Written by Michael Gershman
Directed by Drew Z. Greenberg

Dawn's Review | Perri's Review | SunSpeak

Dawn's Review

“Him” alternated between hilariously and, to anyone who’d ever been a teenager, embarrassingly painful.

Xander has a new roommate - Spike. He's not shy about telling her that he's not happy about it and is doing it for her, not the re-souled Spike. "I invite you in… Nimrod." Spike isn't happy either. Xander figures that Spike being crazy is better than Spike figuring that he has a chance with Buffy and starting to stalk her again. Dawn doesn't like it either. None of them are sure what is means now that Spike has a soul again. Still, when he touches her on the arm, she flinches.

Spike wants to leave, he doesn't think it'll work. Buffy's more optimistic. She wants Spike out of the basement and not talking to thin air.

The next day, Dawn and Buffy are in the stands of the school. Football practice is happening in the background. Dawn's confronting Buffy about Spike. When she asks Buffy if her feelings towards Spike is changing, Buffy is very emphatic about not going back to being with Spike. She "feels" for him but can't define exactly what she feels. Dawn is very confused about why Spike did the things he did, or relationships in general. Why do people do the things they do in the name of love?

Then she sees "him", the music starts, and she stares so hard she falls off the edge of the stands.

After the commercials, we see Buffy fighting a demon in Anya's apartment. Apparently D'Hoffryn is mad that she hasn't killed herself and wants to make sure she's dead one way or another. Anya thanks her for the lifesaving and tells her to get out. She acknowledges that she needs help but doesn't want to need help. When Buffy says she wants to make sure her friends stay safe, Anya agrees to help out with the strategizing against evil… since Willow only plans well when she's evil and Dawn's not good for anything.

Inside the school, Dawn has planted herself in a location where she'll meet up with the mystery man (ok, teenage boy) that's causes the sappy music to play. His name is "R.J." and although he's not exactly evil, he is a popular boy surrounded by girls who worship him.

When we meet him, one of the teenagers, Cheryl, is trying to stay close to the group (probably RJ) by suggesting that she cheerlead supported by a chair, despite her broken leg. RJ may or may not be her boyfriend. They seem friendly enough and he takes her books to carry them for her. Dawn breaks into the group and shows both amazing lack of conversational skills and courage at the same time.

With Cheryl off the team, apparently a vending machine fell on her, there's going to be cheerleading tryouts tomorrow. Anyway, they ditch Dawn.

Dawn scrounges Buffy's old cheerleading uniform from the attic and goes to the tryouts. It's a repetition of "Witch" from first season. Lots of athletic girls, and a not so coordinated Summers. She's created a new Razorback cheer, with RJ the prime character. He looks more uncomfortable than anything in the stands. She doesn't appear able to stand up, let alone kill vampires.

Later that night, Buffy is trying to comfort Dawn but it isn't working out. RJ has definitely noticed her, but not in a good way. Xander's hanging out there, because he doesn't want to stay in his own apartment with Spike. Buffy notices her old cheerleading uniform on the bathroom floor. It's been shredded.

Buffy confronts Dawn, who's crying in her bedroom, about the shredding and gives her the advice of "you don't really know him". Dawn's convinced that she "knows his soul" whereas Buffy points out that Dawn didn't even know his name the day before.

Xander puts forward the suggestion that it's the letter jacket that causes teenage girls to fall into crush with the wearers. Somehow, Buffy's attempts at reassuring her don't work, and Dawn goes on the offensive attack ("disfunction queen") because she feels Buffy's making fun of her.

The next day, Dawn overhears RJ and his friend O'Donnell talking. The coach has decided to give the other guy the chance to start the next game, quarterback wise. He then leaves and Dawn goes after him and confronts him. It's not fair to RJ if the other guy starts the game. When O'Donnell disses her, she trips him and he falls down the stairs (evil Dawn!!!).

Later, Dawn and Buffy are in the principal's office. She's getting the inquisition because O'Donnell has said that she tripped him. Dawn plays innocent, and because of (apparent) lack of motive and a past history in which he's lied before… his tragic tale "falls" flat, and Dawn's believed. Buffy's on the principal's side of the room, clearly a part of the establishment, and while she supports Dawn, from her body posture, she also suspects there might be something else going on, especially when RJ's name is mentioned.

Dawn's wandering the halls. RJ is impressed that she's faced the inquisition. "It sucks when these things just happen out of nowhere." - RJ. Does he know she did it? He invites her to hang out with him later that night.

