Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Episode: “Lover’s Walk” (November 24, 1998)
Synopsis by Jason Henderson
Spike, that Billy Idol of vampires, is back to drink cocoa and destroy Angel, and Buffy’s mom is almost out of cocoa. Before he leaves, he’ll turn everyone’s lives upside down.
Buffy: Sarah Michelle Gellar
Cordelia: Charisma Carpenter
Angel: David Boreanaz
Willow: Alyson Hannigan
Xander: Nicholas Brendan
Oz: Seth Green
Spike: James Marsters
Giles: Anthony Stewart Head
The SAT scores have arrived and sent the slayer gang reeling: Willow did spectacularly but not as well as she’d expected, Cordelia proved once again that she “tests well.” Xander, Cordelia, Oz, and Willow decide to celebrate on a double date. Meanwhile, Buffy is disturbed by her own good scores, although Cordelia points helpfully that now Buffy “can leave - - and never come back! Which is a good thing. Who would want to come back to Sunnydale, anyway?”
Well, Spike would. Spike, that white-haired cockney vampire who hasn’t been seen since last season, crashes into town drunken and sad. He stumbles alone about the mansion, whining about how Dru, his psychotic vampire girlfriend, dumped him.
Back at the high school, Xander is shocked to learn there are pictures of him in Cordelia’s locker. (“I’m locker material?” he asks.) But Cordy is irritated that the double date will involve that most bourgeois of sports, bowling.
Oz, charming boyfriend that he is, gives Willow a little Pez witch, a gesture so powerful for Willow that everyone should run out and try it.
Giles packs off for a retreat, conveniently exiting today’s episode. But not before urging Buffy to think about going to college (there’s now Faith to pick up slaying slack) and also urging her to be careful around recently revived vampire boyfriend Angel. But of course, according to Buffy, they’re just friends.
Xander and Willow obsess about their Secret Love. The stress is getting to them. They can’t stay away from one another, and they’re getting paranoid, and Xander says he wishes the feelings would go away.
Mom tells Buffy over and over again that she Really Should Consider Going Away To College. What’s keeping her in Sunnydale? We know: we find Angel reading Sartre by the fire, (and if that don’t get ’em…) spied upon by Spike, who curses Angel for “brainwashing” Dru, and promptly trips and knocks himself out. Spike wakes up igniting from the morning sun, and has to stumble up to his tinted car and douse his flames, and sleep it off.
Later, Willow enters the same magic shop where Spike is trying to buy a spell to punish Angel. Willow wants a “de-lusting” spell. Hearing this, Spike has a new plan, and after Willow leaves, he casually kills the shopkeeper.
At City Hall, the Satanic Mayor Wilkins has his shorts in a wad because Spike is back in town, and he doesn’t have time for loose cannon vampires. This is too important a year, he says. He has a committee of vampires hired to kill Spike.
Buffy goes to see Angel, insisting they are “just friends.” Angel advises her, as a friend, to go away to college. This isn’t the answer the slayer wants to hear, so she runs off.
Xander comes to the high school chem lab at Willow’s behest to find her preparing her de-lusting spell. She’s out of her mind, he says. He has a bad history with magic, and besides, he didn't really want to lose his feelings for her. “I can’t do this anymore,” she answers. They are interrupted by Spike, who wants to “borrow the little girl” for a love spell. He viciously knocks Xander out and takes them both to the factory.
Between nasty threats to Willow’s life, Spike tells Willow how Dru left him “and didn’t even care enough to cut off my head.” Now he wants a love spell to make her love him again. Willow agrees to try. “If at first you don’t succeed,” Spike says, pointing at unconscious Xander, “I’ll kill him, and you’ll try again.” But Willow needs a spell book she left at Buffy’s, so off Spike goes to retrieve it.
Oz and Cordelia find Buffy working out at school and tell her Willow and Xander seem to have been kidnapped. Mom calls Buffy to talk about college, and when Buffy hears Spike’s voice, she runs for home.
Next we see Spike, apparently having forgotten his errand, moaning his Dru story to Joyce (Buffy’s mom), who attentively listens and pours more hot chocolate for the vampire. Angel and Buffy arrive and Buffy nearly kills Spike before he reminds Buffy he has Willow and Xander, and will lead her to them. First, though, she and Angel need to stop off at the magic store and pick up some more of Willow’s ingredients.
