Archive for May, 2021

A Second Chance Pt. 2

May 15, 2021

Kane Thalek held the pool cue in his hand more like a club than an actual tool. “It just pisses me off,” he said. “I never asked my dad to pull any strings for me. In fact, I asked him not to after I got kicked out of here. It’s not my fault that he’s an Admiral.” Kane liked to think he got in and back into Starfleet Academy on his own merits. He might have gotten in the first time on his own but it was increasingly doubtful that he was readmitted legitimately. The thought made him feel kind of sick and not only because his instructors and fellow classmates were not being subtle about shoving it in his face.

“Could you not brandish that like a club?” Soske Treji said. “This is a classy game. I wanted to teach it to you to make you breathe and focus. Calm down.” Treji was pretty much the only instructor who seemed to empathize with Kane’s position. This was a typical after-hours one on one lesson. Treji liked to play games and knew that Kane liked competing.

“Sorry,” Kane said and took a deep breath. He rolled his neck to get the tension out and then leaned over the table to aim his shot. “They say it enough times and it drills into my skull.”

“Who cares how you got here,” Treji said. “We both know that you’re qualified. It’s what you do with it that matters. What do you want to do with it?”

Kane took his shot and barely managed to sink one of his balls into a corner pocket. “I want to get back out there,” he said. “When I was fighting on Coridan, I knew there were ships up there trying to protect us. I wanted to be on one of those ships. Badly. There will be other planets out there in the same spot. They need defending.” He missed his next shot.

“What would your ideal posting be?” Treji asked, starting to size up his next shot.

“Something in a Saber-class,” Kane said. “I don’t need or want anything cushy or comfortable.”

“You’re definitely not the normal Admiral’s kid,” Treji said. “Take a lesson from this.” He took his shot and sank three balls. “Take your time and wait for your shot. You’ll do great. You might not get what you want but you just have to make the most of what comes your way.”

“I guess,” Kane said. “I just want to serve. I don’t want a boring post on some big ship.”

“No Enterprise for you then?” Treji asked. “You don’t want to work your way up to senior staff on the ship of ships? Maybe some Galaxy-class ship?”

“I’d just keep hearing all of the stuff about my dad pulling strings,” Kane said. “I’ll pass. Send me to the front lines somewhere. Put me in the action.”

“For glory seeking?” Treji asked, goading the young man a little.

“No,” Kane said. “You know that’s not it.” He took a breath and smiled, realizing what his teacher was doing. Leaving to fight against the Dominion had been impulsive and he did not regret it. He had accepted the consequences even though it had led to years of punishment even with him returning to the Academy. He had started to learn to be less impulsive and he was going to have to follow the rules if he was going to get anywhere. This was his second and last chance.

“I think you’ve learned my lessons fairly well,” Treji said. “Do you want to play a round of Springball before calling it a night?”

“I’m tempted,” Kane said. “I still owe you from last time but I have to get some studying in tonight now that I’ve calmed down.”

“Tomorrow night maybe,” Treji said.

“Maybe,” Kane said with a smile.

The Muppet Show Season 6 Pt. 3

May 13, 2021

S06E07 Angela Lansbury

Dame Angela Lansbury was born in Central London in 1925 and luckily for all of us, she decided to move to the United States to escape the Blitz during World War II. She studied theater in New York City before she trekked across country to Hollywood in the early 1940s. As a young woman, she got a deal with MGM and acted in 13 films. She received Oscar nominations for Gaslight and The Picture of Dorian Gray and received a Golden Globe while still in her twenties. She kept working in film but it was theater that finally made her a star when she landed the leading role in Mame. From there she dove into musicals both on stage and on screen and started to become more of a household name. She received even more widespread fame for playing famed crime solver Jessica Fletcher in Murder She Wrote. After that ended, she went back to live theater where she is currently still working.

Lansbury would be perfect for the Muppet Show. She had tons of experience working in pretty much any medium and genre. She did stuff for kids like Bedknobs and Broomsticks, darker fare like Gaslight and Sweney Todd, and anything in between. She had already worked with animation and special effects so puppetry would not have been a problem. Her versatility has helped to keep her career fresh. She would have been working on Broadway at that point but having her on would have been great promotion for Sweeney Todd which was big at the time.

Cold Open: As Lansbury is checking in with Pops, Hilda shows up and says that nice ladies have to stick together.

