Written by David Fury and Drew Goddard
Directed by David Fury

Perri's Review | SunSpeak

Perri's Review

Previously, on Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Legion of Dorkness declared themselves Buffy's nemeses, which left Warren flayed, and Jonathan and Andrew on the lam in Mexico. There's a Big Bad who can be any dead person, but incorporeal; it pretends to be Warren, and talks Andrew into killing Jonathan to open a seal. Willow catches Andrew and hauls him to Casa Summers, and he just never really leaves. Neither do the 20-some potential Slayers. And did we mention that Principal Wood is the son of a Slayer Spike killed?

It's another boring episode of Masterpiece Theatre, starring... well, Andrew. Dressed in cheesy smoking jacket and pipe, reading in a wing chair in front of a roaring library fireplace. He looks up, 'surprised,' and talks to the camera: "It's wonderful to get lost in a story, isn't it? The adventure and heroics and discovery, don't they just take you away? Come with me now, if you will, gentle viewers. Join me on a new voyage of the mind. A little tale I like to call 'Buffy: Slayer of the Vampires.'" Accent on the second syllable, and I only wish I was making this up. I only wish I was making any of this up. Andrew continues his intro, adding a voiceover to Buffy taking down some vampires in a graveyard in a fairly impressive fight. Before we find out how the fight ended, there's a pounding on an unseen door. Library and smoking jacket disappear, and it's just Andrew, sitting on a toilet talking to a little camcorder. Anya finally forces the door open. "For god's sake, Andrew, you've been in here for thirty minutes. What are you doing?" Andrew informs her, "Entertaining and educating." Anya: "Well, why can't you just masturbate like the rest of us?" Obviously, filmmakers get no respect.

We return to Buffy's fight in the graveyard, as she takes out the last of the vampires. Andrew races out with his camcorder to congratulate her on a cool fight, and Buffy, seen through the camcorder, yells at him for filming it. Andrew swears its a valuable historical record, but Buffy wants no part of it. Cut back to the present, where Anya drags Andrew out of the bathroom to let in a line of Potentials. Seems no one has much patience for Andrew's documentary efforts, especially since there may not be a posterity to pass the story on to -- although Anya's willing to have interest if she gets to be interviewed. Back to AndrewCam, which he's running with a remote control as he fills the "audience" in on Sunnydale, the Hellmouth and the First, with visual aids. In his zeal for historical accuracy, however, he glosses over some nastier details, like how, exactly, the Seal of Danzalthar under the high school got opened. And who was responsible. He's evidently fairly serious about this whole thing, as he dares the Summers' kitchen fairly early in the morning, camcorder in hand, as Scoobies and Potentials jockey for food and elbow room in the increasingly cramped space. He gets into record important things (they're out of Raisin Bran and Dawn bitching at Spike about smoking in the house), than begins to run through an intro of all the players (including a slo-mo dream sequence of Buffy provocatively pouring cereal, to be joined by a half-naked Spike for some kissage, revealing a massive crush on either Buffy or Spike, or possibly both. Or maybe Anya, who eats grapes in slo-mo.)

Buffy is still highly in favor of Andrew stopping the whole filming thing, but no one else really cares. Rona points out that it would be nice to have a record if they manage to save the world; Mandy points out that if they don't save the world, it's not like it matters. Xander and Anya agree with Rona, and Spike doesn't care, as long as he's not involved. Buffy knows they've got something more important to concentrate on, like fighting the First, and begins to tell them about the vision she was given by the Shamans of the turok-han army under the Seal. Andrew pans away as she gets rolling. "Honestly, Gentle Viewers, these motivating speeches of hers tend to get a little long." He seizes the opportunity to introduce himself to said viewers: "You see, I am a man burdened. A man with a dark past. A supervillain." And, lucky us, we get flashbacks to the LoD, back before two-thirds of it was dead. Back when Andrew was actually the brains of the outfit, the other two hanging on his every word, all three beautifully dressed in the height of villainous fashion... Yeah. Andrew's version of the past is a little different than the one we saw. Hilarious, but twisted, and Just Not Right. Buffy's still going with her Motivational Speech, but Andrew's not listening anyway. Neither are Willow and Kennedy; through AndrewCam, we see the two of them off to the side, exchanging touches and meaningful glances. Andrew seems genuinely happy that they've made up, after Kennedy's encounter with Willow's dark side, and seizes the chance to tell about his own faceoff against Dark Willow -- the fight in the Magic Box where he got tossed around and whined a lot. Only, in this version, he stood up to Willow where Jonathan didn't, and was more than powerful enough to give her a run for her money. And did we mentioned how he was dressed better? "Hey, I think Buffy stopped talking," he cuts himself off in mid-historical rewrite. "That usually means she had to go to work." He heads for breakfast.

