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'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' recap: Miss me?

The first show I ever watched religiously, every single week? Buffy the Vampire Slayer, back when my DVR was really just a stack of VHS tapes on top of the TV/VCR, next to magazine cutouts of EW’s 1999 BTVS Viewer’s Guide. I’m pretty darn excited to rewatch BTVS more than a decade after I first fell in love with the Scooby Gang—starting with season 2.

Season 2 | Episode 1 | “When She Was Bad” | Aired Sept 15, 1997 on The WB

What’s a vampire slayer to do after dying, coming back to life, and slaying one of the meanest bloodsuckers in history, all while wearing a prom dress? If you’re Buffy Summers, you spend your vacation moping around Los Angeles with your dad, who buys you tons of clothes, get a sassy new haircut, and return to school with a shitty attitude.

Season 2 opens with Xander and Willow taking an evening stroll near the cemetery (a season-opener tradition in the making), and complaining how boring the summer has been without any evil to fight. Xander is actually looking forward to school starting. Well, and to Buffy’s return from L.A.

They sort of, almost maybe possibly kiss … but VAMPIRE! Xander tries to fight off the undead, but who should arrive in a shiny miniskirt to finish the job? Buffy. “Miss me?” she asks.

Turns out that’s the first vampire they’ve seen since Buffy killed the Master in the season 1 finale … and died. And came back to life. They come upon the spot where they buried the big bad. Buffy seems pretty flip about not having seen Giles yet, and not nearly as happy about her return to Sunnydale as her friends.

What’s new with everyone else?

Joyce and Hank Summers banter about Buffy’s shopping habit and how hard it is for them to talk to her.

Cordelia is buggin’ that her family vacationed in Tuscany instead of St. Croix.

Giles and Principal Snyder discuss the first day of school, the latter of the two comparing the students to locusts, “crawling around, mindlessly bent on feeding and mating, destroying everything in sight in their relentless, pointless desire to exist.”

Giles turns into the type of gibbering fool Snyder is talking about by stuttering out an awkward hello to Jenny Calendar. (Character reminder: She’s the edgy/sexy computer-class teacher who pitched in with demon-fighting a few times last season?) They banter about their wildly different vacations—she raved out at Burning Man and teases him about spending the summer with his nose in a book—but are interrupted by an excited “hello” from Willow and Xander, and a more reserved greeting from Buffy.

Giles explains why they ran into a vampire the previous night: The Hellmouth is not gone, just closed, and the mystical energy will always attract some sort of evil. (Foreshadowing!)

btvs_2-1_trainingGiles wants Buffy to start her training again when she’s emotionally ready, which she insists she is now. Cut to a high-octane training montage in the library, when she starts to have flashbacks of the Master and snaps the wooden training dummy in two. “Whatever they’ve got coming next, I’m ready,” she pants.

It’s night, and a vampire wearing Jerry Seinfeld’s puffy shirt is urging his fellow demons to take back the night, led by the Anointed One, the Master’s pet from season 1.

Buffy is pretty glum and distant when Xander and Willow find her the next day at school. Giles interrupts their conversation, announcing that he knows what the vampires are up to … then attacks her! She grabs at his face and … it’s the Master! Whew, just a dream.

She startles awake only to find Angel in her room—but it’s not a social call. She tosses some sarcasm his way, and when Angel warns her not to underestimate the Anointed One, Buffy is not too concerned, because she can handle it.

“It that it?” she asks. “Because you woke me up from a really good dream.” Angel apologizes as she rolls back to bed, but before he slips out the window, he tells her, “I missed you.” She tells him the same … but he’s already gone. Argh! Cue some sad Alison Krauss/Union Station music.

The next day, Buffy relays the experience to Willow and Xander, and Angel’s warning, but again asserts it’s nothing she can’t handle. They run into Cordelia, who asks if there has been any more demon activity over the summer, but they remind her to keep quiet about Buffy’s slayer identity. Their secret is safe: “You think I’m nuts?” she asks. “You think I’d tell people I spent the whole evening with you?”

Nineties music alert! Tonight’s real-life music guest at The Bronze is Cibo Matto. Willow thinks something is up with Buffy because she’s never acted like, well, such a bitch before, but Xander disagrees. He’s distracted, wondering when Buffy is going to arrive, and it hits Willow that any chance she had a romantic relationship with him turned to dust the moment Buffy returned to Sunnydale.

