Buffy 2×07: Lie to Me

[Review by Mike Marinaro]

[Writer: Joss Whedon | Director: Joss Whedon | Aired: 11/03/1997]

“Lie to Me” is a thematically rich and very well-written outing from Joss Whedon. It’s very quotable, has some truly fabulous scenes in it, and is attune to both character and theme. This being the all-important Episode 7 — usually a pivot point in a Buffy season — we can count on it being very relevant to upcoming episodes as well. Unfortunately, it does have a couple notable rough edges that hold it back from being the masterpiece it is trying to be.

Before arriving at any conclusions we need to dive into what “Lie to Me” is trying to accomplish. Let’s begin with the title, which obviously implies there’s some lyin’ afoot. It’s not just lies, though, as we also see occurrences of secrets and betrayals at play too. Take the early scene between Giles and Jenny discussing an upcoming date. Giles wants to know where Jenny intends on taking him, but her response is that “it’s a secret” (and it’s not the only secret she’s keeping).

There’s also Angel keeping his encounter with Drusilla a secret from Buffy and lying about his whereabouts when asked, all in an attempt to protect Buffy from the horrors of his past, and then Buffy lies to Angel by pretending to believe him. Angel pulls Willow into all of this when he asks her to keep their investigation of Ford’s intentions a secret from Buffy, which leads to her feeling betrayed by all of them. A female blond vampire lies to Spike about how Ford found where he lives to save her life. The deluded vampire worshiper group have all willingly bought into a lie because “they’re lonely, miserable or bored.” Finally, there’s Ford himself, who keeps his intentions a secret in what he also thinks is an attempt to save something of his life.

What all of these secrets and lies add up to is what “Lie to Me” is actually about: dealing with people that have complex motives for doing morally ambiguous things. During adolescence, experiences begin to accumulate that show how the world isn’t, and people aren’t, as black and white as it seems through a child’s eyes. Remember Janus from “Halloween” [2×06], which represented a “division of self”? Well, we’re seeing the metaphorical effect of that continue to resonate, and it will for some time.

Take Ford, who may appear to be evil at first, but turns out to instead be a conflicted, scared adolescent (in age only) who wants to stay a child forever. Or how about Angel, who betrays Buffy’s tenuous trust in him to hide a much darker tale. Nothing is as simple as it used to be, which is making Buffy constantly question what’s right, what’s wrong, and everything in between. After several years of this constant questioning, when young adulthood starts to near (Seasons 5), the world begins looking a little bleak. “Lie to Me” ends up being a bit of a thematic primer for the rest of the adolescent years by integrating all of these ideas into the DNA of the show.

There are a few key scenes that play out these themes quite nicely. The first is a fabulously shot conversation between Buffy and Angel in the Summers’ kitchen in what’s probably my favorite scene of the episode. Buffy forces Angel to reveal his history with Drusilla, and it sure isn’t pretty! Psychological torture on an epic scale appears to have been Angelus’ game, which adds to Drusilla’s already delicious mystique. This information is not only creepy and relevant, but it’s helping lay the foundation for what we can expect when Angelus surfaces again later in the season. In learning all of this, Buffy has to come to terms with loving a being who harbors massive guilt over his past and doesn’t seem to value his existence much. Choices have to be made about how close she should get to Angel. Adolescence is about recognizing that you have agency and choice in life, but it doesn’t mean you’ll make the right choices — that’s what being an adult is all about.

Angel tells Buffy that “Some lies are necessary. Sometimes the truth is worse. You live long enough, you find that out.” When Angel directly asks Buffy whether she loves him, her response is smart: “I love you. I don’t know if I trust you.” Angel’s response is disconcerting: “Maybe you shouldn’t do either.” Not the most comforting exchange with a boyfriend. This entire interaction strikes me as a huge red flag from Buffy’s perspective, but she’s simply not mature or careful enough to act on it. Also notice how Joyce is conspicuously absent during this scene? Buffy’s dad left her, and her mom is often aloof to what’s going on in her daughter’s life. Adolescents are more likely to make adult decisions if they have strong role models that have brought them up, which highlights the benefit of having two attentive parents in the house.

The entire scene in the kitchen is quite beautifully shot by Whedon, who has a real knack for bringing out intimacy between characters in an important scene. The acting helps too though, and David Boreanaz turns in one of his most nuanced performances to date. The attention to detail is exquisite here: notice how Drusilla’s musical cue subtly plays in the background when Angel says, “on the day she took her holy orders, I turned her into a demon.” So creepy! The final shot of the scene, with the camera outside the window looking in on them, has a fabulous atmosphere and is very reminiscent of a similarly shot scene in “Passion” [2×17] when Buffy finds out Angelus has killed Jenny Calendar. In both cases, Buffy is absorbing a hard piece of news about someone she cares about.

Another key scene is when Ford reveals his motives for what he’s doing, thus putting Buffy in a really uncomfortable position. Buffy’s response to this is graceful yet resolute: “I’m sorry. I had no idea. But what you’re doing is still very wrong.” Ford says “try going through what I have, and then we can discuss the concepts of right and wrong.” The thing is, Buffy has faced certain death, as recent as “Prophecy Girl” [1×12], and that’s if you don’t count the daily danger she faces. Her words highlight how it’s important to still draw lines and recognize some universal boundaries for right and wrong, even if a lot of complexity lies in the middle. We may be able to understand the motivation behind Ford’s actions, but it doesn’t make it right. This is summed up quite nicely when Buffy says, “You’re opting for mass murder here, and nothing you say is going to make that okay!”

The final scene of “Lie to Me” is also important and strikes an appropriately somber and poetic tone, with Buffy having had to pick up the body of her childhood crush and prepare for when he rises. This is painful, regardless of what he did. What Ford ultimately represented was a version of Buffy that chose not to accept the responsibilities of growing up, a notion Buffy put behind her in “When She Was Bad” [2×01]. By dusting Ford at the end Buffy is slaying her childhood fantasy, and simpler notions of morality along with him. It’s interesting that Willow essentially did this in “Inca Mummy Girl” [2×04] by letting go of Xander. The kids are starting to grow up a bit!

