Recap / Buffy the Vampire Slayer S2E2 "Some Assembly Required"

"I'm an old-fashioned gal. I was raised to believe that men dig up the corpses and women have the babies."
Buffy Summers

Buffy is waiting for a vampire to rise and is arguing with Angel about their relationship, or lack of one. Angel decides to leave and as Buffy follows, she falls face first into an open grave. The body appears to have been dragged out recently.

The next day, Buffy and Xander catch Giles practising asking Ms Calendar out on a date. Giles listens to Buffy's findings and fears someone is trying to raise a zombie army. Buffy finds Willow signing up for the science fair and she's talking to Chris, the reigning champ. As Buffy approaches, Chris' friend Eric takes pictures of girls passing by.

Willow finds the grave belonged to a girl named Meredith Todd had recently died in a car accident along with two other girls, Jane Atkins and Cathy Ryan. The Scoobies head to the cemetery to investigate. Buffy tells the others not to tell Angel as they are having problems.That night, Cordelia leaves cheer-leading practice and heads to her car. Sensing someone is following her, she hides behind a dumpster. After feeling it's safe to come out, she bumps into Angel. They find dismembered body parts inside the dumpster and Angel decides to help her out.

The Scoobies return to the library to find a frightened Cordelia clinging to Angel. They decide to abandon the zombie theory and go to check other science student's lockers. They find medical books and an article about Meredith Tyler in Chris' locker and a jigsaw of female body parts in Eric's. Chris and Eric are building their dream girl.

In a secret lab, the two students are finishing up with their experiment but they still need a head. Eric has lined up three candidates: Buffy, Willow and Cordelia. Chris' brother, Daryl comes out from the shadows, looking disgusting and grotesque. He picks Cordelia's picture. Daryl was a popular athlete who died in an accident some years before. He was brought back by his brother and was promised a live-in companion.

The next day, Giles stumbles when asking Jenny Calendar on a date but she ends up asking him to come with her to the football game where she continues to tease him. Meanwhile, the Scoobies realise the science guys still need a head but as brain tissue decays so rapidly, they can't just dig up bodies from graves. The boys must kill someone and take the head straight away.

Buffy finds a lab in Chris' house and discovers the boys' next target. As she runs off to warn Cordelia, Daryl appears from the shadows. In the locker room, Cordelia is getting ready as Chris sneaks up behind her. Eric puts a bag over her head but is beaten up by Buffy. After Cordelia leaves, Chris tells Buffy about Daryl. They head back to his house and find Daryl is missing.

Buffy and Chris head back to the school. At the football game, Daryl watches Cordelia from the bleachers. As she goes to the water fountain, he drags her away. Daryl and Eric take her to an abandoned building where Eric plans to decapitate Cordelia. Cordy sees her old crush, Daryl in his decomposed state and screams. At the game, Buffy and Chris realise they're too late but Chris tells her where they can find Eric.

Meanwhile, Willow and Xander crash Giles' date with Jenny. Chris had told them what happened as Buffy rushes to the science lab. In the ensuing fight, a burner is knocked over and starts a fire. Xander arrives with the others and they help Cordelia escape. Giles and Willow drag an unconscious Eric out of the way. As Daryl is about to kill Buffy, Chris stops him. The others escape and Daryl decides to stay behind with the unfinished creation and die in the fire.

Jenny promises Giles a second date. While Buffy talks to Chris about his agonising decision to bring back his brother, Angel arrives. Xander talks to Willow, brushing off Cordelia who tries to thank him for saving her life. Buffy and Angel leave together through the graveyard. Angel admits he was jealous over Buffy's dance with Xander but Buffy reassures him that she's not in love with Xander.


