What's My Line I

Chris's Review | Perri's Review

Chris's Review


It's Career Day, and Buffy, Willow, Xander and Cordelia are taking the standardized tests for career aptitude. While Willow and Cordelia are having a good time, and Xander is resigned to the inevitable, Buffy's bummed that she's taking a test that will have no application to her future, since her destiny as the Slayer is already set in stone.

Meanwhile, Spike is frustrated at his inability to find a cure for Drusilla's weakening state. The book that was stolen two weeks before, which he hoped held a cure for his lover's condition, is indecipherable. Spike is fast running out of patience and blaming Buffy for their lack of headway, since she's constantly breathing down their necks. Dru stops him from strangling a transcription specialist vampire out of pique by reading the missing element in her Tarot cards: the key to breaking the book's code lies in a nearby mausoleum. Spike sends two vampires to the mausoleum to retrieve the key--- and while Buffy dispatches one of them, the other escapes with the necessary item.

Buffy returns home to find Angel waiting for her in her room (he had a bad feeling and was worried about her). Her mom's out of town until Thursday, so the two talk undisturbed about various topics, including Buffy's frustration with the Career Fair, and her freaky life: "It's a whole week of 'what's my line?' and I don't get to play." Angel comments on a picture of her when she was little in an ice-skating outfit, and she admits to having gone through a Dorothy Hamill-worshipping phase. The two make a date for the next night at an ice-skaing rink outside of town.

The results are in the next morning on the various career choices: Cordy's a personal shopper or motivational speaker, Xander's slated for prison guard (much to his dismay) and Buffy's supposed to go to the law enforcement booth. Willow, however, isn't signed up for anything at all.

Buffy informs Giles of the night's attempted theft, which unsettles Giles as being uncharacteristic behavior for vampires. He chastises Buffy for not trying harder, and Buffy expresses her discontent with her destiny and her lack of career potential. Giles tries to sympathize, but he's more worried about what their adversaries are up to. The two make a field trip to the mausoleum, and find that it belonged to excommunicated monk Josephus du Lac---and that the reliquary of sacred objects his grave contained has been broken into.

Meanwhile, Willow is taken aside by solemn men in suits at the Career Fair; evidently the leading software company in America is interested in recruiting her, and have been keeping an eye on her for some time. The only other candidate is revealed to be Oz, who is struck nearly speechless upon seeing Willow again.

The cross the vampires stole from the crypt is confirmed as the key to decoding the stolen book, but Spike is worried that they still won't have time to find the cure with Buffy roaming free. He calls in the "big guns" for the Slayer's hide - the Order of Turaca, bounty hunters who exist only to collect their bounty. "Three of them coming to my party," Drusilla murmurs, turning over cards that show a demon, a centipede, and a leopard. A tall, evil-looking dude gets off the bus from L.A. at the Sunnydale station; a man claiming to be a cosmetics salesman is invited into Buffy's neighbor's house---from which screams issue seconds later; and a stunning young black girl disembarks from a jet cargo bay after knocking out one of the ground crew. Willow, Xander and Giles have a research party that evening while Buffy bugs out to her date with Angel.

The date is interrupted before it begins when the first bounty hunter attacks Buffy at the rink. Angel intercedes and goes into vamp mode; Buffy takes down the demon after a fight. Buffy then tenderly examines a cut Angel got during the brawl, with the vampire embarassed to have her touching him while he's vamped. The two share a sweet kiss, with Angel in full game-face, after Buffy declares that she didn't even notice what he looked like. The girl from the jet watches the two of them from the shadows....

Giles goes beyond concerned into deeply worried mode upon identifying the ring the bounty hunter was wearing as part of the Order of Turaca. Like Angel, he feels Buffy should hide until they come up with a plan for dealing with this new threat: some of the bounty hunters are human, some are not, but none have vampiric weaknesses or any human desires other than fulfilling their contract and killing Buffy. Whatever else is going on in Sunnydale, she is in severe danger. A high-strung Slayer jumps at shadows for the rest of the day, and slams Oz into a wall when he jostles her, then apologizes abjectly while Oz bemusedly wanders off. As evening falls, Buffy is unable to face being alone in her house; seeking shelter, she goes to Angel's empty apartment and curls up in his bed, frightened and alone.

The cosmetics guy is staking out Buffy's house and transforming back and forth from human to a trail of maggots. The former occupant lies disregarded and unmoving while he keeps watch.

