Buffy the Vampire Slayer S06 E07 – Exploding From Feels

Previously: Buffy continues to struggle with being back in Sunnydale and Spike is the only one who knows she wasn’t in a hell dimension. Shit got extra Sunnydale for Dawn when she had to stake her first kiss and Willow used magic to wipe Tara’s memory after fighting over her magic use.

Once More With Feeling

Sweeney: The episode begins with a totally delightful bit of opening credits manipulation that reminds me of Bewitched. The credits feature some fun upbeat music that continues even after the episode ends with the title.

Lorraine: I feel like this episode was telling us right from the beginning that it was going to be fantastic. I was sold 10 seconds into the episode. There was happy seal clapping involved.

Kirsti: The first line of my notes says “These credits remind me of Bewitched!” I’m glad we established our mindmeld only seconds into the episode, Sweeney.

Sweeney: A “Snark Squad Mindmeld Achieved!” gif is definitely a thing that should exist. As is Lor’s happy seal clapping. I want that image in my life on the daily.

The magical credits are followed by a series of quick shots of everyone getting ready for and then going about their day, communicating by way of expressive faces. Everyone seems normal except Buffy, who is always very somber looking.

Sidebar flail: Adam Shankman choreographed this episode. I know him primarily as a judge on So You Think You Can Dance, where he the most adorable ever. I didn’t realize he choreographed this until just now, so that’s exciting.

Back to Buffy. It’s night and she’s walking through the cemetery and bursts into song before breaking into dance. The vampires and demons she’s fighting occasionally join her in “Going Through The Motions.” Pause for a second to say that the Numbers Gods don’t like me nearly as much as everyone seems to think they do because I keep getting all the episodes that are great but also so different that they’re kind of impossible to recap. I’m just going to try to get us through the episode and let the other girls do all the pause/flail for the million perfect moments. Oh, sorry, spoiler alert: this episode is perfect.

ANYWAY, this is the point where we confirm that what was already shaping up to be a weird, kooky episode is, in fact, a musical episode! Shocking! Except for those of us who came to the show late, because there’s really no way you can make it all the way to season six without knowing that there’s a musical episode of this show. The opening number sets the tone for the episode both by establishing this very movie musical set-up (down to the fact that random demons she’s slaying join in her musical number) to the song itself. Thankfully these song titles are pretty descriptive; it’s about how she’s been off her game since coming back and not really feeling it so much as just “going through the motions.”


Lor: AAAH! THIS IS SO EXCITING. Okay, so firstly, the “Overture” was wonderful. It would almost set the stage for an incredible happy episode but we know right off the bat that things aren’t exactly so happy: Buffy sits in her bed and just stares at the alarm clock. Everyone is up and getting ready to face the day and she can’t get out of bed. This leads to “Going Through the Motions,” in which we hear Buffy say in so many words that she’s putting on the act we’ve been witnessing over the last few episodes. It’s so gutting to hear her say it… but also I’m tapping my feet to this almost Disney-like music and OMG WHAT IS HAPPENING? EMOTIONS ARE CONFUSED.

K: I was going to say exactly the same thing about the overture, Lor. And there are no words for how much I adore the cheese-tastic ending to “Going Through the Motions” with Buffy appearing through the cloud of vampire dust. Also, God bless Joss Whedon for putting the cast through three months of singing and choreography classes before they filmed this episode. 

Sweeney: Back to the next morning / the morning in which episode started. Buffy arrives at The Magic Box and makes awkward conversation, to which the gang half responds. Finally she just comes right out and asks if anyone else burst into song the previous night.


As it turns out, yes, indeed! They were all just going about their lives and then suddenly became characters in a musical, complete with synchronized dancing and rhyming and such. Xander says it was deeply disturbing. As soon as they start trying to figure out what caused it, Xander and Giles kick off, “I’ve Got A Theory.” Delightfully, this song includes tangents about their discomfort with all the singing, and a ridiculous rock sidebar from Anya about the possibility that bunnies are responsible.


They move back into “I’ve Got A Theory” and Buffy doesn’t really have a theory, but she leads them into “If We’re Together,” because they can solve any of the things together, duh. Giles steals that number. I love him.

Lor: AAAAAHHHH! Okay, sorry. I’m going to try to stop starting all my comments with screams. I just have to say that I knew there was a musical episode, obvs. From the beginning of time (or like Buffy-caps on SS) people have been saying they can’t wait until this episode, so I knew it was here. However, I didn’t know that the characters in the show were going to acknowledge the musical as part of the plot. THIS IS SO BRILLIANT.

Also, I agree about Giles. Before “I’ve Got a Theory,” when they are all talking about breaking into song, he offers the best, “well, I sang, but I had my guitar at the hotel…” followed by a, “that would explain the huge backing orchestra I couldn’t see…”

I’m so in love.

K: I think my favourite parts of “I’ve Got a Theory”/”If We’re Together” are as follows:
1. Tara’s jazz hands when Willow suggests that “some kid is dreaming/and we’re all stuck inside his whacky Broadway nightmare” and
2. Buffy punning in song form with her “Hey, I’ve died twice.

Sweeney: This episode appropriately has a lot of jokes about Buffy’s personal death count. They’re both funny and feelsy, because Whedon.

After the singing, Anya suggests that the first step in figuring out what’s causing the singing would be finding out if they are the only ones affected. Buffy pokes her head outside to confirm singing in the streets of Sunnydale. (“The Mustard.”) Nope, not just them.

Later, Dawn bursts in eager to tell everyone about what happened at school. Buffy steals her thunder by offering up the singing/dancing.


Over at the Round Table of Research, Willow and Tara are being extra flirty and not so much with the research and paying attention. Given that Willow wiped Tara’s memory at the end of the previous episode, this is more uncomfortable than adorable. Dawn sits at the counter and casually swipes a necklace. Willow and Tara leave.

Outside, I can no longer not address the Ren Faire costume Tara appears to be nonchalantly wearing out and about. Willow’s floor-length, long-sleeved pink dress is also silly and not at all casual. I don’t know what to say/do about any of this, but I’d rather focus on that than the horribly inappropriate thing that Willow did. Tara’s sweet I-love-my-girlfriend happiness grosses me out knowing the manipulation that preceded it. Some guys are also staring at Tara’s costume, though Willow is sure its her hotness. To be fair, the corset does look good on her, absurdity aside. Tara also jokes about being “cured” and wanting the boys. It’s almost cute.


Tara then bursts into the sweet love song, “Under Your Spell.” It is, of course, laced with double meaning, because Tara is literally under a spell Willow cast. They do a lot of little twinkly things with their hands and give it a very Disney love song feel.


Then they do a little couple twirl that takes them from the park to their bedroom. It then takes a very decidedly non-Disney turn when it is implied that Willow is going down on Tara and she’s floating/orgasming.

Lor: This freakin’ number. First, Amber Benson has a pretty voice. Second, this is so deeply disturbing. Tara talks about how being with Willow basically brought her out of her shell, and that’s true, I believe. Those two were really great for each other… up until they weren’t. “Something just isn’t right,” Tara sings. “I’m under your spell.” Willow ruined a good thing with her magic abuse. “You just took my soul with you/You worked your charm so well.” The use of “soul” here is interesting. Souls are BFD in the Buffy universe, and Tara says that Willow took hers. The double meaning of being robbed of her conscious, of her choice? UGH. I’m going to go stare at that sparkle gif and try and forget the lyrics.

K: Speaking of the lyrics, who else but Joss Whedon would create a musical episode of a TV show and then include a verse in one of those songs solely dedicated to oral sex? I also feel like this was a big fat “Hey, we’re on a new network that lets us do stuff!” thing.

Sweeney: I heartily agree with everything you’ve said about Tara and Willow, say some of the same at the end of the post, but nice catch on all those details. And +1 to that too, Kirsti. Let’s all stare at the sparkle gif and giggle at the oral sex verse for a bit to distract ourselves.

