Drinks Taken: 38
Vamps Dusted: 0
Follow the whole rewatch here!
Last week, the First Evil utilized its psychological warfare specialty on the Scooby Gang, and Buffy finally realized what tormented Spike was getting up to: murdering and turning innocent Sunnydale citizens into vampires. (So basically what he used to call a normal Tuesday.) We’re finally maneuvering everyone closer to the Big Bad showdown of season 7, but, like, do we need to? I’m going to miss the light-hearted episodes. We only have one or two more coming our way (Andrew’s “documentary” is always a hoot, from what I recall).
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There’s an extremely outdated pop culture reference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.”
It’s starting to get real dark in here, and I’m not just referring to Daylight Savings Time ending. Grab a drink and let’s get to it.
7.09 “Never Leave Me”
Buffy brings Spike back to the Summers’ residence for his own good, and so she can learn more about what’s going on with him. But he can’t tell her much as he…goes through human-blood withdrawals? (Is this a thing vampires go through that we’ve ever heard about before in this show? I’m thinking back to when they had him chained up in Giles’ apartment in season four—presumably he was always on “human” blood until his chip was implanted and it’s not like Giles would’ve bought him the “good” stuff, no?—and “withdrawals” weren’t a thing. I call shenanigans. But we digress.)
Blood leads to some excellent Andrew moments this episode. He tells the First, who appears to him in the guises of Warren and Jonathan (who was super-cool with Andrew killing him, no hard feelings!) that he can’t take another human life. So Andrew heads to the butcher shop and unluckily runs right into Willow who is buying blood for Spike. She strong-arms him into returning home with her for questioning.
Willow: “I am Willow. I am Death. If you dare defy me, I will call down my fury, exact fresh vengeance, and make your worst fears come true. Okay?”
I vastly prefer this to Dark Willow.
In his own boring D plot, Principal Woods gets a notion to go wander around the school basement and finds the Seal and Jonathan’s dead body. He doesn’t look surprised to see a dead body at the high school and engages in some very shady behavior as he takes Jonathan’s body away and buries it. (Drink!)
After feasting on his animal blood, Spike and Buffy have a heart to heart. He explains what he did to get his soul back, how he thought his delusions were just a part of his returned soul, and that he finally recognizes Buffy was using him because she hated herself. She’s incredulous that he’s only just figured this out, and he shrugs, telling her he hates himself now, too: “Souls aren’t all about moonbeams and pennywhistles, love. It’s about self-loathing. I get it. I had to travel around the world, but I understand you now.”
In the next room, Xander and Anya really relish their “good cop/bad cop” role playing as they try to get Andrew to confess why he’s returned to Sunnydale. He starts in about the Seal of Danzalthar, but before he can give too much detail, a triggered Spike breaks out of his bonds and attacks him through the wall. Everyone regroups downstairs, where, for some reason, it falls on Xander to explain the not-exactly-esoteric ideas of brainwashing and “triggers”.
Spike’s now chained up in the basement (probably should’ve started with that, TBH), and when Buffy goes to check on him, he begs her to kill him. She refuses. He tries to taunt and goad her by revealing how twisted he was when he was soulless, but she speechifizes him, telling him she knows he’s paying penance and CAN change for the better. She’s seen it. Buffy earnestly tells Spike she believes in him, and I’m sure some people are enjoying these woobie Spike moments more than I am.
Suddenly robed figures (the Harbingers of Death, if you want to get technical, which, coincidentally, would also be a great metal band name) burst through every door and window in the Summers’ home. Dammit, evil dudes, Xander just fixed that window!! They attack in a violent free-for-all. Buffy fights her way through the house and ends up upstairs, protecting Andrew, but eventually they learn it was all a distraction to kidnap Spike.
Buffy recognizes the dead, “alphabet eyes” robed figures littering her living room and realizes she’s fought them before, and now she’s putting together all the pieces: the “ghosts” they saw, Spike’s brainwashing, from beneath us it devours (she doesn’t complete the phrase, but I say take a shot anyway!). It’s the First, she proclaims grimly. Finally we’re all on the same page!