Buffy is, in fact, going to work, and walks into a warzone in the high school corridors. She has to break up a fist fight right off, and a girl seems to be fading out of sight right in front of her. Having nasty Marcy flashbacks, Buffy races off to get her back to reality, then has to soothe a girl who'd been told by the mirror that she's fat. Picture all the issues of first through third-season Sunnydale High crammed into one small slice of time and humanity. Yeah. It's like that. Buffy does damage control, telling one stressed out boy to relax, get a foot rub, and not announce that he's going to explode, and races off to get Robin on board. He got hit by a rock on arrival, and takes the opportunity offered by a first-aid session to do some flirting. While demanding intel, of course, not that Buffy can tell him much except that what people feel over the Hellmouth can become real, but not usually all at once. "So what's the worst that can happen?" Robin asks. Buffy: "War, pretty much." Robin: "Oh, I see you're being amusing now, with comical exaggeration." Not so much. Things are priming to explode -- kind of like the boy who suddenly spatters over the windows. "Really should have had that footrub," Buffy says sadly.

Back at Casa Summers, Andrew is interviewing a slightly spooked Dawn; he intros with his typical over-the-top voiceover, then gets distracted, panning towards the living room, where Willow and Kennedy are making out on the couch.... and zooming right past them to show how well Xander replaced the window. At the school, Robin and Buffy are bent over blueprints; Buffy's best guess is that the Seal is taking the badness of the Hellmouth and making it all "focusey," as Robin puts it. "Careful," Buffy tells him, "you're starting to speak like me now." At the house, Andrew continues his reign of camcorder terror by interviewing Anya and Xander. He settles down with notebook and pen, looking startlingly professional, and jumps right into wanting to know why Xander left Anya at the altar exactly one year ago. Anya wants to hear that answer, although Xander says he's apologized enough, though he still thinks it was the right thing to do. The interview turns into non-marriage counseling, with Xander still certain he did was he thought was best, and Anya just as certain that it's not over. "We still spark. You get jealous of me, I get jealous of you.... You still love me." Andrew, caught up, encourages Xander to answer; he's wordless.

Below Sunnydale High, the Seal has somehow uncovered itself, and Buffy is wigging. Beyond the weirdness in the school, she's still unhappy about that vision, which she tells Robin about. Robin leans down to study the thing, but the symbols haven't clicked for Willow. Robin asks if she trusts Willow, which Buffy does. "I don't know why any of you trust each other, " Robin says, "you've all been evil at some point." True enough, although Buffy stammers a denial. "I've never been!" Robin tells her, "Evil is as evil does. And I know what you're doing." His voice gets low and raspy and, well, evil by the end, and he turns to look up at Buffy as he rises. His eyes are white. "You're with that vampire. Screwing that vampire. You filthy whore!" Buffy responds appropriately, and slams him into a wall. He shakes his head, and rejoins us in the polite world known as Reality. "I think it was controlling you," Buffy says; Robin makes the startling conclusion that they have to shut the Seal down. Buffy agrees. "And I think I have a pretty good idea who we should talk to.... the guy that fed it its first drop of blood." Both suddenly stop, and stare as a familiar little piggy runs across the room and out the door. "God, I hope that's not a student," Robin groans.

