Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Halloween   Rewatch 
March 11, 2015 10:47 PM - Season 2, Episode 6 - Subscribe

Ethan Rayne makes his debut with a spell that turns his customers into their Halloween costumes, and Spike is more than willing to take advantage of the ensuing chaos.
posted by yellowbinder (16 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Ethan!!! (Also Larry)

This is one of the ones I really enjoyed early on, and often showed people as an example of a strong early standalone. It doesn't really hold my attention these days, but that could just be because I'm used to it.

Willow always breaks my heart coming down the stairs in that stupid ghost costume, and Ethan's "Hello Ripper" will never fail to get a huge grin out of me. I like that even in the standalones the show is starting to nudge plots along and hint at character revelations to come down the line.
posted by yellowbinder at 10:56 PM on March 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is this the first time we learn about Giles having been an irresponsible badass as a young man?
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:23 AM on March 12, 2015


Yep, this is an introduction of Giles' backstory as John Constantine. This is a lot of fun, and is the first episode with "a magical effect causes people to act differently" which the show will use again and again to great effect. This is just a fun and funny episode, with a lovely drop of plot with Giles being more than he appeared (other than Buffy, Xander and Willow, I think every new character on this show has a dark secret from now on. I guess maybe Kendra and Wesley don't?). I'm not sure the whole "Buffy is jealous of Angel liking 18th century women" plot thread really works (and Buffy has a habit of walking in on Angel having conversations with other women and reaching the worst conclusions), but her as the helpless noblewoman is a lot of fun.

-Oz!
-Janus was not the god of chaos, but whatever.
-Larry!
-Buffy and Willow stealing the watcher diaries is a lot of fun
-Apparently the watcher diaries track who Angel dated while human. Huh.
-Willow's sexy look really doesn't work
-You'd think there would have been one kid dressed as Yoda. Or Optimus Prime. Although I guess Ethan wouldn't have sold those costumes.
-Giles actually was spending his evening cross referencing
-A vampire bursts into Buffy's house in one scene. How?
posted by Cannon Fodder at 1:47 AM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Kendra's not enough of a person to have secrets, and Wesley really isn't the character he has the potential to be til Angel.

Janus is a weird choice considering that Eris/Discordia is sitting RIGHT THERE being the goddess of chaos and all.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:05 AM on March 12, 2015


-A vampire bursts into Buffy's house in one scene. How?

-- Because he's not an actual vampire, but rather a kid in a costume affected by Ethan's spell. We see him elsewhere in the episode in human form, I believe.

-- This episode kind of starts Spike on the road to decay; he goes from being the guy who can stand up to Buffy in a fight to losing in about three seconds here when she gets her powers and identity back. And the episode has maybe the worst example of the "stand around and watch the villain escape" the early episodes do.

-- The Watcher diaries try to track Angel's dates, but they either get it horribly wrong -- the drunken Liam was way more about chasing barmaids and seems unlikely to have met nobility -- or Buffy and Willow are misreading a reference to Darla's guise as a noblewoman. (Well, really, the writers just haven't worked out all the backstory yet, but still....)

-- Cordelia has bounced back pretty well from the previous episode, having left the lead singer of Dingoes Ate My Baby in favor of making time with Angel. And she's remarkably okay with running around with the Scoobies and keeping watch over the amnesiac Buffy. One of the better elements of the character is the way she responds to all of the supernatural insanity around her by simply refusing to let any of it change her. And unlike Xander, she's capable of letting it go and moving on when someone's not interested. (In fact, this disparity is what will destroy their relationship in the end.)

-- This episode gives us the origin of Xander's solider skills, which play a huge part in the midway point of this season and then fade away for the most part, eventually to be replaced by his skills as a construction worker and then his Nick Fury act in the official sequel comics.

-- Ethan Rayne is a great character, not least because he's the inversion of Giles in multiple respects. Not only is Ethan still pulling adolescent shenanigans with "bad" magic, he turns out to be a useless coward putting up a sinister front, while Giles is a genuine badass who behaves like to be a useless fusspot. Also, this is perhaps the first time we see what Giles is willing to do when he feels he has to; his beating of Ethan here is quite vicious.

