Buffy the Vampire Slayer S05 E09 – Ground control to Major Tom

Previously: Joyce found out she had a brain tumour, and Riley started letting vampire trollops bite him.

Listening to Fear

Kirsti: After the previouslies, we’re at the hospital where Dawn’s eating the jelly (L: JELL-O.) off Joyce’s hospital tray with her fingers (EW). Joyce says she won’t be offended if the girls go out for real people food. Buffy poo-poos her, and I can’t help but notice that she’s wearing a hoodie and tracksuit pants, which is the 2000s version of the Overalls of Overall Sadness. Poor Buff.

Joyce’s doctor turns up with the apparently good news that she’ll be undergoing surgery in about 36 hours. The girls look worried while Joyce sads about having to be in hospital for that long. Buffy says that they’ll stay and make sure she’s not bored, and Joyce worries about the whole sacred duty thing. Buffy says it’s fine because Riley and the Scoobies are on duty and she’s sure they’ve got it under control.

With that, we segue magic over to the cemetery, where things are most definitely NOT under control. Xander and Giles get themselves punched repeatedly by some very tall lady vampires, while Willow fumbles for a stake and then gets thrown across the cemetery. Eventually, she manages to pick herself up and stake one from behind. Xander gets thrown around by the other one, and Giles goes to stake her, but she moves and he nearly gets Xander instead. The tall lady vamp holds them both down, conveniently allowing Willow to stake her as well. So question: did the Scoobies suddenly get much more adept at finding the heart or has staking vampires become less of a battle to get through their rib cage and more like popping a balloon?

Lorraine: While I was cheering Willow on hardcore, yeah. Bypassing muscle and bone is no sweat.

K: Seriously. Willow’s all proud of herself for staking two vampires, but Xander’s pissed about Riley not turning up. Giles is disappointed in Riley before wondering if he forgot. Cue a cut over to an abandoned building where a drug addict-y looking vampire girl is sucking on Riley’s arm as he looks…I think it’s meant to be desperate, but it just comes off as bored? IDK. Roll credits.

Lor: This just got very True Blood-y.

Sweeney: I’ve never seen that show because I hate Anna Paquin, but I also hate this whole stupid story, so this is officially added to my list of reasons to never watch that show.

K: I liked the first couple of seasons, but I gave up when it got even more insane than the books.

After the credits, we’re back in Joyce’s hospital room where Willow has turned up with a bag full of presents. She feels just like Santa, apparently, “except thinner and younger. And female. And, well, Jewish.” Her presents are as follows: a beer hat for Joyce, which Willow gets all embarrassed about when Joyce is all “…whut” over, a book about witchcraft for Dawn, and homework for Buffy, who sulks at her present until Willow hands her a yo-yo. (L: Shout-out for continuity!)

Willow then fills Buffy in on what they’re doing in history class, but in the middle of her spiel, Joyce stares off into the distance and then has a moment of intense crazy, angrily saying, “I’d rip it in half and stick it in bed with me!” The girls all wig out a little, then Joyce snaps back to normal and says in a tired sort of way that she’d like to take a rest. The girls head outside to the hall.

Dawn asks Willow what Joyce was talking about, and Buffy says that the doctor told her Joyce might say some crazy shit from time to time because of the tumor. They walk down the hall, and a man – the security guard who Glory mind-sucked in episode 5 – bumps into them. He crazies a little when he sees Dawn to remind us that crazy people can see through her monk-y (not monkey) disguise to the glowy ball of energy that she really is. Dawn freaks out and the girls pull her away. Security Guard Guy’s wife calms him down and keeps him moving, and Dawn asks if he’s got the same problem as Joyce. Ben appears out of nowhere to comment on the fact that the mental ward is overflowing, so they’re sending a bunch of people home, because BEST PLAN EVER.

Sweeney: We do this with our overcrowded, batshit prison system too. We’re big on the, “Meh. Too many. Go home.” policy.

K: There are many things I will never understand about America. I think that just added another one to the list.

That night, Willow and Tara are star gazing on the roof of a Contrivance U dorm. Willow points out a bunch of constellations, and Tara reveals that they never made sense to her (agreed) so she made up her own. She points out a few of hers, including “the big pineapple,” “short man looking uncomfortable,” and “moose getting a sponge bath.” It’s freaking adorable. She asks Willow to make one up, and just as she’s about to do so, a meteor shoots across the sky. The girls jump up just in time to see it crash into the ground in some woods not far away.

Lor: This just got very Smallville-y.

Sweeney: A+

K: I…have never seen Smallville, so I can’t judge the accuracy of that statement.

Cut to a first person viewpoint from inside the meteorite. It cracks, and the camera jerks around accompanied by slithery noises to let us know that something’s sliming its way out of the meteorite. The camera pans up to ground level, and we see Security Guard Guy wandering in the woods alone, muttering to himself. Beastie Camera takes us up a tree, and then we see a giant cockroach-y looking thing fall down onto SGG’s back as he passes under the tree. Fade to black.

Lor: So, we shouldn’t send the mentally ill home to fend for themselves is the moral of the story.

Sweeney: An unexpected twist!

K: WHO KNEW?! After the Not Commercial Break, we’re back at the hospital. The Space Cockroach is crawling across the ceiling. In Joyce’s room, she’s hammering on the call button and freaking out that it’s not hooked up to anything. Buffy reassures her, and then the doctor walks in. Buffy says that they want to go home. The doctor says that it’s fine – they can see Joyce in the morning. But he’s missed the point. Joyce wants to go home too. After some desperation from Joyce, a little bit of sending Dawn out of the room, and some warnings from the doctor, he agrees. Joyce wants to leave immediately, but Buffy needs a crash course in medical care first. Out in the hall, the Space Cockroach hangs over Dawn as she reads.

Sweeney: I don’t know how I forgot about the Space Cockroach, except that I must have blocked out this mental image to spare myself actual trauma because looking at it now makes my skin crawl. BRB, vomiting.

K: I don’t blame you. It’s pretty gross.

Cut to the Scoobies in the woods. Riley apologises for not having turned up the previous night shortly before they come across a giant trench in the ground that must have been a total blast for the set department to put together. Riley approaches the meteorite, and Anya asks if it’s hot. He reaches towards it, and then she adds “Cause, uh, if there’s radiation you like could go all sterile,” which causes Xander to run away and Riley to pull away in horror. LOL. Anyway, Riley inspects the meteorite and realises that it’s hollow, leading to the following brilliant conversation:

Anya: So, uh, we’re all thinking the same thing, right?
Xander: Festive pinata? Delicious candy?
Willow: Something evil crashed to earth in this and then broke out and…slithered away to do badness.
Giles: In all fairness, we don’t really know about the slithered part.
Anya: Oh, no. I’m sure it frisked about like a fluffy lamb.

