Buffy the Vampire Slayer S06 E15 – Honey, I’m home.

Previously: Buffy had the bestest birthday in living memory, and it still involved getting cursed by a vengeance demon. So…yeah.

As You Were

Kirsti: We open at the Doublemeat Palace. Buffy is scraping a disgusting amount of brown sludge off the grill while another employee tells her that the key to working at the DMP is politics. He talks about Machiavelli, and when she thinks that’s a guy who works day shift, he’s all “OH RIGHT. COLLEGE DROPOUT.” Buffy says that she’s reapplying, and he’s a condescending asshat. He leaves to head to night school – after mentioning that he’s studying for an MBA so he doesn’t have to work at the DMP forever – and tells her to scrape the gum under the tables before she leaves.

Cut to the cemetery. Buffy wanders through the gravestones singing the DMP jingle and wondering why she can’t get it out of her head. A vamp attacks her, and she timeouts him so that she can set a bag of burgers on a nearby headstone. They fight, and he gets the upper hand then stops and asks what stinks. Buffy says that she’s been working, and when he hears that she works at the DMP, the vamp backs away and says that he doesn’t want to bite her if she’s been eating shitty fast food. She throws a stake, hitting him right in the chest, and he turns to dust. She sniffs herself and looks miserable, then picks up her bag of burgers and stomps away.

Wolf howl.

After the credits, Buffy’s outside Chez Summers. Just before she heads up the stairs, she stops and is all “Uuuuuugh. SPIKE!!” He appears from behind a tree – wearing another hideous pimp shirt, I should add – and is all “That one doesn’t count, I wasn’t really hiding.” (L: Lurking? Loitering? CREEPING.) He walks up to her, and she tells him no, but he says that she doesn’t even know the question yet. (L: Also, he doesn’t recognize that answer.) She tells him that the whole planet knows what the question is, and says that she can’t have dubious consent sex with him because Dawn is inside and counting on her. He tells her that if he can’t come inside, she should come outside, and he pulls her over to the tree he was hiding behind. She hesitates for a minute, then drops the bag of burgers as they kiss. Yeah, because having sex that you really don’t seem into in the front garden seems like an excellent plan…

Lor: RIGHT? You both just recognized what a terrible hiding spot that was. I’d be pissed if I were, say, talking a walk in that neighborhood or something.

Sweeney: Ew.

K: Come on, guys. Everyone knows that you don’t walk around Sunnydale after dark unless you want to die. Public sex is a lot tamer than most things you could see while strolling around Sunnydale at night.

Sometime later, Buffy walks into the kitchen. She hands Dawn the bag of burgers, and Dawn says that she appreciates Buffy working and bringing home dinner, but she can’t eat any more DMP. Willow walks in and asks if Buffy’s had a rough night because she has a giant grass stain on the back of her coat. Dawn asks if a vampire got rough, and Buffy replies without thinking, “He’s not getting any gentler,” then has to awkwardly cover up her slip when the others are like “He???” Willow says that she and Dawn are going to the Bronze, and wants to know if Buffy will join them. She refuses, but tells them to have a good time. They leave, and she sadly adds “Somebody should.

Lor: And it’s significant because she just finished having sex with Spike, see? Apparently, rushed front yard sex she was wheedled into was not in fact fun. Huh.

Sweeney: GO FIGURE.

K: Cut to the Bronze. Xander and Anya are squabbling about the seating plan for the wedding, which is now only a week away. Dawn appears behind them and asks how things are going, and they basically bite her head off. She heads over to Willow, and says that she’s betting they explode before the wedding actually happens. Willow says that as a kid she spent forever planning her wedding to Xander, but now she just looks at them being all stressed out and giggles smugly.


It’s kind of adorable. Dawn’s pleased to see Willow so happy for a change, and Willow says that it’s because she and Tara are making progress – if she were to call, Tara wouldn’t hang up.

Chez Summers basement. Buffy’s listening to some godawful wrist-slitting music while spot cleaning her coat. The next shot is of her asleep on the sofa the following morning, covered by her coat. There’s a clanking noise from outside, and she realises that it’s garbage day. She runs outside with the bags just as the truck pulls away, leaving her staring at the ground all mopey. She heads back inside with the post, and Dawn reminds her that it’s garbage day. Buffy glares a little, then opens a letter. It’s from Contrivance U, rejecting her application for re-admittance. Womp womp.

Lor: Once the garbage truck leaves without your garbage, it’s time to just go back to bed.

K: Especially when you hadn’t really been to bed!

At the DMP later that day, she’s flipping burgers while Unhelpful MBA Guy craps on about politics again in the background. He tells her it’s her turn to work the counter. She heads out front and automatically starts her “Welcome to the Doublemeat Palace” spiel as she walks up to the register. Half way through, she looks up at the customer in front of her and trails off because said customer is RILEY. He’s dressed in all black, with body armour over the top and now has a scar across one eye. “You…” she finishes awkwardly. Fade to black.

After the Not Commercial Break, Buffy is still staring at Riley in shock. He starts rattling out facts in response to her confused questions – yes, he’s really there, he was always that tall, and he’s been up for 48 hours straight tracking something big and bad to Sunnydale.

All Buffy can come up with in response is “My hat has a cow…”

Sweeney: That line was kind of adorable while also driving home the relatability of this situation. Working a shift at a fast food joint is hardly the place you want to meet your ex — the one you met in college…where he was a grad student. Factoring out the supernatural, it’s a real-life-person nightmare scenario, of sorts.

K: Pretty much exactly. A queue forms behind him as Riley sighs and apologises for springing this on her at work. He needs the best, he says. He needs her. She stares at him for a second, then Unhelpful MBA Guy appears behind her and is all “Dude, there’s a queue.” She takes her hat off, grabs her stuff and leaves with Riley as Unhelpful MBA Guy yells after her.

Sunnydale Main Street. Buffy stares at Riley with a mixture of surprise and happiness. He pulls out a tracking device, which is beeping softly, and says that they’re after a Suvolte demon, which is rare and lethal and in Sunnydale. She starts laughing, then says that she’d forgotten about all his adorable gizmos. He gives her a look, and she apologises. He continues, saying that they’ve been killing Suvolte demons all the way from Paraguay, but that they’re breeders so whenever you kill one, ten more pop up. “So…they’re like really mean tribbles?” Buffy asks.

Just then there’s a growl and a shot of a demon that looks like the love child of Alien and Predator. Riley holds up an ID and announces  that he’s from the National Forestry Service and there’s a bear on the loose. LOL, OKAY. SURE. (L: It was fantastic.) (S: AGREED!) They attack the Suvolte but it throws them off and scurries down an alley. Riley helps Buffy up, and she stares at him again before they follow it. In the alley, it throws a rubbish bin at Riley, and Buffy tosses him his gun. He shoots, and a tranquiliser dart hits the demon in the chest. It has very little effect though, because it turns and Mario Jumps over the nearby building.

Cut to a black SUV screeching out of an alleyway. A GPS unit on the dashboard is tracking the demon as Buffy and Riley awkwardly catch up. He asks how she’s been, and she says that it’s complicated. He agrees with her, and says that he’s got some pretty big stories to tell. “Did you die?” she asks. “No,” he replies. “I’m gonna win,” she says. Riley looks at her in surprise. Buffy pulls off her coat to reveal her DMP uniform underneath. Riley grabs something from the back and hands it to her, telling her that her uniform isn’t exactly black ops approved and she should put on some state of the art light weight kevlar – which looks like a field hockey chest pad – instead. He tells her that it’s good to see her, and that he likes her hair. Buffy smiles.

Elsewhere, Xander and Anya are stuck in a traffic jam en route to the airport. They bicker about Xander’s uncle, who can’t afford a hotel and will be staying with them, and some demon friends of Anya’s who are ALSO staying with them and due to teleport in in 20 minutes. Xander says they should have eloped, and Anya gets cranky. She’s put in too much time and effort, and it’s apparently going to be magical even if she has to kill half the town.

Lor: First Dawn was all, “this wedding isn’t going to happen,” and now Anya’s all, “this wedding is going to happen or else.” THEY’RE MESSING WITH US. I didn’t know I had to be worried about the wedding actually happening, BUT APPARENTLY.

K: It’s the Whedonverse. You should ALWAYS be worried.

Riley pulls up and he and Buffy jump out of the car. They’re at the top of a massive dam. The demon, Riley says, is at the bottom. There’s a staircase, but for some reason Riley ties a thin rappelling line to the fence. He tells Buffy that she’ll have to hold onto him, then lifts her up. She flirts a little, then wraps her arms around him as they start the descent.

Lor: Seeing the way she looks at him hurt my heart. It reminded me of a time when I was going around the recaps going, “Riley isn’t so bad! Guys?” I mean, sure, I wanted to end him as time went on, but he didn’t start off all that bad! Poor B.

Sweeney: It’s also weird because it reminds us of simpler times when Riley being boring was the great struggle. For Buffy, too, his presence is a reminder of a radically different version of her life…which is part of what makes that look hurt so much.

K: There’s a long shot of them rappelling down the dam. They reach the bottom and Riley unhooks the line from his Batman Belt. They duck past a storm drain, then Riley gets attacked by the Suvolte. There’s a brief fight that culminates in them knocking it to the ground. Riley pushes Buffy back against the wall, and they stare at each other, panting. In the background, we see another black-clad figure rappelling down the wall. It’s a woman. She unclips her line, walks over to them, and says “Hey there. What exactly are you doing with my husband?” Buffy stares in shock as Riley looks embarrassed. Fade to black.

Lor: Well, crap.

K: After the Not Commercial Break, Buffy’s all “WTF?” (understandably), and Riley introduces her to his wife, Sam. The Suvolte jumps up behind them, and Sam declares it her fight before diving in. In a shocked voice, Buffy asks how long they’ve been married and Riley replies that it’s been nearly four months and that he meant to tell her. The demon knocks Sam to the ground, and Riley jumps in to help. They tag team for a minute with Buffy looking on sadly, then her eyes widen as the demon starts to overpower them. She grabs it, and snaps its neck, saying that they can consider it their wedding present. Except not – Riley neglected to mention that this was a capture operation, not kill.

Sam eyerolls over his inability to mention important things, then grabs her knife and slices into the demon’s torso. They’re too late – it’s already laid its eggs. Sam asks if Buffy has a safe house. Cut to her leading them in the door at Chez Summers. The Scoobies are on hand due to an off-screen phone call while en route. Riley’s all “Wow, Dawn. You grew” and she says angrily – and with a pointed look at Sam – that a lot can change in a year. Xander fangirls a little over the return of his bromance, and Willow hugs Riley. She then pulls Buffy aside for the following exchange of awesomeness:




Sam and Riley fill the Scoobies in on the whole demon problem. Apparently it came to the Hellmouth to spawn and now they have to track down the eggs, as Buffy puts it, “before Sunnydale turns into the Trouble Meat Palace.” Everyone stares at her, and she wishes she’d said something else. Xander thinks it’s just another Tuesday night in Sunnydale, and asks Riley how to choose between a wedding photographer and place settings. Buffy points out that she killed the demon, so it’s not as simple as just tracking it. Sam tells her that killing the demon was the right thing to do, and tells Xander that disposable cameras are the way to go, because they’re cheap and guests take the pictures for you. I hope to God they’re talking about the reception side of things…

Buffy asks when the eggs will hatch, and Sam says that it’s not that simple – they think they’re going to be sold on the black market by a dealer who calls himself The Doctor.

Oh. Sorry. Wrong Doctor(s).

Sam asks Willow if she can do a locator spell, and Willow says she can’t do magicks. Sam thinks she’s being modest, but Willow’s all “Uh, no. Addict.” and leaves the room. Riley says that he’ll find The Doctor and that Sam and Buffy should work together to find the nest. Buffy is not on board with this plan at all, but reluctantly agrees.

Sam heads out to the kitchen where Willow is sitting by herself, looking sad. Sam apologises for putting her foot in it, and says that down in the jungle, they had two shamans on their black ops team who got addicted to magicks, and now there’s nothing left of them. “I’ve never met anyone with enough strength to quit before. I’m just saying…” she says before turning and walking out. Willow watches her go, and smiles a little.

Lor: Hate mission failed, I guess.

K: Cut to Buffy and Sam walking through the cemetery. Sam broaches the inevitable awkward topic, saying that she’s a little intimidated to meet Buffy, because a) SLAYER and b) husband’s ex-girlfriend. She tells Buffy how they met – she was in the Peace Corps in Central America, and everyone but her got slaughtered by demons. She joined black ops and met Riley in her first fire fight. Apparently he didn’t talk about things at first, but she knew he was all torn up inside. And that it took him a really long time to heal, and a year to get over her. I stop to go “LOL, WHUT” because Riley’s only been gone a year, and he just said he and Sam have been married for four months. So “a year” is probably more like “six weeks”, yes?

Lor: That or Sam didn’t mind marrying him while he was busy crying over Buffy at night. Timelines are hard.

K: Truth. Anyway, Buffy says that she wishes things were different, and Sam asks if Buffy’s seeing anyone new. Buffy awkwards that she doesn’t want to jump into something and be defined by the guy she’s with. Sam’s all, “no guy is better than the wrong guy,” and Buffy suggests that they split up because she’s got a slightly twitchy informant to talk to. Sam’s totally cool with it and heads off in search of Riley.

Buffy sad pandas her way over to Spike’s TARDIS crypt and there’s a scene that’s rather reminiscent of season 5 in that it’s all “I need information and am willing to pay you for it.” But then Buffy says “Tell me you love me,” and she’s clearly having “Where did my life go so wrong?” feels. It leads to some understandable sex.

Lor: The, “say you love me,” thing was terrible. She knows he does (as far as he can), but she’s using him as much as she’s ever used him. This is your episode-ly reminder that I would like this to be over now.

Sweeney: Their entire S6 relationship is just gross and horrible to watch and MAKE IT STOP.

K: Sometime later, Spike and Buffy are asleep when the door bursts open and Riley storms in. Buffy gasps and covers herself with a blanket. Spike sniggers and says that it must hurt to see the two of them together because everything he told Riley about Buffy needing a little monster in her man was right. Riley replies “That’s not why I’m here…Doctor.” Buffy turns to stare at Spike in shock. Fade to black.

