Episode Title: Life Serial
Original Air Date: October 23rd 2001
“Stop touching my magic bone!” – Jonathan
Continuing the upbeat tone of last weeks episode, here “The Trio” are continuing with their schemes against Buffy even though she has no clue of their alliance as they set about testing the Slayer using their various abilities.
Still facing money issues and an unclear future Buffy this week attempts to find some form of direction for her life first by attempting to go back to school before looking at possible career options as she takes a job as part of Xanders construction team, only to soon start showing up the other workers with the advantages her Slayer strength gives her as she lifts girders with ease. She also attempts retail work at the Magic Box only to find herself struggling to deal with a problematic mummy hand. All the while her attempts at finding normality are being interfered with by the Trio
Unquestionably “The Trio” are by far one of the best aspects of this season, especially at this early stage which has them essentially being a trio of incompetent wannabe supervillians who spend almost as much time arguing about their geek obsessions as they do trying to pull of schemes and it somehow works. Why is perhaps due to how enjoyable their schemes are as we start with Warren tagging Buffy with a tiny device which causes time to move slowly for her and as such makes everyone else seem like they they moving in fast-forward. Next Andrew summons a group of demons to attack Buffy while she is working at the construction site before finally Johnathan creates give Buffy her own “Groundhog Day” by trapping her in a time loop as she attempts to work a shift at the Magic box.
The final quarter of the episode which sees Buffy fresh out of options turning to Spike for help which leads her on a night of drinking and gambling (for kittens no less) which Spike explains is how he finds information as demons tend to get chatty when they gamble. What is great about this scene though is that it showed that not all demons are evil, a concept that “Angel” introduced early on and its great to see it being brought across to Buffy. This scene also introducing us to Clem credited here as the loose skinned demon and who would later be reworked into a friendlier and slightly goofier version later in the season.
Bar the last quarter with Spike which comes off pretty clumsy despite a couple of fun moments this is a solid episode and one only heightened by the banter of the Trio let alone the underrated comic ability of Sarah Michelle Gellar while truly sells her battle with a detached mummy hand which constantly finds a way to better her leading to some truly funny moments including a Monty Python homage and the hand somehow getting hold of a pair of tongs. As such its an episode certainly worth remembering especially considering how this season is so soured by its finale.
Next Episode: All The Way