Season 2, Episode 15: Phases

In this episode! (Note: there is much discussion of Catholic philosophy at the end of this. Quite interesting, says Agnostic Katherine)

  • We begin this episode as we do most with an argument. Mark asserts that Xander is homophobic, and Katherine says he isn’t
  • Katherine shows Mark that there are several callbacks in this episode. Note that Xander speaks about being part of the hyena pack, and the great scene with Oz and Willow at the trophy case (shout out to Nina)  and the connection to episode 3 “The Witch” is clear.
  • Mark points out the bands are back, and Katherine said she loved 5 of the songs.
  • Katherine is curious about Mark’s reception to Oz learning he is a werewolf. Katherine can’t find a podcast that likes this. We love it and think it is exactly the way Oz would handle any crisis.
  • Katherine also loves the Larry misdirect, that he could possibly be the one who killed Theresa.
  • So, gang, it comes to this—who is right?
  • Katherine and Mark throw down over Larry. Mark thinks Xander is being homophobic; Katherine says maybe a teeny tiny bit, but overall, it is awkwardness and the fact that Larry has been a bully to Xander his entire life. Katherine argues that Xander is noble in not sharing Larry’s coming out to him.
  • Mark is glad we finally know Xander’s phone number.
  • Mark points out the diffference between vampires and werewolves; werewolves have a soul. Katherine reminds Mark that Giles also said that werewolves don’t have a conscience.
  • We are split on Giles. Katherine thinks he was delighted by most things in this episode, even Xander’s dumb jokes. Mark agrees that Giles is in good spirits, but that he was mocking Xander. What do you think?
  • We are intrigued that Xander still can’t get his romantic act together. He is jealous of Oz and Willow, and still has feelings for Buffy. Xander, Xander, Xander.
  • Mark was initially confused about embalming vampires, but ultimately resolved this problem.
  • We agree that Theresa’s death is tragic and Katherine raises the issue of whose responsibility it is (duh, besides Angelus.) Is it at all Buffy’s fault since Buffy could have killed Angelus in the last episode but didn’t?
  • Mark thinks a key theme of the episode is that Buffy is grappling with the fact that she is a killer. In response to Katherine, Mark engages in a really interesting lecture on “proximate cause.” He argues because of this liability law, Buffy is ultimately not responsible for Theresa’s death
  • Mark next discusses the responsibility vs. Grace (jump to 37:10 into the podcast) which is fascinating to Katherine because Katherine is obsessed with issues of responsibility. One suggestion that Mark makes is that it may not be possible to keep one’s hands clean. One has to make moral decisions in the world and sometimes these decisions result in people getting hurt. This can’t be avoided, and choosing not to make a decision can actually result in greater harm. Katherine, while relistening to this podcast is stunned by this discussion. She thinks of these issues often.
  • Mark suggests that while we need to give Buffy slack, at the same time, her hope that Angelus will return and become Angel again is a dangerous belief that could lead to further problems. (Wink wink audience.)
  • Katherine and Mark end by talking about how we oppose killing werewolves because we are vegetarians, but have not problem with the killing of vampires.

Season 2, Episodes 13 and 14: Surprise and Innocence

In this episode!

We are thrilled to report on two episodes! Katherine promised Mark it was a game changer, and he agreed!