After the Not Commercial Break, Buffy makes a disgusted face and rushes for her clothes. Spike, on the other hand, throws off the covers and sits naked at the end of the sarcophagus, his legs splayed. Riley looks grossed out, and I kinda don’t blame him. Unexpected penis is rarely welcome. (L: I spotted his modesty undies, though!) Spike reminds him of the whole two bit vampire whores thing, but Riley says that he’s thrilled to be back in Sunnydale because he knows who to beat for information, and all that information led to Spike. Buffy says Spike’s too incompetent to be The Doctor, but Riley reminds her that Spike is lethal and amoral and opportunistic. He then says that he’s going to tear the place apart until he finds the eggs.

He heads downstairs, and Buffy follows, repeating that Spike’s too stupid to pull off something like this. Obviously, just as she’s saying that, they find the eggs. Riley says they’ll need more weapons because Spike fucked up and didn’t keep the eggs frozen so now they’re about to hatch. Spike rushes up and says he can explain – he’s just holding them for a friend. Buffy punches him in the face and tells him to stop playing games. He stands up, angry, and says that she’s one to talk because all she does is play games where the rules constantly change. Buffy rolls her eyes and Spike storms out.

The eggs start hatching, revealing creatures that are a slightly more crab-like version of Those Things The Mayor Had To Eat To Become Invulnerable. (S: A+ reference! I mean, gross, but A+!) A crab baby drops from the ceiling onto Riley’s shoulder. He yanks it away and hurries Buffy towards the ladder. They scramble up it, the crab babies following close behind. Buffy grabs Riley’s Batman Belt, pulls the pin on a grenade, and drops the whole belt down the hole. There’s an explosion that wipes out the crab babies and the unhatched eggs. Buffy and Riley lie together, panting.

Cut to Anya’s voice saying “You know, if you love Riley Finn so much, maybe you should just marry him.” She and Xander are hiding out in the bathroom at the Gift Apartment. Xander says that’s not the point. The point, apparently, is that Riley and Sam – who he refers to as “Nick and Nora Fury” (AVENGERS SHOTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) – wouldn’t hide from their relatives in the bathroom. There’s some more conversation, which can be summed up as “our wedding is not our marriage,” and they kiss as we hear things being smashed in the apartment.

Lor: I loved that they referenced Xander’s mancrush on Riley a couple of times. Also, this was a nice little moment for Xander and Anya. STOP TROLLING ME, WHEDON.


Outside the Magic Box, Riley tells Buffy that he and Sam are off to Nepal. He also says that he’s officially done in Sunnydale, but the mission included authorisation to kill The Doctor (don’t bother, yo. He’ll just regenerate)(L: A+), and if Buffy wants him to, he will. She’s shocked, especially now that Riley knows that she’s been sleeping with Spike. She wants to know if he waited until his life was perfect before rubbing it in her face. It’s kind of long, but I’m going to give you the entire exchange that follows, because it’s fabulous:

Riley: Hey! You want me to say that I liked seeing you in bed with that idiot? Or that blinding orange is your very best color? Or that that…burger smell is appealing?
Buffy: You smelled the smell?
Riley: Buffy, none of that means anything. It doesn’t touch you. You’re still the first woman I ever loved…and the strongest woman I’ve ever known. And I’m not advertising this to the missus…but you’re still quite the hottie.
Buffy: You know, it goes away after many bathings.
Riley: This isn’t about who’s on top. I know how lucky I am right now. I love my work, and I love my wife.
Buffy: I know. And I kinda love her too.
Riley: So you’re not in the greatest place right now. And maybe I made it worse.
Buffy: No.
Riley: Wheel never stops turning, Buffy. You’re up, you’re down…it doesn’t change what you are. And you are a hell of a woman.

Lor: SO FANTASTIC. You know, in the past, bad things have happened to Buffy but it always seemed like her calling was the one thing she could count on. She’s lost so much of that this season. It’s been the least slayer-y we’ve ever seen her, and having the Big Bads be human adds to that feeling. I mean, Riley didn’t just catch her in bed with Spike, he caught her there mid-mission. We’re missing the “the Vampire Slayer” part of Buffy right now, so this was a reminder that she is something so beyond her current state.

Beyond her own feelings of depression and inadequacy, you also have Spike, who has tried to give her his version of this speech, but always manages to mess it up. Spike tells her who he wants her to be (dark, wild, playing in the dirt, morally ambiguous, animal), not really what she is. (Maybe bits of that, but also more.) It’s nice that she got to hear, “you are amazing, no matter what.”

I loved it.

Sweeney: YES! ME TOO. It’s also so amazing in the context of her depression arc. As much as I rag on this season for all the things that I hate, I do appreciate — between tantrums — the way it handles this subject. His speech is so perfect in part because she’s now in a place where she’s capable of hearing it. She’s starting to become a lot more self-aware and, as such, being told that what’s going on in her life right now is a a place she’s at on the wheel, rather than defining who she is can actually be taken to heart.

K: And the fact that it comes from Riley, who we were so often meh about!

She apologises for the way things ended between them before Sam and the rest of the Scoobies walk out of the Magic Box. Sam’s telling Xander about their wedding, then makes Willow promise to keep in touch. She hugs them both as Dawn confronts Riley, asking if he’s actually going to say goodbye this time. Which is interesting, because I always counted the “Everyone abandons Dawn” thing as starting with Joyce’s death. But really, it was a problem long before that. Poor Dawnie… (L: YES. SAME THOUGHT.)

Riley hugs her, and Sam says it was great to meet them all as a helicopter appears overhead. A spotlight appears, along with a rappelling cord, which Riley clips to his Batman Belt. He wraps his arms around Sam and they rise into the air. The Scoobies head inside, leaving Buffy standing alone, staring after the chopper. (L: Again.)

In the TARDIS crypt, Spike surveys the damage. Buffy appears, and he’s all “The bed’s blown up, but we never really used it anyway.” She says that she’s not there for sex, or to talk about his attempts at black market demon egg sales. It’s over, she tells him. He scoffs, saying that he’s memorised this speech. But she interrupts, saying that while she wants him – at this, he looks surprised – and that being with him makes things better for a while, but she’s using him. He has no objections to this, but she finishes with “…and it’s killing me.” He stares at her in surprise. “I’m sorry…William,” she says.

She turns and walks away, leaving him speechless behind her. She heads upstairs and steps out into the sunlight as we fade to black.

It’s a little heavy handed at times, but I rather enjoy this episode. Really, Buffy’s depression began when Riley left town, especially when Joyce’s death came close behind. So as much as I hated Biley, it was nice to have Riley return to show Buffy that while a lot of stuff has changed for both of them, he still sees her as the same person she was before. While stepping into the light at the end was basically bashing us over the head with the Anvil of Metaphors, it was still the first moment we’ve seen all season of Buffy willingly changing her situation. Plus, Sam was awesome and I kind of wish there’d been a spin off based around her, because I would watch the shit out of that.

Lor: Really? I hated Sam. Wait, let me start at the beginning: I really enjoyed this episode because it was PROGRESS compared to the never ending cycle of Spuffy that’s been season 6 so far. The episode had excellent intentions, but where it failed was in the cheesy, heavy handed bits. The little “let’s go kill some bad guys!” like line Riley tells his wife at the end was one such line. That whole ending sequence, in fact, with all the Scoobies just a little too happy and giddy at Riley’s departure. Sam was incredibly heavy handed and the actress was pretty bad. She gave me Jessica Biel on 7th Heaven vibes. (K: I think she feels less heavy handed on rewatches??) (S: Yes. Definitely. I remember thinking she was super heavy handed first watch and she still is, but I like her a thousand times more this time than the last time.)

Walking into the sunlight wasn’t as bad for me. I rather liked that bit, as well as the “taking out the trash,” bit. Nobody wants Buffy’s garbage.

Spike insists that Buffy needs a little monster in her man, and I’m sure there are arguments aplenty regarding that. I think Riley proved that she needs a challenge in love as much as in life, but Spike proves that all said and done, she can’t love a monster.

Sweeney: As usual, a general yes to all the things, particularly the way this episode represented PROGRESS. Also, Riley’s one episode appearance made him a welcome, nostalgia-evoking sight. He was a rather perfect device to move things forward. Buffy’s been existing in this bubble of routine and monotony (a point they drove home at the very beginning of the episode) and there’s a trapped, suffocating feeling to it. This blast-from-the-past, now living a whole new life, was an excellent way to help pull Buffy back to herself. Or her new self, I suppose.

K: YES. The Spike’s lame-arse evil plan side of the episode bugs me, but I guess they needed a way to emphasise his character traits to Buffy and that was the best they could come up with? Whatever, the Riley stuff is fabulous and far outweighs the crappy evil plan side of things.


Next time: Xander and Anya’s wedding is finally here. Will everything go smoothly? And just how awful are the bridesmaids’ dresses? Find out in Buffy the Vampire Slayer S06 E16 – Hell’s Bells.


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 earned my MA in Global Communications and watching too many YouTube videos. Now people pay me to edit YouTube videos. The circle of life. Reconciling my aversion to leaving the house/wearing pants with my deep desire to explore everything is my life's great struggle.

Did you like this? Share it:

  • darkalter2000

    I love the scene at the end where Spike realizes this isn’t like their other ‘breakups’. He sees that that this isn’t another push/pull till she comes back, this is the real deal.

    Also I love that Buffy starts to see /herself/ instead of her situation. And once she sees what needs to be done to move forward, she does it at once.

    • Also I love that Buffy starts to see /herself/ instead of her situation. And once she sees what needs to be done to move forward, she does it at once.

      I love everything about the way you’ve worded that. YES. It’s the Buffy we’ve been missing, as she struggles through this thing.

      • Jojo


        She was almost there when she began to really care about Dawn again – care for anything. Seeing herself with new/old eyes, and going back to a simpler time in some way was what she needed to begin to bring herself back.

  • Wilhelmina Upton

    I actually liked this episode, mostly because of, as you all pointed out, PROGRESS! It was also nice to see Riley again. As much as I mehed about him in season 4, it was nice to bring him back and a great plot device for Buffy to start seeing herself as the badass she is, again. I also didn’t mind seeing Sam because, hot. Ahem.

    You know, you’ve been calling Spike’s crypt TARDIS crypt for so long and now he operated as The Doctor? COINCIDENCE? I think not!

    And one last thing to that douche MBA student, go fuck your mediocre high school education because I didn’t need to go to college to learn about “Il Principe”, that was covered in my high school experience. Also, I hate business classes with a fiery passion so he had absolutely no chance with me ever tolerating him.

    I loved seeing Willow happy and strong in this episode, it was actually really nice. It’s great when you see the friendship between the Scoobies.

    • Clément Polge

      SPIKE IS THE 13TH.

      I like this episode too, finally bringing spuffy to nice conclusion, beautifully done, and Riley’s speech is just the best.

      And yeah, I like Sam too, but I also remember her being a bit heavy-handed on first watch, and warming up to her. Weird how that seems to be a thing !

      • Wilhelmina Upton


        I don’t remember what I thought about Sam on my first watch, it’s been a while I guess.

      • Raluca

        Huh? Spuffy conclusion??? Since when does it end here? 🙂

    • Ashlea Kobukowski

      I wanted to punch that idiot right in his chicken hat! I can’t stand condescending assholes like that. It’s interesting to me how strong Buffy is and yet I find myself wanting to take up for her so often. Especially this season.

      Also, awesome correlation with the TARDIS crypt/Spike as doctor comment! Never thought about that. You should get a gold sticker for the day 🙂

      • Wilhelmina Upton

        Oh yes, I’d love to punch that asshat in da face. He deserves it. Nobody rains on Buffy’s parade like that!

        • Clément Polge

          Plus I’m sure this asshat barely stopped any apocalypses, pfff…

          • He definitely didn’t even die and come back to life twice, so there.

          • Clément Polge

            UH, sucker.

    • Melbourne on my Mind

      DAMMIT, HOW DID I NOT NOTICE THE DOCTOR/TARDIS CRYPT CONNECTION?!?!?!?! Also, the douche MBA student mostly made me think of something my dad said when he was in upper level management at a major Australian company: “An MBA is the most useless degree of all time, because everyone has one. If I have to go through a pile of CVs, I’m more likely to pick out the ones who have a Masters of Economics or something, because they might actually have new ideas”. SUCK IT, DOUCHEY DMP EMPLOYEE.

      • Wilhelmina Upton

        INDEED, how did you miss it???

        Yes, this! I wasn’t gonna say this because I didn’t want to hurt anyones feelings and also because I have no work experience in the real world blah blah but I couldn’t agree more with your dad! An MBA is the most useless degree of all, every Hanswurst has one. So whenever I hear someone say they have an MBA or are going to get one I make a mental note to not listen any further.

        • Melbourne on my Mind

          Is “Hanswurst” the German equivalent of “every Tom, Dick and Harry”? Because if so, I’m going to start using it. It’s awesome.

          • Wilhelmina Upton

            Yep it is, feel free to use spread Hanswurst. I just couldn’t remember the English equivalent last night and was too lazy looking it up.

    • Clément Polge

      Also I’m realising this just now, but when the trio were with Spike, Andrew said the he’s seen every episode of Doctor Who… So maybe it’s not even that much of a coincidence ? I’d be willing to accept that Spike took the inspiration for the name from a suggestion made by the *actual* big bad of the season.

      • Wilhelmina Upton

        Yes, THIS!

        • Jojo

          Using the name of the being that was responsible for Buffy’s death? Can’t buy it. Besides which Spike does not seem to have a nerd streak. When they began the Dr Who talk Spike shouted for Warren.

          • Wilhelmina Upton

            Huh? Warren didn’t kill Buffy. Agreed Spike doesn’t have a nerd streak but I still like the coincidence of this.

          • Jojo

            The Doctor was cutting Dawn – making it necessary for Buffy to jump.

          • Wilhelmina Upton

            Really? Wasn’t that just some minion of Glory?

          • Jojo

            He was in a few episodes. He was introduced as the guy who gave directions on how to do the spell to bring back Joyce. He was in one or two more – then the Gift. The Doctor was the one who threw Spike off the tower and was cutting Dawn.

          • Wilhelmina Upton

            I’ll just have to believe you on that one then as my memory is already hazy there. Too much Buffy drama does that to me.

            But what if Spike was saying the truth when he said he was just doing this for a friend and he wasn’t actually The Doctor? Idk, my brains still not working at top speed.

          • Jojo


            The place is the typical old guy apartment.
            Dark and musty. Newspapers stacked all over and maybe a few cats running
            around. A few aging, suffering plants and a Lay-Ze Boy recliner complete
            the picture.

            The door is unlocked and Spike and Dawn
            enter the apartment cautiously, taking in their surroundings.*

            From the script. I do hate the plot holes here but I would say Spike was holding them for a friend. I would assume the doctor is the one who will pick them up and do some international trade. Which also seems asinine, come to think of it. How do you ship them? Why not just have a few pregnant females shipped? And what sort of biome do they have? Wouldn’t there be demons there if they can survive there – and if they can’t, why get some?

