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Recap: Buffy The Vampire Slayer S 2 E 16 Bewitched Bothered And Bewildered
On Valentine's Day, Cordelia finds herself ostracized by her clique for going out with Xander. After sadly accepting a necklace from Xander, she breaks up with him. Xander is humiliated the next morning when everyone at Sunnydale High is laughing at him. He spots Amy Madison and blackmails her into casting a love spell so he can break up with a lovelorn Cordelia.

The next morning, Xander swaggers confidently up to Cordelia, but finds her unaffected. Buffy consoles him on what happened with Cordelia, and suggests that they get together to "comfort each other". Xander cannot believe his luck, and two then nearly kiss when interrupted by Amy. Xander realizes that Amy and Buffy are both acting the same way towards him. He runs home, only to find Willow hiding under his sheets wearing only a long shirt. She offers him her virginity, and he flees in terror.

The next day, all of the girls at Sunnydale High are pleased to see Xander in the hallways; the boys, less so. Xander blockades the door to the library, only to find Buffy, wearing only a trench-coat. When he refuses to undress her because she is under the influence, she becomes enraged. Amy walks in seeking Xander too, and both girls argue, thinking Xander is two-timing them both. Amy turns Buffy into a rat, sending her scurrying behind bookcases.

On his way out, Xander sees Harmony and other girls viciously attacking Cordelia for what she had done to Xander two nights earlier. He rescues her and takes her outside, outside only to find an axe-wielding Willow leading other Sunnydale females. Xander and Cordelia flee to Buffy's house, only to find Joyce (!!) pawing over him. The mob breaks into the house with knives and sticks. Cornered in the basement, Xander reveals to Cordelia that he meant the spell for her (leaving out the part about it being a mode of revenge). She is touched.

Meanwhile, Giles had convinced Amy to reverse her spells. The Buffy-rat is switched back to human. The spell is lifted from the obsessed women in the Summers' basement. Thinking quickly, Cordy commends their "scavenger hunt."

The next morning, Willow's emotional history with Xander has left her furious, and she refuses to talk to him. Buffy comments that she was impressed by Xander's reaction to her seduction. Later, Cordelia finally renounces Harmony and her ilk, reconciles with Xander, and walks away arm-in-arm with him.


Tropes:

  • Above the Influence: Despite being the poster boy for sexually-deprived male teens, Xander refuses to take advantage when Buffy, the woman he's been yearning over for the entire series, comes on to him while dressed in a short coat with nothing underneath. After the Love Spell wears off, Buffy is proud of him for it.
  • Absurdly Ineffective Barricade
    • Xander attempts to take refuge in the school library by pushing a card catalogue against the doors. Since he apparently didn't realize that the doors open outwards, a coat (and not much else) wearing Buffy calmly opens the doors and walks around the cabinet while Xander's back is turned.
    • The same thing happens later when Xander is trying to block the entrance to Buffy's basement.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg:
    Drusilla: Your face is a poem. I can read it.
    Xander: [terrified] Really? It doesn't say 'spare me' by any chance?
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Cordelia realizes the secret's out when she finds herself shunned and ignored by Harmony and the rest of her cronies.
  • Almost Kiss: Buffy/Xander
  • An Axe to Grind: After saving Cordelia from getting pummeled by his entourage, Xander and into a mob led by a fire axe-toting Willow. She sobs as she tells him she loves him so much. "I'd rather see you dead than with that bitch!" She moves forward and raises the axe, but Harmony rushes from behind and grabs the handle. She wrestles with Willow as the two mobs confront each other.
  • Anything But That!: Xander expresses a wish that dating were more like slaying, which is of course a vamp's cue to rise from the grave. Buffy stakes the vamp. "Sorry to say, Xand. Slaying is a tad more perilous than dating." Xander counters that she's not dating Cordelia.
  • Apologetic Attacker: While crawling in search of the Buffy-rat, Xander looks up to see Oz, who promptly clobbers him with one punch. Oz angrily says that Willow was crying to him all night. "I don't know exactly what happened, but I was left with a very strong urge to hit you." Characteristically, he immediately helps Xander back up.
  • Audible Sharpness: Joyce's knife. Eeek.
  • Ax-Crazy: Literally. Don't break Willow's heart.
  • Baleful Polymorph
  • Barrier-Busting Blow: After throwing Joyce out, Cordy and Xander bicker a bit until Joyce smashes a rake through the glass door and demands to be let in, sporting a smile creepier than anything seen in The Shining.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Giles informs Buffy that according to records, Angelus is prone to "brutal displays" around Valentine's Day. Buffy asks for an example, which Giles is reluctant to give her. The next morning, Buffy marches in to see Giles and slaps the "Soon" note down in front of him, and demands to know what she can expect from Angelus. Well, wish granted. By the time Giles tells her about the time Angel nailed a puppy to some girl's door, Buffy (steely resolve of the previous day gone) tells him to skip it.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Xander tells Buffy that his relationship with Cordy is progressing because they don't fight as much.
    "Yesterday we just sat together, not even speaking. Just enjoying comfortable silence. (beat) Man, that was dull."
  • Berserk Board Barricade: Xander feebly tries to fend off the mob by nailing a few wanton boards over the basement entrance.
  • Big Bad: The much-used phrase "Big Bad" is introduced, when Buffy refers to Angelus as the "big bad thing in the dark." However, the term would later be shortened to "Big Bad" in the Season 3 episode "Gingerbread". The term "Big Bad" has since been used to describe the principal villain of each season of Buffy and Angel (as well as the principal villain in every other form of media, ever).
  • Big "Shut Up!": By episode's end, Cordelia is back with her snobby Girl Posse. But this time, after Harmony insults Xander again, Cordelia dumps them and proceeds to walk arm-in-arm with Xander, rekindling their relationship.
    Cordelia: Harmony, shut up. Do you know what you are, Harmony? You're a sheep.
    Harmony: I'm not a sheep!
    Cordelia: You're a sheep. All you ever do is what everyone else does just so you can say you did it first. And here I am, scrambling for your approval, when I'm WAY cooler than you are 'cause I'm NOT a sheep. I do what I wanna do, and I wear what I wanna wear. And you know what? I'll date whoever the hell I wanna date. No matter HOW lame he is!
  • Blackmail Is Such an Ugly Word: Lampshaded by Xander after he threatens to out Amy as a witch.
    Xander: Blackmail is an ugly word.
    Amy: I didn't say 'blackmail'.
    Xander: Yeah, but I'm about to blackmail you, so I thought I'd bring it up.
  • Breaking Speech: Cordy's "sheep" lecture to Harmony.
  • Breather Episode: This episode is rather light-hearted compared to the two episodes before and after it: the generally-serious "Phases" and the Wham Episode "Passions".
  • Call Back: The scene in which Xander and Cordelia are lying on the floor, attacked by the crazy mob, is part of a flashback seen in the Season 7 episode "Him". Xander refers to the events as "good times", even though he clearly expresses it now as a nightmare. That episode features a brief flashback of him and Cordelia being attacked in the basement.
