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Title: Buffy S7.E17 “Lies My Parents Told Me” + S7.E18 “Dirty Girls”
Released: 2003

Drinks Taken: 29
Vamps Dusted: 2

 

Follow the whole rewatch here!

Last week, Buffy took on the men who created the Slayer to do their dirty work and helped amateur documentarian Andrew with his redemption arc by forcing him to face killing his BFF, Jonathan. Robin also knows that Spike is the vampire who murdered his mom and he’s been, ah, slightly distracted by it, to put it lightly.

This week is a bittersweet one for me because I’ve reached my last Buffy Rewatch recap! How the heck did that happen?! I’ve loved reliving and dissecting every episode with you all and reading your insightful and passionate comments. Thanks for indulging in my Giles obsession, ha! This has truly been a labor of love. <3

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

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There’s an extremely outdated pop culture reference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.”

Welcome to parental issues and serial killer preachers. Get your mulled ciders ready.

William (pre-Spike) sits with his Mom at her knee.

7.17 “Lies My Parents Told Me”

In 1977 New York City, a young Robin Wood watches his mother, the Slayer, fight a bleached blond vampire who admires her coat. Robin inadvertently saves his mother’s life by knocking over a garbage can, and after the vamp runs off, the Slayer tells Robin she’s taking him to Crowley, her Watcher, because their home is no longer safe. When he pouts, she reminds him “the mission is what matters.”

Present day Robin is cautiously optimistic that the threat is over after the Seal was closed by Andrew’s tears, but Buffy isn’t too sure. In an adorable moment, he tells Buffy her fighting reminds him of his mother, and as they have been quasi-flirting, this is generally a very weird compliment, but Buffy gets it.

Giles stops in to let Buffy know he’s concerned about Spike no longer having his chip, and though Robin is very interested in all things Spike, he struggles to follow the conversation about a military chip, a murderous trigger, and a new soul. Buffy is still adamant that Spike is totally non-murderous now, but agrees to let Giles and Willow perform some magic spell to figure out the cause of Spike’s trigger and hopefully deactivate it.

The spell takes Spike to his trigger memory: the sitting room of his mother’s home in 1880, right before he meets Drusilla. He recites his terrible poetry for Cecily to his attentive mother, and tells her she’s the most important (and only) woman in his life. She’s coughing up blood, so definitely gonna die by Victorian standards, but she implores William to sit with her while she starts to sing the trigger song. Back in real time, triggered Spike gets his vamp face on and flips his bed at the onlookers, hurting Dawn and Buffy in the process.

After he’s calmed down, Buffy wants to unchain him, but Giles disagrees because Spike won’t tell them why his mother is a sore spot for him. “She was a nice lady!” he insists in a voice that clearly says there’s more to it than that. Another flashback starts: same sitting room, but this time newly-turned William has brought Drusilla home for a little makeout sesh on the chaise. They discuss how they will rule the world, the three of them, and bite their way through—hold the phone. Drusilla sits up. The THREE of them?

I don’t think Dru has much room to talk since she invites her ex-boyfriend along on their adventures later.

Mama Spike appears in her nightie, and asks about the harlot in the house. William says he can make her better so they can be together forever. It will only hurt for a moment. Oh, dear.

Willow stops into the basement to tell Buffy she received a call from LA (from Fred at Angel Investigations; hi, Fred!) and that she needs to be gone for a little while. Buffy overrides Giles and unchains Spike, so Robin convinces Giles they must kill Spike. We know Giles has been known to make the hard choices when he thinks Buffy can’t (see: killing Ben to stop Glory), so he grimly agrees. I don’t totally support his move to go behind her back. In general, the tone of Giles’ character feels uneven and very gloomy throughout season 7 (buuut don’t they all). 

So Robin invites Spike to his cross-laden garage and plays the song to trigger him, because he wants to grapple with “the monster” who murdered his mother. Giles brings Buffy to a cemetery (drink!) to distract her with a vampire and to impress upon her that war requires sacrifices. As she fights, Buffy agrees that if she had to do season five’s apocalypse over again, she would kill Dawn to save the world. If that’s the case, Giles wonders why she refuses to deal with a loose cannon like Spike. Alarm bells ring for Buffy.

In between Robin and Spike’s fight, Spike flashes back to Vamp Mama Spike, who, to be frank, is a real vindictive bitch. She says some really horrible things, insinuating William always wanted to “get back inside her” ever since he was born (ewww) and that she should’ve aborted him and his poetry sucks. It’s…rough. (This is again one of those moments where the writers seem to pick and choose their vampire canon, because her human personality truly seems to be gone, whereas Spike as a vampire still seemed to love and care for her.) Anyway, William is so hurt that he stakes her, and in the present, Spike finally forgives her for those words, and forgives himself for killing her, because it was really just a demon, not his mum.

