Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The Initiative

Episode Report Card
Sep: D | 5 USERS: B+
The Initiative

Xander and Giles are on patrol with Xander prattling on about "facing this moment," "waiting for an unseen enemy that has no face," and "never knowing which thought might be your last." Giles takes the words right out of my mouth with an exasperated, "Oh, shut up."

Buffy and Willow enter the party as upbeat music plays. Buffy notices some people as Willow goes to grab a soda. Good luck on getting a soda at a college party, Will. Willow sidles up to Riley to tell him that Buffy is wearing "the halter top with sensible shoes. That means mostly dancing, light contact but heavy conversation is out of the question." Willow dispatches Riley with a parting warning: "And remember, if you hurt her I will beat you to death with a shovel." Riley looks surprised, and I snicker as Willow explains, "A vague disclaimer is nobody's friend." She shoos him off with a friendly pat on the shoulder. This scene really made me realize that Riley has more chemistry with Willow than Buffy. Although since his personality has a pH of about 7, that's not saying much.

Riley approaches Buffy, and the others who were talking to her beat a hasty retreat before they get caught in Riley's web of boredom. Riley fumbles the conversational ball big time as he asks her if she's read chapter nine. He attempts a save by offering her cheese, but I bet Buffy's wishing she'd made a quicker exit. I'm distracted by the immense height difference between Buffy and Riley. Couldn't they have found a box for Buffy to stand on?

Xander is prowling through the woods alone because his company is way too annoying for even Giles, who as far as I can tell has a totally empty and meaningless existence this season. Xander comes across Harmony dousing a pile of Spike's stuff with gasoline. They both talk trash about each other and have the most ineffective fight I've ever seen on Buffy. Y'know, I was getting tired of everyone else's classically-trained karate-style technique, so it's very refreshing and amusing to see Harmony and Xander smack each other feebly and engage in some serious hair pulling. Plus, the use of slo-mo and the usual dramatic fight music really illustrate the absurdity of the situation. The fight ends in a standoff as Harmony, in her chief role of giving away Big Important Secret Information to the white hats, lets it slip that Spike is on his way to kill Buffy. I'm not even going to mention Xander's hair in this scene, except to say that the stylist on the set must have had her hands full with deep-conditioning Sarah Michelle Gellar's hair to get it unprehistoricized. It looks like she handed Nicholas her blessing, a brush, and a tin can for a mirror and sent him on his way.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer




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