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Passion (Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode)

"Passion" is episode 17 of season 2 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. See also List of Buffy episodes.

Plot synopsis

Summary

Learning that Angelus, with murderous intent, is circling closer to her friends and family, Buffy feverishly seeks ways to protect them. Though still ostracized, Jenny Calendar gives Giles a spell book containing a ritual to revoke Angel's many invitations into their homes, then continues secretly to work on her "special project"—a computer translation of the ancient Gypsy Ritual of Restoration, the spell which originally gave Angelus his soul back. She succeeds, but Drusilla senses Jenny's efforts and Angelus comes to destroy all her work. He then kills Jenny, and uses his handiwork to viciously torment Giles. Devastated as well by Jenny's demise, Buffy nonetheless stops Giles from getting himself killed seeking revenge on Angelus. By the time Jenny is laid to rest, Buffy understands the full consequences of allowing Angelus to continue his reign of terror and finds herself, finally, ready to slay him.

Expanded overview

At The Bronze, Buffy and Xander blithely dance to the sultry music while Angelus darkly watches from across the room. As the weight of his predatory gaze makes everyone seem to move in dreamlike slow motion, Angelus' voice narrates a poetic evocation of "passion." It is Xander who turns his head to look, but Angelus is no longer there. When Buffy, Willow, Xander and Cordelia leave The Bronze, they unknowingly pass Angelus miming a passionate embrace in the shadows, his vamp face hidden in the neck of the girl he drains, then drops, before falling in behind them. Back home getting ready for bed, Buffy feels Angelus' presence, but she peers out into the darkness in vain. When she turns out the light and slides under the covers, Angelus is outside, watching her through open blinds. After Buffy drifts off, Angelus enters her room and softly strokes a lock of hair back from her face. Sitting on the bed beside her to watch his Slayer sleep, Angelus' face is in shadow, but his voice continues and completes his "passion" prologue.

The next morning, Buffy wakes to find a parchment envelope on her pillow, containing a charcoal drawing of herself, eyes closed, asleep. At the library before class, Buffy tells Giles about the drawing and asks if there's a spell to reverse Angel's invitation into her house, something along the lines of "No shoes, no pulse, no service." Xander teases Cordelia when she overreacts because she invited Angel into her car. Leaving the library when Jonathan and another student dare to request books on Stalin, Buffy and the others continue to discuss Angelus' intentions. Because Angelus has an "all-access pass" to her house even when she's not there, Buffy wants to tell her mother the truth so she can protect herself until the reversal spell is in place. Giles vetoes this, urging Buffy not to be goaded by any of Angelus' ploys because, as The Slayer, she doesn't have "the luxury of being a slave to her passions." In Ms. Calendar's computer class, Jenny asks Willow to cover for her if she happens to be late the next morning. Willow is delighted to oblige, and immediately begins to worry at the thought of all that could go wrong. Soon, however, she starts to relish the idea of exercising a borrowed power of authority. There's an awkward moment when Buffy and Giles arrive to fetch Willow, but when the girls leave, Giles and Jenny get a moment alone. Hearing that Angelus' "sense of whimsy" has returned and that Giles seeks a spell to revoke the vampire's invitations, Jenny gives him a book she knows he doesn't have. She then takes the opportunity to explain that, as Janna, she was raised by the people Angelus hurt most, and lied to Giles and Buffy because she thought it was the right thing to do. She didn't know she would fall in love with Giles. Seeing his startled face soften, Jenny goes on to say she wants to make everything up to him. His eyes filled with kindness, Giles gently replies that he's not the one Jenny needs to make it up to. Over supper that evening, Joyce asks Buffy to tell her what's wrong, and Buffy decides to give her a sanitized version of the Angel/Angelus saga. Her mom says, "Don't tell me. He's changed. He's not the same guy you fell for," and Buffy brightly replies, "In a nutshell." Buffy further explains that she'll talk to Angelus if he shows up, but that Joyce shouldn't invite him in the house.

