|Written by:||Douglas Petrie|
|Directed by:||Michael Lange|
|Starring:||Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers|
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase
David Boreanaz as Angel
Seth Green as Oz
Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
|Guest Starring:||Kristine Sutherland as Joyce Summers|
Harry Groener as Mayor Richard Wilkins III
K. Todd Freeman as Mr. Trick
Jack Plotnick as Allan Finch
Alexis Denisof as Wesley Wyndam-Pryce
Christian Clemenson as Balthezar
Eliza Dushku as Faith
|Co-Starring:||Alex Skuby as Vincent|
Wendy Clifford as Mrs. Taggert
Ron Rogge as Cop
Faith and Buffy's walk on the wild side ended in the death of an innocent.
The episode opened with Buffy and Faith struggling with two vampires. They were struggling mostly because their attention was on a conversation with each other in which Faith kept asking if Buffy ever had sex with Xander. After staking their two vamps, Buffy noticed tracks for a third. Buffy struggled a bit with the vampire before Faith staked it in the back. The three vampires were all dressed the same, but the last one had a sword and dagger, which promptly disappeared after the fight.
The weapons reappeared on Mayor Wilkins's desk when Mr. Trick brought them there. In the middle of a discussion on comic strips, it was decided that the any information on the sword wielders should be passed on to the slayers in the hopes that they will all kill each other.
At school, Xander went through Willow's early admissions packets from Harvard, Yale, Wesleyan, and a German Polytechnic school. She was very flattered that these schools were interested in her. Xander was expecting rejections from his applications, and Buffy was simply worried about passing her chemistry test.
In the library, Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, the new watcher, was lecturing a very bored Giles on the latest in Watcher training. Wesley seemed happy to see Buffy, but she was quite cold and would not give any details about her patrolling the previous night until prompted by Giles. Once Buffy told Wesley about the third vampire's weaponry, he immediately found a book reference about El Eliminati, a dueling cult that used to follow a demon named Balthazar until he was killed a century ago. Wesley thought that El Eliminati were after Balthazar's old amulet.
Buffy went to the crypt where the amulet was supposed to be. Before she could take it, several Eliminati vampires came, so she hid. Once they left, Faith arrived and surprised her. Faith was eager to take them on and followed them into the sewer. They had a tough fight, but Buffy was able to stake a vampire and take the amulet from another.
During the chemistry test, Buffy was more interested in talking about the previous night's battle than on her test. Even Xander was more interested in the test than Buffy was. Fortunately for Xander and Willow, Faith showed up and hinted that she and Buffy go slaying. Buffy left, much to Willow's consternation.
Faith and Buffy raided a vampire nest, but we cut to the two of them dancing in the Bronze immediately after they burst into the nest. They attracted a fair amount of male attention that Faith appreciated. Buffy, however, immediately left them when Angel arrived.
Angel has apparently reverted to a slightly less cryptic, Cryptic Guy from the first season. He came with news that Balthazar was alive, in a warehouse, and seeking his amulet. Buffy explained that Wesley had the amulet just as Wesley entered the Bronze. Buffy took it from him and gave it to Angel for safekeeping.
Later that evening, Buffy and Faith spied on an obese deomon as he chewed out his minions for not recovering his amulet. Buffy realized that she and Faith would need more weapons if they were to take on an actually alive Balthazar and at least nine vampires. Faith decided to break into a nearby sporting goods store to steal some weapons. After a little hesitation, Buffy also got into the theft game until two police officers came and arrested them.
On the way to the police station, Faith decided that she and Buffy should escape. Buffy quickly agreed and they kicked the heads of the police officers, which caused an accident. Buffy and Faith escaped.
The next morning, Buffy read the newspaper, perhaps looking to see if her escapade appeared in the paper, even though it probably took place after the paper's deadline. Meanwhile, an Eliminati (Vincent) hid himself in Mayor Wilkins's liquor cabinet and tried to ambush him. A quick blow from Mr. Trick saved the Mayor. Wilkins wanted to keep the Eliminati locked up rather than summarily staked.
