Previously: Jesse got turned. Xander accidentally staked him. RIP Jesse. We’ll never forg-oooh look a hamster!…hmmm…what was I talking about? Oh well.
So anyways, The Master tried to break free by using Luke the Minion as a personal drinking machine. Buffy promptly dusted him and saved the world. No one besides Willow, Xander and Giles cared, because Sunnydale is a town filled with ingrates.
Sunnydale High library. Giles is very unhappy with Buffy. She has responsibilities! She’s the Slayer! How can she enslave herself to this…this…cult?! He cannot believe what he’s seeing. Every man that’s ever watched the show also can’t believe what they’re seeing, but for entirely different reasons. Perverts!
As her Watcher, Giles forbids her. Buffy charmingly lets him know he can’t do that. He relents. Come on Giles, Buffy just wants to have a normal life. As she’s told us. Over and over.
Elsewhere, in a very witchy-looking attic, a black cauldron is bubbling away. A hand reaches over and grabs a Barbie-type doll and snaps it off the string it was hanging on. The doll gets dropped into some nasty green liquid. Ooooh.
Cheerleaders tryouts! Girls are walking on their hands, tumbling, stretching, and in general, doing impressive things. Buffy walks in with Xander and Willow. Such nice pals, here to support her. Xander’s so nice, in face, that he got her a good luck gift. “What’s this?” Buffy asks. “What’s that?” Willow adds, looking at the I.D. bracelet Xander holds out to Buffy. ‘Yours Always’. It’s all she’s ever wanted. All she’s ever dreamed of. All she can do not to look completely effing devastated. Thanks, Xander, you moron.
Buffy is also a moron, as she doesn’t see Xander’s obvious love for her. What will it take for her to see, an I.D. bracelet that proclaims his love for her??? GOD.
Let’s start the tryouts! First up: Amber Grove. Amber can do the standing splits. Me too! Oh wait, I mean I can sit and eat McDonald’s. Like a pro!
Willow and Buffy move over to stand near Cordelia. They’re joined by a sweet little timid girl who’s also here for the tryouts. Her name is Amy, she’s recently lost a lot of weight, “I had to”, and she trains with her mom for three hours before and after school. Well, someone sure wants to be a cheerleader.
Amber starts her audition. She spins, she kicks. She dances and flips and tumbles. Buffy looks intimidated. Whatever Buffy. I saw you do a handstand on a pole and then swing down and kick Angel/David AuroraBorealis right in the back. You got this.
Amber’s really good. She picks up her pom-poms and shakes them. No, perverts, literal pom-poms, not boobies. Anyways, she shakes and dances and what the hell?
“That girl’s on fire!” Willow yells. Cordelia doesn’t appreciate the hyperbole but Willow’s right. Amber is quite literally on fire.
She throws her pom-poms to the ground, revealing her flaming hands. Amber, the saying is ‘Stop, Drop and Roll’, not ‘Stand, Scream and Wave’. Someone didn’t listen when Frank the Friendly Fire Marshal came to visit the class. Maybe she was with her cheerleading coach.
Everyone in the gym just stands and screams because they all suck. Buffy, always a quick thinker, runs up the bleachers, grabs a banner off the ceiling, and tackles Amber. She soothes her, telling her it’s going to be okay. Buffy, I saw those hands burning. It is NOT going to be okay. Amber most certainly will not be doing any back springs in the near future.
The group is in the library. Buffy wants to know what happened to Amber. She’s never seen something like that before. Giles says there have been cases of spontaneous combustion before. Usually the person that combusts is full of rage. Was Amber an angry person? Has she has episodes before? Buffy needs to get the skinny on Amber.
Willow is full of grins because apparently this means hacking illegally into the school’s computer system so yay Willow gets to help and also WHAT. They really wanted to make Willow the computer hacker nerd girl back then, didn’t they? Stop trying to shove this down our throats, Joss! I said stop it! *shakes fist like an old man*
Xander and Willow stand up, ready to get to work. Willow’s gonna hack the school’s files (oh god) and Xander’s going to ask around the school about Amy. Buffy tells them they don’t have to get involved. She’s worried about them getting hurt. Willow declares that they’re a team. She uses the word ‘Slayerettes’. NO, WILLOW. NO.
Xander gets another great line: “I laugh in the face of danger…and then I hide until it goes away.”
