Bring On the Night

Written by Marti Noxon and Douglas Petrie
Directed by David Grossman

Perri's Review | SunSpeak

Perri's Review

Previously on BtVS: Lots of girls were being killed, Giles was about to be killed, Dawn saw Joyce, Jonathan died for no reason and Principal Wood found him; Andrew got caught, Buffy believed in Spike, Spike got kidnapped and the Ubervampire rose.

Xander is understandably not a happy man. "It's a loop -- like the mummy hand. I'm doomed to replace these windows for all eternity." He's sweeping up glass while the others research The First with a distinct lack of success. Andrew remains unconscious (even under aggressive waking tactics as practiced by Dawn and Anya), so he's no help. Buffy asks for the Watcher's Codex, and Joyce hands it to her. "Mom?" Buffy sobs for a moment, then recovers. "You're not real." Joyce tells her she needs sleep, but Buffy refuses to believe she's not the First. Joyce doesn't seem to get it, telling Buffy she needs some sleep. "I don't want to scare you," Joyce tells her, leaning close, "but I want you to take care. You need to wake up." Joyce's voice becomes Xander's, waking Buffy from where she's dozed off over her books. She was talking in her sleep, but tells him she didn't see anything. In a ritual cave, Spike is dragged along the ground, then dropped; the First morphs into Drusilla, the better to torment him with. The Ubervamp is getting restless, but the First tells him he'll have his fun when the moon is full. Until then, 'she' distracts herself by making Spike scream....

Anya and Dawn continue trying to rouse Andrew, their tactics remaining questionable. He finally comes to, aware that Buffy saved him, but she doesn't plan to repeat it if he doesn't spill everything he knows. Sadly, he's clueless -- he had no idea he was dealing with anything called the First -- but leads them to the Seal Chamber. They conclude that there's enough blood that there was another sacrifice, probably using Spike, and dig in to re-cover the seal. Xander and Andrew briefly and scarily bond as they leave, but Buffy and Dawn run into Principal Wood, who's interested to see his 'sick' counselor up and around; he asks her to come back to work as soon as possible. And denies all knowledge of the shovel in his hand.

The gang heads home to resume research on the Seal, while Willow casts a tracking spell for the First; Xander tries to send Buffy to bed, but she won't go -- she's too freaked. And with good reason -- Willow's spell suddenly explodes around her, channeling power into her. Her eyes go black and a demon explodes from her head, lightning shooting across the room into Buffy as Willow rasps, "You only make me stronger!" Then it's suddenly over, and Willow collapses, crying, terrified of the evil she believes is still in her. Buffy promises her they won't use magic to fight the First again until they know what they're doing.

A few minutes later, Buffy heads out on her own to track the First the old fashioned way, but she opens the front door to a very familiar face -- Giles. Buffy gapes for a moment, then starts to lunge forward to hug her former Watcher, but before she can, a teenage girl shoves past her into the house. Then another one. And another. "Sorry to barge in," Giles says ruefully. "I'm afraid we have a slight apocalypse."

Turns out that Giles' traveling circus -- Molly, Annabelle and Kennedy -- is made up of potential Slayers, girls who are in line, and are being trained, to be Chosen. There are only a few potential Slayers remaining, all of them on their way to Sunnydale -- the rest, as Buffy saw in her dreams (and we saw in endless teasers), were murdered, along with their Watchers. The First apparently wants to wipe out the Slayer line. Giles says the First predates written history, which is why they couldn't find it -- all of the records were in the Council library -- and the Council is gone. Killed in the explosion, destroyed with the records -- except the ones that Giles stole before the bomb. They're not spectacularly helpful, though, except bearing the information that the First can only appear in the guise of someone's who's dead, and is totally noncorporeal -- can't fight, can't touch. It works through the people it manipulates, like Andrew, and through the Bringers. Giles is also power-freaked. "There's evil, and then there's the thing that created evil. The Source." Buffy: "And that's what this thing claims to be?" Giles: "It's what it is." He doesn't have any ideas about fighting it, sadly; it all falls to Buffy to protect the Slayers in Training, and the world, against what's coming. Needless to say, the SiTs aren't happy about any of this; one Slayer doesn't seem like enough to do it all. Buffy agrees; she thinks they need to find Spike.

