This week on the podcast Buffy and the Art of Story: Lie To Me (Season 2 Episode 7 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer).
This episode covers (1) a two-part Inciting Incident/Story Spark; (2) a Midpoint reversal Buffy only recognizes in retrospect; (3) characters who talk about everything except what they really feel; and (4) Buffy and Spike reflecting one another and foreshadowing the season final.
As always, the discussion is spoiler-free, except at the end (with plenty of warning).
Next Up: The Dark Age S2 E8
Last Week: Halloween S2 E6
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Additional Episode Links from Lie To Me
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In addition to hosting the podcast Buffy and the Art of Story, Lisa M. Lilly is the author of the bestselling four-book Awakening supernatural thriller series and the Q.C. Davis mysteries, as well as numerous short stories. She also writes non-fiction, including books on writing craft, under L.M. Lilly. She is the founder of WritingAsASecondCareer.com.
Episode Transcript for Lie To Me
Hello and welcome to the podcast Buffy and the Art of Story Season Two. If you love Buffy the Vampire Slayer and you love creating stories – or just taking them apart to see how they work – you’re in the right place.
I am Lisa M Lilly, author of the Awakening supernatural thriller series and the Q.C. Davis mysteries and founder of WritingAsASecondCareer.com
Today will be talking about Season Two Episode Seven, Lie To Me.
- how the Inciting Incident or Story Spark here has two separate parts;
- a Midpoint Reversal that Buffy only recognizes after the fact;
- the way that the character's dialogue shows intense conflict by talking about the things that they're not mad about;
- and how Buffy and Spike serve as reflections of one another and foreshadow the Season Two finale.
As always, there will be no Spoilers except at the end to talk about foreshadowing, but I will give you plenty of warning.
Okay, let's dive into the Hellmouth.
Lie To Me was written and directed by Joss Whedon.
Opening Conflict In Lie To Me
Our Opening Conflict occurs in a dark, deserted playground. There is a spinning merry-go-round, which will learn is never a good thing on Buffy. And there are swings with creaky old chains.
A little boy is alone. His mom is late picking him up. Drusilla, in a long gauzy white gown, asks the boy if he wants her to walk him home. And she sings a creepy sort of song. She says her mother sang to her. Or maybe the song is fine, it’s just the way she sings it.
Dru then says, “What will your mummy say when they find your body?”
Luckily for the boy at 1 minute 22 seconds into the episode Angel appears. He gets between the boy and Drusilla and tells the boy to run home. Which, quite sensibly, he does.
Drusilla says, “My Angel,” and seem surprised to see him there. Angel tells her to leave Sunnydale. To take Spike and get out of town. When she asks if he'll hurt her if she doesn't, he looks down. We can tell Angel feels guilty about whatever past the two of them have.
The Story Spark Starts: What Buffy Sees
Buffy is walking in an area of ground above the playground, so Angel doesn't see her. But she sees him just as Drusilla leans close and whispers into Angel's ear that this is just the beginning.
I see this as part of our Inciting Incident or Story Spark, which is what gets the plot of the story moving. Usually that happens about 10% into an episode, a book, or a movie.
Here it comes in two parts.
This part is at only 2 minutes 47 seconds into the 42-43 minute episode, but it does give us the first half of what sets the story in motion: Buffy’s suspicions about Angel and Drusilla.
We will see the second half of the Spark a little over 6 minutes in. For now we shift to the credits.
When we return, Jenny is telling Giles that it's a secret. She won't tell him where they're going on their date tomorrow night. Buffy appears and tells Giles that nothing vampirey happened last night. He notices Buffy seems a little blue and suggests she take the night off.
So he is taking his own advice from back in Reptile Boy that he will stop driving her so hard. Buffy's okay with taking the night off, but when Giles says she could spend some time with Angel, she says he might have other plans.
Later she tells Willow about seeing Angel with this woman and says she doesn't know if the woman is a vampire.
Second Half Of The Story Spark
Now, at 6 minutes 30 seconds in, this is what I see as the second half of that Inciting Incident or Story Spark. Billy Fordham (whom Buffy later calls Ford) walks up behind them. Buffy's been talking to Willow and Xander about feeling a little blue. Xander wants her to cheer up by coming to the Bronze.