          • Wilhelmina Upton

            Oh him, right, I forgot he was called that. To me he is just Joel Grey and that’s that. Right then. But it’s still weird the show recycled the name then.

          • Jojo

            Yeah – I wondered if that had meaning. I know what I think it is but I suspect I’m paranoid about certain aspect of this episode.

          • Wilhelmina Upton

            If memory serves right, it doesn’t mean a thing but you’ve seen above, my memory is not the best 😀

          • Jojo

            Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome!

            Fremde, etranger, stranger.

            Gluklich zu sehen, je suis enchante,

            Happy to see you, bleibe, reste, stay.

            Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome

            Im Cabaret, au Cabaret, to Cabaret 🙂

          • Wilhelmina Upton

            Okayyyy…I’m not gonna point out the grammatical flaws in those lyrics because I’m still mad about The Book Thief and hypersensitive about those at the moment.

            To me, he’s more the Wizard of Oz 🙂

          • Mad about TBT in what way? This is fascinating news to me. Do tell!

          • Wilhelmina Upton

            It’s the worst reading it when German is your first language but you read it in English. First of all, I rarely get why Zusak chooses the random words he uses in his sentences to be in German. Then there’s the whole inconsistency thing. It’s Himmel Street where he explains that Himmel means heaven in German but he calls Munich Street Munich Street instead of Münchener Street and Grande Strasse. Why not stick with one format? Either you translate the street names in total or you don’t but you do not change your mind with every new street you create.

            Last night I came across this thing where he translates Zufriedenheit with happiness and again makes a big deal out of it, citing the Duden and what Zufriendenheit means bla bla, while I would not naturally translate Zufriedenheit as happiness. Zufriedenheit = satisfaction or contentment while hapiness = Glück/Freude or Fröhlichkeit. These word kinda go together, but it’s a lazy translation.

            Another thing with the random Germanisation in his sentences is, sometimes he uses the wrong form of the word. Like the normal English verb would be infinitiv but he chooses to go with the German present or sth like that. It doesn’t make sense and only makes me irrationally mad. I know I’m very picky here but it’s infuriating to read. I would have figured he had someone to check all his German stuff. Either you do it correctly or you leave it out is my opinion but, as I said, I am hyperaware right now. It dampens my enjoyment of the book immensely.

          • Aaah! That’s terrible! I did not know this! I still love the book quite dearly, though any future re-reads will be colored by this tragic new knowledge.

            I’ll randomly tweet at you, “HEY WILLIE… DOES THIS GERMAN THING MAKE SENSE?”

            or maybe, “GERMAN THING: ___. STUPID OR NOT?”


            (But I am sad to hear this book was so sloppy in that regard!)

          • Wilhelmina Upton

            The sloppiness is what bugs me about it, mostly.

            Also, everyone said this is such a wonderful book and…eh…I’m not that happy with it tbh. I’m 400 pages in and I still have to force myself through it at times. Maybe it’s because I’m pretty meh on the whole WWII storyline thing because we covered that to death in school. Or that my Grandmas stories were as interesting as Liesels, I don’t know. It’s just very long while nothing much happens. But that’s just my opinion.

          • (1) This is all really interesting, and I can see how it would be read way differently in a different cultural context. I hadn’t even thought about that!

            (2) Independent of all that, it is a really long, slow-moving book which can be hard thing to get behind. You have to find some hook for people with a book like this, and if it fails in cultural ways that are so glaringly obvious to you, it’s nearly impossible for it do that. Then you’re just dragging your heels through a long, frustrating story.

            Related, it’s rough when that happens with stuff other people seem to love. There’s this, “WHAT IS THIS THING THAT I’M NOT SEEING?” Sometimes it’s nothing. It just doesn’t resonate with you for any of a thousand different reasons. <3

          • Wilhelmina Upton

            Very true. The book is still not appeal-less to me, I like the Death interludes, they’re very interesting to read. Also Liesel has a kinda boring life. She hardly has to do anything in the house, or it’s not explained. My grandma was 10 in 1944, she wasn’t allowed to read on her own, she always had to do sth while reading, so in order to justify her wasting time like that, she knitted while reading. Or when she didn’t have the maps book she needed for school but she knew the people living downstairs had one stored in the attic she went up there, stole it so the kids wouldn’t laugh at how poor she was in school and return it without everyone from her family noticing.

            I grew up with stories like that. So much cultural context makes this books so much less great, at least to me.

          • Death’s interludes were my favorite part of the book, so obvs I think you’ve chosen the right part to like 😉

            Basically, it sounds like your grandma was a tiny badass and you should write a book about her.

          • Wilhelmina Upton

            She was and still is a badass, always has been. I once wrote a short thing but it’s rushed and not that good. http://williesun.com/2013/04/07/never-give-up-a-story/

            NaNoWriMo 2014 will be grandma time I guess 😀

          • It’s 5am and I need to take a powernap of some sort because I’ve stopped being productive, but I’M SO EXCITED TO READ THIS and I heartily encourage you to make NaNoWriMo 2014 grandma time 😉

          • Wilhelmina Upton

            I was wondering if you were still awake or already. Nap away then and may the dreams be ever in your favour.

          • Clément Polge

            Fun story: in Paris, during WW2, the resistance had the “no safe place” policy, which basically consisted in stabbing a german soldier every once in a while to make them afraid. Obvioulsy, this was not very well received by the german army, and you did not want to get caught.

            Once my grand-mother took the subway, which was over-crowded, but there was one empty wagon, so into that wagon she went. And once the doors closed, she realised there actually was a dead body with her in the wagon, which was why people were getting cramped in all these others.

            Needless to say she got out at the next station and patiently waited for the next train 😉

          • Wilhelmina Upton

            And another story that’s more interesting than those I read on the first 400 pages of this highly recommended famous book.

            I would have been mortified. Was it summer or winter do you know?

          • Clément Polge

            I have no idea, why ? Paris was occupied for a long time (our military leader at the time kinda surrendered quickly 😉 ), so it could be either. The subway is underground though, so it wouldn’t change much on the scenery ?

          • Wilhelmina Upton

            Just curious cause I imagine a decaying body is worse in the summer than it is in the winter.

          • Melbourne on my Mind

            I have exactly the same problem whenever American shows/movies/books feature Australian characters and it’s clear that they’ve basically just gone to Wikipedia and considered that sufficient research.

          • Wilhelmina Upton

            It’s why I usually stay clear of Hollywood’s interpretation of our history. While I do think that Zusak had some personal relations to this story (especially when you look at the dedication of the book) as an author, I would have made extra sure the things like another language are right. I wasn’t going to read this book at first but then I came across John Green saying this was so great but I feel lied to! In short, I blame John Green for my misery, ha!

          • Melbourne on my Mind

            I hear you on him just being Joel Grey. I can’t see Joel Grey as anything but Joel Grey. Like, EVER.

          • Wilhelmina Upton

            Yep, it’s mighty difficult.

          • I don’t think it makes entire sense, but this made me think of something! The first Doctor was indirectly responsible for Buffy’s death and in this episode, Buffy tells Spike, who we are lead to believe is calling himself The Doctor, that he is indirectly killing her.


  • lev36

    It never fails to get me right in the feels when Buffy calls Spike “William” in that breakup scene. I know I’ve never been able to break up with such grace. Anyway, I think it speaks to the fact that she still has some respect for him, even after all the dysfunction, and even though she has to end it.

    In fact, you could say that Buffy remembering what “respect” feels like is part of what gives her the understanding that breaking up is necessary, and gives her the strength she needs to do it. That mark of respect toward Spike is, I think, a sign of her own self-respect beginning to stir again.

    • I think it helps Buffy that she’s pretty disconnected from the situation, at this point. If she’s angry at anyone, she’s angry at herself. If this relationship has made her feel anything, it’s made her feel things she wants to distance herself from. She’s all grace because she’s convicted, I think, though I still doubt how much this conviction will carry over. This show makes me doubt everything.

      Adding on to what you’ve said here, in the end, Buffy is ending this because she can’t do this to herself, more than she’s ending it because she can’t do it to Spike.

      • Raluca

        I agree. She is choosing to do the right thing for her, with little (if any) regard for his feelings, which she so anxiously asked for half a day before. 🙂
        I know you don’t like Spike, but doing that to someone who loves you is the most awful thing. First you go and ask for his feelings, give him hope, sleep with him in a nice, man-on-top, non-violent manner, then fall asleep at his side and then BAM! GTFO of my life! 🙂

      • Jojo

        Clinically speaking depression is anger turned inward. She has been a seething mass of anger since she was pulled out. But since the Scoobies are her support system she had to turn her anger toward someone else and Spike volunteered. Spike’s idea of love was stated – you’ll fight and you’ll shag and you’ll hate each other until it makes you quiver.

    • Melbourne on my Mind

      It always reminds me of the scene with Cecily in Fool for Love when Buffy calls him William.

      • Jojo

        Yeah – me too. And the same bewildered pain in his eyes. Poor Spike – he’s such a clear picture of ‘no matter where you go, there you are’. So much he really never let go of deep down.

  • I’m probably the only one who thinks this, but this is my least favorite episode of the entire series. Riley is too boring for me to care about him showing up again, and the actress who plays Sam is terrrriblleeeee. Buffy looks extra pretty at the end though, so that’s one good thing, I guess?

    • Wow, really? It was one of the most tolerable season 6 episodes for me! So much of what has been happening is lather, rinse, repeat that this at least felt like Buffy GOT somewhere. It wasn’t very much about Riley, but he showed up to be the catalyst for change. I agree about Sam, though. Thankfully her screen time was limited.

      Worst, though? Not Beer Bad or Where the Wild Things Are? I Robot, You Jane? Go Fish? Those are the ones I thought of off the top of my head, though I vaguely remember LOATHING an episode in season 4 because it was so damn boring.


      • I think because I’m on my 500th re-watch of the show, the episodes I dislike the most tend to be the ones that bore me (my other least favorite is Amends, which I know people love but it’s soooooo boring). So this episode, to me, is just not fun to watch again. I doubt I hated it this much the first time I saw it though! If I had a total brain wipe, I’d probably feel differently about everything.

        Episodes like I Robot, You Jane and Where the Wild Things Are are so stupid that it’s hard to hate them because they amuse me too much.

        • Petra47

          Amends is worthwhile for the terrible Boreanaz accents and wigs alone! lol jk

          That ep is pretty terrible, though I do like the final Angel/Buffy showdown when he tried to kill himself. Everything else is trash.

        • This is going to be a big thing when it comes down to us ranking the episodes, but I stand by my sentiment that things being rewatchable and quality are two different things. Just because something is easy to watch doesn’t make it particularly good and vice versa. I mean, not to discredit personal taste, I just have a feeling that my list is going to vary greatly from fan favorites which account for things like “I watch this one all the time!”

          I hope that makes sense.

          • Raluca

            It does. For instance, I almost always skip over “The Body” on my re-watches. It is hard for me to see that episode, no matter how good I think it is. Also, and please do not kill me :D, I almost never re-watch Hush. I know it’s good TV, but it is boring to me. Same goes for Restless.
            On the other hand, I’ve seen Something Blue a thousand times – same goes for OMWF, Tabula Rasa and some episodes to come.

          • EXACTLY! Yes, this. The Body is probably one of the top five, single best episodes of TV I’ve ever seen. And I’ll probably never watch it again.


          • I agree with all of this. I doubt anyone thinks, “tonight seems like a good night to watch The Body!” even though it’s fabulous. I wasn’t trying to equate rewatchability with quality. There are tons of horrible episodes that are technically worse than As You Were, but this one is just so boring that when I get up to it in a complete series rewatch it’s one of the only ones I actually want to skip. So while I don’t think it’s the WORST episode, it’s my least favorite.

          • GOT IT and YES. 🙂

        • Raluca

          I am with you there… Amends was incredibly boring.

          • I actually remember very little about Amends, so there is that. I would have to look it up to be reminded…

      • Ashley Menvielle

        Oh God, I forgot about WTWTA…

        • That’s us, always reminding you of traumatic events, just when you thought you’d moved on with your life…

          • Ashley Menvielle

            I expect no less from the Traumeteers…now if you’ll excuse me I gotta go ‘re-bleach my brain :D.

      • Raluca

        You just hate the thing Buffy and Spike have – what you found disgusting and hard to watch was compelling TV (and sometimes a turn-on) for me. 🙂

    • Jojo

      Yeah – right there with you. I had to fast forward through a fair amount because it’s just so poorly thought out. I think that what happens is good for Buffy – but watching it makes me want to scream at the gaping holes in logic!

    • JEL

      It is not my least favorite, but you are definitely not alone. Mark Field over at http://unpaidsophistry.blogspot.com/ ranks this episode dead last just as you do. He absolutely loathes it. (I like a lot of what he writes, but I disagree with him quite strongly on his takes on Riley & Xander.)

      Hard to be the only one with any particular opinion in the Buffy fan base. There is always someone out there who will agree with you. 🙂

  • Democracy Diva

    Your line about dubious consent made me laugh more than anyone should when discussing things like dubious consent. But I was imagining someone just matter-of-factly saying, “oh, I’m sorry, I’m unavailable for dubiously consensual sex tonight. Perhaps another time?” And then I started giggling more.

    Riley’s National Forestry Service moment = the best Riley moment in this show’s history. When he first reappeared and was all srsbsns, I was like, I almost forgot how much I hated this dude! But I really do! And then the bear comment happened and I was begrudgingly okay with him being in this episode. And THEN his speech about how whatever crap Buffy goes through, it can’t touch her because she’s just amazing – wow, Riley. Way to almost completely make up for what a failure Season 4 was in one paragraph! (ALMOST. I SAID ALMOST.)

    Like Willow, I was ready to hate Sam immediately, because that’s what good friends do! But what she said to Willow about not knowing anyone else who had the strength to quit – SO MANY FEELS. And a really great way to make up for her awkward foot-in-mouth moment, but also just something beautiful that Willow really, REALLY needed to hear. SAMS ARE AWESOME. GO ALL PEOPLE NAMED SAM.

    Great point about Dawn’s abandonment complex and when it began – I had been thinking it started with Joyce too. But really, it actually started with Buffy and Dawn’s dad – Dawn wasn’t ACTUALLY around for that, so I think it’s hard for me to remember that as something that actually affected her, but she has the memories of it as if she was there when their parents split up. Brb, crying out some Dawn feels.

