Mark Watches ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’: S02E19 – I Only Have Eyes For You

In the nineteenth episode of the second season of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, a ghost forces people at Sunnydale to relive his final moments in an attempt for forgiveness, prompting Buffy to face her own issues with forgiving Angel. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Buffy.

Sweet summer child, what an unbelievable and thrilling piece of writing. I’ve been noticing a pattern with a lot of episodes this season. Everything feels a tad mediocre for the first twenty minutes or so, I fall for whatever red herring the writers give me, and then the story gets HOLY SHIT AWESOME for the last third. “I Only Have Eyes For You” is no exception to that rule; the writers have to set up a lot of suspenseful and emotional cues for the endgame to pack the punch that it does, but it’s absolutely worth the wait.

Even though Buffy is not a serialized show, I am really enjoying the fact that there are these small moments that absolutely require one to have watched everything that’s happened before. The cold open, where Buffy declines to go to the Sadie Hawkins dance with some dude is – wait, can I take a moment to talk about this? I don’t even remember the guy’s name, but Dude. Dude. The entire point of the Sadie Hawkins dance is for women to ask men to go with them. By asking Buffy to ask yourself, you’ve ruined the whole point. I would have rejected you on that detail alone. Anyway, that moment holds so much weight because we know that Buffy is still dealing with feelings of guilt and rejection because of Angel’s transformation at the end of “Surprise.” And honestly, I don’t blame her for not wanting to give another guy the time of day. It’s not every day that your boyfriend just loses his soul and then murders your friend. (Wait, will Angel remember what he did as Angelus? Don’t answer that. Just thinking aloud.)

At the same time, the writers parallel Buffy’s journey with Giles, who is still trying to cope with the loss of Jenny. Here, though, he latches on to her not only as the cause of the paranormal weirdness at Sunnydale, but because he thinks he might have a chance to speak with her in some way. What this episode ends up being about is framed by the main plot itself: these are all people who cannot let go. Buffy cannot let go of her guilt over Angel. Giles cannot let go of Jenny. And James refuses to let go of Grace, reliving the moment he murdered her and then killed himself through other students. The first time it happened, it just seemed like a dramatic fight that was escalated to a violent threat. But when Buffy tackles the kid with the gun and it disappears, it was clear that this was something new.

This is also the return of Principal Snyder, who we haven’t seen in some time. He shows up to sulk, posture, and yell at Buffy some more, and I honestly thought he would, once again, just do this and then disappear for another ten episodes or something. However, this episode has two huge character developments that are unexpected. Of course, it’s a huge shock when Principal Snyder confirms that he knows the Hellmouth exists, and it’s heavily implied he was put at Sunnydale because of this. YEAH, OKAY, WHY AREN’T YOU GIVING ME MORE INFORMATION ON THIS? This is a huge twist for his character! Does this explain why he’s so strict? Is he overwhelmed by the pressure that the city has been putting on him to keep things “normal” at Sunnydale? OH MY GOD I NEED MORE OF HIS STORY IMMEDIATELY. Seriously, y’all, I love it so much when fictional worlds do this kind of shit to their characters, you know? It’s especially effective when you think you know a person, and one scene completely changes their entire context. (For those in the know, I think the most flawless and brilliant example of this is in Breaking Bad, with gur rcvfbqr “Ureznabf” va frnfba sbhe. Fbeel, gung rcvfbqr qrfgeblrq zr sberire naq vs gurl qba’g svaq n jnl gb rkcnaq Thf’f onpxfgbel, V jvyy jevgr sbhe natel yrggref.)

I honestly never thought there would come a day when I would type this sentence, but here goes: I feel sorry for Spike. LOOK I DON’T EVEN KNOW IF UNDERSTAND THESE FEELINGS AT ALL. I’m just going to put them out there. The first time we see him, Angelus, and Drusilla in that new mansion and Angelus pervasively teases him, HE JUST LOOKS SO SAD! Like, I legit got depressed thinking about how Angelus just stole all of his thunder, and even Drusilla doesn’t really care about him. He is constantly left behind or wheeled out of danger, and it’s messing with his head. I know I’m jumping to the end, but holy shit, HE IS GOING TO FUCK SHIT UP, isn’t he? I mean, he doesn’t seem to happy with Angelus, but what could he do to stop him? AHHHHHHH.

The weirdness at Sunnydale continues to escalate in ways that are increasingly hard to ignore. I’m a bit confused on two points, though. Was James the one responsible for the hand in Xander’s locker, as well as the snakes? I didn’t understand how those were connected to him or his story at all. That didn’t distract from how terrifying both of those moments were, especially the snake one. UGH SOMEONE ALMOST BIT INTO A SNAKE BURGER oh my god CORDELIA GOT BIT WHAT IS GOING ON. But when a teacher dies at the hand of the janitor (played by John Hawkes, who is in everything), it’s now impossible to ignore how fucked up this all is. As the dance approaches, does that mean James is just going to keep possessing random sets of students until one of them chooses differently? WHERE IS PRINCIPAL SNYDER AFTER A TEACHER IS SHOT, BY THE WAY?

Can I just call this episode “Willow To The Rescue”? That’s basically what it is. She’s the main person to not only help figure out what’s going on (initially, that is; Buffy is the only one to understand why James is doing what he’s doing), but to come up with a method to combat James, using research inspired by Jenny. (MY HEART WILL NEVER HEAL.) Plus, she’s the one who gets Giles to admit to himself that Jenny is gone, and she’s not coming back. Can we get a Willow-centric episode? I would love that.

I do want to spend some time talking about the ending of “I Only Have Eyes For You” because of how profound it is to me. I’m sure you’ve all determined that I’m terrible at figuring things out; I’ve always been that way. I try as best I can to immerse myself in a television show or a book and I generally don’t try to guess or theorize all that much. That’s the case with this episode. I figured that once Buffy went inside, one of two things would happen: the janitor would be there, and Buffy would act out the murder scenario with him, or James would find a way around needing a second body. In hindsight, the first theory makes no sense. That janitor murdered someone and he’s probably in jail at that moment, so why would he be around? Plus, even though James appeared to Buffy with a rotted face, that didn’t seem to be a confirmation that he himself could be a substitute in this weird poltergeist scheme.

So when Angelus stepped up behind Buffy inside of the school, I just smacked my forehead. I didn’t see it coming at all, and then I realized what a brilliant choice this was. To then have the roles reversed – with Buffy playing James instead of Grace – added a whole new layer of subtext to this episode. Buffy had guilt, sure, but I came to understand that this was also about the pain of rejection. Buffy could not forgive Angelus for rejecting her. To hear the two of them cycle through the dialogue a third time was electrifying because it all had a new meaning. THIS IS SO CLEVER IT HURTS. Except I kept expecting someone to burst into the room to change things, to prevent the inevitable from happening.

And then Buffy shoots Angelus.

WHAT THE FUCK. For like five seconds, I forgot that this couldn’t actually kill Angel, but it still shocked me. What is this show doing? Angelus is sprawled out at the bottom of the stairs, just like Grace, and just like the teacher that the janitor shot. There’s just too much poetry here and my heart hurts. When Angelus does get up and, with Grace acting through him, stop Buffy from killing herself, the words he speaks are precisely what Buffy needs to hear. The episode is smart enough to later make the distinction that both Buffy and Angelus know that they themselves did not speak those lines. What’s impressive about this is that the writers don’t make Buffy instantly forgive Angelus. That moment still hasn’t happened, and it’s something that’s going to have to occur in the future. Instead, this story gives her perspective. She can’t fathom why Grace would forgive James, but realizes it doesn’t really matter.

The truth is that forgiveness is always going to be a personal matter, one that only those involved can ever truly understand or cope with. There’s no set rubric for forgiving someone. There’s no accepted timeline. It has to be on the terms of the person doing the forgiving, and there can’t be an obligation to do it. I think Buffy is open to this now, though I don’t think we’ll see it immediately. She has a lot of pain and remorse to work through, but forgiving someone can also be a cathartic, spiritual process for some people.

God, what a fantastic story. I can’t wait to see what’s in the future. If the show can be this good in the second season, surely there are even better storylines in the upcoming episodes. SO GOOD.

About Mark Oshiro

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

381 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’: S02E19 – I Only Have Eyes For You

  1. settlingforhistory says:

    Whenever I re-watch Buffy, this is an episode I look forward to a lot.
    It’s so full of emotions, mystery and it even though it doesn’t further the plot much it isn’t really a filler episode.

    What I like the most is the whole debate about forgiving.

    “To forgive is an act of compassion. It's not done because people deserve it. It's done because they need it.” That is one of my favorite Giles quotes.
    “He can't live with it, Buff. He's dead.” is, though Xander is stating the obvious here, a nice line, too. It works well with Angel who can’t forgive Buffy, because he is gone.
    I love that not only does Miss Newman get the chance to forgive James, but in some way Angel can do the same for Buffy.
    It’s heartbreaking that Buffy has carried this burden around with her since Jenny’s death and maybe even longer. No wonder she got sick, which her mother had said she usually didn’t.
    All this time whenever someone mentioned Jenny or she met Angelus it must have been more painful for her than the Scoobies could imagine. It’s sad that Buffy is always guarding her feelings so much. (Naq gung vg trgf jbegu jvgu rirel frnfba.)
    I also love that no one is telling Buffy that she shouldn’t blame herself for what happened to Angel, it’s something she has to find out and forgive herself for.

    I liked the story of Grace and James a lot, too.
    It’s unusual for a TV show directed at teens to depict a murderer as likeable and even let someone else forgive him.

    Jung V abgvprq gbqnl rfcrpvnyyl: gur gnyx Zvff Arjzna jnagf gb unir jvgu Wnzrf nobhg gurve eryngvbafuvc zveebef Natryf jvgu Ohssl ng gur raq bs frnfba guerr. Ur gbb jnagf n abezny yvsr sbe Ohssl naq fur pna’g haqrefgnaq jul ur jbhyq raq gurve eryngvbafuvc fb fhqqrayl.

    Snyder knows about the Hellmouth and so does the police and still Snyder tries to blame Buffy for everything bad that happens at the school, what a jerk.
    (V ybir gur srne va Falqre’f rlrf ng gur zragvba bs gur Znlbe. V jbaqre vs gur Znlbe jnf gur bar jub vagebqhprq Falqre gb gur abg fb fhaal fvqr bs Fhaalqnyr. Gurer unf gb or fbzr xvaq bs cercnengvba sbe n cevapvncyn bs n fpubby qverpgyl nobir gur Uryyzbhgu)

    That mansion Angelus and co. move to in this episode is great, especially that it has a garden with jasmine (Htu, Wnfzvar, onq frnfba sbhe zrzbevrf.) The scene where Angelus tries to wash off feelings is beautiful, Boreanaz plays the disgust brilliantly.

    And now Spike can walk again, dun dun dun!

    • hpfish13 says:

      re: your last rot13: Vs lbh'er na N:GYN sna, lbh pbhyq unir vg erzvaq lbh bs Hapyr Vebu vafgrnq! Ur ybirf wnfzvar grn!

    • Sadie_TARDIS says:

      Re: Snyder; V npghnyyl frr uvf nffbpvngvba jvgu Jvyxvaf nf bar bs gur frevrf' qebccrq fgbelyvarf. Va Frnfba Gjb, gurer'f nyy guvf ~*vagevthr*~ fhttrfgvat, fbzrgvzrf fgngvat bhgevtug, gung gur Znlbe unf fbzr tenaq, arsnevbhf cyna gung phyzvangrf va… Ohssl trggvat rkcryyrq? Gung ur jnf guvf funqbjl svther jvgu n ernfba gb xrrc Ohssl njnl sebz Fhaalqnyr Uvtu, gb znxr ure yvsr zvfrenoyr guebhtu Falqre'f ohyylvat, naq jungrire ryfr gur jevgref unq va zvaq. Jura jr svanyyl zrrg gur Znlbe, uvf npghny zbgvingvbaf frrz zhpu zber qverpg, naq uvf nyyrtrq npgvbaf orsber Frnfba Guerr ab ybatre znxr frafr.

      Naq arkg jrrx jr unir Tb Svfu. Naivyvpvbhf fgrebvq-svfu perngherf naq encr wbxrf. Lnl. V zrna "htu".

      • settlingforhistory says:

        Naq arkg jrrx jr unir Tb Svfu. Naivyvpvbhf fgrebvq-svfu perngherf naq encr wbxrf. Lnl. V zrna "htu".

        Bu ab, qba'g erzvaqr zr. Gung vf na rcvfbqr V hfhnyyl fxvc. V thrff gurl unq gb fnir gvzr naq zbarl sbe gur svanyr, ohg fvyy *lhpx*.

    • etherealclarity says:

      "gur gnyx Zvff Arjzna jnagf gb unir jvgu Wnzrf nobhg gurve eryngvbafuvc zveebef Natryf jvgu Ohssl ng gur raq bs frnfba guerr. Ur gbb jnagf n abezny yvsr sbe Ohssl naq fur pna’g haqrefgnaq jul ur jbhyq raq gurve eryngvbafuvc fb fhqqrayl. "

      V abgvprq gung gbb. Terng sberfunqbjvat. Qb lbh guvax gung jnf checbfrshy?

      • settlingforhistory says:

        Jryy, jr xabj Natry erzrzoref rirelguvat Natryhf qvq, fb znlor gur zrzbevrf bs guvf qnl urycrq uvz qrpvqr jung gb fnl.
        Gur jevgref ybir gb qb gurfr guvatf va nal pnfr, gur fnzr jnl gung gurl qvq vg jvgu "lbh ner orarngu zr" va sbby sbe ybir.

    • John Small Berries says:

      "Snyder knows about the Hellmouth and so does the police and still Snyder tries to blame Buffy for everything bad that happens at the school, what a jerk."

      When I saw this episode for the first time, I frantically racked my brains to remember if his previous interactions with her had put her in a position to stop situations that she might not otherwise have encountered in time, but being so adversarial towards her that she would never suspect that was what he was doing (kind of like Q in Star Trek: The Next Generation).

    • Binx says:

      Personally, V sevttva ybir frnfba 4 bs Natry. Vg'f zl unaqf-qbja snibevgr. Vg vf fb qnex naq grafr naq nep urnil. V guvax gur Wnfzvar fgbelyvar jnf nofbyhgryl oevyyvnag, naq fb qbjaevtug rcvp. V nyfb ybir gur bcrare bs Natry ng gur obggbz bs gur frn. Naq, bu Tbq, Natryhf. F4 Natryhf vf Natryhf ng uvf nofbyhgr orfg VZB. Uvf qvnybthr…jbj. V guvax gung'f jura lbh ERNYYL trg n gnfgr bs whfg ubj qrivbhf naq creiregrq uvf zvaq vf, jura gurl jrera'g ernyyl nyybjrq gb tb gurer jvgu uvz ba gur zber grra-gnetrgrq Ohssl. Gura obgu Jvyybj naq Snvgu fubj hc gb uryc bhg naq vg'f whfg…jbaqreshy.

      Ntnva, VZB. V'z njner gung znal snaf unir frevbhf vffhrf jvgu F4. Naq V nz jvgu gurz ba gur "Pbeql tbg gbgnyyl funsgrq" sebag.

  2. LucyGoosey says:

    I have a special fondness for this episode, both because I love a good ghost story, and the titular song (OT, the Flamingo's version is an anachronism, it came out in 1959).

    Also? Grace is Natty Gann! And James is Auggie Anderson (and many others)

    Gahh! Snakes! I hate snakes as much as Indiana Jones does. Wasps aren't much better.

  3. Seventh_Star says:

    man, i love a good ghost story! this is one of the most successful "filler" episodes of season 2, if the not THE most successful. it features a MOTW while still hitting all the emotional buttons that it needs to hit- giles being convinced that the ghost is jenny, buffy having to face her guilt and her anger at herself, and, of course, buffy being forced to enact a highly charged emotional scene between lovers with none other than angelus.

    hey, it's john hawkes! winter's bone is a fantastic film. i highly recommend it if you have not seen it already.

    willow starts researching magic…

    hey, it's natty gann! so gorgeous. such an interesting face.

    i'm a huge fan of those tinkling piano notes in the score. they evoke the feeling of the 50's perfectly without overdoing it.

    "something weird is going on- isn't that our school motto?"
    truer words have never been spoken, xander.

    i loved the vampire factory, but i think i love the vampire mansion more.

    buffy: "what do we know?"
    xander: "dog spit is cleaner than human."
    i have never forgotten this tidbit of information.

    svefg zragvba (v nz cerggl fher) bs gur znlbe. sbyybjrq va dhvpx fhpprffvba ol guvf dhbgr sebz knaqre- "ahxr gur fpubby?"
    pbvapvqrapr? V GUVAX ABG.

    willow: "i made us all scapulars"
    xander: "ok. so we can flip the ghost over when it turns a nice golden brown?"

    "i only have eyes for you" is such a beautiful love song. i put it on a mix CD that i made for my high school boyfriend (and first love). AWWWWW. memories!

    "to forgive is an act of compassion, buffy. it's not done because people deserve it, it's done because they need it."

    boreanaz goes a little overboard here, but this scene between he and smg is still nicely done. to see them act this out after all that's transpired between them is just rubbing salt in the wound. THANKS, JOSS, you killer of souls!

    "they say when you've drawn blood, you've exfoliated."


    • settlingforhistory says:

      "ahxr gur fpubby? "pbvapvqrapr? V GUVAX ABG.
      Gur orfg guvat vf, gung Pbeql nyfb nfxf "Url, vs Fhaalqnyr Uvtu Fpubby fuhgf qbja sberire, qb jr nhgbzngvpnyyl tenqhngr?"
      Jryy, vg npghnyyl unccraf gur bgure jnl nebhaq.

    • I love the ast scene with Spike! He's still a badass. I like him so much more than Angelus, who maybe a good villain, but Spike is just so much FUN as a villain, I just like to watch him. And I'm so looking forward to everything that is coming – he's back in the game 🙂

    • notemily says:

      "I loved the vampire factory" ha, you make it sound like an assembly line churning out vampires 😀


    <img src=""&gt;

    I have believed this for years without ever verifying it. I trust Xander. He just defined something accurately, after all, so I guess he's done with the book learning.

