“I used to be a watcher. The organization existed since before there were cities. The Watchers’ Council, always moving, always secret, but very much alive. There were hundreds of Watchers, and one Slayer. Scales have tipped of late.” – Rupert Giles
This Issue opens with the return of everyone’s favourite former librarian, Giles. Both he and Buffy are in the process of training large squads of Slayers, simultaneously, from separate locations. They are trying to emphasise the importance of teamwork.
“Giles: You’re all fighting alone, getting in each other’s way, not protecting each other’s flanks… failing to use your single most valuable asset…
Buffy: Each other, one Slayer fighting alone is formidable. Two is formidabler or three? Mega-formidable. And after mega, it goes to mondo, then super, hyper, beaucoup d’crazy, stupid… it gets exponentially prefixy.”
In Italy, newly appointed Watcher, Andrew, is sitting in a circle with a large group of Slayers. He’s giving a pep talk on weaponry and combat. At least he’s trying to, when he can stay on topic instead of dishing out random Star Wars trivia.
Back at Slayer HQ, giant Dawn is taking a bath in a lake in the forest. Xander is keeping an eye on her, figuratively, not literally. He’s facing the other way in order to protect her modesty. Dawn is feeling insecure about her relationship with Buffy. She feels as though her sister is avoiding her. Xander explains that Buffy just wants an un-giant sized life for her. She wishes Dawn was off at college and dealing with normal sized problems. Dawn appears to be jealous, stating that Buffy would rather be around her new ‘Slayer sisters’ (Classic Dawn, right?). This leads Xander to ask Dawn whether she made herself a giant on purpose to get Buffy’s attention. This obviously infuriates Dawn and she splashes him with a huge wave from the lake.
Meanwhile, General Voll is discussing potential tactics to take the Slayers down. While his solution is simply to nuke them, his associate insists that working with Amy is their best option. And if that doesn’t work, they always have Plan B, her boyfriend (We still don’t find out the identity of Amy’s new Beau.) General Voll decides to retire for the night. While removing his shirt, his chest reveals the same symbol found on the bodies of the victims at the Church in the previous issue.
At the castle, Buffy and Xander are also calling it a night. Buffy awkwardly and unexpectedly propositions Xander and tries to kiss him. Don’t worry, it’s just a dream. As soon as their lips touch, Xanders head falls off and the window smashes and begins to pull Buffy out. Buffy pleads “No, No, I can’t go outside, I’m afraid of the dark.” To which Xander replies, “Buffy, you are the dark.” Buffy is sucked out of the window and falls into the hands of a huge demon.
We cut to a sleeping Buffy. She’s tied to her bed. Amy is standing above her, ready to plunge a dagger into her chest. But Xander and a group of Slayers show up just in time. Xander shoots Amy in the shoulder with a crossbow, but not before she forcefully plunges the dagger down on Buffy. The dagger breaks, “You really think we let Buffy sleep without mystical protection? This isn’t open-wand night in Sunnydale, Sweetcheaks. You’re dealing with pros.” Xander quips. Amy is quick to retort, “Any of you pros notice she’s still asleep? She’s living a nightmare, genius, and the only thing that can wake her up, is the kiss of true love.”
With Buffy in a mystical coma, Slayers are guarding the castle grounds. While working the graveyard shift, Renee professes to another Slayer that she doesn’t believe in love, to which the other Slayer replies, “No, right, of course. The sudden interest in comic books, James Bond movies, and drywalling has absolutely nothing to do with Mr. Harris.” It’s becoming more apparent that there’s something between Renee and Xander. Before Renee can respond, a swarm of zombies invade the castle.
In Buffy’s nightmare, a shadowy figure appears offering her a hand, “I have so much I need to show you, my love.” He says. With Buffy out for the count, and the Slayers busied with her army of zombies, Amy feels as though she’s got the upper hand, “All that time underground with nothing to do but get stronger. A hundred Slayers and there’s not one person here who can take me on.” She says smugly.
Cue the most powerful Wiccan in town, Willow Rosenberg, floating majestically and ready to kick some ass.
To be continued…
The Watchers Files
The Long Way Home #2 was written by Joss Whedon and features artwork by Georges Jeanty (Ink) and Jo Chen (Cover).