They decide to split up and see if they can find the beastie. A short way into the woods, Willow finds Security Guard Guy [SGG]. He’s dead, with no visible marks on him. Willow recognises him from the hospital, and then Riley shoves a pen into SGG’s mouth. The others are all “Dude, WTF??” but it comes out covered in slime. Stinky slime, apparently, from their reactions. Willow wants to call Buffy, but Tara says they can’t, because life stuff comes first. Giles suggests that they look around the woods some more, but the rest of the gang vote that they should move straight to research mode because outside is scary and gross, and research happens inside. It’s possible that everything after the word “mode” was my opinion rather than that of the Scoobies, but pff. Whatevs.


K: Riley hangs back, claiming he wants to look at the body some more. But what he really want to do is wait until the others have left, and then phone The Initiative and ask to speak to “the man at the desk.” But my favourite part is that he says “This is A… This is Riley Finn.” I know he was going to say “Agent Finn”, but it’s much more hilarious to imagine that Riley has been hanging out in Rosewood in his spare time, and is sending mysterious text messages to teenage girls.

Lor: He’s got to do something in his spare time.

Sweeney: A+ on that epic crossover magic, Kirsti. A+ forever. Thank you for this new opportunity for us to confuse single-series readers.

K: YOU’RE WELCOME. And an A+ to Lor on pointing out that Riley has a shit ton of spare time and nothing to fill it with.

We head to the psych ward at the hospital, where a patient is begging a nurse not to leave. She ignores him and does, and we hear scurrying noises from the Space Cockroach. It climbs up on top of his bed, and barfs clear slime all over his face as the nurse sits outside eating chocolate. Elsewhere in the hospital, the doctor is signing the paperwork to release Joyce. He hands Buffy a bunch of information and medications, and then Joyce has another moment of crazy. On the ceiling down the hall, the Space Cockroach watches them as Joyce comes back to reality and they head for the exit.

Back at the Summers’ house, Joyce is thrilled to be home right up until the point where Buffy turns the lights on. It hurts her eyes, so Buffy tells Dawn to turn off all the lights downstairs to allow the Space Cockroach maximum stealth opportunities while she gets Joyce settled upstairs. Back at the meteorite, Riley watches as a helicopter lands. A group of black clad soldiers jump out, and the leader – Major Ellis – introduces himself to Riley, who fills him in on the details. Graham is among the soldiers, and makes a joke about how this seems like the kind of gig Riley would usually call Buffy about. It goes down about as well as you’d expect. Riley hands a vial of slime to Major Ellis, and informs him that it’s an extraterrestrial, not a subterrestrial. The soldiers go to track it using a magical gizmo, but Riley informs them it won’t work. He suggests tracking its residual radiation instead, and the soldiers break out the Geiger counters.

Cut back to the Summers’ house. Buffy and Dawn are watching TV while we’re back to seeing everything through Space Cockroach Camera. We see Joyce wander down the stairs in a daze, and head to the kitchen. We cut to Buffy and Dawn, and hear dishes crashing. The girls rush to the kitchen, where Joyce is staring into the fridge. Something’s burning on the stove, and when Buffy asks Joyce what she’s doing, she says that she was making breakfast. Followed by, “And YOU shouldn’t eat any more. You’re disgustingly fat.” Buffy looks hurt, understandably, before Joyce snaps back to reality again. The girls lead her back to bed, but as they pass through the kitchen, we see that the basement door is ajar and there’s something moving around down there.

Upstairs, Buffy gives Joyce a sleeping pill and tucks her into bed. Dawn strokes Joyce’s forehead, and Joyce freaks out, calling Dawn a “thing” and “a shadow.” Dawn runs off to her room as Buffy calms Joyce down. Buffy heads into Dawn’s room to reassure her that it was the tumour, but Dawn says it’s not just Joyce – there’ve been a whole bunch of people saying stuff like that to her. She wants to know what’s wrong with her, and Buffy says that it’s not her, it’s the crazy people, and she should just ignore them. OKAY, BUFF. You just keep on giving that terrible advice that parents have been giving for years – “Ignore them and they’ll go away.” Sigh.

Lor: We had this whole “withholding information” conversation in the comments of the last post. This is another example of that, but to be fair, the whole, “you aren’t a real person” conversation is something I would try to avoid at all costs.

Sweeney: Yeah, this definitely falls under the very short list of things where withholding information is justified. Also, Dawn has a nice little coming of age arc. Plenty of kids her age feel invisible, so to be singled out as “not real” is an interesting way to play out all the overwhelming feels that accompany being 14. You would have to pay me lots and lots of monies to go back to the epic feels of being 14.

K: Agreed. 14 was the worst. I seem to remember spending an awful lot of time crying over absolutely nothing.

Meanwhile, the rest of the Scoobies are over at the Contrivance U Library.

Xander: “I still don’t see why we had to come here to get info about a killer snot monster.”
Giles: “Because it’s a killer snot monster from outer space. [pause] I did not say that…”

Oh, Giles. You’re the best. Tara and Anya appear to say that they’ve been checking periodicals, and there’ve not been any other falling meteors in the past week. Because, you know, periodicals about falling meteors are published on a daily basis and are sent to university libraries immediately, and catalogued and put on the shelves STRAIGHT AWAY. Totally plausible. Yup. Not at all weird. Willow, meanwhile, has been doing research online. She’s found reports that the Tunguska blast was caused by a hollow meteorite, and I have two problems with this: 1. She says the Tunguska blast happened in 1917, but it was actually 1908, and 2. Tunguska always reminds me of that whole stupid black oil plot line in The X-Files, and that makes me cranky. ANYWAY. Willow’s found similar events going all the way back to the Queller impact in twelfth century Iceland.

Tara questions the name of the impact, and that causes Xander to join the dots to something he just read in a book called “Meteors and You!” – “Primitive people used to believe that the moon was a cause of insanity. Sometimes they would pray to the moon to send a special meteor to fix the problem the moon had caused. These meteors were expected to *quell* the madmen.” That, combined with SGG having been a mental patient, have Willow doing some more historical research. She finds out that in medieval times, there were plagues of crazy people. And that there’s a meteor strike coinciding with the end of each one. Tara wonders who summoned the Space Cockroach, and everyone’s money is on Glory. Willow wants to call Buffy, except that they can’t. Giles suggests they call Riley instead.

Lor: Riley is only being considered useful since Buffy isn’t around. Sucks for Riley.

K: True dat. Willow calls Riley and fills him in. He’s down with their theory on account of he and the soldiers are at the hospital, and the entire ward of mental patients is dead. Willow’s all “So I saw Joyce earlier and she was a little…insane. Maybe go check on her to make sure she didn’t get drowned in slime,” but Riley says that Ben told him she’d been released earlier that day. Because apparently Ben has no concept of patient confidentiality whatsoever and just gives out information to anyone! (Yes, I’m sure he’s seen Riley there and whatever, Ben’s still the worst doctor ever.) Riley thinks he’s got the Space Cockroach trapped in the air ducts, and then hangs up on Willow as she’s trying to suggest that they come help him kill it.

