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Buffy the Vampire Slayer Episode Guide

 by Helen

           Giles is upset because Buffy is trying out for the cheerleading squad. Buffy assures him that it won’t distract from her slaying she just wants to do something normal for once, something safe. Cut to a creepy room filled with weird things hanging from the ceiling. A dark figure waves an amulet over a cauldron of bubbling green liquid, then rips a doll with bound hands off of a meat hook.

            The Sunnydale cheerleading tryout is full of peppy young girls stretching and bouncing about, something Xander thoroughly approves of. He and Willow have come to support Buffy. Xander offers up a bracelet to Buffy as a good luck gift. Engraved on it are the words “Yours always.” Xander insists they all came that way but that doesn’t stop Willow from being jealous. Just then Cordelia wanders over to gossip disdainfully about Amber, an especially good cheerleader. Tryouts begin and Amber is up first. As everyone goes to sit down, Willow runs into Amy, an old friend of hers who is also going out for the squad. Amber’s audition starts and she is amazing. Amy starts to chat with Buffy about cheerleading coaches. She tells Buffy that she trains with her mother and really admires her. Suddenly Amber’s hands burst into flames. As everyone panic, Buffy grabs a banner and puts Amber out.

            In the library the gang tries to figure out what caused Amber’s spontaneous combustion. Giles says that in most cases like these, the person who combusted was in a terrible rage, so Buffy decides to investigate Amber and see if she has had any anger problems in the past. Willow volunteers to hack into the school’s computer records and Xander says her can ask around about Amber. Buffy at first doesn’t want them getting involved but relents when they insist they want to help. Buffy also brings up the idea that Amber may not have done this to herself.

            Buffy comes home to find her mom busy with work for her art gallery’s first big show. She tries to have a mother-daughter bonding talk but it proves unsatisfying. She mentions how much time Amy and her mom spend together, but Buffy’s mom makes it clear she just doesn’t have that kind of time but she does support Buffy becoming a cheerleader again. She thinks it will keep her out of trouble.

            At the rescheduled cheerleading tryouts, Amy slips and falls during a flip, knocking over Cordelia in the process. Cordelia is irate, afraid that this will hurt her chances of the making the squad. After tryouts, Buffy finds Amy staring at the cheerleading trophy case. There is practically a shrine in there to her mother. Amy goes on and on about how great a cheerleader her mother was in high school and great a mom she is now. Then Amy gets upset about how she can’t get her body to move the way her mom’s did and how badly she choked during tryouts. She runs off, nearly in tears, just as Willow walks up. Willow shares with Buffy that Amy’s mom is pretty scary, the kind who padlocks the fridge if she gains so much as a pound. Willow fondly remembers the brownie pig-outs she and Amy used to have at Willow’s house when this would happen. Turning back to their investigation, Willow tells Buffy that Amber has proved to pretty normal by all accounts.

            Amy has just finished changing in the locker room when she is cornered by Cordelia who lets her know that she will make her life very unpleasant if Amy’s klutziness keeps her from becoming a cheerleader.

            Willow is talking to Xander and mentions seeing Buffy. He immediately demands to know if Buffy was wearing the bracelet he bought. He then starts talking about going out with Buffy and asks for Willow’s advice. Willow says he’ll never knows how Buffy feels until he asks and Xander tells Willow she is great because she’s like a guy who knows a lot about girl stuff. Willow is not pleased by this but Xander doesn’t notice because he sees that they’re posting the list for the cheerleading team. Buffy and Amy are standing at the back of a gaggle of girls and can’t see the list from where they are. Suddenly Xander charges through the crowd. While waiting for him to return, they find out from the queen bee herself that Cordelia made the team, so at least in that respect Amy can be relieved. Xander returns relatively unscathed and announces excitedly that Buffy is the first alternate and Amy is the third. Believing this to be good news, he doesn’t understand why Amy runs away upset. Willow has to explain to him that this means neither of them made the team. Buffy follows Amy and tries to comfort her by suggesting a brownie pig-out at her house that night but Amy can’t stop talking about training and how this would never happen to her mother.

