A good episode for plot advancement. Less so on the chuckles, although I enjoyed the mayor... he scares me.
Opening scene has Buffy and Angel coming out of the movies. They're both a little stunned... the movie (L'Banquet d Amelia) was apparently far more erotic than either had suspected. They're both a little steamy, but are both well aware of the dangers of unprotected "true happiness".
They do have a little smooch, which is interrupted by Faith. She's on patrol, and Wesley wants both of them to check out one of the cemeteries. While talking, they are surprised by a demon. He's not attacking them, though. He wants to sell them the 'Books of Ascension', and hints that this will tie in with the mayor's schemes in some way. He wants $5000 for the books. (To buy a ticket out of Sunnydale! Apparently things are getting too scary even for demons!) Faith goes to stake him anyway, but Buffy stops her, and the Demon runs away.
The next scene has the gang in the library, trying to work out what
this 'Ascension' is all about. Giles and Wesley both come up blank, but
Willow remembers a reference from a certain book. Buffy: We have a winner.
Xander: And more importantly, two losers. Giles: Were did you find that
volume? Willow: In the top of your book cabinet. With the stuff you try
and keep hidden.
Then Cordelia turns up, and wants Wesley to help her with her English assignment on Friday. Apparently she works best in good restaurants....
Faith, in the meantime, reports all this to the Mayor, who sends her off to find the demon, kill him, and retrieve the books. Which she does, but the demon is tougher than he looks. By the time the fight is over, Faith is covered with blood. (And V. twitchy)
Next scene is Faith showing up at Angel's, highly strung out. She's
scared about what she's becoming. Angel comforts her, but gently pushes
her away when she starts getting amorous. She then leaves, though not without
a goodbye kiss.
This is unfortunately witnessed by Buffy, who is somewhat hurt, and she bails.
The next scene is Faith talking to the Mayor. Sadly, it appears that
the whole scene with Angel was a cold blood attempt to make him lose his
soul. (Again) The mayor goes for plan 'B'.
Mayor: There's more than one way to skin a cat. And I happen to know that's factually true.
Next day, Wesley and Giles are still coming up blank on the 'Ascension'.
Giles is about to break down and consult the Council, but Wesley reveals
that he hasn't actually told the Council that Giles is still working for...
ah, with... him.
Xander comes up with the location of the Demon. Unfortunately, when Buffy and Faith get there, the Demon has been killed. (Naturally). Buffy is less than entirely happy at being around Faith at the moment...
The Mayor appears to have summoned yet another demon. This one appears
to have the ability to rob creatures of their souls.
Willow has a bit of a heart to heart with Buffy about Angel. (Willow seems to be getting considerably more assertive, BTW) Buffy decides that, regardless of what Faith would do, Angel can be trusted.
Willow: Does Angel up to Faith's standards for a guy? Let's see... is he breathing?
Buffy: Well, actually, no.
Next scene, Angels mansion. Faith shows up again, apparently to apologise. She then splashes Angel with something (look's like blood) and this Demon appears... and steals Angel's soul! (Oh, cripes! (or words to that effect))
Angelus re-asserts, and there is a bit of a tussle with Faith... (which Angelus appears to enjoy more that Faith) before Faith manages to convince him to come and see the Mayor.
Wesley decides that they have to find out more about these books of ascension. Giles sends Buffy off the check out the mayor's office. Willow has come up blank in cracking into the Mayor's files (because Faith warned him) so the rest head off to the hall of records. Cordelia invites herself along with Wesley's group, and Xander goes off on his own.
Faith and Angelus meet the Mayor. Angelus tries to kill the Mayor (good vampire protocol) and the Mayor once again demonstrates his invulnerability. Angel agrees to capture and torture Buffy... but not kill her too soon. The Mayor doesn't want yet another Slayer popping up to confuse things. (Which answers a couple of questions about what will happen when/if Buffy dies. It looks like the Watchers will now have *two* slayers to play with on a more or less permanent basis. On the other hand, the track record of the backup slayers has not been terrific so far.)
In going off to find Buffy, Faith and Angel run into Xander. And Angelus
hits Xander, who falls unconscious.
Faith and Angel go to Buffy's house, and lead Buffy back to Angel's mansion, saying they've got the books. Buffy follows, a little unhappy but apparently suspecting nothing. At Angel's place, the trap is sprung. Buffy is knocked out, and chained to the wall.
In the hall of records, the gang has found that the Mayor is over a hundred years old. Xander staggers then staggers in, with a 'told you so' about Angel. I'm assuming at this point the gang is going to rush in an rescue Buffy at the last possible minute. Things are not looking good for our number one Slayer!
While chained to a wall, Buffy is taunted by Faith and Angelus. Buffy
tries to provoke Faith... presumably to force her to kill Buffy, thus providing
a replacement Slayer. We get some background on Faith... her mother
was apparently an alcoholic, for example, and Faith is getting eaten up
by the fact the Buffy appears to have everything, and Faith doesn't. She
reveals that the Mayor *built* Sunnydale to be a feeding ground for demons,
and come graduation day the Mayor will transform into something very, very
Faith: And, I'm the worlds best actor.
Angel: Second best.
Faith does this interesting slow motion, juddery, double take... and realises that the whole thing has been a set up! Angel never lost his soul at all. It was all a trick to find out what was going on with the Mayor... and, incidentally, Faith. The Slayers have a brief tussle, and again are deadlocked. Faith escapes.
It turns out that the soul-stealing demon owed Giles a favour (Giles introduced him to his wife....) and the whole thing was a plan cooked up by Giles, Buffy and Angel. Wesley was *not* informed.
Faith is consoled with the mayor's offer of miniature golf...
And Buffy decides she needs to take a bit of a break from Angel...
End of Synopsis.
Interesting episode. Strong plot advancement.
The Mayor is probably her most dangerous enemy to date. For one thing, he's patient. He's been apparently setting up for this for over a century. For another thing, *he* has people skills.
Character advancement: Willow is getting more assertive, Xander is getting more independent. Cordelia is very blatantly throwing herself at Wesley. Giles is still clearly the leader of the little band, whatever the "Official" position. Even Wesley defers to him most of the time. Giles has lost his little stutter... I think at some level he's decided he doesn't need his affectations any more.
Other thoughts: Did anyone notice that Angelus in Vamp mode was considerably more muscular than Angel in normal mode? (I assume DB is pumping himself up in vamp mode and relaxing when not) I think DB enjoys playing Angelus more than Angel. He was certainly throwing himself into the part. Xander has yet one more reason to be less than impressed with Angel... a king sized bruise, for a start!
I thought the set up was a bit convenient... how did Giles arrange for the soul-stealer to be the one that showed up at the mayor's office? As I figure it, the Soul-Stealer heard about the Mayor's job offer/summoning, and, seeing it as an opportunity to pay off a debt, tipped Giles off. Giles then put two and two together and set the rest up. It's about the only sequence that makes sense. (A quick review of the tape reveals Giles saying "Thankyou for coming to me. And that rather effective light show you put on," so that would appear to be exactly what happened.)
The mayor scares me... Milk? Miniature Golf? *shudder*
Robbie rating: 8.2 Stephanie rating: Hmmm. With an adult, during the day.
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