Buffy the Vampire Slayer Rewatch: Surprise

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Brace yourselves, Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans. We've got a special Friday edition of the rewatch just for you. (And things are about to become intense from here on out.)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2 Episode 13 was the beginning of the series's change in tone. Sure, there were dramatic and dark hours before "Surprise," but there's something at this moment that changed it all. It helped shaped the progression to become the show we all know and love.

Let's dig deeper and find out why in "Surprise."

Dream Monkey - Buffy the Vampire Slayer

I loved watching Buffy's prophetic dreams.

It's such an underrated part to the series. Many forget that it's an ability she has as a Slayer because it was slowly phased out; however, it makes such a difference when used. Some of her adventures were only solved because of the dreams.

The last we do see this ability appear is in Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 7, which only happened after many seasons of not being used. I wish this had been utilized even more.

Come on, the scene of Willow and the monkey was so random, but it was hilarious and very Twin Peaks-like. And the connection of Joyce breaking the plate not only tied to the premonition, it also foreshadowed Buffy eventually losing her virginity.

You gotta love the low-key, random foreshadowing.

Buffy: Angel, this happened before. The dreams that I had about The Master...they came true.
Angel: Still, not every dream you have comes true. I mean, what else did you dream last night? Can you remember?
Buffy: I dreamt...I dreamt that Giles and I opened an office supply warehouse in Vegas.
Angel: See my point?

Buffy was in the right to check up on Angel. Vivid dreams should never be ignored, especially when you have an ability like premonitions. It's a shame Angel dismissed her worries as if she was hysterical.

As she mentioned from her past, she experienced visions of The Master that proved true. That wasn't random guessing, it actually happened. She had the receipts to back up her worrying.

Even though Angel loved her, I didn't like their opening scene together. He should've trusted her and be cautious of her warning.

Growing Passion - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2 Episode 13

Angel and Buffy dialed up their passion pretty quickly. Seriously, they could barely keep their hands off of each other!

We saw a bit of their burning passion on Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2 Episode 12, but they added gas to the flame here. Every time I rewatch this scene, it reminds me a lot of a soap opera. Blame the writing, the music or the camera angles but I still expect Joyce to break through that door and slap Angel. We're only missing the continuous commercial breaks.

Even the way Buffy and Willow gossiped about it at school had a soapy/CW vibe. (As someone who likes both, I enjoy it every now and then. However, this was too much.)

Angel: You still haven't told me what you wanted for your birthday.
Buffy: Surprise me.
Angel: Okay, I will.
Buffy: This is nice. I like seeing you first thing in the morning.
Angel: It's bedtime for me.
Buffy: Well, then I like seeing you at bedtime. Umm...you know what I mean.
Angel: I think so. What do you mean?
Buffy: I like seeing you. The part at the end of the night where we say goodbye...it's getting harder.
Angel: Yeah. It is.

Were you happy Oz FINALLY asked Willow on a date?

This was a romance that was long overdue. Ever since Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2 Episode 4, this potential relationship had been teased with near misses and casual flirting. The first time it ever seemed like a possibility was in Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2 Episode 9 when they finally met.

As compared to the Buffy/Angel roller coaster and the Cordelia/Xander affair, Oz and Willow were more subtle with their romance. They simply understood each other and enjoyed each other's company. Passion was never their driving force.

Tara will still be the relationship that suited Willow best (from a character standpoint and chemistry), but we can still enjoy the early days of Oz for the time being.

First Date - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2 Episode 13

Whenever I look at it in contrast to the Cordelia and Xander romance, these two pairs could not be any more polarizing.

Oz/Willow were subtle, quiet and dorky. Cordelia and Xander were stubborn, tumultuous and heated. It's not surprising that Oz and Willow lasted longer; they didn't have the drama that Cordelia and Xander brought to their relationship.

Though, both relationships were clearly high school romances.

Willow tried something new while Xander and Cordelia were only attracted to someone they'd consider an opposite. We can all agree these romances were never going to be endgame. Oz may have had a chance, but Xander and Cordelia were on borrowed time.

Xander: So, you’re going...and...and...and...I’m going. Should we maybe go?
Cordelia: Why?
Xander: This thing with us, despite our better judgement, it keeps happening. Maybe we should just admit that we're dating?
Cordelia: Groping in a broom closet isn't dating. You don't call it a date until the guy spends money.
Xander: Fine. I'll spend, then we'll grope. Whatever. I just think it’s some kind of whack that we have to hide from all of our friends.

Who else loved the change in dynamic between Drusilla and Spike? It's almost like a power shift.

Drusilla at full strength was making the decisions and leading her man around. All Spike could do was sit in his chair and watch as she enjoyed this new lease on vampire life. This was almost like seeing two new characters for the first time.

Also, we can't ever forget the iconic scene of Drusilla with the roses.

If you need a reason why Juliet Landau is a great actress, simply watch this scene. It's a small moment but she loses herself in the frenzy of destroying the flowers. She always knew how to channel the tortured mind of Drusilla so perfectly.

Spike's Scars - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2 Episode 13

When I watched "Surprise" as a kid, the reveal of Jenny's past was shocking. In fact, it is still surprising even now. However, I still have more questions than answers.

Was she sent there solely to watch Angel? Did her arrival have anything to do with Angel getting closer to Buffy? Why did she decide to get a job as a teacher at Sunnydale High?

