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season two  >  halloween


For Halloween, ME decided it would be cool to do something unique and different. Rather than make Halloween uber-vampire day, they'd decree it the day when vampires take the day off. Buffy and gang would think they could relax for once, with the vampires all off playing kitten poker and watching reruns of Passions. And when the threat appeared, it would be a camouflage -- it might seem to be vampire and demon caused, but it would, in reality have human origins.


A vampire-free day, huh? Seems witty and original. Too bad ME decided they liked it so much that they ran with it for the rest of the series. And I'm not talking just the Halloween episodes.


The episode opens with Buffy in a pumpkin patch waiting for the Great Pumpkin to arrive. Instead, she meets up with a vampire. Enjoy it while you can. This is the beginning of the end of actual vampire slaying. Fight, fight, stake, dust and all is well, except that another vampire is hiding in the bushes taping the whole thing. This would be one of those times that the supposed slayer sensing of vampires would come in really handy. Too bad that whole thing got dropped after the first episode.


Apparently, Buffy somehow ended up rolling around in the hay with the undead guy when she was supposed to meeting having a date with, er, another undead guy. When did Buffy and Angel start dating? In the previous episode they hadn't yet even gone for coffee? And now they've jumped to "dating?" Or, is this the aforementioned "cup of coffee sometime?"


Maybe this is their first date, but why isn't she trying on outfits at home, whining that she can't even do a "normal life" thing a normal way? She finally gets to date, but it's to a 250 year old vampire.  Instead, she's getting ready for her date with a vampire by staking a vampire. Possibly she's trying to keep the universe in balance.


In any case, apparently Buffy and Angel are dating now. Please make a note of it and pretend you saw some touching and romantic "leading up to first date" moments.  


Whether this is the first date or just the first date we've seen, she's late. Angel is waiting at the Bronze and Cordy, who is similarly being stood up by Devon, lead singer for the Dingoes Ate My Baby, makes her move. She can't compete with the fashionably late with hay in her hair Buffy. And really, who could compete with such a sexy look and disregard for promptness?


But since the last time we saw these two interact, she was sweet and coy, it's time now for "I'm going to be really bitchy for no good reason!" She walks out on Angel, leaving him with Cordelia. He's not sure which is worse. If only he remembered that feeling. I guess having a baby with your undead ex-girfriend who you once killed makes a guy start thinking all kinds of crazy things.


The next day at school, Snyder bullies everyone into taking little kids trick or treating. Buffy's bummed because Halloween is quiet night for the demon community and she was planning to stay home and lay around. Yo, the kids have to be back by 6. It's not like Snyder is requiring the little kids be accompanied to an all-night rave or something. Although that would be funny.


The next day at school, we get to see Larry pretend to be all bullyriffic and like girls. Awww. That Larry. So cute.


Then Willow and Buffy wonder what kind of girls Angel likes. And they want to sneak a peek at the Watcher diaries so they can learn about Angel's past and what he liked. Are they very stoned? Read the Watcher diaries to learn about Angel? I'm thinking they go something like this:


Dear diary:


The tea here is awful. And I miss the rain and bland food of England. But I must buck up and do my duty. I have been trained to face the horrors that come with this job. One day I will once again bask in the dull cloud cover and revel in the glorious tea.


Today's subject: Angelus.


Turn-on's: Women with warm blood coursing through their veins. Men with similar type blood. Occasionally, rats with said blood. Actually, the blood seems to be the key here, interestingly enough. Wonder what that means.


Turn-off's: stakes, sunlight, decapitation.


Angelus was seen with a woman last night. She was his type, in that she contained a lot of blood. He was later seen with another woman. She was also his type in that she drank a lot of blood.


Sheesh. So, they decide to sneak the diaries. Buffy tries to distract Giles by asking about his hobbies. He seems perplexed and says he enjoys cross-referencing. I'm going to assume at this point that the writers have already decided to transition Giles from actual librarian, stuffy from the day he was born, into librarian as cover, past full of mayhem and destruction, since that story line starts at the end of this episode. And so, I'm going to pretend that this whole scene is meant to provide continuity so that we don't feel as though the character abruptly changed. Instead we can be eased into the idea of Giles as sexy and confrontational. Or something.


You know, there's this place you can go, right, and you sit in the dark, and there are these moving pictures, right, and the pictures tell a story.