The song cuts off abruptly and takes us to The Magic Box where Xander is grumpy that they’re not even working. They try to talk around the fact that he means that they’re off having sex by saying that they’re off singing. Both correct, Xander! Dawn shushes Buffy’s concerns about hearing these things and adds that she finds all this singing and dancing romantic and once again is the person to ask the fatal, “What could possibly go wrong!?”

With that, we segue to a random dude in a suit tap dancing. YAY TAP DANCING! I always have a soft spot for tap dancers on So You Think You Can Dance because tap was always my favorite when I took dance classes. TAP TAP TAP. Unfortunately, it doesn’t go so well for this guy. He’s sweating and eventually overheats and bursts into flames. We see the back of a red demon standing over the scorched corpse saying, “That’s entertainment.

The next morning, Anya and Xander wake up and are being cute. Anya sits up and sings about how much she loves Xander, and Xander eventually joins. The song, however is called, “I’ll Never Tell,” and is a silly talking-to-the-audience number about all the coupley things they do to drive each other nuts. In the final verse they admit to some real fears: Xander’s concerns about forever and also EX-DEMON!, and Anya’s fears from having watched a thousand years of weddings and betrayals.


Lor: Buffy’s opening number was pretty honest, though she was mostly alone in the graveyard. The group numbers have had double meanings, but this song is a straight confessional. If we hadn’t gotten that things aren’t all fun and games, this is the moment where it’s confirmed. “I’ll never tell,” they sing, all while telling the things the don’t want to say. Perhaps Buffy isn’t the only one going through the motions. It’s clear that Anya and Xander have real issues to address, but they don’t. Well, at least not willingly.

K: Can we talk about how much I love the fact that they repeatedly broke the fourth wall throughout this song? Because it was fabulous. Also, I’m crazy impressed that Emma Caulfield could dance in those shoes. Also also, said song includes a reference to Pangs and now I feel the need to search through the depths of my inbox for message alert/ringtone Sweeney made of Spike saying “YOU MADE A BEAR!”.

Sweeney: I feel like this scene can easily get lost in this amazing episode, but I fully agree. Some of my favorite breaking-the-fourth-wall moments are here (Buffy gets the actual best later) and I’m so in love with Emma Caulfield here.

They end the song laughing on their couch before we cut to them telling Giles how miserable this is and begging him to make it stop. As Giles is trying to tell them it’s not that simple, and about the scorched corpse a random woman is singing the wonderfully emotional number “The Parking Ticket” to a cop. I feel your pain lady. Sing on, girl. Sing on. (L: A+) Anyway, apparently there were many of these corpses, though they’re not entirely sure if these two things are related. They’re also not entirely sure if Buffy is really working on things, because everyone knows she’s been off.

Lor: Big shout out to the men dancing with brooms in the background of this scene too. Fantastic.

Sweeney: Buffy goes to get Spike, who is already aware of the big musical craziness. She wants to know what he knows. With that, he says he doesn’t know anything and tries to make her leave. She’s confused by his demeanor, and doesn’t go. Unfortunately for Spike, but fortunately for us, he is not spared his musical number to Buffy: “Rest in Peace.” In short, if she can’t love him then he wants her to back the hell off and “stop visiting [his] grave.” They move outside and terrorize a funeral that’s happening inexplicably late at night. This is basically just a convenient excuse for them to fall down into an empty grave, Buffy landing on Spike as he finishes his number. She looks at him for a beat and then shoots off, running out of the cemetery. Spike pops his head up and earnestly asks if she’s not staying.


Lor: At the risk of image overloading this recap (LOL. AS IF.) can I just share these Tweets that happened while I was watching?

spike singing tweets


K: I stand by my tweet. 

Lor: But seriously though (giggle) I’ve been saying FOR.EVER. that I have an issue with the way Buffy uses Spike, and it’s nice to get confirmation here that he isn’t immune to it. Half of him is taking what he can get and the other half would be killed if he were alive. It’s understandable and it all goes back to Spike being love’s bitch.

K: First of all, I adore that we get another “Buffy thinks Spike’s hot” line in her “What else would I want to pump you for? …I really just said that, didn’t I?“. Secondly, I like that Spike got a rock-y number to remind us all of his resemblance to Billy Idol. And finally, that “If my heart could beat, it would break my chest” line kills me every time.

Sweeney: The feels of the scene only get me in retrospect because I’m a bit too giggly during as well. I agree on all counts, though. I love that he got a rock number; nothing else would have been appropriate. It’s also very! significant! that we address how badly used Spike feels.

Chez Summers. Tara stands in Dawn’s doorway and asks if she has a lot of homework. She also fills us in on Willow’s latest lead in the musical demon mystery: it’s a demon that can be summoned. Dawn looks a little shifty as she asks if they know who did it, but Tara says they’re still working on that. Tara’s sure brainy Willow can do it, though, and Dawn seizes that opportunity to change the subject. She’s glad Tara and Willow aren’t fighting any longer. Tara is confused and asks Dawn to elaborate a little. Tara looks down at some flowers on her shirt and awkwardly makes an excuse about why she has to leave, promising not to be gone long.

Once Tara is gone, Dawn goes to her jewelry box and inspects her stolen goods. She starts singing, “Dawn’s Lament,” asking if anybody notices or cares (15 year-old’s lament). She’s quickly cut off, though, by some creepy doll headed dudes kidnapping her.

Lor: Dawn’s lament lasts two lines. LOL. Poor Dawny…

K: Poor Dawny gets a dance number on account of Michelle Trachtenberg didn’t want to sing, so…yeah. She DOES get to fulfil that screaming clause in her contract though! 

Sweeney: It’s funny and appropriate, though, that the oh-so-15-year-old’s lament is cut off after two lines. Poor, poor Dawny. (But girl does get her dance on quite successfully.)

Dawn wakes up on a pool table in The Bronze. It appears empty, but then the Doll Faced Kidnappers appear and they do a cool little dance number. Dawn looks quite lovely here, creep/WTF factor aside. Michelle Trachtenberg’s a good dancer. She falls at the feet of a tap dancer who turns out to be the red (or is it more copper?) demon we saw earlier. He introduces himself with “What You Feel,” in which he summarizes the have-feelings-sing-them we’ve observed all episode, adding that he is responsible for this because someone (Dawn) sent for him. The song also explains that people are basically exploding from their feels and also that when they’re done with Sunnydale, she’s going back with him to be his queen. (“What do you mean, I’m 15, so this queen thing’s illegal.” LOL, Dawny doesn’t understand the pedo factor of Traumaland. Sorry, girl.) Dawn magically acquires a weird satiny dress to go with her future queen status.

Dawn keeps trying to get the Demon of the Dance to let her go because she’ll be late to see her sister, who is the slayer. The Demon of the Dance is stoked because he wants to watch her burn. Given the bringing out feelings + overwhelming feelings = burning, it’s kind of amazing that she hasn’t yet join the scorched. Slayer strength must include amazing emotional repression skills. (Until it is dramatic and plot relevant, OBVI!)

Lor: I feel like “exploding from feels” just legitimized this episode even more. The Snark Ladies are here to say that exploding from feels is almost certainly a thing and would be a wicked power for any baddie to wield.

Also, it’s interesting to note that during a particularly pedo-rific few seconds of this song, Dawn is swaying her hips and dancing pretty sexily. And then she’s all, “OMG. 15. ILLEGAL.” She keeps having these moments where she demands to be treated as more of an adult and then quickly backs away from that. In this episode, we see her assure Tara that she can totally stay alone without getting into trouble… and then getting kidnapped. Recently, we saw her argue her way into research duty… only to be put off by demon penis. I just keep feeling bad for Dawny.

K: Meanwhile, I’m off on a ranty tangent about how much I hate it when characters on TV shows/in movies tap dance, but their shoes don’t have taps on them. Like, if you’re going to cut the sound and dub in the taps afterwards anyway, why not at least give them tap shoes?!?!?! #formertapdancerproblems

Sweeney: Oh, I absolutely noticed the lack of tap shoes. BUT I DON’T EVEN CARE BECAUSE TAP TAP TAP.

