Perri's Review | Chris's Review

Perri's Review

Oh, I've got to spend a Halloween in Sunnydale one of these days!!! Entirely too much fun -- Spike is back, there's a muchness of drool objects and Giles is acting not much better than the bad guys! Loving this.

As Buffy is off fighting vampires (and being videotaped by one), Angel waits for her at the Bronze, and gets attacked by Cordelia. When Buffy arrives, late and disheveled, she immediately retreats, unable to handle the concept of being the Slayer and dating.

At shcool the next day, Principal Snyder dragoons the Slayerettes into helping take kids trick-or-treating the next night, costumes mandatory, to Buffy's extreme displeasure, since Halloween is tradtitionally as slow night for vampires. As they bemoan their fate, Xander gets into a fight with Larry, a mucle-bound creep who insults Buffy. Unfortunately, Buffy rescues Xander, saving his face and destroying his macho reputation. He storms off, and Willow and Buffy go back to their favorite topic of conversation -- Angel -- coming up with the brilliant idea of stealing the Watcher diaries dealing with Angel. In the diaries, they find pictures and descriptions of one of the girls Angel knew before he was brought across, and Buffy succumbs to jealousy. Cordelia, arriving ready to share all details of her evening with Angel, refuses to belive the pair when they tell her he's a vampire.

Costume shopping leaves Willow with a ghost costume, Xander set to become a soldier, and Buffy with a dress straight out of the 1700's. But there's more trouble coming, as Druscilla, having a vision, tells Spike that everything will be turned around that night, and the Slayer will be helpless. the reason for that appears, as the costume shop owner carries on a ritual to Janus.

Under pressure from Buffy, Willow puts together a bad girl outfit, but chickens out before Xander gets there, ending up back in the ghost costume. Tirck-or-treating goes smoothly -- until people start turning into their costumes. Soon, there are minature demons wandering around, Xander's gun has become real and he's forgotten who he is, Willow has become a ghost, and Buffy has become... well, useless, an 18th century noblewoman with a tendancy to faint and without clue one.

The three takes refuge in the Summers house, where Buffy flatly refuses to beleive any of it is happening. Xander goes off to chase monsters and rescues Cordelia, who joins the group hiding inside; Willow goes to find Giles, and Angel shows up to join the party. When the lights go out, Angel and Buffy are attacked by a vampire; when Angel fangs out to fight, Buffy wigs and runs.

At the library, Giles and Willow put pieces together and realize that everyone who changed got their costumes from Ethan's Costume Shop. They instantly go to investigate as the other three chase down Buffy. But Spike is also in pursuit.... At the costume shop, Giles and Willow find a ritual to Janus in progress; Giles sends Willow away before facing Ethan -- who he knows.

Larry, in pirate form, assaults Buffy, who is saved in the nick of time by Xander, who works out some old aggressions. Before he can enjoy it, vampires converge, and they run for it again. Giles faces off against Ethan Raine, who is apparantly an old acquaintance. Ethan calls Giles the Ripper, and refers to his role in Sunnydale as 'quite a little act'; he knows about the Slayer and the Watcher, and apparently a lot about Giles that the kids don't know. Worried about the kids, Giles gets tired of the witty repartee and decks Ethan, literally beating the way to break the spell out of him.

The Slayerettes take refuge in a warehouse but can't keep Spike and his lot out. Spike takes too much time to gloat, however; before he can kill Buffy, Giles breaks the spell, and it's Buffy's turn to kick butt. Restored to herself, she runs Spike off. As things return to normal, Buffy goes off with Angel, Willow wakes up back in her body, has a close encounter with Oz (although they still don't meet), and Giles returns to the costume shop to find it empty except for a note -- 'Be seeing you.'

Spike is definitely still on the hunt, and doing it more intelligently than the Master ever managed. Which might explain those two dead Slayers. And Druscilla definitely has some powers that are Not Of The Norm -- clairvoyant?

