Buffy 3×10: Amends

[Review by Mike Marinaro]

[Writer: Joss Whedon | Director: Joss Whedon | Aired: 12/15/1998]

It’s a ‘Buffy’ Christmas and with it comes loads of pain, with the exception of the ending. Written and directed by Whedon himself, this episode ends with an surprisingly contrived happy ending involving a freak snow storm. For some equally contrived reason, though, I’m willing to let that huge complaint go. This is because it is the only episode in the entire series that ends this wildly warm. I never knew Whedon had this kind of warmth in him! Putting aside that anomaly, I can safely say that the rest of the episode is pretty damn good. One scene in particular, though, got me all sad. That’s when Joyce and Buffy chat about inviting Faith over for Christmas dinner. The characters are so happy here, and it’s so sad because I know what they’re all going to have to go through over the next few years.

I’ve got a handful of complaints, but nothing all that critical. Angel dreams of his vicious past right as he wakes up. He then goes outside to take a stroll and bumps into Buffy sporting a hair style that does not bring our her better qualities. Oh well, I love her anyway. While talking to Buffy, Angel sees the same Irish man from his dream behind her. Okay, so The First is orchestrating all of this, but it feels like awkward timing. The First should have appeared to Angel a ways after the opening credits. Another complaint I have is that later we find out that Buffy is appearing inside Angel’s dreams. Unfortunately, how or why this is happening is never explained. It appears like this is only happening to the two of them so they can have their, admittedly sensual, dream sex later on (which, by the way, also has some creepy foreshadowing at the end of it).

So now we get to the great material. There are a few really powerful scenes woven into the episode. The first being Oz and Willow’s sexual confrontation at Willow’s house. It begins at the school when Oz decides to give Willow another shot at their relationship. That leads to the home scene which is just golden television. Taking Buffy’s advice to show Oz that “he comes first,” Willow decides to offer herself sexually to Oz as proof of that. Our awesome man Oz, however, isn’t ready to make love with Willow yet. It’s really refreshing to see Oz’s maturity about sex. He wonderfully tells her, “you look great. You know, and, and you got the Barry working for you, and, and it’s all… good. But when it happens… I want it to be because we both need it to for the same reason. You don’t have to prove anything to me.”

The second big scene is when Angel pays a visit to Giles’ home for answers about why he’s back on Earth. Giles pulls out a crossbow and invites him in. As they’re talking, a manifestation of Jenny Calendar appears behind Giles as he’s talking. This puts Angel over the edge and he storms out of the house. Giles’ response to this entire sequence of events was also perfect. Ultimately, the idea of having Angel haunted and needing to overcome his greatest sins, on Christmas no less, is entirely relevant and beautiful. It’s also great that we finally know why Angel is back from Hell.

Scene number three, and ultimately the most important, is the big conversation between Angel and Buffy on the hilltop. Angel’s up there to commit suicide via sunlight and Buffy is passionately trying to convince him not to. He realizes that he’s weak and that part of him wants to “take comfort” in Buffy even though he knows it would cost him his soul. Buffy ends up giving Angel the fuel he needs to be able to make a difference in the world. She says, “You’re weak. Everybody is. Everybody fails. Maybe this evil did bring you back, but if it did, it’s because it needs you. And that means that you can hurt it. Angel, you have the power to do real good, to make amends. But if you die now, then all that you ever were was a monster.” She then tells him, “Strong is fighting! It’s hard, and it’s painful, and it’s every day.” This entire dialog exchange is literally the mission statement of the spin-off show Angel. That makes this in some ways the actual pilot episode for that show! In the final scene of AtS (“Not Fade Away”), Angel says “lets get to work,” swipes his sword, and then it cuts to credits. Stength is about fighting every day.

This is a very touching and powerful episode with a few small problems and a slightly slow pace. Buffy’s words of strength and the freak snow storm really help push the Christmas theme. The three huge scenes, though, completely blow away any negative feelings I have. I hadn’t planned on giving this one a big score, but upon analysis I realize this is a really good outing. A solid episode from Joss Whedon.

 


Minor Pros/Cons (+/-)

+ Joyce not wanting Giles over for the Christmas dinner because of their awkward situation.
+ Faith knowing Buffy’s mom sent her to make the invite, which makes Buffy feel bad and kind of want Faith to join them.
+ The quick flashback to when Angel was human and quite the partier. Ultimately, though, he was an innocent individual who never had a real chance.
+ Nice to see Willie again.

– I’ve simply had enough of the line “watch your back.” It’s caused me immense agitation, and quite possibly a rash.
–Β Why would The First even tell Buffy that Angel would be dead by sunrise? Why not tell her after he’s already dead?


Foreshadowing

* It’s established that Xander’s family have a lot of fights and alcohol problems. This is one of the reasons he decides to move out of his parents’ basement in “The Replacement” [5×03] .
* In Angel and Buffy’s shared erotic dream, Angel bites and drinks her. The First says later on in the episode, “you will drink her.” This foreshadowing comes to pass in “Graduation Day Pt. 2” [3×22] .
* The First and its minions, the Bringers and Caleb, become the main villains of S7.


[Score]

85/100

Advertisements

88 thoughts on “Buffy 3×10: Amends”

  1. [Note: SpMo posted this comment on January 19, 2007.]

    “Why would The First even tell Buffy that Angel would be dead by sunrise? Why not tell her after he’s already dead?”

    I reckon the reason here is that basically this would just leave the First back at square one, i.e. Angel dead/in hell, and there’d have been no point in bringing him back to begin with. The First probably figured if Buffy knew about the suicide attempt that she’d try to save Angel, and the First’s plan would have a chance of working.

    Like

  2. [Note: MrB posted this comment on February 23, 2007.]

    I have a big problem with the snowstorm.

    It can lead one to believe that the vamps can run wild during the day when it rains or cloudy. We never hear or see reference to that during the run of the show.

    Just one of those silly things that pop up occasionally on the show.

    I guess you could make the claim that it was mystical snow , and therefore has special rulles attached. But, really now.

    Like

  3. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on February 23, 2007.]

    Have to agree with you on that one. Although a heart-warming mystical freak snow storm only happens once in the entire series, so I think I can largely forgive it (although it did pull my score down). πŸ˜‰

    Like

  4. [Note: robgnow posted this comment on April 15, 2007.]

    “Why would The First even tell Buffy that Angel would be dead by sunrise? Why not tell her after he’s already dead?”

    It’s in the ‘Universal Bad Guy Rulebook’ and I quote: “Rule 2: Villain must always tell the designated hero just enough to foil any evil plot or deed and then allow the hero to ‘escape’ so as to foil referred to plot or deed.”

    The First had no choice.

    Rob

    Like

  5. [Note: robgnow posted this comment on April 15, 2007.]

    As to the snow… the only part I didn’t like was the ankle high snow drifts in the street when Angel and Buffy are walking hand in hand. First because it would have been a white-out blizzard for that snow to accumulate that fast. Second and more importantly, it looked way wrong… like it was made out cool-whip or something.

    Rob

    Like

  6. [Note: Latoya posted this comment on May 12, 2007.]

    I figured after season seven that the First Evil knew that it would be taken down by Buffy and a vampire with a soul. At this time, it thought that it was Angel. We learn in Chosen that it was Spike. The FE figured that if Angel slept with Buffy he would become Angelus (thus killing Angel)and then emotionally destroy or kill Buffy. Sex with Buffy and guilt for Angelus’ actions were Angel’s weaknesses. For Spike it was needing to be loved by the woman he loved. The FE tried to make him think that Buffy didn’t care about him. It nearly worked with Angel. Failed miserably with Spike.

    Spike: She will come for me….She believes in me.

    Angel: I’ll never hurt her.
    FE: You were born to hurt her. Have you learned nothing?

