Say it with me now, a FOTE is a “Friend of the Episode.” That’s just in case you’re new here. And also, just in case you’re wondering, yes, I’m just a really quick typer…typist? Typist makes it sound like I’m against typewriters and computers. I don’t know. Mavis Beacon didn’t teach me the nomenclature.

Okay, so the truth is that on Saturday, I didn’t have a life (much needed), so I stayed in and watched a ton of Netflix. And then it hit me and I was all, “Wait, I should just watch Buffy. Nah, I can’t do that. I’m supposed to wait for Monday. But, if I watch now, I can just write the post tomorrow and not have to worry about it all week. Plus, I just want to watch.” So I just ended up watching. I’m sorry! However, I may have turned someone into a Buffy fan — my sister, who said both “Damn, Angel was baaaad” and also “Damn, Buffy was a baaaadaaaasss.” You’re welcome.

So I’m not going to lie to you and say I liked these three episodes. The truth is… I LOVED THESE THREE EPISODES. I don’t know if it’s because I just watched it when I wanted to and not scheduled, but I very, very much enjoyed this week’s three. I’m beginning to feel as though the writers created three episode story arcs.

Hey remember when Buffy the character lost her virginity. It seems that Buffy the show did as well. We’re delving much deeper into the complexities of teenage, well, hormones, but also life issues as these episodes dealt with the ideals our culture has placed for women and their involvement in society as well as the male burden (and the ideology of what men deserve). But we’ll get to that. For now, let’s break up these three episodes. I’m going to try to be as short as possible.

I’ll warn you, however, that the following is just a lot of text. Not much funny stuff to note. (Except that werewolf costume was HILARIOUS.)

2.15 “Phases”

Alternate title: “Werewolf; Where, Wolf?”

So the funniest thing happened on Saturday. I was watching Teen Wolf (which I’m also watching from the beginning for the first time) and thought how the werewolves there are portrayed as likable beings, somewhat, when they turn back to their human state. And I thought, that would never happen on Buffy. And then I turned on to “Phases.” Coincidental.

In this episode, we learn that Oz is a werewolf which made him a million times more interesting. But he’s not the only one who gets some depth, in fact, FOTE Larry returns (as well as Amy in the next episode, but to be fair they’re the only ones who didn’t die) and reveals that he’s overcompensating for being gay, which also made him much more interesting. Everyone else, by the way, was just REALLY horny. It was ridiculous. These kids would hump tree stumps if it were socially acceptable. Thank goodness that stuff is socially acceptable here in Miami; it’s how we let go of our frustration.

By the end of it, Oz has harmed zero people and he and Willow are on their way to becoming a bonafide couple.

Women’s roles in society

One of my favorite aspects of this and the following episode (and you know, the series) dealt with how women are supposed to act in our society…even if it’s laying it on thick. However, unlike “Halloween,” I wasn’t turned off by it.

We begin with Buffy and the self-defense class where she’s reminded by Willow that

Which we all know Buffy is not. Let’s not even mention the fact that the only people actually learning in this course are the girls, who keep getting the roles of the attacked while the guys are apparently just supposed to know how to defend themselves?

But all throughout the episode, Buffy is met with some werewolf hunter who just cannot possibly believe she is capable of getting the job done. Of course, she doesn’t on the first try and is burdened with being the reason why someone might die that night. But as we all know, Buffy’s got more kick-ass in her finger than the lame hunter.

Meanwhile, Willow is feeling particularly…uh…frustrated since Oz isn’t progressing much in the physical department. She wants “smoochies,” et all. And even though Willow makes an offhand comment about being a slut if she makes the first move, for the most part the episode is quite nonchalant with the idea of a young girl’s sexual awakening. (But hey, you know what DOES make you a slut, Willow? That Halloween costume! Ha, I kid. But no seriously, no one got it.) So much so, that instead of going to Oz’s and asking him what’s wrong, she sort of just demands that he feel her up. How such a conversation would be perceived if a guy were saying it, is beyond me. The same is true for Cordelia, everyone’s favorite damsel in distress, who’s annoyed with the fact that Xander won’t make out with her more (for the most part).

