Written by David Fury, Jane Epsenson and Marti Noxon
Directed by James A. Contner

Perri's Review | Julie's Review | Maureen's Comments |SunSpeak

Perri's Review

Thank god this picks up right where Hush left off; we'd have to kill Joss otherwise. But a solid follow-up to that awesome episode, and a great addition to the Riley/Buffy arc.

Buffy and Riley are in Buffy's room, staring at each other. Buffy finally breaks the silence, leading to whole new levels of awkwardness. Riley gets to explain first. Which he refuses to do -- that whole, top-secret thing -- and Buffy does his explaining for him. More than a little surprised at what Buffy knows about the DGLC corps, Riley swears that everything he told her was the truth -- he just left out some details. Buffy agrees, and tells him she's the Slayer -- which he's never heard of. "You fight demons?" is the best he can come up with, having seen her fighting skills and lack of bruises first-hand. New awkwardness descends, leaving both of them craving some space to deal with the new information. But, this being Sunnydale and all, before Riley can leave, Amy-Rat starts squeaking and an earthquake hits. Riley enjoys it (his first earthquake), but Buffy is more than a little wigged. Bad associations with earthquakes, you know...

Elsewhere in Sunnydale, the rest of the residents are cleaning up. Reluctant roommates Spike and Xander find a leak in their basement; Spike complains and Xander tells him to if x it -- "You earn your keep, or you don't get kept." In short, if Xander has to live with Spike, Spike gets to do some of the housework. Spike is less than thrilled. Willow returns home with news of an aftershock party in a nearby dorm, and is too jammed by the earthquake to notice that Buffy is a tad distracted. Buffy heads for Giles, too vent her extremely bad feelings about the earthquake on her understanding Watchers shoulders. Her understanding Watcher isn't impressed, much more focused on trying to narrow down the location of the DGLC headquarters (which he's narrowed to the UC Sunnydale campus) than on his Slayer wigging over a too-all-appearances normal earthquake.

Riley heads for work, to pump Forrest on 'The Slayer'. "A bogeyman for subterrestrials," Forrest tells him, a fairy-tale monsters made up. Riley is having a tiny crisis of belief on this whole real-not real thing, but gets distracted when a big honking demon goes nuts, trying to escape his captors. Riley and Forrest subdue him with no little effort, but it's an epidemic with all of the "animals" being held at the facility.

Willow makes it to the dorm party, but finds herself alone, since Buffy has yet to show up. She latches gratefully onto a familiar face -- her old student Percy, now on a football scholarship to USC, and back home to see his girlfriend (who is a major high-maintenance chick). The chick drags him away pretty fast, doing the jealous girlfriend thing, leaving Willow alone again. And, in a backroom of the party, a young man mixing drinks get an unpleasant visitor -- a demonic hand lashes out and slashed his throat.

Willow continues to be an unhappy partygoer -- made even moreso when she overhears Percy soothing his jealous girlfriend. "She's nerd squad" he says contemptuously; hurt, Willow wanders off to find somewhere to be unhappy alone. She lets herself into someone's room and lays down -- only to roll over and find herself next to the dead boy, a symbol carved onto his naked chest.

Xander is also getting an unhappy surprise -- returning home, he gets the double whammy of unfixed plumbing.. and Spike wearing his clothes. Trying desperately not to giggle at Spike in a Hawaiian shirt, Xander shifts quickly to losing his temper when Spike gets pissy. Spike is just a drain on everyone else, and no one is even scared of him anymore, he informs his 'roommate'; he's not even worth the effort to beat up. He storms out, leaving Spike staring.

Buffy finally arrives at the party to find Willow in shock at her discovery of the body -- and occasionally getting sidetracked to the Percy and nerd issue. They head for Giles, as Riley sits in his room with Forrest, unsuccessfully shooting baskets at his door and brooding about Buffy, until Graham shows up with news of the murder. Riley heads out to investigate alone. Willow continues to bounce between murder and nerdom, but manages to remember that the body had been draining of blood, and the symbol on his chest. Giles identifies it. "It's the end of the world," he states grimly. "Again?!?" the Slayerettes chorus. Buffy takes a moment for I told you so's before getting back down to the business of stopping the apocalypse.