And Ford makes a joke about how he'd suggest Oreos dumped in apple juice, but she probably isn't into that anymore.
It turns out Ford was Buffy's fifth grade crush. They also started high school together.
Ford tells her that his dad got transferred and now Ford is attending Sunnydale High.
Buffy invites him to join them that night at the Bronze. And we get some great dialogue.
Ford: I'd love to. But if you guys already had plans, would I be imposing?
Xander: Oh, only in the literal sense.
That night at the Bronze, Willow, Xander, Buffy and Ford play pool. Ford jokes that he knows all of Buffy's darkest secrets. Xander says, “Care to wager on that?”
Angel Lies To Buffy
Angel is at the bar when Buffy goes over to get a soda. She asks what he did last night. Angel lies and says he stayed in and did nothing. Which of course only makes Buffy angry and more suspicious. She walks away. He follows. She introduces Ford and Angel, but almost immediately asks Ford to walk home with her.
After she leaves, Angel looks concerned. In another wonderful quote for the episode, Xander says, “Okay, once more with tension.”
Outside, Buffy is explaining to Ford that maybe Angel is her boyfriend. But she hears noises. She can tell someone's being attacked, so she asks Ford to go back into the Bronze, claiming she left her purse.
Partway there, he stops when he hears a woman crying. The woman runs out and past him. We hear other sounds that tell us that Buffy is slaying a vampire.
Ford Knows Buffy’s Secret
When Ford finds her, no one else is around. And Buffy tries to cover for the commotion by saying that there was a cat that fought another cat and it was bad and now it’s gone.
Ford says, “Oh, I thought you were fighting a vampire.”
This could be our first major plot turn. The turn that comes from outside the protagonist and spins the story in a new direction. Usually we see that a quarter of the way through an episode or a book.
This is a little early. At 9 minutes 48 seconds in, he tells her he knows that she is the Slayer. So that could certainly turn the story in a new way. However, I think the first plot turn comes a little bit later than this. I'll get to it in a moment. It shifts the story in a completely different way.
Later that night on the phone, Buffy tells Willow that it's sort of neat that Ford knows about her being a Slayer. She didn't have to deal with whether or not to tell him. He just knew and now she doesn't have to spend all this effort and energy hiding her secret.
Since Buffy is happy we know something bad will happen. And it does in what I see as the actual first major plot turn.
The One-Quarter Twist In Lie To Me
Ford is knocking on what looks like a warehouse door. He goes down some stairs. Inside is a hidden club. All of these people are enamored of vampires.
This is what really spins the story in a new direction. Just Ford knowing Buffy's secret wouldn't necessarily be a problem. But Ford knowing Buffy's secret and being part of this club that is fascinated with vampires – that’s a problem.
In the background, vampire movies are playing. A guy wearing a cape he looks like he got at the Halloween store comes up to Ford. His name is Marvin, but he calls himself Diego now. He asks how it went with Buffy. Diego also reminds Ford that the lease is almost up for this place, something that is probably important later.
Ford swallows some pills. A young woman, thin with long blond hair, is also talking to them and saying that she can't wait. Ford reassures her and Diego that pretty soon they will all do what all teens should do. Die young and stay pretty.
He then repeats the words from the vampire film that's playing in the background. I was not sure what film this was. But according to a Buffy fandom wiki, it is the 1974 version of Dracula.
Angel Asks For Willow’s Help
At 14 minutes 20 seconds in, Willow is at home and there is a knock on her door. She's in her bedroom. The knock comes not from inside the house but from her doors to the patio.
It's Angel. He tells her she has to invite him in, and she does. She's wearing a long night shirt. She quickly hides her bra and socks, obviously uncomfortable he's there. And she tells him she's not supposed to have boys in her room.
Angel says he would like her help to research someone on the Internet. Willow is certainly happy to do that until she hears the person he wants to research is Ford. She very carefully suggests that Angel might be jealous.
He tells her he never used to get jealous. He spent a hundred years isolating himself, feeling guilty. And in a great quote he says,” I really honed my brooding skills.”
He admits, though, that now he does get jealous. But he says his gut tells him that something is off about Ford.
Willow Researches Ford
Willow says okay, “but if there isn't anything weird – hey, that's weird.” She has discovered with a few keystrokes that Ford is not in any of the school records. He's not registered at Sunnydale High.