I choose to ignore some of the plot holes because I love a good twist. Her reveal connected well to the focus of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2 and it brought back the gypsy curse that affected Angel. Though, I could've done without her uncle; he was a tad too dramatic, even for me.

Grave Warning - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2 Episode 13

After her big secret, Jenny's editing shifted to make it seem like she was untrustworthy.

Everything from the music to the way her character acted hinted that we shouldn't trust her. When she offered to drive Buffy to find "books," I was worried Buffy's life could be in danger. Did you think so too?

Looking back at the series now, we should never have doubted Jenny. She never would have hurt Buffy or done anything to interfere with her relationship with Giles. Angel, on the other hand, would have been dusted if he got in the way.

Missing Piece - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2 Episode 13

I think it was smart of her to use finding The Judge's arm as a way to get rid of Angel. He wouldn't be in Sunnydale for a long period of time, and it would keep him apart from Buffy. He couldn't fulfill his 'true happiness' without her.

The way she casually steered the responsibility to Angel was so smooth. Nobody picked up on it and she made a solid case. As I mentioned in the past, Jenny does not get a lot of credit for being a good character; she seized that opportunity and no one noticed.

However, let's take a moment to throw some shade at all of the Scoobies. They stood by for a few seconds and watched as The Judge's arm nearly choked Buffy to help.

Why didn't they help sooner? We had almost 10 seconds of Buffy fighting off a severed arm. It was painful to watch...and we're just the TV audience.

Surprise! - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2 Episode 13

Side-note: Cordelia jumping out and yelling "Surprise!" is one of the best moments of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2 Episode 13. It's perfect comedic timing. Coupled with the slow turn and confused looks everyone gave her, this was an incredible moment.

Oz took the news of vampires being real too easy, in my opinion. We've seen shocked expressions, but he casually accepted it like it didn't matter.

This may be tied more to the relaxed nature of the character. It's not a huge concern; it's simply something that I expected to have a bigger reaction out of someone.

Giles: Oh, good morning! Is everything in order for the party?
Xander: Absolutely! You ready to get down, you funky party weasel?!
Giles: Here comes Buffy. Now remember, discretion is the better part of valor.
Xander: You could have just said, "Shh." God, are all you Brits such drama queens?

Angel giving Buffy the ring is a heartbreaking scene. Even though we already know he doesn't actually leave, it's sad to think this would've been their final goodbyes. He was ready to leave her to protect her.

And I don't doubt the sales of these rings increased after they were featured in "Surprise." (Some of my friends still continue to wear this ring to this day.)

It was a tad convenient for the vampire minions to stop Angel in the knick of time. Come on, they just so happened to find him at the boat when he was about to board with the arm? I have to believe they were following him and Buffy all this time.

It's the only thing that makes sense for when and how they decided to ambush them.

The Judge - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2 Episode 13

Trivia moment: The man who played The Judge (Brian Thompson) was the same actor who played Luke in Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1 Episode 1!

Unfortunately, The Judge is another underwhelming villain. He didn't do much of anything in his two-episode arc, except for killing Dalton and a random human. Let's face it, he was a total waste of backstory.

Everyone built him up to be this all powerful demon who could destroy humanity with a flick of his wrists. Instead, we got him getting physical with Dalton and giving him heartburn. 

It's sad to see Dalton go because he liked knowledge and books. However, if it made The Judge more interesting, I guess it's fine to lose this minor recurring character in favor of a scene that showed his power.

Don't Speak - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2 Episode 13

Everything about the events leading up to, and then the actual scene of, Buffy losing her virginity to Angel was iconic because it changed the series.

A pivotal moment in the character's life shook everything. The series's tone, Buffy's personality, and the relationships between all of the characters shifted going forward. According to many fans, this was where it hooked them in the plotline. The darker side of Buffy the Vampire Slayer started making its way into the main story and it worked for the better. 

It's strange to look back in hindsight that losing your virginity changed so much, but it perfectly connected to where the character of Buffy was in her life.

Back in 1998, you didn't know what happened to Angel after he ran out into the rain; it was a big mystery. Was he cursed? Did Spike and Drusilla do something to him? The big reveal was up in the air because it ended in an off-screen cliffhanger.

I won't get into too many details in the rewatch for "Surprise" since the majority of the drama happens in Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2 Episode 14. However, their escape from The Judge, and their moment of passion, affected the progression of the series. It was brilliant what happened after Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2 Episode 13.

The First Time - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2 Episode 13

What did you think of "Surprise"? Did Oz take the news of vampires being real too calmly? Were you a fan of Jenny's secret? Should the monkey and Willow dream have come true?

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

Surprise Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

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 13 Quotes

Angel: You still haven't told me what you wanted for your birthday.
Buffy: Surprise me.
Angel: Okay, I will.
Buffy: This is nice. I like seeing you first thing in the morning.
Angel: It's bedtime for me.
Buffy: Well, then I like seeing you at bedtime. Umm...you know what I mean.
Angel: I think so. What do you mean?
Buffy: I like seeing you. The part at the end of the night where we say goodbye...it's getting harder.
Angel: Yeah. It is.

Buffy: Angel, this happened before. The dreams that I had about The Master...they came true.
Angel: Still, not every dream you have comes true. I mean, what else did you dream last night? Can you remember?
Buffy: I dreamt...I dreamt that Giles and I opened an office supply warehouse in Vegas.
Angel: See my point?