AndrewCam on Spike, who is not pleased and yells at Andrew to get out of his face, including some impressive cursing and the flicking of cigarettes. Then has to do it again because the light was wrong. Oy. Upstairs, Xander and Anya continue their talk sans audience. "You know how I feel about you," Xander tells her, reminding her that she was the one who decided they shouldn't see each other. "And here's where we hop on the merry-go-round of rotating knives," Anya responds impatiently. "I blame you, you blame me, and we both end up all cut to shreds. Please just tell me. Do you still love me?" Xander breaks. "Yes. I still love you and I always will. I just don't know if that means anything for us anymore." Anya doesn't know either; and evidently, Andrew left the camcorder on. Through it, we hear Xander say, "I'm not going to find anyone out there like you, am I?" Anya: "It doesn't seem likely." Xander: "I guess I'm more replaceable, aren't I?" Anya. "No! There's no one like you, Xander." Sadly and scarily, we're seeing Andrew watching the camcorder playback, and he's mouthing the words along with Anya (bearing more than a passing resemblance to first-season Buffy/Angel shippers watching the end of "Angel" for the 12,000 time that summer), as the pair takes touching steps towards reconciliation. As Anya utters the words, "I hope you know you never left my heart," Andrew sniffles and rewinds to watch it again. But before he can, Buffy bursts in the door. "Heads up, Andrew. We've got to talk... The school is out of control from energy from the Hellmouth. It's time for you to help." Well, actually, he'd rather be filming than participating, but Buffy's not having any of it. "No more watching. The Seal thing is your baby, and you've got to get in there before it tears everything apart." Which, you know, may be a little late, as five zombie-esque student file in. Making a circle around the Seal, they raise their arms and begin to chant, and the Seal begins to glow....

Somewhere in Mexico, 2002: A rickety shack in the middle of nowhere, where Jonathan and Andrew are currently hiding out. Both of them toss and turn in their sleep hearing chanting, and seeing visions, of turok-han and Seals and murdered Potential Slayers. Both wake screaming; it's not the first time, and it won't be the last. They're both terrified, but Andrew takes a moment to reassure Jonathan that he really was evil. Wilow's voice impatiently tells Andrew to get back on track, and we're back in Casa Summers, witness to the Interrogation of Andrew. Sans camcorder. Willow's using a charm to pull Andrew's memories out, to figure out how he found the Seal and knew how to work it. He's resisting. "I'm not a part of this. I document, I don't participate. I'm a detached journalist recording..." Buffy cuts him off: "Stop it, or I'm going to smash this camera over your head. Actually, I'm gonna do that anyway, so you might as well talk." With Kennedy and Robin there to lend support to the threat, Andrew settles down and Jonathan goes to the bathroom, leaving Andrew alone in the shack... where Warren (aka the First) pays him a visit. Andrew is thrilled to see him, and confirms that he got the knife Warren sent him after. It's the nasty one we last saw going into Jonathan's stomach. Andrew doesn't want to go along with the rest of the plan; Jonathan's been a good friend to him. Warren convinces him that, in the end, Jonathan will be powerful and happy -- they'll all be gods. Fast cut to a technicolor scene of the Trio in togas, bouncing around a sunshiny, flower-filled meadow warbling "We are gods!" as harp music plays in the background... Warren pulls him back to confirm the plan: "Dive the words deep into him." Andrew's got it. "If I l kill him with this knife, we live as gods." And he smiles.

The school is a warzone, a riot in full swing, complete with fires and looting. Andrew has somehow managed to bring along his camcorder, and gets a short snarkfest between Robin and Spike on tape. He narrates how there's something going on there, "Sexual tension you can cut with a knife." [Several slashers on the Sunnydale Socks start cheering. Loudly.] The little convoy makes its way through the dangerous halls of the blackboard jungle, Robin getting hit in the face in one ambush; he makes it back up for the rest of the fight, as Andrew runs the camcorder, and worries about being "Struck down before I achieve redemption." It's a wild battle, crazed teenagers coming from all directions, and Buffy has to warn Spike not to kill anyone. Finally, they clear the way and make it to the door to the Seal. Showing her usual stunning leadership skills, Buffy leaves Robin and Spike alone, together, to watch her back as she and Andrew head down to hell.

