The Witch. Oh yeah, you know this one's gonna be fun.
Our episode starts out with Giles being quite irate over Buffy wanting to try out for the school's cheerleading squad. I somehow think that the actress didn't much like it as its never brought up again after this episode.
Cut to the most stereotypical herb-strewn room, dark, with a frickin' GIANT cauldron with opaque green liquid bubbling. The camera pans over to...some barbie dolls on hooks, where a black-clad hand snatches one down.
Cut back to cheerleading tryouts where we're introduced to a new character, Amy. They are watching the first tryout, very highly skilled, when her pom-poms start smoking (gee, wonder where they hid the smokers?) and she catches on fire. The gang thinks its spontaneous human combustion and split ways to research in their own various ways.
That night we watch Buffy have a talk with her mom about her tryouts that day. This isn't particularly notable, but we do get clued in that Buffy feels alienated from her mom. Mother has a bunch of crates for a gallery her museum(art institute?) is doing. Now, I have a bit of a bone to pick here: Her mom opens one of the boxes, takes one look and quickly shuts it again, muttering something about "Fertility statue. You don't want to see it." Looks African in origin, by the way. Now, why would that be so horrible to show hear teenage, soon-to-be sexually active daughter? Especially since its both a part of history and a work of art? My own mother, overprotective prude that she is, holds the view that nudity in art and other cultures is completely acceptable. Sexuality will send you to hell, but nudity in a work of art is fine because it's art. Prudish America. Anyways.
Next day at redo tryouts Amy trips and knocks another person (Cordelia) over. Afterwards Buffy meets Amy in front of the cheerleading trophies, where we find out there a lot of pressure on Amy from her mother, the cheerleading Queen, Catherine the Great. Afterwards Cordelia threatens Amy if she cost her the team position.
Cut once again the the Hollywood witchroom! We hear a voice hissing "Give me the power. Give me the dark. I call on the Laughing Gods. Make Thy Darkness crawl beneath my skin. Accept Thy sacrifice: Cordelia. Feed on her." as the dark-clothed figure grabs another Barbie doll, wraps the head all in a band--looks like an ace bandage--and slips it into the opaque green goo.
Next morning Cordelia is acting strange and completely out of it. She shows up for Driver's Ed late and drives like a maniac, crashing through a border fence and nearly getting the car killed. Cordelia is nearly run over when Buffy rescues her. We discover that Cordelia's eyes are totally white and she's blind.
Buffy is in the library with gang and they hit upon the idea that Amy is the witch taking out her competition. Willow pulls up the checkout dates for the public library's witchcraft books. "Witches: Historic roots to Modern Practice" and "The Pagan Rites. These books do not actually exist. Giles finds a spell to detect witches and gives the group a list of ingredients. Supposedly pouring it on a witches' skin will TURN HER SKIN GREEN! It actually looks blue, but still, nice explanation for the legend. Ridiculous of course, but interesting nonetheless.
Amy comes home, orders her mother to write her papers for her, and displays Buffy's new bracelet. She simply says "I'll be in my room." Next morning Buffy is acting High as a fucking kite, and happens to forget her strength during practice causing an accident. Xander and Willow quickly usher her to the library. Unfortunately Buffy passes out before they get there. Turns the spell is actually pretty nasty and will kill Buffy. Giles says to reverse it they need Amy's Spellbook. Giles also mentions there will be a pentacle 'and a large pot'. Large pot, really? Not Cauldron? Anyways, they get to Amy's house and discover that Amy's mother switched bodies with Amy and is in fact the witch.
Giles goes into the witchroom, gets scared by a black cat, then finds the book. They return to the school to reverse the spell. Meanwhile Amy is in the middle of a game when she suddenly senses the spell being reversed. She ruins the pyramid and starts booking it to the library. She grabs a 'Use in Case of Fire' axe and BREAKS INTO THE CHEM LAB with it. She's about to axe Buffy when the spell reverses and Buffy kicks the real mom's ass. One of the hollywood witches' spells get reversed on her and we find that she has been imprisoned in her cheerleading trophy for eternity. Yay karma!
Now, when I first watched this episode it gave me the wrong impression of the series. I thought this whole series would be a stereotypical hollywood look at witches. I mean, they turned her skin green, C'mon!
Patience, patience. I think there were some angry emails sent to Joss Whedon because the witches in the series become a LOT more pagan-friendly. Just wait, we'll get there. I still can't decide whether or not Joss Whedon is mocking the pagan community. He makes it pagan-friendly, but paints most of them as fluffy bunnies. Oops, that's in season four...we'll get there, I promise!
The spells used in these episodes are particularly irritating as they're all hollywood magic. Unrealistic, couldn't accomplish in real life...at least not in the way portrayed. The spells were hollywood magick, and therefore I dub all witches present in this episode hollywood witches. Henceforth Amy shall be known as hollywood witch.