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Recap: Buffy The Vampire Slayer S 3 E 8 Lovers Walk
The SAT results are in. Buffy looks positively shaken; her SAT score is a whopping 1430. The gang thinks that these scores could change Buffy's future. Buffy admits that it feels weird, because she was never sure she'd even have a future. Cordy smiles hugely because they enable Buffy "to leave and never come back!" Everyone turns to look at her.

"...Well, I mean that in a positive way. Get out of Sunnydale — that's a good thing. What kind of moron would ever want to come back here?"

Cut to the "Welcome to Sunnydale" sign getting mowed down by a truck (again). We all know who the moron in question is. A bottle of liquor shatters on the pavement, and then Spike tumbles out.

Xander and Willow are having second thoughts about going on a double-date; Willow is concerned that Oz and Cordelia will notice the sexual pull between her and Xander. Xander tells her that he wishes that they could just get rid of their feelings of lust.

Spike visits the magic shop during the daytime. We figure out that he means to curse Angel, and settles on leprosy as his preferred method. ("We don't carry leprosy.") Willow coincidentally enters with a shopping list. The storekeeper recognizes it as the ingredients for a love spell, but Willow explains that she wants the opposite effect. Once she leaves, Spike comes out of hiding and kills the shopkeeper, having decided that a love spell to make Drusilla love him again is an even better idea.

City Hall. Mayor Wilkins is playing golf in his office when his deputy alerts him to Spike's return. Wilkins agrees that they organize and send a "committee" to deal with the problem.

In the school chemistry lab, Willow is working on the anti-love spell while Xander expresses strong reservations about the idea. Spike shows up and clobbers Xander, then announces that he needs to borrow Willow for a while. He drags Willow and the unconscious Xander back to the factory, where he demands that Willow perform a love spell for him. Willow stalls by saying she needs a spellbook.

Back at school, the Scoobies find the chem lab torn up and Willow and Xander missing. Buffy starts to load up on weapons, but the phone rings; It's her mom. Buffy tries to beg off, but then hears Spike's voice in the background. "Hello, Joyce!"

Summers home. Joyce pours Spike some hot chocolate (!) as he relates his sob story. Angel comes strolling through the neighborhood. He spots the couple talking in the kitchen and immediately makes a run for the doorway, but is stopped by the invisible barrier. Joyce, still under the impression that Angel is evil, orders him to leave. Buffy arrives and spoils his fun, then, (finally) invites Angel in. Joyce is confused at this role reversal. Spike gloats he's got their friends, and they had better help Spike if they want to see Willow and Xander alive.

Spike whines about sobering up as he leads Angel and Buffy to the magic shop. The couple act smug over Spike's gin-soaked misery, but Spike says they're one to talk, pointing out that the last time he saw Buffy and Angel, they were fighting to the death; Now they're making "googly eyes" at each other. Buffy parrots that they're just friends, but Spike torpedoes that notion:

"You're not friends. You'll never be friends. You'll be in love 'til it kills you both. You'll fight, and you'll shag, and you'll hate each other 'til it makes you quiver, but you'll never be "friends." Love isn't brains, children, it's blood. Blood screaming inside you to work its will. I may be love's bitch, but at least I'm man enough to admit it."

Oz and Cordelia drive off to fetch Giles. Oz suddenly swerves around when he detects Willow's scent in the air ("a residual werewolf thing"). Back at the factory, Xander wakes up to find that he and Willow are locked in a basement. Deciding that the high probability of death is a mitigating factor, the pair of them start kissing—just in time for Oz and Cordelia to rescue them. Cordelia looks sick and runs for the exit, but the stairs give way. Xander rushes over to see her lying face up on some rubble. She manages, "I fell." The camera pans down to show that she's been impaled on rebar.

As they leave with the needed supplies for Spike's spell, Buffy, Angel and Spike are surrounded by a "committee" of vampires sent by Wilkins. The three of them get herded back inside the magic shop, then barricade the windows, but it's no use. Lenny reaches Spike and laments that he's gone soft. Wrong thing to say, I'm guessing. Spike repeatedly hammers Lenny's head against a table before staking him. Buffy and Angel let fly some vials of holy water. Repulsed, the vamps flee. Spike's elated to have had a good fight. Buffy asks about the spell. Spike shrugs.

Buffy gives him an "I can't believe I'm so dumb" look. Spike jauntily says that all he needs to get Dru back is to quit whining and to be the man he was. He strolls out.

