Perri's Review | SunSpeak

Perri's Review

Well, here's the big explosion we were all waiting for; it may not have destroyed Sunnydale, but there's sure some wreckage.

The Slayerettes pass a peaceful night at the Bronze, listening to Dingos Ate My Baby play. As the set finishes, Oz joins the others, giving Xander and Willow a tense moment at the crowded table. The topic turns to Buffy, who's been acting strangely, even for her; the inital theory is a new boyfriend, which Buffy dispells when she shows up. She teases them until her 'date' -- Faith -- shows up. The two proceed to the nightly slaying, with Giles supervising from the sidelines, but someone else has been watching. An exceptionally British blonde wanders into the battlefield, critiquing their performance (and Bufy's fashion sense if she has any taste; what is with that hat?) before she introduces herself as Gwendolyn Post -- aWatcher.

Ms. Post, cool, composed and superior, announces she is Faith's new Watcher, to Faith's anti-authority displeasure. Ms. Post's other hobby is apparently critiquing Giles' every move; she finally announced that she has also been sent by the Coucil to evaluate his performance. The Council, it seems, is afraid he's become too American. Oh, and by the way, there's a demon on the loose looking for the all-powerful Glove of Minnegon hidden in a Sunnydale cemetary. Just a night full of good news for all concerned.

Whatever Ms. Post thinks, Buffy's training isn't being neglected. She's just doing it with Angel (take that sentance as you choose). But a joint tai chi session nearly turns into a makeout session, which both of them know they can't afford. But, like old times, both are having to fight themselves to resist. As Buffy hustles out, she tells Angel about the arrival of the demon, Lagos and his goal. Shaken, Angel asks her to be careful.

They're not the only frustrated ones; Giles is being driven crazy by the lack of information on Lagos and the glove, and is driving his helpers, Xander and Willow, equally crazy. They retreat into the stacks -- and wind up in an unexpected clinch, apparently a running theme tonight. Fortunately, Giles is too distracted to notice when he arrives, having found the probable location of the Glove. Xander beats a guilty retreat for the graveyard and Giles continues working and Willow sits on her guilty hormones.

Faith and Buffy, searching graveyards, do some female bonding on the topic of guys. Buffy determindly avoids the topic of Angel, and Faith peels off the check one last cemetary before calling it a night. Unfortunately, Lagos had the same idea -- in their fight, Faith comes out on the very wrong end. The good news being that Lagos didn't find what he was looking for.

The bad news being that Xander found what he wasn't looking for -- Angel, going into the same crypt that Giles says holds the Glove. Shocked and terrified, Xander shadows Angel back to the mansion, where he gets another eyful -- Angel and Buffy helplessly kissing. Buffy breaks away from the kiss too late; she and Angel stare at each other in hopeless passion and fear. Before Buffy can run again, Angel shows her his latest present -- the Glove. She leaves the Glove in Angel's protection.

Across town, Giles has found a picture of the Glove, but Ms. Post is unimpressed with the pic specifically and Giles in general, particularly his skill, and lack thereof, with his Slayer. He wins no points when Xander bursts in, babbling about a problem with Buffy. Out of earshot of Ms. Post, he spills his guts. By morning, all of the Slayerettes (except Faith) have been informed, and are waiting for Buffy in the library. The confrontation is, as expected, messy. Confronted with her secret, Buffy tries to defend herself. But Xander is furious, Cordelia is afraid, Willow is worried and even Oz is concerned. Giles intervenes before things get really nasty. But Giles himself is deeply hurt by Buffy's lack of faith in and respect for him, knowing what Angel did to him, and tells her so. Shaken and sad, Buffy leaves the library alone.

Faith's day isn't improving either; Ms. Post shows up on the doorstep of her hotel room and tells her how things are going to be -- strict and regimented, with the aim of making Faith a fighter, and keeping her alive. Faith is still unhappy (more so when she hears about the library meeting to which she was not invited), but accepts the offer of a training session.