    Like

  7. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on July 26, 2007.]

    Actuallu, the snow doesn`t bother me at all. But I have to say the conversation between Buffy and Angel in the end made me love this episode even more. The two of them have really good chemistry.

    Like

  8. [Note: Austin posted this comment on August 23, 2007.]

    I too enjoyed the warmth that this episode ended on, it really was nice and I think it added more emotion to the sad moments.

    Like

  9. [Note: Zephos posted this comment on October 3, 2007.]

    I don’t understand what the problem with the snowstorm is. It’s clearly foreshadowing a LOT for ATS (particularly “the Powers that Be”). As for the fact that it’s never mentioned that Vamps can come out in couldy weather – this is Sunnydale. How often does it rain? It’s not a big plot hole at all.

    Like

  10. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on October 3, 2007.]

    The problem with the snowstorm is that it’s extremely corny and an easy out of the situation at hand. I don’t have a problem with the logic of a magic snowstorm; it’s rather simply laughably hokey. But as my review mentions, I’m somewhat willing to overlook it in light of how rare the pat happy ending happens on Buffy.

    Like

  11. [Note: Zephos posted this comment on October 5, 2007.]

    But that’s just it – it’s not just an “easy way out”. It was quite literally divine intervention. There was a reason for it – had Angel actually died there would have been absolutely no point in having him in the season up to that point. An easy way out would have been for Angel to suddenly decide not to kill himself. He needed that push from higher up – something his entire show is based around.

    I don’t agree that it was laughably hokey either. The emotional charge leading up to the snow was more than enough to actually appreciate what was happening.

    But hey, that’s me… =)

    Like

  12. [Note: Nix posted this comment on October 19, 2007.]

    This also explains the high snowdrifts. The TV announcer says that the temperature is in `the high thirties’, which is above the freezing point of water, so if all that happened was a divinely-powered snowstorm, that snow would melt instantly as soon as it hit the (warm) ground, and would probably melt while still in the air. A cold rain-mixed-with-slushstorm is rather less romantic.

    So instead we postulate (because we must) that whatever caused the snowstorm also sucked a huge quantity of heat out of the local rock and brick, perhaps out of all nonliving matter exposed to the outside air, such that it was at, say, -10C (sorry, I can’t think in F). On ground that cold, even with air above freezing, the snow not only would not melt but a layer of colder air would develop which would encourage the persistence of the pretty snow mounds.

    (Am I overanalyzing this? πŸ˜‰ )

    Like

  13. [Note: gabrielleabelle posted this comment on November 8, 2007.]

    I’m of the opinion that the ending was hokey. Hokey Christmas stuff. But, hey, I still enjoyed it.

    Really, just wanting to say THANK YOU. I’m glad somebody else noticed the abundant overuse of the “watch your back” line.

    Like

  14. [Note: Mr. Gordo posted this comment on December 8, 2007.]

    Does anyone else notice that the First is able to touch Angel in this episode(as Jenny Calendar)? It is not until S7 that the first is incorporeal, just thought I would mention it. Other than that loved the episode!

    Like

  15. [Note: Nix posted this comment on December 8, 2007.]

    The First, in the form of Cassie Newton, also touches a table in _Conversations with Dead People_.

    Little mistakes like this happen now and again. Vampires are shown with reflections occasionally and breathing all the time. Fundamentally it’s hard to recruit incorporeal actors, actors without reflections and actors who don’t breathe… (well, you can get the latter but they sort of smell and can’t play parts requiring motion other than lurching).

    Like

  16. [Note: wilpy1 posted this comment on March 2, 2008.]

    I don’t like this episode much. And not just because of the melodramatic ending and contrived snowstorm. The writing was very surprisingly subpar for Whedon. Where was his trademark wit, his snappy jokes and all that? I can’t pinpoint one intelligent, slick dialogue exchange in ‘Amends’. Maybe Joss ‘dumbed it down’ on purpose, I don’t know.

    Another thing I really didn’t like was the very slow pace, with boring library scenes topped with no sense of real threat. I get why Joss did it that way – because it was a Christmas eppy that demanded a lighter feel – but it suffered for it.

    There are some out-of-character moments in this episode as well. Willow getting surprisingly touchy about her Jewishness (she and Xander hate being associated with their real families – why would Willow be so proud of her heritage when she tries so hard in the series to become her own person?); Xander helping Buffy with Angel’s problem (considering how he spent most of his Christmases, the Christmas spirit shouldn’t have outweighed his hatred of Angel); Angel going to Giles for help (of all the cheek! If he felt so bad about killing Jenny, Giles’s feelings should’ve taken top priority. Instead he barges in to Giles’s apartment. God, I hate Angel sometimes).

    I’m not a total cynic, though. I loved that Faith knew straight away that Joyce had sent Buffy to invite her over for Christmas Eve. And I loved even more that Faith eventually accepted (and brought presents! “They’re crappy.” Hehe). I feel so sorry for her here because all she wants is a family, and to feel wanted. In fact, I felt *more* sorry for Faith in these small moments than I did for Angel at any point in the whole episode! That might be bias, though, as I really don’t like Angel on BTVS….

    Like

  17. [Note: Paula posted this comment on July 29, 2008.]

    Am I the only one having a problem with Xander, or anyone aware of all the vampires and demons in town, ever choosing to sleep out of doors no matter how bad their family’s fights are? I mean, talk about Happy Meals.

    Like

  18. [Note: Val posted this comment on October 28, 2008.]

    I have a problem with the girls/women always wearing make-up when they sleep (on the screen). Hello, women don’t keep their make-up on when they go to bed! And if they’re silly enough to do it, it certainly doesn’t look the same in the morning…

    Like

  19. [Note: Rekidk posted this comment on November 21, 2008.]

    @wilpy1 – I completely agree with you! Those little Faith moments were really great.

    @Paula – You have a good point, but Xander’s really not that bright. Besides, he’d been doing that for long before he had learned about vampires. (Now, as for why Willow or Buffy didn’t stop him: that’s a different story.)

    Like

  20. [Note: Sam posted this comment on November 28, 2008.]

    Mike, I’m with you on this one. Maybe it’s because Joss Whedon has explained multiple times that he’s a fervent atheist that I just didn’t buy the Christmas miracle finale. You know what, though? It’s so rare on this show that the characters get to be truly happy, even for just one episode, so I think it’s nice that Whedon tried to make that happen just once. It’s sweet, and as you said, very warm. I like that. πŸ™‚

    Like

  21. [Note: Sanjuro posted this comment on November 30, 2008.]

    The Willow-Oz talk is so great. “Where are you going?” “I’m not going anywhere, this is just a dramatic gesture.” Man, I can’t think of a way that Oz would have fit into later seasons, but damn do I miss him.

    Like

  22. [Note: Matthew posted this comment on January 29, 2009.]

    I read a theory somewhere that postulates that the snow isnt a cheesy feel-good ending at all, but rather a far more cynical one wherein Angel takes the snow to mean that he should keep fighting, doing good, etc. while really it was all in an effort to bring about Jasmine on earth. So while the first may take credit for bringing Angel back, and TPTB usually get the credit for the snow, it is really all to produce Connor and eventually Jasmine.

    Like

  23. [Note: Emily posted this comment on March 17, 2009.]

    My question is this: Did the First actually bring Angel back? Or do we never find out why he’s really back?

    Like

  24. [Note: Tara posted this comment on May 6, 2009.]

    I would give this episode an ‘A’ grade, easily. Not only is it beautifully shot and scored (the Dublin scene and the erotic dream in particular) but there is SO much strong character work going on here: Faith, Willow and Oz, Giles, and Angel himself. This is one of the few episodes – on Buffy, at least – in which we get some really in-depth interiority on Angel’s character and a conception of the moral struggle his souled self constantly undergoes. Not to mention the chemistry between Gellar and Boreanaz, which is always apparent, is absolutely incendiary in this episode. Less star-crossed lovers, and more a deep, sensual desire… and did I mention that dream sequence?