Giles has a past, one that involves him being called the Ripper. And he's apparently fully capable of being the hell out of an old 'mate' who threatens his kids. So who is Ethan, and how does Giles know him? And how does he know Giles? Not to mention everything he apparently knows about Watchers and Slayers....

Angel was brought across sometime after he turned eighteen.

Well, Oz has now seen Willow twice. One of these days, maybe they'll actually have a conversation. Grr. It had better be soon or Joss is a dead man.

Angel seems to have given up avoiding the dating thing -- apparently Willow's diatribe did some good. So they were supposed to have an actual date, and they were supposed to meet at her house when her mother wasn't home... Angel, I thought we were trying to avoid situations like this. *sigh* It is sweet that he goes to so much trouble to convince her she doesn't have to change -- it's the thing with guys that has given Buffy some of the worst moments with being a Slayer. She needs to know Angel loves her for herself, Slaying and all.

You go, Willow! Without Giles or Buffy to fall back on, she takes control and not only figures out what's going on, but keeps everyone in one peice until Giles can fix it. I'm not surprised Xander was instinctively taking orders from her, she was the only one keeping it together. And the best part is, she was aware of it -- she went strolling off in her bad girl uniform like she'd earned the right. Nice to see her finally realize her own abilities; between this and the debacle of 'Reptile Boy', she's finally beginning to see herself as having some value outside of playing with the computer.

And Giles!!! Damn! We always knew there was something ruthless lurking beneath the mild-mannered librarian exterior; we saw glimpses of it in 'The Pack', 'The Witch', and Prophecy Girl'. But suddenly, Giles going off to face the Master himself doesn't seem quite so silly. The very calm, calculated way he threatened -- and beat up on -- Ethan was scarier than anything any of the various ghoulies in the episode tried. I doubt he would have been quite so single-mindedly pissed if Ethan had threatened Giles himself, but with the kids in danger.... I really want to find out more about his past now -- just where the hell did he *really* learn all of that warlock stuff? And, of course, it's nice to see that he really can use all of those fighting skills he's been talking about!

Buffy continues to deal with being the Slayer and being a girl trying to impress the guy she's in love with. Fortunately, Angel is doing a good job of reassuring her when she goes off the deep end; hopefully, she's starting to appreciate those Slayer qualities, now that she knows what it's like to be helpless without them.

Xander needs to drag Angel off into the same corner he dragged Giles into and give him some tips on dealing with Cordelia, or things are going to get ugly. But, gods, we got multiple smiles out of the man! And a laugh! I'm not sure I can deal with this. interesting, though; when he shows up at the Sumemrs house, his reaction is "Good, you guys [plural] are all right" and he walks over to Xander, not to Buffy. They really are getting to be buds, it's very cute.

Cordelia is sooo in denial about Angel's true nature -- I still want to see her face the first time she sees him vamped out and realizes the girls were telling her the truth. Although she might be starting to get the clue that he's taken -- the look on her face when Angel absolutely wasn't seeing anyone in the room but Buffy at the end.... even Cordy can't stay that deeply in denial.

Poor Xander. Rescued by a girl. His sense of macho kicks in so rarely that I forgive him for it when he has a sudden attack of 'guy', and this was actually understandable. He's right, it'll be a while before he hears the end of that -- but he was defending Buffy's reputation! How sweet! And he is, at least, adjusting to the fact that Angel and Buffy are a pair, even if he's not willing to let the rest of the school know that he has less than no chance with his gorgeous bud.

One of the things that makes Spike such a good villain is that he's got more than the 'crush-kill-destroy' dimension going for him. He's really endlessly patient with Druscilla, and he's going about the whole 'killing the Slayer' thing methodically and intelligently. Ethan, on the other hand, is a damded scary human. Looking forward to seeing more between him and Giles.

Best Moments:
Angel's instant and pointed "I'm waiting for Buffy" when Cordy comes up to him in the Bronze. No chance for misunderstandings, he just goes straight into panicked, 'get away from me!' mode.

