snark squad | where nostalgia comes to die

Buffy the Vampire Slayer S06 E10 – Simpler Times

and on October 10, 2013 · 297 comments in Buffy the Vampire Slayer,Season 6,TV

Previously: Willow de-ratted Amy and had a fun new Bad Magic buddy. Spike realized he could punch Buffy without chip interference, so they had sex.

Wrecked

Sweeney: Tara and Dawn wake up on the couch, having fallen asleep watching TV. Tara quickly realizes that it’s weird that nobody (neither Buffy nor Willow) came home and woke them up. They check the bedrooms (K: And I laugh forever because 20 year olds who make their beds that perfectly? OH, PLEASE.) and Dawn’s worried when she realizes that neither one is home. Tara says they probably just lost track of time. Segue over to Buffy waking up naked in the trashed building with Spike. She panics and asks Spike when the building fell down. He’s not really sure, because of all the sex.


Wolf howl. (FUCK, I FORGOT TO ASK LORRAINE TO DO THE WOLF HOWL IN DALLAS.)

Lorraine: That’s incredible too considering that we talked about Buffy a lot. There were entire rant sessions and all out giggle fests and pretty much everything in between. But no wolf howl. Next time.

Sweeney: After the credits, Buffy is freaking out about leaving Dawn. When she tries to leave, Spike pulls her to the ground. As she’s telling him how this is not gonna happen, he sticks his hand up her skirt. Then he kisses her and she says, “No,” a few times but he doesn’t stop so she gives in, until he makes a smarmy comment about how much better fucking slayers is than killing them. She finally pushes him off and gets up. They banter a bit more, and after she calls him, “convenient,” it gets a little angrier. Given that he just responded to all of her, “Nope!” by ignoring it, I’m not really boarding his, “You only come around when you need something!” pity party. Neither is Buffy, who punches him in the face and leaves.

Lor: I am not okay with so much of this, but I guess we will talk about this later. I barely noticed Spike was naked because this scene is disturbing and disgusting. I’d rather he put some clothes on and listen to a “no.” That’s sexier.

Kirsti: I have SO MANY ISSUES with the way consent is portrayed between Buffy and Spike. It’s something that continues throughout their relationship, and they’re both guilty of it. I really hate that the writers took things there, because IT’S THE ACTUAL WORST. That said, while I’m not in any way defending Spike’s actions, the look of betrayal and hurt on his face when she says that he was just convenient really hurts.

Sweeney: I suppose we will talk about this some more at the end, but non-consent followed with, “Yeah, but” and, “His poor feels,” is a bucket of nope for me.

Chez Summers, Dawn is freaking out about people ending up in ditches. Tara tries to calm her down and offers to make pancakes. Willow returns with Amy and things are super awkward for poor Tara. For Willow too, I guess, but all my feels are for Tara right now because this shit is Willow’s fault. Anyway, Willow clarifies that this is Rat!Amy and not a hookup named Amy. Tara is confused and Amy jumps in to say that it just happened and stuff’s crazy because Willow is the best witch EVAR. (Amy’s, “No, it’s cool,” response to being called rat!Amy is hilarious.) Willow tries to tell Amy to STFU about her magic skillz as she and Tara exchange meaningful looks but Amy just keeps going until the awkwardness in the room becomes palpable. Tara hurriedly sees herself out.

Buffy returns and Dawn is worried for her, because she’s all sore and limpy. Buffy assures her that it’s not a Big Bad that they should concern themselves with and changes the subject to Tara. Willow awkwardly confesses to being out all night with Amy. Buffy and Willow have an awkward, “I wouldn’t have stayed out if I had known…” exchange. Amy sees herself out. Meanwhile, Dawn keeps insisting that she’s fine, except for the fact that pancakes are burnt. Willow heads upstairs to rest and Buffy and Dawn have a brief moment, but it’s just another in a long chain of, “Buffy’s depression and inability to deal having tragic consequences for Dawn.”

Upstairs, Willow goes into Joyce’s old room, with its masks on the wall and it gives me a nostalgic flashback to 3×02:

Lor: GILES. SIMPLER TIMES. Sigh.

K: SWEENEY, I HAD THE EXACT SAME “JOYCE’S MASKS!!!!” FLAIL MOMENT.

Sweeney: WE SHOULD ALL JUST STAY RIGHT HERE AND FLAIL AND NOT GO TO THE MORE DIFFICULT TIMES AHEAD, RIGHT That’s not how it works? Oh. OK.

Willow is in bed and the light offends her eyes because DRANK! (girl needs some Sprite!) and she tries to use magic to close the blinds, but it doesn’t work, so she gets up and closes them. She doesn’t look too happy about it because hungover and full of ex-girlfriend feels is not really the best headspace for working on reforming your power-obsessed ways, you know?

At The Magic Box Xander and Anya are getting their research on, trying to solve the demonic force behind Trio’s diamond heist. (Answer: A terrible writing choice. Will also accept: The Great Contrivance Spirit.) Xander asks Anya to hand him a book and discovers that she’s been secretly reading bridal magazines. Xander quips that Anya thinks Martha Stewart has the answer and she hilariously responds, “Don’t be ridiculous, Martha Stewart isn’t a demon. She’s a witch.” She adds, “Nobody could do that much decoupage without calling on the powers of darkness.

They have a weird little spat about Anya’s wish to work demon rituals into the wedding. Buffy calls their attention back to the research and rejects any notions that they hit the streets and enlist Spike’s help. Willow’s also out, because she’s sleeping. Xander makes a comment about how anxious Willow was to have a magic playmate, and Buffy gets defensive about how Willow is a grown-up who doesn’t need to be monitored. “Maybe she has reasons for acting this way. And so what if she crossed a line. You know, we all do stuff. Stupid stuff, but then we learn. We learn and we don’t do it again, so who are we to be all judgey?” Xander and Anya are all, “Simmer. Concerned, not judgey.”

K: All of which made me nostalgic again, because it reminded me very much of that time that Buffy was ranting about Ted and Giles’ reply was “Buffy, I-I-I believe the subtext here is rapidly becoming, uh, text.”

Sweeney: The talk of Willow’s concern-worthy behavior takes us to the streets of Sunnydale where Amy’s telling Willow about this guy she knows who can do mind-blowing stuff and it has a very obvious, “We’re talking about magic, but with major DRUG subtext” vibe.

Lor: This episode is one jump away from being an after school special. But with like magic, and not awesome super 80’s magic, but magic magic.

Sweeney: MAGIC. They go down an alley and Amy alerts Willow to an invisible door to magic somewhere, detectable by the heat of the space.

K: And here I thought Willow would know that a good rule of thumb in Sunnydale is “If you have to go down an alley to get there, it’s probably a place that will lead to pain and death, and you should walk away right now.” FOOLISH KIRSTI.

Sweeney: I think she definitely does know that rule of thumb, but she’s choosing to give no fucks right now.

They enter and inside the show makes really sure that anyone who was slow on the DRUGS! uptake join the rest of us. It looks like every television depiction of a drug house, and the two people in the “waiting area” are tweaking out of their fucking minds. A weird-eyed, drug dealer looking guy emerges, and he is the warlock Rack who owns this charming establishment. A sidebar on all of this: Amy says the place is cloaked and changes locations often. She’s been a rat for years. The fact that she’s so quickly back in the know on this seems a little odd and contrived. Not wholly impossible, but it seems like this should have taken another episode or two to happen.

Anyway, Rack tells the tweakers to wait their turn, because fresh blood has entered the building. They go into his room and he quickly deduces that Amy’s been away because she was a rat. He says he hopes it taught her not to mess with spells she can’t handle. He does some weird lighting up stuff with his hands as he skeezy eyes Willow, and talks about the waves of power coming off of her.

Willow is anxious as Rack asks her if Amy told her what she had to do for him. This whole bit in his room adds a lot of the old standby MAGIC SEX subtext to the DRUGS! thing. Amy says it’s over fast and he says he’s just going to take a quick tour as he puts his hand just over her chest. More glowy stuff happens that looks like life is being sucked out of Willow. He leans in and whispers that she tastes like strawberries. Just, you know, so we can add a rapey vibe to the addiction thing.

Lor: The show has been going for clear Buffy/Willow parallels, so the fact that they give Willow her own turn with fuzzy consent makes that opening scene even more gross to me. I don’t think Willow and Buffy’s situation are exactly parallel, but the show wants to make us think that, so they throw in this rape-y stuff in here for good measure. Just, you know, to go along with the drugs. Cool.

Sweeney: Back to drugs now, k? Willow’s eyes flutter and Amy spins around the room. Willow ends up writhing on the ceiling. Stuff in the room changes to plant life, the camera movements are weirdly fadey, and DRUGS! dance music plays. Willow falls off the ceiling when a demon interrupts her forest trip. Then she appears in a bunch of places, with her eyes all scary and black. She wakes up on her bedroom floor.

She takes a shower to wash off the shame and when she cries in the shower I take a break from being angry with her and have a whole lot of FEELS because homegirl is a hot fucking mess right now. I want to go watch some high school Willow. I’m so, so sad for her. Then she pulls a dress of Tara’s out of a box and magics it so that it can hold her. That’s fucking creepy, but also sad. (L: +1 to all of this.)

In the kitchen, Dawn is making peanut butter and banana quesadillas. It sounds gross, but she swears its delish. Willow doesn’t want any because she has too many feelings for food. That’s backwards. You’re supposed to want all the food. All the sugar. Anyway, Dawn says Buffy’s out but she’s called to check in a thousand times. Willow apologizes for the other night too, and Dawn says it’s fine before adorably confirming that Willow will be around that night. Dawn! I love you. This whole season gives me so many feels for both Dawn and Tara. Dawn, especially, who not only recently lost her mother, but is also in no way responsible for all of the terrible shit happening around her.

K: And this is why I will never understand it when people hate on Dawn. She goes through a LOT this season (some of it, admittedly, is of her own creation), and while at times she’s still all bratty-little-kid-esque, I can’t help but have all the feels for her.

Sweeney: Same! I’ve said this before, but to repeat, watching without any knowledge of the fandom is such a different thing. Each time I type her name I’m thinking, “HOW ARE THERE PEOPLE WHO HATE HER?” and I get sad and defensive. I have so many feels for her.

Anyway, Willow says that she’s feeling all right enough to go watch a movie and also buy Dawn dinner. Dawn happily throws away her gross dinner.

Lor: My parents used to work late and they’d leave my not-that-much-older older sister in charge of us. Questionable food creations are the hallmark of an under-watched child. More feels for Dawnie.

Sweeney: Ooh, me too, girl. The best/worst is when you all know it’s such a questionable food creation that you have to sit around daring each other to eat it.

Buffy returns home and hears a shattering noise upstairs. She goes to investigate and finds Willow’s room torn apart. She stops Amy on her way out the door with some sage that she clearly stole, though she insists Willow said she could have it. Amy is also starting to get weirdly twitchy like the magic meth addicts. She stole a bunch of other stuff from Willow and adds that Willow is a hot mess too, and probably at Rack’s right now. Buffy shakes Amy down for information on the location of the place, because if Willow is there now then Dawn is too. Amy says she just has to find it and then voms, because addict without her fix.

Lor: I don’t know guys. Maybe there’s a drug parallel in here. Just guessing!

K: Really? I couldn’t quite see it, myself. Maybe they were too subtle, you know? LOL, JK. Is anyone else sick of being beaten over the head with an anvil yet?

Sweeney: Are you sure you’re done? Because there’s more! Out on the streets, Willow is kind of jittery as she chats with Dawn. Willow awkwardly asks Dawn about how her day was with Tara. Dawn says it was good but she could tell that Tara is feeling pretty sad. Dawn can tell that something is off with Willow and then notices that they’re not going the right way and Willow says she just needs to make a quick stop and then they enter Rack’s latest magic door. Inside, Willow swears it’ll only be a minute and it’s NBD if they miss the trailers. As Willow disappears into Rack’s room, Dawn sighs that she likes the trailers. Me too, Dawn. I hate when people say that. If I’m spending $9 on a movie ticket, I want to watch all the fun trailers on a big screen, damn it! (L: Again, +1.)

K: Right there with you. Especially seeing as a movie ticket in Australia will set you back $19.50…

Sweeney: After a Not Commercial Break, Dawn is sitting on the Magic Meth Den couch. A Magic Meth Addict sits down next to her and she decides it’s time to stand. Inside Rack’s room he’s asking “Strawberry” if she can handle some more, while she floats in space. Her fun times are again interrupted by the Red Buzzkill Demon.

Spike’s TARDIS Crypt. Buffy wakes him up and tells him to get dressed because Dawn is missing with Willow. He insists that she’s there for sex, and she’s all SRSLY, something to do with a dude named Rack. Spike’s quick to catch up to the severity because he knows who Rack is. Buffy turns around while he gets dressed.

Rack’s Magic Meth Den. Willow comes out and Dawn yells at her because she’s been out there so long that there’s no more movie time. She cuts her yelling when she sees that Willow has the bad news black eyes. Out in the alley, Dawn’s creeped out and eager to just get home. Willow’s now chilled out and wants to go party and have fun, even taunting Dawn about wanting to hang with the grown-ups. I feel for what a mess she is, but I also hate her for that.

As Spike tries to find Rack’s location, Buffy accuses him of dragging it out on purpose. Then they banter some more about what last night meant. (L: GUYS. INAPPROPRIATE TIME. SHUT UP.) She says that the only thing that’s changed is that she’s now disgusted with herself and that it was degrading.

Lor: Woohoo. Degradation high five, am I right?

Sweeney: Spike insists that she felt something and will totally be in love with him soon. I’m sorry everyone, since I know most of you love them, but this is grossing me out. Buffy then insists that she wants him out of her life and he says it’s a little late for that. She says she’ll find Dawn herself and he (rightly) asks if she’s really going to endanger Dawn to spite him. Fair.

Speaking of, Dawn says she wants to go home and Willow says she can just go ahead and go even though she thought they were going to hang out. I hate watching her manipulate Dawn like this. Just as Dawn is getting mad at Willow for suggesting using magic to get her home, a demon appears and says something about how Willow summoned him. He attacks Dawn, and they run. Willow steals a car and then tries to run the demon over instead of focusing on the fleeing. She runs into a post.

K: Let this be a lesson to you all – never use magic to steer a car.

Sweeney: After a Not Commercial Break, Dawn gets out of the smoking car, visibly injured. Willow appears to have been knocked out in the crash. Just as Dawn notices this, the demon appears. Dawn screams as she puts up a halfway decent fight defending herself. (L: I rooted for her gumption every step of the way.) Cut to Buffy and Spike hearing her scream. They arrive just in time and Buffy fights with the demon while Spike checks on Dawn. Suddenly, though, the demon stops fighting and starts shaking before bursting into flames. Cut to Willow, black eyed with electricity shooting out of her hands.

Buffy goes to Dawn who is bleeding and in obvious need of medical attention. Willow asks how she’s doing and Buffy tells her to GTFO. Willow stands in front of them pleading with Dawn and apologizing. Dawn looks at her with serious rage face and hesitates for a moment before slapping her. I have this vague recollection of being mad at Dawn for this the first time around. Now, though, I don’t even understand how that could be a thing. I’ve spent so much time pointing out all the ways Willow has been building up to this. In the last few scenes of this episode in particular, she’s just been so awful to Dawn. Now that Dawn is about to be hospitalized because of Willow’s selfish recklessness, I can’t say I blame her any for taking that slap.

Lor: Agreed. She should’ve never brought Dawn along and at that point, an apology would seem so incredibly cheap. I’d feel slappy too.

K: +1. Dawn’s look of disgust is pretty phenomenal, too.

Sweeney: So true! Michelle Trachtenberg doesn’t get a lot of love, because she’s consistently outshone by literally everyone around her, but we’ve seen her grow quite a bit as an actress since the beginning of S5! She still has a ways to go, but this was well done.

That being said, I obviously still have a world of feels for Willow as she falls to the ground sobbing while they go. Buffy hesitates for a minute while Spike and Dawn go on ahead. She yells at Willow to get up, as she’s saying she’s ruined everything, including Tara. Willow sobs into Buffy’s arms and Alyson Hannigan is just such a powerhouse. Willow says she can’t stop and she begs for help. Buffy looks stoic. Not only has Willow just endangered her sister, but Willow is also doing a thing she can’t: admitting to how broken she is and asking for help. There’s a lot happening there.

Lor: So much. At this point, too, Buffy probably feels superior? Doesn’t she control her brokenness so much better? Hasn’t she pledged to never do that thing with Spike again? The harm Buffy does she feels she only does to herself. And on top of all that, we go back to Buffy’s actual and original problem of depression and not being able to feel any of the feels. This was one of the best scenes in this ham-fisted, uncomfortable making episode.

K: I’m not sure I agree with the idea of Buffy feeling superior during this scene. I mean, I find it hard to watch this scene and feel anything other than that Willow is at rock bottom and kind of insanely pathetic. If anything, I see Buffy’s stoic reaction as her acknowledgement that she thinks everyone sees her as the strong one, and so that’s the attitude she feels she has to portray at all times.

Sweeney: Yeah, I’m definitely falling down on the side of superior, and I felt reaffirmed in that by the stern, parental way she starts out in this next scene:

Chez Summers. Willow sits in bed, post-shower, wrapped in a blanket. She opens her eyes when Buffy enters the room to say that the doctor gave Dawn something for the pain so she’s sleeping. Buffy adds that it’s a fracture that’ll take time to heal. She adds that she doesn’t get why Willow went to Rack. Willow says that it’s partially the Tara thing, and adds that it’s pretty obvious who you’d be if you could choose between Super!Willow and regular Willow. When Buffy tries to say that magic isn’t what makes her special, Willow responds, “Buffy, who was I? Just some girl. Tara didn’t even know what girl.” It took her away from herself and made her free. Buffy starts to say that gets that, but stops short of actually opening up, which  makes my heart sad.

Willow goes on to say that she was out of her mind and that it won’t happen again. “It’s not worth it if it messes with the people I love.” Buffy affirms that it’s over several times. Later, we see Willow lying in bed shaking. Buffy is also sitting in bed, on top of the covers, fully clothed.

Lor: Surrounded by garlic and holding a wooden cross. You need weapons when things like, “no” won’t work!

Sweeney: Womp. I have genuine anxiety about what covering S6 is going to do to our blog, because you all have told us tales of epic flame wars. I know relatively little of the fandom, beyond occasionally following source links in our analytics and the gifs I see on Tumblr. I only remember having a general, “That’s creepy,” vibe about about Spuffy on first watch. Sitting here and typing out the play by play of that opening scene made me super uncomfortable. It made me dislike Spike a lot. I feel like that sentence is blasphemy ’round these parts and I’ll be tarred and feathered shortly, but such is life. I STILL LOVE YOU GUYS. As Lor put it in an email to me last night, blogging things has a way of ruining everything you love. She was only half joking.

Lor: …and half telling the truth. I dislike Spike a lot at this point as well, and no one needs to point out the role that Buffy is playing in this entire destructive relationship because I’m well aware of it all. I waffled on whether or not I would make this point, because it’s such a harsh line– you’ll either agree with me or not– and ANXIETY! as Sweeney explained above.

But, I can’t not make this point. I AM COMPELLED TO MAKE THIS POINT BECAUSE RAPE CULTURE EXISTS BECAUSE PEOPLE REFUSE TO MAKE THIS POINT: In that opening scene Buffy said NO. She said stop and Spike’s response was, “make me,” which is 100% always the wrong response and I hate him for it. Him being a soulless, evil vampire only makes me think, “I expected that. And I hate him for it.”

Now, I’m sure there are people who would say, “But Buffy didn’t stop him! And she’s ~*strong enough*~ to stop him.” Fuck that noise. She said no, so this should not even be an argument. Let me tell you what follows no: ABSO-FUCKING-LUTELY NOTHING. I cannot stand by anything that shows anything to the contrary. Buffy shouldn’t have to strong arm herself out of this situation just because she can. I’m not calling Buffy blameless in other areas of this shit show relationship, but that opening scene? Disgusting. 

