Buffy the Vampire Slayer S04 E21 – Epic bullshit breaks

Previously: Spike played with people’s feelings to separate the Scoobies, Angel came to town for like five minutes, the Orange Wiggle died, and Riley went to find Adam.



We open at Crispydale High and Buffy searching for Riley. LOL, NICE TRY. He’s hanging out in Adam’s cave, being called ‘brother’ and being given a pep talk. “What have you done to me?” Riley asks, and Adam replies that the Evil Bitch Monster [Professor Walsh] gave Riley a behavioural modification chip, just like Spike’s. Except that instead of being in his brain, it’s in his chest and is tied into his central nervous system. LOL, OKAY SHOW. WHATEVER.

Sweeney: Since I’ve already ranked this episode really high on the strength of, quite frankly, one scene, I feel obligated to make it clear how much bullshit I am willing to put up with for certain things. Epic bullshit break #1!

Lorraine: “So that’s what that giant, unexplained surgical scar is from! DAMN IT.”

K: A+.

Apparently the chip was taking a nap until Adam woke it up. Riley’s all “I IS A PEOPLE, STFU”, but when Adam tells him to sit down, the chip kicks in and does it for him. I think Riley’s meant to look pissed, but mostly he just looks wooden… Adam gets all “EMBRACE YOUR FATE AND FEEL THE POWER”, and ugh. Can we just be done with this Abysmal Plot Arc now? Roll credits.

After the credits, Adam is lecturing. It’s boring, so SUMMARY: demons = bad with technology, people = emotional. In short, the Evil Bitch Monster was trying to make a cyberman.

Lor: With a whole lot less style.

K: Truth. The lecture ends when Spike turns up. Adam tells him to GTFO, but Spike says it’s time for some chip removal please and thank you. Adam says that chip removal is contingent on Buffy being WHERE he wants her. And the where is the Abysmal Plot Arc Research Facility [APARF] because she’ll make sure that the demon death toll is similar to the human death toll. And then she’ll die from…being super tired, apparently. Spike points out that the discs will get her there, and Adam’s all “Oh, you mean the disc you gave her friend? The friend she’s now not talking to? NICE GOING, MORON.” Spike heads off to wreak some more havoc.

Over at New Wiggins, a hungover Giles groans in response to a knock on the door and opens it to find Willow and Tara there. There’s general awkwardness, partly thanks to Giles wearing a dressing gown and partly due to the “Tara’s my girlfriend” revelation. Willow says that she only came by to pick up her laptop. I stop to be impressed, because that thing is a total brick that must weigh a good five kilos, and she still manages to stuff it into her shoulder bag. Giles is relieved that no typing will be taking place at New Wiggins on account of the hangover. Willow looks hurt as they leave, on account of Giles isn’t just a surrogate parent to Buffy, he’s a surrogate parent to all of them.

Sweeney: I did not appreciate those feels, scene, but it was a good reminder of the relationship that Willow has with Giles.

Lor: Between Tara’s, “but look at how cute I am!” smiles and Willow’s teary, “can you please just acknowledge this?” eyes, this scene was had a lot of fantastic non-verbal communication.

K: It really did. And I just wanted someone to say something and then for there to be hugging. But no. SIGH.

Cut to the Bigger on the Inside Dorm Room. Buffy’s sitting on the floor as the Tinkly Music of Feels strikes up. She picks up a photo of her, Willow and Xander, and stares at it. She picks up the phone, but has no one to call so puts it down again. Then the music switches to Shit’s Getting Serious Now as she walks over to her weapons chest, and picks up an axe.

Over at the Fruit Roll Up Basement, Xander is lying in bed, moping. Anya is unimpressed by this because he said he was going to go to the unemployment office and look for a job. He says he’s not going, and I don’t blame him, because if I can get through my entire life without setting foot in Centrelink, I will be a happy camper. (ESPECIALLY the Centrelink that was down the road from Brewery Land. Holy drug addicts, Batman…) Xander mopes some more and says that maybe he’ll follow through on that army joining idea. Anya’s response? “Don’t they make you get up really early in the morning?” That alone is sufficient to make Xander cross it off the list of possible career choices. Right there with you, Xan. Anya tells him to get over the fight because it was hours ago, and so what if his friends think he’s a loser? He’s a good person and she’s in love with him and the other stuff shouldn’t matter. He says he agrees, but his face says otherwise.

Sweeney: Anya’s inability to understand feelings gets a little grating and telling him to just get over it was one of those times, but she made a nice recovery there.

Lor: I’ll even give her not being able to understand the feelings, but the follow-up of, “so what if you are lame and directionless?” is what grates. She may be brash and she may not be socially assimilated, but she isn’t DUMB. Clearly he’s moping because of the belief of those things, so I don’t buy her not having at least enough brains to not go there with him.

But fine, nice recovery, though a little weird that Xander has zero reaction to the “I’m in love with you,” part.

K: True. Cut to Buffy wandering around Adam’s cave system carrying her axe. She finds his Lair o’ Computers, but Adam’s not there. Instead, he’s showing Riley a secret underground entrance into the APARF. They’re in some kind of morgue/hospital bay thing, and apparently this is where the Great Cyberman Transformation will happen, all as the Evil Bitch Monster planned it. With that, the camera pans across, and we see a Zombified Evil Bitch Monster wandering around doing menial tasks. Riley’s all “Uh, EW???” and I agree with him:

Sweeney: Epic Bullshit Break #2 because what in the actual fuck.

K: SRSLY. Brain Chip Scientist is zombified too, but he’s less fall-y apart-y on account of not having died as recently.

Lor: But! But! YOUGUISE. Now she’s an actual Evil Bitch Monster! SEE?


K: Bonus points for using a Castiel gif. One of these days, we should really cover Supernatural (she said, hopefully). Riley’s all “Please don’t zombify me!!” but apparently Adam has bigger plans for him. With that, the zombie doctors step back from the gurney and Adam 2.0 sits up – Forrest has now been assimilated. (That’s “demonified” to the non-Whovians among you) Fade to black.

Sweeney: So soon after the last one! EBB #3, though less for a lack of sense-making than because I just really don’t like this.

Lor: So, as the only person watching this for the first time, let me add the requisite, “WHAT. THE. EFF.” I’m taking my RIP back, Forrest.

K: After the Not Commercial Break, Buffy and her axe are on a mission, marching through the caves. Spike pops up, and she’s all “UGH, WHAT NOW?” She tells Spike that Adam’s been using the caves and he makes a totally lame “OH MY GOD, I HAD NO IDEA!” face. He then brings up the discs, and Buffy says that they haven’t been any use on account of Willow has them. “Can’t ignore valuable information just ’cause you two birds fell out, can you?” he says, and Buffy gets joining-the-dots face because how the hell did Spike know they’d fought.

Sweeney: And a fun reminder of the annoying fact that not a single member of the Scooby gang questioned that evil Spike’s malicious comments came from a place of evil! Yay!

K: Scoobies be dumb sometimes, yo.

