Lie to Me

Chris's Review | Perri's Review

Chris's Review

Episode Synopsis

A little kid whose mom is late picking him up from the playground is approached by Drusilla, intent on a late-night snack---only to be interrupted by Angel. After shooing the kid away, Angel turns to confront Dru, who makes pointed references to their past together. Angel begs her to take Spike away from Sunnydale in an attempt to avoid getting killed as Buffy watches from a nearby rooftop, confused and jealous. The stage is set for an episode about trust, friendships, and the gray areas surrounding good and evil.

Willow and Buffy are discussing what Buffy witnessed the next day at school (with Xander providing unhelpful commentary) when they are joined by Billy "Ford" Fordham, an old friend of Buffy's from L.A. Ford just transferred to Sunnydale, and Buffy is delighted to see her old 5th Grade crush, especially in light of recent events. The four go to the Bronze, with Ford sharing details of Buffy's past in L.A. while they play pool, when Buffy stops to talk with Angel, who lies to her about where he was the night before. Hurt, Buffy leaves with Ford---then tries to send him away when she has to accomplish an impromptu Slaying. Ford is unsurprised by this: he knew she was the Slayer all along, it turns out. Buffy tells Willow about this as Ford goes to a Goth/Vamp wanna-be bar in a basement in Sunnydale---where plans are evidently progressing for the patrons to join "the Lonely Ones."

Angel, admittedly jealous but also distrustful of Ford, shows up at Willow's and asks her to check out the new guy's background. A very brief surface check turns up the fact that he *isn't* registered at Sunnydale High, isn't leaving a distinguishable paper trail, and is obviously hiding something. Willow hates the idea of lying to Buffy, but agrees not to say anything until they've had a chance to gather more information. Buffy and Ford agree to go out on another date while Giles and Miss Calendar also make plans for the evening.

Willow, Angel and Xander follow a lead to the Goth bar that Ford is frequenting, and mingle with the Goths and vampire wanna-be's long enough for Angel to get disgusted and Xander and Willow to wonder what Ford's up to; the patrons (among them a blonde who talks about the "lonely ones" in a way taken straight from an Anne Rice novel) are obviously not familiar with real vampires. So what's Ford doing with them?

Ford and Buffy are touring Sunnydale by moonlight when they notice two vampires going into the school. Buffy fights and kills one, while Ford obtains information he desperately wants from the other, then lets the vampire go, telling Buffy he killed her. Leaving Buffy, Ford goes straight to Spike and Drusilla's lair---where he offers them Buffy's neck for the chance to become a vampire.

Buffy interrupts Giles and Jenny's date (much to the Watcher's relief; monster truck rallys aren't his style) and informs them of the vampiric presence on campus. Their discussion is interrupted by the vampire Ford claimed to have killed running through the library with a stolen book of Giles's. Buffy is surprised by this, then unpleasantly reminded of her problems with Angel when she spots a picture of Drusilla among Giles's papers. Giles tells her that Dru was killed in Prague by a mob; Buffy refutes this, citing Angel's encounter with her two nights before.

Angel visits Buffy and fills her in on what Ford's up to while someone watches from outside the Summers' home---but not before Buffy demands to know about Drusilla. "Some lies are better than the truth," Angel says, trying to avoid an explanation. "I can take the truth," Buffy tells him. "Do you love me?" Angel asks, still afraid. "Yes, I love you. I'm just not sure I trust you," the Slayer responds.

It turns out that Angel brought Drusilla across---after a long period spent mentally torturing her, killing everyone she cared about, stalking her, finally driving her into a convent. On the day she was to take her Final Orders, Angel turned her into a vampire. Buffy is sick at heart over this confession, but listens when Angel tells her Ford is up to something. The next day she agrees to another date with Ford, after Willow and Xander apologize for not telling her about him immediately.

