Written by David Fury
Directed by Michael Grossman

Perri's Review | SunSpeak

Perri's Review

Having let myself get seriously behind, it's very difficult to go back and review older episode having seen the newer ones -- I'll try to keep my knowledge from coloring the memory of my at-the-time impressions. But no promises. I can assure you that all speculation in SunSpeak was made at the time the episodes aired, with no foreknowledge of events.

Previously, on Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Buffy believes in Spike, which doesn't do him a lot of good when he's kidnapped by the First. The turok-han rose with Spike's blood, Giles came back bearing potential Slayers, the turok-han kicked Buffy's butt and she got all determined and making with the speeches.

A rather shaken black girl gets off the bus at the infamous Sunnydale bus station, and heads for the phone book, presumably to find Casa Summers like everyone else. Before she can scream for a ride, two Bringers close in on her. They look menacing for about ten seconds before a blonde Slayer appears behind them and starts kicking butt. The new girl, Rona, leans against a wall, and looks scared. Buffy apologizes for the late pickup. "They told me I'd be safe here," Rona gasps. She will be, Buffy assures her, next time she gets attacked. "Welcome to the Hellmouth."

It's a reasonably quiet night at the Hotel Summers; Willow tries to sleep on the floor of her room as Kennedy sweetly offers to share the bed. Willow's refusal bears more than a slight edge of panic, as they discuss the arrival of the new Slayer in Training (SiT), and the others that Giles' coven is trying to find. The biggest concern is bathroom space; Kennedy is used to much more space. Like, her own wing. Kennedy glosses over her monied background to get Willow's story, but Willow skates around the issue with discomfort. Molly is in the process of lecturing the new arrivals -- they're up to five potentials, not counting Rona. Everyone is still a little freaked about how brutally the turok-han dealt with Buffy, especially southerner Eve, who is worried that Buffy was "too late again". Xander puts the kibosh on the slumber party, with Andrew's enthusiastic seconding, until Buffy arrives. Everyone else wanders in and Molly heads off to get Rona some food (and the first language barrier is hit between British and American). Buffy is freaked that the First almost beat them to Rona. "I need to know how to stop it. No, not stop it. Hurt it. I want to hurt it real bad. Tell me how." Giles remains clueless, and even Anya hasn't found anything in the demon community; without a way to fight the First, Buffy can't get to Spike, which is her highest priority, and which she doesn't want to discuss. Giles does have one idea, over Anya's strenuous objections -- Beljoxa's Eye, a demon oracle, that only demons can open the gateway to. But they're running out of time for debate.

So is Spike, although he's having fun beating up on Bringers to kill time. He defeats one and breaks free of his chains, racing for the entrance, where Buffy meets him with a tremulous smile of welcome... and he jerks awake, still chained to a cave wall. "Dreaming of me again, aren't you?" the First mocks from Buffy's face. "He still thinks I believe in him. Be realistic -- I don't even believe in myself." The turok-han still stands guard, but Spike isn't accepting his fate, and not accepting the First's offers. In fact, he's ignoring them, chanting over and over, "She will come for me. She will come for me..." The First leans in close to silence him. "No. I won't."

Anya and Giles hit the streets the next day, to track down an old friend of Anya's. Well, more like a bitter ex-one-night-stand whose face looks like half the skin is falling off. Anya tries to blow off the details ("It wasn't even a date. We just happened to be invited to the same massacre, and you hit on me after I had a few."), but Torg evidently still has Issues. Anya is finally reduced to offering sex, but Torg isn't interested in a skanky human. Giles offers to not send Buffy over to kill Torg's clientele, and that offer, Torg goes for. He turns and throws blood into the air, and a vortex opens. "There's your stinkin' gateway, Anyanka. Don't let it hit you on the way out." Anya and Giles brace for it, then jump into wind-filled darkness. The Eye is waiting. Willow picks up the phone back home to a call from the coven; as Xander unties Andrew and Buffy releases him on his own recognizance, Willow tells them another potential arrived in town two days ago. Buffy and Xander head out to get her, but Dawn's not sure that "more scared Slayer wanna-bes translates as help." Giles has the girls running through drills in the basement, but they're spending more time talking than punching the bag. Eve and her accent want to know why they're bothering to train, since there's nothing they can do against real vampires. Vi and Kennedy are in favor of doing everything they can, but Eve oh-so-sincerely maintains that Slayers die all the time, including Buffy. One of them could be called and, as each of them dies after Buffy, another. "Kind of creepy, huh? All we do is wait around for each other to die."

