Never Leave Me
Season 7, Episode 9
Original airing: 11/26/2002
My Rating: 65
The Good: It’s interesting how one of my least favorite characters is now becoming one of the most engrossing. And I like it! Andrew’s story is quite intriguing and I think he works much better as the nerdy comic relief against the Scoobies than he did attempting to bounce off the Trio’s even more nerdy comic relief.
He goes through an awful lot in this episode as he’s “guided” by Warren and Jonathon in an attempt to kill a piglet, obtains animal blood under false pretenses, fails miserably to impress Willow, is tormented by Anya, has his neck bitten by Spike, and is finally almost murdered by Harbingers. And each moment is delicious to watch.
Also delicious are Buffy’s attempts to reconnect with Spike. Their final standoff in the basement finally gave a decent reason for Spike’s continued existence (if a few years behind the times). But the best scene is definitely Buffy feeding Spike from the bag of blood. It’s icky and painful.
It’s nice to finally have a name for our Big Bad. The First is a pretty random reference back to Amends (S3E10), but it’s fun to know the final boss fight is against a purely dark entity. Hopefully, the ghosts and manipulations will keep coming because it’s definitely keeping the show on its toes.
Xander and Anya’s good cop/bad cop act felt like a return to their old dynamic. They work so well together and this bit of interaction is the kind of thing after a couple breaks up that makes the heart squeeze a little bit. Xander’s story of the empty man is obviously quite personal and hit me a bit in the stomach, as someone who’s had their heart quite broken.
Finally, I thought a bomb taking out the Watcher’s Council was a bit silly, but it was entertaining to see the pompous Quentin Traver’s removed from existence.
The Unknown: I’m ready to know what’s up with Principal Wood. His character is a huge enigma and his unerring discovery of Jonathon’s body makes him seem quite suspicious. However, I was annoyed at the cut mid-fight to Principal Wood burying Jonathon’s body. I found that just distracting.
Why did Jonathon have to die, but Spike just needs a few ritual symbols carved into his chest? Is Jonathon’s blood still there? Does the First know Principal Wood took the body? Are they connected?
Favorite Moment: Andrew really starts getting into his attempt at intimidating Willow. It’s quite fun when she turns the tables on him.
The Bottom Line: I enjoyed this episode. It had it’s less than perfect moments with the demolishing of the Watcher’s Council and Jonathon’s awkward burial, but overall it gave us a name to our villain, shed some light on the proceedings, and made a character I severely disliked entertaining.