Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Season 2 Episode 8

The Dark Age

Aired Tuesday 8:00 PM Nov 10, 1997 on The WB

Episode Fan Reviews (28)

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  • The Dark Age

    This is the first episode in the series entirely focused on Giles. We learn about his turbulent history and some depth is added to this already charming character. It's just really unfortunate that the episode is only mediocre. The pacing and execution of the plot was pretty poorly handled, and the demon came across as incredibly one-dimensional and surprisingly inconsistent. There's about as much bad as there is good here.

    Well, I might as well begin with the good. The episode begins with an amusing scene involving Buffy listening to those annoying aerobic workout tapes while excercising. Giles calls it 'noise' while Buffy calls it 'music.' While I agree with Giles that 'noise' is the appropiate term, Buffy makes a good point that you need a beat when doing synchronized excercise.

    Later on Jenny gets to poke fun at Giles by telling him she spilt a drink all over his ancient textbook and then follows it up with "I'm lying, Rupert. The book's fine. I just love to see you squirm." Their relationship appears to be approaching a new level, but that of course comes to a screeching halt by the happenings later on when Jenny gets possessed by the demon Giles helped create when he was a rebellious teen. It's really nice to see her not just "get over it." This experience has affected her and she understandably needs time away from Giles.

    I also loved seeing Willow keeping some of the confidence she gained in "Halloween" (2x06) during the scene where Cordelia and Xander are bickering to no end. Willow breaks up their quarrel and yells at them both saying, "HEY! We don't have time for this! Our friends are in trouble! Now, we have to put our heads together and, and get them out of it! And if you two aren't with me a hundred and ten percent, then get the hell out of my library!" Go Willow! Also, cheers for character development that actually stays with the characters beyond the episode they had the growth in!

    That's where all the good ends, though. There are several things that really grated on me during this episode. One is the inconsistency of the demon iteself. When it had Possessed Phillip, the bearded guy, it never talked to anyone and pretty much just wandered around groaning. Then when Jenny gets possessed she's talking up a boring storm to Giles in his apartment. What's the deal? Another annoyance with the demon I had is how, for some unexplained reason, nobody simply runs away from it. They all just stand there waiting to be killed, like Phillip in the opening scene. Buffy fought it just fine, so once again, what's the deal?

    Another serious flaw is the often slow pace. The scene where the possessed Philip awakens in the morgue could have been completely cut, for example. Also, Buffy's strength is basically completely gone in this episode. She punches Ethan Rayne hard in the mouth yet he doesn't get knocked down and there is no noticable sore on his mouth. An even more grotesque offense of this is seeing Ethan knock Buffy out with one blow to the head. No way that would ever happen!

    In the end, like "Reptile Boy" (2x05), this episode is a mixed bag. There's a handful of great stuff, but there's an equal amount of crappy stuff. This is an even bigger disappointment than "Reptile Boy" (2x05), though, because the plot is centered around Giles' dark past instead of a bunch of college frat boys. You expect the latter to be poor but not the same of the former.
  • The drunkeness of youth....

    The Dark Age;

    The Good;

    Buffy's training although as Will later comments isn't she just naturally buff? Willow coming through with a great idea, Cordy tripping Ethan

    The Bad;

    The melting effect is a little lame. The demon seems quite insignificant compared to the threats we later see.

    Best line;

    Buffy; Have I ever let you down?

    Giles; Do you want me to answer that or just glare?

    but also

    Xander; An extra day in school plus Cordelia? Mix in a little rectal surgery and it's my best day ever

    Questions and observations;

    Who's Gavin Rossdale? According to the comics Buffy's fantasy hasn't changed that much it's just Daniel Craig now. Willow by contrast likes Tina Fey now (Seth Green and Eric Balfour will work with John Cusack in 'America's Sweethearts' and Michelle Tractenberg will work with his sister Joan in 'Ice Princess').

    Very much Giles' episode and adding a lot more depth to his character. Great stuff between him and Ethan, you wonder if ASH and Robin Sachs have worked together before, they really do come across as old friends.

    Why does Eoghan wait all these years? Drunk Giles for the first time and Xander mentions his infamous uncle Rory who we'll later meet in Hell's Bells. The Bay City Rollers were late 70s and a little cheesey for a teen rebel like Giles. Jenny knocked unconscious and goes evil, Buffy knocked unconscious and tied up. Jenny mentions "I've got you under my skin" which is later a title for an Angel ep.

