Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Amends
Amends is the tenth episode of the third season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the forty-fourth episode overall.
Guest Starring: Kristine Sutherland (Joyce Summers), Saverio Guerra (Willy), Shane Barach (Daniel), Edward Edwards (Travis), Cornelia Hayes O'Herlihy (Margaret), Robia LaMorte (Jenny Calendar), Eliza Dushku (Faith)
As Christmas approaches, Angel is haunted by the spirits of those he slaughtered while a soulless monster. An entity known as the First Evil is tormenting Angel so that he'll surrender to his bestial nature.
Meanwhile, Willow tries to repair her relationship with Oz.
Monster of the Week
Angel is tormented by The First Evil, an incorporeal manifestation of all evil in existence. The entity can only take the form of deceased people, including the undead and people who died and were later resurrected. In this case, it takes the form of several of Angel's victims when he was soulless, most notably including Jenny Calendar. Because the First Evil is incorporeal, it mainly focuses on psychological torture—hence why it tries to convince him to kill Buffy and accepts his plan to kill himself.
Giles eventually finds a book which describes the First Evil as being older than both demons and man—it would eventually claim to be the first incarnation of evil in reality. He explains that it would have the power to return Angel to the mortal plane, although this is only a guess on his part. The First is typically accompanied by The Bringers or, formally, Harbingers of Death who can conjure spirit manifestations and send them to haunt people. Their proximity to plant life causes it to wither.
- "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe" by Barry White: At Willow's house, when Oz shows up with movies, part of her romantic scenario includes a requisite song by Barry White. "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe" first appeared on the 1974 disco/soul album Can't Get Enough and is a close approximation of the style of music that he is most well known for.
- Band Candy: In the Christmas tree lot, Joyce quickly shoots down Buffy when she asks if Giles can have Christmas Eve dinner with them. This recalls the temporary emotional regression the entire adult population suffered thanks to some enchanted chocolate bars and the two shared a romantic tryst. Buffy isn't aware of what exactly happened between the two.
- Snowfall: The miraculous snowfall which obscures the sunrise and prevents Angel's suicide has been often debated by fans of the series, but series creator (and episode writer) Joss Whedon all but confirmed that the snowfall was caused by The Powers That Be, the forces which guided Angel's destiny in Angel. Shortly after this episode aired, Whedon posted an explanation on a message board in regard to the scene:
- "The snow [in Amends] was good... was it God? Well, I'm an atheist, but it's hard to ignore the idea of a "Christmas miracle" here... The fact it, the Christian mythos has a powerful fascination to me, and it bleeds into my storytelling. Redemption, hope, purpose, Santa, these all are important to me, whether I believe in an afterlife or some universal structure or not. I certainly don't mind a strictly Christian interpretation being placed on this ep by those who believe that -- I just hope it's not limited to that (joss, Dec 15 22:17 1998)."
- This is the first Christmas themed episode of the series. The episode "Bring on the Night", set in the 7th season (in which The First is the "Big Bad"), is the only other episode to acknowledge Christmas time, but that episode is not about the holiday.
- In the advertisements, the WB promoted this episode as "A Buffy Christmas".
- Robia LaMorte makes a return appearance as The First Evil in the form of Jenny Calendar. This is her final appearance on the series. This is also the first appearance of the First Evil, who would be a prominent part of the series final season.
- In season seven, we learn that the First Evil is incapable of tangible touch when parodying the dead. However, this rule must not have yet been established as Jenny Calendar successfully touches both Angel and Giles.
Behind the Scenes
- Mutant Enemy: On the Mutant Enemy production company logo, the zombie which shambles across the screen is wearing a Santa hat and chimes are added to the background.
- According to interviews, Robia LaMorte was initially excited about reprising her role as Jenny Calendar, but was later disappointed to learn that she would only be appearing as an evil incantation of her former character, instead of her character in a good light.
Allusions and References
- Angel: I'm sorry to bother you.
- Giles: (laughs) Sorry. Sorry. Coming from you that phrase strikes me as rather funny. "Sorry to bother me."
- Angel: I need your help.
- Giles: (straight-faced) And the funny keeps on coming.
- Angel: I'm sorry.
- Jenny Calendar: You're sorry? For me? Don't bother. I'm dead. I'm over it.
- The First: You think you can fight me? I'm not a demon, little girl. I am something that you can't even conceive. The First Evil. Beyond sin. Beyond death. I am the thing that darkness fears. You'll never see me, but I am everywhere. Every being, every thought, every drop of hate.
- Buffy: All right, I get it. You're evil. Do we have to chat about it all day?
- The First: You have no idea what you're dealing with.
- Buffy: Let me guess. Is it... evil?
- Angel: I can't do it again, Buffy. I can't become a killer.
- Buffy: Then fight it.
- Angel: It's too hard.
- Buffy: Angel, please, you have to get inside.
- Angel: It told me to kill you. You were in the dream. You know. It told me to lose my soul in you and become a monster again.
- Buffy: I know what it told you. What does it matter?
- Angel: Because I wanted to! Because I want you so badly. I want to take comfort in you, and I know it'll cost me my soul, and a part of me doesn't care. Look, I'm weak. I've never been anything else. It's not the demon in me that needs killing, Buffy. It's the man.