Ford may have been doing something very wrong, but he wasn’t an evil person nor were his motives. This also highlights the difference between humans and vampires: humans have a conscience to weigh in every choice they make whereas vampires are free of this burden — this responsibility. Ford said he wanted to “Die young, and stay pretty”, which is reminiscent of the Anointed One. Guess who killed both of them? Spike, whose role in all of this will be discussed shortly.

Returning to the effect Janus had again reminds us that the transition into a more complex moral landscape has arrived for Buffy and friends. This is articulated by Buffy and Giles at the end: “Nothing’s ever simple anymore. I’m constantly trying to work it out. Who to love or hate. Who to trust. It’s just, like, the more I know, the more confused I get.” Giles aptly replies, “I believe that’s called growing up”, which again reminds us what Buffy the Vampire Slayer is all about.

When Buffy asks Giles if life gets any easier, a part of her — the child — wants him to lie to her as a parent might comfort a frightened child. He tells her, tongue-in-cheek, “Yes, it’s terribly simple. The good guys are always stalwart and true, the bad guys are easily distinguished by their pointy horns or black hats, and, uh, we always defeat them and save the day. No one ever dies, and everybody lives happily ever after.” Yet Buffy can no longer hide from the truth, and neither can the show (the “no one ever dies” line is a big hint of what’s to come). The screen goes black as Buffy rejects the fantasy Giles knowingly told her about the world. “Liar.”

Spike has an interesting role in “Lie to Me”, serving as a truth-sayer among liars — something he’ll become known for throughout the series. As I pointed out in “School Hard” [2×03], Buffy and Spike are counterparts temporarily fighting on opposite sides. There are some interesting parallels between the two of them drawn in “Lie to Me”, but none more evident than how they both react with a pang of jealousy over Angel and Drusilla’s late-night encounter. Where Spike immediately confronts Drusilla on it, Buffy instead dances around her concern with Angel.

Then again, Buffy and Spike have different histories with these respective vampires to draw from, which informs how they react. Buffy has no prior history with Angel, which makes her tentative in knowing how to proceed with him. Spike, on the other hand, has a lot of history with Drusilla, which is why he is more direct. Knowing what we come to learn in flashbacks in Angel‘s “Destiny” , Spike has plenty of reason to be concerned about Angel and Drusilla getting close again, as it was Angelus that drove Spike to adopt the very persona he has today in an effort to win Drusilla’s affections. Spike’s concern is a moment where past, present, and future crash together in a beautiful symphony of characterization that makes my brain, and heart, sing, and it shows just how fabulously the Buffyverse holds together its long-form characterization.

“Lie to Me” has a tremendous amount of depth and some great characterization to boot, but something is holding me back from fully embracing it. I think a big problem is how uninteresting Ford is from the moment he’s introduced. Spike almost sums up my problem with one quote: “I’ve known you for two minutes and I don’t like you. I don’t figure you living forever.” There’s nothing about Ford that makes me interested in what he’s up to, which makes it difficult for his dramatic reveal to hit home emotionally. Sure he serves his purpose thematically, but I can’t help but feel an episode this melodramatic should make more of an emotional impact on me. Since it doesn’t, the melodrama occasionally comes across as being a little heavy-handed.

Between the failure of Ford to resonate emotionally, the languid pace, and the occasionally unearned melodramatic tone, “Lie to Me” can’t quite pull it all together. It’s very close to being another classic Whedon masterpiece and it certainly has moments that meet that standard, but it’s just not quite there. Regardless, “Lie to Me” is incredibly important for both Buffy and the show going forward, and it’s thematic impact will be felt for long time to come — including the next episode, “The Dark Age” [2×08].

 


Minor Pros/Cons (+/-)

+ Drusilla being super creepy in the opening scene. Her comment about finding the kid’s body comes to mind again when Buffy finds Ford’s body at the end of the episode.
+ Buffy and Willow trading notes in class.
+ Ford’s introduction is good at reminding me how awkward being introduced to someone’s friend from past can be.
+ Willow offering to play pool with Angel. That’s actually something I’d like to see.
+ As boring as Ford is, it’s still a fun reveal when he already knows Buffy is the Slayer.
+ Buffy can’t take having both Ford and Angel in the same room together. It gets “too hot”, which reminds us that the season’s sexual undercurrent hasn’t vanished.
+ Buffy filling Willow in on Ford. Just nice to see them communicating so much, something that will become less common after the events of this season.
+ Spike’s initial annoyance at Drusilla’s insanity, but then subsequent softness. Spike may be frustrated by women sometimes, but he also loves them in equal measure.
+ Angel going to see Willow in her bedroom. Willow’s nervousness about having a guy in her room at night is fun to see.
+ Willow being so adorably bad at lying. Unfortunately, she gets a whole lot better later in the series.
+ Angel making fun of the vampire groupies, one of which is dressed exactly like him. Haha!
+ Jenny taking Giles to Monster Trucks. Wow! (I laughed a lot.)
+ Just neat to see “Chanterelle” (a.k.a. Lily, a.k.a. Anne) so lost here, knowing how Buffy will later help her pull herself together and go on to Angel to do a lot of good. So cool.
+ Buffy says she’s “rash and impulsive, it’s a flaw.” Indeed it is, and it’s also one she shares with Spike.

– Buffy appearing conveniently when Angel and Drusilla share a brief conversation at night.
– Why would Buffy suggest that they leave the area because Spike et al will get out? It’s a small door. They could set up a vampire massacre if they load up on crossbows and stakes and kill them when they try to leave. This is just silly.