And I think it’s supposed to be disgustingBoth of the participants in this relationship basically called it a black hole of self-respect. I’m slightly confused by all of the other feelings that I’m sure many people have (and are entitled to have!) about that scene and their relationship in general. I get it but, like… not really. And, again, just because of my own strong reactions to the scene. 

K: As I said at the start, I have serious issues with the way consent is depicted between these two, but my reaction to this scene wasn’t nearly as strong. While I agree that no most definitely means no and Spike should get his face punched in for saying “make me,” I can’t really see Buffy as an unwilling participant. She’s the one who initiates the kiss, shortly after telling him to stop. After all these months of not feeling ANYTHING, it’s overwhelming to her. She may be disgusted with herself and ultimately come to the realisation that”…it’s right to give it up. No matter now good it feels,” but in that moment? She gives in to THE FEELING, not to Spike. And I’m going to stop talking now, because I’m pretty sure that I’m starting to come across sounding like a pro-Blurred Lines arsehole when it couldn’t be further from the truth… 

Sweeney: I’m 100% with Lor on this one. I was feeling that rant in full, but didn’t say it myself because anxiety! and I’m a coward. Again, I’m not really seeing any Buffy initiation in that scene. More than that, though, I’m frustrated by that we’re in agreement on the fact that consent was disregarded, but immediately turning it into, “But they both have issues.” I’m sorry, but that is making excuses, given that this particular scene was a one-sided display of shitty representation of consent.

Lor: Usually we don’t come back in for comments on comments, but because (have we mentioned) this is genuinely causing us anxiety to post about, I want to clarify a few things: (1) a kiss and access to my vagina are two different things. So saying, “she initiated the kiss so clearly she wanted it!” is misleading. (2) everyone can have their opinions on the scene! We aren’t drawing a line in the Traumaland sand, but I just wouldn’t have felt true to my own opinions if I hadn’t expressed how strongly I feel about what I saw. Kirsti, you aren’t an asshole, and neither is anyone who would like to disagree with me!

Sweeney: It’s true! Everyone can have their opinions on all the scenes! That’s why there is a space for you guys to discuss and chime in, and hopefully it can stay a civil space.

As for Willow. My heart sank when Amy mentioned going to “a guy” because I suddenly remembered where we were. I love her and have so many feels for her, even as I want to shake/slap her. I mentioned all of my Dawn/Tara feels quite a bit throughout, but I’m so torn on Willow. Someone mentioned feeling nothing but disgust for her this season and while I can sympathize with that feeling and found my head going there a few times during this episode, addiction does carry a certain helplessness with it. She’s responsible for her actions and I hate watching her hurt people around her, but I still just keep wanting her to be OK because I love her. I’m torn, but I think that’s exactly how I’m supposed to feel, so it’s a solid arc in that respect.

Lor: Both Willow’s and Buffy’s situations reek of self harm. Buffy’s issue is not rough sex, or whether she should have sex with Spike, or whether she really wants it, etc, etc, etc. SHE’S DEPRESSED. All this uncomfortable sex stuff is just a product of depression, and a way for her to feel something.

Same with Willow. Her problem is not really an addiction to meth– I MEAN MAGIC. She’s got power issues that stem from her fear of being the same inconsequential person she saw herself as back in high school. All this druggie magic stuff is a story telling slight of hand, but it doesn’t address the issue. This is why I know she’ll magic again, just like I know Buffy and Spike will have sex again. Fingers crossed for expressed consent, yeah?

K: Um. 2001 era television wasn’t really big with expressed consent, Lor… But my fingers are firmly crossed just the same! 

Lor: Yeah, yeah. I won’t hold my breath.

Sweeney: This was a struggletastic episode and I’m just glad I’m done watching it.

 

Next time: Buffy’s grasp on things gets even more tenuous when a social worker checks in on Dawn. There’s also more stuff with The Trio, much as we wish it were’t so in Buffy the Vampire Slayer S06 E11 – Gone.

Sweeney (all posts)

I collect elaborate false eyelashes, panda gifs, and passport stamps. I earned my MA in Global Communications and watching too many YouTube videos. Reconciling my aversion to leaving the house/wearing pants with my deep desire to explore everything is my life's great struggle.





Lorraine (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.





Kirsti (all posts)

I'm a 30-something under-employed librarian and I still live with my parents because I'm super broke. Leader of Team Heartless Cow. I have an inexplicable love for 90s television, eat too much chocolate, and tweet about the random crap that happens to me on public transport more than I should.





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  • Wilhelmina Upton

    This is such a troubled episode for all of them! I won’t say much for the sex thing because feel like I already discussed it in epic length on the last post. I’ll just say that I tend to fall more on Kirsti’s side. Also, when 17-year old me watched this in secret because she wasn’t allowed to watch Buffy, she didn’t see all the things she now sees at 25-ish. (Oh god, I’ve started to stalk about myself in the 3rd person, I’m so sorry)

    I felt so hit over the head with the drug subtext that isn’t so much subtext. My Willow feels are complicated. I get it and I also hate her for it.

    As for Dawn, I don’t know why anyone can actually hate her, sure she is bratty sometimes BUT SHE IS A TEENAGER SHE IS SUPPOSED TO BE A BRAT SOMETIMES! I don’t have any ties to the fandom but I’ve seen some random stuff pop up on tumblr that makes me rage-y because Dawnie…

    • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

      Part of why this story line is a bit of a strugglebus in general for me is the repetition. It’s like, “oh. Okay. Another episode where we get to chat about fuzzy consent for 4000 words. Cool.” And clearly that is an abnormal perspective because of blogging, but it’s made me super short on patience with the entire story line, you know?

      I think if I were in Dawn’s situation (recently dead mom, abandoned father, not really a human, checked out sister, half invested Willow, Tara moved out, etc) I’d be an even bigger brat. Maybe that’s why I give Dawn props because I was a brat at that age and I had about -1 things to complain about.

      • Wilhelmina Upton

        So true, it is kinda annoying to have to talk about again and again and again.

      • http://natashanleigh.com/ Natasha Leigh

        When this season came out, I was roughly the same age as Dawn/MT, so I
        thought she was annoying as hell. Never mind that I was a brat and had
        dropped out of high school, with no complaints anywhere near Dawn’s. So, I agree with you and Lor. That girl could be doing a lot worse. Also, this season is a constant repetition.

        • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

          RIGHT? I’m realizing how in episode 10 it feels like we’ve been talking about the same shit for AGES. ALRIGHT ALREADY. ;)

          • http://natashanleigh.com/ Natasha Leigh

            I know!!

  • http://www.saraswearsalot.blogspot.com/ Sara

    EVERYONE IS GOING TO HATE ME. AND IT ISN’T EVEN ABOUT THE SEX STUFF.

    Hi everyone, my name is Sara, and I do not like Dawn. Now, I haven’t actually watched any of Buffy since two-ish years ago, when I binge watched all seven seasons while I had the flu. But. COULD NOT STAND DAWN 99% OF THE TIME. Honestly, I don’t know if it’s Dawn I hated or Michelle Trachtenberg, but NOPE. (Michelle and I have a good relationship now, obviously, after that one Disney ice skating movie and Gossip Girl.) I just didn’t think MT had any sort of acting ability. She very, very rarely came across as sincere for me, and she acted less like a high school kid and more like an elementary school kid. I know that that could be the writing, but she acted young to the point of being unbearable for me. I also think a huge reason I can only see her as obnoxious is because I never had a little sister. So I could be completely off base, and this could really be how kids that age act, but I have nothing to compare it to since I’m the youngest and therefore, was the Dawn of the family. I actually turned the first thirty minutes of this episode on last night and was like BLECH the minute I heard Dawn’s voice, because of all the dislike I had for her on the first watch came rushing back.

    SORRY, EVERYONE. <3

    • Clément Polge

      Actually I totally agree with you, and I also binge-watched Buffy about a year ago, so maybe it’s more a shriek overdose than anything else ? Because she does shriek a lot. She’s like a banshee. Or a shriek machine. It’s uncanny.

      On top of that you add a few bratty moments, and she’s easy to hate. She’s sort of my personal Riley and his “HE’S DUMB HE WALKS DUMB HE SPEAKS DUMB”, I was just taking everything she did negatively.

      Reading those recaps though, I can’t really remember why I hate her… So I’m gonna put the blame on MT rather than the writing, because our ladies raise some very good points about Dawn’s character.

      • http://www.saraswearsalot.blogspot.com/ Sara

        Yes! I agree with everything you just said. The recaps make her seem totally lovable, so I think it is half MT and half THAT FUCKING SHRIEKING. Dear God, that made me want to tear my ears off of my head. When I turned this episode on last night, my husband walked through the room and saw Dawn and was like OH JESUS CHRIST, HER AGAIN?

        (And a huuuuge +1 to the WALKS DUMB, SPEAKS DUMB stuff. YEP.)

        • Melbourne on my Mind

          Random question: how do you guys feel about Cordelia? (Buffy era Cordelia, I mean) Because she was the pre-Dawn Dawn when it came to the shrieking.

          • http://www.saraswearsalot.blogspot.com/ Sara

            I liked her! I know, I know. It makes absolutely no sense. There’s just something about the pitch of Dawn’s shrieks that make me want to punch puppies! I feel bad for hating her, though, on account of how wonderful Michelle Trachtenberg seems from interviews!

          • Clément Polge

            I remember Cordelia’s shrieking to be not as ear-breaking as Dawn’s… And less common, and punctuated by good snark, so I’m ok with her I guess ?

            I really only think of Cordelia in terms of Angel-the-show Cordelia, where she grow from being 18 to being like 35 in about 4 seasons, so my opinion is clearly skewed.

          • http://www.shewhohesitatesislost.blogspot.com/ Isa

            Young larynx vs more mature larynx? I agree with you Clement, my ears say Dawn’s shrieks were WAY worse. Also, Cordelia was a bitch, not a brat, which is much easier (and way more fun) to tolerate.

    • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

      I fully agree on MT’s acting. Like I said, I remember not appreciating her much the first time through. (That’s why I had to stop and say, “Hey, yeah, she did act well for a minute there! Good job!”)

      But now that I’m blogging all the things as they happen? STFU I LOVE HER AND YES, YOU’RE RIGHT, GTFO WITH YOUR DAWNIE HATE.

      <3

      • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

        AND STAY OUT. WITHOUT YOUR STUFF.

        • http://www.saraswearsalot.blogspot.com/ Sara

          WITHOUT MY STUFF????!!!!!! NOT. COOL.

          • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

            WITHOUT. YOUR. STUFF.

          • darkalter2000

            Laughing at all this. :)

          • Izzygirl

            In my head, I heard Sweeney and Lorraine saying their above comments in Dawn’s shrieky voice. Followed by a door slam. ;)

            Dawn shrieks way too often and loudly. Right there with you, Sara.

          • lev36

            Dawn-shrieks are her super power. Well, one of them, at least.

    • Melbourne on my Mind

      OH MY GOD, ICE PRINCESS. That move was terrisome. (Terrible + awesome = so bad it’s good)

      • http://www.saraswearsalot.blogspot.com/ Sara

        GIRL, I HAD THE SOUNDTRACK. SORRYNOTSORRY.

        Also, I think it’s crazy that it took this long for someone to name the movie! Has everyone not seen this masterpiece??!

        • Melbourne on my Mind

          APPARENTLY NOT. Which makes me sad for them.

          • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

            I HAVE! I just tapped out of comments so long ago and also could only see Sara’s comment for the flame war she and I resolved to have over Dawn. (Sara lost.) (Actually, I guess we both lost, from the start, based on the civility with which we resolved to have a flame war via gchat.)

  • Laura

    Yeah, um, this is the season that put James Marsters in therapy, if that soothes you a little bit about how disturbed he was with the consent issues present.

    I don’t really have too many issues with how Spike is presented here, though, remembering that he
    doesn’t care about consent when murdering people, either, and only physical restraint is stopping that at this point. He’s evil. He’s supposed to be.

    Given that, though, I still like Spike, despite his lack of capacity for morality. That’s really not his
    fault; he is simply incapable of it. He’s still an interesting character. The ick is just a byproduct of all the evil, for me. Making it less ick than if I thought he was human.

    • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

      I know Spike is supposed to be evil, which is why Spike-defense confounds me. And why, “aw! Look at how hurt Spike is!” confuses me.

      • Jojo

        This is also the season where he went to every speaking engagement and told young girls that Spike was NOT a cool boyfriend. He was everything they should stay away from. He basically was very aware that his acting this role might get some teen or tween in horrific trouble.

        • http://www.saraswearsalot.blogspot.com/ Sara

          See, then this makes me extra confused about people defending his character so much in this season. Even JM knew this was NOT OKAY.

          • Jojo

            Is it defending or observing? I mean, this would be damn boring if we all sat around and repeated the same thing. I can say something is dead wrong and still want to take it apart and discuss it.

          • http://www.saraswearsalot.blogspot.com/ Sara

            No, I’d say there’s a lot of defending happening. There is a difference between discussing and defending. I’ve seen both happen in these comments, and there is a definite difference.

          • http://www.saraswearsalot.blogspot.com/ Sara

            And when I say “a lot of defending” I mean in the general world of Buffy online, not necessarily in the comments on this site.

          • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

            Depends on the comment. Some people observe, some people defend, some people do both.

            A lot of the trick part comes when people say, “this is dead wrong… BUT….” and sometimes what follows is beyond an observation. It’s a defense of Spike’s actions.

          • Jojo

            Again, I am not a Spuffy shipper so I have no dog in this race. Where does observation stop and defense begin. Is it defending Spike to say Buffy threatened to kill him and punched him in the face (which would have been seen as abusive if the situation was flipped). Is it a defense to say he is a demon and has no moral compass? Is it a defense to say they are both abusive and while one event might trigger you – another might trigger someone else? If my experience is with physical abuse then I might well see things differently. Where does observation/context end and defense begin.

          • Melodie Hatley

            I always find “but” comments to be interesting, because you know the meat of the comment is behind the but, heh. In this case, I would say something like, “Yeah, Spike is hot and I would bang his brains out all day long, BUT there is no way in hell I would date him.”

      • Laura

        I kind of get the aw though. I think it stems from my belief that Spike is not at fault for his lack of morality or his attraction to Buffy. He’s kind of a pawn of both of those things. I guess that’s where my pity for him is rooted. I think dogs lack capacity for human morality, too, but I still say aw when they make a bad choice and get newspaper swatted for it. I feel the same about Spike. He doesn’t get *why* his choices are wrong, but in the case where he gets consequences, the consequences still hurt him. In a very human-like way, since he looks/talks/feels human-y.That being said… I 100% agree that none of those qualities make him a model for real relationships, where vampirism is not a factor. Neither is he in any way a healthy choice for Buffy, but that’s just part of the overall plot.

        • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

          To keep with your metaphor, I’d feel a lot differently about that dog poo’ing on my floor and, like, trying to rape someone. I think that got a little away from me. It’s been happening today.

          • Laura

            That’s exactly my point, though.

            Outside of imposed consequences, dogs don’t understand why “floor” is different than “sidewalk” or why “rape” is different than “mate.” Dogs sexually assault people all the time aka “hump their leg.” Nor do they get consent with their own species if brute force works.

            I don’t think soulless evil things understand the difference between rape and sex either. Just like they don’t understand the difference between murder and having dinner. My metaphor may really be running away from me here.

            As a human with moral capacity, of course I think rape is far more horrific than poo. But a dog probably doesn’t, because they don’t seem to have that capacity. In my interpretation of Spike, he doesn’t either. *I* think his choices are horrific,immoral,destructive, etc., but I don’t believe that he understands that.

            I think that from the flashback portrayal, he would have understood that before his soul(capacity for morality) was taken, and made different choices. So I do pity him, for his inability to make that distinction, within the rules of the buffyverse.

          • Jojo

            +1 It is not an excuse, nor does it make rape any more acceptable. It is an observation of who this character is in this universe and why he acted how he did.

          • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

            Do you think that Spike doesn’t know that, say, rape is wrong? Or murder? Would he call himself The Big Bad if he didn’t understand he was doing bad?

          • Jojo

            The Big Bad is bragging – Bad is not something he sees as a problem. Does he see murder as a wrong – remember when Dru killed Kendra? His response was “Dru killed a slayer – good for her…..though not from your perspective, I guess.” So no – he does not see murder as wrong – nor rape, I assume. I assume that among demons rough sex is the norm.

            I don’t think he has any moral absolutes. It is more – what works for him is good. He has a very strong devotion for Buffy. It is not a devotion that is in any way healthy but it does exist. He sees sex as love – he wants to completely possess her. Again – the problem and not the excuse.

            At most I see him as capable of caring for a very limited number of people whom he would protect. Spike is trying to be a man. But he is not a man and he has only a very limited idea of what a man is or how one behaves.

          • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

            The question wasn’t really how he SEES rape and murder but if he KNOWS that they are wrong. I just can’t say that Spike has NO MORAL COMPASS. I believe he doesn’t feel and see things that someone with a soul does, but living in a society exposes you to their knowledge of right and wrong. He knows that from other’s perspective, murder is wrong, as that quote you selected shows.

            I think his inclination is of course towards the moral gray, the selfish but that doesn’t mean he lacks knowledge of the absolute and the selfless.

          • Jojo

            And the answer is no – he does not know they are wrong. It takes a moral compass to put something in an absolute category like that. Is killing Buffy wrong – yes because I love Buffy. Is trying to kill random women in the alley because I think my chip is broken wrong – no, it’s dinner. A moral compass is not about information – it is about feeling and empathy. Spike can be insightful, but that is not the same as understanding that there is a clear right and wrong because others get hurt.

            You know – when Angel had no soul he tried to torture and kill people, so as demons so Spike with no soul is pretty damn good by comparison. But he is not a man – he is a demon and if he is judged by human standards he will fail that test. (Problem – not excuse).

          • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

            We can’t argue this on equal ground because we have a different view of things from the get go. You can know that things are wrong without feeling like they are. Lying feels GREAT for some people, like stealing feels great for Dawn at the moment, I’m guessing. But she does KNOW it’s wrong, and is knowledge attached to the soul? It depends who you ask, I suppose, and like I said, we’re starting from different places so our arguments to each other are invalid.

            Spike was not so many season ago trying to destroy mass quantities of people. Chip’s helped a lot.

          • darkalter2000

            I could end this argument so hard if I could spoil you Lor. :)

            I’m not gonna even Rot13 though. We are gonna wait. For The Revelations To Come To Pass! :3

          • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

            Ah, of course. I am arguing at a disadvantage.

          • Jojo

            I’m not sure you can really know without feeling – I think you are describing a sociopath there.They know what society expects but they can’t feel for their victims so they kill anyway. And in human terms, that is what Spike has always been. I think that is what most demons are – except Clem and Lorne.

            But, as you said, he is no longer a mass murderer. Progress of a sort. He is also someone who can be trusted to take care of a kid – but I wouldn’t leave anyone but Dawn with him.

          • Melodie Hatley

            Saying he’s a sociopath is exactly right in this case. He can conceptually understand “right” and “wrong” as other people define them, but he can’t truly comprehend what hurting other people does to them. Basically, in a person with antisocial personality disorder there is the Person and there is Everything Else. The ASPD person understands pain, because they feel it. They understand consequences, ie getting busted. What they can’t understand is that other people are separate from other things, because everything is a thing to them. What you said before about Spike wanting to possess Buffy is so, SO true… that’s how they see people. No one hurts THEIR people because it is THEIRS. They also have a hard time comprehending people judging them on their past behavior because they have forgotten all about the time they did something to hurt someone… why should that person be upset about that? It was MONTHS ago.

