Drinks Taken: 20
Vamps Dusted: 0
Follow the whole rewatch here!
After a spat of great episodes, this week we are back in the land of ho-hum season four. These next few aren’t beer bad, but they won’t be episodes you force your friends to sit and watch either, especially since Buffy’s plot focus seems to revolve around everyone’s favorite Beige Boyfriend, Riley. Wait, where are you going? Don’t leave yet! There’s still some great Spike and Giles moments to giggle-snort over!
The Buffy Season Four Drinking Game Rules
Drink once every time:
A vamp is dusted
You see the “University of California Sunnydale” entrance sign
A scene takes place in a cemetery
You actually see a class in session
Oz is ridiculously low-key cool
Spike has mad swagger
Willow and/or Tara gets witchy with it
The Initiative makes you go, “Bored now”
Riley is a drag
Things get funcomfortable between Anya and Xander
Drink twice every time:
Giles drinks tea
There’s an extremely outdated pop culture reference
A vampire is invited into a house
There’s a call back to previous season shenanigans
Harmony says something dumb
Someone uses a payphone
This rewatch has helped me learn that I cannot spell “initiative” right on the first try if my life depended on it. Feel free to go ahead and take an extra drink every time the word appears below, exactly like I did. *sobs*
The opening scene of “Doomed” picks right back up where “Hush” left off: Riley and Buffy facing off in her dorm room, about to finally reveal their true selves. There’s a lot of hemming and hawing, but the highlights of the conversation are when Riley is shocked at how much intel Buffy has learned about the Initiative and the quips Buffy lays on him when she realizes he has no clue what a Slayer is.
I guess Riley isn’t reading dusty old books in his spare time.
An earthquake interrupts this snooze-fest of a lover’s spat, and Buffy runs off to discuss the quake with Giles as the last time she lived through one, she died soon after. (I want to pause here for a second to say that Giles sounds insanely weird all this episode, like his lines were dubbed over. Maybe ASH had a cold that week. It’s very distracting.) Giles is more concerned with how close he is to uncovering the Initiative’s hideyhole (believing it to be near campus—ding ding ding) than worrying the earthquake is a sign of an impending apocalypse.
Willow goes to a frat party by herself and soon realizes that these things are more fun when you already have a significant other or bring a friend. After an encounter with still-a-jerk Percy and his a-hole girlfriend (they call Willow a nerd AND unattractive, WTF), Willow finds a dark room to be upset in, but gets another shock: she finds a blood-drained, very-dead party-goer. Buffy arrives at the party too late for fun but just in time to comfort Willow, both for finding the body AND for Percy’s shitty remarks.
At Giles’ apartment, Willow shows everyone the symbol carved into the boy’s chest, which finally convinces Giles:
Snarky Giles is the best Giles.
Buffy tracks a demon in the cemetery and during their fight it flings her onto a tombstone in a Batman vs Bane back-breaking move that had my spine shuddering in sympathy. Of course, it’s Buffy, so she’s shaking it off when Riley rushes up, in awe of her fighting skills. But Buffy is like a spooked horse; she no longer thinks a relationship with Riley would be good for either of them. She’s the Slayer, her destiny is to fight alone and live in the dark. Riley doesn’t get Buffy’s baggage at all, but she says “no dating” in no uncertain terms and walks away (if only that lasted).
I promised you some funny, so let’s check on Spike, who is staying with Xander. (Minor rant and then I’ll stop harping: These Spike plotlines are funny but logically they don’t work for me. The Scooby Gang held onto Spike so he’d tell them where the Initiative’s base was, but he’s already done that. I know SPIKE doesn’t have any place to go, but why would Giles and Xander still be trading off sleepovers with him like he’s a child of divorce? Everyone acts like it’s all a major inconvenience so just…kick him to the curb, no? The writers are milking these Spike-is-impotent metaphors for everything they’re worth, but at the expense of making any plot-driven sense. Am I just expecting too much?)
Anyway, Xander is frustrated with Spike for not earning his keep around the basement (“Doing a little laundry for once wouldn’t kill ya. Unfortunately.”) and it culminates in Spike shrinking his black tee and trousers and being forced to wear one of Xander’s heinous Hawaiian shirts and khaki shorts. He lashes out in frustration and gets real depressed when Xander, of all people, tells him he’s not even worth an ass-kicking. So Spike rigs up a suicide stake:
You should REALLY just let him dust that shirt, Xander.
