Mark Watches ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’: S01E07 – Angel

In the seventh episode of the first season of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, I realize exactly why I should have hated the Twilight series all along: This show already did that whole plotline. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Buffy.

There’s a few things I need to talk about regarding “Angel” over the course of this review, the first being the fact that I just typed “reagaurding” twice before I realized why my computer was telling me I am an awful speller. IT HAPPENS, OKAY? But I want to make this clear: I am going to make a concerted effort to avoid ever making any reference to Twilight, or at least as much as I can help it. I’m sure a lot of you don’t care to have me talk about it at all, and others are bored by me repeating myself. But I have thoughts and feelings and unfortunately they are tied to that abysmal series.

I feel I should get one thing out of the way, and it’s an example that demonstrates exactly why my spoiler policy is so ruthless and strict. Somehow, over the last fourteen years, I had not learned or internalized or even forgotten that Angel was a vampire. I yelped at the screen when he revealed himself, and that genuine surprise made this episode so much better than if I’d known all along. I’d entertained the notion that maybe he was a ghost or a spirit or some possessed lord of the vampires, but I can honestly say that the idea that he was an actual vampire never really crossed my mind. In a matter of minutes, not only does this show get more interesting to me, but now a character who had just been a slightly-irritating and not-shirtless-enough plot-bringer has…well, he has a history. Two hundred forty years of it, to be precise, and with that history comes a whole lot of baggage, violence, and emotional conflict. (PS: Could we get something like this for Cordelia? I NEED TO START STANNING FOR HER.)

But after this episode ended, it was pretty much impossible for my mind not to go to one place: I just watched the entire plot of all four Twilight books.

Yes, that’s an exaggeration, but after spending months and months reading that series (OMG BUY MY BOOKS OH MY GOD), it’s hard not to have references ready in my brain. I don’t want to draw any sort of conclusions about Meyer’s true inspiration, but this episode is THE EXACT SAME PREMISE. Not only is it remarkably similar, it is already done a thousand times better. There’s acknowledgment of the age difference in a much more significant way; there’s a very outright insistence on Buffy’s part that Angel has to keep his distance from her and her mother at one point. (Yes, it’s a bit misguided, but I still love that she firmly sets boundaries and demands that he obey them.) Other people in her life disapprove of the idea and she actually listens to them. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t ultimately make her own decision alone, but she actively engages with her friends to get their opinion on the situation.

My roommate (who’s a huge Buffy fan) said it was like Twilight existed solely in the set-up of “Angel” for four books. The books never progressed beyond this idea of falling in love with a vampire. With “Angel,” though, I feel like the show has set up the possibility for so many plotlines, and as someone who generally isn’t the biggest fan of romance, I’m actually excited to see what Buffy is going to do next. On the same note, I talked about what it’s like to be gay and watch storylines that hinge on heterosexuality in my post about “Teacher’s Pet” last week. I think “Angel” is a great example for me of a story that is between a heterosexual pairing that I can relate to and enjoy at the same time.

I suppose part of that comes from the fact that…well, let me first just get this out of the way. David Boreanaz has got his smolder down, and I think he smiled once in the entirety of this episode. I’m counting two half-smiles in the very end that occur during the final scene at The Bronze as one single smile, for the record.Β  Otherwise…wow, he’s not the best actor I’ve come across. Dare I say he seems rather inexperienced here? Which is fine, since I am not setting the bar high for season one of Buffy. Yet despite that, there’s an undeniable chemistry between Angel and Buffy, and it’s the writing that ultimately supports it. Well, I also don’t want to ignore that I think Gellar is actually getting much, much better as the episodes go on, and she gives a strong performance as someone torn between reason and emotion in regards to Angel.

I think I’m drawn to the idea that what Buffy and Angel are doing is essentially frowned upon. (Which does not mean I’m going to ignore that Buffy is still a minor here.) Again, being queer means that the society I live in can still view my sexuality in a very negative manner. I spoke briefly about the idea in a review for Looking For Alaska over on Mark Reads, but I remember that when I was finally able to kiss a guy, it was exhilarating because I felt that I was transgressing some forbidden rule, that I was doing exactly what I wasn’t ever supposed to do, and that excitement was a huge moment for me. Of course I’m projecting myself onto this story, but there seemed to be an element to Buffy’s kiss with Angel that reminded me of this.

“Angel” also navigates the extremely complicated grounds of sexuality in a high school setting, especially the “first” time you start to fall for someone. Unsurprisingly, Xander continues to be really gross and annoying about all of this. Oh my god, dude, we get it. You like Buffy. She does not reciprocate those feelings. PLEASE MOVE ON. Look, I really need him to…I don’t know. Become interested in someone else? Become interested in something besides girls? To be fair, I actually find his characterization so frightfully accurate to about a third of the guys I went to high school with that I’m starting to believe that’s not an actor playing him, but some random student pulled out of class for a few hours a day to just react to the things being acted out around him. Thankfully, I’m glad there are moments (albeit small ones) where the characters and the writing actively paints Xander’s actions as being ridiculous. I do desire some big, cathartic moment where someone tells him to knock it the fuck off, but for the time being, I’m glad there’s something here. (Have they all forgotten the events of “The Pack” so soon?)

I haven’t said much about her, but this is as good a time as any: Bless you, Joyce Summers. I’m beginning to truly enjoy Buffy’s mother as a character because she is so realistically portrayed as a source of conflict, but not some evil force in Buffy’s life. What’s so honest about her character is that the show doesn’t let us forget that she is genuinely trying to be a good parent. She’s never too pushy, but she knows when to be firm. Even if she doesn’t understand her daughter, that doesn’t mean she has to insult her or condescend to her. The truth is that she really doesn’t know her daughter is a slayer of vampires. How could she? Unlike “The Harvest,” I felt the “end” to the vampire confrontation and Joyce’s shaky memory was far more believable than the former’s resolution. What makes me happy, I guess, is that she’s not portrayed as a bumbling fool. She is clueless about her daughter’s true nature, sure. But that’s not something that a mother instantly goes to when her daughter is acting up, is it?

I mean, all Joyce knows is that Buffy misbehaved at her last school and burned down the gym in the process. She senses that if Buffy gets involved with the wrong crowd, she might relapse again. It’s why she’s so excited when Darla comes over, or when she sees Giles. It’s important to note that throughout this all, Joyce never doubts Buffy’s capacity for being spectacular, and it’s what I love about Joyce the most. She doesn’t think her daughter is a failure. She doesn’t think her daughter is a bad person. At heart, she believes in her. That’s a powerful thing to have from your parents, and it’s something I didn’t experience until after I was out of high school. When I did, though, that sort of inherent validation is a great feeling.

Oh, but let’s just take a moment to talk about Angel. It’s not enough for the show to just drop the revelation of his true nature on us; no, instead, through Giles’s research and from Darla and the Master, we learn that Angel has a history. Oh my god I WANT TO KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT HIM. The dude is a vampire who was one of the most ruthless killers in history, and then something happened 80 years prior that caused him to stop killing humans. HE KEEPS BLOOD IN HIS REFRIGERATOR. And he knows Darla, and he knows The Master, and OH MY GOD THIS IS ALL SO MUCH FOR ME TO HANDLE.

Even if the impetus for Buffy’s anger is a trick perpetrated by Darla, I still enjoy that it’s here. I was worried this episode would set up a really boring trope: since Buffy is a woman, her emotions would get in the way of her sense of reason. Which is not to say that the writers go the opposite direction and make her devoid of any emotional reaction, either, as she is clearly upset about Angel’s treatment of her mother. It’s a nice balance between the two, to show that a person like Buffy can be a veritable badass and an emotional human at the same time. The two aren’t mutually exclusive! Why can’t she be a girl and royally kick some vampire ass?

The trap against Buffy doesn’t work as Darla planned, and I think that’s because Buffy gets the sense that something’s not right with Angel. She chooses to follow her instincts, which is why she doesn’t kill him with the crossbow when she has the chance. It’s a risky move, sure, but I think she felt it was worth it to take the chance. The pieces really didn’t add up, and that’s when she finds out the real truth: a family put a curse on him for eating their daughter, and that curse gave him something vampires don’t experience.

Guilt.

I think in any other context, that idea might be ludicrous, but I really like its execution here; I think the possibilities are endless for where the show can take this character trait of Angel’s, and I’m also glad it supports everything we’ve seen from him in the past six episodes. Hell, it even explodes why he’s so mopey and quiet all of the time. Well, okay, not every time, but if you had murdered hundreds of thousands of people over the course of one hundred sixty years and then were forced to feel guilty for that after the fact, you might not be the same person anymore.

God, I can’t believe Meyer had vegetarian vampires in her goddamn books. LOOK HOW MUCH BETTER THIS IS. Okay, I swear, last time I’ll mention that.

I was shocked by Darla’s death, despite how inevitable it really is. I was just starting to like her as a character, and the reveal that she’s Angel’s maker gives them such an amazing dynamic. But really, how could she stay alive after all of that? I mean, SHE USES GUNS. First of all, THAT IS THE MOST AMAZING TROPE-KILLING PLOT TWIST EVER. When do vampires use guns? But Darla’s set up two people to despise her, and it’s Angel who stakes her in the back, a symbolic moment meant to represent that he still rejects her and her lifestyle and the Master. Now I can see why Angel always dropped little hints to Buffy: it was a way to assuage his guilt, if only for a brief moment.

But how is he going to act in the future? I feel like he and Buffy are on good terms in a way, even though they swear this is goodbye for them. (Did any of you who watched this in real time believe that Angel would never come back?) I think it’s a very telling sign that the cross Buffy wore branded Angel without him turning or making any indication that it had happened. Does Buffy enable him to control himself more than he thought? I WANT TO SEE MORE.

This is, like “Witch,” and “The Pack,” one fantastic episode of the show that I enjoyed a whole lot. Plus, we got to see Buffy knock Giles down on his ass for being a bit of a dick to her, so that was awesome. And…look, y’all, the Anointed One is a goddamn child. I can’t get over how amazing that is. OH GOD SO UNPREPARED AND I LOVE EVERY SECOND OF IT.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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742 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’: S01E07 – Angel

  1. ambyrglow says:

    Cyrnfr, havirefr, qba'g yrg Znex trg fcbvyrq sbe Qneyn'f ernccrnenapr ba Natry. Gung'f tbvat gb or njrfbzr. (Gung vf, vs jr pbaivapr uvz gb qb Natry erivrjf ol gura. V unira'g tvira hc ubcr!)

    • Smurphy says:

      Agreed. So not prepared.

    • NB2000 says:

      Jryy ur'f nyernql pbzzvggrq gb ng yrnfg qbvat pebff-bire rcf, bar bs juvpu vapyhqrf "Qneyn" (gur rcvfbqr naq boivbhfyl gur punenpgre nf jryy) fb ur'yy qrsvavgryl frr ure ntnva ng fbzr cbvag. Fb lrnu urer'f ubcvat abobql fcbvyf uvz!

    • IceBlueRose says:

      Ng gur irel yrnfg, jr pna jngpu uvz trg rkpvgrq jura fur fubjf hc va synfuonpxf bs Natry'f naq gura, yngre, Fcvxr'f. Ur'yy trg gur onpxfgbel ur'f orra jnagvat! πŸ™‚

  2. echinodermata says:

    Yay Julie Benz is back! And I love the dynamic between Darla and Angel.

    Still bored and annoyed by Xander’s petty jealousy thing. His whole conviction about not trusting Angel would go over a whole lot smoother if it wasn’t so laced with his desire not to see Buffy with anyone but himself. (Also, Cordelia is a bully but that doesn’t excuse calling her a whore hooker (ETA: pardon; got the quote wrong).)

    But I won’t tire of SMG being adorable.

    And fine fine Buffy/Angel shippers, I’ll throw you a bone.

    But then Angel’s a vampire! A vampire with a soul!

    And so you get to one of the hearts of the show – Buffy’s the Vampire Slayer. ~She alone will stand against the vampires, the demons, and the forces of darkness.~ But are those forces so black and white? Is this simply a show where she goes and kills all the monsters because that’s her destiny? We get a pretty good answer from this episode and we’ve got six and a half seasons ahead of us to refine that answer. (That’s like 6 months of Buffy omg this is gonna be great.)

    So! Vampire lore! I suppose I’ll buy the hating sunlight thing but the invitation thing always seemed awfully convenient to me.

    But the cross thing at the end of this episode just makes me laugh, though. Yikes that was cheesy.

  3. Jack_of_Hearts says:

    Stephanie Meyer, what the fuck have you wrought? I mean, "Twilight" maybe a horrifically written, racist, mysogenistic nightmare, but hey! At least the whole "vampire/human highschool romance" thing is original, right? LOL NO.
    So yeah, not gonna lie, my first impression of Angel pretty much boiled down to "Jesus, look at this fucking proto-Edward". Oh, he hangs out in the shadows? Broods and offers unnecessarily cryptic advice? Looks to go through and ehole tub of hairgel every evening? Yeah, VAMPIRE VAMPIRE VAMPIRE.
    But, beyond the outward similarities and the bare bones of the situation, the similarities (thankfully) fade away. And whilst I'd love to run through all the ways in which this show is already doing things SO much better than those fucking books, I'll instead attempt to sum things up in three points.
    1. Upon learning that Angel is a vampire, Buffy DOES NOT FUCK AROUND. She reacts with understandable revulsion and, when she thinks he might have endangered someone close to her, she puts aside all personal feelings- not an easy thing for a teenager in any situation – and readies herself to kill him.
    2. Angel is both blessed, and cursed, with a soul. It clearly defines and seperates him from the other vampires we've seen so far. He isn't kept alive or let off the hook because he's attractive, rich, sparkly, etc. His existence is defined by his regrets. He fights against his instincts and his very nature- and unlike the goddamn Cullens- he doesn't see this as being enough to let him live free of responsibility or punishment. Not only does he fight against himself, he fights against his his whole species.
    3. VAMPIRES. WITH. HANDGUNS.

    VAMPIRES

    WITH

    FUCKING

    HANDGUNS!

    I love this show.

  4. rabbitape says:

    I am full of glee at the reactions to this episode. It is precious to ussssss….

    Also, I'm pretty sure "not-shirtless-enough plot-bringer" is Angel's name in Elvish.

    • amyalices says:

      I'm pretty sure "not-shirtless-enough plot-bringer" is Angel's name in Elvish.

      FOR THE EVERLASTING WIN.

  5. amandajane5 says:

    I was a latecomer to the show also, and this was definitely the episode that solidified it for me.

  6. tanbarkie says:

    Not gonna lie, I've been waiting for this review with bated breath all week. Fnqyl, abj gung vg'f urer (naq nf njrfbzr nf ubcrq sbe), abj jr unir gb fheivir "V Ebobg… Lbh Wnar" naq "Gur Chccrg Fubj" orsber jr trg gb gur ERNYYL tbbq fghss.

    • misterbernie says:

      V Ebobg ng yrnfg unf Wraal naq fbzr cerggl njrfbzr Wraal/Tvyrf vagrenpgvba, fb gurer'f gung gb ybbx sbejneq gb.

      • ghawyeriao says:

        Lrnu, Zf. Pnyraqne naq Tvyrf vf gur bayl tbbq cneg bs gung rcvfbqr.

        V guvax Gur Chccrg Fubj vf qrprag, gubhtu.

        • tanbarkie says:

          V jvyy fnl gung gur gnt ng gur raq bs "Gur Chccrg Fubj" jvgu bhe urebrf cresbezvat "Brqvchf Erk" vf bar bs gur shaavrfg zbzragf bs gur ragver frevrf.

          • ghawyeriao says:

            Naq gur irel ynfg fprar, jura gur phegnva bcraf nsgre gurl xvyy gur qrzba.

            Falqre: V qba'g trg vg. Jung jnf vg … ninag-tneqr?

    • Smurphy says:

      V whfg jnag Fcvxr.

    • Noybusiness says:

      V yvxr gubfr obgu.

      V, Ebobg… Lbh, Wnar unf n ybg bs avpr gbhpurf jvgu gur rssrpgf bs Zbybpu orvat ersreraprq va gur onpxtebhaq ol bgure punenpgref be ba gur enqvb.

    • IceBlueRose says:

      V'z ybbxvat sbejneq gb gbzbeebj npghnyyl jvgu gur vagebqhpgvba bs Wraal naq gura gung zbzrag ng gur raq bs gur rcvfbqr gung V yvxr jura Ohssl fnlf abar bs gurz jvyy rire unir n unccl abezny eryngvbafuvc naq Knaqre fnlf gurl'er qbbzrq naq gura gung ynhtugre gung snqrf njnl orpnhfr, lrnu, gurl ernyvmr gung gurl ernyyl ner qbbzrq ng guvf engr.

      V'ir orra erjngpuvat naq V fxvccrq Gur Chccrg Fubj fvapr gnyxvat qbyyf perrc zr bhg fb zhpu. (V oynzr frrvat Puvyq'f Cynl jura V jnf sbhe. Gunax lbh, byqre oebgure, sbe gung!) V tbg guebhtu Unyybjrra lrfgreqnl naq abj V'z nakvbhfyl jnvgvat sbe Znex gb frr Ohssl'f fcrrpu va Cebcurpl Tvey jura fur ernyvmrf gung fur'f tbvat gb qvr naq gura Fcvxr naq Qeh'f vagebqhpgvba.

    • robin says:

      V ernyyl ernyyl jvfu jr pbhyq gryy uvz gb zhfg fxvc V Ebobg ORPNHFR VG VF FB SHPXVAT NJSHY. FREVBHFYL. NJSHY. Ohg… vg vagebqhprq Wraal. Fb… Guvf vf zl Oynpx Znexrg. V ERSHFR GB JNGPU VG NTNVA. *jrrcf*

    • sporkaganza93 says:

      V npghnyyl yvxr "Chccrg Fubj", ohg bu zl tbq, "V Ebobg, Lbh Wnar" qbrfa'g ubyq hc NG NYY. Znlor vg jbexrq ng gur gvzr, ohg V unir qbhogf nobhg rira gung. Vg'f whfg fb pbeal, naq fb boivbhfyl qbar ol crbcyr jub qba'g haqrefgnaq pbzchgref irel jryy. Cerggl fgnttrevat gb frr ubj sne jr'ir pbzr va n eryngviryl fubeg gvzr, fvapr gur fnzr thl jub perngrq Ohssl raqrq hc eryrnfvat "Qbpgbe Ubeevoyr'f Fvat-Nybat Oybt" fgenvtug bagb gur Vagrearg.

      • SelphieFairy says:

        OMGG So much copying and pasting in this thread!

        VNJGP, gubhtu. V yvxr Gur Chccrg Fubj, nunun. Naq frevbhfyl, nyy gur fghss nobhg pbzchgref nyjnlf znxrf zr ynhtu abj. Va Grq, Jvyybj zragvbaf fbzrguvat nobhg ubj zhpu fur yvxrf ure 9TO uneq qevir. Gung xvyyrq zr jura V jngpurq vg ynfg lrne. Rira vCbqf unir zber fcnpr guna gung.

  7. kmz says:

    Just FYI, and I don't think this counts as a spoiler, but David Boreanaz does get much better as an actor. This was basically his first acting job, and he was pretty much cast because he was pretty.

    • melmel says:

      Wasn't he noticed by Whedon while he was running in the street with his dog ?

    • pica_scribit says:

      Guvf pbhyq or pbafvqrerq na rkcrpgngvba fcbvyre, fvapr vg vzcyvrf gung Natry jvyy or nebhaq sbe ybat rabhtu sbe Obernanm'f npgvat gb vzcebir. Ubjrire, Znex nyernql xabjf gung Natry trgf uvf bja fubj, fb gung vf cebonoyl boivbhf naljnl! ;c

    • Kit says:

      Interesting bit of trivia: Nathan Fillion auditioned for the part of Angel.

      • selphiefairy says:

        Wasn't Mal written for David Boreanaz(did we talk about his fear of chickens on this site)? haha. I love all these switcheroos that happen during the casting process (like how Charisma Carpenter auditioned for Buffy and SMG auditioned for Cordelia).

        • @Ivana2804 says:

          I really doubt it, since that would mean that Joss expected DB to be the lead actor on two different shows on the same time.

        • Mez says:

          V qba'g xabj nobhg gung, ohg nppbeqvat gb n D&N V jrag gb…

          – Wrffr jnf jevggra sbe Qnaal Fgebat (Wbanguna)
          – Vanen jnf jevggra sbe Nzore Orafba (Gnen)
          …naq gurer jnf nabgure bar, ohg V pna'g erzrzore vg evtug abj. πŸ™

      • Dru says:

        Man, I LOVE having to put this in rot13:

        Oh, lbh'yy frr uvz yngre ba gur fubj! AND YOU WILL LOVE IT.

  8. Karen says:

    Mark!!! I was SO excited for you to get to this episode. When I went through the series, this was the first episode that made me think “yes! I can see how this show could be great!” It wasn’t full-out love yet, but this was the episode that convinced me to keep going in the series. (Also, when reading this comment, assume that the rot-13 stuff contains spoilers for both Buffy and its spin-off, just to warn and remind you guys.)

    Before I jump into the big stuff (AKA EVERYTHING INVOLVING ANGEL), I just want to make a few brief comments about the other characters. Cordelia is still underutilized, but when she told Xander to get his oafishness off of her $200 shoes, I was having flashes of Gob. “Come on!” Aaaand right off the bat, Xander retaliates by attacking Cordelia for her sexuality, saying her outfit makes her look like a hooker. The more I rewatch these episodes the more these little comments by Xander that are supposed to be funny make me angry. This episode is sprinkled with a dash of Xander being obnoxiously possessive and protective of Buffy, but whatever. It’s annoying, but not too anger inducing. The scene where Willow and Buffy are talking about Angel and what kissing him was like was brilliant. I TOTALLY HAD THOSE CONVERSATIONS WITH MY FRIENDS AS A HIGH SCHOOLER.

    Random sidenote: Remember life before cell phones where Giles could find out that Darla was the friend that Joyce let into the house, but he couldn’t contact Buffy and this was a major point of dramatic tension?

    Anyway, Angel is a vampire! Oh noes! Buffy’s finally kissed the guy she’s been crushing on and he turns out to be the thing she’s supposed to slay! At this point in vampire culture and mythology history was being a “good” vampire a cliché yet? Idk. Oh and here is Giles to reiterate that a vampire isn’t really a person at all. It’s a demon inside of a person’s body. But then! Then we find out that Angel has a soul! Dun dun duuuun. That changes everything. He now has a conscience and isn’t a demon driven by blood lust anymore.

    • Karen says:

      I want to talk a bit about Buffy and Angel’s relationship. The way the relationship is set up in this episode is VERY high school which makes sense because a lot of things in the previous episodes have been very high school. Buffy is very much a teenage girl with a teenage crush. I don’t mean this in a BAD way, but she is every bit the teenage girl with the crush on a mysterious, dreamy older guy in this episode. (See: the whole there’s only ~one bed~ scene and the fact that she’s writing about him in her diary using code names and calling him a hunk. Like that is legit something could have come from my teenage life if we were talking about Xanga instead of diaries. YES MY FRIENDS AND I USED CODE NAME FOR OUR CRUSHES. I HAVE NO SHAME.) Then there’s the way that everything just movies so fast. All of a sudden they’re at the kissing stage with very little conversation or connection preceding. Buffy and Angel have a ~connection~ that is just there. They’ve gone from crush to like to love super fast and with no scenes really showing WHY they’re into each other. The Buffy/Angel relationship is very high school which isn’t bad thing and it fits the tone of this season, but yeah. From Buffy’s side, it’s that crush you get on someone when he’s mysterious and you don’t know him that well and that’s completely realistic. I had a ton of crushes like that in high school. Sebz Natry’f fvqr, nf jr’yy yrnea yngre va “Nzraqf”, V guvax Ohssl ercerfragf ubcr. Fur ercerfragf Natry svaqvat checbfr va uvf yvsr ntnva. Naljnl, nyy guvf gb fnl, V qba’g ohl Ohssl naq Natry nf fbhyzngrf. Sbe Natry, uvf eryngvbafuvc jvgu Ohssl vf zber nobhg jung fur ercerfragf gb uvz, naq for Buffy, Angel is that teenaged crush that turns to like and then turns to love. I mean, she barely knows him, but in her teenaged mind, she’s already in love with him. And I’m not disparaging her for it. It’s a real experience for her and her feelings shouldn’t be dismissed. Anyway this episode concludes in that epic teen love tradition. They are star crossed and cannot be together. But they are unable to resist the attraction and the episode ends on a makeout session on the dance floor and a sense that they still have feelings for each other even if they can’t be together.

      Moving on to my FAVORITE part of the episode- the relationship between Darla and Angel. Firstly, I have to note: I’m 90% sure that the skirt that Darla is wearing when Angel remarks about her Catholic School Girl outfit is the same plaid that my elementary school uniforms (this was back in the 90s) were. NO1CURR, BUT WHATEVER. IT’S TRUE. On a related note, Natry fnlf gb Qneyn, “Ynfg gvzr V fnj lbh vg jnf xvzbabf”. UBJ UNIR V ARIRE ERNYVMRQ GUNG GUVF JNF N ERSRERAPR GB GUR OBKRE ERORYYVBA ORSBER? ZL ZVAQ VF OYBJA. V xabj gung xvzbabf ner npghnyyl Wncnarfr, ohg JUNGRIRE. Natry zvtug abg xabj gung naq ur zvtug unir pbashfrq Puvarfr qerff jvgu xvzbabf. Anyway, Darla misses Angel. I think she really does love him and wants him back. V ybir ubj erjngpuvat guvf nsgre frrvat nyy bs OgIF naq NgF, gurer’f n ybg zber fhogrkg gb gur fprarf orgjrra Qneyn naq Natry.

      Everything between Darla and Angel is great. She is trying to get him to become evil again. I get the impression that it’s not because she’s trying to hurt him, but rather she sees this as being who he truly is. She wants Angel to accept who he is so that he can have peace, and probably also so that he can come back to her. Darla and Angel have a history. She sired him and they used to love ach other. It’s poetic and a bit tragic that in the end, Angel is the one to kill her. V guvax guvf vf cneg bs jul jura fur pbzrf onpx yngre, ur’f fb qrgrezvarq gb fnir ure fbhy. Fur qvq zrna n ybg gb uvz ng bar cbvag naq ur srryf thvygl sbe xvyyvat ure, naq ur unf gung punapr gb fnir ure yvsr naq guhf orpbzrf gur punzcvba sbe ure yvsr. Naljnl, V’z abg na Natry/Qneyn fuvccre nf fhpu, ohg gurl jrer FB vzcbegnag gb rnpu bgure’f punenpgre nepf.

      In conclusion, I think this episode is pretty great and it’s the first episode where I could see the potential in the show.

      • cait0716 says:

        Lrf! Gur xvzbabf yvar! V jnf fb unccl jura, svir frnfbaf yngre, gurl erzrzorerq gung ovg bs qvnybthr naq xrcg gehr gb vg.

      • arctic_hare says:

        Fantastic comment as usual. πŸ˜€ I'll rot13 stuff I want to respond to in particular.

        1) Fcvxr znxrf n pbzzrag va Fpubby Uneq nobhg Natry "fgvyy qbvat gung Naar Evpr ebhgvar", fb V thrff vg jnf fbeg bs n guvat rira onpx gura. V guvax vg orpnzr zber bs n shyy-oybja pyvpur NSGRE Ohssl, gubhtu, jurer cerivbhfyl vg unq whfg orra Evpr'f guvat.

        2) Fb nterrq ba Ohssl naq Natry abg orvat fbhyzngrf.

        3) Guvf rcvfbqr ernyyl vf qvssrerag nsgre jngpuvat Natry naq trggvat gur shyy onpxfgbel bs Natry naq Qneyn. V ybir gurve eryngvbafuvc gbb, abg arprffnevyl va n fuvccl jnl rvgure, ohg vg'f fhpu n ovt cneg bs gurve uvfgbel naq vg'f snfpvangvat.

        I mean, she barely knows him, but in her teenaged mind, she’s already in love with him. And I’m not disparaging her for it. It’s a real experience for her and her feelings shouldn’t be dismissed.

        Thank you for this, I remember saying something similar about a relationship in a book Mark read, and I agree so much.

        • Karen says:

          2) Lrnu, V nccerpvngr Natry/Ohssl sbe jung vg jnf, naq vg jnf qrsvavgryl n uvtu fpubby eryngvbafuvc. V'z abg fnlvat gung nf n onq guvat, ohg gurer'f n lbhat ybir ivor gb gurz jurer gurl ner nyy nobhg cnffvba naq srryvat. Rira gubhtu gur fvghngvba vf pbzcyvpngrq, gur srryvatf ner cerggl oynpx naq juvgr va gur jnl gung vg pna or jura lbh'er n grrantre. Naq V sryg yvxr gurve eryngvbafuvc jnf urnivyl onfrq va srryvatf juvpu vf jul jura Natry pnzr onpx va yngre frnfbaf vg whfg arire jbexrq sbe zr. Obgu punenpgref unq punatrq n ybg naq jrera'g gur fnzr crbcyr nalzber. Ohg zber guna gur gur FUBJ unq zbirq ba. Gur Ohssl/Natry uvtu fpubby ivor sryg bhg bs cynpr nsgre frnfba 3. Gur fubj ribyirq gb n zhpu zber pbzcyvpngrq cynpr gung qvqa'g wvir jvgu gur srry bs gur Ohssl/Natry eryngvbafuvc. Gung'f abg gb fnl gung V ungr Ohssl/Natry. Vg jbexf sbe jung vg vf sbe naq sbe jung gur fubj vf va frnfbaf 1-3. V whfg qba'g guvax gurl'er Hygvzngr Gehr Ybir Fbhyzngrf.

          • arctic_hare says:

            V cerggl zhpu unir abguvat gb nqq gung, orpnhfr V nterr jvgu nyy bs vg. Vg jbexf rneyl ba, naq vg'f n ynetr cneg bs frnfba gjb'f cybg, naq V YBIR frnfba gjb, ohg nsgre frnfba guerr, gur fubj ernyyl qbrf zbir ba naq gur cnvevat qbrfa'g jbex nsgre gung. Cyhf gurl fgneg qrirybcvat Natry/Pbeqryvn bire ba uvf fubj, naq V nqber gurz naq gurve qlanzvp, naq guvax vg'f cresrpg sbe jurer gur punenpgref naq fubjf jrag gb nsgre gur uvtu fpubby crevbq raqrq.

          • @Ivana2804 says:

            I totally agree with you. But then, the show isn't really to blame for gur jubyr guvat jvgu crbcyr pnyyvat Onatry "fbhyzngrf", "bar gehr ybir sberire" naq nyy gung fghss. Gung jnf gur snaqbz naq gur zrqvn, Ragregnvazrag Jrrxyl naq fb ba. Gur fubj arire npghnyyl pnyyrq gurz gung. V ybir gur snpg gung gur bayl gvzr nalbar ba rvgure bs gur fubjf hfrq gur grez "fbhyzngrf" gb qrfpevor n fuvc jnf jura Qneyn pnyyrq ure naq Natry fbhyzngrf, vebavpnyyl.

