Drinks Taken: 32
Vamps Dusted: 11
Follow the whole rewatch here!
Last week, Faith returned! And this week, we’ve got another familiar face around Sunnydale. Let’s drink to Jonathan, the… *checks notes* class protector?
The Buffy Season Four Drinking Game Rules
Drink once every time:
A vamp is dusted
A scene takes place in a cemetery
You see the “University of California Sunnydale” sign
You actually see a class in session
Oz is ridiculously low-key cool
Spike has mad swagger
Willow and/or Tara get witchy with it
The Initiative makes you go, “Bored now”
Riley’s 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There’s an extremely outdated pop culture reference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 callback to previous season shenanigans
Harmony says something dumb
Someone uses a payphone
Onto the eps!
Yay, I love this episode! It begins with a pretty typical cold open: our gang is fighting vampires in a dark cemetery. Buffy stakes one, maybe with a little less grace and confidence than we’re used to seeing from the Slayer, and then the Scoobs come upon a whole-ass nest of vamps. They decide they need help to tackle this particular problem, which feels a little odd considering how many vampires Buffy has personally staked at once all by her lonesome in the past. They head to a mansion and ask for help from someone in a fancy chair whose back is turned to them. The chair swivels around, and we see… Jonathan? Credits!
So we’ve clearly been magicked into some sort of alternate reality where the Sunnydale High uber-nerd who once gave Buffy the class protector award is now the coolest, smartest, strongest guy in Sunnydale – nay, the world! Jonathan really over-shot his wish – he’s not only a better slayer than the Slayer (number one: how dare you?), he also invented the internet, coached the US women’s soccer team to World Cup victory, graduated from med school early, and he’s a world-class musician, paparazzi target and swimsuit calendar model. It’s all very, very funny and quite charming. Everyone’s obsessed with him, including the Scoobs – Willow and Tara make the above collage of him, Giles seems to enjoy losing to him at chess (and, uhm, owns the swimsuit calendar), Anya accidentally says Jonathan’s name in bed, and Xander collects Jonathan trading cards. Oh yeah, and this little pipsqueak wished all of Buffy’s best triumphs over to himself: he apparently slew the master, vanquished the mayor, and suddenly now everyone remembers that Buffy gave HIM the class protector award instead of the other way around. (That part actually bums me out, that he’d try to reverse that wonderful gesture.)
It’s a LOT, and no one seems suspicious, until finally Buffy is, after a woman is menaced by a demon with a particular mark on his head, and Jonathan pretends it’s not a big deal. Buffy realizes she’s seen the same mark on Jonathan’s arm (in the swimsuit calendar, naturally), and no one will believe her that he’s up to something except Riley. (Oh yeah, she and Riley are still getting over the whole he-slept-with-Faith-in-Buffy’s-body thing, but Jonathan’s also a natural relationship counselor so he gets them through it.) Buffy also rediscovers her love of and talent for slaying, rather than relying on Jonathan to rescue her, as he does in one particularly upsetting scene where Spike sexually harasses her and Jonathan saves the day. But after a couple of successful slays, she gets her groove back, because even in a magical alternate reality, no one can keep the Slayer down for long.
Anyway, after Tara’s threatened by the marked demon (they’re really going to the “Tara’s in danger” well a lot in her early episodes), the Scoobs finally come together and reveal that this Jonathan-is-EVERYTHING world is, in fact, the result of a magic wish. They reverse his spell and everything goes back to normal, and the ep ends with Jonathan admitting to Buffy that he just wanted to matter for a minute. He’s pretty pitiful here, and I’m so grateful that she doesn’t scold him or make him feel worse than he already does. She’s kind to him, and Jonathan deserves it, because even though his spell was sort of yucky, he’s still a nice guy and he used his powers to do nice things like slay vampires and reunite troubled lovers. (Well, and sleep with busty twins. Gross, Jonathan.)
How many times do I have to take a drink?
Is Adam Still A Thing?
