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Recap / Buffy the Vampire Slayer S2E14 "Innocence"

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Oz: So, do you guys steal weapons from the army a lot?
Willow: Well, we don't have cable so we have to make our own fun.

Directed by Joss Whedon

Written by Whedon, Rob Des Hotel, & Dean Batali

After making love with Buffy earlier that night, Angel stumbles into the alley outside as his soul is ripped from him. When he shows up at the factory, Spike is surprised and Drusilla are stunned that the Judge cannot burn him—Angel has reverted to the evil Angelus. The three are pleased to be a "family" again. Meanwhile, Buffy wakes up to find Angel missing, and starts a desperate search for him. Eventually finding him back at his apartment, Angelus begins his torment of her by hitting her with numerous cutting remarks about the previous night.

While researching a way to defeat the Judge, Xander and Cordelia get caught kissing in the library by a crushed Willow. Angelus terrorizes Buffy and the Gang at school, and after several realizations about what might have happened to cause it, an emotionally shattered Buffy leaves, unable to cope. Buffy has another dream in which Angel helps her realise that Jenny knows more than she's letting on. The next morning she confronts Jenny at school, who admits she is a member of the Romani clan that cursed Angelus with his soul so long ago.

Xander hatches a plan using memories from being a soldier on Halloween, posing as an off-duty soldier looking to make out with his girlfriend in order to sneak in and borrow some heavy duty ordnance. Tracking down the Judge at the crowded mall, Buffy and her team blow him to bits with her new "present" – a rocket launcher, while Angelus and Drusilla narrowly escape the blast. The Slayer stalks Angelus through the fleeing crowd. Reaching a stand-off, neither of them is quite ready to kill the other, although Buffy does settle for kicking Angelus in the nuts.

Buffy home and she feels awful for putting her friends in serious danger from Angelus. Giles assures her that, although she did act irresponsibly, it is obvious that she and Angel loved each other and that he hasn't lost his trust and respect in her. Later, Buffy and her mother sit down to watch a movie. Joyce asks Buffy what she did for her birthday, and Buffy simply answers that she got older.


