snark squad | where nostalgia comes to die

Buffy the Vampire Slayer S06 E11 – Worse.

, and on October 14, 2013 · 135 comments in Buffy the Vampire Slayer,Season 6,TV

Previously: Willow dabbled in druggy magic and Buffy was determined to quit Spike. Many comments followed.

Gone

Lorraine: Here’s a confession: Buffy is currently super depressing and weird so I haven’t exactly been looking forward to spending 2-3 hours with an episode. Alas. The only way to get on the other side of season 6 is to do the damn thing, so here we go. But first, here, an adorable puppy gif. Have warm feelings:

The 40 Cutest GIFs In The History Of The Internet

Sweeney: That’s so amazing and precious and I hope you have plans to do this again at the end because that’s when I tend to feel most in need of a cute animal gif.

K: A+ and 1430, Lor. Puppies make everything better.

Lor: You both have no idea what you’re in for in this post. You’ll thank me later.

Buffy and Dawn are clearing out Willow’s room of everything magic related. Dawn brats about how they can’t even have candles around and Buffy tells her they are like bongs to witches.

Willow points out a peacock figurine on a bedside table that has two crystals in it. Tara left them behind. Buffy says she’ll make sure Tara gets them again, and Willow has sad, ex-girlfriend feeeelings face.

Downstairs, Buffy mentions a fertility god statue that they need to put away, and Dawn protests because she likes it, and it belonged to their mom. This is another place where I can see people hating on Dawn for being difficult and bratty. From Willow and Buffy’s POV, she is acting that way. Willow has a serious problem, and they are doing their best to help her. In context, though, this is just another way Dawn’s life is being disassembled with nary a thought for how hard this is on her.

K: YES. THIS. It’s hard to watch Dawn being super whiny about packing up all the stuff that Willow needs out of her life. But poor Dawn has spent a pretty decent chunk of time being at the bottom of everyone’s priorities list this season, so she’s kind of entitled to it.

Lor: Buffy is on the couch, searching in between the cushions, saying that any magic related item could tempt Willow to fall back into her bad ways. And, of course, Buffy finds one of Spike’s lighters that sends her into a Smashed flashback. She proclaims giving into temptation bad, and dumps the lighter with the rest of the magic items.

Sweeney: The flashback was weird and felt almost condescending. As if to say, “Hey, audience — we’re not sure you understand the significance of the lighter. LET’S MAKE SURE.”

K: SO MUCH.

Lor: Cut to Warren loading the big ass diamond he stole into a gun of some sort. He says it’s all done, and Andrew and Jonathan come over to criticize, saying they thought the gun would look cooler. Warren’s all, “OH YEAH? CHECK THIS OUT,” and he proceeds to blast a chair with his gun. The chair disappears. Andrew and Jonathan are impressed, and even more so when they confirm that the chair is still there, but now invisible. Jonathan takes a seat, and Warren aims the gun at him for part two of the test. He makes the chair appears again. Jonathan whines, Warren gloats and a pretty long teaser done, we cue the wolf howl.

After the credits, Buffy calls Dawn down for breakfast. Willow is at the stove, cooking an omelet. Buffy asks her how she’s doing, and she says she’s not going back to class and facing the world better, but the shakes have eased up. Dawn finally makes it downstairs, and claims not to have heard Buffy calling. Willow cheerily offers Dawn some omelet, but she curtly says she isn’t hungry. Buffy insists, and Dawn replies, “thanks for your concern,” slamming down her cup of orange juice and walking out. Willow wonders why Dawn is taking her anger out on Buffy as well. B thinks it’s because she let that bad thing happen to Dawn. Buffy also realizes she failed to notice that Willow was drowning, as she was too wrapped up in her own life.

Spike comes tripping into Chez Summers, and the sizzling sound effects are out in full force. He drops the blanket and is okay in the totally bright kitchen that has all the blinds open. I’m nitpicking because I remember the days when walking in sunlight was the biggest problem I had with Spike. HA.

Please hold while I distract myself with this adorable cat gif:

Sweeney: Blogging: you’re doing it right.

K: I’m definitely going to be taking a leaf from this cat’s book in the next few weeks and hugging a stuffed animal while watching Buffy. Because of reasons.

Lor: Anyway, Willow takes off to change, leaving Buffy alone with Spike. Buffy calls him lame for making up excuses to see her, but he sticks to his, “looking for my lighter” story. Buffy also tells him not to call her love, so he invades her space and offers a few other alternatives like, “sweetheart,” and “my little Goldilocks.” He says he loves her hair (which, now that I’m noticing looks weirdly thick and in her face this episode) and the way it bounces around when she… Buffy cuts him off and tries to swat him with a spatula but he catches her hand. His hand then drops out of the frame, and Buffy sighs with pleasure, but then whispers for him to stop that.

Because her body is saying yes, but her mind is saying no.

What’s that? Some adorable pandas? WHY YES THEY ARE.

Sweeney: IGNORING CONSENT IS MY LEAST FAVORITE BUT PANDAS ARE MY MOST FAVORITE. I’M SO CONFUSED RIGHT NOW.

Lor: I’m sorry I did that to you.

Before we can get any more of this no/yes/stop/make me action, DEAR SWEET XANDER interrupts. Thank you, dear sweet Xander.

Xander tells Spike to quit trying to hit on Buffy because it’s never going to happen. I know I just thanked him for his appearance, but his dialogue here is all super clunky and meant to make Buffy even! more! uncomfortable! as he claims only simpletons (Harmony) and nut sacks (Drusilla) would hook up with Spike. Buffy shoos Xander out of the kitchen and tells Spike to see himself out.

Sweeney: This was also annoyingly heavy-handed.

K: I mostly spent this moment yelling “XANDER, ARE YOU FUCKING BLIND????” at the television.

Lor: The reason I felt this was clunky and I don’t blame Xander for having blinders on is because of Buffy’s enthusiastic EW SPIKE!! insistence. Plus, when he walked in Buffy was mid-swat. IDK. THIS WAS DUMB.

Dawn comes downstairs and Buffy tells her to come straight home after school. Dawn snits that maybe then Buffy will find some time to get her into another car accident. Okay, that line fell on the side of bratty to me. If she had said something like, “I’ll be here. Will you?” that would’ve been brat I could get behind. (S: A totally fair distinction. Agreed.)

At the door is a social services worker who was of course on hand to hear Dawn’s car accident comment. Buffy semi-forgot she had an appointment with her today. Dawn heads off, and Social Services Lady lets herself in. Buffy is flustered. It doesn’t help that Spike’s lounging around her living room, decidedly not seeing himself out. Buffy tries to hint, hint that he should leave, but doesn’t move until she introduces Social Services Lady as a lady from social services. Spike stands and says that Buffy takes good care of her sister, but his example makes things worse. Buffy finally shoos him off with a glare.

Things keep getting worse as Social Services Lady assumes Spike is sleeping there (he had a blanket), then assumes Buffy is living with a woman, then finds some druggy looking substance in the box of magic things. Buffy says that it’s magic weed, which doesn’t actually make that better. Social Services Lady has seen enough.

K: DUDE. I would have just been like “It’s rosemary. I’m planning to spitroast a lamb for Christmas.” The word “weed” should never be mentioned around Social Services.

Lor: Right. This was again, pretty dumb.

Buffy chases after Social Services Lady as she starts to leave and says it’s just been a hard time for her. SSL says it’s been a bad time for a long time now, considering Dawn’s grades have slipped and she’s often late or absent to school. Social Services Lady is recommending an immediate probation, meaning she’s going to be watching them very closely. She emphasizes that she’s looking out for Dawn’s interests and Buffy should as well. She leaves.

BUT GUESS WHO STILL HAS NOT ACTUALLY LEFT YET? SPIKE.

Buffy asks why he won’t leave, and he starts to reply but she sternly tells him to get out. Spike-y no like-y, so he growls, and invades her space again, slamming his hand on the wall behind her head. He reaches down out of the frame, and we then zoom in on his hand, moving around in Buffy’s pocket. He pulls out his lighter and tells Buffy he was just getting what he came for. He calls her Goldilocks again and leaves.

Buffy huffs and puffs up to her room and then chops off her hair.

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Sweeney: I’d chop up that stupid wig too, B.

Lor:  That explains that.

We cut to Buffy in a salon, telling the hair dresser to take off that wig and reveal her new hair cut.

Warren, Andrew and Jonathan are going to use their invisi-ray to enter a waxing shop. Wow. I was so busy hating other people, I forgot how much I hated these three. THANKS FOR THE REMINDER, SHOW. (K: A tanning salon I could understand. But a WAXING PLACE?? Gross.) Anyways, Andrew gets spooked, because of course, Buffy comes strolling by at that exact moment, sporting a new, much shorter hairstyle. Andrew and Jonathan start fighting over the invisi-ray and they end up setting it off, and hitting Buffy and a few other inanimate objects.

