Mark Watches ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’: S01E03 – Witch

In the third episode of the first season of Buffy, the group encounters their first non-vampire foe, and I encounter my first complete WHAT THE FUCK moment of the show. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

HELLO DEAR BUFFY FANDOM. DO. NOT. SPOIL. ME. Some of you missed this message AGAIN, so I will keep doing this: Is what you’re about to put in a comment in any way referencing any single thing I have not seen yet? Put it in rot13.com or DO NOT POST IT. THANK YOU AND PLEASE CONSULT MY SPOILER POLICY FOR MORE CLARIFICATION AND EXAMPLES.

A bit of an update about server stuff: My very own server is almost here and after that, I can allocate resources as needed whenever there’s a spike in views and we won’t have the trouble we’ve had. I mean, there were a lot of people here for Doctor Who and Avatar: The Last Airbender, but this is some serious memory/bandwidth usage. Anyway, y’all overloaded my servers for 48 hours straight and I’m in the process of moving. There might be an hour or two later today where the site does not exist, but that’s necessary to move it all over. Thanks for reading, and I promise this will get better!

*****

YES. YES. OH, YES YES YES YES YES. Is this real life? IS THIS WHAT I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR? Sorry, don’t care, I love a good, creepy plot twist, and this one is a DOOZY. It takes the character of Amy and gives the first half of her story this incredible new context, and Dana Reston, who wrote this, also manages to include some great subplots regarding femininity, familial expectation, and the dynamic between Buffy and her mother. I’d say that this is certainly the first truly awesome Buffy episode that I’ve gotten to experience. AND IT’S ONLY THE THIRD EPISODE. That’s so spectacular!

I think it’s hilarious that I wondered in my previous review if Buffy would attempt to integrate herself into Sunnydale High and LO AND BEHOLD, SHE IS TRYING OUT TO BE A CHEERLEADER. What I got wrong, though, was Buffy’s intention. I’d assumed she might try this in order to make herself appear normal as opposed to feeling normal. I misread this: Buffy isn’t trying to hide. She’s trying to be just like everyone else. I’ve spoken about it before, but I really feel icky when people try to criticize the concept of normality. Yes, it can be used in increasingly gross ways when privileged folk try to say that marginalized people aren’t normal. I don’t like that shit either. But as someone whose high school experience was bizarre and kind of painful, normalcy was something I desired more than anything. I wanted a boyfriend, I wanted a real date to prom, I wanted to have money to afford going out, and I wanted to have a family that loved and cared for me. To me, those things were normal.

Okay, I know I’m projecting like hell onto Buffy but YOU WILL ALLOW ME THIS SMALL MOMENT. I love that she wants to do cheerleading just because. She’s not super amazing at it, either, but it makes her happy and it makes her feel normal. I especially loved her small spat with Giles. In a way, I felt like there was an unspoken subtext that he was criticizing her choice because it was so girly, and that was unbecoming of a Slayer. Guess what? She doesn’t care, and she’s going to slaughter vampires and wear dresses as much as she wants to. And that’s kind of awesome to me?

The cold open feels very The X-Files to me, in that it takes a seemingly “normal” occurrence and renders it completely absurd. Yeah, I was genuinely shocked when Amber spontaneously combusted. What the fuck?

The impetus for the story here in “Witch” impressed me because it’s so dense. We deal with more of Cordelia’s nastiness towards other students, which causes me to hope even harder that she gets any sort of development beyond the school bully. THERE’S POTENTIAL THERE, OKAY? The cheerleading plot brings out Xander’s hormones in full force, so much so that he actively engages the idea that he should ask Buffy out. And I’m totally opposed to Xander/Buffy solely because I already associate him as a best friend and it seems weird. The conversations that Buffy and her mom have are just as interesting to me, too. It’s nice to see a mother on television who is trying to understand her daughter. Of course, for us, we have the luxury of omniscience. We know that Buffy’s behavior isn’t because she’s any sort of troubled teen or a poor student; she was unfortunately born as the Slayer. (I am sort of curious to see if the show will ever flashback to her first Watcher and her discovery of her destiny.) But Buffy’s mother’s story represents that divide that exists between parents and their children, of the mother who is clueless as to the motivation of their offspring. Even if this is a show about a girl who kills vampire, her story is very human in nature, and it’s a welcome addition.

But the primary mystery is the identity of the witch and the motivations for her appearing at the school. The group believes Amy might be causing it inadvertently because of the pressure her mother puts on her to succeed. I’ve got no shame admitting that one of my trope weaknesses is any story that deals with parents putting too much pressure on their children to succeed. WELCOME TO THE BULK OF MY LIFE. I grew up with a mother who literally would tell me that if I wasn’t valedictorian, I’d be an utter failure. The first time I brought a quiz home that didn’t earn an A, I got grounded for a week. Even after I ran away from home because of this (and many other things) when I was sixteen, I couldn’t escape the messages that had been drilled into my head. I was valedictorian of my high school, though it ended up being on my own terms instead of hers. Still, I’m sure some of you are familiar with this! It’s such an awful experience because school is stressful enough as it is. You don’t also need your parents insulting you and doubting your worth as a person in the process. That’s one of the things I like about “The Witch.” The characters openly accept that this is something that can cause a person to lash out and I love that. It’s true! I mean, yes, granted I did not set cheerleaders on fire. But Amy’s mother, who was a popular and talented cheerleader in her day, has made her daughter’s life miserable because of the unrealistic (and unfair) expectations she has for her.

It seemed obvious to me that Amy’s mother was behind this until the spell Giles has them do in the science class. First of all, WAY TO NOT BE TOTALLY OBVIOUS ABOUT GETTING AMY’S HAIR. Oh god, you really are going to have to get better at this. But then…she tests positive for casting a spell? And she seems genuinely surprised when a girl next to her suddenly doesn’t have a mouth? Confused, I was then totally flabbergasted when we meet Amy’s mother for the first time, and she’s not the strict, overbearing, and frightening person we’d been told to expect. In fact, the dynamic between the two suggested that Amy was the one who was a tyrant in that house. On top of that, she’s also definitely the witch. Oh god, she lied about her mother and now she has Buffy’s bracelet THIS IS A DISASTER.

I mean, it is, but oh my god. It’s the most beautiful disaster of all time. Turns out that when Buffy gets hit with a Bloodstone Vengeance Spell, she becomes incredibly fucking funny. Bless you, Sarah Michelle Gellar. This is also the first moment for me where I was completely impressed with the acting, and Gellar knocks it out of the park. The whole point was to be as weird as possible, and her knack for physical humor is what sells it to me. But credit must be given to Whedon and Dana Reston, who have done a fantastic job building the character of Buffy Summers in just around two hours, so much so that I know that she’s acting out-of-character for her normal self. That’s what works out so well.

But let’s just talk about the reveal that this whole episode hinges on. Honestly, even in hindsight, I don’t think there was a single clue here that could have led me to figure out that Amy was in her mother’s body. Oh my god HOW FUCKED UP IS THAT. Like….sweet summer christ, that is so ridiculously evil. It forced me to think about how creepy and unsettling Amy really was the whole time. THAT WAS HER MOM IN THE BEGINNING. THAT WAS HER MOM LOOKING AT HERSELF IN THE TROPHY CASE. oh god THAT WAS AMY’S MOM ASKING HER DAUGHTER IN HER BODY TO DO HER HOMEWORK. oh my god this is one of the creepiest things ever HOW DOES SOMEONE THINK OF THIS SHIT.

Honestly, this is just a strong episode from start to end, and I found myself gripped by trying to figure out how this would be resolved, especially with Buffy incapacitated. Truly, this was mostly Giles’s time to shine. Now I sort of want backstory on him. Where did he come from? Did he always know that he was a Watcher or was that bestowed on him as well? That’s for another day, I hope. For now, though, this was a really fun episode that was much creepier than I expected it to be. And though the effect is not very good, the mental image of Amy’s mother, forever trapped in that statue, is disturbing as hell.

Damn, that was good, though.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
This entry was posted in Buffy The Vampire Slayer and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

386 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’: S01E03 – Witch

  1. echinodermata says:

    Mod note! That I’m forcing as the first comment via my modly powers (that I promise not to abuse) in hopes more people will see this (sorry if you were excited about having the first comment, original first poster). This comment will cover various things, starting with the spoiler policy.