Guest Arc: Lansbury tries to prove she’s not just a nice lady. She shows that she can be mean if she wants to and bullies the Muppets.

“By the Sea” (Sondheim) with Fozzy
“Bosom Buddies” (Jerry Herman) with Miss Piggy
“Little Yellow Bird” (Murphy/Hargreaves) with a little yellow bird puppet

S06E08 Mel Brooks

Mel Brooks is definitely one of the all-time kings of American comedy. He got his start in the 1950s as a comedy writer for Sid Caesar’s Show of Shows, a trial by fire similar to more modern shows like Saturday Night Live. It obviously allowed him to train his comedy and writing chops. He continued to work with Caesar until the 1960s where he got his first celebrity when he and Carl Reiner created the 2000-year-old man routine where Reiner would interview Brooks as he played a man who had been alive for thousands of years. The routine was a hit on The Steve Allen Show. He had a brush with writing for Broadway and then he co-created the hit television show Get Smart. The success of that show helped vault him into a career writing and directing (and sometimes starring in) his own movies. His name became known for parody and satire and goofy yet smart humor. Films like The Producers, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, and more became huge cult classics and innovated comedy movies.

Brooks would have been a solid choice for The Muppet Show because he never once took himself seriously. As a writer and a guy who came from a live television background, he has always been comfortable with rolling with the punches. Brooks was happy to adlib and goof around with his friends and just about anybody. At this point, he had already worked with several people who were guests on the show in the first five seasons.

Cold Open: Scooter comes to give the warning but stays to try and pitch an idea.

Guest Arc: The Muppets think that Brooks is there as a big shot producer but he is really there as a performer. They keep pitching things to a flabbergasted and confused Brooks.

Guest Acts:
“If You Love Me Baby, Tell Me Loud” (Brooks) with Sweetums and Electric Mayhem
Pitch Meeting: Crazy Harry, Lew Zealand, and Gonzo
“Hope for the Best, Expect the Worst” (Brooks) with Rowlf at the piano

S06E09 Scatman Crothers

The man who would become Scatman Crothers started his musical career when he was still a teenager. He was a self-educated musician and eventually took the moniker of Scatman for the obvious reason that he used a lot of scat singing in his act. He moved from Ohio to Los Angeles and his career picked up. He did USO tours with Bob Hope. Starting n the 1970s, his career as an actor picked up because he had roles in Hello Dolly, The Great White Hope, The Aristocats, The Shining, Silver Streak, and more. He eventually moved into voice acting and became the voice of Hong Kong Phooey and Meadowlark Lemon of the Globetrotters. He guested on tons of popular television shows and gained legend by being everywhere for a while.

He would have been perfect for the Muppet Show because he had nearly bottomless levels of charisma. Energy just seemed to pour out of the Scatman and he had great acting and musical talent. When somebody is a consummate performer, it is easy to imagine them in almost any scenario.

Cold Open: Pops and Scatman are greeting each other enthusiastically when they have a run in with JP Grosse.

Guest Arc: JP Grosse, the owner of the Muppet Theater, shows up wanting to raise ticket prices. Kermit enlists Scatman to show him the errors of his ways.

“Ain’t She Sweet” (Ager/Yellen) With Miss Piggy
“Blue-eyed Sally” With the Electric Mayhem
“The Best Things in Life Are Free” (Gordon McRae) with Kermit

Sequels

May 10, 2021

I have been thinking lately about how people judge sequels. A lot of people seem to moan and groan about sequels, saying they want original stories. While I do want original stories, I do not immediately dismiss a sequel, especially from a franchise I liked. A lot of people try to pit sequels against the original movie or sequels against each other. I have a much simpler method of judging sequels. It is the metric that I pretty much use to judge all movies. That metric is whether I enjoyed the movie or not and whether I thought it was worth making.

SPOILERS FOR: Guardians of the Galaxy 1 and 2, Blues Brothers 2000, and Thor 2.

Example 1: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

I am a big Marvel Cinematic Universe fan and one of the movies that really hit me fairly early on was Guardians of the Galaxy. I loved the first movie as it was a funny and surprisingly deep movie about misfits coming together to put aside their selfish pride to save the universe. It was instantly a huge hit and created ripples in the blockbuster system. When I found out that the sequel was coming out, I was thrilled. I was not sure what the sequel would bring but I trusted writer/director James Gunn.