Cut to a cemetery, where a funeral service is being performed. Buffy and Willow walk on by, chatting about how Cordelia survived the fall and is in the hospital. (Not cool, Mutant Enemy.) Willow whimpers that Oz is refusing to talk to her, and Buffy suggests time and groveling. Speaking of which: Xander, huge bouquet of flowers in hand, knocks on the door to Cordy's hospital room. "Stay away from me," comes the reply. Ice cold.

Buffy visits Angel, and tells him that they are not friends; she explains that she's not coming back, as he doesn't need her help anymore. Angel protests, and Buffy tells him that the only way they can see each other is if Angel can say that he doesn't love her, something he cannot do.

Tropes

  • Actor-Shared Background: Charisma Carpenter has a large scar on her belly from a childhood accident. At five years old, playing around a swimming pool that was still under construction, she fell onto a piece of rebar. Only in real life she fell off a horse and not through stairs.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Buffy is frank with Giles over how she intends to visit Angel (though she is still in denial over the reasons) having learnt her lesson from "Revelations". However she's decided not to let Joyce know that Angel is back and no longer evil, which could have had serious consequences had Spike's motives been more sinister. Averted with Xander who knows first hand the dangers of love spells, and so objects to Willow using similar magic to solve their problem.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: Angel and Buffy being blackmailed into saving Spike's ass. Props to Spike for using a nonexistent bargaining chip, though.
  • Anti Climax Cut: Spike leering at Joyce from behind her back. Cut to the pair of them drinking hot cocoa.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Willow insists that even a bowling alley won't suppress her and Xander's hormones. "It's a very intimate situation! It's all sexy with the smoke, and the sweating, and the shoe rental..."
    Xander: You're turned on by rented shoes?
    Willow: That's not the issue.
  • Bad Cop/Incompetent Cop: The Mayor's aide makes a reference to the police having to cover up the murder of the Magic Shop storekeeper, showing that it's not just Sunnydale Syndrome that keeps a lid on things.
  • Better as Friends: Deconstructed by Spike.
  • Big "Shut Up!": Angel needles that Spike's going to a lot of trouble for the sake of the fickle Drusilla. Wrong thing to say, Lothario. Spike lunges and socks Angel in the face.
  • Bittersweet Ending: On one hand, every single Scooby breaks up with their respective love interest. On the other hand, an ending where Spike is back to his old self and triumphantly singing Sid Vicious's cover of "My Way" can't be that big of a downer, can it?
  • The B Grade: Willow grouses over receiving a 'pathetic' 740 on Verbal, while Xander notes that her Verbal score closely resembles his combined scores.
  • Book Ends / Drunken Song: Spike gloomily sings "My Way", originally performed by Frank Sinatra, as he wanders around his old haunts. When he is "back to his old self," he sings the infamous Sid Vicious cover.
    • To be specific, Spike was supposed to be singing along to the Sex Pistols, but they couldn't obtain the rights. The version we hear is actually being sung by Gary Oldman from the Sid & Nancy soundtrack. (The characters Spike and Drusilla were fashioned after Sid and Nancy).
  • Bowling For Ratings / Double Date: Both Xander and Willow beg their respective dates to join the other couple for bowling night. Subverted as it's just a ploy to throw attention off Xander and Willow's infidelities, and the date never happens.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Spike sniffles that he gave Drusilla everything: "beautiful jewels, beautiful dresses, with beautiful girls in them!"
  • Brick Joke: The argument involving Spike, Dru and the Chaos Demon is shown in "Fool for Love". And the Black Comedy of an unwilling Willow giving support to a depressed Spike is repeated in "The Initiative" in Season 4. On that occasion Willow is the one who's just been dumped, so Spike assures her she's still appealing to him, referring to the fuzzy pink sweater she wore in this episode.
  • Call Back: Spike's entrance is identical to his first appearance in "School Hard", right down to the line reading ("Home...sweet...home! *hic*") and one of the Scoobies Tempting Fate beforehand.
    • The scene with Spike and Joyce plays is the same as in "Becoming Pt. 2," except with Spike and Angel swapping roles. In both episodes, Joyce is left stammering and totally confused as to what's going on.
  • Cannot Convey Sarcasm: As he peruses Willow's test scores, Oz mimics Xander's reaction: "Well, I can see why you'd be upset." At Willow's nod, he plaintively tells everyone "That was my sarcastic voice."
    Xander: You know, it sounds a lot like your regular voice.
    Oz: I've been told that.