    In more serious news, can we appreciate the fact that Marti Noxon wrote a wonderful mini-horror movie, a classic ghost story, that manages to brilliantly deal with the real emotional fallout of "Passion"?

    Giles: To forgive is an act of compassion, Buffy. It's not done because people deserve it, it's done because they need it.
    Buffy: No. James destroyed the one person he loved the most in a moment of blind passion. And that's not something you forgive. No matter why he did what he did. And no matter if he knows now that it was wrong and selfish and stupid, it is just something he's gonna have to live with.
    Xander: He can't live with it, Buff. He's dead.

    You know who else is dead? Angel. Will Giles be able to forgive him? Will Buffy? And, more importantly, will enigmaticagentscully?

    • enigmaticagentscully says:


    • cait0716 says:

      I'm with you on the dog spit is cleaner than human spit, though I think I may have looked it up at some point.

      Marti Noxon definitely does an excellent job with this script. Is it sad that half the reason I tuned into Glee's most recent season is that she joined the writing staff?

      • Oh, I didn't know that! I've been smiling when I see her name in the Mad Men credits (almost done with season three!).

        V xabj n ybg bs crbcyr ungr ure sbe frnfba fvk, ohg V'z tbvat gb erfcbaq va cynvagrkg.

        I have a lot of fondness for her after meeting her at Comic-Con a couple years ago. She was SO NICE, and she spent, like, HALF AN HOUR signing things for people after the Girls Gone Geek panel. Like, there were multiple—multiple—times when she could have excused herself because she kept being told she had to move, plus she had her adorable kids bouncing up and down with her. But she just kept signing things and talking to people.

        <img src="; height="75%" width="75%">

        • Jerssica says:

          V ybir ure jevgvat naq V ybir frnfba 6. V jvyy qrsraq vg gb gur qrngu! Lnl Zneav Abkba sberire!

        • etherealclarity says:

          Oh man, her kids are the cutest. That's a neat picture!

          (That reminds me – I am making actual legit plans and saving the required money to go to the SD Comic-Con this year… will you be going?)

          • Yessssss, but do you have a Member ID and all that, ready to get a badge? Have they started selling tickets yet?

            • etherealclarity says:

              Yes, Brett & I both have Member ID's. I don't think they've started selling tickets yet. But I already told my boss that I'll need the time off. And I signed up for an airline rewards credit card which will take care of much of the airfare costs. The only thing I'm iffy about is getting a hotel. I hear they sell out rooms quickly so I'm not sure how far in advance to book. Last I checked they weren't even showing availability for this far in advance.

              • Keep your eye on the site. The Comic-Con block of rooms will open one March morning, and the servers will be hammered, so be ready to go in and select your top 10 preferences. We've been staying at the Marriott Gaslamp.

                • etherealclarity says:

                  I'm subscribed to the rss feed and I usually check it every weekday, so hopefully I'll know rather quickly when it's time to jump on something. Do you recommend the Marriott? (Maybe this is a convo we should continue in email.)

        • cait0716 says:

          I'm so jealous that you got to meet her!

          V ernyyl yvxr gur fvkgu frnfba. Jung nyjnlf trgf zr vf gung gur snaqbz graqf gb cenvfr Wbff naq oynzr Znegv juvpu vf vaperqvoyl hasnve.

          And for anyone who's seen Dr. Horrible – she plays one of the reporters in the third act

          • I didn't have my Buffy DVDs with me, so that's why I got her to sign my Dr. Horrible DVD! "You're in it," I said. "It's relevant!"

            "Yay, I'm relevant!" she replied, and signed on Nathan Fillion's face.

            • theDMG says:

              That reminds me of the time I saw Art Alexakis (lead singer of Everclear) in concert. Instead of bringing an Everclear CD, I brought my DVD of the movie Loser which had an Everclear cameo. He looked at me like I was from another planet and said, "Well, that's a first. No one's ever asked me to sign that before."

        • LadyPeyton says:

          V yvxr gur jnl fur fvatf.

        • notemily says:

          …do you have a picture of yourself with EVERYBODY?

          • Yes.

            I mean no. Sadly, I have no pictures of me with Joss Whedon or Wnar Rfcrafba, despite also having met them at Comic-Con. I will save the Wnar Rfcrafba story for a later date, though. It's amusing.

            Oh, I do have a picture of me with Nzore Orafba! I guess that'll be posted eventually.

    • Karen says:

      In more serious news, can we appreciate the fact that Marti Noxon wrote a wonderful mini-horror movie, a classic ghost story, that manages to brilliantly deal with the real emotional fallout of "Passion"?

      FOR SERIOUS. This is just such a beautifully constructed episode.

    • Ginsue says:

      I feel so much more enlightened. Thank you. =3

      I hope for more nuggets of knowledge like this in future episodes.

    • marn says:

      Oh my gosh! I never realized Marti Noxon wrote this episode, but it makes so much sense that she would have written it. Of *course* she'd have been the one to write my favorite Buffy/Angel episode. Of course she would.

    • notemily says:

      I have believed this for years without ever verifying it. I trust Xander. He just defined something accurately, after all, so I guess he's done with the book learning.

      I love this comment and everything it chooses to be.

  5. echinodermata says:

    I started this episode looking at the title and not remembering what it was about. It started and I didn't know what it was about. And then, right before the credits, we get those random characters having a disturbing and melodramatic fight. And I remembered: this is the episode where Buffy and Angelus act out a warped love scene even when they're enemies. It's not really the most memorable of episodes to me in the long run of this show, but that scene with Buffy and Angelus is imprinted on my brain for how big an impact it is to have them fill those roles given the circumstances between them. And that additional twist of Buffy being the ('til now male) aggressor and Angelus being in that ('til now female) victim role is fantastic. Love that subversion, and it makes perfect sense for the episode and the show. Although damn, Buffy, it's not your fault. Really, it's not. I'm sad that she feels at all guilty about it.

    It's interesting to see Willow start looking at magic. She was Jenny's student and Willow looked up to her, so I think it's cool that one of the ways Willow is reacting to Jenny's death is to start immersing herself in Jenny's pursuits. Willow and Jenny already shared an interest in computers, and now Willow is starting to read up on magic and is making protective charms and stuff. I don't know if this is meant to be a conscious decision on Willow's part where she is deliberately trying to come to terms with Jenny's death by studying magic, but I think Willow is the sort of person who when faced with an emotionally affecting situation tries to turn that into something productive. Her reaction to finding out vampires exist was to dive into computer research to help Buffy and Giles. In Reptile Boy she berates Giles and Angel for being preoccupied with things not about rescuing Buffy and the rest of the people at the frat party. In Halloween she doesn't lose her cool and pretty automatically takes a leadership position when it's required of her. She doesn't really waste time freaking out about Oz being a werewolf and simply goes to Giles and Buffy for help, then quickly accepts Oz once he's back to human form. Basically, Willow is quite level-headed most of the time and is very practical and productive even in trying circumstances. So while Giles was the one closest to Jenny, Willow was the second closest to her, and I think it's interesting that rather than going through a long emotional grieving process she just deals by going through Jenny's computer and looking for interesting stuff and is getting more interested in magic and turning what could be debilitating grief into something useful.

    In contrast, Giles' reaction to Jenny's death is to essentially start seeing signs of her when there aren't any. He becomes irrational with his belief that the ghost/spirit thing is Jenny and is clearly still badly affected by her death given how it's changed his behavior.

    I like how it's Giles, the adult, who has become less useful while Willow, the student, is the one picking up the slack. I think everyone's used to thinking about all the responsibility Buffy carries for being the slayer, but Willow has consistently been of significant help in figuring out what mysterious things are afoot; Willow has less of a burden on her shoulders and has less pressure to save the day than Buffy or Giles do, but she's an integral part of the world-saving team and I wonder what would happen if you were to compare Giles' and Willow's contribution to saving the day episode by episode. Without actually doing this, I figure Willow at least would be pretty close to matching Giles' contribution if not meeting or exceeding it.

    …I don't have a particular point I wish to make, only that this episode has made me contemplate just how fortunate it is for everyone else that she's around.

    • cait0716 says:

      <3 Willow and I loved reading this

    • I agree. Some of the many reasons why Willow is by far my favourite Character. (Alyson Hannigan is an other one, she is just great!)

    • Ginsue says:

      I love your assessment of Willow, and I realized that she is the type of person who makes a great friend if you can appreciate her. Imagine that, she does not even need to carry this responsibility, but she chooses to for Buffy's sake. She also has been speaking out more and more. Almost every time she speaks out, like in "Reptile Boy," it is driven by her desire to help. Her level head is also a bonus. Usually, the best girl friend provides emotional support. Well, that's good too, and she does provide that support, but she is the one most likely to think of a solution to a pressing problem. Then you compare her to Giles, who usually takes both roles as well, but in this episode, he was irrational.

      I am grateful for Willow.

  6. hpfish13 says:

    This episode is #4 on Joss Whedon’s list of favorite episodes he didn’t write (TWO IN ONE WEEK AND IT’S ONLY WEDNESDAY!) and here is why:

    “Boreanaz plays a man possessed by a woman with dignity and passion. I start thinking about a spin-off. Plus, a last frame to make people come back.”

    I don’t remember what he is referring to in that last sentence, can someone enlighten me?

    I think this episode serves as a counterpoint to yesterday’s episode, it is similar in that there is something frightening happening in one location and it is a monster of the week episode. The difference is that whereas yesterday’s episode feels like an attempt to postpone the conflict that has to happen, this episode feels like it is tied in with that conflict between Buffy and Angel, it adds extra layers to the whole situation. Also, this episode is, simply put, beautiful. It never fails to make me cry.

    • Meltha says:

      I believe the "last frame" would be Spike standing up.

    • James says:

      I'm guessing he means the last frame of the episode i.e. Spike standing out of the chair is a cliffhanger that will keep people wanting to watch.

    • robin_comments says:

      I definitely think that both Boreanaz and Sarah Michelle Gellar showed a lot of promise as actors when they delivered on that scene. That could have come off as lolarious but instead it's quite powerful.

    • cait0716 says:

      The last frame is Spike standing up out of his wheelchair. Or kicking it. I always get so excited that he's all better and can go cause mayhem again.

    • _Bailey_ says:

      "I don’t remember what he is referring to in that last sentence, can someone enlighten me?"

      Well the last scene of the episode is Spike getting to his feet for the first time in months, his anger at Angelus nearing the boiling point (Have I mentioned how much I love James Marsters's face? He's so expressive!) and attacking his wheelchair. I would think that that's what Joss means — it definitely make me want to see what's going to happen next, especially in Spike's part of the story.

  7. cemeterybaby says:

    This is one of my favorite episodes of the second season, really. It has everything–genuinely scary moments, wonderful emotional beats for the characters (my heart broke all over the place for Buffy and Giles) and some of the best acting we've seen thus far…although sweet jesus at this point in the show Drusilla's constant weird moan-giggles are driving me to literal rage. I CAN'T STAND IT ANYMORE.

    I love how this episode sets it up so that you expect Buffy to be the one in danger of being possessed with Ms. Newman's spirit…and then completely subverts it and gives us fantastic work from SMG and David Boreanaz. Plus, this episode is yet another example of how ironically setting anything to a romantic standard makes it a thousand times more scary and heartbreaking. That moment when Buffy breaks out of the spell and for a second seems to have completely forgotten what happened to Angel (and Angelus seems…bizarrely into being tender with her too, for all the fuss he makes about it later)…my heart, man. I love how they manage to work the Angelus arc into this episode without making it another rehash of the "I'm going to kill you but conveniently not right now" "Not if I conveniently not-kill you first!" dynamic they've been treading on. It's more about the emotion of it, Buffy's lingering feelings of guilt and shame, and SMG is fantastic at it. (As well as at wearing that suede dress in the beginning. HELLO. So 90s, in such a perfect way.)


  8. Smurphy says:

    This is all I've wanted to say since the episode started.

    I hope that imbeds haven't done this before. Fun fact. Relient K=my favorite band. Now you know.

  9. enigmaticagentscully says:


    I would just like to make that very clear because sweet fancy moses a gigantic cloud of wasps this is the last thing I ever wanted from life. Why is it that all my favourite shows seem to have wasps/bees as a major theme? This is why I watch so much stuff set in space, dude.


    I loved this episode. I don’t think I can really say anything particularly insightful about it without just repeating what happened, to be honest. The story was interesting, and well executed. It was a great episode all round.
    So just a few quick bullet points:

    -Joss Whedon continues his crusade to crush every last drop of happiness from me. All the stuff with Giles in this episode was heartbreaking. He’s usually such a sensible and level-headed guy, it’s just devastating to see him abandon all reason because he misses Jenny so desperately. Yes, I admit, I cried again during the scene where Willow gives him the rose quartz. I just can’t seem to stop, and this show will insist on constantly bloody reminding me.

    -I miss Jenny too. 🙁 It’s not just that I’m horrified by her death, and feel awful for the others, though that’s part of it. I just miss her being around. I loved her so much as a character, and that certain something that she brought the show is just…gone.

    -The whole thing about forgiveness. I don’t think this issue is over by a long shot, but it was lovely to have it addressed. It’s natural Buffy feels like crap, since as far as she’s concerned, her actions directly led to the death of Jenny and the effective death of Angel. Though no-one else holds her accountable, she still hasn’t forgiven herself.

    -Spike is back on his feet! SO thrilled to see what he does next. I do hope he sets up some suitably awful punishment for Angel.

    -One weird little moment that might be nothing? Principal Snyder talking to the Police Chief guy again. We already know they’re somewhat aware of the Sunnydale freakiness, but it seems from what they said that all the town’s officials are in on it? Snyder was brought in because he could handle it, but when the Police guy warns him about having to explain himself to the Mayor – was it my imagination, or did he seem kind of…frightened at the prospect? I don’t know, maybe I’m reading too much into it, but my spider sense is telling me there’s more to this than meets the eye.

  10. Jenny_M says:

    Aly Hannigan's line reading of "Jenny could never be this mean" makes me ugly cry. She is SO GOOD.

    There are some…weird issues with the teacher/student relationship being portrayed. I'm not sure why they couldn't choose to go with a relationship between two students instead. I don't know. Power imbalances and all that. I'm sure I have a point in there somewhere but I don't know if I've quite worked out for myself what that point is.

    Also, is the guy playing James from…Roswell? Some WB show?

    • Danny_SAP says:

      I think they were trying to parallel the age difference between Buffy and Angel. If it was a student/student the "I want you to have a normal life" and "what will people say" stuff wouldn't really make sense, but it works perfectly for the Buffy/Angel possession.

      • Jenny_M says:

        Yeah, I mean, I get it. Thinking about it that way, I wouldn't want it to be a student/student things. I just wish they'd put a line or two in there to address the ookiness of a teacher/student relationship. To me, that's not a great love story, it's…kind of terrible. Like on Dawson's Creek, the Hot Older Teacher was sleeping with Joshua Jackson's character and it was supposed to be a love story but even at the time I thought it was pretty much super creepy.

        • @Ivana2804 says:

          They hardly ever did that with Buffy/Angel, did they? She was a 16 year old and he was around the two and half centuries mark.

          The teacher/student story in IOHEFY parallels that. It's also a "forbidden love" story. It's also a teenager in the throes of first love, and an older person who really should have known better than to get involved in them. It's also a teenager so focused on their guilt that they don't realize they've also been a victim.

          • Jenny_M says:

            Like I said, I haven't quite figured out in my own head why I'm bothered. I do like the episode a lot!

            • Student/Teacher relationships are definitely a very squicky thing to me as well, but I do think that the "this is wrong, it will be hurtful if we continue this" themes really only work because of the fact that it features that particular type of relationship. I definitely understand your discomfort, though!

          • kristinc says:

            "It's also a teenager so focused on their guilt that they don't realize they've also been a victim"

            GEEN. YUS. Thank you.

    • Hanna says:

      Well, the teacher/student relationship has transgressive qualities that echo the slayer/vampire relationship, and it provides a neat motivation for why it's doomed. So it made sense to me.

      • Jenny_M says:

        Yeah, I get that. When I think about it more, I'm not upset that they used that type of a relationship, I just would have preferred it if one of the Scoobies had been a little more "yuck, that was not okay."

        • Hanna says:

          I know what you mean. But I suppose that after you've seen a few gristly deaths and demons and friends turning into murderous fiends and whatnot, maybe teacher/student smoochies don't register very high on the 'yuck' factor.

        • RoseFyre says:

          I'm guessing they're just glad it was two humans! Considering we've seen people date/be attracted to/be enthralled by a praying mantis, a vampire, a robot-demon-computer thing, a zombie, the Inca Mummy, demon-worshipping cultists, vampire-worshipping teenagers, a robot, and a werewolf. …That's a pretty impressive list for 31 episodes so far.

    • robin_comments says:

      For me, the teacher/student relationship complicates the situation enough that it's a bit easier for the audience to sympathize with the killer. The power imbalance and inappropriateness of Grace engaging in this relationship makes it a little more understandable for the viewer that she's moved to forgiveness. It's not simply a guy who murdered his girlfriend.

      (and I have to say, for me there's an allusion to the Buffy//Angel situation as well.. because there was a huge age difference and somewhat of a power imbalance at times there as well, where Angel would treat her like a child at times and then others not… )

      • Jenny_M says:

        I like this interpretation, and applying it to the episode helps me kind of nail down the problem I was having that I couldn't put my finger on.

    • James says:

      If it had been two students, there wouldn't be the parallel for Angel and Buffy. Grace leaves James because of the inherent social stigma their teacher/student status would bring; Angel and Buffy's relationship has similar issues, in that he's much older and a vampire and she's the Slayer.

      • Jenny_M says:

        See my above replies. I get it, i just…there's a weird power dynamic in teacher/student stuff that bothers me when it isn't addressed.

    • cait0716 says:

      Making it a student/teacher relationship helps it to more accurately mirror Buffy and Angel's relationship. With the power imbalance and the age difference and all. I don't think the metaphor would have worked as well with two students

      • Jenny_M says:

        See my above replies. I get what it's doing, and I actually think it works in the context of the story, I just wish there had been some addressing of the fact that a teacher/student relationship isn't really a love story. It's an ooky power imbalance.

    • settlingforhistory says:

      I think the reason they chose a teacher and a student is that their relationship is just as unusual and socially unaccepted as Angel and Buffy's. It shows two people who really want to be together but can't.