Riley and Buffy argue about dating again, boring, while Giles gets robbed by the apocalypse-loving demons because he has the talisman they need. The Gang, plus Spike, head to the high school, where the demons are trying to reopen the Hellmouth by doing a ritual and sacrificing themselves. Everyone gets in on the fight, except Spike who hilariously sits around and watches until a demon turns on him. But, surprise! Spike can still fight demons, and, just like that, he’s regained his will to live.
Riley shows up to help Buffy, and together they stop the last demon from killing himself and save the world. It’s hard to play off what he’s really doing there when he’s in full Commando gear, and as Willow and Xander get an eyeful, he worries his cover is blown. But Buffy stops by his dorm the next day to comfort him with some sweet lovin’ as she now sees he can handle himself in a fight, I guess, and she’s over her fears. Yawn.
Spike: “I say we go out there and kick a little demon ass! What? Can’t go without your Buffy, is that it? Too chicken? Let’s find her! She is the Chosen One, after all. Come on! Vampires! Grrr! Nasty! Let’s annihilate them. For justice and for…the safety of puppies and Christmas, right? Let’s fight that evil! Let’s kill something!”
Spike is the episode’s real winner as he plays us out with a rousing motivational speech.
How many times do I have to take a drink?
Spike Is A Rascal
Spike is feeling shirty and decides to get into Willow and Xander’s heads like only evil can:
Willow: “I see what you’re doing. You’re trying to get us to dust you.”
Spike: “Am not. I just don’t want pity from geeks more useless than I am.”
Willow: “We’re not useless. We help people. We fight the forces of evil.”
Spike: “BUFFY fights the forces of evil. You’re her groupies. She’d do just as well without you. Better, I’d wager, since she wouldn’t have to go about saving your hides all the time.”
Xander: “That is so not true. We’re part of the team. She needs us.”
Spike: “Or you’re just the same tenth grade losers you’ve always been, and she’s too much of a softy to cut you loose.”
Xander and Willow: *look upset and speechless*
Spike: *walks away and grins devilishly*
Spike Isn’t Good At Accents
Spike belatedly realizes Riley will totally recognize him:
Riley: “Don’t I know you?”
Spike, in a terrible Southern accent: “Me? No. No, sir. I’m just an old pal of Xander’s here.”
Giles For Life
Giles: “Oh, as usual, dear.”
4.12 “A New Man”
This episode is like one long Giles For Life, so buckle up. It’s Buffy’s 19th birthday! Willow and Xander organize a surprise party for her at the dorm. Buffy is excited to introduce Riley to Giles, which, aww. Riley asks him if he’s retired (rude!) and accidentally makes Giles uncomfortable for his lack of employment. Buffy gushes to Giles at length about Maggie Walsh, and her effusiveness as she declares Walsh “absolutely the smartest person [she’s] ever met” RIGHT in Giles’ FACE kills all his remaining good humor.
Does that mean Buffy thinks Giles is older or younger? Should he be flattered she thinks he’s hipper than Walsh? I’m trying, Giles. Sorry.
Riley takes Buffy’s to Professor Walsh’s office, and the three have a pow-wow. Walsh is very Regina George-y, complimenting Buffy while alternately calling her existence a myth and dismissing her demon-killing prowess as “[poking] them with a sharp stick.” Eff off, lady. She boasts about Agent Finn’s “impressive” 17 kills. Buffy struggles to find the appropriate reaction to this news that isn’t laughing in their faces, like I would if I were her. Maggie presumptuously asks for HER number and Buffy waffles, torn between telling the truth or not wanting to hurt Riley’s ego. I’m annoyed we never see Buffy’s reply.
Giles is doing some light dusting with his adorable feather duster when he realizes some demon prince is going to rise soon. He can’t find Buffy until Willow tells him she’s with Walsh. I find it strange he would go all the way to Walsh’s office, but I think he really just wanted to check her out. Their meeting is quite brutal. Walsh says all Buffy’s needed is encouragement in her academics; Giles counters that he prefers letting young people find their own strengths. Giles warns her Buffy is special, and Walsh cooly agrees, saying she’s self-reliant and independent—Giles nods proudly—before going on to say that isn’t always a good thing. Then she cuts Giles DEEP:
HOW DARE YOU disrespect Rupert Giles in such a way???
Giles heads to the crypt where the demon will rise with Willow and Xander in tow. They’re a little late, but all seems quiet. Willow pipes up that Riley and the Initiative must’ve identified it as a hot-spot and cleared it already. Giles is clearly confused and the truth comes out: Buffy hasn’t told him a thing about the Initiative. When Willow lets slip that Walsh is in charge, Giles practically shrieks, “Professor Walsh? That fishwife?!” He sends them away and stalks off. Ethan Rayne appears from the shadows and starts evil-monologuing at the door, but Giles, having heard noise, comes back and finds him. “Oh, bugger!” Ethan gripes. “I thought you’d gone.”