I’d like to say that the episode hit the nail on the head with these issues, but something I always find that stories fail to tackle is the double standard. As I’ve mentioned, what would happen if the tables had turned. Why does a girl’s desires come off as warranted, in this given situation, and a guy’s as sleazy, in the same situation? Fourteen years later and that stigma is still ingrained within us all.

Sure, if someone acts like a Larry, it’s most definitely gross. But when the roles are reversed, as it happens in the next episode, it’s just…funny. Somehow we’re all just supposed to believe that guys are okay with it and want to continue in this, ahem, arena. So much so, Buffy and Willow compare a savage, animalistic werewolf to a typical male.

Masculinity

We’ve got three sets of males in this episode that perfectly showcase levels of masculinity. For one, there’s the werewolf hunter, who very obviously holds a traditional view of…everything. The second and third, of course, being Xander and Larry. Xander, who’s stuck on thinking about what everyone else has except for himself, and, as we have seen and will see in the next episode, for the most part falls into some spectrum of male who believes he’s entitled to all the women in his life.

And, very obviously, we’ve got Larry, who we now know was trying to cover up the fact that he’s gay, which he believes will not allow him to even play football anymore (for little more than the fact that it’s a macho sport). And getting this piece of information adds a lot more to how he felt once Buffy (a girl of all people) was able to put him in his place, physically (y’know, the only thing that should matter to men, anyway). Louie had a fantastic episode most recently, “Miami,” about the heterosexual burden and while I understand Xander’s reaction (it is high school, after all), I don’t know how comfortable it must have been for people to watch with him equating Buffy’s speech about Oz still being human to Larry. Then again, it was 1998.

Thus far, however, I know that Buffy is a show about female empowerment a lot of the times but sometimes men get the short end of the stick.

You can even go as far as saying that Oz turns into the kind of beast Willow and Cordelia want in their men, and of which they just can’t live up to. But we’re not going to go there.

Continuity

My favorite tidbit this episode was Oz looking at the trophy in which Amy’s mother is trapped in and realizing that it’s almost as if her eyes stare at you. Fantastic.

Elsewhere, Xander believes he can get in the head of the werewolf because he remembers being a hyena, to which Buffy thought he forgot. “Remember that time I tried to rape you? Heh heh heh.” Awesome. Maybe Xander and Daniel Tosh can share some laughs over a round of golf or something.

(I have to mention this because someone will yell at me: NO, Xander did not say that.)

The Grade: I really did enjoy this episode a lot, in fact as the night went on, I liked the episodes more and more. And of course, the added depth in this one was a splendid surprise. Good job! OH AND HELLO BADASS WILLOW SHOOTING STUFF. AWESOME.

2.16 “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered”

We’re back for another Xander-centered episode here. If you remember, the previous episode dealt with Xander feeling as though he was entitled to all three women in his life equally — he wanted Cordelia only when he wanted her, he was also yearning for some Buffy action, and he didn’t believe anyone was deserving of Willow once she began to get attention. This episode is more of the same, with Xander sort of not realizing what he has until he loses it — and then feeling as though he is deserving of Cordelia’s affections just because. We’ve seen this side of him before, back when he was a hyena. And it’s scary, y’all. Once Cordelia breaks up with Xander, because she wants her friends of the episode to like her, he goes to Amy and asks her to whip up some spell. (To be fair, all women in his life sort of pushed him aside. He didn’t feel wanted or needed in any which way. Devastating.)

Let’s not even mention that Amy could have just spelled him or something instead of taking the blackmail, but that happens and it’s quite glaring.

The spell goes wrong, and every girl but Cordelia is now interested (and obsessed) with Xander. Including Jenny and Joyce…which was…well, it happened. In the end, Giles saves the day and everything’s fine (including Xander/Cordelia).

