“I Was Made to Love You”
Written by Jane Espenson
Directed by James A. Contner
Buffy is beating up Xander (it’s mostly okay; he’s wearing a very puffy sumo suit). She feels dirty because Spike wants her. Giles tries to convince her she can’t blame herself for Spike’s feelings. Buffy helps Xander take a break by leaning him against the wall. Some of Buffy’s current angst is about Riley leaving (and about Angel leaving). All the good ones desert her and she’s left to be an object of obsession for soulless monsters like Spike. Xander agrees with Giles: Buffy isn’t the problem. There will be another guy. Buffy’s sure she could change into the type of girl who doesn’t scare guys away. Xander continues being super sweet, so she hugs him. He thinks maybe the Hellmouth is a bad place for solid romance.
Cut to just outside the Espresso Pump, where a rather odd girl gets dropped off. She’s in Sunnydale to look for true love!
Joyce is spinning in her new dress for Buffy and Dawn. Buffy gets her to do it four times before she realizes she’s being messed with. Joyce has a date that night! The guy’s name is Brian and he works for a publishing house. Joyce wants advice about the date from Buffy, but Buffy feels grossly unqualified. Joyce and Dawn will sure she’ll meet a nice guy soon.
Tara and Anya are walking on campus, talking about computers. Tara isn’t a huge fan. Anya is warming up to them because of capitalism. She’s had some success in investment. The strange girl from the Espresso Pump comes up to them and asks if they know where Warren is. They do not. She moves on to the next person, who also does not. Tara is willing to let Anya show her some computer things, since it’s going so well.
It’s a Spring Break party on campus, and Xander is dancing with Buffy. She’s enjoying this more than looking for dating prospects. Willow, Tara, and Anya observe from the sidelines while they enjoy refreshments. Then Buffy finds Ben, standing awkwardly by the punch, so she goes and stands somewhere he’ll definitely spot her. He does! He’s bad at flirting, but in a cute way. Also, Buffy is suddenly Cordelia in “Reptile Boy”—in terms of responding to a guy’s dumb jokes with an overabundance of forced laughter. *winces* She makes an effort not to be a spaz and asks him to dance. He says yes, but needs to get rid of his drink first.
Anya is very impressed by Chex mix. Then the weird girl who’s looking for Warren arrives. Anya explains her to Xander. The much-sought-after Warren is there at the party. When he sees April, he grabs his date and leaves. Xander finds the weird girl very attractive, but Anya is very pointedly not jealous! The gang is starting to think weird girl is weird in more than just a quirky way. Willow also finds her attractive, and Tara is a bit annoyed.
Spike comes up to Buffy at the party. Thankfully, he seems to be done with trying to dress like Riley. Buffy is not happy to see him. He doesn’t feel like leaving town unless she bodily removes him. He eventually walks away after Buffy coldly glares at him long enough. Ben rejoins her and is endearingly protective. He gives her his number. If I didn’t already know he’s sharing a body with Glory (and if I wasn’t an eternal Buffy/Angel shipper), I might be on board with this. He’s definitely more likable than Riley. Spike is jealous again. Buffy warns Ben that her relationships tend to end badly. He’s willing to risk it.
Spike, possibly thinking that Buffy was only flirting with Ben to make him jealous, decides to try making her jealous instead by hitting on someone else too. His chosen target is the weird girl, whose name is April. He whispers something super dirty in her ear. She is very offended and throws him through a window. No one touches her but Warren. Spike, bewildered and rather banged up, feels sympathy for this Warren guy. He leaves.
Buffy stops April before she can go. As hilarious as it is to watch people throw Spike through windows, it could be a problem if she does it to anyone else. April throws Buffy across the room. Then she apologizes for hurting her and tells her she hopes Buffy’s boyfriend will take good care of her.
The gang gathers in a secluded area to discuss April. Or the structural damage done to the window, if you’re carpenter/construction guy Xander. Everyone agrees that April is a robot. To find April, they’ll need to find Warren, so Willow will start searching student databases. They don’t think it’s super urgent, since April probably doesn’t mean this Warren guy any harm. Buffy needs to go relieve Giles, who has been watching Dawn during Joyce’s date.