  • And Your Little Dog, Too!: Giles says Angelus's profile indicates he'll "strike out at the things that made him most human."
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Buffy whimpers this as Angelus is headed out the door. ..To which he asides, "Love ya too," without so much as looking back.
  • Anywhere but Their Lips: Angelus kisses Spike on the forehead. As with all displays of 'affection' between the two rival vampires, it's part Ho Yay, part "Take That!" Kiss.
  • Apathetic Citizens: Nobody seems to even notice The Judge at the mall, with some people walking right by him and not giving a second glance. Even after he's paralyzed them all in place for a few seconds, when he's distracted and the magic ends, nobody thinks to wonder what just happened. Buffy standing on a newsbooth wielding a crossbow doesn't garner any attention either. It's not until she pulls out the bazooka that people finally realize something weird is happening.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The guard on post isn't in a humoring mood, but Xander blackmails him by barking out, "Well, if you do, I won't tell Colonel Newsome that your boots ain't regulation, your post wasn't covered, and you hold your gun like a sissy girl."
  • Asshole Victim: Uncle Enyos.
  • Author Appeal: Joss Whedon really wanted the scene with Buffy using the rocket launcher, and declares it the part of the series he loves the most. Quoth Whedon on the DVD Commentary:
    "The two things that matter the most to me: emotional resonance and rocket launchers. Party of Five, a brilliant show, and often made me cry uncontrollably, suffered ultimately from a lack of rocket launchers."
  • Backhanded Compliment: Angelus to Buffy:
    Buffy: Was I not good?
    Angelus: You were great. Really. I thought you were a pro.
  • Bad News, Irrelevant News: Xander reports that the bus depot was a wash-out with regard to tracking down the Judge's pieces, but it wasn't a total loss: "a 400-pound wino offered to wash my hair."
  • Battle in the Rain: The flaming husk of the Judge sets off the shopping mall's sprinkler system, dousing Buffy as she follows after Angelus. He's nowhere to be found, but suddenly hops out and punches Buffy in the face, knocking her down. Interestingly, this fight defies the usual conceit of combatants never losing their footing in the rain, as there's plenty of slipping around and stumbling on the rain-slicked floor.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Uncle Enyos came to Sunnydale to stop Angelus's return, but now realizes that it was foretold.
  • Best Served Cold: Angelus's rage at Buffy for making him experience love.
    • Also the Romani's rationale.
    Uncle Enyos: To the modern man, vengeance is a verb, an idea. Payback. One thing for another. Like commerce. Not with us. Vengeance is a living thing. It passes through generations. It commands. It kills.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Giles concludes that some "event" must have triggered Angel's transformation. The Awful Truth begins to dawn on Buffy, but she denies knowledge of anything that could have caused it. Giles presses her, but Buffy jumps up and flees from the library, saying, "Giles, please. I can't," in a choked voice. Giles calls after her, but Willow, having put the pieces together, mutters, "Giles, shut up."
  • BFG: M136 AT4 anti-armour launcher with night vision sight. Awesome!
  • Blah, Blah, Blah
    Cordelia: This book mentions the Judge, but nothing useful. Big, scary, no weapon forged can stop him, took an army to take him down. Blah, blah, blah.
  • Bond One-Liner: Buffy after blowing up the Judge. "Best birthday present ever."
  • Broken Bird: Averted as Angelus fails to break Buffy, but in the long term played straight — from this point on Buffy has a tendency to shut herself off emotionally from her friends, and especially her lovers.
  • Buffy Speak
    "Sometimes, when I'm sitting in class — you know, I'm not thinking about class, 'cause that would never happen. I think about kissing you. And it's like everything stops. It's like, it's like freeze frame. Willow kissage."
  • Cerebus Syndrome: And how! The show was always a horror show, but now beloved (by fans and characters alike) Angel has lost his soul and revealed himself as the true Big Bad of season two.
  • Chain Lightning: The Judge spreads his arms and send out bolts of soul-burning energy. The bolts jump from person to person, and soon everyone in the vicinity is trapped in a web.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: Xander still remembers everything his soldier persona did in "Halloween", including the layout of the base and the name of his commanding officer. Not to mention how to use a rocket launcher.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: According to the Word of God the Judge was created specifically so the audience would know Angelus wasn't just Angel pretending to be evil, in the scene where he can't burn the goodness out because there's none there.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: Drusilla seems to sense the departure of Angel's soul. At the factory, Spike is alarmed by the sound of Dru moaning. She drops to the floor in one of her patented seer seizures. Spike asks what's the matter, but all Dru can utter is, "Angel." Slowly, her agonized expression is replaced by an eerie smile.
  • Conflict Killer: Angelus basically takes over Spike's role as main villain.
  • Cosmic Retcon: The comic story "False Memories" reexamines how the early years of Buffy were changed by the reality shift that produced Dawn Summers. In the alternate history, it was Dawn rather than Willow whom Angelus throttled inside the school.
