Drinks Taken: 17
Vamps Dusted: 0
Follow the whole rewatch here!
Previously on the rewatch, our final season opened with Buffy getting a job at the new Sunnydale High, where Spike is insane in the basement. Anya is back on the vengeance demon beat but maybe doesn’t love it like she used to, and Willow returned home from magical rehab in England with somewhat shaky control.
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There’s an extremely outdated pop culture reference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.”
I’m super excited to finally be talking to y’all about season seven, which I think has a lot going for it, especially this next episode.
Dawn gives Willow tips for fitting in back in college, while Buffy and Xander help unpack Willow’s room at the Summers house, and Xander talks about checking up on Anya. He doesn’t want to get back together, but misses her and thinks she seems sad. Buffy isn’t worried about the sad vibe so much as the vengeance vibe. Xander doesn’t think there’s anything to worry about there, since Anya turned the worm guy from last week back to his wormy human state. Of course, we cut to a frat house littered with a dozen dead bodies, and a bloody Anya slumped on the floor asking “what have I done?”
In our first flashback of the episode, we get a sepia-tinted scene from 1000 years ago, when Anya was “Aud” and she lived with a giant man named Olaf, who was not yet the troll we met in “Triangle”. The house is full of hopping rabbits, which Aud breeds and is considering giving to her fellow villagers, not in exchange for goods and services, but just as a selfless gesture. Olaf laughs at her and tells her “your logic is insane and happenstance, like that of a troll,” and that it’s no wonder the bar matrons talk about her. He manages to talk her out of her jealousy over a particular bar wench, and she claims she could not live without him.
Spike talks to Buffy in the school basement about how he’s been seeing things, and how it reminds him of how Dru used to see things and it would make him think she’d gone crazy. Buffy tells him she can help him, but he says he could never ask after what she did. She gently touches his face and assures him that they can get through this together, which is how you know that’s definitely not really Buffy, but the First messing with Spike’s head again. (Drink!) The real Buffy comes down and tells him this basement is killing him and sternly tells him he needs to get out of it. With tears running down his face, he tells her has nowhere else to go. It’s okay, Spike, you can stay in my garage! I’m 80% sure it does not sit on a Hellmouth.
Willow talks to one of her professors about catching up to come back to school, which the professor isn’t worried about, seeing as how Willow aced all her finals “like magic” last year. Willow sees Anya leaving a building on campus, bundled in a trenchcoat, and calls out to her to excitedly share her back-to-school plans, but then realizes how squirrely Anya seems, and asks why she’s coming out of a fraternity house in the middle of the day. Anya claims to have a new boyfriend there, which Willow is happy to hear until she spots some blood on Anya’s hand. After Anya makes a vague excuse to dash off, Willow goes to check out the fraternity house and sees blood all over the walls and floor, leading into a room full of bodies. Then Willow hears a girl’s voice whimpering, saying “I take it back” over and over again. Willow finds her in a closet and the girl tells her that she thought she was coming to a party and that everyone was bringing a date, but it was just the fraternity and her, and one of them broke up with her in front of all of the others, telling her it had all been a joke. They laughed at her while she cried until she screamed that she wished they could all feel what it’s like to have their hearts ripped out. And then, the giant spider came. Willow asks where it went, and then a horrifyingly bad CGI giant spider attacks her from behind. She’s able to fend it off with magic and lapses into a very brief Dark Willow-esque moment when she demands the girl stop whimpering. But she ends up just tossing the spider out the window.
In another sepia flashback, Aud’s village is running from a troll that obviously used to be Olaf, but the villagers think he’s just doing an Olaf impersonation. Did I forget to mention these flashbacks are hilarious? Overlooking the chaos, D’Hoffryn arrives to praise Aud for her impressive magic and asks what Olaf did to deserve it. Apparently, the answer is: a bar matron. D’Hoffryn proposes that as Anyanka, she could put her talents to use helping women wronged by evil men.
At Anya’s apartment, Halfrek celebrates Anya’s return to form, not really noticing Anya’s lack of excitement. She says she had forgotten how much destruction a Crimslaw demon could do, and Hallie agrees they are feisty little guys that are impossible to housetrain. Hallie reassures Anya that she is just rusty and it will all come back to her, which Anya is grateful for. Willow busts in and orders Halfrek to leave. Willow tells Anya that she has to stop, she’s in trouble, and Willow is there to help her. Which Anya (and I) find pretty funny and asks if Willow has flayed anyone lately. Anya asks that Willow try to understand that she’s a vengeance demon and those guys got what they deserved, but she doesn’t sound completely sure of herself.