For me, the second issue kicked things up a notch.
The return of Giles and Willow, though brief, was awesome. Willow is one of my favourite characters of all time. Her entrance was flawlessly executed. It couldn’t have been more perfect (See Buffy Speak of the Week.)
Amy was a good choice for our first real villain of the week and I was definitely intrigued by her anonymous boyfriend (Just wait until you find out who it is.)
I liked the dream sequence. Buffy’s dreams were always fun to dissect on the show. Because the Slayers dreams are prophetic, they often featured hints of what was to come and interesting insights into Buffy’s psyche.
Amy’s spell was perhaps the most arousing part of the issue. Buffy can only be woken by true loves kiss…But who’s it gonna be? Stick around if you wanna find out.
Watching The Watchers
With the return of everybody’s favourite Watcher, Rupert Giles, I thought it would be fun to take a look back at those who have aided the Slayer throughout history, in bite sized trivia nuggets…
Eons ago, long before the formation of a Watchers Council, there were the Shadowmen. These powerful shamans chose one girl and infused her with the power of a demon. They captured her, chained her up and against her will, they used dark magic to create the first Slayer, Sineya.
After the Shadowmen, came the Guardians. The Guardians were formidable women with mystical powers. They created the Scythe and gave it to Sineya. The first Slayer used the scythe to defeat the last of the Old One’s (Purebred demons.) Mistrusting of the Shadowmen and the Watchers Council, the Guardians kept the scythes existence a secret for centuries. They used magic to embed the ancient weapon in solid rock. Only a worthy Slayer could pry it from the stone.
The Watchers Council was founded approximately 1200 years ago. Its primary Headquarters were based in Britain. It was the council’s responsibility to locate and train potential Slayers for their calling. Each potential Slayer was provided with a Watcher.
A Watcher acts as a guide to the Slayer, offering training in combat, weaponry, demonology etc.
Buffy’s first Watcher, Merrick, was killed before she moved to Sunnydale. We meet Merrick briefly in Season 2, Episode 21, Becoming: Part 1.
Rupert Giles has been Buffy’s primary Watcher. He has remained close to her and acted as a friend and mentor throughout her life. However, he was temporarily fired by the Council as they feared his father-like relationship with Buffy rendered him unable to adhere to their regimented rules and traditions (Season 3, Episode 12, Helpless).
Wesley Wyndham-Pryce was instated as Buffy’s third Watcher. He was fiercely obedient, obeying and enforcing all of the Councils rules and traditions. Buffy never truly accepted Wesley as her Watcher and she quit the Council shortly after he was appointed.
Wesley was also eventually fired by the Council for losing control of both Buffy and Faith. He becomes a rogue demon hunter, before joining Angel investigations. Unfortunately, he later dies in battle while assisting Angel.
Giles is eventually reinstated as Buffy’s Watcher in Season 5, Episode 12, Checkpoint. When a new foe, unlike anything our Slayer has ever faced before (The Hell Goddess, Glory) threatens to destroy the world, Buffy and the Council must work together once more. Although this time, it will be on Buffy’s terms. One of Buffy’s terms is that Giles is reinstated as her official Watcher and paid retroactively from the month of his termination.
A couple of years later, the First Evil annihilated the Watchers Council, blowing up its base in London and killing most of the organization including it's director, Quentin Travers (Season 7, Episode 9, Never Leave Me).
It was thought that the whole establishment had been wiped out. We find out in Kiersten White's new novel, Slayer, that there were a small number of survivors. They now operate from the Watchers Academy, an Irish boarding school which trains teens to be the next generation of Watchers and Slayers.
Buffy Speak of the Week
Amy: A hundred Slayers and there’s not one person here who can take me on.
Willow: As a friend of mine once said… I’d like to test that theory.
Willow may have only had one line in this issue, but it was perfect. This little nod to Giles’s famous words to Dark Willow (Season 6, Episode 21, Two to Go) was probably my highlight of this Issue. It was such a monumental moment in the series and well worth paying tribute to. This short line of dialogue not only paid homage to a bad-ass moment in the series, it also provided a real full-circle moment for our wonderful Wiccan, Willow Rosenberg.
Slayer Rating: 3.5/5 Stakes