When She Was Bad

Perri's Review | Leslie's Review

Perri's Review

Remember when I said at the end of Prophecy Girl Joss was going to have to work hard to top himself? Well, damn, I think he did it! Dark ep, but damn good.


Leslie did this, too, but I'd already started and don't want to waste the work. *g* It's going to be much too long, warning you now. Lizbet is a bad influence.

As the summer ends, Xander and Willow head home past the cemetary, bored to tears. Xander almost kisses Willow, but an attack by a vampire stops anything from happening. As Xander fights the vampire, they are rescued by the reutrn of Buffy, who spent the summer in LA with her dad. The Slayerettes are happily reunited. But all is not well; Buffy's parents are concrned about her growing distance.

The first day of school begins, and Giles is distracted from a monologue by Snyder by the appearance of Ms. Calendar. As he stutters and they head inside, the trio appears, greeting Giles without much respect for being in public. Buffy's greeting, however, is much more tense.

Meanwhile, the vampires are meeting, calling for a savior to rise in three days.

Buffy wakes friom a nightmare involving Giles trying to kill her while the Slayerettes look on, to find Angel in her room. She freezes him out and he reveals in a tense discussion that the Anointed One is gathering vampires. although Angel tells her he missed her, she doesn't admit the same until after he's left. Buffy tells the Slayerettes about Angel's visit, but assures them that she can handle whatever trouble arises. They meet up with Cordelia, who makes cracks about demons, then assures them she can keep the secret. Buffy insults her and walks away.

In the graveyard, the vampires dig up the Master's skeleton under Colin's eye, despite the consecration the Slayerettes performed.

At the Bronze, Buffy shows up dressed to kill. Angel attempts to talk to her and she leaves him in the dust, then picks up Xander and starts to seduce him on the dance floor, as Willow, Cordelia and Angel watch. She then drops Xander cold. As she leaves, having succeeding in alienating everyone, Cordelia confronts her about her behavior. Buffy walks away, and doesn't see Cordelia being kidnapped by two vampires. Cordelia finds herself next to Ms. Calendar, who is unconcious. Buffy, walking home, checks the Master's grave and finds it empty.

The next day, Buffy tells the Slayerettes the Master is gone, and she believes the vampires are going to bring him back. When Buffy tells Slayerettes to butt out, another fight is averted by Snyder's arrival. Giles dicovers that there is a ritual to revive the Master, which requires the blood of the closest person to him; Buffy assuems that that means her. A rock thrown through the window tells Buffy to come to the Bronze before it opens or they'll kill Cordelia. When the Slayerettes try to keep her from walking into the blatent trap, Buffy tells them she doesn't want or need their help.

Angel follows Buffy to the Bronze, wanting to help, and she tries to bait him into a fight. He refuses to bait, and continues with her to the Bronze. They find a female vampire waiting at the Bronze and quickly subdue her -- as a gang of vampries shows up at the library, wanting the two people who were physically closest to the Master when he died. Realizing the true trap, Buffy returns to the library and finds a beaten Xander. Giles and Willow missing. Xander, severely pissed and sick of Buffy's attitude, tells Buffy that is Willow is hurt, he'll kill her. To find the Slayerettes, Buffy returns to Bronze and and uses Angel's cross to torture the vampire they caught.

The vampires prepare for the resurrection ritual, the Slayerettes suspended upside down over the Master's skeleton, as Buffy, Angel and Xander arrive. Buffy 'distracts' the vampires by attacking as the guys free the Slayerettes. Buffy kills the 'leader' of the ritual, then takes his sledgehammer to pulverize the Master's bones for good. Then she cries on Angel's shoulders as the other watch in silence. Buffy realizes her mistake in trying to push the Slayerettes away and fences are mended the next morning, as the Anointed One plans his next move.


Well, the Anointed One has definitely taken control of Sunnydale. At last we find out what happened to the Master's skeleton -- Giles et al actually did a pretty good job of dealing with it, but I think Buffy's will be more effective. This is the first time we see a vampire killed by fire. Joss also does a good job of dealing with Buffy's inevitable trauma over dying.


