“Get it Done”
Written by Douglas Petrie
Directed by Douglas Petrie
Buffy is walking around the house, observing the many sleeping girls and the multilingual dictionaries strewn about. The house is way past maximum capacity. She finds Chloe crying in a corner. Buffy barely remembering her name doesn’t really help. Then Buffy gets tackled down the stairs by the First Slayer, who tells her everything she’s doing isn’t enough. She sits bolt upright in bed. Seriously, why haven’t they relocated to the Crawford Street mansion or something?
Anya is walking down a street, complaining to Spike about how she gave up being a vengeance demon for being human. Even if she doesn’t particularly like vengeance anymore, she also doesn’t like being human, especially when she has to live in a house full to bursting with teenage girls. She and Spike are going to a bar, but it is not a date. Either he’s escorting her where she wants to go because she’s still in danger of being assassinated by D’Hoffryn’s minions (and indeed, one does attack, and Spike fights it), or she’s accompanying him to make sure he stays good. The former is, I assume, the reason she’s not staying in her own apartment. Why can’t Willow do a warding spell on Anya’s and Xander’s apartments so that Giles, Spike, and Andrew can stay with Xander, and a few of the potentials can stay with Anya and make things considerably less crowded at the Summers’ house? Or, again, they could all just RELOCATE TO THE CRAWFORD STREET MANSION.
Cut to the high school the next day, where Buffy and Wood are both dealing with a misbehaving student. Apparently there has been a major rise in delinquent behavior. When the bell rings, a few kids run from their classroom in a more fearful way than usual. They both think this means the apocalypse is brewing bigger and faster than it has in previous years. Wood gives Buffy a bag of stuff his mom owned. It seems that should’ve already been hers, but he’s been hanging onto it as a memento since Nikki died. Whatever’s inside it has something to do with her power. He promotes her to first name terms. She can call him Robin. She wants him to introduce him to the Plot A side of her life, so she brings him back to the house. She’s been explaining about the potentials on the way.
Andrew comes out of the kitchen irritably shortly after Buffy and Wood arrive. Buffy doesn’t quite know how to explain Andrew. He’s still trying to promote himself to Scooby status, and his latest endeavors have included baking and drawing a Big Board of impending threats. Buffy continues the tour with Wood, which leads to the backyard, where Kennedy is leading all the girls in martial arts training. Chloe screws up, and Kennedy calls her “maggot” and makes her do push-ups. Kennedy is very proud of herself. Amanda says hi to Wood, and Kennedy snaps back to angry drill sergeant mode. Buffy knows there’s nothing she can do to prevent some of these girls from dying. Willow comes outside with an armful of weapons and awkwardly tries to come up with a Plot B cover story for Wood, a job Buffy relieves her of, ‘cause Wood’s on the level.
Wood is surprised Willow once almost destroyed the world. Next, he wants to meet Spike. Who is downstairs getting chewed out by Spike for only fending off the demon instead of killing it. Wood conceals his hostility with a thin veneer of curiosity. Spike is confused (but not intimidated) by the hostility and Buffy doesn’t seem to notice it. Wood gives him a bit of the third degree about his soul and his comings and goings in the last few decades. Buffy pulls Wood away to go check out the arsenal.
Dawn has had a look in Nikki Wood’s bag, which contains some weapons and trinkets, a book in ancient Sumerian, and a mystery box. Buffy wonders how Dawn has had time to do homework around all of this, and Dawn teases her by making up stories of delinquency until the mood is abruptly ruined by their discovery of Chloe, who hanged herself in Dawn’s room. Kennedy, Rona, and Amanda find them next. Then the First appears as Chloe. It talked to her all night until she was so demoralized that she killed herself. It guilt-trips Kennedy for calling Chloe “maggot” and repeats Buffy’s line about how some of the girls will die, in her voice. Oops. Then it vanishes, saying Tigger’s farewell catchphrase. The other girls are really struck by this, because they actually became friends with Chloe.
Buffy buries Chloe near some woods. In the house, everyone is very upset. Buffy comes back in. She eulogizes Chloe by saying she was an idiot and weak. She’s not happy at all. She feels like she’s been carrying all of them, and it’s time they started pulling their weight, or something. Kennedy gets in her face, because Willow is more powerful than Buffy so she thinks that’s a bunch of bull. Buffy points out that it doesn’t matter if Willow is more powerful, because she’s not using her power. Xander wants to know where friendship fits into Buffy’s leader/follower dynamic. Buffy wants everyone to be useful, because the First is laughing at them. They need to push themselves to do better. Spike gets up to leave, and Buffy turns her vitriol on him. She’s not impressed with how he’s been holding back. She thinks he was a better fighter pre-soul. He’s indignant because he got the soul for her, which was what she wanted. (Wrong and wrong.) Buffy wants to break out that mystery box and the rest of Nikki’s stuff.