    6/10, good ep but not brilliant

  • The Dark Age

    The Dark Age was a pivitol episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Many characters were faced with dilemas. The Dark Age was about Giles's past, him and some friends including Ethan Rayne used to summon a demon for fun times, and now its back to kill them all. Giles starts acting wierd once he knows whats going on. Eventually Jenny is possessed by the Demon and this will have a drastic effect on her relationship with Giles. Angel actually saves the day, which scores some points for sure. This episode was fun to watch and adds a classic value to the season.
  • Good and bad

    Good - Giles
    Bad - Ethan Good - Giles in a cult
    Bad - The evil blue stuff that posses people.

    This episode was great in that we got to see a bit of Giles past which was great. Would be interesting to see what he was like. it would be better to have a real creature that goes around killing people. but instead we get blue goop that turns people evil.

    And Giles buddy Ethan show up again. Was good but he did as expected and ran away.

    And Angel saved the day by obsorbing the demon.

    was ok and was good episode.
  • Season 2, Episode 8.

    I liked this episode. Giles apparently summoned a demon with Ethan Rayne, or something like that, and now it has possessed Ms. Calendar. Off topic, doesn't it seem like Buffy barely does school work and is always in the halls and library? The whole Rupert and Jenny love thing is a little boring but slightly cute. I can't wait for Ethan to be dead though. It was so weird to see Giles different though, but at the same time, it wasn't. It was a little weird. Anyway, of course Angel magically came to the rescue. Woohoo. Angel's hot! I loved the beginning scene the most, when Buffy had the music playing and the guy died outside.
  • Good episode, but not as good as I had hoped

    When Ethan Rayne called Giles "Ripper" in the Halloween episode, it really peaked fan's interest. What is this dark past that Giles has? What would make him go from the mild-mannered librarian/watcher to a ruffian when he beat up Ethan. We all thought it must be pretty bad to merit the nickname of "Ripper". Well, this episode revealed his dark past. While I thought it was a good episode, I was a bit underwhelmed. I didn't think the secret of his past was all that bad, certainly not bad enough to start calling him "Ripper". Oh well, it was still a good episode, and I liked Angel's heroics at the end.
  • Ethan is back with a demon.

    I like how Giles was a completely different person in his youth and I like the development of his character, but there is just something about this episode that I don't like very much. Giles's is just so un-Giles and I really don't like how he refuses the help that he clearly needs. Jenny also annoys me at the end of this episode, I really don't understand what she is so angry about and what Giles did wasn't really his fault and we all make mistakes in our youth. Especially considering that she was lying to him the whole time about why she was in town, you really think she wouldn't care as much as she did. Still good, just not great.
  • Rupert The Rebel

    The Dark Age-The secrets of Giles's dark past come back to haunt him when an old friend turns up dead in Sunnydale. As a troubled youth, Giles (known then as "Ripper") and his friends summoned a demon called Eyghon, The Sleepwalker. Now, Eyghon has returned and is hunting down the people who used to call him up for their amusement. And the only two left are Rupert Giles and Ethan Rayne.

    A dark and engaging episode that's sometimes underrated among Buffy fandom, "The Dark Age" is a impressive character study of Giles and why he became the uptight brit he is. At the start of the episode, Buffy, Willow and Xander make fun of how Giles was always a goody too shoes and wanted math to be "mathier" in school. Ironically, Giles was far from it and was quite the rebel back in his day.

    Anthony S. Head gives his best performance so far as Giles struggles with his past coming back to literally haunt him...then kill him. Ethan Rayne also returns and is very menancing as usual. The whole Mark of Eygone plot is distrubing with demon possessing the dead and stalking the the characters. The best part of course is when Jenny Calender is possessed. Robia LeMorte actually can play evil quite well and the make-up used on her as Ms. Calender becomes more possessed is errie as well as disturbing. I also liked the characters' reaction to Giles' past, especially Buffy who finally finds herself more compatible with her watcher in the end. But in the case of Jenny, she is hurt and the situation leaves a crack in their relationship. Also, the Willow coming up with the plan to save the day was genuis and the effects on Angel as there are 2 demons inside him is a nice touch. All and All, a dark and thrilling episode with good action, creepy scenes, great performances and excellent development of Giles.
  • The first time we see Giles's house & a few more surprises in this very revealing episode

    The Buffy episode "The Dark Age" is a huge episode this season for the character of Giles (second to only Passion). The episode finally shows at what was only hinted at in "Halloween" which is that Giles has a dark past. It's nice to see him take center stage and the Scooby Gang figure out exactly what his past included. This episode makes his character go from "the only adult in a teen centered show" to "another amazing character in Buffy". Ethan also shows up in this episode because there is a force killing all the members of Giles & Ethan's group. Overall a pivotal episode for the series and for the character Giles.
  • An exploration into Giles' character that doesn't go quite deep enough.