    Things that are considered spoilers (but are not limited to these points), even if it may not feel spoilery to you:
    – gifs/pics/quotes from upcoming episodes. Even if it doesn’t really give anything away about plot. It’s still from an upcoming episode.
    – Answering any of Mark’s questions when they will be answered for him on the show. Even when the answer isn’t particularly important. If you’re unsure, just don’t answer any of Mark’s questions. Most of them are rhetorical anyway.
    Expectation spoilers, including things such as ‘I think season x is the best/worst’ or ‘tomorrow’s ep is so good/bad.’ Yes, it’s your opinion, but it still sets up an expectation when Mark and others prefer to go in with no expectations at all. So it’s still spoilery. If you’re not sure if what you want to say is an expectation spoiler, then you can just not say it or say it in rot13. When in doubt, don’t comment on future aspects of the show – that’s really the heart of the spoiler policy.
    – Any mention of any detail or aspect of the world that comes up in a later episode. No matter how trivial.
    – Hinting at things to come without outright saying it. Example: ‘I hope you were paying attention in that one scene (since it’s relevant later).’ It just irritates the commenters that know what you’re trying to reveal.
    – Mentioning when there’s going to be a multi-part episode (e.g. a two-parter). It’s more suspenseful when someone watching for the first time doesn’t know when to expect cliffhangers, for example.
    – Titles of upcoming episodes.
    – Spoilers for other media Mark hasn’t seen. Check out the suggestions page for both Reads and Watches, and don’t include spoilers from any shows/books/comics/etc. Mark has stated he will cover in the future.

    If you see a comment you think is spoilery or breaks any other other site rules, please report it.

    For rot13: if you are discussing spoilers in rot13 for something besides this show, please specify in plaintext (meaning nonrot13) what show/book/etc. you are discussing in order to best allow others to avoid spoilers.

    Also, some of you are watching Buffy for the first time along with Mark. That’s really cool and fun for those of us who have watched it all. One thing I would ask of people who are unspoiled – if you’re speculating on upcoming plot points/resolutions, please preface that speculation with something like “theories abound”. Correct speculation without a “warning” for speculation is hard for mods to deal with since 1, sometimes people report it, and 2, sometimes someone throwing out the correct answer can spoil the mystery for others.

    Also! This was a past recommendation given by, I believe, nanceoir, and I really like it: if you’re a registered intensedebate user, please consider writing in the profile area of your userpage whether or not you’ve watched Buffy before. It’s helpful to know whether someone’s watching along with Mark or not, and if you have that in your profile, anyone can hover their mouse over the icon area on any of your comments and see that profile description pop up. If you don’t have an intesedebate/wordpress account, that’s fine and don’t feel pressured to get one, though I would point out that if you register you can delete your comments anytime, as well as edit them if no one has replied to it yet.

    And here’s an html guide (a html guide?) for intensedebate comments:

    A heads up – if you’re embedding youtube videos, use the embed option above the comment text box on this site rather than the embed html provided by youtube. For whatever reason, you cannot embed more than one video per comment – if you try, the vids after the first one will just be a repeat of the first video.

    That’s all I can think of for now – thanks for reading.

  2. Rachel says:

    Haha, I'm glad you like it! By the end of the season you'll be a full blown whedonite 😀 It only gets better from here!

  3. "Witch" was my very first episode!!

    So the story goes like this: one day I looked at the back of the Arlington Star-Telegram—at that time, it was probably the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, actually—and TV critic Ken Perkins had a blurb about that night's Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He said it was the episode that made him a fan, and it had a great twist. Well, I love twists! So I watched it and became a fan. Thus: thank you, Ken Perkins. I owe you a huge debt. Even though apparently you were exposed as a plagiarist six years ago, dammit, Google, the things you make me aware of.

  4. Mary Sue says:

    In a way, I felt like there was an unspoken subtext that he was criticizing her choice because it was so girly, and that was unbecoming of a Slayer. Guess what? She doesn’t care, and she’s going to slaughter vampires and wear dresses as much as she wants to. And that’s kind of awesome to me?

    It's totally awesome.

    Also? I think this is the episode I fell in love with Giles.

  5. Chris says:

    I am so glad you are doing this show now! I haven't commented on your reviews before, but this is my favorite show of all time, and I just have to say based on some of your comments: you are so NOT prepared.

  6. cait0716 says:

    Yay! You liked it!

    Also yay for posting early and me checking obsessively. I actually got to read this without refreshing 100 times.

    This is a great early indicator of the potential for awesome Buffy has. The dissection of parent/child relationships is interesting, and I love that it shows that Joyce is a good mother who's trying the best she can. At least Buffy didn't get saddled with a Catherine

    The decision to stray from vampires was also brilliant. I love that the show decides to focus on other monsters because it opens up a whole lot of doors. The vampire metaphor is pretty restricted. Though I did see a funny interview with Whedon recently that reference True Blood and Twilight and he was all, "man, you mean I could have just stuck with vampires?"

    Today's Willow snark:
    Giles: Why would anyone want to hurt Cordelia?
    Willow: Maybe because they met her?

    Also, I think it's interesting that the first time we see a woman of color on screen her mouth is literally wiped off her face. Coincidence or clever commentary? Probably coincidence. This show doesn't do so well with race, so it would be surprising if that were intentional.

  7. Huh! I had no idea Dana Reston wrote my very first episode.

    V gubhtug V xarj nyy gur Ohssl jevgref, ohg V thrff gur gehr Zhgnag Rarzl fgnss qvqa'g sbez hagvy frnfba gjb. Pbzr ba, Wnar Rfcrafba! Qbht Crgevr! Qerj Tbqqneq! Znegv Abkba! Qnivq Shel! Uryy, rira Erorppn Enaq Xvefuare! Nyfb, rirelbar ryfr! Naq gung Wbff thl.

  8. cait0716 says:

    I really like the double meaning of the title. "Witch" because it's a witch behind the spells affecting the cheerleaders. "Which" because we don't know whether it's Amy or Catherine.

  9. xpanasonicyouthx says:

    PS: I put this up early and did not announce it on Twitter to hopefully curtail 150,000 people refreshing the site at once. I will continue picking random times to publish to Mark Watches until I get the new server.

    You know, since it's NICE TO BE ABLE TO JUST GO TO MY SITE. lol omg this is so amazing.

    • RocketDarkness says:

      Sorry Mark, but you can't hide from the people with RSS feeds. Bwahahahah.

    • Saphling says:

      From now on, we will be suspiciously refreshing your site all day to see if you posted while we weren't looking. >_____>

      Also, I'm glad to be back watching a show for the first time with you! You provided the excuse I need to finally watch A:tLA (much to the relief of my friends who had been trying for ages to get me to watch it), and now I'm getting around to watching Buffy as well (much to the relief of other friends who have been pestering me for ages etc. etc.). I fell behind on BSG, but I'm determined not to with Buffy.

      -Saph (Wild Blue Yonder :D)

      • MelvinTheBold says:

        "From now on, we will be suspiciously refreshing your site all day to see if you posted while we weren't looking."

        You mean everyone else doesn't already do this?

        • Saphling says:

          I try not to. I have to actually do work while at work. >_>

          • rabbitape says:

            Which is really just so annoying. Like, why these people always gotta be walking past my desk, asking me to do things? I have the read the internet, people!

    • tigerpetals says:

      This means I might be able to see it tomorrow! I probably won't be here during your normal posting time.

    • eruonna says:

      So instead, you'll have 150,000 people hitting the site all the time, just in case you posted the next episode…

    • Noybusiness says:

      Oh. I just skipped over this asked about that very thing below. Silly me.

    • RoseFyre says:

      Seriously glad about the new server, btw. It is clearly needed.

  10. Tyler says:

    You're right, this is truly the first GREAT episode of Buffy. This is usually one that I show people when they want to get a feel for the show.

  11. Ryan Lohner says:

    Sadly, the plot holes here become really obvious watching a second time. Why did Catherine take away that girl's mouth, and why did she look as surprised as everyone else, which the following scene made such a big deal about? For that matter, how did no one in the school apparently see a girl's mouth disappearing Matrix style (well, they wouldn't call it that yet) as something worth talking about? That whole scene is a huge stretch of logic for no reason other than artificially hiding the twist, and I really hate it when scripts do this.

    • cait0716 says:

      I just figured Catherine was a really good actress. She never slips in her imitation of Amy, so I'm sure she could fake a little shock.

      • MelvinTheBold says:

        I had half-figured that she'd switch back to get out of Bio class, because, y'know, science = blech. Of course that falls down when she knows that Buffy lifted her hair, so I guess I am wrong.

