Buffy the Vampire Slayer Rewatch: When She Was Bad

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Are you ready for the real fun?

A majority of Buffy fans agree Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2 Episode 1 was the beginning of the show's momentum. After the plot of The Master, Buffy the Vampire Slayer became a darker, and more mature, series for the better. And I agree with this fact too.

However, we couldn't skip Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1! I love that season...and it is essential. Now that we've established the foundation, let's jump into rewatching "When She Was Bad".

Closure - Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Xander is not good enough for Willow. Not as a friend, and definitely not as any romantic potential. He's the worst.

I understand the need to toy with this storyline, especially since it was brought up in Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 6. The writers obviously wanted to keep the door open for Willow's unrequited crush. However, it's evil of him to toy with her emotions.

I support the vampire breaking up their almost kiss. Willow deserves better.

Sweet Flirtation - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2 Episode 1

Giles and Jenny are cute together. Back when I was seven years old, I rooted for them to date. Their flirtation was so obvious, even to me as a child.

Now that I've rewatched "When She Was Bad" again, I didn't realize the writers ramped up their romance fast.

On Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 12, it was only business as usual to stop the vampires. They clearly didn't meet up over the summer. And yet, they're now practically smitten with each other here.

Did the distant make the heart grow fonder?

Back To School - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2 Episode 1

I love watching Buffy's transformation into "Evil Buffy." Sarah Michelle Gellar does an amazing job playing the ruthless, cold-hearted villains. (Just watch Cruel Intentions to see why.)

You can tell something was off during her conversations in the graveyard and at Sunnydale High. Whenever anyone brought up The Master, it was like her body tensed up. These subtle actions are examples of why Sarah Michelle Gellar/Buffy is a star. She's always the character in the moment.

Giles being the first one of the Scoobies to notice Buffy's attitude change shows how close their characters are. He's trained her; he is the Watcher to her Slayer. They complement each other and he has a father's love for her. It makes sense he would pick up on these things.

I like the comparison the writers use of having Hank Summers make the same observation too. Both of her father-figures notice it. They're letting us know as viewers that this isn't a small issue.

Training Session - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2 Episode 1

Shout out to the stunt doubles! You did great work on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. There were many incredible actions scenes.

We don't always see you on screen, but sometimes you sneak through.

Case in point: Buffy's training session with Giles. That stunt double earned their paycheck during this scene.

Late Night Visitor - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2 Episode 1

Buffy was HORRIBLE to Angel. She had no reason to treat him bad. This was evil on her part.

Though, I will admit that him creeping into her room at night uninvited is sketchy. Yes, Angel is all things handsomeness, but this is a creepy thing to do. We can't ignore this fact because he was the 90's version of a supernatural bad boy.

She gave him the cold shoulder and he didn't know how to react. It would've been a shame if this was the moment which ruined any potential relationship.

Buffy: Hi.
Angel: Hi.
Buffy: So, is there danger at The Bronze? Should I beware?
Angel: I can't help thinking I've done something to make you angry. And that bothers me more than I'd like.
Buffy: I'm not angry. I don't know where that comes from.
Angel: What are you afraid of? Me? Us?
Buffy: Could you contemplate getting over yourself for a second? There's no “us”. Look Angel, I'm sorry if I was supposed to spend the summer mooning over you, but I didn't. I moved on...to the living.

I don't think we saw the true extent of Buffy's PTSD until her actions at The Bronze. And when it happened, it was like watching a horror movie. I couldn't look away.

There are a few moments in Buffy the Vampire Slayer that I think define the series. Buffy's downward spiral during Cibo Matto's gig is one of them. This scene is the epitome of Evil Buffy, and I love watching it.

A Little Toy - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2 Episode 1

Buffy found a way to make every one of the Scoobies worry about her.

I'm surprised Willow didn't muster the courage to slap Buffy after seeing her use Xander in front of her. She is the strongest character on Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2 Episode 1.

But, let's take one final moment to appreciate the visual perfection of the dancing scene. The music, the dark lighting, Buffy toying with Xander brazenly, the expressions from the Scoobies...it is everything.

Truly iconic.

Our Secret - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2 Episode 1

Cordelia standing up to Buffy, and giving her advice, is so unlike the character we saw on Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1.

She has changed for the better.

Sure, she's still the same superficial popular girl, but this was where we started to get real character development for Cordelia. And her interest in joining up with the Scoobies. These moments are important to the Whedonverse overall.

Cordelia: You're really campaigning for “Bitch of the Year”, aren't you?
Buffy: As defending champion, you nervous?
Cordelia: I can hold my own.

