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, April 25, 2017

A Trigger, a Soul, and a Chip

Episode 7.17: Lies My Parents Told Me. Original Airdate 3.25.03


"Robin Wood seeks revenge on Spike for killing his mother nearly 30 years ago, whilst everyone else tries to find out how The First has control over him."


Daniel's Thoughts:

  • Exterior. Rainy LA to look like Rainy NYC.
  • Itty Bitty Principal Wood watching momma kick ass.
  • Interesting that Nikki Wood calls it “the mission”
  • Man, I forgot that this is the episode that the writers take a huge dump on Giles.
  • “Have you seen the new library?!”  I love you Giles.
  • Side note:  Wood has a small version of “The Thinker” in his office.
  • “Boring, Old and English,...just like you….Yul….Brenner…”
  • Hey, they put the chains back….
  • Oh, snide, sassy Giles. Spike:"With all the rubbish people keep sticking in my head, it's a wonder there's room for my brain." Giles: "I don't think it takes up that much space, do you?"  Heh. 
  • Oh, that wig, William.  OMG.
omg, that wig

  • I’m bored, where’s Anya? 
  • Oh there she is.  With a weird fucking hat
Is ... she going swimming?

  • Anya: "Don't waste your time on that road.  Spike's got some sort of "Get out of Jail free" card that doesn't apply to the rest of us."  AMEN.
  • Yay! Drusilla!  “Smells of daffodils and viscera…”
  • I love that they paint old Spike as such a pathetic momma’s boy – even after he’s turned, he still wants be with his mother.  And Dru’s reaction to Spike wanting to bring her along is hilarious.
  • Spike: The original Norman Bates
  • Why is Buffy being a total asshole to Giles?  So disrespectful.
  • The thing is, Wood is acting on revenge, sure – and it’s unhealthy, sure – but do any of us blame him?
  • “The way I’ve treated my friends and family and…Andrew?”  Small thing, but I’m glad she didn’t say ‘and Anya’.  See Anya is her friend.  That’s what I got out of that…
  • Oh man, that computer that Wood has.  A lot has changed in 14 years…
  • Wood takes off his shirt; we all swoon.
  • It feels like his mother’s death had more effect on his reaction to the world then being vamped did… a trigger, if you will.
  • I mean, it’s nice to see how being vamped and resouled is different for everyone.  Angel is a completely different person when he loses his soul.  Spike is pretty much the same when he gets his soul back.   There are more triggers on personality than just ‘absence of soul’.
  • Omg, I love Richard the vampire.  “My name’s Richard.”  Aww.
  • Eww.  It really is more like Norman Bates than I could have imagined.
  • Interesting that Spike’s mom gives a small smile as she turns to dust…as if it’s what she wanted all along.
  • “She was a slayer, I was a vampire.”  No, Spike, No.  “She knew what she was signing up for”.  SHE DIDN’T SIGN UP FOR IT, SPIKE.   “Not enough to quit.” SHE COULDN’T QUIT, YOU DICKHOLE. OMG, I HATE HIM SO MUCH.
  • I really can’t stand this episode.  Yet another episode that raises Spike up while putting everyone else down.  Everyone is wrong but him.
  • How did Buffy know where Spike was?
  • “He even so much looks at me funny again? I’ll kill him.”  A common threat by anyone but by Spike? This is the guy we want on our team?
  • But I guess that’s Buffy now, too.  “I’ll let him.”  Whatever.  So done with this episode.
  • And there it is.  Shitting all over Giles.  So glad he came back for that.
  • Done.