The box contains shadow-casters. Dawn figures out how to get them to work. It’s the origin myth of the First Slayer. So they light the candle and Dawn slowly starts with the story while Xander puts the shadow-casters in place. Percussive background music starts up even though no one’s playing music. The earth, demons, men, then a girl the men used to fight the demons. They chained the girl to the earth. The shadow-caster moves on its own at this point, and the figures are moving. Also, the book is changing from Sumerian to English. There’s something about Darkness. Buffy has to see for herself if she’s willing to make the exchange. It gets hella creepy. Then a portal opens. Buffy thinks she has to go in. Everyone else thinks this is a bad plan, but she jumps in anyway.
Oh, and in exchange, they get a giant demon, which promptly throws Xander through the coffee table. Willow tries to use magic and gets smacked into a wall. Wood fights, and so do Kennedy and Amanda and Spike. Spike is trying to get back in touch with his demon, but the current demon is doing most of the touching, throwing him through the ceiling into one of the upper rooms, then breaking out. Wow, once again the house is critically injured. Anya is skeptical of Willow’s ability to get Buffy back and kill the demon without going evil.
Buffy appears in an over-saturated desert area that greatly resembles where she was in her dream in “Restless.” Back in the house, the book is blank, so they don’t have a lead. Anya votes that Buffy finds her own way back. Xander thinks leaving Buffy there would leave all of them wide open to an attack by the First. Dawn gets Willow thinking productively on ways to get Buffy back. Like using physics! They need a transfer of energy and a conduit. So they need to find the demon and swap it back. Spike pops in to volunteer to go get the demon. Kennedy isn’t impressed by his offer, but he saunters off to go make good. After getting something.
Buffy finds a trio of African dudes who’ve been waiting for her. They aren’t speaking English, but she understands them anyway. They’ve been there since the beginning, and this is almost the end. They tell her she’s the Hellmouth’s last guardian, which creeps her out. They’re circling around her. They can give her power, not knowledge. When she starts saying she doesn’t think this is real, one of them whacks her over the head with his stick.
Willow pours a circle of green sand. She wants to get the portal spell ready now instead of waiting for Spike, because her end will take time. She sits in the circle and starts the spell. Nothing happens. She apologetically asks Dawn to make some coffee, and then suddenly the observers all get blasted back and Willow’s eyes go black. Crap!
Buffy wakes up and finds she’s chained to the ground in a weird cave. The African dudes tell her they’re at the well of the Slayer’s power. They start beating the ground with their sticks. One sets a box down in the center of a circle. They claim the Slayer’s power is the energy or the heart of a demon. So, the soul of a demon? An oily black shadow emerges from the box and swirls around, getting closer to Buffy. She doesn’t want this. She doesn’t want to become less human. They say this is the only way for her to win. The shadow goes in through her eyes, ears, and mouth, and she screams it back out. It approaches again, but she resists. She tries to get the African guys to stop this, but they insist it’s the only way.
The thing Spike went to get is Nikki Wood’s coat. Wood sees him walking past in it and Spike says he got it in New York. There’s the confirmation Wood wanted of what the First told him about Spike.
Willow is still working on the spell. She gives up on the Latin and just goes for it in English. She drains energy from Kennedy and Anya to get the power she needs for the portal, which opens. Xander pulls her out of the circle, because her hair just went black too. It turns red again. Kennedy seems very disturbed.
Spike is fighting the demon, taunting it and jeering much like how he used to fight. It isn’t an easy fight, but Spike eventually wins it, and he’s having fun. He celebrates his victory by having a smoke. Ew.
Buffy has had enough of this crap. She’s pretty convinced that these dudes have nothing for her and that what they did to the First Slayer was wrong. Maybe she can’t fight the floaty demon soul, but she can fight the jerks conjuring it. She breaks the chains and uses them against the guys. Then she breaks the staff, which makes the demon soul vanish. The one dude still upright is disappointed. He puts his hand to Buffy’s head and shows her something. We don’t see it.
Spike heaves the demon through the portal, and Buffy reappears in the living room, surrounded by the Scoobies and Kennedy.
Kennedy is walking upstairs, still disturbed. Willow catches up to her to see how she’s doing. Willow is worried that Kennedy might hate her now. Kennedy doesn’t, but she’s a little staggered by actually experiencing Dark Willow firsthand.