At the Bronze, Willow, Buffy and Xander are having drinks and relaxing. Xander admits that Spike isn't babbling as much, and they all question what effect having a soul has on housekeeping habits.

They spot RJ dancing with a girl they can only see from the back. Willow and Xander are both checking her out. She's very hot. Who then turns around and they realize that it's Dawn. Willow and Xander are very uncomfortable.

A few minutes later, Buffy grabs her and tries to talk some sense into her. It doesn't work. They fight. Lots of hateful words on both sides, and Buffy prevents her from going back onto the dance floor. She stalks out and goes into the alley (never a good move on this show). There, she meets up with one of the other cheerleaders, who is very ticked off about Dawn going after RJ when she had plans for him herself. They fight, start pulling hair, the whole shebang. Buffy breaks it up.

The next day with see RJ coming out of the principal's office. RJ's been a naughty boy. He's been getting other girls to do his homework for him. "Whatever." - RJ. He's not evil, but he's not sorry. Buffy wants him to quite going after all the girls in the school. Blah, blah, blah. He looks irritated, and then he puts on the jacket. Buffy goes goggly eyed. The lecture turns into … something suspiciously like an admiration session. Really weird. Like she's thinking about Owen and she's 16 again. RJ's just smiling and taking it as his due. Buffy starts flirting. The music starts and she's watching him leave in slow-mo.

At home, Buffy talks with Dawn. At first, she sounds supportive about Dawn's chances with RJ, but then very, sneakily sabotages Dawn's self-esteem re: RJ. (Man, Buffy can act and be sneaky when she's under a love spell.) She encourages Dawn to let RJ go after her. Dawn's worried that some other girl will move in, but Buffy reassures her it won't happen.

The next day Buffy calls RJ out of his math class and takes him to her counseling room. Then she attempts to do things she's not supposed to do with minors. Dawn, who's also stalking RJ, peers in and notices that he's not in his class. Kiss, kiss… RJ is not really protesting that much. Dawn looks in and sees… we're not sure, but she's very upset. She goes outside and starts to cry. Xander comes up to see what the problem is (Hey! He's wearing a construction helmet to justify his presence!)

Dawn reveals that she thinks of RJ as "the guy in the jacket" and tells Xander both Buffy and RJ are causing her grief. Xander runs in, finds Buffy straddling a very happy looking RJ and gets her out of there.

At Buffy's place, the Scoobie gang is in place. They've figured out that a love spell is active but they don't know how to stop it. Both Buffy and Dawn are in total denial that they could be under a spell. Buffy's still trying to console Dawn and make sure everyone knows RJ is hers. They get info on RJ through some sort of computer hacking - school records? Xander realizes that he knew RJ's older brother, so they decide to check it out. RJ's older brother was very popular in school. The jock who had everything.

Xander and Spike go to visit the famous jock. "He had everyone around him practically kissing his ring in high school." He turns out to be a pre-Anya Xander. Living with his parents, going to seed, and clearly not very popular anymore. He's happy to see Xander and would like him to hang around. Party and play "air-hockey". Spike notices that the former jock was wearing the same letter jacket. RJ used to collect comics, write poetry, etc. He's blossomed recently. The brother gave RJ his letter jacket when he graduated from high school… just before he started working at a pizza place. The brother got the jacket from his father, who told him it was very important.

Willow has been trying all sorts of anti-love spells but they aren't working. RJ shows up at the door looking for Buffy. Willow and Anya tell him to get lost… and the music starts up as he's walking away. RJ, it turns out, was wearing his letter jacket.

Both Anya and Willow are under RJ's spell. Buffy and Dawn come down. Now everyone knows that they're in love with RJ, there's no love spell, and RJ is theirs.

They argue and they all decide that they have to prove their love of RJ. Buffy's going to "slay" the principal, Willow's going to use magic to turn RJ into a woman, Anya knows what RJ'll like, and Dawn is shell-shocked. She's never going to get him. They separate and it goes all split screen.

Willow's setting up her spell, Buffy all bazooka like, Anya appears to be robbing banks, and Dawn decides to kill herself by letting a train run over her.

Luckily, Xander and Spike show up and stop Willow spell and then they go after Buffy. Spike manages to stop Buffy without principal Wood finding out and Willow uses a locator spell to find Dawn before the train runs over her. Buffy gets there in time and moves her to safety. Yet another confrontation. Dawn realized that she couldn't compete with all the other women after RJ, so she wanted to prove her love in an eternal sort of way.