            • Karen says:

              Bu sbe fher. V qba'g oynzr gur fubj. V qba'g guvax gur fubj jnf gelvat gb fryy Ohssl naq Natry nf fbhyzngrf. Ohg vg vf n fragvzrag V'ir frra zber guna bapr va snaqbz. Ohg V qb guvax gung gur fubj (sbe gur zbfg cneg) vf tbbq nobhg qrnyvat jvgu Ohssl naq Natry'f eryngvbafuvc. Gur fprar ng gur raq bs gur gjb-cnegre sebz 'Natry' frnfba 1 jvgu Snvgu jurer Natry lryyf ng Ohssl jnf ehqr ba Natry'f cneg (juvpu jnf jul ur arrqrq gb ncbybtvmr), ohg gur pbagragf bs uvf fcrrpu jrer gehr. Juvpu vf jul gur pbairefngvba gung Ohssl naq Natry unir va "Pubfra" frrzf n YBG yvxr cher snafreivpr pngrevat gb Onatry fuvccref (rfcrpvnyyl pbafvqrevat rirelguvat Natry unq erpragyl tbar guebhtu va frnfba 4 jvgu Pbaare, Pbeqryvn naq Wnfzvr), tvivat gurz ubcr gung bar qnl Ohssl naq Natry jvyy or gbtrgure 4rin be fbzrguvat.

              • Avery says:

                Va gur "Pubfra" QIQ pbzzragnel, Wbff vf fhecevfvatyl pnaqvq nobhg ubj gung pbairefngvba jnf vapyhqrq nf snafreivpr. Ur qbrfa'g hfr gung jbeq, ohg ur fnlf gung gurer jnf n ibpny zvabevgl jub jnagrq Ohssl naq Natry gb raq hc gbtrgure naq gung vg jnf gevpxl sbe uvz gb nqqerff gur crbcyr sbe jubz vg jnf vzcbegnag naq yrnir gung cbffvovyvgl bcra juvyr erznvavat rzbgvbanyyl ubarfg nobhg Ohssl’f eryngvbafuvc jvgu Fcvxr, yvxr, gjb zvahgrf yngre. Ohg V guvax vg’f cerggl boivbhf gung fprar jnfa’g punenpgre-qevira naq jnf zber va gur fcvevg bs oevatvat gur fubj shyy pvepyr, rira vs vg zrnag gunjvat n pelbtravpnyyl sebmra irefvba bs Natry sbe gur bppnfvba. V gubhtug vg jnf avpr ur znqr na nccrnenapr, ohg gurve vagrenpgvba vf whfg fb wneevat orpnhfr vg svgf arvgure bs gurve punenpgref be ubj gurl’ir punatrq fvapr gurl jrer gbtrgure.

                And I’m not disparaging her for it. It’s a real experience for her and her feelings shouldn’t be dismissed.

                Word. This episode’s depiction of how intense teen crushes can be is so dead-on that it’s hard not to watch it and remember every diary entry I wrote and how glorious every distant smoldering look was and how everything outside of that feeling was pretty much irrelevant. And my favorite part is that the text has such empathy for Buffy and how confusing that stage of life can be, even when it looks like she’s getting in over her head, jvgubhg ybfvat crefcrpgvir naq pbasyngvat gung vagrafvgl bs srryvat jvgu fbzrguvat npghnyyl ynfgvat sberire. I don’t feel this way now, which is why I love that I used to. As cheesy as the cross scene is, I don’t think my 13-year-old self would have survived it.

      • notemily says:

        V qb ybir gung gurl oebhtug gur xvzbab guvat onpx nebhaq, rira vs vg vf vapbeerpg.

      • notemily says:

        Also, I love this comment. *hugs it*

    • Jenny_M says:

      WRT vampire mythology, I don't think the idea of a "good" vampire had been really popularized yet. I think the standard at that point was pretty much Anne Rice stuff. I don't think Buffy was the first, but it was certainly one of the early ones. And can I just say that I am so tired of vampires who can go out in the sunlight? One of the WHOLE THINGS with being a vampire is that you lose the ability to enjoy the sun. It sucks! It is a sucky part of vampiring!

      (Pun not intended. Well. Sort of.)

      • Noybusiness says:

        Although the original vampires in myth could go out in the sun, it just made them weak and powerless. And they were more like zombies than later popularized vampires.

      • ghawyeriao says:

        Crbcyr fgvyy snyy sbe gung Naar Evpr penc? Jung n jbeyq!

      • @liliaeth says:

        I think that the first show that really went a 'good vampire' was Forever Knight. Gur irel cerzvfr bs Natry gur frevrf npghnyyl unf n ybg va pbzzba jvgu Sberire Xavtug nf jryy.

        • robin says:

          Forever Knight! *swoons* I admit I prefer their take on vampires to BtVS version. I think my favorite depiction of vampire mythology/dynamics right now goes:
          The Vampire Diaries (tv) > Forever Knight > True Blood > Being Human UK > BtVS > Anne Rice > Twilight

          (I know Buffy scores low, but I love tons of *other* things about Buffy.)

          • Mocha says:

            Slightly off-topic but I'm so glad I'm not the only one here who loves The Vampire Diaries! It's such a great show (consistently good writing, lightning-fast pacing, constant game-changers, etc) that so many people disparage just because it's on the same network as Gossip Girl.

            • robin says:

              I think it's a fascinating juxtaposition with BtVS. They kind of enhance each other in my eyes because they approach the same general set up (supernatural monsters are real, infect & feed off human society, and some people hunt them) with strongly contrasting points of view. BtVS has such a human-centered POV that it's really fun to watch The Vampire Diaries after you've been a BtVS fan, because there's this complete POV switch. BtVS and the Slayer mythos can be seen as built on this perception that human life is intrinsically more valuable than vampire life, and on TVD it's kind of the opposite. Even though we have some human characters on TVD, it tends to operates with a vampire POV and vampire morality as opposed to BtVS – which tends to operate with human POV, values, and morality. To really engage with and enjoy each show you have to put on the "hat" that's asked of you. In one universe you root for the slayers and against the forces that threaten human society. In the other universe you root for supernatural creatures & their created mixed family that you begin to enjoy as fascinating characters, regardless of the threat they pose to the outside human world or how much their code of ethics/acceptable behavior differs from your own and human society. We have already seen 7 episode in how most vampires are disposable in the BtVS universe, as most humans are disposable in TVD. AND I LOVE THAT I CAN LOVE THEM BOTH. Just as they are, for what they are.

              • threerings13 says:

                TVD love! And I 100% agree with everything you say here. Also, The Vampire Diaries books (far inferior to the series, of course) came around in 1992 and so predated BTVS by a lot. And they definitely did the "Good" vampire romance in high school thing first.

                So vampire fiction with "nice" vampires timeline. (I'm counting Louis from Anne Rice as a good vampire, although you could argue it. But that is clearly what he was originally meant to be.)

                Anne Rice ->Vampire Diaries books->Forever Knight->Buffy the Vampire Slayer->Twilight->Vampire Diaries (show)

          • James says:

            Oh man, The Vampire Diaries (show) has the BEST vampire lore I've ever seen.

          • MandaCookie says:

            I think Buffy kind of broke me in that sense. I had a hard time accepting certain things about TVD's vampires because I'm used to them being a certain way: The Buffy way. But I do love TVD! And the recent… let me rot this: rcvfbqr gung fubjrq ubj gur bevtvanyf pnzr gb or naq gur ernfbaf gurl'er nssrpgrq ol guvatf yvxr fhayvtug, ireinva, naq pna'g ragre crbcyr'f ubzrf. Rirelguvat gbgnyyl znqr frafr naq jbexrq jvgu gurve jbeyq.

          • notemily says:

            I'm kind of a fan of Moonlight, even though it is a COMPLETELY cheesy ripoff of a certain other show. I'm just a sucker for the angsty vampire, apparently.

      • cait0716 says:

        Dracula could go out in the sun, but the younger vampires he made couldn't. In that legend, and in Anne Rice's stories, it was an ability that came with age.

        • notemily says:

          That's interesting, because va Ohssl vg frrzf gb or gung inzcverf trg yrff uhzna naq zber inzcver-l jvgu ntr, jvgu gur Znfgre naq yngre Xnxvfgbf bs gur pybira unaqf. Gurl trg fgebatre, fher, ohg gurl qba'g tnva zber uhzna genvgf.

          • cait0716 says:

            Jryy vg'f arire cerfragrq nf gurz orpbzvat zber uhzna. Engure, gurl orpbzr zber vzzbegny. V'z abg fher Qenphyn rirel npghnyyl qvrf. (Ohssl: "V'ir frra lbhe zbivrf. Lbh nyjnlf pbzr onpx.") Ol gur raq bs Naar Evpr'f obbxf (V guvax gurl'er pnyyrq Gur Inzcver Puebavpyrf?) Yrfgng vf onfvpnyyl vaihyarenoyr.

            Ohg lrnu, gur Znfgre naq Xnxvfgbf frrz gb fuha gur yvtug zber jvgu ntr

      • Anne Rice did indeed popularize the idea of a "good" (or at least whiny and tormented) vampire with Louis in Interview with the Vampire, published in 1976. So yes, the concept was in full effect, and Anne Rice was the party responsible. Or to blame. Depends on your point of view.

        • hassibah says:

          For me it's definitely the latter. But yeah, the movie of Interview was kind of big. I mean it has Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise and Antonio, what else would you expect?

          • Actually, the movie was generally considered to be a critical and commercial failure (thank you, Tom Cruise), and it came out nearly two decades after the book. The book looms rather large over all the rest.

            • cait0716 says:

              The book is soooo boring. I mean it's awesome and strangely erotic and a genre-changer in vampire literature. The relationships are interesting, and the lore is cool. But Jesus Christ, Louis, you do not need to spend seven pages hallucinating in a church.

              • MandaCookie says:

                You know, I tried to read Queen of the Damned a while back and I could only get about halfway through it. I don't read very much, but it was so slow, and nothing happened! I only read it because I loved the IWtV movie, and maybe I did jump into the middle of the story but… sloooooooow. Having a hard time enjoying vampires outside of the Buffyverse. Thank Being Human and TVD, I'm able to enjoy vampires again.

                • Barbara says:

                  Queen of the Damned is the third book in the series. Interview with the Vampire and The Vampire Lestat were the books before it. That might be why it seemed so slow. I remember liking it when I read it, but it's been a while.

            • hassibah says:

              If I had to hear about it all the time, I consider it big. It definitely did a lot to get this genre attention and for people that didn't like it I'm pretty sure a large number of them would not have been reading those books if it hadn't been for the movie, and too many people I knew were reading those things at the time. But I mean 12-15 year olds probably have different standards than most of the world.

      • Katarina says:

        When I was a teenager, I got all softhearted over Annette Curtis Klause's The Silver Kiss, so I couldn't quite warm to Angel/Buffy because my heart was still occupied with Simon/Zoë. I haven't reread it as an adult, though. Quite possibly it's atrocious.

    • Yep, it was a full-on cliche at this point. Gurer'f rira n engure favqr ersrerapr gb "tveyf qvt gung Naar Evpr fuvg" va gur arkg frnfba, vs V erzrzore pbeerpgyl.

      • Karen says:

        Nu. Bx. V'z abg rira gung snzvyvne jvgu Naar Evpr (onfvpnyyl zl rkcbfher gb ure jbexf jnf bar gvzr V tbg n ovg qehax va pbyyrtr naq jngpurq Vagreivrj Jvgu n Inzcver), fb V qvqa'g xabj fur qvq gur jubyr erzbefrshy tbbq thl inzcver guvat.

        • You could be forgiven for not really getting that from the movie; it was not one of the better adaptations in the history of film. Basically, the book consists of Louis (who you may remember as Brad Pitt) whining ENDLESSLY about how he was an angsty young rich white planter with a whole bunch of slaves (so loads of sympathy upfront, amirite?) and then he was involuntarily transformed into a LOATHSOME AWFUL MONSTER and now his unlife is just not.to.be.borne. Aside from the parts where it's awesome. Also, he feels terribly guilty all of the time. It's really more of an extended meditation on being in the closet, which is appropriate given that Rice wrote it in 1973.

      • IceBlueRose says:

        V whfg erjngpurq gung rcvfbqr ynfg avtug naq lrnu, Fcvxr zbpxf crbcyr sbe ohlvat "gung jubyr Naar Evpr ebhgvar." Naq gura, V guvax Natry qbrf fbzrguvat fvzvyne jvgu gur tebhc gung jbefuvcf inzcverf va gur rcvfbqr, Yvr Gb Zr. Wbff'f inzcverf svaq Naar Evpr n jbaqreshy wbxr, V guvax.

    • echinodermata says:

      I totally got Gob too from Cordelia's line about her shoes.

      Also, my friends and I totally used code names for our crushes too. It was middle school, at least?

    • notemily says:

      Random sidenote: Remember life before cell phones where Giles could find out that Darla was the friend that Joyce let into the house, but he couldn’t contact Buffy and this was a major point of dramatic tension?

      Ha. In the context of people talking about a present-day remake of the show and/or a movie the other day, this makes me laugh, because what are they going to do if everyone has a cell phone? It's too easy to contact each other!

      • Obviously, the vampires will get signal jammers…

      • tehrevel says:

        Exactly what they do in horror movies in a post cellphone era. Everyone apparently forgets to charge them until they're right out or wherever you would need to make or recieve a phone call you are conveniently out of coverage. Or every character becomes really clumsy and it's "oh no I dropped my phone and it slid right into that open drain, hope no one was going to call and warn me that this abandoned orphanage was build on an ancient Cthulhu burial ground".

      • Dru says:

        No service/ out of range, of course! (or the old standby, the dead battery)

  9. Sophie says:

    I used to have a life goddamn it. I used to fill my days with people and things that were not you. Then last week I discovered 'Mark Watches/Reads, and it was everything I wanted but never thought to ask for.
    Now it is 5 am (Australia) and I can go to sleep now you know that Angel is a Vampire.
    You are amazing.
    You are NOT prepared.
    I'm going to sleep.

    • Smurphy says:

      This is how I feel… I like force myself to abandon Mark for large periods of time and have some remnants of a life… which just screws me over because then he starts doing BUFFY AND LOTR AT THE SAME TIME WHY? and I get dragged back in and… I used to have a life.

    • tigerpetals says:

      Like half my day everyday will now be consumed with the two projects. At least we have weekends.

      I'm falling behind on LOTR but I will comment today, I will.

      • Smurphy says:

        I don't have enough time during the day. I might have to pull a Mark and read ahead and blog about the chapters as I read them… I will just have to be uber careful about spoiling. WHICH HAS BECOME NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE. I'm seeing if I can finish tomorrow's LOTR today at work (thank God for the Kindle app on the iPhone) and then do the tomorrow's Buffy review tonight before bed…. BWAH!

      • notemily says:

        I'M SO BEHIND ON LOTR. I've been in a frenzy of Christmas-present-ordering because I hate shopping in physical stores this time of year so I had to get everything ordered before the shipping deadlines passed, and now I'm trying to catch up on everything, including, like, life, but more importantly LORD OF THE RINGS.

    • Shay_Guy says:

      "Ron and Hermione were a very good audience; they gasped in all the right places, and when Harry told them what was under Quirrell's turban, Hermione screamed out loud."

      That, to me, is the best summary of the appeal of Mark Does Stuff.

  10. misterbernie says:

    I rewatched this one on the weekend and I'm so glad that despite the obvious parallel to the T-word you don't hate it, but the opposite (that was what half my rot13 stuff yesterday was about, btw, i.e., fear you'll have flashbacks that might bar you from enjoying this ep).

    I can't even remember how I originally felt about the twist, but I still like the setup (and thank god Joyce apparently doesn't clean her daughter's closet).

    Random thoughts:
    – The acting is all over the place in this one; after the Kill! Feed! Live! line, I honestly expected a "mwahahahaha".
    – "I'd annihilate her" Well thank you for that constructive bit of advice, you little brat.
    – lol at the tuff bikers scurrying out of their way for the Three. If I saw those guys in the street I'd be wondering if there was some renfair they'd need directing to.
    – Shut up, Xander.
    – It's nice that Angel uses 'Romani' at first. Educate yourself, Buffy.
    – Darla with guns? Awesome.
    – Bless your heart, Willow.
    – Shut up, you little vampire brat.
    – Be my TV mom, Joyce.
    – Shut up, Xander.
    – Take off that shirt and let us tend that wound, Angel.

    Nyfb, V'z nyernql sne vagb Frnfba 2 va zl erjngpu. Bzt, vg'yy gnxr ntrf hagvy jr trg gb nyy gur tbbq zlgu/uvfgbel-urnil cnegf.

    • ghawyeriao says:

      Yeah, the portrayal of the Romani is pretty stereotypical. Rfcrpvnyyl jura Wraal'f hapyr fubjf hc.

      • misterbernie says:

        Bu lrnu, Hapyr Rguavp Fgrerbglcr jvgu gur Inthryl Rnfgrea Rhebcrna Npprag. Nyy gur htuf. (V jnf jngpuvat Fhecevfr/Vaabprapr gbqnl naq… lrnu. Lrnu.)
        Naq gur Trezna gvgyr sbe bar bs gurz rira vf Phefr bs gur Tlcfvrf (Syhpu qre Mvtrhare). JGS, qhoovat qrcnegzrag, jgs.

      • hassibah says:

        Ab wbxr! Abg ybbxvat sbejneq gb gung cneg.

      • Elexus Calcearius says:

        I know! At first I was like, "Oh, good, you said Romani" and then I was like "We're going for the 'Gypsies' Curse Trope? How original and respectful of their culture.."

        • Nick says:

          I thought that too the first time I saw it, but then I figured "Hey, this is a TV show where vampires and demons and magic and curses are all REAL so I guess this can get a pass." In a world where magic is fairly commonplace, you can take it less like "All gypsies are witches/warlocks!" and more like "Those witches/warlocks were Romani."

    • misterbernie says:

      Also, jura Qneyn bcraf gur funqr… bu lrnu, erzrzore gung gvzr jura fhayvtug uheg inzcverf? Ah, nostalgia.

    • notemily says:

      If I saw those guys in the street I'd be wondering if there was some renfair they'd need directing to.

      lololol I was thinking the same thing. or at least a hair-metal concert

  11. Anne says:

    This is the first show that I'm watching at the same time as you, Mark, and after feeling relatively underwhelmed by the pack (besides the part where the principal got EATEN OH MY GOD), I loved this episode. Although…for some reason, I already knew (from hearing or reading it somewhere, I guess) that Angel was a vampire. I actually spent part of the episode trying to figure out whether it had actually been revealed to the audience or not.
    But I love almost everything about this. How Buffy's mom is lying in a hospital bed, and still wants to know if Buffy's applying herself enough in history, and is just so thrilled that the school librarian cares enough to show up. ILU JOYCE.
    but HOLY CRAP THE END. I spent the last five or so minutes wondering why the big honkin' cross Buffy was wearing didn't deter Angel at all, until the cutaway revealed IT WAS IMPRINTED INTO HIS SKIN.
    OH MY GOD.

    • ghawyeriao says:

      Giles really is the Super Librarian.

      I'm glad they made Buffy's mother sympathetic.

      Rkprcg sbe gung gvzr fur xvpxrq Ohssl bhg bs gur ubhfr. Juvpu jnf haqrefgnaqnoyr, ohg … tnnnnnu.

  12. MightBeNatalie says:

    I was excited to see your reaction to this episode, especially in comparison to Twilight. I'm glad to see that you think that this take on the story is superior, since it hints at exactly how complex things could get in such a twisted relationship.

    The age difference is mostly played for laughs, but I'll admit I'm legitimately creeped out that someone of Angel's age and life experiences is chasing after a fifteen-to-sixteen year old.

    • Dru says:

      I'm legitimately creeped out that someone of Angel's age and life experiences is chasing after a fifteen-to-sixteen year old.

      And this is BEFORE we find out that ur'q nyernql frra ure orsber fur rira pnzr gb Fhaalqnyr, jura fur jnf fgvyy va YN and bloody well svsgrra lrnef byq. Naq gura ur cergraqf ur'f frrvat ure sbe gur svefg gvzr nsgre fur zbirf.

  13. Jenny_M says:

    [youtube aDguY0jtzBQ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDguY0jtzBQ youtube]

    I'm just going to leave this here. Yes, it is Old!Boreanaz, but it make me laugh and laugh.

  14. ABBryant says:

    When the list of things you knew about Buffy came out, I laughed tbqh. There was no mention of Angel's vampirism. I knew immediately that there would be much kemsyashing and a bran new [ATLA] Mhxb vf bmnv'f sngure vapvqrag.

  15. Let us take a moment to admire the fact that Buffy the Vampire Slayer chose to place the reveal that Angel is a vampire—a huge, game-changing revelation—at the end of the FIRST ACT and spend the rest of the episode developing it rather than simply use it as a cliffhanger.

    Let us take a moment to acknowledge that Joss and Co. had no idea Angel was a vampire when they wrote the pilot but were able to concoct a fascinating history for him that allows for so many story opportunities anyway.

    Let us take a moment to appreciate Joyce Summers. Because, seriously.

    Let us take a moment to mourn the loss of Darla, who showed such promise as a character but at least was not devoured by a pack of hyenas.

    Let us take a moment to laugh at Mark for how completely, utterly unprepared he is.

    • BradSmith5 says:

      Oh man, no kidding. It's been a while since I've seen these; I was shocked that the reveal came so fast. Then boom: Joyce gets bitten, Darla's blasting away with twin pistols, and forbidden love is steaming up the Bronze! I'm not prepared and I've SEEN the frickin' show!

    • NB2000 says:

      *laughs evilly at how far from prepared Mark is*

    • cait0716 says:

      Poor Darla. And just when she was getting interesting

    • DreamRose311 says:

      "Jr'er gnxvat n zbzrag. Naq jr'er qbar." 3vfu jrrxf gvyy gur neeviny bs Bm. Pna'g jnvg!!

      Mark! I'm so glad to have found this! I was already in need of a Buffy rewatch and was also trying to get my roommate hooked, so this made for perfect timing. It's actually worked so well on my roommate that we're already a bit ahead…

      But I love it! And I'm enjoying going back and reading Mark Watches Firefly/Serenity. Also I've been needing to re-read American Gods because I got the extended edition this summer, so I plan on reading and checking out your Mark Read American Gods reviews at the same time!! It will be so fun! I already looked at your final thoughts though to make sure you were happy with it :o)

      I won't be commenting too much because it will primarily be "Oh I can't wait till he sees _____ happen!!" generally based off of comments you make, but I had to at least give a hello!

    • notemily says:

      *takes all of these moments*

  16. Kari18212 says:

    Yay we're finally to Angel!!! Okay, now I'm under control.

    Since this is like my… oh 7th time watching this episode, I admit I mostly focused on a) if Giles got knocked out at any point (nope, which is probably a good thing for his brain) and b) Joyce. She is hysterical talking about how great teachers are at that school, but I'm glad she thinks so πŸ™‚ And it was fun to see Giles interacting with an actual adult rather than just a bunch of 16 year olds. And saying nice things about Buffy made me go awww πŸ™‚

    But, I'm really glad you didn't know Angel was a vampire. The shock of that scene is really what made it have an impression. I was worried that the "get in!" was too obvious when I was watching it this morning but it doesn't sound like it was so yay!

    Basically, shit is starting to maybe inch towards being real, and you are still far from prepared πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

    • notemily says:

      I actually always miss that "get in" and when Angel says the line about vampires needing to be invited, I'm like "wait, did Buffy invite him in?"

      • Kari18212 says:

        Yeah, it was pretty well hidden in all the running and trying to get away from the Three (terrible villain name by the way). I was listening for it, which is probably what made it so obvious to me

  17. cait0716 says:

    Yeah, this is definitely the episode that makes you sit up and pay attention. Early episodes hint that there is an interesting story to be told and that this show is not afraid to go to dark places. But this one raises the stakes (heh) and makes you realize that you are not prepared and won't be.

    I'm so glad you can see the differences between this and Twilight. I was a little worried that you would just write this off completely because of your horrible experience with that series. Buffy handles the whole thing a lot better by having her find that balance between emotions and logic and consulting her friends.

    Fun Fact: SMG and David Boreanaz had a "breath-off" for that final scene where they kiss. Both of them ate garlic and onions and loads of food like that in a attempt to have worse breath than the other. When you know that, Boreanaz starts to look like a better actor. πŸ™‚

    N inzcver jvgu n fbhy? Ubj ynzr vf gung! (jung'f gur cbyvpl ba ceboyrzngvp ynathntr va dhbgrf?)

    • ghawyeriao says:

      Yeah, I was worried Mark might hate it as well but, yes, Buffy handles the situation very well.

      N inzcver va ybir jvgu gur Fynlre … vg'f dhvgr cbrgvp. Va n znhqyva fbeg bs jnl.

    • notemily says:

      Dude, why would you deliberately ruin the experience of kissing a hott actor? Although that is kind of hilarious.

  18. atalantapendrag says:

    I was totally looking forward to your reaction to this reveal and you did not disappoint!

    Naq bu zna jngpuvat lbh syvc lbhe fuvg va frnfba gjb vf tbaan or nznmronyyf.

  19. stargaterejects says:

    I'm watching this show for the first time right now, and I have to say this was my favorite episode so far. I definitely got the whole Twilight vibe from it, but it was done much better than Twilight. I love Xander though, I think his jealousy is adorable! (Also I HAD THE CHANCE TO MEET NICHOLAS BRENDON IN NOVEMBER AND I MISSED IT ;__;)

    • IceBlueRose says:

      "(Also I HAD THE CHANCE TO MEET NICHOLAS BRENDON IN NOVEMBER AND I MISSED IT ;__;) "

      Feel your pain on that one! He was in my town for a comic convention (that I didn't realize was happening until the day of, they managed to keep it so underwraps!) and one of my best friends went and he had his own booth so she got to meet him. He was apparently extremely nice and sat and talked with her for 15 minutes, autographed stuff and took pictures with her. I was so jealous, lol!

  20. Noybusiness says:

    Qnivq Obernanm'f npgvat ernyyl fuvarf va Frnfba 2, jura ur cynlf:

    n) rivy Natry
    o) Natry cbffrffrq ol gur tubfg bs n qrnq jbzna

    Vg jnf gur ynggre gung tbg Wbff Jurqba guvaxvat ur pbhyq pneel uvf bja fubj.

    • melmel says:

      Bbbu, juvpu rcvfbqr vf ur cbffrffrq ol n qrnq jbzna ?

    • Jenny_M says:

      Ohg vg vf uvf Vevfu npprag gung ernyyl oevatf vg ubzr sbe zr.

      (Xvqqvat, bs pbhefr. V guvax QO orpnzr dhvgr n tbbq npgbe, ohg gung npprag…lrrfu!)

    • Andie says:

      Htu, gung rcvfbqr znxrf zr onjy rirel gvzr.

    • settlingforhistory says:

      'Qnivq Obernanm'f npgvat ernyyl fuvarf va Frnfba 2, jura ur cynlf:

      n) rivy Natry'

      Jvgu gur vagebqhpgvba bs Natryhf Qnivq ernyyl orpnzr n terng npgbe.
      Ur pbhyq cynl gjb pbzcyrgryl qvssrerag crbcyr naq whfg ol uvf gbar bs ibvpr, gur jnl ur fzvyrq znqr vg pyrne jrgure ur jnf Natry be Natryhf ng gur zbzrag.
      (Vg'f terng gung Znex nyernql abgvprf ubj eneryl Natry fzvyrf, orpnhfr Natryhf qbrf fzvyr n ybg juvpu fbzrubj znxrf uvz rira perrcvre.)

  21. hassibah says:

    I grew up with Interview with a Vampire being kind of big around middle school, so the whole concept of a vampire that feels bad about killing isn't all that novel or interesting to me, and Angel is no exception.

    But at least I can say he's a vampire now.

    I thought I was being hard on this episode because I really don't care for Angel, but nope it was boring to me the second time around and when he had his shirt off I couldn't even stop looking at that hair.

    Also this is probably just me but anytime I see a girl in a fight scene and she is getting overpowered and her love interest comes in to help her out I can't help but feel like I'm watching an episode of Sailor Moon.

    That said:

    The character development with Joyce and Buffy's relationship is lovely and Julie Benz acts the shit out of this episode. For some reason I thought Darla had a little bit longer to go before she got killed off but apparently not. I'll miss her!

    • cait0716 says:

      Cebonoyl orpnhfr fur fubjf hc va synfuonpxf naq riraghnyyl trgf erfheerpgrq

      • hassibah says:

        BU lrnu, V'ir frra Natry bs pbhefr ohg V gubhtug fur tbg gb yvir n yvggyr pybfre gb gur raq bs gur 1fg frnfba ba guvf fubj. Vg'f ernyyl n funzr ohg V'z tynq gurl riraghnyyl ernyvmrq gung vg'q or n tbbq vqrn gb rkcyber ure punenpgre zber.

      • BradSmith5 says:

        Mbhaqf! V gubhtug zl oebgure jnf znxvat gung hc! Ol Ze. Zklmcgyvx'f orneq, ubj vf fhpu n guvat cbffvoyr!?

    • misterbernie says:

      I can't help but feel like I'm watching an episode of Sailor Moon.


      oh god now that song will play in my head the next time we see Angel.

    • BradSmith5 says:

      Yeah, when "The Three" attacked Buffy I was expecting a rose to come zooming in from off-screen. Then we'd see Angel on top of a building: "Don't give up, Buffy! Use this time to transform into 'Slayer Buffy!'"

    • DreamRose311 says:

      When that happens do you yell out "Tuxedo-kamen sama!" I probably would… If you watched the subtitled versions that is. At least when Buffy's fighting it makes sense that it takes a little time to finish it because you have to find an opening. I enjoy Sailor Moon but it always seems like she could just do her attack-things right away to finish it… Meh I still love it anyway >.<

  22. Smurphy says:

    What I wrote yesterday. I have nothing to add about your review except THANK GOD YOU LIKE IT. I would have hunted Stephenie Meyers down if she ruined this.

    ANGEL! EEEK! Finally. I am soooo nervous.

    OOOH… The anointed is the creepiest kid ever. Mostly cause he's not that creepy but I just KNOW! "From the mouth of bathes"

    Annual closing of the bronze to nuke cockroaches… <3 it.

    Buffy pining over Angel… oh just you wait Buffy.

    Gur ortvaavat bs Knaqre naq Pbeql!!! LRNU!

    Oh Angel…lurking in the corner…

    "I don't want to fight all three of you. Unless I have to."

