“What’s My Line: Part 2”
Written by Marti Noxon
Directed by David Semel
We pick up on Kendra’s surprising revelation. Buffy thinks she’s lying, because There Can Only Be One. Kendra is quite insistent. Buffy proposes a truce until they can ask Giles what’s up. Kendra warily accepts.
In Willy’s storage room, Angel is huddling in fear in the farthest corner away from the encroaching sunlight.
Giles has heard of Kendra’s Watcher. Kendra is legit. Willow shows up at the library and Kendra is immediately suspicious. When Buffy explains that Willow is her friend, Kendra doesn’t get it. Slayers aren’t supposed to have friends. It occurs to them that because Buffy died for a couple of minutes in “Prophecy Girl,” it was enough to call Kendra. (Buffy is seriously the first Slayer to ever spend a minute or so clinically dead?) Buffy still isn’t happy that Kendra’s in Sunnydale, but Kendra is determined not to leave until she thwarts the “dark power” that’s supposed to rise there.
Turns out the reason Kendra attacked Buffy was that she thought she was a vampire because she saw her kissing vampface Angel. She reveals that she did something to Angel. Cut to Angel! The sunlight has almost reached him. Willy comes in and drags him to safety…or not. He dumps him into the sewer, where Spike is waiting to pay him for handing Angel over. (Oh hey, Angel’s shirt has conveniently fallen open. Not sure how that happened, but definitely not gonna question it.)
At Buffy’s house, Worm Guy is doing a pretty crappy sales pitch on Cordelia for his makeup. She notices a worm on his arm. Xander comes in, and there’s a worm on the guy’s face. Then he completely disintegrates into worms! He keeps coming after them in worm form and turning back into a dude. They run to the basement and duct tape the cracks around the door to keep him out.
Buffy and Kendra arrive at Willy’s, where there is neither Angel nor his ashes. Willy pokes his head in, and Kendra immediately tackles him. Buffy stops her from beating him unconscious so she can ask about Angel. He does not tell them he handed Angel over to Spike. They leave to go touch base with Giles.
In the factory, Spike has brought Angel for Drusilla. Spike mentions that they need the full moon that night for the ritual. They’re both psyched that she’s about to be at full power. Then she asks to have Angel to play with until the ritual. Spike seems a bit jealous again. Oh hey, nobody’s done anything about Angel’s open shirt buttons!
Giles and Kendra’s Watcher have agreed that Buffy and Kendra should work together. Both girls are thrilled. Kendra is way more up on the demon knowledge than Buffy, because unlike Buffy, she’s been doing “the studies.” She and Giles are getting along famously. Willow tries to reassure Buffy that she’s still the Slayer, Giles’s Slayer. But Buffy’s thinking maybe it would be okay if Kendra took over. Also she needs to go to career fair so Snyder will leave her alone.
Xander and Cordelia are still holed up in Buffy’s basement. They’re both getting so antsy about being stuck there with each other that they’re about to go insane. No wait, too late. They’re kissing. It’s intense and messy, and when it ends, they decide they’d rather face the bug man than let the madness continue. At first, the coast seems clear, but then worms start raining from the ceiling. They run outside and Xander hoses Cordelia down (which doesn’t seem an altogether effective way to get worms off, but okay). Then they streak away in Cordelia’s car.
Buffy heads for the law enforcement seminar, and on the way, she sees Oz checking Willow out. He comes over. His hair is brown now. Neither of them is going to accept the offer from the software recruitment guys. Willow wants to finish high school and Oz just wants to play the guitar.
Buffy arrives at the seminar, and a cop lady starts reading the role. When she reaches Buffy’s name, she drops the clipboard and tries to shoot Buffy! Oh, so this is Actual Jaguar Lady. Kendra was a red herring, but there still was that third Taraka assassin unaccounted for. She fires some more, and Oz dives at Willow to knock her out of the way, taking a bullet in the arm in the process. Kendra shows up to help Buffy, and Jaguar Lady takes Jonathan hostage so she can make her escape. Kendra gives chase while Buffy makes sure Willow and Oz are okay. Oz is taking getting shot pretty well.