I give up, this is getting to be too much for Continuity. So, new category.

Willow and Xander have apparently spent the entire summer in each other's pockets; Xander has started to see Willow in a whole new light, as shown by the almost (dammit) kiss. His hormones kick into habitual gear when Buffy returns, but he never quite loses cotrol, even on the dance floor. And her final stab at him should have killed any lignering crush quite thoroughly.

Willow, for her part, is still seriously gone on Xander, but no more willing to push it. The ice cream bit in the Bronze was pathetic. Poor thing; I hope Xander gets his head straight fast.

Giles and Ms. C are too damn cute. He's stuttering around her, she's still happily teasing him, and she crawls over to him as soon as Xander releases them. No real progress in a relationship, but they're going to get around to it.

Well, I was expecting Angel to be the one backing off, but he's the one really working on the relationship with Buffy. Even when she does her damndest to push him away, he refuses to leave her alone. Buffy, for her part, has hopefully finally learned to trust him. Interesting, though -- in all of the scenes up to the final hug, they're reverted back to their 'Harvest/Teacher's Pet' roles, with Buffy hostile towards Angel and him trying desperately not to care. But he does. *sappy sigh*and as Lizbet points out, he never closes down as he used to in the first half of first season. His emotions are always written all over his eyes.


Buffy. Well. Post-traumatic stress syndrome has been simmering away in Buffy all summer, but she's been able to hide in LA and ignore it. Then she returns to Sunnydale and is instantly kicked back into her nightmare world again. Her motives for trying to kick everyone out of her life are interesting -- on one level, she instinctively, I think, wants them out of the line of fire, and will do anything to make sure they get there. On another level, as someone on SunS pointed out, she also wants to be in control of her life again. She can't control the vampires, so she'll try to control the people around her, like Angel and Xander, who'll let her get away with it. (Angel, especially, puts up with a lot more than he should have). I think the 'line of fire' motive is the far stronger one, since what finally kicks her out of her bitch mode is the knowledge that in trying to keep them safe, she endangered all three of the Slayerettes. And, in facing Xander's very real anger at her, she also gets kicked in the teeth with just what her behavior could cost her.

Xander and Willow have obviously been living in each others pockets all summer, and it's showing. Xander seems to be finally coming out of denial and seeing Willow as a girl (*happy sigh*) except for a brief slip back into Buffy drool the first time he saw her, which seemed to be more than habit, and didn't last long. That boy knew something was wrong when Buffy came onto him -- his brain never stopped working. He was hurt when Buffy lefthim with that last jab, but not really surprised. He's definitely getting over the puppy-dog crush, and his emotions towards Willow are growing -- he didn't get seriously pissed at Buffy until she endangered Willow, and never let her go after they rescued her. And he still comes out with the stupidest damn things (he's sixteen still) but he realizes it now. He's done a lot of growing up.

Willow is still Willow -- still slightly spineless; she's the only one who never tries to call Buffy on her behavior, and she still doesn't smack Xander across the nose when he desperately needs it. Not really a lot of character stuff for her this ep; hope we get more.

Angel is so in love he can't see straight; Cryptic Guy has gone bye-bye. Everything Angel was feeling was written all over his face -- well, all over his eyes -- the entire episode. He was the one who faced down Buffy's attitude instead of just turning off, like he would have last season, and even when she was doing her damndest to force him away -- I would have killed her! -- he not only doesn't go away, two seconds later he's watching her back again! Of course, I get the distinct impression Angel figured it out. The Slayerettes got most of it, "dealing with issues" and all, but Angel went right to the heart of it. "You have to trust someone." Buffy stopped trusting herself to keep her friends safe, she stopped trusting her friends to not hurt her by getting into danger and screwing with her life, she stopped trusting Giles to keep *her* out of danger. So Angel basically said, I don't care if you trust me, I'm going to be there for you whether you like it or not." And he was. Which implies that he can read her a *hell* of a lot better than I bet she likes.

