Tabula Rasa

Written by Rebecca Rand Kirshner
Directed by David Grossman

Perri's Review | SunSpeak

Perri's Review

Previously on Buffy: Can pretty much be summed up with the whole singing thing. No, really. Oh, all right. Xander and Anya broke the news of the engagement to everyone, Giles decided Buffy was relying on him too much, Tara confronted Willow about using too much magic, then found out Willow was messing with her memories, and there was a whole lotta kissing going on between a Slayer and a vampire. No, the other one. Oh, yeah, Buffy was in heaven, and the kitten poker thing, but I'm still trying to ignore that.

Buffy wanders through the graveyard at night dressed in a long white coat that practically screams "attack me!". Not surprisingly, something does -- a something named Spike. He quite reasonably (given all the kissing) wants to have a Relationship Talk, but Buffy is so Denial Girl, and tries walking away. Yeah, like that's ever worked on Spike. "We kissed, you and me. All "Gone With the Wind," with the rising music and the rising... music, and what was that, Buffy?" he demands. Buffy answers, not incorrectly, but certainly not entirely truthfully, "A spell?" Spike pushes it, naturally, and Buffy informs him that it happened but will never happen again. Ever. She in fact repeats the last part of that several times... then lunges forward to grab Spike and pull him to the ground on top of her.

It's not what you think -- a stake embeds itself in the tree behind them, at about heart level. They look up to find a... well, a man-shark standing over them. [Wearing a sharkskin suit. Embrace the cheesiness. Now, I'm all in favor of visual puns, but this is just silly! Even before the bad Godfather voice came out, I knew this guy was a loan shark. Collecting on kitten poker debts, no less. I hate to say this in a review for a show about a vampire slayer, but can we get real, please? < rolling eyes > Where was I? Oh, yeah....] Spike obviously knows this dude; he asks what SharkFace wants. "There are a lot of things I would like, Mr. Spike. A house in Bel Air with a generously-sized swimming pool. And, of course, the 40 Siamese that you owe me." [See previously mentioned eye rolling at entire kitten poker running gag. Do I really have to transcribe this scene? :p] Spike tells SharkFace to calm down, he'll get his kittens, and Buffy demands an explanation for the whole kitten thing (which she doesn't get) before SharkFace resumes his bad Al Pacino impersonation. The two vamps he brought with him are apparently kneebreakers, or whatever the vampire equivalent is; he motions them forward to make a threatening "I don't want to see anyone get hurt." kind of point, and Buffy takes both of them in less than fifteen seconds. One, dusting himself off, reminds his boss that she's a Slayer, and SharkFace promptly tries to hire her. He's got nothing better to do, seeing as Spike knows a cue when he sees one and has exited, stage left. SharkFace leaves with gangster charm, and Buffy stares up at the sky, bemused. "If I were to stop saving his life, it would simple things up so much."

At about the same time, Xander and Anya seem to have invited Willow and Tara other for another session of Buffy Worry(TM). Admittedly, they've got good reason this time, with the whole Heaven bombshell. Anya seems more affected by a fashion commentary on Heaven, harps and Birkenstock sandals (Anya: "What? I'm just saying what everyone's thinking, right baby?" Xander, after a moment: "You are attractive and have many good qualities."); Tara points out that it could have been any one of many heavenly dimensions. "And we took her away from that," Willow says bitterly. "We wrecked it for her." She's in the middle of a heavy-duty guilt trip, and Xander's right there with her (Tara is doing a very nice job of avoiding any of the 'I told you so's that I'm reasonably certain she's got coming). Xander tries to convince everyone that "We didn't know." Willow's not buying. "We didn't want to know." she replies (again, not inaccurately). "We were so selfish. I was so selfish." Xander pretty much works it down to simply being glad Buffy's alive, because he can't handle any other way of thinking. "Me like Buffy. Buffy's alive, so, me glad." Tara returns the class to sanity: "Not to be Miss Psycho Pep Squad, but we have got to stop obsessing over what we did, and start trying to help Buffy." "I can fix it," Willow says intensely. "I know a spell--" Tara jumps right on her. "No! No more spells!" She repeats the speech everyone has been giving since year one about magic being powerful and dangerous (which Willow apparently spent five years blocking out), but Willow persists that her spell can make Buffy forget she was ever in Heaven. "What is wrong with you?!" Tara explodes, and her fans stand up cheering as Xander and Anya sense the impending major domestic disturbance and run for it.

