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'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' recap: The brides of Frankenstein

Season 2 | Episode 2 | “Some Assembly Required” | Aired Sept 22, 1997 on The WB

Ah, young love and new beginnings. Much of Sunnydale seems to be pairing up, including some of our favorite all-time Buffy the Vampire Slayer couples—and the undead as well.

Buffy is just hanging out in the cemetery, waiting for a new vampire to rise, when Angel silently sidles up and startles her, his trademark entrance. He not-so-subtly inquires about Xander, and Buffy picks up on a twinge of jealousy, which Angel denies. They start to argue, the vampire finally shows up, and Buffy swiftly fights him and finishes up with a shovel. Angel walks off in a huff and Buffy tries to follow, but stumbles into an open casket. There are tracks, meaning whoever was buried there didn’t rise; someone dragged her from it.

The next morning, Xander and Buffy catch Giles practicing pickup lines. The exchange between Giles and Buffy as she gives him dating advice is a brilliant demonstration of their generational and cultural language barrier—a dynamic that Sarah Michelle Gellar and Anthony Stewart Head perfect as the seasons progress:

Buffy: You just say, “Hey, I got a thing, you maybe have a thing, maybe we could have a thing.”
Giles: Oh, thank you, Cyrano.
Buffy: I’m not finished. Then you say, “How do you feel about Mexican?”
Giles: About Mexicans?
Buffy: Mexican. Food. You take her for food, for which you then pay.

Giles is not interested in talking about Ms. Jenny Calendar and changes the subject: Did Buffy slay the new vampire? She tells them about the empty grave, and they start researching the dead girl.

Willow is signing up for the science fair with her top competitor, smarty-pants Chris, and Cordelia, who will study whether a tomato is a fruit or vegetable. Another student pesters them with his camera; Buffy pulls Willow away to do some digging,

Eric, the photographer, tells Chris “they’d be perfect.” “Don’t be an idiot,” Chris responds. “She’s alive.”

Say what? (Ominous sound effects here.)

Cordelia follows Buffy and Willow into the library to ask for help with her science project. She would have asked Chris, but that might bring back painful memories. (Everyone ignores her, but there’s more explanation to come.)

Willow discovers the empty grave belonged to a cheerleader from a rival high school who was killed in a car crash with two other girls. Giles throws out theories to explain why someone would dig up her body, but the gang needs to see the other graves to learn more.

Cordelia begs off joining them in favor of cheerleading practice: “I wish I knew you were digging up dead people sooner. I would have canceled.”

“All right, but if you come across the army of zombies, can you page us before they eat your flesh?” Xander counters, sending her hurrying off in horror. Notice the slightly more playful banter developing between Cordelia and Xander.

The cemetery is a natural place for Buffy and Willow to dish about Angel and his apparent jealousy over Buffy’s sexy dance with Xander during her short-lived bad girl phase. “Love makes you do the wacky,” Willow explains.

She also fills Buffy in on Sunnydale gossip: Cordelia is uncomfortable around Chris since his older brother, Daryl, a Razorbacks football star, died. The tragedy left Chris distant, and their mother unable to leave the house.

Giles and Xander find the caskets. Willow wonders if they are hoping to find a body, or no body. “Call me an optimist, but I’m hoping to find a fortune in gold doubloons,” Xander quips. Giles explains that a body means a flesh-eating demon, while no body suggests an army of zombies. So what’s in there?

Cut to Cordelia walking to her car alone after practice. She’s startled by a strange noise and sees someone approaching, so she runs to a nearby Dumpster to hide. When she peeks out, she’s surprised to see Angel, who’s searching for Buffy. She starts to climbs out, and what should she grab but a decaying hand (ew!)?

Both coffins were empty, Xander reveals as they walk back to the library (which might mean zombies.) Cordy and Angel are there, waiting to share their disgusting dumpster-dive discovery.

So why dig up the bodies, only to throw parts away? Where are the pieces the police didn’t find? And why go to so much trouble to dispose of the extras so far from the cemetery? Maybe the culprit is a student.