Zelda's Thoughts: 

  • an apt title, considering Giles betrays Buffy's trust in this episode FUCK YOU GILES
  • flashback time!
  • so did flashback Spike not know or not care that there was a tiny child watching his fight with the Slayer? given our knowledge of his obsession with killing Slayers, I'm gonna go with doesn't care
  • "you can play with those spooky doodads that you like" I assume she's referring to the shadow puppets in the leather bag?
  • While I don't approve of his coping mechanism, I do feel for Wood's confusion. He's confirmed, or as much as he can, that Spike is the one who killed his mother, but he sees that Spike is trusted by Buffy, is fighting on the side of good, but there he is, wearing his mother's coat. How to reconcile that?
  • I do enjoy the chip exchange, especially with DB Woodside being hilarious.
  • "So he has a trigger, a soul, and a chip?" "Because the military gave him a soul?"



  • Just like yo-ul Brynner
  • JM's accent has been getting shakier this season. I blame Tony Head abandoning us all. It'll get even worse when he goes onto Angel and has no role model.
  • "Hark! The lark!" god he's such a silly fool. good commitment from JM.
  • Apparently the actress who plays Anne, William's mother, was cast because of her resemblance to SMG, which WHY did they have to go creepy? (to say nothing of the fact that her name is Buffy's middle name slash LA alias)
  • Okay so question. Other times Spike's been triggered by the song, he's gone scary calm (and evil). This time it made him feral? Why? Like? Why???? Just so that everyone will stop trusting him? So that Wood will have seen the "monster" and feel justified in his planned attack?
  • Aww "shouldn't you check on Dawnie?" throwback to when Spike and Dawn were actually buddies
  • Ugh William was pretty Norman Bates-y.
  • Wow Willow doesn't tell Buffy that Angelus is back. I wonder if she ever does (never mind, she does, offscreen).
  • Man. Seriously. Fuck how Giles treats Buffy. I get that he is having trouble balancing how he used to instruct her when she was a teen, but he's pressed her into the role of general this season, and then freely goes about sowing mutiny and plotting against her with Wood. He KNOWS Wood is too emotionally twisted up about Spike, and he still goes along with the plan.
  • "I just need you to keep Buffy away for a few hours." Godammit, Wood. Godammit, Giles.
  • "The other day I gave an inspirational speech to the telephone repairman."
  • I like how carefully neutral Spike keeps his face, once he realizes why Wood's acting the way he is. "Killed a lot of people's mothers." No inflection.
  • Wood has only one song in his entire iTunes account. Y'all, that's a psychopath.
  • There's debate in the fandom about Anne and her vamp self - is what she speaks the real truth she wasn't expressing while human, or is it a more thorough separation of character? We've seen that vamp William is, at first, pretty similar (if more murdery) than human William. But vamp Anne is much crueler than her human self. Has this always been what she thought, or what she thinks now? On my first watch, I took it all as true, that she just hadn't said it, which meant Spike's speech at the end to Wood is pure delusion. But the internet has pointed out to me her face when he finally stakes her - that she smiles at him a moment, back in her human face, happy to be dying permanently. So if that's a proper reading of her expression, then she's saying all this, pushing him to this point, so that he'll kill her. She doesn't want to be this. Does that mean that she still loves him? Does that mean it's all a lie? I still don't quite know what I think. I can see the different readings as canon. Spike certainly thinks she loved him, and that she loved him more than Nikki loved Robin (did he really need to go there?)
  • So I guess my actual question is, is the lie Spike's mother told him that she loved him, or that she didn't?







