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Author's Chapter Notes:
Episodes 12-17: [BtVS] Checkpoint, Blood Ties, Crush, I Was Made to Love You, The Body, and Forever.
[AtS] Blood Money, Happy Anniversary, The Thin Dead Line, Reprise, Epiphany, and Disharmony.

BtVS 12: Checkpoint
[The Council of Watchers possess insight into Glory, but are less than forthcoming with the information, and are also threatening to deport Giles if Buffy doesn't perform well on a test of her Slayer skills.]

I hate the Council, really I do. I'm a little ticked at Giles for calling them, but mostly I'm full of hatred for their attempt to come in and shake everyone down. Their threats against Giles, their adherence to bureaucracy, closing the shop down while implying Giles didn't now what he was doing and OMG, the women bringing the men tea? That just pissed me off.

I did enjoy the interviews of Buffy's friends, though. It was fun to watch everyone squirm and try to present the best possible picture, but of course saying things in ways that make them all look like they don't know what they're doing. Willow and Tara talking about their relationship was funny, as was Anya going overboard to keep the Council people from finding out she was a demon. I thought it interesting that they interviewed Spike too, and funny that they were afraid of him, keeping him at arm's length with crosses. Do they not know about the chip? And it was cute that the one woman was a little starstruck by Spike, having written her thesis about him. The look Spike gave her was hilarious.

(Edit: Check out a fan-created version of Lydia's thesis here. Thanks to slinkhard for the link!)

Glory showing up in Buffy's house and talking to Dawn was wild. I have to admit that Dawn is starting to grow on me. I wasn't sure she would, but... yeah. I'm prepared to take back everything I said about her in earlier posts. *twitch*

I was really surprised that Buffy took Dawn and Joyce to Spike for protection. I'm not sure when she started to trust him, but for some reason she really does. Spike seemed almost touched by it. I love Joyce and Spike together! How funny that they watch the same soap. And Joyce's "I love what you've neglected to do with the place" was funny.

The scene where Buffy stood up to the Council was really, really fantastic. She was so grown up, so confident and so right. And she even got Giles his job back, hee. That was a great moment. It almost seemed like a big turning point for her character.

And Glory is a god, huh? Oooh.



A:tS 12: Blood Money
[Angel threatens to expose Wolfram & Hart's criminal activities when he discovers that they are stealing large contributions that were made to a teen shelter, but an old adversary has other plans for Angel.]

Wow, Anne! Anne from Sunnydale, and from Anne! I'm just so proud of her for getting her life together and doing something positive with it! I wonder if her connection to Buffy will come out at some point?

This episode was full of layers, which was interesting to try to unravel. First, demon guy Boone seems to be trying to hunt Angel down, but turns out to be working with him. Then Lindsay and Lilah think Angel is going to publicly humiliate them by exposing their crime in public, but it turned out the whole point was just to distract them while the money got stolen. (And yeah, that was pretty humiliating. Possibly more for Cordelia and Wesley than anyone else. OMG Wesley stripping?)

But the biggest thing for me was at the end when Boone had the sack of money from the auction and it became clear that they had stolen it. At that point, I had lost so much of my trust in Angel that I really thought he was going to keep it. So when he took it all back to Anne, it kind of surprised me. And she took it, even though some of it was literally soaked in blood. I suppose that despite Angel saying before that it was "blood money", it was intended for the charity in the first place, so that wasn't such a big deal. Still, it seemed creepy.

It was interesting to see Cordelia, Wesley, and Gunn still pushing on without Angel, fighting monsters we don't get to see and bickering with each other over what their new agency will be called. I hope their estrangement from Angel doesn't last too much longer. I miss the gang.

And I loved the fact that Joss got a dig in with the woman at the fundraiser asking the actress, "So this thing with making your character gay, is that all about ratings?" Hah!


