snark squad | where nostalgia comes to die

Buffy the Vampire Slayer S06 E13 – I hate everyone.

and on October 21, 2013 · 170 comments in Buffy the Vampire Slayer,Season 6,TV

Previously: Buffy got a fast food job and Willow beheaded a penis monster.

Dead Things

Sweeney: The episode begins with Spuffy sex, because the Number Gods hate me. They “missed the bed” (K: And ended up UNDER a rug?!) (L: METAPHOR.), which Spike thinks is lucky for the bed. Buffy says he’s done a great job with the crypt decorating, and Spike realizes that they’re having an actual conversation. They then congratulate each other on their sex skillz but Buffy shuts that down when he calls her an animal. He asks her what this is to her, and if she even likes him. Sometimes. He holds up some handcuffs and asks if she trusts him. “Never.”

In Trio’s New Basement of Misogyny & Failure, Jonathan and Andrew are bickering while Warren works on something evil. He breaks up their bickering so that Jonathan can come to a spell on the thing. Said thing is an orb which, of course, is meant to make any woman they desire a “willing” sex slave. Warren, I don’t think you understand what this word “willing” means, because you are a misogynistic douche nozzle and probably a cousin of Christian Grey’s. Warren Grey knows just where to start with his rape ball. Wolf howl.

Kirsti: BRB, fetching numerous medieval torture devices to use on fictional characters.

Sweeney: After the credits Buffy is at the Doublemeat Palace trying her punning skills on the fast food clientele. Tara shows up to chat with Buffy so she takes her break. Tara’s freaking out because Buffy called her over there, but this isn’t actually about Willow. Buffy apologizes and assures Tara that Willow is doing well and she would be super proud of her. The reason Buffy wanted to talk to Tara was to figure out why Spike’s chip no longer works on her. She wants to know more about the spell and can’t ask Willow, what with her being on a 12 step program. Buffy tells Tara that she thinks she came back wrong and Tara adorable stutters through a vehement insistence that this can’t be the case, but will look into the spell for Buffy.

K: Can we just spend the rest of this recap talking about how much I love the budding friendship between Buffy and Tara? I mean, yes, they were friends before, but always in the same way that Buffy and Anya are friends – there’s not a lot of choice in the matter. This is the start of them voluntarily being friends. You know?

Lorraine: I feel like we’ve seen snippets of this already, though. Buffy has turned to Tara before, even if it was that horrible jokey, crying scene in Triangle. This felt like a natural place for her to turn to and I’m glad she did.

Sweeney: Yes, agreed. There is a lot Tara excellence to process in this post, so I reserved most of that for the end.

Cut to Warren in a classy bar while Andrew and Jonathan sit in a van watching from a camera attached to Warren’s tie. They flail about how they can have anyone they want and it’s like “juicy, pulsating candy.” Can we just be done with The Trio now? And all of rapey season 6, for that matter? Please? Andrew and Jonathan are making all sorts of suggestions for Warren like, “the one with the neck,” but Warren has a target in mind. He ditches his microphone and earpiece before approaching the target he came for.

Said target turns out to be Katrina, his ex-girlfriend who broke up with him after he made a robot girlfriend who tried to murder her. Katrina looks like she’s been having a rough day and is in no mood to put up with her skeevy ex-boyfriend. She grabs her bag and gets up, telling Warren that what he did was sick and YES, SHE’S ABSOLUTELY SURE that she wants nothing to do with him. Warren puts on some consent-guarding glasses and pulls out his Rape Ball which shoots magic free will destroying flames, making Katrina say, “I love you master.” MURDER IT, BUFFY. MURDER IT GOOD.

K: God bless Katrina and her “I AM HAVING PRECISELY NONE OF YOUR BULLSHIT, YOU ARE THE WORST HUMAN BEING ON EARTH” attitude. Shame she didn’t kick Warren in the nuts before he had a chance to pull out that Rape Ball…

Sweeney: Buffy returns to Chez Summers to find Xander teaching Dawn perfectly synchronized dance steps for the wedding, while Anya and Willow watch. They invite Buffy to join them at The Bronze, and she declines, saying that she’d rather stay in with Dawn. A horn honks outside and Dawn grabs her stuff because she’s spending the night at Tibby’s Janice’s, and Willow already confirmed that a parent is actually involved. Dawn says she didn’t think Buffy would mind, since she’s never home and she’s really excited that Janice’s mom is going to cook an actual dinner and teach her to make real tortillas. Dawn adds that it’s not like she knew Buffy would be around before taking off. Buffy turns around and tells the gang that it’s definitely time to go get drinks now.

K: SO MANY SUMMERS SISTERS FEELS.

Sweeney: Speaking of drinks, Katrina is wearing a French maid outfit while pouring champagne for The Trio in the Basement of Misogyny & Failure. Andrew and Jonathan nerd out about how cute she is, but Warren insists that she’s really perfect. It’s the middle of the afternoon, but I may need a drink to get through this scene. Andrew and Jonathan awkwardly mumble about how to initiate their rape, and Warren’s all, “Nope, me first.” He assures them that they’ll get their turns after he’s done with her. Andrew & Jonathan drink up as Warren walks off and I hulksmash the world.

hulk

This, for the record, is why it’s insufficient for me to say, “Aw, yeah, it’s really just Warren who sucks in The Trio.” Sure, they’re usually just dumbly going along with Warren’s bullshit, but this? Right here? Yeah, no, I’d love to dickpunch both of them for their eagerness to be rapists. It seems kind of fitting that we’re doing this episode that is extra rapey, even by S6’s low standard for proper consent on the same day as the Fifty Shades Epilogue. It’s funny, too, that I didn’t even realize what episode this was at the beginning. I WAS JUST KIDDING, NUMBER GODS. I DIDN’T KNOW YOU REALLY LEGITIMATELY HATED ME LIKE THIS.

K: And to think, when I sent you an email last week being all “I’M SO SORRY YOU HAVE TO COVER [SPOILER] AND [SPOILER],” I left this one out of the list… I agree that both Jonathan and Andrew deserve dickpunches for their eagerness, but I’m not sure they ever applied brain power to the situation. They got stuck on the “this is so cool” part, and never stopped to think about WHAT IT ACTUALLY MEANT. Which, sadly, goes along with the attitude that teenage guys sometimes have in real life…

Unrelated: if someone wants to replace Tom Hiddleston’s face with Warren’s in that gif, I would be eternally grateful.

Sweeney: I thought about fulfilling this request now, but time/effort. Another day, perhaps. We still have the whole rest of the season to need a Warren Smash gif!

In Warren’s bedroom, they get going and Warren tells her that he never should have left and orders her to say that, and repeatedly say she loves him. I feel ill. She gets on her knees, and he does a double take when she calls him Warren. She does it as well and has the sudden horrifying realization that something is very much amiss. She gets up and runs out to the main room, where the junior misogynists order her to call them master because they are supervillains. Andrew and Warren put on their Consent Guarding Glasses as Andrew breaks out the Rape Ball, but it only shoots a couple free will destroying sparks instead of the full rape flame action, because it’s out of asshole juice.

Katrina puts all the awful pieces together and rages out on Warren accordingly. (Actually, not quite, because she just kind of shoves him and I would say “accordingly” would be a little more like what our good friend Hulk is demonstrating up above.) When Andrew and Jonathan realize that Katrina is his ex, they say it’s messed up and Katrina gives the big, “YOU THINK?” speech that I’m not sure I’d be coherent/articulate enough to deliver. “You a bunch of little boys playing at being men? Well this is not some fantasy. It’s not a game, you freaks. It’s rape.” Andrew and Jonathan are horrified because this thought never actually occurred to them, but Katrina and I are feeling zero percent sorry for them.

K: To clarify my point from earlier – I do not in any way feel sorry for them. But their reaction does not surprise me, and is one that would – unfortunately – not really surprise me in real life either. Warren, on the other hand, is a fucking sociopath and knows EXACTLY what he was doing.

Lor: I reject the entire notion that brainpower has to be applied to this situation to realize that it’s rape. And really, they are not bristling at the act (they were super excited about the prospect of having sex with this commandeered body) but rather at the word. People rightly consider rape a harsh word, but that also makes them reluctant to apply it, even to the most deserving of situations. I can’t say that I hate the guys thinking, “we’re going to have sex with this girl by magical force! That’s not wrong! That’s not rape!” any less than the guy who knew exactly what he was doing.

The morale of the story: I hate everyone.

Sweeney: Again, agreed entirely. Warren may be there to show us that they aren’t full-fledged sociopaths, but yeah, I still hate everyone.

She tells Warren that she’s going to make sure he gets arrested so that he can see how much fun rape is in prison. He orders Andrew and Jonathan to stop her, so they grab her, because they suck too. She wrestles free and Warren manages to stop her at the stairs. A fight ensues and Warren clocks on her the head with a champagne bottle. Warren orders the others to charge the Rape Ball, but Andrew touches the back of her head and realizes that Katrina is dead.

After a Not Commercial Break, Andrew and Jonathan are freaking the fuck out. Jonathan asks Warren what he did, but Warren says that this is what they did and this is on all of them. While Warren is clearly the most responsible, and certainly the only murderer in room, he’s also correct in that Jonathan and Andrew are totally culpable. I’ll stop for a second to say that I don’t find Jonathan and Andrew irredeemable; it’s significant that they recognize that they’ve done something wrong. That said, you can’t have redemption unless you acknowledge that you’ve done a thing for which you need to be redeemed. Plus, right now I’m just too angry to give many fucks about what comes next for this team of would-be rapists with a murderer at the helm.

K: I think it’s only having seen where things end up for these three that means I can watch without throwing things at the television.

Sweeney: Warren says that they have to get rid of “it,” meaning the corpse. Jonathan can’t teleport the corpse out because it’s too big, and the only thing Andrew could conjure that would eat that much would probably also go for them. GOOD. GREAT. CONJURE THAT THING.

Jonathan says this means they’re screwed, particularly since Warren knew her, creating a clear link between her and them. I still hate you for your cowardice, but points for being the actual smart person in the room. He gets extra smart points when he goes on to say that this link doesn’t mean they should fear the police so much as Buffy, who will put that together. This isn’t Jonathan’s first rodeo. He knows who the real law in Sunnydale is. Speaking of, Andrew suggests that they just turn themselves into the police, because that’s the less fearsome of the two options. Warren suggests that there’s a way that they can address both the corpse and their Slayer problem “with one big stone.

The Bronze. Anya and Xander are dancing and Willow is telling Buffy that she hopes they won’t be expected to dance like that at the wedding because NOPE. Willow and Buffy catch up on life and stuff. Xander and Anya come over to encourage them to join the dancing. Willow’s in, but Buffy wants more drinks and less happy. She goes to the bar, but abandons her cup and goes upstairs to do some quality brooding-above-The-Bronze. It’s been a while since we’ve seen that!

Naturally, Spike shows up, being his creepy, obsessive, shadow-lurking stalker self. More blah-blahing about her belonging in the darkness aaand now I’m treated to public Spuffy sex. He tells her to keep her eyes open as he CREEPS that he wants her to watch her friends while they fuck, so that she can know that this isn’t her world because she belongs in the dark with him.

K: And with an added dose of “Don’t” “Stop me” consent bullshit because the number gods really want Sweeney to suffer as much as possible.

Lor: As soon as he appeared out of the DARKNESS AND SHADOOOOOWS, I watched the scene like this:

Sweeney: YUP. I’m so exhausted of having to explain over and over again that she shouldn’t have to fight him off and that responding, “Make me,” to someone who says, “Stop,” is definitely disregarding consent. If we’re all going to stay friends here, that gif is probably going to be the way I react to all the Spuffy scenes.

The next day Willow and Xander arrive at The Magic Box just as Tara is leaving. Xander excuses himself to go talk to Anya. Willow and Tara have an awkward conversation and Tara tries to hide a book she’s holding, though Willow tells her that the hiding is not necessary because she’s doing better. She’s been spell-free for 32 days and can even go to The Magic Box as long as someone is with her. Tara insists that she wasn’t checking on Willow, just looking for Buffy. Willow says she hasn’t seen her around much, though she misses her. Tara asks Willow to tell Buffy that she needs to talk to her ASAP and hurries off. She stops to tell Willow that she’s glad she’s doing better and then actually leaves.

K: Two things: 1. Willow’s jacket is really cute, and made me reflect on how long it’s been since we’ve had to issue Willow with a Willow Rosenberg Crazy Birthday Cake Fashion Disaster Seal, and 2. Tara’s proud face when Willow says she hasn’t used magic in 32 days is the CUTEST THING EVER OMG.

Sweeney: It is super adorable. I want to give Tara so many awkward hugs throughout this whole episode.

With that shot of adorable to prep me, we go next to a Spuffy montage. Buffy is patrolling. Spike is mixing drinks and smoking. We see Buffy and Spike standing on opposite sides of the door to Spike’s crypt, caressing the door as dramatic music plays. Spike finally opens the door, but Buffy’s already gone.

Lor: The other day, someone wrote in the comments about how nice it is to find reviews that aren’t biased against any characters. I laughed and thought that must certainly be nice, but probably not half as snarky. That said, this entire sequence, from Spike with his shirt open to them touching through the door made me LOL. This show has been pretty deft at handling some very weighty issues, but this missed a step for me and immediately reminded me of the melodramatic montage of any number of 80’s and 90’s teen movies. Good times.

Sweeney: The music really did it in. I’m not sure if different music could have salvaged it, but that song certainly didn’t help keep it out of giggle-worthy territory.

Elsewhere in the cemetery Buffy’s telling herself to think of anything but the evil blood-sucking fiend when all of a sudden she hears a scream. She goes to the scream, but nothing is there. She briefly sees a girl on the ground crying, but as Buffy is telling her she’ll be OK, she disappears again. Buffy hears voices whispering, “What did you do?” Suddenly she sees Spike on the ground with a bloody lip, asking why she did that. Spike and Buffy are fighting demons but then they disappear and she’s just chatting with Spike, who again wants to have relationship chatting at a really inconvenient time.

We see weird loops of the fighting and the girl and the disappearing, until eventually we see what appears to be Buffy knocking the girl out and down a hill. Buffy runs after the girl, leaving Spike to fight the demons alone, but because the plot calls for this fight to end now (and also because the focus of the magic has just moved on) he’s able to kill them quite quickly and follow her. She’s kneeling over Katrina’s corpse, saying that she killed her. Then we cut away to Katrina watching all this from behind a tree.

K: All I can think of during this scene is this: 

Can we all just go and watch Blink now? Because Weeping Angels are far less traumatising than this bullshit. 

Sweeney: After a Not Commercial Break, Spike is telling Buffy that they need to GTFO before anyone sees them, but Buffy is too freaked out to move. He grabs her and tells her that she’s going to go home to her nice warm bed and stay there until they can sort this out later.

