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18 June 2014
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Andrew. Isn't he sweet?

Our shrine to the fluffiest geek ever. This week:

The Matrix: Andrew's new look - trench-coat à la Keanu - is revealed from boot-level upwards, fooling us into thinking he's Spike (the subject of the previous scene). Later, the butcher clearly recognises the look: he calls Andrew 'Neo'.

Obi Wan - or Patrick Swayze: Invoking Star Wars' spectral Jedi we expect, but Swayze was the title spirit of blockbusting 1990 movie Ghost. The film's tagline, "Before Sam was murdered he told Molly he'd love and protect her forever" rather implies how Andrew's come to view Warren's death.

Iron Fist: this Marvel character possesses magical 'chi' energy and unlimited martial arts powers. Ray Park, The Phantom Menace's Darth Maul, is earmarked to play him in a much-postponed movie.

Don't think about Babe: Babe (1995) and its "under-rated" sequel Babe 2: Pig in the City (1998) were successful family films based on the sheep-herding pig created by Dick King-Smith. Squeamish Andrew being urged to slaughter a pig on school premises is apt Razorbacks are Sunnydale High's mascot. See the fate of Herbert the pig in The Pack. A Razorbacks pendant can also be seen behind Andrew when he was tied up in Buffy's house.

Conan, the destroyer: Another attempt by Warren to make Andrew feel heroic. The 1984 film Conan The Destroyer was the second sword-and-sorcery fantasy to star Arnold Schwarzenegger as the warlike former barbarian. If Sunnydale were a real Californian town, from October 2003 onwards it would come under the state authority of Governor Arnie.

Unlucky number?: Andrew is customer #87 at the butcher's. It's possibly a deliberate sign of him being an unlucky character: 87 is 13 away from 100, and in some cricketing circles is considered an ill-fated score for a batsman to have while aiming for a century.

Travers, the man who: Quentin Travers (Harris Yulin), head of the Watchers' Council, appears for a third time - he was previously in Helpless and Checkpoint. In this episode, he could have briefed Buffy on the Councils' awareness of a growing crisis, but made no comment. Yulin also appeared in ten episodes of 24's second season as Roger Stanton.

Watchers in the skies: For tonight only, The Watchers' Council is shown in session at their top-floor London headquarters. Some Watchers who accompanied Travers in Checkpoint are also at the Council meeting. Nigel, who questioned Tara and Willow, and Lydia, who wrote her thesis on Spike, for example. The Council are unaware of Giles facing the axe in Robson's London flat (the cliffhanger to Sleeper). Wouldn't they check up on any absent London-based Watchers anyway? It is presumed that all of the Council perished in the explosion following Travers' call to arms.

Bye Bye Butcher: Donald Bishop plays the meat merchant in whose doorway Andrew and Willow collide. He's the fourth cast member (at least) of the 1995 film Bye Bye, Love to appear in Buffy. Before him were Eliza Dushku, Amber Benson and season four's mad professor, Lindsay Crouse.

Toy returns department: In Same Time, Same Place's trivia, we told you Camden Toy would return. Well, that's him snarling away at the end after the Seal of Danthazar is opened. For this episode he was credited as 'Ubervamp', but there'll be another classification along shortly.

Is smallpox still killing people?: Smallpox, a virulent disease, killed around 300 million people during the 20th century alone. After an heroic World Health Organisation campaign, its eradication was announced in 1980 (the last natural case died in Somalia in 1977). Yet it still has the potential to be used catastrophically: in 2002, the BBC aired a powerful drama-documentary on this: Silent Weapon.

Pain and suffering: Spike relates to Buffy the odyssey he went on to regain his soul, seen during the last episodes of season six.

I know what we're up against: When robed figures with sewn-up eyes attack her house, Buffy puts together the evidence and names the season's Big Bad. Rather obscurely, it's the First Evil - henceforth just 'the First' - seen previously only in season three's Amends. The First tormented Angel in the shape of his victim Jenny Calendar. It has the power to shape-shift, so what other ancient aspects will come forth now?

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