With emotions and desires running high, Surprise (Episode 13) and Innocence (Episode 14) explored the consequences of Buffy sleeping with Angel, the loss of someone she loves and her innocence. Drusilla and Spike’s plan takes shape as they resurrect an ancient demon and strengthen their plan to destroy the slayer. Willow discovers Xander and Cordelia’s ‘relationship’ and propositions Oz, who sweetly tells her he’ll wait for her. Jenny’s secret that ties her to Angel is revealed which distances her from Giles and Buffy. And Angel provides this gem about the slayer: “to kill this girl you have to love her.”
Phases (Episode 15) begin Oz and Willow’s sweet relationship – but things get hairy when Oz’s secret is revealed. The theme of animalistic instincts, sexual heat and changes are all explored as Buffy has to help Oz and deal with Angel’s new attitude toward her. It’s Valentine’s Day in Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered (Episode 16), and Amy the witch (from Season one) is blackmailed by Xander to do a love spell after things with Cordelia go horribly wrong. As Xander hilariously deals with the spell gone badly, Giles and Jenny continue to have a world of distance between them. The theme of stalking (Angel), bad break-ups and letting go all play a role as Cordelia finally takes a stand about her feelings for Xander.
Passion (Episode 17) reveals the true nature of Angel’s dark side, Angelus. Dark, calculating and evil, he pushes Buffy to a very emotionally difficult place. Jenny and Giles reach a new understanding – and hope – for their relationship as she secretly works to right a wrong. Hope is snapped in an instant as a horrible, unexpected death sends Giles and Buffy on a mission to seek revenge. Buffy rescues Giles from danger and begs him, “you can’t leave me. I can’t do this alone.” Buffy concludes that for Angel, “nothing is ever going to bring him back” as a key solution to save them all falls out of sight. Killed By Death (Episode 18), takes a break from the ongoing serialized episodes to give Buffy a different case to work with: a bogeyman (death) who takes the life of children in hospital. “Death and disease are the only things Buffy cannot fight,” Giles remarks as Buffy takes on the spooky, surreal and creepy nightmare come to life.
In I Only Have Eyes For You (Episode 19), high schoolers are possessed by the ghosts of star-crossed lovers who ended their lives in a violent fight. As the ghosts’ relationship plays out over and over, both Buffy and Angel get caught in their violent vortex and reenact their relationship, giving Buffy some closure and temporarily gives Angel a wicked case of emotions – which displeases him greatly. Buffy questions her ability to forgive Angel as Giles tells her, “To forgive is an act of compassion, Buffy. It’s not because people deserve it, it’s done because people need it.” A secret reveal to the audience shows that Spike is now stronger than anyone suspects and has major beef with Angel. Go Fish (Episode 20) explored the idea of high school sports and the pressure to win. Steroids takes on a supernatural element as members of the swim team begin shedding their skin and becoming enhanced creatures. As well, this episode contains a hilarious scene with Xander joining the swim team in teensy little Speedos, much to the delight of Cordelia and the horror of Buffy and Willow.
The two-part finale of the second season, Becoming (Episode 21 & 22), written and directed by Joss Whedon, examines the reality of loss, becoming an adult and making difficult choices that forever change one’s life. The audience is taken back to Angel’s history when he was sired and when he was cursed with a soul. The introduction of Whistler, a demon sent to right the balance between good and evil, who decades before guided Angel to a life of usefulness and now gives Buffy some great advice: “in the end you’re always by yourself. You’re all you’ve got.” A major showdown with her ex-boyfriend sets Buffy on a path of loss and pain. Her friends are put into danger, a demon portal is opened and Buffy is forced to make a life-changing decision. “I have nothing left to lose,” Buffy utters as she leaves everything she knows behind.
The second season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer brought stories that were more complicated and serialized as complex threads were woven into the lives and relationships of the characters. As past histories and secrets were revealed, each episode dug deeper into the characters’ minds and deepened the slayer mythology. Buffy was tested physically and emotionally while always finding her strength through her snappy humour and faith in herself. Making for high drama and amusement, the second season pushed the serialized world of slayage to a conclusion that was entertaining, emotional and wholly satisfying.
BUFFY SEASON 2: CORE MYTHOLOGY EPISODES
Seriable recommends experiencing the entire second season of Buffy. However, for those of you who want to dive in at the deep end, we believe the following episodes to be the most crucial to understanding the BtVS Season 2 arc character/story arcs:
- Episode 3 – “School Hard”: The episode introduces Spike and Drusilla, the major villains in the season, who make the slayer their new target.
- Episode 6 – “Halloween”: Buffy and Spike have a short showdown. Giles’ past is revealed as he shows a violent, dark side.
- Episode 8 – “The Dark Age”: The episode dives deeper into Giles’ past as his relationship with Jenny is shaken up and the ongoing banter between Xander and Cordelia becomes more prominent.
- Episode 9 & 10 – “What’s My Line” (Part 1 & 2) — A major shift in the slayer mythology introduces a Kendra, the vampire slayer. Oz and Willow finally meet; Xander and Cordelia give in to their urges, Drusilla gains power.
- Episode 13 & 14 – “Surprise” and “Innocence”: Jenny’s secret is revealed, Buffy and Angel get intimate, Xander and Cordelia’s ‘relationship’ is revealed, Giles gives Buffy much needed support, Buffy loses the thing she loves.
- Episode 15 – “Phases”: Oz’s secret is revealed, Oz and Willow get closer.
- Episode 17 – “Passion”: Angel’s darkness gets deeper, Jenny and Giles grow closer again, Buffy loses Angel and holds on to Giles, a major death shakes up everything.
- Episode 21 & 22 – “Becoming” (Part 1 & 2): Angel’s history is revealed, a guide arrives to give Buffy advice, and Buffy tells Joyce about her real job and faces off with Angel, Spike and Drusilla. Buffy makes a difficult decision that costs her everything – and changes everything.
Recommended Reading: Buffy Season 1 Review