Balthazar was not happy to hear that his Eliminati failed to kill Mayor Wilkins. He demanded that the Eliminati capture Giles and Wesley and kill Buffy, Faith, and anyone else in their way.
Willow presented Buffy with a lavender scented pouch that contained a protection spell. Willow was looking forward to going slaying with Buffy that night as she took on Balthazar, but Buffy said that Willow was to stay home.
On their way to attack Balthazar, an Eliminati vampire jumped at them. Faith staked him. Another jumped at them and met the wrong end of Buffy's stake. A hand then grabbed Buffy's shoulder. She threw the body to the ground where Faith stabbed him. Unfortunately, the body in question was Allen Finch, a human.
Faith and Buffy fled. Buffy ran into Angel, who noticed but did not comment on her bloody hands. Faith, meanwhile, went back to Finch's body and gently reached out toward his wound.
The Eliminati were more successful in capturing Giles and Wesley. Balthazar demanded the amulet from them. Wesley and Giles both suggested deals, but Balthazar was only willing to entertain offers that included killing the two of them. For some reason, this was unacceptable to both Giles and Wesley. Eventually, Angel, followed by Buffy, arrived and started to fight the Eliminati. She quickly freed Giles and the three of them fought while Wesley cowered.
Eventually, Balthazar used some magical force to drag Angel to him. Buffy electrocuted Balthazar before he could harm Angel. Balthazar died saying that when the Mayor ascends, they will wish that Balthazar killed them first.
Mayor Wilkins finished a ritual, wondering why Allan missed it. He ordered Mr. Trick to release Vincent, who promptly split the Mayor's head. As the head came back together, Mr. Trick staked Vincent. For the next 100 days, Wilkins will be invulnerable.
The next day. Buffy visited Faith at her motel room. Buffy wanted to talk about what they were going to do, but Faith was not interested. She had weighted and dumped the body. She stated that she did not care that she killed him.
With this episode, the show has finished the set up and is starting the third season arc. In doing so, this episode recaptured some of the energy from the latter half of the second season.
I have to give the makeup people a lot of credit in their creation of Balthazar. I understand that the lack of demon actors in Hollywood means that most demons have to look like humans with bumps on their foreheads. I am glad that we got something a bit different with Balthazar, even if he did look like he was wearing a rubber suit.
Angel's Cryptic Guy routine in this episode was an unpleasant reminder of the first season. Fortunately, he was less cryptic in this episode than he was in the first season. Cordelia has also backslid as a character. In my review of "Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered," I discussed how she has grown because of her relationship with Xander. Now that she is no longer dating Xander, all of this growth has disappeared. Except for her heroics at the end of "Gingerbread," she spent the last few episodes doing nothing but hurl insults, usually at Xander.
Buffy and Faith each staked a vampire during the teaser.
Buffy and Faith fought several Eliminati vampires in the sewer.
Angel and Buffy rescued Giles and Wesley from the Eliminati and Balthazar.
Wesley's pompousness and cowardliness provided much humor as did the other characters' rude reactions toward him.
Buffy was torn between her sense of right and wrong and Faith's seductive anarchism.
Faith accidentally killed Allen Finch with Buffy present. Both had to face or repress their feelings of guilt for their actions.
I am willing to read a little subtext into Faith and Buffy's interactions throughout the episode, but not much.
Wesley is the fairly pompous and stuffy new watcher in Sunnydale. He fancied himself to be well trained in field work until he actually found himself in the field, where he turned out to be weak-willed. The other characters have yet to accept him—and his field skills leave much to be desired—but he does seem to be very capable in his book knowledge, at least as far as the books go.
Giles is apparently having a lot of fun watching Buffy and Faith disrespect Wesley. He also appears to have forgiven Angel enough to trust him with important information and to have a conversation with him that is not at the point of a crossbow. The last bit is only conjecture, as we did not actually see Giles tell Angel that Buffy had recovered Balthazar's amulet. All this was before Angel helped rescue him from Balthazar.