Buffy, shaken, seems to be coming out of the spell. Or at least shocked out of RJ being the only thing on her mind. She still thinks that RJ is totally hot, but recognizes that her sister is more important and that, perhaps, she's under a spell.

Xander and Spike complete a nefarious snatch and grab. The jacket is burnt and all the spells seem to be wearing off. Everyone's feeling stupid. Willow wants to know what Anya did to prove her love and she tells them that she wrote an epic poem.

The radio interrupts with the news that a bandit is still on the loose. Anya shuts it off and offers to buy everyone ice-cream.

Anya's no longer a vengeance demon, and D'Hoffryn is still mad at her. [ED: We still don't know if she maintained her powers.]

There were definite set-up and story parallels to both "The Witch" and "B, B & B". The scene where Buffy overpowers and straddles RJ is very similar to when she attacked Xander while under the influence of a different love spell.

The ultimate non-buddy team is back!!! Spike's living with Xander again. You can tell he's still evil though, the wet towels are being left on the bathroom floor.

Buffy is getting along with Dawn better, when she's not sharing her "him" obsession.

Best Moments:
Spike moving into Xander's place again.

The 4-split screen.

When Xander and Spike run off with the jacket.

Anya not confessing what she actually did at the end.

Questions and Comments:
How is Anya supporting herself? No magic, no magic box, no demon's that'll lend her any money with her old boss trying to kill her…. Of course this question is now kaput. With the money she stole, she should be able to support herself for a while. She is not going to feel guilty enough to take it back.

So did Buffy do it or not? She calls RJ her lover in a confrontation with Dawn, but seemed to have most of the important clothes on when Xander came in.

Does Spike talk in his sleep? Does anyone speak back? Just how big is that closet?

Rating: This is a hard one to rate. When you never want to see the first 40 minutes ever again, but could watch the last 20 about 50 times…. Let's do it mathematically. 2 * 0.8 + 5 * 0.2 = 2.6. So round off to about a 3 out of 5. [ED: That's what happens when you get a math geek to write a review. < ducking >]

Perri's Review

Given all of the bitching I've been doing about the writing this season, it behooves me to give a great big "attaboy" to Drew Greenberg when he gets it right. So, "Attaboy!" And an "Attagirl!" to Buffy, too; during the first act, I had to quick double-check to make sure I wasn't reading fanfic. < g > She got Spike out of the basement -- not just saying, "You need to get out" but actively finding someplace safe for him to stay. Admittedly, Xander's isn't the best of all possible places, but it's the best currently available, and the fact that Buffy talked him into it is one of the best things she could have done to make me like her again. One of the other best things was telling Dawn on the bleachers that Spike knew what he'd done in the bathroom was wrong. Not making excuses, but setting things in context. I accept that this is almost certainly the best I'm gonna get, so I'll take it and run with it -- especially since Xander is, for Xander, being reasonably cool about the whole situation, and watching him and Spike on the loose together again gives me a great big happy. It's so nice to be liking everyone again. < delighted sigh > [NOTE: as per usual rules, all "attaboy"s may be cancelled out by one "oh, crap".]

That said, I'm with Dawn. I loved the first act, I adored the last act, and I had to mute/fast-forward through large parts of acts 2 & 3. I was never so grateful for someone else to do the review in my life. I can't watch sitcoms because so much of the humor tends to hinge on being amused by other people's embarrassment, and I'm so not. I'm too busy cringing for them. :p Buffy so rarely resorts to emnbarrassment humor that I can deal with it once in a while, except for the not-watching thing. And the first and last acts were utterly classic -- particularly the silent scene behind Principal Robin's office, with Spike and Buffy chasing each other for the grenade launcher (I wondered where that had gotten to!). Now that's my kind of humor, and DB Woodside deadpanned his way through nicely.

[See, Erica H.? It's all good.]


