Buffy Ep 4.12 "A New Man"

The plot thickens ... and so does Giles.
A meatier part for Giles (in more ways than one)... which is good, he's been a bit on the outer for a while.


Riley and Buffy are having what promises to be a heavy duty snuggle when Willow barges into their room.
Willow: We've got trouble.
Buffy: Trouble?
Willow: In the rec room. It came through the window.
Riley: Vampires? Willow: Vampires don't breathe fire.
They rush off to deal with the problem... which turns out to be Buffy's surprise birthday party!
Willow: Guess you won't have to kill anything tonight, hah?
Buffy: Don't be to sure....

It's Buffy's 19th birthday, and just for a change, there are no major crises! Giles is there, and as the party progresses, it appears he is feeling more and more out of touch. He's telling an anecdote to Anya and Xander.
Anya: I'm bored. Let's eat.
Xander: Anya ... we've talked about this.
Anya: I'm sorry ... that was rude. Please continue with your story. (Giles opens his mouth to continue) Hopefully it involves treacle and a headmaster.
Giles:  Go eat.

It would appear that Anya is (slowly) becoming more socialized. Buffy introduces Riley as 'her boyfriend'.  Giles seems a bit embaressed to admit that he doesn't currently have a job.  Not made any better when she says that "Professor Walsh is about the smartest person ever." Not a good day.

Spike has decided to leave Xander's basement.  Or been pushed, I'm not sure.
Xander: That's my radio! (Spike is walking out with it)
Spike: And you're what, shocked and disappointed? I'm evil.

Anya tries to give Spike something to go away with. Xander's lamp.
Anya: A gift is traditional. I've read about it.
Xander: That's among friends.  With bitter enemies, we don't give them my lamp.

Spike is planning to find a crypt or something, although Anya points out that something with electricity would be more useful.  Spike decides that a hotel room with a bar fridge (to keep his blood in) would be more useful, but he doesn't have any money.

Buffy is meeting with Professor Walsh.  Apparently they have decided to come (more or less) clean with each other, so now the Iniative knows all about Buffy, and vice versa.  Walsh claims proudly that Agent Finn (Riley) has taken out 17 hostiles.  And asks (superciliously) how many Buffy has slain.   The scene cuts with Buffy looking embarressed, (but smug) before she actually can say. (I would have liked to know the answer myself, but I would guess it's in the hundreds.  At least.)

Giles is looking through his books ... (well, dusting) ... and abruptly realises that a Prince of Demons is due to rise tonight. He tries to get hold of Buffy ...

Who is out walking with a rather stunned Riley.
Riley: When you stopped the world from ... well, ending ... I just assumed it was a big week for you.  Now I realise that I need to know the plural for apocalypse.

Riley is having a little difficulty dealing with just how good the Slayer is ... and how outclassed he is.

When looking for Buffy, Giles manages to find Professor Walsh's office.  He tries to talk politely about Buffy ... I think he was trying to establish a friendship with Prof Walsh. Who basically rudely brushes him off (couched in psychobabble, of course.)

Willow, Xander and Giles are going to deal with the potentially rising demon, having been unable to find Buffy.  They get to the crypt in question, but nothing seems to have happened.  Willow surmises that perhaps the Initiative have got to it first... Which comes as a major surprise for Giles ... Buffy has neglected to tell Giles anything about it.

Disgusted, he sends Xander and Willow off, and then packs up and goes himself.

Then Ethan Rayne steps out of the shadows for a quick gloat:
Ethan: I wouldn't say that. I wouldn't say that at all.  In fact, Ripper old mate, I'd something interesting was going to... (Giles steps back in)
Giles: Did someone ... ?
Ethan: Oh, bugger! I thought you'd gone!

Ethan manages to talk Giles out of beating the crap out of him --  straight away, anyway. They end up at at a bar, while Ethan says what he has to say.  There are some new players, and they are going places they shouldn't be, upsetting the balance.  The demons are particularly concerned about something called '314' (I don't know if this is signifigant, but 3.14 is pi to 2 decimal places...) He's clearly talking about the Initiative.

Buffy and Riley are sparring.  Riley wants Buffy to stop holding back ... and she kicks him across the room.  After all, the last sparring partner she had was a vampire, and could take that sort of punishment ... Riley looks deflated in more ways than one.

Back at the bar, Giles and Ethan are getting pissed together. After all, old enemies or not, they probably have more in common that most.  Giles is getting pretty maudlin.  He's an unemployed librarian who gets hit on the head pretty often...

Ethan then tells him that he's poisoned him, and Giles will be dead tomorrow.  Giles looks a bit stunned (he's had a lot to drink) and then Ethan bursts out laughing, tells him he was only joking.
Ethan: Mind you, you're going to feel like hell in the morning....

Willow and Tara get together, and try some simple magic ... levitating a rose, and then plucking the petals.  Apparently an 'exercise in synchronicity' ... the first part goes well, but then the rose shoots around the room ... something isn't right.

Next morning, Giles gets out of bed, staggers downstairs ... and sees himself in the mirror. He's turned into a demon!  A very, very, strong demon, as he proceeds to demonstrate by destroying just about everything he touches ...

Willow and Buffy are having breakfast.  Buffy is very bouncy.  Willow makes some comment about liking Buffy when she's in love.  Buffy wonders where Willow was last night ... apparently Willow was out all night.  Willow then lies about where she was ... or who with.  Interesting.... Willow thinks that the thing with rose going haywire may have been due to some powerful dark magic being practised.