At home, Joyce is unpacking some kind of crates. Buffy walks in and OH MY GOD BUFFY WHAT ARE YOU WEARING.
Joyce has a shipment for the art gallery and she has a lot of inventory to go through. At home. Sure, okay. She can’t pry open the boxes with her crowbar because it’s nailed on too tight and she’s a weakling. No problem, Buffy walks over and opens it with a flick of her wrist. Joyce is distracted by the inventory list and doesn’t notice.
Buffy’s feeling the need for a little mother/daughter time and casually mentions that a girl from school trains with her mom three hours every morning and three hours every night. Joyce says it sounds like her mom doesn’t have a lot to do. She leaves the room. I guess she didn’t catch the hint.
More tryouts. This time it’s group. “Sunnydale! Sunnydale! We can’t fail! Blah blah blah!” etc etc. Worst cheer ever. They all take turns doing a cartwheel at the end and timid little Amy who trains 6 hours a day cartwheels right into Cordelia, knocking the two of them over. Oh my god, Amy. You really do suck. What are you doing for those 6 hours each day if you can’t even successfully complete a cartwheel? Tisk.
Later, Amy stares sadly into a trophy case. Buffy walks up and Amy tells her the picture inside is of her mom, and the trophy for cheerleading was all because of her mom and her mom and dad were Homecoming King and Queen and okay we get it. Amy has a lot to live up to. P.S. her mom never once gained a single pound. This conversation is getting awkward.
Amy’s upset that she choked so badly. She takes off, ignoring Willow as she goes by. Willow fills Buffy in on Amy’s mom. She’s not too nice. Super strict and padlocks the fridge if Amy gains an ounce, feeding her only broth. Sounds like a fun woman.
Amy’s alone in the locker room. It’s creepy and deserted. She turns around and finds Cordelia standing right behind her. Cordy is not happy with Amy knocking her down and warns her that her life will be very unhappy if she’s caused Cordelia to not make the squad. Amy watches Cordelia leave and looks both angry and defeated.
Xander and Willow are walking together. Xander makes Willow’s life even more miserable by obsessing over whether Buffy was wearing that dumb I.D. bracelet. Then he puts the cherry on top of the sundae: he tells Willow that she’s cool. Cause she’s one of the guys. Willow’s like, greaaaaaaat.
The cheer list is up and a bunch of girls crowd the bulletin board, trying to read it. Cordelia walks by Amy and tells her that she’s lucky. “I made it?” Amy says, excited. “I made it,” Cordelia tells her, and saunters off. So saucy, that Cordelia.
Xander bravely shoves his way through the crowd and returns with the results. Time to celebrate cause they both made the team! Buffy and Amy smile happily at each other. In fact, Buffy’s first alternate and Amy’s third so let’s all go out…and…wait, why so sad? Amy runs off.
Willow lets Xander know that alternates didn’t make the team. They just fill in if someone gets sick or hurt. Oh-oh…
Buffy puts on a brave face and excuses herself. She catches up to Amy and tries to cheer her up with offers of brownie pigouts at her place. Um, Buffy, hello? Did you already forget the weight gain/locking of the fridge/broth-only-diet that Amy would have to do after that? Amy bemoans her lack of talent. How much more can she practice? This would never have happened to her mother.
Somewhere, in an attic that has all the windows bricked up, is the bubbling cauldron. Someone starts doing a spell and it sounds a lot like Amy. She yanks another Barbie-type doll from the ceiling where it was strung up. This doll has dark hair. The mystery woman puts a small piece of cloth over the doll’s face and names it ‘Cordelia’. Cordelia-doll gets dropped into the green goo. Maybe it’s just a spell for a spa-like skin makeover.
Buffy’s making some toast for breakfast when Joyce comes in with her old yearbook. Oh, the memories! She suggests that maybe Buffy should join the yearbook staff and Buffy’s all, ha ha nerds! Joyce feels offended and Buffy’s still a little upset about not making the team and projects Amy’s situation a little. Heads up, Mom. I’m not you. Joyce once again brings up the whole getting into trouble at her old school and getting kicked out. Geeze, Joyce, when are you going to stop throwing that in Buffy’s face?
Buffy is crushed by her words and walks out the door. Joyce, realizing what a complete ass she’s being, calls after her, but Buffy doesn’t stop.
