In which Buffy basically puts on its big girl pants and punches you right in the daddy bags.
… Er, spoiler alert.
It occurred to me somewhere between Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered and Phases that at some point, I would have to shift my focus from viewing Buffy strictly as a growing-up narrative and start to maybe do reviews of the sort that I do for Doctor Who, where it’s sort of a mix of all the elements of the show, and not just the one. That’s not to say that that part of the narrative completely disappears, because it really doesn’t, but at some point the mythology of the show gets larger and it’s harder to talk about one without the other—not because the mythology overshadows it, but because they’re so inextricable that focusing on just one thing makes you lose something in translation.
… And here you thought we were just talking about a petite blonde who fights monsters. When you make an assumption, you make an ass out of “u” and “mption,” buddy.
Anyway, I mention this because I think Passion is about that time where I have to widen my focus.
Now, since Innocence, Angelus has been steadily working on his douchebaggery to where it culminates in his murdering Jenny Calendar—partly to stop her from re-cursing him, which I can’t help kind of agreeing with (what? Angelus is a helluva a lot more fun than Angel, I have no problem admitting that—and I like Angel), and partly to fuck with the gang.
He’s kind of good at it?
But the fallout of his actions both up to and including killing Ms. Calendar are what interest me the most of this episode. Angelus just fucks up everyone’s goddamn day in this one, in very different ways, and it’s worth looking at them one by one:
Buffy isn’t on the greatest terms with Jenny Calendar, and that’s because she sees Angelus being Ms. Calendar’s mistake as well as her own. Angelus doesn’t exacerbate this intentionally, but his existence is enough to do that on its own. And because of Buffy’s animosity towards Ms. Calendar, everyone kind of silently chooses “sides,” with the possible exception of Willow, ‘cause she’s a big ol’ nerd.
This puts Buffy’s relationship with Giles in a bit of an awkward space, because he loves Ms. Calendar, but he wants to stand in solidarity with Buffy, so he sort of sacrifices his feelings so that Buffy doesn’t feel conflicted about essentially acting like a bratty kid—I love you, Buff, but it’s true.
But it leads to a great scene where Buffy comes back and actually makes an effort to set aside her own feelings for Giles’ happiness.
O hai, acting like a grown-up!
Speaking of acting like a grown-up, our favorite day-fucker-upper also spills the beans to Joyce about Buffy’s first time (what a prince!), so Buffy has some ‘splainin’ to do.
And for once, I’m not side-eyeing Joyce’s parenting, since I think she handled it pretty well. It’s difficult, sometimes, to put ourselves in Joyce’s position because we know why Buffy keeps things from her. But in this instance, I can understand her—even knowing what I know about the entire thing. It’s hard to effectively parent when your kid isn’t often around to parent in the first place, but there are still some things that a mom feels entitled to know, especially if she feels they’re things that might put her child in danger.
However, I like that Buffy doesn’t try to shut her mother out this time. Maybe because she can’t, but also because she knows that her choices may have not been the right ones—I am not saying having the sex is wrong. Sex is good. Have it; have it anywhere you want with whomever you want (make sure they CONSENT!), but everyone knows that teenagers can make mistakes. And while Angel loved Buffy, and Buffy loved Angel, the word “caution” comes to mind. Well, my mind, anyway… Not so much Buffy’s. Or Angel’s.
So, yeah… Good talk.
The part of Spike tonight will be played by Xander, Patron Saint of Wounded Masculinity.
Spike doesn’t have a lot of grown-up moments in this one, but I wanted to discuss him because I find the Angelus/Drusilla/Spike dynamic fascinating, and it’s one of the highlights of this season.
Spike hasn’t had a lot of good days lately, and at least half of the blame falls squarely on He Who Excels At Fucking Up Days.
…Yep, that’s him.
As a result, Spike is having a bit of buyer’s remorse, along with epic jealousy, and just generally being a Mr. Cranky Pants.
I mean, I can understand—for a long time, Drusilla was the one who was the invalid, and Spike must’ve got used to it. Not to mention that back in his day, the womenfolk were expected to be weak, and the only men that let a woman feed them (or run shit) were either mama’s boys (*cough*), children, or feeble. Even considering the fact that vamp society (I feel like that may be a thing?) seems to be pretty enlightened when it comes to equality between the sexes, it’s gotta rankle. Especially when you have Alpha Asshole prodding the wound at every turn.
We get it, Angelus, he’s in a wheelchair and you’re banging his chick. Go take a long walk off a sun-dappled pier. And Drusilla isn’t really helping, what with the smiling and not denying that she’s riding the Angel Express.
I say stake ‘em when they’re sleeping, Spike. Make it look like an accident.
Oh. Oh, Giles. I cried when Jenny died because I knew it would destroy Giles.
As I mentioned before, Giles was taking pains to move slowly with Jenny because he was trying to spare Buffy’s feelings, so when the possibility of a full reconciliation was raised, the happiness on his face… Well, look at it! Look at him up there, pleased and hopeful and excited. Giles, with the possible exception of Buffy, is the one fucking person in the entire Buffyverse that deserves a goddamn reward, and instead, he gets this:
… Fuck you, Angelus. Fuck you, and the horse you rode in on.
I wanted to talk more about how this is now the second time that Giles is destabilized and how it shakes Buffy’s foundation at its core, and how in both instances it was the loss of Jenny Calendar—first figurative and second literal—that triggered it, but I can’t handle Broken Giles. I just can’t.
… He killed her. I’m pretty sure getting murdered would fuck up anybody’s day.
- Never dance again, Xander. Please and thank you.
- I’m usually not a fan of voiceovers, but this one was pretty effective.
- Giles: “This is a school library, Xander.”
Xander: “Since when?”
- “Why doesn't he just slit her throat, or strangle her while she's sleeping, or cut her heart out? What? I'm trying to help.” Cordy, never change.
- Jenny: “I know you feel betrayed.”
Giles: “Yes, well that's one of the unpleasant side-effects of betrayal.”
- I’m impressed that Joyce remembers Angel, actually. Keep surprising me, Joyce… I like it.
- Poor fishies.
- Omg, so tense during the Joyce/Angelus scene. He’s pretty good at acting like an obsessive stalker… I guess that’s ‘cause he is an obsessive stalker?
- “Hicce verbis consensus rescissus est,” the last words of Willow’s spell, mean “and with these words permission is rescinded.” Latin majors, feel free to correct any mistakes, as well as question why in the world you’d choose to major in a dead language.
- Uh, are invitations really needed for public places?
- “I’m sorry, but let’s not forget that I hated Angel long before you guys jumped on the bandwagon. So I think I deserve a little something for not saying ‘I told you so’ long before now. And if Giles wants to go after the, uh, fiend that murdered his girlfriend, I say ‘faster, pussycat, kill, kill.’” Oh, well, allow me to give you a goddamn cookie, Xander. I’m absolutely sure you hated Angel on moral grounds and not because he got the girl you wanted. Just… shut the fuck up. Argh. Douchebag.
- “Uh-uh. No fair going into the ring unless he tags you first.” I love you, Spike.
- Angelus’ full narration, because it’s actually kind of cool: “Passion. It lies in all of us. Sleeping ... waiting ... and though unwanted, unbidden, it will stir ... open its jaws, and howl. It speaks to us ... guides us. Passion rules us all. And we obey. What other choice do we have? Passion is the source of our finest moments; the joy of love ... the clarity of hatred ... the ecstasy of grief… It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion, maybe we’d know some kind of peace. But we would be hollow. Empty rooms, shuttered and dank. Without passion, we’d be truly dead.”