Foreshadowing

* The opening scene between Angel and Drusilla is loaded with foreshadowing. Some choice quotes: “It’ll go badly if you stay”, “the girl has no idea what’s in store”, and “Oh no, my pet, this is just the beginning” (cue Janus again).
* The vampires who steal Giles’ book are getting them for Spike. This will become relevant in “What’s My Line? Pt. 1” [2×09] when Spike uses its information to restore Drusilla’s strength.
* Jenny’s keeping a secret from Giles: she intends their next date to be Monster Trucks. As hilarious as this is, it’s a metaphor for a much more monstrous secret she’s keeping regarding why she’s even in Sunnydale (see “Surprise” [2×13]).
* Jenny’s comment “isn’t he supposed to be a good guy”, in reference to Angel, contains a bit of disdain in it. This feels like a little hint that Jenny’s true purpose here is connected to Angel.
* Ford tells Buffy he has a surprise for her, to which Buffy responds — unconvincingly — “I love surprises.” Buffy is quickly learning that surprises are rarely a good thing for her, which will be reinforced in a little episode called “Surprise” [2×13].
* Buffy’s final word to Giles in the episode is “liar.” Considering we learn, in “The Dark Age” [2×08], that Giles isn’t all that he is presenting himself to be, this is a pretty big hint of what’s next.


[Score]

92/100

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57 thoughts on “Buffy 2×07: Lie to Me”

  1. [Note: Jo posted this comment on October 18, 2006.]

    This episode has, as you said, a slow pace, yet it remains one of my favorite because of the last dialogue between Giles and Buffy. Gives me goosebumps every time I watch it. Really powerful and really… true.

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  2. [Note: MrB posted this comment on April 16, 2007.]

    I loved in this episode how long the writers let the DiVynls reference to “I touch myself” sink in with Willow. It’s about 30 seconds – an eternity in TV time. Most shows would have has the reference, two beats, reaction.

    This again shows how the show respects the audience and the references.

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  3. [Note: Latoya posted this comment on May 1, 2007.]

    I understood Buffy immediately jumping to conclusions about Angel and Drusilla. Buffy may be The Greatest Slayer of All Time but she is a very insecure person. Angel was her first real boyfriend. She was sixteen years old. Not to mention that Angel and Drusilla WERE lovers/dating back in the day. Maybe a part of Buffy could sense/feel this in some way.

    I loved Ford. I think it is because I was a fan of Roswell. I thought that Buffy/Ford looked cute together.

    I loved how Buffy let it slip she used to pleasure herself while thinking about Ford (lying in her bedroom listening to “I touch myself”) and then realizing she just told them something very personal/private and tried to backtrack with “Of course, I didn’t know what the song was about”. Sure you didn’t. 😉

    Buffy never felt comfortable talking about the sexual side of her. Like in Hope, Faith, and Trick when Faith said “Isn’t it funny how slaying always makes you hungry and horny?” and the gang all look at Buffy with an inquiring minds want to know expression on their faces. Or in Fool For Love when Buffy acted all disusted that Spike got off on fighting and he says “Are you telling me you don’t?” We all know she does.

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  4. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on October 10, 2007.]

    It´s funny how the same show attracts different opinions. I like Ford, I think he´s an interesting character. I like how everyone is uncomfortable with him there. The vampire cult is very interesting and I like how Angel is explaining that things is not how they say but then another guy appears wearing the same outfit as him. And the last scenes are just priceless. Very good one.

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  5. [Note: OtterBear posted this comment on January 6, 2008.]

    It is true that in the early seasons, Buffy tends to be insecure when she finds a guy that she likes talking to another girl. However, there was definitely just cause for her to be suspicious here. At the moment that she arrived on the conversation, Dru was leaning towards Angel as if they were about to kiss, and Buffy hears Angel say “This can’t go on Drusilla, it has got to end.” Obviously, something more is between these two than just being trapped into a cup of coffee with Cordy.

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  6. [Note: Andrew posted this comment on January 7, 2008.]

    This was mere inches away from being a truly great episode. Like you say, it had the odd minor flaw that got in the way.
    Actually I didn’t dislike Ford too much. He’s certainly better than Owen (Never Kill a Boy on a First Date). Mabye not the best character ever, but fine for a one-off.
    Willow was truly amazing in this episode.
    I’m somewhat at a loss to understand
    a) Why Ford, apparently a reasonably intelligent individual, thought that Spike would bother to keep his promise about turning him into a vampire (Had I been Ford, I’d have demanded to be turned into a vampire *first*)
    b) Why Spike actually did keep his promise, particularly after the disastrous raid. Perhaps he saw that buffy was just going to stake him anyway and thought it sufficiently ironic to go ahead with it, though it still seems a bit of a pointless risk.

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  7. [Note: Nix posted this comment on January 11, 2008.]

    Where’s the risk? If Spike sires Ford and Ford somehow avoids being slayed, sticks around, and is annoying, Spike can always kill him. (Or perhaps Ford would kill Spike. Yeah, right.) Conversely, if Spike *doesn’t* sire Ford, after promising to in front of his henchvamps, well, the henchvamps might cease trusting him: they might even turn on him — although Drusilla alone could prevent this later on through sheer terror, she’s still weak in this ep and the other vamps might not be sufficiently frightened of her.

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  8. [Note: Andrew posted this comment on January 21, 2008.]

    Mmmmm, I suppose so. I’d think Spike’s vampire minions might regard keeping a promise to human as really not a big deal. But I admit I hadn’t thought of that.

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  9. [Note: AnonDK posted this comment on June 2, 2008.]

    While Ford lacks an emotional connection to the audience, his reasonsings and motives make him a compelling and sympathetic character, and not once do you agree with him. It’s Buffy’s first step into the adult world, the conflicted world, and I think it performs brilliantly. I even like Angel in this episode!

    It’s my favourite ep and, I believe, justifiably so. It’s absolutely marvellously done.

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  10. [Note: Paula posted this comment on September 3, 2008.]

    Responding to a pretty old comment here, but:

    Buffy never felt comfortable talking about the sexual side of her.

    Here I must say that I can relate…

    And I feel for Buffy for everybody around her pretty much always knowing all about her sex life. I think I’d be majorly uncomfortable in such a situation.

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  11. [Note: Paula posted this comment on September 3, 2008.]

