Written by Turi Meyer
Directed by Drew Z. Greenberg

Perri's Review | SunSpeak

Perri's Review

Previously on Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Amy turned herself into a rat. Tara and Willow fought and Willow made her forget, and Tara called her on it. Willow broke her ensuing promise not to do magic for a week, and Tara left her. Spike got Warren to make him a RoboBuffy, and Warren teamed up with the rest of the Legion of Dorkness. And Giles left, too, so Buffy made herself feel better by snogging repeatedly with Spike.

Two people are being mugged in a dark alley by a couple of human, which isn't exactly Buffy's line of work, but she jumps in anyway. She sends the victims away and takes on the muggers -- not too hard, except that Spike decides to intervene, not knowing they're human. He keels over in pain on the ground, the muggers run for it and Buffy yells at him. "Remind me not to help you," Spike groans. Buffy: "More often?" Spike is pretty disgusted about the whole thing: "You'd think if the government was gonna put a chip in my head, they'd at least make it so I could attack criminals and that sort." Buffy lacks sympathy, Spike (as usual) takes the conversation on a left turn into the gutter, and Buffy tries to take off. Spike doesn't let her, of course; trust Buffy to find the one guy in the universe who wants to have relationship discussions. Often. Buffy's still in the stage of denying the existence of a relationship. "I am not kissing you, Spike. Once was--" Spike: "Twice." Buffy pauses, then keeps going, "--But not again." She starts to walk off and Spike yells after. "You're a tease, you know that, Slayer? Get a fella's motor revvin', let the tension marinate a couple of days, then bam! Crown yourself the Ice Queen.... It's only a matter of time before you realize I'm the only one here for you, pet!"

Willow is home alone in the Summers house, which evidently feels very alone. She lets the Amy-rat out of her cage to let her run, and for the company: "What's the matter, Amy? You lonely? We need to get you a nice companion rat that you can love, play with and grow attached to, until one day they leave you for no good reason. Won't that be fun?" And talking to the rat, she seems to have a sudden flash of inspiration; she says a one-word spell and an old parchment suddenly appears in the room. Willow reads from it, and the rat explodes in red lightening, to be replaced by the naked form of -- Amy Madison. Who takes one look around her and starts screaming.

It's a scene from Mission: Impossibly (not the old, cool show to the remake, cool show, unfortunately, but from the sucky movies starring Tom Cruise); a guy dressing black descend on a rope from the ceiling, towards a glass case. He pulls out a device and sticks it carefully on the glass... as Warren and Jonathan walk up behind him. "Dude? What are you doing?" Warren asks Andrew. "The security system here is a guy named Rusty." Welcome to the Sunnydale Museum, and what is so not the heist of the century. Andrew detaches himself from his toy with a severe lack of grace, and the guys close in on their target, a very pretty, shiny and large diamond. Warren cuts through the glass with a tiny welding torch (Andrew: "See, that's cool. How come he gets to play with all the cool stuff?" Jonathan: "Because I'm allergic to methane and you're still afraid of hot things. Besides, the tank kept making both of us tip over, remember?"), and retrieves their prize. Before they can take off, said guy named Rusty makes his appearance. Warren does the talking, trying to convince Rusty they're with a tour group and send 'subtle' coded messages to the other two to get "the freeze ray". Too subtle, evidently; it takes a while. But they finally get it and Jonathan hauls out something from The X-Men, which shoots a ray of ice at Rusty, completely encasing him. And Jonathan's arm, but that's a minor detail for Warren, who's delighted that his invention works. "Can we just go back to the Lair," Jonathan demands. "I can't really feel my fingers." Andrew takes a second to worry about Rusty, but Warren convinces him that a) Rusty will be fine and b) they won't get in trouble. They head out.