Demon-Giles creeps stealthily into Xanders basement, to find Xander still asleep.  He prods Xander awake, first warning him that he has been turned into a demon.  However, it turns out that Giles is not speaking english... all that Xander hears is demonic growls.  Xander pelts saucepans at Giles until he runs out of the room.   As Giles makes his getaway, a lot of people see him.  At least a few of them make 911 calls.

Buffy and co are at Giles place, investigating the chaos that Giles caused after he woke up. As Giles wanders through the graveyard, we see Spike (measuring at crypt for size!)   Spike talks to him ... well, threatens him, actually
Spike: Well, what do I spy with my little eye. A demon.  That would be ... oh, one of the things I can kill.

It turns out he can understand Giles.  Apparently Giles is speaking a demon dialect, which Spike can speak. He tries to persuade Spike to help him. After a failed attempt at threats, he tries:
Giles: Money?
Spike: Money? Oh, I like money.  How much?
Giles: I could pay you ... $100?
Spike: Oh, you'll have to do a lot better than that.  (Giles looks crestfallen) Say, $200.
Giles: Righto.

Spike looks cheerful and pleased with himself.  (It has probably been a very long time since Spike has had to worry about money).

Back at Giles' place, Riley shows up, saying he has picked up some 911 calls, there is a demon wandering around the place.

In the meantime Spike is driving Giles around (in Giles' Citroen) and Giles is having some trouble fighting this rising flood of anger, which seems to come with the body.  He is still trying to control himself, when he sees Prof Walsh walking along.  He jumps out of the car, and chases her. (He only seems intent on scaring her, which he succeeds at.) (Ooga booga!)

Buffy and Riley are hunting down Ethan, and so are Giles and Spike.  Buffy breaks into the magic shop, finds Ethan's name on a receipt.  Riley puts a call through, and finds out where he is staying within minutes.  Proving that, working together, the Slayer and the Initiative could well be a very formidable team.  However ... Prof Walsh has ordered that Riley not take Buffy along.  Buffy lets him know that HE can tag along with HER ... showing that SHE is used to being the boss, and is not about to let herself be bossed around by any newcomers.  The relationship between her and the initiative could get ... interesting.

In the meantime, Spike realizes that they are being followed by a couple of Army type Humvees. Giles persuades Spike to drop him off, and lead them a merry chase ... (offering more money, for a start) ... Spike manages to lose the Humvees, but manages to total the Gilesmobile in the process.  I suppose Giles will finally get a new ... or at any rate, different ... car.

Riley, Buffy and Giles reach Ethan's hotel room at about the same time.  Buffy and Giles end up doing a few rounds, and then Buffy gets him down, and stabs him with the silver paper opener she's grabbed.  (This particular breed of demon has to be killed with silver weapons) Fortunately, she

Ethan turns Giles back:
Ethan: You know, I really have to learn to do the damage and get out of town.  It's these prolonged gloats that get me every time.

Ethan then tries to go ... I mean, the Slayer can't kill him, she's not allowed.  Instead, Riley arrests Ethan, and he is dragged off into the night (to a correctional facility in Nevada....)
Giles: Excuse me ... I'm just going to go and watch them manhandle Ethan into the car...

Buffy apologizes to Giles for not telling him about Riley or the initiative.  It had apparently (genuinely) slipped her mind that she hadn't told him, because everyone else in the gang was there when Riley's cover was blown.

Giles gives her a gentle warning to ... be careful about the initiative.  He doesn't entirely trust them.

Walsh is giving Riley almost exactly the same speech in reverse.  She agrees that Buffy could be a tremendously useful asset, but is not sure about where her loyalty lies. Then Riley goes his own way, and Walsh goes back to a room, through several security locked doors.  The number on the room is 314 ....

End of Synopsis.

A pretty good episode, I felt.  Thoroughly enjoyed it.  I've actually enjoyed most of the episodes with Ethan (in part, because they bring out "Ripper" in Giles...) The plot is definitely starting to thicken.  I think I said a few episodes back that after floundering a bit for the first few weeks, Season 4 had found it's feet and was picking up momentum.  Well, I think we've just switched out of first and into second gear.

The Initiative is certainly shaping up as something ... whether they turn out to be the good guys, the bad guys, or merely the catalyst is hard to tell, but it certainly seems that it is going to be central to this season's arc.

It's going to be interesting watching as the try to control Buffy ... and where Riley fits into the picture.  I think that sooner or later he is going to have to make a choice as to where is loyalty lies.

The Initiative and the Slayer could turn into an incredibly effective team ... but I predict they will end up at each other's throats.  (Probably because the Initiative will try and control Buffy, rather than work with her.  That's always assuming there isn't a darker plot at work...)

Nice to see Giles getting a good part.  Also nice to see the lack of activity for him being acknowleged.  Sooner or later he's going to have to get a paying job, too ... he can't live off his savings forever.  (Especially in America - no dole.) Now all we need is a good Xander episode or two, and I will feel that the show is back on balance.

Interesting that Willow apparently was out the ENTIRE night ... and lied about her whereabouts to Buffy.  Is she just being coy about the witchcraft thing? (Probably not, because she then went on to talk about the spell going haywire)  Or is something developing between her and Tara (as predicted...)

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