    • tigerpetals says:

      Well, she looked surprised to deter suspicion, after Buffy's obvious grabbing of her hair. And maybe she doesn't want to look bad in her reactions when it comes to a cheerleader getting hurt.

    • Jenny_M says:

      I would assume she took away her mouth because then she couldn't lead the cheers required in cheerleading. Or something.

  12. Elexus Calcearius says:

    I mean, yes, granted I did not set cheerleaders on fire.

    Wait, you didn't? I thought it was the type of things everyone does. Weirdo.

    I was really quite impressed by the episode, too. While my original predictions about who was being a witch and their intentions were close, I did not expect the body switch sub-plot. The acting really was great: both the way Buffy acted when enchanted, which was hilariously awkward, but also the mom/Amy thing. I really, really like it when characters switch bodies, and the acting has to sell that its the same character. (DOLLHOUSE. That's all I'm saying).

  13. knut_knut says:

    EARLY REVIEW!! 😀 Is it bad that I find Xander kind of annoying? And by kind of I mean I wish he was the one whose mouth was magically sealed shut. I think his I MUST BE A MAN! nonsense yesterday is still affecting me today and I don’t really care about his quest to become Buffy’s boyfriend by giving her weirdly sentimental bracelets. It’s creepy to me. But then again, I find almost all romantic gestures creepy. And it’s only the third episode.

    I SECOND THIS GILES BACKSTORY! I need a Slayer & Watcher info dump NOW!

    • cait0716 says:

      I do like his Battleship sound effects when he fails to ask her out. But he is being creepily presumptive. At least Willow is sort of trying to bring this to his attention

    • arctic_hare says:

      No, it's not bad at all. He IS creepy and annoying.

    • monkeybutter says:

      Yeah, I would have been okay with having his mouth sealed after his varied creepiness. Having his throat constricted was a good consolation.

      • cait0716 says:

        haha, my boyfriend got really excited during that scene. "She's Darth Vadar!"

        • monkeybutter says:

          lol did it totally sell him on Buffy?

          • cait0716 says:

            I don't think he's quite there yet. My promise of watching a movie he wants to watch for every three episodes of Buffy he watches with me is what's keeping him going right now. I'm hoping he'll be hooked soon.

            • knut_knut says:

              My god, how many movies are you going to watch? Aren’t there like 144 episodes? O_O

              Your boyfriend deserves a gold star for making the Darth Vader connection, though! Facepalming myself for not getting it

              • cait0716 says:

                There's gonna be a lot. He made a list of movies I need to see back in college and I haven't really made much headway because I'm just not that in to movies. So I have a list of roughly 100 movies that he thinks I need to see (everything from Ace Ventura to Die Hard to James Bond to basically every Kung Fu movie ever made apparently) and we'll just be chipping away at that for the next year. I think movies in theaters will also count.

                • knut_knut says:

                  WOOOOOOOW! I’m pretty terrible about watching movies too and end up watching the same 15 over and over and over again. I rarely get the NEED to see a movie the way I NEEEEEEEEED to read something (exception for The Hobbit because SERIOUSLY, I NEED). But by the end of this I bet you’ll be a human IMDB!

                  • cait0716 says:

                    Same. And I tend to just not have the attention span. When we watched The Patriot I was ready to be done an hour before the movie ended. But I'm hoping it will be a fun experience.

              • Noybusiness says:

                48.

    • Karen says:

      DISLIKING XANDER IS THE CORRECT OPINION. I hate Xander a lot. He is such a Nice Guy and I cannot with his "poor me" act. UGH.

    • yourshilouette says:

      thats because xander is extermely annoying lol

  14. Carina says:

    First post on this site, probably the only one – but I am so so glad that you are watching this series! It totally gets better. I rewatched it recently and I forgot how… 'cheesy' it can be, so what you're going through now – totally get it (at least that part!).

    And I am so glad you like Giles, he is one of my favourites and he never disapoints 😀

  15. Jack_of_Hearts says:

    So then, Witches. Even after years of Harry Potter obsession, I'm still automatically reminded of "The worst witch"
    <img src="http://images.wikia.com/worstwitchw/images/1/13/WW_title.jpg"&gt;

    It was some super-obscure program they showed on ITV when I about 5 or 6, and I loved it to death. Even before I knew Harry potter was a thing, I'd be pretending to fly around on broomsticks and learn magic. And most importantly, even though I was super conscious that I was a boy watching what what ostensibly a "girl's show", I just didn't give a fuck! I wanted to be best friends with Mildred and the other girls, hang out and make potions and giggle and stuff. If I could have gotten my hands on a witch costume at that age, you bet your collective asses I would've worn the hell out of it 🙂 Come to think of it, "The Worst Witch" was probably the first form of anything
    that I was a fan of, outside of machinery (My grampa would take me on walks to see the machines at the pit- ie "mine" that he used to work at and it was WONDERFUL).

    And all anyone else ever seems to remember of it is the horrific tv movie involving Tim Curry(!!!) singing the worst lyrics in the history of history.

    [youtube PUhuPn8_d0Q http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUhuPn8_d0Q youtube]

    God, just look at that cape. The whole thing is a 50/50 blend of SWAG and nightmarish. Nightflairish! …Sorry, I'll put the portmanteaus away for now.

    • Neet says:

      You have an automatic upvote for mentioning Mildred Hubble. "The Worst Witch" was one of my first loves as well, both the tv show and the books it was based. I recently discovered someone had uploaded all the episodes on youtube and found myself compelled to watch them, at which point I discovered I still regard Miss Hardbroom with equal parts adoration and terror.

    • Maya says:

      OH MY GOD THE WORST WITCH.

      My sister and I used to watch it and mock it ENDLESSLY. It was on ABC Family or something post-Harry Potter and we would watch and be like "…what." Oh man, I totally need to re-watch this show,

    • SiobhanC says:

      Oh, the Worst Witch! :') I used to love that, I think I also read a few of the books.

    • NB2000 says:

      And now I have the Worst Witch theme tune stuck in my head. YAY!

    • NeonProdigy says:

      I saw a review for The Worst Witch on TGWTG, and… wow… but Tim Curry is always awesome, including in that video.

      Also, is it weird that every time I read one of your comments and see your icon, I read your comment as though it were being said in my head-canon for Dave Strider's voice?

      • Jack_of_Hearts says:

        Not weird at all 🙂 Although I can't really imagine dave being interested in the Worst Witch, except for *ironic* purposes.

    • knut_knut says:

      holy shit, what is that video

      I love it

    • Noybusiness says:

      I like "nightflairish".

      The song sung by the headmistress' evil twin sister used to stick in my head.

    • lula34 says:

      TIM CURRY IS MY FAVORITE. I watch The Worst Witch EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR. It's like a small acid trip with Fairuza Balk and that one girl who plays Mildred Hubble. And tell me Diana Rigg isn't marvelous in her over-acting as Miss Hardbroom? Goodness gracious, I adore her.

      It's Tim Curry's finest work since RHPS and Clue. Anything can happen on Halloween, of course. So says Big Daddy Wiz.

      (I've always wanted to play Terror Tag. Don't judge me.)

    • Imo says:

      I never watched the TV show when it was on, but I LOVED the film as a child, and watched it over and over.
      "Growin' up, isn't easy. Scared of every move you make! How much can a young girl take ……. etc"

      it was my first encounter with Tim Curry, and for years I would think of him as the grand wizard, ie: "Hey, look, it's the grand wizard wearing a corset and stockings!"

  16. Ryan Lohner says:

    So I'm guessing all the newbies are already annoyed as hell at Generic WB Announcer Guy's pointless little spiel at the beginning of each episode. Just a little concession Joss had to make before they would air it.

    • MelvinTheBold says:

      Generic WB Announcer guy is either not in on the whole 'tongue-in-cheek' thing, or he's really really trying to sell it so that the horror trope subversions in the episode(s) proper work better.

    • t09yavosaur says:

      WB Announcer guy is not in the versions I am watching. Strange, maybe Buffy slayed him.

  17. TalentedKitty13 says:

    I remember watching this episode and totally not getting the BIG REVEAL until the end when everyone else figured it out, but as others have said above, on rewatches, it is painfully obvious.

    Also I have to say: Grnz Fchssl sberire!

  18. arctic_hare says:

    sweet summer christ

    Autocorrect strikes again? Also, I'm so glad you liked this episode! 😀 It is pretty great.