Cordelia is walking down the school hallways, looking stunned. Xander, standing next to Willow, calls out to her but she doesn’t answer and keeps walking. Xander sighs about being ignored, first by Cordelia and then by Buffy. Willow doesn’t stab him in the jugular like she should but instead tries to talk sense into him. Xander isn’t invisible to Buffy. Xander decides to take her advice and ask Buffy out. Willow says maybe he shouldn’t take her advice. Willow is experiencing that special kind of teenage torture of watching her best friend that she’s in love with be in love with someone else. What fun for her!
Buffy walks up and Xander gets ready to do the deed. He’s about to ask her out but Buffy’s distracted by Cordelia, who’s unsuccessfully trying to get into her locker. Buffy doesn’t think that is Cordelia’s locker. She cuts Xander off mid date-asking and follows Cordy, who’s given up on the locker and gone outside. Xander has sad.
Cordelia’s Driver’s Ed teacher is waiting for her. She says she doesn’t want to drive today but he insists so she gets behind the wheel. Buffy keeps watching.
Cordelia is having trouble seeing the dashboard. It’s all blurry. She accidentally puts the car in reverse and peels away. There’s lots of screaming. Instead of, oh, I don’t know, stopping, she puts the car into drive and swerves all over the place. More screaming and panicking. Whaaaaat?
Finally, she crashes the car through the school fence and comes to a stop on the street. The teacher orders everyone out of the car and Cordelia complies. She unsteadily makes her way to her feet and sways in the street. A truck is coming at her full speed and he’s not stopping for no high school kid, no siree. Cordelia turns and sees the truck coming and stands perfectly still, screaming like an idiot. The hell? It’s like that scene in Promethius where the ship is falling and rolling and the scientist just runs in a straight line.
Buffy comes racing over and tackles her to safety. That’s her second tackle of the week. She should try out for the football team instead of the cheerleading squad.
Yeah, so, Cordelia can’t see anything. Her eyes are completely white. Surely this can’t have anything to do with that spell we saw earlier!
Back in the library, Giles proclaims the cause of all the trouble is: WITCHCRAFT! Classic witchcraft, even. Buffy puts the Cordelia blind-eyes together with the Amber fire-hands and the fact that they’re both cheerleaders and declares Amy as the culprit. Giles is appalled that someone would cast evil spells just so they can become a cheerleader. Buffy points out the pressure Amy’s under from her mom and becoming a carbon copy and are we talking about Amy or Buffy here?
Willow says that the first thing someone would do would be to check out books on witchcraft. She jumps onto her trusty hacking computer (sigh) and pulls up the records. Um…isn’t Giles the librarian? Isn’t he in charge of what gets checked out? Why don’t they ask him?
Xander tries to stall them, saying there is no time for this! Willow pulls up the records and discovers that Alexander Harris checked out a whole bunch of books on witchcraft. Is he looking for a lovespell? No, he likes to look at the semi-nude engravings. Geeze, that’s even step down from looking at the underwear pictures in the Sears catalogue. Internet porn has not yet happened, my friends.
The gang is going to do a spell themselves, thank you very much, to check if Amy’s the one doing all this witchery. Ingredients needed: Amy’s hair, quicksilver, something called aqua fortis and of course eye of newt. Willow lets us dummies know that quicksilver and aqua frotis are just mercury and nitric acid, both of which she can get from the science lab. Now all they have to do is heat the ingredients and apply it to Amy. Her skin will turn blue if she’s cast a spell in the last 24 hours. Voila!
In the science lab, Willow and Xander start the potion during class. Luckily for them they’re also dissecting a frog today, so there’s plenty of newt eyes. Xander is too squeamish to handle that so Willow deftly takes over and extracts a froggy eyeball. I’m not even going to reference what she’s gonna do to a deer in seasons to come. Oh wait, I just referenced it.
Buffy drops her pen by Amy’s desk and bends down to get it. As she does she snoops in Amy’s bag, finds her brush, and grabs a bit of hair from it. Here you go, Willow!
Looks like the potion is ready. Willow pours some into a beaker and hands it to Buffy, who promptly spills it on Amy. Her skin turns blue. Before Buffy can say anything, another unnamed student starts making odd noises. She turns and the girl’s mouth has vanished. Everyone looks freaked out, including Amy.