      • Jenny_M says:

        LOL I'm sorry that commenting happens so quickly and you're like the 80th person to reply to me with this. See my above replies for my ~deeper thoughts~ on the situation (they're not really deep, though, fair warning).

    • @sesinkhorn says:



      • @sesinkhorn says:

        … I say before refreshing and realizing this comment already had like 20 replies, WHOOPS! 😀

        • Jenny_M says:

          Ha! I feel very um…popular?

          OMG bad pun I'm so sorry.

          • echinodermata says:

            I was tempted to quote "Popular" lyrics from Wicked at you, but nothing really fits except for the sing-song pronunciation of "popular" itself, which was all my mind was repeating.

            I don't know where I'm going with this.

            • RoseFyre says:

              Clearly you're going in the direction of "Wicked is awesome," which is a very good direction to go in.

    • Rob M says:

      Everyone else seems to have chimed in with "Popular" which appears to be nearly the only show Christopher Gorham has been in that I haven't seen (probably because it ran for more than one season and my addiction is to shows that get cancelled after one).

      See also the amazing "Jake 2.0", "Medical Investigation" which I'm still watching and don't really have feelings about yet, the awesomely creepy event show "Harper's Island", or the "we probably should have thought this plot through a bit more before filming stuff" "Odyssey 5"… he really doesn't have much luck with shows that stay on the air does he? IMDb even lists "Out Of Practice," a show I'd completely overlooked and now have to track down…

      • Raksha says:

        Well, he's starring in the delightful 'Covert Affairs' which has already been on for two seasons and is renewed for a third. So that's going pretty well for him! But you're right, he doesn't have much luck, which is too bad because I love him.

        • Rob M says:

          I do get rather blinkered by my "one season and they're done" fascination, so I'd managed to completely foget about "Covert Affairs." And I think he's still a couple of shows behind Paula Marshall on the run of single season cancellations, so he's probably fine…

  11. Smurphy says:

    This is all I need to say:

    Yep. Thanks Joss Whedon.

  12. rabbitape says:

    Yay! This episode is one of my faaaaaavorites! And judging by how hard it was to get into Mark Watches at 4pm, I guess I'm not alone!

    Apart from a couple of negatives:
    – The unfortunate narrative of a woman forgiving and still loving her murderer
    – Buffy's terrible, terrible hairdo

    This episode is awesomely creepy, spooky, melodramatic, and just a great little ride. I especially love the snakes in the cafeteria and GOLD STAR to the trouper extra who had a snake in his mouth. I'm sure it wasn't a real snake, but I'm still giving points for verisimilitude.

    • Noybusiness says:

      "- The unfortunate narrative of a woman forgiving and still loving her murderer "

      Yeah, that bothers me, but in this case the pair of them seemed so sincere. I think the reason James had a gun was most likely to threaten to kill himself, not that he was planning to shoot Grace.

      • rabbitape says:

        There are a lot of ways to talk around the murder, and that's fine — I love this episode to pieces, so it obviously doesn't even bother me that much — but it's still kinda gross and worth pointing out as a bad thing.

    • her hair was seriously distracting me 😀

    • notemily says:


      The thing is, it's not terrible in ALL of the episode! If she had just kept it parted instead of trying to sweep it straight back…. oh Buffy

  13. dasmondschaf says:

    I really love this episode. It has many things I enjoy, including:

    1) GHOSTS. I love ghost stories. I love them to pieces. They are my favorite variety of scary/horror story because they address personal histories and the way that things that happen in our pasts continue to affect us even after they're gone. I mean, the best example of that is really Giles' insistence that the poltergeist is Jenny; it's clear that he knows it's wishful thinking from the start, but the hope that's apparent when he thinks that just maybe a piece of her is still in this world is heartbreaking.

    2) CREEPY VAMPIRE LOVE TRIANGLE: that scene at the end where Spike just stands up; omg WHAT ARE YOU PLANNING SPIKE?

    3) FORGIVENESS: OK, this is what really makes the episode for me. It just matches my personal philosophy on forgiveness, which is that it is not a thing that you earn or "deserve" but a thing that is freely given from the person who was wronged. Personally, I find it easy to get sidetracked by the idea that some things are abhorrent and "unforgiveable." I think it is possible to forgive someone while also acknowledging that the act they perpetrated was horrific. I also think that forgiveness is not something that we owe anyone; that is what gives it such power. Being able to willingly forgive those who have wronged me is something that I have to work very hard at, but it's worth it, because forgiveness is something that I really value. So I loved the moment where Buffy, having just been possessed by the ghost of a murderer, has that moment of empathy, of understanding just how hurt James was… but also not being able to take that last step into understanding how the teacher could forgive him. It's just a very powerful moment, to me.

    4) SNAKES. I like snakes. They are cute.

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      I think snakes are cute too! I've always wanted a pet snake.

      • dasmondschaf says:

        I am happy admiring their cuteness from afar, mostly because, well, they… don't do much, and you can't cuddle them. My housemate has a ball python, and he is very adorable, and sometimes I allow him to sleep in my hoodie pocket, and that's enough for me!

    • knut_knut says:

      I think snakes are cute too <3 I basically live in a swamp, so we’ve had snakes come into our house before (one came down the chimney). Unlike spiders and monkeys, they don’t seem malicious- they don’t look like they’re plotting your death. They just accidentally found their way into your house!

      • rabbitape says:

        Snakes in your house?!?!? Not like the snake house in Idaho though, right? YIKES.

        • knut_knut says:

          Right after I posted my comment I thought of that house. UGH!!! THAT kind of snake invasion is NOT ok. My house is on a hill, so part of the basement is on ground level and right next to the wetlands. Sometimes a snake will find its way in through there. Apparently, when I was really little I was playing in the basement with what my mom thought was a belt, but it turned out to be a snake. I’m not sure how one fell down the chimney though, the poor thing 🙁

      • dasmondschaf says:

        Hahahaha, yeah, we used to have a SERIOUS garter snake problem in the house where I grew up, but they were so tiny~~~

        I actually do have a small amount of snake-fear in the wild due to growing up in Texas (where you can find every poisonous snake in the USA!) and living in a pasture with a lot of tall grass. That being said, I never actually encountered any rattlesnakes or copperheads, so.

        • threerings13 says:

          Wow, I encountered copperheads in the middle of HOUSTON. And water moccasins. It was near a man-made lake but still in a very residential area. Although now I live in rural Texas in the woods and have only ever seen a couple of King snakes. Although I found out that snakes are harder to kill with a shovel than you think. (Only found out after it was dead that it wasn't poisonous.) Also Houston has WAY bigger possums than we do out here. But we have bobcats and mountain lions, so, you know. 😀

    • cait0716 says:

      I love your thoughts on forgiveness and completely agree.

    • rabbitape says:

      Absolutely agree with you on forgiveness, how hard it is, and where Buffy is with it.

      And, of course, that's what makes the teacher's name so perfect: Grace.

      • cait0716 says:

        Awwww, I hadn't made the connection with her name. Lovely

      • dasmondschaf says:

        Oh my gosh, I hadn't made that connection either! Ugh, this is just such a wonderfully written episode all around, there's basically nothing superfluous (…except maybe the hand coming out of the locker).

        • rabbitape says:

          Hmmm, the hand in the locker isn't that egregious (to me). Maybe Xander has James's locker? If ghost James is to the boiling point with anger and pain, slamming someone around doesn't seem too out of nowhere.

    • settlingforhistory says:

      2) I agree so much with that philosophy. I also think that forgiving is important for the person who was wronged, because hating someone forever is not good for you. Letting go of that burden is pwerful on its own, which is why I think Miss Newman needed this as much as James did before she could go on.

  14. LucyGoosey says:


  15. Danny_SAP says:

    My apologies, this is long (11 caps and I took SO MANY MORE). Let me know if I should keep it down in the future. I just love this episode so much.
    <img src=""&gt;
    Hello, cute extra in red, come here often?
    <img src=""&gt;

    BUFFY I don't incite! I stopped that boy from killing his girlfriend, ask him. Ask the janitor.
    SNYDER People can be coerced, Summers. I'm no stranger to conspiracy. I saw JFK. I'm a truth seeker. I've got a missing gun and two confused kids on my hands. Pieces of the puzzle. And I'm gonna look at all the pieces carefully and rationally, and I'm gonna keep looking until I know exactly how this is all your fault.
    SECRETARY Mr. Snyder, Billy Crandal chained himself to the snack machine again.
    SNYDER Pathetic little no-life vegan.
    SNYDER Not so fast, missy. I'm not done with you yet. You stink of lies.

    Oh Snyder you are an excellent villain. And part of a conspiracy yourself!
    <img src=""&gt;
    Now that is a hemline (I love Buffy's wardrobe). And can I say how I also love Buffy's completely nonchalant reaction to weird stuff happening? She gets transported back to 1955 and doesn't even change her expression!
    <img src=""&gt;
    I'm pretty sure that's racist.
    <img src=""&gt;
    I meant to say something about Angel's use of the slur "gypsy" in Passion ("Must be that shoddy Gypsy craftsmanship.") His endless ableist jokes at Spike's expense demonstrate that soulless Angel is pretty much your standard internet liberal bigot.
    <img src=""&gt;

    GILES Yes, well, I, uh, I appreciate your thoughts on the matter, I, in fact I… well, I *encourage* you to, to always, uh, challenge me, uh, when you feel it's appropriate. You should never be cowed by authority. Except, of course, in this instance, when I am clearly right and you are clearly wrong.

    Anthony Stewart Head's stuttering is such a good character decision.
    <img src=""&gt;
    The use of gold stars on Willow's map is an excellent touch by the prop department.
    <img src=""&gt;

    GILES To forgive is an act of compassion, Buffy. It's, it's not done because people deserve it. It's done because they need it.
    BUFFY No. James destroyed the one person he loved the most in a moment of blind passion. And that's not something you forgive. No matter why he did what he did. And no matter if he knows now that it was wrong and selfish and stupid, it is just something he's gonna have to live with.
    XANDER He can't live with it, Buff. He's dead.
    CORDELIA Okay. Over identify much?

    Daily dose of Cordelia killin' it. The theme of this episode is Buffy learning to forgive HERSELF for sleeping with Angel.
    <img src=""&gt;
    This entire scene is spectacular but my review is getting long. Just go watch it again.
    <img src=""&gt;
    HAND PLACEMENT! (Angel shoving her away a beat after she says "Angel?" is perfect direction.)
    <img src=""&gt;
    Again. It's not about Buffy learning to forgive Angel for what he's done, it's about her learning to forgive herself for sleeping with him. Which of course she shouldn't feel guilty about at all but she is Ms. Guilt-Complex.
    Basically I love everything this episode chooses to be. Transcripts stolen and modified from Buffy versus Angel.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      I NEVER NOTICED THE GOLD STARS. That is such an amazing detail.

    • Jenny_M says:

      HAND PLACEMENT! (Angel shoving her away a beat after she says "Angel?" is perfect direction.)

      NAQ vg cresrpgyl zveebef gur zbfg urnegjerapuvat zbzrag RIRE pbzvat hc va 3 rcvfbqrf. Bu Tbq, ubj vf Znex tbvat gb znantr???

      • hamnoo says:

        Bu Ybeq. V xarj rknpgyl jung lbh jrer tbvat gb fnl nf fbba nf V abgvprq gung lbh ebg13rq fbzrguvat va erfcbafr gb gung pbzzrag.
        V arire abgvprq gur cnenyyry orsber, ohg V fubhyq unir, orpnhfr vg'f fgnaqneq Wbff Jurqba urneg-jerapu.

    • Raenef_the_5th says:

      The cutting from James to Buffy finishing ("Don't walk away from me, b—-") is so striking. IT'S SO CLEVER, GUGH, I can't.

    • Bonnie says:

      Again. It's not about Buffy learning to forgive Angel for what he's done, it's about her learning to forgive herself for sleeping with him. Which of course she shouldn't feel guilty about at all but she is Ms. Guilt-Complex.

      Absolutely. For metaphorically 'killing' him.

      • Bonnie says:

        Hey, I just realized that this could come across as sarcasm. I meant it literally, as in, I absolutely agree, and then expanded your 'for sleeping with him' into 'for metaphorically killing him'. My brain sometimes jumps too much ahead of my mouth and my typing hands.

        • Danny_SAP says:

          No worries, I got it! It's the metaphor of the episode! Looking at how this is written again. "James destroyed the one person he loved the most in a moment of blind passion. And that's not something you forgive. No matter why he did what he did. And no matter if he knows now that it was wrong and selfish and stupid, it is just something he's gonna have to live with." BOOM it's exactly how she feels. And I just noticed the very clever use of the word destroyed instead of killed. He's not "dead" per se, but she did destroy her lover and now "the demon that wears his face is killing [her] friends."

          Marti Noxon writes episodes made for deep text analysis. <3<3<3

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      I am constantly amazed at what that school lets Buffy wear. We weren't even allowed nail polish at my school. And it was an all-girls school too!

      • etherealclarity says:

        I went to a school that had a rather lax dress code policy, but tank tops were not allowed. So by that rule alone Buffy is almost constantly in violation. This has always bugged me too.

      • Jenny_M says:

        My school had such a strict dress code that some of WILLOW'S outfits would be considered to be pushing the limits of the rules.

      • settlingforhistory says:

        Bu jryy, Jvfuirefr Fhaalqnyr Uvtu unf n fgevpgre qerff pbqr.

      • hpfish13 says:

        We had a dress code, so tank tops with straps smaller than an inch weren't allowed, but people got around it. I remember one person walking around in a tank top with a see-through lacy top over it. Because the top had sleeves, the school allowed it.

      • robin_comments says:

        I went to high school in SoCal in the 90's and at my first school there was zero dress code at all (except certain gang affiliated clothing) and at the next one in a smaller county, it was nothing that showed your midriff for girls and no hats in class for guys. I think that was about it.

      • CrisA says:

        I was in an American high school at about the same time Buffy takes place (I think they would've been a year above me), and the only dress code I remember the school having were no hats and no Co-ed Naked shirts or shirts that were otherwise obscene. I think that was about it. Of course, I also grew up in freezing cold Wisconsin, so things like tanks tops and bare midriffs weren't really a concern most of the year. Or skirts, for that matter.

      • enigmaticagentscully says:

        Aw it's cute that all your schools had a dress code! We dreamed of a dress code. We had a uniform.

        It was navy blue. It involved mandatory skirts and sweaters that were cold in winter and hot in summer.
        Also, blue and white stripy shirts that made you look like a walking deckchair and hurt your eyes if you looked at them for too long.

    • kte says:

      I am a fan of your caps, please continue

    • spikesjojo says:

      "I meant to say something about Angel's use of the slur "gypsy" in Passion ("Must be that shoddy Gypsy craftsmanship.") His endless ableist jokes at Spike's expense demonstrate that soulless Angel is pretty much your standard internet liberal bigot."

      I can't tell you how offensive I find this comment.

      Since I prefer not to drag this site through the slime of political infighting, that is all I am going to say on this matter.

      • Danny_SAP says:

        Is it the liberal part that you find offensive? My joke is that liberals on the internet have a long history of using both the word gypsy and making ableist jokes while still thinking they're super open-minded.

        You can email me at if you don't want to have this conversation publicly.

        ETA: I'll probably shy away from political humor in the future, though. So lesson learned.

        • spikesjojo says:

          I don't want to debate politics here. I have a board where I can debate all I want.(Democracy Forums)

          If you had said conservative I would be equally angry. To broad brush any group and insult them as bigots seems to go against what this board is about. I'm not sure what you found cryptic in my remark – nor do I know why what I said would ensure infighting. My point is that we should all leave our political baggage at the door step.

          • Danny_SAP says:

            Not indicating which part you found offensive I found cryptic but I'm fine with leaving political opinions at the door from now on.

          • xpanasonicyouthx says:

            I don't know…I think you are making a fine point about the idea of bigotry that comes from progressives. In a way, that's sort of worse than outright bigots. So as long as we're not getting into gross name-calling or fights about the GOP candidates for President, please don't feel the need to stop talking about politics.

            • spikesjojo says:

              Cool, and thanks! I come here to relax in the awesomeness that is Buffydom!

              • spikesjojo says:

                And I also promise I will ask questions before I take offense. I think I understand more what you were communicating. BTW – I think you'd make a great addition over at Democracy Forums.

            • spikesjojo says:

              There is just so much political hatred and anger in this country right now. I don't want to get into which group has more hypocrites and more bigots. I want a sanctuary where I can relax and get away from all of that. I enjoy debating politics, in political forums. I know what I can expect there. In a Mark watches Buffy Forum – I just want Buffydom!

              For what it's worth – I think the whole point of ableism is to treat everyone as an individual. When you broad brush any group as having standard anything bad – you are no longer respecting that concept and ideal. Take the word liberal out of that clause and fill it in with a few other groups and I think you'll see what I object to.

              • notemily says:

                Except liberals are not a historically oppressed and marginalized group, like the "few other groups" I assume you're implying.

              • Danny_SAP says:

                At the risk of stirring up more stuff… In my usage "liberal" and "internet" were modifying bigot. The meaning was not that all liberals, or internet users, are bigots (though a big part of my thought is that we've all got bigotry that we need to work on, but that's a different conversation), but that some bigots are liberal internet users, and a very common kind of liberal, internet using bigot are ones for whom ableism and casual racism like using the word gypsy to refer to Romani people are a big issue.

                There's a wonderful section of MLK's Letter from a Birmingham Jail about his disappointment with what he calls "the white moderate" that I think is relevant to this conversation.

                • Rebcake says:

                  I get what you're saying — now — but I don't really see the connection to Angelus, so your use of it there was jarring to me. A bully is a bully is a bully, and Angelus is a bully. He's not especially oblique about it, and he isn't presenting himself as some kind of good guy in other ways, so I don't think the comparison here is particularly apt. It confused me. Not to say that the animal you describe isn't rife in other areas…

                  • Danny_SAP says:

                    I responded to you below but I don't think Intense Debate sends notifications if it's a reply to somebody who replied to you.

          • notemily says:

            Except that we discuss political stuff here ALL THE TIME. I mean, is looking at media through the lens of social justice NOT a political discussion?

        • xpanasonicyouthx says:

          Woops, replied to you in the thread below! just an FYI.