            ….sorry, I just found it a really good analogy to call vampires sociopaths, because that’s the only thing that fits their behavior in a way we might be able to understand it. :)

          • http://www.shewhohesitatesislost.blogspot.com/ Isa

            Agreed, Lor. The demon world as black-and-white was dispensed with in the Whedonverse a while ago; further, Spike has muddied those waters with a lot of the choices he’s made – and the idea that he is in love with Buffy only adds to that.

          • Laura

            Wow. Interesting perspective.

            Do I think that Spike’s intelligence/communication skills lead him to understand how he is perceived by society? Yes. But he relishes it. He feels badass about murder the same way I feel badass about exceeding the speed limit.
            Yeah, rape is “wrong” to him, but he is unable to distinguish it from any other of the many much greyer social boundaries he’s crossed.

            That’s what I mean when I say moral capacity. Everyone does things they think are “wrong.” Moral capacity is the ability to see why we shouldn’t. Why poop on the floor is gross. Why the actions are harmful. What is grey and what is MIDNIGHT BLACK. Moral capacity is the ability to see why murder is OK… if it is in self defense.

            I think that vampires, in this universe, are shown to lack that capacity. Vampires treat murder like I treat white lies. So intellectually saying “this is wrong” to me is not the same as being a moral creature. In a purely intellectual morality, one could say that murder is always wrong, and disregard self defense. A purely intellectual morality could hold a schizophrenic person accountable for the actions of their delusions.

            So when I say Spike lacks the capacity for morality, it doesn’t mean he thinks his actions are right, it means he doesn’t get WHY they’re not. And if he doesn’t understand WHY rape is wrong, it’s probably even harder to understand why yes last night can be no this morning. (IT CAN, says the moral human, AND IT IS)

            All that saying though, you are under no obligation to like Spike. He is a pretty reprehensible character at this point. I like him though. I also liked him in Season 2 as a pure villain, though, so there’s that.

          • Jojo

            +1

          • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

            I agree with everything you said. And it’s fantastic at moments like these to see all the same things and still come out on two different ends. :)

            I don’t care that he doesn’t understand WHY it’s bad. It’s enough for me that he knows it is, to some extent.

          • Clément Polge

            If I may, I’d say that you two are actually talking about slightly different things, it seems to me Jojo is trying to understand *how* would someone be driven to do these kind of things, whereas Lorraine is saying that reasons are not excuses. So I’d say you’re both right, but since you’re taking slighty different approaches, you can’t really reach the same result ;)

            A sort of analogy would be someone being stalked for months by someone else, being afraid, and one day deciding to go straight to them and kill them. So Lorraine would be saying that murder is murder (and she would be right), and Jojo would be saying that she understands the psychological exhaustion that might lead someone to these extremes measures (and understanding *why* violence exists is always interesting, and it never excuses it).

            At least that’s my take on your discussion, Jojo is trying to understand why Spike acts this way, so her point of view is Spike-centric, and things happen *to* Spike, and we gain insight into his character, but at no point does that justify him, it just explains how he went from point A to point B. Lorraine is more spectator-centric, seeing Spike as someone who acts, and in a way she can’t condone, so she calls him out.

            So yeah, that’s my 2 cents on your discussion, I also just want to say I’m not trying to put words in anyone’s mouth, I’m just trying to reconcile your two approaches, because it seems to me they complement each other really well.

          • Jojo

            Synergy – when many people share and create something larger than the individual pieces. :)

          • http://www.shewhohesitatesislost.blogspot.com/ Isa

            I feel sorry for dogs, I think they as a species are copping the worst of this analogy! :-)

  • Clément Polge

    So, first of all, I want to say that in my mind the shitstorm looks like Dumbledore’s fire spell in the cave with all the skeletons in the last book, except with shit instead of fire. And it. looks. awesome.

    This being said, I actually don’t have anything to add to this episode, the Spuffy scenes, to me, are the logical continuation of last episode’s, and I’ve already said my piece on it, which in short is “Spike is supposed to be a soulless thing, so consent schmonsent for him”, and I find this whole storyline to totally make sense in universe. That gif you put with Spike going “yeah me too” for the degradation really just reinforces that point.

    I also mentioned my feelings for Willow, I can’t hate her, because although everything she does is despisable, this episode clearly shows how broken she is too, and I feel she needs support more than a cold shoulder…

    • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

      Here’s my thing with the Spike is a soulless vampire bit: everyone keeps using that in more or less the same breath that they say, “BUT HIS FEELINGS!” and it seems like people are trying to have it both ways. RELATED, it also seems like this is being used for a reason why representations of Spike disregarding consent are NBD but we should be totally concerned when Buffy disregards his consent.

      I agree with you, though, that this all makes sense. It makes sense and I think that we are supposed to go, “HEY, THAT’S A REALLY FUCKED UP RELATONSHIP WE’RE WATCHING!” And that’s where we come in…blogging all the things and stopping to point out how totally fucked this all is.

      And YES on Willow. THAT is what I was trying to say, but less effectively.

      • Clément Polge

        Fair warning, I’m going to go completely on a tangent here. But I think it’s actually just the magic of TV at work, in that we want to love and approve of the characters we see and like most, even when they’re doing questionable things.

        For instance, if some of you follow the Breaking Bad page on facebook, they recently posted a set of pictures with various actors from the show, asking who we’ll miss the most. Just go read the comments on Skyler’s picture, most of these are actually along the line of “STFU bitch”. Now go read those for Walter White, people love him, thinks he’s awesome, and so on…

        Now if we just take a step back, and think about the actual story, it goes like this: a family man decides to become a drug kingpin, gets greedy and keep expanding because he wants ALL OF THE MONIES, actually neglecting his family on the process, his wife (Skyler) actually calls him on his shit and unacceptable behaviour. In the end, Walter utterly destroys his family structure as well as most of the people in it, all of his own selfish greed, including his wife, who’s not only an innocent victim in all this, but is also put to the stake in his place.

        And people root for Walter, and hate Skyler, because he’s the main character, and she’s just “the wife”.

        And it’s pretty clear to me that we have sort of the same mechanism applying to Spike here… Except it creates fandom conflict, because it’s also happening to Buffy, who’s a different brand of awesome.

        (no offense intended to anyone of course, and I’m not saying that’s the only thing at play here)

        • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

          YES! So, I have to read a lot of Hollywood trade blogs for work (FUN STUFF) so I’m actually surprisingly familiar with the Walter/Skyler issue for someone who has never seen an episode of Breaking Bad. Basically, I’ve read lots of stuff where people say more or less what you’re saying — that Skyler is behaving in an appropriate manner, but because of its adverse impact on the beloved anti-hero, people hate her. (Jezebel also had a post about how they will miss the show, but won’t miss fan hatred of Skyler. I didn’t actually read that, though. I started to, but it was clear that it wouldn’t make sense without the context of seeing the show.)

          Anyway, yeah, I agree with this 100%

          • Wilhelmina Upton

            Me too, very well put Polge!

        • Melodie Hatley

          I hated Walter and Skye. The only person on that show that I could stand was Jesse, because Jesse couldn’t live with his choices. He was the most moral person on the show, and he was a low life meth dealer/cook. How people could root for Walter is unimaginable to me.

      • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

        But… he is a soulless demon with no understanding of ethics, and he does have feelings that are getting hurt.

        I don’t see why one somehow makes the other less valid.

        • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

          Because he has selective feelings. We have to worry about his feelings but those feelings don’t extend anywhere. He can be hurt, but he cannot be sympathetic, empathetic, he can’t feel guilty, he can’t be held accountable for the feelings of others. He exists in this bubble where he does bad things that have a built in excuse, and if bad things are done to him, it’s fair game because of said feelings.

          And I mean, that’s fine. That’s how he can exist in Spike fan’s head, but my own interpretation of this makes me resent him. I really, really dislike him at this point in time and that makes me sad.

          • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

            Yes. That. This was my point.

          • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

            Fair enough. I personally really dislike it when people make this season all about BUFFY HURTING SPIKE AND HOW DARE HE BECAUSE HE’S BEAUTIFUL AND WONDERFUL AND SO UPSET AND HOW DARE SHE HURT THE POOR LITTLE VAMPIRE WHO ONLY WANTS TO BE LOVED, so I guess I mostly agree with you. But I still get occasional feels of “Ohhh… that hurt…” for some quick feelsful expressions that cross his face.

          • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

            In Dallas we talked a lot about how blogging this has changed the way we watch. I’m pretty well past the point of being able to go there with the feels because of this experience. That said, this is a comment that I understand and probably would have related to 100% on my first watch. So I totally get that, conceptually, even if I’m not with you on that feels train. <3

          • Melbourne on my Mind

            YES. THIS.

          • Jojo

            Exactly and completely true – that is what Spike is. I can be aware of that – hate what he does – and still want to comment about the context and the characters.

          • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

            Ditto. I just don’t like Spike. Characters I actually love are going through serious shit, making terrible choices, living with the consequences, or breaking under the consequences, and off over to the side is Spike, who has none of the usual rules apply to him, and in fact commits some of the worst actions of the bunch. The more context given to him and other around him, the more I hate him for having this built in having his cake and eating it too. Ew.

          • Jojo

            Sorry not sorry. I took in a kid whose mother abandoned her at a park for a full day WHEN SHE WAS 4 YEARS OLD and then when she left the bar dead drunk screamed at her for being alone at the park. She was an only child of two alcoholics. So once you take the kid and involve them – just plain no!

            I had a birth father who was physically abusive – the punch in the face and the death threat means something to me. So giving Buffy a pass because she’s a girl – again – NO! There are all sorts of triggers, and all sorts of reasons to object. In your life it is Spike ignoring the No, but there are very valid reasons for someone else to find something else even more upsetting.

            While you have Willow feels, I have Willow rage. I see her as willfully abusing Tara and everyone around her because she’s a power junkie and I see her as having far more control over her choices than Spike because she supposedly has a moral compass. Dawn has a broken arm. If I were to say someone is getting a pass, then I would say Willow is. And Buffy.

            The fact is that all 3 are dead wrong. Ignoring two of them does not excuse what they did. It just gives the appearance of feeling that only one reaction is valid.

          • Raluca

            Right there with you Jojo!

          • http://natashanleigh.com/ Natasha Leigh

            While I agree with most of what you say in this, Jojo, I think Buffy does have a pass in this. She’s the only one who is legitimately depressed and has done nothing (at this point) to be in the middle of the shitstorm that she’s in. Her reaction is valid because she did (in a way) come back wrong and her emotions are all over the place because she was dead and she was done, not because she is a girl. It is, to me, wrong to even lump her in with Spike and Willow because the two of them are doing things for their own benefit, to the detriment of everyone else.

          • Jojo

            Yes – she is depressed. Sorry – I can’t use that as an excuse for physical violence. My birth father had PTSD from being in a Nazi concentration camp. That explains why he was abusive but that does not make one scar or broken bone go away.

            This is where conflict and the other universe become part of the puzzle. Buffy can and should get into therapy and take medication. In the real world this would be her first step. But we are not in the real world.

            OTH – my heart aches for her. I have dealt with depression and it is horrible, I can have sympathy even if I can’t make excuses.

          • Melbourne on my Mind

            Agreed – being depressed doesn’t give Buffy a free pass. I feel for her time and time again, but that doesn’t mean her actions are excused.

          • http://natashanleigh.com/ Natasha Leigh

            I concede that it doesn’t excuse her actions, but I don’t feel like her actions should be analyzed to the degree of Spike and Willow’s. I know that may sound a little bent, but…

          • Jojo

            Come to the feels couch – we have cookie dough!

          • http://natashanleigh.com/ Natasha Leigh

            Thank you. *sniff* This couch is nice.

          • Jojo

            (Curls up next to you under the soft blanket and gives you a hug and a big spoon)

          • http://natashanleigh.com/ Natasha Leigh

            I understand that her depression isn’t an excuse for physical violence, but you can imagine how she feels when she’s trying to leave (possibly to get to Dawn but to definitely get away from him) and he’s restraining her and telling her that she’s a vamp groupie who gets hot for those who are cold and she really believes that he will tell her friends in a way that could make him turn away from her or treat her more like they’re doing at the moment. On top of that, he’s swinging her thong (?) in her face. I would have kicked him in the balls if he’d done that to me.

            This universe is a little backwards because Buffy wouldn’t deal with her depression like this in the real world. She would’ve been ushered to a therapist and put on some medication. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, so should we apply this to her?

          • Jojo

            We should if we are applying it all to Spike. And the punch was after he had let go of her. In the real world Buffy could easily be charged with assault, and more than once. He did not rape Buffy – Buffy did punch him in the face with enough force that he (as a human) would have had a broken nose.

            But this isn’t in the real world. The problem is that you can’t pick and chose which parts of the universe you want to keep and which parts you can ignore. The idea that a creature without a soul can’t have a conscience is a central part of the Buffyverse.

          • http://natashanleigh.com/ Natasha Leigh

            Totally agreed, though, Buffy would’ve probably punched a hole in his face if he was human.

        • http://natashanleigh.com/ Natasha Leigh

          He is a soulless demon and he does have feelings, but he’s really not taking what Buffy wants or needs at this time, which is a really rough time in her life. Not his. If you go back to the episode “After Life,” he jacked up Xander and was weepy because they didn’t tell him that they were bringing Buffy back because, in Xander’s words, Spike would start obsessing over her again. Whether we like it or not, that’s exactly what happened. It was even mentioned that he fought alongside them during the summer, so obviously he can turn his ethics and understanding on and off when it comes to fighting demons and other vampires.

          I agree with Lor and Sweeney here when they say that Spike’s not having a soul isn’t a handicap as to whether he knows that no means no. This is not an Angelus situation where he’s out of his mind and murdering people. This isn’t even a violence issue. This is a Buffy issue that he seems to have in terms of her saying no and his teasing her.

          • Jojo

            What was the diffrence between Angel and Angelus? Why did losing his soul make Angel different? Why is Spike being held to a standard that is not only higher than Angelus – it is higher than Xander (who made a serious attempt to rape Buffy in season 3).

            Lack of a soul in this universe is a problem – not an excuse. But it is canon.

          • Melbourne on my Mind

            Season 3 or season 1???

          • Jojo

            Season 1, I guess. Ooops!

          • http://natashanleigh.com/ Natasha Leigh

            The difference between Angel and Angelus is that his soul is like having a multiple personality. As shown in S.2, if he didn’t have the soul, he would be complete and utter dickcheese. Spike is being held to a lower standard because he’s putting himself there. He says that he can’t be trusted and says that he hates the Scoobies, but he chooses to fight with them because he’s neutered with the chip.

            To be clear, I really kinda dislike Angel as well, but at least he’s trying to legitimately right his wrongs because he does have the soul, that conscience that eats at him. I believe Spike has that same conscience as well, which does make him slightly better than Angel, but his motives are totally fucked up.

            As for Xander, I think that was episode 3 in season 1, and he was possessed by a hyena. I could be wrong about this.

          • Jojo

            Yes, Xander was possessed – however hyenas raping human women is not really an issue. Xander had made it clear that he wanted Buffy. Once his conscience was quieted, he attempted to rape her.

            But why would Spike have a conscience? In the Buffyverse a conscience in a vampire comes with a soul. I mentioned elsewhere that Spike – were he human and in our reality – would be a sociopath. He knows – but he doesn’t feel. He has no empathy. But back to fiction – I can really care about Dexter, who actually is a sociopath.

          • http://natashanleigh.com/ Natasha Leigh

            The Buffyverse is a very complicated universe. With Xander, I think that his desire for Buffy was one that was turned totally ugly when he was possessed by a hyena, but the reason for him to do so would be that he wasn’t in his right mind. Logical, maybe. Right, probably not.

            I feel that Spike, and his possible conscience, is like his ability to eat human food while Angel doesn’t. It could be because of his feelings and who he was when he was turned by Drusilla. He wasn’t a sociopath then, but who knows what he could’ve become? It all could be a little contrived and confusing as hell, but he’s definitely more aware of his actions than what it appears to be.

          • Jojo

            I agree that he is aware – but he just can’t empathize. He would never try to bite Dawn or Buffy because they are in a separate category. But last episode he was gonna bite the woman in the alley. He has no concern about her or her family. He cares about what makes him feel good – and what will get him what he wants. Sometimes those things are good – like taking care of Dawn. Sometimes they are bad. But they are always selfish and self centered at this point.

            That would also describe Xander though. His far more forceful attempt to rape Buffy is just as evil and/or excusable. Rape is rape.

      • ginar369

        The problem is (in my opinion) what is a soul? And what exactly does it do? If you go by the show a soul tells you right from wrong allows you to have real emotions. If that’s so then damn! Raising children must be a breeze in that dimension! Because Human=Soul=Knows Everything! Parents don’t have to spend hours upon hours teaching their children the difference because BAM! Their kids were born with souls and automatically know right from wrong. To bad it doesn’t really work like that.

        Souls don’t tell you the difference between right and wrong they don’t give you emotions. Look at Warren and geek duo as an example. Spike has been living with the following moral absolutes for over a century. WANT, TAKE, HAVE. Only recently because of the chip has he had to change the way he lives. Not because he wanted to but because he had to. I have enough trouble remember last week much less the lessons Spike was taught as a child over a hundred years ago. Not only that but he sees the humans he hangs out with doing very bad things. Xander summoned a demon that had innocent humans burning to death and there were no consequences for that for Xander. Willow did a mind wipe on everyone and all that happened was Tara left her. The four of them dragged Buffy from heaven and nothing happened there either. When compared to the actions of the humans Spike is using as role models his actions don’t seem that bad to him.

        Spike is trying to give Buffy what she wants. She wanted sex so he figures she’d be up for more. Is it selfish? Big Yup. He loves her and wants her with him. So will he go to extremes for it? Yes. Because it worked before with Dru and that’s what he knows. Is the relationship abusive? Yes but not by Spike. Buffy has ever since Spike was chipped been verbally abusive and physically abusive knowing he can’t do anything back to her. Yeah sure he’s a vamp and killed thousands of people. But he was helpless against her abuse before. Was that okay?

        She tells him to leave her alone then she comes to him for help or for comfort or for sex. She punches him then kisses him. What’s a guy to think?

        • Clément Polge

          I don’t think the show tells us that souls tell you right from wrong or allows you to feel emotions, but rather that they’re a requirement to do so. They’re a potential, the same way an acorn is potentially a chestnut.

          That’s the way I understand it anyways.

          • ginar369

            They have. In the episode CRUSH when Spike tells Buffy that he loves her she replies that he is an evil soulless demon and incapable of love. Dru replies that they can love even if it isn’t wisely. The show practically hammers us over the head telling us that without a soul you can’t love. Angelus didn’t love Buffy but Angel did. The difference? His soul.

            Xander’s comment to Spike outside the house after they bring Buffy back from the dead? Why would we tell you? So you can start up your Buffy obsession again? None of them believe Spike loves Buffy. They are certain that as a soulless demon he can’t so it just an obsession as far as they are concerned.

          • Clément Polge

            Yes, but what you’re saying isn’t the same thing. An implication isn’t an equivalence.

            My point is that a soul is a requirement for feelings and telling right for wrong, but that it isn’t all that it takes.

            Equating those two things would be saying that “since 4 is greater than or equal to 2, then 4 equals 2″.

          • ginar369

            Without being too spoilery the show makes itself perfectly clear what it’s stance is on the ability of soulless demons to feel and to know the difference between right and wrong.

            The other point I wanted to bring up was on the show and only on the show. Spike is held to a standard he cannot meet. His actions are compared not only to Angel but against humans as well. He is not human nor is he a vamp that was curse with a soul. But here is a point I think most people forget. The gypsy’s not only wanted Angelus to have a soul but they wanted him to feel guilt. Jenny Calendar’s uncle even said he was supposed to suffer for an eternity with guilt. Spike may not feel guilt the way humans do. He doesn’t feel guilt the way Angel does. He is capable of it. But only in certain circumstances, like when his actions effect someone he cares about. Does he give a rats ass about the rest of the earth’s population? Nope. But he does care if someone he cares about his hurt by what he does. So for the show’s characters to judge him on something he isn’t is wrong. If you look at it from what he is a vampire I think he’s doing pretty damn good. The chip only fires if he tries to hurt the living. What stopped him from getting others to bring him fresh kills? Why stay and fight when Buffy was dead? He is trying, but he is a vampire and his view of right and wrong is different from everyone else. Just like each person has different views of right and wrong.