    Also of note is the impressive scene in which Angel calls on Giles. Skirting over how sexy Anthony Head looks with a crossbow, Giles’s response is perfect: striking the right balance between revulsion, duty, and emotional pain. I also love love love the Willow and Oz scene (and can Oz be real? Please?) that reminds me very much of ‘Innocence’ in which Willow also makes sexual advances because of her issues with Xander. Being the gentleman he is, Oz very gently (and kindly) turns her down. The third strong character glimpse we get is with Faith. It’s painfully obvious the ‘party’ is a lie, and her lonely Christmas lights are touchingly pathetic. Even sadder is viewing this episode retrospectively: the Christmas at Buffy’s house is probably the last truly happy moment she has all Season.

    ‘Conversations With Dead People’ aside, the First has never been this creepy, and especial praise to Robia La Morte for a truly chilling performance. Nicely setting up the mission statement for Angel, the snow did not seem contrived at all, but rather an intervention from the Powers – only something this drastic would be enough to pull Angel from his suicidal bent. Speaking of which, Gellar still retains the ability to move me to tears with the emotional scenes, and Boreanaz’s acting hasn’t been this strong since his stint as Angelus.

    All in all, a standout episode, only a few continuity and logic issues with the First stopping it from reaching perfect quality.

    Like

  25. [Note: Christian posted this comment on June 9, 2009.]

    I personally love this episode. I’ve always been a fan of the Buffy – Angel romance and this episode flows with the drama. The conversation at the end was incredible. The whole scene was really intense and perfectly done. The frustration they both feel is summed up in harsh words, tears and even some violence. “I know everything you did… because you did it to me�… wow.

    The snow at the end was just right… maybe a bit cheesy, but I thought it fit perfectly. The Willow/Oz scene was just plain cute. I also loved Faith in this episode… She looked beautiful in her first scene without the dark lipstick on, but speaking of looks… what’s with Buffy’s hair? And how about Xander’s sudden will to help… I didn’t buy it.

    Still, Amends is one of my favorites.

    Like

  26. [Note: Selene posted this comment on July 8, 2009.]

    The whole Willow/Oz interaction is my favourite part of this episode (and I can’t help but believe she probably had condoms when Oz came over) But bless Oz for realising they just weren’t ready to have sex yet. Sorry Willow, but if you can’t say it, you ain’t ready.

    I also loved how Giles armed himself before inviting Angel in and reminding Angel that becoming too comfortable in his existence was a direct help to bringing back Angelus.

    My favourite ‘small moment?’ When Willow looked out her window at the snow falling. That was so perfectly the look of a girl who had never seen snow before. The only way to better that moment would have been to show her going out into the snow.

    Like

  27. [Note: Leelu posted this comment on July 8, 2009.]

    @Matthew: That could be a valid theory, but I doubt they had thought THAT far ahead. I mean, Angel wasn’t even on the air yet. They were more than likely just focusing on the first, perhaps second at most, seasons, rather than the fourth season. But who knows.

    Like

  28. [Note: Lucy posted this comment on August 11, 2009.]

    I HATED this episode. I loved the first in season 7, but it was just weak here. I just never bought into the reasons why Angel was brought back. Yeah, we can explain it away with the powers that be etc, but we all know that the only reason he’s back is to star in his own series.

    And the snow was just lame.

    I did love the Willow/Oz scenes, though. And all the scenes that weren’t related to Angel. I did like watching Angel the series, but I wish it had never happened. It would have been so much more powerful if he’d just stayed dead.

    Like

  29. [Note: Ursus posted this comment on August 11, 2009.]

    I agree, Lucy. Everyone likes to say that “Buffy” is special because Whedon is willing to kill off a major character. What they don’t say is that, on the flip side, Whedon has a tendency to bring back people from the dead, thus nullifying the consequences of that character’s death. Whedon brought back a major dead character in season 8, thus ruining an an entire arc from season 6.

    Like

  30. [Note: jarppu posted this comment on August 11, 2009.]

    @Lucy
    I can’t see how you can find The First weak here but not in season 7. In season 7 The First does some very unexplained things(kidnapping Spike…what the hell was that all about?!) and The First’s ineptness to do nothing else but to taunt people to commit suicide is even more exemplified.

    As for bringing back Angel just so he can have his own series…do you need a better reason for bringing a character back? I don’t think there even would be a better reason for bringing back a character, as Angel is a solid 5 season show. Besides Angel wasn’t dead – he went to a hell dimension. Possibly somewhat similar similar to the one in ‘Anne’? If you have such a problem with this, do you also have a problem with resurrecting Buffy as she WAS literally dead and buried? And she wasn’t brought back by The First Evil(supposedly a very old and powerful entity) but by a human who has practised witchcraft only about 3 years.

    @Ursus
    As for the comic – yeah that was horrible. Luckily it’s easy to dismiss the comic as not canon even if it’s done by Joss. At least he didn’t do anything that outrageous in TV.

    Like

  31. [Note: Stilicho posted this comment on August 14, 2009.]

    The snow works PERFECTLY for me! Of course, it’s a bloody miracle, nothing less. It establishes for once and for all that Angel belongs to this world, not as the evil Angelus but as he is now, the good “Angel”, send back from good, one might say “angelic”, powers. It establishes that he has a “mission” to fulfill, and it makes clear that this is NOT the mission of the First Evil. I am very, very much inclined to believe that it was not the FE who send him back in the first place (“Some Great Evil takes credit for bringing you back and you buy it???”, to quote from memory) but other, good-working powers (may it have been “The powers that Be”, though I don’t care who it was in particular. Perhaps a problem is that something like TPTB never appeared in BTVS, and generally I too am glad that they get along without them). Because this kind of thing NEVER again happens in the series, it doesn’t feel corny at all to me but very, very strong – it would seem corny if the writers would *always* resort to that kind of solution in tricky situations, but they NEVER do. For me, it’s a stand-out grand gesture that establishes everything about Angel for the rest of BTVS but also lays the base for the “Angel” series as well. I really think this grand gesture, this miracle, works very well here.

    Like

  32. [Note: Kate posted this comment on September 5, 2009.]

    I love this episode. Sure, it had every single fault that you mentioned, but the last scene between Buffy and Angel more than made up for it. I berate people for only thinking of emotional value, but this episode deserves an A-.

    Joss has never written better than that last, amazing scene.

    Like

  33. [Note: Shelby posted this comment on September 26, 2009.]

    I don’t care what anyone says, I’m a sucker for the Christmas season and this episode perfectly captures it in a wonderful Buffy-like way. Since this show so rarely does anything “cheesy”, the snow can be welcomed and appreciated, at least in my eyes. It made for an uplifting ending, which can be so darn rare in the Buffyverse. Plus, I loved the touch of Xander sleeping outside for Christmas, funny yet sad. My only gripe is that I wish Giles would have been invited to Buffy’s Christmas dinner, it would have been so sweet, and I hate seeing Giles alone.

    Like

  34. [Note: LibMax posted this comment on June 21, 2010.]

    I realize it’s a retcon, but if you want to know how, why, and by whom Angel was brought back from hell and where the snowstorm came from, consult the episode Inside Out, Angel Season Four. Seeing that episode completely changes this one. And much of the rest of the Buffyverse, of course, but this episode in particular.

    Like

  35. [Note: Lebfree posted this comment on July 23, 2010.]

    Whenever I watch the final conversation between Buffy and Angel I cry and I am a 36 years old man, enough said!!

    Like

  36. [Note: nathan.taurus posted this comment on August 20, 2010.]

    The Good:

    Joyce refusing to acknowledge that Giles might like to be invited for dinner.