I was not disappointed but other people I knew at the time seemed to be. I found the second movie to be even deeper emotionally than the first film and had a lot more depth and complexity. It may have lacked the sheer energy of the first movie but it needed to slow down a bit to tell a more important and more personal story. The first movie had really only one plot thread: the Guardians band together to fight religious zealot Ronan.

The second movie also had one major plot but it provides for more character depth. The A plot was about Ego using his relationship with his son to threaten the universe. The movie also included Rocket’s realization that he is an asshole and needs friends, Gamora and Nebula realizing that they needed each other, Yondu’s reckoning with his shameful past and embracing family, Drax actually starting to deal with the death of his family, and a bunch of little moments.

That is the great thing about some sequels: they allow the writers and directors to delve deeper into the characters and allow for different pairings of characters that did not get much screentime together in the first movie. This can allow for more depth for the franchise and growth for the characters which breathes new life into things.

Example Number 2 – Thor: The Dark World

People tend to call Thor 2: The Dark World “the bad Thor sequel” which offends me every time I hear it. This seems to presuppose that The Dark World is a bad movie which is something I disagree with. Thor Ragnarok was a more high-energy movie but Thor 2 laid a lot of the groundwork that people love about the franchise. It had a ton of moments of Thor and Loki’s relationship, it focused a lot on Thor’s responsibility and how he related to Asgard and Earth, and it included more of the greater cosmology and lore that would come home to roost in Ragnarok. It was slower but it allowed for a lot more dialogue so we could learn more about the characters. There is a reason why they revisited the movie in Endgame, because it was a pivotal moment in Thor’s development. It also ends up figuring into WandaVision. It also passed my metric in that I enjoyed it.

Example Number 3 – Blues Brothers 2000

You would be hard-pressed to find a bigger fan of The Blues Brothers. A celebration of music and a showcase of some of the best black musicians alive at the time. It is an iconic movie with great characters, fun dialogue, and is basically a string of SNL sketches. People love to crap all over the sequel Blues Brothers 2000 but I guess I am here to defend it. For me, it all comes down to enjoyment. I enjoyed the movie. Was it as iconic as the original no? However, it continued a lot of the themes from the original. It focused even more on the orphanage and allowed the characters to grow and change. It focused on a strong theme of family and what the music really meant more than just the money. It also did a lot of what the first movie did. It showcased excellent music, even more fantastic musicians, and a lot of the offbeat humor of the original. While there are fairly legitimate criticisms of the movie, most of them felt weak to me. I enjoyed it and the soundtrack was excellent so that is all I needed really.

The Kids of Barrie Park Pt. 1

May 8, 2021

Liam flicked his lit cigarette into the dirt and brooded. The funeral had ended about twenty minutes prior but Liam had hardly noticed it start and end. Sure he grieved for the deceased, John and Tereza Ganton, but he had really come out of a sense of obligation. He had known the two of them since he was a small child. There was shared history there but especially shared tragedy. Being there and watching them get lowered into the ground made it all so real and it set his mind racing. Everybody just faded away while he thought about the implications. Maybe it was just a coincidence but maybe it meant something.

“Pick that cigarette butt up,” a woman’s voice said from behind him. It shook Liam from his fog but it did not make him jump. He turned to face Chantal. Even though it had been over two years since they had spoken directly, he still remembered her voice.

“Sorry, Chant,” Liam said and bent down to pick up the now cool butt. “I wasn’t thinking. Maybe I was thinking too much. Forget it.”

“None of that’s too uncommon at a funeral,” Chantal said. “Do you want to talk about it?” She reached out to comfort Liam but he moved away without really meaning to. He had the grace to look apologetic and Chantal let it go.

“You have to know what I’m thinking,” Liam said. “You were there that night.” He looked into her eyes with purpose. He spotted the scar across her left eyebrow that would never allow it to grow back again. She had gotten off light. Liam ran a hand over his own arm where a scar ran nearly from shoulder to wrist although it was covered by his cheap suit.

“I get it. They’re dead, Liam, and we had a connection to them,” Chantal said. “It hurts. It’s big but it is just a part of life.”

“It’s not just normal funeral stuff. Besides, you know that it doesn’t really hurt,” Liam said. “You know that both of us didn’t actually talk to them much. Most of us do not talk to each other. It’s weird.”

“And yet you and I both attended their wedding,” Chantal said with a sad smile. “We didn’t really know them but we were connected to them.” Chantal had a kind heart, it could be inspiring but it could also be annoying.

