Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Help   Rewatch 
March 23, 2016 8:59 PM - Season 7, Episode 4 - Subscribe

When a Sunnydale High student tells Buffy that she expects to die, the slayer works to stop students, demons and booby traps from making the prediction come true.
posted by yellowbinder (3 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This episode would be fairly forgettable if not for a strong performance from the actress playing Cassie, who manages to embody the level of wisdom and sadness the character needs without being obnoxious. It is, again, a fairly simple premise, and is fine for the most part, although the sacrifice cult beggars belief a little bit (they seem not that bothered about sacrificing someone for money, even if lead jock guy mislead them about the details). There's also an underlying theme, repeated from episode 1, that Buffy can't save everyone. That is something Buffy will struggle with a little this season, although her solution to it is just.... awful, and one of the reasons I think people dislike Season 7.

As I said before, one of the reasons I like this episode and others is that the characters have time to talk to each other. Willow and Xander have a conversation, which is just nice. These are characters we know and love, so there's value in just watching them interact.

-"Have you googled her yet?" "Willow, she's 17!" Ah, old internet humour.
-"Love poems?" "I'm over you now sweetie."
"That's right, Dawn is my sister. You're asking my sister to the dance and she's your second choice?"
-Hey Amanda the potential!
-That opening in the funeral home. You know, I think the show has forgotten entirely at this point that not everyone bitten will rise as a vampire.
-"Talk like that is taken pretty seriously where I'm from." "The hood?" "Beverly Hills."
-Cassie's website existed, you can see a wayback link to it here (check out the guestbook)
posted by Cannon Fodder at 1:15 AM on March 24, 2016 [2 favorites]

I like that this is one of those rare episodes where the life/death of a minor guest character truly matters, both to Buffy and the writers of the show. (I can understand Buffy getting callous about deaths of people she isn't close to, as a coping strategy. I'm a little less understanding of the writers' tendencies in this area.) Alas, both Buffy and the writers are going to backslide on this a fair amount going forward.

Buffy is kind of a terrible school counselor. Her "just stand up to the bully" advice to Amanda could have been disastrous--as Buffy knows all too well, many teenagers in Sunnydale are sadists who will not hesitate to hurt other people, and as far as she knew, Amanda did not have Slayer (or even Potential) strength to protect herself. Then Buffy shows up at Cassie's dad's house and accuses him of abusing Cassie based on no proof whatsoever. 1) She's wrong about Cassie's dad abusing her, and 2) even if she were right, confronting Cassie's dad in this manner was really not a great way to help Cassie.
posted by creepygirl at 8:54 PM on March 24, 2016

Also is Dad not gonna say anything when he finds out about Cassie's death on the Friday Night that this school counselor was grilling him about? Like, he's a shitty dad but I have to think that he'd speak up in that circumstance.

In any case, I really like this episode, almost entirely because Azura Skye's performance as Cassie is so damn good. It's frustrating that they couldn't write the Dawn-era high schoolers that well all the time, but this performance just crushes a tough task of giving real gravity to a one-and-done character* and making us feel the los and wish she'd been around more. Also, it introduces Amanda, and Amanda is for sure one of the brightest spots in Season 7.
posted by Navelgazer at 5:10 PM on October 5, 2021

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