  • Couldn't Find a Lighter: Angelus lights his match by striking it along the table at the factory.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: Smeared in Enyos's blood above his bed are the words "WAS IT GOOD FOR YOU TOO?"
  • Cradle of Loneliness/Troubled Fetal Position: Buffy curls up on her bed weeping, clutching the ring Angel gave to her.
  • Create Your Own Villain: The Big Bad for season two, Angelus, has finally appeared and Buffy made it happen. He takes great pleasure in reminding Buffy of this fact.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The Judge is a legendary demon who was defeated the last time by an entire army - most of whom died in the process. If anybody should be on the receiving end of a Curb-Stomp Battle, it's Buffy. Right? Buffy pulls a rocket launcher (stolen from the conveniently easy to break into local Army base), and the "fight" ends before it can even start.
  • Curse Escape Clause: The escape clause for Angel's is revealed; if he experiences even one moment of perfect happiness, he will be stripped of his soul. In this case, it was making love with Buffy, a person he truly loves.
  • Dark Reprise: The Buffy/Angel theme, "Close Your Eyes", won't ever have quite the same ring again.
  • Darkness Equals Death: Angelus cuts the power to Sunnydale High before attacking.
  • Description Cut: Willow catches Buffy in the hall to ask if she thinks that Angel would have gone after the Judge himself. Cut to Angelus getting zapped by the Judge, who reads him "clean" of humanity.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Willow runs off after seeing Xander and Cordy snogging. Xander calls after her and gives pursuit.
    "I knew it! I knew it! Well, not 'knew' in the sense of having the slightest idea, but I knew there was something I didn't know!"
  • Didn't See That Coming: An understatement when Angel, Drusilla, and the Judge are faced with Buffy shouldering a rocket launcher.
  • Disappointed in You: Averted by Giles.
    Buffy: You must be so disappointed in me.
    Giles: No. (she looks at him) No, no, I'm not.
    Buffy: But this is all my fault.
    Giles: No. I don't believe it is. Do you want me to wag my finger at you and tell you that you acted rashly? You did. A-and I can. I know that you loved him. And... he... has proven more than once that he loved you. You couldn't have known what would happen. The coming months are gonna, are gonna be hard... I, I suspect on all of us, but... if it's guilt you're looking for, Buffy, I'm not your man. All you will get from me is my support. And my respect.
  • Disposable Sex Worker: Outside in the alley, Angel falls flat on the pavement. A streetwalker standing nearby sees him and skulks over. She asks Angel if he wants her to call an ambulance. and Angel gets to his feet, saying, "No. The pain is gone." The woman takes a drag off her cig and asks if he's sure. In response, Angelus spins to face her in game face and drains her dry.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: For Xander's plan to work, he says they're going to need wheels. Cordy offers her car, and Willow seethes nearby. Xander gulps and remarks that it "might have to be bigger."
    Willow: No problem. I'll get Oz. He has a VAN.
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: Wheelchair!Spike doesn't hesitate to speak his mind.
    Spike: What's Big Blue up to anyway? He just sits there.
    Judge: I am preparing.
    Spike: (rolls his eyes) Yeah. It's interesting to me that 'preparing' looks a great bit like sitting on your ass!
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: As per usual with the Hellmouth, a normal teen event (a boy using you for sex and dropping the act once he gets what he wants) is given a much darker twist (your boyfriend truly loved you, but now he's lost his soul and become a murderous demon who wants to break you and kill you after killing all your friends).
  • Double Take: When Buffy shoulders Xander's "present". Angelus and Drusilla pull this, as if to say, "Hold on, a rocket launcher???" Cue Oh, Crap! faces as they rush to take cover.
  • Dreaming the Truth: Following the dream flashback to Angel losing his soul, Buffy sees herself standing amongst mourners at a sunlit funeral. Angel approaches and intones, "You have to know what to see." She turns her face toward the assembled mourners, then turns to see Jenny Calendar lifting a black veil off her face.
  • Emerging from the Shadows: Angelus in Game Face, attacking Willow.
  • Environmental Symbolism:
    • Angelus's first victim is standing next to a sign saying BEWARE OF THE DOG. In later seasons this becomes a Running Gag with Spike.
    • As the lights go out inside the school, Angelus appears at the end of a darkened hallway, his shape blocking a lit 'EXIT' sign.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: Xander asks Willow if they've made any progress on the Judge. Brief recap of bad news: no weapons forged can defeat him, last time it took an army. Willow begins to mock one of the books, saying, "Where's an army when you need one?"
    Xander: [lightbulb over head] Whoa, whoa. I... I think I'm having a thought. Yeah, yeah, that's a thought. — Now I'm having a plan!
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Angelus makes a Badass Boast that's he'll break Buffy overnight. Instead Buffy rallies due to her inner strength and the help of her friends to destroy the Judge.
  • Evil Costume Switch:
    • But... he must be evil! Behold the leather pants!
    • When Angelus snubs Buffy in his apartment, the heart on his claddagh ring is now pointing in the opposite direction. Traditionally, the heart facing away from the base of the finger means the wearer isn't in a committed relationship. (This may, however, be unintentional.)