Lor: As a fun aside, there were a ton of “but Spike is clever!!” comments in the last recap that were supposed to be a counterpoint to the Scoobies not questioning him. (1) – I’mma say no. No matter how clever, someone should’ve stopped and been all, “…but this is Spike.” (2) – LOL at this episode doing tons to make Spike appear less than clever. Sorry, guys.

K: (1) Agreed. I think it was less cleverness and more he lived with various Scoobies for months, so knew what buttons to push to get a reaction. (2) He really does look like a doofus for most of this episode. Cut to Tara’s Dorm Room of Seriously This Is Getting Ridiculous Now. Willow’s still trying to crack the security on the discs when all of a sudden they decrypt themselves. She gets cranky because RUDE, but quickly moves to yay. The phone rings, and Tara answers it. It’s Buffy. Back at the APARF Assimilation Suite, Riley’s tied to a chair. He tries to hold a conversation with the Zombified Evil Bitch Monster [ZEBM], and Demon!Forrest is all “LOL, SHE’S DEAD BRO.” He then wibbles on about how being a cyberman is awesome on account of you’re super strong and don’t have pesky emotions to deal with. Riley paraphrases William Wallace and says they can’t take his will/freedom. ZEBM tells him to STFU and behave, and then gives him an injection.

Sweeney: This moment was interesting mostly because on the previous episode of Angel, Gunn and his sister had a similar conversation after she had been turned, about how totes amazeballs being a vampire is.

K: Oh yeah. Good point! Over on campus, the four original Scoobies meet at a crossroads. It’s all very dramatic, and they all look a little awkward and embarrassed.

Buffy points out that Spike’s been playing them all, and there’s a group  decision to move on. Except that then there’s more awkward because everyone’s still hurt by the things that were said, even though Spike was the cause of it all. Willow wants to know why Spike would do that, and Buffy says that she thinks he’s working for Adam. Xander tries and fails to act surprised. Willow mentions what she found on the discs, and Buffy joins the dots on the super-easy-to-catch demons that have been filling up the APARF cells recently – total Trojan horse, with two sides of massacre.

Lor: You mean that all those demons the Initiative caught and proceeded to tell us about 10939809 times were significant?!?!

K: I was going to say that it’s a toss up between the Scoobies and the Initiative as to who was dumber. But LOL – it’s the Initiative times one million for all eternity. “Does anybody else miss the Mayor?” Xander asks, and YES. SO MUCH. (S: A+ for Xander.) He then wants to know why Adam wants Buffy there, because isn’t he worried that Buffy will kill him? “No. He’s really not“, Buffy replies.

Down in the APARF Assimilation Suite, Adam gets all excited because apparently he can sense that Buffy’s on her way?? IDK. (S: EBB #4!) Spike asks for his chip-ectomy, and Adam refuses because Buffy’s not actually there yet. See, Spike, this is why you get things written down. Cut to New Wiggins. The gang stare at their possible supplies, and Buffy reminds us that Adam’s power source is a big blob of uranium. The problem, though, is to get him to stand super-still for long enough to take it out. Giles consults his spellbooks, and while he can read the spells, he doesn’t have the witchy power to make them work. “So no problem, all we need is combo Buffy–her with Slayer strength, Giles’ multi-lingual know how, and Willow’s witchy power,” Xander says. Giles stares at him, and Xander’s all “Yeah yeah, I know. Not helping.” Except that apparently he is.

The gang head over to the APARF Frat House, which is oddly abandoned. There’s an Opening-Doors-In-A-BAMFy-Way moment that ends up in the credits for the rest of forever, and then Buffy sidekicks her way through the giant mirror in the hallway and into the elevator shaft. While abseiling down the shaft, Willow and Buffy have a “Sorry freshman year turned me into a sucky friend” bonding session that culminates in an “I’m okay with you liking girls and you can tell me anything” hug fest. It’s adorable and also THANK GOD. Because we’ve already established that we hate it when the Scoobies are asshats to each other. When Xander reaches the bottom of the elevator shaft, they start hugging him too, and his response is “Oh God, we’re going to die, aren’t we?” But no. They just missed him.

A few gifs per episode | Buffy - 4x21 - “Primeval”Buffy and Willow hug Xander.Buffy: Xander!Willow: Oh, wonderful Xander!Buffy: You know we love you, right?Willow: We totally do.Xander: Oh God, we’re gonna die, aren’t we?Willow: No, we just missed you.



Lor: It’s a good thing K had this episode because I would’ve spent about 1000 words on Buffy and Willow apologizing to each other. I JUST LOVE THEM.

K: I KNOW OMG. After the hug-fest, they break open the elevator doors to find themselves confronted by a bunch of Initiative soldiers, with their blasters at the ready. Womp womp.

Adam and Spike watch on the CCTV monitors as the Scoobies are marched down a hallway. Spike requests some chip removal surgery, but Adam’s pissed because Buffy’s not alone. Spike tries to run for it, but Demon!Forrest grabs him by the neck. Spike says that he tried, and doesn’t that count for something? Adam agrees that it does, and tells Spike that he’ll remove the chip. Along with his head. Demon!Forrest and Spike struggle, and then Spike sticks his burning cigarette into Demon!Forrest’s eyeball, which makes me throw up in my mouth a little because I have eyeball phobia and NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE.

Lor: In that case, have a gif:

K: Thanks a lot, Lor……. Demon!Forrest lets go of Spike, who runs off. Adam lets him leave because of contrivance.

Elsewhere in the APARF, Colonel Whateverthefuck is giving Buffy an earful about breaking into his secret demon-filled facility. He’s going through their bag of weapons as he does so and stops in confusion when he pulls out this:

Willow informs him that it’s a gourd, and Giles adds in that it’s magic. Neither of these endear the Scoobies to Colonel Whateverthefuck. “What kind of freaks are you people?” he responds. Buffy explains the Demon Horse situation, but he’s not listening. Until Willow mentions the secret lab, and then he’s all “Uhhhhhhh. Whut?” Giles asks what their plan is for taking Adam down, and it’s basically “LOTS OF TASERS.” Which is great, seeing as how electricity apparently makes Adam stronger. Buffy BAMFs that the Initiative have no idea what they’re getting themselves into, and they’re on her turf and GTFO please. Colonel Whateverthefuck LOL NOPEs her, and then Adam cuts the power, locking everyone in.

Lor: Somewhere in here, Buffy says “primeval” and… ah, fuck it. It’s almost the end of the season.

K: Plus, when the episode title is a single word, it feels like cheating to give away sparkly stars. Down in his Lair o’ Computers, Adam watches on a screen as a bunch of scientists enter the cells. He then flips a switch, opening the cell doors. Chaos and blood spatter ensue. Colonel Whateverthefuck decides to ignore the one person with years of demon killing experience, and announces that the Scoobies are under arrest and that he and a bunch of soldiers are going to retake the cells. They head out, and Giles gives them “JFC, how stupid are you?” face as they do so. The minute they’re gone, Buffy knocks out the remaining two soldier-guards and Willow hops on the computer to find out where Adam is. Yes, he cut the power and the computers are still working. I’m guessing there’s some kind of unacknowledged back up generator.

