"Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered"
Written by Marti Noxon; directed by James A. Contner

In a cemetery, Xander shows Buffy a heart-shaped necklace he’s planning to give Cordelia for Valentine’s Day. “Does she know what one of these is?” Buffy asks. Xander wonders when his friends will stop mocking him for dating Cordelia, and Buffy replies that they probably won’t ever. He says that he wishes dating were more like slaying, which is over quickly. Just then, a vampire rises and Buffy battles it, finally staking it. She says that slaying is a “tad more perilous” than dating as she and Xander leave. “Well, you’re obviously not dating Cordelia,” he replies. At school the next morning, Cordelia’s friends ignore her until she chases after them and asks them what’s going on. Led by Harmony, they mock her about dressing up “for her geek” for a Valentine’s Day dance, obviously not approving of her relationship with Xander.

After a class, Buffy, Willow, and Amy (last seen in “The Witch”) chat about the Valentine’s Day dance at the Bronze. Willow is thrilled to be able to say that her boyfriend’s in the band. Buffy tries to blow off the concept of Valentine’s Day and Amy determines that she’s had a bad break-up. Xander watches as Amy uses some sort of spell to make a teacher believe that she’s handed in a paper when she hasn’t. He catches up with Buffy and Willow and tells them what happened, causing Buffy to say that Amy’s the last person who should be using magic (see “The Witch”). Giles meets up with Buffy and the two of them spot Jenny, who awkwardly tries to have a conversation with Giles. He tells her that he’s too busy to talk and heads off with Buffy. In the library, he assures her that he’s all right and gets to the matter at hand - Angelus tends to turn to violent forms of “affection,” so Buffy should beware and stay inside for awhile.

Spike gives Drusilla a necklace for Valentine’s Day, but she’s more impressed by a human heart given to her by Angelus. He puts Spike’s necklace on her, telling Spike to let him do more for Drusilla, since Spike isn’t as able. Spike tells him to turn his attention to Buffy, and Angelus says that he’s still not sure what to send her for Valentine’s Day. Spike suggests that he rip her lungs out, but Angelus argues that it lacks poetry. “It doesn’t have to,” Spike says. “What rhymes with lungs?” (There may not be a connection, but see “Fool for Love” anyway.) That night, a bunch of students gather at the Bronze for the Valentine’s Day dance, where Oz smiles at Willow from the stage and she tells Xander that she thinks she’s a groupie. Cordelia tries to talk to her friends, but they ignore her again. At home, Buffy and Joyce’s movie-fest is interrupted by a knock at the door. Buffy goes to answer the front door, but no one’s outside. When she returns to the living room, Joyce isn’t there. She goes to the kitchen and is startled when Joyce comes back in from the back door. She says that someone left a box for Buffy, and Buffy opens it to find a dozen roses and a note reading, “Soon.”

Xander sees Cordelia sitting by herself at the dance and goes over to her. She comments that he looks nice, then laments that that makes things harder for her. He tells her that he’s been thinking about their relationship, and that he’s not sure whether they just have a typical teenager relationship, or if there’s something more there. He gives her the necklace, but she immediately tells him that they have to break up. She says that they just don’t fit together. He grows frustrated that she’s breaking up with him on Valentine’s Day (“what, were you running low on dramatic irony?”), and eventually just walks away. At school the next day, everyone knows about Xander being dumped, and he’s upset to not receive any comfort from Buffy, who has to go talk to Giles about her present from the night before. He hits a low point when even Harmony gets a dig in at him. Xander spots Amy and pulls her aside, accusing her of being a witch. She tries to deny that she is, but he has her number. He tells her that he’ll keep quiet about what she did if she helps him take advantage of the Hellmouth - he wants to cast a spell. He wants Cordelia to be in love with him again so that he can turn around and break up with her. Amy agrees to help, but needs something of Cordelia’s to do the spell. Buffy asks Giles what Angelus means by “soon” and demands that he let her in on what Angelus might do to her.

