Buffy the Vampire Slayer S04 E03 – Magic jewellery and douchey boys

Previously: Buffy got crazy irrational about her roommate, only her roommate turned out to be a demon trying to steal her soul. WHOOPS.

The Harsh Light of Day

Kirsti: I have a love/hate relationship with this episode. Because it’s kind of awesome. But there’s also a crapton of douchey nonsense that pisses me off. So…yeah.

We open at the Bronze. Oh, trusty Bronze. At least something around here is still the same… Also the same? Dingoes Ate My Baby are playing and Willow’s doing her proud face over Oz’s musical abilities.

Lor: Also, Devon is wearing a belly-shirt with the US flag on it. Oh, trusty horrible fashion. You too are still the same.

Sweeney: And we’re so glad for it! I would be so lost and confused without it.

K: So true.

Willow stops for a minute to point out to Buffy that Parker’s there, and turns out Buffy doesn’t need to look because she’s sneakily perving on him in a contrivancy convex traffic safety mirror thing. Through the conversation, we discover that Parker and Buffy have been hanging out pretty much non-stop all week, but that they’re not here together. Buffy says it’s on account of how she doesn’t want to crowd him. Willow makes an “Ugh, please don’t turn into one of THOSE girls” face, and then turns as Oz walks up to ask the girls if they’re ready to go. She then points out that Parker actually HAS a reflection, giving him a millionty bonus points. She then tells Oz that “Buffy’s having lusty wrong feelings” before back pedalling and pointing out that they’re both young and single and there’s clearly no wrong there.

Sweeney: Which is what frustrates me about this episode. I don’t object to giving Buffy a storyline like this, but after being all tragic magic vagina, THIS is how we ready her to have a legit relationship? Really?

K: A+ and 1430 to you, Sweeney.

Parker appears out of nowhere to say that he’s heading out, and does Buffy want to be walked back to her dorm because Sunnydale has some creepy weird shit happening after dark. He and Buffy leave, and Willow gets a “BEST WINGMAN EVER” face. Cut to the back of the Bronze, where Willow’s helping the band pack their stuff into Oz’s van. Devon mentions that they’re playing a show in LA soon, which is a not-so-subtle clue that Oz is going to appear in an episode of Angel. I’d call that a spoiler, but considering we’re covering both episodes today, I’m sure you can cope.

Lor: Whatever, K. You just like ruining things.

Sweeney: It can be really hard to resist the urge to spoiler gloat.


Anyway, Oz and Devon head back into the Bronze to get more stuff. While they’re gone, Harmony approaches Willow. They have a, “haven’t seen you since graduation!” conversation, and each say that the other hasn’t changed at all. Uh, it’s been like four months, you guys… Harmony bursts Willow’s bubble about not having changed by vamping out and nomming Willow’s neck. Roll credits.

Lor: I will take this time to (1) be equally appalled at Willow’s sheep-fur-trimmed black coat and (2) express nit-picky shock over this turn of events. I cannot believe that Willow wouldn’t know whether Harmony was dead or not. And I find it hard to believe that the vamp who was nomming her mid-Graduation day chaos took the time to turn her. Unless there is some sort of vamp-turning-lay-away-plan I should be aware of.

Sweeney: +1, especially to that second point. The Great Contrivance Spirit was all sorts of present on graduation day.

K: Excellent points.

Oz pulls Harmony off Willow, and they scare her off with a crucifix. But not before she says “Guess what? I have a boyfriend too. And he’s going to be mad that you were mean to me!” Harmony may be vampire now, but other than that, nothing’s changed! Cut to the main street, where Parker’s grilling Buffy about her hobbies. Her reply? “Mostly I…hang out and…do stuff.” You and me both, Buff. You and me both. Parker notices the Angel nom mark on her neck, and she says it’s from an angry puppy.

Snort. Parker mentions that his father died the previous year, and then stops to point out that he’s not mentioning it to get sympathy. “Don’t you hate guys that are all “I’m dark and brooding so give me love”?” “I… I’ve never met that type.” AHAHAHA. Anyway, apparently the moral of Parker’s Dead Dad story is that he’s all about carpe-ing the diem. As part of this, he asks her to go to a party with him the following night. Buffy gets all smiley and blushy and YAY TO THE LACK OF BROODING.

Lor: Not even. I give this scene an emphatic, “meh.” I’m not looking forward to any plots revolving around B’s “secret identity.” Also, Parker and Xander resemble each other except the part where Parker has eyebrows Sandy Cohen would be proud of.

Parker looks like Xander


K: OH MY GOD, HE TOTALLY HAS SANDY COHEN EYEBROWS. How did I never notice that before?!

Cut to Giles’ where Xander is shelving books. I have to stop and insert this whole conversation because it’s fabulous:

Xander: “I’m not enjoying this.”
Giles: “Well, shelve them correctly and we can finish.”
Xander: “I don’t get your crazy system.”
Giles: “My system? It’s the alphabet!”
Xander: “Huh. Would you look at that…”

Anyway, Anya walks in, and YAY ANYA. (L: Boo her hair…) (S: SHE’S A SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE, LEAVE HER ALONE. Sorry, I need to be capslocky indignantly defending someone; I don’t know how else to cover Buffy.) Both Giles and Xander are surprised to see her, considering she did a huge running away thing before graduation and hadn’t been heard from since. Anya drags Xander outside and is her typically fabulously blunt self, demanding, “where is our relationship going?” Xander’s rather shocked to hear that they HAVE a relationship. Apparently going to the prom together means Anya thinks they’re dating. Bless. She pushes for a standing Friday night date, and Xander’s all “Uhhhhh… Things usually sort of develop on their own.”

At that, we cut to Buffy’s dorm room door. Parker goes to kiss her, but they get cockblocked by Willow and her bleeding on account of Harmony biting her thing. Buffy tells Parker that the angry puppy has returned and she needs to go deal with it. LOL. Nice cover, Buff. He leaves, and they head into the room to find Willow a bandaid. Oz and Willow fill Buffy in on the whole Harmony’s a vampire thing, and Buffy’s all “What kind of idiot would date Harmony?” At that, we cut to Harmony walking through an underground tunnel. She approaches a man using an pneumatic drill. “Hi baby. I’m back,” she says. He turns and pulls off his protective mask, and SPIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Fade to black.

Lor: I had to cut out a few I’s from that “Spike” so that it wouldn’t awkwardly cut to the next line. True story.

K: After the Not Ad Break, Spike is discussing the location of a crypt with one of his minions. It’s typical Spike stuff – some sass, a little threatening and violence, and then Harmony interrupts with “How’s my little blondie bear?” This relationship will never not be hilarious to me, despite its undertones of domestic abuse. Harmony wants Spike to kill Willow, but he won’t on account of Super Secret Business and No One Can Know I’m Here. Harmony throws several minor hissyfits until Spike says that he’ll take her to a party that night.

Cut to Buffy and Parker walking into the frat party, where Bif Naked is playing, which seems a little too much pulling power for a college party at UC Sunnydale. BUT I DIGRESS. Everything’s going well until they bump into Spike and Harmony “helping” a “drunk” guy leave the party.