  • Cat Fight: In the hall, Cordy closes her locker when she's confronted by Harmony and the Cordettes, who have suddenly done a 180. Harmony seethes that Cordy never loved Xander, slaps her in the face, and then the rest of the Cordettes start manhandling her.
    Cordelia: OK, Harmony, if you need to borrow my Midol, just ask.
  • Cat Scare: Buffy, already on edge due to Giles warning about Angelus, is startled by Joyce.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The heart-shaped locket Xander bought Cordelia as a Valentine's gift.
    Xander: Do you think Cordelia will like it?
  • Comfort Food: She may be dateless on Valentine's Day, but by no means is Buffy taking it lying down. She and Joyce are planning to pig out and watch videos all night. "It's a time-honored tradition among the loveless."
  • Comically Missing the Point
    Buffy: I remember coming on to you, I remember begging you to undress me...and then a sudden need for cheese. I also remember that you didn't.
    Xander: Need cheese?
  • Continuity Nod: Buffy and Giles are still shunning Jenny after the events of "Innocence". Also, when Xander tells Buffy she saw Amy work some magic on their teacher, Buffy remembers Amy of all people should know better. Finally, when Amy asks if they're going to the Valentine's Day dance, Willow can't wait to tell her, "My boyfriend (Oz) is in the band!"
    Buffy: I think you've told everyone.
    Willow: Only in this hemisphere.
  • Conveniently Timed Attack From Behind / Villainous Rescue: Angelus leans in to make a Valentine's Gift out of Xander (possibly siring him, as per Theresa) when, after a surprise blow, Angelus suddenly goes flying into a tree. Relieved, Xander gasps, "Buffy!". He looks up to see — Drusilla, also in game face. Angelus can't believe it, but Dru tells him she's finally found a "real man." You have got to be kidding.
    Angelus: I guess I really did drive you crazy!
  • Creator In-Joke: This is the first episode which we see the grave with the name "Alpert" on the tomb. This is named after producer Richard Alpert. The tomb can be seen again throughout the series, in "Killed by Death", "Becoming, Part 1", "The Zeppo", "Something Blue", "Superstar", "Real Me" and "Grave".
  • A Day in the Limelight: Xander & Cordelia.
  • Double Entendre: Joyce offering Xander a drink, then idly asking if he's in the mood for something hot.
  • Dramatic Necklace Removal: In the hallway, Xander accosts Cordy and demands the necklace back. Cordy's aghast at his lack of class, but then huffs that it's in her locker. Under cover of the locker door, she removes the chain from its real location: around her neck, which was hidden by her fully-buttoned shirt. She steels herself, then closes the door and hands it over. They part company with looks both baleful and sad.
  • Environmental Symbolism: Below the Etnies sticker in Xander's room, a sticker reading "SHEEP" is shown. This is possibly tied to the women who follow Xander like sheep, and Cordelia's line to Harmony at the end of the episode, but it is more than likely just another band sticker.
  • The First Cut Is the Deepest: Buffy tells Xander that he could find someone better than Cordelia. Xander pointedly says that the only other person he's interested in is unavailable. Buffy gives an embarrassed, "Oh."
  • Foreshadowing: When Spike bemoans that he's not simply ripping Buffy's lungs out, Angel claims it lacks poetry, Spike retorts, "Doesn't have to. What rhymes with lungs?" This refers to his past as a (not very good) poet which will be revealed in the Season 5 episode "Fool For Love".
    • The Spike/Angelus rivalry over Dru continues to simmer for the rest of the season, with unexpected consequences.
    • When Amy does a spell on Buffy, her eyes go pitch-black like her mother's in the episode The Witch. This, and the mojo she worked on her teacher, suggests that Amy is taking the same path as her mother regarding the use of magic.
    • Amy will call on Hecate again in "Gingerbread" to turn herself into a rat.
    • Xander demonstrates (very mild) carpentry skills for the first time, when he boards up the door of Buffy's basement to keep the rabid girls away.
  • Genius Bonus: For the love spell, Amy calls upon Diana, goddess of love and the hunt. Throughout history, Diana has been believed to have dominion over many things including the wilderness and untamed frontiers (which may include love). She has also been depicted as a torchbearer or guide, and has been known to be invoked for issues regarding fertility. It is for these reasons that it makes sense to call on Diana for a love spell. However, because Diana is most commonly known as the Roman goddess of forests, animals, and the hunt this could explain why the spell backfired.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Instead of affecting Cordelia, the love spell affects every other woman in Sunnydale.
  • Half Truth: While taking cover in Buffy's house, a concerned Joyce asks where Buffy is. Xander, remembering the whole rat situation, stammers, "She's....around?"
  • Headdesk: Once alone with Xander, Joyce immediately takes the opportunity to give him a back rub, causing Xander to slam his head on the table in frustration.
  • Heart Symbol: Xander gives Cordelia a heart-shaped necklace. Angelus gives Drusilla an actual heart that he "found in a quaint little shopgirl".
