Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Lie to Me   Rewatch 
March 18, 2015 11:19 PM - Season 2, Episode 7 - Subscribe

Conflicted in her feelings for Angel, Buffy's glad to see an old friend arrive in town. Even better when he tells her he knows she's the Slayer. But Ford has secrets of his own, and he's more than willing to trade Buffy's life for his own.
posted by yellowbinder (7 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'm always drawn to supernatural stories where people, confronted with terrifying creatures, rush headlong towards the darkness. Ford had his reasons, but the others, the pained, the lost, yearning for a transformation no matter how horrible because life as they know it is worse. Granted that's reading a lot into what we see of wispy mushroom lady and Diego with his cape, but it's an element of desperation rarely touched on.

Ford is an interesting baddie. I'm sure he was a great friend of Buffy's once, but he's willing to do anything to save his own skin. He seems very "Scream" influenced with his reference-heavy plan, which was cool at the time but detracts from the episode these days.

The Drusilla/Angel history gets fleshed out here as Angel comes clean with Buffy about the horrible things he did to her. It's dark stuff and the truth isn't easy to hear, but it brings them together.

I love Willow with a secret. Everyone gets in on lying to Buffy here. Her friends will go behind her back to protect her, or they might try to kill her. As she says in the brilliant final scene, knowing who to trust, who to love and hate is a heartache that only gets harder as one matures.
posted by yellowbinder at 11:57 PM on March 18, 2015

I hadn't made that connection to Scream yellowbinder, but I think you're right, there's definitely an influence there. This is a solid episode, and it's the first to introduce an essentially vanilla human as a villain, and, worst of all, one of Buffy's former friends as well. There's some good moments of humour throughout the episode, and this also marks the first episode where Angel becomes actively engaged in the plot; up til now he has appeared to give warnings and follow orders, but here he takes charge, going to see Willow in a lovely scene (also our first look at Willow's house, we'll have to wait a while longer (season 4?) for Xander's.)

The vampire groupies strike an odd tone now, because the go to reference at this point would be Anne Rice, while if this episode was made today, there'd probably be a reference to sparkling at some point. This groupie idea is something the show hits on here, and a little bit more in 5 (and a lot more in the not very good follow up comic).

I'm not sure how much I buy Ford in this episode. He is really ready to sacrifice dozens of people, including a childhood friend, all to get immortality. Obviously they throw in the cancer (which is TV cancer, which means it doesn't affect you until you are thinking about it) to give him some motivation, but that is a big plunge to make. I also think this kind of episode suffers from having Joyce ignorant of Buffy's double life: she should ideally be having this conversation with Joyce but needs to have it with Giles instead. Giles does function more and more as a father figure as we go on, so it mostly works, I just think that Joyce and Buffy having a conversation like this could have been really good.

-The blonde vampire groupie, Chantelle, will come back in Anne in Season 3, and then in Angel
-We set up Drusilla's rebirth here, a nice slow burning plotline in the background
-Angel speaking about living in the sewers for a century or so "Really honed my brooding skills"
-"Doesn't she know any fat guys?"
-"Would I be imposing?" "Only in the literal sense"
-That playground opener is super creepy
-Apparently Spike decided to make Scott a vampire after all. Guess he's a vamp of his word...
posted by Cannon Fodder at 1:14 AM on March 19, 2015

This is one of my favourites, mostly because of that final scene. The good guys are always stalwart and true, indeed. And Buffy's final rejoinder: liar. Beautiful. It's almost like an announcement: if you thought this show was going to be fighting the monster of the week with better fashion and wittier banter, you're wrong. This is going to get serious. Angel's confession is just the start.

But there's also such flat-out funny bits - Angel's comment about brooding, for example; the scene where Willow awkwardly passes herself off as having hit the coffee again; Angel mocking Goth fashion only to have a guy wearing the same outfit push past. And Willow gets some lovely zingers: so that's what that song was about; her forbidden love with Angel.

That combination of humour and actual, real emotion about the hard things in life: people betray you, and aren't who you thought they were, and die. You can love someone without trusting them. You can invite a killer into your bedroom while wearing only a nightdress and fluffy slippers because he actually is one of the good bad guys. It's all very complicated, and that's exactly why it works so well.
posted by Athanassiel at 5:16 AM on March 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

"What will your mummy sing when they find your body" is such a super creepy line. One of the things I like about the Angel/Drusilla backstory is that it helps highlight that pretty much everyone, villains included, is a victim of some sort of horrible pain or breach of trust. Some just react and change differently than others. It's nice that the show acknowledges that, but also makes it clear some choices are stupid. Of course, it gets a little muddy with the "soul/no soul" thing.

I know it doesn't always happen, but the fact that *Chanterelle* of all people gets a satisfying story arc is one of those little bits of payoff that makes me love the Whedonverse.

Giles and Jenny are so cute. "Do you own anything else?" Why would he need to? *sigh* I love how indignant he gets at the vampire stealing his book.

"Oh, *that's* what that song was about?" Willow, recreating about fifty moments I had in high school. Also, her inability to keep a secret is so delightful. "So I cannot hang right now." I love all her awkward attempts to make Angel feel welcome. I feel like they could have used more screen time together. Theirs is a forbidden love.

The guy dressed exactly like Angel was pretty great. With that and Angel talking about "honing my brooding skills," they got a few good shots in.

Love the last scene. Liar. (Especially when you're watching a Whedon show.)
posted by ilana at 9:51 AM on March 19, 2015 [3 favorites]

This is one of my favourite episodes. I think it's where you know, absolutely, that the show isn't going to be just a quippy funny show -- sure, they did "Prophecy Girl" but dark season finale != dark series.
posted by jeather at 12:26 PM on March 19, 2015

For me, the line of the episode is Willow deadpanning, re: Angel in her bedroom: "Ours is a forbidden love."

Somehow, the fact that the half-assed vampire groupies wouldn't pass muster at either a real goth club or even a World of Darkness LARP just makes them even sadder, to the point that I'm actually wondering about the level of intentionality behind the wardrobe in this episode; at that point in time, all the goths I knew were more into jet-black basics, heavily distressed skatewear and carcinogenic-looking hair dye, so dressing up like a Hammer horror extra would get strange looks of a different sort.
posted by Strange Interlude at 7:48 PM on March 19, 2015 [2 favorites]

The vampire groupies strike an odd tone now, because the go to reference at this point would be Anne Rice, while if this episode was made today, there'd probably be a reference to sparkling at some point. This groupie idea is something the show hits on here, and a little bit more in 5 (and a lot more in the not very good follow up comic).

Oh I could definitely see there being different groups depending on whether you're into the Twilight-vampires or not. It seems to be to be a bit of a split in the fandom.
posted by LizBoBiz at 7:30 PM on January 10

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