Giles votes that Dawn is too old to need a babysitter (See? Giles thinks so too!), but mostly because he has no idea how to relate to a fourteen-year-old American girl, so babysitting her was very strange. Joyce comes home. She had a lovely date. Giles leaves before she can start gushing about it. Joyce gets revenge for the spinny trick by telling Buffy she left her bra in her date’s car.
April is now going from house to house asking the residents if Warren lives there. At three in the morning. They do not appreciate it.
At the Magic Box, everyone fills Giles in about robot April. Xander is impressed with Warren’s work. Ew. Anya is not jealous! So far, Willow hasn’t been able to find Warren yet, but then she strikes gold. This could be Warren Mears, who graduated from Sunnydale High and is home for spring break. Giles thinks it would be good to know what Warren made April for. Nobody else feels that conversation is necessary. She’s a sex bot. Xander starts talking about how it’s every guy’s dream, and I would like someone to smack him now. He wishes he had guyfriends. So do I, but not so they can talk about that! Willow doesn’t want them to be so quick to judge Warren harshly. Wow, second episode in a row that she has been sympathetic towards creepy selfish dudes.
Thanks to all the talk about lonely people and sex bots, Buffy decides it’s time to make use of Ben’s phone number. She calls him. Over at Glory’s swanky place, the phone rings. Glory is covered in sweat and seems to be in pain, and then she turns into Ben. He answers the phone. Buffy asks him if he wants to go get coffee. He agrees and hangs up. Then looks down and sees that he’s wearing a strapless red dress.
Warren is hastily packing his things, but his girlfriend doesn’t understand the urgency. They’re visiting his mom for spring break, which only just started. What’s the rush? Warren seems like kind of a jerk. He opens the door to leave, and Buffy is on the other side of it, hand raised to knock. Warren gathers that she’s there about April. Katrina (the girlfriend) wants to know who Buffy and this other girl they’re talking about is, and Warren tries to send her to the kitchen so they can talk. Wow, yeah, he’s definitely a jerk. Katrina comes to that conclusion too, so she storms out.
Buffy introduces herself. He knows her from school, and he hopes she isn’t there because April hurt someone. He must think everyone else is very stupid, because he tries to gently break it to Buffy that April is actually a robot.
The Scoobies have told Dawn about April, who makes a reference to Ted. Xander’s about to take Dawn to school when Spike comes rushing into the Magic Box under a flaming blanket. Nobody is happy to see him. Willow’s even working on a way to disinvite him from the shop, even though it’s a public place. And Dawn is over her crush. They all want him gone. JUST STAKE HIM ALREADY, GUYS. He tries to spin a web of lies about how nothing bad Buffy might’ve said about him is true, because he was only helping Buffy get rid of Drusilla. Giles shoves Spike when he won’t quit prattling on, and he tells him in no uncertain terms that none of them will ever help him get closer to Buffy. He needs to leave and get over his obsession. It’s the most sinister Giles has been in a very long time, and I love it. Spike leaves under his blanket without another word.
April is at the Espresso Pump again. She asks a table of guys if they know where Warren is. One of them tells her she just missed Warren, and that he headed left out of the shop. She leaves, delighted, but he only said that to get rid of her. It’s actually pretty funny.
Buffy is still talking to Warren. Warren built April because he felt like he deserved to have someone. Wow. Buffy is about as impressed as I am, but Warren insists that he didn’t just make a sex toy, he made the perfect girlfriend. But she ended up being too perfect. Being with April was too easy and predictable, so, to his complete surprise, Warren got bored. Then he met Katrina, who, being an actual human with her own interests and life outside of Warren’s orbit, was much more interesting and captivating.
Their conversation has been intercut with April wandering in search of him. He left her at his dorm room, hoping her batteries would run out before he had to figure out how to actually deal with her. Buffy is indignant. Even though April is a robot, she’s disposed to sympathize with any approximately girl-like entity that got abandoned by the guy she loves. Warren is sure April will be easy to find.
