Keep 'em Coming

7.18. Dirty Girls, Airdate: 04/15/03 (UPN, 8 pm PT/ET).

It has started! This week's "Dirty Girls" was the official start of this season's Buffy finale, and since it's the last season, the greatest finale ever - at least, that's what we all expect.;-)

O, how I'll miss the series! "Dirty Girls" jumpkicked the finale, and it simply was awesome. A new player is in town, a FE priest called Caleb (played by Firefly's "Cpt. Tight Pants" Nathan Fillion). Since he's veeeeeery strong, things won't run too smoothly, even with Faith being back. Is he invincible? Though he wasn't hurt, I wouldn't claim he is. Even the Ubervamp seemed to be very strong and could be killed.

If you've been disappointed by the last two eps of Angel, don't be afraid. Awwwwwesome, didn't I say that just now? Hehe. Let's focus on the big things:

The FE: Killing the slayerline isn't everything the FE wants. It seems so preoccupied with other things, it barely finds time to kill all SIT's, and I guess, that's why the Bringers and Caleb are around. While the FE did some planning (or cooking, who knows?) the last shows, it's now back on the slayerline track. After Caleb blew up the Council, he's now in charge for the killing mission. It seems as if he was one of those fallen priests who like to label girls as "dirty" (hence the title) and kill them, but the FE turned him, and when I got this correctly, he now sees SIT's (ans slayers) as dirty and - can you guess? - wants to kill them. We may assume he had his share of rituals, since when fighting he went kinda matrixy. Caleb is a servant, "only" a servant as I may add. Possibly, there are more out there - and if the FE is able to make a human being that strong, I am frightened to think of its supernatural allies. However, the coming of Caleb means, whatever the FE has in stock, the Big Bang is near.

Caleb is a classical BtVS villain again, and THANK JOSS he is, no Evil Cordy or Smiling Jasmine style. Since he's been mentally deranged, he turns out be quite a fanatic, but one with the belief to do the right - and the power to give even a bunch of SIT's with two slayers a headache. Imagine that! After all those demons Buffy fought alone, we were pretty sure, she's kinda invincible. And then Faith - at least as strong as Buffy. Not even Snaky Mayor had a chance to survive with Buffy at his heels - two slayers means two gigantic snaky demons, and Caleb didn't have a problem facing them. He's more dangerous (and stronger) than two demons, and that means a lot. Or is he?

The strike against him was kinda strange. Not only that it obviously was a trap, but the gang didn't have anything that remotely looked like a plan. I understand that Buffy wanted action, and I think, from her point of view it was the best thing to do. But action and storming into the trap even with allies doesn't have to go along. Why didn't they think of ANY surprise for the bad guys?

Ok, Buffy knew about most of her enemies more than she did now when facing them, and she didn't know Caleb is more than just a priest. Did she? Well, Shannon told her, he said, the Bringers are his boys - and if this doesn't indicate, he's more than a man dressing up like a priest, I don't know what is.

We don't know yet what the FE is up to. The big masterplan is still kept secret and there was nothing new to learn (or guess) about it. We had two major theories on this website. I was suggesting in my review of GID, we'll see in the finale how Buffy will have to close the hellmouth (which implies it has to be opened first) and turn out to be the guardian, not the slayer. Any new hints? I didn't see any, but at least, it's still very possible. The second theory suggested, the final battle will end with the banning of all magic and demons from Earth.

Xander: Xander lost one of his eyes. A sign of even worse things to happen to the Scooby Gang? Will it heal? Will Willow make it heal? Why did Caleb didn't kill him? It wouldn't have been a problem. He easily broke necks and arms. Does he have plans with Xander? Is the blinding part of some quick ritual? And what does it do? Does it enable Caleb to see through Xander's eyes? Has it some meaning or is the only reason Caleb didn't kill Xander the fact that it's Xander and you can't kill him like that after seven years of Buffy? No, I don't think it's that cheap. I guess, there's something coming up with that eye.

Faith: Faith is great. She's the coolest slayer ever. I loved seeing the heat between her and Spike. Gosh, she really was locked up for a long time. But Spike seemed to like that kinda talk, didn't he? Though she's an ally now and self-reliant enough to not switch sides again, it's fun to watch the interaction of both slayers. It's a shame there won't be a Faith spin-off next season.

Giles: Things between him and Buffy still are bad - and that's strange, since Buffy was eager to reconcile with Wood, but not with Giles. Why was that? Most probably, it's because Wood has a reason to act as he did. After all, Spike killed his mother, so his feelings are understandable. Giles doesn't have issues with Spike, so perhaps she's especially angry about what she could see as his betrayal. On the other hand, Giles didn't try to come to terms with Buffy neither, and that really IS strange. He's quite sensible and I was sure he'd try to make a first step.