Buffy enjoyed playing bad at Faith's instigation. She liked the idea that she was better than everyone else because she was a slayer. However, Allan Finch's death now weighs heavily on her. She has a lot of guilt to deal with.
Faith was having fun introducing Buffy to the dark side. She felt guilty about Allan Finch's death initially, but she has now repressed the guilt.
Mayor Wilkins is apparently invincible and will be for 100 days. Also, he may be the enemy who took Balthazar's amulet from him 100 years ago.
Mr. Trick apparently has been spying on Buffy and Faith as a way to gain information on various villains that have been coming into town.
Willow is very hurt that Buffy did not want her fighting Balthazar. I guess she now knows what Xander feels like.
This episode is important partially for introducing Wesley as a character, but mostly for being a turning point for the third season arc. From now on, most episodes will focus on the arc.
Mayor Wilkins gets the MVP for successfully getting Buffy to take out Balthazar so that Wilkins could become invulnerable. Mr. Trick gets some credit for saving his boss from an Eliminati assassin, Angel and Buffy rescued Giles and Wesley, and Buffy killed Balthazar. However, as much as I understand that the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend, I am not convinced that defeating Balthazar was the best thing to do. It is becoming clear to the audience, if not to Buffy and the other characters, that Mayor Wilkins is the real threat in Sunnydale.
Wesley, based on a vague description from Buffy, identified the vampires as being El Eliminati and knew exactly where the amulet was hidden. His only flaw was that he mistakenly believed that the Eliminati were weak and that Balthazar was dead. His only competition was Angel, who discovered where Balthazar was hidden, so Wesley gets this award.
There are several candidates. The Eliminati in general were pathetic. However, there was never any evidence that they were capable of much, so they get a pass. Balthazar was also defeated. However, he did not have much power without his amulet, so he also gets a pass, although he did reject two different deals in which he would have received his amulet without dying. Giles and Wesley were captured, but they were outnumbered. The two prime candidates are Faith and Allen Finch. Faith should have seen that Allen was human before she staked him. However, he was stupid enough to approach Faith and Buffy from the shadows while they were fighting vampires. His stupidity gives him the Goat.
I really cannot agree with anyone in the Mayor's office in their tastes in comics. Marmaduke is a big dog. Someone who does not find the last sentence hilarious would probably find the strip to be dull. Cathy was a strip with three jokes: Her mother wants her to get married, her boyfriend will not commit, and she thinks she is too fat to wear a bathing suit. It got old very quick, so I quit reading it about 15 to 20 years ago. I understand that she eventually got married in the strip, so it probably went down to one joke. The strip ended a few years ago. Finally, by elimination, The Family Circus is probably the best, but it is far more cutesy than funny or thought-provoking.
When I was applying to college, early admissions meant that applicants may apply early to their first choice schools. They would receive preferential treatment in admissions and would be notified of their status early in exchange for a commitment to attend the school if admitted. It looks like Willow had committed to attending four different universities simultaneously. My guess was that this was early acceptance rather than early admissions because (1) Willow apparently applied to more than one college, and (2) they are still courting her.
I understand that Mr. Trick observed that Sunnydale is "not a haven for the brothers." There is a reason why I have a section with a quote from that same speech in which I count most of the instances in which we see someone who is not a Nonhispanic White in a show that takes place in a state where Nonhispanic Whites are the minority (and an even smaller minority among school-aged residents). However, I do not understand why Mr. Trick had to hide when Mayor Wilkins was posing with Boy Scouts. He was not in vampire face and would not be recognized as a vampire by anyone in the room other than Wilkins or Allan Finch.
Buffy brought Willow along in the previous episode when they took on the Sisters of Jhe and the Hellmouth Beast. Therefore, why would she declare Balthazar to be too dangerous?
I know that this is Sunnydale, but how did Faith carry Allan Finch's body to the ocean, weight it, and dump it without anybody else noticing?
I am not sure that Wilkins's to-do list (below) had everything in the proper order. He should get the haircut before becoming invincible. Otherwise, would his hair not grow back the same way that his head came back together?
