Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Season 2 Episode 17


Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Feb 24, 1998 on The WB
out of 10
User Rating
873 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary


Angelus continues his obsessive torment of Buffy by visiting her during the night and leaving presents in her bed. Meanwhile, Ms. Calendar tries to make amends for deceiving Buffy and Giles by attempting to translate the Gypsy curse to restore Angel's human soul, with dire consequences.

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  • Brilliantly Twisted

    A breath taking episode with the most humanly sick and twisted display of Angelus in the arc. His level of obsession was brilliantly stomach churning from leaving drawings of Buffy in her room and delivering Willow her fish dead in an envelope to his doing a chilling impression of Angel for Joyce.

    What was interesting about this episode was how the stalking showed us the flip side of the coin to Angelus' character, the darker form of his obsession with Buffy as opposed to what it is with his soul. It's shows how unhealthy obsession can be, humanity's greatest mental illness.

    I also love Angelus' voice over lines in this episode.

    "Passion. It lies in all of us. ... And though unwanted... unbidden... it will stir... open its jaws, and howl. It speaks to us... guides us... Passion rules us all. And we obey. What other choice do we have? Passion is the source of our finest moments. The joy of love... the clarity of hatred... and the ecstasy of grief. It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion, maybe we'd know some kind of peace. But we would be hollow. Empty rooms, shuttered and dank... Without passion, we'd be trulymoreless
  • A near perfect episode

    A near perfect episode.

    No easy feat for weekly TV, which by its nature normally has to hold something in reserve.

    Jenny Calendar's death was deeply moving. One saw it coming, yet one could not quite believe it was actually happening.

    BTVS is normally an easy-going show. Entertaining, but light in mood. The heroes never die.

    "Passion" was a dramatic departure from that norm. It was truly dark and disturbing. Jenny has her neck snapped. Giles expects a romantic evening but instead finds Jenny's corpse on his bed, her lifeless eyes staring into space.

    Clearly the writer(s) decided to go for it. They killed off a major supporting character. Not a disposable "mook," but a truly likeable character whom we've grown to know and love.

    I don't know what the writers intend for Angel. But for me, it's over. He can never be redeemed. Not after this. He needs to die.

    I logged in intending to defiantly give this episode a 10 rating -- even if others panned it. I needn't have worried. One perfect 10 rating after another.moreless
  • Passion

    Wow. Simply...wow. The first time I saw this episode it left me completely numb for 15 minutes. Every single time I've seen it since I've felt not quite so much shock, but instead a hollow, cold feeling inside me. Spine-tingled, angered, and goosebump ridden can be added to that as well. There's a reason why this is one of the best episodes in the entire series. This episode is the first major shock of the series and represents the point where I was proud to own the S2 DVD set and proud to call myself a huge 'Buffy' fan.

    It begins powerfully and ends powerfully, one of the very few BtVS episodes to do that. Most start out slow and build to a powerful conclusion. In this, we instead get creeped out by Angelus' perverted and sick mental torturing of Buffy and her friends. The opening scene is extremely creepy and, surprisingly, actually quite scary as Angelus is right on Buffy's bed, stalking her as she sleeps. When Buffy wakes up the next morning she finds a picture of her, drawn by Angelus, left on her pillow. All of this is so incredibly disturbing, I'm frankly surprised this doesn't freak Buffy out more. I know I'd be completely petrified had that happened to me.

    In a important scene later on, Giles makes it clear to Jenny that he's not the person she has to make things right with. Basically, when Buffy decides to forgive Jenny, so will Giles. I love Giles' loyalty and pure devotion to Buffy, both as a Watcher and as a father figure. It is really good to see Jenny genuinely wanting to make up for her mistake by attempting recreate the curse to restore Angel's soul. Fortunately for her, Buffy gets past her anger to share with her the fact that Giles misses her, and that she doesn't want anyone to be alone. Buffy is essentially giving Giles permission to continue dating Jenny after what she did. This is extremely selfless of her and is incredibly pleasing to see.

    Unfortunately, as Giles and Jenny begin piecing their relationship back together, everything else goes to hell. Angelus turns things up another notch by attacking Buffy's friends. He kills all of Willow's fish by sewing them together with a string and leaving them in a note on Willow's bed. Then he reveals that he and Buffy had sex to Joyce. Then he stops Jenny from getting the freshly translated curse to the Scoobies, which leads to a violently raw scene in the computer lab where Angelus smashes the Orb of Thesulah and threatens to kill Jenny. What follows is a scary and riveting chase scene that you always think is going to end with Buffy saving the day.

