Recap: Buffy The Vampire Slayer S 2 E 19 I Only Have Eyes For You

To forgive is an act of compassion, Buffy. It's not done because people deserve it. It's done because they need it.

Ghosts of two lovers possess students and staff at Sunnydale High, and force them to act out their tragic Murder-Suicide.


  • Ankle Drag: Willow is pulled into the floor by the ghost.
  • Bait and Switch: The ghosts' reenactment appears to be about a male student who murders his older female lover because she tries to leave him. When the roles are Gender Flipped with Buffy possessed by James and Angel possessed by Grace, everything takes on a new context. Both Grace and Angel, acting out of lust and loneliness, took advantage of a youth they were responsible for, with James and Buffy now doomed to suffer eternal guilt in the belief that It's All My Fault after having accidentally killed their One True Love.
  • Best Served Cold: Spike
  • Big Fancy House: Angelus, Drusilla and Spike move into a mansion.
  • Buffy Speak: Actually referred to as "Xander Speak" by Giles.
    Xander: This was no wimpy chain rattler. This was 'I'm dead as hell, and I'm not gonna take it anymore.'
    Giles: Well, despite the Xander-speak, that's a fairly accurate definition of a poltergeist.
  • Captain Obvious
    Buffy: I'm telling you, something weird is going on.
    Xander: Something weird is going on. Isn't that our school motto?
    • When Buffy says the ghost will just have to "live with" his guilt, Xander tells her that he can't "live with it" because he's dead.
  • The Confidant: "You're the only one. The only person I can talk to."
  • Dance of Romance: Buffy looks into the music room and sees the ghosts of James and Grace dancing to "I Only Have Eyes For You". She's caught up in the moment herself until James does a Face-Revealing Turn as a corpse.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?
    Giles: Many times the spirit is plagued by all manner of worldly troubles. Being dead, it has no way to, uh, to make its peace. So it lashes out, growing ever more confused, ever more angry.
    Buffy: So it's a normal teenager, only dead.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Or in this case, Dreaming of Times Gone By. Buffy has a dream in which she sees Grace and James flirting. She matches that with their pictures in the Sunnydale High yearbook of 1955.
    Xander: Your dreams are getting wicked accurate, Buff. You wouldn't happen to see me coming across some big cash? Or possibly knowing the love of a woman? In a full body sense?
  • Dutch Angle: When possessed-Buffy first enters the school.
  • Everyone Hates Mathematics
    Ben: I'm Ben. (off Buffy's blank look) We had Algebra II together last year.
    Buffy: Sorry, I pretty much repress anything math-related.
  • Everything's Worse with Huge Swarms of Magical Wasps
  • Facial Horror: After Cordelia is bitten on the face by a snake, she later examines the scar in a mirror, then screams as the scar rots and spreads across her face.
  • Flower Motifs: Not-So-Innocent Flower Girl Drusilla likes the jasmine flowers in their new vampire lair. Angelus notes they're night-blooming, "like us".
  • Foreshadowing: "The city council was told that you could handle this job. If you feel that you can't, perhaps you'd like to take that up...with the Mayor." Season 3's Big Bad.
    • Willow does a spell. She kinda likes it. Good for her.
    • She also goes through Ms. Calendar's files, though by this point she hadn't yet found the ones saved on the floppy disk, which would help her restore Angel's soul.
    • Also the ghost dialogue foretells Bangel events in "Becoming, Part 2", and in Season 3. In season 3, Buffy forgives Angel for what he did this season. Angel breaks up with Buffy so that she can have a normal life, but she doesn't care about not being able to have a normal relationship with him.
    • "He killed a person and killed himself. Those are pretty much two of the dumbest things you could do." One of them later kills a person, and one of them later (depending on how you interpret the events of "The Gift"), commits suicide.
    • Cordelia wonders what would happen if the school closed down, which happened after the events of the season 3 finale.
  • Gas Leak Cover Up: The snakes are explained away by the principal saying the sewers were backed up.
  • Gender Flip: The ghosts always possess a man and a woman to reenact their murder-suicide, but this time Buffy channels James and Angel channels Grace.
  • Get Out: Zombie!James shouts this in Buffy's face after the attempted exorcism. He then sends The Swarm to make sure they stay out.
  • Ghost Butler: Once the Scoobies enter the school to perform the exorcism, all the doors slam shut on them. Buffy later has to use her Super Strength to break open the door so they can escape The Swarm of wasps.
  • Good Hurts Evil: Once Grace's possession of him has ended, Angelus is so mortified he flees even though Buffy is at his mercy. He's later shown vigorously washing his body and complaining about being "violated" by having been forced to feel love, and insists on going out immediately to commit an act of evil, like killing a child.