    Giles and Angel together again. Giles with the crossbow.

    Xander offering to help research why Angel is back.

    “Who else can claim that pathetic a social life.” and Willow walks in.

    Xander trying to threaten Willy and Willy complimenting his effort.

    Willow wants to do ‘it’ on the living room couch.

    “You realise if he truly becomes a danger you may have to kill him – again.” Giles perhaps making the point of the Angel comeback.

    Buffy’s speech to Angel.

    The Bad:

    Buffy’s hairstyle. That fringe.

    Jenny (The First) touches Angel.

    Like

  37. [Note: Adda posted this comment on September 16, 2010.]

    @Leelu

    I see what you mean, but the team behind BtVS and AtS have proven that they tend to make moves that are foreshadowing into the future. For instance, the season 4 finale ‘Restless’ have A LOT of foreshadowing, which you only notice if you watch that episode shortly after watching the final three. for example, the bag/breefcase that buffy opens and finds the mud in, is the same as the ‘slayerbag’ that Robin gives Buffy, way forward in season 7

    Like

  38. [Note: Dimitri posted this comment on October 30, 2010.]

    Little pro of my own

    -Jenny Calendar is wearing the exact same outfit she was wearing in Passion. As well as the Drusilla version of Jenny in Becoming.

    Like

  39. [Note: KatieJ posted this comment on December 13, 2010.]

    I have to agree with Tara’s comments about this episode. It is amazing that Whedon and the other writers can touch moments of bawdy and bodily hilarity- as in Bewitched…Bewildered, and yet successfully construct an episode like this. As many have noted, the episode transcends the mythology and even the tone of the series to make a lasting argument about a higher power, love and mostly redemption. When Angel’s voice cracks in asking “Am I righteous man?” that is it for me, the tears begin. What this does is show how well Buffy heard Giles in “I Only Have Eyes,” that “to forgive is an act of compassion, Buffy. It’s not done because people deserve it. It’s done because they need it.” This is a truly magnificent episode.

    My only issue is the bangs. Yes, they are distractingly bad.

    Like

  40. [Note: Juliette posted this comment on December 20, 2010.]

    The only part in the hiltop scene I like is when angel says “Am I a thing worth saving, huh? Am I a righteous man? The world wants me gone!”

    The rest always gets me laughing in a ‘omg this is some real hokey over the top melodrama’ kind of way. Am I the only one that finds it amusing? More importantly was does that say about me? lol.

    I am so glad Angel left.

    Other then the Angel-ly parts I did like this episode and I agree with you mike on the whole feeling wistful (is that a good word?) about the Joyce Buffy and Faith scene.

    Not to mention the Oz/Willow part is really funny.

    Like

  41. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on December 21, 2010.]

    I can certainly see how one could feel that hilltop scene to be overly melodramatic. For me, it mostly works because of what it means for Angel and his future.

    Like

  42. [Note: huhahuha posted this comment on May 20, 2011.]

    I absolutely loved this episode, especially the final conversation/argument between Angel and Buffy. No. I don’t find this overly melodramatic. If it is, then many of the most classic works of Shakespeare and Euripides would also be called “overly melodramatic.”

    There are many important messages conveyed in this dialog, including:

    (1) The mission statement of Angel the series.

    (2) the importance of redemption.

    (3) “It’s hard, and it’s painful, and it’s every day” kind of reminds me of the monologue Buffy gave to Dawn at the end of the Gift, “the hardest thing in this world is to live in it. Be brave. Live. For me.” In a way, these sentences summarize both shows and tie them together nicely.

    (4) The part “I’m weak. I’ve never been anything else. It’s not the demon in me that needs killing, Buffy. It’s the man. ” is very impressive, it gave us great understanding to the character of Angel, and help us understand his behavior later in his own show. No wonder Joss Whedon considers this to be his best work.

    All these are transcending themes presented in a heart-breaking 5-minute conversation/confrontation. This is just great art!

    And I absolutely loved the final freak snow, and the nice montage how happily surprised everyone were, and the heart-warming final scene with Angel and Buffy walk hand-in-hand. It shows that even in the harsh, unforgiving, and dark world of Whedon, some happiness can truly be found, even if just temporarily.

    Like

  43. [Note: Elizabeth posted this comment on May 27, 2011.]

    I think this episode was rated rather harshly. As an atheist and knowing that Joss is an atheist, it makes me appreciate this episode even more. Looking over the cheesiness and horrible fake snow, the meaning behind Buffy and Angel’s conversation on the hilltop is absolutely amazing. You can physically feel the love between them, and the snowstorm, wherever the hell it came from, is what convinces Angel to stay alive. I LOVE LOVE LOVE that Joss decided on a happy ending for once, and I actually wish there were more Christmas episodes. It felt so familiar to me, to see Buffy at home with her mom, picking out a tree topper, enjoying a warm fuzzy moment for once. And she deserved that. Knowing what they have coming for them, this episode made me feel great, because finally the characters got some closure and peace. I don’t wish every Buffy ep to have that happy an ending, but this one really lifted my spirits. I’d give it at least a 95.

    Like

  44. [Note: Gemma posted this comment on December 16, 2011.]

    As Christmas is almost upon us and as Faith said ’tis the season’ I though i would take some time out to re-watch one of the only Buffy christmas episodes.

    This episode is one that we have been crying out for, the answer to why Angel is back. It seems, looking retrospectively that The First is responsible for Angel’s presence back on earth. A struggle of good vs evil takes hold of the plot from then on; although for The First to wrapped up in this is a little off to me. In season 7 The First insists that there is neither good nor evil only power. I suppose it is possible to speculate that The First was threatened by Angel. Knowing perhaps that he would aid Buffy in the final battle seen in Chosen; He was the one who after some intervention from Wolfram and Heart brought the amulet that destroyed the Hellmouth, although it was worn by Spike- but then in previous episode to Chosen The First endeavoured to control him to.

    A large amount of foreshadowing in this episode once it is pondered.

    The interaction between the characters was written superbly! Joss really excelled himself in this episode. Angel seeking out Giles for help was handled well, Giles inherent distrust for Angel in that scene was quintessential of Giles character having been through what he had under the eyes of Angelus. Only in the spirit of christmas could he and Xander rally to help him, okay its in Giles nature to want to help Angel but christmas was the reason for Xander’s change of heart. Albeit for Buffy’s sake. The method in which Xander was listening at the door and accepting that Angel was someone Buffy cared about and in some ways finally acknowledging that he truly does have to let her go was conducive to his character. I think it escalated his growth, having broken up with Cordelia but still caring for her and the pain he felt, he may resonate towards him? Xander was controlled by lust and so not himself perhaps and sees now that Angel is not the animal that Angelus is?

    Its god to see Xander’s desire to be a tough guy still exists subtly when he confronts Willy the snitch. His confronting Buffy too was touching to see.

    WIllow and Oz’s being together again was a great thing to come out of this episode and her move towards wanting to have sex with Oz was a great scene. I picked up on her want for it, but also the contrived attitude she had encroaching in to her voice with the ‘I..I’m ready’. I resonated with her at this moment. It was the reaction that every teen has when he or she is considering this step, and Oz was the perfect gentleman!

    I thought this episode was a prominent one for Faith as well, although she wasn’t a main factor in this episode the scenes she did have were touching. She knew Joyce had asked Buffy to invite Faith but she was touched by the invite and went to Buffy’s for christmas eve. What was mostly poignant for her character though was that once again she was left out in the cold. Buffy didn’t tell her what was going on but asked her to be watch dog for Joyce. To me the feelings and the way Faith switches sides is justified after this episode and Revelations, Faith was treated like service for requirements, Never truly fitting in.

