Friday, January 18, 2008

Buffy Wednesday (January 16th)

Oh yeah, and "Buffy." Our intention was to watch one each of "Buf-gel," and call it a night. Our plans weren't even best-laid, but they still went astray.

First up was "Crush," by David Fury.

The gang is at the Bronze, and everybody's having a good time except Buffy. I suppose she's the only one without a significant other right now, but guess who happens by? Your friend and mine, Spike. He tries to buddy up to Buffy, but she swats him away like the buzzing mosquito she sees him as. But what to her wandering eyes should appear, but Intern Ben in the Bronze just having a beer. Buffy goes up to him and chat for a while, and Ben gives her his phone number without any guile. "Maybe we could get coffee," he says, "Me and you. Just to talk. I'm a fan of coffee and I'll bet so are you."

A train pulls up to Sunnydale Station and everyone on it has been slaughtered (exactly like I was slaughtering poetry just now). Nobody knows who did it, except that it probably wasn't Glory. Well, it turns out the murders were committed by Drusilla, who's back in town. Oops, was that a spoiler? Did I ruin the surprise, the way they did by sticking "And Juliet Landau as Drusilla" in the opening credit? Sorry.

Spike is still sleeping with Harmony, it seems, but what really gives him a thrill is a little role playing. He has her dress up like the Slayer and . . . well, you know.

I don't know when it happened*, but somehow Spike has eclipsed Xander to become the character I most relate to on the show.

Dawn is still feeling odd about being a Martian, so she goes to hang out with the one soul who treats her like a normal person: Spike. Did I say soul? In his crypt, he tells her about slaughtering children back in the good old days, and asks her about her sister.

Buffy is not at all happy about this turn of events. She discovers, to her dismay, that Dawn has something of a crush on Spike. But it gets worse when Dawn reveals Spike has a thing for Buffy.

This icks Buffy out the way imagining the Smashing Pumpkins making a comeback icks me out. And worse, when she gets home, she finds Spike there, chatting it up with Joyce and Dawn, making cookies or something.

Spike tells Buffy he's there to help her find the vampires who killed the train passengers, and they go to a warehouse where a couple of vampire dopeheads have made their home. They run when they see her, and Buffy quickly deduces that these are not the guys. She asks Spike what's up, and he tells her he wanted to help her because . . . well, he loves her.

Buffy does her best impression of that urban legend girl with cockroach eggs inside her bouffant, and heads for the hills.
Spike skulks back to his skulking place and finds Drusilla (speaking of roaches) waiting for him there. She wants him back, by her side, in Los Angeles. He tells her about the chip in his head and she thinks he can be the old Spike even with the chip

Harmony comes home from her Jazzercise classes or whatever and thinks Spike is trying to initiate a three-way (again). When she realises it's Drusilla, she's mad at her for breaking Spike's heart, but doesn't stay mad for long as he promptly throws her out and declares the old Spike is back.

Buffy tells Xander and then her mother about Spike's feelings, and Joyce tells Buffy to make it clear she could never feel that way for him. I wouldn't think it was possible to make it any clearer, but Rish reminded tyranist that Buffy has had ample opportunity to kill him and keeps staying her hand. Plus, Buffy reminds us that Spike considers her beating him up as practically getting to third base.

Spike and Drusilla go to the Bronze and spy a couple making out up in the rafters. Drusilla kills them both and each get one to drink from. Yum.

Meanwhile, Buffy has gone to Spike's crypt looking for him, and finds the sub-basement, where he keeps a bunch of pictures of her and the mannequin he's dressed in her clothes. Drusilla and Spike discover her there, and Drusilla zaps Buffy a couple of times with a cattleprod, knocking her out. Spike does not join in, but uses the cattleprod on Drusilla instead.

When Buffy comes to, she is tied up on one side of the room, with Drusilla tied up on the other. Spike tells Buffy how important Drusilla is to him, and how she taught him everything he holds dear, rescuing him from the mortal mediocrity of his past. But, he tells her, his love for Buffy is so strong that he will kill Drusilla to prove it to her. All Buffy has to say is that she feels something for him too.

Buffy won't, and he threatens to free Drusilla and let her kill Buffy if she won't admit the attraction.

Buffy demeans him, insults him, and when he tells her not to mock him, she tells him to go mock himself.