We see that this conversation is being filmed and watched by The Trio in their Pedo Van. Or, at least, Warren and Andrew. “Two birds. One stone,” Warren says, as Katrina returns to the van. Warren says that (s)he did a great job, and she magics back into Jonathan, who bitterly adds that it was some of his best work. Warren says that now that Buffy thinks she killed Katrina, this is her problem and they can wash their hands of the whole thing, though Andrew and Jonathan are unconvinced.

Buffy is lying in bed, but the whispers continue to ask her what she did. Spike is in bed with her, telling her that it’s all right and it’ll be their little secret, kissing her shoulder. She kisses him back and then we cut to them sexing in the crypt, with him in handcuffs. Cut to Buffy sitting on top of Katrina, also handcuffed as Buffy asks if she trusts her. Quick cuts between Spuffy sex and Katrina. Buffy ultimately stakes Katrina and then wakes up alone her bed, fully dressed.

Buffy checks on Dawn, who is of course fast asleep. She wakes her up, but isn’t quite sure what to say. “I just wanted…I love you – you know that, right?” Dawn sits up, terrified, and asks Buffy what’s wrong. Buffy goes on to apologize for not being everything she could have been, or everything mom was. She goes on to explain that there was an accident in the woods and she hurt someone. Dawn hugs her, and Buffy keeps talking, saying that she has to go to the police to confess to what she did. Dawn processes all of this before saying that they’ll take her away and angrily adding that Buffy’s never there and never really wanted to be there. “Then go. You’re not really here anyway,” she says as she gets up and storms out.

K: Oh, look. More Summers Sisters feels. THANKS, SHOW.

Sweeney: Buffy is approaching the police station from an alley. Spike grabs her and asks her what she’s doing. They fight a little as she says she’s doing the right thing. He tells her that they’ll never believe her demons-in-the-woods-time-going-wonky story. Buffy says she’ll show them, and Spike implies that there’s nothing to show. He says he did what he had to do and made sure that nobody will ever find her. With that, two cops are getting into a car in front of the station, saying that they just found a girl who washed up just down the river from the cemetery.

K: EPIC FAIL, SPIKE. Although I must say, I find it interesting how similar his reaction to this situation is to Faith’s reaction to killing the Deputy Mayor. In both cases, they were like “Welp, shit happens. Dump the corpse half heartedly in a body of water and move on with life.”

Sweeney: After a Not Commercial Break, Spike says that there still isn’t anything to connect her to this. Buffy says it doesn’t matter and it’s what she has to do. He tries to stop her by way of telling her that he loves her, but obvs that’s insufficient. He won’t let her go, so she punches him. He gets up, vamped out, and throws her to the ground. They fight while arguing about the moral thing to do here — Spike makes the S3!Faith argument that one dead girl doesn’t tip the scale for all the ones she’s saved. Buffy is frustrated that he’s not getting how that is totally not the point. Then we bring the Faith parallel home with Buffy punching Spike on the ground as she yells things at him that are clearly meant for herself: “You don’t have a soul. There is nothing good or clean in you. You are dead inside. You can’t feel anything real.” She finishes by saying that she could never be his girl, and he drops his vamp grill and she punches him a few more times, before getting up and walking away.

Lor: DEAR GOD. THAT WAS TERRIBLE TO WATCH. THIS SHOW WANTS ME TO ONLY SEE TERRIBLE THINGS. Buffy, Spike and their abusive relationship has been one of the most strenuous TV watching experiences OF MY LIFE. This crap is exhausting.

On another note, we’ve had some commenters mention a time or two that Buffy is strong enough to rebuff Spike’s advances, but she doesn’t (even in instances when she says no). Spike could’ve fought back here, but he didn’t. Does that make him not a victim in this scene, then?

Sweeney: No, see, because it’s all about her! He’s doing it for her! Except not at all and I just don’t buy that argument. The fact that Spike has spent the last several episodes ignoring nearly every wish Buffy has vocalized only reaffirms that his interest in Buffy is principally about a projection of himself. Violent face punching Buffy helps him see Buffy as demonic, like him.

Inside the police station, Buffy goes to the desk and the guy she would have confessed to is on the phone. He’s getting an ID on the body and she overhears the name and immediately connects the dots, realizing that this was Warren’s ex-girlfriend.

Cut to The Magic Box where Anya is explaining the Time Wonky Demons to Buffy. Xander and Willow jump in to say that this definitively clears Buffy’s name and totes proves that Katrina was dead long before Buffy came across her. Buffy says that she’s positive that Warren had something to do with this.

K: I love when Anya is all Giles-y like she is here.

Sweeney: Dawn, who has been sitting off to the side, silently, speaks up to ask if this means that Buffy’s not going away now. Buffy tries to be reassuring as she says that she won’t be going away, but Dawn storms off. Buffy says that they need to go find The Trio because they’re not getting away with this.

Segue Magic to Warren insisting that they are definitely going to get away with this as they read the coroner’s report on Katrina’s death. They’re ruling it a suicide. How much time has passed? This seems awful fast for a coroner’s report. Andrew says that they really got away with murder and adds that that’s kind of cool. Jonathan’s face demonstrates that he realizes how psychotic that is, but when Warren looks at him he halfheartedly adds, “Yeah. Cool.

Chez Summers. Tara is explaining to there is absolutely nothing wrong with Buffy. She says that there was a slight molecular change in Buffy because The Great Contrivance Spirit came up with some bullshit for the S6 Spuffy arc. (L: I love you.) Tara says it’s roughly equivalent to a bad sunburn, which is probably just enough to confuse Spike’s contrivance chip censors. (If only he’d known that sooner — hang out in drug stores and attack people stocking up on aloe vera!)

Tears well up in Buffy’s eyes as she says, “I didn’t come back wrong?” Tara’s confused as Buffy goes on to insist that Tara must have missed something. Buffy’s talking mostly to herself as she asks why she’s letting Spike do these things to her. There’s an awkward moment as Tara realizes what Buffy really  means by that. Buffy goes on to say that as much as she hates Spike, it’s the only time she ever feels anything. She begs Tara not to tell, and Tara, of course, agrees. Tara goes on to tell Buffy that it’s OK if she loves Spike and it’s OK if she doesn’t. Buffy is silent at first, but says that it’s not OK if she’s using him and falls into Tara’s lap sobbing as she begs Tara to tell her that she’s wrong and to not forgive her. End credits.




K: Again, I have two things here. 1. Buffy’s face when Tara tells her that she didn’t come back wrong breaks my heart. It’s equal parts relief and complete devastation. And 2. This scene – the way it’s acted and worded and shot and set – is so reminiscent of the scene between Buffy and Spike in Bargaining Part 2 where Buffy asks how long she was gone. Things, in a way, have come full circle and Buffy’s back to where she was, except on the other side of the scene. She’s the one having All The Feels and not understanding what it means.

Sweeney: Right, yes, I’m getting to most of those things:

First: TARA MACLAY I LOVE YOU SO FUCKING MUCH. Sorry. Coherent thoughts in a second. I just had to start with how Tara’s the best forever. I love that quiet, unassuming Tara has also had this quiet, unassuming arc, in which her excellence just sort of creeps up on you. I remember all of the love and squishy feels when she first appeared. Lor’s general reaction was that this girl seemed sweet but forgettable, as I recall, and I remember even at the time being a little bit confused, since I didn’t remember much of Tara’s arc. I couldn’t really explain why I remembered loving her so much because Tara’s best moments are quiet scenes like this one, or at the hospital in The Body. She’s a silent observer to much of the action and it enables her to be wonderfully intuitive and supportive when she’s needed. While Buffy is always my favorite, I think Tara might be my #2. She’s fantastic.

Lor: Agreed completely, especially about the way you slowly fall in love with this fantastic, beautiful, understanding, tender hearted woman. She’s the only person in season 6 so far I haven’t wanted to sucker punch at least once!

K: I totally agree with everything you said above, Sweeney. I would simply add that Tara is the perfect person for Buffy to confide in about Spike. Because Tara – as we can see – doesn’t judge her for it. Her reaction is “Oh. I wasn’t expecting that. Okay, let’s work out a way to deal with the situation and your emotions.” I love the rest of the Scoobies, I really do. But there’s no way that any of them would have had that reaction. Xander would have been on the blame train, because that’s who he is. Willow would have tried to understand, but still been a little judgey deep down. And Dawn and Anya wouldn’t really understand the emotional toll that it’s taken on Buffy. Tara, on the other hand, knows what it’s like to be in a relationship that’s ultimately destructive, where things are spinning out of control. Plus, she gets to wear her Sassy Pants in the next episode, so…WIN.

Sweeney: I’m so excited for Tara to wear Sassy Pants! I don’t remember that. I can’t wait.

Now for my girl Buffy. I’m not sure what to say, except that my heart just breaks for her. The period right after you realize that you’re not actually going to kill yourself is probably the hardest moment in being suicidal. There’s a sort of lightness to the idea that it will, if nothing else, be over soon; it’s a horrifying new wound when you lose that. I think the sex and the fighting and allowing herself to secretly believe that she had come back something other gave Buffy a comparable feeling of detachment. Likewise, she’s now having that rug ripped out from under her. It’s painful and awful and now she has to figure out how to actually go forward. This is brutal for her, but I’m so glad we’ve reached this point. It’s the beginning of the part where she actually tries to deal with this, instead of suppressing it and avoiding it.

 

Next time: Tara wears Sassy Pants, Dawn’s decent into a life of crime comes to a head, and The Great Contrivance Spirit’s subcommittee for Traumatic Birthdays delivers some subpar work (which is to say, pretty low trauma, as Buffy birthdays go). Rate it for yourself on Buffy the Vampire Slayer S06 E14 – Older and Far Away.

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.





Marines (all posts)

I'm a 20-something south Floridan who loves the beach but cannot swim. Such is my life, full of small contradictions and little trivialities. My main life goals are never to take life too seriously, but to do everything I attempt seriously well. After that, my life goals devolve into things like not wearing pants and eating all of the Zebra Cakes in the world. THE WORLD.





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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  • Clément Polge

    So, a few comments on the trio, because this episode is really enlightening on those guys !

    – For the rape thing, Warren knew exactly what this was about, but more on that later, I wonder is Andrew and Jonathan would have gone with it though. It’s one thing to fantasise about someone, but when you’re in front of the situation, the awfulness may it you in the face. They’re still really oblivious to the reality of the situation though, and there’s no excuse for that.

    Now Warren. This episode is amazing in portraying Warren’s daily misogynism: he believes he “owns” his ex-girlfriend, and is willing to enslave her to keep her. Then, when she breaks the spell and rightly calls this rape, he’s not taken aback, he still thinks she’s the problem, and he has no hesitation whatsoever to kill her.

    And once she’s dead, he doesn’t have any remorse whatsoever. He still think that she, the woman, is to blame for what happened to her. So what does he decide to do ? Dump all of his problems… On another woman. He could have just gotten rid of the body, buried it somewhere, whatever, but no.

    The fact that the first thing he asks to Slave!Kat is oral sex isn’t random either, oral sex can really be empowering for the practitionner, because in a way you’re having your finger on the pleasure switch of your partner, which makes you totally in control, but he turns that into a totally submissive act. Women exists for his pleasure, and that’s it.

    On to Spike, not much new to say here, just a fun fact: this episode’s writer got a lot of shit for that balcony scene, and it turns out that Joss is actually the one who wrote it. I think it really sums up their relationship though. Also, those few lines at the beginning: “do you like me ? – sometimes – do you trust me ? – never”. Really shows all that’s wrong in this.

    And yes, Tara is awesome, I especially love how she spontaneously tries to talk Buffy through her feelings and reassure her that’s it ok to feel whatever she’s feeling.

    • Wilhelmina Upton

      Huh, I always saw oral sex (m/f that is) as a very submissive and degrading act for the woman. Maybe basing this opinion off of porn is not the best strategy though.

      • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

        Yeah, I’m going to go ahead and say that it can be portrayed either way, but it’s definitely meant to be supremely degrading in this instance.

      • Clément Polge

        Well, it CAN be, I’d say it’s indicative of the role of each partner in the relationship though, I think it boils down to control, the one performing should be the one in control (independantly of the gender of the participants), but if the relationship is unbalanced, there may be no actual control. In which case it does become a submissive act.

        Which was sort of my point, in this particular case, Warren is really using that as the most submissive act, since he’s robbing her of all control, which is really telling about his character.

      • Raluca

        hmmm I have no problem with oral sex, nor do I see it degrading, if it is performed because the “doer” wants to and feels comfy doing it and the “receiver” wants to get it and feels ok with that. Otherwise, it is degrading and disgusting – but so is any type of sex, for that matter.
        The thing is that I do not think Warren was in it for the sex part, but for the “power” part of it – and that is what makes it rape. I do not think rape has much to do with sex, but rather it has to do with power – and this is why many people (and so many of them are men) are raped in prison.

        • Regina

          Any true Catholic will tell you all sex is perversion :)

          But seriously, I agree. All sexual acts are degrading and disgusting if you’re not both into it.

          • Raluca

            I am Orthodox, but also quite sure the view is similar :D

      • Melodie Hatley

        Echoing what others said a bit: any sex act without informed consent is disgusting. Otherwise, whatever floats your boat, man. Sex is to be enjoyed, no matter if it’s straight or kink!

    • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

      I have such mixed emotions on the subject of The Trio from a writing perspective, but I’m going to try to tackle that at the end, maybe with a paragraph in the wrap-up post or something, because it’s hard to talk about my issues with the arc without talking about the whole of it. There are several different categories to it — there are some ways in which they make me angry and that’s because the writing succeeded while there are other bits of rage/annoyance that are the product of the ways it failed.

      That’s my weird preface to a comment that is otherwise, “I agree.” You are spot on about Warren. This episode made me want to punch things, but for the most part it falls in the successful rage category. I guess the failure category is more annoyance than rage… sort of maybe. SPOILERS SO YEAH NEVER MIND I’LL WAIT UNTIL THE WRAP-UP.

      For now, yes. You’re right. So many things were revealed about how truly depraved and evil Warren is.

    • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

      It’s funny because I supposed that there were some big Warren reveals in this episode, but you know, to me it didn’t really feel like big reveals. I didn’t even realize it until you composed this lovely comment, but it was just sort of like, “yep. He would do this.” and then, “yep. He would kill a woman.” and then, “yep. He would try to cover it up.”

      When I was introduced to a character like Warren, who clearly had 0% respect for people and then about 0% remorse for his actions, everything after is just a natural progression. Also, everyone’s, “UGH. HATE WARREN!!” probably helped some too.

  • Wilhelmina Upton

    The scene at the end with Tara speaks volumes. First of all, like all of you, I adore Tara. She is the calm, intuitive and nice person you can always turn to without being judged. She just understands it. Whatever it may be. I love her for that. So much. And just thinking about…it makes my heart hurt all over.