            The creepy room with the green bubbling cauldron proves to be the attic of a nice suburban room. Again the dark figure is performing some sort of spell. She chants an incantation and goes up to a row dolls hanging from meat hooks. She pulls a brunette doll down. It is dressed as a Sunnydale cheerleader. She wraps a sweatband around its eyes and then prays the dark gods will feed on Cordelia before dropping the doll into the cauldron.

            The next morning it’s Buffy’s mom’s turn to try some mother-daughter bonding time. She tries to convince Buffy to join the yearbook staff, since she enjoyed doing it so much in high school. Buffy is not interested and says she has own thing, at which point Buffy’s mom lashes back that her own thing got her kicked out of school and forced them to move just so they could find a decent school that would take her. Buffy is clearly hurt by her mom’s words and storms off.

            Cordelia is also not having a good morning. She wanders through the halls of Sunnydale High seemingly disoriented, not even noticing Xander mocking her. This convinces Xander that he truly is invisible and Buffy will never notice him. He tells Willow he is going to just ask Buffy out. Suddenly Willow retracts her advice and tells him he should beat around the bush more. But he has made up his mind and just then Buffy walks up. As she comes up to them she notices Cordy trying to open the wrong locker and then wandering away. Before Xander can even half ask her on a date she’s blown him off to go follow Cordelia and see what’s up. Cordelia heads out to Drivers Ed, where she says she doesn’t want to drive. The teacher makes her anyway and for the first time we see from Cordelia’s point of view. Everything is blurry. She ends up crashing the car through the fence onto the actual road. The teacher tells everyone to get out of the car. Cordy gets out and wanders confused into the middle of the road. She is about to be hit by a large delivery truck when Buffy runs out and knocks her out of the way. Cordy tells Buffy she can’t see anything and Buffy looks down to see that both of Cordy’s eyes are now completely covered by a white film.

            Back in the library the gang determines that witchcraft is behind the recent occurrences. Since cheerleading is the only common denominator between Amber and Cordelia they’re immediately suspicious of Amy. Giles doesn’t understand why someone would go to such lengths to become a cheerleader but Buffy suspects it has more to do with Amy wanting to please her mom than anything else. She thinks parents can put too much pressure on their kids to be exactly like them. Her tone of voice shows she may be identifying with Amy a little. Before they can stop Amy though, they have to make sure she is actually the witch. Willow suggests looking up who has checked out books on witchcraft recently but Xander is thoroughly against this plan. The girls ignore him and check the library records only to find out that Xander has checked out quite a few of theses books himself. Not to cast any spells but to look at the semi-nude engravings. Giles finds a more conclusive test for determining if someone is a witch ; it only needs some basic chemicals and the eye of a newt. During science lab, Xander and Willow pull an eye out of their dissecting frog while Buffy steals hair from Amy’s hairbrush. They mix everything they need and Buffy “accidentally” spills the resulting concoction onto Amy. He skin turns blue, confirming their theory. She’s a witch. Just then a commotion breaks out in the lab. A girl (presumably the 2nd alternate) has just lost her mouth. Amy looks just as shocked as the rest of the class. After lab, Buffy, Xander and Willow discuss. They know Amy has been performing magic but her shock in lab makes them wonder if she knows what she is doing. They decide to confront her mother, who appears to be the source of the problem anyway.

            That day Amy comes home and is acting decidedly not innocent. She seems to be in complete control of her mother, who clearly fears her and does her bidding- including completing her homework. She knows that Buffy has figured out she’s a witch (thus her faked shock) and has also managed to steal the bracelet that Xander gave Buffy. She now has a personal possession of Buffy’s with which she can cast a spell on her.

            The next morning Buffy wakes in particularly good mood. She is more bouncy and less able to contain herself than normal. She’s excited about being on the squad, has completely forgiven her mother, and tells her she’s the Vampire Slayer as part of everyday conversation. Luckily for her secret identity, her mother thinks she is just acting crazy.