    Back to the pivotal character of this episode, Angel choose to die instead of kill Buffy, he choose to be good. The ending of this episode was a warm and fuzzy one that is somewhat unprecedented for Buffy-Verse. The utilising of the sun and its not being able to rise was a aww moment, a miracle to show Angel that he has a higher purpose, that he is a force the world wants to save. For him to carry on, that what Buffy has told him over and over is true, he is a good man is true. The hill top scene with him and Buffy was touching.

    The confrontation unearths the feelings that have buried since Becoming pt 2 and Angel’s return. They need and love each other but perhaps most importantly this end scene shows them that the world needs them.

    Like

  45. [Note: x factor posted this comment on December 18, 2011.]

    This is the kind of masterpiece that reflects the true heart of BTVS. No sadism (B/S), sadomasichism (B/S), no contrived storylines (Empty Places, Lies), or fake characters (Dawn).

    Just a wonderful balance of hope and despair, of forgiveness and sacrifice, and the episode that pretty much launched an entire television series on its own. Real emotions experienced by real people, natural and real.

    This is the episode where Angel came into his own, second only to Buffy in terms of significance in the BTVS mythos.

    Like

  46. [Note: x factor posted this comment on December 29, 2011.]

    I have to lol at Juliette’s comment. Melodramatic? Hokey? A man about to commit suicide for what he perceives as the greater good and the woman that loves him more than anything in this world in potentially the final moments of his life. How do you expect them to act? Should they be sitting down for tea and cookies and commenting on the weather?

    “I’m weak. I’ve never been anything else. It’s not the demon in me that needs killing, Buffy…it’s the man.”

    And then the miracle snow…creates an almost surreal sense of higher powers intervening on behalf of the good guys, as a countermove to the First apparently bringing back Angel for their own evil purposes.

    Like

  47. [Note: Odon posted this comment on February 3, 2012.]

    Xander helping re Angel seemed out of character, but to my mind he was seeking forgiveness from Buffy rather than being willing to forgive Angel, basically offering her an olive branch over the Bangel issue.

    Like

  48. [Note: lilly posted this comment on March 31, 2012.]

    I agree with the above posts that Xander suddenly wanting to help Angel seems out of character, but it didn’t seem unnatural to me, considering his situation.

    I think Xander was feeling the guilt for betraying Buffy in Revelations, and also for his relationship with Willow and was just trying to make up for being a douche.

    Xander sort of redeems himself in this episode and in The Zeppo. I say “sort of” because he’s still only helping Angel for somewhat selfish reasons. That, plus what happens in Hell’s Bells.

    Like

  49. [Note: Rob W posted this comment on April 8, 2013.]

    “Oh, it must be that whole ‘Angel killed his girlfriend and tortured him thing’. Yeah Giles is pretty petty when it comes to stuff like that.”

    Love this quote, and that no one else in the hallway reacts even though Xander says it fairly loudly.

    Like

  50. [Note: Monica posted this comment on September 29, 2013.]

    I just rewatched this episode for possibly the first time in many years, and actually dislike it more than I did before.

    The b-plots regarding Willow and Oz and Faith and Joyce were the only actual redeeming plots this episode had to offer.

    Angel’s entire characterization in this episode borders on unbelievable. He’s lived with this guilt forever and it comes to blows now? Because Jenny Calendar, and two other people who he also had barely any contact with before he killed them are haunting him? Okay.

    Sarah Michelle Gellar’s acting was absolutely beautiful in the last scene, however. It’s almost funny how much she carried the scene over David Boreanaz. This still doesn’t make up for the awful reasoning behind it.

    Like

  51. [Note: JoJo posted this comment on October 19, 2013.]

    I think its coming to blows now Monica because pre sexy times with Buffy, Angel had no idea just how easily he could revert back to an evil soulless killer. Sure he’s carried giant bags o’ guilt and remorse around with him for the last century, but now he’s been saddled with the very real fear that he could do it all over again. It’s not so much Jenny Calendar herself that’s haunting him, it’s that she’s the personification of all his misdeeds, and more importantly his recent deeds. She’s a walking talking reminder that Angel isn’t a safe harmless vampire no matter how badly he wants to be, and that when he loses control people die. Couple that with the fact that now she’s whispering in his ear encouraging him to do what he already really really wants to do (i.e. make love to Buffy) and he’s terrified that he won’t be able to resist, that he’ll go bad AGAIN, that people will die AGAIN, that he’ll hurt Buffy AGAIN. He doesn’t feel like he’s strong enough to fight the constant temptation, and in his mind it’s better to die than be a killer, so he chooses suicide.

    Like

  52. [Note: Nebula Nox posted this comment on January 20, 2014.]

    I love the fact that the always desired “White Christmas” also serves as a plot device.

    Besides, although it’s Southern California, of pleasant weather, the weather should sometimes play a part in the story! It does in everyone else’s life.

    I guess the snow was sent by the good guys, but if the First brought Angel back (not convinced) an argument could be made for the First making it snow, too.

    Like

  53. [Note: NJ88 posted this comment on January 30, 2014.]

    The Buffy/Angel stuff never really struck me in this episode as the most important or interesting. The Willow/Oz stuff is just adorable and the Faith stuff is a great lead into her turn. Both are done incredibly well.

    Like

  54. [Note: PetiteMonstre posted this comment on March 10, 2014.]

    I completely agree that the episode was made to end this way for a reason.The snow wasn’t coincidence or a plot contrivance. They could have easily had Buffy convince Angel not to kill himself, and made it plenty dramatic and emotional. But they specifically brought in a sort of higher-power reference (god, fate, whatever). Throughout the episode Angel was wondering why he was brought back (as many people wonder why they are here, the meaning of their lives). The ending hints at a greater purpose to existence that is in a sense magical/supernatural even beyond the magic of a show like Buffy. Therefore the miracle of the snow.

    basically kind of what you said, but I just wanted to restate it because this episode is amazing!

    Like

  55. [Note: FlyingPenguin posted this comment on May 3, 2014.]

    You know, I’ve never been quite sure what to make of this episode. I think there are basically two things that have always given me trouble: First, as an atheist, it’s hard for me not to feel a bit queasy about the whole “Christmas miracle” ending (even though I’m an atheist who likes Christmas πŸ™‚ ). Yes, I realize that Joss Whedon is also an atheist and yes, that does put it in a different light, but I’ve still never quite been sure how I feel about it. And second, the involvement of The First in this episode just seems kind of…odd. Both by the very nature of the concept and considering its role in season 7, The First seems like a Really Big Deal–not something that just sort of turns up briefly to torment one particular vampire, then goes away…only to come back several years later in a much more all-out, I’m-the-biggest-and-baddest-of-all-big-bads sort of way.

    That said, I have to admit this this time through, I’m coming around to a more decidedly positive view of the episode than I’ve had in the past. The thing about The First still strikes me as weird, but I think I’m actually okay with the “Christmas miracle.” I think the show gets away with it partly because, as others have noted, it’s so singular (nothing like it ever happened before or after–at least, on Buffy as opposed to Angel); partly because, as a show with a supernatural premise, it feels a little more legit; and partly because, with the creator being an atheist, I feel comfortable that the purpose was NOT to try to be hokily “spiritual.” You could still argue (as some have here) that the snowstorm was an easy out, preventing Angel from having to make up his mind to go on (un)living–but I actually sort of think that’s intentional. Once he makes that decision for himself, he’ll be ready for the next phase of his (un)life. This episode, as others have commented, does a lot to set up Angel the series, but it needed to leave some of the relevant character growth to actually happen on his own show! And in between, we’ll eventually see Angel take steps on his own toward the strength that he here realized that he lacks when he makes the actual decision to leave Buffy/Sunnydale and go off to L.A.

    Something else that I appreciated about the hilltop scene was how, in contrast to most of their scenes together in season 2, here suddenly it’s Buffy who seems like the “adult” between the two of them–the strong one, with wisdom to impart, able to make the hard decisions. It really showcases how far she’s come and what she’s learned!

