Drinks Taken: 33
Vamps Dusted: 3
Follow the whole rewatch here!
Gotta say, last week it felt like our reality here in the U.S. was paralleling Buffy in that it seemed we might have a slight apocalypse on our hands. Thankfully, it looks like we’ll avoid that IRL, but I can’t say the same for the Slayer. Spike was abducted and used by the First to raise the Turok-Han (uber vamp), which then kicked the crap out of Buffy. Giles arrived with some surprise guests–potential Slayers–because after the Watcher’s Council was blown up, the Summers house is the safest place they can be, since the First’s Bringer monks are trying to kill them. The downside: they have to hang out with Andrew, who is now a captive of the Scoobies. Things are looking grim, but Buffy gives a rousing speech, because she refuses to back down.
This week, we’ll see that Buffy ain’t done with her inspirational speechmaking. So let’s drink, in proper Toastmasters style!
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There’s an extremely outdated pop culture reference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.”
These next two episodes feature arguably Buffy’s most badass fight and my favorite Xander moment of the entire series. Cheers to that!
Another Potential Slayer (Rona) gets off the bus in Sunnydale, and the Bringer Welcoming Committee shows up to attack her, but oh HI, Buffy arrives to fight them: “Try picking on someone my own size!” She swiftly dispatches all three, then takes Rona to the house, which has grown increasingly crowded with Potentials. Kennedy is flirting hard with Willow (ugh), while Molly is kinda scaring the three newbies, including a Southern gal named Eve.
Realizing they can’t rescue Spike without first defeating the Turok-Han (which Buffy later refers to as Chaka Kahn, so I think I might have to do the same), Giles suggests that he and Anya pay a visit to Beljoxa’s Eye, an oracle in a demon dimension. Anya approaches Torg, an old flame (okay, a one time hook-up at a massacre) since she can’t open the gate herself, being human and all, but it’s Giles that manages to “persuade” him by threatening violence from the Slayer. After Torg activates the gate, Giles and Anya head into the pitch black and find the Eye, which is literally a huge ball of eyeballs GROSS. It tells them that the First cannot be killed, and the reason that it’s making its move now is due to a disruption–which was caused by Buffy returning from the dead. D’oh.
Meanwhile, Spike is still chained up and bloody, though in his dreams, he escapes. The First, as Buffy, chides him for having hope, but he continues to mutter, “She will come for me.” Sa-woon, says this Spuffy Apologist!
It’s good to see that the Potentials are finally getting some training, though they seem to be spending more time freaking out about their future (or lack thereof), especially since Eve weirdly seems to be egging them on. Kennedy is the only one staying focused and positive, and part of me respects her for that but all of me still doesn’t like her.
Willow gets word from the Coven that their seer spotted a new Potential who arrived in Sunnydale several days before. But when Xander and Buffy find her hotel room, they discover her already dead. That’s not a big surprise, but the fact that it’s Eve certainly is! Buffy rushes back to the house and calls Eve out as the First, and girl doesn’t even try to pretend–she disappears right after informing them that the Chaka-Khan will be paying them a visit that night.
This sends the Potentials into a whining frenzy, to the point where I’m like, kind of on Chaka-Khan’s side. It eventually shows up, and although Willow tries to cast a barrier (Andrew: “Deflector shields up!”) in the living room around the Potentials, she can’t hold it, and the group flees out the back. Out on the street, Buffy instructs them to follow Xander while she takes on Chaka-Khan, so he leads them to a construction site… which is where C-K heads, because it’s not targeting the Slayer, it’s after the Potentials. But oh snap, Buffy knew that all along and shows up on top of the wall, turning on the blinding lights. Dawn realizes that she, Willow and Xander planned it this way, because Buffy wanted the Potentials, who are obvs scared out of their minds and insecure in their abilities, to watch a Slayer in action. And then this hella epic showdown happens:
Insert a nail-biting, fantastically over the top fight sequence that ends with this:
STANDING O Y’ALL!!!!!!!
Buffy tells the Potentials that if they all do their parts, and believe that they can do it, the good guys will be the ones left standing. And then she says:
Which is all the more awesome because she’s repeating both the Master and Spike:
Speaking of Spike, the episode ends with Buffy arriving to free him. It’s heartbreaking, because he thinks she’s the First, but as Buffy cuts his chains, the look of relief and love and hope on his face breaks my heart in a totally different kind of way.
How many times do I have to take a drink?
19. And yes, I did drink for each new Potential even though we technically didn’t see any of them (besides Rona) arrive.
1. But it was an ubervamp, so a shot wouldn’t be inappropriate.
This week was a big moment for Andrew: he got untied from the chair! Now he can finally insert himself into everyone’s business instead of being bored out of his mind.
We’ve got a lot of familiar faces showing up as Potentials!
We know Felicia from Supernatural, Dr. Horrible, and a ton of geek-cult stuff, but this outfit might be her most blinding credit.
You might know Indigo from Weeds, Treme, or Bloodline. Also, gotta say, it’s great to see that Kendra wasn’t the last Black Slayer, sheesh. #PotentialsSoWhite
The other first-name-only actress in the mix is Lalaine, who played Miranda Sanchez on Lizzie McGuire. In fact, I’m betting that series is the reason Chloe skips the next episode with zero explanation.
I mean, just look at Buffy’s face as she frees Spike. LOOK AT IT.