Ethan weasels his way out of a beating and they go out for a drink. Ethan warns him demons are scared of something called “314” and also scared of “Maggie Walsh and her ninja boys” who are throwing off the balance of good and evil or whatever. Giles is just upset that he’s been doing his job for 20 years and no demon is scared of him. He doesn’t torture them and put chips in their brains, so I guess Walsh does have a leg up there. The two get hammered and reminisce.
The next morning, Giles wakes up with a hangover and horns. That bloody wanker Ethan turned him into a demon! He smashes the newel post on his stairs, rips apart a shirt, breaks his telephone, and rips the door off its hinges. He tries going to Xander for help, but all Xander hears is a guttural language instead of Giles’ dulcet British tones, so he runs Giles off. Later, everyone heads to inform Giles of this demon development, but they find his apartment in shambles and assume he’s been abducted…well, except for Anya: “I think it ate him up,” she declares after finding his ripped shirt.
Giles runs into Spike measuring crypts in the cemetery (he’s finally looking to move into his own space). Spike is spoiling for a demon fight, but as luck would have it, Giles is a Fyarl demon and Spike speaks Fyarl, so he recognizes Giles right away. Giles agrees to pay Spike the low, low price of $200 to help him find Ethan Rayne (he doesn’t want to tell Buffy because he’s still kinda mad at her).
Xander is trying to identify the demon from pictures when Riley shows up and Initiatives all over everything. He promises to put all their resources towards finding Giles. Earlier, Willow and Tara had tried a spell that went a bit wonky, and after learning that Fyarl demons are mindless foot soldiers, Buffy extrapolates that it’s likely someone is using a large amount of magic to control the demon. As only silver can kill a Fyarl demon, she grabs the nearest pointy thing—a letter opener—and goes to the Magic Shop to search through recent receipts. There, she learns that Ethan Rayne is in town and Riley finds out which seedy motel he’s staying in.
Spike also procures Ethan’s location, but he and Giles get separated when the Initiative starts tailing them. So Giles arrives alone and starts attacking Ethan. When Buffy and Riley show up, sneaky Ethan exclaims the demon killed Ripper. Of course this incenses Buffy. She stabs the demon with the letter opener, “For Giles!” but is horrified as she recognizes his brown eyes and realizes it’s her NOT-ABSENT father figure.
Luckily, it was a cheap, non-silver letter opener! Giles is fine!
Ethan is forced to fix Giles and pouts that staying to gloat gets him every time. Giles asks Buffy how she knew it was him, and she tells him he’s the only person in the world who can look that annoyed with her. Awww, you two.
As Ethan gets taken away, Buffy and Riley wrap up a boring storyline about her not needing to hold back around him (she kicked him across the room during a practice fight and felt a little guilty) because Riley is apparently super into strong female authority figures. Meanwhile, Walsh slips through a secret door at the Initiative compound labeled “314” and those who have watched before all groan with what’s coming next.
How many times do I have to take a drink?
Xander’s Giles’ Worst Shirt
After Giles changes back he is forced to wear Ethan’s clothes, and, oof, this shirt is U-G-L-Y.
The Truest Thing Anybody Said This Week
Riley: “When I saw you stop the world from, you know, ending, I just assumed that was a big week for you. Turns out I suddenly find myself needing to know the plural of ‘apocalypse.’”
Giles For Life
Giles spies Maggie Walsh walking down the street while he’s looking for Ethan and can’t resist himself. I ♥ you, Giles.
Giles: “I refuse to become a monster because I look like a monster. I have a soul. I have a conscience. I am a human being.” *spots Maggie Walsh* “Oh, stop the car.” *Giles runs after her waving his arms and grunting, then runs back to the car.* “Right. Let’s go then.”
Is Amy Still A Rat
Are you still hating on Riley as much as you did the first time around? He’s like soldier Ken doll…there’s just not much there to swoon over. Do you think you’d be able to recognize one of your loved ones if they were turned into a demon just by their eyes? I’d like to think I could? Now I kind of want there to be some kind of Buzzfeed quiz I can take to test this by uploading pictures of people I know and they’ll photoshop their eyes into random demon faces.
Let’s circle back here next Wednesday as Sarah goes all-in and full-on Initiative storyline with “The I in Team” and “Goodbye, Iowa”.