Tara confronts Willow about the forgetting spell; Willow looks stricken (at getting caught), and starts, "I didn't mean--" Tara: "To violate my mind like that? How could you? How could you after what Glory did to me?" Willow jumps straight into rationalization mode. "Violate you? I didn't mean anything like that. I just didn't want us to fight anymore. I love you." Tara's not buying, but she's more unhappy then mad now. "If you don't want to fight, you don't fight. You don't use magic to make a fight disappear." [And how much do I wish Oz was around right now. I love Tara, and I'm proud of the spine, but Oz would so be kicking Willow's ass around the room right now. In a restrained, laconic way, of course.] "You don't get to decide what is better for us, Will. We're in a relationship, we're supposed to decide together." Tara calls her on the overuse of magic once again, accusing her of using it to make everything easier, even the things she shouldn't or doesn't need to, and better for Willow. "It's not good for you, Willow. And it's not what magic is for." She finishes, near tears, with, "I don't think this is going to work." Faced with the potential of loosing Tara, Willow suddenly gets that this is serious, and rashly promises not to use magic for a month, just to show she can live without it. Tara knows better. "Go a week. One week without magic. Go a week, and then we'll see. I just think we both need... some space. God, I can't believe I'm saying this." Willow asks, he voice trembling, "Are you saying you're going to leave me?"

And suddenly we're in the training room at the Magic Box, Giles looking up from the couch at his Slayer. "I have to," he says, obviously answering Willow's question as it comes from Buffy's lips. She sinks to a chair near him. Her reaction is predictable -- she accuses him of abandoning her just when she really needs him. "I can't do this without you," she begs. "You can," he says firmly. "That's why I'm going." He tries to tell her what he sang last week -- that if he stays, he'll always try to make things easier for her, instead of forcing her to stand on her own. She's not buying, but he's not changing his mind. "I've taught you all I can about being a Slayer," he tells her, very intensely, "and your mother taught you what you needed to know about life. You... you're not going to trust that until you're forced to stand alone." Buffy demands, "Why now? Now that you know where I've been, what I've been through?!" He answers, unhappily, that he's leaving because now she'll need to be strongest, and he'll weaken her. She (justifiably) argues this point, but for the first time, she can't convince him to stay. She finally just tells him, "You're wrong," and leaves. [I'm with Buffy on this one; I know ASH wants to leave the show, but this was some damned fuzzy logic.]

The next morning, Dawn and someone I assume is Tara (it's hard to tell, something died a twisted, painful death on her head) are trying to get to the magic shop for a Scoobie meeting, but Willow's running late. She appears at the top of the stairs clad in towels and tells them to go on. Tara does so, still getting over her mad, and Dawn follows after warning Willow to hurry up, "You don't want to miss the lowdown on our latest featured creature." She leaves and Willow reappears literally a moment later, fully dressed and coifed in sexy almost-Goth, I'm a witch style. She a baggie of herbs -- Lethe's Bramble, to be precise, and quite the stockpile she has -- from a cabinet and kneels in front of the fireplace, lighting a bramble on fire. and chanting: "For Buffy and Tara, this I char; let Lethe's Bramble do its chore. Purge their minds of memories grim, of pains from recent slights and sins." She pulls a quartz crystal from the pocket of her pants and holds it to the flame. "When the fires goes out, when the crystal turns black, the spell will be cast. Tabula rasa, tabula rasa, tabula rasa." Yeah. And so much for that whole, no magic thing. She shoves the crystal into her pocket and rushes out of the house.

At the shop, Dawn wants to know what the "oogly-booglies" are that they're meeting about. Giles says there aren't any as Willow and Xander arrive; she's got his jacket around her shoulders and thanks him for loaning it to her against the cold. With the gang all there, Giles starts to drop the bombshell, but he (and a still pissed Buffy) don't quite get there before the door bursts open a smoking Spike races in. Dressed, god help us, in a three-piece tweed suit, a bowtie, and a hat with fleece flaps. [For those of you keeping track, it's the same suit he was wearing in Xander's dream in Restless. Very weird.] He looks like a Oxford fellow who mugged a farmer. It's terrifying. It's also his idea of a disguise, since he's still hiding from SharkFace. He makes himself at home, settling down on one of the counters, and Willow takes the opportunity to check her crystal, which is dark and glowy green. And back at the house the fire jumps from the fireplace to the rest of the baggy of bramble, setting it on fire. Giles is forced to resume his speech with Spike in the audience. and breaks the news that he's leaving, and not coming back. Xander protests, Anya tries to make sure it's for real this time, and Buffy heads for the door, totally unable to deal as yet another man in her life abandons her. Willow tries to call her back and she spins on them. "You're sorry. Everybody's sorry. I know you're trying to help, but it's just too much. I can't take it anymore, and... If you guys understood how it felt. How it feels. It's like I'm dying--"

And as the words leave her mouth, she suddenly slumps backwards. Dawn crumples to the floor at the same time that Tara wilts in her chair, Anya and Giles fall onto each other, Willow and Xander drop on top of each other, Spike lays out on the counter. Back at the house, the remains of the baggie of bramble smolders.