The symbol, she remembers, was inscribed on the side of a mausoleum in the Sunnydale Cemetery; she heads there to find a demon stealing the bones of a child. They fight, of course, the brawl spilling out of the mausoleum into the grass outside. As Buffy comes off on the losing end, the demon runs and Buffy finds herself face to face with Riley, almost decking him. Riley hadn't followed Demon Boy because he wasn't armed, but he calls it in to headquarters, as Buffy listens with fascination and not a little unhappiness. She tries to escape to demon hunt; even as Riley tells her not to worry about it, the Initiative will get it, Buffy changes the subject.

She can't date Riley, she informs him; she's made too many mistakes and won't make this one again. Riley, confused, follows her to fight for himself. "I've never been this excited about anybody before. I'm not trying to scare you, and I'm not gonna force myself on you. But I am, by god, not gonna walk away because I think it might not work." Buffy is less than convinced; what is her life and destiny is Riley's job, and she can't walk away from it. But she can and will walk away from him, for her own good.

Giles and the Slayerettes track down Demon Boy in the books, finding that it's another harbinger of apocalypse. In fact, the blood of a man, the bones of a child and something called the Word of Valios are part of the Sacrifice of Three -- yup, end of the world. Buffy heads out to hunt for the demons or the talisman, and Riley mobilized his people (who know only that it's a demon to be killed, and have no clue as to the more supernatural aspects of the hunt). Xander and Willow head to Xander's place to change clothes, and find Spike in the middle of a suicide attempt. The two find themselves in the middle of trying to talk him out of killing himself; Xander is actually all in favor of helping, but Willow's soft heart wins the day. They wind up hauling Spike along with them on their research trip; he is marginally cheered by the prospect of an apocalypse.

Patrolling, Buffy once again runs into Riley and they pick up where they left off in the "date me" discussion. Riley refuses to let it go, telling her that she has to be more positive, to live looking for the good instead of expecting the bad. "I think you want to stay down in the dark place, cause maybe it's safer there." He doesn't care about her past, or her past mistakes; he just wants her to take a chance on him, to face things together. But finally, in the face of her determination, he walks away.

Fun with Suicide Boy continues, with Spike pointing out some home truths to his Slayerettes companions, hitting Xander with his lack of direction, and Willow with Oz's leaving. His tactics do not succeed; the other two refuse to stake him, defending their lives to him. Spike sneers and walks away (something of a trend tonight). And, across town, Giles realizes where the Word of Valios is -- in a case of trinkets in his apartment. He finds it just in time to be attacked by a team of three demons, who leave him beaten up and take the talisman. And the news gets worse -- the talisman is part of a ritual to -- yup, open the Hellmouth. Time to go back to high school.

It's a burned-out hulk, of course; cinders and soot and pieces of Mayor-meat everywhere. Buffy is not happy to have Spike along, but is too preoccupied to argue about it. As they make their way through the halls, they hear chanting from the direction of what used to be the library; but only the demons are there, no one to be sacrificed. Buffy jumps into the ritual immediately, attacking the demons. Xander and Willow take the opportunity to grab the blood, bones and talisman and get them out of the field of play -- with a relative lack of success. Even Spike gets pulled in, and makes a wondrous discovery -- he can beat up on demons! But Xander makes a worse discovery -- the demons themselves are the sacrifice, jumping into the Hellmouth to open it. Spike discovers this shortly after he throws one in.

With one demon left to go, earthquakes start to shake the unstable building. Buffy kicks the others out (Xander and Willow dragging an injured Spike), as Buffy struggles to hold the third demon away from the Hellmouth. AS the demon looms over her, help arrives from behind; Riley jumps into the fight in full commando gear. But even the two of them aren't enough; the demons manages to get the talisman and dive into hole. Buffy instantly prepares to jump in after him, but Riley stops her... long enough to attach a reel of cable to her belt. "You're coming back out," he informs her. She jumps, leaving Riley to feed the lifeline after her. The gambit works; as a renewed earthquake hits the building, Riley hauls and Buffy reappears, demon dangling beneath her. As he dies, the earthquake still.

They head out, and run into the returning Slayerettes, as Riley belatedly remembers the secret identity thing. He tries desperately to cover, but Buffy tries not to smirk and the Slayerettes simply stare at him in polite, and amused, disbelief -- they were telling better cover stories than this in tenth grade. Spike, for his part, desperately does not want to be recognized, and succeeds, largely because Riley is too distracted.

