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season seven  >  potential



It's official. This episode did what Kendra's accent and a poorly developed idea could not.


I abhor the SiTs. I despise them in theory. I hate them in practice. I wouldn't mind if the First had them all as a midnight snack. Wouldn't miss a one, not even little Miss "you lost me there, with that 'I like the feel of wood in my hand', cuz I'm gay, get it? Get it?" Kennedy.


Kill 'em all, yo. Please. Just don't make me sit through another episode this weak again. I want to like this season, understand? It held so much promise at first. I was excited. I looked forward to the next episode. [Me too! me too! I was excited for this season! Dammit. -SP] Now I find myself watching in trepidation, fearing Buffy's next "inspirational" speech. In that arena, this episode did not disappoint. How did it disappoint?


I have learned a valuable lesson of some sort.


First off, Buffy as teacher? Boring. Put on some tweed, affect an English accent, grab a scone, do whatever you've gotta do Buffy, but make it interesting. Second? Bite me, Spike. You're groaning because your ribs hurt a little? Mr. S&M has sore ribs? Right. Thirdly, I realize Buffy's training the little buggers as well as she can, but shouldn't she be focusing more on defeating the First? It seemed more like general Slayer training than kicking-a-vaguely-defined-all-encompassing-really-old-evil's-ass training. [Exactly. She's teaching them the basics of vampire slaying, rather than focusing on the specifics of staying alive when the big scary First Evil, who is not anything like a vampire, is trying to kill you. Wouldn't that training be a little more pertinent? Maybe she's just getting lazy and is hoping these girls can take over the mundane parts of her job. Kind of like how people used to have kids so they wouldn't have to milk the cows and harvest the crops themselves.]


And hey, where's Chloe? In this wacky midnight graveyard madness we've got Vi in that hat, Rhona in her overalls (presumably not overalls of sadness but more overalls of badassness), Kennedy without wood and Molly with that accent, but no "I'm too young" Chloe. What, they let her go on a furlong to see Mummy and Daddy? She stayed behind to spy on Xander in the shower? Hung back to talk boybands with Dawnie? Had a gripping and sure to be critically acclaimed Neutrogena commercial to shoot that day?



Anyway, everyone but Chloe and Dawn, because Dawn's not special, learn the ways of going with those "run motherfucker, run for your life" instincts we all have. Well, they all have. We don't have them; we're not special. We are reminded for the first of many times this hour that Spike is a vampire and therefore has animal instincts (even though the writers never actually write him as such and haven't for years). Hunt, kill, suck blood, etc. Understand his instincts, understand yours, run, then kick ass. We know the drill. Sadly, school is interrupted by Buffy having a tender moment with the formerly cool vampire known as Spike, though they really should be calling him William the Whipped by now, since he really hasn't lived up to the name "Spike" in quite awhile. Creepily enough, the SiTs find this hot. Clearly they are disturbed and possibly mentally unbalanced. Perhaps being chased by eyeless psychopaths with knives upset them more than they let on at first? And this is the first warning sign of impending group madness? [It certainly is triggering my impending madness.]


My impending madness is brought on by Buffy telling the girls that even though they are not Slayers yet, they have inherent qualities that others do not. Which is why they were chosen. Or might be chosen. Or whatever. According to Buffy, who's on crack and obviously looking at a different group of girls that I am, they have speed, strength and instincts others do not possess. This is just getting so hideously mishandled and stupid I can no longer control the twitch. So, in an attempt to compromise my insanity with what ME's saying, I'm going to pretend that it's a DNA thing. That's why they have "inherent" qualities. That's why seers can find them. They have some recessive gene, a defect, an extra XXY chromosome, whatever. It's not mystical, its' genetic. Their parents did too much PCP in the '60s. Their parents always warned them it would come to this. [Yeah, what is up with this whole "you have inherent abilities" thing? I thought that the slayer had all that because the whole slayer essence thing, which theoretically one doesn't get until becoming the actual slayer. Do little bits and pieces of the slayer essence reside in all the girls who potentially might be called? Doesn't that seem like bad essence management?]


Damn, I wish they had stuck to the vague reincarnation theme of the movie. It was just so much cooler than this.