    Like many kids, the gang doesn’t think much about the lives of their elders before they came into their lives. As far as they know, Giles has always been a stuffed shirt; a British guy who was proudly unhip, dedicated to work and in control. However, in “Halloween” we got a taste that there was a dark side to him, and this episode gives us more detail. Ultimately, when they return and wreak havoc on his stable life, we see that Giles is flawed with past regrets, although it may not be deep enough to make a lasting impact on Giles’ character.

    With the hints of a dark side, the pay off feels slightly toned down. Perhaps it’s because Giles’ past pales in comparison to his demonic counterparts. Angel’s mass murderer; Giles summoned a demon to get high and had to kill one of his friends when possession became permanent. His liking the Bay City Rollers almost sounds darker (Bay City Rollers? Really, Giles?) It could’ve been darker had we learned that Eyghon had some bigger plans besides killing those who summoned him twenty five years earlier.

    This episode also establishes the use of demon possession as a way to keep a couple apart, which was first used in “The Pack”. Things seemed to be going well for Giles and Jenny, complete with heavy flirting and PDA. It was cute to see Giles get the girl, but nice relationships rarely last long on “Buffy”. So to enforce the idea of Giles’ past coming to haunt him, they have someone he cares for pay the penalty. Although Jenny under possession was a bit hot (not with the Eyghon make up of course).

    It was neat to have Ethan return. His character serves as a model of what Giles would be like if he had not tried to make up for killing his friend. Ethan is selfish to the point where he would mutilate Buffy to save himself, whereas Giles has many people close to him and would sacrifice himself to save them. Although one nitpick; did Ethan know about this in advance, since he got another month’s lease on the costume shop? He would’ve left town otherwise. Did he know Eyghon was back and wanted to be in close proximity with another potential victim?

    Another problem, albeit minor, is that for some reason they to made the metaphorical “scent” of the Mark of Eyghon literal. How exactly is a tattoo going to produce a scent Eyghon could use to locate them? Unless the searing flesh is a tell, this just came off as sloppy. It would’ve worked better had Eyghon scanned Ethan with his/her eyes before figuring that he didn’t have the mark.

    This episode brings up the concept of Buffy’s friends as Watchers in training. It certainly feels fit at this point in the show. With Giles out of commission through most of the episode, the three in the library have to step up the usual research. Willow once again proves to be resourceful as she realizes a vampire would be a perfect host to destroy Eyghon. And as Xander and Cordelia bicker, which is so over the top with excessive one liners that only assures they’ll get together, she once again brings up the stern side to put personal drama aside until the job is done.

    One element that felt undercooked was vampires seizing the human blood delivered to the hospital. For creatures that don’t object to feasting on human beings, Angel excluded, it seems odd that they would go through the effort to take donated blood. Only Angel gets packaged blood because he doesn’t want to directly harm someone to get his sustenance. Since one of the vampires referred to the blood as “product”, perhaps they spike the blood with something for vampires to use like drugs. Blood intoxication has been mentioned in “School Hard”.

    This episode, a bit like its predecessor, could’ve been a bit better. The exploration of Giles’ dark side is intriguing, but doesn’t go much deeper than his “lost weekending”. Even throughout the series, it is only a motivation here and there. With the spin off series “Ripper” scrapped (as far as I know) this may be one of the few examples of this dark side, which makes Giles a little incomplete.
  • Giles' past comes back to haunt him.

    Appropriately titled, "The Dark Age" is a Giles-centric episode in which he is confronted by his past, when he was a rebellious young adult and went by the name "Ripper". Upon first viewing I pretty much hated this episode - I just didn't like it at all, but now I've come to love it. It's one of the best episodes of season two.