Buffy works up the nerve to approach Willow, who says she isn't mad, and understands about the secret, as well she should. Buffy plans a stakeout at the cemetary where the glove was and Willow offers to join her. Later, Faith joins Xander at the Bronze, and Mr. Big Mouth spills the news about Angel. Faith, not having any of the conflicting emotions hamstringing everyone else, decides to do her job and Slay him and Xander offers to join her. And about the same time, Ms. Post joins Gile at the library, where the other Mr. Big Mouth tells her that Buffy found the glove and that it's with her friend in the mansion. Giles has also found a way to destroy it, using living flame, and is eager to try it out. Ms. Post compliments him -- and knocks him cold with a handy statue.

Willow and Buffy hang in the cemetary and Willow, having a crisis of conscience almost fesses up to her affair with Xander (when did we hit 'The Young and the Restless'?), but True Confessions is interrupted by Lagos. Buffy slays him after a bloody fight, Willow thinks better of telling the truth, and they head back for the library. Which is a popular destination tonight -- Xander and Faith, on their crusade for blood, head there for weapons. But before they can completely deplete the armory, Xander finds Giles laying unconcious in his office. Faith immediately assumes Angel is guilty and heads off to kill him; torn between lingering doubts, loyalty to Giles, and hatred of Angel, Xander stays to call an ambulance.

The object of discussion is busy at the mansion -- spellcasting. From the looks of it, he has the same spell Giels does for the living flame, and if preparing it. Buffy and Willow arrive at the library as they're wheeling Giles out; in a night for confessions, Xander tells Buffy where Faith went. Xander and Willow stay behind to research 'living flame', which Giles managed to mutter, and heads out to save her ex-boyfriend.

But Ms. Post got there first; claiming Giles sent her, she gets Angel to tell her wherew the Glove is. Per standard procedure, she knocks him out as soon as the information is delivered. Unfortunately, Ms. Post hasn't been paying attention -- what would have killed a human only pisses Angel off. As she fondles the glove, he rises in full game face. Their fight end when Ms. Post gets thrown against a wall, which is the first thing Faith sees. She goes into full Slayer mode, and manages to once again knock the stil-weak Angel out. But before she can slay him -- Buffy arrives. Convention at the mansion, everyone invited.

Urged on by Ms. Post, Faith attacks Buffy to get to Angel, and it's Slayer Wars II. The two are evenly matched and only manage to piss each other off, and distract each other. Xander and Willlow arrive (told you, it's a convention), and Xander wins back some points by trying to interfere, only to get tossed around by Faith in payment. Which manages to effectively distract everyone long enough for Ms. Post to put on the Glove. Spikes clamp it onto her arm,w her eit can never be removed, and with a lound chant, he begins to call down the lightening.

Angel manages to save Willow from the first blast. The two Slayers stop trying to killeach other long enough for Ms. Post to inform Faith she's an idiot, then begin a fast round of lightning tag. Fight put aside, the SLayers go into battle mode -- Faith distracts the Watcher/demon and Buffy attacks from ebhind -- with a shard of glass that cuts off Ms. Posts arm. Screaming, she is burned alive by her own lightning. In the smoke and quiet of the empty room, the five face each other.

And must do it again the next morning. Xander and Buffy make a tentative peace (although Cordelia still doesn't trust anything in the situation). Giles arrives with the news that Ms. Post was disbarred from the Watchers, and Buffy leaves on an errand of her own, as the Slayerettes decide, equally tentatively, to trust her. A meeting with Faith goes much worse -- Faith's trust once again abused to the breaking. Buffy has no luck getting through, and finally goes, leaving Faith alone.

Everyone is now aware that Angel is alive, and he has once again saved Willow's life. No one's going to try to kill him any time soon, but nobody trust him either. And they're not thrilled with Buffy.

Willow and Xander are actively pursuing a relationship behind everyone's back -- that's a nice way of saying 'making out at every opportunity'.

Angel and Buffy are trying to avoid getting involved again, with a stunning lack of success.