The problem is that Katrina finds her first when she’s storming past a playground. April of course immediately asks about Warren. Katrina might be angry with Warren, but she’s still quite possessive, so she tries to tell April to get lost because Warren is her boyfriend. This does not compute with April. She grabs Katrina very hard by the arm. She squeezes Katrina around the middle until something cracks.
In the lower room of his crypt, Spike tosses all the contents of his Buffy shrine into a box. Oh hey, is he actually going to move on?
Buffy and Warren are tracking April now. Buffy is disgusted to learn that Warren programmed April to feel pain if she didn’t answer when he called her name. They find April, who is at the playground, holding an unconscious Katrina off the ground by the neck. Warren is shocked, but still slow to actually tell her to put Katrina down. (Not out of malice, just out of being a moron.) Buffy checks Katrina for a pulse and finds one. That’s a relief.
April doesn’t understand why Warren never came back. She even made him five sweaters! He starts to tell her to go back and get them for him, but Buffy insists that he be honest with her. We get to see April’s point of view, which is pixelated and has many NSFW files. He tells her she isn’t really what he wanted, and that they can’t be together. This doesn’t compute. She keeps trying. When he says he doesn’t love her, she glitches and goes into combat mode. Programs include street fighting, kung fu, judo, karate, taking bullets, and destroying obstacles. She selects that last one. Warren, recognizing danger, points to Buffy and says he loves her, which redirects April’s wrath.
April growls, which is hilarious, then attacks Buffy. Katrina wakes up during their fight. Buffy exposes some of April’s circuits with her blows, and Katrina realizes April is a robot. Katrina is so freaked out by Warren’s “ex-girlfriend” that she decides she’s done with him and runs off. Just when it looks like April might win the fight despite the damage she has sustained, she starts powering down.
Buffy and April are sitting on the swings. Buffy recommends that April cry, but April says “Crying is blackmail. Good girlfriends don’t cry.” Gross. April doesn’t understand why Warren doesn’t love her, because she did everything right. What is she for if he doesn’t love her? April says it’s getting dark. It’s not. She’s still powering down. She hopes Warren will come back for her if she waits patiently. Buffy tells her what she wants to hear, since she’s doing the robot version of dying. April’s voice gets more halting as she spouts a few platitudes. She shuts down before she can finish “Things are always darkest before dawn.”
Xander is repairing the window April threw Spike through. He likes that he now has a skill that’s useful in a town where things get smashed a lot. Buffy tells Xander about how she thinks it was silly of her to obsess over finding a new guy. She doesn’t want to be like April. She finds Ben’s number, still in her pocket. She leaves him a message to cancel coffee. Unfortunately, the one who gets the message is Glory. She takes that to mean Ben is working against her, but she’s also a bit pouty that Buffy turned “them” down.
Warren tries to apologize to Katrina over the phone. It doesn’t work, because he’s a tool. When he turns around, Spike is there with his box of Buffy shrine. Warren’s mom invited him in. He wants Warren to build him a Buffy-bot. Not moving on, then. Ewwwwwww.
Buffy comes home sometime the next day. She finds the flowers Brian sent Joyce. Aww. Then she finds Joyce lying on the couch, unresponsive, staring at nothing. Ohhhh dear.