Anyway, they grab the books and start leafing through them. They see a drawing of a girl from when Angel was a teenager and assume that must be the girl that Angel likes. That would be like someone randomly opening a newspaper from today and assuming that all guys are attracted to the first girl pictured.


Then Cordy comes into the bathroom where they're hiding out with the diaries and asks Buffy to give her the scoop on a guy who she knows Buffy is dating. Or possibly not. I didn't know they were dating and I watch the show. They tell her about the whole vampire thing. But since they conveniently leave out the part about how a soul makes him good, she quite understandably thinks that they're just trying to scare her off.


Look, Buffy, you may be hot stuff when it comes to demonology or whatever, but when it comes to dating, I'm the Slayer.


Later, Buffy and Willow are at a costume shop looking for, well, costumes, obviously. Willow tells Buffy that she doesn't get wild. Buffy thinks she has it in her. Oh, just you wait, Buffy. She has it in her alright.


Xander has decided to dress up as a soldier. Never before or since has such a throwaway decision affected so much. Xander is soldier guy now until the end of time. Which I don't get really. Buffy has never called up her infinite knowledge of curtsying and sitting rooms and bayonets and stuff. But Xander learned all kinds of valuable stuff during his short soldiering stint. I bet he knows what's really going on in Area 51. Whether we really landed on the moon or if all the footage was shot from the desert of Arizona. The nuclear detonation codes.


Buffy gets all entranced with this hideously ugly dress that apparently Cynthia Bergstrom designed herself. Well, I would hope they didn't pay good money for that thing.


And then we meet Ethan for the first time. Oh Ethan, I so hope you break out of Initiative prison and come back soon. And so does Giles. He misses you. He doesn't say it, exactly, but I can tell. But I'm getting way ahead of myself.


Ethan, apparently an innocent and nice costume shop owner, wants Buffy to have the hideous dress even though she can't afford it, because everyone else who's come into the shop has had taste and wouldn't even look at the thing. I mean, because he's a caring and kind person, who wants Buffy to be happy. Actually, it's because he worships chaos and has this whole plan to make people turn into their Halloween costumes so he can watch the fun, but we don't find that out until way later.  


It's lucky for him, really, that Buffy's on this whole kick where she wants to be like the girls Angel knew back when he was her age. You know, hundreds of years ago, before he became a blood-sucking demon. And even luckier that she's the slayer. Because watching any other girl turn into a lady from days gone by wouldn't have been as fun for Ethan. I mean, what if Cordelia had happened upon that dress? Would she really have been that different when she turned into her costume? "Oh, I am helpless! I need a strong man!" Cordelia pre-costume or post-costume?


Anyway, while Buffy is oblivious to the evil man offering to take her powers away, Spike is watching Buffy in the Pumpkin Patch on repeat. Apparently, even then, he was crushing on her. "Baby, likes to play." Oh Spike, just wait until season six. Dru, who is psychic, realizes that one day Buffy is going to take her place in Spike's heart and gets the sense that he might even try to stake her over it. She can't help but get a little insecure. So she wants to know if Spike loves her insides. Surely if he loves her insides he wouldn't try to drive a stake through them and turn those insides all to dust.


Spike makes up some story about how he has to "study" the slayer so he can "kill" her. But in his head, he replaces "study" with "stalk" and "kill her" with "do it with her in a crumbling building and under a rug".


Back at the costume shop, Ethan is doing some chaos ritual. And I thought he was so sweet!


Buffy and Willow get ready for the Halloween fun, and Willow is dressed as... a hooker? Seriously, I don't know what else she could possibly be. Ultimately, she puts the ghost costume she got at Ethan's on over her hooker outfit, so when she turns into her outfit, she becomes... the ghost of a hooker? But, she's still Willow. So, maybe she's the ghost of Willow, if she were a hooker? Dunno.


Everyone heads over to school to round up the kids. It's pitch black. It's supposedly 4:00. Just go with it.


Cordy, dressed as a big 'ole cat, sees Oz and asks where the band is playing. Apparently they're playing at the Shelter club, even though in Welcome to the Hellmouth, Cordelia told Buffy that the Bronze was the only club in town. Maybe it's new. Just like the mini-golf course that mysteriously popped up in Ted, after Xander said Sunnydale didn't have one in When She Was Bad. Maybe they built the Shelter club around the same time they built the International airport. Letting it go...