    • Angelus continues wearing the claddagh ring throughout the season, possibly as a testament to his evil designs for Buffy.
  • Evil Feels Good: Angelus takes obvious pleasure in being freed of the Restraining Bolt of a soul.
  • Evil Gloating
    Angelus: You know what the worst part was, huh? Pretending that I loved you. If I'd known how easily you'd give it up, I wouldn't have even bothered.
    Buffy: That doesn't work anymore. You're not Angel.
    Angelus: You'd like to think that, wouldn't you? It doesn't matter. The important thing is you made me the man I am today!
  • Evil Is Hammy: Once he drops the act, Angelus turns on the hamlights. Boreanaz is clearly having a hell of a time.
  • Evil Is Not Well-Lit: Used to give Angelus a more sinister presence when he encounters the unknowing Willow and Xander at school.
  • Evil is Petty: Instead of just killing Buffy, Angelus makes a point of breaking her heart first.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Jenny, already clued in that Angel's soul is in danger, skulks around the corner as Will and Buffy discuss his conspicuous absence.
    • Xander suggests that he and Cordy "kiss and make up." Cordy's not forthcoming with the forgiveness — but she's fine with "the other part." As they pull apart from a kiss, we see Willow standing there with a shocked and hurt look on her face.
    • Buffy, Giles, Xander, and the rest of the gang find the Factory deserted, although Spike is actually there, lurking in the shadows. Tellingly, he does not take action to warn Angelus.
  • Face–Heel Turn/Sex–Face Turn: After twenty-five episodes of awkward good guy Angel, David Boreanaz gets to go full-on evil as Angelus, and looks like he's having an absolute blast doing it.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: Angelus talks his buddies into putting their plans for world domination on hold so he can harass the Slayer. Spike marvels that Angelus must be really itching to hurt Buffy.
    Angelus: She made me feel like a human being. That's not the kind of thing you just forgive.
  • For Great Justice: Parodied by Angelus. Spike, mistaking him for the Vampire With a Soul, drops that old clinker, "You never give up, do you?"
    Angelus: As long as there's injustice in the world, as long as scum like you is walking— [notices the wheelchair] well, rolling the streets... I'll be around. Look over your shoulder. I'll be there.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Enyos says that the return of Angelus has been 'arranged'. In the Angel spin-off we encounter several powerful factions with the motive to do so.
    • Giles ominously notes that "the coming months will be hard, I suspect on all of us." If he only knew.
  • Gaussian Girl: Buffy spends a lot of time in soft lighting with soft focus to emphasize that virginity's not really a thing, that she still has her innocence, bruised as it is.
  • Generic Doomsday Villain: The Judge is an ancient demon with the power to burn the humanity out of people, which is lucky as burning the humanity out of people is pretty much all he seems interested in doing. The rest of the time he just kinda sits around, waiting to destroy the world while more interesting villains hog the spotlight.
  • Get Out!: Buffy and Giles are discussing how to take down the Judge. Jenny appears in the doorway.
    Jenny: Do you, uh... (Giles looks at her) Is there something I can do?
    Buffy: (without turning around) Get out.
    Jenny: I-I just want to help.
    Giles: (turning his back on Jenny too) She just said get out.
  • Ghost Memory: Xander still retains all the "soldier stuff" that was stuck in his brain ("Halloween"), including the layout of the whole army base. He's pretty sure he can can also strip an M-16 in under a minute.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Once he's finished gnawing on the streetwalker's neck, Angelus exhales her last tobacco-filled breath for her.
    • Just to indicate his lack of soul, Angelus lights a cigarette in the presence of Spike and Dru, thus proving that he is Truly Evil.
    • Smoking continues to be used on Angel as a motif for Angel's Dark Side. Angel is later seen lighting up during flashbacks to the 1950s, when he was alienated from humans (though to be fair, everybody smoked). More notably, Angel sets Darla and Drusilla on fire by puffing on a cigarette and flicking it into a pool of gasoline. ("Redefinition")
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The body of Jenny's uncle is never properly shown, but, considering Angelus killed him and Couldn't Find a Pen, it's probably safe to assume that he wasn't left in a pretty state.
  • Groin Attack: Angelus sneers that Buffy can't kill him, so the Slayer punts him in the balls and makes him wish she did.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: In the military base, Xander approaches a door marked "Secured Area." On cue, a guard cocks his gun and demands that they identify themselves. Xander persuades the guard that he's a private "on leave" from "the 33rd", and asks that the solider turn a blind eye so he can show his girlfriend (Cordy) some hardware.
  • Gut Punch: Asked about his decision to turn Angel evil, Joss Whedon said that he feels it was necessary to keep the story fresh. Although the fan base wanted Buffy and Angel to be together romantically, Whedon says, "What people want is not what they need."
  • Heroic BSoD: Overwhelmed by the revelation of the part she played in Angelus's return, Buffy retreats back to her bedroom. She spots the crucifix Angel gave her and pulls his claddagh ring from her finger. Sobbing, she falls on the bed, cradling the ring.
    • Subverted when Buffy pulls herself together despite Angelus's expectations.
