"Do you know what's a good day to break up with somebody? Any day besides Valentine's Day! I mean, what, were you running low on dramatic irony?"
First aired: February 10, 1998
On Valentine's Day, Xander Harris (Nicholas Brendon) is heartbroken when he gets dumped by his girlfriend Cordelia Chase (Charisma Carpenter) right after giving her a heart pendant necklace. This makes Xander the laughingstock of Sunnydale High.
Xander realizes that his classmate Amy Madison (Elizabeth Ann Allen) is a witch. He asks her to cast a love spell so that Cordelia will fall back in love with him. Amy says that love spells are tricky and that your intentions have to be pure. Xander says his intentions are pure, he wants revenge, pure and simple. Moreover, if Amy refuses, he plans to let someone in charge (presumably teachers Rupert Giles (Anthony Head) or Jenny Calendar (Robia LaMorte), who are knowledgeable about matters supernatural) know she's been using witchcraft to avoid doing any school work.
So Amy casts the spell, and suddenly every girl and woman in Sunnydale seems to be throwing themselves at Xander. Even his (platonic) friends Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Willow (Alyson Hannigan) are coming on to him. Only one woman seems to be immune to the spell: Cordelia! (Oh the dramatic irony!)
The situation escalates from there. Will the Scooby gang be able to extricate themselves? Do love spells work on vampires? These and other questions will be answered if you watch the episode.
J.A. Morris says:
"Bewitched, Bothered And Bewildered" does a nice job of using Valentine's Day as a jumping off point for a typical (in a good way, of course) monster/spell/vampire of the week episode. It's always fun to see characters act differently because they're under the influence of magic, this episode is no exception. When Xander gets dumped we sympathize with him, when he resorts to blackmail...not so much. Nicholas Brendon gets a rare chance to be the lead character of an episode and runs with it.
Most of us have probably been dumped at least once in our lives and wanted to get back together with the dumper. This episode tells us we should LITERALLY be careful what we wish for. Without spoiling it, I'll say that Xander learns a very important lesson here.
3 Valentine Hearts
The early seasons of Buffy do a great job of dealing with the many varieties of teen angst (sometimes high school really is hell). As J.A. Morris says, this episode taps into something that all of us have probably experienced at one time or another. Rejection hurts and we often try to find ways to get revenge on those who reject us (although most of us don't have access to supernatural means of achieving this). The episode is poignant, funny and scary. The ickiness of Buffy and Willow (to say nothing of Joyce, Buffy's mom) coming on to Xander under the influence of the botched love spell is almost painfully humorous, based on what has previously been established about the way the characters interact with each other. The love spell angle of the episode also exaggerates and magnifies some commentary on the way people can turn on each other in the name of "romance" - Xander and Cordy are nearly killed by the spell-induced ardor of the women of Sunnydale. The episode also uses humor and horror to make us think about what romance really is - coercion (via love spell or otherwise) is NOT a basis for a solid romantic relationship. Putting all of the action of this episode in the vicinity of Valentine's Day underscores this theme well.
All in all a very fun episode, well worth viewing.
3 Valentine Hearts