I Only Have Eyes For You

Perri's Review | Chris's Review | SunSpeak

Perri's Review

Once again, Marni Noxon delivers; Buffy's uniquely twisted slant turns a basic ghost story into a damn good wigfest, with some serious surprises.

Another night at the Bronze, and Buffy is depressed. A boy from her math class asks her to ask him to the Upcoming Sadie Hawkins dance and, although he seems nice, she rejects him, to Willow's disapproval. She tells Buffy to be impulsive; Buffy reminds her of the results of her last impulsive move -- namely, Angelus. Buffy returns to the school, where she finds two student arguing, the girl trying to walk away. When the boy draws a gun on the girl, Buffy intervenes, tackling the boy. When they get back up, the boy and girl are both confused -- since they don't know why they were fighting, and the gun has disappeared.

The next morning, Snyder is trying to find a way to make the whole incident Buffy's fault. Before she escapes from his office, a yearbook from 1955 drops at her feet. In the computer lab, Willow wraps up a class and talks to Giles, telling him about the research she's been doing with Ms. Calendar's pagan web sites. She gives Giles a piece of rose quartz that belonged to Ms. Calender -- it's good for healing.

Bufyf falls asleep in history class and dreams an encounter between a student and a teacher; when she's awake, her real teacher writes "Don't walk away from me, bitch" on the chalkboard. A few minutes later, Xander opens his locker and is attacked by a tentacle. Buffy pulls him away and the locker is empty when they reopen it. The pair report to Giles and the Slayerettes conclude a poltergeist is haunting the halls, trying to resolve issues. That night, the same janitor who witnessed the fight the other night starts arguing with a teacher -- using the same lines the couple the night before were throwing back and forth. The janitor tells the teacher she can't walk away from him, or stop loving him. When she does walk away, he pulls a gun; Giles, drawn from his office by a woman's voice whispering "I need you", is not in time to stop the janitor from shooting and killing the teacher as she falls from the outside balcony. When he recovers, he remembers nothing and the gun has disappeared.

Angelus leads Dru and Spike to a new home, a garden. Angelus is still baiting Spike openly and going after Dru, as tensions rise between the trio. Giles fills the Slayerettes in on the night before and tells them he has concluded who the ghost is -- Jenny Calendar. The Slayerettes disagree, since the pattern doesn't fit Jenny's death, but he refuses to listen, so they go to plan on their own. Willow finds an old article about a student, James, who killed a teacher, Miss Newman, he was having an affair with, then killed himself. The year was 1955, like the yearbook, and the teacher and student were the two Buffy saw in her daydream. Buffy shows no sympathy for the boy and he doesn't win any when everyone's food turns into snakes in the cafeteria.

Outside, Snyder talks to the police -- he swears he's doing everything he can to cover events up, but they're on a Hellmouth, and people are going to figure it out. The cop tells Snyder he was hired to handle it. Willow does her homework and finds a ritual for an exorcism, enlisting the help of the other three Slayerettes. They set up at the school -- and the doors slam shut, trapping them. At the same time, Dru has a vision, of a gate opening and something coming after the Slayer; Spike goads Angelus into checking it out. Giles catches Willow skulking around, but is too distracted to get involved; the Slayerettes spread out -- and Cordelia's face turns scarred, the floor attempts to eat Willow, and Buffy sees the ghosts dancing together like lovers, then sees James kill Miss Newman and himself. Giles rescues Willow and is fianlly convinces the ghost is not Jenny. They perform the ritual -- and are driven out of the school by the ghost in the form of a swarm of wasps, which surround the school.

Regrouping at Buffy's house, they determine that the ghost is indeed James. Buffy concludes he wants forgiveness, but doesn't think he deserves it for destroying someone he loved in a moment of passion -- she's identifying a bit much with James. Enough that she returns to the school alone, drawn inside by James's spirit, still trying to change the ending of his story. The Slayerettes follow but can't get inside because of the wasps -- which don't stop Angelus. They face each other as Buffy is possessed by James and Angelus by Miss Newman. They play the scene out, as Miss Newman tries to leave James and he refuses to let her, pulling out a gun. She is shot by accident, falling back over the balcony to the stone steps below. Leaving Angelus' body sprawled, Buffy retreats inside, and lifts the gun to her head. She/James is stopped when Miss Newman, in Angelus' body and unable to be killed by the gunshot, walks to Buffy/James, and tells him he is forgiven, that it wasn't his fault and that she loves him. They kiss, and a bright light leaves them, rising through the ceiling then fading away. Back to herself, Buffy looks up into Angel's eyes -- and Angelus freaks, running out of the school in a fury.

