We've reached the two-part episode! This calls for a celebration. (All GIFs are welcomed.)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2 Episode 9 is a very important episode to the series overall. A lot was introduced that affected the characters and story, even as we moved into later seasons. Both parts are essential rewatch episodes.
We're going to discuss each part separately, so let's begin with "What's My Line (Part 1)."
As much as Spike and the Order of Taraka were the villains in Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2 Episode 9, the biggest enemy was the reality of the future.
Life and death themes were thrown around a lot on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but no one had talked about the future before this point. High school life was essentially the biggest worry. The career placement was the first time the Scoobies were faced with life after high school.
As a viewer, I didn't connect with this problem the first time I watched the episode. When I was in high school, on the other hand, it felt so real. At some point as a teenager we're all faced with the same question and what to do next.
Buffy was right to be on edge. Not only because she was the Slayer with a forced career, but because she never had much thought of the future. Thinking about what could be was too hard for her.
(Side-note: My school never had a formal career placement like the Scoobies had. It was more about general types of fields; I got nursing/politics. What did you get?)
Poor Dalton. He was always the punching bag for Spike.
I feel bad for him every time I rewatch Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2. Regardless of trying to decipher untold languages, he was depicted as a loser and a failure. He could never do anything right.
I'm surprised he didn't escape when he had a chance. The others were never going to treat him with the respect he deserved.
Drusilla's affliction: What was it specifically?
After all these years of rewatching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I never quite put my finger on it. From my recollection it was never fully explained. This may require a bit of digging and research.
She became insane from Angel's torture and she had the second sight, that was made clear. However, why did she become weak?
If all it took to cure her was a ritual and book, it's hard to believe that this wouldn't have been performed before.
Buffy: Giles, you're in pace mode. What gives?
Rupert Giles: Umm... this vampire who escaped, did you see what he took?
Buffy: No, but I can take a guess and say it was something old.
Rupert Giles: You made no effort to find out what was taken?
Buffy: Have a cow, Giles. I just figured it was your everyday vamp hijinx.
Giles: Well, what if it wasn’t? This could be very serious. If you made an effort to be more thorough in your observation...
Buffy: Well, if you don’t like the way I’m doing my job then why don’t you find someone else?! Oh, that’s right...there can only be one. As long as I’m alive there is no one else. Well, there you go...I don’t have to be the Slayer. I could be dead.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2 was the season where Giles was the toughest on Buffy's training. He always chastised her for not honing her skills. Within "What's My Line (Part 1)" alone, he brought it up again when she didn't search the crypt.
Buffy's death may have played a factor in it. He didn't want her to die...again!
Though, a lot of their chat and debate was clearly for foreshadowing. Buffy bringing up being the "one and only" again was just to tease the introduction of Kendra. As viewers we were meant to remember there was only one Slayer before introducing the next one.
When it came to the career placements, I think only Cordelia, Buffy and Willow suited their professions. Xander's was...random, to say the least. It felt more like a punchline for Cordelia to play off of.
Cordelia would dominate as a personal shopper. However, her motivational speaking would be the biggest impact. We see a lot more of her inspiring side in the spin-off, Angel.
I could see Buffy as a cop. She's a known leader, good with fighting and athletic abilities, and she has a steady morale compass. Sure, it's another law enforcement type role, like being a Slayer, but if she did that or something in law, it could suit her quite well.
Willow's placement, which perfectly suits her, brought up some questions about her character development.
We've seen her hack into files and public records, do research like it's no one's business, and perform rituals. However, Buffy the Vampire Slayer never indicated how intelligent Willow was. Was Willow a certified genius?
The tech recruiters sought her out, as well as Oz, since they were special and savvy. It's a shame that as the series progresses, there wasn't a big focus placed on Willow's non-witch abilities. We see a lot of her witchcraft but less of the tech attributes she used to find demons and helped the team.
We could've still had both sides of Willow. We didn't need to give one up.
Buffy: What’s up?
[She walks to the drawer and drops the toy pig on the bed]
Buffy: Well, you don’t have a “nothing face”...you have a “something face.” And you don’t have to whisper, Mom is in L.A. until Thursday. Art buy or something.