With that, we segue magic to Buffy in her training room with Giles, though they’re not entirely sure what it is that they’re training for right now. Buffy’s more concerned that the training is going to turn into an 80’s movie montage of some sort. Giles plans to just lie down until it goes away if that feeling comes on again. Buffy makes some “LOL I was just dead jokes,” that Giles doesn’t find funny. He asks her if she’s talked to Dawn about Halloween yet, and she assumed he’d do it and doesn’t know what she’d do without him. And with that, the feels are more than even the Giles strategy of lying down and waiting it out can resist. Cue “Standing,” complete with Buffy fighting in slow motion. At the end of this big emotional song about how his efforts to help her have proven more of a crutch than anything else, it turns out that Buffy didn’t hear it — she was very focused on the slow motion training. I enjoy hearing him sing most of all and this song just gave me buckets of Giles feels. His song is the one that is least about himself. Even his big epic feelings are ultimately about how Buffy is doing and what is best for her. I want to hug him. (L: +1.)

K: There are no words for how much I adore “Standing”. And the look on his face when Buffy’s all “Wait, were you talking just then?” breaks my heart.

Sweeney: This is probably the bit that I want to spend the most time talking about, as evidenced by the above, but YES.

During that song we briefly cut to the Magic Box where Tara was emotionally going to grab a book from the restricted section. We cut to her up there and she identifies the flower from her sweater as one used for forgetting and mind control. This segues into a lovely little duet between Amber Benson and ASH. These two are the ones I’ve most enjoyed hearing sing, so I love that they got a duet. I hate that it’s “Wish I Could Stay,” because of character/feelings reasons, but I’ll take it.

Lor: Giles and Tara get so little overlap, so to see them here both arriving at the, “I’m going to leave someone I love” conclusion? Feels-splosion.

K: Not gonna lie, this is my favourite song from the whole episode, despite the millions of feels it delivers.

Sweeney: I love when you show your inner Team Feels side. It’s probably my second favorite, because they are both so awesome.

After that amazing song, Spike bursts in with a Doll Kidnapper, the gang is gathered round to hear what he has to say and the music swells but he actually speaks, rather monotonously, catching them up on what we witnessed between Dawn and Demon of the Dance. He runs off. Giles and Tara have their stern faces on, and Giles says that they’re not going because Buffy has to go alone. Tara is also very quick to shoot down Willow’s suggestion of a spell. Spike gets very adamant about them going to help, but Buffy reminds him that his song told her to leave him alone. He storms off, saying he hopes she and the little bit dance until they burn. (Included basically just because I love when he calls Dawn little bit.)

With that, Buffy has to set off on her own and sing her big hero song. AKA AN AWESOME SONG. After her verse of “Walk Through The Fire,” Spike joins in to sing about how he’s gotta help her — complete with a lovely assist from Demon of the Dance. Back in The Magic Box, the gang does a verse about how they’re off to join her too.

Lor: Before, I was going to say something about how while I understand why Giles feels like he has to leave Buffy again, there has to be some sort of option C, where he puts some space between them. But this here is why he can’t. It isn’t only about Buffy; when he’s near enough to help, he can’t help but help.

Sweeney: Precisely. He knows she’s hurting and only wants to help her, but the dynamic of their relationship ultimately does more harm than good.

Buffy’s additional bits are about how her friends can’t hang and the endless days are finally ending. Tara’s got some lovely little contributions — mostly for the sake of Amber Benson’s singing — about how dark and shitty things have gotten. This song is the epitome of how impossible this episode is to recap, because you have to just listen to the song and watch to get the full impact of the magic overlayed shots of everyone singing and being awesome.

Lor: Which is a good place to say I laughed so much after Tara sings, “Everything is turning out so dark,” and Willow follows up with, “I think this line is mostly filler.” LOL. WHUT.

K: Willow’s line is Whedon’s sneaky reference to Alyson Hannigan being all “Noooooooooooooooo, don’t make me sing!!!!”. Also, “Walk Through the Fire” has a lot of really interesting parallels to Bargaining – Buffy’s walking around Sunnydale by herself with things strangely on fire all over the place, and her friends nowhere to be seen (from her perspective, at least).

Sweeney: That song ends with Buffy’s arrival at The Bronze (K: And it’s seriously BAMF-y). She tells Demon of the Dance that he’s gotta take her in Dawn’s place, and banters about how #meh life is. With that Buffy loses her jacket and sings what starts out crazy upbeat and hopeful and not at all like Buffy of any season, but least of all S6 Buffy. There’s an adorable declaration to the camera/audience that “you can sing along.” The gang arrives just as the song shifts to her struggles with being like other girls and asking for something to sing about. Anya and Tara join her s backup dancers and it’s excellent.

Lor: I about melted when Giles tells them that Buffy needs back-up and they join to dance. THIS IS SO FANTASTIC I’M MELTING.

Sweeney: I should say now that I never re-watched any of the series because we started recapping right after I finished my first watch, and I never bothered with skipping ahead. I’m perplexed by how I didn’t set aside all the weekends of always to watch Buffy’s adorable little dance moves during this song.

Last chance for good feelings, though, because it’s now time for things to get slow and tragic as she informs the gang, repeatedly, that she was ripped out of heaven. She says it enough times for us to get a dramatic reaction shot of each Scooby realizing what they’ve done. Willow, rightfully, looks most horrified of all.


K: As much as Willow’s expression hurts, I think Giles’ expression when she sings “Knowing that it ends/Well that depends/On if they let you go” is worse. It’s almost like he realises where Buffy was but doesn’t want to believe it, only to have his theory confirmed seconds later by Buffy herself.

Sweeney: Agreed. I’m sure everyone’s tired of hearing me say how many Giles feels this episode gave me, but WHATEVA, I DON’T CURR.

After this, the song picks back up with more emotional declarations of “Give Me Something to Sing About.” (K: All the bonus points ever to SMG for being able to tear up while singing) Then her dance break gets crazy and she starts doing the smoking thing.

This is stopped by Spike, though, who grabs her mid-spin and sings about how life isn’t a song and you have to go on living. “Life’s not a song/Life isn’t bliss/Life is just this/It’s living/You’ll get along/The pain that you feel/You only can heal/By living/You have to go on living/So one of us is living.” Dawn chimes in at the end by reminding Buffy of her amazing last words, “The hardest thing in this world is to live in it.” This is my latest and greatest reason for having an inappropriate emotional outburst on a plane. DON’T MIND ME, PASSENGERS. I’M JUST EXPERIENCING ALL OF THE FEELINGS. CARRY ON.

After the song, Demon of the Dance congratulates them on a great number, though laments the lack of fireworks.

Lor: Willow just straight up GROWLS at him to GTFO at this point, and the fact that he can feel her power and basically decides to scamper off is chilling. Everything is turning dark, indeed.

Sweeney: He says it’s time for him and Dawn to be off, but she insists that she didn’t summon any demon. When he points out the necklace she’s wearing she awkwards that it was just lying on the floor at the magic box. There’s an awkward moment in which they try to figure out who did the summoning if it wasn’t her. Xander reluctantly raises his hand. He says he didn’t know all of this was coming, and just thought it would be all singing and dancing and a happy ending for him and Anya. Oof. I forgot about this bit. I think it’s fair to claim that this is another instance of Xander’s character being sacrificed for plot reasons, though it’s not insignificant that he’s the most convenient/obvious person to put to that purpose. By this point in time, there is no fucking excuse for Xander to still to pull, “I DIDN’T KNOW BAD STUFF WOULD HAPPEN IF I SUMMONED A DEMON!” High school Xander who was new to this world? Sure. I get that Xander’s only about 20 and thus still quite young/immature, but this is beyond that and into full-fledged stupid/irresponsible/reckless territory. Get your shit together, Xander.

K: Honestly, I think it would have worked much better if it had been a random stranger rather than Xander. Or the Trio, as much as it would have sucked to have them cluttering up the screen in this episode…

Sweeney: YES. Legit anything but this character assassination. It’s fine and didn’t bother me on first watch because I wasn’t thinking much about it, but now that we’re watching all analytically, this annoys me ever more the longer I think about it.