The next day, Riley retreats to his room and his hoop, completely disgusted with himself, and the total blowing of his top-secret cover. It's not the end of the world, Buffy assures him, and seals it with a kiss. As, across town, Spike dances in font of Xander and Willow, desperate to go out and fight some evil, pound some demons, kill some vampires. They stare in horror at the monster they've created...

Riley knows about the Slayer, and the Slayer (and two of the Slayerettes) know about Riley and the Damn Good Looking Commandos. Riley has not told his teammates or superior about Buffy, and Buffy hasn't told Giles about Riley.

The Hellmouth is still accessible beneath the library in the ruins of Sunnydale High.

Spike can beat up on and kill demons, leaving him an enthusiastic Slayerette for the time being.

Riley and Buffy are on the road to a relationship, due to his refusal to walk away when Buffy tells him to. And we're even getting kissage.

How much do I love that Riley had no idea what a Slayer is? I'm not surprised Forrest knew, given that we heard Spike, at least, yelling about The Slayer when he was taken. But it was great for Riley to be essentially clueless. And he was great in other ways; the thing I love best about him so far -- arsenal, butt and grin aside -- is his blatent refusal to let Buffy run him off. As Buffy lays out relationship facts that would have left Angel silent, angsting and obediently walking away, Riley instead gets in her face and tells her why she's wrong. He may wind up regreting this, but at least he's willing to try. In the shape Buffy's in right now, this kind of optimism and determiantion to live may be the best thing anyone could give her.

One of the other topics of discussion (besides the Great Riley Debate; see below) was Buffy hiding the truth about Riley and the DGLCs from Giles and the others. I actually understand it -- mostly because I firmly believe that, given a bit of time, she would have confessed all. But she was still trying to deal with the truth herself, and the shaking of her faith in Riley; adding Giles flipping on top of that wouldn't have helped the situation. And she made no attempt to cover for Riley in front of Xander and Willow, standing aside and snickering instead. And if those two know, Giles will know by the beginning of the next episode, you can bet on it.

As for trying to get rid of Riley... < sigh > She's had a rough time. And when she's already having deja vu to one of the worst days of her life, having Riley around taking Angel's place in that deja vu just isn't helping. You can't blame her for wanting to crawl into a hole and stay there, even though she's wrong. Thank god for Riley.

Xander and Spike are turning into the Laurel and Hardy of Sunnydale. I have no idea what Giles was thinking by sending Spike home with Xander, considering how much Xander hates him, but we're certainly enjoying it. The aborted suicide attempt is great, especially since Xander enjoyed it so much, and it's even better when Spike regains his will to live. Wow, he's going to be impossible to live with -- neophyte, over-enthusiastic Slayerette and the experienced (and appalled) pros. < snicker > I had no idea where Joss was going with this, but I love it!

And Xander, of course, is priceless -- yelling at Spike, then being forced by Willow's compassion to keep someone alive that he'd really rather stake. And Willow... wow, she needs a reality check. I know where she's coming from -- she has a long history of letting her heart override her common sense, and she knows Spike now, he's human to her, even if he isn't. It's the same thing that let her accept Angel so readily, and it's going to get her killed. not by Spike, of course (at least, I don't think), bu this whole 'mercy towards the defeated enemy' thing is just not a safe thing. Still, it makes her Willow. As does the nerd thing -- which she was focusing on to keep from dwelling on dead bodies, I know, but still! You can take the girl out of high school....

Not much for Giles to do except get beat up this time around. but I'm deeply amsued that he has a stash of talismans. Want to bet he spends the next several weeks making sure he knows exactly what each and every one of those things is?

Best Moments:
Buffy telling Riley's life story to him. The entire conversation was beautiful, awkward and flippant and real.

"I'm not grading on a curve." < g > I feel so sorry for Buffy here, but it's a great line.

Xander telling Spike to do some housework. Talk about surreal... I think Xander was turning into his mother for a second there.

Spike in Xander's clothes. Need I say more? < snerk >

Willow immediately after discovering the body. Just a beautiful, beautiful flashback to Prophecy Girl, right after she found her friends in the A/V room, right down to the shocked and quiet, "There was so much blood." Nice job.