  • Mark makes a great comment to start off that it was great seeing these episodes after watching the previous two. In his opinion, “Ted” was the least Buffy episode, and “Bad Eggs” was the worst Buffy episode; finally, we have episodes worthy to sink our teeth into.
  • Katherine explains a little about the history, in that Buffy was on Monday nights, but Joss cleverly arranged to have Surprise shown on Jan. 19, and Innocence shown the following night, a Tuesday, as the new default Buffy show night.
  • Mark says these definitively were  game changing episodes, and he didn’t predict anything that happened. He pointed out that Buffy and Angel’s romance was stopped; Angel returns to being a bad vampire; Jenny gets busted; Xander and Cordy’s relationship heats up and is exposed; Willow’s character sharpens…
  • Mark was really excited when Angel quoted The Four Tops: “Just look over your shoulder, and I’ll be there.” This is why Katherine has Mark as a side-kick. Great catch!
  • Katherine agrees with all of Mark’s comments about the exciting moments, but she is possibly most excited about Drusilla and Spike. Katherine loves how Angelus alters the dynamic. A favorite moment is when the Judge sees Angelus. Spike assumes Angelus will be destroyed, but it is Spike and Dru that stink of humanity; Angelus has zero humanity. Whew.
  • Mark’s one disappointment in the episode is the whole “weapon forged by man” thing. He expected it to be a brick or somesuch. Katherine tried to defend this but couldn’t seem to get the words factory out of her mouth. Am I right gang? How do you defend the use of the Howitzer?
  • We both loved the dream sequences. Buffy’s dreams are prophetic. Another glorious sigh as seeds are planted.
  • Mark had another great catch: no Giles intro to the episode.
  • Katherine points out the significance of the “hippo has pants” comment from Willow.
  • Mark is dying to know if there is any significance to Jenny’s license plate. Do any of our fans know? And Mark loves Giles’s car.
  • Katherine points out that there is a reference to the first episode and the discussion of carpe diem with Willow.
  • Mark gave an abbreviated fashion report:
    • Mark says Buffy should not have worn those clogs. Katherine points out that Buffy’s footwear is pretty much always inappropriate
    • Mark says Xander’s camel hair hockey sweater was a daring choice
  • Mark and Katherine argue about Jenny. I believe that Katherine won this debate.
  • Mark did wonder if Angel might not be really evil and that this was a deception. Interesting for the future, right gang?
  • Katherine shares her introduction to Buffy when listening to an NPR story about Angel’s becoming a monster after Buffy’s loss of her virginity. Good memories.
  • Mark is really impressed with the relationship between Buffy and Angel. Joss does a great job of capturing the pain and the angst.
  • We are both fascinated by Angelus. We feel Spike’s pain—he just wants Angelus to end Buffy. But Angelus likes to torture and torment.
  • We feel bad for Buffy. It’s her birthday, she has lost her virginity to someone she loved, and her boy friend is a monster. Katherine suggests that despite all the other terrible things that Buffy has lived through, this may be the worst thing she has experienced.
  • Katherine explained that when these episodes aired, the Buffy fandom went crazy. They were so upset about what happened to Buffy and Angel. Joss was asked about this and said, in typical Joss Whedon fashion (and why I love him so much): “What people want is not what they need.”  Mark loved this and said that it reminded him of what Katherine told him during the first episode that “no one is immune.”
  • We both agree that another reason why Joss is a genius is because in a Buffy episode, everybody has a role and a reason for being in the scene. For example, Mark loves Oz witnessing his first vampire slaying. We adore Oz.
  • Mark also loves Oz’s response to Willow’s romantic overture. Oz is always authentic. We want to be Oz.
  • Great discussion about Xander and friendship. Mark says the reason why Katherine loves Xander is because he exhibits true loyalty and friendship. The example Mark gives is when the Scoobies thought Angel and Buffy might be dead, it is Xander and Willow, who threw out logic, but loyally planned on trying to save the day and their friends, if possible. Mark said that sometimes people will claim to be friends and will do anything for you, but then there are those few who actually turn up. Xander and Willow are those friends. True friends.
  • Katherine and Mark argue over Dru and Spike. Mark just can’t get interested in them. Katherine adores them, maybe enough for both.
  • Katherine shared that Joss and Kristine (Joyce) said these were their favorite episodes.
  • Katherine and Mark perform a scene between Jenny and Giles that got cut from the original. Then, follows a discussion about how Buffy lives such a precarious life. Every battle could be the last.
  • We can’t wait to hear what you all think of these two episodes. Do you remember if you predicted what would come next?

Season 2, Episode 12: Bad Eggs

In this episode!

Katherine opened by saying this episode is almost universally hated.

  • Mark’s immediate reaction is to understand that reaction and to point out the chief reason for such hatred is (drumroll)… that Buffy misuses the term “begs the question.”
  • Mark further says that this episode is “gross.”
  • Katherine shocks the world and says that she didn’t hate it. Why Katherine, why?
  • It was scary. The monster was centipede-y, in a good way.
  • She loved the banter between Cordy and Xander. (Mark admitted he did too.)
  • She loves the advancement of the Cordy/Xander relationship.
  • Katherine said what didn’t work for her is what didn’t work for Mark in last episode: the feeling that this was an isolated episode. Katherine believes she heard that this was meant to be a season 1 episode, and that is why it doesn’t fit in the arc. Does anyone out there know?
  • Katherine also likes the advancement of the Buffy and Angel relationship. That sexual tension will have some significance later.
  • Katherine also really enjoys the Gorch brothers.
  • Mark and Katherine debate Texas.
  • More vampire rules&emdash;becoming a vampire does not mean you lose all your personality. You are you and not you at the same time. Cool.
  • Mark’s Fashion Report:
    • Willow is wearing smiley PJs when she turns evil
    • Katherine points out that Xander is wearing golfing or bowling pants. Katherine makes an astonishingly good observation that Xander often dresses like a guy in his 50s who would fit in nicely as a guest on All in the Family.
    • Mark likes that Joyce’s wardrobe is described by Buffy as being from Muumuus are Us. Mark also revels in Joyce’s perfect curls.
    • Katherine loves Cordy’s leather mini-skirt.
    • Katherine and Mark agree that Giles has a uniform.
    • Mark loves Buffy’s purple eye-shadow and how it coordinates to her shirt.
  • How do you feel about Joyce as the mean mother? Katherine and Mark are split on this. Katherine reveals a not very interesting secret from when she was 16.
  • Mark says he will create the sucks-rules-o-meter for Buffy. Let’s press him on this.

