Previously: Willow promised to go a week without magic but lasted less than twelve hours before doing a spell that backfired and wiped everyone’s memories. As a result, Tara broke up with her. Also, Giles left town.
Kirsti: After a whopping one minute and twenty three seconds of previouslies (seriously?!), a middle aged couple are being cornered by some guys in an alley. Buffy puns her way into the picture and goes in for the fight, only to discover that the guys doing the cornering are human and she’s just interrupted a run of the mill mugging. She hands the lady back her handbag and ushers the couple away. The muggers, meanwhile, are complete idiots and decide to attack Buffy. She pins one and is heading for the other when a shape jumps out of the darkness and hits the second mugger. Buffy yells “NO!” but it’s too late – Spike grabs his head in pain and the muggers get away. She asks Spike what the hell he was doing, and when he says that he thought they were demons, she calls him Jessica Fletcher.
He complains about his headache, but Buffy has no fucks to give. Spike argues that the government should have included a clause in his chip that lets him eat criminals, and Buffy replies that he’s just have to get his rocks off fighting demons. He looks at her for a second before saying “There are other ways...” She has a moment of “Welp, I walked right into that one” before turning to go.
He calls her back and wants to know when they’ll get to the kissing. Buffy’s response instantly reminded me of the time that Lor, Sweeney and I were together in Chicago, along with Lor’s best friend and a homeless man asked us “What time do the panties come off?” Penny’s response of, “how about NEVER O’CLOCK?” is pretty much how Buffy reacts.
Lorraine: STILL THE BEST. Of course, when we told the homeless man NEVER O’CLOCK we meant NEVER O’CLOCK. Buffy means, “42 minutes with no commercial breaks.”
K: Accurate. Spike calls her a tease, and I want to punch him in the junk for it. She walks away as he calls after her that sooner or later she’ll realise that he’s the only one there for her.
Lor: EW. It’s a passing line but if Spike were really there for her, he wouldn’t be trying to convince her that she’s alone in the world. It reeks of abusive.
K: Cut to Chez Summers, where Willow’s sad panda-ing around her room. She pulls Rat!Amy out of her cage and talks to her for a minute, before saying “I swear, if I could work out how to turn you back…” She trails off mid-sentence, then utters a spell which causes a piece of parchment to appear. She picks it up and reads the words on it, which cause red lightning to flash around Rat!Amy and some shoddy special effects to happen, which morph Rat!Amy back into Human!Amy. Willow grins with glee as Amy looks rattily around her and then screams. Cue wolf howl.
Sweeney: Before she goes off and ruins it, let’s take a hot second to flail about the return of Human!Amy, because RANDOM CONTINUITY AWESOMENESS.
K: Indeed. After the credits, we’re at the Sunnydale Museum, where Andrew (remember the trio of stupid?) is recreating Mission: Impossible by dropping in from the ceiling. He stops in front of a showcase with a big diamond in it, and sticks some kind of suction cup thing to the front of the case. Just then, Warren and Jonathan walk up, and are all “Dude, WTF are you doing?” Sunnydale Museum’s security system, it seems, is a dude named Rusty, and Andrew’s dramatic entrance is completely unnecessary. Warren pushes Andrew out of the way and breaks out a blowtorch. He uses it to burn through what is clearly a plastic showcase, and grabs the diamond, and Museum Curator Kirsti is Hulk Smashing all over the place right now.
Lor: I don’t have an Inner Museum Curator, but yeah. That was dumb.
K: ANYWAY. They turn to go, and Rusty the security guard is there. Warren tries to cover by saying they were with the Get The Freeze Ray tour group, and the other two fail to pick up on his hints until he turns to glare at them. Jonathan grabs the freeze ray from his bag and pulls the trigger. Rusty is suddenly an icy pole.
It also freezes Jonathan’s arm. Warren sees no problems in this, because it’s just a prototype. The trio head back to their lair with the diamond.
Lor: Never to be seen or heard from again. Oh, sorry, was I just wishful thinking out loud? Whoops.
Sweeney: I second adopting your headcanon and add a motion to disregard events which contradict it.