Amy seems to be having some trouble adjusting to being human. Willow offers her hot chocolate, but she jumps and flinches at a siren from outside, slamming the window closed and pulling the drapes -- with magic. Apparently, years as a rat has not affected her abilities. Willow tries to reassure her, but Amy's got Issues. "Everything feels weird. I mean, it's like... I felt I was in that cage for weeks. But it can still be okay, right? I can still get into the swing of things. Like, prom's coming up. I was so hoping Larry would ask me. We would make such a splash at... Oh, Oh, god. He hasn't asked someone else, has he?" Willow tries to figure out a gentle way to break it to her, then finally just goes. "Amy... three things we need to talk about. 1)Larry's gay. 2) Larry's dead. And 3) high school's... kinda over." After a moment of shock, Amy demands to know how long she was in the cage. Buffy arrives home about the same time, and heads upstairs. She finds Willow on the bed, and checks on her; Willow tells her she's okay, and Buffy asks if they can talk about something. "You know how we all make choices?" she starts, ramping up to discuss the whole 'snogging with Spike' issue. Before she can get going, Amy appears from the bathroom. Buffy stops and adjusts, as Amy fact-checks, "The whole school? By a giant snake thing? Okay, still adjusting. " She greets Buffy and they exchange quick updates "How've you been?""Rat. You?""Dead.""Oh."). Amy asks for cookies -- not cheese -- and heads down to find them, after Buffy invites her to sleep on the couch like everyone else. Willow tells her Amy is freaked, but, "It's nice. Having another magically-inclined friend around." Buffy apparently decides the evening is weird enough without adding Spike-snogging discussion, and flees.

She finds Amy downstairs watching the news and eating cookies. "Head spinning. People getting frozen, Willow's dating girls. And did you hear about Tom and Nicole?" Buffy asks about the first one, and Amy turns up the volume on coverage of the museum robbery. It's weird enough that Buffy heads over to check it out, arriving just as the Randy-sicle leaves the building. As she leaves through the darkness, she almost runs into Spike, who was apparently also drawn by the weirdness; he tries to maneuver into joining Buffy on patrol. She points out, "Yeah, that never really ends well, does it?" Spike: "It did the other night." She stomps away, then tries a different tactic when he follows, attempting sincerity: "Look, I'm sorry if you thought it meant more. But when I kissed you, you know I was thinking about Giles, right?" Spike blinks. "You know, I always wondered about you two." She meant, of course, that she was upset about Giles leaving, "ergo vulnerability and bad kissing decisions." Spike nods, then asks, "Convince yourself?" She asks him, again, to stop; he tells her, "A man can change. " Buffy loses patience. "You're not a man. You're a thing." He grabs her as she tries to walk away and she punches him in the face. He hits back automatically, knocking her to the ground -- and nothing happens. No pain, no chip, no nothing. Being Spike, he covers quickly, faking a chip-attack as she hits him again. "You're a thing. And evil, disgusting thing," she tells him as she walks away. Spike watches her go, gasping in shock -- then smiles.

Spike swaggers down the street, enjoying Sunnydale again as he looks around at all the nice people he can eat now that the chip's not working. He makes his way to the Bronze, and finally chooses a girl about Dawn's age, with long hair and... looks, she's enough of a Dawn clone that I had to look twice, okay? She screams and shrinks back as Spike saunters out of the shadows at her with clear intent. But he strangely seems a little more intent on talking that eating, carrying on a consistent monologue as he paces in front of the terrified girl. "Creature of the night here, yeah? Some people forget that. She thinks I'm housebroken. She forgot who she's dealing with... Just 'cause she's confused about where she fits in, I'm supposed to be, too? 'Cause I'm not. I know what I am. I'm dangerous. I'm evil." It's unclear if he's trying to convince the girl, the absent Buffy or himself, but he's certainly taking a while to psych himself up to the whole evil attacking thing. "I am a killer. That's what I do. I kill. And yeah, maybe it's been a long time, but... It's not like you forget how. You just do it. And now I can again, all right? So here goes." He finally goes game face and grabs her, going in to bite -- and pulls back, grabbing his head and howling in pain. The girls runs and he sprawls back against a wall in total, furious confusion.

In daylight the next day, Tara and Dawn sit outside, enjoying milkshakes and talking. It's their big 'movie and milkshake fun day', but Tara still makes Dawn promise to eat something green that night. "You know that I will always be there for you, right?" Tara tells the younger girl awkwardly, but sincerely. She assures Dawn that moving out had nothing to do with Dawn; Dawn asks if they'll ever get back together, since "You still love her." Tara sighs. "Very much. But sometimes... Other things get in the way." Divorced kid Dawn has heard that one before, but tries to tell Tara that Willow has been being better. Tara wants to believe it.