Angel asks her not to mention anything about this to Buffy until they both know more.
Willow is clearly uncomfortable about that. We see that again the next morning at school. Buffy and Ford come up to talk to Willow. And she stutters and stumbles and happily for her Buffy thinks that it's because Willow was drinking too much coffee again.
Buffy And Ford Fight Vampires
That night Buffy gives Ford a walking tour of Sunnydale. They see two vampires. She hands Ford a cross and goes after the male vampire, fighting and killing him. While she's otherwise occupied, Ford corners the female vampire and threatens her with a stake.
He tells her he'll let her live if she tells him what he wants to know.
This is about 19 minutes in. So we are nearing the Midpoint of the episode.
Buffy has killed the vampire. She returns to Ford. He pretends to be shocked that he was able to kill the female vampire and claims that she turned to dust.
A Near Midpoint Reversal
Usually at the Midpoint of a well-structured story we see either the protagonist fully committing to the quest or a major reversal for our protagonist.
While this is still a little bit before the Midpoint, I see this as the reversal for Buffy, though she is unaware that it has happened. She thinks Ford really has dusted the vampire.
We find out later that he made a deal with her, and that deal is to give Buffy to Spike. Clearly a major reversal for Buffy.
The Sunset Club
Meanwhile Willow, Angel, and Xander find the warehouse, which the Buffy fandom wiki. It tells me is called the Sunset Club. I didn't notice that in my viewing. But it makes sense.
Willow mentions this address is the only thing she was able to find on the Internet about Ford. That makes me think that perhaps that lease Diego mentioned is in Ford's name. And I really like that because it's a minor detail that was thrown in that helps support the idea that Willow was able to track this place down.
Later we will find out that Ford wanted Buffy to figure out what was going on at least to certain extent and to come to the club. So perhaps he left that as a breadcrumb for Buffy to follow.
They go into the club after claiming to be friends of Ford. Xander and Willow comment on the “Vampires, Yay” theme.
The Lonely Ones
Chanterelle, the young woman with the long blond hair, welcomes them and tells them it's okay that they're new. She calls vampires the Lonely Ones and says people misunderstand them. They don't want to harm anyone. The vampires are exalted, above humans.
Angel, clearly never having read How To Make Friends And Influence People, tells her that she's a fool. He also tells Xander and Willow that these people don't know anything about vampires, including how they dress. Just as, of course, a guy walks past them wearing exactly the same clothes that Angel is wearing.
At 21 minutes 45 seconds in, Diego watches them leave.
When I initially watched this for the podcast I thought maybe this was the Midpoint Reversal. Because perhaps Diego seeing them, and maybe realizing they are out of place and friends of Buffy, was the reversal for her. But as I mentioned we later find out that Ford wanted her to figure out what happened. So this isn't really a problem or a reversal.
Not A Great Date For Giles
Giles and Jenny are in the library with Buffy. She called them away from their date. Giles pretends that he's upset at having been called away from the monster truck rally, but he doesn't do a very good acting job. And Jenny tells him they could have just left.
Buffy sent Ford home.
As they’re researching, she happens to see a photo of Drusilla in a book. Giles tells her Dru is the sometime paramour of Spike’s who was killed by an angry mob in Prague. Buffy says they don't make angry mobs like they used to because she saw Drusilla the other night with Angel.
Jenny says isn't he supposed to be a good guy?
Thieving and Lying
As they’re talking, the female vampire, the one that Ford supposedly killed, breaks in and steals a book from the library. I love that Giles is outraged that she took his book.
Everyone is surprised because that isn't typical vampire behavior. Buffy is especially surprised because she recognizes the vampire and says that Ford claimed that he killed her.
This is 23 minutes 37 seconds in. I see this as Buffy recognizing that reversal happened. Now she knows that Ford is lying to her and plotting something.
Dru Tries To Get A Dead Bird To Sing
We switch to the warehouse where Drusilla and Spike live. She is trying to get a dead bird to sing to her. It's lying on the bottom of the cage, and she's promising it seeds if it will sing.
Spike asks her if she met anyone interesting, like Angel, when she was out and about the other night. He wants to know what they might have talked about. And says it's a little odd her talking to Angel, him being the enemy and all.
Drusilla keeps ignoring him and talking to the bird.