Who's still being tortured, and I honestly don't feel the need to go into details. 'Drusilla' enjoys her work, but Spike isn't talking or coming back to the Dark Side. Buffy and Giles head to the Christmas tree lot where Buffy first saw the First, way back in Amends. Buffy is startled to realize it's December -- she completely spaced on the whole Christmas thing. But she's happy to see Giles, and tells him how much she missed him. Back at Casa Summers, sleeping arrangements are getting interesting -- SiT Kennedy, an American of about 16 or 17, is most familiar with the other girls, and takes over organizing everyone, informing Willow that she'd better not hog the covers. Willow blinks, then allows herself to be distracted by food issues as the girls bond over biscuits/cookies. Buffy and Giles continue to search for the cave under the tree lot; Buffy locates it through the stunning detective work involved in falling into it. She starts to explore, leaving Giles above. All is quiet, still -- until she turns and finds the Ubervamp grinning in her face. The fight commences, but Buffy is no match for this thing; it counters every move and slams her around however it wants. But finally, Buffy manages to slam a stake into it's heart. It stops, and blinks... and pulls the stake out with a fanged, toothy gin, conspicuously undusted. Before Buffy can recover from the shock, Ubervamp is on her again, continuing to beat the crap out of her. It gets her in a stranglehold, lifting her off the groung, but she bashes it with a stalactite and it lets her go, long enough for her to reach the surface. It crawls after her as Giles races over, and is suddenly silhouetted by the rising sun. The Ubervamp sizzles and disappears back into the darkness. Giles and Buffy head home, where teenagers continue to dominate the kitchen, but Buffy has no probles with discussing her opponent in front of the 'kids'. Giles says it's a turok-han, and that it is to vampires what vampires are to humans, a primeval killing machine. He thought they were a myth until now. The SiTs are freaked that Buffy didn't manage to slay it, but they've got until sunset; Giles tries to get Buffy to go to bed (sensing a theme?), but she won't. She tells the SiTs to sit tight, and heads to work. On her far-too-expensive latest generation iMac, she runs an Internet search on manifestations of evil, and gets caught doing it by Principal Wood, covering by saying she's looking for scary movies. He's not upset, but isn't a fan of scary movies: "Once you've seen true evil, you can have some serious afterburn. And you can't unsee what you saw." He likes mysteries, he says -- "finding out what's underneath it all at the very end." Subtext runs rampant throughout the conversation.

'Drusilla' continues tormenting Spike, babbling without saying much of importance, except that she wants Spike to change sides. Spike's not buying -- he knows Drusilla and knows this isn't her. "Dru, love," he says carefully, "Get bent." The beatings recommence. Buffy cleans up in the Sunnydale High lavatory, examining her bruises. Then she's home again, Joyce looking at her bruises with concern. "Buffy, you have to heal.... Are you worried about the sun going down? Because there's some things you can't control." Joyce tells her her friends are putting too much pressure on her, but Buffy shakes her head. "Something evil is coming." Joyce: "Buffy, evil isn't coming. It's already here. Evil is always here. Don't you know -- it's everywhere.... Evil is a part of us. All of us. It's natural, and no one can stop that, no one can stop nature. Not even--" The bell rings suddenly, snapping Buffy back to consciousness. She sits up straight at her desk and looks at the student across from her. "I'm sorry, what were we talking about?" He looks pissed, and stalks away. "Only my life." She slumps forward at her desk as Principal Wood watches from his office.

At Casa Summers, the home team is arming itself with weapons, pre-battle humor and the occasional guilt trip from Willow's direction for her lack of magical usefulness. Kennedy wants weapons of her own fairly seriously, although Annabelle persists in believing the Slayer will protect them, until Kennedy points out some home truths of the condition of their sanctuary. Buffy concedes that weapons are of the good, but Andrew's not getting any. No matter how long he babbles. Buffy is watching sunset from a window when Giles finds her; he tells her she has all his faith, and they're depending on her. Then SiT Molly appears to tell them Annabelle has run away. She is, in fact, running hell bent for leather down a deserted street -- deserted until the turok-han steps into the street in front of her. She can't even fight, it just lifts her by the throat off the grounds. Only her cross falls to the street beneath her.

It's Buffy, of course, who finds Annabelle's body, sprawled on the ground. She has a moment to mourn before the turok-han assaults her from the back, then she can only fight. It gets her in strangle hold, and she spits in it's face, the shock letting her struggle free. She half-runs, half-limps away, searching for better ground to fight on. The turok-han follows eagerly into an industrial site; Buffy beans it with a pipe to no effect. Once again, she's on the losing end, but, as the turak-kahn throws her across the site, she lands close enough to a pile of pipes to drop them on his head. It winds her a moment -- but only a moment, before he breaks free of the load. More Slayer-abuse, and this time, it's Buffy whose buried beneath a pile of rubble. The Slayerettes find her later, a battered and bloody form, still and unconscious.