Buffy and Spike indulge in a little mocking-each-other’s-relationships banter that culminates in Spike making a run for it. Buffy follows, and she and Spike get into a small fight. She mocks him about Harmony some more, asking if Dru dumped him again. Harmony interrupts with “Yeah, she left him for a fungus demon. It’s all he talks about.” Awesome. Spike says that they’re leaving because this isn’t the time. Harmony then thoughtfully spills the beans, letting slip that they’re searching for Gem of Amarra. Spike drags her off into the night.

Lor: And for a better part of this scene, Buffy just stands there watching him with a stake in hand, just two episodes after we saw her kill Sunday by throwing a stake. No, I don’t expect her to kill Spike but it wouldn’t have killed them to think of a reason why she didn’t…

Sweeney: RIGHT? Look, I get it, GCS, he’s awesome and he’s here to stay. He is, however, a mega evil vampire and killing him is Buffy’s whole mission statement so you need to at least halfass a reason that she isn’t even trying.


Over in Xander’s basement, he’s hanging a disco ball from the ceiling. Anya walks in and wants to talk again. He asks if she wants a drink, and while he’s getting said drink out of the bar fridge, she slips her dress off, resulting in this reaction, which will forever sum up Xander to me:

Back at UC Sunnydale, Buffy’s on the phone to Giles. She fills him in on the events of the party, and he gets all “LOL WHUT.” The Gem of Amarra is apparently a vampire fairytale, the equivalent of the Holy Grail. Giles agrees to look into it nonetheless, given that Spike thinks it’s real, and Buffy heads back to the party.

Over in Spike’s lair, Harmony asks if she can turn Antonio Banderas into a vampire. LOL. Spike acts like a douche to her some more, and it culminates in sexy times.

Lor: Thank you for being brief because the scene was disturbing and absolutely had domestic violence undertones, but also Harmony is just stupidly annoying. And then, even though I didn’t want to watch, Spike had his shirt off. WTF SCENE? What the eff.

A few gifs per episode | Buffy - 4x03 - “The Harsh Light of Day”


K: RIGHT??? This is why I have a love/hate relationship with this episode. Because a) SHIRTLESS SPIKE, but b) Shirtless Spike is the absolute worst kind of twatty douchecanoe to Harmony and I want to punch her in the face for 1. being annoying, and 2. staying with him. GAH.

The camera pans away and we cut over to Xander’s, where Anya’s explaining that them having sex will mean she’ll be able to stop thinking about him, and Xander hasn’t moved at all. HILAR.

Anya: “I like you. You’re funny and you’re nicely shaped. And, frankly, it’s ludicrous to have these interlocking bodies and not interlock. Please remove your clothing now.”
Xander: “And the amazing thing? Still more romantic than Faith…”

They kiss, and we thankfully cut back to the frat house where Buffy offers the following explanation to Parker: Spike’s an alcoholic, and she was worried after seeing him around so much booze.

Lor: Funny considering the whole vampire/blood thing being often compared to an alcoholic/alcohol thing.

K: Parker asks if she and Spike used to date, and she cracks up laughing. He’s glad, on account of JEALOUS, and they slow dance to “Lucky.” Parker sweet talks her, and they make out a little.


Cut to Parker’s dorm room for some sexy times, with “Lucky” still playing in the background. Giles, meanwhile, has found something and leaves Buffy a voicemail to call him.

The next morning, Buffy wakes up alone. Obviously, after the LAST time she indulged in some sexy times and woke up alone, she wigs out a little. Also, in the harsh light of day (do I get a gold star for using the episode title, Sweeney??), his dorm room is less “romantic alone time” and more “Parker’s kind of a slob and EW.”

Sweeney: It’s not quite the same when you know there’s a prize, rather than being rewarded with this sense of importance by the demi-gods known as “the writers.” But I like giving gold stars, so yeah:


K: It’s so sparkly!!! She’s searching for her clothes when he returns with coffee. She asks if he has plans, and he says that his mum’s coming to visit but that he’ll call her later. UH HUH. A LIKELY STORY.

Lor: My thoughts exactly. Nothing about Parker makes me like him, but sweet Jesus, is Buffy’s second sexual partner also going to turn out less than ideal? REALLY? Breaking a man with her vag wasn’t enough?

Sweeney: I guess I cheated because of the future-knowing, so I’ll clarify that you actually said this first even though I didn’t know. But it makes me feel like our SRSLY is that much more legit, since it’s shared.

K: As much as I love Joss Whedon, I really hate him for deciding this was a thing that had to happen.

Cut to Xander’s, where he and Anya are dressing. She says that she’s over him now, and when he goes “Um… Okay?” she throws a hissy fit and runs out, leaving Xander in a world of confusion. Oh, Anya. Never change. Over at Spike’s lair, Harmony’s writing “Spike loves Harmony” on Spike’s back in black lipstick. He wakes up and says that he has to get back to work. “You love that tunnel more than me,” Harmony says. “I love syphilis more than you” Spike retorts.

Buffy walks into her dorm room and starts undoing her ridiculous shirt. She’s interrupted by a “Good morning” from Giles, which obviously brings a look of horror because a) undressing in front of father figure, and b) busted on the walk of shame by father figure. AWKWARD. Willow, meanwhile, makes “FOUR FOR YOU, BUFFY SUMMERS, YOU GO BUFFY SUMMERS” gestures in the background.

Giles, apparently, needs to talk to Buffy about the impending disaster. Apparently the gem is both real and in Sunnydale. Spike: 1, Watcher and Slayer: 0. Willow ushers Giles out and Kermit flails her way over to Buffy’s bed to ask for details. “Details? I mean, not DETAILS, I don’t need a diagram, but maybe, like, a blurry water-colour?” Oh, Willow. You’re adorable.

Lor: I love them best-friend-ing and I love her hair.

Sweeney: I wish I had commented first, so I could say more than “YEAH, THIS TOO!” But they are the absolute cutest.

K: Cut to Spike’s tunnel. He says that they’re close, and that no one’s to leave the tunnels until they’re into the crypt so the Slayer can’t track them. Harmony throws a little hissyfit, and the minions walk off in disgust. Spike gets all domestic violence-y again, and when Harmony tearfully wonders why she lets him be so mean says, “Love hurts, baby.” At that, we start a montage, cutting between Buffy carrying her Sunnydale High yearbook around campus asking people if they’ve seen Harmony, checking her answering machine for messages from Parker, Spike drilling into the roof of the tunnel, and Buffy staring miserably at the phone.

Spike breaks through into the crypt and wanders around with a lantern. He’s about to grab a hideous pendant off a skeleton when Harmony says “Oooh. Pretty!” from behind him, and asks if she can take stuff. He pretty much says “UGH. WHATEVER.” and reaches for the ugly pendant again. He yanks it off the skeleton and puts it on. Harmony, meanwhile, is covering herself in jewellery and asking if he feels any different.