Later that night, Willow talks on the phone to Buffy as she gets ready for bed. She putters around the room, sprinkles fish food into the large, lighted tank, then notices a parchment envelope on her bed. Falling silent, she picks it up and opens it. The phone drops from her shoulder with a thump as she pulls out a long string—threaded with all her tropical fish. Angelus has been in Willow's bedroom, too. Willow spends the remainder of the night clutching a very sharp stake at Buffy's, with garlic ropes adorning the bedframe. Buffy tells Willow she can't stop wanting to turn to Angel whenever there's a crisis and that this Angel is completely different from the one she knew. Not exactly disagreeing, Willow replies, "Well, sort of. Except you're still the only thing he thinks about."

Early that morning at their factory lair, Drusilla brings the still-invalid Spike a puppy to eat. Increasingly cranky with his long recovery, he objects to being treated like a child. Angelus arrives with the dawn and spends a few enjoyable minutes mortifying Spike before Dru has a vision that an old enemy seeks help to destroy their "happy home."

Before school, Jenny goes to a Gypsy novelty shop where she buys an Orb of Thesulah, a spirit-vault for rituals of the undead, from a well-meaning proprietor who recognizes her as Janna and offers condolences for her Uncle Enyos. He politely tells her that without a translation of the Ritual of Restoration, the Orb is useless for its intended purpose—and that the store has a no-refunds policy. Jenny says she understands, and that she hopes soon to have a computer translation of the ancient Romanian liturgy. The Orb glows when she tells the shopkeeper she plans to give a friend his soul back. At school, Willow and Buffy meet up with Xander, who gets a little excited about their slumber party the night before. Willow leaves to teach class, but is disappointed to catch sight of Ms. Calendar arriving on time after all. Taking leave of Xander as well, Buffy hurries to confront Jenny with an agenda of her own. Jenny starts to apologize, but Buffy, not ready for that step yet, abruptly stops her. Stiltedly explaining that she doesn't want him to be lonely, Buffy tells Jenny that Giles misses her, then rushes inside where she finds Giles himself, passing out flyers in the lounge area. Cordy joins them, and both girls are relieved to hear that Buffy's Watcher has found a simple spell with common ingredients that will revoke a Vampire's invitation into any house (or car) where it is performed. After school, Buffy and Cordelia help perform the protection spell in Willow's room, and not a moment too soon. First asking if Willow knows there are no fish in her aquarium, Cordy next finds another parchment envelope on Willow's bed. Willow opens it apprehensively, then hands the charcoal drawing of Joyce—eyes closed, asleep—to a suddenly panicking Buffy.

At the Summers residence, Joyce pulls into the driveway to find Angelus waiting for her in the front yard. Impersonating a distinctly deranged Angel, he scares Joyce with his intensity and tells her he can't forget Buffy, Joyce has to talk to her for him, he can't live without her. Noting with evil satisfaction that Joyce's hands shake uncontrollably as she tries to get her key in the front door, Angel oozes sly candor and confesses, "I haven't been able to sleep since the night we made love." As Buffy's mother stares up at him in shock, the door opens and she rushes inside. Smiling in anticipation, Angelus starts to follow but pulls up short, unable to cross the threshold. Buffy and Willow have gotten there first and Willow is just chanting the reversal spell's final words. "Sorry, Angel. Changed the locks," the Slayer says acidly, then slams the door in his face.

