Mark Watches ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’: S03E19 – Choices

In the nineteenth episode of the third season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy insists that the Scoobies take a proactive approach to dealing with Mayor Wilkins, but when it backfires, shit gets so unbearably real. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Buffy.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that season three is probably a heavy fan favorite out of all seven seasons of Buffy. I honestly would not be surprised because I am in shock at how brilliant, touching, and intense this entire string of episodes is. From “Homecoming” to this point, even considering some of the episodes that weren’t my favorite thing ever, this season has been consistently entertaining and thought-provoking to me. It’s just so quality. I think that the decision to bring in a more serialized story helps that, and as I’ve said before, I admit that I am biased in that regard. But I also don’t think you can deny the narrative power of “Choices” because its strength derives from so many things set up over the course of season three.

It’s why I like serial narratives so much. They reward you for paying attention. They give fiction layers, ones you can peel away in hindsight and appreciate even more than you did the first time around. “Choices” is so good because there are numerous things you can analyze as a standalone plot and as a part in a longer story. I think that analysis is much stronger in the latter case, too. I don’t think the Mayor’s gift to Faith holds as much weight unless we’d seen him develop a fatherly relationship with her. I don’t think Joyce’s joy at Buffy being accepted to Northwestern would mean as much to me if we’d not seen her journey as the mother of a Slayer throughout season three. (And for real, Joyce’s character became so much more fulfilling to me once she knew who her daughter was. GOD I JUST LOVE THIS SHOW SO MUCH RIGHT NOW.)

This is not the first time we’ve seen Buffy tackle the idea of the future, but I sort of didn’t care. At all. The one question that I’d been tormented by the past week or two concerned how this show was going to go on. Knowing that there are four more seasons left, I wondered how the hell we could deal with the Scoobies graduating. How could a show so intrinsically about the American high school experience move on from high school? Oh god, I am already full of feels about leaving high school as it is. IT WAS SUCH A HUGE MOMENT FOR ME. I think I will save those feels once the show actually addresses it, but with so many characters discussing college and their post-graduation lives, I got nervous. Like, WHAT IF THEY ALL HAVE TO REPEAT THEIR SENIOR YEAR. Or then I thought WHAT IF THEY REALLY DO GO THEIR SEPARATE WAYS. And then WAIT WHAT IF SOMETHING A BILLION TIMES WORSE THAN THAT HAPPENS. Oh god, something a billion times worse than that is going to happen. If the season two finale is any indication, season three’s finale is going to punch me in the soul.

It’s all this talk of the future of the Scoobies that inspires Buffy to demand they take their fight to the Mayor. Obviously, part of that is purely for a selfish reason: Buffy wants the chance to leave Sunnydale at some point and try something else. And why shouldn’t she? Why couldn’t she spend a month or two at another college and come back to Sunnydale for dire emergencies? Of course, once I gave that a second of thought, I realized that Sunnydale was always experiencing a dire emergency. But that’s not the point right now. Solving the problem of the Mayor and his Ascension now would only make things easier.

Wesley, however, doesn’t seem to think this is the case. I like that both Giles and Wesley are around, especially since I worried that we’d have a batch of episodes without Giles after he got fired. I do sympathize with him, though, even if I agree with Buffy in the end. This man just inherited perhaps the most difficult Watcher position imaginable, and it’s not his fault that he’s trying to take control of things. I don’t blame him, and I’m happy to report that I don’t dislike him at all. I expected to. Hell, I told you all I would hate Buffy’s next Watcher just on principle. But I’m coming to enjoy his character. Wait, I shouldn’t have said that, should I? FUCK. Goddamn it, he’ll die in the next couple of episodes, won’t he?

OKAY. THAT ASIDE, his frustration in “Choices” comes from the fact that no one listens to him. At all. I don’t even think the Scoobies’ plan to infiltrate City Hall is all that bad, either! But he is consistently faced with rejection by the group, and that’s got to be taxing on him, you know?

Was I surprised that the City Hall mission ended in disaster? Of course not. I’m trying to prepare myself for Buffy, and that means I need to accept that everything will get ruined at some point. For a second, I was shocked that it seemed that they had gotten away with the Box of Gavrok, but then I saw that Willow was captured and WHYYYYYYYYYYY.

So, can we just talk about the argument the rest of the Scoobies have in the library? BLESS THESE WRITERS AND ACTORS. It’s one of three scenes in “Choices” that is riveting and electrifying. Utilizing an awkward and high tension situation, the actors and actresses allow their emotions to quickly spill over as they fight over whether to save Willow. It’s uncomfortable to watch, especially when Wesley points out that keeping the box means they’ve saved A WHOLE TOWN, as opposed to saving one person and potentially damning Sunnydale to ruin. It’s a fucked up thing to hear because it’s hard to argue against that. Of course, to us and most of the people in that room, Willow is worth a billion people. She’s special. She means something. I think that’s why Oz just flips out. And bravo to the writers for having Oz’s freakout be entirely wordless. That is exactly what his character would do in that situation. SETH GREEN, YOU ARE SO TALENTED.

This episode also gives us a whole lot of Willow, and it made me realize just how far she’d come in her use of magic. The levitating pencil from earlier was impressive enough, but she uses that same technique to dust a vampire. YEAH, I DON’T CARE, THAT WAS FUCKING AMAZING. I also found it amazing and 100% in-character that Willow would escape captivity only to be completely entranced by books. Willow, you are just my favorite. But her speech to Faith? GOD, HOW IS THIS SHOW REAL? I admit that I expected Willow to try to convince Faith to come back to the Scoobies. Instead, she openly and harshly criticizes Faith for taking the difficult life she’s lived and making the lives of others’ even worse. That’s essentially what she’s doing, you know? And Willow just decides to openly reject her, and it’s such a raw moment for that character.

Really, though, the true brilliance of “Choices” is during the trade scene at the school’s cafeteria. In multiple ways, our expectations are completely shattered, AS ARE OUR HEARTS. I am just transfixed by Mayor Wilkins. I genuinely do not believe I can think of any villains on television that are like him at all. I find myself liking him so much, and then seconds later, he is disturbing my soul. His fatherly relationship with Faith is both touching and unbelievably uncomfortable at the same time. I can’t pin him down. I can’t define him. He has no real type or trope that I can name him by. And when he launches into a long and frustratingly depressing monologue about the choices Angel has made, he pretty much rips me apart.

Sweet summer child, his entire bit about Buffy and Angel’s future just hurts. I don’t want it to be true, but you can’t deny that Buffy will grow old while Angel doesn’t. It’s not that what Mayor Wilkins says is groundbreaking. It’s the way he says it. It’s the fact that he uses that situation to just tear apart the certainty of a relationship just because he can. It serves no real purpose that I can see. HE DOES IT BECAUSE HE CAN.


“Why couldn’t you be dealing drugs like normal people?”

AHAHAHAAHAH PRINCIPAL SNYDER. Oh my god. Is he still going to be rude to the Scoobies after this? Probably.

Can I also take this moment to correct Wesley? He scolds the Scoobies for prematurely facing off with the Mayor, stating that they’re right back where they started from. EXCEPT THEY ARE CLEARLY NOT, BECAUSE WILLOW STOLE PAGES FROM THE BOOKS OF ASCENSION. So shut up, Wesley. Just shut up.

It’s interesting how the three plots we’d seen over the course of “Choices” are addressed. Willow tells Buffy that she’s chosen UC Sunnydale to study at, hoping that she can further her abilities as a “bad ass Wicca” and to assist Buffy in saving the world. I like that the writers don’t do this out of some obligation for her character. This is what she wants and whatΒ  makes her feel happy. UM THIS IS SUCH AN EXCITING DEVELOPMENT? HOLY FUCK. The Scoobies are going to college. Oh my god, I am INSTANTLY excited for season four.

But there was a very brief and subtle plot involving Cordelia in this episode, and for some reason, it affected me the most. Her teasing of and rudeness towards Xander isn’t all that entertaining anymore. Well, I suppose I feel that way about both of them. I admit that I did like them as a couple, so that’s part of the reason why. But Cordelia surprises Xander (and deflates his ego) when she shares with him the fact that she actually got into a bunch of universities herself. Unfortunately, Xander throws the fact that her father is rich in her face, and in an instant, you can see how much it hurt Cordelia. I don’t really feel sympathy towards people who are upper class, and I don’t think I did here, either. But I didn’t know if it was Cordelia’s father’s money that got her in, or if it was achieved solely by her.

I honestly did not get the final scene with her until I rewatched it again and realized that we’d been tricked earlier. Cordelia wasn’t shopping when Xander confronted her. SHE WORKS AT THAT STORE. What the fuck? Now it makes sense why she was admiring that dress. But… does that mean her father doesn’t have money? Or that she’s been cut off? I WANT TO KNOW MORE. WHY DON’T I HAVE A XANDER OR CORDELIA BACKSTORY EPISODE YET? oh god.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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237 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’: S03E19 – Choices

  1. A comment on Buffy's Life has been reported

    The following comment was reported for the reason: something-ism

    This comment has been reported

    Wesley commented on Buffy's Life:

    But you're a Slayer.

  2. Kickpuncher says:

    The scene where Oz just smashes the ever-living fuck out of that bowl always annoys me, not because it's a bad scene, but because if I was the director, I would have done it so differently. Something like, Buffy, Giles or Xander is really getting into a shouting match with Wesley about Willow, and their argument gets interrupted by a loud crash and the camera cuts to Oz, standing next to the shattered remains of the bowl, who says, "Oops," in a really deadpan way. I dunno, I like the scene, it's a great moment for Oz the way it is, showing him actually getting really fired up about something, but I just get really hung up on how I would have done it.

    Unrelated: If there was a comic series of The Mayor trying to keep demon activity under control in Sunnydale pre-Buffy or during the events of Seasons 1 and 2, I would read the shit out of it. There's decades of material here. *writes Mayor Richard Wilkins in my notebook a million times, dots the i's with hearts*

    P.S. Cordelia? More like *puts on sunglasses* POORdelia.

  3. Laneswitch says:

    How the mayor got Faith to trust him:
    1- gave her a place to live that wasn’t depressing
    2- said things like “good job, thanks for doing that for me” after she slayed
    3- made her feel needed
    4- gave her cookies
    5- did fun things with her like miniature golfing instead of having a relationship centered around killing stuff, making it seem like he wanted to be around her when it wasn’t work related.
    It’s not rocket science people. 2-5 arn’t exactly imossible.

    Favorite line: you can’t just define me by my slayerness, that’s…somethingism

    One reason i like Faith:
    Her reaction to getting a present. She was so excited it was kind of endearing, especially when the mayor almost took it away.

    One reason why i hate Wesley:
    In Bad Girls he says “give him the amulet i want to keep my kneecaps!”
    In Choices he says “tradeing the box for Willow is not an option damn it!”
    Three cheers for Wesley everyone! Hip, hip, hypocrit! Yaaay!

    One reason I’m mad at Willow:
    “you had a friend like Buffy!”
    Uh, Will, who didn’t want Buffy to be Faith’s friend?

    On reason I like Willow: 
    She did much better with a knife to her face than Xander

    One reason i like the mayor:
    He was such a dork at the exchange

    -Snyder, does that look like a box that would have drugs in it?
    -proof the mayor cares about Faith: he only intervened with Snyder when it looked like Faith was going to kill him, i.e., screw up.
    -yeah Buffy, the mayor never had a lasting relationship, he just had a wife that he stayed with until she died of old age

    • notemily says:

      What Faith needed was for Wesley to be more like the Mayor to her. Not being evil, but being a true mentor for her and someone who really LIKED her and saw her potential. She needed her own Giles, basically.

  4. echinodermata says:

    Faith stares for a while at the spider thing she automatically killed, even after the Mayor calls for her. I always read that part as Faith knee-jerk Doing The Right Thing, which is to fight terrible monsters and shit and leads to her basically saving the mostly-helpless Wesley. That's her instinct – she slays evil. Meaning, she has to consciously choose to Do Evil. She's actively rebelling because that's what she wants, or what she thinks she wants, but I'd argue she's not instinctually evil or malicious. That's who she's deciding to be. And I like that – she's making her own decisions and seeking to do what she can to most govern her own fate, for good or worse (mostly worse, of course).

    Faith embraced the Slayer gig, but then she killed that guy creating a rift between her and the rest of the Scoobies. She can't be a Slayer anymore, so she does the "next best thing" by opposing the Slayer. When she remembers.

    Oh Faith. I realized rewatching this episode that while I personally have never found use for the term "woobie" or "woobify," I guess Faith is the one character I think of that I treat in this manner. I just want to pet her hair and coo sympathetically in her direction and hope she and Buffy can have awesome hate-sex together sometime.

    • Kickpuncher says:

      On the other hand, maybe she just really wants that knife back, but it would be super-awkward to just walk past Wesley and Giles like it weren't no thing.

      I mean, that was a pretty sweet knife.

      • shoroko says:

        Yeah, this is actually how I took it. Not because it was a super sweet knife, but because it was a gift from the Mayor, whom she clearly feels very real affection toward. I actually wondered if the Mayor's failure to see that was kind of telling – that in this relationship, he's constructing it and she's really feeling it.

        • DreamRose311 says:

          I see it as both cool knife and gift from father figure.

          And then when he stops her from getting it, I see it as 'it's not worth it, you still have me and I still have you that's what's important'

          • DreamRose311 says:

            Also, I think a small bit of the hesitation is ' I don't want it to be clear to the 'enemy' that I have an emotional attachment. I'm a cold hard badass, they should keep seeing that' Kind of thing…

        • majere616 says:

          Onfrq ba ubj ubj gur Znlbe ernpgf gb Ohssl chggvat Snvgu vagb n pbzn V'z vapyvarq gb oryvrs gur eryngvbafuvc jnf irel erny sbe uvz nf jryy.