BtVS 13: Blood Ties
[Dawn's entire world crumbles around her after she learns that she is the Key, and dealing with the truth proves to be even harder than anyone had anticipated.]

I had been starting to wonder how much longer Dawn's identity would remain a secret, so I was pleasantly surprised that Buffy told everyone what she really was. And of course, that made the birthday gift from Dawn incredibly poignant, when everyone in the room knew that it was a photo of something that never happened -- everyone except Dawn, that is.

When she snuck out of her room to run away, I wrote in my notes "Wouldn't it be better if Dawn knew?" I loved the fact that Spike went with her to break into the Magic Box. You could just see the wheels turning in his head: Buffy's not going to like this, and if I just let Dawn go off, she'll blame me. But if I go with Dawn and keep her out of trouble... Buffy will still blame me. But maybe she'll be grateful I took care of her little sister... That and Spike just seems to like being in the thick of things. What did he steal from the counter?

I have to say that Michelle's acting in this episode was pretty stunning. She really played it well, so well that she had me in tears more than a few times. When she showed up in the living room with blood running down her wrist, and when she screamed at Buffy and Joyce to leave her alone -- god, that was exactly right.

It was interesting that Glory didn't know what Dawn was even when she was standing right in front of her, and that Dawn used the opportunity to pump her for information. When Glory was just about to do the brain suck thing on Dawn, I was wondering if it would even work. I'm still wondering, actually. It would be interesting if Dawn was the one who killed Glory once and for all. Cause despite that hurtling toward the earth in flames thing, I sort of doubt Glory is actually dead. That would be far too easy, what with the god thing and all. And what exactly is Ben, anyway? He said Glory couldn't touch him. Are he and Glory one and the same being, just expressing different forms? I guess we've never seen them together. I just wasn't sure what happened when he changed into Glory. I think we were meant to think they're actually two sides of the same coin or something, but I wasn't sure.

There was some nice Buffy/Spike interaction in this episode. I love the fact that he doesn't back down when she yells at him, and he tells her when she's wrong. Angel and Riley wouldn't do that, to the detriment of both their relationships, but Spike doesn't put up with Buffy's shit. And even better, when he tells her the truth, she really seems to hear it. I was glad she essentially apologized to him (for blaming him for Dawn finding out the truth about herself), and that he accepted it in a way that was almost gracious. It makes them a good team, and they seem like they trust each other now.

And it was cute that Spike wanted to give her that battered box of chocolates he'd been practicing on, but ended up standing outside the house and stalling. And it was funny that Glory called him Buffy's boyfriend too.


A:tS 13: Happy Anniversary
[Angel and Lorne must join forces to stop a brilliant, yet twisted physicist who is determined to stop time in order to keep his girlfriend from breaking up with him.]

So we finally get a little insight into what Angel's problem has been of late: he's drowning, yet again, under the weight of what he's done and how far he would have to go to redeem himself. And I was right before, it seems he did push his friends away to protect them.

It's interesting that he seems to be able to open up to demons in a way he can't with humans. He told Lorne more than he's told anyone since Doyle. It's like he just doesn't believe Cordelia or Wesley would understand, so he doesn't even try to open up to them.

Could Lorne be any gayer? I love it! I especially liked him using his voice as a weapon. That was pretty funny.

I have to say I found the whiteboard full of math highly entertaining. I had to freeze the video on the white board and take a look at it because I'm a geek like that (STFU) and what they had written made a little bit of sense, but it was like they had just fucked it all up somehow, like someone had copied it down from somewhere and didn't really know what details were important. It looked like they were trying to allude to some sort of Lorentz transformation and I saw something about a Hawking Hamiltonian, but there was so much missing that it looked like they'd just jumbled together as many symbols as possible that look complicated, yet are recognizable to anyone who's had calculus.

So then I did a quick google search, and look what I found:

Downloaded from here.