    The episode opens with a British man on the campus of Sunnydale High, looking for Giles. A janitor points him in the right direction, and when the man arrives to the library he begins pounding on the door, but inside, Giles and Buffy cannot hear to him due to Buffy's blaring aerobics music. The corpse of a dead lady attacks the man and kills him, before collapsing and turning into a puddle of liquid.

    The next day the police ask Giles to identify the man, who was carrying a slip of paper with Giles' name and address on it. He recognizes the man - he used to be friends with him, over twenty years ago.

    It turns out that a demon has returned to kill off the people who used to summon him (Giles, Ethan Rayne, and their friends). The demon can possess the dead or unconcious to move about but eventually the body liquifies.
    It possesses Jenny Calander, who is then carried home by and unsuspecting Giles.

    Overall a good, dark episode with nice character development for Giles. At first I hated the liquid puddle thing - it just strikes me as really, really lame, and I still think it's pretty stupid, but at least it doesn't bother me any more. I also like Giles and Jenny's budding romance (Jenny is awesome), and like that the show is taking them slow.
  • Giles and his dark side are revealed

    Okay I think I speak for the people when I say it was quite disturbing to see Jenny coming onto Giles in the beginning. I was slightly grossed out by that. She was coming on way too strong and it was sick!

    I liked that we saw deeper into Giles and his past in this one. It was incredible to see Giles get all worked up over something that he forgot about his duties as a watcher. I loved when Buffy ran into Angel and said she was worried about Giles and and Angel was like "Maybe he's running a little late." That was so funny because as Buffy made clear Giles and late are unmixy things!

    Giles actually being freaked out by something that was happening was freaky. I loved how Giles tried to push Buffy and Jenny away while trying to solve this independently. I loved that towards the end Giles and Buffy had a talk about all of the things that were happening. It was so cute to see the watcher/slayer bonding thing going on.

    Ethan Rayne was a real delight. How could Buffy fall so fast? He knocked her out with one swing you would think it would take more than that to knock the slayer out!

    I despised the ending with Giles and Jenny it was terrible. You knew things weren't gonna be great but it was worse than what you'd expect.

    Decent episode, but not my favorite for this season.
  • Ethan Rayne reappears with a sinister motive.

    This episode was the first to give us a glimpse into Giles' past. We learn how Giles knows Ethan Rayne. The episode was very good but not one of my personal favorites. When Jenny Calendar is placed indanger, Giles falls apart. After this episode Jenny Calendar is absent for a while. Giles' relationship with Jenny hits the skids because of the events in this episode. Have no fear, they do get back together...for a short time.
  • Enter Ripper!

    Before I begin I will post my favorite quote from this great ep: Xander : "Ooh, gang, didja hear that? A bonus day of class plus Cordelia! Mix in a little rectal surgery and it's my best day ever!"

    Sums it up, for Xander anyway. We get to find out in this episode that Giles has a very dark past that has come a callin'. Back when he was younger, he raised alot more than heck and it has come back to bite him. I thought this was an outstanding episode because I am a big Giles fan. The bad part was that Jenny is going to have a hard time trusting him for awhile after this.
  • Giles's dark past as Ripper comes to light

    I don't know what is more disturbing, the fact that Giles in his youth was evil and called Ripper, or the fact that he has a tatoo! The evil demon Eyghon has come for Giles and Ethan Rayne as it has already killed their fellow meddlers in the dark arts.

    It is interesting to discover that Giles had a life before his role of Watcher for the council. This episode gave a lot more depth to the character of Giles and shows you that he isn't just an old librarian guy in tweed.

    I hope this storyline is revisited, I want to know more about it.
  • giles goes dark

    a very good episode about giles and his past. ethan is back and this time because some demon is after him and giles, a demon that they created years ago

    the best was that jenny got possessed and it drove me mad to see the end. i am glad she did not die in this episode. the episode was well done and just amazing.
  • giles goes dark

    a very good episode about giles and his past. ethan is back and this time because some demon is after him and giles, a demon that they created years ago

    the best was that jenny got possessed and it drove me mad to see the end. i am glad she did not die in this episode. the episode was well done and just amazing.
  • giles goes dark

    a very good episode about giles and his past. ethan is back and this time because some demon is after him and giles, a demon that they created years ago

    the best was that jenny got possessed and it drove me mad to see the end. i am glad she did not die in this episode. the episode was well done and just amazing.
  • So Giles' past comes back to haunt him…