      • kristinc says:

        It doesn't mean that your standard internet liberal IS a bigot. It describes a standard type of bigot who identifies as a liberal and hangs out on the internet.

        Speaking as a non-bigot internet liberal, there's definitely a particular stripe of bigot that hangs out at progressive blogs, pastes facebook statuses or LJ entries for their specific pet liberal causes, and yet when they venture outside their progressive comfort zone, drops bigotry like seagull poo. It might be an anti-racist liberal who proceeds to be offensive about trans issues, or an environmentalist who espouses misogynist ideas. Then when someone calls them on it, they get defensive and pissed off — because hey man, they're a liberal! They're one of the good guys! How dare you imply they said something bigoted! When the liberal bigot is a guy being sexist, sometimes this is described as Liberal Guy Syndrome.

        It's just an observed phenomenon. People have been discussing it for a lot longer than this comment thread.

        Also, to characterize the kind of political debate and discussion that often goes on here as "the slime of political infighting" is pretty gross. So is the false equivalency of claiming there's "so much anger on both sides" like you did in your reply to Mark. It's not anger for the same reasons or toward the same goals, and it's not equivalent.

        • Danny_SAP says:

          Yes, exactly!

        • Rebcake says:

          I wouldn't argue that this sort of bigot doesn't exist. I would argue that Angelus is very, very far from that sort of person, so the comparison came out of left field. (Right field?) Angelus is a straight-up bully, no pretense involved. Trying to characterize him as a "standard internet liberal bigot" is such a far stretch that it looks less like an observation and more like an agenda item.

          • kristinc says:

            Well, yeah. I don't think it was meant to be a comparison on all fronts or an encompassing characterization of him.

            I took it as a throwaway wisecrack specifically about use of the word "gypsy", which is exactly the kind of thing an internet liberal bigot ™ would get pissy about being asked to reconsider.

            • Rebcake says:

              It could be a throwaway wisecrack. Or, it could be a very pointed wisecrack. It was unclear from the context which was intended. All the knees jerking in response to having this called into question makes it even more troubling to me.

              • kristinc says:

                They're not knees jerking for godsake. It was just a fairly obvious joke to a lot of people, maybe because this is a group with a primarily liberal-progressive political outlook and we assume jokes about liberals are self-humor.

                I mean, if it came from a known conservative I would be pissed, but as it is, all the flapping over it seems really strange.

                • Rebcake says:

                  They're not knees jerking for godsake.

                  No? Then (for godsake) why hasn't anybody said, "Oh, I can see how that comment could be misconstrued."? Probably because we don't want ourselves or our friends to be called on things that were meant in good faith. Understandable, but not exactly conducive to better understanding.

            • Danny_SAP says:

              Yeah… Specifically the ableism and the racial slur parallels a lot of things I see over on Tumblr from fauxgressives. I'd been dealing with it a lot the day I made the caps so I thought it was funny to draw a comparison. There's a lot of room to critique liberalism and liberals from the left, which is where I'm coming from.

              If I'd left off bigot and said "your standard internet liberal" I'd understand the idea that it was simply an agenda item. But narrowing the critique to liberal internet-using bigots I was just referring to people who specifically fit all three criteria. Does that distinction make sense?

              And obviously I don't think people who even fit the fauxgressive bigot criteria are murderous sociopaths.

              • Rebcake says:

                Well, like I said above, I get what you're saying — now — but don't get the comparison to Angelus. He's more of a "troll" than a "standard internet liberal bigot" or "fauxgressive".

                He's the opposite of thoughtless. When he says "gypsy" and "sit-and-spin" he's trying to be as obnoxious and hurtful as possible. What he isn't is liberal or internet-using.I don't even know if I would characterize him as a true bigot, because he's just out to get the upper hand and will use whatever tools he can. He doesn't hate the Roma people, he hates EVERYBODY. (It's part of his charm. Heh.) Maybe he does feel especially threatened by the people who cursed him and by Spike — a possible romantic rival — so that's why he's being especially dismissive here. Hmmm.

                At any rate, I only thought it might be an agenda item because it seemed like an ill fit to me, comparison-wise. Does that make sense?

                • Danny_SAP says:

                  What I was going for was less a comparison of intent and more a comparison of action. Whether or not the intent is the same, both Angel (this time around I've been not using the angelus/angel distinction… because of reasons) and aforementioned liberal internet bigots both use slurs and ableist jokes. My intent would have been demonstrated better with a simile than a metaphor, I'm realizing. As what I was going for is not "x is y" but more "x has similar qualities to y." The fault of unclear writing lies with the author!

    • notemily says:

      Anthony Stewart Head's stuttering is such a good character decision.

      RIGHT. I didn't even notice it, it's so natural, until I looked at the transcripts and realized how many times he stutters.

    • notemily says:


      • Danny_SAP says:

        The red doll is a mass produced voodoo doll… I actually had one as a kid, bought from a toy store in Woodstock, NY. I'm more concerned about the big lipped, black faced head… like, wtf?

        • notemily says:

          Oh, at first i thought that was the thing being hanged, but now I see I was wrong. I have no idea what that thing is. I think Xander just has some random shit hanging in his locker? I wish this show wasn't so dark so I could see what the hell was going on in the screencaps.

          • Danny_SAP says:

            Between his locker and his room (as shown in Bewitched…) I'm convinced the props department has no idea what to do with Xander.

    • Rebcake says:

      Also meant to say that I like your epic comment. I think it's pretty.

  16. Raenef_the_5th says:

    A great episode talking about the guilt Buffy places on herself. When SMG hits the emotion in the lines while possessed by James OUT OF THE BALLPARK I get chills, man. SHE IS SO GOOD. All that emotion, the cutting between the past and present, Angel-as-Grace, taking it to the music room. CHILLS.

  17. cait0716 says:

    You can't watch Buffy logically. You have to watch it emotionally.

    My boyfriend was poking holes all over the premise of this episode and I finally had to tell him this.

    The holes are there. Of course the holes are there. Why is James haunting the school now when he didn't last year, or the year before? How did Angel manage to secure a mansion? How did Willow get all of Jenny's files if Angel destroyed her computer?

    I can fanwank this stuff away (he's getting angrier; they're squatting; Jenny was meticulous about backing up her data), but ultimately it doesn't matter. What matters is how this episode makes me feel. And boy does this episode make me feel

    I Only Have Eyes For You is definitely one of my top ten episodes, and probably my favorite of the second season. The structure is so smart. The repetitive fight that reveals a bit more each time. Buffy's refusal to empathize with James because she identifies with him so much and doesn't like what she sees in that mirror. Giles' grief for Jenny and how he ultimately lets go of her (Jenny could never be this mean). Grace's forgiveness of James and how it leads to Buffy forgiving herself.

    I love Buffy yelling "BITCH" after Angel. I feel like crying and cheering and laughing and gasping all at once. The way the episode uses that word is amazing. It's a gendered insult and the episode codes it as gendered, with James always choosing to possess the man and Giles assuming that Buffy will be possessed by Grace. But the episode flips it and uses the power of that word to incredible effect. It's one of my favorite moments in Buffy because it just floors me every time. All of her pain and anger and confusion is condensed into one single outburst and it's like a punch in the gut.

    And then Spike stands up, and I find myself cheering for one of the bad guys.

    I just love this episode so much

    • Noybusiness says:

      I think James did haunt the school last year and the year before, but he's been getting angrier and the manifestations worse each time until the lid came off the volcano.

      • Danny_SAP says:

        Yeah, how can you really separate all the Hell Mouth goings on? Something Weird is Going On is the Sunnydale motto!

    • Raenef_the_5th says:

      It's a gendered insult and the episode codes it as gendered, with James always choosing to possess the man and Giles assuming that Buffy will be possessed by Grace. But the episode flips it and uses the power of that word to incredible effect. It's one of my favorite moments in Buffy because it just floors me every time. All of her pain and anger and confusion is condensed into one single outburst and it's like a punch in the gut.

      All of this +1!!!!

    • rabbitape says:

      Yes! To Buffy yelling "BITCH" after Angel! Such a powerful moment — a punch in the gut, just like you said, and SMG really made that punch connect. She did a great job with it, and with all her James material. You could see his pain and hers all over her face.

    • clodia_risa says:

      V nyjnlf nffhzrq gung Wnzrf jnf unhagvat abj orpnhfr gur Uryyzbhgu jnf bcravat naq orvat rkcybvgrq. Jnfa’g vg va gur bgure-irefr jurer gur Uryyzbhgu bcrarq va Pyrirynaq orpnhfr gung’f jurer Ohssl jrag? (Be qvq fur tb gb Pyrirynaq orpnhfr gung jnf jurer gur Uryyzbhgu jnf?) Va nal pnfr, orpnhfr bs nyy gur fhcreangheny npgvivgl, vg vapvgrf zber fhcreangheny npgvivgl.

    • pica_scribit says:

      Why is James haunting the school now when he didn't last year, or the year before?

      Yeah, I've been trying to figure out the "all of a sudden 50s ghosts!" thing. For a bit, I thought it was to do with the Sadie Hawkins dance only happening in leap years (isn't it supposed to be a Feb 29th thing?) but it's not February in this episode and 1998 wasn't a leap year (nor was 1955). So I got nothin'.

      How did Angel manage to secure a mansion?

      Mysteriously depressed housing market in Sunnydale?

      • settlingforhistory says:

        Maybe James felt someone in the school had a similar need for forgiveness and posessed possible canidates until he found Buffy.

        How did Angel manage to secure a mansion?
        Nf jr frr va gur fcva-bss, gurer vf nyjnlf fbzrbar jub bjrf n snibhe gb Natry be Natryhf fvzcyl xvyyrq gur sbezre bjare.

      • mannz says:

        Buffy has a line about James picking her because she's so sad

      • Noybusiness says:

        Ate the previous owner, I'd think.

    • Karen says:

      I love Buffy yelling "BITCH" after Angel. I feel like crying and cheering and laughing and gasping all at once. The way the episode uses that word is amazing. It's a gendered insult and the episode codes it as gendered, with James always choosing to possess the man and Giles assuming that Buffy will be possessed by Grace. But the episode flips it and uses the power of that word to incredible effect. It's one of my favorite moments in Buffy because it just floors me every time. All of her pain and anger and confusion is condensed into one single outburst and it's like a punch in the gut.

      + 1 billion

      THIS is why the writing in this episode is SO good. Gaaaah.

    • settlingforhistory says:

      Jenny was meticulous about backing up her data

      She totall was. We see that in Passion she has the spell on her PC, as print-out and on disk.
      Also Willow had already made up a lesson plan before Jenny died.

    • Nattlinnen says:

      How did Angel manage to secure a mansion?

      Maybe killed the lonely owner without heir. 😉

    • Angel didn't destroy Jenny's computer; he destroyed her monitor. The files are fine. 🙂

      (And Angel (and probably the writers and directors) knows nothing about computers.)

      • RoseFyre says:

        But then how have they not found the translation, if Willow's been going through her files? I have to view it as him destroying the whole computer, or it doesn't work.

        • Maybe she ONLY saved it to the floppy? I don't know why she would have, but that's the only thing I can think of.

          • MrsGillianO says:

            Computers had so much less memory back then? Especially school computers, which are often a year or so out of date. She may well have felt she couldn't use all the memory with such a large file. Also, school computers? Not so very secure. (Though she seems to have been incredibly trusting with all her personal stuff which Willow is able to access.)

            That's all I've got…

    • Delta1212 says:

      "How did Angel manage to secure a mansion? How did Willow get all of Jenny's files if Angel destroyed her computer? "

      These I both noticed as soon as they happened in the episode, but I just laughed and moved on. Heck, I find Sunnydale's inexplicable wealth of warehouses, military bases, colleges, graveyards, crypts, castles and churches to be an endearing quality of the show.

    • RoseFyre says:

      "How did Angel manage to secure a mansion? How did Willow get all of Jenny's files if Angel destroyed her computer?"

      Well, Angel probably killed the previous owner. Or someone else did and they moved in when they found it empty. That one doesn't bother me.

      The second, though…I mean, they make a point of destroying Jenny's computer, and then Willow explicitly says she's been…searching Jenny's computer? If she'd said she'd been searching Jenny's files, okay, I could see that, but it's stated that it's her computer, not her floppy disks, so that one bothers me.

    • notemily says:

      I think this is why Buffy and Doctor Who are two of my only five-star ratings on Netflix. Neither of them are perfect shows by any means, but they make me feel ALL THE FEELS. I need emotion from my shows, more than I need airtight plots or flawless logic.

      (Also, as for James, I have a fan-wanky explanation–he didn't haunt the school before because it wasn't until he "met" Buffy that he found a kindred spirit and felt the desire to act out his death over and over again.)

  18. I don’t remember what he is referring to in that last sentence, can someone enlighten me?
    Spike reveals that he's healed and kicks his wheelchair away, vowing to fuck shit up.

  19. Karen says:

    THIS EPISODE. Ok, I LOVE this episode. I think it might be my favorite episode of season 2. Generally, I don’t care too much about Buffy/Angel, but it just works so perfectly here. Having Buffy and Angel verbalize their issues by having them be possessed by spirits was brilliant. It allowed the audience to get some emotional closure without being untrue to the characters or their circumstances. And the episode does it SO well by not introducing Angel into the episode until midway through the episode so that the parallels aren’t too obvious until the story has already been well established.

    I want to note that Sarah Michelle Geller is really fantastic in this episode. There’s a lot of good stuff going on in this episode, but the centerpiece is what is happening with Buffy/Angel so I’ll talk about that first. The writing for this episode is just fantastic. The conversation between the student and the teacher works perfectly for Buffy and Angel’s issues, and because of that, I think it helps to further highlight the way in which what happened with Buffy and Angel could be analogous to something that could happen in real life.

    One of the big things that this issue touches on is that Buffy is still struggling with the idea that Angel could wake up and be so changed. She knows he is. He killed Ms Calender. She knows intellectually that he is not the same person. But at the same time, he still looks like the man she fell in love with, and emotionally, that’s hard for her to get past. So the conversation that Buffy and Angel have as they are possessed helps Buffy come to terms with everything that has happened, I think. But for Angel, it only serves to remind him that he loved Buffy when he had a soul and he can’t STAND that. He rushes home to scrub the experience off of himself and wants to partake in a particularly brutal kill in order to get the stench of humanity and love off of him. (Nyfb, guvf cbffrffvba vf fvtavsvpnagyl yrff sha guna gur 2aq gvzr Natry trgf cbffrffrq, uru.)

    I think that the conversations that Giles and Buffy have about forgiveness are really important on multiple levels. Within the context of the show, could Buffy ever forgive Angel even if he DID get his show back? But outside the show, can the AUDIENCE forgive Angel?

    I keep meaning to say something more significant about the scene between Buffy and Angel, but I always get so caught up watching it because Sarah and David are SO GOOD in it that I’m at a loss for words. Anyway, I think the entire thing was beautifully written and acted.

    Non-Buffy/Angel things about this episode:

    My heart just breaks for Giles. He wants to believe so badly that the poltergeist is Jenny so that he can get some sort of closure. So he does very un-Giles-like things and ignores the facts so that he can cling onto the hope of speaking to her again- even if she is a poltergeist.

    Nyfb, gur ortvaavatf bs Jvyybj naq jvgpupensg va guvf rcvfbqr!

    Whaaa? Principal Snyder knows that they are on a Hellmouth? Obahf zragvba bs gur Znlbe!

    And finally, Spike has recovered! He is healed! He’s just biding his time to get rid of the thorn in his side- aka Angel because Spike has clearly been getting more and more fed up with Angel.

    • _Bailey_ says:

      "Nyfb, guvf cbffrffvba vf fvtavsvpnagyl yrff sha guna gur 2aq gvzr Natry trgf cbffrffrq, uru"

      FB GEHR! Natry/Pbeql SGJ!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • notemily says:

      could Buffy ever forgive Angel even if he DID get his show back?

      I know this is a typo but it made me imagine an argument between Buffy and Angel about whose show stayed on the air longer and why 😀

  20. enigmaticagentscully says:



    A fanfiction.

    In which Jenny Calendar reaches the afterlife.

    And meets Boromir.

    ~POSSIBLE SPOILER WARNING~ because I didn’t actually read it myself just in case, but I just…I couldn’t not tell y’all about finding this.

    • echinodermata says:

      Yes to it being spoilery. (skimmed it)

      Otherwise, OMG that exists!

      • stormwreath says:

        In 'Buffy' terms, it should be safe to read after the end of Season 2. In 'Lord of the Rings' terms, it spoils pretty much to the end of the book.

    • knut_knut says:


    • Mez says:


      (Very slight spoilers for the season 2 finale…)

    • klmnumbers says:

      the description of this just made me like cackle in a public place, hahahaha.

    • Raenef_the_5th says:


      "That is quite the story," he said, rising from his bench and extending a hand toward her. "I am Boromir, son of Denethor, of the yvar bs gur Fgrjneqf bs Tbaqbe."

      "Janna, of the Kalderash clan," she replied, smiling as he took the hand she extended in return and bowed over it. "Also known as Jenny Calendar. I was a technopagan, and an associate of the current Slayer and her Watcher."

      "Well, Janna," he said, straightening back up and smiling at her. "You will make a refreshing addition to our company; I look forward to getting to know you better."

      Rot13'd a part I wasn't sure about.

      • Saphling says:

        *giggles helplessly* Sorry. Not expecting it to change, so I totally read that as Boromir speaking in rot13 before I could stop. Suddenly Sean Bean's voice got all garbled in my head.

    • MidnightLurker says:

      Jedi Buttercup's fics are universally awesome.


    • Smurphy says:

      The internet is a beautiful thing…

  21. guest_age says:

    Remember that time you (rightly) said that the acting wasn't so great in the beginning? And then remember that time "I Only Have Eyes For You" happened and everyone (particularly SMG) nailed it so hard that it became a nearly perfect hour of television?


    I also love the line Giles says to Buffy about how you don't forgive someone because they deserve it; you forgive them because they need it. <3

  22. pica_scribit says:

    Wow, watching this show again after embracing feminism and starting to actually learning stuff about other social issues is kind of like watching it for the first time.

    New thoughts:

    I (still) love the surprise reversal of genders when the ghosts possess Buffy and Angel. That's great. However….

