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?
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.
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.