With seven seasons and 144 episodes under its belt, Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a surprise cultural phenomenon that went on to inspire one official spin-off series, novels, comics, video games, board games, fan films, parodies, and academic conferences. And now, Jamie Gerber is here to walk us all through it from the first episode to the last. Come with us now, as we explore the mysteries and empowerment of the complete Buffy the Vampire Slayer! S2E9: “What’s My Line? Part 1” (Writers: Howard Gordon & Marti Noxon/ Director: David Solomon) “What’s My Line?” is a really great two-parter and I would say it’s where Season 2 really finds its stride, except for the fact that the two episodes after it are largely filler. This is also notably the first episode written by Marti Noxon, who would go on to become one of the most important creative forces behind the scenes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She co-wrote part 1 with Howard Gordon (later of 24 and Homeland fame) and wrote part 2. Noxon’s episodes always had especially great dialogue and while just about all of my favorite installments were penned by Whedon, Noxon has written more than one of them. She would also go on to become an executive producer and later, showrunner. “What’s My Line Part 1” marks the return of Spike and Dru and really sets them up as the season’s Big Bad. The craziest part is that Spike was never meant to last past part 2. That’s right, James Marsters’s beloved baddie was supposed to be killed off. The incredible performance by Marsters and the fact that he had quickly become a fan favorite earned him a permanent stay of execution. Originally however, Drusilla was going to terrorize Sunnydale with Angelus, but we’ll come back to that. One of the main ideas behind this episode is figuring out what box you fit into, with Career Week being yet another event to remind Buffy that she doesn’t fit into any of them. “Do the words sealed in fate mean anything to you?” Meanwhile, Spike is attempting to figure out how to restore Dru to her full strength. Although her weakened state was never fully explained, we know that she was nearly killed by an angry mob in Prague. In order to fully focus on Drusilla’s cure, they’ll have to distract Buffy. Enter the Order of Taraka, an ancient and inexorable league of assassins. This episode sees Buffy and Angel getting closer, with Buffy confiding in him about wanting to be a normal girl. We also learn about Buffy’s love of figure skating, which is actually Sarah Michelle Gellar’s love of figure skating. The two make a skate date and Gellar is the one doing all of the actual skating. Of course this is BtVS, so a large, scary assassin, who wishes he were Snake Plissken, interrupts their Ice Capades. There is a really sweet moment after Buffy, in one of the most awesome moves ever, slits the dude’s throat with her ice skate. Angel had to vamp out in order to “help” Buffy (he wasn’t much help at all) and he was embarrassed for her to see him like that. In response, she full on kissed him, vamp face and all. As for the Career Fair, according to a delightful multiple-choice test, our characters now know what their futures should hold. Cordelia is best suited to be a motivational speaker or personal shopper, while poor Xander’s suggested life is that of a prison guard and Buffy is meant to be a cop, “as in polyester, donuts and brutality”. Willow wasn’t assigned to any seminar, because she’s a genius and was being offered a different opportunity with a leading software consortium. Luckily, this opportunity led to her meeting with the only other student who met their criteria: Oz, who had been hoping to meet her ever since he first saw her rocking that Inuit costume back in “Inca Mummy Girl”. After the first assassin was rather easily dispatched, the next in line is not a bug guy, so much as a guy made of bugs. We’ll come back to him though. By this point, Buffy has learned that the Order of Taraka are after her and Giles told her to lay low, so she heads to Angel’s place. Angel is over at the demon bar, trying to get some info on who hired the Order from Willy the snitch, who makes his first appearance here. An unknown young woman interrupts the exchange and kicks Angel’s ass. She locks him in a cage with no shelter from the sun, which is on the rise. In the episode’s final few moments, a whole lot of important developments are set in motion at once. Xander and Cordelia go to Buffy’s place looking for her. Joyce is thankfully out of town, so the assassins can’t use her as leverage. The bug man, posing as a terrible make up salesman, gets an invite in from Cordy due to the promise of free samples. Meanwhile, Spike