Where the Wild Things Are

Written by Tracey Forbes
Directed by David Solomon

Perri's Review | SunSpeak

Perri's Review

A good showing for the Scooby Gang, if a little less than suspenseful.

It's what seems to be a standard night for Buffy and Riley: patrol together, fighting together, slayage together, sex together. One interesting note: during their slayage, the vampire in question was actively aided and abetted by a demon. This, both agree, is unusual, and they should tell Giles about it. Right after the sex part of the evening, which is obviously a more pressing need. Later, Riley rouses to wander shirtlessly (...okay, yeah, I'm back) through Lowell House, apparently trying to track a weird sound. He tracks down and locates the evil -- a dripping faucet in the bathroom.

The next morning, Anya does a ridealong with Xander on his new job -- ice cream man -- as he tries to talk her into going to a party that night at Lowell House with him. Anya is still completely wigged at the concept of being in the same room with The Initiative (all those former demon issues), and has other problems on her mind as well. Seems while Buffy and Riley were getting it on, she and Xander were not. And in Anya's mind no sex = no relationship; she's sure Xander is tired of her and they're about to break up. The ensuing argument (in front of a group of kids) does nothing but leave Xander frustrated and embarrassed and Anya miserable. As they more to opposite corners, Giles meets with the Couple of the Year (who are going to require surgical intervention to be separated) and Tara and Willow, to be briefed on the whole vampire/demon development. Giles agrees that it's seriously bizarre, since demons traditionally regard vamps as an abomination. The only thing they can think of is that Adam is somehow uniting the two groups. Riley agrees to tell his guys to keep an eye out, and invites Giles to the night's party. He demurs, having something 'adult' to do, and Riley and Buffy (very nonsubtlely) wander off to grab a few seconds in a broom closet before class.

And apparently do it again later, to the amusement and disgust of Graham and Forrest, who've been living with it for how long now? They're more concerned with the fact that the house is freezing and they can't make it warm up, even with the furnace and fires. Buffy and Riley carry on, oblivious -- and the fire suddenly gushes, setting one of the Initiative guys on fire.

As Anya wanders, depressed, towards the Bronze, something suddenly jumps out of the shadows, frightening her. But it's only Spike, who has apparently been entertaining and enriching himself by terrifying bystanders and shaking them down for money. Anya's not impressed (with good reason) and she's not paying; after an exchange of insults and comments on each others' personal lives, they wind up in the Bronze together, commiserating. Things used to be so much simpler when they had their powers and could kill and create carnage. Spike tries to talk Anya into just eviscerating their respective significant others, and neither one can work up the enthusiasm to do it. It's just a really pathetic pity party.

Everyone else associated with the Slayerettes is happily partying at Lowell House (the commando guy is fine, btw). Xander fills the gang in on his argument with Anya, Graham and Forrest attempt to carry on a conversation with Riley, and everyone gets ignored in favor of the lovebirds staring with great fascination at each other. Across the room, a frat guy trying to pick up a chick discovers that touching a section of wall produces some, um, interesting sensations, and Xander, wandering off, amazes himself by successfully picking up a cute redhead named Julie. And the lovebunnies wander off to Riley's room as the rest of the DGLCs roll their eyes.

Others have wandered over to check out the Wall o' Orgasms, and Willow and Tara retreat to the steps, discussing horses and childhood trauma. Willow unthinkingly lays a hand on Tara's knee, and Tara freaks, calling Willow disgusting and heads for the bathroom. As she runs off, Anya and Spike walk into Lowell House, freaking Spike as he realizes where he is (and who he's with), and Xander freaks at Spike's presence with his girlfriend. One loud, messy and massively uncommunicative argument later, Xander and Anya stalk off in opposite directions, yelling how much they're having apart. But Xander's rebound to a game of Spin the Bottle (?) with Julie leaves her virtually assaulting him with a kiss, then racing off in freaked-out tears.

Being the gentleman he is, Xander follows to try to help her, momentary blocked by the crowd around the WoO. He locates Julie locked in a closet, crying "I'm bad" and systematically cutting off her hair. And Willow, searching for her own freaked-out companion, wanders into a bathroom. She doesn't find Tara, but she does find a guy laying tied-up in a full tub off water, struggling As she races to help him, he disappears then reappears behind her. Her scream momentarily disturbs the SuperCouple upstairs, before they go back to business.

The rest of the room continues to not notice the weirdness around them, but Willow finds Xander and shares her story. "Is every frat on this campus haunted?" Xander demands with total justification. Tara reappears, desperate to get out of the house and, when the game of Spin the Bottle unexpectedly explodes, all three head off to search for Buffy. But their attempt to disturb the Room o' Love is blocked by giant plants, and the lovemonkeys inside are oblivious to the pounding and shouts. And, as Tara looks out over the party, an earthquake rocks the house. Spike rides it out in amusement, until he's abruptly tied to the chair by invisible hands, as people run screaming, Graham is abruptly possessed, and Forrest hauls him downstairs. They meet up with the science geeks of the Initiative, who inform them Bad Things are happening, and disappear for the rest of the episode.