When Giles finds Jenny staying late at the school, she hastily clears her computer screen before he can see that her "special project" is the translation program for the Ritual of Restoration to bring back Angel's soul. Slightly smug, Jenny tells Giles what Buffy said to her earlier that day. Embarrassed but unable to deny it, Giles, in a tone of flustered, affectionate exasperation, deems Buffy a "meddlesome girl." When Jenny explains she needs to work a little while longer, but that she may have good news later, Giles warmly invites her over to his place after she's finished. After sunset, Drusilla (still carrying the puppy, Sunshine) pays a visit to the Gypsy shopkeeper to ask what he and "the mean teacher talked about." Jenny keeps working to translate the ritual's text into English. At last, she is successful and quickly saves the program to disk, then prints it out. Having ejected and set aside the backup disk, Jenny moves her chair so she can scan the printout. After a moment, her gaze refocuses beyond the scrolling paper and she jumps to see Angelus sitting in the dark at the back of her classroom, as if he'd been silently watching her for a long while. Getting to his feet, Angel approaches her desk with mock cheer. He picks up the Orb of Thesulah, ruminates a bit about its purpose, then pitches it against the chalkboard so hard, it smashes to dust. Musing next about the advances in technology over the past two and a half centuries, Angelus pulls her computer, crashing it to the floor, then rips the printout from the printer, tears the Ritual of Restoration text in two and burns the pieces in the small electrical fire that has sprung up. Finding the door behind her desk inexplicably locked, Jenny tries to dart past Angelus to the room's other door, but he catches her and throws her through it. When she scrambles up and runs, he mocks, "Oh, good. I need to work up an appetite first." Searching for a way out, Jenny finds all the doors in this wing locked and is forced to flee down long passages while Angelus lopes after her. Near the end of her strength, she slams a door in his snarling face, then rams him with a cleaning cart and runs frantically up the stairs. On the floor above, Jenny looks so intently for her pursuer to come up behind her that she runs straight into his grasp when he circles around. Chortling, Angelus softly holds her head in his hands and tells her, "Sorry, Jenny. This is where you get off," then snaps her neck with a flourish.

Meanwhile at the Summers residence, Giles stops by to get the spell book to protect his own apartment and learns from Willow that Buffy is upstairs with her mom, discussing the news (which is news only to Joyce) that Angel and Buffy have slept together. Giles wonders if he should intervene on Buffy's behalf. Not exactly disagreeing, Willow says, "Sure! Like, what would you say?" As Giles thinks about that for a second, Willow matter-of-factly opens the front door for him and he takes his leave. In Buffy's room, Joyce is not entirely successful at remaining calm while trying to figure out just what is going on with her daughter and this "too old," "obviously not very stable" Angel. Buffy reassures her mom that Angel was her first and only, but doesn't open up as much as her mother would like. Still, at the end of "the talk," Joyce tells Buffy that she loves her "more than anything in the world," and they regain a degree of their normal ease with each other.

Giles arrives at his apartment to see one red rose on the front door and to hear strains of opera music drifting from inside. Opening his own door as if he were the visitor, he finds an ice bucket on the desk, complete with chilling champagne and a folded piece of parchment paper bearing one word in flowing script: "Upstairs." Carrying the champagne, Giles follows a path of votive candles and roses to the top of the stairs while the music swells below. At his first glimpse of Jenny on the bed, the music crescendos and the heavy bottle of champagne smashes unheeded to the floor. Jenny's staring eyes and lividly striated neck belie the relaxed pose of her limbs. Nearly catatonic with shock and grief, Giles remains silent and motionless until the police officer, following the coroner's people wheeling a laden stretcher, asks him to come in for questioning. Giles abstractedly complies, but asks to make a phone call first. At Buffy's house, Angelus lurks outside, his voice coming out of the darkness to whisper another verse in his ode to "passion." As the phone rings, he stops his pacing to peer intently through sheer lace curtains at the lighted scene within. Angelus watches the Slayer answer, watches her face fall, watches her sink to the floor in a grief-stricken crouch. He watches Willow take the phone, listen, and burst into such wild sobs that Joyce rushes into the room to hold her. Smiling with profound pleasure, Angelus turns and slips back into the night. Having missed Giles at the police station, Cordelia and Xander drive to Buffy's house, where Buffy and Willow wait outside for them. Worried, the four of them drive to Giles' apartment to try to make contact. Meanwhile, Giles has gone back to his apartment to arm for battle, but before the others can get there, he is out and away, leaving behind Angelus' charcoal sketch of Jenny, eyes open, asleep forever. Piecing together evidence of Angelus' set-up and Giles' intent, the four friends argue about what to do. Xander strongly endorses Giles' plan to follow Angelus to the factory, but Buffy knows seeking revenge will only get Giles killed.