K: Motion carried. Back at Chez Summers, Willow’s bringing Amy hot chocolate, but Amy doesn’t want any. She’s still pretty twitchy and when a police siren sounds, she magics the window and the curtains closed. Amy says that she felt like she was in the cage for weeks, and Willow gets awkward face. The situation doesn’t improve when Amy continues:
Amy: But it can still be okay…right? I-I can still get into the swing of things, like…prom’s coming up. I-I’m so hoping Larry would ask me. We would make such a splash at- Oh. Oh god. He hasn’t asked someone else, has he?
Willow: Uh, Amy…three things we have to talk about. One, Larry’s gay. Two, Larry’s dead. And three, high school’s…kinda over.
Amy looks at her in disbelief, and demands to know how long it’s been.
Cut to Buffy walking in the front door. She quietly calls Willow’s name, then heads upstairs. Willow’s sitting on the bed. Buffy sits down next to her, and starts to talk about how sometimes people make bad choices, and she’s about to spill on the kissing Spike thing when Amy walks out of the bathroom. Buffy’s taken aback, but she and Amy quickly catch up.
K: Pretty much. Amy asks if they have any cookies and heads downstairs to find them. Buffy’s still shocked, but Willow says it’s nice having a magically inclined friend around. Buffy looks pensive, then heads downstairs. Amy’s sitting on the sofa eating cookies and watching TV. She shuts off the TV and talks about how everything’s different, what with Willow being gay and the school getting blown up and people getting frozen. Buffy’s all “Wait, what??” over the last one, and Amy turns the TV back on to a contrivance-ly continuing news report about Rusty.
Sweeney: I love when the news conveniently talks about things immediately relevant to my life, because . (LOL, kidding, having had the news actually report on things very relevant to my life, it was not fun.)
K: Cut to the front of the museum, where a crowd has gathered. Buffy arrives and forces her way through the crowd just in time to see Sunnydale’s completely inept emergency services personnel wheeling Frozen!Randy out the front door on a triple wheel trolley. She looks thoughtful, then heads around the side of the museum to look for a way in. She bumps into Spike. She’s none too pleased, but he points out that she may as well tag along with him because they always worked well as a team. Plus, the kissing thing. She tells him to forget the kisses and that the second one didn’t count anyway on account of she was depressed over Giles leaving. Spike’s all “Yeah,
there’s fanfic about that I always wondered about you two,” and Buffy’s grossed out.
Lor: Those cheekbones cannot distract me! He’s thinking evil things.
K: You only know that because the zoomy cameraman told you so.
After the Not Commercial Break, Spike’s wandering down the main street of Sunnydale. The background music lets us know that there’s villainy afoot as he spots a woman on her own, checking her watch. She walks away and down an alley, because apparently she’s really stupid. Spike’s waiting in the alleyway. The woman begs for her life as Spike monologues that some people think he’s housebroken but he’s still a killer on the inside. He vamps out, and the woman screams. He goes to bite her, and screams in pain. The woman runs away, and Spike sits on the ground, panting and demanding to know what’s going on.
Cut to the following day. Dawn’s drinking a milkshake as big as she is, and Tara’s being an adorable concerned pseudo-parent, taking the child of pseudo-divorce out for a movie/bonding session. She makes Dawn promise to eat something “leafy green, not gummi green” that night, and then says that she’ll always be there for Dawn, no matter what, and that her break up with Willow has nothing to do with Dawn. Dawn asks if they’ll get back together, and Tara says that even though she loves Willow, sometimes it’s not enough because other things get in the way. Dawn says that Willow’s been doing better recently, and Tara replies that she’s glad though her face seems to indicate otherwise.
Lor: Last episode, I said Dawn was being a brat with her reaction over Tara leaving. I was admittedly looking at it with my Tara glasses. I was upset that leaving was made even harder for Tara when Willow was cheating on her (with magic.) I didn’t even stop to think about how much Tara was there for Dawn while Buffy was dead. I loved this scene for considering that relationship, and for showing us how much Tara isn’t just Willow’s (ex) girlfriend. It’s such a nice moment.
