Buffy the Vampire Slayer S06 E14 – Everything is fine.

Previously: Tara was amazing. Everything else that happened is too horrible to talk about.

Older and Far Away

Lorraine: Buffy is packing up a Slayer Bag-o-Tricks as she fills us in by way of conversation with Dawn that she’s running out mid-dinner to go track down some non-vampire beastie. Dawn is gamely saying everything is fine, but her tight smile and stiff body language say otherwise. Dawn says that perhaps they can set-up for Buffy’s birthday trauma party the next day when she gets back, but B tells her not to wait up.

I wonder how she got word of this baddie, mid-dinner. Bat signal? Also, no, I do not like this flippy hair thing.

Kirsti: Me neither. I was on board with it when she cut it short, but now it just keeps getting more and more flippy, and I think we need to hold an intervention… Also, BRB, HAVING DAWN FEELS.

Sweeney: Hair Flippervention!

Lor: Graveyard. Buffy patrols and a red faced demon sneaks up behind her. Speaking of hair interventions, this thing appears to have an 80’s ponytail that he’s crimped like woah. They fight a bit, and despite the demon’s ability to disappear, Buffy is able to stab him. The Crimped Ponytail Demon turns into Alex Mac goo (remember this episode with Alex Mac goo? So long ago.) and decides to hang out in his sword. Buffy doesn’t notice, so she’s all, “SHINY SWORD!”

Wolf howl.

At the Magic Box, Xander awkwards his way into asking Willow if it’s okay if Tara comes to the party because Buffy really wants her there. Willow gives a, “sure! That’s fine!” that’s about as convincing as Dawn’s from the teaser. Speak of the devil, Dawn comes in, and fills everyone in on Buffy’s demon hunting. She asks if anyone wants to go to the mall with her, but they are all too busy doing valid adult things, and not realizing how hurt and alone Dawn is right now. SOMEONE JUST GO TO THE MALL WITH HER.

No one listens to me. Dawn sads away.

K: I’m going to quote directly from my notes at this point – “I just want to hug poor neglected klepto Dawn 5-eva. She clearly needs it.”

Sweeney: AGREED. Dawn, I hate the mall, but I’ll go with you.

Lor: Later, at Chez Summers, Dawn comes home to an empty house. She runs up to her room and empties her pockets of some stolen loot. She’s also wearing a stolen leather jacket and the Tinkly Piano makes sure we are well aware that this is both a bad and sad development.

The next day, Dawn’s at school, when she’s called out of class and into the guidance office. The new guidance counselor is following up with Dawn, after her loss. Dawn says it’s all fine, and that although that people have a tendency to abandon her in one way or another, it’s totes no big deal!

It’s almost party time, and Anya is arranging all the food platters. Xander comments on how much food there is and asks Buffy who she invited. She says just the gang, plus her friend Sophie from work. There is some, “Buffy doesn’t make friends!” joking from Anya, but Xander says he’s all for new friends… and also they invited a single guy friend who may or may not be single and a guy in Buffy’s general vicinity. Anya’s a little less subtle with her, “DATE HIM. HAVE BABIES.” intentions.

The doorbell rings, and it’s Tara. Buffy and Tara hug and greet each other in a manner that makes me remember that sometimes watching Buffy isn’t a life ruining experience. I’m mostly joking.

Tara asks Buffy how she’s doing and she says she’s totally fine! but quickly amends that sometimes she’s okay. Tara asks if Spike’s coming, but Buffy says he doesn’t play well with others and that she’s still firmly in the closet when it comes to that relationship. Their catching up is interrupted by Willow coming downstairs and Buffy using that as her clue to fake having an elsewhere to be.

Those two awkwardly (K: But adorably!) catch up and seriously, I’m proud of myself for picking this up so early on (GOOD TV!) but between them they say they are fine six times. Tara excuses herself to the kitchen.

Once there, the party just keeps getting crazier as Spike shows up with a shiner, a six-pack and Clem, who we met during the kitten poker scene. I’d question Spike still having a black eye but that would mean remembering things that happened in the last episode, and NO THANKS. I’M FINE. LET’S MOVE ON.

Spike heard about the party from Willow and figured the more the merrier.


Lor: On that note, Xander walks in with a blond, tall fella who he introduces as Richard. Xander throws them together by asking Buffy to show him where to park his car. They walk out, Dick only pausing to ask WTF is up with Clem. “Skin condition.”

Spike is already jealous.


God bless Tara for messing with Spike. It’s adorable, on her end, even if antagonizing Spike is probably isn’t the best idea.

K: Yeah, but the chip only doesn’t work on Buffy, so Tara’s totally fine if she pisses him off. I love it when she wears her sassy pants. And I love Clem.

Sweeney: Sassy Tara is totally a season 6 highlight. MOAR SASSY TARA, PLZ.

Lor: Dawn is anxious for Buffy to open her gifts but Anya says B’s busy getting to know Richard. Dawn knows what she means, since she heard them talking about setting those two up, but Anya babies and condescends to her.

Buffy and Spike find each other in the hallway, and he asks if she wants to blow out his candles. I throw up in my mouth a little. Buffy says not here and not now, and Spike makes jealous comments about Richard, which B calls him out on. He huffs and mumbles after she walks away about how he’s totally not jealous.

Later, Buffy is finally opening gifts. She gets a portable back massager from Willow, and Spike gives Buffy an eyebrow raise that makes her put that aside and move on.

K: I feel the need to point out that Spike’s eyebrow raise is less to do with the gift and more to do with the fact that Willow says the gift is “instant gratification for all your little achies!” Also, back massagers will forever remind me of this: 

And if you don’t know what that’s from, I’m not sure we can be friends any more…|

Lor: It was nice knowing you?

The next gift is the stolen leather jacket from Dawn, which she loves. Buffy notices that the security tag is still on it, and Dawn feigns surprise.

Next, Xander comes out with his gift which is a beautiful chest he made for her to keep weapons in. Buffy loves it, but Dawn is sad that her gift was so quickly pushed aside. The doorbell rings again, and this time it’s Sophie, Buffy’s work friend who walks in and tells everyone all about her food allergies. Right. Buffy asks Dawn to shut the door, and she walks over and does so sadly. Lately, all of Dawn’s actions are sad. Out on the porch, someone walks into the frame from the shadows and IT’S THE GUIDANCE COUNSELOR WHO IS HALFREK. I CAN’T BELIEVE I MISSED THAT! Seriously, I was looking at gifs at the beginning of this episode too and I still missed it. Halfrek puts her demon face on and says, “wish granted.”

Sweeney: Moments like this are the best part of having a Snow when we recap a series. They get fewer and farther between at this point, because you’re on your 6th season of this show and also recap all the things, so, again, GOOD TV. Still, they’re fun when they happen because I didn’t realize (though I probably had the same reaction) that this was even a big surprise reveal. YOU HELP KEEP THE MAGIC ALIVE, LOR SNOW.

Lor: A highlight of knowing nothing.

Inside, people are dancing and having fun. Richard finds Buffy and makes some small talk about having fun and wanting to get her a soda. Spike appears behind them. Buffy turns down the drink and says she’s going to head back into the party. Spike promptly teases Buffy in a matter befitting a 12 year old. He grabs her, Buffy says stop, he goes after again anyhow, bile rises into my throat, etc. Part of the problem with this season for me is that I could copy paste that last sentence at least once per episode and there is no end in sight. WE GET IT.

Anyway, Tara catches them as Spike is leading Buffy’s hand to his crotch. Buffy pulls away and leaves.


Sassy Pants, ladies and gents.

K: The amount of sass that she crams into a single word – “Right” – is phenomenal.

Lor: Anya and Xander argue mushily about which of them should go on a beer run. Willow’s all, “shut up. I’ll go,” but when it’s time to actually get with the going, all she can manage is to put her head down on the table. Oh, girl. Been there.

We cut to Dawn, Buffy, Richard and Anya playing Monopoly in the living room. Buffy says she’s out of the game, but the others encourage her to stick it out as they’ve been playing it for such a long time. Dawn excitedly says that it should be a slumber party, and Spike double entendres the joke, setting Sassy Pants off again.

K: I know I sound like a broken record, but ALL THE AWARDS TO TARA RIGHT NOW OMFG.

Sweeney: MANY BROKEN RECORDS BECAUSE WE DON’T GIVE A FUCK. We want to adopt Tara as Snark Lady.

Lor: The next morning, everyone is still hanging out. Everyone but Buffy and Spike is watching cartoons. Richards tells Xander that they need to get going or else they’ll be later for work. He wonders why he isn’t leaving, and Spike passive aggressives stuff about wanting to eat Richard. Buffy grabs Spike and pulls him into the foyer, telling him to calm the heck down. They argue. I don’t care.

In the kitchen, Willow and Tara discuss how they both want to leave, but they also don’t want to leave. In the foyer, Buffy and Spike come to the same conclusion when Buffy tries to storm out and can’t.