Shout out to Jessica Branch, who once explained to me that men can’t do color but women can. I told her that I can’t. Anyway, I believe she will be able to decide if Mark is right by his claim about the color of Buffy’s eye shadow.


Season 2, Episode 11: Ted

In this episode!

  • Content warning: domestic violence.
  • Mark provides the style report:
    • Buffy had thin eyebrows, which changed her look completely
    • Cordelia’s new look was “very pulled together”
    • Katherine is curious–does anyone else notice these things?
  • We would love to have an expert on fashion come and do a special episode of The Cleveland Hellmouth. Anyone out there want to join us?
  • Mark asks, “Does anybody get any action that they don’t deeply regret?” Katherine says tentatively, yes?
  • Mark is most upset that Buffy spoke to the cop without getting a lawyer first.
  • Katherine points out that this business of Buffy killing Ted is a big deal and will be important later. Unlike Buffy, though, we think killing Ted was a great idea.
  • Why the controversy over this episode? Katherine explains that many fans were upset that there was no paranormal activity. It is the sole episode of Buffy without paranormal activity in the A story. Many fans complained it was straight up Science Fiction. Katherine says she doesn’t care. What do you think?
  • Mark says, this episode is especially creepy in light of Anthony Sowell and Arial Castro cases. The Hellmouth being located in Cleveland makes more and more sense.
  • We noticed that it is interesting that there is minimal religion in Buffy, yet in this episode, Ted prays. Mark calls his praying, “attack prayers” and suggests that Jesus wouldn’t like it.
  • We love Jenny and Giles. We think they are acting like adults and actually have a pretty healthy relationship. We really like that.
  • Mark noticed that in the scene where Xander is leaning against the vending machine that all the items in one row are upside down. Did anyone else notice this?
  • Cordelia points out that since Buffy is a superhero, doesn’t she have more rights than ordinary people? (Remind Buffy fans of anything?) Willow says that is the view of the fascist state. Cordelia asks why we can’t have that, and I would suggest, here we are now!
  • Mark makes an interesting comparison between Buffy and Mohammad Ali.
  • Katherine asks, “Why is Ted a great cook?”
  • Mark is ultimately unhappy by this episode because he feels that unlike every other episode of Buffy that we’ve seen, this one could be lifted out to stand on its own. It isn’t (beyond the Giles and Jenny part) part of the larger narrative arc. For that reason, it is disappointing. Katherine, natch, disagrees.
  • We are considering having a rate the episode so that listeners to this podcast and decide which is the best and worst of Buffy.

Shout outs: To the podcast Writing Excuses which has nothing whatsoever to do with Buffy, but it just a wonderful podcast on writing.

Must read or watch: The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin


Season 2, Episode 9: What’s My Line, Parts 1 and 2

In this episode!

  • Mark wonders if Angel is the sexiest man in the world; Katherine says even in the universe of the show, maybe not…
  • We love Kendra, but Mark wonders about her accent.
  • Katherine is the grammar police and explains slay vs. slew.
  • Mark says Buffy the show is all about toxic masculinity; Katherine says but what about Xander and …
  • Mark says vampires aren’t sexist; rather, vampires are racist and/or speciesist.
  • Mark points out that not only is Spike emotionally fragile, Mark thinks that the Big Bads in Buffy are basically bad at being bad. They lack focus and are too impulsive.
  • Destiny and fate vs. free will: on which side does Buffy the show land? Katherine leans toward free will.
  • Have any of you noticed that people who love Buffy, the Vampire Slayer are really cool and interesting?
  • Katherine loves Drusilla and Spike; Mark, not so much.
  • We both love Oz.
  • Career talk—note that Buffy is told she should be in law enforcement and Xander a prison guard. Buffy worries she doesn’t have a future, and this episode makes it clear that Xander doesn’t think he has a future either.
  • Mark says there is a Beauty and the Beast feel to this episode, especially the scene at the skating rink.
  • Mark is a little concerned about who the Big Bad of the episode is going to be. If it’s Spike then what are we waiting for?

