Buffy, “Touched”

This review is full of sex!

By Sarah Kuhn
May 07, 2003

I’ve been twisting myself in knots trying to figure out how to say one simple thing. So I think I’ll just say it: this episode is full of sex. Which is fine. Certainly a natural response to the possibility of impending apocalypse. That said, some of it is just odd, puzzling sex, not sexy sex or fun sex or plot advancement sex. Wow, I’m really ensuring that this review gets a lot of Google hits, aren’t I?

Anyway, the sex happens thusly: Buffy has left and is throwing herself a good old-fashioned pity party. She barges into some stranger’s house and tells them to leave and curls up all by her lonesome. Meanwhile, Faith, who is attempting to be a good leader, has the Slayerettes kidnap a Bringer and interrogate him for information. She also receives a visit from Fake Odo in the form of the Mayor and ends up, er, bonding with Wood. Also, Spike and Andrew return from their mission and Spike gets all pissy with everyone for booting Buffy. He ends up seeking her out and blabbing on about love and holding her while she falls asleep. Apparently, this Spike-ification gives Buffy some extra energy, so she heads out and confronts Caleb and happens upon a hidden weapon (the scythe from Fray!). While she’s doing that, Faith is busy leading the Slayerettes into a trap involving a bomb. Oops.

Let’s just run through the various pair-ups, shall we? Wood and Faith are both stellar, charismatic characters and deserve the screen time, but this particular coupling feels sort of weird and forced. Maybe if they had burning hot chemistry or something, but they really don’t, despite both being insanely attractive. As for Willow and Kennedy, this might be a more intriguing turn of events (what with Will worrying about losing control and all) if I actually liked Kennedy. Sadly, I think she’s bossy and annoying and probably one of those girls who always insisted on taking all the best Barbies during playtime, thus leaving the communal Barbie pool horribly unbalanced. I miss Tara. I can totally see Tara taking an Accidental Haircut Barbie, just to be nice.

Xander and Anya? Would have been lovely if they’d gotten more than three seconds of screen time. As for Buff and Spike (who don’t actually do the deed, but instead sit in a state of chaste snuggling), well…still not a huge fan of this pairing, but at least bits and pieces of a more interesting Spike character are beginning to emerge. I could have done without his “Buffy is great, Buffy is God, all worship Buffy and the snotty ground she walks on!” speech, but whatever. At least they didn’t completely annoy me.

As for the non-sex stuff in this episode, it’s a mixed bag. I continue to enjoy Faith’s conflicted journey, and her visit from the Mayor (always a welcome presence) is particularly choice. I also dug seeing Buffy take on Caleb in a smarter, less pig-headed way (lots more ducking) — she seems more sure of herself than she has in a long time and I’m hoping it means a return to the brave character we’ve grown to love in the final hours of this series. And naturally, the fan-geek in me was thrilled to see the scythe from Fray.

Still, this episode feels a lot like an assortment of mismatched puzzle pieces. There’s fighting and speechifying and the big sex montage, but other than Buffy’s discovery of the super-weapon towards the end, not a lot actually happens. And as we edge closer and closer to the show’s final hours, I can’t help but long for a little more affectionate interaction between our Fantastic Four: Buffy, Willow, Xander and Giles. Perhaps Mutant Enemy’s saving all of that for the end — I can only hope. In the meantime, I guess I’ll have to settle for various attractive characters knockin’ boots onscreen. (Yes, I just used the phrase “knockin’ boots.” No, I don’t know why. I would say I’m attempting to bring it back, but I don’t think it was ever here in the first place.)