  • Hot for Student: Giles chews out Xander, Ms. Calendar barges in and tells Giles they need to talk. She's soon distracted, however, and compliments Xander's shirt. She goes on to tell Giles that she's not just going to go away, but keeps feeling Xander's arm as she does so, and eventually asks him, "Have you been working out?"
    Jenny: Why don't you undo your little magic trick and get lost?
    Amy: Who made you Queen of the World? [on second thought] Well, you're old enough to be.
    Jenny: Well, what can I say? I guess Xander's just too much man for the pimple squad!
  • Hypocritical Humor
    Xander: Th-that's it!! This has gotta stop. It's time for me to act like a man. [opens the door behind him] And hide! [rushes out]
    • And Harmony to Cordelia: "Only a sick pup would let Xander get away. No matter what her friends said!"
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: Giles is furious when Buffy is turned into a rat, and starts to say to Xander with genuine menace, "If anything happens to her I'll—" before realising he's talking a 17 year-old boy guilty of mere stupidity, so Giles just tells him in disgust to go home.
  • Knife Nut: Once free of Drusilla, Cordy and Xander are accosted by a kitchen knife-wielding Joyce, who ominously tells Xander that they have to "end it." Eeek.
  • If I Can't Have You: Xander tries to do the right thing by not taking advantage of any of his friends — unfortunately they're Not Good With Rejection.
  • I Resemble That Remark
    Cordelia: Why has everyone gone insane?!
    Xander: [stung] 'Insane'? Is it so impossible for you to believe that other women find me attractive?
    Cordelia: The only way you could get girls to want you would be witchcraft.
    Xander: THAT IS SUCH A— well, yeah, okay, good point.
  • Jedi Mind Trick: Amy on her teacher.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: Xander attempts it with Willow.
    Willow: I want you...to be my first.
    Xander: —Baseman! Please tell me we're talking about baseball.
  • Love Is in the Air: Xander briefly becomes very popular with the ladies. Turns out it isn't as much fun as it sounds.
  • Love Triangle: Spike-Dru-Angelus
  • Magic Misfire: To put it mildly. It would appear that by using Cordelia's keepsake in the ritual, Amy mistakenly omitted her from the love curse. Contributing factors appear to be that Cordelia was already in love with Xander, and Xander's revenge motive interfered with the 'pure intent' required for a Love Spell.
  • Meaningful Echo: Buffy fawns over Xander and coos, "It's funny how you can see someone every day but not really see them." Buffy and Xander start to lean in, but they're interrupted by Amy, who suggests they hang out after school. Xander's anxious to get back to Buffy, but when Amy starts to parrot Buffy's 'not really seeing them' line, he does a Double Take. It soon dawns on Xander that something is rotten in the state of Sunnydale, especially when one of the Cordettes appears to be hitting on him.
  • Minor Flaw, Major Breakup: At the Bronze, Cordelia is sitting pensively by herself when Xander shows up. He gives her a rather impassioned speech about how he thinks their relationship might be more than just hormones. Cordy looks ill. Xander administers the coup de grace by giving her a jewelry box. She opens it, and upon seeing the heart necklace, sincerely says that it's beautiful. She continues, "I wanna break up." Now that is brutal. Take notes, Angelus.
    Xander: Do you know what's a good day to break up with somebody? ANY DAY BESIDES VALENTINE'S DAY!!
  • Mouse Trap: Rat!Buffy in peril...
  • Mrs. Robinson: Xander and Cordelia are running in the streets, and take refuge in the Summers' home. A bewildered Joyce notices their bruises and tells Cordelia to go fetch some bandages from the bathroom (uh oh), but as soon as Cordy's gone, Joyce starts to put the moves on Xander too.
    Joyce: Let me get you something to drink. Are you in the mood for cold or hot? [not waiting for Xander's response] I think it's more of a hot night, don't you?
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Cordelia after she's taken the plunge and rejected the Cordettes for Xander.
  • Nail A Puppy To A Door: We'd explain, but Buffy wants us to skip it. She doesn't have a dog, she doesn't want to know, skip it.
  • Naked in Mink
    Buffy: [to Xander] C'mon. It's a party. Aren't you gonna open your present?
  • Naked People Are Funny: Buffy, once the transformation spell is reversed.
    "I seem to be having a slight case of nudity here."
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Xander has almost got a bead on the Buffy-rat when OZ shows up and decks him in the face, causing the rat to scurry away.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Drusilla is more taken by the bloody and still-warm heart Angelus gives her than Spike's gold necklace.
  • No Time to Explain: "Xander, who died and made you Elvis?" He says he'll explain later, but they need to get to Buffy's house.
  • Not Herself: Buffy opines that what happened with Xander is Cordy's loss, and suggests that they hang out that evening and comfort each other. Xander jokingly asks if lap-dancing will be included. Buffy pauses a bit too long before responding. "Play your cards right..."
  • Pity Sex: Angelus, noticing the necklace that Spike brought her, puts it around Dru's neck before Spike can object. As Spike sits in his wheelchair seething, Angelus quips that Dru only allows him "pity access."