  • Hope Spot: Buffy demands that Jenny re-curse Angel, but Jenny claims "those magicks are lost." Buffy then demands that Jenny take her to a higher authority. Smash Cut to Uncle Enyos, puffing on his pipe as the door creaks behind him. "I knew she would bring you. I suppose you want answers," he smugs, apparently thinking it's Buffy at the door. But instead, he turns to be greeted by Angelus. So long, Uncle Enyos.
  • Hormone-Addled Teenager: Xander puts it matter-of-factly.
    Cordelia: Does looking at guns make you wanna have sex?
    Xander: I'm seventeen. Looking at linoleum makes me wanna have sex.
  • I Like Those Odds: With Angelus's return, Spike gloats that it's now "four against one; and those are the kinds of odds I like to play."
    • Technically, it's more like four against six, but Spike evidently doesn't hold the Scoobies in much regard.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Buffy desperately attempts this on Angelus, insisting that some part of the Angel she loved must still be in there. Angelus makes it clear that Angel is gone.
    Buffy: Angel, there must be some part of you inside that still remembers-
    Angelus: Dream on, schoolgirl. Your boyfriend is dead! And you're all gonna join him.
  • Idealized Sex: In Buffy's dream, showing how she has idealised their relationship.
  • Inadvertent Entrance Cue / Walk-In Chime-In:
    • Spike hopefully asks Drusilla whether she sees what's in store for Angel. On cue, Angelus strolls in, saying, "Well, he moves to New York and tries to fulfill that Broadway dream. It's tough sledding, but one day he's working in the chorus when the big star twists her ankle..."
    • Angelus, in his game face, grabs Willow by the throat from behind. Angelus tells his present company that he has a message for Buffy. "Why don't you give it to me yourself?" asks Buffy from behind him.
    Angelus: Well, it's not really the kind of message you tell. It sorta involves finding the bodies of all your friends.
  • Ironic Birthday: At the end, Joyce surprises Buffy with a cake. ...Well, technically some sad-looking cupcakes. Lights a candle on one of the cupcakes and tells Buffy to Make a Wish. Buffy says to let the candle burn.
  • Is It Always Like This?: Oz's first mission for the Scoobies involves lending his van so they can steal a rocket launcher from a US military base.
    Oz: So, do you guys steal weapons from the Army a lot?
    Willow: Well, we don't have cable, so we have to make our own fun.
  • It Doesn't Mean Anything: Xander tries this argument after Willow catches him making out with Cordelia.
    Willow: No. It just means you'd rather be with someone you hate... than be with me.
    Angelus: Lighten up. It was a good time. It doesn't mean like we have to make a big deal.
    Buffy: (in tears) It is a big deal!
    Angelus: It's what? Bells ringing, fireworks, a dulcet choir of pretty little birdies? (laughs) Come on, Buffy. It's not like I've never been there before.
  • It's All My Fault / Disappointed in You: Buffy blames herself for what happened and expects Giles to agree that she let him down. Giles tells her otherwise.
  • It's the Best Whatever, Ever!: Xander's birthday present for Buffy. The rocket launcher.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: In the wake of Buffy's dream, she stomps into school the next morning, headed straight for Jenny's classroom. She spots Jenny and Giles chatting at the front, grabs Jenny's throat, and slams her backward onto the desk, demanding. "Did you do it? Did you change him?" A stammering Giles meekly dismisses the class. In the commentary for this episode, Joss Whedon says he loved "how violent this is", and in other interviews he praised Robia for being willing to do the scene herselfnote .
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Giles tells Xander that the Judge is probably assembled by now. Xander immediately starts planning to storm Spike's factory. "And do what?", Cordelia pipes up, "Besides be afraid and die?" Xander has a snide comeback on the front burner, but Giles interjects that Cordy actually has a point.
  • Kill the Ones You Love: Buffy's not prepared to do it yet. But she will be.
  • Lame Comeback: The Scoobies butt heads over whether or not to double-back to Spike's lair and risk getting roasted by the Judge; Xander and Willow are ready to stomp off and save Buffy, but Giles and Ms. Calendar are more cautious.
    Willow: My God, you people are all — well, I'm upset and I can't think of a mean word right now, but that's what you are and we're going to the factory!
    • Xander admonishes Angelus to "Don't do that!" when he's choking Willow. (Angelus pulls an "Are you serious?" face.) Of course Angel would do this himself a year later, though in his defense he warns off who he says it to.
  • Last Villain Stand: A soaked Angelus hightails it out of there, but is waylaid by Buffy in a concession snack room. Buffy nearly finishes him, but relents at the last second.
  • Layout of a Season: As per the formula, the 15th episodes have a tendency to pull a mid-season shift of major proportions. In this two-parter, Angel's soul is destroyed after sharing a tender moment with Buffy.
  • Linked List Clue Methodology: Buffy muses that the Judge will need to go "somewhere crowded" to start his killing, and Willow suggests the Bronze. But the Bronze is closed, so the gang is stumped until Oz suggests The Mall, specifically the movie theater.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: As revealed in this episode, Jenny didn't know why she was told to keep Buffy and Angel apart before then.
  • Loophole Abuse: The Judge reiterating that no weapon forged can stop him. "That was then," Buffy replies, shouldering a rocket launcher, "This is now."
