“Two to Go”
Written by Doug Petrie
Directed by Bill L. Norton
Buffy, Xander, and Anya are running through the forest. Xander has already thrown up once from the horror of what Willow did. They know Willow will be gunning for Jonathan and Andrew next. Anya teleports to warn them (apparently what Willow did is slower). Xander and Buffy aren’t sure Willow will still be Willow when they find her. They get to his car and find that Willow has totaled it. Buffy sprints off at Slayer speed, leaving Xander to catch up later, which he finds deeply frustrating.
A police cruiser does an absolutely garbage job of parking at the precinct. Inside, Jonathan and Andrew are still in jail. Andrew is still waiting for Warren to rescue them. He thinks Warren is testing to see if they’re worthy of being rescued. Jonathan thinks he’s crazy and pathetic. They start fighting. In teleports Anya! She yells for a guard, then explains to them what Warren did and what Willow did to him, and what she’ll probably do to them.
A guard finally comes over, and is very confused to see Anya in the cell. She teleports outside the cell to prove that he needs to listen to her.
The bad parking cop is still sitting in his cruiser outside when his coffee cup starts to tremble as if a T-Rex is on the way. But it’s just Willow, who finally rematerializes like a storm cloud. She knocks the officer out with a spell, then focuses on the outer wall of Jonathan and Andrew’s cell. Where Anya has failed to convince the guard to release them. Willow sucks the bricks out of the wall one by one. Anya can’t take passengers when she teleports. But Buffy’s coming! Willow floats herself up to the cell, but by the time she gets there, Buffy has broken the bars and gotten the boys out. Willow knocks Anya out with sith lightning and then screams a hellish scream of rage.
Xander pulls up in a cruiser and Jonathan, Andrew, and Buffy jump in. They drive away. They can’t think of a better plan than fleeing right now. Willow emerges from the precinct, about to pursue them. It occurs to the fleeing group that it’s kind of strange that Willow hasn’t already caught them. Does that mean she’s not as powerful as they thought? Jonathan is just as shocked as Buffy and Xander about Willow’s face-heel turn. A Mack truck slams into the cruiser from behind. Willow is on top of it, driving it telekinetically. It should not be difficult for them to go faster than a Mack truck, but Willow keeps rear-ending them. Fortunately, Willow runs out of juice right about then, so they manage to get away.
Dawn is still with Clem in Spike’s crypt. She’s getting serious cabin fever. He’s trying really hard to keep her entertained. He offers to take her to a movie, but she wants him to explain to her why she needs to be babysat. He inadvertently promises to help her with something. This can’t possibly go well.
Cut to Spike in that cave in Africa. He has to pass some tests, the first of which is a huge muscular dude...who is pyrokinetic.
Dawn wants Clem to find Rack’s place for her. Clem deeply does not want to, but Dawn thinks Rack can help them find Willow. Clem points out that there’s not much Dawn could do if she did find Willow.
Buffy, Xander, Jonathan, Andrew, and Anya are back at the Magic Box. Willow sucked most of the books dry, but Anya does still have a book of protective magic. It’s in Sumerian, though! Buffy really doesn’t want his help, though. She’s only protecting him for Willow’s sake. But Jonathan knows Willow will have to recharge. Xander pulls Buffy aside. What are they supposed to do if they can power Willow down for a minute?
Cut to Rack’s place. Willow gets there first. Rack starts being all creeper-y like always. Willow looks uncomfortable. He asks her what she wants. She sticks her hand in his chest and sucks all his power out of him. Clem and Dawn arrive. Clem still thinks this is a terrible idea. And he would be right. Because Dawn finds Rack dead and a re-charged Willow (now with black veins on her face) inside Rack’s room. Dawn tries to leave, but Willow blocks her (by appearing in front of her). Also, she’s telepathic now. Dawn brings up Tara and tries to talk Dawn down. Willow is unexpectedly callous about Dawn’s grief. She thinks Dawn (and everyone else) might be happier if Dawn goes back to being a ball of energy. Before she can do anything, Buffy gets there.
Anya is struggling to translate the Sumerian and doesn’t appreciate Xander hovering. Jonathan can help! It’s actually Babylonian. Andrew is annoyed Jonathan is trying to help. Jonathan thinks Andrew is a moron. Andrew wants to try attacking Xander and Anya using the supplies in the shop. Again, Jonathan thinks Andrew is a moron, but Andrew offers to let him be the leader of the new Duo. Jonathan throws him up against the wall. Andrew thinks after Willow finishes with them, she’ll go after the Scoobies. That might be a good point. Xander wants to know if Anya will turn on him, and they have an argument about them. Xander blames himself for what happened to Buffy and Tara (and therefore what’s happening to Willow), because he saw the gun before Warren raised it, but he didn’t warn Buffy fast enough.
