Through all the planning and writing, an episode had been missed in the rewatch. These things happen, but with this rewatch, no episode will be left behind!
So "Lovers Walk," this is for you. Let's get right into the rewatch.
"Lovers Walk" is a heartbreak episode. This is the pure definition of couple drama.
If there was a chance for a ship to hit rocky waters, they would find it here. Some broke up for good while others faced major hurdles that put them on a roller coaster ride they couldn't recover from.
Seriously, look at every couple that got brought up during "Lovers Walk." Buffy/Angel, Oz/Willow, Xander/Willow, Cordelia/Xander, Drusilla/Spike ... none of them survived beyond the season!
For such a depressing hour, major developments in character growth were brought up that had a lasting difference.
Plus, couples who needed to get called out for their shady relationship moves got called out. I was here for all this.
No more time for toxic relationship drama.
In particular, Willow and Xander served a big helping of chaos.
Cordelia and Oz didn't deserve the shadiness of Willow and Xander cheating on them. If their partners had been terrible, I could see why they found love with someone else, but they weren't. Cordelia and Oz were fully committed to the relationships.
The pair even progressed in a healthy manner and had done cute couple things.
Oz giving Willow the Pez witch? Adorable. Cordelia putting photos of Xander in her locker? Total high school nostalgia.
The guilt they felt over their shenanigans was justified. Xander and Willow should've known that what they were doing would only end in pain and heartbreak.
Their actions put them on a path to be as heartbroken as Spike.
Speaking of Spike, no one can ever say vampires don't feel emotions. He looked so sad after Drusilla broke up with him.
For someone who literally had eternity ahead of him, he didn't see a life without Drusilla in it. And after everything he did to bring her out of her spell, their abrupt breakup cut even deeper.
Going back to their Sunnydale home only brought back sad memories for him. Moving on was always going to be hard if he wasn't willing to let Drusilla go. His constant drinking and lashing out were classic signs of emotional turmoil.
Willow: He wants me to do a love spell.
Willow: Drusilla broke up with him.
Xander: Gee, and we had all hoped those crazy kids would make it work.
A person in this state makes bad and irrational moves. If he couldn't be happy, no one could.
Turning his anger toward Angel, a person who had caused major drama in his relationship, seemed like an understanding outcome. Spike needed to blame someone for his heartbreak, and obviously, he wasn't going to have a self-reflective moment to notice his faults. Angel would do.
What I found interesting about the early days of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, especially during "Lovers Walk," was how quickly people turned to magic for solving their problems. This, of course, happened before Willow's spiraling addiction, but the younger characters thought magic could do all.
Did they learn nothing from Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 2 Episode 16? Love spells only create more evil than good.
Willow and Xander's anti-love spell could've had devastating ramifications on their lives. Spike's urgency to make Drusilla fall back in love with him would only cause heartbreak, especially when we remember they would be together ... for eternity.
If they had asked Giles or the magic shop for their opinions, they would've talked them out of it. But, Giles "conveniently" went on a retreat and the shop owner got murdered in typical fashion. (Sunnydale, you can be predictable sometimes!)
There's no doubt Willow could have completed the spell. She's a powerful aspiring witch, after all.
If Spike had returned back in time with the supplies, his plan would've worked.
The a-ha moment, and one of Buffy the Vampire Slayer's most cringest moments, had to be when Oz and Cordelia walked in on Willow and Xander making out.
After all the stress their partners went into searching for them, the panic of thinking they were dead, they had to find them being cheated on. Oz played it emotionless/cold, but Cordelia's heartbreak was palpable. You could feel her heart shattering apart.
Sure, some could argue Xander and Willow were at death's door. That fearing for their lives drove them to comfort each other once again in the darkness ... but nope! Not gonna happen here, sis.
Xander and Willow were in complete control of their actions and they finally got caught. This shadiness had gone on for too long; they thought they could have their cake and eat it too.
What's worse is that the outcome of the betrayal nearly killed Cordelia!
I'm happy that Cordelia survived the accident and told Xander to leave her alone.