Spike flies into a rage, one that is interrupted by Harmony's return. She shoots Spike with a crossbow and he fights with her. Drusilla pulls free of her bonds and crosses to kill the still-chained Buffy. Spike pulls Drusilla away and unchains Buffy while the vampire women berate him. Harmony and Drusilla both abandon him and Buffy? Well, Buffy punches him in the face.

Spike tries to make up with Buffy, following her home and explaining his actions. She ignores him. He tells her he knows there's something special between them and she can't shut him out, but when she goes into her house, he can no longer follow--she's revoked the invitation he's been exploiting for so long. The end.

A nice, fun episode and I sure gotta admire Spike's tenacity. I myself would've thrown myself on a broken chairleg long ago, maybe the moment I met Harmony. But that's just me.

I was weak, and allowed tyranist to skip "Angel" so we could watch "I Was Made To Love You," written by Jane Espenson. It was ultimately the funniest episode of the season (and perhaps ever), though there were times when I was laughing and I didn't know why.

So, Buffy is training on a punching bag, expressing to Giles how infuriated she is at Spike and how revolted she is by his actions. She's angry at herself too, thinking she might've done something to lead him on. She's really letting the bag have it, and then it's revealed that the bag is actually Xander in a sumo outfit. Puffy Xander is pretty beat up from the "training," but tells Buffy that it's not her fault, and that she's great enough that the right guy is bound to come along soon.

Back at the Summers house, Joyce has been asked out by a guy she met at the (still-unseen) gallery, and is showing off the new dress she got for the date. Dawn gets a funny line in (at the end of the show literally everybody will have gotten at least one good joke in, even Tara and Giles) and both sisters are happy to see their mother excited about something.

Oh, a dubiously hot chick in a pink dress arrives in Sunnydale and wanders around asking strangers if they've seen Warren.
Anya and Tara seem to be becoming friends, and in the park, the pink dress chick robots up to them and asks if they know where Warren is. They don't, but pink dress chick goes off, merrily asking everyone she meets.

There's a party on campus that night and they go to it. I just realized that it's there that Buffy runs into Ben and chats him up and he gives her his number. Sorry about that, when you get to be my age, forgetfulness becomes your most faithful companion.

Second most faithful? Super-absorbent adult diapers.

Pink dress chick robots up to the party, looking for Warren, and a guy there tells his date that they have to get out of there right now. Two guesses what his name is.

Now, it's when pink dress chick is observed by Tara, Anya, Willow, and Xander that I started to laugh like a stoner watching "Go Diego Go." I don't even know what it is, really, but watching this insanely hot girl robot over to people will this big Marie Osmond smile, asking about Warren was just about the funniest thing I've seen all year. And the gang's reaction . . . just awesome.

And it's not just me and my imbred heritage, tyranist laughed too, and his parents are only SECOND cousins.***

And guess who else came to the party? Spike ambles up to Buffy and tells her he's not going away. If anything, this just pushes her faster into Ben's direction.

Spike becomes jealous and decides to put the moves on pink dress chick. He whispers something in her ear that causes her to pick him up and throw him through the nearest window. She already has a boyfriend, you see, and his name is Warren. Lucky Warren.

It turns out that pink dress chick has a name: April. Buffy tries to talk to April, but all April cares about is, you guessed it, finding Warren. She throws Buffy across the room too and robots out the door.

Buffy goes home and relieves Giles of his babysitting duties. Joyce had a really good date and gets her joke in (about leaving her bra behind).

The gang talk about April, and decide, almost of one accord, that she must be a robot (Dawn remembers when her mother was going out with Ted, and that just blows my mind, but I hope I'll get my brain around it someday. Willow thinks she can check the school records and such for anyone named Warren.

There was a student in high school with them named Warren, and he went away to be a robot engineer at university or something. Maybe he built the robot. Xander explains why someone would want to have sex with a robot. Tara gets her joke in about April having "Genuine Molded Plastic" stamped on her right buttock. Giles jokes that he has many books on robots for Xander to rummage through, just to see the poor guy squirm.

I've got to think that all this frivolity was for a purpose, that it was intentionally keeping us laughing, keeping us cheerful so our guards would be down. But down for what?