    And honestly, I kind of hated Buffy calling him “William.” I know it was supposed to be meaningful, but it felt supremely heavy-handed. Spike calls Buffy different things based on what he’s feelings and what’s happening (usually “Slayer” when he’s mad and “Buffy” when he’s trying to sex her), but Buffy’s never called him anything but Spike. Because no one in like a CENTURY has called him anything but Spike. It just bothered me, and I didn’t love SMG’s delivery of that line either, so I think that’s bothering me as well. It was just a bit cheesy for me, and not the good kind of cheesy like a hundred years ago when Cordelia told Xander she’d still love him even if he’s a fish demon.

    • Clément Polge

      I think her calling William was sort of layered, it was not only a way to adress the person (William) instead of the persona he built himself (Spike), but it was also a way to show respect WHILE breaking up, which is something he’s yet never seen. Both those things are what let him realise that she is serious for realz this time, and that she actually won’t be coming back. It shows a totally different mindset for Buffy, parting from the “EW EW EW GROSS NO NO but ok yeah” and into the “ok yeah, but no, I can’t, and I’m sorry”.

      • This is more of what I picked up, but probably without all the LAYERZ. I think she called him his name to show that she was being serious. This wasn’t a game– the game they’ve been previously playing– anymore. Like when your mom used to use your full name when she was pissed.

        The other thing that could be commented on is that she was calling on whatever humanity he has left in him. Please let me walk away, it’s killing me sort of thing.

        But mostly, the first thing.

        • Raluca

          It is probably all of the above and showing that she also has feelings for him. Not just “I wanna bang your brains out” feelings. But it was awful that she did call him that, imo. I know you are not a Spike fan, and somehow, knowing the future, I know you’ll never be a Spike fan, and that’s ok for me. I am not a Buffy fan either. She is, to me, exactly how Faith impersonates her in the beginning and middle of Who Are You – Miss Tightpants 🙂

    • Melbourne on my Mind

      I was actually thinking that Dawn’s abandonment issues started when Buffy and Joyce moved to Sunnydale. I mean, she wasn’t actually around for it, as you mentioned. But Buffy’s “What are you doing here??” reaction when Dawn turns up in season 5 has always implied to me that Dawn lived with her dad and visited Sunnydale during school holidays. So basically, I agree that it started when their parents split up, but she was on the other side of it. Seriously though, fuck the monks that came up with her memories, because RUDE.

      And Buffy calling Spike “William” has always felt to me like an odd little reminder of the season 5 finale, in which Spike says “I know you’ll never love me. I know that I’m a monster, but you treat me like a man, and that’s… Get your stuff, I’ll be here.” She’s spent so much of this season treating him like the monster he knows he is, so appealing to his human side is a sign that she’s turning back into the old Buffy, you know?

      • JEL

        I always have assumed that “What are you doing here??” was a variant of “What are you doing in my room?”; the normal thing an older sister says to a younger when the older catches the younger in the older’s room.

        I believe that there are things said that imply that Dawn has always (in the altered memories) lived with Joyce & Buffy. E.g. Buffy saying she remembered how Dawn cried when their father left. And this scene from Shadow:

        DAWN: No, I just … this is better. (They smile nervously at each other
        and are quiet for a moment.) I had my tenth birthday party here.

        RILEY: Really?

        DAWN: Mm-hmm. We’d just moved to Sunnydale, and … Mom rented the
        carousel for an entire hour for just me and my friends. (pauses) Except I
        hadn’t made any friends yet, so … it was just me and Mom and Buffy
        riding it by ourselves, over and over and over again…

        I agree that her abandonment issues predate Joyce’s death and start with her father leaving. I’m not sure how much Riley leaving without saying goodbye would have an effect; though every little bit would hurt I suppose.


      Traumaland could probably use a few more people named Sam…

    • JEL

      “but Buffy’s never called him anything but Spike”

      Actually that isn’t quite true. Buffy called him William in “No Place Like Home”. It isn’t clear why though.

      Always interesting how the same line can be interpreted so differently by different people.

      • Democracy Diva

        As soon as I used the “never” word, I knew a wiser Buffyverse expert would tell me about a time Buffy called Spike “William” that I had totally forgotten about! Thanks, JEL. And even Wikipedia cares a lot about this Spike/William thing, because when I looked up which episode “No Place Like Home” was, Wikipedia told me:
        “This is the first time Spike sees Buffy after his realisation that he loves her. It is also the first of two occasions when she calls him ‘William’. The second and last is during season 6, when she ends their sexual relationship.”
        So 1430 for JEL and Wikipedia.

  • SnazzyO

    This episode made me happy because of the way Buffy/Riley first meet and then the way he summarizes so perfectly who she is. Yay Riley. And I mean it.

    I also adore Willow’s BFF-solidarity statements. Although Sam won her over, Willow would still be there for Buffy on this topic.

    I was proud of Buffy having a moment of clarity. She has to respect Spike and respect herself. There can be no relationship between the two if that doesn’t exist IMO.

    • I liked Riley in his episode and I felt little to nothing for Spike! BRB. HIDING FROM THE FANDOM.

      I miss Willow and Buffy so much. Solidarity moments make my heart hurt.

      • Jojo

        Not a surprise – you are not a Spike fan (yet). We will wait for the Snow to clear – well, kind of some blizzard crap hitting the fan which is almost like….can I say my signature ‘you know nothing’?

        • You non-Snows aren’t as stealthy as you think you are…! I’m starting to guess what happens to Spike as you all have been saying, ‘JUST YOU WAIT. WAIT FOR IT!!!” enough that I suspect a little….? Maybe? I try not to think about it.
          Mostly because at this moment, I don’t want to think about being a Spike fan. Maybe later. Maybe not. WHO KNOWS.

          Definitely not in season 6.

          Probably not in season 6.

          Being a Snow is hard.

          • Jojo

            Just keep in mind that we all love you best because you are pristine and beautiful. I will say – sadly – there are some people who never grow to love Spike at all. I pity them, but I still love them. However there is still time and there are many events that take place during that time.

          • I will wait patiently for time and events, but pray, do not pity me! I will only hold such opinions that make me entirely happy with myself and with life. 🙂

          • Alex

            Yeah, some people really need to be a bit more careful with what they’re saying, I think. I don’t think some people realise how spoiler-y a vague comment can actually be, or how much it can colour what you’re watching when you’re a first-time viewer. I get frustrated reading the comments on your GoT recaps because of all the book-readers saying things like ‘oooh that character’s super important’ or ‘you don’t like him now, but just you wait!’ or ‘you think it’s bad now, but you have NO IDEA what’s coming’ etc etc etc. I get that people are just excited about something they love, and don’t mean to spoil anything, but those kind of comments really do have a big impact on your viewing, much more so than some people realise.

          • Clément Polge

            Yeah I agree, I try to refrain from this sort of comment, but sometimes it’s also meant to reassure. For instance, in Angel S1 Wesley was often used as comic relief and was sort of meh for our Snow Ladies, so I kinda felt compelled to say “don’t worry, it gets better”, except I love him so much I may have done that in all caps and saying BAMF at least 10 times per line per comment. I’m weak :p

            The worse thing though is when you want to talk about a Buffy character that ends up on Angel, because you can’t even rot13 it because of Angel Snow… It was horrible during the whole Faith arc, because she DOES conclude in Angel, and even saying “rot13 but for Angel” kinda spoil the crossover magic surprise.

            Being a non-Snow is tough too.

            But at least we can make ourselves feel better by trolling the Snows.

          • Comments where people who tell us what we will/should like are probably the most adverse in terms of coloring the perspective, because they tend to come in conjunction with us calling out some bad thing that’s happened. So then, if/when a character should redeem themselves there’s this underlying feeling of, “Yeah, but fuck you because you still did that thing and everybody tried to keep us from calling you out for that thing.”

            Forgiveness is cool and great, but when people who have already seen the arc through step in and try to foreclose on much deserved anger as it happens, it only makes it burn that much brighter and longer.

            And GoT is also HUGE when it comes to the appearance of seemingly throwaway characters who turn out to be a big deal. That’s a big part of the twist! It’s fun/exciting/interesting when some dude whose name we didn’t care to catch turns out to do something really significant! But I totally get it because I had the same problem when we were doing the first two seasons — I hadn’t read the books, but I had just watched those two seasons and Lor would mention someone and I’d be all, “OMG THAT GUY. YEAH. THAT GUY.” So I get it. We’re all here because we excited about this stuff and most of the commenters are spoiled, so we don’t mind you guys using this space to talk to one another and fangirl/fanboy accordingly. FLAIL AWAY. WE UNDERSTAND.

            We knew what we were getting ourselves into 🙂

          • Clément Polge

            But GoT is different because it’s easy to have a character pop out and go “huh… Am I supposed to know this guy ?”, so having him pointed out isn’t necessarly a bad thing IMO.

            And agreed so much on your first two paragraphs, I’ll never understand people using the future to justify the present. It’s like someone jumping from the 3rd floor of a building, landing safely out of dumb luck, and saying “see, there was nothing to worry about.”

          • Alex

            Oh, totally. Sorry, I wasn’t trying to suggest that you introduce some kind of no-flailing policy! When you choose to read comments about a show on the internet, particularly one this old, you have to accept that it’s never going to be 100% spoiler free, and it you want your viewing to be completely unbiased then you probably need to stay away from the internet altogether, like… forever.

            My point was really just that when you’ve seen the show all the way through six times, it’s easy to forget what it was like when you watched it for the first time and had absolutely no idea what was going to happen. And so it’s easy to think ‘nah, this isn’t really a spoiler’ when actually you’re giving away a lot more than you realise. So sometimes I just think it’s worth taking an extra second to consider whether you’re actually being as subtle as you think you are.

            GoT is much trickier because of the book element, and the differences between the book and the show. There were a number of occasions (both here, on other forums and IRL) when people who’d read the book would say to me ‘This Thing happens in the books and I’m annoyed that they didn’t show This Thing in last night’s episode because I think it’s really important’. And then of course it would turn out that the show was just doing things in a slightly different way, and This Thing would actually happen in the following episode and I’d already been spoiled about it. That was annoying, but I get how easy it is to do. I’ve read some of the books, but then actually decided to stop, because I watch the show with my boyfriend (who doesn’t want to read them) and I found it too difficult to know things that he didn’t know and not give anything at all away!

          • Oh yes, I totally get that point. I actually make a joke about it at the end of the Angel post. Snows Troll Back, if you will.

        • Even as a non-Snow, watching people issue lengthy take-downs of Spike for doing tamer versions of awful things that Spike has been doing for half a season also doesn’t help Spike’s PR.

          • Jojo

            That seems like kind of a sweeping comment. Personally I tend to think that at least my comments were about a very contrived episode. Most of the Riley comments I read were also laudatory about the changes Buffy went through because of the episode. Since season 4 many of us have never made a secret of disliking Riley – some very intensely.

            It seems to me like you want us to forget all about feelings from season 4 about Riley now that he is shiny and polished with a trophy wife. But no matter how Spike is treated in this episode it is deserved because of other episodes. So…uhm…pot – meet kettle.

          • I’ve admitted my (newfound) dislike for the character on several occasions though, in this episode I did point out how gross I found it that Buffy asked him to tell her that she loved him. Also never said past-Riley didn’t happen, though it’s interesting how often we’re asked to forget about/ignore past Spike or chalk up his bad behavior to plot holes.

            Regardless, I own my dislike for Spike. We can’t all achieve such balanced opinions!

          • Jojo

            Well, this is the only plot hole excuse I’ve ever used – and I don’t say he wouldn’t do something as bad as this – just that it’s badly conceived and makes Buffy look damn near as dumb as Spike. Is Spike bad, evil and a demon – never said anything else. But I see him as complex and oddly moral for an unsouled demon. Even seeing his flaws I care about him – and up until OMWF so did pretty much everyone else. There are a total of six episodes that Buffy and Spike are shagging – now it’s over. That just never seemed enough reason to decide I know completely dislike him. Kinda baby/bath water thing, at least in my head.

            I also was very vocal about how I see the Initiative as a Nazi program, and Riley as good Nazi following orders without question. I mentioned that lots of demons (like Clem, Lorne) are not a threat. And that the point of the initiative was not to chip and release vampires or they would not have been looking for Spike. So I damn sure owned my Riley dislike in great detail.

            Pot – meet kettle – that is the balance I see. Sorry if it offends or upsets you.

          • Nope, doesn’t offend/upset me. Just pointing out that you complained about our lack of balance, without copping to that being code for not outlining Spike’s many feelings all the time always. This was a perfect example of that. It was acknowledged that Buffy did a shitty thing here, but it wasn’t enough for your liking so you insist we ignored it. We also didn’t say anything in this post excusing Riley’s past behavior.

            My initial point was only that being a Snow need not guarantee that a Spike fan is just waiting to be born. We’ve said over and over how this blogging experience changes things. I used to like Spike.

            But maybe you’re right! Watching things and acquiring new information also changes things, so perhaps he’ll win her over yet.

          • Jojo

            Huh? What did I say you ignored?

            I was responding to your comment on how the take downs of Riley gave you bad feelings about Spike. And if Lor (or other Snows) decide they don’t like Spike (I assume past season 5 since it seems there was no problem before then) it will hardly be an issue. I suspect already that there is a certain amount of sympathy toward the ‘should have stopped after season 5’ crowd.

            And yes – I have been vocal about how I would have liked to have seen Spike’s side – but that was when I was treating this as an LJ meta that is up for debate. Now that I realize it isn’t I am no longer trying to change the snark itself.

          • But no matter how Spike is treated in this episode it is deserved because of other episodes.
            The usual “not enough Spike feelings” complaint.

            Again, my comment was pointing out that the comments on this episode (and all others) affect the watching experience for all of us, albeit in different ways.

          • Raluca

            What I do not understand is why you changed from liking Spike to hating him, which of course is your right. I just do not understand. Each time I watched BtVS, I liked him even more, I could relate to his story even more etc.
            Maybe this is because I do like anti-heroes – no book without an anti-hero is amongst my favourites. If I mention male characters I like in books, such as Rhett Butler, Heathcliff, Jaime Lannister to mention but a few, it is obvious Spike is the one character I am definitely going to like.
            But why do you dislike Spike so much now?

          • There are a lot of reasons. Part of it is the push/pull of loud voices that I was explaining before. Mostly, though, it’s that it’s really clear that the writing team could not get their shit together and agree on some major details. I understand why that reads as complexity for a lot of people, but this go-round it’s just felt so terribly sloppy and it’s frustrating. S6 has been the worst of it, and that’s a big part of why it has fallen apart for me here, specifically.