Ford and his friends are making their final preparations for the coming night when Buffy shows up for her date early, at the Goth bar, demanding the truth. Unfortunately, Ford anticipated her figuring out what he was up to, and had already arranged for them all to be sealed into the underground bomb shelter/bar until sundown. The Goths are eagerly looking forward to their coming "ascension" while Buffy tries to talk sense into them. Ford finally confesses why he's done this: he's mortally ill, and this is his one chance to live. He's willing to sacrifice all of the other mortals in the bar---and Buffy---in order to get what he wants. Buffy is sad and sorry for him, but repulsed by his attitude: "You have a choice. You don't have a good choice, but you have a choice. You're opting for mass murder and nothing can make that okay."

Buffy's old friend refuses to help her look for a way out, and all of the patrons are still there when Spike and his gang show up a few minutes later. The Goths are quickly apprised of their real status (aka, lunch) while Buffy knocks out Ford. In a swift move, the Slayer isolates Drusilla, holding her hostage until Spike and the others let the mortals go. The vamps are sealed into the bar until morning with Ford---who wakes up, demanding his payment, while Spike and Drusilla examine him with disgust. Angel, Willow and Xander arrive outside just as Buffy and the others escape. Buffy returns the next morning to find Ford dead.

A few nights later, Buffy puts flowers on Ford's grave while talking with Giles: "He wanted me to hate him. He wanted to be the villain, but he was really just scared. Nothing's simple. It seems like I'm always having to reevaluate everything: I don't know who to love, who to hate, who to trust.... Does it ever get any easier?" "Does what ever get easier?" Giles asks. Ford suddenly rises from his grave and is immediately staked by Buffy, who stares at the gravestone sadly. "Life." "What do you want me to say?" "Lie to me." "Yes, it's very simple... the good guys always win, the bad guys are easily distinguishable by their pointy horns, no one ever dies, and we all live happily ever after...." "Liar."


Outstanding ep. Half for the Angel/Drusilla backstory provided, and the resultant effect on the Angel-Buffy relationship, and half for the kind of mind games Joss loves playing with his plots. Just when you think you've got it pegged, he twists the story around on you.


A lot of speculation was going on about how Drusilla was brought across, since she's so weird and we have so little information on her. The truth was even worse than anyone guessed, though; I don't think I ran across one Drusilla theory that lived up to the reality (although we still don't know how or why she's clairvoyant). We knew Angel had been a bad guy, but somehow knowing that he'd been _this_ bad is still a shock---both for Buffy and the viewers. That Buffy finally says she loves Angel at a time when she's distrusting him completely is another non-cliche'd twist on their whole relationship.

The vampire who swiped one of Giles's books did so at Spike's instigation, and he was pretty happy about what he found out. What this is going to mean for the Slayer remains to be seen... but if Spike's happy, I doubt anyone else will be.

Giles and Jenny are still dating, albeit semi-unsuccessfully (nitro-burning funny cars? Jen, I know you wanted to shake him up, but are you crazed?) and Oz doesn't show his face in this episode. No reference was made to last week's Halloween caper, although there are some character bits with Giles that seem to set up what may be happening next week.


Giles, Xander, Willow, and Cordelia have next to nothing to do in this episode. It's mostly Buffy and Angel, and our bad-guy-of-the-week Ford, with Spike and Drusilla getting in some good scenes.

However, the Willow-Angel scene is perfect. A lot of people have been demanding some kind of conversation between these two, and what we get is great: Willow nervous as much about having a boy in her room as a vampire, and Angel being far more human than usual in his concern and jealousy about Buffy, and his awkward and anxious hope that Willow can help. Willow's flip little comment later to Xander about "Ours is a forbidden love" was a great capper, although again, we're not getting enough reaction from Mr. Harris with regard to Willow. Argh.

Willow's later scene lying to Buffy is hysterical, and the moments in the Goth bar with Xander and Angel are again a wonderful example of guy-bonding between adolescent males ("I have to go with Deadboy here---" "Don't call me that, okay?"). Xander's still reflexively jealous, but it's sharply contrasted against Angel's much more intense worry about Buffy.