Earlier, Buffy had called the Watchers Council to inquire after Giles, and it was clear they already KNEW this was the First and hadn’t told her boo, so when this next thing happens I can’t muster up too much sympathy. Travers is informed that the Council is being attacked all over the world and that the sitch is super grim. He patronizingly pats the arm of his lady colleague who told him this news and tells her they’re still masters of their fates, captains of their souls! but I don’t think she believes him because she makes this face:
LOL, Lydia, I guess I AM a little sorry about what will happen to you.
Travers gives a rousing speech to his fellow Council members, telling them to rally the troops because they’re heading to the Hellmouth, as Buffy will need their “wise counsel”—and then they explode. No really, the building is blown up. So…shit. But more importantly: WHERE IS GILES?
Lastly, kidnapped Spike is strung up on an overly-complicated torture device with runic cuts all over his chest. He’s hoisted over the Seal of Danzalthar so his blood can trickle down on it, and the First taunts him as the Seal opens, telling him he’s about to see what a REAL vampire looks like.
How many times do I have to take a drink?
Bloody Good Snark
Willow: “I’ll go get some [animal blood for Spike].”
Buffy: “You don’t mind?”
Willow: “No, I have to get out of the house. Xander’s installing the new windows and he keeps giving lectures on proper tool maintenance.”
Xander: “I was worried I overdid it with the whole ‘easy way, hard way’ thing.”
Anya: “No, you were great! And I wasn’t sure I should slap him, but then he made me want to slap him, so I said, okay, slap him!”
The-First-Warren: “Alright, looking good! How do you feel?”
The-First-Warren: “Excellent. We’ve got work to do.”
Andrew: “Do we have to do work right now? Can’t I just walk around for a while in my coat?”
I also giggle-snorted when the butcher calls Andrew “Neo” because of his coat. (Drink!)
When Andrew tells the First-Warren he can’t kill another person, First-Warren decides pigs are more Andrew’s speed. This leads to one of my all-time favorite Buffy moments and probably my favorite Babe reference:
7.10 “Bring on the Night”
While everyone dives into research on the First, Xander sweeps up the remains of the Harbingers attack and laments that he’s in a “mummy hand” loop, doomed to endlessly fix the windows at Buffy’s house only to have them smashed minutes later. He’s…not wrong. “Joyce” appears to Buffy and encourages her to nap to keep up her strength, but then Xander wakes Buffy up from where she fell asleep at the table, so was this just a normal dream or the First getting into her head? Fun fact: this is the last time Joyce appears on the series.
Spike spends the entire episode being tortured by the First in the form of Druscilla and her pet uber-vamp, who was released from the Seal. He’s stabbed and drowned and has to endure faux-Druscilla’s nonsense rambling, but he knows that Buffy believes in him now, so he stays strong and tells Dru that his strings won’t be pulled anymore.
Anya and Dawn are weirdly enthusiastic about slapping Andrew in these two episodes. Everyone is waiting for him to regain consciousness so he can lead them to the Seal in the high school’s basement. Once there, they can’t tell if it was opened, but they do find the very elaborate body-hoisting equipment, so Dawn surmises, “Looks like the First made another sacrifice. Or a music video.” (This must be why I had a few residual warm feelings for Dawn back when season five started. I was recalling her season seven ways.)
After Willow has a slight mishap with some magic, you can see Buffy is getting panicked that the First is going to keep hurting her loved ones, so she flings the front door open to go search Sunnydale for any random clues. But a surprise visitor stops her in her tracks. It’s Giles, alive and well, bearing unwanted houseguests and stolen books!
Kennedy: “THIS is the Slayer? Hmm.”
Oh, hell NO, Kennedy, you did not just make that face like Buffy is dog poo on your shoe. Welcome to MY shit list.
Giles tells the Scooby Gang through flashbacks about the Watchers Council going ka-boom and how all the Potential Slayers and their Watchers are being systematically slaughtered because the First wants to wipe out the Slayer line altogether. Buffy’s premonitions of murdered girls are now making sense. Giles gathered up the few Potentials he could and brought them with him for Buffy to protect, and he informs them to snuggle up because more are on their way. It’s just a slight apocalypse, y’all. (Take a drink for Andrew’s breathless excitement as Giles recounts his tale, as he is clearly picturing them all living in some epic comic book story. It’s kind of adorable. I am finding it so hard to dislike Andrew right now.)
