Welcome to part two of one of the best two-parters ever made. The aftermath of Buffy and Angel finally making love. This episode written and directed by Joss Whedon himself, starts off with Dru and a still injured Spike telling off the Judge for not doing more. It's a bit disarming, which sets up the gut punch that comes next. The ending of the teaser is Buffy waking up, alone, while Angel is outside in pain. We don't know it yet, but we are witnessing him losing his soul. A fact made clear when he feeds on some poor woman walking through the alley. Angel is gone, long live Angelus.
Buffy gets home and tries to take a shower before being stopped by her mother who hints that she looks different. From Buffy's POV it seems like her mother knows that she had sex. It hits her hard.
Back at the library the Scooby Gang is trying to figure out what to do. Xander and Willow want to go and save Buffy, but Giles, Cordy and Jenny want to wait it out. After all if the slayer and a vampire couldn't stop them what chance did the rest of them have? They are saved from having to deal with this conflict when Buffy walks in. She lies about what happened, pretending that she was separated from Angel in the sewers. She is very concerned that no-one had heard from Angel. She is starting to freak out.
So where is Captain Forehead? He is confronting Spike and Dru, or at least pretending too. When the Judge attacks him and he isn't hurt they learn the truth. He has no soul.
If that isn't enough of a gut punch, Willow catches Xander and Cordy making out. She does not take it well. The heartbreak in her eyes is visible. It kills me every time I watch it. And yes, she had just started dating Oz, but still. Xander is the one she had loved all her life. Of course it would hurt her.
Buffy goes to Angel's home to try and find him and he taunts her. He pretends to be Angel and just makes her feel so small and unimportant. This episode is one hit to the heart after another. It never lets up, for even a second. Such as the very next scene when Jenny learns that his soul is gone because Angel had a moment of happiness. The curse is finally told to us in full. Poor Angel.
Xander and Willow have a heart to heart when Xander comes up with a plan. Before he can tell us what it is, Angelus shows up. He sends Xander away and calls Willow over. If it wasn't for Jenny showing up and telling Willow to stop who knows what would happen. Buffy shows up and fights him off, but it kills her inside. How could it not? The man she loved had turned against it. Add to that the fact that he did it the da after they had sex the first time just makes it so much worse.
Willow points out that Jenny knew before the rest of them, but Jenny sidesteps the issue. Giles starts pressuring Buffy for information on what happened, but Buffy can't handle it and runs out of the room. Everyone is in full on panic when Xander announces he has a plan. He needs Cordy to make it work, but also makes sure to include Oz to make Willow feel better about it. I know the internet loves to hate on Xander, they find any and every reason to tear him down, while giving everyone else a pass, but this is just one example of what a great friend he is.
Angelus tells Spike and Dru all about his run in with Buffy and we start to get a sense of who he really is. Why go for the kill when you can go for the hurt. He loves the idea of torture. It gets him off.
Buffy has a dream that Jenny was involved with what happened to Angel. Buffy confronts her in the middle of class and Giles tries to stop her. Defending Jenny, but Jenny just comes out and admits to everything. She tells them the curse, pointing out that Buffy is responsible. This is when Giles finds out that Buffy had sex. Buffy's only care is that Angel gets cursed again. She wants to meet Jenny's uncle, which is what we believe the next scene is, only it's Angelus who shows up instead.
Oz's van pulls up outside a military base, while Xander and Cordy break in. They get stopped while breaking into the armory, luckily Xander still remembers everything from when he turned into his Halloween costume. He manages to convince the guard that he is a soldier who just wants to show his girlfriend a good time.
Back in the van Willow asks Oz to make out with her. Oz, being the best guy to ever live, in a fictional world or even real life, tells her how much he wants to. How he dreams of it, but he tells her that he won't kiss her. Because she just wants to make Xander jealous. When he kisses her, he wants it to be real. Because she wants to be with him. He tells her he can wait until she is ready. I really think this is the start of her falling for him.
Jenny shows up with Buffy and Giles to find her uncle dead. Buffy decides that the only thing left to do is kill Angelus.
Angelus, Dru and the Judge head out so that they can feed the Judge and get him to full power. Leaving Spike behind. Xander lets Buffy in on the plan. Everything is a go, except for one thing, Jenny wants to help. Buffy and Giles are in agreement, they want nothing to do with her.
All parties involved end up at the Sunnydale Mall. Right away the Judge takes his first victims as the vampires block the exits. The Judge is about to feed on everyone else when Buffy and co show up. It's a race against the clock. The Judge is hit with an arrow. He reminds her that no weapon forged can stop him, to which Buffy replies, "That was then, this is now" and shoots him with a rocket launcher. Destroying him. Xander's plan worked.
Buffy goes after Angelus. They fight under the sprinkler system. He goes for the hurt but she pretends like none of it gets to her. Buffy wins the fight but she can't kill him. At least not yet. She leaves him there, defeated and Giles takes her home. The conversation in the car is just one example of how great a person Giles is. Buffy is sure that Giles is disappointed in her. He tells her that he isn't. He knows she loved him, and that Angel loved her. Giles that he has no guilt to give her. All he has for her is support and respect. It's a beautiful conversation. He's a great man, an inspiration to us all.
The episode ends with Buffy and her mom talking about her birthday. Buffy tells her that she just got older, her mother tells her that she looks the same to her. It is one of the few times that I think Joyce did the right thing as a mom.
This is such a heart wrenching episode of television. Joss Whedon really knows how to bring the pain. You gotta love him for it!