Anyway, with that little plot twist, Demon of the Dance is all, “Well, shit.” He doesn’t want Xander, though, so he sings about how much fun their misery was and poofs off to his particular hell dimension. It can’t be that hellish, though. NGL. I think it’s probably kind of like this Onion article about hell being a thriving epicenter of gay culture.

K: Plus, Sweet earns himself a gold star on the way out the door: “Say you’re happy now/Once more with feeling”!

Sweeney: This is why I had to leave those details to you guys. Excellent catch.

There’s a long pause as they all process what just happened. Then they sing, “Where Do We Go From Here,” in which they realize that while it’s technically over, things definitely just took a turn, with all of the big revelations of the episode.


Lor: That gif above, with the lyric, “Understand we’ll go hand in hand/But we’ll walk alone in fear,” stabbed me in the heart. What made this episode possible was the fact that they’ve all been hiding things from each other, shouldering their own burdens, keeping secrets and essentially harboring that fear of being honest with each other. Where do they go from here? What’s happened cannot be ignored by any involved.

Sweeney: During the song’s big group dance number, Spike is the first one to shake off the spell and peace out. (K: “Pff. Bugger this.” PERFECTION) Once outside, he is promptly followed by Buffy. He tells her to go back inside and finish the number.

Lor: Have we added Music Man reference shots to the website yet? Basically it’s where 99% of the time, I’m trying to make a Music Man reference, and I take a shot. And then, like, 1% of the time, someone else makes a reference and I get SO HAPPY I take a shot.

Sweeney: I was not previously familiar with it, but this is an amazing game!

Buffy cuts him off, though, with a short Fire reprise. He joins as she sings about wanting to feel things. Like his face on her face. They get a big dramatic makeout session as the end credits start, with an overlay of a curtain closing on them. THE END.

There are a thousand things to say about this episode. It really could have been dissected song by song. Maybe will have a post like that during finale week. (We’ve batted around a million ideas for the series finale week. Know that we are planning on making a very serious BIG FUCKING DEAL out of it when we get there.)

It’s another one of those amazingly out there episodes that Joss Whedon does so perfectly. Part of the perfection is, of course, in the unexpectedness of it. Even knowing it’s coming, as we all did, the set-up is still just perfect in making it feel as though you didn’t know it was coming. (I suppose the episode previews tipped off those of you who watched as it aired, right?) This is also the perfect device for getting Buffy to confess to what happened to her. There’s no way she would freely admit it at this point, but for the sake of the story, it’s just time for her to come out and do that now. It feels funny to say it, but this musical episode felt like a totally not forced way to make that happen.

Part of what made it so wonderful and organic feeling was that everyone had things to reveal. I’m a little sad for Willow and Tara’s sake that Willow didn’t come clean, but I’m sure it says something about how far gone she is: what she did to Tara wasn’t even weighing on her. She was pure bliss and happiness over Tara’s “Under Your Spell,” and it didn’t even occur to her that this was an artificial happiness that she created. There is no remorse.

I have less to say about Xander, Anya, and Giles, except what I already said about my many, many feelings for Giles and a basic, “Let’s all wait and see what Xander and Anya do with the events of this episode.”

I kind of just want to watch this episode again, like… right now. But onward we shall go!

Lor: I finished watching the episode and had that immediate, “I could watch this again right now!” feeling, which just speaks volumes. I cannot get over how well done this episode was. For me, there are several reasons why it worked, and most of that comes from the fact that the show didn’t pause for a musical episode. Important things happened, information was exchanged, and above all else, the episode managed to maintain all the things that are quintessentially Buffy. Despite any jaunty tunes or choreography, the subject matter was appropriately somber and sober. Not even a group dance number can disguise that things have gotten dark.

Believe it or not, the episode ending kiss didn’t leave such a big impression on me. When I got to that part in the recap it was more of a, “oh yeah!” thing. It makes sense, though, and it just takes everything Buffy’s been saying and feeling and put it into an action. She wants to feel something! Lately, she’s only been able to talk to Spike in double entendre. Something lusty is happening there and lust is a feeling just like any other. Or, like, if you pursue lust, you’ll definitely feel something.

This was so amazing I feel like I want to talk about it forever. I’m so happy I got to watch this. Like… break out in song and dance happy.

K: As much as my inner fangirl squees over the Spuffy kiss, Lor makes an excellent point. And it’s backed up by the fact that it’s Buffy who initiates the kiss. She goes into it saying that she knows it isn’t real, and she doesn’t care. She’s still using Spike, despite knowing precisely how he feels about her. And, perhaps most importantly, she does it away from her friends, who she knows will disapprove. This is hands down my favourite episode of the entire series, and I can’t even start to list the reasons why because we would literally be here all day. So I shall instead say this: ^what they said.


Next time: Shit continues to be a million kinds of weird because it’s Sunnydale. Tara’s not the only one with spell-induced memory problems on Buffy the Vampire Slayer S06 E08 – Tabula Rasa.

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.

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.

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  • Wilhelmina Upton

    This was the my first episode of Buffy ever! I saw the promo and a big part of it was Anya’s singing the Bunnies part and I was instantly sold! Like all of you, I love this episode to bits and pieces, I can sing along to almost all numbers, except the one of Sweet. Every song is so damn amazing. Rest in Peace is my go-to song and has been for a long time. Whenever I feel shitty, my head just randomly breaks into this song.

    Under Your Spell is fantastic even though 16-year old me never got the sex-references, mostly because my English wasn’t that good at the time and the German subtitles didn’t translate that part very well I guess. Also, Amber Benson can sing, y’all! As can ASH and he is breaking my little heart.

    In my opinion this is the best musical episode of any show that I have ever seen. It’s amazing that Whedon wrote all these songs on his own. And the cast did an amazing job!!

    One last thing though, isn’t the way Buffy now goes into the whole lust for Spike thing similar to how Spike started with his lusting after Buffy?

    • Melbourne on my Mind

      You’re totally right about Buffy following in Spike’s footsteps. It would be really interesting to see where that would have led if certain SPOILERY SPOILERY SPOILERS hadn’t happened.

      • Wilhelmina Upton

        I don’t even remember the SPOILERY SPOILERY SPOILERS right now.

    • Petra47

      Sweet’s song is the one that consistently gets stuck in my head for days and days at a time! This episode is a gem!

    • What a fun introduction to Buffy! I can’t imagine watching out of order but damn, if you did, this is an A+ place to start. 🙂

      • Jojo

        Oddly enough, it doesn’t work. I know because I saw it out of order and since I had no idea who these people were and what was going on, it just seemed kinda interesting. To get the full effect you really have to know things like why and how Tara’s first rendition of “I’m under your spell” is creepy as well as lyrical.

        • Wilhelmina Upton

          Of course I didn’t get the full impact back then, I also hardly knew any of the characters from when I overheard my friends talking about this. It still was a nice first episode even without understanding the deeper issues. And while I was 15 or 16 at the time, I was not allowed to watch the show for a couple more years.

  • Jojo

    You are Goddesses – I bow at your feet and offer a basket of playful kittens!

    Yes, so excited my thoughts are actually skittering! I get to talk about this episode with a n00b (pilgrim of potential) and a 2nd timer (the sacred meta-journey) and a wise woman (she wields the scythe of slayerdom).

    Okay – important so I don’t forget. As they came together to kiss Buffy’s line was “This isn’t real, but I just want to feel” and that is important. In fact, this is better than a musical – it is a meta-musical. There is so much commentary on the characters, relationships, universe, season, and even on musicals. It took me too much of forever to catch on to the fact that Tara really was under Willows spell, and that it was basically a roofie rape.

    BTW – the mustard man is David Fury – and the parking ticket lady is Marti Noxon. Sweet is the name of the demon – it’s never mentioned but it’s in the credits. Hinton Battle played the wiz in the roadway play “The Whiz.”

