Drinks Taken: 21
Vamps Dusted: 1
Follow the whole rewatch here!
Last week, Stephanie kicked off the final season of our Rewatch Project and reminded me of how much I’ve forgotten about Buffy‘s seventh year. Not only is Sunnydale High rebuilt, Buffy now works there as a counselor, and Spike (complete with a soul) lives in the basement, while Willow is reaching the end of her rehab/training in England with Giles.
There’s a whole lotta maturity happening, as it always does with shows of a certain age, and that goes not only for the characters but also for the writing. Sure, you might not love any every plotline of Season Seven, but the voice, the cadence, the rhythm of the series is pitch perfect, as exemplified by these next two episodes (especially 7.03, written by Jane Espenson). They feel a lot like Season One, but… way better.
So let’s toast to getting back to the basics, shall we?
The Buffy Season Seven Drinking Game Rules
Drink once every time:
A vamp is dusted
A scene takes place in a cemetery
Someone uses a cell phone
The First gets up to its tricks
You love Andrew in spite of himself
Someone goes down to the creepy Sunnydale High basement
It’s obvious Spike has a soul again
Principal Wood seems shady
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There’s an extremely outdated pop culture reference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
You really miss Giles
A new Slayer shows up in Sunnydale
A new romance emerges (Who dates during the Apocalypse?)
Willow performs magic responsibly
Take a shot every time:
Someone says, “From beneath you it devours.”
You might notice that we added a new rule, because shots, shots, shots-shots-shots-shots!
Now let’s dive in to our much anticipated Scooby reunion (minus Giles, *drink*, and Tara, *sob*).
7.03 “Same Time, Same Place”
The episode opens at the Sunnydale airport, where the camera weirdly lingers on a ton of extras passengers disembarking from a plane. Nervously awaiting Willow’s arrival are Buffy, Dawn, and Xander, who is sporting a “welcome back” sign he made with a yellow crayon, and yes, he’s told them the story about it a hundred times. (“I saved the world with talking, from my mouth. My mouth saved the world!”) They’re all worried that Willow isn’t 100% less evil, and their anxiety shoots up a notch when she doesn’t get off the plane.
But wait, rewind! We see the same shot of extras passengers, but this time, Willow is among them. And there’s no one at the airport to greet her, hmmm. Might it have something to do with the Lee Press On Nails demon whose profile we see right before he kills a teen graffiti artist?
Willow arrives at the house around 10:41pm, but no one is home–though she hears a door slam. At the same exact time, Buffy, Xander, and Dawn get back and hear a noise upstairs, only to find the house vacant. Both parties fall asleep, confused over why they can’t find the other.
The next day, Willow encounters Anya (now a brunette) carting boxes out of a boarded up Magic Box. The latter has NOT gotten over the whole Dark Willow thing, understandably, and yells at Willow until she realizes that it’s no fun when the perpetrator is willing to take the blame. It’s an important moment, with Anya surprisingly serving as the voice of reason (Willow did straight up murder someone and attempt it on several others) and Willow owning up to her crimes with shame and a deep spirit of penance. Anya suggests that Willow might find Xander at the Sunnydale High gym construction site, but when Willow gets there, she only discovers a BODY WITH THE SKIN REMOVED WHAT THE. Then we see Buffy and Xander looking at the same gruesome remains, and they can’t help but wonder if Willow is to blame.
In tandem but somehow not, both Willow and Buffy & Xander head to the Sunnydale High basement (drink) to talk to Spike, and what unfolds next is a masterfully crafted scene. We first see Willow asking Spike questions, and he simply seems bonkers in his replies, but then we discover that he’s actually responding to Buffy, because he can see Willow and Buffy & Xander at the same time. He’s the only one who realizes what’s happening: “Everyone’s talking to me, no one’s talking to each other.”
Willow heads to Anya’s apartment, and the former is not happy about it: “Come in,” she says begrudgingly. “Enjoy my personal space.” Anya is PEAK Anya here, and I love every single second. Willow tells her, “I found a dead body near the high school,” to which Anya replies, “Yes, that can happen.” They dim the lights and do a spell with a map of Sunnydale to find their demon suspect, and after Willow asks Anya to teleport over to the likely spot, Anya admits that she’s lost that privilege due to withdrawing her vengeance spell last week. Girlfriend isn’t feeling her powers as much as she used to, and Willow can relate–the two share a sweet, weird little moment of bonding before Anya starts to wonder if it’s gotten sexy. Oh, Anya.