"What I liked: Xander and Spike are roomies again! Granted, we've seen this before, but anything's better than Spike in the basement."
"Buffy is showing concern (good), Spike is no longer marinating in the evil vibes under the principal's office (also good), and Xander is acting kinda human about it (very good). Plus, Xander and Spike as roommates is going to be amusing, even if Spike's living in a closet (which I doubt he will for long)."
"--Xander and Willow checking out Dawn. Oops. "Anna Nicole Smith thinks you look tacky."
"Heh. And if Michelle T. (and Dawn) were a few years older, it'd be a great and very slinky look on her. As it is, of course, it looked sooo wrong. At least from where I'm sitting, there were definite little-girl-dressing-up elements to that outfit."
"--Sarah Michelle Gellar did a wonderful job returning to teen-crush idiocy. You'd swear Owen had come back."
"OH God. Mike, you're so right, that is *exactly* what she sounded like! And Alyson sounded like her younger self in the worst throes of the Xandercrush. Anya sounded a lot like she did in her first few weeks of her relationship with Xander too --- but they were all subtly "off". Great job sounding in-character-but-way-psycho on all their parts."
"--"It's an hour before check-out time, and we want to make up the bed." Xander rules. --Willow wants RJ to be a girl."
"The best part of that was Anya giving her the idea, then vehemently regretting it one second later. "Damn." "
--The wonderful Spike stops Buffy from shooting Wood scene. Monty Python would be proud."
"That was just perfect. He sits, working on paperwork... the radio is on some jazz station... Buffy takes aim... and suddenly, it just gets really silly. Back and forth, and back and forth, and Principal Wood half-sees something out of the corner of his eye, looks around, wonders, then goes back to work. *snerk snerk snerk* " -- Mike and Chris

"Yeah, definitely, and I did *not* catch that. Yeep! Only [Buffy's behavior] was Owen-crush plus Angel-crush combined with a heaping dose of Stupidity Serum because a love spell *always* downs the intellect of anyone it hits." -- Tina

"Buffy checking in on Anya. This is the kind of cohesiveness and just adult behavior that was so missed last season."
"Yup, exactly. And we now know that D'Hoffryn wasn't happy that she didn't go off and kill herself from guilt last week, or something similar. Pain is good, but I guess it has to be followed up by death, hunh?"
"Tritto. I am *so* happy with Buffy this season." -- Mike, Chris and Lizbet

"Is it just me, or when Xander's dreaming wistfully about his love-spell days, does Anya look a wee bit jealous?"
"He definitely looked wistful, and Anya looked, to me at least, very, very exasperated with him. Not* the glory days of high school right there, having Artemis send all kinds of blood-crazed maenads after you because your future-rat blackmailed witchy friend accidentally invokes the wrong deity for a love spell." -- Mike and Tina

"Spike will probably end up moving out of the closet and taking over the living room. Go figure. Someone does need to smack Xander upside the head occasionally and remind him that the good guys are there to be good. On the other hand, I sort of felt like someone needed to smack Buffy upside the head and remind her of the same thing when she went after Anya a few weeks ago. So Buffy and Xander seem to have the same sort of bullheadedness when it comes to this. " -- Tina

"What I didn't like: Let's face it, not the most original plot. Take four cups of "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered", a tablespoonful of "The Witch," and a pinch of Season Six, with Dawn at her whiney worst. Thank God it was a spell."
"The last 15 minutes were about five times better than the previous 45 minutes, mostly because of the Dawn and Buffy Embarassment Factor. I knew it had to be a spell the second Dawn pushed that kid down the stairs, and yet, it didn't make me wince one iota less for how humiliating it all was for her. And then Buffy got into the act, and it was worse. Yeeeee. Add Anya and Willow in, though, and it was just... neat." -- Mike and Chris

"I did love Anya's "Ice cream on me?" after the Sunnydale Bandit story. Heh. *more giggling* I wonder if they'll make her take the money back? " -- Chris

"I wanted to strangle R.J. by 20 minutes in; and I still did, at the end, even though it wasn't his fault. Something about that kind of jock just never gets less killable, no matter *how* long ago high school was. But maybe that's just me."
"And it sounds to me like the jacket doesn't just alter the women who see him in it. It also affects the guy wearing it--he wasn't the jock type before he had it, and from the looks of his brother, he won't be the jock type now that it's gone." -- Chris and Tina

"What my favorite part of the episode turned out to be was the whole thing with Dawn's monologue about love after Buffy pulls her off the train tracks. (I really wanted it to be Spike that did that, for some reason.) Very impassioned, *very* teenager, and very much makes me think that Dawn's gonna *ace* the Romeo and Juliet section when they get into it in English class. But the underlying "this will develop into something far more grown-up when I get older and will also become much more reasonable" tones were very nice. Dawn when not under a love spell does seem to me to be far more levelheaded about crushes than Buffy ever was." -- Tina

"Overall, while there were lots of funny bits, ultimately they didn't give this episode enough of an original spin to keep it from feeling more derivative than not. Good characterization, lousy plot. In fact, the only reason I'm writing about it is because no one else has, which means I'll have SunSpeak all to myself."
"Aha. Now I have thwarted you."
"< whistling innocently > I'm always up for throwing a spanner in the works of evil SunSpeak plotters." -- Mike, Chris and Tina

Back to Episodes.