Buffy and Xander track the spider through the woods when they find a bloody body with its heart ripped out. They find the spider in a tree above them and then it jumps down and has a ridiculous-looking fight with Buffy, but its second screaming mouth is sufficiently creepy. It jumps back up high in the tree, and while Xander talks about coming back with more firepower, Buffy throws her sword straight up and kills it. When they get home, Willow fills them in on where the spider came from and Xander is upset that she didn’t tell them sooner, but Buffy knows the reason Willow didn’t want to tell them is because she knows Buffy has to kill Anya.
In a flashback to Russia in 1905, Anya and Halfrek, dressed to the nines, drink champagne among a palace full of dead bodies and a revolution raging outside. Anya maintains she was just doing her vengeance demon part, that Russia was basically a powder keg already, and she just gave it a little push. Hallie thinks they should go have some fun with the rest of their evening, but Anya would rather head to a brothel because there’s no better spot for vengeance than a brothel. She doesn’t think she needs a life outside of her work because vengeance is what she is. So far, they are not managing to talk me out of a glamorous career in vengeance.
Buffy tries to explain to Xander that she isn’t the Anya he used to know. Xander fairly points out that this isn’t new ground for them and that when their friends go all crazy and start killing people, they help them. Buffy believes the difference is that Willow was a human and that Anya is a demon, that she chose to become a demon twice. Xander thinks things tend to be different when Buffy is boning the demon. But Buffy says that Spike was helping them and she reminds Xander that she did kill Angel when she had to. Xander is convinced there has to be another way, and Buffy begs him to please find it. He storms out, and Buffy gathers weapons to go after Anya. Willow tells Buffy she’s sorry, but she can’t go with her. After Buffy leaves, Willow uses an old charm from her Oz breakup (drink!) to summon D’Hoffryn. He tells Willow he expected to hear from her, and praises her on Warren’s flaying, telling her that it was truly inspired watercooler vengeance and that Lloyd has a sketch of it on his office wall. But she’s actually summoned him to talk about Anya.
Xander finds Anya at the frat house, surveying her damage. When Xander says he’s there to help her, she notes that everyone is so considerate today, she should have slaughtered people weeks ago. He warns that Buffy is coming to kill her, and Anya corrects that Buffy is coming to try. Which, DAMN. I kind of love badass Anya. She says that she and Buffy both have jobs to do and that Buffy knew this day would come sometime. Anya knocks Xander out of the way and puts her demon face on to fight Buffy. Anya does some taunting but Buffy has a sword and she doesn’t, and eventually, Anya is impaled against a wall.
In a present-day flashback, Xander is sleeping during the events of “Once More With Feeling”. She tries to wake him to ask if it was weird with the singing and dancing earlier. Then she busts out into a song about who is she, but a lame made up name, but now, “I’ll Be Mrs.” If you haven’t watched it lately, you really should. The show abruptly cuts from her big finish to Xander coming to on the floor and seeing Anya stabbed to the wall. Her human face is back and she gasps and says she’d forgotten how much swords through the chest hurt. But now Anya has the sword and Buffy is armed only with acrobatics. Xander knocks Buffy out of the way just as she was about to impale Anya again. Anya demands that Xander stop trying to save her when D’Hoffryn arrives. He tells them that Willow seems to think Anya would be better suited to a life outside of the vengeance fold. He already knows what “Lady Hacks Away” wants, and Xander sees through the eyes of love, but he wonders if anyone has asked what Anya wants. Before he can even finish though, she tells him that she wants to take it back. He reminds her that there are a dozen bodies in there and she knows that the scales must be balanced. Xander, realizing the price of undoing this means a life, tries to interrupt again. But Anya sadly tells him to stop helping her. She’s not even sure there’s anything left of her to help. D’Hoffryn confirms that this is her wish, to undo what she did. D’Hoffryn claps his hands and Hallie appears and D’Hoffryn kills her. He tells Anya that he always told her not to go for the kill when she could go for the pain, and that she’s now out of the vengeance demon biz. Crying, Anya says he should have killed her, but he assures her that he wouldn’t worry about that, because “From beneath you, it devours. Be patient. All good things in time.” (Shots for everyone!) He disappears, and Anya leaves. Buffy tells Xander to go after her. Xander doesn’t want Anya to be alone, but she thinks she should, and that it’s time she learned to be on her own. She thanks him tearfully and asks what if she’s really nobody. Xander tells her not to be a dope. And they both sadly walk off in opposite directions.