          • Clément Polge

            Again, I agree on that, I’m merely saying that “being a requirement for” and “being equal to” are two very different things from a logical perspective. I was arguing what you were saying in your first paragraph, nothing more.

            And while I agree that Spike is held to standard he can’t meet, that doesn’t mean they should go easy on him and be all “oh he killed someone, well, whatever, he doesn’t have a soul anyways”. Let’s not forget that the show is called “Buffy the VAMPIRE SLAYER”, and that Spike is a VAMPIRE. He’s being given a break for good conduct, and that’s already better than anyone else can say. Buffy even killed Angel.

          • ginar369

            But only when she absolutely had to. It wasn’t until Angelus killed Jenny did she get on board with the Angelus needs to die train. Before that she couldn’t see past the face of the man she loved. Besides by time she ran him through with the sword there really wasn’t a choice. The portal was open. There was no going back at that point. No matter if it was Angelus or Angel he had to go through the portal. What she wanted and what needed to happen were two different things.

            I try to see things from everyone’s POV on the show. While I can give Spike some leeway for his actions because of what his is I can admit he goes too far and he knows it. But by the same token if you look at his track record with women… Well human Spike (William) had no luck with the ladies. Dru’s idea of romance was for Spike to bring her a pretty girl to drink and they wear the dead girl’s dress. So he isn’t really up on how to woo your lady.

            As far as Buffy goes I think she is using Spike to try to make herself feel better in some way. Do I understand it? Yes. Do I condone her actions anymore than Spike’s? No. I think they are bad for each other right now. Things were good between them before the sex. And the fault with that lies firmly with Buffy. She started them on this path and now because of both of their actions and inaction they have to suffer the consequences.

            They could be good for each other. Spike does get her. More than anyone else ever has. But Buffy isn’t in a place where she can see it. More importantly she doesn’t want it. I think she is punishing herself for the mistaken thought that if she really belonged in heaven or if heaven really wanted her Willow would not have been able to pull her out. She is messed up royally and Spike despite what he might want or is trying to do he isn’t helping. He wants the girl. So he will try whatever seems like a good idea at the moment to get her and keep her. In his mind as long as they are having sex they are a couple. So the more sex they have the more real the relationship is.

          • Jojo

            Not sure I follow the logic there. Xander and the others didn’t tell Spike because they thought he would start up his obsession? They had to know that there was a lot more danger of that when Buffy was alive again. I mean, it’s not like Spike wouldn’t know she was back.

          • ginar369

            Xander catches Spike outside crying. When Spike’s asks why they didn’t tell him they were going to try and bring Buffy back. (This is a transcript from Buffyworld for the episode Afterlife)

            XANDER: Who’s that? Spike?

            We see Spike leaning against a tree, his back to them. He lifts a hand and wipes his eyes. Xander and Anya come closer.

            XANDER: What are you doing out here? I hope you’re not going to start your little obsession now that she’s around again.

            Spike grabs Xander and spins him around, slams him up against the tree and holds him there.

            ANYA: Hey!

            SPIKE: You didn’t tell me. You brought her back and you didn’t tell me.

            XANDER: Well, now you know.

            SPIKE: I worked beside you all summer.

            XANDER: We didn’t tell you. It was just … we didn’t, okay?

            SPIKE: Listen. I’ve figured it out.

            Spike lets go of Xander but doesn’t move away, continues glaring at him.

            SPIKE: (angrily) Maybe you haven’t, but I have.

            Spike still has tears in his eyes. He points toward the house.

            SPIKE: Willow knew there was a chance that she’d come back wrong. So
            wrong that you’d have … that she would have to get rid of what came
            back. And I wouldn’t let her. If any part of that was Buffy, I wouldn’t
            let her. And that’s why she shut me out.

            XANDER: What are you talking about? Willow wouldn’t do that.

            SPIKE: (sarcastic) Oh. Is that right.

            XANDER: Look. You’re just covering. Don’t tell me you’re not happy.
            (Spike scoffs) Look me in the eyes, and tell me when you saw Buffy
            alive, that wasn’t the happiest moment of your entire existence.

            Spike gives Xander a “you just don’t get it” scowl, turns and walks off.

            SPIKE: (as he walks) That’s the thing about magic. There’s always consequences.

          • Jojo

            I remember the scene – but nowhere does it say that they didn’t tell Spike they were raising Buffy because of his “little obsession”

            I also wanted to kick Xander. I think this is about where my kick Xander urge steps up. :)

  • http://stephaniec.tumblr.com/ stephynee

    On a lighter note concerning the Spike/Buffy bit at the beginning, I watched this episode in wide screen for the first time (THANKS NETFLIX) and because it’s not all cropped for horrible early 2000’s square TVs, you can see the little nudie underpants that James Marsters had to wear for the scene. I thought that was pretty funny.

    DRUGS! dance music is my favorite phrase ever. I imagine it’s like a NOW compilation with tons of rave techno beats.

    • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

      LOL excellent. I think I caught a glimpse of them too, but I was having all sorts of technical difficulties with this episode.

      and YES. We’ll be selling it in Traumaland shortly. The tracks have names like, “STRANGER DANGER” and “Contrivance Brings People Together And Also Drugs”

      • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

        “ROOFIE ALERT.”
        “MIND CONTROL IS NOT CONSENT.”

    • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

      I did catch a glimpse of them as well, but I averted my eyes as much as possible. I got gaggy thinking about their dynamics again just now.

    • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

      If you watch Who Are You? in widescreen, you can also see a scene where Willow is talking and not moving her mouth:)

    • Melbourne on my Mind

      COMPLETELY UNRELATED STORY: a friend of mine once sent me an article about True Blood when it first came out, and it was talking about all the nudity and how the actors deal with it, and one of the guys was all “Oh, we wear these little modesty sock things. We can’t wear the usual flesh coloured g-string thing because of the shots from the rear”. And then a couple of weeks later, he found an interview with Alexander Skarsgard talking about the same thing, and sent it to me with a message that just said “SKARSGARD DOESN’T WEAR A MODESTY SOCK” in giant letters. I snort-laughed so hard when I opened it.

      • http://natashanleigh.com/ Natasha Leigh

        He doesn’t wear a modesty sock?! Noted.

        • Jojo

          James Marsters will say anyone can ask anything and the audience should try to embarrass him. One fan came up to him and laid 3 socks on a table – from a baby sock to a huge one and asked which size sock he had worn. It was hilarious!

          • http://natashanleigh.com/ Natasha Leigh

            What? That is so embarrassing.

          • Jojo

            Oh yeah – he said his sock was somewhere between the large and the medium, BTW. X D

          • Raluca

            Actually, I did notice the modesty sock but also JM’s wonderfully toned body. I am sorry, I know you all find this scene so disturbing it’s hard to focus on something else, but naked JM looks so good that he actually distracted me during the first watch of this episode. He had exactly the type of body that I like in men :)

          • Jojo

            Oh 1430 and +1 and wiping away drool.

            You know, it must be hard to be an actor – and that really came out wrong. But when you are doing certain scenes and very close and moving certain ways – well, men can’t hide what they feel. That must get…odd. And if there is no reaction should a female be insulted? And what if….mmmph mmmph….(shut mouth now).

          • Raluca

            I think it depends on many variables. I remember interviews with actors who mentioned they do not get aroused due to how embarrassed they feel to actually be naked in front of all those dressed up people.
            I think JM himself mentioned feeling awkward when he was the only one naked on set – even SMG, his partner, was dressed at least partially.
            I also remember some actors who enjoy embarrassing the female partners of certain scenes by allowing themselves to get aroused. :D
            JM didn’t look like he did though… :P

          • Clément Polge

            Also, as a man, I just want to point out that erection does not actually equal arousal. Men have several short erections during the day which is actually just the body checking that “yup, everything works just fine”.

          • Jojo

            Oh…well since most women don’t know that I could see where it could confuse!

          • Raluca

            LOL :D Clement, I am sure you are right!

          • Jojo

            My understanding is that David Borenaz tends to drop trou regularly to see if he could get other actors to break and start laughing. I also have read James Marsters complaining that Sarah would play with the sock and tease him about being almost naked.

            I also have this http: //s704.photobucket.com/user/ivilinpl2/media/n_a.jpg.html if anyone hasn’t seen the picture. Very drool worthy!

          • Raluca

            Thank you for the pictures… you made my weekend! :D

        • Melbourne on my Mind

          It kind of makes me feel terrible for Anna Paquin though, having to film sex scenes with him…

          • http://natashanleigh.com/ Natasha Leigh

            I don’t think she minds much, but I feel awkward for her now that I think about it.

      • http://stephaniec.tumblr.com/ stephynee

        A beautiful unrelated story. Alexander Skarsgard is the only reason I bother watching True Blood anymore.

  • Jessica

    Okay, I want you to know this is some serious business because I actually opened up my laptop for the first time in weeks because I didn’t feel like I could handle this on my phone or ipad.

    First up- Rape Culture in general. My feelings are a mixed bag on this one. I don’t feel like I want to live in a sanitized world that NEVER shows things like this. Just like sometimes we show racism or drug use or other things we all deem to be wrong, events like the one portrayed in this episode happen all the time. I don’t feel like they glorified it or set it up to be ideal (I’m looking at Fifty for that). So I think I give it a bit more of a pass because of that.

    In regards to the actual scene- “She gives in to THE FEELING, not to Spike.” is the key for me here. There is a difference. It’s a fine line between “WE should stop” and ” YOU should stop” and Buffy didn’t make that distinction. I felt strongly that her NO was more about it being a bad idea for them, not about her saying NO to Spike. Is it still a man’s responsibility to stop even if they feel the protests are ambiguous? A MILLION TIMES YES. But as far as the tone of this particular scene, I feel like she was fighting the feeling, not Spike. She was fighting herself and her own impulses. Perhaps it could have been more finely written to make that clear, but that is 100% the reading I had of the scene.

    • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

      I agree entirely that we SHOULD be showing things like this. It’s important for us to see it and talk about it, specifically so we can have these conversations about consent. Agreed. You’re losing me in the end there, though. Non-consent is non-consent. She said, “No,” several times, and the idea of sitting here interpreting what someone’s, “No,” means makes me crazy uncomfortable.

      • Jessica

        I guess I would agree if they had in fact, had sex again in that moment. He may have put up a protest to her saying no, which is different from straight up ignoring her and taking what he wants.

        I don’t know, I’ve been married for 15 years. I have been known to say “no” and not be sure if I meant it. There is a line between “Maybe not” and “No I’m dead serious” and people who know each other well learn to read that. I’m afraid to even say that because I fear people take it the wrong way- my husband is awesome and I have never felt pressured. But I know he knows when I am done and when I am considering it but not really sure.

        I feel like Spike and Buffy have a strong history and would certainly read each other well enough to understand this.
        That’s all beside the point though, just trying to explain why my filter in reading this scene may be different.

        I do think that this was SUPPOSED to be seen as a grey area and feel uncomfortable, and I agree it succeeded. But making a bad choice doesn’t make someone a bad person. It bothers me that men seem to fall victim to a higher standard- if we all agree that Spike was 100% wrong for pressuring her, regardless of her intent in saying no, why doesn’t he get a pass like Willow does? Everyone ends up comforting Willow after she genuinely ALMOST KILLS SOMEONE with her bad choices? Willow is on “drugs”, so what? That doesn’t give her a pass for endangering lives. If we aren’t giving Spike a pass for having no soul, she doesn’t get one either. No matter how much I like her.

        • Jessica

          I should add I feel like if this same scene had played out with Willow and Tara, there wouldn’t be nearly the uproar (see the consent issues played out when Willow used magic to manipulate Tara into forgetting to be mad).

          • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

            …but we did say that there were consent issues. The only uproar seems to be in arguing whether or not they are present.

          • Jessica

            I’m not denying that they were acknowledged, just there doesn’t seem to be quite the same expectations for women in this situation. Nor to we tend to see it as a silver bullet of them being a bad person- we tend to try to explain it away or write it off as their good qualities outweighing their “mistake”.

            I’m not even saying either is right- I just think we should be fair. Using force (magic, authority, physical strength) to get someone to capitulate to what we want is wrong. Man or woman. It doesn’t always make someone a bad person or mean they are nonredeemable.

            Or a more simply switch- had this scene played out exactly the same but with Buffy sticking her hand down Spike’s pants instead, do you think you would feel differently?

          • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

            If any person says, “No” and the other person ignores that and sticks a hand down their pants, then we have a consent issue.

            I never said that Spike ignoring Buffy’s lack of consent made him nonredeemable. I am saying it was unacceptable.

          • Jessica

            I don’t mean to imply I’m picking on you :) I do think a lot of people write him off as a character they can’t get on board with for these exact issues. I didn’t mean you specifically.

            Just in this post alone we’ve seen the words “disturbing and disgusting” and “I expected that. And I hate him for it.”.

            I don’t know, I think given the parallels that are made with Willow, it turns my stomach to see that Spike is vilified for pushing against a no, but ultimately respecting it while our response to Willow’s behavior is that she needs help and love and comfort even after she refuses to stop even when she is seriously hurting those around her. That makes me uncomfortable. We get so angry at women being portrayed as the weaker sex, but this just reeks of that to me.

          • Ana KH

            … why does it turn your stomach that Spike is being vilified, rather than your stomach being turned that Willow isn’t being vilified *enough*? What BOTH Spike and Willow did was awful and terrible.

            Your example of you and your husband having blurred lines of consent does not in any way correlate to Buffy and Spike. This is the very first time they’ve had sex, and to act like their past together as mortal enemies / grudging allies / somewhat friends equates to years of married life is just.. no. They are not at the stage where either one of them should even try to act on “implied consent”.

          • Jessica

            That’s my exact point- why is one person vilified and one is in need of help?

            And to the other point- he is learning the implied consent- he DID stop. It wasn’t some magic trick of marriage that taught us to read each other’s cues. It was time in the game and they DO have that. He. Stopped. Ihe should have done it earlier but it does matter that he did.

          • Clément Polge

            Because Willow wasn’t always this way, she fell into something and got addicted to it, but there’s a clear possibility to fix things here.

            Spike didn’t change, rather the world changed around him, so how would you go to helping him exactly ? He can’t understand what’s happening, so short of putting him on a leash and swatting him on the nose every time he does something wrong, I’m not sure what you could do…

          • Alicia

            Well, treating him better would be a start. He responds well when treated with a little respect, like anyone else. Who knows, maybe he could learn enough to get by even if he couldn’t truly understand why some things are wrong?
            He managed the whole time Buffy was dead.

          • Raluca

            Respect, Alicia!

          • Ana KH

            You’re saying that the Buffy commentary is sexist in their judgement of these characters, correct? Isn’t the appropriate response then that both characters should be judged harshly, rather than “Well, Willow is being let off the hook so Spike should be let off the hook too.”

            It matters that he stopped, yes. I didn’t call him a rapist. I am saying that whatever relationship you have with your husband, it is not equivalent to Buffy and Spike’s relationship. Spike and Buffy have not communicated their desire for a mutual relationship with each other. We should look on his attempt as what it is – him ignoring her and violating her explicit non-consent – and not try and justify it through the prism of an established, loving and supportive relationship.

          • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

            I’ve tapped out of comments because I’m pretty sure I’ve made my stance clear, but I’m sticking my head in to say, “YES. YOU. ALL OF THIS. A+”

            ;)

          • Raluca

            Jessica, I agree… :)

          • LunaOpheliac

            um, I’ve only been into BtVS for a few months, so I don’t know how the general reaction was when the show was actually airing – but honestly, all the Buffy fans I know, including me, agree that what Willow did to Tara was absolutely horrible. :/ So I don’t know where you’re getting the idea that no one criticized that. Actually, the Spuffy fanbase seems to be way larger than the Tillow fanbase.

          • Jessica

            But don’t see that- most people I know that love Buffy practically totally forget that the incident with the memory even happened. They just remember Willow taking care of Tara when she was crazy, etc. They remember the parts that showed their love, not the times it was abused. Willow is beloved even when she has made terrible choices.

            (And they have all made terrible choices at times-except maybe Tara- I’m not picking on Willow, it’s just easier to compare one person than it is to compare to every character)

          • LunaOpheliac

            Don’t people do the same thing with Spike, though? On Tumblr, which is where I primarily participate in fandom, pretty much all I see about Spike is people mentioning/GIFing/etc his best moments. I think people just generally don’t really want to remember the moments where the main characters made really horrible choices. but seriously, I mean, I don’t actually have anything against Spuffy shippers, but I really think that people need to acknowledge how unhealthy their season 6 relationship was. And yeah, I have zero tolerance for people who try to defend literal rape, as in having sex with a person who refuses. Like, it actually baffles me when people try to defend the scene in this episode.

          • Alicia

            The kissing in this episode was a case of dubious consent. But at no point was anyone having sex with someone who refused?

          • LunaOpheliac

            um, if she hadn’t physically pushed him away, it seems pretty clear what would have happened. And I still consider what already did happen assault.

          • Alicia

            Oh, okay I see what you’re saying. I got confused.

        • Clément Polge

          But in your case, it’s between two people actually being able to read between the other’s words, so it reads more as complicity than anything else.

          Spike doesn’t know how Buffy is in a relationship, he just assumes that her “no” is her playing at making him chase her, or just denying her true desires, which is the way I understand rape culture: “she said no, but she *clearly* wanted it”.

          So I’m only talking for myself, but I totally get what you’re trying to say, and I approve of your message :)

          • Jessica

            I think that’s my point- maybe its seeing how Spike IS learning to read her that makes a difference for me- we went from him being purely evil and literally trying to rape her to him protesting, but then not using force. And as things progress, this becomes less of an issue. I’m trying to be vague for those that aren’t spoiled, but it takes time to learn those nuances about a person and I do think, we are showing some evolution in this compared to how things used to be between them.

        • Jojo

          +1 Particularly on the double standard. Yes, the relationship is a train wreck, but it’s a train wreck on both sides.

          • Raluca

            Jojo and Jessica think like I do!

    • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

      Just replying to all the things in this chain here!

      – Agreed that we can and should show things like this. I’m not against this story line happening, and Polge made a good point about this actually being a believable progression of things. I think the story does a good job of pointing to obvious THIS IS NOT OKAY signs, I just get a little sad when there are excuses made, in or out of story, for why is maybe a little not that bad? Seeing racism on TV shouldn’t make us go, “Oh! So, racism wasn’t even that racist character’s fault! He’s evil so he can’t help racism!” And seeing drugs shouldn’t make us go, “oh, drugs are totally okay in this situation because the darkness in her craves the drugs and she totes needs it in her life.” This is a good place for us to stand up and say, “non-consent is always bad. Always. No excuses.” I mean, and of course, I’m making this big and open and generalized, but that’s just how I feel, and again, everyone is welcome to feel their own way about it.

      I think my main point (that got away from me!) is that it’s not a big THIS SHOULDN’T HAPPEN ON TV!! thing for me, and more of a, “I get sad and nervous when people defend non-consensual sexual activities in any ways, shape or form.”

      – No should not be open to interpretation. A possible attacker has no right to try and interpret the feelings behind my no. If I’m fighting my own desire to have sex, apart from whoever is trying to have it with me, that’s still a no to SEX, whether that’s spurred on by a emotional, mental or physical reason. And as I said before, I don’t have issue with this arc being shown, but I’ll repeat that I resent this arc for making it seem that a woman’s no can be interpreted and that, it’s okay, because deep down she really wants it.

      – Non-consent extends to beyond sex. And any point where anyone is doing something to someone else after they’ve said no is a big RAGEW for me, personally.