Back at the Summers’ residence, Joyce is having a buckets o’ crazy rant in bed, staring at the ceiling. Cut to Dawn’s room. We can hear Joyce’s rantings through the wall as Dawn gets more and more frustrated and upset about hearing it. She pushes the pillow into her ears, but can still hear her mother. Downstairs, Buffy turns on the radio to some poppy Latin music and starts washing the dishes. She’s clearly trying not to cry. A moment later, she sobs, then tries to pull herself together. It doesn’t work, and she breaks down completely.

Back upstairs, Joyce is still talking to the ceiling, saying that she doesn’t like it staring at her. The camera pulls back to show the Space Cockroach on the ceiling looking down at Joyce. It makes a squeaky noise, and we fade to black.

Lor: Not as fantastic as the Creepy Cobra last episode, but still, pretty Terrible Effects Fantastic.

Sweeney: Terrible Effect is terrible, and still it induces my gag reflex about equally as much as my LOLreflex.

K: I think it’s less Terrible Effects-y and more “person in an awful costume a la Werewolf Oz” territory. Either way, it’s really terrible. After the Not Commercial Break, we’re back at the hospital. Graham’s tracked the Space Cockroach’s residual radiation to the edge of the car park, and Riley deduces that it hitched a ride under a car. Major Ellis is all “Wow, must suck for the mental patient who accidentally took that home!” and Riley gets panic face on account of JOYCE.

Lor: Is it weird that Joyce is being lumped in together with the mental patients? It’s kinds of weird.

Sweeney: Very weird. Lots of hasty story leaps were taken to get us to Riley deducing that Joyce is the mental patient.

K: Agreed. Back in Joyce’s room, the Space Cockroach drops down on top of her and pukes slime onto her face. Dawn hears it, and comes into the room. When she sees the Space Cockroach, she grabs a coat rack and attacks, knocking the Space Cockroach to the floor. (S: Go Dawny!) Joyce pulls the now hardening slime off her face as Dawn looks around in horror for the Space Cockroach. It jumps up across the bed and runs at her. She screams and sprints out of the room and down the hall to the bathroom, the Space Cockroach following. She calls for Buffy, but  Buffy’s still crying and can’t hear anything over the water and the Latin music. Dawn runs back into Joyce’s room – the layout of the Summers house is kind of weird. Every bedroom has a door to the hall and at least one other room, either the bathroom or another bedroom – and starts barricading doors.

Downstairs, a still oblivious Buffy splashes water on her face, then reaches for a hand towel. Upstairs, Dawn opens the door to the hall, and screams her sister’s name as loud as she can before slamming the door again.

Lor: Can we add Michelle Trachtenberg screaming to our drinking game? I know that might be calling for alcohol poisoning, but I feel like I need a shot to recover from it anyways.

Sweeney: A fair suggestion. After Charisma Carpenter left, Buffy needed a new resident screamer.

K: A+. Cordy’s absence definitely left a gaping hole of screaming on the drinking game board, and Dawny does an AWFUL lot of screaming in the next few years.

Buffy sprints upstairs, and Dawn fills her in. Buffy tells them to stay in Joyce’s bedroom, and shuts the door. As she does, the Space Cockroach drops onto her back. There’s a brief tussle, and they roll down the stairs. The Space Cockroach slithers away as Buffy’s shaking off the confusion. Upstairs, Joyce comforts a terrified Dawn.

Buffy walks through the darkened house, searching for the Space Cockroach. She grabs the biggest knife in the kitchen, and puts her SRS BSNSS Slayer face on. She hears a noise and then the basement door bursts open. It’s Spike. Buffy’s all “DUDE, WTF?” and he admits that he’s been lurking down there stealing stuff. Namely, pictures of Buffy. She furthers her “WTF??” but lucky for him, the Space Cockroach attacks him and knocks him to the ground.

Lor: Spike gets lucky a lot. Spike lurking in your basement < Space Cockroach on a creepy scale, but if this were a normal night? Spike would be SOL.

K: Truth. Buffy stands there, trying to work out if she can attack it with her giant knife, but Spike’s flailing feet knock the knife from her hand. The Space Cockroach turns and sees her, and attacks her instead. She throws it off, and Spike tosses her the knife. The Space Cockroach knocks her to the ground again, and gets all up in her face. She stabs it a bunch of times until it stops squealing, then rolls its dead body off to one side. Spike helps her up just as Riley and the soldiers burst in.

Riley asks Buffy if she’s okay, but she ignores him and sprints upstairs to check on Joyce and Dawn. Spike looks disgustedly at Riley and says, “You just missed a real nice time.” Riley looks down to see the dead Space Cockroach on the floor. Upstairs, Buffy enternounces that she’s killed the Space Cockroach, and then hugs her family, telling them that everything’s going to be okay.

Over at the hospital, Ben’s heading to his car. He gets in to find Glory’s Flattery Demon sitting in the backseat. Flattery Demon wants to know WTF Ben was doing, summoning the Space Cockroach. “I’m cleaning up Glory’s mess. Just like I’ve done my whole damn life,” he replies. (L: DUN DUN DUN. That’s why he’s been on my screen…) (YUP) He kicks the Flattery Demon out of his car, and drives off.

Inside the hospital the next day, Joyce tells Buffy that she needs to ask her something. Something potentially crazy. “[Dawn]’s not mine. Is she?” she asks. Buffy’s taken aback, but confirms that no, Dawn’s not really Joyce’s daughter. “She does belong to us, though?” Buffy agrees.

Sweeney: So many of Buffy’s feels as she watched Dawn/Joyce in the last few episodes came rushing back when Joyce says that Dawn is as dear to the world as Buffy is to her.

K: Joyce makes her promise to take care of Dawn if anything happens to her, and Buffy gets teary. They hug, and we cut to Joyce being wheeled away on a gurney as Buffy, Dawn and all the Scoobies watch. Fade to black.

Lor: That’s a Buffy spin on the “if anything happens to me” talk, isn’t it? Plus, I can’t tell you how much I loved, “she belongs to us.”

Sweeney: +1. SO MUCH.

K: I never quite know how to feel about this episode. Because we get so much significant plot development – Riley getting in contact with the Initiative again, Joyce learning that Dawn’s not her daughter, Buffy having to play the role of the grown up and take care of her family, Ben somehow being involved with the whole Glory thing – but it’s countered with a cockroach from outer space that kills mental patients by puking slime onto their faces, you know? In short, IDK…

Lor: It’ll be a middle of the pack episode, for sure. These past two episodes have been doing some serious leg work for the season, and have perhaps suffered for that (or for their silly A plots). All said and done, I think they still are solid episodes because we care so much about what’s happening. Especially for a first time watcher, these revelations are great.

I think there are moments when this was also great about showing how scary dealing with illness is (Joyce’s “because of my brain tumor” outburst), but it’s such a great big topic, that it was bound to be  mostly lost in an episode with a Space Cockroach. Your IDK is valid, K.