    Ethan is back and Giles past comes out to the group. Turns out that when Giles was younger his group of friends used to call upon a demon for the rush of it. They had a tattoo of his mark that allowed him to into them. They stopped doing this after a while but then the demon came back and has been killing them and possessing their bodies. Giles and Ethan are the only ones left. After a friend of Giles who is possessed showed up at the school, Buffy knocks his out and Ms. Calendar gets knocked out too. The demon feels threatened and jumps to her body. Giles takes her home to rest. The group then figures out that she was possessed and goes to Giles’s and scared her off. Knowing that Ethan is next Buffy goes there to protect him, he knocks her out and tattoos his symbol on her and burns it of him, making her the next target. Ms. Calendar shows up and goes to attack Buffy, then Giles shows up insisting she take him instead. Then the group shows up to save them both with Willow’s great plan. Angel attacks Ms, Calendar and chokes her until she passes out causing the demon to panic and jump to the closest dead body, Angel. Angel had another “demon’ in him and the two “fight”, with Angel surviving.
  • Demonic Goo Is Never Good

    All characters on every show grow and develop, to some extent at least. On Buffy, every character (whether it be a regular cast member or a guest star) goes through at least some personal growth, be it different sides to that character's personality, the character gaining a deeper understanding of life's problems, or a character growing up, learning from mistakes, and becoming a better person. The Dark Age sees Giles going through such a growth, going from a mostly one-note father figure and close-minded teacher to Buffy's student, to somebody who is shown to have done bad things, experimented in forces too powerful for humans, been responsible for death and carnage and somebody who can be, at times, both selfish and untrustworthy.

    Ironically, the episode begins with Buffy, Willow and Xander debating what Giles was like during his school years, with all three eventually coming to the conclusion that he was essentially a younger version of the tweed-wearing, tea-drinking, knowledge-spewing man he is today. Only later do they discover that this was way off what Giles was actually like back then.

    Anthony Stewart Head really excels during this episode. Too long playing a one-note character, he has now been given the opportunity to spread his acting abilities. In the hand's of a lesser actor, Giles' sudden transformation would have been difficult to take seriously, but Head is so excellent at putting across pain and regret that it's hard not to believe in his evolution. I also enjoyed Robia La Morte in this episode. Like Giles, Jenny is also pulled through the ringer of emotions in The Dark Age, going from an ordinary woman in a loving relationship, to a powerful hell-beast, to a suddenly awkward, disturbed version of Miss Calendar following her possession at the hands of Eyghon.

    A tense, well-written episode which evolves on characters, changes audience's opinions, as well as freaking them all out with all the monster possessions, The Dark Age is also notable for the excellent stuntwork (Jenny leaping through the window) and the special effects, which, albeit slightly corny now, were pretty good for 1997.

    Director: Bruce Seth Green
    Writers: Dean Batali, Rob Des Hotel
    Rating: A-
  • Giles' dark past is revealed...

    "Giles lived for school. He's actually still bitter that there are only twelve grades."

    My favourite Buffy character gets some proper development in this pretty decent episode. Anthony Head gives his usual great, quirky British performance and is allowed to effectively take centre stage for once. It's nice to see Ethan from Halloween as well. The plot resolution is a bit rushed, with Angel just swooping in and saving the day, acting just like a plot device rather than a character, but you can't have everything.
  • Giles's past comes back to haunt him and Ethan Rayne. Buffy tries to help him but he won't let her. She ends up being attacked by Eyghon. Angel takes Eyghon in and gets rid of it for awhile. Buffy says she was going to buy some shoes but now the tatoo.

    I think the Dark Age was really excellent. The way it was written and the way they choose to have the actors. Buffy has done it again defeating not something new. But something from her watchers past and you see that Giles has a wild side. Who knew? Where do you think that they got the nickname Ripper for him. My thought is that they got it from Jack the Ripper because he killed women in England and Giles grew up and went to school in England. The tatoo must have an interesting story background. Where did they come up with the design. Overall it was a very excellent episode. I love how they did the title.
  • Another great episode that takes a character we thought we knew and completely changes our view of them. First it was Angel...now it's Giles who gets the treatment.

    When a friend from Giles' more rebellious youth (who would have guessed, as Buffy and gang says, Giles was probably born in tweed) his past also comes back to haunt him.

    This is a fantastic Giles episode giving us a glimpse into his youth when he wasn't so Watcher-tastic. It also gives new meaning to his efforts to keep Buffy from rebelling as the Slayer...he sees where this can end up leading (for those of us who love to retcon, anyway).

