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'Buffy' nostalgia react: Angel and Willow try to make 'Amends'

Season 3 | Episode 10 | “Amends” | Aired Dec 15, 1998

It’s Christmastime in Sunnydale (I cannot express how jazzed I am at the timing of my Buffy the Vampire Slayer recaps making the “Amends” recap work out to be a December post) and things are hot and bothered—but not in the sexy way. The hot part has mostly to do with the weather (as a currently Southern Californian resident, I can really commiserate with the late-in-the-year heatwaves this place is prone to, even when you don’t live on a confirmed Hellmouth).

The bothered part? That’s Angel being bothered by visits from the First Evil, bringing him a lot of mental torture and absolutely zero holiday cheer. Well, that and Buffy’s bangs, which are absurdly short and bother me, but that’s not a plot thing, so I’ll let it go.

Buffy Amends Short Bangs

Okay, I’ll let it go now. I just wish this look had never been.

“Amends” is, as the title suggests, all about characters trying to make things right. Specifically, it’s about Angel and Willow trying to make things right. Angel is trying to make up for years of torturing and killing (he’s extra-angsty about it, thanks to the First Evil popping in to haunt him with horrible visions of his past and to try to get him to kill Buffy). Willow is trying to make up for making out with Xander a couple of times and getting caught by Oz. Clearly, one of these things is worse than the other (making out with Xander, obviously—who would do that when you have Oz?).

Let’s start with Angel, since what we’re really doing here is setting him up for his spin-off. Angel is, pretty understandably, eaten up with guilt over his past. He’s been living the straight and narrow for years (minus that bad stint as Angelus in season 2). He’s lived off rats’ blood, pigs’ blood, and donations from the local hospital. He’s turned vampirism into as victimless a thing as it could be.

But there is still the matter of all those years before the gypsy curse reinstated his soul. It makes sense that Angel feels bad. There’s a lot to feel bad about. And then the First Evil gets involved. The First Evil will be back, of course, as the Big Bad of season 7. But for now, it’s mostly just taking the form of Jenny Calendar (and other memorable kills of Angelus) and telling him what a bad boy he’s been, and that if he would just get sexy with Buffy again and lose his soul, everything would be better. Unfortunately for the First, the tactics backfire, and instead of wanting to be evil again, Angel just decides to end it all with the sunrise.

It’s a big moment. Buffy realizes that Angel is planning to commit suicide and she rushes off to stop him. She begs, she pleads, and ultimately, nothing she says changes his mind. Angel isn’t saved by Buffy or their love for each other; he’s saved by a freak snow flurry that blocks out the sun. I remembered the snow, obviously, but I didn’t remember just how intent Angel was on ending it all up until the moment the snowflakes fell. I didn’t remember how little impact Buffy and her impassioned speech had on him. It’s sad, but it works. It makes me believe, retroactively, that Angel would have really ditched town for life in L.A., desperately seeking redemption for his sins.

Willow Oz Amends

Now, let’s take a second to talk about Willow and Oz. Oz takes his time forgiving Willow, at least in TV show time. There’s a whole episode where we’re in limbo, guys. A whole episode. Willow is wrought with guilt over her tryst with Xander (although, I have to say, disappointingly, I don’t think it would have ended after “Lovers Walk” if Oz and Cordelia hadn’t caught them), but Oz told her that he needed space.

In “Amends,” he sits Willow down and explains that she and Xander have a history that he isn’t sure will ever really go away, but that he misses her so much, he’s willing to give things another chance. Willow is overjoyed and invites Oz over to hang out. She dresses sexy, puts on some mood music, and offers up her virginity to make amends. Hey, it’s not quite as big a gesture as suicide, but for Willow, this is huge. Because Oz is literally the best, he tells her he appreciates the big romantic gesture, but that he wants to wait until she wants to for the right reasons.

“Amends” is a bittersweet episode, especially when you know what’s coming next. Angel is done with Sunnydale, and nothing, not even his love for Buffy, is going to keep him there. Willow and Oz want things to work, but it’s a rocky road ahead (it might not be her history with Xander that pulls her away again, but pull away she does). And the First Evil wasn’t kidding about future plans to screw with the Scoobies.

So how does “Amends” hold up? It’s a good episode. It’s an important episode. But it’s not one I’d want to rewatch over and over or come back to out of order. It’s a heavy-heart kind of episode, and when Buffy does those, it does them big.

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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