Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Lie to Me

Season #2, Episode #7: Lie to Me

"A couple more days and we'll get to do the two things every American teen should have the chance to do: die young and stay pretty."

I know this review is a long time coming, but I've been preoccupied with other things like graduating college??? In any case, I'm done with my busy schedule of lazing about on the beach and am ready to review this depressing Buffy episode.

I remember that the first time I saw Lie to Me, I thought it was way too serious and not at all like the goofy season 1 episodes that I so loved and cherished, but in retrospect, it's lovely and has SUPER arcs and sets the tone for the rest of the season.

First creepy moment: Drusilla stalks a little blonde kid at a playground, who is anxiously waiting for his mom to pick him up. So what, she just dropped him off at a playground in the middle of the night? He's been waiting there after school for the past five hours? In any case, the two have this exchange:

Drusilla: What will your mummy sing when they find your body?
Little blonde kid: I'm not supposed to talk to people!

This kid is unphased.

But lest you fear our young innocent suffer a cruel fate, Angel comes to the rescue! He and Drusilla have a chat in which they reveal some sort of shared history, and then the show actually has the nerve to pull that trope where Buffy is lurking in the shadows and sees them together and thinks that they're having some romantic rendezvous.

In class the next day, Buffy and Willow exchange notes about the mystery lady Angel was rendezvousing with, and Xander wants to hear the details because hearing bad things about Angel "gives me a happy." Ughh. Mercifully, they're interrupted by Ford, Buffy's best friend from her old high school who wears orange sweater vests and makes Xander very jealous. It seems he's matriculating at Sunnydale High--will he join the Scoobies??

The gang go to The Bronze, where Angel also flexes his muscles at Ford. Geez, at least Xander has the excuse of being sixteen and Joss Whedon. Things get tense, so Buffy and Ford take a walk outside where Ford sees the slayer in action! But rather than shock and awe, he reacts with familiarity, because he inexplicably knows that she's the slayer? The show sez: Let's not fret over this fact, as it is perfectly understandable that this random teenage kid would know ancient slayer lore.

Ford retires to a shady looking club where everyone wears eyeliner and top hats and listens to the worst possible industrial music of all time. They rename themselves things like "Chanterelle" and "Diego," the latter donning a shiny blue cape, because that is goth. They allude to some future event for true believers, with poor Ford acting out a quintessential Joss Whedon Signature Moment in which he mouths the dialogue from the vampire film playing behind him. That's some brain you've got there, Ford!

Angel just can't let go of this Ford thing, and he sneaks into Willow's room so he can ask her to look up Ford on "the net." You see, Angel can't help but be jealous--he spent 100 years "honing his brooding skills" but Buffy just sends his heart all aflutter. Also, Angel is looking exceptionally like Edward Cullen in this scene.

Willow discovers on The Net that Ford didn't actually enroll at Sunnydale High. Shady??

Well, obviously. He goes to a goth club! Willow, Angel, and Xander follow him to said club and are totally grossed out by all the darkness. Chanterelle tells them that everyone at the club thinks that vampires are great and exalted and calls them They Who Walk The Night. Angel gets pissed off and calls Chanterelle a fool! He complains loudly that these people don't know what vampires are like, how they act, or how they dress.

Spike confronts Drusilla about her ~*~secret rendezvous~*~ with Angel. She whimpers because her pet bird died and she always whimpers constantly. They are lovey dovey and she whimpers and ughh they are so gross.

But they're interrupted by Ford, who is entirely too amped to live out Bram Stoker's Dracula with Spike and seriously wears on one's patience. Then he offers Spike the Slayer in exchange for eternal life. Rude!

Then Buffy confronts Angel about Drusilla. Wow, apparently Ford's appearance on the show has made everyone inexplicably insecure about everything. Leave the crippling jealousy to Xander! Anyway, before Angel explains his relationship to Drusilla, he asks Buffy if she loves him. "I love you, but I don't think I trust you!" she says. Oh, these crazy kids! Angel reveals that he turned Drusilla into a vampire a long time ago. Not just that, but: "First I made her insane. Killed everybody she loved. Visited every mental torture on her I could devise." Vampire Angel certainly sounds like a lovely fellow.

Angel tells Buffy about Ford's vampire society, and there is a super avant garde scene that would totally win a NYU film school prize in which Ford invites Buffy out on a date. She knows that he's lying, and he knows that she knows that he's lying, and the camera spins around them at weird angles, and it's so tense you guys!!!

On their "date" at the goth vampire club, Buffy confronts Ford about being a lying scumbag, and he tells her that everybody lies, and hey, do y'all think that this episode (Lie to Me) is about lies? Ford anticipated Buffy's heroic antics and locked them all in the club until sunset, when Spike will come and turn all of them into vampires. Chanterelle and Diego and co. won't believe Buffy when she says that Spike will kill them all and pig out at the "all you can eat moron bar."

Buffy tries to find an escape, and she and Ford get some alone time. He reveals that the rest of the people in the club will die, but that he'll become a vampire. Then the episode gets all grey and ambiguous when Ford reveals that he has brain cancer and will die in six months, and that becoming a vampire is his only way to stay alive. Dilemma!

But okay, not really. Because basically Ford is inciting mass murder so that he can become a vampire, one of few situations in which brain cancer doesn't really pull the trump card. Luckily Buffy sees through this act, but is a 'lil sad about it nonetheless. True to word, Spike and his gang show up, but Buffy manages to save them all. That is, except Ford, who stays behind so he can collect his eternal life. We're left in suspense as to what will become of him, until Buffy returns to the club and finds a very dead and non-vampirey Ford corpse.

Favorite moment: The episode ends with a really depressing scene that signals the DARK half of the season. Oh boy oh boy!!!! Buffy heads to the cemetery to patrol with Giles. She's upset because she can't hate Ford, or simply call him the Bad Guy, and everything is confusing, and she doesn't know who to hate or love or trust. She asks Giles if things will ever get easier, but he doesn't know what to say. "Lie to me," Buffy offers him. The episode fades out as Giles tells her, "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."

While I am partial to pretty much any scene between Giles and Buffy, this one is particularly satisfying. They have father/daughter dynamic going on, but somewhat strained because Giles is slowly forced to accept Buffy as his equal. So it's precious when Buffy turns to Papa Giles for comfort, and bittersweet when he can barely offer her any.


  1. I thought at the end of the episode when Buffy's talking to Giles and she spikes random vampire-in-the-graveyard that said vampire is, in fact, Ford.

    Was this not the case? Maybe I'm reading too much into it.

  2. I actually thought the same thing, and said as much in the original version of this entry. But when I watched it again it just didn't look like Ford to me, and it seemed more likely that Spike had killed him than actually honored his end of the bargain? But I'm really not sure!