School is back to normal, both spirits at rest, and Buffy is still trying to understand how Miss Newman could have forgiven James for the same crime Buffy feels she committed. Angelus tries to wash away the possession, and settles for going on the hunt, leaving Spike behind, alone and furious. Which he takes out on the wheelchair by rising to his feet and kicking it away, glaring after Angelus in rage and promise.

Snyder and the cops know about the Hellmouth; in fact, Snyder was brought in by the mayor specifically to deal with the fallout.

Spike has fully recovered and can walk, although he is hiding the fact from Dru and Angelus.

Xander and Cordy are still openly dating and dancing together at the Bronze, although snipes continue to be exchanges. Willow seems to have adjusted to the relationship, to the point where she's teasing Xander, if not exactly nicely.

Giles is still grieving badly over Jenny, willing to grasp at any straws that would let him see her again, in any circumstances. Buffy is trying to avoid even thinking about Angel, but dealing with heavy guilt, blaming herself for Angel's death and Angelus' return.

Drusilla is not discouraging Angelus's come-ons, or his open taunts in Spike's direction, and Spike is going to kill him. Slowly.

Buffy is guilting , badly. Not only does she blame herself for Jenny's death (with partial justification), she is also feeling guilty for 'killing' Angel -- guilty to the point that she doesn't believe she can be forgiven. Which is precisely the opposite of what I'd been expecting, which is that she would be assigning all of the guilt to Angelus. But she is making the distinction between "my boyfriend" and the "demon wandering around wearing his face," which is good; between that and her guilt problem, the angst when (yes, when dammit!) we get Angel back is going to be far more interesting than I'd anticipated.

Giles, on the other hand, has apparently not really coped with Jenny's death yet. He leaps instantly on the concept of her being a ghost -- hmmm, could he have some guilt is-sues of his own? Ya think? But, of course, the two of them had a lot of things to say to each other, a lot of ground to cover in various apologies and explanations. Even more than Buffy, who knows precisely what happened and is being forced to deal with it, Giles got no closure whatsoever. Given even the slightest chance, it's not surprising that he jumped at it.

Willow is getting way into this pagan/magic stuff. And once again, when Giles goes out of commission, Willow jumps right into the breach to keep the Slayerettes in motion. As Val said on the phone, "And she thinks she has any chance of avoiding the Watcher thing?" She's also fulfilling her usual role as ship's counselor, trying to take care of both Buffy and Giles when both of them are falling apart. Which does not mean that she's not getting off some snarky zingers in Xander's general direction, and still looking goobily in love. Where the situation with Angelus has brought both Giles and Buffy to their knees, Willow just keeps getting stronger. She also refers to Ms. Calendar by her first name for the first time and Giles doesn't even blink. As someone commented, she does seem to have taken on the status of 'official adult' in his eyes.

Wheee! Snyder is back and he does indeed know exactly what he's gotten into. Brought into Sunnydale to deal with the Hellmouth -- cool! So what's his deal? Ghostbuster? PR specialist? What? But he still seems determined to believe everything is Buffy's fault, which doesn't track with knowing about the Hellmouth. Does he think she's a demon? Is he jsut putting on an act to play big bad principal and cover suspicions. Although, this does expalin one thing -- why he's a principal if he hates kids. When Flutie died, the city council must have simultaneously decided enough was enough, and realized they had a perfect place to put any ringer they brought in to deal with the problem. Hence, Snyder, who hates and doesn't deal well with kids, winds up a principal. Suddenly, he makes lots more sense, doesn't he?

Cordelia seems to have taken over Xander's role as the Slayerette anchor to reality. She points out the blatently obvious things that no one else wants to deal with and generally stays connected to the mundane when surrounded by the fantastic. She's actively involved in the ritual without complaining about being left alone in a haunted school, and is eating lunch with the Slayerettes like it's a regular thing. Which still surprises me.

Not much of a Xander episode; once again, things are happening around him and he's simply dealing in a Xander-ish fashion. Looks like next week will be better for him.

I was happy to see the amount of screen time non-regulars got, when normally I would have been screaming! But James and Grace both became very real through the small glimpses we got of them, and the janitor was wonderful! Very cool use of guest stars.