After a Not Commercial Break, Xander says Buffy’s gone, but he’s looking at seating arrangements for his wedding. He banters with Anya about it for a bit, and about whether D’Hoffryn is invited to their wedding or not. Invisi-Buffy enters the shop, and after a bit of confusion, she tells Anya and Xander she’s invisible. Xander asks if she’s been feeling ignored lately, and SEASON 1! YOU ARE ALSO LIKE A CUTE ANIMAL GIF, IN THAT YOU MAKE ME FEEL BETTER.

K: We also get an unfortunate season 1 flashback, in that Xander reaches out in front of him to try and work out where Buffy is, and apparently gropes her boobs. Sigh.

Lor: Buffy explains that she was walking along post-haircut when she went invisible. She doesn’t know what happened and I find it hard to believe she didn’t see the Trio standing right freakin’ there, holding a big gun, and looking stupid and guilty. Anya is more excited about the haircut she can’t see, but Xander steers the girls back on topic. They start talking through this problem, and Buffy plays with a few things around the shop. Xander says he’s going to look for clues where she got zapped. Buffy just says she’s going to take a walk.

Sweeney: IIIIII TOOK A WALK. (TOOK A WALK, TOOK A WALK.)

Lor: A+. Walking is an amazing thing to do in the face of legit problems.

Anya guesses that the invisibility was either a spell or a mistake. Xander wonders out loud who would mess with such power, and realization dawns on him as we Segue Magic over to Willow, doing some research. She spots a book on the other end of the table and tries to magic it over to her. It shakes a little and she stops, just before Xander walks in. She tells him she’s found out some stuff about the stolen diamond. Xander is more concerned with what he thinks Willow’s done. She has no idea about Buffy going invisible, and gets really upset that Xander suspected her. She storms off.

K:  Um, understandably. There’s a reason that Willow was in charge of the interventions back in the day – Xander charges right in with the assumption that Willow’s to blame, whereas Willow was all “So, Buffy. Have you been hanging around with Angel recently? If yes, we’re a little concerned, and here’s why.” Xander just went straight to the dick approach.

Lor: He did try his best to be gentle and understanding (falling off the wagon is okay!). I’m defending Xander a lot in this recap. OH, SEASON SIX.

At the Trio Basement, Warren is trying to fix the invisi-ray, while Andrew worries about Invisi-Buffy, because it means she could be anywhere. We Segue Magic to Buffy at the park, ridding a woman of her studded cap, in the name of fashion. Buffy then steals a meter maid’s golf cart and rides it all the way social services to mess with Social Services Lady. There, Buffy keeps picking up SSL’s coffee mug and placing it on different spots on the desk. Buffy whispers at her to kill everyone, and Social Services Lady freaks the hell out. She steps away from her desk, giving Buffy time to locate Dawn’s file.

Social Services Lady steps out of the bathroom a bit later, and a Work Bro stops her to discuss Dawn’s file. She hands it to him, but it’s been messed with, plus she starts talking about voices and her coffee dancing. Work Bro tells her to take the rest of the day off, and that they’ll just send someone else to do the Summers interview. Buffy invisi-strides away, whistling the whistle of triumph.

K: This scene pissed me off. Because it’s portrayed as funny, but it’s really not. Considering Buffy’s having mental health problems at the moment, they really went ahead and decided to have her play around with someone else’s mental health?? NOT COOL, SHOW. On the more positive side, she whistles “Going Through the Motions” as she invisi-strides off. So…there’s that.

Lor: Xander arrives at the place Buffy was made invisible, and Willow is already there. They apologize to each other for their earlier scene. Willow’s spray painting the dumpster that was also made invisible, and she points out a tread mark she thinks means someone left that alley in a hurry. She also scraped some paint off an invisible fire hydrant the van hit on its way out. Xander guesses this black van is the same van that was stalking Buffy at the beginning of the season. Willow tells Xander to take an invisi-traffic cone back to The Magic Box, to see if it will help him and Anya identify the spell that was used, and Willow says she’s going to try to locate the black van. Willow asks where Buffy is and we Segue Magic to Spike’s TARDIS crypt.

He’s lounging around, watching TV when Buffy lets herself in. She grabs Spike, throws him up against a wall, tears his shirt open and does something that makes him huff. For a second before he guesses who has him pinned, his face is straight horrified. AS IT SHOULD BE. THEY KEEP MAKING THESE TWO MORE GROSS. WHY.

Oh, look. A sleepy duckling.

K: I’m not sure if the fact that there is dubious consent in both directions makes things better – well, not BETTER but less…something – or worse.

Lor: WORSE. WORSE FOREVER. Worse for the characters and my personal least favorite, worse for the entire message that this shit show is conveying. So, like, worse.

At The Magic Box, there is research being conducted, but Anya is more focused on wedding stuff as she hasn’t found anything on the actual research front, or at least anything that explains why things around Buffy also went invisible. She grabs the traffic cone and it goes smushy in her hand, like pudding. Anya is grossed out by the squishiness and Xander is worried that this means Buffy will go all pudding soon.

Warren explains that Buffy got hit with radiation when the gun went on the fritz, meaning something about loss of integrity that basically means going pudding soon. Jonathan is freaked because killing people was never part of the plan. Andrew agrees and uses Lex Luthor never killing Superman but always trying to take over Metropolis as an example. Johnathan demands that Warren fix the gun so they can fix Buffy ASAP.

Sweeney: Not enough, Jonathan. I still have annoyance-by-association, because The Trio continues to be terrible.

Lor: Xander lets himself into Spike’s crypt and finds it looking pretty trashed. We cut to him walking into the bedroom portion of the crypt and Spike’s grinding against air, though we hear Buffy’s groans. I dry heave.

Xander asks WTF Spike is even doing, and he says he’s exercising naked in bed. Xander’s all, “riiiiight,” but he’s here looking for Buffy. As Xander and Spike talk, we see Spike’s ear lobe moving and he starts squirming around in pleasure and swatting at an invisible Buffy. Xander finally leaves with a, “you should get a girlfriend.”

Buffy thinks that went okay, because Xander couldn’t see her, which is perfect for her. Spike doesn’t it see it the same way. Buffy is confused, as she thought this was what Spike wanted. He knows, though, that the only reason she’s there is because she isn’t really there. Being invisible is liberating and for the first time in a long time, Buffy feels free. Spike says it’s all fun and games now, until her friends figure out how to un-invisible her. Spike tells her to get her clothes and leave, and Buffy’s all, “LEAVE? YOU MUST MEAN LET’S DO MORE SEXY THINGS AS THAT IS WHAT THIS ENTIRE FREAKING RELATIONSHIP IS ALL ABOUT.” This is confirmed when Spike looks down at his waist and says that the implied BJ is cheating.

K: NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE. Also, how the hell does one find one’s invisible clothes?? 

Lor: I find it mildly amusing that after all we’ve seen up to this point, an invisible, implied BJ is what you protest the loudest about. Heh.

At a shop somewhere, a twitchy Willow, who has been drinking lots of water all episode, is trying to hack into DMV records. She considers using a little magic to help her search, but her hack works and she doesn’t need to.

Invisi-Buffy is walking down the street, monologuing about Spike being the one to throw her out. She asks if this is Bizarro World, and a strong feeling we’ve heard someone say that before led me on an Internet search. Cordy used the phrase twice, once in Reptile Boy and once in The Wish.

Buffy gets back home, calling out for Willow and Dawn but no one answers. A second later, Dawn sneaks into the house. Buffy jokes about her invisibility, which Dawn does not appreciate. Buffy says she didn’t mean to freak her out, but Dawn’s all, “HELLO? INVISIBLE.” She also calls Buffy out on not helping the others with trying to find a solution and then storms off.

Sweeney: I think we’ve been pretty clear that we, as re-cappers, are fully on board with the Buffy-centric viewing of the show — that is, that we all tend to feel her feels first and foremost. Dawn, however, is the most glaring example of how her depression and suicidal feelings (which this episode addresses rather directly) impact the people around her. Dawn’s bratting maybe hasn’t been the best way to treat Buffy but she’s also not entirely wrong. It’s painful and miserable to watch someone you love — and in Dawn’s case, someone you need – check out on life.

K: A+.

Lor: Buffy notices that there is a message on the answering machine. Xander tells her about the going pudding side effect and Buffy responds with a small, “wow.”

Willow walks the mean streets of Sunny-D and soon finds a badly covered black van parked in front of a house. Later, she climbs down into the Trio’s basement and finds their plans for the invisi-ray, but Invisi-Warren grabs her, calls her their first hostage, and ties her up.