Commentary by Writer Doug Petrie Doug Petrie spent a bit too much time discussing things that we could figure out ourselves from watching the episode, but he does have some interesting things to say. This episode includes spoilers through early season five and the second season of Angel. Insights include:
Interview with Joss Whedon includes commentary from Douglas Petrie as well as Joss Whedon. Joss Whedon talked about how this episode explored the power of being a slayer and Eliza Dushku's growing presence as an actress. Doug Petrie talked about Faith as Buffy's evil twin and whether Buffy feels that she has a responsibility to society. He also talked about wanting Balthazar being different from any demon they saw before, with Joss Whedon suggesting an incredibly fat demon. There are spoilers for the next episode ("Consequences").
"So, what are friends for? I mean, I'm sorry, it's just all this sweating nightly side-by-side action and you never put in for a little after-hours [grunt]." Faith
"Mr. Trick, watch these people. Anything you find out about them, well, let's just see that that information reaches the slayers. Who knows, with any luck, they'll kill each other, then everyone's a winner. Everyone, of course, meaning me." Mayor Wilkins
"Chemistry's easy. It's a lot like witchcraft, only less newt." Willow
"I have, in fact, faced two vampires myself, under controlled circumstances, of course." Wesley
"No danger of finding those here." Giles
"Controlled circumstances." Giles
"Fifteenth century duelist cult, deadly in their day. Their numbers dwindled in later centuries due to an increase in anti-vampire activity and a lot of pointless dueling." Wesley
"Whenever Giles sends me on a mission, he always says, 'please,' and afterwards, I get a cookie." Buffy
"New watcher?" Faith
"New watcher." Buffy and Giles
"Screw that." Faith
"Now, why didn't I just say that?" Buffy
"Wait, stop, think." Buffy
"No, no, no." Faith
"These are all the diaries then, yours included?" Wesley
"That's everything. Knock yourself out, please." Giles
"Oh, yes, here's your first entry. 'Slayer is willful and insolent.' That would be our girl, wouldn't it?" Wesley
"You have to get to know her." Giles
"'Her abuse of the English language is such that I understand only every other sentence.' This is going to make fascinating reading." Wesley
"I hate it when they drown me." Buffy
"Giles, we need to talk." Buffy
"Buffy, I must ask you to remember that I am your watcher. From now on, anything you have to say about slaying you will say to me. The only thing you need to discuss with Mr. Giles is overdue book fees. Understood?" Wesley
"We'll talk." Buffy
"Of course." Giles
"You're not helping." Wesley
"I know. I feel just sick about it." Giles
"When are ya gonna get this, B? Life for a slayer is very simple: want, take, have." Faith
"Why do they always gotta be using swords. It's called an Uzi, chump. Could have saved your ass right about now." Mr. Trick
"Vincent made a noble effort. Man to man as befits a true warrior. He had courage, he had honor, and I have jack to show for it." Balthazar
"You'll be risking your life." Willow
"Right, and why risk yours?" Buffy
"'Cause I'm your friend." Willow
"If you want to criticize my methods, fine, but you can keep your snide remarks to yourself, and while you are at it, don't criticize my methods." Giles
"Stay calm, Mr. Giles. We have to stay calm." Wesley
"Well, thank God you're here. I was planning to panic." Giles
"You know what I want." Balthazar
"Well, if it's for me to scrub those hard-to-reach areas, I'd like to request you kill me now." Giles
"Now, hold on. We can deal with this rationally. We have something you want. You have something we want." Wesley
"A trade, intriguing. No, wait, boring. Pull off his kneecaps!" Balthazar
"Look, tell you what. Let Captain Courageous here go, and I'll tell you what you need to know. How's that deal?" Giles
"There is one deal! You will die quickly, or you will die slowly! The man who has my amulet, what is his name?" Balthazar
"His name is Angel." Angel
"Faith, you don't get it. You killed a man." Buffy
"No, you don't get it. I don't care." Faith
Highlight the space after each question to find the answer. It is strongly recommended that you do not do so if you have not seen episodes through the episode indicated.