In the living room now, the whole party has gathered, and Buffy says that something is keeping them in the house. GUYS. GUYS. I JUST GOT IT. The “wish granted,” and Dawn saying she wanted people to stop leaving! Wow. That took me a second because (1) – the Crimped Ponytail demon was misdirection and (2) – I set myself up with very low expectations when I started this episode. Basically, “try not to throw up!” which is apparently hampering my observation and critical thinking game. On the bright side, I haven’t thrown up much.

Sweeney: I love you. Good job not throwing up!

Lor: The gang all freaks about where they have to be, and Dawn says that she gets that being trapped with her all day would be miserable. Willow non-helps with, “It’s just, we have more important things to do.” Dawn runs off upstairs and they all follow because somehow confronting her five on one seemed like a good idea.

Sweeney: Less loving them right now. REALLY GUYS? REALLY?

Lor: They ask over and over again if she did anything to trap them all in the house and she insists that she didn’t and that she wishes she had, as this is the only way they will spend time with her. Buffy tries to reply to that, but Dawn bites back that she doesn’t want to spend time with them, and they need to get out. She squeal-yells and they all leave.

Downstairs, Anya guesses that Dawn is possessed but Xander identifies this as, “teenager.” Tara announces that the phones are all off. Buffy says Dawn is so angry, and Tara replies that they all went through that. No one seems to acknowledge Dawn’s very real and very serious accusations that NO ONE IS TAKING CARE OF HER. I mean, they have the food and shelter basics covered, but attention is sorely lacking. Buffy wonders why Dawn didn’t come to her and Xander gently points out that she has been busy lately.

Spike cuts off the feelings and says they have to find a way out of the house. Buffy suggests magic to Tara, but Xander points out that Willow is sitting right there. Tara says she’ll do the spell, but she has no supplies. Willow confesses that she kept a supply or two, “just in case.” Tara sighs loudly as she tells Willow to just get the supplies.

K: The disappointed look on her face made me sad panda.

Lor: Tara gets to the magic making in the kitchen while Spike, Anya and Willow stand in front of the door. Richard is being the token skeptical, confused human. Tara lights her magic concoction on fire, and pink-ish smoke comes out of it and heads over to the sword with the trapped Crimped Ponytail Demon in it. He leaks out, in Alex Mack Goo form. Spike tries the door again, but finds he still can’t leave.

Crimped Ponytail Demon starts waving his sword around and stabs Richard before he melts away. Buffy tries to be positive and say that they will be out soon.

Cut to night time. Spike jokingly asks if she’s ever thought about not celebrating her birthday. (S: Legit question.) The walls are groaning and making nefarious noises.

Anya and Xander are sitting together in a dark room, and Anya is having a panic attack, thinking about Richard dying and being trapped like animals. Xander calms her down and reassures that they will get through this. Xander offers to get her some water and leaves.

The walls keep creaking. I think I’d beat whatever this spell is by sheer force of will at this point. CREAKING WALLS ARE THE WORST.

Crimped Ponytail appears out of a wall behind Xander and holds a sword to him. He screams and I’m struck by the feeling that we haven’t heard Xander straight up scream very much, huh? He’s kind of bad at it. Spike and Buffy come to help fight the demon off, but not very effectively and not before it takes a swipe at Xander’s arm.

Buffy checks to see if Dawn is okay, but she just asks, “do you care?” Buffy doesn’t take the bait and leaves, but Dawn follows. She tells her sister that she didn’t mean for this to happen. She says that Buffy has no idea what it feels like to be alone. Buffy replies that she isn’t alone, and Dawn asks, “then why do I feel this way?”

Sister feels break!


Everyone else is in the dining room. Tara says that they haven’t thought of the right way to get out yet (obvs), but that she’s tried every spell. Anya says that isn’t true and looks pointedly at Willow. OH, SHIT. THIS IS ABOUT TO GET DIRTY. Anya says that they have an incredibly powerful witch on hand and no one is willing to point that out. Willow says she can’t, but Anya thinks she won’t.

Xander agrees with Anya and tells Willow that they brought her back from addiction once and they can do it again. Simple, like he’s talking about actually falling off a wagon. Hop right back on!

Willow: No. I can’t. If I start, I … I might not be able to stop.
Anya: And whose fault is that? You know, if you hadn’t gotten so much of this in your system in the first place-

Tara interrupts Anya and says that if An’s going to have to go through her if she plans on making Willow do something she doesn’t want to do. “Fine,” Anya says. She’s going to handle this herself.

This scene was wonderful in terms of spelling out some of the sub-themes (as I see them) of the season. It speaks so well to how people outside of these situations sometimes see them, whether they are depression or addiction or self-harm. First, you have the idea that addiction is a won’t and not a can’t. The idea that power or strength makes one less of a victim. Plus we see some of the guilt, blame and manipulation that seem to run pretty consistently throughout this season.

Sweeney: YES TO ALL OF THIS. So many interesting things played out in that little scene.

K: Team Tara Appreciation stopping by to discuss how fabulous it is that while she’s disappointed in Willow for having kept magic supplies, she still gets all Momma Bear on Anya’s ass.

Lor: Dawn and Buffy are apparently wrapping up their sister talk. B says that Dawn is her most important job, cuing Dawn to be all, “hey, there are 8 minutes left in the episode, so perhaps I should bring up my GUIDANCE COUNSELOR! now to give you a hint!” Buffy’s all, “did you say guidance counselor?” like it’s some strange thing, and eventually makes her way over to the conclusion that Dawn expressed her wish to said counselor.

Anya is going through Dawn’s things like a crazy person, dumping said things all over the floor. Buffy and Dawn come check out what the commotion is all about. Dawn protests, and Buffy tries to explain that Dawn isn’t to blame. Anya picks up a red jewelry box, and Dawn shouts, “no!” Anya dumps it and inside is a lot of stolen jewelry, half of it belonging to the Magic Box. Dawn runs out, and everyone follows her downstairs.

Anya: I work hard at that store, and I helped you! I took care of you. This is how you say ‘thank you’?

Ooof. Rough. Emma Caulfield has been killing these scenes, by the way. Here’s a place where Anya’s unfiltered mouth feels less like a cheap laughs device. She’s saying what she believes are honest things– at the very least, things no one else is ever willing to say.

Sweeney: I was thinking the same thing about EC in that other scene! This has been such a great episode for her. She’s gotten a lot more to do, as an actress, than the usual shtick they have her perfecting.

Lor: Buffy starts to defend Dawn but then spots the stolen leather jacket on the couch. Anya wants to know how they can ever trust her again. Buffy goes back into defense mode, and says this isn’t all Dawn’s fault. She explains about the wish Dawn made to a mysterious guidance counselor with a blue pendant. Anya puts it together and identifies Halfek. She calls for Hallie, telling everyone that only a vengeance demon can break her own vengeance curse.

Halfrek materializes just in time to be impaled by the Crimped Ponytail demon.

I just remembered that Richard is dying somewhere. Wow. Sucks to be him.

After a Not Break, Buffy, Spike and even Anya start fighting Crimped Ponytail. Buffy grabs its discarded sword, but he melts into the wall. That’s okay; Buffy just stabs the wall for a small touch of Summers’ home destruction. The demon goes poof and then Buffy promptly destroys the sword.

K: It’s been a while since we’ve used that Buffy Break tag. Welcome back, old friend!

Lor: Anya says they have to get Halfrek’s pendant. Hallie is awake, though, and sends Anya flying back with magic. Anya asks how Halfrek could do this to them, but her explanation is interrupted when Spike enters.


BROUGHT TO YOU BY TUMBLR. That is to say, that this is the gifset I saw before I should’ve, so I knew that this was coming when we first met Halfrek. It’s a nice moment, whether this was used to explain a repeat actress or not.

Sweeney: Definitely feels like a retroactive decision to explain the repeat actress, but it’s a totally plausible explanation, and I love it. They’ve recycled before and just ignored it so they didn’t have to. A+ for that, show.

Lor: Tara says she thought vengeance demons only worked for women spurned, and Halfrek explains that that was Anya’s deal. She calls herself well rounded, but Anya explains that Hallie’s got a thing for bad parents.

K: She’d have a field day in Traumaland.

Sweeney: I KNOW! My first thought was, “Halfrek is the vengeance demon Traumaland needs/deserves.” I want to head canon her into every other series we cover. AMAZING THINGS WOULD HAPPEN.

Lor: In one episode we adopted a Snark Lady and gained a vengeance demon. Not bad.

Halfrek says the point is that Dawn was in real pain and no one noticed. “You people deserve to be cursed.” Halfrek wraps up her speech by saying that she hopes they enjoy their nothing-but-time together. She gives a dramatic wave of her arms and nothing happens. This actress has great mannerisms.

Halfrek tries again to disappear but nothing happens. Anya points out that it’s the curse keeping her trapped. Halfrek is all, “FINE. The curse is lifted.” And indeed it is. She is the first to leave.