  • Lotta references to how many speeches Buffy makes. I'm gonna guess the writers noticed the complaining on the fan boards.
  • Whichever way you read the scene, the showdown between William and his mother is so well acted by these two. Big props to Caroline Lagerfelt.
  • While I think it's complete and absolute bullshit garbage, what Wood and Giles do, I do think Spike is needlessly cruel, for someone who canonically does repent his evil actions, even if he doesn't mope for decades about it like Angel did. Some of what he says needs to be said - and same for what Buffy will say to him - but what the fuck is all this about Nikki not loving Robin enough to quit? He understands the mission.
  • And he's wrong. We see that too. We see that Nikki loved Robin. She lost one fight with Spike. That doesn't mean she didn't love her son. She didn't choose to die (regardless of whether his death wish theory in "Fool For Love" is correct). She had one bad day. She wanted to come back. She wanted to raise her son.  Spike talks with conviction, and he sounds smart (sometimes), but he doesn't always have the insight he's touted to have. He understands obsessive love (which is why he can see past Buffy and Angel's "just friends" in "Lover's Walk"), but having NEVER ACTUALLY SEEN any interactions between Nikki and Robin, his reading of their relationship is cruel and bollocks.
  • When Buffy says she'll let Spike kill Wood, she doesn't mean she wants Wood dead. She means she can't have this sabotaging infighting in her army, if they have a shot at winning. We can't have allies trying to take each other out. We see how badly things go when they actually boot her out.
  • "I think you've taught me everything I need to know." yeah Giles you done fucked up


Favorite Lines:

Daniel: William: "You'll like her." Drusilla: "To eat, you mean?"
Zelda: The entire Who's On First routine with Buffy, Giles, and Wood regarding Spike's trigger, chip, and soul.

Arc/Continuity Stuff:

  • Recuring: Nikki Wood, Principal Wood, Giles, Potentials, William's terrible wig, Drusilla
  • Crossover! Fred calls for Willow to come un-Angelus Angel and also pick up Faith
Stats:
Anya's Hair - honey blonde, flip, and a weird hat
Dead Humans - 0
Dead Undeads - 3
Dead Flashbacks - 2 (both are Anne)
Dead Potentials - 0
Giles Unconscious - 0
Giles Cleans His Glasses - 0
Buffy Breaks a Door - 0
Evil Reveal - 0
Unevil Reveal - 0
Shenanigans Called - 0
Apocalypse Called - 0

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

We Are As Gods

Episode 7.16: Storyteller. Original Airdate 2.25.03 


"Andrew creates a documentary called 'Buffy, Slayer of the Vampyres,' a record of the current situation in Sunnydale to show to future generations. He manages to capture many important moments, and to annoy almost everyone in the house. But Buffy needs to tear him away from his filmmaking because the Seal of Danzalthar is active and Andrew may hold the key to closing it before it destroys the town."

Zelda's Thoughts: 


  • I remember when this first aired, just being so done with Andrew (not Tom Lenk, he's adorable), and irritated that he now had his own episode, and it marred my ability to enjoy it. Let's see if that changes on this rewatch.
  • Tom Lenk remains adorable.
  • Aw, a good old fashioned slay in the graveyard.
  • I do like the contrast of Andrew's handheld camera and the fancy crane shot of Andrew and Buffy in the graveyard, to show off they actually went on location this time. 

Look! We have a budget!

  • Seriously, Spike. Don't smoke indoors.
  • Of course Spike is shirtless in Andrew's imaginary character intro.
  • "If we save the world, it will be kind of nice to have a record of it." She has a point? It's just ... this is annoying.
  • Though Buffy seems angrier than she needs to be about it? It feels contrivancey in order to lead her into another speech.
  • Aww you guys it's Jonathan! Ugh, and Warren.
  • "In my plan, we are beltless."
  • I do enjoy the fake mad scientist scene.
  • And um the fake flashback of fighting off Dark!Willow is a cute re-edit. "I deflect thy power." // "Damn, that is one effective counter spell."



  • Oops the Hellmouth is extra super Hellmouthy with its metaphors and violent student manifestations.
  • DB WOODSIDE SO GOOD. He's charming even when concussed.
  • okay but why the dumb jokes when a kid's head literally exploded? why are we being blase about this?
  • "Dawn used to be a key. I don't really know what that means."



  • I was annoyed at Spike's artificial broody guy outrage at Andrew's camera, but it probably does fit in with the fact that his entire street tough persona was manufactured over the years.
  • One good thing achieved in this episode is Xander and Anya finally having a frank conversation about their relationship. [Amen. - D]
  • You know, in prep for when THEY KILL HER. [Right...-D]
  • Oh look. A bunch of possessed children opening the Seal with chanting>
  • You guys my keyboard is completely possessed> this is interesting
  • I'm not even kidding. Complete possession. My notes for the rest of this episode may be distracted.
  • Andrew's detached journalist line is giving me Rent flashbacks. FOR SOMEONE WHO LONGS FOR A COMMUNITY OF HIS OWN, WHO'S WITH HIS CAMERA ALONE. I'LL CALL. I HATE THE FALL.
  • I warned you. Possessed. Ask Daniel, I was flipping out. [It was.  She was. -D]
  • Okay so the First's plan was to give both Andrew and Jonathan scary dreams in order to convince them both to go back to Sunnydale so that Andrew could stab Jonathan over the Seal? That's elaborate and yet stupid? Like there had to have been an easier way. I mean, The First is a bad planner, we know that. But like. I just.
  • Oh god I forgot the We Are As Gods bit was this episode. I mean, when else would it be? 

  • They don't have any steak knives? Did Hank get the knives in the divorce?
  • Andrew ships Spike and Wood. I mean, the fic basically writes itself. By which I mean, Andrew probably wrote it already.
  • Principal Wood kicking the crap out of students. Still a better principal than Snyder.
  • I think the possession has left my keyboard. Maybe it showed proper remorse and cried into the Seal of Danzalthar. #topical
  • I hate Warren but Adam Busch is still funny. "If you fail, you'll die a lost soul and I'll hate you forever!"
  • Ew ew ew the students have been Bringer-fied. Does this mean we're allowed to kill them?
  • Xander and Anya had sex in Spike's bed. His enhanced vampire smelling is gonna luuuuuuuuuuuv that.
  • Wood is making sure not to use the pointy nail side of the wood beam on the students. See? I told you he's a waaaaay better principal than Snyder.
  • I guess we're not allowed to kill the student Bringers. But RIP their eyeballs.
  • It shows how little Andrew understands Buffy, that he thinks she would kill a human.
  • "Stop! Stop telling stories. Life isn't a story ... You always do this. You make everything into a story so no one's responsible for anything because they're just following a script."
  • "I don't like having to give a bunch of speeches about how we're all gonna live, because we won't." Is that ... the kind of speech you think you've been making lately, Buffy? Though this speech is better than the Everyone Sucks But Me variety we had earlier. [Amen. -Anya]
  • And like in Rapunzel, tears heal everything. That's two fairy tales this season, if you count The Killer in Me as a real episode that happened.
  • Yeah I still don't really have much investment with Andrew's emotional journey this episode. I mean it's good he's finally taking things seriously I guess? idk


Daniel's Thoughts:



  • I’m not sure how I’m going to feel about this episode.  I remember moments of liking the humor and moments of being enraged that we have an Andrew-centric episode when he’s dominated the show enough – and taken lines/scenes (imo, of course) away from Anya.  So let’s start, shall we?
  • So I do love his version of masterpiece theater with comics and Star Trek stuff around.
  • So this is all his imaginationish…so in his imagination, he’s smoking a pipe and choking on it?  K.
  • Why is he pronouncing it like that?  Vamp-YRES.
  • Why can’t you just masturbate like the rest of us?   Hehe.  But also, why are they dressing and hairstyling Anya like your grandmother in that world war II picture you have on the mantle?