            I only watched it once through before this. On a marathon watch, this stuff didn’t bother me; most of it went entirely unnoticed. It doesn’t help that this season, with all its sloppiness, has also been sloppy in ways that touch a serious rage nerve for me. (And timing. Oh the terrible, terrible timing.)

            I was also able to watch it at my own pace, too. We’re on this whole schedule now and that’s rough because this season has a lot of, “I need a break now,” moments.

            (This certainly isn’t my way of saying that I’m sorry we’ve done it this way or anything like that — plenty of GOOD changes have come out of it! — just an answer to your question.)

          • Raluca

            Hmmm… this answer is unexpected. 🙂 I understand what you are saying and I admit I have the same opinion, in some ways. But S6 is actually my favourite, because of its darkness and “reality” touch. So, if I didn’t get it wrong, it’s not Spike you hate per se, it’s bad development and sloppy choices. 🙂

          • Jojo

            Sweeney – again you are pulling one line out of what I said and taking it to mean something about me or what I am saying.

            *You said: Even as a non-Snow, watching people issue lengthy take-downs of Riley for doing tamer versions of awful things that Spike has been doing for half a season also doesn’t help Spike’s PR.*

            I answered *It seems to me like you want us to forget all about feelings from season4 about Riley now that he is shiny and polished with a trophy wife. Butno matter how Spike is treated in this episode it is deserved because
            of other episodes. So…uhm…pot – meet kettle.*

            That wasn’t a “not enough Spike feelings” That was pointing out that some people can’t stand Spike after certain and various events – and that the same held true for Riley. But I didn’t quite understand why viewers objecting to Riley make Spike look bad. That is the IT SEEMS TO ME part. I.E – this is what it appears to me that you are communicating.

            Pot-Kettle. Identical – reflections. Not one better than the other.

            And yeah – I was arguing in the past weeks to try and change your (collective) views. As I said – I was treating this as an LJ meta. It is not – it is an entertaining Snark review and not subject to the same response. I have tried to make this clear but it seems not to be.

          • I guess I’m just not getting what your clarification is…Riley is being held accountable for tamer versions of things Spike did. Nobody told anyone to forget Riley’s past, and didn’t say that Spike deserved everything that happened in this episode.

            Sorry, wait, IT SEEMS TO ME that your statement said we were (or maybe just I was, with my one-sentence-comment) telling everyone to forget Riley’s past and while insisting that Spike uniquely deserves everything that happens because of past episodes.

          • Raluca

            Guys… please stop. This is not productive. 🙂

          • Jojo

            Pnaqvqyl, V qba’g guvax gurer vf nal jnl sbe zr gb pbzzhavpngr nal zber urer. V nz nccneragyl nyernql frra nf n gebhoyrznxre ertneqyrff bs jung V fnl. Guvf vf gur 3eq jrrx va n ebj gung bar bs gur zbqf unf gnxra bar yvar sebz fbzrguvat V fnvq naq qrpvqrq vg zrnag fbzrguvat pbzcyrgryl qvssrerag. Vg’f yvxr nyy gur crbcyr jub cvff gurz bss ol yvxvat Fcvxr ner orvat oynzrq ba zr. V gubhtug vs V rnfrq bss vg jbhyq tb njnl ohg V thrff V whfg cvff gur zbqf bss urer. V ernyyl guvax vg’f gvzr sbe zr gb tb gb yhex naq xrrc zl zbhgu fuhg.

          • Disa

            With you.

          • Raluca

            I think you are wrong, Jojo. But your choices are yours, of course. And we didn’t even get to the episode that will actually inflame everybody! 🙂

          • Jojo

            Yeah I know. I was feeling pissy and in the moment. I’ll be more careful though – much more

          • Raluca

            This is actually the 2nd blog I am following – Buffy-wise. It is quite civilized, but so is criticallytouched (that is where I found out about the Snark Squad from). I am sure there are places where people get really mean and comments really bad (I’ve heard people mention Mark Watches, but have no intention to check it out).

            Careful is a good attitude, for me, as a non-native speaker of English with strong convictions. I got really angry at some point during a past review discussion, but kept from commenting, because anger is not a good mood to comment on others’ opinions. When I realized I was angry, I took a moment to cool down and see what made me so. I think I got angry because of how I interpreted the words of the review/comments at the time; but I am the only one responsible for what I understand when I read.

            I like Spike too, but there are things about his story that I hate. I do not hate him though, no matter what he does. I am sure many do. Also, switching to rot13, V jbaqre jung jvyy unccra jura jr ernpu Frrvat Erq. V gbyq lbh orsber: V graq gb abg bayl haqrefgnaq gur nggrzcgrq encr, ohg nyfb flzcnguvmr jvgu Fcvxr, jvgubhg znxvat rkphfrf sbe jung ur qvq be oynzvat Ohssl va nal jnl. Ab bar qrfreirf gb or encrq, ab znggre jung. V xabj zbfg crbcyr ba guvf fvgr jvyy sbphf ba O’f srryvatf naq ure CBI naq Fcvxr jvyy trg n ybg bs ungr. V nz abg fher gur Fanex Ynqvrf jvyy or noyr gb xrrc vg qbja – vs gurl ungr Fcvxr abj, vzntvar jung gurl jvyy srry jura ur vf fubja nf n encvfg. V nz abg rira fher gurl jvyy punatr gurve zvaqf jura ur trgf uvf fbhy onpx. Jung V xabj vf gung V nz cercnerq (V ubcr) sbe jung V jvyy ernq naq gel abg gb yrg vg trg gb zr ba n crefbany yriry. Naq znlor rira gbar qbja zl pbzzragf, nf, vagryyrpghnyyl fcrnxvat, V xabj encr vf jebat naq Fcvxr qrfreirf gur jbefg sbe vg, ohg ba na rzbgvbany yriry V trg jurer vg pnzr sebz naq flzcnguvmr. V fhttrfg gur fnzr nccebnpu gb lbh. 🙂

          • Alex

            Hi-five for Critically Touched! I wrote a few of the Angel reviews on there but didn’t realise you were from those boards too. I heard about Snark Squad from Jojo on the CT boards but it’s been aaaages since I actually joined in any discussion there. I should go back.

          • Raluca

            Alex, nice to hear that! However, you cannot know me from there, I was just lurking and never posting. I read all the reviews though (BtVS, AtS and Freaks and Geeks) and most of the comments 🙂

          • Alex

            Ah I see, cool! It’s definitely nowhere near as busy as this over there, but there are a nice bunch of people who comment regularly. This and CT are the only places where I’ll get involved in Buffy discussion, because they’re both so civilised compared to other Buffy forums I’ve read (and there are plenty out there, MarkWatches definitely being the worst I’ve ever seen – I wouldn’t go near those comment boards!). I think there’s probably quite substantial shared readership between the two, which is funny because Mike and the Snark Ladies have SUCH different reviewing styles and very opposing views at times too.

            (If anyone else reading this is interested, the link is http://www.criticallytouched.com but beware: all reviews are written from a retrospective viewpoint which assumes you’ve seen the whole series and spoilers are therefore rife. You can also sometimes find Angel spoilers in the Buffy reviews/comments and vice versa so definitely not Snow-friendly!)

          • Jojo

            You are wise – my friend. It’s funny – I go to critically touched and I’m the person who told them about Snark Squad. Things just work out well sometimes.

            V qrneyl ybir Fcvxr – ohg lbh naq V unir gur pbzcyrgr ivrj bs uvf erqrzcgvba. V guvax gurl jvyy arrq gb ungr uvz ng yrnfg sbe n juvyr. V qb haqrefgnaq jul Fcvxr qbrf jung ur qbrf ohg V nyfb frr vg nf gur hygvzngr orgenlny. Va rffrapr ur fnlf ur ybirf Ohssl naq lrg ur vf gelvat gb encr ure vagb orvat jung ur jnagf ure gb or. Gung vf gur bccbfvgr bs ybir – gelvat gb boyvgrengr jung lbh qba’g jnag va n crefba. Ohg V guvax ur arrqf gb ernyvmr gur qrcgu ur unf snyyra gb – naq ubj ur ernyyl pna’g or gehfgrq va beqre gb qb jung ur qrpvqrf gb qb.

            Frrvat Erq jvyy or n gbhtu bar – ohg V fhfcrpg gung Gnen qlvat jvyy nyfb or cerggl hcfrggvat.

          • Raluca

            Yes indeed… Critically Touched and Snark Squad are civilised places, with no name-calling or annoying behaviours. Different opinions are voiced (written, actually) in a polite and pleasant manner. So far at least… but I am sure it’ll go on like this 🙂

            Jryy, gb or ubarfg, rira gubhtu V haqrefgnaq Fcvxr’f wbhearl, V qba’g yvxr uvf punenpgre va F7. V yvxr fprarf vaibyivat uvf cerfrapr (yvxr gur raq bs Orarngu Lbh be gur fprar va gur onfrzrag, jura ur ernyvmrf ur vf orvat hfrq ol gur Svefg naq nfxf O gb xvyy uvz, ohg guvf vf orpnhfr bs WZ’f npgvat fxvyyf. V qb abg yvxr chffl-juvccrq Fcvxr – fbeel abg fbeel. V yvxr uvz onqnff va F2, ybir-ybea va F3, perrcvyl yhexvat cflpub va F5 naq nohfrq nohfre va F6.
            V nz fbeel nobhg Gnen, ure punenpgre terj ba zr fybjyl, naq V nz fher gur Fanex Ynqvrf jvyy furq znal grnef sbe ure. Vg vf shaal gubhtu, gung gur npgbe cynlvat Jneera naq Nzore Orafba – Gnen npghnyyl qngrq sbe n juvyr. N ovg perrcl gb qngr Jneera – V graq gb vqragvsl gur npgbe jvgu guvf cnegvphyne punenpgre 🙁

          • Jojo

            Okay – this complaint you have is about the fans and not the show. It is about how reading complaints about Riley makes you dislike Spike more.

            Frankly I see this turning into a distinction between valid complaints and invalid complaints. It’s all fine – I am tired and feeling kind of pissy.

            I know it’s not productive.. Raluca.

          • Raluca

            I think you’ll just have to agree you disagree. And nobody is able to be 100% objective – we are human beings and not robots. Anytime we claim “objectivity”, we do it to “clear our conscience” and get to have our say anyway.
            When you watch or read something, your experiences and beliefs and personality kick in and filter what you see/read. I got annoyed at times because of things I read here, but not any more. I do not need for the whole world to agree with me. I understand Sweeney and Lor and Kirsty when their comments say something I do not agree with – it is what they see and feel. It is ok. Where Lor sees “disgusting” and “throws up in her mouth”, I see “hot” and “I wanna get me some sex like that”.

            Please stop arguing, you’ll never see “eye to eye” on this – have I used the expression correctly? I am not a native speaker 🙂 Please tell me if it was wrongly used.

          • Jojo

            Your English is excellent! No – arguing is not productive.

          • Raluca

            Guys… please stop. This is not productive. 🙂 – and I am making this comment twice, once for Jojo and the other time for Sweeney 😛

          • LOL. You’re sweet. No, it’s not productive and I need a power nap anyway.

          • I responded to this original comment above before I saw that you better explained what you meant here. And I think this, “That was pointing out that some people can’t stand Spike after certain
            and various events – and that the same held true for Riley,” is essentially what we were saying! By asking questions and engaging in conversation, we’re asking, “why Riley and why not Spike?” It’s fun for us, at least, and hopefully everyone here is enjoying the conversation and the thinky thoughts!

            Also, I hope you don’t discredit our opinions just because we like to snark, and pick entertainment above all else, or because we choose to stand outside of the story, and look in. 🙂

          • Jojo

            No – Snark is wonderful. I just caught on late…really, really late. And I think I tend to get farther into the story because I am a writer by inclination. That means I spend way too much time trying to figure out all the different reasons why a character would do something so dumb. Sometimes I am completely stumped.

          • Good point about this making Buffy seem as dumb, which makes me think that the episode was pointing out how blind she’s been. (ETA: perhaps I should say uninvolved. She’s been phoning the Slayer stuff in. She’s shagging mid-mission!) Perhaps, Spike too, has been acting blindly, rashly and without his usual focus, as we see in his half-brained demon egg plot.

            I’ve liked Spike plenty in the past, but mostly for MOMENTS rather than anything his character is. So when for the past six episodes I’ve felt sick watching his action but also felt how sloppy I feel his entire characterization thing, it’s less of a baby/bath water thing because there basically is no baby. Just some dirty water it isn’t much sweat for me to get rid of. 😉

          • Raluca

            I am sure it is a lot of PR going on for Spike, most of it due to James Marsters, who is a wonderful actor and also happens to look very hot playing Spike. So I agree many tend to side with Spike. I admit I do, all the time. I cannot identify with Buffy at all (I don’t even like her, most of the time – I think she is a self-righteous tightpants missy, just like Faith thought). You are of course entitled to hate Spike with fiery passion, just as we are entitled to love him and find excuses for him.

            What is even worse is that I am sure I wouldn’t like Spike in real life too much – just as I am sure I would absotively 😉 hate Dr. House in real life – talk about a misogynistic pig who thinks he’s God’s Gift to people on Earth – but I loved them both on TV and I understood them and found excuses for their shitty behaviour 🙂

          • Yup! You’ve been clear about those feels! 😉 Certainly not trying to tell anyone what the can/will like either 🙂

            The IRL thing is an interesting point! We’re starting some other things in a few weeks, one of which is something I have some established feelings about and there’s a specific character who I have mentally preparing myself to have the, “Blogging changes things” event with. I don’t generally put it in those words, but it’s such a good way to put it, because those kinds of questions do crop up when you spend 3 hours with each episode, breaking it down moment by moment like this.

          • Raluca

            I am sure my further comments on future events will be even worse for Buffy lovers. 😀 Nothing has ever changed my love of Spike, even the blogging you guys did – I identify with him too much to be able to hate him. I resent what he does at times, I think he is stupid and should get his arse kicked at others, but I do not hate him. He is actually the reason why I watched BtVS in the first place. 🙂
            I can hardly wait to see what else you guys have planned for us!

          • Oh, to be clear, I meant that the blogging process changes it for us, doing the blogging. I don’t expect that we’re necessarily changing minds, especially from people who have seen the show tons of times through. Lots of things about watching a show this way — spending hours on each episode, dissecting it moment by moment, having lengthy conversations about those interpretations, etc., etc. — changes things in a pretty radical way. (Though I was just talking to Kirsti today about how fandom has shaped my experience of a show before. A character I probably wouldn’t have cared about became something of a personal cause for me because of what struck me as unfair hate — basically like what’s happened with Dawn here, though to a much lesser degree, again… blogging changes things. IT’S OUR MANTRA!)

