Willow is at Oz's, depressed over his having left and surrounding herself with his things. Buffy meets Riley who is helping hang a poster for the Lesbian Alliance. He asks Buffy to a picnic. He also admits he practises before his conversations with her and that sometimes it's not easy talking to her. He tells her she's a mystery and that's why he likes her. He also tells her she's beautiful.
Willow and Buffy walk through the cemetery and Buffy tells her that she likes Riley and thinks he's nice. She says he wouldn't cause her heartache. She refers to her visit to LA and meeting Angel (in the Angel episode I Will Remember You) and how much seeing him hurt. But she wonders whether the hurt isn't a part of the intensity that makes it great. A vampire attacks and she stakes him.
Spike is chained in Giles' bathtub. Buffy feeds him blood from a 'Kiss the Librarian' coffee mug. Spike isn't giving them much information about the commandos. He's afraid they'll kill him when they have what they need. Giles tries to reassure him. Spike and Buffy argue. Giles can't stand the bickering and goes into the other room where Willow suggests a truth spell. She leaves but promises to return in the morning with the ingredients for the spell.
Buffy is now feeding Spike his blood. Giles comments that Willow seems to be coping well with Oz leaving. Buffy agrees. Spike disagrees saying she's hanging on by a thread. We cut to Willow in Oz's room, which is now empty. That night she tearfully tells Buffy that Oz sent for his stuff and that this must mean he is moving somewhere else.
The next morning, Willow has not returned with the ingredients. Spike is screaming for Giles to turn on the television. Giles wants to get Spike out of his bathtub and take a shower. He leaves a message for Willow. Meanwhile, Riley and Buffy are having their picnic and Riley tells Buffy his hobby is driving. He offers to take her driving one evening. A depressed Willow shows up. They invite her to join them and she really brings them down.
Buffy, Xander, and Anya are at the Bronze talking about what Oz did. Xander sees Willow dancing and apparently happy. She comes over and claims she is happy, but when she moves her coat, a bottle falls out. She's drunk. Buffy reminds her of what happened in Beer Bad when she tried drowning her sorrows. When Xander tries to take the beer from her, she insults him. Buffy goes to take her home. Willow says she can't live with the pain. Buffy tells her it will pass in time. Willow wants it to go now. That night, she casts a spell hoping to change things.
The next morning, she's trying to use the spell but can't seem to get it to work. It's supposed to allow her to impose her will on things. Giles shows up because she never came over to work the truth spell. She tells him about the spell she cast and he says she shouldn't cast spells without supervision while she is upset. This gets her angry. He claims he sees how she feels and she says he doesn't see. We see this flash in her eyes and Giles' eyes start to bother him. That night Giles tries to work the spell, but he can't read. He drops the key to Spike's chains and Spike escapes.
Willow is telling Buffy what happened. She complains that she lacks magical powers. She says that Amy (who got turned into a rat in Gingerbread) has more power. She says Amy was a perfectly normal girl and the rat turns back into Amy. She then says then she's a rat and she turns back. Willow and Buffy have their heads turned and don't see this. Giles calls and Buffy says she has to recapture Spike. Willow is upset at her leaving and says she'll probably find Spike in 2 seconds. She does. Spike is looking for the entrance to the lab through which he escaped. Buffy thinks this is an act. He seems to think they might be able to fix him. Angry, he hits Buffy and this causes him great pain. She hits him back, causing greater pain.
Buffy gets Spike back and Giles is having more vision problems. She and Spike keep arguing. Willow is talking to Xander at his place and says Spike is more important to Buffy than she is and she should just marry him. Giles walks in to find Spike proposing and Buffy accepting. Willow tells Xander he's a demon magnet. Giles leaves a message on Willow's phone about his vision which he's sure is a spell because of what's happening to Buffy. She's sitting in Spike's lap planning the wedding.
Buffy asks Giles to give her away and he's touched until he remembers what's happening. She says he wasn't keen on Angel at first either. Spike is upset at the mention of Angel. Buffy says she's not so happy about the memory of Drusilla. Giles goes completely blind. Spike says a general reversal spell is needed. He says Giles is like his father-in-law. Buffy goes to get magic supplies and leaves Spike to look after Giles.
Buffy is staring at a wedding gown in a store window. Riley sees her and comes over. She tells him she's engaged to Spike. He's shocked, especially when she says he's an older man. Xander has just managed to get rid of his mother, who was bringing fruit roll ups to him and Anya. They start making out, but suddenly a demon bursts in. Anya knows the kind of demon it is and tells him they have to drown it, which they do in the sink. Then another demon breaks in. They flee.
Buffy couldn't get the supplies, they were out, so Giles is stuck with his blindness. Meanwhile, Buffy and Spike continue to plan their marriage. Xander and Anya burst in and tell them demons are pursuing them. They learn Giles is blind and Spike and Buffy are engaged. Xander realizes that Willow said these things. Giles remembers she cast the spell to work her will.
