Passion (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
|Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode|
Angelus holding the Orb of Thesulah, which will restore his soul
|Episode no.||Season 2
|Directed by||Michael Gershman|
|Written by||Ty King|
|Original air date||February 24, 1998|
"Passion" is the seventeenth episode of the second season of the fantasy-horror television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003). The episode was written by Ty King and directed by Michael Gershman, who served as the show's cinematographer. It originally aired on The WB Television Network in the United States on February 24, 1998.
The premise of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is that an adolescent girl, Buffy Summers, is chosen by mystical forces and given superhuman powers to kill vampires, demons, and other evil creatures in the fictional town of Sunnydale. She is supported by a close circle of family and friends, nicknamed the Scooby Gang. In "Passion", Buffy attempts to protect her close ones from Angelus and his murderous intent as Jenny Calendar continues to search for a spell to restore his soul.
"Passion" was highly praised by critics when it aired.
Angelus's voice narrates a poetic evocation of "passion". Buffy peers out her window but sees nothing. After she drifts off, Angelus enters her room. Buffy wakes to find an envelope on her pillow, containing a charcoal drawing of herself. Buffy tells Giles about the drawing and asks if there's a spell to reverse Angel's invitation into her house. Because Angelus can enter her house at will, Buffy wants to tell her mother the truth to protect her until the reversal spell is in place. Giles discourages her.
Jenny explains to Giles that she was raised by the people Angelus hurt most. She explains that she lied to Giles and Buffy because she thought it was the right thing to do. Giles suggests she make things right with Buffy. Later, Buffy explains to her mother that she has been having problems with Angel, whom she describes as an abusive ex-boyfriend. Buffy further explains that she'll talk to him if he shows up, but she warns Joyce not to invite him in the house. Later that night, Willow discovers that Angelus has been in her room too, leaving behind another sick gift of dead goldfish hanging from some string, and spends the night at Buffy's. Early that morning at the factory, an angry Spike is taunted by Angelus for his disability in a wheelchair. Spike reminds Angelus that he is a guest in Spike's home to which Angelus again taunts Spike by strongly implying that he has resumed his sexual relationship with Drusilla, who then has a vision, detailing someone attempting to break up the newly reunited family. Meanwhile, Jenny goes to a Gypsy novelty shop to buy an Orb of Thesulah.
Buffy later confronts Jenny and explains that Giles misses her. They are then informed that Giles has found a spell to revoke a vampire's invitation into any house. Later, Joyce pulls into her driveway and find Angelus waiting for her in the front yard. Joyce becomes agitated and panics while trying to get inside the house. At the front door Angelus reveals to Joyce that he and Buffy had sex. Angelus starts to follow but he is unable to cross the threshold. Willow is shown reciting the spell, and Buffy shuts the door in his face.
When Giles finds Jenny staying late at the school, she explains she needs to work a little longer. Giles invites her over to his place after she's finished. Jenny keeps working to translate the ritual's text. At last, she is successful and saves the program to disk. She jumps to see Angelus sitting in the dark at the back of her classroom. Angelus picks up the Orb of Thesulah and smashes it. Searching for a way out, Jenny flees as Angelus lopes after her. She runs straight into Angelus' grasp, and he snaps her neck.
Giles returns home to find the place decorated in a romantic setting with candles, wine and rose petals that mark a trail to the bedroom. In the background the duett "O soave fanciulla" from Puccini's La Bohème is playing. As Giles follows the trail to its end he finds Jenny's lifeless body in the bed. At Buffy's house, Angelus lurks outside. As the phone rings, he watches the Slayer answer, her face fall, and her body sink to the floor in a grief-stricken crouch. He watches Willow take the phone, listen, and burst into wild sobs after learning that Jenny has been killed. Joyce rushes into the room and holds Willow as Angelus sadistically grins. Cordelia and Xander drive to Buffy's house, where Buffy and Willow wait outside for them. The four of them drive to Giles' apartment to try to make contact. Meanwhile, Giles has gone back to his apartment to arm for battle. A drawing of Jenny's lifeless body is seen on a table in Giles' home. Piecing together evidence of Angelus' set-up and Giles' intent, the four friends argue about what to do.
At the factory, Spike argues with Angelus over his cat and mouse games with the Slayer when there's an explosive crash and the long dining table erupts in flame. Angelus, Drusilla, and Spike recoil and move to escape. Giles enters and stalks the length of the room, lighting a baseball bat. When Giles raises a torch for a savage overhand chop, however, Angelus grabs him by the throat and lifts him clear off the floor. At that moment, Buffy enters the fray. She breaks Giles free of Angelus' grasp. Drusilla and Spike exit the building. Chasing a battered Angelus up onto the catwalk, the Slayer thrashes him nearly to pieces. Buffy looks down at the unconscious Giles, now completely surrounded by flames. As Angelus boosts her over the rail and makes his own escape, Buffy jumps down and half-carries Giles from the building.
Later that night, as Angelus' imparts the epilogue of his "passion" drama, Giles comes home to his apartment. Laying down a sheaf of flowers on Jenny's grave, Giles murmurs a few simple words and Buffy's eyes fill with tears. She apologizes aloud for not being able to kill Angelus when she had the chance. At the school, Willow gravely announces that she has been temporarily assigned to teach Ms. Calendar's class. As Willow sets her books on the desk, the backup disk Jenny created slides and falls into the narrow darkness between the desk and a filing cabinet.
Production and writing
According to Joss Whedon, Jenny Calendar's death serves notice to fans, first, that no one is safe, death is scary and real, and second, that Angelus is not "just a little evil," he's not "grouchy," he's truly evil and Buffy needs to address the situation. The series creator also jokes that the episode is a message to the actors: "Be very good, or I'll kill you."
In an interview with the BBC, Anthony Stewart Head says this is his favorite episode, "because it was a beautifully shot episode and a beautifully written one". He also provides the vocals to the music for the scene at Jenny’s grave.
Invitation and exclusion
- When speaking about Giles seeking out Angelus for revenge, Xander refers to a B film by Russ Meyers: Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!
- The backup disk Jenny created would later be found by Buffy and Willow in "Becoming."
- Jenny's death allows The First Evil to take her form in the episode "Amends."
- The Chosen Collection DVD Set, Season Two, Episode 17, "Passion", 'Interview with Joss Whedon'.
- "Anthony Stewart Head Interview: Our favourite Librarian tells all". BBC. Retrieved 25 December 2015.
- Episode Guide, "Passion", BBC - Cult Television - Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
- Murray, Noel (July 31, 2008). ""Phases," etc.". The A.V. Club. Retrieved August 11, 2012.
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