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