The remaining Scoobies have gathered at the Magic Box to figure out the museum robbery (Randy is, apparently, going to be all right). But they don't even know where to start researching, especially considering how much of his personal library Giles took with him. Willow pulls out her computer to do it the old-fashioned way. Um, sort of; she holds her hands over the keyboard and things start glowing as she accesses the Internet without benefit of modem or actually typing. Xander and Buffy exchange uneasy looks as Willow beings reeling off police reports -- the diamond was on loan from the British Museum, but she doesn't have any information on whether the stone was magical. Willow finally realizes how uncomfortable she's making everyone and lets the spell lapse to ask why. Buffy and Xander hem and haw until Anya breaks in, "Oh, for crying out loud! This is bizarre. You're all "la la la!" with the magic and the not talking, like everything's normal, when we all know that Tara up and left you, and now everyone's scared to say anything to you. Except me." She turns to double-check that thing called tact with Xander, but he's mostly given up. Willow tells everyone that she's okay, and tries to convince them that the whole break-up has been blown out of proportion. She reminds them that she doesn't want to leave Amy alone for too long, but that Amy's okay. Just having trouble adjusting.

The Legion of Dorkness drools over their new shiny diamond, Phase I of their evil plan, but can't get to Phase II because Spike kicks in the door. He backs Warren against a wall and tells him he needs him to look at his chip. Warren doesn't want to -- "We're kind of in the middle of something" -- but gives in fast when Spike threatens a vintage Boba Fett action figure. Warren tries to do the hostage negotiation/menacing thing, which Spike is manifestly unimpressed with, and the LoD goes into a huddle. They're scared of Spike, but Warren thinks he can get a return favor out of Spike for this, something to use against Buffy. "Alliances aren't about trust. He needs us, we need him, these things work." Well, not when Spike is involved; he quashes any idea of a quid pro quo instantly and Warren caves.

Willow returns home and calls for Amy, who appears and instantly wants to go out. She can't deal with seeing her father ("Too many questions.... I wish there was a way that I could make him forget about the last three years.") Willow offers, then remembers how the last one ended up. Amy ends up talking her into going out for some fun that doesn't involve a big wheel. "Or maybe you'd rather sit home all night Alone. Like in high school." Willow responds to the goad and the pair heads out. Meanwhile, Warren's little toys scan Spike's head; he waits for the results even more impatiently than usual, since the other two members of the LoD are trying to make conversation, in their own geek-like way. (Picture Spike trapped in a comic-book convention when he's not allowed to eat anyone. If you've never been to a comic book convention, picture Spike trapped in line for The Phantom Menace when it first came out. You get the idea.) Warren returns before anyone can die and tells Spike, essentially, that nothing's wrong with the chip; everything is working fine. Spike threatens Warren to keep this whole thing quiet. "Everything's different now," he muses as he leaves. "Nothing's wrong with me... Something's wrong with her."

Tara escorts Dawn home after dark and they find an empty house. Dawn takes advantage of the opportunity to successfully guilt Tara into staying there until someone (read: Willow) comes back. They snuggle on the couch as Willow and Amy invade the Bronze, dressed for war. They play pool (using magic instead of cue sticks) and continue three years of gossip catch-up until a couple of guys approach them. Amy wants to dance, but Willow's still not ready to play that side of the street again. Amy snaps her fingers, and a gorgeous older woman at the bar leaves her female companion and comes over to Willow, making with the seductive. Willow begins hyperventilating and Amy cancels the spell, then heads off with the guys to the dance floor. Willow watches, alone. And she's still alone later, staring into her martini at the bar, when Amy returns. "You know," she observes, "if rats could dance, they probably wouldn't gnaw so much." The guys Amy was dancing with get obnoxious when she tries to bail on them, and the girls exchange looks. "You want to dance?" Amy asks sweetly. With waves of their hands and a minor light show, the guys are suddenly mostly naked and suspended in cages over the dance floor. Where they start to dance. Willow and Amy watch in smug amusement.

As Xander shouts in triumph across town -- he's found the 'frost monster' they think froze Randy the museum guard. But since he found it in a D&D manual, no one is impressed. In fact, everyone is pretty ready to give up, lacking Giles or Willow to do the real research and find frost monsters. Anya and Xander are in favor of calling Willow, but Buffy wants to leave her alone to have a little fun and recover. "I don't know what happened with her and Tara but--" Xander breaks in, very serious. "Tara thinks Willow is doing too much magic. And she's not the only one." Buffy continues to defend Willow's level-headedness, but Anya isn't convinced. "Responsible people are always so concerned with being good all the time, that when they finally get a taste of being bad, they can't get enough." That one hits a little too close to home for Buffy, who denies on Willow's behalf. Yeah. But Xander and Anya continue the theme of power and seduction, until Xander concludes, "We need to keep an eye on her."