    My heart breaks when Buffy breaks down in front of Tara. All this rape-y stuff between Spike and Buffy we’ve seen in these episodes, it really is meant to be hard and difficult and ugly to watch. None of it is supposed to swoon us off our feet, far from it. It’s awful. What it is though, in my opinion, is a manifestation if Buffy’s deep depression. She thinks she doesn’t deserve anything nice and whole. The Spuffy violence is a means of punishing herself for whatever she thinks is wrong with her. Yes, Spike should just accept her No’s but even if he had, I’m not so sure things would have panned out that much differently for Spuffy at this point. (please don’t hate me for this opinion)

    • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

      I agree with all of that, so I certainly don’t hate you for this opinion! Buffy’s got an issue wholly independent of Spike, and his taking advantage of it doesn’t mean she’d be any better off without that. Nor do I get the sense that it’s supposed to be swoon-worthy. It’s worth noting that our recaps are highly influenced by the conversations being had down here. Which is to say that all the time spent debating the nuances of Spuffy down here has made it that much more, “LOOK AT HOW FUCKING RIDICULOUS THIS ‘RELATIONSHIP’ IS!” for us when it comes to the recaps.

      • Wilhelmina Upton

        If one would even go as far as call Spuffy a relationship. And then I saw you already had it in quotation marks. That’s what I get for reading all this without my glasses.

  • SuzyLee

    Oh God, this episode. This is one of just three Buffy episodes that go on my ‘never again’ list, along with The Body and one more episode to come, I watched them one first watched and I watched this and The Body again when I did a re-watch with my boyfriend as a Snow and that is it, forever. Even reading the recap is difficult for me.
    I often describe Dead Things as the single most depressing, nauseating episode of Buffy ever, from beginning to end it just upsets me. I will also go ahead and say that whilst being one of my very least favourite episodes, it is also in my opinion one of the best of the whole series; they way in which it highlights the as some others have already called it ‘everyday’ misogyny of the trio is so well done; in particular Jonathan and Andrew’s childish unawareness of how what they are planning is wrong, its something that does happen, some teenage boys do fantasise rape like that, and to have Katrina call it what it is and call them out like that, to turn it round and really shock them is just brilliant.

    The final scene between Buffy and Tara is just incredible, Tara is such an amazing woman, I’m not sure there will ever be words sufficient enough to describe my adoration for her; if there is any character in the Buffyverse I would ever hope to be even a little bit like, it is her. Her strength and compassion and capacity for love and forgiveness know no bounds; and yet she’s never a Mary Sue, she’s just beautiful in every way.

    PS Sweeny, I’ve just realised which two episodes Kirsti was referring to you having to cover and all I can say if all of the awkward internet hugs to you, all of them…

    • Clément Polge

      I don’t think it’s a rape fantasy so much as a shortcut to sex for sex sake where the partner doesn’t really matter that much… You fantasise about the idea of sex more than anything else.

      Rape fantasies are an actual thing too, but it’s not just about sex but also about the power dynamic. I’ve never tried this myself (nor am I really attracted to that idea), but they do seem to be pretty different things…

      • SuzyLee

        I think my wording wasn’t quite right there, yeah I agree there is a difference there, what Jonathan and Andrew are doing is rape fantasy because they don’t even make the connection that it is rape. I guess what I meant more was building up a fantasy world around the objectification of women, seeing it as a game, as something removed from reality, except this is reality, they are really going to do this to Katrina, but they’ve removed the real person so far from it in their minds that its not until she point blank tells them what’s going on that they realise.

        • Clément Polge

          Oh I actually totally agree with you, sorry if I came out as douchey or useless-explanation-y, I was only disagreeing with the terminology (that’s the scientist in me talking, sorry !), but I get what you were trying to say :)

          But yeah, Andrew and Jonathan probably don’t realise that’s rape, since they’re completely on the backseat and Warren’s leading them and they both don’t want to wuss out and are turned on at the idea of sex… Following a leader + brain blood needed elsewhere = disaster.

          You can really see how terrified they are when they realise that it is indeed rape…

          • SuzyLee

            You came across as neither, don’t worry :) and as also a scientist I am completely down with the need for correct terminology, so disagree away :D
            I really do love these comment threads, they always get me thinking and comments like yours are great because they allow me to think through exactly what I mean and feel about something, so if anything its an entirely positive thing.

          • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

            Going back to my lack of fucks given, though, focusing on the EPIC SAD FEELZ of (potential) perpetrators is a major problematic thing in and of itself. They get zero sympathy for that horrified expression because while they may not have gone through with it — as you pointed out elsewhere — the next thing they do after being told that this was rape? They both grab Katrina and try to, in essence, imprison her.

            Following orders doesn’t make them such any less.

          • Clément Polge

            Agreed, I just mean they’re not as far gone as Warren, but that doesn’t mean they’re blameless victims. They took part in an attempted crime, and “but I didn’t realise what we were doing” works as an excuse when you’re 10, after that, you kind of have to get your shit together and realise that people are actually actual human beings.

            They’re also interesting characters to analyze in that they get involved in things they wouldn’t do on their own, which again does not excuse anything, it’s just a different crime.

          • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

            Agreed. It’s part of what makes The Trio hard to talk about while their arc is still in-progress!

  • http://natashanleigh.com/ Natasha Leigh

    I have absolutely nothing to say about the Spuffy shit because it’s like being a rat on one of those exercise wheels. So, why bother?

    I’m not the biggest fan of Buffy’s flippy haircut. It reminds me that these seasons of Buffy and Angel have some questionable hairstyles going on.

    A lot of my feelings towards the Trio are something I can’t really discuss yet because of spoilers, but I hate them all.

    Tara, sweet Tara. It’s good that she does have an arc separate from Willow because she’s amazing and special. I love Tara, and I can’t believe that I didn’t remember that. I totally agree with Kristi on how the Scoobies would’ve reacted and how Tara was the perfect confidante.

    • Melodie Hatley

      Hrm. Going to disagree mildly with one point. Tara does not, sadly, have her own arc. Tara & Willow had an arc until the break up, and after that… Tara has just been the Helpful Sidekick to the Summers girls. I’m not saying she’s not an excellent character who is awesome and understanding and just what they need, but after the breakup, Tara’s character is not moved forward in her OWN arc, much as we wish otherwise. I would be really interested to see what she did to get over the breakup, because as it is, all we see after it is Wise, Earth-loving Mothery type, if that’s even a trope. Is that a trope?

  • darkalter2000

    I like how Jonathan and Andrew are reflections of each other in this episode.

    Andrew: I’m a SUPERVILLAIN. SUPERVILLAINS do evil.
    Jonathan: I’M a supervillain. Supervillains do EVIL.

    Andrew falls back into the mindset he had before this episode about this all being a game, and Jonathan moves into the knowledge of what he is becoming. And, of course, Warren passes the Moral Event Horizon without so much as blinking at the MORALITY of it. No, it is all about what he has to do to get away with it. The fucker.

  • Ryan

    I just got to this episode yesterday, and I really do not like the trio at all now. Before I was kind of like, they’re idiots, but whatever. After this episode though. Words can not express how much I do not like them. Especially Warren.

    Andrew seems kind of like a little kid that idolizes his big brother (Warren) and gets caught up in doing whatever ‘big brother’ is doing. The only one I slightly feel sorry for is Jonathan, because we know where he came from and how he got to this point more than any of them.

    TARA’S SASSY PANTS YES

    • Raluca

      I don’t think Andrew sees Warren as a big brother. But, if you are not spoiled, please don’t read the following: Naqerj vf dhvgr tnl, nf vg vf znqr boivbhf va yngre rcvfbqrf. Gur Ragebcl fprar jvgu gur Gevb jngpuvat Fcvxr naq Naln unir frk znxrf vg boivbhf – Naqerj vf ghearq ba ol Fcvxr naq gevrf gb uvqr vg. Nyfb, va yngre F7 rcvfbqrf naq Natry F5 rcvfbqrf nf jryy, ur’f boivbhfyl gnxra jvgu Fcvxr va n jnl gung fubjf zber bs na nggenpgvba guna jbhyq or gur abez sbe n fgenvtug znyr.
      Nyfb, cyrnfr jngpu gur fprar jvgu Naqerj naq Wbanguna, jura gurl qvfphff ubj Jneera qrfregrq gurz – abgvpr nalguvat nobhg Naqerj’f fcrrpu?

  • SnazzyO

    I so adore Tara and in this episode she is PERFECT. Can I have a Tara in my life? I need one.

    And Sweeney, your analysis of Buffy FEELS is so very insightful and gives me FEELS again. Buffy PAIN is too much sometimes.

  • Jojo

    What is Buffy upset about when she talks to Tara? That she keeps going back to Spike. That she let’s him/agrees to doing things that she feels upset about after. Not that Spike is raping her but that she is a willing participant in something that completely freaks her out. Is it possible for two people who have had a great deal of sex to ever have a private language of boundaries? In other words, can it be at all possible that Buffy has a few kinks that she is discovering?

    This isn’t 50 Shades of Grey.

    As for beating Spike to a pulp, yes he was a willing victim. He chose to do this to help her because he does love her. I think I have a bit more of a problem with leaving Spike in the alley beaten as bad or worse that Glory managed.. Sunlight is coming and Spike can barely stand let along make it home – and he is completely defenseless against anyone. Would it have been the same seeing Spike beat Buffy until she couldn’t stand?

    I do love Tara, and I do love the final scene when Buffy realizes that she is not a demon. That it’s been her doing all these things that she thought were okay because she was changed, and she wasn’t. That she has been using Spike – who Tara says loves her. That she doesn’t want to be forgiven. I think that is the real start of Buffy moving toward a new equilibrium.

    I’m still in the place where I see this interpreted as one abuser and one victim. I see it differently but I’m also kinda tired of the same old cycle of arguments.

    • Clément Polge

      You’re taking things a bit out of context here though…

      “Would it have been the same seeing Spike beat Buffy until she couldn’t stand?”

      How ? Why ? When ? Where ? If there’s no context to the question, how can we answer ? Because as it stands the question is an obvious no… But it’s a bit empty. In this particular scene, if Spike tried beating up Buffy to stops her from going to the cops, I think I’d get why he’s doing it… It would be gross, misdirected and EWEWEW, but I would get it (without approving) the same way I understand why Buffy needed to beat him up.

      Also I think Buffy is upset when she talks to Tara simply because she doesn’t understand herself, she disguts herself, her apathy, her inability to be here for her friends, for Dawn, and she wants to be wrong so she could have something to fix…

      The same way, I don’t think Buffy’s final realisation has anything to do with Spike, he’s totally interchangeable, it’s more realisation of self. Of what her actions mean about her.

      I do agree that our girl is discovering that there is actually something beyond missionary, and that she seems to like it ! :p

      (damn, I’m being dirty in the comments today… sorrysorrysorry)

      • Jojo

        I might just have a different contest here, too.

        Lat week we talked about flipping genders – that’s where my question comes from.

        Buffy asks Tara “Why do I let Spike do those things?” She does not ask “Why don’t I stay home with Dawn?”

        Yes. her final reaction is about herself – but it is also about Spike:

        BUFFY
        He’s everything I hate. Everything I’m suppose to be against. But the only time I feel anything is when we… Don’t tell anyone. Please.

        TARA
        I won’t.

        BUFFY
        The way they would look at me… I couldn’t.

        TARA
        I won’t tell anyone. I wouldn’t do that.

        BUFFY
        You don’t know how hard it is. Lying to everyone you love about who you’re sleeping with.

        TARA
        (smiling kindly)
        Sweetie, I’m a fag. I been there. {wish they had kept this line}

        BUFFY
        Why can’t I stop? Why do I keep letting him in?

        TARA
        Do you love him?

        Buffy, still sobbing, looks at Tara as if she can’t even comprehend the question. It clearly has made it worse.

        TARA (cont’d)
        It’s okay if you do… He’s done a lot of good, and he does love you…and Buffy, it’s okay if you don’t. You’re going through a hard time, and you’re…

        BUFFY
        Using him? What’s okay about that?

        TARA
        It’s not that simple.

        BUFFY
        It is! It’s wrong. I’m wrong…Tell me that I’m wrong…

        {Because if she is wrong – if she came back wrong – then she has an explanation for what she has done. Can I also add that there is not one word that in any way hints that Buffy feels she is a victim here. She hates it and herself and what she is returning to but she is not saying he is forcing himself on her. Even now she calls it mutual. There are two abusers here and two victims}

        • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

          Many victims of abuse don’t identify as victims of abuse.

          • Clément Polge

            I was going to raise that point ! And Buffy would be the last to put herself as the victim, even when she actually is.

          • Jojo

            Sweeney – I have posted here before that I am a victim of abuse – no, a survivor. Done my counseling – life is pretty okay. BUT I KNOW WHAT ABUSE IS! It is not punching the supposed abuser in the face because he refuses to move. It is not lowering his zipper taking him out and riding him. It is not saying no (ONCE) and stop (ONCE) and then moving onto his fingers with an expression of desire. It is not going to his house regularly, taking off your clothes and having marathon sex which you seem to enjoy because you keep going back. Buffy is a free agent – yes she is depressed (done that one too) but that does not remove all responsibility for the decisions that she makes. In fact, the gradual getting over depression is taking responsibility for the choices you have made and the ones you are making. But no one ever seems to write anything about her other than she is being abused.

            Fergodssake – she just told Tara she is wrong – she is doing things she can’t understand and she is using Spike and that is wrong. And the interpretation is that this has nothing to do with Spike and she is blaming herself for being abused – or she is being abused and doesn’t identify. I find myself wondering if we are watching the same show. What is this need to reduce a powerful woman into a puddle of weak noodles who is incapable of responsibility and self determination?

          • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

            We are indeed watching the same show, my dear. As we’ve mentioned before there is always more than one way of seeing it things, and if we all saw it in the exact same way, I don’t think it would be as great of a show as it is.

        • Clément Polge

          There are two things going on here in parallel though:

          1) Buffy’s feelings towards what her friends would think of her: we see that when her issues become Spike-centric, she instantly goes to her friends, and what they would think about her

          2) Buffy’s feelings towards herself, and her own realisations, and I do believe that in this part, who Spike is doesn’t actually matter. She used someone, and she doesn’t want to be the kind of person who uses someone. The fact that he doesn’t have a soul somehow makes it worse, it may feel (to her) like using someone with mental issues, who doesn’t entirely understand what’s going on.

          Spike is still sort of relevant because he’s the actual person she did all of that with, but I don’t think it would have hit her any less hard – just differently – had it been someone else.

    • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

      Avoiding all conversations we’ve already had, and getting to the one new point here:

      You really look at Buffy’s crumpled face in that scene and see a girl whose horrified that she has a few kinks? You’re right — this isn’t Fifty Shades. It’s a show in which a deeply depressed girl is engaging in some destructive behavior because she doesn’t know how to cope.

      • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

        (Which isn’t to say that rough sex is destructive or that Buffy wouldn’t, but you directly linked the scene with Tara to discovering new kinks and that’s what I’m taking issue with here.)