    This show, however, is unique and decides to take a much darker, much riskier route by killing off a main character instead of taking the easy way out. Yes, Jenny wasn't in every episode, but she was certainly a main character. The neck snap is brutal, shocking, unambiguous, and completely earth shattering. Main characters can actually die in this show. This makes everyone's plight against evil after this is scary, tense, and gives the show a level of realism and depth rarely seen on television. All bets are off and anyone can be killed off now.

    While Angelus is busy killing off Jenny, Willow is hanging out over at Buffy's place while Joyce has "the talk" about sex with Buffy. I think Joyce handles it pretty well in a very tender scene with Buffy. Buffy also responds exactly like she should and openly admits she made a big mistake in having sex with Angel. I don't think she's sorry just because he lost his soul either. I think she knows she wasn't quite ready for it yet either. This is obviously a lesson to not rush into having sex as there can be dire consequences. This isn't preaching, though, and it delivers an important message that sex is something that is meant for people with a relationship that is solid and supportable, and is not for the reckless.

    As incredibly painful as it is to see Jenny Calendar's neck snapped by Buffy's ex-lover, the following scenes are, impressively, several times more painful to watch. Giles comes home expecting a romantic evening to reconnect with Jenny and what we, and he, gets instead is one of the most brutal, disturbing, and perverted things I've ever seen on television. Angelus not only kills Jenny Calendar, but he then uses her body to lead Giles into thinking he's going to have a romantic encounter is his room. Every time I see the rose on the door and Giles' big warm smile I cringe in pain. Angelus sets up everything: the opera, the rose, the wine, and the note that only says 'upstairs.' Giles warmly walks upstairs, ecstatic with the reality of reconnecting with Jenny after all that has happened. Instead he walks up to find Jenny's body carefully laid out on his bed, with her eyes left open, staring blankly at him. I don't have words to describe how evil and sick this is. This scene elicited the strongest emotional response from me ever before when watching film up to that point.

    The pain and cruelty somehow still doesn't end here. The following, equally painful scene, involves Giles calling Buffy and telling her what happened. All we see is the reaction from Buffy as she collapses into a corner in disbelieving tears and Willow as she bursts into sobbing pain and sorrow in Joyce's arms. While all of this is happening, Angelus is just outside the window soaking in all of the suffering he's caused and taking pure, undiluted pleasure from the experience. It is during this scene that I actually want Buffy to kill Angelus for good. I don't care if Angel comes back or not anymore, this guy needs to be dusted, right away.

    Giles, now in complete determination mode, gathers up his best weapons and takes off to kill Angelus. The Scooby Gang arrives at his house too late to stop him. Xander uses this as an opportunity to point out that he hopes Giles is able to kill Angelus and that he hated Angel long before anyone else. It's powerful and telling to see Buffy completely and unwaveringly agree. Buffy then runs to the factory to prevent Giles from getting himself killed. This involves a perfectly-executed and passionate fight scene that really delivers. What's more passionate, though, is the aftermath of the fight when Giles pushes Buffy off him and yells out, "Why did you come here!? This wasn't your fight!" Buffy punches him to the ground where she drops to her knees and simply hugs Giles tight as he weeps his heart out for Jenny.

    While burying Jenny in the graveyard, Buffy apologizes with all her heart for not killing Angelus when she had the chance back in "Innocence" (2x14). What a massive price the group had to pay for hope that someday Angel might regain his soul. And hope there is, with that floppy disk lying in between the cracks. This episode is another defining moment for the series and one of the most powerful pieces of drama I've ever witnessed in my life. Absolutely stunning directing, perfect acting, creepy music, great action, powerful emotion, and awesome execution.moreless
  • Running out of superlatives at this point


    The Good;

    Angelus's lyrical narration. Buffy and Joyce having 'The Talk' (you imagine one day Buffy will do the same with Dawn?). Jenny and Angelus' confrontation at the school. Buffy saving Giles at the factory. The twist in the tail.

    The Bad;

    It seems rather stupid that Buffy simply warns Joyce to keep away from Angelus, because that's going to keep her safe? In the past we're told that Angelus drove Dru mad by killing everyone she loved and nailing puppies to stuff. Here he just tells Joyce that he and Buffy had sex, doesn't even do it nastily. Although Will's fish aren't nice.

