- Text Size +
Author's Chapter Notes:
Episodes 9-13: [BtVS] Smashed, Wrecked, Gone, Doublemeat Palace, and Dead Things.
[AtS] Lullaby, Dad, Birthday, Provider, and Waiting in the Wings.

A:tS 9: Lullaby
[As Darla violently begins childbirth, Angel faces the responsibility of becoming a father and the possibilities of what miracle or destruction this new being may bring to the world. ]

I love the way there are all of these things going on, and all of them are slowly starting to fit together. like Angel and Darla having to face Holtz and what they did to him, and Holtz being faced with the fact that Angel has a soul now. I'm not exactly sure what Holtz's role will ultimately be in all of this. He doesn't seem too freaked out about being 200 years in the future, though I suppose that would distract from the story too much to be a big plot point.

Holtz still claims he'll show Angel no mercy, and I'm not sure what he means by that. And yeow, he threw his own child into the sunlight when he realized she was a vampire, not so differently from Gunn staking his own sister. It's one thing to watch anonymous vampires get staked, but it's another altogether to imagine having to stake a loved one, you know?

Poor Darla has been in labor for quite a while now. Wesley trying to show her how to breathe was funny, especially when she screamed "I don't breathe!" back at him. When it started to become clear that the baby wasn't going to be born the usual way, I wrote in my notes that I guessed Darla would have to be staked if the baby was going to survive. I thought she'd ask Angel to do it, or that Holtz would do it in the end -- so I was completely surprised that she staked herself. It happened so fast -- and then there was a (not quite newborn, but hey) baby left where she'd been.

Darla staking herself to save the baby reduced me to sobs, I have to say. I mean literally, I was sobbing. I love the idea that Angel really did save her in some sense in that he gave her the chance to feel what he feels, and to love someone more than herself. The idea of losing that and the baby seemed to be too much for her to bear. So when she staked herself, partly out of a desire to give the baby a chance, but also to prevent the monster she was from coming back -- wow. There were tears.

There was also a lot of Christian imagery in that scene in the alley. I was really struck by the image of Fred with Angel's coat over her head, looking down at this baby in a way that seemed designed to evoke a Virgin Mary image. And there's the miracle child, and they were in an alleyway in the rain -- all of it seemed like it was very intentional.

And then when Holtz let them go in the end, I didn't know what to think. That was absolutely the most vulnerable I've seen Angel on this show -- there he was, holding this baby that's an absolute miracle, possibly the one thing that will ever make him feel human, and he's just seen Darla sacrifice herself for it -- and then there's Holtz, crossbow in hand, ready to dust him and not really understanding what's happened or what purpose Angel serves in the world now. The look on Angel's face was amazing then, something between terror, resignation, and hope, like suddenly he's afraid of so much more than he was before. And that rings true with what I've heard people say about becoming parents, that there were moments when the enormity of what they'd done hit them, and they were terrified that they couldn't (or wouldn't be able to) raise a child. And in Angel's case, it was literally something to fear at that moment.

I have no idea how this is going to change things.


BtVS 9: Smashed
[Spike discovers that his chip now allows him to hurt Buffy; it seems Buffy came back wrong somehow. Willow reverts Amy to human form and the two party with magic. Buffy and Spike have sex.]

W00t! That's the first thing I have to say after watching that... twice. And then watching the ending about a dozen times...

Lots of things happened here. First, Amy is no longer a rat! I'd wondered a while back when Willow was going to figure out how to do that. I mean, she could do so many other things, but deratting Amy was proving too difficult? I thought it was interesting that Amy thought she'd been gone for only a few weeks. I suppose that's a good thing, because otherwise she'd really be freaked out about having been a rat for so long, having experienced every moment of it for three years. It's interesting that she seems like someone who's going to be a bad influence on Willow. Willow needs someone to reign her in, not encourage her. And I'm worried that Willow doesn't seem remotely remorseful of what she's done. She told the gang what happened between her and Tara was a little thing, and then she goes off with Amy to play with the folks at the Bronze until they're bored? That's not a good sign.

