Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Season 2 Episode 14

Innocence (2)

8
Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Jan 20, 1998 on The WB
9.6
out of 10
User Rating
800 votes
28

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

EDIT

After a night of passion with Buffy, Angel awakens as a soulless monster. After killing a human for the first time in decades, he remembers what it is like to be a true vampire. He then joins Spike and Drusilla in their plan to destroy the world.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Innocence (2)

    10
    Here we are, at the episode that changed the direction the series was going to take. Instead of having season after season of endless monster of the week goofiness, we get a show that's powerful, dramatic, funny, action-packed, and gut-wrenching. It all began here. On the commentary of this episode, Whedon himself states that this is the first time the writers realized what they were capable of. I'm so happy they never looked back. You'll probably notice that I have no complaints about this episode, which is true. I tried hard to find something worth nitpicking over, but simply put this material deserves the first 100 I've given out.



    It begins with Spike hilariously making fun of The Judge, who's just sitting around doing much of nothing. Right away I notice that this is shot differently than most BtVS episodes. There's this one particular shot where we see only half of Drusilla's face, with Spike and the Judge in the background. I really like this, it's unusual and refreshing to see. Whedon is definitely a competent director who likes to take risks. Thankfully his risks usually pay off.



    Angel is still on the ground crying out Buffy's name when a hooker asks him if he needs help. He quickly stands up and says "the pain is gone," and then bites her and blows her cigarette smoke out of his mouth; Angelus is back! I love how Whedon uses The Judge to confirm that Angel isn't simply playing a game here. The Judge touches him and nothing happens, so we know he's lost his soul. I also love the chemistry between Angelus, Spike, and Drusilla. It is naturally added right on top of the great chemistry Spike and Drusilla already have. Angelus quickly reveals his intentions: he wants to hurt Buffy like her hurt Drusilla. This will be accomplished in three steps. Step one is using his position as her lover to emotionally shatter her, which he does in this episode. Step two involves killing off all her friends and family until she has nothing left aside from herself, which he begins doing in "Passion" (2x17) and continues doing in "Becoming Pt. 1" (2x21). Then step three will be to kill her, which he tries to do in "Becoming Pt. 2" (2x22). This guy is seriously sick, cruel, and evil.



    All the acting this episode is first rate. I especially love the entire sequence involving Willow discovering Xander and Cordelia's relationship. Willow manages to be angry, cute, and disgusted all at the same time. Alyson Hannigan is a fantastic actress! I'm really happy that Willow doesn't shut down and go in cry mode but instead 'accepts' their relationship in light of their current crisis. She still says that Xander has "gross emotional problems" though. Jenny gets a good scene with her uncle as well. He gives an interesting speech about vengeance being a living thing rather than something 'traded,' like commerce.



    Joss Whedon can sure be cruel to his characters sometimes. We really see Buffy get torn apart in the big scene at Angel's place. Angelus says the cruelest things anyone could possibly say to Buffy after what they'd been through. She dissolves into pain and SMG's acting is perfectly gut-wrenching. This was tough enough, but Buffy gets beat up even more later on. After frighteningly choking Willow, Angelus kisses Buffy and violently throws her against the wall. Angelus shares with Spike, "to kill this girl you have to love her." This wave of emotional attacks cripples Buffy so when the group is trying to figure out what to do in the library and Giles asks Buffy what she knows about the previous night, she can't take it and is barely able to hold herself up as she runs home crying. I love that Willow can see why Buffy is in so much pain and tells Giles to "shut up." When Buffy gets home she lets it all out in a very painful scene to watch. She touches the cross Angel gave to her back in "Welcome to the Hellmouth" (1x01) and recoils in pain onto her bed where she curls up in a fetal position, crying and weeping. We've never seen Buffy in this much pain before.



    This emotional breakdown is followed by a haunting dream. In it she recalls her romantic sex from the previous night when the dream shifts to a cemetary where Angel tells her that Jenny Calendar is involved with what happened. This leads to the fantastic scene where Buffy charges into the Computer Lab, grabs a hold of Jenny's neck, and violently throws her back onto the table and demands for answers. Buffy finds out that it was her fault, not Jenny's. Giles then follows with a perfect reaction to discovering that not only Buffy had sex with Angel (and I think Giles knows he was her 'first') but that it also caused the loss of his soul.