  • Government Conspiracy: As hinted in "School Hard", the local authorities know what's behind the weird happenings in Sunnydale and are working to keep a lid on it.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: Done without the Time Travel. The loop is broken when Grace's ghost inhabits Angelus, who can't be killed by gunfire and so survives to tell James what he needs to move on.
  • He Really Can Act: It was this episode that convinced Joss Whedon that David Boreanaz was an actor strong enough to have his own series.
  • Hey, It's That Place!: The exterior of Angel's mansion is of Frank Lloyd Wright's Ennis House.
  • High School Dance: The Sadie Hawkins Dance, in which the girls ask the boys out, contrary to expected gender roles. This foreshadows the gender-swap that will take place.
  • Hollywood Exorcism: Done with bell, book and candle.
  • Hope Spot: After the ghosts leave their bodies, Buffy thinks for a moment that Angel has been restored, but she's pushed away in anger by Angelus who flees the scene.
  • Hypocritical Humor / By "No", I Mean "Yes"
    Giles: You should never be cowed by authority. Except in this case when I am clearly right and you are clearly wrong.
  • Immune to Bullets: And wasps, as Angelus points out, which is how he's able to enter the school. After he's possessed however, Grace-possessed Angelus is able to break the cycle by surviving after being shot.
  • Insane Troll Logic
    Snyder: I'm gonna look at all the pieces carefully and rationally, and Iím gonna keep looking until I know exactly how this is all your fault.
  • Interrupted Suicide: James-possessed Buffy is about to shoot herself when Grace-possessed-Angel stops her.
  • Intertwined Fingers: Buffy has a dream in which she sees James returning a book to Grace, but notices their fingers are caressing as he hands it to his teacher. They quickly let go when someone walks in on them.
  • Ironic Echo: The dialogue between the ghosts once they possess Angelus and Buffy matches what Angel and Buffy would say to each other, if only they could.
  • Ironic Hell: James is doomed to reenact his crime over and over through the people he possesses.
  • It's Not You, It's Me: When Ben hints he's like Buffy to ask him to the dance, Buffy responds "Oh Gosh!" He quickly backs off thinking she doesn't like him but Buffy hastens to add that he looks like a nice guy, but she's not seeing anyone. Ever again.
  • It Was Here, I Swear: The revolver disappears after each possession.
  • Just a Kid: Played for Drama — James/Buffy shouts, "Don't treat me like I'm just a—" before accidentally firing the fatal shot. Of course they are kids; Angel and Grace are supposed to be the responsible adults.
  • Leitmotif: The Giles/Jenny theme plays briefly while Jenny is being discussed.
  • Let's Dance: Drusilla has a vision re Buffy. "It's time, Angel. She's ready for you now. She's dancing. Dancing with death."
  • Kissing Under the Influence
  • Layman's Terms: Xander-Speak
    Xander: I defined something? Accurately? (closes a book on the table) Guess I'm done with the book learning.
  • The Lost Lenore: Jenny for Giles, and ensouled Angel for Buffy.
  • Lotus Position: Faced by a dining room full of snakes crawling about, Xander sits on a table in a lotus position to cast his part of the exorcism spell.
  • Meaningful Echo: Specific lines of the James/Grace dialogue will be spoken by Buffy/Angel in Season 3's "Lover's Walk" and "The Prom."
  • Metaphorgotten: In a rare unfunny example, Buffy's refusal to forgive the ghost rings strongly of her own past with Angel. Cordelia of all is the first to notice.
    Buffy: No. James destroyed the one person he loved the most in a moment of blind passion. And that's not something you forgive. No matter why he did what he did. And no matter if he knows now that it was wrong and selfish and stupid, it is just something he's gonna have to live with.
    Xander: ...He can't live with it, Buff. He's dead.
    (Buffy storms out)
    Cordelia: Okay. Over-identify much?
  • Mind Rape: What Angelus thinks has been inflicted on him. After this event his goal changes from tormenting Buffy to bringing about The End of the World as We Know It, implying that Angelus is so disturbed at feeling love he wants to abolish all chance of it ever happening again.
  • Monster of the Week
  • Mrs. Robinson: Grace.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Spike dryly notes the large windows for letting sunlight into their new mansion (ironic given that it's the notoriously unsafe Ennis House).
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The Oh, Crap look on Snyder's face when the Mayor is mentioned tells us this is no mere small town politician.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different
  • Out-of-Character Moment: Willow pointing out that Jenny would never be as mean as the ghost is. Giles finally accepts this point.