Sweeney: Agreed! I’m so glad the show acknowledged the Tara/Dawn relationship. In addition to my hearty agreement with all the things you said, I’d add that I love the many different kinds of meaningful relationships we get on this show. Tara/Dawn are a great example of the broader Whedonverse theme of creating our own families.
K: Agreed. Over at the Magic Box, the severely reduced in number Scoobies are reading up on Rusty – he’s going to be fine, apparently, as the hospital have thawed him out with hair dryers. Remind me to NEVER go to Sunnydale. Anya mopes a little, because she wants a particular text but it’s one that Giles took with him when he left. Buffy wonders if they should call Giles, and Willow says it’s fine because there’s another way. The gang exchange concerned looks, but she pulls out her laptop. Buffy and Xander cheer squad a little over Willow’s return to basics, but NOPE. She uses magic as some kind of mystical Google that hacks into the police records and takes her right to the report.
Sweeney: This is an amazing and also dangerous power. I want to say “CAN YOU IMAGINE WHAT WE’D DO WITH THIS?” but actually, my first thought was, “I bet this would make it way easier for us to find episode gifs.” I’m pretty sure this means I fail at interneting.
K: Not even. Finding gifs easily would be awesome.
Buffy and Xander share a concerned look. Willow fills them in on the diamond being stolen, and apparently it’s on loan from the British Museum and I laugh hysterically because I’ve dealt with things on loan from the BM and there is no way in hell ANYTHING would be in a non-alarmed plastic showcase, let alone a MASSIVE DIAMOND.
Buffy asks if there’s anything mystical about the diamond, and Willow goes back to mystical Googling. Xander comments awkwardly on how tiring mystical Googling must be, and Willow insists that she’s fine. Anya does her usual tactless routine, saying they’re all worried and that Tara left because of magic and now everyone’s scared to say anything. Everyone except her.
Lor: I actually appreciated Anya here. I’m selective with her word vomit, apparently.
Sweeney: I think most people selectively appreciate it. Agreed, though. It’s a lot like Cordelia in her Sunnydale days, with her “Tact is just not saying true things.” We cheer when her bluntness is used to say the thing that really does need to be said, but then there is the much larger part of the time when she’s saying selfish nonsense.
K: Willow says that it’s nothing, and that stuff got blown out of proportion, and by the way could we change the subject because Amy’s alone in the house. Xander asks how Amy is, and Willow says that she keeps expecting Amy to do ratty things, like poop in the corner. Buffy’s suddenly on board with the not leaving her alone in the house plan.
Cut to the trio’s lair. They ogle the diamond a little before Warren makes a dick joke at Jonathan’s expense and says that it’s time for phase two of their plan.
Chez Summers. Amy’s thrilled to see that Willow’s back, and says that they should go somewhere. Willow asks if Amy wants to go see her father, but NOPE. Too many questions. Amy wants to do something fun, that doesn’t involve a big wheel. When Willow’s reluctant, Amy’s all “Maybe you’d rather recreate your high school days in which you had no life,” and STFU AMY. Anyway, it’s enough that Willow agrees that she’s done with the moping and it’s time to get her party on.
Back at the trio’s lair, Warren is scanning Spike’s head with something. There’s a weird cut to sometime later, and Spike sitting next to Jonathan and Andrew. Then this happens, and I giggle forever:
K: I like them so much more without Doucheface Warren. Also, it’s a much more impressive feat when you realise that this was 2002, and therefore prior to the reboot, so Andrew’s talking about Classic Who. Still, Spike’s face is priceless. (L: One we can reuse all over Traumaland!) (S: YES.) When Andrew goes on to say that he hasn’t seen all of Red Dwarf yet, Spike yells out for Warren. Warren comes in with a bunch of papers, and informs Spike that his chip is still working perfectly. Spike thinks for a second, then smiles. He heads for the door, and says that the rules have changed. Because there’s nothing wrong with him, it’s something that’s wrong with HER. Fade to black.
