This is my favorite episode of BtVS up to this point. I think it’s perfectly written and directed, and showing just how much the quality of the show has increased since the pilot. The last scene is a mission statement that things are not going to be as simple as good guys defeating monsters, but the entire episode seems to constantly question what the truth is. The moment that an idea is introduced, it’s subverted, and nothing can be taken at face value.
Though the character of Ford is can at times be irritating (I feel you, Spike!), I’m fond of this episode because I feel like it was necessary — because it’s inevitable that some human would take advantage of Buffy’s secret superhero identity, seeking to use her to benefit themselves.
I find Ford fascinating, many focus on the vampire aspect but I do also see him as having a lot in common with the villains of the film “Scream”. He’s really about telling a narrative. He was likely disturbed most of his life, in some ways, he has clear trouble with reality. I think he just loves the idea of the “dying villain becomes monster” and Buffy as the “hero”… it’s an almost cliche narrative but what works is that Ford is so into it. It’s tragic as well though, and sad, and the whole episode works on so many levels.
Drusilla: “what will your mommy sing when they find your body?”
Drusilla: “Do you remember the song that mummy used to sing me?”
Angel: “I remember.”
–so much implied with these simple lines!
I absolutely love the opening scene between Angel and Drusilla. It makes me want 20 more scenes with them. I find it really interesting to see Angel interacting with other vampires as a fellow vampire who has a complicated past (instead of simply the slayer’s backup).
For the arc, the most important thing is that we learn about Angel’s history with Drusilla and get a few hints about their complex and twisted relationship. Dru is extremely sinister in the chilling opening scene, going hunting and about to kill a little boy, when Angel turns up to stop her and tell her to leave Sunnydale with Spike – but at the same time, she is disturbingly human as she remembers the song her mother sang to her (just as she intends to make the little boy her food) and reminds Angel of her family that he killed. Unlike the vampires in season 1, Drusilla is a monster and a victim in equal measure.
Drusilla’s and Angel’s meeting at the graveyard gets Buffy jealous since she sees them and misinterprets it as a lovers tryst (and Drusilla, in her old-fashioned dress, probably seems to Buffy just like the kind of women she thought Angel liked in Halloween). Buffy starts questioning whether she trusts Angel, even though it’s for the wrong reasons – she still seems to worry mostly about other women he could be interested in. But she gets harsh dose of reality when she learns the full story about Dru.
Giles: “How will I know what to wear?”
Jenny: “…Do you own anything else?”
These two are so freakin’ cute.
“And I think the peasants were all depressed.”
“I think you mean oppressed.”
Ford: “Would I be imposing?”
Xander: “Oh, only in the literal sense.”
So, Angel, what you do last night?
Oh I was just yet again confronted with the unspeakable evil I used to get up to on a daily basis. One of my innocent victims who I turned into a monster wanted to chat, so I tried not to cry and asked her to please not get us all killed.
Er, I mean, READING. I WAS READING THIS REALLY GOOD BOOK.
Deadboy! Xander, Willow, and Angel going a mission together! This is all of the good.
“These people don’t know anything about vampires. How they are! How they live! How they dress! …. [meets guy in identical outfit]”
This may be my very favorite line in all of BtVS:
“Yes, it’s terribly simple. The good guys are always stalwart and true. The bad guys are easily distinguished by their pointy horns or black hats, and we always defeat them and save the day. No one ever dies and everybody lives happily ever after.”
Drusilla and Angel’s relationship is so complex. After all the awful things Angel orchestrated, to purposely DO THAT TO HER, I don’t think that’s supposed to be a statement about weakness on Drusilla’s part or look in any way romantic or healthy. It’s Stockholm Syndrome of the extreme vampire kind.