Buffy is saved from the increasingly uncomfortable conversation when the phone rings. It's Spike at a pay phone, but he attempts a low, mysterious, seductive voice when he tells Buffy to "Meet me at the cemetery. Twenty minutes. Come alone." The attempt at mysterious and seductive fails when she figures out who it is right off (and is astonished to get a phone call from him); he gives up in disgust and tells her to come meet him. "Thought you might be up for a little grunt work." Buffy, freaking: "What? No. No grunting!" Spike grins. "I was talking shop, luv, but if you've got other ideas... " Buffy hangs up fast, and tells the others Spike just wanted to patrol and goes back to research. When they leave a little while later, they're still bemoaning their lack of success. Buffy is also musing on the rash of weird things happening that are, well... "Lame?" Anya offers. That's the word.

Buffy heads off alone, and, surprise, Spike meets her in the alley. "Slayer," he greets her, obviously spoiling for a fight. Buffy sighs in resignation. "So, my night is now complete." Spike starts to shadow her down the alley as she tries to blow him off yet again. "You shouldn't be so flippant," he warns. She's not impressed: "What are you going to do, walk-behind-me to death?" He gets in front her, blocking her way. "You ought to be careful." Buffy: "Enough." He blocks her again when she tries to get past, and she's getting irritated now. She finally hauls off and punches him, and he comes back up smiling. Then hauls off and punches back. She staggers and recovers -- to find him watching her, unaffected. "Oh, the pain, the pain... Is gone. Guess what I just found out. That I'm not as toothless as you thought. Don't you see?" he smirks, finally holding the upper hand. "You came back wrong."

Buffy's reaction is predictable -- she goes after Spike with all she's worth, which would be worth more if she weren't in a blind, terrified rage. He fends her off, laughing and retaliating in a rerun of the old Buffy and Spike 'punch, punch, talk, talk' routine. "It's a trick" she snarls, "you did something to the chip." Spike: "It's not me, just you. In fact, that's the funny part. You're the one who's changed. Came back a little less human than you were." Buffy shakes her head, in full denial mode, but Spike keeps coming at her. The fight moves into the abandoned building they're next to, with Buffy momentarily taking the upper hand. Amy and Willow have the complete upper hand at the Bronze, where they're watching their cage dancers from the upper balcony, right where Willow and Tara were a few weeks ago. But there's no one to stop Willow this time when she flicks her hand and changes the band to a girl group, when Amy sends a guy floating, when Willow changes a couple other guys' heights, when barnyard animals start invading. The girls just laugh at the chaos no one else seems to notice, as Buffy and Spike continue beating the crap out of each other, indoors now. The building's a wreck, and getting more so by the second. Spike keeps taunting, Buffy keeps hitting, and finally gets in a few verbal blows of her own. "Lost little girl? Look at you, you idiot. Poor Spikey. Can't be human, can't be a vampire.. Where the hell do you fit in? You're job is to kill the Slayer, but all you can do is follow me around making moon eyes." Spike says grimly, from the floor where she just knocked him, "I'm in love with you." She laughs. "You like me because you like getting beat down. So who's screwed up?" Spike: "Hello? Vampire. I'm supposed to be treading on the dark side." He throws her into a wall, then to the floor, demanding, "What's your excuse?"

Willow and Amy are getting bored with chaos; they do a magical reset. Willow muses, "I just keep thinking, there's got to be someplace... bigger than this." Amy agrees, "Besides, it's way to early to go home yet." Buffy and Spike sure aren't done, although the distinction between fighting and foreplay is starting to get a bit blurry. "I wasn't planning on hurting you," Spike says, getting a grip. "Much." Buffy: "You haven't even come close to hurting me." Spike, goading: "Afraid to give me a chance?" Buffy slams him into wall, in control again. And as Spike opens his mouth to continue the verbal fight, Buffy locks her mouth over his. Yup, it's foreplay. They do as much damage to the room making out as they did fighting, slamming each other into walls and knocking down plaster. Buffy gets her legs around Spike's waist and slam into yet another wall, as Buffy fumbles between them. A zipper goes down, a skirt gets pulled away, and both of them lunge together, then stop, staring at each other in stunned awareness of just what the hell they're doing. Then Buffy starts moving again, both of them less violent, but no less intense. Things start falling, Spike overbalances, and they fall together through the floor, but neither of them really notice the hard landing. They're too intent on finishing what they started...

[Anti-B/S shippers, start screaming. All you B/S people who've been writing smut for two years, take a bow and take some notes. Everyone else... Need a cigarette?]

