Written by Doug Petrie and Jane Espenson
Directed by Doug Petrie
Buffy is walking through a dark basement. Her basement. There’s a leaky pipe. She takes a wrench to it. Dawn offers to call a plumber. At first, it seems Buffy has succeeded, but then pipes burst pretty much everywhere. Dawn flees and Buffy is like “of course.”
Dawn, Tara, and Willow muse on the amount of water now flooding the basement while Buffy stares blankly at the water pouring from the kitchen faucet. A plumber will be coming later. Willow snaps Buffy out of it. In come Xander and the plumber, who announces that they have to put in an entirely new system of pipes. Which will not be remotely cheap. Buffy doesn’t think it will be a problem.
What Buffy does not know is that all of the money Joyce left her and Dawn got used up already. And there are still a bunch of bills associated with the house, so whatever’s left is not going to be around much longer. Well, here’s a thought: why don’t Willow and Tara pay rent? (Do they pay rent? Because if so, they never bring it up ever.) And what about Hank? Is he paying child support? Because as long as Dawn is a minor, he’s legally obligated to pay child support. So...is none of that happening? Why’s everyone looking at Buffy like it’s up to her to solve the financial problems of a four-person household, two of whom she isn’t actually related to?
Buffy makes a joke about burning the house down for insurance money, but instead of laughing, everyone’s just concerned about her mental health. Anya has an idea! Buffy could start charging for her services as the Slayer! Everyone including Buffy thinks that’s a terrible idea, but...why? That’s pretty much what Angel does. Granted, people come to him with their problems about half the time, rather than him just patrolling cemeteries for new vamps. But Buffy could do that! Why not make some Summers Investigations business cards? I’m sure the local police would be happy to work with her; they’ve seen enough crap that they can’t possibly still think the supernatural isn’t real.
Anya storms out indignantly because Xander fails to be supportive about her idea. He follows her out. She’s mostly just overreacting because he still hasn’t broken the news about their engagement. He promises she won’t have to wait much longer. He’s a bit anxious about being married because he wants to make sure everything goes right. She’s very touched, and kisses him. But then she realizes that he’s being sweet to stall her, and she storms off again.
Buffy is waiting for a meeting with a loan officer at the bank. She looks quite nice in a red button-up blouse.
The meeting does not go well. She doesn’t have great collateral, and she also doesn’t have a source of income. A demon crashes through the window just then. It’s there to...rob the bank? Her ability to kick him in the face is somewhat hampered by her pencil skirt, so she slits it open down the side. While she fights the demon, the demon’s accomplices steal a bunch of cash. She successfully scares the demon off, then tries to renegotiate with the loan officer.
Which doesn’t work at all. Willow is very indignant, and Buffy is working out her frustrations on a punching bag. Willow thinks that’s a good sign, because it means she’s having emotions. When Buffy’s anger deflates, Willow tries to reinflate it. Buffy is confused and annoyed. Willow points out that Buffy hasn’t been having a lot of emotions since she came back from the dead, but she backs off when Buffy gets even more annoyed.
Anya really wants to do the engagement announcement right now. Xander wants to at least wait until the whole gang is in the room. Dawn tries to argue that she’s old enough to join in the demon research. After all, at fifteen, she is now the same age Buffy was when she was called as the Slayer. Tara reluctantly hands her a book, and the first thing she sees in it is an M-rated drawing of a demon. Whoops. But then she actually does find the bank-robber demon.
Buffy and Willow join them. And then in comes Giles! Yaaaaay! He sets down his bags and he and Buffy approach each other for an extremely touching hug, which nearly results in broken ribs on his part. He is overjoyed to see her, and she is very relieved to see him. Aww, this is gonna make me cry. Yep, here I go. They head to the training room to catch up. He met with the Council, but there’s not much to report. Noooo he’s wearing baggy sweaters again. He wants to know how she’s doing. She tries to act like she’s fine. He can see through that, but he’s proud of her. He leaves her there to train.
Anya claims her Giles hug when he goes back into the main room. The gang fills him in on the bank robber demon. According to him, the key to finding the demon is figuring out who’s powerful enough to control it.
And they might be barking up the wrong tree with that idea, because the demon meets up with the other bank robbers, who are Warren the sexbot engineer, Jonathan, and some blond dude who looks equally nerdy. The demon is not happy about getting attacked by the Slayer in the course of his work for them. Blond dude and Warren seem to be pretty okay with letting the demon kill Jonathan, until he makes it clear he’ll only be starting with Jonathan. They offer to give him anything, but then they ruin the offer by being huge dorks. The demon decides he’ll kill them unless they kill the Slayer.
Buffy helps Giles set up her couch for him to spend the night on. He doesn’t still have his Sunnydale flat. She lets slip something about her money troubles, then explains more. She’s really worried about this stuff, and has no idea how to take care of it. He promises to sit down with her and go through all her bills and stuff. She really appreciates it, and she gets up before he can pat her knee. He’s definitely concerned about her.
Jonathan and blond guy both don’t want to kill Buffy. Warren says it’s them or her, and he votes them. Jonathan doesn’t think they could even kill her if they tried. Apparently the three of them teamed up a month ago with the goal of taking over Sunnydale. Woooow. Please tell me these losers aren’t the Big Bad. Would an actual Big Bad please step forward? Anyone? Anyone? Jonathan and blond guy overrule Warren and decide not to kill Buffy. Warren relays this information to the demon by handing him Buffy’s address and basically siccing him on her. The other two are very impressed by his ability to get rid of the demon.