I tried to make a screencap from the episode showing the whiteboard, and I couldn't do it. (My software can't seem to penetrate the DVD's security.) Anyway, I wanted to show a side-by-side comparison of that image from the web and the whiteboard from the episode, because it looks like whoever set up the whiteboard on the set used that very image and then copied it down only partially, and even got some things wrong. It's pretty funny what parts they screwed up. Oh, and the demons added in stuff from that image to correct the physics grad student's math, Funny, you'd think he could have just looked in a textbook to get the equation right...


It was interesting that the guy who nearly stopped the world not only didn't know what he was doing, but that he was doing it to keep his girlfriend from breaking up with him. Angel's response to that was perfect: "The guy's a disaster at love. Nearly destroyed the world. I can relate."

It sounds like he may be about to call up the gang and ask them if they want their jobs back. I'm starting to think they'll say no.


BtVS 14: Crush
[Buffy is appalled by Spike's admission of love for her, but Drusilla is waiting in the wings, intent on returning Spike to his killer ways.]

I was hoping from the title that Spike's feelings for Buffy would come out in this episode. I guessed it wouldn't go well.

Poor Spike. That's really all I can say, because even though I know that they eventually do get together, I think it's a long way off. So he has a long time to follow Buffy around like a slightly unpredictable and violent puppy dog.

I didn't know Harmony was still around. I'm surprised Buffy hasn't just dispatched her already, since she's clearly "alive" and well and probably killing people daily. But oh, man, the roleplaying was hilarious, especially Harmony's bad impression of Buffy, while wearing that sweater of Buffy's that Spike had nicked. I have to wonder how dumb Harmony is not to get what that was about.

Here is another episode where I liked Dawn. Her interaction with Spike was a lot of fun to watch. It was also interesting that Dawn was the one who saw Spike's feelings for Buffy, when none of Buffy's friends did. I was surprised that Buffy hadn't figured it out sooner, but I was glad that Dawn was the one to tell her. And then Buffy spent the rest of the episode demonstrating that she feels something for Spike that makes her really uncomfortable. It might just be loathing, but whatever it is, it's strong. And I'm enough of a Harry/Draco shipper to know that this is starting one long subplot of hatesex foreplay.

Buffy confronting Spike about his feelings was interesting, especially her insistence that what he was feeling for her could not possibly be love because she didn't think he was capable of it. That was an odd statement for her to make, I thought, even though she justified it with the absence of a soul thing. I mean, she saw what happened to Spike when Dru left him, and how much he was reeling from it. Did she not think that was real? Or is she just in denial that it's possible for Spike to care about her, because that throws an unexpected wrench into her world? If Spike had a soul, would she feel differently about the whole thing, or would she be just as freaked out? See, I think her reaction is more about her than about him.

And ooh, Buffy found the serial-killer shrine. Sweet, yet creepy.

The scene at the end with Dru and Buffy tied up and Harmony yelling at Spike was really interesting. Here he was, faced with the three women he's had in his unlife in recent memory, and all of them make him crazy in different ways. And yet, he can't walk away from them. If he really were some sort of monster -- if he were anything like Angelus was -- he would have killed all three of them and gotten on with it. But he couldn't do it, and that really says a lot about him. Even though he threatened to kill Dru, I don't think he would have done it. He just wanted Buffy to see how much he really wanted her, and as usual, he overestimated how much Buffy would care about that.

I think that's the thing that's so poignant here: Spike cares about Buffy so much and knows her incredibly well. He's been stalking her for all intents and purposes, but he studies her and obsesses over her to the extent that he really seems to understand her. And she has no clue what he's really like. She always assumes the worst about his intentions, she hits first and asks questions later, and she has no clue what's really important to him. In a way, his realization that he wasn't even a blip on her radar hurt more than any punch she's ever thrown, or any mean thing she's ever said. And the look on his face when he realized he'd been uninvited to her house -- ouch. That was not so different from the look on his face when the woman in the flashback rejected him back in 1880.

