About:

Title: Buffy S6.E05 “Life Serial” + Buffy S6.E06 “All the Way”
Released: 2001

Drinks Taken: 42
Vamps Dusted: 7

 

Follow the whole rewatch here!

 

Last week, Kandis walked us through a world of emotive existential dread AND Spuffy high notes. This week, things get a little loosey-goosier, with plenty of Trio hijinks and Dawn’s first Halloween. Let’s get to it!

But first, we shall drink to Buffy’s rather bumpy career path. You can do it, girl!

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

The Buffy Season Six Drinking Game Rules

Drink once every time:

A vamp is dusted
A scene takes place in a cemetery
Giles removes his glasses
Willow misuses magic
Tara gets upset at Willow misusing magic
Anya or Xander mention being engaged or their wedding
Spike and Buffy are the epitome of Bad Romance
Warren, specifically, is the worst

Drink twice every time:

There’s an extremely outdated pop culture reference
A vampire is invited into a house
There’s a callback to previous season shenanigans
Dawn steals something
Buffy emotes existential dread
The “Trio” makes a pop culture reference
You really miss Giles

Onto the eps!

Willow and Buffy sitting in college class

6.05 “Life Serial”

Buffy’s home from her lil sojourn in LA to find a mountain of bills still waiting for her, and all the Scoobs sitting around her dinner table, asking her what her life plans are. Guys, she literally just walked in the door. Let her eat her bucket of fried chicken before you start grilling her on career goals. 

She tries a series of options on for size, but in the meanwhile, The Trio is setting up a surveillance operation and several high-powered pranks to a) ruin all of Buffy’s chances but more to the point b) collect data on her speed, strength, habits, etc so they can conquer her later. Yeah right, jerkwads. 

Still, their plan is reasonably successful in its first week. Buffy initially decides to audit some classes with Willow and Tara until registration re-opens for the following semester. She’s feeling pretty dumb because she’s fallen so far behind in her schoolwork and her classmates (including Willow, of course) are dancing circles around her, but she might’ve gotten the hang of it if The Trio hadn’t booby-trapped her with some little gizmo that causes her to lose time. Everything whooshes around her and she misses lots of classes and it’s very disorienting until she discovers the gizmo and The Trio makes it self-destruct. Still, she decides school is no longer for her. 

Next up, Buffy joins Xander to take a stab at the construction field, and she’s pretty chirpy about it, saying she’s excited she doesn’t have to resort to working at the Magic Box because she’d “rather die” than work retail. She has to deal with being called crap like “Gidget,” “Princess” and “Britney” by the other construction workers, but she quickly shows off her strength and work ethic to most of her colleagues’ satisfaction. But then The Trio summons these invisible-to-everyone-but-Buffy demons, and as she wails on all of them, the demon bodies disappear, making it look like Buffy kicked her coworkers’ butts and made a mess on the construction site for nothing. Xander believes her, but that doesn’t mean he’s not super stressed about how this is going to look to the client, and it’s kind of awesome seeing Xander be the boss. He nicely tells her he’s happy to help her research what’s after her, but she’s still fired.

So, next we see Buffy working at The Magic Box, trying to convince Anya and Giles that she’s always been interested in a life in retail. She’s bored silly, but still committing herself to doing a good job, when The Trio causes her to enter into a time loop that will only be vanquished when she satisfies a VERY persnickety customer who wants a mummy hand. It doesn’t… go great.

Buffy tries to stop an animated mummy hand from choking Anya.

She eventually settles matters with a simple special order/home delivery offer, keeping the customer happy and ending the time loop – BUT she forgot to charge a delivery fee, which Anya will be taking out of her pay. Buffy’s done – she takes off her nametag and walks out, straight to Spike’s lair for too much whiskey and life-avoidance. He tells her they can play a game of poker with some demon miscreants to see if they can catch any gossip about what’s after her, and Buffy’s just drunk enough to shrug and go along with this dubious plan. The demons use something of an …unconventional… currency.

Spike's poker game uses kittens as currency.
Buffy: “You play for KITTENS?!”