            During cheerleading practice Buffy is being entirely too peppy and messing up because of it. Xander and Willow come into watch and she starts jumping up and down screaming about how she loves them. They realizes something is wrong with her and are about get her out of there when she throws the head cheerleader way too hard, hurting her. She gets kicked off the squad because off of it and Xander and Willow remove her as fast as possible. Amy is finally a cheerleader. As Xander and Willow lead Buffy down the hall she starts talking about why she loves Xander so. Willow wants to keep moving but Xander wants to hear what she has to say. Buffy tells Xander she thinks of him as one of the girls and loves how her gave her bracelet but didn’t expect to be dated in return. Xander is not pleased by this but Willow is. Just then Buffy starts to crash. By the time they get Buffy to Giles she is back to her normal self except she is very weak. Giles tells them she is suffering from a bloodstone vengeance spell that is wiping out her immune system. She will be dead in several hours. There are two ways to reverse Amy’s spells. Get ahold of her spell book or cut off her head. Giles and Buffy head to Amy’s house to get her book. Willow and Xander stay behind to keep an eye on Amy.

Amy’s mother is not willing to let Giles and Buffy in the house so Giles forces his way in and begins berating Amy’s mother. Buffy notices a half-eaten plate of brownies on the floor and comes to a realization. They’re not talking to Amy’s mom, they are talking to Amy. Amy’s mom switched bodies with her daughter to relieve her glory days. The real Amy explains that after her dad left, her mother went crazy, and would lock herself upstairs for days. Then a few months ago Amy woke in her mother’s body. Giles and Amy go upstairs to her mother’s spellcasting room. He finds the spellbook. Then they head back to the school. Amy’s mom meanwhile is having fun cheering at a basketball game as Xander and Willow watch stony-faced from the crowd.

Giles lays an ever-weakening Buffy on a table in a science lab. They only have a few minutes left to save her. As Amy’s mom continues cheering exuberantly, Giles begins casting the reversal spell with Amy’s help. Amy’s mom briefly flashes from the basketball court back into her own body getting a view of the spellbook and the frog they are using before flashing back into Amy’s body. Just as Amy’s mom is lifted to the top of a formation, Amy and her mom flash into their proper bodies again and this time Amy’s mom sees Buffy and the science lab. Back in Amy’s body, she loses her balance and the formation collapses. Amy gets up and starts running for the science lab. Willow tries to block her path while Xander sneaks up behind her, but Amy’s mom takes them both out. Giles is completing the spell just as Amy’s mom reaches the science lab. She finds the door locked so she takes a fire ax off the wall and starts hacking her way in. The reversal takes affect just as Amy’s mom charges at Buffy with the ax. But Buffy is not of danger yet. Amy’s mom (now in her proper body) is powerful and she tackles Buffy and knocks Giles out in one swift action. She turns to confront Amy. She is able to the ax away from her easily enough but then Buffy intercedes. Amy’s mom turns her attention to Buffy and starts to cast a spell to send her to “the dark place.” As magic shoots out of her eyes towards Buffy, Buffy knocks down the mirror that hangs over the teacher’s desk to make demonstrations easier to see. The spell reflects back towards Amy’s mom who disappears amid screams of terror. Giles wakes up and as they are all reveling in their success, Xander runs in and grabs Amy. “I got her! I got her! Cut her head off!” Just as they convince Xander that Amy isn’t evil, Willow runs in with a baseball bat ready to attack. Xander tell her not to worry, he took care of it. Willow beams at him, proud of his heroism.

Buffy is in her room that afternoon when her mom comes to talk to her. She reveals that she doesn’t get Buffy and thinks it has something to do with her being 16. Buffy asks if she would ever want to be 16 again. Her mother is horrified by this idea, which makes Buffy happy. She gives her a kiss and tells her she loves her before bouncing out of the room. Her mother looks after her, confused.

The next day, Amy is complaining to Buffy about how overprotective her dad is now that she is living with him, though she clearly loves the attention. They are even staying in on Saturday to make brownies together. As the girls walk Cordy comes up behind them and expresses fake sympathy over them getting bumped back to alternates before flouncing off. Buffy and Amy pass the cheerleading trophy case and stop to stare at Amy’s mother’s trophy. There has been no sign of Amy’s mom and they don’t think she’s coming back. As they walk away the camera zooms in on the trophy. Instead of plastic eyes, Amy’s mom’s eyes stare back and her tiny, muffled screams can be heard coming from behind her plastic mouth.


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Updated 7/19/07  

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