Buffy is about to leave her house when the phone rings. Jonathan doing a poor job of disguising his voice is on the other line, and tells her to meet him if she doesn’t want anything bad to happen to Willow.

We cut to an arcade, which is the Trio’s chosen hostage exchange location. Invisi-Buffy shows up and asks Willow where the bad guys are, but they are all invisible as well. They try to play big and bad, but Andrew and Jonathan are playing video games and not really paying attention. Warren calls them over, then leads them all (by way of dragging Willow) to a less crowded area. Will explains that these guys are the guys from her mystery van. Warren says they are going to make her visible again and save her life, except Willow notices that Warren’s got the dial on his invisi-ray set to kill, not save. Andrew and Jonathan are shocked, and an invisible brawl ensues. I’d tell you what happens but I can’t, so. I mean, there are punching sounds and lots of the Trio saying stuff like, “who’s biting my leg?” and “watch my chest hair.” That’s a fair recap.

Willow locates the discarded invisi-ray and uses it un-invisible Buffy and the Trio. Buffy recognizes Jonathan and Warren, but not Andrew, who has to be identified as “Tucker’s brother.” Buffy asks if they have banded together to be pains in her ass, but Warren declares them her arch nemeses. (S: This moment is subtly referenced later — nobody actually pluralizes the word correctly.) Jonathan lays down some of his POTASSIUM MAGIC, and there is a flash bang and some smoke. A second later, though, we see the Trio still at the door because it was locked. A security guard finally comes over to see WTF is going on, and the distraction allows the Trio to get away. Willow exclaims, but only because she’s finally seen Buffy’s new haircut.

Outside the arcade, Willow tells Buffy that she found the mystery van the hard way, and that she can’t believe she’s survived the day. Willow asks how Buffy is doing post-invisibility, and she admits that she has some damage control to do now that she’s back. Her break from herself didn’t turn out as planned, but she does confess that when she found out she was fading away, she got scared. Willow asks who wouldn’t and Buffy replies, “me. I wouldn’t. Not too long ago I probably would have welcomed it.” Buffy says she isn’t doing back flips about her life, but she also doesn’t want to die.

Willow deadpans a “yay for us,” and Buffy answers back with an equally dry, “yay.”

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It’s pretty funny that I started the episode ready all wound up and on my guard, when what I actually got was a comedic episode. The change in tone was jarring, which isn’t always a bad thing. This series is known to inject humor in to the most unlikely of places, but I just didn’t find a lot of this particularly funny.

K: It was the same kind of funny that they handed us after Buffy and Riley broke up, and she ugly-sobbed on Tara’s shoulder about Xander and Anya having a miraculous love. Which is to say, not even remotely funny and just sort of gross.

Lor: Great comparison and true.

The scene at the end with Willow and Buffy was nice. I also liked how Willow struggled throughout the episode, because to me, it highlighted the fact that Willow isn’t struggling with a magic addiction really, but with a power addiction. At the end of the day, she’s tired and feeling helpless, even though she was useful. And at the end of Buffy’s day, she has damage control to run, but it’s her depression that takes a step toward recovery– she doesn’t want to die.

Sweeney: Agreed on the lack of funny, but the big revelation moment was well done. Or, the discussion of it, since we couldn’t see the actual moment. That fact also served this episode well, I think, however underwhelmed I was by most of the invisibility stuff. I’m glad that played out in a conversation with Willow. Both of those two things amount to significant steps for her — realizing that she doesn’t want to die and being able to talk about it.

Lor: The realization that she doesn’t want to die also makes all of Spike’s, “‘CAUSE YOU WANNA DIE, GIRL,” comments very different now. We’ll see where that goes from here.

So, that was that. I’m all set on invisibility puns for a while.

 

Next time: Buffy’s new fast food restaurant job has a mystery to solve on Buffy the Vampire Slayer S06 E12 – Doublemeat Palace.

 

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.





Sweeney (all posts)

I collect elaborate false eyelashes, panda gifs, and passport stamps. Reconciling my aversion to leaving the house/wearing pants with my deep desire to explore everything is my life's great struggle. I like language; semicolons bring fantastic things to the party, like letting it last longer.





Kirsti (all posts)

I'm a grad student who's staring down the barrel of 30 and I still live with my parents because I'm super broke. My degree is in information management, which is a fancy way of saying librarianship, which is a fancy way of saying "I get to read young adult books and have it count as studying". 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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  • Democracy Diva

    “Willow notices that Warren’s got the dial on his invisi-ray set to kill, not save.”

    Listen, I’ll buy a metric shit-ton of contrivance from this show, but I draw the line at an invisi-ray that has a button that says KILL and a button that says SAVE. THIS IS THE STUPIDEST PLOT DEVICE EVER, WHEDONVERSE. STOP IT.

    • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

      To be fair, (which trust me, I have a hard time being) I have no clue what the button says. I made those up. BUT Willow does look over all, “NO! IT’S GOING TO KILL YOU,” and we don’t really know why. Kill button though is like a legit guess, right? RIGHT.

      • Democracy Diva

        I mean, it must have had some signifier that it was on a KILL setting for Willow to notice it. Whether it’s buttons that say KILL/SAVE or something marginally less absurd, IT’S STILL STUPID. Because if you have a machine that is sometimes a deadly weapon and sometimes not, maybe you don’t want people all the way across the room to be able to tell that you’re using it as a deadly weapon. JUST GUESSING.

        I had no idea I cared so much about this until I saw the amount of capslock I’ve used to discuss this. Good to know.

        • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

          I didn’t like this episode or talking about it, so by the time I got to that part of the recap I was all, “Fuck it, whatever,” but I had this same thought while watching it. Plus, I felt like Lor’s rendering of the switches as “KILL/SAVE” accurately summarized how bullshit that moment was.

          It was a really obnoxious in-your-face way for the show to be all, “SEE, LOOK — WARREN IS THE MEGA EVIL. JUST IN CASE YOU’RE NOT CLEAR, THE OTHER TWO ARE MINIONS AND WARREN IS MEGA SERIOUSLY EVIL.
          NO, SERIOUSLY, DO YOU GET IT?”

          But then, this whole. fucking. episode. had a lot of that shit.

          • Democracy Diva

            We really don’t need to be hit over the head with the WARREN=EVILEST thing. HE CREATED A GIRLFRIEND ROBOT. WE KNOW HE’S FUCKED IN THE HEAD.

            I deleted this part of my original comment, but it was also about how we don’t need the flashback when Buffy sees Spike’s lighter. He’s like, the only recurring character on this show who smokes. (Well, besides Ripper, at least when he’s candy-high Young!Ripper.) His cigarette butts outside Buffy’s house have been used regularly to show he’s been there. WE KNOW IT’S HIS LIGHTER. WE PAY ATTENTION TO THINGS. STOP UNDERESTIMATING OUR INTELLIGENCE, WHEDON.

          • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

            It’s amazing that an episode that features a lovely, nuanced turn in Buffy’s depression arc is otherwise a string of choices that undermine the audience’s intelligence.

          • Alex

            And even if we somehow didn’t realise whose lighter it was, Spike shows up about 30 seconds later all ‘hey, where’s my lighter?’ anyway.

            I don’t know about this episode, but I do gather that sometimes flashbacks get put in when the network insists on it. The most notable example is the pilot episode of The Wire where the network apparently thought that the audience wouldn’t be able to recognise a character who appeared quite prominently at the beginning of that same episode (cos we iz dumb) so they insisted that a flashback be put in. It sticks out like crazt because apart from that, the show never uses flashbacks or dream sequences or anything like that.

        • Alex

          It’s MEGA contrive-y. Willow got a glimpse of the invisi-gun plans while snooping around the Trio’s place, so when she glances at the gun over Warren’s shoulder she’s instantly able to spot that it’s set to jiggle with Buffy’s molecules and make her go kablooey (there’s some silly technical jargon that she uses which I can’t remember) instead of reversing the polarization or whatever it is that’s supposed to put her back to normal.

          To be honest, I think I’d prefer it if the gun DID have a great big ‘Kill’ setting for Willow to spot as that seems like the kind of stupid, arrogant thing that Warren would do. But either way, the whole thing’s so stupid and contrived that really, one more layer of stupid thrown into the mix doesn’t make much of a difference.

          • Democracy Diva

            Wow. That really is so much more contrivance-y than the Kill Button. (I chose to forget the details of this episode because, you know, it kind of blows.)

        • Melbourne on my Mind

          I totally agree that it’s stupid, but there is at least a line from Willow about how she knows it’s set to kill mode because she got to look at the schematics before the Trio tied her to a chair.

        • geff

          this made me laugh: I had no idea I cared so much about this until I saw the amount of capslock I’ve used to discuss this. Good to know.