She keeps wibbling away in the background as Spike marches over to a crucifix. He grabs it, and it burns him. Harmony’s all “OH WELL”, and keeps on talking until Spike snaps and stakes her. He pulls the stake out, and instead of her turning into a pile of dust, the wound heals. She beats at his chest, and he grabs her hand, staring at a ring she’s put on. He takes a piece of cloth, wraps it around the crucifix, and holds the crucifix to her forehead, where absolutely nothing happens. Harmony throws the ring at him and tells him to get out. He leaves to “go and play outside.

We cut over to Giles’ where I’ve suddenly decided that I would 100% watch a spin off featuring Oz and Giles:

Oz: “Okay, I’m either borrowing all your albums or I’m moving in.”
Giles: “Oz, there are more important things than records right now.”
Oz: More important than this one? *holds up “Loaded” by The Velvet Underground*”
Giles: “Yes, well, I suppose an argument could be made…”

Meanwhile, Xander has discovered that Giles owns a TV, and the Scoobies are all very disappointed in Giles. It’s kind of hilarious to watch him defend himself. Xander turns it on just in time to see a news item about a giant sinkhole opening up in the middle of town. YAY FOR TV – they’re done with the research.

Sweeney: I know we’re pretty well past trying to count ALL the ways that contrivance is driving this plot, but…um, I guess that’s what I’m doing here. Carry on.

K: Cut to campus in the middle of the day, where Buffy has just spotted Parker telling his “my dad died” sob story to another young impressionable girl. Buffy’s all “Uhhhhh, what’s happening??” on account of she’s used to Angel, who’s either hideously devoted or trying to kill her. Douchey Parker is a massive douchecanoe, and gets all “AHAHAHA, FRESHMEN” when she said that she thought he liked her and didn’t it mean anything to him? He blows her off and walks away as the Piano and String Orchestra of “Welp, There Goes Buffy’s Magic Vagina Again” strike up. “Well, that was pathetic” comes Spike’s voice from behind her, and she turns in time for Spike to punch her in the face. Fade to black.

Lor: Just… just imagine me head-desking. I hate Parker and I hate when Buffy temporarily misplaces her spine.

K: Right there with you, Lor. Right there with you. After the Not Ad Break, Buffy’s on the ground, hurting from Spike’s punch, while he stands around monologuing: “Innit a fantastic day? Birds singing, squirrels making lots of rotten little squirrels, sun beaming down in a nice, non-fatal way. It’s very exciting, I can’t wait to see if I freckle.” She jumps up and stakes him, then stares in horror as the wound heals. He shows off the ring, then punches her again, knocking her to the ground.

He vamps out, and we cut over to Giles, Oz and Willow entering the crypt. They find Harmony crying. She vamps out and rushes at Willow.

Sweeney: The vamping out looks super weird without the helpful addition of being shrouded in darkness.

K: SO MUCH. Xander, meanwhile, is hammering furiously on Buffy’s dorm room door. Anya turns up in a slightly creepy stalker way, and he’s all “DUDE. I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS” and leaves Anya standing in the hallway. Down in the crypt, Giles holds Harmony off with a stake while he questions her. Harmony spills the beans: “He staked me, then he took it. He tried to take it right off my finger. Like I wouldn’t have just given it to him. I would have given him anything he wanted. He was my platinum baby and I loved him.” Then she makes a run for it, and escapes through the hole in the crypt floor.

Out in the daylight, Spike and Buffy are fighting to the death.

Lor: On campus. In broad daylight. And yet, no one is around. Thanks Contrivance U!

K: Contrivance U is the best. Especially seeing as when she was talking to Douchey Parker two minutes earlier, there were people EVERYWHERE. Anyway. They’re pretty equally matched, but Spike slowly starts to gain the upper hand. Xander approaches, looking to help, and gets his arse kicked. Spike taunts Buffy about sleeping with Parker, and plays on her “Oh God, what did I do wrong?” concerns: “I wonder what went wrong. Were you too strong? Did you bruise the boy? Whatever. Guess you’re not worth the second go. Come to think of it seems like someone told me as much. Who was that? Oh, yeah. Angel.” That gets Buffy fighting mad, and she throws herself back into the fight. After throwing him around a bit and destroying some university property, Buffy pins Spike and yanks the ring off his finger. Sizzling noises ensue, and Spike runs for the sewers. Buffy, meanwhile, sits down to nurse her injuries and stare at the ring.

Cut to Giles’, where the Scoobies are staring at the ring. Giles argues for destroying it, but Buffy won’t have a bar of it. She wants Angel to have the ring. Oz says he’ll swing by while the band are playing in LA. On campus that night, Buffy’s asking Willow if she’ll always have a Magic Vagina That Turns Men Evil. When Willow tries to reassure her by saying that it’s okay to make mistakes, Buffy gets all “Parker said that one time.” Willow calls him a poop head and I love her for being a badass witch who’s dating a werewolf and still saying “poop head” like my seven year old niece.

Buffy gets a little desperate and asks if maybe she and Parker could still work out. Willow’s all “Oh, honey, NO.” Buffy leaves to take a walk by herself, and the camera pans out to show her, Anya, and Harmony, all walking alone in the dark, forming three points of the Mopey Triangle of “Love Is The Worst.” Fade to black.

Lor: I see the love/hate here. I like Anya and Spike and Oz, but there were so many little plot things that added up to grating. Plus, Buffy has sex and it’s “bad” again. That would be the “hate” portion of the episode…

Sweeney: EXACTLY. Anya, Spike, and Oz are the only things to appreciate in this episode in which Contrivance U just makes shit up as it goes, as Contrivance Entities are known to do.

K: It’s season 4, you guys. It only gets more contrivance-y from here. Oy…



Next time, on Buffy the Vampire Slayer: It’s Halloween and the gang head to a frat house party. Which goes swimmingly until their nightmares start coming true. Find out what Anya’s afraid of in S04 E04 – Fear, Itself.



Marines (all posts)

I'm a 20-something south Floridan who loves the beach but cannot swim. Such is my life, full of small contradictions and little trivialities. My main life goals are never to take life too seriously, but to do everything I attempt seriously well. After that, my life goals devolve into things like not wearing pants and eating all of the Zebra Cakes in the world. THE WORLD.

Sweeney (all posts)

I collect elaborate false eyelashes, panda gifs, and passport stamps. I spend too much time on YouTube. Reconciling my aversion to leaving the house/wearing pants with my deep desire to explore everything is my life's great struggle.