Spike loses his temper and tells her the bird is dead. She left it in the cage and didn't feed it and it died just like the last one. The scene always makes me sad. Drusilla seems so upset about the bird being dead. Also, I have a parakeet and I have had parakeets for many years, so I just feel very sad when I see anything with a bird dying.
(You can if you like See my parakeet Joss “the bird” Whedon on Instagram. You may also occasionally hear him in the back of the podcast because as much as I pad everything out and shut the doors, every once in a while he still can hear me and loves to chirp away and add his thoughts.)
What The Fight’s Really About
Going back to our dialogue. This is a wonderful example of conflict where the character who is really upset is not saying what he's upset about. Spike snaps at her about the bird when what he's really angry about is her seeing Angel.
He does recognize that to some extent. Spike realizes it's not about the bird and he says he's rude and he's a bad man and he’s sorry. However, he still doesn't admit that the issue is him being jealous of Angel.
Instead, he talks about her being too weak to be out alone. Now that may be true, and we’ll find out later that Drusilla is vulnerable. But that is not the heart of what Spike is angry about.
Nonetheless he does apologize. To try to make her feel better, he say, in another great dialogue line, “Would you like a new bird, one that's not dead?”
Couples That Reflect One Another
In this way, Spike and Drusilla are a reflection of Buffy and Angel. Spike is jealous and worried about Drusilla talking to Angel. Buffy likewise is upset, jealous, and suspicious of Angel because he was talking to Drusilla.
Also, both Angel and Drusilla do not tell the people who love them about their encounter, making it more suspicious.
Ford Makes A Proposal
At 25 minutes 20 seconds in, Ford walks in on Spike and Drusilla. He says he came looking for Spike. Spike’s upset that no one is guarding the place. But the female vampire that Ford made the deal with comes in. She has brought Spike that book from the library. He takes a quick look and says it will be very useful.
Ford then says he has an offer for Spike. But he wants Spike to say the dialogue lines from the Dracula movie — that Ford has thirty seconds to convince Spike not to kill him. Ford says it's traditional.
Spike says he's not much for tradition and grabs Ford to bite him. But Drusilla stops Spike. Ford insists Spike has to say the line. After he does, Ford tells Spike that he wants to become a vampire.
In another great line, Spike says, “I've known you for two minutes and I can't stand you. I don't really feature you living forever.”
But Ford offers him a trade. He will hand Buffy to Spike on a silver platter if Ford can become a vampire.
We cut to a commercial. Great hook before that commercial break.
Buffy And Angel Finally Talk
When we return, Buffy is at home. Angel comes to the door. As he did with Willow, he asks if he can come in. Buffy says sure, but once he's invited can't he always come in? And he says yes, he was just being polite.
This is a nice, funny line, and it gives us the new rule we haven't heard before. That once a vampire is invited he can always come back into the house.
Angel tells her Ford is not what he seems and reveals that Willow and Xander helped him check things out.
Buffy’s mad that they all went behind her back but unlike Spike she goes right to the point of what she's really angry about. She asks Angel who is Drusilla and says don't lie to her. She's had enough of that.
Angel’s History With Drusilla
Angel tells her that “Sometimes a lie is better. If you live long enough you realize that.” Then he asks if she loves him. She says, “I love you, but I don't know if I trust you.” He says maybe she shouldn't do either.
Angel tells her that he did many unconscionable things as a vampire but Drusilla was the worst. He was obsessed with her. First, he made her insane. He did every kind of mental torture he could think of, including killing everyone she loved. She finally fled to a convent. The day she took her vows he turned her into a demon.
Then he tells her that Ford belongs to this vampire cult.
Buffy Surprises Ford – Or Does She?
Buffy and Ford meet the next afternoon in front of the school. He wants to take her out again and says he'd like to surprise her. Buffy says, “I like surprises.” They agree to meet later.
In the next scene Ford is at the Sunset club. Diego asks Ford what about his friends, are they coming? Ford seems a little worried and angry that Diego didn't mention the friends before. But he says that everything is fine.
From upstairs, Buffy says, “No, it's really not.”
Ford tells Diego it's drafty in here. Diego disappears up the stairs.
Buffy calls Ford a lying scum bag, and he admits that he will become a vampire and that's what he wants. She realizes that he must have offered her as a trade because vampires are kind of particular about who they turn.