Willow IDs a few students smart enough to pull this off, so they search a few lockers and discover evidence that points to Chris (brother of the dead football player) and Eric (loser-y photographer).

Why would anyone make a girl? Xander speculates it’s about wanting what you can’t have. (That’s a loaded moment: Willow wants him, he wants Buffy, she wants Angel.)

They run into Giles waiting to ask Jenny out, and give him a last-minute pep talk. He can’t quite spit out his proposal before the bell rings … but the ever-modern Ms. Calendar saves the day by inviting him to the football game.

btvs_2.2_daryl1Giles discovers that police found all three of the cheerleaders’ heads in the dumpster, which means whoever is up to no good still needs a noggin.

Chris and Eric are in their lab, and are running out of time to find a fresh brain. Chris decides he doesn’t want to kill someone, but then out of the corner comes … Daryl, who’s back from the dead! Daryl pressures his little brother into finding him a monster mate. Too bad he’s got his eye on Cordelia.

The Scooby Gang finally figures out what’s going on, and Buffy tries to dig up evidence at Chris’ house. She meets the boys’ mother, who’s watching old tape of Daryl’s football game, and is so overcome with grief that she has no clue where her other son is.

Good thing she’s distracted, leaving Buffy to investigate what’s behind that “Keep Out” sign. In the basement, she finds a photo of Cordelia’s head taped to a drawing of a woman. Daryl sneaks up behind her, but she hears a noise and slips out the window before he can attack.

Buffy arrives back at school just in time to rescue Cordelia from the clutches of the mad scientists. It finally dawns on her that Chris is putting together a body for his brother, not Eric.

They rush back to Chris’ house (that’s a lot of back-and-forth during just four quarters of football) only to find the basement lab torn apart, and both Daryl and Eric (who offered to find a new head and finish the job) are missing.

So they go BACK to the game, where Giles and Jenny are finding their seats. I’m feeling all the feelings watching their romance blossom. “Is your normal strategy for a first date,” she asks, “dissing my country’s national pastime?” “Did you just say a date?” Giles bashfully replies.

btvs_2.2_giles-jennyDaryl is lurking right under the bleachers, wistfully watching his former teammates. And for a moment you really feel for the big lug … until he spots Cordelia and drags her away (her third kidnapping in two episodes!).

At another abandoned lab, Daryl takes off Cordelia’s blindfold and promises to take real good care of her … or at least her head. She begs them not to hurt her, and promises to date him in her own body, but he’s not buying it.

Chris leads Buffy to the lab just in time to stop Eric from starting his surgery. She and Daryl, who’s insanely strong, brawl and start the lab on fire. Xander rescues Cordelia. Chris distracts Daryl just long enough for Buffy to get away, but Daryl races into the flames to save his unfinished mate, dying again, just like Frankenstein’s monster. See how much you can learn by watching BtVS?)

Giles apologizes to Jenny for how their night turned out, but it’s okay—she wants a second date.

Angel shows up to make sure everyone’s okay and offers to walk Buffy home through the cemetery, where they discuss the night’s events. Angel is jealous of Xander after all—jealous he can be there for Buffy when Angel can’t. “He gets to see you in the sunlight,” Angel says. Buffy takes his hand and offers to walk him home, and the music swells, and there’s so much romance and possibility that I can’t even.

Big Bad of the Week: Chris and Eric, the Frankenstein matchmakers of Sunnydale High School.

Quote of the Week: “Sorry, but I’m an old-fashioned gal. I was raised to believe that men dig up the corpses and women have the babies.” —Buffy, when Xander and Giles suggest she and Willow pitch in on the grave-digging

Heinous ’90s Fashion of the Week: Buffy’s fight-scene outfit: plaid boot-cut pants, just a bit too short over her brown chunky-heeled boots, with a silk olive green tank top and mid-length tan trench coat. And of course, updo held in place with a hair claw.

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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