Meanwhile, Dawn is researching non-Willow entities that remove skin, and she finds Gnarl, a demon that considers the epidermis a delicacy. GROSS. Buffy pulls a Nancy Drew and deduces that they can track Gnarl by the blood trail–cut to Spike leading the Scoobs through the woods like a punky, peroxide bloodhound. (“It’s smell-elementary!” exclaims Dawn.) After Spike shows them to a cave, we see Willow inside of it as Gnarl murmurs sing-songy death threats. Then we see Buffy, Dawn, and Xander crawl in and face the demon, who cuts and paralyzes Dawn. The trio escapes, closing up the entrance to keep Gnarl imprisoned, but d’oh, they’ve also trapped Willow! Gnarl takes Willow down, and I’m starting to get a real Gollum vibe from this guy. As he begins to eat a strip of her skin (GAH), Buffy is back at the house, discovering that the only cure for Dawn’s paralysis is to kill Gnarl. She asks Anya over to babysit “fully poseable” Dawn, and that’s when Anya FINALLY informs them that she’s seen Willow… and that she was headed towards the cave.
Buffy, Xander, and Anya race back, and the latter is the only one who can see Willow laid out on the ground, several inches of her flesh missing. Blech! Buffy fights Gnarl, eventually vanquishing it by smashing its eyeballs (double blech!), and then suddenly Willow can see her best friends, and vice versa. Her relief that they didn’t leave her, that they still love her, is heartbreaking in the most wonderful way.
The next day, back at the house, Willow is sitting on her bed (now in Buffy’s old room) and meditating to grow skin with magic. Buffy finds her and seems a little nervous about the magic, quipping: “I mean, when most people meditate, they don’t get extra skin, right? ‘Cause Clem should cut back.” Willow confesses that she unintentionally cast the spell that caused the invisibility–she was afraid of seeing the Scoobs, and terrified of how they would react to seeing her. Buffy admits that she was worried about Willow, and as the truth rushes out between these two besties, it’s clear that the foundation of their friendship remains intact. Phew! Buffy offers to lend her strength to Willow so she can keep regrowing her skin, and the episode ends with the two facing each other, holding hands, with love glowing between them. Awww!
How many times do I have to take a drink?
Anya Is All Of Us
The Truest Thing Anybody Said This Week
“Will anyone around here ever start asking for help when they need it?” – Dawn.
Sorry, Dawny, but I think the answer is no.
WHO IS THE COUPLE IN THIS FRAME?
I Think I Like Dawn Now?
I mean, she’s fending for herself, and she’s smart, and her weirdness is, like, endearing?
Bloody Good Snark
This scene was pure Buffy gold.
Full disclosure, I have a very clear memory of this episode, because when it first aired, I thought it was hella deep. Also because it was the first time I saw a TV show reference Google, and I felt very superior to my fictional friends who didn’t know what that was. Aaaaand now I feel ancient. Okay!
The episode opens with a very old school scenario–Buffy, Xander, and Dawn are hiding in coffins at a funeral home (Dawn is in the kid coffin, natch), waiting for a middle aged (or old? I’m 42, I can’t tell anymore) lady vamp to arise. Buffy is preoccupied by the fact that she’s about to start actually counseling students, but she still manges to stake the vampire, and it feels good to drink to that again!
The next day at Sunnydale High, we see a montage of students meeting with Buff. There’s Amanda, a real geek who is being bullied and, as it turns out, was sent to to see Buffy becuse she actually stood up for herself… by slamming her bully’s face into the pavement. Hmm, I sense potential with this one. Then there’s Peter, who just wanted to get out of class. This kid Josh asks Buffy out on a date (gross), and even Dawn pays the new counselor a visit to complain about her obnoxious big sister. But things go from ordinary to extraordinary when a student named Cassie confesses that she knows she’s going to die next Friday, because she’s got some kind of psychic ability. She also gushes over Buffy’s top (which is… just a white tank?) and advises her to throw a sweater over it so it doesn’t get stained. This happens right before Buffy spills coffee all over it, which lends enough creedence to Cassie’s ability that Buffy asks Dawn to check up on her, because this counselor is determined to save her student.