    Also re:

    I loved how Buffy let it slip she used to pleasure herself while thinking about Ford (lying in her bedroom listening to “I touch myself”) and then realizing she just told them something very personal/private and tried to backtrack with “Of course, I didn’t know what the song was about”. Sure you didn’t. 😉

    The way that bit came across to me, actually, was that Buffy had listened to that song a lot back then because it fit her mood but she genuinely didn’t fully understand the lyrics at the time (like e.g. Willow obviously hadn’t, either). And now when she reminisces aloud she suddenly realizes what the whole thing must sound like, and backtracks in an amusing fashion.

    Being female myself, I just plain doubt that someone like Buffy would accidentally let something that personal just slip out, in mixed company no less. The above has happened to myself a few times, though.

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  12. [Note: bigmoneygrip posted this comment on October 2, 2008.]

    I can see why Spike is such a great addition to this show. A recurring (and amusing) theme seems to be Spike’s problems with his “employees”. I had one of my biggest laughs of the series when Spike railed about nobody being on watch.

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  13. [Note: Paula posted this comment on November 12, 2008.]

    Having just re-watched this on my second round of the whole show, I appreciate the little (and not-so-little) ways in which Whedon makes the show’s tone turn darker at this point already.

    One detail I only thought of just now: surely that graveyard at the end of the episode is in LA, since that’s where Ford is from there and would certainly be buried too? I mean, he was lying about father having been transferred to Sunnydale and all that stuff. (And it would make sense for Giles to be there with Buffy, as she’d have needed someone to give her a ride.)

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  14. [Note: Emily posted this comment on February 15, 2009.]

    Quick question: Why couldn’t Angel smell Buffy at the playground in the beginning? Had they still not figured out the whole super power thing by now?

    I love the interaction between Angel and Willow- I think that if they were given more screen time together they would be cute friends. I also think that this- their semi-friendship- leads to Willow being more optimistic about giving Angel his soul back in Becoming.

    I love the continuity of coffee in this and the last couple of episodes lol. The scene with Willow being nervous to talk to Buffy- because she’s scared that she’ll blurt out what they’re doing behind her back- is so funny, and its’s so well done by Alyson Hannigan.

    Then there’s the scene where Dru and Spike talk about how she saw and spoke to Angel. I think most see this as Spike being angry that she’s talking to Angel because he’s the “enemy and all.” But I see this as a foreshadow to his jealousy over Angel and Dru when Angel becomes evil. This scene also happens to be very funny lol: “The bird’s dead, Dru. You left it in the cage and you didn’t feed it, and now it’s all dead, just like the last one….” and “I’m a bad, rude man.” Gotta love Spike.

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  15. [Note: JQ posted this comment on June 27, 2009.]

    This is my first comment here at the site. On the advice of two friends I watched Firefly earlier this year and loved it. I’d suspected I would take to Buffy since its original airings never gave it the time until recently. I’m watching the series on DVD now. It took about 15 episodes for it to sink in but now I find I really love it. Big thumbs up on the site here as well. We are not always of the same mind, but reading your reviews and the comments adds to my enjoyment of the episodes. Anyway, regarding this specific episode:

    I loved it. I thought Ford was a very interesting character. I thought Jason Behr did a good job making him likable and unlikable in different scenes, and I thought his monologue at the end was well delivered. I loved the ‘buffet of morons’ element. Whedon’s acknowledgement of that sub-sub culture was well handled. The portrayal was funny but not to the point of caricature. I liked Willow and Angel’s scene. Dru and Spike are great, and I loved Angel’s story about his past with Dru. James Marsters and Juliet Landau both add so much to the show. Dru really creeps me out. Landau hits this character perfectly.

    My only complaint is that Whedon was trying to get too much into this one episode. I think it would have been improved if he had drawn out a few scenes and perhaps eliminated the Giles/Calendar date tangent. In particular I would have liked more back story on the ‘we heart the lonely ones’ society. I would have also liked to see the final scene paced a bit differently. It would have been nice to see realization come to Ford before he was staked. The event did come as a surprise to me and I think it would have worked better being played out rather than rushed.

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  16. [Note: Sunburn posted this comment on September 18, 2009.]

    The Lonely Ones… arrrgghh.

    I would also have been pretty pissed off about the Angel/Dru scene if I were Buffy – that was very intimate IMO. And yes, I didn’t think Buffy *actually* touched herself while listening to a song called ‘I Touch Myself’… she’s not THAT cheesy, is she!?

    Thanks again for the generally excellent reviews, Mike; I discovered them after watching the entire show on DVD for the first time over about 2-3 months, and now me and my boyfriend are on our second rewatch (his third), I’m coming back here daily to see your takes on the previous night’s episodes!

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  17. [Note: Cirrus posted this comment on November 30, 2009.]

    I don’t think this episode deserved anywhere near a perfect score; I was even a bit surprised at the grade Mike gave this.

    It’s just way too jarringly paced, and the main plot was a little weak, in my opinion. It WAS interesting to see the vampire worshippers, but I feel like they should either have been focused on a lot more or else not really included at all, because it was annoying. Ford was one of the lamest stand-alone characters ever, especially how suddenly he knew she was the Slayer. That was one of the weakest points of the entire episode — how exactly did he find out, what is his opinion on it, when did it become a vampire worshipper? And how exactly did all this just *happen* to him? Very convenient, and slightly sloppy writing. This is also the case with the Angel and Drusilla moment earlier on in the episode, because seriously, Buffy just *happened* to be there the exact moment Angel and Drusilla meet? Buffy and Angel were both there but hadn’t met so far during the evening/night?

    All this convenience isn’t really what I’d expect from a Buffy episode. Spike and Angel really did make the episode worth watching, as did the interesting foreshadowing, specific continuity and the underlying themes, as accentuated by Buffy and Giles’ conversation at the end. But for me, those things were only enough to keep this episode out of the D area… (which is the opposite with The Dark Age, I think that episode was much, much better than this episode and basically did many of the same things, just a whole lot better)

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  18. [Note: Zdravko posted this comment on January 12, 2010.]

