Written by David Fury
Directed by James A. Contner

Dianne's Synopsis | Perri's Review | SunSpeak

Dianne's Synopsis

A romantic scene, fruit, firelight, candles... and Angel throwing Buffy on her back on the floor. Of course she then gets up and returns the favor with interest-- they're training at the castle, and the Slayer is still in fine form. A little awkwardness over the subject of her birthday this weekend leads to the info that her dad is taking her to the Ice Capades.

Cut to Buffy in the library with Giles. He's having her identify various crystals, and she's doing it... reluctantly. Faith is apparently out on "one of her unannounced walkabouts", leaving Buffy to be the 'good slayer' and study up and patrol. Giles' patience is obviously wearing thin, but she tries to concentrate on the crystals for him.

Cut to Buffy fighting a generic vamp at the playground-- having fun, getting off quips, winning with ease... until she has a dizzy spell and he gets the upper hand. As we go to opening credits, the vamp's got a very scared Buffy pinned on the ground with a stake pressed up against her chest.


We come back and she manages to head-butt him, distracting him enough for her to finish the staking. A very shaken Buffy gets up with a confused look on her face.

The next morning Giles arrives to find her already at the library, practicing her knife throwing skills... or sudden lack thereof. Giles brushes off her concerns as possible impending flu and advises her to lay off patrolling for 48 hours or so.

At lunch the gang's (Xander, Willow, Oz, and Buffy) all there and discussing Buffy's birthday trip to the ice show with her father-- an annual tradition that obviously means a great deal to her.

At home that night a present is waiting for her-- a balloon and flower arrangement with two ice show tickets... and a note from dad saying he couldn't get off work this weekend, but he'll make it up to her later. Joyce offers to take her, but Buffy's shrugs it off, even though she's obviously crushed.

Cut to the "Sunnydale Arms," an apparently abandoned hotel being fixed up by three men (one directing two others) who are bricking in doorways and guarding a large, ominously locked box... awaiting 'the Slayer's preparation'.

Giles is pulling out the crystals in the library again, completely ignoring Buffy's less-and-less subtle attempts to get him to take her to the ice show by insisting they continue with their lessons. She obediently looks for the flaw at the center of a large crystal... and goes into a trance. After checking that she's completely unaware of her surroundings, Giles pulls out a needle and injects her in the arm, covering up what he's done before he brings her out of the trance, and sending her off home afterwards without a word.


Willow and Buffy are talking at school the next day about Amy the Rat. Attempts to rehumanize her have been unsucessful so far, but she at least seems to be enjoying her exercise wheel! :) They see Cordelia being confronted by an annoyed flirtee. The guy starts manhandling Cordy and Buffy moves to rescue her... in vain. She not only can't pull the guy off Cordelia, he shrugs her off... and sends her spinning onto a stone bench (ouch!) and onto the ground in a heap. Cordy beats at the guy's chest in annoyance, getting him to back off as they leave, while Willow helps Buffy up.

Buffy catches up with Giles in the hall and tells him what happened. She's scared, she can tell her Slayer powers are gone. He again reassures her vaguely that in time things will work out. She's distressed enough that she doesn't seem to notice he can't meet her eyes even once.

Next we see Giles at the Sunnydale Arms having tea with Quentin (the senior guy from the bricklaying brigade earlier), and it all comes out. If and when a Slayer reaches eighteen, it is Watcherly tradition that she be locked in with whatever horror's being kept in the big box, and forced to fight it while powerless. It's designed to teach her things like self-reliance and creativity. Quentin insists it's "a time-honored rite of passage," dictated by the Council; Giles insists it's "an archaic exercise in cruelty." Giles insists that this is only proof that the Council is too far removed from the Slayer, while Quentin argues his objections mean that Giles has become too close.

After Giles leaves, we get to see what's in Box #1-- a mean-nasty vampire in a strait-jacket and restraints, who, to guess from his snarling awakening, apparently really _needs_ a dose of medicines every so often (fed to him from a safe distance with a _really_ long- handled spoon).

In the library the Gang of Four :) is trying to research Buffy's problem. The guys end up discussing kryptonite, while Willow talks to Buffy about what will happen if her powers don't return. When Giles returns from his excursion, he says he 'hasn't discovered anything yet' and ducks into his office.

