In the twenty-first episode of the third season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the Ascension inches ever closer, which means everything has to be super fucked up. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Buffy.
OH, YOU ARE FUCKING KIDDING ME. THIS IS A PRACTICAL JOKE, RIGHT? I CAN RECOGNIZE WHEN I AM BEING TROLLED AND THIS IS JUST TOO MUCH FOR ME TO HANDLE. HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO DEAL WITH ALL OF THIS? I FEEL LIKE THE ENTIRETY OF SEASON THREE SHOULD COME WITH A COMPLIMENTARY HANDBOOK ENTITLED, “HOW TO DEAL WITH ALL YOUR FEELS.” IT SORT OF RHYMES. I SHOULD GET ON THIS. DO NOT STEAL MY IDEA.
OKAY, FIRST OF ALL, I KNOW IT IS A GIANT CLICHE, BUT IT’S ONE FOR A REASON: THE END OF HIGH SCHOOL IS ONE GIANT EXPERIENCE OF FAKE SENTIMENTALITY. YOU DO NOT WISH WE WERE CLOSER AS FRIENDS. YOU ARE NOT GOING TO KEEP IN TOUCH OVER THE SUMMER. WE ARE GOING TO DRIFT APART BECAUSE I HATE YOU AND YOU ARE MEAN AND I WILL BE SO HAPPY TO NEVER HAVE TO SEE YOUR SMUG FACE EVER AGAIN. SO THE BEGINNING OF THIS EPISODE ESSENTIALLY VALIDATED ALL OF MY FEELINGS FOREVER, AND YOU CANNOT TAKE THIS AWAY FROM ME. FOR THE RECORD, I DO SEEK VALIDATION FROM THE TELEVISION SHOWS THAT I WATCH. STOP JUDGING ME.
OH MY GOD, PLEASE DO NOT LET XANDER BE FORESHADOWING HIS OWN DEATH. I DO NOT LIKE THAT. HE’S NOT EVEN MY FAVORITE CHARACTER, BUT THAT WOULD STILL REALLY MESS ME UP.
WHAT. WHAT. THE MAYOR IS GIVING THE COMMENCEMENT SPEECH? NOTHING ABOUT THIS IS GOOD. THIS IS ALL A DISASTER. NOTHING IS GOING TO GO OUR WAY. THIS COULD NOT BE A WORSE SET UP, I SWEAR.
WHAT THE FUCK FAITH JUST KILLED A PROFESSOR. THAT DUDE HAD A BOW TIE. THIS IS LIKE A CAPITAL OFFENSE OR SOMETHING BOW TIES ARE OFF LIMITS TO MURDER. I WOULD MAKE THIS A LAW AS WELL IF I WAS PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSE. WELL, I WOULD DO A LOT OF OTHER THINGS, LIKE HAVE OFFICIAL NAP HOURS DURING WORK DAYS AND STUFF, AND TO PREVENT RICK SANTORUM FROM EVER SPEAKING ABOUT ANYTHING EVER. YES, THAT IS RIGHT, I WOULD STRIP HIM OF HIS FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS JUST TO SPITE HIM. CLEARLY, I AM QUALIFIED TO RUN FOR OFFICE, AND YOU SHOULD DEFINITELY VOTE FOR ME.
Can I also just say how nice it is to have Anya be around? I’m really fascinated by her character, so much so that I don’t need to all-caps yell anything at you. She’s a demon trapped temporarily in the body of a high school senior, and through this, she experiences so many of the things she never once did. I don’t think the show is really invalidating what she used to do, but it’s interesting to me that she gets to experience life as a human. I never expected her to play any sort of part in the season aside from “The Wish,” either, and I’m glad the writers utilize her in the way that they do.
OH, RIGHT, SHE WITNESSED AN ASCENSION ONCE. EVEN AFTER SHE TELLS US WHAT ONE IS LIKE, IT STILL DOESN’T PREPARE US FOR WHAT IT WILL BE. I AM SO NERVOUS TO SEE HOW THIS WILL BE DEALT WITH. WILL BUFFY OR THE SCOOBIES FIND A WAY TO STOP IT OR IS THERE GOING TO BE AN ASCENSION ON SCREEN? I HAVE A FEELING IT IS THE LATTER. HOW IS SUNNYDALE HIGH GOING TO IGNORE THE MAYOR TURNING INTO A GIANT DEMON? I MEAN, IT IS TRUE THAT THE STUDENTS ARE GENERALLY AWARE OF THE SUPERNATURAL THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN THEIR SCHOOL, BUT COULD YOU IMAGINE BEING A PERIPHERAL CHARACTER WHO HAS TO EXPERIENCE THESE SORT OF THINGS? LIKE ONE DAY YOU COME TO SCHOOL AND THERE ARE ZOMBIES, AND THEN ON ANOTHER, A DEMON THAT LOOKS LIKE THE GRINCH HAS ITS NECK SNAPPED IN FRONT OF YOU. WHAT A WEIRD FUCKING SCHOOL.