Andrew narrates all the way, until Buffy forcibly removes the camera from his face. "I just want to show the world what you do." Buffy tells him, "What I do is too important to show the world." She tells Andrew to shut up and focus: "I don't want a biographer, especially a murderer." Andrew objects to that word, telling Buffy that's not what happened. Buffy is incredulous, but Andrew is sincere. And we're watching Jonathan uncover the Seal, as we did before, hearing him tell Andrew that he knows none of the people in town care about him, but he cares about them. Warren urges Andrew to stab him... and this time, Andrew says he can't do it, it's wrong. Jonathan blinks, unable to hear Warren, as Andrew pulls out the knife. "Did you actually think I could use this?" Andrew is determined, but Jonathan goes paranoid and lunges at Andrew, declaring he'll kill him first. Andrew stabs Jonathan in self-defense, and watches him fall in horror, screaming denial to the skies.... "See, I'm a man trapped by circumstances, paying for a crime I didn't even--" Buffy tells him, "I thought you would say that. I saw the Seal possess Wood like that earlier today." Andrew seizes the excuse, and goes back into his memories armed with the new information. This time, as Jonathan digs, Andrew's eyes go white, and he laughs in possessed evil as he stabs... until he realizes what he's done, and recommences with the horrified screaming.

"You just entirely changed your story," Buffy accuses him. "Did not," Andrew denies, almost convinced he's not lying. They arrive at the Seal, and hear the chanting inside; Andrew tries to run, but Buffy drags him in behind her. The five student gathered there look up and over, bloody X's forming over their eyes, precursors to the blindness of the Harbingers.....

At Casa Summers, Xander and Anya are down in the basement, being post-coital after makeup sex. Or was it? Although the sex was good, Anya is a little uncomfortable. "We should do that again," Xander almost purrs. Anya agrees: "One more time." Xander asks her if that was what it was, just one more time? "It was nice. It felt, um... it felt like a one more time," Anya looks at him seriously, and admits, "I think maybe we're really over." Xander isn't happy, but doesn't disagree. At the high school, the other happening couple, robin and Spike, are still guarding the door to the Seal. There are weapons aplenty -- one of the students even made a massive stake, complete with nails coming out the other end. Robin hefts it thoughtfully, as more students suddenly attack them. They fight them off, but in the aftermath of the battle, Robin suddenly finds himself with a stake in his hand, and a clear shot at Spike's back. He takes a step forward, almost on automatic pilot, then suddenly lunges. A flying student inadvertently saves Spike's life, taking Robin down before the stake can fall.

Buffy's in a battle of her own against the newly-hatched Harbingers. Andrew takes the opportunity to get his camcorder back, and resumes his surprisingly good narration: "She's like a woman fighting for more than life. She fights like fighting is her life. It's the air she breathes, and she knows she will win because there is no alternative." The Harbingers are going down, but it's a painful, bloody fight. Finally, the last one crawls out, and Buffy stands alone. "It's your turn, Andrew," she says calmly, pulling out the knife and advancing on him. Andrew nervously moves to the other side of the Seal, keeping it between him and the Slayer slowly stalking him. "Doesn't really make sense, does it? Bringing you hereto talk to it? This thing doesn't understand words. It understands blood." "Blood opens it," Andrew reminds her quickly. "You don't want to open it. It would be bad." Buffy is unimpressed. "Yeah, well, Willow did a little research. Turns out that the blood of the person who opened it -- you -- different kind of deal. It reverses the whole thing."

Andrew asks how much blood, seriously scared now. "Maybe not enough to kill you," Buffy answers thoughtfully. Andrew scrambles for a fantasy to get out of this nightmare. "So, this is my redemption at last. I buy back my bruised soul with the blood of my heart. But-- but not enough to, to kill--" "Stop!" Buffy shouts. "Stop making up stories! Life isn't a story. You always do this, you make everything into a story so no one's responsible for anything. They're just following a script." Andrew whispers, "Please don't kill me. Warren told me Jonathan would be okay. I trusted him and I lost my friend." Buffy: "You didn't lose him. You murdered him." Andrew is close to tears, his voice almost inaudible as he deals with reality. "I know. But you don't need to kill me. You said we could get through this...." Buffy, very quietly: "I made it up. I'm making all of it up. So what kind of hero does that make me?"