Giles goes into the kitchen, where Willow is having a late night snack. She’s very proud of herself about the resurrection spell, but Giles is quietly furious with her. She’s shocked. He trusted her to respect the forces of nature, and she went and did something like this? She’s very defensive and still feels like she deserves praise for what she pulled off. He calls her a rank, arrogant amateur before storming out. But before he leaves, she kinda threatens him. Then she snaps out of it. She’ll think about what he said. He hopes she will, because he’s not sure Buffy made it out of wherever she was without lasting damage.
Buffy is on the back porch, where she has likely heard most of that fight. Spike joins her. Everyone caring so much about her makes her feel bad for not being okay. Spike offers to kill them, which for some reason makes her chuckle a little instead of glowering daggers at him. She notes that he always seems to be around when she’s miserable. Yes, and that’s on purpose, because he’s not terribly fond of most of the Scoobies.
Dawn comes downstairs. Giles is awake. She invites him to join her in mixing every cereal they own in one bowl. He declines, but also the demon is here. He knocks Dawn down and then Giles through the banister. Buffy arrives to fight him, and in the first five seconds, the coffee table and lamp both get smashed. Then the centerpiece on the dining table. Then a picture frame. Then the window on the kitchen door. The fight goes down into the basement, which is still flooded. He rips off one of the pipes to beat her with, but she’s so angry now about the damage to the house that she gets it away from him and beats him to death with it.
Warren feels they’ve had a pretty good week, now that their demon problem has been taken care of by Buffy. Oh, and blond guy’s name is Andrew. Jonathan thinks it’s inevitable that Buffy will come after them. Yeeeah, I’m not sure about that. They’re all pretty psyched about the prospect of getting everything they want without having to work for it.
Anya hands Buffy a paper outlining the state of her debt. She’s amazed that Joyce managed to pay for the constant repairs to the house for years. They won’t be able to find out what the demon wanted now that he’s dead. Willow offers to do a locator spell to find the demon’s employers, but off a look from Giles, she retracts the offer. The Scoobies clear out the debris from the fight, leaving Buffy, Dawn, and Giles in the living room. Buffy doesn’t think she can handle this, but Giles assures her that’s not true. The phone rings, so she goes to get it. Dawn and Giles have a cute conversation, and then Buffy comes back in. That was Angel on the phone. She will be going to meet up with him now. The bills can wait.
I would like “Flooded” much better if it had answered some of my questions about Buffy’s finances, like what her dad is doing to contribute (or what legal action she will be taking against him for failing to contribute) and whether Willow and Tara are paying rent and why the heck she can’t just open a supernatural detective agency. Or, heck, why she can’t get a stipend from the Council. If Watchers get paid, then shouldn’t Slayers get paid too? With all these extremely obvious potential revenue streams not even getting mentioned, it makes it harder for me to accept Buffy’s sucky financial situation. Also, the nerds are not a promising group of antagonists so far. I get what they represent thematically; Buffy is almost literally drowning in grown up problems, and here the Trio is gleefully shirking all responsibility and using crime to get everything they want. It’s an effective metaphor, it just isn’t interesting as urban fantasy. One thing I definitely do like in this episode is Giles not pulling any punches with Willow. It’s about time someone talked to her about her reckless power-tripping.
Buffy is understandably not having fun when life welcomes her back in the form of bills she can’t pay, loans she can’t get, and a house she can barely keep standing. Her relief at having Giles back is extremely touching. He’s the only adult she cares about (besides Angel) who didn’t have a hand in bringing her back to life against her will, so their relationship hasn’t been soured by that. I also love how she’s willing to drop everything to go see Angel. Even more than Giles, Angel is the person she doesn’t have to be strong for. She’s so exhausted from keeping up appearances for the gang and for Dawn that it’s no wonder she would jump at the chance to spend time with someone who doesn’t expect her to smile unless she really feels it.
I like how seriously Xander is taking his and Anya’s engagement, but if he keeps that up, he’s going to start feeling like it will be impossible to do justice to the idea of being her husband.
Anya should get an accounting degree. She really has a head for money stuff, after just a year of working at the Magic Box. But she should probably be more gentle about it when talking to Buffy. Her cheerful frankness is not the most pleasant way to receive the news of being almost broke. However, I do heartily agree with her idea that Buffy could start charging, and it seems ridiculous that the gang would be so weirded out by that idea. I mean, they all know Angel has a supernatural detective agency. It’s not *that* foreign of a concept.
Does Dawn not have friends at school, or is it just that she knows nothing her teenage friends do for fun could possibly be as worthwhile as what the Scoobies do? I like that she wants to be involved with the Scoobies, and that she knows the best way she can do that is to help with the research, but I hope she also has friends her own age who she can hang out with.
Spike admits that he prefers spending time with Buffy when she’s alone. By itself, that’s not necessarily a creepy preference for him to have, but paired with Buffy’s observation that he always seems to show up when she’s miserable, it’s a little ominous. He’s okay with the idea of her being most welcoming to him when she’s alone and depressed.
When Giles calls Willow out for her reckless use of extremely dangerous magic, she reacts the same way a little kid would when getting caught doing something wrong. She still doesn’t seem to understand that what she did was wrong, she’s just upset that someone she respects is so upset with her about it. She isn’t at all sorry she did it, but she’ll tread carefully until Giles gets over it. Also, she’s still trying to make sure Buffy is fine, because that will mean that it was fine that she, Willow, did that spell to bring her back. Buffy not being okay is evidence that Willow shouldn’t have done what she did.
Giles is back! And this episode is definitely one in which I’m not sorry he didn’t get killed off in S5. Buffy desperately needs the comfort of a parental figure right now, because mostly everyone just expects her to pick up where she left off and shoulder all her responsibilities at once. And again, it’s wonderful that there’s at least one character who isn’t too intimidated by Willow’s crazy magic skills (or too blinded by affection for her) to voice concern and disapproval.
“Captain Logic is not steering this tugboat!”
The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.