Season 2, Episode 17 - “Passion”
Original airdate: Feb. 24, 1998
Project 310 re-watch date: Jan. 18, 2009
Did you know that this was the episode that Oz was supposed to die, and Jenny was actually supposed to have died in an earlier episode? No? Well, it’s pretty much irrelevant to the episode, which was just phenomenal.
Jenny’s death -- no matter the original timing or not -- was perfect. It was tragic in the sense that she was beginning to be redeemed in the eyes of everyone around her. It was evil in the sense that Angel didn’t even feed off her, he just snapped her neck. It was psychotic in the sense that Angel completely toyed with Giles, much in the way he toyed with Drusilla before turning her.
Giles’s reaction to Jenny’s death was just what you’d expect from him -- and it was the first time we’d really got to see Giles in a true fighting mode. And, yes, Angel would have killed him had Buffy not intervened (by the way, it’s a small thing, but in that scene, Drusilla wheels Spike away from the battle -- again setting up the M.O. that both of them would rather run away and live to fight another day than risk further harm). One small thing that I really like -- Jenny’s position on the bed when she’s dead is VERY similar to how Joyce would be positioned after HER death in Season 5.
Beyond the main point of the episode -- Jenny attempting to restore Angel’s soul and Angel killing her before she could -- we also finally get some great interaction between Buffy and Joyce, post-Buffy deflowering. In fact, its the first time Buffy talks about her relationship with Angel with her mom, and it leads to some of the best “real world” emotion during the show’s first 3 seasons. Kristine Sutherland as Joyce plays the scene perfectly.
I could write on and on about this episode, but really, it’s an episode that has to be seen to truly be enjoyed. It also helps if you know the characters, but even if you don’t, you can still enjoy it because its that well-written (credit goes to Ty King, who only wrote two episodes in his entire run on the series).
I will say this one last thing -- having the Angel voiceover run through the episode, narrating the key themes of the episode, is very creepy and adds to the overall enjoyment. It’s a technique they’d re-use a couple times on both “Buffy” and “Angel”, but I think it works best here.
Buffy: “I’m sorry. I’m sorry I couldn’t kill him for you. For her. When I had the chance. I wasn’t ready. But I think I finally am. I can’t hold on to the past anymore. Angel is gone. Nothing’s ever going to bring him back.”
(I know its clichéd cinema technique, but when Buffy says those last words, as the disk with the restoration spell falls from the desk, I get chills).