Dru is either no longer really connected to this reality, or just completely not caring. I'd be pissed at her for letting Angelus play his little head games with Spike, except that I honestly don't think she's even really registering it any more. Either that, or as many SunS have suggested, she's just making nice with the current alpha wolf. Spike, for his part, has more or less lost Drusilla to Angelus, and whatever love he had is being replaced by hating Angelus. He's going to get revenge, and Angelus is going to get an unpleasant shock.

Best Moments:
Ben asking Buffy out. He's so cute, and it's so not his fault Buffy is so sick of men.

Willow giving Giles the quartz pendant of Ms. Calendar's. Very sweet, and very sensitive of her to be trying to help him.

Xander's locker attacking him. Apparently those gym clothes have been in there just a little too long....

The second playing out of the murder/suicide with the janitor and the teacher -- beautifully done by both actors and steadily more creepy with each iteration of the scene.

Giles being so desperately sure the ghost is Jenny. He's all cute and alone and guilty.

Cordelia being treated for the snake bite. Xander is sitting with her, calmly holding her hand and it's cute.

Giles rescuing Willow from the floor. He was so cute and frantic -- and am I the onyl twisted one who really wanted Snyder to walk in on Giles and Willow in a heap on the floor? < g > And Giles facing that it couldn't be Jenny was heartwrenching.

Cordelia's part of the ritual -- she was really getting into this! < g >

Cordy and Xander speculating about schol being closed. Xander looks disgusted and ignores Cordy out of habit, then suddenly realizes he likes the sound of what she just said. Too adorable.

Cordy's "Overidentify much?". She's getting a lot more perceptive.

Buffy's entrance into the school -- between the wasps spreading and the doors opening, it was very subtly and effectively wigsome.

The entire amazing Buffy/James/Angelus/Miss Newman possession. The gender switch was utterly inspired; Angelus being unable to die and therefore able to end the story correctly; being able to hear Angel telling Buffy all the things she needs to be able hear from him. Then the shock at the end when the possession ends.... < shudder > < sob > < sniffle > Excellent intercuts between past and present, particularly on "Don't walk away from me, bitch!", and David's acting is outstanding!

Angelus trying to wash off the possession, entirely aside from Angelus half naked < drool > .

Spike getting out of the wheelchair! Yes!!!!!

Questions and Comments:
Remember back when we thought 'The Pack' was dark? Geez. When this episode can be considered fairly light, you know you're in trouble.

Willow is still teaching? Okay, this is wrong. There's not even a teacher in there pretending to supervise! How hard is it to give a grip or an extra a magazine and tell them to sit in the back of the room and look like an adult?

Why is Snyder so afraid of the mayor? And do we really want to know?

The FX guys obviously have too much time on their hands. Way too many disgusting things in one episode (although the floor was rather cool). Good effects, but altogether icky. < shudder >

Utterly fantastic editing throughout the final possession! Someone needs to get an Emmy for this. Five Horsechicks on the phone and everyone was dead silent, even the third time through.

Also a great performance from Sarah throughout; Buffy's guilt and loss is palpable, sad and scary.

Rating: Four stars out of five. It falls short of the sheer gut-wrenching emotion of recent episodes, but there's a great undercurrent of character and emotion, the effects are great and the plot had some lovely twists and turns.

Chris's Review

We're back! Yayyy!

Any BtVS ep after a long break will feel like a great episode, but in the case of this one, it's not just series-fix-withdrawal kicking in. "I Only Have Eyes for You" has the distinct advantage of great emotional hooks and some terrific directing, plus enough surprises to keep you guessing right up until the last second.

The major plot - ghost from the 50's haunts the hallways of Sunnydale High, setting off a near-murder and an infestation of ickies - has one or two holes in it, like why hasn't anyone ever noticed this pattern of violence in the hallway before Sadie Hawkins Day before this, and the way Buffy and the Slayerettes decide to handle the 'exorcism' of the school. The second the gang splits up, you know something bad is going to happen; and it seems obvious that Buffy's going to be drawn into the replay of the murder before the end of the episode. But the Locker Monster, the Cafeteria Food from Hell (raise your hand if it looks just like you remember), and the real murder that the possessed janitor commits before Giles can stop him are all unexpected, just like the outcome of the exorcism (killer wasps??? Someone saw Amityville Horror too many times). All of this (especially the murder) is totally consistent with how dangerous the Buffyverse is, though (I have to feel sorry for that poor janitor... is possession a valid legal defense?).