  • Again, I have to point out that as much as I hate Andrew, I really like Tom Lenk’s portrayal of him.  He really encompasses Andrew’s awkwardness well.
  • Why is Xander the heart of the gang? [There was this one time he joined his essence with the Slayer ... - Z]
  • SPIKE.  STOP SMOKING. ONLY EVIL PEOPLE SMOKE.
  • Raisin Bran…I’ll put it on the list….who are they getting funded from again?
  • Spike is shirtless in Andrew’s fantasy.  Ahem, Angel writers.
  • Anya eating grapes in slow motion is amazing tho.
  • Is this where the writers realized the Buffy speeches have gotten a little tiresome and repetitive?
  • Hey, it’s another Marcie.
  • “The mirror said I was fat” lol.
  • So I mean, here’s the thing about this episode…all the laughs, but actual HS students’ heads exploding?  I kinda just don’t want to laugh at that.  “Really shoulda had that foot rub…”  Yeah, too glib, Buffy.
  • “We still spark.  You still love me.”  Awww.  Again, at this point on first watch, I had hope that these two would have a happy ending.  How naïve I was.
  • “You’ve all been evil at some point.”  Heh, true.
  • I don’t really understand what Spike is doing here.  Why is he “acting” for the camera?  Again, it’s funny – but to what end? What purpose?  How does this represent anything that Spike is about?  Where’s the motivation?
  • So it’s nice that Anya & Xander are having this conversation but where will it go?  Nowhere.  I kinda like that Andrew ships it hardcore though.
  • Jonathan: “I wasn’t even that evil.”  See, that’s kinda why I wished Jonathan survived instead of Andrew.  I think his repentance would have meant more.
  • Zima. Total 2000s reference. 
How about a nice refreshing Zima?


  • “Stop going off topic”  - 2000s chatroom reference?
  • The whole “we are as gods” thing.  I….feel for these poor actors who had to do that.  Although I do remember some outtakes from that which were pretty hilarious.
  • Buffy: “I’m not losing any more territory to the first…”  Or…students?  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • Oh here’s one: “Spike, don’t kill them.  They’re just students.” – Finally…
  • Poor Jonathan – keeps getting stabbed over and over.
  • Again, making light of killing a guy.  This is why I can’t take Andrew seriously – why he doesn’t work for me as a character.  Especially a character that *spoilers* makes it to the end.
  • Xander and Anya naked in bed together is kinda reminiscent of their first time.
  • “I think maybe we’re really over.”  Whether they mean it or not, I’m glad Anya’s the one who said it.  And well…I guess at least there’s closure?
  • “You make everything into a story so that no one's responsible for anything because they're just following a script." Yep, that’s Andrew’s entire arc there.
  • I mean, this is where Andrew admits that he killed Jonathan knowing that it was the First that was telling him to.  So this is his last ep right? This is when Buffy kicks him out or where Andrew realizes he needs to truly make amends and get out of there right?  Nope.  He stays and continues to be Andrew, I guess.   I guess…
  • I wonder what happened to those bringer students...when the possession wears off....are they still blind? Are we gonna...revisit...no? Let it go? Okay.

Crossfire!

Anya: Why can't you just masturbate like the rest of us?
Z: I'm not making that the title.
D: Haha no.
Z: We'd get blocked at work.
D: But I might make it my favorite line:

Favorite Lines:
Zelda: 

Daniel: Anya: You've been in here 30 minutes. What are you doing?
Andrew: Entertaining and educating.
Anya: Why can't you just masturbate like the rest of us?


Arc/Continuity Stuff:

  • Recurring: Andrew, Potentials, Andrew's Big Board, Jonathan, Warren, Principal Wood, Seal of Danzalthar, the pig Andrew couldn't kill, The First (as Warren)
  • Shoutouts to: Marcie with the disappearing girl,swim team sea monsters and killer prom dogs (Andrew's brother!), Hell's Bells, Dawn being a key

Stats:

Anya's Hair - honey blonde, curled at the bottom
Dead Humans - 1
Dead Undeads - 2
Dead Flashbacks - 2 ["Hey, I died twice." - Jonathan]
Dead Potentials - 0
Buffy Breaks a Door - 0
Buffy Makes a Speech - 2
Evil Reveal - 0
Unevil Reveal - 0
Shenanigans Called - 0
Apocalypse Called - 0