Sweeney: Agreed. At first I thought I blocked out Space Cockroach because of gross, but it was actually because of fail; it’s definitely the weakest link in the episode and worthy of that IDK response. I like what you said, too, about the heavy lifting. Other episodes that are amazing to re-watch are good mostly because they don’t have the quick movement burden of an episode like this. So, while I might be #meh on this episode, later things get the benefit of the groundwork it lays. And that final Joyce/Buffy conversation will always be a solid suckerpunch to the feels.

K: So, meeting at the Table of Meh all around? Great. I’ll bring the booze to help us get over that final conversation.

Next time on Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The outcome of Joyce’s surgery, and Spike discovers what Riley’s been up to, leading to an ultimatum. Find out more in S05 E10 – Into the Woods.


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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  • Democracy Diva

    Sweeney’s comment about blocking the Space Cockroach out of her memory is so true for me. I have seen this episode twice and even then I was like, wait, what Space Cockroach? Because STUPID THINGS ARE STUPID and my brain doesn’t have room for them. Also, congrats to K for being able to write the brilliant sentence, “It climbs up on top of his bed, and barfs clear slime all over his face as the nurse sits outside eating chocolate.” without even blinking an eye. It just speaks to what experts the Snark Ladies have become on all things ridiculous.

    Buffy’s breakdown while washing dishes kills me. Anyone who has done menial tasks during a personal tragedy understands that breakdown and it’s painful and beautiful and some solid SMG acting. (Though I am not as familiar with the Space Monster attack that takes place during this breakdown.) Anyway, the relatable family/illness feelingsy stuff in the episode makes me appreciate it in spite of its terrible Freak of the Week plot.

    • We didn’t say much about the Buffy break down now that I look back at it. I guess the whole Space Roach thing was super distracting. But YES to what you said about menial tasks. I blogged a ton about grief and tragedy for a couple of months last year when something big happened in my family and I specifically remember mentioning how things keep going on– you have to keep paying your bills and stopping at stop signs and folding the laundry and washing dishes. At that moment, the music and water is covering up the noise of her slowly losing her mother. It’s intense and just goes to highlight how weird the Space Roach is in this kind of episode.

      • Democracy Diva

        There’s also something about the menial task thing that reflects your desire to control something, to help out in any small way, when something out of your control happens to someone you love. It was a great way of showing Buffy understanding that she can’t slay her way out of her mother’s brain tumor, and all she can do for her mother right now is the dishes. It’s a bad feeling for everyone, but for someone as powerful as Buffy, who has saved the world a few dozen times, to not be able to save her mother is a whole new battle for her.

        • “It was a great way of showing Buffy understanding that she can’t slay
          her way out of her mother’s brain tumor, and all she can do for her
          mother right now is the dishes.”


          Things like doing the dishes also allows you time to slow down enough to think and feel. Not for long, for our B, though because there is of course some other evil lurking that she has to fight, no matter how much her friends wanted to keep her out of it.

          • Jojo

            The space cockroach is one of the stupidest creatures ever on the show – and double ugly. It bothers me on several levels – like really gross, and how did they find someone small enough to wear that costume? Is there a child in there? Is there enough money for counseling after the kid’s parents show the pics to first date? (This is what little Jill looked like in first grade…)

            I love the FEELS of Joyce and Buffy, and Dawn’s rescue, and the – I’m gonna die probably so don’t throw your sister out in the trash. I gotta say those conversations are even less fun in reality. And they didn’t look real fun on the show. Sorry L – I hope you enjoyed seeing Joyce for the very last…..ooops spoiler. You are a Snow here, and not a Lannister. 😀

            Let’s see – I like the Spike and Buffy fight scene – mainly because he throws her a weapon and DOES NOT TRY TO RESCUE HER! This is important – even with all the skeevy (more to come) he seems to be the only one who realizes that the slayer is the best person to slay. He’s the anti-Riley, and Buffy is not a damsel in distress. But yeah, Skeevy basement lurking is ugh. Takes stalking to whole new levels.

            I had a thought (BEWARE). You mentioned elsewhere that you have a list of a bijillion things to cover. Can we votes on the order – like top vote getter goes first. It will help you target your audience, and it will also be fun

          • Disa

            “I like the Spike and Buffy fight scene – mainly because he throws her a weapon and DOES NOT TRY TO RESCUE HER! This is important – even with all the skeevy (more to come) he seems to be the only one who realizes that the slayer is the best person to slay.”

            Many +1s for that right there. That’s that giving her what she needs thing that nobody else seems to get right.

          • Jojo

            Yeah – with all his faults Spike gets it. It might be all he does get but he knows the slayer – any slayer – is in her own way as supernatural in abilities as a vampire. He also respects her experience. There was a reason he targeted slayers – they are faster and stronger than vampires.

          • When Dawn called out to Buffy, and she went running, I had all of these FAMILY! feels in one instant. It always flares up those feels in my that wishes I were so strong, fearless and capable. And then you measure that up against how, even so, B can’t save her family from everything. D: D: D:

            STOP MESSING WITH MY HEAD. I am now 97% sure Joyce dies. I’ve been trying to avoid episode descriptions, but if I think too much about some previously made comments, I think I can Lor Melisandre, look into some fire, and see what’s coming.

            The knife thing is a good point, and one I think we’re supposed to really pick up on, even going into the way he helps her up at the end of the fight. Whatever else Spike is (creepy stalker vamp!) he does consider Buffy his equal, or better, something that Riley has struggled with from the beginning.

            That is an excellent idea! I’d actually be really curious to see what everyone thinks we should cover next.

            I had a similar thought which I wasn’t going to mention until it was time, but I guess I am mentioning it anyways, but once we’re ready to wrap Buffy, I think we’re going to ask the readers for votes on which episodes they’d like us to revisit, not in full recap style, but just so we can discuss with no fear of spoilers, or answer an issues that were brought up in that recap/comments section.

            WE LOVE VOTES.

          • Clément Polge


            And Melissandre isn’t the only one putting her eye to the fire. The hound did too. And he got burned. BEWARE.

            (okay, granded, it was more hot coal than fire, and it was more “psycho brother held his head there” than “took a look” BUT STILL)

          • I didn’t really need the Hound as a warning because I was pretty immediately upset that I likened myself to Melisandre. EW.



          • TOO LATE.

          • SnazzyO

            Precisely. And NO ONE is going to confirm your Melisandre prognostications anyway. So, Lor Snow… live in doubt until you cry with joy or walk into the buzz saw of sadness. We live vicariously thru your trauma.

            “Occasionally, I’m callous and strange.” ~Willow Rosenberg

          • I mostly forgive this comment for the Willow quote at the end.

          • LOLOLOL

          • Jojo

            Oh goody! I can’t wait! For the voting. That wasn’t my sarcastic voice.

            I LIKE MESSING WITH YOUR HEAD. And I wash my hands before and after. I don’t want to give you brain cooties! Or get brain cooties, for that matter.

            Lor Melisandre – K, Sweeney – run before she gets the leeches or before she….ahem and then gets the leeches. Magic vagina can be tragic vagina! You don’t want to end up like Robb!.