Dawn: I was looking forward to her interaction with Faith. She wasn't Buffy's sister in season 3, nor in season 4, and I wasn't sure if Faith was part of the monk's spell so she'd remember things that never happened. Faith seemed to know Dawn as far as I could tell, and Dawn definitely knew Faith - and she hated her for trying to kill Buffy.

All in one, it was a worthy kickstart for the finale. The Scoobies lost some SIT's, Xander an eye - some more are injured. The future looks grim, and it's gonna be thrilling to see how they turn the tide.;-)

What did you think of this week's BtVS? Let me know!

Shortcuts: BtVS 7.18. Dirty Girls

What happened?
Caleb comes to town, a FE priest. He has supernatural strength, lures Buffy into a trap, kills some SIT's (and Xander's right eye) and sets everything up for the big finish. Neither Giles nor Buffy tried to reconcile, Faith had a gorgeous scene with Spike (*gasp*), and at the end, Caleb won the confrontation.

Topics addressed?
The development of the Buffy/Giles relationship stalled, and things focussed on the FE and its ally, Caleb.

Any strange things?
The gang didn't make any plan for storming Caleb's shelter - which is quite strange, since they saw the Harbringers gathering around the place and they DID know or at least could have guessed, the FE is involved. Though Caleb had the means to, he didn't kill Xander - which could mean, his eye is not just lost. Giles was passive and didn't try to reconcile with Buffy. Anya wasn't seen around, and there was no explanation given why she was away.

Was it good or not?
The fight preparations could have been better (it's not clear how easily Caleb can be defeated if there is plan), but it still was great. Five stakes out of five! And don't complain this time - there are only four shows left.

What do you hope for?
Well, I really hope UPN doesn't suspend BtVS again.;-)

Feedback (updated frequently)

Caleb: Carl writes, he really liked the priest. A marvellous actor, performing marvellously a marvellous script. I cannot but agree.;-) I especially liked the scene where Caleb used the FE to replay his murders. In BtVS, villains always got more exposition and we even were allowed to watch their spare-time activities - it's a shame they temporarily suspended that scheme with Evil Cordy and Jasmine on AtS - and it's great they let us have a villain like that before Buffy leaves the screen. To Drew Goddard (who's credited as a writer for 7.18.): I love you - well, in a non-gay, more admiring-your-work way, I mean.

Xander: Diego writes, there's nothing behind Xander's lost eye - by the way, his LEFT eye, not his right, as I wrote earlier on. It was just one of the many cruel ways Caleb tried to kill someone. James says, Caleb went for the torturing, because Xander's the one who stayed with the "dirty girls". Did the sentence "the one who sees it all" go into that direction? What did Caleb mean by it? Any suggestions? Here's one, but fell free to bring up others: On BtVS we have this "Oooo, scfgasfrs means to live, not to die. Proto-Tajukarian is so tricky" way of first translating some old prophecy and then turn it around. Perhaps that's what happened with Xander and Caleb. He read some old scroll saying Xander has some magic abilities in his left eye. He then goes and puts it off. Willow tries to heal it, and makes it some magical empowered eye with supernatural capabilties. Xander then gets what he always wanted: some sort of supernatural strength. Later on, of course, all magic gets banned from Sunnydale (as a reader suggested in my review of 7.17.) and Xander gets his normal eye back.;-)

Buffy: It's amazing that many of you feel Buffy should be sorry for what she did. She was in some kinda "I'm the slayer, I can handle it" mood and because she didn't think about what she did and because she slowly shifts to the dark side, people had to die - and Xander lost his eye. Was it necessary? Many of you say: No, it wasn't, and it was Buffy's problem with authority and her lack of thinking before acting, that brought about all that horror. She can't fight it alone, and if she doesn't accept help soon, and even from Giles, the others have to overthrow her before she she does more stupid things and endangers more lifes. David writes, the series would have been very short if Buffy always had had success at her first try. She tried to be a general - and failed. She'll split up with the others, then reconcile. Others suppose, Buffy will switch sides - not by fighting with the FE, but by becoming evil, and it will be Faith who has to bring back Buffy, like she brought back Angel.

Caleb: Pamela suggests, Caleb is a kind of "anti-slayer". Not a demon, but as powerful as Buffy is, or even more powerful since he has the strength Buffy rejected from the shadowmen. By "having something of Buffy" he could have meant: slayer-like strength or even slayer strength, because the FE used the same demon as the shadowmen did.

Giles: Many of you were disappointed about Giles and Buffy not even trying to reconcile. I know, most of you feel very strong about their relationship - it has something like father/daughter on it. But I am sure, they'll reconcile, so please put those sleeping pills back under mom's underwear. They just need time to redefine who they are - and to realize they are peers now.

Tom Ahrendt


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