So, everyone heads out trick or treating and they start turning into their outfits. Although Xander has only a gun from Ethan's, and the rest of his costume is from the Army/Navy surplus store, it is apparently enough to instill within him every bit of knowledge ever obtained by a U.S. soldier anywhere. He is uber-soldier man. Until the end of time. Unless it's more humorous to the plot if he forgets some of it.


Buffy, is, of course, a fainting lady of the days of yore.


I was brought up a proper lady. I wasn't meant to understand things. I'm just meant to look pretty, and then someone nice will marry me, possibly a baron.


They all take cover at Buffy's house, including Cordy, who is still just Cordy in a cat outfit, since she got her costume at Partytown, rather than Ethan's House of Costume Evil. You'd think the others would have picked up on the name.


Angel happens by and asks Buffy what's up with her hair. Hee! So much for her plan to wow him with her snazzy new look. Then a vampire breaks in. Apparently we're supposed to assume that since it's really a kid in a vampire costume, who just happened to turn into a vampire, that the invitation rule doesn't apply. Or something.


Willow walks through some walls into Giles' office, because she thinks it's fun to scare him. Or she's too lazy to use the door. Or we need to be reminded that she's a ghost in case we forgot already. I don't know, I didn't write it. Stop pestering me!


I don't know what I'm looking for, plus I can't turn the page.



Chunky and creamy. Oh, no, sorry. That's peanut butter.

Willow clues Giles in on what's going on, and tells him that they got their costume from Ethan's. Giles is transported to years ago. Frolicking in the daisies. In love. Calling up demons for orgy fun. But we don't find out about all of that until a little later.


He can't possibly believe that Ethan, who he's missed for so long, could possibly be in Sunnydale, so near him. So that his "friend" Ethan who loves chaos could possibly be the same Ethan in Sunnydale now causing chaos doesn't even cross his mind.


Love can keep you from thinking straight, you know.


Willow and Giles head to the Costume Shop of Chaotic Badness.


Every so often, you see one of TV's greatest moments. They stand out from all the thousands of hours spent lounging on the couch. Most of those hours go by, unmemorable. But then there are those moments. Several of them come from this show, and most involve Giles. This episode has one of them. Giles sees Ethan and tells Willow to leave. Giles and Ethan stare at each other.


Giles: Hello, Ethan.


Ethan: Hello, Ripper.


Ah, it doesn't get much better than that.


Meanwhile, away from the Costume Shop of Unresolved Sexual Tension, back in chaos central, Buffy is running from Larry the pirate. Xander the soldier punches him out. See? It's like symmetry! Earlier, Xander was all mad that Buffy saved him from Larry the bully, and now Xander gets to make up for it! Except he could only do it because he was a soldier, rather than himself, but still.


Spike and his new demon friends, so recently elementary school students, show up, and Angel tells everyone to run. Dude, that Angel was such a scaredy cat until he lost his soul.


Back to the good part of the show at Ethan's House of Nostalgic Reminiscing. Ethan wants a hug. Giles can't believe Ethan is back in his life. Ethan snarks about Giles being a champion of the innocents and all things pure and good. What? Giles isn't really stuffy and stodgy! This guy just gets sexier all the time!


While the scoobies run, Ripper, er, Giles, beats up Ethan. Ethan likes it!


Finally, Ethan realizes he's running out of excuses to keep Giles around and tells him that he can break the spell if he destroys the statue he's been worshipping. Everyone turns back just as Spike is about to kiss Buffy. Although he's pretending he's going to suck all her  blood and kill her and stuff. Buffy, back to her normal self, calls Spike "honey." She quickly covers for her slip by beating the crap out of him. Spike likes it!


Of course she doesn't stake him.


Willow decides to keep the hooker costume on. Oz drives by and thinks, excellent!


Angel tells Buffy to take off the ridiculous outfit because he so was not attracted to women that looked like that back in the day. Duh. Did I not try to warn her? They act like they've been boyfriend/girlfriend forever and make out on her bed. Have then ever had that first date yet?


Ethan ditches Giles but leaves him a love note. Now at least those two have an actual backstory that makes their feelings for each other make sense.






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