    This episode is a fine example of Whedon’s faulty storytelling (and he admitted it as much when discussing the sudden easy killing of Turok-Hans in Chosen) where he seems to sacrifice plot to improve on character development and the overall social theme. When it comes to the two latter things, this episode includes some great foreshadowing to the moral grayness the series will depict more and more as the time will pass by, as depicted in that wonderful last scene with Buffy and Giles.

    I have to applaud the score here, which is a vast improvement from the earlier episodes. Angel seems here more like his later self than usual – his scenes are pretty impressive all the way through.

    In terms of plot, this one is a disaster. First of all, no one bothers to question Ford how the hell does he know that Buffy is the Slayer. Secondly, I find it hard to believe that everybody bought that Ford went to Sunnydale High, since he was at school every day, but didn’t attend squat. Buffy even walks him to the Admission’s office regarding his matriculation but Whedon doesn’t bother to explain how did Ford get out of that one. Further on, why oh why did Spike turn Ford into a vampire in the end, despite Buffy getting away? The only thing that was so wrong about that last scene was the vampire Ford. So corny.

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  19. [Note: Smallprint84 posted this comment on March 7, 2010.]

    @MrB. You’re right! And later the same happens with Xander when Willow tells him Angel went to see her.

    Xander: (He thinks, wait a while) and says “Angel was in your bedroom?!!?”.

    Willow: We have a forbidden love.

    And don’t we all adore Willow’s computer-geek-laugh.

    We see it again in “Ted”.

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  20. [Note: Smallprint84 posted this comment on March 7, 2010.]

    hey you guys, this is also the cameo appearance of the beautiful Julia Lee. Later in AtS she has find herself and has her own teen-shelter. We see her back in S3-Anne when Buffy helpes her to have a new identity and a confident boost. She learns there to take care for herself. So this why Anne sets up the teen shelter.

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  21. [Note: nathan.taurus posted this comment on July 25, 2010.]

    The biggest problem I have with this episode is that, like many shows, a person who has no past of homocide can somehow just kill without remorse. A person who can do this most often has a desire or thoughts well before the action. Ford was a some-what friend of Buffy so for him to trade her life for his means he was never normal in the first place.

    The teaser was strange in a way because it seemed like by the way Drusilla and Angel were talking that they were brother and sister. That was the first thing I thought of when watching it again, although, you would have to change the “Angel” series flashbacks of their trists.

    I think it was great that Spike did honor his word and turn Ford. For a vampire he is a pretty straight up guy.

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  22. [Note: yippers6 posted this comment on August 2, 2010.]

    my fav comment

    do i have anyone on watch here?it’s called security,people. are you all asleep? or have we finally found a restauant that delivers?

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  23. [Note: Ellie posted this comment on September 16, 2010.]

    I like how when it’s clear Ford is beyond redemption, Buffy basically leaves him to die. She’s able to make some hard choices, is our Buff’.

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  24. [Note: John Roberts posted this comment on November 5, 2010.]

    The final line by Buffy “Lie to Me” echoes Shakespeare’s Sonnet 138, the last two lines are which:

    Therefore I lie with her and she lies with me

    And in our faults by lies we flatter’d be

    It’s about two lovers, which Buffy and Giles are not, but the theme is the same: That a pleasant lie might comfort somebody you love more than the harsh truth.

    There’s quite a bit of Victorian goth in BtVS, as this is after all a vampire tale, but themematically this show has more of a Renaissance feel, with its preoccupations with sex, death, blood, and puns (above all, puns!). If Whedon isn’t familiar with Renaissance drama and John Donne, well then by gosh he channeled them very well!

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  25. [Note: Jermzy posted this comment on November 26, 2010.]

    Am I the only one who liked Ford?

    Okay peresonality wise he was pretty dull but I LOVED the dynamic he gave Buffy: a nice, average, non-jealous guy without any superpowers or desire for them, who can be rescued by her and not have to have a whine about how ball-crushing it is.

    For a show with a such a groundbreaking concept as a female superhero, Buffy needed WAAAAY more male damsels.

    Episode wise, this was amazing, I loved how things are never black and white (seriously though could Spike have just NOT brought Drusilla along?)

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  26. [Note: John posted this comment on January 12, 2011.]

    The guy dressed exactly like Angel walking past him in the vampire wannabees club just as Angel commented on their manner of dress was great.

    Like

  27. [Note: CoyoteBuffyFan posted this comment on February 18, 2011.]

    I’m not s huge fan of this episode…probably would have given it no higher than a C. I don’t love the story line and Ford is a bore, IMO (funny that I wrote this before even reading your review and see that you said the same thing about him, lol). But there are some good thiings about the episode.

    I like the continuity parts such as the introduction of Chanterelle who shows up again in Anne. Plus the fact that Willow invites Angel into her home in this episode. Something she will regret later on in this season.

    It’s sweet how Jenny and Giles are getting closer and we see how much he really likes her — I mean he went to a Monster Truck rally with her and tried to pretend he liked it! They are adorable together.

    The only two scenes I really like in the episode are the scene where Angel tells Buffy about what he did to Drusilla. We know that Angel was a bad vampire in the past at this point but what he describes to Buffy is truly brutal. Imagine hearing that the person (well, you know what I mean) who you love (and, boy, did they gloss over Buffy telling Angel that she loves him) tell you that they did something like that? Even knowing that he is different now with a soul, that’s GOT to be hard to hear.

    The other scene I like is at the end with Buffy and Giles. This is the first time where I really felt like they have developed into a father/daughter kind of relationship, the kind you have when you have a good relationship with your father and you are older and have mutual respect for each other. It’s touching.

    We get to see how truly creepy Drusilla is in this episode. Her trying to lure the young boy at the beginning is scary. Plus her talking to the dead bird in the cage is creepy too.

    Like

  28. [Note: Tony posted this comment on June 16, 2011.]