She's more accurate than they know -- as Buffy and Xander arrive at the new potential's hotel room, they find an unpleasant surprise. The potential is dead... and she's Eve. "Just my personal opinion," drawls a Southern voice at the increasingly sober potential Slayers, "but I don't think the Slayer can protect us from the First."

Upstairs at Casa Summers, Andrew occupies himself by getting on Dawn's nerves. He's getting a little crazed by the inaction and general air of hostility and loneliness; Dawn informs him that "Maybe you shouldn't have killed your only friend," and leaves Andrew to stew alone. Soon after, Buffy and Xander come busting in and head straight down to the basement. "Eve" has been expecting her; she takes a little time to taunt and torment with her presence, then tells them she'll be sending a "guest" over later that night. "Try and make him feel welcome. Before he rips y'all to pieces." Meanwhile, the Eye isn't telling Giles and Anya much of anything they don't know; he doesn't have any knowledge of a way to kill the First, which has always been. "If the First has been around for all time," Giles demands, "then why hasn't it attempted something like this before? Why now?" The Eye answers, "The opportunity has only recently presented itself... The mystical forces surrounding the Chosen One have become irrevocably altered. Become unstable -- vulnerable." He says the First didn't cause it, but is taking advantage; the Slayer is responsible for the problem.

The baby Slayers are understandably freaked, but Buffy lays down the calmness and stick-together laws. But they need a plan for the night, and Willow is it -- they need a magical barrier to keep the turok-han out. Nobody's happy, but there is no choice. If the barrier fails, the min-Slayers will have to fight, and none of them believe they can (with the exception of the oldest, the very determined Kennedy). Willow and Buffy exchange significant looks and leave the room as the others argue; Xander, distracted for a moment, follows. The three Scoobies gather in the kitchen, wordless, as the sun sets. As darkness falls, "Eve" sends the turok-han out after its prey, with orders to kill them all -- except "her" -- then returns to the fun of Spike torture. The Scoobies and the junior auxiliary watch in fear as Bringers surround the house. "They're there to keep us in," Buffy says grimly. The still-scared SiTs find themselves being handed weapons, and handle it with varying degrees of grace. (Rona: "Like this'll do any good. I mean, what's the point?" Kennedy: "It's this end right here. You stick that in the bad guys. Any more questions?" I love Kennedy.) Andrew begs a weapon and Buffy hands him holy water and Willow mediates, floating a candleholder until Kennedy interrupts her. "Heard this voodoo once turned you into the big scary. Big, scary Willow. That's something I'd almost like to see," she jokes, "that's something I'd almost like to see." Willow cuts her off ruthlessly: "No, you wouldn't." Kennedy: "I said almost." Willow shares her fear of using magic against the First after her last experience, until Dawn summons them to the front door. Company's here.

The turok-han begins pounding on the door; everyone clusters behind Willow as she begins to chant. The turok-han crashes inside -- and into a mystical barrier. Willow tries to hold it, but it's too strong -- time for Plan B. Everyone runs. Xander leads the way out the door, attacking the first Bringer that tries to stop them to clear the road. Buffy finishes the fight as Giles and Anya emerge from the vortex back into the alley. Anya's still trying to figure out how Buffy's death could have caused a problem. "It's not because she died," Giles tells her. "It's because she lives. Again." Anya's face collapses as she begins to understand. "Willow, and me, and Xander and Tara. We're the ones who brought her back.... it's our fault. The world would have been better off if Buffy had just stayed dead."