            (And it’s mostly stuff we have planned for ourselves, I won’t lie. We watch stuff and then sort of cross our fingers and hope a few other people will want to watch with us.)

          • Raluca

            I know what you meant. But the same thing happens to people who reply to you. We also need to think about what we believe and why, and sometimes go even deeper into our minds to understand some of the things we say.
            Writing these comments made me realize why I really like Spike – not because he is hot (which he is) or in pain (which he also is), but because I identify with him – I am like him in some ways and I did part of the terrible things he does myself. So we also “change” as a result of these interactions.

          • Amazing point about fandom! I think having enough support of Spike within the fandom is why I’m comfortable giving the other end of things! Spike doesn’t need my support, he’s got plenty of SET IN STONE support. 🙂

          • Raluca

            I think you should give him a pass and support just for his stunning good looks! 😛

          • LOL. Spike has admittedly been super sexy on occasion, and mostly all in context and because of the way JM carries himself. However, I don’t think I’d ever say he “had stunning good looks,” personally.

            Spike shouldn’t vie for my pass. He’s got plenty of them already! DON’T BE GREEDY, SPIKE.

          • Raluca

            LOL I know. To each his own. I do find him really attractive and hot and… let me stop now 😀
            I am sure not everybody feels the same, though!

          • If our comments get super steamy, I know it’s you thinking dirty Spike thoughts! 😉

          • Raluca

            Well, I cannot help it (nor do I want to). I do find him extremely hot. I have to confess that the first time I saw the sex scenes with Buffy I was so distracted by how hot he was that I didn’t even pay attention to the development. I was more like… “Nekkid Spike, hot sex!!!” and saw no metaphors of broken houses and lives or downright abusive behavior – I just soooooooo wanted to be Buffy then 😀

          • Raluca

            I can hardly wait to see what else you are preparing for us. 🙂

          • I think the comments have fleshed out to a point now where most of what Riley did in this episode was be written a certain way or essentially, be Riley, who people just don’t like! But I think in the very beginning it was fun to note that a few comments called him out on his behavior toward Buffy (the speech, pretending to know her, pretending to know what’s best for her, looking down on her job, looking down on her romantic choices, etc) when Spike has arguably done much of the same stuff. It was a sweeping comment, not meant to target anyone, but just point out that arguments against Riley might be a bad thing for Spike’s PR, if you turn them around an equally apply them.

            I still dislike Riley and I’m glad he got on his helicopter (in that terrible, terrible last scene) and flew away. No one said Spike “deserves” anything. We’re talking about out of show discussions and perceptions of his behavior, so I’m not understanding the “pot/kettle” thing.

          • Ashley Menvielle


          • Alicia

            As someone who’s not a fan of Riley’s role in the story in this episode, I’ve been trying to ramble on about (or explain if you’re being kind lol) that it’s mainly how the writers have positioned him in the story that bugs rather than it being that Riley is so awful but Spike is fine doing similar. Spike’s pov isn’t privileged in the story whereas the writers have put Riley on some sort of weird pedestal in this episode. So it feels like he is talking down to Buffy even when he isn’t really. It also partly bugs because Riley is personally meh to me and this episode does irritate me for the ‘Riley and his wife are so awesome and cool’ vibe I get. I don’t actually think EITHER of them are exactly awful when they try to tell Buffy she’s better or that her circumstances don’t touch her, that’s way harsher than I would describe it. It’s mainly a this episode only type complaint. Though some of it IS to do with Riley’s exit in season five and Buffy’s apology to him definitely grates.

          • Ashley Menvielle

            Yes! This is pretty much exactly how I feel about Riley, and the writing in this episode.

        • Clément Polge

          I’m not a Snow either, but I’m kind of with Lorr on this one… When I think about it I’m totally convinced that “yup, sucks to be Spike”, and there are some touching moments for him this episode, but all in all I can’t help but think that he kinda made his bed you know…

          • Jojo

            Yeah – he made his bed. Buffy made hers as well. But to sleep with someone you hate in order to feel – then beat on him when someone finds out – that’s kind of cold. Willow, Tara, Anya and Xander are the ones who ripped Buffy out of heaven. But it seems throughout most of this season her anger is directed at herself and taken out on Spike.

            And can we please not get into all the bad things Spike has done in order to justify the bad things Buffy has done. Because one of them has a soul and a conscience and is supposed to be better according to everything this universe stands for. Spike does some really unforgivable things, but Buffy does not get a free pass to be abusive.

          • I debated this comment because probably me going around, “I don’t like Spike!!” doesn’t really add much to the discussions, but I’m not sure if I’ve ever made this point: part of the reason I don’t like the current Spike character is because of, “Because one of them has a soul and a conscience and is supposed to be better according to everything this universe stands for.” It’s not a untrue thing, but I inherently dislike this character they are feeding us, who gets to interact in Buffy’s world, but also exist on a plane completely separate from it. It’s too much for me to buy, these double standards, this soulless vampire who can care in limited portions. TOO MUCH I SAY.

          • Ashley Menvielle

            I love Spike but, yes, this! It makes it terribly confusing the way he is written and played, JM is amazing to me, when in the logic of the verse he shouldn’t be able to make any of the progress, that’s positive, that he does. I think t causes very strong reactions to his character because of this muddledness. David Fury, who wrote Crush, supposedly said that Spike is different from other vamps in that more of his humanity leaked through or something contrivancy like that but, ok, then why doesn’t the writing address that head on? I feel like when the writers have to break the 4th wall and clarify their points to the audience then it just pretty much is a fail for the actual writing that that point didn’t come across in the first place. I also don’t give much stock in taking authorial intent 100percent bc once the writing is out there in the public the audience takes its own readings and gives heir own meaning to it. Hope that makes some sense!

          • Jojo

            Well, the difference between souled and unsouled is sort of a main part of the Buffyverse. I know you and Sweeney don’t really like it – but it is a crucial part of the mythos and not something made up by the fans. See season 2 – that was the Big Bad, unsouled Angelus vs souled Angel.

          • No, I’m okay with soul and unsouled. I’ve even said that I like the blurring of lines and how we’ve discovered that demons are sometimes better than humans. (See: Angel the Series!) I don’t like Spike because his character is played on both sides with little rhyme and not enough reason for my personal tastes.

          • Jojo

            I don’t know that he’s supposed to be all that likable at this point – though I do feel sympathy. That’s why I say I’m giving context – and not excuses. Buffy was also less than likable when she was acting like a demon – Tara telling her there were no changes in her stunned her because she realized how far she had lowered herself and begged Tara not to forgive her. The thing is that Buffy – even with the powers of a slayer – is human. She can see what is wrong, and she can make those changes. And Buffy has an incredibly strong moral compass. That to me is her current context.

            Context again – Spike was a mass murderer without any pity. He delighted in killing and then he was chipped. He had to slow down and rely on what was once food to survive. That is why he is played on both sides – because he is neither a predator anymore nor a real human. Spike believes he loves Buffy. He believes he can be trusted. He believes he is giving her what she needs. And he is wrong across the board. Tara said it best : “No, see, it can’t end like that, ‘cuz all of Quasimodo’s actions were selfishly motivated. He had no moral compass, no understanding of what was right. Everything he did, he did out of love for a woman who’d never be able to love him back.”

            (And actually, Angel is also all over the board. He did let Darla
            and Dru snack on a room full of lawyers. My read on that is a soul is a
            conscience but if you push too hard even a human with a conscience will

          • Ashley Menvielle


          • Clément Polge

            Again though, I’m not saying that I shouldn’t feel anything for Spike, I’m saying that I should, but I just don’t.

            The scene where he breaks up for instance, it SHOULD make me feel terrible for him, because they are indeed terribly dismissive of him and the actual pain he’s expressing, but all I can think about is how he just screwed up big time and I just don’t have any fuck to give to him right now.

            The scene where Buffy says “do you love me ? do you want me ?” should also be horrible for Spike, it reeks of Buffy using Spike as a thing to make her feel better, which IS horrible for Spike, but he seems to go along with it, so I can’t feel sorry for him, and all my feels are taken for Buffy who just feels super destroyed (which doesn’t justify what she does one bit, obviously).

            What I am badly trying to say is that, for me, Buffy hit me in the feels, while Spike hit me in the brain. Don’t know if that make sense ?

            But I am *not* denying the fact that Spike get the shit beaten out of his feels in this episode, nor that basically everything that happens to him is super creepy.

          • I LOVE THIS: What I am badly trying to say is that, for me, Buffy hit me in the
            feels, while Spike hit me in the brain. Don’t know if that make sense ?

            This how I feel about Holtz, in fact! I know I should feel bad about what happened to him, and maybe I do in my head, but not in my heart.

            I think a couple of people have the reverse where they know in their brain they should feel something for Buffy, but it doesn’t translate.

            SO, YES, it makes sense and it is right on.

          • Zovc

            “…Buffy hits me in the feels, while Spike hits me in the brain.” EXACTLY. Spike is a character I can feel bad for intellectually, but emotionally- Nope. Spike’s a soulless vampire, feeling for him would seem obscene. I still love him, since he’s interesting, hilarious, and still occasionally badass, but I deplore his actions and wouldn’t shed a tear if he was locked out of his crypt and the sun came up.

            V qb trg gur bppnfvbany Fcvxr srry va Frnfba Frira, jvgu zber serdhrag bppheeraprf va Natry Frnfba Svir.

  • Jojo

    I really don’t like the parts that make up this episode, even though I like the fact that Buffy is coming back into the light after that long, painful nearly suicidal depression. I also can’t stand Riley – still – but I appreciate that seeing him and helping him brings Buffy back to knowing what she once was, and what she still can be.

    There are a few things that really drive me nuts about the whole episode – and they are more in the writing than anything else. I can’t imagine Spike using the nom de guerre “The Doctor” given that the death of Buffy was caused by the fact that Spike couldn’t rescue Dawn from the original (BTVS) Doctor. Another thing is the freakin Taj MaTardis crypt. Not only has it grown so huge it’s ridiculous – it was also supposedly hollowed out by Spike (and the nearest invisible dwarf colony!) Next, Buffy is the slayer – why didn’t she notice a shitpile of demon eggs in the next room? Finally – the demon eggs that should be kept frozen in a crypt without an extra large freezer. I don’t mind Spike screwing up royally – just please do it believably. This plot was neither deadly or amoral – it was contrived and ridiculous without a single kernel of brain being involved in the writing.

    The going wisdom is that Spike was doing the egg dealing to get money for Buffy – which wouldn’t surprise me. It’s typical of how Spike screws up – the end justifies the means, and I really do want to help Buffy because I love her – when he can’t really see what she really needs. Demon love is selfish, controlling, obsessive – Buffy wanted that and came back for it, mainly because she had a sick need to punish herself. Taking it out on herself (and Spike – a very willing victim) was easier than taking it out on her friends.

    Sorry not sorry – I remain in the loathe Sam category after many watchings. The invincible amazon with the heart of gold – meeting the love of her hubby’s life and soooo way too nice. She is so beyond cardboard and into wet tissue. And I do love Willow – it’s kinda easy for me to get caught up in big things and miss smaller things like how much better Willow is doing and how she is now back to huggable.

    I would say that Buffy’s depression really started after she was pulled from Heaven. Before that she was sad, angry, scared – but still fighting. She was ready to give up all that when she jumped. But that completely emotional deadness came after. And since this season is at least in part about how much trouble everyone has with honest communication, we can see it was all avoidable if Buffy had been brave enough to give the others hell.

    Thank you for noting the fact that Spike is also being used. This is an episode that really shows that. But I find it very revealing that Spike did back off as soon as Buffy said it was killing her – that look was pure William. There is a sadness there for Spike – the last time he was called William was also when someone he ‘loved’ dropped him. Kinda wish that Buffy hadn’t done that. I can see why she did it – but I thin it also was salt in the wound.

    • Danna

      Sam may be beyond cardboard cutout, but doesn’t that make her the perfect mate for Capt. cardboard? May they be very happy together.

      I noted that Buffy became a little more “righteous” as soon as Riley was there. It was appropriate for Spike to call her out for playing games too.

      • Jojo

        Cardboard heaven XD

        Yeah – “I was always brave and kinda righteous” – righteous is one of Buffy’s main setting. I am glad that Spike called her out because as bad as he has been for her – and I really believe he loves her n his own way – she really has been kinda coldblooded about using him. One think I do like about this episode is that it’s the first time there is any solid look at how dysfunctional and painful this has also been for Spike. The prize – Buffy’s love – always just out of reach but always dangling there. Buffy needed what he gave and kept coming back to him.

        • Alicia

          Yeah we don’t really get Spike’s perspective on the relationship in the episodes. So he seems like this evol seducer who seduces or something. He’s like the woman who seduces the hero, hooker with a heart of gold type thing. We don’t get to see as much the times when Buffy barges into his crypt for sex or how painful it must be to sort of, kind of, not really be with her.

          Until now. Dun dun dun:)

          • Jojo

            Sometimes I envy you so much
            chokes me. And then sometimes
            I think I’ve got the better deal.
            be that close to her and not have
            her… To be all alone even
            you’re holding her, feeling her,
            feeling her beneath you,
            you, the scent of — no, you’ve got
            the better

            Riley drinks again.

          • Alicia

            YES I was going to quote that in my reply to Lorraine above and mention the Spike/Riley parallels but then I got lazy and didn’t. I wonder where Spike’s opinion would fall now?

    • Alicia

      I was just about to type up a post saying exactly some of this stuff! The Doctor name makes no sense. It would be incredibly masochistic for Spike to name himself that considering his biggest failure last season, that we see in ‘Afterlife’ he has been beating himself up over the whole time Buffy was gone. But I tend to think that Spike wasn’t actually a dealer called the ‘Doctor’. Whenever Buffy or Riley mention the name Spike shows absolutely no sign of recognising it at all. it’s only when the eggs come up that he starts babbling and sounding guilty. It seems like a one off thing to me, and yeah my headcanon is that he is doing it for Buffy. Like he mentioned in ‘DoubleMeat Palace’, “I can get money”. Buffy doesn’t seem to think that he’s some sort of demon dealer either, otherwise she’d be a lot more concerned than calling it a ‘stupid scheme’. And I agree about the stupidity of Spike not storing the egss properly. I mean really? He can be an idiot at times, but I find it hard to believe that he would actually not bother to find out an important detail like that. This is the guy who successfully organised a major tunnelling operation to get the Gem of Amarra.

