Recap, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Episode 3.01, “Anne”

I don’t want any trouble. I just want to be alone and quiet in a room with a chair and a fireplace and a tea cozy. I don’t even know what a tea cozy is, but I want one. Instead, I keep getting trouble, which I am more than willing to share.

Oh, hey, y’all. It’s been a while since we checked in with Buffy and the gang. Long time fans can probably pick up with these season 3 recaps and know right away why Buffy is hanging out in L.A. this episode, but if you need a refresher on what lead up to these developments, all of my Season 2 recaps are collected here.

Also, a note about spoilers and spoiler warnings: I don’t generally believe in spoiler warnings, since I think the concept of a “recap” should be enough of a warning in and of itself. However, I have noticed that there are a large number of P-Mag readers who have only just started watching Buffy and may be coming into these posts with unspoiled eyes. My posts will or may include references to all aired Buffy episodes (that is, all of them), including plot points or characters who may not have been introduced as of the current recap episode. I do not generally refer to “Season 8” (the comics).  Please be forewarned.

All that said, let’s check in with the Scooby Gang:

Since Buffy disappeared after the events of “Becoming,” the gang has been trying to fill in for her as best they can. But three (and four, when Cordelia comes back from summer vacation) regular human beings do not equal one Slayer, no matter what the math says. The best Willow and the boys can do is not end up dead. Which, according to their “body count,” is about all they’re doing.

There’s actually a really great moment where Oz hefts up a stake, looks focused and professional, and then hurls it inefficiently after a fleeing vampire. It’s a played for laughs moment, but it’s a very clever commentary on just how special Buffy is – we see her do similar attacks so often it looks deceptively easy. But she’s the Chosen One. She has just chosen to not be in Sunnydale right now.

The gang is almost entirely B-role in this episode. Their purpose is to remind us of the Slayer-shaped hole Buffy’s absence has left – no one has heard from her, and from the few glimpses of Joyce we get, I don’t think she mentioned to them that she had kicked Buffy out of the house. No one really knows what happened at the mansion, but it’s going to be a cloud over most of the season.

So let’s talk about Buffy. She’s returned to L.A., but not to the privileged part of it she grew up in. She’s down in the gutter, slinging pie at “Helen’s Kitchen” (a none-too-subtle nod to Hell’s Kitchen), living in a one room apartment that she pays for by the month. No one knows she’s the Slayer here and that’s what she wants – she even traded in her first name for her middle one, “Anne.” There’s a really fantastic montage of the first day of school at Sunnydale, full of people and conversations and hopes (“If we can focus, keep discipline, and not have quite as many mysterious deaths, Sunnydale is gonna *rule!*”) contrasted against Buffy sitting alone in her room, depressed.

 Ken, our villain of the episode, says later on that hell is the absence of hope, and that’s where Buffy is in that shot – hopeless, alone, no one.

 Plotting happenstance brings Buffy into contact with a face from her past – Chanterelle from “Lie to Me,” the fragile blonde who thought Spike might make her into a vampire. She’s going by “Lily” now, living on the streets, but in love with her boyfriend. She recognizes Buffy and reaches out to her, trying to thank her for everything Buffy did in the vampire club. The Slayer is bristly, on guard, and unsure of how to respond to the overture of friendship. This is not our girl.

Later, Lily’s boyfriend disappears and she asks Buffy to help find him because “that’s what you do. Help people.” Lily is the hook back into Buffy’s old life – she tries to get out of helping, but Lily knows her nature. She can’t refuse. And as Buffy investigates what’s going, we see more of our girl peeking out of the shell. She literally looks more alive, her language is wittier, and she falls easily back into Slayer mode.

Ricky, unfortunately, is dead – and about 80 years older than he was the day before. This is weird even by Buffy standards. When Lily freaks out upon hearing the news, wanting to know who will take care of her now, Buffy snaps at her, chasing Lily from the apartment. Guilt can do awful things to you.

Ken, our demon, who is masquerading as some non-descript do-gooder, invites Lily back to his teen haven for some treachery. Buffy’s not far behind them, having deduced that the haven house is the source of Ricky’s untimely end. She tries to enter the house undercover:

 You know, I just – I woke up and I looked in the mirror and I thought, “Hey, what’s with all the sin? I need to change. I’m-I’m dirty, I’m-I’m bad with the sex, and the envy, and that-that loud music us kids listen to nowadays. B-” Oh, I just suck at undercover.