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  • Polge Clément

    You have to feel for Buffy though, she’s out of a tough relationship, trying to get herself back up there, she finds a sweet (well, for her, I’d say “cheesy and annoying and posturing”, but to each his own) and BAM, another kick to the stomach. And I do get her helplessness, yes she’s a BAMF Slayer, but as a girl she’s just an 18 year-old teenager whose only dating experience was dark and broody, and from 2 centuries ago. It’s like you said on that recap for episode 1: her slaying and her life aren’t related (which was the sucky thing of ep. 1)

    I also have a love/hate for Spike and Harmony, and the worse part is that I do get how he treats her, she’s awfully annoying but still “convenient”, the kind of girl an asshole wouldn’t mind staying (or a soulless guy WOOPS SOUL TALK), I’m really really annoyed with Harmony though, she just let him walk all over her, and I just don’t buy anyone being that stupid, beside anna fucking steele. She does have a few really amazing moments though, but that’s neither here nor there, and I can already hear the spoiler police knocking at my door…

    A mega-lol to Giles though “The gem of amara ? Oh it’s a legend, like the holy grail, it doesn’t really exist… Oh wait, I actually found it on google, there’s a wikipedia article saying it’s beneath Sunnydale. I wonder why no one from that big ass Watcher Council ever realised that ? Weird.”

    • Thank god I’m not alone in this Harmony/Spike thing. It’s terrible how she lets him walk all over he but come on, how thick can you be to let yourself be treated like that? I know I wouldn’t be behaving much better if I were in Spike’s shoes.

      • Polge Clément

        I’m also glad to have someone sharing that opinion, because I was really afraid of being the only one and just feeling like one of those guys saying “of course she got raped, *look how she dresses* “, but Harmony is all kind of annoying, and I’m not even sure Spike leaving her would be enough to get rid of her 🙂

        I mean, he tried to kill her, maybe she could just take the hint ?

        • behind blueiz

          As you and Wilhemina, I totally agree about Harmony. Spike never sent her mixed messages on his feelings towards and about her, yet she kept coming back for more. Harmony was a glutton for punishment when it came to Spike, and he was happy to oblige in doling it out. (Believe me, I don’t take this stand when it comes to DV)

          • I heartily disagree and I’ll do my best to be clear. I think that the “Harmony is annoying” thing is on a completely separate plane from “Spike treats her poorly.” And that is also separate from the fact that we EXPECT Spike to treat her poorly because of who and what he is. Sure, we expect it, but that doesn’t really lessen the fact that there were some cringe-worthy moments in this episode.

            And yes, Harmony is annoying and should not let herself be treated in this way, but again that does NOT take away from the fact that Spike is manipulating her and treating her poorly.

            I do believe he manipulated her and we can see that from what Harmony insinuates happens before we pick up this episode. He’s apparently promised her things, to take her out and show her things and take her to Paris. She whines, but when she does he gives in and ends up taking her out, so why wouldn’t she whine again to get her way? He yells at her then sexes her. What is supposed to give away to her that this particular time that he yelled, he would try to kill her? And at that point, she did get the hint. It took a while, but that is completely in line with the sort of shallow-needy-dependent person Harmony was before she was turned. This is absolutely her human traits super-vamped, and here comes Spike to prey on that in a way he finds convenient. Again- not surprising, but still icky!

            Yes, Harmony should’ve hurried away long ago, but bigger in my head is the fact that Spike is (currently, sorry, I don’t see the future) creepy. Hot and funny, but creee.peeey.

          • behind blueiz

            I do see your point, and I do agree, when just taking into account this episode alone. However, being a huge BTV + ATV shipper, this is far from my first time seeing this episode or any other. So taking in account what I know, and even though I’m probably in the minority, I still stand by my comment and I would also like to add another point.

            I honestly believe that both Spike and Harmony manipulated and used one another. Spike used her to warm his bed(figuratively of course), to help him get over Dru, and as a whipping boy for his outbursts. In turn, Harmony used Spike for his Master vampire status and his legendary reputation. In high school, Harmony always wanted the best, and now that she was a vamp and in the demon world, Spike was it.

            Although I agree Spike was an ass in the way he treated her, I think she chose to tolerate this to satisfy her own needs.

            Not to be the spoiler for future episodes for those who are new to the verse, I’ll only say this, this is FAR from the last time we see Harmony and Spike together.

          • Absolutely legit, and I guess this is the rift between what’s been presented so far and what you can deduce from having more knowledge/seeing the future. It’ll be fun to see how and if my opinion changes as the series progresses and to note that at this moment, this is how I interpreted their interactions.

            They definitely are using each other, but it’s just sort of uneven for me in the ways/amounts.

            I figured when she ran away unscathed that we might see her again, so not too much of a spoiler. 🙂

          • I don’t see how those things are comparable. Using someone for status is a far cry from being abusive. I appreciate Spike as a character, and I think he’s a great villain. There are, however, many instances in which his behavior is just awful and I’m not really on board with giving him a free pass. In this particular instance, I just have an issue with the basic argument that anybody in an abusive relationship deserves to be abused. I get that they’re vampires and evil and yadda yadda comic fodder. It just has an ick factor that makes it hard to watch.

          • This is what I mean by ways/amounts. I want to be around you for sex and cool factor just doesn’t size up to I want you around so I can yell at you and kill you when I’m annoyed.

            And the point of pointing all this out isn’t to say anything about the way Spike acted or the why or if he’s bad or evil or any of that stuff, but the original intention was just to point out how icky it was to watch. And that’s great, in a sense, that the episode so accurately was able to portray this sort of parasitic relationship. JM did a convincingly creepy job.

            …but it was creepy.

          • behind blueiz

            Believe me, I’m not giving him a free pass by any means, and having been in an abusive relationship myself, I don’t believe those in that type of relationship “deserve what they get.”

            I do wholeheartedly agree that this relationship is uneven with Spike having far more power. However, in saying this, I also believe Harmony is not as powerless as she might appear.

          • A fair point. She is, after all, a vampire too.

          • Not giving him a free pass either, I think but I also didn’t perceive the Spike/Harmony scenes as that terrible. I can’t solely blame it all on Spike though. Yes, Spike is behaving like an ass towards her and there will be things happening at a much later part in the show that show again how he is not a good guy. At the moment, he is a villain. However I see S/H as a symbiotic thing. If Harmony wouldn’t get at least some kick out of it, why isn’t she leaving? Nobody deserves to be treated like crap but this is not Spikes sole fault.

          • Polge Clément

            I think no one would give Spike a free pass or either try to categorize his behaviour as normal, but what I meant to say (and, I believe, Wilhelmina too ?) was that, once we accept that Spike keeps Harmony out of soullessness/selfishness, the way he treats her is understandable because she’s just super annoying and just impossible to calm down.

            Of course the right thing to do would be to leave her, but if you HAD to stay with someone like that, could you really stay calm and understanding and super nice ?

            So my point is that Spike isn’t so much an ass for the way he treats her as much as he is an ass for not simply leaving her.

            As for Harmony, my opinion is strongly biased for knowing the future, and I don’t remember exactly what was shown in this episode, but she is shown to be able to stand up for herself (in her own way), even With Spike (they do argue, and she does win some), so she should be able to realise that this isn’t right… To some extent, I think she likes being treated like crap, because she likes that “bad boy” vibe.

          • Yep, I can agree with this.

            (Oh, boy, what a discussion.)