  • Chekhov's Door: During the magic shop siege, a vamp comes in through the back door. Maybe Spike should have anticipated that, considering that he did the same thing earlier in the episode.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Spike confiding to Willow that Dru didn't even have the courtesy of chopping his head off, or setting him on fire. "I mean, is that too much to ask, you know?! Some little sign that she cared!"
    • "Xander's a witch?"
  • Continuity Nod
  • Deadpan Snarker: Buffy saying "I guess you had to be there" in response to Spike reminiscing about he and Dru murdering a homeless guy.
  • Description Cut: "What kind of moron would ever want to come back—" [VROOM!] [SMASH!] ..Oh.
    • Joyce continues to push the idea of college. "I mean, honestly, is there anything keeping you here?" Anvilicious cut to Angel. (Reading Jean Paul Sarte!)
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Spike's temporary alliance with Buffy = infidelity. ("I told her it didn't mean anything, I was thinking of her the whole time, but she didn't care.") A flashback scene in "Fool for Love" shows us that Drusilla isn't wrong to think this; as a seer she can tell Spike is (or will be) in love with Buffy long before he realises it.
  • The Door Slams You: As the vamps rush the shop, Angel barricades a door with his body, but is comically flattened as the horde charges in.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Spike is thoroughly sloshed. He sobers up once he experiences the thrill of the kill.
  • Embarrassing Rescue: Willow and Xander kiss, and the camera pans around to Oz and Cordy coming down the stairs.
  • Enemy Mine: This is the only occasion where we see the Big Three (Buffy, Angel and Spike) fighting side-by-side, and it's noticable that they're actually quite good at it.
  • Environmental Symbolism: Willow is very prominent in the photos of Xander in Cordelia's locker.
  • Eviler than Thou: Mayor Wilkins has enjoyed Spike's antics in the past, but can't risk him running loose this year.
  • Eureka Moment: Willow gets a bright idea from Xander wishing he could erase his lust for her. Spike comes to the opposite conclusion when he overhears Willow buying ingredients for a love spell.
  • Fake Kill Scare: Shameless. Absolutely shameless.
  • Foreshadowing
    • This is the first time (but not the last) that Willow uses magic as a 'quick fix' for a relationship problem.
    • Spike's ability to read the Scoobies — particularly Buffy — is a skill he'll use for good and ill in future seasons.
    • Spike's description of Bangel ("You'll fight, and you'll shag, and you'll hate each other 'til it makes you quiver, but you'll never be 'friends'") is taken Up to Eleven with Spuffy, even down to Spike being the only one "man enough to admit it", as Buffy repeatedly denies their relationship.
    • Cordelia's subtext in being delighted that Buffy can now leave Sunnydale comes into the open in the next episode, when she wishes Buffy had never come there in the first place.
  • Friend or Foe: Joyce siding against Angel with Spike, who keeps making like he's going to bite her neck.
    Joyce: [to Angel] You get out of this house, or I will stake you myself!
    Spike: You're a very bad man.
  • Funny Background Event: Spike pulling Bela Lugosi imitations behind Joyce's back.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: Willow promises she'll "try" to perform the spell for Spike. Wrong choice of verb. Spike breaks the bottle he's been drinking from and points the jagged glass at Willow's face. He menaces that she'd better come through with the spell, or he'll shove it into her brain.
  • Hannibal Has a Point: Neither Buffy nor Angel want to hear it, but Spike seems emboldened at having said his piece.
  • Hostage For Macguffin: Spike initially threatens to kill Xander if Willow doesn't toe the line with him. He graduates to blackmailing Buffy and Angel, though (unbeknown to Spike) his hostages have already been freed.
    • And this trouble for a spell that is never performed.
  • Humiliation Conga: Spike, hellbent on revenge, makes a trip to see Angel, but promptly passes out on the doorstep. When morning comes, his left hand, lying in the sun, bursts into flames. He wakes up in a panic, sticks his hand in the nearby fountain, then scrambles into his car.
    • "This is just too much!" We know, buddy. We know.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Xander is confident he and Willow can hold it together in public.
    Xander: What are they gonna know? That we're friends. Old, old friends. And maybe we've had one or two indiscretions, but that's all past. Look, we're just very good friends who like to hang out, and can I kiss your earlobe?
    • "No! Well, okay. No! [holds up dispenser] PEZ!"
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Spike has gone from being the new Bad Ass in town, with Feet-First Introduction, Make Way For The New Villains and everything, to an alcoholic drifter telling his sob story to anyone who'll listen (even laying his head on Willow's shoulder and invoking a "There, There"). Except for the part where he kills people.