That’s our girl.

She busts the door in, beats up the guards, and finds Ken just in time to see Lily sucked through a dimensional portal, and in her struggle with Ken, they both fall through afterwards. They find themselves in an alternate reality, where Ken is a fascist demon-faced, uh, demon, kidnapping healthy kids to work in his factory that seems to make fire or people hitting stuff or whatever. But because it’s an alternate reality, 100 years will pass on that side to one day on our side, which explains what happened to Ricky.

The overlords attempt to press Buffy and Lily and Random Teenagers into their workforce by robbing them of their identities and their hopes, asking the kids what their names are and bludgeoning the ones who haven’t figured out the right answer is “I’m no one.”

When the Head Beater stops in front of our girl, she gives a wry little smile and reclaims her name and her purpose. “I’m Buffy, the Vampire Slayer.”

Then she beats the snot out of them.

The fight scene in this episode is one of my favorites in the entire series. It powerful and athletic, well choreographed. And this is my favorite part: during the fight scene, when Buffy is attempting to overthrow the overlords, she grabs a hammer and a sickle to wield against them. Revolutionary weapons.

Ken brings the fight to a halt by threatening to kill Lily, then casts her aside to make a grand pronouncement about how he will cru ““ oh, never mind. Lily shoves him off the platform. I seriously love Lily. (She shows up on Angel too.)

Buffy, Lily, and Random Teenagers make a break for the portal, when Ken tries to head them off, accidentally getting himself impaled by a gate in the process. Buffy stands over him:

 

 

Buffy: Hey Ken, wanna see my impression of Gandhi?
[beats him to death with a club]
Lily: Gandhi?
Buffy: Well, you know, he was really pissed-off.

Everyone gets home alive, except for the people they didn’t bother to rescue. The portal closes. Yay, good guys!

Before heading back to Sunnydale, Buffy does the last bit of caretaking Lily will need to get on her feet. She gives her the job at Helen’s Kitchen, the rest of the lease on her apartment, and her old name, “Anne.” She gives Lily-Anne hope.

At home, she doesn’t go see Giles first, or the gang, or school. She rings the doorbell at her own house and embraces her mother.

Published by

[E] Slay Belle

Slay Belle is an editor and the new writer mentor here at Persephone Magazine, where she writes about pop culture, Buffy, and her extreme love of Lifetime movies. She is also the editor of powderroom.jezebel.com. You can follow her on Twitter, @SlayBelle or email her at slay@persephonemagazine.com. She is awfully fond of unicorns and zombies, and will usually respond to any conversational volley that includes those topics.

14 thoughts on “Recap, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Episode 3.01, “Anne””

  1. I thought of another question! Why is it that the more often than not, demons speak English? Not even heavily accented English but a very American dialect? Is it just an ability they have to be understood, or do they have to learn it like everyone else, in which case why would they bother? Most of them would find it easier to just tear off their victims’ heads. Or do demons all speak English and slayers slaying in other places (like Greenland, for example, in that episode whose season, name and main plot I’ve forgotten) are just screwed if they’re trying to understand their foe’s banter and only speak Greenlandic or Danish?Can a Greenlandic speaking demon communicate with an English speaking one?

  2. My darling!!! I’ve missed these little rendezvous in the Buffyverse so very much! I wrote a paper about this episode in college, focusing on Buffy the revolutionary, the hammer and sickle, all that good stuff, and got an A, so I have a soft spot for this one. Plus, I like the character arc of Chanterelle/Lily/Anne throughout Buffy and Angel a whole bunch. That episode of Angel where she takes the bag of blood soaked money for the shelter and says “It’ll wash,” is freaking awesome.

    Can’t wait til next week!

    1. Thank you! Its nice to know other people are enjoying the recaps. I really love writing them and thinking critically about the world of the Slayer, but I think I needed a little break there after season 2.

      I also really like the episodes where normal people are able to stand up to the villains themselves — it always makes me feel a little cheered when the non-paranormals aren’t expected to be sheep.