    One of the most memorable episodes for me. It was chilling to see someone who was still human choosing to become a vampire and to betray his friends, because he didn’t think it was fair to be dying of cancer. And the reference to a vampire cult – part of me still wonders if there might even be such a thing going on in our real world. Both the Fred character and the vampire cult had an air of plausibility as a portrayal of real people in our own world, and I think this episode is distinct in how far it’s able to achieve that feeling.

    Like

  29. [Note: JohnnyW posted this comment on August 8, 2011.]

    This is the first truly great episode of Buffy. It’s the first one that has something to say outside of its own universe, and so resonates with the viewer and their own lives. I’d say it deserves an A at least.

    What’s My Line Parts 1 and 2 continue this trend, being about dealing with something in your life that’s less than desirable but which you cannot change (a disability, an illness, etc).

    Innocence was the next stand-out episode that truly transcended its genre, and Passion had some interesting things to say.

    This is really where Buffy began.

    Like

  30. [Note: Gemma posted this comment on December 11, 2011.]

    Although no new big bad is introduced and there are no major plot developments occur this episode instead more subtly points out that there are going to be more dangers and terrifying things to happen and that the show isn’t going to shy away from darker consequences to define it as either good or evil, something which the show does with its main characters in later seasons. Looking retrospectively the episode in season one; Halloween shows buffy as a vampire and Xander was possessed by a hyena are just two examples.

    The pace doesn’t hang around, Joss is quick to identify Billy Ford as being evil or a bad guy which is made palpable to us through Angel being skeptical of Ford’s presence and knowledge of Buffy being the Slayer. The others take an investigative route into Mr Ford. The rug is pulled out from under us though when Ford’s dilemma comes to light, he isn’t necessary evil but more scared and running out of options. He makes a choice, a bad one but a choice. Joss does this throughout the seasons of BtVS. Faith is a great example of this, she wasn’t evil but she reacted from an ill timed act, she made bad choices but redeemed herself, Giles in The Gift killed Ben, not because he is a cold blooded killer but because he didn’t want Buffy to face Glory again. Spike to was an enigma, a vampire without a soul but risked his life time and time again for Buffy. Even in Season before she was resurrected was still looking out for Dawn.

    Buffy discovers that the truth will set you free but its not going to make things better, her life is complicated and is only going to get more so. Her chat with Angel when he tells her he killed Dru’s serves as establishing their relationship will always be a one full of problems and to expect the unexpected.

    The scene when Ford tells Buffy of his illness is handled extremely well, its this scene that subverts the entire plot, its what makes this episode.

    The bottom line: Buffy’s life is never going to be uncomplicated and Lie to Me makes this point expressly clear by doing the contrary to its title by telling the truth. This concept is the underlying tapestry of the show. A hard hitting episode.

    Like

  31. [Note: Summer posted this comment on December 15, 2012.]

    This is a classic episode. It definitely stirred up some old feelings and sets up the course of the rest of the season as discussed. Xander can be kind of annoying with his harsh reaction to outsiders who are introduced to the group especially if they have an interest in Buffy but hey, most of the time it’s justified. It’s all he can do. I would have been interested in knowing more about the vamp cult. And yeah, how Ford knew was a major hole, I think and everyone should have been suspicious of him right then instead of just like, oh, that’s nice.

    Like

  32. [Note: Rob W posted this comment on March 14, 2013.]

    I like the theory that Spike knew Buffy would stake Ford after he rose. By keeping his promise, he inflicts pain on both of them, especially Buffy. Smart guy.

    Like

  33. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on July 28, 2013.]

    ADMIN NOTE: This episode review has been completely rewritten. In light of this, references to the old review have been edited out of the the above comments.

    Like

  34. [Note: Jeremy G. posted this comment on July 28, 2013.]

    Oh, give him a break, Mike. He’s the one guy who was courteous enough to post regular responses to my F&G reviews. Unlike some administrator whose name I seem to be forgetting…

    Like

  35. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on July 28, 2013.]

    Hey now, I don’t comment on things I can’t contribute to, whether because of time, knowledge, or lack of things to say. Your reviews were clearly too perfect for me to comment on!

    I’d rather see no comments than comments that don’t contribute anything to the discussion. One word comments are great on Facebook, but not so much here is all.

    Regardless, not a big deal either way. Just giving Stake a little friendly ribbing. 🙂

    (P.S. Really, though, next time I go through Freaks and Geeks, you can bet I’ll be commenting like a fiend!)

    Like

  36. [Note: Jeremy G. posted this comment on July 28, 2013.]

    Heh. Fair enough. I may post a fair amount of comments myself the next time I go through Buffy (which may be pretty soon, actually).

    Anyway, really good review. I like your point regarding the importance of each season’s seventh episode. I admit it never struck me how pivotal they all are. (Well, apart from “Revelations”, I suppose.)

    Like

  37. [Note: StakeAndCheese posted this comment on July 29, 2013.]

    Haha, what can I say? I’m pretty sure you covered everything worth saying in the review!

    I really like Buffy telling Ford that there’s no way to justify his plan, and his telling her that she has no idea what he’s dealing with is kinda like Jonathan in “Earshot.”

    Like

  38. [Note: Sam L posted this comment on July 30, 2013.]

    “Revelations” is a pivotal episode, as well. It’s an exciting, action-packed episode that sets up the psychological barrier between Buffy & Faith.

    Like

  39. [Note: Spuffy4eva posted this comment on January 12, 2014.]

    Normally I don’t like Angel at all really, but how could you miss the shirt moment?
    Angel saying something along the lines of-their clothes are so stupid, no vampire wears that stuff-and then a vampire wannabe comes down the stairs in EXACTLY THE SAME SHIRT AS ANGEL-lol(Then Angel looks awkward, which is always great!)! I also think the way they’ve got Spike-my favourite character-developing is great and I love his scenes with Dru although my OTP is him and Buffy.

    Like

  40. [Note: Lydia posted this comment on May 3, 2014.]

