Sunday, 17 August 2014


Spike's muscle his pants.

WRITER: Drew Z. Greenberg
DIRECTOR: Michael Gershman


It's Buffy's birthday and the gang are throwing her a party at her house. They will all be there, including Tara. Buff is bringing a female friend from work while Xander is bringing a male friend from work in an attempt to match him up with Buffy. Meanwhile Dawn is feeling ignored and lonely seeing as how all the adults are always busy with their own life stuff, often leaving the teen all alone and mopey. Called out of class, Dawn goes to see the new guidance counselor who she tells her troubles to, wishing that people would stop leaving her. Unbeknownst to Dawn the guidance counselor is in fact Hallie, Anya's Vengeance Demon friend. Hallie grants Dawn's wish without the teen knowing. And come the night of the party everyone who turns up to celebrate at 1630 Revello finds that they are unable to leave once the party is over. Add in to the mix a jealous Spike and a demon who keeps popping up trying to maim and kill and the gang are in for one wild night. And following day. And following night...


Teen angst – abandonment, loneliness, anger, whole-world-revolving-around-me-ness


Hallie the Vengeance Demon, a nasty demon with a big sword, but most of all Dawnie.


Jealous Spike: Spike acting up when he sees the guy Xander brought to hopefully pair up with Buff. James Marsters does snide and childish rather well.

Clem: Spike brings his loose-skinned demon pal Clem to the party who we last saw playing kitten poker with the vamp. Clem is a nice, easygoing, friendly sort who enjoys watching cartoons and just generally being a nice bloke. Actor James C. Leary helps makes him such a likeable and loyal sort that Clem very quickly became (and remains) a firm fan favourite.

Tara: Amber Benson is great here, especially when she defends Willow by facing down Anya who wants the red headed Wiccan to do some magic to get them out of the house, thus putting addicted Willow in danger of falling of the magic wagon.


Dawn: Now, this is nothing against Michelle Trachtenberg who is a fine actress and who does her best here. No, it is the writers who are to blame. Dawn is unbearable and insufferable. She is in full-on whiny tantrum throwing brat mode. Her histrionics are teeth grinding and whatever sympathy we may have had for her quickly evaporates. Plus she is a total klepto now too. Sigh.

Birthday hell. It's Buffy's birthday, which never EVER goes well. You'd think Buff's friends would have learned by now to keep it low key and just avoid any fuss. Dear oh dear.

Dull. Quite frankly this is a rather tedious and dull 'bottle' episode being mostly shot on Buffy's house set. Conceptually it's all about Dawn's issues which I'm afraid by this point have gotten beyond annoying. The demon that turns up now and then to flail his sword at the gang is not scary at all and is merely a clunky plot device to try and add some kind of action to a story about inaction. Oh, and the less said about the sap Xander brings for Buffy the better.


Tara's “Hey! You're gonna back off,” to Anya. Go girl!


Buffy: “How are you doing?”
Tara: “The word "gulp" comes to mind.”

Spike: “I had ... a ... muscle cramp. Buffy was, uh, helping.”
Tara: “A muscle cramp? In your ... pants?”

Spike: “So, you ever think about *not* celebrating a birthday? Just to try it, I mean.”

Tara: “She said no, and that's it. You're not gonna make her do something that she doesn't want to. And if you try...You're gonna have to go through me first. Understood?”

Richard: “You have some weird friends.”
Xander: “News from the file marked 'duh.'”


Dawn shouts "Get out, Get out, Get out, Get out" at Buffy and the gang. She did the same thing to Buffy and Joyce in season five's birthday episode, Blood Ties.

The episode title is a quotation from J.G. Ballard's autobiographical novel, Empire of the Sun. The book was made into a movie by Steven Spielberg in 1987.

Hallie and Spike's odd surprise at seeing each other is cute seeing as how actress Kali Rocha also played Spike's love interest Cecily in season Five's Fool for Love. Maybe Cecily went on to become a Vengeance Demon?

When Spike opens the front door at the end of the episode his reflection can be seen in the frosted glass next to the door. Oops.


Please, let me out of this episode. 2 (out of 5)

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