[Content Note: Buffy Spoilers, Thoughts of Violence, Copious Swearing]
Recap: Buffy had to kill her boyfriend in order to save the world. Then she ran away for the summer because her mother threw her out, she was expelled from school, and she is suffering from having the worst job ever. Then she came home. This episode was about her family and friends yelling at her. Really.
There is no god, and proof of this is in the fact that Joyce, Xander, Cordelia, and Willow all inexplicably survived to the end of Dead Man's Party, despite all four being very clearly the Big Bad for the episode. Nor were they apparently exorcised of the Asshole Demons infesting their human forms. I am puzzled and frustrated by this apparent departure from the Demon Slaying format of the show. At least when Angel was on the team, he had a soul. These people? Do not.
OH MY GOD, DIE YOU HORRIBLE TROLL PEOPLE.
Husband was amused that I got so viscerally angry during the Party Sequence that I actually started pacing the living room. (This is pretty much unprecedented and possibly reflects the fact that I found this episode to be borderline triggering. Hello, conservative religious upbringing where My Business was automatically Everyone's Business. How nice to see you again. *stabbity*) What was even more upsetting to me is that the episode apparently played straight that everything was All Buffy's Fault, given that the resolution at the end is her taking all the blame forever. Or, at least, if it's not her fault, it's implied that her accepting emotional abuse in order to have peace is condoned by the writers in order to service the show.
Basically, at this point, I love Buffy so very much, and I'm perfectly okay with anyone and everyone else dying in a fire (minus possibly Giles, who was notably the only person in this episode who both did not blame Buffy for her perfectly reasonable response to having the worst, most stressful job ever and attempted to work with her on a level appropriate to her emotional need right now, and isn't that a sad, sad fact that "doesn't actively emotionally abuse Buffy because he's not SO selfish that he can't see that she's obviously suffering and has a job that would give most people PTSD" is worthy of goddamn cookies at this point. THAT IS HOW LOW WE HAVE SUNK.).
P.S. Did anyone else note that despite the fact that Willow et. al. knows Angel regained his soul and that Buffy must have killed him anyway, no one brought up that Buffy must have had a hard time killing her soul-restored boyfriend? Haha, and it was SUPER FUN when Xander basically told her it was all her fault for dating a "demon" and that "most girls don't hop a Greyhound over boy troubles". Haha, that is really just the super awesome culmination of all Xander's constant every-episode policing of Buffy's love-life and aggressing against her for failing to make her pussy available for his use. Great! What a great character! FUCK YOU, XANDER HARRIS, AND FUCK THE FACT THAT I CAN ALREADY TELL THAT YOU WILL VERY PROBABLY END UP IN THAT VAGINA BECAUSE YOU SMELL LIKE ROSS GELLER. That whole bit in Phases where Buffy hugs you because she's hurting over Angel and your response is how complicated your life is because you have Important Pantsfeelings just sickens me because it tells me that the writers think expressing your Grand Passion for Buffy is more important than having you express whoa, crap, someone I care about is hurting and that is awful because, let's face it, you only care about Buffy in the way that I care about my plate of fettuccine alfredo. Which is to say that you don't care because you aren't her friend, you're just someone who wants to own her.
P.P.S. Hey, remember last episode when Joyce blamed Giles for Buffy being gone because Joyce has a martyr complex the size of the Grand Canyon? And notice how she can't cope with the fact that she threw her own daughter out of the house, blabbed gossip about her daughter to her book club without ensuring that they wouldn't taunt Buffy or repeat the gossip indiscriminately (and who I would bet anything is acting as a feedback loop for I Didn't Do Anything Wrong Joyce Summers, based on how Pat passive-aggressively gets up in Buffy's grill both times they meet about how hard Joyce has had things without knowing anything about Buffy's side of the situation, on top of it being not her business to insert herself like that, but really, why should I be surprised anymore at Joyce Summers involving third parties in an attempt to shame Buffy, since she's already done it at least twice already), and is now in this episode telling Buffy that it's her fault she got expelled (for killing Kendra, who was Buffy's friend and OH MY GOD WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH THIS HORRIBLE WOMAN TO JUST DROP THAT CASUALLY IN LIKE THIS WHAT WHAT WHAT WHUT) because she made "bad choices" and has to live with the consequences, all of which underscores that Joyce hasn't grokked that being the Chosen One isn't something Buffy has any control over?
Now, you see, if I found out my daughter was a vampire slayer, and I wanted to find her and bring her back, I'd be actively talking to that Giles guy to find out all the stuff I don't know about my daughter so I could maybe be able to actually guess where she would have gone. (For all Joyce knows, there's a Vampire Slayer Academy in Baltimore.) But no, fuck that, better to just passive-agressively blame Giles, whine to my book club, sit at home wishing things would change, and then honestly admit that, huh, my life wasn't better just because my daughter came home WITHOUT CARRYING THROUGH ON THAT THOUGHT AND REALIZING YOUR LIFE ISN'T MAGICALLY BETTER BECAUSE YOU ARE THE PROBLEM WITH YOUR LIFE. YOU. NOT BUFFY. YOU YOU YOU.
P.P.P.S. Here is an image, along with words that I yelled at Husband tonight.
"I am a Vampire Slayer which means that I was born bound to a life I didn't choose, fated for a career I don't want, can never have a normal life, and must watch the people I love turn away from me in fear or die horrible deaths at the hands of those who hate me. I must live a dual life, and patrol the streets restlessly at night, for I am convinced that every life taken by a vampire or demon is a life that I am ultimately to blame for. In order to save the world, I gave up everything I held dear: I was evicted from my home, I was turned out by my family, I was expelled from school, I saw the only girl who could ever understand me die because I was in the wrong place at the wrong time in an attempt to save the lives of my friends, and I was forced to kill the only man I have ever loved.
I am crying because the few people in my life who actually know about the curse I live under and the sacrifices I have had to make are -- the people whose opinions matter to me because they are the only ones who know anything about my "real" life -- are emotionally abusing me and psychologically manipulating me. One is my mother, who threw me out of my home after repeatedly making it an unsafe place for me, who told me that I'd made bad choices in my struggle to save the world from encompassing evil, who confided in a near-stranger that her life is harder with me in it, and who is now yelling at me. One is my best girl friend, who has been avoiding me, who refused to talk to me, who blamed me for not listening to her talk about her living boyfriend because I was mourning my dead one, and who is now yelling at me. And one is my best boy friend, who has never said anything but hurtful and unkind words about my boyfriend (the one who suffered pain and grief in order to protect me and my friends) not because he cared about me as a person, but because he cares about me as a walking vagina, which further confirms that my value to the people around me is wrapped up not in Who I Am but rather in What I Do For Them. And who is now yelling at me."
P.P.P.P.S. Being the Chosen One isn't what is going to mess up Buffy. It's having these people as friends and family. I mean, for fuck's sake, the actual, literal demons in this series treat each other better. Demons make better friends and family than the "good guys"! What. The. Fuck.
P.P.P.P.P.S. Oh my god, I did a quick Google and I cannot get over the fact that there exist people who like Joyce in this episode and think she's right for not "let[ting] her daughter off the hook". My god, can I really be the only one who sees this show as stewing in toxic abuse of horrible triggeryness? My god, my dog, my odg.