and Dru have discovered the key to Dru’s cure and it’s…her sire! Back at Angel’s place, the same woman who just locked him in a cage attacks Buffy. She was also seen spying on the couple at the ice rink. We assume that this woman is another assassin, that is, until she introduces herself as Kendra, the Vampire Slayer. S2E10: “What’s My Line? Part 2” (Writer: Marti Noxon/ Director: David Semel) This episode picks up with the bombshell dropped at the end of Part 1: Kendra, the Vampire Slayer. Interestingly, Bianca Lawson, who played Kendra, originally scored the role of Cordelia. However, due to contractual obligations, Lawson had to turn down the part and was cast in a more minor role instead. After a bit of a scuffle, the two slayers head to the library, where Giles confirms through her watcher that Kendra is the real deal. Because Buffy technically died at the end of season 1 at the hands of the Master, a new slayer was called. Buffy is immediately ready for her replacement to go home, but Kendra’s watcher sent her because, “a very dark power is about to rise in Sunnydale”. She only attacked Buffy because she saw her kissing Angel’s vamp face. Kendra’s reluctant admittance forced her to reveal what she had done to Angel. They don’t find him, but they do discover what became of him, thanks to Willy. Lucky for Angel, Willy came to his rescue before he was able to fit in an ashtray. Not so lucky for Angel, Willy saved him so that Spike could kill him in order to restore Drusilla’s strength. Back at school, Kendra and Giles are hitting it off quite well and Buffy is a wee bit jealous. It turns out that there is a Slayer Handbook! Who knew? At the Career Fair, Oz and Willow are getting to know one another a little better. For example, she learns that he does have some ambition and that it’s E flat diminished 9th. Too bad their sweet exchange is interrupted when Buffy is almost shot by another member of the Order. Poor Jonathan is in peril once again – which kind of becomes his thing – and in a move that is both brave and adorable, Oz literally takes a bullet for Willow. Meanwhile, Cordy and Xander are fighting off mealworm man at Buffy’s place. Locked away from him in the basement, this near death experience causes the sexual tension between them to boil over and they can’t keep their hormones in check any longer. Anyone paying attention to the series would’ve noticed the chemistry between these two, so it was kind of a long time coming. However, it terrifies Xander and Cordelia more than the bug man and winds up being the impetus of their escape. Cut to another famous library exposition scene. The Scoobies have figured out that Spike needs Angel for a blood ritual to restore Drusilla. They need to rescue him, but there is some debate as to how that should happen. Buffy for one, has had it. “You can attack me. You can send assassins after me. That’s fine. But nobody messes with my boyfriend.” Speaking of Angel, he is being tortured by Drusilla. It appears that she only wants to have some fun with him, but there is something deeper developing. First of all, this scene brings to light just how much Angelus damaged Dru before he sired her. In “Lie to Me” he admitted to Buffy all of the evil deeds that she suffered at his hands, but this is the first time that we hear it from Drusilla’s side. Part of her is still pained by everything that she lost thanks to Angelus. Torturing him is her way of taking her power back. However, there is another dynamic at play here: the triangle between Spike, Drusilla and Angel. Up until this point, the bond between Spike and Dru has seemed unbreakable, but she and Angelus have a certain history that makes Spike incredibly insecure. Angel almost baits Spike into staking him, but Dru is onto him and stops Spike before he causes her cure to be reduced to ashes. By the time Buffy and Kendra get Angel’s whereabouts out of Willy, Buffy is raring to go, while Kendra wants to head back to home base. They go their separate ways, but Willy leads Buffy into a trap. The ritual has begun and Buffy, being completely outnumbered, can’t do a thing to stop it. Luckily, Kendra brings reinforcements. The Scoobies save the day, driving home the point that the slayer needs her friends. Buffy rescues Angel and literally brings the church down on Spike and Drusilla. This was supposed to be Spike’s death scene, but James Marsters brought too much to the role. It seemed that he and Dru were buried for good, but a restored Drusilla pulls a broken Spike from the wreckage and takes him home. They are not the only couple whose story is continuing to unfold. Willow and Oz are growing closer, as are Xander and Cordelia, although the former is more of a