Everyone has more or less decided to trust Buffy again -- except Faith who doesn't trust much of anyone at the moment.

As usual, my sympathy's for this episode lie mostly with Buffy. Yes, she lied to her friends about Angel being back -- I agree that she should have at least told Giles. As her Watcher, and her friend, he deserved to know, and it was a situation she should not have been trying to deal with on her own, for Angel's sake as well as her own. But the rest of them -- she was afraid they would all get together and go out on a lynching party, which is pretty much precisely what happened. Score one for the Buffster.

Giles is actually taking all of this rather well. Amusing to see him so utterly flustered by the arrival of another 'Watcher' -- the thought of him being 'Americanized' should have given Ms. Post-It away immediately! And he deals with Buffy's news very well -- more upset by the fact that she didn't trust him than by Angel's return. We'll see how well he continues to deal -- given the combination of Angelus' torture and Jenny's death, he's taking this far better than Buffy had any right to expect.

Finally, Xander redeems himself somewhat. I've been really disliking the boy since the end of last season, but he got the chance to make a choice here and finally made the right one. I can't blame him too much for going postal when he first saw Buffy with Angel -- Angelus did a lot of damage to all of them. But by choosing to stay with Giles instead of going after Angel, and by warning Buffy in time to save Angel -- and, pretty much, the world -- he wins back major points. I'm still not happy with him, but I'm not actively wanting to strangle him. At the moment. Of course, Cordelia's going to take care of that when she finds out about Willow -- what is it with that boy and not being able to have a relationship anywhere but in the closet (figuratively or literally)?

Faith has been having a bad time ever since she was Called. Her first Watcher dies, so she winds up having to join Buffy's crowd, knowing she's not one of them. And now, when she was going to have her own Watcher again, be first in someone's life again -- she's betrayed again. Getting her to trust again is going to be a hard job; hopefully, she'll figure out that a Slayer has much better odds of survival if she's not alone.

Angel seems to be recovering by leaps and bounds, although he's still not thinking quite as fast as the rest of the crew. But he's remembering his spells, and making his own decisions -- first finding the Glove, then deciding to destroy it were entirely on his own volition. Which bodes well for his ability to take care of himself, but not for his continued stay in Sunnydale.

Poor Willow's conscience is eating her alive -- as well it should. She's finally gotten what she's wanted all her life -- Xander -- but she's having to betray her boyfriend and her friend Cordelia to get it. No wonder she understands Buffy keeping her secret so well. Can't say this little imbroglio adds much to her character, but at least she feels guilty about it. And, as usual, she's quick to let Angel back into her good graces -- when he saves her life, which I do think balances out Angelus trying to kill her.

< snicker > Gotta love Cordelia. She still calls it like she sees it -- Buffy and Angel have always broken all of the rules, and she's not gonna trust them not to do it again. She's still ruthlessly, relentlessly practical about the whole thing. Oz, oddly enough, is reacting almost the same. He barely knew Angel, of course, but he doesn't jump to judgement as quickly as Xander, but he doesn't trust again as easily as Willow. Practical. Who knew these two would have that much in common?

I'm forced to reluctantly admire Ms. Post -- she played evryone in Sunnydale perfectly. She hit Giles in his ego, keep him off-balance enough that he didn't bother checking her credentials and didn't bother doing much thinking at all in his attempt to prove himself. She got other people to do all of her work for her, and would have gotten away with the Glove if it hadn't been for Angel stalling her at the mansion -- the one thing she had no way of predicting. I still hate her guts, of course, but she was very good at what she did.

Best Moments:
Giles calmly watching while Faith and Buffy go at it. And the high-five, 'synchronized slaying' moment was great!

Post-It's first lines. You've gotta admit, the &*%%^ knew how to make an entrance.

The Angel/Buffy tai chi scene. I don't care if I'm being manipulated, I don't care if their forms were off. Gorgeous (and hormanlly satisfactory) scene.