Buffy tells Willow to get away from Dawn. Willow is incredibly unpleasant now, and she won’t let them leave. Buffy tries to convince Willow that she can be stronger than the magic inside her. Willow scoffs. She thinks Willow is pathetic, and now that Tara’s gone, there’s no point anymore. Buffy tries to convince her that there’s so much for her to live for, but Willow keeps scoffing. This, coming from depressed girl who preferred an insane asylum to reality? The background starts spinning around them, switching from Rack’s to the Magic Box. The trip makes Dawn sick and Buffy queasy.
Willow turns on Jonathan and Andrew and fires purple lightning at them, but there’s a green barrier that protects them. She keeps trying. Anya is chanting a protection spell from behind a corner. The boys try to run, but she shuts the door.
Cut back to Spike, who’s covered in burns as he continues to fight Mr. Fists of Fire. After sustaining a few more burns, he manages to snap the guy’s neck. Unfortunately, this is only the first test. He wasn’t expecting that.
Willow is getting annoyed because her magic is still failing against Jonathan and Andrew. She comes up with a loophole. She’ll just do magic to herself so that she can attack them physically. Buffy gets in the way. Willow punches her across the room. She’s at least as strong as a Slayer now. Buffy gets up and retaliates with equal force. Xander gets Dawn, Jonathan, and Andrew the heck out of there. Anya stays to keep doing the spell, and their parting is really sweet.
Willow tries to follow, furious, but Buffy throws her back down. They face off. Buffy hates this so much, but Willow is smiling. Willow fires off snarky banter about how she’s moving up from sidekick to Slayer after all these years, but Buffy says she doesn’t understand what a Slayer is. They start fighting. Willow seems to have given herself some moves as well as strength. She tries to pin Buffy with a staircase so that she can leave, but Buffy gets out and keeps fighting. They are really tearing the crap out of the Magic Box.
Xander, Dawn, Jonathan, and Andrew are still fleeing, but they’re already winded. Xander wants to get Jonathan and Andrew somewhere safe, but Andrew disagrees, using a sword to make his point. He wants to flee to Mexico with Jonathan. He doesn’t want to die for a crime he didn’t even commit. Jonathan pulls his own sword on Andrew, and Andrew caves. Jonathan wants him and Andrew to go to jail like they deserve.
Buffy and Willow continue fighting. Buffy throws Willow through a display next to Anya, and Willow finally realizes where that protection spell has been coming from. Uh oh. She grabs Anya by the throat. Buffy is down, and Willow throws Anya across the room, knocking her out. Buffy gets back up. Willow thinks she gets Buffy’s Slayer thing now. It’s about power. She zaps Buffy with purple lightning, then enjoys her moment of triumph.
Which is interrupted by Giles.
The Dark Willow arc continues to be awesome with “Two to Go.” I adore every second of Jonathan’s screentime, Xander and Anya start to make slight progress with their issues because bigger things are trumping them, Rack gets killed (good freaking riddance), and it’s just really cool watching Willow wreak havoc. Bonus points for destroying the Magic Box set. It’s such a cool set, and it’s a bit of a gut-wrench to watch it get smashed up by Buffy and Willow’s fight, but it also makes the whole thing much more epic. The only things I think could have made this one better would be cutting down on Dawn’s screentime (because she’s being really stupid) and Spike’s (because it throws off the momentum of the main story whenever we have to cut to him).
I kind of think Buffy has the easiest time finding the strength inside herself when she’s fighting a very powerful opponent. All season, she’s lacked one of those. But when her best friend becomes one of the greatest threats she’s ever faced, she seems to get a lot of her conviction back. She might still be struggling to convince herself that life is worth living, but she definitely still cares about the lives of the people she loves, and she still holds her calling as Slayer very sacred. Being a Slayer may be based on having power, but it's about using that power for good.
Xander is feeling more and more useless as his best friend from childhood goes farther and farther off the rails. He really hasn’t had much of a chance to try talking her down yet. Buffy has done most of that. I think he believes there’s nothing he can do.
I kind of love Anya’s line “I do care if you live or die, I’m just not sure which one I want.” Xander may not find it very comforting, but it proves that her feelings for him are still extremely strong. And she’s surprisingly selfless to stay put and keep chanting the spell when Xander wants to get her to safety.
Dawn’s involvement in this one is probably one of the weaker things about it. Clem is right; there’s really nothing Dawn can do to stop Willow, so all she really accomplishes by leaving the crypt is putting herself in extreme danger.
Nothing really new to report about Spike. The soul quest continues, and those scenes feel really awkwardly shoehorned into a completely unrelated story. I would have preferred not actually seeing any of this stuff except maybe as flashbacks in S7.
There’s really nothing Willow can’t do once she completely stops caring about how this is going to affect her. She just wants to go out in a blaze of rage and power. I kind of wish she’d actually started to turn Dawn back into an energy ball. Like, maybe by the time Buffy shows up at Rack’s, Dawn would be glowing green, but then the glow fades because Buffy interrupts.
Giles’s arrival at the end of this one is officially the best entrance in either show. Gives me chills every time.
“I could summon a demon that would kill her.”
“And I could smack you so hard your eyeballs would switch sockets.”
“I’d like to test that theory.”
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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.