        • Raluca

          Rough sex in not necessarily destructive, but it might make one feel ashamed. I think it’s a culture and education-related thing. My mom thinks blowjobs are disgusting and shameful, for instance, and I do not :)

          • Jojo

            Having sex with someone you don’t have to hold back with should be liberating in itself. The one time with Angel looked like romantic virgin vanilla. The other men have not been as strong. That and the fact that she can bite and claw and do anything she wants to – according to scripts this is the best sex that Buffy ever had. But Buffy wasn’t raised that way – and good sex for the experience is not her thing.

            But I bet Spike and Faith would be hot as hell!

          • Raluca

            LOL I am sure there is fanfic about Spike and Faith! :)
            It’d have been nice to see a Spike or Faith spin-off, of course. :)
            And I do agree with Angel and Buffy and vanilla, but it was supposed to be that – isn’t this the stereotype? Virgin having sex… vanilla and romantic a.s.o. Of course, being kinda raped my first time doesn’t really make me like such romantic crap – I think it’s bad to make young women believe their first time will be anything else than awkward and a bit painful and maybe not so bad if the guy is not a virgin himself :)

          • Jojo

            My first was also a date rape but I was way too young to even realize. Let’s just say – not able to give consent.Always kinda wanted the ‘dulcet choir of little birdies’ but doubt it exists.

          • Raluca

            Date rape is a very bad term and I am sorry for you :(. I cannot even now be sure it was rape, in my case. I now define it as rape, but it didn’t feel like rape at the time. It didn’t feel good, but I do not hate/dislike/have a problem with the guy who did it. Nor do I have a problem with sex. So… I don’t know. It’s hard to call it rape. Maybe rape-y due to a lack of clear consent?! I was somewhere in between yes and no – and kept being there for like 6 hours. The back and forth must have been annoying to him, but he was very nice and supportive and understanding, up until the end, when for a split second he ignored the clear no. But he didn’t press or insist even after. So it’s probably partially rape, but not the full-on attack which could have been. So no, I do not resent him. I slept with him after several times and had no problem about it. Nor did he ever force me in any other way :) (I’m sure I sound like a victim suffering from some sort of PTSD…)

          • Melodie Hatley

            Ugh. Date rape is almost the worst; “grey” rape is the worst if by a hair. UGH. Rape is rape is rape. Just like Whoopi Goldberg saying what Roman Polanski did to that girl wasn’t “rape-rape”, people don’t get that it’s just what it is, stark and bleak and raw. It’s just rape, people. Calling something what it is isn’t going to make it different–it’s just going to change people’s perspectives about rape and what it actually IS.

            I rambled. I’m rambly today. RAMBLE!

            PS–But the whole date or grey rape thing just pisses me the fuck off. I’ve known people IRL who said, “no, I wasn’t raped; I went out on a date with him.” As if a dinner gives consent. *twitch twitch* And if you said no at any point, whether it was a strong, firm “GTFO” or a weak “No?”, it’s rape. End of mother fucking story.

            PPS–You know your partner better than we do, so I really can’t judge on that. And every situation is different. I just get so steamed about the term date rape because it seems that everyone forever focuses on the word “date” rather than the other, more relevant, word.

            PPPS–RAMBLE ON, RAMBLERS!

          • Raluca

            Well, I am sure there are sides to any story, Melodie. And no, I do not think the word “date” helps in any way, it actually makes matters worse, imo. You are on a date with someone you like and maybe even trust; and then BAM! rape! What happened to me wasn’t really a date, but he was a friend I liked. I no longer like him, but for other reasons, not for what happened.
            Still, I know there are going to be a lot of people who disagree, but sometimes “consent” can be subject to discussion. But I do not want to address this issue now.

          • Clément Polge

            Wow, Spike and Faith together… They wouldn’t destroy just a building, they would raze entire town with their vigorous love-making. Except for that tiny detail though, that’s entirely a ship I can get behind ! ;)

      • Clément Polge

        I have to partially be with Jojo on this one, Buffy is clearly enjoying a brand of sex she wasn’t expecting herself too, so I feel like she’s sort of slut-shaming herself. Obviously this isn’t all there is, but I feel like this is part of the huge melting-pot of shit that’s weighing on Buffy this season.

        • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

          Sorry, see comment addendum here. I don’t disagree that Buffy’s got kinks. Sure. Fine. Point conceded. But that scene with Tara was not about kinks. I don’t really even think it was entirely about Spike.

          • Clément Polge

            Well kinks might not be the right word, but it is about her relationship to sex, and the fact that she seems to enjoy it when not so long ago she was all “sex ? Ew.” (I remember that scene where Faith says that she’s always hungry and horny after a good slay, Buffy clearly isn’t into sex at that point, and that was only 3 years ago, and the only men she’s been with since were Riley and AssShitFuckAss Parker).

            Buffy discovers herself as a sexual person, where she used to associate sex with love, hence my line about “slut-shaming herself”.

            I do realise that a lot of this is personal interpretation of her reaction though, so feel free to disagree, I just wanted to clarify what I was trying to say :)

        • Alicia

          Yes. I think the fact that Buffy is actually enjoying the sex she has with Spike just adds to her self-hatred. She’s sleeping with someone who’s ‘everything she hates, everything she’s supposed to be against’ and she likes it. And of course the type of sex they’re having adds to that. She is discovering that she enjoys rough sex and some kinky stuff like handcuffs etc, and that doesn’t fit in with her previous self-image. So yeah she is kind of slut-shaming herself, like she didn’t think she was the type of girl to do those ‘things’. She might have been more okay with it if she was exploring her sexuality with someone other than Spike, because of what he is. And of course if she wasn’t struggling so much with herself and the world right now anyway.

          • Jojo

            +1

        • Raluca

          Remember the scene where she asks Tara if she could tell her if anything happened when they brought her back?! Buffy was rubbing her wrists and obviously ashamed about it – so she probably let Spike use the handcuffs on her :).
          Also, someone pointed out on another site (don’t remember where) that Joyce also pulled some handcuffs in Band Candy, with Giles :D

      • Jojo

        That is not all I said. Why are you pulling this out and ignoring the rest?

        {What is Buffy upset about when she talks to Tara? That she keeps going
        back to Spike. That she let’s him/agrees to doing things that she feels
        upset about after. Not that Spike is raping her but that she is a
        willing participant in something that completely freaks her out. Is it
        possible for two people who have had a great deal of sex to ever have a
        private language of boundaries? In other words, can it be at all
        possible that Buffy has a few kinks that she is discovering? Because
        discovering kinks can be weird, emberassing, scary, disgusting.}

        Please read the dialogue I posted and tell me what you think. Don’t just tell me that you think i am wrong based on one sentence in a paragraph.

        I am feeling attacked, honestly. I have said all along that this is a disaster, a train wreck – that Spike is taking advantage – I just object to the idea that Buffy is a victim. Apparently she agrees with me because she does not talk about being victimized. I feel like saying anything good about Spike is pounced on and saying Buffy is screwed up and acting out – and responsible for her actions and choices – make me some sort of rape apologizer and I am just tired of this reaction.

        • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

          Jojo, I am terribly sorry for attacking you. Your comment “Fifty Shades” read as incredibly sarcastic and a bit of an attack on my low Spike tolerance. I went into defensive mode and I apologize.

          Your paragraph, the one to which I responded, made a direct link between kinks and that conversation. I see elsewhere that we also have a fundamentally different read on that scene and how much it had to do with Spike, so I guess this is a moot point too.

          I deliberately did not address the rest of your comment because I didn’t want you to feel attacked, or rehash the same conversation a hundred more times.

          Again, I am sorry for the combative tone of my comment.

          • Jojo

            50 Shades of Grey was mentioned and that is the lens this is being seen through.

            Spike is evil and he has no redeeming qualities. He does not care about Buffy in any way except to abuse, control and rape her. He is everything Buffy said about him – “You don’t have a soul! There’s nothing good or clean in you. That’s why you can’t understand! You’re dead inside! You can’t feel anything
            real! I could never… be your girl!” And worse. Anyone saying anything that shows a different view is making excuses. He takes advantage of her simply because he sees a weakness. He wants to pull her into the dark – not because he sees her as having changed and needing to adapt to her changes but because he is selfish, evil and a rapist.

            Buffy is a sweet little victim incapable of making any choice of her own – and definitely not to be confused with someone strong. She is completely controlle by the evil Spike. He somehow forces her to come to his house and have sex which is probably in no way enjoable but is really perverse and degrading. She does not realize how badly she is being abused because she is depressed and that is a good excuse for all the bad mistakes she has – but hasn’t really – made. Buffy is not a Slayer with a death wish. The fact that sh committed suicide, and then was ripped out of heaven means nothing so Spike is evil for even mentioning it.

            Anyone who does not see things this way is to be..what…tolerated but seen as really kinda stupid in the way of the world. At best they don’t understand and at worst they feel consent is never needed.. Certainly not listened to. Because there is only one way of seeing this relationship and that is one evil rapist and one innocent depressed victim.

            What I want to know is when the shit hits the fan – and we know it will even if you are a Snow, then why would Spike even be upset? He has been raping and abusing Buffy for months. He has no love for her and there is no caring in the way he treats her, no attempt to help her, no realizing that all her friends have kinda turned away from their guilt and no one even realizes how bad it is for her. He is just evil personified.

            Sadly, this isn’t even an exaggeration – it’s really what I see. Last week the people who wanted to support Spike were actually apologizing. This week none of them has come back and one of the new ones feels a need to offer cookies because she think you will hate her for liking a scene.

            This is hard for me because I see two people ripping each other to hell – I see a severely dysfunctional relationship where both are victimizers and both are victims. I see the things Buffy said – that Spike is everything she hates, she is using him because he is the only thing that makes her feel. .

            And I am so tired of EVIL RAPEY HORRIBLE SPIKE abusing BLAMELESS WEAK and ABUSED Buffy.

            I am sorry – this is total rant mode. Feel free not to answer. Got burglarized this morning and probably shouldn’t say this but it has been building up. I still want to come here but I have to admit I kinda have been thinking it may be best for me to wait until mid season 7 and see if anything has changed.

            Two small things – Tara is thie most wonderful character and I would so love to have her as a best friends, and Willow is doing really well….and fuck you Whedon!

          • Clément Polge

            I think this tend to be the general opinion (it’s sort of mine, at least, though obviously deformed, but I know it was done on purpose, don’t worry ;) ) because this season Buffy IS actually weak. It may be psychological instead of physical, but she is weak nonetheless. So it feels more like Spike is in control of this thing, so I do want to give him more of the blame.

            I personally don’t remember terming the relationship as abusive (though i’ll be honest, it’s more than likely that I did), but it doesn’t mean that every single part of it is abusive, or that the abuse always go in one direction. The word I would personally use would be disfunctional, or unhealthy, but for both of them.

            And not to put words in anyone’s mouth, but it seems to me that you’re talking about the show from the show POV, whereas some people talk about the show from real life POV, where abusers are mostly male, and abusee female, so they probably feel more strongly for Buffy than for Spike.

            It’s also easier to empathise with Buffy, because we can probably all relate to depression, or general feelings or apathy. Soullessness on the other hand…

            I personally was sold on being on Buffy’s side on those few occasions where I really feel like Spike is trying to bring Buffy down by destroying her self-esteem so she can be to his level. The balcony scene in this episode is an example, the one time before their first sex scene is another. On those occasions I get him as being manipulative, and really destroying a person for his own benefit.

            I do get your views though, I do not share them, so I challenge them with my own because that’s an interesting exercice, but just FYI, your comments do influence my views, even though I don’t necessarly acknowledge it, mostly because my posts are already SUPER MIGHTYLY LONG and I feel embarassed by that and don’t want them to get the extra length just to requote everything I’m agreeing with ;)

          • Alicia

            The interesting thing is, I have been through depression. And the fact that Buffy is depressed makes me even more inclined to hold her responsible for her actions, simply because I would never ever excuse myself if I did anything like she has while depressed. So I have a huge amount of sympathy for her and don’t hate her but she is still completely capable of making decisions for herself. And she owns that in the last scene when she mentions that using Spike is wrong.

          • Jojo

            I agree – obviously. She is depressed is the reason, and not the excuse.

          • Raluca

            Hmmm I know about depression myself. And I also know what I did to my friends while depressed – how awful I was, how I disregarded everyone, how I used to say anything I liked and blame it on how rotten I was feeling. No, it’s because I understand depression that I do not hate Buffy or despise her or anything, but it’s also because of it that I do not think she is innocent. Her choices, poor as they are, are still hers and she is to be held accountable for her actions.

          • Jojo

            The balcony scene is seriously creepy – but mutual. Buffy chooses to have sex and keep her eyes open. Just like Spike chooses to get beaten into a bloody pulp in the hope he can dissuade her from acting rashly and taking the blame for a girl she probably didn’t kill.

            Trust me I am quite aware that this is the general opinion. To be honest it was seeing Spike compared to Christian Grey that was the last straw. But everyone is acting from an inner point of view except those who mentioned Joss. They aren’t talking about script, costumes, sets, directing and filming. They are talking as if the characters are real.

            The thing I am trying to fight is the reality that most abusers are male. This is not a show about reality. It has all sorts of demons, vampires, and apocolypses – and it has one super strong and capable heroine.

            I have never said Spike does not manipulate but it is getting to feel like saying the catechism. In fact this is exactly what I am complaining about. If I say that this is mutual I am told how bad Spike is. I frickin know he id bad! I say it almost every post – why do I have to repeat it?

          • Clément Polge

            Just about the balcony scene, I did not mean the sex, I’m actually totally ok with the sex in this relationship, it’s probably about the only good thing there is. Spike is getting his rocks off, and Buffy is learning to feel again while doing something that let her know something is wrong with her, it’s sort of enlightening, in a painful, dark and twisted way :p

            No, I meant Spike’s little speech. He just gives me shivers… It’s just so creepy, and I really feel like he’s trying to put Buffy down.

            I may be wrong, but I don’t think Spike’s been compared to Grey though ? I just did a quick search on the page for “christian”, and the only hit in the recap is about Warren… Which is a title he more than deserves.

            And I’m not saying you never said it ;) And as far as I’m concerned, you don’t need to repeat it, I think we get your points, and then we challenge them. If you look at the earlier comments today, I made a few points of my own, and both Sweeney and Wilhemina challenged those, because I was the one making the point, so I was the one being challenged.

            It may feel a little crusade-y because there are several of us not sharing your particular views on specific points, so you get challenged by a lot of people, and I understand that it can feel harass-y. I can only talk for myself, but I’m pretty sure none of us wish to make you feel bad for thinking the way you think, or feeling the way you feel.

            And don’t forget that agreeing takes one word, disagreeing takes a hundred, so it’s easy to miss the point you are being conceded (explicitely, or as I said, implicitely, just by not challenging them), but they do exist.