12 cemetaries in Sunnydale. < snerk > Just love Giles' delivery on that one.

Xander and Willow in the library. Xander's backchat to Giles, so rudely rebuffed, is hilarious, and I'm with whoever said Xander obeying the 'no means no' rule was very cool. And Willow's lunge kiss was hilarious, in a future owie sort of way. And Giles being too distracted to even notice was hysterical!

Beautiful performance by all concerned during the 'intervention'. No desire to watch it again, but really good.

Giles' incredibly calm and quiet tirade to Buffy. Beautiful, beautiful delivery from Tony Head.

Willow trying to fess up to Buffy. < g > I have no idea how she's keeping this secret, sicne she can't lie with a straight face.

Faith and Xander finding Giles. Nick Brendan's turn to be wonderful -- torn between going after Angel and helping Giles and not being quite sure he can blame Angel. Really scaring, really wrenching, and really well done.

Shut up and help me." Gotta love it when Willow gets actively mad -- and Xander deserved that.

Salyer versus Salyer, Round 2!!! Great fight sequence through the whole thing -- happy to see Angel save Willow, glad to see Xander get thrown across a room, glad to see everyone finally working together to deal with Post-It. WAnted more of that last scene!

"They swear there was a memo." < snerk > Giles had some of the best lines!

Questions and Comments:
Serious flashbacks back to 'Angel' through the entire episode. Everyone just finding out about Angel, no one trusting him, both Buffy and Angel fighting their feelings -- this show goes full circles in the oddest ways....

As near as I can tell, there's a very good reason that there was only one Slayer at a time prior to this -- the 'two tigers, one hill' syndrome keeps kicking in. Kendra versus Buffy established their relationship, Faith versus Buffy may have demolished theirs. There's too much riding on the Slayer for dominance games to get in the way every time they disagree -- and those games are going to happen, because the Slayer has to have extreme self-confidence (read: arrogance) and extreme strength of will (read: obstinancy); two of those in the same room is begging for trouble. Faith, as helpful as she might be in Sunnydale, needs to get gone, before she and Buffy manage to destroy the whole town.

Buffy's "Your secret's safe with me," to Willow should have been "Your secret dies with me."

Wow. I'm glad Gwen Post turned out to be a bad guy -- I'm with Kiki and Buffy, I would have had to kill her if she stayed. And yet another sranger with a Brit accent is the bad guy -- we just have to stop trusting the entire country. < g >

Really, really, really wanted the scene where the last act ended -- Xander, Buffy, Willow, Faith, Angel, all in the same room for the first time since 'Surprise'. Ending there was so unfair!

It amuses me vastly that the two people who really don't trust Angel -- Cordy and Faith -- are the two that are probably going with him to L.A.

Joss is apparently setting up something with the Watcher Council, which will make me very happy if he ever does anything with it.

Rating: 4 stars out of five, mostly because I figured out about Ms. Post less than twenty minutes in. < smug grin > Still, fairly emotionally brutal and great performances from Nick Brendon and SMG.


"That's it... I'm buying the guy a helmet with a rearview mirror on it." -- Mary Beth

"Okay--wow. Just *wow*. This episode rocked in every sense of the word. Far and away the best episode of Season 3, and on a par with some of the best of the series IMO. Incredible emotional power, serious ass-kicking, suspense and great twists, good smoochy-face...and perhaps one of the best Buffy-Giles scenes I have *ever* seen. Tony Head is my *god*." -- Gina

"Xander redeemed himself a teeny-weeny-itsy-bitsy bit in the last scene (although when he said 'I trust you,' my response was, 'since *when*?"), but he's got a long way to go. He *totally* set Angel up with the way he told Faith about him; yeah, sure, he *eventually* mentioned the part about his ("maybe") being souled again but in such a way as to encourage Faith not to believe it and to set out to kill him. I'm sorry, that's just *slimy*. (*Love* Willow getting on his ass in the library after Buffy leaves.)" -- Gina