And it makes me wonder if he's about to go and do something just as desperate and dangerous as he did then. Oh, and as an aside, it's interesting that he can feed on someone who's already dead, even if he can't do the killing.


A:tS 14: The Thin Dead Line
[Unbeknownst to Gunn, Cordy and Wesley, Angel investigates a squad of zombie police officers who assault everyone in their path---a case also brought to the trio by Anne.]

The title is a clear reference to The Thin Blue Line, which you can read a summary of here. The themes of that film were definitely reflected in this episode, to interesting effect. And of course, the episode also kept in that tension between security, freedom, and justice and ended on an ambivalent note with the gang leader remarking that the streets were now safe for him to do business again and Kate noting that crime really had been way down in that area with the zombie cops cracking down. I was impressed that the show didn't take a stand either way. They just showed the people caught in the crossfire, and didn't sugarcoat the rest of it.

The other big theme in this episode was Angel actually working behind the scenes to help Cordelia, Wesley, and Gunn, without them knowing it. I'm sure they'll all make up eventually, but it won't be easy. You'd think Angel would've learned by now that he can't just push people away like that, even when he thinks he has their best interests at heart. You'd think he would learn not to treat people he cares about that way after a couple hundred years.

It was good to see Anne again, and I'm still waiting for someone to say something about Sunnydale when they're all together, just so they all realize the connection they really have.



BtVS 15: I Was Made to Love You
[Buffy must stop a heartbroken young woman — a robot who was manufactured to be the perfect girlfriend — from destroying the city.]

April the perfect robot girlfriend seemed like a great metaphor for Buffy about her own relationships with men. She spent the beginning of the episode wondering what she was doing wrong and how she could be a better girlfriend, even going so far as thinking that she should cut back on slaying so she could be more the type of girlfriend a guy would want. Xander was absolutely right when he told her that the right guy would love her for who she is, but she wasn't ready to believe it, of course.

Ben and Glory do indeed seem to occupy the same body and sometimes even the same clothing, which is quite interesting. It's probably a good thing Buffy didn't go out with him. Finding out her new boyfriend was also Glory would really have set her off dating for life.

I think I said something after the episode with two Xanders about wondering if that experience was going to change Xander, and it really seems like it did. He's just more solid now, somehow, like he's grown up and found his place in the world. I'm sure having a better job and moving out of his parents' basement really helped with that, but still, it's almost remarkable how much he's grown up. At this point, he comes across as more mature than Buffy and Willow, which is really interesting.

Ah, Spike -- I don't know whether to laugh at him or feel sorry for him. Though he got a few good zingers in at the Bronze: "If looks could stake" and "Looking for your next ex?" Buffy won't even give him the time of day, and her friends are, as usual, standing like a solid wall behind her. He tends to do desperate things in circumstances like that, and the fact that he asked Warren to build him a Buffy at the end was pretty crazy. Well, I guess everyone else has had a doppelganger except Buffy, haven't they? Somehow, I doubt this is going to work out for Spike.

And holy shit -- Joyce? I was wondering when the tumor was going to come up again, but I really didn't expect her to just die. I've known people who died of brain tumors, and it was long and lingering and horrible, and they had surgeries and went into remission, but it always came back. That's what I was expecting, and I didn't think it would be so sudden. Of course, it may not have been the tumor at all. Maybe it was Glory making good on her promise.

But Buffy broke my heart there: "Mom? Mom? Mommy?"


A:tS 15: Reprise
[Angel learns of the impending visit of Wolfram & Hart's "senior partner," an evil and merciless demon from hell, and he plans a kamikaze mission to destroy the powerful beast that will sacrifice his own life in the process.]

The concept of W&H having its 75-year review and everyone freaking out about it was quite interesting. All the lawyers in the karaoke bar, LOL. And the demons were all "Ew, lawyers!"