            Akward internet hug ?

          • Clément Polge

            (just to expand a little on the sexual relationship, it also faces Spike with his own non-humanity, I was joking when I only mentioned his getting his rocks off, and I realise just now that it was bad timing, woopsie me :p)

          • Jojo

            I agree – the balcony scene is definitely the creepiest in that arc, if not more.

            V ernyyl qba’g jnag gb cbvag svatref ng nabgure cbfgre – ohg V qb jag gb nafjre lbhe dhrfgvbaf. Vg cebonoyl qvqa’g uryc gung guvf jnf gur svefg pbzzrag V fnj: V unir nofbyhgryl abguvat gb fnl nobhg gur Fchssl fuvg orpnhfr vg’f yvxr orvat n eng ba bar bs gubfr rkrepvfr jurryf. Fb, jul obgure? V’z whfg gbgnyyl bire uvf hafhogyr guerngf naq fgnyxvat naq Puevfgvna Terl-arff.

            ((Awkward internet hug)) XD

          • Raluca

            Jojo, I think you are over-reacting a bit, and I understand why also. It is hard for me too, because Spike is my all-time favourite TV character and… you know… it’s hard. But this doesn’t change my love for him or the fact that I actually enjoy some of the kinky moments in his relationship to Buffy – I like the “feeling you through the door” thing, I like some of the sex scenes, despite having “abuse” written all over them, I like also the nice moments, the one at the end of Intervention, when she kisses him, or the ones in After Life, when he is nice to her. Please do not take your anger out on the Snark Ladies. They do not like Spike as a character and it is their right and their choice. As is the way they see “Spuffy” (God, I hate calling their relationship Spuffy!!!). I happen to disagree with them and I also feel the “anti-Spike” hatred in the reviews, but it is their right. :)
            And please don’t leave me here, more or less alone, because Seeing Red is closing in… :D

          • Jojo

            {{HUG}} I will stay – and maybe we can have a table to hide under. You know, that might be a good thing to have cuz Spike lovers will have some serious need to hide. I think we need tea. And wonderful curtain table cloth made of lace.

            Yeah – Spuffy – ick, but better than Bike!

          • Raluca

            Bike??? Please…

            I do not feel the need to hide for loving Spike, as I understand (and not approve of) what he is going to do… but more on that when the time comes.

          • Jojo

            I meant more like the Couch of FEELS and team HEARTLESS COW. This would be the Table of GOODIES. Everyone can eat anything they dream of but the food and drinks are so very excellent we can only talk about them.

            I actually breath fire over……spoiler….and might even be louder that anyone because…layers. Wish we didn’t have to wait for the final shot after….spoilers. Maybe I should rot 13 but I think you know what I mean.

          • Raluca

            I actually do. And I do not breathe fire over it. What is worse, I understand (but not condone) it. No need to rot13.

          • Regina

            Yes Jojo, please don’t leave, I always enjoy reading your comments :)

          • Melbourne on my Mind

            Just for the record, I love Spike. But it’s possible to love a character and hate his actions or the direction a character is taken in. I mean, I love Dean Winchester, but at least 75% of the time, I want to slap him across the face and yell at him about his stupid decisions.

          • Raluca

            FYI, I have no idea who Dean Winchester is! :D I Google searched and found he is a character on Supernatural, but I ain’t watching it, so… However, I understand what you mean. It’s ok either way, I do not need people to like the characters I favour, nor am I in any way challenged or ashamed of liking Spike.
            I am glad you like him. I think he is a very interesting character. I, for one, am not a fan of “hero-types” (to quote the man himself), hence my love for Spike, Faith and Wesley.

          • Clément Polge

            Hey, I liked Riley, and I didn’t even complain about the “Biley” name, so you should be happy with your Spuffy :p For some reasons the name reminds me of hufflepuff too.

          • Raluca

            Clement, did I say anything out of line to you? Was our exchange of replies offensive? Please let me know – if it was, trust me I didn’t mean it! :)
            Now, actually, when you say it’s easier to empathize with Buffy, you mean for you, right?! I do not empathize with her easily :), at least not always.

          • Clément Polge

            No problem on my side that I remember, no :)

            And I mean for me, but also generally. The definition of empathy is to be able to feel the sentiment of another sentient being, and while we can all understand and/or have knowledge of what it means to be depressed, it pretty easy to empathise with Buffy, and understand the place she’s in.

            As for Spike though, his demonic nature and his lack of soul is harder to grasp, so it’s an harder set of mind to get into. I’ve also made my point of few weeks ago that while Spike “feels” he does not have actual “sentiments”, i.e. lasting feelings. This is sort of confirmed later IIRC, but more on that… later :)

            Note that this doesn’t legitimise in any way either Buffy or Spike, I just think it’s one explanation why people are more generally on Buffy’s side: because we get her, and we can imagine ourselves in her place. Harder to imagine being a 200 years old demon…

          • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

            At this point I want to reply but also give you leave to interpret our words in which ever way you want, because from this comment it seems to me that you’ve already decided how we feel and why we feel it, despite us continually saying, “I see where you are coming from,” or, “feel free to express yourself,” or “that’s a good point,” or, “we love these respectful conversations!”

            So, again: We love to hear all sorts of differing opinions and have never stopped anyone from expressing them. We will also never stop using this as our forum to express our own views and interpretations, and to invite others to reply.

            You say, “50 Shades of Grey was mentioned and that is the lens this is being seen through,” and I say, “No. It isn’t,” for instance, but I don’t know if that’s enough because it seems that that’s what you’ve decided.

            You are taking a hard view of what we’re trying to say. I say, “I don’t like Spike,” and you interpret, “Spike is evil and he has no redeeming qualities.” I point out an instance when he’s doing his best to pull her into the muck and you say we agree with what Buffy does and says in that punching scene (which I called TERRIBLE. CAPSLOCK AND ALL!) I call it a mutually abusive relationship, and have on several occasions.

            Never have I called Buffy sweet. Never have I said Buffy is incapable of making her own choices. Never, would I ever, ever imply that victims are weak and that strong people aren’t allowed to be victims. As if “strong” and “victim” are mutually exclusive. Never have I said that she is completely controlled by Spike, so on and so forth.

            I’m very sorry that if despite our encouragement you ever felt as if we were calling you stupid. That truly baffles me, as we’ve dedicated hours and hours to listening to all of you and replying in kind.

            I’m sure when the shit hits the fan Spike will be plenty upset. And there will still be shit all over the fan.

            I’m sorry that is what you see. I usually feel I am a good communicator and I wonder where I could’ve failed so greatly, so that you’ve read everything we’ve written in a way so completely away from what we meant, all because I happen not to particularly like (at this moment and in this story) a character or storyline so many people do.

            “This is hard for me because I see two people ripping each other to
            hell – I see a severely dysfunctional relationship where both are
            victimizers and both are victims.” — Mutually abusive. Again, a term I’ve used.

            Rant away. As always, comments are welcomed here. I’m sorry you feel you can only participate here if we agree with you, as that says something bad about the way we engage. We’re doing our best and will continue to do so. And, of course, it’s up to you to decide what’s best for you. :)

          • Jojo

            Sweeney – it’s the review. So far for the last several reviews there has been virtually nothing decent or positive about Spike, There has been virtually nothing calling Buffy on her responsibility for her choices.

            I take what I know by what you write –

            “Naturally, Spike shows up, being his creepy, obsessive,
            shadow-lurking stalker self. More blah-blahing about her belonging in
            the darkness aaand now I’m treated to public Spuffy sex. He tells her to
            keep her eyes open as he CREEPS that he wants her to watch her friends
            while they fuck, so that she can know that this isn’t her world because
            she belongs in the dark with him”.

            “K: And with an added dose of “Don’t” “Stop me” consent bullshit because the number gods really want Sweeney to suffer as much as possible.”

            It’s valid but it’s the same thing every review – virtually every time Spike interacts with Buffy. I wasn’t making up what I think you feel – I was really condensing quotes about what you say you feel.. Same with Buffy:

            “Then we bring the Faith parallel home with Buffy punching Spike on
            the ground as she yells things at him that are clearly meant for
            herself: “You don’t have a soul. There is nothing good or clean in you. You are dead inside. You can’t feel anything real.”She finishes by saying that she could never be his girl, and he drops his vamp grill and she punches him a few more times, before getting up and walking away.”

            “Lor: DEAR GOD. THAT WAS TERRIBLE TO WATCH. THIS SHOW WANTS ME TO ONLY SEE TERRIBLE THINGS. Buffy, Spike and their abusive relationship has been one of the most strenuous TV watching experiences OF MY LIFE. This crap is exhausting.

            On another note, we’ve had some commenters mention a time or two that Buffy is strong enough to rebuff Spike’s advances, but she doesn’t (even in instances when she says no). Spike could’ve fought back here, but he didn’t. Does that make him not a victim in this scene, then?”

            Sweeney: No, see, because it’s all about her! He’s
            doing it for her! Except not at all and I just don’t buy that argument.
            The fact that Spike has spent the last several episodes ignoring nearly
            every wish Buffy has vocalized only reaffirms that his interest in Buffy
            is principally about a projection of himself. Violent face punching
            Buffy helps him see Buffy as demonic, like him.”

            It seems to be okay for Buffy to beat Spike into a bloody pulp because she is depressed and angry at herself – and hey, does that make HIM a victim? (Yes, a willing victim) But in that scene she is not responsible for anything. In fact, he wanted to be punched in the face to the point that he couldn’t walk.

            You opinions, your snark, your blog – all is okay

            But I still see an imbalance. I have actually tried to get you to broaden your lens and see other dynamics at work. I don’t think I have said I can only participate if you all agree with me. What I am trying to say is just look at this – there are more layers. Like you, I normally feel like I am able to communicate. My comment on leaving and coming back mid season 7 is I know what happens the rest of the season. Not sure I want to deal, much as I love you

          • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

            I think you are misinterpreting, especially that last quote from Sweeney where she says, “not at all,” meaning that she doesn’t buy the argument that a willing victim is not a victim, or rather, that having some (physical or otherwise) capacity to stop someone doesn’t mean that they are exactly able or willing to do so. That’s how I read it, though she can clarify.

            Either way, no one said that it is okay for Buffy to beat Spike. My point was quite the opposite. I was simply highlighting the way that Buffy being able but not always able to stop Spike is akin to Spike in this scene being able but not really able to stop Buffy, because he felt it was what he had to do for her. Being physically strong is not the be all end all of strength.

            Multiple times in the comments, we’ve come to the agreement that whatever Spike feels for Buffy, it is flawed and often selfishly motivated or communicated. Or, as Sweeney says, “The fact that Spike has spent the last several episodes ignoring nearly every wish Buffy has vocalized only reaffirms that his interest in Buffy is principally about a projection of himself. Violent face punching Buffy helps him see Buffy as demonic, like him.” He projects his own needs, desires, wants, avenues of coping, etc onto Buffy, whether they are good for her or not. This is something he understands, an emotion he can relate to in his limited capacity for emotions and feels. Pointing this out doesn’t take away from the fact that we called this scene and what Buffy did TERRIBLE, though it seems that any time we point out a bad Spike thing, it somehow lessens the times we point out a bad Buffy thing. As if they always have to exist side by side so that everyone knows that, yes, we are aware of all the things we’ve already said.

            Do I know I’m biased against Spike at this point? Yes, because I do not like his character, as is my right. Just like I was angry at Xander a TON in season 1-3 because I didn’t like his character (and that seemed okay, though some defended him and that was also perfectly fine) and how pretty much everyone did not like Angel’s character and freely said so in comments way back when and that was okay. We can not like characters! IT HAPPENS.

            Thank you. We like to think our opinions are okay. :)

            We narrowed down a few times at what essential points we just simply disagree. As I’ve mentioned, even though this is a fantasy story, I view it and will probably continue to view it with a cultural lens. Same with GoT and Pretty Little Liars, etc. You want me to put aside more than I’m willing to put aside, and are now upset with me that I can’t.

            I see plenty of layers, thank you, but what they mean to me is just DIFFERENT than what they mean to you. How they add up is different. It doesn’t bother me that we see things differently. I’m not here to convince you of my thoughts and I don’t see this as an impasse, per se. We’re both bringing treats to the table. We can nibble on a bit of everything, pass on something if we don’t like it, take some home if we particularly like it, but at the end of the day, we’re each just walking away from the table as ourselves.

            I know more than a few people who might say I’m hard to deal with. No news there…

          • Jojo

            You give me good food for that – I am going to read this again more than a few times. And thank you – and that’s definitely an all 3 of you – for putting up with my rants and hearing me…even if I do seem to need the same thing said over and over.

            And don’t wake up to a burglary – well, definitely wake up, but it kind of makes for a crappy day. Sorry about the overspill.

            (Awkward Internet Group Hug). I am bringing over chocolate chip cookies to the feels couch. We can rest now.

          • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

            It seems as though you are upset that we don’t like Spike and won’t interpret/defend him the way that you do. Or that we’re not apologizing for it? I guess? I’m not sure, but in either case, I don’t know how to help you with that.

            Last episode you were upset when I didn’t respond to a comment and this time you were upset that I did, but didn’t respond in the way that you wanted me to. I think you have been misreading my words, but there’s not much I can do about that either. Your argument has not persuaded me and so you’re suggest that I’ve called you names in some sort of weird reverse ad hominem attack.

            You and Raluca had a lengthy conversation in the last post about your respective Spike feelings. It appeared, from what I read, to be relatively amiable. It took an accusatory turn in the rot13, but at no point did we stop you or tell you that you couldn’t have that conversation! We engaged for a little while and then stopped because we disagree and had nothing further to say. We have never once told anyone how to feel, with the assumption that nobody would do that to us either.

            I’m sorry that our differing views are so offensive. If you have any suggestions for what you would like us to have done differently to make you feel more welcome, by all means, please share.

          • Jojo

            To start from the beginning – Last time I was told that I was saying something and I wanted to know what and when. And you answered. I also haven’t suggested that you call me names. But I have – several times tried to give context and explain, and been told they are just excuses.

            And “I’m so exhausted of having to explain over and over again that she shouldn’t have to fight him off and that responding, “Make me,” to someone who says, “Stop,” is definitely disregarding consent.” I agree with this absolutely in the real world. But when I have come up with other possibilities in this fictional world – rape apologist is kinda what you are saying. Right?

            I guess I take as real what you are saying about stuff like this.

            Clement was actually part of that rot13 discussion.and I have no idea why you thought it was accusatory. It was mostly about an upcoming episode that is known to stir strong feelings.

            I think I am mostly sorry that we seem stuck. I have nothing but respect for all of you. I like to believe I am good at communicating as well, but we seem to be at an impasse.

          • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

            I know how personal it can be when you love a particular character or story. There are definitely fictional characters who it would upset me to hear bad things said about them, particularly when they run contrary to my interpretation. (Lor and I just discussed a particular interpretation to a part of my favorite books that I’m still deeply unsettled by, as it’s not the read I get AT ALL, and I’m over here like, “HOW ARE YOU SEEING THIS THING?”)