    Xander continues to be gross and creepy, Willow and Buffy and Giles are all still awesome, and I love Cordelia. She's such an awful person, but it's hilarious for some reason. At least half of that has to be credited to Charisma Carpenter. <3

  19. Inseriousity. says:

    The twist in this is so creepy! It's like the magical version of that very human desire to want to be young and some parents' desperate attempts to try to live out the life you never had through your children although thankfully they never have any spells to help them out!

  20. monkeybutter says:

    Tricky, Mark!

    I’m glad you liked it! I love the twists in the plot, too, because at first you think of Wanda Holloway, and parents who live vicariously through their children. Then you see Amy’s homelife and get the impression that she’s the abusive, domineering one, only to finally have it revealed that her mom was living through her, and achieving new heights in Barbie torture. IT IS VERY FUCKED UP. Still, the little eyes moving at the end crack me up.

    Don’t forget the most important part, though: Buffy has a troll pen.

    I love that Giles came into his own and we got to see that he has practical knowledge, too. His enthusiasm about the fiends, demons, and ghouls they have to fight gives me life. <3

    • James says:

      Still, the little eyes moving at the end crack me up.

      Zl snibhevgr guvat vf gur pnyyonpx va (V guvax) frnfba guerr jura Bm vf ybbxvat ng gur gebcul pnfr naq fnlf gur purreyrnqre'f rlrf sbyybj lbh nebhaq. FB TBBQ.

  21. tigerpetals says:

    Rewatching this episode today, I thought it might resonate! My parents may not seem overbearing, but they are very obsessed with my grades and are hard on my sister for switching majors.

    I too loved Buffy and her mom. I like how Buffy did want to bond, and then the morning after her mom wanted to bond too, but Buffy brushed her off while under that spell. Then they sort of gloss over that missed opportunity, which makes their last scene kind of bittersweet.

    I still feel sorry that Buffy not only didn't get on the team, but is probably banned from it after those cheerleaders landed on the wall. She just wanted to recover one of the vestiges of her old normal life.

  22. Mez says:

    Failure of Secret Identity Count:
    2 (Xander, Willow)

    +1 (Amy)

  23. echinodermata says:

    Getting this out of the way because I was distracted by it when I saw it:
    look how few elements there are on that last row!
    <img src="http://i42.tinypic.com/ormjoh.png&quot; alt="periodic table with only four elements after the f-block">

    Third time in a row I'm pointing this out, but I'm honestly impressed that this is the third episode out of three total that passes the Bechdel Test in multiple scenes. It's a good way to start a show, basically.

    I'm still fairly impressed by the plot twist in this episode – it's a good one and I didn't see it coming the first time around. Also, the first two episodes were more an intro to the style of the show but weren't particularly substantive in terms of actual story, imo. But this episode is where I feel like we're actually doing a plot-based story, rather than the character pieces from before. And it's an interesting story, and one worth rewatching since obviously the nature of Amy's behavior for the first half is open to new interpretation once you know that's not Amy at all.

    And watching this totally got Macho Man stuck in my head. Dammit. (SMG is completely adorable in that scene.)

    And because I know there's a little Xander-hate club that some of us belong to, have a gif!
    <img src="http://i42.tinypic.com/27zc5f5.gif&quot; alt="Xander being choked">

    • cait0716 says:

      This show does well with the Bechdel test. The best part is it doesn't just pass on one conversation per episode. There are so many female interactions.

      Also, your first picture reminded me. That mirror (used in the frog dissection scene) is one of the better Chekov's Guns I've seen

    • knut_knut says:

      I could watch that gif for hours

    • arctic_hare says:

      I love you and I love that gif. <3

    • NB2000 says:

      The force is strong with that last gif.

      (Couldn't resist after seeing one of the above replies)

    • NB2000 says:

      The force is strong with this gif.

      (Couldn't resist after seeing one of the above replies)

    • Karen says:

      TY for that gif. <3

    • Smurphy says:

      jul vf gurer n knaqre ungr pyho? V zrna V pna anzr n pbhcyr qbmra ernfbaf… n pbhcyr qbmra tbbq ernfbaf jul ohg… va gur raq vfa'g vg xvaq bs n zbbg cbvag?

    • RoseFyre says:

      Yeah, the first two episodes are really a two part pilot, almost. So there's the requisite backstory dump, a bit about how vampires and the slayer work in this universe, introductions to the characters…all of that sort of thing.

      This is the first episode that can really work with something NEW, and it does well.

  24. I love this episode for the same reason I loved Tangled: Mother-daughter conflict is very interesting to me, especially when the mother is being overbearing or just straight up evil. The idea that her mom literally stole her own daughter's youth in order to relive her glory days is really fucking creepy, and I love it in a very "this is so fucked up and brilliant" kind of way. I also enjoy the interaction between Buffy and her mom in this episode, since I can sort of relate. My mother is very busy and stressed out and we don't get to spend as much time together like we used to either. And like Buffy, there are certain things about my life I could never share with her (gay, mother is diehard religious. not a good combination).
    Plus, we got to see Buffy acting drunk, which was fun, and Giles got to do something other than check his books and look stern for a little bit. I love little moments where some of the other characters get to shine. So yes, I agree with Mark. This was the first episode of Buffy for me that I really loved.

  25. tethysdust says:

    Now this is a show I grew up with (it lasted through my middle school and high school), so I really hope I can keep up with the reviews this time :).

    Re-watching this now, I am pretty impressed with Charisma Carpenter's acting. At this point, she seems much more comfortable in her character than any of the others. As for character development… well, we know she's repeatedly failed driver's ed, so she seems to have some kind of hang-up there. Gellar definitely seems to be getting into her stride now, too, though.

    This is my favorite episode so far. I like how this episode addressed parent-child relationships, showing both the good and bad. I also like that they aren't making Buffy's mom out to be unintelligent or a bad parent. She's a woman with her own goals and life difficulties, who is still trying to be a good mom for her 'troubled' daughter.

    • Dru says:

      I think with most shows, it takes a couple of episodes for actors to really hit their stride with their characters – with Battlestar Galactica (Mark's last MW project), Katee Sackhoff often mentioned that she felt she'd played her character in the BSG miniseries a little too masculine, but "found" her a few episodes into the first season of the show proper (miniseries effectively functioned as the pilot to BSG in terms of helping people working out their actorly kinks).

      I think we're seeing the same thing with Gellar here – she's had a couple of episodes to warm up, and she's just getting started.

  26. shyfully says:

    YAAAAY you liked this! Also yaaaaay this review is early on the day that I would miss when it went up! Life likes me today!

    Okay, so. This episode. I was raised on DC superhero comics and since I was a young'un at the time, I was really drawn to the stories about the younger hero set, the sidekicks and so on. Anyway, I LOVE how much Buffy's story has in common with those comics! (Side note: if you enjoy the DELICIOUSLY NINETIES aspect of Buffy, you should check out the old Young Justice comic, which in addition to being so nineties you could sprout a fade cut from reading it, also references Buffy a lot with their made up show Wendy the Werewolf Stalker created by Joe Westin.)

    But yes, Buffy really, really wants to have a life that is normal. She's not really fighting against being the Slayer anymore, she just wants to have certain parts of her life that aren't all about the slaying stuff. So of course, witchery. Amy's mom is so creepy, guys. Taking over her daughter's body and returning to high school? Eeeeeeek. The scene of her interacting with Amy is creepy and a half.

    But this episode also really stepped up the humor. The scene of Buffy in the morning with Macho Man (interesting choice given all the stuff you pointed out about the girliness judgement, Mark!) and the juice (Juice!) is laugh out loud funny. She is just so excited about juice! And then when she is in the line-up and just bopping around before they start… amazing.

    I also like the ongoing issue our heroes have with FAILING AT STEALTH FOREVER. They are the least subtle people in the world and I love it.

    Yaaay Buffy *_* I'm glad you are starting to enjoy it, Mark!

  27. OMG I ACTUALLY GOT TO SEE THE NEW HEADER AND EVERYTHING. FINALLY. (Looks great, BTW.)
    In any case, ain't no shame in loving Cordelia. She's radical. Giles too. Oh! And Buffy's mom! I genuinely love all these characters, all for very different reasons. There. I said it. And I'm not sorry.

  28. Jenny_M says:

    One of my favorite scenes in this episode is one I'd forgotten about – the scene with Joyce and Buffy talking after all is said and done. Buffy asks her mother if she'd relive her teen years, and her mother says no, not even if it would help her understand Buffy better. It's such a nice moment between the two of them, and it shows a lot about their relationship.