          • shoroko says:

            V npghnyyl guvax lbh'er evtug – vg'f ubarfgyl orra ybat rabhtu fvapr V'ir jngpurq guvf frnfba gung V'ir sbetbggra n ybg bs gur qrgnvyf, fb vg'f n ovg yvxr jngpuvat vg sbe gur svefg gvzr, ohg V yngre erzrzorerq gung gur Znlbe qvq trahvaryl ernpg gb Ohssl'f gnhag nobhg Snvgu. Ohg V'z abg tbvat gb fnl gung va abezny grkg ng gur zbzrag, fvapr vg vf zl shgher xabjyrqtr gung'f gvccvat zr bss.

      • echinodermata says:

        Delayed response to basically everyone; finally got a chance to sit down and type up some thoughts.

        (EDIT: should add a tl;dr: when I brought up the scene where Faith hesitates when the Mayor calls her I wasn’t speaking to Faith’s headspace for her hesitation but rather the symbolic gesture of what she did versus her position at the Mayor’s right hand.)

        I agree it’s the knife that she’s looking at, and it’s the fact that the Mayor gave it to her that makes it so important to her; I think that’s the obvious and intended interpretation of that moment since the camera focuses on the bug with the knife through it. I was being too hasty and assuming that we’re all in agreement with the fact she’s looking at the knife (and clearly not Wesley since the camera’s not on him when we get her view, and really doesn’t have much reason to look at the bug). I didn’t clarify I’m talking about the specific focus on the knife and how I feel about that. I also wasn’t elaborating on what I meant when I wrote that, so my bad. I just wanted to talk about what I wrote, rather than my defense of it.

        So, here we go with eloboration on why I view that scene that way:

        She was given this knife, and it’s an affirmation of who she is now that she’s with the Mayor. The gift is representative of her relationship with the Mayor and the fact it’s a weapon represents her position as someone who will commit violence for the Mayor. It’s about her siding with the Mayor and probably loving him and therefore having a commitment to Doing Evil because she’s on his side.

        But she instinctively throws the knife away from her in order to kill the bug that was most close to Wesley and therefore put Wesley most at risk. She doesn’t need to fight the bugs unless they’re directly threatening her or her side. The knife to my (admittedly unknowledgable-about-knives) eye doesn’t look like it’s specifically designed as a throwing knife. And whether or not Faith was reacting to ‘scary bug’ instincts, she still rid the Scoobies of a threat that wasn’t really threatening her in that moment. And the bug was a tool of/for the Mayor, so intellectually the goal would be to accept the bugs for their value, even if they are creepy, and therefore not kneejerk ‘bad kill kill’ at them. Except she kills one when it wasn’t threatening her. She’s reacting and not thinking about the situation.

        The knife is the Mayor’s gift to Faith, and without thinking she throws it away from her to kill something he’s using for his own gain; this has the byproduct of possibly saving Wesley.

        It’s the act that she throws the knife (when it’s not specifically a throwing knife, I’m pretty sure) to kill something the Mayor wants/needs (in part; he doesn’t need that specific bug but it still represents his plans) that I reacted so strongly to. She’s looking at the knife because it represents her relationship to the Mayor, and sure, she probably wants it back and I’m sure that’s the intended reason for the shot, but she unthinkingly threw it to remove what wasn’t actually a threat to her (yet) and ended up helping Wesley.

        I wasn’t saying the reason for the shot with the knife and bug was to say Faith was thinking about how she saved Wesley – the shot would have focused on Wesley if that was the intention. It was about the knife, I totally agree. It’s just I read into what the knife represents, beyond Faith’s sentimentality towards it.

        • SallySellsSeashells says:

          That's a pretty cool interpretation.

        • Noybusiness says:

          "And the bug was a tool of/for the Mayor, so intellectually the goal would be to accept the bugs for their value, even if they are creepy, and therefore not kneejerk 'bad kill kill' at them."

          Well, not really. Any that get loose need to be killed. He needs the many, many left in the box. We don't see anyone trying to put them back in the box.

        • notemily says:

          I like this comment.

    • ScarecrowCeno says:

      To be honest, I just thought she didn't want to lose the knife the Mayor had just bought her…

    • Inseriousity. says:

      I always took it to mean that the knife was the first gift she'd ever had from a father-like figure and she couldn't bear to give it up and the staring is her trying to think of ways to get it back but ultimately she knows she can't.

    • cait0716 says:

      I agree with other people that Faith hesitated because she wanted her knife back. But I also think it's interesting that she instinctively saved Wesley from the spider. She's trying so hard to be evil, but when she stops thinking she starts doing the right thing again. This probably says something about her inherent goodness and free will and all that. Because I do agree that Faith is basically a good person who chose to go over to the dark side

      • Noybusiness says:

        Then again, the spider was dangerous. She'd want to kill it whether or not it was about to pounce on Wesley.

    • Kari says:

      I always saw that as her looking back for the knife, which is why Buffy picked up on it and took the knife. I mean, aside from being a cool knife, it’s probably one of only a very few true gifts faith has ever received. That said I do like how you saw it as well πŸ™‚

      • jne says:

        IT also shows that she is a little afraid of the Mayor. Wasn't it earlier in this ep that he told her, "You know I don't like repeating myself!"

    • mel says:

      I always get this part as Faith wanting to get back her knife because it's a very important object for her but is she wants it, she will have to face the Scoobies to get it.

    • Ifwewait says:

      She wants the knife back. That is all.

    • jne says:

      I always thought Faith just wanted her knife back….

  5. settlingforhistory says:

    This is an ok episode, but I usually skip it in my re-watches, we don’t learn anything new about the Ascension and I really just want to get to the finale naq gur cebz bs pbhefr.
    Still there are some things I liked:

    The Mayor knows Faith quite well, there is after all no better gift for a Slayer than a nice, sharp knife. The only thing better would be a rocket launcher (be na napvrag fplgur).

    "Fb guvf vf bhe shgher? Vf guvf ubj
    jr'er tbvat gb fcraq bhe avtugf
    jura V'z svsgl naq lbh'er… gur
    rknpg fnzr ntr lbh ner abj?"

    Vg'f vagrerffgvat gung Ohssl unf ure qbhogf nobhg ure eryngvbafuvc jvgu Natry, gbb. Lrg va gur arkg rcvfbqr vg'f yvxr Ohssl pna'g haqrefgnaq jul Natry jbhyq jnag gb raq vg.
    Fur vf gelvat gb pyvat fb zhpu, ohg nf jr frr jvgu gun Znlbe naq yngre jvgu Wblpr, rira gur crbcyr nebhaq ure frr gung vg vf abg fhpu na vqrny eryngvbafuvc.

    “You can't just define me by my slayer-ness. That's… something-ism.”
    Buffy should found a group for oppressed Slayers, Joyce could help her with the name. : )

    Was the guy Faith killed human? I would like to think not, but unfortunately she really is evil now. She is so evil even the vamp seems disturbed by how readily she just cuts someone’s hand off.

    Jvyybj’f nggvghqr nobhg zntvp vf n ovg jbeevfbzr va uvaqfvtug.
    “Jvgu fbzr qbja naq qvegl oynpx zntvp”.
    Jvyybj vf zhpu gbb purreshy nobhg gung naq Tvyrf qbrfa’g rira jnea ure nobhg gur qnatref nalzber.
    “Url, V rng qnatre sbe oernxsnfg.” Zzz, fgenjoreevrf. *fuhqqre*

    I want Willow to write my to-do lists, with little stick figures and all that.

    I like the spy movie nonsense in this episode: maps, synchronized watches, climbing in through the ceiling. And absolutely none of it works.

    I love how Oz just smashes “the means to destroy this box”, without a word and with a smile on his face.

    Gur fprar jvgu Jrfyrl rkcynvavat gung gur sngr bs gur jbeyq vf zber vzcbegnag guna bar crefba vf rrevyl fvzvyne gb Tvyrf gnyxvat nobhg xvyyvat Qnja. Obgu Jngpuref ner evtug bs pbhefr, ohg vg vf Ohssl jub unf gb znxr gur qrpvfvba naq va gur raq gur bar crefba jvyy nyjnlf or zber vzcbegnag guna gur jbeyq. Vg’f qvssrerag jura fur xvyyf Natry, znlor orpnhfr fur ernyyl qvqa’g unir n pubvpr be znlor gung’f jul fur pna’g chg gur jbeyq svefg nalzber.

    “I'm not afraid of you.” Such a beautiful strong Willow moment.

    Though Willow rips pages from a book, which is a serious crime in my opinion, I love Giles’s face when she hands them to him; he is like a kid in a demonic candy store.

    • Karen says:

      V gubhtug nobhg gur pubvpr jvgu Qnja gbb. Tnu. V ybir gur Ohssl/Qnja eryngvbafuvc, naq gur raq bs frnfba 5 vf whfg fb urnegoernxvat gb zr.

    • PheasantPlucker says:

      "Vg'f vagrerfgvat gung Ohssl unf ure qbhogf nobhg ure eryngvbafuvc jvgu Natry, gbb. Lrg va gur arkg rcvfbqr vg'f yvxr Ohssl pna'g haqrefgnaq jul Natry jbhyq jnag gb raq vg.
      Fur vf gelvat gb pyvat fb zhpu, ohg nf jr frr jvgu gun Znlbe naq yngre jvgu Wblpr, rira gur crbcyr nebhaq ure frr gung vg vf abg fhpu na vqrny eryngvbafuvc."

      Guvf ernyyl vagrerfgf zr gbb. V nyjnlf gubhtug gur veengvbany pyvatlarff jnf snveyl va punenpgre tvira gung Ohssl punenpgre vf n grrantre, naq gur snpg gung Natry qbrf frr gur ceboyrzf va gur eryngvbafuvc, npxabjyrqtr gurz naq oernx vg bss vf obgu zngher naq urneoernxvat. Bs pbhefr, vgf znqr gung zhpu jbefr ol Fnenu Zvpuryyr Tryyne orvat n gbgny Ohssl/Natry fuvccre naq orvat npghnyyl hcfrg qhevat gurve urneoernxvat frjre gnyxf.

    • Noybusiness says:

      "Was the guy Faith killed human? I would like to think not, but unfortunately she really is evil now. She is so evil even the vamp seems disturbed by how readily she just cuts someone’s hand off. "

      I'm certain he was. He looked and acted entirely human. He certainly wasn't a vampire, because he didn't go poof.

    • aphasia says:

      "vg vf Ohssl jub unf gb znxr gur qrpvfvba naq va gur raq gur bar crefba jvyy nyjnlf or zber vzcbegnag guna gur jbeyq. Vg’f qvssrerag jura fur xvyyf Natry, znlor orpnhfr fur ernyyl qvqa’g unir n pubvpr be znlor gung’f jul fur pna’g chg gur jbeyq svefg nalzber. "

      Va F5 fur rkcyvpvgyl fnlf ng fbzr cbvag (gb Tvyrf) gung gur ernfba fur jba'g xvyy nalzber (jba'g xvyy Qnja) vf orpnhfr fur unq gb xvyy Natry. Fur fnlf fur jba'g qb gung ntnva, rira gb fnir gur jbeyq.

  6. hpfish13 says:

    What an appropriately named episode! I don’t have a lot to say about it though.

    •It’s so fun watching the Mayor and Faith’s genuine care for each other. It’s not something you see very often from the bad guys.
    •I also like seeing everyone go all Mission Impossible in this episode (and of course everything goes wrong)

    Other than this three things stuck out at me this episode. Firstly, that I understood Willow’s decision regarding school much better in this episode. Maybe because I’ve had to deal with people thinking that I’m putting my mind to waste (and my college education) by pursuing acting (which is nowhere on the same level as saving the world from the apocalypse, but hey) because it is what I want to do with my life.

    I was also more understanding of Wesley’s side of the whole “trade the box for Willow” argument. He has an incredibly valid point, that they are risking dooming them all in the hopes of saving Willow. On the other hand, it is Willow, and I fully support Oz knocking over the urn like he did.

    Thirdly, it’s interesting how the Mayor is speaking the truth when he is trying to mess with Buffy and Angel. He doesn’t have to make up lies to show how their situation is inherently complicated and may not be the best for either of them down the road. He’s so manipulative!

    Official things:
    Episode 19: Choices
    Written by David Fury, Directed by James A. Contner
    Original Airdate: 5/4/99

    Even though Buffy’s been accepted by Northwestern University, it is obvious to everyone but her and her mother that she cannot leave Sunnydale. When Wesley tells her she can’t leave, Buffy decides to launch an offensive against the Mayor, instead of waiting for the Ascension.

    • Laneswitch says:

      When wesley won't trade the box for Willow it gets me mad, since he was perfectly fine with giving Balthazar the amulet when he was the hostage.

      • settlingforhistory says:

        I like to think Wesley would act differently now, if his life should be in danger again.
        We can't forget that it was the first time for Wesley to met a demon in an "uncontrolled" situation.
        I think he is right in insisting they keep the box,it is the responsible thing to do and someone had to at least suggest it.

  7. NB2000 says:

    Kind of a meh episode, it has its moments but it's kind of just moving the plot along.