It's dark when the gang starts stirring, still sprawled or draped where they fell. Buffy opens her eyes first, with a very coherent and erudite, "Huh?" She gets up and stares around her in utter confusion, turning on the lights. That wakes everyone else -- Willow and Xander pull away from each other with gasps, then Xander recovers enough to give a very not-suave, not-pathetic "Heey," to Willow. Giles and Anya straighten and look confused, and Spike rolls off the counter with a crash, waking Dawn who screams. They all stare at each other; Dawn whimpers, "Who are these people?" as Buffy kneels beside her and tries to reassure her. Pretty hard, considering she doesn't know who these people are either. Or who she is. Xander has a little freakout; his come-on to Willow was apparently a spinal reflex to waking beside a girl. Willow checks to make sure she is indeed a girl, but she doesn't know who Xander is either. We establish amnesia all around, that Xander is intensely paranoia, and that it probably wasn't alcohol (no bottles), head bumps or Candid Camera. Buffy tries to calm everyone down, and they realize they're in a magic shop. "Magic's all balderdash and chicanery!" Giles blows that off, realizing that he's British as he speaks. Spike starts mocking him, then hears his own accent (which is a great deal smoother, by the way) and realizes with disgust (and a quick run through British slang) that he's British, too. He and Giles decide they're father and son (Anya: "There is a ruggedly handsome resemblance." Giles: "And you do inspire a particular feeling of familiarity and disappointment."); Spike decides that they hate each other, just on general principle. Given how Giles and Anya woke up, they must be a couple -- engaged, judging by the ring on her hand.

Willow finally has the brilliant idea of checking driver's licenses, and she, Xander, Tara and Giles quickly gain identities. Dawn is wearing a necklace with her name on it; Spike's jacket has a label inside: 'Made with Care for Randy,' and he explodes, "Randy Giles? Why not just call me "Horny Giles" or "Desperate-for-a-shag Giles"? I knew there was a reason I hated you." Willow finds 'Alex's' name on her jacket and another couple is established, And Anya misreads her own handwriting on a receipt to be dubbed 'Enya.' Dawn offers to name the still-unidentified Buffy, who declares herself 'Joan' instead. Dawn mocks, Buffy tells her to shut up, Dawn complains about bossiness, and sisterhood is established. They hug and Randy bitches at Rupert about never showing him affection like that. Joan assumes leadership automatically, and suggests a hospital. The gang heads for the door -- and almost walk out into the arms of SharkFace's vampire henchmen, in full game face. Cue group scream, the door slams, and everyone hits the floor for a nice freakout about vampires being real and at the front door. The vamps pound on the door and Willow and Alex scurry off to make sure other doors are locked. Rupert suggests they fight them, being in a magic shop and all, and the vamps yell at the gang to "Send out Spike." Randy perks up and pulls a load of stakes out of his pocket. "Let's give them these." They distribute them as the vamps return to yelling for the Slayer. Willow and Alex return with news of a trap door leading to the sewers and the gang starts to head out -- as the door bursts open and vampires invade.

Cue more group screamage (Alex falls to his knees and starts praying a la Benny in The Mummy: 'If I try enough different religions, one might work.') and lots of running about. The vamps intelligently get Joan under wraps, then grab Randy, demanding that he pay up. They're strangely unimpressed with the handful of stakes he shoves at them. Joan manages to fight free and yelling, "Stay away from Randy!" instinctively stakes one of the vamps. The others watch in shock as he dusts. "What did you just do?" Willow asks. Buffy: "I... I don't know. But it was cool!" The other vamp runs for it as Buffy concludes, "I think I know why Joan's the boss. I'm like a superhero or something." Alex responds by passing out. Outside, the surviving vamp tells his boss that "the boys" want blood. SharkFace counsels patience: "They'll turn on him soon enough. Or else, we'll burn the place down to the round."