I thought it was interesting that Tara was taking Dawn out as if she were a visiting divorced parent. Dawn really seems to be clnging to the hope that Tara and Willow will get back together, and I'm not sure they will. Not unless Willow really changes the path she's on, or else does something even more desperate. When the scoobies were looking through the books at the Magic Box and Xander found something in the D&D manual, I was really intrigued that the others brushed it off. Knowing that the Trio is behind what's going on, I have a feeling that information might have been important.

Loved the Trio again, as usual. I'm clueless about what they're planning. Getting the diamond was apparently the end of phase 1, but it's unclear to me what they need that diamond for. And geez, a priceless diamond on loan from the British Museum is being protected only by Rusty Rent-a-cop?

Ah, but the big thing in this episode was Spike, and the revelation that his chip doesn't prevent him from attacking Buffy anymore. It was interesting that after what we've seen of Spike in the last few episodes, we were shown that he really is still a demon. Given the chance, he would absolutely kill and eat people, and he wouldn't feel a bit of remorse about it. So he really isn't redeemed in any sense of the word, just sort of caged. I still think he wouldn't kill Buffy though -- when he said he didn't want to bite her in the last episode, I think he really meant it.

So when he attacked her, I read that as an act of desperation. He can't just wait for her to come around, and he's frustrated that he's been effectively emasculated by his chip. If he isn't dangerous, he thinks, why would she want him? And in a way, he was right. She didn't even seem to take him seriously until he was a threat again, and then she couldn't resist him. He seemed so desperate to have some sort of contact with her, and she had brushed him off over and over -- but she can't ignore him now. And she didn't.

So what does that say about Buffy? One thing is that the chip problem seems to indicate that there's more going on with her than was apparent before. She isn't completely human somehow, but I'm not sure what that means. It has to have something to do with her coming back from the dead, and there were certainly lots of hints dropped early on that it was more dangerous than any of them realized. It will be interesting to see if she believes it, and how it will affect her. But another thing I find interesting is just how caged she seems to be herself. Part of her wants to just let go and be 21 and live her life, but she's still the Slayer and she can't really be free of that responsibility. And so she seems to feel horribly guilty every time she forgets about that responsibility just a little bit. Getting into a relationship with Spike symbolizes her abandoning her responsibility in a lot of ways, and that seems to be part of why she's been pushing him away so hard, despite the fact that she's clearly attracted to him. And so it was interesting in this episode that she had to kick his ass before she could let herself give in to her desire for him, as if that would mean she hadn't forgotten who she was. She'd done her job and knocked him around, and then so what if she fucked him into the floor for good measure? Something like that, anyway.

So, the sex scene. Good grief, that was one of the hottest things I've ever seen! Wow. I've read so many HP fics where fighting turned into sex, but that was probably the first example I've seen on film that really worked for me. The first (several) times I watched it, I thought she was wearing pants, which is obviously problematic for the wallsex they were having. So I went back further in the episode and looked, and realized she actually had a skirt on. Heh. Clever on the part of wardrobe. The bit with the zipper sound and her settling on him and the looks on their faces was just... gah. Wow.

I went looking for a YouTube clip to link to, and found the original version of the ending. Holy shit.

And then two sets of dailies from filming that scene: one and two. It must be really, really weird to film a sex scene, you know? I mean, you go to work every day with these people, and you get to know them, and then one day you have to simulate sex with them, in front of other people you work with? I can't even imagine how weird that would be.

And one more thing that I thought was interesting about this scene was that the sex was entirely initiated by Buffy. She was in control of every bit of it, and there was never a moment where it looked like she was being pushed to do something she didn't want to do. And that is very interesting to me, because it says something about Spike. Well, maybe it just says that he'd kill her before he'd violate her, but still, it shows where his priorites are.


A:tS 10: Dad
[Still trying to figure out how to be a good father, Angel's problems multiply when he and the gang are trapped by several groups of enemies bent on kidnapping his son. Barricaded in the hotel, the group prepares for an inevitable attack. Meanwhile, Holtz goes about recruiting new help for his quest to destroy Angel.]