  • Love Confession: Buffy chokes out a tearful "I love you!" as Angelus casually walks out on her. She never again tells a boyfriend that she loves them until the very last episode of the series (even then, he doesn't believe her, and that one's debatable).
  • Lost in Character: Sarah Michelle Gellar was so invested in her character's romance with Angel that when he turns evil and abuses her, in the scene where Buffy runs home and cries SMG was so broken up they had to close the set for half an hour.
  • Lost Love Montage: Buffy flashes back to the previous night she spent with Angel. Angel whispers, "I love you," and to a crashing noise he suddenly turns and vamps out.
  • Love Makes You Evil
  • Ludicrous Gibs: The Judge is hyped throughout the two-part episode as being so strong, that no weapon forged could defeat him. He is blown apart in one shot by an anti-tank missile. Guess the standards of "weapon forged" has improved in the past six hundred years.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Angelus establishes himself as this with considerable flair.
    Angelus: To kill this girl, you have to love her.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": Angelus and Drusilla's reaction to Buffy pulling out the rocket launcher.
  • Meaningful Appearance: Buffy and Joyce are dressed in white in the final scene, presumably to show that despite Buffy losing her innocence (not to mention her virginity) she is still pure at heart.
    Joyce: So what'd you do for your birthday? Did you have fun?
    Buffy: I got older.
    Joyce: You look the same to me.
  • Muggles Do It Better: Bazooka-toting Buffy provides the current page image.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Buffy sleeping with Angel, although neither of them could have known there would be deadly consequences since the Romani didn't tell Angel about his Curse Escape Clause, so this trope really belongs to them.
    • It's also revealed that the Romani didn't even tell Jenny the truth; they told her to keep Buffy and Angel apart but didn't tell her why. Jenny insists she'd have told Buffy if she'd known.
  • The Nicknamer: Spike refers to the Judge as "Big Blue" while Buffy calls it a smurf. The same gag is repeated with Illyria in Season 5 of Angel.
  • No Man of Woman Born: The Judge states repeatedly that no weapon forged can stop him. Unfortunately for him, weapons can still tear his flesh (which is how he was originally dismembered) — he just can't be killed, and can easily reassemble himself if the parts are placed back together. And in the modern world we have some much more efficient ways of disassembling people — such as rocket launchers.
  • Monster of the Aesop: Angelus for the "boyfriend dropping his nice personality once he's slept with you" thing.
  • Not Himself:
    Buffy: I should've known. When I saw him at the house, he was different. The things he said...
  • Not Staying for Breakfast: Buffy reaches for Angel but awakens when she finds his side of the bed empty. After scouring the city for him, she eventually finds Angelus back where he left her: his apartment. Buffy sheds tears of relief as she asks why he disappeared, which causes Angelus to act petulant. "You've got a lot to learn about men, kiddo," he quips, insinuating that she didn't satisfy him. Buffy is weeping by this time, and Angelus tells her not to make a big deal out of the situation, to which Buffy proclaims that "It is a big deal!!" Angelus laughs and coldly tells her she's too immature for him, then throws an "I'll call ya," over his shoulder before leaving. The effect of this is so traumatic it's lampshaded whenever Buffy takes a new lover.
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging: Buffy, forgetting all about last episode's Slumber Party Ploy after her night of passion with Angel, gets wide-eyed when her mother asks if she had fun last night.
  • Oh, Crap!: Angelus and Drusilla's faces when Buffy pulls out the rocket launcher.
    • Also Xander when the lights go off, Buffy when she realises Angel is gone, Giles when he realises what's happened, Uncle Enos when he realises Angelus is in his room...This episode is basically Oh, Crap!: The Movie.
  • Opposites Attract Revenge: Outside in the van, Willow asks Oz in a just-making-conversation tone, "Do you want to make out with me?" Oz gently confides that he gets the feeling she's using him get back at Xander in some way, which is a bit "on the empty side." He tells her that in his fantasy, when he's kissing her, she's kissing him. Oz says he'll wait.
  • Outside-the-Box Tactic: Standard Slayer armory is medieval. The Judge was considered invincible back then. When Xander hears it took an army to stop him he gets an idea. An idea that led to the page image.
  • Poor Communication Kills: When the Romani cursed Angelus, they didn't bother to tell Angel there was a way the curse could be lifted if he experienced pure happiness.note  In the modern day, Uncle Enyos still doesn't mention it to anyone until after Angelus is back, only ordering Jenny to keep Buffy and Angel apart so that the latter's suffering continues, without explaining what will happen if she doesn't.
  • Post-Modern Magik: Xander realizes that rocket launchers weren't around last time The Judge appeared. Cue Author Appeal.
  • Prophecy Twist:
    • "No weapon forged" can kill the Judge. But even back when that was written, they could be used to dismember him. Weapons these days are much more efficient when it comes to taking people (and big ugly smurfs) apart.
    Buffy: That was then. This is now.
  • Psycho Electro: The Judge is now strong enough to kill people at a distance.
  • "Psycho" Strings: Foreshadowing Angel's change.
  • Product Placement:
    • During their fight at the mall, you can see advance posters for Quest for Camelot behind Buffy and Angel. Earlier, you can see the poster for Fallen behind Angel doubling as a meaningful name. Both movies were distributed by Warner Bros. around the time this episode aired.
    • Also, in the first pan across the mall, we get a bevy of product names at the concession counter, including Tropicana, Pepsi and Dannon water.
  • Pure Is Not Good: It was established in the previous episode that only a true creature of evil could survive the Judge's Touch of Death. Angelus proves immune, completely lacking humanity.
  • Quizzical Tilt: Drusilla cocks her head when the Judge has no effect on Angel. Wot?
    • Also the Judge's reaction to his first sight of a rocket launcher.
  • Reformed, but Rejected: Buffy accuses Jenny of knowing about Angel's curse, and Giles tries to interfere until Jenny admits she was planted there to keep her and Angel apart. When war plans are being laid, Jenny stands in the doorway and offers her help, but both Buffy and Giles tell her to Get Out! and then turn their backs on her. Ouch!
  • Revealing Cover Up: Willow on the Xander/Cordelia snog; "I knew it! [snip] You two were fighting way too much! It's not natural!" This was shown in "Bad Eggs" when Willow was puzzled over the intensity of their Snark-to-Snark Combat during Teen Health class.
  • Revealing Hug: Angelus grimaces in distaste when Buffy hugs him after they meet up again.
  • Revenge Before Reason: The original Kalderash curse that inflicted a soul on Angelus was designed to remove said soul if he ever experienced true happiness. Just to be clear: the Kalderash were so focused on their revenge that they considered it more acceptable to unleash an immortal psychopath back into the world than let him be content for even a moment.
    Jenny: Uncle, this is insanity! People are going to die.
    Enyos: Yes. It is not justice we serve. It is vengeance.
    Jenny: You are a fool. We're all fools. (rushes out)
  • Rewatch Bonus: Uncle Enyos's belief that the return of Angelus was 'arranged' is a lot more plausible knowing he's a tool of the Powers That Be, both good and evil, in the spin-off series, and Twilight in the comic series.
  • Rock Bottom:
    Cordelia: This is great. There's an unkillable demon in town, Angel's joined his team, the Slayer is a basket case — I'd say we've hit bottom.
    Xander: I have a plan.
    Cordelia: Oh, no, here's a lower place.
  • Rule of Cool: Buffy blowing up the Judge with a rocket launcher. That is all.
  • Rule of Symbolism: The red sheets in the bed where Buffy lost her virginity. In Season 4 whenever Buffy sleeps with someone for the first time, red sheets are shown in a deliberate Call-Back.
  • Saying Too Much: Willow wonders how Jenny anticipated Angel turning evil, much less knowing exactly where to be with a cross in hand. Buffy is too distraught to see much into it — at least right now.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Angelus and Drusilla working for the Judge, a demon who thought he was invincible because "no weapon forged" could kill him. He didn't take into account several centuries of improvement in weapon technology, however. When Buffy pointed a rocket launcher at him (which was not forged), he didn't even know what it was. However, Angelus and Drusilla certainly did, and they couldn't run the other way fast enough.
  • Secret Weapon: The rocket launcher is only revealed in its glory when Buffy hefts it onto her shoulder and blows away the Judge.
  • Ship Sinking: The scene with Oz telling Willow he'll wait until she wants to kiss him for real and not to make Xander jealous was specifically written by Joss to make the audience warm to the character, as many viewers were still hoping for Xander and Willow to date.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Angelus and Dru escort the Judge to his upcoming slaughter, leaving a very resentful Spike behind in the factory. Our colorful antagonist spends the next few episodes moldering in his wheelchair.
  • Sick and Wrong:
    Xander: I know it's weird...
    Willow: Weird? It's against all laws of God and Man! It's (disgusted) Cordelia! Remember? The 'We Hate Cordelia' club, of which you are the Treasurer?
  • Show Some Leg / Fake-Out Make-Out: Xander asks the guard on duty to let him give a trashy-looking Cordy the tour. "Well, you know the ladies. They like to see the big guns."
    Cordelia:"Hi! I'm not a soldier. Right?"
  • Small Girl, Big Gun: Buffy just about needs Slayer strength to be able to use a weapon that big in comparison to her.
  • Spotting the Thread: Willow vaguely notices that Jenny seems to have known Angel would lose his soul before everyone else did, but doesn't quite realize the significance. Buffy later has a dream that puts it together for her.
  • Swiss-Cheese Security: Lampshaded when Xander breaks into the army base via a torn chain-link fence. "The security here really is a joke. I should, uh, report it."
    • Giving the military the benefit of the doubt, why is there a door that says "SECURED AREA" when it's unlocked?
    • Since there have been two separate incidents in which a person stole a tank from an army base and went on a rampage with it, this isn't too unrealistic.
  • Sword over Head: Angelus collapses and Buffy pulls a stake, but then her lip quivers and she lowers the weapon. "You can't do it. You can't kill me," sneers Angelus, so Buffy settles for dealing him an extremely powerful kick to the peaches.
  • "Take That!" Kiss:
    • Spike tells Angelus that it made him sick seeing him as Buffy's "lapdog." At this, Angelus lunges over and grabs Spike by his lapels. But then he kisses him on the forehead, and everyone bursts into laughter.
