"Buffy the Vampire Slayer: I Only Have Eyes for You (#2.19)"
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33 out of 34 people found the following review useful:

One of my favorite episodes

Author: katierose295 from United States
28 July 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I really love this episode. It uses the monster-of-the-week format to explore the deeper emotions and motivations of the characters. Giles and Jenny, Spike, Angelus and Dru, and of course, Buffy and Angel are all explored. The entire second season has been building to a confrontation between Angelus and Buffy. But first, she has to face her own guilt over the loss of Angel's soul. She loved Angel and feels responsible for what happened to him. If she's ever going to defeat Angelus, she needs forgiveness. That's what "I Only Have Eyes For You" gives her. Personally, it's one of my favorite episodes.

"I Only Have Eyes For You" is hard to explain in a few paragraphs. The episode is constructed on two levels. First of all, the high school's being haunted. It seems that a Sunnydale student named James fell in love with his teacher back in 1955. The teacher, Grace, tried to break things off, because she wanted James to have a normal life. They argued and he shot her. Distraught, he then turned the gun on himself. Now the couple's final moments are playing over and over in Sunnydale High's hallway. People become infected, making them act out James and Grace's argument and the shooting. Not only that, but snakes are appearing in the cafeteria, wasps are swarming out of nowhere, and other poltergeists-y events are happening throughout the school. Giles is convinced that it's Jenny's ghost, but the Scoobies aren't so sure. They investigate and realize that it's James that haunting the place and that they need to exorcise him.

On the second level, there is Buffy and Angel's relationship. Buffy acts openly hostile towards James, but as the episode progresses, it becomes more and more apparent that she's identifying with him. James killed the woman he loved in a fit of passion, and Buffy destroyed Angel when she slept with him and he lost his soul. James and Buffy both blame themselves and, now, they're after the same thing: forgiveness from the people they love. The episode concludes with Buffy and Angelus in the school, playing out Grace and James's last fight. Only instead of infecting the another man, James chooses Buffy to play his part. With Angelus as Grace, the words of the argument take on a whole new meaning. Suddenly, Grace crying that she she just wants James to have a normal life, becomes Angel saying it to Buffy. And when Grace and James finally find resolution and Grace tells James that she loved him with her last breath, it's also Angel whispering it to Buffy. It's beautifully done.

There are so many great parts to this episode. Buffy and Angel's scenes are just wonderful. And I love the way Grace and James' argument is edited and replayed over and over with different actors playing the parts. Also, Gile's wanting to believe that Jenny is trying to contact him is so sad and sweet. I'm not sure he ever fully recovers from her death. He really loved her. On a lighter note, Snyder snapping that he's seen "JFK" and knows all about the conspiracies that he's sure Buffy's involved in is hilarious. And you have to laugh at Cordy and Xander speculating that if the school is destroyed, they might automatically graduate. What teenager wouldn't have though of that angle? Also, this episode introduces some new things to the Buffyverse. Angel's mansion is shown for the first time. Willow's interest in magic is sparked after reading through Jenny's techno-wicca files. And this is the first time we get a mention of Sunnydale's Mayor, who will dominate season three with his cheerful, evil, '50s TV Dad-ness. Anybody who can frighten Snyder has just got to be fun.

On a side note, "I Only Have Eyes for You" is also later cited in the "Angel" episode "Waiting in the Wings." Where he and Cordelia are possessed by dead lovers at a ballet.

I don't have any real complaints about this episode. However, I do wish that they had brought up that rose quartz necklace of Jenny's again. Willow gave it to Giles, and that's the last we see of it. It should have been reintroduced in later in the series. Maybe in season five after Joyce's death he could have been looking at it. It would have reinforced Giles' sense of loss. Also, since Angelus destroyed Jenny's computer in "Passion," I don't see how Willow could have gotten any files off of it.

My favorite part of the episode: Spike standing up out of his wheelchair at the end. I wonder how long he's been biding his time, faking his injury and plotting. Angelus and Dru should have suspected that he was up to something, considering how calm and quiet he's been acting. When Spike stops fighting back and starts smirking like he knows a secret that nobody else is in on... Then he's usually cooking up a plan of his own.

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21 out of 22 people found the following review useful:


Author: delrod4 from United States
25 February 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is one of my very favorite episodes in the entire series. As mentioned in the comments of others, the way Buffy identifies with James is touching, and Giles' explanation of the nature of forgiveness is a beautiful revelation.

In the scene in which Buffy and Angel are possessed by the dead lovers, I am always stunned by the acting. Sarah-Michelle Gellar does not often get the chance to display her true acting ability in Buffy, but this is definitely an exception. This scene makes me cry every time I view it. It also makes a lot of sense in terms of the ghosts' story -- the teacher can never forgive James because every time she possesses someone, that person dies. But when she inhabits Angel, he can't die from a gunshot wound, so the ghost finally has the ability to meet up again with her lover and forgive him. What a great story.