Also, I want to welcome an important new member to the team:
Stylish Yet Affordable Boots
There were not one but two fashion choices in this episode that were peak Early 2000s Sarah Fashion. The first is Kennedy’s Urban Outfitters top–I had the same one but in navy and red. And the second is Chloe’s Yoshitomo Nara shirt, which I would have bought in a heartbeat if I could’ve found it (even though it’s brown. That’s how much I loved/love Nara).
In the cemetery (drink), Spike is officially a Potential trainer, defeating a very frightened Vi and Rona. “These two are dead. Why?” asks Spike. “The black chick always gets it first?” retorts Rona. Buffy reminds the group that, even if they don’t have Slayer strength, they do have special abilities they can hone. While she’s explaining this, she’s fighting with Spike, and it doesn’t take long for the Potentials to catch on to the pair’s history. “That’s hot,” says Rona, and I AGREE.
The training continues down in the house basement, and as Dawn watches from the stairs, it’s clear that she feels left out. I get it, girl! Just a few episodes ago, your sister was finally training you, and then all of a sudden, you’re out. (I really don’t get this choice on the writers’ part except to justify the plotline in this episode.)
Somehow, Buffy is still holding down her high school counselor job, and Amanda shows up for some advice, from one weird girl to another. She tells Buffy that she and this boy are mean to each other, but they also like each other, and a flummoxed Buffy is clearly thinking of her own sitch with Spike.
After Willow hears from the Coven that they’ve located a new Potential, who’s already living in Sunnydale, she casts a locator spell while Buffy and the Slayerettes (I’m trying to find ways to stop repeating the word “Potential,” go with it) are out training. The spell, a ball of foul-smelling light, heads straight for Dawn, who’s by the front door, and could the Key now be a Potential?! Dawn is overwhelmed–she’s excited about being special, but she’s stricken by the fact that if she ever becomes the Slayer, it would mean that Buffy was dead. She tells Xander, Anya, and Willow not to share the news with Buffy, then she sneaks out of her bedroom window to roam the street at night because even if she’s chosen, she’s still Dawn, and she does dumb shit like this.
On the sidewalk, she runs into Amanda, who tells her that a strange guy with a messed up face scratched her face back at school, and Dawn informs her that actually, that guy was a vampire. Amanda had the wherewithall to trap the vamp in a classroom lab, and she was planning to ask Buffy for help. Dawn, feeling her Potential self, tells Amanda that she can help, so they head back, only to be totally outmaneuvered by the vampire.
Meanwhile, Buffy takes the Slayerettes on a field trip, first to Willy’s Bar and then to a crypt, so they can see a real vampire lair. Turns out, it’s inhabited! The vamp springs up, and Buffy begins to fight it, speaking to the class as she performs this real life lesson. “It just takes one vampire to kill you,” she says, as the scene cuts to Dawn, valiantly breaking a flagpole in the classroom to try to stake the vampire, who overpowers her. We go back to Buffy, who heads out the door, now barricaded, to let the Potentials prove that they’ve been paying attention in class. (We don’t see it, but they do dust him, so I’m gonna go ahead and call that a drink.)
Back at the school, Dawn is weirdly saved from the vamp by a group of Bringers who crash through the window and grab Amanda, who we know, because duh, is the actual Potential. Dawn, reeling from this discovery, sets off the burners in the lab so she and Amanda can escape, then she tells Amanda her destiny. She was born to do this, Dawn reassures her, and then she hands her the stake. As a trembling but brave Amanda slays her first vamp, Buffy and the gang arrive to take care of the Bringers.
We learn that Amanda was actually at the front door, about to ask Buffy for help, when Willow performed the spell, which is why the light went through Dawn, who was standing in the entryway.
Later, at the house, Buffy takes the Slayerettes, now including Amanda, to the basement for training, while Dawn, no longer “chosen,” sits in the living room, alone with Xander. And what happens next makes me cry just as much (maybe more?!) as Xander’s speech to Willow. “The amazing thing is, not one of them will ever know. Not even Buffy.” he tells Dawn. “Know what?” she asks. “How much harder it is for the rest of us.” he replies. “Seven years, working with the Slayer, seeing my friends get more and more powerful… And I’m the guy who fixes the windows… I saw what you did last night. You thought you were all special. And the minute you found out you weren’t, you handed the crown to Amanda without a moment’s pause.”
It’s such a beautiful moment, and it makes me love Xander more than I ever have before. “Maybe that’s your power. Seeing, knowing,” Dawn tells him. And he responds in that perfect Xander Harris way: “Maybe it is. Maybe I should get a cape.”
And then the credits roll along with my teeeeears.
How many times do I have to take a drink?
A New Side of Clem
While they’re at Willie’s, the Potentials have the honor of meeting Clem (HI CLEM). Buffy, trying to teach some kind of lesson I can only assume involved the unpredictability of demons, whispers something in his hear, and then a straight up Beetlejuice moment happens.
So, a couple things.
Do you think it was necessary to make the Potentials super whiney at first? I mean, yes, it’s annoying, but when you picture what Buffy went through when she first found out (in the movie, at least), it does make sense that they would be big ole babies about it. I’m assuming/hoping they get less irritating as we go along.
How do y’all feel about Dawn’s storyline in “Potential”? And does Xander’s speech hit you straight in the feels?
And does anyone else think Chaka-Kahn could’ve been scarier? I know this show was at its best with practical effects, so I don’t mean CGI, but like, the whole time I kept expecting it to say, “GRR ARGH.” Just seems like the Ultimate Vampire should’ve at least rivaled the Gentlemen in terms of fear factor.
Join me for a convo in the comments, then tune in next week as Kandis tackles “The Killer in Me” (oof) and “First Date” (double oof).