    It’s so impressive to me that in the same scene, Buffy can say to Angel both “…if you die now, then all that you ever were was a monster!” and “I know everything that you did, because you did it to me. Oh, God! I wish that I wished you dead. I don’t. I can’t.” This shows that she actually *can* see and think clearly about Angel, even though it’s also true that she has the kind of epic, incurable, not-about-brains love for him that Spike talked about in Lover’s Walk.

    Like

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

    Would it help to think of the “Christmas Miracle” as coming from the Powers That Be that controlled Angel in his own series?

    Like

  57. [Note: FlyingPenguin posted this comment on May 4, 2014.]

    Well, I do think of it that way. For that matter, it makes the most sense to me to interpret this episode as suggesting it was really the PTB and not the First Evil that brought Angel back in the first place.

    But, after all, what are the PTB but a vagued-up way to talk about gods? Now, you might argue that since they aren’t the Christian God, it’s sort of weird to talk about a “Christmas miracle” that’s attributable to them. Still, even if it’s technically sort of a weird fit, the episode does both resort to divine intervention and evoke the “Christmas miracle” cliche–hence my history of not necessarily loving it. Though, again, I was actually pretty okay with the whole thing this time through–so it’s all good. πŸ™‚

    By the way, I accept the role of the PTB on Angel for the most part (though here and there the concept does become problematic, in my opinion), but I’m still glad they’re (mostly) absent from BTVS. I think the show works much better without them, for a number of reasons.

    (I also totally reject any notion that this episode was ultimately part of Angel season 4’s vast conspiracy to produce Jasmine, both because I feel it ruins much that was good about both the episode and Angel’s larger story and because I don’t for a second think that the writers had dreamed that plot up yet at this early point.)

    Like

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

    Personally:

    1) I like to think that the PTB and the First Evil worked together to bring Angel back, seeing as the prophecy about the Apocalypse didn’t say which side he’d be on but that it was extremely important that he be on a side.

    2) I tell myself – and I’ve heard that a lot of other people do the same – that Skip was lying about Jasmine controlling everything just to make her sound more intimidating.

    Like

  59. [Note: FlyingPenguin posted this comment on May 5, 2014.]

    Yeah…understandable. Personally, I sometimes tell myself that much of the last two seasons of Angel just flat-out didn’t happen–but maybe that’s a bit extreme for some people’s tastes…? πŸ™‚

    Like

  60. [Note: Lydia posted this comment on May 23, 2014.]

    Wow! Darn, people are taking that snow storm quite seriously.
    I’d like to say that I absolutely adored this one, too.
    So there’s a snow storm and a fluffy ending–Pfft!
    Buffy rarely does this, and by rarely I mean never. Perhaps I’m biased because honestly I love Christmas and I’m a sucker for corny Christmas movies and feel-good Christmas specials. And to find out that Joss is an atheist, well, adds to the appeal. Buffy wasn’t ever known for it’s fine plots, and this one wasn’t even that bad! I LOVE the idea that Angel’s past sins were haunting him on a day that is considered holy. It’s a Buffy Christmas that we never get to see again!
    THE CHARACTERS ARE HAPPY. THE CHARACTERS ARE HAPPY. ON A JOSS WHEDON SHOW.
    THE CHARACTERS ARE HAPPY ON A JOSS WHEDON SHOW.
    Do you really need any more convincing, guys?
    If it is only for a few moments, it’s warm and it makes me feel all fuzzy inside. The snow was out of the blue, not quite believable, but it’s a supernatural show, it’s prone to be a little cheesy and unrealistic.
    I’ll admit I was crying by the time the episode ended, because in retrospect, you know where the characters go from here, and it kinda, sorta, breaks your heart a little bit. If this happened more than once on Buffy,
    maybe I wouldn’t have been so in favor of it, but considering that it only happens once in all of its season 7, well, let’s just say I buy it.
    And am willing to accept it with open arms.

    I still stand to my comment about Giles being on fire this season. I think Season 3 is his best. So little screen time, so many emotions.
    His reaction was perfect!
    The way he starts laughing when he sees Angel at his doorstep, the comment,
    “And the funny keeps on coming.” (AND OF COURSE, The Crossbow ;))
    Of course, Giles being extremely sympathetic and genuinely a nice person,
    he’s willing to help Angel. I appreciate that.

    Also I totally buy Xander wanting to help after all he’s been through in the span of the last few episodes. After his grand debauchery and doucheness I think he’s finally coming to terms with what he’s doing.
    Even if he never did love Cordelia, I think he still cared a whole lot about her and felt guilty about what he did with Willow. I also think that’s Xander’s come to appreciate Buffy more. She’s keeping her distance from Angel, and she’s doing what’s right. Even if selfish motives were mixed into it, I still believe Xander’s intentions were pure. Also, I think he just wanted to spread around the love and cheer because he has such an unstable home. His family probably never did the whole presents under the tree thing for the poor guy. He was obviously an unhappy child. So it makes complete sense he’d want to ’tis the season and was willing to let go of some of his old crappier instincts and trade those in with kindness and forgiveness! Maybe he learnt something from Gile’s words,
    “Forgiveness isn’t given because someone deserves it. It’s given because they need it.”

    The Oz/Willow scene was gold. I’m still waiting for a real life Oz to pop up in my life! You can tell just how naive and immature Willow is here, and that helps you appreciate just how much she grows later on.
    This truly wasn’t the episode they should’ve ‘done it’, I’m glad they waited for the right moment.
    Also, If anyone’s read any of my previous comments, they’d know I am not a Bangel fan.

    However, this episode was surprisingly well done even though it was high on the Bangel love. I think it’s SMG’s delivery of words that gets me every time!
    But Boreneaz’s lines here were equally stellar.

    “It’s not the demon that needs killing, Buffy. It’s the man.”

    Can I just say, “AWWW”? (P.S I think my primal fangirl instincts started to kick in, I apologize.) Anyway, that whole monologue was just beautiful and bought legit tears to my eyes. BTVS has so many great quotes and epic TV moments that range over so many different characters and seasons. It’s just splendid.
    And I also don’t think the snow was an outlet to end the entire thing,
    it totally sets up (as many already mentioned) for AtS and it’s recurring themes about fighting and redemption. I think it’s unique in that way.
    When I first saw this episode, I thought Buffy would convince Angel, and they’d share a campy kiss. But instead, Angel is coaxed into living by something bigger than him.

    One can argue that The First really did bring him back, I even thought it was possible that Wolfram and Heart had a part to play (Would one really be that surprised if they did?) But I don’t think that’s the way the evil guys roll.
    So suffice to say I’m going to blindly assume it was Ats’s PTB that brought him back. After all, this wouldn’t exactly be the last time the PTB meddled in his life.

    I wish The First hadn’t been in this episode, the speech was stupid and it contradicts what FE tells Spike in Season 7, “It’s not about good or evil. It’s about power.” But I’m willing to let that go because this is a wonderful gem of an episode that’s got almost everything I look for in an excellent episode of television. Its laced with fuzzy Christmas feels and white snow makes it even better (For me, anyway. I know plenty others would disagree! Oh well.)

    An honorable mention to Faith, too. She was so awesome in this episode.
    She swallows her pride and dissolves her ego so that she can have a quaint little Christmas dinner with Joyce and Buffy.
    And then Buffy had to sprint on her, again! Just when I thought they might just make a connection. Oh well, its no surprise Faith becomes heavily conflicted and begins to dip a toe in the ‘Pool O’ Evil after recent events.
    It’s in these small, subtle moments that I feel for her the most.
    She’s just a girl trying to survive and make the best of it at the end of the day, she just wanted to be loved and wanted to have a home.
    Something she will have to face far too many hurdles to accomplish, I fear.

