AKA: How to know when you’ve found The (Anointed) One
Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Anointed One
We open with Buffy fighting a vampire (no, not the titular Anointed One). She’s quippy, cute, and living her best life. Oh, and kicking undead butt. That doesn’t stop Giles – who has been sitting on the sidelines and NOT HELPING – from critiquing her.
They find a ring in the pile of vamp dust. Oooh, a mystery!
Underground, the Master provides CliffsNotes for this week’s episode: there’s an Anointed One who will rise from the ashes of five. The Slayer will not know him and he will lead her into hell.
Sir, this is a library
In the library Giles has already deciphered the runes on the ring. They symbolize the Order of Aurelius. The Scoobies don’t get to talk about this for too long, though, because a student comes into the library. That’s right folks: the Sunnydale High library is open to the rest of the student body. Meet Owen: he loves Emily Dickinson and flirts by telling girls he didn’t think they could read. Negging is evidently in this week, because Buffy is smitten.
At lunch, our trio discuss Owen and slaying – I mean laying (good recovery, Xander). Buffy and Cordelia simultaneously spot Owen sitting alone and go for it. Hot take: they’re both too good for him. He’s only got eyes for Buffy, though. He invites her to The Bronze that night – right in front of Cordy. Surely she won’t use that information to her advantage.
Best laid plans
Giles has intel regarding the Order of Aurelius. There’s an Anointed One who, according to Giles’s research, is rising tonight. Buffy is forced to cancel her plans with Owen and sit in a more-dead-than-usual graveyard with Giles as he lectures her about her duty as Slayer. Since the rising of the Anointed One didn’t pan out, Buffy is free to head to the Bronze. When she gets there she sees Owen and Cordy dancing together. She promptly turns around and leaves.
Meanwhile, we see a typical Greyhound ride unfolding. A guy is pacing up and down the aisle monologuing as the rest of passengers stare ahead, eyes glazed over. One of the Master’s minions stands in the road and causes a crash. Once the bus stops he hops aboard and presumably does some vampirin’.
In the hall the next day, Buffy and Xander talk about Buffy’s insecurity over her singleness. Attuned to her self-consciousness Owen walks over. Buffy gives an obvious yet cute story about missing their date due to a broken watch, so he gives her his. Then teaches her how to tell time. He’s seriously making me wish we got more Xander this episode.
Buffy informs Giles of her plans that night and leaves before he can say boo.
Willow and Xander help Buffy pick out an outfit for her makeup date, and Xander is already making me eat my words. He calls her lipstick slutty and actually peaks at her getting dressed in the mirror. What is it with the men in this episode?
Never Kill a Boy on the First Date
Giles shows up with a newspaper article that absurdly refers to the bus crash as a van crash. Five people died in the wreck, one of whom being the preachy Andrew Borba, a wanted killer. Andrew seems to be a good fit as Anointed One. Giles wants to investigate the funeral home and lecture Buffy about her social life some more. Owen shows up during their back and forth, amazed and frightened at Giles’s supposed dedication to his job. Buffy departs with Owen and the advice that, “if the apocalypse comes beep me.”
Giles decides he still wants to investigate, and Willow and Xander, fully aware of how many times he’s been knocked out already this season, opt to follow. This is a good call because he is immediately accosted by some vampires. He gets away, but ends up stuck in one of the funeral home rooms. Willow and Xander peak through a window and offer to go get Buffy,
At The Bronze, Owen confesses that it seems like there’s two Buffys. He isn’t entirely wrong. In addition to having to fend off a crimp-haired Cordelia, she is now having to explain Angel, Willow, and Xander’s appearances. As far as Owen knows Buffy and Angel are coworkers and Willow and Xander are a couple looking to double. (In reality, Angel is warning Buffy about the Anointed One and Willow and Xander are trying to get her to the funeral home.) Owen takes it like a champ when Buffy says she is going to duck out real quick. It doesn’t hurt that she also plants one right on him to tide him over.
Going from finding “the one” to finding the Anointed One
When the trio arrives to the funeral home they discover Owen has followed them. Buffy puts Willow and Xander on Owen duty while she goes to rescue Giles. Giles, of course, reprimands Buffy for bringing Owen there (dude, give her the benefit of doubt once in a while). Buffy says the two of them are free to search for the Anointed One because Willow, Xander, and Owen are safely tucked away in an office.
Little does she know, Andrew’s body is in the office her friends and date have barricaded themselves in. To make matters worse, he is going all Re-Animator. Even worse: he is singing and shouting such nonsense as “pork and beans.” Buffy and Giles break in so those three can get out. However, Owen decides to white knight the situation and comes back to “protect” Buffy. He immediately gets knocked out.
Buffy fights Vampdrew and uses the setting to her advantage by shoving him into the incinerator. Willow and Xander walk a very concussed Owen home.
The next day Buffy is bemoaning the social damage caused by their date. Owen, however, wants to go out again. But not out-out. He wants to live on the edge with Buffy as his personal bodyguard. Buffy realizes he’ll end up getting himself killed and lets him down gently.
It’s never the end
Giles finally shows some compassion to the 16 year old and tell her he learned of his Watcher destiny at ten years old. They commiserate then celebrate the sunny side of the situation: the Anointed One is taken care of.
The Master repeats his opening monologue as we see the face of one very, very young newly Anointed child.
Trav’s one sentence review: Angel wasn’t cryptic, which was surprising, and I couldn’t figure out Owen.
I really like this episode. It’s a fun episode with a bit of farce. The storyline is self-contained but still pushes the seasonal arc and character progression forward. It’s promising for the rest of the first season. (5 / 5)