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Stew’s Buffy The Vampire Slayer Retrospective: Season 2, Episodes 15-16

June 7, 2023 | Posted by Rob Stewart
Buffy the Vampire Slayer 2-15 Image Credit: 20th Century Fox TV

Xander Sucks, But This Time On Purpose, A BTVS Retrospective, S2 E15-16


Episode 15

Image Credit: 20th Century Fox TV

In the wake of the rise of Angelus, we settle in nice and easy, with Willow and Oz talking about a date they had had the night before. They saw a movie and enjoyed each others’ company! Aw, those sweet kids. Willow still REALLY wants to make out, though; Oz continues to hold back, and we see why. Willow immediately starts bitching to Buffy about Cordelia and Xander.

Oz is approached by a bully named Larry who knocks a girl’s papers out of her hands as he approaches. He makes fun of Oz for dating a junior and talks about how he would like a piece of Buffy or Willow. Or Buffy AND Willow. Hey, he saw the Halloween episode, too, I guess. No shame.

Cordy and Xander are making out in her car, but Xander is a million miles away mentally, complaining about Willow dating Oz. He’s very jealous, but playing it off as protective. He keeps hearing noises, and then… a WEREWOLF strikes! Cordy, using the driving skills she has accumulated for two seasons now, speeds them off to safety.

Some teacher says “Sunnydale is getting more dangerous every day”, and you know what? FUCK YOU. This school has been HEMMORHAGING young lives for two seasons now, and you’re downplaying it that badly? This whole region of the country should be in a constant state of mourning!

Anyway, they are getting self-defense lessons from Captain Understatement. Larry has a bandaged arm and reports he was recently attacked by a feral dog. He pairs up with Buffy, grabs her ass, and gets judo flipped for his trouble.

Giles insists they bring the werewolf stalking Sunnydale in alive, so you know that is going to be purposeful. Actually, let’s be honest: one of the things I knew about the show was that Oz was a werewolf, so as soon as Giles said this, my brain just went all “Dana Carvey As Church Lady” because no one here has ever cared about saving any other thing they have faced before.

Image Credit: NBC

Anyway, he and Buffy go skulking around the local make-out spot, and this is STRICTLY an invention of movies and TV, right? If my hometown had a make-out spot, I certainly never ever heard of it. Buffy fucking gets caught in a net like she’s Wile. E. Coyote, and I’m always excited for this show to start becoming a cartoon again!

The net belongs to a local werewolf hunter (what?) who thinks Giles and Buffy are an item. He has a necklace full of werewolf teeth, and despite being a MONSTER HUNTER in SUNNYDALE, we are immediately told he is a bad person because he is more concerned with profiting off the sale of pelts than saving people.

Couldn’t… surely he could sell vampire teeth or something, too? Demon horns? Werewolves can’t be the ONLY profitable monster corpse.

There is a girl walking home who hears a snarling and starts running… right up to Angel. She tells him she is a classmate’s of Buffy’s, and he offers to get her home safely…

Cordelia and Willow end up spending time together and bonding over how awful their boyfriends are. Xander only talks about Buffy and Willow; Oz won’t ravage Willow. A werewolf attacks The Bronze, and Buffy attacks him with a chain. These werewolf costume effects are… not great! I’ve seen better stuff NOT win on Face Off. The werewolf escapes, and the hunter guy shows up to give Buffy crap for there being monsters in Sunnydale. Well help out then, schmuck!

The werewolf comes upon Angel and the body of the classmate from earlier, and Angel backs down. Guess that girl did not attend self-defense class! Within an hour or so (and still in the middle of the night!), Buffy hears a radio report of the young girl being found dead. Despite the 37 different threats facing Sunnydale at any given minute, she immediately assumes it was the wolf. No more Ms. Nice Slayer; time to kill this monster!

So when it was an innocent person possessed by a beast and attacking people, that was okay. But when the beast kills someone against the innocent person’s control, that’s the line? This show’s morality is nonsense. What about the monster living under the school with the backhuggers from a few episodes ago? It was just trying to take care of its babies! How is that evil worthy of murder? It didn’t even kill anyone except Brad Paisely’s brother!

