PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS A SPOILER-RICH ZONE

PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS A SPOILER-RICH ZONE. If your diet requires you to dine on Buffy Spoiler-free ... good luck with that.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Synchronized Swimming - Complete Mystery to Me.

Episode 7.1: Lessons. Original Airdate 9.24.02

"Sunnydale High is reopened, with a new designed campus and a new principal, Robin Wood. It is Dawn's first day at school there and Buffy accompanies her to class, only to discover evil spirits lurking in the basement."

Daniel's Thoughts:

  • Oh man, Season 7 is starting
  • Winter is coming? No, wrong show.
  • What? We’re in Istanbul?
  • Uh oh! Girl running! She’s gonna kick ass, right? That’s where we’re headed? Cause this is Buffy the Vampire Slayer!
  • The Istanbul set is kinda cool. They kinda went all out. Or went to a random movie set.
  • Oops, She’s dead.
  • I love that Buffy followed through on her promise to teach Dawn how to fight. She never actually taught any of the others. Xander still can't throw a punch.
  • When Buffy picks the vamp up, his jackets corners are stretched like….he’s on a contraption.
  • I love how Buffy is using this vamp as a teaching tool and she really has no fear that he’ll hurt either of them. If Dawn messed up, she’d be there to save her. (And she was.)
  • Sunnydale High is back! Where has everyone been going the last few years? Bussing to the nearest other HS, I guess? [When the high school in my hometown collapsed - true story - at first they went on night shift at the middle school, then they bussed to the next town over to share their schools. It took a few years, but they have a new high school now. I wonder if it's evil. - Z]
  • England! Giles is on a horse!
  • Willow seems better. She has red hair again, so you know, that's a sign. [Sideblog where we analyze Lily's hair color as gauge of evil on How I Met Your Mother - Z]
  • And I like this so much. It’s a continuation from last season where Willow realizes that she doesn’t have to quit magic altogether; that there’s good and bad magic.
  • See, this is going to be a good season where all our characters grow and thrive, right? RIGHT?
  • “I killed people, Giles” Well, only one…
  • Dumbledore shout-out!
  • Hey, Xander looks all grown up.
  • Wow, according the blueprints, the principal’s office is as large as the library was. Pretty big office.
  • Marcy shout out!
  • Hey Robin Wood!
  • Man, he mistook Buffy for Dawn’s mom. Even if he was joking/lying, that’s so mean.
  • Class Protector shout out.
  • Zombie ghosts!
  • Sharing way too much, Dawn. This is not how we introduce ourselves in class.
  • Wow, way to embarrass your lil sis on her first day.
  • Lol, Anya & Hallie having coffee; Halfrek in her human form, which is rare.
  • Man, Anya’s shirt is horrible. Her hair is back to being a brunette now!
That shirt, tho.

  • “Is this an intervention? Shouldn’t all my demon friends be here?” “Sweetie, they are.” OMG, Hallie is such a bitch.
  • Dawn’s making a friend!
  • I remember the first time seeing this thinking how scary the zombie ghosts were…but they’re actually kinda lame.
  • The hellmouth’s opening again! Omg!
  • Buffy is acting all wiggy about Principal Wood questioning her past – but I feel like she should be questioning him. She needs to find out what he knows.
  • "Are you dead?” “Stop saying that.” They…only said it once.
  • DB Woodside is funny. He’s got good timing and delivery.
  • “I’m the one who dates dead guys”
  • I love how Buffy has zero fucks for the dead people’s sob stories.
  • Ugh, Spike. And he’s got like weird hair. And he’s crazy…soo… ok. Can we move on?
  • What kind of dead zombie ghost uses a metal pipe?
  • Ugh, I really don’t have time for Spike’s crazy crazy.
  • He tried to cut out his heart? What? Ugh. I just-
  • Zombie Ghost: “Why do you think we picked you? The ones no one will miss.” Uh…the sister of the slayer? Really?  That's completely contradictory because it seemed like they picked Dawn because Buffy wasn't there to save them.
  • So who made the talisman?
  • Dawn has new friends! And Buffy tells them to stick together! I’m sure we’ll see them again! [Right... - Jessie]
  • Aww, Principal Wood quoted Alice (in Wonderland) "Curiouser and Curiouser."  
  • What? Warren? What? Glory? WOW! And now Adam! What is going on? It’s the big bads from each season! The Mayor!!! DRUSILLA, it just keeps getting better.
  • SHENANIGANS, DRUSILLA AS THE FIRST TOUCHED SPIKE.
  • THE MASTER! All of the big bads! This is so chilling. This means it’s going to be a good season, right? RIGHT?
  • OMG, NOW IT’S BUFFY. EVIL BUFFY? WHAT’S GOING ON? (I know, and it’s not that good.)
  • I mean. I really had such high hopes for this season given the first few episodes. It’s such a great set-up. It has the continuity from the last season. It feels like all our Scoobies are growing and changing for the better.
  • Oh well.