Don’t worry – even drunk Buffy has the wherewithal to save the kittens, but she storms off, tipsily pouting to Spike that her life is in tatters and “The only person I can stand to be around is a neutered vampire who cheats at kitten poker.” That’s pretty bleak, Buff! As she’s storming out, she sees The Trio’s surveillance van (made more conspicuous than is strictly preferred for supervillains, thanks to Andrew’s Star Wars theme horn), and she goes to investigate. Jonathan zaps himself into the facade of a demon and distracts Buffy long enough for them to get away, and she mopes home to throw up lots around Giles. I truly cannot imagine anything worse than drunk-puking around Giles!!! But he’s really sweet and non-judgmental about it, and tells Buffy she doesn’t have to figure everything out right now. He gives her a big check to get her through the current bills while she finds her footing, and she tells him that it makes her feel safe – “Knowing you’re always going to be here.” We go out on Giles’ “uh-oh, actually…” face. SIGH.

How many times do I have to take a drink?

23 – The Trio makes a LOT of pop culture references this week. 

Vamps Dusted

0

Stylish Yet Affordable Boots

Buffy in a hard hat looking cute.

It should be illegal for anyone to look this cute in a hardhat.

The Truest Thing Anybody Said This Week

Buffy defends herself to Xander that she can't predict where people will attack her.
Buffy: “I can’t help where the forces of darkness attack me, Xander.”

Giles For Life

Giles tells Buffy to go easy on herself.
Giles: “Go easy on yourself, will you? You don’t have to figure the whole thing out at once.”

*sniff* Don’t leave, Giles. Please don’t go.

It’s Clem!

Clem, the saggy faced and kind demon!

We’ll be seeing more of this “peaceful, Loose-Skinned Demon” soon.

Dawn with high school miscreants

6.06 “All The Way”

It’s Halloween! The episode opens with an old man humming a spooky Halloween tune in his kitchen and brandishing a knife, implying that his tricks and treats will be murder-related. We’ll come back to him!

The Magic Shop is hecka busy, to Anya’s utter delight, and the day ends with everyone lying around, exhausted, while Anya teaches Dawn “the dance of capitalist superiority.” It’s pretty cute, so I guess it makes sense that *this* is the moment a moony Xander decides to announce to everyone that he and Anya are getting married. Drink!

Xander watches Anya dancing with love in his eyes.

The Scoobs throw an impromptu engagement party, and it’s very nice, although Xander’s collar gets a little tight at all of the forever talk, sigh. Willow decides the shindig needs a little pizzazz, so she magicks up some decorations, and Tara and Giles exchange A Look, and then Tara quietly suggests to Willow that they could have just gone to the store for decorations. Willow sort of cheerfully shrugs this off, though Tara is trying to make her take it seriously, and their discussion will come back into play big-time soon.

Dawn reminds Buffy that she gave her permission to have a sleepover at her friend Janice’s house, and Buffy’s nervous about it, but Halloween is supposedly a slow night for supernatural forces on The Hellmouth (except for a couple of notable exceptions that Buffy reminds us all of, and also except for what’s about to happen, so honestly why do they ever try to convince themselves that Halloween is a safe night to take off from patrolling?), so she decides to let her go. Of course, Janice told her mom that she was staying at Dawn’s, that age-old classic teen scam, and instead they’re meeting up with older boys at the park for some light delinquency. (Dawn’s eager to confess her shoplifting tendencies for extra dirtbag credit.) One of the boys, Justin, and Dawn have some sparks, and he seems like a nice enough guy which means at best he’s an abuser and at worst a vampire. Turns out, it’s at worst! They wander over to “Old Man Kaltenbach’s house,” the creepy abode belonging to the gentleman from the cold open, and Dawn’s about to smash his pumpkin (WHY?) when he invites them in. The episode lets us think he’s going to do something bad to the kids, but instead there’s a tonal callback to the pilot, with Justin suddenly turning into a vamp and killing the sweet old man who just wanted to offer them Rice Krispie treats. It makes me sad! Anyway, the girls don’t see Justin’s transformation, so next the kids go parking, and Dawn has her first kiss, which quickly turns into her first hard-core makeout sesh.

