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BuffyGuide.com — The Complete Buffy Episode Guide
When She Was Bad
September 15, 1997
5V01

 
Credits

Writer:
Joss Whedon


Director:
Joss Whedon


Regulars:
Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase
David Boreanaz as Angel
Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
Guest Stars:
Kristine Sutherland as Joyce Summers
Robia LaMorte as Ms. Calendar
Andrew J. Ferchland as The Anointed One
Dean Butler as Hank Summers
Armin Shimerman as Principal Snyder
Cast:
Brent Jennings as Absalom
Tamara Braun as Tara

 
Synopsis

Season 2 opens on Willow and Xander being bored to point of licking ice cream off each other, when they are attacked by the first vampire to be seen all summer. They are saved by the first Buffy Summers to be seen all summer, back from her LA holiday, and a total bitca.The next night, Buffy has a vision of the Master killing her, brought on by The Annointed One planning to resurrect the Master. The Scooby Gang are kidnapped by the Annointed One's gang, who mean to raise the Master by draining their blood over his bones. Xander is the only one spared, and tells Buffy it was her fault they were taken.Buffy, Angel and Xander charge in to the rescue, and Buffy destroys the Master once and for all by crushing his bones. — Short synopsis by Bruce.

For the full, detailed synopsis, click here.

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Monstervision

Joss Whedon's Bram Stoker-inspired vampire mythos is back, complete with yet another completely made up ritual, the revivification ritual.


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Dialogue to Die For

Cordelia: "Whatever is causing the Joan Collins 'tude, deal with it. Embrace the pain, spank your inner moppet, whatever, but get over it."

Willow: "What would somebody want with Master bones?"
Xander: "A trophy? A horrible conversation piece?"

Principal Snyder: "There're some things I can just smell. It's like a sixth sense."
Giles: "No, actually that would be one of the five."

Xander: "Well, we could grind our enemies into talcum powder with a sledgehammer, but, gosh, we did that last night."

More quotes from this episode...

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Dialogue to Bury

In this episode, Willow and Xander occasionally displayed a stupidity that was completely out-of-character for them:

    Willow: "Cibo Matto? They're playing?"
    Xander: "No, Willow, they're gonna be clog dancing."
    Willow: "Cibo Matto can clog dance?"

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

    Buffy, reading the vampires' note: "'Come to the Bronze before it opens, or we make her a meal.'"
    Xander: "They're gonna cook her dinner?"

Buffy taunting Angel: "Come on, kick my ass!"

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References

  • They say it all themselves, but in the interest of being complete: The pre-credit sequence includes movie quotes and references from The Terminator (1984), Planet Of The Apes (1968), Star Wars (1977), and Witness (1985).

  • The Burning Man festival, which Ms. Calendar attended over the summer, is a "temporary art community" set up every summer in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada by Larry Harvey's Burning Man Organization, which presents visual arts, music, performance art, and other full-involvement artistic expressions. 1998 is the festival's 14th year. For more information on the festival and the organization, visit the Burning Man Project's official website.

  • The evangelistic vampire named Absalom is named after a character in the Bible, whose story is told in the second book of Samuel. Absalom, the third son of King David, turned against his father and challenged him for the kingdom of Israel. After a civil war, Absalom was killed by Joab, the leader of King David's army. (2 Samuel 13:20 - 19:10)

  • "Oh look, it's the Three Musketeers."  The Three Musketeers was the 1844 masterpiece by Alexandre Dumas about the three heroic Musketeers (Athos, Porthos, and Aramis). Along with their friend, Musketeer rookie D'Artagnan, they protect King Louis XIV of France against the evil plots of his ambitious advisor Cardinal Richlieu.

  • "I would have gone with Stooges."  The Three Stooges were the famous slapstick comedy team who recorded 190 film shorts between 1934 and 1959. Moe Howard (born Moses Horwitz) and Larry Fine (born Louis Feinberg) were in all of them, and most featured either Curly Howard (born Jerome Horwitz) or Shemp Howard (born Samuel Horwitz)—both Moe's brothers—as the third Stooge.
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Goofs and Gaffes

  • When Buffy's mom drives her to school the morning after her nightmare, Buffy is wearing a pink top. However, when she gets to school, she is wearing a white tank top. The next day, she is wearing the pink top again.
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Notes

  • David Boreanaz became a regular cast member as of this episode.