Anyway, Giles says that they need somewhere super-quiet to do the spell, and Xander points out that such a thing might be a little hard to come by, given that it’s total mayhem out there. With that, we cut to the room containing the foil lined pit. Demons are throwing soldiers all over the place, and there are some very unlikely explosions going off. Spike is there because the writers didn’t know what else to do with him contrivance, and starts fighting demons.

Back in the control room, Willow has pulled up the electrical plans for the APARF, and has worked out where Adam’s secret lab is. It’s right behind 314, so of course they have to get through the demon carnage in order to access it.

Lor: Woah, woah, woah, woah. You mean the super secret lab that is tied to project 314 IS RIGHT BEHIND ROOM 314?!


K: WHO KNEW?!?!?!?! Of course, they make it through without incident as Whedon blows the rest of season 4’s budget on stunt men and explosions in the background.

Sweeney: Maybe things would have been different of that money had gone to the writers’ salaries. Were they all just really angry with him this year?

K: Clearly! In 314, Buffy finds the secret door as the gang set up for the ritual. Apparently it’ll take five minutes to kick in. “Buffy, I still don’t like you going in alone,” Xander says. “I won’t be,” she replies with a smile. Then she turns and heads into the tunnel to the secret lab. The gang barricade the door behind her. In the secret lab, Buffy finds Riley still sitting in his chair. She’s all “DUDE. RUN.” But all he can do is gesture with his eyeballs. He gestures at the Zombified Scientists, and then at Adam. Adam tells Buffy that Riley can’t talk because “he hasn’t been programmed to” (I like Riley better already!), and that he’s part of the Great Cyberman Plot, just like she is. She sasses that she’s never been any good at taking orders, and Adam gives the order to kill her. Demon!Forrest grabs her from behind and holds her still as Zombified Evil Bitch Monster walks towards her with a…IDK, bonesaw?

After the Not Commercial Break, the flaws in this plan prove to be many, because Buffy kicks ZEBM with both legs, sending her flying across the room. This, and the subsequent fight with Demon!Forrest, sends glass crashing onto Riley’s chair. He does some eyeball gesturing again and stares at it in a way that’s meant to be meaningful.

Up in 314, the Scoobies are lighting candles as Willow gets her chant on:

“The power of the Slayer and all who yield it. Last to ancient first, we invoke thee. Grant us thy domain and primal strength. Accept us in the power we possess. Make us mind and heart and spirit joy. Let the hand encompass us. Do thy will.”

Cut back to the secret lab. Buffy keeps fighting Demon!Forrest. When he knocks her to the ground, Riley becomes a real boy and yells out her name. Demon!Forrest tells him to shut up. But apparently now Riley can move his right hand. He reaches out, grabs a broken flask, and then starts cutting into his chest/shoulder to gross me out.

Back to 314. The gang place tarot-y cards on the ground corresponding to their parts in the Super!Buffy spell – Willow’s the spirit, Xander’s the heart, Giles is the mind, and Buffy’s the hand.

Sweeney: This, right here, is what I do love about this episode. We can talk about the whole of it after it’s done, but I have to pause to comment on this, specifically. I love this because part of why the Scoobies have been so faily this season is that they’ve all been off doing their own thing and it has changed them all in ways that leave them unsure of how they fit into the whole. In the comments on Angel, there was discussion of how cohesive the Fang Gang is, and how enjoyable it is to see everyone having a clear purpose. The big fight in the last episode, however annoyingly contrived, was about everyone feeling unsure of how the fit together. But here it is. They do all have particular, important places in this group. Willow is the spirit. Xander is the heart. Giles is the mind. Buffy is the hand. It’s not particularly subtle symbolism, but I still love it all the same. This dynamic is the best part of the show, and we’ve seen, all season, how much weaker it is without it.

K: A+ and 1430 to you for explaining things much better than I could.

Secret Lab: the fight between Buffy and Forrest continues, and Riley digs around in his self inflicted wound for the chip. Ew. Demon!Forrest and the two Zombified Scientists pin Buffy to a gurney as Riley pulls the chip out with squelchy sound effects.

Lor: He manages to remove the chip connected to his central nervous system by poking around his chest. HAHAHAHAHA. OKAY.

K: With the one hand that he can move. Yeah. Okay, show. Whatever. “Is that all you got?” Forrest asks Buffy as he presses his arm into her neck. “No. She’s got me,” Riley says as he pulls out the tubes on the front of the Zombified Scientists.  Buffy runs off in search of Adam while Riley takes over fighting Demon!Forrest. Riley gets thrown around a lot, and I totally didn’t clap my hands with glee. Nope. Didn’t happen.

Lor: Give Riley a break, man. He just chip-ectomied his own central nervous system.

K: He was dumb enough to say that he could take on Demon!Forrest, therefore no breaks will be given. Up in the Foil Pit area, Colonel Whateverthefuck and his soldiers are in the fight for all of two seconds before he sounds a retreat. Adam watches the mayhem on the monitor, but is interrupted by Buffy. They start to fight, and when he tries to skewer her with his toothpick arm thing, she snaps it in half. That’s okay though, because he’s a Fembot and has upgraded his other arm into a machine gun. Because OBVIOUSLY. *eye roll*

Buffy runs for it and does a pretty badass dive behind a console.

In 314, this are getting insanely spinny. Willow finishes the spell with “We implore thee, admit us, bring us to the vessel, take us now.” Just as Adam blows up the console (because his machine gun arm also comes with a rocket launcher??), Buffy looks up at the ceiling and gets a serious case of glowy eyes.

She stands up from behind the console. Adam says that she can’t last much longer, and when she replies, it’s with the voices of all four Scoobies. “We can. We are forever,” she/they say, and then breaks into Sumerian. Adam fires at her, but a force field springs up around her.

A few gifs per episode | Buffy - 4x21 - “Primeval”

Over in the secret lab, Riley is basically getting the shit beaten out of him by Demon!Forrest. Then D!F conveniently throws Riley into a whole bunch of gas cylinders. Riley attacks him with one, then runs like hell because apparently the sparks from a broken electrical cable were enough to set off the flammable gas? IDK. There’s a big implausible explosion, and bits of Forrest go everywhere.

Sweeney: Another Epic Bullshit Break for how long and how well Riley was able to fight against Demon!Forrest, particularly after the serious wound he gave himself.

Lor: Demon Forrest in general was a big bag of stupid. Rest in pieces. (#punny)

K: I KNOW, RIGHT?!?!?! Adam gives up on bullets and switches to rockets. But Buffy turns them into doves because she’s now Jesus. Or something. Maybe she’s Criss Angel. Adam tries to fire again, and she forces his gun arm back inside him, which sounds far dirtier than it is. He tries to attack her, but Super!Buffy is too fast. She beats him across the room, then grabs him by the neck. “How…can you??” he says. “You could never hope to grasp the source of our power,” the Scoobies reply. (L: EPIC FRIENDSHIP POWER!) She then does an awesome Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon style running kick to force Adam across the room, then shoves her hand into his stomach. She rips out his uranium core and it’s gross.