Buffy decides to call Ben's number, and he answers the phone a moment after transforming back from Glory. He's still in her red dress as he makes his date with Buffy.

Warren is in town on spring break from college. He's got an impressively bitchy girlfriend named Katrina, and is telling her they've got to pack and get the hell out of Dodge.** She wants to know why, but he won't say.

Buffy arrives at his door, telling him they need to talk. Katrina stomps out, angry that Ben won't tell her what's going on. Warren remembers Buffy from high school, knowing that she's the Slayer and warns her that he has shocking information about April . . . something you'd never ever guess . . . wait for it . . . she has a dong. No, sorry, it's that she's a robot.

Back at the magic shop, Spike runs inside under a blanket and finds more hostility than Larry Flint at the Lilith Fair. They've all turned on him (due to his infatuation with Buffy or due to him chaining her up and almost letting Drusilla eat her?) and Giles growls at him, "We are not your friends," and "Clear out of here," that had me bummed out. Tyranist was thrilled with Giles's backbone, but even Dawn seems to hate Spike now (is there a comic book somewhere explaining this to me?) and he is sent packing.

Warren sits down and tells Buffy his life story (he knows she is the Slayer, having gone to school with her), and that he was lonely and he built April to a) love him, and b) fit really well into a pink dress. Amazingly, but realistically, he grew bored with her, and after he met Katrina, who was unpredictable and unfriendly, he fell in love with her instead. He didn't tell April because she wouldn't understand. Eventually, he just left school without telling her, figuring on her batteries running down before she caught up with him.

April finds Katrina and robots up to her, asking if she knows Warren. When Katrina tells her Warren's her boyfriend, April starts to crush her.

Buffy and Warren arrive to stop her. Warren tells April he doesn't love her, but she can't really process this. Warren points at Buffy and tells he she's his new girlfriend. April attacks her and they fight. Katrina comes to and runs off. Buffy damages April and Warren follows after Katrina, trying to explain.

April's batteries begin to give out and they stop fighting. Buffy sits down with her and talks to her.

April was programmed to be the perfect girlfriend ("Crying is blackmail") but Warren didn't love her back. Buffy tries to comfort the robot, and she/it gets a semblance of peace before dying altogether.

Buffy thinks about April's obsessive need to have a boyfriend and it causes her to call Ben back and cancel. She gets his machine and leaves a message, which Glory is listening to, displeasure on her pretty-constantly displeased face.

The last scene is of Warren back home, trying to explain to Katrina on the phone. She won't listen, and when he turns around, he finds Spike standing there. He's taken his pictures of Buffy and boxed them up to give to Warren. He's got a special order for the robot maker to do for him. The end.

But wait, there's, oddly enough, another scene after that.

Buffy comes home and finds flowers from her mom's date. Apparently, things went very well indeed. She goes in to ask her mother about it, and finds her lying on the couch, stiff, her eyes open in a completely dead-looking expression. "Mommy?" she says, looking very small.

I don't even know how to talk about "I Was Made To Love You" in any light or cheerful way. The show was great, the April girl was hilarious and yet pitiable at the same time (oh yeah, and insanely hot), and a fine time was had by all. Until . . .

I suspect that this abrupt, unfrigginbelievably dark ending wasn't originally in this episode, but Joss decided my groin needed a little kicking and stuck it on there. I've often said that I'm jealous of the millions of you "Buffy" fans out there who got to see these episodes for seven years when they were new on the air, but I do not envy the poor bastards who had to wait seven days to find out what happened next.

Tyranist and I sure as sod weren't going to wait, so despite him having to get up at quarter past five the next morning to pay for yet another house, we stuck it out and watched on.

And you would've too.

Rish Outfie . . .

*Oh wait, I remember when it happened. It was the Spike origin episode, "Fool For Love," a little at the beginning, and a lot at the end.

**I'm not a cowboy and have little tolerance for people who are, yet I never get tired of saying, "Get the hell out of Dodge." I really wish they'd up my medication, but when I ask for meds, they lower the dosage. This place is like a madhouse.

***I asked tyranist if he had any explanation as to why we were cracking up during that scene the way we did and he said, "It was a combination of her unrelentingly cheery disposition, her odd way of speaking, and her perseverance that had me laughing." Somewhat robotic response also, if you ask me.

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