Buffy wears a lab coat and holds a crossbow.

About:

Title: Buffy S4.E19 “New Moon Rising” + S4.E20 “The Yoko Factor”
Released: 2000

Drinks Taken: 29
Vamps Dusted: 0

 

Follow the whole rewatch here!

There were some high highs and low lows coming out of last week. Jonathan’s over-the-top wishes amused us, then Buffy and Riley’s over-the-top sex marathon disgusted us. We’re finally getting close to the end of season four, and, oh hey, fun fact that is completely coincidental: Did you know after this week, Riley is only in thirteen more episodes? 

Buffy eagerly watching a pitcher of beer being poured into her glass.

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There’s an extremely outdated pop culture reference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

Let’s turn our eyes now towards the boyfriends of yore.

Oz meets Tara in the hallway.

4.19 “New Moon Rising”

At a Scooby Gang meet-up, Buffy laments that it’s been quiet, which means Adam could be gearing up for nefarious doings. Then Oz shows up and saves us from more boring Adam talk. Thanks, Oz! Willow is completely thrown by even-mellower-than-usual Oz’s reappearance. Tara can totally sense the tension and does a really good job this whole episode by being thoughtful and patient with Willow. She excuses herself as Buffy lends Willow bestie emotional support.

Willow looks shocked.

Willow’s face the entire time Oz is in Giles’ apartment.

Oz shows up at Willow’s dorm later, and they spend all night talking. He apparently traded and bartered his way to Tibet to learn fancy ways of meditation. He takes Willow outside—during a full moon!—to show her the beast no longer controls him. He heard from Xander how she doesn’t have a new guy in her life (whoops, key word: guy), and he wants to come back and be with her. It’s everything Willow from a few months ago wanted, but now she is torn between her new love and her old.

She shares her romantic confusions with Buffy, and also uses this as her moment to come out to her best friend. Buffy is very surprised and just as it feels like we’re on the verge of a cringey reaction, she checks her shock and reassures Willow she has her full support, whomever she ends up with. Objectively I empathize with Willow, but knowing that there was no way Seth Green was rejoining the show so soon after leaving it, this whole exercise in “Who will Willow pick!?” felt kind of futile. I didn’t need Willow to reject Oz to make her relationship with Tara more real.

Tara bumps into Oz at school, and he can smell Willow’s scent “is all over” her. (Kinda ew?) He finally realizes that Tara and Willow are more than friends, and that knowledge causes him to go all wolfy. He tells Tara to run (retroactive drink, because “Tara being chased by something” should really have been one of our drinking game rules for season 4) and chases her around a classroom before the Initiative bags and tags him. Tara rushes to tell Willow about Oz’s capture, and Willow, in turn, tells Buffy.

I should break here to bring you up to speed on Riley and Buffy’s latest drama. Riley sensed there was more to Oz and Willow’s breakup than typical college stuff. Buffy tells him about Oz being a werewolf, which Riley freaks out about, because, to him, Monster = Evil. As Buffy is a former monster-lover, she is completely offended that Riley can’t see there may be levels of nuance to demon behavior. But being that she’s never told Riley about Angel, it seems like the wrong moment to confess knowing Riley would absolutely judge her. So they argue in hypotheticals and passive aggressive comments. Fun! Riley feels self-righteous when he learns a squad was attacked (seemingly by a werewolf, but it’s never confirmed).

So that leads us to the Initiative after Oz’s capture, while they wait for lab results to see if the Oz-wolf is what hurt the squad. Too impatient to wait for the tests, Riley whips out a handgun and is literally ready to straight up murder the “monster” right then and there when Oz transforms back into his pasty-white, disoriented self. The scientists excitedly throw him on a gurney and start planning out their experiments, but, finally, Riley GETS it: “That’s enough! The guy’s a student; I know him!” This entire subplot for Riley just smacks of embarrassing connotations, y’all.

Riley recognizes a passed out Oz on a table at The Initiative

Riley is shocked that his say-so is not enough to save Oz.

Spike (who is now allied with Adam in order to make him more relevant) offers to help Buffy break into the Initiative (Adam wants this for some reason no one cares about). Meanwhile, Riley tries to break Oz out, but gets caught because he just, like…tried to walk him out the front door while the lights were off? How did he expect this to work? He is really a big dumb soldier boy. Over here with a better plan, Buffy and Co. break in, hold the new Initiative commander at crossbow-point, and force him to release Oz.