Sweeney: Gross, you say? Here’s a present:

Lor: Actually it’s pretty foamy looking and cheap, but okay.

K: Perhaps I should mention that if I’m eating a steak and notice that there’s fat/gristle/bone/some kind of weird tube looking thing in it, I will freak out and basically start retching. Because I don’t ever want to know about the inside parts of things. And Adam is no exception. Adam falls to the ground, and Riley runs into the room in time to see Super!Buffy make the Uranium Core of Grossness hover in the air and then blink out of existence. Riley reaches out and touches her face, and Buffy sags in his arms as the spell breaks. In 314, the Scoobies all look a little dazed. A demon (that’s totally not a werewolf but which is wearing Oz’s werewolf costume on account of they had it sitting around doing nothing) breaks through the door, but Spike jumps in after it and snaps its neck. Because he’s Spike, he’s all “YOU’RE WELCOME,” and Giles points out that “your heroism has been slightly muted by the fact that you were helping Adam to start a war that would kill us all.” Because of contrivance-y reasons, they decide not to stake him.

Buffy and Riley come back from the secret lab. There are hugs all around before Buffy gives orders to save the soldiers and kill the demons. Willow asks if she’s up for it, and Buffy’s response is to get her fight on.

Cut to a clandestine government meeting room, and a guy in a suit telling other men in suits about the outcome. We cut between a bunch of fight scenes as he voice overs that the project was an attempt at harnessing the power of the otherworldy, and that it was only through the actions of the Scoobies and Riley that only(!) 40% of the soldiers died. Suit Man recommends destroying all the records and filling the APARF with concrete. I may have cheered a little at that last bit. “Burn it down and salt the earth,” he finishes, and we fade to black.

Sweeney: So, a few more comments on the thing that I loved in this episode that I clearly mostly did not love: In many ways it was the antithesis of the rest of this season, or at least of all the things I disliked about the rest of this season. It brought the team back together to show how incredibly powerful they can all be when they work together and play to their strengths. They are all stronger together — that’s a pretty constant theme on this show. Also, we revisit the Slayer mythology and, saying as little as I can because of spoilers, this episode does a wonderfully subtle job of setting up so. much. of what’s to come, basically across the next three seasons. As such, as much as I dislike most of this episode, I have to give it its due for that. Mostly, I just really, really love the manner in which the Scoobies come together to defeat the season’s Big Bad.

K: Exactly. It was SO FREAKING AWESOME to have the Scoobies back together and working as a single unit, just the four of them. Don’t get me wrong, I love Anya and Tara. But I love reminders of the way things started out – just the four of them together, saving the world. Because it’s awesome.

Lor: Agreed.

This episode was about going out with a bang. Everything that was wrong with the Initiative for the entire MF season was still wrong with it in this episode, but how could we not at least be entertained by watching it all blow up? It was quick moving and shallow, but did we mention that it got rid of the Initiative?

That said, I had to double check and make sure I watched the right episode, because this ISN’T the season finale? Guys? Guys? WTF?

K: Welcome to BtVS, where Whedon sits back and laughs at your confusion/tears.

Next time on Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Just when you thought this was the end of season 4, IT’S NOT. Whedon’s tied up all his loose ends, so he delivers a big bucket of crazy and foreshadowing for the season finale. Find out all the gory details in S04 E22 – Restless.

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 earned my MA in Global Communications and watching too many YouTube videos. Now people pay me to edit YouTube videos. The circle of life. 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 know, a lot of people don’t like season 4 in both Angel and Buffy, and I’ve often heard say that “Whedon sucks at season 4”, a little remark though: there was SO FEW whedon episode this season: the season premiere, Hush, the Faith/Buffy body switch, and next episode. And you know what they all have in common ? None of them are tied to the APARF. It seems to me that Whedon was probably focusing more on Angel. As for Angel season 4, is was broadcasted the same time as Firefly. You have to wonder what those seasons might have been if Whedon wasn’t working on lauching another show at the same time…

    Also, yay, Xander is useful! And yay², Spike gets (a bit) nice ! He totally could have let that non-werewolf kill the scoobies. He’s really just a loose canon, but a loose canon that can only hurt demons.

    Also also, I think the scene with the four scoobies at the crossroads shows why Spike’s plan worked: even though they know it was him messing with their heads, it was still about their insecurities and based on truth…

    Also also also, I think I’ve said so already, but next episode is one of my FAVOURITE EVER of Buffy. Not number one, because this one is in season 5 (YAY THAT’S SOON), but still a great episode.

    • lev36

      The next episode is also one of my faves, and I think it’s brilliant that Joss killed off the Big Bad in the penultimate episode rather than the finale. Instead, you’ll see a finale quite unlike any other.

    • stephynee

      The next episode is one of my favorites too! I could cry just thinking about it’s flawless beauty. Okay, I’m exaggerating. Maybe.

      • Izzygirl

        No, you’re not exaggerating 🙂 I watch this ep sometimes just for the swingset scene. A Watcher scoffs at gravity!

        • geff

          the swingset scene is one of my favorite parts, not just for the hilarious moments but also the atmosphere with the music and long takes and ah, I love it.

          • Izzygirl

            Yeah- all the music in this episode is good, but there’s just something so haunting/poignant about the music/quality of the light in this scene. Took me a long time to find this music on Itunes, but I had to have it 😉

    • SnazzyO

      I agree with the “Joss is distracted” comments regarding both S4 but I love the ambition of AtS S4 and its actually my favorite. Sorry not sorry.

    • JEL

      As mentioned before, there are people who think season 4 really suffered when the actor playing Maggie Walsh left forcing the writers to change from Maggie being the Big Bad to Adam. I think there is a case to be made that Maggie would have been a much more interesting Big Bad.

      There are also people who think of the next episode to be more the start of season 5 than the end of season 4. I don’t think that it makes much difference which way one views it though.

      • Polge Clément

        Well it isn’t necessarily my opinion, just that people seem pretty vocal about both Angel and Buffy’s season 4, and it’s a funny happenstance that both coincide with the launch of a new show.

        Incidentally though, my favourite season of the TV-Buffyverse is Season 7, which is the year of AtS season 4, so… And Angel season 5 is a close second, which is the year after EVERYTHING got cancelled 😉

        • JEL

          Including Farscape. 🙂 (Not sure how broad your “EVERYTHING” was.) Firefly, Buffy & Farscape all in the same year. It wasn’t a good year for shows I liked.

          • Polge Clément

            I was talking Whedon show, since I was trying to point out a correlation between “launch of new show” and “sucky season for existing show”.

            I’ve never seen Farscape though, to be honest 🙂

        • Melbourne on my Mind

          Ugh, season 4 of Angel is the WOOOOOOOOOOOOOORST. I’m already dreading it. Although the cancelling of things does at least mean Awesome Guest Star Appearances. So…there’s that to look forward to.

