First, I'm amazed that people are actually reading these posts of mine. Though I have to admit, it says a lot about this show that watching someone else watch it for the first time could be that interesting. I'm realizing that people lovelovelove this show and these characters with a passion that is unlike anything I've seen in fandom before. Maybe I just don't get "out" online that much, but my god it's nice to know this obsession I'm sinking into rather rapidly is such a damn good one. And that there is so much company to be found along the way!
I had been looking forward to this episode because several people had commented that it was one of their favorites, and I wasn't disappointed. I really, really like Angelus as a character, and I love the tension between him and Buffy. It's such a great twist on the show. This one seemed to be narrated by him as well, which I was a little confused by, as that hasn't happened on an episode before IIRC.
I guess the big thing from this episode for me is that it was shown to be possible for Angel's soul to be brought back. (Which is a bit of a duh, considering that there will be a whole series about him in the future.) It was an interesting writing choice to show that to the audience so soon after he was turned, but to keep it from Buffy and everyone else -- and then to kill off the only person who knew. That's such a little gem for the audience, and it will presumably be a while before anyone else figures it out, but yet we now will be waiting for it. Great writing!
I didn't see Jenny's death coming at all, but in the context of the paragraph above, it makes perfect sense. It had been hinted that in the past Angelus was an incredibly cruel vampire, and I love that we're starting to see little hints of that. The taunting, the leaving of little hints about one's fate, the drawings, the flowers -- you really get a picture of him as someone who enjoys the chase more than the kill. He's systematically torturing everyone around Buffy, all in an effort to get her to act out in the way he knows she will, because he knows her so very well. I love it!
It's also interesting to me that Giles and Buffy have both been gutted by Angel at this point. They have that in common, which could end up being a strength for them. I'm wondering what will happen if/when Angel gets his soul back. It's hard to imagine Buffy would ever be able to forgive him. A few episodes back, Kendra asked her how she could just overlook his past cruelty. The truth was that Buffy really didn't understand what he was capable of. Well, now she does, and I can't imagine her being able to overlook it again.
Killed By Death
I wasn't sure what to expect from this one. It seemed more like a "Monster of the week" kind of show, but then there was all that gorgeous Angel tension! The scene between Xander and Angel in the corridor in the hospital? Holy shit, the subtext was practically erupting there! There just have to be Xander/Angel fics based just on that little moment. If not, I may write one. Dude.
I Only Have Eyes For You
Two big points here. First, Principal Snyder knows the school is on a hellmouth, and the mayor apparently does as well. That's quite interesting. I thought something was probably up with him, because all "high school is hell" stuff aside, he really seems to have it in for Buffy. He wants her out of there really badly. My guess at this point is that he's some sort of demon himself. Heh, for those of you who know the answer, that probably sounds really lame.
The other big thing about this episode was, of course, the Buffy/Angel moment. I didn't see it coming until Giles commented that there weren't any men in the school for the "scene" to be acted out, and I did one of those *gasp* things, because it was suddenly completely obvious what had to happen. And oh, what a gorgeous little moment of angst that was! I really liked Angel's scrubbing himself off afterwards and complaining of having been violated. That was pretty funny.
Oh, and Spike can walk and he's plotting something! Whee!
This one was a bit monster-of-the-week-ish, but it was all worth it to get a glimpse of Xander in a speedo. Dear god, the man is built. I've been admiring those shoulders for quite a while now, but wow was it ever nice to get to see almost the whole package. I loved the fact that Cordelia completely wigged out over it too. Hee!
I'm writing this after just finishing watching it, and I feel completely, utterly gutted by it. I can't imagine what it would have been like to have seen this as an actual season finale and then to have to wait months to find out what happens next. I only have to wait until tomorrow, and I don't know if I'll make it that long.
There is so much I want to say about this episode, and I fear this is going to be tl;dr as a result. But I guess if you cared about that, you wouldn't have made it this far, huh?
The first thing to say is that all of the flashback scenes were really interesting to me. It was cool to see those little pieces of the past, but even better to see how Angel got to Sunnydale in the first place. The idea that he'd basically been a homeless bum for a century, and then seeing Buffy and wanting to help her turned his life around -- that left me all a-flutter. Of course, then I wondered how he'd pulled himself together so quickly and acquired a cool, well-furnished apartment and stylish clothes and all on a few months' notice and probably a very small budget, but hell, these things don't matter so much. (Maybe Whistler helped him with that?) Though the bum thing does help explain the brooding and the utter lack of social skills, I have to say. It also made the borderline pervy peeking through little Buffy's window bit rather fun. I haven't seen the movie since I saw it in the theater, so I have no idea how close the Buffy-in-LA scenes were to what we saw there.
The rift between Spike and Angel had been coming for a while, and Spike going to Buffy for help was just frickin' awesome. His whole speech about how much he likes the world and doesn't want it to end was quite interesting. It makes me wonder just how much of a demon he is. I guess there are different degrees of demonicness in vampires, as we've certainly seen already. Heh, that bodes well for the future seasons. Still, the sight of Spike sitting in Buffy's living room with her mom, all awkward, was just fantastic. I have to wonder if the fact that Buffy invited him in will be a factor later?
And Buffy's mom finally knows she's a slayer, though her reaction was patently stupid. That bothered me, but I guess the writers wanted to take everything away from her. Sometimes characters get sacrificed in the process. Oh, and more evidence here that Principal Snyder knows what's up. It can't be good.
My inner Buffy/Angel shipper was pretty much fucking shredded by the ending of this episode. What glorious angst to have his soul come back right at the end, just to torture her a little bit more! (And her friends did that to her, yeow.) I'm a complete angst whore, and that shit brought me to my knees. I can't manage to be so cruel as a writer, though I really love to have it done to me. Guess that makes me an angst bottom, huh?
Did Buffy know that only Angel's blood would close the hell gate thingie again? I wondered about that part. Well, obviously we haven't seen the last of Buffy or of Angel. I do wonder if his soul is back for good (should he find his way out of hell) or how the whole soul thing will figure in to the process of him coming back. I also wonder where Spike and Drusilla got off to, as they obviously aren't going to keep that promise to get out of the country and stay out.
I don't know this will happen for a fact, of course, but I would really, really like to see more canon Buffy/Angel stuff. I just need it, in a way I haven't needed a het pairing in a frickin' long time. That, or David could show up on my doorstep wearing nothing but an artfully placed bow. Either way, I'm good. Though I think I'd prefer the first one, oddly enough.
And geez, now I want to go back and watch the first two seasons again with all of this in my head! Of course, the siren call of season 3 is far too strong for that. But it's now 2:00 am, and MDH has been asleep for 4 hours, and... I should really go to bed.
My god, I'm completely obsessed now, aren't I?
Author's Chapter Notes:
Episodes 17-22: Passion, Killed By Death, I Only Have Eyes for You, Go Fish, and Becoming.