Later we convene to the basement. The girls are being chatty girls, Buffy is gearing up for another lecture that's gonna come any minute. Yep, any minute. Wait for it…wait for-ah, there we go. They're all gonna die. I wish. Basically, Buffy tells them to shape up. Dawn, by the way, sits forlorn and ignored on the steps, watching Buffy lecture the SiTs. Why Dawn has suddenly stopped that training she and Buffy were so into in Lessons is never explained, touched upon or thought about ever again. Because if she was being useful and training, she wouldn't be able to pout like she currently is. And Trachtenburger is a cutie when pouting. So I can see why they went this route. [Even though Dawn may not be an SiT, she's still likely to get in the way of one of those pointy knives that the guys with no eyes keep waving around. I mean, the odds are pretty good with her in the general proximity of the SiTs and the bringers not having very sharp eyesight and all. So, you'd think her "I died so Dawn could live" sister might consider training her on how to avoid certain death. But apparently not.]


Buffy goes to her job [because she wouldn't want to quit or anything as to devote more time to protecting our world's only hope against the forces of darkness blah blah blah.] and this is only important because the girl from Help who might be named Amanda comes to her for advice on boys and girls picking on each other and Buffy of course makes it all about her and Spike and its only actually important because this young lass turns up later [I was thinking it would be funny if it turned out that Amanda was fighting with, and had a big crush on, a vampire. So, then Buffy could be all, do as I say, not as I do. But, sadly, they didn't seem to go that route.] And big secrets are revealed after the misdirection fairy is put to bed for the night. But that's later.


First Buffy has to go home to find everyone bickering and Willow has to tell her that another SiT is already living in Sunnydale. Willow then sets about doing a spell to find her while Buffy takes the special people, meaning everyone but Dawn, out with Spike to a demon bar. For training in the fine art of intimidating drunk demons and shooting yak piss like a man. Because a demon's not going to respect you unless you can take it straight. No lime. No salt. No joking.


Back at the magical, magical world of the Summers' dining and living rooms, we find that there is apparently a spell specifically to find SiTs. Who knew? Who knew indeed. But there is. It seems to involve tumbleweeds, snake skin and comic relief by Andrew. They sure are lucky that guy stuck around. And continues to stick around. I think he's the glue that's holding them all together. Like rubber cement, without the pleasantly intoxicating odor.


Things are tossed into a fire as Xander, Dawn and Anya watch, the spell is cast and nothing appears to happen for what feels like a long time. [A really long time. Just like the rest of this episode. At least Buffy isn't there to give a speech.] Dawn then goes to open the door and the glowing blob of light hits her square through the middle, insinuating that she is the SiT. Which, as Willow points out, would make sense since she's made of Buffy and their blood was the same which led to Buffy's big death scene but, then again, as Anya points out "yeah, I never really got that". And here's where everything really, really goes wrong. The rest was irksome, but I could handle it. But this scene, where Dawn starts to freak out even though she's been pissy all episode because she isn't "special" and Xander and Willow are all "this is great, this is neat, you're special NOW" is just awful. Horrible. I can't say enough about how wrong it is. Dawn going up to her room as we are all subjected to the continued argument going on between Anya, Xander and Willow carries this episode to its doom. Willow thinks it's great and that Buffy will be happy for Dawn. Right. [Because Buffy has always been so happy to be a slayer. Thinks it's the greatest thing that could happen to anyone ever!] Xander thinks she's special and that she can handle it. He also goes from his "you're special now" stance to "do you really think Buffy will be happy about this" in about .5 seconds, maintaining that character consistency we've come to know and love in the Buffyverse.


Well that's because you're a part of something larger. Like being swallowed. By something larger.


Anya just likes to point out that she's looking ahead to either a short life of pain or a long life of feeling like a failure because she didn't live up to her potential. And Dawn worries that if she's a slayer that means Buffy dies. C'mon Dawn, it's not like she hasn't died multiple times before. I really don't see the issue here. And while we're speaking of Buffy dying here, the gang seems to be under the impression that if Buffy dies, another Slayer is called. This either means that they are ignorant in the ways of the Slayer line, or that Joss is lying. Could go either way, at this point I don't really care. What I care about is that if Buffy thinks her death brings forth another Slayer, shouldn't her ass be concentrating on finding the young girl that would have been called when she jumped to her death at the end of Season 5? Whether or not she's out there, whether or not Joss is lying or they are ignorant, someone should be asking that seer or Willow or someone to look for the newest Chosen One.


