Start of Season 2 (2.1-2.12)
2.1 When She was Bad
Buffy, who has a nice new haircut, saves Xander and Willow from a vampire.
BUFFY: Hi Guys. Miss me?
Hank tells Joyce about Buffy being distant all summer. School resumes and Cordelia tells her posse about her suffering (Tuscany instead of St. Croix).
CORDELIA: Of course I think that that kind of adversity builds character. Well, then I thought, I already have a lot of character. Is it possible to have too much character?
Giles determines that he must consult his books 8 minutes into the first day of school. Buffy trains intensely (her hair hiding her face the whole time). She dreams about the Master before a visit from Angel to warn her about the Annointed One. At school and at the Bronze she's mean to everyone. Cordelia warns her to lose the "tude" or "pretty soon you won't even have even the loser friends you have now". Then she gets captured.
SNYDER: There are some things I can just smell. It's like a sixth sense.
GILES: No, actually that would be one of the five.
Buffy turns her back on her friends to go fight vampires, only to fall for their plan like everyone warned her. By torturing a vampire she finds out about the factory, where the Annointed One plans to revivify the Master through a sacrifice ritual. While Xander saves Cordelia and the others, Buffy kills all the vampires.
XANDER: she's working on her issues.
After Buffy smashes the Master's bones, Angel comforts her, Xander watches them, Willow watches Xander.
2.2 Some Assembly Required
Buffy fights with Angel (verbally) and slays a vampire before the credits - Angel is no help, as usual, in the fight. The find a robbed grave and hit on the theory of voodoo - interestingly Giles states "zombies do not eat the flesh of the living", unlike in every zombie movie ever. The gang go to look for bodies in the graveyard but Cordelia, hiding from Angel, finds body parts in a dumpster.
BUFFY: it doesn't make any sense, especially from a time management standpoint.
Cordy is captured again, rescued by Buffy, then after we see the actual Sunnydale Razorbacks playing (turns out they're an American Football team), captured again. While Buffy fights Daryl, Xander rescues Cordy again.
2.3 School Hard
Buffy is tasked with decorating the School Lounge, a space we never saw until this season. Spike, an obviously badass vampire, turns up (smoking) before the credits and refers to it as "Home, sweet home". It turns out he's counting on the hellmouth to restore Drusilla to health.
SPIKE: I did a couple of slayers once, I don't like to brag. Who am I kidding, I love to brag!
Buffy, determined to get through the week, only makes it to parent-teacher night, when Joyce will inevitably meet principal Snyder.
CORDELIA: There's a woman who knows how to moisturize. Did it skip a generation?
The vampires attack (Spike couldn't wait). Xander fetches Angel, who tries to trick Spike, who isn't fooled, and is only made more angry.
SPIKE: You were my sire man, you were my Yoda!
Spike fights Buffy but Joyce comes to help her at the crucial moment and he retreats. The police arrive (we seem to be seeing them more often), and cook up a story with Snyder.
SNYDER: what did you have in mind - the truth?
So it's clear that Snyder knows about vampires, but isn't letting on, for his own reasons. Nobody remembers to rescue Cordelia this time. When dawn comes, we see the outside of the vampires' disused factory.
SPIKE: A slayer with family and friends - that sure wasn't in the brochure.
He dusts the "annoying one" for fun and takes charge himself - one might think he's being set up to be this season's "Master".
2.4 Inca Mummy Girl
Buffy is still jonesing to have a bit of a normal life, and is getting ever more quippy with Giles.
C'mon Giles, Budge. No-one likes a non-budger.
Willow overhears Xander telling Buffy how he's not interested in Willow because she's his best friend. And by a complete coincidence, we see Oz for the first time, lead guitarist in the same band as Cordelia's boyfriend of the week.
BUFFY: No! Bad plan! I have other plans. Dance plans... cancelled plans.
Ah, Bufy's "chosen one" pout.
INCA BODYGUARD: You are the chosen one. You must die.
In case that was too subtle, Empada spells it out to Buffy at some length that she's like the Inca princess, chosen and lonely. Buffy hardly pays attention - she's familiar with the idea, and in this episode is full of people not really listening to each other. Only Willow listens and she completely fails to notice Oz staring at her.