    Continuity appears again here when Xander reminds everyone of his experience during "Halloween" (2x06). He uses his army knowledge gained in that episode to obtain a rocket launcher that Buffy can use to destroy The Judge. While Xander and Cordelia are in the army base, Willow and Oz are in the van. They share a cute scene here where Oz rejects the opportunity to kiss Willow because he knows the only reason she wants to kiss him is because of Xander's betrayal. I also love the "freeze frame" anology. This restraint on Oz's part is what really causes Willow to love and begin a seriously relationship with him. This relationship is solidified even further in the next episode when she finds out Oz is a werewolf, yet doesn't care.



    Right before the final confrontation at the mall, there's a small scene in which they are opening up the rocket launcher case and Jenny walks in asking if she can help. Buffy says, "get out." Jenny replies, "I just want to help." Giles then sternly answers, "she just said get out." This proves, once again, that Giles' allegiance is first and formost to Buffy. This is another big step on his path of becoming her father figure. Buffy gains a lot of respect for him right here.



    It's showtime. Buffy and the Scooby Gang come into the mall, Buffy calls The Judge "smurf," and they get set up to have the big showdown. The Judge is chain-zapping all kinds of people when Buffy shoots him with a dinky arrow. He says, "You're a fool. No weapon forged can stop me." Then Buffy cunningly answers, "That was then. This is now," and pulls out the rocket launcher. He tilts his heads and says, "what's that?" Rocket flies, Joss Whedon is jumping up and down yelling "YES!" on the set, and The Judge is blown back into pieces. This is simply pure satisfaction.



    The resulting fight with Angelus is very personal and ends with Buffy not being able to kill him and settling with kicking him where it hurts. In a moment like this I'm always worried that there won't be any consequences from letting him live. This is a Joss Whedon show, though, so no worries of that happening. The biggest consequence of letting Angelus live here is Jenny Calendar's murder in "Passion" (2x17).



    There is a really touching scene between Giles and Buffy in his car right before the end of the episode. Buffy is heart-broken and saying "this is all my fault." Giles replies with "if it's guilt you're looking for, Buffy, I'm, I'm not your man. All you will get from me is, is my support. And my respect." This naturally warms Buffy's heart and renews her to be able to move forward from here.



    This leads to the final scene with Buffy and her mom. Joyce asks, "Did you have fun?" Buffy replies, "I got older." Joyce then responds, "You look the same to me." This is an important point. Buffy feels as though she's lost her innocence, but Joyce is trying to tell her that, even with whatever she's been through, she's still an innocent. It's important to note how supportive Joyce is without even knowing what's bothering Buffy. It is so reassuring to know that Buffy has her mom and her friends to rely on when everything goes bad. That's what makes "Becoming Pt. 2" (2x22) even more painful than this episode: her family appears to abandons her and her friends can't understand her.



    Joyce letting Buffy take comfort in her arms, all nice and cozy, is the perfect end to this fantastic episode. The series is now operating on all cylinders and never calms down all the way through S7. This is the moment the show went from good to fantastic and meaningful. The season is gearing up. Here we go!moreless
  • Agonising and beautiful at the same time

    10
    Innocence



    The Good;

    As Joss says "Buffy in pain, show good!" And he really puts her, Jenny and Giles through the wringer here (Willow also has her pain but Oz is there to thankfully not kiss it better) But you know what? It doesn't matter because in the final scene she ends up back in Joyce's loving arms (and probably Dawn's too in everyone's memory) and it's all too beautiful for words.

    Stunningly brilliant in every way, quite possibly the best episode of Buffy ever.



    The Bad;

    Ummmmmm?

    Actually one thing I don't like is Angelus killing the hooker in the alley (She is lovely in a trashy sort of way, the Gorch's were wrong!). Such a misogynistic cliche, couldn't he have killed some guy emptying the bins or something?



    Best line;

    Xander (to Cordy) "Wear something trashy...er" (unkind actually as CC's outfit is very nice although a little school-uniformish).

    Plus;

    Giles; "I'd say we've hit rock bottom"

    Xander; "I have a plan"

    Cordy; "Oh no, there's a lower place!"

    But best dialogue;

    Joyce; "So how was your birthday?"

    Buffy; "Got older"

    Joyce "You don't look any different to me" (nice contrast between the scene where Joyce senses something different about Buffy after she's lost her virginity)



    What the fanficcers thought; Angelus kills the scoobs but others (Jonathon, Harmony etc)take their place, Deadscoobies as fanfiction.net



    Questions and observations;

    So much good stuff, the dream sequence and the scene where Angelus kills Jenny's uncle especially good. But how does he know he's in town? Did Dru have a vision?