It was interesting to see Angel being so, so protective of the baby. I have to say that the baby talk parts were actually kind of disturbing. I was thinking about the fact that DB's RL son was born around this time, so I wondered how much of the baby-comforting behavior was coming from his own experience. The way he was holding the baby was also interesting to me, because that was exactly how I held my nephew when he was born. I remember just wanting to stare at his face for hours on end.

Cordy: "You don't have a woman's touch. Whatever your taste in clothing may indicate." The running gay joke is funny, and I'm not sure why they're still doing it. Is it just a bone they're throwing to the fans?

It was kind of sweet to see Angel so bewildered, but also completely fierce about protecting the baby, to the extent that he wouldn't let anyone else touch it for a long time. And trying to take care of everything, even though it's hard to imagine he's had any experience with babies... ever. He said he knew how to change diapers (and wondered where the pins were and how to work the velcro), but seriously, my dad doesn't know how to change a diaper. I have no reason to believe that a drunken playboy from the 18th century would have a clue. Did they have diaper pins back then? I know my grandmother used diaper pins on my dad, but she remembered when she was a girl and taking care of nieces and nephews that they had to fold diapers in a particular way to keep them on without pins.

I didn't see the trick they played on the W&H guys coming at all, though I'm glad they finally know that W&H has been spying on them all this time. That was really clever. I'm wondering where the baby was hidden during all of that -- in the janitor's closet, where there wasn't any surveillance?

It was pretty freaky that W&H has so many files on Angel and everything about him. I can't help but think that's not the last time we'll see that information used.

And aw, now the baby has a name. I'm thinking "Connor" must be an important name to Angel for some reason.

And what is Holtz doing, trying to train a Slayer?


BtVS 10: Wrecked
[Buffy's tryst with Spike leaves the Slayer shaken. Willow nearly gets Dawn killed after going to see a warlock for a dose of magic, and thus decides to go told turkey on the magic.]

So it seems that Willow has finally hit bottom. I thought the magic-as-heroin metaphor was a little over the top, but in a sense, Willow needed to see it that way before she realized just how deep in she was. But the whole drunk-driving thing was a bit movie-of-the-weekish for my taste, I have to say.

It was interesting to see Buffy struggling with what happened between her and Spike. She seems to be really uneven at the moment. I'm standing behind what I said in the last episode that she feels torn between her duty as the Slayer and her feelings for Spike, and thinks that she has to choose one or the other. But it's also interesting that she seems to see her own battle against what she feels for Spike as the same sort of addiction Willow is struggling with. Her moods swing so much where he is concerned that I'm wondering if there really is something wrong with her, like she's got some sort of force in her that she can't control. Of course, she's got a lot going on, and her self-identity is bound up in this, so I suppose I can't fault her too much.

I would feel sorry for Spike in all of this, but somehow I don't. He seems to accept the crumbs she tosses him, and when she pushes him away again, it's not clear that it really hurts him. Maybe it does, and he's just hiding it very well, but it almost seems like he sees her differently now. Either that, or he thinks it's inevitable that she'll come around to his way of seeing things, and he's willing to wait for it. I know he loves her, but it's pretty twisted. It's almost like he hates himself for loving her, more than he hates her not loving him back. So he takes her shit, because he doesn't think he really deserves her love anyway. Something like that.

Spike is right, though -- Buffy needs him. She needs him more than she knows. And she thinks she's got some sort of dangerous addiction to him, but I worry that there's more danger in pushing him away.

I like how the boundaries are being pushed in the dialogue and the editing this seaaon, like Spike saying, "I knew the only thing better than killing a Slayer would be f-[ucking one]", and all of the just barely concealed nude shots. That's pretty clever, the sort of stuff that utterly violates the spirit of the rules, if not the letter. Very South Park.