        • THIS. Both this comment and this thread you guys have going back and forth here. All of Buffy’s struggles with the Joyce thing are so beautifully done.

          A+ for you, show.

          • Jojo

            And A+ 1430 for the Snark Squad because we have all gathered together here to praise you! Or praise Buffy. Or just hang out and praise.

            **happy family feels here**

    • Disa

      I loved her breakdown scene. She played it exactly right and it was hearbreaking. Girl does have an Emmy.

    • lev36

      Having been there too often myself, Buffy’s dish-washing breakdown gives me an overdose of feels as well. And that final scene with Joyce receding down the hallway too.

    • That moment with Buffy is so heartbreakingly perfect. When I see Buffy
      doing the dishes and playing the loud music and slowing losing that
      tight control she needs to keep functioning because she’s finally
      unobserved…I feel it. I understand it. I’ve been there too, and she
      takes us viewers right there with her.

      When things get so
      overwhelming that they can’t even begin to be processed without being
      completely paralyzing, sometimes it takes focusing on each little normal
      household task to get through one moment to the next. Sometimes the
      menial tasks are the only ones that still seem to have any meaning or
      purpose in life, because the personal world has been shaken so badly and
      the chores become the only stable touchstones. Interacting with other
      people, especially if one’s personality is
      inclined towards being private and/or self-sufficient (both of which are
      pretty much instinct/survival traits for a Slayer), can actually
      inhibit coming out
      of the emotionally shell-shocked state. Sometimes it’s only by hiding
      or escaping into the concentration on those daily tasks that grief can
      come through the numbness and shock to be expressed.

  • Clément Polge

    Yeah, Riley going to the dark side by getting all sucked on and things is the reason why I really hate him. I mean, ok, he’s always been this sort of towering corn-fed americain hero boy scout with all the blandness that comes with it, but he was sort of interesting, and this season was going pretty good for him. Ok, he didn’t really have any chemistry with SMG either, but I didn’t really mind, some couples look good together, and some look a little weird/awkward.

    But this seem so stupid and OOC for me, it just feels rushed to start pushing Riley to the door, and totally unnecessary, since there was already plenty for that.

    I remember next episode being pretty good on the Riley front though. I’m curious to see your Riley-hating ladies opinion on that (though I guess there’ll be a lot of “HUH, just LEAVE ALREADY” :p)

    • It is OOC, and I don’t LIKE the development, but it isn’t a big jump for me, especially after Riley’s conversation with Spike in the last episode. Spike basically said that Buffy likes his boys dark and dangerous. And here he is depressed, tons of free time, etc, etc, all the things we know about the Riley story line. Rock bottom for everyone would seem OOC.

      I’m curious to see my Riley reaction too because apparently I’ve acquired a little bit of sympathy for him now that he’s about to die and stuff. But also, yeah, leave already.

      • Clément Polge

        Is it me or are you basically predicting everyone’s death ? I know this is the whedonverse, and everyone’s likely to become a leaf on the wind, but SOME OF THEM have to survive 🙂

        • Maybe I got confused since Joyce is totes gonna die. D:

          Or MAYBE I meant metaphorical death, since Riley is going to be out of the universe soon.


          • Jojo

            George RR Martin says he kills everyone in the 6th book and the seventh book is a 1000 page description of the snow blowing over their graves.

            Whedon….no snow but other than that….yeah, there may be a death or two in store for us. Or more….or even lots more. In fact, where do you think the Walking Dead came from?! If you look really closely you can recognize all the characters!

        • Melbourne on my Mind

          The first rule of the Whedonverse is that no one is safe.

          The second rule of the Whedonverse is that sometimes he brings them back from the dead just to keep you on your toes. See: Phil Coulson.

      • Disa

        I think it’s very sad and awful, but not especially out of character. Riley’s personality and behavior are vastly different than the impression he projects. It’s actually one of the things I like about the character–gives him some complexity. He comes off as this sunny, aw shucks farm boy, but it’s a totally false impression.

        This dude is bright and ruthless. He’s special forces. Aw shucks farm boys don’t wind up in special forces doing covert ops. They don’t get tapped for super classified secret projects, either. On top of everything else, he’s a graduate student. That’s academic smart and not just wily street smarts. He’s really the best of the best and he always has been.

        And here he’s coming unhinged. He used to be The Guy In Charge, and now he’s not. His world has been yanked away from him. He’s angry and demoralized. Buffy doesn’t love him like he loves her, and she doesn’t need any of the things he’s offered her. Instead, she keeps going to fricken vampires, for god’s sake. And what’s so cool about vampires, anyway?

        • It’s funny how much we think of Riley as the aw shucks boy, even while he was the “bad ass” military man.

          If this is OOC, maybe it only is when we think about the Riley we were introduced to. As I said somewhere up there, that’s basically what rock bottom is, and that’s what Riley’s flirting with.

        • SnazzyO

          ” Aw shucks farm boys don’t wind up in special forces doing covert ops.
          They don’t get tapped for super classified secret projects, either.”

          Trust me… this is EXACTLY who gets tapped for these gigs. They have a clean background and are easily wrapped up in the flag and doing good for America. Riley’s background is A+ for the job he’s in.

          And being ‘aw schucks farm boy doesn’t always mean dumb. It can also mean IDEALISTIC. Which is why the betrayal of Maggie Walsh ROCKED his world. Riley’s experience is that if he does his homework and tries hard enough then he succeeds. It works out like that a lot of times. As a military guy he understands shit goes wrong but with the right training, you adapt and overcome. But he’s done his homework, he’s working real hard (in HIS mind) to be the best Slayer-boyfriend he can and it’s not working. He’s lost. He thinks Buffy is the ONE and he feels like he is not her ONE. When someone has been highly successful and yet are failing on the thing that matters most to them? It really undermines who they are. So Riley IMO is in crisis. As I said above, he’s starting to show signs of clinical depression as he’s isolating and becoming dysfunctional. This is not to say that he doesn’t own his actions — he does, but Riley has fallen into a pit of despair and he can’t see a way out IMO.

          • Disa

            I was actually using the phrase to mean simple, slow, and bashful–as in, not very bright, not able to deal with contingencies or complexities–because that’s the impression Riley gives. He’s actually uber-competent guy, which totally feeds into that thing you’re describing ^^ up there. He’s using the same intelligence and determination he’s always used, but this time IT’S NOT WORKING.

          • SnazzyO

            Got it. Being originally from Iowa myself, I rise to the defense of farm boys in general.

          • Disa

            I hear you. I grew up in rural Western Washington. Knew a farm boy who went away to become an Army Ranger. Whip smart, but he sometimes played the aw shucks card with people who didn’t know. When we were very young, I would sit in a half lotus on his shoulders and read while he did push ups. OMFWow…

            And that’s kind of how I see Riley. Intelligent and powerful and totally together. More than a catch for a human woman–even an extremely impressive human woman–but Buffy’s got a supernatural edge. He can’t seem to come to terms with it, so he’s been pretending it’s not there, and it’s not working for him.