    So Sunnydale has it's own army base (couldn't the Initiative have been based there?) as well as an airport big enough for a 747, zoo, docks etc Not bad for a town of under 40,000. How come Spike is prepared to destroy the world now but not in Becoming pt2? You can start to see his jealousy of Dru and Angelus almost from the start, without Darla the Fanged Four are out of balance. Although, like the Harvest or Adam or the Mayor turning into a big snake it would have been bad but would the Judge really have been the end of the world? Buffy using a firearm is a rare sight (I always thought she chucked it away afterwards but obviously she saves it for Season 7 'Him', couldn't she have used it on Adam or Glory?). It was always one of the things that troubled me about the supernatural threat, that really faced with modern technology they're not really up to much (love the Judge's ignorance of what he's facing followed inevitably by death) Buffy says she beat up Willy the Snitch again. I think most people fell in love at this point with Oz, ironically because he DOESN'T want to kiss Willow. Jenny leaves the Scoobies here and realistically will never get back in. Alison Hannigan shows some superb acting skills upon her discovery but all the actors really shine here. Oz joins the Scoobies from the beginning. This makes the Scoobs offically;

    1. Buffy

    2. Giles

    3. Willow

    4. Xander

    5. Angel (for the course of the ep at least)

    6. Jenny

    7. Cordy

    8. Oz

    the biggest they'll ever be until season 5



    10/10 and more of I could make it, just superb and a whole new era for Buffy

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  • After consumating their love, Angel looses his soul, joins Spike's and Dru's gang and starts to torture Buffy.

    9.5
    This is one of those episodes that just tears your heart out. It begins right where Surprise left off, with Buffy in Angel's bed and Angel in the ally in pain. The we see Angel stand up, kill a hooker and we know... Angelus is back!

    David Boreanaz plays Angelus with such a finness and power. He balances this fine line of Angel/Angelus beautifully and as evil as he is; he is a joy to watch.

    Sarah is amazing is this episode. She is so vonerable and on edge; depicting everything Buffy is going through right on the surfaces. The subplots and supporting characters are also great, but this episode belongs to David and Sarah and Joss Whedon. He is the master, and this is a piece of art!!!moreless
  • A FREAKIN AWESOME EPISODE

    10
    this was such a great episode!!! I adore the circle of friends ( Willow, Buffy, and Xander) such a witty trio but when things go wrong r there to pick up the pieces. Angelus was a perfect plot twist.... and a perfect edition to such a wonderful hour of entertainment. The part with Willow and Angelus in the hallway was my all time favorite..and when Xander came to her rescue it made my heart melt... they would be cute together ( no matter how much i love Oz). Based on how this episode ended it is clear to say that the resident bad guy.. and season villian will be Angelus...who would have thought??moreless
  • Innocence

    10
    Innocence, the conclusion to the double episode feature of the midseason, was perfectly astounding!!! This episode brought new dilema's to the characters lives, and keeps a steady pace with action, drama, and humor. I think that the Judge was a great villian and makes for an interesting story. We have learned a lot more about Ms. Calendar such as her origins and true purpose. I look forward to seeing what happens next. Buffy and Angel continue their fight in the mall and Buff doesn't kill him, Angel taunts her, and she says to give her time. I think that the rest of the season is shaping up for a great run!!!moreless
Carla Madden

Carla Madden

Woman

Guest Star

Parry Shen

Parry Shen

Student

Guest Star

Brian Thompson

Brian Thompson

The Judge

Guest Star

Seth Green

Seth Green

Oz

Recurring Role

Kristine Sutherland

Kristine Sutherland

Joyce Summers

Recurring Role

Robia LaMorte

Robia LaMorte

Jenny Calendar/Janna Kalderash

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

FILTER BY TYPE

  • TRIVIA (15)

    • Goof: As Angelus leaves through the double doors after the confrontation with Buffy, Willow, Xander and Jenny you can see his reflection in the door glass.

    • The scene where Oz tells Willow that he dreams about kissing her, but he won't, because, "to a casual observer, it would appear you're trying to make your friend Xander jealous, and that's on the empty side. You see, when I'm kissing you...you're kissing me." was specifically written by Joss to make the audience warm to Oz, as many viewers were still hoping for Xander and Willow to date.

    • If you look at the script after Angelus opens the door to Jenny's uncle's room there is an entire scene after he says, 'not really' of him torturing Jenny's uncle, which was cut.

    • Goof: The Judge bursts into flame before the missile actually strikes him.

    • In the scene where Angelus was with Spike and Drusilla in the beginning, the heart on his claddagh ring was pointing away from the base of his finger. Then in a later scene when he goes back into his apartment and meets Buffy and he lifts his hand up to her, you can clearly see the heart is now pointing the opposite way toward the base of his finger.

