Giles rushes in all atwitter. "Everything is terrible!" he announces. He's just come from the new library, where it's teeming with computers. "I don't know where to begin Buffy, who -- who do we speak to?" Wood introduces himself as the principal. Giles shakes his hand and says, "Buffy tells me you're something of a freelance demon fighter." Man, I bet that's hard to claim on your tax return. Giles is glad to have some allies stockpiled, because he reports that according to the coven's seers The First has not been vanquished, it's just marshalling its forces. It's had those since the beginning of time! What's it waiting for? Y'know, this season-long story-arc thing really hasn't worked since Season Three. I'm SO glad I won't have to wait through another whole season of some Big Bad sitting on its duff and filing its nails (and that's literally what Glory did for eighteen episodes) waiting for sweeps to kick it into action. Giles switches gears abruptly, offering to have his backup library sent from his home. Everyone looks at him as if he's crazy. Buffy ask him if he's brought back any more Junior Misses, but, cleaning his glasses, Giles reveals that his mission was Spike-related. Oh god, no! Not Giles too! Why, why must Spike leech onto every character I care about and annex his or her story? Every slight glimmer of insight we have as to how Buffy fucking feels about anything and it's always about Spike. Wood's entire storyline? All about Spike. This is really a bait and switch from the show that I signed up for about four people who really cared about each other and who were bright and funny and witty and actually managed to do some good in the world. And now? There is no sense that these battles will be fought for the good of the world because we don't SEE that world. It has ceased to exist. We're left with the unpleasant creature that is Buffy, who happens to take out her anger on other unpleasant creatures. Willow, until lately, has been too pathetic for words. Anya's storyline has been dumped in favor of squabbling little Junior Misses and the continued misadventures of Captain Peroxide. Xander is bearable, but no matter how much he weighs these days it still isn't enough to balance out the moral core. And it's not because I don't like things to be morally ambiguous. I like the gray. I loved "Lie To Me." The difference is that, back then, the show Buffy and the character Buffy used to be layered. Like an onion. Now it's more like some utterly unappealing vegetable that doesn't have any depth at all and that leaves people with a bitter and unsatisfied feeling. Buffy? Is a radish.
Back to Giles bitching Buffy out. "I told you my concerns when you recklessly chose to remove the chip from his head." Wood is confused about this chip. Buffy gives the abridged version of the Initiative's involvement. And then someone must have poked Buffy, because she turns back to Giles and says pointedly, "But he wouldn't hurt anyone anymore because he has a soul now." Gah. How many times has Buffy said this? I really couldn't tell you, because as soon as the recap is sent off I delete the episode from my TiVo and cackle gleefully. I swear, Buffy is like a little windup toy. Every time someone mentions a word that starts with a "sp," she goes off into her "he's a goooood man. He has a soooouuuull" shtick that is just like those super-sensitive car alarms that go off when you breathe near them. Only twice as annoying, because hey? The car alarms don't know any better. Buffy should. "Unless The First triggers him again," counters Giles, making my point for me. "Triggers the chip?" asks Wood in confusion. Buffy explains about the trigger, and at the insistence of a Gilesian eyebrow wag admits that it led Spike to slaughter innocents again. "So he has a trigger, a soul and a chip?" clarifies Wood. And yet he's still an asshole. "Not anymore," snits Giles. "It was killing him, Giles!" spits an outraged Buffy. Wood misunderstands and thinks that it was the trigger that was killing him, but Buffy explains that it was the chip, and "the trigger's not active anymore." Oh, isn't it? I -- I have no words. Has Buffy even looked into this trigger before deciding that it wasn't active anymore? Innocent people, people living in Buffy's own house, are at risk from a vampire who could potentially go feral anytime someone hums the wrong tune around him, and does Buffy even attempt to research the situation? No. She does not. "Because the military gave him a soul," concludes Wood. Off of the looks from Buffy and Giles, Wood sheepishly apologizes. And when you set it all out like that, it does make Spike's back story seem really freakin' ludicrous. Giles corrects Buffy that they have no idea if the trigger is inactive, but he brought something that will help them figure it out. Buffy is convinced that the trigger is "that song," but the problem is that nobody can remember any of it. Wood wants to know how the thing Giles brought back is going to work. Giles says that it "will require a bit of magic."