          • Jojo

            Yeah – he does yell at her – but she doesn’t seem scared. She seems more turned on by it, at least until he tries to stake her. I think we are applying human standards to a vampire relationship. And that becomes a problem because does grow and change and if we keep applying human standards then we never really get to appreciate him because he’s still gonna be rude and thoughtless and mean sometimes.

            I’m not denying he is an absolute shit to Harmony – I am only saying that Harmony is also a vampire so yeah – screwy and unhealthy dynamics are kinda expected. Just look at Angelus with Dru and Spike.

        • YES, so much yes to this!! That was my though process exactly. And I think getting rid of her in a normal way is just not working, she comes back like an unwanted boomerang. At least I’d kill her for her personality not the way she dresses so that should give me a few points…

    • SnazzyO

      I can’t defend Spike’s treatment of Harmony except – evil soulless vampire. Who apparently likes to kick his girlfriend emotionally. And the both of them seem to like a little kink in their sex.

      I presume Harmony is doing what she’s always done…she’s drawn to the powerful person in the group (instead of Cordelia, it’s Spike) and puts up with insults in order to be protected. Cordelia gave her social status but she also was pretty mean to her on occasion. Spike is the Big Bad, sexy as all get-out, and gives her status. So he’s mean to her … this is how Harmony roles. I was pleased she at least had enough self-awareness to realize that Spike was BEYOND MEAN to her. I was also pleased to see her walking alone at the end. Maybe Harmony is growing as a person…because she didn’t grow all that much in high school.

      • A+ observation and I can’t defend Spike or blame Harmony to the level others seem to.

        She is absolutely still the shallow Harmony of high school now with the added bonus of no soul. It’s a spot on characterization for her.

        • geff

          I would argue that you’re not supposed to defend the evil soulless vampires for acting like evil soulless vampires, like SnazzyO says. Spike is creepy and abusive and gross, but he’s also a mesmeric television character (not just for his looks and panther crawls lol) so that’s why he’s exciting to watch. I agree that it’s hard to get past the ick factor of a lot of his actions though, and it’s a bit disturbing when people try to completely defend Spike’s horrible actions. There’s a difference between defending the entertainment value and justifying his behavior.

          • THIS. The fact that they’re vampires makes me willing to go as far as a pass on ripping them apart for it, but attempts to actually defend that behavior unsettle me.

            ETA: When I say not ripping them apart, I mean specifically that I have no interest in getting into the dynamics of abusive vampire relationships. They’re demons. That’s the point. Got it. I just mean that I’m not really down with “SHE DESERVES IT” arguments.

          • geff

            Yes, exactly!

          • I second Sweeney’s THIS. This is absolutely how I feel because I think Spike’s entertaining in all his evil soulless vampire ways, but I can still sit here and say, “wow, that was awful icky. Also, please leave your shirt off.”

            That’s cool, right?

          • geff

            Lol. Yes, totally cool.

          • SnazzyO

            I approve of this comment and think “please leave your shirt off” should be mentioned every time he takes it off… because it’s TRUTH.

    • I certainly have feels for Buffy because this sucks, but I think that was overshadowed by my feels for Whedon for making this a thing that happened to her. It’s not that I don’t think she isn’t allowed to feel totally stomach kicked by this per se; it’s just hard to see her mopey and wondering if she can still make it work with Parker because I love KICKASS Buffy. And we’ve seen conflicting reports on how kickass she can be, emotionally. But yes, as upsetting as Buffy’s sex life is to me, I buy it being upsetting to her too. Just: gah.

      (I’m so good at words.)

      I’ll address the Harmony/Spike thing in the comments below but mostly: Absolutely not.

      YES. This was another contrivancey thing that irked me. Oh, seriously? The invicinble-making-vampire ring is suddenly LOL TOTES REAL. Fuck all.

  • I feel like a bad person right now because I don’t feel bad for Harmony. I can’t help picturing what I’d do if I were stuck with Harmony and that would definitely involve staking her. However, I don’t understand why they are even together. I did squeeeeeee in delight when Harmony first came on screen in this episode though and told us about having a boyfriend because SPIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIKEEEEEE!!

    Bless Anya, I adore her. Also, I read somewhere that she is the antipode to Willow in this universe. Willow is kinda prudish and well, Buffy’s sex life is a nightmare we better not even speak about, but Anya doesn’t mind saying what she thinks in that regard. She just says what she wants because she didn’t grew up in a society that refutes speaking about sex and all that stuff.

    • You’d get rid of Harmony right away. You’d tell her to GO AWAY because she is annoying. Spike kept her around to play with her and use her and hurt her and then finally try to kill her. That’s the “ick” part of this.

      I love this about Anya’s character and the very different way she’s allowed to approach sex, all because she was once an evil demon. Gotta love Whedon.

      • The thing is though, I think Spike did tell Harmony to get lost but she is just the person to stick around no matter what. I can see the ick but I also not see it. Not sure if this makes any sense.

        Whedon is great, crazy but great. Well, having been an evil demon that gets rid of unfaithful husbands/boyfriends gotta have it’s perks.

        • He did tell her to get lost–in this episode, as a matter of fact. She just didn’t.

          Harmony:”Is Antonio Banderas a vampire?”
          Harmony:”Oh. Can I make him a vampire?”
          Spike:”No. … Wait, on second thought, yeah, go do that. Take your time. Do Melanie and the kids as well.”

  • behind blueiz

    As you ladies, I’m torn on this episode. There were a lot of instances when, “WTF?!?” totally applied. Yet, this was the episode when Spike returned and for me, that totally trumped all the WTF moments.
    Not only had Spike returned, but he’s all shirtless, does that sexy prowling thing, and, although douchy, you gotta love his snarkyness Did I mention…he’s shirtless! *Reaching for the ShamWow for the drool*

    Huh, what was I talking about again? Oh, yeah, this epi does leave a lot to be desired when it comes to the Grand Canyon sized plot holes, but we will forgive Joss for them since there were the beaucoup magique moments between Buffy and Willow, Oz and Giles, and let us not forget, Anya and Xander.

    *Sorry for the spoiler alert, Lorraine, but Anya’s hair is an ever-changing entity that might need to be addressed for episodes and seasons to come. Just FYI*

    All in all, I kinda love this epi. 🙂

    • I suppose it boiled down to characters vs. plot in this one. All of our favorites characters (some of them shirtless!) featured in a plot-hole-ridden plot. Really, the best and the not-so-best of what Buffy has had to offer to far. 🙂

      I was warned about Willow’s changing hair and wardrobe way early in season one, so I don’t consider this a spoiler, but a service. I thank you heartily, dear friend.


  • Jen

    Anyone else notice how Parker does this weird eye-flare thing when he’s listening to Buffy during their “carpe diem” conversation? Ugh. Creepy.

