. I'm so good at it you might have to ship me off to the army to get me out of the way.
BUFFY: The army?
XANDER: You didn't know I knew about that, did you? You two talking about me behind my back.
BUFFY: Us talking about you? How about you telling Riley every last detail of my life with Angel--
WILLOW: (to Buffy) Besides - when is there any "us two?" (to Xander/Buffy) You two are the two who are the two. I'm the other one.
XANDER: Uh-huh. But maybe that all changes when I'm doing sit-ups at Fort Dix.
GILES: Fort Dix. Heh heh…
BUFFY: (to Giles) Are you drunk?
GILES: (happily) Quite a bit, actually!
Man, I freaking love drunk Giles.
BUFFY: Well, stop it.(to Willow and Xander) This is stupid.
XANDER: Stupid. So you finally have the guts to say it to my face…
BUFFY: I don't think you're stupid, Xander, so stop being an idiot and help me fix things. I need both of you. I need you all the time, just not now. Adam is dangerous--
WILLOW: Wait. How do you need me? Really.
BUFFY: I need you a lot. You're great, with, with the computer. Usually.
GILES: Right you are. And I'm great with the pacing and the saying of "hmmmmm" and "ahhhhh," and "Good Lord!"
BUFFY: And you got the witch-stuff… that's…
WILLOW: Witch stuff?! What do you mean by witch stuff?!
BUFFY: What is happening? This is crazy.
GILES: No it's not! It's all finally making perfect sense and I'm not going to miss a moment of it. *sits and falls over*

Side note: here's another reason why I love this show. Tara and Anya left the room so normally I'd be thinking about the awkwardness going on with them. However, this show is so amazing that they show us their awkwardness inside of Giles' bathroom

TARA: You think this'll go on awhile?
ANYA: Hard to say.
TARA: Nice bathroom.
ANYA: Like the tile.

Now back to our fight:

XANDER: And if I did join the army I'd be great. You know why? Because maybe they'd give me a job that couldn't be done by any well- trained Border Collie.
GILES: That's it. I'm going to bed!
Giles heads for the stairs, unbuttoning his shirt as he goes.
WILLOW: Sure, you'd be wonderful in the army -- you think the umbilical cord between you and Anya would stretch that far?
XANDER: I knew it. I knew you hated her.
Giles' shirt sails over the banister and lands on Xander's head.
Why can't they show Giles shirtless? WHY?!
WILLOW: Hey, I'm not the one being judgmental, here. I'll leave that territory to you and Buffy.
BUFFY: Judgmental? If I was any more open minded about the choices you two make my whole brain would fall out.
XANDER: Oh. And superior. Don't forget that. Just because you're better than us doesn't mean you can be all superior.
BUFFY: Guys, stop this. What happened to you today?
WILLOW: It's not today. Buffy, everything's been wrong for a while. Don't you see that?
Even though Spike pitted everyone against each other, this statement is very true.
BUFFY: Willow, what do you mean things have been wrong? Things don't have to be wrong, do they?
WILLOW: Buffy, things haven't been right since Tara. We have to face it. You can't handle Tara being my girlfriend.
XANDER: No, it was bad before that. Since you two went off to college and forgot about me, just left me in the basement to --(suddenly, quietly) Tara's your girlfriend?
GILES (O.S.): Bloody hell!
BUFFY: Enough. All I know is that you want to help, right? Be part of the team?
WILLOW: I don't know anymore--
XANDER: Clearly not wanted--
BUFFY: No. You said you wanted to go. So let's go. All of us. We'll walk into that cave with you two attacking me and the funny drunk drooling on my shoes. Maybe that's the secret way to kill Adam.
XANDER: Buffy--
BUFFY: Is that it? Is that how you can help? You're not answering. Go on. How can you possibly help? So I guess I'm on my own. And you know what? I'm starting to get why there's no ancient prophecy about a Chosen One and her friends. <-- I love that line.

☑ Mission Complete

Now would be the time where I would get all analytical and explain how all this happened, but that will all come out in tomorrow's episode so I'm just going to leave it as is.

And as if all of this fighting isn't bad enough, we end tonight's episode with Adam getting a vistor

dun. dun. DUN.