Tara is in the kitchen cleaning up the last of the magic supplies. Willow thanks Tara for her help and explains that she kept the magic supplies as a safety net, in case things ever got really bad. Tara points out that things did get bad at the party, but that Willow held her ground and said no. Will smiles a little.

Anya and Xander help Richard down the stairs. Xander says they are going to take him to the ER and Anya tells Dawn they will talk about payment for the stolen goods. Spike tries the door and it works. Everyone leaves the party and Buffy and Dawn watch them go before closing the door.

K: The look of joy on Dawn’s face as Buffy closes the door is painful. She was clearly expecting Buffy to leave as well.

Lor: I have a feeling people might rank this episode pretty “meh” for its focus away from Buffy and Spike and the main plot as a whole. This is one of those “time-out” episodes, that asks you to follow a story that doesn’t fully address things that have happened directly before it. That, dear readers, is probably why I liked it. I liked that Dawn’s issues were addressed, though we’ve yet to see if this’ll mean anything to the story. People who are not Dawn-sympathetic might have a harder time with this episode. I loved Queen Sassy Pants. I loved that Spike and Buffy were kept apart for most of the episode. I liked how issues came bubbling up as shit got real.

Sweeney: I think part of the problem with Dawn is that people find it easy to like her and be sympathetic when she’s not expressing her emotions. Whether it’s something in the writing or MT’s acting (probably the acting), but she gives a bit of a BRAT read whenever she’s expressing her feelings. I mentioned this in the comments, but it’s worth stating up here: I think recapping the show makes Dawn a thousand times more sympathetic because we get to talk about what’s being said/done instead of  just absorbing MT’s shrieking.

+1 to the other stuff, too.

Lor: The wish as a plot device is always sort of flimsy to me, just because of the contrivance of ever saying, “I wish…” before anything. I’ve mentioned this before on this website, thanks to a Goosebumps book. Of course.

Finally, this is low on the trauma scale as far as birthdays go. It’s interesting to note that, considering how this has been probably the most traumatic year of Buffy’s life. During a time when she’s having a hard time feeling or caring about much, not even her birthday does much to live up to the standards of the past. This birthday was more of a study of how her post-heaven depression has effected everyone. It was a parade of problems she already had, instead of the creation of any new ones.

Happy birthday, B.


Next time: Riley comes back to town looking for some demon eggs in Buffy the Vampire Slayer S06 E15 – As You Were.


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.

Sweeney (all posts)

I collect elaborate false eyelashes, panda gifs, and passport stamps. I spend too much time on YouTube. Reconciling my aversion to leaving the house/wearing pants with my deep desire to explore everything is my life's great struggle.

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  • Regina

    Kirsti is that gif from Black Books? 🙂

    • Ashley Menvielle

      I’m pretty sure it is from Black Books. I love that show 🙂

    • Melbourne on my Mind

      It is most definitely from Black Books!! (Delayed response due to time differences and actually having to leave the house today)

    • SuzyLee

      “Bernard, Bernard, Bernard, Bernard Bernard, Bernard, Bernard, look, look Bernard, Bernard.”


      I’m a prostitute robot from the future

  • SnazzyO

    Mazel Tov on gaining a Patron Vengeance Demon! You should get medallions as a sign of solidarity.

    I DO think it’s MT’s ability to hit 2 octaves above High C that grates some folks. Personally, I love the character and think MT does a good job with the snark. I’m so glad Hallie pointed out REAL PAIN …REAL PAIN is happening here.

    You’re right on EC really hitting it out of the park. Her position is very unattractive and yet so very real. Bonus points to the show for inviting Clem.

    And now I understand what Sassy Pants Tara was wearing. Honestly, I looked at this episode after your last comments and kept looking at her clothes and going..huh? Sometimes I can be literal.

    Buffy REALLY should just have very merry un-birthdays and forget the real ones.

    • lev36

      I actually LIKE Dawn’s incredibly high-pitched squeaks. The fact that they are generally over very quickly helps make them more cute than painful.

  • Clément Polge

    So yeah, one thing from the opening of that episode, we see the difference between Buffy and Angel: Angel throws his swords in the sewers, Buffy pick swords above grounds. That’s almost a show statement right here !

    Also, I liked this episode, but I was seriously annoyed by Buffy’s obliviousness to Dawn. Like Dawn just “bought” her a super leather jacket (which must cost an arm and a leg and a kidney) and Buffy’s like “oh that’s ni- WOW A CHEST JUST FOR ME ? THANK YOU GUYS I LOVE YOU SOSOSOSO MUCH” and basically throw the jacket away.

    Also also, that Xander referencing Once More With Feeling, I really want to headcanon that Dawn actually summoned it and he just threw himself on that sword for her, because it really makes sense, and the way he says this line really feels like he’s trying to comfort her while stile reminding her that mistakes happen. I’ll agree that this is totally headcanon though.

    Also also also, a huge lot of contrivance I didn’t like, Willow’s “we have more important things to do”, and Dawn’s temper tantrum when people want to leave after a 16 hours long party… I don”t buy either of those.

    On the plus side, Tara’s “You’re gonna back off!” is awesome. She’s always shown as sort of quiet and shy, but she can be fierce when she wants to. ALL THE LOVE FOR TARA.

    And my heart melts whenever Tara and Willow are together, especially because Willow is particularly gorgeous during this whole episode (did I mention my Willow crush yet ?)

    So yeah, good episode, a nice break, which also fits in the narrative since things are also beginning to look up for Buffy: she doesn’t want to die, she seems to be starting to break free from Spike… Everything will probably be all good from now on, right ?

    • Wilhelmina Upton

      Oh yes, the contrivance levels were a tad too high for me as well.

      I don’t think you mentioned your Willow crush yet, but I can’t blame you!! She is gorgeous and did look really nice in this episode (probably because she was meeting Tara again).

    • Raluca

      She is not, imo, breaking free from Spike, as much as getting used to him. She is almost nice to him in the beginning of Dead Things (before he skillfully manages to piss her off with the “animal” comment. She is not throwing him out of her house and she gently rejects Richard in front of him, even if she does call him on his jealousy fit. And she is playing cards with him in a friendly manner, up until he’s stupid enough to spoil that too…

      • Jojo

        Gotta say that the animal remark was followed by an invitation to show off the bite marks. Whatever Buffy may feel away from the bed – carpet – demolished house – she is definitely carrying her own once they are in bed- rug – wreck.

        • Raluca

          It was a stupid move on Spike’s part. And so was the passively aggressive remark of eating Richard in the current episode. Sometimes I think he needs a “permit to speak”. What is interesting is the fact that Spike is so blind when it comes to his relationship with Buffy, but strangely perceptive with others’ relationships around him (including Buffy’s with Angel and Riley).

          • Alicia

            Although stupid, it was supposed to be a compliment. Spike looks quite surprised at Buffy’s reaction to it. He is definitely having trouble with saying things that ruin the moment this season! And I agree about the perceptiveness part.

          • Jojo

            Yeah – demon. Not exactly up on understanding humans even if he thinks he is – and his foot can go really far into his mouth and down his throat because he doesn’t need to breathe.

          • Jojo

            I don’t think it was a stupid move – I think it was an asshole move. And Spike enjoys being an asshole. Yeah – he can delude himself really well, even when he can really see through the rationalizations of others. I think he even kinda knows he is deluding himself but he just is really trying to make his delusion be real. I don’t think that’s all that uncommon. It’s always easier to fix someone else, to solve their problems.

      • Clément Polge

        What I meant by “breaking free” is that she is starting to be able to say no AND to do no. Note that nothing really happened between these two at that party, except for the little scene Tara interrupted.

        • Raluca

          They obviously don’t have sex at the party, but they share looks and words and actually spend time together, which is nice. Sex is wrong, but trying to get along and be friendly isn’t. Spike is trying (in his own twisted way) to get closer to Buffy; she in turn reacts in a nicer manner in this episode, she is almost kind and friendly to him. Hence my remark above. Of course, feel free to disagree, but this is my interpretation. And the following episode is kinda showing that (spoilers) Ohssl tbrf gb uvz naq, sbe n punatr, jnagf fbzrguvat zber guna frk. Fur nfxf sbe uvf srryvatf svefg naq gura sbe frk (juvpu vf avpre guna hfhny, jvgubhg ivbyrapr be ivfvoyr nohfr). Naq fur snyyf nfyrrc ol uvf fvqr, fbzrguvat fur arire qvq orsber. Naq gura Evyrl fubjf hc va gur pelcg… So this is my interpretation.

          • Clément Polge

            Yeah, you’re right actually, but I think I phrased what I meant wrong… It’s more that Buffy is breaking free of her ambivalence vis-à-vis Spike, her no-but-yes. I actually don’t know how to phrase that, coming to terms with her desires perhaps ?

            Anyway there’s a real change of tone in their relationship, and it seems to stem from Buffy because she’s starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, I guess.