      – Married for 15 years and had one session of steamy sex is in no way the same. I’m not trying to refute what works for you in the privacy of your own bedroom (and for so long! And when I’m so alone…) but it’s important to use our words. Maybe not is expressed with a “maybe not,” and no is expressed with a “no.” Muddy waters lie anywhere beyond that, but probably less so when you know and love someone so much and for so long.

      – A strong history of what… Insulting each other? Using each other? Her, up until very recently, having little to no interest? Meh. I don’t buy it.

      – The moment Spike breaks down all, “I’M SORRY. THAT WAS A BAD THING I DID. FORGIVE ME. I’M OUT OF MY HEAD. SORRY SORRY SORRY.” and someone puts a semi-comforting hand on his back, I’ll understand that semi-comforting hand.That said, while I understand Buffy coming to her aid, I don’t think anyone is excusing Willow’s behavior. It’s bad and it has been bad for a very long time. And so is Spike’s behavior. These are two separate issues.

      – We can’t say what the reaction would’ve been to a scene like that between Tara and Willow because it didn’t happen. We can refer back to the mind rape and how NOT OKAY most of everyone was with that, and how disgusted and discomforted we were with that. I refuse to believe that if Tara were saying, “no! STOP!” and Willow was all, “make me.” we’d be all, “that’s okay!” Nope. No way.

      I don’t feel like I’m making Spike a villain. The show made him a villain a long, long time ago. And I keep being reminded that he’s a soulless vampire to boot! Willow started off very differently and has ended up in just as bad a place, with a bit more remorse, granted, but her actions were still unacceptable, and have been for some episodes.

      • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

        I love you.

      • Jessica

        I guess I wasn’t clear enough (sincere apologies) in saying that although I interpreted Buffy’s NO differently, I wasn’t saying that Spike had the right to. I do think that they are a much more intimate relationship prior to the sex than most people give them credit for. The reason my husband can read my yes/no is because he has spend time learning my responses in the rest of my life. Buffy and Spike have fought beside and against each other, he has comforted her, she has asked him for help and been vulnerable. I think he IS taking the time time to learn what she does and doesn’t mean.

        I do think her intent was no to feelings, but I hope I’ve been plain in saying that doesn’t mean he gets to ignore her, only that there was more at play here than one issue.

        I am less disgusted because he DOES stop and that counts for me. He may not have done it in the manner we wanted or as quickly, but I have a hard time saying that stopping counts for nothing simply because he didn’t do it perfectly.

        And maybe I am wrong, but I don’t think anyone would say they find Willow “Disgusting” or use the type of language we use when men exert their will over women.

        And I don’t think we get to say that it is okay to comfort someone simply because we finally agree with their methods of reaction… Willow sobbing isn’t any different than Spike saying he feels used.Both fit with the characters. They are both reacting to an immediate emotional situation, and just because we think Willow’s seems more valid, that doesn’t mean she needs help and comfort and he doesn’t. We know they are both going to continue to mess us, but I disagree that someone only deserves our compassion because they say the right words and cry when they hit rock bottom. I’ve seen that movie and I totally don’t think that expressing remorse is a free pass on my sympathy. Changing the way you act is what will earn my sympathy.

        I see more positive trajectory in Spike’s behavior at this point than I do Willow’s.

        Lor, you are the one who isn’t spoiled right? Because I do have a specific few examples, but I don’t want to use them since they would for sure be spoilery.

        • Jessica

          My computer is about to die, and I can’t find my charger. I think I need a nap anyway, this has all been a lot of work. But I will finish off my saying, I totally love and respect all of you and you are still my very favorites. Thanks for allowing us all to have some civil debates :)

        • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

          YEAH. Spoiler free!! :)

          • Jessica

            okay, I will save those examples for another day!

          • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

            Will hold you to it! Enjoy naps. All the naps.

  • Nicole von St Ange

    So on an even lighter note… (I haven’t watched this episode so I can’t really comment, although I think I’d be with Lor and Sweeney because I’m kind of black-white with consent…)

    My first reaction to the movie seeing bit was – wow we pay SO MUCH MORE here, about R45.
    Then I remembered the exchange rate has been a bit of a downer lately so I googled it.

    South Africa – $4.5

    It’s probably because if someone said we’d need to pay R90 to see a movie the whole country would have a collective LOL NOPE.

    Anyway – we win! :D My life lesson out of this is that I will never see a movie in Australia if I ever head there :-/

    • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

      LOLOL. I was pretty horrified by the cost of movies in Australia. I wanted to ask Kirsti if she saw ALL THE MOVIES when she was here, but then I was all, “LOL, yeah, I’m sure she pays to see all the movies she sees…” But $4.5!?

      Honestly, it’s only about $7 where I am, because YAY small town! There’s this awesome comfy-seated bar-having theater in LA that I love, and those tickets are like $20. Ridic.

      • Nicole von St Ange

        But but… You are where movies are made from!!

        For $20 those seats better massage and shape my bumcheeks!

      • Wilhelmina Upton

        In my shitty small town, I think the cheapest movie ticket is around 7€ and that’s only on special days when everyone goes there because it’s cheap. Not counting extra long movies and all the BS

      • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

        Can I just say that I love this comment thread goes from, “NON-CONSENT!” to “movie ticket prices?”

        Amazing, really.

      • http://natashanleigh.com/ Natasha Leigh

        At the upscale theater here in Milwaukee, the tickets are $11 during the day and $16 after 6 pm, but I can bring liquor in there, I get free popcorn and the sodas are cheap.

      • Melbourne on my Mind

        Tickets to see a movie in Gold Class here are $35. But on the plus side, we can bring in our own food and no one has any fucks to give. Also, I tend to go to the movies on Tightarse Tuesdays when tickets are only $12. Or just wait for things to come out on DVD.

  • SuzyLee

    Ok so I commented on the last recap saying that although I ship season 7 Buffy (I will say though that I can only ship that strictly ‘in universe’ and I don’t want to say anymore there for now, but, yeah), I most definitely do not ship them in season 6 and this episode (and another to come) really, truly exemplify why. The way Spike completely ignores Buffy’s no is just not acceptable, its gross and its disgusting and I completely agree that it doesn’t matter if Buffy could fight him off it she really meant it, that is beside the point. I personally think that Spike has absolutely no understanding of why a lack of clear consent is a problem and I think that ties into the fact that although he has demonstrated an unusual ability, for a souless vampire to pick up on what other’s are feeling, he doesn’t actually understand those feelings, this is not an excuse for his behaviour (I have seen this used as one too many times) this is precisely why this relationship should not be happening. I think the writers definitely intend us to be disturbed and worried by these elements in their relationship and I honestly have to say it worries me when people aren’t.

    Willow makes me so sad, I love her so very much and she’s so hard to like in this episode, I will say that, or at least I think so, that she becomes much easier to like again from this point onwards.

    On a lighter note, having watched that Spuffy opening scene enough times now to be able to distract myself from the disturbingness, I have to say that I always laugh at the fact that Spike’s hair is still so perfectly hair gelled in place, are we really supposed to believe that it somehow didn’t get messed up even a little the previous night, lol.

    • http://www.saraswearsalot.blogspot.com/ Sara

      “I think the writers definitely intend us to be disturbed and worried by these elements in their relationship and I honestly have to say it worries me when people aren’t.”

      A million times, yes. I also get the feeling that the writers do not approve of this relationship. They both had cuts and bruises all over them during that first scene! So I agree, and it also bothers me to still hear and see, “But they’re so hot together!” I mean, even James Marsters wasn’t okay with these things – I’m just guessing that he probably wouldn’t even want people to defend Spike in these moments.

      • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

        Just quoting this again, because it contains my feelings: “I think the writers definitely intend us to be disturbed and worried by
        these elements in their relationship and I honestly have to say it
        worries me when people aren’t.”

        And there are my feelings.

        • Melodie Hatley

          I have lots of feelings on this, and evidently lots of anecdotes. My husband (at the time) and I went to go see Watchmen, which I was sooooo looking forward to because it’s a brilliant graphic novel. It’s dark, very dark, and suffice it to say there’s one scene where a male character attempts to rape a female character. It was an uncomfortable and shocking see to read–this graphic novel having come out in the 80’s, it was VERY shocking at the time–and the graphic nature of the movie made me uncomfortable. Which was fine, I knew that was coming.

          But people LAUGHED in the theater. People LAUGHED–and not just guys either–about this woman about to get raped, and I was shocked, horrified, and god damn SCARED. If it was one or two people, I wouldn’t have been worried, but it was damn near the whole theater. I’m not ok with that, and it’s one more reason why I’m not ok with people in general. People suck.

          Individual persons and the snark squad are pretty great though. :)

    • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

      I’m totally with you on the S7 thing. I mean, I don’t know that I actively “ship it” per se, but aside from that technicality, I’m with you on this. Mostly, though, mega THIS: “I think the writers definitely intend us to be disturbed and worried by these elements in their relationship and I honestly have to say it worries me when people aren’t.”

      Anyway: VAMPIRE HAIR GEL IS MAGIC.

      • Clément Polge

        The best ship of S7 is Buffy by herself though. SHE’S COOKIE DOUGH.

    • lev36

      Yeah, however much I may ship Spuffy, the consent thing is a huge problem, and this season really delves into that. As it has with Willow and Tara as well.

      • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

        The Willow parallel has been part of the most interesting part of this all for me. Like, in case you didn’t get that this is BAD BEHAVIOR! have some more of it from another beloved character. ENJOY.

  • Democracy Diva

    LOL FOREVER at “There’s no hope with dope.” Thank you for that beacon of light and hilarity in a dark, dark episode.
    “Alyson Hannigan is just such a powerhouse” is the sentence of this season. I hate the show for making me hate Willow, but I love it for showing us what Alyson Hannigan is capable of. She is magnificent.
    Re: loving Spuffy: their relationship is disgusting and damaging to both of them and Whedon makes that pretty clear with rapey scenes like the one in this episode. Within the context of the show, I find their relationship compelling and painful and fascinating to watch which makes me enjoy watching them, like how I enjoy watching Breaking Bad even though it destroys my soul. Their relationship is good television, not GOOD. I guess that’s sort of the same thing I was saying about Willow – I can hate where they’ve taken characters I love but still love to watch the horrible things they’re doing.
    Also, HIT US OVER THE HEAD MORE WITH DRUG IMAGERY, WHEDON. Jesus Christ. It’s like the network would only let him do whatever he wanted this season if he made an entire episode an anti-drug PSA.

    • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

      Agreed so hard on Alyson Hannigan. She’s just so amazing. Even as I’m raging the fuck out at Willow for hurting people, Alyson Hannigan is killing it.

      Yes, it definitely strikes me as a thing that is MEANT to make us cringe and go, “HEY! THAT’S NOT GOOD.” In that it succeeds for me. But as I said elsewhere, it only succeeds if we can actually look at scenes where consent is ignored and admit that consent is ignored.

      DIDN’T YOU LEARN YOUR LESSON FROM THE ANTI-DRINKING PSA, WHEDON?

      • Democracy Diva

        Totally agreed. That’s why I love the discussion of consent and rape culture that’s happening here – this is how we should be reacting to scenes like that one. Not accepting them at face value.

        Oh God, the beer episode. Don’t even remind me.

  • behind blueiz

    Amy knowing Rack’s place could easily be explained: Her mom was a powerful witch and didn’t seem to put off in using black magicks, and Amy could’ve been following in her footsteps. Remember, Amy turned herself (and Buffy) into a rat.

    • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

      HUH. I don’t remember this guy, but I’ll have to jump back and check it out.

  • darkalter2000

    I have a slightly different interpretation of the last scenes.

    I see Buffy being distant and remote from crying!Willow not /just/ because of what she just did. Buffy was also distancing herself from the idea that she could do something like what Willow had done after spending this episode and the last one overidentifying with Willow’s feels. Previously Buffy was seeing both their self-harm scenarios as being analogous. Later when Buffy tells Willow that “I think it’s right. To give it up. No matter how good it feels.” I see her coming to understand that while their situations weren’t as close as she had assumed, there was still the posibility that she could end up like Willow, hurting someone she loved.

    Tell me what you think of my analysis.

    • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

      An excellent point. We know from the beginning that Buffy is feeling BAD about leaving Dawn to participate in what she sees as degrading behavior. And Dawn and Spike are on such opposite ends in terms of what they represent in the Buffyverse. There was a time where everything Buffy did she did for Dawn, and she even sacrificed her life, in part, for Dawn. I can totally see how witnessing Willow’s destructive behavior, which she HAS identified with, and seeing how it’s harmed Dawn, flips a switch in her.

  • Ashlea Kobukowski

    OK this episode is a hard one for me and not because of the Spike/Buffy interactions. I’m just going to say it. For 10 years I was addicted to pain pills after being on them for breaking my foot. I recently got help for it and have just celebrated 6 months clean.

    That being said, I know a lot of ya’ll feel like Whedon was hitting you over the head with the magic as addiction metaphor. To someone that has been through the hell of addiction this episode is chilling and realistic. Yes we can’t stand how Willow is acting but we still love her so much. I can’t tell you how many times I’m sure my friends and family felt the same about me. I know it was majorly obvious with the drug/magic addiction but I truly appreciate how it was done.

    • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

      Thank you so, so much for this comment. You are right. And it’s crazy how I feel so “DUH! I should’ve seen this differently!” now because for much of the episode I was struggling with some real life events/feelings that tint the way I see the non-consent scenes of Spuffy. Things that have rocked and changed my world. I know what it’s like to watch this fictional content with that real life lens, wishing people would see what I see and feel what I feel.

      I didn’t think to apply it here, but you are right. It’s easy to brush it off as a cliche when you haven’t experience it as truth. And I think we can all agree that that was more apparent with how Willow is portrayed in those last few scenes.

      Wait, is it awkward internet hug o’clock? YEP. AWKWARD INTERNET HUG.

      • Ashlea Kobukowski

        Lol awkward internet hugs back! Thanks for getting it, Lor :)

    • http://www.saraswearsalot.blogspot.com/ Sara

      Congratulations on 6 months!!! I can’t even imagine the struggle of quitting something like that – just quitting smoking cigarettes is incredibly difficult!

      I really appreciate your second paragraph. Because the DRUG MAGIC metaphor did feel heavy handed to me, but after what you said, I think it was a good choice on Whedon’s part. If this episode helped even one person stay away from addictive substances, then I think we can chalk it up to a success. :)

      • Ashlea Kobukowski

        Thanks so much! I just wanted to provide the viewpoint of someone that had been through it. Sometimes we have to be hit on the head with things to understand the severity of them and I think Whedon gets that :)

    • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

      I’m late to the party, but thank you for this comment and your insight. Awkward internet hugs for you too.

      • Ashlea Kobukowski

        Thanks Sweeney! Awkward internet hugs for everybody :)

    • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

      Awesome comment. And congrats on 6 months!

      I had something similar come up with the season 3 episode Beauty and the Beasts. Which I used to think was really heavy-handed and totally overdone, until I watched it with a friend who’d been in an abusive relationship, and she turned to me, wide-eyed, and said “Whoa. That’s exactly right.”

      • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

        I wonder how I’d feel about Beauty and the Beasts on rewatch! I remember liking some of the concurrently running abuse themes, but that’s about it. Huh.

        • Alex

          I haven’t seen that episode in a long time, but from memory, the bit that always upsets me is when Buffy is interrogating the abused girlfriend in the locker room. I sort of understand where the writers were coming from, but there’s a bit too much victim-blaming in there for my liking.

      • Ashlea Kobukowski

        Internet friends are the best! Thanks to all of you for your support! I can’t tell you how scared I was to put that comment lol. I’m not used to being open about my addiction but all of you have been so great.

        That’s interesting that you said that because it always seems to be too much unless you’re in that situation. Life gets crazy sometimes and I think the show does a great job of portraying the hard parts. This show brings together so many different people and helps us understand each other better. One of the many reasons I love it :)

    • Alex

      Congratulations, Ashlea! Both for the 6 months, and for the considerable guts it must have taken to post this comment. You’re not the first recovering addict I’ve heard defend this episode, and I personally do feel that Willow’s portrayal seems hauntingly realistic, at least with my very limited understanding of these kinds of situations.

      For me, the problem with this episode is not so much Willow’s characterisation, it’s just the way that the metaphor suddenly seems to stop being a metaphor altogether. All the magic-junkies bumming around in Rack’s meth/magic den are probably the worst offender for me, as they feel like they could have been lifted from literally any movie about drugs ever, and it’s such an abrupt change from the way that we’ve seen magic portrayed before this point. But I totally get what you’re saying, that even if it’s heavy-handed the message is still very well conveyed.

      • Ashlea Kobukowski

        Thanks Alex! I completely get your point and at times the episode did definitely slap you in the face with the obvious references. And it did seem to stop being a metaphor. I think Joss was trying to show that most things can be taken to that level of addiction even if at first it starts out innocently.

        I was trying to imagine a world with magic. Can you imagine if we could do things that made us feel that powerful? I definitely think there would be junkies lined up in places like that wanting their next fix of magic. People always want something to make them feel differently.

        Sorry for the long ramble. It’s really early for me :)

  • Anagnorisis

    I agree so much with the time issue, I think today we are more aware of things like consent and rape culture (not everybody of course, I wish!). That’s not an excuse of course, I watch this today and I find it more disturbing than when I saw it in 2001/2002 (2003?), I was also 13/14 (what, I thought I was older).
    I know I’m fucked up, I tend to ship fucked up couples, I can’t stand puppy love, mostly my education (sex-shaming) and my experiences made me more attracted to this kind of relationships. Because they are dysfunctional and fucked up and mutually abusive, but the important part is that I’m aware of that, no matter what I can’t forget that Spike is a souless monster.
    There’s also a thing in the future that changes things, so have faith. I’m not saying you are going to change your mind (you have the right to think what you want), but at least will understand why we (or at least I) ship them, why I allow myself to ship them even with all of this.

    • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

      It’s interesting to me, though, that even though we are more aware of this culture, we’re still mired in it. And this is the stuff that our generation was watching growing up! And don’t get me wrong– I’m not a TV IS TO BLAME nutjob, but all of this cultural stuff put together is what created our current environment.

      Liking more complicated relationships doesn’t make you fucked up! And in fact, I can see why people like this as a story, and I’m assuming what grows to be a (hopefully)(please dear god)better relationship. I get itchy when people DEFEND the fucked upedness. (I’m stealing Sweeney words.)

      “The important part is that I’m aware of that, no matter what I can’t forget that Spike is a souless monster.” <– I appreciate that so much. :)

      I know things change. Shots until we get there.

    • Melbourne on my Mind

      YES. I think it’s partly that we’ve grown up since then, but there’s DEFINITELY a lot more awareness today. While 2001 (the episode aired in November) doesn’t seem THAT long ago, things have changed a lot since then, in television AND in the real world. I agree that this is way more disturbing now than it was when I saw it when it first aired.

      Hell, last night I watched an episode of Charmed from 2000 in which Phoebe was slammed against the wall by an invisible thing that then proceeded to pin her hands, pull off her robe, slide her bra strap off her shoulder, and grope up her boxer shorts. How did she describe this to her sisters? “It felt like a seduction”. In 2000, people probably went “Really? Oh, okay.” Last night? My reaction was 10000% “THAT’S SEXUAL ASSAULT”. So…yeah.

  • Izzygirl

    ‘…she punches him in the face and leaves.’ As simple as this is, it’s my ultimate dream ending of the FSoG books.

    • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

      Three books in, girl! NOPE.

  • Jojo

    Really Buffy? Garlic? To keep away a vampire who likes spicy buffalo wings?