    The whole issue of student/teacher relationships seems to be kind of glossed over here, rather than directly addressed. Sure, he might be 18 and technically an adult, and she might be a first-year teacher, but it's still seriously problematic.

    So he shot her, and she apologises to *him* at the end for breaking up with him?! That's…not cool. That's gross relationship violence and abuse apologism. "I know you didn't mean to kill me, honey; you only pointed a loaded gun at me." Bleh.

    • WhiteEyedCat says:

      Exactly my thoughts on their relationship too, why did he even have a loaded gun on him in the first place?

    • mgauck says:

      A take I'd never considered…. interesting

    • Caitlin says:

      So he shot her, and she apologises to *him* at the end for breaking up with him?! That's…not cool. That's gross relationship violence and abuse apologism. "I know you didn't mean to kill me, honey; you only pointed a loaded gun at me." Bleh.

      THANK YOU. I like the basic idea of this episode, but I can't get over the fact that she's supposed to apologize to him, and the show doesn't reaaaally refute that.

  23. NB2000 says:

    So thanks to this episode I now find "I Only Have Eyes for You" INCREDIBLY creepy to listen to, it just reminds me of this episode and how sad and terrifying it is.

    The four sets of actors who play out the confrontation scene are all so good. Sarah and David are probably the most emotional (seriously Sarah's FACE, especially when she fires the gun, is amazing) but I do like the way the scene plays out with the janitor and the teacher. The dialogue leading up that shows us they really don't know each other and then he drops the mop and they switch to the set dialogue and then…well we know how it plays out.

    "znlor lbh'q yvxr gb gnxr guvf hc jvgu Gur Znlbe" BZT LRF pna jr whfg unir gur Znlbe fubj hc abj? Bxnl svar V pna jnvg.

    "I shall TOTALLY confront and expell all evil." Oh Cordelia<3

    • cemeterybaby says:

      Yeah, rewatching the show is making me realize I am a huge and unapologetic Sarah stan. V jnf erjngpuvat Orpbzvat va cercnengvba sbe nyy bs gur grnef naq gur eraqvat bs tnezragf naq tanfuvat bs grrgu gung jvyy nppbzcnal gur erivrjf naq lrnef yngre V fgvyy pna'g trg bire ure snpr nsgre fur xvyyf Natry, gur jnl vg tbrf sebz gung qrgrezvarq erfbyhgrarff bs univat qbar ure wbo gb whfg gjvfgvat hc jvgu fbeebj naq cnva naq hggre qrinfgngvba. Jul qbrf fur unir gb or fb tbbq ng ure jbex 🙁 🙁 🙁

      • Kari18212 says:

        V unira'g jngpurq Orpbzvat va bire n lrne naq V qrsvavgryl grnerq hc whfg ernqvat nobhg gung fprar. Orggre znxr fher V unir na ubhe nsgre er-jngpuvat ba Zbaqnl gb erpbire. Ovt lrf gb FZT orvat fb qnza tbbq ng ure wbo.

    • cait0716 says:

      I like all the pairs, but it always bugs me massively that the first teacher asks "Is that what you have to hear?" and then Grace asks "Is that what you need to hear?" It's such a small detail, but I hate that they didn't get it right.

    • etherealclarity says:

      Cordelia adding the "totally" is funny, but it always bugged me too. What if her adding a word messed up the whole spell? Little thing. I don't really care, but I can't help but notice.

  24. stellaaaaakris says:

    I really liked this episode. First of all, I love just about everything Christopher Gorham is in. And SMG brought it here. I loved having Buffy be possessed by James; it was a neat twist I wasn't expecting.

    Random thoughts:
    The principal saying that sooner or later, people are going to figure out they live on the Hellmouth: Ha, yeah, right. I see no evidence to support such a statement.

    Every time somebody is looking in a mirror, I'm waiting for a vampire to be hanging out behind them. EVERY TIME. I get sooo anxious anytime somebody looks at their reflection.

    • Jenny_M says:

      You're right about that, vampires could start dancing chorus lines up and down the streets of the town and the citizens of Sunnydale would still be oblivious.

  25. Noybusiness says:

    Seeing him as Angelus is what got Joss Whedon thinking that maybe David Boreanaz could carry his own show. Seeing him as Grace is what confirmed it.

    Interesting that you read this as about Buffy forgiving Angelus. I thought she was identifying with James in the sense of "destroying the person he loved in a moment of blind passion", i.e. because she slept with Angel he is now "dead", and needing to forgive herself, although she had no idea that was going to happen.

  26. Hotaru_hime says:

    Um, I didn't remember this episode at all until you got to the end where Buffy shoots Angelus. That I remember.
    But yeah, things are pretty intense right now in the Buffy-verse and we're coming to the season's end.

  27. Katarina says:

    Like everyone else, I love the "forgiveness is an act of compassion" line. This is altogether such a wonderful ep, especially seeing Buffy and Angelus reenact the murder. (Though for some reason I tend to confuse the details with an ep of My So-Called Life.)

    I have to say, I'm grateful I saw this the first time before I started fangirling Christopher Gorham in Jake 2.0, Ugly Betty and Covert Affairs. It would have been a tad distracting for me otherwise.

  28. etherealclarity says:

    I absolutely love this episode, but I really don't have a whole lot to say about it that Mark didn't already point out. I think the twist at the end of the story is brilliant from a story perspective as well as a character one. It's amazing that we hear the same dialogue three times but it doesn't seem repetitive to me even once, because each version carries new information or a new emotional weight. I love the reveal that Spike can stand (and clearly has been able to for a while). I love the reveal that Snyder knows about the Hellmouth. So much to love here.

  29. clodia_risa says:

    One thing I love about this episode (besides Spike. OMG he’s such a wildcard, I was breathless when I first saw that bit in the episode!) is the genderswapping of the roles/lines at the end of the episode. I have such a weakness for that trope, even though I’ve seen it played out not infrequently. It changes the tenor of the conversation to change genders in such a way.

    If I had funds, I’d love to put on such a version of Dr. Horrible. Have two male actors and two female actors and keep switching up who is playing what in each act. Have one of the females play the bravado, have a male actor play Penny in the third act, have a girl and a guy fight over the guy, etc. It’s not revolutionary, but it’s interesting.

  30. katherinemh says:

    As a USA Network fan, it was amusing to see Jesse from Burn Notice earlier this season in "Reptile Boy", Mozzie from White Collar in the last episode, and Auggie from Covert Affairs in this one.


    <img src=""&gt;

    I'll just… leave this…. here….

  31. dj651 says:

    Does anyone else feel like Znex qbrfa'g ernyyl haqrefgnaq gung Natry vfa'g ernyyl Natry nalzber? Jura ur gnyxf nobhg Ohssl riraghnyyl univat gb sbetvir Natry, vg fbhaqf yvxr ur guvaxf fur pbhyq qb gung juvyr ur'f fgvyy Natryhf. Whfg phevbhf gb frr vs nalbar ryfr gubhtug fb gbb.

    • @Ivana2804 says:

      Hu, V unccra gb or bar bs gubfr crbcyr jub guvax gung Natry vf Natry (nyorvg punatrq jvgu naq jvgubhg gur fbhy) naq gung gur erfg bs gur fubj naq NgF naq gur pbzvpf nyy pbasvez vg.

      Naq Nzraqf vf nyy nobhg Ohssl naq Tvyrf *sbetvivat* Natry naq Natry fgehttyvat gb *sbetvir* uvzfrys. Abg gb zragvba gung NgF vf nyy nobhg *erqrzcgvba* sbe Natry sbe gur guvatf ur qvq.

      V guvax gung Znex haqrefgbbq vg cresrpgyl.

      • dj651 says:

        V fbzrjung nterr, ohg gur jnl Znex cuenfrf vg znxrf vg fbhaq yvxr Ohssl pbhyq sbetvir Natry juvyr ur qvqa'g unir uvf fbhy be gung gurl pbhyq unir fbzr xvaq bs eryngvbafuvc juvyr ur jnf fbhyyrff.

    • mophead50 says:

      Vg vf na vagrerfgvat cbvag, ohg V guvax Znex vf cebwrpgvat jung ur guvaxf ba ubj Ohssl srryf…erzrzore fur vf fhccbfrq gb or n 17 lrne byq tvey …fur frrf gur snpr bs gur zna fur ybirf ab znggre jung vf oruvaq gung snpr.

  32. feminerdist says:

    This episode was really really interesting!

    First of all: Principal Quark! He KNOWS THINGS. I KNEW IT! More of this, please! More Snyder!

    Then when Cordelia was complaining about the Sadie Hawkins dance and says something about "hairy legged feminists" (don't remember the exact quote) my reaction was: "zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz Heard the feminists are only hairy angry women who can't get men complaint before. BORIIIIIIIIING."

    Then the show has to go reverse the gender roles and win me back. Sigh…

    And I will say it: David Borneaz has gotten way way better with the acting. In this episode, I have seen the light. Now I will watch him smolder all day long.

    • Shadowmarauder says:

      I love Principle Quark. I keep expecting to see a certain shapeshifter to turn up so they can continue their bromance.

    • pica_scribit says:

      It's Xander who delivers the "hairy-legged feminists" line, and I'm fairly sure he's using it sarcastically to point out that she's being ridiculously regressive. But maybe that's just wishful thinking on my part?

      • cait0716 says:

        I think his deadpan delivery indicates that he doesn't really think that way. Of course the way Cordy latches on to it shows that she really does think that way.

        • feminerdist says:

          Was it Xander? Huh. Oops.

          I don't have the episode in front of me (at work!), and I REFUSE to look up anything on google or any forum. I've been spoiled one too many times by looking up things online. So it's not laziness, it's paranoia!

          • cait0716 says:

            Yeah Here's the dialogue (from

            Cordelia: I hope you guys aren't going to the Sadie Hawkins Dance
            tonight, (sits) 'cause I'm organizing a boycott. Do you realize that the
            girls have to ask the guys? And pay and everything? I mean, whose genius
            idea was that?

            Xander: Obviously, some hairy-legged feminist.

            Cordelia: Really! Well, we need to nip this thing in the bud. I mean,
            otherwise, things are going to get really scary.

            • feminerdist says:

              Ahhhhhh right right that. Yes, I still had the "zzzzzzzzzzzzzz" reaction. But like I said, the show made up for it!

              Thanks for posting that. I've just been burned too many times. The last time I went on a forum before I watched things involved major plot points for Game of Thrones, and I almost threw my computer across the living room.

      • notemily says:

        No, that's how I read it as well.

  33. @sesinkhorn says:

    I'm sure a dozen other people have mentioned it already and I know LOL TWILIGHT COMPARISONS ARE SO OBVIOUS, but I just have to comment on the fact that the guy in the TERRIBLE SHIRT (seriously, WHAT WAS THAT SHIRT?) is basically asking Buffy to ask him to the Sadie Hawkins Dance (??? LADIES' CHOICE, DUDES!) and THE SAME THING HAPPENS TO BELLA IN TWILIGHT. THREE TIMES.

    I love how clever and compassionate Willow is at all times.

    LOL the wasp effects were sooooo baaaadddddd.

    Giles :'(

    Personally, I feel like this episode was a lot more about BUFFY forgiving HERSELF than forgiving Angelus/Angel. I think it was about her feeling extreme guilt over "making a mistake" and essentially killing the man she loved and replacing him with this monster (James much?). She feels a tremendous amount of pain and anger and she needed to hear from his own mouth that it was okay, it was an accident, and that he still loved her. In my mind, Grace is speaking through Angel, not Angelus. Not that I personally equate THREATENING YOUR GIRLFRIEND AT GUNPOINT and Buffy's honest and heartfelt choice to sleep with someone she loved, because they're not even remotely similar, but the context sort of fits what she's feeling.

    One thing I really can't get over in this episode: romanticized teacher/student relationship. Like, I just can't. I appreciate that Grace tried to break it off, but I really didn't enjoy the fact that it's more a feeling of "we can't be together because people wouldn't understand" rather than "we can't be together because it is MORALLY WRONG FOR A HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER TO BE INVOLVED WITH A STUDENT." I don't know. I get so bothered by adults getting into romantic/sexual relationships with teenagers because there's such a difficult power dynamic there and as mature as some teens are, they are still separate from the adult perspective and IDK. It squicks me. I have issues.

    But overall, I really like this episode. I think Gellar's and Boreanaz's acting in that scene is superb. I also find Angelus' reaction to being "violated" by "love" an interesting one, especially in comparison to Spike, who seems to feel something very much LIKE love for Dru.

    • I dunno, I always interpreted the episode as showing what goes wrong in relationships where, though both parties may be sexually mature, one is most definitely not emotionally mature enough for it, viz James losing the plot and figuring that the way to get Grace back is by pointing a gun at her.

      • @sesinkhorn says:

        I think that's a good point, and I thought about that angle a little more after I posted. I think, if that was intended, it was a little too subtle for me to be okay with the portrayal of the relationship, though.

    • pica_scribit says:

      *nodnodnod* Your thoughts are similar to my thoughts.

    • RoseFyre says:

      That shirt. That SHIRT.

      (Seriously, that was my reaction – WHAT WAS THAT SHIRT?)

  34. Jerssica says:

    FAVORITE EPISODE!! When I first marathoned this series a few years ago (yes I was a latecoming as well) this episode had be sobbing in my apartment. This was also an episode that one of my roommate who had no interest in Buffy watched with me and said "oh my god, I didn't know Buffy was such a good show." Victory! (Zl ebbzvr jngpurq bar bgure rcvfbqr jvgu zr naq vg jnf 'Jub Ner Lbh?'. Buuu V pna'g jnvg gb trg gb gung rcvfbqr fb Znex pna ybfr uvf zvaq bire ubj nznmvat FZT vf)

  35. Hecubot says:

    This episode has my favorite outtakes reel. Not because it's wacky and funny bloopers, but because they're working late into the night, after 3am doing the big confrontation scene and SMG and Boreanaz are getting so physically tired and emotionally wrecked. And the actors keep providing comfort for each other, steeling themselves for the next take.

  36. Nattlinnen says:

    I love this episode. It really defines how deep and powerful Angels love to Buffy and vice versa was before Innocence. The reversed gender roles are an amazing twist too. Until the very end I thought that this could end in whichever way. And Giles (and even Xander) talk to buffy on the act of forgiveness is beautiful.

    Some minuses though: The wasps and snakes. Unnecessary additions. They are not related to the original murder in any way etcetera. It disturbs the theme.

  37. Fiona says:

    Oh this episode. It's another fillery one (at this point the writers seemed to have realised they had nothing to do but twiddle their thumbs for the finale) but that doesn't bother me because it still has moments which are significant to the overall plot, such as Spike being able to walk and Buffy being one step closer to anything amounting to closure.

    Thankfully I'm not afraid of snakes or anything else from this episode, aside from possibly being sucked into the floor but when would that happen? Saying that it still manages to scare me because the central story seems so real somehow. It helps that the guest actors are so good for the tiny amount of time that they're onscreen, otherwise it could have seemed melodramatic and slightly daft. As it is I can overlook anything like that because the performances of everyone are excellent. David especially seems to have come into his own by this point, for which I'm glad as otherwise it would have been terrible. Sarah as always is completely fantastic, she does heartbreak like nobody else.

  38. quenstalof says:

    -I do not blame Buffy for not being in date mode, and he missed the point on Sadie hawking.
    -Ugh I've heard what this guy's selling before. Just let her go. THis is not gonna be a good episode for me if he gets to talk a lot more.
    -I really don't get why the principal's upset at Buffy. Even if the boyfriend didn't have a gun he was acting in a pretty threatening way toward his girl.
    -That lovelorn speech is bringing me tears and panic every time…
    -:( Oh Giles. He can't see past the idea that it's Jenny
    -Continuity check: That's a different desk than Jenny had, the legs are open on the bottom and there's nothing that the disk could have fallen between…
    -Oh I was missing Cordy.
    -What?! Snyder knows it's a Hellmouth?! OMG whatatwist! And the mayor and city council know too. Whoa
    -If they're just dancing, who's doing all the snaky stuff? Red Herring?
    -I like that Buffy took James's part for some reason. It just fits.
    -They haven't replaced the glass in the door in 40 years? hmm…
    -I'm kind of super excited that Spike is back in commission. Is that wrong?

    Can we get a Willow-centric episode? I would love that. You take that back. You take that back right now. Did you learn nothing from what happened with Gaeta? I'm afraid and I hope you haven't jinxed her. :-/

  39. VicarPants says:

    Pna jr trg n Jvyybj-pragevp rcvfbqr? V jbhyq ybir gung.

    Unnnnnu V WHFG svavfurq Qbccrytnatynaq bzt.

    …nobhg gung, gubhtu–ba gur bar unaq, htu, Jvyybj'f yvar nobhg Inzc Jvyybj orvat "fxnaxl" naq "xvaq bs tnl" jvgu gung jrveqrq bhg ybbx ba ure snpr–AB.

    V trg gung gur pbzzrag nobhg Inzc Jvyybj'f frkhnyvgl pbhyq or frra nf sberfunqbjvat bs Jvyybj'f bja pbzvat bhg; ohg vg fgvyy srryf yvxr vagreanyvmrq ubzbcubovn, naq V qba'g srry yvxr Jvyybj'f orvat n yrfovna znxrf gung yvar, va guvf pbagrkg, va guvf rcvfbqr, ntrf njnl sebz zrrgvat Gnen, bar wbg yrff bssrafvir. Uvaqfvtug vfa'g rkphfvat vg, sbe zr. :\ Uvaqfvtug fubhyqa'g unir gb orne gur oheqra bs gelvat gb znxr bssrafvir guvatf yrff bssrafvir–gur yvar pbhyq unir orra cynlrq jvgu yrff qvfthfg va gur svefg cynpr. 🙁 Rira jvgu Natry'f hasvavfurq "jryy, npghnyyl…" nf n cbbe nggrzcg ng n jvax jvax ahqtr ahqtr zbzrag.

    Naq, lrf, V nz nyy bire gur fubc naq bhg bs beqre va jngpuvat gurfr rcvfbqrf…

    • Jr pna unir n Jvyybj-pragevp Frnfba svanyr! Bu jul qb jr unir gb jnvg fb ybat? V whfg ybir nyy gung vf jvyybj!