  • Person as Verb: "You just went O.J. on your girlfriend!"
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Angelus throws in plenty of comments re Spike's wheelchair-bound state.
    Angelus: If you don't like it, Spike, hit the stairs and go. Take a stand, man.
    Spike: Well, our old place was just fine till you went and had it burned down.
    Angelus: Things change, Spikey. You gotta roll with the punches. Well, actually, you pretty much got that part down, haven't you?
  • Prison Rape: So it seems that in order to put an end to the ghost Buffy has to forgive James for what he did. Is this agreeable to her? Oh hell no, since he's already dead she thinks he should be subjected to making special friends with Roscoe the weightlifter.
  • Remonstrating With A Gun/Railing Kill: How Grace was killed.
  • The Reveal: The principal, the city council, and the Mayor know about The Masquerade.
  • Saw It in a Movie Once
    Buffy: I don't incite! I stopped that boy from killing his girlfriend, ask him. Ask the janitor.
    Snyder: People can be coerced, Summers. I'm no stranger to conspiracy. I saw JFK.
    • When Willow says they have to do an exorcism, Cordelia blurts out, "Are you crazy? I saw that movie! Even the priest died!"
  • Shirtless Scene: Angelus gets one at the end, as he's trying to wash off the love.
  • Shout-Out: To Shakespeare
  • Skewed Priorities: When Cordelia gets bitten by one of the snakes, she worries about getting a scar and swelling. When a swarm of bees invades the school, she wonders whether they would be considered graduates if the school got closed down. Xander agrees with her priorities on the latter, at least.
  • Snakes Are Evil: At least when the burger you're about to bite into turns into a wriggling nest of them.
  • Spot of Tea: Giles pours tea for the Scoobies after the failed exorcism.
  • Staircase Tumble: Giles yanks Willow from the muddy vortex and they fall together down a small set of stairs (without the usual Suggestive Collision, showing their platonic relationship).
  • Sunnydale Syndrome: Snyder and the police chief worry that it's starting to fray.
    Snyder: We're on a Hellmouth. Sooner or later, people are gonna figure that out.
  • Talking Down the Suicidal
  • Teacher/Student Romance: The ghost lovers are student and teacher.
  • Tear Jerker: Oh yes...
  • Tempting Fate
    • Xander says that what's happened so far seems a bit "Hellmouth Lite". A demonic hand then tries to pull him into his own locker.
    • Willow, trying to get Buffy back on the dating thing, says that love can be nice. Cut to our first possessed couple on the verge of violence.
    • Cordelia: "We need to nip this thing in the bud. Otherwise things are going to get really scary." Cue the cafeteria spaghetti turning into snakes.
    • Cordelia again: "No problem; this will be a piece of cake, right?" Cue all the doors slamming.
  • Theory Tunnelvision: Commented on by the characters — Giles is still so torn up by Jenny's death that he refuses to take note of any evidence that she's not the one haunting the school.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Willow suggests they stop trying to counsel the troubled poltergeist and apply the Final Solution. Xander thoroughly approves of this plan to nuke the school. Willow has to explain that she means an exorcism.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!
    James (1955): Don't walk away from me -
    Smash Cut to Buffy (1998): - BITCH!
  • This Is Unforgivable!: Buffy says what the ghost did was unforgivable even if he felt remorse later.
  • Throwing Off the Disability: After Angelus taunts him again and leaves with Drusilla, bidding him "Have fun without us", Spike slowly rises from the wheelchair he was in since Buffy tried to kill him and kicks it across the room.
    "Oh I will. Sooner than you think."
  • Titled After the Song
  • Tragic Keepsake: Willow finds one of Jenny's magic crystals and gives it to Giles.
  • The Triple: Noting that Buffy has turned down the invitation to dance from Ben, Willow says, "You came, you saw...you rejected."
  • Unequal Pairing: Grace is a teacher having an affair with an underage student. Angel is a centuries-old vampire who had an affair with sixteen-year old Buffy. The analogy becomes even more apparent in "Becoming, Part One", when we're shown that Angel was given the responsibility for protecting the Slayer. Like Grace, he betrayed that responsibility for his own selfish needs.
  • Very Special Episode: Ended with a PSA by SMG about calling the suicide hotline.
  • Wham Shot: See Throwing Off the Disability.
  • Why Don't You Just Bite Her?: Angelus has become bored with his mind games with Buffy and decides to finish her off once and for all. Fortunately the ghosts have other ideas for the two of them.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Drusilla suggests she and Angelus go find a toddler to kill.