Buffy, Willow, and Kendra head to the library, just in time for Xander and a still dripping Cordelia to arrive. Kendra is super shy around Xander because she’s not allowed to talk to boys. There’s at least one worm left on Cordy, which helps with the research but not so much her peace of mind. Giles has found out that Angel is part of the ritual, which must take place on the new moon. Wait, what? Twelve minutes ago, Spike said full moon! CONTINUITY, PEOPLE. Anyway, they realize that the assassins are a distraction so Spike can finish Drusilla’s ritual. Which will kill Angel. Luckily, Buffy’s priority to save Angel and Kendra’s priority to stop Drusilla don’t conflict with each other, because Buffy means to kick serious butt now that her boyfriend is in danger.
Drusilla is having fun torturing Angel, who is now entirely shirtless. She pours holy water on his bare chest while she rambles about her family, who Angel killed. Seems part of her crazy brain is still upset about that.
Giles has found a book with an index of Taraka assassins, so that’s helpful. In his office, Buffy and Kendra are talking about how Buffy has several friends, lives with her mom, goes to school, and dates. Kendra works alone, only studies demonology, isn’t allowed to date, and doesn’t even remember her parents because she’s been with her Watcher so long. Kendra’s fine with this lifestyle, but she’s curious about Buffy’s. While they’re having this conversation, Buffy is making sure her knife will never again cut anything, because she’s running it perpendicular across a knife-sharpener.
Also, Kendra barely touches the crossbow and shoots a lamp. Our warriors against evil, ladies and gentlemen!
Xander has found Worm Guy in the index. He can only be killed by squashing the individual worms. Gross! Xander and Cordelia are still arguing, but with an edge of nervousness that wasn’t there before, as if they’re desperately trying to go back to the pre-kiss dynamic.
Kendra tells Buffy that emotions are liabilities, and Buffy deliberately riles her up to show how anger adds fire to your fight. Buffy realizes that they can probably learn more from Willy at the bar, because
Drusilla is still having fun raising welts on Angel with holy water. Spike comes in to get the ritual set up, and Angel (still shirtless) starts making very suggestive comments about Drusilla, also implying that Spike is an inadequate lover. This infuriates Spike so much that Angel must’ve been dead on with those insinuations. Spike almost stakes Angel on the spot, but Drusilla stops him. Oh well, Angel, you tried. (Not sorry you failed, though.)
Buffy and Kendra get some info out of Willy, but Kendra wants to go back to Giles before they head to the location of the ritual. Kendra isn’t interested in saving Angel (at least not without observing proper protocol). Buffy storms out with Willy. Turns out Willy was leading Buffy into a trap. Jaguar Lady, Worm Guy, and some vamp minions are waiting for her at the church.
The ritual has started! Drusilla and shirtless Angel are tied together. Spike opens the fancy Du Lac cross from last episode into a dagger, and he stabs it through Angel’s and Drusilla’s hands. We see energy starting to suck out of Angel and go into Drusilla. That’s it! Now it’ll keep going until Angel dies. Spike isn’t happy that Willy brought Buffy there, though.
In comes Kendra (her argument with Buffy was a trick!) with unnecessary acrobatics. Buffy and Kendra both start punching Spike. Then Buffy fights Jaguar Lady. Enter Giles, who kills Minion Vamp #1 with a crossbow. He and Willow tag-team Minion Vamp #2, and she stakes him. First staking for Willow, is it? And—hey wait a minute. That vampire is the same one who shows up in “Lovers Walk” in S3! *facepalm*
Xander and Cordelia take on Worm Guy. Xander gets him to follow them through a door, so he has to turn into worms to get under it. They’ve poured glue all over the floor so he’ll get stuck, and then they stomp them. Buffy and Kendra swap opponents: Buffy fighting Spike now, Kendra fighting Jaguar Lady.
