Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Episode Report Card
Ace: B- | 5 USERS: A-
Vengeance! Plague! Death! Confusion!

Buffy and Xander arrive at her house, their conversation revealing that they have no idea Anya was involved with summoning the Crimslaw demon. When they walk into the living room, they find mopey Willow, who says, "I know where it came from."

A little bit later, Willow has explained where she's spent her day. She reveals for the first time to Buffy how many bodies she found, and Xander gets all snippety that she didn't let them know Anya was involved as soon as she found out. He demands to know how Willow could hide that knowledge, but then Buffy defends Willow, saying, "She didn't tell us because she knows what I have to do. I have to kill Anya."

Anya and Hallie sit laughing at a huge banquet table. There are dead men everywhere in the room. The captions reads, "St. Petersburg, 1905." Anya and Hallie are dressed in time-appropriate fashions, and Hallie enjoys the mayhem Anya has caused. Anya trills with false modesty that she merely grants the wishes inside the women who call her. Fireballs explode outside the window, and Hallie suggests that they go out to watch the Winter Mansion being razed. Anya's all business, however, and suggests a trip to a local brothel to search for wronged women instead. They sip their champagne and don't react at all when a flaming Russian flails through the room. Hallie chides Anya for being such a workaholic, and encourages her to enjoy the revolution that she is "somewhat responsible for." Anya feels the revolution is a done deal, though, and says in a bored voice that the "workers will overthrow absolutism and lead the proletariat to a victorious communist revolution resulting in socioeconomic paradise on Earth." Hallie bugs her a little more about taking some time off, but Anya claims, "Vengeance is what I am."

Back at the Summers house, Buffy tries to tell Xander that Anya is no longer the girl he knew. Xander suggests that there are options besides simply killing one of her "best friends," and Buffy claims that she's already considered the alternatives. However, she doesn't clue Xander in to the fact that Anya isn't and never was one of her best friends. Nor does she deign to discuss what options she considered, or why she dismissed them. Xander's not willing to give up yet, and suggest that they could "fix" the deaths, since they were caused by a mystical source. He looks at Willow, who says she doesn't have enough power, and didn't even when -- she trails off, and I'm not sure if she's referring to when she raised Buffy, or when she tried to raise Tara, or when she went all black and veiny and tried to destroy the Earth. Buffy assures Willow that it's okay if she can't help with the dead guys. Buffy and Xander bicker some more about the necessity of killing Anya, and Xander protests, "This isn't new ground for us! When our friends go all crazy and start killing people, we help them." Willow makes a face and protests, "Sitting right here!" C'mon, Red. You were doing so well with the personal responsibility thing. Buffy looks at her lap and claims that this situation is different, which Xander counters by saying that he still loves Anya. Buffy knows that, but tries to defend not killing Willow by pulling out the old "demons vs. humans" card. I'm all for that rule where vampires are concerned, but I don't think it works so well in this situation, especially since Anya is so obviously suffering from very human conflict over all this, and was trustworthy enough to be called up for sister-sitting duty recently besides. Xander gets snide about what a "simple" decision this must be for Buffy and then leaps up, snarling, "You know, if there's a mass-murdering demon that you're, oh, say, boning, then it's all gray area." Hee -- go Xander! I'm not really taking sides in this argument because I think both Buffy and Xander are both right and wrong here, but I really think it needed to be said that Buffy totally put aside all her Slayer standards in order ride Spike's man-pole, and she's never really admitted that to or faced it as far as I can tell. She's mumbled about how it was bad for her, but never seemed to realize what a betrayal of her calling it was. Buffy wins The Lame Comeback Of The Century Award when her only reply is that Spike is "harmless." Harmless except for the whole part where he could and did harm you, Buffy. Nice self-preservation instincts there, honey. Let's kill Anya because she could hurt men. Let's not kill Spike because he can only hurt Buffy. Uh, where was I?

Buffy reminds Xander that Anya has chosen to become a demon twice, and says she doesn't care what Anya is going through. And I think that's fine, but I'm not sure why the killing has to happen so damn quickly. The Scoobies have dragged their feet over plenty of other villains before, most of whom hadn't had sex with Buffy. Buffy turns away, then turns back when Xander accuses her of stepping back from them and her humanity to act like she's "the law." He implies that she can't understand how this feels. "I killed Angel!" is Buffy's angry retort. The room is silent as Willow and Xander stare at her. Buffy works the melodrama, claiming that she loved Angel more than she will ever love anything in life, but she put a sword through him anyway. Actually, she also says she "killed" him, but I'm going to ignore that misstep. Aw, poor Buffy -- who will discover the secret garden of her heart and nurse all her stunted trees of love back to health? So young and so lacking in hope. That's not sarcasm, by the way. Well, not all of it. I'm all over the map with my sympathy in this scene. Willow tries to lighten the mood with a little joke about how the Angel-stabbing "worked out okay," but Buffy's not done being all recriminatory and "I killed my boyfriend and you didn't nanny nanny boo boo." She reminds Xander how he and Willow cheered her on. "Do you remember giving me Willow's message? 'Kick his ass'?" "I never said that!" exclaims an angry Willow. That doesn't slow Buffy down, however, and she snarls about how the situations are always going to be complicated and different and she'll always have to be the one who draws the line. She whines about how they complain that she cuts herself off, but claims that she has to, since "human rules don't apply." "There's only me," Buffy concludes, "I am the law." And as if we haven't just sat through this scene, Xander's response is, "There has to be another way." Buffy, almost compassionately, tells him to "please find it." Willow closes her eyes in sadness as Xander storms out of the house. Buffy goes to her weapons chest and pulls out a big sword. She starts to leave, but then turns back to Willow, who hasn't moved from her chair during the whole argument. Willow says she can't go with Buffy and that she's sorry. I think she can't go both because she can't watch Anya be killed and because she can't and won't use her magic to help. Buffy leaves. Alone. Because she's the Slayer. And they're alone. Always alone. Except for the forty million times this show has driven home that Buffy's best assets are her friends. Willow sits for a moment, then gets a looks of realization.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer




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