A:tS 11: Birthday
[A powerful vision knocks Cordy out of her body, leaving her physical self in a vegetative state, but a guide on the astral plane offers her a new lease on life. Unfortunately, it's a life without her friends, who are busy trying to figure out how to get her back. Angel sets out to speak to the Powers That Be, who can presumably revive Cordy and mend her vision-ravaged brain.]

I am now officially in love with Cordelia. I mean, I've liked her a lot for quite a while, but after this episode, I'm head over heels. I wanted to see what Angel got her for her birthday that fit into such a small box, you know? Small boxes are good.

When she was separated from her body, I thought it was just part of another thing that would help them solve a crime. When it looked like she was really, seriously in danger, I got worried. But at the same time, I was struck by how much she was concerned that the gang go to that address from her vision and help the person. I kept hoping the others would say something nice to her while she was out of her body and listening, but the more they didn't, the more I was actually relieved -- because that told me she wasn't going to die.

It was interesting to see her briefly possess Angel, I have to say. Hoo boy, I can imagine some naughty fics there, which would totally violate the spirit of this episode. But that's what fanfic is for, right?

And Skip was back, yay! I like Skip. Him talking about The Matrix was funny. It was an interesting revelation to learn that TPTB didn't give Cordy the visions, and that Doyle shouldn't have done it at all because humans aren't capable of handling the stress. Even more interesting was the fact that she'd been living with them for two years, longer than should have been possible.

Seeing her living in an alternate universe where she was a big star was interesting, and I honestly would've liked to see a little more of it. But what really struck me about it was thinking back to The Wish, when she also got a chance to see what the world would be like if one thing had happened differently. In both cases, the world was a much worse place and people Cordy cares about were the worse for it, but her response to it this time was completely different. Even with no memory of who she was in the other life, she still went to help the girl in danger. And that transition from bratty schoolgirl to genuine hero has been so natural and gradual that it's nearly stunning.

The implication that even Angel couldn't handle the visions as well as she had, despite not being human himself made me stop and think. It not only says something about how strong Cordy is, but it also says something about what Angel's weakness is. He's carrying enough regret and guilt for an eternity of suffering, and he can't handle a heck of a lot more than what he's got.

And when Cordelia kissed Angel and took the visions back, I was pretty much crying, because that's her destiny and she was going to meet it no matter what -- and the world is a better place for it. So she chose to make it right again, even though that meant becoming part-demon, and she accepted it without even knowing what that would mean. And wow, that's huge for Cordelia. Considering where she started and how afraid Doyle was for her to find out about him, and now she's part demon too. I'm looking forward to learning more about the implications of that.

One more thing about Skip: it was very cool when he said it had been his honor to be her guide. I took that to mean it had been some sort of test, and one she passed with flying colors. And uh... how did Doyle pass the visions to Angel in the AU, anyway? I mean, the way we've seen so far has involved kissing. I'm just sayin'. ;-)


BtVS 11: Gone
[A social services worker threatens to take guardianship of Dawn. Meanwhile, the Geek Trio accidentally turn Buffy invisible with a ray gun.]

I have to admit that I'm not sure what to make of this episode. Buffy really seems to be struggling here to decide what she wants, and I get that. But why would being invisible take the pressure off? It was almost like she had turned into Willow for a little while and was just fucking with people, doing all sorts of things for selfish reasons, with no fear of consequences coming back to her. Okay, so maybe that does make sense, now that I think about it. If she's invisible, she can't really be the Slayer any more, and so all of the obligations she's been struggling with become basically moot. She could just be herself, something she really can't do in view of friends and family.

And now I know what the diamond was for and how it fit into the Trio's plan for Sunnydale domination. And even better, the scoobies now are on alert that the Trio are potential threats -- though I'm not sure they take them so seriously yet. It was funny that none of them knew who Andrew was until he said that his brother was the one who'd released the hellhounds at the prom.