    In conclusion of my extremely long, boring rant. Great episode!
    At least worthy of an A (I’d even settle for an A- =P)

    P.S. To reciprocate the above comment, spare for a few beginner episodes, I think Season 5 of Angel was really good and had some amazing scenes, dialogue and character work.

    Like

  61. [Note: Freudian Vampire posted this comment on May 29, 2014.]

    I think this episode is far more interesting if you disregard the ret-conning mess that is Angel season 4’s “Inside Out” and instead focus on how this episode relates to season 2.

    In this episode, Angel resolves to kill himself, believing that he is a danger and that he can never redeem himself for past sins, but divine intervention convinces him he has a part to play and so he keeps on fighting.

    In “Reprise”, Angel attempts to reach the Home Office and fight the Senior Partners, knowing full well that he will be destroyed in the process – however, it is revealed to him that ultimately his fight is meaningless and worth nothing, destroying the themes set down here in “Amends” and also “To Shanshu in L.A.”. However, this time he manages to find salvation not through an act of god, but in the absence of one – if nothing he does matters, then all that matters if what he does. You can appreciate the power and meaning of “Reprise” / “Epiphany” without understanding the connection to this episode, but its potency is increased when you remember that Angel’s desire for higher purpose was set down all the way back here on the hill in the snow.

    Great episode – a tad melodramatic, but no more so than it needed to be. A- for sure.

    Like

  62. [Note: Nix posted this comment on June 24, 2014.]

    FlyingPenguin, it takes some really fast extratextual spinning to make the First make sense both here and in Season 7. I think the key is its time horizon. Because the First is immanent, a sort of hole in the structure of the universe taking copies of everyone who ever dies and roping those copies into a common goal, it can afford to think in the very long term and only act overtly when it is almost certain it will succeed. (We know it cannot see the future, because if it could it could also take the forms of people who would later die, i.e., everyone: since this means it would know everyone’s actions and strategies before they composed them it would basically be unstoppable and omnipotent.)

    Season 3 is a little thing, a safe thing, a temptation of the sort you could imagine it’s doing all the time. Until its contrivances are uncovered, it never reveals itself to anyone but its temptee, and everything it does can be written off as simple hallucinations (except for bringing Angel back, and I see no reason to trust it when it says that was its work). But anything more would be more risk than reward (and even as an indestructible entity, it does have something to risk — if it acts too blatantly and people get mad and kill off its Bringers, it is quite possible it couldn’t reveal itself to anyone again until someone learned about its existence from another source and voluntarily chose to become a Bringer).

    In S7, it goes blatant: with the protection on the Slayer line removed it thinks it has the opportunity to make a permanent change in the structure of things by removing a foe of evil which is almost as indestructible as it is. But without the events of Bargaining it couldn’t have acted like that, so it hedged its bets and avoided acting at all.

    Like

  63. [Note: Nebula Nox posted this comment on July 5, 2014.]

    So: let’s look at the episode from the point of view of the title. Who is making amends to whom?

    On the adorable level is Willow, trying to make amends to Oz by inviting him over for nookie. He says no, but he is obviously touched.

    We have Buffy, who attempts to make amends to Faith by inviting her over for Xmas dinner (although at her mother’s urging). Faith at first says no, but in the end appears, with gifts in hand – her own attempt to make amends. In both cases the attempts do help.

    Then there is Xander, who has caused trouble with respect to Angel – understandably, in some respects, but rather pettily, in others. He comes over to the library to assist with the current problem, making partial amends for his behavior/attitude towards Angel.

    Then we have Angel, with the most amends to make. He apologizes to Giles, who does not seem to accept the apology at first, and who threatens Angel with a crossbow. Yet later in his conversation with Buffy we can see that Giles was affected by Angel’s appeal.

    However, Angel is in a quandary. He can apologize and try to make amends to Giles, but most of Angel’s victims are dead. Angel cannot make up for what he has done, and he fears what he might do (drink from Buffy, or sleep with her and lose his soul). To whom can he make amends? No one, it appears, and the only thing he can do is to kill himself.

    Yet the universe is merciful (for a change) and prevents the suicide.

    Moral of the story (feeling preachy today): even though it may feel pointless to make amends – even if your attempts are rebuffed at first – sometimes the efforts are accepted, if not immediately. And even if it is not accepted, it is good for the soul.

    Like

  64. [Note: Odi et Amo posted this comment on July 5, 2014.]

    Amends is, beyond its melodrama, among the most philosophically ruminating episodes in the series (Mark Field connected it to The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus, with electrifying effects, on his blog). I agree with Freudian Vampire and Lydia that it deserves an A-… πŸ˜‰

    Like

  65. [Note: Zach posted this comment on August 6, 2014.]

    I disagree about the ending scene. While it is suprsingly happy, I don’t find it corny nor unrealistic in btvs.

    I think we are conditioned to expect certain things from television, and from great television shows. We are expected to see realism, so when we see something go great, we all are quick to assume its hokey, even me.

    But, after some thinking, realistically, good endings too happen, good things happen. Viewers and writers love to explore the pain of life, but in all actuality, miraculously/lucky great things do happen, seldom, but they do happen. I think we are too quick to relate this to other programs that are constantly spitting out the good ending no matter what thing. In a show like BTVS, when its never this warm, I find one miraculous happy moment to be pretty realistic in all seriousness. Obviously the freak snow storm isn’t in itself realistic, but in the shows universe, it is obviously implied that it is divine intervention, later explored in angel consistently, that angel is needed.

    So basically…

    BtVS Flexible Universe + Occasional Happiness = Realistic

    Like

  66. [Note: Jonas posted this comment on September 14, 2014.]

    I still maintain that BTVS is the best show ever made to this day. Even then, it has it’s share of episodes that I don’t care for. “Amends” is one of them.

    Just watched it again and this time found it difficult to get through. There’s not a lot of good here. Angel’s torment was annoying and probably one of the best examples of a bad acting day for Boreanaz. Not that he had a lot to work with. This plot is bad. It’s overly sappy and messy as hell. I didn’t care for Xander’s abrupt turnaround without more explanation than “being in the Hannukah spirit”. And I was left wanting more interaction between Buffy and Faith.

    One thing the series doesn’t really ever fill in is the giant amount of time that Angel spent in that Hell dimension. What was it, 400+ years? And he now has this crazy angst about all the bad things he’s done? After spending so long in a Hell dimension, I’d think you’d be accustomed to the tricks and get to know yourself pretty damn well. Also, using Ms. Calendar as the primary visage of the first is kind of an unsettling feature as well. I think any of the other “ghosts” would have done just as well and let us keep Jenny’s image as purely her character.

    The most annoying fact about this episode is the time goofs made. It kinda drives me nuts.
    Here you have Faith showing up for dinner at Buffy’s house. Angel shows, Buffy goes and when she confronts him on the hilltop, it’s “almost sunrise any minute now” Cue heartwarming fake snow scene and the entire cast reacting to the magic. Joyce and Faith look out the door(did they even eat?) Oz and Willow still chillin’ on the couch and Giles doing Giles-y things. It’s technically morning. So, everyone except Xander spent the entirety of Christmas Eve awake all night long?

    The good of the episode? Giles confronting Angel, the Willow/Oz scene and the “idea” of the 1st evil. (Even though that was perhaps an awfully big one to take on in general the more I consider the 1st as a big bad.)

    And ugh! Buffy with those bangs!

    Like

  67. [Note: Iguana-on-a-stick posted this comment on September 15, 2014.]

    Yeah, the “hundreds of years in Hell” angle never really worked for me. Because if Angel had gone through something like that… it would have had to change him. Instead, Angel after aeons in hell is pretty much the same guy he was before, except more wishy-washy in regards to his relationship with Buffy.