Back at the lovely Sunnydale Arms, the vampire's raging again. One of the keepers goes to dose it, failing to notice that one arm of the strait-jacket is pulling loose. The vampire breaks loose, grabs the guy, and holds him off the floor with one arm to strangle him.

Buffy's gone to see Angel. He gives her an ancient-looking copy of Sonnets From the Portuguese (inscribed "Always"), but she's distracted by fear of what her life will be like if she's no longer the Slayer. She knows what's out there now, how can she not fight the monsters? She also remembers how shallow and "Val" she was before she became the Slayer, and is afraid she'll become that again. Angel tells her that he saw her before, and loved her on sight even then, because he "could see her heart".

Back at the Arms, the vampire has turned his keeper rather than killing him, and the newbie vamp dutifully sets his master free.


Giles arrives at the Arms looking for Quentin, and discovers an empty box, much blood splashed around, and the corpse of the third man-- off-camera, but apparently gory enough to send Giles stumbling outside retching.

Buffy's walking home alone, regretting not having taken Angel up on his offer to accompany her, when she's harassed by two leering jerks on the street. She's next accosted by the Big Bad Vamp and his protege, and escapes only by wriggling out of her windbreaker and running for her life. She's yelling desperately for help the whole time, but gets no response even when she is almost run down trying to flag down a passing motorist. Luckily Giles is the next car along, anf manages to get her away safely.

In the library Buffy's more than 'shaken' now, she's desperate and afraid. Giles pulls out the needle kit and comes clean. He explains that it's an organic compound combined of adrenal suppressants and muscle relaxers; it's temporary, she'll be fine in a few days. Buffy is in shock. Giles tries to explain the concept of the test and the insistence of the Council. He gives details on the vampire they chose for the test (who was committed as criminally insane for multiple torture-murders as a mortal).

But Buffy (not surprisingly) can't get past the betrayal. Giles explains his traditional role in the process, and how he has broken with tradition (and indeed invalidated the test entirely) by telling her all this. He vows that she's safe now and he will do anything to win back her trust, but she's not having it. Just then Cordelia walks in, needing to research a report. With her usual loquatious inability to pick up on a mood or situation, she breaks into the confrontation, and Buffy ends up asking her for a ride home.

Joyce is at home when she's lured out onto the front porch by a noise and a familiar shape... only to find the psycho vampire hiding in Buffy's windbreaker.


Buffy arrives home, having had one lousy day, pushes her dad's flowers into the trash... and finds waiting for her a Polaroid of the vamp strangling her mother with the word "come" written on the back. So Buffy packs up her Slayer bag with crosses and stakes, and her pockets with bottles of holy water and anything else she can find, and then staggers under the weight out the door.

The psycho-vamp has Joyce bound and gagged at the Arms, where he's describing his own *serious* iss-ues with mothers in gruesome detail and taking shot after shot of her with the polaroid. He does thoughtfully promise her, however, that he doesn't plan to kill Buffy... just to vamp her and keep her as a companion.

Buffy arrives at the Arms and starts the hunt.

Quentin arrives at the library to confront Giles (who has been trying to reach him). Quentin seems relatively unconcerned that his assistants have been murdered and his captive murderous psycho is on the loose. Giles admits to having told Buffy everything, and Quentin tells him that the test is actually proceeding as planned-- Buffy entered the Arms to fight the psycho-vamp not ten minutes ago. Giles pushes past Quentin's objections to go to the rescue.

Meanwhile Buffy is set upon by sidekick vamp, who she manages to subdue (with difficulty) by finally pulling a huge bookcase over on him. Psycho vamp then starts a game of 'hide-and-seek' with her. He grabs her bag of weapons from her and takes a creepy masochistic pleasure in the burning of the cross she tries to fend him off with, once again forcing her to run. The next bout ends much the same. She can flail at him, but not fight him off, and it's becoming obvious she won't be able to get free and run forever.