I NEED YOU ALL TO KNOW I WAS ON GREYHOUND ON MY WAY TO CLEVELAND, OHIO WHEN THE MAYOR WALKED INTO THE LIBRARY. HAVE YOU EVER STEPPED ON A DOG’S TAIL? YOU KNOW THAT QUICK, HIGH-PITCHED “YIP!” THAT THEY MAKE? I WANT YOU TO IMAGINE A FULL GREYHOUND BUS WITH NOTHING BUT PEOPLE WHO ARE EXHAUSTED AND TIRED BECAUSE IT’S EIGHT AM ON A SUNDAY AND THEN SOME FREAK MAKES THAT SOUND AND LOOKS AROUND AT EVERYONE TO SEE IF THEY HEARD AND THEN HE REALIZES EVERYONE HEARD AND IS STARING AT HIM. YES, THAT WAS ME. IT WAS HONESTLY FUCKING EMBARRASSING. BUT FUCK IT, THAT SHIT WAS SCARY!!!!!!! OH MY GOD, THE MAYOR HAS SO LITTLE FEAR THAT HE JUST WALKS INTO HIS ENEMIES’ LAIR. WHAT A FUCKING BADASS. HE IS SO PERFECT AS A VILLAIN AND THIS TERRIFIES ME. JUST LIKE IN “CHOICES,” HE DOES THINGS BECAUSE HE CAN. HE HAD NO REAL PURPOSE IN SHOWING UP IN GILES’ LIBRARY EXCEPT TO TEASE THE SCOOBIES. HE JUST WANTED THEM TO KNOW HE WAS GOING TO BEAT THEM, AND THAT THERE WAS NOTHING THEY COULD DO. JUST SERIOUSLY, WHAT THE FUCK? THIS MAN HAS SET THE BAR SO HIGH FOR VILLAINRY THAT I FEAR ALL OTHER VILLAINS I COME ACROSS WILL JUST PALE IN COMPARISON. I’M KIND OF OKAY WITH THAT, FOR WHAT IT IS WORTH.
I do like that there are two parallel attempts to get folks to leave town. Anya does her best to convince Xander that it’s not worth it to stay, and she uses the same bit of reasoning we’d heard before from Cordelia: Xander can’t contribute, and he’s just going to get in the way. But I think the events of “The Zeppo” helped boost Xander’s sense of self-worth; he doesn’t believe that he’s a helpless member of the Scoobies anymore, so her attempt doesn’t work on him. Plus, these are his best friends. He’s not just going to leave them, is he?
In a way, Joyce uses the same logic. She is not just going to skip town and let her daughter face some horrific demon. But the dynamic here is different. Joyce knows she can’t truly help her daughter in the same way that Xander might be able to. I was really touched by Buffy’s explanation: she cares so much for her mother that her presence would distract her. It’s fascinating to me that she frames this in a way to admit that she may not have turned out like her mother wanted, that her abnormal life has gotten in the way a lot of the time. Have I mentioned lately how wonderful it is that Joyce knows that Buffy is the Slayer? I should: I LOVE IT.
OH MY GOD I HAVE TO GO BACK TO FREAKING OUT AGAIN. THE SCENE WITH OZ AND WILLOW IN HER BEDROOM IS JUST PERFECTION. IT IS EVERYTHING I HAVE WANTED FROM THIS COUPLE, AND WHEN OZ TELLS WILLOW THAT THIS IS HIS WAY OF PANICKING, I JUST WANTED TO SQUEEZE HIS FACE AND TELL HIM THAT HE’S SO ADORABLE. I AM ALSO INCREDIBLY WORRIED BECAUSE THIS PAIRING IS CANON AND CUTE AND PLEASING TO WATCH, AND EVERY SECOND OF THIS EPISODE MADE ME FEEL AS IF A MAIN CHARACTER WOULD DIE, AND NOW IT’S JUST A GUESSING GAME AS TO WHO THAT IS GOING TO BE. I DON’T LIKE IT AT ALL.
WHAT THE FUCK, WHY ARE ANGEL AND BUFFY FIGHTING. SHUT UP, ANGEL, BUFFY GETS TO BE A “BRAT” AFTER YOU DUMPED. THAT IS AN IRREVOCABLE RIGHT AND I WOULD ALSO MAKE THAT LAW AS PRESIDENT OF THE UNIVERSE. UGH, I HATE HOW UNCOMFORTABLE THIS IS BECAUSE IT’S NOT ONLY REALISTIC, BUT IT’S FRUSTRATING. THEY MADE SUCH A GOOD COUPLE!!!! WHY IS EVERYTHING FALLING APART?