Willow goes to see Buffy, who’s sitting on her bed. Buffy feels bad for being so hard on everyone. She thinks she screwed up by not taking the power the African dudes offered. What they showed her is that they’re very screwed. The First has a whole army of Turok-Han underneath that seal.
“Get it Done” is not a very pleasant episode. We’ve got Buffy taking a somewhat “the beatings will continue until morale improves” approach to leadership, utterly terrified potential Slayers, Willow struggling with her magic again, and a very creepy origin story for Slayers. I want to focus on that last one, though. It’s clearly meant to be some kind of anti-patriarchy message, that it was deeply wrong for three men to forcibly bind a demon’s soul to a young girl and make her fight their battles for them. And if that’s how it happened, then yeah, that’s super screwed up, particularly because girls have been dying for this cause for thousands of years ever since. But we didn’t see what they did to the First Slayer. Did she volunteer because her people were in danger? Did they discover through trial and error that the only way to make it work was by using a girl? Did they drag her kicking and screaming into that cave to get all demonized? We can’t really be sure, and those details would make a considerable difference to the story. They definitely chained Buffy down and tried to make her take this power without explaining enough about why it was important, so the evidence is somewhat in favor the theory that the First Slayer became so against her will. This whole season has had a major focus on Slayer lore, but the origin myth casts a bit of a pall over all of it. It raises a question that’s been raised before, particularly in “Prophecy Girl” and “Helpless”: is it empowering to be the Slayer, or is it just a cruel death sentence? Giles, for some reason, is absent from this episode. That seems odd, given that it’s an episode that deals so much with the Slayer. What are his thoughts on the origin myth and on the Slayer goodie bag that Wood failed to pass on to subsequent Slayers?
It makes perfect sense that Buffy would be frustrated and overwhelmed by her own responsibilities and by the enormous crowd of girls living in her house, but mocking a girl who committed suicide and yelling at everyone to do better is not a good strategy for fixing the problem. It’s also a bit hypocritical of her to chew Spike and Willow out for not being useful in this war because they aren’t embracing their dark sides, and then turn around and refuse to take a demonic power-up herself. Or was that the point? That Buffy learned that power doesn’t matter nearly as much as that it comes from a good place and is used wisely? Because if so, the very end of the episode seemed to undercut that, and she also didn’t apologize to Willow or Spike for what she goaded them into doing.
Xander has very little involvement in this one. He mostly just objects to Buffy’s leadership strategy, which, yeah, it’s pretty crappy right now. I like that he’s not hostile about it, though. The last thing they need is a huge argument. He just tries to cautiously point out she might not be doing things the right way.
Anya is somehow less useful to the Scoobies than Andrew right now, which is really annoying because I don’t WANT Andrew to be useful to the Scoobies. So she should stop complaining about how things are going and try to do something about it.
The more Dawn does with the research side of Plot A, the more I like her. She’s very good at this stuff, and very excited about it, and no longer whiny about being excluded from things like actual battle. Keep being awesome, Dawn.
Spike really demonstrates in this episode how he allows himself to be defined by affected personas. He can’t just be the old Spike; he has to put on the costume of the old Spike first. And he can’t just fight like the old Spike; he has to put on the attitude and mannerisms of the old Spike too. It’s so strange, and it’s so different from how Angel functions as a vampire with a soul. Angel can share a few qualities with Angelus (such as cunning and fighting ability) without having to act anything like Angelus to access them. It’s like Spike is in the same position Anya was in “Selfless.” He has no idea how to define himself now that he has a soul, and he’s been trying so hard to stay away from everything that used to define him that it’s made him almost a non-person. This kind of identity crisis behavior doesn’t really make sense to me. I like what I like and I don’t feel like I put on different masks around different people, I’m just quieter around people I don’t know well. I’m still the same me all the time. So Spike’s habit of treating his personality like an act he lives full-time seems crazy. Who is he, really? Why does he never want anyone to see that person? Is it exhausting to pretend all the time? Does it make him feel worthless, or does it make him feel safer because the real him is hidden?
Willow seems pretty convinced that she can’t actually change her magic into something good again. It’s just dark power that will consume her if she taps into it too much. She can wade around in the shallow end, but it’ll swallow her the second she goes in deep enough. That’s got to be a miserable way to exist. Knowing you have access to something so big but knowing just as well that you’d become the greater threat if you tried to use it to help.
“Andrew is our...actually, he’s our hostage.”
“I like to think of myself more as a ‘guestage’.”
“So you—you hold him here against his will?
“Well, he was evil, and people got killed, and now he...bakes. It’s a thing.”
The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.