She didn't need her cheating ex to keep popping up, bringing her flowers (or whatever he could buy from the hospital gift shop), and try to make amends. Xander did what he did and he needed to go. Cordelia had to remove the negativity from her life.
The best thing for her was space. And the same goes for Oz; he needed space away from Willow.
How Xander and Willow felt after being discovered was like a self-actualizing prophecy. With their constant fear, they brought that outcome into the universe and made it happen.
Buffy and Angel's dynamic also got affected due to the events of "Lovers Walk." And it all started because of Buffy's stellar SAT scores!
Buffy always portrayed herself as a poor student, but a poor work ethic doesn't equate to intelligence and capability. She clearly has the power within her to take on the world and any challenge; I think the academic word here is "smarty pants."
Buffy: She saw these scores and her head spun around and exploded.
Giles: I've been on the Hellmouth too long. That was metaphorical, yes?
Just like Zack Morris from Saved by the Bell before her, the high number gave her new opportunities to leave Sunnydale and explore any school she wanted. With another Slayer around, she could put up her stakes for a few months or at least find a way to do both. Being a Slayer in Sunnydale wasn't her only option now.
You can't help but think about the future when you have the world in front of you.
Buffy's latest dilemma gave her options she didn't have before. I liked that she sat down like an adult and thought about her life without settling on something. Her decision would impact her life greatly.
Certain things were going to hold her back, like being away from friends, her Slayer responsibility, and of course, Angel. But the real break-out voice of reason here is Spike.
Even in between Mayor Wilkins' goons trying to kill him, Spike dished out the real and raw sobering truth that Buffy and Angel needed to hear.
Spike: The last time I looked in on you two, you were fighting to the death. Now you're back making googly-eyes at each other like nothing happened. Makes me want to heave.
Buffy: I don't know what you're talking about.
Spike: Oh, yeah. You're just friends.
Angel: That's right.
Spike: You're not friends. You'll never be friends. You'll be in love till it kills you both. You'll fight and you'll shag and you'll hate each other till it makes you quiver, but you'll never be friends. Love isn't brains, children. It's blood. Blood screaming inside you to work its will. I may be love's b****, but at least I'm man enough to admit it.
Their love, while precious and beautiful, would only cause them pain.
They could never not be together as friends without wanting to embrace their love. But, to be together, they would have to make major sacrifices that over time would keep growing and growing. They could resist as long as they could, but the resentment and restrictions would only hurt them.
Spike may have spoken from a drunken and heartbroken place, but his words had plenty of truth to it. Buffy wasn't human while Angel would stay the same forever. They couldn't ever achieve true intimacy without fear of him becoming Angelus again. Even if they acted as friends, deep down they would always want to be together.
Love could only take them so far.
"Lovers Walk" exposed the growing cracks between Angel and Buffy; it brought their expiration date to the forefront. While we shipped their tortured high school romance, we as viewers in the years since have seen how destructive and toxic they could've become.
This adventure needed to help them discover the truth they couldn't see. And it led them to a life of love they were meant to experience.
Angel: Hey, I was wondering when you were coming.
Buffy: I'm not coming back. We're not friends. We never were. And I can fool Giles, and I can fool my friends, but I can't fool myself. Or Spike, for some reason. What I want from you I can never have. You don't need me to take care of you anymore. So, I'm gonna go.
Angel: I don't accept that.
Buffy: You have to.
Angel: How can... There's gotta be some way we can still see each other.
Buffy: There is: Tell me that you don't love me.
The same goes for the other couples as well. This separation, while sad at first, was for the betterment of their futures.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 3 Episode 8 is an uncomfortable episode to rewatch because no one like to watch heartbreaking break-ups. However, this is an essential point in the characters' lives when they determined whether their high school romance was their true romance ... or just left in high school.
Now, over to you, Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans!
What did you think of "Lovers Walk"?
Which betrayal broke your heart most? Is the Magic Shop cursed? Was Spike dishing the harsh truth on Buffy and Angel's relationship?
Want to join us in rewatching Buffy the Vampire Slayer? We'll be posting new rewatch posts on Tuesdays and Fridays. Come back here and share your thoughts in the comments.
Justin Carreiro is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.