Andrew tells her she's doing great, really, honestly. "Yeah? Well, I don't like having to give a bunch of speeches about how we're all gonna live. Because we won't. This isn't some story where good triumphs because good triumphs. Good people are going to die. Girls. Maybe me. Probably you. Probably right now." She grabs him and holds him leaning out over the Seal, whimpering in terror. "When your blood pours out, it might save the world. What do you think about that? Are you redeemed?" Andrew sobs out, "No." Buffy: "Why not?" Andrew is actively crying as he forces himself to say it. "Because I killed him. I... I listened to Warren and, and I pretended I thought it was him, but I knew, I knew it wasn't. And I killed Jonathan. And now you're gonna kill me, and I'm scared, and I'm going to die. And this... this is what Jonathan felt." As he speaks, tears run down his face and slowly drip, one by one, onto the Seal. And as they fall, the Seal stops glowing, and closes.

Buffy pulls Andrew back with one yank. "It didn't want blood. It wanted tears." Andrew tells her, very sincerely, "Thanks." She apologizes equally sincerely, and assures him, "I wasn't going to stab you." Andrew asks, "What if the tears didn't work?" He immediately wishes he hadn't, because Buffy doesn't answer, just looks at him then walks away. Andrew picks up his camera, and follows. Quickly. Upstairs, the closing of Seal has immediate effects; the students go from violent mob to confused herd in seconds. Spike and Robin look around at the newly peaceful (if badly in need of renovation) school, impressed. And, at Casa Summers, Andrew is back in the bathroom, camera propped up before him. There's no Masterpiece Theatre shlock, just a tired, scared boy talking to the only friend he has left. "Here's the thing. I killed my best friend. There's a big fight coming, and... I don't know what's gonna happen. I don't even think I'm gonna live through it. That's, uh... probably the way it should be. I guess I...." Andrew's voice breaks; his mouth works for a long moment, but words have finally failed him. He lets his head fall forward, then, his face grim, he lifts the remote and turns off the camera.

The Seal has finally been closed, for whatever that's worth, but not before it drove most of the students at Sunnydale completely and violently (if temporarily) insane.

Xander and Anya attempted a reconciliation, but Anya concluded that they're really over.

Kennedy and Willow's reconciliation, on the other hand, seems to have gone spectacularly well.

The thing about Andrew is that he's flexible. This can be a good trait when taken in moderation, but Andrew has it to the extreme. His values, his beliefs, his actions are guided by whomever he happens to be hanging out with at the moment. Warren's personality completely took over his when the Legion of Dorkness was still active -- what Warren felt and believed, Andrew fell right in line with. Is it any wonder that when anything showed up wearing Warren's face, Andrew fell right back in line? He didn't fall back out until he was brought into Buffy's orbit; then, he promptly started believing and doing what Buffy thought and did. I'll give him marginal credit and believe that Jonathan's death really did give him a shock to the system, but he still didn't leave the school basement by himself. That's where Andrew's other kind of flexibility comes in -- his ability to go back and rewrite events until they become something he can live with, something that may not be right, but that can be justified. And once he has a version he likes, he believes, until it's the only truth he'll admit exists, even to himself.

But sometimes, even Andrew's ability for self-delusion gets stretched too thin, and that's where the camcorder would seem to come in. Can't justify your cowardly past actions when surrounded by this many heroes? Stop dealing with them at all. He detached, and concentrated only on those heroes, leaving himself out of the loop entirely. He can kid himself that he's doing something important, instead of just hiding, and it lets him get through the day. Until, of course, Buffy hangs him over the Hellmouth and systematically strips all the lies away. Did Andrew really believe "Warren" about being gods? Who knows. He at least wanted to believe, but that, sadly, is not the same thing. And now he has to truly live with the choices he made, really look for redemption, instead of the comic-book-hero search he had going before. His chances aren't particularly good, but at least he's recognized his past for what it is, what he was. Now, he can start dealing with what he wants to be, himself. No Warren, no Jonathan, not even Buffy will be able to make his choices for him anymore. He's all on his own, and I think that scares him more than the First.