Anytime Forrest is onscreen. < g >

"Again?!?" ROTFL!

Riley's responses to Buffy's "I can't to this" speeches. He's so good, sincerely trying to understand, and just as sincerely telling her she's wrong.

The interwoven briefings. This is the same thing they used in Hush, and it works just was well. But instead of running parallel, this time, it underscores how much the Initiative doesn't, and how much it could cost Sunnydale if there was no Slayer around to read between the lines of 'demon' to 'apocalypse'.

"You should have trusted me enough to do it for you!" A suicidal Spike is almost as much fun as a homicidal one, with Xander around to bounce straight lines off of.

"Oh, as usual, dear." < giggle >

Willow and Xander forcing Spike to help in the fight. His expression is priceless!

Spike getting back into the groove of fighting and killing. < g > How sad is it when we're happy that he can return to murder and mayhem?

Riley informing Buffy that she was coming back out. So grim and determined, with that implied "You are not doing this alone!". WAFF! Riley trying to cover and The Slayerettes laughing at him. Add to that James' hilarious mix of atrocious accents and you have a priceless scene.

The kiss. More WAFFs.

Questions and Comments:
Wow, how cheesy was that finale? But the other SunS dissed it much better than I could, check out SunSpeak.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5. A solid episode marred by an incredibly unbelievable climactic scene.

Julie's Review

Tonight's Buffy....what can I say, but James Marsters just steals the show. I love that he's been getting just so pathetic that even something that Xander says to him hurts. He played it perfectly of the forced usual sneer turning into a somber hopelessness. And the swan dive that he took and _missed_ the stake was hysterical. I actually felt sorry for him (in between the giggles) when he got Willow to admit (by not being able to deny it) that he wasn't even slightly scary any longer. And Willow is still just a bit too understanding by recognizing that if left to himself, he'd finish it. I think she's identifying with Spike just a tad too much. Poor, poor Spike.

Spike's absolute glee at discovering that there was something that wasn't inanimate that he could beat the snot out of was priceless. Now he's all gung-ho about going out and helping just so he can work his frustrations out and driving Xander & Willow nuts. (Well - we were wishing for the Three Musketeers again...I just never dreamed of Spike being the third in that. < g >) I can hardly wait until someone forcibly reminds Spike that he is doing *exactly* what Angel was & is doing. Oh, man. Wait 'til Dru gets there. There's gonna be fun times ahead.

Episode effective ookiness: the death of the student with the blood dripping onto the dropped drinks and Willow discovering that she's in bed with a corpse when the lights come on. ::shiver::

Interesting to see Willow being bothered by being called a nerd, than by the body. I think that while what Percy did call her hurt, she was using it to stop from thinking about dead bed guy.

Xander is again more self-assured in this ep than he has been most of this season. Thankfully. The complete lack of self confidence was begining to wear. Maybe by punching the snot out of Spike in 'Hush', he got that all out of his system.

Sunnydale High. The old stomping grounds for the gang. The even older stomping grounds for evil. Stomping on parts of the Mayor. < g > I loved it, but it hurt to see the shell of the library. ::sob:: Still nothing about Catherine Madison, though. Hmmm...

And Buffy and Riley. I happy and annoyed. Happy that they're gonna make a go of it, happy that Riley doesn't give up easily (had she told Angel to blow, he wouldn't have argued-he just would have done a stealth vanish) happy that they had a somewhat talk. I'm annoyed that Buffy was doing the 'don't tell/don't explain' thing that she's always done in the past that has _always_ gone wrong in the past. She's gonna have to explain more to Riley about _everything_, but especially about Angel. Oh, boy is _that_ gonna be interesting. "Your last boyfriend was one of THOSE?" (Almost as good-wait 'til he realized that Spike is the escaped Hostile they lost.) And what's Buffy gonna tell Giles? He all hot & heavy about the commandos. He's just not gonna back off for no reason. Riley better face it--he's compromised.

Oh, and while I'm remembering, I think it's interesting that the Initiative has heard the Slayer stuff from the vamps & all and think she's just a boogeyman for the baddies and not real at all. Wonder what'll happen when they find out she's not a legend?