-- Willow and Oz actually get, like, three Meet Cutes before they actually learn each others' names. It's a remarkably slow burning subplot.
posted by kewb at 3:44 AM on March 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


Technically, the much-loathed hyena episode is the first episode to use the "bad magic made me do it" defence. This episode does it much better, at least partly because it's more complex and involves actual innocents being transformed instead of nasty bullies becoming murderous, cannibalistic bullies.

I adore the first hint that Giles is something other than he appears.

One thing I did not appreciate previously was Cordelia's comment about Willow: "Who died and made her the boss?" Um, well, Willow died and became her other, bossy self. Just not the evil self. That comes later.

I feel I should defend 18th-century women by pointing out that very few of them had jobs (or lives) that actually involved nothing but sitting around being pretty. But clearly, it is Buffy's idea of 18th-century women that matters. And also, when she and Willow are peeking at the Very Secret Diaries, Willow says the pretty lady doesn't have a name, even though the name Sarah Goodfriend is written next to it. Which does not sound like the name of a noblewoman. An 18th-century hooker maybe?
posted by Athanassiel at 6:18 AM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I feel I should defend 18th-century women by pointing out that very few of them had jobs (or lives) that actually involved nothing but sitting around being pretty. But clearly, it is Buffy's idea of 18th-century women that matters.

Yeah that was my same head canon: this is Buffy's idea of how an 18th century woman is rather than an actual one.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 7:41 AM on March 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Ethan Rayne is one of those characters who I'm always surprised was in so few episodes of Buffy, because he's so memorable. I would have loved to have more "Giles backstory" episodes involving him, though perhaps that would have diluted his effectiveness (in the "oh bugger, I thought you'd gone" way). I do like that we get the teaser and then the follow-through a couple episodes later.

I'd like to point out that Buffy premiered 18 years ago this Tuesday, if anyone's not properly feeling his or her age yet.

Buffy's gourd warfare in the opening is entertaining. We clearly know now how Angel shaves; he just has to use a video camera to see himself.

Willow as "the ghost of...what, exactly" is so adorable. She evidently just keeps growing as a character due to costumes (more to come), and it also makes her costume in Inca Mummy Girl slightly more necessary, as we first see Oz as a guy who can appreciate her with a huge coat on, before he sees her midriff.

I like that there's a callback a moment to this episode when Buffy calls cars "demons" in Angel, where he winds up doing the same thing. I'm just glad they weren't both back in 1775, because the horrible accent-off would probably have brought on the accentpocalypse.
posted by ilana at 10:30 AM on March 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Accentpocalypse, hee! I meant to thoroughly deride Buffy's accent, which makes Drusilla's sound authentic, but that is much funnier.
posted by Athanassiel at 2:26 PM on March 12, 2015


Hehehe that vampire did not know what to do when the gourd was thrown at him, he just sort of stands there moving his hands around.

As for Buffy turning 18, the word "boo-urns" turned 20 last week so nothing shocks me anymore.
posted by yellowbinder at 2:57 PM on March 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


This was my first Buffy episode! I had no idea who the characters were, and then they went and changed them all by a spell...
posted by Mogur at 3:47 PM on March 12, 2015


In a show with many funny moments, Spike's "well, this is just... neat" line has always cracked me up an inordinate amount.
posted by talking leaf at 8:06 PM on March 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Sadly, the actor who played Ethan Rayne, Robin Sachs, died last year. He was also the voice of Zaeed Massani in the Mass Effect series.
posted by bibliowench at 6:07 PM on March 13, 2015


"-Willow's sexy look really doesn't work"
I thought hers was a pretty impressive tummy. I wish mine was so flat.
posted by Bee'sWing at 5:10 PM on March 15, 2015


This was also my first Buffy episode! I had no idea what was going on but seemed so fun!

And yeah I feel like if Buffy was made ten years later, Ethan and the Giles backstory would be way more of a Thing.
posted by The Whelk at 7:46 PM on March 15, 2015


talking leaf: "In a show with many funny moments, Spike's "well, this is just... neat" line has always cracked me up an inordinate amount."

I love the scene shortly after where you can see Spike talking to small demons who clearly used to be kids. And by taking them along for the ride, he also becomes an unknowing temporary "guardian" to them.


(I am doing a condensed rewatch on my own right now, so I may leave a comment every now and then in one of these old threads. But hey, that's why we don't close the fanfare posts anyway, right?)
posted by bigendian at 6:56 PM on October 2, 2016


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