Well, at least Buffy is aware of her speech-making propensities. Doesn't make them any more forgivable, since she keeps doing them regardless, but what the hell. Other than that, Buffy is close to at her best in this ep, dealing with various and assorted crises with a distinct lack of annoying "Me Slayer, You Useless Minion" crap. (Of course, it probably helps that Andrew edited out the Dramatic Speech, bless him.) She deals effectively and calmly with Robin, doesn't once snap at Willow or any Potentials, and is even fairly sane early on when bitching at Andrew about the camera, when I would have shoved it down his throat. She comes on with the Bitch Queen at the end, of course, but with reason and purpose, and she apologizes for it when that purpose is accomplished. The hell? Why can't she be like this all the time? As to the question of whether she would really have killed Andrew... I honestly don't know. She was, at once point, willing enough to kill Anya, and Andrew sure doesn't fall on the "innocent" end of the scale. But he is still human, and nominally under her protection, and I think there would be quite a lot of soul-searching and heated debate (i.e., interminable angst) before she could come up with an 'aye' or 'nay'. Unless, of course, she got on a righteous Slayer kick and did it before she could be talked out of it by Sane People. (And yes, I know I'm being bitchy, but episodes like this where I like and respect Buffy make me so much more unhappy with the glut of episodes where I don't.)

Xander and Anya make me crazed. Or, rather, the writing does. This was it, the touching reconciliation they'd been building up to for the lest several episodes. Finally, Xander and Anya are back together, one couple has a chance for a happy ending.... and then, nothing. Pfft. Fizzle. All that chemistry, all those feelings, four years of history are summed up as "one last time" and "we're really over." Does Mutant Enemy have some basic objection to anyone getting to leave the show as part of a happy, successful couple. Much less one that has worked through all of their issues, or at least made a start on it, and has a chance at a happy future? Cause this was our last chance, unless Joss & Co. make with a huge U-turn on the Spuffy-ness. Willow and Kennedy, I'm sorry, don't count -- they've only been together a few episodes, and the emotional resonance just isn't there. No, Xander and Anya were Joss's last chance to prove that relationships can work on Buffy, and they've evidently failed. (Although Xander's expression suggested that he wasn't with Anya on the "we're over;" maybe a faint spark of hope exists. Maybe.)

I don't know about ol' Robin; I'm 85% sure that, without the influence of the Seal that'd he'd been fighting next to for who knows how long, he wouldn't have gone after Spike. Not then, anyway. I'm reasonably sure he is going to go after Spike at some point, although I always hope Good Sense will triumph over Need for Vengeance, and Robin has Good Sense in abundance. So, this is me hoping.

Best Moments:
The teaser was brilliant, if impossible to listen to for me personally. The entire Masterpiece Theatre riff was gorgeous, and the cut back to the bathroom was classic.

Andrew's entire filming sequence in the kitchen. I loved the everyday, non-crisis look it gave us at the household, especially the byplay between the Potentials; Dawn bitching at Spike about smoking was priceless; and even the slo-mo sequences were funny, if cringe-worthy.

Andrew's comments on Buffy's speeches; one has to wonder if Mutant Enemy is just catching themselves, or if they did speeches to set up later snarkiness. Possibly both. (And I must disagree with him on one point: Buffy's "motivational" speeches have, lately, been about how everyone's gonna die because they suck, rather than exhorting them on to victory, but whatever.)

Andrew's 'flashbacks' to the LoD, which are even funnier than they were the first time around (earlier on, at least).

Buffy doing damage control at the high school. I think they worked in references to a good part of first season in there, a beautiful set of continuity gifts for the old-timers.