    Naq V ybir gung gur yvar GBGNYYL pbzrf onpx va gur zbfg njrfbzr rcvfbqr RIRE! "Onaq Pnaql" vf tbaan or fb sha, l'nyy.

  29. notemily says:

    Oh dude, I wasn't expecting this to go up so soon! Mark, I love that you love this episode and its plot twist. If you think you're prepared, though, you are SO wrong. *rubs hands together with glee*

    Honestly, even in hindsight, I don’t think there was a single clue here that could have led me to figure out that Amy was in her mother’s body. Well, there are the brownies, but that's when Buffy figures it out, so it's kind of late to be a clue. There are hints earlier, though. Amy says "I can't get my body to move like hers!" which works on two levels, and I kind of love that line because yeah, NOT everyone can have a body that naturally is good at athletic stuff, and THAT IS OKAY, which the real Amy expresses at the end. I really hate when people are like "if you just TRIED HARDER, you could be great at [physical thing]!" And I feel like that was the point of gym class in school–to try to make everyone into an athlete. But bodies are different and not everyone's body is going to take naturally to whatever sport or exercise they're doing that day in gym class, and I wish more people would acknowledge that.

    Episode thoughts:

    "And you'll be stopping me… how?" LOL I love how Giles is like "I AM UR WATCHER U MUST DO WHAT I SAY" and Buffy is just like "Watcher, whatever."

    "Yours… always." TRYING TOO HARD, XANDER.

    I love the "Jock Jams" style music. NINETIES.

    Buffy's tiny little dress! TIGHTS WITH WHITE POLKA DOTS I CAN'T EVEN

    "Slayerettes!" Thanks Willow! Now we have a collective name for the group that we can use. Va sebag bs Znex.

    I love when Buffy just lifts the lid off the box that Joyce was crowbar-ing. Joyce doesn't even notice.

    "Maybe nothing will." That was Ironic Segue Fairy #5! I'm going to lose count of these eventually.

    I love that we can see Joyce struggle with parenting a kid who's been in trouble, and be unsure of herself when she upsets Buffy. Parents often try to put up a front to their kids that they know everything and they're completely sure of themselves, but Joyce lets Buffy see that she's having trouble, and it makes her more human in Buffy's and the audience's eyes.

    Buffy's assertion that Xander is "one of the girls" echoes Xander telling Willow that she's his "guy friend who knows about girl stuff." I feel way more sympathetic for Willow than for Xander here, though, because Xander is being kind of creepy with the bracelet thing and all. Although to his credit, he does at least TRY to ask her out and be direct–he just doesn't get to because the plot gets in the way.

    I always thought it was Amy at first and then Catherine switched after Amy didn't make the team, but apparently it was Catherine the whole time? Weird. Amy says it was "a few months ago" that she woke up in Catherine's body.

    "Oh, grow up!" This is so great. Once again, Buffy uses supernatural stuff as a metaphor, this time for parents wanting to relive their glory days of high school through their children.

    The real Amy is so much more awesome. "I know that I'll miss the intellectual thrill of spelling out words with my arms." "I'm thinking of getting fat." I love you, Real Amy.

    Sbe abj ng yrnfg. :C

    nyfnxsy;wnqsyf;qxfn ZNEX JNAGF ONPXFGBEL BA TVYRF BZT GUVF VF TBVAT GB OR FB SHA

    • echinodermata says:

      Real Amy is so great. "I'm thinking of getting fat" makes me laugh every time.

    • cait0716 says:

      At the very beginning of the episode Willow mentions that Amy lost a lot of weight, so I figure that was all Catherine's doing as well. She needed to get Amy's body in shape for the upcoming tryouts. I think Amy's line about getting fat was part of a reclamation of her body.

    • settlingforhistory says:

      Yes Slayerettes! A collective name is so important, it's like saying the trio or the marauders and finally having an alternative to list all the names.
      Ohg V'z rkpvgr sbe gur Fpbbol tnat, gung'f nyjnlf va zl urnq jura guvaxvat nobhg Ohssl.

    • nanceoir says:

      Well, there are the brownies

      For the, like, half-second they were on the screen, I was like, "I think those are Little Debbie brownies."

      And now I'm thinking, brownies would be good right about now.

      Clearly, I think the important thoughts.

    • hassibah says:

      I too am a fan of those tights.

      That techno song is STILL a staple at the home arena of the hockey team that I cheer for in the one sport I bother to follow so damn I know it so well, but to me it doesn't sound dated :/.

    • Smurphy says:

      SLV V'z ershfvat gb hfr fynlrerggrf. N. orpnhfr vg znxrf zr guvax bs gur fynlref va genvavat be jungrire gurl ner pnyyrq naq orpnhfr gurl ner gur fpbbol tnat naq gung'f gur bayl anzr gung fhvgf gurz… V jvyy whfg abg fb cngvragyl jnvg.

    • misterbernie says:

      Sbe abj ng yrnfg. :C
      Vfa'g gung gur gehgu *fnqsnpr* QNZZVG qba'g erzvaq zr bs cbfg-svir fghss >:|

    • lula34 says:

      "I love you, Real Amy."
      "Sbe abj, ng yrnfg."
      V jnf yvxr, jnvg, JUNG? V zrna, fher, Nzl vf pbby NG SVEFG, ohg 'zrzore nsgre fur'f qr-engvsvrq naq gheaf vagb Ovgpu Jvgpu naq…buuuuu, evtug. FCBVYREF. Naq gung'f jul lbh ebg13'rq lbhe arkg pbzzrag naq V'yy fgbc abj.

      V ybir Znex'f Zbqf. Ernyyl. L'nyy ner fhpu dhnyvgl crbcyr naq BZT, JR NER JNGPUVAT OHSSL GUVF vF FB RKPVGVAT LNL!!!!!!

      Pneel ba.

    • sporkaganza93 says:

      Oh yeah, I pretty much immediately latched onto the "Buffy and the Slayerettes" nomenclature. Or BATS for short. See, look. It's like the word "bats"! How awesome is that? V unir gb nqzvg, V yvxr vg zhpu orggre guna "Fpbbovrf", juvpu frrzf gb or gur fgnaqneq sna grez sbe Ohssl naq ure nyyvrf, nf sne nf V pna gryy sebz zl irel yvzvgrq vagrenpgvba jvgu gur snaqbz.

      • notemily says:

        Lol BATS, and it's a show about vampires! GET IT

        Ng svefg vg jnf xvaq bs jrveq gb zr gung gurl'er gur Fpbbol tnat orpnhfr… gurer vf NYERNQL n Fpbbol tnat? Gur npghny Fpbbol tnat? Ohg V'ir tbggra hfrq gb vg ol abj.

        • sporkaganza93 says:

          Pbzr gb guvax bs vg, gung znl or jul V qba'g yvxr gung avpxanzr irel zhpu. V unir n ovg bs n fbsg fcbg va zl urneg sbe Fpbbol-Qbb. V terj hc ba gung fubj.

  30. hassibah says:

    I totally get your comments about wanting to feel normal. Sometimes I feel normal just by virtue of the fact that I am me and I am the only norm it is possible for me to know, and others I feel freakish. I feel freakish often enough that it pisses me off when people romanticize being an outsider cause it's really not that fun when you have no choice.

    As for Giles, I don't think that he wasn't into Buffy cheerleading because it was a girl's sport, I just think he isn't the school spirit kind of guy that goes around yelling 'go team that is located near me and beat that team that is far away for me.'

    I love Buffy's mom. Do we know Buffy's mom's name?

  31. hassibah says:

    I totally get your comments about wanting to feel normal. Sometimes I feel normal just by virtue of the fact that I am me and I am the only norm it is possible for me to know, and others I feel freakish. I feel freakish often enough that it pisses me off when people romanticize being an outsider cause it's really not that fun when you have no choice. Anyways, I totally get Buffy here.

    As for Giles, I don't think that he wasn't into Buffy cheerleading because it was a girl's sport, I just think he isn't the school spirit kind of guy that goes around yelling 'go team that is located near me and beat that team that is far away for me.'

    I love Buffy's mom.

  32. hassibah says:

    I totally get wanting to feel normal. Sometimes I feel normal just by virtue of the fact that I am me and I am the only norm it is possible for me to know, and others I feel freakish. I feel freakish often enough that it pisses me off when people romanticize being an outsider cause it's really not that fun when you have no choice. Anyways, I totally get Buffy here.