My shipper heart

Oh, my goodness. All this episode really did was solidify that Xander/Cordelia are THE BEST. Why didn’t you guys warn me about this? And why did you guys tell me Cordelia leaves? Now I know there’s a countdown and it makes me sad.

I think it’s official. I ship it.

Vocabulary

So, I’ve talked about grammar. But now we need a vocab lesson, guys!

Dramatic irony is like knowing the killer is in the closet when the character doesn’t. Irony is like rain on your wedding day…except it isn’t, which is the one Xander meant.

Continuity

Besides Amy being a total witch, here’s another perfectly immaculate student sign.

The Grade: Of course, I found this episode to be hilarious — which is sort of a problem, as I mentioned. I can’t help it, that’s how we’re wired. It was very entertaining. But I also found it to have a lot of gravitas, and who doesn’t like a Xander/Cordelia episode?

Also, let me just put this here:

Speaking of, according to a quick Twitter poll where I asked which was more seductive (A) Buffy’s shoulder move or (B) Buffy eating her hair, #TeamShoulder came out on top.

2.17 “Passion”

Imagine my dread when Angel was narrating the entire episode. Oh, goodness, as soon as his whisper voice came on, I was like “Ah, dangit.” But, hey, you know who makes a totally awesome villain? Angel. It’s true! He’s like the best villain. And this episode absolutely killed me in the most delightful way.

In this episode, everyone’s looking for a way to keep safe from Angel. Buffy decides she needs to tell her mother something (oh god, at least they acknowledged it, y’know? but seriously, just freakin’ tell her). Cordelia thinks she needs to spell her car. And Jenny is trying for redemption by getting Angel’s soul back.

The heartbreaking thing is that she does figure it out, but ultimately sacrifices her life in the process. Ugh, and how saddening and disturbing was the date that Angel set up with a dead Jenny in Giles’ bed? Just awful.

Let’s actually recap this episode. Towards the beginning of the episode, we realize that Angel doesn’t own a camera.

Angel could REALLY save a lot of time if he bought a disposable Kodak or something. I mean, I bet a one hour photo place would develop pictures quicker than this. And he wouldn’t have to just stand there and draw whilst Buffy perhaps moved around. Also, WHERE was he drawing this stuff? Did he bring a chair and a desk? This seems to be a lot of trouble.

Anyway, so it’s creepy and Buffy is creeped out for obviously creepy reasons. So she goes to Giles and is all “Dis is effed up meng. DO SOMETHING.” So when he’s going to go look for some book that will help, we have another Friends moment.

Tell me this moment DOESN’T remind you of Friends episode “The One with the Princess Leia Fantasy” where the gang goes into Central Perk and finds other people sitting in their usual spot.

And while Buffy is talking to Giles about perhaps telling her mother the truth, there’s a self-defense class sign behind them.

HOLY CRAP, FOUR BUCKS??? For that I could self-defend myself twice over and STILL have money left to spare.

Anyway, they stupidly decide not to tell her the truth while Giles looks for a spell. Giles can’t find anything so he ends up going to Calendar, who’s all:

That was easy.

Giles is all “you betrayed me and it HURTS.” But I’m like, didn’t you get a demon to possess her? Can we just call it even here?

So it’s night time, meaning vamps can come out, and Buffy’s having dinner with her mom. I should add that Joyce definitely redeemed herself AGAIN in this episode because she was being a good mother. Not that hard, Joyce! Anyway, so Buffy is thinking of what to tell her mom, and she settles for “Don’t invite him in” even though HE CAN ALREADY COME INSIDE THE HOUSE and even though that’s not “Hey…whenever it’s nighttime RUN FOR YOUR EFFING LIFE BECAUSE THERE ARE VAMPIRES AND THEY WILL KILL YOU OMG MOM SERIOUSLY.” That’s what I would have said, but that’s ME.

Meanwhile, Willow is feeding her fish. And then she realizes that there’s an envelope in her room full of dead fish. So, basically, she didn’t realize she was feeding zero things in her fish tank. It was weird. And she already invited Angel in once, so now she’s sleeping at Buffy’s.