          :D

  • Wilhelmina Upton

    I think my biggest issue with the Trio is that they stray away from the Buffy universe in the way we know it or maybe this is just me. With the demons and vampires and even the witchcraft, I can get behind, they are mostly based in myths and that sort of things while the Trio’s stuff goes more into sci-fi for me. The whole super villain thing and then breaking into a museum having an insta-freeze-gun or the invisi-ray, these are all more futuristic designs and stray away from the rest of the world created in Buffy in my opinion.

    I’m also already freaked out about next episode because #shudder. Not one of my favourite monsters of the week.

    • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

      YES. That’s not the only reason I dislike the Trio, but that’s definitely a significant one. I’m annoyed by all the new demands being placed on my willing suspension of disbelief with all the sci fi shit that the Trio gets into. Not only that, but it always just feels so horribly contrived — see the conversation above re: kill/save.

      I mean, the villains can’t all be Mayor-level flawless, but still. The Trio is stupid.

      • Wilhelmina Upton

        Yes, this is not the only thing I dislike them for but a big one. Contrivance is very high with them too.

      • Jojo

        The Trio fits this season because they are a stupid group of immature idiots who have no sense of morality and no idea of consequences. A great big magical villain would actually be a nice relief, wouldn’t it? So – hah – Whedon does no to nice relief! And watch out – while you are pissing and moaning he’s arranging to kick you in your feels places!

    • Alex

      Agreed on the Trio. I’m not sure I feel qualified to speak authoritatively about the distinction between sci-fi/supernatural/fantasy/etc but there IS a difference and Buffy has never been a techie sci-fi show until now. I can sort of see why the writers might have wanted to take it in that direction a bit more (maybe trying to appeal to a slightly wider audience?) but it comes out of nowhere and is seriously overdone. I don’t care how smart Willow is or how much magic she knows, having her suddenly able to repair and reprogram robots is completely and utterly stupid. And then we get freeze-rays and invisibility-rays and no no no, it’s just so crappy!

      • Wilhelmina Upton

        Ha, I’m absolutely not qualified to speak authoritatively about this either, I just tried to put my thoughts into words.

        • Alex

          Hehe, I just prefaced my comment with that because I didn’t want to say ‘Buffy isn’t a sci-fi show’, as I could see a lot of people arguing with that! But you clearly know what I mean!

    • darkalter2000

      Word Of God has said that “supertech” is actually enpowered by the hellmouth. Which says a great deal about Warren I think, we’ve seen how all his stuff turns out.

    • behind blueiz

      All along the Big Bads of the Seasons in a way mirrored the season. Examples: Season 2 was Angelus–Buffy loving Angel, he losing his soul, and eventually her having to send him to hell–was addressing Buffy growing up and making tough decisions. Season 4′s Adam–a monster made up of other monster bits–mirrored how the characters were disjointed, within themselves and in the group.

      Season 6′s Trio showed how even humans (with souls) can hurt others deep and make horrible choices to serve their own needs and wants. We are seeing this with Willow and Buffy. They are making really poor choices, using others for their own purposes and not caring/thinking of the consequences.

      • Wilhelmina Upton

        That may be true but the Trio could have done so without the techie approach that feels so off Buffyverse to me.

        • behind blueiz

          I think their love of tech/sci fi is a little homage to Joss himself and the others techies out there, and to humanize them as regular (though geeky) guys.

          • Wilhelmina Upton

            It still doesn’t sit right with me.

          • behind blueiz

            Me either.

          • Wilhelmina Upton

            Glad to hear that :)

          • Jojo

            It may be meant to be uncomfortable. Each character has their “negative” traits expanded. Warren built sexbots – now he tries to take over Sunnydale and get more sex. Jonathan is even more of a follower and Andrew is a true nothing.

            Now look at Willow – overdosed on using magic to control others (and kudos for her for making real progress the hard way). Buffy wants the fire back so she is using Spike for incredible sex that makes her feel awful. Spike loves her in his usual way which is obsessive, selfish and controlling. Anya and Xander are not communicating their fears about marriage. These are all problems they have had all along but they are magnified this season.

            It all fits – and it is all uncomfortable.

  • Clément Polge

    So first of all, I want to point out that this episode and the last two (Smashed, Wrecked and Gone) are all slangs for being drunk. And I actually never noticed it until wikipedia pointed it out for me.

    Also this episode is sort of impressive because only on Buffy can you feel happy when your main character doesn’t want to die. “Yay” sums it up pretty well.

    Not much more to say for me, really just more logical continuation of what’s been started, and I like that they followed that character logic pretty faithfully.

  • Alex

    THANK YOU for being 100% not OK with invisi-Buffy’s treatment of Spike in this episode. I can’t tell you how many recappers and reviewers I’ve come across who complain bitterly about the consent issue in Smashed and Wrecked, but then get to this episode and have NOTHING to say about Buffy’s behaviour here. Or (even worse) see it as some kind of validation of Spike’s previous behaviour. Nope x 1000000.

    That said, though, Spike is particularly gross at the beginning of this episode. In the comments on Wrecked some of us were talking about the apparent disagreements between the writers about how to portray Spike’s character, and how there were apparently Team-Creepy-Spike and Team-Cute-Spike factions. In those kitchen scenes I really feel like Team Cute must have had the day off, because for me that’s the creepiest he’s ever been. I also HATE the Goldilocks stuff with a passion because Spike has NEVER called Buffy that before and it’s so clearly just thrown in there to give Buffy an excuse for a haircut. Not to mention the fact that Buffy hacking off her own hair is an image which brings with it all sorts of other implications, seeing as that’s something that’s so often associated with abuse victims. We’ve even seen it before on this very show, in Where the Wild Things Are.

    And I’m with Kirsti on Buffy’s treatment of the poor social worker! If they couldn’t find another way for Buffy to get her inspection re-done (e.g. just steal/shred the damn file) then I at least wanted to see Buffy feeling bad about what she’d done afterwards.

    So… yeah. Not a massive fan of this episode, though that’s definitely due to all the above individual points that I object to, rather than any issues with the episode in general. I quite enjoy the comedy that invisible Buffy brings with her, and I’ve got a soft spot for that invisible hostage exchange (Jonathan and Andrew invisibly playing arcade games cracks me up every time for some reason) but overall it’s got way too many BIG problems to be a good episode.

    • darkalter2000

      I am totally on board with you about the hair. People who are only a step away from physically hurting themselves, but aren’t /quite/ at that point yet, hack off their hair.

      • Alex

        I hate it. What Buffy does here could be seen as a HUGE indication of her mental state at this point, but it’s so painfully obvious that the writers didn’t put this in because they thought ‘yes, this is a serious step that we feel it’s important to show Buffy taking’, they just put it in because they thought ‘how can we explain Sarah getting a haircut?’ Ugh.

        A haircut is so often portrayed as a positive way to get a ‘fresh start’ and I can see why they didn’t want to show Buffy going there just yet. But if it really had to be all about Spike and the ‘Goldilocks’, crap then they still could have just shown Buffy picking up the phone to make an appointment, or looking up salons in the Yellow Pages, or just impulsively stepping into a hair salon that she happens to be passing.

    • Anagnorisis

      Agree with your first paragraph so much. It has to be acknowledged too, but of course, not as an excuse for Spike.

    • Jojo

      THIS! It really is important to recognize that consent is just scarily flexible or nonexistent between the two of them. I think it’s alo important to see that – regardless of how creepy Spike seems early on, he’s willing to kick Buffy out because he cares about her. “Free of life. There’s another word for that. Dead.” If sex was all he wanted it’s right there for him. Just doesn’t make anything right or wrong but when the train does wreck it makes more layers of….well, pain.

      • Raluca

        Yes Jojo, agreed (as usual).

      • behind blueiz

        Agree.

    • http://natashanleigh.com/ Natasha Leigh

      As an advocate for Buffy in the last episode, I have to agree with all you’re saying in this comment. I’m also with Kristi when it comes to Buffy’s actions towards the social worker, although I didn’t understand this when I saw it the first time.

      I don’t have much to say about this other than fu*k all of this sh*t. I’m out. *slumps on the couch of feels*

    • Alicia

      Not to undermine your point, but he has called her ‘Goldilocks’ before, in season four. I think it was possibly in ‘The I in Team’ or ‘Goodbye Iowa’. He said something like “Gotta hand it to you Goldilocks, you do have bleeding tragic taste in men”, which is kind of hilarious and/or sad given the current situation. And he’s always been pretty enamoured of Buffy’s hair. But anyway good points.

      • Alex

        Yeah, I figured as soon as I wrote that that he probably had called her ‘Goldilocks’ at least once in the past and that someone was going to come along and correct me! But you get my point. It’s presented here as if it’s a nickname that he uses all the time, so much so that it drives Buffy to chop her golden locks off, and that’s hardly the case. I could buy it if he’d made one single comment about her pretty hair in the last few episodes but (unless someone wants to tell me I’m wrong!) I don’t think he has, so the whole ‘I must chop off my hair because Spike likes it so much’ thing just comes out of nowhere.