  • Disa

    Debbie Lee Carrington played the creature. She does have dwarfism. She played the little bitty hooker in the 80s version of Total Recall.


    • Little bitty hooker and Space Cockroach are two impressive credits.

      • Jojo

        Just glad we didn’t have to deal with little bitty hooker cockroach…………..no, that actually might have been a lot of fun….gross and nasty fun.

        • Disa

          Snide Daughter (the elder sister of Brilliant Daughter) says, “I wanna be an actor. I wanna have this stuff on my resume.”

          • Jojo

            I wonder if that includes pictures. Cuz that would be startling.

  • lev36

    Now that Riley’s slipped up and admitted he is A, does that mean we’re gonna start seeing vampires and other “subterrestrials” in Rosewood?

    Angel would certainly fit right in there, with his habit of stalking high school girls. Makes Ezrafitz look like an amateur.

    • Angel and Ezra would TOTALLY write bad poetry together, probably while their underaged girlfriends were off taking naps.

      • Jojo

        Puhlease – Spike writes the bad poetry – Angel draws the pictures! Bot could so out stalk Ezra. I think Dru should have him as a snack!

        • Clément Polge

          What ? Come on ! Spike’s poetry is awesome!

    • Anagnorisis

      Well, PLL’s spinoff will have some supernatural events, so I guess we found the link?

    • Jojo


  • SnazzyO

    A+ on naming the MOTW (Monster of the Week) the Space Cockroach. Because it clearly got that large from the radiation of space and it’s really gross.

    This was a good study in grief, I thought. I +1’d Democracy Diva’s excellent comments because I think she really hit where Buffy is at.

    But I also think it’s time for a dialog about Buffy/Riley and why it is Biley (gross) vs Ruffy (hot). So the first thing is that both are doing the isolation routine. Buffy has been told she’s going to lose a lot of sleep to take care of Joyce. Does she call the no-job boyfriend or the Scoobies? No. Buffy is shutting down a bit. But hey, GRIEF!!! Big time. So this is a fairly normal reaction. Still, like Samwise explained to Frodo, she needs to share the load. But hey, Mom is dying of a brain tumor, Dawn is a ball of energy and not her sister, a Big Bad is tossing her about like a chew toy and a chipped vampire is creepy stalking. Shit is bad. So I get Buffy not calling for help. But it shows what I would call a continuity theme — Buffy pushes others to the side and tries to deal with shit herself. She’s survived as a Slayer this long because of her friends (see THEME of S4) but her instinct is to shoulder the load herself. Riley, on the other hand, has CROSSED THE LINE. It was one thing to try out a vampire bite to see what the attraction is. Now he’s wallowing in the filth. He’s letting a drugged out vampire suck on him (for the pleasure I presume) and shirking his duties. Is Riley clinically depressed? Maybe. He’s showing some signs. But he’s also showing his instinct to shoulder the burden alone. He opened up once to Xander but he’s run off on his own since then. In the previous episode he should have STAYED in the magic box rather than stalk off into a corner to brood. This episode he’s numbing his pain rather than checking on Buffy. Finally, he RUNS TO THE RESCUE rather than call? I know, they never call when it actually makes sense so I’m going to chalk that up to contrivance but yeesh.

    What pissed me off a bit: The Spike scene. It did no one any favors (except he get a +1 for tossing the knife to the Slayer rather than taking out the bug). But it is so utterly contriving that he’s there for the big fight and there to make a dig to Riley about being in Buffy’s life at the key moment when Riley was not. I HATE MISCOMMUNICATION BASED DRAMA. Riley presumes Buffy is leaning on Spike (I guess) because the idea that he just happened to be there when the Cockroach attacked is not the first thing that comes to mind. So… this contrived setup for a miscommunication drama pisses me off. It makes Spike look creepy-er, Buffy look dumb, and Riley look pathetic. Bad Whedon Bad Whedon. No cookies or rum for you!

    But rum all around for Dawn screams! Yes. Her vocal range needs to be tempered with alcohol. And I was so happy to see her stand up to that Cockroach.

    Finally, Joyce. She must have done something right because she raised two pretty kick-ass daughters. And her speech at the end to Buffy about protecting Dawn gave me FEELS.

    • Jojo

      Technically speaking she raised one kick ass daughter. Yeah – definitely contrivance to have Spike there, but it is also true that Buffy has a thing for vamps (Angel, Dracula’s bite, etc). But she is the freakin slayer. Riley seems to see that as a job title – something she can put down and walk away from. He will always come in second – and that is part of what bothers him.

      Most of all – the real issue – is that Riley is looking for serious commitment and marriage and fat grandchildren while Buffy is too damn young and not really interested. She has way too much going on in her life. And an early expiration date.

      It’s not just that they both internalize – it’s also that they are in such different places that communication has proven to be almost impossible between them. They may use and hear words, but they have no idea of the underlying meaning of those words – which gives them the illusion that they are communicating, the basis of the rejection Riley feels.

      As for Spike’s dig – very in character. The Initiative morons arrive too late…..surprise.

      • Disa

        It strikes me that Spike seems disapproving of Riley’s behavior here in much the same fashion that he was disapproving of Buffy withholding information from her mother back in season two. Riley isn’t there when Buffy needs him to be, full stop, so Spike stands in this weird moral judgment of him. “You just missed a real nice time,” he says with poisonous sarcasm, eyes narrowed, like he’s upbraiding Riley for misbehavior.

        It makes me wonder what vampire ethics look like. What kind of behavior is considered inappropriate? What makes someone a real dick from a vampire perspective?

        I know that seems like a strange question, but even really bad human people have lines and limits. A survey done some years ago, now, found that murderers, rapists, and thieves thought it was inappropriate to take a kid’s piggy bank. Also, prison is notoriously dangerous for child molesters. The other violent criminals take exception to them.

        • I find your IRL examples fascinating, and they sound vaguely familiar.

          And the question you pose intrigues me, but somehow I have a feeling that Spike’s ethics wouldn’t be completely in line with the general Vamp population, necessarily… He’s a bit of a unique case in other respects (love, for example), that it wouldn’t surprise me if he had his own ethical code, too.

          • Disa

            I’m not sure that is unique, though. There’s this exchange between Buffy and Darla from “Angel” back in season one:

            Darla: “Do you know what the saddest thing in the world is?”
            Buffy: “That hair on top of that outfit?”
            Darla: “To love someone who used to love you.”

            Naq guvf rkpunatr sebz Pehfu, Ohssl Frnfba Svir–

            Fcvxr: Lbh pna’g gryy zr gung gurer vfa’g nalguvat gurer orgjrra lbh naq zr. V xabj lbh srry fbzrguvat.
            Ohssl: Vg’f pnyyrq erihyfvba. Naq jungrire lbh guvax lbh’er srryvat, vg’f abg ybir. Lbh pna’g ybir jvgubhg n fbhy.
            Qehfvyyn: Bu, jr pna lbh xabj. Jr pna ybir dhvgr jryy…vs abg jvfryl.