How many times do I have to take a drink?
0. Just one giant 2002-era CGI spider.
Scene-stealing Demon of The Week
D’Hoffryn: Breathtaking. It’s like somebody slaughtered an Abercrombie & Fitch catalog.
D’Hoffryn: Isn’t that just like a Slayer? Solving all her problems by sticking things with sharp objects.
Pour One Out For Halfrek (née Cecily)
The lady had flair.
Xander lays down the rules for his new roommate, Spike, while being very clear to Spike and Buffy that he hates this plan. Buffy maintains that the school basement was making him crazy and they had to get him out of there. Xander isn’t sure how this is their problem, but since Spike has a soul now, Buffy feels some kind of obligatory humanity, I guess. Dawn feels the need to verify that this doesn’t mean Buffy and Spike are back on, which they are very much not. Buffy admits she doesn’t know exactly what it means that Spike has a soul now, and shows she’s still a little uncomfortable around him when he grabs her arm to get her attention. But she’s certain this plan will work since the longer Spike is out of the basement, the less he talks to invisible people.
The next day at school, while Dawn and Buffy are hanging out on the bleachers, watching the football team practice, and Dawn asks why Buffy is helping Spike if it’s not out of pity. Buffy reveals that sometimes she can’t stand him and sometimes she feels for him, but she assures Dawn that it’s not love. Dawn doesn’t understand how Buffy could be disgusted by Spike then sleeping with him, or how he would die for her, but then tried to rape her. Per Buffy, Spike knows what he did was wrong, and that’s why he went away. Dawn seems to be asking more out of general curiosity about relationships and why people even bother, and she also observes that it’s not just the school basement making people act crazy. Fair enough, kid. After Buffy leaves, Dawn becomes transfixed by a generically attractive dudebro football player putting on his letterman jacket.
Buffy fights off a demon in Anya’s destroyed apartment, while Anya tries to crawl away, suggesting that maybe he has the wrong Anyanka, because there could be tons of Anyankas out there. Buffy kills the demon and Anya thanks her but then would like her to leave. She’d rather not need anyone’s help right now. Buffy tells her it’s a bad time out there, and she really doesn’t want any of her friends to be alone. Anya agrees that the gang could probably use her help since Willow isn’t good at practical strategizing, unless she’s evil, and Dawn isn’t really good for anything. HA!
At Sunnydale High, Dawn does that thing where you pace around, practicing what you’re going to say when you run into your crush. And then she makes the colossal error of approaching the target of her obsession, R.J., while he’s surrounded by football players and cheerleaders. It’s painfully awkward, but it gives Dawn the idea to audition for an open spot on the cheerleading team to get closer to him. She digs out Buffy’s old cheerleading outfit from season one, which was dated even when Buffy wore it, and it doesn’t bring her any more luck than it brought Buffy. Her audition, complete with an R.J.-centered cheer, is a humiliating disaster. She’s sobbing in her room when Buffy and Xander try to coax her out. Buffy is confused about where this came from, since yesterday, R.J. wasn’t even on her radar, and now Dawn claims he’s the love of her life. And here we get an unfortunate return to Dawn’s dramatic teen tantrums, just when we were all starting to like her.
The next morning, Dawn overhears R.J.’s rival on the team bragging that he’ll be starting quarterback at the next game, not R.J. Dawn confronts him in the hallway on R.J.’s behalf and ends up shoving him down the stairs. In Principal Wood’s office, Dawn tells him and Buffy that she has no idea why the boy would have lied about her pushing him down the stairs. Once Buffy realizes that R.J. benefits from this “accident,” she becomes suspicious.
That night at the Bronze, Buffy, Xander, and Willow are talking about how being newly ensouled does not apparently make one a neater roommate, when they spot R.J. dancing with some “slutbag hussy” that they alternately salivate over and judge before realizing it’s Dawn, who was supposed to be studying at the library. Buffy does not handle this rebellion well, mainly focusing on how tacky Dawn looks, instead of the lying and breaking rules part. Dawn thinks that Buffy just can’t handle someone else getting attention for once and storms off in a snit. Outside the Bronze, Dawn is ambushed by one of the cheerleaders from school who attacks her for dancing with R.J. They brawl in the street until Buffy breaks it up.