While Dawn and Willow focus on domestic issues like getting everyone settled at the house, Giles and Buffy search the cave under the Christmas tree lot where she initially encountered the First. She tangles with the uber-vamp who rose from the Seal of Danzalthar, gets her butt handed to her, and is only saved by the rising sun. Back at the house, Giles grimly tells everyone about the Turok-Han, a race of superior vampires that even today’s vamps are scared of. Cool cool cool.
Buffy drags her exhausted self (seriously, Joyce told you to take a nap) to work and adorably searches the internet for “evil”, returning like a million results (drink!). She and Wood have another conversation laden with subtext, but we’re not going to learn anything interesting yet, so let’s move on.
Everyone is putting immense pressure on Buffy to defeat this Turok-Han and save the world from the First. As the sun goes down, one of the Potential Slayers freaks out and runs away, straight into the gross arms of the Turok-Han. Buffy arrives too late to save her, but she fights the uber-vamp again, and this time there’s no sun to protect her, so she is thoroughly beaten and buried under rubble.
The Scooby Gang bring her home, and an injured Buffy sits in the dark looking as cowed as we’ve ever seen her as she listens to everyone lament about how she was their plan and if she can’t fight the First, then they’re screwed. She stumbles into the dining room and begins the most demotivating speech about how the First Evil is the worst thing imaginable. Giles finally realizes he may have been pushing Buffy just a tad too hard and soothingly tells her he knows she’s tired. She responds, “I’m beyond tired. I’m beyond scared. I’m standing on the mouth of hell, and it is gonna swallow me whole. And it’ll choke on me.”
“We’re not ready? They’re not ready. They think we’re gonna wait for the end to come, like we always do. I’m done waiting. They want an apocalypse? Oh, we’ll give ‘em one.” This whole inspirational speech may intentionally be a bit cheesy and derivative, but dang if SMG doesn’t send shivers down my spine with some of that line delivery. It’s a rousing ending to a grim forty-five minutes, but you do have to wonder: how are they going to pull this off?
How many times do I have to take a drink?
26 (Unless I shouldn’t count each new Potential Slayer separately??)
Andrew thinks of defecting, but there’s one thing he needs to know:
Andrew: “So how long have you followed Buffy?”
Xander: “I don’t “follow” her; she’s my best friend.”
Andrew: “Huh. She seems like a good leader. Her hair is shiny. Does she make you stab things?”
Andrew: “Okay, I know what you’re thinking. “Andrew: bad guy.” You think I’m a supervillain, like Doctor Doom, or Apocalypse, or the Riddler. But I admit, I went over to the Dark Side, but just to pick up a few things, and now I’m back. I’ve learned. I’m good again.”
Buffy: “And when were you good before?”
Andrew: “Okay, technically never, touché. But I’m like Vader in the last five minutes of Jedi. Redemptive powers…minus the redemptive struggle… *tries to wiggle out of ropes* of epic…redemption which chronicles…struggle. *gives up wiggling and pouts* These ropes itch.”
Giles For Life
Not gonna lie, I might not hate a Giles/Anya romance. The quips alone…
Giles: “That’s what’s left. The mystic secrets of the Watchers, and whatever I could find on the First. When I learned what was happening, I…I stole them.”
Anya: “And you blew the Council up! See, this is what happens when you’re all stuffy and repressed. You overreact.”
Giles: “I didn’t!”
Buffy asks Giles if he can come for a “normal”, non-apocalypse visit next time, just because she misses him, and he simply tells her misses her too. Gah, my heart.
So did Buffy’s speech get to you? What did you think of the idea of the Potential Slayers hanging around when this plot point first aired? Does anyone else love the “that’ll do, pig” moment as much as I do?? And how annoying is Kennedy?! I’ll admit she has some okay points in the latter part of the episode re: hiding at the Hellmouth and getting weapons, but it’s like they told her to play the role the complete opposite of Amber Benson. “Don’t be sweet, be abrasive!”
Regroup back here with Sarah next Wednesday for “Showtime” and “Potential”, two episodes full of Potential Slayer-ness.