Tropes:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: Cordelia's reaction to Giles's sarcastic sympathy when she's acting like It's All About Me.
  • All Guys Want Cheerleaders
  • Artistic License Biology: "Some Assembly Required" would have been a lot easier to swallow had there been a mention of the guys using magic to augment their biology work, but there wasn't anything said about it. First, it's highly unlikely that all three dead cheerleaders would have had the same blood type and been compatible enough for their parts to be grafted together. Second, there's no way any of their cells would have still been living by the time the bodies were recovered and used. (Ditto with the dead football player who was brought back.) Third, no one seems to recall that heads can't be transplanted without severing the spinal cord, which results in complete paralysis. It's hard to imagine that that's what the reanimated dead kid had in mind when he wanted a girl built for him. Chalk it up to the Hellmouth to explain why the boys' methods did work on Daryl.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Buffy and Angel. Xander also mentions being called an idiot by someone he's attracted to kinda turns him on.
    Buffy: I fear you.
  • Brick Joke: Mexican food.
  • Buffy Speak: It can even be used for dating!
    Buffy: You might wanna avoid words like "amenable" and "indecorous", y'know. Speak English, not whatever they speak in, um...
    Giles: England?
    Buffy: Yeah. You just say, "Hey, I got a thing, you maybe have a thing, maybe we could 'have a thing'."
  • Came Back Wrong
  • Call Back: To the movie with Buffy catching a thrown knife.
  • Continuity Nod: Lots of references to Buffy's Mating Dance with Xander in the last episode.
  • *Cough* Snark *Cough*:
    Cordelia: Why are these terrible things always happening to me?
    Xander: [cough] Karma! [cough, cough]
  • Creepy Basement
  • Failed a Spot Check: Buffy and Angel are so busy arguing that neither realize that the vampire she's been in the graveyard waiting on to rise from his grave has done just that until he attacks.
  • Failed Attempt at Drama:
    Buffy: It takes more than that to get rid of me! [falls in open grave]
  • False Reassurance:
    Eric: You're gonna feel a little pinch, maybe some discomfort around the neck area. But don't worry. When you wake up, you'll have the body of a seventeen-year-old. In fact, you'll have the body of several.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Buffy's intolerance for those with a soul doing the wrong thing is first addressed in this episode. Chris does not get any benefit of the doubt. "He's just a ghoul."
  • Grave Robbing
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Buffy and Angel.
  • Holding Hands: Buffy and Angel at the end.
  • Hypocritical Humor: The girls watching the guys do all the hard work digging up the grave.
    Buffy: Sorry, but I'm an old-fashioned gal. I was raised to believe that men dig up the corpses and the women have the babies.
  • Imaginary Love Triangle: Angel worries that Xander is a possible love rival, as he can spend more time with her, including during the day. In fairness, that Mating Dance Buffy gave to Xander was meant to give him exactly this impression.
  • Improvised Weapon: During the fight in the graveyard, Buffy can't find her stake, so she takes the shovel off the vampire and stakes him with that.
  • It's All About Me: Cordelia again, played hilariously in this conversation:
    Cordelia: [coming in] Hi. Sorry to interrupt your little undead playgroup, but I need to ask Willow if she'll help me with my science fair project. ["The Tomato: Fruit or Vegetable?"]
    Willow: It's a fruit.
    Cordelia: I would've asked Chris to help me, but then that would've brought back too many memories of Daryl.
    Willow: I found it! Meredith Todd died in a car accident last week.
    Cordelia: Of course, I have learned to deal with my pain.
    Buffy: How was her neck?
    Willow: Fine, except for being broken.
    [Giles comes out of his office]
    Cordelia: Hello! Can we deal with my pain, please?
    Giles: There, there.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: And do wacky things like bring your brother back to life or have a "sexy dance" with your best friend.
    Willow: Love makes you do the wacky.
  • Mad Doctor: Mad med student.
  • Mirror Scare: Chris scares Cordelia.
  • Mix-and-Match Man: Daryl's "girlfriend".