    As for Giles, I don't think that he wasn't into Buffy cheerleading because it was a girl's sport, I just think he isn't the school spirit kind of guy that goes around yelling 'go team that is located near me and beat that team that is far away for me.'

    I adore Buffy's mom.

  33. monkeybutter says:

    The only good part of The Patriot is Jason Isaacs (who played Lucius Malfoy!) 😉

  34. arctic_hare says:

    And Zhao!

    <img src="http://i40.tinypic.com/wuqdcg.jpg&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

  35. arctic_hare says:

    And Zhao!

    <img src="http://i40.tinypic.com/wuqdcg.jpg&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

  36. arctic_hare says:

    And Zhao!

    <img src="http://i40.tinypic.com/wuqdcg.jpg&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

  37. arctic_hare says:

    And Zhao!

    <img src="http://i40.tinypic.com/wuqdcg.jpg&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

  38. Noybusiness says:

    This review was posted earlier in the day than normal, wasn't it? Is that going to be a regular thing?

  39. monkeybutter says:

    MIND=BLOWN

  40. settlingforhistory says:

    I never much liked this episode, maybe it’s because of cheerleading which I always thought so wrong in so many ways. (I know for some it really is sport and not just waving pompoms,
    but I’m with Giles on this one)
    Anyway re-watching it now is kind of wired, because I have all this feelings for the characters and certain plot points.

    Sbe rkpnzcyr Nzl, jub V cvglrq n ybe va etvf rcvfbqr ohg qvfyvxr fb zhpu abj.
    V nyfb cersrer gur jnl Jvyybj hfrf zntvp, abg jvgu n pbhyqeba naq n gung.

    The effects are great though, much scarier than the Master, like Cordelia’s eyes and the vanished mouth and the ending is so nightmare inducing.

    Nppbeqvat gb jung V ernq nobhg gur pbzvpf, gur fgnghr rira fheivirf gur qvfgehpgvba bs Fhaalqnyr. Fb fur vf fgvyy gurer, gencrq haqre cvyrf bs ehooyr. *fuhqqre*

    What I noticed especially while watching today, Buffy’s mom is a wonderful character, nit only is she trying really hard to be the best mother for Buffy, she also is successful without making a big deal out of it. I mean there are so many movies where they portray being a single-mother and having a job is almost impossible. So, I love this part of the show.

    N guvat V abgvprq gbqnl sbe gur irel gvzr:
    'Lbh qba'g unir gb qevir vg guebhtu zl urnq yvxr n envyebnq-fcvxr'
    Wbff frrzf gb ernyyl yvxr gung vzntr, evtug?

  41. Noybusiness says:

    Probably. A very tan white.

  42. kte says:

    Hey Amy!

  43. Noybusiness says:

    Fun fact that was on Whedonesque recently – Alyson Hannigan Reveals Why Willow Was a Redhead

    "Joss [Whedon] had us all over to his house," Alyson says. "Charisma and Sarah and I all had brown hair at the time. Joss said, 'All of your hair is kind of the same shade. Does anyone want to be red?' I went for it. Eventually Sarah got more and more blond, but it was because we all had a brownish, auburn mane."

  44. NB2000 says:

    (Now I'm even more annoyed with myself for talking my way into getting commited to go see Breaking Dawn today, I missed the post going up! Also that movie's kind of killed my brain so this comment's going to be awful)

    Such a good episode, not one of my personal favourites but it's still really good.

    It's interesting to watch "Amy's" earliest scenes knowing about the body swap. The way she's so glowing about her mother and harsh about the absent father when talking to Buffy by the trophy case reads very differently if it's coming from Catherine. Elizabeth Anne Allen does such a good job playing what's technically two characters.

  45. James says:

    Gah, he's so amazing. I've seen him in an episode of "Lie to Me" and an episode of "Community" since. He needs to be given a lead in something and all of the awards.

  46. Noybusiness says:

    Elizabeth Anne Allen was the runner up to play Buffy.

  47. MandaCookie says:

    This is one of the episodes that really sticks in my mind from my childhood (Naq Avtugznerf). I didn't really get the impact of the show because I grew up with it and having a kicking butt female character seemed completely natural to me. [sarcasm font] But apparently it isn't, and people don't want to see that on TV. Children want to see other children. Nobody wants women to talk to one another. White is the standard. Younger leads are more desirable. [/sarcasm font] I call BS on it! I really dislike TV execs.

    I love, love, love Joyce, and her interactions with everyone. V jbhyq unir yvxrq gb frr ure trg n zber vzzrefvir ebyr ba gur fubj.

  48. James says:

    Wbff frrzf gb ernyyl yvxr gung vzntr, evtug?

    LRF! Zl uhfonaq naq V abgvprq gung gbb naq gurer jnf zhpu pnpxyvat nobhg vg :Q

  49. Karen says:

    I'm tardy to the party, but whatever. I'm here now!

    So this episode plays more into the high school tropes than the previous two episodes did. The first two episodes played heavily into horror tropes, but this episode establishes that the show isn’t going to be JUST about vampires. This is the hellmouth and there are all kinds of supernatural things that congregate here. Plus, this show is going to be about the teenagers who encounter these supernatural things and will tap into those teen clichés. So this episode features… cheerleading! Basketball games! And there’s even a driver’s ed scene! These are classic teen TV/movie motifs.

    I love that this episode focuses on mother-daughter problems. Buffy and Joyce clearly have a strained relationship. Being the Slayer made it seem like Buffy was a troubled teen which seems like it put a wedge in the relationship as Joyce felt less able to trust Buffy. But now Buffy and her mom are in this new town, and Joyce is consumed with her new job while Buffy tries to connect to her. Then later when Joyce reaches out to Buffy by showing Buffy her high school year book, but Buffy asserts that she’s not her mother. They try to understand each other, but in the end Buffy does realize that at least she has a mom who loves her.

    Then of course, we have the central plot conflict about Amy and her mother. Amy’s mom is controlling. She had it all in high school and had a disappointing life afterwards, so she is trying to live through her daughter and recreate her glory days, first vicariously and then literally.

    Oh ho ho. Xander is lusting after cheerleaders and also gives a slightly creepy gift to Buffy. Blah blah blah. He wants to ask her out. I don’t really care, Xander. His “poor me” routine is obnoxious. Oh and he checks out books on witches to look at semi-nude engravings. Ha ha? Although I guess this was before the age of Internet Porn, so… whatever. But his whole “Nice Guy” routine with Xander is obnoxious. Waaaah he likes her, but she only sees him as a friend. One day she’ll realize that he was there the whole time and is totally better than any other losers she might date!

    Also, V jnf gelvat gb erzrzore ubj bsgra jr frr Nzl. Fur fubjf hc va rirel frnfba rkprcg sbe frnfba 5, evtug?

    Nyfb, qbrf nalbar xabj jura gur tebhc vf svefg ersreerq gb nf gur Fpbbovrf? V xrrc jnagvat gb pnyy gurz gung, ohg vqx jura gung jvyy fgbc orvat n fcbvyre.

  50. dasmondschaf says:

    MY RANDOM REAL-TIME THOUGHTS WHILE REWATCHING THIS EPISODE:

    OMG Pompous Giles!

    I dressed very similarly to Willow in 1997. And I was nowhere near as adorable as Alyson Hannigan. No wonder everyone made fun of me. ;_;

    OK, this episode just makes me want to watch Bring it On. Which I love. Unironically.

    Fast thinking, Buffy! Nice to know that Stop-Drop-and-Roll is part of Slayer training.

    V jvfu snaqbz unq yngpurq bagb gur Fynlrerggrf vafgrnq bs gur Fpbbovrf.

    Charisma Carpenter’s delivery is so amazingly wonderful. Cordelia, you come across as the most evil cheerleader ever. Brilliant.

    oh my gosh that terrible makeup when the girl’s mouth disappears

    oh my gosh I had COMPLETELY FORGOTTEN this twist, this is brilliant and tragic.

    So this episode is mostly about parental relationships! And there’s such a wonderful spectrum, from Buffy’s well-meaning but busy mother, to Amy’s insecure (and flat-out abusive) mother, to Giles, who is clearly being set up as a father figure in this episode. That moment when Giles is carrying Buffy to the Science Lab in order to reverse the spells, that is a moment of badassery and responsibility.