      This may, however, be intentional.
      Angel might have turned the ring around towards the base of his finger to fool Buffy, since the direction of the heart is meaningful.

    • Nitpick: The scene in the library when the Scoobies are meeting up to report on their recon from the night before is clearly meant to be first thing in the morning - before any classes. The clock behind Giles not only says that it is almost 1pm, but it doesn't change for the whole scene. You can even see that the clock doesn't work because the second hand isn't moving.

    • Nitpick: When the Scoobies are ducking behind the counter before Buffy shoots The Judge, you can't see Cordelia anywhere, even though in the shots before and after she is there.

    • Goof: When Angelus walks into Jenny's uncle's hotel room you see him sitting in front of a mirror and then you see Angelus walk in (through the mirror) when vampires are not suppose to have a reflection.

    • Nitpick: Giving the military the benefit of the doubt, why is a door that says "Secured Area" on it unlocked?

    • Nitpick: How did they get the lights back on so quickly? Assuming that he didn't just turn off the power, that he actually cut the lines, they couldn't have done anything about it without calling attention to themselves.

    • Nitpick: Just like in "School Hard", when the power is cut, the display cases are still lit up!

    • Goof: After Angelus and Drusilla jump to avoid the rocket launcher, we see their reflections in the mall floor. You also see Dru's reflection in the glass display behind her.

    • Nitpick: After the stand-off in the dark school hallway, Angelus dashes out the doors. Look closely out the door, though, and you'll see that it is kind of sunny out. Angelus should've thought of a better exit.

    • Goof: At the end of "Surprise" it is still raining when Angelus runs outside and he gets soaked again. However, when he bites the woman at the start of this episode he is suddenly dry. Also, even though it has stopped raining, water should still be dripping or pouring off the surrounding buildings or structures, yet everything is dry.

    • Goof: Xander tells Cordelia to meet him at Willow's house in thirty minutes, wearing something trashier. Then it's the next day, when Buffy accosts Ms. Calendar in her class, demanding answers. The next thing you know, it's night again and Xander, Willow, Cordelia and Oz are at the army base. Joss himself has spoken on this: "I was watching the final mix of 'Innocence' when I noticed this huge mistake. Let's just think of it as them going to Willow's the night before to practice and go over what they were going to do."

  • QUOTES (22)

    • Xander: Willow, we were just kissing. It doesn't mean that much.
      Willow: No. It just means that you'd rather be with someone you hate than be with me. (turns around and runs away)

    • Angelus: Don't you look spiffy!
      The Judge: Spiffy?

    • Angelus: Spike, my boy, you really don't get it, do you? You tried to kill her, but you couldn't. Look at you, you're a wreck! Force won't get it done, you've gotta work from the inside. To kill this girl... You have to love her.

    • Xander: Sorry I snapped at you before.
      Cordelia: Well, I'm reeling from that new experience.
      Xander: I was crazed, I wasn't thinking.
      Cordelia: I know, you were too busy rushing off to die for your beloved Buffy. You'd never die for me.
      Xander: No, I might die from you, does that get me any points?
      Cordelia: No.

    • Spike: Funny that restoring energy looks a lot like sitting on your ass. When do we destroy the world already?

    • Angelus: You have to know what to see...

    • Oz: So, do you guys steal weapons from the Army a lot?
      Willow: Well, we don't have cable, so we have to make our own fun.

    • Xander: I know it's weird.
      Willow: Weird? It's against all laws of god and man. It's Cordelia! Remember? The whole "We hate Cordelia" Club, of which you are the treasurer.

    • Willow: I knew it. I knew it! Well, not knew it in the sense of having the slightest idea, but I knew there was something I didn't know.

    • Spike: Do you know what happens to Angel?
      Angelus: Well, he moves to New York and tries to fulfill that Broadway dream. It's tough sledding, but one day, he's working in the chorus when the big star twists her ankle.
      Spike: You don't give up, do you?
      Angelus: As long as there's injustice in the world, as long as scum like you is walking... well, rolling, in the streets, I'll be around. Look over your shoulder. I'll be there.

    • Buffy: I don't understand. Was it m-me? Was I not good?
      Angelus: You were great. Really. I thought you were a pro.

    • Xander: Whoa. Whoa! I... I think I'm having a thought. Yeah, yeah, yeah, that's a thought. Now I'm having a plan...Now I'm having a wiggins.

    • Cordelia: Well, does looking at guns make you wanna have sex?
      Xander: I'm seventeen. Looking at linoleum makes me wanna have sex.