Angel's gotten so much more developed as a character since first season that this episode wouldn't have been possible back then. He deeply regrets the things he did while completely demonic, but he's able to face the consequences (Dru) without running away. Telling Buffy what he'd done was a lot harder. Yet he's now capable of a little self-mockery regarding his own guilt ("honing my brooding skills") and the cult of vamp wanna-be's the Slayerettes stumble across ("they have no idea how we live, how we dress---" and as a guy wearing his outfit walks by, he shuts up). He's very patient with Dru, as patient as Spike usually is; but he has no use at all for the "children" telling themselves vampire fairy stories. Some very good stuff with him in this story, especially in his scenes with Buffy. Lying to her isn't very smart, but you can believe that he thinks it's his best alternative....

Spike and Drusilla continue to be fun to watch. One disturbing point---even knowing she's a demon, and that she's a nut, you still feel sorry for Dru, especially after finding out how she was brought across. The girl is way, way, way gone; and yet she's the one who knows that killing Ford right away would be a mistake, and she probably knew Buffy was watching her and Angel at the playground. Not a nice or good person at all (witness her going after the little kid) but she's so off-key, she's working from a different set of sheet music than everyone else. Which makes it difficult to want Buffy to stake her, even though I'm guessing that's what's going to happen at the end of this season.

Spike's still impatient but organized, posting guards, sending out scouts, snapping orders---and then coaxing his "princess" to tell him what she's been up to, and bribing her with the promise of a new pet bird. I love how this guy expresses himself, and his total lack of respect for convention. I do wonder a lot about how vampires "love"---his and Dru's relationship is so intense, but it shouldn't actually be possible, according to the information we've been fed so far about their demonic natures. I really like watching them, though.

The real vamps are such a contrast to the Goth crew, and to the Goth crew's expectations, that I was hoping for the very, very tiresome blonde and "Diego" to buy it by the end---and yet the second Spike showed up in vamp-face, I felt sorry for the clewless, terrified kids. Joss is obviously familiar not only with all the Goth cliches and attitudes, but he could have picked up a lot of this stuff from discussions I've seen on-line about other vampire shows. I have to respect his adherence to the initial premise, that vampires are demons in human bodies, the humans having been killed permanently. No gray areas here.

Joss saves those for Ford---who is doing a Very Bad Thing, isn't sorry, doesn't repent, and obviously has a lot of contempt for anyone who isn't as smart as he is. Yet Buffy's right too; her grade-school crush was in a lot of pain, very scared, and yes, he got a raw deal along with his fatal disease. But it doesn't make what he was trying to do right or forgiveable, and I am glad that the Slayer doesn't make the mistake of falling into his little script. On another level, Ford is a trip---the whole "I imagined it like this" riff that he's got going through the episode is classic low-level movie hustler. He's working the angles, expecting to score big, and yet the one payoff in this entire scenario that goes exactly as you expect it to is the one he didn't see coming: after things don't work out, he's dead meat. DUH! Joss has a lot of fun with the audiences (and Buffy's) expectations during the showdown scenes, and gives you just what you didn't expect.

SMG again does a superb job with Buffy, with all the conflicts of your average teenager magnified a hundredfold and then cancelled out by the need for her to be the Slayer, even when she's hating it. Her scenes with Angel are painful to watch, but the one near the end with Ford is even more intense. The tag, though, is where she does her best stuff, confused and thoughtful and angry... calmly staking Ford and then sadly studying his tombstone, wondering why life has to be so unfair.

Best Bits:

---Willow-Angel scene in her bedroom, Willow quickly hiding her bra, her eyes as big as a cartoon's, never even having time to be aware that she's still wearing her funny slippers

---"Diego" and the blonde spouting off their theories on vampires to Buffy, who is aghast at their delusions and put off by their overly dramatic personas and bad dress sense

---Angel and Dru. Whooooa. Okay. Glad Spike wasn't here to see this.... although I still think Drusilla did this on purpose to annoy Buffy

---Ford invading Spike's territory and nearly getting eaten for his obnoxiousness

---Giles affronted that someone stole one of *his* books (never mind knocking him over)

---The "aiiiii!" factor of Ford rising from the grave (although I did too see it coming! I did!) followed by Giles's deadpan, kindly lying-through- -his-teeth to a fully aware but still comforted Buffy

Dangling Threads:

How did Ford find out about Buffy? It isn't really relevant, but did she give herself away back at Hemery High? And if so, did Ford somehow convince his parents to move to Sunnydale? One of those things I guess we'll never know....