XANDER: have you seen Empada? ...what was that?
WILLOW: I shrugged.
XANDER: next time you should probably say shrug.
Empada nearly kills Jonathan (also seen for the first time). There are a couple of moments when we think Xander might get turned into a mummy. Xander defends Willow from Empada and they triumph as usual.
2.5 Reptile Boy
This week Cordelia is dating a student at Cresswood College - still no mention of UC Sunnydale. We learn that Angel can smell traces of blood on a bracelet at several metres.
CORDELIA: Oh Buffy, it's like we're sisters! With really different hair.
Buffy lies to Giles in order to go to a frat party because she's pissed off with Angel. Xander is still harping on the note of trying to make sure Buffy doesn't get too close to anyone male. Cordelia predicts that one day he too will go to college - to deliver pizzas - doesn't he end up doing exactly that in season 4? That said, he is still consistently bravely rushing in to save Buffy and Willow in pretty much every episode.
BUFFY: what the hell - I'm tired of being mature.
Said by so many teenagers, with so little justification.
There is a moment when it looks like a drugged Buffy might get raped, but apart from that, it's another episode without much peril.
WILLOW: Angel, how do you shave?
Willow has a good scene where she scolds both Giles and Angel, but the reptile demon is quite possibly the least convincing monster in the whole 7 series.
Buffy has straw in her hair after fighting a vampire. Angel notices it after chatting to Cordelia (who's dating singer Devon again - almost as if this episode was meant to follow Inca Mummy Girl) at the Bronze.
BUFFY: it's a seasonal look.
Xander gets genuinely upset with Buffy for saving him from fighting with Larry (to defend her honour). She and Willow hit on the idea of looking through Giles' watcher diaries for information about Angel.
BUFFY: Most importantly, it would be wrong.
(they go to the Library)
GILES: Ah, Buffy. Excellent.
Spike is back as well as Angel and Oz, and there's new villain Ethan Rayne - this episode is much more heavyweight than the two before it. When he converts the kids into their costume characters, Xander becomes a commando which proves useful regularly in future episodes. Buffy loses her memory, and that too is returned to (several times).
WILLOW: she couldn't have dressed up like Xena?
Pity they never went there.
Buffy runs away after a vampire enters her home without being invited in (oops). Angel fights the vampire - the first time we have seen Angel do anything but cower. Giles meets Ethan who calls him Ripper - the first inkling we have that Giles isn't just a tweedy librarian whose role is to get knocked out a lot.
ETHAN: I know who you are, Rupert, and I know what you're capable of. But they don't, do they? They have no idea where you come from.
I don't think we ever find out, but I'll be watching out for any more clues.
2.7 Lie to Me
Although there's a whole plot thing about vampire worshippers, and a poignant theme running throughout the episode about lies and trust, some of the most interesting moments are when we find out one thing after another about Angel's past:
ANGEL: A hundred years, just hanging out, feeling guilty. I really honed my brooding skills. Then she comes along.
Unfortunately he also has incredibly clunky lines like this:
ANGEL: I did a lot of unconscionable things when I became a vampire.
The closing lines are one of my favourite bits of Buffy dialogue:
BUFFY: Does it ever get easy?
(FORD rises as a vampire and is instantly dusted)
GILES: You mean life?
BUFFY: Yeah, does it get easy?
GILES: What do you want me to say?
BUFFY: Lie to me.
GILES: Yes. It's terribly simple. The good guys are always stalwart and true. The bad guys are easily distinguished by their pointy horns or black hats, and we always defeat them and save the day. No one ever dies and everybody lives happily ever after.
2.8 The Dark Age
The Sunnydale police show up (for only the third time, I think?) investigating the homicide of Philip Henry, whom Giles says he hasn't seen for 20 years. After placing a transatlantic call (and getting the time difference wildly wrong), he crosses a name off a list leaving only Ethan Rayne and Rupert Giles.
It emerges that Giles was totally lying about the spell in Witch being his first casting; he dropped out of uni at 21, went to London and got into dark magicks for fun. And even worse - the Bay City Rollers. And he played guitar.