Zelda's Thoughts:

  • Home stretch, you guys! We're in the final season.
  • We need to seriously start thinking about what show to do next.
  • Oh right. "Istanbul." I forgot about these Potential chase cold opens.
  • "It's about power. Who's got it. Who knows how to use it." Willow told us this in the finale, and it's the question of the season, and one Buffy won't figure out the answer to until the finale, when she chooses to share the power.
  • Man, Dawn really is like a foot taller than Buffy.
  • I do like the sentiment they started this season with, this return to the old familiar, an acknowledgement of where they started. We start (well, after Istanbul) in a graveyard, with a vampire, a girl, and a stake.
  • IT'S  GILES. AND HES ON A HORSE.
  • I love that they shot this at Tony Head's home. That's just. So cute. And British.
  • And here we have a much more zen Willow, using earth-sourced magic, hair not going black. There's a somberness to her. She knows what the dark power is, and she's still carrying the grief of Tara's death, too. And the weight of having killed Warren (even if the comics take that back in a way that throws a shenanigan at the final sequence of this episode but whatever).
  • "This isn't a hobby or an addiction. It's inside you now, this magic. You're responsible for it."
  • Giles's line, "In the end, we all are who we are, no matter how much we may appear to have changed," over Xander, dapper in a suit and shiny car, looking like a functional adult.
  • I do love that his construction job is actually plot relevant here, with his providing the blueprints of Sunnydale High to Buffy.
  • The principal's office is freaking huge, you guys. It's the same size as the old library, per the blueprints? Wtf.

  • The number of shoutouts to early seasons of this show is warming my cynical heart.
  • Wow, Wood, way to neg Buffy. You came to Sunnydale knowing who she is, expressly to find her, and you pretend to think she's Dawn's mom. I love Wood (and I LOVE DB WOODSIDE) but that was kind of a dick move, when we find out later how much he already knew.
  • Yeah, Buffy strolling around the halls? That wouldn't be permitted even at my small town high school. She'd get caught and hauled out of there so fast. [No one ever checked hall passes in my HS - D]
  • omg tho the ghost guy screaming "Get out get out get out!" at Buffy, especially in a Dawn-heavy episode, has me cracking up.
  • Buffy, stop ruining Dawn's first day of school.
  • Okay but how did Buffy know which room Dawn was in for her class so she could run in screaming and ruin everything?
  • I consider the "Mrs. Czolgosz" throwaway line of Halfrek's a nod to the musical theater nerds, as the only ones besides super history buffs likely to recognize that name. Especially considering she pronounces it like they do in the musical and not how it (apparently) is really pronounced. File that distinction under Things I Know Because of My Dad's Book. (I think it's something like Tsolgots, vs Cholgosh)
  • I get so excited every time Principal Wood shows up. DB Woodside's just such a good actor and so charismatic.
  • Spinning creepy camera work as Buffy talks to Wood. IS HE EVIL. WHAT DOES HE KNOW. CAN WE TRUST HIM.
  • Oops the bathroom floor broke. Xander! Cleanup on aisle three!
  • "I saw the earth, Giles. I saw its teeth." The hellmouth stuff, even though it's scary, is still a nostalgic callback in a way.
  • I remember after this episode aired, the message boards were worried that Kit and Carlos would become the new Willow and Xander, and how much distaste there was for a new cast of children. I even saw a recap that had Kit and Carlos recycling the bitca dialogue. It was kind of cute.
  • At least the show finally acknowledged technology by giving our Scoobies working cell phones.
  • omg Wood reacting to Buffy's fib about her dead dogs. I'm dying.