    Best line;

    Any and all of Angelus' narration. Plus Spike stopping Dru from helping Angelus "Not fair if he doesn't tag you"

    Wheldon cliches;

    Character death-1 (Jenny the 3rd recurring character to die)


    Knocked out-yep, Giles again


    Women good/men bad-0

    Kinky-dinky; Angelus/Spike/Dru

    Questions and observations;

    Wonderful scene where Jonathon and friend actually come into the library to borrow some books (reminiscent of the opening scene in Friends where they turn up at Central Perk only to find the couch taken for once). Surely Angelus doesn't need an invitation to enter a public area like a school? Or has Jenny done a spell to keep him out and the school motto meant it didn't work. Equally does the invitation rule apply to cars? Presumably Angel has also been to Giles' house in order to put Jenny's body in Giles' bed. We must assume Giles and Jenny have had sex before if she has a key to his place and he's not suprised to find her in his bedroom. Once again, roses don't seem to repel vamps in the Buffyverse. Does Joyce not question why the 40+ school librarian keeps popping around the house to see her teenage daughter? Willow collapsing into Joyce's arms is a sign of how close Joyce has become to the rest of the Scoobs.

    Jenny is the 3rd recurring character to die, making it one every 10 eps or so, the shock and brutality of him killing her is awful. Giles knocked out again. Willow's dad is called Ira and he seems quite strictly Jewish. Willow says she's his only daughter, what about sons? I was always suprised fanficcers didn't make more of Buffy and Willow's sleepover after Willow finds her fish? If you can restore Angel's soul why not do that to all vamps? Although Buffy the Vampire Resouler is probably not such a good series.

    10/10, running out of superlatives here

  • Probably my absolute favorite of the entire series. Truly shows what this show is capable of.

    I watched Buffy in its entirety for the first time very recently. Though I did find the whole show enjoyable, I firmly believe that the second and third season were its high point, and no season after that really reached the same heights. That said, looking back at the entire series, this is the episode that impressed me the most. I think that it's the first episode that truly showed what the series was capable of. Angelus was an extremely interesting villain not only because he was so completely malicious, but also because you already had an emotional investment in the character before he turned. To an extent I feel like this is also why Faith worked in season 3. This show was great at getting you invested and then pulling the rug out from under you.

    For that reason, I think the moment of this episode that absolutely left me breathless was the death of Jenny Calendar. I really liked her character and the relationship she had with Giles. Her death scene was perfect. They made no indications that the character wouldn't be around long. She'd only been on the show for half a season, she and Giles were just making up after a fight, it seemed like she was just beginning to make it as one of the show's main characters. When Angelus was chasing her through the school, I barely felt any sense of danger. I was so sure she'd get away. That's why when Angelus finally caught up and snapped her neck as though it were nothing, I was absolutely shocked. It was the instant I realized that absolutely no one on the show was safe.

    The subsequent scene involved Giles is absolutely heart wrenching to watch. So much so I think it's the only time I closed my eyes during a scene on this show. Everything about this episode works, from the narrations, to Angelus's delight in the pain he's causing, to that final scene when the floppy disk hits the ground. The fact that it's hard to watch is, for me, what makes it so great, because it really, truly does make you feel something for the characters. Buffy in its finest hour.moreless
Richard Assad

Richard Assad

Shop owner

Guest Star

Richard Hoyt Miller

Richard Hoyt Miller


Guest Star

Danny Strong

Danny Strong


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


  • TRIVIA (8)

    • When Giles first confronts Angelus he throws a Molotov cocktail on the table, but later on when Buffy chases Angelus up the stairs we see another fire in the background with no discernible way as to how it spread there.

    • After Angelus kills Jenny, he places her on Giles' bed. There has never been an episode where Giles invites Angelus in, so we must assume that he has been invited at some time that we did not actually see onscreen.

    • Not a mistake, but a nice subtle touch: As Giles is collecting his weapons to go after Angelus, look at his record player as the camera pans the room. The turntable is still turning and the arm is still down on the record.

    • When Jenny begins to print out the spell, you can see the paper moving as well as hear the printer. When the scene changes to Jenny jumping up startled you can still hear the printer but the paper isn't moving.

    • Jenny asks Angelus how he got into the school, yet she'd stopped him in the hallway in "Innocence" so she should already know that he can get into the building.

    • In the scene where Buffy and her mother talk sex with Angel, one of the camera lenses has a speck in the top right corner.

    • On the gravestone, it says Jennifer Calendar. But we know her real name is Janna Kalderash.

    • When Miss Calendar starts running away from Angelus, he says, "I need to work up an appetite," but then he doesn't even bite her. Joss Whedon notes in the commentary that there had been a lot of discussion between the writers whether Angelus should bite Jenny or kill her in another fashion. Ultimately, they decided on the breaking of her neck because it showed Angel's contempt for her and how, to him, she wasn't even worth drinking. Perhaps this line was written before the decision.