    • Once Miss Calendar drives him off, Angelus grabs Buffy by the shoulders and, his face inches away from hers, hisses, "Things are about to get very interesting." He full-on kisses her on the mouth, then shoves her against the wall railing before mwu ha ha'ing it out of there.
  • Technologically Blind Elders: Almost a parody. The Judge was last defeated centuries before his clash with Buffy and boasts that no weapon man has forged could stop him. It hadn't occurred to him that weapons had advanced at all in that time and doesn't even seem to realize the danger he's in as Buffy reduces him to pebble sized chunks with a rocket launcher.
    The Judge: No weapon forged can stop me.
    Buffy: That was then. This is now.
    The Judge: (genuinely puzzled as Angelus and Drusilla dodge out of the way) What's that do?
    (The Judge Explodes)
  • That Came Out Wrong: The guard grudgingly lets Xander into the armory, warning him to be back within twenty minutes. Xander, no doubt channeling his favorite spy movie (or the spirit of Joss Whedon), cockily answers, "I just need five." Then, recalling how he claimed he was taking Cordelia in for some nookie, adds, "Uhh, forget I said that last part."
  • This Is Gonna Suck: For once Angelus has this expression all over his face. His thinking goes something like this: "Where the hell did the Slayer get a rocket launcher? Why did I dump her? Oh, Crap! she's actually going to use it. Run!"
  • The Triple: Xander having a thought, then a plan, then a wiggins.
  • Two-Part Episode: The second part.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Xander keeps his plan to fight the Judge a secret from everyone at first, justifying it in Cordelia's case by pointing out she'd never want to help if she knew what he was planning. It works with barely any hiccups.
  • Unstoppable Rage: During Buffy's first fight with Angelus, he initially has the upper hand before he goes overboard with his taunts, after which she beats him up and backs him into a corner, but stops just short of killing him, instead settling for kicking him in the groin and walking away.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The arrival of the Judge does not appear to raise an eyebrow amongst the blasé West Coast shoppers. Even after he starts draining them all they seem more confused than frightened about what happened. They also don't seem to remember or report that Buffy used a rocket launcher to blow someone up at the mall. The Weirdness Censor was working overtime.
  • Vampiric Draining: The Judge exposits that he's a living battery, and needs to murder a swath of people before he's at full strength.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: Spike rolls onto the scene and voices his concern that Angel and Buffy now know the location of the hideout: "We should be vacating." Dru reassures him that Angel won't be making a return visit because he'll be afraid to face the Judge.
    • Angelus and Dru hit the deck just before Buffy fires her rocket. The Judge bursts into tiny pieces, showering Angelus and Dru where they lie on the floor. Dru, realizing she's covered in charred remains, emits a high-pitched whimper and totters off in her high heels.
  • Virgin Vision: Feeling abandoned by Angel, Buffy returns home and starts climbing the stairs to her room when she's stopped by Joyce. Mother and daughter engage in small talk; Buffy is visibly shaken. Joyce uses her Super Mom Powers to discern that something's different with Buffy.
    Joyce: Is something wrong?
    Buffy: [startled] No. What would be wrong?
    Joyce: I don't know. You just look... [stares curiously]
  • We Will Meet Again: Inverted - Buffy promises Angelus that she won't be so heartfelt next time.
  • Wham Episode: The reemergence of Angelus was a huge left turn for season 2.
  • Who Dares?: A crossbow bolt suddenly hits the Judge's chest, causing him to lose his concentration, freeing the bystanders from his evil energy. "Who dares?" shouts the Judge. A bazooka-toting Buffy does, that's who.
  • Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him?: Spike's puzzlement at why Angelus didn't just kill Buffy when he had the chance. Spike continues simmering in his frustration for the rest of the arc.
    Spike: Now, I know you haven't been in the game for a while, mate, but we still do kill people. Sort of our raison d'être , you know.
    • Subverted with The Judge; Xander thinks this is exactly what they'll do.
  • You Fool!: Jenny outright calls her uncle this.
    • The Judge also calls Buffy this for shooting him with a crossbow bolt. Fortunately, it was just to get his attention for what she actually planned to hit him with.
    The Judge: You're a fool! No weapon forged can kill me!
    Buffy: That was then. [pulls out the rocket launcher] This is now!
  • You Never Did That for Me
    Cordelia: You were too busy rushing off to die for your beloved Buffy. You'd never die for me.
    Xander: No, I might die from you. Does that get me any points?
  • Your Television Hates You: At the end of the episode, Buffy and Joyce are watching an old black-and-white musical on TV. The movie is Stowaway (1936) and Alice Faye is singing the romantic song "Goodnight, My Love".
  • You Won't Feel a Thing!: A cut line has Angelus saying, "It won't hurt a bit...after the first hour."
  • You Wouldn't Believe Me If I Told You: Angelus on the means by which he lost his soul. Given how Spike tries to get a rise out of him later, it's probably for the best.

"Things are about to get very interesting..."


Video Example(s):


"That was then. This is now."

The Judge is a seemingly imortal monster, who states that "no weapon forged can stop him." That was centuries ago, when they didn't have more modern a rocket launcher. One blast is all it takes.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (13 votes)

Example of:

Main / LoopholeAbuse

Media sources: