Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Lessons

Episode Report Card
Sep: B- | 2 USERS: B+
YOU GRADE IT
Golden rule days
Getting up, Willow huffs that she wishes they'd taken her power away. The passionflower sinks back into the ground. "You know we can't," explains Giles. "It isn't a hobby or an addiction. It's inside, you know, this magic." Okay, on the one hand, thank you, Giles! Of course it's not an addiction. That's what Ace and I were saying all last season. On the other hand, huh?! If it's not an addiction, what the hell were we watching with the physical withdrawal and the sage-stealing and everything last year? Or does he mean that now it's not an addiction, but it was in the past? Or that she has a different sort of magic at present? Gah. This is a great dilemma for a recapper: do I just accept the retcon that puts everything the way I want it, or do I express disgust at one single line obliterating everything I had to sit through last season? It's a hard call. Giles hurries after Willow, who wants to know if the coven will always be afraid of her. She feels she deserves worse than that. "I killed people, Giles." "People"? Is she counting Rack along with Warren? Giles tells her he hasn't forgotten. Willow confesses that when he first brought her to England, she thought it was to lock her away or torture her. Torture her? Pshaw. That's either the guilty conscience or the remnants of dark Willow speaking. "Instead you go all Dumbledore on me," she continues. "I'm learning about magic. All about energy and Gaia and root systems." She shrugs, and Giles considers her. "Do you want to be punished?" he asks quietly, and a million Giles-spanking-Willow fan-fics are born. ["Dude, forget the fan fic. I want to be punished, and if raising a evil, phallic temple is all it takes to get that sort of attention from Giles, I'm so there." -- Ace] ["The line starts behind me, sister." -- Sars] Willow sniffles, "I wanna be Willow," and blinks away some tears. Giles assures her that she is and always will be.

Xander, in a smart suit, steps out of a new silver car. Hey, that makes sense, since Willow smooshed his old one in "Grave." He probably bought this one with the insurance and whatever raise he got that also helped pay for that suit. Xander buttons his suit coat and heads for the Summers' front door. Buffy spots him out the window and calls upstairs to Dawn. Ugh. Forget whatever compliments I gave to the new wardrobe mistress, because Buffy's outfit is hurting my eyes. She has a white, drapey, cinchy, ruffly shirt-garment that looks to be made out of 100 percent silky polyester, paired with unflattering putty-colored low-rise pants with a strange broad waistband. They're not unflattering in the sense that they make her look fat, but rather in the sense that they look like a pair of adult diapers. Buffy reminds Dawn that she must eat, and then she and Xander head into the kitchen. There's some chitchat about Buffy being nervous about Dawn attending Sunnydale High for the next three years. Xander says he brought something to reassure her, and they head back into the dining room to look at the blueprints he has with him. As he unrolls them, Dawn swings by and compliments, "Check out double-o Xander!" Dawn's wearing a black turtleneck sweater with an unattractive argyle pattern. I can accept that she might be trying to cover up her vampire bites, but that ugly-ass sweater looks just like something popular during the 1950s fashion revival when I was in junior high. ["Were the '50s popular when everyone was in junior high? Because I'm older than Sep, but we went through the whole poodle skirts, argyle socks, and polka-dot-dresses horror at my junior high too." --Ace] As he and Buffy look at the documents, Xander expositions that he has two crews on campus, one finishing the science building and the other working on the gym. He assures Buffy that the school contains "no pentagrams, no secret passageways." I love Xander, but five bucks says we see a pentagram or a secret passageway in the school before the end of this episode. No takers, huh? Xander says the school is "safe as houses." Hey, I remember that Stiff Little Fingers song! Xander has found one "interesting detail," however. He uses the window as an impromptu light table, holding up the new school's plans over the old. Turns out that the Hellmouth, which used to be under Giles's library, now sits under the principal's office. "So the principal's evil?" asks Dawn, not without good cause. "Or in a boatload of danger," perks Buffy, and Xander reminds those of us not up on the mythos that the "last two principals were eaten." They're all ready to take Dawn to school, but first Buffy wants to give her a back-to-school gift. "It's a weapon, isn't it?" grins Dawn, and Buffy agrees that it is. As Dawn opens the box, we cut to…

…the entrance of the new Sunnydale High. Xander pulls up and lets Buffy and Dawn out, telling them he'll be around the construction site all day. Buffy and Dawn walk towards the school, and Buffy looks about suspiciously. Buffy decides to give Dawn some final advice, which in any normal town would be strategies for avoiding getting trash-canned or swirlied, but considering where they live consists of things like staying away from hyenas, athletes, and invisible people. All good points for everyday life, but Buffy is not making even the smallest attempt to be discreet in public. "I don't really think it's fair for you to try to scare me on my first day of high school," teases Dawn, "because it is so redundant." They continue walking, and Buffy grouses, "This place is evil." Way to keep the cover, secret-identity girl. "It's tough to let them go, huh?" chuckles a voice behind Buffy, and she and Dawn spin around in surprise. We see the ribbon-cutting guy from the teaser, who introduces himself as "Robin Wood, the new principal." Robin Wood? Oh, wow. There are so many places I could go with that. Most of which have already been explored on the boards, where Mr. (cough) Wood has made very good impression. Buffy introduces herself and Dawn and then tells Principal Wood she was expecting him to be more "aged." He laughs and smoothly replies, "You seem very young to have such a grown-up daughter." Buffy is totally flustered by this, insisting that Dawn is her sister and fluttering about her hair being "mom hair." As she dithers, Principal Wood admits that he actually has heard of Buffy, and then excuses himself to go deaden young minds. Hee. He's smoothly amusing. Dawn spots the opportunity to finally make her escape from Buffy's overly concerned clutches and hurries off, calling back, "Bye. I know. You never know what's coming. The stake is not the power. To Serve Man is a cookbook. I love you. Go away!" Dawn hurries off in a swirl of hair.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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