Amy Madison has finally been de-ratted! And she and Willow are tearing apart the Bronze.

The LoD is back in action, and stole some big honking diamond, on loan from the British museum, from a Sunnydale museum. Using a freeze ray.

Spike's chip no longer keeps him from harming Buffy. Among other repercussions, this leads him to conclude that she came back from the dead not quite human

Spike and Buffy have officially knocked off the unresolved sexual tension and gone straight to the sex. God help the universe.

Spike. Spike, Spike, Spike... I'd respect your standing as the Big Bad so much more if you didn't go out to test yourself on a Dawn lookalike, and if it hadn't taken you five minutes of talking to psych yourself up to actually biting. Do I think he would have gone through with it if the chip hadn't kicked in? No. I don't. He would have satisfied himself that he was the Big Bad again, then rationalized backing off and leaving her alive and more or less well. Is this wishful thinking on my part? Maybe, but again, we come back to the Dawn look-alike thing. He chose someone who's the image of someone he can't hurt. Ever.

Unlike Buffy. And we're back where we were a few seasons ago, the first time Angel hit back. And I can't really be mad. Buffy has spent two years beating on someone who can't hit back, and since neither of them can really do lasting damage to each other without actively trying for the kill (which no one did. Even truly pissed-off and terrified, Buffy never looked for anything wooden and pointy, and there was lots available. Just pointing this out). Does Spike deserve to be beaten on? Usually, yeah. But not always. If he gets to get a little of his own back... Well, I was serious about not being able to tell the difference between the fighting and the foreplay. I was waiting for my tape to finish so I could watch it, caught little bits of pieces out of the corner of my eyes, and literally couldn't tell. It's totally non-politically correct, if it was any other two characters on television beating on each other, I'd be horrified and appalled. But it's Buffy and Spike and I'm not. And neither of them had a problem with it...

Although Buffy will in the morning, natch; you can almost see the rationalizations and denials begin to take root. It's going to be a real coyote morning for her, which is going to make it one for Spike. And he actually doesn't deserve that. She knew exactly what she was doing -- that long, long look after they, ah... Well, she knew what was happened, and kept doing it. And he's the one who started it this time (the first was mutual, the second started off-screen, no way to tell). Of course, I mostly think she kissed him to shut him up, but still... She's got to start taking some kind of stand about Spike, some kind of responsibility for her actions with him. I can understand using him to feel, for the assurance that someone loves her, even Spike. But if it goes on for too long, it's just wrong, particularly when it hits this stage. (The argument could be made that Spike is using Buffy, taking advantage of her emotional trauma. This is probably not wrong -- except that, in the process, he's been giving back a hell of a lot more than he'd gotten to this point. Am I unbiased? Hell, no. But I'm not wrong, either.) Besides, she's being a bitch -- good enough to guard her sister; good enough to use as an emotional crutch; good enough to, um, screw; but not good enough to treat like a person. (Can you tell that, "You're a thing," line made me mad? Oh, good.) I'm still making allowances for the trauma thing, and Spike had way too much fun throwing the "you came back wrong" in her face, and deserved to get beaten up for it (also not wild about "I'm the only one here for you", which isn't true any more, or shouldn't be; this girl needs to talk to people), but still. This relationship is wrong in so many ways that have nothing to do with the relationship itself, and everything to do with the people in it.

Dawn is very cute being divorce kid again, and Tara, is, as usual, wonderful with her; I love that she's making a serious effort to maintain her relationship with Dawn even after breaking it off with Willow. God knows it's more than Dawn's father has managed. (And yay, Amber's still around! We'd miss her!)

Okay, we need to keep Anya around to continue saying the stuff no one else will. yes, it's annoying most of the time, but every once in a while, it's priceless. Xander, for his part, is worried, and not doing anything to hide it, which is good. With Tara actively avoiding Willow (with good cause) and Buffy identifying way too closely, it's going to be Xander and Anya who remains as the Reality Check.

Warren is starting to wig me. The other two are in it for kicks, for a self-esteem boost, for the toys. Mostly for the toys. But Warren... he's a psycho. Seriously. He's scary. And no match for Spike, much less Buffy... yet.

Best Moments:
The LoD breaking into the museum. The deadpan conversations, especially regarding who gets what toys, were too funny. God, I've met these guys... And I'd feel for Warren and his incompetent partners/minions except, well, that whole thing where's he's psycho.