Willow walks into her room. A demon appears and grabs her. Spike, Buffy, Anya, and Xander go to the residence to get Willow. Spike says he wants Buffy to give up being a slayer when they marry. They walk in to find Willow gone and a burn mark on the floor. Anya says it is D'Hoffryn. He's the one who made her a vengeance demon over a 1000 years ago when she was angry over being dumped. He seems to be offering Willow a similar deal and he tells her he's impressed by the strength of her pain. The gang go to invoke D'Hoffryn, but are attacked by demons after Xander. They make it into the crypt and Anya starts the invocation. D'Hoffryn tells Willow about the pain she is causing her friends. Anya can't remember the spell. The demons break in. D'Hoffryn shows Willow what is happening. He says he wants to make her a vengeance demon. She says she just wants to go back and help her friends. He gives her his talisman and says if she changes her mind to give him a chant. He sends her back. She undoes the spell. The demons vanish and Buffy and Spike are back to normal.
They are at Giles' and Willow is making cookies. She's going to keep on making them until she doesn't feel so bad. She's also detailing Giles' car. Spike reveals that Buffy wanted Wind Beneath My Wings for the first dance. Buffy says she's over the bad boy thing and just wants a regular guy. Then she remembers she told Riley she was engaged. She ends up telling Riley she was just kidding to give him a hard time and he believes her.
Okay, I'm no big fan of the evil Riley, but I have to admit I, too, have been known to rehearse before talking to I girl I'm really interested in. So maybe he's human after all. But I think I'd rather see Buffy with Spike.
I do have to give him points for the picnic. A great first date strategy. It's cheap - no more expensive than eating at home. But since it's outdoors and in a public place, there isn't the pressure that inviting someone to your place creates. It's also reasonably romantic, though not in too obvious a way. It gives you lots of room to maneuver. The picnic can just be a fun meal or it can lead to making out on the grass. Whatever happens, you can't fail.
You also have to give Riley points for managing to tell Buffy she was mysterious and beautiful in a single conversation. And for the way he can turn a description of driving into talking sex. Although when you're in university, almost everything seems to be about sex anyway.
Spike, meanwhile, continues to show real insight into human nature. Riley seems to stumble into the right thing to say or do. Spike, on the other hand, just really understands people. He's the one who realizes Willow is not getting over Oz while Giles and Buffy are deceived. And while it was the spell which made him love Buffy, he seemed to care for Giles simply because he started to think of him as family. Spike talks a good game, but at heart he seems rather a kind creature. You have to wonder if the whole William the Bloody persona wasn't just something he created to meet the expectations of the other vampires.
When you think about it, Spike's situation is very similar to Angel's. Both were evil, both have been stopped from being evil by the actions of others. Angel had a spell cast upon him. Spike, living in a more technological age, had an implant put in him. Both are surprisingly sensitive creatures with real insight into the feelings and desires of others. And both certainly can rouse a lot of passion in Buffy. Maybe all that fighting between Buffy and Spike really does mask another emotion.
In my comment on Helpless (Eighteen), I said that Giles was Buffy's father substitute. She made that very clear when she asked him to give her away at her wedding. Maybe a spell was making her get married, but that request was genuine Buffy. And Giles was genuinely touched, although he quickly realized how insane the situation was. He realizes that Buffy was only half joking when she referred to him as the patriarch in Pangs and that he has come to replace her real father in her emotions.
Willow is going through the same kind of pain Buffy went through when she sent Angel to hell. Fortunately, Willow has not run away (Oz did that), but she is feeling terrible. And she makes some good points. Everyone says they understand, but they really don't and they really don't want you to go on about your pain. They don't want you bringing them down. When Willow shows up at the picnic, she clearly darkens the previously light and happy atmosphere. And Xander gets her to leave so he can be alone with Anya. These people are at the start phases of their relationships and don't want to spend a long time agonizing over the end phase of someone else's.
Willow's sore point seems to be criticism of her magical skills. She was upset at this in Fear, Itself when Oz and Buffy questioned her abilities and again in this episode when Giles cautions her. She's obviously also uncertain of her power herself. She compares herself, unfavourably, to Amy. And she seems to easily accept that her magic failed.
I don't quite see why Willow attracted D'Hoffryn since she wasn't seeking vengeance. Instead, she was seeking healing from her pain. Quick healing. She had no intention of harming anyone, not even Oz. Buffy points out that Willow would not be happy if Oz had remained with her because of a spell. Nor would she really cast a spell to harm someone, even Veruca. So her turning down the vengeance demon gig comes as no surprise. I have to assume D'Hoffryn is hard up for help - the position has been open for a year. It makes you wonder whether Anya might not get the job back. And would she take it, given her relationship with Xander.
I could understand Spike's fear that once his value to the gang is gone - once he has told them all he knows about the commandos - they'll dispose of him. I doubt they would, but they've certainly threatened to kill him often enough. Also, I was touched by the scene where he tries to get back into the lab. Spike wants to get back to normal, to be a biting vampire again. Even though he's now well fed and healthy, he misses his freedom. He's a wild animal who has been caged.
Some quick final thoughts. I've lived in a university residence. The bathroom is just never empty long enough - even late at night - for someone to cast a spell the way Willow did. Isn't there some rule against TAs fraternizing with students in the classes they assistant in? There sure was when I was a TA. Am I the only one who finds Riley's interest in solving the mystery of Buffy a little disturbing? I liked Willow going to Oz's and surrounding herself with his stuff. That struck me as true to life. Does Spike really enjoy tv that much or is he just bored to tears? It was nice of Giles to move the tv into the bathroom. Is there a better business than being a glazier in Sunnydale?
Lines of the week:
"Light. No big." - Willow with one of the great drinking rationalizations.
"This is the crack team that foils my every plan. I am deeply shamed." - Spike with an honest evaluation of the gang.
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