    • I didn’t notice so now I’ll have to see if I can sneak some “eye-flare-watchiing” time into my work schedule today. 😉

  • SnazzyO

    First let me get my Xander feels out of the way. His comment, “And the amazing thing? Still more romantic than Faith,” Seriously, Buffy’s not the only one who is getting a weird sexual history. Xander is both acknowledging that Faith used him for sex while essentially agreeing to be used for sex ..again. Because he does like Anya but Anya just presumes Xander’s all “sex-YAY!” when I think he was sort of lonely and so “sex..okay” was a desperation move on his part. He knows they don’t have the proper relationship yet but does it anyway and I find it sad for him. And he’s clearly confused when she doesn’t just bounce out of there like Faith did. Finally, this is also a guy who apparently stripped for cash in the summer. Xander’s not much to look at but for some reason he’s getting all sorts of objectified in his sexual history. Weird. Note: I realize not many will feel bad about Xander being objectified for sex, but I think more should …so THERE.

    Giles has some really great moments “…a case could be made”, helping Xander out by giving him some work, patently ignoring Buffy’s walk of shame. Everyone needs a Giles in there life. Can I get on on E-bay?

    Parker…yes he looks kinda like Xander and I’m sure it’s on purpose and I have no idea WHY. Is it to make a contrast with Xander looking for a “connection”? Is it more because he dark in coloring like Angel? Is it to make him an EXTREME version of Xander in his high school years? I don’t get why but I think it’s on purpose.
    In other news…I want Parker to get syphilis and have his shallow penis fall off. I’m not up on STD’s but is there something else that he can get that will make his penis shrink? He needs permanent damage for being a douche-bag horror story.

    And Joss Whedon needs to stop punishing Buffy for sex.

    ETA: And let’s just all stop and be amazed at Xander’s lack of self-preservation. She’s an ex-vengeance demon who spent The Prom explaining the horrors she inflicted on men who breaks women’s hearts. In graphic DETAIL she’s told him these stories and she still sleeps with her?? I love Xander but how thick can you get? If she gets her powers back and you offend her? No sense of self-preservation.

    • On the Xander front, I was just slightly put off by the fact that he mentioned Faith right before having sex with Anya. I would’ve punched him. But yes there is a lot going on here. I like Anya for her ability to speak her mind and bluntly say what she’s thinking, always but it creates a weird dynamic between her and Xander. I don’t ever know whether to laugh or cringe.I think they are both floundering here a bit, and neither of them know how to proceed with a relationship. I don’t think Anya is manipulating or using him willfully, or I should say, with that objective. I think she said it best when she said they have interlocking bodies, so why not? She isn’t built to take into account emotional variables and Xander is getting caught in the crosshairs there. Then again, Xander isn’t built for effective communication and he’s sort of letting himself get caught up in her. I don’t know. They’re weird.

      Giles is fantastic and I’m only sad because I feel like we see him less or maybe because I miss him in the Wiggins Library. I hope all Gileses on Ebay come with a Wiggins Library.

      I don’t know why they would make them look alike either, of it’s just a dark, floppy hair thing. I also hate Parker because this was clearly not a “I thought we were on the same page” thing. He willfully manipulated her, as we are told they spent a whole week hanging out all the time. He sucks.

      AMEN. Sex is so weird in the Buffyverse, but mostly for poor Buffy.

      • SnazzyO

        I NEED the Wiggins Library.

      • geff

        You’ll probably get the Xander/Anya dynamic more later, I certainly just found it odd and obnoxious at first.

        I second that amen. I think the show does a lot of interesting things with growing up and sexuality, but I’ll never really forgive the writers for constantly making sex and relationships a nightmare for Buffy. I would argue that most of it isn’t contrived but there are some big exceptions over the course of the 7 seasons.

  • kellyasummers

    Can someone please link the first magic vagina episode review? All these references, and now I’m dying to know what happened. I don’t actually watch this show, but you ladies are funny as hell, so I’ll read pretty much anything you review 🙂

  • 3hours

    I have waited a long time to share this gif! The Panther Crawl: http://rua.creative-musings.com/albums/sidebar/0002q9w7b.gif the number one reason to watch this episode :’) And then there’s the vibrating groin gif: http://postimage.org/image/6am5athon/ What? No, I’m not shallow at all, why do you ask?

    He is awful to Harmony. This tends to be glossed over by fandom most of the time, since few people like Harmony much and she kind of fails at everything (including standing up to/walking away from Spike). It’s also a bit weird because we’ve been shown that vampires like it rough and violent. No one seems to have given Harm that memo.

    • THE PANTHER CRAWL. I insta-love that gif. Wait, does that make me not at all shallow?

      There is a line between liking it rough and violent (which she seems to appreciate in that panther crawl scene) and being awful to her, which he is a few times as he yells at her etc, etc. We saw glimpses of this in his relationship with Dru too, but not nearly as pronounced. I’ll clarify that it doesn’t surprise me. Spike is still the “bad guy” and he’s a vampire who is self involved and has a low tolerance for the stupidity of others. My main point is just that it was uncomfortable to watch.

      Unlike the panther crawl. *cough*

      • 3hours

        True, he is the baddie 🙂 I guess they had to really rub it in every chance they get in order to weigh up his sexy (and it still didn’t really work). Fun fact: JM was once asked what Spike smells like and his reply? Sex.

        I really only watch this episode for the shirtless Spike, the Panther Crawl and him & Buffy’s fight, though. So I don’t pay much attention to the ick 😛

        • It’s horrible that my immediate thought is back to Fifty Shades and how James always describes as Christian Grey smelling like Christian. -_-

          I AM SO RUINED.

          I think part of the reason the whole scene was so icky-feels-inducing is that Spike sells all parts sexy and crazy equally well.

          I understand your decision to only focus on the sexy.

          • 3hours

            *pats* Take heart, Spike smells of leather, whiskey, cigarettes and sex. Much better.

        • SnazzyO

          “Fun fact: JM was once asked what Spike smells like and his reply? Sex.”
          1) This is awesomesauce.
          2) This makes PERFECT sense.
          3) Now I will never forget this is what JM is thinking.

          Note: I love Spike more for the snark than teh_sexy, but he makes a strong case for the later this ep.

          • 3hours

            He was also asked to sum up Spike’s character in one word. He replied: “glee.”

    • SnazzyO

      Excellent .gifs. Never seen them before.

      • 3hours

        First one is courtesy of Rua on LJ, the drilling one was made by a friend of mine after the 8375683765th rewatch 😛

        • I love it because I didn’t even catch it at first. And now I wonder how I missed all the groin vibrations.

          • Jojo

            Sadly the camera pans up to his head because I think the groin vibrations needed a lot more attention – after all, they are really critical to the plot.

  • SnazzyO

    I forgot to mention recurring Buffy Feels topic: the DROWNING! It is on this re-watch that I’m finally picking up the theme. She wigs over it at the start of S2, it’s a contributor to her letting loose in Bad Girls, and now she mentions it as the basis of a “carpe diem” philosophy. I LOVE new insights.

    • The drowning line is such a passing thing she says, but you are right. It’s marked her in a very, very big way. I love Prophecy Girl so much too, so any reference to it is A+ in my book.