He cruelly taunts Robin that at least his mother always loved him, but Robin’s didn’t love him enough to leave her mission behind. And he feels no guilt for killing her, either, because “she was a Slayer, he was a vampire.” But we also know he made it his mission to seek Nikki out because he liked hunting Slayers, so, double gross. Guess his new soul has a choose-your-own-remorse option.

Buffy arrives to save Spike, but he’s fine. He bit Robin but let him live, THIS time. Buffy tells a defeated Robin that she’s sorry about his mom, but he’s trying to get revenge on a man who doesn’t exist anymore and she doesn’t have time for vendettas. So Robin either plays nice or she’ll let Spike kill him. Like…seriously, wtf, Buffy? Later, Giles tries to explain his side, but Buffy cuts him off and sarcastically says he’s taught her everything he can, and shuts the door in his face:

Rude, on both sides. Can’t we all just get along?

I have to pause here to express my annoyance that Spike is the freaking wedge between Giles and Buffy. Putting aside whether Spuffy should be a couple (I know I’m in the minority of NOPE), Buffy’s obsession with Spike’s well-being is tiresome and very boring. Get a soul, fine; I’ve nothing against Spike attempting character strides. But it’s Buffy’s fanatical fretting over how Spike’s doing, where is he now; her constant defense of him against her friends’ valid concerns, her repeated insistence that “he’s the strongest warrior we have” to support her need to keep him around…I’m not liking where this takes HER character “growth”. (And yes, she used to worry about Angel a lot, but a) he was the season’s Big Bad and it made thematic sense and b) she was a teenager in love for the first time.) It feels like TPTB didn’t have a strong idea of where to take Buffy’s arc now that she’s no longer depressed like in season six.

How many times do I have to take a drink?

8

Vamps Dusted

1

Cameo

Caroline Lagerfelt as Spike's mom

Caroline Lagerfelt has an impressive list of acting credits to her name, but if we stay in teen TV territory, you may likely remember her as Serena’s grandmother, CeCe Rhodes, from Gossip Girl

The Truest Thing Anybody Said This Week

Robin: “It’s been pretty quiet around here since you stopped that Seal. You may have just stopped this thing, Buffy.”
Buffy: “No, it can’t be that easy.”
Robin: “You call that ‘easy’?”
Buffy: “Hey, any apocalypse I avert without dying? Yeah, those are the easy ones.”
Robin: “You know, you’re something else, Ms. Summers.”

Giles For Life

Former school librarian Giles wants you to know that everything is TERRIBLE! Why?

Buffy: “Maybe you’re right. Maybe everything is fine.”
Giles: “Everything is terrible! Total catastrophe!”
Buffy: “Giles, what’s wrong?”
Giles: “Have you SEEN the new library? There’s nothing but computers. There’s not a book to be seen! I don’t know where to begin, Buffy. I mean, who do we speak to?”

And later:

Giles: “We should go before the school board. I can have my backup library sent from home in the meantime. It’s not much, but—”
Buffy: “Giles.”
Giles: “Knowledge comes from crafted bindings and pages, Buffy, not ones and zeros.”

Maybe I also love Giles because he is never here for Spike’s shit:

Spike: “With all the rubbish people keep sticking in my head, it’s a wonder there’s any room for my brain.”
Giles: “I don’t think it takes up that much space, do you?”

Buffy and Faith standing outside in the dark.

7.18 “Dirty Girls”

We open on a familiar scene: a random Potential being chased by Bringers in the woods. She gets “rescued” by a passing driver, but her gratitude turns to horror when the “kindly” preacher asks if they were chasing her because she was a whore. Meet Caleb, the First’s minion numero uno (more on him later). Caleb stabs the Potential and tosses her from the moving vehicle, right in front of a car containing Willow and Faith.

That’s right: Faith is back, baby! (If you’ll recall, Willow took a crossover-episode trip to Angel to restore Angel’s soul. Faith, who’s redemption arc you would’ve completely missed out on if you only watched Buffy and not Angel, was also there to help Angel since he was instrumental in her rehabilitation. Willow asked Faith to return home with her to help Buffy.)

They bring the injured girl to the hospital, and Faith is miffed that no one bothered to inform her that someone was killing the Slayer line, especially because she WAS attacked while she was in prison and didn’t know why. (I guess Buffy was too concerned with saving Spike to spare a thought for Faith.) Poor Willow tries to apologize, but, honestly, it wasn’t her job. Faith, having spent months in a coma (drink!), doesn’t care for hospitals, so she wanders off and spots Spike chasing a woman in the cemetery (the woman is actually a vamp). Faith attacks Spike, and though he tells her they’re on the same side, she doesn’t believe him. Buffy ends the fight with a punch to Faith’s face and a fake apology. I love Faith’s incredulous response to Buffy’s concern for Spike:

Lol, I’m confused too, Faith.