What is up with Dru? Did the mob in Prague get in enough good shots that she needs a shot of Hellmouth, and that's why she and Spike are here? I get the feeling this is a deliberately dangling thread, since Giles brings up the question of Spike's motivation in being in Sunnydale and it never gets answered, but it still bugs me. Hope we get it answered soon.

Well, this isn't really a dangling thread, just a really implausible bit: that Buffy-bounce! that the Slayer does during the fight/feeding scene was pretty cheesy. Necessary, not unbelievable, but the sight of Buffy rising up to the second story is worth several giggles and a loss of suspension of disbelief. Sheesh.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5. A lot going on, a bit of a crowded ep, but it works well overall, and the backstory is going to resonate for a long while.

Perri's Review

Major Angel character development, backstory on Druscilla (both of which involving more detail than we really wanted to know, thanks *shudder*), lots of laughs and an A-plot with a reasonably high ick factor. Ke-wl.

Chris did it and we love her for it!!!!

Angel brought Druscilla across, after stalking her, killing everyone she knew and on the day of her Final Vows. I think that pretty much qualifies the Angel of old as a Bad Person.

What the devil was in that book the vampire stole? It wasn't the Codex.

Vampires can apparently deal with drinking things other than blood, since Angel's got coffee.

Truth is really double-edged for Angel and Buffy. She goes out on the limb admitting she loves him, and he admits the worst thing he's ever done -- which is pretty bad, even if the evidence of it wasn't still wandering around. Admittedly, he was in a bad position -- he could lie and lose any chance of getting Buffy's trust, or he could tell the truth, and possiby face the same thing. He makes the tougher call, I think; we'll have to see what happens.

A truck rally? Come on, Jenny, you expected him to enjoy this? Choose something a tad less scocking to get him out of that rut, please.

Angel had a rough night; whole new dimensions on his character, here. First the humor in the scene with Willow -- it may be one of the first times that boy has made the joke instead of being Xander or Buffy's straight man. And he doesn't take himself too seriously. Well, not always. Then his reactions to the Goth club, and his diatribe against vampires and those brainless idiots busy worshipping them (we won't discuss literally falling off the bed laughing when the guy came down the stairs dressed *exactly* like him *snicker*). Funny, though; Lonely One describes Angel just about as well as anything could. Then, of course, the scene with Buffy. He did the revelation fairly well; the 'do you love me?' is poignant as hell -- he wants to hear it once before he tells her something that could kill her love. I'm bummed we didn't get to see the aftermath to that; can't wait to see how she deals.

On a more amusing note, Angel has taken over Xander's role as total paranoid about Buffy's boyfriends. Where it was Xander skulking around not trusting Owen, now it's Angel and Ford. Of course, Angel's instincts are better.

Buffy's come a long way from Los Angeles, and really realized it here. She grabbed onto Ford not only as a friend from her old life, the one she thought she'd lost forever, but an old friend who knows what she is, and doesn't appear to care. But she doesn't let it blind her to what he's up to, and she didn't go along with Ford's self-pity; she stayed focused on the 'he set me and these people up to die' bit. Oddly enough, she feels worse about the plight of the others than his betrayal of her. And her final scene, wanting reassurance from Giles even knowing he's lying through his teeth; she's growing up too fast and she knows it.

It remains to be seen how she's going to deal with Angel's revelation. She's known intellectually he was a bad guy, but to hear something that bad from his own lips, instead of just from the diaries... She was lying when she said she didn't trust him; she does trust him, with her friends' lives and her own. At least she did, before this.

Willow is so damn cute. Willow and Angel are so damn cute, actually, but Willow in particular. I've been waiting for this scene pretty much from the beginning and it was perfect. Willow trusts Angel an amazing amount; she lets him into her room, happily offers her help without asking any questions, then says 'Okay' and goes along with his suspicions of Ford. She was totally unself-concious with him after the first few 'there's a guy in my room. There's a vampire in my room' seconds; just bopped around in her nightshirt and fuzzy slippers without a care in the world; I wonder if she's realized yet that there's a guy besides Giles and Xander she doesn't go non-verbal around? And Angel is very careful with her; there's none of the sarcasm he would have given Xander, and he kept a very careful distance. Even his body language was totally non-threatening -- he was slouching, and kept his hand and arms very close to his body. And the whole conversation about him getting jealous and the years alone -- he opens up to her very easily. And she teases him, with the "Do you promise not to bite me?" crack!