            I’m not downplaying Spike’s singular strangeness, by any means. I just think that there’s an emotional complexity to vampires in general that perhaps Buffy–and the viewer, as a consequence–turns a blind eye to.

          • Disa

            Also, for what it’s worth, there’s this one from Harsh Light of Day.

            Harmony: “He staked me and he took it. Tried to take it right off my finger. Like I wouldn’t have just given it to him? I’d’ve given him anything he wanted. He was my platinum baby and I loved him.”

          • Fair enough that love is potentially a bad example. That was really just something I picked off the top of my head, unrelated to my main point.

            EDIT: Also, I wasn’t really saying that Spike was unique for being able to love, just the way he loves. I was thinking about some of the discussions from a prior episode when I thought of it. *Aria shrug*

          • Disa

            And I agree with you that Spike probably has his own ethical code. He’s a very strange vampire for many reasons that I can’t really get into very much without SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER!!! So, yeah.

          • …And that’s why he spawns such interesting discussions!

          • Jojo

            I tend to agree with you on the love issue. Not that other vampires are incapable of devotion – but as we saw on Angel this week.that devotion does not preclude leaving the loved one in a burning building after knocking him out and stealing the only horse. I can’t imagine Spike doing that – or Dru.

            Spike retains enough of William to still be love’s bitch – and he knows it quite well. And Harmony has been a piss poor vampire from the start. Without Spike she would have been staked early on, I suspect.

          • Right, so perhaps a better example of Spike’s unique qualities would be Spike’s devotion to those he loves. He sticks by them, no matter what, and no matter how they feel about him. And despite being love’s bitch, he’s still tough enough as a Vamp and a fighter that he can stand on his own, but chooses to stand by them.

          • Disa

            We’re looking at loyalty, honor, and valor, then. Chivalry, in a dark and creepy sweater-sniffing way. O.o There’s a concept.

            Edit: I decided to include this link anyway. If you are unspoiled, do not click.


          • Lol, yeah, that sounds about right for Spike, given some of the “spoilers, sweetie” ahead…

        • I’m pretty sure I’m inviting an argument I don’t want by underestimating Spike, but that theory seems like you’re reaching a bit. Spike’s comment didn’t really strike me as disapproving of his failure to be there for Buffy. It’s a comment in line with the earlier I-spent-the-night-getting-drinks-with-her comment — giving Riley shit about this additional piece of Buffy’s life for which Spike was present and Riley was not. Seems like a bit of a stretch to say that this was some moral judgement from Spike.

          • Disa

            Hmm. See, to me, the tone of the exchange seems different. In the earlier I-spent-the-night-getting-drinks-with-her comment, Spike was taunting Riley, messing with him. Here, he just seems annoyed. It’s the same expression and tone he used on Tara’s dad a few episodes ago. “I like you,” he said, when it was clear that he’d snap the man’s neck if he could.

          • SnazzyO

            I’m with Disa on the Spike-is-judging theory because Spike does judge for some things. I also agree that it was a two-fer: judge AND dig.
            I think Spike is the resident existentialist. He very much like Jack Sparrow (pop culture icon of modern existentialism) and allows Whedon and company to express the concept well. I wonder if Terry and Ted (authors of POTC) were Buffy fans?

          • Jojo

            He has an absolute belief in archetypes – and he is seldom wrong. It’s part of why he could do so much damage in The Yoko Factor.

          • Jojo

            I thought he meant “I like you, you slimy S.O.B.” He has no problem with how most humans are treated (at that point) and he is still taking pride in being evil. Were he not in love with Buffy I seriously doubt that he would have been annoyed at Riley.

            I agree that he was really reaching and twisting things to taunt Riley in the earlier episode, and he knew it. But he seemed more pissed at the fact that Riley claimed to love Buffy and yet he turned to his initiative buddies rather than having her back. Even the fact that he was there to filch has no import – once Buffy was in danger he had her back.

          • Disa

            Yeah. He just set aside everything else to do whatever he needed to do to support her. What he was doing in her house had nothing to do with her needing backup to kill the monster. Unrelated. Something real is happening, and it’s time to be serious.

        • Jojo

          I suspect anything that puts the group at risk – which was why Angelus was so pissed off at Spike in the mineshaft in Yorkshire. I think that the vampire orders also exist to practice a form of ecology – too many vampires would mean too little food. So the twin urges in any order would be keeping the vampire population under control and promoting your own ‘group’ into a safe niche (the local predators – top of the food chain). I imagine this would be the same for both the macro and the micro – Order and lair/family/gang. It works well as far as evolution is concerned – anyone stupid enough to flout this better be mean enough to take on all comers and win (Spike and Angelus in their own ways).

          Therefore – since Spike is now concerned with keeping Buffy alive and well he would expect Riley to make Buffy his first concern.Showing up after the fight is over would have been useless – and actually was useless.

          • Disa

            I like that. That nicely explains some of Angelus’ behavior from a moral standpoint, too, and it’s often hard to reconcile with Spike’s.

            One of the things the Scoobies appear unaware of is that Spike changed sides during Pangs. Sometime during the fight with the Native spirit, they became his pack. They disliked and distrusted him so much that they missed it completely, and then they made him regret it, of course, but still. At the end of the fight, he was tied to a chair and starving, lying on the floor with arrows sticking out of his chest, and he said, “What happened? Did we win?”

          • Jojo

            And, in Family – he went to see Buffy get killed, then helped her instead of allowing it to happen. Clearly the poor boy is torn between who he was, and who he is turning into. Keep in mind that Spike can kill demons so he could gather a group of minions and really cause havoc. But he hasn’t made any move to do that – didn’t even before the dream.

            I do think Spike is using them as his gang – a vampire on his own is not safe so one who has always lived in a lair with others would feel naked without some sort of gang. Yeah, they may last a decade but not much longer. And stupid vampires would be too selfish to reproduce but even if they do, they couldn’t train their fledges.

            Of course, I also think that vampires were one of the first groups to use computers. Just turn some programmers and hackers and you have an impenetrable website. Where else would Spike have read about the anointed one?

    • Melbourne on my Mind

      I tried to think of a punnier name for the Space Cockroach, but I just kept coming back to that. So I stuck with it. Thank you for appreciating my half arsed efforts.

      • SnazzyO

        Your welcome. Appropriately snarky character names is essential, those with puns are extra double bonus points because they are hard to come buy. But you captured it’s essence well.

  • Anagnorisis

    I don’t hate Anna Paquin (even if she ruined Rogue for me lol), but I can’t watch that show for many reasons, one of them being that I don’t understand why those two vampires are fighting over her when they could be sleeping with each other.
    And no, sorry but I still have the same opinion about withholding information about Dawn being the key. Dawn WILL found out (it’s not a spoiler I guess, it’s kind of obvious), there’s no way they can hide it forever and Dawn will be angry with everybody apart from being sad.
    But still I guess I can’t blame Buffy, she’s got too much going on. Ugg I fell so sorry for her 🙁 SMG really was amazing here.
    And I wasn’t bothered by the pace Cockroach and I even liked the scene with Joyce in her room and the SC in the ceiling. (‘Like’ in a ‘this scene is genuinely creepy and sad and horrible’ way).