Amy’s shocked reaction makes the gang think she has no idea she’s casting spells. Buffy wants to go talk to Amy’s mom.
After school, Amy goes home. She pauses inside her giant house and looks around. “Where are you?” she asks in a sinister voice. Her mom jumps up from in front of the TV and runs over. Amy sneers at her lack of productivity and tells her to write her history report that’s due tomorrow. Mom just stands, silent. Amy is pissed that she isn’t on the cheer team yet. It’s a cheertastophy! She knows that Buffy stole some of her hair. She holds out the stupid-I mean sweet-I.D bracelet Xander gave Buffy and says she’ll be upstairs. OH OH.
Buffy’s alarm goes off the next morning. She reaches over to turn it off but instead accidentally smashes it to bits. “Oops,” she mumbles. She shows up in the kitchen, dressed in her cheerleader outfit and singing. She’s in a good mood. A really good mood. A really really good mood. She almost spills about being a vampire slayer and then leaves, singing some more.
At practice, Buffy’s, like, in a really super good mood. She’s dancing and grinning and full of energy. She’s got most of the moves down, except for that one misstep where she mashes the lead cheerleader’s foot. That head cheerleader is a cheertator. Buffy gets yelled at by her but is too happy to care, especially when Willow and Xander walk in. Buffy freaks the eff out, jumping and waving at them. She loves her buds!!!!!
Willow and Xander immediately know something’s wrong with Buffy. “We better get her out of there,” Willow says, just as Buffy ends up flinging the senior cheerleader across the room.
Ooops. Looks like Buffy’s off the team. Hey, who’s the next alternate? Hint: Amy. It’s Amy.
Buffy protests while Willow and Xander drag her out of the auditorium. She’s acting even wilder and drunker. She rests her head on Xander’s shoulder. “You’re my Xander-shaped friend! Do you have any idea why I love you so, Xander?”
Willow keeps trying to drag Buffy to Giles and Xander’s all, LET HER SPEAK FOR THE LOVE OF GOD WOMAN, and Buffy continues, saying that Xander isn’t like other boys. He’s like one of the girls! Ha! Serves you right Xander, for telling Willow that she’s like one of the guys.
Buffy keeps up the torture. “You’re completely and totally one of the girls! I’m that comfy with you. Any other guy gave me a bracelet, they’d want to date me, it’d be like a…”
Buffy doesn’t feel good. She collapses. TAKE HER TO GILES DAMN YOU. They do.
Willow wants to take Buffy to a hospital but Giles says it won’t help with this here Bloodstone Vengeance Spell that Amy cast on Buffy. Plus now Amy knows Buffy knows and now they know she knows. Ya know?
Giles guesses that Buffy only has about three hours left to live. They can reverse all the spells if they get their hands on Amy’s spell book. Or they can chop off her head. Buffy decides on the spell book. She struggles up, determined to go to Amy’s house and find it. Willow and Xander are to watch Amy and also to keep her away from the science lab. Giles needs it free to cast the counter spell. That science lab sure gets a lot of action. Does the science teacher ever walk in and say, hey, why’s this window broken? Why am I so low on mercury? How come all my frogs only have one eyeball?
Buffy and Giles go to Amy’s house. They knock and Catherine hides something under the couch and answers the door. She’s acting weird and timid. She doesn’t want to talk to them but Giles pushes in anyways. He confronts her about what Amy’s doing and the fact that Buffy is very sick because of her. Catherine denies knowing anything. When Giles accuses her of making Amy this way from her obsession with cheerleading, Catherine grimaces, upset. She doesn’t care about cheerleading!
Buffy frowns at that and glances under the table. There’s a plate of brownies. Interesting. She softly asks Catherine if she’s Amy. Catherine looks scared. “Are you Amy?” Buffy asks again. “She switched, didn’t she? She switched your bodies.”
Giles is stunned and says, for the very first time, “Good lord.” He doesn’t polish his glasses. Soon Giles. Soon.
Amy/Catherine spills the whole sordid tale. Her mom and dad used to fight all the time and he’d call her a witch. When he left her mom went crazy and spent all her time in the attic. A few months ago she woke up in her mom’s bed and when she looked in the mirror it was all Freaky Friday up in here! BUH?!
