Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Into The Woods

Episode Report Card
Sep: B | 2 USERS: A
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Into The Woods

Cut to Spike's crypt. Riley bursts through the door and yanks Spike out of his chair, throwing him up against a wall. Spike warns Riley to be reasonable, but Riley growls that he "left reasonable about three exits back." Three exits, two feeder highways, a frontage road, and an interstate freeway back, maybe. I think when you glean major significance from your girlfriend's preferred sleeping position, reasonable is but a dim memory. Anyway, Riley pulls a gnarled stake out of his coat and plunges into Spike's chest.

Back from commercial, Spike is holding the stake and screaming, "Ow! Bloody hell." He does not, however, seem to have vanished into a cloud of dust. Riley pulls out the stake, and Spike holds his wound, a perplexed look on his face. "Plastic wood grain. It looks real, doesn't it?" snaps Riley by way of explanation. What the fucking fuck? Plastic wood grain? Is that some sort of vampire gag gift? Is there an entire service industry devoted to equipping vampire practical jokers? Do they also sell shampoo with holy water mixed in and miniscule little crucifixes for short-sheeting your buddy's coffin? Puh-lease. Actually, my sources tell me that this scene was devised to exploit Internet rumors that James Marsters was leaving the show mid-season. I hate that sort of pandering to the fans. Anyway, Riley then slaps Spike around a little more, telling him to stay away from Buffy or he'll really stake him next time. Yeah, sure, that's what they all say. As Riley turns to leave, Spike gives a pained chuckle and mocks, "Look at you. All afraid I'm hot for your honey." When Riley insists that Spike actually does have a jones for the Slayer, he admits, "Well -- yeah." Spike, already having gained the conversational upper hand over poor dim Riley, tells him that Riley would never be able to hold on to Buffy regardless of Spike's presence, and that Riley isn't the "long haul guy." Riley (say it with me!) clenches his jaw and looks guilty. Falling into his armchair, Spike further twists the knife, telling Riley that Buffy "needs some monster in her man" and that's not in Riley's nature. When you look at it objectively, Spike's argument is all over the place, but since he's giving Riley a hard time and he's so damn charming, I really don't care. Riley, for some unfathomable reason, has neither stormed out nor finished Spike off at this point, and instead incredulously and angrily asks Spike if he actually thinks he has a chance with Buffy. Er, I smell a bizarro male-bonding scene coming on. Fiddling with what looks like a bottle of cooking sherry, Spike, without his usual mocking tone, admits he doesn't think he has a chance with Buffy, but that he needs to try. He swigs from the bottle. Blech. Can't he go out and intimidate a 7-11 clerk into handing over something better than that? Impotent blather on both the studs' parts about killing each other, and Spike tosses Riley the bottle. Riley sits and partakes as Spike admits, "Sometimes I envy you so much it chokes me. And sometimes I think I got the better deal." He refers to Riley being so close to Buffy but not actually having her, and then slips into a little reverie about doing the dirty tango with the Slayer, musing about being surrounded by her scent, before concluding, "No, you got the better deal." Riley looks around and then mutters, "I'm the lucky guy," but his body language and facial expression say the opposite.

In the training room at Der Zauber Kasten, Buffy pounds the crap out of a punching bag. Well, at least I'm assuming that's what the script called for. Without the benefit of special effects or stunt doubles, it's a lot more like Buffy throwing tiny, ineffectual punches with her little curled-up mouse hands. They should have given her a smaller bag, or gotten someone to shake the bag from above every time she hit it, because this just looks silly. Out in the store, Anya is looking over the day's receipts as she and Xander discuss Buffy's actions at the vampire nest earlier. He concludes that "something seriously bad" is going on with Buffy, and there's the mandatory "when I was a vengeance demon" reminiscence from Anya. Riley enters and asks the couple to clear out so he can be alone with Buffy. Xander seems to understand there's a confrontation in the offing, but Anya misses the clues and teases Riley about having a little "after-hours hanky-panky" with Buffy. Blah blah, vaulting horse TMI, blah blah. Xander herds her out, and when she proposes going to have sex, he gently turns her down, saying he has "some stuff to take care of."

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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