It's interesting that Lindsay is taking care of Darla. I can't decide if she's playing him or if he's helping her. Lindsay taking a shower as soon as he gets home from W&H is pretty interesting. There are always these little hints that he's not completely comfortable with the whole evil thing.

It was also interesting that Lorne said anything that could manifest in this dimension could be killed. It made me think about Glory and gave me a little hope that Buffy would be able to dispatch her at some point.

What is it with blondes stabbing Angel through with swords?

And whoa, Angel seems to be hitting bottom here. The way he stomped into Cordelia and Wesley's new office and just took the book, without even saying anything -- he was being an incredible ass. He's almost unrecognizable, and I'm really wondering when that's going to change. The realization that he's already in hell was pretty harsh for him, though. He had started to see the world in terms of battle he'd won, and here he finds out he can never win, and so he thinks it's all pointless. Though I really loved that the elevator to hell played such cheerful Muzak.

Of course, everyone was hitting bottom here: Cordelia about to go off to certain death on her own, Wesley being dumped by Virginia and struggling to heal from his own almost-death, Kate losing her job and sounding as if she were trying to kill herself.

And then Angel just walked away from it all, and practically raped Darla, (though in the end she really was into it, so I guess it doesn't count as non-con). Can I just say that was one of the hottest sex scenes ever? Maybe it's because we don't ever get to see him as a sexual being, but that? Holy shit. The moment where she slid her hand inside his pants and pushed them down and there was just the briefest glimpse of asscrack? I had to back that one up a few times. And the look on his face when he came -- holy fuck. Though you'd think it would be a bigger deal after all that time. I guess it's TV though, so I should be happy with that. Oh, and I am. Believe me.

It ended in a way that seemed designed to trick us into thinking he's about to lose his soul again. I just don't buy it, because I think it's not about sex. He never really loved Darla, and he doesn't love her now. He fucked her for a completely selfish reason, to get off and to feel something for the first time since she started haunting him in his dreams. That has nothing to do with happiness -- it's exactly the sort of thing that makes you more miserable than you were to start with, usually.

So I don't think Angelus is back. But I do think maybe Angel is, and that would be a great thing.

And I'm wondering about that ring. Could Buffy use it to get rid of Glory? She once sent a ring to Angel, so maybe he could return the favor.


BtVS 16: The Body
[Buffy and the gang are overcome by grief when tragedy strikes and they are robbed of someone they hold dear.]

Aneurysm. I hadn't thought of that, somehow.

Stepping aside from the content for a moment, this was an amazing episode technically. The washed out color, the shaky hand-held shots, the lack of music, even the removal of sound in many cases, really emphasized the emotions here. When you're shocked like that, you don't see or hear things. Everything becomes a blur, and you sort of exist from moment to moment. The fact that they were able to capture that here is really incredible. And when there were sounds, like the crack of Joyce's rib, to the sound of the zipper on the body bag, or Xander's fist going through the wall, they were jolting. And that's so real -- those things stick with you.

I once saw a man get run over by a bus. The tire just went right over his thighs and crushed them, and he screamed in a way I can't ever forget. Sounds matter at a time like that, and particular ones stay with you.

The long hand-held shot in the beginning was fantastic, and I couldn't help but think it was better for SMG that way, because where else would you get that sort of momentum? On top of that, it gave the scene such a feeling of immediacy, like it was happening as you watched and not just a TV show at all. Scenes throughout were edited in sharp ways, and the angles were weird, and it was so quiet that it created a mood of shock and grief that you could really feel. And when Buffy opened the back door and there were sounds of children playing, of life going on -- the sun really doesn't have a right to shine when you're feeling that, but it does anyway, and it's so fucking weird.

The fact that they cut in Buffy's what-if thoughts was amazing, along with weird random memories of her mom with the whole gang, the whole family.