We see Giles' house for the first time. Also the fighting between Xander and Cordelia is getting more intense.
BUFFY: It was scary. I'm used to you being, you know, grown up. And then I find you're a person.
GILES: Most grown-ups are.
BUFFY: Who would've thought?
2.9 What's my Line? Part 1
Angel, who was brave enough to (let his inner demon) take on Eyghon in the last episode, is back to being afraid of small noises.
ANGEL: Buffy, you scared me.
BUFFY: Just dropping by for some quality time with Mr. Gordo?
In a lull before a particularly fast-moving double episode, they banter kind of listlessly.
BUFFY: I have this thing at school.
ANGEL: Career week?
BUFFY: How did you know?
ANGEL: I lurk.
When the first of the Order of Taraka comes for Buffy at the skating rink, Angel is "power freaked". Giles claims that "they won't stop coming until the job is done" but luckily he's wrong for once.
We see vampire-friendly Willy's Place for the first time, and Angel is brave enough to beat Willy up until a mysteriously strong girl shows up, who we might assume to be another bounty hunter.
GILES: Don't warn the tadpoles?
WILLOW: I have frog fear.
Taking Cordelia to investigate Buffy's house (no. 1628 - the neighbour at 1626 gets murdered by bug man), Xander refers to the group as "the scooby gang" for the first time. Finally, the mystery girl is revealed to be Kendra the Vampire Slayer - best cliffhanger ever.
2.10 What's My Line? Part 2
While Buffy and Kendra try to work out who is the chosen one with the help of Giles, Angel is power-freaked about the approaching sunlight and seems to be drained of energy by it.
KENDRA: They call me Kendra. I have no last name, sir.
BUFFY: Can we say stuck in the 80s?
They quickly realise that Kendra was called when Buffy died, briefly, in Prophecy Girl. Giles explains that "This is completely unprecedented! I'm quite
flummoxed." This is a brilliant twist, but clearly signposted in that episode and at other times in hindsight.
Then there's the fantastic scene where Xander and Cordelia are hiding in the basement from the worm assassin, their fighting reaches fever pitch and they kiss (then flee). Followed straight by the scene where the policewoman assassin tries to shoot Buffy (and hits Oz).
XANDER: (to Kendra) A slayer, huh? (to Buffy) I knew this "I'm the only one, I'm the only one" thing was just an attention-getter.
Kendra explains that she was sent to her Watcher when she was very young - though not how her parents knew she was a potential slayer.
We learn that Sunnydale has 43 churches, presumably excluding the one whose ruins the High School is built on. When Buffy arrives to save Angel, in the hands of the bounty hunters, Willy says he heard there was a bounty, and Spike says "you heard wrong" - which I guess is why the Order of Taraka never send anyone else.
The episode finally returns to the theme of careers.
KENDRA: You talk about slaying like it's a job - it's not. It's who you are.
It's Buffy's mom's turn to fall for someone who turns out to be scary and dangerous.
XANDER: Freud would have said the exact same thing. Except he might not have done that little dance.
It's an episode very short on vampires.
BUFFY: Vampires... here, vampires...
Cordelia helps Xander and Willow solve the mystery by noticing that the rug "doesn't go with the rest of the decor" - so I guess she's a proper scooby now.
2.12 Bad Eggs
There's a parenting, responsibility, dating thing going on. Xander isn't into it.
GILES: I suppose there is a sort of Machiavellian ingenuity to your transgression.
XANDER: I resent that! Or, possibly, thank you.
But he's onto Buffy: "You. Angel. Big smoochies?" and indeed that's pretty much all they do in their scenes together at this point.
BUFFY: your egg isn't acting odd, or anything?
CORDELIA: It's an egg, Buffy, it doesn't emote.
Buffy and Xander, unpossessed, are at something of a loss in the library on their own without Giles. Luckily they hear Jonathan (who is gradually appearing more often) being possessed by the egg creatures. I notice he is also now called Jonathan in the credits.
Buffy is grounded but can still smooch Angel through her window.