I Only Have Eyes for You
Written by: Marti Noxon
Directed by: James Whitmore, Jr.
Air Date: April 29, 1998

I think this episode gets a lot more accolades and praise dumped upon it than it should. Don’t get me wrong, “I Only Have Eyes for You” is a fine song that makes me smile with its nice blend of drama, comedy, romance, and quality ghost narrative. But this blend doesn’t do a lot to excite me, but more or less meanders around itself. Its got a neat device going for it, in that the ghost of a murder/suicide victim possesses couples to recreate the moment he shot his way-too-old-for-him teacher girlfriend. But aside from this, the episode spins its wheels (like Spike) until it comes to its amusing and well written conclusion.

The parallel between the ghost kid’s plight and Buffy’s personal issues with fucking Angel until he went evil are noted. In fact, they’re noted in the episode. While I like Cordelia and I think Charisma Carpenter is super hot (seriously, that outfit she wears to the school with the tight shirt? Damn.) but I don’t usually agree with her. However, when Buffy rants and raves about how this boy doesn’t deserve forgiveness, Cordy makes a valuable point. She says something along the lines of “identify much?” with enough malice in her voice to showcase that she is annoyed with Buffy whining about her own life while people are dying. This is my primary problem with this episode, the fact that people die and its still about Buffy and her problems.

I’m about to give “Go Fish” a better review than this episode (I know. I know.). But here’s the deal: I don’t want to be reminded that people dying aren’t of any interest to Buffy or her friends. At least in the stupid swim team episode, they try to solve the mystery so more people don’t get hurt. Buffy sees this ghost as a way of dealing with her own inability to forgive herself for unleashing Angelus upon the world again. I get that, its fine. But when she stops caring about the innocent and only about her own sex-crazed mistakes, I lose faith in her as a hero, as a character, and most importantly as a person. She has flaws, yes, but she should never stop trying to help others. Everyone else seems dead set on staying true to the mission, to help those that might get hurt. But Buffy is clearly in denial over things that have happened and wants to make it all about her. I find this annoying and destructive, as far as my ability to enjoy the episode is concerned.

Its true, though, that the gender-swapped roles Angel and Buffy go through at the end of the episode, being taken over by the opposite ghost to their respective sexes, is interesting and neat. But at this point there is no reason to know what happens when she shoots him and he doesn’t die. We know that this is what the ghost wants, we know that it will release him from his eternal torment, and we know that he is going to be forgiven. How? We are told this by the characters ahead of time. They couldn’t figure out how to make it happen, but they knew it would. So, knowing this, seeing it was just meant to be a moment for Buffy and Angel, not for the ghost they’re trying to help, not for the people they’re trying to save from the ghost. Its a selfish moment they didn’t even know they instigated and one that I couldn’t have cared less for.

What I could have cared more for, though, were scenes featuring Drusilla and Spike (and, by association, Angelus). They’ve left the burned-up factory and now reside in some giant mansion which Angel loves, Drusilla loves, and Spike hates. These three are always in constant competition for scene-stealing when they appear on camera together. Its a joy to watch as you can honestly tell they’ve known each other for decades. James Marsters is the best actor from the bunch, clealry, with Boreanaz being too ham-fisted and Juliet Landau having nothing else to do aside from be goofy and weird. He showcases his rage and contempt so subtly that we know as audience members because they show us close-ups of his frowning face. But even if Angel knew he was so hated, he doesn’t yet know what we as viewers know: Spike is out of that chair and biding his time by faking his injury at this point. He’ll get back at Angel as soon as is necessary.

So, I mean, yeah. Maybe I’m being to harsh on this episode for some reason, but the fact remains that I don’t care for things that are unapologetically against the rescue of innocents, or the salvation of those that require it. Even if the other characters see to it that this happens, its Buffy that we’re supposed to be here, watching the show for. Her attitude is shitty and yes, yes she comes to her senses and learns a valuable lesson at the end of the episode. But that doesn’t matter to me, because to get to that lesson she forgot everything she knew about being a hero.

Episode Rating: 60

Additional Notes:
-Giles thinking the ghost is Jenny is extremely out of character. As is his snapping at the Scoobies. Grief-stricken as he is, he’d see they were right
-All those snakes coming out of nowhere? Dumb.
-Snyder is clearly in on “it” — he name-drops the Hellmouth!
-First mention of The Mayor is in this episode. We’ll be meeting him soon enough
-Where is Buffy’s mom
this time? Hm?
-Sorry if you like this episode. I just… can’t support it. Again, sorry.