She asks what's going to happen. He laughs and says it's already happening. We hear the door swing shut upstairs. So that's why he said that it was getting drafty – so that Diego would know it was time.
The Three-Quarter Turn In Lie To Me
Ford tells Buffy that door can only be opened from the outside. He also reveals that the club used to be a bomb shelter. There's three feet of concrete and all the walls. No one can get out. At sunset the vampires will come. They will open the door from the outside.
I see this as the last major plot turn.
Usually that's about three quarters of the way through, so this is right about on target. You could see the major turn as being earlier when Buffy arrives. However, I see it as a much bigger shift that she is now locked in with all these people, including Ford, who want to be vampires.
Ford says it’s sunset.
Spike Plans The Battle As Buffy Confronts Ford
We switch back to Spike and Dru. He's organizing everyone, and he says the Slayer is the priority. He asks Dru if she's up for this, is she sure?Dru says she needs a treat.
Buffy, inside the shelter, is hunting for another way out and can't find one. She tries to reason with the others and then with Ford.
He reveals that he is dying. He has brain tumors and only has months to live. It's very painful. That's why he wants to be a vampire. She tells him it's not like it will be him. A demon sets up shop in your body. It remembers your life. It walks and talks but it's not you.
Ford still says that's better than what's in store.
Central Theme Of Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Buffy tells him she feels sorry for him, but what he's doing is still wrong. When he claims he has no choice we get a great dialogue line that encapsulates much of the theme of the entire series.
Buffy: You have a choice. You don't have a good choice, but you have a choice.
We hear car sounds from outside. He admits that everyone else is going to die. The deal is only for him. But he views the others as sheep. You can tell he thinks they are kind of pathetic, and he just doesn't care what happens to them. Or at least that's how he acts.
The Climax Of Lie To Me Begins
We’re 38 minutes 41 seconds in. The Climax of the episode starts. Ford knocks Buffy down the stairs. Chanterelle looks a bit shocked at that. All the same, she ascends the stairs to meet the vampires. She looks very Gothic in her long evening gown.
Spike comes in, yells to the others to take them all but save the Slayer for him. He bites Chanterelle. Buffy sees vampires attacking humans everywhere. For a second she looks lost as to where to start.
Then she spots Drusilla alone on a catwalk up above, watching everything. Buffy leaps up next to Dru and grabs her. She puts a stake to her heart and yells to Spike to stop.
Spike let’s go of Chanterelle and tells all the vampires to stop, which they do.
Buffy demands that he let everybody go. He tells them to do it. The humans are all allowed to leave except for Ford, who at some point got knocked out, so he is down on the underground level passed out.
Buffy tells Spike to back down the stairs. She's making sure that he won't be able to get to her or anybody else. When she lets Drusilla go she throws Dru at him and runs out and slams the door, sealing all the vampires inside.
Spike says, “Where's the doorknob?”
We’re now in the Falling Action. This is where we tie up loose ends after the Climax. The main plot has resolved. Buffy defeated Ford's plot. She defeated Spike, and she saved all the humans except for Ford.
I think part of why Ford is shown as not caring what happens to all the other people, and having sold them all out, is that we don't want to feel bad that Buffy was not also able to save him. She definitely feels sad about it, though.
Angel Willow and Xander have met her outside. She tells them the vampires are contained but they should come back for the body later when the vampires are gone.
Ford Wants Spike To Pay Up
Inside, Ford wakes up and says what happened? There is more great dialogue.
Spike: We’re stuck in a basement.
Spike: She's not stuck in a basement.
Ford nonetheless tells Spike that he delivered and handed him the Slayer, so he wants his reward. We fade out on Spike going into vamp face.
The next day the door's been broken open at last from inside. The vampires got out during the night and are gone.
Buffy finds Ford. It looks like he’s dead.
At The Graveyard
That night at the graveyard Giles and Buffy wait. She brought flowers. She says it would be easier if she could just hate Ford. And she thinks he wanted her to hate him, that it made it easier for him to do what he was doing if he saw himself as the villain.
Buffy says nothing is ever simple anymore. Who to love or hate or trust. And the more she knows the more confused she is. Giles tells her it's called growing up. Buffy says she would like to stop and asks if it ever gets easy.