The two vampires and the slayer walk the streets as Spike reminisces pathetically about Dru. Angel says the girl was pretty fickle, and Spike tears into Angel about his “just friends” relationship with Buffy. “You’re not friends,” he says. “You’ll never be friends. You’ll be in love until it kills you both…. I may be love’s bitch, but at least I’m man enough to admit it.”
Xander wakes up in the abandoned factory with Willow, and between wondering if they’ll ever get out alive and making out as though it didn’t matter, Oz and Cordelia walk in and catch them. (Oz is a werewolf. He followed Willow’s scent.)
Cordelia is so horrified she turns and runs, and promptly falls straight through a rotten staircase. Xander climbs down to find her impaled on a long metal rod, and she passes out.
Meanwhile, Buffy, Spike and Angel fight off a whole committee of vampires, and Spike finds himself re-invigorated. “Forget the spell. You’re friends are at the factory,” he says. “I’m going to go find Dru, tie her up, and torture her until she likes me again.”
Fade into a funeral. It’s not Cordelia’s! (Psyche!) Rather, it’s just a lovely backdrop for a depressing conversation between Willow and Xander. Cordelia is weak but okay, and Xander will finally get to see her at the hospital today. Willow considers groveling to get Oz back. “I've heard sometimes it works,” Buffy offers.
Cordelia weakly tells Xander to stay away from her.
Buffy goes to see Angel, to tell him she won’t be coming around anymore. Spike was right, she says. They’re not friends. They can’t be; they love one another too much.
We end with separate shots, of Willow, Oz, Xander, Cordelia, and Buffy, all alone. And finally, Spike, feeling good and driving into the sunset.
*What a character is Spike! Vicious, merciless, even pathetic—it was great to see him back since his truce with Buffy last season. This episode employs him as a messenger of chaos: he arrives a broken man, destroys everyone’s lives (in Buffy and Angel’s case, merely by being openly observant) and leaves, feeling much better. Great credit is due to guest star James Marsters for being watchable while saying the sorts of things that leads you to hang up on lesser men. (“She left me, man! How could she do that? Can I tell you the story again about how she left me?”)
*The scene between Spike and Joyce (Buffy’s mom) is so bizarre it’s wonderful. This is the kind of farce that genre shows rarely manage to pull off. Everything’s perfect, from the Joyce’s concern to Spike’s repetition of the same dreary story, to Spike’s request for “those little marshmallows” for his cocoa.
*Here’s a major Buffy World detail - the mayor’s office helps cover up the deaths caused by vampires. This makes a lot of sense, there are an awful lot of mysterious deaths in Sunnydale, and it helps to have that be a part of a grand conspiracy on the part of a Satanic Mayor.
*“Do we bowl?” Xander asks Oz. “We bowl” is the reply. In the inimitably bad GREASE 2, these very words led into an awful song I would really enjoy seeing Xander, Willow and Oz perform, but that’s just me.
*Why does Buffy work out at the library? Mom calls her at the library, where the slayer is jumping rope, and asks, “are you still working out?” We’ve seen the gym set before; was it unavailable?
*I've enjoyed Xander and Willow’s passionate guilt, but I have to wonder why it’s such a big deal. I mean, don’t people break up all the time? Harsh of me, I know, but it’s not like there’s a ring here. (There’s a Pez Witch, of course.)
*Giles urges Buffy to go to college despite her “calling.” Can’t she take her calling with her? I thought there were slayers all over the world, won’t there be evil to fight at Brown or Yale?
*Once again I’m forced to wonder what Xander, Willow and Cordelia’s parents think of the hours they keep. Maybe they all know what’s going on. Surely the Hellmouth has had a slayer before. Maybe Xander and Willow’s parents were the slayer gang of the 60’s. Imagine Annette Funnicello, Vampire Slayer. A beehive hairdo and a stake. You have to wonder about previous slayers…
On rashness and rashes
“There’s not gonna be any rash. Anywhere.”
(Buffy responding to Giles’ injunction to “not do anything rash” with Angel, with whom a previous sexual union made Angel into a murderous monster.)
Willow: “This is bowling, it’s sexy, with the sweat, and the rented shoes.”
Xander: “You’re turned on by rented shoes?”
Willow: “That’s not the issue.”
(Xander and Willow, wondering how they can handle bowling together in front of their significant others.)