The running, stumbling parade of Scoobies and potentials pauses in the middle of the street; Buffy tells them to split up. Xander and Willow take the others someplace safer while Buffy slows the turok-han. Dawn objects and Kennedy volunteers to stay, but Buffy takes Andrew's holy water and shoos them all away. Buffy takes a running, leaping kick at the turok-han, and bounces backwards onto the pavement She smashes the bottle of holy water against it, and it finally seems to have an effect. She takes the chance to start running, but when she turns to look behind her, the turok-han is gone again. The escape gang climbs a fence into one of Xander's construction zones, the new public library. "This'll do," Willow approves. "Okay, everyone, spread out and take position." There's no time for debate -- the turok-han has already found them.

Kennedy coolly loads her crossbow as everyone else assembles behind her to face the charging turok-han; huge spotlights suddenly flare, revealing the Slayer standing behind and above them, arms crossed. Waiting. "Just watch," Willow tells Kennedy, and they back away from the action, climbing to relative safety. Buffy somersaults down into the makeshift fight pit, and as she speaks, it becomes fairly obvious that she has a plan., "Looks good, doesn't it? They're trapped in here. Terrified, meat for the beast, and there's nothing they can do but wait. That's all they've been doing for days, waiting to be picked off, having nightmares about monsters that can't be killed. But I don't believe in that. I always find a way. I'm the thing that monsters have nightmares about. And right now, you and me are gonna show them why. It's time. Welcome to ThunderDome." Only Andrew gets the reference, but Buffy is already on the attack. She's out-matched almost immediately, but she keeps to her feet, taking everything the turok-han can dish out. "You planned this," Dawn realizes. "You and Buffy."

And suddenly we're back in the dining room at Casa Summers, listening to baby Slayers freak about a monster that can't be killed. And as Buffy and Willow exchange significant looks, we hear their thoughts; Buffy knows she's losing them, and mentally orders Willow and Xander to follow her into the kitchen, distracting Xander momentarily. "I need to kill the NeaderVamp to get to Spike, but I need those girls to see me do it." After a long moment of silence, Xander contributes mentally, "I know just the place..." And quite the place it is for this battle royale. Buffy doesn't have to fight barehanded, there's a wealth of weapons to choose from, including the crossbow Kennedy drops. But although Buffy gets a bolt into his chest, she still stumbles under the force of the turok-han's attack, until he throws her upward through a scaffolding. He climbs up after the wounded Slayer, getting her by the throat in his favorite attack. The potentials are ready to race to the rescue, but Willow holds them back again, scared but resolute. Buffy suddenly grabs the crossbolt bolt from the turok-han's chest, and shoves it into his eye. He staggers back, half-blinded, and Buffy kicks him backwards and to the ground. She follows him and they trade blows again, but this time, it's Buffy who has the strength. She finds a long length of wire and raps it around the turok-han's neck -- and pulls the garrote until it cuts all the way through. Beheaded, the turok-han dusts just like every other vampire.

Buffy staggers out to face the potentials. "I don't know what's coming next," she calls up to them. "But I do know it's gonna be just like this -- hard, painful. But in the end, it's gonna be us. If we all do our parts, believe it -- we'll be the ones left standing. Here endeth the lesson." She strides away as the potentials smile in sudden, new confidence -- and follow.

Still wearing Eve's face, the First watches from above, a very unhappy camper. Later, in the cavern, a bloody, battered Spike opens his eyes to see Buffy's face standing over him, knife in hand. "A knife now, is it? You can't hurt me. You're just a bloody figment, you are." But his bravado weakens as she advances on him... and leans over to cut the ropes around one wrist. He falls forward, and catches Buffy's shoulder, and joy spreads over his face as he realizes who is really standing there. Arm over shoulder, Buffy and Spike walk out of the First's lair together.

Potential Slayers continue to converge on Sunnydale, aided by the coven that Giles took Willow to during the summer.

The turok-han didn't turn out to be so hard to kill after all. Buffy freed Spike.

Anya is, in fact, human again, not just a depowered demon.

Buffy spent the entire episode being fixated on killing the turok-han so she could free Spike. Subtext becoming text, anyone?