Reminding the audience that Snyder and the Chief of Police know all about the Hellmouth and are determined to cover it up is a surprise too, although not on the same level, more in a kind of itchy-tickly-tantalizing way. We haven't seen this dangling plot thread since "School Hard", so it's nice to know it hasn't been forgotten. Even if it makes you really wonder what the *heck* the City Council and the Mayor are up to!

During these unpredictable developments, Giles is trying to cope with missing Jenny, and Buffy is trying to repress how guilty she feels about everything that's happened since Angelus returned. Both of them are as deeply in denial as James, the murderer-ghost. Both are attempting to make things come out right by sheer force of will--- Giles hoping the ghost in Jenny (despite all evidence to the contrary) and Buffy refusing to move past her guilt and staying in Slayer-mode at all times. Rupert gets soundly and painfully (Poor Giles...! < sniff >) smacked with the facts and has to admit that Jenny isn't back, but Buffy's revelation is a lot subtler, and sneaks up on you as you watch the episode. At first you think she's sublimating her anger at Angelus by taking it out on James, but it's a bit more complicated. She's unforgiving and harsh toward the ghost because she's still blaming herself for Angel's reversion to his demonic state, and can't imagine anything being all right again after she screwed up --- the same way James felt after he killed his lover. Grace's forgiveness of James gives Buffy something to think about; a light at the end of the tunnel she's living in right now.

Willow, Xander, and Cordelia all have great bits in this ep, either pointing out to either Giles or Buffy how off-base they are (Willow's bit with Giles on the stairs is especially touching and sad) or having fun with the infestation of the school. Xander picking his way through the snakes and describing the Locker Monster, Willow and the scapulars and her map with the little gold stars, and Cordy's unquestioned participation as a full Slayerette ("I totally cast out all evil...") all keep things funny and fast while Buffy works on not-dealing with her feelings.

Buffy's possession by James instead of Grace was really one of the better surprises of the ep, although I admit I should have seen it coming; but they'd set up the pattern of male-stalker/female-victim so consistently that I still went "whaaa...?" when Buffy started acting out James's part of the scenario (though it made perfect emotional sense). Obviously, Angel's body was the only one Grace could possess that could survive the first half of that scene and go on to play out the ending James was hoping for, but you didn't have time realize that until it happened, mostly because so many other things were happening right up until that scene. Great directing all around, from the first recreation of the shooting through the end, when it becomes obvious that Grace's death was an accident (surprise #2 in this part of the scene!). Then that great "Ghost" sequence, both James and Grace going into the light--- and two seconds later the audience is hoping Angel's back for good, just like Buffy does. The shock when he reverts, then freaks and runs, is perfect--- because hey, with Joss, you never know, he could bring Angel back without any more warning than a great kiss!

The last mega-cool "gotcha" of Spike being all fine now, REALLY all fine now, just when you thought you were getting out of the ep without any other major surprises... wonderful! I am *so* looking forward to seeing him get revenge on Angelus, and Dru's reaction, and how this effects the Slayers, and... how many episodes did you say were left in this season? Only *three*? That _can't_ be right....

Rating: 4 out of 5 for pacing, surprises, angst, Snyder silliness, great direction, Buffy & Angel together for two seconds (even though they weren't themselves), and hints about upcoming developments.


"Oh no, it's the ducks!" -- everyone at one point or another

"Get down with your pagan self." -- Dianne to Willow

"If Jenny and Giles had had a kid, it would have been her" -- someone on Willow

"Blink while you're hitting rewind, sweetie." -- Dianne to a comotose Celli during the promo

"Heeee! New Buffy! Discussions! Speculations! New fic! heeee!!!! (This moment of glee brought to you by Spike and the Sunnydale City Council.)" -- Chris

"Our beloved Principal Snyder is back too! Does anyone know if Armin will be staying since DS9 got the axe? I still stand firmly behind my deeply held suspicion that he is a monk from Cartona. If he's just some kind of hellmouth version of an MIB I'm going to be disappointed."
"I still say he's a demon. Those who *hired* him may think he's just an MIB, but he's a demon. Double agent all the way." -- Sasha and Valerie