As they leave through the frat elevator. Colonel Camo-pants tells Riley he’s a dead man, but Riley replies, “No, sir, I’m an anarchist,” and punches him goodbye. Cool cool cool. Now that he’s a military deserter, Buffy has to stash Riley in the burned-out high school with a sleeping bag and lantern. She confesses about Angel, and they make up.

Oz can’t control his transformations around Willow as his hurt feelings override any self-discipline his meditations taught him. He realizes he has to leave, and he and Willow finally share the mature and bittersweet goodbye they should’ve had the first time around. In light of what happens to Tara in a future season, when Willow says, “I was waiting. I feel like some part of me will always be waiting for you. Like if I’m old and blue-haired, and I turn the corner in Istanbul and there you are, I won’t be surprised. Because… You’re with me, you know?” and Oz sadly responds, “I know. But now is not that time, I guess.” I have to hope like hell this is true. Because these two are MFEO. I can wait a few decades for them to reunite, as long as it HAPPENS.

Willow and Oz hug in his van and cry.

Look at their devastated faces. You’re making ME cry. Staaahp!

How many times do I have to take a drink?

12

Vamps Dusted

0

Welcome, Miss Kitty Fantastico

Willow and Tara talk about taking their romantic relationship to the next level by co-owning a pet kitty (we await her adorable arrival in the next episode):

Willow: “You mean it would be sort of like a familiar?”
Tara: “Actually, I was thinking it would sort of be like…a pet. You know, we could name her “Trixie” or “Miss Kitty Fantastico” or something.”
Willow: “And we could make kitty go bonkers with string and catnip and stuff.”
Tara: “Absolutely.”
Willow: “Fun! I’m in.”
Tara: “Good, so you’re not allergic or anything?”
Willow: “Nope.”
Tara: “Good, ‘cause I want my room to be Willow-friendly.”

Aww

At the end of the episode, thinking that Willow has chosen Oz, Tara selflessly tells Willow that you have to be with the one you love:

Willow: “I am.”
Tara: “You mean…”
Willow: “I mean. Okay?”
Tara: “Oh, yes.”

The Truest Thing Anybody Said This Week

So comforting, Anya!

Anya: “They probably haven’t had time to eviscerate him yet.”
Xander: “An, you can help by making this a quiet time.”

Tara and Spike watch Willow on the computer.

4.20 “The Yoko Factor”

Spike is still working with Adam because he’s promised to take Spike’s chip out once all his goals have been accomplished (real friends don’t put conditions on their love, Spike). Adam gives Spike an impassioned (for him) speech about bettering the world for demons, and Spike’s reply is LOL:

Spike tells Adam he's like a motivational speaker.
Spike: “I get why the demons all fall in line with you. You’re like Tony Robbins, if he was a big, scary Frankenstein lookin’… You’re exactly like Tony Robbins!”

You’re an evil goofball, Spike.

Adam knows Buffy is his ultimate foe, but Spike knows just how to disarm her: pit the Scooby Gang against one another with cleverly placed comments and watch them tear each other apart. I haaaaate a plot that hinges on bad communication: a) why is ANYONE still listening to Spike’s general observations of the world and b) it takes an uncomfortable blow-up through the start of the next episode for everyone to finally chill for a sec and realize, “Hey, those nasty things we supposedly said about each other we all heard from the same damn demon.” Nonsense.

Anyway, Spike plays on Giles’ fears that Buffy thinks he’s a washed-up librarian she doesn’t have to listen to, so Giles proceeds to get super drunk for the rest of the episode (more on that below). Spike then whispers in Willow’s ear that Buffy and Xander don’t support her wiccan interests and by extension think dating Tara is a bad idea. And Xander’s always one step away from feeling completely useless anyway, so Spike of course totally leans into that. Ugh, this storyline sucks harder than a hungry vamp.

Meanwhile, Buffy returns from Los Angeles, where she hung out for a crossover episode of Angel, feeling a bit down in the dumps. She failed to get payback on Faith for stealing her body since Angel was protecting her. He also yelled at Buffy for flaunting her new relationship and for trying to tell him what to do, and essentially kicked her out of his city.

Riley has been in hiding since he defected, and when Xander drops off some clothes they chat about Bangel. Xander lets the “Angel’s true moment of happiness was actually sex with Buffy” cat out of the bag, as Buffy neglected to tell Riley that part. (As is her right. That moment has nothing to do with Riley AT ALL.) FFS, Xander.