She stumbles through a room eerily papered with the Polaroids of her bound mother, and once again into psycho vamp. This time his fangs are nearly at her throat... when he is disoriented by his need for another dose of meds. Buffy sees him wrestling with the top (damned childproof caps! :) and grabs it from him, flinging herself down a trash chute to escape. At the bottom she finds her mother, but the vamp is on his way down the stairs.

The vamp breaks through, yelling for his meds, takes them forcibly off a vainly-trying-to-escape Buffy and downs them with the glass of water he'd left on the table. Confronting Buffy, who is no longer trying to run, he suddenly chokes. Buffy pulls the now-empty bottle of holy water from her pocket and displays it to him as psycho vamp screams and dissolves from the inside out.

Buffy tries to untie her mom, but is too weak. She's just about to go for something to cut them with when she's jumped from behind by sidekick vamp [*Told* you you should have staked him when he was down, Buffy! < blush > Well, I *did*! --Ed.]... who is quickly dispatched by Giles.

In the library Quentin is congratulating an unimpressed Buffy on having passed the test. Giles, however, he announces failed the test as Watcher. The Council has decided he's too close to Buffy ("having developed a father's love for the child"), and he is being relieved of his position; a new Watcher will arrive shortly to take over. Although he's not surprised that Giles refuses to take the advice to leave town, he reminds Giles he's not to interfere with the new Watcher, or he "will be dealt with". Once Quentin leaves, Giles helps wash the gash on Buffy's face... and she lets him.

The next day the Gang of Four are hanging out in Joyces kitchen making lunch. Willow is unable to get over the concept of Giles being fired; Joyce is being maternally proud of her daughter's achievements. Buffy's strength isn't back yet, and Xander's having too much fun flaunting his machismo as he offers to open a stuck jar lid for her. (would help if he could open it himself, though! :)

Perri's Review

Buffy's birthdays just keep getting worse, don't they? At this rate, she's really not going to live to see 20 -- and neither is the audience! Yeee!!!!

Dianne did it again! Yay Dianne!

When active Slayers turn 18, they are injected with a drug to make them weak, and sent into afight without their powers, ostensibly to test their abilities outside of the Slayer's gift. The trial also tests their Watcher's ability to remain objective. Buffy passed; Giles flunked.

Giles has been formally kicked off the Watcher Council and is no longer assigned to Buffy.

Amy is still a rat.

If the UST between Angel and Buffy gets any stronger, they're gonna start melting the TV screen like they did first season.

Okay, I was perfectly willing to string Giles up by his toenails when we found out what he'd been doing. His betrayal of Buffy was completely inexcusable (despite the fact that he didtry to get her to stop patrolling when her powers started fading); there is no way to justify lying to her and drugging her on the orders of the Council when he knew what he was doing was wrong, that he was betraying her trust and endangering her life. But he came through in the end -- he defied the Council to tell Buffy what had been done to her, and to help her survive the trial, giving up his status as a Watcher entirely to win her respect and trust back. So, I tentatively forgive him -- especially since I suspect he's going to be paying for this one for a very long time. Among other things, his relationship with Buffy is hideously damaged. But Quentin saying, in front of Buffy, that Giles couldn't be her Watcher because he loved her like a daughter -- something the rest of us have seen for quite a while -- and knowing what Giles sacrificed for her should start healing some of that.

But it was a bad weekend for Buffy on the dad front. First her father cancels on their long-standing ritual of the ice show, then Giles betrays her. This makes them about even for her hiding the truth about Angel, I think, and then some. The knowledge of how badly both of them have screwed up is either going to destroy their relationship, or make it stronger than anything the Watcher Council is prepared to handle. I'm willing to bet rather highly on the latter.

And, however hideously cruel and unfair the test was, Buffy did prove to heself that she's the Slayer not simply because she was Chosen, but on her own merits. Whatever the real intentions of the test, the Slayer did emerge stronger.

And I have serious questions about the true reasons for that test, and about the Watcher Council as a whole. I am so not impressed by the quality of the Watchers we've seen thus far -- Gwendolyn Post, psycho. Sam Nabuto, managed to stomp out every shred of initiative that ever existed in Kendra. And Quentin, willing lock a powerless teenager up with a monster for the sake of a ritual. He tossed off the lives of the other two Watchers with him, and continued to insist, cheerfully, to the end that it had been the right thing to do. If this is a fair sampling of the Watcher council, then I have to wonder how they ever managed to produce a man as basically decent, honorable, and caring as Giles. I'd cheerfully firebomb the entire backwards little village.