At the factory, Spike—knowing the "incredibly brassed off" Slayer will soon hunt them down—is furious with a strangely subdued Angelus. Reminding Spike that Jenny was trying to restore Angelus' soul, Dru tries to defend Angelus' actions, but Spike claims he actually prefers the old "Buffy-whipped Angelus". Just as Angelus finishes sneering, "Don't worry, Roller Boy. I've got everything under control," there's an explosive crash and the long dining table erupts in flame. The three vamps instantly recoil and move to escape the roaring fire. At the foot of the catwalk stairs, Angelus suddenly jerks in surprise and tears a crossbow bolt from his shoulder. Tossing his now empty crossbow aside, Giles stalks the length of the room, lights a baseball bat as he passes the flaming table and, while Spike and Dru look on, uses it to deliver several stunning blows before the vampire can recover his balance. When Giles raises the torch for a savage overhand chop, however, Angelus grabs him by the throat and lifts him clear of the floor. At that moment, Buffy enters the fray. Her first rush breaks Giles free of Angelus' grasp and sends the vampire crashing backwards. Dru and Spike make a strategic exit. Chasing a battered Angelus up onto the catwalk, the Slayer thrashes him nearly to pieces, until he begins to cackle and asks if she's just going to let her "old man" burn. Buffy looks down in horror at the unconscious Giles, now completely surrounded by flames. As Angelus boosts her over the rail and makes his own escape, Buffy jumps down, brings her Watcher to, and half-carries him from the building. Together, they stumble into the dark and Giles shouts in grief-stricken fury, "Why did you come here? This wasn't your fight." The Slayer hauls back and punches him full in the face, shouting back "Are you trying to get yourself killed?" Then Buffy follows him down to kneel on the ground and hold him in her arms, and Giles sobs as if his heart would break. "You can't leave me," she whispers to him. "I can't do this alone."

Later that night, as Angelus' hypnotic voice imparts the epilogue of his "passion" drama, Giles comes home to a very normal-seeming, brightly lit apartment building. Reaching his front door, however, instead of a rose, he finds yellow crime scene tape. Now silent and dark, his apartment only seems emptier. As the scene changes to a daytime view of grass, shrubs and a small leaf-strewn pond, Angelus' narration comes to an end with Giles and Buffy standing beside a new grave. Its simple headstone reads "Jennifer Calendar" in elegant brass letters. Laying down a sheaf of flowers, Giles murmurs a few simple words and Buffy's eyes fill with tears. She apologizes aloud for not being able to kill Angelus when she had the chance. A moment later, we hear her quiet voice say, "I wasn't ready." The scene changes again, and as Willow comes to stand in front of Jenny's desk, Buffy's voice says, "But I think I finally am." Holding an armload of books and printout, Willow gravely announces that, in Ms. Calendar's absence, she has been temporarily assigned to teach the class. As Willow moves around behind Jenny's desk, we again hear Buffy's quiet voice. "I can't hold onto the past anymore," she explains. "Angel is gone. Nothing's ever going to bring him back." As Willow sets her books on the desk, the backup disk Jenny created slides inconspicuously from a stack of papers and, with a nearly inaudible click, falls into the narrow darkness between the desk and a filing cabinet...

Acting

Starring

Guest starring

Co-starring

Production details

Music

Trivia

  • According to Joss Whedon, Jenny Calendar's death serves notice to fans, first, that no one is safe, death is scary and real, and second, that Angel is not "just a little evil," he's not "grouchyivia|date=December 2007}}," he's truly evil and Buffy needs to address the situation. The series creator also jokes that the episode is a message to the actors: "Be very good, or I'll kill you.
  • In an interview with the BBC, Anthony Stewart Head says this is his favorite episode, "because it was a beautifully shot episode and a beautifully written one.
  • Although Jenny is killed off in this episode, the actress makes two further guest appearances: in the second part of the season finale where Drusilla hypnotizes Giles into thinking she's Jenny and again in the season 3 episode Amends as a manifestation of the First Evil, intending to turn Angel evil again.
  • The episode title appears as "Old Passion" on iTunes.

References

External links

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