Buffy has, apparently, caught a fairly bad case of Watcher's Council Long-Winded Speech disease. Either that, or she's channeling first-season Giles. Were I a potential Slayer, I'd be tempted to give the kicking of her ass a seriously good try a) for deliberately scaring the crap out of me with that damn turok-han and b) to make her shut up with the speeches for god's sake! It's nice to see Buffy being all focused and taking the Slayage seriously, I'm not complaining about that. And I'll give her props for a very effective demonstration of Slayer Power, that I'm sure will do lots to keep the mini-Slayers in line and focused. And god knows she killed the thing thoroughly. I'm just wondering when she misplaced her sense of humor, and if we can expect to see it reappear any time soon.

And yay, with the freeing of Spike. I love Spike a lot, but watching him be tortured is not my idea of a good time. Plus, he's more entertaining when he's running around causing havoc -- Martyr Spike is just lacking in the fun. Wow, he's currently got even more in common with Buffy that way....

Poor Anya -- definitely human again, and not happy about having it shoved in her face. Is there anything more humiliating than being rejected by a guy you wouldn't have on a silver platter? She gets props for sucking it up and helping Giles find the Eye, and for immediately taking responsibility for Buffy being alive, and any and all consequences. Of everyone on the show, I think it's Anya who's grown and changed the most during her time on the show, and it's damned impressive.

And how much fun was it to see the original Gang of Three back in action? As unenthused as I am by their approach to the whole thing (terrifying mini-Slayers while possibly seriously endangering them? Not kosher), watching them do the sharing a brain thing (even before we knew they were actually sharing a brain) was just so very cool. As new characters come and go, there's nothing like seeing that close-knit friendship that first drew us in keep getting stronger. Willow and Xander continue to be the best of all possible support systems.

Although Willow seems to be somewhat distracted by Kennedy. < eg > I love this girl more every time I see her on screen. She's so relentlessly practical and focused, but without ever losing her sense of humor about it all; and, as the oldest of the mini-Slayers, she's doing her part to keep them all focused and calm(er). Plus, she has the excellent taste to be pursuing Willow, which gives her even more points. I'm impressed by the writers' development of Kennedy -- it would have been so easy to go the cheap route of giving Willow a New Relationship They Know We'll Hate, like they did with Buffy and Parker, to transition us from Tara to someone new in Willow's life. Instead, they're actually taking a chance, and giving us someone cool and likeable and entirely different from Tara -- and it's paying off. I still miss Tara like crazy, but I like and respect Kennedy, and wish her luck.

The rest of the mini-Slayers are still blurring together for me; while writing the synopsis, I had to keep a list of names and hairstyle notes to figure out who was doing what, and constantly check the quote list (fortunately, Maureen is better at telling them apart than I am). Hopefully, they'll differentiate themselves as we go; until then, I know Rona and Kennedy, but I'm going to mix up Molly, Vi and Chloe until the end of time. (Except for Vi's hat. In lieu of actual physical/personality development, visual cues are appreciated.) But I am enjoying the exploration of the entire concept of potential Slayers and their training, which is something that hasn't really been touched on until now (except that Faith and Buffy both fell through the cracks). But I still want more. Kennedy was found at 8 years old -- how?

The First continues to be creepy and obnoxious and scary, and how sad is it that I knew Eve was evil just from how bad that faux southern accent was? I'm told it wasn't as gratingly bad to those not from the South (or nearby regions), but it drove me right up the wall. Still, you can't beat the First for some really effective nervenkrieg -- that was a bunch of seriously wigged baby Slayers. And, I assume, a seriously pissed-off First when its toy bit the dust. Just gives you kind of a warm, fuzzy glow....

Best Moments:
Buffy's wry, "Welcome to the Hellmouth." That was the closest thing to humor she showed all night. I loved it.

Andrew continues to amuse/irritate (""Episode One" bored," indeed! I'd have said more about him, but Mike does too good a job in SunSpeak for me to bother trying to top him), and Xander trying to break up the slumber party was quite fun. I'm endlessly entertained by the fact that, after this many years with Buffy and Willow (and Dawn), herds of girls don't throw him even slightly.

Rona having to translate British to American. We haven't mocked that particular language gap for a long time.

Giles and Anya going to see Beljoxa's Eye. there was nothing about this that wasn't fun, from Anya's little Moment with Torg, to the coolness of the Eye himself (loved the slips into modern speech), and just the sheer fun of Giles and Anya on-screen together. (Closet Giles/Anya shipper here; they entertain me, I make no apologies.)