Adam is, evidently, still a thing. He’s uniting the vamps and sitting back and enjoying Jonathan’s wish because, as he tells his hench-vamp, “I am into chaos,” which is such a douchebag college goth thing to say.
And said hench-vamp is played by Rob Benedict, who’s brightened the screens of other FYA shows like Felicity (RICHARD!!!) and Supernatural. It is impossible to disguise that unmistakable voice, even coming through fangs.
Anya’s Great At Pep Talks
Buffy, suspecting all this Jonathan stuff might be a wish, goes to Anya to ask her if she thinks it’s weird that Jonathan slays better than the Slayer, and Anya’s bored, annoyed pep talk cracks me up.
Headlining At The Bronze
Just before Jonathan takes over the mic and causes the whole Bronze to swoon, the swing band Royal Crown Revue is playing, and it’s truly the most ‘90s thing to ever happen on this show (although this episode actually aired in April of 2000 – almost exactly twenty years ago, good lord!)
4.18 “Where The Wild Things Are”
I dislike this episode almost as much as I adore the last one! I cannot get through it more quickly. Okay, so Buffy and Riley are having lots of super passionate sex these days, I guess thanks to Jonathan’s superb relationship therapy skills. They manage to turn patrolling into foreplay, which is gross, and even hand-holding in front of GILES into foreplay, which is somehow both gross and disrespectful. During one of their many robust lovemaking sessions inside The Initiative’s frat house (??), they unleash some sort of sex poltergeist, and during an Initiative frat party (HONESTLY, this is the worst armed forces troop ever), all sorts of icky, sex-related things happen. Buffy and Riley are lost in a sex daze, their bed like an island keeping them completely unaware of the mayhem that’s affecting all of their friends. One of the walls makes people orgasm just by touching it, which is fine, but also any girl who feels any sort of sexual excitement is then immediately beset by guilt and shame, which SUCKS.
It affects a couple of our couples: Anya and Xander are fighting pre-sex demon because they didn’t have sex the night before and Anya thinks that means they’re breaking up. She handles it in a funny way, commiserating over losing her powers of evil with an equally powerless Spike, and their short-term friendship is kinda fun. Xander flirts with a girl at the party, but then she gets shame-attacked by the sex poltergeist. Also Willow and Tara are flirting cutely (turns out Tara was a horse girl growing up! Willow, unsurprisingly, fears horses) when Tara ALSO gets shame-attacked. So all the Scoobs try to wake Buffy from her sex-daze, but she and Riley don’t even hear them, and then the house forcibly removes everyone except for the l-o-v-e-r-s (gross).
The Scoobs go to Giles to figure out what’s going on, and after an ALL-TIMER Giles For Life scene (more on that below), he figures out that the frat house used to be a children’s home run by an oppressive house-mistress who really, really hates sex. Giles finds her, reads her the riot act for being abusive (that was awesome), and then he, Tara and Willow join forces to cast a spell that protects Anya and Xander as they head back into the house to get Buffy and Riley. The house is overrun with treacherous gardens or some shit, and all of the danger reunites Xander and Anya quite nicely. They wake up Buffy and Riley from their weird sex coma, and all seems fine again. Okay, ugh, that wasn’t fun!
(To be clear, I am Team Sex, I’m just anti-Buffy & Riley sex, for both “Riley’s a drag” reasons and also for “shame-attacking sex poltergeist” reasons.)
How many times do I have to take a drink?
Xander’s New Job
Bloody Good Snark
Giles For Life
OH MY GOD, thank jeezy chreezy for this scene:
The Truest Thing Anybody Said This Week
That’s it for this week! Question: where were you when you learned that Giles is a sexy-ass crooner in addition to being a sexy-ass librarian? I have such a clear memory of LOSING MY MIND at this scene, a sun-bright spot in an otherwise very bleak episode. Obviously, we get to see a lot more of his talent in “Once More With Feeling,” but the sheer revelation of this scene will stay with me forever.
Meet Stephanie here next Wednesday morning as she covers “New Moon Rising” (welcome back, Oz!) and “The Yoko Factor” (welcome back, Angel!).