    Giles song just tears my heart out, beats it to a pulp, rolls it in salt and vinegar, and then makes me cry harder. I go through all my rationalizations and even after he finds out she was pulled out of heaven HE STILL HAS TO LEAVE. This kinda redeems him for the earlier leaving in my heart – had to be harder this time. And being a mother and grandmother – this is so setting your child to wing, knowing they will screw up and learn from it and trying to find a new dynamic but mired in history. The fact Buffy couldn’t hear him at all is so well done.

    Okay – playing connect the meta – Xander and Anya heard each others songs but get too busy being defensive to really listen. Willow does a better version of her earlier “my will be done” – and doesn’t that squick because even we don’t know how long Willow has been controlling Tara that way. And it is so monstrous. And Tara – FEELS – how much Willow means to her, and she has to do a Giles number (wish I could stay) and now the pain is even worse.

    TOO MANY FEELS! Spike sings a three parter – the sexy, bad boy – then the poet – then the demon (and I just got that!). Oh, and that is Marsters playing the back-up guitar for his number.

    Haven’t really tried to find all the symbolism (meta) before because – had to read your review to make me ready.

    Going to go rewatch a certain musical!

    • Jojo

      So much meta – damn. “I’ve got a theory” – cheerful Buffy singing, takes a moment to realize her message is ‘It doesn’t matter’ – and visual meta ‘we’ll pay the price’ (camera on Buffy), ‘It’s do or die” (camera on Willow). ‘hey I’ve died twice’ (camera back to Buffy).

      This will either be wonderful fun or drive me insane.

    • Clément Polge

      Also if you listen really well, you’ll hear the last line of the Parking Ticket song, which is “hey I’m not wearing underwear”, which I’ve always found hilarious.

      And for those Dr Horrible fans out there, David Fury and Marti Noxon are also the two news caster in Dr Horrible.

      • Alex

        Bwahahaha I’ve never noticed that before (the underwear line) – I’m going to have to listen out for that next time I watch this!

      • I didn’t hear it during the episode but I was listening to all of the songs again the next day at work and I heard the underwear line then. 🙂

      • Jojo

        Yeah – daughter of mine pointed that one out my first watch XD

      • Wilhelmina Upton

        Oh yes, the underwear part, love it!

    • Alex

      No way! I had no idea that Marsters was playing the guitar in that number. How awesome! I wish they somehow could have given Spike a guitar on screen though, that would have been sweeeeet (no pun intended).

      • Jojo


        No – spoilers. It’s a picture of Marsters working on the song and an explanation of the song in his words. XD

        • Alex

          Ohh I think I have seen that, in the special features on the box set. I’d forgotten all about it.

          As for that gif… I’ll be in my bunk.

        • lev36

          JM playing guitar, and then nekkid??? You just ruined my work productivity for the ENTIRE day.

          • I’m so glad I clicked on those links closer to closing time. I don’t have to feel bad about a wasted work day! PHEW.

          • Jojo


    • Melbourne on my Mind

      I love that David Fury and Marti Noxon are in it. All it needed for complete perfection was a Joss cameo in the background.

      • Clément Polge

        Maybe one day we’ll learn that he’s actually the guy Buffy saves in the cemetery during her opening song. Probably not though.

      • If you want to feel better, go watch Joss dance in the Pylea episode.

    • I might even forgive Marti for season 4 just because of that parking ticket song!

      Nice connection between “my will be done,” and what’s happening now. Baby Willow has come a long way, and so has the havoc she’s causing.

      Did you say Marsters and guitar? BRB. Drooling.

      • Jojo

        I will maintain forever that Willow’s issue is power and not magic. Magic is just her tool. She is certain she knows best and has no boundaries in putting her best in action. I do think that because she used magic she didn’t have to mature the way the others did. She isn’t evil in the Big Bad sense but her actions since Buffy jumped are increasingly over the line. I really think – in some ways – the Big Bad in this episode is the characters themselves, and OMWF really points that out.

        • I agree entirely. I only just realized it thanks to Tumblr, but I feel like Willow’s entire 7-season arc is partially about her relationship with power.

  • darkalter2000

    Damn Disqus won’t let me sign in unless I use Firefox. I just cleared my cookies and found out their new site doesn’t support IE or the custom browser I use that is based on it. I spent the past 3 hours trying to sign in, then trying to move the sign-in cookie from firefox. So mad.

    • 🙁

      SORRY. I hate when people have Disqus issues. Commenting should be fun!

  • darkalter2000

    Now some actual commentary.

    I love Spike’s ‘crap this is happening now’ face when he stars singing. Gets me every time.

    The curtains close on a kiss not known! I’d never heard that line properly before! I decided to watch it with subtitles on this time, a bunch of transcription on netflix is crap though, the only place it was useful at all was for that line.

    I like how the interuptions of the songs seem important to the songs themselves. Anya moving songs in a different direction twice. Buffy moving the theory song into a more upbeat mode. Dawn getting kidnapped two lines in. Spike interupting Buffy’s death song telling her “Life’s not a song”. All the interuptions felt right, jarring but good.

    The moment where Spike saves Buffy from the song reminds me of a similar one in The Hollows series. Rachel, the main character, is attacked with a song infused with wild magic, she interupts it by adding her own discordant notes to the song, “I drowned the purity of his song with my own ugly music, harsh and savage—survival. It was never beautiful except for its pure honesty.”

    Oh Sunndale. Never change.

    • darkalter2000

      The demon this episode was also pretty damn powerful. Probably in big bad territory.

      Sweet casually throws magic around like nobodies business. He floods the whole town with his musical/dancing aura. He can control people as long as he is singing. He seems to be a Lord of a hell dimension.

      The fact that Sweet casualy magicks himself back to his own realm in the end instead of fighting is actually a point in his favor in my opinion. He has lived long enough to not throw himself into pointless fights he can easily avoid. He was mildly disappointed he didn’t get to watch Buffy burn but he didn’t make it a /thing/. He just left. Easily the smartest move of any Buffy’s enemies to date.

      I like Sweet as a Buffy villain. He is smart about it and doesn’t try to drag things out pointlessly. He did his damage to both town and to Scooby relationships and calls it good. I kinda wish Buffy had, had to fight more villains like him.

      • Alex

        Totally agree with all of this! Sweet is one of my favourite Buffy villains for all of the above reasons. SO MANY Buffy villains end up dead because they have some silly ‘The Slayer is mine! I must kill her!’ thing going on. I love that Sweet’s just like ‘Well, I wanted to see the Slayer dead, but I do like being alive myself so… bye’. Yep, that is one smart demon. I think this is similar to the conversation we had about Lilah vs. Billy in the comments on the last Angel recap, actually…

      • Melbourne on my Mind

        A+ to all of this. I love Sweet, and you’re totally right about how powerful he is.

      • Katharine Short

        The Buffy discussion forum I was following when the episode aired (aka what I did at Uni when I should have been studying) had a lively debate about whether Sweet was ‘the Devil’ aka Satan, Lucifer etc. The make-up is vaguely devil-ish (red, pointy) and it is said that the Devil has all the best tunes.

    • Jojo


      This link has both shooting scripts and transcripts!

      GROUP (cont’d)

    • Melbourne on my Mind

      I think the line is actually “The curtains close on a kiss/God knows we can tell the end is near”. It’s kind of hard to tell because they fade the audio so much after the word “kiss”… But from memory (the full, non-fade out version is on the soundtrack), that’s what it is.

      • darkalter2000

        You are correct. I let the bad netflix subtitles fool me even after I noticed they were terrible.

  • Danna

    The best episode of anything ever! There are far too many amazing things to list, one of them being that Whedon wrote every song. So many layers in those lyrics. The utilization of the demon spell to make everyone sing out their deepest feelings and secrets was brilliant. Where do they go from here, indeed!

    I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve watched this episode. It still takes my breath away.

    Yes, I agree, making Xander responsible for summoning the demon was probably the only time I rolled my eyes. I sort of don’t care, because I’m not very invested in Xander. But it did feel like he took the fall for convenience sake.

    I always assumed Tara’s corset dress was so that there would be something substantial around her to attach the wires to when they levitated her at the end of her song with Willow?? I don’t know

    A wonderful review, ladies! Thanks!