    • Andie says:

      V qhaab, V guvax Jvyybj'f nyybjrq gb or n yvggyr jrveqrq bhg gung ure inzcver frys vf 'xvaqn tnl'. Orpnhfr vg'f n ersyrpgvba bs ure, naq fur qbrfa'g frr urefrys gung jnl. Jr trg gur vzcerffvba gung fur'f arire rira pbafvqrerq vg orsber. Fur zhfg unir sbhaq vg fgnegyvat naq vavgvnyyl pbafvqrerq vg pbzcyrgryl vanpphengr.

  40. mophead50 says:

    Call me an old fool..that is what I am. Introducing the series to family and friends I have been through 2 marathon sessions of all seven seasons of Buffy. There have been certain episodes I skipped that they watched" I Only Have Eyes for You" is one of them. Again I am a fool
    ….great Marti Noxon script..a story that stands on its own and still gently advances the season arc.
    What does the town leadership and Snyder know??? Well they seem to know about the Hellmouth..
    new digs for the unholy three…
    Dru as creepy as ever…
    Angelus baiting Spike…..oh my……
    the twist …Buffy taking the role of the boy and Angel taking the role of the girl. Whaattt?? I forgot all about that
    ….Who else but Joss would find a way to have Buffy and Angelus kiss after Jenny’s death and on top of that the kiss saving two lost souls
    …Giles fighting to come to terms with his loss and how gentle the scoobies are with him
    …Willow taking charge with magic …
    Cordy a full on scoobie member…
    I forget sometimes how much is packed in this one episode and in so many episodes of BTVS…I guess I am a forgetful old fool…I will not make that mistake this time…I will see every episode with Mark……
    Buffy “something weird is going on here”…Zander “Isn’t that our school motto “

  41. A Frog at Large says:

    ‘Pna jr trg n Jvyybj-pragevp rcvfbqr? V jbhyq ybir gung.’ BZT thlf, Znex vf FB abg cercnerq, ur vf tbvat gb rng uvf svfg.

    • V fgnegrq jngpuvat Ohssl va gur yngr frnfba 6 naq V fb zhpu ybir ure fgbelyvar gurer! Jvyybj vf gur orfg naq V whfg jnvg sbe Qnex-Jvyybj! Fur vf rnfvyl zl snibhevgr va arneyl rirel rcvfbqr.

      Jura V fgnegrq gb jngpu nyy bs Ohssl V whfg pryroengrq guvf rcvfbqr orpnhfr jvyybj vf fgnegvat gb or gur jvgpu gung V xarj fur jbhyq orpbzr. Sbe zr, pbzvat sebz yngre frnfbaf, fbzrguvat jnf zvffvat orsber.

      • A Frog at Large says:

        V xabj evtug? Vg'f bayl gur ortvaavat sbe ure naq gurer zvtug pbzr n cbvag va gur fubj (cebonoyl jura fur penfurf ure pne jvgu Qnja va vg) jura Znex cyrnqf jvgu Wbff Jurqba sbe 'ab zber Jvyybj-pragrerq rcvfbqrf cyrnfr' hayrff vg vf gb tvir ure fbzr ubcr naq unccvarff. Ohg AB, orpnhfr Wbff znxrf vg uvf ohfvarff gb evc bhe urnegf bhg!

    • echinodermata says:

      Rot13'd first line. Generally, please keep that sort of thing in rot13.

  42. LucyGoosey says:

    And on another note- I love the janitor as a minor character- its so odd to see a regular person in Sunnydale reacting to trouble.

  43. darkwater says:

    Just a couple more days Mark! Muhaha. *rubs hands together*

    Good episode too.

  44. Sarah TX says:

    Gosh, this episode haunts me, and I put that all at the feet of Gellar and Borneaz. The ending could have been so cheesy, but it's really powerful. I always see the ending, not as Buffy forgiving Angel, but rather Buffy forgiving herself for what she perceives as 'turning' Angel.

  45. Fuzzysnowpuffs says:

    This is such a brilliant episode! I mean I really, really love it. Would probably easily be on my Top 10 list… Though I don’t know if I’d be able to make one, too many good episodes. I like how it isn’t directly related to the over-arching plot, but it’s still pretty relevant for character development… Mainly for Giles and Buffy.

    It’s amazing to me how lines can be transformed so profoundly from when the random people are saying them, to when Buffy and Angelus recite them. It’s flawless! Breaks me every time when Buffy says, “A person doesn’t just wake up and stop loving somebody” because that’s exactly what happens to her!

    (Vg’f nyfb qvfnccbvagvat gb zr ubj gur fgbel arire tbrf onpx vagb jul rknpgyl Cevapvcny Falqre xabjf nobhg gur Uryyzbhgu. (Be qbrf vg naq V’ir whfg sbetbggra?) Gb zr gurl jrer vzcylvat gung ur unq cerivbhf rkcrevraprf jvgu qrzbaf be jungabg. Jnf gur pnfr npghnyyl gung ur jnf znlor vasbezrq bs gur fvghngvba jura ur jnf nccylvat sbe gur cbfvgvba?

    • Andie says:

      Jryy va frnfba guerr vg orpbzrf boivbhf gung ur'f jbexvat jvgu gur znlbe, ng yrnfg ba fbzr yriry, fb V nyjnlf nffhzrq gung ur xarj orpnhfr ur jnf va gur znlbe'f cbpxrg.

  46. Nos says:

    I always, always, saw this episode as being not about Buffy not wanting to forgive Angel for killing Jenny, but her being unable to forgive herself for basically killing him. Of course, we all know it's not her fault, but this is Buffy we are talking about: She slept with him, and the man she loved was destroyed, with a evil soulless demon taking his place. Of course she blames herself. Which is another reason why the spirit of James chose her to possess. And makes the dialogue at the end when "Grace" forgives "James" pretty effing heart breaking.

    "But I killed you!" "It was an accident." (Paraphrasing here, it's been awhile)

    Nyfb, uryyb, sberfunqbjvat, ubj ner lbh gbqnl?

  47. robin_comments says:

    Like pretty much everyone ever, it's the "forgiveness" conversation and the gender role subversion in the possessions that makes this episode one of the most memorable of the series for me.

    But can I just say that Snyder is my king and should be EVERY EPISODE. "I'm no stranger to conspiracy. I saw JFK. I'm a truth seeker. I've got a missing gun and two confused kids on my hands, pieces of the puzzle. And I'm gonna look at all the pieces carefully and rationally. And I'm gonna keep looking until I know exactly how this is all your fault." .

    I love that this episode addresses Buffy's simmering guilt — not just about what happened to Jenny, but a guilt she's been carrying since "Innocence", since the beginning: guilt that her choices, that the sex she personally initiated, lead to what she perceives as Angel's erasure. And it doesn't matter how irrational that guilt is because it's still very REAL. Buffy feels responsible and it was important for her to have that conversation and be confronted with James who is actually responsible and yet was forgiven anyway as an act of compassion.

  48. ajaxbreaker says:

    Rewatched this episode last night for the first time in years and it was a lot better than I remembered. So many things to like:

    -Svefg zragvba bs gur Znlbe. Orfg Ohssl ivyynva rire, l/l?
    -SMG's acting during the scene with Angel is lovely.
    -The actress playing Grace will always be for me the film critic with the extremely poor taste who seduces Dawson Leery. Blech.
    -Love how Giles is slowly becoming a mentor and father figure to Buffy. Very nice lesson about forgiveness being a matter of compassion, not justice. Also love that Buffy takes the lesson to heart.
    -Giles wanting to talk to Jenny ALL THE SAD FACES
    -Why no Oz? 🙁
    -James Marsters looks so young in these episodes. What a beautiful man.

    • zl snibhevgr ivyynvaf ner fcvxr va frnfba gjb (bu zna, ur'f fb zhpu raretl naq sha – V pbhyq jngpu uvz nyy qnl. Rfcrpvnyyl va gur ortvaavat bs gur frnfba jura ur xvyyf gur naabvagrq bar naq vf whfg fcrpgnphyne). Naq nf lbh fnvq, whfg qnza tbbq ybbxvat.
      Naq va frnfba 6 Qnex-Jvyybj be, va n jnl, whfg yvsr gung vf uneg naq fbzrgvzrf fhpxf. V yvxrq gung.

      Gur znlbe jnf n tbbq ivyynvaf nf ivyynvaf tb, ohg arire ernyyl rkvgvat gb zr…

  49. lawrence_s says:

    The only thing I really can't get behind in this episode, and it's really a relatively minor gripe because this is a brilliant (and underrated!) episode, is Willow's use of the phrase 'final solution'. I mean, really? That's not exactly something a Jewish person would say in any context other than discussing actual historical events. She could have set up Xander's "Nuke the school?" line with almost anything else.

    I'm not even really offended by the line so much as I think it's out of character, and I find it jarring. The writers should have known better.

    Otherwise, I really like this episode, though for some reason I always seem to forget it's there. I guess there are just so many others I like even more.

  50. theduck says:

    Today's Badly Translated episode name:

    Original text:
    "I Only Have Eyes For You"
    …35 translations later Bing gives us:
    "Simply does not exist."

    Ugh, I hate exams. I NEVER HAVE TIME TO DO RE-WATCHES ANYMORE. That makes me sad, especially since this episode is my second all-time favorite Buffy episode. The ending with Buffy and Angel being possessed by the spirits (especially the fact that the roles are reversed from what you'd expect) is so awesome and meaningful and well-written that I remember it perfectly, even though I forget nearly every other part of this episode. All I know is IT'S AWESOME.

  51. t09yavosaur says:

    -I do not see how it is appropriate for a guy to ask a girl to ask him to a Sadie Hawkins dance. Especially if it is the first time he is ever talking to her.
    -Hmmm, ghost? Invisible person?
    -Jenny had lesson plans on her computer that survived it crashing to the floor? But not the spell?
    -Ah, the New Deal. I became an expert on that in high school.
    -Time travel?
    -Christopher Gorham is that you!?!?! Auggie!!!
    -Nobody better be getting possessed. Don't you do it, poltergeist!
    -Murder suicide?
    -Your face is looking better Spike, I am sure you will be up and beating up Angelus in no time.
    -I had this thought earlier, wouldn't it be interesting if Joss had it so the girl is the one who did the murdering and the ghosts are possessing the opposite genders instead? Buffy's hostility toward the dead guy is kind of confirming this in my mind. Time to wait and see.
    -Why does the poltergeist on the television show that aired 14 years ago not listen to me?
    -Well, I was kinda right.
    -I love Boreanez's posture while he is possessed.
    -Cordelia and Xander both hate school.
    -Where is Sunshine the Puppy? This is a large oversight.
    -Yursh! Spike!!

  52. @Ivana2804 says:

    "Even though Buffy is not a serialized show…"
    I think it *is*.

    This is one of my all-time favorite BtVS episodes. I bawl my eyes every time I watch it.

    Like others have said, it's not so much about Buffy forgiving Angel but about Buffy forgiving herself. That's the twist in the episode, together with the wonderful gender reversal. Marti Noxon has said that the ghosts were really a metaphor for repentance and second chances.

    In the opening scene at the Bronze, we learned that Buffy was feeling guilty for her „impulsive“ decision to sleep with Angel, which is why she told a boy who asked her to the dance (or asked her to ask him to the dance, missing the entire point of the event) that she won’t ever date anyone again (!), scared of what disasters she might cause if she continues to make impulsive decisions in her love life. We are first lead to believe that James's ghost will always possess men and Grace's ghost women, and all the characters keep assuming that throughout the episode. They keep expecting that James will need a man to possess even after they realize that Buffy isn’t angry at James just because it reminds of the abuse she's suffering from Angel(us) – but that she’s so harsh and unforgiving of James because she’s identifying with him. She relates to James because she feels tremendous guilt for „destroying“ the person she loves, costing him his soul. Of course, rationally and objectively speaking, Buffy isn’t guilty of anything and her action of sleeping with Angel is no way comparable to what James did. She had no way of knowing about his curse, and if anyone should have found the time to research it, it was Angel himself during those 100 years he spent wandering around; not to mention that Angel is, of course, an adult who made the decision to have sex with Buffy. But none of this matters to Buffy, all it matters is how she feels about it deep inside.

    There is another reason why the parallel makes perfect sense: James/Grace and Buffy/Angel were both 'forbidden', transgressive relationships that were inappropriate in the eyes of the world, between a teenager and a much older person, in the former case she was his teacher, and in the latter, Angel is a 240-old vampire. And this is what makes the story of James and Grace a bit more complicated from the moral standpoint: even though none of the characters ever comment on it, he was the murderer, but he was also a teenage boy, in a relationship with a teacher; it’s not just the society in the 1950s that would have had a problem with their relationship, nowadays a teacher like Grace would also lose her job at best, if not, depending on what James’s age was, go to prison for statutory rape. Of course, Buffy never thinks in those terms, and how could she, when she also doesn’t see herself as a kid and doesn’t think that Angel did anything wrong by being in a relationship with her (the one time she called him a cradle-snatcher, it was a joke). Giles and the other Scoobies don’t see the James/Grace relationship in these terms, but neither did they see the Buffy/Angel relationship like that; the only one who had a problem with it because of the age difference was Joyce (who, ironically, had no idea just how big that age difference is). The show never took an overt judgmental stance either. The B/A pairing doesn’t seem like a typical May/December romance since Angel looks like a 20-something, but also because Buffy is a strong, smart and precocious teenager with a lot of responsibility. Besides, while don’t know much about Grace and her life and circumstances, but Angel seems to be in some ways an emotional adolescent despite his hundreds of years of experience. On the other hand, the age difference between him and Buffy was still emphasized lots of times, especially the times when he would assume the role of a „wise experienced older men“ and patronize Buffy (Reptile Boy, Lie to Me). In that context, it’s fitting that the last words James says to Grace before he shoots her – and that Buffy gets to replay – were „Don’t do that! Don’t talk to me like I’m some stupid…“ The missing word was obviously „kid“.

    • @Ivana2804 says:

      The song „I Only Have Eyes For You“ by the Flamingos that James and Grace dance to in one of the flashbacks and that James plays in the music room just before he kills himself is about obsessive love – it's one of those oldies that sounds beautiful and romantic but may also sound haunting and also really disturbing: "My love must be some kind of blind love, I can't see anything but you".

      A powerful infatuation/romantic obsession that makes you blind to the reality. This is often what teenagers are like when they fall intensely in love for the first time, even if most of them don’t take it as far as James did: at that age, you cannot imagine they will ever fall out of love with that person or in love with someone else, you believe that the love you’re feeling is One True Love that is going to last forever (James’s words moments before he shoots Grace: „Love is forever!“). On the other hand, Grace and Angel were older and more mature people who were aware that their relationship with a teenager was inappropriate, maybe they should have known better, but they still couldn't help falling as hard. Grace was a rather young teacher, but she was still an adult and in position of authority – though she didn’t seem to be abusing in order to show special preference to James. However, no matter how precocious, intellectually and physically and even emotionally mature teenagers may be, they still tend to be volatile and to feel everything too intensely, to see everything in life-and-death terms.

      There is a parallel between Angel(us) and Grace because he is fighting against feeling that love (but for completely different reasons from those that make him feel it's wrong while he's souled) – at the end of the episode, he feels really disturbed for having felt love when Grace's ghost possessed him. Naq V guvax guvf vf jung cerpvcvgngrf uvf qrpvfvba gb qrfgebl uhznavgl, fbzrguvat gung ur arire frrzrq xrra ba qbvat ba nyy uvf 100+ lrnef nf na rivy fbhyyrff inzcver. V qba’g gur ceboyrz vf whfg gung ur sryg Tenpr'f ybir, ohg gung ur erzrzoref jung ur jnf yvxr jura ur unq n fbhy naq ybirq ure, naq jvgubhg n fbhy ur fgvyy pna'g yrg tb bs uvf bofrffvba sbe Ohssl, bayl abj vg'f ghearq gb ungr rknpgyl orpnhfr ur ungrf gung ur hfrq gb ybir ure fb zhpu naq gung fur znqr uvz srry uhzna. Ohg ab znggre ubj zhpu ur gevrq gb uheg Ohssl va inevbhf jnlf, va gur raq ur pna'g ernyyl trg evq bs gung srryvat pbzcyrgryl naq or serr bs ure hayrff ur qrfgeblf uhznavgl pbzcyrgryl.

      Best scene of the episode is, no doubt, the powerful scene in which Buffy and Angel replay the James/Grace murder/suicide and allow the ghosts their resolution, forgiveness and peace. (The name Grace was probably not accidentally chosen.)

      So many lines in that scene get a new meaning in the context of B/A, as when James/Buffy exclaims: "A person doesn't just wake up and stop loving somebody!" Gurer’f n rabezbhf nzbhag bs sberfunqbjvat abg whfg bs Orpbzvat VV (jurer Ohssl qbrf „xvyy“ Natry, ohg Natry jvyy nyfb pbzr onpx nsgre orvat frag gb uryy, juvpu jvyy nyybj Ohssl gb fgneg sbetvivat urefrys) ohg nyfb Natry oernxvat hc jvgu Ohssl va Gur Cebz (gur rcvfbqrf unq gur fnzr jevgre, fb znlor gur ynggre jnf vagragvbanyyl rpubvat VBURSL). Gur guvatf gung Tenpr (guebhtu Natry) fnlf gb Wnzrf (Ohssl) nf gb jul fur raqrq gurve eryngvbafuvc ner rknpgyl gur ernfbaf jul Natry yrnirf Ohssl ng gur raq bs F3: "V whfg jnag lbh gb or noyr gb unir fbzr fbeg bs abezny yvsr. Jr pna arire unir gung, qba'g lbh frr?" Wnzrf lryyf "V qba'g tvir n qnza nobhg abezny yvsr!" juvpu vf cerggl zhpu gur fnzr pbairefngvba Natry naq Ohssl jvyy unir va Gur Cebz. Wnzrf qrznaqf bs Tenpr gb gryy uvz fur qbrfa’g ybir uvz, juvpu fur znantrf gb qb rira gubhtu fur’f ylvat; Ohssl jvyy nfx gur fnzr bs Natry va Ybiref Jnyx ohg ur jba’g or noyr gb qb vg; va Gur Cebz, fur nfxf uvz gb gryy ure ur qbrfa’g jnag gb or jvgu ure, naq ur qbrf.