          • Raluca

            Yes, Clem (ooops, I did it again! :P) that was my point. She is a bit better now so she can be nicer to him when he deserves it. Plus, Tara knows about them and doesn’t judge or feel disgusted, so Buffy is a bit more ok with it. She also has Tara’s protection and love, so she can allow herself to loosen up around Spike.

          • Clément Polge

            I think Tara’s the main factor here actually, once Buffy started talking about it, it stopped being a dirty dark little secret done by her damaged self, and she was forced to actually process.

            It’s probably all roses and fairies from here on out 😉

          • Raluca

            Exactly! And they lived happily ever after… 😛

          • Jojo

            Train? XD (but not)

          • Jojo

            +1 – and then….naq gura fur qhzcf uvz. V guvax vg fubjf ubj fur vf hfvat uvz jura fur pbzrf naq jnagf uvz gb fnl ur ybirf ure, gura raqf hc chapuvat uvz va gur snpr naq pnyyvat uvz na vqvbg. Orfvqrf V ungr gur qrzba rtt guernq – fb znal sernxva ubyrf gurer!

          • Raluca

            Exactly! But we can comment more on this today, can’t we?!

    • Melbourne on my Mind

      Head canon accepted.

  • Wilhelmina Upton

    What I don’t like about this episode is how Anya and Xander just belittle Dawn. Buffy does it too, but not as much, her fault is more benign neglect. They’re so condescending and looking down upon her, it makes me sick. I get that this is exactly where this episode gets in but ugh, sorry. I’ve felt like Dawn, I’ve been in her shoes and I wanted to be a big brat about it but as that’s not really how I roll, I channelled all my bratness inside. Also, I was already legally an adult so being a brat wasn’t that much of a choice.

    When Tara was still living at the house, Buffy not being around much wasn’t that big of a deal, Queen Sassypants was taking away a lot of that attention deficit but as Tara is not around that much anymore, Dawn has not really anyone left to talk to.

    Tara is amazing in general and just so much more fantastic in this episode. She has come a long way with the Scoobies, she is far from the shy stuttering girl that didn’t fit in. AND HAVE I MADE CLEAR HOW MUCH I LOVE TARA RIGHT NOW? OKAY! THANK YOU!:

    • Wilhelmina Upton

      What I forgot to mention is, I was all for Buffy cutting her hair but it looks weird now and I’m really not digging the highlights.

      Also, CLEM! I have a very soft spot for Clem because he is adorable and not really bad (as far as I remember). I think he’s hilarious, and, come on, he plays poker with kittens. Can I haz more Clem in the epiosdes now?

      • Clément Polge

        Yeah me too, I usually like this hair length, but the way it seems to run away from her neck is just weird. Also her hair doesn’t seem to know what color they are. It’s like her hair’s confused as to what it wants to do and where it wants to be. Kinda like her ! (I’m not seriously making this point though, it’s probably just a shitty haircut gone wrong)

        • Wilhelmina Upton

          Probably. I kinda love the idea of Buffy’s hair expressing her inner turmoil though.

      • Ashlea Kobukowski

        I wish Clem was in every. single. episode.

        • Wilhelmina Upton

          ME TOO! This is turning into a huge Clem-lovefest which I’m totally okay with.

          • Ashlea Kobukowski

            We all totally deserve it after discussing all the trauma of this season. So, Clem happies for all! Let the lovefest continue!

          • Wilhelmina Upton

            Oh so very true!

            Here are happy Clem feels for you. And here are some happy Clem thoughts for you as well! CLEM FOR EVERYONE!

          • Ashlea Kobukowski

            Happy Clem feels/thoughts received and appreciated! 🙂

        • Melbourne on my Mind


      • mjkbk

        At the poker game, Clem nodded his head in agreement that kittens are delicious. Almost the perfect demon friend…..but not quite. I’ll be keeping my kitties in the back bedroom whenever he comes over, thank you. 😉

    • Jojo

      I believe the belittlement is meant as humor and I agree it’s kind of annoying. I’ll give Anya more slack because if you’ve lived a millennium then you probably don’t see much difference in a few years.

      • Wilhelmina Upton

        Maybe, it just annoyed me.

  • Democracy Diva

    CLEM IS SECRETLY MY FAVORITE CHARACTER IN THE BUFFYVERSE. That’s only kind of an exaggeration. That is all.

    • Wilhelmina Upton

      MINE TOO. He is so great, I would love to actually hang out with him and play kitten poker.

      • Clément Polge


        • Wilhelmina Upton

          Clem, more like chlamydia! #YouBeenHazed

          • A+ and 1430 for that excellent Daily Grace reference/impersonation

          • Clément Polge

            Et tu, Sweeney ?

          • Wilhelmina Upton

            (Completely off topic, but wouldn’t it be, Et toi? Or were you saying sth else entirely?)

          • Regina

            It’s Latin!

          • Clément Polge

            Actually in French it would probably be “Et toi aussi”, but I was actually going for the historical reference in latin with the “Et tu, brute ?”, which is what Ceasar reportedly said upon recognising his son amongst the group of people stabbing him.

            But yeah, when you replace “Brute” by Sweeney, it’s easy to miss…

          • Wilhelmina Upton

            I knew I should have studied Latin instead of French in school. (I also don’t get this reference at all but that’s fine.)

          • Clément Polge

            Oh, I didn’t study Latin either, I just learn a few idioms so I can appear smarter than I actually am.

            It’s just an expression to signify betrayal because, you know, getting literally stabbed in the back by an uprising led by your son, it doesn’t get much more betrayal-y than that.

          • Wilhelmina Upton

            Oh, okay, homo homini lupus. Do I look smart now, too? 😀

          • Jojo

            Vani Vidi Vici – I came, I conquered. I felt really bad about it 🙂

          • Clément Polge

            Actually it’s “Veni”, not “Vani”, but I know what you mean 😉 YOU MADE A BEAR !

          • Jojo

            Knew I should have checked the spelling! XD

          • Clément Polge

            Aw 🙁

          • Wilhelmina Upton

            I was just welcoming him to the Snark Squad family.

        • Raluca

          I kinda wanted to ask if this is what your friends call you 😀

          • Clément Polge

            Sadly, they don’t. They all suck. BOO.

      • Democracy Diva

        I’ll see you at the kitten poker game. Bring some tabbys!

        • Wilhelmina Upton

          BRB, stealing kittens from my neighbourhood!

    • Anagnorisis

      I think Clem is the only universally loved character of the Buffyverse. Clem ♥

      • Clément Polge

        Well there’s Lorne too… I mean, who doesn’t love Lorne ? Who ? WHO ?

        • Alicia

          I don’t know, I’ve seen people who find him a pretty pointless/superfluous character.

          • Clément Polge
          • Regina

            I LOVE LORNE. What’s not to love?!

          • Alicia

            I don’t personally think so, but fbzr crbcyr guvax gung ur fubhyq arire unir orpbzr n erthyne naq gung ur jnf ernyyl cbvagyrff va natry frnfba svir rfcrpvnyyl.

          • Raluca

            No way! Lorne was awesome!

      • Heather Bungard-Janney


        • Anagnorisis

          I read a few people that think his stoicism is boring and forced.
          The same (some negative comments) with Lorne .
          But I’ve never read anything negative about Clem. Yet. You can’t please everyone.

  • Angi Black

    That was it. The Halfrek moment. And every time i rewatch this series, I never remember that’s coming until it happens and then I’m all, “Genius!” I love that she was the one who shot spike down and basically caused him to go evil and now here they are. It’s so fantastic there;s no way they could of planned it. or maybe they did. but man, oh man, it’s one of my favorite things. I have many things to say about Buffy and Spike, but I’ll save it for another day.

    • Jojo

      I have read some speculation as to who wished what – was Halfrek there to knock Spike for a loop? And what child she could be avenging? Or was he killing her real deal and she had to remove him? Fun stuff….

      • Clément Polge

        When Anya coughs she says “Daddy issues”, so the child would be Halfrek herself, wouldn’t it ? The same way Anya’s thing was women scorned, because she was herself one once.

        • Jojo

          No – Anya helps women with guy issues but the guys she takes revenge on aren’t usually her own lovers. Halfrek had Daddy issues that lead her to help her revenge parent issues. But I think Halfrek is probably as old as Anya, so I doubt she was just starting out.

          • Clément Polge

            Oooh no it’s my bad, I misunderstood you, I thought you meant in this episode, but you meant the flashback 200 years ago where William-The-Not-Yet-Bloody and Halfrek are together, right ?

            I’ve actually always assumed she was still human at that point. Huh. I guess she could have been a vengeance demon already, yeah.

          • Jojo

            Yeah – I think Halfrek acts kinda mentor with Anyanka. Part of that is marrying a human but it seems much of it is just the way they are. Halfrek just seems to older than about 1/10th of Anya’s age.