Angel has gone to a local bar which caters to vampiric patrons, and proceeds to intimidate the bartender, threatening to hurt him if Willy doesn't tell him what Spike is up to. Their "conversation" is interrupted by the girl from the plane, who slams Angel to the floor, then breaks a pool cue and aims for his heart. After a knock-down drag-out brawl, the girl locks Angel in a storage cage, informing him (with strongly Carribean-accented scorn) that she intends to go after his girlfriend---and that his cage has eastern exposure, so in a few hours, he won't be able to do anything to save Buffy.

As the next day dawns, Giles wakes a crashed-out Willow from her place at the keyboard to inform her that he's found the reason behind Spike's thefts. The book contains a possible means for restoring a sick or weak vampire, like Drusilla, although the details are still unclear to him. They are _not_ unclear to a jubilant Spike, however, who gloats over the imminent cure while Dru turns over a card bearing a picture of a falling angel.

Concerned when he can't reach her by phone, Giles sends Xander (and a complaining Cordelia) over to Buffy's house to check on her. After breaking into Buffy's house, Xander goes upstairs to look for her while Cordelia waits downstairs---and answers the door to a man offering free cosmetic samples. "Free? Come on in," Cordelia responds as the door shuts behind the second bounty hunter.

Buffy awakens from deep slumber in Angel's bed to the sight of a descending axe, and rolls out of the way barely in time as the Jamaican girl tries to sever her head from her body. The two trade punches, kicks, and head butts for several minutes, before the new girl demands: "Who are you?"

"Who am *I*? You attacked me, who the hell are you?" Buffy snaps.

"Kendra, the Vampire Slayer," snarls her adversary.



Talk about your cliff-hangers!

This would have been more effective for me if I'd gone into it cold, without knowing that the newest Slayer was slated to show up during this two-parter. If I hadn't known that, I would have assumed that Kendra was one of the bounty hunters. But even so, there were plenty of surprises throughout the course of the show, and nearly everyone is left in danger: Xander, Cordelia, Angel *and* Buffy seem to be on the verge of losing their lives as the "To Be Continued..." flashes on the screen.



Spike and Dru are on the verge of finding a cure for her failing state, following through on hints from "Lie to Me" and "When She Was Bad" that their purpose in Sunnydale was to restore her health. Dru's use of the Tarot cards at least tells us *how* she sees the future, even if it doesn't explain why she can do so.

Oz finally meets Willow for longer than ten seconds, but between her shyness and his shock, it apparently doesn't progress any farther than that during their first encounter.

Kendra, of course, probably owes her existence as a Slayer to Buffy's "death" during last season's "Prophecy Girl" finale. Who she is or what she's doing in Sunnydale have to wait 'til next week, though.

And (while this is stretching a point) Giles continues to be extremely tense when Jenny isn't around.



Spike and Dru are so sweet. Well, for psychotic vampires; he obviously adores her, even when he's in a really bad mood and not willing to put up with her vagueness. She, meanwhile, displays touching and total faith that he'll be able to fix what's wrong with her. Spike is completely focused and unwilling to take any chances with Dru's life, so he does the smart thing and calls in a distraction to keep Buffy busy while he ties up the final details. At this point, anything could happen: Dru could be cured. She could die. She could be cured, but then killed by Buffy or Kendra. Whether Dru regaining her health would affect her loopy behavior is another question yet to be resolved. These two are *so* much more entertaining than the Master. Go, Joss.

Willow seems to be even-more-destined for Watcherhood after this week, since her computer skills would nicely mesh with such a calling, and bring the organization into the 21st century (as someone on-list pointed out). Her constant undervaluing of herself seems to be scheduled for a beating too; if being recruited by Microsoft and having Oz pay attention to her don't improve her self-image, nothing will!

Strangely, this is a great Angel episode. Strangely, because the boy's quirks and personality leak out in the middle of other things: his worry about Buffy's state of mind and the wish to cheer her up come out during a conversation about her future; his embarassment about the vampire side of himself is revealed when he tries to push her away after the fight; and his willingness to get physical and intimidate a mortal comes as a surprise even though he's doing it for Buffy's sake. A *lot* of his emotions are tied up in her---protectiveness and love and trust and the ability to be himself. I hate to think what he'd be like if he lost her; he'd probably start working on those brooding skills again.