    Meanwhile, I think it is so adorable that Joyce clearly cares about Buffy’s well-being but is also trying to make a life for herself. She juices oranges for Buffy! She just wants to make sure her daughter doesn’t burn down the gym again! It’s a very realistic portrayal, and a very sympathetic one.

    And let’s just…. not talk too much about Amy’s mother. Poor Amy. D: I am happy to see that she gets a chance to repair her relationship with her father at the end. Ng gur fnzr gvzr, V’z univat gebhoyr erpbapvyvat guvf Nzl jvgu gur bar V erzrzore sebz Frnfba 6–nygubhtu V’z fher orvat fghpx nf n eng sbe guerr lrnef jvyy qb guvatf gb lbh.

  51. dasmondschaf says:

    MY RANDOM REAL-TIME THOUGHTS WHILE REWATCHING THIS EPISODE:

    OMG Pompous Giles!

    I dressed very similarly to Willow in 1997. And I was nowhere near as adorable as Alyson Hannigan. No wonder everyone made fun of me. ;_;

    OK, this episode just makes me want to watch Bring it On. Which I love. Unironically.

    Fast thinking, Buffy! Nice to know that Stop-Drop-and-Roll is part of Slayer training.

    I wish fandom had latched onto the Slayerettes instead of the Scoobies.

    Charisma Carpenter's delivery is so amazingly wonderful. Cordelia, you come across as the most evil cheerleader ever. Brilliant.

    oh my gosh that terrible makeup when the girl's mouth disappears

    oh my gosh I had COMPLETELY FORGOTTEN this twist, this is brilliant and tragic.

    So this episode is mostly about parental relationships! And there's such a wonderful spectrum, from Buffy's well-meaning but busy mother, to Amy's insecure (and flat-out abusive) mother, to Giles, who is clearly being set up as a father figure in this episode. That moment when Giles is carrying Buffy to the Science Lab in order to reverse the spells, that is a moment of badassery and responsibility.

    Meanwhile, I think it is so adorable that Joyce clearly cares about Buffy's well-being but is also trying to make a life for herself. She juices oranges for Buffy! She just wants to make sure her daughter doesn't burn down the gym again! It's a very realistic portrayal, and a very sympathetic one.

    And let's just…. not talk too much about Amy's mother. Poor Amy. D: I am happy to see that she gets a chance to repair her relationship with her father at the end. Ng gur fnzr gvzr, V'z univat gebhoyr erpbapvyvat guvf Nzl jvgu gur bar V erzrzore sebz Frnfba 6–nygubhtu V'z fher orvat fghpx nf n eng sbe guerr lrnef jvyy qb guvatf gb lbh.

  52. settlingforhistory says:

    Frnfba Gjb rcvfbqr "Jung'f Zl Yvar, Cneg Bar", fb vg jvyy fgvyy or n juvyr.
    Ohg jr pna pnyy gurz gur Fynlrerggrf sbe abj, Jvyybj fnlf vg va gbqnl'f rcvfbqr, fb vg jbhag or n fcbvyre.

    V'z ernyyl ybbxvat sbejneq gb Knaqre trggvat bire vf Ohssl-pehfu, V zrna ur jvyy nyjnlf or n ovg birecebgrpgvir bs ure ohg ur vf zhpu yrff naablvat va frnfba gjb, evtug?

  53. Karen says:

    V'z ernyyl ybbxvat sbejneq gb Knaqre trggvat bire vf Ohssl-pehfu, V zrna ur jvyy nyjnlf or n ovg birecebgrpgvir bs ure ohg ur vf zhpu yrff naablvat va frnfba gjb, evtug?

    HTU. KNAQRE VF FGVYY ERNYYL NJSHY VA FRNFBA 2. V zrna, rira gubhtu frnfba 2 vf jura ur fgnegf uvf eryngvbafuvc jvgu Pbeql naq n) gerngf Pbeql yvxr fuvg naq pbafgnagyl fyhg funzrf ure naq nyfb o) vf ernyyl fghcvq nobhg Ohssl'f eryngvbafuvc jvgu Natry. Pyrneyl ur ivrjf Natry nf n "onq obl" naq cbbe Knaqre vf fhpu n avpr thl naq jul qb tveyf nyjnlf yvxr gur "onq oblf". Jnu jnu jnnnnnu. V UNGR LBH, KNAQRE UNEEVF. Bu naq jub pbhyq sbetrg gur yvr Knaqre gryyf va "Orybatvat"? QVNS, KNAQRE.

  54. Mez says:

    Frnfba 2. Fgneg bs Cunfrf.

  55. arctic_hare says:

    I rot13'd a part of your comment because it was a spoiler. Fpbbovrf unf abg orra fnvq bafperra lrg.

  56. Mez says:

    Whfg jnvg – jura jr ernpu Jung'f Zl Yvar, gur pbzzragf ner tbvat gb rkcybqr jvgu "FPBBOL TNAT!!! Jr pna svanyyl fnl vg!!! FPBBOLFPBBOLFPBBOLFPBBOL…" naq nyy gur svefg-gvzr jngpuref ner tbvat gb or onssyrq.

  57. xpanasonicyouthx says:

    OH GOD I HATE THE REDESIGN AS WELL. Now I just use my Flipboard app for most of it because IT'S SO PRETTY.

  58. Oh, it happened years ago! Like, sometime early last decade? I think they're still the same newspaper, but it's just called Arlington in Arlington.

  59. dasmondschaf says:

    Ack, thanks for that! V jnf arire npghnyyl cneg bs Ohssl snaqbz, naq V'q nyjnlf znqr gur nffhzcgvba gung snaqbz pnzr hc jvgu 'Fpbbovrf' naq gur fubj vafregrq gur npghny grez nf n ersrerapr… orpnhfr vs V jrer znxvat n fubj, gung'f gur xvaq bs guvat V'q qb, yby.

  60. xpanasonicyouthx says:

    LOL AT ALL OF US WHO GOT IN BEFORE THE SITE DIED AGAIN.

    omg buffy fans there are so many of you online I STILL CAN'T GET OVER THIS.

    • Patrick721 says:

      ASSUMING DIRECT CONTROL.
      WE FIGHT AS ONE. OUR POWER IS UNMATCHED. WE ARE LIMITLESS
      YOU CANNOT STOP US, OSHIRO.
      </harbinger>

  61. MidnightLurker says:

    And thus a mild failure on the part of the universe was corrected. 🙂

    …Come to think of it, this is the exact reason why anime characters have so many shades of neon hair.

  62. James says:

    I really like that Joyce's line "sounds like (Amy's) mom doesn't have a lot to do" has so much more weight when you've seen the whole episode. She clearly doesn't! She's obsessed with reliving her youth to the point she'd steal Amy's body to do so. It's also a nice precursor to her saying she wouldn't want to be 16 again, and a huge indication that she's not the sort of parent who wants to live through their child by making them a carbon copy or by forcing them to do what they never got the chance to. I really love their relationship, especially a contrast to Amy and Catherine.

  63. settlingforhistory says:

    V nyjnlf gbbx Knaqre'f gerngzrag bs Natry zber nf gur Fpubbovr ntnvafg nyy inzcverf. Gur ceboyrz jvgu uvz vf gung ur frrf guvatf gbb oynpx naq juvgr, ur urnef inzcverf ner rivy fb nyy bs gurz ner ab znggre jung. Vg'f uneq gb or flzcngurgvp jvgu fhpu n punenpgre va n fubj gung qrnyf fb zhpu jvgu gur zber terl nfcrpgf bs tbbq naq rivy.
    V fgvyy ernyyl yvxr Avpubynf Oeraqba'f npgvat gubhtu, Knaqre vf dhvgr sha jura ur vf abg orrvat na n**.

  64. I love that I knew exactly what that was.

  65. MidnightLurker says:

    I really wish I'd gotten into this show earlier. But my first reaction was "why would anyone make a series based on that movie?" and I never got around to watching until sometime around season 4.

  66. NB2000 says:

    Lbh'er evtug, frnfba 5 vf gur bayl frnfba jvgubhg Nzl (V'z nffhzvat gur eng pntr fubjf hc ng fbzr cbvag ohg V pna'g erzrzore bss gur gbc bs zl urnq). Fur bayl unf gur bar oevrs, naq uvynevbhf, fprar va frnfba 4.

  67. MidnightLurker says:

    OUR NAME IS LEGION FOR WE ARE MANY.

  68. Maya says:

    Ahhhhhh I PLAN MY LUNCH AROUND WHEN YOU POST AND NOW I MISSED THE SNEAK POST ATTACK. Boo.