courtship, while the latter is an explosion of hormones. Buffy and Kendra may have differing methods, but the slayers have grown closer as well. Being a slayer is all that Kendra knows, all that she has. Buffy may feel like her life is the worst the vast majority of the time, but at least she has one. By episode’s end, these two have learned a lot from one another. Buffy teaches Kendra what an asset her emotions can be and Kendra makes Buffy realize that slaying is a part of who she is, rather than a job. Thus, Buffy realizes that she may not fit into a particular box, but she also realizes that that’s not so bad. S2E11: “Ted” (Writers: David Greenwalt & Joss Whedon / Director: Bruce Seth Green) As delightful as John Ritter is in this episode and as much as I love literally every other installment of the series penned by Whedon, “Ted” falls flat for me. It raises so many interesting questions about morality and then proceeds to let Buffy off the hook for every single one of them. While it is true that in order for these issues to be fully explored, it would’ve taken an arc, rather than a single episode, the fact remains that in the end, this story comes off as a bit hokey. It’s just another Monster of the Week episode in the season that proved how much less of those we actually needed. Buffy’s mom is sweet on Ted, but this is the Hellmouth, right? Dude must be a monster. It’s no fling either. Joyce is ready for Ted to put a ring on it. The problem is that no one realizes that there is something wrong with her soon to be dear old dad, except for Buffy. What the slayer thinks has little merit to those around her, because of course, she was still holding onto hope that someday her parents would get back together. We know Buffy isn’t overreacting, but no one else does. Ted and Willow can geek out over computer stuff. Xander is enthralled by Ted’s cooking – more on that later. Buffy however, isn’t convinced. She won’t give the guy an inch. Meanwhile, Jenny is still pissed at poor Giles, who is grasping at straws just to spend a few moments with her. Sure, she’s kind of nice about it, but also tells Giles to stop making “puppy dog eyes” at her. Thus far, Jenny has appeared to be exactly who she says she is, so the fact that she is still uncomfortable with being a part of Giles’s life makes sense. However, once her big secret is revealed, this scene feels especially cruel. Jenny seems reasonable, but it turns out, she’s got no leg to stand on. Returning to Ted, things are starting to come to a head between him and Buffy. Everyone around her is going gaga over him, but he’s shown her a different side. The episode award for bad parenting goes to…Joyce, who refuses to believe that Ted threatened Buffy (like she would make that up). However, considering the deep denial Joyce has shown regarding her daughter, it makes sense that this would extend to her own love life. To be fair, John Ritter does an awesome job of playing Ted as both charming and terrifying, and he’s only shown Joyce the former. Still, she should’ve trusted Buffy on this one. The situation escalates and when it boils over, Buffy is overjoyed, because Ted hitting Buffy gives her the excuse that she’s been waiting for. She beats the living shit out of Ted, who falls down the stairs to his apparent death. Joyce lies for Buffy, but the guilt overwhelms her and she comes clean. Unfortunately, Buffy doesn’t bruise easily and there’s simply no way to prove that he’d hurt her. The scene that follows is the worst nightmare of any abuse victim, as her very true story is put under far too close scrutiny. In the end, the cops believe her for the time being and the only charges brought up on Buffy are the ones that she foists upon herself. It took killing Ted for everyone around Buffy to believe that there is something truly wrong with the guy. The cops are still sniffing around, so Xander and Willow are intent on proving Buffy’s innocence. Thankfully, Xander’s obvious attitude change after eating one of Ted’s cookies prompts Willow to take a closer look. Turns out that the cookies are basically full of Xanax. So, this creeper was getting and keeping everyone nice and mellow. He was also keeping his previous dead wives in his basement. The real Ted was a dying inventor grieving over his wife leaving him. So, he did what any rational man of science would do and built a robot version of himself. He then proceeded to hold his wife hostage and after her death, continued the process with wife after wife. When Ted returns, he and Buffy duke in out and naturally, Joyce is unconscious and completely misses Buffy rescuing her. Ted had it coming for so many reasons, not the least of which was saying, “Daddy’s home.” Gross. The