Wilow and Buffy sneaking into the diaries. Willow's face when Buffy resorts to "Ms. Calendar said that you were a babe!" is priceless, as is Giles' silly-grinned reaction. Gotta love that he did know she was up to something until she so effectively distracted him.

Xander's face as he decides to accept Buffy's apology for saving him. Nice subtle stuff from Nick.

The conversation between Cordelia and Oz -- he's so unimpressed with Cordy.

Xander giving the kids advice on trick-or-treating! He's sooo cute!

Anytime Xander is in soldier mode. Oohh, Nick gives good older and intense. Yum!

Willow going instantly into explaination mode when Cordelia shows up, followed by Cordelia's 'Hel-lo' glance at Xander when he takes his shirt off. Goood interaction.

Angel's expression at the joint "Who are you?" from Buffy and Xander. He spends the rest of the episode utterly confused....

Angel grabbing and carrying Buffy. He doesn't even bother trying to get her to run anymore....

Giles facing down Ethan. Oh, my, god. I don't know who I was more scared of in that scene.

Xander's "Give it up, Cordy" as Buffy and Angel go off together. He's resigned to it at last, if he's still not happy about it.

All right, the last scene with Angel and Buffy! //sigh// Sappy shipper heaven!!! Flirting like we haven't seen since 'Angel', smiles, and kissage!

Giles' last look at the camera. Shivers...

Questions and Comments:
Joss is playing with his special effects again -- loved the first vampire that got staked tonight!

That Coke machine in the lounge is possessed or something. Xander punches the button for Dr. Pepper, Buffy gets Diet Dr Pepper, which wasn't one of the choices....

So, just how did Angel, pre-vamp, get to know noblewomen? What the devil was his social status, anyway?

I bow to no one in my respect for Willow's brains, but she figures everything out a little too fast. It's like 'Oops, oh, I'm a ghost.' And they slip on the ghost thing several times -- we hear a door close for no reason when she leaves the costume shops and Nick moves when she shoves past him, among other things.

And the vampire that attacked Angel got into the Summers house how? He wasn't invited....

I'm sorry, Sarah's English accent sucks. She gives it a good try, but it keeps fading in and out.

And we still don't know why Halloween is dead for vampires; the book didn't say anything about it, either. A couple of guesses -- All Souls Night was a time for casting lots of spells against ghoulies, which might have worked in keeping them away when most of the pagan world was doing it simultaneously. Enough pagans like Ms. Calendar might sitll be around to kepe that protection going. Or, vampires are scared of other things that walk that night? I would like to get this explained some time.

Rating: 5 stars out of 5. Just fantastic!! A few annoyances here and there, but overall, outstanding.

Chris's Review

First Impressions:

Awesome ep. Although we never did get an explanation about why Halloween is an easy holiday on the Slayer, I think this one was one of the best. But then, I'm prejudiced, I love All Hallow's Eve....

I liked the premise of everyone turning into their costumes, and Buffy getting sick of not being "coiffed". Watching Xander go all macho was a lot of fun again too; who says we have to humiliate him to get him to take his shirt off? //fan fan fan *breathe*// Willow's rocker girl outfit suited her so well, too, but it probably was a good thing she was wearing the ghost costume on top of it---she wouldn't have been nearly as helpful, and a heckuva lot more vulnerable, in the leather-and-fishnet persona.

More on Ethan's chicanery in a bit. :)


Cordelia's total inability to take the idea that Angel's a vampire seriously is only half being Queen of Denial again---after all, she doesn't know the whole gypsy curse explanation the way everyone else does. But I so *wish* she'd gotten to see him vamped, and then freaked. Ah, well. Buffy was doing enough shrieking on that score without Cordie joining in. (I was also highly amused to see her checking out Xander when he gave her his khaki jacket. See something you like, Chase? *G*)

Oz is, of course, still very cool---but if Joss doesn't have him and Willow meet up _soon_, I'm gonna hurt someone. Something. Somehow. Either that, or utter more idle threats.