Spike rips himself free and the Slayerettes (and the now-bald Julie) make their retreat, but Xander wants go back to help Riley and Buffy. Spike declines obnoxiously, Anya fights it, and the point becomes moot when Xander tries to charge heroically in -- and is roughly thrown back out by an invisible force. It's Watcher-time, they finally agree. But going to Giles is harder than they thought; Giles' 'adult thing' at the Espresso Pump involves him, open mike night, an acoustic guitar and The Who's "Behind Blue Eyes".

We now pause for all GASPers and every woman with a functioning pulse to have a little lie-down -- or a long lie-down -- to celebrate how deeply, deeply, cool and sexy ASH looks and sounds. Later, when pulses calm, breathing begins again and language skills return, we come back....

.... to four freaked-out Slayerettes. Xander is having some sort of crisis at the sight before them, Willow is remembering why she had a crush on Giles and Anya is impressed. (Oh, join the crowd, babe.) As they stare in shock and delight, the pants continue to grow, locking the sexpuppies closer into their web. Their voices echo with desperation as they keep trying to get closer. Giles finally abandons his guitar to once again know more about Buffy's sex life than he ever wanted, and the research party reveals that Lowell House used to be a home for wayward children.

Giles, Xander and Anya head off to interview the former headmistress, and old woman who initially seems to be sweet (if a tad uptight). But questioning shows that her reign over the children was one of complete and abusive Puritanism, all normal urges completely and sometimes violently repressed "for the good of their souls". Forced baptisms, shaving the girls' hair... fun for the entire family. No one died, but Giles, as he and the other retreat in disgust, concludes that the years of repressed emotions are now manifesting themselves as poltergeists -- triggered by Buffy and Riley's rampaging hormones. They're now pulling energy from the pair, and will keep doing so until the battery runs out, and the pair dies. Which is getting close....

Tara and Willow are called into action to cast a seance with Giles. It works for a while -- the apparitions of the children appear in the dorm room with them, giving Xander and Anya an opportunity to get inside Jumanji House to rescue the human battery. But as they hack their way through to foliage, the spirits suddenly go back to work, throwing Xander into a bathroom and under a tubful of water, and Anya off the landing and across the room. But Anya's made of tougher stuff; working on sheer determination, she fights her way back upstairs and rescues her boyfriend. Then, together, they fight their way through the attacking plants to the door of Riley's room. With much pounding and shoving, the door finally swings open--

--And Buffy sits up, annoyed. "Don't you knock?" she demands of the bloodied pair. Without a word, Xander and Anya look at each other, then turn around and get the hell gone.

The next morning, Buffy and Riley are in a state of shock, although, Buffy's got a few more problems with the concept of Giles singing, and Xander feels her pain. But the whole night was horrible, she and Riley agree -- with glances at each other that suggest anything but.

Adam seems to be trying to get the two sides of demons and vampires to work together, with some success.

Xander, you have really got to put some effort into your relationship with Anya. It's been nine months. If it's still based entirely on sex, you guys are doing something severely wrong.

Buffy? Riley? Get a room. Get it out of your systems. Then come back. 'Kay?

SMG was off filming Angel this week, obviously; all she and Riley get to do is have sex and visibly think about having sex. < sigh > There are only two good things about this: A) it gives the other Slayerettes time to play; B) it involves Riley wandering around without a shirt. Homanahomanahomana...

Xander and Anya need to sit down and decide to go without sex for a couple of weeks, and to spend the time they're not having sex actually doing a radical thing called 'talking'. Playing nice together, doing things outside the apartment taht involve communication. This is getting ridiculous! I appreciate that Xander's last (and only serious) relationship was with Cordelia and essentially involved broom closets, and I also appreciae that he'd only 19, but you'd think he'd learn! It's not like we can blame Anya -- after 1200 years as a vengeance demon, her perspective is severely screwed. Xander's job was to show her how to react to things as a human, not to let her get away with basing thier lives on sex!

Ahem. That said, both of them had a good showing here. Xander returned to being the lovably loyal sidekick we've all missed so desperately, willing to take on anything in the house on the chance it might let him help Buffy. This is the Xander we used to adore. And Anya also made herself into a hero, dragging herself up the stairs to save her boyfriend, and sticking around to help save his friends, all through sheer force of determination. Get this chick focused on something, and she can't be stopped -- something the Slayerettes should be making a lot more use of.

Giles also gets to have some fun.... < happy sigh > And so does everyone else. Entirely aside from his gorgeous voice, it's cool to see him really and truly getting a life outside of the kids, even if it's only open mike night at the coffee bar (or was he getting paid? I doubt it, but a job's a job). And I always feel sorry for him whenever Buffy's love life becomes an issue, which is almost always. He's be so much happier if he never needed to even think about her having sex, or contact with the opposite gender in any way, shape or form. But he gets to be out and about doing Research Guy things (and Xander and Anya get to help), and generally being useful and productive Watcher Guy. Yay! More of this, please!