Xander and Cordy have successfully killed Worm Guy, so they head around to get back into the chapel a different way. Buffy hurls Spike across the church and goes to save Angel. Spike grabs Willy to make him pay for leading the Scoobies there, but before he can kill her, Drusilla’s plaintive call distracts him. He runs to reengage Buffy, but she’s already pulled out the dagger that was draining energy out of Angel. Kendra gets angry when Jaguar Lady slashes a huge hole in her favorite—scratch that, only—shirt, and she throws her through a pillar. She doesn’t get up again.
Spike throws a torch into some rags to light up the church, then grabs Drusilla and tries to run with her. Buffy picks up the censer Spike was using earlier in the ritual and chucks it at him so hard that he crashes into the pipe organ, which collapses on top of him and Drusilla in a cascade of wood and metal. Buffy drops down to help Angel, and they share a very tender look as she reassures herself that he’ll be okay. Kendra sees this and it’s what finally convinces her that Angel is on their side. She helps Buffy get him out, and all the Scoobies leave.
Next day at school, Willow finds Oz at the vending machine, and they have a ridiculously adorable conversation. She thanks him for saving her life and he muses on the wardrobes of cookie animals. Willow may be reciprocating his crush a little bit.
Xander catches Cordelia in the hall before she can run away, and they go into a classroom to talk about what that whole thing was with them smushing their faces together earlier. Heat of the moment, right? It devolves into another deeply petty argument, and it definitely won’t ever ever happen ag—no wait, they’re snogging again now.
Kendra is about to catch a taxi to the airport. Surprisingly, she and Buffy are going to miss each other. Kendra calls Buffy out for talking like being the Slayer is a job. It’s who she is.
At the burnt-out church, a restored Drusilla pulls a sooty Spike out of the rubble with ease. So much for preventing that “Very Dark Power” from rising in Sunnydale! (*snort* Jonathan is only in the credits as “Hostage Kid.”)
“What’s My Line: Part 2” is a fantastic conclusion to what the previous episode began. There are two Slayers! It’s a great twist with a solid explanation. Poor Bianca Lawson, though, getting stuck with that weird accent. I think it would’ve been way cooler and made more sense probability-wise if Kendra had been from South Africa instead of Jamaica, and that’s an easier accent to do. As far as I remember, there aren’t any African Slayers mentioned in the series (except the first Slayer). But I’m getting off-topic. Buffy and Kendra are extremely different as Slayers, but there’s a reason they were both chosen out of all the other girls who might’ve been, so they aren’t so different that they’ll never be able to see eye-to-eye. There are also four wildly different couples in this episode. Buffy/Angel are in love. Xander/Cordelia are in crazy teen hormones. Willow/Oz are in the early stages of the most adorable crush ever. Spike/Drusilla are in lust, with major jealousy and inadequacy issues on Spike’s side. Spike is now 0 for 4 when it comes to winning fights against Team Buffy. At this point, he’s really not that threatening anymore, so it’s perfect timing for Drusilla to take over as Big Bad. Both halves of “What’s My Line” are full to bursting with great character moments for everyone and really strong Plot A stuff with Kendra, Spike, and Drusilla, but Kendra’s accent isn’t the only flaw. After the way Angel and Giles built up the Order of Taraka to the point where Buffy was too afraid to even go home, they ended up not being all that impressive. Except for Worm Guy. And why don’t they ever come after Buffy again? I thought their whole deal was that they keep sending more assassins until the job is done, no matter what. Bah.
Kendra hit the nail on the head when she pointed out that being a Slayer isn’t just some 9-5 job. It’s what has, in the space of less than two years, made Buffy into the remarkable young woman she is. She briefly entertains the idea of what her life could be like if she passed the baton to Kendra, but at no point does she actually try to stand aside and let Kendra be the Slayer. She’s more worried that compared to Kendra (and possibly most other Slayers), she’s just not very good at this. After 21 episodes, we in the audience know different. Buffy tells Kendra that her emotions are assets, but so are her schooling, her family, her friends, and her boyfriend. All four have directly saved the day at least once so far, and they’ve saved it indirectly on other occasions by giving Buffy the motivation to fight. Had Buffy been isolated like Kendra, she wouldn’t be the kind of hero worthy of being the protagonist.
