In my years of TV watching, there have been tons of well-regarded shows that have eluded my gaze. Thanks to the magic of Netflix and other online streaming sites, I now have an opportunity to watch these shows and share my thoughts on them. It may be a classic to you, but It’s New To Me!
If there’s one main thing I’ve learned from serialized hour-long TV dramas, it’s that keeping big secrets from friends and loved ones probably isn’t the best idea. That lesson is most definitely at the heart of these two episodes from Buffy’s third season, as both of them contain discoveries of two major secrets that cause considerable friction within the formerly close-knit Scooby gang. In the first of these episodes, the aptly titled “Revelations,” the gang finally learns that Angel is alive and back on Earth, while in the second episode, “Lovers Walk,” the romantic tension between Xander and Willow comes to a head, which leads to complete misery to everyone involved.
“Revelations” begins with Buffy and Faith battling a pair of vampires in one of Sunnydale’s many cemeteries, where they are approached by a middle-aged British woman who introduces herself as Mrs. Gwendolyn Post. She explains that she has been sent by the Watcher’s Council to replace Faith’s previous Watcher. Mrs. Post is quickly shown to be a rather strict, no-nonsense personality, and her adherence to discipline begins to intimidate even Giles. She explains that a demon named Lagos has arrived in Sunnydale to steal an ancient weapon known as the Glove of Myhnegon and that she wants both Slayers to work together to prevent Lagos from obtaining it. Later, while working out with Angel at the mansion, she mentions this task to him. The two former lovers get very close to kissing before Buffy pulls away, understandably frightened of getting close to Angel again after what happened the last time they were physically intimate. Back at the Library, Xander and Willow also find it hard to resist locking lips, and when asked to patrol one of the cemeteries, Xander jumps at the opportunity. While on patrol, Faith is roughed up by Lagos while Xander investigates another cemetery and finds Angel emerging from a crypt with the Glove. He follows Angel to the mansion, where Angel presents the Glove to Buffy. Xander watches them briefly kiss and then walks away before Buffy pulls away yet again.
Xander immediately informs Giles about what he saw, and the next morning, the entire group confronts Buffy about the secret she’s been keeping from them. Their discussion soon devolves into a shouting match between Buffy and Xander until Giles breaks it up. Later, in private, Giles tells Buffy that he is disappointed in her decision to keep Angel in her life and reminds her that Angel killed Ms. Calendar and mercilessly tortured him . While this intervention is going on, Faith begins her training with Mrs. Post and reveals to her that she feels left out of Buffy’s circle of friends. Mrs. Post later arrives at the library, and Giles tells her where the Glove is being held. She then knocks him out and heads to the mansion to claim the glove. Meanwhile, Buffy and Willow run into Lagos and Buffy quickly dispatches him, and Faith meets up with Xander and they decide to go to the mansion to kill Angel. Stopping by the Library to get weapons, they find Giles unconscious and revive him. Giles tells them that the Glove can only be destroyed by “living flame,” and Faith runs to the mansion while Xander stays to tend to Giles. When Buffy is informed of what’s happened, she too runs to the mansion, where she prevents Faith from staking Angel. Manipulated by Mrs. Post, Faith battles Buffy for a short time until Xander and Willow arrive to try to break them up. During the fight, Mrs. Post puts on the Glove, but before she can use it on any of the Scoobies, Buffy throws a shard of glass at her arm, severing it from the rest of her body and causing her to be incinerated by the Glove’s power. The next day at school, Giles explains that Mrs. Post was expelled from the Watchers’ Council several years ago for abusing dark power. The episode ends with Buffy trying unsuccessfully to make amends to the still-Watcherless Faith, who is upset at her for keeping such a big secret.
“Revelations” offered a nice fake-out regarding the main villain. The viewer expects that Lagos would be around for the final throwdown with Buffy and the Scoobies, but those expectations are dashed when he is killed midway through the episode and Mrs. Post is revealed as the true villain. More importantly, this episode reveals a significant chink in the Scoobies’ collective armor that could threaten their solidarity. The overall theme of the episode seems centered on communication, or rather the lack thereof, which actually has been a running theme since the end of Season Two. After the truth about Angel is revealed, Willow seems determined to tell Buffy about her feelings toward Xander but is interrupted by a demon attack. Also, instead of sharing her feelings of alienation with Buffy, Faith decides to be tight-lipped and stoic at the end of the episodes. It’s pretty obvious that both of these non-reveals will likely have some not too pleasant consequences in future episodes. For providing a refreshingly different villain and providing some strong story details for the season as a whole, “Revelations” earns 4.5 out of 5 Tai Chi Sessions.
Following that key episode is “Lovers Walk,” which features the brief return of Spike to Sunnydale and the culmination of Willow and Xander’s illicit flirtation. It’s also the first time that Buffy starts to seriously think about her future after high school, which gets considerably brighter when she gets a 1430 on her SATs. This unexpectedly pleasant bit of academic news gets Joyce excited about looking at prospective colleges. This of course brings up conflicted feelings in Buffy, who is reluctant to leave Sunnydale and give up the remote possibility of making things work with Angel. Giles leaves for a Watchers’ Retreat, but before he goes, he reiterates Joyce’s view on the matter to Buffy, stating that letting Faith take over her duties on a permanent basis might be a good idea. Buffy is shocked to learn that Angel also agrees that going away might be the best thing for her. Meanwhile, a drunken Spike rolls back into town and returns to his old mansion hideout, where he bursts into tears after looking at Drusilla’s old doll collection. His cries reveal that Drusilla has left him, and he swears revenge against Angel, whom he blames for driving them apart.
Still in a drunken stupor, Spike sneaks into the town’s local magic shop in hopes of finding a curse he can unleash on Angel, but his plans change when he spies Willow in the shop asking for the ingredients to what he believes is a love potion but is actually meant to be a spell that she hopes will end the attraction that she and Xander feel towards each other. After killing the shopkeeper, Spike tracks Willow to the school’s Chemistry Lab, where she attempts to implement the spell to an at-first unexpecting Xander. Spike invades the lab, knocks Xander unconscious, and forces Willow to create a potion that will make Drusilla love him again. In the Library, Buffy is visited by Cordelia and Oz, both of whom worried about their respective significant others who were supposed to meet them for a double date. She then receives a call from Joyce and discovers that Spike is in her home. When she arrives, she finds Spike drinking hot chocolate with Joyce and opening up to her about his failed relationship with Dru. Angel shows up at the door but cannot enter because he has not been invited (per the containment spell from last season), but is permitted to enter by Buffy, who pins Spike against the table. They agree to let Spike live as long as he leads them to where he is holding Xander and Willow.
While Oz and Cordelia track their dates via Oz’s enhanced sense of smell, Spike leads Buffy and Angel to his hideout. Buffy comments that losing Drusilla has made Spike a pathetic shell of what he once was, and Spike accuses Buffy and Angel of hiding their true feelings for each other. We then cut to the basement of the old factory, where Xander wakes up from his head wound to find himself being tended to by Willow. They share a tender kiss just when Oz and Cordelia show up to rescue them. This sight shocks both the jilted lovers, and when Cordy runs off with tears in her eyes, the stairs under her collapse, and she gets impaled by a metal spike on the floor. While on their way to Spike’s hideout, the three are attacked by a horde of Trick’s vampire cronies sent by Mayor Wilkins, and after successfully fighting them off, the now-sober Spike reveals that he has “gotten his groove back,” so to speak. He tells Buffy and Angel where their friends are hidden and proclaims that he is going to be a “man” and woo Drusilla back without the aid of magic. We then find Cordelia in the hospital, recovering nicely from her injury. When Xander visits her, she tells him to stay away from her. Buffy confronts Xander about their would-be relationship, telling him that the only way they can see each other is for him to tell her that he doesn’t love her anymore, which he says is something that he is unable to do. The episode ends with Spike driving out of Sunnydale, singing along to the Sex Pistols’ cover of “My Way.”
While “Lovers Walk” doesn’t contain the usual climactic showdown between Buffy and a central antagonist, it does feature some of the best character moments of the season so far. Having already alienated her entire circle of friends by keeping Angel’s return a secret, here she finally makes a decision of where she and her former lover stand, and while it’s not the happiest of resolutions, it is no doubt the best decision for both of them. That of course doesn’t mean that their story is over, as I’m sure the tension between them will continue to mount. I was surprised that the Willow / Xander romantic subplot was resolved so early in the season, though I’m certain that the fallout of Oz and Cordy’s discovery will be felt for several episodes to come. The return of Spike was a welcome one, and his mournful reminiscences of his time with Drusilla added just the right amount of dark humor to the episode. The brief but important scene featuring Mayor Wilkins added more to his importance within the season, as he reveals that he not only knows about Spike’s return but seems to have the majority of the town’s vampires at his disposal. “Lovers Walk” provides some key changes for a number of prominent characters and is in my opinion the first of what will hopefully be many great episodes of Buffy‘s third season. 5 out of 5 Pez Witches.