        • Alicia

          Nah, I don’t think he has. You’re safe lol:)
          I just couldn’t help myself. *Is a Buffy geek*

  • SuzyLee

    I’m not a massive fan of this episode either. I’m fairly certain 15 year old me found it funny, but not so much now.
    I think I remember reading that both Nic Brendon and James Masters said that the scene in Spike’s crypt with invisible Spuffy was one of the most awkward things they’d ever done, which pretty much reflects my feelings on that scene, not gonna lie I kind of love cringe inducing stuff normally but nope. The only redeeming bit there for me is this stage direction line from the shooting script “He looks up at Xander like a deer caught in a somewhat compromising missionary position” which just cracks me up.

    I do really like the final scene between Buffy and Willow though, I just want to reach through the screen and give them both a big hug.

    In terms of comedic episodes I much prefer the next one, even though I’m pretty sure its on a lot of people’s least favorite episode lists.

    • Alex

      The next episode is totally going to divide opinions, I just know it is. Personally I’m a big fan but can equally see how some people would hate it!

      • SuzyLee

        Which is funny really because of all the episodes in Season 6 its probably one of the least controversial in terms of actual content.

        • Ashley Menvielle

          So true, consent wise pretty tame but still hated on a lot, not sure why as I really enjoy it too. Jane Espensen wrote it and I usually enjoy her eps she usually does funny episodes like Band Candy, so this one goes in line with her writing but maybe some people found the humor too jarring for a season full of depression and pain? Idk, I will admit it’s silly and dumb at times but at least it doesn’t have fuzzy consent issues galore in it.

  • Anagnorisis

    I adore all the cute gifs, best recap ever XD
    I don’t really like this episode much, I guess it has some good parts, the way they confront Buffy with the actual possibility of non existence that makes her realize that she doesn’t want to die, and the invisible fight (I love how it’s filmed!).

  • mjkbk

    What I never understood was WHY the “Buffy” makeup folks chose a post-resurrection, pre-haircut wig for Sarah that looked more like DAPHNE’S hair in “Scooby-Doo” than Buffy’s normal “goldilocks”.

    What were they thinking? Major makeup FAIL.

    • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

      YES. DAPHNE. I had that same thought. It’s ridiculous. It looked extra-awful in this episode, too.

  • Raluca

    LOL I actually kinda like parts of this episode. There are many stupid and contrivance-y things in it, but the actual character development is interesting. Thank you for the good review, ladies. I have to say I do not really mind the Buffy – Spike developments, as they feel pretty real to me. It is normal behaviour for those in their position, so it feels real.
    And the fan in me has to point out I enjoyed watching JM strut around almost naked :D

    • Alicia

      Yeah I quite like this episode as well. And yes I agree about the eye-candy part. James is a pretty pretty man. He worked hard to get a body like that! However I do think he is actually bordering on too thin in this season. It kind of fits with where Spike is at though.

      • Ashley Menvielle

        Yes, I agree so hard on JM looking very attractive, but almost too thin thinking. I fanwank that S pike was hardly eating well after Buffy’s death that summer and that’s why he looks so much thinner initially, and that he maintains the thin figure because of all the stress going on in their train wreck of a relationship this season. So, yes it definitely fits where he is as the character and also very nice to look at.

        • Raluca

          Actually I enjoy his almost too thin look. It’s a thing that does it for me.

          Also, I know JM was on a crazy diet to keep up this appearance, which changes later in the show, as he no longer goes for the thin and haunted look.
          Personally, S6 is when I like the way he looks most, followed by S5 and S2-3

  • Jojo

    Um – Spike doesn’t say that Buffy wants to die! He’s the last person who wants Buffy dead. He does want Buffy to come into the darkness with him. Now – here this as context and not an excuse – at this stage Spike really believes Buffy came back wrong (he can’t hit humans), that she is now part demon (hellmouth – anyone buried and still walking is demon) and she needs to come into the darkness and see what her new life has. Not saying this is a good thing – it is not – just one more massive misunderstanding and screw-up.

    Also – remember what Spike said – THE THING ABOUT MAGIC. THERE ARE ALWAYS CONSEQUENCES! Season 6 is pretty much a lot of consequences of going against natural laws. The entire Buffy and Spike trainwreck (much better word than relationship here) is about consequences. It’s about Spike believing Buffy really is part demon – it’s about Buffy using Spike who does love her just to make herself feel – it’s about Willow using some very dark magic and trying to swear off the dark stuff – it’s about Tara going along even though she said it was wrong – it’s about killing Bambi. It’s ugly and bad feelings but it’s real. I think you probably understand those people who say that they should have ended at season 5.

    I love this season but it is a season which will need many, many cute animal gifs!! I have brought warm chocolate cookies to the couch of feels. And I brought a basket of animals to cuddle.

    And – hate to say it – this isn’t even the really depressing part of the season yet…..

    • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

      “Spike doesn’t say that Buffy wants to die! He’s the last person who wants Buffy dead.”

      Not getting into the rest of this because obvs we have way different feelings on most matters Spike and Buffy, but I just wanted to clarify this bit right here — these are two different issues. Spike has said on many occasions (and not always incorrectly) that he believes that Buffy wants to die. That is what Lorraine was talking about. That is not the same thing as saying that Spike wants Buffy dead. Two different issues. Just clearing that up.

      As to what it means, personally, my takeaway is that in Spike’s quest to make Buffy come into ~*the darkness*~ he has eagerly preyed upon her suicidal feelings. The fact that she realizes that she doesn’t actually want to die, then, is a significant shift in their dynamic.

      • Jojo

        I really truly don’t recall him saying that Buffy wants to die or be dead. I know he said that every slayer has a death wish, including Buffy. Before she jumped and killed herself. But all I recall this season is him talking about how she belongs in the dark – and even that is the last 3 episodes. Before that he pretty much supporto guy – the only one Buffy felt comfortable with. So, help? Am I that memory impaired?

        Hell, yes – he is preying on her entire depression – not just that part. His absolute dream would be that Buffy becomes part demon and belongs in the dark with him. He will ignore all evidence to the contrary – he will believe what he wants to believe – and he will act on that belief. My only point is that he is not doing it to hurt her – he really is doing it because he believes it will help her. He is dead wrong – he is hurting her – but that is not his intent. The fact that he made her leave shows that he does care about her in his own fucked up demon way

        Gotta say though – not sure if you are a Snow but if you aren’t you know that Buffy is hurting him – using his love (demons can love) while knowing she hates him – but sex with him is all that makes her feel. Not going to say more – except season six is the wringer of pain and no one really escapes pain.

        And I know I am sticking up for Spike a lot – but I am not excusing him as much as explaining him. That’s kinda cuz of spoilers but if you see more than bad guy taking advantage then comes spoiler time and you see so much more pain and so many more levels of betrayal. So oddly enough I am doing what looks like excusing in order to make him be worse later. Only in Whedonverse!

        • Jojo

          WHAT AM I MISSING?? (Curls up on the FEELS couch with a teddy bear)

        • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

          Sorry, for leaving you curled up on the feels couch! I’m answering your comment directly because, much as I’d like to steer clear of voicing any additional Spuffy comments beyond the post, this is a reply to me and I don’t want you to think I’m ignoring you! I bow out a lot faster than the other girls do largely because my thoughts and feels are usually all up there, so I’m not going to just sit here saying, “NOPE” over and over again when I disagree because that’s silly.

          Right, except that first point, and the one that I think you’re asking about in your follow up comment isn’t really even a disagreement. The Slayer death wish thing is partially what Lor was referring to and there are other instances. In this episode too — I forget the exact quote, but you quoted it somewhere else in the comments! Again, the point is that him saying Buffy wants to be dead is so not the same thing as saying HE wants her dead! My initial comment was to say that those two sentences — whether or not Buffy wants to be dead and whether or not Spike wants her dead aren’t the same thing. That’s all!

          So, really the most important place to start with the rest of it, because you mentioned the demons-can-love thing again: Spike presents contradictions that, to me, feel more like sloppy writing decisions than character complexity. (I see why it made read as the latter and great for everyone who sees it that way because I’m sure it’s more fun and less annoying! But more on this at the end.) What his being a demon means (moral compass, capacity to love — I’ve said this elsewhere but my feeling on this is: pick one) is probably my greatest frustration.

          I have seen through to the end of the series, so I know where we’re going with all of this, but no, I don’t feel sorry for him. I think they’re both making bad choices, but I find most of his harder to excuse. I just don’t feel all the sympathy that many others to feel for him, and that’s OK. Or, at least, it’s OK with me — it’s not really up to me whether other people think it’s OK or acceptable that I don’t sympathize with Spike. For me, the character became very grating very quickly in this season.