Willow’s crush on Oz is born! And boy does he do more to earn it than Xander. Saving her life, complimenting her smile, showing interest in her career plans, and just generally paying attention to her—all in a couple of days! I ship it so hard, you guys. Unsurprisingly, it doesn’t occur to Willow that Oz might have a crush on her, because so far, nobody (barring demon robots) has ever had a crush on her. She’s gotten very used to being invisible to guys—even the guy who is her best friend. Oz’s romantic interest in Willow is a lot like the way Buffy initially pursued Willow as a friend. Both Buffy and Oz immediately saw something wonderful in her (leading them to choose her over Cordelia with no hesitation, in fact) and wanted to get closer to that, but it took Willow a while to understand why Buffy would want to be friends with her, so it’ll probably take a while with Oz too. Willow also stakes her first vampire! She’s moving up from whacking them with a bust of Principal Flutie.
Pretty much have to talk about Xander and Cordelia as a unit. Yes, there has been a lot of buildup to their initial snog. No, I’m still not exactly sure how two people who aren’t already in a relationship can be arguing one second and snogging the next. Does that happen in real life? Or is it just a fiction thing? I mean, even pairings that start out contentious, such as Benedick/Beatrice, Ron/Hermione, Lizzy/Darcy, Damon/Elena, Mal/Inara, don’t have their first kiss right after an argument. And as for my own experience, there were two guys at my high school (one a jock, the other a science nerd) who seemed to like nothing better than antagonizing me. The jock was merely obnoxious, but the science nerd would not stop making fun of my religion and other things I care deeply about. I never even came close to kissing either of those guys (which I don’t remotely regret in the case of the science nerd, though it might’ve been interesting with the jock). So even though I can see the buildup for Xander/Cordy, I still don’t really get how they went straight from arguing to snogging.
Giles barely interacts with Buffy in this one. He spends more time with Kendra, and they bond over their shared interest in Plot A research. I still feel like Giles is the main weakness in “What’s My Line,” because his and Buffy’s scenes in the two episodes previous were just so good. The longer we go without revisiting the pseudo father/daughter bond they have, the less it seems to matter that they had those great scenes together. Just like in Part 1, there really seems to be a missed opportunity here. Why wasn’t there more focus on Buffy being jealous of Kendra and Giles? Kendra is getting between her and the man she’s starting to look up to as a father. She should be hurt! He should be reassuring her that that he doesn’t prefer Kendra to her. Instead, she’s just thinking about how maybe she can have a normal life if Kendra’s there to take over, and he’s just geeking out with Kendra over those books. I can’t remember when the next really strong Buffy/Giles scene is, but I hope there’s at least one before “Innocence.”
Angel is willing to die rather than let Drusilla use him to return to full health. This is a really significant trait, and one that he’ll keep. He does not value his own life over the mission. He doesn’t just think “it’s okay; Buffy will save me before they finish the ritual.” He’s looking for a solution of his own, because he’s not willing to take risks. It’s a bit drastic, sure, but it’s all he’s got. Either he dies now and Drusilla continues to decline until presumably she dies, or he dies in a few hours to restore her. His technique for trying to get Spike to kill him is also interesting. He hasn’t done a lot of emotional manipulation so far, but apparently it’s something he’s extremely good at when he wants to be. When Buffy does rescue him, the way they look at each other when she does is so beautiful. I feel like “What’s My Line” might’ve been when David Boreanaz really figured out what he was doing. This is definitely the best acting from him so far (though he was never bad to the point of it being a distraction for me before this). And Angel being shirtless is of course the most important part of this episode.
“You should be thinking up a plan!”
“I have a plan. We wait, Buffy finds us.”
“How will she even know where to find us?”
“Cordelia. This is Buffy’s house. Odds are, she’ll find us.”
“Well, don’t you have some ambition?”
“Oh yeah. E♭, diminished 9th. The E♭—it’s doable. But it’s that diminished 9th. It’s a man’s chord. You could lose a finger.”
“How’s your arm?”
The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.