Previously on Buffy: The Vampire Slayer: Buffy and Spike shagged, Buffy subsequently freaked. Willow hit bottom, got Dawn hurt, and went into magical rehab. Oh, and the Legion of Dorkness stole a big honking diamond about 12 episodes ago, and we're finally going to find out why.
It's spring cleaning time at the Summers house -- or, well, magical cleaning, and everything must go. Buffy systematically disposes of everything even potentially magical in Willow's room as Willow watches unhappily from the bed, and Dawn protests ("We can't even have candles?! But they're just candles." Buffy: "To you and me they're just candles. But to witches they're like... bongs."). Buffy sets aside a few things belonging to Tara, but everything else goes into the box, including a Kokopelli statue that had been Joyce's. That causes more protest from Dawn, who isn't really interested in Willow's problems when her arm is still in a sling. Buffy lectures her about temptation and badness as she pulls something silver out of the couch cushions -- Spike's lighter. She fingers it for a moment (having some flashbacks that don't look bad to me), then resolutely throws it into the box.
Meanwhile, the LoD removes the pretty bright shiny diamond from its case, and Warren drops it into a hole in a Fiendish Contraption (TM). He locks it into place and announces that it's done. The other two are less than impressed. "I pictured something cooler. More ILM, less Ed Wood," Andrew critiques as Jonathan munches and nods. Warren takes offense on behalf of his shiny new toy, and demonstrates it by hauling off and aiming a chair, which is promptly engulfed in red glowy stuff (not unlike the red glowy stuff around Willow last week. Methinks someone has a new FX toy). When the red stuff disappears, the chair is gone, too. Jonathan and Andrew play in the new Invisichair for a few gleeful minutes, as Jonathan laughs, "I'd call that a successful test!" Warren informs him, "Oh, that's just half of it," and begins adjusting settings. Jonathan gives a girlie scream as the beam is aimed at him -- but the red stuff merely makes the chair reappear. Jonathan is understandably upset, but Warren brushes him off smugly. "With my brains and or mystical gem, we've got ourselves an invisibility ray. And I'd say that makes us pretty much unstoppable."
No Amber in the guest cast; I'm bummed. (But there was a Sprint PCS commercial, so I got my Brian Baker fix, however brief. I take my thrills where I can get them.) We return to Casa de Summers, and Buffy yelling at Dawn to get a move on or she'll be late for school. Again. Willow is attempting to cook the slow, non-magic way, but she's doing better -- less shakiness, and plans to do computer research on the diamond. But Dawn refuses the omelet Willow's making for her, and ignores her sister's admonitions to eat with a flat, "Thanks for your concern." She leaves, and Buffy explains that Dawn's still pissed at Willow for The Incident and at Buffy, apparently and more inextricably, for letting happen. "My best friend, and I was too wrapped up in my own dumb life to even notice." Spike chooses that moment to make a smoky, blanketed appearance. He claims to be looking for his lighter, which no one believes, but Willow retreats and leaves the pair alone. Buffy tells Spike how lame he is, and to stop trying to see her and stop calling her love. He backs her against the counter, and suggests other possible terms of endearments ("What would you like me to call you? Pet? Goldilocks?"), and she doesn't fight him off. Until Xander makes an appearance at the door, yelling in disgust. "Still trying to mac on Buffy! Wake up and smell the coffee!" He points out only a crazy woman would get involved with him; Buffy makes a flustered exit to fetch her sister, since Xander's her ride to school.
As she starts shoving people out the door, someone else comes in -- Doris Kroger from Social Services, for a scheduled apartment Buffy totally forgot. Dawn being late for school isn't a good start, neither is leather-clad Spike camped out in the living room, very at home. Buffy delivers the Social Services message through clenched teeth and Spike straightens and starts trying to 'help' -- when the word crypt comes out of his mouth, Buffy shoos him out. Then has to explain why he's leaving with a blanket if he doesn't sleep here. Buffy: "that's a security thing. He... has issues.") As Buffy assures Doris that it's only her and Dawn, Willow calls from upstairs. "So, you live with another woman?" Doris asks. Buffy goes into the whole gay/not-gay thing, then has to explain the "magic weed" Doris finds in a small baggie. For a Slayer, she's a sucky liar. Dawn's grades have fallen, she's cutting school, and Doris has grave doubts about the stability of her home life. "I'm going to recommend immediate probation in my report. If I don't see that things are improving, I'll be forced to recommend that you be stripped of your sister's guardianship." She leaves and Spike offers sympathetically, "Didn't go well, huh?" Buffy, tiredly: "Why won't you go?" Spike's face tightens, and he backs her against the door, his hand snaking down... and retrieving his lighter from the front pocket of Buffy's jeans. "Just getting what I came for. So long, Goldilocks." He leaves and Buffy slams the door in frustration. She works her way upstairs and, in a sudden fit, grabs scissors and starts hacking off her hair.
Later, she sits in a baffled stylist's chair, telling her, "Just make me... different." Outside, however, the Legion of Dorkness has their invisibility gun and they're ready to use it when Jonathan spots the Slayer across the street, coming out of the salon with much shorter, darker hair. The paranoid geeks instantly spring into action -- by fighting over who's going to hold the gun. As Andrew and Jonathan struggle it goes off, sending a good part of the street invisible, along with one Slayer. They stare in shock and horror at.. nothing.
Back from commercial as Xander stars in shock: "What happened to Buffy? She's gone." Anya points out where Buffy is -- sitting at table one with Xander's family. "that's fine, except we don't hate Buffy." The table discussion devolves into a minor scuffle over whether D'Hoffryn is invited, but that gets set aside when Buffy appears. Or rather, doesn't appear. "Buffy, how did this happ... Wait. Have you been feeling ignored lately?" Buffy denies a Marcy-thing, and starts telling them about her sucky day as she tosses a couple of balls around. She didn't see anything suspicious, and she seems to be more than a little giddy about this. Anya points out that making a Slayer invisible would seem to be more of a downside for the bad guy, but Xander is more interested in why than how. He offers to go look for clues at the sight, as Buffy drifts off to "take a walk". "Seems pretty obvious that some kind of spell has done this," Anya says as she leaves. "A magical mistake. Who'd be messing with that kind of stuff?"
The obvious answer hits him. Willow is sitting at her computer, doing research the old-fashioned way and fighting the urge to use magic. Xander arrives and tells her they need to talk -- he essentially accuses her of blowing a spell on Buffy. "Relapse is a part of recovery, we understand that. We just have to find a way to fix it." When she realizes what he's talking about, she denies having anything to do with the invisibility, and is hurt at his automatic suspicion. "I guess it wouldn't matter if I jumped off the wagon completely, since you think I'm already making pit stops." She storms out.
The LoD is trying to fix the gun, which got fairly well fried, as they mourn it's loss and freak about the Buffy accident. "She could be here, watching and listening to every word we say," Andrew intones, creeping them all out. "For all we know, she could be one of us." Or, well, not. Buffy's walk seems to involve entertaining herself -- "I am the ghost of fashion victims past," she informs one woman, stealing her studded baseball cap, then makes off with a parking cops little cart.
Inevitably, she winds up at Social Services, to pay Mrs. Kroger a little visit. Doris' day suddenly gets very bad, as her coffee cup start persist in moving from where she put it, two times in a row. When she finds it the second time, it starts floating, and telling her to "Kill." Her coworkers are starting to look funny at her; even more so when the mug starts talking again, and she starts yelling at it to shut up. She finally retreats in to the women's room, and Buffy locates her own file on the woman's desk, beginning to type. Doris' boss intercepts her on the way back to her desk, ready to discuss the Summers case. Doris manages to start discussing it as he opens the file to find line after line of "All work and no play makes Doris a dull girl," instead of the interview report. Her eyes are very wide. "It was the voice," she tries to tell him. "It made my coffee dance." Boss: "Take the rest of the day off. See your doctor." He promises to put someone else on the case and redo the Summers interview that is no longer in the file. Buffy wanders out whistling as Doris repeats, "I am not crazy!"
Xander finds Willow with a can of spray paint outside the salon, where she's marking invisible stuff. There's a minor round of apologies, before Willow shows him the skid marks she found, and the paint she scraped off a nearby fire hydrant -- which was hit after it became invisible. Black paint, like the van that was tailing Buffy. They find a pylon and Xander takes it to the Magic Box for testing, as Willow heads off to track down the van. Buffy's got plans of her own -- Spike turns around from his jug of blood as the door to his crypt opens, but there's no one there. "Whatever beastie you are, I know you're here. And I hurt beasties." His next guess is a ghost: "Go and haunt the living, like a good spook." Said ghost responds by throwing him against a wall and ripping his shirt open. "Buffy?" he asks? "I told you," her disembodied voice answers. "Stop trying to see me."