  • geff

    This is another episode and storyline that fares much better for me upon rewatch. I still didn’t “get” Anya at first so I kind of rolled my eyes at her dialogue, and I still wasn’t entirely into Spike so I didn’t fangirl over his appearance (I do love both characters now, of course). Plus I approached Buffy’s story from the wrong perspective and also got annoyed that she couldn’t just see how much of a jerk Parker is. I just kept on wondering why she was wasting any tears over him, why she was getting so worked up over a one night stand. Now, though I’m still annoyed that the writers couldn’t just let the girl have a decent love life, it makes a lot more sense that Buffy would be vulnerable to this kind of situation. She put herself out there, she was looking for a real relationship, she got manipulated. That sucks, big time.

    Random, but one tiny moment I always appreciated in this episode is when Willow quietly tells Xander “don’t make a fuss” when Buffy decides to send the gem to Angel. That’s a simple piece of dialogue that has 3+ years of continuity behind it, and it’s stuff like that that often makes these characters feel so real.

    • I just go through saying this, but yes, Anya was MEH the first time around whereas I absolutely adore her now.

      Also YES. That moment was lovely.

  • anona

    I rejoice in this episode because not only is Spike back, but he’s shirtless and HELLO! Those of us not on the Angel bandwagon watched him shirtless, so here’s the balancing of life (with interest!)! 😉

    I really don’t want to be accused of spoilers, but Whedon has a thing about relationships, especially those including sex, and he loves to make his characters miserable, especially Buffy. I also think he kinda hates Spike, but maybe that’s just me…

    I can’t really defend Spike’s treatment of Harmony, but I think SnazzyO really has Harm’s psyche down, and at least that makes her “relationship” with Spike make sense from her perspective. And poor Spike has never been the one with the power in a relationship (Dru, Angelus, Darla, etc. were always in charge), so I can see him reveling in the power, and only feeling more with the Gem. Oh, and Harmony is a great foil for Spike writing-wise, and that makes for HILARITY!

    Upon rewatch, Anya has unfolded to me and my appreciation for her has grown a lot. She is one of those characters who gives me honest feels throughout her time on the show. I consider her an acquired taste, and I think she’s hard to “get” on a first watch. If Xander represents how Whedon sees himself, what does that say about Anya? Talk amongst yourselves on THAT one!

    Oh, Parker: I hate you. When she wakes up in the morning all disillusioned with his skanky dorm — that gets me on every rewatch. I may not like it, but that is a real moment to me. *SIGH*

    As much as S4 is a love/hatefest, it has some great humor, cool individual eps, and it sets up some major plot points (for better or worse) in the series. I call it the “transition and testing” season, where the creators made decisions on character arcs (again, for better or worse!) and transitioned from high school to college/young adulthood, so I do have a soft spot for S4 and I’m not sorry!!

    • True. You even got Angel ass-crack so this is the slow climb to universal balance. 😉

      Seeing as how I’m still crying over Firefly (or more Serenity) I don’t think Whedon torturing his characters is too much of a spoiler. I try to remind myself of that but I’m such a big Buffy lover, and I love to see her be her BAMF self that these low moments really get to me, on her behalf. Being Team Feels is just so hard.

      Agreed. She really did pin down Harmony’s characterization. I don’t question either of their motivations, but just sort of cringe in the corner when daddy starts yelling at mommy…

      …Xander… is how… Whedon sees himself? BRB. Wrapping my head around that one first.

      Absolutely a real, relate-able thing and just so close on the heels of her Angel thing, which was more of a metaphorical thing that we got, but that no one can actually relate to, seeing as how none of us have dated a 200-year-old-vampire. I don’t even know what my point is other than: SIGH.

      I can see myself feeling about the season how I feel about this episode. High character highs and low plot point lows. Exciting times. 😉

      • SnazzyO

        Xander is definitely the Joss avatar for a lot of his dialog. There’s a line coming up next episode that Xander sort of shouts. THAT IS JOSS. You’ll know it when you hear it.

        PS Sorry to tease.

      • anona

        Lor: Xander is the character that Joss identifies with the most. I remember that he’s mentioned it in the DVD commentary (yeah, I’m that kind of BtVS nerd LOL!) for the pilot I think.

        Here’s the quote (thanks Buffy Wikia): “Xander, I’ve always identified as the figure I most was like, ’cause he did have that inability to sort of… talk to the girl and come through in the big moment. And he does make an idiot of himself a lot. Of course, he’s a lot prettier and more muscular than anybody who acts like that should be but this is television, so, get over it.”

        So in as much as Xander is a total dork, especially when it comes to girls (including this situation with Anya), Joss sees a lot of himself (at least his teenage self, I hope!) in Xander and vice versa. AWKWARD, but true! I also think S6 holds some other lil Josses, but we’ll get there when we get there!

        I don’t want to become an S4 defender! I just like some separate episodes, even if a lot of the larger plot arcs are kinda meh. I do agree with Lor that this episode kind of encapsulates how the whole season is, and I think there are two or three more that I’d put in that category, too.

    • Several people said this and I am lazy and this is the first such comment to jump out at me so I’ll say it here: Anya is a thousand times more lovable on second watch. I liked her the first time, but was occasionally frustrated by her. Now that I get her more, it’s totally different. It’s also great because as someone who is generally overwhelmed by the very fact of having emotions, Anya has so many lines that are just exactly how I feel. Except I don’t have the excuse of being a newly-human-former-vengeance-demon. WOMP.

      I’m going to keep ragging on S4, but I respect your soft spot. Don’t be sorry! Feel free to keep telling us we are wrong. 😉

  • Danna

    Spike does some pretty horrible things on this show. And I give him a pass on almost all of it. I’ve stopped trying to come up with a reasonable explanation for that. But I hate the way he treats Harmony. I read a great fanfic many years ago from Harmony’s point of view. It made me really uncomfortable. Being annoying doesn’t mean you deserve to be bullied. Later, when he maims, kills, lies and manipulates, I’m totally cool with that.

    Why does Buffy miss 1 million opportunities to kill Spike? The show finds a somewhat lame way to deal with that issue a few episodes down the road.

    • +1 to your point about Harmony. THAT. Also, I love you for acknowledging that you give him a pass.

      In later episodes, there are somewhat plausible reasons, but OMG so many before we get there. If I ever do another rewatch, I think I’m going to take a tally of the number of times that Buffy didn’t kill Spike for no apparent reason. Much like the whole sex plot for this episode, it’s one of the things that makes me annoyed with the writers, not the characters.

      • JEL

        She hasn’t had that many opportunities since season 2 – this is the first time she has seen him since Lovers Walk. Though maybe you are talking about future opportunities.

        But what I really wanted to say was that within the show there is already a weird sort of dynamic going on between Buffy and Spike. The fact that Parker asks if Buffy & Spike were in a relationship points out that the writers have characters in the show picking up on this.

        One could postulate that maybe the bargain with Spike at the end of season 2 has somehow changed Buffy’s reactions to him though there isn’t really anything to support that theory other than the fact she doesn’t seem to react to him like she does other vampires.

        Or maybe that after having several conversations with Spike over the course of time it becomes harder for her kill him “in cold blood”.