    • Melbourne on my Mind

      Huh, that’s actually a pretty good head canon reason for the corset!

  • Clément Polge

    So, huh, yeah, pretty awesome episode, I was kinda sad that we didn’t get a Willow song, but as Kirsti pointed out it was of her own will. I’ve read since that she kind of regrets it though, because of how awesome the episode was :p

    Also it’s sot of meta-funny to realise that Sweet is one of the few black actors they have on the show, and that he get painted all red :p. He IS Sweet though. And still so suave.

    Agreed with Xander sacrified for plot, it always felt a bit weird to me… Especially since he apparently knew he was summoning singing and dancing, didn’t he do the link between “summoning singing and dancing” and “having magical singing and dancing” ? I mean, that’s not too big a stretch… Is it ?

    Also, I love Tara’s corset and Willow’s dress, I think hey look both original and gorgeous and yet I can still see them wearing that casually. Plus it totally fits the episode.

    Not we just need to go hear some more of Angel’s Mandy…

    • Melbourne on my Mind

      Oh God, no. Not more Angel singing. *shudder*

  • Alex

    IT’S FINALLY HERE! I genuinely felt like it was Christmas morning when I saw that this recap was up at last!

    You ladies did a brilliant job of recapping what must be one of the hardest episodes to recap. I wouldn’t even know where to start with this one! There’s just so much in this episode that can’t be adequately conveyed in words or even gifs, but you really managed to capture so much of the episode’s awesomeness without just descending into mad flailing over every little thing that happens (which is what I probably would have done).

    I highly recommend the DVD commentary on this one, and the ‘making of’ feature that comes on one of the discs in the Season 6 boxset. I’m not usually big on special features, but it’s amazing to hear how this episode all came together, and the astonishing amount of work that went into it. You also learn lots of fun facts which you can endlessly bore your friends with: for example, the actors playing the three street-sweeper dancers are also the three demons singing with Buffy in the graveyard, and Sweet’s three wooden-headed minions. Cool, huh?

    I agree that the Xander reveal is the one thing that lets it down. It’s sort of funny, because you can just see the writers going ‘whose fault shall we make it? Eenie, meenie, minie…’ and landing on Xander. But the show’s so much better than that, so it’s pretty disappointing. I once heard a theory which I really liked, which was that Dawn DID summon Sweet (maybe accidentally somehow), and that Xander decided to take the fall guessing that Sweet wouldn’t be interested in taking a dude as his bride. It’s clearly not what actually happened, but that would have made much more sense, I think.

    • Jojo

      I swear that I saw a scene when they were moving into the Magic Box when Xander summoned the lord of the dance – few seconds of waiting, nothing happens and he puts it away. I remember mainly because my daughter got excited and explained how this wouldn’t be important for a few seasons. But I have never seen it again so maybe it was a dream.

    • Melbourne on my Mind

      The Mustard song reminds me of “Nothing Suits Me Like a Suit” from How I Met Your Mother.

    • SuzyLee

      My favorite bit in the ‘making of’ is Alyson say that she just comes along to lip sync and then it cutting to her lip syncing the mustard song, with the big dramatic arm waving, just makes me giggle ever time <3

  • Strawberry_Pocky_Moose


    That aside, beautiful episode with many beautiful feels. Spuffy moments aside I still rate this season and the one that came before it as my least favourties overall. However, this episode stands alone as something magical.

    (seriously, though, what was with that Rapunzel cosplay?)

    • Jojo

      I absolutely love the dress – which can count as a vote for it or one against it, I guess.

      • Clément Polge

        Nope, because I also expressed my love for her dress, so that’s two against one! HELL YEAH DEMOCRACY.

        • Democracy Diva

          If I were a lesbian witch, that’s the dress I would wear. THREE VOTES FOR RIDICULOUS RENAISSANCE FAIR OUTFITS! THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN!

          • Clément Polge

            I’m a straight man and I still dress like her sometimes.

          • Jojo


          • wlreed

            I love the dress also and think Amber looks freakin amazing in it. So count me in the ‘for’ camp

    • Melbourne on my Mind

      I’m confused by the dress, but in a weird way it suits her so I’m okay with it. I think?

      • Jojo

        Exactly – it’s odd but it suits her.

        • Alex

          The dress looks lovely on her, and I just see it as sort of part of the musical spell that some people start wearing these more ‘costume-y’ outfits. I mean, Anya and Xander’s nightwear in ‘I’ll Never Tell’ is pretty ridiculous too, but fits nicely with the retro vibe of their song.

      • behind blueiz

        As with other subtleties in this episode, the dresses were another way of emphasizing how their relationship was like a fairytale because of Willow’s spell. A relationship when no one fights. No one questions the other. All puppy dogs and penny-whistles. Not what a true relationship is like. Again, Willow was trying to take the easy way out by using magic.

  • Angi Black

    As the theater girl, I LOVE THIS EPISODE. I remember watching it as it aired and being so excited for a musical in primetime. It doesn’t seem as big of a stretch nowadays, but then? it was huge. Just like everything else this series did when no one else was doing it.

    Thoughts – Tara/Willow – NGL, I skip their song bc I’m so pissed off at Willow for making me not like her and for manipu-spelling Tara that I can’t enjoy.

    Xander/Anya – Everything about them in this episode is perfection. Even him being the one to summon the demon. He’s facing grown-up decisions and it’s hitting him hard. It makes total sense and in character that he would revert. He probably summoned BECAUSE he’s seen the bad side of the demon stuff. He knows just enough about research to make bad decisions. He looked and thought, this is exactly what I’ll do. I also think it draws a parallel that willow uses magic to cover up her dark side and not deal. Basically, Xander has done the same thing, but doesn’t have the chops for it. it’s a turning point for him that I think usually gets eye-rolled, but from here on out, this decision sticks with him. It’s a BFD.
    Giles – Can there just be a Giles singing episode – because yes, please! It breaks my heart more because he’s in almost every scene, but we’re almost the only ones who hear his words, just like it has been for him this season. Gah! Stab in the heart!!!
    Dawn – I had problems with MT when I watched this is real time because I was young and had a certain celebrity crush and well, basically, I was an idiot. So watching it many more times as I get older, her parts become more poignant. I like that she’s juxtaposed against what she thinks she wants, what she really is and how she can’t commit to being a child or an adult. Just as every teenager ever is. Brilliant.

    Buffy/Spike- It’s not a secret, I’m a Spuffy fan. The next few episodes are some of my favorites. But their character development and plot in this episode is spot on. Plus Spike! I adore him. I was at a Con a few years ago and someone convinced JM to sing a few bars of Rest in Pieces at the Whedon panel. Phen-fucking-nominal. I love the big theatrical kiss at the end. it’s really the only way it would have worked. I also love that it comes after the spell is broken. That’s why it works. Buffy can say she doesn’t care, but we all know she does, but it’s important that she can’t say ‘spell!’ and move on. It has to be dealt with.

    As far as the tap shoes thing – it’s set preservation. (dance teacher here!) Taps are hard on floors. And besides screwing with the sound of scenes with speaking parts or music,to have taps sound like taps you must have a good floor/mic. To put taps on a soundstage like this would result in the whole scene basically sounding like the cans pulled behind a ‘just married’ car. And a total destruction of the floor.

    This is a huge pet peeve of mine, but even back in the days of the big movie musical, they didn’t wear taps in the filming process. It just isn’t viable. So although it sucks, it’s not an overlook – it really has repercussions.

    • Clément Polge

      For Dawn it’s also interesting to see that last episode she was like “ugh, it sucks to have a slayer for a sister”, and here with Sweet she’s like “BTDUBS MY SISTER IS TOTALLY THE SLAYER YUP YUP YUP”

      • Melbourne on my Mind

        That’s an excellent point, and goes along nicely with Buffy’s “Dawn’s in trouble. Must be Tuesday.”

    • Melbourne on my Mind

      Yeah, I know there are totally valid reasons behind them not wearing taps. But it still bugs me every single time. And there would have been ways around it here – if they’d just filmed ONE TAKE where he was wearing taps for the pose where you can see the bottom of his shoe, I would have been happy. BUT NO. Sigh.

