"Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered" [2x16]
Review by Mikelangelo "MikeJer" Marinaro
Posted by MikeJer on October 30, 2005Writer: Marti Noxon
Director: James A. Contner
This is a retrospective review and may contain spoilers from anywhere in the series. Read at your own peril.
Here's an episode where we finally get a look at Xander and Cordelia's odd relationship. This is an extremely lightweight romp that makes its mark as easily the funniest episode of the season and is also one of the series' overall funnier episodes. There's lots of confusion and fun after Amy's backfired spell kicks in and it never lets up all the way until the, actually somewhat surprising, ending involving Cordelia actually ditching Harmony and her now old group of sheepish friends.
The craziness begins with Cordelia's 'group' abandoning her simply because she's dating Xander. Cordelia's genuinely upset about this. Like she said back in "Out of Mind, Out of Sight" (1x11), "Well, it beats being alone all by yourself," in response to why she likes being popular. She doesn't fully realize that now she's got the Scoobies to keep her from feeling alone. By the end of the episode that realization comes and she, naturally scared about it, leaves her old friends behind. It becomes quite the whacky adventure before she gets there though.
First, Cordelia breaks up with Xander on Valentine's Day of all days, right after he gave her a beautiful heart pendent on a necklace. This genuinely hurts Xander and he doesn't try to hide it. We can tell Cordelia also feels quite bad about it as well because the next day she is wearing (although hiding) the same necklace. That leads to the blackmail of Amy and the spell to make Cordelia love him, so he can in turn break up with her instead. Like almost all spells in this series, it backfires and causes chaos to ensue. Every single female except Cordelia ends up falling in love with Xander, including Buffy.
Buffy coming onto him is his absolute fantasy and he can barely resist kissing her when offered the opportunity to. He gets pulled away by Amy who is also hitting on him in the same way Buffy was. This is when he realizes, in a subtle and heartbreaking way, that Buffy isn't really coming onto him; the spell is talking, not Buffy. This really saddens Xander, especially after the little bit of hope she gave him after hugging him in the previous episode. All of this Xander lovin' going around leads to the fantastically funny scene where he's walking down the main hallway of the school while all the girls are checking him out and making moon eyes.
By this point absolute chaos is unleashed. Amy turns Buffy into a rat, Cordelia is getting beat up, Ms. Calendar is even coming onto Xander, and Willow tries to axe murder him for not returning her 'love.' In response to all this Xander grabs Cordelia and runs off to Buffy's place for sanctuary. While here Buffy's mom hits on Xander and he, absolutely hilariously, slams his head down on the table and yells "whatever!" Amazingly, the chaos doesn't stop here. They flee up to Buffy's room where Angelus, wanting to finally do in Buffy, grabs Xander instead but Drusilla is under the spell and stops him from hurting Xander! Wow, good times.
Giles and Amy finally break the spell and everything returns to normal except at the end Cordelia finally shuts Harmony up and says, "You're a sheep. All you ever do is what everyone else does just so you can say you did it first. And here I am, scrambling for your approval, when I'm way cooler than you are 'cause I'm not a sheep. I do what I wanna do, and I wear what I wanna wear. And you know what? I'll date whoever the hell I wanna date. No matter how lame he is." And with that speech Cordelia has grown another step forward. This is great stuff.
There's also a couple other nice touches that don't involve Xander and Cordelia. Giles shows that he hasn't lost his affections for Jenny and that his devotion to Buffy still comes first. Jenny completely understands, and this is undoubtedly the moment she decides to begin research on how to curse Angel again. The rotten fruits of her labor come up in "Passion" (2x17), the next episode.
The good guys aren't the only ones celebrating Valentine's Day. Spike gives Drusilla a stunning necklace for the occasion, but Angelus comes in and gives her a fresh heart from a shopkeeper to outdo Spike's gift. Angelus is continuing to steal Dru's affection away from Spike and this naturally infuriates him. Spike will get some satisfaction in seeing Angelus being beat up by Giles in "Passion" (2x17) and then will actively help stop Angelus in "Becoming Pt. 2" (2x22). This is simply a fantastic episode with tremendous fun to be had.
Minor Pros/Cons (+/-)
QuotesBUFFY:Sorry to say, Xand, slaying is a tad more perilous than dating.
XANDER:Well, you're obviously not dating Cordelia.
SPIKE:Why don't you rip her lungs out? It might make an impression.
SPIKE:It doesn't have to. What rhymes with lungs?
XANDER:Th-that's it! This has gotta stop. It's time for me to act like a man. And hide.
GILES:I cannot believe that you are fool enough to do something like this!
XANDER:Oh, no, I'm twice the fool it takes to do something like this.
:(Oz comes up and punches Xander)
OZ:That kinda hurt.
XANDER:Kinda?! What was that for?
OZ:I was on the phone all night, listening to Willow cry about you. Now, I don't know exactly what happened, but I was left with a very strong urge to... hit you. (offers his hand to help Xander up)
BUFFY:I seem to be having a slight case of nudity here.
OZ:But you're not a rat. So call it an upside.
BUFFY:Oh, yeah. I remember coming on to you, I remember begging you to undress me... And then a sudden need for cheese.
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