      And I really dislike Buffy calling Spike ‘William’, even if she was trying to show him some respect. To me, the least she could do is apologise to the actual demon/person she has been sleeping with. His name is Spike, not William. It feels as though she is only apologising to the part of him that is human, thereby dismissing him as the whole individual that she has been using. And I agree that to Spike, it probably felt like another twist of the knife in his gut.

      • Jojo

        Yeah – I know they need some sort of bad thing for Spike to do and Riley to catch but a toddler can put holes in what they came up with. Yeah, Spike can be dumb but he does know his way around demons. That’s not the kind of dumb he can be. And what does it say about Buffy? These evil destructive demon eggs have no smell, give no tinglies, make no noise – depression is one thing but that makes her at least as much of an idiot as he is.

        Like I said – I like what happens in this episode. Any more ripping at each other would be beyond tolerable.

        And I think Buffy meant well calling Spike William but I dislike it on many levels. Buffy never knew William – she has no idea of what the name means to him. It’s been Spike she has been dancing with. William is the most private part of Spike – to use it when he is going through something this painful implies an intimacy they never had.

        • Alicia

          YES YES to all of this, especially the William stuff. That’s the reason why I dislike it. It’s so dismissive of who he is. She shouldn’t be using the name of someone she never met when the individual she DOES know is standing right there with his heart breaking. (Of course Spike IS William at his core, but he is so much more than that). I know people think it’s amazing and wonderful that she is acknowledging humanity in him or whatever but it really bothers me from Spike’s perspective. You’re right that there hasn’t been the intimacy there for it to be okay. And the compartmentalising of him irks me, like only a small part of him is worth apologising to. Not that I think she is particularly sorry anyway. Okay maybe a little.

          • Jojo

            Well, when the apology starts with – I’m not gonna yell at you for being a moron because that is what you have always been and I should have remembered it – kinda hard to see the ‘my bad’ in the apology. It’s more of a ‘kicking you to the curb because this is bad for me and I want to do it nicely” I think Buffy is sincere – but we can count that as one more abysmal lack of thought communication. To be honest, he never really knew her and she never really knew him – which is not the excuse – it is the problem.

          • Alicia

            Yeah it’s so depressing. I don’t hate her for it or anything, it’s just really hard for me to watch. I understand that breaking up with Spike is a step to becoming healthy again. You know, Spike tries so hard in regards to Buffy. It’s just that he tries hard the completely wrong way most of the time. But he seems to really believe that he can give her what she wants and needs. And it’s hard to communicate effectively with someone who mostly refuses to talk about anything involving their relationship. When Buffy told Riley “I’m sleeping with him” it seemed like the first time she had really acknowledged what she was doing even to herself. So Spike uses sex to communicate with her because anything else doesn’t seem to make it through. Sexual contact really ruined their relationship. They were becoming almost friends earlier in the season.

          • Raluca

            It is not just sex, guys 😛 Maybe it started out like that, but it is not just sex. She wishes it were, though, because feeling this dirty for having sex is one thing, but feeling this dirty for having unclear feelings about a monster is much worse. One question: why doesn’t she use the de-inviting spell on him ever again after Crush? The moment she invited him back into her life, he stayed there no matter what. 🙂

          • Alicia

            I know that it’s not just sex, really. Otherwise she wouldn’t freak out so much over it like you said. I actually think Buffy has very intense feelings for Spike, and that she does care about him more than I’m making out. I’ve just been in Spike feels/rant mode this episode. What’s that Buffy says in season five I think? “This is a rant. Logic has no place in it!”.

          • Raluca

            LOL yeah, I understand. Using sex is something I did. Pretending I have no feeling for someone is another thing I also did. So I get it. For me, it’s not the “having sex” that’s the problem, it’s the “getting it all wrong on both sides” that is.

        • Disa

          I really like this take on the whole episode. Be warned! There are spoilers at the following link.


          • Jojo

            +1 Kinda what I’ve thought all along.

      • darkalter2000

        The Gem of Amarra tunnels… that is so my head cannon explaination for Spike’s tunnels under his crypt now. Hell the tardis crypt isn’t all that much bigger on the inside until you take into account the tunnels. Plus there is a drop at the entryway so the crypt itself could be mostly underground…. I like this headcannon.

      • Spike was just never a great Big Bad. Sorry to him. He once planned to wipe out his entire food source, IIRC. He often thinks in the heat of the moment, so I can totally see him flubbing this and more. Spike is known to step it in, is all I”m saying.

        • Alicia

          It’s just that if they’re trying to present him as an established dealer that the locals Riley talked to can point to and go “Yep he’s The Doctor” then it doesn’t make much sense. Sam was talking about foreign powers being interested in the eggs. But I suppose since I don’t think he is actually a dealer called ‘The Doctor’ and it was probably just a one-off opportunistic thing, than I guess it’s possible. Still seems a bit too much to me.

          • Ashley Menvielle

            Yeah, he’s making these international arms deals…but he doesn’t fucking have a land line or cell phone…no script, just no. Glaring plot holes and I cling to my belief that Spike really was just holding them for an intermediary, and that Riley just was all too willing to look no further than the vamp who called him on his vamp whoring to Buffy last year as the arms dealer.

        • Jojo

          That’s exactly my problem. When Spike screws up it is in the heat of the moment. This is a rookie mistake, and I don’t see him as a rookie in this area.

          • There are enough non-communicated particulars to either make you ragey about, or to give you enough leeway to think, ‘it could happen!” We don’t know how long Spike’s had the eggs, or what his intentions or plans were pre-Buffy arriving for sex. That would certainly be the heat of the moment. We don’t know that he’d have failed at all, had Buffy and Riley not interrupted him. He’s always foiled by those meddling kids!

    • Raluca

      Can I just say that vg vf Jvyyvnz jub nggrzcgf gb encr ure, naq abg gur inzcver? Fcvxr arire bapr tbrf vagb inzcsnpr va Frrvat Erq – abg jura ur sbeprf uvzfrys ba ure, abg jura ur guvaxf nobhg jung ur qvq. V guvax Wbff qvq guvf vagragvbanyyl, gur snpg gung vg vf gur “uhzna” jub nggnpxf ure. Ohg zber ba gung yngre…

      • Jojo

        V fb pbzcyrgryl ungr gung jevgvat naq rqvgbevny qrpvfvba – naq V ernyyl, ernyyl ungr gur jnl vg vf hfrq nf arrare-arrare zl inzc vf orggre.

        Yrgf tb onpx naq pbzcner jung Natryhf qvq jura abg va inzc snpr. Gevrq gb qrfgebl gur jbeyq – gjvpr. Guerngrarq Wblpr – xvyyrq Ohssl’f sevraqf. Jr unir ab vqrn ubj ur ybbxrq juvyr ur frg hc gur ebfrf naq punzcntar gb ernyyl thg Tvyrf. Uryy, Natry jnf va uhzna snpr jura ur ybpxrq Qeh naq Qneyn va jvgu gung tebhc bs ynjlref gb xvyy gurz nyy. Gurer ner na njshy ybg zber gb yvfg.

        Fcvxr jnf va uhzna snpr jura ur gevrq gb erfphr Qnja – ur jnf va uhzna snpr jura sbe whfg nobhg nyy bs frnfba svir – rira jura ur jnf urycvat gur Fpbbof. Naq yrg’f trg ernyyl erny – Fcvxr’f encr nggrzcg npghnyyl qvqa’g tb nf sne nf Knaqre’f nggrzcg gb encr Ohssl va frnfba bar.

        V guvax gung jung Fcvxr gevrq gb qb gb Ohssl jnf f jebat ba fb znal yriryf vg fvpxraf zr. Ohg gb pbzzrag ba snprf hfvat bayl gubfr gjb rknzcyrf vf fbzrguvat V nz ernyyl fvpx bs. Fbeel vs guvf pbzrf nybat gb fgebat – vg’f n erny ubg ohggba vffhr gb zr boivbhfyl.

        • Raluca

          V haqrefgnaq. Naq eryngr. Gur guvat vf, sbe Fcvxr gb trg uvf fbhy onpx, ur unq gb uvg ebpx obggbz. Naq gur bayl guvat jbefr guna jung ur qvq jbhyq or puvyq nohfr. Ohg yrg’f abg qvfphff gur encr abj – cyragl bs gvzr va gur pbzzragf gb gur erivrj bs Frrvat Erq. Yrg zr whfg fnl gung V jngpurq gung fprar znal gvzrf naq vg vf fgvyy uneq. Naq gur jbefg cneg vf gung V npghnyyl haqrefgnaq jul Fcvxr qbrf vg.
          V unir gb pbasrff V nz abg n sna bs chffl-juvccrq, fbhy-univat Fcvxr. Bgure guna fbzr fprarf, nyy univat Fcvxr va gurz, V erfrag F7 jvgu svrel cnffvba.
          Naljnlf, V nz abg rkphfvat Natry(hf), rira gubhtu V guvax Wbff gevrq gb tvir crbcyr gur vzcerffvba gung Natry naq Natryhf ner 2 qvssrerag orvatf, jurernf Fcvxr naq Jvyyvnz qb abg trg guvf “qrirybczrag”.

          • Jojo

            V guvax gur NE vf n orgenlny orpnhfr Fcvxr yvgrenyyl gevrf gb hfr encr gb ghea Ohssl vagb n qvssrerag crefba. Ur qbrfa’g whfg jnag gb encr ure obql – ur jnag gb encr ure zvaq naq ure urneg. Lrf, V ernyyl pna haqrefgnaq naq gung znxrf vg jbefr. Gur cnenqbk vf gung lbh pna’g pynvz gb ybir fbzrbar gung lbh ner npgviryl gelvat gb boyvgrengr naq erznxr. V guvax gung vf ebpx obggbz sbe uvz.

            Naq lrf – gurer jvyy or pbzzragf ncyragl! KQ

          • Raluca

            Jung V zrnag ol “V haqrefgnaq” vf npghnyyl “V flzcnguvmr”, juvpu xvaqn znxrf vg jbefr. Orpnhfr V unir gb pbasrff gung gur fprar vf uneq gb jngpu sbe zr abg orpnhfr bs Ohssl trggvat nyzbfg encrq, ohg orpnhfr V srry fbeel sbe Fcvxr. V xabj jung ur tbrf guebhtu. V haqrefgnaq gur fprar pnzr sebz n qvssrerag cynpr – Znegv Abkba sbepvat urefrys ba ure rk-OS gb trg uvz gb ybir ure ntnva. Zl thvyg pbzrf sebz gur snpg gung V xabj gur “pbeerpg” guvat gb srry vf qvfthfg sbe Fcvxr naq flzcngul sbe Ohssl – naq V qba’g.

  • Melodie Hatley

    HATED SAM. Good lord, the same problem that some people had with Johnathan in Season 4 saying, “This is how you fix everything” is Sam all over the place here. SHE’S THE MOST BESTEST PERFECT PERSON EVER. *GAG* At least with Johnathan, it was magically induced–he was giving the best advice because that’s what people expected from him: being the best at anything and everything ever. Sam was just too PERFECT. Blech.

    • Jojo

      Yes – the perfect Mary Sue. Exactly! Overall this episode could be a perfect Riley centered fanfic. He gets the beautiful wife who thinks he is great – take that Buffy. She charms everyone by saying the exact right thing. She makes Buffy feel bad so she goes to Spike. And then we can see Buffy and Riley do a major number on Spike to let him know he has always been a worthless idiot and no one can really care about him. Then Riley makes his speech and flies off with his wife in one of the most overdone scenes in the entire series – with everyone gathered about seeing his wonderfulibility. Sam, the perfect spouse is now loved by all.

      • Anagnorisis

        I was trying to think why I hated this episode and why it makes me so angry and I think this is exactly why, so thank you.

        • Jojo

          Didn’t even think of it until Melodie mentioned – and then it completely clicked into place.

          • Alicia

            The guy who wrote this episode is a MAJOR Riley fanboy so it’s not really surprising. The shooting script is slightly hilarious in that regard.

            Reverse angle reveals she is looking right into the steely, handsome eyes of…

            RILEY FINN. Looking intense, fit, and more handsome than ever in his stylin’ lightweight kevlar battle gear (the new scar he’s sporting above his right eye don’t hurt none).


            Uh, hello — Buffy? People are

            He’s right — people are waiting. And one of them, the only one Buffy sees, is handsome Black Ops combat specialist Riley Finn.

            Hee. There’s probably more:D Riley is described as handsome three times in those parts alone!

          • Ashley Menvielle

            God, I had heard Doug Petrie had it bad for Riley but I just vomited in my mouth a little. Ugh!

          • Alicia

            It just kind of cracks me up . But it explains the whole Riley fanfic vibe, mainly because it pretty much IS Riley fanfic.

          • Ashley Menvielle

            Yep, I totally agree and thank you Doug for that lesson in writing bad fanfiction!

          • HAHAHAHA. Thank you for sharing this masterpiece.

          • Anagnorisis

            Bhahaha, who wrote that? Xander?

          • Ashley Menvielle

            LOL! Exactly, the only thing missing was something about Riley not being a male vampire: “Handsome Riley Finn-who is totally human and NOT a vampire-waits in line”. “How long will our misguided heroine make him wait??”. That’s some thrilling fan fic there Xander!

          • Alicia

            And look! He’s a handsome Black Ops combat specialist. He’s a super speshul snowflake. And he has a SCAR. And his gaze is STEELY, STEELY I tell you. OMG the bad(ass) it burns.

          • Jojo

            And his scar is bigger than Spike’s! Same eyebrow but bigger!

          • Ashley Menvielle


          • Alicia

            HOW DARE HE!;D

      • Ashley Menvielle

        Yep, this is exactly what this ep feels like: let’s be as mean as possible to Buffy and show how pathetic her life and her have become by having Riley come back with a shiny new wife who lets him be the leader. I hate how Riley gets to be the voice of reason in this ep, he left Buffy and the Scoobs! He peaced out and hasn’t been there to have any clue what Buffy has gone through and yet he feels he can just tell her that she’s still amazing to him, because his opinion is very important to him I know, and graciously accepts her apology. Hulk smash! I am not a Riley fan but I don’t hate him except for this episode bc he’s so macho and is like let me tell you how it is little Buffy bc I’m the good guy, bc I deserve things that are good. It reminds me of, Doomed I think when he told Buffy she was stupid for not going out with him bc he’s such a great guy and if u expect bad things then they’ll happen, which fair but you don’t know her or her life demands, back off! Ugh, rage inducing, this episode makes me. Yay for Buffy progress but it could have been done better even with Riley who is hardly called out for any of his bad behavior last year.

