Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Amends
June 10, 2015 9:06 PM - Season 3, Episode 10 - Subscribe

Angel is tormented by visions of those he's killed, manifestations of the First Evil. It's Christmas Eve and if The First has it's way, either Buffy or Angel won't live to celebrate.
posted by yellowbinder (15 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
This has always been a pretty weak episode in my mind. I did enjoy the hints at the grander play here though, the war between good and evil in which Buffy and Angel are only small pieces. We got some of that in Becoming, and it would be a major cryptic theme on Angel. It's cool that it's a little vague who did bring Angel back and for what purpose, probably telling though that while The First wants Angel to turn to the evil and take out Buffy, it's perfectly happy letting him off himself instead. Anything to knock down one of those pieces.

The snow is a nice symbol if a bit cheesy. The one thing that really really bothers me about it is how everyone is awake to react to it. It's explicitly sunrise! I can buy Faith still protecting Joyce, but both of them still awake? Oz and Willow in Willow's bedroom, also awake and not having slept together?

And oh man, how emotionally mature is Oz in both these episodes. His awesomeness overcomes my Seth Green malaise, and always makes me forgive the few times he is really not so awesome.
posted by yellowbinder at 9:14 PM on June 10, 2015


I really wish the First Evil hadn’t been a part of this. If Angel truly is a decent person, or trying to be one, he doesn’t need some outside force to make him suicidally depressed about his crimes. He could get there on his own, and I think it would have been a stronger episode if the flashbacks and remorse came from Angel himself.
posted by creepygirl at 9:25 PM on June 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


And oh man, how emotionally mature is Oz in both these episodes. His awesomeness overcomes my Seth Green malaise, and always makes me forgive the few times he is really not so awesome.

Yeah, Oz is really at top quality all through this season, and his scenes with Willow in this episode are probably my favourite thing about it.

So yeah, I don't really like this episode. It's really emotionally overwrought and that final christmas miracle is just a bit embarrassing really. Especially as Angel's special destiny never really becomes clarified. In general I really hate special destiny stuff, especially when it involves direct heavenly intervention (why didn't they intervene to stop Angel turning evil? Or any other number of things!) as it directly removes character agency. Angel actually doesn't choose to live here, he gets the choice made for him!

That said, this is fairly fitting with who Angel is. He's a very reactive character. In the opening episode he doesn't help Buffy because he's convinced she'll fail, in Prophecy Girl he only goes to save Buffy after Xander gets him to do so. This makes him quite an interesting character, although quite a frustrating one to follow. This is someone for whom the fight is very difficult. I've always thought the Buffy in this episode really needed to go forward in time and have a chat with Season 6 Buffy, as much of what she says to Angel here could be repeated for future Buffy.

It's worth noting how useless the First Evil is again here. It's about as subtle as Emperor Palpatine with it's whole: you feel completely terrible about how evil you were, why don't you just become evil again then you won't feel guilty? That's the worst motivational speech ever! And, again, it frustrates me that Angel's special magic destiny which the First Evil is trying to interrupt never really gets clarified as it makes this whole thing even more strange.

One thing that is nice is having Xander finally confessing that is behaviour towards Angel has been terrible. Taking one step on a path to being a better human being I guess. There's also the slow burn of Faith's plot. Note that despite her being invited, and coming to Christmas, Buffy runs off and doesn't tell her a thing. You can see why she might build up resentment over time

-The first evil touches Angel a few times here, which it won't be able to do in 4 seasons time
-Dead by sunrise! Dead by dawn is catchier.
-"All right, I get it, you're evil!" "Let me guess, is it evil?"
-Willy the Snitch get's his first appearance
-That sex scene is actually pretty sexy
-There's a research montage. Urgh
-A reminder that Willow is Jewish!
posted by Cannon Fodder at 2:38 AM on June 11, 2015


-Willy the Snitch get's his first appearance

Wasn't Willy in season 2 quite a bit? Like, he was a pretty big part of "What's My Line," which is I think where he was really introduced. This is actually one of his last appearances, IIRC.
posted by kewb at 6:44 AM on June 11, 2015


Wasn't Willy in season 2 quite a bit? Like, he was a pretty big part of "What's My Line," which is I think where he was really introduced. This is actually one of his last appearances, IIRC.

Oops, you're right! I'm slightly ahead of the rewatch and have been making notes for myself to remember what happened. However, I saw "willy the snitch!" in my notes and assumed it was him appearing for the first time, but you are right, Kendra encourages Buffy to hit him again...
posted by Cannon Fodder at 6:47 AM on June 11, 2015


It's really emotionally overwrought and that final christmas miracle is just a bit embarrassing really. Especially as Angel's special destiny never really becomes clarified.

Oh, it's that he makes Partner.

I have not seen this episode since it aired and see no reason to change that, the ending "miracle" torqued me so badly.
posted by phearlez at 11:34 AM on June 11, 2015


Okay, I have to confess that since I last watched this, the only things I remembered about it were the dead Christmas trees and the stupid snow at the end. So this time round, when Angel starts seeing dead people, I thought, woah, that reminds me of the First. But they didn't have the First until way later. So it must be something else going on. Nope, it was the First. Which, if I thought it was an intentional foreshadowing of something that would go on to be quite important, would impress me. But given how wimpy-ass the First is here, I am inclined to think they ran out of ideas for the Big Bad and decided that maybe the First could be revived and made meaner and more effective.