One interesting note -- Angel and Xander do not instantly go into Alpha Wolf mode around each other; in fact, they're working together to save the other four when Buffy is still reeling. Of course, they are rather distracted, but Xander doesn't even get hostile when it's Angel who comforts Buffy instead of him. Could they actually have called a truce?

Giles is definitely loosening up. He is happy to see the students come back, almost certainly because he's looking forward to seeing his three again. And his stuttering over Ms. C is too cute for words, but he wouldn't have been so obvious about iteven before Prophecy Girl. It seems buffy'snot the only one who learned something when she died.

Ms. Calendar rocks. Not much character, since she was unconcious for most of the ep, but she and Giles are too cute for words.

Cordelia. Wow. Still keeping herself seperate from the Slayerettes, but she can't stay away. The way she chewed out Buffy was excellent! Joss is doing a really good job of keeping her in character and distant from the others without letting her status as an honorary Slayerettes fall into question. She is definitely a part of this now, like it or not. he really proves her worth, though, when she lets buffy have it outside the Bronze. She's the only one who can give Buffy the kick in the ass she desperately needs -- Xander and Angel both love her too much to be deliberately cruel to her at this point, and Willow is simply not capable of it. Cordie's not getting warm and fuzzy -- she doesn't like Buffy -- but she lays it on the line in a way no one else can. If this is Cordie's role for the season, I'll take it!

Best Moments:

The almost-kiss between Willow and Xander and, well, um, everything leading up to it. They are so cute! And vampirus interruptus was one of the better kiss-avoidances I've seen.

Killing the vampire against the tree branch. Niiice effect.

The Musketeers/Stooges discussion. The character interaction between the Slayerettes and Cordelia is great this entire scene. It lays out the relationships nicely for new viewers, while establishing that things haven't really changed with Cordelia.

Wilolow and Xander's interaction in Buffy's dream. The snack exchange is too cute. Okay, yeah, I know, sappy shipper. Deal.

The entire scene in the Bronze with Buffy the Bitch. Painful as hell, as Buffy extremely efficiently hurts the three people she loves most in one fell swoop, and nice acting all around. And the directing, with the shot of everyone's faces in succession as Buffy leaves, is very* nice.

"She's possessed" to "B-I-T-C-H" to "Trout... is a fish". This entire discussion is priceless!

The library scene with Xander and Buffy. Finally, Xander has had enough. With Willow in danger largely because of Buffy's actions, he is too worried about Willow to worry about Buffy's feelings anymore, and tells her as much, finally kicking her out of her self-destructive funk. Nick is amazing!

The Slayerettes regaining conciousness. Okay, more sappy shipper stuff, with Ms. C going straight to Giles and Xander cradling Willow until she wakes up.

Pulverizing the skeleton. Buffy is scary as hell during the entire fight scene, and she really loses it here. Then, when Angel hugs her and she just starts sobbing on his shoulder... Wow. Sniffles.

The tag. The warm and fuzzies of the trio mending their friendship after all of the angst is beautifully balanced by Cordelia's monologue on stains and Colin Devil Child's "I hate that girl.". So we end the ep with a laugh and some WAFFs. Cool.


As Lizbet noticed, Buffy's shirt changes between going to school in her mom's car and the next scene at her locker. Then she's wearing the first shirt again the next day. Joss moved a scene....

The dangling Slayerettes, particularly Too-Tall Giles, should be visible in shots of the skeleton and aren't. Understandable, but slightly annoying.

Buffy pulverizes the rib cage twice at the end. Slightly sloppy editing.

Rating: 5 stars out of 5. A damn good start to the second season, and a perfect follow-up to Prophecy Girl. I wonder, though, if the rest of the season is going to be this dark.

Leslie's Review

Joss is the most twistedly evil man....Ain't it great! This episode is an angst fest. What were you expecting? The Brady Brunch? I should point out here that this episode moves quickly and a little unevenly. This is to be expected in a season opener. Joss has to draw in new viewers, keep old viewers, tie up loose ends, introduce new problems, etc.