The pig running across the room. < snerk > Priceless.

Spike having to reshoot his bit. < snerk > Lots of little filming in-jokes happening here.

Andrew rewatching Anya and Xander's conversation (and it takes an act of will not to type Xanya). The conversation itself was almost over-the-top touching, and Andrew's expression was hilarious.

The flashback to Mexico. < sniff > I miss Jonathan.

"We are as gods!" That will never stop being disturbing and funny as hell.

Andrew's rewrites of Jonathan's murder. Both versions were really well done, speaking volumes about Andrew in the process.

The final scene in the bathroom. Tom Lenk goes all out and gives us our first glimpse of a 'real' Andrew; not a geek or a caricature or a pathetic person, just a guy. You can relate to this Andrew, and even feel pity for him -- lovely job.

Questions and Comments:
Gorgeous editing throughout the episode -- the intercuts of the different film stock for AndrewCam were really well done, and added a very cool flair to the ep.

The kid exploding was played a little too comical for the death of a student; both Buffy and Robin blew it off too easily.

A little timeline problem confusion happens as we try to work out when Xander and Anya had their talk, as opposed to when Andrew was filming Spike in the basement, and when Xander and Anya went to that same basement to have hot monkey sex. And thank god someone's already written fic of Spike figuring out what happened in his bed....

I loved the bit where Buffy leaves Robin and Spike to watch the door as she goes down into the basement with Andrew -- it's really strongly reminiscent of one of my favorite all-time scenes, when Xander and Angel guard the door as Buffy goes to face the Master in Prophecy Girl.

Rating: 4.5 stars out of five. A really exceptional piece of character exploration for Andrew, carried off in style. My one big gripe, the Xander/Anya stuff, only goes really wrong at the end; the rest of it is written, directed and, especially, edited too beautifully for words.


"OK- I'll start off by saying I loved this episode. I've become a huge fan of Andrew. This was easily his best episode ever. The beginning was great. The whole masterpiece theatre thing made me giggle. I have to say I didn't catch who it was, but whomever directed this episode did a fantastic job. My favorite moment was when wood and Buffy are discussing the hellmouth and it cuts back to Andrew and his big board.. Classic." -- Tom

"Liked the Xander/Anaya scenes. What little there were of them. Is it me but has Xander been shoved even FURTHER into the back ground? It just infuriates me that they are ruining such a great character." -- Tom

"Let's see.... Xander and Anya had sex that they both believe to be the last time. The last time they did it for the last time, that was the first time, and far from the last time. And it was supposed to end their relationship, but ended up beginning it instead. Maybe they've both matured enough to where they can begin again, this time for real? Or maybe the vicious cycle begins anew? Hm." -- Bruce

"The end is nigh! Good. Another season of Buffy's speechifying and I might end up hating the show. The thing I always loved about BTVS was the wonderfully developed characters and the black humor in face of the apocalypse of the moment. Now I'm watching a bunch of characters who don't make that many delightful quips and don't really seem all that upset about the end of the world. Sure, how many times have Xander, Anya and Willow been thru the end of the world, lots right? But unlike the characters on Angel who still seem to have their own identity and agenda, the Scoobie Gang seems to have given up on being anything but a Scoobie and doing what Buffy's plan of the week is. But I don't get the sense from them of people banding together to fight evil because they want to help save the world. The sense I get from them is that they're saving the world because Buffy is telling them to and they've lost all will of their own. The only one really showing any sparkle lately has been Andrew of all people. Is this apocalypse really any different than the last several? Glory and her key? Willow trying to destroy the world? It is very similar to the Glory arc in that they know who the big bad is and don't think they can defeat it. At least I got the feeling then that the Scoobies really existed as people, for example Xander/Anya's engagement and Spike trying to redeem himself. Is the First really that more frightening that we have to listen to Buffy's mind-deadening speeches? Well, haven't seen much evidence of it yet. Have some minions kill a few girls, one uber-vampire and some mind manipulation? That's the first evil? Sigh, I really miss having Giles around all the time." -- Maddog

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