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Angelus appears to have some nasty evil planned for Xander, but is interrupted before he can carry it out.
    Angelus: [leans in to bite] If it's any consolation, I feel very close to you right now.
  • Ready for Lovemaking: Willow hides in Xander's bed. Buffy is parading around in a raincoat and nothing else.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: "Passion" was originally in this episode's place, but the Buffy creators had to concoct something in a hurry to accommodate Sarah Michelle Gellar's absence for hosting Saturday Night Live. Joss Whedon claims, "We wrote it in a matter of days.. We were like, 'We have to think of something that will turn Sarah into a rat for four days'".
  • Ritual Magic: In the dead of night, Amy prepares the love spell inside the gym, Xander sits shirtless in the middle of a giant ♀ symbol, red markings on his chest and holding a candle. Amy recites an plea to Diana that Cordy be bent to Xander's will, culminating in her dropping Cordy's necklace into a beaker that's boiling over.
  • Rolling Pin of Doom: The basement door inevitably gives way. Willow and Joyce charge down the stairs, followed by a Brawn Hilda cafeteria worker(!) brandishing a rolling pin.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: Invoking Diana for a spell meant to make someone fall in love, or at least lust, with someone else. Part of Diana's domain was virginity. Of course, this could be why the spell went so horribly wrong.
  • Sexophone: While Xander struggles with the library door, the wacky music fades to a sultry sax as we see that Buffy's clad in a black raincoat and not, clearly, anything else.
  • Sexy Shirt Switch: A profoundly-puzzled Xander returns home, only to find Willow hiding under his sheets. She's wearing one of his plaid shirts, and nothing else.
  • Sexy Man, Instant Harem
  • She's Got Legs: OMG, SMG!
  • Shout-Out: An X-Men 2099 poster is seen on the wall next to Xander's bed above his nightstand. Joss Whedon is an avowed X-Men fan, citing Kitty Pryde as inspiration for the Buffy character, as well as writing a 24-issue run for Astonishing X-Men in 2008.
  • Somewhere, a Mammalogist Is Crying: A subtle one: Buffy transforms into a male rat. The same goof occurs when Amy is turned into a rat.
    • While it was probably a goof, it could be looked at as Amy's spell-casting not going exactly right.
  • Tempting Fate: Xander looks out the window in Buffy's room, notes that the mob hasn't found them yet, and opines that they should be safer there. Out of nowhere, Angelus sticks his head through the window and quips, "Works in theory." He grabs Xander and yanks him out.
  • Titled After the Song: The title of the episode comes from the Frank Sinatra song "Bewitched". The second to last verse seems particularly appropriate to the Xander/Cordelia relationship seen in the episode: I lost my heart, but what of it? / He is cold I agree / She might laugh, but I love it / Although the laugh's on me.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: Xander recoils from Willow when she starts licking his earlobe, eventually pinning him against the door. For heaven's sake, Willow, listen to reason!
    Xander: I-I don't wanna use force!
    Willow: [perks up] Force is okay!
  • Torches and Pitchforks
  • The Unreveal: What nasty thing Angelus was planning for Buffy to commemorate St Valentine's Day. Probably just as well.
  • Up to Eleven: Xander being accosted by Joyce Summers, then Drusilla.
  • Uptown Girl
  • Valentine's Day Episodes
  • Verbal Backspace: When Cordelia walks in on Joyce nuzzling Xander, she wrestles Joyce outside and locks her out of her own house.
    [turns lock] "Keep your mom-aged mitts off my boyfriend! Former!"
  • Walking In Rhythm: Played for Laughs. Once Xander realizes the love spell has gone haywire, we see his feet as he strides down the school hall to the Average White Band's funky "Got the Love" — as the camera pans up, we see he's in a deer-in-the-headlights state of panic. All the girls are staring at him with varying degrees of lust, while the guys regard him jealously. There's no shortage of leers being directed at parts of his anatomy other than his face, and there's also plenty of open-mouthed staring and winking.
  • Weirdness Censor: When everyone wakes up confused in the basement clutching sharp objects, Cordelia pretends they were on a scavenger hunt.
    Buffy: Scavenger hunt?
    Xander: Well, your mom seemed to buy it.
    Buffy: So she says. I think she's just so wigged at hitting on one of my friends that she's repressing. She's getting really good at that, actually. I should probably worry.
  • Written-In Absence: Sarah Michelle Gellar was away on Saturday Night Live for part of this one, so they came up with the Buffy rat.
  • Why Don't You Just Rip Out The Slayer's Lungs?
    Spike: I don't know. What rhymes with lungs?
  • Yandere: All girls affected by love spells, according to Giles.
  • You Look Familiar: Tamara Braun, who plays one of Xander's crazed groupies, appeared as the vampire Tara (not that Tara) in an earlier S2 episode, "When She Was Bad".

PhasesRecap/Buffy the Vampire SlayerPassion

alternative title(s): Buffy The Vampire Slayer S 2 E 16
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