The First continues to go after Spike -- 'she's' not done with him. Spike's still being defiant: "Give it up. You can't pull this puppet's strings anymore." 'Dru' turns on him. "And what makes you think you have a choice? What makes you think you will be any good at all in this world?" Spike: "She does. Because she believes in me." And he may be the only thing she believes in right now, as she crouches on the couch, tired and hurting, alone. Listening to Giles and the others worry about her in the next room. There are no other options if she can't fight, if she can't beat the turok-han, and they know it. Giles is deeply impressed by the First, and doesn't know if they can fight it. Heads turn and everyone falls silent, as Buffy walks slowly into the dining room.

"We don't know how to fight it," she says weakly. "we don't know when it'll come. We can't hide. We can't pretend it's not the end, because it is. Something's always been there to try to destroy the world. We've beaten them back, but we're not dealing with them anymore. We're dealing with the reason they exist. Evil. The strongest. The First. " Giles tries to break in gently: "Buffy, I, I know you're tired..." Buffy: "I'm beyond tired. I'm beyond scared. I'm standing on the mouth of hell, and it is going to swallow me whole. And it'll choke on me." She is still grim, but suddenly defiant, strong beyond the condition of her body, and utterly determined. "We're not ready? They're not ready. They think we're gonna wait for the end to come, like we always do. I'm done waiting. They want an apocalypse? Oh, we'll give 'em one. Anyone else who wants to run... do it now. Because we just became an army. We just declared war. From now on we won't just face our worst fears, we will seek them out. We will find them and cut out their hearts one by one until the First shows itself for what it really is. And I'll kill it myself. There's only one thing on this earth more powerful than evil. And that's us. Any questions?"

The Watcher's Council is, in fact, destroyed, but Giles has brought all of the potential Slayers he can round up to Sunnydale.

The Ubervamp is essentially that -- a vampire that makes vampires look practically human. Called a turok-han, he's incredibly strong, and has very few of the weaknesses of normal vampires.

Another Joyce appearance, this time in Buffy's dream -- just which side is 'she' on?

Spike seems to be clinging to Buffy's belief in him to stay sane against the First, which is very sweet.

This wasn't a really big character episode, actually. We met a lot of new friends, most of whom I liked -- Annabelle, obviously, had issues out the wazoo, and for someone so intent on obeying authority, she sure cut and run fast. No big loss. But Kennedy and Molly both seem like a lot of fun, and that many women around the Summers house is going to be interesting, to say the least.

And yay! Giles is back, and showing the distinctly Ripper-ly tendendacies of breaking and entering, apparently. It's always so much fun to see him and Buffy together again; watching them walk through town was just like old times. And it does seem like some of the wounds caused by his abrupt departure are healing over; the fact that he keeps reappearing when they need him most probably has a lot to do with that.

He's having a bad influence on Buffy, though; when butt-kicking fails, she's resorting to long speeches. Not that it wasn't a very nice speech and all, but was there a plan of any sort in there, or does she intend to kill the First by giving it inspirational speeches until it dies to escape? I'm being snarky, but still... I would have preferred less morale-building, more plan. But I do have to respect her for not trying to block the three SiT's out of the planning; she remembers what it's like to be them, I guess. At least she's also remembering Spike, and somehow, I think she's got more motives for getting him back than just muscle, seeing how little good muscle has done thus far.

And speaking of bad influences, Dawn and Anya are definitely bad influences on each other. But seeing them united in disgust with Andrew is entertaining as hell, I admit. For Xander and Willow, it's pretty much business as usual -- Xander is Support Guy, Willow is Guilt Girl, and on we go.

Juliet does a wonderful job throughout, catching just the right edge with Dru -- it's hard to take a character you developed, and make her just subtly off, in accent and body language -- just enough to be noticable, but not obvious. Really excellent job, the woman continues to rock. And how much do I love Spike for hanging in there, and still being able to tell the First to go to hell, in so many words, even. Love Spike. Hating the torture, Waiting for rescue.

Best Moments:
Andrew's little detour about evil names cracked me up.

Xander and Andrew's little bonding session in the basement over Wonder Woman comics. < snerk >.

Giles' arrival. So very unexpected, especially with the girls shoving in after him and beginnging to make rude comments about the furniture. Kennedy flirting with Willow. Think I'm gonna like her....

Giles and Buffy's first patrol -- so nice to see them together again.

Principal Wood's very cool conversation about evil. If they don't stop playing with us soon, I'm gonna scream! But I'm holding firm on my Watcher theory.