It has been a long summer for our Slayerettes. Buffy is distant and distracted when she returns to Sunnydale. This distractedness quickly becomes bitchiness when Buffy starts alienating everyone close to her. Willow, Xander, and Angel receive the brunt of Buffy's new attitude. Buffy manages to hurt all three of them by playing the seductress with Xander in front of Angel and Willow. Recognizing the change in Buffy's attitude Cordelia and Angel confront Buffy. Both fail to reach Buffy, who can't seem to confront her own issues regarding her death at the Master's hands.

Giles and Ms. Calendar reunite on the Sunnydale campus, and Principal Snyder is back. In a very nice exchange, we see some flirtatious smiles between Giles and Nikki.

Meanwhile, our little devil boy is back. Yes, Colin is gathering his masses in an attempt to resurrect the Master. What does he need? The Master's bones, which he unearths, and those physically closes to the Master at his death--Giles, Cordelia, Willow, and Ms. Calendar. When Willow and Giles are taken in front of Xander, and Buffy finds him, he puts his foot down on her attitude: "If they hurt Willow, I'll kill you." With that, and some help from Angel and Xander, Buffy starts dealing with her issues. She kicks a lot of vampire butt, prevents the Master from rising again, and smashes the Master's bones to powder.

A few tears on Angel's shoulder and a few polite exchanges among friends, and things are back to normal in Sunnydale. Well, as normal as anything is on a Hellmouth.


The Anointed One is in charge. He's a child--well, he's still got the mind of a child. All his tactics are child-like (e.g., the rock through the window).


Buffy has had all summer to think about the Master and her death. Her father even tells her mother that Buffy was distant the whole time she visited him in LA. Buffy has already decided before she gets back to Sunnydale that she wants to distance herself from the people she cares about. She clearly feels she can't protect them. Her actions at the Bronze are very pre-meditated. She knows exactly how to hurt all of her friends with one action. It is brutal, but effective.

Emotionally, Buffy's in denial. She's not dealing with her fears. This is evident in her lack of eye contact, her dream, her aggressiveness, her show at the Bronze, her breakdown after destroying the Master's bones. Buffy suffers from her own kind of post-traumatic stress.

I feel most for Angel and Cordelia, though. In this episode more than any other, I realized how lonely Cordelia is. For all her shallow and spiteful comments, she's surviving the only way she knows how. Her parents seem to neglect her. I remember back to the pilot when Cordy says her mom doesn't get out of bed much any more. Cordy made light of it, but this girl is hurting. As for the comment about stains at the end of the episode, that's how she deals with her "inner moppet." Clearly, she's thought of the events of prom night, and she's wanted to talk to someone about it. She has no one to talk to.

And poor Angel, outside the Bronze...He is trying so hard to help Buffy...But boy is Buffy bad...OUCH!!!!!!!!! If Buffy hurts Angel one more time.... well...let's just say it's not going to be pretty...."we're talkin violence, strong language, adult content...." The poor guy really gets an emotional beating in this one. At least the others get a semi-happy ending (the last scene between Buffy, Willow, and Xander is a really nice warm fuzzy after all the angst).

Favorite moments:

Angel in color (not his usual black and white)...Angel in crushed velvet... need I say more?

Of course, the Xander/Willow moments are adorable. I loved their "name that movie quote game." AND the almost-kiss, handled so sincerely and naturally, is melting material!! I love these two. Now, while Joss likes playing with our minds, and he's bound to interrupt a few kisses, Xander is already moving away from this kiss before the vampire makes his ugly self known. I think Xander's just now realizing how much he cares about Willow; he isn't ready for the kiss, but I'm looking forward to when he is.

Giles in a really nice jacket and tie...I hope they burned that checkered thing!!

Giles is delightful in the opening sequence with Ms. Calender. I loved the halting "hello," the school-boy smitten smiles, and the fumbling invitation to the faculty lounge. The opening Giles/Snyder/Calender scene is so classic Buffy. ROTFL!!!


Will Colin "I hate the Girl" demon boy ever die? Please!! What has been the fate of other Slayers? Is Buffy the first Slayer to have so many people know about her? How many other Slayers have faced vampires as powerful as the Master?

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