Ford, as a vampire, bursts from the grave. Buffy stakes him.
Giles says, “You mean life?” And Buffy says yeah – does it get easy? Giles asks what she wants him to say and she says, “Lie to me.”
He gives a half smile and tells her something like, yes, life is simple. The good guys are always stalwart and true, the bad guys are easy to identify with their black hats, and no one ever dies and everyone lives happily ever after.
And Buffy says, “Liar.” And that's the end.
Keeping Your Word
Something I noticed on this rewatch: Spike and Buffy both do what they said they would do.
Buffy threatens Drusilla and says or implies she will let Drusilla go if Spike lets the humans go. They are out the door, and she still has Drusilla and a stake. Buffy could’ve killed Drusilla. But she made the deal with Spike, and she flings Drusilla at him.
Likewise, Spike does what he said he would do. Ford says, hey I gave you the Slayer, I can't help it if you messed it up. You promised me immortality. And Spike follows through.
When I first watched, until the graveyard scene I thought that Spike had killed Ford. But he did turn him into a vampire. Now, maybe he figured Buffy would then kill Ford. But Spike did what he agreed to do, despite that there would be no consequences for failing to do that.
Practicality Or Honor?
You can argue Buffy was being practical in keeping her deal was Spike. She may have to deal with him over and over in the future. Honoring her promise means that she may be able to get out of other confrontations with him or get the better of him because he knows she will do what she said.
There was no downside for Spike killing Ford, yet Spike and made a deal. So he went ahead with it. That plays into something I'll talk about further in the Spoilers. Even though this episode doesn't seem like it does much to move our season-long story arc, it does.
So stay tuned for the Spoilers if you want to hear about all the foreshadowing, as well as a little bit about which side character we will see again both in Buffy and Angel.
If you are not sticking around for the Spoilers, thank you so much for listening. I hope you will come back next Monday for The Dark Age when Ethan returns and we learn more about Giles’ past.
Spoilers And Lie To Me
And we're back for Spoilers.
Fun And Doors
We’ll start with a very short and fun foreshadowing that I felt was unintentional. After Angel and Ford meet, it's a very awkward moment, and Xander says, “Okay, once more with tension.”
A little foreshadowing of the title of the musical episode Once More With Feeling.
However, I doubt that any of them were thinking about that at the time.
Another thing that is not so much foreshadowing is Willow's patio door. We will see her bedroom again in Season Three. In Gingerbread, the parents in Sunnydale are infected by a paranoia demon. They go after all of their teenagers who they think are involved in the occult. Which includes Buffy and Willow.
Willow’s mom will lock her in her bedroom. And the bedroom looks pretty much the same as it does here, except there is no patio door. There is only the door to the inside of the rest of the house, which is locked. So Willow can't get out. One of those convenient TV things that I guess we are not supposed to notice.
Now I'll switch to some actual foreshadowing and hints of what's to come. Jenny tells Giles “you just have to trust me” when he's nervous about her choice for the next night’s date. She is joking. But I find it interesting that again we are raising trust and Jenny. Particularly in an episode that is all about who to trust and who not to trust.
And remember in the Season One finale Prophecy Girl, Giles said to Jenny, “How do I know I can trust you?” So here we have this little echo of that in a light, funny context. I do think it is part of weaving through some subtle hints that maybe we can't trust Jenny.
Also, when Buffy says she saw Angel with Drusilla Jenny says, “I thought he was one of the good guys.”
This makes me wonder is she rethinking her mission about Angel or is she already disagreeing with that mission? I love the line because it's just quickly thrown in there. There's no reason for viewers who don't know what's coming to fasten on it, but it is consistent with what we later learn about Jenny being there to watch Angel. And ensure that the curse continues to haunt him.
Who Chanterelle Will Become
We also meet Chanterelle in this episode. She will return at the beginning of Season Three in the pilot episode. She's living on the streets and she's going by the name Lily.
She remembers Buffy, but Buffy doesn't remember her. At the end of the episode, Buffy, who has been working as a waitress to support herself, tells Lily that she’s arranged for Lily (if she wants) to take over Buffy's job. And she gives her the one room she's been staying in and her uniform. Buffy has a name tag with it because she's been going by her middle name. So the name tag saysAnne.