    There are so many great scenes...Giles going all 'lost weekender'; Giles and Jenny's interactions; Giles and Buffy and her understanding (maybe for the first time) that Giles is just a person too who can make mistakes, but still be decent and caring.

    And Willow gets the brilliant idea to defeat Eyghon!

    Finally we see Ethan and Giles together again...they really should have given us more Ethan in the series.
  • 'I'm fine. I mean, I'm not... running-around- wind-in-my-hair- the-hills-are-alive- with-the-sound-of-music' fine, but... I'm coping.'

    What an awesome episode, the best thus far which develops Giles (a LOT) and brings our love closer to Jenny.
    Also brings Buffy closer to Giles and the episode is filled with Xander/Cordelia tensions.

    ‘The Dark Age’ is without a doubt the darkest episode so far, and I love dark storylines.

    It begins with a man going to find Rupert Giles who is being annoyed by Buffy’s music. The guy then gets attacked by a creepy woman who knocks him out and turns into some substance that goes into him.

    That night Giles has nightmares about a cult, he begins to act a little strange in school but makes a date with Jenny and they kiss. Jenny also asks Xander and Willow to go to school on Saturday for a computer work and Cordelia will be there as well, Xander says it’s gonna be a perfect day.

    When Giles goes to the library the cops talk to him and tell him about a dead man who was looking for him before he died, Cordy walks right in and forgets that there is someone else alive besides herself (and I damn well love her for that)

    Giles identifies the body and also sees to know some tattoo on him. The Mark Of Eygon.

    Anyway, while Buffy goes to do her job and saves hospital blood from vampires, she gets worried because Giles had promised to come too. When she goes to his house he acts strangely and sees that he has been drinking. He seemed to forgot about it and shuts Buffy out.

    On the Saturday, hell school. Buffy goes to her friends and tells them about Giles, then Buffy goes to the library and noticed that there is someone there called Ethan who was the same guy that sold the costumes on Halloween. He tells Buffy that he knows Ripper (Giles) from way back and then the dead guy comes to kill Ethan but Buffy knocks him out and puts him in a cage.

    When Giles comes to the library he huts Ethan and wants him to leave, then the demon comes out and knocks Jenny unconscious and Ethan escapes. Then the demon turns into some sort of substance that touches Jenny’s hand. When Giles picks her up her eyes glow.

    Giles doesn’t want Buffy in this and leaves with Jenny who turns out to be possessed. She then tries to kill Giles but Buffy comes to the rescue after discovering that Jenny was probably possessed. Jenny escapes and Buffy promised him to find a way on not to kill Jenny.

    When Buffy goes to protect Ethan he knocks her out from behind, then he tattoos the mark on her and then burns his own away. When the demon comes he goes after Buffy instead of Ethan, but then Giles walks in and asks it to take him. Willow, had a plan on how to take the demon out without killing Jenny. She takes Angel and makes him hold her, the demon has to go to the nearest dead body and goes into Angel who destroys the demon inside him.

    Next day Giles wants to make up with Jenny but she is still too tired and not ready yet to go back, she goes her own way. Buffy tries to make Giles feel better by making him mock her music.

    This episode was excellent, Dark and character development all around. Ethan was a very annoying character though, I wished he had died.

  • The Ripper rocks

    In this episode we get to know a little more about Rupert Giles previous life, before he was a Watcher, when he was the Ripper. But we do not get to know as much as we want to. Otherwise this episode is quite ordinary; it does not stick out from the other really great episode in this second season. But still you can always look at the very beautiful Charisma Carpenter, which is not a bad thing to do. Even her character is great as always in this episode.
    This episode seems like it is just a thing that they put in when waiting for the climactic half season turning point, of Angel becoming Angelus.
  • A demon has come to Sunnydale looking for revenge, however this time it is Giles and not Buffy that the demon is after. A great episode that develops Giles's character by delving into his rebelious past.

    A demon has come to Sunnydale seeking revenge on the people that called it up many years ago. When Ethan Rayne also arrives on the scene, it becomes clear that it is Giles - or "Ripper" as he used to be called, that the demon is after.

    This is a great episode that expolers Giles's past and his rebelious youth - importantly we learn that he himself used to be a hell raiser.