          • So you might totally be right as this is all pretty open to interpretation, but to me, that mentoring vibe seems mostly a consequence of Anya’s post-demon existence. Sort of like she became “young” again by virtue of acquiring mortality. Plus, this moment might not have happened because I don’t actually remember, but:

            Qbrfa’g gur qhqr jub znxrf gur iratrnapr qrzbaf (WHFGVPR QRZBAF) rkcerff gung Nalnaxn unq orra fbzrguvat bs n snibevgr bs uvf? Gung nyfb xvaq bs znqr zr nffhzr gung Naln jnf jnl byqre.

            IDK. Just speculation. Proves nothing, especially since I’m not actually sure of the particulars of it.

          • Jojo

            Also not sure – not that I consider the comics to be canon but Wiki says – Halfrek later appeared in the comic Spike: Old Times, which established that she was ‘on a job’ at the time that William fell for Cecily. The night William became a vampire, she caused the deaths of the rude party-goers who had laughed at William’s poetry. And Anya and Hallie do talk about the Crimean war – 1853 at some point. I just assumed she and Anya have been BFF for a long time

          • Oh! That’s interesting. Counting the comics or not, the reference to the Crimean war is definitely canon and legit. My anecdote (which may or may not be relevant) mostly meant to suggest that Anya’s the older demon, but older or not, that’s pretty solid evidence for Halfrek having been a demon already by the time she ran into Spike.

          • Jojo

            Hmmm – then Spike was the child she saved? Or some child wanted him saved and wished the mean people would be killed? What if William had a nephew……story material here.

  • lev36

    1. I too will jump on the endless Bandwagon of Love for “Queen Sassypants” Tara. This episode was awesome for her, and I loved her snark.

    2. Buffy has been wearing subtly bondage-y neckaces this season, and it’s a good look for her, if you can ignore that her delve into a little more kinkiness is dysfunctional, consent-wise.

    3. Halfrek’s style, when she teleports, is totally Endora! That’s from Bewitched, which is a show you young whippersnappers have never heard about, like Gilligan’s Island and Hogan’s Heroes. On the plus side, though, TV writing now actually includes story arcs. When I was a kid, we had to walk three miles in the snow, uphill both ways, to find a story arc. That’s about how far it was to the library.

    4. CLEM!!!

    • Wilhelmina Upton

      Bewitched, please, I watched re-runs of that show as a kid. I so wanted to be able to do that nose twitch thing.


      • lev36

        I was just engaging in some you-kids-get-off-my-lawn to pass the time. 😉

        • Jojo

          Yeah – I had to feed the chickens and milk the cows and then walk barefoot through the daily blizzard with the wolves nipping at my ass!

          • Heather Bungard-Janney

            Yes, but were you *thankful* for it?

          • Jojo

            Oh yeah – every time I opened my my lunch pail to eat my stale bread and lard. I was thankful the grease was slippery enough to get that hunk of dry bread down my throat. Didn’t want to break any more teeth. XD

  • darkalter2000

    I love Tara, in all her awesome. I also like how in this episode we get to see other aspects of her personality that we don’t normally get to see. All her friends are usually too strong-willed to need her to defend them, but she is totally willing to mix it up when they falter. Love, love, love. 🙂

  • Anagnorisis

    Yeah, I never liked Tara before but I have to say she is getting better in this episodes, I like all her interactions, both with Buffy and Spike but also how she stood up for Willow.
    Halfrek/Ceclily!! Yes! I like this character and I love that they make it canon that she was the same person/demon.
    BTW, my birthday is in a few days, but now I’m really scared to celebrate it XD. Also, everytime it’s my birthday I announced it with this episode tittle. Yeah.

  • Alicia

    I actually really enjoy this episode. I’m definitely on board the flippervention (good word). Also Emma Caulfield showing her stuff and everyone’s Clem love. Ooh and Willow/Tara feels too, they’re so cute in this episode! And the looks on everyone’s’ face when they are straining to leave are hilarious.

    And of course Tara and Spike’s interactions are all priceless. I especially love Spike’s adorably confused expression during the ‘Richard is cute’ conversation and the first ‘muscle cramp’ exchange. That excuse! Smooth, Spike, smooth. Hee.

    Dawn definitely gives me the feels too. But she pretty much always does. I can see how people find her annoying, with the brat vibe you guys were talking about. But I’ve never really found her annoying at all. I think that this episode is not that well-liked partly because of the focus on Dawn feels, which a lot of people just find whiny.

    • Alicia

      I love love the Spike/Buffy scenes here. They are quality Spuffy banter, which is one of my favourite things ever! Buffy teasing Spike about being the ‘jealous one’ is awesome. The “Shut up, he’s sweet” exchange is adorable, and I love the delivery on Spike’s “Can I get you a soda pop? I think I’m in luurve” line. The argument about who’s insane/threatening to leave is also great. Stop me before I quote everything. All the little looks they share over the course of the episode also make me smile. Especially the one where Buffy looks at Spike and he gives her his eyebrow raise of sexy after Buffy gets her portable massager. And they were playing cards on the floor together!

      It is much lighter than what we’ve been seeing from them, and a little jarring after the last episode. I really would have liked a little follow up to the alley beating, especially with Spike still sporting an injury from it. I wonder if they talked about it at all? Probably not, but there is a bit of a gap there in my opinion. Maybe they hadn’t even seen each other since then? Oh well, it makes sense that Spike wouldn’t hold it against her. It doesn’t seem to matter how she treats him, he’s always eager for more Buffy time.

      I will make a truly shocking confession and say that I really don’t have a problem with Spike’s lame innuendos in this episode, or any other. I like my Spike cheeky, flirty, and more than a little rude and crude. But obviously that’s my preference. They’re eye-roll worthy and silly, but Spike always looks so proud of himself for coming up with them that I can’t help find it a bit endearing.

      • Jojo


      • Danna

        Really refreshing to hear your point of view. Thank you for sharing it.

      • Ashley Menvielle

        Yes, to all of this :).I also love that Buffy tells Dawn to stay close to Spike when the shit hits the fan with that demon in the wall and being stuck in the house. She may tell Spike she doesn’t trust him but I think she really does: she trusts him to protect Dawn, that’s huge.

        • Raluca

          🙂 Yep Ashley, I had forgotten about that…

        • Clément Polge

          That’s sort of a selective trust though, she trust him for certain functions – being a warrior, protecting Dawn, this sort of thing. This isn’t the same kind of general blanket trust that Buffy has for her friends, for instance.

          Which is actually the whole paradox that show the mess of this situation: Buffy is able to trust Spike with Dawn, but not with herself.

          Weird, huh ?

          • Raluca

            She actually kinda trusts him with herself, too… letting him handcuff her, as it is implied in Dead Things, is interesting. I think she doesn’t trust him in an abstract way, in the sense that he doesn’t feel remorse or doesn’t care about right or wrong. I am not sure if I am being perfectly clear, it’s hard to make my thoughts understandable sometimes.

          • Clément Polge

            I actually was under the impression that he was asking to handcuff her, as a sort of proof of trust, and that her answer meant no. But that’s mainly headcanon territory here, and I think we are actually in agreement 🙂

          • Raluca

            Well, when she asks Tara to check if she came back wrong, she is rubbing her wrists self-consciously and also hiding her hands behind her back when she realizes it, so I guess my interpretation stems from there. I see Spike’s question more like “You let me tie you up and do things to you… so you trust me, right?!” to which she replies that no, she doesn’t, because on a deeper level (of mutual trust and affection) she doesn’t – she cannot, since he is still a monster and has no soul.

          • Clément Polge

            Handcuffs are dumb anyway since any of them could probably break them if they wanted to. Except if they are contrivance-powered handcuff, in which case they’re more resistant than adamantium.

          • Raluca

            I am sure the handcuffs are just a metaphor for kinky sex. A wrong metaphor, imo, since sex doesn’t mean just plain old missionary to me. Sex is what 2 people do together and is ok and acceptable for both parties. So using handcuffs can be ok, if the parties agree to it (and to the “safe word”).
            But yes, they are stupid for Spike and Buffy because of their strength. Chains would be better 😛

          • Jojo

            I think that the breakable cuffs are more a reminder to not use hands. And I also assumed – since they showed Spike cuffed in her dream that they both were cuffed at some point.

          • Alicia

            Yeah, in the shooting script it says:

            Buffy’s absently rubbing her wrists. Handcuff action ahoy.

            Willow mentions her being “all tied up” and Buffy is startled during the Bronze scene, as well.

          • Jojo

            Well, when Buffy was facing death it was Spike she told to protect Dawn – and Dawn meant so much to her that she died in her place. And she is trusting Spike with herself – with all the anger and darkness that she can’t show anyone else.

      • Raluca

        Alicia, I also like their banter and how they play cards, a bit isolated from the rest. There is no follow up on the beating in the alley, true, but there is follow up on the first scene of Dead Things, with them hanging out together and more or less being civil to each other. Well… enjoy it, as it won’t obviously last, since this is a Whedon show.