Joan announces that she's got a plan -- since the bad guys seem to want Randy, and Joan seems be pretty strong, she and Randy will lead off the vampires, allowing the others to escape to the hospital through the sewers. Randy's up for it, but Enya's not leaving ("I have to protect the cash register, and do some spells."), and Rupert stays with her to do the magic thing, which he reluctantly admits might help. Joan is good with that, and turns to Randy. "Ready, Randy?" Randy, grimly: "Ready, Joan" and they head out. Well, after Rupert calls Randy bag for a very awkward father-son hug [and the Restless flashbacks just keep coming]. Joan and Randy burst through the doors, almost knocking over the vamps on guard, and take off down the street. The vamps pursue, and one of the grabs Randy he turns and vamps out, tossing his opponent across the street. "Hey, I'm a superhero, too!" he announced happily, as Joan turns to check on him. She takes one look at his face, and runs screaming the opposite direction. Randy yells after her in confusion until he gets cold-cocked by another vamp.

Randy makes it back to his feet and takes down the three vampires that attack him, before taking off after Joan. Meanwhile, the rest of the crowd is climbing down into the sewers, Xander helping the girls and Willow taking a (long, significant) moment to steady Tara. But there's a vampire waiting for them, leading more screaming and running. In the shop, Rupert and Enya are working on finding spells and defining their relationship. Enya goes right to a book and declares it's the one, based on her intuition; Rupert objects and they scuffle briefly until Enya informs him, "...My intuition says that you're not so much the magic guy and more of a paperwork type." She triumphantly casts a spell and... a bunny appears. Do I even need to say, 'cue screaming'? Randy continues to chase Joan down the street, totally unaware of why she's running. She has inexplicably slowed to a walk; when he catches up and grabs her arm, she dumps him on his butt on a lawn, and kneels on top of him. When he continues to complain about this treatment, she realizes, "You don't know who you are." And doesn't believe her when she tells him, until he feels "the lumpies and the teeth" for himself. "I kill your kind," Joan informs him. He responds, "And I bite yours. So how come I don't want to bite you? And why am I fighting other vampires? I must be a noble vampire," he concludes thoughtfully (as the viewers dissolve into hysterical giggles). "A good guy, on a mission of redemption. I help the helpless. I'm a vampire with a soul." Joan simply rolls her eyes. "A vampire with a soul? Oh my god, how lame is that?" [cue more hysterical giggles, making typing impossible for a second. When we return:]

Rupert is starting to lose patience with Enya and her spellbook, since the shop is now swarming with bunnies, but Enya (standing on a table) is determined. And Joan is starting to lose patience as Ang-- excuse me, Randy continues to expound on their tragic yet uplifting history. "And the two of us -- natural enemies thrown together, to stand against the forces of darkness. Utter trust. No thought of me biting you, no thought of you staking me." Joan points out, "Depends on how long you keep on yapping." He's thankfully cut off by the arrival of the Vamp Patrol, as the gang continues to run from their vamp in the sewers, finally finding refuge in a small side cubbyhole. Tara leads the way through a gated hole, and she and Willow snuggle significantly in a corner until the vamp goes by. And Enya's still happy with her book, which has added a big green cloud to the ceiling, but Rupert has had it, and a pre-marital spat ensues. Joan and Randy continue kicking ass side by side, but are taking damage ("Note to self," Joan says after taking a kick in the face. "Learn to duck."). They stake a couple of vamps, and take on the other two, as Rupert fences with a skeleton apparently hijacked from Sinbad's ship, and the rest of the gang hides in the sewers. "I'm okay," Dawn says when Willow checks on her. "It's scary, but weirdly, kinda familiar." Willow knows what she means, and agrees with the weirdness. "I mean, I'm all sweaty, and trapped, no memory, hiding in a pipe from a vampire... and I think I'm kinda gay." (Viewers who were around for Dopplegangland roll their eyes and snicker.) Rupert and Enya are hiding too, trapped behind a counter wile something large, green and nasty contemplates eating them. "Look what you've done, you lunatic woman!" Rupert hisses. Enya hisses back, "Don't blame me, you snobby, snotty, thinks-he's-so-great kind of jerk... and I feel compelled to take some vengeance on you!" She whacks him hard over the head with her book. He yelps, and announces, "God, no wonder I'm leaving you!" displaying his one-way ticket to London, "and out of this engagement." Enya responds by pulling off her ring and throwing it across the room.