  • Melbourne on my Mind

    I just realised that I forgot to mention how much I love the fact that the little “grr argh” monster sings in the end credits. WOMP WOMP.

  • Idriss Boukhanef

    I know the double meaning is disturbing but I absolutely love Tara’s “Under your spell”. It shows how far she’s come from that shy, stuttering and without any self-confidence girl we saw in S4. Plus, I could listen to Amber Benson all day, because her voice is wonderful. Well, just like this episode, actually !

    I also give my props to Anya because her part about bunnies made me laugh so much I couldn’t breathe normally for at least 10 minutes. I love you girl.

  • Gemmy

    I love this episode so much. You ladies did an awesome job commenting on it. I’ve watched this episode so many times but you guys pointed out things that I never realized. I love how each watch or someone else’s perspective can bring things to light.

    Sweet is my favorite baddie from Buffy, not just because he brought all the musical greatness, but he’s just so smooth. The actual makeup and everything isn’t attractive but I still find Sweet sexy. I’m going to chalk that up to loving Hinton Battle’s voice so much.

    There’s a part in Where Do We Go where Giles throws in a ‘tell me’ and me and my friend sing that all the time. Basically we use it like preach and throw our hand up and sing it. People look at us like we’re crazy but every once in a while you’ll get the true Buffy fan that will smile and actually ask Once More with Feeling right? It’s like a club.

    • Alex

      I was once waiting in the queue for an ATM on a night out and there were a few guys behind me having a conversation about where they were going to go next. One of them said ‘so, where do we go after this?’ and his friend started very softly singing ‘where do we go, from here?’ to himself. I think my EXTREMELY excited reaction both terrified and humiliated him in front of all of his friends…

      • Gemmy

        That’s hilarious!! I probably wouldn’t have been able to stop from singing with him.

        • Jojo


        • Alex

          I think I just spun around and screamed ‘BUFFY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!’ in the poor boy’s face…

    • Melbourne on my Mind

      Oh my God, I want to start doing that now. Because it’s fabulous.

  • SuzyLee

    This is the episode I have watched more than any other, in fact maybe more than anything else ever. It is my go to episode when I’m down or I don’t know what else to watch and stick this on and sing along at the top of my voice. I’ve always been so sad that my uni musicals society did this as their scratch performance the year before I joined! 🙁

    I consider myself quite lucky in that I was totally unaware that this was coming, I know that it was quite heavily promo-ed in the States but I’m almost certain that there was nothing for the BBC showing so I went in blind. I remember yelling to my mum (who was my Buffy watching partner in crime) upstairs that she’d better hurry up and get down here because they’re all singing and I was not quite sure if it was some kind of weird hallucination I was having! lol.

    The way the whole musical thing is handled is just fantastic, I love the fact that far from taking a break from the plot its used to move so many things along, usually episodes that have to do that kind of heavy plot lifting can feel a bit lackluster so this is the perfect solution to that.

    Regarding the Spuffy kiss, I like what Joss says in the DVD commentary “And the two things that needed to happen for them to get where they were gonna go, at the end were: one, for Spike to say “go away”, for him to tell her once and for all “just leave me alone”, because nothing attracts somebody more than telling them to go away……. the moment you say to someone “you know what, I’m my own person, I don’t need you, you know I love you, but I don’t want you near me” is the moment they start to take you seriously, and that’s just the truth of it. And then, that he would save her. That he would be the person who would bring her the message of hope, even though it’s the classic in my stuff, really desolate, almost pathetic hope. Still, those were the two things that would get them to the smoochy place and where they will inevitably end up.”

  • Ashlea Kobukowski

    I’m not ashamed to say that I did a fangirl squee when I saw that this recap was up. Amazing job ladies! This ep and Tabula Rasa are two of my absolute favorites. I love the fact that while the musical numbers themselves are mostly upbeat and dance-y, they really lay out all that is going on that the other characters didn’t know or chose to ignore. Great juxtaposition there. I also want to point out that this was the first musical episode. All the other shows put out their own version after that but they never came close to imitating the awesomeness. The kiss at the end was the best ever. After all the whiny pathos of Angel and he-who-shall-not-be-named (soldier boy), the thing with Spike was so welcome. Excited for the next recap! 🙂

    • Ashlea Kobukowski

      Also, I thought I had coined the term “fangirl squee” all on my own only to find out I was subconsciously influence by Kirsti’s comment above. So, sorry for that 🙂

    • lev36

      This episode and the following four (Tabula Rasa, Smashed, Wrecked, and Gone) are just a huge sequence of awesome, imo. Not all pleasant, mind you, but story-wise, great.

    • Melbourne on my Mind

      Tabula Rasa is my second favourite episode of all time. And can we talk about how completely awful the Grey’s Anatomy musical episode was? Because UGH.

      • Ashlea Kobukowski

        LOVE Tabula Rasa! It’s just so campy and fun, but with that underlying layer of darkness that Buffy is known for. Breaks my heart every time even though I’m usually with you on Team Heartless Cow.

        Also, I think I blocked the Grey’s Anatomy musical from my mind. It was so so awful 🙁

      • Clément Polge

        Ever since I’ve read that comment, I’m trying to find an example of another good musical episode in a 40 minute format and… I’m drawing a blank actually.

        There are several in 20 minutes, Scrubs’ was pretty cool, Batman The Brave And The Bold cartoon also had one who was great (though it cheated on 2 points: no arc to advance, and guest starring Neil Patrick Harris). Daria’s was pretty cool too.

    • Alex

      I think Xena’s first musical episode actually came a couple of years before this. From what I’ve read, Joss had wanted to do a musical episode of Buffy much sooner, back in Season 4. Then he found out that Xena was going to beat him to it, so he came up with ‘Hush’ instead. I can’t imagine what a musical episode in Season 4 would have been like, can you??

      Incidentally, I saw the Xena one for the first time pretty recently and it doesn’t even come close. Obviously.

      • Ashlea Kobukowski

        Oh God, I just had visions of the Initiative singing and dancing. And then Riley. Make it stop!

        I didn’t realize Xena had a musical that aired before this. I never watched the show. I just read several articles attributing the success of the musical episode to Joss. Lol I guess if he wasn’t first, at least he was the greatest 🙂

        • Alex

          Totally! I only started watching Xena recently while hunting for something new to watch on Netflix. The musical episode isn’t terrible, exactly, but it’s all very weird and surreal and nothing like a normal episode (it’s sort of a weird alternate dimension/dream world thing where everyone sings all the time). The beauty of OMWF is that it’s still very much Buffy, and really just another monster of the week that they have to deal with… it just happens to be a really, really awesome one.

          • Ashlea Kobukowski

            I love that you pointed out that the cool thing about it is that it’s still very much Buffy. My problem with a lot of musical episodes is that it’s meant to be sort of a fun stand alone episode, but it usually comes off as completely disconnected from the rest of the show and the characters themselves. I love that in Buffy, there is so much plot and character development in the musical episode 🙂

  • behind blueiz

    Absolutely the brilliant. From the beginning to end.

  • Democracy Diva

    I had known there was a musical episode of Buffy, but wouldn’t let myself look up what season it was in when I watched the show for the first time last year. As a lifelong musical theater geek, I wanted the episode to sneak up on me and blow my mind. When these opening credits rolled and I realized the epicness I was about to watch, I paused it, turned to my boyfriend, and screamed “YESSSSSSS WE MADE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!” for like ten minutes.

    The Dude in Distress that Buffy “whatevers” – that was the moment that I was like, oh, so this episode is PERFECT?! Okay, good. And then it ends with Buffy belting “ALLIIIIIVE!” while she stakes a vamp and dust explodes theatrically? HILARIOUS.