  • Improvised Weapon: Willow grabs a microscope and comes at Spike with it. He stops her in mid-swing ("That's not nice"), yanks the microscope from her grip, and clocks Xander in the head with it. Ow.
    • This episode marks the second time that Xander gets smashed in the head with a microscope, which is probably a record for a TV character (the first time was in "Bad Eggs"). By Willow, no less.
    • Angel twirls a pole outside the café, while Buffy runs inside and snaps a mop handle in two. She also breaks up a wooden chair to get stakes for the three of them.
    • In the magic shop, Buffy kicks a rolling ladder, clocking a vamp in the head. She then ducks behind a vamp's punches by using the ladder as a shield.
    • Buffy smashes vamp's head through a display case, knocking him out. She then kicks him head-first into the ladder and watches it slide away.
  • Insult to Rocks: Spike sobs that he's "nothing" without Dru, a sentiment which Buffy is inclined to agree with. "You're not even a loser anymore. You're a shell of a loser."
  • Ironic Birthday: Oz presents Willow with a gift, and she asks what the occasion is. Oz: "Pretty much you are." She unwraps it to discover a Pez dispenser with a witch's head. Aww. She laments that she doesn't have anything to give him. Oz is delighted just to be her boyfriend. He walks off, and we see that Willow looks nine kinds of guilty.
  • Ironic Echo / Tempting Fate: As they exit the shop, supplies in hand, Buffy tells Spike she wants him out of her life. Spike is happy to oblige. "No trouble." On cue, a crowd of vamps accosts them and greet Spike.
    Buffy: No trouble at all.
    • And it becomes a Running Gag over the course of the series — every time Buffy tells Spike to get out of her life it means he's about to get deeper into it (e.g. "Crush" and "Wrecked").
  • Ironic Echo Cut: Apropos Angel, Giles looks warily at Buffy. But she assures him, "Nothing's gonna happen." We cut to Willow telling Xander, apropos bowling, "Something's gonna happen!"
  • I Will Punish Your Friend for Your Failure: Willow points out that the love spell might not work. Spike replies cheerfully, "If at first you don't succeed...I kill your friend and you can try again."
  • Lame Comeback / Failed Attempt at Drama: Outside Angel's window, Spike slurs, "I'll show YOU who's a...cool guy." He continues, "You're goin' down," then predictably trips and passes out.
  • Let's Just Be Friends: Spike's voice cracks as he recalls Drusilla saying this to him. "How could she be so cruel?!"
  • Literal-Minded: Buffy mentions that her mother's head spun around and exploded upon seeing her high SAT score. Giles takes it literally, but adds the disclaimer that one can't make too many assumptions, what with living on the Hellmouth.
    • Mayor Wilkins bemoans a missed shot. "I swear, I would sell my soul for a decent short game. Of course, it's a little late for that. I don't suppose I could offer your soul, huh? Really help me on the green." Alan makes a note to himself to update his will for the third time this month. Mayor: "I'm just funnin'."
  • Lost Love Montage: The episode closes with Angel brooding, Willow sadly playing with her Pez witch (aw), Oz pensively holding his guitar without playing it, Xander in the library looking sad, Cordy in bed looking pained, and Buffy (looking sad as well). Everybody loses.
    • Irreverently averted immediately afterward with Spike having the time of his life.
  • Love Potion: Willow schemes to cast an inverse version.
  • Meaningful Echo: "Home sweet home!"
    • Buffy asks Angel "Tell me you don't love me" mirroring what she asked Angel when possessed by James' ghost in "I Only Have Eyes For You"
  • Mood-Swinger: Spike angrily threatening Willow's life if she fails to work her mojo. He then downshifts back to pathetic, sitting beside Willow on a bed. He whines that Dru thought he had gone soft after his alliance with Buffy, and ends up weeping on Willow's shoulder. And starts to lasciviously play with her hair.
  • Mood Whiplash: The Downer Ending of all of the scoobies having to deal with the revelation of the affair at the end.... which then cuts to Spike singing (Gary Oldman's cover of) the Sid Vicious version of My Way, happier than ever.
  • Mortal Wound Reveal: Cordelia lying on a bed of rubble. A stick of rebar has pieced her stomach, somewhere beside her kidney.
  • Morton's Fork: Xander, having awakened in a locked room, asks Willow for a status report. "Well, I figure either I refuse to do the spell and he kills us or I do the spell and he kills us."
    • Take a Third Option: "He's so drunk he forgets about us and we starve to death." Well, that's comforting.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Willow giving Spike the idea to win Drusilla back with magic.
    • In fact, Spike barely causes any trouble this episode; aside from killing the shopkeeper, his attempts at evil are feeble. The heroes do all the work for him.