    Angel to the rescue… although let me point out… Buffy does NOT need rescuing.

    Gung vf n jrnx vaivgngvba…

    Htu… v sbetrg gur fgbel jvgu gur gnggbb naq vgf tbaan obgure zr… nalbar?

    LOVE THE SCENE WITH BUFFY AND ANGEL… Buffy is so not prepared.

    "It's a little late for tutoring." Joyce is so not prepared.

    I LOVE THE BED CONVO AND THE REST OF THIS SCENE! "Angel, do you snore?"

    "You weren't here from midnight to six researching it." "Yeah, I was sleeping." LOVE GILES FOREVER.

    "I am weary and their deaths will bring me little joy. Of course sometimes a little is enough." BEST BIG BAD EVER!!!

    Buffy's rant about her diary. PRICELESS.

    Angel saying he's a bit older… just a little bit.

    BUFFY AND ANGEL'S FIRST KISS!!!!!!!

    AND THEN ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE AND THIS IS JUST THE BEST SHOW EVER I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE YOUR REACTION!!!! AHHHHHH!

    Xander… I just love you so much. That entire speech.

    Qneyn naq Natry… vs Znex fgvpxf guvf bhg guebhtu Natry ur vf FB ABG CERCNERQ…

    Darla just strolls in and ruins the cover this show has given him. I never had as much respect for this scene as I do now.

    I JUST WANT A VIDEO OF YOUR FACIAL EXPRESSIONS DURING THIS EPISODE!

    V unir tebja gb yvxr Qneyn gbb zhpu gb abg yvxr ure evtug abj. V PNA'G QB GUVF!

    "And it's novel how he will stay young and handsome forever; although you'll still get wrinkly and die; oh and what about the children" *more flashbacks to twilight* BUT THIS CAME FIRST SO DON'T JUDGE.

    "My family kind of goes back to those days" Darla… I'm just filled with love toward you…. the following convo… Joyce, you are so precious.

    Poor Angel. Dude can't catch a break.

    "We don't have a barbecue fork."

    "That school is amazing" Oh Joyce.

    "I know what you are" dfkjbjdshjdhbvjbvjsdbf I WILL NEVER FORGIVE STEPHENIE MEYER FOR RUINING REWATCHES OF ONE OF MY FAVORITE SHOWS OF ALL TIME.

    Then the showdown… Such a great showdown of skill and wits. And we learn who Angel really is. A vampire with a soul. Anything I could say about this would be spoilery. So *zip*

    And Darla shows up and… AH *zip*

    Guns? Really Darla? What self respecting vamp uses guns?

    And that is the last of Darla

    be vf vg? qha qha qha

    THE ANOINTED! AH. THIS KID. AH!

    "Much heartier cockroaches." Xander… you had too few one-liners in this episode.

    AND THEY KISS AGAIN! V ybir fcvxr naq nyy ohg NATRY NAQ OHSSL SBERIRE HAGVY GUR RAQ BS GVZR.

    Best episode EVER! OK maybe not but.. still SOOO GOOD.

    • tigerpetals says:

      "V ybir fcvxr naq nyy ohg NATRY NAQ OHSSL SBERIRE HAGVY GUR RAQ BS GVZR. "

      ITA. It's like we're brain twins.

    • Kayla says:

      It’s sad that I’ve begun to pick out certain names via rot13 *and* that I’ve begun pronouncing the gibberish version…Also yes to all of these comments.

    • notemily says:

      It's weird to me that Giles says he was researching from "midnight to six," because doesn't Buffy not even get a chance to tell him about it until the next day?

      • Smurphy says:

        I was looking at that thinking to myself I think I got my points out of order…. but I don't think I did. So agreed. Odd.

        • notemily says:

          No, it's definitely not you, because I was thinking the same thing when I watched the episode the other night, I just forgot to write it down in my own comment.

  23. Time-Machine says:

    I haven’t said much about her, but this is as good a time as any: Bless you, Joyce Summers.

    <img src="https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-muX1Zb_8rz4/Ti_ItjZvtFI/AAAAAAAAA9w/MlyD0wrsOv0/s800/tumblr_lota8uToSz1qal1ox.gif"&gt;

    THE FIRST MEETING OF THE JOYCE SUMMERS APPRECIATION CLUB IS NOW IN SESSION.

    WE WILL START WITH THE ROLL. ALL WHO ARE PRESENT PLEASE MAKE YOURSELVES KNOWN.

  24. ghawyeriao says:

    __SHIT JUST GOT REAL SON.

    Now I can finally ask: how did you never know that Angel was a vampire?!? I thought pretty much *everyone* was spoiled for that by now. (I certainly was.)

    I'm impressed by the fact that, for all her pouting and whining and failed attempts to have a normal life, Buffy has acted pretty mature and businesslike so far, and I think this episode really highlights that. I mean, she's actually willing to try and kill Angel! And you're right, Gellar's acting has much improved from the first episode.

    I also like the way Joyce is characterized.

    "Otherwise…wow, he’s not the best actor I’ve come across."

    Hahahahaha yes. V'z whfg jnvgvat hagvy jr pna nyy ynhtu nobhg uvf njshy Vevfu npprag gbtrgure.

    "I mean, SHE USES GUNS. First of all, THAT IS THE MOST AMAZING TROPE-KILLING PLOT TWIST EVER. When do vampires use guns?"

    • ghawyeriao says:

      (continued…)

      I know, that was completely unexpected!

      V'z xvaq bs qvfnccbvagrq guvf jnfa'g hfrq zber serdhragyl va gur frevrf, nygubhtu V pna frr jul vg jnfa'g. Ohg ernyyl, gur bayl bgure crefba jub gevrf gb fubbg Ohssl vf gung zbgureshpxvat zlfbtvavfgvp jnfgr bs fcnpr Jneera? Ba gur bgure unaq: gur ebpxrg ynhapure va Vaabprapr jnf njrfbzr.

      Unir gurl nyy sbetbggra gur riragf bs “Gur Cnpx” fb fbba?

      Bu, zna. Lbh ner abg cercnerq sbe gur ynpx bs pbafrdhraprf ba guvf fubj.

      • misterbernie says:

        Naq lrg, gur tebva xvpx va Vaabprapr jnf njrfbzre :C

      • Mary Sue says:

        Wbff ungrf thaf. Ur fnlf va bar bs gur pbzzragnevrf sbe Sversyl (VVEP) gung onfvpnyyl nal rcvfbqr jvgu tha svtugf va vg jnf Gvzzl'f snhyg.

        Vg ernyyl qbrf znxr vg n ybg zber cbjreshy jura gur thaf qb pbzr bhg va Ohssl, gubhtu. Naq yrnq gb n jubyr trarengvba bs snatveyf ohlvat ohapurf naq ohapurf bs njrfbzr xavirf naq gnxvat fjbeqsvtugvat yrffbaf.

      • DreamRose311 says:

        Gur ynpx bs thaf guebhtubhg ernyyl qbrf znxr Jneera'f n zhpu zber cbjreshy fprar. Gubhtu V arire gubhtug nobhg gur nzhfvat jebatarff bs uvz nffhzvat ab bar unq rire gevrq gurz ba ure >.<

        V pna'g jnvg sbe Znex gb frr gur ebpxrg ynhapure! Zl ebbzzngr gbb, fur'f tbvat gb syvc. Vg'f fb sha jvgu hacercnerq crbcyr! Rirelguvat nobhg Vaabprapr vf fb jbaqreshy. Bm'f "Vg'f bx, V pna jnvg." naq Ohssl'f "Tvir zr gvzr." Ner gjb bs zl snibevgr fubeg naq "fjrrg" dhbgrf va nyy bs rire.

        Bbbbb Fcva Gur Obggyr!!! YBIR

        V ernyyl guvax Znex fubhyq whfg pnyy guvf 'jngpurf Ohssl/Natry' naq jngpurf gurz va pbeerpg rcvfbqvp beqre. Ur qbrfa'g unir gb qb gjb va bar qnl, vg jbhyq whfg nygreangr (vfu, va gur HCA if JO ren vg vfa'g n cresrpg nygreangvba.) V guvax whfg jngpuvat gur pebff bire rcvfbqrf jvyy znxr vg gbb pbashfvat jvgubhg gur erfg bs Natry oruvaq vg!!

      • robin says:

        Lrnu, guvf fubj qevirf zr n yvggyr penml jvgu jung gurl pubfr gb unir pbafrdhraprf sbe. Fbzrgvzrf vg srryf ernyyl neovgenel. Jryy, ng yrnfg lbh unir pbafrdhraprf! (fnlf gur Fgnetngr sna, jrrcvat dhvrgyl vagb ure unaqf)

    • settlingforhistory says:

      'V'z whfg jnvgvat hagvy jr pna nyy ynhtu nobhg uvf njshy Vevfu npprag gbtrgure.'

      Bu, gur npprag, vg'f fb ubeevoyr. V ybir Qnivq, ohg ur ernyyl pna'g qb vg, abg rira n yvggyr ovg. V'z tynq gurl qebcrq naq yngre ynzcfunqrq vg.
      Fcva gur obggyr vf fb zhpu sha.
      'Pbeqryvn: Lbh qba'g fbhaq Vevfu.
      Natry: Sbe zbfg pregnva, V fbhaq rknpgyl – Fbzrguvat vf jebat jvgu zl ibvpr.'

      • ghawyeriao says:

        Naq gung unve va gur Byq Jbeyq fprarf!!! Jung jnf gur pbfghzr qrcnegzrag *guvaxvat?*

        Znex cebonoyl guvaxf jr'er gnyxvat nobhg fbzr njrfbzr cybg gjvfg evtug abj, ojn un unu.

      • Andie says:

        "Qbrf nalobql unir nal jrrq?"

      • tanbarkie says:

        V xvaq bs nqber Qnivq'f njshy Vevfu npprag, ubarfgyl. Vg'f fb onq gung vg'f nyzbfg na npprag hagb vgfrys. V yvxr gb guvax gung Yvnz jnf whfg fhpu n zrff gung ur arire yrnearq gb fcrnx cebcreyl.

    • @kaylasavard says:

      "V'z whfg jnvgvat hagvy jr pna nyy ynhtu nobhg uvf njshy Vevfu npprag gbtrgure. "

      BZT uvf npprag jnf gehyl njshy.

  25. tardis_stowaway says:

    I am so happy that the trope similarities between this and Twilight made you go "LOOK HOW MUCH BETTER THIS IS" rather than running away screaming "no vampire/human romance ever again!"

    Yeah, Angel sure has spent a lot of time getting his brood on and not much time with any other expression. *pats David Boreanaz on his gel-spiked head*

    Joyce <3! The character of Slayer's mom could be so flat, but I share the appreciation that they make her a person who genuinely cares, even if she's clueless. I also <3 Darla for busting out the guns. Way to refuse to conform to vampire expectations!

    It’s a nice balance between the two, to show that a person like Buffy can be a veritable badass and an emotional human at the same time. The two aren’t mutually exclusive! Why can’t she be a girl and royally kick some vampire ass?

    This right here is a large part of why I love BtVS so much.

  26. NB2000 says:

    Because I've realised I suck at arranging my thoughts about this point in the series I'll just stick with a list:

    – The Three, possibly taking the idea of vampires not adjusting to the fashion of the current era to its extreme, way to blend in guys! They do end up feeling a bit too much like a plot point when they're just killed off by Darla, but she looks so damn EXCITED to be killing them which sows us a lot about her.

    – "That's sweet. What'd you do?" Joyce I love you so much. There are some aspects of her daughter that she understands even if she doesn't know everything. Little moment like that and her running in to check on Buffy after she screams at Angel make me love her so much.

    – Speaking of, YES! SCREAMING AT THE VAMPIRE! This is how sensible people react to these things SMEYER! (apparently I can't let go of the comparisons either). There's no way SMeyer has ever seen this show but Buffy's "How much older?" moment have me wondering if Melissa Rosenberg (the screenwriter for the movies) HAS seen this show. Univat whfg erjngpurq Fhecevfr/Vaabprapr nsgre frrvat Oernxvat Qnja ynfg jrrx V pna'g uryc ohg abgvpr gur frk fprarf, be engure phggvat njnl naq gura synfuvat onpx gb gurz yngre frrz NJSHYYL FVZVYNE!

    – Xander, just, okay I have to give him credit for the "Angel's a vampire. you're the Slayer. It's obvious what you have to do." part because he does have a point there. Shame he's making it for the wrong reasons. "How could you love an Umpire?" cover up is pretty hilarious though.

    – Nice leather pants when hunting Angel Buffy! She's actually dressed practically with the long sleeves and her hair tied back. It's nice to see is what I'm going for here.

    – Unfortunately I keep getting distracted during the final conversation between them because SMG suddenly looks several inches taller. Maybe it's the light and camera angles but I swear she's standing on a box for that scene.

  27. 00guera00 says:

    I love Joyce's lines in this one.

    "We don't even own a Bar-B-Q fork…"

    And I spent way to long trying to figure out if it was plausible that her cross would hit that high on him while they were kissing, lol.

    DARLA WITH THE GUNS…how did I forget that?

  28. arctic_hare says:

    YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH THIS EPISODE. πŸ˜€ Been cackling/waiting for this one since Welcome to the Hellmouth and all your wonderings about what Angel's deal is. Hell, before then, because of the whole Twilight comparison deal. Yeah, I'm not convinced that Meyer hadn't watched Buffy before, because she really did rip off this episode's premise and then shittified it. (IT IS A WORD. I JUST MADE IT UP NOW.) Buffy is already a much better character than Bella, because she has a brain and knows how to use it. Also friends – I don't recall Bella having anything in the way of actual, real friends she could talk to about that shit the way Buffy can with Willow and Giles.

    Notice I don't mention Xander there? Because obviously she can't talk to him about this part of her life and get an opinion that DOESN'T have an underlying motive of not wanting anyone else to be romantically involved with her. Xander continues to be super gross in this episode. Not just with Buffy, but I'm super skeeved out by what he says to Cordelia at the start of the episode. No, you jerk, you DO NOT get to slut-shame her for her choice of clothing. Not remotely cool. Ugh. I do not think he actually is a friend to Buffy; his primary concerns are getting in her pants, and making sure that nobody else does. He's put himself close to her for those reasons, NOT to actually be a friend. A guy that was interested in being her friend, and all that entails, wouldn't behave like Xander has been. OH WILLOW WHY DO YOU STILL CRUSH ON HIM. πŸ™

    Apparently they DID all forget about the events of The Pack, which I find extremely unrealistic, and that it cheapens and trivializes all that went on. Ugh. Fuck that episode. But that's all I want to say about it right now, because the topic here is THIS episode.

    On a lighter note, lol Meyer's "vegetarian" vampires. As far as I'm concerned, they're really not. I read Bunnicula way before Twilight existed, so I know what the hell a vegetarian vampire actually is, and it's not some sparkly stalker, it's an adorable bunny who sucks vegetables dry. MAN SHE DIDN'T EVEN GET THAT RIGHT.

    In other news, Joyce continues to be fantastic and I shall miss Darla. πŸ™

    • Karen says:

      'm super skeeved out by what he says to Cordelia at the start of the episode. No, you jerk, you DO NOT get to slut-shame her for her choice of clothing. Not remotely cool.

      Everytime I rewatch the show these little things just stick out to me more and more. The first time I watched Buffy years ago I was somewhat charmed by Xander. I thought he was funny and amusingly sarcastic. But now? UUUUGH. GO AWAY, XANDER.

      • arctic_hare says:

        MTE. Almost every time he opens his mouth, that is what I say to the screen: "GO AWAY XANDER."

      • cait0716 says:

        It's a really bad insult, too. He doesn't just call her a slut, he implies that *everyone* is calling her a slut. I do like the look she gives him, though

      • calimie says:

        IKR?
        I watched it when it aired and I liked him. Now that I'm older and I now more about feminism and such I just want to get into the screen and kick him.

        • @Ivana2804 says:

          It's the opposite with me. I really hated, hated early Xander when I first watched the show . He seemed to have all the worst , most annoying traits of boys my age that I knew. V qvq ubjrire fgneg gbyrengvat naq yvxvat uvz zber yngre ba, gubhtu ur bayl tebjf vagb na BX thl va frnfba 7.

          But in my rewatch, I don't hate him anymore – even though he's still got all those annoying, douchy traits, especially with his Nice Guy (TM) entitlement… but now I see him as a flawed character that was always written that way. He's not supposed to be a wonderful guy and perfect friend, he's a confused and insecure teenage boy who is trying to come to terms with his own masculine identity and is affected by gender expectations that he's been taught, and who still doesn't know how to treat strong women. And the show calls him on his idiotic attitudes and fantasies, for instance in Teacher's Pet or Fhecevfr.

          Gura gurer ner znal bppnfvbaf fhpu nf Cebcurpl Tvey be Fbzr Nffrzoyl Erdhverq jurer jr frr Knaqre juvavat nobhg Ohssl cersreevat nabgure thl gb uvz naq abg orvat nggenpgrq gb uvf cerpvbhf frys, fnlvat guvatf yvxr "Crbcyr nyjnlf jnag gur hanggnvanoyr naq qba'g frr jung'f evtug gurer" – juvyr Jvyybj, jub srryf nobhg uvz gur fnzr jnl nf ur qbrf nobhg Ohssl, vf evtug gurer naq fhpxvat vg hc. Gur vebal bs gur fvghngvba vf boivbhf naq vagragvbany, naq V guvax jr jrer zrnag gb frr ubj fvyyl naq frys-pragrerq Knaqre vf, nf jryy nf gur nofheqvgl bs uvf znyr ragvgyrzrag. Vs ur guvaxf Ohssl fubhyq erpvcebpngr uvf ebznagvp vagrerfg whfg orpnhfr ur'f ure sevraq naq ur'f vagb ure (htu), gura Jvyybj fubhyq unir gur fnzr ragvgyrzrag gb uvz?

          Knaqre'f tebjgu vf nobhg fybjyl yrggvat tb bs uvf vqrnf bs jung zra naq jbzra ner fhccbfrq gb or yvxr naq nonaqbavat gur snagnfl bs orvat n ovt, znayl ureb jub'f tbvat gb fjrrc Ohssl ure srrg. Gur fgbel bayl nyybjf uvz gb fnir Ohssl jura ur'f qbvat vg sbe ure fnxr, naq abg gb cynl n ureb naq abg orpnhfr ur rkcrpgf ure gb erjneq uvz ebznagvpnyyl (va Cebcurpl Tvey, jurer ur rira qentf Natry gb tb jvgu uvz).

      • rabbitape says:

        I sail in a similar boat — I liked Xander when I first watched the show as a teenager. (Zl yvggyr Knaqre-pehfu jnf ba funxl tebhaq guebhtubhg Frnfba 2, ohg gur svanyr whfg funaxrq vg. Nsgre gung V jnvgrq sbe gur fubj gb rvgure ubyq uvz nppbhagnoyr sbe orvat n greevoyr uhzna orvat, be gel gb erqrrz uvz va fbzr jnl sbe orvat n greevoyr uhzna orvat. Fgvyy jnvgvat ba gung.) But now, re-watching as an adult, I'm seeing an awful lot of red flags that I just did not notice before.

        (Yikes, sorry for that giant rot13 chunk in there!)

        • SelphieFairy says:

          Xander isn't my favorite character either.

          Ohg V guvax pnyyvat Knaqre n "greevoyr uhzna orvat" vf gbb zhpu. V fgnlrq bhg bs nyy gur "V ungr Knaqre" cnegvrf fb sne, orpnhfr V fvapreryl oryvrir zbfg crbcyr'f pbzcynvagf bs uvf punenpgre ner yrtvgvzngr. Ohg n greevoyr uhzna orvat? V guvax gung'f whfg tbvat gbb sne. Jung nobhg jura ur obhtug Pbeqryvn ure qerff? Jung nobhg jura ur FNIRQ GUR JBEYQ naq fnirq Jvyybj? Jung nobhg ubj ur gerngrq Qnja? Naq ur ybfg na rlr svtugvat nybatfvqr Ohssl. Ur unf ab sevttva cbjref. Ohg ur'f fgvyy gurer, svtugvat jvgu ure, orpnhfr ur'f yblny. Vf ur ubeeraqbhfyl vafrpher? Lrf. NYY uvf synjf tb onpx gb uvz orvat vafrpher, ohg vg qbrfa'g znxr uvz n "greevoyr uhzna orvat."

          Ok, I've said my piece. *goes back into hiding*

          • rabbitape says:

            Well, I have a tendency to engage in hyperbole for dramatic effect, so I won't argue that "greevoyr uhzna orvat" is a little extreme.

            Ohg nf lbh fnvq, znal crbcyr urer unir znqr inyvq cbvagf ntnvafg Knaqre. Lbhe znexf va uvf snibe ner vagrerfgvat, naq V guvax jr nyy jvyy unir n ybg gb gnyx nobhg nf jr ernpu gubfr riragf va gur frevrf.

            Uvf punenpgre nep znl irel jryy or gur bar gung trgf gur zbfg pbzzragnel urer.

            Which I really look forward to!

    • misterbernie says:

      OH WILLOW WHY DO YOU STILL CRUSH ON HIM
      Because she's 16 and has a teenage crush. I had way stupider crushes on awful guys well into… let's not go there >_>
      In other words, oh baby!Willow, I know your pain.

      • arctic_hare says:

        Oh, I know, I just… want her to find someone better. πŸ™

      • Karen says:

        Also, Willow isn't exactly Miss Popularity and when you're ignored by most people, I think you tend to latch onto the people who DO pay attention to you. Which for Willow happens to be Xander.

    • Noybusiness says:

      My Mom used to read the Bunnicula books to me. Chester is so funny!

      • arctic_hare says:

        I love the part in the first book when he ties the towel around his neck and pretends to be a vampire. xD

    • monkeybutter says:

      I'm petitioning to add "shittify" to the OED.

      And the rest of your comment is pretty great, too.

    • tardis_stowaway says:

      I do not think he actually is a friend to Buffy; his primary concerns are getting in her pants, and making sure that nobody else does. He's put himself close to her for those reasons, NOT to actually be a friend. A guy that was interested in being her friend, and all that entails, wouldn't behave like Xander has been.

      Yeah, Xander has been very much behaving like a Nice Guy, not someone who is genuinely nice and caring. Ew. (V unira'g jngpurq guvf fubj va n ybat gvzr. Vg jvyy or vagrerfgvat sbe zr gb frr ubj zhpu bs gur qvssrerapr orgjrra zl sbaq srryvatf gbjneqf Knaqre naq gur qvfgnfgr V'z srryvat abj pbzrf sebz yngre punenpgre tebjgu ba uvf cneg naq ubj zhpu vf n zber zngher crefcrpgvir ba zl cneg abj.)

      • laurel says:

        V jvyy nqzvg V ybir Knaqre qrneyl…ohg V cersre uvz va gur yngre frnfbaf. Ur'f n fuvg-urnq jura vg pbzrf gb uvf pehfu ba Ohssl, cyhf uvf eryngvbafuvc jvgu Pbeqryvn ng gur ortvaavat vf n yvggyr jrveq. Vg fgnegf trggvat tbbq, gura fur oernxf hc jvgu uvz, gura ur qrpvqrf gb, nf Ohssl chgf vg, vaibxr gur terng Ebbsvr fcvevg. Ng gur irel yrnfg, gubhtu, ur qbrfa'g gnxr nqinagntr bs Ohssl be Jvyybj (be nalbar ryfr) jura gurl fgneg guebjvat gurzfryirf ng uvz. Fgvyy, abg gur orfg jnl gb unaqyr n oernx-hc, zna. Ohg yvxr V fnvq, va gur yngre frnfbaf (rfcrpvnyyl va uvf vagrenpgvba jvgu Jvyybj ng gur raq bs frnfba 6) ur trgf orggre naq xvaq bs tebjf hc. Ur pregnvayl orpbzrf zber vafvtugshy naq vagryyvtrag, gung'f sbe pregnva. Uvf rneyl cbegenlnyf, juvyr npphengr, ubjrire, znxr zr pevatr whfg n yvggyr ovg. (Bxnl n ybg bs ovg ohg jungrire).

    • lawrence_s says:

      I'm super skeeved out by what he says to Cordelia at the start of the episode. No, you jerk, you DO NOT get to slut-shame her for her choice of clothing.

      Is he, though? I always just interpreted that as just general nastiness to someone he hates, not a specific commentary on her choice of clothing. Because honestly, I don't think he even noticed her clothing. I think it was just something he was planning on saying to her for a while (I can picture it now: "Oooh, that's a good insult, I'll have to remember that!") and found himself with an opportunity.

      It doesn't make it a nice thing to say, but I think it's nasty for other reasons, and the slut shaming aspect of it is something we infer simply because of his word choice, even if it wasn't actually his intent.

      I think in the context of who Cordelia is and how Xander feels about her make it a little less bad in a way: Cordelia prides herself on the approval of others. She wants to be adored. She hates the idea that anyone would think negatively of her, so the idea that people are talking about her behind her back, regardless of what they're saying, really unnerves her, and Xander knows that and takes advantage of it.

      Maybe I'm just playing devil's advocate, and Xander really is that bad, (gubhtu gur jnl ur gerngf Pbeqryvn jura gurl'er npghnyyl qngvat jbhyq frrz gb onpx hc gur "Ur ernyyl vf gung onq" gurbel – Vaabprapr, fcrpvsvpnyyl, "Jrne fbzrguvat genful … re.") but I'd really like to give him the benefit of the doubt – he is a teenager – and assume he, like a lot of high school students, was simply unaware of all the implications of his choice of insult, and just said something that would definitely bother Cordelia and that he thought she probably wouldn't have a quick comeback for.

      • arctic_hare says:

        Yes, he is. He's telling her not only that she looks like a hooker, but that everyone else is saying it too, and that looking like one is a bad thing. He knows damn well what he's saying, and even if he didn't, intent isn't magic.

    • knut_knut says:

      At the beginning of every episode I think to myself- maybe Xander will be better this time! Maybe as the season goes on he’ll be less of an ass. And normally he does ok, AND THEN HE RUINS IT ALL. Did he REALLY have to call Cordelia a hooker? Really? I don’t care if he was trying to 1-up her, it was awful and unnecessary. And I think most people have been in that situation where you have a crush on a friend, but most people don’t try to sabotage all their friend’s potential relationships. WORST FRIEND EVER.

      Even though Xander is probably what many 16 year old boys are like, did he really have to be written this way? I mean, this is a show about a VAMPIRE SLAYER. Surely we can suspend our belief and do without the slut-shaming, creepy as fuck friend. At least it’s only the first season? Lots of room for character development?

      • @Ivana2804 says:

        The show is about the reality of high school (in the first 3 seasons) and the entire show is in lot of ways an exploration of gender roles in contemporary society, the roles and relationships of men and women. Having someone like Xander or someone like Cordelia on the show is extremely important, because despite the supernatural, this is a realistic look at how people are. I much prefer to have these flawed characters who are still affected by gender expectations that the society has placed upon them, then some idealized, politically-correct people. The very fact that the show is about a girl who's a vampire Slayer means that the real conflict and tension and interest comes from how she fits in the contemporary world and how she interacts with the real world.

    • @kaylasavard says:

      Nobhg Knaqre, naq uvf nffubyr-vfu graqrapvrf va guvf rcvfbqr, naq ng inevbhf cbvagf guebhtubhg gur erfg bs gur fubj – V guvax gung'f jung znxrf nyy bs gurfr punenpgref erny. V'z abg tbaan yvr – Knaqre vf abg zl snibevgr, ohg ur'f pregnvayl abg gur jbefg rire. Ur'f na vqvbg grrantr thl, naq n irel npphengr cbegenlny, ubjrire naablvat. Ohg ur vf na vqvbg grrantr thl jub pnerf, juvpu qbrf pbzr bhg zber naq zber bire gvzr.

      Zl cbvag vf gung RIREL fvatyr bar bs gur punenpgref unir qbar fbzrguvat ng fbzr cbvag qhevat gur frevrf gb znxr zr jnag gb chapu gurz, ohg va gur raq gurl ner nyy rffragvnyyl tbbq crbcyr jub pner nobhg rnpu bgure – juvpu vf jul jr nyy ybir gurz fb zhpu πŸ™‚

  29. Imo says:

    "abg-fuvegyrff-rabhtu cybg-oevatre"

    Abg gb jbeel Znex – gurer ner fhecevfvatyl srj fuvegf va Natry'f shgher …

  30. And yet, you are still not prepared.

  31. tigerpetals says:

    This is one of my favorite episodes of season one! I'm glad your opinion of Twilight isn't clouding your enjoyment of it. Basically I'm trying to form thoughts, but most of what I felt during these 45 minutes was: squee! squeeee! squee squee squeeeeee! Not that I haven't had other thoughts about this episode, but they're too spoilery and I can't get them all down right now.

    Yep, Xander feels pretty typical, which doesn't render him less irritating when he does what he does. But his dancing was endearing! Ew and shudder to the fumigation party, but it's funny.

    Bangel is my ship. Yeah, it's a leap of faith for Buffy to hesitate with Angel, but we've already seen how kind she is in Witch, when she easily forgives who she thinks is Amy for trying to kill her. So she's not just hesitating because of hormones, she's hesitating because she doesn't automatically see him as evil and can tell he's a person. And I love that confrontation, the dark humor of Angel commenting on Buffy's missed shot and Darla's guns, her opting to torture Angel with Buffy's death instead of killing her, all of their reactions to Darla's death, the barbecue fork. What you said about Joyce, and how painful it must be to know your mom wants to believe in you but you can't fulfill her expectations because that might get her killed. Willow still getting excited about Angel even after learning that he's a vampire.

  32. Noybusiness says:

    I must say, Mark, this earlier time for reviews is much more convenient for me re:when I have access to a computer. It would be great if you could keep it up!

  33. Mandy says:

    Oh I don't know what to do!
    I already watched Buffy, but when I was a kid, and I didn't followed the show, I just used to watch sometimes, but this makes me know things, like that Angel is a vampire.
    But I feel that I'm in some kind of limbo, cause I'm not clueless like Mark is, but I can't read all your rot13 comentaries because this would spoil future things to me. Guess it's gonna be me all alone during this Mark Watches hahahahaha

    • Mandy says:

      and sorry about my bad english, it's not my first language =/

    • Saphling says:

      You're not all alone! I only know things about the show from my friends who would talk about the show around me. I'm only now watching it for the first time. So I know a few things – names of people who haven't shown up yet, a couple of plot points, but nothing substantial. Not being able to read all the rot13 comments is bordering on painful, I'm so curious to find out!

  34. monkeybutter says:

    I'm pretty sure that "Angel" is what made me love Buffy as a kid, and years later, I still vivdly remember Buffy's crossbow, Darla coming out guns ablazin', and the Cross searing Angel's flesh (eurrrrgh, still makes me squirm, but it's also so corny that I love it.) And yet again, Twilight ruins everything. I admire your restraint in this review, because everything made Twilight-thoughts pop into my head. PG sleepovers, blood in the fridge, Angel came over to the US at the same time Edward was turned, "Oh, what about the children?" (Xander will imprint on them?) Your roommate is dead on.

    And no, I knew Angel had to come back, because the writers wouldn't torture me that way, right?

    (PS: "Hell, it even explodes why he’s so mopey and quiet all of the time." Oh, autocorrect. &lt;3)

  35. @liliaeth says:

    I remember thinking how deep it was when Angel said that line of 'you don't know what it is to have done the things I've done and to care', when I first saw this episode. I was a teenager back then and the idea of this deep dark past seemed so powerful and strong. (hell, I just came off Highlander)…

    But now, as an adult, looking back at that scene, I can't help but think of how selfish that line is.

    Think about it, he's murdered hundreds, thousands of people, and he makes all their and their families suffering, all about him, and how bad HE feels about it. By now, when he says that line about that Romani girl being dumb as a post, I actually get pissed off with him.

    He murdered that girl. (uryy ur cebonoyl encrq ure, nybat jvgu Qneyn, juvyr fur unq ab punapr gb qrsraq urefrys, naq nyy fur jnf gb uvz jnf n gbl,) and he has the guts to insult her?

    The only way that becomes even halfway tolerable, is if you assume that he's trying to get Buffy to kill him, by pissing her off.

    • cait0716 says:

      I took the "dumb as a post" line to be specifically taunting Buffy. In that moment he wants her to kill him and so he's trying to make himself look as bad as possible. He knows it's a bad thing to say; that's why he says it.

    • PheasantPlucker says:

      Ybbxvat ng Natry/Natryhf nyy gur jnl guebhtu obgu frevrf, vg'f snveyl pyrne gung ur vf rkgerzryl tbbq ng znavchyngvat crbcyr vagb qbvat guvatf, naq xabjvat juvpu ohggbaf gb chfu. V'z guvaxvat va cnegvphyne bs "Fbhyyrff", jurerol ur hayrnfurq n gba bs penc bagb uvf sevraqf juvpu, ol gur angher bs gur vasbezngvba, ur unq gb unir cvpxrq hc jura ur fgvyy unq uvf fbhy.

      V nyjnlf gbbx Natry gb or gelvat gb cvff Ohssl bss va "Natry" ol abg bayl vafhygvat gung ivpgvz, ohg nyfb engure pnyybhfyl oevatvat hc gung ur zheqrerq uvf bja snzvyl jvgubhg oyvaxvat. Ur'f abg gelvat gb pbzr bss jryy va gung fprar, ur'f gelvat gb onvg ure vagb nggnpxvat.

    • settlingforhistory says:

      'you don't know what it is to have done the things I've done and to care'
      But now, as an adult, looking back at that scene, I can't help but think of how selfish that line is.

      It does sound selfish, but he is trying to explain the curse to her, how it is a terrible punishment and not a blessing (because for her it is of course a good thing to have a soul). I doubt you can really claim Angel is selfish, when he says he suffered because of the things he has done to other people, that he regrets what he has done.

      That stupid remark a bout the girl was just a way to make Buffy angry, just like his line about wanting to kill her. He says he hasn't killed anyone in 80 years after all. (Juvpu vf bs pbhefr n yvr, nf jr svaq bhg yngre va gur fcva-bss.)

    • Raenef says:

      HIGHLANDER FOREVER! Ubefrzra!

    • Genny_ says:

      I do agree it's selfish, but I think it's kind of also a narrative necessity? IDK, it makes it All About Him, but from a writers' perspective, I can understand it as a very convenient way to express the fact that it punishes him and that it was intended *as* a punishment.

      Kind of related: I do wonder if, because he was a vampire when he killed those people and therefore didn't give a fuck at the time, he can think of them as more than a faceless mass. Because I think how he views it depends on whether he thinks of it large scale ('I killed x amount of people!') or small scale ('I killed her, and him, and him…')…

      • cait0716 says:

        Yngre ba, Natry gnyxf nobhg erzrzorevat rirel snpr. Guvf vf npghnyyl oebhtug hc nf n qvssrerapr orgjrra uvz naq Fcvxr, jub erzrzoref vg zber nf n znff bs snpryrff crbcyr. Natryhf jnf nyjnlf zber bofrffrq jvgu zvaq-tnzrf. Ur unq n graqrapl gb trg gb xabj uvf ivpgvzf naq gbegher gurz orsber xvyyvat gurz (nf fubja va Nzraqf, nzbat bgure cynprf). Gb Fcvxr vg jnf yvxr na rkgraqrq seng cnegl. Fb Natry'f thvyg vf jbefr orpnhfr ur unf irel fcrpvsvp zrzbevrf bs nyy gur crbcyr ur xvyyrq bire gur lrnef.

      • @liliaeth says:

        Bu V xabj, V haqrefgnaq gur aneengvir fgehpgher guvat, naq V pna rira npprcg gung Natry jnf gelvat gb trg Ohssl natel rabhtu gb fgnxr uvz.

        Ohg gura V erzrzore gur guveq frnfba bs Orvat Uhzna, naq ubj gung fubj qrnyg jvgu Zvgpuryy znxvat gur fnzr xvaq bs fgngrzrag, va uvf pnfr gb gur tubfg bs bar bs uvf ivpgvzf, naq ur'f npghnyyl pnyyrq ba vg.

        Gung ur'f cvglvat uvzfrys sbe zheqrevat gubfr crbcyr.

        • Genny_ says:

          V guvax gung jbhyq unir orra n zhpu orggre jnl gb qrny jvgu vg: chg vg bhg gurer, fb gur nhqvrapr haqrefgnaqf, gura qrpbafgehpg vg. Fbzr bs gur jevgvat va guvf rcvfbqr vf cerggl funxl VZB, sbe nyy gung V rawbl vg birenyy.

    • Karen says:

      The only way that becomes even halfway tolerable, is if you assume that he's trying to get Buffy to kill him, by pissing her off.

      I think that this might be the case. Vg erzvaqf zr bs gur fprar va frnfba 7 jurer Fcvxr vf gelvat gb tbnq Ohssl vagb xvyyvat uvz orpnhfr ur guvaxf gung ur'f qnatrebhf fvapr ur'f gur Svefg'f fyrrcre ntrag.

  36. Just to play devil's advocate: for all of you who are convinced that Meyer must have gotten the idea for Edward/Bella from Buffy and that she must be lying when she says she wasn't aware of the similarity: neither was Mark until yesterday. Mark's quite a bit better-read and generally pop-culture-familiar than Meyer, too.

    • calimie says:

      The problem is that I believe Mark when he says it, but I don't believe SMeyer.

    • PhsntPlkr says:

      If it was simply vampire+schoolgirl=romance I might agree, but given the number of parallels, I fell like Whedon and co might have a good case against SMeyer for plagarism.

      • Jason says:

        Not nearly as much as L.J. Smith does. I've only read the first Vampire Diaries book (the TV show veers off COMPLETELY after the pilot, so it's only in the book that the parallels are so strong) and it's basically the same story, down to similar dialogue, just without the rest of his family. Apart from Damon, of course.

        • hassibah says:

          heh I never read the books or watched that show, but my brother saw a few episodes and he's like "it's basically like Buffy but no fun."

          (sry to any fans, don't shoot the messenger!)

      • echinodermata says:

        Can you or anyone else list the parallels? Never read or watched any of Twilight myself, and I'm curious.

    • hassibah says:

      Honestly I don't like defending her, or really talking about her books at all, but this seems so rediculous to me.

      Vampire romance as a genre predates Buffy. Whiny ass vampires that don't kill humans predate Buffy. And as far as I see Twilight and Buffy have vastly different takes on the thing.
      Why is it always in these books that the girl is working class and the male vampire usually has a mansion and no need for money? Like the age and super strength thing didn't make things unequal enough?

      • settlingforhistory says:

        About the money: when you live for hundreds of years you simply accumulate a lot.
        Even if you start out with just an old house full of furniture, you will have antiques in a couple of centuries and even with the lowest interest rates you will have thousands to spent after all that time (and you don't have to waste it on food and rent). Fcvxr nibvqf guvf gebcr orpnhfr ur qbrfa'g pner zhpu nobhg zbarl be ur fvzcyl yvxrf gb tnzoyr gbb zhpu.

      • @liliaeth says:

        Npghnyyl Natry vfa'g evpu, rfcrpvnyyl ng guvf cbvag. (ur qbrfa'g trg zbarl hagvy ur svaqf gung zbarl va gur Ulcrevba naq hfrf vg gb ohl gur ubgry. Ur'f tbg n srj nagvdhrf, fbzr zrzbevrf, naq nyy gung, ohg ur'f pbzvat bss n praghel bs rngvat engf naq zbfgyl yvivat va nyyrlf.

        • hassibah says:

          V jnf gnyxvat nobhg gur traer va trareny. Ohssl fgnlf njnl sebz fbzr pbzzba cbvagf va gur traer nyernql ol univat ure or nf fgebat nf inzcverf ner, naq orggre ng svtugvat guna n ybg bs gurz. Gung jnf zl cbvag nobhg gur qvssrerag gnxrf bs Ohssl naq Gjvyvtug ba inzcver ebznapr.

          This is more of a general point about vampire romance but rot13ing it anyways.

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      I sort of agree. Meyer really doesn't strike me as the type of person who really watches this kind of stuff, or even just keeps up on pop culture.

    • RobotNinja says:

      Yeah, Meyer's might not have seen Buffy before hand, but if I was writing a book about vampires, I'd go out and study all the previous vampire-related media to make sure I didn't step on anyone's toes. Not watching even the first season of Buffy before imparting on a series of vampire novels: pretty big oversight.

  37. Ryan Lohner says:

    Like I said on an earlier episode, the writers started out with no idea what Angel’s backstory was, which is why there’s that whole scene in The Harvest where he’s pretty darn close to direct sunlight without a care in the world. The first idea they had was just to play off the name, and make him a literal angel who was cast out of Heaven and is trying to earn his way back in. That could have been interesting, but I think the way they went is a lot more so.

    • arctic_hare says:

      Edited out your last sentence because it was spoilery.

    • Mauve_Avenger says:

      OK, then I wasn't completely imagining him being in the crypt entrance in the daytime. Good to have confirmation.

      I knew that he was some sort of supernatural creature from seeing a stray episode of Angel way back, but didn't know what kind. I was hedging on him being a vampire because I'd heard of the Twilight connections, but I figured he couldn't be one because of that scene.

  38. I've been refreshing this page for the last hour, because this is the review I wanted to see the most this week. I was really curious to see how you would react to the big reveal of Angel's identity given your experience the series-that-shall-not-be-named. I'm so glad you liked it though! I really love this episode and the way it spins the vampire/human romance story. I think it works so much better to have a vampire who is more like a human trapped in a vampire's body as opposed to having a vampire who tries to act good because he somehow has a better sense of morality than other vampires for no apparent reason. And I think the way the writers had Buffy react to everything in this episode was perfect. She certainly doesn't ignore the implications of Angel being a vampire, and actually goes out of her way to hunt him down, but she doesn't turn off all human emotion either.
    Also, vampires with guns. I know everyone is going to comment about how cool that is, but come on. When has that ever been done before, right? I also love the scenes with Willow where she's just being a hopeless romantic. It's just so cute.

    I also like this episode simply because my sister, who had already seen all of Buffy and Angel and was getting me into it, totally mislead me about Angel's identity on purpose, and it was kind of a funny moment when his face changed and I yelled at her for lying to me while she laughed maniacally.

    Nz V gur bayl bar jub trgf ernyyl rkpvgrq jura Znex gnyxf nobhg ubj onqyl ur jnagf punenpgre qrirybczrag sbe Pbeqryvn? V nz fb tynq ur'f tbvat gb jngpu Natry ba uvf bja gvzr rira gubhtu ur jvyy bayl npghnyyl erivrj gur pebffbire rcvfbqrf. Fur unf zl snibevgr punenpgre nep, naq V'z ernyyl rkpvgrq sbe uvz gb erivrj fbzr bs gur qrirybczrag gung unccraf va gur arkg pbhcyr frnfbaf bs Ohssl.

    • misterbernie says:

      I've been refreshing this page for the last hour, because this is the review I wanted to see the most this week.
      Only the last hour? I've checked ever since the LotR review went up at around 3:30pm CET.

    • Andie says:

      unun Ab, lbh'er abg gur bayl bar. V trg n yvggyr ovg fdhrr-l jura V guvax bs Pbeqryvn'f punenpgre qrirybczrag gbb.

    • IceBlueRose says:

      Qrsvavgryl abg gur bayl bar. Jurarire Znex fnlf ur jnagf punenpgre qrirybczrag sbe Pbeqryvn, V srry yvxr tbvat "VG'F PBZVAT, QBA'G JBEEL, BZT, JNGPU NATRY." V ybir gur jnl fur qrirybcf ba Ohssl naq gura, yngre, rira va gur svefg pbhcyr bs frnfbaf bs Natry. Frnfba sbhe eblnyyl gvpxrq zr bss naq gura V tevaarq ng ure oevrs erghea va "Lbh'er Jrypbzr" rira gubhtu vg jnf n fnq zbzrag fvapr vg jnf nyfb bhe ynfg gvzr frrvat ure.

      Gung jnf zl ybat jnl bs fnlvat V'z evtug gurer jvgu lbh ba gur Pbeqryvn fghss! :Q

    • @kaylasavard says:

      Qrsvavgryl abg gur bayl bar! Pbeqryvn orpnzr bar bs zl snibevgr punenpgref qhevat 'Natry', naq V ernyyl ubcr Znex ng yrnfg jevgrf n erivrj sbe rnpu frnfba fb jr pna frr uvf gubhtugf ba ure qrirybczrag!

      • Karen says:

        Pbeqryvn vf bar bs zl snibevgr punenpgref vf nyy bs gur Ohsslirefr, ohg V whfg qba'g xabj vs Znex unf gur gvzr gb jngpu 'Natry' juvpu vf n funzr orpnhfr 85% bs ure punenpgre qrirybczrag unccraf gurer. Fb rira nsgre ur svavfurf frnfba 3 bs Ohssl ur'yy cebonoyl or gbgnyyl pbashfrq nf gb jul fbzr pbzzragre ner fhpu ovt snaf bs uref.

    • SelphieFairy says:

      V guvax gur punenpgref jvgu gur zbfg qrirybczrag naq jvgu gur zbfg vagrerfgvat Nepf ner nyy ba Natry. Pbeqryvn vf bar, bs pbhefr. Ohg gura gurer'f nyfb Jrfyrl naq Qneyn. Gur punenpgref punatr N YBG.

    • notemily says:

      "A human trapped in a vampire's body" is a great way to describe Angel, and I haven't thought of it that way before, so thanks πŸ™‚

  39. tanbarkie says:

    Rewatching these episodes is hard for me. Not because they're bad, or because they're good, or because they had such a huge emotional impact on me.

    But because EVERY TIME someone mentions Darla, all I can think of is that scene from "Finding Nemo" when all the fish scream together, accompanied by Psycho violin shrieks:

    "DARLA!!!!!"

    Thanks, Pixar. *grumbles*

  40. RaeBear says:

    Love this episode, love reading Mark watches, just full of love. I came home from something all those many years ago and my husband says "you have to watch this RIGHT NOW" and he re-watches what he has just watched and BAM, we're in the Whedon world and life was enriched. I forget that this episode isn't the first ep of the show (LOL)! We loved everything/one, but the kiss at the end was just awesome. LOL! I remember thinking, "oh wow Darla is dead!" And the shock. Didn't know about Principal Flutie because we watched out-of-order that first season. What great memories.

  41. Andie says:

    Cerqvpgvba: Jura Znex frrf Fcvxr naq Qeh uvf ernpgvba jvyy or, "JUB NER GURFR CRBCYR V YBIR GURZ GRYY ZR RIRELGUVAT NOBHG GURZ."

    • The_Consultant says:

      Yes.

    • Mocha says:

      Completely agree. FCVXR UHEEL HC NAQ TRG GB FHAALQNYR NYERNQL NAQ OR SHYY BS ONQNFFREL NAQ NJRFBZR. *Nurz* V'z nyfb ernyyl ybbxvat sbejneq gb Frnfba 2 orpnhfr bzt NATRYHF. Naq "Vaabprapr", cebonoyl zl snibevgr rcvfbqr bs Ohssl orfvqrf bzt gur F2 svanyr (abg rabhtu grnef va zl obql gb nqrdhngryl rkcerff zl srryvatf ba gung). Naq gur zhfvpny rc, bs pbhefr. GAH I'm so glad Mark's doing Buffy, it's making me fall in love with the show all over again.

      • tanbarkie says:

        V whfg jngpurq Orpbzvat Cnegf 1 naq 2 ynfg avtug. Vg unfa'g ybfg na vbgn bs vgf cbjre bire gur cnfg 13 lrnef.

    • NB2000 says:

      V ubcr fb orpnhfr BZT

  42. guest_age says:

    It’s a nice balance between the two, to show that a person like Buffy can be a veritable badass and an emotional human at the same time. The two aren’t mutually exclusive! Why can’t she be a girl and royally kick some vampire ass?

    Exactly, Mark. That's what I have always loved about Buffy as a character and the way they write her. She's not a robot. She has emotions–very strong, very deep ones, in fact–and she enjoys things that are typically thought of as overly feminine such as cheerleading or going on regular dates with boys or even being smoldered at by Angel–and not a single bit of that neither informs nor detracts from the fact that she will fuck. shit. up. She's not powerful in spite of being a girl, and she's not powerful because she's a girl. She just is.

    As far as your Twilight references, I'll admit that they make me cringe not because I don't understand them–I really, really do, as I inevitably spent my time while I forced myself to read those books hissing, "BUFFY IS BETTER,"–but to add another to the pile: Angel is in Buffy's room potentially watching her sleep because she invited him there, not because he's being a creepy-ass stalker. YAY.

  43. Robin says:

    Twilight done right?
    Who could have guessed that=)

  44. misterbernie says:

    Gung'q or V Bayl Unir Rlrf Sbe Lbh va Gjb.

  45. Ashley says:

    Buffy was the first show I ever watched where things changed and had consequences. I was raised on a steady diet of X-Files, and as much as I still love that show and will love it forever and ever, it was nine seasons long and nothing EVER changed. Starting with "Angel" I remember being so stressed out and yet exhilarated while watching. I would watch the whole series in late night binges in my dorm sophomore year, and when "Angel" finished playing that first time and there was so much feelings! and pain! I just crawled (literally crawled) over to my next door neighbor who had lent me the DVDs and prostrated myself on her floor, moaning, "IS IT ALWAYS LIKE THIS?"

    I was so unprepared.

    • Ashley says:

      (my comment was cut off . . . I WASN'T DONE, DAMMIT.)

      It's funny that you're watching this after all these great TV shows like BSG and Doctor Who, so the difference in quality isn't that apparent to you, but back in 1997 this was revolutionary shit. Buffy has had so much influence over the TV writer community it's not even funny (I know Russell T. Davies is a fan, for example). SO much of the good TV we watch now can trace itself directly back to this first deliciously cheesy season. I am completely and forever ruined for mediocre television.

      • whedonzombie says:

        I couldn't agree more! I, too, have been utterly ruined for mediocre television (by Buffy). I spend far too much of my time lurking on Buffy and Whedon related sites because I have been left forever damaged by the hole its absence has left in my soul!! Haha… I really wish I was kidding. The description of your reaction to the show reminds me of a friend of mine who I forced my dvds upon. She used to call me after viewings, exhausted and cursing my existence because she could not stop herself from popping in the next episode.

  46. Clare says:

    I'm loving these posts! I first watched Buffy exactly two years ago, and my "list of things I knew about Buffy" was the same as Mark's, so seeing this episode the first time was an absolute treat!

  47. whedonzombie says:

    Hey– I'm new around here! I've been lurking since you started reviewing Buffy (my favorite show in the history of the shows), and am a little bummed that I was unaware of your site when you were watching Battlestar, Doctor Who, and Firefly. I'll have to check out your entries for those shows! I'm posting because I wanted to comment about how much I am REALLY enjoying hearing your thoughts on drawing parallels between Buffy's story and the experience of being gay in high school. Don't apologize for bringing it up often! It is what immediately drew me to the show back when the first episode aired, and it is kind of validating to hear it from someone else!
    Back then, it brought up so many familiar feelings about trying to be a normal kid, but having this huge secret that could potentially affect or ruin all of my relationships. There weren't a ton of gay characters on tv at the time, so I counted down the minutes until it would be on every week. Everyone knew not to bother me on Tuesday nights! Your observations, particularly about likening the kiss from this episode to the first time you kissed a boy, are really just spot on. I'm finding myself looking forward to your reviews now, almost as much as I looked forward to the episodes back then. So, thanks!
    On a side note, my take on the final scene wasn't so much that Buffy helped Angel control himself, but that he was willing to endure the pain and danger of the cross burning him, if it meant he could be close to her. It was "wrong" and "dangerous", but he didn't care. That's just my opinion, though.

  48. Seventh_Star says:

    I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS SINCE MARK READS TWILIGHT. HOLY. SHIT.

    i've lurked for so long. mark reads twilight, mark reads HP (so emotional cos it was like i was reading them again for the first time), mark watches firefly, mark watches DW (david tennant, ftw!), mark reads the hunger games, mark reads his dark materials…YOU GET THE IDEA.

    i have been waiting eagerly and impatiently for you to watch buffy, mark! SO. HAPPY. AAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!

    so, of course, i missed the start of it, but here i am! i'm sure my comments will get lost in all this, but i'll comment with a stupid smile on my face anyway because i LOVE you and your blog and buffy. YOU DO NOT EVEN KNOW.

    as a die hard buffy fanatic, it is so lovely and funny to see this through your eyes. it's KILLING ME how much you are NOT PREPARED. i'll make some intelligent insights later. this is all for now.

  49. xpanasonicyouthx says:

    HELLO MY NEW READER. Thank you for commenting!

  50. robin says:

    Since I was already obsessing over the Vampire Diaries books before '97 (I was a teenager, these embarrassing things happen), I was particularly primed for the Angel reveal at the time. Oh, how I did swoon! Now the Buffy/Angel drama doesn't do that much for me, because I'm like DUDE YOU HARDLY KNOW EACH OTHER, HOW MANY SUBSTANTIAL CONVERSATIONS HAVE YOU HAD AT THIS POINT? — but I remember my desperate, squeeing shipper heart in this episode fondly.

    The whole idea that cursing a vampire with a soul essentially meaning giving them empathy and a conscience was pretty unique, I think, and sets things apart from Twilight.

    Gubhtu fnqyl gurl qb fbzr synjrq guvatf jvgu vg, va zl bcvavba. V qba'g rira jnag gb trg vagb jung n ubg zrff guvf fubj'f inzcver zlgubybtl vf. Yvxr ubj gurl xrrc univat punenpgref vafvfgvat inzcverf nera'g "crbcyr" ohg GURL PYRNEYL UNIR CREFBANYVGVRF NAQ JNAGF NAQ ARRQF NAQ BCVAVBAF NAQ QRFVERF NAQ SRRYVATF.

    Ubj arprffnel vf n fbhy sbe n inzcver gb or qrrzrq "jbegul" gb yvir naq ubj zhpu bs gur bevtvany crefba vf yrsg sebz inzcver "cbffrffvba" vf n zbivat gnetrg nyy guebhtu frnfbaf 1-7. Wrffr if Natry if Natryhf if Qehfvyyn if Qneyn if Fcvxr if fbhyrq!Fcvxr if Unezbal if enaqbz inzcverf gung tebjy yvxr navznyf & Ohssl fgnxrf nf fbba nf gurl evfr.

    V jvfu ng fbzr cbvag va gur frevrf Ohssl pbhyq unir snprq fbzr fnperq fcvevg ercerfragvat gur navzny xvatqbz be fbzrguvat (gur uhzna fynlre!), fb gung Ohssl jbhyq unir gb ernyvmr gung ~fur vf fbzrbar ryfr'f zbafgre naq fur qbrfa'g npghnyyl unir nf zhpu zbeny uvtu tebhaq bire inzcverf nf fur guvaxf fur qbrf. Fvapr, qhu, uhznaf ebhgvaryl znff fynhtugre bgure guvaxvat, srryvat perngherf naq rng gurz. (Abg nf fbzr bar-bss fgnaqnybar ohg nf fbzrguvat gung npghnyyl vasyhraprq gur Fpbbol Tnat'f yngre orunivbe naq bcvavbaf.)

    • @liliaeth says:

      V guvax gung'f cebonoyl gur znva ernfba V jngpu naq yvxr gur arj frevrf Tevzz. Uzz, jung'f gur ehyr nobhg fcbvyvat nabgure frevrf rira hfvat ebg13?

      Yrg'f whfg fnl gung gurve svefg frnfba vfa'g unysjnl bire naq gurl'er nyernql qrnyvat jvgu ubj gur znva punenpgre vf frra naq srnerq ol fhcreangheny perngherf, whfg sbe orvat jung ur vf.

    • ghawyeriao says:

      Lrnu, Ohssl'f zlgubybtl va trareny vf cerggl vapbafvfgrag, juvpu ohtf zr, ohg gur dhrfgvba bs juvpu inzcverf qb naq qba'g pbhag nf "crbcyr" vf gur ovttrfg ceboyrz.

      • Sean Murphy says:

        gur fubj trgf fb zhqqyrq ba gung vg'f evqvphybhf! Rneyl ba gurl ner fb pyrne, gura gurl fgneg gb yrg guvatf fyvqr, naq abg whfg sbe Ohssl'f oblsevraqf. gur rknzcyr gung pbzrf gb zvaq evtug abj vf gur inzcver arfg va frnfba 5 gung Evyrl serdhragf. V frrz gb erzrzore Ohssl xarj nobhg fhpu cynprf, ohg bayl sryg yvxr qrnyvat jvgu vg jura ure oblsevraq tbg vaibyirq. Zrzbel pbhyq or snhygl gubhtu

        • robin says:

          Naq gura fur xvyyf gung tvey inzcver onfvpnyyl sbe whfg fhpxvat ba ure oblsevraq – jub frrzrq gb or yvivat cerggl "evtug" nf inzcverf tb, qevaxvat sebz gur jvyyvat!

  51. Mary Sue says:

    Oh my goodness gracious, I can't believe you made it this far before learning Angel is a vampire! THAT IS SO AWESOME! Wasn't it just AMAZING with the reveal and the OMG.

    "Otherwise…wow, he’s not the best actor I’ve come across."

    Shhh, now. Just look at the pretty. Just gaze upon its brooding magnificence.

    Naq jnvg sbe gur gnvpuv fprarf va F3.

    • @liliaeth says:

      Be rira orggre, gur arjyl rfpncrq sebz uryy fprarf jurer ur'f tbetrbhfyl fuvegyrff juvyr punvarq hc*t*. V'z abg rira nggenpgrq gb Natry, naq V fgvyy guvax ur'f ubg jura ur'f ybpxrq va zrgny punvaf.

      • ghawyeriao says:

        Jub vfa'g?

        • Mary Sue says:

          Zr, npghnyyl. Ur qbrf abg yvtug zl sver. V svaq nyy uvf fuvegyrff fprarf gb or zber shaal guna nalguvat.

          P'rfg yn ivr, aba?

          • ghawyeriao says:

            Bu, fbeel, jung V zrnag jnf "jub qbrfa'g ybbx ubg va punvaf?" Huuu … lrnu. Abj V whfg srry njxjneq.

            Ohg V xabj ubj lbh srry nobhg Natry, V fcrag zbfg bs frnfba guerr guvaxvat CHG BA N FUVEG.

  52. Nomie says:

    (Did any of you who watched this in real time believe that Angel would never come back?)

    NOPE. I do, however, remember having an overwhelming reaction to that last kiss and the cross-branding. OH MY GODDDDDDDD. I thought that was so hot at age… thirteen? Fourteen? When did this air? I was young and impressionable and had some weird conceptions about hot makeouts, okay.

  53. Andie says:

    I think it's worth pointing out that Xander is based, at least in part, on Whedon himself when he was in high school.

    Just, y'know, for the record.

    • ambyrglow says:

      Can you expand on why you think this is worth pointing out?

      • Andie says:

        I just thought it was interesting. I mean, I certainly don't think it excuses any shitty comments Xander makes, and Xander's definitely not my favourite character (not that I hate him or anything). I just think it's an interesting bit of trivia. And it might even explain why Xander sometimes gets away with things that we might not think he should have. It's possible the writers were subconsciously thinking, "Well, this character is based on my boss, so I should probably be sympathetic to him regarding the whole hyena-possession-attempted-assault thing."

        • @Ivana2804 says:

          That's a bit of an exaggeration, I think. Joss did say that Xander was partially based on him, but some of the things about Falqre were also based on him, like "Lbh arire tbg n fvatyr qngr va uvtu-fpubby, qvq lbh?" ("V'ir nyjnlf fnvq vs Wbff rire unq n qngr va uvtu fpubby, abar bs hf jbhyq or urer." — Qnivq Terrajnyg) and he's also once joked that he had unq na Natry-yvxr rkcrevrapr va uvtu fpubby jurer ur jnf onfvpnyyl fgnyxvat n tvey ur jnf va ybir jvgu (ur qvqa'g hfr gur jbeq, ohg gung jnf gur tvfg bs uvf irel shaal, fnepnfgvp pbzzrag) gubhtu va uvf pnfr fur oneryl xarj ur rkvfgrq, naq "Fb, lrnu, V NZ Natry. Ohg va n Falqre xvaq bs jnl."

          Joss also said in his DVD commentary for Welcome to the Hellmouth that Cordelia telling Willow she is a really boring person is based on what Joss himself once said to someone, who was really hurt by the remark. He also talks in Bhg bs Zvaq, Bhg bs Fvtug commentary that we can all be victimizers, not just victims.

          It's not uncommon for Joss to give the characters his own mean and petty moments. Just because he used something from his experience to write a character, doesn't mean that he was going to make a character a Gary Stu… and Xander is really anything but. The show calls him on his pettiness and immaturity and ridiculous male fantasies.

          Also, I don't really think that Xander was really a stand-in for Joss. It's not as simple as Joss = Xander, and Xander is hardly a wish fulfillment type of character. Also, Joss said last year that he used to think it was the character most similar to him; that he's finally realized that Buffy is his avatar. "Buffy was me." (Interesting that this realization of his coincided with n yrff guna synggrevat cbegenlny bs Ohssl va gur pbzvpf.

          Maybe Joss tends to be particularly cruel and/or unflattering to characters he draws the most from his own personality? Just think of the male characters who fit the nerd category and exhibit the most of Jossian way of talking, besides Xander: Gbcure sebz Qbyyubhfr, Ovyyl/Qe Ubeevoyr, Ubyqra Jrofgre sebz Pbairefngvbaf jvgu Qrnq Crbcyr, gur Gevb. Although Wash is an exception I suppose.

          • Seventh_Star says:

            lbh'er abg jebat. qbex gung v nz, v yvfgrarq gb gur jrypbzr gb gur uryyzbhgu pbzzragnel whfg ynfg avtug. lbh pna qrsvavgryl svaq lbhefrys (naq wbff pna svaq uvzfrys) va nal bs gur punenpgref. jr'er nyy na nznytnzngvba bs gurfr zber pyrne phg punenpgref, punenpgref gung NYY trg gb unir znwbe tebjgu bire gur frnfbaf.

      • Seventh_Star says:

        joss is an inherently insecure person and has admitted as much. joss sympathizes with xander because he is working out his own horrible high school experiences through that character. that doesn't excuse xander's behavior, but it helps it make sense if you think about the fact that that was how joss saw the world as an adolescent. women were frightening to him, just as they are to xander, and xander acts out because of this. is he right? of course not. but insecurities manifest themselves in different ways. they happen to bring out the worst in xander.
        i am actually surprised to see so many people ragging on xander. i've always understood what his character was meant to point out. to me, he's funny and i love him. i love all the buffyverse characters in one way or another, really.

    • calimie says:

      He is very realistic. That's a bit of the problem, we've all known boys (and men) like him.

    • Genny_ says:

      …Man, okay, I knew Xander was Joss' terrible Nice Guy stand in, but I didn't know he did it *deliberately*. Ick.

    • Pna V whfg fnl gung jevgvat-jvfr, ng yrnfg Wbff vf sne fhcrevbe ng gur frys-vafreg xvaq bs punenpgre. Vs guvf jnf Zrlre jevgvat, gura Knaqre jbhyq unir raqrq hc jvgu fhcre cbjref naq Ohssl jbhyq unir ernyvmrq nyy nybat gung fur ybirq uvz. Naq gura ur jbhyq fnir gur jbeyq jvgu uvf fhcre njrfbzr fhcre cbjref. naq gura gurl jbhyq unir onovrf.

      Ba gur cyhf fvqr, ab bar jbhyq rire qvr.

      • Andie says:

        Fb gehr. Unir lbh ernq frnfba rvtug?

        (SEASON 8 SPOILERS) V unira'g ernq gur ynfg srj vffhrf lrg, ohg vg'f zl haqrefgnaqvat gung Ohssl fgnegf guvaxvat znlor fur fubhyq, lxabj, or univat fbzr frk jvgu Knaqre. Ohg V guvax Qnja orng ure gb gur chapu? V ernyyl arrq gb ernq gung, znxr fher V'ir tbg zl snpgf fgenvtug.

        • V unir qrsvavgryl urneq gung gurer jnf na riraghny Knaqre/Qnja, ohg V'z n yvggyr unml ba gur qrgnvyf nobhg Ohssl'f frk yvsr. V guvax gurl zvtug unir qbar gur qrrq, ohg gurer jnf erterg? Be znlor gung jnf n snasvpgvba V ernq…

          V xrrc chggvat bss ernqvat gur pbzvpf orpnhfr V unira'g urneq rabhtu tbbq nobhg gurz, ohg V guvax V'yy trg gb gurz riraghnyyl.

          • Andie says:

            V guvax gurl'er sha. V zrna, V npprcg gurz nf pnaba. V'z abg ubeevsvrq ol jurer gurl'er tbvat. Zbfgyl. Ohg gura, fbzrgvzrf gur fubj jrag gb fbzr cerggl ubeevslvat cynprf gbb.

            • Gung'f bar bs gur ernfbaf V erfcrpg Wbff naq uvf jevgvat grnz. Gurer ner znal gvzrf V jnf haunccl jvgu ubj guvatf ghearq bhg, ohg V erfcrpg gur thl sbe gnxvat punaprf naq qryivat vagb fbzr evfxl cybg-cbvagf naq punenpgre nepf. Ur ershfrf gb yrg guvatf orpbzr fgntanag, ohg V guvax ur gevrf gb or nf gehr gb gur punenpgref nf ur pna. Ur gnxrf evfxf, ohg abg fvzcyl sbe fubpx-inyhr.

  54. tigerpetals says:

    There is a website called Boils and Blinding Torment. I had forgotten that line was from this episode! But it has funny mocking recaps. The recaps are spoilery, particularly as the earlier ones were actually done years after later seasons were watched and capped, I think. http://www.boilsandblindingtorment.com/Angel.htm But I want to include excerpts for this episode:

    "Instead, the master sends the three. The three what? Stooges? Musketeers? Horsemen? Oh, wait, there were four horsemen. Never mind. In any case, apparently three is a scary number. Unlike one, which is the loneliest number. But that's beside the point. We're supposed to be all worried for Buffy. Because three is scary. Just go with it."

    "Meanwhile, Buffy, Willow, and Xander are at the cockroach extermination party at the bronze, dreaming about Angel. OK, maybe Willow is dreaming about Xander. When Buffy decides to take her mopey self home, the three jump her and we find out what's so scary about them: there's three of them. Two to hold her arms and one to kill her. Why didn't anyone think of that before? "

    " The next day at the library, while Angel is hiding in Buffy's room watching her mom clean it, Giles gets all alarmed that Buffy was attacked by the three. There's three of them! They're so scary! The master must really dislike you! You who slays his kind and is keeping him locked in an underground church! I'm shocked!"

    "They start making out and he starts to get a little hungry. For her neck. In a suck all her blood kind of way. She's all, you're a vampire? So, that's why I only ever saw you at night and you're in need of a suntan and you have those fangs. I just thought you were one of those goth guys! How silly am I, a vampire slayer and all? Giles was right when he said I needed brushing up on my vampire-sensing skills. Angel is astounded by her obliviousness and jumps out the window."

    " Willow and Buffy write "Buffy + Angle 4eva" over and over in their notebooks and little hearts. They leave out the drawings of Angel eating the hearts."

    • ghawyeriao says:

      Nice, thanks for sharing!

      I love that Willow is such an Angel/Buffy shipper in this episode.

      Ohssl'f inzcver-frafvat fxvyyf sebz gur svefg rcvfbqr ner arire ernyyl sbyybjrq hc ba, ner gurl? Bs pbhefr, va gur zbivr, fur jnf nyregrq gb gurve cerfrapr jvgu zrafgehny penzcf, juvpu jnf ~uvynevbhf~.

    • hpfish13 says:

      Is is weird that when I read this "In any case, apparently three is a scary number.", all I could think of was this
      [youtube G5h11p-w4kY http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5h11p-w4kY youtube]

  55. fantasylover120 says:

    Meyers has been on record to say she never saw Buffy. I'm sorry but there are too many similarities between this (and many other vampire things that she also claims to have never seen) for me to buy that. And yes, Buffy does it a hundred times better. I swear that gypsy curse is a thing of genuis. Why tar and feather a person when instead you can give them over a hundred years worth of guilt to live with for eternity? Remind me never to piss off gypsys, they are some cruel genuises.
    And yes, Joyce Summers belongs in the tv mom hall of fame. She is that awesome.

    • misterbernie says:

      About the genius thing… actually, the show here really doesn't eschew any cliché; "'gypsies' are cruel, untrustworthy, lawless heathen witches and thieves" is a well-established stereotype about the Romani.
      Also, "gypsy" originated and continues to be used as a slur, so although the show uses it, it would be better to use Romani as a neutral term.

    • robin says:

      off topic: I find it really hard to believe that Meyers was not very aware of the Buffy/Angel storyline… though Mark apparently has gone on unspoiled so maybe so??? But I absolutely DO NOT believe she didn't rip off The Vampire Diaries books (which were written 10+ years before Twilight), because there are so many similarities (good angst-ridden vampire who can walk around during the day! secret vampire boy is so mean to her at first! he's mean, because he's drawn to her & wants to keep her away from him because he's dangerous! so mean and rude and behavior whip-lash! but then he saves her, which she just doesn't understand because doesn't he hate her?!!!! and he get a scene where he shocks the teacher with his special I Lived A Long Time knowledge! etc etc etc)

  56. Nos says:

    V nyjnlf gubhtug QO jnf na njshy npgbe gbb…hagvy gur fjvgpu syvccrq naq Natryhf jnf ebyyvat nebhaq va yrngure cnagf naq BZT FGBC ORVAT FB UBG NYY GUR FHQQRA, naq gur fjnttre naq…

    Fbeel, jrag bss gbcvp gurer.

    • settlingforhistory says:

      Jryy, vg'f uneq abg gb tb bss gbcvp jura vg pbapreaf Natryhf.
      Vg'f shaal Znex nyernql yvxrf Natry'f fzbyqrevat, V jbaqre ubj ur jvyy ernpg gb Natryhf. *Zzz, Natry*

    • @kaylasavard says:

      Ununun – lrnu, svefg frnfba QO jnf abg gur orfg. Gb or snve gubhtu, vs V erzrzore pbeerpgyl, ur jnf yvgrenyyl cvpxrq bss gur fgerrg ol bar bs gur cebqhpref sbe gur cneg.

      Ohg lrnu, bapr ur ybfrf uvf fbhy V'z yvxr BZT JUL JRER LBH ABG NYJNLF GUVF NJRFBZR.

  57. Frankincense says:

    “Hell, it even explodes why he’s so mopey and quiet all of the time.”

    Hehe, I’m sure you meant to type “explain” instead of “explode”, but the image of Angel dying in a blastwave of angst is just to funny for me to care.

  58. cait0716 says:

    So, a few more superficial comments that I forgot earlier:

    I love the scene where Buffy just destroys Giles with the quarterstaff. She's so dismissive of it, and it turns out to be because she already knows how to fight with one and wants a challenge.

    Buffy's whole nervous speech when she thinks Angel read her diary is adorable. "And A doesn't even stand for Angel. It stands for Achmed, a charming foreign exchange student!"

    I like that the dinner she brings him is just a bag of veggies. Maybe that's where Meyer got her "vegetarian vampire" idea? I kid

    The Master's distress when Darla dies is kind of touching. She was his favorite and he mourns her in a way we haven't seen him mourn any of the other vampires. Though it is a little weird that he's lamenting the fact that Buffy is depleting his numbers and then he turns around and kills The Three. I get that they needed to get out of the plot before the Angel vampire reveal, but it still seems silly.

    • @liliaeth says:

      Actually, I don't think Buffy had ever touched a quarter staff before that moment. Notice how she's feeling out the staff when Giles first gives it to her. But within seconds, her Slayer instincts kick in and she's a master in using it.

    • calimie says:

      Yeah, I wouldn't kill my special murder team after only one try.

      • arctic_hare says:

        I get the feeling the Master isn't very good at video games. The concept of loading from your last save and trying again would be lost on him. He'd break the disc/cartridge after the first Game Over.

        • rabbitape says:

          And now I've collapsed into giggles. I'm imagining him playing old-school MarioKart (he picks Bowser, of course) in a battle against the Princess, and after just one of his balloons pops, he knocks the Nintendo to the floor and storms off, yelling "THIS GAME IS STUPID. THOSE DON'T EVEN LOOK LIKE REAL CARS."

  59. pica_scribit says:

    Yay, mythology and backstory episode! We get to learn all about vampires and about Angel's history and connection with Darla and the Master. Also, guns on Buffy? That is never not going to feel weird to me. Not that I think it's OOC for Darla, but…guns. On Buffy.

    Mark, you might perhaps now begin to see why many of us in the Buffy fandom have an extra-special loathing of Twilight. Joss handles this trope about a million times better than Smeyer ever could. (Ubarfgyl, gur svefg gvzr V urneq gung Fzrlre onfrq Gjvyvtug ba n qernz fur unq, gur svefg guvat V nfxrq jnf, "Qvq fur unir gung qernz nsgre jngpuvat n fuvgybnq bs Ohssl?") (rot13ing this for possible expectation spoilers.)

    Also, Mark, I would really love to bake and mail you my super-tasty vegan apple spice cake, but I totally understand if you are not okay with eating food mailed to you by strangers, in which case, I offer you the recipe and wish you joy of it. It is really quick and easy to make, besides being delicious and fairly healthy (cake for breakfast!). The original recipe is courtesy of my best friend's late father. Vegan tweaking is my own.

    VEGAN APPLE SPICE CAKE

    1 c. chopped apples
    2 T. rum or brandy (optional)
    1 1/2 c. flour
    1 c. brown sugar
    1 t. baking soda
    1 t. cinnamon
    1/2 t. ground clove
    1/2 t. salt
    1 c. almond/soy/rice milk (buttermilk or plain yogurt for non-vegans)
    1/2 c. vegetable oil
    1 t. vanilla
    1/2 c. chopped walnuts or pecans (probably optional)
    1/2 c. raisins (optional)

    Chop apples and soak in rum ~1 hr (no need to peel them). Preheat oven to 350ºF and grease a 9"x9" baking pan. Whisk together flour, sugar, soda, salt, and spices in a large bowl. Mix in milk, oil and vanilla. Stir until smooth. Add apples, nuts, and raisins. Scrape into pan and bake 40-45 min or until a knife comes out clean.

    Happy Holidays!

    • settlingforhistory says:

      As a Buffy fan from the very beginning I can only agree.
      The first time I read Twighlight I just thought, 'how come Joss hasn't sued that horrible person yet?'
      Smeyer doesn't just re-use a lot of the plot she butchers it and turns it into a penny dreadful for teenagers.

      Thanks for the recipe, my vegan sister will love this. It sounds delicious!

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      Hungry. So hungry now.

    • notemily says:

      When we were watching this my roommate was like "Why don't ALL vampires bring guns when dealing with Buffy?" Which is kind of a good point. I personally love that this show isn't just people shooting people all the time and has awesome weapons like that crossbow, but if all vampires had guns I think they'd be way more of a threat to her.

    • notemily says:

      ALSO, I totally want this cake.

  60. UnstrungZero says:

    So I've been gone from Mark Reads FOR. EVER. AND. A. DAY. (okay, so it's been, idk, a year, shortly after he moved to his own domain from Buzznet.) I found a new fandom that ATE MY LIFE in such a fabulous wonderful way, and it led me to meet my girlfriend, and just, I've been busy. So nobody probly even remembers me but THAT'S OKAY. Because it turns out said girlfriend used to read MRHP too, we just didn't know each other then. And the other day she tells me "Hey, Mark is Watching Buffy now." And I FLIPPED OUT and yeah. THIS IS AWESOME, BUFFY IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE SHOWS EVER. Oh my god. I may not get around to commenting and reading EVERY SINGLE comment like I used to on MRHP because I have also rediscovered WoW. *facepalm* BUT I AM HERE. IN CASE ANYONE CARES.

    AND MARK YOU ARE NOT PREPARED AND HI I LOVE YOU STILL AND MISSED YOU even though you probly don't remember me. I'm sorry, I'm just really sleep-deprived and therefore rambly. I'm not always this crazy. <3

    Also, this rot13 thing? stroke. of. genius. Even if I'll probly be copying and pasting my head off in the next few days.

    I'm gonna try to sleep now. *tries to stop flailing with glee*

    • hassibah says:

      OMG HI! It's nice to see you.

    • arctic_hare says:

      Please don't use the word "crazy" on this site.

      • UnstrungZero says:

        Oh, gah, I'm SO SORRY, I didn't realise that was a rule, I didn't think to check if they'd been updated since I'd been around these parts. πŸ™ Duly noted. Will watch myself more clearly in the future, as it's something I call myself a lot. Again, apologies. πŸ™

      • robin says:

        aaaaaaaaaah how does this happen to me!? I swear, I always try to remember this but apparently that is easier said than done. *slaps head* I need an animal conditioning buzzer or something.

        in short: sorry! this is the 2nd time I have made this mistake over the last couple months and I will sincerely try not to do it again.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      oh my god hello. hello.

      • UnstrungZero says:

        Hello! πŸ˜€ Sorry for my super-enthusiastic comment, I was in an altered state induced by exhaustion, but I've gotten some sleep now, so calmer and more rational. *giggles* I can't wait to jump in on the fun with the rest of Buffy, I'm so glad I caught you this early in on it! And I must go see your Hobbit reading.

        • hassibah says:

          He did Firefly a while back, too, just in case you didn't know πŸ™‚

          • UnstrungZero says:

            I heard that somehow when he did Firefly, I swooped in to see some of that, and some of his Doctor Who viewing, too, but I was feeling overwhelmed with my new fandom and friends then, so didn't feel up to posting or following too closely. Things have died down on that end for me, though, so I'm hoping to at least be AROUND now. πŸ˜€ Thank you so much for reminding me, I'll have to go look over everything once I catch up with The Hobbit reviews and his starting FotR! SO EXCITE, LotR is one of my biggest passions. πŸ˜€

  61. enigmaticagentscully says:

    -Meh the Master again
    -He’s sending…Klingons after Buffy?
    -What does she see in Angel? He’s just sexy and annoying. They’ve barely exchanged three sentences.
    -LOL ‘A vampire can’t come inside unless he’s invited.’ GOOD THING YOU INVITED ANGEL RIGHT IN THEN ‘AINT IT?
    -Love Buffy’s mum. What’s her name though?
    -So this is pretty awkward. Couldn’t Buffy just change in the bathroom or something?
    -I would not sleep in the same room with some random dude!
    -Love Giles’ library closed sign
    -OMG he has a whole arsenal of weapons in there!
    -Wow Angel spent the whole day in her room? How dull. I hope she at least has broadband.
    -Awww maybe he is kind of sweet
    -BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Vampirism – the ultimate cockblock
    -HOW ARE YOU IN LOVE WITH HIM YOU’VE ONLY MET HIM A COUPLE OF TIMES
    -Nononononono don’t hurt Buffy’s mum!
    -OOOOH nice timing Buffy
    -I’m glad her mum is ok though
    -LOL “That school is amazing.”
    -Ooooh Angel killed his own family? That’s pretty dark.
    -OK, I’ve started to be interested in Angel. His back-story is actually pretty cool.
    -Heyyyy the vampire actually brought guns! THAT IS FRICKIN AWESOME FINALLY A VILLAIN JUST BRINGS GUNS TO THE FIGHT.
    -Flashy! This episode should have had an seizure warning. Good thing I’m not epileptic or something.
    -Oh good, Darla’s dead. She was pretty annoying.
    -Ouch. Kind of harsh for her to wear the cross, huh?

    So I’m kind of meh about this episode? It did make me like Angel a little more to hear about his backstory – I feel like he’s a far more interesting character now. But I’m just not really on board with Buffy/Angel yet and that’s really what this episode was about. They’re kind of a cute couple but it seems very sudden. I know, I know, this is a show about teenagers and all, but I’ve just come to expect a little more depth and genuine growth in my fictional relationships. They only met a few weeks ago, exchanged a few cryptic warnings and suddenly she’s in love with him? She doesn’t know anything about him other than that he’s hot, and now that he’s ‘not a bad vampire like the others.’
    IDK, it bothers me. Overall I just found this episode pretty dull. It had it’s moments but the Master has never interested me as a villain and I didn’t feel like a whole lot really happened.

    • Karen says:

      -What does she see in Angel? He’s just sexy and annoying. They’ve barely exchanged three sentences.

      -HOW ARE YOU IN LOVE WITH HIM YOU’VE ONLY MET HIM A COUPLE OF TIMES

      lol Yeah. Buffy/Angel is VERY high school, but idk. It fits with all the other high school tropes that the show has trotted out already . So idk. Teenagers tend to feel things very intensely and there isn't always a logical reason for it.

      • Danielle says:

        Yeah, also keep in mind it isn't the "OMG I just met but we are totally soulmates" kind of thing that certain other teen romances through around <cough>twilight<cough>. But a "Hey, for reasons I don't understand I find myself attracted to you."

      • cait0716 says:

        I think Buffy is conflating love and lust, which is totally understandable. At her age I told a guy I loved him after a week and a half of dating and I still stand by those emotions (partially because my mom completely validated me which was awesome)

      • rabbitape says:

        Well he gave her his jacket. It was a leather jacket! Like, what more do you need? That is love!

    • NB2000 says:

      -Love Buffy’s mum. What’s her name though?

      Joyce, and she is very loveable, hence the fanclub on page one.

  62. BradSmith5 says:

    Pffff, ha,ha,ha,ha,ha-ha. YES! These Buffy discussions are everything that I dreamed they would be!

  63. PhsntPlkr says:

    This is the episode that made me wall in love withthis show way back when. πŸ™‚

    "I think it’s a very telling sign that the cross Buffy wore branded Angel without him turning or making any indication that it had happened"

    Even better that it looks like the cross that she's wearing in this scene is the one Angel gave to her in the first episode.

  64. MrsGillianO says:

    It took me a week of reading before I knuckled under and registered to post. I am hugely enjoying your commentary, Mark, and have read several other shows through. You will recognise how heroic your readers have been, even in such a strict non-spoiler environment, not to say anything about Angel's past.

    I think this episode was striking for me in that it explored the cultural link between vampires and sex; the face shifting when he started snogging Buffy is hardly the most subtle of metaphors. And the episode does such a good job of exploring the complexity and tentativeness of those first sexual encounters, including the alarm at physical changes brought about by arousal. In The Evol Vampire Series That Shall Not Be Named there is nothing of this. But, then, real vampires don't sparkle.

  65. beckaboomer says:

    I am super-happy that you were unspoiled for Angel being a vampire, Mark. I was spoiled going in, so I can't imagine how much more powerful the whole "vampire with a soul" revelation would have been otherwise.

    I really liked Boreanaz's line reading of "You have no idea what's it's like to have done the things that I've done… and care." I don't even know why. I think this is the first glimmer of any actual, you know, ACTING I'd seen from him and I was just happy. In any case, the rest of it is still pretty bad.

    Oh Buffy, you brought a crossbow to a gun fight. But nice, with the bullet-dodging and everything.

    Stop slut-shaming, Xander! God, he is every guy I knew in high school plus my best friend before he grew up, all combined. I… stilllikehimthough OH GOD DON'T KILL ME.

  66. Maribeth says:

    I know I've said this before: but I just love reading your reviews as you watch this! You are insightful and appreciative; you really add to my enjoyment! Thanks.

  67. yainthesecondcity says:

    I have been not-so-patiently waiting for you to get to this episode, and now that you have, ohmigod, you are not prepared.

  68. Danielle says:

    Just popping in to say:

    1. Mark Reads LotR and Watches Buffy at the same time. Hooray!
    2. I think most of us who are familar with Twilight and Buffy expected comparssions once you got to this episode, so go compare the heck out of them. Get it out of your system as much as you need to.
    3.Going to give Xander a fictional hug, because he's getting so much fanhate in the comments lately–for being a TYPICAL TEENAGE BOY. He's a good kid and he's just trying to figure out girls,friends,life, and stuff. Give him a bit of break. I think one of the reason "The Pack" comes so early on is so that fans would see what Xander would be like if truly was acting like an ass.

    • A Frog at Large says:

      I am with you on the Xander hug, I had no idea so many people disliked his character! I don't recall ever having such strong negative feelings when I first watched Buffy, but then maybe because I was 15 at the time, I didn't really have a clue I should be offended by any of his comments, it always seemed explained and well, normal for a boy his age (in my limited experience).

    • arctic_hare says:

      Just because his behavior is "typical" for a teenage boy, doesn't mean we should excuse it or brush it off as "boys will be boys". It may be "typical", but it's also gross and skeevy. He acts like an ass even when not Hyena Xander: slut-shaming Cordelia, peeking at Buffy while she's changing, telling Owen not to touch, kiss, or even look at Buffy on their date, etc.

      • A Frog at Large says:

        I agree by the way, I just don't recall even noticing it at the time, I must have been so conditioned by high school, it's frightening. I am definitely more aware now.

      • Danielle says:

        Look, I'm not saying those are excusable things. However, they aren't the sum of his character. He's still a kid trying to figure things out so he's going to screw up. But focusing on those screw ups, ignores the fact that deep down, he's a good guy. I don't know about you, but growing up most guys I knew wouldn't handle Buffy's rejection as well as he has. The best would be that they would never talk to her again and the worst would cuss her out. Xander is mature enough to accept that they're just friends. Is he hoping he might get more out of it? Yeah, but he's not forcing the issue (with her) and instead hoping that after Buffy gets to know him better she'll come around.

        BTW, I'm trying to keep this non spoilery, but Ur gbgnyyl trgf orggre. Ur unf fbzr bs gur orfg punenpgre qrirybczrag va gur frevrf.

        • arctic_hare says:

          Buffy hasn't actually rejected him, because he hasn't actually asked her out. Also, hoping that she'll "come around" after she gets to know him is classic Nice Guy behavior.

          V'ir frra gur ragver fubj, fb V unir bcvavbaf ba uvf nep guebhtubhg vg, nf jryy nf gubfr bs gur bgure punenpgref, ohg V'z bayl vagrerfgrq va qvfphffvat guvatf nf gurl pbzr hc.

        • Genny_ says:

          If we're at the point where it basically becomes, 'well he isn't abusing her for not asking him out', I just find that… depressing. It's not impressive he hasn't done that, it's basic manners and decency. And ultimately, it is incredibly skeevy when guys hang around women expecting that, at some point, they can be 'made' to want to date the guy, because, well- it basically says that everything he does is engineered towards a specific outcome. It doesn't feel like he hangs around Buffy to be her friend, but to get her to date him and… that's pretty manipulative and weird.

          And I'm getting kind of sick of, 'but that's not all he is!'… because no, it's not, but it's part of who he is and it's a *bad* part and it's therefore legit to criticise it. He is not *just* the Nice Guy, but he IS a Nice Guy and if that's a problem, bringing it up is hardly unfair. If a guy is sketchy you don't have to constantly reiterate, 'but he does non-sketchy stuff too!'.

  69. The_Consultant says:

    I don't really have any comments for this episode beyond:

    hehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehe…. Angel = <3

    also you are not prepared

    also I want a crossbow.

  70. lula34 says:

    I'm busy banishing semi-naughty children to the far corners of this castle (house, whatever), for the honor of Grayskull, so I don't have time to read through all these comments. Forgive me if this has already been stated, but years ago I remember reading an interview in which Stephenie Meyer said she'd "never seen a single episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

    Riiiiiiiiiiiight.

  71. Raenef says:

    I'm so happy you got to this reveal COMPLETELY UNSPOILERED.

    V'z fb rkpvgrq sbe frnfba gjb gb NAAVUVYNGR Znex'f rzbgvbaf. UR JVYY ARIRE OR CERCNERQ sbe: Vaabprapr, Cnffvba, V Unir Rlrf Bayl Sbe Lbh, naq Orpbzvat. BAR JUBYR ZBAGU NJNL!

  72. Genny_ says:

    "It’s important to note that throughout this all, Joyce never doubts Buffy’s capacity for being spectacular, and it’s what I love about Joyce the most." – this puts something into words I didn't even know I felt! It's so true, and I love that we have this complex, imperfect but so strong mother/daughter bond on this show. We have here a single mother who has a daughter who, to her eyes, is a Troubled Kid, and who successfully avoids demonising her or driving her away. But who still manages to be so incredibly persistant at trying to push Buffy to be her best. If Buffy WAS actually 'troubled' in the way she's assumed to be, I think Joyce would be the best kind of parent to tackle that because she never views Buffy purely as her 'issues'.

    Likewise, your stuff about Angel suddenly acquiring history- spot on. The whole 'mysterious dangerous dude' thing is interesting for a while but eventually means you lose any way to become attached to the character, and I'm glad Buffy as a show realised that and dropped it, or rather, progressed on from it. We had the 'mysterious dude', now we have the 'dude with baggage' because it got a bit repetetive. It feels natural and like a good way to continue with the rest of the first series' set up.

    I admit to not being much of a fan of Angel at this point- I find him dull, and ultimately I don't really care too much about him and Buffy as a couple, and I am speaking as a shameless shipper here. BUT, I still like this episode, because I can appreciate the way it tries to make sure the show keeps moving on and evolving where it might have stayed really static.

  73. So glad you finally watched this one, Mark! It's one of my very favorites of Season One. I'm also so impressed that you were somehow unspoiled about Angel's true nature. Good work!

    I love how this is so much better than Twilight ever was. It IS possible to tell a love story with a vampire without it being completely terrible and sexist! Who knew?

  74. Meg H. says:

    God, DBorz can NOT ACT. I'm always shocked at how much better he's gotten since I started watching Bones and is playing a person with actual feelings, but season one of Buffy? Forget it. (That being said, I do find him cuter in Buffy than on Bones.)

    ANYWAY THIS EPISODE IS SO FANTASTIC. And it might be cheesy, but I've always loved the cross moment at the end of the episode. When first watching it, I could tell that that was sort of going to be indicative of their whole relationship, where they're bad for each other (she's much worse for him than he is for her, though, which is a really interesting dynamic for me) but they still feel this pull toward one another. (I say this without ANY intent to spoil, as this was my genuine reaction upon watching this episode for the first time.)

    (I like parentheticals.)

  75. RoseFyre says:

    Yeah, we were totally trying to avoid spoilering you for the Angel being a vampire thing. Because, seriously, that is so important to the show, but…you don't like being spoilered, so we didn't spoil. I'm glad we managed to avoid telling you so well!

    Boreanaz definitely needed acting classes at this point. I think he does get better later on – he seems to be doing quite well on Bones these days, though I don't watch the show – but it was his first acting job and you can kind of tell.

    I think there are issues with Xander, but I do worry about how much you're being influenced by the cult of the Xander-haters, the group who believe he can do no right. There are also those out there who believe he can do no wrong, of course, but I'm seeing more of the former group among the commenters. I'm not saying Xander is perfect. He's not. He's a 16 year old boy and he acts like one. On the other hand, the first thing he did after coming out of the hyena possession? Was to save Willow. His very first instinct upon waking from that was to help his friend. So yes, he needs to shut up about Buffy not being willing to date him – or at the very least get up the guts to actually ask her instead of acting all jealous – but he has some very good points, and people need to acknowledge those.

    Completely agreed on Buffy's mother. Joyce = awesome.

    It's so interesting to watch some of the earlier episodes knowing what's going on in all the subtext. You may or may not have noticed it, but once you've seen the second half of this episode, the first half takes on completely new meaning. Angel's family were killed by vampires, yes, but there's so much more that's read into that once you learn that he killed his family. Subtext is something this show does well, and is part of what makes it worth it to rewatch all of these episodes, even knowing the whole plot and having seen them all at least once.

    And finally, watching again? The producers/directors/camerapeople are very not good at actually having vampires avoid sunlight. It's clear that they're still finding their feet, but, well, Angel was not good at avoiding sunlight in The Harvest, and Darla's not good at it here. Oh well, the special effects do improve, and so does the budget.

    • arctic_hare says:

      Xander's behavior being typical for a sixteen-year-old boy doesn't magically make it not gross, it's very much worth criticizing *because* it's so realistic. I hate seeing bad behavior from men brushed off in a way that boils down to "boys will be boys". Additionally, I ask that you not dismiss people's legitimate opinions and criticisms by saying things like "cult of the Xander haters".

      • RoseFyre says:

        And I'm saying that I'm sick of seeing people's EVERY comment being "XANDER SUCKS SUCKS SUCKS" which, honestly, is what it seems like sometimes.

        I agree that he's not right, but he's not always wrong, and sometimes I think that people aren't acknowledging the good along with the bad.

        • arctic_hare says:

          And? I don't particularly enjoy seeing certain characters from, for example, Doctor Who receive a lot of dislike, but I deal with it, because everyone's entitled to their own opinions and tastes. (Unless they're being racist/sexist/homophobic/etc. of course.) People are not obligated to like EVERY character, and the criticisms brought up against this particular one are very valid. It's not fair to dismiss people who dislike this or that character as a cult of haters.

          • RoseFyre says:

            I admit that the word cult was probably not the best one to use.

            It's just that there are people who often give insightful comments – on this, as well as on other things Mark has done – who seem to be so mired in their hatred of Xander that I am actually hitting the point of not wanting to read their comments simply to avoid the sheer vitriol. And this is seven reviews in.

            Nf sbe gur ungerq bs Knaqre, pna lbh fnl gung vg'f abg ng nyy vasbezrq ol ubj ur npgf yngre va gur frevrf? V nqzvg gung gurer ner ceboyrzf jvgu uvf eryngvbafuvcf jvgu obgu Pbeqryvn naq Naln. Ohg Znex arrqf gb or tvira gur bccbeghavgl gb yvxr – be qvfyvxr – gur punenpgref ba gurve bja zrevgf, va gur rcvfbqrf gung ur frrf.

            V pbhyq tb ba enagf nobhg ubj Jvyybj guvaxf fur nyjnlf xabjf jung'f orfg sbe rirelbar – juvpu vf gehr vs lbh'ir frra frnfba 6. Ohg gung genvg unfa'g fubja hc lrg, fb V jbhyqa'g, rira vs V sryg yvxr vg jnf fhpu na vzcbegnag srngher gung Znex UNQ gb xabj nobhg vg EVTUG ABJ. Juvpu, ur qbrfa'g.

            Rirelbar va guvf frevrf vf synjrq. Pbeql vf n pynff-N ovgpu. Natry naq Fcvxr xvyyrq gubhfnaqf bs crbcyr sbe sha. Naln gbegherq zra sbe sha. Jvyybj encrf Gnen naq pregnvayl zvaq-encrf ure. Tvyrf rkcrevzragrq va oynpx zntvp. Qnja vf n xyrcgbznavnp. Snvgu fgrnyf Ohssl'f obql. Evyrl yrgf uvzfrys or srq ba ol inzcverf orpnhfr ur'f wrnybhf bs Ohssl. Gnen gevrf gb uvqr gur snpg gung fur'f n qrzba (bxnl, fur'f abg, ohg fur fgvyy gevrf gb uvqr vg). Wblpr xvpxf ure qnhtugre bhg bs gur ubhfr. Bm rkcrpgf Jvyybj gb fvg ng ubzr yvxr n tbbq tvey naq jnvg sbe uvz gb erghea. Wraal Pnyraqne uvqrf ure xabjyrqtr rira jura vg pbhyq or hfrshy. Ohssl rkcrpgf crbcyr gb sbyybj ure jvgubhg nfxvat gurve bcvavbaf (frr frnfba 7). Knaqre vf abg nyjnlf avpr gb jbzra.

            Naq gurfr? Gurfr ner gur tbbq thlf.

            Fb jul vf Knaqre'f fva gur bayl bar gung znggref?

            • echinodermata says:

              People are allowed to write about how much they hate Xander. If you don't want to read it, the simple solution is to not read it. Avoid reading comments by people you think belong to the cult of Xander haters.

              Crbcyr unir orra fnlvat gung gur orunivbe Knaqre rkuvovgrq fb sne vf fxrril naq tebff. Fher shgher qryribczragf pna gvr vagb gung, naq V qba'g cnegvphyneyl pner vs gurl ner, ohg fb sne, Knaqre unf vaqrrq orra npgvat yvxr n Avpr Thl, naq unf orra ntterffviryl ntnvafg gur vqrn bs Ohssl qngvat nal thl (ohg uvz), naq pnyyrq n tvey n ubbxre va beqre gb vafhyg ure.

              V qbhog Znex jbhyq unir pbzzragrq nobhg abg yvxvat Knaqre vs ur qvqa'g frr vg uvzfrys va bayl gur rcvfbqrf ur'f jngpurq.

              Also, please don't use "bitch" on this site.

              • RoseFyre says:

                Yes, people are allowed to write about hating Xander. But it has hit the point where people whose comments I used to enjoy on other writings (such as Doctor Who, LotR, HDM, etc.) are so anti-Xander, and so obsessive about it, that the mere thought of reading their comments inspires feelings of dread. After seven reviews. And I think that there's a balance of not acknowledging the good stuff – yes, Xander fucked up in The Pack with not telling Buffy that he remembered. Yes, trying to rape her was assholic (though that wasn't totally him). But he ended up a hyena because he was trying to help another student who was being bullied, and his first reaction after the possession ended – and it was very quick too – was "help Willow." I just see people who are so obsessed with hating him that they have blinders on.

                Is there a list somewhere of words that are not okay? I know about lame, insane, and crazy, because those are pointed out. And obviously racial slurs and such are not okay. But sometimes it's a fine line, and I think there needs to be a list somewhere – maybe in Mark's spoilers guide, maybe linked from it. Obviously it would have to be update-able, but I think it would be helpful to have a list like that, perhaps prefaced with "words may be added to this list at any time, and just because a word is not on this list does not mean it is okay if it still fits these parameters." Or, you know, something clearer than that. Because I think it would just be useful to have a "definitely not okay" list, considering how many times people have things pointed out to them in the comments.

                • echinodermata says:

                  I acknowledge he ended up a hyena because he was going to confront some bullies and I acknowledge he was quick to help Willow. But that generally seems like basic decency and I don't particularly see why I should point it out when it doesn't excuse his other behavior. To me, it sounds like you want Xander hate to always be couched in 'he's not totally bad' and I don't care to point out the times when he's not acting like a jackass because I don't find that noteworthy. This would go for any character – Buffy's nice to people and protects people constantly but no one seems to be constantly be bringing that up because what's the point?

                  Honestly it's not blinders but rather a lack of desire to want to make a note of when a character's not acting like a jerk simply because not acting like a jerk is expected decency. Which Xander sometimes fails to do – that's when there's something to write about. What you propose is boring to me, honestly. I would be bored writing comments like that because they don't interest me.

                  As for a list of words, I think there should not be an official list because it would be too much trouble to upkeep and be more trouble than what works now.

                • arctic_hare says:

                  I am getting just a tad irked with the continued characterization of those of us who dislike Xander as being part of a "cult" or "obsessed". We have legitimate and valid reasons for not liking him, deal with it and avoid our comments if you so dread reading them. As Genny_ points out below, we are not obligated to preface our criticism of his behavior with "but he did [good thing] too!" We are perfectly entitled to call out a character who is behaving badly, and thus far Xander has had PLENTY to call out. Mark has done so himself ON HIS OWN.

            • arctic_hare says:

              Yvxr rpuvabqrezngn fnvq, pregnvayl n trareny qvfyvxr bs Knaqre bire gur pbhefr bs gur ragver fubj znl or ng jbex urer. Ohg V unir abg bapr oebhtug hc uvf shgher orunivbe va zl pbzcynvagf ba guvf fvgr fb sne. V unir fghpx gb pnyyvat bhg uvf fuvggl orunivbe va gur rcvfbqrf Znex unf erivrjrq hc gb guvf cbvag. Naq V'z abg gur bayl bar. V nyfb qbhog gung Znex jbhyq'ir pbzzragrq nobhg abg yvxvat Knaqre vs ur unqa'g frra ernfba gb va gur rcvfbqrf ur'f ivrjrq. Knaqre unf frireny rknzcyrf nyernql bs onq orunivbe naq GUNG vf jung vf pnhfvat Znex gb fgngr gung ur qbrfa'g yvxr gur punenpgre, abg fbzr "phyg".

              I'm also going to echo the "if you don't want to read about how people hate Xander, don't read their comments" sentiment and the statement about not using the word "bitch" on this site.

              • RoseFyre says:

                (Copied from my response to echinodermata above)

                Is there a list somewhere of words that are not okay? I know about lame, insane, and crazy, because those are pointed out. And obviously racial slurs and such are not okay. But sometimes it's a fine line, and I think there needs to be a list somewhere – maybe in Mark's spoilers guide, maybe linked from it. Obviously it would have to be update-able, but I think it would be helpful to have a list like that, perhaps prefaced with "words may be added to this list at any time, and just because a word is not on this list does not mean it is okay if it still fits these parameters." Or, you know, something clearer than that. Because I think it would just be useful to have a "definitely not okay" list, considering how many times people have things pointed out to them in the comments.

                • arctic_hare says:

                  It's right there in the site rules that slurs are disallowed, and that "No bigotry, racist, sexist, cissexist, transmisogynistic, ableist bullshit will be allowed." As "bitch" is a misogynistic word, it is not allowed.

                  • RoseFyre says:

                    And I still think a list of "these words are definitely not okay, though others that fit the category are also not okay" would still be useful. Because people who are new may not get what all of those things mean, and people think of some words differently, and may use them differently, and not realize that on this site they're considered to fit one of those categories.

                    • arctic_hare says:

                      1) That's something that should be addressed to Mark.

                      2) It does not matter if some people "think of some words differently"/"use them differently". The words are disallowed here regardless. If a person uses a word that is not allowed to be used on this site, they will be informed that they should not use it here anymore. There is no room for arguing about it.

                    • RoseFyre says:

                      1. Yes, though I'm not sure how to get in touch with him other than comments.

                      2. Yes, but a list that people could read before they start commenting might cut down on that happening.

                    • etherealclarity says:

                      Ubj ner jr tbvat gb nqqerff gur snpg gung Pbeqryvn pnyyf urefrys n ovgpu jura jr trg gb gung rcvfbqr va Natry (Ez j/n Ih)?

                    • arctic_hare says:

                      Discussion of a character using a problematic word is fine. Using the word yourself is not.

                  • lawrence_s says:

                    I think the problem with that statement is that it's vague, and people have different interpretations of what constitutes inappropriate language, especially in the categories beyond racism and sexism (which I think are more obvious to most people). I get the concepts of ableism and cissexism and transmisogyny on a conceptual level, but I don't necessarily know all the words that qualify in those categories.

                    A lot of us haven't been in forums before where those rules exist, and often haven't encountered objections to certain words. I didn't know about 'lame' or 'crazy' or 'insane' until I came here, and I'm glad they were explicitly mentioned in the FAQ because otherwise, I probably would have used one or more of them without realising they were banned. (I know the policy is pretty forgiving for first offences, but I'd rather not run afoul of it at all in the first place, so I think a list would be very helpful, and would help raise awareness in general.)

                    (Example, is a term like 'blind faith' disallowed, because it could be construed to disparage visually impaired people? Can we talk about doing a 'sanity check' on our comments before posting them? There's a fine line somewhere, and a lot of us aren't aware of where that line is because we don't have prior experience with these issues.)

                    I also am curious as to whether distinctions are made for appropriate use of certain words. I understand that calling something 'insane' (or crazy or lame, etc) is misappropriating the word as a pejorative, but what about using words in their correct context? (Obviously some words exist only as slurs – there's no appropriate reason to call a person any racial slur, but 'lame' and 'insane' do have correct usages in a clinical and/or academic sense, right?)

                    Sbe rknzcyr, ubj fubhyq jr ersre gb Tybel'f oenvafhpxrq ivpgvzf va frnfba svir? Ner jr nyybjrq gb pnyy gurz vafnar be penml? Gur fubj ersref gb gurz nf obgu penml naq vafnar, fb jvyy gung znxr vg BX sbe hf gb hfr gur fubj'f ynathntr nf jryy? Be fubhyq jr svaq bgure jbeqf be cuenfrf?

            • James says:

              I'm not a Xander hater, but I do have a lot of problems with him in these early episodes. Mark is watching this for the first time at an older age than most of us will have come to the show and he has a background in activism, so I think it's a bit short-sighted to suggest that his opinions on Xander are being influenced by the comments and not by Xander himself at this point.

              • Nos says:

                Nf V fnvq nobir, gurer ner gvzrf jura V ungr Knaqre naq gvzrf jura V ybir uvz. (BZT Gur Mrccb!). V guvax gur bayl gvzr V ernyyl, gehyl ungrq uvz jnf nsgre ur fyhg funzrq Ohssl naq Naln sbe fyrrcvat jvgu Fcvxr. V jnf yvxr 'JBNU JGS'. Ohg lrnu. V ybir uvz sbe gur zbfg gur cneg.

              • RoseFyre says:

                Oh, I agree there are problems. Xander is certainly no paragon. But there are also good points, and I'm worried that no one is seeing those at all.

                • James says:

                  Jryy ng guvf cbvag va gur fubj, gur birejuryzvat vzcerffvba ur tvirf vf bs n Avpr Thl jvgu n ybg bs frkvfg vqrnf, fb gung'f jung crbcyr ner sbphfvat ba. Nf ur trgf qrirybcrq uvf tbbq cbvagf nera'g arneyl nf bhgjrvturq ol gur onq nf gurl ner urer, naq V'z fher gur pbzzragf jvyy ersyrpg gung nf vg unccraf.

              • xpanasonicyouthx says:

                Can I just say that this is exactly what's going on? I had no clue there was a "cult" of Xander haters until you pointed it out, and his characterization in these seven episodes is hardly perfect, so like….LET ME GET THERE.

                Like no, seriously, let me get to his characterization in later seasons and allow me the chance to see him however I damn well please, negative or positive.

            • vermillioncity says:

              It's just that there are people who often give insightful comments – on this, as well as on other things Mark has done – who seem to be so mired in their hatred of Xander that I am actually hitting the point of not wanting to read their comments simply to avoid the sheer vitriol. And this is seven reviews in.

              I agree with this. I know people's opinions are totally valid and they're often making really good, interesting points, but it's legitimately beginning to make me uncomfortable to read. I don't mind people pointing out problematic behaviour and words – in fact, I appreciate when they do – but a lot of this seems very… negatively biased? There are other characters behaving/speaking problematically, but those are just commented upon from a writing perspective, whereas the reaction to anything from Xander often seems to be just 'WELL ISN'T THIS JUST TYPICAL OF XANDER, THAT AWFUL HUMAN BEING WHO DOES NOT DESERVE TO BE ON THE SHOW, AMIRITE'. =|

              • arctic_hare says:

                Then don't read those comments. Simple as that.

              • Karen says:

                Different people are sensitive to different things. I tend to notice Xander's problematic behavior more because I'm more sensitive to the way women are treated, so that's what I comment on. I wouldn't hold it against someone if they want to discuss Cordelia's classism and snobbery.

                • vermillioncity says:

                  Yeah, I think this is a good explanation for it – and a lot of people here are particularly, I can't think of the word, invested in gender politics and so on. And I include myself in that. So there's a lot to talk about. I think the difference is that I think we could discuss Cordelia's classism without turning it into a general attack on the character, and use it as an analysis of attitudes/ideas, which is what Mark does a lot here. E.g. 'this statement is problematic, this character's acting in a negative way, is the writer conscious of this or is he trying to present it positively?' vs 'omg Xander stfu why are you here you're the worst of the worst to ever worst'. Which is neither helpful nor interesting.

                  [1/2]

                • vermillioncity says:

                  Also, some people are saying things like, 'I don't care about hurting the feelings of a fictional character!' which is obviously valid and clearly bears no resemblance to hurting viewers/readers who have been exposed to sexism and so on. But I'm concerned that there are people here on Mark's board who are too intimidated to post positive things about Xander in case they're dismissed or just shouted down. And there seems to be some shouting-down going on.

                  [2/2]

              • RoseFyre says:

                THANK you.

                Exactly – I mean, dude, Angel admitted he killed thousands of people. Where are the people ripping on HIM for that? Instead they're busy getting annoyed at Xander – who, yes, is a bit of a jerk – but who also does good things.

                • Karen says:

                  Yes, but Angel is presented as being a vampire. He's admits that what he did in the past was bad and the audience is supposed to agree with him that he did bad things in the past. What more do you want commenters to say about that?

                  The text doesn't call Xander out on his bad behavior and just treats it as a joke or glosses over it which is why I think people are calling him out in the comments. Xander is the best friend (and I would argue that he is the Every Man) figure, so he's not supposed to be seen as a bad guy. He's being presented as a good and funny guy. That's the difference and that's why I find his actions problematic.

        • Nos says:

          I really, really hope we don't let our ingrained fannish ways colour Mark's opinion on stuff. People who hate Xander are going to hate Xander, yes, but try to colour your responses for where Mark currently is in the series.

          Personally, there are times when I hate Xander and times when I love him. Pretty much like every other character on the show.

          • arctic_hare says:

            I really doubt Mark is being influenced by anyone in the comments, he's stated on his own that he doesn't like Xander because of the things he's seen in the episodes thus far. Which is what people tend to be discussing: Xander's behavior in the episodes Mark has already reviewed. I personally, for example, am only interested in discussing the behavior of Xander and other characters *as it happens* at Mark's pace.

        • Genny_ says:

          Did I miss all the people defending him over the course of the last two posts, or something? There's plenty of Xander fans here.

          More to the point, I think a lot of people are basically taking it for granted that whatever good qualities Xander may have will be/have already been covered, since… he's hardly unpopular in fandom at large. At least, most Buffy fans I knew before this site seem to at least like him. And I don't see any need to preface every criticism of a character 'but he did [unrelated good thing] too!'.

          • RoseFyre says:

            It's true, Xander is very popular in some parts of fandom – and I don't agree with the "Xander can do no wrong" people either, because, as I said, he has issues and is not always the best person. I wonder why they're not here at the moment, though.

            I'm just saying, everyone's all "XANDER SUCKS BECAUSE OF THIS" and no real acknowledgement that he's not the most terrible human who ever was terrible. Which, he's not.

            • Genny_ says:

              OK, but here's the thing- what you're basically saying is, if a guy is skeezy and sexist, then we have to then go out of our way to say- 'oh, but let's remember that he's not the worst guy ever!', which is just… absurd. If a guy/character does something sexist, I am going to say, 'wow, that was sexist! and terrible for it!'. I am not then going to make sure that we're all very careful not to be *too mean* about it and go, 'but oh, he does good things too! he isn't, like, pure evil!'

              Because that's what you seem to be asking for? You seem to be saying that criticisms of male sexism are being too harsh and that we have to be careful to ensure that nobody thinks we hate him too much. Look, Xander is ultimately a fictional character whose feelings I can't hurt. I am really not that concerned about making sure I am 'balanced' when criticising him. If I think Xander sucks because of this or that I feel absolutely no need to then say 'oh but he's not 100% terrible because XYZ!'

              tl;dr when calling out sexism, it is not actually required for one to go out of their way to then detail the awesome non-sexist shit the person did, and acting like they are is basically reorienting a discussion about sexism to be about how the man is an OK guy *really*.

      • lawrence_s says:

        So is your (not just you but anyone who is anti-Xander at the moment) criticism solely of the person of Xander or the character? As in, it's clear if he were a real person (and he kind of is, I'm sure we've all known people like him) you obviously would dislike him, assuming he reacted poorly when/if you called him on his inappropriate behaviour (I think it's fair to say he hasn't been called out for it on screen, or probably off, either). But do you think his character serves a useful purpose in the show at least? (Let's just say through episode 7 so we don't have to rot13 everything.)

        Because one thing I've seen a LOT of in fandoms is people not separating the character from the person, or it being at the very least unclear. I think that's what's bothering people. It's what's bothering me.

        I neither particularly like nor dislike Xander. I think he can be funny, but also cruel and crude. But what I am seeing here is a lot of what comes off as vitriolic, visceral hate for both person and character, and it comes off as extremely dismissive.

        • Genny_ says:

          My dislike of who Xander would be as a real person makes me dislike watching him because he makes me legitimately uncomfortable, personally, and the show does a pretty poor job at actually acknowledging him as an uncomfortable character so I can't easily compartmentalize. Likewise, my awareness that he embodies problematic attitudes of Joss' own, where Joss is a real person, adds an extra layer of uncomfortable-ness.

          • echinodermata says:

            Shit, you said what I said except so much more concisely. Ah, well, kudos.

          • Karen says:

            Yep. I have liked some assholish characters in my day (Nyfb, V'z abg tbaan yvr. Fcvxr vf bar bs zl snibevgr punenpgref va gur Ohsslirefr naq ur vf n gbgny nffubyr fbzrgvzrf. Ohg gur grkg npxabjyrqtrf Fcvxr'f synjf jurernf Knaqref ner tybffrq bire naq gurer nera'g ernyyl nal pbafrdhraprf sbe uvz.) so I'm not just disliking Xander because he is an ass. The problem for me is that the show doesn't call Xander out on his behavior.

            • Genny_ says:

              Seriously, I like villains and assholes and murderers and so on ALL THE TIME. V yvxr Fcvxr n ybg, gbb! It isn't about Xander being crappy as a person, to me. It's just about the story being crap at examining his issues. I can see many ways I'd like Xander as a character, and none of them have to even change his behaviour. Just how it's presented.

              • notemily says:

                Yeah, it's kind of hard to quantify, but most shows DO have a point of view to them, that presents certain things as right or wrong depending on what the consequences are for doing those things. And the show, so far, hasn't given Xander too many consequences. It sucks.

                • Genny_ says:

                  As someone who recently started writing in a serious way, it's something that… I can't really imagine any writer missing, either. You're definitely always aware, in my experience, that on some level the tone of the narrative is there to influence your reader, because how else can you actually express a character? And the show is fucking that up a lot, IMO. And it makes me think less of Joss as a writer. Either he actually is condoning Xander's behaviour, which… no, *or* he isn't and it was a mistake, and it's kind of terrible writing if so.

        • arctic_hare says:

          What Genny_ said, basically. He's hard for me to watch too because of all those reasons.

        • echinodermata says:

          I'll go ahead and answer this for myself. Xander is a character with many personality traits I hate and says and does things I hate. If he were a real person, I'd hope to avoid interacting with him. I'll add that this is true of probably most 16-year-old boys, since I've seen Xander being defended by being described as a 16 year old boy a lot. As a group, I do not like 16 year old boys and I never have at any age. Him being a "typical" teenage boy is a part of the reason I don't like him, fyi.

          As a character, Xander represents Joss Whedon's own sexism given he's something of a self-insert character by Whedon's admission. Xander represents a failure of the show and writers to frame the sexist behavior seen so far as a bad thing. Xander represents a general trend of Whedon and his shows to be purportedly feminist when he/it doesn't necessarily deliver. In this sense, Xander does in fact, as a character, represent things I hate.

          Xander has some merits – he can be funny and nice. But other characters are funny too and generally nice, so Xander doesn't fill a particular unique positive character feature on the show. I can get my humor from other characters. Buffy and Willow and Giles are all pretty supportive of each other. So as a character, even without the stuff about Whedon and the writing and all that, Xander doesn't give me anything uniquely useful to my viewing pleasure, but does fill a unique role in my viewing displeasure with his Nice Guy behavior. You could take him away and the narrative doesn't change much – Willow is still there to represent the person who's new to magic and monsters and everything. What you lose is Xander's insecurities and skeevy behavior and yes, some humor. But you could also allocate more humor to other characters.

          If all Xander has going for him is that he's funny, then honestly, he's not serving all that useful a purpose on the show imo. Even if it's funny and also sometimes nice, it's still not that useful. Narratively speaking, he and Willow fill the same basic role. His positive character traits are traits other characters have too.

          So I don't like Xander – I wouldn't like him as a person, and as a character I think he's not particularly useful in a narrative sense (and really hasn't been of much help so far in terms of dealing with monsters), with the bonus that as a character he essentially represents sexism.

          I'm not entirely sure why not separating character from person is bothering you so much, and when you say "it comes off as extremely dismissive" I don't know to what is being dismissed. So maybe my comment will only bother you more – I honestly don't know if it will.

          But I figure I'm anti-Xander at the moment and am willing to answer your question, and even if you don't like my answer, at least you get a sincere answer from someone.

          • Karen says:

            I agree with all of this!

          • lawrence_s says:

            (This is pretty much going to be a reply to the whole thread, because there are a lot of interesting points here, and it's been a good read. I'm glad we could promote some deeper discussion here. The dismissiveness I'm referring to is that I haven't seen a lot of whole discussion of his character, more just offhanded comments that have essentially [and sometimes literally] been, "SHUT UP, XANDER.")

            (also, this might be a bit rambly, because again, whole thread. can of worms.)

            So, that was actually helpful. I don't agree with all of it, obviously, but that's OK. It's easier to disagree with well reasoned in-depth analysis than what has, until now, come off from many commenters largely as "I hate everything about Xander because he acts like a teenage boy."

            Which is not to suggest that his being a teenage boy in any way excuses his behaviour (nor should it). Or that it would in real life, anyway. My counterargument to that, at least is that this is a television show, and it's depicting a teenage boy in an unfortunately fairly accurate way. And I think it's depicting other teenagers in a fairly accurate way, too (at least in their actions, if not their physical appearances.)

            And this is where I get to show my age, because I suspect I'm quite a bit older than many of the posters here, and my thoughts are a product of my experiences when I was in high school, which was (holy crap I feel old) a few years before Buffy and her friends were.

            I think the world has really changed a lot in 15 years (almost 15 now from March of 1997), especially when it comes to sexist and misogynistic language and behaviour, and especially where teenagers are concerned.

            When I was in high school, most kids I knew wouldn't directly call someone out for inappropriate language or behaviour, even if it was extremely offensive. Even if someone dropped a C-bomb. Even if someone said something racist. They might discuss it among their other friends, but it was uncommon to hear someone say "Hey, that was out of line and you need to [apologise/never say that again/piss off/etc.]" Maybe they'd go to a teacher or a counsellor if the offence was particularly egregious, and maybe it would be dealt with.

            In other words, I think the fact that Xander isn't called out on screen for his actions is fairly typical of high school students in 1997. Buffy and Willow may have plenty of off-screen conversations about him being a jerk (and Willow may or may not agree, since her feelings for him have been shown to verge on obsession, and an infatuated person often has a hard time seeing negative traits) but they wouldn't tell him he's out of line.

            I think what's changed in the last 15 years (and that I, admittedly, have little current experience with) is that teenagers are probably more willing to speak up immediately when someone says or does something inappropriate. Fear is still an issue, of course, but percentage-wise, I think people are still likely to say something.

            So a 2011 version of Buffy or Willow or Cordelia might actually tell Xander to can it, even if it was just a line or two to acknowledge that the issue existed and was being addressed and was important to the characters and the writers – obviously, because the show wasn't about those issues (at least not entirely) there wouldn't be a huge amount of time to address them in-depth. But it would serve character growth, at least.

            So that doesn't mean I think people should suddenly love Xander because "it was OK in 1997" – it was never 'OK', it was just handled differently then – but I think that holding the show to a modern standard and expecting it to deal with issues the way a current show would or should is a little unfair.

            (OK, I've been editing and re-editing this for about two hours now, and if I don't post it now, I'll probably never post it. It'll surely spark plenty of disagreement, but really, what's the point of having an opinion if everyone's just going to agree with it, right?)

            • echinodermata says:

              I have a difficult time being able to say how willing teenagers from different years would be to speak up when a peer says or does something inappropriate. I wish there were an actual high school teacher around who taught in 97 through now in the same school and could evaluate for us that question, because I know I can't give an accurate assessment and frankly I doubt many people here could.

              So I'm honestly not sure if I'm holding the show to a more modern standard or not, but I don't think that matters too much in terms of perception of Xander's behavior specifically. In terms of how other characters react to Xander's behavior, maybe you're right. But Whedon's a self-titled feminist and from the inception Buffy was meant to be a feminist-aware show. So I would hold someone who calls themselves a feminist to a higher standard than I would some (fictional) teenagers, and I think it's still right to be disappointed in Whedon for wanting to write a feminist show but giving us a Nice Guy that is implicitly approved by the text, regardless if I'm coming from a more modern standpoint. Nothing changes the fact that when I view the show from this modern standard, there are things I find worth criticizing, and I think it's valuable to address them.

              And if the argument is that Whedon was aware of Xander being a skeevy Nice Guy dudebro but was writing for realism because teens in 97 wouldn't call out this sort of behavior, well, it's a show about vampires.

              • lawrence_s says:

                I wish there were an actual high school teacher around who taught in 97 through now in the same school and could evaluate for us that question, because I know I can't give an accurate assessment and frankly I doubt many people here could.

                Very true. I'm just going by the impression I've got from things I've heard younger people say on here and other boards that seem to indicate this generation almost takes for granted that someone, even if not the wronged party, should speak up when someone is behaving poorly. Which, hey, awesome. But my generation only did that in a very general and global sense, not usually a personal one.

                And if the argument is that Whedon was aware of Xander being a skeevy Nice Guy dudebro but was writing for realism because teens in 97 wouldn't call out this sort of behavior, well, it's a show about vampires.

                Heh, point. But to address the first part, I think it was less intentional and conscious than that. I don't think Joss would necessarily have said "OK, Xander's going to act like an ass, but no one is going to call him out because teenagers don't do that." I think it was more the thought process of "Xander's going to act like an ass, because that's what Xander does," and if the other writers, who were all adults, suggested that he be called out on it, the response might well have been, "I don't know that high school students really would say anything." (Maybe I'm just splitting hairs with that theory, though.)

                think it's still right to be disappointed in Whedon for wanting to write a feminist show but giving us a Nice Guy that is implicitly approved by the text, regardless if I'm coming from a more modern standpoint.

                Which I would argue is different from 'hating Xander'.

                And I agree, we live in 2011, so we can analyse the show from a modern standpoint, and it's certainly important and valuable to address issues of sexism and misogyny in any context, and how they would be addressed by others, as well.

                I just think we need to keep perspective when doing so and keep in mind that the show is dated in many ways. (Fcrnxvat bs juvpu, V Ebobg vf arkg, vfa'g vg? πŸ™‚

                • echinodermata says:

                  Since it looks like we're at a point of agreement and amicable differences, I really want to only address this particular line in reply to my disappointment with Whedon: "Which I would argue is different from 'hating Xander'."

                  My first reply to you started with how I'd hate Xander were he a real person. All this extratextual discussion about writing and the era is, in my mind, irrelevant to how I feel about Xander's personality. There are writing factors that contribute to my impression of him, but really the major point is he's acting like a Nice Guy and I hate that. I'm pretty sure most of the people who are saying they don't like Xander so far are mostly basing it off his personality too and the sort of person he reminds us of in real life.

                  If it helps, I felt like a third of my comments during BSG were about how much I wanted to punch Baltar in the face/how mournful I was no character had the decency to punch Baltar in the face. This is a very complexly written character and most people can't help but find him compelling and interesting even if he is a jackass that needs to get punched. And yet, I had overriding hate for him because he was such a jackass – perhaps my least favorite character ever in all fiction, but I agree he's one of the best written characters.

                  Basically, when I hate a character, it's usually because of their personality. The writing is a separate issue. I can say I'm disappointed in the writing and still love/hate that character for different reasons. (And there are plenty of characters I love who I think are written poorly.)

                  So perhaps you're bothered less by me saying I'm disappointed in Whedon, but it's still true that I hate Xander. Or maybe I'm entirely misunderstanding your line and rambled on for no reason.

                  • lawrence_s says:

                    And yet, I had overriding hate for him because he was such a jackass – perhaps my least favorite character ever in all fiction, but I agree he's one of the best written characters.

                    I don't know BSG (I didn't watch the series, and didn't read MW for it. I'm a bad nerd, I know. I'll get to it eventually. πŸ™‚ but this makes perfect sense, and is the separation of character from characterisation that I'm most interested in.

                    And it's perfectly reasonable to hate/be disappointed in both sides of it, too, but it was more a curiosity, at first, because I felt like a lot of comments here and in other fandoms (anyone here remember all the Ginny and/or JKR hate after HP&HBP came out?) represent the idea that not only is a character equivalent to the writing of the character, but further, that all characters must represent some exact philosophy the writers have, and it's obviously more complex and nuanced than that, which you've described quite well.

                    Or maybe I'm entirely misunderstanding your line and rambled on for no reason.

                    Nah, you got it. But besides, we're Buffy fans, we're verbose. It's a thing. πŸ™‚

                    But now it's after 2 where I am and I've got an 8 hour car ride ahead of me. I kind of hope this thread doesn't further explode as more people wake up tomorrow morning 'cause there's no way I'm going to be able to read it all on my phone. πŸ™‚

        • robin says:

          I've never really thought about if Xander just as a character serves a usual purpose on the show in these 7 episodes.. and actually, well… okay now I'm thinking of it. My sparkly new thoughts:

          okay… I thinking his main purpose in these 7 episodes As A Character is to be (a) comic relief and (b) a POV character for the potential male audience, under the assumption that they can't possibly be interested in a series without a male main character (which I think is dismissive towards men and doesn't give them enough credit – I think plenty of guys will like a good show, period).

          And becomes sort of a problem, because other than being A Guy I'm not sure the writers are entirely sure what Xander's role & character on the show is going to be outside of comic relief. (Like they're not really sure about Angel yet – though as such a minor character who's intentionally "mysterious" he suffers less for this.) The comedic/tragic angle they've taken for his character so far in the season is sort of heavily entwined with icky Nice Guy[tm] behavior. Maybe not the best decision on the writers' parts, and maybe they'd make different choices now. Who knows? There's also a lot of gender focus (not my favorite thing), where he's Being a Guy, Having Guy Problems, Have I Mentioned I'm A Teenage Boy Lately? He's less of a CHARACTER so far and more of a Average Unpopular Geeky Teenage Boy With Hormones caricature than a fully developed person. But then there's only been 7 episodes!

          I think right now with just episodes 1-7, the problem is that Xander's flaws as a person are hard to dismiss in service of appreciation for the role his character plays, when said character is not more defined, lacking direction, and hasn't developed into something more than punchlines about being The Unpopular Geeky Teenage Boy With Hormones. I do enjoy a lot of unpleasant characters in different fandoms, so maybe my real problem really is with the character and how one-note he feels to me right now! huh. wow.

          V qb guvax gung Knaqre zbfg qrsvavgryl orpbzrf n qrirybcrq, shyy syrqtrq punenpgre ba gur fubj naq ur raqf hc svyyvat bhg gur pnfg avpryl. V crefbanyyl graq gb ernyyl ybir uvz va Frnfba 4 naq 5 rfcrpvnyyl. Ohg abj gung lbh znqr zr guvax nobhg vg, naq ubarfgyl V unqa'g pbafvqrerq gung orsber, V'z abg fher ur'f freivat n terng checbfr va gur vavgvny Ohssl rcvfbqrf bgure guna bppnfvbanyyl nf n cybg qrivpr. Ohg lbhe zvyrntr znl inel. V'z abg fnlvat V'z evtug (V qba'g guvax gurer vf nal evtug nafjre, jr nyy pna vagrecerg zngrevny qvssreragyl) naq guvf vf "bss gur phss" fb V fher unira'g gubhtug guvf bhg irel jryy.

          • James says:

            I agree with this! I'm just going to put all of this in rot-13 to be safe: Vg'f orra <v>ntrf</v> fvapr V jngpurq f1, V abeznyyl fxvc gb 2 orpnhfr V ybir nyy gur arj punenpgref naq gur frnfba nep vf whfg snagnfgvp. Guvf vf zl svefg gvzr jngpuvat vg fvapr trggvat zber vaibyirq va fbpvny whfgvpr npgvivfz, fb V'z abgvpvat uvf snvyvatf n ybg zber guvf gvzr ebhaq naq ur qrsvavgryl srryf irel haqreqrirybcrq naq bar abgr. V npghnyyl tbg vagb gur fubj va f2 – V unq frra fbzr bs f1 ohg V qvqa'g jngpu erthyneyl – naq ol gung gvzr Knaqre'f frggyrq vagb uvf ebyr va gur tebhc naq vf zber qrsvarq nf n punenpgre. Cyhf ur'f gbarq qbja uvf Avpr Thl npg nebhaq Ohssl fbzrjung. Ur'f fgvyy vafrpher naq n wrnybhf nff, ohg vg pbzrf npebff nf gur synjrq cnegf bs n jryy-ebhaqrq punenpgre engure guna uvf ragver orvat. V zrna, ur fgvyy unf uvf fuvggl zbzragf va yngre frnfbaf, ohg gurl'er yrff serdhrag (gubhtu fbzrgvzrf zhpu jbefr). V unq n znffvir pehfu ba uvz jura V jnf nobhg 14, naq V qb unir n ybg bs ybir sbe uvz, whfg — abg fb zhpu va gurfr rneyl qnlf.

        • RoseFyre says:

          Exactly! There's this visceral hate for Xander that's not there for any other characters, including the ones who have done much worse things.

          And no, he's not my favorite character ever. But the sheer hatred is BOTHERING me.

          • Genny_ says:

            The things Xander does are commonly excused IRL, frequent problems IRL for a lot of the people calling him out by the looks of things, and commonly excused especially by fandoms in general. The sheer hatred probably comes from that. I'm not going to stop hating skeevy sexist characters when I have to put up with that BS in real life all the time just because other characters do bad stuff too.

            Dislike is subjective and often comes down people's personal experiences. It doesn't have to be purely rational and objective. Since the hatred of Xander isn't in any discernible way actually problematic, why does it bother you exactly?

            • RoseFyre says:

              It's because of the vitriol. There's an utter lack of an ability to acknowledge that Xander isn't the devil, basically. I'm not saying he's the best person ever. He's not. He absolutely is a 16 year old boy and behaves idiotically, the way that most 16 year old boys do. What's bothering me is comments like ones I saw on Never Kill a Boy on the First Date – that Angel and Xander were both not happy with Buffy dating Owen, which is true. Which, neither of them has a right to, this is true. But Angel was completely excused for it because "oh, it was amusing" while Xander was not excused at all (which, okay, the mirror was kind of skeevy, I agree, but the rest of it was pretty similar to what Angel did, just with Xander's word patterns instead of Angel's silence – which, not talking does not make jealousy like that okay). You want to call Xander out on it? Then call out Angel on his possessiveness when he has just as little right as Xander does to be possessive about Buffy.

              • Genny_ says:

                People will indeed be quite vitriolic about sexism. Shockingly.

                Look, I am an eighteen year old generally perceived as female. I am harsh about Xander *because* he is sixteen, and because I am still sore about experiencing that level of sexism for several years in a school environment from similar boys. And because any concern I had about that sexism was dismissed out of a fear for those boys' feelings, because 'that's what sixteen year old boys are like', etc. etc. And seeing it replicated with, ultimately, comparatively little serious criticism on a TV show- that is pretty damn horrible to me! Especially since I know that it's a grown man projecting *onto* that sixteen year old, since Xander is ultimately Joss' avatar in this show. And then, seeing people essentially talk about how respecting a *fictional characters' feelings* by not talking too much shit about him is more important than examining that sexism? Not exactly helping.

                See? Context. It's subjective, and it's important.

                Like, I think Angel has his issues too, but ultimately, Xander is a far more real 'thing' to me and *that* is why I am discussing him far more. (I seriously don't like Angel much either, and certain issues like that play into it.) Also, I do recall the issue you bring up re: the Owen thing, and I think I actually addressed it- oh, yeah, I found the comment. There's a lot of stuff to be said about how Angel comes across as significantly less assertive, and therefore threatening, than Xander in that ep. Angel is at fault. But I still find Xander to be, ultimately, the bigger problem.

                And ugggh I DO NOT CARE THAT MOST SIXTEEN YEAR OLD BOYS ARE LIKE THAT. All caps absolutely necessary. Why is this even being brought up? Most sixteen year old boys are like that because society basically teaches them to be because we constantly go, 'oh, well, he'll grow out of it'. It's a self-perpetuating cycle. It doesn't remotely excuse… anything. As someone not far off sixteen, trust me, sixteen year olds can be held accountable for their actions to some extent and acting like it's somehow okay because LOTS of them are sexist is just- no.

              • arctic_hare says:

                Did Angel take Owen aside and lie to him that Buffy doesn't like dancing, and tell him not to touch, kiss or even look at Buffy? No. Angel was certainly jealous, but he was *much* less assertive about it and trying to peek at Buffy while she was changing was EXTREMELY skeevy and gross.

            • RoseFyre says:

              Oh, and also, rot13ing:

              V'z jbeevrq gung crbcyr ner cebwrpgvat guvatf gurl qvfyvxr nobhg Knaqre sebz yngre va gur frevrf bagb gur Knaqre bs Frnfba Bar. Znex qbrfa'g jnag fcbvyref. Ohg nggvghqrf pna or fcbvyref gbb.

              V'z gelvat irel irel uneq abg gb fnl guvatf yvxr "ohg lbh'yy ybir Pbeql jura lbh npghnyyl yrnea zber nobhg jul fur npgf guvf jnl!" naq "fur qbrf trg ynlref!" Naq V srry yvxr fbzr crbcyr nera'g rira gelvat jura vg pbzrf gb Knaqre.

              • Genny_ says:

                …Ohg rirelbar'f pevgvpvfzf unir orra cheryl ba uvf pheerag npgvbaf. That I've seen, anyway.

              • Karen says:

                V guvax gurer vf CYRAGL gb qvfyvxr nobhg Knaqre whfg sebz gurfr frira rcvfbqrf naq V'ir gevrq va zl pbzzragf gb fgvpx gb whfg pnyyvat bhg uvf naablvat npgvbaf va gur fcrpvsvp rcvfbqrf (gubhtu jura bgure crbcyr oevat hc shgher npgvbaf, V qb erfcbaq naq qvfphff gurz).

              • arctic_hare says:

                Ntnva, V unir abg bapr oebhtug hc NAL punenpgref' shgher npgvbaf. V nz fgvpxvat fgevpgyl gb qvfphffvat jung gurl'ir qbar va gur rcvfbqrf Znex unf frra. V jvyy qvfphff vffhrf jvgu onq orunivbe ba RIRELBAR'F cnegf jura gur gvzr pbzrf.

              • James says:

                Nalguvat crbcyr qba'g yvxr nobhg uvz sebz yngre frnfbaf unf orra ebg13'q, gubhtu. Crbcyr ner fnlvat gurl qba'g yvxr Knaqre orpnhfr bs gur glcr bs guvat ur qbrf ng guvf cbvag, jvgubhg nal vaqvpngvba nf gb jurgure gung rire punatrf. Gurl pbhyq zrna "qrfcvgr uvz vzcebivat" be "naq ur arire trgf nal orggre/bayl trgf jbefr!"

                Vs nalguvat vafvfgvat fb irurzragyl gung ur'f abg nyy onq naq unf uvf tbbq cbvagf gbb vf na rkcrpgngvba fcbvyre jura gur infg znwbevgl bs jung Znex unf frra fb sne vf Knaqre orvat n funyybj, cbffrffvir, Avpr Thl.

              • SelphieFairy says:

                Qba'g lbh guvax gelvat gb pbaivapr Znex gung Knaqre vfa'g nyy GUNG onq vf gur qbvat gur fnzr guvat? Fb sne, Znex qbrfa'g ernyyl yvxr uvz, juvpu frrzf gb or uvf fvaprer bcvavba, abg sebz gur vasyhrapr bs bguref. V yvxr Knaqre, ohg V'z abg fhecevfrq Znex qbrfa'g (fb sne), orpnhfr V'ir ernq uvf erivrjf orsber. Vs nalbar jub boivbhfyl unf frra gur jubyr frevrf gevrf gb pnyy Knaqre n pbzcyrgryl greevoyr crefba, V'yy cebonoyl qrsraq uvz gura (naq V qvq bapr nyernql), ohg bgurejvfr, vs crbcyr qvfyvxr uvz orpnhfr bs uvf npgvbaf fb sne… V pna frr jul. Va snpg, V xvaq bs qba'g frr lbhe cbvag ng nyy, fvapr V npghnyyl guvax Knaqre vf gur JBEFG va frnfba bar, naq ur trgf ORGGRE nf vg tbrf n ybat. Vs nalbar vf cebwrpgvat gurve srryvatf nobhg Knaqre sebz yngre frnfbaf, vg'f QRSVAVGRYL gur Knaqre qrsraqref… 😐

                I feel bad for saying this, because you seem to be trying so hard, lol. I like Xander do, I honestly do, but you're just… wrong. Sorry. People who don't like Xander are entitled to their opinions, and BECAUSE they don't like him they're going to be more direct about pointing out his flaws and they don't feel a need to qualify anything to feel OK about it. They're not obligated to mask their opinions just because it makes some people uncomfortable. Just don't read the Xander "hate comments" or try not to take it personally…

        • Karen says:

          For me? It's both. If Xander were a real person, I would not want to be friends with him or spend a lot of time with him, from what we've seen in the show thus far.

          As a character? I dislike him too. I dislike the fact that the text does not call Xander out on his bad behavior. He's a Nice Guy character type which I really dislike and he's supposed to function in the show as an Every Man figure, commenting on the action and what not. Which I guess is a purpose he serves, but not a particularly interesting one.

          Idk. I think there will be more conversations about this as the show goes along and we can talk about it more then.

        • vermillioncity says:

          I neither particularly like nor dislike Xander. I think he can be funny, but also cruel and crude. But what I am seeing here is a lot of what comes off as vitriolic, visceral hate for both person and character, and it comes off as extremely dismissive.

          Agree.

    • Seventh_Star says:

      just want to support your support of xander! i know it's "intense debate" and all, but all this arguing makes my tummy do flips.

      also GREAT AVATAR. LOVE HER.

      • RoseFyre says:

        ISN'T SHE LOVELY? I use a version of the icon with "Geek Love" written on it on my LJ. Because, geeks are awesome (speaking as one).

        And I'm not a fan of arguing, but I've hit the point where I can't remain silent anymore. Remaining silent is something I'm not very good at. The sad part is that it only took me seven episodes and seven reviews to get there. The sheer vitriolic HATE is just overwhelming.

        • Seventh_Star says:

          vs v pbzovar gur ohssl naq natry punenpgref gbtrgure zl snibevgr punenpgref fgnaq guhf: fcvxr (pna'g jnvg gb nethr nobhg uvz. TRRMHF.), jrf, naq serq πŸ™‚

          i haven't even read the entire, massive conversation above, and i don't know if i want to.

    • robin says:

      If anyone had asked me a few weeks ago what I expected Mark to think of Xander in these episodes we've seen so far, I would have predicted that Mark would react poorly to him — having nothing to do with the commentors.

      Actually, I (incorrectly) assumed all of the commentors would love Xander and be sad that he reacted poorly to Xander. Like how he never understood why some fans like Draco Malfoy. (There being proof that Mark is impervious to fandom opinion.)

      Everything about what I have previously read from Mark reviews in BSG and Harry Potter lead me to think this. Mark tends towards critical analysis and being very aware of hetrocentricsm and sexist or racist undertones.

      And really, I can't speak for all of the people who are currently critical of Xander so far in the series… but I definitely do not HATE him. It's just as I have become more educated about gender issues and just plain gotten old and crabby, so now I notice certain things when I watch tv or read books and sometimes I want to talk about it. And it depends on the show – this one is so strongly focused on the teenage high school experience with the "realness" of it that it makes such things have a stronger impact for me. And the characters are set up as heroic and The Good Guys. So I react to them differently than characters from, say, The Sopranos or Deadwood. Because of who Xander/Buffy/Willow are and how they're framed in the narrative, I start placing moral judgments on their behavior that I would never think to place on characters of ASOIAF. Whqtzragf V qba'g cynpr ba punenpgref yvxr Qneyn, Qehfvyyn, naq Fcvxr orpnhfr gurl ner senzrq nf ~qrzbaf naq V unir ab rkcrpgngvbaf bs gurz nqurevat gb bhe zbenyvgl. Vf gung "snve"…? V qba'g xabj naq V qba'g cnegvphyneyl pner. Ubj V ernpg vf ubj V ernpg naq vg'f abg na nggnpx ba nalobql erny.

      There are fun elements of Xander's character though. Va frnfba 4 Knaqre'f npghnyyl bar bs zl snibevgr cnegf bs gur fubj. V svaq uvz ernyyl evqvphybhf naq sha va gung frnfba, synjrq punenpgre be abg.

      • RoseFyre says:

        Fair enough that Mark dislikes Xander. That's his right. Mark mostly isn't FOCUSING on it, though, unlike some of the commenters, who, well, it's practically the only thing they say. Or at least the one that receives by far the most focus. And they do it repeatedly.

        I'm wondering where all the pro-Xander people are myself. He's not my favorite character ever, but I find myself taking this position because of the people who hate him so much.

        Bxnl, lrf, gurl'er qrzbaf jvgubhg fbhyf, fb creuncf lbh pna'g whqtr gurz ol gur fnzr fgnaqneq.

        Ohg gurer ner uhznaf jub qb onq guvatf gbb. Sbe Tbq'f fnxr, Jvyybj onfvpnyyl encrf Gnen. RIRELBAR ba guvf fubj unf synjf. Rirelbar. Vg whfg naablf gur urpx bhg bs zr gung Knaqre'f ner gur bayl barf orvat sbphfrq ba.

        V whfg jvfu crbcyr jbhyq npxabjyrqtr gung Knaqre vf abg gur fcnja bs Fngna. Nf rknzcyrf, jr unir uvz gelvat gb fnir uvf sevraq (Wrffr) va Gur Uneirfg, uvz urycvat Ynapr va Gur Cnpx (juvpu nqzvggrqyl yrnqf gb gur ulran guvat, ohg uvf zbgvingvbaf jrer trarenyyl tbbq orsber ur tbg cbffrffrq), uvz urycvat Jvyybj ng gur raq bs Gur Cnpx (svefg guvat ur qbrf bapr ur'f bhg bs cbffrffvba), uvz fnivat Ohssl va Cebcurpl Tvey, uvz gnyxvat Jvyybj qbja ng gur raq bs Frnfba Fvk…naq V'z fher gurer ner bguref, V whfg pna'g guvax bs gurz bss gur gbc bs zl urnq. V guvax Knaqre vzcebirf n YBG bapr ur npghnyyl nfxf Ohssl bhg naq fur ershfrf.

        • arctic_hare says:

          Unf Jvyybj npghnyyl qbar gung lrg? Ab. V jvyy gnyx nobhg gung cyragl JURA GUR GVZR PBZRF. Ohg fvapr Jvyybj unf abg qbar nalguvat greevoyr lrg, V nz abg tbvat gb yriry pevgvpvfz ng ure lrg orpnhfr Znex unf abg frra ure qb gubfr guvatf.

          V npghnyyl unir n ovt ceboyrz jvgu jung Knaqre qbrf ng gur raq bs frnfba fvk, naq jvgu znal bgure guvatf nsgre ur nfxf ure bhg va Cebcurpl Tvey, ohg ntnva, V jvyy qvfphff gubfr jura gurl unccra. Fnzr jvgu gur onq guvatf nyy gur bgure punenpgref qb.

        • beckaboomer says:

          "I'm wondering where all the pro-Xander people are myself."

          *raises hand* Hello, I am pro-Xander! I am very quiet though, and I really dislike confrontation (even on the Internet), so you probably won't see me arguing with others about him. I'm not surprised that Mark and others are calling out Xander on his bad behavior; that is a good thing, in my opinion. I do get uncomfortable reading too many of the "Xander sucks" type comments, so I just stopped reading them.

          At least now you know that a few of us exist! (I saw a couple of other comments agreeing with you up there, so yay?)

          • RoseFyre says:

            I'm glad there are people out there who like Xander. I tend to like everyone except for the characters who are clearly meant to be evil – and I even find them entertaining, often. I have favorite villains in this show, and va snpg gur bayl bar V qba'g ng yrnfg rawbl jngpuvat vf Nqnz, juvpu vf znvayl orpnhfr bs gur obevat snpgbe.

            I think everyone has both good and bad personality traits, rfcrpvnyyl ba guvf fubj, jurer rirelbar vf synjrq. I don't like Umbridge in Harry Potter – she's one of the few characters I really do hate in fiction – but I can admit that even she has some good points. She's loyal, hardworking, and determined. She uses those traits in the service of ideals which I don't agree with, and to torture children, but they are still good traits in and of themselves.

            So it just upsets me to see comments on only the bad, not the good.

            • notemily says:

              If that upsets you, you're welcome to post comments about good parts of characters. But not EVERYONE has to point out good things about characters all the time. Some people see only bad, or see so much bad that it overshadows the good, and that's okay.

        • James says:

          Ohg gung fghss unfa'g unccrarq lrg naq rira gubhtu ur'f qbar tbbq guvatf, uvf zbgvingvbaf nera'g nyjnlf gur orfg be pyrne. Vg'f bayl gb or rkcrpgrq gung crbcyr ner sbphfvat ba Knaqre'f onq cbvagf jura gung'f zbfg bs jung gur fubj vf tvivat hf ng guvf cbvag va gvzr naq vf gurersber zbfg eryrinag sbe qvfphffvba.

        • xpanasonicyouthx says:

          god i am so bored with you talking about how much you know I dislike Xander as IF YOU ARE IN MY HEAD.

          I like your comments and I want you to keep posting BUT PLEASE STOP IT.

          I said that in seven episodes, I don't really like him that much because IT'S ONLY SEVEN EPISODES OUT OF 144. my god, where are you getting this idea that I hate him? Or that I'm influenced by ANYONE in the comments? I'm going to ask you to immediately stop insisting you know anything about my feelings because it's getting to be borderline CREEPY.

          PS: Y'all had to wait ONE FUCKING DAY and I would have praised Xander. ONE DAY. I TALK ABOUT IT IN TODAY'S REVIEW.

          DAMN IT.

          • RoseFyre says:

            I'm taking a step back at the moment, which I think is necessary for both me and everyone else. Right now everything is making me upset (PMS = probably not helping either), which is not good for anyone, really, including myself. Besides, I'm behind on my rewatch (for a variety of reasons, mostly related to real life stuff that has deadlines), so I think it might be best to wait until I'm caught up again. I'll probably return by the end of season 1, assuming I can get caught up over the weekend, and I'll still read Reads, because I'm way less invested in LotR, to the point of not feeling a need to comment.

            I'm sorry that you feel that I am putting words in your mouth and will try not to do so in the future.

  76. Seventh_Star says:

    this is nice. disagreeing. and i mean that. i've watched all the seasons over and over and the stuff you guys are pointing out never really bothered me. sure, xander pisses me off sometimes, but i've always liked him, found him endearing even, though he is far from my favorite character. it's interesting to see other people view him totally differently than i ever did.
    i'm not saying i'm on the dislike xander bandwagon, but i certainly see where you are coming from, so i won't lobby for him. to each their own.

    • cait0716 says:

      V'z jnvgvat sbe fbzr bs gur unccl Knaqre rcvfbqrf, yvxr Gur Mrccb naq Gur Ercynprzrag fb V pna ubc onpx ba gur Knaqre ybir genva. V unqa'g ernyvmrq ubj zvfbtlavfgvp ur vf va guvf frnfba naq vg'f fbeg bs nyy V pna frr evtug abj. Ohg ur qbrf riraghnyyl cebir uvzfrys gb or n yblny sevraq naq n trahvaryl avpr crefba. V'z fgvyy ubcvat V pna ernq uvf fgbel nf bar bs erqrzcgvba guvf gvzr guebhtu. Be ng yrnfg tebjvat hc.

      • Karen says:

        V guvax Knaqre qbrf n ybg bs tebjvat hc va frnfba 4 naq ur zbfgyl qbrfa'g obgure zr va frnfba 4 naq 5. Ohg gura frnfba 6 unccraf naq Knaqre vf gur jbefg, yrnivat Naln ng gur nygne, orvat natel ng Naln naq Ohssl sbe fyrrcvat jvgu Fcvxr (Naln qbrfa'g orybat gb lbh, Knaqre! Naq arvgure qbrf Ohssl.), naq gryyvat Qnja nobhg ubj Fcvxr gevrq gb encr Ohssl. (GUNG VF ABG LBHE FGBEL GB GRYY, KNAQRE.)

        • ghostofdurruti says:

          Nygubhtu nyy bs gubfr guvatf ner fhcre fuvggl, V guvax Knaqre rkuvovgf fvtavsvpnag punenpgre tebjgu va Frnfba Fvk orpnhfr, jvgu gur rkprcgvba bs gur ynfg bar, ur ncbybtvmrf sbe rnpu bs gubfr guvatf nyzbfg vzzrqvngryl (gur svefg ng gur ortvaavat bs Ragebcl jura ur tbrf gb frr Naln, gur frpbaq jura ur'f gnyxvat gb Ohssl qhevat gur svany fprar bs Frrvat Erq–gubhtu bs pbhefr ur'f bayl npghnyyl ncbybtvmvat gb Ohssl gurer, abg Naln, jub nyfb qrfreirf na ncbybtl). Lbhat!Knaqre jbhyq ARIRE unir ncbybtvmrq sbe orvat na nff. Va snpg, ur cebonoyl jbhyqa'g unir rira erpbtavmrq gung ur jnf orvat bar.

    • Seventh_Star says:

      i don't know how to do all this rot13.com business myself, since i am loooooooong time luker, but first time commenter today, but you guys are pointing out some great points and examples that i couldn't, not wanting to post spoilers. so, GO YOU PEOPLE! haha. or something.

    • Genny_ says:

      Fair enough. I don't think it's unreasonable that these issues don't bother everyone equally, or anything. I just think it's important that the issues get acknowledged as there for some people.

      Naq V zrna, V'z ba frevrf guerr naq V'ir erprvirq pbasyvpgvat ercbegf nobhg jurgure ur trgf orggre be abg, fb jr'yy frr vs V punatr zl zvaq. Znlor ur tebjf hc rabhtu V yvxr uvz riraghnyyl.

      • Seventh_Star says:

        my opinion is probably colored by the fact that i watched the early seasons of buffy when i was 12-13 and had a bit of a crush on xander. i like the funny, awkward guys. i felt sorry for him. the other stuff went right over my head. i'm not sure what that says about me…but don't judge me too harshly! πŸ™‚

  77. tanbarkie says:

    “the narrative props Xander up as funny and great and a fab friend at every turn, IMO… He’s an ass we’re supposed to think is pretty great and it’s obnoxious to me, and that’s why I rag on him, personally.”

    Frr, V qba’g guvax vg qbrf. . Gur “xvpx uvf nff” zbzrag znl abg pbzr onpx gb yvgrenyyl ovgr Knaqre va gur nff, ohg vg’f nofbyhgryl cerfragrq (rira ng gur gvzr) nf Knaqre znxvat n irel cbbe qrpvfvba. Naq uvf ovttre genafterffvbaf yngre ba gur va gur fubj yrnq gb fbzr cerggl frirer pbafrdhraprf sbe uvz – uvf vaqvfpergvba jvgu Jvyybj yrnqf gb zbfg bs gur znwbe vagrecrefbany fgevsr bs Frnfba 3, naq uvf oernxhc jvgu Naln vf rkcyvpvgyl cynlrq nf n uhtr qvfnfgre gung’f ragveryl ba uvz.

    Abj, gb or pyrne: gur fubj QBRF, trarenyyl, cerfrag Knaqre nf orvat shaal naq n “sno sevraq,” ohg V qba’g guvax vg qbrf fb va jnl gung’f vagraqrq gb rkphfr uvf boivbhf synjf. Bar bs gur ovt birenepuvat gurzrf va gur fubj vf gung rira tbbq, jryy-zrnavat crbcyr unir artngvir vzchyfrf naq pna qb ernyyl anfgl guvatf. Jvyybj, Ohssl, naq Natry ner fbeg bs gur boivbhf rknzcyrf gung crbcyr tb gb jura gnyxvat nobhg gung, ohg Knaqre vf n fgebat pnfr va cbvag nf jryy. Ur’f vzcngvrag, ulcbpevgvpny, bsgra veengvbany, naq serdhragyl bireornevat. Ohg ur’f nyfb oenir, uneq-jbexvat, jryy-vagragvbarq, naq jvggl – naq VZB, vg’f GUBFR nggevohgrf gung gur fubj hfrf gb cerfrag uvz nf n “sno sevraq.”

    • Genny_ says:

      Uz, jryy, V pna'g ernyyl pbzzrag ba yngre fghss (V'z fcbvyrq sbe… gur ragver fubj onfvpnyyl, uru, ohg V'z zbfgyl va gur svefg guveq bs frevrf guerr evtug abj, jvgu fbzr vfbyngrq rkprcgvbaf sebz univat Ohssl snaf sbe sevraqf). Ohg evtug abj, ur qbrfa'g frrz gb fhssre nal *qverpg* pbafrdhraprf, naq n ybg bs jung ur qbrf vf cynlrq bss nf shaal. Rira jura vg'f cbegenlrq nf uvz orvat na nff, vg qbrfa'g srry nf gubhtu gur fubj srryf ur'f gehyl qbvat fbzrguvat *onq* fb zhpu nf… zvyqyl boabkvbhf.