    • Melbourne on my Mind

      Well now I feel bad, because I HATE the next episode. Hopefully Lor and/or Sweeney likes it…

      • I actually really, really do. I have been going back and forth about whether to keep it above This Year’s Girl / Who Are You in my rankings for the season. I put it there initially because it was fresh, but it’ll probably fall below those two by the time we post, but basically those two episodes and Hush are the only things I rank above it this season.

        The fact that we have such differing opinions about the show, though, is part of what makes this more fun, IMO.

      • Polge Clément

        Well, I’m eager to see your recap then ! I think it has a lot of great scene, and that it shows something that’s usually pretty badly done. But I guess we’ll have time to talk about it on monday, when you’re posting the actual recap 🙂

    • Shea Foley

      I also love “Restless,” but now I’m curious about which Season 5 episode is your ultimate favorite….? Is it “Fool for Love?” Because if it is, all I can say is, “SQUEEEE!!!” That’s mos def my favorite Buffy ep evar!

      • Polge Clément

        Could have been ! But no, my response is probably one of the least original you could expect 🙂

        It’s the episode “The Body”, but it’s not only my favourite Buffy episode, it’s my favourite thing all categories (like, of every tv show episode or movies), I find it just perfect from beginning to end.

        In everything I’ve ever watched or read, there are two things that touched me to the point where I had to take a break from reading/watching for a while because I HAD to take time to process, one was a scene from a manga called Berserk, and the other one was this episode. Sadly, English isn’t my native language, so I lack the word to say how deeply this episode affected me on an emotionnal level.

        The same way some people say that Restless, Hush, or the body switch episode make season 4 acceptable, for me this episode in itself would make the whole of Buffy worth it, even it was only made of episode like “Go fish”, “beer bad”, or “where the wild things are”. And I’m super impatient to read the report of this episode, because I’m completely unable to form even one coherent thought when I’m watching it.

        • Melbourne on my Mind

          Oh man. The Body. That freaking episode… *ugly cries forever*

          Also, I just checked and Sweeney gets both Fool for Love AND The Body. I, meanwhile, get The Replacement and the one with the meteorite. AWESOME. THANKS, SHOW…

          • Jojo

            You know, you could offer to trade….but do you really wanna try snarking the body?

          • We’ve talked a lot about the pros/cons of snarking good/bad episodes, and it’s one of those things where there is no easy choice other than just taking whatever number you’re dealt. That said, yeah, it’s the episode I’m most anxious about writing the post for, because there is nothing snarkable about it.

            (Flowing back up the chain to whoever said it first, it’s probably my favorite episode of the entire series too.)

          • Jojo

            You could do a gif recap of earlier appearances – a tribute – either way I’m gonna cry.

            I’m thinking we should have a banner that says Preserve Lorraine’s Innocence because newer people may not know that we have an innocent viewer. Big letters, and maybe a picture of Lorraine sucking her thumb. Because I doubt she will pose in diapers…with a pacifier. Okay – getting carried away here.

        • Shea Foley

          “The Body” is definitely great in so many ways. I just completely spaced that it was in Season 5 for some reason.

  • Wilhelmina Upton

    As the Initiative thing is now almost over I have to address this (again? I’m not sure if I said it before). As far as I understand the APARF is miles underground because they take the super-secret elevator in the frat house to get down there. My problem is, the thing is GIGANTIC. It’s basically a huge hole underground filled with concrete and whatnot. HOW can you create such a thing and not have anyone notice because it’s a super-secret government thing. And then in the end, the government guy is telling us that the building is meant to be burnt to the ground. I don’t get this!!!!

    And yes, that’s what I’m focusing on because there is so much epic BS going on in this episode. I love how the Scoobies find their way back to each other but the rest is just ugh. And zombies, I really don’t like zombies. Dead people, gore, demons, vampires, fine but zombies? Nope!

    • Polge Clément

      For the “how could it have been built ?” I’ll just say: batcave. Or maybe they buried the workers at the end of the project, so no one knew it was there ? Or maybe they only employed people who abused PCP ? IDK.

      For the burning/filling with concrete part, it’s probably just figuratively speaking… They just abandon the place. It does seem like a waste of perfectly good offices though.

      • Wilhelmina Upton

        It’s entirely possible that the burning down thing was something the synchronization added but they explicitly said to burn the building the initiative was in down. Which is difficult if the thing is miles underground. IDK, I just have a general issue with the logistics of it.

        • Polge Clément

          Not sure how spoilery what I’m about to say is, so just in case I’ll use rot13… Probably safe to read though:

          jr qb frr gur ohvyqvat ng fbzr cbvag yngre, naq vg jnfa’g ohearq abe svyyrq jvgu pbapergr be nalguvat. Vg whfg ybbxf nonaqbarq. Fb vg ernyyl jnf whfg svthengviryl fcrnxvat.

          • Wilhelmina Upton

            The concrete thing I mentioned was not meant a they’re going to fill the pit up just that while this APARF was once constructed, ridiculous amounts of concrete were needed to make it.

            As for the other thing, I don’t remember it per se at the moment but makes sense.

    • SnazzyO

      I know you haveno reason to trust me on this but I’ll just say the building of a huge underground secret govt facility is one of the LEAST outlandish things they did. Now the entrance via frat house was BS but the rest…..not so much.

    • Jojo

      Be careful – I said that very early on – like how could you build this huge thing under the college campus and not have anyone notice and everyone was all wavy hand dismissing…so I say yeah! And yay! and I 1+ all over your wise words!

      • I sometimes forget that nobody else ever knows about all the, “Mhmm, PREACH!” or “Nope. Bullshit.” comments that I mumble to myself because I seldom get down here and at those thoughts, but let it be known that I was never wavy hand dismissing. I am on TEAM THE INITIATIVE IS EPIC BULLSHIT. Forever and ever.

        • Jojo

          Epic Brainshare!

      • Wilhelmina Upton

        This has bothered me all season long and I’m not sure if I ever said anything on the mater before. *high5* for the brainshare!!

    • Melbourne on my Mind

      I was going to suggest that maybe it was built years ago for some other purpose (a Cold War bunker, for example) and the Initiative just took it over and expanded it somehow. But we established in the dreaded episode 18 that the frat house used to be a children’s home, so…I got nothing.

      And I agree with Polge, I think the “burn it down” is just a figure of speech. Also, I’m totally with you on the zombies. NYARGH.

      • +1. It’s definitely a figure of speech. He suggests the more literal filling it in with concrete, but I’m about 99% certain that he is only figuratively suggesting that they burn it down.

        • Wilhelmina Upton

          That’s why my German version sucks because it never mentioned the filling with concrete! Epic bullshit APARF is crap, yo!

        • Isa Menzies

          Taken with the statement about ‘salting the earth’ I think the whole sentence can be read as figurative rather than literal – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salting_the_earth

  • stephynee

    It’s a shame that Adam is such a lame villain since the combined magical scoobies final showdown with him is great.