  • No Honor Among Thieves: Spike is nonplussed at seeing Lenny working for Wilkins. "This pissant used to work for me!"
  • Not Important to This Episode Camp: Giles is delighted when presented with Buffy's SAT scores, and suggests that Buffy could feasibly leave Sunnydale and her Slayer duties to Faith. Wherever she is.
  • The Nose Knows: Oz picks up Willow's scent — presumably the pheromones she's giving off due to fear.
  • Office Golf: Wilkins practices his golf putting as Alan briefs him on the "Spike problem."
    "I swear, I'd sell my soul for a decent short game. Of course, it's a little late for that..."
  • One-Hit Polykill / Made of Plasticine: Buffy staking two vamps at once with a broken mop.
  • OoC is Serious Business: Xander goes to visit Cordelia with a large bouquet of flowers, ready for some major grovelling and a torrent of abuse from the Alpha Bitch of Sunnydale High. Instead Cordelia cuts him short by saying in a weak voice, "Xander, stay away from me."
  • "Open!" Says Me: Spike kicking open the door to his crime scene.
  • Opposites Attract Revenge: After his falling out with Dru, Spike caught her making out with a chaos demon. "Have you ever seen a Chaos Demon? They're all slime and antlers!"
    • Done metaphorically as Spike cries on Willow's shoulder, then looks up and regards her neck. He says he hasn't had a woman in weeks. Willow jumps up in fright and says she'll do the spell, but that "there will be no bottle in face, and there will be no 'having' of any kind, with me, all right?"
  • Percussive Therapy: Spike returns to the old burned down factory and surveys the damage. He picks up one of Dru's burnt dolls, and starts asking why she left him. Then he vamps out, throws the doll to the ground, and smashes it to pieces with a candlestick.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: Lenny's disappointment at learning the rumors are true — Spike's gone soft.
    Spike: [increduously] Soft?
    Lenny: Yeah. Like baby food.
    Spike: Well, then, let's give baby a taste.
  • Punctuated Pounding: Spike giving Dru's doll a piece of his mind. "YOU! STUPID! WORTHLESS! BITCH!"
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder / Walk In Chime In: Spike, standing behind Joyce, enrages Angel to the point of threatening to rip Spike's head off. Spike scoffs, "You and what army?" Buffy lunges out of nowhere, grabs Spike by the neck, and pins him to the counter.
    Buffy: That would be me.
  • Running Gag: The owner of the Magic Shop being murdered is a trend that continues until Giles buys the shop in Season 5. And not even then, if you include the comics.
  • Selective Obliviousness: As Xander regains consciousness, Willow asks if he remembers anything after eating a microscope. Xander pats his bloodied head. "I won, right? Kicked his ass?"
  • Shout-Out: Willow's unhappy about scoring 'only' a 740. "I'm Cletus the slack-jawed yokel!"
  • Sidetracked by the Analogy: Apropos Spike, Mayor Wilkins states that it's too important a year for him "to let a loose cannon rock the boat." In the middle of his deputy's response, the Mayor wonders whether he just employed a mixed metaphor. "Boats did have cannons. And a loose one would cause it to rock."
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Xander inquires about whether Willow's lab "experiment" is going to make them late "for an evening of bowling magic."
    Willow: [jerks up] There's no magic! —oh. I mean, bowling, yeah.
  • That Came Out Wrong: Giles warns Buffy against doing anything 'rash' while he's away (e.g. having sex with a certain vampire who'll lose his soul as a result). Buffy candidly admits that she'll be seeing Angel "but there's not gonna be any rash", then realises it sounds like she's referring to The Disease That Shall Not Be Named.
  • Villain Ball: Angel reminds Buffy that she can't kill Spike, as the Scoobies' lives hang in the balance. Buffy sneers that he's probably just hidden them at the factory. Spike, rather unconvincingly, scoffs, "How thick do you think I am?"
  • Villain Episode: This episode is Spike-centric.
  • Wasn't That Fun?
    Spike: "Now that was fun. Don't tell me that wasn't fun. It's been so long since I had a decent spot of violence. Really puts things in perspective."
  • Wrestler in All of Us: At the Espresso Pump, Spike topples a henchvamp with a well-placed arm bar.
  • Written-In Absence: Faith doesn't reappear until "Amends", showing her self-isolation from the Scooby Gang after the events of "Revelations".
  • You Remind Me of X: Giles is going on a retreat in the woods for a few days. Buffy teases him about how much stuff he's bringing: "You pack like me."
  • You Will Be Spared: Lenny offers Buffy and Angel the chance to leave quietly. Spike pipes up, "I die, your friends die."
    Buffy [apologetically] Sorry, we're staying.

"I'm going to do what I should have done in the first place: I'll find her, wherever she is, tie her up and torture her until she likes me again."
RevelationsRecap/Buffy the Vampire SlayerThe Wish

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