    Can I suggest that there is a difference between approval/excuses and context? NO MEANS NO MEANS NO! But I don’t want any discussion of this that doesn’t repeat this over and over to be seen as excusing Spike’s behavior. The relationship is a fucking train wreck from the start. But – CONTEXT HERE – if you say “no” TO A DEMON WHO HAS NO REAL MORAL COMPASS (which can’t happen in reality) and then unzip and mount him, or say no, and then start kissing him – there will be confusion. Spike mixes up sex and love – which is why he tells Buffy that now that they have slept together she will love him. He was a virgin when he was turned so everything he knows about sex and love does not include consent. (AGAIN CONTEXT)

    Buffy has a soul – Spike doesn’t. (THIS IS NOT AN EXCUSE IT IS AN OBSERVATION) and she is also abusive. If Spike had told Buffy “You’re just convenient – this freak show is over and if you tell any of my friends I will kill you!” there would be a huge deal about how abusive he is. This train wreck is mutual and I do not believe that Buffy should be given a pass because she is female. Women can be abusers – to say they are only victims is really misogynistic. Both of them are abusive to each other. This is the worst possible thing they could do with and to each other.

    As for Willow – I find myself lacking in sympathy. I have dealt with addicts and I believe every adult has every right to chose their own handbasket to hell. BUT YOU DO NOT NOT NOT FUCK WITH THE KIDS. In fact, this is a bigger trigger to me than the Spike/Buffy debacle because Dawn is a child and both Buffy and Spike are adults.

    One last thing – whether it’s yes or no, Buffy trusts Spike to watch Dawn while she goes with Willow. That is a huge amount of trust. Their relationship is complex. Sadly, introducing sex will not improve it.

    • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

      What I have a problem with is, “CONSENT, BUT” over and over again and how it seems applied to Spike, specifically. I get frustrated with all the variations on the “he’s a soulless vampire without a moral compass” defense, promptly followed up by, “but look at all his feelings!!” Nope, I’m not going to give him a moral compass pass and concurrently extend all my sympathy because she called him “convenient.” I can’t do it.

      • Jojo

        Wow – okay but part of the series is the whole soul means good because it gives a moral compass. I am not defending when I say Spike has no soul and no moral compass. I am pointing out a basic tenet of the show.

        As for convenient – meh. But I will kill you and punch in the face? That doesn’t rate any concern?

        I’m sorry – the abuse goes in both directions. Giving Buffy a complete pass because she is female seems kind of paternalistic here.

        • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

          I’m not refuting the issue of soul/moral compass, but I’m saying that what upset me above was the fact that I’m supposed to forgive him for that while concurrently feeling bad for him? In effect, that’s giving Spike all the free passes and putting this all on Buffy. Call Buffy out when she’s doing something wrong. In that scene? I don’t see her doing anything wrong.

          • Jojo

            Telling Spike she will kill him if he tells her friends anything and then punching him in the face? I think that if Spike had done that you would see it as wrong.

            When did I ever suggest forgiving Spike? I believe I have repeatedly said this is a mutually abusive situation – which means that SPIKE IS ABUSIVE! Now I don’t want to get into percentages but I do see them both as really so fucking everything up. Spike is completely wrong. But if discussing context and making observations are seen as defending him that really labels a lot of people as rape apologizers. This is what happened in fandom – there was a split between those who wanted to discuss what happened and what it means to each character and those who felt any discussion beyond Spike is evil and wrong to be a rape apology.

      • Alicia

        For me, just because a character does something bad doesn’t mean that I have no sympathy for them when they are hurt. The Spuffy relationship has a lot of different sides to it. The consent issues are kind of a separate thing from Spike feeling used. So I can feel bad for him when he is upset that Buffy is treating him ‘like dirt’ at the same time as knowing that his lack of understanding of proper boundaries is wrong and screwed up. One doesn’t overrule the other for me.

        • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

          I saw the convenient line as truthful, though. And it surprised me more that it took Spike off guard.

          • Alicia

            It is kind of truthful in that Buffy knows that Spike has strong feelings for her and that he will jump at the chance for any contact with her. She is pretty much his purpose in life. But at the same time she is choosing words that will hurt him the most so I feel bad for him. It is kind of a hilarious way to describe Spike. He’s the most inconvenient person ever!
            I think it took Spike off guard because he really thought that the sex changed things, that it meant she was starting to embrace her feelings for him and that it was the beginning of an actual relationship. He is confused and hurt that she is wanting to leave so quickly and calling their night together a mistake. He thinks that it was “a bloody revelation”, that it really meant something for her as well as being a dream come true for him.

          • Raluca

            LOL Alicia, I think the same. Actually, I tend to take Spike’s side more than I do Buffy’s exactly because I’ve been where he is (without the violence), Being used by someone you have strong feelings for is awful and leaves you feeling worthless and used.

          • Jojo

            It is truthful. It is also what Parker did to Buffy.

        • Melbourne on my Mind

          “For me, just because a character does something bad doesn’t mean that I have no sympathy for them when they are hurt.”

          YES. THIS. Look at Faith. Or Harmony after Spike takes the Ring of Amara and leaves. Or Oz when he wolfs out and attacks Tara. Or Xander in Spoilery Spoilery Spoilers. It’s definitely possible to loathe a character’s actions and still have feels for them.

          • Alicia

            I mean, I’m a huge Spike fan, and feeling for him while not condoning his bad choices pretty much describes what Spike fans do;) He’s a tricky character. But I feel the same way about all the other characters too, otherwise I would hate them all.

    • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

      Perhaps I give Spike a little more credit in this case. I don’t think he’s so confused as to not know exactly what’s going on.

      IT JUST MAKES ME SO UNCOMFORTABLE. I CANNOT SEPARATE THIS STORY FROM REAL LIFE THINGS I HAVE HEARD THAT MAKE ME ITCHY. And this whole, “but I was confused because s/he kissed me or s/he seemed to like it!” is so unpalatable to me, and it colors the way I view the story. Giving this any further context beyond, “some one said no. Someone else didn’t listen,” is making this worse. D:

      We didn’t really say anything about the words they exchanged so I can’t really say that if they swapped mean lines it would make a difference. They’ve been exchanging barbs since day 1.

      What pass is Buffy receiving in this scene, do you think? I’m not following.

      So, like, if Buffy is being abusive to him, but he doesn’t have soul, a moral compass, or feelings, is it still abuse?

      • Jojo

        It is mutually abusive, IMHO. The pass I mean is not talking about a death threat or a punch in the face because that is also wrong. Is Spike a misogynistic, abusive asshole in this scene. Hell, yes! Is he completely wrong – and as wrong as wrong can be? You bet!

        But Buffy is also wrong in a lot of ways, and not noting those makes it seem like only one party is abusive. Buffy sang “This isn’t real but I just want to feel”. She is in a very bad place and using Spike – much the same way Parker used her. It’s important to see how low she is falling because this is really an immoral decision which will haunt both of them.

        I do not excuse Spike – but I also do not excuse Buffy….or Willow.

        • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

          I don’t even think we are disagreeing. I think you wanted us to say something in this post we didn’t say? Or we haven’t yet said enough for your liking? But, we can only watch and comment so much, and in this case I wanted use more of my limited words to talk about the consent issue which I think is a more recent issue than the verbally abusive thing we already covered last post.

          IDK.

          • Jojo

            I think you’re right. It’s funny because I feel my own triggers were dismissed as not important, and that’s giving a pass to Willow and Buffy. You are so smart – can I have an awkward internet hug? I am all curled up on the Couch of Feels here.

          • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

            I’ll bring sweets to make it better.

    • Alicia

      I always loved that scene where Spike and Buffy rush to Dawn’s side. And especially the wordless communication that passes between them before Spike leaves with Dawn. To me it shows that despite all the bad between them they still work so well as a team. And you’re right about the trust it takes to entrust Spike with her little sister. She can rely on him when it counts.

    • Raluca

      Jojo, I think the garlic and stakes were meant to protect her because she felt unable to say no to Spike and wanted so badly to be with him, but she also felt she was wrong wanting it. Hence the old “I am weak and would give in if allowed to, so lemme close the door on any opportunity to say yes” – if I were in her shoes, I’d do the same. I was in her shoes once, with a guy I just couldn’t say no to, even though it was wrong to be with him. The thing is I wanted him so badly I just had to give in, and this lead to 6 years of emotional abuse and long-term scarring (the scars are still there). Even now, as we are still friends and he has no hold over me anymore, not a sexual one I mean, I still sometimes give him too much credit or allow him to get away with stuff I don’t allow from others.
      I can see how she would do anything to make Spike stay away so that she doesn’t have to say no to sex with him, something she positively cannot do right now.

  • Raluca

    First, I hate this episode! It is so badly handled imo, that it makes me cringe – it feels like an awful after school special. Hence the following link, to a review of this episode which summarizes how I feel about it: http://boilsandblindingtorment.com/Wrecked.htm
    Now, to comment a bit, I need to say that I do not like Willow. Never have, never will. I don’t dislike her, but I think she is just… well… not well-acted, imo. Alyson Hannigan doesn’t make me like Willow. She is the reason I don’t give a shit about this character. For me, she is just unable to express feeling. I do not feel her. She is… mild. Same goes for her character on How I Met Your Mother. I just don’t care about Willow. That being said, I hate the “drug” parallel thingie and the entire development of Willow here.
    One more thing: maybe I am wrong, but Willow gets a pass from you guys for raping her girlfriend twice and her friends as well, but you are all over Spike for the same reason. Unfair is what I call it. You get Willow feels just because she is pathetic. I don’t. I think what she did was awful and I have no fucks to give about the whole “I am an addict, please help me” situation.
    Now about Buffy and Spike. I am more with Kirsty on this. I have to confess I am actually on Spike’s side. Because I’ve been in his shoes. Buffy is sending mixed signals and there is nothing worse. She is saying no, but kissing him, saying no but spending hours fucking him, not once, not twice, but several times, as implied. And then she gets all disgusted and leaves. Then she needs him again – to help her! So she goes to him and asks for help and doesn’t even want to acknowledge that they had sex.
    Have you noticed, btw, how sex and Buffy are not to be mixed? I do not like this one bit. She sleeps with Angel – he turns evil. She sleeps with Parker – he doesn’t care. She sleeps with Riley – he cheats on her and then leaves. Sleeps with Spike… you’ll see… :D
    And, on a more cheerful note, I could not help but notice Spike being naked, on account of JM’s amazing body :). Sorry, but he is so hot I have trouble focusing on something else when he is naked, and I admit watching such scenes with pleasure.

    • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

      I’m not entirely sure where this idea that we are giving Willow a pass is coming from. This post we titled, “Mind Rape” (http://www.snarksquad.com/2013/09/buffy-the-vampire-slayer-s06-e08-mind-rape.html) Here are some things we said about Willow: “I believe she probably didn’t mean it that way, but realizing that
      Willow didn’t see mind rape as mind rape only makes it worse for me.”

      “Sorry not sorry for getting all real and
      serious and shit, but: rapists are usually someone the victim knows and
      it’s generally about one party wanting something the other doesn’t. The
      fact that someone (a (mind)rapist) can’t see that making that call for
      the other person (a victim of (mind)rape) is violating them, and that
      they’ve done something wrong? Yes. That is even more awful.”

      Here is what we said about her in Once More With Feeling: ” 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.”

      If Spike is confused, he can leave. The answer is not force her. If Buffy is confused she should leave. She should not force him. Those are the standards I’m holding ‘em to. :)

      Sex in the Buffyverse is my one squick with in in general, especially with such an otherwise strong female character!
      “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.”

      And of course all of this is using the mind control metaphor that has no real expression “in real life.” In Spuffy scenes there is explicit non-consent, which DOES have a very real life expression and is even heavier when things like this happen every day. Willow does not get a pass. Buffy does not get a pass. But, guess what, Spike then does not get a pass from me either.

      • Raluca

        It’s the hatred I feel when I read what you say about Spike. I do not feel it with Willow.
        Don’t get me wrong. I know about rape more than I want (thank God I only know what I do).
        I’ve been on the receiving end of violence of men. My dad, the first guy I slept with, who did what you would probably call rape…
        I do not see Buffy and Spike as rape-y. I see them fucked up, abusive and awful to each other. But I do not see or feel rape. With Willow, I do.
        I am not saying Buffy and Spike are ok together, as they are not. And I know you intensely dislike Spike. I don’t. I think he is my favourite character ever on a TV series.

        • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

          It’s hard, I know, because he is such a dear character to you. Plus, I only have part of the story. I do intensely dislike Spike. It’s a great characterization, but I just happen to hate that character and I think I hate him more right now than I did when I first watched this episode. Womp.

          It’s a little different with Willow because I hate what she’s become, but not the character as a whole. Not because I think what she’s doing is less wrong than anyone else. Your preference and my preference are just different. :)

          It’s an interesting point you raise because I agree that what Willow does IS rape-y, but like the actual definition of rape primarily revolves around sexual acts, and that’s so much more evident in the Buffy/Spike interactions, to me personally.

          Different strokes!

          • Raluca

            LOL Lorraine, I thought about it intensely last night. I think I tend to give Spike a pass on this because I used to be him, in a relationship. Thus it’s not that I like him (even though I do) or that I think he is hot (which I do), it’s how well I relate to him here that triggers me. And I DO hate Buffy here because I remember what was like to be on the receiving end of not being loved. :(
            I am a lot like Spike here (even though I am a woman). I too was in love with the wrong person and it destroyed me. I was out of a long relationship (just like Spike with Drusilla, and every bit as destructive) when I fell for a much younger guy who used and ditched me. Looking back now I can understand how bad I was really treating him in the sense that I completely disregarded his uneasiness at our sexual relationship (which I kinda sorta forced on him, in a manipulative if non-violent way). Much like Spike, I thought sleeping with him would make him love me and reacted very badly when this didn’t happen.
            As far as I remember, one of the Buffy writers was in the same position and the Spike-Buffy thing came more or less out of her experience.

            And, btw, notice how much people tend to comment on this situation? They take sides or don’t, they criticize this or that, but they do tend to get a bit inflamed over the Spike-Buffy thing. :)

          • ginar369

            Unfortunately you really won’t like Spike by the end of the season. I’m going to share a bit here so that some of my posts might be bit clearer. I have been on the receiving end of physical, mental, emotional abuse and of rape. Oh wait I was child so they called molestation how nice. In each of those situations I had no power, no control and could not escape. My free will was taken from me, control of my body was taken from me. As someone with intimate experience I did not see Buffy’s no as a firm NO. It sounded more like when I tickle my kids and they say stop but then get a sad face when I do.

            Am I bit biased in favor of Spike? You bet. I’ve seen the entire show, I own the DVD Box set. So I know his story arch. Does it color my perception now? Yes. Because I can see what happens in the end. I think it was necessary for all of these things and what is to come to happen to get him where he winds up.

            Spike equates sex with love. So do a lot of real people. Buffy telling him that he was just convenient sounds like she is playing hard to get to him. The same thing with the punching him then kissing him. Asking him for help looking for Dawn. Letting Spike take Dawn to the hospital while she dealt with Willow implies a level of trust in Spike that he takes to mean she cares about him. Add mind-blowing sex to the mix and he figures they are in a relationship.

            Buffy’s song about wanting to feel was actually ironic. She is feeling too much right now. Everything is too bright, too harsh, too loud, everyone is too demanding of her. She is overloaded but with Spike she can forget for a time that she died. Was ripped out of heaven, had her substitute dad leave her. She can forget that her friends brought her back so she could fight for her life every night to keep the world safe. That she has to raise a teenager, provide for a household. When she’s with Spike the world fades away and it’s exactly what she needs. But when the encounter is over the real world invades and she feels disgusted that she isn’t as strong as she was before. She can’t deal with it all and she hates herself for having those weaknesses and for being with Spike to hide.

            I feel little sympathy for Willow. She has a problem one that started years ago that she never addressed. When things go wrong for her emotionally she reacts with magic. Her and Xander can’t keep their hands to themselves? Do a De-Lusting spell. Willow feels like a nerd? Do a spell and open a dimensional portal letting a Vampire Willow in to this world. Oz left? Do a My Will Be Done spell. Buffy died. Bring her back. She gets into a fight with Tara? Wipe her mind. Willow cares about herself. That she feels good about her place in the world. When that is rocked she reacts badly. Her emotional stability is shaky. She clearly knows the difference between right and wrong and she didn’t care. Because the only right and wrong she cared about was HER right and wrong. Removing the mouths of a couple of guys who tried to pick her up was a proper response? Stripping them and putting them in a cage to dance? She loves the feeling of power.

            Comparing it to a drug addiction is close. The problem I have with it is the damage she is doing to others. If she wants to self destruct that is her business. But she is hurting those she purports to care about. And she wants sympathy and comfort afterwards. I would have never stayed with her. I would have gone with Spike and taken Dawn to the hospital. Staying with Willow gave her what she wanted. To have someone validate her feelings. Its one of the reasons she did the Will Be Done spell Buffy and Xander weren’t spending enough time listening to her bemoan the loss of Oz. Willow’s feelings come before everyone else.

          • Jojo

            +1 – and special hugs. I’m a trifecta abuse survivor as well. You’ve put your finger on something I could not grasp. Control! It is having control stripped from you that makes any of those most difficult. Dawn had control stripped from her in the time that she was with Willow – an adult. She was taken somewhere dangerous against her will, and then put into a car with a driver who was DUI and injured in the resultant crash. Oh, and since this is Sunnydale the drug was magic and Willow’s demon came to life.

            Buffy never seemed in danger of having control taken from her. She seemed confused in the literal sense. One very real part wanted to stay – to wipe out reality and have some more really great sex. One part was disgusted and appalled that she was enjoying this with SPIKE and terrified of what everyone would say. And one part knew she needed to take out the garbage, clean the kitchen and do the laundry. I think that’s why I am more bothered by what Willow did than what Spike did. Dawn really was a victim while Buffy never lost any control of the situation.

          • ginar369

            That is the biggest difference. Buffy has the control in the relationship. For it to truly be a rape or even an attempted rape she has to lose that element of control. She has it right now and for the foreseeable future. She has the ultimate control over Spike. She controls whether he lives or dies. Okay yeah his chip doesn’t work on her. But since they’ve had sex now any physical fights Spike would see as foreplay like the night they just shared. Buffy could dust Spike if she really wanted to remove all temptation of Spike from her life. She doesn’t. The garlic and crosses don’t work on Spike and she knows it. She could have asked Tara to do a dis-invite but she doesn’t. Why? Because she really doesn’t want to give up this one piece of control she does have.

            She had no say in coming back. She had no say in her mother dying and leaving Dawn in her care. She has no control over the money situation right now. She didn’t have a say in Giles leaving. Or any of the gangs actions that have harmed her and Dawn. But she does have control over Spike and what she does with him. She’s not ready to let go of that yet. She needs it to get through each day. Something she can point to and say “I choose to do that.” Instead of “My friends did that to me.” It may disgust her what she is doing but it is the only thing she can control right now.

            Dawn has had control stripped from her from before she was even created by the monks. But the abuse Willow just inflicted on her is one of the worst. Willow supposedly cared about Dawn. Instead she put her in danger. All to gain control she didn’t need. In direct contrast to what Buffy did for her last season. Buffy gave up her life to keep Dawn safe and here is Willow putting it in danger for a few hours of fun.

          • Clément Polge

            Just on the subject on the de-invite spell, I see it more as Buffy not wanting to admit what she did with Spike to her friends, and it would be weird to ask for a de-invite spell “just ’cause”. Especially now that Spike seem to have bonded with Dawn to a certain extent…

  • http://natashanleigh.com/ Natasha Leigh

    I’m just going to reiterate how much I really hate this season. I thought it was just certain episodes when I was younger but now, I just really hate this season.

    To me, Spike comes off as a complete asshole. Buffy initiated the previous night’s sex, yes, but I can’t watch these episodes without feeling that Spike played all gentle confidant just to get into Buffy’s pants (or leather skirt, for that matter). It’s like, where are all of these emotions towards her now? Since she’s the one who’s emotionally damaged from being sucked out of Heaven, I feel as though he should’ve been responsible enough to tell her one time was it, not feeling up her vag and bragging about sexing a slayer.