Angel: Then why did you come in through the window?
[She looks shocked]
Let's make it clear: Regardless of Angel being brooding and sexy, breaking into someone's home and waiting for Buffy is still creepy. Personal boundaries, you know. Being a tall dark vampire doesn't change that.
Deciding to take Buffy out on a skating date when she was down was a thoughtful idea. After the drama on Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2 Episode 5, he needed to make more of an effort; he couldn't rest on pretty forever. This date showed a more considerate side to him.
Side-note: Sarah Michelle Gellar is a talented skater. I heard she used to skate before. It's nice to see this incorporated into the story.
The skate death might be one of the best vanquishes.
Her flying through the air and slashing his man's throat felt like a video game. It's so random and weird, but it was a fun action sequence.
Buffy: This guy was hardcore, Giles. Angel was powerfreaked by that ring.
Giles: I’m afraid he was not overreacting. This ring is worn only by members of the Order of Taraka. It's a society of deadly assassins dating back to King Solomon.
Xander: And didn't they beat the Elks this year in the Sunnydale Adult Bowling League Championships?
Giles: Their credo is to sow discord and kill the unwary.
Xander: Bowling is a vicious game.
Giles: That’s enough Xander!
The Order of Taraka: Terrifying or tedious?
I'm on the fence about this "never-ending group of assassins" who were meant to kill Buffy. They looked tough and caused Buffy some trouble. I mean, the one-eye man nearly defeated Buffy if she had not done a flying ice kick.
Though, by the end of the two-part episode, we saw her defeat three of the assassins and they essentially disappeared. That was it! The Order of Taraka were never seen or heard of again.
This reminds me of The Three from Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 7. A good idea from conception, but a poor execution that didn't live up to the legend.
Buffy had the right idea to hide from the assassins. They were dangerous and they were out to get her. However, it was a bad idea to not tell her friends where she was going.
She's the Slayer! Not sharing your location could put someone's life at risk. And that's exactly what happened.
Cordelia and Xander ended up in danger while looking for her. They never would have met the Bug Man at her house if she had told them she wasn't going to be there.
Speaking of Cordelia and Xander, the countdown begins!
Their romance is coming up on Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2 Episode 10. Are you ready? I can't wait to see the drama start from their secret fling.
Don't get me wrong, she will always be too good for him. I simply like some of the episodes caused by their dating woes, like Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2 Episode 16 and Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 3 Episode 9.
Cordelia: I can’t even believe you. You drag me out of bed for a ride? What am I...mass transportation?
Xander: That's what a lot of the guys say, but it's just locker room talk. I wouldn't pay it any mind.
Cordelia: Oh great, now I’m your taxi and your punching bag.
Xander: I like to think of you as my “witless foil” but have it your way.
When I was seven years old and seeing Kendra's introduction, my mouth dropped. The idea of another Slayer never crossed my mind. Buffy was the "one and only" and there couldn't be someone else, especially since the show was named after her.
Looking back at it now (and after all the rewatches), it made total sense from a storyline aspect.
Having another Slayer in the universe opened up the story to explore the Slayer timeline. And Buffy wouldn't be alone in the world. Someone out there would know full well what it felt like to have the world on her shoulders. We got that with Kendra, then Faith, and then all of the Potentials from Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 7.
Kendra: Who are you?
Buffy: Who am I? You attacked me. Who the hell are you?!
Kendra: I am Kendra...the vampire slayer.
Still, it felt weird that Buffy drowning on Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 12 triggered the Slayer transition.
She barely died! Buffy was unconscious for only a few minutes before being resuscitated with CPR. That instance couldn't have been the first time a Slayer needed CPR and such.
My theory for the two Slayers is more to do with fate and the "Powers That Be."
No one, especially The First, had an issue with two Slayers being together in existence during this point in time. Trouble only came up until Buffy was brought back to life the second time when she was meant to have stay dead. Having two Slayers together had to have been part of the cosmic plan.
Buffy and Kendra (and then Faith) was meant to be.
What did you think of "What's My Line (Part 1)"? Should Willow have accepted the offer for the tech job? Did the career placements match the characters?
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 share your thoughts of the episode.
Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.