Kennedy demanding weapons -- I knew I was gonna like her!

Love Xander's Signs crack about the pantry, since I just saw it two months ago and could therefore get the joke.

Basically, anytime Andrew pops up inappropriately in the middle of someone else's lines. He's annoying and pathetic, and yet, still amusing.

Questions and Comments:
Was anyone else having trouble telling the three SiTs apart? Kennedy isn't so hard, but Molly and Annabelle were perpetually mixed up.

There's a weird time dilation in the episode -- the Slayers apparently had time to sleep and be back up, yet Buffy and Giles couldn't have been gone on their initial patrol (followed by first fight with UberVamp) for more than an hour or so.

Have we ever seen Anya in glasses before? Is this a new development from her latest human incarnation? If she's human, which we haven't had confirmed yet.

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5. A solid episode with some nice character moments, bringing back Giles and introducing several plot points without losing pace.


"Ok... We know Anthony Head is signed for like ten or so episodes this season right? Right. And he's only been in like 4 .. So that means we get to see him in a couple more.. Now, when I was watching last week with my sister she meekly exclaimed "I hope Giles isn;t dead and the first isn;t impersonating him" which got me to thinking...... If the first IS impersonating Giles then according to the facts we have been given he wouldn't have corpeal form.. SOOO ... We need to whatch the upcomming episodes VERY closely... See if he picks up anything.. Or touches anyone.. Kind of like watching Sixth Sense for the second time. And if he doesn't... Well... We don't wann think about that....." -- Tom

"Um. Guys? I still think Giles is dead. (There was no hug. He never took off his coat, which would have discorporated if off his body. He never mentioned the attack the Bringers made on him. And he got in the way of the sun when that tulku thingy was after Buffy.) I'm pretty sure that was the First, there to depress everyone. That *was* the First's tactics last time, after all --- depress Angel into suicide. This would be consistent. And I was wondering what spooked Molly into running - maybe First/Giles did something to make her panic and run? Well, if it wasn't, he was sure damn depressing and unhelpful" -- Chris

"I'm afraid I gotta agree. Or at least, they're deliberately making us doubt him. I was watching from the beginning for *anything* that would prove he was really corporeally Giles, and nada. I'm most suspicious of the attempt to keep the Slayerlings from arming themselves. Kennedy was absolutely right on that score: Hello, trained fighters! And a whole helluva lot more likely to survive a siege by the thing that's specifically after them if they're armed. (This would be a good point to mention that I also got a nice giggle out of Kennedy flirting shamelessly with Willow, and Willow's slightly confused reaction. In the midst of deadly danger, cuteness perseveres.)" -- Valerie

"I've got a number of theories as to what's going on. While shock could explain a lot of Giles' reactions tonight, he did feel off, a bit. (Though, I wouldn't put it past the writing/directing staff to intentionally have Giles not touching anything, and being "off" for totally different reasons, just to get us to _think_ he's the First in disguise...)" -- Mel

"My theory is that the First is impersonating Giles. And, I think that it told Buffy that it could only appear as the dead intentionally. Why? Could be a few reasons. First and foremost; I think it intends to reveal to Buffy that it's the First when it's good and ready; not only does it deprive her of a resource, but if Buffy thinks her Watcher/father is dead, it's a major demoralising tactic. (It thinks; we know it'd just p*ss Buffy off.) Also, taking on the face of someone the Slayer loves and trusts, the First can...well, watch her. And hurt her when it plays the trump card of revealing itself; there are a _lot_ of cards to play with her that way. Maybe it wants to drive her to despair/suicide, maybe it wants to distract her long enough for the ubervamp to take her down. Maybe it doesn't care, so long as she suffers. And...maybe it's hoping that, if and when Giles happens to turn up to help...that the Slayer will kill her own Watcher for it...."
"Oh, shit. The rest of this email brought to you by the Highlander flashback from Hell." -- Mel and Celli

"Oh, and as to my belief that Giles isn't dead...predicated on two things. One, who says the First is necessarily telling the truth about that, and two...the First has been Buffy and Spike that we've seen. Yes, they died...but Buffy at least is alive now. Giles has a long, dark past that we barely know a thing about. Who says he couldn't have died briefly, and been brought back, through means either medical or magical? I swear, given the number of head injuries the man has had, I'm amazed he doesn't require round-the-clock mannitol to reduce the intracranial pressure...I could even believe that those deep sleeps from the days of calling Eyghon were enough..." -- Mel