Nice small continunities: Amy forecasting the quake and the off hand mention of Faith.

Maureen's Comments

Y'know, I was thinking about this briefly this morning on the bus ride to work, and I had some Thoughts about the direction of the show. (Apologies in advance for rambling, spazzy post... < g >) Looking at some early episodes recently, I was struck by how *young* everyone was. Buffy was this cute little teeny-bopper, with the remains of baby-fat still padding out her face, and Willow was this shy, geeky little girl still. You're only 16-years-old once in your life, y'know? You're invincible, and strong, and convinced that everything will turn out all right in the end, 'cause after all that's how it always happens on TV and in the movies, right? You haven't seen death and destruction and blood and chaos, over, and over, and over... You have faith. You have stamina. And you're at least as concerned with looking cool, and having a witty quip, as you are with vanquishing evil.

But after several years of doing the same thing, and having the evil keep coming... and coming... and coming...! You get more cynical and bitter, and more hopeless. You start to think that there's not much point to trying to change, 'cause _nothing_changes_. People die. The Hellmouth opens again. You kill some demons, and more come along to take their place. Attempts to change are doomed - you have demonstrated proof of this! This is where Buffy is now - unable to see any virtue in attempting to grow and change, at least in part because it takes too much time, and time is always at a premium, living on the Hellmouth. Things are the way they are, and any attempt to change them is futile. Riley still has his corn-fed optimism intact - he's doing something useful, something that makes a difference in the world, a quantifiable difference that he can *see*. Where's the bad? He hasn't literally *lived* in the midst of the evil for years and years, and seen his family and friends affected by it, the way Buffy has.

So this is where I had my thoughts about the direction of the show... I'm assuming that Joss has ideas about where in _general_ he wants the show to go, even if he doesn't have a specific multi-year story-arc worked out. And it seems to me that we're following the maturity cycle of the Slayer, and by association, humanity in general - from Innocence, through Cynicism, and finally arriving at Mature Wisdom. This season and last, we seem to have been stuck in a Slough of Despond, but what if we have to go through despair in order to reach a more enlightened state? In some ways, Riley could be a kind of deus ex machina, a way to help Buffy to finally move beyond that "nothing ever changes" state of mind that all her experiences over the last several years has dumped her into. Yeah, he's a little too good to be true, too pure-and-simple "white hat good-guy". But since when has this show shied away from archtypes? If you're gonna have Evil, at some point, you should also have Good. If for no other reason than to provide some balance.

And for Buffy to move from Angel to Riley makes total sense in the context of a story about the growth of the Slayer. Most girls go through a Bad Boy phase, where they're attracted to the black-leather-wearing, establishment-rebelling, motorcycle-riding, on-the-verge-of-violence nasty boys. (Granted, some girls never move *past* that phase... < gg >) They're exciting, they're dangerous, they're sexy... On the other hand, they tend to be high-maintainence, and well, they're *dangerous*. For someone who spends most of her life in danger, doesn't it make sense to look for a relationship that provides a calm port in the storm, a safe haven? The fact that said harbor _doesn't_ need to be protected from the Big Bad, that it can protect itself, is something that Buffy should have twigged to much sooner!

I don't know where exactly I'm going with this thought, except maybe... wait. Have patience. Have faith. < g > Given enough time (and a show that won't be cancelled out from under you, and actors that don't decide to leave for greener pastures), I think this cycle of doom and gloom will end eventually. I *don't* think we'll ever go back to the happy-bouncy baby-Slayer we started out with. We *can't* - like everyone else in the world, Buffy has grown up and moved on, and can't ever go back to those carefree days of her youth, where the worst she had to deal with was having to do a patrol and stake a few vamps before she could meet her guy for a date at the Bronze. Not. So very not.