Oz wakes up naked in the woods. He heads home, remember his nephew bit him on the finger recently and calls his family. The conversation is, no joke, “Hey, is [name of nephew] a werewolf? Huh. How long has that been going on?”.

I… legitimately can’t tell you if I love or hate that moment. I think I like it! I mean, I feel like this show TRIES to be funny but fails 80% of the time, so when it is funny on purpose, I get a little confused.

At school, Xander believes he can channel information about the werewolf due to his time possessed by a hyena. He determines Larry is the culprit! He heads off to the locker room to confront Larry, with each of them having several easily misunderstood sentences to each other where Larry seems to confirm he is the creature… until he finally uses all of his words and reveals he is in the closet. He also now thinks Xander is gay, too. They promise to keep each others’ secrets, though Larry has found saying it aloud to be freeing.

Buffy notes that her classmate was not reported as “mauled”, so maybe she wasn’t killed by a werewolf. She and Giles visit the funeral home where her body is laid out, and look, I don’t know how funerals work because I think the whole idea of them is SUPER squiggy. I hate the idea of being in a room with a dead body; it’s unnatural to me! I can’t… I can’t look at it.

But do they leave the body out all the time, even when services aren’t being held? Whatever. They might, what do I know? The girl revives as a vampire and tells Buffy that Angel sends his love. So the werewolf is off the hook!

Oz, preparing to shackle himself up with fucking medieval chains that are apparently so readily available in a pre-Amazon world, has Willow barge into his house. He turns into a werewolf in front of her, and the chase is on!

I can’t stress enough how bad the werewolf effects are here, guys.

Buffy saves Ozwolf from the hunter and shoos the latter away. Willow tranqs Oz.

The epilogue here is that at school the next day, Larry is a better person! He PICKS UP a girl’s papers! See, full circle! Well, keep that in mind until next episode when the show forgets how that storytelling convention works.

Willow kisses Oz, finally bringing that whole thing to closure, too.

Episode 15

Image Credit: 20th Century Fox TV

Xander has bought Cordelia a necklace as a present. Apparently they are openly dating now, and that’s kind of the point of this whole episode. He reports they aren’t fighting as much, but now they have nothing to really talk about, either. COME ON, EPISODE. You set this up so well just to fall down in a puddle of your own puke at the finish line later on…

Elsewhere, Cordy’s popular friends are shunning her for dating known loser and geek, Xander. This is tough love, Cordelia! Accept this intervention. We all want what is best for you.

Hey, Amy The Cheerleader (or not, I guess) from Season 1 is back! She bewitches a teacher into thinking she has turned in her paper when she actually did not. Xander notices this and tells the rest of the team, but they do not believe him.

There’s drama between Giles and Ms. Calendar because she wasn’t up front about how she was supposed to be making sure Angel did not find happiness. She is trying to talk to him, but he won’t have it. In an episode with a few, this is another huge FUCK YOU moment. Like two months ago, a demon possessed Ms. Calendar because of Giles, and she forgave him after one mild talking-to from her and ENDLESS incel pouting on his part. Now he’s pissy about THIS? Go to hell, Rupert. Every single woman on this show can do better than the man they are with, with the possible exception of Willow.

Giles blows Calendar off to go talk to Buffy. He has done some homework, and it seems Angelus has been historically brutal during Valentine’s Day. So watch out! He tells her to stay off the streets.

In Mount Evil, Spike gives Drusilla a necklace. Then Angel comes in a gives her a human heart. Oh my god, this is stupid.

Also, Spike’s been around for ten-plus episodes at this point and has not tortured nor attacked a single person with a railway spike. I was promised more railroad spikes!

At the Valentine’s Dance, Cordy’s friends are still giving her crap for her choice in boyfriend. Xander pulls her aside and gives her the necklace he bought. She seemingly reluctantly breaks up with him.