I adored the Buffy/Spike interaction in this episode. Him fondling her in the kitchen at the beginning was a surprise, because hello -- they weren't showing anything but oh the implication! And then a few minutes later when he fished the lighter out of her pocket, she clearly thought he was going to touch her again. It's just interesting to me that she's so very attracted to him that she basically can't resist him when he's that close. In retrospect, I guess I can see why she's been thinking about her relationship with him as an addiction she has to fight.

It was funny that one of the first things she decided to do when made invisible was go pay him a visit, and pretty much jump him. I liked the implication that he realized it was her when she went down on him. And oh man, the scene when Xander walked in on them! Talk about violating the spirit if not the letter of the rules again. It's funny how much you can get away with by just implying naughty things. And there was a nice little glimpse of JM's package under the sheet when he turned around. Heh.

Invisible Buffy toying with him with Xander standing in the room was quite an interesting statement, because it's almost OOC for her. But there agin, I think the message is that being the Slayer and being responsible for Dawn is really too much for her to deal with right now, and what she'd rather be doing is having fun and not worrying about the fate of the world and everything else. Given the chance, she'd be just as irresponsible and playful as anyone would. And so in the end, I don't think it was OOC at all.

I'm having a hard time believing that Xander had no idea of what was going on there, because he isn't stupid. And it was interesting to me too that Spike told Buffy to go. He seems not to be too worried now about how things will work out between them, and at the same time he doesn't want to settle for anything less than a real relationship with her. That seemed to surprise her, but it was a cool moment. After the last few episodes, I figured they were probably going to continue with the casual hookups, but I'm starting to doubt he would accept that. And after this episode, she can hardly turn around a pull an act like she did in the abandoned house. Well, I suppose she could, but it wouldn't make much sense.

One thing I've noticed about the show recently (though this has been true all along, I think) is that the gratuitous nudity is always of male characters. We've seen an awful lot of every male on the show (a hell of a lot of JM -- does he have any body fat at all?) in situations where they were clearly being depicted as sex objects. But IIRC we haven't seen any of the female characters that naked. It's striking because it's such a reversal of what you typically see on TV and film.

The bit with the case worker threatening to take Dawn away was a little scary, and I have a feeling that isn't over. Buffy is really going to have to pull it together soon.



A:tS 12: Provider
[Unprepared for the flood of business brought in by advertising, the Angel Investigations crew splits up to cover more ground---and ends up being spread too thin for its own good. Also, Fred is offered big bucks to solve a demonic puzzle; Angel goes to work for a high-paying businessman; and Gunn and Wesley protect a woman whose zombie ex-boyfriend is stalking her.]

The Angel/Cordy vibes are ratcheting up here. The two of them being parents to Connor is so sweet. There was a scene in the beginning filmed as if they're both looking down into the crib at him, Angel looking over her shoulder, and it was just unbearably sweet.

It was funny to see Angel suddenly so interested in making money in this episode, while Cordelia was the one who kept reminding everyone about their mission to help people. That's quite a reversal from season 1, and it's pretty amazing that it seems so utterly natural. Great writing, there.

We keep getting these little glimpses of what Holtz is doing, but not enough to really move his story arc forward. I'm guessing he's going to prove to be the big enemy for the rest of the season.

So Fred's head was almost pastede on yay. That was actually kind of funny. When the demons produced the suitcase full of money early on, I wrote in my notes, "Did they just sell Fred's brain for $50,000?" And aw, Wesley and Gunn are both interested in Fred. That seems like it might be messy. But yay for Fred!

I was shocked that Cordelia took the baby into a battle, but I guess she didn't have much choice. She also didn't know exactly what she was getting into, I guess. It all worked out, but her standing there holding the baby really brought hom how dangerous the lives they lead can be. Is that really the best way to raise that child? I'm worrying about that, actually.

I loved the scene at the end when Angel was trying to be noble and kept getting distracted by the large pile of cash on the floor. It was good when Cordy pointed out that they really had earned it, since Fred was almost beheaded. So how far does $50,000 go towards rent and all of their salaries? Not so far, I'd imagine.

I didn't like Angel as a mercenary, so I was glad that only lasted for one episode. Of course, he did the right thing in the end, as he always... usually... does. And I love that he still can't work his cell phone!