    “It Must Be Bunnies” is probably my favorite fifteen seconds of the entire episode. Or maybe my favorite fifteen seconds of LIFE ITSELF. That’s how much I love that “rock sidebar,” as you ladies so aptly named it. Also, thanks for the shout-out to Tara’s jazz hands, because the “wacky Broadway nightmare” moment was so goddamn hilarious to me. But yeah, this episode is WAY, WAY more meta than I ever thought possible. The characters’ constant acknowledgement of the absurdity of their newly musical world makes this episode even more hilarious and way less contrivancey.

    Tara and Willow’s renaissance fair outfits have NO EXPLANATION. Except that it makes them look vaguely witchy and very beautiful, which leads into magical orgasming pretty nicely. Plus, Tara’s voice. Such a joy to listen to.

    Someone needs to send me the ringtone of Spike saying “you made a bear!” like RIGHT NOW. And right before “Rest in Peace” starts, when Spike is trying to escape because he knows he’s about to burst into dramatic song and can’t fucking handle it? So flawless. So hilarious.

    I’m glad Michelle Trachtenberg was like, “Yeah, I’m not so much with the singing. Can we give me a fabulous dance number instead?” And they did, and it was beautiful, and we didn’t have to suffer through a song sung by someone who for realzies does not want to be singing it.

    “BUFFY NEEDS BACKUP!” Dancers, that is. I DIED FOREVER. FOREVER AND EVER DEAD ON THE FLOOR WITH GIGGLES. Also, some seriously awesome psychotic dancing from SMG & Co. in that scene.

    I don’t know if I could pick a favorite song, but just thinking about Buffy singing “Give me something to sing about” gave me chills, so there’s a good shot my subconscious is telling me that’s the top one for me.

    The ability of Whedon to take a musical episode and actually make it not filler, not fluff, but so fucking pivotal to virtually everything that happens afterwards – that’s brilliance, my friends. He saved the musical episode for a moment in which emotionally and plot-wise, everything was up in the air and no one was being honest with each other about, well, anything. And he pulled that honesty out of everyone, in song form, in a realistic yet hilarious way, and turned what could have been a silly break of an episode into one of the plot bedrocks of the series. You basically said all of this, so sorry for repeating, but this episode is impossible not to gush over.

    • Democracy Diva

      Okay, sorry, but I have to share this story: I was at rehearsal for my law school musical (it’s a thing) and we were killing time, trying to film a video in one of the mock courtrooms, all sitting in the fake jury box and singing to each other to pass the time. Someone (not me) started singing “Going Through the Motions,” and like half a dozen people joined in, and we all fake-staked our vampires at the end of the song, and that was probably the highlight of my law school career. Just needed everyone to know.

      • wlreed

        I was at an event at a comic book store where Bill Willingham was and for some reason lost to me almost every person in the store started singing Anya’s rock side bar on bunnies. It’s one of the best moments of my life

      • Melbourne on my Mind

        This is magical.

    • lev36

      Everything you just said, to which I will add that the kiss at the end was MAJOR payoff for me, having waited for Spuffy so long.

      Also, it’s on my list to learn how to play Rest In Peace on the ukulele and post a video of that.

      And finally, our local sci fi convention (Orycon) used to have OMWF singalong events, until they were cease-and-desisted. 🙁

  • SnazzyO

    This episode is truly a masterpiece. Yes the Xander-guilt is a real fly in the Chardonnay but hey, I’m giving Joss a mulligan on that one and seriously ignoring it as blatant gag-plotpoint.

  • Anagnorisis

    Oh this episode!!! My favorite of the series (when I’m not in the mood to suffer The Body) and I have an interesting story about it.
    You know how it’s longer that other episodes? Well, Fox in my country didn’t care about that so they cut a lot of scenes in order to keep it the normal length.
    So after a while, I was able to access the Internet and found out everything I missed. Let’s see, the Overture didn’t exist, we just started with the OMWF credits and then Going Through the Motions. No If We’re Together (really, they deleted that song completely, Anya sings about bunnies and then they are all quiet saying how uncomfortable was that). No Dawn’s dancing. No second Buffy’s verse from Walk Through the Fire. And no resolution of the plot. Really. Xander raises his hand and Sweet just leaves. XD.
    So yeah. But even then, I loved it so much!
    I even taped it (in VHS!!) and showed it to my mom, because she loved musicals. I had to explain everything while watching. Her only question was: the witches are more than friends, right?

    Everything is awesome but the best part is that the episode is relevant to the serialized plot and that the singing and dancing is explained in universe.

    • the witches are more than friends, right?
      LOL, cute.

    • Melbourne on my Mind

      I’m so angry on your behalf about them cutting stuff out. Because WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT OMFG.

    • I’m pretty sure the Netflix version I just watched had it shortened, actually, since I don’t remember any Overture…


      • Alex

        Which country are you watching Netflix in? I watched it recently on UK Netflix and I’m pretty sure the Overture was there. Did you have the bit at the start with Buffy’s alarm clock ringing and Dawn rushing into the bathroom? I’m pretty sure that’s what everyone means by overture 🙂

        • I’m in Canada, and the running time was only 43 minutes, not the 50 it should’ve been. But I was saved, because a friend had lent me the DVDs, which had the whole thing. And then I may have downloaded the soundtrack. XD

  • Melodie Hatley

    One of if not my favorite episode, I love how it moves the plot along by following Broadway rules. Upon rewatches, you catch a lot of things you didn’t the first time around, like the subtext of Tara’s song to Willow (NOT the sex, LOL, I think that’s pretty straightforward and not subtext hehe). Joss is just a brilliant writer.

    God damn, if you guys like Buffy and Angel this much, I can’t wait until y’all do Firefly, which I consider the *perfect* series… other than its abrupt cancellation. :-/

  • Raluca

    Whenever asked which is my favourite Buffy episode, I usually answer “Fool for Love”, but OMWF is a close second, actually.

    It is an awesome episode, and this is coming from somebody who is not a big fan of musicals (except OMWF and Dr. Horrible… and anything that has Neil Patrick Harris in it!)
    Amber Benson and Anthony S Head have the most amazing voices.

    I love all the moments of this episode and cannot get enough of it.

    I am a Spuffy fan, so yay kiss! I noticed someone mentioned below that Buffy and Spike kiss after the spell is broken (or so we think :D). I wanted to also point out that, during the scene with Spike and Buffy in his crypt, when she shows how attracted she is to him (“What else would I want to pump you for”), she is not singing; Buffy in NOT singing her attraction to Spike at all, so she is not as bothered by it as she is by the whole “I was in heaven and now I am in hell” thing.

    And let me say I am impatiently waiting for the review of Tabula Rasa, which is also one of my favourite episodes of Buffy. I know it is not as good as OMWF, but I think I’ve watched it quite as often.

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  • Kylie Abel

    Finally up to watching this again! Yayayayayayayayayay! And so glad this recap is here to watch and hear/read other people’s thoughts…

    While we (hubby and I) were watching a couple of nights ago, my daughter woke up with a racing heart beat, so I ended up spending a few days in hospital with her instead of watching the end. She’s OK BTW – off to a cardiologist to figure it all out. So we get to watch all of it again tonight.

    Pay attention to the hands when they do that hand holding thing in “Where Do We Go From Here”. All the others just do a simple hand-over-hand action. Buffy and Spike do interlocking fingers with finger wriggles. Such a tinsy tiny thing, and not sure if it was a deliberate choice, but just one more tinsy tiny thing that says something to me in an episode where there are layers on top of the layers with a few more layers thrown in for good measure…

  • SonicRulez

    I suppose something in me is broken, because OMWF isn’t even in my top 5. It’s in my top 10 though, please still let me in the Cool Kids’ Club! Anya is perfect in this episode.

    The Xander reveal is so dumb. Buffy is a show built ENTIRELY on character. The demon plots of Buffy (and Angel) almost always suck. I’ve just noticed that in the past like 20 recaps that every single final thought I have is “Well the demon plot didn’t make sense, but the character interaction was amazing.” So when I get an episode that does the reverse, it feels weird. The A plot is actually amazing, but that Xander moment is super OOC. And also he legitimately gets a few people killed and everyone’s reaction is a halfhearted shrug.

    Walk Through the Fire is my favorite song.