Buffy wasn't unendurable, despite her girly-girl persona, mostly because she was so terrified, poor kid. Not to mention funny, when her total helplessness wasn't making the situation worse. Still Buffy, still stubborn, just completely refusing to deal. They keep finding new ways for her to have difficulties with being the Slayer, and this time out, her self-image and vanity take a beating, then she finds out what it's really like to be dependent and pretty much comes to terms with the fact that competence and self-reliance sometimes don't leave extra room for getting dressed up. The end scene with Buffy and Angel was way cute, too, and you know, sometimes I actually think there's hope for them as a couple. Despite previous experience, and knowing better, and not having any idea how they could _ever_ resolve this.

Angel's becoming more and more his own person, instead of just Cryptic Attractive Vampire Guy. Finding out that he wanted to meet someone "exciting and interesting" when he was mortal explains both how he ended up with Darla (especially if all the women around him seemed dull in comparison) and why he finds Buffy intrinsically attractive. This is the kind of stuff you need to know to like someone---what they like, why, what they hope for. Let's hope he keeps developing like this.

Willow rocks! :) Great episode for her, getting to order Xander around while being dressed up, explain what's going on to everyone, and go for help when they need it. Plus, of course, she managed to make an impression on Oz again without being at all aware of it. I'm really, really looking forward to their first meeting, and I don't think Joss will pull a "samurais in the basement" now, but I'm not a patient person, and this is making me nuts! It seems like he's doing the Cinderella thing here, of the prince seeing her and having her disappear several times before they meet up---which is great in theory, but very frustrating.

Xander didn't have a whole lot to do this time---except get to take charge, speak G.I.Joe, and well, yes, take off his shirt. We're not complaining. I did like the bits at the beginning, where his ego got pummelled again; and despite his comments to Pirate Guy about their friendship being only a foundation for future bliss, I'm pretty sure he's over Buffy now. Cool interaction between G.I. Xander and Willow the Ghost; since she knew what was going on, he was perfectly willing to let her be in charge. And the scene with Xander coaching the kids on how to Trick-or-Treat was perfect: "Tears guarantee a double-bagger. You can always go with the 'you missed me' ploy, but it's a risk. Only go there for chocolate." *GGG!* I am mad that we didn't get to see his reaction to Willow's real costume, since he was in Private Harris mode the whole time. I hope this gets followed up on, in a later episode.

Spike is having a lot of fun in this ep, but there was also not a lot for him to do. It is interesting that's he's studying up on Buffy---looks like a set-up for next week's ep. Dru continues to be a psychic psycho, and creep me out. Here's new theory: maybe she was a Watcher that didn't get staked in time after she was brought across? It would explain the link to the Slayers....

Okay, you knew I was working up to it:

Ethan is crazed, yes, that's obvious. "Son of Chaos" though, I mean, c'mon... *ahem* I'm not sure Janus was the God/dess of Chaos, but I could be wrong here. As a character, he's as funny as Spike, very smooth, and very... evil. Evil bad nasty. What was he trying to imply when he was talking to Giles about his past? what kind of stuff has he pulled in the past? Did he know Giles back in college, or what? What does he know about Rupert that we don't?

Everything, apparently, except not to make him mad. *whoa!* I was having massive VR.5 flashbacks the second ASH punched Ethan---but that's not the creepy bit. What we actually saw is not totally out of line with what we've seen of Giles in a crisis before. But we've never seen him take it this far; and the innuendos that Ethan was throwing around were pretty damn _interesting_!! *G* What is in Giles's past that he wouldn't want the Slayerettes to know about? Was he possessed, was he working on the other side, was he a warlock, WHAT?

I hate that we have to wait two weeks to find out!

Five stars out of five for me. And if the follow-up to this arc is as good, I won't complain about some of the dangling threads....

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