    As for Willow, I had the feels for a while. I really did, but it’s gone away. I understand addiction very well but she doesn’t have the right to play with people like she has with Buffy, Tara and now Dawn. These are the ones that are defending her the most and she has been burning her bridges.

    Also, let’s observe the weirdness of how Xander and Anya are the most stable, mature people.

    • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

      Hold me.

      Also, Xander and Anya in this episode were so random and dropped in. They have no clue what’s even going on, those two. It’s kind of hilarious.

  • Jojo

    Back when I was a Montessori teacher I was often told “I forgot my homework” My response was “You do realize that forgetting your homework is the problem and not the excuse.” (Then they would come up with ways to not forget because everyone learns a different way.

    When I say Spike is a demon with no moral compass – that is not the excuse, it is the problem. Does that help at all?

    • http://www.saraswearsalot.blogspot.com/ Sara

      I guess, the problem for me is that I’m probably taking these comments too personally. I know it’s just a TV show, but life reflects art. And a lot of the comments about discussing why Spike is the way that he is, they just remind me way too much of the Steubenville case (or many, many other cases in which this happens). People saying, “They’re just young! They didn’t understand!” and “She was so drunk! How were they supposed to know?” and “These boys aren’t BAD people, they just made a mistake.” These things could be considered just a discussion of why the boys did what they did – but in the end, it does feel like a defense, and it rubs me the wrong way. What if that girl from Steubenville had been a “tease” to those boys? What if she had made out with them, straddled them, let them touch her boobs, but then decided she didn’t want to have sex? Would we say, “Well, the signals were all crossed. She wasn’t clear. She shouldn’t have kissed him. She initiated it”? I don’t know. It just makes me feel very uncomfortable. And I totally understand that it doesn’t make everyone else have the same feelings that I’m having. I guess it just feels like discussing the reasons Spike did what he did is adding to the rape culture that we presently deal with on a daily basis.

      • Jojo

        Yeah – I understand. I hate what has happened in this countries and others as well – the abuse of women (including rape, mutilation – too damn many to list) is a huge and real issue.

        But drama is about characters and conflict. Substance abuse and child abuse are also huge issues. Discussing Willow’s issues doesn’t add to the problem – and I don’t think that such a discussion is wrong.

        Physical abuse – domestic abuse – is a huge problem. But I don’t feel discussing Buffy’s punching Spike in the face as adding to the problem.

        There is a difference between reality and fiction. There are differences in what people are comfortable with. Saying that those who are discussing the actions of a character in a tv show are somehow allowing and adding to the rape culture is actually shaming others and distorting their views.

        • http://www.saraswearsalot.blogspot.com/ Sara

          Saying, “Willow has problems and she needs to figure out how to fix herself,” isn’t the same as, “Spike can’t help it because he’s evil.” The first is saying a truth, the second is giving an out, IMO.

          • Jojo

            But Willow is human – and this is where the Buffyverse comes in. There are no real equivalents of a chipped vampire who spent 100+ years as a predator. Saying that this is part of the ‘why’ in this universe has no equivalent in reality. I am not excusing – I am explaining. I am not letting him off the hook – I am describing the hook.

            Part of the universe is that a soul is about realizing and deciding right from wrong. That’s why the fact Spike has no soul is important. Again no equivalent in reality. Again, simply describing context in a fictional universe – not excusing behavior.

            Willow has a problem – the problem is she is addicted to power. There are equivalents in reality. So we can see her as sick, or as a victim, or any number of things that humans are in our reality.

          • http://www.saraswearsalot.blogspot.com/ Sara

            Well, we could compare Spike to a sociopath, like you did further down in the comments. I really have no idea how people would respond to a sociopath, who is incapable of emotions and knowing right from wrong, doing the same things Spike does. If a sociopath raped someone, I don’t think people would have a lot of sympathy…

          • Jojo

            I think he is a sociopath – but one able to feel attachment to a small group. That describes his current moral grounding. He is a sociopath who is prevented from hurting but that doesn’t mean that he wouldn’t if he could.

            The real problem is that there is not equivalent in our society. There are no vampires. So when you hold Spike to the same standards as a human you do get a sociopath. And pointing out his deficiencies is on no way excusing him. It is only explaining him. As for sympathy – I like Dexter. I have sympathy for him. Sympathy is different from approval.

            One point – there has not been a rape here – but not only did Willow rape Tara, Xander also tried to rape Buffy. Not only did Xander do that- Giles conspired to hide the fact that Xander knew what he had done – and he was completely let off the hook. In fact it was sort of treated as amusing in that episode.

          • Raluca

            Jojo, I do like Dexter myself. :)
            And let me confess something else. I like Kevin Spacey’s character in House of Cards. That guy is so full of evilness I can’t even begin to tell you how much he should be disliked. But I like him.

            There is another character that I like (sorta) and shouldn’t: Littlefinger. He is so fucked up (and you’ll see later what I mean) but I like him (not approve of him).

          • Jojo

            Oh, yeah – I’ve been an ASOIAF fan since the 3rd book! And spoilers – big time. Very curious as to what will happen to his “ward”

          • Raluca

            Me too… but cannot go on commenting as HUGE SPOILERS :D

      • Alicia

        Sorry to jump in here but don’t worry about taking things too personally! Like I said below I tend to watch the show from very much an in-verse point of view and trying to make analogies to real life doesn’t come naturally to me. And I don’t think you can truly compare it to real life because it never quite fits. There are no real-life equivalents to soulless vampires who have spent over a hundred years with pretty much no boundaries to speak of.

        But I do completely understand why discussing the reasons Spike does the things he does sounds like excusing the same behaviour in real-life cases. For me, I would be horrified if anyone argued that because that girl ‘teased’ those boys it made her consent unclear when it came to going further. She wasn’t able to give consent and that’s it. But she is a real-life person who was horribly violated. Spike and Buffy are fictional characters. That may make no difference to how you see what is happening but for me it just does. That’s why all of this is so hard and painful to discuss:(

        • http://www.saraswearsalot.blogspot.com/ Sara

          I definitely get that. And I think that’s a huge difference between watching the show and recapping it. I only know from recapping Pretty Little Liars, but when you’re blogging it, you really are evaluating every single thing that happens. Maybe even over evaluating. It’s hard not to when you’re watching the show so slowly and thinking so hard about it. I remember watching PLL the first time through and being annoyed with the Ezria shit, but not downright ANGRY. And recapping it has made me so angry! It’s really weird how your feelings change when you’re having to dissect every single episode. (And it kind of ruins it a bit! haha)

          • Alicia

            Yeah I kind of feel a little bad for Lor in that this isn’t an ideal way to watch the show for the first time. Dissecting is good though, for the most part. And Buffy is a show that invites really good discussion because it resonates with so much!

    • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

      It is a problem. And his actions are a problem. Spike is just generally problematic.

      ETA: *for me.

  • Alicia

    Maybe I’m just weird but I personally really like the first Spike/Buffy scene. I just think that it’s really well done. Their back and forth is so compelling and fascinating to watch. They are always so dynamic together, good bad or ugly that their scenes are often the most interesting part of an episode for me.
    I basically come from the position that their relationship as it stands is screwed up and hurting both of them. I’ve seen this all play out a few times so I’m past the THIS IS WRONG stage and have moved on to trying to understand why each character is acting the way they do. This is where Spike’s soullessness/history with love and relationships, and Buffy’s depression/need to feel/strong attraction to a soulless person, come into play.
    At the same time it is important to acknowledge rape culture and why ‘no means no’ is so important in a healthy relationship. Spike and Buffy are proof of why boundaries are essential. I can sort of look at the situation through a more real life ‘how this relates to our society’ lens, or through an in-story ‘what does this tell us about Spike and Buffy’ lens. I admit I prefer the second because I feel like other people are better equipped to comment coherently on the first. I’ve still got a lot to learn!

    • Raluca

      Do not feel bad – I like it too. Not like as in “approve of” but as in chemistry. They are good together – in scenes, not as a couple. I like how they can find each other’s weaknesses and hurt each other – although I think Buffy doesn’t care about Spike enough to be really hurt, she probably hates herself and thinks she is disgusting and takes it out on him, thus hurting him physically and emotionally.

    • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

      By admitting how much it got to me, I’m also giving the scene credit for being compelling and well done. It’s hard to keep making that distinction but none of my feelings are coming from a bad story-telling place. A lot of people said they will never watch The Body again, even though it is one of the best episodes of TV ever made (opinion, clearly) because it was just difficult to watch. That is this here for me. This is NOT fun for me. I do not like the place it is headed– in an in universe way. It’s a dark and bleak place for all involved and when you are Team Feels you tend to feel these things acutely. I mean, I cried enough during this series, I’m only feeling the obviously constructed grossness of this all that much more here as well!

      I can understand being desensitized with re-watch. I’m not blind to the context, it just doesn’t strip it of the inherent wrongness for me. Or, I should say, it doesn’t soften that blow. I will still probably never watch this episode again.

      This blog was founded as a way to look back on old things and say, “LOOK AT ALL THE WAYS THIS WAS INAPPROPRIATE AND HOW IT RUINED US FOR LIFE.” That’s never going to change, I don’t think. Apart from the jokey nature of that all, however, I have strong feelings about how important entertainment and media are in forming part of our culture. I’ll be saying more about that soon when we finish up Fifty Shades. For me personally, the in and out of universe lenses go hand in hand. I can’t watch someone kill someone without accepting that this is a bad thing because I live in a society where this is a bad thing. Of course this gets more complicated with a show like Dexter or in Game of Thones where incest isn’t exactly what incest is to us now-a-days. Then it becomes your decision to apply or throw away the filter. Incest will always be EW to me and rape (or all the things in the rape-y family) will always be NOT OKAY. LOOK AWAY.

      • Alicia

        Yeah I get that it completely pushes your buttons. It’s weird because Fifty Shades is really really upsetting and horrifying but this feels different to me. I can’t quite figure out what the difference is. Maybe it’s because Ana and Christian have no redeeming qualities whatsoever and I think Spike has shown all the potential in the world. He is just failing right now.

        And I can’t really hate Spike because I love him as a character so much. I mean, he’s a mass-murderer. There’s no way I would sympathise with someone like that in real life yet I always have some sympathy for him. It’s also hard to talk about without spoilers, because I’m also looking at the big characterisation picture and you don’t yet know how he develops from here.

        • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

          The fact that Spike has shown potential just made me hate him a little more. Damn it.

          We joke about how people excuse Grey’s abuse (which is like admittedly so much beyond this one scene here) because he’s rich and handsome and they like his character. And, like, Spike is hot, and funny and people like his character. Womp. If Spike were anyone besides James Marsters, it would probably make a difference.

          I know the future changes thing! I promise I know that but I’ve been true to my in the moment feelings the whole time. I didn’t get Tara at first, and I was fucking HATED the appearance of Dawn. Etc, etc. First time watching has it’s perks. I get to be all, “whoops! NEW INFORMATION.”

          • Alicia

            And Spike’s potential makes me love him even more and root for him to get things right. That’s why I don’t hate him when he falls down. I mean, his nature means that there is a huge pull to make wrong decisions. So when he makes a good choice it’s extra special for me. So I’m basically the complete opposite! Oh dear.

            And yes he is hot and funny and James Marsters is very good at what he does.

          • Raluca

            LOL most likely James Marsters made 2/3 of the arguments over Spike and Buffy happen. He is just hot and he is amazing as an actor. He managed to get Spike to kinda sorta show traces of a soul even when the writers didn’t intend to show he is different from other vampires.

            I do not hate Spike either, no matter what he does. Really… I know it’s wrong and I hate what he does and sometimes what he becomes, but not him.

  • behind blueiz

    I believe this episode is about desperation. Desperation for Willow, to control the world and the people around her, and feeling magic is the only way to do this. Desperation for Buffy, to feel something and at the same time not hating herself for feeling what she does. Desperation for Spike, knowing he doesn’t fit in anywhere–demons nor humans–and knowing that this is his “crumb” from Buffy and knowing the only way to have her is by dragging Buffy down into the darkness with him since he’s unable to go into the light with her.

    I personally feel that each of these characters abused another. Willow–Dawn, Buffy–Spike, and Spike–Buffy. I agree completely, No means No. Spike was clearly wrong. Yet In saying this, last episode Willow clearly abused and manipulated the people in the Bronze. Taking away their free will, forcing them to move and dance, and even going so far as to change who they were (changed their genders). Yes, it was humorous, but it was still manipulation. Plain and simple.

    Also, Willow clearly abused Tara. She went into her mind and took away her free will without any regard, and in essence, this season, Willow is just as bad as Spike when it came to manipulation and abuse. The only difference is Willow used magic and Spike used sex.

    • Raluca

      Agreed :)

    • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

      We’ve discussed this later in the comments as well, but we talked about Willow’s mind rape when it happened, and we yelled about Willow for her magic abuse last episode, etc. I’m not sure what you are standing true to that we haven’t agreed to.

      Willow did bad things but that doesn’t detract or distract from “Spike was clearly wrong.” Have I misunderstood something here? Sorry. Long day!

    • Alicia

      Poor characters. They are all such messes right now!

  • darkalter2000

    This is such a huge flamewar. It is gonna end in tears. :(

    • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

      Sweeney, Sara and I have been holding each other through the internet all day. I’ve had some tears build, NGL.

      I think we’re still okay though.

      • Jojo

        I don’t think this is a flame war. I think a flame war happens when people flame each other for holding different opinions. Personally I think this is the most rational and unflamey discussion of Buffy and Spike’s hideously dysfunctional everything. But I give Mama Bear hugs to anyone who feels singed!

        • lev36

          I’d agree; I don’t see flame war here. I do see passion, but I don’t see people calling each other horrible things or making unreasonable arguments full of logical fallacies and the like just to make a point.

          There may be some argument going on, but it’s civil, and that’s a Good Thing, and I thank everyone here for that.

      • darkalter2000

        I kinda liked this episode for the character development that happens, and now I almost don’t ever want to see it again just because of all of these horrible arguments.

        Plus people are just repeating themselves over and over. My personal commenting etiquette is this:

        1) Read all comments before commenting.

        b) If someone commented on something first and your opinion is the same as their’s that part of your reply goes there.

        cat) If you don’t have anything new to say after you have read all comments don’t make a new comment.

        All this restarting the conversation in a new thread is exacerbating everybody all over when they see a new comment with no replys and feel the need to reiterate. I don’t like where this is going.

        • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

          Solid and I love you for this. You are right, the thing that seems to rile up feelings is not even differing opinions, but like feeling like you have to rehash them . Again, I think we’re fine so far because everyone is making arguments and bringing up points, and not attacking anyone personally, which is something we won’t tolerate.

  • http://stephaniec.tumblr.com/ stephynee

    Hey guys, please shut this blog down during working hours. I have been reading comments on and off all day and not doing anything resembling work. I HAVE THINGS TO DO.

    • http://www.saraswearsalot.blogspot.com/ Sara

      RIGHT. I haven’t gotten SHIT done today!

    • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

      ME TOO AND I HAVE NOT DONE THEM. I keep trying to cut myself off. I will at some point. I just cannot answer everything. I mean, I practically have but I can’t actually continue. SO HARD.

  • Regina

    Allow me to bring down the tone of the comments by saying that “When did the building fall down?” was voted one of the best post-coital lines of all time :)

    • Alicia

      Hee yeah it’s a good one. Not something you hear every day!

  • Samantha

    I’ve been putting off reading this all day because of snark lady tweets and my own strong opinions. I’m not going to say much except that I 100% agree with Lor and Sweeny, though I really do understand where the other side comes from, it’s just what personally makes me angry and uncomfortable because of the ignorance of our rape culture. And I can’t help but hate Spike for this attitude. Lots of love to everyone. We’ll be okay. <3

  • ginar369

    Small SPOILER ALERT AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I’ll address the less explosive subject of Dawn first. The network (and creators of BtVS) decided that MT had matured a lot between season 5 and 6 so not only did they cut down on the Spike and Dawn friendship scenes because they didn’t want it to look sexual between them they asked MT to behave even more childish than she did in the beginning. (Just so you know I read that in an interview with Joss but I can’t remember the link) All that being said I love Dawn. If you really take a look at her life it sucked big time. She found out that everything she ever knew about herself was a lie. She wasn’t really a 14 y/o girl. She was a magic ball of energy. Her mother wasn’t really her mother. And before she could really process that info said mom died. She had never actually met her father. Her only real blood relative, Buffy, died. Then came back depressed as all hell. Her substitute mom, Tara, moved out. And her substitute sister, Willow, has gone off the deep end. Issues people!

    As far as the sex between Buffy and Spike. So far she HAS initiated every encounter. She kissed him twice. After each kiss Spike did try to talk to her about it. She didn’t want to. She jumped in that house, yanked down his zipper and well… Obviously they did do it more than once that night. Should he have listened to her NO? Yes he should have. She already said yes at least once that night so Spike doesn’t understand why she would say no for one more round.

    But to me it didn’t sound very sure. Probably because Buffy isn’t sure about anything right now. She is so confused, depressed and just in general feeling like crap that she doesn’t really care. The rest of their relationship doesn’t go much better this season. But from Spike’s POV he thinks they have something. She’s told him things no one else knew. She let him in, let him comfort her. He thinks they are in a relationship. Granted a bit of a twisted one where he does all the pursuing but a relationship nonetheless. Besides look at what he has as a reference. His relationship with Dru. That is the only thing he has to use as a guide. Dru was nuts. Buffy really isn’t far off.

    I in no way condone rape. But I don’t think this qualifies as rape or even an attempted rape. Nor do I think (SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) do I think what happens later in the season qualifies either. Buffy is in a bad place right now. She is taking it out on everyone around her except those that actually hurt her, Willow, Xander and Tara and Anya to a lesser extent. They dragged her out of heaven. For the rest of their relationship Buffy initiates the sex between the two practically every time. Spike might ignore a no when asking for a second round in a session but hasn’t consent already been given by that time? Willow giving Tara a piece of Lethe’s Bramble to forget about a fight that was a rape. The raping of Tara’s mind and free will. Buffy could have walked away. She didn’t have to stay that morning and keep talking to Spike. Tara had no free will when Willow did her spell. Buffy did. Plus the super strength to back up her no with a well placed fist just to get the point across.

    By time it’s all said and done they have a much better relationship at the end of the show. And I think it wouldn’t have happened if they didn’t go through all this first.

    I expect flames. I don’t enjoy them but I do expect them.

    • Jojo

      Take the spoiler and go to Rot13.com so you can cypher it. That’s how we make sure that our board stays pure as the driven Snows.

      No flame here – I can see why you see it that way.

      • Clément Polge

        Haha you beat me to it ! But yeah, I get that point too, it just have to be properly categorized in the “Why does Spike act this way, and what does it say about him” rather than “Who makes Spike acts this way, and what does it say about his relationship with people”, or worse (which I haven’t seen here yet), “which this isn’t little Spiky’s fault”.

        I personally feel that all opinions are OK, you just have to be clear on the point you’re trying to make otherwise the shitstorm might ensue for someone who have another point of view in their heads while reading :)

        (I hope I’m not sounding too condescending saying this, I’m just trying to explain why your opinion shouldn’t bring flames, and trying to douse the potential ones by expliciting it)

  • Erika Johnson

    I don’t hate Dawn per say but I do have to activly try to not dislike her. I think its because she is new that I have a hard time having “feels” for her when I have been with the other charcters for five years. So, I have to step back and remind myself what she has been through. My abitliy to empathize with any of the characters will always be outwayed by my Buffy feels. A perfect example is “Dead Man’s Party” when the Joyce/Scoobies have justifiable anger towards Buffy but I still wanted to be like “STFU Buffy is better than you and she doesn’t need your shit.”

    In the next episode Buffy (for the millionth time) has to act ten years older than she is and in some she kind of blows it off. I know its not fair to expect Dawn to act like an adult and pick up Buffys slack but it would be nice if she didn’t act like she’s nine years old. While Dawns brattiness in 6×11 is understanable (towards Willow anyway), I still just want her to get the fuck over it and have some compassion for the people around her.