After the Not Commercial Break, Dawn walks in the front door of Chez Summers to find the house empty. She drags Tara in behind her, and guilt trips her into staying until someone gets home. Tara reluctantly agrees, and says that she’s only staying to make sure that Dawn isn’t left alone. Dawn smirks a little and lays her head on Tara’s shoulder. Cut to the Bronze. Willow and Amy are using magic to play pool and discussing the fact that Xander’s engaged. A couple of guys approach and start talking to them. Willow’s not interested, but Amy wants to dance. She says she’ll find something a little more Willow’s style, and snaps her fingers. A random hot girl at the bar turns to stare at Willow, then starts to walk over. Willow shakes her head at Amy just before the girl introduces herself. Willow turns to Amy pleadingly, and Amy snaps her fingers again. The girl looks confused and heads back to her friend. Amy heads out onto the dance floor with the two guys and Willow smiles sadly to herself.
Sometime later, Willow is at the bar nursing a martini. Amy comes up and apologises for getting caught up, then downs Willow’s drink. The two guys come up and Amy says she’s going to sit out the next dance. They tell her that she’s not allowed to get them all worked up and… Willow interrupts to say that Amy said no. One of the guys calls her Ellen, and my GOD the men of Sunnydale are just asking to be punched in the junk today. Anyway, the guys say that they want to dance. Willow and Amy share a look, then wave their hands, and the guys are suddenly in cages above the dance floor wearing nothing but loincloths. Willow and Amy share a “HAHA, SERVES THEM RIGHT” smile.
Lor: I think I liked Amy better as a rat.
K: So did we all. Over at the Magic Box, Buffy, Xander and Anya are in research mode. Xander thinks he’s found the culprit, but Anya points out that he’s reading a Dungeons & Dragons manual. They give up on research to discuss Willow instead. Buffy thinks that having Amy around is good because it means Willow’s not crying and moping around the house any more. The other two are less sure, having overheard the whole “You’re using too much magic” fight. Buffy points out that Willow’s level headed and will therefore be fine, but Anya replies that those are the ones you need to watch, because when they get a taste of what they’ve been missing out on, things go kablooey. Xander says that giving into it has to be seductive, and Buffy gets “OH SHIT THEY KNOW” face. Xander continues, saying that they need to keep an eye on Willow.
Just then, the phone rings. Buffy answers it, and it’s Spike, but he’s disguising his voice. He calls her “Slayer” and demands that she meet him in the cemetery in 20 minutes. She’s all “Spike?” and wants to know why he’s calling her on the phone. Valid point, Buff, because we long ago established that no one EVER uses the phone in Sunnydale. He asks if she’s up for some grunt work, then grins when she makes a grossed out sound because he was talking shop, but the other kind of grunting could definitely be arranged. She hangs up the phone in disgust and Spike and his cheekbones look very pleased with themselves.
Buffy makes a half arsed excuse to the others about why Spike phoned. The gang lock up the Magic Box and head out. They discuss recent events – Rusty getting frozen, the bank robbery, the exploding lint – and decide that they’re kind of off, on account of they’re all really lame. With a side of weird. She says that she’ll do a quick patrol but that finding out what’s behind the lame is Future Buffy’s problem. They part ways and she heads down an alley only to be confronted by Spike, who’s now wearing a purple shirt over his black t-shirt. I’m going to take a leaf out of the Sherlock fandom’s book and call it the Purple Shirt of Sex. Because of reasons.
He’s pissed because she didn’t turn up at the cemetery. She tries to push past him, but he gets all up in her face. She demands that he move, and he asks what she’ll do if he doesn’t. She punches him in the face, and after a second, he hits her right back. “Oh, the pain, the pain!” he says in a mocking tone. She asks tearfully how it’s possible, and he tells her with a grin that she came back wrong. Fade to black.
After the Not Commercial Break, Buffy punches Spike repeatedly, driving him down the alley as he laughs. She thinks it’s a trick, that he’s done something to the chip, but he punches her back as he informs her that he hasn’t and that she came back less human. She says that he’s wrong and hits him several times, throwing him backwards into the doorway of a building. She follows him and they crash through the door. Over at the Bronze, the douchey guys are still dancing in their cages, with horrified expressions on their faces. Willow and Amy stand on the balcony, casting spells all over the place and grinning with joy. Soon, there’s magic pinging all over the place.