Dawn and Andrew's discussion of whether she's allowed to kill him. The dialogue was excellent, and Dawn's capper of "Then maybe you shouldn't have killed your only friend." was excellent.

The use of Willow's telepathy. Excellent fake-out early on, not showing us the telepathy, then going back and filling in what we missed. Very, very cool writing, executed perfectly.

Any time Kennedy is on screen, but particularly when she's talking to Willow or the mini-Slayers. I may have mentioned I love Kennedy, and the crack about "It's this end right here. You stick that in the bad guys." was my favorite line of the night.

Buffy rescuing Spike. Yay.

Questions and Comments:
It's flat impossible to hear the title of this episode without immediate flashback to Sweet in OMWF.

Okay, is it just me, or was the final battle against the turok-han more than bit anti-climactic? All the build-up for this guy, ultimate vamp, yadda yadda, and he gets offed three episodes after he's introduced. In exactly the way that Buffy et al planned. Whatever.

The repetition of kitten routine is turning a stupid one-off joke into a nostalgic running gag. That's just sad.

Someone finally mentioned Faith, Interesting. Now when is someone going to mention the fact that no new Slayer was called while Buffy was dead over the summer? The potentials might not know that Buffy died, since the secret seems to have been kept, but Giles and the Scoobies should certainly be asking some questions.

Nice use of "Here endeth the lesson," echoing the Master from way back in season 1.

Rating: 3 stars out of 5. A few good lines and a ferocious fight scene, but still not much more than a "move the arc along" ep.


"At any rate, I've had a theory spawned by tonight's ep. I know we've discussed the possibility that Giles is the First right now, and I still believe that could be the case. But, in tonight's ep, when first they were told by the Eye about how the Slayer changed things, and then especially when Anya was all upset about how the resurrection spell and Buffy's continued existence screwed things up enough that the First could seemed to me that Giles was not surprised. As in, he all ready knew, or suspected. This could certainly make sense if Giles were the First...or if he'd just all ready known. Which means that the reason he's been so "off" is...because he knows and fears that Buffy may have to die to set things right. Or worse...that he, having sworn to protect this sorry world, might have to kill her. It's a scary and typically Joss situation where we're left to hope that the First is "just" pretending to be Giles. (I should also point out that these two scenarios aren't necessarily mutually exclusive. Giles could be incapacitated somewhere, be rescued, and suddenly be faced with this...)" -- Mel

"Not much to say about last night's ep, other than it was a steady plot-mover-forward."
"That was about what I thought. Solid, but not really exciting. Although the ending surprise was cool - I had a moment of "again?" when I thought Buffy was FE, but then realized "yayyyy! She's saaaving him!""
"I thought that was an awfully easy disposal of Ubervamp, but then again, it's SOP for Mutant Enemy to point us at a Big Bad for the season and then take it away. (Not that, at this point, anyone really believed that Ubervamp would make it, but I didn't expect only three episodes!)
"I thought it was too easy as well - especially given the smackdown it gave her in the last ep - but I figured it for a case of Hero Invincibility and left it at that. She *did* blind the thing, which helped, but still. A better fight would've been good."
"I'm still waffling on the Giles-is-Giles-no- he's-the-First-Evil. I come down on the side of Giles-is-Giles just because ME is trying so hard to make us think he's evil. Now my brain hurts. Oy."
"*EXACTLY*. Gah. He still hasn't taken the damn coat off, although, at least he's unbuttoned it. And taken his glasses off once or twice, but only to hold them in his hand. But given that Eve the Evil managed to go undetected under much closer conditions for several days, I still can't rule it out. Hate Joss." -- Lizbet and Chris

"Isn't what they're doing with Andrew wonderful? He probably wouldn't admit it, but I'm betting he's having the time of his life. He gets to Mary Sue himself into a greater adventure than he could ever imagine. No wonder viewers are less annoyed with him; last season with three geeks as villains, no doubt a lot of fans felt like ME was taking the piss, one of the reasons, I suspect, that they were not as well-received in a lot of quarters. But now Andrew totally represents the audience's point of view, and the geek audience at that. We're vicariously experiencing Life with Buffy through him." -- Mike