And Lily asks if she can be Anne. The next time we see her on Angel, she's introduced as Anne. Nothing is said about her past or knowing Buffy. But she is running this shelter for homeless teens, and she knows about vampires. She's very practical about the dark side of living in Los Angeles.
I believe that she went through this character growth.
Spike, Dru, And Angel
Spike, Angel, Dru, and Buffy – lots of foreshadowing here of the season story arc that involves all of them. Particularly Spike feeling jealous over Drusilla talking to Angel. That jealousy of Angel and that connection between Drusilla and Angel will drive the climax of the season.
On a smaller scale, we have this female vampire bringing Spike this book. I'm not sure that I noticed on first watch that Spike looked through the book and said, “Oh, this should be helpful.”
I didn't focus on will why does he want this book. Later we’ll find out he is looking for a way to restore Drusilla. That angry mob in Prague didn't kill her, but the implication is it is why she is so weak now.
In a few episodes we will find out the book showed Spike how to restore Drusilla. And that what they need is Angel's blood. Because he is her sire. That also makes the comment Spike makes about Angel being the enemy and all even more telling. Because they're going to need to drain Angel's blood.
The Rules And Surprises
As I mentioned, we get these reminders about the rules about vampires. Angel tells Willow she has to invite him in. We hear when he talks to Buffy that once you're invited in you can always come in. And if you were a new viewer or you have forgotten what happened before, because it's a while since you saw the episode, you are also reminded that Buffy already invited Angel in.
So he has access to her house.
This foreshadows that fear that Buffy and her friends will have when they realize that Angel can get into their homes. There's also a line of dialogue that I wonder if was done on purpose. I am guessing yes because everything about Buffy seems so well crafted and planned. When Ford doesn't want to tell Buffy what they're going to do that night and says he wants to surprise her, Buffy says, “I like surprises.”
And of course the episode where Angel changes at the end and becomes evil is called Surprise. I don't think it can be accidental that Buffy says this line in the context of a boy that she had romantic feelings about, in an episode that is all about who to trust and who to love.
No Clear Answers
Which leads me to that conversation with Buffy and Giles that I always found to be a very moving conversation. One that sums up so much of the show itself.
Buffy moving toward adulthood. Having to take it on too quickly and facing all these complicated questions. Which is part of what makes the show so good. It could easily be just a monster fighting show. Good versus evil. I don't think if it was, it would've lasted this long.
One of its strengths is that sorting out good and evil is not black-and-white. Is not simple. So that conversation conveys that struggle that Buffy has and Giles struggles to help her deal with. Wishing he could lie to her and just make her feel better.
The Dark Age On The Way
That's how I saw that conversation the first time I watched the episode and probably on several rewatches. It is only watching it for the podcast and looking ahead to what's next that I realized how much it foreshadows the very next episode. The Dark Age.
In that episode, Giles will be one of the people that Buffy is unsure if she can trust. And his comment about how you can always tell the good guys from the bad guys by the black hats also is so telling. Because we find out Giles and was not always the good guy.
Also telling that they have this conversation about adulthood when in the next episode, Buffy will have to grapple with things Giles did before he became an adult.
Buffy And Spike
On Buffy and Spike both doing what they said they would do:
Weaving this in early, showing us this about both characters, is what persuades us as viewers when we get to the season finale to believe that Buffy and Spike would make a deal with each other. They have a reason to trust one another. When Spike offers his help, Buffy doesn't completely trust him. But she does know from experience that Spike does what he says he will do.
Likewise, when Buffy sets certain conditions on Drusilla being allowed to live (as an undead person), and Spike and Drusilla being allowed to leave Sunnydale, Spike knows that Buffy will honor that.
That is it for Spoilers and the episode. Thank you again for listening. I hope you will return for The Dark Age when we see Ethan again. And when Giles becomes a threat to both Jenny and Buffy.
If you would like to apply the story structure points that I talked about to your own story, or you would just like to use it to watch Buffy and see if you agree with me on where these points are, you can download a free story structure template. I will put a link in the show notes.
You can also find my fiction, including mysteries and supernatural thrillers at LisaLilly.com and you can find articles on writing, time, and publishing and WritingAsASecondCareer.com.
The podcast Buffy and the Art of Story is production of Spiny Woman LLC copyright 2020.