  • Regina
    • Clément Polge

      Huh, seriously, I have a lot of issues with this article. Mostly the fact that it ends saying that “his most vocal fans are fucking assholes”, which feels like a way of saying “by the way, if you don’t agree with what I said in this article, it’s because you’re a fucking asshole”.

      His #2 is really just saying “LOL, DOLLHOUSE SUCKS”, which apparently means that everyone should share his opinion ? Because I don’t remember seeing anyone blame Fox for Dollhouse’s cancellation… It’s a bit sad that they didn’t air the epitaph, but the show was promoted and aired correctly. It just didn’t start correctly.

      His #3 is basically “yeah, Whedon says that, but I just DON’T BELIEVE HIM”, which, huh, I’m not sure what we’re supposed to say here ? If the author doesn’t believe that casting and direction matters, maybe he should watch Buffy, the movie ?

      I have a huge issue with his #4, which is something I talked about on Sweeney’s vlog for the 50 shades ending: people thinking feminism means having perfect women with no flaws at all and needing absolutely no one… So basically, robots ? Because yeah, that’s empowering. I really hate this way of thinking… I don’t know if anyone here has seen Girls, the HBO show, but its main character is a woman who’s basically a fuck-up in any way and you can really relate to her. But I guess writing deep and beliveable female characters is disempowering, NEED MORE ROBOCOPETTE.

      As for his #5, I can only speak for myself, but there are a lot of shows with cheap deaths, where some dude dies because it’s the season finale and we need some quick way to get drama or something. I’ve never felt that in a Whedon show, I’ve always felt that the death sort of made sense within the story. And it’s sort of “deserved”, it’s not the Indiana Jones who just sort of ducks to evade 50 machine rifles and then suddenly dies at the end because it’s the end. Plus, there aren’t even that many deaths… It’s just that they tend to stay with us more than other shows (probably because they don’t just die for the show finale and then leave with the rest, and we do get to see the distress and the absence of the deceased).

      Anyway, my 2 cents, I hope I’m not sounding too fanboy-ragey, but this article really felt biased and unfair, so I went all “SOMEONE IS WRONG ON THE INTERNET”. Apologies!

      • Regina

        I meant to write interesting as “interesting.” Fixed it!
        I normally find Cracked articles funny, but not this one. I don’t agree with it either but it obviously didn’t make me as ragey as you 🙂 Good refuting, bro.

      • Nicole von St Ange

        To add – someone who uses this line:
        “focus solely on badly-written fanfic fantasies for frantic bean-flicking”

        and then tries to make a point about feminism in the same article is never going to convince me about anything. ‘Cause the only shippers are women right?

  • Jojo

    Had some RL – yuck. Anyway – I think I kinda get what you guys have been so patiently trying to get through to me so I thank you – and I wrap myself in a red blanky so that no one will know I am blushing at my not getting.

    I kinda like this episode for the same reason – it’s a break from all the intense emotions. I believe this is the premier Dawn is a brat episode. I have sympathy for Dawn, but I wish MT had some grasp of nuance. In this episode she’s as nuanced as a plague of newscasters.

    I love-love-love Clem. Which is part of my earlier Initiative rage – because CLEM! I watch now and I keep seeing poor Clem in a cage saying “Guys, uh guys?” and I feel demon solidarity rage.

    The massager was even funnier to me because I had one of those at one time – they are the ones chiropractors use and mine came with a warning DO NOT USE ON FINGERS OR HAIR and I have to say it took me way too much time to figure out what that meant. Besides….fingers? Pinkies?

    I love sassy Tara – but I also think Spike was just bewildered at the fact that Tara seemed to know more than expected. And yes, I also love Spike and most of his interactions with Buffy. And I love Halfrek and Anya, too. And did I mention Tara – because she deserve many mentions.

    Now I will run off to the couch of FEELS and sob my hear out because of REASONS – FEELS REASONS. No Snows allowed – Rirel fvatyr punenpgre V yvfgrq – Gnen, Fcvxr, Naln, Unyserx – gurl ner nyy tbvat gb qvr!

    • Raluca

      I love Clem too… and Lorne, for that matter! And I understand the REASONS and sympathize…I too love all characters that you mentioned (and Faith :D).
      I didn’t quite like the episode, which felt a bit silly, but I liked Tara-Spike-Buffy interactions. And I liked that Buffy seemed to be trying to integrate Spike into her life a bit and kinda took his feelings into consideration by softly rejecting Richard.
      Also, I am wondering what Spike thought the massage equipment should be used for 😉

      • Jojo

        I love Faith – she really comes into her own on Angel. The episode was light and contrived – and the two poor kids who never knew about magic could have been used a bit more. I kinda wonder what the regulars said when they took him to the emergency room

        • Melbourne on my Mind

          Knowing how the authorities work in Sunnydale, they wouldn’t need to say anything. Either the authorities wouldn’t bother asking what happened, or they’d just jump to their own conclusions (see: “barbeque fork”)

          • Jojo

            “He was getting dressed for work and he impaled himself on his belt buckle”

        • Raluca

          Faith is the best ever! 🙂 I would have loved to see her and Spike in some scenes together… I am sure they would, you know, hit it off easily 😛 zber guna gur barf va Frnfba 7, V zrna… erny fprarf, jvgubhg Ohssl jnyxvat va ba gurz 😛

          • Clément Polge

            It would be so good he would gain his soul just to be able to lose it again Angel-style.

          • Raluca

            That is lame… no way! If Spike had a soul, he’d be far better at it than Angel! Besides, who needs a soul when they have Spike’s cheekbones?! And the black leather duster? 😛

          • Jojo

            Gurl ernyyl jrer fb shpxvat ubg gbtrgure va gung fznyy fprar – pna lbh vzntvar vs Snvgu unq orra gur Fynlre vafgrnq bs Ohssl. Gur fperra jbhyq unir zrygrq!

          • Raluca

            Gurl jrer… naq gur thvyg ba gurve snprf jura O pbzrf va jnf nyfb cevpryrff!

  • Heather Bungard-Janney

    I don’t see how it was that much of a dick move for Spike to come to the party. This is the guy who stuck around while Buffy was dead and likely saved everyone’s asses repeatedly, and who took care of Dawn, and then as soon as Buffy was dragged back from the dead got kicked to the curb and treated like ABSOLUTE crap by the Scoobies, like any respect they’d shown him before then was all a sham to get him to use his muscle to their advantage. Like it or not, he was part of the group for months, and Willow DID mention the party to him.

    What was a dick move, if you ask me, was Xander, Anya, and Willow deciding that it would be a good idea to bringing one of Xander’s coworkers along whom Buffy had never even met, intending to throw him at Buffy as potential date material. Because, again, slapping a bandaid on the problem is how they’ve all chosen to deal with pretty much all their issues. She’s miserable and overwhelmed and still coping with being dragged out of Heaven – I know, let’s set her up on a blind date! A surprise blind date! That oughta help!

    Instead what happened was, Richard got stabbed because he was the clueless normal guy, and BECAUSE he was clueless and not part of the group, none of the rest of them could actually open their mouths and talk about anything real until after he’d been seriously wounded and taken out of the picture for awhile.

    If anything, bringing Richard along was just another symptom of the problems the group has had this entire season – utter self-absorption and an inability or unwillingness to really see what the people around them actually need, and then providing that instead of providing whatever would make the giver feel better.

    However: Queen Tara wins everything.

    • Ashley Menvielle

      A+ to all your points.

    • Raluca

      A world of YES! The SG treat Spike like crap and they have no reason to! They do not know anything about him and Buffy boinking abusively. I think the only person to ever treat Spike with respect was Joyce.
      You know what this reminds me of? Dumbeldore telling Harry Potter that Sirius treated Kreatcher poorly and that was part of the reason the elf betrayed him. What I mean is that if the SG treated Spike better and let him be more included, maybe Buffy wouldn’t feel so ashamed of her sexual thing with Spike and would actually find understanding and not judgment among her friends.

      • Jojo

        They did tend to use him to throw at the scary demons and then kick him to the curb. I don’t recall anyone ever just coming over to visit except Dawn – and she was disciplined by Buffy.

        What I royally hate is the people who say that Spike took care of Dawn for those months to show off because he wanted to ‘get into her pants’. Cus dead body pants – kinda creepy!

        • Raluca

          Exactly. Which doesn’t, of course, justify Spike’s being a dick to Buffy so many times. But he deserved better treatment for helping out. There was an interesting approach to Spike’s behaviour on another blog, and basically the idea behind it was that his being helpful might have had a wrong motivation at times, but sometimes faking being good and being good in itself are not easy to tell apart – also, faking it might lead to actually not having to fake it in the future. Something like: if you don’t feel friendly but know you should be, just do it by faking and it’ll eventually come naturally to you. Or the advice that some people give to smile even if (and especially if) you don’t feel like it, because faking smiles can lead to actual ones :). I am not sure I am making any sense 😛

          • Alicia

            Fake it until you make it!