    This epsiode has everything that a Buffy fan wants, it has a great plot, great action, emotion, comedy and alot of suspence. The highlight of this episode though is surely Giles's character development, which makes him a much deeper, well rounded and exciting person to watch.

    In all, another fantastic episode.
  • A Sexy Fuddy-Duddy

    Last episode, Buffy’s past came back to haunt her; this time it’s Giles’s turn and the haunting is literal. It’s a pity Buffy is torturing poor Giles’s ears with the Prodigy whilst Philip is being murdered outside by Eyghon/Deirdre, but I suppose otherwise we wouldn’t have this week’s past and present conflict. Last ep we were given the message that growing up is hard, this week the moral is that your misspent youth has consequences - something Buffy will come to know, almost to live. Rather a depressing message when the 20- and 30-somethings watching the show might really want to forget the dark or even the embarrassing age between 15 and, say, 25.

    Anyway, the episode seeks to highlight the differences between Giles’s fuddy-duddy present and his rock ‘n’ roll past, showing the contrast between Giles’s 70s* desire to go wild with his 90s need now for propriety. His tweed is as much a costume for him as Buffy’s ballgown was in Hallowe’en. He has grown into it, just as if he’d been magic-ed into it, the point being that adults have to play rôles just as teenagers do. Giles has to be Buffy’s stuffy watcher because he knows the dangers of the world, because he is the responsible adult. The glimpse into his past in Band Candy is funnier, but this episode shows that adults are not always all together: they can lie, keep secrets, have an unknown life and mistakenly fail to trust others. As Buffy says: Grown ups are people too – they are not infallible. Just as Buffy does now, Giles felt the enormous pressure of his calling of Watcher and went over the top, (echoes of Some Assembly Required) - now he’s gone completely over the edge to the other side and can’t cope, deal or act. Willow has to take over Giles’s rôle and becomes Head of Research whilst sipping tea and ticking off Xander for suggesting boiling lava will kill the demon. She also calls out Xander and Cordy’s pre-sexual bickering (notice how Xander protects Cordelia (who now seems pleased to be a part time member of the Scooby gang) when there’s danger afoot? Also note Xander’s mentioning his wild taxidermist Uncle Rory for the first time. A good set-up MacGuffin for S3 and beyond. Also, Xand, patterned jumper and tracksuit bottoms is *not* a good combination).

    When we see Giles’s list of Eyghon’s worshippers, we know that we’re about to see the return of everyone’s favourite villain, Ethan Rayne. Buffy gets to smack him as revenge for his Hallowe’en trick but he’s slipperier than that. You’ve got to admire his survivor spirit: not only does he manage to escape again, but he almost gets the demon to attack Buffy by tattooing her with the mark of Eyghon and then pouring Sulphuric Acid on his own tattooed arm! The boy’s got guts. Two things about tattoos: surely Giles should pay for Buffy’s laser removal, what with him having got her into the mess? And two, couldn’t Giles, Ethan, Philip and the rest of the Dark Magicks Gang just have got theirs removed too? We do have such treatments in the UK, just as we do have dentists.

    The episode doesn’t end happily. Willow may have come up with the idea to get Angel into the storyline - i mean - kill the demon, but there are still consequences for poor old Giles. Jenny, who was being pretty sexy before and during the possession (she and Giles kiss even though the bell has rung), blanks him out. His past has compromised his present and, as Spike says, much further into the future: With magic, there’re always consequences. Giles reacted to his watcher training by running away (foreshadowing of Becoming II?) but then his response to his crazy bad time was to become Very Proper - he has become what he was always meant to be. Despite everything, he has fulfilled his destiny, and just like Buffy that means sacrifice, his relationship with Jenny being one such forfeit. No wonder he was so down on Dark Willow.

    * I’m assuming the Sid Vicious mock-up was done in the days before Photoshop. Also: Gavin Rossdale, Amy Yip and John Cusack?? How very ‘90s.
  • Boy sometimes love really hurts!

    This is one of those episodes I can really do without, if it weren't for the fact that it has one major plot development that is crucial to understand upcoming episodes: it lays the groundwork for the next several episodes where Giles and Jenny don't really talk to each other much. About the only other thing you can say for it is that it does reintroduce us to that wonderful old chap of Giles' Ethan Rayne, who goes to lengths this episode to show us how not to win friends and how not to influence people. Not a bad episode. per se, but not one of the best, either.