The Dark Age

Perri's Review

Perri's Review

I hereby humbly apologize for saying I missed Giles and Ms. Calendar fighting. I didn't mean for it to go this far! Another knock-out episode; gotta love sweeps.

A frantic Brit guy comes racing around Sunnydale looking for Giles (who is in the library tolerating Buffy's aerobicising to rock). As he scrabbles at the door, he is attacked by a zombie-looking woman named Dierdre, who dissolves into a puddle of blue goo after killing him. The blue goo then takes over his body.

Giles wakes from a nightmare, but makes it to school to find Buffy and inform her they will be guarding a delivery of blood to the hospital. MsCalendar arrives and, after informing Xander that he has to have a remidial computer class Saturday morning (with Cordelia), flirts with Giles, sets a date with him for the weekend, then leves him with a kiss. //sigh// Giles returns to the library to be greeted by the police, with news that the dead man from outside the library had Giles' name in his pocket. Giles identifies the man as an old schoolmate, Phillip.

Buffy gets into a fight at the hospital, while Giles is a no-show. Angel shows up in time to help and she leaves him in charge of delivering the blood, while she goes to check on Giles -- who is a wreck. Unshaven, non-tracking and drinking. He sends her away, and goes back to his phone calls -- calling old friends in England and discovering that another old school friend, Dierdre, was recently killed. As he throws water on his face, we see the black tattoo on his arm that matches Phillip's; he looks in the mirror and tells someone, "So, you're back." And in the morgue, Phillip's eyes open, and glow.

A poor reshirt cornor does his nightly check of the iceboxes, and is attacked and killed by Phillip, or what's left of him. The next morning, Buffy shows up at the remedial class, worried about Giles and hoping for help from Ms. Calendar. Cordelia tells them she saw Giles talking to the police about a homicide in the library and Buffy heads off to call Giles. Before she can, she surprises an intruder -- our old friend Ethan the costume shop owner. On his urging,she does call Giles (who's having another nightmare), and asks him about the Mark of Eyghon. Before Giles can answer, Phillip the Dead Guy attacks through a window.

Buffy locks up Phillip as Cordelia takes down a running Ethan. Giles runs into the aftermath, and proceeds to shock the hell out of the Slayerettes by going after Ethan himself. Before blood is spilled, Dead Guy breaks out, knocking out Ms. Calendar in the process. Buffy takes him down and he turns into blue goo -- which touches Ms. Calendar's hand. As Giles takes care of her, her eyes glow.

Buffy demands answers from Giles and he firmly tells her to butt out, taking Ms. Calendar to his apartment. Buffy, hurt and scared, tells the Slayerettes (including Cordelia) to go into action, checking the net and Giles' private files. They discover that Eyghon is a demon that survives by possessing dead or unconcious people, and conclude that he jumped to Ms. Calendar. Finding his phone out (where Ms. Calendar disconnected it) Buffy heads off to the rescue, as Ms. Calendar first tries to seduce Giles, then goes demon and attacks him. She shows up in time to save his life, but the demon escapes. Giles admits that, in his school days, he rebelled against his fate to be a Watcher and fell in with the 'wrong crowd'. Together, they summoned a demon, Eyghon, repeatedly, for the high it brought. Then the demon got lose, killing one of the boys. And now it's returned to kill the people who had called it before -- of which only Giles and Ethan are left.

Giles, still weak, more or less disabled and desperately worried about Ms. Calendar, stays behind while Buffy goes demonhunting at Ethan's shop and the Slayerettes continue to try to find a way to stop him (hindered by a lot of fighting from Cordy and Xander). Buffy finds Ethan, then makes the mistake of turning her back on him and he knocks her out; tying her up, he tattoos her with the Mark and uses acid to take off his own. Giles apparently senses the transfer and stumbles out the door. Meanwhile, Willow comes up with her own brilliant idea for disposing of the demon without killing Ms. Calendar. The demon shows up on time, as Buffy breaks loose from her bonds, and Giles shows up to protect Buffy. As he fights the demon, Angel bursts through the door and attacks the demon; they fight, with the demon winding up on the losing end. He jumps to the nearest dead body -- Angel's, to which the demon already in residence strongly objects. The two fight it out for control of Angel's body, and Angel wins. But the damage has been done; Ethan escapes and Ms. Calendar has soem issues to work out... without Giles.

Giles's past turns out to be a whopper, if not as bad as we'd feared. He actually rebelled against his destiny as a Watcher, and got someone killed in the process by mucking about with magick, demons, and other nasties. And he and Ethan knew each other way back in school days. Oh, and Giles went to Oxford, and we've seen his apartment!

And now we know where Angel gets his 'food'.

Ow. Owowowowowowow. Just as things get really interesting -- innuendos flying, lips locking, heavy-duty comforting -- with Giles and Ms. Calendar, this has to happen. I can't blame her for wanting to back away -- she's faced what Giles is and what's going to happen around him, but this is the first time it's a) gotten quite this personal and b) been directly his fault. Still, I hope she gets over it soon.

Xander and Cordelia are looking more and more like a possibility. I did not notice the two them moving away from each other after Xander pulled her away from walking dead guy, and nobody fights that much unless they're covering up something else. It surprises me that I'm actually looking forward to seeing what happens between them.