Giles is extraordinarily motivated and tense at this point, even though he *does* try to support and help Buffy in suggesting that she go into law enforcement (little as she wants to hear the suggestion). Most of his abrasiveness can be traced to a wish to protect and prepare her, and exasperation when she doesn't seem to appreciate the seriousness of the given situation. So, he kind of goes overboard with that warning bit about the Order of Turaca. Giles just can't seem to do anything half-way---stay up all night researching some archaic text, panic and send everyone out looking for Buffy, reprove his charges when they become flippant. (Giles, trust me: de-caff. Really. At least until you make up with Jenny!) Should be interesting to see his interaction with Kendra.

Xander and Cordy are splitting up the last of the air-time again, but given the situation they walked into at the end, I'd guess they're going to be a bit busier in the next ep. Xander's jokes do wear thin sometimes, but they're supposed to; he's 16, he can't shut up no matter what. Although I agree with Perri that if he had more concrete actions available for him to take, he'd be less mouthy. Cordy occasionally shares this affliction of talking when bored, frustrated and feeling useless. Let's see how they handle Worm-man: talk him to death, or actually get the job done? The hints from next week are... intriguing. And I'll leave it at that.

Buffy actually gets to be downright freaked during this ep, and not because she's been turned into a typical 17th Century chick. When Giles tells her there's something out there she can't handle, she runs straight to the next-toughest person (besides herself) she knows, who she happens to love a lot: Angel. Great scene in his apartment, crawling into his bed like a scared little kid. And *again*, Joss finds a new angle on Buffy's I-don't-wanna-be-the-Slayer riff: how's she going to pay the rent when she grows up? Personally, I think that she'd make a great P.I.; fight injustice, set your own hours, avoid authority figures, and hopefully get paid better than most cops. Let's hope they deal with this soon, even if it isn't in the second part.

Kendra---pretty, scary, and pretty scary. Right now we don't know enough about her, and speculation based on the previews and TV Guide blurbs is bound to be wrong. But I'd guess that she's going to be a _big_ contrast to OFSlayer in all areas. Can't wait!!!!


Fave Moments:

* Angel with Mr. Gordo, spooked by Buffy. Way too cute.

* Willow coming out of her keyboard-side nap shrieking "Don't warn the tadpoles!" and Giles's gentle (albeit amused) response

* Dru & Spike: Undead Charming Couple of the Year, and proof that you don't have to be mentally healthy to have a healthy relationship---especially in the bits during the teaser ("*Now* we'll dance!")

* Buffy and Angel's vamp-face kiss, incredibly tender and caring

* Xander & Cordy's breaking-in-to-Buffy's snipefest

* Icky Worm-Man shots. Bleah! Much grosser than usual! Ick! Kudos to the make-up department. Gahhh!

* Kendra the Vampire Slayer and Buffy the Vampire Slayer going toe-to-toe


4 stars out of 5. Five out of five if you hadn't seen all the spoilers and teasers and commercials and didn't guess who Kendra was. Great plot, genuinely creepy plot developments, and a boffo ending.

Now, how to survive the wait for Part 2... Grrr. Arghhh. *sigh*

Perri's Review

This would have been bad enough as a one-parter; as a two-parter, Joss has that much time to torture us. Have I mentioned the man is evil?

Chris did it! Yay!

Drusilla took it even harder than we've thought from that mob in Prague -- wonder what she's dying of. If dying the right word. but spike seems to be on the road to the cure.

There is more than one Slayer -- called when Buffy 'died' in Prophecy Girl, judging by the ads. So it's not one to a generation, just supposed to be one at a time.

Loving Willy, hope to see him again, but Angel has bloody informants!? Mortal ones? How many people know about vamps, anyway? Oh, and Buffy definitively knows where he lives.

Pig blood. Ew. But another answer as to what Angel drinks.

Dianne's right; Spike and Dru currently have the happiest, healthiest relationship in Sunnydale. This is very frightening.

Wheee!!! Oz said something to Willow! Further dialogue would be nice *hint, hint*, but it's a start.

A real, honest-to-god date! Involving prior asking, someplace other than the Bronze and a most major kiss. Too bad the demon guy interfered... but then we might not have gotten the kiss. But Buffy really had to internalize that kissing him when the demon is that close to the surface already is a Bad Thing.

It continues to baffle and, in a weird way, delight me that Spike is so very much and very obviously in love with Drusilla. He'll go to any measures to get her back to health and, while I deplore the measures *whimper**Angel!*, you kinda have to sympathize with the reason. And if he does permanent damage to Angel, I'm gonna dance on his and Drusilla's graves!