complex morality issues are neatly tied up with a bow, which is fine, since those same issues will be raised again and given much more room to breathe in season 3. Seriously though, Ritter plays a mean robot. I just wished I liked this episode enough to appreciate it. In other news, Jenny does apologize to Giles. However, she follows that by accidentally shooting him with a crossbow when vampires attack them. In a super badass move, Giles pulls the crossbow out of him and stakes the bloodsucker. It’s one of the few bright spots in this episode, especially because it’s followed by the two of them getting back together. Oh yeah, and Xander and Cordy are still making out in the nearest broom closet. S2E12: “Bad Eggs” (Writer: Marti Noxon/ Director: David Greenwalt) Second only to Joss Whedon, Marti Noxon is undoubtedly my favorite writer on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The first time that I saw “Bad Eggs”, I was not a fan. In fact, it remains one of the weakest episodes in the entire series. That being said, having rewatched it so many times over the years, I have found it to be a fun, light-hearted episode about the blinding terror of sexual consequences. While I do prefer this episode to “Ted”, it has always bummed me out that following “What’s My Line Pt 1 & 2”, which really begin to show us what the series is capable of, that we then get two back to back duds. It’s Marti Noxon though, so at least the dialogue is great. Xander and Cordelia are still sweet enough on each other to continue making out in broom closets, but aren’t quite ready to let their friends in on the secret. Also, “sweet on each other” might be the wrong turn of phrase, considering they can’t even get through a single make-out session without arguing. Of course, that’s basically foreplay for them. Xander and Cordy aren’t the only couple who can’t stop smooching. Buffy and Angel are supposed to be patrolling, but they’re too busy gazing into each other’s eyes to notice that they’re being watched. They do have a rather serious discussion in which it is revealed that vampires cannot have children, but Buffy has far more interest in a life with Angel than in being a mom. The villains watching Buffy and Angel are Lyle and Tector Gorge, two yokel vampire brothers. They don’t serve much purpose other than being rather unintimidating secondary antagonists. All in all, they’re pretty inept and not much of a threat to Buffy. I only mention them, because although Tector doesn’t make it to episode’s end, Lyle returns for payback in season 3. For a sex ed project, in order to reinforce the negative consequences of having sex, the students are given an egg to care for as though it were a newborn baby. They are also partnered up…except for Buffy, who is a single parent (she wasn’t in class). This is the first episode where we learn Willow’s religion, or it’s at least hinted at, since she’s raising her egg in the Jewish faith. Unfortunately for everyone involved – including the viewer – these eggs aren’t what they seem. Buffy kills the Facehugger inside her egg, but by the time she is able to warn Willow, the creature has already attached itself. Lucky for Xander, he hardboiled his egg, so the creepy tentacles within couldn’t turn him into a Pod Person. Willow and Cordy – whose egg has also awakened – knock out Buffy and Xander, leaving them locked in a closet with two eggs. Buffy smashes the unborn monsters and they escape unscathed, but by that point everyone is under the thrall of what turns out to be a mother Bezoar. This prehistoric parasite must’ve taken over Mr. Whitmore and gotten the health teacher to distribute its eggs to the kids. Xander pretends to be as mindless as everyone else, while Buffy has to fight Lyle and Tector. Score one for the Mama Bezoar, because she eats Tector. She drags Buffy down as well, but in the episode’s most badass moment, Buffy grabs a pick ax and hacks the creature apart from within, thus breaking its hold on everyone. When she emerges triumphant (and covered in disgusting black goo), Lyle is so terrified, that he immediately runs away. It is no coincidence that an episode that centers on the consequences of sex is positioned directly in front of the one in which Buffy loses her virginity. To be fair, this is BtVS, so unfortunately for Buffy, her punishment is a bit disproportionate to her supposed crime. Hold on to your hats ladies and gents, because from here on out, season 2 is one hell of a ride! See larger image Buffy the Vampire Slayer – The Complete Second Season (Slim Set) The complete second season of the TV series Buffy The Vampire Slayer. New From: $24.82 USD In Stock Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.