Filling Amy in. The whole Larry thing was... wow. I love continuity so much!

"Rat. You?" "Dead." "Oh." The shortest conversation in Buffy history, but right up there with the funniest.

B: "But when I kissed you, you know I was thinking about Giles, right?" Spike: "You know, I always wondered about you two." Well, every other 'shipper is having a field day, might as well give a shout-out to the Buffy/Giles crowd. < snerk >

Xander finding a "frost monster" in a D&D manual. If only they knew he was actually looking in the right kind of place....

The LoD driving Spike crazy. < snerk > That just will never stop being fun.

But not as fun as Spike threatening the Boba Fett. < giggling >

Dawn guilting Tara into staying. The kid knows the buttons and pushes them, and Tara knows she's being guilted and stays anyway. Very cute.

Willow: "Thousand-year-old capitalist ex-demon with rabbit-phobia." Amy: "Well, that's so his type." < snerking > helplessly. Scary thing is, they're not wrong.

Spike's attempt at the voice disguise, and Buffy's total lack of buying. But yeah, the thought of Spike actually calling instead of sneaking up behind her is a little weird.

"Captain Peroxide." Oh, you've gotta love it. That's the second best Spike nickname I've ever heard. (I still like HonorH's "The Platinum Destroyer" best, but this is a close second.) [HonorH tells me she got Platinum Destroyer from one of my Angel reviews, actually, but since I'm fairly certain I swiped it from one of the other SunS, it still stands as my favorite.]

Um, the last scene, of course. Jeez. Can't you tell by the wear marks on the tape?

Questions and Comments:
Um.... Nope. Still not coherent on the last scene. Check back later. Yowsa.

Amy's finally deratted! Woo and hoo! Only took them three years.... and not really much effort from Willow. I'm not sure whether to be scared at her power upgrade, or annoyed at the writing.

Okay, apparently the 1979 Boba Fett action figure is legit, and a Star Wars collector's dream of dreams to own. < g > So we withdraw snarky comments about the math, and instead enter serious fear that someone knows Star Wars collectibles well enough to know this. < g > Thanks to Sanjev and Sulli for dropping a note.

Rating: 3.5 stars out of five. I give massive props for the last scene, and there were some lovely moments throughout, but so much of the episode was set-up either for the last scene, or for the continuing Willow arc.


"Whip me. Beat me. Take away my charge card. I need a cigarette. And I don't even smoke. " -- Leslie

"James Marsters is a rather talented and charismatic fellow. With nice cheekbones and eyes, and a pretty decent voice. And he's kinda sexy. In his own way. If you like that sort of thing. Which I do. Very Very Very Very Very Much. I'm just sayin'."
"Nice Brit Restraint, MB. Really. 10 outta 10, there. You get the gold. (*blink* And do you notice how the double entendres just quadruple within speaking distance of Spike? That's so wrong. I didn't even go anywhere Spike-like when I first typed the above, and suddenly, there the entendre is. A teeny step away from normality.)"
" The metaphors really *are* rather endless. Last night, I was trying to explain to someone who won't get the episode 'til Saturday what happened in it, and I wasn't sure if her child was awake yet or not, or how much I could/should describe. I finally wound up telling her that "Buffy and Spike were huffing and puffing and they knocked the house down." Well, something to that effect, anyhow." -- Mary Beth, Kiki and Jennie

"yes...they uh...yes."
"I'm so glad someone else saw it also. I was afradi I was hallucinating"
"They... ::too shocked for more coherence::"
"OMG! Can't decide if I want to shudder or enjoy it, and cheer it on. And that's scary."
"I did all three, while curled into a ball on the couch. And if you think that's easy - go try it." -- ??? and Deb, speaking for all of us. Or, um, not speaking.

"At first I was like... are they doing what I think they are.... and then the angle changed and that's when I began babbling they're.... they're..... they're.... It did take at least one angle change for it to sink in."
"Look at me nobly *not* mentioning all the dirty ways that last sentence could be taken... < g >" -- Judy and Dianne

"De-ratting Amy. THAT was fun. I just *loved* her exchange with Buffy: "How have you been?" "Rat. You?" "Dead." "Oh." (Or however it goes - I'll let the quoters do the *exact* lines. I just need to convey the picture, right?)"
"That, and the Larry bit. Way, way too funny. Great continuity. Also loved the cookies (Amy was always into the comfort food) and her condolences to Buffy about her mom. All the stuff that's so *normal* ... added into "anything but cheese."" -- Jennie and Kiki