    This episode is absolutely awesome mainly because of the last quote and more Spike/Drusilla (Yay!). But one thing that I kept wondering was why nobody bothered killing them when they had the chance? When Angel is talking to Drusilla, he tells her that she should take Spike and leave otherwise he will hurt them, despite the fact that they are a threat to Buffy. I don’t know if I’m reading too much into this, but maybe this means Angel subconsiously has a connection to them or something? I mean, surely if it were any other vampires he wouldn’t give them the option to flee. Also, Buffy could’ve easily dusted Drusilla when she grabbed her? And as you mentioned in your cons section, there were plenty of ways they could trap Spike and his gang of vamps and find a way to kill them once they were locked in. I know that the writers had to keep them alive (glad they did) but it just seemed way too convenient. Especially considering that Buffy knows that they’re a big threat (at least, for now).

    Also, this is the first episode where I found David’s acting to have improved evidently. Yay! I’m glad that even thought there are slip ups, his acting remains much better than in the earlier episodes. I really liked the cute Angel-Willow moment, and when Xander asked Willow,
    “He was in your bedroom?” Willow sighs and says, “We have a forbidden love.”
    You know, I’ve noticed that in these earlier episodes Willow seemed to be quite fond of the Angel/Buffy relationship. I wonder if one might even say…envious? I dunno, I’m probably overdoing the analysation, but just a thought.

    I also don’t know why people find the plot dumb, there are a lot of misshapps (How the HELL did Ford get into the school if he isn’t a student will always be a mystery lol) but the plot was decent. I like the idea of a vamp cult because it is SO realistic. Lots of people especially fangirls find the idea of being a vampire fascinating…Especially with TV and movie making the concept all glittery. Vampires to these people meant good looks and immortality…They were all just simply lost, miserable or bored and that makes a lot of sense. For a bunch of wannabe vamp humans to be present on a supernatural show makes plenty sense to me. Also, Anne is introduced here! It’s amazing she’s a total person altogether and comes out stronger than ever in AtS.

    This episode was one with it’s flaws but I still think it’s a great one.
    Awesome review, Mike! I also love all the Spike/Buffy mirroring each other references. I think that is really smart writing, and part of why I like them together so much (In season 7, of course.)

    Like

  41. [Note: Freudian Vampire posted this comment on May 3, 2014.]

    I agree. This episode is in fact one of my favourites – I ranked it in my Top 25 but a day ago, and would consider it to be A+ worthy without a doubt. I loved “Lie to Me” beyond all reason when I first saw it and made a special point of bringing it up at any opportunity, mainly to give myself an excuse to lament the cancellation of Roswell. On second viewing, however, I managed to identify exactly why I adore it so much.

    There are many who say that Buffy made the transition from quirky and enjoyable to genuinely brilliant at “Innocence” or even “Becoming”. I completely disagree – for me, “Lie to Me” will always be the moment when the show hit every beat perfectly and showcased exactly what it would be in the seasons to come. Thematically, it is as rich as anything else in S2, although the series would come to top it later with 5 and 6. Character-wise, it is pivotal for Buffy and Angel, although this would be surpassed by episodes to come. But for all the show improved from this point on, this was the first time it achieved true transcendence, and it will always have a place in my heart for that.

    Plus, the moral complexity here is beautiful. An intricate web of deceit which implicates all characters from Ford to Willow to Angel, this episode is not so much about lies as it’s title may suggest, but instead about how to deal with situation in a world where the heroes are not always stalwart and true, and the villains are not always accompanied by horns. Without this episode, we may never have had Faith, or Lilah and Lindsey, or even Angelus himself. We would never have had the deliciously complicated dilemma of the student and teacher in “I Only Have Eyes For You”, or the twisted Spike/Buffy in season 6. We would have had monsters of the week and funny quips, and not a show so magnificent that Mike still spends time reviewing it 11 years on, and we still take time to read and discuss.

    “Lie to Me”, thank you. You are amazing.

    Like

  42. [Note: Iguana-on-a-stick posted this comment on May 4, 2014.]

    >> I don’t know if I’m reading too much into this, but maybe this means Angel subconsiously has a connection to them or something?

    Of course Angel has a connection to them, there’s nothing subconscious about it. It’s not as strong as his connection with Darla, but it’s the next best thing.

    First off, he spent decades and decades travelling with them in a twisted family-dynamic. Sure, it was a love-hate thing, but it still blows any connection Angel has made out of the water. Half a century of living together versus a year and a half of lurking around and giving cryptic comments… yeah.

    Remember, the first thing he did after getting a soul was try and convince Darla that he could still be evil and stay with them.

    Second off, there’s a lot of guilt there. He made Spike and Drusilla into what they were. He drove Drusilla crazy and taught Spike to be a killer. He is directly responsible for every crime they ever committed in their combined two and a half centuries of destruction. I imagine he would find it even harder to kill Drusilla than he did Darla, because of this. (Spike is a] a guy, b] Drusilla’s creation, not just his own, and c] very annoying, so he’d have less trouble there. Though they still care about eachother.)

    I find it a bit difficult to believe that Buffy never killed Spike and Drusilla at those times where she had the chance. But Angel? No, I can easily believe Angel never could bring himself to do it. It may not be rational, but emotionally, it makes sense. Even at his darkest and meanest in season 2 of his own show, the best/worst he could do was hurt Dru.

    Like

  43. [Note: Freudian Vampire posted this comment on May 4, 2014.]

    Angel killed Darla in the first season, though. I understand her character was basically retconned later in AtS S2 to make her far stronger and more compelling, but it seems a little odd that he would be so comfortable about staking her then and yet be unable to deal with Drusilla and Spike.

    Like

  44. [Note: Seele posted this comment on May 4, 2014.]

    I think I may have an answer to one of your problems with the episode 😉

    Ford: “I’ve got an idea to get rid of Buffy Summers, but it will only work if you let me pretend to be a student for a few days.”

    Snyder: “Deal.”

    Like

  45. [Note: Iguana-on-a-stick posted this comment on May 5, 2014.]