It was interesting that Buffy didn't really seem to break down until Giles got there, until she had to tell someone she knew that her mom was dead. That seemed to be the moment it hit her. Watching Dawn going about her everyday school life and knowing that Buffy was going to walk through the door at any moment, and then showing her screaming through the glass so that it was silent, so you were an outsider looking in just like everyone else. The silence of it was more powerful than it would have been to hear it.

Everyone else's reactions were amazing, with Willow freaking out about what to wear and Xander trying to keep it together and Anya trying to understand what was going on. Her speech about not understanding death was so poignantly childlike, but she was saying what they were all thinking, but were too grown up to say. We all think that, but know it isn't proper to talk about.

And Xander got a ticket for double-parking. Life goes on.

The scene at the morgue, with no one knowing what to do or say, and the doctor having to come out and tell them there was nothing anyone could have done. And Dawn wanting to see the body, and locking herself in with the corpses, and of course there was a vampire and Buffy had to slay a damn vampire right next to her mother's body -- because life goes on and that's what she does.

I thought it was interesting that this was the episode where we finally got to see a kiss between Willow and Tara, and I wonder how they managed to get that past the censors. I guess they could hardly argue that it was sexual in that context. And when Xander pulled his hand out of the wall and it was bloody, Tara said "it hurts" and he smiled, it made me think of the line from the last episode when he said, "I'm alive -- I can tell by the pain."

It was interesting to me that the episode ended where it did, with Dawn reaching out to touch Joyce's face. And god, the ending credits were jarring. That was one time they could have cut the music, you know?

And there was no Spike in this episode, was there? He would want to know that Joyce had died. I hope they'll tell him.



A:tS 16: Epiphany
[After an empty night of passion with Darla, Angel surprisingly wakes up with his soul still intact and has an epiphany. His moment of clarity brings him back to the land of the living and while he tries to reunite with his crew, Cordelia, Wesley and Gunn aren't ready to forgive him, even when their very lives are at stake.]

I knew it! I was right and Angel is back! It was interesting that this episode started off exactly as the last Buffy episode did, with the part before the opening credits being the last minute of the previous episode.

And ha, Darla thought he'd turned, but he didn't, and pretty much for exactly the reasons I predicted in my comments on the last episode. The conversation between them seemed to be a twist on the conversation between Buffy and Angel back when he lost his soul, with Darla asking if it wasn't good. He was just as blunt in kicking Darla out as he had been to Buffy, but this time it came from another place altogether. That was a very interesting bit of writing!

It was interesting that fucking Darla was what gave him the clarity he needed. It was also interesting that Lorne knew the moment he walked in the door, saying: "Keep your pants on ... I see we're late with that advice." And Lorne checking out Angel's ass and wishing for leather pants? *dies*

It was a bit weird that Angel snapped out of it all so quickly, and that he was suddenly trying to get back on everyone's good side. But I have to say that I really adore him all awkward and sweet like that. He made me melt, even if his friends (rightly) weren't as easily convinced. The awkward tension between Angel, Wesley, and Gunn in the car was kind of fun. Besides, Angel's been such a dick lately that I was sort of enjoying watching him squirm. This was a funny bit of dialogue:

Gunn, referring to Angel's epiphany: "What, you just wake up and bang?"
Angel: "Sort of the other way around."

Poor Cordelia, impregnated by demons again. And poor Lindsay, so in love with Darla that he can't see past his own nose. His rage over her sleeping with Angel was kind of crazy, but pretty realistic. He was never going to be enough for her, and he needed to find out sooner rather than later that she was using him. He tried to kick Angel's ass, but in the end he wasn't going to win. Though it was sweet that Angel left a thank you note on his truck.

Whoa, did I just write that?

I was so, so glad to see that Kate and Angel had made up by the end. I'd been having a hard time with her hatred for him, and I'm relieved that they might be friends again. And whoa -- he could enter her apartment uninvited? When he kicked the door down, I wondered about that, but I thought I must have forgotten that she'd invited him in before. Did she uninvite him at some point? that sounds vaguely familiar. Either that or she was actually dead and he brought her back. But it's an interesting thought that maybe it was something more, and I need to think about what that means for Angel. For example, does it mean that he might get to be human just a little bit at a time, rather than all at once, and this is the first sign of that?