  • Buffy spent the summer in Los Angeles with her father, Willow and Xander spent a boring summer at home, Cordelia spent a month and a half in Tuscany (even though her parents had promised to take her to St. Croix), and Ms. Calendar attended the Burning Man festival at Black Rock.

  • In Buffy's absence, Giles, Xander and Willow buried the Master's bones in the Sunnydale Cemetery, and poured holy water on the burial site.

  • Although the Hellmouth is closed following the events of "Prophecy Girl," the mystical energy from it is still concentrated around Sunnydale.

  • There are no miniature golf courses in Sunnydale.
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Music

  • Alison Krauss and Union Station - "It Doesn't Matter" (From the BtVS Soundtrack, TVT Records, 1999; and So Long, So Wrong, Rounder Records, 1997)
      Starts playing as Angel leaves Buffy's bedroom after his cryptic warning, and continues into the scene in which Buffy's mother drives a taciturn Buffy to school.

  • Cibo Matto - "Spoon" (From Super Relax EP, Warner Bros. Records, 1997) and "Sugar Water" (From Viva! La Woman, Warner Bros. Records, 1997)
      Cibo Matto is the band onstage in the Bronze. They play "Spoon" first, while Willow and Xander wait for Buffy's arrival, and then play "Sugar Water" when Buffy leads Xander onto the dance floor for her sexy dance.
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Comments

Brian:
First the good news: Buffy is indubitably, incontrovertibly back! Then the bad news: It pains me to say it, but ultimately I was disappointed; after three months of serious Buffy Withdrawal Syndrome, I expected more. To me, the reason for the disappointment is clear: poor Joss just tried to cram far too much stuff into one hour. Most of it is good stuff: the ice-cream-on-the-nose leitmotif was sheer joy (as if Willow needs to be any cuter...); Absalom the voodoo-flavored henchman (I wish we had more of him to look forward to); Cordelia confronting Buffy outside the Bronze (a touch of Melrose Place, anyone?); and Xander reaming Buffy out in the library ("If they hurt Willow, I'll kill you." — beautiful!!). However, Buffy's aberrant (and abhorrent) behavior is not explained to my satisfaction (was she serious or just trying to be hurtful when she said in the library, "I can't do it anymore. I can't look after the three of you guys while I'm fighting."?) and the conflict it initiates is resolved too quickly and easily to be truly satisfying (as heartwarming as it was to see her friends sticking by her no matter how hard she tries to push them away, it's somehow not enough). There's a lot of great dialogue, and the subtle winds of change in the air of "When She Was Bad" bode well for the coming season. This should have been given two hours, though. That would have allowed Joss the space to play these ideas to their proper conclusions, rather than rushing as he does here. The respite from BWS is welcome, however, so I'm willing to be somewhat magnanimous. (6/10) Afterthought: I'm glad of the return of Ms. Calendar, but I positively loathe her new haircut!
Will:
I am quite sad to say that many months of waiting brought about disappointment. Unfortunately, Joss and Company did not deliver in the season premiere. I found that the episode lacked much of the wit of last season. Cordelia and Angel's increased visibility was annoying and distracting from what I love about the show. There were a few bright points in my opinion. Willow has not changed and she looked truly stunning in the closing sequence of the episode. In addition, the story itself was not bad. Unfortunately, Buffy was a B-I-T-C-H for most of the episode. I understand that she had a traumatic encounter with the Master and died at the end of last season, but I found her performance to be annoying and painful. Xander was his typical self, a bit toned down. One last criticism: Xander must remember to shave a bit more frequently... the five o'clock shadow on his upper lip in the ending sequence was truly annoying. The only positive thing to come out of this episode was a potential love encounter between Giles and Ms. Calendar at a later point. Overall, this was my least favorite episode, for a myriad of reasons. Joss... get your act together! (2/10)
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Nielsens
Air Date Rating Ranking
September 15, 1997 2.9 97 of 109
December 1, 1997 3.1 105 of 115
August 4, 1998 2.4 93 of 112 (tie)

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