Let's remember that Cordelia isn't actually friends with Buffy, Xander or Willow. She has no reason to reach out to a spiraling Buffy. She's simply doing a good thing here.

Her advice to Buffy is a quote that makes a big difference to Buffy's character. It's a shame that it doesn't get a lot of love or recognition from fans as an important statement. It works for the series, as well as real life.

Out of the Scoobies, Cordelia probably understands Buffy the best. Buffy used to be like Cordelia; they have a similar mindset. I like that the writers chose it to be her as the person to give the sound advice.

Buffy may not have listened to it at the time, but it was what she needed to hear.

Cordelia: I’m gonna give you some advice: Get over it.
Buffy: Excuse me?
Cordelia: Whatever is causing the Joan Collins 'tude, deal with it. Embrace the pain. Spank your inner moppet. Whatever. But get over it, because pretty soon you’re not even gonna have the loser friends you’ve got now.
Buffy: I think it’s about time you start minding your own business.
Cordelia: It’s all in the past.

Is the vampire resurrection only possible because of the bones?

Vampires turn into dust when they die. The Master was the only vampire we've seen who left behind bones. Is everyone else killed simply screwed?

This is a plot hole which nags me every time I watch "When She Was Bad".

I try and make excuses for it, but questions keep popping up. Is this a specific prophecy only for The Master? Would someone need to scoop up ashes?

Having the Anointed One be given a real purpose, beyond leading Buffy to hell, was long overdue. However, there are too many plot holes.

Rising From The Dead - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2 Episode 1

Buffy's "sobering" moment was definitely when she realized her pushing everyone away had caused them to fall into a trap.

Willow could've died. Giles could've died. Xander was beaten. All of her friends could've been gone in an instant because she pushed them away. No amount of interrogating vampires can excuse that.

I wish I could say this was the last we experience this trope. That Buffy learned from her mistakes and welcomed her friends in. Unfortunately, I would be wrong.

Buffy loved her grandstanding. She pushed people away. She used being a Slayer as an argument tactic. All. The. Time.

Trust me, everyone. "When She Was Bad" is just the beginning.

Willow: I mean, why else would she be acting like such a b-i-t-c-h?
Giles: Willow, I think we're a little too old to be spelling things out.
Xander: A "bitca"?

I'm happy The Master didn't return from the dead. He had his battle with Buffy and he lost. Plain and simple.

The ritual being about him, I believe, is the perfect way to close the chapter on Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1.

Buffy is getting her closure with stopping the monster who killed him. It was a powerful arc to watch when I was seven years old. This story/scene still holds up to today.

Who wouldn't shed at least one tear seeing Buffy crush the bones with the sledgehammer? Or at least experience the feels?

The Ritual - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2 Episode 1

Whenever I rewatch Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2 Episode 1, I can't help but sympathize with Buffy.

We saw firsthand the murderous nightmares and the fear of dying again she experienced. Buffy was going through some serious trauma.

"When She Was Bad" was her time to come to terms with the issues at hand.

I mean, she was murdered! And she got revenge on her killer. That trauma isn't something you get over off-screen with summer shoes.

In the grand scheme of the series, this recovery brought the Scoobies closer together. Everyone experienced major character growth that would shape the future of the series.

"When She Was Bad" is a must for any Buffy rewatch.

Angel: We need you to distract the vampires.
Buffy: Right.
Xander: What are you gonna do?
Buffy: I'm gonna kill them all. That oughta distract them.

What did you think of "When She Was Bad"? Did Cordelia have the most profound moment of the night? Should Willow have stood up to Buffy?

Want to join us in rewatching Buffy the Vampire Slayer? We'll be posting new rewatch posts every Tuesday and Thursday. Come back here and let us know what you think about the episode.

When She Was Bad Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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Rating: 5.0 / 5.0 (2 Votes)

Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2 Episode 1 Quotes

Cordelia: You're really campaigning for “Bitch of the Year”, aren't you?
Buffy: As defending champion, you nervous?
Cordelia: I can hold my own.

Buffy: Hi.
Angel: Hi.
Buffy: So, is there danger at The Bronze? Should I beware?
Angel: I can't help thinking I've done something to make you angry. And that bothers me more than I'd like.
Buffy: I'm not angry. I don't know where that comes from.
Angel: What are you afraid of? Me? Us?
Buffy: Could you contemplate getting over yourself for a second? There's no “us”. Look Angel, I'm sorry if I was supposed to spend the summer mooning over you, but I didn't. I moved on...to the living.