HOLY FUCK ANGEL JUST GOT SHOT WITH AN ARROW!?!?!?!?!? OH MY GOD WHAT IS THIS EPISODE DOING TO ME. OH MY GOD WHY DID FAITH MISS ON PURPOSE? WHO IS THAT VAMPIRE HANGING OUT WITH HER? HOW AM I TO DEAL WITH THIS NEW DEVELOPMENT. THIS IS SO FUCKED UP.
OH, BY ANGEL’S TERRIBLE FACIAL HAIR, THE PROFESSOR FOUND THE CORPSE OF A DEMON IN A LAVA BED. SHIT CONTINUES TO GET REAL. NOW THEY KNOW THE MAYOR WON’T BE INVINCIBLE AS A DEMON. BUT HOW THE HELL CAN YOU KILL A DEMON THAT LARGE? WHAT THE HELL, THE ARROW WAS POISONED? FAITH, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE? THANKFULLY, WESLEY OFFERS TO GO TALK TO THE COUNCIL, AND IT’S VERY NICE OF YOU. I REALLY LIKE WESLEY A LOT, EVEN WHEN HE’S FIRM WITH BUFFY LATER. LIKE, THE GUY IS JUST DOING HIS JOB, AND I DON’T BLAME HIM FOR DOING SO. UGH, COULD HE NOT DIE? I WANT TO EXPLORE HIS CHARACTER SO MUCH MORE. PLEASE GIVE ME ONE GOOD THING, JOSS WHEDON. WELL, ASIDE FROM THE LINE ABOUT HOW BUFFY CONSIDERS THIS HER “GRADUATION” FROM THE WATCHER’S COUNCIL, WHICH IS SO CLEVER MY BRAIN HURT.
FOR REAL, I JUST LOVE THAT QUIET SCENE BETWEEN FAITH AND THE MAYOR, DESPITE THE CREEPY FATHERLY UNDERTONES. FAITH, YOU ARE SUCH AN INTERESTING CHARACTER, AND I KNOW WHAT IT IS LIKE TO COME FROM A SHITTY CHILDHOOD, AND I JUST FEEL YOU, YOU KNOW? I WILL NEVER HATE YOU, DESPITE THAT YOU DO TERRIBLE THINGS. I GENUINELY BELIEVE YOU CARE ABOUT THE MAYOR IN SOME WEIRD WAY, TOO.
OH GROSS. WHY IS THE MAYOR EATING THOSE THINGS. GROSS.
HOLY FUCK THE CURE TO ANGEL’S POISON IS THE BLOOD OF A SLAYER AND BUFFY HAS TO KILL FAITH AND WHAT HAS THIS SHOW BECOME. HER HAND IS FORCED. SHE HAS TO DO IT. HELP ME.
I LEGIT THINK THE BEST FIGHT THIS SHOW HAS EVER GIVEN US IS FAITH AND BUFFY TEARING EACH OTHER APART IN FAITH’S APARTMENT. ONCE BUFFY HANDCUFFS HERSELF TO FAITH, I SERIOUSLY THOUGHT, “THIS IS SO BRILLIANT THAT I DON’T EVER WANT TO WRITE A FIGHT SCENE MYSELF BECAUSE IT WILL SUCK.” AND I GENUINELY THINK THIS IS TRUE. PLUS, THIS IS INTERCUT WITH A SCENE WHERE GILES AND XANDER DETERMINE WHAT DEMON MAYOR WILKINS WILL BE AND THE DRAWING OF IT TAKES UP FOR PAGES.
OH THIS IS GONNA BE SO GOOD.
I THOUGHT THAT THE WRITERS MIGHT FIND AWAY AROUND IT, BUT WHO AM I KIDDING? BUFFY WAS ALWAYS GOING TO HAVE TO KILL FAITH. STILL, THE MOMENT WHEN BUFFY STABS FAITH WAS JUST SO DISTURBING AND HEART WRENCHING TO ME. YOU CAN SEE IT ON BUFFY’S FACE. SHE KNOWS SHE’S DONE SOMETHING SHE NEVER WANTED TO DO IN HER WHOLE LIFE, AND IT’S JUST SO PAINFUL TO WATCH.
OH MY GOD FAITH GOT AWAY. SHE FELL INTO THAT TRUCK. OH FUCK, FUCK THIS. FUCK YOU, JOSS WHEDON. WHAT THE FUCK!?!?!?! HOW IS THIS GOING TO BE RESOLVED
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