"I didn't realize what a sick, twisted person I was 'til I watched this. And then had to rewatch a few times."
"I kept thinking how politically incorrect it was. And how very very much I didn't care. At all."
"I thought the sheep were a nice touch."
"Added a nice bit of surreal Mother Goose to the whole bar scene, yeah. That, and Amy and Willow have stylin' bar wear. Any comments on their thoroughly over-the-top messing would be redundant; although how Amy got so good at transformations three years ago may be explained, if she was playing with this stuff then." -- Jennie and Kiki

"It would be interesting to see where the conversation might have gone when Buffy tried to talk to Willow, given how she started out. Even realizing that she wanted to talk about *her* decisions, not Willow's. Willow's been making a lot of unwise decisions lately, but is trying superhard to pretend they're not." -- Jennie

"I love all the changes in dynamics - by taking away Giles and more-or-less taking away Tara, and adding Amy, they've basically removed any semblance of stability and added someone who'll enjoy shaking things up yet more. We should probably expect California to drop into the ocean rather soon. Add a few bouncing Natpackers or something and it's a goner."
"I was thinking the same... Anya has some experience with going from human to demon and back, but her perspective is all warped, and I don't know that her talking to Buffy about her sudden change in status from human (!!!) to 'other' would be very helpful. And that was really what kept this from being a cliche for me; that it wasn't just coming out of an unbearable need to break the tension, but a revelation that Buffy wasn't ready for under any circumstances. That she'd finally gotten to the point where she could admit to herself that the dark side was looking very... something... and then, the Dark Side Recruiter tells her she's already signed up on his team. Gotta cause a freakout, even if he hadn't been gloating so much about it, for various reasons." -- Jennie and Kiki

"And speaking of Big Bads, the Geek Troika!!! I'm sorry, I just have WAY too much fun with them. And their attempt at conversation with Spike!!!"
"Oh, goddess. I know. Forget being different species, they're practically different genders--- someone in that basement had *way* more testosterone, and knew it. Alpha Males don't need no stinkin' violence to rule the room. It's just more fun that way."
"Um...what was I talking about? Oh, yeah. Conversation the geeks were trying to have with...oh, no, we're not going there again...with you-know-who. "You're British, right? ....I've watched every episode of Dr. Who!!" It's possibly sad, but other than the fact that I *don't* watch Red Dwarf and pretty much never enjoyed it when I tried to, I could HAVE that conversation with someone. And I've been talking to people in the past who've gotten the same looks on their faces as Spike when he yells, "WARREN!!!"" -- Jennie

"All right, I'll comment about that last scene while I'm more or less capable of talking and in all honesty, whatever else is going through my head, during that last scene I can't help but have this dry voice going on in the background about the improbability of it all. I mean, granted, I've never tried it, but I can't help but think it would really kill the mood to crash through the floor and strike one's head on the floor below it. Then again, the characters are...a great deal more athletic and resilient than I am. But I still can't help but wonder about that. But that's as much coherence as I can manage at this point on that subject, and this post is long enough, so I'll stop now." -- Jennie

"I kept thinking that with all the wooden beams and boards and stuff, that Spike could end up getting staked mid-moment, and wouldn't THAT traumatize Buffy from any further entanglements for the forseeable future. "Yes, yes, yes, yes, YES---" *poof* Sick and twisted 'r' us, I guess." -- Kiki

"Along with the shrieked I can't believe they're doing this! I can't believe they're getting away with *showing* this! Holy hell, when did BtVS get a subscription to Red Shoe Diaries?" -- Kiki

"Also, was anyone else *DEEPLY* disturbed at the idea of Warren getting his hands on a way to control Spike? Or to have him *really* owe him? 'Cause, um, I know we had fun with the idea of Spike on remote-control from us (making him say little haikus and all... I must track that down and put it up here) but the thought of what he might do against his will is just --- wrong. Anti-Spike. And grounds for chewing Warren up and spitting him out, if he gets cute with what he knows about that chip."
"Actually., I'm starting to get deeply disturbed by Warren, who is mean to the other two and is actually bad while the other who are just dazzled by the colors, so to speak. I have a horrible vision of him and Amy hooking up. Anyhow, that was my Warren thought this week. I actually had it while he was in the museum but yes, while he was talking to Spike it got worse." -- Kiki and Deb