Shout outs and interesting tidbits

Shout out to Jessica Branch who suggested that the Hellmouth is in University Circle, more specifically, under the Cleveland Museum of Art and CWRU. She argues this has to do with Jane Jacobs’s theory about urban spaces that are deserted at night. Mark takes this on in the episode. Katherine argues the Hellmouth is probably in Old Brooklyn under Rhodes High School.

Shout out to Tony Martin whose photographs of West 3rd and Quigley make the argument that the Hellmouth is there.

Shout out to Cathy Podojil.


Season 2, Episode 8: The Dark Age

In this episode!

  • Mark’s favorite part of this episode is the relationship between Jenny and Giles. Mark wonders what she sees in him (oh, Mark) but he figures it out. Mark doesn’t like how the relationship ends up though
  • Katherine and Mark argue about Buffy’s treatment of Giles. Katherine says, Buffy forgives and understands; Mark thinks Buffy is schooling him. What do you think?
  • Mark no longer likes Ethan Raine. Says he’s a jerkface. What do you think?
  • We loved the horror transformation of Jenny.
  • We continue to disagree. Katherine loved Willow in the library; Mark thought Willow was stilted.
  • We love Cordelia and how she is evolving. Mark thought it was a little strange that Xander and Cordy were cuddling. (Katherine smirks.)
  • Katherine is really really bugged about the whole blood bank thing. Is she being overly concerned?
  • We love Giles talking about his use and abuse of magic in college as an addiction, a drug. Katherine says we need to remember this comparison.
  • Katherine finds interesting that Giles looked for the worst group that would have him when he was in his Ripper phase. Mark asks a great question: what type of group would be so bad they wouldn’t want Giles?
  • Possessed Jenny says, “Nothing is safe in this world.” Is this true, listeners? Katherine thinks that is the scariest moment in the scene. With the election of Trump, Katherine thinks possessed Jenny might be right.
  • We think Giles should have told Buffy the truth about Igon.
  • Mark has a hard time remembering happiness. Katherine reminds him about his red bike and his little dog, and Mark realizes that there can be happiness in the world and he wants it for Jenny and Giles, but he’d prefer that the tension get built up a bit more first.

We are proud to say that there is not one spoiler in this episode of our podcast. 😉


Season 2, Episode 7: Lie to Me

In this episode!

  • Mark was stunned by the cold open, and it brought back bad memories of his being a middle child. We wonder, do we agree with the Mind Robbers podcast that this kid has a bad mother?
  • Katherine makes a connection between Dracula by Bram Stoker and Buffy. Is Drusilla the Bloofer Lady? Should we have a special segment on Dracula? Hmmm, maybe around season 5? 😉  Also, Mark hates Drusilla and did a terrible imitation of her. Katherine thinks she is great.
  • Mark makes an astonishing claim that Jenny Calendar is Giles’ manic pixie dream girl. This is patently absurd. Where do our listeners stand on this?
  • Mark didn’t like Nathan Ford immediately and Katherine doesn’t remember how she felt the first time. We both agree that he is evil though.
  • Mark suggests that the vampire groupies were ridiculous. He can’t imagine why anyone would want to be a vampire. Katherine agrees with that part, but Mark continues the argument by saying that vampires aren’t happy, or rarely so., and being a vampire must be incredibly boring. What’s the draw?
  • Katherine was able to reveal something to Mark–that Ford does get turned into a vampire, and Buffy kills him. Mark said the roses that Buffy had were symbolic of a mob hit. Hmm, seems unlikely to Katherine. What do you think?
  • While one of our holy texts says that this is an episode about obsession, we disagree and think it is really more about secrets and well, lies. The only person in the end who did not lie to Buffy was Giles, until she asked him to do so.
  • On a final note, Katherine needs to remind everyone that once again, Xander was right. He usually is.
  • On a final final note, the episode was initially broadcast in the US on Nov. 3, 1997.