Meanwhile, Janice’s mom calls the house and Giles finds out Dawn is missing, so everyone heads out to find her. While Tara and Willow are looking for her at The Bronze, it seems like they’re making up a bit from their earlier argument, but then Willow casually suggests she’s going to send everyone who’s not a 15-year-old girl to an alternate dimension so she can more easily find Dawn in the crowd. Tara is, correctly, like, THAT IS INSANE, YOU CANNOT DO THAT, and Willow gets bristly, especially when Tara suggests that Giles would disapprove, and Willow realizes they’ve been talking about her behind her back. She tells Tara to keep her mouth shut, which is BRUTAL, and they leave The Bronze, the fight unresolved.

Giles finds Janice and HER jock-vamp at the park, saving her right before she gets drained, and I must tell you that he is truly heroic and hot in this scene. Then Dawn and Justin show up, surrounded by lots of other vampires, and it looks like things might get sketchy before Buffy and Spike show up to start bashing skulls. It’s a pretty great fight sequence, with vamps dusting left and right, and Dawn, who really liked Justin, tearfully stakes her first vamp. I generally agree that Buffy relies on Giles too much when it comes to adulting, but this time it makes sense that she leaves Giles to have the “don’t hook up with vampires” talk with Dawn, since Buffy doesn’t really have a leg to stand on there.

The episode ends with Tara and Willow heading to bed. Tara’s still mad, REALLY mad, and Willow uses an herb and a spell to make her forget the fight, which is so messed up I can barely reconcile myself with it. Suddenly, Tara’s all cuddly and giggly, and we go into the credits on Willow’s self-satisfied face.

How many times do I have to take a drink?

19

Vamps Dusted

7

Xander’s Costume

Xander's dressed as a pirate for Halloween.

Giles’ Costume

Giles is wearing a wizard robe with a crescent moon on it

Anya’s Costume

Anya is wearing a '70s roller blading red shirt and red and white stripped hot pants.

She’s a Charlie’s Angel!

The Truest Thing Anybody Said This Week

Buffy, about Spike after some VERY awkward flirting:

Buffy is confused about Spike trying to flirt.
Buffy: “So much easier to talk to when he wanted to kill me.”

Cameo

Man dressed up as a priest

Old Man Kaltenbach is played by esteemed character actor John O’Leary, who had 117 mostly television credits to his name until he died at 93 last year. 

Cameo x2

Amber Tamblyn as a snotty teenager

Dawn’s friend Janice is played by a teeny Amber Tamblyn!

Why Giles Removes His Glasses (Drink!)

When Giles starts cleaning his glasses while Xander and Anya are making out, it dawns on Buffy: “Is THAT why you’re always cleaning your glasses? So you don’t have to see what we’re doing?”

Giles For Life

Giles jumps a teenage vampire trying to harm Dawn.
Vampire: “What do you know about it, Grandpa?” Giles: “Quite a bit, actually.”

That’s it for this week! Questions for y’all: how do you feel about Buffy’s “what do I do next” journey? I feel like it’s well-handled, beautifully performed by SMG as always, and has plenty of resonance for all of us who have lived through a quarter-life crisis – BUT I also feel like it’s sort of weird. I mean, Buffy is the g-d Slayer. She knows what she’s supposed to do. She has a very specific destiny! So her own temporary death (and the permanent loss of her mother) shouldn’t really come into play much, right? Sure, she needs money, but how did the rest of the Slayers make their money? Maybe too few of them lived into adulthood for it to become an issue.

Anyway! Meet Stephanie here next Wednesday morning for possibly the absolute BEST one-two episode punch of the entire series: “Once More With Feeling” “Tabula Rasa.” Yeah!!!

Meredith Borders is formerly the Texas-based editor of Fangoria and Birth.Movies.Death., now living and writing (and reading) in Germany. She’s been known to pop by Forever Young Adult since its inception, and she loves YA TV most ardently.