Kudos to Angel for going back to Gunn, Wesley, and Cordelia and asking them if he could work for them. He has a long way to go to earn their trust again, but I hope they see that he's sincere about it. The team seems to be getting back together! Yay!

When the phone rang at the end, I was sure it would be Buffy. I can't imagine she wouldn't tell Angel that her mom had died. But it wasn't.


BtVS 17: Forever
[Buffy is comforted by Angel, who comes back to Sunnydale after he hears of Joyce's death. Meanwhile, Dawn decides to perform a spell to bring her mom back to life.]

I figured this would be a grief episode. It did a good job of showing how people deal with all the arrangements, all the choices to be made, and how hard it is to think straight at a time like that. It was also good to know that Spike knew, even if he wasn't welcome to pay his respects.

The funeral scene reminded me of a dream of Buffy's back in the beginning of season 3, I think, where she was at a funeral standing before a coffin and Angel was there, only he was human and he stepped out into the sunlight.

Every time I think I can let go of the Buffy/Angel ship, something happens to rip my heart out all over again. I can't not love them together, because it's just the most perfect doomed relationship there is. I had really hoped he would come (and so I squeed when I saw his name in the opening credits), and when he showed up beside the grave and said he was sorry he couldn't come sooner (because it was daylight sooner, duh) and took her hand and she didn't even look up before she thanked him for coming because really, she knew he was coming and was practically waiting for him and he knew he'd find her there and -- oh, god, them sitting together in the graveyard all night, just talking and him holding her, and then this:

Angel: "I can stay in town as long as you want me."
Buffy: "How's forever? Does forever work for you?"

And... and... and then they kissed and it was so sweet and there were many, many tears on my part. I can't even begin to express how much that whole scene tore me up, and how much the longing from both of them killed me, how they can barely be in the same room together without wanting each other, and how that hasn't changed even after all this time. And oh man, all the times that they made out in the cemetery under the guise of patrolling, or snuggled against gravestones, and she probably never thought about the fact that people were buried there, people with families who were grieving for them, you know? I mean, she's spent so much of the last few years patrolling in that cemetery, and now she has to walk past her mother's grave every night. Vampires crawling out of their graves will just have to signify something different now. They would just have to.

And my god Angel still remembers that he had one day with her as a human being and he knows that she doesn't know, and how horribly angsty is that? I still hold out hope that she will remember someday. Right before the time turned back in IWRY she said over and over, "I won't forget" and god I just want her to remember that someday, somehow, just so he doesn't have to carry it alone. It's not that I want to wish that pain on Buffy -- I just don't want him to be the only one who knows. Well, I guess Cordelia knows, right? Cordelia knows for a reason, I'm sure.

Okay, wiping the tears and moving on. Glory and Ben are siblings, which is interesting. And despite Ben's stabbing of the scabby priest, he managed to live long enough to let Glory know that the key was a human being. It's nice to know Ben was trying to defend Dawn, but that thing about how the road to hell is paved always rears its ugly head.

Speaking of good intentions gone awry, Dawn trying to resurrect Joyce from the dead reminded me a lot of Willow's spell to forget Oz, and with almost similarly disastrous results. Was that why Willow helped her, because they're somewhat similar in that regard? I thought it was interesting that Spike helped Dawn do naughty things again in this episode. He seems genuinely interested in protecting her, but he seems to think that the best approach is to let her do dangerous things while he stands by to make sure she does them as safely as possible. In one sense, that flies completely in the face of logic, but in another way, it makes perfect sense. It could be interpreted as showing that he thinks people have to learn the hard lessons in their own way, and that no one can really stop Dawn from doing what she is determined to do. Of course, it could also be that he just wants to be in on the action, wherever it is and whoever's doing it. It was cute that he called her "Bitty Buffy" when he got frustrated by her.