Willow also got to do more than she'd had for a while, casting spells and teling ghosts to get over it. Her scene with Tara on the staircase was excellent, the whole overreaction over the knee-touch very good foreshadowing of what's coming up next week. Tara still exists to be Willow's appendage, much as Oz used to , but without Oz's definite and amusing personality. Hopefully, again that'll change next week.

And welcome back to the Damn Good-Looking Commandos! Thank god, finally some screen time for the hunky Graham (who reminds me deeply of Now & Again's Michael Wiseman when he actually has lines to deliver and can have an expression), and he does a nice job with what he's given, showing a real sense of humor and some serious personality. Why do I sense he's toast in the finale? And Forrest is, as usual, deeply amusing.

Best Moments:
Anya and Xander discovering their audience. < snicker > I saw it coming, but I was still hugely amused.

Forrest and Graham, virtually any time they were on screen. Right there with you in the disgust department, guys.

Spike and Anya. I love this show, it puts secondary characters together and produces hysterically funny scenes like these two. < g > These two would so make a better couple than Xander and Anya.

Willow taking shameless advantage of Buffy's distraction. That's my girl.

Xander picking up Julie -- very suave, very not-pathetic. Good boy.

Tara and Willow on the steps. Very nice step in where they're going.

Spike hitting the "here" part. < g > Really, really giggle-worthy moment.

Spike's little speech and retreat. ROTFL! I actually thought he was going to be heroic there for a second, then he reverted to his annoying, hysterical self. Too funny!

Giles singing. Do I really need to expand on that? Could we ever do an episode that just Giles singing? Because I'd really like that. And the Slayerette's reactions were absolutely priceless.

"Oh, for a different phrasing." < snerk >

Willow telling the ghosts to get over it. < snerk >

Anya fighting her way through the foliage to Xander. Way to go, girl!

Questions and Comments:
I'm sorry, Buffy looks like a poodle with the curl thing happening.

So, where's Anya getting the money to not give Spike? Can we please have some details of life without Xander?

< rolling eyes > Safe sex much? Gotta love the shot of Riley groping in the drawer for the condom, but at least it was reasonably low-key, if not exactly subtle.

And I figured out what's making me crazy about this season -- it's not making me crazy. Where were we four episodes out last season? On the edge of our seat terrified about what was going to happen with the Ascension and Faith. Four episodes out end of second season? Massacring our pillows waiting to see if Angel would live or die, and who Angelus would kill in the process. Where are we now? Waiting to see if Buffy and Riley can kill each other with too much snogging, and wondering in a vague sort of way what Adam's up to lately. Ho-hum.... < yawn > No tension, no suspense, no reason to really care all that much. It's enough to make you go watch Angel instead, which is something I never thought I'd say. Not much this season worth rewatching, at any rate. By Joss, the season finale had better be killer to redeem this season of, dare I say, mediocrity?

Rating: 3 stars out of 5. It scores that high mostly on the supporting performances of Anya and Spike (and Giles singing!) and the fact that it actually had Xander in a major, intelligent role. Not a great ep, not a bad ep, just sort of... there. Like most of this season, in fact.


"Okay, they're getting the college atmosphere right again--- at least with roommates who are always shagging and the weirdness of relationships around newly-in-love people. (Now, granted, I think they're possessed or something, but still... I remember this. And I remember *avoiding* this assiduously)." -- Chris

"And yes, metaphor shot. We get it. We get it. They're all alone in their own little world. (yawn)" -- Chris

"But I'm just so not caring for Buffy right now. And I like Riley a LOT. . . but I'm so not caring for Buffy/Riley *together*. And all the sex is just annoying -- and people complained when Angel and Buffy *smooched* too much! Sheesh! Yes, yes, I get it -- they're free and exploring and young and college and blah blah blah . . . but they're just annoying me. So there. They're not romantic. They're being selfish and self-absorbed and not at all angsty. I miss the angst! But I *loved* the Scooby Gang being front and center (and thank goodness SMG needed to be off filming Angel that week, cuz it gave 'em a reason to be so prominent)." -- Mary Beth

"I don't think they're getting over it, Willow."
"Okay, show of hands: how many people chimed in after this with "spank your inner moppet"? " -- Chris and Maureen

"The expresso bar needs to be a regular spot now. It would be amusing to see Xander succumb to Giles' voice just like the girls. (And now Willow remembers why she had a crush? She forgot? Bad girl!) I just hope Mo didn't melt during "Behind Blue Eyes.""
"Meltingness.... forgot about quote list for a while there...." -- Karen and Maureen the puddle

"Example #6382 Why I Love Joss-y Shows: It's so fanfic! I mean I can see a fic writer going "Spike was a demon but has no power, Anya was a demon but has no power-- they should commiserate!", but how often does a _show_ do something like that? :) Lizbet also commented that it's nice that every scene isn't "someone talks to Buffy" (_a la_ perhaps the worst example: Forever Knight). Granted, there were practical reasons why Sarah wasn't in every scene this time, but it's not the case usually either. We have independent development of other characters. *Cooooooool!*" -- Dianne

"OhMYGOD! yayyyyy... singiness! (five million fanfic writers just got happy)"
"... and AW started taking bets on whether Kiki had retained any semblance of consciousness... " -- Kiki and Dianne

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