"The intervention: reminded me a lot of "Dead Man's Party." One of those excruciatingly painful scenes where it's Buffy against the world, and she's getting shredded, and although their feelings are reasonable, no one's willing to give her the benefit of a moment's doubt. Yeah, she lied--because if she'd told them Angel was alive, she knew she was going to get exactly what she *did* get. Angst, mistrust, "let's kill him." Even Willow, while she was at least doing her nice psychological "I-words" thing was basically treating Buffy like she was so stupid and/or oversexed that she'd deliberately put her friends' lives at risk--and this is the woman who did the damn spell to restore Angel's soul in the first place! Why bother, if your assumption is always going to be that he's still evil anyway?

": ahem :: Excuse me. But Giles' reaction and the scene with Buffy makes my "top ten list of most powerful scenes."" -- Gina

"Giles, old chap - don't ever, ever turn your back on anyone ever again. I wonder if the emergency room staff just keep his file out - just in case.
-- "Doctor, it's Mr. Giles again. It's a..."
-- "No, no, nurse. I'm keen to guess. Crossbow accident? No? Ah! Tranquilizer dart? No? Well, it must be a head wound then."" -- Deb

" *soon* as Giles told Mrs. Post exactly where the glove was, did anyone else scream "Don't *tell* her, moron"?"
"She was somehow too eager to find it, but until she actually bashed him, I was thinking it was just more "show up the old man" excessively zealous Watcher-ness. *So* glad she was a baddie! "So, can we kill her?" Why, yes, Buffy, you can! " -- Gina and Maureen

"< sigh > I love how Sarah plays those scenes - she emotes like nobody else! - but I *wish* she could learn to be a little more assertive and vocal. She's not *explaining* what she's thinking, what the situation is, _why_ they should cut Angel some slack. And yes, she should tell them off when they're being hypocritical! Which, in my opinion, they are. The last time Angel had a soul, they *knew* he was formerly a murderer, but he had never attacked _them_, so he was okay. Now he's got a soul again, but he'd attacked (or rather Angelus had attacked - important distinction, that) them, so that means he's not to be trusted??? I don't *get* it, really I don't."
"I agree, Buffy (not Sarah :) needs to speak up. She has reasons that aren't being taken into account, but most of the time she's expecting everyone around her to be mindreaders as well." -- Maureen and Dianne

"Human nature. It's one thing to forgive something that-- however terrible it was-- was so far in the past it affected no one else you do (or will ever) know. [Dru is her own special case.] When they knew Angel v2.0 < g >, he had been doing good for nearly a century. They knew about his past (_eventually_), but only second-hand-- long ago and far away.

"Angel v3.0, coming right after Angelus v2.0 (yes, I'll stop already ;-), is a reminder of very personal horror and betrayal. They not only got to witness (and experience) the awfulness in real-time, present-day, glorious technicolor this time, to the point that there was no way of mentally brushing it off as "old stories" or "the way we're told he used to be, long ago," it also had the added pain of betrayal, because they had trusted him beforehand.

"So-- Technically? No real difference. But in human, real-people terms? Worlds apart. " -- Dianne

"Without denying everything bad that has happened (I'll get to Giles' confrontation with Buffy in a moment), it's not human nature to DWELL on grief for too long. Survival instincts kick in. You either slip into catatonic-like grief (literally or figuratively) or YOU MOVE ON. Somehow, without cheapening any of the characters, Joss has accomplished this. Giles is never going to forget Jenny. But he's not going to risk his (and Buffy's) lives going after Angelus with a baseball bat again. Maybe the schism between Buffy and the rest is because she *isn't* moving on. It took an outside agency (Scott) to distract her from Angel, and when he disappeared from her life, she was focused back on Angel again. Two episodes ago I would have said that the problem with the Buffy/Angel relationship was that *SHE* had moved on and *HE* was mentally incapable of doing so. Now... she's slipping back (partly because she felt she *had* to keep this secret, which I *don't* agree with; it wouldn't have been fun, but she could have *tried* to convince Giles or Willow... was it Gina who pointed out that Willow, more than anyone, should know better about Angel SINCE SHE WORKED THE FREAKIN' SPELL???) and as Angel recovers... I don't know what's going to happen. " -- Lizbet