        Of course she didn’t dust Harmony either.

        (Inconsistencies abound. Mostly I just let them go and enjoy the ride but I’m not snarking for blogging fame or fortune. Or just fame.)

        • You guys think too much 🙂

          She couldn’t have killed Spike ’cause he is sexy and people love him and he has to be a main character. That’s reality. How we rationalize it is our problem.

          • JEL

            Yes that is certainly the “Doylist” (out of story) explanation. The topic of conversation is whether the writers have provided a (sufficient) “Watsonian” (in story) explanation. It isn’t purely “our” problem; the writers should be trying to provide in story rationalizations for the important things that happen, including those driven by out of story events that affect what they are doing. (Spike’s popularity was one of those. Two others happen in this season.) If they don’t, then they aren’t creating a consistent, coherent story which should be one of their goals. Sometimes they succeed, sometimes they don’t. (Sometimes other goals take precedence; sometimes it is just hard to do; sometimes they just mess up.) When they don’t, yeah, we sometimes try to help them out by finding other rationalizations in order to preserve the coherence of the story.

          • Okay. A Watsonian take. Both Buffy and Spike have had ample opportunity to kill one another over the course of the series so far, starting all the way back at Buffy’s (totally arrogant and utterly crazy) “Do we really need weapons for this?” and they haven’t done it. During Halloween, Spike had a de-slayered Buffy pinned down and helpless, and what did he do? He put his hands in her hair. Even during the sunlight fight scene in this episode, he steps back to let her up after he’s knocked her down…repeatedly. They don’t want to kill each other. The feel obligated to put up some kind of front for the world, because they’re supposed to be on opposite sides, but the UST is obvious anyway.

  • Jojo

    Harmony is the original rebound girl, and even humans tend to get kinda crappy when they’re on the rebound. Spike is evil – so he acts evil. I actually think that Parker treats Buffy far worse than Spike treats Harmony. At least Harmony knows what she’s into – and she does play Spike. This is from the script.:

    HARMONY Ooh. Right here, baby? In front of Brian?
    SPIKE You’d like that, wouldn’t you?
    HARMONY(sexy) Maybe I would..AFTER a party.
    Spike hesitates. LIFE WITH HARMONY HAS IT’S KINKY UPSIDE (Yes, that’s in the script!)
    SPIKE Tonight. I’ll take you somewhere.

    I’m not saying give Spike a pass – but he is an unsouled vampire – and he’s not out there killing or torturing all the humans he knows and leaving bodies around. He’s pissy and mean to his girlfriend who is also a vampire – and who is more than willing to push a few buttons, too. I felt that Harmony was there by choice and really got something out of it. Regardless of how he treated her, she didn’t seem scared or like she wanted to leave him – until he decided to stake her, and even then her feelings were hurt but that’s all. I suspect that this is closer to the normal vamp sexual relationships than Spike and Dru, or Buffy and Angel.

    It’s when you judge him by the same rules as Parker or any other human guy that things really get way out of kilter because then any growth in his character will always be ‘not enough’ because he’s still not acting like a nice human. So – not fun to watch – agreed – but it also sets sort of a baseline. And unsouled Spike has a lot better grip on his demon than unsouled Angelus.

    And I have to post one of my favorite discussion between Spike and Harmony:

    HARMONY Is Antonio Banderas a vampire?
    SPIKE No.
    HARMONY Oh. Can I make him a vampire?
    SPIKE No. Wait, on second thought, yeah, go do that. Take your time, do Melanie and the kids as well.

    (Because that is so freakin hilarious!)

    I really ached for Buffy in this one – Parker is such a manipulative shit, and he has her so wound up and waiting, and then her hopes are all crashing and she has to be wondering – wtf…why me?

    As for Anya – I was not thrilled with Contrivance U where they decided vengeance demons have souls – waha? And even more egregious (and hilarious) is the sewer tunnel with a brick chimney in the middle of the quad. I guess trash cans just aren’t enough for some reason. Body disposal?

    And one last shout-out – for all that everyone says Spike is bad at planning, he did just research and found a gem that was considered a myth. So 😛

    • Jojo

      Ooops – forgot this. Not only is there a Whedon factor here – there is also the fact that dramatic tension comes from conflict. If Buffy, Harmony, and Anya were all happily snuggling at the end of the show then something would be really wrong. No one would watch it – except where Spike has his shit off.

      • Shirtless Spike! Yay!
        I think he treats Harmony like shit, but for some reason it doesn’t bother me. Maybe because indeed she seems to kinda enjoy it or at least accept it without much comment. Rebounds suck and Spike is indeed hurting for Dru, but… you know, my being able to see the future helps with the grinning 😀

        • Jojo

          He’s a demon – anyone who isn’t Dru is gonna be treated like shit. I mean he grabs one of his workers and threatens to kill him on the spot if he’s wrong. He’s not really nice to anyone!. I see Harmony as a small part of that whole Spike package at the moment – and all things considered she’s probably being treated better than anyone. else. That’s why I just don’t consider him being an asshole to her as worse than everything else We saw Angelus, Dru,and Spike interact for half a season – and there was very little niceness involved..

          In short, Spike is a prime asshole to everyone in this episode. – while he used to be an asshole to everyone but Dru.

          Ah, but what era can you see too? 😀

          • Spikey gets a free pass from me anytime. No matter what he does. I know this is wrong, but I cannot help it.
            No matter what era I am thinking of, he is hot and I love him!

  • Shea Foley

    Ugh. Parker. Such a tool. He wishes he was awesome Jordan Catalano (wow, did I just date myself or what?), but fails miserably. I also feel like he’s just here to try and FORCE us to like Buff’s next beau more…which still fails miserably.

    I also have a beef with using that Bif Naked song… it almost ruined one of my favorite artists FOREVER. Seriously, I LOVE that song, and now it’s tainted with Season 4 grossness.

    • Shea Foley

      This episode also gives a lot of credence to the belief that the real villain in the Buffy-verse is sex/sexuality… which I also hate….

  • Jojo

    You know – I think a lot of us agree – we’re just trying to express it differently. Can we sum up the Spike Harmony issue. as Spike was an ass to pretty much everyone and lots of us felt bad for Harmony.

  • wlreed

    I for one love this episode, just because it has one of my favorite lines ever. I desperately want to use the syphilis line IRL but sadly the opportunity has never come up. JM’s delivery of that line was golden.

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  • Lor gets a 1430 for recognizing the Sandy Cohen-like power of Parker’s eyebrows. They may not parent like Sandy, but those are some luscious brows. And Xander’s juicebox-squeezing moment is the Xanderiest of all Xander moments. It defines him perfectly. Also, I will join the watch party of the imaginary Oz & Giles spin-off (can they go on a road trip, please?).

    • I know you didn’t watch Angel, but Oz makes an appearance in an episode (the episode that matches this one, actually) and their combined stoic awkwardness was excellent, but reading this comment makes me see that what that scene was clearly missing was Giles.

  • I have always been totally creeped out by the resemblance between Xander and Parker.

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