Episode Title: Lovers Walk
Original Air Date: November 24, 1998
“You’re not friends. You’ll never be friends. You’ll be in love till it kills you both. You’ll fight, and you’ll shag, and you’ll hate each other till it makes you quiver but you’ll never be friends. Love isn’t brains, children, it’s blood; blood screaming inside you to work its will. I may be love’s bitch, but at least I’m man enough to admit it.” – Spike
For some reason I’d disregarded this week’s episode as being a very minor and one which served to wrap up the secret relationship between Willow and Xander. At the same time Spike also makes his sole return to Sunnydale for this season, having been dumped by Drusilla and leaving him a heartbroken wreck determined to win her back with the help of Willow’s magical abilities.
While it seemed that we had seen the last of Spike when he hit the bricks at the end of Season 2 with an unconscious Drusilla having decided that he didn’t want to send the world to hell as Angel had planned to do. This episode picks things up with him now seeing him essentially a shell of his cocky former self as he visits his own haunts and drunkenly cursing Angel for turning Drusilla against him before passing out drunk in direct sunlight which in one of the episode highlights sets his hand on fire. Personally I didn’t know that vampires could get drunk let alone consume food (something we will see Spike also do in a later season) but in the Wheldon-verse they seemingly can and here it works perfectly for this episode, as drunken Spike is certainly more entertaining than the alternative which I guess would be a mopey Spike.
If anything this episode could be seen as the start of Spike becoming more of a main character than a villain of the week, no doubt thanks to the potential for his character being realised through this episode, yet still requiring a few more things to happen before he could become a member of the Scoobies which surprisingly he would by Season 5, a move that I don’t think anyone saw happening. Yes it is strange to see him not working on some scheme but instead genuinely trying to deal with his heartbreak, but the fun really is in how he goes about doing this, especially as we still can’t essentially trust him so to see him taking coffee with Buffy’s mum your never sure what way it’s going to go though it does give us the great scene of him pretending to bite her to aggravate Angel who is still locked out of Buffy’s house.
I personally always loved that Joyce is this universal mother figure in this universe and constantly is the go to person for this kind of support for many of the characters but especially and certainly more randomly Spike despite the fact he is a century older than her. Still its these fun moments which make you dread what lies ahead for her all the more but thankfully we still have a way to go before we have to deal with that.
Outside of the main Spike-centric storyline here, this episode also forces the various couple to face up to their own relationship challenges which certainly in the case of Willow / Oz and Xander / Cordellia really doesn’t come at the best time, seeing how here we see both sets of couples finally appearing to be settled with Oz giving Willow a Witch Pez dispenser (still cute after all these years) and Cordellia putting photos of her with Xander inside her locker. Sadly by the end of the episode though both will be torn apart by the discover of Willow and Xander’s secret relationship, Cordelia’s own break up being especially rough as she end up being impaled on some rubble. Intrestingly enough the scar that this injury covers handily wrote into the Buffy-verse a childhood scar that Charisma Carpenter got when she fell onto a piece of rebar when she was five.
As for Buffy and Angel this is the episode were they are finally forced to admit that they can’t be together as friends as the feelings between them will always remain too strong. This is especially noteworthy as we head towards the end of Angel’s time in the Buffy-Verse before he heads to LA in the “Angel” spin off. It’s a realisation that many Buffy fans didn’t want to face up to holding out the hope that Buffy and Angel would get back together and something which this episode essentially squashed though it would only become the clearer just how true this was as head towards the season finale.
A surprisingly fun episode despite the heavy emphasis on the characters relationships and one which gives us a double vampire staking in the sole fight scene we get in this episode. Despite the low action quota it wraps up several plotline while setting on course on the major events of the Buffy-verse including more randomly setting the Magic Box up for Giles to later take over. This is also an episode whose events will be returned to later as we get to see the scene of Drusilla and Spike breaking up when he catches her making out with a Chaos demon. The episode would also be accompanied by a sweepstakes promo were fans could call a 1-800-COLLECT number to win a walk on part on the show, a prize won by Jessica Johnson who would appear in the episode “The Prom”.
If anything though this episode helps to put things back on track and remove the distractions so that the show can start to focus on its season end game and moving the pieces into place, while Spike heading off into the desert to find Drusilla and howling along to the Sid Vicious cover of “My Way” not only assures us he’s back to his old self, but also in many ways assures us that this isn’t the last we have seen of him.
Next Episode: The Wish