  • Jojo

    This is what the script says about the sex:

    SPIKE
    (stung)
    Didn’t seem to take issue with it last night. Or with any of the other little nasties we whispered.

    {Buffy takes this in, freaking. Last night. SO wrong. And SO completely, mind-numbingly wild. Everything she’s needed. Escape. Release. Ecstasy. With Spike.}

    So this was what Whedon and the other writers were going for. In another place they say that this is the best sex Buffy has ever had. That makes the ‘surrendering to the physical sensations’ idea a lot more understandable and at least some degree of canon.

    • Raluca

      Exactly. This is what they wanted to convey. That she had enjoyed it and that scared and disgusted her. And that would actually make her take it out on him, at the slightest provocation. He is being a jerk to her, provoking her and mocking her and she retaliates by being an incredible bitch to him. And this will actually go on for some more episodes.
      It is very disturbing for me as I can very much identify with Spike here. I’ve had the same kind of relationship a while back (with its particularities, of course, as I think I mentioned below in a comment) and I still remember the pain I felt when the object of my obsession made it clear my feelings were not reciprocated. I can still remember the pain and my awful retaliation due to the pain (which doesn’t excuse or condone my behaviour, but it does explain it). The same happens to Spike – he loves someone who doesn’t love him back and uses him and this hurts, so he has to give some of that hurt back, hence his spiteful remarks and sometimes forceful behaviour.

      • Jojo

        I think it’s important to know that because this is a key part of Buffy’s internal conflict. The best sex she ever had with “a loathsome creature she despises”.

    • Regina

      “When did the building fall down?” indeed ;)

  • Petra47

    I’m sorry if this has already been said — HOLY COW SO MANY COMMENTS! and I don’t have the time to read them all right now — but to add to the Willow/drugs not-subtext subtext “strawberry” is drug slang for a girl trades sex for crack… just by the way…

    Also, this morning after business with Spike and Buffy is the reason I got up on my soapbox after episode 9. Viewed in context, the sex from the night before gets more and more disgusting. And I may blame Drew Greenberg for that bit of character assassination (that’s still how I see Spike in the last ep…. sorry not sorry), this pile of steaming shit is all Marti Noxon. Which makes me sad since I liked her parking ticket song…

    I am Team Spike and I ship my fair share of Spuffy, but not this tripe… this is disgusting and a disservice to the characters and the fans. But the sick part is, I remember thinking this was hot and okay and hubba hubba hubba when I first watched this as a teen…

    I have more to say, but I want to read through all these comments before saying more. Lor, just know that your Spike-disgust is shared even by a Spike fangirl.

  • Angi Black

    Okay – I’ll try to be brief because it’s been rehashed, but I must make my opinions known – well, because hi, it’s me. Obviously, no means no. But I think they chose to portray it that way. I think they are trying to give Spike his bad boy edge back. The right way to do it? No. But it was the choice they made. This entire subject comes to a head later in the season. And without being too spoilery, it’s blurred on both sides. Spike says no and Buffy doesn’t listen. it becomes their MO. and yes, it’s disturbing, but I think it’s supposed to be.

    They could consent to each other because they both want to, it’s obvious. But then they would both have to admit things and let’s face it, neither has the balls or capacity to deal with real feelings. So they hide behind them with this game of cat and mouse.
    I think the defense of Spike comes from something later in the season. Right now, he thinks it’s a game. it’s how he ‘played’ with Druscilla. And Buffy is messed up about everything. Again, I’m not defending him so much as saying, i don’t think it was meant how we’re reading it.

    We live in a very different world than the early 90’s. Plus we have a shitstorm of bad examples right now in our face (hello, Christian Grey!). When I watched this the first time, I never thought ‘rape’. And even on the second viewing. But progressively, as the world changes around me, i see it differently.

    It’s supposed to be a destructive relationship. We aren’t supposed to see it as rainbows and butterflies. We’re supposed to uncomfortable. But I’m not sure it was meant to be viewed as we are seeing it now.

    • Alex

      +1 to all of this! But especially to the ‘but progressively, as the world changes around me, I see it differently’ and the ‘I’m not sure it was meant to be viewed as we are seeing it now’.

      I feel like it’s partly that I’m getting older and had have a lot more experience and time to discuss/think about these issues, and partly that they’re issues that are being increasingly prominently debated and brought to the forefront of our minds. While I found ‘Blurred Lines’ completely repulsive and would like to never hear about it again, I can’t deny that I’ve had some seriously interesting conversations and read some very enlightening articles purely off the back of that whole debacle

  • Melodie Hatley

    Wow, 233 comments by the time I’m posting this. Well, here’s one more. :P

    Maybe I can explain the Dawn hate a little bit. It’s not that Michelle T. is a bad actress cause she isn’t, and it’s not the idea of Dawn the character really, though learning the original part was written for someone much younger made things make more sense, but rather it’s being a long time viewer of Buffy have the GREAT CONTRIVANCE SPIRIT be so obnoxious about contriving. Yes, there are lots of contrivances in the show, but most are at least explained away during the show each contrivance is for, like the Angel’s breath not being able to give her CPR (which was STILL BULLSHIT but at least they gave us a throwaway line about it). For Dawn, we were suddenly just stuck with her, for no apparent reason other than the writers decided to fuck with us. Yes, it was explained away four or five episodes later, but that gave us four or five weeks to stew about it. At least, that’s my view on it. Still don’t like her, probably never will, but the fanatic hate is pretty much dissipated.

    Also, I HATE that the writers treat *~*MAGIC*~* as the metaphor for everything: Lesbianism, teen rebellion, drugs…. MAKE UP YOUR MIND WRITERS!

    • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

      But… like.. magic is MAGIC so it can totally be a metaphor for EVERYTHING.

      EVERY.
      THING.

      • Clément Polge

        Actually I don’t think magic is a *metaphor* for addiction, it’s just addiction, plain and simple.

        And it was really needed, Willow was becoming more powerful than Buffy, and you can’t help but wonder “what does she have that others don’t that makes her so powerful ?” and the answer is simply her carelessness. Maybe other people (Tara included) aren’t as powerful as Willow simply because they try and keep control… And when they don’t, it end badly, see Giles and his demon summoning as ripper (Eyghon or something), where it ended in blood.

        • Melodie Hatley

          Amy knowing about Rack even though she’d been ratified for how long, Willow having handled heavy magic before without showing signs of addiction, the whole attitude of … well, that’s spoilery, so I won’t say anything, but suffice it to say they have changed what magic meant throughout the seasons, so I stick by my metaphor-calling. :)

          • Clément Polge

            Let’s go halfsies and call it an analogy ? :)

          • Melodie Hatley

            Sounds good to me!

  • Melodie Hatley

    Have another comment, which may be double posting, but OH WELL.

    Once upon a time on a forum I frequent, we had a “Write a Bad Fanfiction!” contest in which we tried to write the worst fanfiction we could think of, and see how many people favorited it, or gave it positive reviews. I decided to do a Spuffy fic, set during season two, where Angelus kidnapped Buffy and there was… anyway, there was some really badly written (but non-detaily because ew) rape between Spike and Buffy during which Spike got his soul back and … it was terrible. TERRIBLE. I had a hard time doing spelling errors, but I wrote ‘stake’ as ‘steak’ and whatnot, and had every character ever be OOC. It was painful. At the end, the last chapter, I state out blatantly that it was a contest, that this is a “fake” fiction, that there are some terrible terrible things in it, and that I couldn’t believe anyone liked the drivel that I wrote. To me, it was so bad I’m actually ashamed of it.

    I STILL get that favorited. STILL. To this day, when the contest was over FIVE YEARS ago. Why the idea of rapey Spuffy is appealing I have NO idea. None whatsoever. I don’t get it. #sidestory

    • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

      I already told you on Twitter but your comments all amused me greatly.

      Have you heard of the Fifty Shades of Green project??

      • Melodie Hatley

        I have, yes! :D

        • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

          SO MUCH FUN. I read the resulting work and there was some time that people were leaving some genuinely positive reviews for it on Goodreads. GOOD TIMES.

          • Melodie Hatley

            I haven’t read it yet, BUT OMG WANT TO. :D

  • Alex

    WOAH there are a lot of comments on this recap already. NGL, I’ve not had time to read them all yet, so apologies if I’m repeating something that’s already been said! I will get through them all eventually but I wanted to respond with my immediate thoughts having just read the recap.

    OK, so here’s the thing. I’m totally with Lor on Spike just being generally gross in that first scene, especially the ‘make me’ line. It’s seriously hard to watch. But then I’m also with Kirsti on my heart breaking a little bit at Spike’s sad puppy-dog face. And I don’t like it. It makes me all kinds of confused. Now, I don’t know if that’s an issue with my own interpretation, or a bad acting/directing decision, or bad writing… or maybe (very likely) it’s all completely intentional and the scene (and the more general Spuffy relationship as a whole) is meant to be horribly confusing and complicated and worthy of still being discussed and debated 10+ years later.

    Interestingly, I read somewhere recently that there was actually this kind of debate going on behind the scenes at the time, too. Some of the more senior writers on the team had very different views of Spike’s character and the direction that they wanted to take him in, and they never really resolved them, which is why Spike spends half this season acting like an adorable lovestruck fool and half of it acting like a creepy gross stalker. I don’t know how true that is, but it would certainly explain a lot. But in a way it just makes it so much worse, though, because that means that the writers didn’t even really know what kind of message they were trying to send, or how awful some of the implications actually are. I feel like if you’re going to address these kinds of issues, you need to be pretty sure about what you’re actually trying to say, and I don’t really think that Whedon et al. ever really worked that out.

    • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

      No worries! Reading all of these is a task and I appreciate wanting to get your feelings off your chest when you are done. We love to read them, also, so yeah.

      “But then I’m also with Kirsti on my heart breaking a little bit at Spike’s sad puppy-dog face. And I don’t like it.” <– Legit. This is the sort of line of thinking that I have an easier time understanding. That that everyone needs to cater their opinions to my understanding, I'm just saying. ;)

      "which is why Spike spends half this season acting like an adorable lovestruck fool and half of it acting like a creepy gross stalker." UGH. YES. This is why (atm) I hate him, because I'm meant to give him both benefits of those doubts. He's in LOVE but like lol only capable of a little love. He's doing his BEST but lol it's like an evil best with potential for the future but like not right now.

      To some it (understandably) reads as a deep and intricate character study and to me it reads like exactly what you've described here as not being sure what the message is. And YET! Even there! Mileage still varies because you are able to sympathize with the poor fool, and I don't. It's a million different interpretations. Amazing.

      • Alex

        I dunno… a very small part of it is sympathy, as you say, but I think it’s mostly just that James Marsters gives excellent wounded-puppy-dog face. I can’t say that I hate Spike, but his characterisation is such a tangled mess of so many confusing factors, and I really do hate a large chunk of what they did with him in this season. It’s funny, I really didn’t always feel that way, but I must be on my fourth or fith rewatch now and the more I watch it, the more deeply I think about it and realise how much I don’t like it. As I think you discussed below, you’re in an unusual position in that you’re watching it for the first time, but you’re probably pondering each episode MUCH more that a casual viewer might do when just blitzing through their first watch. I think it’s seriously cool, but also realise that it must get pretty tough for you at times!

  • SnazzyO

    So, my first thought is: AWESOME RECAP + 1430 on the ethical quandary. You guys are like the voice in my head. Which makes this a very difficult episode to watch.

    Second, thankyou for the Dawn feels. I’m glad you can see her life for what the suck-fest it is.

    Finally, Willow — I hate the drug analogy. Too overplayed IMO. Willow is Out of Control and the drug analogy is acceptable for explaining the effect but they went too far making it like actual drugs. I think they took away some of Willow’s culpability and underlying issue when it became an addition-driven issue. JMO, YMMV.

    • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

      (1) Thank you!
      (2) That’s an interesting point about Willow’s culpability. I’m torn on the degree to which I agree with that statement (that is, how much this takes away from that) but it’s a really interesting perspective to consider. That sounds like I’m being patronizing and I don’t mean it like that — truly, I’m intrigued/conflicted and will ponder accordingly :)

      • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

        Oh, hey. look at you back in comments. ;)

      • SnazzyO

        “I’m intrigued/conflicted and will ponder accordingly”

        Sounds like a Sociology mid-term paper: “Compare and contrast Buffy and Willow in the episode ‘Wrecked’ with respect to motivation, external forces, and culpability’.

        $10 says someones done this paper.

    • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

      I see the Willow thing both ways. For me, though, it was less about taking her culpability away and more about highlighting how much drugs aren’t even the problem. Just like all this yucky sex-Spike stuff is intense (and even more angry making for me) because it’s a result of Buffy’s bigger problem– depression. This episode makes all kinds of noise with harmful behaviors that aren’t the root of our girl’s problems.

      Sigh.

      • Jojo

        Yes – and that is season six. The season where everyone f*cks up royally and has to face the consequences. It has been said that in season 6 the big bad is really adult life.

  • geff

    Holy crap that’s a lot of comments. I’m sorry if these discussions have been overwhelming and/or anxiety-inducing, ladies. I respect you all so much for doing this and sticking by your reactions and thoughts. I’ve avoided responding to any of this since I haven’t been able to figure out exactly what I want to say. But now that I’ve read most, if not all, of the comments so far I feel the need to say SOMETHING.

    I’m not going to rehash consent arguments because it’s been discussed extensively and it’s pretty black and white for me, too. I do just want to give my own reaction to the Spike and Buffy scenes because I still am weirded out by how NOT disgusted I am by it. To the point where I wonder whether Whedon & Co. really should have opened up this can of worms in the first place. I watch this show with a very biased Buffy-centric lens; I can’t help but see everything from her perspective. So in Smashed I found that moment where she looks at Spike and makes a conscious decision to sleep with him really powerful. And in this episode I view it more as Buffy struggling against herself and her very confusing, conflicting feelings. I don’t see the final moment of the episode as Buffy using garlic and crosses to repel Spike, but to stop herself from giving in again. This has absolutely no effect on Spike’s actions, which are still completely unacceptable. No context will make them acceptable (and of course Buffy wouldn’t even need to worry about giving into Spike at all if he would just back off when she says no). I don’t sympathize with Spike in this episode, partly because even though I like his character I can’t really feel bad for a soulless murderous vampire and partly because, again, I see everything from Buffy’s perspective. So when she calls him convenient or an evil thing I feel like she’s trying to distance herself from him and overcompensate for the fact that she’s attracted to and connecting with someone she should hate. This is very much in character and I can’t see her reacting any other way. I don’t think this is ok, because she shouldn’t sleep with Spike and ask him for help and then treat him poorly, but it doesn’t make me feel bad for Spike since I’m focused on Buffy’s side of the story. This whole ramble is just me trying to make sense of why, even though I completely agree that consent was violated (and pretty much ignored) in this episode, their interactions don’t infuriate me.

    Back in s4 with Harsh Light Of Day (HLOD) I was disturbed when people defended Spike’s abuse of Harmony rather than see it as the gross actions of a soulless vampire. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that Spike is a dynamic, entertaining, attractive, and (at times) surprisingly endearing character. The same goes in this episode, and obviously I continue to be disturbed when people try to excuse his actions. But that’s different than being disturbed by the scene itself. It bothered me that in HLOD abuse was depicted as part of the humor, like the writers agreed with the viewers who claimed (jokingly or not) that Harmony deserved to be treated that way because she was annoying. But it doesn’t bother me as much here because the writers clearly are showing that this is NOT a good relationship and Buffy and Spike are a total TRAIN WRECK. The fact that they acknowledge that and will continue to show the toll this relationship takes on Buffy makes me accept it more as the logical and interesting continuation of their story. That all said, it’s hard not to miss their sweeter interactions in episodes like After Life and Flooded.

    I’m incredibly relieved that this has nearly 300 comments with NO flame wars. It’s almost as if we are each individual human beings with differing thoughts, opinions, and experiences as opposed to anonymous giant squids of anger. Who knew! :)

    • Clément Polge

      Yes. Yes. This. A+. 1430. +1. Hear hear. And every other approval meme that does and will ever exists. Two things I want to point out:

      “I don’t see the final moment of the episode as Buffy using garlic and crosses to repel Spike, but to stop herself from giving in again.”

      I absolutely see it that way too, it’s more about psychological defenses than actual defenses.

      “like the writers agreed with the viewers who claimed (jokingly or not) that Harmony deserved to be treated that way because she was annoying.”

      It was also a bit different because Harmony was herself a vampire, so we can’t really empathise with her, since empathy is “the capacity to recognize emotions that are being experienced by another sentient or fictional being”, and as a vampire she doesn’t really have emotions… Not saying what Spike was doing to Harm wasn’t ew-worthy, just that it stroke another cord IMO, more intellectual and less feels-y.

      • geff

        It is a little different because Harmony is a vampire, and I was going to mention that but my post was already super long. xD Still, we knew Harmony as a human for so long and she was written as almost the exact same character.

        Anyway, I completely agree that Lor, Kristi, and Sweeney deserve all the zebra cakes and awkward internet hugs in the world for creating this awesome, respectful space.

    • Clément Polge

      “I’m incredibly relieved that this has nearly 300 comments with NO flame wars. It’s almost as if we are each individual human beings with differing thoughts, opinions, and experiences as opposed to anonymous giant squids of anger. Who knew! :)”

      I think we should also give credit where credit is due, because the ladies themselves are making this happen, I think that we as commenteers feel listened to (I know I do) and we do see some opinions or remarks shaping their posts, or at the very least being received properly and argued rather than just dismissed with a wave of the hand.

      The fact that there are all those amazing people with all those infos and insight are really just the perfect icing for the cake :)

    • Ashley Menvielle

      Yes, very much yes to this comment and the one Alex made above about the problem with authorial intent in this episode. I, too think that the writers were not in agreement with where they wanted to take Spike’s character and journey this season and bit off more then they could chew when they choose to play with consent issues in Buffy and Spike’s relationship. In my humble opinion the confusion it caused in the characters and audience end s up reinforcing rape culture to a degree: Spike’s make me attitude and Buffy’s reluctant aquiesance to it may make sense from a character and story perspective, I get that but I think they should have been more careful about the wider cultural and social implications that scenes like this have on the audience. After all there are still fans years later that will excuse Spike’s behavior and blame Buffy for leading him on or whatever such crazy nonsense. Nope, to that noise but I really don’t think the writers considered that that would be one of the reactions to scenes like the onein this ep and that’s really unacceptable in any show but especially one with a feminist mission statement like Btvs.
      Lor describing the writers as going he loves her but LOL he can only lovea little I think is probably pretty accurate, which is also unfortunate because if they themselves couldn’t agree then that translates as confusing for the viewers to try and muddle through all the mixed messages and differing opinions.Watch the dumb viewers struggle Lol :/. This episode was painful to watch even after the 3rd or 4th re watch for me, so I can only imagine how painful it is for you ladies and I thank you for your suffering through it so we can have all these great flame free discussions. I’m a lurker who has finally come out from behind the bushes because I enjoy this site so much and feel like this is a friendly safe place to enjoy Buffy and discuss in a calm manner and that’s thanks to you ladies :). So, thanks! I have more thoughts but I wanted to jump in with a few I have now because SO, MANY, FEELs for this ep and season, ahhh! Thanks again, I’m loving all the discussions :).

    • Raluca

      :) Season 6 is the first one I watched from beginning to end, followed by S7, then S5, S4 and then S1 to 3. And for some reason I never really liked Buffy (or Willow). I do enjoy the show, I love Spike and Giles, I like Angel, Anya and Faith a lot, but I am not into the Scoobies. At all. I think this is because I prefer anti-heroes and darker characters, for whom the lines between good and evil are blurred. I think the only time I like Buffy is the first half of Season 6.

      I understand what you are saying about watching from B’s perspective, and I have to say for me it is exactly the opposite. I watch from Spike’s POV. :)

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