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Sorry, but I’m an old-fashioned gal. I was raised to believe that men dig up the corpses and the women have the babies.
Over the years, I’ve come to soften my opinion on the one-shot Buffy episodes. Some of them are quite good, some of them are terrible, and many of them are just plain fun. In particular, I enjoy the episodes that pay homage to classic monster movies. Last season, we had an Invisible Man riff in “Out of Mind, Out of Sight.” This week we’re getting treated to Bride of Frankenstein. If you’ve never seen the original Bride of Frankenstein, do yourself a favor and rent it. It’s probably the best of the various ““enstein movies, unless you’re really into Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein. Which you could be. We don’t judge.
After the events of last week, Angel and Buffy’s relationship is still on the rocks. He, a 244-year-old teenaged boy, decides that the best time to awkwardly approach Buffy is while she’s hanging out waiting for a new vampire to rise. So that she may slay him, being the vampire slayer and all. Instead of talking about his feelings ““ which, to be fair, neither Buffy nor Angel are very good at ““ he tries to find out if something is going on between Buffy and Xander.
Buffy: Nope. Why? Are you jealous?
Angel: Of Xander? Please. He’s just a kid.
Buffy: Is it ’cause I danced with him?
Angel: ‘Danced with’ is a pretty loose term. ‘Mated with’ might be a little closer.
Buffy: Don’t you think you’re being a little unfair? It was one little dance, which I only did to make you crazy, by the way. Behold my success.
Angel: I am not jealous.
Buffy: You’re not jealous? What, vampires don’t get jealous?
Angel: See? Whenever we fight you always bring up the vampire thing.
That sexy dance will live in infamy.
So the (other) vampire shows up, a fight ensues, and then B&A can continue their fight. While striding after Angel, Buffy falls into an open grave and then the open coffin. Open graves are not so unusual in her world, but graves that dead bodies get dragged out of instead of shambling out of under their own un-dead mobility are; cue our mystery of the week.
TMAS, its Science Fair sign-up day. Willow is on-board, as well as the other red-headed nerd in school, Chris, and surprisingly, Cordelia, who is working on a project called “Tomato: Fruit or Vegetable.” Meanwhile, obvious creep, Eric, is snapping photographs of all the hot girls hanging around school.
Ah, the quaint sound of film advancing in a camera. The problem with digital cameras is that they negate the need for a scene where the creepy photographer ominously develops his photographs and hangs them up in a dimly lit room, still wet from developing fluid. That happens later in this episode. Good old film processing.
Buffy has put Giles on the task of figuring out what the deal is with the empty grave, that is, when he’s not working on his pick up lines. Giles has decided to ask TechnoPagan Jenny Calendar out on a real date, but despite being an adult, has no idea how to work the romantic angle. Buffy offers him some advice:
Buffy: You just say, “Hey, I got a thing, you maybe have a thing, maybe we could have a thing.”
Giles: Well, thank you, Cyrano.
Eventually we learn that three cheerleaders were killed recently in a car accident. Hence the dragging and the not-vampiring. This reminds Cordelia of some guy who has never been mentioned before but who is dead and whose death has traumatized her. Giles perfunctorily pats her on her shoulder. They should pay more attention to Cordelia; whenever a main character mentions someone who has never been mentioned before and yet is theoretically important, that person is the villain. Like Willow and other red-head nerd, Chris, who she claims is a good friend. No one claims to be friends with Eric, but that’s because he radiates douchebag.
So, anyway, TNAS, Cordelia thinks she’s being stalked through the parking lot and dives into a dumpster to hide. Angel rescues her from the dumpster ““ just passing through stalking Buffy, y’all ““ and they discover leftover cheerleader body parts in the trash. Cue the Scooby meeting.
Cordelia gets to exercise her inner drama queen by moping and making puppy eyes at Angel, who is wearing a freaking windbreaker, which is the least vampirey item of clothing, like, ever. All the body parts don’t add up to three whole girls ““ so the rest of the parts have to be out there somewhere. It takes them a shocking long time to figure out someone is building a girl.
Cordelia’s dead non-boyfriend, Daryl, former high school football star and brother of Chris, red-headed nerd, is now a reanimated monster. He’s hideous. He can’t go out because no one will be able to stand the sight of him, so he’s demanded that Chris make him a hideous girlfriend to keep him company. Chris doesn’t seem like a bad guy ““ he’s willing to use already deceased people to make a girlfriend, but he’s not willing to actually kill for it. Wait, did I just write that he doesn’t seem like a bad guy because he makes monsters out of dead people?
Yep. Perspective, people.
Eric wants to kill Cordelia and use her head to finish of Daryl’s bride. He tries to set up a kidnapping/murder plot during the Friday night football game, but Chris can’t go through with it. Eric manages to drag Cordelia away anyway.
Meanwhile, Buffy has paid a visit to Chris’s home and figured out what’s going on when she finds a creepy Cordelia-zombie drawing.
By the time she tracks him down, Cordelia and Eric have disappeared. She rushes off to the old lab in the old science building, where Chris had been hiding his science fair project. (What kind of ridiculously endowed high school is this?)
Daryl reveals himself to Cordy to the expected round of screaming. She, he explains, will be his girlfriend for ever and ever, and she’ll never be able to go outside again because she’ll be hideous like him. This is the second time a monster-of-the-week threatens to screw up Cordy’s good looks and it doesn’t get any less disturbing this time around.
Before Psychopath Eric cuts off Cordy’s head with a knife he found lying around, Buffy bursts through the door. Daryl is unwilling to part with his potential life partner and the two have a Slayer-worthy throw down. In the fracas, Buffy lights the place on fire. The Scoobies show up in time to drag Eric and Cordelia from the flames, but as the fire threatens the Bride, Daryl throws himself on top of her and they both go down together.
The episode ends where it began, in the cemetery, with Angel and Buffy sorting through their feelings for each other. He wishes he could see her in the daylight. She can’t answer that, but instead takes his hand as they walk on.
Next week Spuffy lovers: School Hard
WOW: This week our worst outfit has to go to Willow. I know what you’re thinking — Willow’s terrible sweaters, much like Xander’s polyester shirts, are a character quirk, but it is no sweater that assaults our eyes.
I don’t even. It’s not even the pattern. It’s the hideous combination of pattern and fabric and the boxy cut. When you see the shirt next to Buffy’s plaid pants, you kind of start imagining them as one outfit, and then little baby Jesus cries.
Thanks, wardrobe department.