          That said, even if I don’t share your Spike thoughts/feels I do get what you mean about the distinction between explaining/excusing (I’ll be honest, most of what I read about Spike feels more excusing that explaining, though not all of it) because I get that way with Dawn all the time. (Similarly, I am certain that people who don’t like Dawn see my explanations as excuses! So it goes!) Even when I think she’s doing a thing that’s bad or shouldn’t be done, I still can’t help but go into, “Yeah, but here are all the reasons she’s doing this thing, because she’s a flawed and complicated person.”

          Which, to bring it home, is why the flimsy DEMON rules annoy me so much. Because it’s all COMPLICATED PERSON until a character trait can be explained as operating independent of humanity as per some ill-defined unclear definition of what being a demon means and how that’s inherently different from humanity. It’s not complexity that I take issue with, it’s that you then have to derail the initial conversation for a completely separate sidebar about what the demon stuff is/means. People talk about it in finite terms — but contradictory finite terms which indicate that the show-verse is not clear on that matter. (Some mention in these comments and the last about dissension in the ranks of the writers contributing to that.) It seems most often used as a reason to forgive/understand/accept a character, but it just gets me frustrated with the writing, because again, the conversation can’t be had on equal terms, you know?

          Anyway, so, yeah, we’re on a similar page on him exploiting her depression. Mixed bag on the rest. It’s telling that a handful of people can have this much to say about it, though!

          • Jojo

            I can see what you mean about dropping the ball when it comes to creating a coherent universe. To start with, there are three types of vampire – Angel, Spike, and then virtually every other vampire. And they all seem to operate on different rules at different times. It looks like your approach to the universe is Doylist – you see it from how the creator(s) envisioned it and then all the blotches that came along as time wore on are both visible and irritating. Sometimes the irritation is enough to drive you away from the show. I’ve been there. And by taking in Spike as a major characters the blotches turned into huge rusty holes – as exceptional as his character may be, there is no reason to make him basically impervious to flame. ETC.

            I tend to go Watsonian – I am in the story and therefore must find a realistic way to explain all these blotches and holes while not creating new ones. Occasionally I have to twist myself into a pretzel, and as the seasons go on, even that won’t work. But I am willing to make all sorts of writer assumptions about the universe – maybe being turned by a crazy person made Spike a weird vampire…or maybe he was traumatized by a white coat and has to wear black. Which reminds me – does anyone else wonder why the Fanged Four have team colors – red and black? I do get what you mean – I just do different things with those holes. That may be in part because I am a writer – I wrote children’s books for a living – so any hole is an opportunity to recreate.

            I also see a continuum of ways to interpret Spike’s “relationship” (not the word really) with Buffy this season. On one end of the continuum, he is wrong, evil and just taking advantage of a girl who is in real pain without really caring about anything except twisting her to fit his needs. On the other side, I guess he would be Saint Spike who must be protected and forgiven all (and that makes me cringe until I must vomit copiously). I think you and I both fall in different places more toward the center of that that continuum.

            My interpretation is that he truly believes he is helping her, he truly cares about her, but he is really hurting her. The reason I go there is – well, we both know what the payoff is – what the money shot is. There’s no real reason for Spike to even be bothered about the event it if he is on the completely evil side of that continuum. But if he does feel what he sees as love then his betrayal of both the other person and of his own sworn belief in his ability to to be more than he really is – well, it must cut him to the core and make it all even more horrible within the universe. That’s why I call it explanation – because I want that scene to have all the impact possible. It’s a Watsonian thing – knitting disparate and at time contradictory facets of this subject thread into the best possible shape to serve the entirety of the story.

            (Repeating it over and over and over – sorry – that’s my own way off jumping in my seat and shouting pick me, pick me!)

            I did begin my Buffy life as a Spikista Calvinista, I will admit. But I am past that – now I am sort of a Spikista Universalista. ( terms come from

            http://www.fangedfour.com/fangs/resources/educatedfangirlguide.htm

            but SPOILERS!)

          • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

            When I was just watching the show it was a lot easier for me follow geff’s basic line of thinking and accept that it was a compelling enough story to disregard the other stuff, you know? It’s one of the things that changes as a result of blogging.

            Though, as to geff’s other question/issue — I don’t think it’ll ruin the show for me, personally. All future re-watches will probably skip the vast majority of S6 (and S4 because EW) but no, these feelings don’t haunt me all the time always or anything. It’s just that while we’re doing this, watching it this way gets hard sometimes. But it’s still interesting and we love this project — it’s just stressful because things get so heated and we don’t want to destroy this happy little place that means so much to us.

            I JUST HAVE A LOT OF FEELINGS, OK?

            <3

          • Jojo

            There is no possible way to review and blog anything without being Doylist – in fact that is the epitome of Doylist. Then, when you pull one thread things start to unravel. And you spot another hole – and eventually you have the memory of a really nice sweater and a handful of yarn.

            I’ve been there. In order to teach myself more about character driven plot I took one of my favorite books and read each chapter, put it down, wrote the answers to a few questions, and then back to the book. It was a great way to learn but it freakin ruined one of my favorite books! Took me years before I could get back into it.

            I have so much appreciation of what you guys give up to blog because there is no time to sit back and relax and just love something you are snarking! And I am gonn take you to the feels couch and give you champagne and chocolate, and get someone to rub your feet. <3

          • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

            Everything’s better when champagne and chocolate are involved!

          • geff

            I definitely see where you’re coming from, Jojo, especially about Spike selfishly trying to coax Buffy into the “dark side” while still thinking that he’s in love with her in his own twisted demonic way. Still, this x10000: “Spike presents contradictions that, to me, feel more like sloppy writing decisions than character complexity.” I never really debate Spike’s capacity to love or his moral compass because I don’t think there is an answer to that – his humanity changes depending on whatever’s convenient for that scene or episode. Despite that I feel like overall the writing and acting do a good job of making these inconsistencies continually compelling and believable in many ways, so it doesn’t bother me that much (most of the time). I go so back and forth when it comes to Spike’s story during this part of the season. Sometimes it’s stomach-churning and sometimes I’m willing to accept it. I dunno, it’s weird. More cute gifs to forget about the weirdness?

            I disagree about Dawn being a complicated character, but I don’t see your explanations as excuses. Even though Dawn’s not a favorite of mine, I love all the Dawn defense in the recaps xD I agree that she has every reason to be upset and has every reason to act out, but I don’t think she’s written very well because she somehow doesn’t come across as very relatable or sympathetic (at least not to many people I guess). It’s a shame that she’s at the bottom of everyone’s priority list – everyone being the characters, the writers, and the audience. Poor Dawnie.

        • Melbourne on my Mind

          Just stopping by to bring up Spike’s lines in “Walk Through the Fire” – “I hope she fries/I’m free if that bitch dies” and “No, I’ll save her then I’LL kill her”. Yes, out of context, but still regarding Buffy’s death.

          • Jojo

            Uhm…okay.

          • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

            Nice catch!

    • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

      But yeeeeaaahhh, season 6 still has a lot more in store for us. We’re all going to need cookies and stuffed animals.

      But on the bright side for us Americans, we wrap this up right around Thanksgiving, so PIE AND FOOD COMAS FOR EVERYONE!

      • Alicia

        I’m not American, but can I have Thanksgiving too? I want pie!

        • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

          PIE FOR EVERYONE!

          • Melbourne on my Mind

            Can mine involve no vegetable matter? Because EEEEEEEEEEEEUW. Kthxbai.

          • Alicia

            I’ve only had pumpkin pie once cause my flatmate made it. I quite like it though. Is that what you’re talking about?

            Where I’m from, pie means meat pie. Mmmm now I’m totally getting a mince pie from the bakery for lunch tomorrow!

          • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

            No meat in the pie! SUGAR AND SWEETS IN THE PIE.

          • Melbourne on my Mind

            Vegetables are neither of those. Therefore, we are in agreement: pumpkin pie is disgusting.

          • Clément Polge

            There’s also the Rachel from Friends version: sugar and sweets AND meat.

            I always wondered what that tasted like.

          • Melbourne on my Mind

            Pumpkin should only ever be roasted or turned into soup, not used in baked goods. Same goes for sweet potato. As a general rule, pie = meat filled here too, except that mince pies are a COMPLETELY different thing.

          • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

            BRB, REPORTING YOU TO HOMELAND SECURITY SO THAT YOU AND YOUR PUMPKIN-HATING TERRORISM CAN’T DESTROY THE BEAUTIFUL LAND OF SEASONAL PUMPKIN-FLAVORED FUCKING EVERYTHING.