          • Regina

            Works for lots of things 😉

          • Jojo

            As soon as Buffy came back – literally moments after the SG saw her at the house, Xander walked out the door and started up with “Hope you aren’t gonna start your little obsession” Fuckwad is too nice a word for saying that to someone who spent months trying to trying to save everyone’s asses.

          • Raluca

            I never liked Xander and this little line here is one perfect example of why 😛

        • Clément Polge

          Well, some people like dead body pants. I’m not sure being nice to the dead body’s sister would have much of an effect though, so that’s probably the dumbest argument I’ve heard today !

          Spike was actually doing really good until Buffy came back IMO, then she went spinning, and she took him along for the ride. But I’ve expressed my thoughts in encyclopedia-length comments already, so I won’t reiterate 🙂

          • Raluca

            Agreed, Clem! (See what I did here?! :P)
            Everything went spiraling down since B came back for both of them.

          • Jojo

            I think he thinks he is doing good by Buffy – even though he is actually kind of a disaster. All he really has to go by is his relationship with Dru because even if he did see other human relationships, by and large they were food at the time. The steak eater does not care if the cow loves the bull.

            She came to him for solace – it wasn’t until OMWF after she kissed him that he even moved on her. So I’d say about mid-season things went nutso.

      • Clément Polge

        Didn’t Spike try to kill them a few years ago though ? Like, several times ? I’d probably hold a grudge too.

        Xander has already proven with Angel that he doesn’t forgive easy, and that in his opinion “once evil, forever evil”… And then he went and proposed to a vengeance demon. Because he’s Xander, and no one knows how his brain works. To be fair, the blood was probably not often in his brain when he was with Anya.

        As for Willow… We haven’t seen that many Willow/Spike scene, have we ? I’m just realising that now. She’s been pretty sweet to him though, even when he was evil (and trying to bite her).

        Spike’s most fierce detractor was Giles though, and even though he left, his shadow sort of remains, which IMO is why Spike can’t really find a place in the group yet, rather than by the will of any individual member.

        (feel free to disagree though, I’m probably wrong on several counts 😉 )

        • Raluca

          Actually, he did. But I think Jojo and I were referring to his being part of the SG in Season 6 and part of Season 5 (at the end), not before. Ever since S6 started, he actually didn’t wrong any of them (except Buffy) in any way. He cared for Dawn, went on patrols with them etc. And Giles seemed ok with Spike in Bargaining. I know it is no love lost between them, but what I am trying to say is that they could have treated him with more respect, which he deserved (hence my reference to Dumbledore, Sirius and Kreacher – Dumbledore believed that treating the obviously disgusting elf with kindness would help him more than showing him scorn, which he deserved; and Dumbledore is right, because when Harry Potter treats the elf kindly, Kreacher actually does change). 🙂

          • Clément Polge

            I genuinely don’t remember the gang doing anything to make Spike feel welcome or unwelcome though. Again, Xander being the exception, but that’s Xander… And the reasons probably don’t have that much to do with Spike as they have to do with Xander himself.

            I agree that he deserved more, I’m just not sure if I would have known how to act any better in their place. He generally seems pretty content in his crypt not seeing anyone, doesn’t he ?

          • Alicia

            I think when Buffy came back she became Spike’s singular focus. And she started avoiding her friends in favour of Spike pretty much straight away, thus separation.

            The Scoobies don’t seem bothered at all by Spike’s presence at the party. He’s even playing poker with Xander of all people.

          • Jojo

            Did anyone ever indicate that they valued him as anything more than a fighter they rely on to save him? Did anyone ever seem to want to visit – talk to him – get to know him – be any kind of friend? I think that they gave more affection to the bot while Buffy was dead.

        • Jojo

          Didn’t Spike save them more than a few times? I think it’s a dick move to remember season 4 (Adam) and forget all of what happened after. But I think that Xander has a real asshole streak when it comes to Spike. I think that, in general, Spike pays the price for what Angelus did when he was soulless. Angel showed what a soulless demon can do and even though Spike never even came close to that level of evil he really still gets more grief from everyone than Angel does when he visits. Especially Xander

          • Clément Polge

            I do agree that Spike is sort of paying for what Angelus did, and I’m not saying they’re right to be wary of him, just that I understand that if someone tried to kill me, I would feel a bit weird hanging around with them the next year. Or, like, ever. Especially for someone known to enjoy mind games…

            Again, not saying Spike doesn’t deserve more at the moment, just saying I can understand the other not being all hugs and kisses over him 🙂

          • Jojo

            Not sure – the only time he really was a danger was with Adam. And he did save their lives more than once. Gotta say that Tara seems to know him – knows he loves Buffy in his own way – and care about him. I think Willow kinda sees him as part of the scenery (and she would have the most reason to be wary – he did attack her twice). Xander is a douche, and Spike and Anya are great together. I really wish the show had more of them!

      • Heather Bungard-Janney

        Yes, but you’re assuming that Season 6 Scoobies are capable of understanding and not judgment, and apart from Tara, well… no. And it’s sad, because Dawn might not stop him and Buffy from being together, and Willow has absolutely no room to throw stones and might at least come around. That leaves Xander who is not just against, but loudly and viciously against. I try not to be a Xander-basher, but in this season at least, he is not only a coward but a tremendous hypocrite.

        Isn’t it interesting that the only people who are consistently not supportive of Buffy’s choices are the men? And yet she listens to them and lets them dictate her life, consistently? We could go into lots of analysis about either Buffy’s issues or whether Joss is actually a feminist writer after all, given that Buffy allows the men to control her so much and that they do so through shame and guilt – she’s being irresponsible, she’s neglecting her duty, and so on.

        In this season especially, she could be well within character to declare that Giles isn’t around and doesn’t get a say, and Xander needs to clean his own house before he starts throwing stones at hers. But she won’t, and I wish to God she did.

        • Raluca

          I do not think B could actually be with Spike as long as he is a monster (which is forever). But the SG could help with her self esteem if they were not judging her. Which she thinks they are going to. So she keeps quiet and feels dirty in silence. Tara showed her she understands, so B feels a bit less dirty and maybe even a bit protected. So she can actually be nicer to the monster she is using 🙂
          Well, about men controlling her, it is more or less the norm, our society being what it is. But maybe the gender-based approach and interpretation is not the best sometimes.

          • Jojo

            Gotta say that if Spike is a monster forever then so is Angel. Can’t say more – spoilers.

          • Raluca

            Well, I said it especially not to spoil things… And they both are, no argument there!

        • Jojo

          +1 I also see him as both a coward and a hypocrite. Over 1000 years I know that Anya’s body count probably surpasses that entire Fanged Four. She didn’t chose to become a human and stop killing anymore than Spike did. And talk about trying to kill everyone! It takes a whole lot of hypocrisy to ignore that.

        • Ashley Menvielle

          Late reply is late but good point on the men in Buffy’s life trying to control her and her letting them to an extent! I’ve noticed this too on rewtches and UGH, hate it!

          For me, I think it means that Joss is not as feminist as he thinks he is because obviously he uses a lot of sexist tropes and doesn’t always subvert them or worst, plays them straight: sex is bad and good girls shouldn’t do it but if they must it better be in a committed monogamous relationship, is a big one. Joss is a man, a straight white one at that, and therefore enjoys privilege that others don’t have built in. This doesn’t mean he can’t be a feminist, but he would need to always aware his privilege, and be open to being to having others call him on it in his writing and obviously that didn’t happen enough.

          Thank you for bringing this up! Calling attention to sexism and other isms in media helps to subvert and destroy it, imho. Silence is the worst option along with acceptance.

          • Heather Bungard-Janney

            Thank you for the support; I appreciate it.

          • Clément Polge

            I honestly don’t understand this comment… Joss IS a straight white man, so ? I’m not sure what’s the point of saying this when mentioning his writing.

            I’m not sure 50 shades would be any better if E.L. James was black or asian or bisexual or whatever.

            I don’t even get your argument about feminism, what is feminism for you ? Is it just women with absolutely no need for men AT all ? Because I don’t think we expect any male character to be able to stand on his own without any woman in his life, so why should we expect that of a woman ?

            You also seem to take his writing of Buffy as some sort of huge True Message Of Actual Factily Fact About Life That Shan’t Ever Be Denied, maybe it’s just a character, you know ? And perhaps every character don’t need to be a transgender neutrum pansexual of mixed heritage ? Buffy’s sex life is obviously very vanilla, and that makes total sense, since she probably didn’t really have time to discover her sexuality, what with all those apocalypses to stop, and the occasional death. You’re taking Buffy’s naive approach of sex as if it was truth, when really, it’s just a character’s opinion.

            Sex doesn’t even necessarly mean bad even in the Whedonverse, it sucks for Buffy, but that’s because the whole world sucks for her, but Xander and Anya have sex and nothing wrong happen, Willow have had both straight and gay sex, and she seems ok, if we go on Angel, Angel had sex, and he had a son, which kinda seems like a good thing, Cordy has sex, and let’s not even get into Firefly, where Wash and Zoey have sex, and Inara who seems to be the most balanced character of the ship is actually a prostitute…

            I don’t see how men in Buffy’s life CONTROL her either. Control implies manipulation implies malice aforethought. They advise her, sure, as her friends, which, huh, isn’t that what friends are supposed to do ? Or does having a cock mean you should just shut up and be pretty because YAY FEMINISM ?