The vampire in the sewers closes in on its prey, and attacks Alex as he emerges from their hiding place. To his credit, Alex bounces back, taking the vamp on and not doing too bad a job of it. Rupert, finally allowed to do the magic, breathes a spell and the big nasty disappears in a flash of light. Enya and Rupert emerge from the counter, finally safe, and Enya rushes out to retrieve her ring. Apologies all around, and Enya admits, "No, Rupy, I'm sorry. You were right. That was the wrong book." She asks him not to leave her and he tells her he doesn't want to, before they wrap-up in a passionate kiss (that would be much more impressive considering how little of ASH's, um, talent, we've seen displayed if there were different parties involved < shudder >) And the girls are still on the move in the sewers, until Willow gets tackled from the side. She falls onto Tara, the black crystal falling out of her pocket and skittering across the floor. Alex distracts him with an attack, and comes out on the loosing end, until Dawn retrieves a stake from the floor and tosses it to him. Big Pile o' Dust. Willow and Tara are still sprawled on top of each other, having a serious moment -- until Alex gets up, one of his feet smashing the crystal into shards.

Eyes clear. Memories return. Realization hits. Willow lunges off of Tara and stares, appalled, at the remains of the crystal. Giles and Anya are still kissing each other when normality reasserts itself. Randy and Joan clear off the last of their opponents and Joan tells them smugly, "Don't mess with Joan the Vampi--" She stops as the memories hit, and Buffy stares, frozen in shock, until something kicks her in the face and she goes over backwards.

The vamp who attacked Buffy takes full advantage, kicking at her on the ground. Spike shouts her name, but has to get rid of his own opponent before he can help. Tara works her way to her feet slowly, looking at Willow in hurt, betrayed anger. Everyone else looks at the remains of the crystal, then at Willow, still kneeling on the ground at Tara's feet. Xander gives one odd chuckle, and apologizes, "Sorry, I just got back the memory of seeing "King Ralph'." Without a word to Willow, he tells the others, "We should get back," and moves off. Dawn others trails silently behind, and Willow follows, barely able to meet Tara's eyes. Tara, trying very hard not to cry, brings up the rear. Giles and Anya are frantically cleaning the shop, as far away from each other as possible. And Buffy is still curled on the ground in pain -- more from the deluge of emotional trauma then from the vampire still kicking at her, although that's not helping. Spike finally stakes both of the vamps, and turns around to face the forced-jovial SharkFace who is scared as hell and willing to forgive all debts. Spike's out of patience with this crap; grabbing SharkFace by his lapels, he informs him that he's not a welcher, he will pay his debts; Sharkface laughs nervously and takes his chance to split. Spike offers his hand to the traumatized Buffy; she gets up on her own and walks past him without looking as back as Spike, still game-faced, stares after her.

Michelle Branch stands on a stage at the Bronze, singing a wistful acoustic song to a full house: "Of all the things I believed in/I just wanna get it over with/Tears warm behind my eyes /But I do not cry/Counting the days that pass me by." Buffy sits at the counter, staring sightlessly into space as she listens. "I've been searching deep down in my soul/Words that I'm hearin'/Are starting to get old/Feels like I'm starting all over again/The last three years were just pretend/" As the song continues, we see a sad but resigned Tara packing her things at the Summers house, ("And I said/Goodbye to you/Good-bye to you/Good-bye to everything that I knew/You were the one I loved/The one thing that I tried to hold on to") as Willow sits on the bathroom floor. ("I used to get lost in your eyes/And it seems that I can't live a day without you/Closing my eyes") Giles sits on a dark plane, letting it carry him to England and away from his home. ("And you chase my thoughts away /To a place where I am blinded by the light/But it's not right/Goodbye to you/") Willow doesn't move or speak; everything about speaks of hopeless misery -- misery she knows she caused and deserves. ("Good-bye to you/Good-bye to everything that I knew/You were the one I loved/The one thing that I tried to hold on to") Buffy barely turns as Spike hesitantly walks up to her at the bar; she looks at him, his face begging her to let him help, then deliberately turns away. Spike's face falls, then hardens, and he stalks away.

("And it hurts to want/Everything and nothing at the same time/I want what's yours and I want what's mine/I want you/But I'm not giving in this time") Tara walks out the front door with her box of stuff; when she tries to hug Dawn, the teenager shrugs her off and stalks inside, leaving Tara standing alone, as Willow sits alone. ("Good-bye to you/Good-bye to everything that I knew/You were the one I loved/The one thing that I tried to hold on to/The one thing that I tried to hold on to") The camera pans around the Bronze, scanning over the young people dancing and talking, and finally settling on one couple beneath the staircase, wrapped up in each other's bodies. Buffy and Spike kiss like there's no one else in the room, and no tomorrow. ("Good-bye to you/Good-bye to everything that I knew/You were the one I loved...")