          • Melbourne on my Mind

            You guys are literally alone in the world on that one. Also, your threats about reporting me to the government might work better if you currently HAD a government to report me to ;)

            (Yes, I know that Homeland Security are still functioning. Totally not the point)

          • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

            Oh, I’m aware AND IT SUCKS TO BE THE REST OF THE WORLD. CUE THE LIBERTAGE!

            We might be stupid with our units of measurement, but Pumpkin Spice Season is basically the greatest time of year to be an American. It’s probably the only thing that will get me pounding my chest and shouting, “‘MURICA! FUCK YEAH!” because pumpkins!

            And yup! I might not be able to get any actual social services, but I don’t even need to actively report you. All I have to do is shout, “TERRORIST!” a few more times down here in the comments and those people, whose jobs went unaffected by the shutdown of the rest of my government, will come-a-runnin’! Obvs gotta keep identifying the TERRORISTS even as we deny basic care to people in need because some backwards hillbillies are throwing a temper tantrum.

          • Clément Polge

            Meh, I never liked pumpkin anyway…

            “And that’s when the real shitstorm began…”

          • Melbourne on my Mind

            I’ll just be down here, eating pumpkin all year round.

          • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

            NO. We could eat it. I mean, most of our pumpkin crap comes from canned pumpkin. We have pumpkin in with our massive collection of canned goods, pretty much year round, but NO. Pumpkin is a magical seasonal thing that the rest of the world just doesn’t understand.

          • Melbourne on my Mind

            Pumpkin should never come from a can. If you don’t have to fight to the death and use all your body strength to chop up a Queensland Blue, then you’re not really eating pumpkin.

          • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

            TERRORIST

          • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

            When I got back from Paris last August, Pumpkin Spice Season was my primary source of joy/reassurance. “Sure everything’s terrible and I don’t want to be here, but at least I won’t have to miss Pumpkin Spice Season again.”

          • Jojo

            Uhmmm – you do know that someone in the NSA is reading this blog now that the TERRORIST word has been used. It makes me scared…but I feel a need to confess that I like mincemeat pie and I also like fruitcake. Both of them with much rum – but I am not an alcoholic and I love my country even if I wish that someone would take a match to all the hot air in Congress and blow the f*ckers up. Sorry not sorry. Please don’t arrest me.

          • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney
          • Jojo

            XD I goin splorin!

    • Raluca

      I have to say Season 6 is my all-time favourite Buffy season. I know it’s been massively criticized, I know it’s dark and twisted, I know it has very bad episodes… I know all that. And yet I cannot help myself. I like it because, to me, it’s the most real season, which deals in a very good way (mostly) with life as humans live it on Planet Earth.

      I’ve always has a thing for “anti-heroes” and for “not-all-black-and-white” situations. I do not particularly like movies/books with “good” and “bad” characters. I like “middle-ground” characters, people who sometimes do good and at other times bad, people who make the worst decisions while attempting to be good. This is why I like this season. Sorry not sorry.
      Most of all, I like how much I can relate to it all – bad decisions, obsessive love, treating others like dirt, physically and emotionally abusing those who are close to oneself, addiction. I think I mentioned somewhere I relate to Spike a lot, but I have to confess I actually relate to Buffy as well. I had long periods of depression, the real stuff, not the mild version – the feeling is awful, I was moving in relenti and felt like I was in a swamp, all sounds and emotions and movements had a “damp” quality; I couldn’t sleep, but I was sleeping all the time, I couldn’t laugh or smile for weeks, nothing moved or made an impression on me. I know how much B is hurting, as I was in a worse place.

      Jojo, the depressing part of the season you are referring to – I think you underestimate it a bit. I think the whole damn season is depressing, save for 1-2 scenes. And I can’t even imagine the heated discussions about Spike and Buffy in later episodes. I know Spike will be hated with fiery passion and most of the people here won’t even change their mind later on, when “other spoilery stuff” happens.

      • Jojo

        Yes – is true. But add in the conclusion of the Willow arc, and the Xander and Anya arcs. It is all bad and it gets worse. I’ve dealt with the depression issues, so I understand. It’s multi generational, and includes all sorts of self abuse from cutting to suicide. It helps to see other people – people we care about – so totally fuck up their lives and have to fight to get back on track.

  • Jojo

    Oh, and there is only one lighter – and it is a legend. Spike really is fond of his lighter. XD

  • SnazzyO

    This episode This episode. I’m not a fan. Mostly because I despise The Trio and though the invisible sex was not funny.

    In order to distract, I offer my own version of a cat gif (inspired by the use of the word “pudding” in the recap and this is what I thought EVERY time):

    Dean Winchester… PUDDING!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6m6bpxkjP4

    • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

      The more I see of Supernatural the more I have no words. NO WORDS I SAY.

    • Melbourne on my Mind

      Man, I love Supernatural. Particularly for the “You totally think this is from the blooper reel, don’t you? It’s not from the blooper reel” moments.

  • Ashley Menvielle

    This episode is pretty meh for me in general. I despise the Trio for the most part because nerdy, misogynistic, little man children get on my nerves but I’ve heard it said that they are a dark mirror for the Scooby gang which I had never thought of them as before, so that’s something to chew on if you wish or not, because the Trio=UGH. Mark Fields blog unpaidsophistry.blogspot.com, has many wonderful thinky thoughts on the series, especially all the metaphors and things I don’t easily see, and reading his thoughts helped me process and accept a lot of the writing and characterisation that had previously hurt and angered my heart hole, especially in regards to this season and the next, so imho it’s worth checking out if you have some time. Pretty much agree on the grossness of Spuffy in this ep, I adore Spuffy so this hurts my heart hole like last two eps did, and the badness of the social worker torture; if the writers were trying to show us how not herself Buffy is right now, well thank you for that anvil…Oh and the pandas gif made me laugh hysterically, so thank you, so much!

    • Ashley Menvielle

      Just realized how tacky it might look to be pimping another blog on this blog… sorry about that and believe me when I write that I mean no offense! His blog doesn’t even have panda gifs…

      • Alicia

        That blog is so good though. He is very insightful and I love the trivia notes at the end of each episode post.

        • Ashley Menvielle

          It is one of the best blogs I’ve come across in Buffy fandom, mind seriously blown after reading through everything, trivia notes and all. :)

      • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

        Giiiiirl do not apologize for that. That’s hardly the first comment link drop and, more importantly, a crap ton of the people who come here have arrived that same way. The blogosphere is a big party network. New perspectives are always welcome! That’s what makes this fun. Do not hesitate; share away!

        • Ashley Menvielle

          Whew! Glad I didn’t offend because sooo not my intent, like you say I just wanna share the love :). That’s also why I love this site: sharing and differing opinions are welcomed, some other parts of the inter webs do not share this policy sadly.

          • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

            Those places are silly and need more baby duckling gifs and panda videos.

          • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

            We know what are strengths are.

        • Alex

          That’s how I found you guys! Jojo mentioned you (specifically your FSOG recaps) on the discussion boards for another Buffy site that I wrote a few reviews for, which brought me here. Thanks again Jojo!

          • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

            As far as I am concerned, Jojo is the all-knowing authority on where the best parts of the Buffy fandom hang out on the interwebz, so I’m forever grateful that she invited the other cool kids to come sit with us.

          • Melbourne on my Mind

            On Wednesdays, we wear pink.

          • Jojo

            Jojo is wiggling like a puppy and giving hugs all over, and jumping on the trampoline of Joy!

    • Raluca

      Ashley, thank you for the link! I’ve read some of the articles and I agree it is a wonderful blog, much like this one. I am glad I found it through you and I have new “food for thought”. Given that I have seen the series 6 times already, I cannot be spoiled. So, I’ll enjoy reading what Mark Fields has to say.
      It is hard for me not to make spoiler-y comments :), but, for Lor’s sake, I am willing to try :)

      • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

        I always appreciate the effort to keep me spoiler free. :)

        • Raluca

          LOL it’s hard, really. Some of the things I wanna say are to be kept quite for now :D
          One thing though (for you, as I am sure Sweeney and Kirsty have already seen the rest of Buffy): there are some very hard to watch episodes ahead, so prepare more gifs :(

      • Ashley Menvielle

        You are very welcome! Glad I could share the love and thinkythoughts. His blog is wonderful and I’m glad you have new food for thought now. Mark’s blog is so good too in that he really doesn’t have many biases when it comes to characters and storylines (he’s got a bit of a Xander bias but he knows this and owns up to it, also it’s not so severe so easy to read through for .e at least) so his thoughts are very close to being completely objective which I appreciated about his blog too. I dislike character bashing, of any character except Warren, so that ruins things for me when a blogger or reviewer does that. And, yes, it’s hard not to be spoilery but for the sake of our Snow we do it :)).