    Although I’d take Adam over cybermen any day. Whenever they show up on Doctor Who my eyes glaze over and I go into a boredom trance.

    • Melbourne on my Mind

      Even in Neil Gaiman’s most recent episode? Because the cybermen were pretty awesome in that! I want to watch Classic Who at some point, but the early cybermen are so nightmare inducing that I’m not sure I can cope…

      • stephynee

        I didn’t like it =( Although I would consider it one of the better cybermen episodes. They bore me for reasons I don’t really understand. Early cybermen look like their heads are made from socks and I find them oddly cute.

        • Polge Clément

          I was so-so about Gaiman’s last episode too. I wasn’t completely convinced by his cyberman, but the cyberdoctor was completely awesome, so all in all it was average.

          But to be fair, this episode had unreasonably high expectation from me because I loved his last episode with “Sexy” 😉

          • stephynee

            The Doctor’s Wife was fabulous and definitely one of my fave eleventh doctor episodes. So I think I went into the episode with crazy expectations as well. I thought maybe Gaiman would change my mind about cybermen…nope.

          • Melbourne on my Mind

            See, I think the reason I liked Gaiman’s episode so much was because the rest of season 7 was the uber-suck in comparison. Also, Warwick Davis.

  • SnazzyO

    This is MY FAVORITE EPISODE OF THE ENTIRE SERIES. In fact it’s because of this ep (and the next) that I ignore all the bad about S4. Not joking.

    Sweeney really captured it well in the review: it’s about the core four Scoobies and their awesomeness when they are together. They really are family and they know it. Joss IMO has two major theme points for the entire series 1) Girl power and 2) family is who you choose it to be. It’s for this second theme that I love this episode.

    Now I need to point out a missed ‘shots all around’ moment that occurred to me this go around: The disaster of the Initiative is because Nick Fury (AVENGERS Shots!) wasn’t in charge.
    Lets review the parallels;
    1) shadowy secret government operation trying to manage an otherworldly threat
    2) some debatable ethical practices (Making Hydra weapons vs experimenting on demons)
    3) the renegade group (Scoobies ARE the Avengers!) saves the day using their awesome inherent powers vs military weapons
    4) a remote dark room full of government bureaucrats is actually in charge of the whole thing and these people CANNOT be trusted (in Avengers they tried to nuke Manhattan, in Buffy the approved of EBMs supersoldier plan)

    • SnazzyO

      Bottom line: S4 was an Avengers prototype but without Nick Fury to prevent the bureaucrats from doing evil things.

      I had to continue my comments in a reply because my iPad is stupid.

      Also, Lorraine, thank you for making the “shouldn’t this have been the finale?” comment that EVERYONE wonders the first time you see this. Welcome to WhedonWorld indeed.

    • Polge Clément

      The “family is who you choose it to be” is more of a Whedon hallmark than a Buffy hallmark though 😉 Angel and the Fang Gang, Firefly and the crew (and the ship, it’s part of the family), and even Dollhouse in a way.

      • SnazzyO

        You are correct! And I love that about him.

        • Polge Clément

          And I love being correct ! Love all around !

  • darkalter2000

    I feel Spike only really got away with Yokoing the group because he made up all those preplaned encounters. He was totally acting like he had stuff to do and people were ‘forcing’ him to tell them about his convenient lies. Without a planned encounter he totally fucks up.

    Who built all this secret crap. I don’t personally find a secret facility all that implosible but this “Maggie Walsh’s Vision” crap is retarded. There is no way no-one but her and chipdoc knew about 314’s final stage. Shadowy guys in suits actually had to be in on this plan or this thing never would have been built. They must have been high when they approved this plan because there is no other logical explanation for approving any cash money going to this dumb demon/human hybrid project. I hate them and their stupid “burn and salt the earth” quote. They are fuckups with way too much money.

    Riley you do not deserve to fight a mini-adam. You do not deserve to get a fight the virus moment. You do not deserve to suddenly be way more than you have ever shown before. Too little, too late.

    Minor point. Hacking on tv. You are sooooo hilariously bad. Never change.

    • Polge Clément

      Hacking on TV and in movies is one of my pet peeve… One of the reason being that I’m a bit familiar with linux, and what we generally see is a linux console in which people type a stupid command which is known for doing absolutely nothing, but producing a shitload (and that’s a metric shitload) of text.

      The worst was in Tron Legacy, where the dude supposedly hack a computer, when he actually just logs in using the login and password. That’s some fine hacking there – guessing the password.

  • JEL

    “Forrest has now been assimilated.” When I read that my first thought is Star Trek (the Borg!) not Dr Who. (Resistance is futile!) I don’t remember the original Dr Who playing up the assimilation aspect of the Cybermen though maybe my memory is flawed. I guess it has been a theme in the Dr Who reboot & Torchwood; but that was after BtVS. The Borg though were definitely there to be a model.

    • Melbourne on my Mind

      Isn’t it just?? I saw it at the comic book store a while ago and just ended up staring at the cover in confusion for about 10 minutes straight.

    • I have read that comic. It’s kind of awesome in a surreal sort of way.

  • Anagnorisis

    “Riley’s all ‘I IS A PEOPLE, STFU'”
    Since I don’t remember this episode very well, I will assume that Riley actually said those words.

    Yes to the whole friendship thing and how it makes sense that they where falling apart during this season, you know, to get to this ending where they act as a unit. It was nicely done, as you said.

    Regarding last episode, what I think is that they believed Spike because he worked their own real insecurities. It’s not like Spike told Willow that Buffy thought she was fat or a thief or dumb or an absurd lie like that. Because Willow doesn’t have body weight problems for example, so she probably would be just: Buffy would never say that about me, you are saying that because you are evil, and done with that. But Spike uses something she is really afraid of, and she is insecure about, and deep down, she is not completely sure that Buffy and the rest don’t think bad of her because of this, so that kind of affects her judgement. I mean, it happens. I’m a very rational person, but there are some things that really affect me, things that have to do with my life story, or things that happened to me, that I know I would not react in a rational way if someone says something about it. I wouldn’t sit down and think about why this person said that, I’ll probably be just too affected to think, at least at the beginning The same with Giles and Xander. But, that’s my pov, and that’s why for me the last episode didn’t feel so contrived.

    Also, Zombified Evil Bitch Monster is one of the grossest things I’ve ever seen in my life. (And I like exploitation films). But the whole tubes with blood and whatever, just no. Also, was ZEBM played by the same actress?

    Well, ok ending to, in my opinion, the worst season of Buffy (or my least favorite), now it’s all improvement.
    Oh, yeah and we have one episode left!

  • Acy

    You guys sort of touched on it by talking about this episode contrasted with the last one as far as the Scoobies fighting and being all separated, then coming together like old times. But I specifically like the jump from Buffy’s super-intense gif about how there’s no ancient prophecy about a Slayer and her friends, to the spell that literally combines the Slayer and her friends.