Cordelia comes through in a subtle, but no less impressive way. First, she goes after the no-neck after he decks Buffy. Walking into an incredibly tense scene between Giles and Buffy, she's first oblivious, then confused, but when Buffy asks for a ride home, the answer is an immediate and unquestioning "Of course." The mark of a true friend.

I'm amused and somewhat touched by the final scene -- how casually Buffy, Joyce, Oz, Xander and Willow move around the Summers kitchen, calmly talking about Watcher's and Slaying and everything. Who would ever have guessed they'd get to that level of comfort and freindship, with Joyce included?

Best Moments:
Angel and Buffy in the opening. Okay, yeah, mostly because of David in the black tank top, but we all have our little weaknesses.

"I'm done.""Thank you." < giggle >

Buffy trying to subtlely talk Giles into going with her to the ice show. She's so desperate for him to be her father-substitute, and he's so busy guilting and trying not to show it that he's ignoring it. Pain.

Giles' face as Buffy leaves the library after he drugs her. I have no idea what was going through his head, but it gave me the creeps in a major way.

Buffy trying to defend Cordelia and getting knocked over. Really wigsome.

Oz and Xander's arguement on kryptonite. < snerk > Trust guys and comic geeks to get off on tangents...

Angel giving Buffy her present. Buffy's admissions about her past -- and Angel admitting that he loved her at first sight -- were bittersweet and heartwrenching. And the final giggle was perfectly played.

Basically any time Jeff Kober is on screen -- he's an outstandingly creepsome villain, but especially the first confrontation between him and Buffy.

Giles revealing all. Owie. Major owies. The dawning betrayal on Buffy's face, the guilt and shame on Giles' face.... ow. That's all I really have to say.

Cordelia's entrance into the scene. Charisma was outstanding, making the pain even worse from the contrast of the humor.

Psycho-Vamps entire riff on his mother. Really scary.

Giles confronting Quentin with the fact that he'd told Buffy. We get to start liking him again when he tells Quentin where to stick it -- and heads off to help Buffy without a second thought.

The race through the mansion. Easily one of the most scariest sequences ever on Buffy, made even more so by Psycho Vamp's sheer insanity, and Buffy's obvious and well-played terror.

Buffy giving Psycho-Vamp the tainted pills. A great move, and a really impressive death scene! Giles's impressive entrance, right after, was a great capper.

The final scene with Quentin. Buffy, bleeding and beaten, hearing that the person whe jsut betrayed her loves her like a father, which she's never before gotten proof of. Giles, his feelings for Buffy laid out cold-bloodedly and insultingly when he hadn't even admitted them to himself, refusing to leave her. Quentin, calm and confident of his rightness when he's ripping apart these two people's worlds. An utter bastard. If I was Buffy, I would have gone after him, powers or no.

Giles tending to Buffy's wounds. No words, but speaking with every gesture and look, and with the way he doesn't quite dare touch her with anything but the cloth. Wow. Pain.

Xander and the peanut butter jar. < g > Such the guy.

Questions and Comments:
Major kudos to Sarah for pulling off an incredibly difficult performance, and more to Tony Head, for an equally amazing job.

Whee! Jeff Kober! And getting much better lines than he ever did in Kindred or China Beach.

When are they going to stop trying to put hats on Alyson?!? They always look dreadful on their own merits (and lack thereof); what's the point?

Everyone was everything from a tad clueless to majorly stupid in this ep -- necessary for the plot, but still slightly annoyingly so. Joyce begins it -- Psycho-Vamp was way bigger than her daighter, and she knows better than to go up to strange bodies after dark. Come on! Then there's her daughter who, knowing Joyce were being held by a Bad Guy and that she was virtually powerless, did not go run to her favorite neightborhood vampire-with-a-soul-and-a-black-belt-in-t'ai-chi for backup. And do I have to comment on Giles' dumbness? My only conclusion is that the general stupidity of the Watcher Council overflowed and had a trickle-down effect, causing everyone around them to lose brain cells in a big way.