Xadner and Giles both had a slow episode; poor Xander sees himself being displaced as Buffy's best guy friend for a while there and hates it. And Giles is being caught between Ms. Calendar and his growing involvement there, and his continuing committment to taking care of Buffy. Oddly enough, I think the first is improving the second -- he offers Buffy exactly what she needs, a very straightforward sarcastic response that doesn't let her fall into her own self-pity, but also lets her know that he's there for her. Very nice, and not something the Giles of even 'Prophecy Girl' would have been able to do.

Druscilla is even more frightening now, knowing what she was and what Angel made her. As sorry as I feel for her, I really want to see her staked, for my own peace of mind. But I get the feeling it won't be that easy. And Spike gives up his chance to get the Slayer to save her; must be love. I'd wondered, considering he treats her like a pet. But there's some real emotion there. Weird.

Ford is an idiot. He's so intent on living that he's willing to throw away anything he has to, even his life. I am grateful we didn't get to deal with the change-of-heart, die-nobly-defending-Buffy scene that I was half-afraid of; he was pretty much an idiotic bad guy to the end.

Nice treatment of the Goths; I know some of these people, I've been to that club. Oy.

Best Moments:
The teaser, with Druscilla the psycho being utterly chilling, Angel saving the boy, then the amazing scene between the two of them. *shivers*

Ms. Calendar's "That sound like fun," And Giles' half-grinning, half-embarrased take. They're so cute.

Giles' "You could spend some time with Angel." He really is trying, even if his timing was bad.

Xander's face during Cordelia's Marie Antoinette speech. Utter disbelief. *g*

The entire Willow and Angel scene. Yeah, yeah, I know, I'm gushing, but it was great!!!!

Willow attempting to lie. It's a good thing she rarely has to keep secrets from the other Sayerettes because she can't do it at all. *giggle*

Angel's disgusted, casual "Could you not call me that?" to Xander. Their banter is getting more and more even-sided.

Angel's diatribe on the wannabes getting cut-off by the guy coming down the strairs in his outfit. The man knows when he's lost an arguement. Possibly the funniest bit in Buffy history, bar none. ROTFLMAO!!!!

Giles' offended "She took one of my books!" Get the feeling he wouldn't have been nearly as upset if she had just taken, say, an arm?

The Buffy/Angel scene. From the heartbreaking 'Do you love me?' to Angel's confession... Pain. Serious pain.

"Ours is a forbidden love." Another ROTFL moment, delivered perfectly by Alyson. Xander's delayed take on that was good, too.

Ford and Buffy's confrontation. All these emotions flying around, but Buffy never loses sight of what Ford is and what he's done. Beautiful performance from Sarah.

The final graveyard scene with Buffy and Giles. Really nice interaction; Buffy knows what Giles will tell her, still asks him to lie to her. Guess she understands what Angel meant about the truth being worse, now.

Questions and Comments:
Yo, makeup guys. When Angel is going to be in bright light for the first time, you need to do something different. He went beyond pale and vampiric in willows room to weird And Willow was wearing lots of lipstick for someone heading to bed.

And Ford knew Buffy was the Slayer how? It's not the kind of thing that would be easy to figure out, even if you've been arond her. And Buffy doesn't seem bothered by the fact that he knows; it should at least wig her mildly.

Um, how did they find the club in connection to Ford? It's not the kind of thing listed in databases under distinguishing characteristics....

Joss has taken the infamous Ger-cam and made it even worse. Instead of just the circling camera in the mid-scene with Buffy and Ford, we've got it changing directions as it goes, to induce even more sea sickness. Ick.

Gotta go with Chris on the Buffy-bounce. Pretty lame.

Rating: 4 and a half stars out of five. Outstanding character development on Angel, with good stuff for Willow and Buffy; major angst and goood backstory.

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