  • QUOTES (17)

    • Giles: The ritual go alright?
      Willow: Oh, yeah, it went fine. Well, it went fine until Angel showed up and told Buffy's mom that he and Buffy had...well, you know....that they had....you know. You do know, right?
      Giles: Oh, yes. Sorry.
      Willow: Oh, good, cause I just realized that, being a librarian and all, you maybe didn't know.
      Giles: Oh, thank you. I got it.

    • Giles: So Angel has decided to step up his harassment of you.
      Cordelia: By sneaking in her room and leaving stuff at night? Why doesn't he just slit her throat or strangle her while she's sleeping or cut her heart out? What, I'm trying to help.

    • Cordelia: Oh God. I invited him into my car once. That means he can come into my car whenever he wants!
      Xander: Yep, you're doomed to have to give him and his vamp pals a lift whenever they feel like it. And those guys never chip in for gas.

    • Angelus: Well, maybe next time I'll bring you with me, Spike. Might be handy to have you around if I ever need a really good parking space.

    • Buffy: It's so weird. Every time something like this happens, my first instinct is still to run to Angel. I can't believe it's the same person. He's completely different from the guy that I knew.
      Willow: Well, sort of, except...
      Buffy: Except what?
      Willow: You're still the only thing he thinks about.

    • Spike: Are you insane?! We're supposed to kill the bitch, not leave gag gifts in the friends' beds.
      Drusilla: But, Spike, the bad teacher was going to restore Angel's soul.
      Spike: What if she did? If you ask me, I find myself preferring the old Buffy-whipped Angelus. This new, improved one is not playing with a full sack. I love a good slaughter as much as the next bloke, but his little pranks will only leave us with one incredibly brassed-off Slayer!
      Angelus: Don't worry, Roller Boy. I've got everything under control.

    • Buffy: Willow, I thought I might take in a class. Figured I could use someone who knows where they are.

    • Cordelia: So, Giles is going to kill Angel, then? Xander: Well, it's about time somebody did. Willow: Xander! Xander: I'm sorry, but let's not forget that I hated Angel long before you guys jumped on the bandwagon. So I think I deserve a little something for not saying "I told you so" long before now. And if Giles wants to go after the fiend that murdered his girlfriend, I say, Faster, Pussycat. Kill, Kill.

    • Angelus: The ritual of restoration. Wow. This... this brings back memories.
      Jenny: Wait, that's your...
      Angelus: Oh, my cure? No, thanks. Been there, done that, and deja vu just isn't what it used to be.

    • Jenny: I know you feel betrayed.
      Giles: Yes, well, that's one of the unpleasant side effects of betrayal.

    • Jenny: I might be a little late tomorrow. Do you think you could cover my class until I show?
      Willow: Really? Me? Teach the class? Sure!
      Jenny: Cool.
      Willow: Oh, wait. What if they don't recognize my authority? What if they try to convince me that you always let them leave class early? What if there's a fire drill? What if there's a fire?
      Jenny: Willow, you're gonna be fine. And I'll try not to be too late, okay?
      Willow: Okay, good. Earlier is good. Will I have the power to assign detention? Or make them run laps?

    • Angelus: Passion. It lies in all of us. Sleeping...waiting... And though unwanted... unbidden... it will stir... open its jaws, and howl. It speaks to us... guides us... Passion rules us all. And we obey. What other choice do we have? Passion is the source of our finest moments. The joy of love... the clarity of hatred... and the ecstasy of grief. It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion, maybe we'd know some kind of peace. But we would be hollow. Empty rooms, shuttered and dank... Without passion, we'd be truly dead.

    • Xander: (The group are in a heated discussion when Jonathan and another student enter the library) Excuse me, but have you ever heard of knocking?
      Jonathan: We're supposed to get some books. On Stalin.
      Xander: Does this look like a Barnes & Noble?
      Giles: This is a school library, Xander.
      Xander: Since when?

    • Giles: In my years as... Watcher... I've buried... too many people. But Jenny was the first I've loved.
      Buffy: I'm sorry. I'm sorry I couldn't kill him for you... for her... when I had the chance. I wasn't ready. But I think I finally am. I can't hold on to the past anymore. Angel has gone. Nothing's ever gonna bring him back.

    • Jenny: Angel, I have good news.
      Angelus: I heard. You went shopping at the local boogedy-boogedy store.

    • Buffy: So what you're basically saying is, 'just ignore him, and maybe he'll go away'?
      Giles: Yes. Precisely.
      Xander: Hey, how come Buffy doesn't get a snotty 'once again you boil it down to the simplest form' thing? Watcher's pet.