Petty comment: Buffy's fringe is awful. Thankfully she brushes it to the side most of the time. Not a lasting hairstyle.

Also, I noticed that when Faith shows up at her house, Buffy takes a long time to actually either smile welcomingly or actually let her in. I mean, her face is almost a mirror of the face Giles has on when he opens his door and sees Angel there. At least Buffy doesn't get out the crossbow and point it at Faith, but honestly.

Joyce on the other hand, is lovely and warm. (Although her reaction when Buffy suggested inviting Giles was hilarious.) Mind you, Joyce is really written as excessively accommodating in a way that bugs me, like the episode where Spike has forced his way in and revealed himself to be dangerous, then asks for little marshmallows and Joyce says cheerfully, let me see if I have some. The older I get, the more I am really pissed off on Joyce's behalf. I guess it's not unusual for a teen-centric show to prioritise character development of its teens, but I wish she'd been given as much development as Giles. "Band Candy" proved that she's an interesting person and that Christine Sutherland is a good actress, when given something more than "soccer mom" to work with.

All of that is big digression to the end. On the one hand, I think some of what they're saying is really important stuff. Struggling with how to continue fighting when you are convinced the only way to make things better is to destroy yourself - well, I can't be the only person with depression watching this, and damn if that doesn't resonate on a level. And yes, it would be really interesting if S6 Buffy was the one having this conversation. They'd probably wind up in a suicide pact though.

And then there's the "miracle". That snow pisses me off so much. So now we're going to have people bitten in the middle of the day when it rains? Oooh, it's a bit cloudy today, better stay inside so the vamps don't get me. And if it had been that warm beforehand, there is NO WAY it would have accumulated so quickly; it would have melted as soon as it hit the ground. Just, bloody, NO! Completely leaving aside the stupidity of the idea that somehow something was intervening so Angel doesn't die. !(*)^!)^%#&%~)$#%!$

Okay I think I am sufficiently enraged now. Will go find video of kittens to calm me down.
posted by Athanassiel at 6:15 PM on June 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh, it's that he makes Partner.

Is that it? Because I feel like Angel (the show) went back and forth on this a lot. For the longest time it was the whole shanshu prophecy thing, then the whole W&H thing, and then one could maybe use Buffy Season 8 as evidence, but I think we'd all prefer that one wouldn't.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 7:28 AM on June 12, 2015


Is that it? Because I feel like Angel (the show) went back and forth on this a lot.

I thought it was made relatively clear on Angel's own show that his destiny is "special" because he will play a key role in the apocalypse (ostensibly the "true" one, but this is the Buffyverse....). However, it is unclear which side he will be on, so both the Powers and the forces of overt evil are trying to turn him into their champion.

There's a bit of stuff in Angel season 5 that suggests Spike might be the actual subject of the prophecy, but then that turns out to be Lindsay McDonald and his grail full of Mountain Dew screwing with everyone.
posted by kewb at 4:16 AM on June 13, 2015


Thoughts on this one (not a favourite):

That accent. Man. Also, David Boreanaz gets better as an actor, but he relies so heavily on shuddery tortured heavy breathing. It gets irritating, especially once I think about it and then I can't stop noticing it to the point where it gets distracting and possibly even funny.

I totally identify with Willow's "Still Jewish!" This past year it took me six stores (holiday stores included) to find Chanukah candles. One store even had an employee who said "Chanu-what?" when I asked. If my religion were Frozen, it would be much easier. Not everybody worships Santa! I like Xander's echoing, later, of finding the Chanukah spirit.

Oz saying "I never felt that way when it wasn't a full moon" about Willow's cheating…extreme foreshadowing, I suppose.

Joyce's "No I'm sure he's fine" about Giles…hilarious.

I like the Giles/Angel scene. Giles is great in it. It's nice to have him dress Angel down a bit.

Was not a fan of the creepy sex dream on first watch. Still not. It's not badly done, just, noooo. On the other hand, I can't ever not laugh at the Barry White. Willow, for the second time, offers herself to Oz (as in that time with the kiss) and he declines because it's not for the right reason - either she's just trying to make Xander jealous, or she doesn't have to prove anything (again, trying for a "quick fix"). He really is the perfect understanding high school boyfriend, and the it should happen "because we both need it to for the same reason" nicely comes true later on. Also, the chilled soda! Hee!

I'm not even really going to dignify the Deus Ex Machisnow. Whatever.
posted by ilana at 9:23 PM on June 14, 2015


Oh, I forgot to mention in my notes that Oz apparently isn't a virgin (there's a throwaway line to that effect when Willow and Oz talk), which I never noticed first time round. Or second or third for that matter.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 12:16 AM on June 15, 2015


Sorry, I know too many lawyers - I was just joshing about the partner thing. I assume the real answer was this meh shanshu thing, though I think even the show on occasions talked about the malleable nature of prophecies.
posted by phearlez at 1:02 PM on June 16, 2015


Oz apparently isn't a virgin

Of course not. He's a bassist.
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:08 PM on June 17, 2015


Oops, never mind, he plays lead. But still!
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:32 PM on June 17, 2015


For ten years or more, the only scene from Buffy I'd ever seen was the Willow-Oz scene from this episode, which I saw at a friend's house in high school as this originally aired.

I swear, I could put together a Nerd Nite talk on the different models of manhood presented in this show vis-a-vis Giles, Xander and Oz.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:47 PM on October 13, 2015


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