In case you’re wondering, yes, I am planning to make this a weekly column of sorts. And it’s been brought to my attention that maybe I should mark it as containing spoilers, seeing as how some people in some other places might not have seen the episode in question yet, or might have missed it. I understand this. Spoiler warnings will now be conveniently placed before the text of my rambling. Voilá.
I’m beginning to see a pattern here with the chased young things beginning episodes. And I and many others think they’re supposed to be potential Slayers–“Lola” here was a pretty good fighter, the other was in extremely good shape, and Lola actually managed to communicate something, dreamstyle. My first guess as to what was sufficiently beneath and devouring to fit the description was, simply, the Hellmouth. But that, however correct it may turn out to be, seems too easy–though not so much so as Sluggoth Ronnie. (Ronnie and Nancy? Ugh.) Spike fits, actually, being a vampire and living under the school. Or if we’re talking authority, any of the gang could go bad (there’s that Spike connection again). Or a mass rising from graves. Or some demon from the center of the earth. Or just everybody’s couches attacking them. (Maybe not.)
But prophecy aside, who are these robed men? They look like the monks who shaped Dawn, but I think we can assume those guys are extinct. That, and they weren’t great fighters. Another co-watcher tossed out a very creepy idea: these assassins are the Watchers’ Council, on a Slayer purge. They’d know where most of their targets were, and how to defeat them. No idea as to exactly which reason they’d choose for doing this, as the Faith escapade was quite a while ago and it wasn’t a Slayer who caused the fiasco at the end of last season. But it stands to reason that whoever is doing this doesn’t want a new Slayer cropping up when they take out Faith. Why they’re not going after Buffy right now, I don’t know, since they’d presumably have gotten wind of her dying (again) and not heard of any new Slayers being called. I’m currently imagining a large explosion at the prison, after which Faith goes to L.A. and subsequently to Sunnydale for protection. Of course, seeing how they so nicely trashed my first prediction, I’m hesitant to make any calls. The Watcher thing, though, comes from a guy who predicted just how Warren was going to bite it, so I’m giving it a good deal of thought.
I’m also kicking myself for not thinking that the third man in Spike’s head is William. Kelson gave me that one and another suggestion: this season is a lot about pairs and dualities already. We have lots of ex-couples, plus Buffy and Dawn, Spike and William, Spike and Angel (though we probably won’t see Angel on this show), and eventually, presumably, Buffy and Faith. If the Watchers are being nefarious bastards, there’s also Giles and Wesley, who aren’t (at least not in the same way). And with the pressure to pick a side, everybody has the potential to be involved in the good-evil debate. This could get interesting in a symbolic way, but I’ll try not to get too English-class on the collective ass of the world.
Speaking of good and evil, did you know Anya could see souls? I sure didn’t. But she sounds a bit like she wants hers back after all. If she keeps flurking up the wishes, she might not have a choice. I’d rather see an episode full of humorous yet grueling conflict that leads to the switch, but if she just gets kicked out, I’ll take that too. Pitiful characters aren’t my cup of tea.
And kudos to James and Sarah for that last scene. Very heavy stuff, done in a way that leaves no room for disbelief, either on Buffy’s part or ours. I could go on about embracing one’s own destruction, or trying to gain acceptance from someone or something who’s only going to offer rejection and pain, but I won’t. Because what I want to know is: if Spike keeps going downhill, what will Buffy do, now that she knows about the soul? And if it’s about power, how powerful is guilt?