  • Jojo

    All I can say is imagine this as a 4th grade play – a bunch of hyper kids dressed as demons and zombies and soldiers and superheroes. The script would be perfect for that age group and the contrivances would be so much fun. Just picture it – bitty Buffy facing off with bitty Adam, and a whole chorus of kids saying Buffy’s lines. And the choreography…..damn, now that would really suit this script. Except…isn’t the brain part of the central nervous system? Oh, right….not in Riley.

    It is great fun to see the scoobies get together, and it’s really so nice to be done with the Initiative. I have to say the 4 part magic monster shield is less wonderful and more “yeah, yeah, yeah – move it along…” after this many viewings. And even I am amazed no one stakes Spike. I kinda got the impression that everyone was feeling very mellow – like after smoking a joint together and having a great meal…and no one could be bothered to get up and find a piece of wood.

    Wow – you mean this is the episode that wraps up everything and there is still one to go? Mwahahaha – Whedon, you little scamp….get back in here and finish this show. Your mother is in the front row filming this on her phone!

  • Danna

    The BIGGEST contrivance in the entire seven seasons is that Spike didn’t get staked at the end of this episode!! (But thank you, contrivance)

    I see Spike as more manipulative than clever. (Also very observant.) None of his plans ever really work out. But what I absolutely love about him is that when one of his plans fails, he just comes up with a new plan. You don’t see him moping too often.

    So much foreshadowing next ep! And then on to season five! Yay!

    • Jojo

      I tend to see Spike as both intelligent and clever but he prefers to be seen as dumb. He likes to be underestimated. I mean – the Ring of Amara was a legend – he didn’t just stumble on that. He also has a penchant for quoting obscure Shakespeare like “chop you into messes” (Othello). The problem is that he has no endgame now that he can’t bite or hurt. And I don’t want to get spoilery so I will stop there.

      • Danna

        Hmmmm. I will have to watch and think about this. (Maybe he was forced to read a lot of Shakespeare in school.) Yes I agree that he worked a clever plan to find the ring of Amara – something no one else apparently was able to do. That’s Spike! But then he totally blew it with Buffy and then again with Angel. That’s also Spike. Clearly he lets his need for instant gratification get in the way of better judgement. That’s not always about intelligence, but I get the feeling deep down he doesn’t think he’s very smart. He actually says so when he is at his most vulnerable. Not a quick study. I think he “covers”. I mean look at what he did with those eggs. Duh.

        He seems to have a hard time dealing in polite society. Not that he would want to. But in a fight or flight situation, he’s razor-sharp! And when he goes for the jugular, he’s in a league of his own.

        • Jojo

          His plan didn’t work in Angel but the only thing keeping it from working was not knowing Oz was there. He showed up at the garage and started a fight to let Angel know he was in town. He arranged for someone to betray him and positioned himself outside the door – if you look at the girl as she runs away, she doesn’t even have bite marks. Only way to make sure she’ll leave and Angel won’t follow her instead of Spike. He then leads Angel right into the trap. He likes to be underestimated – it’s how he baited the trap – “I got bored and I have no idea what I am doing, Angel.” It was Oz showing up with the van that gave Marcus time to steal the ring. Okay – yeah – another miscalculation there, but overall – not a bad plan.

          There are a few other plans where I look at the results and not the dialogue and it does seem like the plan is a good one. And I agree that he is razor sharp in guarding himself and what is his.

          Of course then there are some plans, occasionally involving chains, which are so stupid it is unbelievable. He is impulsive, but not unfocused.But he does make a lot of wrong bloody calls. Don’t want to get into spoilers by saying more, and I can’t think of any other way to go on..

          • Danna

            Yes, I guess he did play it well with setting a trap for Angel. And I think the “I don’t know what I’m doing” act was perfect in the situation because it was Angel, and he knew Angel would buy into it. But it seems he often doesn’t get the end result he is going for. Maybe that’s where he fails – in closing the deal. When he got the ring of Amara, he could have done anything and gone anywhere. But what does he do? He goes to find the slayer so he can taunt her and show off his pretty bauble. Which she takes from his finger causing him to start burning, so he has to dive down some air vent or something. He had like 15 minutes in the sun for all his hard work. Then he makes that important miscalculation in LA, and the pedophile walks away with his ring. And once again his hair is on fire and he’s left with nothing.

            But maybe what he REALLY wanted more than the ring was to rattle Buffy and mess with Angel. I think that probably gave him plenty of joy.

          • Jojo

            I agree with you completely here! He is so certain he can recreate his glory days with Dru by using his usual methods that he really screws up with Buffy. In fact, just showing her the ring was enough of a dumb move. But I bet he did enjoy those 15 minutes, and I know he enjoyed Angel all chained up…..sorry, sudden Spangel moment!

          • Disa Marnesdottr

            I have often wondered how much Spike actually wanted to live, after the end of the relationship with Drusilla. He almost seems to be trying to get himself killed.

      • Melbourne on my Mind

        Well, he WAS a poet, which goes quite a way towards explaining the obscure Shakespeare quotes!

        • Jojo

          Ahem – as far as poetry is concerned all I know so far is he was looking for a word that rhymed with lungs for Angelus.

          But Spike just using various quotes (there are other classic authors thrown in) would either mean he reads them now (or recently) or has kept them memorized for over a century and still thinks of them. Not what I think of when I see how how he acts.

          • Disa Marnesdottr

            Faker faker faker. Educated man pretending to be a thug because it suits his purposes. Naq jrnygul. Ur gnyxrq nobhg fhzzbavat Qe. Thyy gb pner sbe uvf zbgure. Jvyyvnz Thyy jnf bar bs Dhrra Ivpgbevn’f culfvpvnaf. He found the Gem of Amara when it was thought to be nothing but a story. He deciphered and performed the Ritual of Eligor to restore Drusilla to health. Ur xarj nobhg gur qrzba va Nsevpn jub pbhyq tvir uvz onpx uvf fbhy. He seems to have a penchant for locating the obscure, arcane, and quasi-mythological. Our Spike has a touch of Indiana Jones to him.

            Someone (can’t remember who and can’t find it, now) said he doesn’t see himself as smart. That may also be true. Jura Fcvxr vf penml va gur onfrzrag, ur rira fnlf, “QBA’G LBH GUVAX V’Z GELVAT?!? Bbu, abg n snfg, abg n dhvpx FGHQL…qebccrq zl obneq va gur jngre naq gur punyx nyy ena, fher gb or pnarq…” He could hardly help but think he was deficient in some way. He was left-handed in Victorian England.

          • A+

            Those are all excellent points, and it really makes me want to give him a hug. (Not that I really need an excuse for that, but still!)

