Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Touched

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Touched

Previously on Buffy: Faith came to town in search of a storyline. A girl got her neck snapped. A girl got a knife stuck in her belly. A boy had his eye poked out. He screamed. His blood poured down his face. Remind me why I watch this show again?

After Buffy is over, I might have to watch only the Home & Garden network for months. I'll be seeking redemption for consuming so much violence couched as entertainment. Sometimes I have a very hard time balancing my love for genre stories with the incredibly dirty feeling I get from sitting on my ass, wasting my time, while cringing and watching people get beaten, bruised, and broken. And on top of that dirty feeling lies the silt of guilt for all the violence I view that doesn't even produce the cringe reaction. You didn't want to know that, did you? Well, it's my second-to-last recap and my inhibitions are lowered.

Summers living room. Soon after Buffy got Blighed and left the island. Everyone is talking at once about power and having a voice. Giles removes his glasses and rubs his eyes. Arguing, arguing. Why do they scream at each other? This is what it sounds like when doves cry. Faith tries to interject and calm the room down, but the arguing continues. And just in case the overlapping dialogue and actors' defensive body language aren't enough to let us know things aren't going well, we get swoopy handheld agitated camera work and super-quick cuts. The camera of Bickering Betrayal flicks around the room and...

Ash: What ever happened to Andrew?
Ace: I killed him and buried him in the back yard.
Ash: [long pause] No, really. Where'd he go?
Ace: [sigh] He and Spike went to the mission in Gilroy?
Ash: Gilroy?
Ace: Gilroy. California. He and Spike went on Spike's motorcycle to Gilroy.
Ash: Ah, Andrew's taking a hiatus.
Ace: No. He's taking a B-plot.
Ash: [satisfied] Okay!

Okay, I just banned Ash from the den. His Andrew fixation is getting a little creepy. Giles wants "constructive dialogue," and Millie repeatedly tries to recommend the "parliamentary procedure" she learned in Model UN. Except she slurs the first word, and on first viewing I sat here baffled as to what the "Palmieri procedure" was. I was all, "Should I get that reference? Should I brush up on my Italian pop culture figures?" Everyone is talking at once but Dawn, sitting next to Giles, who just stares into the distance. Giles quietly assures her that Buffy will be fine and that they did the right thing. Dawn still feels crappy. Dawn seems to be the only one who cares that Buffy is gone. Not a hint from Xander or Willow that they're sad, or conflicted, or wish to go after Buffy and make sure she's okay. Who the hell are these people? They're not my Xander and Willow. I mean, I supported them challenging Buffy, and I think Buffy pushed too far and was too cold, and I think she basically tossed herself out of the house, but...but...someone other than Dawn should care that she's gone. What? Don't look at me. I'm, uh, busy. Yeah. I've gotta wash my hair. More bickering and swoopy camera work and Faith finally raises her voice, telling everyone to chill. She suggests that they get some sleep and tackle the problem in the morning. Kennedy scoffs that they don't have time to waste like that. Shut up, Kennedy. Faith persists, and the room seems to be swaying her way when the electricity suddenly shuts off. Girls babble about finding candles, and Faith peeks out the window. She confirms that all the lights on the street are out and theorizes that the power plant people have fled Sunnydale. Aw, and they shut off the electricity behind them. Energy conservation is important, even in an apocalypse.

On a dark street, a family packs their car by battery-powered lanterns. Y'know, Sep addressed this last week and I barely have the energy to care, but this whole "citizens flee Sunnydale" plot is beyond lame. It's so far beyond lame that it's the Lame at the End of the Universe. Not the concept so much, but the execution. Oh, sure, ME is doing a little more showing now. Showing us the people leaving rather than just telling us it's happening. But the threat? The motivation? The source of the mass panic? We're still being told. We haven't seen a single second of it. We've seen a villain -- the villain to end all villains, supposedly, the Source of All Evil -- that has all its energy focused on a handful of people in a single house. And we're told that somehow this translates to Sunnydale being emptied of its residents, yet we see NOTHING. Fuckin' lame. Lame lame lame lame. I just can't...I can't even express how disappointed I am in Joss Whedon and his crew here. I don't have the words (and believe me, that doesn't happen often). Anyway, we see Buffy walk by this fleeing family, her sad arms clutched around her tiny, emaciated torso, her tiny brow crumpled over her empty, soulless eyes, her lower lip pouting and quivering. I remain unmoved. Buffy enters a dark house and looks around. A middle-aged man comes from a back room and points a shotgun at Buffy, demanding she leave his house. Buffy pouts at him and just grabs the weapon out of his hands, saying she thought the house would be empty. Uh, well, it's not. So turn around and leave like the man asked, Buffy. She doesn't, though. She tells him he should leave. The town is full of empty houses, and she has to have this one? He protests, "You can't just kick me out of my own house," and Buffy drones, "Why not? It's what all the cool kids are doing nowadays." Looks like Buffy was asleep in Sunday school and misheard the Golden Rule. See, she thought they said, "Do unto others as they have done unto you." It makes you cool. Buffy wanders around, telling the guy it's not his house or his town anymore and he, obviously thinking she's a dangerous nutcase (and how close to the truth he is), flees. Buffy mopes into the kitchen and opens the fridge. "Got any Tab?" she whines after the guy. ME is brutally off their game if they think I'm gonna be all laughy with pseudo-classic dippy Buffy after watching her evict this guy.

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