(Of course, I still have faith in Joss and the BtVS Powers-That-Be - something I know not everyone still has. :>)


"Well, they've decided to rehash old, annoying mannerisms *yet* again. Over and over, the folks on Buffy make the same mistake. They fail to tell each other the truth. They withhold information. They end up hurting one another and damaging trust. Then the rebuild trust just enough that there will be *another* fall next time the writers trot out this same, by now very *old* storyline. I understand that people do make the same mistakes over and over. But I'm *really* tired of watching *these* people make *these* mistakes. I'm tired of them (the writers) using the same old trick to tell the same story of people making the same mistakes. It's the same old same old dramatic tension over the same things, and, like Julie said, if you push the same button enough, the button breaks. I hate that Buffy, yet again, is deliberately *not* telling Giles (and company) about Riley and the Initiative. I'm hoping that Willow and Xander (or Spike) will share this information." -- Amy

"I know. And yet, how much new stuff did she have to tell? That Riley was one of them. And that was about it. And that she never wanted to see him again. It's annoying --- way annoying---- but since Buffy made the *huge* leap forward of not giving up by the end, I am willing to live with it. (But boy, I'm sure Giles doesn't want to...)" -- Chris, responding to the above

"Oh, and, just for the record, Riley would no longer have the use of his hands after that *thin* wire cut through ever bit of soft tissue as he hauled up Buffy and the demon by pulling on it without the benefit of a pulley."
"Oh, tell me about it! I was physically cringing through that entire scene. How many laws of physics were completely destroyed there? It's almost the Xena-verse! Riley couldn't have held onto Buffy when the wire came to the end of the spool - the speed and inertia she built up on her fall would have pulled him right off his feet. Buffy couldn't have caught the demon! He fell through the hole before her - all objects fall at the same speed, so how did she fall *faster* than him to catch up to him? Riley pulled her up... with his *bare* hands (ow, ow, ow!!)... *along* with the demon? You sure he's not a Slayer, or maybe Superman?" -- Amy and Maureen

"I did love Spike's amazingly bad fake accent. :-) I was very impressed at James *still* doing the accent, then overlaying an attempt at another accent through that--a *bad* attempt--so you could hear the normal Spike accent, warped by the Spike-doing-American-badly. :-) What an ear that man has..." -- Amy

"I also liked the contrast between Scooby Gang and Initiative; they have better toys, more people --- and not even half as much of a clue. " -- Chris

"And wow, doesn't Buffy have a lot of peripheral weirdness to explain --- Reilly really *didn't* grow up on the Hellmouth, so..." -- Chris

"Not too much Giles tonight, was there? And except for his action scene, he didn't do much even when he was in the shot. It seemed as if Willow got most of his dialogue. Maybe related to his strange voice in that patio scene? I wonder if ASH lost his voice from a cold and they really did give Willow his lines, and there was no way to rewrite the patio scene so they had to make do with his altered voice." -- Betsy

"Am I remembering this wrong? Spike was wearing those goofy shorts (oh gods, that shirt! ) when he, Willow, and Xander left Xander's basement and were walking around town, right? Then they all three went to Giles'. Then all four went to the high school, and Spike is wearing jeans. Whose jeans?" -- Betsy

"The problem I have is that, to me, they seem to be going out of their way to make Riley Practically Perfect in Every Way (They should just have made his last name "Poppins") so that we have no choice but to like and accept him. I want to give him a chance because he is cute and he is nice and I suppose Buffy does deserve a chance at something normal-like and happy. But I want to accept him on *my* terms. And I feel like they're Going To Make Me Like Him Dammit And That's All There Is To It.""
"I can see what you mean -- while not having the same issue at all. I was coming up with arguments, "He's not perfect. He stammers when she's around and..." and realized that everything I came up with perhaps made him not real world "perfect" perfect, but is perfectly designed to make the audience like him. He's got a HUGE thing to work against with the whole Buffy/Angel thing -- both with Buffy and the audience. If there was *any* reason why we aren't supposed to be 110% convinced that Riley is the best thing to happen to femalehood since they invented British accents, then the truly, deeply, rabidly fanatic B/A shippers will tear him to itty bitty pieces. Unfortunately, this has the side-effect of making people go, "OK, so he works to save people from demons *without* having a mystical Calling, is nice and gooby over our favorite Vampire Slayer, and isn't a creature of the night. I bet he helps little old ladies across the street, too." -- MB and Lizbet