Even the visit to the Eye Oracle of B-whatever wasn't particularly helpful, even though it looked like he'd finally asked a useful question: Why now? The problem is, the answer they got is still ambiguous, the timing is wrong, and it's depressing. :> If the FE is trying to convince Anya (and by extension, everyone else) that Buffy has to die, that's a good strategy for winning, I have to admit. As for the ambiguous: it mentioned Buffy's resurrection - but I'm betting, for various reasons, that it was her *first* resurrection in first season that did this, not the one from last year. Faith was mentioned last night, but not by name, which is interesting, and a reminder that "the Slayer" no longer refers to just Buffy. Maybe it's the fact that Faith is locked up in jail, instead of doing her sacred duty, that allows the FE to take this chance? And yet, the timing is still all over the place. Buffy was resurrected over a year ago, and was first resurrected six and a half years ago. Faith went to jail two and a half, nearly three years ago. Last year would've been the perfect time for the FE to strike; Buffy was depressed, Willow was magic-addicted, Anya became a demon again- why is it pulling out the stops *after* Buffy's fine, Willow's recovering, and Anya's rejected her demon-ness in favor of humanity? I can't help thinking of that prophecy Wes found last season, and how horribly wrong his assumption that he could believe in it turned out. Maybe the Oracle lied. Maybe it recognized Giles/FE and felt like it had to? Or was purposely obscure? Gahhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I hate thinking I might be putting more thought into this than the writers, but if I am, at least I have a zillion fanfic ideas now." -- Chris

"You know, I don't know about Kennedy. Even if she is legal, there's a bit of the "want-take-have" about her. She obviously likes Willow and is intrigued, but she took a shine to her _very_ quickly, without even knowing her, which makes me think that, if something does develop between her and Willow, she's going to be very easily distracted. Or at the very least, not interested in settling down anytime soon. And Willow doesn't seem like the type to have a quick fling even when she is in a good place." -- Mike

"I figured out Eve was the Evil as soon as she started getting depressing and boring, which was about 2 minutes before Buffy & Xander confirmed it. Cooool." -- Chris

"Xander really does seem like his old self, doesn't he? And although it still feels like there's some distance between Buffy and Willow, she and Xander seem to be pretty solid again after last season. I love the way the writers indicate these things; at the motel, Xander tells Buffy to break down the door, and she does it without even asking why. A tiny gesture, but it does help illuminate the absolute trust between the two. The thing about Xander is, he's the living embodiment of the "What can't we face..." theory. He stands or falls on how his friends are doing. If the people that he cares about are okay, he can face a hundred apocalypses. But let something go wrong with one of them, and he gets a little lost." -- Mike

"So if Giles is the First, what'll his approach be? Now that we know the First is making its move because of Buffy's resurrection, will he:
a) instruct Anya to tell no one?
b) Instruct Anya to tell everyone but Buffy?
or c) have Anya to tell Buffy as well?

"If I were Giles, I would go with a). Enough for one person to know, and if the absolute, positive only way to stop the First is to kill Buffy, then Giles, being Giles, will want to be the one who does the deed if necessary, largely because he knows no one else will be able to anyway. Best just not to mention it unless needed. If I were the First, I'd be torn between plans b) and c). The former would be trickier to pull off, but how freaky would it be for Buffy to have all of her friends suddenly acting weird around her (because they're all _such_ good liars) and not know why, particularly in the middle of an apocalypse-fight? The latter--I have trouble predicting Buffy's reaction to the news. It all depends on how much she's _really_ gotten over last season's malaise. Sixth season Buffy, upon hearing that her continued survival was endangering the world at large. probably would have nodded imperceptibly and leaped off Pike's Peak. Anytime before that, however, she would have absorbed the knowledge and kept fighting, trying to find another way, but still prepared to sacrifice herself if need be. Now? I don't know." -- Mike

"Poor Anya. How long before she jumps Andrew out of sheer desperation?" -- Mike

Back to Episodes.