Buffy the Vampire Slayer
No Place Like Home

Episode Report Card
Ace: D | 2 USERS: A-
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The Shady In Red

The Magic Box is buzzing with customers. Whatever. Based on what we've seen the past few seasons, a grand opening of a Sunnydale magic shop would appear to be a bi-yearly event. Willow goes behind the counter to wrap an item for a customer while Giles flits around the sales floor, trying to be helpful. Xander drops in, and Giles greets him with, "There's too many of them. People. A-a-and they all seem to want things." Xander reassures him with, "I hear you. Stay British. You'll be okay," before joining Willow, Anya, and Buffy behind the counter. Anya hands a package to her customer and tells her to "please go." Xander informs her of the proper etiquette for working retail, and I'm thinking that Anya should maybe take a basic foreign-language conversation course, as they often spend many weeks learning only basic courtesies. Sure, she might then only be polite in Russian, but it would still be an improvement. Anya protests that she doesn't care about the customers once they have given her money, and Xander explains, "It's just a long cultural tradition of raging insincerity. Embrace it." "Hey you! Have a nice day," Anya dutifully, if a bit stridently, calls after the customer. Xander sidles up to Buffy and she gives him the 411 about Joyce, and I know I should be paying attention to their conversation but I'm distracted by Willow's attempts at gift-wrapping. Willow holds out the crumpled, tape-ridden package to Anya and asks if it "looks right." Anya tries to take the package, but Willow has managed to tape her finger to the paper. "Sure," she answers, "if you wrapped it with your feet." Anya grabs another sheet of paper and tells Buffy about a French sorcerer who would go into a trance that would let him see the "trace signature" left by other spells. Buffy decides that she'll "go home. Get trancy and see what's affecting my mom." Giles warns her that the sorcerer's abilities were legendary, but Buffy won't be deterred and asks Willow what supplies she'll need.

In her bedroom at home, Buffy dumps her ingredients in front of her and thanks Riley for coming over to help. Buffy desperately tries to find a task for Riley, which he sums up as, "So you want me to light incense and pour sand?" In an attempt at encouragement, Buffy replies that it's "magic incense and, uh, spooky sand." Riley thinks that Buffy invited him over just to make him feel less..."what are the words? Cute and weak and kittenish." Riley swears that he's fine with being Joe Normal now, and could I suggest that Riley try some lithium or something for his raging mood swings? It's bad enough that he can't decide how he feels from week to week, but this penduluming of feelings within the same episode is too much. Riley kisses Buffy good luck on her forehead before leaving, but Buffy pulls him closer to her with a "hey. A girl needs more luck than that." I'm having another one of those strange moments where the Buffy/Riley smoochies don't make me think of defenestration. Excuse me while I take the next few minutes to breathe slowly into a paper bag and mutter, "This too shall pass." Okay. I'm fine.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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