            I don’t like Spike right now, and I don’t really think that my opinion suffers from a lack of “balance” just because I’m not devoting 50/50 time to detailing sins; I don’t think bad things are being done at that ratio. I’ve been giving reasons for these views, and yeah, I do have major problems with trying to make excuses in a scenario like that one you’ve referenced there.

            As I tried to articulate in the last episode, much of our disagreement stems from pretty core issues with the way we interpret the writing this season. Where some see complexity, I see failed writing and a writing team that couldn’t get it’s shit together to agree on things. It turns me off as a viewer, particularly as one who is viewing by way of writing lengthy posts about what I’m watching. For me, the bad just outweighs the good in this season in ways that go above and beyond Spike, but he happens to be a big part of that.

            You are absolutely welcome to keep explaining your take on these various scenes. Like I said, I get why it might get to be just too much for you to keep reading this interpretation of a beloved character. I know/get that feel! I do!

            That said, as much as I don’t want to say or do anything to alienate anyone, I don’t intend to stop expressing my opinions honestly in the posts.

            So yes, I’m also pretty sorry and saddened by this apparent impasse and if I could figure out a way to fix it, I would.

          • Jojo

            (AWKWARD INTERNET HUG) We know it’s there – we will survive it. It’s kinda funny because – as you said – Dawn is another character who gets really strong feels, so even there I know you see my frustration. Maybe I should skip the reviews and just read and respond to all the yummy conversation….or maybe grab Teddy and peek between my fingers.

          • Raluca

            Exactly. No accusations between me or Clement or Jojo! Or you guys… if I didn’t like your blog I’d stop reading it. We happen to have different opinions, but that’s ok. I do not care if you don’t like Spike (I am sure you appreciate the good writing and amazing acting), I like him and I root for him. I am not ashamed of it. He is a character in a movie… and he strikes some chords in me. That’s it :)

          • Raluca

            Huh? It was accusatory? When? What did I miss? I do not feel accused or blamed! Tell me what you mean, please, as I am not a native speaker so I might miss sarcasm or something! Really!
            I am not trying to attack anybody. I happen to have quite the same opinions as Jojo, even though I probably am even more lenient towards Spike than she is, since I identify with him a lot. I’ve said this before. I am not ashamed of it. :)

          • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

            No harm, no foul. It’s fine. <3

          • Raluca

            I should hope so, Sweeney. Again, I am not a native speaker, which I think it’s obvious from the way I write. Hence I need to be told if I am less than courteous! :)

          • behind blueiz

            I’m in total agreement with you Jojo.

            I feel some people need to put others in categories. In this case, if one is the victim, the other has to be the abuser. This is completely wrong. On so many levels. Buffy and Spike are equally abusing and victimizing one another.

            This relationship is a total train wreck with two people who have major issues onto their own. Then add sex between these two people and you get THIS FUCKED UP RELATIONSHIP.

            As far as I’m concerned Buffy and Spike are both to blame. Even though, at least in my perception, this believe is completely frowned upon, I will stand by my beliefs.

            At least know Jojo, I have your back!!! And I hope you catch the bastard that stole your stuff.

  • Clément Polge

    Oh also, I watched this episode yesterday, and I seem to remember that this is the episode which made me hate Dawn. I’m sorry but she’s just super bratty the whole episode… I get that she’s pissed at Buffy, but she needs to realise that Buffy also has her own shit to go through. Like, you know, dying for instance ?

    When Buffy says she wants a night in with Dawn and Dawn leaves, it makes sense, Dawn need to send the message that she’s not at Buffy’s disposition and that she also has a life, but she’s really being extra extra bratty about it “you’re never here anyway” and it really looks like she just don’t give a fuck.

    And when Buffy comes to her to tell her that she fucking KILLED SOMEONE and that she needs to do the right thing and turn herself in, Dawn’s all like “yeah right, you’re abandoning me. AGAIN. LIKE THAT TIME YOU TOTALLY ABANDONED ME WHEN YOU DIED INSTEAD OF ME”, because of course, who wouldn’t want to spent their whole life in 3″x3″ cell to avoid their little sister ?

    I know she’s entitled to say most of what she says, but she goes so far over the line each time that she can’t even see the line. And she really never consider Buffy’s POV, and when Buffy actually try to talk to her (the second scene I mention) for what may be the last time, she just clams up and tell her to GTFO.

    So I’m really sorry because I do like Dawn now, mostly because of you ladies who made such amazing points as to her character, but this episode… No, just no.

    • Jojo

      Sorry – I have to call bogus on that ‘I killed someone’. In any other episode it would have been a matter of getting the Scoobies together and researching – particularly with what all has been going on. Like Spike said – time going wonky, demons in the woods – not likely to be a coincidence. Up until this moment they have stayed away from the police with mystical events – so I think Buffy was way out of character trying to turn herself in. Faith killed a guy and we all saw it. This is not the same at all.

      • Clément Polge

        I didn’t see that as OOC, because we know that no one blames Buffy so much as Buffy herself… And she holds herself to a higher standard than anyone else when it comes to personal responsability.

        And she feel the need to be responsable for her own actions, before she probably would have gone to the authority figure – Giles. Now that he’s gone, the authority figure becomes… Well, the authority.

      • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

        YES. So, I was in the middle of typing something similar. I don’t think it was OOC, but I think it was a consequence of how depressed / checked-out she is. She doesn’t take any time to consider the situation and goes immediately to, “I quit,” masked in accountability.

        • Ashley Menvielle

          Yep, totally agree! And yes, Giles isn’t there and that’s who she finally went to about Faith murdering the aide in Season 3. I haven’t seen that episode in awhile, so I’m paraphrasing terribly but I think he makes a similar point to what Spike says about jail not being the way to go for a slayer who accidentally killed a civilian in the line of duty ( I’m gonna re watch and compare both episodes after this bc I know I’m oversimplifying here bc I can’t remember deets) which always interested me about this scene because of the Giles-Spike connection because hey, not the first time the two have been connected by the writing, I.e Restless and creepily enough the balcony sex scene when Spike first comes up behind her and they are both looking down on the crowd and he’s whispering to her, is very similar to a conversations she and Giles have in the 1st or 2nd episode of the the series, can’t remember which oops, where it’s pretty much the same set up with her looking down on the crowd at the Bronze and he comes up behind her and starts talking to her. He gets very close to her too, so kind of creepy on Giles’s part. Sorry, that got into tangent land there…I pretty much just agree that Buffy is trying to check out of her life because she makes no effort to investigate further , and may I add that she is a damn smart cookie, 1430!, and is very good at figuring things out and investigating so I would argue that that is evidence of her checking out and basically giving in: I’ll just go sit in a box because my life sucks right now, oh and it’s the right thing and at least I can say I did the right thing at the same time. Oh Buff….

    • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

      I don’t fault the mega-brat bit when she left because, like you said, she was telling Buffy that she’s just not there whenever she feels like it. It was partly to drive home that while Buffy may be hurt that she’s not getting her way right now, it speaks to a larger problem in their relationship.

      The scene in Dawn’s bedroom was great up until Buffy admitted that she was going to turn herself in. I think she was properly supportive up to that point. As for what followed? IDK. I’m torn on that. I do think she was being excessively bratty, but she was again being bratty while pointing out some really true things about how checked out Buffy is. She was annoying in the moment, but the fact that Buffy immediately went to, “Welp, gotta go turn myself in RIGHT NOW” wasn’t even about doing the right thing or coping with killing that girl. It was about, as Dawn put it, her not wanting to be there anymore. Buffy has repeatedly pushed Dawn away since coming back; that little hug is one of the few times Buffy has allowed Dawn in. But then she followed it up with the declaration that she’s taking a big drastic leap towards taking herself out of the equation more permanently.

      It was annoying to watch, I suppose, because Michelle Trachtenberg’s skills are a bit limited and the writers seemed to struggle with writing “normal teenage girl” so there are scenes where Dawn comes across a bit bratty, but in both of these scenes, she’s got some genuine motivations driving her actions.

      • Clément Polge

        I did acknowledge that she has reasons to act the way she does, I just feel like she goes a bit too far and forget to consider that Bufffy is an actual person with feelings and issues too… And so soon after her realisation last episode that Buffy is basically stuck in having a shitjob for her whole short life (she DID die twice already), it just feels a bit too much.

        I guess we could chalk that up to being a teenager + MT’s acting skill at that time + average writing though. She just rubbeb me the wrong way.

        But don’t worry, it hasn’t undone all the good work you’ve done in rehabilitating her :)

        • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

          I’m glad I have done her so much goodwill!

          I honestly think the blogging has a lot to do with my Dawn love. The fact that I spend so much time thinking about WHY she’s doing all the things, because I definitely remember getting the mega brat vibe on first watch. Even as someone who loves her I can admit that she comes across super bratty a lot of the time. Even in those scenes, I started typing a comment that was basically, “Yeah, I felt the same way…” except not because the more I thought about the why the more I defended her.

          So yeah, I really do get why people find her bratty at certain moments. Her total arc involves so much self-sacrifice that I wish people saw that, but she has a large collection of bratty moments.

      • Alicia

        This is a good explanation of Dawn’s behaviour in that scene. The poor girl has major abandonment issues and is terrified of Buffy going away again. I didn’t think she was being particularly bratty in the bedroom, but just calling it as she sees it really. It must be awful to see her sister be so checked out, like you said.

        A little pro-Dawn bias is a good thing in my book. There’s so much hate out there for her that someone who sees that Dawn isn’t just a whiny brat is fantastic.

  • Alicia

    Um, so ‘Dead Things’ is an excellent episode, in my opinion. If I actually ranked all the Buffy episodes, this one would definitely be in my personal top 20, I really love it. Mostly because of the Spike/Buffy scenes. So angsty and painful and amazing. *runs and hides*.

    No but really. There’s so much I want to say but I can’t seem to organise my thoughts. You’ve said everything about the trio that needs to be said I think. Basically ew. But there’s hope for at least Jonathan at this point I reckon.

    I like the Spuffy scene at the beginning of the episode. Buffy seems to have been visiting Spike’s crypt for sex quite a lot. Though the fact that they’re under rugs always makes me lol a bit. She seems almost happy for a while. It’s nice to see them having a civil conversation again, I definitely missed that. Spike seems surprised and pleased that she’s actually talking to him instead of running out at first opportunity. Of course he then displays the foot-in-mouth syndrome he seems to have this season, with the animal comment. Though I think he was sincerely trying to compliment Buffy on her amazingness in bed. He just managed to strike a nerve, as usual. It’s kind of funny that he’s the vampire, but she’s the one biting him!

    Spike is still trying to figure out Buffy, and what is exactly going on between them. It’s sad for him that Buffy only likes him “sometimes”, but that is actually quite a big admission from her, since I think she usually tries to deny any positive feeling for him. Her “never” comment is interesting too, since I think she actually does trust Spike quite a bit. She trusted him with Dawn in ‘Wrecked’, and is now trusting him with her body.

    • wlreed

      I’ll hide with you. This isn’t one of my favorite episodes, and I usually skip it on the rewatch because I just hate Warren so much. But the conversation about the Backstreet Boys (I think?) posters in Buffy’s room makes me chuckle. So I kind of like that scene. ***Ducks for cover and offers baked goods in effort not to lose Snark love***

      • Alicia

        New Kid on the Block I think. But yes, parts of that scene are pretty adorable imo.

      • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

        No love lost! Someone else mentioned that this episode is a great example of many kinds of misogyny. It’s a hard one to rate because it’s one of those episodes that did a thing very well, but because it did that thing so well, it’s a challenge to watch.

        Our resident Xander Defense Force spoke up on behalf of a view awful Xander episodes in the first three seasons and we still love her all the same <3

    • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

      I almost commented this on the end, but this is definitely one of the best episodes we’ve seen this season, but saying the best of season 6 for me means something entirely strange and icky and weird. I can’t imagine that I’ll ever feel love for this episode but it was certainly well crafted, and aside from that 80’s melodrama musical scene, I felt well executed.

      IDK why you are running and hiding. Seriously, have we done things to make us seem like such big and scary monsters? WE ARE FLUFFY AND CUTE. LET NOT THE CAPSLOCK FOOL YOU. LOVE SPIKE ALL YOU WANT. DO NO HIDE. BE PROUD OF YOUR LOVE. OWN IT.

      ;)

      • Alicia

        I know I know. I love you guys. You’re not scary at all!:D It’s just that I’m a lurker by nature and I’m kind of automatically apologetic about having opinions. Especially cause this is you guys’ blog and I have a different reaction to a lot of these episodes. I don’t want to force my weird love for s6’s pain and bad behaviour down your throats.

        • wlreed

          I think for me it’s that I feel so conflicted in my Spike love, even before I started reading all of these comments that are so thought provoking. And I can’t really articulate how I feel while everyone else does it so well. He does some really awful things, but I think every one this season does. I do love Spike and I think he and Buffy can be really hot together and then I feel guilty because their “relationship” is so fucked up. It’s really difficult to watch but it’s compelling at the same time.

          • Clément Polge

            “He does some really awful things, but I think every one this season does. I do love Spike and I think he and Buffy can be really hot together and then I feel guilty because their “relationship” is so fucked up. It’s really difficult to watch but it’s compelling at the same time.”

            Well, it seems to me you managed to sum the whole thing up perfectly in a few sentence, so kudos to you :)

          • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

            Agreed. Also, I realize that the story is far from over. It was a good reminder today from Sweeney that I felt completely differently about Tara when she appeared. But I think half the fun is being true to my reactions and emotions in the present.

          • Alicia

            Yes! Always always be honest about how you react to things. It is definitely so fun hearing about first-timers’ thoughts, even when they dislike things you like and vice versa.

        • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

          LOL. Never apologize. It takes us many tries to get all of our thoughts together, try to make it funny or entertaining, but still be true to our own interpretations and opinions, so we totally understand how hard opinions are!

          We love your opinions, girl. It isn’t even weird love just because I don’t share that love. Have I mentioned that I hate pickles? I don’t think people who like them are weird. I don’t get it, but my mom always taught me that you don’t say “ew” to other people’s food. ;)

          No one is forcing anyone. If we didn’t want to engage others, we’d write in our diaries and not post on the Internet!

          • Melbourne on my Mind

            Well now I feel bad because I say “ew” to other people’s food all the time. Especially the dude I used to work with who had sardine sandwiches for lunch…

        • Ashley Menvielle

          Your love for season 6 is not weird! I love it too. I know there’s hate in fandom for it but I think it’s such a dark, complicated season that deals with the hero coming back, and not enough stories deal with this subject and I have such love for the fact that they went there, even though the writers did screw up on a few things. If ‘ve always loved the later seasons of Buffy and I’ve read a lot of fandom meta on the later seasons that have made me love them and appreciate them even more. So, you are def not alone in the season 6 love :).