"...Did anyone else have a problem with the truly *amazing* abilities of that there chip in Spike's head? So, it can distinguish a human from a non-human even when Spike can't??? That's some truly advanced technology, all right. Indistingishable from magic from here in the cheap seats, uh-huh."
"Yup. Actually, Cath and I had a good long debate on what the hell kinda programming its using; until now I'd always assumed that it just used Spike's on personal judgment of human/not-human and zapped when he hit, according to his own lights (which would mean that Tara could *still* be something semi-inhuman, if he just wasn't aware of it). This new wrinkle, though, seems to imply that they actually *did* have some kind of descriptive chain and trigger for how the chip designates who can be hit and who can't. Either that, or we have to give Spike credit for a much more lurky subconscious than I've ever seen evidence of; the boy's pretty much got his id and ego fused together, with barely space for daylight, much less dark and unsettling urges. The whole Buffy-crush thing took hold in what? A day? If he's had some idea *before* this that Buffy 'wasn't right', I sure never saw anything to indicate it. Anyway, it's damn interesting, and kind of cool that they're getting so much mileage out of actions taken by a bunch of Mulder-esque Black Ops aspirants."
"Had a problem. Rationalized it away with (a) Spike can distinguish humans from demons subconsciously, even if he isn't consciously paying attention, and that's what the chip goes by; and (b) Experimental technology has a documented tendency to work in unexpected ways on the Hellmouth (e.g. Moloch in the computer, Ted). IOW, in Sunnydale it's indistinguishable from magic 'cause it partly *is* (thus inflating the ego of the inventor)." -- Maureen, Kiki and Val

"I mean, I know they'll both recover from anything they did there with minimal bruising, which kept me from obsessing on the wrongness of it all for very long, but still. Can't help but go there. And saying, ow. Well, whatever floats your boat, rocks your world, thrills your soul.... brings down the house.... I was also thinking how it was a good thing (well, not good, but, convenient) that Angel had already slept with Darla, and she had his kid and then died last night, 'cause I'm sorry, he's got no moral high ground left here. If and when he finds out about this, his objections will probably be loud and strenuous, but we're beyond pot and kettle and into frying pan and fire if he starts throwing stones."
"Well, I don't know that he would have pulled the moral high ground on her. I think he would have had to come out of the shock induced coma that the news caused in the first place. But now that you mention it -- they had not dissimilar ideas. He slept with Darla because everything weas dark and nothing he did mattered - or some such nonesense. Buffy was told that it didn't matter what her choice was - she'd come back with a tad more dark than she'd left with. So, in both cases it was "what the hell difference does it make" - even though I'm sure Buffster will tell us and herself that it was because she was down, trying to feel something, blah, blah, blah rationalization-cakes." -- Kiki and Deb

"I loved that [Tara]'s still around, basically doing the "divorced parent" thing with Dawn. :)"
"Rumor has it that Amber's in nearly every episode this season, and there's a "specific reason" that she's not a regular that Joss won't reveal yet. I also love the divorced parent thing--and I love that Dawn had enough tact not to blurt out to Tara that she's probably heard nearly the *exact* same speech from both Hank and Joyce." -- Dianne and Tina

"Like many others, I'm not sure whether I should cheer or be very afraid. Buffy and Spike are so much fun to watch, and I always knew they'd have hot sex if Buffy was honest about her feelings."
"Yeah, but I don't really think Buffy's being honest about her feelings. She's basically just using Spike whenever her emotional reaction to something gets the best of her, and she's reserving the right to say 'this isn't really happening.' I also think that, for all Spike will settle for just sex, what he really wants from Buffy is much more than that, so this isn't gonna keep him from getting *more* frustrated in the end. Particularly since Buffy will almost certainly pull the 'this isn't really happening, I'm not touching you again' card again. It's almost depressing to think about this too much."
"However, I'm reminded of two rather ominous things: (1) Buffy, since season one, has been afraid of becoming a vampire, and (2) Joss never ever gives us a happy couple ending. I'm concerned that whatever happens to Spike and Buffy will be big and painful. So I plan to enjoy the relationship while I can. " -- Leslie

"They should be naming hard-core alcoholic drinks after that last scene. Spiked Slay, or something equally shooter-slamming-inducing. [I just know I'm going to regret this post tomorrow... oh well. C'est la Spike.]" -- Kiki (ED: And oh, yeah. I think the drink name we finally settled on on the phone was Spiked Slay-Ride. Yes, we're ashamed. But not really.)

"No idea what happens next. *SO* awesome!" -- Kiki

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