Xander asks Cordelia to return the necklace he gave her, and she pretends that she didn’t like it anyway, not letting him see that she wore it to school. That night, Xander and Amy meet up in a science lab, where Amy does a love spell with Cordelia’s necklace. The next day, Xander saunters into school with confidence and approaches Cordelia and her friends. He’s surprised to be met with disdain rather than devotion. Buffy and Giles read up on Angelus’ past Valentine’s Day activities, which include nailing a puppy to a wall. Xander enters and finally receives sympathy from Buffy on his break-up. She suggests that they go out and do something together to comfort each other on their break-ups. He jokingly asks if lap dancing will be involved, but she responds more seductively than teasingly, which makes him wonder what’s going on. She tells him that it’s strange to “see someone every day but not really see them.” Amy summons Xander into the hallway and tells him that she doesn’t think the spell worked, but he’s too distracted by his possible connection with Buffy to care. She says that they could try again, or just hang out together, and she echoes Buffy’s line about seeing someone every day and not really seeing him or her. Throughout their conversation, Buffy looks at Xander seductively through the library doors. One of Cordelia’s friends approaches Xander, asking if he wants to study with her sometime, and, growing nervous, Xander skedaddles.

Xander rushes home, where he is startled to see Willow waiting for him in his bed. He tells her that he cast a spell that backfired, but she’s not really listening - she’s more interested in taking their friendship to the next level. She tells him that she wants him to be her “first.” He tries to get her to go back to Oz, but she doesn’t listen and starts kissing his earlobe instead. He tells her that this has to stop - “it’s time for me to act like a man. And hide.” At school, Harmony and the other Cordettes criticize Cordelia for hurting Xander, which confuses her. Xander returns to school, receiving appreciative looks from girls as he walks down the hall in slow motion. He heads to the library and tells Giles what happened. Jenny enters to talk to Giles, but is soon drawn to Xander and can’t keep her hands off of him. Giles has to pull her away from Xander as he chastises him for using magic. He tells Xander to stay put while he goes to find Amy and get her to reverse the spell. He starts to leave, then realizes that it’s not a good idea to leave Jenny with Xander, and returns to drag her off with him.

Alone at last, Xander pushes a card catalog in front of the library door, but Buffy easily gets inside, since the door opens away from the catalog. Xander is shocked to see her seemingly wearing only a raincoat and asking if he wants to open his “present.” He tells her that he’s definitely attracted, but that it wouldn’t be right of him to take advantage of her, since she doesn’t know what she’s doing and doesn’t know what it would mean to him. Buffy is upset that he’s rejecting her, and even more upset when Amy arrives and tries to lay claim to Xander. Buffy punches Amy and accuses Xander of two-timing her. Amy’s eyes turn black and she begins to recite a spell. Suddenly, Buffy’s gone, leaving behind her raincoat. Giles and Jenny rush back into the library, where they see that Amy has turned Buffy into a rat.

Amy and Jenny face off, Amy insulting Jenny’s age and Jenny saying that Xander must like mature women. Xander has to stop Amy from turning Jenny into a rat as well. Harmony and the Cordettes confront Cordelia for using Xander, and Harmony winds up slapping Cordelia. A fight ensues, with the Cordettes trying to overpower their leader. Frustrated, Giles orders Amy and Jenny to sit down while he and Xander try to catch Buffy the rat. While trying to get her out from behind a bookcase, Xander encounters Oz’s fist. He complains that he had to listen to Willow complain about Xander all night, and he’s not sure why she’s so upset. They don’t see Buffy running out the library door. Giles sends Xander home to keep him out of trouble, asking Oz to take over the rat search. In the hallway, Xander sees Cordelia in the middle of the Cordette fight and rescues her, running out with a mob of girls in hot pursuit.

Giles determines that the spell backfired by allowing Cordelia’s necklace to protect her from it. As he tells Amy that she would help him if she really cared about Xander, Jenny escapes from the library. On their way out of the building, Xander and Cordelia run into Willow, who has acquired an axe and a group of supporters. She announces that she’d rather see Xander dead than with Cordelia and tries to attack him. The girls start to fight with each other over Xander, allowing Xander and Cordelia to run off. Buffy the rat heads down to the basement, followed by Oz. Buffy encounters a cat and runs off. Xander and Cordelia head towards Buffy’s house, and Joyce lets them inside. She sends Cordelia upstairs for bandages, then starts rubbing Xander’s shoulders. Defeated, he lets his head drop onto the table. Cordelia returns and tries to throw Joyce out of the house, squicked out by her attraction to Xander. Joyce tries to break back into the house, and Xander and Cordelia run upstairs to Buffy’s bedroom. Suddenly, Angelus grabs Xander, pulling him through the window and onto the roof.