    • Giles: Look, it's classic battle strategy to throw ones opponent off his game. He's trying to provoke you. To taunt you. To goad you into some mishap of some sort.
      Xander: The nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah approach to battle?
      Giles: Yes, Xander, once again you've managed to boil a complex thought down to its simplest possible form.

  • NOTES (9)

    • This episode is third in Joss Whedon's list of his top ten favorite episodes according to his personal letter included in the Australian Chosen Collection Box-set. The episodes on this top ten list are not ranked, but are put in order of which episode aired first.

    • Background Music: The music that is playing at the very beginning of this episode, beneath Angelus' voiceover, is "Never an Easy Way" by the British band Morcheeba. It was released on their 1996 "Who Can You Trust?" album.

    • According to Joss in an interview, there was much discussion over whether Angelus should have his vampire face on, or his human face on, when he killed Jenny. But it was decided Angelus would have his vampire face, because Joss thought the viewers would be disturbed if they saw Angel's face killing Jenny.

    • The French title for this episode is "La Boule de Thesulah," which translates "The Orb of Thesulah".

    • Even after the un-invite was done on Cordelia's car, she still had it strung with garlic and crosses.

    • Oz (Seth Green) was originally supposed to die in this episode. Jenny Calendar was supposed to die in an earlier episode, "Innocence".

    • Anthony Stewart Head (Giles) said this was his favourite episode and Joss Whedon taunted him by saying this was only his favourite episode because he was in a lot of it.

    • The picture of Buffy in the Summers kitchen is a publicity shot of Sarah Michelle Gellar that was used in the August '97 issue of Entertainment Weekly.

    • The choral voice heard during the graveyard scene belongs to actor Anthony Stewart Head.

  • ALLUSIONS (10)

    • Xander: Does this look like a Barnes & Noble?
      Barnes & Noble is a popular book store around the United States. This is funny because two people walk in to check out books and Xander didn't even realize that he and his friends always have meetings in the library.

    • Xander: A visit from the pointed tooth fairy.
      This is how Xander characterizes Angel's visit to Buffy's room while she is sleeping. Traditionally, when children lose a baby tooth, they leave it under their pillow, and while they are sleeping, the Tooth Fairy takes the tooth and leaves money in its place.

    • Willow: I have to go over to Xander's house just to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas every year....Although it is worthwhile to see him do the Snoopy dance.
      A Charlie Brown Christmas has aired every December since 1965. It was written by Charles Schulz, and features the characters from his "Peanuts" cartoon strip (including Snoopy the Beagle, who does a funny dance when he's happy). Willow, who is Jewish, explains to Buffy that her father might not like seeing crucifixes hung up in her room, since he apparently won't even let her watch this Christmas cartoon on TV.

    • Background music: Ah! tu sol comandi, amor! [ Ah! Love, you alone guide us!]
      When Giles returns to his house to meet Jenny, there is a long-stemmed rose on the door and opera music playing inside. The music is from Act I of Puccini's "La Boheme." As Giles walks upstairs, Rodolfo sings:
      Oh, beautiful maiden,...
      ...Oh, how sweet your face looks,
      its beauty softly kissed by the
      gentle moonlight.
      In you, sweet maiden,
      I see the dreams of love I have
      dreamt about forever.
      The climactic point comes when Giles drops the champagne glasses, realizing that Jenny is dead. At this point, Mimi joins Rodolfo and sings: Ah! Love, you alone guide us!

    • Shop keeper: Sold a couple as New Age paperweights last year. God, just love those New Agers, boy. They helped send my youngest to college.
      New Age-ism is a grab bag of mostly fringe spiritual beliefs (including crystals, channelling, reincarnation, pyramid power and banal music) which became popularized near the end of the 20th Century.

    • Spike: No fair going into the ring unless he tags you.
      A reference to the tag team matches seen in professional wrestling. In these matches two teams of two or more fight one at a time. When one wrestler wishes his teammate to take over he must tag his hand before they can trade places.

    • Xander: I say Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!
      The 1965 movie Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! is about the murderous rampage of three women. Xander invokes the movie to express his pleasure over Giles going to kill Angelus.

    • Xander: Those are his everyday weapons. These are his good weapons. The ones he breaks out when company comes to visit.
      Various household items are often kept in two classes: everyday and guest. More common examples are dishes or towels that are used only when company arrives.

    • Angelus: It might be handy to have you around if I ever need a really good parking space.
      Angelus mocks Spike in his current wheelchair bound condition by saying the only thing he's good for is to allow them to park in a handicapped parking space.

    • Buffy: A no shoes, no pulse, no service kinda thing.
      A play on the common policy is restaurants and other public places no shirt, no shoes, no service. Buffy is seeking a similar restriction to keep out the pulseless vampires.