Anya and Xander are back in research mode, ostensibly, but Anya's still in seating chart mode ("We can put D'Hoffryn with your parents!"). As Xander tries to get her to focus, she pokes at the pylon, sitting on the table, and comes back with a handful of pudding-like substance. Xander gets the implications while Anya's still grossed out: "Whatever happens to the pylon will probably happen to her. If we don't figure out what happened to the pylon -- what was done to it..." Anya: "She's pudding?" Warren continues to work on the invisibility ray as Jonathan questions him on the whole meaning of "fade away." Warren contributes this week's dose of technobabble: "The Slayer got slammed with a big-ass dose of radiation when the gun overloaded. Her cells are mutating at an accelerating rate. Eventually her molecular makeup will start losing its integrity and then... pffft." Andrew: "but wouldn't that... kill her?" Warren: "Let me think... Yeah." Jonathan takes instant exception to this -- he didn't get into the supervillain business for this. "We're not killers, we're crime lords!" he declares, and Andrew agrees. "Lex Luthor.. doesn't kill Superman!" Jonathan takes a stand. "Listen, Warren, you get that ray working and the first things we're going to do is find Buffy and revisible her before it's too late." Warren stands up threatening, towering over the much shorter boy, but Jonathan stands his ground. "You got me?" Warren continues to loom (a rather pathetic imitation of Spike), then caves. "Yeah. Whatever you guys say." He gets back to work on the ray.
Xander makes his way into Spike's crypt, presumably for help finding Buffy. Worried when he finds the place in shambles, he heads for Spike's bedroom, and finds Spike in bed, naked, doing what appears to be pushups -- if you're twelve and don't know there's an invisible woman around. As Xander has neither excuse, we can only assume his denial gears kick in fast and hard. Spike, caught in a very delicate moment, scrambles for a lie and comes up with exercising,: "A man shouldn't use immortality as an excuse to let himself go." [And may I take this moment to say that the excuse is the only thing lame about Spike. Whoa, momma.] Xander (the aforementioned denial gears chugging along nicely) pretends to buy it, asking if he knows where Buffy is. "Haven't seen her," Spike tells the absolute truth. Xander 'fills him in' on the invisibility, as Spike attempts to look convincingly surprised. Not easy, when InvisiBuffy is groping him from behind. Spike promises to look for Buffy and Xander leaves, uneasily telling Spike over his shoulder, "You know, kidding aside, Spike, you should get a girlfriend." [No synopsis can do justice to the sheer perverted hilarity of this scene, just so you know.]
"That was bloody stupid," Spike informs Buffy, who manages to pout even while invisible. "What, are you ashamed to be seen with me? He had no idea I was here. This is perfect." Spike disagrees, getting out of bed and stomping across the room to pour a drink. "This vanishing act's right liberating for you, isn't it. Go anywhere you want, do anything you want... Or anyone. The only reason you're here, is that you're not here." Buffy: "Of course. As usual, there's something wrong with Buffy. She came back all wrong. I didn't ask for this to happen to me!" Spike: "Not too put off by it, are you, though?" Buffy tosses the sheet aside and gets up. "No. Maybe because for the first time since.... I'm free. Free of rules and reports. Free of this life." Spike looks at her dubiously. "Free of life. Got another name for that -- death." Buffy kicks the pout back into gear at the vampire downer, but he tells her to go. "Get dressed if you can find your clothes and push off. Because if I can't have all of you, I'd rather--" He stops abruptly, looking straight down. "Hey, that's cheating."
At a coffee/internet bar, Willow guzzles water while she waits anxiously for an internet search on the van information to come up with a match. She's having to break into the DMV and the encryption process takes long enough that her fingers begin to itch -- a little magic would speed things up so easily. Her hand twitches towards the monitor, hovers, begins to drop.... And she yanks it away just as the computer finishes chugging. She smiles in relief and shakily begins writing. Out in the dark, a can kicks itself along the street in rhythm with Buffy's peeved: "He threw *me* out?!" She continues to rant about (including a dead-perfect mock of Spike's accent), as she walks and bumps into people. She makes it home and yells for Willow and Dawn; when neither appear, she heads for the fridge. Dawn opens the back door right behind her and starts to slip inside. She jumps when her sister's voice comes out of nowhere: "There you are." Dawn looks around and finds the refrigerator door open, but no Buffy in sight. "Check this out," InvisiBuffy says gleefully, floating a pizza box through the air. "Unidentified flying pizza, coming in for a landing." She's still having fun with the whole thing, so isn't prepared when Dawn goes from zero to freakout in five seconds flat. "Do you even care about who did this to you, or if you're going to be stuck this way? You're making jokes and flying pizzas! I can't deal with you like this! I can't see you! How can I talk to you if I can't see you?!?" She runs out of the room as Buffy calls after her; the other girl finally lets her girl, finally stopping to listen to the answering machine and Xander's message about the dire side effects of invisibility. "Wow," is about all she can manage.