    • Rogue is the source of my Anna Paquin rage, BTW. It’s admittedly not entirely her fault; the script made her emo and lame. Still, she played the tragic unacceptable bastardization of my sassy childhood hero. I also hate that in every clip I’ve heard, their southern accents ARE SO. FUCKING. AWFUL. Maybe they get better with time, but I saw some snippets of the first season and their fake southern accents were the absolute worst.

      The Dawn = key thing is just hard. I get what you’re saying, and I’m seldom PRO-withholding information, but how do you tell an emotional 14 year old that they’re not a real person? That’s just a rough situation. I think that’s all we were trying to say up there. Not that it’s the RIGHT choice, but that it’s not quite so cut and dry.

      • Disa

        You don’t tell her she’s not a real person, just like you don’t tell children you’ve adopted that they’re not really your kids. They are yours. Dawn is real. In both cases, they just got there in an unusual way. That’s what you tell them.

        • Fair. I just give Buffy some leeway on not understanding how exactly to approach this situation. Right or wrong, I get it.

          • Disa

            Oh yeah. Me too. Just seems like the first thing the whole group does, whenever there’s trouble of any kind, is keep stuff from Dawn.

          • Truth. This is an on-going problem of theirs. While I get it, sometimes, it’s also an example of why Dawn gets a bit of an unfair bad rap. It’s easy to say, “Oh, they shouldn’t trust her with stuff because she brats about things all the time,” but this speaks to a larger problem in which kids live down to our expectations. If they trusted her more, included her more, she’d have more opportunity to be a capable human being.

          • SnazzyO

            This x1000.

          • geff

            Definitely agree with this. But on the other hand, even though she has some great moments, I think overall the writers fail to characterize Dawn very well. That speaks more to future spoilery things but still, she doesn’t have the same layered personality that the other Scoobies have.

          • But isn’t that partly a product of the consistent exclusion? That’s part of my point. (I mean, I’m also making a point about non-show things in which actual children with actual depth and layers and the like who are so frequently underestimated by adults.) Dawn doesn’t get nearly as many opportunities to acquire/demonstrate layers as the other Scoobies.

          • geff

            True, especially your real-world point. You have to give kids an environment where they feel trusted and capable in order for them to behave that way. Really it’s not even just kids, that applies to everyone. When it comes to the show I have trouble determining whether Dawn’s lack of depth is a writing fail or a character/Scooby fail. I guess it could be both, but I lean a bit more towards the writing because often when they try to make things more Dawn-centric in the future it falls flat.

          • YES.

            And I don’t really remember all of that. I’ve said this before, but some combination of the time spent blogging the first few seasons/thinking about them so intensely, and the difference in the way that I watched 4-7 (I PLOWED through 1-3 in like two or three days. It took me a solid month to get through S4 and after that, I never got back to the ALL THE TIME pace of the first three season, partly because of this shift and also because classes resumed by then so I had other shit to do) POINT: I mostly remember major stuff from 4-7, rather than smaller things, so I’m eager to revisit this question as we watch.

          • geff

            That’s so funny, I’m almost the opposite. It took me over a year before I got through the first two seasons and from S3 on I watched it all in a matter of weeks. That’s not indicative of my favorite episodes or seasons, I just didn’t get hooked on the show till S3. It’ll be interesting to see how you remember the show/what opinions have changed or stayed the same 🙂 I’m not a Dawn-hater by any means, I actually like her quite a bit, she’s just not my favorite.

          • Izzygirl

            There is a scene coming up where Dawn is questioned by Glory that sort of justifies everyone keeping Dawn in the dark about her nature, because there’s no way she could have bluffed her way through that convo 😉 (It’s been a while since I last watched this season, but I’m pretty sure Dawn didn’t know she was the Key at that point.)

          • darkalter2000

            Rot13 on Spoilers.

      • ie, the Southern Accents, this is part of the reason I run around yelling SOOKEH IS MAHN in random Fifty Shades posts. Because they are seriously hilarious.

        • Jojo

          I tried to watch it…but it’s too damn stupid. Once we got into fairy godmothers I ran away!

      • Jojo

        How do you not tell her? It’s not like it can remain a secret forever cuz someone powerful is trying to get her and kill her. I suspect it’s like telling a 14 year old that she has leukemia, or that her parents died in a car crash. If you need her to act a certain way (not put herself and others in danger) then she needs all the information. Besides, she’s already suspecting something.

      • Melbourne on my Mind

        Confession: I’m still pissed that I couldn’t find a “Sookeh is MAHN” gif for one of our very first Buffy posts. And no. The accents do NOT improve.

  • geff

    I pretty much agree with everyone that the snot monster plot is meh but the Summers family still drives the episode with all the feels. Plus it’s got some nice Scooby moments.

    Buffy crying while washing dishes is definitely a very real, relatable, and heart-breaking moment. Democracy Diva worded it so well – all those horrible feelings of helplessness when a loved one is ill are magnified for a powerful but emotional character like Buffy, and the show does a good job of conveying that. Is it weird that I actually like that Dawn scream? At least when it’s coupled with Buffy spinning around and immediately running to help them. I dunno, I thought that was a nice understated hero moment, and Dawn holds her own pretty well fighting off the Queller demon.

    Also, snaps to Lor for remembering the yo-yo continuity! That’s impressive.

    • geff

      do people say ‘snaps to?’ I’m gonna pretend that they do. 😀 Also I had to look up what SOL meant haha.

      • I DO. And I think Lor does too, but maybe I’m just saying that because I like to pretend we share all the thoughts.

  • Robin Goode Borke

    Okay, that image of Joyce looking at her girls for what could be the last time kicks me to the couch o’feelz every. Effing. Time. Mostly ’cause I’ve got a few daughters of my own, but also because i dig how Giles lowers his head in his signature, ‘yes, well, these emotions I’m feeling are rather unseemly’ way.

    • SnazzyO

      Runs back to look at Giles….ooooh good catch.

      Of course that made me watch SMG eyes get wide AGAIN when Joyce says “My sweet brave Buffy, what would I do without you?” You just KNOW Buffy is thinking “What will I do without MY MOM?” AAAAAHHHHHHHHH…..I need chocolate chocolate chip fudge cake, warmed with vanilla ice cream. STAT.

      • Robin Goode Borke

        I approve of this coping mechanism.

        • Jojo

          It’s even better with rum poured over it.

          • Jojo

            Ice Cream is even better, I mean – though coping mechanisms and alcohol are also good.

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  • SonicRulez

    Well it took her being sick and dying, but Joyce is finally being a 10/10 parent. “She belongs to us” is just so cute. What’s the next episode?

    *checks title*

    It’s time. Fuck right off, Riley “Suck Job” Finn.