    • Spike: No more of this 'I've got a soul' crap?
      Angelus: What can I say, hmm? I was going through a phase.

    • Drusilla: I'm naming all the stars.
      Spike: You can't see the stars, love. That's the ceiling. Also, it's day.

    • Spike: I know you haven't been in the game for a while, mate, but we do still kill people. It's sort of our raison d'etre, you know.

    • Cordelia: This is great. There's an unkillable demon in town. Angel's joined his team. The Slayer's a basket case. I say we've hit bottom.
      Xander: I have a plan.
      Cordelia: Oh, no! Here's a lower place.

    • Angelus: (Buffy whips out a stake, primed to kill Angelus but pauses) I knew it. You can't kill me.
      Buffy: (Buffy kicks Angelus not so gently in the groin and he doubles over in pain) Give me time.

    • Drusilla: Psst. We're going to destroy the world. Want to come?
      Angelus: Yeah, destroying the world. Great. I'm really more interested in the Slayer.
      Spike: Well, she's in the world, so that should work out.

    • Spike: You've really got a yen to hurt this girl, haven't you?
      Angelus: She made me feel like a human being. That's not the kind of thing you just forgive.

    • Oz: Sometimes when I'm sitting in class... You know, I'm not thinking about class, 'cause that would never happen. I think about kissing you. And it's like everything stops. It's like freeze frame. Willow kissage. Oh, I'm not gonna kiss you.
      Willow: What? But, freeze frame!
      Oz: Well, to the casual observer, it would appear that you're trying to make your friend Xander jealous or even the score or something. And that's on the empty side. See, in my fantasy, when I'm kissing you, you're kissing me. It's okay, I can wait.

    • Enios: To the modern man vengeance is a verb, an idea. Payback. One thing for another. Like commerce. Not with us. Vengeance is a living thing. It passes through generations. It commands. It kills.

  • NOTES (12)

    • During their fight at the mall, you can see advance posters for Quest for Camelot behind Buffy and Angelus. Earlier, you can see the poster for Fallen behind Angelus. Both movies were distributed by Warner Bros. in early 1998.

    • Xander explains that his new amazing military abilities stems from the events in episode 18, "Halloween".

    • In the scene where Buffy cries in her bedroom, Sarah Michelle Gellar got so affected that production had to shut down for 25 minutes because she couldn't stop crying. She said in an interview one year after that she thought she was having a breakdown.

    • This episode is number one in Joss Whedon's list of his top ten favorite episodes according to The Last Sundown featurette in the season seven DVD box set.

    • Brian Thompson (The Judge) also played Luke in the premiere of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, "Welcome To The Hellmouth" and died in the second episode, "The Harvest".

    • At the 1998 Emmy Awards, Buffy won in the Best Make-Up for a series category for "Surprise" and this episode.

    • The actors credited in the co-stars list as the Teacher and Student do not actually appear in the episode. The scene they were in was cut due to length and time, which revolved around Buffy running out of class, after a series of dark thoughts about having sex the night before.

    • This episode aired the day after the previous one as extra incentive for people to tune in after the show was moved from it's Monday timeslot to Tuesdays. Also, "Innocence" was chosen as the time for the move due to the cliffhanger in "Surprise". This episode marks the one and only day move for Buffy (a network change is done at the end of season 5 but remains on Tuesdays).

    • Jenny Calendar (Robia LaMorte) was originally supposed to die in this episode.

    • The scene where Angelus dumps Buffy in his apartment was not supposed to take place there. Halfway through shooting the scene on Buffy's lawn, Sarah Michelle Gellar and David Boreanaz told Joss that the scene wasn't working, so he moved it to the bedroom. Buffy is still heard saying she saw him at "the house".

    • In the flashback scenes of Buffy and Angel making love, the heavy breathing wasn't voiced by David and Sarah, but rather by series creator Joss Whedon and supervising sound editor Cindy Rabideau. (Apparently Joss was too embarrassed to ask the stars to record it).

    • In the October 1, 1999 issue of Entertainment Weekly, Marcia Shulman, the casting director, said this was her favorite episode.

  • ALLUSIONS (3)

    • Cordelia: I know you'll (Xander) find something useful if it's in an "I Can Read" book!
      "I Can Read" books are the children's books that are for beginning readers. Some of them are the Dr. Seuss books.

    • Buffy: I'll handle the smurf.
      Another reference to the blue appearance of the Judge. The smurfs were blue dwarf-like cartoon characters in the TV show of the 80's.

    • Buffy: No assembly required.
      Buffy indicates that the Judge is fully whole with a play on the phrase some assembly required. See also the season two episode of that name.

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