Willow is still playing detective out in the Sunnydale night; she's traced the van to the LoD's address, complete with van, and makes her way into their lair. Alone. Without backup. The lair is, admittedly, fairly impressive; GeekGirl makes beeline for the blueprints of the invisibility ray, conveniently tacked up on a bulletin board. She studies them for a minute, then keeps looking around until she finds the gun itself. But before she can do more than take a look, someone shouts, "Now!" Invisible hands grab her and, as they tape her mouth, a voice tells her, "Congratulations. You're our first hostage."
The phone rings just as Buffy starts to leave the house; she slams the door and backtracks to get it. But it's not Xander -- it's a strangely familiar (and badly disguised voice) voice. "We've got your friend Willow, and if you don't want anything nasty to happen to her, you'd better meet us. Alone." Turns out the LOD's idea of a good meeting place is, surprise, an arcade. Willow stands in back, surrounded by, well, invisible people. "There's just three of them," she tells Buffy. "More than enough to cause some serious carnage," Warren -- excuse me, the mysterious voice -- assures her. This, of course, would be far more impressive if said 'more than enough' were paying more attention to the hostage crisis, and less attention to the Mortal Kombat wanna-be video game a few feet away. "Ooo, scary video carnage," Buffy comments. "Hey! Slayer's here!" Warren yells at them, and they reassemble -- although "over there" becomes a bit more general when no one can see Warren gesture.
He drags Willow along as Buffy makes the rather obvious conclusion that they're the ones who did this to her. "It was an accident," Jonathan tries to tell her, and again, she half-recognizes his voice. "They're the ones from your mystery van," Willow inserts. Buffy: "So what annoying things are you going to do to me now?" Warren: "Save your life. Make you visible." Oh, yeah, Buffy believes this. But Warren lifts up the gun and tells her to pick up an air hockey mallet so he can aim. "Now hold still. All your troubles will soon be gone." More gone than anyone except Warren intends; Willow sees him adjust the gun and shouts out a warning in fluent technobabble -- loose translation: Warren has set the gun to kill instead of restore. Warren slams her to the floor with the gun, thus taking the only visible person out of the Big Fight Scene. Which features witty banter, Jonathan and Andrew telling Warren, "You lied to us; fight her yourself!", and what I'm sure is a rousingly well-choreographed scuffle, featuring amazing moves on the part of SMG's stunt double. However, all we can really see are things breaking as various bodies get tossed around. The LOD are too dumb to abandon banter and threats in favor of shutting up so Buffy can't find them; they collect bruises until Willow gets her hand on the invisibility ray and, one by one, brings everyone back in sight.
By this time, the patrons of the arcade have headed for the hills, so it's just Buffy and Willow.... and some very familiar faces. "Jonathan?" Buffy yells, shoving him away from her. Warren sits up in a tank of balls looking pissed, and Buffy blinks at Andrew. "Who are you?" He tries to give the whole "flying monkeys, school play" explanation, but the other two settle for "He's Tucker's brother," as they reassemble in a group. "Oh," Buffy nods, and we can actually see her do it now. "So the three of you have, what? Banded together to be pains in my ass?" They stride forward en masse. "We're your arch nemesises. Es." Warren declaims [and all I can hear is Harmony proclaiming the same thing at the top of her tiny blonde lungs. Not good for taking these three seriously, even if I was so inclined]. "You stopped us this time, Slayer, but next time... Oh, next time..." Jonathan throws down a smoke bomb, temporarily obscuring them. When the smoke clears, they're... at the back door, which won't open because they forgot to make sure it wasn't locked. Buffy gestures helplessly. "I give you my arch nemesiseses... es." A security guard appears behind them, giving the LOD just enough of a distraction to escape. "Oh my god, Buffy," Willow breathes. Buffy makes a face. "I know, they're gone. I guess we should chase them." Willow: "No, your hair! It is adorable!"
They head out, Buffy congratulating Willow on finding the van, and doing it the old-fashioned way. "The 'ohmygod, my heads's gonna fall off and my feet are killing me' way," Willow groans. "I don't know how I got through this day." Buffy tells her as they sit on the curb, "The important thing is that you did. It's a good first step." Willow asks how Buffy is doing, but the Slayer's okay. "The whole taking a vacation from me thing didn't work out too well... Except... When I got Xander's message, that I was fading away? I actually got scared." Willow shrugs. "Well, yeah. Who wouldn't?" Buffy smiles a little. "Me. I wouldn't. Not too long ago, I probably would have welcomed it. But I realized... I'm not saying I'm doing backflips about my life. But I didn't -- I don't -- want to die. That's something, right?" Willow gives a little smile. "So I guess we both made good first steps. " Buffy: "I guess. " Willow: "Yay for us." Buffy: "Yay."