    • Alicia

      The balcony scene is something that Joss had wanted to do for ages apparently, so you can thank him for that. It’s quite different in tone to the other Spike/Buffy scenes in this episode, having a sort of dreamlike quality to it. Really well-acted by Sarah and James. Buffy kind of looks both miserable and really aroused at the same time. Spike is basically verbalising some of Buffy’s worst fears about herself and what her friends would think of her sexcapades with him. He could be read as more of a plot device to get inside Buffy’s head than a character in his own right in this scene.

      But if you read it in a more literal way, I think that he doesn’t really know what he’s talking about regarding the ‘dark’. He’s an outcast in the demon community who is caught between worlds and is clinging to Buffy as his sole purpose in unlife. If he actually managed to truly bring her into the ‘dark’ with him he would absolutely hate it because she wouldn’t be Buffy anymore. He’s lost sight of why he fell in love with her in the first place, if he ever understood. So my theory is, when Spike says she ‘belongs in the shadows’ he actually means a Spike/Buffy bubble where they can be happy together, in their own little world. Kind of like what he had with Dru.

      Lol at Spike hanging around his crypt with his shirt open. The camera really loves him this season. There’s a joke ship Spike/Door because of how intensely he is caressing his door in this scene;) It is a bit cheesy I guess, but the lyrics of the song playing are relevant to Spike/Buffy at this point. Like ‘are you drowning or waving?’, ‘should we try to get along?’, ‘the barriers are all self-made’ etc etc. The whole song really.

      This is from the shooting script:
      INT. SPIKE’S CRYPT – CONTINOUS – NIGHT

      Spike, his shirt open, fires up a cigarette. Pours himself a glass of blood. Crumples up some Burba Weed in it. Raises it to his lips. Re pauses, sensing something. His eyes drift to the door. A smile bends his lips. He can feel Buffy approaching.

      He drifts over to the door. His breathing quickens in anticipation. He can sense her on the other side.

      EXT. SPIKE’S CRYPT – CONTINUOUS – NIGHT

      Buffy is at Spike’s door, her own face filled with the same anticipation. She can feel Spike on the other side, like an animal sensing its mate.

      So that’s what they are going for here.

      • Jojo

        Yes – Spike want anyone who loves him to be completely obsessed with him, which he was with Dru for a century. Buffy is the closest she will ever be obsessed but she doesn’t do obsessed. Riley had the same issue.

        Actually she did do obsessed with Angel – then every single male figure in her life abandoned her.That was what Spike meant in that original fight – You haven’t begun to hurt me – Ar you afraid I will? Are you afraid Ill (leave you).

      • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

        While I was writing about that scene I had a flashback to when I laughed and laughed at the barrel jump Spike did while he was power walking with the Fanged Four. I thought it was pretty funny, and a lot of people yelled at me because that was the most bad ass barrel jump of all time.

        Never forget that we are ladies of Snark.

        • Alicia

          Hee. I love that power walk mostly because it’s so ridiculous and makes me grin my face off (not literally).

          • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

            I was also on Team Giggles during the power walk, but Kirsti’s fangirl flail for it was almost enough to win me over, because it was cute <3

            (but, like, giggles)

          • Alicia

            I fangirl AND giggle at the same time, cause I’m awesome like that:D

          • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

            That’s doing TV right.

          • Melbourne on my Mind

            -.-

        • Clément Polge

          DON’T THIS THE BARREL JUMP, YO.

          (even if it is hilarious)

          • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

            IT WAS LIKE A FOOT WORTH OF JUMP.

          • Jojo

            With coat flare, background flames, a a nice sprinkle of blood in a few important places!

          • Melbourne on my Mind

            Just think of how much more awful it would have been if he’d done an Angel-style Mario jump off a barrel and shot 3 metres into the air…

          • Alicia

            I am now picturing this and trying to laugh quietly so I don’t wake up in the other people in my house.

          • Melbourne on my Mind

            You’re welcome.

        • Ashley Menvielle

          This comment made me LOL, no exaggeration on the capslock it was that loud!This is why I come to the Snark Squad for all my snarking needs :).

      • Alicia

        I just wanted to comment on the alley scene. Which is definitely very hard to watch. They actually filmed Spike looking way more beat up before toning it down. There was a lot more blood and his whole face was disfigured and swollen. It looked incredibly disturbing, (even more than what it already did).

        Although I do agree with Sweeney that Spike has been projecting onto Buffy this season, I actually think he was really trying to help her in his own Spike way in this scene, and by (trying) to get rid of the evidence. Like he said, he doesn’t want her to ‘throw her life away’. He knows that she is trying to escape life by turning herself in. I think he is sincere when he asks “Why are you doing this to yourself?” He doesn’t understand the guilt she feels about what happened. His anguished face when he offers up the “I love you” says a lot to me.

        So Spike encourages Buffy to put it all on him’, to let out all her pain, rage, fear, confusion, guilt, self-hate, everything she is feeling, on him instead of taking it out on herself. In my opinion he does want to help her, and this is the only way he knows how. Yes, he did literally ask for it. That doesn’t make it less horrible on Buffy’s part. She should have stopped before it went that far. But at the same time she was clearly having a breakdown and Spike understood that. She looks horrified when she realises what she’s done. And it was hard to watch Spike weakly call out to her because he couldn’t get up. The whole thing is ugly and very sad.

        • Ashley Menvielle

          Again, I agree with all of this. The agony on both of their faces throughout this scene as they miscommunicate, it’s what they’ve been doing since they started this relationship, is heartbreaking for me. When I watched this scene when it first aired it was very traumatic but now I understand where both characters are coming from a lot better and it’s a very powerful scene despite or maybe because of how sad and disturbing it is?

      • Ashley Menvielle

        Yes, to all of your points but especially about Spike voicing Buffy’s fears about herself and her dark side. I think that Spike at times represent Buffy’s dark, slayer side as Faith did in season 3, which I don’t think it’s a coincidence that there are many callbacks to Season 3, specifically to Faith and Buffy’s relationship, in this episode. And I of course agree o. Spike not knowing what he’s talking about when he talks abt bringing B to the dark side, I think your theory of what he actually means about being in a bubble with her is accurate.

        AND I like the door scene… It always strikes me as very intense and sad but in a hot way… I agree with you on the song, it’s very relevant to what is going on with Buffy and Spike this season.
        Fun fact about the door scene: Spike’s crypt has double doors so they aren’t technically touching the same door although it’s meant to appear that way in this episode. If you watch Intervention, at the end I think it shows that the door on the inside is a diff door than is on the outside, somebody did lots of door watching and door watching and caught that this bit. I always chuckle a lol when I watch the door hand sex scene now, tee hee.

        • Alicia

          Lol about the door thing. There’s two doors AND spaaace between them, it’s so deep and meaningful;)

          • Ashley Menvielle

            Totally deep :)

  • wlreed

    So instead of getting into anything deep and thought provoking, I’m going to go a different direction which has nothing to do with the episode and everything to do with the wibbly wobbly. My son is going to New Orleans in early November to attend some seminars for honors college students. His biggest concern is he won’t be able to keep his eyes on all of the angel statues in the city seeing as there are an ass whack of them. It’s his goal to watch them all at the same time.

    • Jojo

      XD – Gotta say that cemeteries really creep me out more since seeing that!

    • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

      I love you. Angel statues are totes deep.

      • wlreed

        I love you back. Awkward internet hug

        • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

          Once when my older brother was just a little boy — before I was born, I think — everyone was arguing. I think “everyone” included my parents and grandparents because my parents lived there for a hot minute before they got married. Not sure. Not important. LOTS OF ADULTS YELLING. And toddler!Josh just strolls into the room and says, nonchalantly, “Let’s talk about elephants.” So that’s become a go-to phrase in my family. Shit’s getting uncomfortable? Let’s talk about elephants.

          Obvs, “Let’s talk about weird statues,” can be the Traumaland equivalent.

          • wlreed

            I love this story so much. It’s completely adorable. I will now adopt let’s talk about elephants in my day to day life and hope that I can use it on a regular basis

          • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

            No need to replace elephants with weird statues. LET’S LEAVE ELEPHANTS IN!

          • Melbourne on my Mind

            We have the equivalent of that story, except it was me piping up in the back of the car “Speaking of horses…” for literally no reason. So whenever there’s an awkward silence, it’s “Speaking of horses…”

    • Alicia

      Wow good luck to him with such a huge challenge on his hands!

    • Melbourne on my Mind

      Someone once told me a story about how someone they knew was a massive Whovian and had to drive past this cemetery every day that had massive angel statues on the gates. At some point, their brother(?) discovered that said angel statues could be pivoted, so snuck out in the middle of the night and rotated them so they faced the road. The next morning, the Whovian nearly drove off the road in terror.

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

    Can we talk about Spike’s ugly shirt in the montage-y crypt scene because WHY. I paused the scene and put my face really close against my computer screen trying to figure out what the print was supposed to be. It looks like skulls to me, which would make sense because bad boys wear skull shirts, you know.

    • Alicia

      I’m really surprised no one has yet mentioned Spike’s fashion choices this season. He’s started wearing rings and low-cut black t-shirts and a pimp chain and awful patterned shirts and what was that purple montrosity that he wore in ‘Doublemeat Palace’??? He’s taking his bad boy role very seriously *nods*.

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

        THE CHAIN. The chain is my favorite. There’s something about guys wearing chains and necklaces that makes me want to laugh at them, and I can’t even explain why.

        • Alicia

          I have this theory that the chain is James’ fault. He wears stuff like that irl. Maybe it’s so he wouldn’t feel completely naked in some of the scenes this season? Also he’s mentioned always trying to get them to change up Spike’s wardrobe a bit.

        • Melbourne on my Mind

          YES. Although at least the chain is silver. Gold chains just make guys look like mobsters, and I can’t take them seriously.

      • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

        I’m super surprised I haven’t noticed either. Being Team Feels is super hard, and clearly this whole season has been hard on my sensibilities. I tend to cringe when Spike and Buffy are in a scene together, so maybe the wardrobe looks a lot better through my fingers and cowering?

        MY BAD.

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

          I think I’ve just seen these episodes enough times that my feels are replaced with “WHY are you wearing that???” and “that’s an interesting tapestry in the background”

          • Ashley Menvielle

            PIMP chain! And yes, thats pretty much how I watch episodes now, too. There was a blogger back in the day who covered Buffy fashion for a bit, hilarity ensues because my God the fashion choices on the show are mind boggling at times. Here is the link, it’s awesome: http://msjacks.wordpress.com/tag/buffy-fashion-roulette/

            In short: I love you for bringing this up, PIMP chain fail lol.

      • Melbourne on my Mind

        Maybe now that Willow’s fashion sense has spontaneously improved, things had to balance out somewhere with hideousness and the Powers That Be Contriving dumped it on Spike??

        • Alicia

          Nice theory. The thing is, he’s somehow still gorgeous even when looking like a pimp. *Is jealous*.

    • Christine Tran

      News Flash for me: Spike has more than the 5 articles of clothing he’s been wearing in rotation for the past 2 years! How does he do laundry!? I don’t see a hot water heater or sink in that crypt!

      On that note, (cause my mind goes places), being in a physical relationship with that guy must be an…interesting…experience for the senses: he smokes, he drinks whiskey from the bottle; and also blood so yeah iron taste; there is no shower or anything in that crypt and you know he rolls around in the ashes of his dead kind all week. I’m guessing the change in clothes is about masking that scent for Buffy? yeah, that’s it

      • Alicia

        Buffy don’t care. She smells like Doublemeat grease so they’re even;)

  • Christine Tran

    Fun fact: my country’s youth channel YTV (ages 8 and up) would air Buffy after 9pm. So now I’m imagining kids watching Spuffying from behind in public action as a those bright green promotional banners popped up for the next show reading: COMING UP NEXT ON SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS!

    But yeah, it’s a Grey family reunion up in here, ugh.

    • Raluca

      LOL… I was hospitalized when I re-watched some Buffy (which triggered my addiction, actually). I remember seeing the scene with Spike and invisible Buffy going at it on the DVD and going all “but this was not on TV!!!” – they cut it out to make it watchable for a younger audience :D

      • SuzyLee

        Oh yeah I remember the first time I went over to my friend’s house to watch Buffy, because she had them all on DVD (this was when they first came out on DVD and were SUPER expensive!) and I’d only ever watched the BBC pre-watershed broadcast, and being pretty shocked by the ending of Smashed. That has been very heavily cut in the early broadcast and was just like, ok yep, this is why mum doesn’t let me stay up for the 11 pm showing! lol

  • Raluca

    Guys, I see discussions are a bit heated up. Let me just say that I love this episode very much, despite its darkness. But I love Season 6 the most, so it kinda follows logically :)
    One thing ladies, you “ruined” my TV-watching capabilities – now everywhere I look there is hidden abuse and annoying stereotypes. The TV was on 2 days ago and my dad was (sorta) watching Desperate Housewives, while I was playing with my little daughter and I glanced at the screen – it was so annoyingly abusive and stereotyped that I told him to switch channels! Now I hold you ladies personally responsible! (wink wink :P)

    • Heather Bungard-Janney

      I actually gotta applaud the Snark Ladies for their work here, actually – they’ve pointed out and opened eyes for, I suspect, a LOT of people about rape culture and just how normalized it is.

      But to go along with “it’s all in my head”‘s commentary above: yeah. Unfortunately the easy way out in a show to create DRAMA between characters is to just have them not communicate, and the Scoobies elevate not-communicating to an art form. Especially this season. So much of their issues this season in particular stem from each of them being involved in their own crap to the point that they can’t, or won’t, or just don’t want to, TALK to each other, even just to check in.

      They started this trend back in the very beginning when Xander lied to Buffy about Willow trying to re-soul Angel, in season 2, just because he was feeling pissy I guess and disliked Angel and blamed Buffy and yadda yadda. Asshole (or at least a really REALLY asshole move there). Buffy felt judged at every turn, and in season 3 refused to reveal that Angel had returned. Meanwhile her friends knew how judgmental THEY each were, and feared getting that turned back on them, so they stopped talking as well – about Oz leaving, about Anya returning, about falling for Tara. In Season 4 the lack of comunication and its consequences were explored a bit when Spike tried to Yoko the group, but the rifts were never really repaired, only exposed. Now in season 6 we have Xander summoning a freaking song-and-dance-and-hidden-truth-and-emotions demon, just because he doesn’t have the balls to ASK Anya how she feels about marriage nor TELL her about his misgivings. People die because of his cowardice.

      Buffy’s no better but at least she has an excuse. All of them this season, except Tara but including Giles and Dawn, are TREMENDOUSLY self-absorbed and either unaware or uncaring about anyone else’s issues. As far as they each are concerned, whatever is going on is all about them. Xander’s marriage fears are all about him (he disregards any fears Anya may have), Dawn’s drama is because she wants it to be all about her, Willow’s addiction is all about her, and so on down the line. Tara is the only one who doesn’t make the breakup all about HER!