      Naq V guvax zl ovt vffhr jvgu gung vf, ur'f n Avpr Thl gb zr naq Avpr Thlf graq gb onfvpnyyl unir crbcyr jnir gurve orunivbhe bss fb zhpu. Bar bs gur ovt guvatf nobhg Avpr Thlf trggvat ncbybtvfr graqf gb or gung, jryy, bxnl, znlor ur'f tbg fbzr synjf, ohg vg'f bxnl orpnhfr ur'f whfg fb terng! Snpg bs gur znggre vf, vs lbh'er n perrcl qbhpur jub gerngf jbzra xvaq bs greevoyl, orvat jryy-vagragvbarq naq uneq jbexvat naq jvggl qbrfa'g punatr nal bs gung naq V srry yvxr gur fubj- nyzbfg gerngf vg nf n cbvagf flfgrz. Jurer ur qbrf fbzr fuvggl fghss, ohg gur tbbq fghss 'onynaprf vg bhg'. Jurernf npghnyyl, gurl whfg obgu pb-rkvfg.

      Vs Avpr Thlf jrera'g fhpu n ovt ceboyrz jvgu znyr punenpgref ba GI, znlor V'q srry qvssreragyl. Ohg gurl trg ncbybtvfrq sbe FB ZHPU, naq trg gurve tbbq cbvagf sbphfrq ba gb gur qrgevzrag bs nqqerffvat gurve synjf FB ZHPU, V whfg trg… gverq bs gurz.

      V zrna, V fubhyq fnl: V qb ABG guvax Knaqre vf n havsbezyl greevoyr crefba! Be, sbe gung znggre, gung vg'f jebat gb yvxr uvz! Ohg ur vf n xvaq bs crefba V graq gb frr unir gurve synjf rkphfrq whfg, *nyy gur gvzr*, fb vg znxrf zr irel penaxl gb frr gur fubj frrzvatyl gelvat gb qb gur fnzr. Naq juvyr gur cbvag nobhg ubj ur'f cerfragrq nf n sno sevraq orpnhfr ur'f jvggl naq fb ba engure guna qhr gb uvf synjf vf gehr, V pna'g hafrr gur pbeeryngvba.

    • echinodermata says:

      Rot13’d your first sentence because gur snpg gung lbh fnvq lbh qvfnterrq naq gura unq n ohapu bs ebg13 vzcyvrf lbhe ernfbavat vf sebz shgher riragf naq gurersber pna or frra nf pbasvezngvba bs Knaqre orvat pnyyrq bhg sbe uvf vssl orunivbe.

      Your comment was reported for “big spoilers” but I suspect someone was using an addon/userscript to decode rot13 and thought your comment was in plaintext. But I figured it was a bit expectation spoilery, hence the slight edit.

  78. IceBlueRose says:

    Gb zr, vg zrnag gung jvgu Ohssl vg jnf qvssrerag. Lrf, ur'f unq frk orsber (jr svaq bhg zber nobhg gung ba uvf bja fubj, V fgvyy YBY jura V urne "Zzzz, Natry!") ohg vg jnf whfg gung. Jvgu Ohssl, vg znqr uvz unccl orpnhfr ur npghnyyl ybirq ure. Gung'f nyjnlf orra zl vagrecergngvba, ng yrnfg.

  79. Iamwinterborn says:

    V whfg jbaqre ubj ur jvyy ernpg gb ure qlvat.

    V zrna, V guvax ur nyernql ernyvfrf ng guvf cbvag Wbff Jurqba vf abg nsenvq gb (bxnl bxnl, gnxrf CYRNFHER sebz) xyyvat bss punenpgref.

    Vg'f cerggl boivbhf fur jvyy yvir fbzrjubj fvapr ubj pbhyq vg tb 7 frnfbaf pnyyrq Ohssl gur Inzcver Fynlre vs fur'f QRNQ… ohg va gubfr srj zvahgrf, jnf nalbar ernyyl guvaxvat gung uneq. V erpnyy V jrag "Cssg fur'f hapbapvbhf" Fubj: "Fur'f qrnq" Zr: 0.b JGS?

    Naq YBY lrf, gurl ner qbbzrq gb penccl eryngvbafuvcf…

    Cbbe Knaqre, ur pbhyqa'g rira rfpncr uvf phefr va frnfba frira…

  80. woadgrrl says:

    Just found this blog, and I'm loving it! As a long-time, very involved BtVS fan, I love seeing it through fresh eyes. I've had the opportunity to introduce a couple of people to the show in the past, but it's been years.

    At least in once per post, I just find myself thinking 'Oh, you poor, sweet bastard. Just you wait.' I love it! πŸ™‚

  81. Meltha says:

    I was forced to read the first Twilight book for my job, so this is in no way hyperbole. In order to deaden the pain of reading that book, I kept a list of the words Meyer uses to describe Edward. No joke, she refers to him as an angel FIFTEEN separate times. The only words she uses to describe him more often than "angel" are perfect and beautiful at sixteen mentions each. Oh, and for a little variety, she called him an archangel once, plus one mention each of seraphic and heavenly.

    And she publicly claims not to have ever seen an episode of Buffy.

    Hmm… do we see a lying liar who lies anywhere?

    (and personally I thought Darla sort of reminded me of Rosalie… and let's not even go into the similiarity between the names Buffy and Bella).

    • MandaCookie says:

      You were forced to read Twilight? Poor thing. What kind of job would make you do that? Or did you just have a really annoying Twihard boss who made everyone read the books or they'd be fired?

      • Meltha says:

        Sadly, I am a college English professor. One semester the faculty let the students vote on what book they wanted for the annual book discussion at the library. They picked Twilight. Interestingly, they've never asked the students to pick again.

  82. Aslee says:

    Oh, I don't even know what to say with this. I think I'll go character-by-character.

    Buffy: I love this girl. Seriously. I mean, she's COMPLETELY kick-ass, right? But she's also completely still a high-schooler… I dunno, the whole thing with the diary, and not being able to study because she's thinking about Angel… I love that we can have a character who can kick butt and still be girly and yet not fit into that awkward trope…

    I don't know. She's fucking awesome, okay?

    Giles: Can I have one? Please? I'll let him work in the library and everything! Pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease… Also, this show has completely ruined Merlin for me, as I look at Arthur and think, "Why can't you look more like your dad used to?" D:

    Ruined my appreciation of Bradley James's face, and I ain't even mad.

    Willow: Mmmm… Crush on Xander, awesome best friend, some okay lines. Not much to say today, besides that her acting is getting better.

    Xander: He actually won some points with the adorkableness (and, okay, I admit it, a little with the compli-sult he threw at Cordelia) but then lost it almost as soon as he got back to the table. I mean, he couldn't ask WILLOW to dance??? He was in negatives by the end of the episode. *sigh* That hypocritical bit of his in the library. Ugh.

    Angel: I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO THINK ABOUT THIS MAN, I BOTH LOVE HIM AND THINK HE IS RIDICULOUS NEXT QUESTION PLEASE OH GOD WHY AREN'T WE MOVING ON

    Really, I don't know how I feel about him.

    He is ridiculous in the acting department, and somehow I get this inkling that his relationship with Buffy is never ever ever going to work out (I don't know why- Maybe because Buffy's too smart to let it happen?), but I also desperately want him to be happy.

    I guess this means I'm watching 'Angel'. Damn it. It matches up with Season four, right?

    Joyce: MOMS SHOULD ALL BE LIKE JOYCE, OKAY? OKAY.

    Darla: I liked her so, so much. Much better than the Master, who is completely made out of cheese. Then again, I have this horrible weakness for flirty evil people, so… Yeah, I was sort of like, "This is relevant to my interests," while she was all over Angel like that.

    I HAVE NO SHAME, OBVIOUSLY.

    … I think that's everything. Hmmm…

  83. cait0716 says:

    I'll do my best, but I don't always pay attention to who I'm responding too.

    Lbh jvyy riraghnyyl frr Knaqre ybir sebz zr. V guvax ur orunirf erznexnoyl urebvpnyyl va Cebcurpl Tvey. Naq bgure punenpgref synjf jvyy fgneg gb pbzr gb gur sebag va gvzr, gbb. Uvf ner whfg cbccvat hc n ovg rneyvre

    • guest_age says:

      Understandable, and I hope I didn't cause any offense–I'm just seeing a lot of Xander!hate in the comments, and while I think that's justified at the moment, I am full of the urge to say things that are spoilery and the urge is a little harder to resist when it's right there in my inbox. So I'm trying to avoid it altogether by just scrolling past any time I see his name mentioned in the comments (whether good or bad, I just keep scrolling).

      But I seriously hope no offense was caused and you are absolutely entitled to your opinions, good or bad or in between! I just to be clear on that, if it came across that I was implying otherwise.

  84. Smurphy says:

    I really think Mark needs a FAQ sheet with how his sites work. Intensedebate coding, a link to rot13.com and the various spoiler sites that people have created. It should also include a dictionary of mark-isms.

    • misterbernie says:

      Plus a link to the firefox addin that allows you to rot13 right on the page. Godsend.

      • Genny_ says:

        THIS. My goodness, I can't believe I didn't used to have this thing. I feel like a chorus of angels should accompany any link to it, it's such a godsend.

      • xpanasonicyouthx says:

        WHAT

        WHAT????????

        • misterbernie says:

          Leet Key: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/le

          Lets you set up shortcuts, too, so you can just highlight text, hit the short cut and bam, de-rot13'd text right on the site, no tabbing (IDEAL for lazy people like me).
          (And of course, let's you cypher the text you're writing too)

          • echinodermata says:

            But someone using it or something like it has in the past reported a comment as spoilery when it was in rot13.

            Just want to point that out to people, and it's why I won't use that add-on myself.

            • Smurphy says:

              wait what? rephrase that. please.

              • lawrence_s says:

                I think someone probably decoded a spoiler post, forgot they had decoded it, saw it was full of spoilers, and reported it.

                This is why if I'm going to report anything for spoilers, I'll go to the permalink first and make sure I read the comment as it was saved in the thread.

              • echinodermata says:

                When you use leetkey, it automatically decodes rot13 and puts it in plaintext, so what was originally rot13 shows up as plaintext. There was a case a few months ago where someone reported a comment as spoilery, and mods were wtfing cause it was all rot13, then they reported the comment again and said 'nevermind, didn't realize it was rot13' or something to that effect. Or they left a comment on the site saying nevermind; I don't remember the specifics. Basically, if using keetkey, you may not know what was or was not in rot13 originally.

                Perhaps that's not important to other people, but as a mod I need to look out for spoilers and automatic rot13 decoding therefore is a bad feature for my purposes.

                • Smurphy says:

                  The one I use just makes it easy for me to translate so I don't have to tab but thanks for the info! Good to know.

                • Does LeetKey do automatic decoding? I have to highlight and use my keyboard shortcut to decode. Automatic decoding would be really confusing! There'd be spoilers EVERYWHERE!

                  • echinodermata says:

                    I thought it did, but I guess they could have decoded and then forgot they did.

                    If you have to highlight, then I already have a bookmarklet that does that. And there's a rot13 script that does it too. No keyboard shortcuts, granted, but they are smaller than an add-on and with addons you can have compatibility issues esp. with firefox's new release scheduling/nomenclature and shit. Also other browsers.

                    Either way leetkey doesn't offer me anything more unless I want to decode other codes, which I don't. And I know you have to highlight with the methods I use.

          • vermillioncity says:

            OMG OMG THIS IS MADE OF GENIUS.

          • ghostofdurruti says:

            Oooh, neat. *downloads *installs

        • notemily says:

          MARK DO YOU EVEN READ THESE COMMENTS

      • Smurphy says:

        lol. you blew up my comment. I have one of the two chrome ones. very handy indeed.

  85. Brian Fowler says:

    I cannot even begin to explain my reaction the first time I watched this episode. I think my jaw bounced off the damn floor back in 1997.

  86. @kaylasavard says:

    SAME! I don't even bother commenting because all I ever want to say is "VG WHFG XRRCF TRGGVAT ORGGRE NAQ ORGGRE!" and talk about how excited I am sbe frnfba gjb, juvpu vf cebonoyl zl snibevgr frnfba.

  87. vermillioncity says:

    Let's talk about the most important part of this episode:

    WHY IS THE ANNOINTED ONE WEARING A BIEBER HOODY OMG.

    • Ryan Lohner says:

      You think that's bad; I'm currently going around telling people I've had my hairstyle of choice since before he was born (it's not exactly the same, but close enough for most people). It's like Michael Bolton from Office Space: he's the one who sucks, so why should I change?

  88. lastyearswishes says:

    Dunno if this is could be considered a spoiler so…

    Znlor V unira'g orra npgvir rabhtu va gur Ohssl snaqbz ohg vf Knaqre ungr yvxr n guvat? V nqber uvz, V whfg pna'g erzrzore vs V nyjnlf unir be vs vg unccrarq fybjyl yby.

    • Seventh_Star says:

      v, crefbanyyl, unq ab vqrn nobhg nyy gur knaqre ungr! abguvat yvxr guvf fvgr rkvfgrq jura v jnf jngpuvat gur fubj nf vg nverq (v jnf gbb lbhat naljnl), fb pbybe zr pyhryrff. juvyr gurve cbvagf ner inyvq, vg'f ernyyl ohzzvat zr bhg.

      • RoseFyre says:

        Zr gbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb. Rfcrpvnyyl gur ercrgvgvirarff bs gur ungr.

        • Sean Murphy says:

          Lrf irel ercrgvgvir, arire gubhtug V jbhyq rire lrnea sbe Gryrivfvba Jvgubhg Cvgl'f bireyl fgevpg zbqrengvba, ohg vs guvf unq orra n GJbC rcvfbqr guernq n zbq jbhyq unir fgrccrq va nobhg gur erqhaqnapl, yvxr va Fhcreangheny guernqf bs "Jul qb gur jevgref ungr [Qrna/Fnz]!?" vg whfg trgf gvevat rirel rcvfbqr.

          Funzr V pnaabg wbva va gur pbairefngvba cebcreyl fvapr V qba'g unir npprff gb gur rcvfbqrf nf V'ir abg tbg gur QIQf naq yvir va gur HX fb ab avpr serr fvgrf yvxr uhyh gb yrtnyyl erjngpu, ynfg fnj gurfr rcvfbqrf n lrne naq n unys ntb jura vg V jrag gueh gur flsl punaary'f qnvyl eha bs f1-3 fb Vgf n ovg inthr, ohg v qb erzrzore gung gur srznyr punenpgref jvyy unir pbzzragrq ba znyrf va gur fubj va jnlf gung jbhyq trg Knaqre frg ba sver va gur pbzzragf. Vzntvar vs Knaqre xrcg n qvnel naq jebgr nyy nobhg Ohssl va bowrpgvslvat ynathntr be n inevngvba bs Pbeql'f "uryyb fnygl ubgarff/tbbqarff" ur jbhyq or gbea ncneg!

          • RoseFyre says:

            Abj lbh'er znxvat zr jnag Znex gb jngpu Frk naq gur Pvgl naq frr jung ur guvaxf nobhg gur jbzra bowrpgvslvat gur zra gurer.

      • lastyearswishes says:

        Fnzr urer. V zrna, ur'f abg n cresrpg punenpgre ol nal zrnaf ohg gb zr ur'f nyjnlf xvaq bs orra gur tyhr gung ubyqf gur Fpbbovrf gbtrgure. V pna'g vzntvar gur fubj jvgubhg uvz!

    • lyvanna says:

      Vg'f cerggl zhpu gur fnzr nf jvgu rirel punenpgre ba Ohssl, fbzr crbcyr ybir uvz, fbzr ungr naq fbzr ner vaqvssrerag. V xvaqn guvax vg'f n znex bs n tbbq fubj ernyyl, nf gurl'er nyy avpryl pbzcyrk punenpgref. Tbaan or vagrerfgvat jura fbzr bs gur rira zber qvivfvir punenpgref ghea hc gubhtu yvxr Evyrl, Qnja, Fcvxr, Xraarql…

      • lastyearswishes says:

        V trg gung abg rirelbar ybirf rirel punenpgre vg whfg frrzf yvxr gur znwbevgl frrz gb ungr Knaqre (ng yrnfg gubfr gung cbfg urer yby). V'z ernyyl whfg fhecevfrq gung fb znal crbcyr frrz gb ungr uvz, ernyyl, V arire xarj!

  89. BSGfan1 says:

    Oh how I wish you would watch "Angel" too……

  90. @unefeeverte says:

    This is the episode that totally made me a Buffy/Angel shipper, I'm not gonna lie.

    Also, some time around the middle of season 2, at least in my opinion, David Boreanaz really does start with the whole acting thing. He's pretty much just a pretty face until then, but there comes a point where he gets a lot better. (I think it's the same with SMG, only she's probably faster to pick it up. There's one episode, waaaayyyy down the line, where they both really excel, and I was pretty much stunned by the realisation, hey, when did these kids turn into good actors?)

  91. Eilowyn says:

    Angel's a vampire!
    'How to Serve Man' is a cookbook!
    Soylent Green is people!
    Bruce Willis is dead!

    Congratulations! A milestone of pop culture plot twists has commenced.

    • ghawyeriao says:

      I am proud to say I figured out Bruce Willis was dead on my own before the reveal at the end of the movie. BAM.

      • pica_scribit says:

        Yeah, I figured it out as soon as he was shot. I couldn't see any good reason to have that scene and then a plot about a kid who sees dead people if Bruce wasn't dead the whole time. That might be the only time I've ever figured out a plot twist so quickly. Just once, I managed to impress myself.

    • notemily says:

      I hear Snape killed Dumbledore.

  92. MandaCookie says:

    Finally here. I'm always on page 3+. I have a day! And it's full of things! Mainly delaying reading because I know I'll be interrupted until later in the day.

    I watched this episode… about 2 years ago? When I introduced the show to my stepdaughter (she loves it). I hadn't seen the episode in a while, and was shaky on the details… then my husband was going on about how Buffy uses crossbows and sticks to fight, and someone could just use a gun and take care of her, and then Darla whipped out those pistols. Oh, good times.

    Argh, I love Joyce. So much. I've never had a great relationship with my own mother, my mom vf zber yvxr ubj Wblpr vf cbegenlrq va gur zbivr. And it was really nice the way they treated her and her relationship with Buffy in this show, because most teen-oriented shows either don't feature parents, or don't do a very good job with it.

    Vf vg fcbvyrel gb fnl gung Znex jvyy ybir synfuonpxf? Orpnhfr gurl'er fbzr bs gur orfg cnegf bs gur fubj.

    Hehehe, Twilight comparisons… I'm not a fan. Of Twilight, I mean. I normally don't make fun of things I don't like because I just don't bother with them, but Ms. Meyer made it so easy! My aforementioned stepdaughter read and generally enjoyed the books. I didn't know much about it by the time the first movie came out. Vampires? There's a bit of negative buzz about it on the internet? But then she had me watch it. Now, I don't remember this, but she insists I laughed the entire time. I've deliberately avoided watching the other 3, and only got through 2 pages of the book before giving up. But although my distaste for it grew, I didn't want to push that on her. She can draw her own conclusions about it. (Spoiler alert: She came to a realization and likes them a lot less. Though that might be influenced by other sources).

  93. t09yavosaur says:

    -Episode called Angel!
    -Is it about actual angels? Cause that would be pretty awesome.
    -angels make fiction fun.
    -An episode about Angel's back(any)story would be nice too.
    -Can I finally use “Angel” and “Vampire” in the same sentence?

    And All This is before I even started watching.

    -They had this conversation last time
    -Angel being a creeper again. I don't think I am getting any literal angels.
    -So Angel does have some fight in him. That's nice.
    -THAT SMIRK!
    <img src='"http://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p150/Falcon823/angelEdward2gether.jpg”'&gt;
    (^ This is supposed to be a picture but I dont see it. So I assume others can't either. See below. ^)
    -Wow, long make-out sesh.
    -Finally!!! (Screaming Buffy?)
    -#1 of things I knew about this show before watching. Angel is a vampire.
    -Angel, the Edward Cullen of the 90's.
    -The only difference between Angel and Edward Cullen is Buffy does her own stunts, and Angel likes it.
    -Glad I can finally get that off my chest.
    -I like your man-cave Angel.
    -The Master's voice reminds me of the Grinch.
    -Crossbows aren't as easy as they look btw.
    -Creepy Child's (Collin?) voice reminds me of something too.
    -Ouch. Is that a permanent kind of thing?

    I'm not sure that Xander's behavior is necessarily him being territorial with Buffy this episode, though it does look that way. I think he does still want to go out with her and that colors the view of him but his actions could have easily been from an older brother from what I remember (I want to point out that I was uncomfortable during the episode and thinking about the Pack, and didnt realize this until I though about it after). It is perfectly reasonable to assume the creepy guy who lurks in the shadows and only comes around to whisper cryptic vampire rumors to your friend is bad news. It is also reasonable to want to protect your friend from said bad news (whether you are male or female) And if it didn't seem exactly like Xander's intentions are innocent, it still could have been coming from honest intentions, just worded badly. I know from personal experience that when romantic tension is involve, whether real, imaginary, or one-sided, words don't come out the way you mean them and you often can sound obsessive, possessive, or just plain weird.

    EDIT: I don't know why my picture isnt working for me but if no one else can see it the link it here: http://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p150/Falcon823
    Also I edited my final paragraph to make it resemble a human language rather then the rushed garble of sentences I had before

  94. ghostofdurruti says:

    So, I was linked here from a Whedon fan site about a week ago, and I've been lurking ever since. I just wanted to let you know that I'm enjoying your reactions immensely. I've followed several people as they've posted in threads or produced podcasts chronicling their first time watching Buffy, but you were the first who was unspoiled about the fact that Angel was a vampire. I'm so glad that you're enjoying the show!

    • Raenef says:

      Do you have links to other reviewers who made a first go through the Buffy series? I've been on a Buffy kick since Mark started watching, and would love to read other people's first-time-reactions.

      • ghostofdurruti says:

        Sure! (For those who have not watched yet, the following links are all obviously very spoilery.)

        In terms of written content, there's Cultural Leanings' Cultural Catchup Project, which is currently in the midst of Season Six. http://cultural-learnings.com/cultural-catchup-pr

        The Hat Rack has made it up through Season Four so far; I'll link you to his review of Season One. http://evilhat.blogspot.com/2011/06/buffy-vampire

        I've read others that have already completed the series, but they were mostly posted in threads on random internet forums, and it would take a lot of googling to track them down.

        In terms of podcasts, there's one that's in progress right now that's very spoiler-conscious and does one episode per episode of Buffy: PotentialCast. It features three people who have never seen the series and one who has, and it's currently in the midst of Season Four. Here are the links to the Seasons One, Two, and Three archives, as well as the link to the main site (which only hosts the episodes for Season 4):
        http://potentialcasts1.blogspot.com/ http://potentialcasts2.blogspot.com/ http://potentialcasts3.blogspot.com/ http://potentialcast.blogspot.com/

        Hope that helps!

      • ghostofdurruti says:

        Well, I attempted to post links, but it looks like they caused my comment to get caught in moderation. This time, I'll just name some terms that should lead you to the reviewers' sites.

        For written content, try googling The Hat Rack, which is a blog whose author in the midst of watching and reviewing Buffy season-by-season (with one post per season, currently up to Season 4), as well as the Cultural Catchup Project, whose author posts very in-depth reviews of sections of seasons and is currently up to mid-Season 6. (There have been other series of written reviews that have already completed the entire series; however, all the ones that I've read have been posted in threads on random forums, and it would take a lot of googling to track them down again.)

        For podcasts, try googling PotentialCast, a very spoiler-conscious podcast which has been running for almost (possibly over?) two years, releasing an episode for each episode of Buffy, and is hosted by one person who has seen the entire series and three who have seen none of it. They're in the midst of Season 4 at the moment. Unfortunately, their earlier episodes are no longer hosted on their main site; to access their reviews for Seasons 1, 2, and 3, you'll need to replace the "potentialcast" in their URL with "potentialcasts1", "potentialcasts2", or "potentialcasts3" respectively.

        Hope that helps!

        • echinodermata says:

          (Went to spam. There's a separate category for "went to moderation" where it will actually tell you that your comment needs to be approved by a moderator and then we get an email, and typically this category is for when people post things that aren't filtered as spam but use "spammy" words like drug- and gambling-related terms.

          If it goes straight to spam we won't get an email, thus approving your comment will be more delayed.
          Just an fyi.)

      • Avery says:

        Try the AV Club – a writer just finished reviewing the entire series. He was spoiled for several of the big plots and character arcs, but didn't know when anything happened. The first reviews grouped three Buffy episodes together at a time, and then he started watching Angel and eventually paired one Angel and one Buffy episode per review (and he hasn't finished Angel yet). The comments section can be hit-or-miss, but for the most part there was also a lot of good discussion and people posting interesting insights there.

  95. MandaCookie says:

    Haha this. People can say what they want about Whedon's shows, but the actors and crew have a ton of fun and make lasting friendships.

  96. Andie says:

    I WOULD REALLY LIKE IT IF JOYCE SUMMERS AND KEITH MARS WERE MY PARENTS.

    Just saying.

  97. littletonosense says:

    This episode. This ship. OOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooohh this ship. I was 13 and this was MY SHIP. I didn't even know what that was at the time, but this was my first introduction to shipping. To portmanteau couple names. TO FANFICTION. Now I'm grown up and I've moved on to bigger and better ships (Roslin/Adama, Ned/Chuck, Hermione/Ron, Harry/Ginny, Han/Leia, Spock/Uhura, Eleven/Jammy Dodgers, RDJ/with-absolutely-anyone, Mark/potato babies, I seem to have lost my train of thought …)

    Anyways, THIS started it. This episode. Angel and Buffy. AND FOR ALL TIME THEY WILL BE MY OTP.

    • arctic_hare says:

      You win many things for mentioning Ned/Chuck! πŸ˜€

      • littletonosense says:

        Ned/Chuck was one of the most beautiful things on TV, as was that entire show. Everything was beautiful and some things hurt, but mostly it made me so happy. Fuck ABC for cancelling it. If I was rich, I would give the money to Bryan Fuller so he could make beautiful television and grace my TV set with the magnificence that is Lee Pace, with his tall gangly body and swoopy hair and puppydog eyes.

        And Jim Dale with his soothing voice.

        And Kristen Chenowith can come back and just sing for no reason.

        And Chi McBride can just make snarky comments about everything.

        GOD I MISS THIS SHOW SO DAMN MUCH

    • robin says:

      BtVS was my first introduction to shipping and fanfiction too! I used my parents' computer and dial up (hee!) to look it up online and I discovered fansites and shipping and fanfiction. (And as a queer girl, I was so amazed and excited to find all of this f/f and m/m Buffy fanfiction. It really made a difference to me as a young adult.)

      awwwwww BtVS is the best. I feel so close to you now, PERSON I DO NOT KNOW.<3 <3

    • Karen says:

      I sometimes wonder what my feelings on Angel/Buffy would be if I'd watched the show for the first time as a teenager. I was 22 the first time I watched BtVS and I think that might have colored the way I saw the show, especially the high school years.

      • littletonosense says:

        I definitely think your age and experiences will color the way you view TV relationships. When I was a kid, I could not handle it when my OTPs ended or broke up or never even got together. Like, emotional devastation all up in here. But my OTPs back then were built on sand, on rotted wooden stilts, on the side of a giant cliff. I would literally start shipping someone if they had a meaningful look (Did I ship Luke/Leia in A New Hope? YOU BET YOUR ASS I DID).

        Now I like my OTPs to have common interests, chemistry, a little history, very little drama, and big ginormous heaping scoops of FRIENDSHIP. I like to think I've come a long way.

  98. Jayne L. says:

    Angel is a vampire! Ora vf Tybel!

    …sorry. I may have been waiting for Mark to reach this episode's revelation JUST so I could do that.

  99. @Ivana2804 says:

    In my recent rewatch, I thought The Pack was where the show started getting better – except that I didn't like the glossing over the events at the end – but Angel was the first episode that I gave 4 out of 5 stars. I wondered if the episode would seem cheesy now due to the overuse of vampire/human romance trope and the T-thing, but no, it's still great. Though it's also inherently different from most vampire/human stories since Buffy is the Slayer, so there's a sense of equality there that's missing from most human/vampire love stories where the vampire is usually more powerful, the special one, and it tends to become a story about a human (usually a woman) getting to know the mysterious world of vampires… and it's a vampire story, just told from a human POV, and even that not always. While 'Buffy' is not a vampire story, it's a Slayer story and it's really Buffy's story. That makes it very different from Vampire Diaries or True Blood (even if Sookie does have a 'special power') not to mention the T-word.

    I loved this:
    "Again, being queer means that the society I live in can still view my sexuality in a very negative manner. I spoke briefly about the idea in a review for Looking For Alaska over on Mark Reads, but I remember that when I was finally able to kiss a guy, it was exhilarating because I felt that I was transgressing some forbidden rule, that I was doing exactly what I wasn’t ever supposed to do, and that excitement was a huge moment for me. Of course I’m projecting myself onto this story, but there seemed to be an element to Buffy’s kiss with Angel that reminded me of this."
    I'm not sure if the writers of the show had this in mind at the time, but a human/vampire relationship as a transgressive relationship at times can really be seen as a "queer relationship".

    V pna'g jnvg gb frr Znex'f ernpgvba gb frnfba 6 – jurer gurl cynlrq jvgu gung rira zber, rira rkcyvpvgyl va Byqre naq Sne Njnl (Gnen nfxvat Ohssl vs fur'f ernql gb "pbzr bhg"), abg gb zragvba gur phg yvar sebz Qrnq Guvatf jurer Gnen fnlf fur'f orra va Ohssl'f fvghngvba bs ylvat gb rirelbar nobhg jub fur'f fyrrcvat jvgu.

    Naq gurer'f nyfb gur "pbzvat bhg" fprar va Orpbzvat VV gung ernqf fb zhpu yvxr na npghny pbzvat bhg fprar: "Unir lbh gevrq abg orvat n Fynlre?" "Vg'f nyy orpnhfr lbh qvqa'g unir n fgebat sngure svther", "Jryy V qba'g npprcg gung!" naq Ohssl fnlvat "V qvqa'g pubbfr gb or guvf jnl" naq gryyvat ure zbz gung fur fubhyq unir frra vg nyy nybat ohg pubfr gb or va qravny nobhg jung ure qnhtugre vf.

    • notemily says:

      It reminds me a little bit of the werewolf thing in Harry Potter. I always saw Remus talking about how parents wouldn't want "someone like him" teaching their kids as a metaphor for homosexuality. That's not as much about relationships, more about unfounded prejudice, but yeah.

      Nyfb, gurl qb hfr gur jubyr zntvp guvat nf n zrgncube sbe yrfovna frk n srj gvzrf, fb gurer'f gung. Naq V YBIR gung "unir lbh gevrq abg orvat n Fynlre" zbzrag. V org Znex vf tbvat gb nqber gung fprar.

  100. Raenef says:

    Man, all these glorious comments. Can we have like 500 comments for every episode review? That would awesome. So intense.

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