Buffy shows up and girl is on the prowl! She throws shade at Angel, who just wants to know what’s up with her, but she’s so over it. “Can you contemplate getting over yourself for one second?” she asks. “There’s no us.”

Buffy drags Xander onto the dance floor for an unnecessarily long and awkward seductive dance. (SMG: I love you, but please don’t ever do that again. Freddie Prinze, Jr. will thank you for it.)

Xander looks uncomfortable. Angel looks pissed. Willow looks like someone killed her cat.

btvs_2-1_cordeliaCordelia follows Buffy out of The Bronze, chastising her for “campaigning for bitch of the year.” (For my money, this exchange, in which she gives Buffy the advice to “just get over it,” is the moment for me when Charisma Carpenter really starts to shine.) Too bad for Cordy, though, because as Buffy walks away, a gang of vampires drags her away.

Earlier in the night, the Anointed One and his gang are in the cemetery, digging up what turn out to be the Master’s bones. On her way home from The Bronze, Buffy comes across the now-empty grave, and for a fleeting second thinks she sees the Master, but it’s just her imagination. Perhaps she’s not as fine as she thinks she is.

Willow and Xander wonder if Buffy hasn’t been possessed, but Giles thinks she’s just traumatized. Buffy interrupts, bluntly dropping the news that the Master is gone, and that she’s upset with Giles for not warning her this could happen.

Giles gets to work finding out what spell the vampires might use to resurrect the Master when someone throws a rock through the window, with a note threatening Cordelia and Jenny. “Come to The Bronze before it opens or we make her a meal,” Buffy reads aloud. “They’re gonna make her dinner?” Xander says in horror, before realizing his mistake. “Pretend I didn’t say that.”

Buffy won’t let Willow, Xander, or Giles accompany with her because she’s done trying to protect them while fighting. Willow is sure it’s a trap, and calls Buffy out for insisting she can handle it, but Buffy storms out.

Near The Bronze, she discovers Angel is following her to keep an eye on her. She tells him she doesn’t trust him and challenges him to a fight, but he, of course, refuses and reminds her she needs to rescue the ladies.

Willow was right. It’s a trap. That’s because back at school, Giles re-translates the spell and realizes what’s needed to bring the Master back is the blood of those physically nearest to him when he died … which is all of them.

Buffy and finds Willow and Giles gone, and Xander beaten and bloody. He’s furious that Buffy’s PTSD got them into this mess, and tells her, “If they hurt Willow, I’ll kill you.” And you really believe him.

Buffy roughly interrogates a vampire at The Bronze to find where the ritual is taking place. She, Angel, and Xander arrive just in time to stop the ritual and save the would-be sacrifices. It’s worth nothing that the fight scenes have improved since season 1—they’re faster-paced and the editing is better—though the SFX for the fiery death of the last vampire are still … iffy.

But it’s not over until Buffy can smash the Master’s bones to bits, finally letting it all out, and cry on Angel’s shoulder—a tender moment everyone witnesses.

Buffy is ashamed of her behavior, and afraid to face her best friends at school the next day. Giles tries to give her comfort by assuring her she’ll make far worse mistakes in the future. But Willow and Xander have saved her a seat; they joke about their new teacher and slaying, and all is well, which is underscored by the swelling after-school-special soundtrack.

(Trademark BTVS surprise ending: a quick scene with the Anointed One, as he surveys what’s left of the Master’s bones and says, “I hate that girl.”)

Big Bad of the Week: The vampires trying to resurrect the Master are technically who the slayer takes down this week. But I’d argue that bitchy Buffy’s bad attitude is even worse.

Quote of the Week: Cordelia, to Buffy about her bad behavior: “We’ve never really been close, which is nice because I don’t really like you that much. But you have, on occasion, saved the world and stuff, so let me do you a favor … I’m going to give you some advice. Get over it. Whatever’s causing the Joan Collins ‘tude, deal with it. Embrace the pain, spank your inner moppet, whatever. But get over it. ‘Cause btvs_2-1_fashionpretty soon, you’re not going to even have the loser friends you’ve got now.”

Heinous ’90s Fashion of the Week: The multiple sweater sets Buffy and Willow sport in this episode, and Buffy’s tee over flowy pastel dress with chunky heels, beat out even Buffy’s big white training-montage sneakers.



TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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