Giles has left town, indefinitely.

Tara moved out of the Summers house, breaking up with Willow.

Spike and Buffy have moved on from spell-induced snogging to serious trauma-induced making out.

Guess I should just get the Willow-rant out of the way right now, huh? Well, I did almost feel sorry for her, sitting on the floor of the bathroom being miserable, except she brought every little bit of it on herself. Even after she'd been told, in no uncertain terms, how strongly Tara felt about having her mind tampered with -- violated -- Willow didn't even wait one day before trying to do it again. Not incidentally breaking her promise of no magic in the process. I can only look her spell backfiring that spectacularly as karma and threefold law in action -- what she did certainly came back to her. And now she's going to have to live with the consequences.

Unfortunately, so does everyone else. I'd be happy for Buffy, having those few hours of freedom from trauma (and hours where she was getting off on slaying instead of hating it), if the return of it hadn't carried such a huge price. It was painful watching everything flood back, watching her be helpless to fight off the external assault under the weight of the internal one. And the damn spell hit just as she was about to seriously pen up to the Scoobies!!! I'm not sure I approve of her method of dealing at the end, but I also didn't approve of the way she treated Spike right before they started snogging. If that's what keeps her sane in the short term, well....

And not having Giles around sure isn't going to help. His reasoning was fine last week, before he knew about the Heaven thing, but I repeat -- having Giles leave knowing how totally messed up Buffy is just does not work. < sigh > I can't even really discuss it beyond that. Damn, I'm going to miss ASH, for so many reasons. :p But without memories, some interesting things do turn up from him -- the immediately dismissal of magic as chicanery, his attempt to do the right thing by hugging his 'son', and can I mention how incredible that kiss looked? Wow, Emma Caulfield has a rough life, having to kiss Nick Brenden all the time, and now ASH. < rolling eyes >

Anyone else amused that Anya's instincts lead her right for the Book O' Bunny Spells? Touched that, for all of 'Alex's panicking and screaming, when it came down to protecting the girls, he sucked it up and took on the vampire? Delighted that Tara was leading the way half the time in the sewers, telling the others where to go? But wow, did I feel for Tara at the end, leaving Willow when her own heart was obviously breaking? That took serious courage for her -- ironically enough, it's courage that she mostly acquired by hanging around with Willow. Or just refined, maybe; it must have taken quite a bit for her to leave home in the first place.

And Dawn turning away from her had to hurt, too, but Dawn's having major Divorce Issues, obviously. Hopefully, she'll work past them -- but Tara moving out on the heels of Giles leaving isn't going to do much to improve her already shaky mental stability.

I love Spike, and I'm choosing to ignore the whole kitten poker thing on the grounds that it's just dumb (except that Spike declaring himself not to be a welcher was cool, in a guy kind of way). And I'm not going to get over the way his subconscious turned him into Angel anytime soon. < giggling > Wow, that boy has some Father Issues -- deciding he hates Giles just for the hell of it, then deciding he's his often-declared poof of a Sire at the first opportunity. But I'm starting to get seriously upset at Buffy -- she keeps kicking him in the teeth, and it's his own damn fault, yes, for coming back for more. But love makes you do the wacky.... This cannot end well. Seriously. (But dontcha kind of wish it could?)

Best Moments:
Buffy's half-exasperated, half-resigned "If I were to stop saving his life, it would simple things up SO much." was utterly classic.

"You are attractive and have many good qualities." Anya's finally getting Xander trained. And he's so cute, trying to balance guilt and love and relief.

Which of course, led into the fight between Tara and Willow, and wow, did Amber do an awesome job. I'm disliking Willow a little much to be unbiased about Allison, which I suppose is a sign of how well she's doing.

Spike barging into the shop -- that was the man's idea of incognito? Oy.

Everyone waking up. The entire fist scene sans memory was hysterical, watching all of the right and wrong conclusions be drawn. Willow checking to make sure she's a girl, and all of the by-play between Randy/Rupert/Enya was hysterical. (Particularly Randy realizing he's British. Could not stop laughing.) And Buffy/Joan and Dawn were just sweet.

I was continually amused by the screaming reaction to vampires -- when exactly did they get blase?

Anya and Giles have always been entertaining as hell together, but their best episode, of course, has to be last one for a while. :p Given how much time they spend together, it's not surprising their subconscious minds accepted them as a couple, but wow, would homicide become an issue if they really were. All of the snarking was funny, the 'need to enact vengeance' was too funny for words, and that last kiss... followed by the desperate urge to clean, of course. < snerk >

Randy deciding he's Angel was funny. Joan's "Oh my god, how lame is that?" was hysterical. The tape had to be stopped to allow for helpless laughter.