Leaving aside the meanest twist ending ever, “I Was Made to Love You” is surprisingly watchable for an episode that centers around a cretinous, self-absorbed jerk and his sex-bot. The reason this Plot A works, despite yet again throwing jarring urban sci-fi elements into an urban fantasy series, is that it does a very good job of matching up to the emotions of Plot B. Buffy has convinced herself that there’s something wrong with her if Spike wants her while someone good like Riley (and Angel) left her, and that there was probably a way to keep Riley (or Angel) from leaving if she had only been a better, more devoted girlfriend. Well, along comes April, who actually is a tailor-made perfect girlfriend for Warren (according to his gross, sexist definition of perfect girlfriend, anyway), and she couldn’t hold his interest. A relationship can fall apart even if you do everything right, and it certainly isn’t a good one if you can only fix it by not being yourself. Riley put unreasonable expectations on Buffy and left her to feel inadequate for not meeting them, which is a lot like what Warren did to April, except that Warren is clearly a total jerk and a creep who has no respect for women and April isn’t actually real. One thing that bugs me about the episode is that there’s the obvious implication that April is continuing to operate despite the fact that her batteries should’ve run out days ago because love is keeping her going. She only starts shutting down after Warren breaks her heart. The episode right after the one that proved a soul is essential for love is really trying to suggest that a human-shaped collection of circuits and programming is capable of love?
I feel you, Buffy. Dating is the worst, and one of the most worst parts about it is when you’ve recently ended a relationship and there aren’t really any guys you’re interested in, especially if there are guys you’re super not interested in who like you. It’s unpleasant to go back to being so single that there’s no one you even have a crush on after being in a relationship. That’s where Buffy’s at, with the added bonus of increased abandonment issues. As much as I support the hypothetical version of Buffy/Ben in which Ben isn’t sharing a body with Glory, I’m very glad Buffy comes to the conclusion that she doesn’t have to move on from Riley by immediately dating someone else.
*smacks Xander* Sex-bots are gross! They’re such a degrading concept. Show more respect for women, Xander! All of your friends are women and you’re in a committed relationship with a woman who used to eviscerate men for infidelity.
For the second episode in a row now, Willow has expressed a surprising level of sympathy for people (or fictional—from her perspective—characters) whose approach to relationships is extremely self-serving. She was rooting for Quasimodo with Esmeralda last time, and now she can sort of see sex-bots as an understandable way of coping with loneliness. This perspective actually fits pretty well with Willow’s attitude. She made out with Xander while dating Oz, not feeling guilty as much as she was afraid to get caught. She was impatient for Oz to forgive her so they could go back to normal, not wanting to allow him to take time to deal with it. She has demonstrated quite a few times that she can be incredibly selfish in her dealings with other people. If she can still be this sympathetic with such selfish people and characters, then it suggests that she hasn’t learned anything from her past experiences, which doesn’t bode well.
Anya’s determined non-jealousy is slightly amusing, but it would’ve been better if she’d smacked Xander for his monologue on the attractions of sex-bots.
I was pleasantly surprised by Dawn’s about face regarding Spike. I forgot that her S5 crush on him was such a short-lived thing. I thought she might still insist on it just to be contrary. Points for her.
Spike, amazingly, still won’t give up in his pursuit of Buffy. It’s like the flipside of how there was nothing Buffy could have done to stop Riley from leaving. There also seems to be nothing she can do to get Spike to leave. And rather than being intimidated by the attitudes of Giles and the Scoobies, he then takes his obsession to new lows by commissioning a Buffy-Bot. He is so deeply unsettling and creepy.
I freaking love Giles. His “there is no way to Buffy” speech to Spike is such an amazing moment. It’s the most Ripper-like he’s been in a long time. It reminds me of when he shoved Snyder against the wall of his office and politely offered to “persuade” him to allow Buffy to reenroll in school.
“Willow’s good with all that computer stuff, but me, not so much. Do you really understand all that?
“Oh, well, at first it was confusing. Just the idea of computers was like, ‘Whoa, I’m 1100 years old. I had trouble adjusting to the idea of Lutherans.’”
“I go online sometimes, but everyone’s spelling is really bad and it’s depressing.”
“Oh, that girl. She speaks with a strange evenness and selects her words a shade too precisely.”
“We listened to aggressively cheerful music sung by people chosen for their ability to dance, then we ate cookie dough and talked about boys.”
[Buffy bursts out laughing] “I’m sorry. I’m very, very sorry. But if it makes you feeel any better, my fun-time Buffy party night consisted of watching a robot throw Spike through a window. So if you want to trade—no...wait, I wouldn’t give that memory up for anything!”
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The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.