    – Awww presents and cookies. That knife is beautiful in a super scary way.
    – Further Awwww at Joyce being so proud of Buffy getting into the college.
    – "That's where they make Gileses!" hee. It would have been cool if Willow could have gone to Oxford…but then she probably wouldn't have been on the show anymore so…yeah.
    – "I got into Harvard." Go Willow, for getting in and for getting back at Cordy.
    – And Giles joins in with being proud of Buffy being accepted, further Awwww
    – What is that random crossed finger swearing Wesley? It's random and yet makes sense.
    – Limo driver vampire looks suitably impressed by Faith's archery skills.
    – "I made him an offer he couldn't survive." Hee and ack
    – Guvf jvyy fbhaq unefu ohg V ybir Pbeqryvn'f fhqqra fuvsg va gbar jura Knaqre zragvbaf ure sngure'f zbarl. Avpr ovg bs sberfunqbjvat sbe gur raq bs gur rcvfbqr/arkg bar.
    – The description of Willow's diagrams for the spell are really cute (Oz with the guitar!)
    – A rare display of anger from the Mayor when he finds out the box is gone, in fact, is this the first time he's actually been properly angry like that? I think it might be. Abg fbzrguvat jr frr ntnva hagvy gur svanyr jvgu uvz gelvat gb fzbgure Ohssl.
    – And then the gang debates what to do about Willow, well less debate more like everyone arguing with Wesley until Oz does something decisive.
    -Yay pencil staking! Magical pencil staking this time! Yay for WIllow!
    – The Mayor is so affable he will give you romantic advice based on his own experience while also threatening to kill you. Unfortunately Buffy refuses to listen to it.
    – DAMN IT SNYDER, just, damn it!
    – And then the box is opened and the evil spider-crab…THINGS start crawling out and I shut down for the rest of the scene. FUUU NO MAKE THEM GO AWAY! (yes I realise they only have six legs and aren't technically spiders. DOESN'T MATTER, they act enough like spiders to freak me out)
    – And Faith has lost her new toy already, of course.
    – So much for Snyder knowing about the Hellmouth, he seems pretty clueless about what just happened. Unless he's just meant to be in shock?
    – lol at Giles trying to get WIllow and Buffy back to the Books of Ascension. Priorities guys!
    – One last Awwww to Willow staying in Sunnydale for Buffy, and magic I guess. Buffy hugging her is adorable. Their last few lines as they walk away seem kind of out of place though, it doesn't really fit with the rest of their conversation is really just there to set up the Cordelia reveal in the next scene.

  8. haguenite says:

    Moffat totally stole the "she is/you are more important" than thousands of other souls that can be saved from this episode, didn't he?

  9. Seventh_Star says:

    jrfyrl'f fgnapr ba fnivat jvyybj if. fnivat gubhfnaqf bs bgure crbcyr vf cnegvphyneyl cbvtanag pbafvqrevat jung unccraf gb serq…vg'f nyjnlf qvssrerag jura vg'f fbzrbar lbh ybir.

  10. cait0716 says:

    Back in Band Candy, when Trick got Lurconis killed, the Mayor wasn't pleased. He threatened Trick to not take the initiative anymore. Yet here, when Faith kills the courier just so she can keep the cash for herself, the mayor is positively giddy. He definitely cares about her as more than an employee. Their relationship is honestly one of my favorite things in the whole series. I love that the bad guys on Buffy are able to have these strong emotional attachments to each other, and that it's not always a romantic thing. Yes, Spike and Dru was romantic, but here we're getting a lovely father/daughter relationship that serves as a counterpoint to Buffy's relationship with Giles.

    The other thing I absolutely love is Willow's decision to go to UC Sunnydale with Buffy. It seems obvious, structurally, that they couldn't just break up the Scoobies for college. But I love that they use it to say something about Willow's character. She wants to spend her life helping people. And she's more interested in magic than any other possible field of study.

    • Noybusiness says:

      "Yet here, when Faith kills the courier just so she can keep the cash for herself, the mayor is positively giddy."

      He wanted more than the Mayor had originally agreed to pay him. It wasn't really about her.

      • cait0716 says:

        I'm not sure she knew that. And even if she did know, she failed to pass that information on to the Mayor. Faith seemed pretty prepared to kill the courier no matter what. The Mayor doesn't strike me as one to burn bridges, or accept initiative in his subordinates. If Faith hadn't been involved, I think he would have preferred to deal with the courier himself.

        • Noybusiness says:

          Given where she was and when she fired, I think she overheard him. But that's a good point about from whom he'd allow initiative.

      • settlingforhistory says:

        I hink it's not just that. He seemed proud of her, maybe because she is now really evil and doen't shrink back from killing something or somone who could ruin his plans.

  11. etherealclarity says:

    Two things I adore about this episode:

    1) That despite the fact that she is incredibly smart and could go to any college she wants, the writers made it so that Willow going to UC Sunnydale makes perfect sense for her character. And thus, the transition of getting the characters to college feels far less forced than it would in other high school shows.

    2) Oz's freakout. He's so unflappable that when he is flapped, it makes such a huge impact. Incidentally, it was only upon this rewatch (and this is at LEAST the 5th or 6th time I've seen the episode) that I realized… Oz smashing the bowl isn't just important for dramatic argument-cutting reasons, he was actually destroying the thing that would destroy the box. He made the decision for them, and he made it in a very final and dramatic way.

  12. SelphieFairy says:

    There is a trope on tvtropes for the mayor — it's "Affably Evil." Don't look it up, though, cause the picture for the page IS Mayor Wilkins, and the caption is spoilery. πŸ˜›

    • majere616 says:

      Mayor Wilkins is basically Affably Evil incarnate. Irredeemably monstrous, but just so damn likable about it.

    • Dee says:

      Joss Whedon doesn't rely on tropes – he inspires tropes. Then uses said tropes to crush our souls!

      • notemily says:

        He does rely on tropes in order to set up the audience's expectations, so they'll be surprised when he subverts them, though. And sometimes he invents new tropes in the subversion!

  13. Mez says:

    Guvf rcvfbqr nyfb tvirf hf n jubyr ybg bs Jvyybj, naq vg znqr zr ernyvmr whfg ubj sne fur’q pbzr va ure hfr bs zntvp.

    Bu, Znex. Lbh unir ab vqrn.

  14. guest_age says:

    Jnvg, V fubhyqa’g unir fnvq gung, fubhyq V? SHPX. Tbqqnza vg, ur’yy qvr va gur arkg pbhcyr bs rcvfbqrf, jba’g ur?

    Abcr, abg hagvy gur frevrf svanyr bs Natry!

    That moment when Buffy literally tackle-hugs Willow to the ground because Willow is staying in Sunnydale makes me do seal claps of joy. I LOVE FRIENDSHIPS AND THEIRS IS BEAUTIFUL.

    I also love Willow being a badass and dusting a vampire with a floating pencil because let's be honest, that's the coolest staking we've seen, y/y?

    And I love the way she phrases it to Buffy when she tells her why she's staying in Sunnydale.


    And I love Oz's throwing of the pedestal and then just looking at Buffy like WELL?


  15. Inseriousity. says:

    Small funny moment is when the vampire actually drives like a normal human being rather than like Spike. He even stops when he's supposed to. lolol

    Small irritation: Okay so the first fight by the tree, Cordelia started that one so while it's so irritating to see these characters fighting, I wouldn't blame Xander for fighting back. There was no need whatsoever to go into the shop and start rubbing her face in it. Could've easily walked away from that one!

    Badass: Wow willow, fighting off vampires with pencils, staying behind to read books when you should've ran like the wind and ripping out pages of said books to get some information.

    Badass number 2: Oz, the quiet way you completely destroy Wesley's argument is such a great moment!

  16. redheadedgirl says:

    This is the "I gotta have a plan? I can't just be.. proactive with pep?" I used that phrase for SO LONG. I forgot about it!

    This rewatch is showing me how many episodes of Buffy I just plain missed- I thought I'd seen it all, but…. not really. I've seen (or know of) most of the major arc episodes, but like, Earshot? I didn't actually see that one until LAST WEEK. I didn't have a TV my first two years of college (Not out of "I don't have a TV" dramatic smug superciliousness, jsut… couldn't afford one and parents wouldn't get one for me OMG RAISED BY WOLVES) so I missed a lot that I only filled in haphazardly and in no order. (Like, i saw Dopplegangland long before I saw The Wish and had no idea where VampWillow really came from other than "Random parallel dimension")

    ….this story has no point, and thus no end. So I'mma just gonna stop here.

    • SelphieFairy says:

      I kind of had the exact opposite experience? o_O I'd prefer your experience; When I re-watched the series on my own like, two years ago, I thought that I had missed at least half a season at some point and kept waiting for some crucial plot that I never saw or heard. And then when I finished the last episode I was like "Where were the missing episodes??" It was disappointing. ):

  17. Karen says:

    This episode has a lot to do with the future of various characters and the choices that they have to make about their futures. I mean the obvious meaning of the episode title is Buffy choosing between Willow and that mystical box thing, but yeah, the other meaning of the episode definitely has to do with the characters facing those choices that all high schoolers face at the end of high school.

    So first up, let’s talk about Buffy and her choices. I think that the beginning conversation with Angel is forcing her to think about what kind of a future that she and Angel could have because Buffy IS going to age (…if she doesn’t die first), and Angel isn’t. The Mayor vocalizes this later, and it’s all very unsettling. At the end of the episode Angel and Buffy deny this and assert that they’ll be ok. But I think that there’s still doubt there. On top of all this, Buffy got into Northwestern! Can she even look far enough ahead in her future to go to college? But it seems like Buffy doesn’t have much of a choice in this matter. She’s the Slayer. Faith has gone bad, so it’s up to Buffy to defend the world from evil, and unfortunately that future doesn’t include going to any college she wants. That choice has been made for her. I LOVE when Buffy tells Wesley, “I’m also a person. You can’t just define me by my slayer-ness.”

    The theme of identity shows up again in Willow’s story. She has a LOT of options for college. She could go anywhere she wants. But in the end, Willow decides to stay in Sunnydale because she has a purpose in Sunnydale. Plus she has a shot at being a bad ass Wicca (FUR’F FHPU N FYLGUREVA! Fur tvirf hc gur orggre fpubbyf orpnhfr fur frrf na bccbeghavgl sbe crefbany fhpprff fhpu nf fur qrsvarf vg va Fhaalqnyr. Guvf tvey vf abg n Enirapynj.). She’s made her choice. She knows what she wants to do with her life, so she’s going to stay in Sunnydale and go after that.

    Cordelia seems to be facing some choices too, but we don’t really know what they are. She’s gotten into a lot of good schools, but she’s working at a shop? Cordelia is being especially mean at the beginning of the episode (it comes off really odd after it seemed she was back in the Scoobies in the last episode), and I think that makes sense in light of what we see at the end of the episode. Something is going on with Cordy. The rich girl is working? Whatever is going it, it’s clearly bothering Cordelia. She’s angry and is definitely hurting other people to make herself feel better. It’s not a good look.

  18. Plactus says:

    I got my DVDs for the next couple seasons today πŸ™‚ It's so hard not to pop them in and go straight to my favorite episodes. We'll get there eventually, I'm sure.


    • "Honey." Yep, they're back. Guerr rcvfbqrf gb tb naq ur'f tbar, guerr rcvfbqrf gb tb naq ur'f tbar…
    • "They have all that stuff in Illinois." Maybe not Illinois, but there's something in Cleveland…
    • Xander is ingredient-getting guy? I realize they needed to set up his scene with Cordelia, but it seems like an odd choice.
    • Love Wesley ineffectively trying to take control of the situtation. Ba gur bgure unaq, vg'f n jbaqre vg gnxrf Ohssl gjb zber rcvfbqrf gb gryy uvz "V'z qbar jvgu lbh, tb njnl."
    • "Maybe that's the toad." And here's why I think it was an odd choice to send Xander. Also, come on. Labels, people.
    • What, no stakes, or weapons of any kind? Lazy.
    • In Oz terms, that qualifies as a full-scale explosion. Juvpu znxrf jung unccraf jvgu Gnen arkg frnfba uneq gb pngrtbevmr, ohg jr'yy trg gurer.
    • I don't know whether to admire Willow's courage in taking the opportunity to snoop or think not getting out while she could was a mistake. Probably some of both.
    • Okay, Mr. Mayor, I get it. Buffy/Angel is doomed. In the words of the woman with the knife at her throat (well, sort of), bored now.
    • Ha, Snyder kept the chair.
    • "It's too far to come home every night…. Either way I'll be close to your place." ::headdesk:: Sunnydale geography makes my head hurt.

    Body Count:
    • Vampire, killed by Angel.
    • Vampire, killed by Buffy.
    • Courier, killed by Faith.
    • (Offscreen) Vampire, killed by Buffy.
    • Vampire, killed by Willow.
    • Security guard, killed by Gavrok spider.
    • Gavrok spider, killed by Buffy.
    • Gavrok spider, killed by Faith.

    And a question regarding the body count:
    Va "Tenqhngvba Qnl," gurer ner n srj V'z abg fher ubj gb unaqyr. Zl trareny fgengrtl unf nyjnlf orra gb ree ba gur fvqr bs orvat fher orsber vapyhqvat fbzrbar, ohg gurer ner guerr jub ner nzovthbhf: Snvgu va Cneg 1, naq Yneel naq Unezbal va Cneg 2. V xabj Snvgu yvirf, Yneel vf qrnq, naq Unezbal orpbzrf n inzcver, ohg nyy bs gung eryvrf ba shgher xabjyrqtr naq bhgfvqr fbheprf naq V qba'g jnag gb fcbvy nalbar. Fhttrfgvbaf?

    • redheadedgirl says:

      V fnl pbhag gurz nf qrnq hagvy cebira bgurejvfr. Nqwhfg obql pbhag nf arrqrq. Ibvq jurer cebuvovgrq. Onggrevrf abg vapyhqrq. Mbzovrf arrq abg nccyl. Jr nera'g ovtbgrq ntnvafg mbzovrf….gurl wfhg, lbh xabj, yrnir obql cnegf nyy bire rireljurer naq vg vf irel hafnavgnel. Naq tebff.

    • V jbhyq fnl gung Yneel naq Unezbal obgu rnfvyl pbhag nf qrnq–jr frr gurz ovggra, juvpu zrnaf rvgure inzcver-qrnq be qrnq-qrnq, naq gung fubhyq cebonoyl pbhag. Gurl'er tbvat gb arrq sharenyf naq rirelguvat, nsgre nyy.__OHG Snvgu vfa'g qrnq ng nyy, naq nf nalobql jub unf jngpurq gur svefg guerr frnfbaf xabjf, Wbff jba'g yrnir n qrgnvy yvxr gung gb gur fvqr. V guvax vg vf fnsr gb fnl gung Snvgu qbrf abg pbhag nf qrnq, orpnhfr fur'f va n pbzn.