            I think we might actually disagree on the very definition of feminism in writing, to me, it’s about writing women with actual depth who aren’t just here to support a main cast, it seems to me you’re advocating some Rambo-like women who don’t need no one to kick ass and chew bubble-gum.

          • Ashley Menvielle

            Allow me to clarify a few things: when I bring up that Joss’s ethnicity and sexual identity it is because these actual are important factors in forming his identity and the world around him. Who he is and where he comes from shapes how he sees things and other people. Joss a man attempting to write what he has described as a feminist icon, when writing Buffy. He is a man attempting to write about a woman when he is not one. He can try to put himself in her shoes and in the shoes of women in general (and it’s great that he is trying to do so, ) but he will never really know what it’s like to actually be a woman and live her life. When I say he is straight and white also, I bring it up , not as a bad thing, but as a reminder that he has a lot of privelege in our specifically western culture and society that others, such as the women he writes about and for do not. So there are things he doesn’t get or misses implications of when he writes her character and her interactions with other characters. This is all I meant when I brought up that he’s white and straight. Are you saying these things don’t matter and so not color his view of the world around him? You bring up that I maybe think everyone should be written as pan sexual? Not at all but my point was background matters especially in writing about a female character in a patriarchal culture.

            As far as controlling Buffy’s behavior, I didn’t say they control her but that they TRY to and that often she allows it. I mean this from a doylist perspective of this is what happens in the storylines at times within the narrative: Giles job as a Watcher is to train and guide her, to control her actions as a tool for WC and the forces of good. Thankfully Buffy is rebellious of this control form the start but doesn’t really free herself from the control of the WC until S3 when she implicitly quits. Xander often attempts to exert his control over Buffy’s sexuality from the beginning of series. He wants her to date him and when she doesn’t he often does not react well, see Prophecy Girl after she tells him she just wants to be friends, he reacts by bringing up her attraction to Angel, something about needing to not have a pulse to date her. If Xander can’t date her, then he tries to push her towards who or who not to : normal human guys like him, yes and vamps are a no. He frequently uses slut shaming towards her and CCordelia.

            Do you need more examples? I could list more but I think I’ve better clarified my points, which I suppose wwere vague in my initial response to Heather.

            To answer your stronger points/questions, ( to be honest I feel a bit attacked by some of your strong responses but am trying to remain calm and express myself in a way that won’t England as my earlier comment seems to have) I am all for writing characters with depth, male and female of all backgrounds thank you very much, Rambo like women don’t interest me because they are just me with breasts. “Does having a cock mean you should just shut up and be pretty because YAY FEMINISM” wow, of course not. I’m talking nuances, not broad strokes. I love Buffy mostly because the characters are so complex. Sure the men her life can advise her, friendships are great. This doesn’t mean the characters don’t at times have their own agenda and at all times see the world through their ownvarious backgrounds and viewpoints, just as the writers who wrote them do.

            Buffy’s life and story are obviously richer for the supporting characters in . I’m truly sad that you got the women don’t need men vibe from my comment because I want saying that at all. Also, yeah not all sex is “bad” in the Whedonverse, but that doesn’t mean that aspects of how it’handled in Buffy aren’t problematics: see season 3 and the dichotomy of good girl Buffy, has one partner, vs “bad girl Faith, who enjoys an active sex life. Faith is judged very harshly by Willow in particular for this. Willow doesn’t like Faith and so what does she use against Faith to insult her? Her sexuality. Virgin/Who’re is an often used trope that crops up here and unfortunately the show supports it by labeling Faith, who becomes the bad slayer, as sexuality promiscuous especially contrast to Buffy and Willow.

            I’m mostly talking about the writing and its implications, good and bad in the comment above. So. Yeah. I get that their just, you know characters. But the writers and the audience, we are not.These characters and how they are written reflect for good or bad, on us and our culture. The good, and ugly of what comes out of these characterizations and the shows themes in general should be discussed, all of it. I hope that helps clarified my point.

    • Clément Polge

      Dick move might be too strong a word, but let’s say we’re allowed to have doubts as to his intents. By which I mean, he’s may be just coming to be with Buffy, but not necessarly to be nice to her… Which is sort of what we see when he starts groping her, isn’t it ?

      I do agree that Anya and Xander blinding Buffy with a guy wasn’t cool either though. I don’t think it was discarding the problem though, it’s more that they don’t really realise the place Buffy’s in, and they’re trying to help in their own way, by being supportive, and they probably think that if she found someone she would probably be able to sort of “restart”. I was badly done, but well intended IMO.

      • Heather Bungard-Janney

        That’s the heartbreak of much of this season – the Scoobies, when they pay attention, are well-intentioned but ultimately clueless about the best way to approach any of Buffy’s problems. And I think “get Buffy a man and she’ll be able to restart” is about as blind as they can get. Tacky enough to do that at all, but to bring him to her private birthday party, in her home, where she cannot gracefully turn him away? Just… gah. I cringed right along with Buffy when he walked through the door.

    • Melbourne on my Mind

      My logic on calling it a dick move is this:
      – It’s Buffy’s birthday
      – She’s allowed to invite whoever she wants to her party
      – She specifically didn’t invite him
      – He turned up anyway

      So yeah, if you look at it from HIS perspective, it’s a completely different ballgame. But from Buffy’s? Dick move.

      • Raluca

        He mentions Willow is how he found out about the party, which kinda implied she might have told him to come along. 🙂 IMO, of course. I am sure you disagree.

        • Clément Polge

          But then he knows that Willow doesn’t know about his and Buffy little sexcapade, so that sort of sound like he’s using Willow as a gate to enter a party where she sort of invited him because she didn’t have all the informations, which sort of circle back to dick move 😉

          • Raluca

            Well, we’ll just have to agree we disagree. 🙂

          • Jojo

            If Buffy didn’t object – I don’t. Don’t know how casual these parties are if invites are just by word of mouth. And he was needed to help fight the big bad so if he hadn’t come there may well have been more blood shed.

      • Heather Bungard-Janney

        Did she specifically not invite him? Honest question – I don’t recall. And if Willow was the one setting up the party, since she doesn’t know anything about their sexcapades, she wouldn’t have known not to invite him.

        • Melbourne on my Mind

          His line is “Willow mentioned the shindig. Figured we’re all part of the team, thought I’d, uh, swing by.”. Which to me says that Willow made passing mention to it, and Spike invited himself along.

      • Jojo

        And does that go for Xander and Anya bringing the blind date without even asking her if she’s interested?

        • Melbourne on my Mind

          Oh, absolutely! Also a total dick move.

          • Jojo

            Willow and Tara – the only not-dicks – and that sounds way different then when I thought it!

  • Idriss Boukhanef

    I absolutely loved the moment when Anya beat up the demon with Buffy. She said she was going to handle the situation by herself and she actually tried everything to get them out ! Her little insult to the demon while she was hitting it was adorable, I love her so much.

    • Yes! So true! We mentioned that EC got more acting to do this episode, but part of that was that Anya just got a lot more to do as a character. It was cool to see her actually stir into action like that.

  • JEL

    And on a very minor note, as far as I noticed no one here has mentioned the Star Trek reference; Richard is wearing a red shirt!

    • Jojo


    • Raluca

      Sorry, what exactly would be the connection with Star Trek? 🙂 I have no idea! 😛

      • Clément Polge

        From what I know, every Star Trek episode was basically the captain and a few characters going down on a planet with a few crew members, the main characters had yellow shirts, and the generally-unnamed crew members had red shirts. And the red shirts all died during the episode to show how SRSBSNS that monster-of-the-week was.

        • JEL

          A slight exaggeration but yes that is basically it. Some people’s calculations are that 59 people died on TOS (The Original Series) and 43 of those were wearing red shirts. (This is partly because the security people wore red shirts.)

          It became something of a joke including a mention in Galaxy Quest.

          So Richard showing up in a red shirt = the kiss of death!

        • Raluca

          Thanks a million! 🙂 I do not watch Star Trek, so…

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  • SonicRulez

    This episode I think highlights why I don’t have as strong Dawn feels as you guys. Perhaps I over-identify with Buffy because I am the older sibling in my duo? It sounds brutal considering all they have gone through, but it’s really not the responsibility of Xander or Willow or Anya to hang out with Dawn. She’s 15 or so. She’s supposed to be making her own friends and doing her own thing. She spends the night at a friend’s house a few times, but it’s ALWAYS a set up for making Buffy feel terrible. It’s always portrayed as a negative thing. I’ve gone through this with my own younger sibling before. This is MY Scooby Gang and I do not have to make you part of it. Part of growing up is that you are responsible for getting your own Scooby Gang.