But seriously, the scene at the end with Angel and Cordy and baby Connor all in bed and drifting off to sleep while planning his future? Massive "awws".


BtVS 12: Doublemeat Palace
[Buffy takes a job at a burger joint, and suspects that something demonic might be going on. Anya gets a visit from an old demon friend who questions her relationship with Xander.]

That was perhaps the single most depressing episode of this show ever. I mean, it was funny and interesting, but watching Buffy realize this is what her life will be like was pretty awful. I worked fast food in high school for one summer, and after that I swore I'd never do it again. After watching this episode, I kinda never want to eat fast food again either.

It was funny that you were supposed to think they were grinding up the employees and putting them into the burgers. It was so over the top that I figured early on it couldn't be that. I really lol'd at Buffy's Soylent Green moment and Xander eating the burger and thinking he'd eaten human flesh, because at that point it just had to be something completely unexpected. And I have to say I didn't expect the little old lady to be a demon, so that was a surprise. It was cool that Willow was the one to rescue Buffy, and also that she didn't use magic, even under pressure. So she can do it, even though Amy is no help.

I'm getting worried about Xander and Anya. They're both having doubts about this marriage thing, and sadly, they're probably right about it. I love their relationship, but they probably ought to back off on the long-term commitment for a while, I'm thinking. The scene with Anya and the other vengeance demon was pretty funny though, especially the giggling over the ring. And the conversation between the two of them was hilarious, because they both talk the same way!

I wanted to hug Spike for trying to talk Buffy out of working at the Doublemeat Palace, because he's right about what it will do to her. And besides, she's probably not patrolling much working that job. But I'm really glad she turned down his offer to help with money, because the last thing she needs is to feel beholden to him. And geez, she didn't look too happy about the wall action in the alley out back. Not that we haven't all worn that face during sex before. I mean let's face it, sometimes you have sex when you aren't really in the mood, hoping it will make you feel better, but because you're not in the mood, it doesn't really work out like you hoped. And before I get more TMI, I'll leave it at that.

It was an interesting choice in the end that she asked for her job back. And it was so realistic that it was depressing. The ending stuck with me, with the manager telling her she wanted Buffy to want to be there for years, and Buffy realizing she really didn't have any other options. Just, ouch. Giles got paid to be a Watcher, so why can't the Council pay Buffy to be a Slayer? It's a lot more important than flipping burgers, I think.


A:tS 13: Waiting in the Wings
[Angel takes the gang out to the ballet, but becomes suspicious when the ballerina is one he saw a century ago. When Angel and Cordelia sneak backstage, they find themselves consumed with passion.]

And just when I thought Angel might finally tell Cordy how he felt about her, it all comes crashing down. I should have known better, but it still got me.

The idea to base an episode around the story of Giselle was really fantastic. It's been a while since I've seen it, but its Wiki entry gives a good synopsis. I had forgotten about the vampire connection, actually. What I'd remembered about it was the theme of the leading man being forced to dance over and over until Giselle freed him. So it was interesting, of course, to see the story intertwined with this one.

I loved that even as Angelus, he liked ballet. "I saw this company's production of Giselle in 1890, and I cried like a baby. And I was evil!" That was pretty funny, as was Gunn's resistance and then utter infatuation once the performance started. They all looked so nice dressed up, especially Cordelia. Humina! It was funny that she fell asleep during the ballet though, and wasn't really enjoying it at all. I guess you can take the girl out of Sunnydale, but... yeah.

It was AWESOME to watch Angel and Cordy acting out that scene in the dressing room, I have to say. I have been waiting for a bone to be tossed my way. I figured at that point that it was a Something Blue sort of thing, and that it wasn't going to mean much after the fact, but I still backed that up a few times.

Cordy: "Get the door."
Angel: "It's kinda hard."
Cordy: "I kinda noticed."

And then he had to take his coat off so he could hide his erection with it! :-D And then they went back, which was even more fun, especially the part where he was on top of her and clearly pressed himself against her and she moaned a little bit... Okay, I need to go look for smutty fic now.