Angel takes everything so personally -- he assumes she's talking about him when she wishes for 'before' -- but at least both of them are learning to talk to each other, and to joke about the situation. I've been waiting for someone to point out that he's a cradle robber in a big way! *g* And now we know where he gets some of his information... He and Spike are eerie reflections of each other when it comes to protecting their lovers; both of them will do whatever they have to do. Even to protect her from himself -- Angel's still so bothered by Buffy seeing him with his game face, far more than she is anymore.

Fascinating look at his apartment, now that we get to see all of it. Actually looks like mine -- unmade bed and desk that's a disaster area (what is he doing, actual work?), but everything else pretty much clean and tidy. The statue of Kuan Yin(?) is quite cool, and a very nice touch. Also liked the books stacked next to the bed; guess how he spends his days.... Back to the desk, Willie mentions getting paid for information, which means Angel does, indeed, have a not-inconsiderable source of income. What is he doing?

Buffy has come a long way towards dealing with 'Angel as vampire'. (Actually, a bit too long, considering what she found out in 'Lie to Me' and which we never saw her deal with, but....) Kissing him with his game face on was not intelligent, but was the best thing she could possibly have done to help his soul. And we're back on the 'I never wanted to be the slayer' kick, with very little motivation; I'm thinking that it's not just the career thing that's getting her, it's the knowledge that it'll be a miracle if she lives long enough to graduate college. Nothing like mortality hitting you in the face to make you a bit bitca-y.

Oz is a computer whiz? Cool! Brains and talent and perception! Whee! And small bet to self -- Cordy got attacked and pinned to the wall by the throat in the pilot and is now a Slayerette. What does that say about Oz's chance?

Kendra is still pretty much an unknown, except that I'm glad they're playing her as a non-American (I'm betting Haitian, judging from the lousy accent. It would also explain stowing away on the plane, if she couldn't get a visa/passport). But the knowledge of what she is, and the determined dedication.... This is a woman who really hates vamps. She's also damned well-trained and well-informed for someone who just got Called six months ago and presumably doesn't have a Watcher.

Best Moments:
The entire bedroom scene with Angel and Buffy. Him clutching the pig, her sneaking up on him for once, Buffy's long thought before 'Habit', the 'cradle-robbing creature of the night boyfriend' bit.... Lots of self-deprecating humor from both of them, and major relationship cuteness.

Oz going non-verbal at the realization that Willow is sitting next to him. I thought he was going to drop that tray!

Cordy and Xander at the career list. They're in each other's vicinities without fighting for a whole two minutes, comfortably. Then, of course, the zingers have to fly.

The KISS!! Oh, come on, you would have been disappointed if I didn't squeal on that one....

Giles snapping at Xander. While Giles does understand that it's Xander's way of dealing with being scared and helpless, the kid does have to start finding some less annoying way of coping. It was also kind of cute -- Giles has always been distinctly paternal towards the girls, but this and the tag to The Pack are pretty much the only times he's extended the same fatherly stuff towards Xander.

Buffy going to Angel's apartment and falling asleep. Scared to death and she instinctively heads towards the place she feels safest. Beautifully acted by Sarah, with great music.

Angel trying to beat information out of Willy. Nothing like remembering how dangerous he really is....

Willow waking up in the library. *G* Giles is so cute with her.

Xander and Cordy checking on Buffy. Loverly repartee, at least half of it by habit. And Cordy did give him the ride....

Questions and Comments:
Buffy is neither stupid nor careless. Regardless of lousy mood, she would have checked to see what they wanted in the crypt.

Ew! Joss could have blown the FX budget for the ep on something less gross than Centipede Guy! Yuck.

Tiny nitpick in the Buffy in Angel's partment scene -- when she curls up ont he bed, the editors used the close-up shot of her curling up, then put the long-short of her curling up immediately after, so she does it twice. Not really complaining -- it's a damn good scene.

Why does Xander need to be driven to Buffy's house? They've walked everywhere before. Can we say "CPD to get Cordelia into Buffy's house"?

How the devil do Willow et al know Drusilla is sick? Even if Angel told them, how does he know?

So, where's the third bounty hunter? 'Cause the leopard isn't Kendra..... I don't think.

Rating: 4.5 stars out of five. A bit heavy-handed in places (notably Buffy's complaining about having to be the Slayer, and most of the exposition), and very much a set-up for part 2, but lots of WAFFs and gasps and some really nice bits.

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