    • Coghead says:

      V guvax vg jbhyq cebonoyl or zber nzvovthbhf gb yrnir Yneel naq Unezbal bhg, pbafvqrevat ubj pyrne gurve qrnguf jrer. Unezbal'f inzcvarff trgf erirnyrq zvahgrf nsgre fur fubjf hc ntnva, fb Znex jba'g or JGSvat gb ybat… nf sbe Snvgu, V'z fher whfg tvivat na ubabenoyr zragvba gb ure va n pbzn jbhyq or ab ceboyrz.

      Jung qb lbh guvax, nal ebbz sbe fcbvyrevarff? >.>

    • PheasantPlucker says:

      V'q tbg jvgu Snvgu nf n ??? nsgre cneg 1 nf gur rcvfbqr vf vagragvbanyyl nzovthbhf (juvpu pna gura or nqwhfgrq gb nyvir ohg pbzngbfr sbe gur cneg 2 pbhag), naq Unezbal & Yneel qrnq nf bs gur raq bs cneg 2. Gung jnl, ab fcbvyrevat bpphef.

    • stormwreath says:

      Ertneqvat Snvgu, V'q gnxr lbhe phr sebz Znex. Vs ur'f nyy, "BZT SNVGU VF QRNQ!!!" gura pbhag ure; vs ur'f abg fher jung unccrarq, yrnir ure nf n ???.

    • DonSample says:

      Sbe gur V pbhagrq Yneel naq Unezbal nf qrnq ng gur gvzr guvf rcvfbqr nverq, jvgubhg univat frra nal shgher rcvfbqrf.

      Znlor jr fubhyq ubyq bss ba ercbegvat qrnguf sebz cneg V hagvy Znex unf frra cneg VV

  19. Kari says:

    Oz smashing the pot combined with his earlier “there’s no one like my Will” are two of my favorite moments possibly of all time (which I guessing I’ve said weekly lol). I also deeply treasure my mental picture of Snyder using a chair to (somehow) protect himself πŸ™‚ definite favorite Snyder moment

  20. t09yavosaur says:

    -That is an attractive blade.
    -Angel and Buffy are like an old married couple (not the grumpy kind though).
    -You ok Snyder?
    -I cannot imagine Xander as a “bohemian”.
    -You ok Cordy?
    -I am starting to wonder when demons will learn not to bring the goods with them until they are paid.
    -You ok Faith?
    -Xander, fishing for information with hostility doesn't usually work.
    -I am thinking either Cordy is having family issues or she doesn't have a date for prom.
    -Nice Cauldron.
    -That box placement doesn't look suspiciously easy to anyone? The Mayor obviously hasn't seen enough heist movies.
    -Oz, keep being awesome. No words necessary.
    -Vampire security is pretty crappy/untrustworthy.
    -I think there is a metaphor in death by number 2 pencil.
    -Willow takes time out of escaping to stop and read. I guess it is easier than lugging around 5 giant books.
    -Thinking about it Willow might be one of the few people who could get through to Faith at the moment since she doesn't like her.
    -Spider in a box. Aragog?
    -Its a face hugging spider.
    -It has friends.
    -Willow, you stay awesome too. Though I cringe at the thought of ripping pages out of books.
    -Are they saying USC Sunnydale? If not what does UC Sunnydale stand for?
    -OMIGOD IT IS GENERAL BECKMAN! I try to contain my Chuck-love around here but THIS IS FANTASTIC! Who doesn't love General Beckman?
    <img src=''&gt;
    Checking her IMDB it looks like Bonita Friedericy has been in everything. You can probably expect to see outbursts on future Mark Watches projects.
    -So the question now is was Cordy cut off or did her dad lose his job?

  21. DreamRose311 says:

    Vageb cerqvpgvba:
    Va gur gjragvrgu rcvfbqr bs gur guveq frnfba bs Ohssl gur Inzcver Fynlre, V'Z PELVAT NYY GUR GRNEF. Vagevthrq?

  22. innocentsmith says:

    So, I love this whole episode, but one of the things that struck me most on the rewatch was Buffy and Angel at the end, trying to dismiss what the Mayor had told them about their relationship. Because they go for the "What does he know about it, he's probably never loved anyone" defense, when in fact the Mayor's whole point was founded on the fact that had been married and faithful to his Edna Mae for what sounds like several decades, and he knew what the experience of an immortal/mortal relationship was like. (Or at least, that was what it was like for him.) So my initial thought was, "Guys, did you not listen to a word he was saying?!"

    But then, you know, Buffy's comment that his most long-term relationship was probably with Evil is…probably completely accurate. And that's the thing about the Mayor, IMHO, that makes him so damn compelling as a villain. He's not lying about most of his manipulations. He really does care about Faith! He tries to keep the city functioning! But he has care forthings/people as means to an end/in order to further his own power, which is ultimately his real priority. So I can see where he might really have cared about Edna Mae, and been the best husband he could be, according to his own lights, and been genuinely hurt to watch her age and curse him. But it's not like he was going to give up his big plans in order to age alongside her, or anything. And when he's interacting with Faith, there's always this knife-edge of him being the Best, Most Supportive Dad Ever to her, and taking advantage of her need for love and validation in order to keep her as an especially useful minion.

    And ultimately, however smart the Mayor is, he still has a skewed, patriarchal, self-serving view of the world, and you SHOULDN'T accept what he says as true, even if he thinks it is, because he doesn't mean it for the best. He's planning to kill you later, after all. Still, definitely on my short list for Favorite Villain Ever.

    • Raenef_the_5th says:

      I think they awkwardly realized that the Mayor was right.

    • Coghead says:

      This, to everything! Best surmation of why the Mayor is awesome and also terrifying; he's not evil because he has no soul, he's evil because he CAN care and CHOSES not to. Juvpu gvrf vagb n ehaavat gurzr va Wbffirefr; uhzna rivy, gur xvaq qbar jvgu n fbhy, vf bayl nppbzcyvfurq ol npgviryl vtabevat lbhe bja urneg. Whfg yvxr Yvaqfrl ng gur raq bs NgF' "Oyvaq Qngr", be rira Natry va NgF F2… gur qrzbaf qba'g unir n pubvpr va jung gurl qb, ohg crbcyr QB. Gung'f jung znxrf uhzna ivyynvaf fb zhpu FPNEVRE gb zr… gurl nyjnlf unq n punapr gb or orggre. (Ubyynaq Znaaref vf greevslvat, ogj. *fuhqqre*)

      • innocentsmith says:

        Rknpgyl! Guvf vf jul, sbe zl zbarl, gur Gevb raq hc orvat gur fbzr bs gur zbfg rssrpgvir ivyynvaf ol gur raq bs frnfba 6. Orpnhfr gurl pubbfr gb or rivy. V xabj fbzr Ohssl snaf ungr gurz, ohg V svaq vg fb qrinfgngvat gung, sebz orvat gurfr tbbsl thlf jvgu ab pyhr naq irel inthr onq vagragvbaf, gurl fghzoyr gurve jnl vagb qbvat trahvaryl ubeevslvat fghss. Gurl'er zber uhzna guna nal bs gur bgure ivyynvaf – Naqerj rira trgf gb or erqrrzrq – naq lrg srj bgure ivyynvaf znantr gb uheg gur Fpbbovrf fb zhpu.

      • tanbarkie says:

        "Crbcyr jub qba'g pner nobhg nalguvat jvyy arire haqrefgnaq gubfr jub qb."

        "Lrnu, ohg jr jba'g pner."

    • PheasantPlucker says:

      :…one of the things that struck me most on the rewatch was Buffy and Angel at the end, trying to dismiss what the Mayor had told them about their relationship. Because they go for the "What does he know about it, he's probably never loved anyone" defense, when in fact the Mayor's whole point was founded on the fact that had been married and faithful to his Edna Mae for what sounds like several decades, and he knew what the experience of an immortal/mortal relationship was like. "

      Denial isn't just a river my friends, its an ocean with its head stuck in the sand.

  23. robin_comments says:

    I admit that I expected Willow to try to convince Faith to come back to the Scoobies. Instead, she openly and harshly criticizes Faith for taking the difficult life she’s lived and making the lives of others’ even worse.
    That's generally why I like the moment too — I like the subversion of our expectations as TV viewers.

    Because we know what's supposed to happen, right? The troubled character with the difficult past will now see the light because one of our heroes GETS THROUGH TO HER (no matter the horrible things we've seen her allowing/participating in). A few poignant words will bring her back into the light and they will work together to defeat evil!


    Of course, characterization wise we know that Willow's perspective is affected by her special resentment issues with Faith, and so that scene would have more powerful and feel more objective coming from someone like Giles. But then, maybe only Willow was pissed off enough and resentful enough to be OVER this thing with Faith enough to react how she did. And regardless of who it's coming from, I think the subversion of our expectations still makes this moment a winner.

  24. Raenef_the_5th says:

    UC Sunnydale.

    I love the constantly expanding town.

    Also, I had forgotten how amazing season 3 was in terms of an endless stream of quality episodes. How could I have forgotten?!

    • LucyGoosey says:

      Maybe its like UC San Diego, which is actually in La Jolla

      • Maya says:

        It's supposed to be like UC Santa Barbara, but they refer to it as UCSD. Which is confusing/awesome for those of us who go to UCSD.

      • innocentsmith says:

        La Jolla isn't exactly a small town, though. Aside from being part of/right next to a major city, it's got plenty of tall buildings in its own right, at least in the area around the university, which Sunnydale doesn't. Also La Jolla has many fewer crypts, mysterious abandoned mansions, etc., to my great disappointment when I went to UCSD.

        I've heard it theorized that Sunnydale was based on Lompoc.,_California It's definitely around the right distance away from LA, and seems to be around the right size? Naq gurer'f gur fghss jvgu gur uvfgbel jvgu gur zvffvba, naq gur Puhznfu, juvpu pbzrf hc va gur Gunaxftvivat rcvfbqr. But hey, who knows. Mainly, I just wish I'd grown up in a town that had a small, friendly venue that was both open to under-21s and had consistently awesome live music. Worth putting up with a few vamps if you get to see Cibo Matto live, amirite? (I'm probably not really right.)

    • Karen says:

      Lrnu, frnfba 3 vfa'g n frnfba gung enaxf arne gur gbc bs zl yvfg orpnhfr… vqx. Vg whfg qbrfa'g erfbangr jvgu zr rzbgvbanyyl naq V nz whfg abg vagb gur Ohssl/Natry fghss va guvf frnfba. Fb V graq gb sbetrg gung vg unf fbzr ernyyl dhnyvgl rcvfbqrf va vg.

    • stormwreath says:

      Sunnydale is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. πŸ™‚

    • pica_scribit says:

      Well, we already knew there was a college there, because frat house demon in Season 2.

    • Pooslie says:

      to be fair, Erie, Pennsylvania (where I am from) didn't even HAVE a starbucks in the 90s (so it wasn't even a "one starbucks town") but they have had a branch of Penn State since at least the late 50s when my dad went there

    • Dee says:

      "I love the constantly expanding town."

      Well they did mention the university in Season 2's 'Reptile Boy' i.e. Frat Boys who worship ugly snake demon thing in exchange for power.

      maybe Sunnydale U is evil…

  25. Rayne says:

    Eeee! Finally! This episode! Which I will always love and adore because I own that knife! Not the one they actually used, but I have my very own! And it is so wicked looking! It's a Gil Hibben knife called the Jackal.

  26. Bonnie says:

    The problem with such a heavily serialized season is that, if you don't like the main plot of the season, watching it gets very, very boring. I hate season three. I don't care about Faith. I don't care about the Mayor. I don't care about the Buffy/Angel pairing, and it doesn't help any that guvf frnfba vg'f gbb zhpu yvxr Gjvyvtug sbe zl yvxvat. Ng yrnfg ynfg frnfba V qvfyvxrq gurz orpnhfr bs gur tebff haqrentr vffhr. Abj V'z whfg oberq bhg bs zl fxhyy.

    I guess I'm in the teeny tiny minority here, cause so many people are full of praise for season three, while I violently dislike it. Honestly, I get why other people may like it, but I usually just skip everything that's not Band Candy (and sometimes, Lovers Walk or Doppelgangland) on my rewatches, because Ethan Rayne and young Giles are endlessly entertaining, and everything else this season is not. Also, Buffy's season three hair is the worst ever.

    Lrnu, V'z svezyl va gur yngre frnfba Ohssl pnzc. V pbhyq jngpu frnfbaf svir, fvk naq frira nyy gur gvzr; cyhf nyy gur frnfba sbhe shaal rcvfbqrf – V pna'g jnvg sbe gur qrzbal Tvyrf! V thrff V'z whfg irel ibpny nobhg gur uvtufpubby lrnef whfg abg orvat zl phccn. Rkpyhqvat frnfba gjb, pnhfr vg'f tbg Fcvxr naq Qeh.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      how can you not like the mayor

      he's like a french bulldog puppy and John Carpenter's The Thing all wrapped in one

      • Bonnie says:

        Heh, maybe your description offers the reson why πŸ™‚
        But seriously, he's too one-dimensional for me. Too much like a cartoon character. I want a villain whose motivations I can understand, not just someone whose main redeeming feature is that he's usually described as entertaining.

        • robin_comments says:

          I get that. I mean, I personally really enjoy his character. But on the other hand, usually I agree with you that villains are compelling to me when they have reasons for what they're doing other than I'm Evil. My favorite villains are ones that seem like real people, with layers and depth, and consider themselves to be the hero of the story.

      • Bonnie says:

        Why is your site eating my comments, Mark, why?!!!? Stupid gluttony site.

        Anyway, to repeat what's been said and eaten – I want a villain whose motivations I can understand, not an overly cheery cartoon character who's too one-dimensional for me. Which I explained in better terms, but … eaten.

      • misterbernie says:

        Maybe they're not a dog person?

        Idk, I don't like the mayor, either. He's amusing to watch, sure, but he gives off so many ~family values~ vibes that just skeeve me out so much that I feel like taking a shower.
        Naq V qba'g frr nal pbagenqvpgvba orgjrra ~snzvyl inyhr~ ivorf naq uvz jnagvat gb rng gur gbja'f puvyqera. ZING

    • Karen says:

      I don't VIOLENTLY dislike season 3, but it doesn't have the same emotional connection for me as other seasons do, so while objectively other seasons might not be as quality, I love them more.

    • cait0716 says:

      I definitely agree that this is Buffy's worst hair season.

      Ure orfg unve vf va frnfba svir.

    • lyvanna says:

      I kinda liked Buffy's hair in this episode though.

      I don't hate season 3 but it's not one of my favourite seasons. V'q cynpr frnfba guerr naq frnfba bar nf cebonoyl zl gjb yrnfg snibhevgr frnfbaf, V'z n yngre-frnfba crefba nf jryy.

    • 00guera00 says:

      I'm very meh about this season as well. (Cebonoyl zl yrnfg snir bs Ohssl, gubhtu Fsbhe Natry vf jbefr)

  27. WhiteEyedCat says:

    I really like that Willow chooses to go to Sunnydale University, and not just because that means she can continue to be with Buffy. I like that it sort of says that the most important thing about going to University is feeling happy about the campus and the people and the living arrangement, more than just the reputation of the place. Willow doesn't strike me as the type who would do well moving far away from her home and friends, so I'm happy for her, and the plot point doesn't feel as contrived as it could.

  28. lawrence_s says:

    Tbqqnza vg, ur’yy qvr va gur arkg pbhcyr bs rcvfbqrf, jba’g ur?

    "Tbbq avtug Jrfyrl. Fyrrc jryy. V'yy zbfg yvxryl xvyy lbh va gur arkg rcvfbqr."

    Svir frnfbaf ur fnvq gung.

  29. Skyweir says:

    This week in "The Ethics of Buffy":
    Why Oz is "evil" in this episode.

    I am, in many ways, a (weak) utilitarian. Still, even if I was not, I can think of few ethical philosophies in which Oz putting his own emotional well being above the lives of thousands (if not more, for all they know The Ascension might be the end of civilization or at least California) is the right thing to do.

    It is just an incredible selfish thing to do, especially since Oz has shown himself to be a remarkable reflected teenager. He knows three facts:
    1. Destroying the Box will stop the Ascension completely, and in one blow.
    2. The Ascension will result in (at least) large scale death and destruction in the town.
    3. Willow is caught by the Mayor. She might already be dead, but if not there might be time to save her anyway after the Box is destroyed.

    Knowing this, he still makes the choice of not preventing countless deaths, even though the positive outcome (saving Willow) is still unlikely to happen. That is just not the right thing to do here, and especially not in the way he did it. Yet no one calls him on this? Know one says :"Oz, you have just condemned thousands to their deaths!"
    Yet Faith is ostracized for one accidental killing in the line of duty protecting the world from a great evil maniac? Are we sure these people are the heroes?

    For the record, I understand WHY Oz does what he does her. It is just wrong to do it, "evil" if you will. Much like I understand WHY Faith kills the Deputy Mayor,. Still, Oz's crime is greater in all measures that matter and will potentially cause much more suffering.

    • DreamRose311 says:

      the basic version of my thoughts here – there's still time to try and find another way to stop the mayor, the box wasn't the end all be all.

    • Inseriousity. says:

      The problem with utilitarianism is that moral choices are not made in a vacuum where people disregard their emotions. If there was no emotion there would be no ethical dilemmas because it is the emotion part of humanity that provides the choices.

      • Skyweir says:

        But emotions are individual, and thus invites moral relitavism. Not an untenable position, but one hard to argue precicily because it cannot be universal. Emotions provide choice, but for ethical people that are not inheritly selfish, there should be little doubt that the safety of a community (including the girl they want to save) must trumph the slight chance of saving one life. Especialy when their options are so clear as they are here.

        The Scoobies are also evil, of course: They are making the wrong choice here, choosing one life over thousands (or the chance of saving one life over the near certainty of saving thousands). That they are culpable in Oz's crime is not an excuse for his actions. They do not know of any other possible way to stop the Ascension at this point, which means that they make this choice knowing the consequences will be dire. That makes them pretty nasty and selfish people in my book.

    • robin_comments says:

      You have some interesting points here about the ethics of Oz's choice. I'd only argue that Faith wasn't ostracized for one accidental killing in the line of duty. It was her reaction that troubled people–the way she spoke about it with Buffy and claimed special rights & superiority as a Slayer, her deciding to frame Buffy with Giles. But the Scoobies seemed willing and ready to help her and I don't recall Willow seriously advocating otherwise until after she assaulted Xander. And then Buffy still vowed to not give up on Faith (when tbh after the thing with Xander I would have more doubts and line-drawing myself), only cutting the cord when it was revealed that Faith was working with the mayor, tried to turn Angel, torture & murder her.

    • Kickpuncher says:


      1. Oz doesn't condemn thousands to their death. He may increase the risk that thousands will die, but that's not really the same thing. Buffy does the same thing when she can't kill Angel at the end of Innocence, but I wouldn't call that evil.

      2. Faith is ostracized for one teensy accidental killing. Not for her attempt to frame Buffy for that teensy accidental killing. Not for her deliberate attempted murder of Xander when he shows up to offer help following her teensy accidental killing. Not even when she joined up with a "great evil maniac." Nope, it was that teensy accidental killing.

      3. The Mayor's in a position of power and has been working towards the Ascension for roughly 100 years. Nobody in the episode brought this up, but honestly, a Mayor with his plans foiled but still as powerful as he's ever been seems like it could be just as dangerous as allowing the Ascension to come to fruition.

    • settlingforhistory says:

      I would agree under two conditions:

      1) If the means to destroy the box were invaluable, unique and with smashing it he had ruined their chances of destroying the box. (yvxr gur hea jvgu juvpu gurl oevat onpx Ohssl.)
      2) If the Scoobies had decided that Wesley is right and that keeping the box is the only option.

      None of this is true though. The only thing Oz does here is stop the destruction of the box for the moment, if the Scoobies had made up their minds to get rid of it, they could have just send Xander to buy new supplies.
      The way I see it, Oz simply stops the argument and the Scoobies stop listening to Wesley, who would not have been able to convince the others anyway.
      What we can say about Oz is that he is selfish in that moment, but so are the others, even without Oz's outburst they would not have decided differently.

  30. plaidpants says:

    I was conflicted about this episode. I did enjoy Willow being a BAMF, Xander and Oz working together (seriously that scene where Willow left them instructions, and drew out stick figures, and everything was just adorable!)

    It's getting frustrating that the Scoobies won't listen to Wesley at all – I know he doesn't quite understand the dynamic, but he is trying and when they just automatically dismiss everything he says, I think it makes him come back with more outlandish thoughts and ideas and makes him more resistent to helping. I really hope you haven't doomed him with your proclamation Mark!

    This did seem a bit like filler, and set up for the finale, but that's okay, these things happen. While I liked Willow's explanation of why she's choosing to stay at UC-Sunnydale (but really, how large is this town that they have a university there?), it still seems like the typical, crap they're graduating high school, how can we keep the gang together – have them all go to the same high school! Is Giles going to follow them there?

    • Maize says:

      Many small towns have medium-sized colleges and sometimes towns are built around colleges that grow to be quite large. It's not terribly uncommon for many students to study close to home or work/settle down in their hometowns. I find it believable for the Scoobies to stay in Sunnydale (Giles, too!) and remain close because of the secret they share and the responsibility they feel because of it.

  31. Andie says:

    I don't think Wesley gets nearly enough credit for his integrity. He consistently makes (or supports) choices that are unwaveringly /good/ and unselfish, regardless of whether or not those choices will make other people (the only people he can conceivably call ~friends~) hate him. We might not want Willow to get murdered, but Wesley's right when he says that not making the exchange will save the entire town.

  32. DonSample says:

    Buffy Body Count totals for this episode:

    Vampire 1 — The cemetery — Staked by Buffy
    Vampire 2 — The cemetery — Staked by Angel
    Courier — Sunnydale Airport — Shot in the back with an arrow by Faith
    Limo driver vampire — Outside City Hall — Staked by Buffy
    Vampire 4 — City Hall — Staked with a flying pencil by Willow
    Security guard — Sunnydale High cafeteria — Face eaten by a giant bug from the Box of Gavrok

  33. arctic_hare says:

    I guess in this case, the needs of the one outweighed the needs of the many.

  34. innocentsmith says:

    Also, minor point, but can I just say how much I love that in this season it's the villain who's got to collect all the plot coupons? The big box of bugs, the sacrificed babies in Band Candy… Usually it's the heroes who have a bunch of plot-filler small quests in order to serve a greater purpose, and the antagonist gets stuck looking stupid or incompetent for not being able to stop them from finding the Ruby of Great Wisdom or stealing an egg from the nest of the magic eagle or whatever. But here it's the bad guy who's just methodically ticking off steps on his way to his goals (literally, as in that classic shot of his dayplanner – "Meet with PTA. Become invulnerable") and the heroes who have to figure wtf he's up to and what his ultimate goal is. And it makes him much more effective as a villain, not least because he's obviously been doing it for a while now, and the only reason he's bothered by the heroes at all is that they've strayed into his way after being unconscious of him for so long.

    It's just a really brilliant narrative choice, and one you don't see nearly as often as the other way around.

  35. DonSample says:

    Back in Doppelgangland, when Willow put the pencil into the tree, I thought "Okay, now I know how at least one vamp is going to die in the future."

    I think that Wesley's biggest problem is that he's overly pompous. He was generally right about everything he said in this episode, he just said it in a way that annoyed everyone he was talking to.

    In the discussion of whether or not to swap the box, if he'd just said something like "Let's call making the swap 'plan B', and see if we can come up with a plan A that lets us rescue Willow *and* keep the box out of the Mayor's clutches." they might have done just that.

    • settlingforhistory says:

      I think the problem with Wesley is that he is the outsider and he mostly makes desision based on reason and not emotions. It makes him a good Watcher, but not a good Scoobie.
      If Giles or Buffy had suggested not to trade the box and worded it differently, maybe made up a third option, the others would have at least listened.

      • snapsnzips says:

        Yeah, his people skills could use some work. He has a sense of entitlement based on the fact that he's The Watcher that doesn't go over well with the Scoobies. They don't recognize his authority to have a valid opinion and everyone is still so resentful towards the Watcher's Council that anything he says comes with an automatic disregard from everyone.

  36. Danny_SAP says:

    <img src=""&gt;

    BUFFY I mean I can't believe you got into Oxford!
    WILLOW It's pretty exciting.
    OZ That's some deep academia there.
    BUFFY That's where they make Gileses.
    WILLOW I know! I could learn and, and have scones.

    SMG has a very cute face.
    <img src=""&gt;
    <img src=""&gt;

    WESLEY You're the one who said take the fight to the Mayor. You were right. This is the town's best hope of survival. It's your chance to get out.
    BUFFY You think I care about that? Are you made of human parts?
    GILES Alright! Let's deal with this rationally.
    BUFFY Why are you taking his side?
    WESLEY You'd sacrifice thousands of lives? Your families, your friends? It can all end right here. We have the means to destroy this box.

    Oz is good at the dramatic gesture.
    <img src=""&gt;
    Nice emotional control there, Wil.
    <img src=""&gt;

    FAITH Check out the bookworm.
    WILLOW Faith!
    FAITH Anyone with brains, anyone who knew what was going to happen to her, would try to claw her way out of this place. But you, you just can't stop Nancy Drew-ing, can you? Guess now you know too much and that kinda just naturally leads to killing.
    WILLOW Faith, wait. I want to talk to you.
    FAITH Oh yeah? Give me the speech again, please. Faith, we're still your friends. We can help you. It's not too late.
    WILLOW It's way too late. You know, it didn't have to be this way. But you made your choice. I know you had a tough life. I know that some people think you had a lot of bad breaks. Well, boo hoo! Poor you. You know, you had a lot more in your life than some people. I mean, you had friends in your life like Buffy. Now you have no one. You were a Slayer and now you're nothing. You're just a big selfish, worthless waste.

    Except y'all did a terrible job of making her feel welcome.
    <img src=""&gt;

    ANGEL You're not my elder. I've got a lotta years on you.
    WILKENS Yeah, and that's just one of the things you're going to have to deal with. You're immortal, she's not. It's not. I married my Edna May in ought-three and I was with her right until the end. Not a pretty picture. Wrinkled and senile and cursing me for my youth. Wasn't our happiest time. And let's not forget the fact that any moment of true happiness will turn you evil. I mean, come on. What kind of a life can you offer her? I don't see a lot of Sunday picnics in the offing. I see skulking in the shadows, hiding from the sun. She's a blossoming young girl and you want to keep her from the life she should have until it has passed her by. My God! I think that's a little selfish. Is that what you came back from Hell for? Is that your greater purpose?

    Buffy and Angel can't fool the evil undead ones, can they?

    • Smurphy says:

      I've gotten ridiculously far behind in my rewatching… I think I'm going to start using this as my 'rewatch' so thank you.

  37. "I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that season three is probably a heavy fan favorite out of all seven seasons of Buffy. I honestly would not be surprised because I am in shock at how brilliant, touching, and intense this entire string of episodes is."

    Season 2 stays my all time favorite season, because all the strong feelings that I discovered for this amazing show, started there. But it's true, Season 3 comes second.

    Like you say, the serialized story brings new developments and shows us all the possibilities that this show can explore.

    The more we're getting close to the Season 3 Finale ( OMG, only 3 episodes!!! ), the more we can't stop thinking that we're definitely living the end of a chapter, the HS storyline.

    And then, we can't stop thinking about everything that could come next :

    4 more seasons of Buffy and 5 new seasons of Angel!!!!

    Are you starting to "feel" prepared Mark? πŸ˜‰

  38. Meltha says:

    If I had to say the Mayor was any sort of traditional villain, he's the sympathetic tempter. He's not total, pure evil, and I do believe he loves Faith. But that doesn't mean he isn't corrupting her left, right, and center and making doing what's wrong a whole lot easier than doing what she knows is actually right. In a really weird way, he does to Faith what Faith was doing to Buffy: showing her the allure of a life of want, take, have. He just throws in cookies and mini golf, which are probably things Faith has never had. So, yeah, I like the Mayor, even though he's defintiely a villain.

  39. DonSample says:

    And it turns out that in the future, Romulans are Buffy fans, having adopted Faith's knife as one of their own:

    <img src=""&gt;

    • Kickpuncher says:

      Meanwhile, the Ferengi can't stand that insolent Summers girl.

    • sirintegra42 says:

      Oh poor Tom Hardy. If he hadn't been in Inception and become as massive as he is (I'm not talking literally although have you seen his arms recently??) I'd be incredibly sad for him. I think this film is one of those old shame things which he'll never talk about, bless :).

  40. Coghead says:

    The Mayor's speech makes me so, so desperate for a flashback episode. Over a century of running Hellmouth city… what must that have been like? How exactly did he lose his soul and get immortal…? Maybe he was a perfectly good guy until he outlived his wife, and he just sold his soul to get rid of the humanity…? Did he ever have kids; is that why he takes to Faith so quickly?! I dunno, he's just so INTERESTING! He's a real person, even if he is Captain Evilface. I honestly don't think I'll ever love a villain the way I do him! πŸ™‚

    Snvgu znxrf zr fb fnq, rfcrpvnyyl univat erjngpurq "Jub Ner Lbh?" naq "Fnapghnel" erpragyl. Fur'f fb, FB fvpx, naq qrfcvgr rirelguvat, gur Znlbe vf gur bayl bar jvyyvat gb tvir ure n unaq. Vg'f jul, rira juvyr V'z tynq Jvyybj vf gnxvat ure gb gnfx, V nyfb ernyyl jnag gb chapu ure sbe vg. Vg'f abg yvxr gur Natry-Yvaqfrl pbasebagngvba va gur raq bs frnfba bar bs uvf fubj; guvf vfa'g fbzrobql jub unq n FUBG bs orvat n juvgr ung naq guerj vg njnl sbe cbjre, qnzzvg! Snvgu bayl rire arrqrq ybir naq fnsrgl, naq gur Fpbbovrf (~rfcrpvnyyl Jvyybj~) qravrq vg gb ure cerggl zhpu sbe ab ernfba. Jvyy qbrfa'g trg gb gnxr gur zbeny uvtu tebhaq, rfcrpvnyyl abg jura jr xabj jurer fur tbrf sebz urer. *natel cbhg*

    Ogj, V pna arire, rire ynhtu ng Jrfyrl orvat gur ohgg zbxrl nsgre NgF. Vg uhegf gb frr uvz fb… synvyvat, naq ybfg. Naq vg ernyyl uhegf gb frr ubj pehry gur Fpbbovrf ner gb uvz; ntnva, WHFG ORPNHFR. Ur'f abg bar bs gurz, fb gurl znxr uvz srry rkpyhqrq, yvxr n wbxr. Jrfyrl qbrfa'g arrq n ireony fznpxqbja, ur'f arrqf fbzrobql gb thvqr uvz gb jurer ur jnagf gb tb; urycvat crbcyr. Gung'f jul ur qbrf jung ur qbrf, naq vg'f jevggra ba uvf fyrrir. Jul qbrf gung rnea uvz gung zhpu irabz, naq jul vf gung bxnl…?

    Frevbhfyl, vg gbbx Natry oneryl n srj rcvfbqrf gb gbgnyyl ghea Snvgu naq Jrf' yvirf nebhaq. Grnz Ohssl whfg arrqrq gb tvir gurz n yvggyr uryc, qnzzvg. V guvax gung'f jul V pner fb yvggyr nobhg OgF!Natry; gur pber bs uvz, gur onggrerq thl jub jvyy svtug gb gur raqf bs gur rnegu sbe lbh, WHFG ORPNHFR… qbrfa'g rkvfg lrg. Ur'f abg ernyyl uvzfrys lrg. Vg'f npghnyyl xvaqn jrveq gung Qblyr naq Pbeql qb zber gb svanyyl uhznavmr Natry va n srj rcvfbqrf, guna Ohssl rire pbhyq… :/

    ~jbbovrf, fb znal jbbovrf, v whfg pna'g~

    • _Bailey_ says:

      "Qblyr naq Pbeql qb zber gb svanyyl uhznavmr Natry va n srj rcvfbqrf, guna Ohssl rire pbhyq…"


    • threerings13 says:

      I think you've really put your finger on why I prefer Angel to Buffy.

    • Seventh_Star says:

      v nterr jvgu NYY bs guvf (rfcrpvnyyl gur jrfyrl fghss), ohg, gb or snve, gurl UNQ gb syrfu natry bhg orpnhfr ur unq uvf bja fubj.

  41. DonSample says:

    There is a problem with the whole "Buffy's going to grow old, while Angel stays young" argument:

    Neither of these characters really has a great life expectancy. It's been stated over and over that Slayers die young, and sure vampires *can* live a long time, but as soon as Angel stopped brooding all the time, and involved himself in the fight against evil, his life expectancy became no better than Buffy's.

    • cait0716 says:

      This is why their relationship is so much about the moment. Either of them could die tomorrow. But now Buffy is starting to think about her future. She's enrolling in college, something I doubt she'd do if she still thought she might die young. And given that they are starting to turn their eyes to the future, they have to start looking at their relationship in that context. So that argument becomes valid now, even though it wasn't in the second season.

      • PewPewPew says:

        The thing is, every relationship is this way. They have magics and suchlike, but, um, all relationships end: in death, or breakups-divorce. That is WHAT WE ARE ALL LOOKING FORWARD TO, MY FRIENDS.

        This strikes home for me, anyway, because my partner is much older than I am. It is a thing that I have had to think about, and he has, and perhaps in a Buffy-Angel way: what does it mean that I am young and he is older? Are we going to trust the other one with that? Am I ready to take care of him and watch him die, likely? Is he ready to do the same if I get in a car accident tomorrow or am diagnosed with cancer the next day?

        The answer, for us, is yes. Yes, with a lot of thought. I am very sympathetic to the Buffy-Angel conversation, because it hurts, but this is also a relatable thing for people everywhere all the times. Not just immortality issues.

    • That's always been might thought. Buffy and Angel have both died in the space of the last two and a half years, and it easily could have been more. There's no telling they could even pass Graduation Day at this rate, so why does it even matter?

      Naq, bs pbhefr, Ohssl vf tbvat gb qvr NTNVA ng gur ntr bs gjragl, naq Natry jvyy oevrsyl ghea uhzna nf jryy. Fb, va gur raq, gurl fubhyq unir whfg fghpx gbtrgure, va zl bcvavba.

      V ungr gung Natry yrnirf orpnhfr vg frrzf yvxr fhpu n fync va gur snpr gb Ohssl. Fur pna znxr ure bja qrpvfvba, naq vg srryf fyvtugyl zvfbtlavfgvp gung rirelbar ryfr unf gb znxr vg sbe ure.

      • DonSample says:

        Bs pbhefr Natry ernyyl yrsg orpnhfr ur tbg uvf bja GI fubj.

        • Gehr. Ohg V'q ernyyl yvxr gb urne nobhg jung jbhyq unir unccrarq vs Natry unqa'g yrsg naq ubj gung jbhyq rssrpg ure. Gurer cebonoyl jbhyq unir orra ab Cnexre naq cbffvoyl ab Evyrl; V guvax Ohssl jbhyq unir orra zhpu zber fgnoyr jura Wblpr fgnegrq srryvat fvpx.

          Npghnyyl, gung'f na vagrerfgvat gubhtug ba vgf bja. Ubj jbhyq Ohssl or qvssrerag vs Natry gur Frevrf unqa'g orra bcgvbarq?

          –Pbeqryvn zvtug unir fgvyy tbar bss.
          –Ab xabjvat vs Fcvxr jbhyq pbzr onpx.
          –Fvzvyneyl, gur Vavgvngvir jbhyq unir gb qrny jvgu n "tbbq" inzcver (Evyrl qbrf, ohg jr qba'g frr ubj rirelbar ryfr jbhyq).

          Naq vs Natry'f onpxfgbel jnf fgvyy gur fnzr nf vg vf va NgF, gura ur jbhyq unir jbexrq sbe gur tbireazrag ORSBER….

          Uzz. Vg jbhyq unir orra vagrerfgvat.

    • robin_comments says:

      Yeah that argument never works for me either, personally.

      I kind of hate how there's this "normal life" that people are always defining around Buffy (a trap she often falls into as well but it pisses me off when other people do it to her), instead of looking at what can be done to make her real life right now a good one. imo she should be making life choices based being a slayer, likely having a limited lifespan, and with the knowledge the people she has relationships will become vulnerable to attack. It's just realistic that she can't just move wherever she wants, take on all the outside responsibilities she wants, and form social relationships with everyone & anyone she wants.

      A relationship with a broody, heavily hair-gelled vampire may be a decent option for her, considering her circumstances. What, she's really going to date and marry a Scott Hope and have 3 babies, a dog, and a white picket fence? And all of the forces of darkness will have nothing to say about this?

      (It's not about giving up. It's about looking at your options and thinking about the ways to be happy and fulfilled within those constraints.)

      • PewPewPew says:

        I was reading this and just read that as "have 3 babies, a dog, and a WHITE FERRET" which is slightly more awesome than a white picket fence.

  42. katherinemh says:

    Someone said it before, but HI GENERAL BECKMAN I MISS YOUR SHOW AND YOUR FACE!

    Honestly, I didn't realize that we weren't supposed to realize that Cordy was working in the shop? I just sort of automatically assumed she was working there and thought maybe everyone knew or something. I mean, it's a nice place to work, it's not like she has a job where she has to get dirty or wear a stupid uniform or anything. It didn't really occur to me until the end of the episode that she's probably the type of person who would be embarrassed to have to have a job.

    Nyfb, V whfg svavfurq jngpuvat Jvyq ng Urneg, fb rkphfr zr juvyr V tb QEBJA VA ZL BJA GRNEF.

    • Coghead says:




      *pheyf hc va pbeare naq fbof*

      • katherinemh says:

        Naq whfg erpragyl ba ghzoye Znex jnf fnlvat fbzrguvat nobhg ubj zhpu ur jnf fgnegvat gb yvxr Jvyybj/Bm naq nsgre Tenqhngvba Qnl naq gurz whfg orvat trarenyyl nqbenoyr gbtrgure va gur ortvaavat bs F4 naq julllllll Q: Q: Q:

  43. enigmaticagentscully says:

    Oops! I’m a little late in commenting, which is a shame because I actually have a lot of thinky thoughts about this one!
    Firstly, on a shallow note, I LOVED Willow’s dress in this episode! It was a little weird, but in a good way.

    BUT I have a thing to talk about from this episode which I’m very interested in hearing people’s opinions on. You see, as we watched this episode, my sister turned to me and said ‘I agree with Wesley’. I thought for a second and said ‘Yeah, actually so do I’. I absolutely believe that they should not have traded the box for Willow. It was selfish, irresponsible, and will quite probably have devastating consequences.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love Willow. She drew cute stick figures and stood up to Faith! I don’t want her to get hurt! But…Wesley was right. They know for a fact that the box is vital to the Mayor’s ascension, and that the ascension will almost certainly kill thousands of people in their town, without even considering the greater ramifications afterwards. To paraphrase Star Trek, it’s the idea that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Really the only ethical thing to do in this situation is to think of the greater good (the greater gooood) and realise that Willow is only one person. Yes, she’s a personal friend, but does that make her more important than everyone else? And what gives them the right to make that decision?

    Now I’m sure you could argue that it’s a little more complicated than that. After all, there is some time before Graduation Day. By trading the box and getting Willow back, they still leave themselves plenty of time to come up with a plan B. A way of stopping the Mayor that doesn’t involve sacrificing their friend. That’s certainly not as safe as simply destroying the box here and now, and therefore still a little ethically dubious, but it’s a decent argument that I could have gotten behind if someone had actually mentioned it. But there’s no explanation like this given; instead we’re just expected to want Willow back and damn the consequences.

    Am I saying that they shouldn’t try to save Willow? Of course not! But they didn’t even discuss other options for more than a few seconds. It was just ‘Shut up Wesley there is no other way.’ Then Oz smashes the cauldron and that…apparently ends the argument. Great! Let the emotionally distracted and completely biased boyfriend guy decide the fate of thousands!

    So yeah, things aren’t just black and white, and you can’t reduce human lives to a simple numbers game. The thing is, I’m not saying that Wesley is necessarily right in this situation, only that he has a valid viewpoint that’s worth considering. But instead of actually listening to him, they all just act as if he’s an unfeeling douchebag and instantly dismiss everything he says. And you know what? It’s not unrealistic. The fact that it happened isn’t the problem, it’s the fact that we as the viewers are obviously supposed to feel a certain way about it and I kind of…didn’t. It’s clear in the episode who we’re meant to side with, and yet both my sister and I just got completely the opposite reaction.

    I suppose it must be a case of serious Values Dissonance (yay TV Tropes!) because we both talked about how tired we were with seeing this sort of thing play out on TV. The idea that the ‘heroes’ of the piece follow their hearts rather than their heads, and that it’s seen as a morally admirable position. The person who uses uncomfortable but sound logic is portrayed as the villain, or at least a bit strange and callous. And, of course, in the end there are no negative consequences of what was essentially an irrational and utterly selfish choice. Look, they got some of the pages from the Books of Ascension guys! So it was all worthwhile after all! Psssht, look at that silly Wesley grumbling in the background like a sulky schoolboy! What a downer!

    It’s odd to get this sort of thing in Buffy, because it’s a show that has so far delighted in twisting this kind of trope. It usually surprises me, but in this episode it was all very…predictable.

    So, um…questions? Comments?

    • arctic_hare says:

      ILU for referencing Star Trek. HIGH FIVES ALL AROUND!

      • enigmaticagentscully says:

        I just noticed you did the same thing up above. BRAIN TWINS. But yeah, that is what this episode made me think of.

    • Ryan Lohner says:

      Yeah, my biggest thought during this episode was distaste for how Wesley was automatically supposed to be the bad guy, just for wanting to DISCUSS the possibility of weighing one person's life against the whole world.

      • TrampyMcBitca says:

        Fb va n jnl, Unezbal, Yneel, Falqre naq frireny bgure crbcyr jub jrer ng Tenqhngvba ner qrnq orpnhfr gurl pubfr gb fnir Jvyybj.

    • Coghead says:

      Agreed whole heartedly! <3

      It's a bit wonky, considering how Buffy was resolved to kill Angel post-Jenny to keep him from hurting anyone else, and how much she beat herself up for not killing him when she had the chance. Like… I thought she learned a lesson there, or something…? >.>

      I mean, I don't neccessarily think there WAS a completely right answer in that situation, but "Willow first" was a strange mindset. πŸ™

    • Delta1212 says:

      Yeah, I agree. Wesley was, if not objectively right, then at least acting far more responsibly than the rest of the team. In fact, thinking about it, the only time I can really say that Wesley hasn't acted responsibly is during that scene in his, I believe, first episode where he breaks immediately at being threatened and offers to tell Balthazar whatever he wants.

      He's made some bad decisions besides that (his handling of Faith being one) but most of those can be traced back at least partially to the way that the other Scoobies attempt to exclude and undermine his efforts. I feel like, if everyone else wasn't so resolute in withholding information from him, bucking his authority and generally trying to exclude him from the decision making process, Wesley would be a much more valuable resource than any of them give him credit for. I think this is reinforced by the fact that the other Scoobies mellowed a bit towards him over time and that he has been more helpful and cooperative as a result, but there's still an undertone of animosity and/or derision that pops up now and again getting in the way and it's as much or more the fault of the other Scoobies as it is Wesley's.

      Honestly, I find this rewatch interesting because I seriously didn't expect to be defending Wesley as much as I have been. I don't remember hating him the first time I watched this season, but I don't remember especially liking him either. I think I mostly just thought if him as a vaguely amusing character who was just there.

      Anyway, I'm not sure I wouldn't have behaved exactly the same way they did if I was in their position, but that doesn't mean I think they were right for doing so.

      Nyfb, nyy guvatf pbafvqrerq, unq gurl whfg qrfgeblrq gur obk naq Jvyybj qrpvqrq gb eha njnl vafgrnq bs fgnlvat naq frnepuvat sbe gur obbxf, rirelbar jbhyq unir orra zhpu orggre bss. Rira vs fur unqa'g, gur snpg gung gurl qrpvqrq gb fnir ure engure guna cerrzcgvat gur Nfprafvba yrnq qverpgyl gb gur qrnguf bs Unezbal, Falqre, Yneel naq jub xabjf ubj znal bgure sryybj fghqragf. Pbafvqrevat gung gurl cerfragrq Ohssl jvgu gur Pynff Cebgrpgbe njneq va gur arkg rcvfbqr, fur qvqa'g qb n irel tbbq wbo va guvf vafgnapr.

    • nextboy1 says:

      I felt generally sorry for Wesley in this episode, and thought they could at least have engaged with him in some way about the trade, BUT what I love is that it was not out of character for any of our heroes to act this way for the sake of plot convenience, they would all fiercely protect Willow and reject input from 'outsiders' like Wesley. Flawed characters are interesting, especially flawed heroes.

    • jne says:

      I think Ox realizes that Wesley's point is valid. That's WHY he takes the situation into his own hands. He's the one who is morally culpable and everyone else is off the hook. No endless debate. The trade is ensured.

      • enigmaticagentscully says:

        I guess. I mean, I can believably see him reacting in that way, it just bothers me that we're meant to think 'Aww how sweet, he cares about Willow!' when all I got was 'Oz you selfish dick you've doomed the entire town'.

        • tanbarkie says:

          I don't think we are, actually. (Supposed to think "Aww how sweet, he cares about Willow," that is). I think Joss is purposely giving Wesley a rational argument in order to induce exactly the feeling of conflict it elicited in you. It's sort of like the much-debated "Kick his ass" moment from Season 2 – except this time, ALL of our heroes are Xander. They're good, clever, thoughtful people, but they're not saints, and they make mistakes – especially when it comes to things they're passionate about.

          (Besides, would it really be a Joss Whedon moment if it didn't make you a little sad, somehow?)

    • _Bailey_ says:

      Jung n enqvpnyyl qvssrerag pubvpr sebz jung unccraf va "N Ubyr Va Gur Jbeyq."

    • stormwreath says:

      This is a question the show deals with a lot, I think (and it's safe to say it will again). Remember, we've also had an example of the opposite, when Buffy sacrificed her own feelings and killed Angel in order to save the world.

      On the one hand, you can argue that saving your friend at the cost of hundreds, maybe millions of lives is horribly selfish and wrong. On the other hand, you can argue that the sort of person who can cold-bloodedly sacrifice a friend in the name of the greater good is horribly callous and wrong. So which position is right? Maybe both. Or neither. Whichever decision you take, I don't think you'd be able to sleep at night.

      I do disagree with you on one thing, though: I don't think the show is written so that you're "meant" to agree with one viewpoint or the other. Joss's style is more to present you with the moral dilemma and leave you to make up your own mind which is right. While, of course, having his characters react to it in ways which are consistent with their personality and history, and showing the consequences on them of the choices *they* make.

      Remember, it might seem that the Scoobies have won; but the Mayor now has the Box of Gavrok, and if its power lets him kill any people in any of the remaining episodes he appears in, then those are deaths that wouldn't have happened if they'd destroyed it.

    • Hecubot says:

      One of the nice things about the Jossverse is that more than one ethics is allowed to play at a time, and they're each given their due. Hence, a title like "Choices."

      Wesley's not wrong. But he's not Buffy's ethical choice. She makes her own choices, and they change over time.

      And there are issues with Wesley's ethics and a strictly utilitarian approach as well which is addressed in the Jossverse.

    • sirintegra42 says:

      Excellent use of the Hot Fuzz reference there :). I can't see that said without repeating it like some weird verbal tick too.

    • jinxie says:

      While rationally Wesley is right, the fact is that Buffy and Oz and the rest of the Scoobies (sans Giles) are teenagers. And while that was a long time ago for some of us, I am currently the mother of a 17 year old girl and the world still revolves around her and her wants and needs. Most teens are more self-focused than world-focused, so the choice between saving a best friend or saving the world is more along the line of what affects ME most directly. The answer – the loss of my best friend.

      I am saying this with 20/20 hindsight, having seen the entire series, but it is something that was an important epiphany for me. Joss tried very hard with these characters to show their journey from teenagers to adulthood – and I think that comment about "mochas" was kind of a reminder thrown to the audience that these are teenagers thrown into extraordinary circumstances, but yet…they are still teenagers. They will not always make the right choices and they must learn from their own mistakes. If they had followed Wesley's advice and "saved the world" yet lost Willow, they would have always blamed Wesley and never understood the lesson they needed to learn. And while we may not understand the implications at this point in the series, it is important to remember this the next time a choice like this presents itself. And that's all I can say without spoiling πŸ™‚

      So yes, Wesley's viewpoint is legitimate and the more logical, adult thing to do, yet it was more realistic the way it played out. At least IMHO πŸ™‚

    • notemily says:

      I think in this particular show, it makes sense. We saw in "The Wish" that without her friends and people who love her, Buffy would be a very different person. Buffy's love for her friends and theirs for her has saved them many times over. So for the show to take the personal "let's save our friend" option over the impersonal but more logical one makes sense to me. I can see how you'd agree with Wesley, but personally I can't see myself pulling the switch that sends the train to kill one person instead of five or whatever.

    • @Ivana2804 says:

      I see your Star Trek and raise you a Battlestar Galactica.

      Commander Adama: I'M. GETTING. MY. MEN.

      That's all I'm gonna say.

      Well, not really. I also have to say that I deeply distrust and am disturbed by Big Picture Thinkers who are willing to let one person die, right NOW, in order to potentially save the world/many people later – because it's all about numbers. No, it's not.

  44. nextboy says:

    some random giddy thoughts while watching this (brilliant) episode today: please please can’t willow come to oxford and drink tea with me? I know she wants to stay and fight evil, but maybe she could just come for a little while, my home town is so lovely and i make great tea! Sure it was 1999 and i would only have been 13 but we are weaned on tea young here in teabagland! this is now my tragedy. Secondly, totally called cordelia’s ending (poor cordy :-() and HELLO GENERAL BECKMAN OMG CORDELIA WOULD MAKE THE BEST INTERSECT Y/Y?!

    • katherinemh says:

      Aaaaaand now I'm imagining Cordy interacting with A) Jeff and Lester and B) Casey.

      • nextboy1 says:

        Amazing. Morgan would completely take the Xander role of love/hate with her, and yes, she would be totally all over Casey, who wouldn't be interested, and may ocassionally grunt at her.

    • Delta1212 says:

      Cordelia should have been a Greta.

    • nextboy1 says:

      Also, apologies for my terrible punctuation and use of paragraphs in the original post, I was using my mobile phone and it's pretty limited with internet stuff, like the inability to use 'Enter'.

  45. fantasylover120 says:

    Well, Season 3 isn't my favorite season (I won't say which is till we get to the end of said season) but I am terribly fond of it and it is a close second because this is the season that actually got me into Buffy in the first place. Now then be truthful everyone, who hummed Mission Impossible when Buffy was lowered to get the box?
    Daily Buffy Quotable
    "What would chocolate chips be without the chips? Pretty darn disappointing let me tell you."-Mayor
    "That's where they make Giles's"-Buffy
    "Don't forget to breath between insults guys."-Buffy
    "I've gotta have a plan?"-Buffy
    "I made him a offer he couldn't survive."-Faith
    "Toad me."-Oz
    "I need a volunteer to hit Wesley."-Xander
    "Hey, did you get permission to eat the hostage?"-Willow
    "You just can't stop Nancy Drewing can you?"-Faith
    "Raise your hand if you're invulnerable."-Mayor
    "Why couldn't you be dealing drugs like normal people?"-Snyder

  46. quenstalof says:

    My favorite line of this episode was "What are you, the narrator?"

    Aaaand….that's pretty much all I've got aside from loving Willow's telepathic pencil slaying.

  47. kelseyofcake says:

    -The relationship between Wilkins and Faith is almost cute. Almost.
    -And that knife is most definitely not cute. Whenever I look at it, I think about how much it would hurt to get stabbed with that thing.
    -Buffy, did you seriously just call Angel “honey?” I love you girl, but that's a little too much cheese. I also think I can blame you-know-what for making the “he's going to be the same age forever while I age” thing so yawn-worthy to me. Even though I don't ship it I feel like I'm supposed to be experiencing more than just “I feel bad for Buffy.”
    -Those schools must be really forgiving of personal records.
    -Willow got Oxford? DAMN.
    -Xander, doesn't traveling cross-country require quite a bit of money for gas and car maintenance? Not to shoot down your adventurous endeavors, but you might want to do careful planning with that.
    -Ouch, damn Cordy. That last “future” comment to Buffy was really unnecessary and mean.
    -”Maybe you need a better nature.” Hee.
    -Yay, Giles standing up for Buffy's future!
    -Nice dress, Willow. Very witchy.
    -Aaww, Wesley. You're cute when you're scrambling for control.
    -Stop your smirking, Xander. And stop gloating and being a douche!
    -”Or maybe that's the toad…” I'm honestly surprised that the magic shop apparently doesn't stick labels on bags of ingredients after wrapping them. From what we've seen so far, mixing up ingredients in a spell could have horrible consequences. If I owned that shop, I wouldn't want a customer accidentally summoning a demon or opening a door to hell by mistake all because I forgot to clearly label everything they bought.
    -Loving this choreography. One day I'd like to watch a fight scene like this one side by side with one from the first season and compare.
    -If I was Willow, I'd be more terrified in this situation than the one with Spike. Faith is much scarier in my book.
    -I…kind of agree with Wesley that destroying the box and stopping the ascension from happening would potentially save a lot of lives. But, it's Willow so I naturally feel torn. I'd probably feel the same if it was any of the Scoobies, even Xander.
    -Whoa, that was really emotive of you, Oz!
    -”Hey, did you get permission to eat the hostage??” And now Willow's pencil-floating abilities come in handy! Smart thinking.
    -Willow, don't you think you're spending a lot of time with those books? I mean I'd probably get sidetracked by them too, but you should have taken them with you to a good hiding spot!
    -I don't know what to feel in this scene between Willow and Faith. I feel really bad for Faith's situation and all the “bad breaks” she got that lead to her huge trust issues. I think Willow is being more than just a bit harsh ignoring all of that. I also agree with her that Faith did change things by choosing to go this route and essentially become Wilkins' assassin. I can appreciate and love Faith as the character she is on this show, but in real life I'm afraid I'd probably be more judgmental. However, I do take issue with some of the things Willow says to her. Calling her “worthless” for one. But, like Mark said, Faith has taken her pain and is now taking it out on everyone around her. That's definitely something I take issue with, especially after past experiences with bullies who did the same thing (but without the killing).
    -Well I will give the mayor something here. He makes good points about the Buffy/Angel relationship. Unfortunately, he expresses these thoughts in a very hurtful manner.
    -She couldn't have taken the knife out of the wall?
    -”Why couldn't you be dealing drugs like normal people”
    -Aha, smart Willow! Now you can hush up, Wesley.
    -Aaaww, I love their friendship. I'm pretty sure I've seen gifs of Buffy tackle-hugging Willow floating around on tumblr. Now if only I could find some.
    -Oh, Cordelia. πŸ™ My happy is ruined and I just want to hug you. I want you to be cheerful and hopeful about the future too!

  48. roadi says:

    I think the second half of season 3 was so freaking good, because the crew, the cast, the writers, everyone just got to a point, where they clicked. The whole production became perfect and they all learned from the previous seasons. The whole storytelling structure was so good.
    Whatever comes next, the writers cannot get to that point again right away. They need to build up to it, like they did before. (But episodes towards the end of a season are always better, because these can harvest whatever was seeded during the earlier episodes.)

  49. Iamwinterborn says:

    Nsgre nyy, vg'f Jvyybj'f npgvbaf gung yrnq gb gur pbzyrgr naq hggre qrfgehpgvba bs Fhaalqnyr, erqhpvat vg gb n pengre… fb gung ynfg fragrapr vf rira zber pbeerpg guna ng svefg tynapr. KQ

  50. VoldieBeth says:

    Bu frnfba 3 vf n irel tbbq frnfba, ohg V guvax sna snibevgr vf frnfba 6. Be nz V jebat? Orpnhfr gung vf zl snibevgr frnfba!!

    • Raenef_the_5th says:

      Crefbanyyl, frnfba 6 vf va zl obggbz gjb. Gurer jrer fb znal rcvfbqrf gung frnfba gung V whfg ungrq (Uryy'f Oryyf, Qbhoyrzrng Cnynpr… naq npghnyyl zbfg bs gur rcf sryg ernyyl bss gb zr). Gur Zhfvpny jnf gur bayl oevtug fcbg va zl bcvavba. Frnfba 6 ybfg n ybg bs jung znqr gur punenpgref gurzfryirf, naq sryg yvxr n gehr "tebjvat cnvaf" frnfba. Rira gur npgbef pbzzragrq gurl sryg gur punenpgref ybfg gurve jnl fbzrgvzr va frnfba fvk.

      Gubhtu V'z phevbhf jung rirelbar'f snibevgr frnfbaf ner. Zl snibevgrf sebz zrzbel naq barf V jbhyq pubbfr gb erjngpu va beqre ner: Gjb, Guerr, Svir, Sbhe, Frira, Bar, naq Fvk.

      • Jordan says:

        V ybir frnfba 4 orpnhfr bs gur Fcvxr'f oenva puvc cybgyvar. V ybir gur fprarf jurer Fcvxr vf gvrq hc ng Tvyrf' jngpuvat fbnc bcrenf naq Tvyrf srrqvat uvz oybbq bhg bs n phc jvgu n fgenj.

    • Manic D says:

      V guvax frnfba 2 (gunaxf gb gur frpbaq unys bs gur frnfba), frnfba 3, naq frnfba 5 ner cebonoyl gur sna snibevgrf. Gurer ner qvssrerag sna fho-glcrf gubhtu. Fbzr yvxr gur Ohssl/Natry eryngvbafuvc & qvfyvxr jura gubfr 2 jrera'g gbtrgure, fbzr yvxr gur qnexre frnfbaf (fgnegvat ng n pregnva cbvag va frnfba 5), naq V guvax gurer ner n srj gung yvxr gur pnzc bs gur svefg 1.5 frnfbaf.

      Frnfbaf 3 & 5 ner gur zbfg pbafvfgrag, naq V thrff zl snibevgr vf frnfba 5.

    • stormwreath says:

      Frnfba 6 vf qrsvavgryl zl snibhevgr, naq V xabj vg vf sbe fbzr bguref; ohg sbe znal crbcyr vg'f npghnyyl gur zbfg ungrq frnfba. Va bgure jbeqf, vg nebhfrf fgebat rzbgvbaf.

      • aphasia says:

        Frnfba 6 sbe zr gbb– bevtvanyyl sbe Fcvxr, ohg V'ir pbzr gb ybir vg orfg sbe Ohssl'f rzbgvbany wbhearl. V whfg svaq vg ernyyl cbjreshy, naq vqragvsl. Vg znxrf zr ubeevoyl qrcerffrq gb erjngpu zbfg bs vg ohg gung'f orpnhfr vg'f fb jryy qbar VZB. Ohg zl snibevgr vaqvivqhny rcvfbqrf ner nyy bire gur cynpr; frnfba 2, 4 naq 7 zbfgyl. V qb ernyyl yvxr gur ybat pbagvahbhf nep bs 3 gubhtu, naq gur znlbe naq Snvgu'f eryngvbafuvc.

    • misterbernie says:

      …frnfba fvk? Sna snibhevgr? V guvax fvk vf cebonoyl gur zbfg … qvivfvir bs nyy gur frnfbaf, gb chg vg qvcybzngvpnyyl.

      Naq lrf, V'z va gur "ohea vg jvgu sver" pnzc.

    • gonzoron says:

      crefbanyyl, V ybirq fvk, ohg V guvax gung'f n zvabevgl bcvavba. Zbfg frrz gb yvxr gjb, guerr be svir. Zl crefbany enaxvat vf cebonoyl fbzrguvat yvxr:

      fvk, gjb, sbhe, frira (fcvxr bjaf guvf frnfba), guerr (snvgu naq gur znlbe arire pyvpxrq sbe zr, ohg gurer ner terng rcvfbqrf va gurer), svir (V yvxr gur vagebqhpgvba bs Qnja, naq zneiry ng Gur Obql, bs pbhefr, ohg ungrq gur Tybel fgbelyvar), bar (fgvyy tbbq, ohg gurl jrer whfg svaqvat gurve sbbgvat).

    • echinodermata says:

      Rot13'd for expectation spoilers.

    • Karen says:

      Zl yvfg bs snibevgr frnfbaf fjvgpurf nebhaq n ybg. Ohg evtug abj vg vf:

      Svir (zbfg synjyrff bs nyy frnfbaf)
      Sbhe (bx, V qba'g pner nobhg Nqnz be nalguvat yvxr gung OHG V YBIR N YBG BS VAQVIVQHNY RCVFBQRF VA GUVF FRNFBA naq V ybir jung gurl qb jvgu Ohssl'f punenpgre- fgehttyvat gb svg va ng pbyyrtr naq gur jnl gung gur Fpbbovrf qevsgrq nsgre uvtu fpubby)
      Fvk (Ohssl'f punenpgre nep naq fgehttyr jvgu qrcerffvba fcrnxf ernyyl qrrcyl gb zr orpnhfr bs ernfbaf)
      Gjb (zbfgyl whfg sbe gur 2aq unys bs gur frnfba)
      Frira (V yvxr frrvat Ohssl fgehttyr jvgu orvat n yrnqre)
      Guerr (Vg'f n irel pbafvfgrag frnfba, ohg V whfg qba'g unir gur fnzr rzbgvbany pbaarpgvba gb vg gung V unir gb bgure frnfbaf)
      Bar (Sha naq "Cebcurpl Tvey" vf terng, ohg vg'f bayl gur ortvaavat bs jung gur fubj pbhyq qb.)

    • stephanie says:

      v YBIR frnfba 6. v xabj v'z va gur zvabevgl, ohg vg whfg fcrnxf gb zr, naq gur senzr bs zvaq v jnf va jura vg nverq. gurer'f fbzr ceboyrzngvp fghss, sbe fher… zntvp nf n zrgncube sbe qehtf = OVT GVZR SNVY. ohg fb zhpu bs gung frnfba vf n jva sbe zr… gur ovttrfg orvat BZJS. gung rcvfbqr jvyy yvir ba sbe zr nf gur orfgrfg bs orfgrfg ohssl rcvfbqrf rire πŸ™‚

    • Plactus says:

      V jbhyq enax gurz guerr, gjb, svir, sbhe, bar.

      Onfrq ba jung V'ir frra, V fhccbfr frnfba fvk jbhyq pngnchyg gb gur gbc bs gur yvfg orpnhfr V'ir frra bar rcvfbqr naq gung'f gur njrfbzr "Bapr Zber jvgu Srryvat." V unir yvggyr qrfver gb punatr gung, naq vg bayl tbrf fb sne nf gb fnl V zvtug jnag gb frr "Gnohyn Enfn."

      V unira'g frra nal bs frnfba frira, naq V pna'g frr zr fxvccvat fvk naq jngpuvat frira.

    • lyvanna says:

      Frnfba fvk frrzf gb or gur znezvgr frnfba, lbh rvgure ybir vg be lbh ungr vg. Crefbanyyl V ybir vg qrrcyl. Zl frnfba enaxvatf jbhyq tb svir, fvk, gjb, sbhe, frira, guerr, bar.

  51. tanbarkie says:

    Regarding Wesley:

    V ybir gung Jrfyrl vf pbafvfgragyl qrcvpgrq nf n hgvyvgnevna, nygubhtu gur zrgubqf guebhtu juvpu ur rkcerffrf gung cuvybfbcul punatr bire gur pbhefr bs uvf nccrnenaprf ba OgIF naq NgF. Rneyl ba (OgIF F3 NgF F1), ur'f gur "fgevqrag wrex/sbby jub chgf gur arrqf bs gur nabalzbhf znal bire gur arrqf bs gur anzrq cebgntbavfgf." Yngre (NgF F2vfu), ur qrirybcf vagb gur "ureb jub znxrf gur gbhtu qrpvfvbaf abobql ryfr pna." Ur riraghnyyl gheaf "qnex niratre jub qbrf gur greevoyr ohg arprffnel guvatf gung ab bar ryfr jvyy" (NgF F3-4). Naq svanyyl, ur orpbzrf gur "jbeyq-jrnel fbyqvre jub unf frra gbb zhpu naq unf yrnearq gb yvir jvgu gung oheqra" (NgF F5).

    Vg'f n erznexnoyr wbhearl, znqr nyy gur zber vzcerffvir ol ubj vg'f napuberq ol gur fnzr haqreylvat cuvybfbcul guebhtubhg.

  52. farwell3d says:

    Season 3 isn't my favorite season (we'll get there) and I'm not sure I like it more than 2.

    But I do think it's the most consistently good season. There just isn't a bad episode in it. Plus, you know, THE MAYOR.

  53. Hecubot says:

    Season 3 *is* my absolute favorite season for exactly the reasons you cite. On an episode to episode basis it's just so freakin' strong, and the arc is powerful too. As the old boxing maxim goes, "pound for pound" it's one of the best seasons of TV ever.

    (It's also where Joss finally assembled his A-Team of writers for the show. As you go on you'll start to look forward to particular episodes by particular writers.)

  54. Pseudonymph says:

    I think this is the episode in which Faith says, "What are you, the narrator?" Cracks me up every time.

    It's weird how different my opinions have been on this watch compared with my first time watching. For example, during my first time watching I thought Willow could do no wrong because it was easy to identify with the shy nerd character. Consequently, I really loved her speech to Faith.

    This time, however, I have a lot more sympathy for Faith and I actually kind of hate what Willow says to her. I think Willow's hatred of Faith comes from a similar place as Xander's hatred of Angel. Possessiveness toward Buffy plus self-righteousness intended to mask deep insecurity.

    That said, I still feel warm and fuzzy during the scene when Willow tells Buffy she's going to UC Sunnydale. I think I just really like depictions of love between girls, romantic or otherwise.

  55. Scottish Eddie says:

    This is episode is the one for me that shows how far Willow has come, particularly when she emotionally stomps Faith. Nyfb, V pbhyqa'g uryc zlfrys. V jngpurq gur arkg guerr. Qnza, gurl ner tbbq.

  56. notemily says:

    Oz's moment of knocking over the bowl is so amazing. Because first of all, he destroys the means to destroy the box so Wesley's argument becomes moot. But mostly it's awesome because OZ DOESN'T DO THAT. He's not the demonstrative, or destructive, type. He's usually in the background adding a snarky comment every once in a while. So when he starts to breaks things, you know shit is getting real. He makes his statement without saying a word. Which IS the kind of thing he would do, actually.

    Willow is also great in this episode and it's amazing to think about how far she's come from the wallflower we met in the first season. She saves herself from a vamp and then has that badass speech about how Faith sucks. And in some ways it saddens me that she's gotten so… mean? But on the other hand she's really come into her own and started standing up for herself, and I'm all for that. I also love that she steals the important pages from the Books of Ascension.

    Poor Mark, you keep running into giant spiders on your reading/watching adventures. πŸ˜€

    I don't know, I always find it kind of unrealistic when a show about high schoolers moves on to college but everyone somehow stays in the same town even if it's really contrived. I get that Willow wants to fight the forces of evil, but if I were her I WOULD HAVE GONE TO OXFORD. I'm just saying.

  57. Pooslie says:

    I know i am late to this party (i have a class Mondays) but when my husband and I watched this episode he said something that really made me think:

    why didn't she throw the books out the window int he mayor's office and come back and get them later–they probably wouldn't have missed them (hidden compartment and all) and then they would have the box, willow, and the books!

    but alas that particular plot has 4 more episodes to go….

  58. Pooslie says:

    oh, also, season 3 is my favorite season for sure.
    though that could be 50% the fact that it is the best and 50% the fact that it is the one i watched live on tv without missing any episodes –when i was in college for seasons 4+ i didn't have cable and the antenna signal was crap so i would have my mom tape them and mail them to me lol she would inevitably miss some of them–not understanding the IMPORTANCE OF THIS SHOW. to be fair, it was 2 hours of her life every week that she couldn't watch what SHE wanted so i forgiver her…i guess πŸ™‚

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