So Riley wants Buffy to tell him all about her trip, but she (obviously) doesn’t want to get into her issues about her ex-boyfriend with her new boyfriend, which offends him. He storms off, overhears on the walkie that an Initiative squad is getting the stuffing kicked out of them, and races off to help. Turns out Angel felt bad about how he left things with Buffy and popped by to apologize and got ambushed. Riley stupidly thinks that just because Angel defended himself against a bunch of monster-hunters he’s lost his soul again and jumps to the most insulting conclusion that Buffy slept with Angel in LA. The two come to blows, and the show tries hard to make me believe that Riley, who is no longer on his daily super-soldier multi-vitamin, can actually hold his own against Angel.

Buffy found the cave where Adam was hiding, but, ruh-roh, Riley’s jerky Initiative friend, Forrest, also caught the scent. They go to confront Adam together, sniping all the way, and Forrest is killed in like two seconds while Buffy wisely decides to run. She gets back to her dorm to lick her wounds but instead has to play referee for another pissing match between Angel and Riley.

Show ’em what’s what, Buffy!

Riley refuses to leave the room to let Buffy and Angel talk privately, so she just raises an eyebrow at Angel and he follows her out to the hall. (This moment makes Riley look like such a ding-dong and I love it.) Angel apologizes, and the exes clear the air. As Angel leaves he tells Buffy, “Riley? I don’t like him,” but the two share a rueful, understanding smile. Aww, maturity. Buffy then has the unfortunate task of going back inside to smooth Riley’s ruffled feathers AND tell him his best friend is dead. Talk about a sucker punch.

She heads to Giles’ to see what Willow has been able to decrypt (oh yeah, Spike gave them some planted “intel” about Adam). While she’s already on edge from a crappy day, everyone decides to snip at her for the things they think she said about how they aren’t useful members of the team. I don’t blame Buffy for getting defensive here. ”I guess I’m starting to understand why there’s no ancient prophecy about a Chosen One…and her friends,” she declares flatly before walking out.

We close on Riley rolling up to Adam’s hidey-cave. “I’ve been waiting for you,” Adam says. Dun dun duuuun! Just kidding, I really don’t care.

How many times do I have to take a drink?

17 (Blame Riley and the callbacks)

Vamps Dusted

0

Giles For Life

First off all, Giles sings for us AGAIN, this time an acoustic, soulful rendition of “Freebird” and it serves zero purpose for the plot, but that makes it all the sweeter.

He’s also drunk as a skunk, and we all know a drunk Giles is a sassy Giles:

Giles: “It’s all finally making perfect sense, and I’m not going to miss a moment of it.” *tries to sit and falls over*

&

Willow: “Buffy, you can’t go back alone.”
Giles: “You never train wiht me anymore. He’s gonna kick your ass.”
Buffy: “Giles.”
Giles: “Sorry. Was it a bit honest? Terribly sorry.”

&

Giles: “Fort Dix?” *laughs drunkenly*
Buffy: “Are you drunk?”
Giles: “Yes. Quite a bit, actually.”

What Tara And Anya Did While Everyone Else Fought

Tara: “You think this will go on for a while?”
Anya: “Hard to say.”
Tara: “Nice bathroom.” 
Anya: “Love the tile.”

College Friendships

Tara asks Willow about her housing situation for sophomore year, and Willow shares she’s been feeling distant from Buffy, between her sleepovers at Riley’s frat house and Willow’s new relationship with Tara. This is the one communication issue that feels completely natural and true-to-life. Unfortunately we never get a follow up heart-to-heart between Buffy and Willow.

Xander’s Worst Shirt & Worst Pants

It’s not only this distracting sweater:

Xander wearing a sweater with a giant black dot in the middle.

But he also foists these actual clown pants on Riley:

Riley: “Xander took my clothes to clean them and left me these. Does he, uh, hate me in some way I don’t know about yet?”

Is Amy Still A Rat?

She is, and I wonder how she feels about her new sister, Miss Kitty Fantastico.


So what did you think about Oz and Angel’s respective returns? Oz felt like a mean tease, ripped away too soon, while having Angel back fondly reminded me of simpler times. I liked seeing Angel and Buffy get to a place where they could be friends.

Meet back here next week alongside Sarah as we laugh at Adam’s denouement in “Primeval” and question, once again, the reason for the Cheese Man in the season four finale, “Restless”.

Stephanie (she/her) is an avid reader who moonlights at a college and calls Orlando home. Stephanie loves watching television, reading DIY blogs, planning awesome parties, Halloween decorating, and playing live-action escape games.