BTVS Season 8 #23: Predators & Prey

Monday, April 6, 2020

 

 

“The thing about the Slayer Organization is that we’re not just co-workers. We’re family. The bonds between us are unbreakable. You hurt one of us, you’re taking on all of us.” – Andrew Wells

 

Synopsis

 

At Slayer HQ, Andrew rushes through the castle looking for Buffy. He has some important information regarding the whereabouts of rogue Slayer, Simone Doffler. The gang are up to their elbows trying to clean up their reputation after the fallout from Harmony’s reality show fiasco. But Buffy decides the gang needs a win. The last thing they need right now is a rogue Slayer making them look worse. Andrew doesn’t know exactly where Simone is hiding, but he does have the location of her lieutenant, Nisha.

 

Andrew: I usually monitor demon activity in our hot spots, and this morning I got a ping outside Milan. Seems our little Nisha’s been messing where she shouldn’t have been messing, got snared in the trap of a Ragna spider demon.

 

There’s also been reports in Milan of a festively haired female roaming the countryside and kicking people out of their homes. Buffy decides this is a lead worth chasing. Ragna demons keep their prey alive for thirty-six hours before feeding. With no time to waste, Buffy and Andrew set off for Milan immediately. Naturally, Andrew fills Buffy’s ears with constant nerd babble the entire journey, from plane to train to car. It’s not until he mentions Daniel Craig that Buffy perks up.

 

Buffy: You said Daniel Craig. I get Daniel Craig. He’s so…

 

Andrew: Gritty and real?

 

Buffy: Um, sure. Oh! And that thing where he’s running on the rooftops and cranes? I’ve done that, and I was still scared for him.

 

Andrew: Right! I know! Gritty, real, and vulnerable!

 

Buffy: And those swim trunks. Hello, Daddy.

 

Andrew: Yeah, I have no opinion about those.

 

Geek-bonding along the way, the pair eventually find Nisha. She’s suspended in a large pink bubble at the top of the Ragna’s iron web. As Andrew and Buffy climb up the web to save her, the Ragna demon returns. As the demon approaches Buffy warns an angry Nisha to show some gratitude if she wants saving. But Nisha explains that it’s Andrew’s fault she’s in this mess in the first place.

 

Nisha: Ragna demons died out in the eleventh century. But someone spent all his free time in Italy performing recombinant D.N.A. experiments to breed them back into existence. Guess who?

 

Andrew releases Nisha, but before he can explain himself, Simone crashes the party.

 

Simone: Not nice, capturing one of my girls, Buff. Luckily, I got a real skilled wiccan who was strong enough to beam one person right here to the signal.

 

Buffy: Nice entrance. Look, Slappy – Fight’s over, Simone. Come back with us before that spider thing gets up here. We can sort out whatever’s—

 

Simone: Come Back?! Haven’t you heard? We’re the Bad Guys now. People think vamps are cool and Slayers are the threat. Difference between you and me? I am a threat.

 

Simone pulls out a gun. Buffy asks if she really thinks a gun is enough to stop her. Simone says that the gun is not for her. She turns and shoots the Ragna demon with a tranquiliser. Simone grabs Nisha and the demon and her wiccans teleport them out before Buffy can stop her. Buffy airs her frustrations with Andrew and demands an explanation. He explains that he never intended to kill anyone, he just wanted to catch Simone. Buffy tells him that he should’ve come to her. He says that he had to do this by himself. He feels responsible for Simone going rogue because he was her Watcher. He acted rashly because he thought that if he messed up the gang would kick him out.

 

Buffy: Losing an insane, gun-loving punk Slayer isn’t the way to make me lose faith in you. Lying to me is.

 

Luckily, Andrew equipped the demon with genetic modifications which he can track. It’s on an island off the coast. The pair take a speedboat to the Island where they are greeted by a young girl. She tells them that no one is supposed to be here, the angry woman kicked everyone out of their homes, proclaiming the Island as her own.

 

Young Girl: My grandmother yelled at her, and the angry woman hurt my grandmother.

 

Buffy: Where did everyone go?

 

Young Girl: Most fled to the mainland. But my grandmother and I, we have nothing there. So we stayed here. On the docks. We don’t go into the village.

 

Buffy and Andrew wander through town until they find Simone’s lair. She’s holed up in an old opera house. It’s been spray painted with anarchist symbols and the words Slayers Rule. Upon entry they discover that they are heavily outnumbered by about two dozen Slayers. Simone offers a trade, she wants Andrew for the Ragna demon.