“We were connected,” Liam said, nodding in agreement. “We are still connected. That’s what I worry about. That connection. I’m worried this means something.” Liam knew he had that look in his eyes. That crazy look. He could see it in Chantal’s reaction. He was used to that reaction. As a freelance researcher in journalism, he was used to getting that reaction when he had a wild theory. The problem was, he was usually right.

“It means that the Gantons died, it’s sad, and nothing more,” Chantal said. “Now buy me dinner before you blow town again.” She took his hand and started pulling him toward the cars. Everybody else had pretty much cleared out except for the grounds crew of the cemetery. Liam went with her, walking toward his rental begrudgingly.

“We drove separately,” Liam said. “We’ll have to drive separate again. I don’t want to have to come back here, do you?”

“Hell no,” Chantal said. “I would never come back here if I had my way.”

“I think we’re agreed there,” Liam said with a nod. He almost reached for another cigarette but thought better of it. His fingers made a frustrated kind of motion as if they were disappointed at his change of heart. He shoved his hands in his pockets and shuffled toward his car.

“We’ll meet at Dona Habana,” Chantal called out. “No arguments.” She gave him her version of The Look which was meant to shut down any conversation for the moment.

“You know I hate Dona Habana,” Liam said. “I really hate Dona Habana.” It was an Afro-Cuban fusion place that Liam knew that Chantal loved. It was noisy and bright and the food disagreed with Liam’s stomach.

“I know you do,” Chantal called out with a big shit-eating grin. “That’s where I want to go and I said no arguments.”

“Fine,” Liam said. He stopped before getting into his car and watched Chantal drive off. He sighed and thought about that cigarette again when he thought he spotted something move in the distance. He narrowed his eyes in the gathering dusk and tried to decide if he had seen what he thought he did. What he thought he saw was a very tall person. He rubbed his eyes and decided that either way it was time to leave the cemetery. He needed food in his stomach and he needed to explain himself to Chantal.

Media Update 5/6/20

May 6, 2021

The Nevers

This show kind of felt like it was made for me. The show takes place sometime in the 18th century with some steampunk flair. Some sort of event has happened that awakens powers in people, causing them to be ostracized by society. These “touched” are mostly women and nobody seems to have similar powers and the powers range from very useful to frustrating. It feels a lot like Steampunk X-Men meets Sherlock Holmes. Although the show feels like an ensemble piece, it arguably stars Laura Donnelly as a detective who runs an orphanage for the touched. Her partner in crime is a bright-eyed optimist played by Ann Skelly. Both are delightful to watch for different reasons. Amy Manson plays an insane villain who is fascinating to watch. Ben Chaplin plays a human police detective who is hilariously gruff. I am also really enjoying Anna Devlin, Rochelle Neil, and Kiran Sonia Sawar who each add a lot to the show. I am really looking forward to where this goes. I recommend this show.

Shadow and Bone

I had to hop on this show because a lot of people are raving about it. The show feels like the 18th century but in a complete fantasy world. In this world, some people have magic which basically allows them to do one specific thing. Most of them have elemental powers. The follows two storylines. The first and main storyline stars Jessie Mei Li, a lower caste character suddenly thrust into the spotlight by the emergence of her own magical powers. Her costar is Ben Barnes who is an amusingly dark character. The B plot is more of an ensemble thing with a ragtag group of criminals on a mission. Freddy Carter, Amita Suman, and Kit Young are all delightful comic relief and give more perspective on the world they have built. This show is quite a bit more grim but they include enough comic relief to keep it light and moving. I recommend it.

The Shadowhunters

The most modern of these three shows, this is about a young girl who discovers she may not be as human as she thought. She is thrown into a chaotic new world just beyond the one she used to know. The show feels like if you took the Industrial Metal scene, urban fantasy, and White Wolf roleplaying games and threw them into a blender. Katherine McNamara is an instantly likable heroine. Dominic Sherwood adn Emeraude Toubia are great as battle-hardened but playful warriors. Alberto Rosende plays the normal human and the audience surrogate. I really like the imagery of the show and the show’s sense of humor. There is a lot of mystery to the show as they keep throwing out terms that make me want to learn more about the worldbuilding. I recommend this show too.