Although Willow and Xander think Buffy is seeing paranormal when it’s really just normal teenage angst, Willow still does her usual internet, I mean, GOOGLE, search, and they find Cassie’s Flash-heavy website, full of her dark, emo poetry. They read through her LiveJournal page, and while Dawn thinks that Cassie’s friend zoned pal Mike is going to kill her, Buffy suspects Cassie’s deadbeat dad. She and Xander pay him a visit in a very atypical way (Buffy: “Buffy the Vampire Slayer would break down this door.” Xander: “And Buffy the Counselor?” Buffy: “Waits.”), but he’s clearly not the future murderer, and Cassie ends up telling them as much while also giving a speech about aaaaall of the things she would love to do if she didn’t have to die. I’m embarrassed to remember how much this monologue made me tear up in 2002.
Cut to a circle of dudes in red cloaks in the Sunnydale High library as they light a photo of Cassie, surrounded by a ring of coins, on fire. (I should mention that Cassie’s vision of her death includes some kind of foreign coin.)
Now it’s Friday, and time for Cassie is running out. Buffy figures out that their suspect isn’t Mike, because he’s okay with Cassie turning him down for the Winter Formal–he might ask Dawn instead! (Which pisses Buffy off, because her sister shouldn’t be anyone’s second choice!) As Principal Wood conducts locker searches, Buffy sees weird coins spill out of one of them, and after she corners the owner of the locker, she gets the info she needs.
Back in the library, we see that Peter is the leader of the dudes in the red cloaks, and he plans to use Cassie, who has been kidnapped and tied up, as the human sacrifice to summon a demon so they can all get rich. #Basic. Her reputation as an angsty teen, from Peter’s perspective, means that her death could easily be deemed a suicide. But oh snap, Buffy emerges from one of the red cloaks! She starts to shut down the party, but the demon actually shows, so she has to fight him, too. Spike arrives as backup, thank goodness, and he punches the crap out of Peter even though it hurts via the chip. Buffy defeats the demon (though he does bite Peter right before dying, HI KARMA), and then she ushers Cassie out of the library, only to catch an arrow from the Red Cloaks’ booby trap that was about to slice through Cassie’s brain. “See?” Buffy tells her. “You can make a difference.” To which Cassie replies, “And you will,” right before she collapses, dead from a heart irregularity. OH DANG.
Buffy is understandably devastated by her inability to change Cassie’s fate, but Dawn reassures her that she didn’t fail Cassie, because she tried. “What do you do,” Buffy wonders, “when you know that maybe you can’t help?” The question lingers in the air, but as the episode ends, we see Buffy back at her desk, ready to keep trying. Bless you, Buff!
Amidst all of this, Willow got to grieve a bit by visiting Tara’s grave, which she (and Tara) totally deserve. It wasn’t enough, but it was something.
How many times do I have to take a drink?
10 times, plus one shot
There’s a whole bunch in this ep!
You might know Sarah as Millie from Freaks and Geeks, or you might know her as a character that comes back soon in this season because *drink*.
Not that I rewatch Home Improvement, but I don’t think I could ever see Brad Taylor in the same away again.
Maybe it’s because she’s like a cross between Drew Barrymore and Sarah Polley, but I feel like I’ve seen Azura all over the place… when, maybe I haven’t? But I bet Meredith recognizes her from Smallville!
Also, do we think Azura has forgiven her parents for that name?
Lest We Forget, Buffy Is A White Girl
We’ve Come a Long Way Since Ms. Calendar’s Class
I legit remember yelping when this exchange about Cassie happened, because I KNEW ABOUT GOOGLE!
To which Xander replies, “Willow, she’s seventeen!” Then Willow rolls her eyes and says, “It’s a search engine.”
Cassie Throws Team Spuffy a Bone
How do y’all feel about Willow’s return? Did the writers handle it realistically?
Speaking of realistic, except not, I’m glad Buffy got the counselor gig–it’s interesting to see her wrestle with trying to help people minus the use of her powers. I see it as the show returning to those universal teenage experiences, which is what made the series so compelling in the first place. What say you?
Join me for a convo in the comments, then tune in next week as Kandis recaps “Selfless” (Anya, oof) and “Him” (Dawn, double oof).