      I’m really impressed with SMG’s acting as James, this is one of the most powerful performances. And how can one not love seeing Buffy yell at Angel: „(Don’t walk away from me), BITCH!" 😀

      • @Ivana2804 says:

        The episode also shows just how much Giles is missing Jenny – to the point that he’s desperately trying to believe that the poltergeist is her ghost, despite all the disturbing things it’s causing, until he finally accepts the fact that it can’t be her.

        Willow, Xander and Cordelia have rather small roles in this episode. We do, however, see hints that Willow’s life is changing a lot for the better – she’s obviously happy in love, she likes being a substitute teacher of computer science and feels more confident, she’s starting to feel ’cool’, even making the students laugh at her jokes, and she’s getting interested in magic and paganism that Jenny was into. Xander and Cordy are just comic relief – and in this case it really should be called „much needed comic relief“. Cordy is still a spokesperson for anti-feminist views, shocked that there is an event where women have to ask men out and pay for everything (it’s the latter that seems to really be bothering her), and Xander goes along saying that the event must have been invented by some „hairy-legged feminist“, which is ironic since the origin of the Sadie Hawkins dance has nothing to do with feminism, and it’s poking fun at the stereotypes, while being a reminder that, while the show and its creator may be feminist, many of the main characters aren’t, especially at this point.

        But the best comic relief comes from Snyder, who returns in all his „glory“ after haven’t been seen since What’s My Line I. We learn that Snyder, at least a part of the police force and the mayor all know that the town lies on the Hellmouth, and that Snyder has been hired to keep that a secret from the majority of the town’s population. Vg’f gur svefg gvzr gung gur Znlbe vf zragvbarq, gubhtu abg ol anzr – fb sne jr whfg xabj ur’f va ba vg, naq gung Falqre vf nsenvq bs uvz.

        Has anyone done a body count for teachers and students of Sunnydale High? The unfortunate teacher possessed by Grace’s ghost who got shot by the possessed janitor she barely knew, who got is at least third teacher to die violently on the show (after the biology teacher eaten by the praying mantis in Teacher’s Pet and Jenny), not to mention the principal eaten by his students, err by ’dogs’, and the ’teacher’ who was actually the praying mantis… You’d think they’d figure out by now that Sunnydale High is not a safe workplace. Snyder must be really doing an amazing cover-up job.

        Natry’f znafvba vf nyfb vagebqhprq va guvf rcvfbqr – ur tbg vg (jr qba’g xabj ubj rknpgyl) nsgre gur snpgbel jnf ohearq qbja, naq vg’f gur cynpr jurer ur, Fcvxr naq Qeh jvyy yvir gb gur raq bs frnfba 2 naq nyfb gur cynpr jurer ur’yy yvir va frnfba 3.

        The Angel/Dru/Spike triangle is escalating – Dru is now openly flirting with Angel and enjoying the way he’s touching her, right in front of Spike. She doesn’t seem to have the same views of love and fidelity that most humans do, and she’s like a self-centered child, preoccupied with her needs and whims; she’s still calling Spike to come to hunt with them: „Are you coming, pet“ but doesn’t seem to notice or care that Spike’s face shows that he’s really hurt by her behavior. Dru is mostly in her own world that others like Spike and Angel are only tangentially touching, Spike with his romantic Ivpgbevna gestures and Angel with his more animalistic way he connects to her. Spike, on his part, doesn’t seem to think of Dru as an adult who can be blamed for her actions. She’s his beautiful princess/little girl he buys necklaces and pretty dresses for (gurer’f fgvyy n ybg bs n Ivpgbevna zna va uvz, naq vg f ubjf va uvf eryngvbafuvc jvgu Qeh; whfg ubj qvssrerag uvf eryngvbafuvc jvgu n Ohssl jvyy or!). Drusilla’s cheating isn’t something Spike is going to have a talk about with her, he just seems to have a beef with Angel over it (naq nf jr’yy frr va Orpbzvat, uvf fbyhgvba vf gb erzbir uvf eviny naq pbyyrpg Qeh, ubjrire fur znl srry nobhg vg). It’s all about their rivalry, and Angel seems to have the upper hand now – Spike’s barbs aren’t hitting the mark anymore because Angel knows that what he’s doing with Dru is hurting Spike much more.

        Which is a good introduction to the surprise twist at the end, which must have made a lot of viewers cheer – I sure was delighted the first time I watched it. It was high time for Spike to get out of that wheelchair and be a force in the story again.

        • @Ivana2804 says:

          Best line:
          Xander: "Something weird is going on." Isn't that our school motto?

          Funniest lines:
          Principal Snyder: People can be coerced, Summers. I'm no stranger to conspiracy. I saw JFK. I'm a truth seeker. I've got a missing gun and two confused kids on my hands; pieces of the puzzle. And I'm gonna look at all the pieces carefully and rationally, and I'm gonna keep looking until I know exactly how this is all your fault.
          Secretary (on the intercom): Mr. Snyder, Billy Crandal chained himself to the snack machine again.
          Snyder: Pathetic little no-life vegan.

          Most meaningful lines:
          Giles: To forgive is an act of compassion, Buffy. It's not done because people deserve it. It's done because they need it.

          VBURSL frgf gur fgntr cresrpgyl sbe gur gjb-cneg svanyr. Gbb onq gung Orpbzvat V/VV qbrfa’g sbyybj evtug sebz gurer, naq gung Tb Svfu vf cynprq va orgjrra.

        • robin_comments says:

          fyi check your post, there's a spoiler in there 🙂
          whfg ubj qvssrerag uvf eryngvbafuvc jvgu n Ohssl jvyy or

        • _Bailey_ says:

          Lbh fubhyq tb onpx naq ebg13 lbhe pbzzragf nobhg Fcvxr orvat Ivpgbevna. Ynfg jr urneq bs uvf onpxtebhaq jnf Tvyrf ernqvat sebz n obbx gung ur jnf "oneryl 200" juvpu jbhyq znxr uvz byqre guna Ivpgbevna (Ivpgbevn qvqa'g gnxr gur guebar hagvy 1837, juvpu, vs Tvyrf'f obbx jnf pbeerpg, jbhyq nyernql unir uvz or n inzcver naq gurersber pnevat yvggyr nobhg fbpvny phfgbzf) naq jr qba'g svaq bhg gur qngr bs uvf npghny gheavat hagvy "Sbby Sbe Ybir" va Frnfba 5.

      • James says:

        Ohg ab znggre ubj zhpu ur gevrq gb uheg Ohssl va inevbhf jnlf, va gur raq ur pna'g ernyyl trg evq bs gung srryvat pbzcyrgryl naq or serr bs ure hayrff ur qrfgeblf uhznavgl pbzcyrgryl.

        Bu, qhqr, V unq arire znqr gung pbaarpgvba naq orra noyr gb svther jul ur'q fhqqrayl jnag gb raq gur jbeyq, ohg gung znxrf fb zhpu frafr. Njrfbzr pbzzragf.

      • PheasantPlucker says:

        "Naq V guvax guvf vf jung cerpvcvgngrf uvf qrpvfvba gb qrfgebl uhznavgl, fbzrguvat gung ur arire frrzrq xrra ba qbvat ba nyy uvf 100+ lrnef nf na rivy fbhyyrff inzcver. V qba’g gur ceboyrz vf whfg gung ur sryg Tenpr'f ybir, ohg gung ur erzrzoref jung ur jnf yvxr jura ur unq n fbhy naq ybirq ure, naq jvgubhg n fbhy ur fgvyy pna'g yrg tb bs uvf bofrffvba sbe Ohssl, bayl abj vg'f ghearq gb ungr rknpgyl orpnhfr ur ungrf gung ur hfrq gb ybir ure fb zhpu naq gung fur znqr uvz srry uhzna. Ohg ab znggre ubj zhpu ur gevrq gb uheg Ohssl va inevbhf jnlf, va gur raq ur pna'g ernyyl trg evq bs gung srryvat pbzcyrgryl naq or serr bs ure hayrff ur qrfgeblf uhznavgl pbzcyrgryl."

        I completely agree 🙂

    • notemily says:

      Besides, while don’t know much about Grace and her life and circumstances, but Angel seems to be in some ways an emotional adolescent despite his hundreds of years of experience. On the other hand, the age difference between him and Buffy was still emphasized lots of times, especially the times when he would assume the role of a „wise experienced older men“ and patronize Buffy (Reptile Boy, Lie to Me). In that context, it’s fitting that the last words James says to Grace before he shoots her – and that Buffy gets to replay – were „Don’t do that! Don’t talk to me like I’m some stupid…“ The missing word was obviously „kid“.

      Love this. I feel like our comments are eerily similar 😀

  53. Ginsue says:

    "when Angelus stepped up behind Buffy inside of the school, I just smacked my forehead. I didn’t see it coming at all, and then I realized what a brilliant choice this was. To then have the roles reversed – with Buffy playing James instead of Grace –"~ Mark

    Really? I saw the Angel/Buffy parallels back when the janitor and the teacher argued. I also figured that Angel would be the only one stalking Buffy, even when she is possessed, so he would naturally be at school. You just need a more heightened sense of suspicion towards Angel. Then again, I miss a lot of stuff that gets mentioned in these reviews. I feel proud that I guessed what would happen, except I did not guess the roles. That took me by surprise, too.

    This show needs more Jenny. Oh right, Angel killed her!

    With Jenny gone, I think I am latching more onto Giles. The one scene that really just hit me was when he rescued Willow and she looked him straight in the eye and said, "Jenny could never be this mean," and that was all the affirmation he needed. He wanted another chance with Jenny because her death was unfair, and on that subject, I refuse to forgive Angel.

    I am worried because the writers still found a way to get Buffy and Angel to kiss in this episode, and I do not even want to think of it.

    Back to the characters I love. This is unusual. I adore Spike. Usually with charismatic villains, I believe they are overrated. Before, it was hard for me to avoid Spike icons or Spike fans on the internet, and I did not think much of it. "Oh, that villain from Buffy? Ladies sure like their dark, unattainable types. Put any man in leather pants and he will be a hit with fans." Now that I am watching Buffy, and actually know his character, I understand. I find it interesting that even in a position of less power, he can be witty and engaging. He does not even have what I would call manners. I just enjoy that he engages everyone he talks with, even Angel, and he changes his tactics with different people. With some topics, like the Slayer, he is direct. Everyone knows he means to kill her, and he makes no bones about it with others, no need to beat around the bush. With Angel, he engages him on a separate level. He knows that Angel thinks he has the advantage over Spike, so Spike acts the part, a little terse, a little resigned, and waiting. As a viewer, I was completely surprised when he stood up, so I know Angel will be surprised too. Oh, wait, the episode, "Surprise," was last week.

    • robin_comments says:

      Spike definitely grew on me in a big way while S2 aired. First you just enjoy his iconoclastic attitude and witty banter. And then having him be a victim of Angel's psychological attacks as well as Buffy (this person that Spike had thought he missed), I think a significant part of the audience begins to empathize with him… because we already resent so much seeing that behavior directed towards our heroine.

      And it's a wonderful reversal of audience expectations, because we all expected Spike to be the big scary adversary of the season who Buffy will fight with loyal boyfriend Angel on her side, and then at the end of this episode some viewers actually start rooting for Spike, wanting him to get vengeance. You're cheering him on when he stands.

      • Ginsue says:

        Yes! I am also routing for him against Angel. There has to be a fight between them, or a threeway fight between Angel, Buffy, and Spike. I need to watch the next episode now!

      • Bonnie says:

        Also, he's pretty.
        /is shallow

        • spikesjojo says:

          He's beyond pretty – those cheekbones! But it's his wit, and his insight, and the fact that this supposed unsouled demon wears his emotions so close to the surface that got me. I actually became a fan of the show (another latecomer here) because I so enjoyed the interactions between Spike and the various characters. Of course, I spread out to other favorites as time passed – but he's still my favorite.

    • Rebcake says:

      Spike does not wear…leather pants. His appeal transcends pants. 😉 I'm happy that you're enjoying getting to know him. Surprise!

  54. enigmaticagentscully says:

    Incidentally, I got through watching 'Passion' with both my dad and my sister today. I was actually doing OK until my sister turned to me after the episode was over and said, 'Oh Alice, your OTP!' This kind of made me lose it.

    My sister gets me a little too well sometimes.

    On a random note, every time someone uses 'SMG', I don't think 'Sarah Michelle Gellar', I think 'Sub-Machine Gun'.

  55. tigerpetals says:

    Huh. I always thought it was that Buffy had trouble forgiving herself. Buffy 'killed' Angel, or at least she carries the guilt, and she also carries the guilt of the deaths he's caused. I've always seen her as not being able to forgive herself for this, and Angel isn't there to forgive her. Of course the others don't hold it against her at all, but she still keeps it inside. I don't know whether she hates him – or if she does, because she blames herself, I think that redirects toward her – remember her line, that James would just have to live with it after killing the person he loved most in a fit of passion? That fits Buffy more than Angel in my opinion,.

    Gung'f nyfb cneg bs jul va Orpbzvat fur'f fb rnfvyl sbbyrq vagb gur fnzr guvat fur jnf va Jura Fur Jnf Onq. Gur oheqra bs xvyyvat Natry vf fb urnil ba ure abj gung fur jvyy whfg sbphf ba vg naq abg guvax engvbanyyl nobhg ubj fvzvyne gur synzvat gryrtenz vf gb gur zrffntr gung yherq ure bhg va gur cvybg. Jryy, guvf naq ubj vg'f orra rfgnoyvfurq gung Natry *jnf* nyy nobhg Ohssl hagvy gur Npnguyn guvat.

    I'm glad we got a Jenny Calendar episode. She's not really here, but the weight of her absence is present. And hopefully it has helped Giles get a little closure.

    • tigerpetals says:

      And, I may be imagining this, but there are some elements of the B/A love theme in the music when Buffy's talking about forgiveness. Or just right when she leaves.

      It's also foreshadowed when Willow tells Buffy early in the episode that it's not her fault Angel as she knew him was gone.

      Arngyl, Natry vf nyfb va gur Tenpr cbfvgvba qhevat gur Cebz, qbja gb fnlvat ur qbrfa'g jnag n yvsr jvgu Ohssl.

  56. Andie says:

    This will forever be one of my favourite episodes. It makes me cry every time.

  57. Smurphy says:

    Bwah. I did this earlier and I forgot how to embed videos… d'oh. Use the embed video button silly. Anyway I should be making dinner for the girl I'm nannying right now. Getting this song stuck in my head was the only good thing about this episode… Oh and seeing Buffy and Angel kiss again… such a powerful scene.

    [youtube dpzQWztuXow youtube]

  58. notemily says:

    Typing this up in advance, hoping I can post it on my break at work so it won’t be buried TOO far down in the comments. Argh, I hate when my favorite episodes fall on the day that I have to be at work RIGHT when the review goes up!

    I find myself needing to write a more substantial comment than usual because I have ALL OF THE FEELS about this episode. It's one of my all-time favorites in all seven seasons. It manages to be both a monster-of-the-week episode AND completely connected to the larger plot arc, which I love. And it's all about emotional closure. *flail*

    First of all can I just say what a fantastic song they picked to structure this episode around? Not only are the lyrics kind of creepy–one of those songs that could either be romantic or about stalking–but the song itself sounds so… haunting, no pun intended. I don't know anything about musical terms, but I think it's in a minor key? Anyway, it's kind of mournful and melancholy in the way 50s music sometimes was, and it's perfect.

    This episode is when we get the real emotional fallout from Jenny's death. Giles, who is usually the voice of reason, is convinced that she's the ghost. He wants so badly to see her again, even in ghost form, that he can't see how unlikely it is until after the exorcism attempt. This, in turn, causes Buffy to feel even more guilt about Angel. She feels responsible for Ms. Calendar's death, "just a little more fallout from my love life." She feels so guilty about what happened with her and Angel that she can't even consider dating anyone, even when a cute guy asks her (or asks her to ask him, heh) to the Sadie Hawkins dance.

    The parallels between Buffy's situation and James's are so well set-up. As soon as the Scoobies figure out whose ghost they're fighting, Buffy has an instant, vehement dislike of James and what he did. "He couldn't make her love him, so he killed her. Sicko." And yet, she's the one with the most insight into his psyche. At the scene at Buffy's house after the exorcism attempt, Buffy realizes that what James wants is forgiveness–but she doesn't think he deserves it. And when she makes her speech about James "destroying the one person he loved most in a moment of blind passion," we realize that the person she is unable to forgive is herself.

    Throughout the episode, everyone assumes that every time the possession scenario plays out, the man will be possessed by James and the woman by Grace. Buffy says "We need to shut him down before some other innocent guy goes and kills some poor nice girl and then blows his brains out all over the music room wall." Giles says "the good news, is, none of you girls were shot," and then later "there's no man inside for him to possess." But the episode is structured around the Sadie Hawkins dance, when traditional gender roles are reversed and the girls ask the guys out. A clue, maybe, to the fact that Buffy will be the one in James's place in the end.

    • notemily says:

      And then we finally get to see Buffy and Angel act out the scene that's been playing over and over in this episode, and they knock it right out of the park. Every line takes on new meaning, and their acting is phenomenal. (Joss says this episode is what convinced him that Boreanaz could carry his own show.)

      Angel/Grace: I just want you to be able to have some kind of normal life. We can never have that, don't you see? Angel, like Grace Newman, is the older person in the couple, and the one that sees all the problems with their relationship and knows it can't last.
      Buffy/James: I don't give a damn about a normal life! I'm going crazy not seeing you. I think about you every minute. Buffy has always wanted to be with Angel, even if it meant not being a "normal" teenager, because she loved him so much.

      Buffy/James: A person doesn't just wake up and stop loving somebody! Buffy can't deal with the fact that Angel is suddenly a different person, one who doesn't love her and lacks the capacity to love at all.

      This is the first time we see the entire scene, and we finally see that James didn't mean to shoot Grace–it was an accident. Just as Buffy causing Angel to lose his soul was an accident. All she wanted to do was love him, and instead she "killed" him–the good Angel, that is. And now he's gone.

      But instead of the scenario playing out as usual, Angel's vampire physiology means that being shot doesn't kill him. Just as Buffy is about to shoot herself to re-enact James's death, Angel comes back. And Grace, through Angel, is able to tell James-as-Buffy that the shooting was an accident, that she never stopped loving him and never blamed him for what happened. And maybe Angel, the good/souled Angel, would say the same to Buffy, if he could. I think he would.