    Like

  68. [Note: Jonas posted this comment on October 4, 2014.]

    Lol. Yes. Somehow, he got even more wishy-washy and all Buffy protective after centuries of tortuous life. Ah well, creative license. :)Thanks for your comment!

    Like

  69. [Note: Zach posted this comment on October 28, 2014.]

    I ALWAYS wondered why Xander said “Man is it hot, it was so nice and cool down there” when they exited Willie’s bar, I think this is an attempt to foreshadow Xander finding comfort in his home’s basement (or rather being forced to live there, than being unable to ‘get out’) as shown in Restless.

    Like

  70. [Note: Zach posted this comment on October 28, 2014.]

    I don’t think Willow was especially touchy about it, it was just Christmas, so it makes sense that she brought it up.

    “Where was his trademark wit, his snappy jokes and all that? I can’t pinpoint one intelligent, slick dialogue exchange in ‘Amends’. Maybe Joss ‘dumbed it down’ on purpose, I don’t know.”

    Actually, this episode had some really great writing, which is why I can forgive some of it’s flaws. “Angel’s on top again?” was great, as was Xanders comment about Willie’s place, I also liked the reiteration of Faith “I have that big party…I was invited to” line that made it subtle, but abundantly clear that she was lying. Joyce’s reluctance to invite Giles due to Band Candy was some great continuity, and there’s more that I won’t bother listing, all and all, the writing was definitely up to par imo.

    Like

  71. [Note: wade1055 posted this comment on February 3, 2015.]

    It seems in season 7 when Giles and Anya find out why the first is able to try to destroy the slayer line is because Buffy is back from the dead and Xander, Willow, Anya, and Tara per Anya the ones to blame. Could it be the first time Buffy came back from being dead because of Xander’s quick action created the first crack in the slayer misticals in Prophecy Girl there by setting this up.

    Like

  72. [Note: Brad posted this comment on May 12, 2015.]

    I 100% agree with Katie. Powerfully spiritual episode that further proves this shows dramatic excellence and why even on DVD, it’s STILL the best series on television!

    Like

  73. [Note: ILikeSpike posted this comment on October 17, 2015.]

    You pitched the rating just about right with this one, I think.

    I did like the introduction of the First which sets things up well for S7. But, all the ΓΌber-redempty thing aside (which in my opinion comes over as rather saccharin due to lack of any kind of build up), my one, over-arching question is: what the hell happened to sunrise? It’s bad enough that Buffy and Angel have their heart to heart on a hillside overlooking Sunnydale with the impending “shadow” of sunrise hanging over their heads without any pre-dawn twilight, but how do they manage to get back into downtown Sunnydale, …on foot, …walking in knee-deep clearly fake snow, …and still no sunrise!!! It really cheapens the original threat if the sunrise just doesn’t happen. I guess you could posit that whatever caused the freak cold front also held back the sunrise but it’s a bit of a stretch and rather sloppy. Combine that with the overblown, schmaltz of the snowfall and therein lies a fair amount of ungoodness.

    And because I hate to end on a negative, I really loved seeing Giles and Jenny sharing screen time again, even if it was in an evil context, and loved the fact that Willow had a plastic soda bottle in the ice bucket – I love that kind of cute detail.

    Like

  74. [Note: Foxman posted this comment on February 27, 2016.]

    Did anyone else catch and enjoy the foreshadowing of Restless when Oz says to Willow, “Ever have that nightmare where you’re in a play but you don’t know the words or the plot and suddenly you’re in the middle of it”? Not an exact quote. But it was good.

    Like

  75. [Note: Padawan posted this comment on February 28, 2016.]

    I think that was actually referencing Nightmares rather than foreshadowing Restless. Willow’s reaction is one of familiarity

    Like

  76. [Note: Krssven posted this comment on March 3, 2016.]

    He said it was hot, and nice and cool at Willy’s place, because it was a hot day. It’s a reference to it being hot in California during the episode and Buffy also mentions it. This isn’t foreshadowing.

    Like

  77. [Note: Krssven posted this comment on March 3, 2016.]

    It DID change him, when he came back he was quite bestial. He even kills someone (Pete) while he’s in that state. Buffy has to chain him up for a while. The human psyche has a great way of forgetting trauma/pain – many women say that if they were able to better remember childbirth pain, less babies would be born.

    That said, it never really is explained exactly where Angel was not how long he was there. It is hinted at being hundreds of years, IF he was in the same place Buffy rescues the slaves from in ‘Anne’. I think the writers were trying to connect the two, hence Angel being very bestial (and also physically weaker) when he returns.

    It’s also very arguable that it was not the First that brought Angel back. If it did, why would it encourage him to suicide just a few episodes later? Did it really bring back Angel just to turn him into Angelus? I really doubt it. I find it much easier to believe that the Powers That Be returned Angel to Earth. Remember in ‘Becoming’, Whistler (an agent of the Powers) told Buffy that Angel was never destined to bring Acathla forth, but to stop him (his blood closing the portal doesn’t count – that was Buffy, and it was still Angelus that opened it). Even the Powers were confused by what was happening to Angel and they had to act so they got their Champion. Angel can’t be a Champion for the Powers in Hell, so they pulled him out (or arranged it). The First hijacked things after his return, tried to get him to kill Buffy, then settled on him killing himself. It was also the PtB that had to intervene again to finally prevent his death and set him up as their Champion, which he becomes on Angel.

    I’m not a huge fan of this episode. Like a number of S3 episodes it is overrated by most Buffy fans. For me, it doesn’t really feel like a BtVS episode in places, but I also don’t have huge complaints about it so B+ feels in the right area to me. The snowfall did feel over the top and I’d have preferred to see a less Deus Ex Machina ending. It would’ve been far better if Angel had been actually won over by Buffy’s words and left the hilltop before sunrise, though he did clearly take them to heart. His main drive on his own series (fight the good fight, every day, make the world a better place by helping those that need it most rather than defeating grand villains) seems to fully resonate with Buffy’s speech. Overall there’s some good continuity in there.

    Like

  78. [Note: Iguana-on-a-stick posted this comment on March 3, 2016.]

    > It DID change him, when he came back he was quite bestial. He even kills someone (Pete) while he’s in that state. Buffy has to chain him up for a while.

    For a few days. Or one episode.

    I meant that afterwards he seemed unchanged. There were no long-term changes in his characterisation. The issue isn’t only whether this makes sense (We have no idea how vampire psychology works, or what hell is, or just what the effects of extremely long lifespans would have on human-type psyches, and any explanation the writers care to make up is valid) but more that by not having any long-term consequences the story as a whole loses power. What’s more, even the consequences we do get just aren’t terribly interesting. Angel acts like a beast for an episode or two? Eh. Angel-as-beast was better done in the Pylea arc.

    “Becoming” is one of the best season finales on this show, but by limiting the followup and long-term consequences for both Buffy and Angel, season 3 sadly lessens its impact somewhat.

    Like

  79. [Note: aidni posted this comment on August 8, 2016.]

    My God, Angel, I really detest you sometimes…

    GET SOME SELF CONTROL-IF YOU’RE SO READY TO DUST FOR THE GOOD OF THE WORLD THEN SURELY YOU SHOULD BE READY TO KEEP IT IN YOUR TROUSERS.

    Good episode otherwise. Not exactly an Angel fan, at least not until Cordy makes him interesting on AtS. πŸ™‚ Great review!

    Like

  80. [Note: aidni posted this comment on August 9, 2016.]

    Yes! Thank you. A perv. That’s exactly it. What was up with stalking Buffy when she became the Slayer-she was 15! That’s my age, and I certainly hope there isn’t a 240 year old vampire watching me. He needs to get a grip.

    I realise that I’m wildly over-simplifying things, but this needs to be said!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s