Shout outs

Marcia Camino who says that we are the silliest of silly butts. Sure! 😉

Mind Robbers vs. Buffy the Vampire Slayer Podcast. Fun podcast, but beware because they love to spoil anything that Joss Whedon has written. Also, sadly, they ended the podcast before the last few seasons of Buffy. I’ve tweeted with both of them, and they don’t plan on finishing. ;-(  Still, fun podcast to listen to.


Season 2, Episode 6: Halloween

In this episode!

  • We discuss the rules of Vampire Entry (thanks, Jessica Branch!), and Mark calls for constitutional rights for vampires.
  • Mark and Katherine come up with reasons for why the Scoobies don’t have PTSD.
  • Mark says Ethan Raine is the Linda Tripp of the Buffyverse; Mark loves Ethan, and Katherine can’t stand him.
  • Katherine has zero aesthetic distance. Where do our listeners stand on this?
  • We wonder along with Willow—how does Angel shave? Also, Mark wonders how Spike’s lackey was able to film a vampire fight?
  • Mark’s favorite moment: when Xander beats up the pirate and says that it was strangely satisfying and brought him closure.
  • Mark says that “Snyder is in on it.”
  • Katherine shares the tidbit that Buffy calls out to Xena the Warrior Princess, and in turn, an episode of Xena did a shout out to Buffy.
  • Mark says that Buffy does what very few shows do and that is to change the rules of narrativity frequently. Watchers of the show might be left in confusion for as long as 20 minutes before things click into place. Katherine points out that Whedon is one of the show runners credited with trusting viewers to live with confusion and figure things out over time. We both agree this makes for a very rich show.
  • Katherine wonders if the listeners agree that Halloween is a wonderful holiday filled with magic and mystery  and “dressing as you aren’t.” Mark says this about Halloween: “eh.”

Note: By the way, Mark is right about The Prisoner. He is number 6.

Shout outs

  • Jessica Branch
  • Andy Schumann

Season 2, Episode 5: Reptile Boy

In this episode!

  • We love the opening with the mysterious young woman being chased by what looks like monks. That girl is awesome!
  • We also love seeing Buffy and Xander braiding Willow’s hair while Willow “interprets” Bollywood for them. Xander’s side is much better than Buffy’s.
  • Katherine asks Mark whether he thinks people have a purpose or not. We wonder, what do our listeners think? Is Giles right that Buffy should be grateful because she has a purpose? Do any of our listeners feel that they have a purpose? Do any of our listeners have a job for Katherine? Thanks in advance.
  • Mark says, this is clearly an episode about rape culture.
  • Katherine says, this is clearly an episode about class.
  • Katherine thinks that one of the Buffy themes has to be, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” and beware of “nice” guys.
  • Mark says, why can’t we all just live and let live in terms of religious freedom?
  • Katherine hates privilege and entitlement which is why she loves this episode which is clearly a precursor to a socialist revolution.

Shout out

David Nom De Plume

Fun facts

  • The woman who nearly escapes at the beginning of the episode is Jordana Spiro, as Callie. I don’t know why she hasn’t made a greater stamp in television. I loved her character.
  • One of the frat boys, one of the evil evil ones, was Coby Bell who later would be a main character on one of Katherine’s favorite shows, Burn Notice.


The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren

Flow, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (TED talk)

The Panama Papers


Season 2, Episode 4: Inca Mummy Girl

In this episode!

  • We think the writers have an awesome ear for teen romance angst, and do a great job showing the awkwardness of it.
  • We love Willow’s dorkiness.
  • Mark reveals something shocking, and it has to do with The Brady Bunch. Mark says, run out and watch the Tiki episode.
  • Katherine wonders if there needs to be a Brady Bunch podcast (OK, that’s a joke).
  • Katherine likes the complexity of Xander—that he has a crush on Buffy, and at the same time thinks of her as his best friend, and at the same time, is her right hand man. What is wrong with that? So many other Buffy fans hate this about Xander.
  • The world isn’t black and white; we love that Buffy sees the gray.
  • Mark loves the guy who wonders about the girl in the Eskimo outfit.
  • Is Joyce being mean to Buffy in terms of the “not fitting in” comment? We think so.
  • What do you make of Buffy not seizing the leadership role? Katherine thinks she is the emotionally torn teenage girl, whereas Mark thinks Buffy should be pushing herself forward. Where do you stand?
  • We meet Jonathan (Danny Strong). Katherine says it is a great way to meet him.

Shout out to Warren Shaver!

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