    I remember this episode being worse than it actually is. Especially Buffy's manic bits- SMG is particularly good at those physical comedy bits.

    I actually guessed the twist the first time I watched this, mostly because I realized it was a literal interpretation of the "mother reliving their youth through their children" storyline. Otherwise, the reveal was quite excellent.

  69. eruonna says:

    Ernyyl? V gubhtu fzt qvq dhvgr jryy nf Snvgu va Ohssl'f obql gurer. Fur znl unir birecynlrq n yvggyr, ohg gung'f ubj Snvgu vf. Ba gur bgure unaq, Ryvmn Qhfuxh qvq n greevoyr Ohssl. Guvf rcvfbqr tnir zr terng qbhogf nobhg Qbyyubhfr.

  70. monkeybutter says:

    Pff, you just change the timestamp when you edit comments.

    /Prometheus

  71. monkeybutter says:

    Pff, you just change the timestamp when you edit comments. I WILL NEVER BOW

  72. cait0716 says:

    Really? I guess he really does love doing that part. 🙂

  73. Rob M says:

    Uru. V znantrq gb pbzr njnl sebz gung rcvfbqr jvgu pbzcyrgryl gur bccbfvgr ernpgvba. V gubhtug Ryvmn Qhfuxh qvq dhvgr n tbbq Ohssl naq FZT qvq n greevoyr Snvgu.

    Vg'f orra n juvyr fvapr V'ir erjngpurq vg gubhtu (znvayl orpnhfr vg'f frnfba 4, naq V unir gb fhssre guebhtu Pncgnva Pneqobneq) fb znlor V'yy srry qvssreragyl guvf gvzr nebhaq (FZT'f vzcerffrq zr n yvggyr zber guvf erjngpu guna ba cerivbhf ivrjvatf, fb znlor ntr unf zryybjrq zr fbzrjung!).

  74. cait0716 says:

    V gubhtug Qhfuxh qvq zhpu orggre nf Ohssl guna FZT qvq nf Snvgu. Crefbany bcvavbaf naq nyy gung. Guvf jnf gur rcvfbqr V jngpurq bire naq bire juvyr jnvgvat sbe Qbyyubhfr gb cerzvrer.

  75. eruonna says:

    Ohg, ohg, ohg Bm! V guvax V jvyy fuvc Gnen/Jvyybj/Bm. V'q phg bhg gur zvqqyrzna naq tb Gnen/Bm, ohg gurer jbhyqa'g or nal purzvfgel gurer.

  76. settlingforhistory says:

    Gur zbivr ernyyl vf njrshy, V thrff nsgre gung Znex pna ab ybatre pbzcynva nobhg gur npgvat naq gur fghagf bs OgiF. :Q

  77. Raenef says:

    I love the themes in this episode, especially ones surrounding women and their goals, ambitions, relationships, and it doesn't have to do with a guy. Buffy and her mother versus Amy and her mother, Buffy's desire to join the cheerleading squad versus Giles's expectations, the real Amy's disinterest in cheerleading versus her mother's obsession, and Joyce's career and work being a part of her life and trying to balance that with giving Buffy attention/Buffy's "job" as a Slayer and trying to balance real life. I love iiiiit.

    Oh Xander. So eager, too eager.

  78. Dean dong! Look what I found!

    [youtube JM-28OgQUf8 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JM-28OgQUf8 youtube]

  79. NB2000 says:

    V NCCEBIR BS GUVF FUVC! Hfhnyyl V'yy cersre bar bs n punenpgre'f ybir vagrerfgf bire gur bgure ohg Bm naq Gnen ner obgu nznmvat naq V ybir gurz obgu.

  80. Mez says:

    No, it's really not.

  81. settlingforhistory says:

    Bm vf fhpu n jbaqreshy thl, V jvfu Frgu unq fgnlrq ba gur fubj rira nsgre gur oernx-hc be gung ur jbhyq unir ivfvgrq zber guna bapr.
    V'z abg ntnvafg Jvyybj/Gnen/Bm, vs Bm pbhyq trg uvf jbys haqre pbageby. 🙂

  82. NB2000 says:

    THERE ARE MANY COPIES. WE HAVE A PLAN!

    Okay no we don't.

  83. rabbitape says:

    I am roasting a pumpkin today (after stuffing it with bread, cheese, garlic, and cream) so I can't play in the comments like I want to. Instead, a few very brief things!

    – This episode has such a great mix of comedy, creepy, and Stuff Happening. When I first saw it, I was like, "More please!" and really happy that some of the ploddiness from the premiere was getting worked out.

    – Re: Buffy/Xander, In the smallish town where I grew up, there was a depressing dearth of dry-witted, sarcastic boys, so I latched onto Xander a little bit. 17-year-old me would have been all up in that. (Hagvy yngre jura Knaqre'f fuvggvarff orpnzr gbb terng sbe rira zl znffvir pehfu gb qral.)

    -Mark, that's a really lovely summation of Buffy's mother and their relationship. Joyce is one of the best TV moms I've ever seen.

    – And of course you want more Giles. You'd be a robot if you didn't. Who wouldn't want more Giles?

    In closing, IT'S PUMPKIN TIME!

    • I can't concentrate, that roast pumpkin sounds delicious and I am hungry. I am mentally tasting it in my brain.

      • rabbitape says:

        Ha! Well it's super easy to do, and you should make one for yourself. Just get a small pumpkin, scoop out the guts, throw some yummy stuff in there, and cook it for a couple of hours. Easy! And, yes, extremely tasty.

        • Thank you!
          Bread in before baking or after? Any particular type of bread? Any particular type of cream? I just just need to find a pumpkin. Maybe I can grow one?
          I am mentally tasting it again!

          • rabbitape says:

            Bread in before baking. And the grocery store should have pumpkins for you! Or if not, get a winter squash of some kind. (Just not spaghetti squash, which is delicious but doesn't work for this recipe.)

            Steps:
            1. Cut a hole in the top of your pumpkin. Scoop out seeds and guts. Rub salt and pepper all over the insides of the pumpkin. Also, soak the stem of the pumpkin top piece in some water so it doesn't catch fire in the oven.
            2. Tear up some stale-ish bread (or toast fresh bread) — baguettes are great, but anything will work. Chop up some cheese; 2 cups of cheese is a lot, but that's how I roll in this recipe. I like gruyere, but again, whatever you like. Mince up some garlic too. If you're a meat eater, then crumble up some cooked bacon or sausage. Toss all this together, put it in the pumpkin.
            3. Pour whipping cream over the whole thing, like 1/4 cup. Go ahead and salt and pepper some more. Dash of nutmeg if you're into that. Put the top back on. Put the pumpkin on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet, or in a casserole dish.
            4. Bake for about 2 hours at 350 degrees (Fahrenheit).
            5. Enjoy!

  84. James says:

    Crefbanyyl, V guvax gurl obgu unir gurve zbzragf bs oevyyvnapr. Gur fprar jvgu Gnen va Gur Oebamr vf n cnegvphyne snibhevgr bs zvar. Naq gur jnl Ryvmn qryviref gur "Jung'f n fgrirqber?" yvar xvyyf zr rirel gvzr.

  85. Saphling says:

    BUFFY FANS DON'T SLEEP.

    THEY WAIT.

  86. hpfish13 says:

    That is amazing!!! I miss new episodes of Community already! 🙁

  87. randomisjen says:

    If you watch the DVD's with the captioning turned on, it says it is.

    • monkeybutter says:

      Vg'f abg Nagubal Fgrjneg Urnq ba Argsyvk — vg'f fbzr enaqbz, qenzngvp-ibvprq, Nzrevpna qhqr — naq V oryvrir gung AO2000 vf evtug gung vg punatrf bire gb Urnq va gur frpbaq frnfba. Fb V qryrgrq lbhe pbzzrag.

  88. James says:

    I don't hate Xander on the whole, but I do hate aspects of his character and his Nice Guy tendencies definitely top the bill. And his constant need to be seen as a Manly Man, of course. Buffy is stronger than you, get over it.

  89. cait0716 says:

    Bu, V yvxr FZT. Gur fprar jvgu gur onguebbz zveebe vf n guvat bs oevyyvnapr. Ohg Qhfuxh unf guvf fubpx naq ihyarenovyvgl jura gur jngpure fcvgf va ure snpr gung whfg sybbef zr.

  90. James says:

    Right, yes! Haven't watched them in a while!

Comments are closed.