 

Buffy: What???? You’d give back the demon… for just… Andrew? No offense.

 

Andrew: None taken.

 

Simone: Yes. Come on! Someone like him? Was in charge of someone like me? In case you haven’t figured it out, I’m not a fan of authority to begin with. And he’s kind of a drill sergeant, which, you know… Piss off. I want my payback. Also, he’s incredibly annoying.

 

Buffy obviously declines the trade and she and Simone begin sword fighting. Simone eventually tires of playing fair and pulls out a gun. Buffy has no option but to surrender. Andrew tells Buffy to take the deal. He says that the demon is what matters. It’s too dangerous in the wrong hands.

 

Buffy tells Simone to keep the demon, but she’s not leaving without Andrew. Simone aims her gun at Buffy, but before she can fire, Buffy’s Italian squad arrive to save the day. They rescue Buffy and Andrew, but Buffy is unable to save the island and give the villagers back their homes. Instead, they opt to get the remaining villagers to the mainland and live to fight Simone another day. Before they leave, Buffy frees the Ragna to keep Simone occupied while they escape.

 

Once it’s all over, Buffy and Andrew share a heart to heart in his room. Andrew is Busy trying to collect information about the Ragna in case they are forced to fight it. Buffy tells him he’s allowed to take a night off.

 

Buffy: Look, Andrew. You were willing to sacrifice yourself to save innocent people. For a greater good. That’s huge for you. You should be proud.

 

Andrew: But you were right. I lied to you.

 

Buffy: Yeah, you’re part of the family. Get used to screwing up for the right reasons. It’s what we do. Swing by when you’ve got the specs written up. We’ll take a look.

 

Andrew: I’m part of the family?

 

He smiles.

 

The End

 

The Watchers Files

 

Predators & Prey was written by Drew Z. Greenberg and features art by Goerges Jeanty.

 

This was a solid issue. There were some top-notch stories and writers on board this volume.

 

Here’s what I loved most about this issue:

 

I adore a good team-up story and the dynamic between Buffy and Andrew was hilarious.

 

I also love the idea of a rogue Slayer as Buffy’s nemesis. Yes, we’ve seen it before with Faith, but Faith was never truly evil, just screwed up. Simone is a flat-out psycho.

 

Andrew’s constant nerd babble and pop culture references… Here. For. It!

 

I love that Buffy is vocal about her hatred of guns. This is something that has been referenced many times on the show and in the comics. (An essential service… really Trump?… Pffft!)

 

Buffy’s talk with Andrew at the end of this issue was definitely my highlight. When she told him that messing up for the right reasons made him part of the family… I felt all the warm fuzzies inside. And it’s so true… as much as I love the Scoobies, they’ve all caused their share of mayhem and madness. The scene was also beautifully illustrated.

 

Trivia

 

Welcome to the Family

 

 

“Come with me now, if you will, gentle viewers. Join me on a new voyage of the mind. A little tale I like to call, Buffy, Slayer of the Vampyrs.” – Andrew Wells, Storyteller (Season 7, Episode 16)

 

Joss Whedon revealed that if the show had continued, he would’ve more than likely upgraded Tom Lenk to main cast billing. I love the addition of Andrew Wells to the Scooby gang. He provided much needed comedic relief in the shows final Season. His meta commentary added a whole new dimension to the show. I’m glad his journey has continued in the comics. From villain to wannabe hero, his voyage of self-discovery has been both hilarious and heart-warming. Stay tuned, he has some pretty big plotlines ahead in future seasons.

 

Buffy Speak of the Week

 

Andrew: We might not come out of this alive, and I want to make sure I’ve said everything I need to say to you. And now I have. Wait, no, also, now that I’ve met Angel, I have to say, Spike was so much edgier, you definitely traded up, I’m totally team Spike. Also, I know I’m in the minority, but I liked it when you cut your hair. There. Now I’ve said everything.

 

Andrew weighing in on the age-old argument between all Buffy fans: Bangel or Spuffy, was gold. No shade on Spike, he’s a badass, but I’m a Bangel man myself. As for the hair, it was always on point, except for that one time in Amends, with the weird micro-bangs… what was that about?

 

Slayer Rating: 3.5/5 Stakes

 

 

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