For me this episode capitalizes on the emotional roller coaster that is season 2. It is not easy to just sit down and watch if you want something light and fluffy, but if you want to see one of the best episodes in terms of layers and acting then I highly recommend it.

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16 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

One of my Top Ten Buffy Episodes

Author: trix_n_min from Australia
27 May 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Everything about this episode is perfectly done. The cast are, as usual, outstanding, the storyline is creative and clever and it is easily one of my favourite Buffy episodes from all seven seasons. I think the reason it is so good is because is differs from the usual good vs bad notion of the show, with the spirits in this case being real people with a past and they are not cut-and-dried evil, but people you actually really feel for. The storyline of James & Grace fits in so well with the Buffy/Angel saga that is currently unfolding, and the part when they take on the spirits of James & Grace is so emotional and dramatic, it really touches you. The fifties theme is fantastic and it really helps if you love the theme song for the episode, as it gives the episode so much warmth and feeling. Love this episode of Buffy, definitely in the top ten for me.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

The One With The Fifties Flashback...

Author: Taylor Kingston from Australia
11 June 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I really love this episode. It's so good. It's interesting and different from the other episodes. I just enjoy it so much. It's one of my all-time favorite episodes from this season.

In this episode, Sunnydale High School is being haunted by the ghosts of a former student, who fell in love with his teacher, and then since she didn't want to be with him, she dumped him, and he did a murder-suicide, back in the 1950s. The ghost of the student is trying to recreate that night, so he can find peace. But since the story always ends the same way, an innocent man accidentally kills an innocent woman, but he has no idea why. It's not until Buffy and Angel are in the school and the student posses Buffy, whilst the teacher possess Angel, can the two spirits finally make peace.

Best part of the episode: When Buffy and Angel make up whilst being possessed.

Worst part of the episode: The snakes.

Overall, I give this episode a 10 out of 10, which in my ratings book is: Freaking Ridonkulous.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

The ep that got Angel his own show

Author: Joxerlives from United Kingdom
30 January 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Good; Lovely romance, lovely analogy of Buffy and Angel, Gile's mourning Jenny and a great tribute to the power of forgiveness. Wonderful scenes with Spike, Angelus and Dru too

The Bad; Fairly little, a good ep although not a great one. Some pretty dodgy zombie makeup to be truthful

Best line; Buffy; "Something weird's going on!" Xander; "Isn't that our school motto?"

Character death; The teacher, another SDH faculty member bites the dust

Shot; Angel(us) by Buffy

Women good/men bad; Buffy's anger is focused at James, an obvious substitute for Angel. Cordelia is outraged at the idea of the Sadie Hawkins' dance, not a huge fan of gender equality, obviously.

Questions and observations; Whenever a gun appears in Buffy it's never good. Always nice to see Shakespeare paraphrased in a US teen show. What happens to the janitor who shot the teacher? Presumably without Giles' testimony and no gun the charges against him are dropped. We have the first confirmation that Snyder and the police are in on the conspiracy regarding Sunnydale and first mention of the Mayor. Spike getting out of the wheelchair at the end speaks of great things to come.

6/10 good ep without being brilliant,

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6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Over reacting

Author: hour4chris from Denver
20 March 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

First off I do not intend to spoil anything, but am using the disclaimer anyways. This episode has been reviewed more than once and so the merits have been judged. That being said I hate people who use POP psychobabble to review things. The Ghost was 17 at the time of his "death" which in most states makes him in the age of consent if not legally an adult. Yes he had a love affair with a teacher. Big deal. She did not seem to be taking advantage of him and there was no evidence put forth in the episode that he took advantage of her to get good grades. Joss did nothing wrong portraying this "relationship." She realized that it was a mistake and that the student needed to live his own life and date girls his own age but he was obsessed it was NOT her fault, and only a Right wing bible thumper would read more in a story meant to be about redemption and forgiveness, in my opinion. All that being said the acting was tremendous as was the story. David and Sarah hit it out of the park with their final scenes together.

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Forgiveness must be earned

Author: Realrockerhalloween from United States
1 October 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I only have eyes for you is a favorite of mine as it explores two ghosts from the past who's story parallels Buffy's & Angel's. James was a student who fell in love with his teacher and killed her when she tried to break it off. It parallels Buffy because she was seeing an older man who she loved more then life itself and killed him metaphysically when they slept together causing him to lose his soul. Now, like James, feels angrier mixed with guilt over the act and can't move on until they feel forgiven. Very beautiful story intertwined as the words at the end when the ghosts possess them basically telling each other how they feel matching up perfectly with the current situation at hand and allowing them all except Angelus to move on.

The only problem for me is the haunting make no sense besides the reenactments such as the bees surrounding the school, snakes in the cafe and hand in the locker. It feels more like they were trying to copy Mary Lou instead of an original story line. Another aspect is the police chief asking Synider if he wants to go by the gang attacking story showing they are aware of events surrounding the town and ignore it. It doesn't seem to be working since it keeps happening with a huge body count and makes you wonder why they won't do anything.

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