In the Summers abode, Buffy and her mom are watching TV. Mom finds a box full of flowers addressed to Buffy on the back porch. The card just reads “SOON”, and mom doesn’t think ANYTHING OF THIS. Seriously, if my teenage daughter received this, I would have questions. At BEST, it’s telling you she is about to give it up. At WORST, it’s stalker/rapey. But mom’s just like “Oh, flowers!”. Mom has really supplanted Xander as my most hated character on this show.

Xander is mopey at school the next day. He ends up cornering Amy and blackmailing her into doing a spell that will make Cordelia love him. Not for good reasons–as if any could exist, but you could at least see it if it was because he wanted her back–but so HE could dump her and maker her feel bad.

Xander pulls back up to neck-and-neck with mom, and this race is heated, folks.

Anyway, he goes up to Cordy and demands the necklace back, as it is needed for part of the spell. In one of the moments of genuine heartfelt writing this show can occasionally muster up if it tries its absolute hardest, Cordelia lambastes him for the request, then goes to her locker to get it… but when she opens her locker, we see her using it as a shield to cover up the fact that she is wearing it and has to take it off.

Amy’s spell is ambiguously worded about Xander’s Love or whatever, so it’s totally going to whammy Buffy instead of Cordy, right?

The next day at school, Xander is frustrated when Cordelia is not responding as he expected at all. But when he talks to Buffy about it, she starts coming on to him. So yep.


Amy pulls him aside, and I think it’s to talk about the spell going awry, but now SHE’S asking him out. Then another rando girl approaches him and asks him to study with her. Oh, this is stupid, but okay. Xander loves every girl in school BUT Cordelia? He rushes home to figure shit out, and Willow is in his bed using network TV language to demand he take her right then and there. She starts kissing him, and Xander says she is being forced to do this, so we get Willow saying “Force is okay…”.

This episode is very horny.

Actually, at this point? This show is just very horny this season.

I guess we are in the next day, with Xander walking through the halls to a smooth jazz lovemaking tune. All the girls are staring at him. He goes to Giles for help, and Ms. Calendar falls for it, too! Buffy shows up in a very short silk robe, but Xander refuses to touch her. In walks Amy, and Buffy straight up DECKS her! Big mistake, though; Amy turns her into a rat.

Oz barges in (this whole scene is a WWE Raw opening segment promo of people taking their turn to come yell at others) and coldcocks Xander for making Willow cry. Giles very curtly orders Xander to go home so he, Calendar, and Amy can fix the suituation.

Cordelia’s friends physically assault her for dumping their beloved Xander (I mean, I get it. I do. But shouldn’t they be happy she dumped him so he is free now?). Xander saves her and runs away from the mob of jealous women… led by Willow with an axe, and god damn this school has a lot of easily accessible axes this season. This is at least the third we have seen.

Xander and Cordy flee to Buffy’s house… where mom falls for him, too. These two deserve each other; this should be our happy ending. Let them get married and run away together. Cordy locks mom out, but then Angel grabs Xander through the window and pulls him outside.

Xander is about to have to face Angelus… when a smitten Drusilla saves him. So wait, how far-reaching is this spell? Dru was not with Angel at this moment, so she clearly had to have been affected by the spell and followed her nose to Xander or something. Are there women from Delaware en route to Buffy’s house to get at him? What are the boundaries here?

Cordy pulls Xander into Buffy’s basement… where their tawdry affair started. She finds out from him that this madness was aimed at her, but the necklace protected her instead of targeting her.

Amy and Giles reverse all the spells. Buffy is human again. The mob, seconds away from murdering Cordy and Xander, wakes up from their stupor. Xander tells them they were in a scavenger hunt, and literally everyone there buys it.

I hate this show.

Later, Buffy tells Xander she is thankful he did not take advantage of her. Cordy’s friends are back to verbally attacking him, but Cordy tells them off and leaves to spend time with Xander.

So wait.

This relationship CONTINUES?

But it had such a good ending!

Back to the Full Circle stuff I mentioned earlier: they were in the same basement where it all started. What better place to end it? Xander sees what physical obsession gets you (from his spell), Cordy sees he fucking aimed a magic spell at her. Boom! They walk away from their feelings! Easy-peasy! In the basement. FULL CIRCLE.

But no. We can’t manage that, I guess.

So close.