Willow, however, doesn’t give two shits about her parents, either.

Anyway, moving on, Spike doesn’t want to eat this puppy:

But OMG who would!? I don’t use the word “cute” often, but c’mon. Not eating the dog definitely raised Spike a few notches in my book.

Also, seriously, where’s PETA? They would not approve.

Meanwhile, Dru makes a loud noise because Jenny is buying some crystal ball thing that will help bring Angel’s soul back. It was weird.

And then Buffy and Calendar had a lil’ conversayshun.

And Calendar was like “k cool.”

At this point, Giles has found a ritual to revoke a vampire’s invitation into your home. And now I’m wondering why they haven’t come up with this over on The Vampire Diaries AKA “Magic is Our Plot Device.” Seems like they would have gotten to this one sooner.

Anyway, they do the ritual. And while at Willow’s house, Buffy receives a second drawing…in Willow’s room, Cordelia weirdly noticed and thought “Hey let me just pick this up and offer it to Willow.” I don’t know. This second picture, however, was of Joyce. So Buffy’s in full panic mode.

Joyce is coming from the supermarket and fumbles with her keys trying to unlock the door. By the way, she has more keys than a custodian who works in the Empire State Building. Geez, Joyce, how many doors do you need to open!? And then Angel lets out this little ditty:

Nicely played, Angel. Nicely played.

Then a lot of stuff happens: Calendar and Giles make a date that night, Buffy and Joyce have the talk, and so on. But basically, here’s what’s important: Jenny finds a way to bring Angel back, except he ain’t okay with that. So he breaks her computer.

And she, very obviously, decides to run away. But, at first, she decided to run towards him. Anyone confused by this? Regardless, she runs away. And this is me the entire time:

Ugh, but it was to no avail. Angel catches up with her. And, I hate to say this, he gives her the ultimate turn face.

And here’s where Angel really wins me over as a villain: the date he sets up for Giles. Oh, my goodness, it was one of the most disturbing things ever. And I LOVED it. Which makes me a little messed up, perhaps. But whatever. Great use of DRAMATIC IRONY here.

Humor is how I deal with things.

I had zero idea Jenny would die and so I’ll admit that I literally gasped when he twisted her neck and she fell to the floor. And I was also sad. Sad episode, man.

Giles gears up and goes after Angel, but thankfully Buffy and Co. are wise enough and go after him, saving the day. While I wasn’t a fan of Giles pushing Buffy and she punching him (like AT ALL, seriously, I’m deleting that from my brain), the creys they shared were so heartbreaking. Heartbreaking creys.

Evidence it’s the ’90s: All of the valuable information that Jenny found is saved on a floppy.

Wow.

The Grade: Um, the best? Yes, I believe this might be the best. I like when shows kill people off that aren’t FOTEs we’ll never hear from again…and seeing how everyone deals with Jenny’s downfall will certainly be interesting. Most certainly, it pushed Giles to the edge already. But how will it keep them determined going forward. And what will happen when the…floppy…is found? Also, how do I not love an episode that reminds us of the shoulder move?

Thank you. Please always dance together, Buffy and Xander.

Very important poll

Okay we NEED to do a poll to see if we can change the time of Buffy Rewatch beginning next Monday. I just realized that beginning August, I may not actually be able to watch live because of early Tuesdays (so much so, I think I’m even advocating to finish sooner, by adding more episodes). This is why I want to ask if you’d be able to make it to Buffy Rewatch if we move it up to 8pm EDT.

And if we decided to add another day, or perhaps change, which day would you like the most?

And finally, how many episodes a night is ideal for you?

I’m probably not going to change the schedule that much, but it helps to gather the info! Join us next week, and make sure to look out on Twitter or look at the Buffy Rewatch page for update info.

Michael loves TV. You can find him at home, where he spends all of his time watching TV with his best friends couch and cable access.