Sweeney: I just have so many sad feels watching Willow. Also, I know Willow’s current state isn’t all Amy’s fault, but I don’t care — GO BACK TO YOUR CAGE, AMY. (But my 15 year old self still totally appreciated that they magicked The Halo Friendlies into The Bronze.)
K: Back inside the abandoned house, Buffy and Spike’s fight continues. He calls her a lost little girl who doesn’t fit in anywhere as he swings towards her on a chandelier and kicks her in the chest. She throws him into the stairs, and says that he’s just as bad because he’s a vampire and is meant to kill the Slayer, but instead just follows her around making puppy dog eyes. He says that he’s in love with her, and she replies that he’s in love with pain. He throws her across the room, then straddles her and grabs the front of her jacket. She pushes his face, sending him flying across the room and taking a chunk out of a pillar on his way. She leaps after him.
The Bronze. Willow’s mopey because they’ve had about all the fun they can have at the Bronze, and casts a spell to undo all their magic. Everything returns to normal. She wants to know if there’s anywhere bigger to go, and Amy says that it’s too early to go home yet. Willow smiles. Back at the abandoned house, Spike pins Buffy against the stairs. She punches him, and he says that he wasn’t planning on hurting her. Much. She “bitch, please”s him, and he says that she’s afraid to give him the chance. She throws him across the room into a wall, which cracks, and kisses him. She smashes her hand through the wall to get her arm around his neck. He lifts her off the ground and slams her into another section of wall as they continue to kiss. The cracks in the walls get bigger, moving up towards the ceiling. Buffy pushes Spike away, then follows him just as a section of ceiling falls right where they were standing.
She slams him up against another wall, and kisses him again. He lifts her up, and she puts her legs around his waist. She lowers her hand between their bodies and we hear a zipper being undone. She lifts herself up a little, then drops down, and Spike stares at her in shock. She stares back at him for a moment before she starts to move. He kisses her again, then spins around so that she’s against the wall. She reaches up and grabs hold of the wall to brace herself, and the house starts to fall apart around them. She leans back against the wall, and he rests his head on her chest. She leans forward to wrap her arms around him, and he staggers backwards. The floor collapses, and they fall through to the basement, landing with Buffy still on top of him. They stare at each other, then start to move again as we fade to black.
Lor: Huh, breaking down walls metaphor, you say? I didn’t even THINK of that, which just goes to show how many different ways there are to interpret things. I finished this episode and promptly told Twitter that it was a big fat NOPE for me. I mean, the episode itself was a bit middle of the road, mostly weighed down by the Trio bits. Even though I don’t like Amy, or rather, what she’s doing, there were a few comedic bits that came thanks to her. Plus, I liked the parallel that was being drawn between Buffy and Willow. They are both being seduced, and we see them taking part in harmful activities: Buffy fighting with Spike and Willow recklessly using magic. Buffy at least knows that what she’s doing can’t be filed away in “great life choices,” while Willow will not own up to her magic abuse or her part in the end of her relationship with Tara.
It seems like every episode this season is just going to confirm that I had the complete wrong idea about Buffy and Spike. I will make this distinction here: it is a good story, and I like both these characters, but this is not a good relationship. As I said, interpret as you may, but for me, this exchange was difficult to watch and I can’t help but see two deeply damaged people, selfishly taking their fill of something they think they want, regardless of the consequences. Kirsti saw walls coming down– I saw a crash. It was an already empty and abandoned house, and sure, they didn’t do that to each other. There were other circumstances that left them in that state, but being together results in a crash. (S: +1 on this metaphor reading.)
The fighting was strange for me. I really don’t know what else to say about it other than that, as I’m sure many a things can be said about foreplay and liking it rough. That was just not what I saw, and that’s all I can say about that.
Spike is not a man and he is not changed. There is evil still a brewing there.
What a train wreck these two are.
K: So basically, Lor, what you’re saying is this, right?