  3. Yay! Slay Belle you are back with Buffy recaps! There’s something seriously wonderful about reading these and reading all the comments that go along with them. Maybe it’s because nobody in my real life loves Buffy the way that I do, but reading these makes me feel really appreciative of having such a great show to watch as I grew up and gives me faith (in what I don’t know, but it’s there). This show is still the most significant piece of pop culture in my personal history and I love that it’s still here.

     

    1. Thank you! I’m glad to be back with the Buffyverse.

      I really get a lot from doing the recaps (though it doesn’t feel like that when I’m struggling to find something to say at 11 at night writing it up) and I get so much from everyone else’s thoughts. There’s been several times where someone points something out I just never thought of — its a real testament to how good the show was that we can keep finding new things in it so many years later.

  4. Who is this saying Buffy is bossy?! Where are they? I must tell them they are morons!

    I think I just don’t like the idea of Hope in general. But that’s a personal philosophy so it filters into my TV philosophies…

    This is a girl who has to go out and save the world (a lot) and all she wants to really do is be a teenager. I think there was an episode where she had wanted a birthday party but had to, of course, save Sunnydale again. So, at the end of the day, she and her mom curled up on the couch with TV and icecream and comfy socks and I remember thinking. She just saved the world and this is what she wants? Something simple, personal and only two people are required. …Basically, it helped shape how I celebrate certain things.

    My birthday is coming up and while everything is stupid and crazy, I just want Chinese food and a movie. And those socks. I loved the socks. I just want to be myself, quietly, enjoying life. Just like Buffy. :)

    eta: I thought this was attached to the reply box, but apparently not? So, Slay Belle, this is my response to you. Just fyi.

    1. One of the things that really struck me this time about the episode was the absence of hope. Buffy reacts like this a couple of times throughout the series and I realized every time she breaks down, its because she has no hope left. She’ll fight through anything, for anything, but she just needs a thread, just a little tiny thread, to hold onto.

      I know a lot of people didn’t care for this episode, but I really love it. I think its so perfect on so many levels.  I’m sorry I made you cry, but maybe Joyce will give you a hug to make you feel better.

       

      1. It’s a good cry. Buffy’s Back! kind of cry.

        And this is a very dark episode, emotionally.

        I don’t know if I’d say she lost Hope…She lost, or left behind, Purpose. It’s more about Nothingness.  Watching her sit in that room, I remember thinking that she had Nothing. (actually, this is when two shows collide and I think of the “I have Nothing!” speak that Jess gives to his dad in Gilmore Girls. my thoughts float around a bit) What do you live for when there’s Nothing? Lily brought back her Purpose. And sure at first she can reject it, but that’s because at that moment, she could. Giles wasn’t telling her what to do and then like a machine, going out and doing it. She made the choice. She went and helped Lily because Lily Asked. It’s one of those Becoming an Adult situations, I think? She did the right thing because it came from inside her – there was Something inside her. (instead of the Nothing).

        Does this make sense? I can get too deep sometimes. Especially when Joss is involved.

        1. No, I don’t think you’re thinking too much about it. This is what makes a good show — those layers are intentionally there. I don’t think we’re disagreeing — I see her lack of Hope connected to her having Nothing. I mean, that’s why the whole ‘I’m No One’ lines are so important. They have nothing, they are no one.

          When Buffy goes catatonic in the 5th season, her behavior is a fairly direct line from what happens in this episode to what happens in that one. She’s just older and her responsibilities weigh more then. She gets pushed to a point where she just can’t deal and shuts down — its just that her point is so much farther than anyone else’s. She’s shut down here, emotionally, and then literally in the 5th season.

          I’m gonna digress for a moment and say that I get really pissy when people say they don’t like Buffy because she can be kind of sanctimonious and bossy. Well, you know what? She sacrifices everything, literally everything, all the time, for the good of the world, while people keep piling shit on her shoulders. She can have a bad attitude if she wants.

          1. Your last paragraph covers just about everything I feel about Buffy whenever anyone talks shit on her and her ability to handle things. Like, seriously? You try having the fate of the world resting on your shoulders every single day. See how cheery you can be.

Leave a Reply