"See, the First always seems to have a backup plan, judging by "Amends". Yes, there's the pesky issue of, if the First is pretending to be Giles, then it's incorporeal and a flesh and blood Giles is very corporeal. But the First could get around that, I think, esp. if Buffy has Willow attempting magic to destroy this great and powerful Evil...and if a Human got in the way, well, there might not be enough left to fill a thimble."
"And if we have two Giles around, I can see an incorporeal being with plenty of resources & experience to take full advantage of opportunities when no one is or can touch it to mess with their heads. If you never know it what's talking to you is friend or foe unless you're touching it? Makes for some pretty cramped battle formations. :p" -- Mel and Dianne

"I owe Kiki an apology: I thought her GASPerness was over-the-edge in thinking Giles might be dead. No, they're actually making a very good case for him being dead... although personally (after about three complete 180s during the course of tonight's ep) I'm with Mel:
"* The no-touch-Giles bit is completely deliberate by Joss&Crew. Like Grace said on another list, I'm definitely having a 6th Sense flashback (complete with an M. Night reference.) Whether the point is just to just mess with us, or whether the First is in Giles-face at the moment is still up for debate (although I go for #2)
"* While we've only seen the First impersonate the dead (and I'm assuming Dru counts as undead, and thus this doesn't necessarily announce her permanent earthly demise), the only authority we have that FirstFace=dead is from "Giles"... who if real, may not know that for sure anymore than he "knew" ScaryVamps were a myth... and who if fake, has a serious credibility problem. So this is mostly a "me too" to Mel's post -- I think we have First/Giles gathering Slayers in Sunnydale... which doesn't definitively mean that Giles is dead." -- Dianne

"I also agree that Annabelle probably saw/touched something/someone she shouldn't have and realized "Giles" wasn't. Being inexperienced, and having Giles as her most stable touch point in a strange place with strange people, I can see her freaking and running. More evidence for the Giles/First theory -- aside from being massively and suspiciously unhelpful on both the moral and practical fronts all ep, he's gathering all the BabySlayers in one place? On the Hellmouth???" -- Dianne

"I got quite a chill at Giles (or not-Giles, as the case may be) saying in so many words that the First can only impersonate someone who's died. Which evidently includes the undead and the resurrected, but remains consistent for all that." -- Valerie

"Yes, great rallying speech by Buffy - SMG did it really well. And yet, either because I don't want this to be the end, or because I'm suspicious, or because they could all really die, I was left kinda cold. Well, not cold. Luke-warm? Something like that. Although, Giles did look delighted that she was going all aggressive and Sarah Connor on the problem. So maybe he *was* himself. Although I still doubt it." -- Chris

"What is up with Principal Wood? That "once you see something really evil" speech was damn interesting, and he evidently remembers burying Jonathan's body. And he was moving stuff around, he's not the First. Maybe he's still mind-controlled, but..."
"I'm losing my grip on the undercover Watcher theory -- I think at this point, no matter how deep his cover is, with the Council itself blown to bits, any person with half a brain would spill to Buffy and start actually working together. Which doesn't preclude his being there to oppose the First in some capacity -- there are plenty of mystical orders and such out there, after all, and they don't all put stupid tattoos on their foreheads." -- Chris and Valerie

"Liked the Slayers-in-Waiting, they were nicely differentiated, although I'd have though they could've picked up someone from another country other than England or the U.S. Still, Giles/First was probably just going east to west, and grabbed the ones on the way." -- Chris

"It looked like DreamJoyce actually touched Buffy's arm in one scene. Was that just perspective playing a trick on my eyes? Also, why would the First feel the need to glow as Joyce, but not as any other previously dead character? Everyone else the First impersonates *looks* corporeal, except DreamJoyce. Is it just me, or is there something different going on with her?" -- Amparo

"I keep wanting to shake Buffy for not mentioning the Magic Snowfall(tm) which saved Angel's life and got the First to give up in Season 3. THat was not an insignificant thing, you know. Not something to count again, maybe, but definitely a check in the 'not hopeless' column when assessing the situation." -- Chris

"Andrew is by far my favorite part of this season..the scene between him and xander talking comic books.. I KNEW WHAT ISSUES THEY WERE TALKING ABOUT! Man I'ma geek." -- Tom

"Someone please god give Dawn a pizza.. I'm all for the shiny new hotness Dawn with big chest and all but my god.. she's withering away.. put some meat on those bones!" -- Tom

"I'm somewhat reassured now, actually. I mean, Joss & Co. are routinely more sneaky than we are, or at least *as* sneaky as we are. If we can think of all these things, so can they. Yay!" -- Chris

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