  • Nerds Are Virgins: After Playing Cyrano for an annoyed Giles, Xander then suggests they move onto The Talk, saying "That business with the stork? It's just a smokescreen!"
  • Never Live It Down: In-Universe. Willow predicts this about Buffy's "sexy dance" with Xander in the previous episode.
  • Not a Date: The Scoobies amuse themselves Playing Cyrano over Giles's attempt to ask out Jenny Calender. Buffy advises him to ask if she likes Mexican food. Giles rejects their suggestions with irritation, only to revert to Gibberish of Love when talking to Jenny, who says he can finish telling her what's so important after the game she's taking him to. Oh, and they can have Mexican afterwards.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Giles again.
    Giles: Grave robbing? That's new. Interesting.
    Buffy: I know you meant to say gross and disturbing.
    Giles: Yes, yes, yes of course. Uh, terrible thing. Must—must put a stop to it. Damn it.
  • No Social Skills: Giles demands to know how the Scoobies knew he was interested in Ms Calender. Buffy says she's the only woman they've seen speaking to him. Plus she already knows he's a stuffy librarian, so that would save Giles the embarrassment of revealing it mid-date.
  • Oblivious to Love: Xander mentions to Buffy with some bitterness that people never love what's right in front of them...while Willow is right beside him. After saving Cordelia's life, he snubs her to talk to Willow, ignorant of the possibility of a Rescue Romance. What were he and Willow discussing that was so important? The fact that they have no love lives to speak of and wondering why that is.
  • Operation Jealousy: Buffy admits this was the reason for her "sexy dance" with Xander.
  • Playing Cyrano: Lampshaded by Giles when Buffy and Xander give him unwanted advice on how to date Ms Calender. Given that they also use the opportunity to mock his stuffy ways, he's not amused.
  • Porn Stash: The size of Eric's scares even Xander.
  • Rescue Romance: Spoofed when Xander blows his chance to score with Cordelia without even realizing it.
    Cordelia: Xander? I just wanted to thank you for saving my life. What you did in there was really brave and heroic, and I just wanted to tell you, if there was anything that I could ever do to...
    Xander: Do you mind? We're talking here.
    [Cordelia rolls her eyes and leaves]
    Xander: So where were we?
    Willow: Wondering why we never get dates.
    Xander: Yeah, so why do you think that is?
  • Rugby Is Slaughter: Giles is unimpressed by American football—why does a nation priding itself on virility feel the need to strap on forty pounds of protective gear just to play rugby?
  • Security Cling: Cordelia to Angel. Buffy is not pleased.
  • Self-Disposing Villain
  • Screaming Woman: Cordelia of course.
  • She's Got Legs: The episode opens with Buffy sitting on a tombstone in a short skirt.
  • Shout-Out: To Frankenstein.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: The appeal of forbidden love is lampshaded by Xander. Buffy and Angel, of course, put it into practice.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Angel startles Buffy.
    Buffy: Are you crazy? You don't just sneak up on people in a graveyard. You make noise when you walk. You stomp, or...yodel.
    • Later, Chris spooks Cordelia when he appears behind her and she sees him in the mirror.
  • Strapped to an Operating Table: Cordelia.
  • Surrogate Soliloquy/Emotionally Tongue Tied: Giles rehearsing asking Ms. Calender out for a date.
    Giles: W-w-w-what I'm proposing is, um...and I-I don't mean to appear indecorous, is, is, um, a, a-a-a social engagement, um, a, a, a, a-a date, if you're amenable. [to himself] You idiot!
    Buffy: Boy, I guess we never realized how much you liked that chair.
  • Tempting Fate: Buffy and Angel are arguing in the graveyard.
    Buffy: I didn't come here to fight! [vampire attacks] Oh, right, I did.
  • Teen Genius: Surgically assembling a human body would require advanced medical knowledge well beyond a high school student, and, given all the scientific hurdles Chris would have had to overcome (see Artistic License Biology), his intellect has to be even higher than that.
  • That Came Out Wrong / Just a Kid: Angel scoffs at the idea that he's jealous of Xander as "he's just a kid".
    Buffy: What do you mean "he's just a kid"? Does that mean I'm just a kid, too?
  • Unwanted Revival
  • Would Hit a Girl: Daryl socks Buffy in the face.