The next morning, Buffy grabs R.J. on his way out of Principal Wood’s office to talk to him about staying away from her sister. In the middle of her diatribe, R.J. puts his letterman jacket back on, and it derails her, and she’s suddenly hot and bothered and hitting on the boring jailbait. At home that night, Buffy tells Dawn that R.J. thinks Dawn is fun and pretty and interesting, but that she’s coming on too strong. Dawn is just worried that if she backs off, some other girl will come along and sweep him up. Dawn is grateful for the pep talk, until the next day when she spies Buffy making out with R.J. in an empty classroom. Xander finds her crying outside and offers to go get Buffy. When he does, he finds her straddling the teenager. At home, Xander, Willow, and Anya try to explain to Buffy and Dawn that they’re under a love spell, but both of them are certain that their love for R.J. is real and meant to be.
After some Scooby research, Xander heads to R.J.’s house, with Spike as back-up, to talk to R.J.’s older brother, who he remembered being a big deal back in his Sunnydale High days, too. R.J.’s brother, Lance, reveals that R.J. was into comic books, model U.N. and wrote poetry until Lance handed down the family letterman jacket. Now R.J. is a quarterback and Lance works at the Pizza Barn. Meanwhile, R.J. stops by the Summers house looking for Buffy, while Willow and Anya are researching, and they both quickly end up under his spell. After arguing with Buffy and Dawn, the four ladies each decide they need to find a way to prove their love to R.J. Buffy heads out to kill Principal Wood, who is always giving R.J. a hard time, Anya goes to rob a bank, Willow tries to do a spell to turn R.J. into a girl but is interrupted by Xander and Spike, and Dawn goes to lay down on the railroad tracks (because she doesn’t think there’s anything else she can do to prove her love to him). Spike is able to wrestle the rocket launcher away from Buffy right before she can kill Wood, and Willow does a locator spell so they can get to Dawn before she gets run over by a train. Dawn’s actions scare Buffy into enough sense to recognize they might actually be under a spell. Xander and Spike hatch an elaborate plan to get the jacket and burn it in the fireplace, which seems to break the spell.
How many times do I have to take a drink?
Headlining at the Bronze
Big deal ‘90’s band, The Breeders, are playing at the Bronze when Dawn sneaks out to meet R.J. Apparently, sisters Kim and Kelley Deal were huge fans of the show and had even released a cover of Nerf Herder’s Buffy theme song. Per Screenrant, Kim Deal herself called to negotiate the Breeders’ appearance at the Bronze.
Bloody Good Snark
Xander: I’m just sayin’… once you get back the soul, doesn’t that mean you start, like, picking up your own wet towels off the floor?
Willow: No, but maybe you start to feel really bad about leaving them there.
Xander to R.J.: I’m sorry. It’s just checkout time was an hour ago, we were hoping to make up the bed. And also, it’s a classroom, you chowderhead! Now get off the boy, Buffy. We’re going home.
Buffy: You realize that Anya’s probably seducing R.J. even as we speak.
Willow: My god, you think so?
Buffy: Well, I wouldn’t put it past her. She’s recently evil, you know.
Willow: Well, so am I. Why should I miss out?
Buffy: This is the plan?! You’re gonna steal R.J. by being trisected?!
Dawn: What am I gonna compete with you? You’re older and hotter and have sex that’s rough and kill people! I don’t have any of that stuff.
Buffy: Xander, be honest. You didn’t, you know, think about slipping that jacket on just a little bit?
Xander: I refuse to answer that on the grounds that it didn’t fit.
Hey, wanna feel crazy old? “Selfless” aired exactly 18 years ago this week. Is it weird that I love this episode? There are real conversations about how they should decide what’s right and wrong in their crazy world, and it’s clear that even though Buffy sees things in black and white, it’s obviously a little more grey to everyone else. Huh. Her solution really is to always stick things with sharp objects. Luckily, Willow thinks fast. The flashbacks and editing are fantastic, and Anya’s back story is so interesting, and it really makes you think about identity and duty – and not only Buffy’s for a change. The stakes feel brutal and real, and the end is a heartbreaker. Plus? Emma Caulfield just kills it.
So, yeah. “Him” suffers a bit by comparison. As Sarah pointed out last week, it’s like revisiting season one or two Buffy, I’d argue, not in a good way. It’s not even a Monster of the Week episode. It’s like Nonsense of the Week. How on earth does something so silly exist in this final season? Or, am I being too harsh? As always, I’d love to hear what you think! But please, no cursed high school memorabilia in the comments.
And then meet us back here next week, when Meredith will be recapping what I hope will be a hotly contested episode, “Conversations With Dead People.” And this season will finally start ramping up with “Sleeper.”