"Question: How the *hell* was Gwendolin Post so certain that Giles wouldn't know she had been kicked out? Was she released from the Watchers at a certain time that Giles would have been... shall we say, distracted? And is anyone else nervous about the fact that one week, someone from Giles' past shows up and the next someone *else* from Giles' past (or, at least, a past "association") shows up? "Hey, Gwennie, luv, you still looking for that bloody glove? You remember Ripper, right? Right, you never met him, you were kicked out about then. Well, he's the Watcher, if you can believe it, and I do believe the glove is in the same place as the Slayer. He won't know you aren't one of the select crowd anymore; he'll believe whatever you tell him. He's never really fit in with the tweed crowd that well, so just make him feel at home, make him feel like he's not good enough. Then you nip the glove, and share it with me. Me? Oh, I can't. He knows I'm hanging around. You... you he'd trust unthinkingly. Got it?" OK, get Ethan the WAY heck out of my head..." -- Lizbet

"I'm thinking she's destined for LA and the spin-off, myself. Think about it-- it seems even SunnyHell may not be big enough for two slayers (and I think the show is not, or at least not on a regular basis). Sending the extra slayer back to LA (where Buffy was getting a lot of undead action [Minds out of the gutter! Now!!! < scowl >] before) seems only natural. Plus you have all sorts of tension between Faith and Angel pre-established." -- Dianne on Faith

"Really glad that it was Willow who got her bacon saved by Angel this time, because I think that friendship takes priority on the repair list for a variety of reasons. First, that Willow was always the one making an effort to include him in the *group* (something entirely separate from being surgically joined at the lips with Buffy). Second, that she needs to make peace with his having killed her mentor. Third, that it looks like he's gotten a lot better at this mumbo-jumbo stuff, and could in some measure *serve* as her mentor in that department...or at least help keep an eye on her. On Angel's end, he has to come to terms with the scary shit he did to her--without downplaying the importantance of the Giles-torture, I think Willow caught it worse than anyone who survived the Angelus rampage. I predict we'll see him wigging to a fairly major degree at how far she's gotten into this stuff...complicated by the fact that he owes his soul to Willow playing with things it isn't safe for her to play with." -- Valerie "I liked this ep a lot. But I couldn't stand to re-watch it very quickly; I would have spoiled it for anyone else watching, because I would have been screaming "bitch, bitch, BITKA!" at Gwendy Post-it.... But the stuff I really hated her for was the underhanded snarking at everyone, and the way she undermined Faith's relations to everyone else as well as that last *totally* uncalled-for insult. She pushed all their buttons in such a way they couldn't fight back, just to keep them off-balance enough so she could get the stupid glove. Faith's an idiot? Who's the one with the demon Freddy Krueger glove, lady? Sheeesh." -- Chris

"MB also pointed out how easily he [Angel] responds to getting smacked by Gwendy with more violence than we usually see from him; the hinted-at stuff I've seen about him synthesizing both sides of his personality seems to be happening. He'd never have thrown a mortal around so casually before. The one other time he really whaled on a human, it was Willy, and he was mostly bluffing. Should be interesting to see where this goes...." -- Chris

"What struck me in this entire episode was how much *all* of them (including Buffy and Xander) had learned from the intervention of DMP. DMP was raw, emotional... the wounds were fresh... the words were harsh... just about everyone over reacted....*except* Giles. Mr. Understanding.

"Here, everyone was, mostly, calm. They were, mostly, rational. They were downright mature for this bunch. Very little yelling, very little (none, actually, I think) crying. Oh it was tense.... there were words exchanged... but they talked like a group of people who cared about each other and had some respect for their friendships. And this time, the one person having the hardest time *was* Giles.... Mr. had it enough with Understanding." -- Mary Beth

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