      I had a point with this. I did, but the phone just rang and I forgot.

      But yeah, this season is rage-worthy partly because of the character’s craptastic behavior and partly because, as “all in my head” pointed out, the sexuality questions are not ever ever ever addressed in a healthy way.

      In fact I object somewhat to the idea of Joss Whedon as a feminist writer, because while he does write strong, believable women, he is JUST as happy exploring all the same tired misogynistic tropes, NOT least of which is sexual assault played as humor. (Was it the swim team episode where Buffy was in a car with some guy and had to knock his head into the steering wheel because he didn’t get that no meant no?) Even Buffy herself is one ongoing presentation of the manpain trope, and is only “feminist” because a woman happens to be the focus for a change. (Angel the Series is pretty much an homage to manpain from start to finish.)

      So many other things I want to say but the caffeine just hit my system and I’m actually losing focus rather than gaining it. Perhaps the only thing left that I can recall is that while Lor does bring up consent here and does say that Buffy is a victim, I simply can’t pin all the blame on Spike. She says no and he keeps going, true. But she says no and then quite often initiates the very next encounter. She says it’s disgusting and then comes back for more. When she’s invisible she goes to his crypt – no one is making her assault him.

      And again, I fall back on “Spike is a demon” to…. barely… excuse his behavior (this probably makes me a hypocrite about all of rape culture). I think in this episode the show may be trying to say “Spike is a demon, what is Warren’s excuse?” Spike and Buffy are mutually destructive. Warren, Jonathan and Andrew are worse in comparison not just for what they do but because as humans with souls – this show loves souls – they should know better.

      Spike as a demon is unconcerned with right and wrong and often doesn’t seem to get the concept. Warren does get the concept, but cares even less than Spike and is therefore a despicable human being. Jonathan and Andrew are complicit in the act thanks to their willful stupidity, but at least once they do actually LOOK at what’s happening they get uncomfortable. Just not, y’know, so uncomfortable that they’ll stand up to Warren, although that might be the self-preservation talking.

      Oh, and depressing real world tie-in: during the Steubenville rape case trials, witnesses to the act were asked why they didn’t step in or do anything to stop the rape, and they testified – straight up, flat out stated – that they didn’t think what they were watching was rape, because QUOTE “it wasn’t violent”. The girl was unconscious, unable to consent or fight back, but since she wasn’t fighting, it must not have been rape. So… yeah. There are real-life Jonathans and Andrews out there, and that’s the saddest thing of all.

      • Raluca

        Nice post, Heather! And I am right there with you on the whole “Warren is a despicable HUMAN BEING” thing. And he is not the only one with a soul who is loathsome. Think Ethan Rayne or Caleb on this show, Holland Manners maybe on AtS?! Also, not all demons are bad. Think Clem and Whistler on BtVS and Lorne or Doyle on AtS, maybe?! :)

  • it’s all in my head

    Personally, I have a lot of trouble liking Buffy THE SHOW and Buffy THE CHARACTER (and not only Buffy, but actually most of the characters to varying degrees) when it comes to sex. Because Buffy THE SHOW has maybe one example of a sexual relationship that consistently operates (internal to the universe) and is treated (by writers in our universe advancing views on sex and sexuality that have the potential to either challenge or support the rape culture we live in) in a way that demonstrates a healthy understanding of both consent as a concept and the absolute importance of consent. (I think that part of this is a result of the show being so pro-monogamy that it can’t help but advance slut-shaming and while I am not sure it matters to my main argument, it makes me livid. And I think that it is no coincidence that the least problematic relationship – Buffy and Angel -still has some unfortunate implications about virginity and purity.)

    Consent means “yes means yes” and “no means no,” but you cannot even have the yeses or the nos without communication. (Not saying yes, body language, words are all totally valid and a lot of people – because rape culture and patriarchy – like to pretend that the first two are mysterious or unclear in ways that they are not. IF THERE IS ANY POSSIBILITY OF THEM BEING MYSTERIOUS OR UNCLEAR THEN YOU NEED TO JUST WAIT FOR A VERBAL YES. IF BODY LANGUAGE SEEMS TO CONFLICT WITH A VERBAL NO, THEN YOU GO WITH THE VERBAL NO. I want to be really clear on that because 1. there is a tendency to talk around it because most people are very good at reading body language and our, or at least my US, culture tends to treat it as something mysterious; 2. when body language or some other “ambiguous” communication is taken above a verbal no, you can get the icky Spiffy scenes and the idea that “she said no, but she meant yes,” which is absolute bullshit; and 3. absolute bullshit that Buffy the show flirts with and maybe even endorses because I think when the show gets even the words part of communication completely fucking wrong, I am not at all willing to try to think the best of it. In fact, to a certain extent I am totally on Spike’ s side this season because, while in my world he is a rapey rapist, in the world that Buffy the show creates, the rules for communication around sex are so SUPPORTIVE OF RAPE CULTURE that Spike isn’t really doing anything wrong. That is so fucked up that being as mad at the show as I think it deserves is all the mad I have. I love Buffy the show, but to enjoy it for all the thousands of things it gets right instead of getting angrier and angrier over the depictions of communication in pretty much every sexual relationship on the show, I just give all the main characters a pass. I don’t give the show a pass though and every single recommendation I’ve given and every single serious conversation I’ve had has included basically everything I’ve just said minus the specific examples because of spoilers.)

    But, as we are past most of the examples: There are very few characters in the show that consistently communicate about what they want sexually and all of them are portrayed by the show as bad examples to follow. Anya is very blunt and “too honest” almost all the time, including sex, and this is almost always a joke, it is Anya failing to do being human correctly. (Her TMI moments with the group are an entirely different, though related, discussion. I’m talking about her communications with only Xander.) Faith is also open about her sexual preferences and desires, but not only is this all tied up in her being (or pretending to be) a bad girl badass, she RAPES Riley and USES* Xander. Giles and his partners: Jenny, Joyce, and the woman who visits (Olivia?) who seem like the most likely to be communicating their desires and consent are also terrible examples of what proper communication is because not only does most of it happen off-screen, but what we do see is actually a set-up by Angelus with Jenny and drugged to the point that consent is dicey with Joyce. We see Riley explicitly state what he is willing to consent to (yay!) as part of his rape by Faith in Buffy’ s body (NO! ICK! WTF!?! And we could venture into Dollhouse territory with whether or not Faith might simultaneously be raping Buffy.) And Riley gets blamed for his rape and the presents this as okay to an extent.

    This got REALLY long so I’m going to just list some others that I’ll be happy to elaborate on when I wake up (it got really late putting this together even for my messed up schedule): Xander and his joy at part of what happens with his insect teacher (from Rosewood?), his joy at being “used” by Faith, Parker intending to mislead Buffy with his romantical talk but never flat-out lying until

    • Raluca

      I actually kinda agree with you. I hate hate hate the way the show depicts sexual relationships. It is possible to enjoy one night stands and be absolutely ok after, with no need to keep in touch. And it is not slutty or wrong. It is also ok to just want to sleep with someone and not get in a romantic relationship with them – as long as you both want the same thing are are very clear and VERY TRUTHFUL about it.
      What is not fine is to keep messing up Buffy’s life because she has sex. First time, her BF turns evil. Second time, it’s an one night stand she clearly hurts over, because she wanted “the real thing”. Then it’s all the Riley shit, with the cheating on her and then making her feel guilty for calling him on his bullshit. And then you get Spike and all the two-way abuse that comes from not clearly talking about what you want and need.

      What do you think I see every time?! That sex is bad if it’s not a “real relationship”, that one night stands are disgusting and sex without love is even worse. Which, let’s be honest, is complete bullshit in my books.

      Sleep tight! :)

  • Idriss Boukhanef

    I’m generally in the pro-Dawn camp, but she was just being mega bratty here. I know Dawn is going through a hard time too, but her reaction felt really out of place and it made me cringe, Buffy thought she had killed a woman, she was lost, confused, and Dawn made it all about her.

    I do agree with all the other points made though : Warren must die, EW Spuffy, and more importantly, YAY TARA <3

  • Laura

    I LOVE THIS SEASON. SO MUCH. I just had to put that out there.

    For whatever we all here disagree on with the recappers, I think it’s helpful to remember that this website is called Snark Squad. The recappers are intentionally looking for plot points to riff/harp on for humorous effect. That’s why this website is so fun. So saying Spike is creepy here (truth) and really going on and on about it (snark) doesn’t mean an overabundance of hatred. It just means snark.

    However, what you are seeing as weakness in the writing this season, I am disagreeing. My adoration for these overall arcs comes from a place where they are supposed to be divisive and confusing and rage inducing. I think that’s part of the greyness/numbness/anger we are experiencing with Buffy in her depression. For probably the only time I can remember in TV history, our sci-fi hero doesn’t have a clear path the audience is just waiting for her to discover. I feel like this is the only show ever to really explore depression in an in-depth way.

    She’s in an abusive sexual relationship that she 100% initiated, complicating her guilt and self-loathing. She still has a full-time calling and still has to work a crappy fast food job. I think the writing is pretty clear here in the “life is the big bad” and nothing is actually a crystal clear choice theme of the season.

    Even the trio represents this pretty well, I think. For as crappy as they are being right now, it’s helpful to remember how lonely and desperate (and suicidal) Jonathan was before he had any friends. I’m sure there are some of us here who have stayed in unhealthy friendships with really
    terrible people just to keep from being alone.

    I think of a Season 5 Buffy quote. “I don’t know how to live in this world, if these are the choices.” I think that this season pretty much extends that frame of mind.

    I think we are supposed to think that Spike is hot and creepy. More loyal than her friends right now but also evil. Rapey and the only thing she really wants/feels anything for in all of life right now. Sometimes life is crappy like that.

    Honestly,when I’m really struggling with depression, I will go back and just watch this season for comfort, knowing that even the badassiest of persons, who once had the closest knit supportive group of friends, can go through a year like this (and make some terrible choices) and still come through.

  • Ana KH

    I always have a hard time putting this in to words, but my feelings about Buffy and Spike in season 6 boil down to this – one can be both abuser in one situation and victim in another situation. There is no either/or rule, or some kind of karmic sheet where they cancel each other out.

    Buffy IS wrong when she crosses the line with Spike (surprise invisi-sex, beating him literally bloody as a way to handle her own pain [sidenote: I always see that scene as a parallel to body-switched Buffy and Faith and Faith punching herself.. heavy feels.])

    Spike IS wrong when he violates Buffy’s consent, and when he attacks her self-esteem. The balcony scene is, in my opinion, an example of him doing just that – preying on Buffy’s low self-esteem and depression to ensure his position in her life. It’s emotionally abusive and manipulative and it is possible to acknowledge that that is wrong without exonerating Buffy of all HER sins.

    I just get tired of the black and white divide on this issue – either Spike is the villain and Buffy is a saint, or Spike is the horribly misunderstood anti-hero and Buffy is the kinky manipulative mastermind of everything bad. They’re just.. they’re both fucked up, right now. Let’s acknowledge that, and also not shy away from pointing out their individual actions and saying, “THIS THING IS REALLY REALLY WRONG – NEVER DO THAT TO A PERSON”.

  • Melodie Hatley

    Hmm… one of the most powerful episodes of Buffy, without a doubt. Just look at the discussion! I sort of read some of the comments, and I have only a few things to add. The first is that it’s good that this discussion about rape, consent, and whatever it is that Buffy and Spike has is happening. The show is still relevant on so many levels, and putting awareness out there, creating discussions, is just absolute tops in my book.

    Second, BECAUSE it’s so dark and moody is why it’s my favorite season. I just love that the Big Bad is not a demon or a vampire, but rather real life. Grown up life. Growing up. Depression. The hardest thing Buffy has ever had to face was life, and this has been a smaller thing throughout the show to begin with, like with her SATs and graduating and is she going to college and whatnot sort of discussion about how to balance her Slaying with her “real life”, so this is sort of a continuation of that, in a way.

    Last, I love Johnathan. I DON’T CARE WHO KNOWS! Danny Strong is absolutely wonderful, and as with the discussions before, Johnathan and Andrew didn’t realize it was rape, because that sort of shit was normalized. Man, afterwards Johnathan came to the realization that was he was doing was wrong. He’s not a strong character, morally speaking, so he can’t break free, but the expression on Danny Strong’s face and the tone of his voice spoke volumes to me.

    Really Last, I always got the impression that Buffy beating the shit out of Spike was a parallel to Faith beating the shit out of Buffy: they were beating up themselves. Buffy was worried she was “wrong” and because she did “all those things” with Spike who is a soulless THING, I always thought she put herself into the soulless THING category because she couldn’t feel anything because of her depression. So, when she was beating the crap out of Spike, she was really metaphorically beating herself up. I don’t know if that was mentioned in the snark or the comments, but that was always my take on it. Yes, my memory retention is like nil.

    • http://www.sweeneysays.com Sweeney

      I’m not a huge fan of the season for several reasons, but I agree with the gist of what you’ve said here. I think I just disagree in degrees. Or, rather, that the places where it gets a little sloppy for my liking. But conceptually, I’m with you.

      I guess I didn’t elaborate at length, but yes, agreed. It was definitely a parallel to Faith-as-Buffy punching herself. I did point it out, but you’re not the first person to bring it up separately in the comments, so it’s clearly something I should have spent more time on. I didn’t particularly want to, though, partially because I didn’t enjoy the scene, but also because I knew I’d get accused of giving Buffy a pass. Not that I was spared that accusation anyway. Womp womp. Regardless, I think that you guys have done a better job of elaborating on that point than I would have anyway! So yes, +1 and full agreement :D

      • Melodie Hatley

        Hehe. My memory is so poor… what was I writing?

        Srsly though, that was such a powerful turning point for Buffy; I almost think that moment right there was her bottoming out. It’s really hard to tell in the season though–she has a lot of apparently bottoming out places, but then again… depression or addiction is like that. There’s no *one* place where you hit bottom. You hit bottom, then rise up, then hit bottom again… and it’s different for everyone. BUT I DIGRESS!

        I totally agree to liking things in degrees! I tend to watch some very dark subject matter for amusement–I think I’m your resident horror fan here with facts about how dark the color of blood really is and other such things–so this dark season really resonates with me, personally. One of the things I love about this show is that it’s so layered. People can watch it, and take away different things, see different things. It’s a bit amazing.

  • geff

    Can I casually skip over everything else in this episode (though I still consider it one of my favorites in S6) to just say TARA!! <3 I love Tara. It's hard not to love such a genuinely sweet, caring character. That last scene gives me endless amounts of respect for her in the same way the car scene in Innocence gave me endless amounts of respect for Giles. Buffy and Willow will always be my favorite Scooby friendship S1-5, but at this point in the series I feel like Tara and Buffy should become best friends.

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