The guy they visited for info seemed to be more than met the eye. Or maybe I'm just paranoid at this point. And Dawn managed to pull off the spell and raise Joyce, and god, for all of her yelling, Buffy wanted her mom back too, didn't she? It was good that Dawn was the one to rip up the picture, because Buffy had just lost it and wanted Joyce back, and once zombie!Joyce had come through that door, Buffy would have been lost. It was good to see Dawn do the right thing.

And yet again, the episode ends on horrible grief. I know that's realistic, but man. It's killing me.



A:tS 17: Disharmony
[Cordelia's featherbrained friend-turned-vampire, Harmony, turns up in Los Angeles anxious to join in the fight against a vampire cult leader.]

Poor Angel. I know he was a complete prick to everyone, but I feel bad watching them torment him. I can't help it. He's so adorable when he's atoning.

Oh, Harmony! I am way too fond of her. It was interesting that Cordelia didn't know she was a vampire, but I guess the Sunnydale team doesn't necessarily give updates on the local action.

The scene in Cordelia's bedroom where Cordelia thought Harmony was coming on to her was priceless! Again, there's the sexual metaphor for biting, and played to great effect. It's interesting that every time Cordelia calls Sunnydale, she calls Willow. I guess I never pegged the two of them as being that close. Of course, Cordelia had no idea that Willow is currently in a relationship with a woman, so I guess they couldn't be all that close. I thought it was clever that you had to be watching Buffy to know what Cordelia heard on the phone, because we only saw her reaction to Willow coming out to her. I'm guessing that the vast majority of people who watched Angel while it aired also watched Buffy?

The idea of a vampire pyramid scheme was funny, if a bit bizarre even for this show. When we first saw the green robe with the little triangle snake symbol on it, the first thing I thought was "Slytherin vampires?" I guess it's good to know vampires are just as susceptible to being scammed as humans are.

And Angel was right about Harmony, of course -- she did indeed turn on Cordelia the first chance she had. I was surprised Cordelia didn't stake her, but also a little glad. I would have missed her, you know?

And oh, the ending of this one was fantastic, with Wesley lecturing Angel about how to regain Cordelia's friendship, and then being interrupted by Cordelia running in and squealing with delight because Angel had bought her clothes. That part was so funny, especially the grin on Angel's face. It was almost OOC, to the extent that I wondered if that was a take where DB got a little cracked up, but in the end they decided to use it anyway. "You have the most amazing taste! You have like, a gay man's taste!" Bwahaha! Love it! Oh, and the moment where she sang "la-la-la" and they both did a little dance while grinning at Wes -- I had to back it up and watch that again, because I was laughing too hard the first time through!

Ah, Cordelia. No matter how much she grows, some things about her never change.


Themes in both shows:

Episode 12: In both of these episodes, the main characters were being tested by outside forces. Okay, so that happens a lot, but the outside forces in both cases had questionable intentions. It wasn't clear if the Council and Boone were good guys or bad guys, and in both cases they turned out to be more of a light grey. And both Buffy and Angel gained a sense of strength and focus right at the end which surprised me.

Episode 15: Both of these episodes showed people sinking to new depths and acting out in desperation. April and Spike were willing to do anything to deal with their unrequited affections, and the episode ended with the bombshell of Joyce's death. Everyone on Angel was in deep trouble at the end, and the episode ended with the possibility that we'd lost Angel again.

Episode 17: Trust seemed to be the common theme here, or rather issues with trust. Dawn and Buffy didn't trust each other when they should have, which almost led to disaster, and Spike trusted Dawn a little too much. None of Angel's friends are ready to trust him again, and Cordelia misplaced her trust in Harmony, which almost led to disaster. In the end, everyone seemed to be trying to make things right, though.


OMG, the last stretch of this season is next! *bites nails*