I will stop for a moment to applaud the writer for attempting to have Dawn bring up Joyce's message from Conversations with Dead People, but she doesn't exactly give all the details and then has Dawn climb out of her bedroom window to wander the night alone, any and all bonus points are lost. She climbs out the window. When she thinks the Bringers will be coming after her. Can you hear me sighing heavily?


While stupidly wandering the streets alone, weaponless, she runs into Amanda. Amanda's had a bad night. She was attacked by a vampire that she trapped in the school. Dawn says "hey, I can help" and does a very stupid thing. Goes alone to the school with Amanda (Buffy not being available as she is busy training the special girls by locking them in a crypt with a vampire after boring them to tears with another lecture on how they have to know they can beat it or they're dead, apparently forgetting her own issues with the WC after they wanted to lock her, a trained Slayer, powerless in a house with an insane vampire), stakeless and crossless, and opens the door of the room Amanda trapped the vampire in. I'm not really sure what she was planning on doing aside from maybe lecturing it to death, and I guess we'll never know. She and Amanda are chased over hill and dale by this vampire, ending up in some science lab. There the Bringers burst in and go for Amanda. Dawn, about to die by vampire puncture, finds the strength to actually pout while the Bringers grab Amanda. Cuz they're supposed to want her. Dawn. Her. She's supposed to be special, dammit. Stab HER.


At about this point you're supposed to be realizing, if you hadn't previously guessed, that Amanda's actually the SiT and she was outside the Slayer's home so the ball of light was only passing through Dawn, not identifying her. Dawn sets some things on fire and runs out of the lab with Amanda. She then, and this part is almost as horrifying as the scene in the living room when Dawn thinks she was chosen, gives Amanda a lengthy lecture about how Amanda's the special one, not Dawn, and this is Amanda's fight, not Dawn's, and that she'll have Amanda's back, but Amanda's got to do this.


Now, let's be clear on this. Dawn has just told someone who found out maybe an hour ago that there were actually vampires, that she has to fight not only a vampire but also a few guys who have sewn their eyes shut and are coming at her with knives. With a stick. Now, she may be scrappy, and yes we all remember her story from Help about beating up the bully, but trained she is not. Knowledgeable in the ways of demons is she not. Screwed should she be. But is she? No, because that would make sense. Instead, she fights as well as Buffy. She ducks, she spins, she back kicks, she stakes the fucking vampire cleanly in the fucking heart. Even Buffy had to be told by Merrick to stake it in the heart [and even then, she missed the first time!]. But not this girl. Oh no.


Oh, yeah, and Buffy and Spike and Xander rushed to the rescue, killing the Bringers.


We end on all the SiTs minus Chloe but plus Amanda sitting in the living room without a scratch on them, because that's plausible, talking about their big fight and how exhilarating it was and how they all just knew what to do. I so hate them. All of them. I do. Amanda, by the way, is sitting there happily among them, basking in the glow of finally being the cool one because she took one out on her own. She has adjusted to this whole thing rather well. Uh huh. I wonder what her parents will think of her moving in with the Summers?


I so hate this.



Buffy takes the SiTs minus Chloe down for some training, and Dawn settles to do some heavy duty researching on the First in books, even though there is supposedly nothing written on it. Xander hangs back and sets forth on a speech that is the only redeeming thing in this episode (besides Buffy locking the SiTs in a crypt. But none of them died, so that doesn't count). He tells Dawn that he understands what it's like to be the normal one, to see all of those around you grow more powerful while you remain you. He's worked for 7 years among a Slayer, a witch, a demon-hell, he even mentions Oz, which I didn't think was allowed. I wonder if the writer had to pay a penalty fee?-never, to quote Bette, having sunlight on his face. But he sees more than anyone knows because nobody's watching him, and he sees that Dawn isn't special. No, she's extraordinary. Dawn wonders if that's his super power-seeing and hearing. I hope that's true, Xandman, and I hope you get an actual storyline soon. And a cape. Cuz capes are cool.








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