Buffy explains about Spike’s soul, and Faith is all, oh okay, like Angel. Spike is extremely offended with this comparison, exclaiming, “Angel’s dull as a table lamp! And we have VERY different coloring.” Buffy brings Faith home, where Faith immediately senses the tension between her and Giles. And if Dawn could shoot stakes from her eyes, Faith would be super dead. This is the first time the two have technically met on screen, though they both have their implanted memories of each other, and it’s making me imagine all the moments Faith would’ve perfectly shot down Dawn’s whininess that I wish we could’ve seen. Once everyone scatters, Spike clues Faith in:

What is Eliza Dushku up to nowadays? However I felt about Faith over the years, Dushku’s line delivery was always on point, especially in this episode.

Buffy heads to work the next morning, where Robin promptly fires her. He explains the mission is what’s important. Buffy is unsure what her next move should be since the last thing she wants is a war where a bunch of the girls end up dead, so Robin encourages her to test them before that battle arrives. Meanwhile, Faith escapes to the basement to hide from the incessant chattering of the Potentials and finds Spike lounging in his bed. They have a very flirty conversation (I mean, these two actors could have sexual chemistry with a door and make it look good. *fans self*), referencing the time Faith-as-Buffy propositioned Spike (drink!) and revealing his sexual relationship with Buffy. Speaking of, said blonde Slayer arrives home early after her dismissal and is immediately SUPER jealous seeing the two cozying up on Spike’s bed.

Faith and Spike give each other a flirty look.

I mean…can you blame Buffy? *fans self again*

So now let’s discuss our new Big Bad, Caleb. He’s a jeans-wearing preacher with a circa-2000s-boyband/Bieber haircut, which is how you know he’s evil. He’s one of those religious nuts who believes women are unclean whores who need to be murdered and loves to hear the sound of his own voice (as most Whedon villains do). Through his chats with the First, we learn he’s the one behind the bombing of the Watchers’ Council, coordinating the Bringers (the “Ray Charles brigade”, as he puts it), and probably quite a few Potential killings as well. He gave the girl he stabbed earlier a message to deliver to Buffy (that he has something of hers, more on that next week) and sits back in his creepy vineyard to wait for a show.

Fueled by a lot of pent up frustration and Robin’s idea to “test” the girls, Buffy decides they need a good offensive and should go confront Caleb to find out what of hers he has. Everyone else thinks this is a horrible idea (“It could be a stapler!” Giles grouses, but obviously Buffy is no longer listening to him). Xander, as Buffy’s ultimate hype-man, gives a very rousing speech to the girls, saying that Buffy is strong and amazing and has their best interests at heart, so they grudgingly go along with the plan.

But, surprise of the century, they walk into a trap. The Bringers attack, and at first the girls seem to be holding their own, but then Caleb appears, and his easy confidence and First-imbued super strength soon scare even Buffy:

Uh…can I interest you in Buffy’s “most powerful warrior”, Spike?

With Buffy dazed, the tides change and everyone is overwhelmed. She calls for a retreat, but it’s too late for two of the Potentials who Caleb casually kills. RIP, ladies.

Then, in a very shocking twist, Caleb grabs Xander and muses, “You’re the one who sees everything, aren’t you? Let’s see what we can do about that,” and proceeds to jam his thumb into Xander’s eyeball!! Spike knocks Caleb away, Buffy grabs Xander, and everyone heads to the hospital for some MUCH NEEDED medical care. Buffy then slinks off alone to wander the street, wallowing in her failure and guilt.

How many times do I have to take a drink?

21 (lots of callbacks!)

Vamps Dusted

1

Cameo

Nathan Fillion as Caleb.

Nathan Fillion is no stranger to the Whedonverse and mainstream fame now, but back in 2003 he was still relatively unknown. His appearance would only really have piqued the interest of Firefly fans, as that show was just ending as this episode aired. 

Gross, Xander

This was quite an episode for Xander. His eyeball is pulverized, he gives a powerful speech that causes Andrew to tear up and Buffy to blush, but then we also…get “treated” to his sex dream about some of the Potentials begging him to have a threesome with them right before they wake him up to say the toilet is clogged again. Sigh. (His dream features a surprise cameo from a young Summer Roberts Rachel Bilson!)

ILY, Andrew

We dip back into “Storyteller” territory as Andrew erroneously relays Faith’s backstory to the curious Potentials (where did he learn all this?):

*Andrew explaining how Faith murdered a Vulcan*
Amanda: “What the hell are you talking about? I thought Faith killed a volcanologist.”
Andrew: “Silly, silly Amanda. Why would Faith kill a person who studies Vulcans?”
Amanda: “He studied volcanoes. He was a professor.”
Andrew: “Ah, yes. Well, regardless…”


So what do we think about Caleb? Is he a worthy Big Bad? Did you care about the resolution of Robin Wood’s revenge storyline? How are you feeling about Buffy during the second half of season seven?

We’re in the home stretch; only four more episodes until the Final Apocalypse! Join Sarah next Wednesday as she recaps “Empty Places” and “Touched”.

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.