Another funny line of Angel's, when Lorne read him at the beginning and told him he knew how he felt about Cordelia: "There will be no coming together." I love double entendre like that, especially coming from him. There's something almost innocent about Angel (even though I know he really isn't). It's hard to explain, but he usually seems so repressed that it's amazing when we get those little hints of sexuality. The sex scene in season 2 with Darla was so amazing in that way, and it's all the more erotic for being something so rare.

Ah, but the end -- I'm happy for Fred and Gunn, but poor Wesley. And then just as Angel was going to tell Cordelia how he felt, Groosalugg shows up? Gah, rip my heart out all over again, Joss. You know I love it. :-P



BtVS 13: Dead Things
[Buffy finds out that she didn't really come back wrong. Warren kills Katrina and frames the Slayer for it. Buffy violently takes out her emotions on Spike.]

This started in a weirdly kinky and ominous way, with Buffy and Spike having pretty rough sex (and then she hides under the rug like she doesn't want him to see her naked, LOL). The implication that she's into much rougher stuff than has been seen before was kind of wild, with Spike commenting on his bite marks, and then holding up the handcuffs. And OMG, him fucking her against the railing at the Bronze while they're watching her friends below, and then taunting her about how dark she's become???

Do you know what the HP fandom would give for canon like that? Holy fucking hell.

But it means more than that, you know? The really interesting thing here was the revelation that Buffy has only been letting herself have this weird relationship with Spike because she thinks there's something wrong with her, that a nice girl wouldn't like the things Spike's been getting her to do. Or that she's been getting him to do -- it isn't clear which way it goes, IMO. I can only guess what they've been doing, but the implication is just that it's pretty BDSMy. Is she really that sheltered that she's freaked out about that? Of course, it's mostly because it's Spike, and poor Buffy isn't sexually experienced enough to understand that regular people like sex in all different flavors. And in her defense, I suppose I should point out that most regular people don't figure that out until they're much older than she is now. Vanilla sex alone seems pretty kinky when you're in your late teens and early 20s. It really isn't until you're a little bit older that you start to understand the excitement of pushing the envelope. *coughs*

Okay, aside: I remember being about 18 or 19 and hearing my younger sister talking about a girl she knew who'd taken her boyfriend off into a bedroom at a party with a bottle of chocolate syrup. My sister and her friends were all "Eww, gross!" but I remember thinking it sounded like fun -- and wondering if that made me a freak. And geez, that's nothing, you know?

Anyway, we also got a glimpse here of what Warren is capable of. The fact that he killed his ex after trying to rape her, and then tried to frame Buffy for it, was really an eye-opener. Suddenly the geek trio's exploits don't seem so harmless. And it was interesting that the only one of the three who really seemed unhappy with that was Jonathan. I'm going to cling to the hope that the kindness Buffy has shown Jonathan through the years is going to make a difference here, and that he'll turn against Warren at some point. If he doesn't, it wouldn't make sense, because it would mean that Buffy's faith in humanity is all for naught.

Buffy had me in tears at the end when she was sobbing to Tara about her confusion over her feelings for Spike. She'd really been counting on the fact that it was because she'd come back wrong, but it isn't really that. On some level, this is who she really is, and she has to know she's in love with Spike. I can completely understand why that would freak her out, and I don't know where she's going to go from here.

And what about Spike? Where does he go from here? I mean, she beat the shit out of him and told him she didn't think he could ever really love her because he didn't have a soul, and she basically told him that was what would keep her from seeing him as someone who was truly capable of love, and so without that assurance, she would never love him back.

So... now I'm wondering how far Spike might be willing to go to win Buffy's love. I mean, he knows it's possible to be cursed with a soul. He probably also knows Willow can do it. If not Willow, there are others who can. Does he love her that much that he'd change who he is for her?

In case it isn't obvious, those are rhetorical questions. If I'm right or if I'm wrong, please don't tell me!