Buffy getting her memories back. SMG's performance is perfect. Everyone else delivered the goods in a big way, particularly the sewer crew, but you could see the memories hit Buffy like a punch to the gut.

The entire final montage. Joss found the perfect song to rip out our hearts, and layered it over the perfect scene to do the same. They haven't messed with us this badly (at least not to non-cast-performed music) since the end of Lovers Walk, really. Very, beautiful, very depressing, and the kissing, to add that final fillip of shock. Ave Joss -- the bastard -- and his little minions, too.

Questions and Comments:
Loan shark? Oy.

Loved the self-referential bits in the episode, little pay-off bits for those of us who've been in for the long haul. Willow's, "I think I'm kind of gay", Spike's dive into Angel-dom, Spike's suit that was straight out of Restless (lots of that episode is paying off in little ways; time to go rewatch)... The continuity just keeps on coming. I love this show. And the little tribute to Ray Harryhausen was not unappreciated, either. Rating:

4 stars out of five. After the brilliance of the musical, and episode trying to follow it should have been a let-down, but they cut loose with utter insanity instead, leaving us laughing helplessly just to set us up for that incredibly painful ending montage. Talk about sucker punches.


"It was a loan shark. Get it? Get it? It's funny!! If you're five. (Seriously, that just didn't tickle me the way I think it was supposed to. It looked goofy.) However, everything else was just awesome. Rolling on the floor laughing, tears streaming down my face. . . . . and then tears streaming down my face. *sob* Great. Just about everybody hates just about everybody else. And Buffy and Spike can't stop with the smootchies. It's pain! And angst! And British sex jokes! I love this show." -- Mary Beth

"What I particularly liked was the references back to the show itself. Dopplegangland, the whole Angel bit. They still aren't afraid to make fun of themselves. " -- Karen

"The whole wake-up-and-try-to-deal was just--- priceless. Especially Spike and Giles. *snort snort giggle!* Especially since Buffy was dealing better with being Joan-the-Amnesiac-Vampire-Slayer than she's been dealing with being Buffy. Spike's riff on 'noble vampires' was just... .*howling*" -- Kiki

"Goddess, the *pain* on Willow's face, when she knows how bad she beyond-screwed-up, and the ache on Tara's, and... damnit. Damnit. Damnit. I understand why Tara had to go. Totally. *so* with her there. But it just... Willow is going to get so much more psycho with this, I know it." -- Kiki

"But oh. Oh. Ohhhh. That last shot of Giles on the plane.... *SNIFF* Damn, do I miss the man. Thank you, Joss, for giving him to us, but damn, damn, do I miss him already...." -- Kiki

"Okay, we have the JossVerse. (Not to be confused with Joss's Verses in "Once More..." We have the WishVerse. And now we have...duh duh DUH! -- The AmnesiaVerse. (Well, it sounded better than the TabulaRasaVerse.) I'm waiting for the slew of bad fic featuring: Rupie, Enya, and Randy Giles. (Randy, the noble vampire with a soul.) Joan and Dawn. Alex and Willow, who's kinda gay. Tara. (Did she know who she was? The damn phone rang in the middle of that scene...) And the Magic Trick store." -- Celli

"On a semi-serious note: when they're bitching out Willow for the spell, somebody had better bitch-*slap* Xander for last week's demon summoning. He's responsible for someone dying, after all."
"True, and true, and I'll bet he knows he has no leg to stand on.. which may hamper the bitch-slapping of Willow for doing something even stupider. The moral high ground is hard to find in Sunnydale, some days. Although with Xander, it was a one-time stupid thing (aside from his participation in the resurrection of Buffy, and BBB several years ago), not the ugly addiction Willow's got going. So he can at least find a moral high chair to stand on." -- Celli and Kiki

"The Giles and Anya kiss - EEEEWWWWWW. And their compulsive cleaning binge afterwards. < g >"
"Sublimation and disinfection, it's fun. Not to mention easier than wigging out in front of your business partner." -- ??? and Kiki