          • Jojo

            V pnhtug gur ersrerapr gb Qe. Thyy gbb – naq gur dhrfgvba vs ur fubhyq fraq gur pneevntr. Zvqqyr pynff snzvyvrf jbhyq cebonoyl uver n unpx – vg pbfg zbarl sbe n pbhpu naq gjb (be sbhe), obgu sbe gur pbhpu naq ubefr, nf jryy nf gur hcxrrc. N ynetr ubhfr yvxr gung jvgu nyy gur Ivpgbevna pyhggre jbhyq unir erdhverq n shyy fgnss, gbb. V guvax gung uvf zbgure pnzr sebz gur abovyvgl – cebonoyl n lbhatre puvyq bs n pbhfva – gvgyrq ohg vzcbirevfurq. Fur zneevrq fbzrbar evpu ohg va genqr. Vg’f gur bayl jnl V pna erpbapvyr Prpvyl fnlvat ur’f orarngu ure – lrg ur fubjf fvtaf bs boivbhf jrnygu. Bu, naq nf V nz fher lbh xabj, gur ubhfr jnf uvf orpnhfr jbzra pbhyqa’g vaurevg. Fb uvf zbgure yvirq jvgu uvz – ur qvqa’g yvir jvgu uvf zbgure.

            V’z abg pbaivaprq ur fnj uvzfrys nf abg orvat vagryyvtrag – ohg vg’f boivbhf ur ybbxrq qbja ba gur vagryyvtragfvn. Ur jnf dhvgr gur erory bapr ur jnf ghearq. V fhfcrpg ur znl abg unir orra n terng fghqrag – gbb zhpu bs n qernzre – ohg V nz fher ur jrag gb pbyyrtr.

            Being a lefty would have been a problem, but it’s also interesting that he still used his left hand later in life. I had forgotten about his translation of the ritual of Eligor. I like the fact that he showed no distaste for magic – in fact he was downright casual with it, and I suspect he saw being in the wheelchair as a direct consequence of that spell. After that experience was when he became very leery of magic.

          • Disa Marnesdottr

            My mother and sister are both left handed. So was my grandfather. My mother was…encouraged…not to use her left hand, so she doesn’t write with it. She just does everything else left handed. My grandfather was beaten for it and used it anyway. I suspect William of that kind of defiance.

            Nyy vg jbhyq gnxr sbe Prpvyl gb guvax fur jnf orggre guna uvz jnf sbe ure sngure gb or n enax nobir uvf–yvxr Jvyyvnz’f sngure jnf na Rney juvyr uref jnf n Qhxr. Fur zvtug abg rira unir enaxrq uvz ng nyy ohg fgvyy gubhtug fur unq n fubg ng zneelvat hc engure guna znxvat n yngreny zbir. Gura ntnva, vg pbhyq unir orra fbzrguvat rira fvzcyre. Fjrrg Jvyyvnz jnf n qbex naq Prpvyl jnf n cbchyne tvey.

          • Disa Marnesdottr

            Bu! Naq qhevat Fbzrguvat Oyhr, Fcvxr vf nyy ernql gb qb n trareny erirefny fcryy ba Tvyrf–uvf nyzbfg-sngure-va-ynj–gb pher uvf oyvaqarff. Nyfb, ur gnxrf Qnja gb frr Qbp nobhg n erfheerpgvba fcryy sbe Wblpr naq urycf ure trg gur vaterqvragf. Nygubhtu V nterr gung gur hcfubg bs gur Evghny bs Ryvtbe jnf n terngre qvfgehfg bs zntvp va trareny, V guvax ur’f znvayl pbzcyrgryl sernxrq bhg ol gur zntvp Jvyybj qbrf–naq V pna uneqyl oynzr uvz. Vg’f yvxr rirelguvat fur qbrf tbrf greevslvatyl jebat, fbzrubj.

          • Jojo

            Sbetbg nobhg gur erirefny fcryy ohg ur jnf haqre gur vasyhrapr bs zntvp ng gur gvzr. Nf sbe Qbp, ur qvqa’g gel gur fcryy ba uvf bja….bxnl, gung’f jrnx. V’z guvaxvat zber nobhg uvf ernpgvba gb Ohssl’f erfheerpgvba – gurer ner nyjnlf pbafrdhraprf!

            The wonderful thing about Buffy is it’s like a puzzle – it’s so much fun putting pieces together and seeing what you – and others – come up with.

          • Disa Marnesdottr

            V nterr. Gurer ner nyjnlf pbafrdhraprf. V guvax ur qbrfa’g gehfg gur puvyqera gb gnxr gur pbafrdhraprf vagb nppbhag. Jr sbetrg ur’f n uhaqerq naq svsgl lrnef byq. V’z sbegl-gjb naq bsgra svaq zlfrys guvaxvat, “V qba’g oryvrir gurl’ir nqrdhngryl pbafvqrerq gur pbafrdhraprf bs gung,” jura zl xvqf be gurve sevraqf qb guvatf. V pna bayl vzntvar jung vg jbhyq or yvxr vs V jrer n praghel byqre. Znlor, V jbhyq fnl, “Gurer ner nyjnlf pbafrdhraprf!” vafgrnq bs, “Jung gur ubyl s%$# qb lbh guvax lbh’er qbvat?!?” yvxr V qb abj.

            I agree. There’s such a variety of smart, insightful writers that we have plenty to ponder.

          • Jojo

            I’m 58 – I know what you mean. Nf n fpubby grnpure (qvfnoyrq abj) V hfrq gb gryy cneragf gb cyrnfr yrg gurve xvqf znxr zvfgnxrf naq gnxr gur pbafrdhraprf ORSBER gurl tbg oruvaq gur jurry bs n pne.

            I love the very idea of head canon and I know I’ve gotten parts of my head canon from other people. here seems to be a continuum of opinion on Spike, but he does change from season to season. Season 4 they didn’t seem to know what to do with him.

          • Disa Marnesdottr

            He may be the most complex character in the Buffyverse.

          • Jojo

            That’s what Joss said. The only one who comes close – in character arc at least is Wesley in AtS. I love them both – separately or together.

            Yeah – together is good! 😉

  • geff

    hahahaha I love how you all were like “oh my god this is ridiculous but screw it, it’s the end of the season.” Though I’m surprised there wasn’t more snarking on Riley somehow pulling out that stupid chip. For some reason that’s always been the most ridiculous “OH COME ON” part of this episode for me. Though I have to love the Scoobies getting back together again <3 The enjoining spell is a great way to solidify what we've already known is the strength of this team for the past four years. Friendship power, yay!

    Restless is one of my absolute favorite episodes. It's great to watch and it's even more wonderful to rewatch after seeing the whole series. I feel like Joss probably realized this season didn't necessarily do our Scooby Gang justice, so to end this season by delving into their minds for a whole episode is just great. And I definitely agree that it does a fantastic job setting up Buffy's arc and slayer mythology and all that.

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  • SonicRulez

    This episode makes me feel like occasionally Joss wrote what he wanted the ending to be and then worked his way backwards. It didn’t always work. Adam kinda going nuts about how he doesn’t understand magic and how his tech is useless and how Buffy is stronger with her friends. All of that is the theme of this season. Buffy started The Freshman feeling scared and alone. Now she feels stronger than ever. It’s most of the middle stuff that sucked ass.