Thanks to our buddy Lucas for making these two gifs!

  • Buffy: *opens door* *sees giant gaping hole in the floor* *jumps through hole* ... Buffy is not like the rest of us.
  • "Again, wrong sister. I'm the one that dates dead guys." BAHAHAHAHA
  • "Hello, not making myself clear. I don't care how you died."
  • So um ... do we ever find out who placed that talisman that summoned these three random deados? Since they're protecting the door hiding Spike, maybe they're somehow agents of The First, in which case, the Bringers probably placed it. Okay, headcanon accepted.
  • JM is really good at playing scattered wits Spike. His laugh when she asks if he's real. That's the question he's been asking of everyone who's been talking to him for months.
  • I can see the logic of The First going after Spike now he's got his soul. It went after Angel in the same way, after his soul was reinstated by Willow. They see the souled vampire as a way to weaken or even take out Buffy. And Spike, not being used to his soul, was in a much more vulnerable spot than Angel was. And Angel nearly went mad, too. He had Buffy to pull him back. 
  • Cell phones to the rescue! Get Xander to destroy the talisman.
  • Meanwhile Dawn is being awesome and proactive and problem-solve-y and I don't hate her this episode!
  • I'm impressed with the stitching of Kit's bag. I feel like mine would definitely come apart at the seams after the way Buffy swings it, full of bricks.
  • Oh look, Buffy's lying about finding Spike. That will end well.
  • "You really weren't kidding about this place. I guess it hasn't changed." // "I dunno. Seems smaller."
  • "Curiouser and curiouser." Okay can we get an AU where Robin Wood goes to Wonderland and just pwns everyone?
  • BUFFY FINALLY HAS A (less shitty) JOB, YOU GUYS. I'M SO PROUD OF OUR LITTLE SLAYER.
  • mmmmph I love this final scene. I remember going through this whole gamut of emotions the first time. Warren shows up and I'm like WTF YOU'RE DEAD. And then he's Glory and then it keeps going through all the Big Bads (well, the dead ones. and the ones who aren't Angelus). And sure, Adam's hair and makeup is all wrong but LOOK IT'S THE MAYOR I LOVE HIM. It's just so epic. But yeah I think we figured out, my sister and I and probably the message boards, that this had to be The First, what with the morphing among dead characters. And at the time, IT WAS SO EXCITING, you guys. We had such high hopes for this season. The Big Bad, revealed in the premiere, is the source of all evil, it can look like people we know, INCLUDING OUR HEROINE, and we have all these throwbacks to earlier seasons, and there's a high school on the hellmouth again, and we knew this was the final season, and it was just so exciting! We were going out with a bang. We didn't know how disappointingly repetitive and impotent The First would be, how the writers would have to keep creating new henchpeople to give it agency (ubervamp, Caleb, etc).
  • I apologize for the turn of phrase, but Season Seven suffers from an incredible failure to meet its potential.


Favorite Lines:
Daniel: Halfrek: Waitress downtown wished her husband was a frog? You made him French.  Anya: well, he's smelly and with a little mustache...
Zelda: "Humnu?" - Buffy
Netflix and Zelda disagree about the spelling of Buffy's gibberish.

Arc/Continuity Stuff:

  • First appearance: Potentials, Robin Wood.
  • Recurring: Bringers, Sunnydale High on ye olde hellmouth, Giles (because he doesn't love us enough to stay the whole season), Halfrek, The First
  • Shoutout to Buffy's first slay in that puffy orange coat
  • Shoutout to the last two Sunnydale High principals' getting all eaten up
  • Shoutouts to hyena people and invisible people.


Stats:

Anya's Hair - brown, sideswept bangs, sloppy bun
Dead Humans - 1
Dead Undeads - 4
Dead Potential - 1 (this is a substat of Dead Humans)
Dead Flashbacks - 0
Giles Unconscious - 0
Giles Cleans His Glasses - 0
Buffy Breaks a Door - 0
Evil Reveal - 0
Unevil Reveal - 0
Shenanigans Called - 1
Apocalypse Called - 1 (it's a season-long call, but Willow said it first)

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