I cannot think of a more loathsome trial for the Watcher Coucil to put a Slayer through. Bad enough to deprive her of her powers, bad enough to lock her up with the worst monster they can find. But to use her Watcher -- the person she is supposed to trust absolutely, the one person in the world the Slayer is supposed to be able to depend on -- to use their Watcher to set them up this way is the most amazingly callous action -- for both the Slayer and, if he's anything resembling human, the Watcher -- that I have ever encountered. And these are humans, supposedly the good guys. I'll take Spike or Mr. Trick any day, thank you. Though "I cannot be said to be a flattering honest man, it must not be denied but that I am a plain-dealing villain." Better a plain-dealing villain than a dishonourable 'friend'.

On the same topic, how the hell does the Watcher Council think they're going to persuade Buffy to accept a new Watcher? My own approach would be to simply beat the crap out of the guy/woman ten seconds after s/he steps foot in Sunnydale, and mail back the pieces. They could possibly try to control her by threatening Giles, but that's going to lead to her actually firebombing their village/heaquarters/whatever. And then there's the question of Faith, who is going to be completely filled in on all details. The Council is going to have one pissed-off and one at least mildly torqued Slayer to deal with -- I don't think they have any clue what they've set in motion.

My only comfort regarding Quentin is that I'm fairly sure the actor played a judge on Vengeance Unlimited two days later, and bought it in an extremely ugly fashion. It soothes the soul. Now, if we could just send Mr. Chapel after Quentin himself....

Rating: 5 out of 5. Angst, UST, major emotional impact without shredding evryone's lives, laughs when we desperately needed them, setting up a cool storyline -- this ep had it all.


"I'm half convinced that the test developed not so much for the Slayer (since they don't seem that concerned if she lives or dies) but as to how reliable, compliant and "trustworthy" the Watcher assigned to her care is -- the "Council" are all bastards, and I wish Buffy had hit him anyway." -- Dawn

"Angst, misery, pain, physical wounds and mental scabs. Joss went all out."
"He's a sweetie that way." -- Dawn and Mary Beth

"See, when I heard the premise of this episode -- about the Slayer being sapped of her strength as her 18th birthday approached -- I thought it was a fascinating idea. (Still do actually, and I don't really have a problem with what Joss and co. did... just with the Watcher's Council.. but I think that's the *point* so... that's "okay") But I was sure it was a case of a mystical occurrence (much like the gift of Slaying) brought on by unknown forces ... a reminder to the Slayer at a time when she might be growing complacent that she's still human... a reminder of her gift. And a as a supernatural occurrence..... well... that's intriguing... I can see vamps knowing of the rumor that one night out of her life the Slayer is ripe for the picking... and so forth. But to think that this is something that's done... that's just evil. If the point is to hate the Council... the point has been made. And then some." -- Mary Beth

"Besides the Watcher's Council ticking me off royally... this was yet another brilliant episode... a great *character* episode (again).... It showcased Buffy's strengths all while she lacked physical strength. The father/daughter parallel was heartbreakingly well-done. As much as I wanted Angel to step in and help, it would have ruined that interesting concept.... and I'm all for interesting story at the sake of a little logic, especially since they worked it out fairly well without him." -- Mary Beth

"And the bond between Buffy and Giles was touched on wonderfully. Kudos to SMG and ASH. The scene where she berates him.... *OW*... the scene where he tends her wounds.... just... one of the most touching moments on this show *ever*... wow. I was nice (in that sick and twisted Jossian way) to get all teary over someone other than Buffy/Angel for a change." -- Mary Beth

"Could someone *please* write a short fic where that Council guy either:
1) gets thumped by the Slayerettes just outside the library door.
2) falls into a vampire pit.
3) Buffy tries out some "mortal" strength manuevers and castrates him."
"Here's an idea to give you a wiggins - what do you want to bet that he becomes Buffy's new Watcher? Corollary bet: What's his life expectancy?" -- Dawn and Maureen

"I hope Willow *does* write that nasty letter. Not that I think it'll do much good, but at least it'll make clear that if they have any notions of getting their hidebound little hooks in her, they are *tragically* mistaken." -- Valerie