      In the end, Grace and James are able to move on, to find closure and go into the light. But for Buffy, things aren't that easy. She still doesn't understand how Grace could forgive James for what happened, because she's still having trouble forgiving herself. And she still has Angel to worry about. She still has to work up the courage and strength to be able to kill him. Still, maybe it will be a little easier now.

      Leftover thoughts:

      – What happened to the poor janitor? Did he go to jail for killing a woman with a ghost gun? Are we just supposed to not care because he's not a main character?
      – Speaking of jail, Buffy, prison rape jokes are never okay. Rape is not an acceptable punishment for any crime. Ever.
      – Snyder trying to figure out what to say about the snakes in the cafeteria: we learn that he was deliberately placed in the role of Sunnydale's principal, partly TO cover things like this up. ("The city council was told that you could handle this job.") He's got some pressure from the higher-ups to do this job right, and if he can't, you get the sense Very Bad Things will happen.
      – One of my favorite Xander moments: "I defined something? Accurately? Guess I'm done with the book-learnin'!" Hee.
      – Normally I hate the "person in a wheelchair CAN SECRETLY WALK" thing, but that's when it's used as a "faking disability" trope. This time, it's more like "healed sooner than you think," which is OK with me.
      – I was looking at imdb to see if the janitor was in other episodes and OH MY GOD JAMES IS AUGGIE ANDERSON. I had SUCH a crush on him during the time when I still had cable and was able to watch Covert Affairs. So much disability fail in that show, but damn, Auggie was scrumptious.

      • enigmaticagentscully says:

        WASPS. Why do they need to exist?

      • kelseyofcake says:

        I love this comment and want to marry it. All of your points about this episode are great, especially that parallels between Buffy/James and Angel/Grace. Also, didn't realize that the Sadie Hawkins thing was a clue. Good catch.

    • nanceoir says:

      Your comments about the song got me thinking. The original song (from a 1934 Warner Bros. musical) isn't something I find particularly haunting, but the version they use in the show (which I discovered in my reading to be anachronistic — that version was released in 1959) really changes the tone of the song because of the arrangement. I don't think the arrangement changes the fundamentals of the song — it may be in a different key, but I think it's still a major one — but it certainly gives it a much less chipper vibe than that first version. And it really makes me appreciate the magic that is a good arrangement of a song; it can completely change the song's meaning.

      I like what this brief analysis of the song has to say about combination of the conversational lyrics and the more urgent melody.

      I'm not sure I have a point, actually, but I thought it was interesting enough to share.

  59. rabbitape says:

    Agreement noted!

  60. Danny_SAP says:

    Wasps are devil bees.

  61. threerings13 says:

    This is one of my favorite episodes of Buffy. It's 1) a really good ghost story, 2) and excellent MOTW episode, 3) continues emotional continuity with the season arch, and 4)just really well written, period. I think both SMG and DB do a really good job being possessed.

    Although this IS an episode I have Thoughts about, pretty much everyone has covered them.

  62. shoroko says:

    I don't have a lot of time generally this week, but I did want to comment because this is probably one of my favorite episodes in the show. I fell into all the red herrings and narrative traps when watching it the first time, which it makes watching it again even better, as you see all the instances where the connection between James and Buffy is clear. The fact that she's so focused on him from the start, and actually takes little notice of Grace's part, is hugely indicative of where the story is going, and yet it's so easy to fall into an expectation of how things will go based solely on the characters' genders. I did anticipate that it would be Buffy and Angel filling the roles, but still didn't manage to piece together what would happen, and I've always really loved it.

    I also really like the way the title of the epiode twists the romantic notion into something sinister. Ohssl qbrf guvf n ybg, jvgu zl crefbany snibevgr orvat "V Jnf Znqr gb Ybir Lbh." Rira jvgubhg vg vzzrqvngryl cerprqvat "Gur Obql," gung bar nyjnlf znantrf gb trg zr cerggl.

  63. Lina says:

    I have been looking so forward to your review of this episode. This episode is one that resonates with me. I remember when I first watched I was so bored at the beginning thinking it was a filler episode and by the end I had tears watching the scenes between SMG and DB. So emotional. Having them switch roles in my mind was a brilliant twist and I for one didn’t see it coming. (For the record, I am usually pretty good at figuring things out). This is still by far my favorite season and by far one of my favorite episodes.

  64. Inseriousity. says:

    everyone's said everything decent to say so I will just lololol at the teacher writing something completely different on the blackboard. At school, we used to play 'spot the errors' cos we were geeks who had nothing better to do. I suppose this isn't so much a typo though, more a possessed-by-ghost-to-write-something-else mistake instead 😀

  65. John says:

    I've been seeing everyone's comments lately about how they're never going to forgive Angel, even though they know he's Angelus at this point. I get it. And I was waiting for this episode to throw everyone for a loop.

    It's true that Buffy hasn't forgiven Angel(us) in this episode. But the events here really make her think about the nature of forgiveness. I wonder if the viewers, too, will think about it when it comes to possibly forgiving a character? Can Angel ever be redeemed? Could it ever work out somehow?

    Cordelia was great in this episode as she lit the candle. Someone should make a GIF if they haven't already.

  66. WhiteEyedCat says:

    I HAVE NEVER SEEN THIS BUFFY EPISODE BEFORE EITHER. Sheesh, my season 2 disks must be more messed up than I realised. This is so shocking, I can't believe that there were two BtVS episodes that I'd never seen! V fgnegrq guvf rcvfbqr rkcrpgvat Knaqre va n Fcrrqb naq vafgrnq V trg GUVF? Na nznmvat naq rzbgvbany rcvfbqr jvgu n terng fgbel?

    Anyway, I love this episode, it is fantastic. As everybody has already said, that scene where Angelus and Buffy live through James and Grace's final moments is perfect. I was completely convinced that the ghost was going to turn out to be a vengeful Grace though, after Buffy was 100% positive that it was James.

    I love what Joss has done with Spike in this season, comparing his first few episodes with this episode is incredible. He was a great villain, and completely in control, seeming perfectly set up to be the season's big bad. But suddenly Angelus comes along and Spike is injured, and the audience feels pity for Spike!? It's strange that the audience is placed on Spike's side in this situation. Spike is the kind of villain that you love to hate, or just love, while Angelus is the villain that you despise!

    Also, Willow is great in this episode, I love that in a way Jenny is still teaching her, or at least guiding her to learn with her notes on magic.

    • Rayne says:

      I'm actually jealous that you got new-to-you episodes! That would be quite a treat!

    • t09yavosaur says:

      "I was completely convinced that the ghost was going to turn out to be a vengeful Grace though, after Buffy was 100% positive that it was James."

      I thought the same! Even after there were clues to the truth.

  67. fantasylover120 says:

    This is one of my favorite eps from Season 2 and everyone has basically covered why so I won't repeat. But seriously, this is one of the best uses of ghosts/paranormal stuff that I've seen on TV.
    Daily Buffy Quotable:
    "I pretty much repress anything math related."-Buffy (you too, B?)
    "You stink of lies."-Snyder
    "Something wierd is going on. Isn't that pretty much our school motto?"-Xander
    "I defined something? Accurately? Guess I'm done with the book learning."-Xander
    "You should never cow to authority. Except in this case where I am clearly right and you are clearly wrong."-Giles
    "Nuke the school. I like that plan."-Xander
    "I saw that movie! Even the priest died."-Cordelia
    "Okay, over-identify much?"-Cordelia
    Cordelia: School can open again tomorrow. Xander: Explain to me again how that's a good thing? Cordelia: I'm drawing a blank.

  68. kelseyofcake says:

    -How many times am I going to say “Poor Buffy” throughout this whole series rewatch?
    -I don't think she should be pressured into dating right now, Willow. I think she should decide when she's ready by herself.
    -This reminds me, when was the last time we saw Oz? Was Seth Green busy with something around this time?
    -Well that was unsettling.
    -Snyder, how can I hate you and love you at the same time?
    -”You stink of lies.” I want to steal this phrase. Actually, anyone have a gif of him saying that?
    -No, this is not me getting misty eyed over a piece of rose quartz, nope.
    -”Chalkboard turrets” no.
    -That was the locker having enough of your bullshit, Xander.
    -Whoever this kid was, was gross.
    -"Jenny?" Oh no, Giles.
    -Holy shit!
    -I remember this place. Hurray for a change in scenery for our villains.
    -Poor Giles. 🙁 He's so desperate to see Jenny…
    -I'm with Buffy on this. Dude was gross, judging by what he said after she tried to break it off. And why would he have a gun!?
    -'Hairy-legged feminist” Xander, if was Buffy, I would have smacked you.
    -What do the snakes have to do with anything?
    -Ooooh, I thought they didn't reveal that Snyder knew about the Hellmouth until later! So now it's clear that, yes, the authorities help hush things up in Sunnydale.
    -”Sooner or later, they're gonna figure that out.” Yeah I'm not so sure. Also, fhecevfrq oh gur zragvba bs gur znlbe urer. Ntnva, jnfa'g rkcrpgvat gung fb fbba.
    -Observation, Dru is a lot of fun when she tries to dance.
    -Stop making me sad, Giles.
    -No really, what is with the snakes?
    -I don't like quick-sandy things either!
    -I guess this means the scapula weren't that effective?
    -Oh dear, Buffy. Stop. This show fills me with such a huge desire to reach through the screen and hug people.
    -Can we please no have the buzzing sound effect?
    -Who else almost feels a shiver when Angelus' voice comes out of nowhere? Or am I the only one scared of him?
    -Those were wasps? Even more dislike.
    -Role switch plot twist!
    -So who else is enjoying the acting here? They're both doing a really good job. I'm enjoying Sarah's performance the most though. It's just so emotionally charged and fantastic.
    -So it was an accident all along. I admit I forgot that part.
    -Yes, Buffy please please forgive yourself. I don't like seeing you sad 🙁
    -YES!! I remember how excited I was when they showed Spike had been faking most of the time!

    • Noybusiness says:

      "-'Hairy-legged feminist Xander, if was Buffy, I would have smacked you. "

      But he was being sarcastic, to mock Cordelia's anti-feminism.

    • notemily says:

      -That was the locker having enough of your bullshit, Xander.

      This legit made me LOL.

      [Nf sbe gur znlbe guvat–gurl ernyyl cynag gur frrqf cerggl rneyl. V zrna, ur'f ARKG FRNFBA'F ivyynva!]

  69. Courtney says:

    I love this episode. It's all about guilt and forgiveness and character development.

    Though I don't agree with Mark that Buffy can't forgive Angel(us)'s rejection. The whole point was that she feels the same guilt James feels because she feels like she is responsible for killing Angel. Her rant about how James shouldn't be forgiven even if he's sorry is all anger at herself.

    So… yeah.

    • Noybusiness says:

      That's the biggest part of it, but I think what Mark said may also be a part of it, which I hadn't thought of before.

  70. Delta1212 says:

    I didn't remember what this episode was about at all. Then it got to the couple fighting and I was like "Ooooh, this one." I still only remembered the Monster of the Week, though, not most of the specifics.

    When Dru stared doing her vision thing, I realized the episode was going to end with Buffy and Angel playing out the roles, but I didn't actually remember how it played out in the specifics, just that the whole thing ended with Grace being able to communicate that she'd loved James all along.

    When they finally showed up and it was Buffy acting out the male part, I *flipped* out. Seriously, HOW DID I FORGET THAT THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED? It was absolutely brilliant writing and the roles and dialogue were perfect in every way. And as soon as the gender flip happened, I realized it was Angel's immortality that broke the cycle, and… Man, I just sat through that entire sequence with my jaw hanging open.

    My god, seriously, I remember at least the basics for most of the episodes we've gone through so far, but I've remembered most of the good ones in a pretty high level of detail for having seen them all one time over two years ago, with a couple gaps to make things interesting like forgetting how Giles found Jenny's body, but how did I not remember the end of this episode?! I seriously can't get over how awesome that was.

  71. tigerpetals says:

    Hey. I just thought of something. The vampire minions. I was actually thinking about something else, and then it struck me that we didn't see minions in the past few episodes.

    Bs pbhefr jr qb frr fbzr va Orpbzvat, ohg hagvy gura V jbaqre jung unccrarq.

    The factory was empty, or someone would have noticed Giles coming or at least tried to help when he was setting things on fire. I mean I can buy that our three main vampires don't care about leaving them to burn, but minions are supposed to serve you not be conveniently gone when seriously life-endangering things happen. Maybe they were sort of let go, with Angel and Drusilla not really caring and Spike not wanting them to see him helpless with Angel around?

    Naq gura sbe Npnguyn gurl jrer nfxrq gb pbzr onpx.

  72. Smurphy says:

    Commenting three times but I just got around to reading your review. I want to comment on how unbelievably true what you said about forgiveness.

    "The truth is that forgiveness is always going to be a personal matter, one that only those involved can ever truly understand or cope with. There’s no set rubric for forgiving someone. There’s no accepted timeline. It has to be on the terms of the person doing the forgiving, and there can’t be an obligation to do it. I think Buffy is open to this now, though I don’t think we’ll see it immediately. She has a lot of pain and remorse to work through, but forgiving someone can also be a cathartic, spiritual process for some people."

    My father left my family. He wants to be part of my life and my sister's life but at the same time we're in year four of the longest divorce process ever and he is horrible to my mother. My extended family (for the record this is my MOTHER's side not my father's… my father's side of the family is ridiculously supportive of us and our decisions) and some family "friends" insist that my sisters and I forgive our father solely because he's our father. Personally I don't think he feels any remorse whatsoever and as long as he continues to hurt my family… well. I know I do need to forgive him. Not for him but for myself and my own well being but… forgiveness doesn't mean I want him ever to be a part of my life either. Regardless, this is my decision and my process… and I'm working through it. Slowly.

    • Noybusiness says:

      Internet sending of support for whatever you do!

    • spikesjojo says:

      FYI – I lived this. Forgiveness is for you – so you no longer have to carry that burden of anger, and all the other emotions. If you are respecting you're own process, that's all you need. And you do not have to do anything with or in regard to your father. You can forgive him and never see him again, if that's your choice. No one should be pressuring you – it's a very personal journey. {{hug}}

      Now – off the soapbox and back to the Buffster!

      • Smurphy says:

        lol. Mark makes me have a lot of emotions and they tend to come out in big spurts.

        Thank you. I know…. it's just slow sometimes but I will get there.

  73. SecretGirl127 says:

    I'm so pleased with myself for figuring out Principal Synder was in on the whole Hellmouth thing back when he was talking with the Mortician a few episodes back!

    I just want to thank the Buffy fans for not spoiling a show that aired 10+ years ago. This is fun!

  74. misterbernie says:

    Another episode I failed to rewatch; I really should get on that, but the last time I saw it it just struck me as too melodramatic. Nyfb frevbhfyl lbh thlf ba zl trareny Ohssl erjngpurf V whfg fxvc fgenvtug sebz Cnffvba gb Orpbzvat orpnhfr bs ernfbaf.

    Pna jr trg n Jvyybj-pragevp rcvfbqr? V jbhyq ybir gung.
    Vg'f jnl gbb ybat hagvy Qbccrytnatynaq naq orsber gung jr unir gb qrny jvgu gung Knaqre/Jvyybj zrff QB ABG JNAG SBERIREa

    Have a German title: Ein Dämon namens Liebe – A Demon Named Love
    Ngl, but my personal pet theory is that they mixed up the titles for Passion and IOHEFY because while this isn't exactly a light-hearted episode, either, "The Hereafter Says Hello" would be a marginally better fit for this one.

  75. NoisesAndKisses says:


  76. Maribeth says:

    Didn't you notice that at the end of the 'Bad Egg' episode Snyder was talking to the police about the usual cover up (ie hiding the supernatural evil event and coming up with an explanation for the general population of Sunnydale)?

    And Grace's forgiveness made so much sense… really setting Buffy in High School makes so much sense: High School is a time when a human's mind and body are literally altering, making them the adult they will eventually become. Grace was an adult, she had more perspective, and she recognized that poor James was not emotionally prepared for the rejection of his love. He killed her, but it was her fault….

  77. always amy says:

    This THIS is my Favourite episode. The emotional punch is so beautiful and pitched perfectly.

  78. mgauck says:

    Did anyone mention today, you're so not ready for what's about to happen? LOL Keep up the amazing work..

  79. RoseFyre says:


    V'z abg fher Qnja jnf vaibyirq va guvf rcvfbqr, nf Wblpr frrzf gb or cerggl nofragrr sbe vg – vf fur ba nabgure gevc? V zrna, gurl'er va ure ubhfr, evtug? Ubjrire, Ohssl qvq ona tubfgf. Naq thaf. Naq cbffvoyl fanxrf…naq znlor rira tbvat gb gur uvtufpubby. Orpnhfr Falqre vf na nff.

  80. canyonoflight says:

    This episode is amazing. The music room scene makes me tear up every time.

  81. Sarah Michelle Geller and David Boreanaz: ALL OF THE AWARDS.

    This is one of my favorite episodes of the whole Buffy series. It was written by Marti Noxon, whose one of the best female TV writers along with Jane Espenson.

  82. @farwell3d says:

    It's funny. I really, really like this episode, but, yet, I can't find anything I particularly want to say about it…

  83. Anseflans says:

    (Wait, will Angel remember what he did as Angelus? Don’t answer that. Just thinking aloud.)

    Wait, you're assuming that he will get his soul back?
    Just thinking aloud.

  84. Enisy says:

    I'm not much of an Angel/Buffy fan, but I still legit adore this episode. It's so poignant that Buffy takes on James's role in the murder rendition; it speaks not only to her belief that she is responsible for Angel's plight, but also to her conviction that she doesn't deserve forgiveness for it. And then Giles gives it to her by proxy. My heart!

  85. christytrekkie says:

    To interject hear a bit on the whole forgiveness issue, I totally believe its because the other person needs it and that its something that has to be on your on time, but it is also first and foremost for the person forgiving to heal and get past all the hurt to not let it rule your life and so you the forgiver can move forward and live a healthy life. Forgiving is for the forgiver as well if not more than the forgivee.

  86. Brieana says:

    Is this that episode where Angel and Buffy kiss and after they pull apart you can see a line of saliva between their mouths?

Comments are closed.