Angelus demands to know where Buffy is, then throws Xander off the roof onto the lawn. Xander fights back, but Angelus gets the upper hand. He’s about to bite Xander when he’s thrown aside. Xander looks up, expecting to see Buffy, and is surprised to see Drusilla. She tells Angelus not to hurt Xander and offers Xander eternal life. Before she can bite him, Willow’s mob, which has been joined by Jenny, arrives, each girl trying to lay claim to Xander. Cordelia helps fend the girls off, then leads Xander back into the house. The girls follow, with the exception of Drusilla, who hasn’t been invited in. Joyce wields a knife and tells Xander that it will never work out between them and they have to end things. Xander and Cordelia lock themselves in the basement (again - see “What’s My Line, Part 2”). In the basement, Oz looks for Buffy as she spots a mouse trap. In a science lab, Giles and Amy prepare to reverse the love spell.

Xander and Cordelia try to nail the basement door shut while blaming each other for the situation. Cordelia is touched to hear that Xander did the spell to try to win her back. The mob of girls manages to break through the basement door. In the other basement, Buffy approaches the mouse trap. Giles and Amy reverse the Buffy/rat spell, and suddenly Buffy is back in human form. The girls break into the Summers’ basement and pursue Xander again, cornering him and Cordelia. Giles ends the love spell and the girls all stop, confused about where they are and what they’re doing. In the school basement, Buffy asks Oz to get her some clothes, a little embarrassed by her situation. Cordelia thinks quickly and says to Joyce and the mob of girls, “Boy, that was the best scavenger hunt ever.”

At school the next day, Xander tells Buffy that Joyce seemed to buy the scavenger hunt story. He laments that Willow won’t talk to him, and she points out that she was pretty hurt by what happened. Buffy herself remembers what happened, and is grateful that he didn’t try to take advantage of her attraction. Back on good terms, Cordelia chats with the Cordettes and are interrupted by Xander, whom Harmony treats with disdain again. Cordelia finally stands up to her, calling her a sheep and telling her that she’ll do whatever she wants to do, because she’s not a sheep. She announces that she’ll date whoever she wants to, “no matter how lame he is.” She confidently walks away from her friends, but freaks out about what she did when she reaches Xander. He assures her that, whenever they’re around her friends, they can just fight a lot to make things better.

MORAL, or CRAMMING COMPLEX ISSUES INTO A NUTSHELL: Love spells are clever, but deadly. Like Martha Stewart!

GRADE: A- Xander’s quips and facial expressions are worth an extra half letter grade.

MEMORABLE QUOTES - “Well, this is new territory for me. I mean, my valentines are usually met with heartfelt restraining orders.” - Xander

“This time I’m ready for you. No F for Xander today. No, this baby’s my ticket to a sweet D-minus.” - Xander, re: a paper

Xander: “Blackmail is such an ugly word.”
Amy: “I didn’t say blackmail.”
Xander: “Yeah, but I’m about to blackmail you, so I thought I’d bring it up.”

Willow: “Well, friendships change all the time. People grow apart. They grow closer.”
Xander: “Uh, this is good! How close we are now. I feel very comfortable with this amount of closeness. In fact, I can even back up a few paces and still be happy.” (steps back) “See?”
Willow: “I want you, Xander…to be my first!”
Xander: “Baseman. Please tell me we’re talking baseball.”

Giles: “I cannot believe that you are fool enough to do something like this!”
Xander: “Oh, no, I’m twice the fool it takes to do something like this.”

Cordelia: (to Joyce) “And keep your mom-aged mitts off my boyfriend. Former! (to Xander) Why has everyone gone insane?”
Xander: “Insane? Is it so impossible for you to believe that other women find me attractive?”
Cordelia: “The only way you could get girls to want you would be witchcraft.”
Xander: “That is such a…. Well, yeah, okay, good point.”

Drusilla: “Your face is a poem. I can read it.”
Xander: “Really? It doesn’t say ‘spare me’ by any chance?”
Drusilla: “Shhh. How do you feel about eternal life?”
Xander: “We couldn’t just start with a coffee?”

“If we die in here, I’m gonna kick your a%$!” - Cordelia to Xander

Buffy: “I seem to be having a slight case of nudity here.”
Oz: “But you’re not a rat. So call it an upside.”

Buffy: “I remember coming on to you, I remember begging you to undress me…and then a sudden need for cheese. I also remember that you didn’t.”
Xander: “Need cheese?”

Cordelia: “Do you know what you are, Harmony? You’re a sheep.”
Harmony: “I’m not a sheep.”
Cordelia: “You’re a sheep. All you ever do is what everyone else does just so you can say you did it first. And here I am, scrambling for your approval, when I’m way cooler than you are ‘cause I’m not a sheep. I do what I wanna do, and I wear what I wanna wear. And you know what? I’ll date whoever the he%# I wanna date. No matter how lame he is.”

Back to Buffy episode guides

Back to Fun and Games