"As much as I wanted Angel to step in and help, it would have ruined that interesting concept...."
"I'm reallyreally glad he didn't, because (a) it would result in the "test" having the *opposite* of the intended effect by completing the work of *undermining* Buffy's self-reliance, and (b) I'm still hoping like hell the Watcher brass doesn't *know* about Angel, which would get blown out of the water by his showing up to help her while Mr. Smug Git, Esq. was observing." -- Mary Beth and Valerie

"I was going "Oh, look, we've had the Bruja Primogen, now we have Daedalus, and next week we have Cash and a car bearing an *alarming* resemblance to Nick's. [I realized at second glance that it's not a Caddy, but it *is* a classic convertible that can't decide whether it's blue or green.] What is this, Ghosts of Vampires Past?"" -- Valerie

"Considering how blase Quentin was about his assistants getting munched, I can see him shrugging it off with "One Slayer dies, the next is called." But if/when they make 18, I can see a Watcher developing some affection for her (How shocking! < roll eyes >), and them needing an excuse to either break that trust bit up or remove the Watcher in order to maintain a Kendra-like Watcher-Slayer relationship." -- Dianne

"We were discussing on-phone last night why the Council would piss off the Slayer this way and realized that they just _don't_ know what they're dealing with with Buffy. Between their distaste for a Watcher having any affection for his charge and their apparent assumption that Buffy (when back to full strength) will take Giles' dismissal and the Council's heavy-handed approach lying down, it seems clear that the Slayer norm has very much been Kendra. After all, even if another is always called, the Council *does* need the Slayer. I can see many of their policies being in place to keep the average Slayer from realizing how much power she's got in this situation. The Ideal Slayer is apparently crative, strong, self-reliant, and innovative in battle... and meek and unfailingly obedient at all other times." -- Dianne

"Oh, and thinking about the injection... How did the Watchers remove the Slayers powers before the days of quick-and-easy pharmaceuticals? If they've been doing this "test" for 1200 years, what did they use before there were hypodermics available? Some kind of power-sapping herbs in their dinner? And would those be as effective as the drugs? Probably not, which would leave the Slayer with more strength for the test, giving her more of a chance to pass it - yet another reason why this archaic test needs to be rethought by the Council!" -- Maureen

"I think the two questions are, "How the *hell* could Giles do that?" verses "How the *hell* could he not?" In a nice, perfect work, Giles would have said, "Look, Buffy, the Watcher Council has this bloody stupid test for ever Slayer when she hits eighteen. So play weak, get locked in a house with a vicious vampire, and I'll take you to the ice show, OK?" But this sooo ain't a perfect work, and Buffy and Giles are going to have to deal with what he did to her. Kinda makes her having smoochies again with the guy who killed his girlfriend a little more acceptable, huh?" -- Lizbet

"She's completely freaked that the psycho-vamp has her mom; I can see that "must save mom *NOW*" imperative preventing her from doing the smart thing and going to get Angel first. *But* what didn't work for me was her walking home alone from the birthday-gift session (and oh how I love Joss for the "incredibly gross" "I was just thinking that too" coda to that scene...classic!). Even if she *did* get all macho and tell Angel she could make it home alone, and even if he *let* her think he agreed, the Angel we know *would* have at the very least followed her home. No way would he have let her go out defenseless into the night like that. *Buffy* might not have been thinking straight, based both on the drug's actual effects and the emotional freakiness of not having her powers--but there's no reason Angel wouldn't be." -- Gina

"Oh, I just had a thought... ew! What if the Council *expects* most, if not all Slayers to die in this "test"? A Slayer is going to be most effective after some years of training, but _before_ her reflexes and speed start slowing down. Maybe, many years ago, the Council decided that the prime slaying years were from 15 or 16 to about 18, and after that the Slayer's effectiveness was enough diminished that it would be better if a new Slayer took over. What better way to recycle your Slayer than to put her in a trap that'll kill all but the most truly exceptional Slayers?
"No, that couldn't be true - Giles would _never_ have agreed to this fiasco if he had any inkling (from past Watcher's journals) that its real purpose was to weed out sub-par Slayers. Not even at the Council's orders would he truly put Buffy in mortal danger. He had to have believed, until he saw how weak she was becoming, that she would be able to pass the test. It was when he saw how badly she was getting hurt, and by a regular mortal, not even a vamp, that I think he started to worry." -- Maureen