Music of the Week:

The All-American Rejects – Send Her To Heaven

Kita Menari – Pretty Sure

Лена Катина – моно

Pleasure Venom – Deth

Mashup of the Week

One Bored Jeu – Feel Good in Black and Yellow

Weekly Update:
This week’s theme is “Dark YA Stuff”
I watched more Watcher videos
I watched a lot of Twitch and YouTube
i watched more Elementary Season 4
I watched more Prodigal Son Season 2

The Muppet Show Season 6 Pt. 2

May 3, 2021

S06E04 Sally Field

Sally Field jumped right into a television career in 1965 with the starring role of Gidget in Gidget. The show did not do very well when it aired but the show gained a cult following and was one of the few single-season shows to go into syndication. Studios were still high on Fields so they cast her in The Flying Nun, once again in the title role. She kept working regularly in television until moving into Hollywood movies. She started in 1976 and quickly followed up with more iconic movies like Smokey and the Bandit and Norma Rae. She had established herself as more than a pretty face with comedy skills as she had enough experience in dramas too. She had even more memorable roles in Steel Magnolias, Mrs. Doubtfire, Forrest Gump, and (important to me) Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey, her first real voice acting role. She continues to be a welcome addition to movies and television shows.

Field would have been great as a guest for The Muppet Show because of her great comic timing combined with her deceptive sweetness. She could definitely hold her own in comedies and was always a hard worker, something necessary for the difficulties involved with working with puppets. She actually did later do some work on Sesame Street in a bit where she did impersonations of Sesame Street characters. On occasion, she definitely showed that she could carry a tune in a good old-school Broadway style.

Cold Open: Scooter comes in to give Field her warning. She thanks him. The camera pans over to Uncle Deadly who tells her that’s more than enough time for love.

Guest Arc: Miss Piggy thinks that Sally Field will come and ask her to be in a movie but Sally is always talking to somebody else. (ie Gonzo and Animal asking her if she can really fly, Annie Sue and Miss Mousey having tea with her, etc.)

Guest Acts:
“Find Yourself A Rainbow” with the Electric Mayhem
Tea with Miss Mousey, Annie Sue, and an interrupting Miss Piggy
“You’re Moving Out Today” with Sweetums

S06E05 Robin Williams

Robin Williams started as a standup comedian in 1976 in the San Francisco Bay Area. It was through stand-up that he developed his fast-paced delivery with a thousand and one tangents. He did impressions, he sang impromptu songs, and he somehow did not run out of breath. He was not on stage long before he was picked up for television in 1978 for Mork and Mindy (working for Richard Pryor before that). His penchant for the absurd won over America and the World at large as his star kept rising. He starred in his first movie (Popeye) in 1980 and kept on going from there. He eventually landed the part of one of the most iconic Disney characters, Genie in Aladdin which fully utilized his unique delivery. He later moved into more dramatic roles, stretching his talent further and further which established his legend status.

Robin was actually scheduled and announced to guest an episode of Season 4 of The Muppet Show but for unknown reasons, it was canceled. He did go on to guest on Sesame Street quite a few times in some very quirky and fun bits. Robin would have been perfect for The Muppet Show. His energy is practically a mix of Animal, Rowlf, and Fozzie already. He could have sung any number of songs and traded quips with the Muppets with no problems. What could have been!

Cold Open: Scooter comes in to give Robin his 5 minute warning but shakes his head as he finds Robin throwing fish around with Lew Zealand.

Guest Arc: Robin makes it known that he wants his appearance to be an audition to become a muppet so he keeps hamming it up in hopes that he’ll be a permanent part of the show.

Guest Acts:
Stand-up Routine Doing Impressions of Muppets, Ending with Sparring with Waldorf and Statler
“This Heart is Closed for Alterations” with The Electric Mayhem
“Come Together” – with Gonzo

S06E06 Leslie Nielsen

Though he was legally deaf, Nielsen joined the Canadian Air Force to escape his abusive father but he was too young and left before seeing any action. He briefly had a radio career before he went to school to further that career. He got a scholarship from the Neighborhood Playhouse and then he attended the Actors Studio, both of which trained him in acting and pulled him from Canada to the US. His early work ended up being unexciting but he finally broke through with Forbidden Planet, a science fiction adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. His career started to pick up with roles in projects for MGM, Disney, Alfred Hitchcock, and more. His early career reached its pinnacle when he starred in the Poseidon Adventure.

However, what makes him perfect for the Muppet Show is what came next. In 1980, he appeared in the parody movie Airplane! as a doctor on board a disastrous airline flight. What those filmmakers were able to do was to help Nielsen weaponize his deadpan and serious delivery and make it into pure humor. His career quickly settled into a new gear as he went on to use a combination of earnestness and bumbling slapstick to climb new heights. He moved on to be a much more beloved and memorable actor than he would have been as a normal leading man. Seeing him act alongside the muppets would be a beautiful contrast.