"If the gang was repulsed by her dating Angel, imagine their reaction when they find out she's been kissing Spike. < WEG > "You've been kissing WHO???"
"You've gotta be kidding!" and major revulsion from all."
"Uh-hunh! Oh yup! Not to mention that the two sanest people are gone, and one of the second-sanest is a full-blown wreck, probably worse than after Oz left. (Tara used the bad 'space' word, and Willow freaked, I think. *sigh* I can't even be mad at this point. Next week I will be. But this week? I'm feeling too much pain for her.) Xander & Anya will have weird make-up sex, and then Xander will be way too direct to be helpful, if Buffy even expresses *any* of what's going on with her." -- ??? and Kiki

"Anyone have any guesses as to what it's going to take to get Willow back on path? You would have thought this would have done it, but obviously not considering the preview."
"I thought that too, until I saw the look on her face in that last shot as she was sitting slumped on the floor, and saw it straight-on instead of in profile. Then it suddenly hit me that this could do one of two things: wake her up, or send her over the edge. And that she's going for the latter. *shudder*"
"Definitely edge. Willow's never been an over-the-edge kind of person, but lately it seems like she hasn't wanted to be Willow any more either. Now, see, this is really when we could use Seth back on the show, because Oz could maybe knock some sense into her." -- Karen, Valerie and Tina

"So bringing that little dream from Restless to life."
"Complete with the suit! *giggle* I was gasping on the floor when he came in wearing it -- something I *never* expected to see literally coming into the real world from that dreamscape!!" -- Karen and Valerie

"Which I completely didn't recognize (even with the suit) from Restless... I was stuck on Spike dressed as William The Bloody Awful Poet again... and figured that he was trying to hide... and the last time he wore a suit, this is what they looked like... and so he grabbed it from the thrift store.Now there's a triple whammy to think about... it makes the brain spin... < G >" -- Dianne

"Want Tara back! She was seriously cool and only getting cooler with her new spine. Ave Joss, The Bastard! :p" -- Dianne

"Proving, as if Angel hadn't done it on his own, that men are men even when they are vampires."
"You mean, instantly becoming Denial Boys when it looks like they're about to get rejected, and claiming they only want sex, when they've been declaring undying love? Lame! Testosterone may be the great equalizer, but why does equilibrium have to be reached at the lowest common denominator and I.Q. point? Gah." -- Deb and Kiki

"Thing I keep forgetting to say... while I really believe Giles needed to get away from Buffy so she's start taking care of herself, I can't say I'm thrilled with his way of doing so."
"Not disagreeing (I'm having too much missage to do so) but not sure I understand, exactly. How was he supposed to do this? She'd never agree to this now, no matter how long he took to talk it over with her."
"He makes the third major guy in her life who has unilaterally decided that it is better if he leaves Buffy without allowing her any say in the decision (the previous two being Angel and Riley, of course), and the fourth if you count Hank."
"Hank and Riley I want to smack, because Hank is her dad and she was younger and they never ever discussed it. Riley needs smacking because he gave her no notice, and an ultimatum about her behavior and feelings, and about changing his mind about leaving. He might've had good reason to leave, but the manner was unbecoming. Angel--- they talked, and they hashed it out for months (since after Amends), and they kept circling around it like Drano; and he finally left after he'd physically hurt her pretty badly, but was sure she was going to be okay. I can't really call that unilateral. Just painful and inevitable. Maybe he was saying stuff about it being for her own good, but it was for *both* their good. Giles, at least... well, I guess it was kind of no-say- in-the-decision, but, well, they're not romantically involved; and he still loves her as a dad. He just can't effectively act as her Watcher anymore, and he knows she's got the resources there to fall back on. It must suck to hear the for-your-own-good thing again, but it *is*. And she's too messed up to accept it. If this had been last year, pre-Glory & Key & extra-Slayer training, she'd have eventually accepted that *Giles* needed his own life, and deserved one. Not that it makes it suck any less. The girl *so* needs a good therapist to hash this out with-- or a good friend who isn't currently going Dark Side and is willing to listen. I hope she tries to talk to Xander about this stuff. < sigh >" -- Lizbet and Kiki

"I liked the point made previously in this list about Xander's musical spell vs. Willow's group-amnesia spell, that his was an uncharacteristic aberration "
"He seems to only default to magic when he's worried about romance. The spell in BBB was to make Cordelia like him (as I recall... it's been *awhile*!), whereas this was "I just wanted to make sure that we have a happy ending."
"Willow's was 1) one more step in a growing love of power and disregard for responsibility/consequences, and 2) a deliberate violation of a specific promise to a loved one. "
"Oh, yeah. That was the scariest part, to me. I thought that she would make the promise to Tara, and then resist for awhile and then rationalize it somehow. That she didn't even *try*..." -- Alix and Lizbet

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