"Maybe the test is the *real* reason why Slayers have such a short life-span? Even if they manage not to get munched by a vampire, they get locked up with one when they're 18, and most die. The fact that Buffy has not only survived until now, but she also won against Kralik (although she did "cheat" according to the rules of the test - I don't think in the normal course of the testing she would have had access to holy water), may mean that she might still live a fairly long life. (Well, long for Slayers, anyway!) College and a career may not be so far-fetched after all..." -- Maureen

"Like I said, I'm thinking there's some sort of corrupt element within the Watcher Council (if the Watchers as a whole were *totally* corrupt, one would *think* that even someone as absent-minded as Rupert "they swear there was a memo" Giles would have become aware of it) that doesn't *want* to see good Slayers thrive. (I.E., a sort of Watcher Fifth Column.) Slayers that are killed before their 18th birthdays aren't much of a threat, but those who make it that far might *really* do some damage...and/or find out some things that they shouldn't? (Perhaps another reason to remove Giles from his post...not just for "insubordination," but because if he's questioning the validity of the test, what else might he question, and what might he find out?) (Yes, I'm conspiracy-minded. I live in Washington. What do you expect?)" -- Gina

"Angel's starting to win his way back into my affections. He's low-key enough now, and he's not The Center Of Buffy's Life, and I like that. I also like that they're not obsessing over each other--and he's training with her as only Faith and he can: someone with super-normal strength and agility. That's good. She *needs* that. Plus they're both trying to get over each other in that way, because there's really no way for a relationship to work out between them." -- Tina

"The Watcher Council... I don't feel like I can even *begin* to speculate on this. Joss is obviously going somewhere here, and I have no clue where. I *will* speculate that this is the time of the year where he sets up the season finale -- and how will Buffy and Giles verses the Watchers set up Angel leaving town? Since Angel didn't leave town in Amends, I assume they will wait until the finale to ship him off (or maybe February sweeps... who knows?) I doubt Angel would leave Buffy with the situation the way it is now, so...
"And we've been speculating madly about Willow joining the Watchers. I think that the Watcher Council lost more than the current Slayer with their antics. Slayers come and go, one Slayer dies and the next one is called, but they DEFINATELY (forgive the pun) need new blood in the Watchers. Willow would be perfect. She's young, bright, has some training and aptitude for magic, does research like a madwoman and has the courage of a lion. But she wouldn't join them now. Unless, of course, our band of Slayerettes overthrew the current Watcher council and established their own..." -- Lizbet

"I can actually, almost-kinda see how this might have gotten started around 799 A.D. Back then, just living to 18 was *definitely* considered an accomplishment, especially for a Slayer. The question of whether said Slayer would begin losing their effectiveness as they aged had to come up. Forcing a Slayer to face a vamp without their powers (which could, possibly, be taken away by magic or age) would confirm for the Council that the girl with the job wasn't going to be less of a Slayer as she got old." -- Christina

"Joyce, Joyce, Joyce.... We have to make you go to a Slayer's Mom's Seminar. You're flunking out on the basics of Slayerette stuff here. " -- Christina

"He screwed up. Big time. It was totally in character for him to do so, since he does respect tradition, and until now, he's respected the Council too much. And I think he was probably trying to save his position as Watcher for Buffy's sake as much as anything else; and the second he knew the Test had gotten out of hand, he was there to help. Still. He screwed up. I don't think I've seen Buffy this mad at him since "Prophecy Girl", and for cause. < wince > I don't think I could bear to watch that scene in the library with them again. Just... too painful." -- Chris re: Giles

"Every time I think I've seen everything ASH has to pull out of his hat, he goes somewhere new. The early bits of this episode, with him acting so utterly detached, chilly, and alien (especially when injecting Buffy) are just... wow. Scary stuff. Some of the people I was watching with were convinced he wasn't Giles, and not just because of what he was doing, but *how* he was doing it. " -- Chris

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