Cold opening: Pops frantically searches his office as Leslie Nielsen walks up. He has been robbed.

Guest Arc: Several items have gone missing backstage. Word gets out that Leslie is an undercover private detective and is at The Muppet Show to solve the case.

Guest Acts:
“Wanted Man” (Johnny Cash) – With a bunch of rough customer monsters
“Watching the Detectives” (Elvis Costello) – With Miss Piggy and Fozzy
The scene where Leslie arrests Animal

Summers in Neptune Pt. 2

May 1, 2021

When Buffy and Veronica pushed open the doors to the Library, they immediately spotted the two Queens of the Library. Willow Rosenberg sat on the floor with a circle of old books around her. Occasionally, the books would float into the air and travel to the shelves only to be replaced by another floating book. It was trippy. Cindy “Mac” Mackenzie was similarly surrounded by computer monitors although none of them ever floated. The two of them had immediately gotten along and worked together pretty much seamlessly. They had a fairly similar energy even if they came from different backgrounds.

“Hey Willow, hey Mac,” Buffy said. “How’s it going?” Even though she was literally battle-hardened, Buffy ended up being a bit sunnier than Veronica. Veronica found that a bit more amusing than Buffy did. Maybe it was sad.

“Any information to report?” Veronica asked. “It’s still pretty nasty out there and that needs to stop so we can go back to shoveling 09ers shit.”

Mac turned from her screens. “Language, Veronica,” but she said it smirking. “When will you put your claws away?”

“We have friends where claws are literally a thing,” Willow said. “It’s a lot to adjust to.”

“I can only imagine,” Mac said with a shudder.

“I don’t think we’ll have to with this Hellmouth,” Veronica said. “Sooner or later we’ll meet every monster that ever was. We need to solve this thing.”

“It’s not quite like one of your detective cases,” Buffy said. “We can’t just tie it in a neat bow right away.”

“I know,” Veronica said. “but for the record, my longest case took years to solve. Any problem can be solved.”

“Let’s not rehash the painful past,” Mac said and it was beyond true. “We should confront the painful present. Let’s move on.”

“I’ll go first,” Willow said, standing up. “I’ve been studying this new Hellmouth with my research assistants. Dawn and Wallace have been working so hard that I gave them the afternoon off. They’re getting ice cream.”

“What have you found out?” Veronica asked. Straight to the point, that was Veronica Mars. When she had a problem to solve, she was like a dog with a bone.

“Well,” Willow said, shrugging a little bit. “I’ve read a lot of the local lore, I’ve monitored the ley lines, and I’ve consulted the local fey folk.”

“Neptune has fey folk?” Veronica asked, interrupting but the phrase had been to ridiculous to let pass. She had grown up with Midsummer Night’s Dream and Tinkerbell. It had been a long time since she had clapped.

“Plenty,” Willow said. “I’ll tell them you said ‘hi’. Actually, I won’t. They’re really dangerous to get to know and the less exposure you have, the better. Anyway, I have a few leads. More like linchpins. Demons and other nasties that, if we take them out, the Hellmouth could asplode.”

“Asplode, huh?” Buffy asked. “Sounds good to me and yes I heard the word ‘could’. Come find us when you have some specific targets to stake.”

“We’ll rustle up Logan. Kennedy, and Xander and get out there and take care of business for you,” Veronica said.

“Sounds good,” Willow said. “I’ll even join you if only to protect my lovely wife.”

“Well, that makes sense to me,” Veronica said. “I’ve got to protect my boyfriend.”

“I guess I’ll protect Xander,” Buffy said. “Hmm. Any word from Angel and Spike’s crew?”

Willow fought not to smirk and almost managed it. “We’ve tried every method I know of between technology and magic and there’s nothing,” she said. “They are not on this plane of existence.”

“What does that mean?” Buffy asked, clearly worried.

“It means that we’ll have to wait for them to explain it when they get back,” Willow said. “I’m sure it will be an amazing story.”

“You’re sure they’ll come back?” Buffy asked.

“Angel and Spike have both returned from death several times,” Willow said. “I don’t think I can ever count them out again. Not for sure.”

“True,” Buffy said. “I guess we should move on with the briefing.”


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