        • Raluca

          It in nice to read, but also kinda hard to follow at times, as much as I am into philosophy and psychology. I much rather prefer criticallytouched.com, but it is “spoiler-y”. This is how I actually found The Snark Ladies…

  • Alicia

    Omg those gifs are so distracting and aww worthy. Especially the duckling. Thank you thank you and good job. We can hopefully all get through these sad times with the aid of adorable animals!

    It was nice to see Willow working out things the old-fashioned way, even if she’s finding it really difficult at the moment. And I liked that she and Buffy got to have a good conversation there at the end. Poor Xander and Anya, planning a wedding is hard! And Dawnie! I hurt for her so much when she was freaking out about Buffy being invisible. She’s so terrified of losing her sister again.

    I’m so happy to see that Buffy has realised she no longer wants to die. It’s definitely a tentative step in the right direction. But sheesh, being invisible definitely brought out some no-so-nice aspects to her personality. What stands out is mostly her prank on the social worker, which I agree was just incredibly disturbing. Especially since the social worker had good reason to be concerned about the situation. Also the fact that she teases Spike in front of Xander, when she has been so adamant that nobody find out about them sleeping together. And she is actually complaining that he had the balls to throw her out when he realised why she was there!

    Spike is a mixed bag in this episode. I know it’s hard to sympathise with him due to his inappropriate Buffy groping in the kitchen and not leaving straight away, but I do think he was really hoping to talk to her about what is going on between them. He mentions wanting to “chat this out” with her, but unfortunately he has picked the worst possible time to try. It’s so sad that they’ve stopped really communicating:( I appreciated him trying to stick up for Buffy, even though he actually makes things worse, and before Buffy tells him to “get out” he seems to be sincerely trying to offer his support. He also displays a bit of his perceptiveness in the crypt scene with Buffy, and I think there is a lot of truth to what he is saying about her only being there because she’s not there, even if Buffy wasn’t inclined to listen.

    It’s interesting that when she feels that she is not really herself, Buffy is extremely aggressive in pursuing Spike and is even talking about them ‘having fun’. It’s like she can enjoy being with him only if she can also avoid responsibility for her actions. In Smashed it was ‘coming back wrong’, in this case, being invisible and ‘free of rules and reports’. It’s not fun to watch her perpetuating the current dubious consent part of her and Spike’s relationship though. Throwing her out was definitely a good decision for both of them. Spike is clearly unhappy with the situation. I think this is really not what he hoped for back when they first kissed. And Buffy needed a bit of a kick up the pants.
    Sorry for the long comment again. Feel free to ignore!

    • Jojo

      Never ignore – long comments are good!

    • Ashley Menvielle

      Good point about Buffy having fun and pursuing Spike while she is invisible girl in this ep. I always forget about this episode when doing season rewatches, but it’s definitely a good point to consider that while he is an escape for Buffy, being with him isn’t always dark and angst, especially considering eps to come. Well, I’ll amend that by describing it as not completely dark and angsty :).

    • Raluca

      Alicia, I couldn’t have said it better myself. As a long-term “receiver” of the “I choose to be with you only when it suits me” behaviour in the past from people I loved (and obsessed a bit about) I have to say B’s treatment of Spike is annoying me to no end. :)

    • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

      I’m really glad my animal gifs were so well received. I was really scared to show my vulnerable gif side on the internet this way, but you all have been lovely and supportive. <3

      We may not always get time to answer every single comment but we spend quality work time reading them, so never ignored! Plus, we've got all these lovely people filling out the comments and word on the street is that for them? The longer the better.

  • geff

    Lol. “Worse” is an excellent title for this episode. It’s one of my least favorites – I really don’t like the tone, the clunkiness, and the humor. I do appreciate Buffy’s revelation at the end, especially since it’s with Willow, but that doesn’t make this episode any better overall. Also that scene with the social worker (after Buff goes all invisible) is awful and really out of character in my opinion (eta: as is a lot of her behavior/attitude in this episode). I guess that’s the point but I still don’t think she’d do something like that.

    • geff

      also it makes me sad that watching & recapping has been such a struggle this season : I hope it doesn’t make you all (but particularly Lor, who’s watching for the first time) hate the show from now on, since I think there are some strong – though still problematic – episodes yet to come.

      • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

        I feel bad complaining about it because (1) obvs I still enjoy the end product and all of you guys and the jokes that come out of the posts etc and (2) in theory, I do like that the story is exploring Buffy’s depression because it follows so well what happened in The Gift. I can’t say that I’m enjoying watching that story progression though and lots of time things are better in theory than in practice.

        So, yeah. I’m struggling but not any amount that my love of Buffy (show or character) is yet in danger. I think of season 1-3 and love blooms in my heart. Season 5 too. :)

        • Raluca

          Love Season 5, but Season 6 is my all-time TV favourite season (all other series included) :)
          It’ll get harder to watch, Lor, I am sorry to say. Harder to watch and comment and stay objective.

        • geff

          you don’t have to feel bad for complaining! It’s really cool to get an honest first-time reaction, positive or negative (I was tempted to write out ‘warts and all’ but that sounds like some really out of place idiom in this context haha).

          definitely agree that many things are better in theory than in practice. which makes this season often good for discussion but not actually fun to watch.

          lol, poor season 4.

      • Melbourne on my Mind

        I don’t know that I’m going to end up hating the show, but I *am* struggling a lot with season 6. Which makes me sad because I used to love it for not being afraid to talk about Real Shit. Sigh.

        • geff

          yeahhhh, I pretty much exclusively like this season for Buffy’s depression arc, and Willow’s story up until Smashed/Wrecked.

          OH. and OMWF, obviously :)

          • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

            Same. I’m undecided on how I feel about the rest of Willow’s story, so aside from all the delicate dancing around one issue that makes this a struggle sometimes, I *AM* looking forward to hearing more of how everyone else responds to that!

    • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

      I had the same feeling you did. While watching I was practically yelling at the screen how out of character this felt. By the end, with invisible Buffy in bed, when you are supposed to realize that out of character was the point, it was too late. And even so, they would’ve done well to play it more about Buffy being free to be herself and not free to be a dick.

      When I was in California and Sweeney and I were road tripping to Palm Springs (with Little Sweeney and Mama Sweeney!) we listened to that song a time or 80. And then we would ask each other what we should do in the face of undesirable things. TAKE A WALK, OF COURSE.

    • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

      It’s a favorite of mine too. They opened with that at Coachella but we were really only walking past them to go somewhere else, but I scared the shit out of passersby because we were talking and behaving normally and then I shouted and walked faster when they got to the chorus. I also may have been a teensy bit intoxicated at the time.

      As Lorraine mentioned, there are a great many life problems that can best be resolved by taking a walk.

      • geff

        ha, I love the stories you and Lor associate with Take A Walk. I unfortunately do not have any cool stories related to it. I mean, I think I incorporated a few of the lyrics into a school project once? And then there was that time I was wrestling a dragon, but that wasn’t so interesting…

        (/tired and making no sense)

  • Angi Black

    Willow knows it’s set to an amount of radiation that will kill Buffy because she read the schematics in the trio’s basement. – Said the geekiest girl in the room.

    • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

      I think someone else mentioned her reading the schematics as well, but it was a glance at best! A GLANCE, I SAY. ;)

      • Angi Black

        Fair – but I think it was another heavy handed thing in this episode of “Hey, remember our girl Willow who was smart before drugs, I mean magic, ruined her life.”

  • behind blueiz

    Really? Can Xander REALLY be that stupid? Buffy is invisible. Spike is humping air and there is porn track in the background…and what? Xander couldn’t put two and two together and know Buffy and Spike are having sex? Srly?

    The only way I’m able to stomach this is having Xander neck deep in that big ol’ river of DeNile. That’s the only way.

    • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

      He’s totally in that river. He walked in on them in the kitchen where it was implied some heavy petting was at least going on and he was all, “SPIKE YOU HAVE NO CHANCE.”

      Like I said, though, Buffy protests so loudly. It’s like me and pickles. I fucking hate pickles and will say so to anyone who is around me when I’m near a pickle. If one of my friends ever walked in on me eating a pickle, they’d assumed I was under duress.

      I just chose pickles because I hate them and not because they are phallic. This got really weird.

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

        This is my favorite comment of the day.

        • Melbourne on my Mind

          Understandably.

          • Jojo

            I like pickles. But only in the approved pickle way. I am not a pervie pickle pusher.

      • Raluca

        Picture me confused, but I thought only some pickles are phallic :D See cucumbers. My mom is a home-made pickle specialist and we get to eat not only phallic cucumbers, but also cauliflower, green tomatoes, peppers, cabbage etc. throughout the winter.

        I am guessing you are referring to the store pickles, not the home-made ones. :D

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