"Let me say that I do like Riley. I do I do I do. I'm really in your camp, Lizbet. Just sometimes, usually right after a new episode airs, I stray toward the B/A side (duh! 3 seasons of training!) and need to wallow for a while and stuff. And in those times, it's so clear to me how carefully they're designing things. Buffy's first post-Angel guy was a jerk, so we could be allowed to hate him. And so that when Riley came along, we couldn't help but like him. And everything about Riley (knows about demons and can hold his own, but can take her on picnics and can make love to her [and boy if you think I need list therapy now, wait until they actually do sleep together! Oi!]) makes him the perfect guy for her in every way. Which is just annoying. Cuz what in real life is perfect? That's what I like about B/A -- it's so far from perfect it's amazing. Yet, they love each other. And it made me root for them. What's to root for in B/[R]? " -- MB

"Maybe this is where the actors come in -- their portrayals and chemistry. David and Sarah have astounding chemistry. No two ways about it. Marc is learning by leaps and bounds and his Riley stuff was good this ep. But I don't see the same chemistry."
"See, that's where we're gonna have to agree to disagree - I think they have _wonderful_ chemistry. It's not the same as Buffy/Angel, absolutely not! But it's perfect for Buffy/Riley. Every time Riley hesitantly steps in close to Buffy, I just get an almost physical tug on my insides, feeling the force of the attraction between them." -- MB and Maureen

"[Giles is] one that should have massive spine trauma from being thrown on the back of the furniture. Looks good, but is realistically very bad. I'll let what happens to Buffy slide as the established 'stronger than normal, quicker to heal' Slayer stuff, but the regular folks should be treated like regular folks. Gah!" - Julie

"There, there. It's all right. < gg > It's *hard* to let go of the doomed, star-crossed lovers thing! They should be together, but they can't, but they should, but they *can't*, but they *MUST*... But the only way that ends is for the pair of them to be found dead together in a crypt, and I have to say I prefer picnics in the daylight. But that's me. " -- Maureen

"They're not recognizing the critters as demons, why would they think of them as evil? They're just... really big pests. And won't *that* be quite the shock for Riley, if he ever comes to the realization that he's actually been personally involved in the fight for Good, Right, and the American Way? I want that particular realization to happen on-screen - I really want to see Riley's face when the shock hits him." -- Maureen

"I formed the line the second Buffy started eyeing Riley with the obvious thought of personally checking out those bruises. If Riley-boy had any sense at all, he would have seen that look, and started a little game of "compare the scars" with Buffy." -- Maureen

"I was actually kind of bugged by the fact that the geek-girl with whom so many of us identified on whatever level hasn't embraced her geekdom like so many of us have."
"Also, Percy always treated her as a friend in high school. How would you feel if someone you thought you had a friendly comradship with started dissing you behind your back? Sure, he used her in school, but he treated her as a normal person -- even someone special enough that he counted on her -- yet first chance he gets he puts her down to make himself look better. I could really understand it, because even though I have embraced my inner dork, if my really cute (really he is) co-worker dissed me I would be just like Willow. " -- Julie and Abby

" there anybody else out there who DOESN"T like cute, whitebread and so clean cut appearing that one imagines that next to him boy scouts would look like drug crazed demon worshipers. Come on, there has to be one person out there! All we need is Buffy "the angst ridden yet beautiful young girl who must learn to love and laugh again" mating with "I do good work, come from Iowa and iron my undershorts and say m'am alot" Riley. Really, I mean it, come on, is there anybody out there?"
"I like Riley. But the perfection that is him can grate. I would like to see him fail at something. And get smudged. And say a bad word. Just one. Oooo..... I bet he's a closet Backstreet Boys fan. That's evil, isn't it?" -- Maddog and MB

"I like him, but I do find him bland. I'm not sure if this is Marc Blucas, the fact that Riley has very little backstory yet (in comparison to the Slayerettes) or because they're trying to make him too nice. He's sweet, but he doesn't trip my switches. On the other hand, he also has the less-spicy Hero's role, which calls for heroic action, caring emotion, and brilliant insight, with less opportunity for quick-witted wittiness. Not too much the actor's, or the writer's fault, it's just the kind of character he is. If he were being as smartass as Forrest, I'd go for him. I always go for the wiseass guys with a somewhat cynical streak." -- Kiki

"Correct me if I'm wrong -- please! -- but Angel was resouled by the Gypsies in 1898. And Penn said he waited for Angelus into the 19th century. ::blink::blink:: Is it me or is that a big whoopsie?" -- MB

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