Giles gets her to show him the attic. He searches and finds the book, and gets Amy/Catherine to collect the dolls for the spell she’s under and any other personal items her mother used for the spells on other people.
They come back downstairs, where Buffy is still laying on the couch. She’s fading fast. Giles picks her up and carries her to his car. Back to the school! You too, Amy/Catherine! They have a counter spell to brew!
At the school, the basketball game is starting and the cheerleaders are dancing happily. Catherine/Amy dances too. She cheers and looks ever so happy with how things are turning out for her. Willow and Xander watch her from the crowd.
Giles is back in the science lab. He places a pale Buffy on a desk and starts the spell with Amy/Catherine. It’s starting to work and Catherine/Amy starts seeing what Amy/Catherine sees. God, this is getting confusing. I’m just gonna call them Wimpy Kid and Evil Mom from now on.
Evil Mom is being hosted up in a pyramid lift. She raises her hands and cheers. Another flash from the reversal spell happens and she loses her balance and falls. The lead cheerleader yells at her and Evil Mom gives her a look of fury. Lead cheerleader looks terrified and shuts up and can I just say it’s about time? Lead cheerleader is no Cordelia, I tell you what.
Evil Mom runs out of the gym and is stopped by Willow. Willow tries to stall as Xander ineptly sneaks up behind her but Evil Mom hears and whirls to face him. She holds up her hand and uses the dark side of the force to choke Xander until he collapses. Then she whirls back and punches Willow. The punch sound effect is hilarious. I laughed.
Evil Mom marches towards the lab. It’s locked. She grabs the fire axe (do schools keep fire axes? Ok, ok, it IS safely kept behind glass) and chops the door in. She walks straight over to Buffy and is about to chop her little Slayer head off when Giles’ spell takes effect. Evil Mom and Wimpy Kid trade bodies and all is back to normal.
Catherine pops up, full of anger. She tackles Buffy to the ground and magic-shoves a desk at Giles, knocking him down. Giles is unconscious.
Amy is terrified and holds the axe up protectively but Catherine raises her hand and the axe harmlessly flies into it. Catherine calls Amy a little brat. She hates Amy. She’s going to put her where she’ll never make trouble again. What a crappy mom. Right now Kris Jenner is all, see, there’s worse moms than me!
Buffy stands up and announces to Catherine that she feels better. They fight and Catherine magic-pushes Buffy over a desk. Catherine’s eyes go black and she starts casting a spell. It looks rather ominous. “I shall look upon my enemy! I shall look upon her and the dark place will have her soul! Corsheth! Take her!”
She starts to spew magic light towards Buffy, who kicks the giant science mirror over the teacher’s desk down in front of her and the magic light hits it instead of Buffy. It reflects the spell back onto Catherine, who screams and then disappears. Good job, Buffy! Giles wakes up. Good job, Giles!
Buffy is thrilled with Giles for saving her life. Amy smiles and says she didn’t think he’d pull it off. Just then Xander runs in and grabs Amy. He’s still mad about that choking thing. Do or do not, Xander. There is no try. Buffy explains what happened. Willow runs in with a bat, ready to clock Amy in the head but Xander talks her down and then takes the credit for stopping the evil. Nice one.
Back at home, Buffy’s cleaning her room. Joyce walks in and confesses that the reasons she doesn’t get Buffy is because she’s too old. She’s, like, 40 for god’s sake! Buffy asks her mom if she ever wishes she was 16 again and Joyce looks mortified. She doesn’t want any piece of going through all that angst again. Buffy’s happy to hear that and kisses her Mom on the cheek.
The next day at school, Amy tells Buffy all about life with her annoying, over-protective Dad. She loves it. They’re gonna bake brownies. We get it, ok? Amy likes brownies.
Cordelia is back on the cheer team and Amy and Buffy are back off. Cordy rubs it in but Amy couldn’t care less. She feels bad for mocking cheerleading in front of Buffy and apologizes but Buffy’s pretty much over the cheerleading too. They stop in front of the trophy case with Catherine’s pictures. When Catherine cast that last spell she said Amy would never make trouble again. Amy is sure they don’t have to worry about Catherine.
As they walk away the camera zooms in on the cheerleading trophy. The eyes are darting back and forth and muffles moans are coming from it. DEEDLE-BONG!