So, Giles is, in fact, human, which is a rather rude surprise to the Slayerettes, who are used to seeing him as the support structure/rock-solid foundation of their scary and insane little world. What do you do when your Father Figure's past shows up to attack all of you? Which is the worst part for Giles -- that not only did his actions twenty years ago kill a friend, but it now put the woman he loves and all three of his children (four if you count Cordy, which I don't yet) in danger. That'll be what he has the hardest time forgiving himself for. But that Very Bad Thing that happened as a reult of his rebelling against fate puts a whole new twist on his attitude towards Buffy's attempts to rebel. He's seen first-hand the consequences of ignoring one's duty (at least, that's how he sees it); he's not just trying to make her do her job to protect the world, he's trying to protect her from the regrets he lives with, and has just added to.

Ms. Calendar really didn't know what she was getting into. As a pagan, she has some clue/understanding of magic and its consequences, but she hasn't had to really pay a price for it before. Now she has, and she's wigged. Can't really blame her, like I said. I wonder what makes it hardest to face Giles -- knowing that he called the demon, or knowing what the demon did to him in her body?

Every time Buffy turns around lately, she's seeing something about someone she loves and relies on that she never wanted to see. She deals with Giles' past pretty well, but she had the practice with Angel. And it'll do both of them good for her to see him as a human being -- temper, passion, flaws and all -- instead of just The Watcher. She also wound up having to take responsibility for everything that goes with slaying for the first time outside of Prophecy Girl. No Watcher to tell her and the rest of the Slayerettes what to do, no grownups available to lean on (although she tried; notice she headed for the first grownup in the know as soon as Giles started spooking her). She came through pretty well, all things considered -- got everyone in motion and working on the problem -- but she really does have to learn not to turn her back on known bad guys, though.

Willow just has to deal -- she's not only going to be the next Watcher, she's turning into Giles. First she talks like him, then she's sipping tea from one of his cups, then she refers to it as 'my library'. This is her most surprising loss of temper yet -- we've established she has no fear of Angel or Giles, but she loves and is therefore intimidated by Xander and has been intimidated as hell by Cordelia traditionally, but she still manages to bawl both of them out without turning a hair. Now, if she could only keep that backbone in place when no one's in mortal danger....

Okay, Cordelia is officially a Slayerette! She's been injured, injured someone else, done research and insulted Giles. *g* Love that she admitted to caring about Giles and actively helped with the research, voluntarily even. She's getting into the Slayerettes gig wholeheartedly, even though it means having to work with Xander. Hopefully, they won't kill each other before the vampire's get the chance, but the issue is still in doubt. It's either going to be homicide or love.

Ethan is a way-cool bad guy -- reminds me of Methos when he was being Death on Highlander. Extremely centered on his own self-interest -- but that's coming into conflict with his deep desire to hurt Giles. Gotta wonder what other history there is betwen the two of them. He knows enough about the Slayer to hide behind her (which puts him in the smart, but a right bastard category; hiding behind a sixteen-year-old girl!) and to take her down from behind, and he sure knows how to push Giles's buttons. A worthy opponent, and I look forward to seeing more of him.

Best Moments:
Ms. Calendar's sideways "Willow..." *g* She is under no illusions about what they think of her and Giles, and handles it really well. And the expressions on the kids' faces at the thought of them together!

Ms. Calendar making Giles squirm. Robia is just so damn cool.

The KISS!!!!!

Angel, Buffy and the blood. Angel's "It's delivery day. Everybody knows about this." is hilarious, as are the looks on their faces as Buffy puts him in charge of delivering the blood. Buffy's screams 'You will deliver it, won't you? All of it?' while his is 'But... I'm hungry! Oh, all right.' Wonderful byplay.

Giles drinking. When all we've seen of Giles is Mr. Together and in control, his breaking down enough to need those shots is more disturbing than any amount of hair-tearing.

The morgue attendent checking the bodies. Well, it is Sunnydale. *snerk*

Cordelia taking down Ethan. You go, girl!!!

Giles taking care of Ms. Calendar when she regains conciousness. "Lean on me." *sigh* *WAFF*

Ms. Calendar going demon. A fantastic performance from Robia! Would have liked to have seen her and David sitting around comparing notes on makeup, though. *g*

The 'fight' between Xander and Cordelia, followed by Willow's excellent diatribe and their incredibly meek response. Love it when Willow blows up.

The final scene with Ms. Calendar and Giles. Truly painful, especially her flinch away from him, but Joss is always fond of consequences.

Buffy and Giles talking right afterwards. Buffy's turn to comfort Giles, his turn to lean on her for a minute.

Questions and Comments:
And Xander and Cordy were the only people who needed remedial tutoring? Sorry; we've established Cordelia's bubble-brained friends are at least as much in need of help (pilot, Harmony, remember?). Can we say 'convenient plot device'? I knew we could....

So why's the demon back after twenty years? They never did say. Bets are Ethan was involved.

Okay. So Angel has made comments about having a demon inside of him for a couple of centuries, and been refered to as a dead guy in front of Cordelia, who didn't blink. Did we miss the on-screen revelation which we so deeply desired? Or did Joss shoot himself in the foot? Even Cordy's not dense enough to have missed the fact that Angel is, indeed, a vampire.

David's stunt double had a busy night! *g* Not that we're complaing. Excellent fight scenes.

Beautiful segue from the picture of Giles as a boy to Giles talking about his student days. A really lovely transition to his story.

Rating: 5 out of five. A few plot holes and one glaring CPD, but cool effects, a way-cool past for Giles, *great* performances by Tony, Robia and Robin Sachs... I'm happy!

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