Buffy now knows about the Legion of Dorkness -- who they are and that they're around doing Bad Things.
Willow is still working on the magic cold-turkey thing.
Spike is finally standing up to Buffy regarding the whole shag-and-run thing.
Anya continues to obsess over the wedding.
If Buffy is starting to get a clue about 'vacations from me', then that's her first step, not 'I don't want to die'. She might have only just realized that part, but she's been cruising towards it for a long time. The idea of taking responsibility for her actions instead of doing what she wants and whining about/avoiding the consequences s far more important as far as I'm concerned. I'd really like to like and respect Buffy again, and that's what it'll take. Not driving a social worker insane for quite rightly looking at the events of that interview and freaking, or having sex with Spike only when it's safe and she won't have to deal afterwards. She is a good friend to Willow, and she's being a good big sister to Dawn -- mostly -- but she's still got a long way to go on the adult thing.
And how proud am I of Spike for kicking her out? Go, dude! He's not happy with the situation -- all discussions of whether it's a good situation or whether he has a right to be unhappy aside < rolling eyes > -- so he does something about it instead of (just) whinging and bitching. Dude! Role model! Well, no, but you know what I mean.
Xander's getting frequent flies mile to Egypt, isn't he? He's spending so much time in the Land of Denial that he ought to have a new passport. And every other cliche you can come up with that fits. That aside, I'm hugely impressed that Xander has started emerging as the grown-up of the Scoobies -- he keeps focused on helping Buffy, apologies fast when he screws up with Willow (and he had a perfect right to go talk to her about what looks like a mis-cast spell, given her track record. And he did the talk pretty well, considering). And he's not even freaking too much about the wedding -- let's hear it for Sunnydale, land of distractions...
Willow is rediscovering the coolness of being her, sans magic, and I approve. Allyson is doing a wonderful job of showing withdrawal and the temptation to backslide; her total overreaction to Xander's justified question was perfect. But I got an awful feeling in my stomach when Willow headed into the LoD basement -- sans magic to make her feel special, I'm terribly afraid of what access to those kinds of toys could do to her. Don't want her anywhere near the dorks, oh no.
Although Jonathan continues to pleasantly surprise me. Standing up to Warren took guts, and he's not backing down on his intention not to hurt Buffy -- it's not a particularly impressive moral stance, but it's a solid one, and you have to give the guy a little respect for it. Andrew, of course, is too young for the concept of 'moral stances' to mean much -- he's just in it for the comic books, and the chance to be something other than ordinary. Methinks Willow could relate; I know Jonathan does. It's Warren that makes this bunch dangerous -- he was totally ready to kill Buffy. I have no idea what he thought that would accomplish, except that he seems to have somewhat more grandiose -- or at least violent -- ideas of what being a supervillain means. Not good. So not good.
Xander walking in on Spike and Buffy in the kitchen. Listening to him unintentionally insult the hell out of Buffy was hilarious. And the lead in -- Spike and Buffy in the kitchen -- was nothing to sneeze at either; some nice, hot chemistry happening there.
Spike retrieving his lighter. Whoa. < fanning >
The D'Hoffryn/in-laws seating debate. This is the kind of wedding stuff I've been waiting to hear!
Any and all of the haircut digressions. < snickering > Anya and Buffy doing the haircut bond was particularly hilarious.
Xander walking in on Spike and Buffy. The assorted expressions alone make it -- kudos to James and Nick for a fabulous scene.
Buffy gaslighting the social worker. I don't really approve of her doing it, but she did an very effective job of it.
Spike's "That's cheating." < snickering > InvisiBuffy ranting her way down the street after Spike kicked her out. Way too funny.
The entire invisible fight. The directing was hysterically well-done, and the return to visibility far too funny, particularly Buffy's chest hair crack.
The LoD's aborted smoke-filled escape. The lameness is appalling, and Buffy's disgusted reaction is perfect.
Rating: 3 stars out of five. An exceptionally fluffy episode that seems mostly designed to give SMG a week off. One major plot point, some random character development, and not much else.
Nobody said nothing. No, seriously. It's like SunS got hit with the Internet equivalent of The Gentlemen. I don't know what to tell you.
Back to Episodes.
Nobody said nothing. No, seriously. It's like SunS got hit with the Internet equivalent of The Gentlemen. I don't know what to tell you.
Back to Episodes.