    Well, I don’t think he’d have trouble staking Spike, per se.

    But the difference between Dru and Darla is that while he may have, in a twisted way, loved Darla, he is responsible for making Drusilla what she is. I think that’s why he tries to warn her rather than harm her in season 2. He is the one who ruined and destroyed her life. So he may feel like he doesn’t have the right to take what’s left of it.

    And that part was established immediately in season 2, and isn’t subject to any retcons.

    (though honestly, Darla in season 1 of Buffy is such a crap character I have a hard time even remembering that version of her.)

    Like

  46. [Note: Lydia posted this comment on May 6, 2014.]

    Iguana-on-a-stick: I couldn’t have said it better myself! I get it now, and it makes sense. Well, Darla was being a pain in the ass in Season 1 (I love the aTs version of Darla, though) and well she was worse than Dru or even Spike at that time. And I think Angel didn’t even want to kill Darla, until she barged in guns blazing and then he had no choice. Angel still thought that Dru and Spike had a chance to make it out over here, but I think if it ever came down to it and they also left him no choice; he’d kill them both for Buffy. I understand why Angel would be so conflicted about Dru, he killed her family and turned her into what she is today. She was just an innocent victim (Oh, this reminds me of a certain Spike-Angel convo in “Destiny”) anyway, he probably wouldn’t have a problem in killing Spike. But I guess he gave them the option to flee because he knows Dru loves Spike. Something like that? Thanks for the explanation! 😀

    MikeJer: Yay! I thought all my comments were too little, too late but I’m glad someone’s reading them. Your reviews spark so much thought and debate that I just can’t help myself. That’s why on my second round of the whole show I’m reading all your reviews. Thank YOU for this amazing site that keeps Buffy alive even years after it aired!

    Freudian Vampire: Great thoughts! I agree, Lie To Me was definitely a turning point for the series, and one of the best stand-alone (ish) episodes apart from “Earshot” on the series. It’s full of soo many good quotes, great character interaction and some emotional resonance as well. All the ingredients one need for a perfect Buffy episode!

    Seele: I almost fell off my chair laughing at your comment! I can totally see Snyder doing that! xD

    Like

  47. [Note: Nebula Nox posted this comment on May 13, 2014.]

    Willow also lies: first to her mother, when Angel is in her room, and later to Buffy, when she is about to do research on Ford

    Like

  48. [Note: Nebula Nox posted this comment on May 13, 2014.]

    Another point: Ford was in the sixth grade when Buffy was in the fifth. Hence, he is a year ahead of the Scoobygang and would logically have no classes with them. He does not need to go to class – he just has to hang out in the hall between classes and talk to Buffy in the cafeteria.

    Like

  49. [Note: ML posted this comment on July 23, 2014.]

    I found it funny when Angel’s saying the people who are worshipping vampires don’t know noth about them, how they are and how they dress and them a guy bumps into him who is dressed exactly like him.
    I think Angel doesn’t want to kill Dru, because he still feels responsible for who she’s become, after all, she is Angelus’ masterpiece.
    But yes, the Scoobies could have trapped them and killed them and the writers could actually pulled off Spike and Dru still escaping, after all, neither of them is an ordinary vampire. It’s true that Buffy could have staked Dru, but if she had, Spike wouldn’t rest until he killed Buffy. I think Buffy knew that and the writers would have to throw away the option of Buffy and Spike becoming allies, ’cause judging by what we know of Spike by this episode, only his death or Buffy’s would stop his quest for revenge.

    Like

  50. [Note: Pathbeyondthedark posted this comment on February 22, 2015.]

    I absolutely love Giles line at the end of this episode. It sums up the first 3 seasons beautifully, and I can see where season 4 can also be considered “the adolescent years,” although I think that season 4 is too uneven thematically to call it any one thing. What he’s also saying is not very comforting, but something Buffy needed to hear. She won’t always adhere to those words, but they resonate highly when she does.

    There’s a lot to sink your teeth into with this episode, including one of the first examples of ambiguity the series delves into. Is it fair what Ford is going through? No. Is he doing the right thing? Obviously not. But can you blame him, can you really say what you’d do in his situation? I know I couldn’t. Granted, I don’t think I’d take along dozens of people to get slaughtered in the process, but that just takes away some from the ambiguity (something I actually don’t agree with in this episode. I think when something is meant to be ambiguous, it should remain as ambiguous as possible).

    Buffy’s response to this seems slightly out of character at this stage of her development, where she’s making a lot of questionable decisions herself, but its forgivable for the sake of the theme. I never realized Spike is the only one being bluntfuly truthful in this episode and that it’s a character trait that really does continue later on, but that’s one more example of great and consistent writing that the series is known for.

    Like

  51. [Note: unkinhead posted this comment on September 30, 2015.]

    Rewatched this one today. My appreciation for this episode seems to have deepened with time. I used to think this was a pretty good episode, now I think it’s a great episode.

    The entire thematic yarn of the episode is beautifully handled, and the underlying score is fantastic. The ending dialogue is a sublime thematic crescendo that takes everything it built prior to a stunning emotional level. Pretty damn revelatory TV.

    All while never being heavy-handed despite it being a reoccurring topic in the episode.

    I think this episode is probably underrated because everything else isn’t played up for dramatic tension. It seems fairly straightforward on the surface action level, and it certainly isn’t the most compelling plot in the Buffyverse, but man do the other aspects mentioned elevate it.

    Like

  52. [Note: mbkerr posted this comment on February 18, 2017.]

    Perhaps Ford could have been made slightly more interesting had he been given an alternate spelling: Pike. Obviously the movie was still raw to Joss, but it could have served as a small link to a past we’re familiar with, and would have eliminated some of the awkward moments like Buffy hide her Slayer role or the “I had such a crush on you.” Ford never appears again, not even in comics set in the past, so I can agree he is not interesting at all, not even when supplemental material is addressing Buffy’s past. Pike gives us just a bit more history and weight, and wouldn’t have changed things too dramatically.

    Like

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