"Waiting to see her deal with Watcherhood denial. Although maybe by the time she has to, she'll be ready in a non-denial mode. It comes *so* naturally and automatically already: once again, Watcher's brain breaks, apprentice takes over, nobody questions her. But I have this funny feeling that if Giles were to actually *mention* that she's functioning as his apprentice she'd wig. 'Twill be interesting to see that continue to develop..." -- Valerie on Willow

"Ah, Spike. I love Spike. Spike can stay. Loved the music that played over it, and James Marsters kicked *ass* (and wheelchair--sorry Abby) in that scene. " -- Mary Beth

"Finally, I'd like to reiterate something for those of you who may have forgetten... ::STOMP::STOMP::I WANT ANGEL BACK NOW DAMMIT!!:: POUT::POUT::" -- MB

"Next week: Unghwwhsywa Xander spwweahhaumpf." -- MB on the promo

"Oh...and a *very* neat little thing with Giles and his fixation on the ghost being Jenny: just *who* whispered "I need you", hmmmmmmmmmm? I'm suspecting sort of a reverse red herring here--once he acknowledged that the ghosts causing the gun confrontations were who they said they were, I think even *he* forgot that little whisper. And the fact that it *doesn't* fit. Hiding a little sapling in a big scary forest, Marti? *raises eyebrow* "
"Oh yeah!! I forgot about that... it was *so* Jenny's voice. Had to be... and what about the voice that called Buffy to the school? Was it the guy (dang the name is gone...) or was it Angel? Have to listen again. Or was the guy ghost playing mind games? Was he using a voice that would grab certain people's attention? Want to know. Now. " -- Valerie and Mary Beth

"And while I loved the ep and the writing (frankly, given the plot-driven necessity of "cordon off the school so that even after they hear a _gunshot_, the Slayerettes can't possibly come to Buffy's rescue, I would never have come up with "huge swarm of demon wasps"-- but hey, it worked! :)... but I can't be the only one who came to the quick conclusion that the Whateverwhatever Tripod Spell was a nice CPD to get everyone to split up in the dark haunted school in the middle of the night! :)" -- Dianne

"Watch too many Horsechicks on one phone call. Watch three of five know what the promo looks like already. Watch them have *way* too much fun torturing Celli during the preceding commercial break... < g > ("...no, no! Better yet, Lizbet. Just make her start out lying on the floor. ... Yeah, but put some soft pillows around her anyway, just to be safe..." < g >)" -- Dianne

"She has a bird that amuses her, but she ignores anything so irrelevant to _her_ as it's needs for, say, food... and it dies... then she wants it to sing again and is upset when it won't. Angel is groping her-- that's fun. Angel and Spike are fighting-- that's amusing. She's digging in the dirt-- that's fun. Gee let's go get food-- that sounds like fun too. She's pretty much got the emotional maturity of a two-year old-- along with significantly more mature appetites, a nearly indestructable body, and an occasional involuntary mystical insight. Start with that assumption and she actually makes a lot of sense... in a very eerie, freaky way...." -- Dianne on Dru

"Raise your hand if you got even the slightest thrill out of seeing a broken and bloody Angel sprawled on those steps. I know I did. See... now all the people who wanted him dead have gotten their wish. So now Joss can give those of us who want him *back* what we want. " -- Mary Beth

"One more Willow comment: Not only is she in baby-Watcher heaven, she's also moving straight towards Jenny's religion. When will she figger out that she's becoming a pagan? And what will Ira Rosenberg do about *that*, d'you think?" -- Celli

"Oh, hey, don't even *think* about accusing me of *trusting* her, and I only *like* her 'cause she's safely in Somebody Else's Reality. I'd stake her in a heartbeat if she were in mine, believe me. I just have fun watching her from the safe side of the TV." -- Valerie on Dru

"As for Spike...the old "that which doesn't kill me" axiom comes to mind. Patience was *so* not his strong suit a few months ago. The cocky-boy we first met was a lot of fun, but he's *way* more dangerous now." -- Valerie

"Okay.... I'm the obsessive compulsive one with the Eagle Eye. I accept this fact and have decided to use my powers for good. In IOHE4Y, I noticed in the cafeteria scene... when Cordy approaches the table... that Buffy was laughing at something with Willow. Closer inspection shows they were eating animal crackers and Willow was holding one explaining something to her. So see, Oz was present, in MonkeyPants spirit. :)" -- Mary Beth

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