        • Anagnorisis

          Thank you!
          That’s exactly how it feels to me and why I hate this episode soooooo much. ghaaa

          • Ashley Menvielle

            This episode is my least favorite, I hate how the story privileges Riley, vamp whoring’ Riley!, as the voice of reason for Buffy. It always felt like the writers agreed with Xander and Riley that Buffy was at fault for not recognizing all of Rileys FEELS, feels he didn’t tell her he had until right before he left, while her mom was sick and didn’t love him enough. Well, Riley is a big boy and it takes two to not communicate, show. Then, this ep comes along and he gets to talk at her and she apologizes to him?? Lol, NOPE! That sends a pretty negative message out to me about woman’s roles in relationship s: be perfect or he’ll leave you and it’ll always be ur fault, ladies. Did the writers realize they had done this? My answer to that is they should have better considered the implications of having Buffy believe Xander in Into the Woods, and about Rileys role in this ep.But they didn’t, and this is what we get. Ugh. So, yeah I’ll watch Go Fish, Beer Bad and IRYJ before this episode, happily.

        • Alicia

          Yes. I said I was meh about this episode but now I remember that I actually hate Riley’s role in it too.

          • Ashley Menvielle

            This episode makes me want to punch him in the nads, honestly. I see some of the reasoning behind why his character comes back and it shocks Buffy’s system into making some progress as the Snark ladies detailed in the recap but UGH, fuck why humiliate Buffy and Spike in order to elevate him to perfectionism so he can be the voice of reason for Buffy? On the show about a strong female character and the journey of growing up that she goes through it feels very sexist to me to have Riley, the male who believes very strongly in traditional gender tropes, go your still a he’ll of a woman to me Buffy, as if he has any right other than his privilege as “the nice guy” to presume to tell her anything after he ran away from her and the mission in Sunnyd last year. Grrr

          • I don’t know. Riley left Sunnydale in such a sucky place, as such a hated character, that having him come back and have things work out for him seemed less like, “SEE? PERFECT!!!” and more about what his speech was about: the wheel never keeps turning. You pay vampires to feed on you (low low) but then maybe you find someone who will marry you (high high!) Maybe the first woman you ever loved didn’t love you very much at all (sucks. low.) but maybe you find someone who is great and strong in her own right (yay high!)

            I hated Riley for his belief in traditional gender tropes, but I think it’s important to note who he ended up with. Not Suzy Homemaker.

            It didn’t read sexist to me at all. As I pointed out above, it comes down to character perception. Spike telling Buffy he’ll make the money for her, and that she’s stronger than the DMP didn’t set off any SEXISM! bells, but Riley calling her the strongest woman he knows did? He can’t tell her anything because they broke up and he left, but Spike can even though he was her nemesis for a few seasons? Perception! 🙂

          • Ashley Menvielle

            Yes, true to all your points and it is indeed a matter of perception. I think for me, Riley not being called out by anyone, except maybe Dawn a bit, grates because he did do wrong and never really took much responsibility for it, yes I had vamp shores suck on me but you don’t make me feel needed, Buffy. Blah, blah. But you’ll always be the strongest women now even though you smell like burgers: it seems to always be about Rileys perception and Rileys opinion, Buffy is on a pedestal to Riley, so to me his speech rings very hollow to me because I interpret it as: You can be the perfect, good girl hero on my pedestal again, because you always were, yay!

            I have no problem with Riley expressing this, if he had earned the right to to her but he left and he doesn’t know what she’s been through in reality. I don’t think he ever did, thinks he can say these things to her as he thought he could tell her she was stupid and that she should date him in Doomed. I like Riley, they broke up and he went through a lot, I felt badly for him but his privilege here bothers me and it reads as sexist to me. I should clarify that I don’t think Riley wants to hurt Buffy or is aware of his sexism at all. He’s trying to help her and he does. Great. I think could end have been done better.

          • Ashley Menvielle

            Oh and your point about Spike is dead on and my argument about Riley stands for him too: You don’t have the right to tell her how to live her life or who to be. Spike and Riley kind of mirror each other in how they think they can tell Buff what she needs and who she is with out having earned the right to do so. Just because I didn’t call out Spike doesn’t mean he gets a pass from me, but the show doesn’t really give him one in the way it does Riley. The difference there is Riley is an established good guy. Spike is still amoral guy if not evil, and the show codes him accordingly. So if I go after Riley it’s because of the pass and privilege he gets from the show and characters in this ep.

          • I’m noting this and filing it away! I think it might become even more interesting to note the parallels and how they are seen as we see more of the Spuffy relationship develop. Man, if anyone ever had the Slayer on a pedestal…!

            So, yeah, we’re watching the same thing and just getting two different views of it, just in straight tone and interpretation. Riley “got a pass” this episode (my mileage varies there) but I seem to be going after Spike because he gets pass and privilege from like, everyone, ever. 😉

          • Ashley Menvielle

            That mileage does tend to vary and rightfully so :). And yes, keep an eye out! There are tons of parallels to be found and they are delicious!

            Lots of people have put Buffy on a pedestal but the boys on the show, Xander, Spike, Riley, and Angel, seem to do it very often and obnoxiously. Spike should get called out, everybody on the show should get called out when they mess up but favorites are favorites, sadly and special snowflaking occurs which is why it gets so ugly in fandom imho.

            I don’t hate anybody on the show, except Warren!,So I think that helps to keep me somewhat unbiased, lol, but an episode like this where another character’s voice gets privileged over my Buffy and its her damn show? Grr. And as you said, Spike gets passes and privilege aplenty. Why, is that? I’ve read theories about it, about how a male character who is amoral at times and evil at others, can seemingly highjack the love and privilege of the audience from the main character herself: the main reason I heard is that people love the outsider, the underdog, which Spike is the outsider often from S4 on, so I guess I can see that reasoning. I’ll note here that he is has been on a journey since S4 and that we still have miles to go before we can sleep with his character. But it’s Buffy’s show and he, and all the other characters serve her in her story foremost. Well, Buffy gets called out for her shit and rightfully so, but there is a lot of hate for her and hating on her in fandom (the show does it sometimes too) that privileges the men in her story and I hate that. This episode reminds me of that trope of priveleging a male character over her, and I’m not a fan. So, I can understand how spike being privileged can bother too :). I do adore Spike. I adore Buffy. I try to calls them like I sees them but I get ragey too. So, thanks for keeping me honest and for the interesting discussion, you have given me stuff to think about and file away too 🙂

          • A+

          • I love this comment so much, mostly because we see things in two different ways and yet! There is still some common ground. Come here, friend. Let us awkwardly internet hug.

            “Spike should get called out, everybody on the show should get called
            out when they mess up but favorites are favorites, sadly and special
            snowflaking occurs which is why it gets so ugly in fandom imho.”

            RIGHT. And sometimes I feel bad playing devil’s advocate, but I think it keeps the discussion interesting to point out things and ask, “well why do you see it this way for person x and not for person y?” or whatever. It really helps you get down to the nitty gritty of what the episode intended and what is perceived by individuals.

            It’s Buffy’s story for me too, always and forever. <3

            AGREED! You all keep me on my toes (and away from my work, but SHHHHH.)

            Thanks for you participation and replies and awesome thoughts and AW MAN. JUST GIVE ME ANOTHER HUG.

          • Ashley Menvielle

            Awwww, awkward internet hugs are the best! (HUGS)
            And don’t feel bad for playing devil’s advocate! As you said bc it helps keep discussion fresh and interesting: reading the recaps, forming an opinion, replying, discussing back and forth is great, it’s like an informal, fun writing exercise! (Whoops my English lit nerd came out there!).

            We process the show through our own personal filters but it’s good not to forget that their are other filters, other ways of interpreting things too. I think this is the beauty of Buffy too bc there’s just so much in the show to dig into and ponder. Discussion is so beneficial to me in regards to the show, and this site is a great place to do it:).

            It’s my pleasure to be able to take part in these recaps with you, Sweeney, Kirsti, and everyone in the comments. Thank you for providing feedback and a safe place to discuss Buffy:).

            Buffy, common ground and awkward internet hugs for the win! <3<3<3

          • Jojo

            By that do you mean fans? Not sure where I see it in the show.

          • Definitely the fans! I should’ve made that clearer in my comment. Riley is perceived to get a pass in show (because he’s happy. HAPPY. CAN YOU IMAGINE THAT?) but Spike gets a pass out of show, in my own perception.

            That’s not to say everyone does it or that giving him privilege is a bad thing, just simply an observation.

        • wlreed

          You’ve put my dislike into words much better than I did. This post has definitely shown me a different point of view, and I’m grateful for that because I like new opinions that make me think. But it is nice to know I wasn’t alone in my Riley anger.

          • Ashley Menvielle

            Yay for new opinions and different viewpoints! That’s the great thing about the Buffyverse is there are so many layers to peak through and analyze. And I love that the Snark ladies are welcoming of different opinion and discussion because that’s how layers are often peaked in this verse :). But yes, you are def not alone in your Riley anger, I have Hulk levels of Riley anger for this ep.

          • wlreed

            Yay for the Snark ladies in general. I feel the need to say that as often as possible because they are many, many layers of awesome. But the discussion here is normally pretty accepting of other opinions, which makes it fun. Everyone seems to respect others thoughts which is nice. There are some sites I’ve been on where it has gotten truly ugly

          • Ashley Menvielle

            Ditto for me too on other sites getting ugly. It makes me treasure this site all the more for the openness. The Snark Ladies get all the Yays :).

          • Jojo

            +1 And add Angel to the worshippers, though from a distance. I’d also say Giles, but that was kind of his job.

          • Ashley Menvielle

            Oh yes, I totes agree on Angel. I almost put Giles in the listing too but I kinda started to waffle on it because he’s one of the few people, the only male up this point this season, that Buffy has felt safe in letting her guard down and presenting the imperfect girl under the mask to, which then makes him run to England bc he can’t see/deal with her like that and being in so much pain…hmmm. So yes, I agree there’s probably still quite a bit of hero worship, pedestal gazing in regards to her too.

            Giles is interesting bc like Buffy he’s got two personas to juggle: his Watcher/man to her Slayer/girl, and like Buffy he struggles a lot between doing his duty and being the person under that duty/persona. He has been trained to see and think of Buffy as a tool, the Slayer, but can’t help but care about the girl underneath. I think he actively tries to put her on a pedestal, to try to distance himself from her bc that’s his duty but it’s hard for him in a way where it just happens naturally for the other characters bc they don’t have to think of her as their “job”.

            Wow, that got long! Basically, I agree with your points! 🙂

          • Jojo

            The council fired him because he had a father’s affection for the Slayer (Buffy). That alone puts her on a pedestal – daddies and daughters can be a breed apart.

          • Ashley Menvielle

            Good point!

  • Zovc

    Well, it feels weird to start commenting now, since the end is relatively close (and the last two seasons of BTVS are the ones I like the least). But, hello to all! I figure I’ve been lurking long enough, and there’s still some great stuff ahead (A below-average season of Buffy is still
    good TV, after all).

    Apologies in advance for rambling and run-on sentences.

    With regards to the actual episode, I remember disliking it, but you guys have made me anxious to see if I like it more the next time around. It seems like there was a lot of good character/emotional stuff going on around the boring/nonsensical plot (since when does Spike know nothing about demons?) what with Buffy forced to confront the huge gulf between her life a year ago and the current trainwreck that she’s living.

    Like most of you, I hate Sam, a Mary-Sue Played by a mediocre actress. I actually disliked her more on rewatch because I didn’t realize how bad the acting was the first time around, for some reason. The other elements that bothered me were the speech about the disappearing shamans, which seemed like the writers were going “see magic addiction is a thing, someone outside of Sunnydale knows about it!”, and the insane speed with which Siley/Ram apparently progressed. I don’t object to Riley returning, though, because despite being boring, I don’t mind him (although Biley is one of my three least favorite Buffyverse romances, due to apocalyptically bad

    As for the Spuffy breakup, I would say Buffy called Spike “William” to drive home that this was the real end, as well as talk to the human buried within, the part of him she truly felt guilty about
    hurting, not the monster. The scene is definitely a good way to end an underwhelming episode.

    Also, I love Buffy’s shocked “My hat is a cow”, and Willow’s offer of proxy hatred, which reminds me of her insistence on a “best friend loophole” back in “Real Me”. I happened to notice that this is the second time Buffy made a Star Trek reference around Riley (she had to distinguish between Bond Q and TNG Q when she was complimenting Giles, Xander, and Riley on the training room).

    Overall, I’m still on the “meh” side, but I can see the good stuff more clearly, even if Sam sucks.


      It’s funny to me how many plot holes are filled in for Spike… up until a certain point. Maybe he does know plenty about demons, and meant to be rid of the demons earlier… but Buffy showed up wanting sexytimes. Whoops! OR MAYBE it was his plan to hatch them and sell them all baby like. I’m mostly kidding. I just feel like much of Spike this season has been sloppy and slightly illogical, but this thing that makes him look dumb is where we’ve seen the biggest backlash. With good reason, I suppose.

      I don’t hate Sam in theory, but in practice. In theory, it was important to have just a GOOD WOMAN be Riley’s wife (and it makes sense with his character). It was meant to be all, “okay, Sam’s good, and Riley’s okay…. but Buffy is still the Slayer. She was still “the first woman he loved.” She’s still the strongest woman he knows. So… I get the Mary-Sue, but I just think the actress was bad and some of the dialogue… OOOOF. Agreed about the Shamans and the timeline and the over all, “eh” of Sam.

      GOD THAT CHEMISTRY WAS AWFUL. It was like watching to wooden planks on top of each other. ::shudder:: Some people say JM would have sexual chemistry with a brick wall. I say we could put him in from of Marc Blucas and test that theory.


      • Alicia

        Well, there is that scene where Spike and Riley are intensely staring each other down in ‘Buffy vs Dracula’ or some such that could be interpreted as having chemistry. I’m kidding really, It would be an interesting experiment though. And I like that scene where Riley, er, stakes him and then they sort of bond over alcohol and commiserating about Buffy.

        • Jojo

          The fanfic exists – more than you would think!

          • Heather Bungard-Janney

            A fact I try SO hard to erase from my brain.

    • wlreed

      Welcome, glad you decided to de-lurk.

  • Alicia

    This episode is mostly meh to me. I’m glad Buffy is making progress, and breaking up with Spike was something that needed to happen, for both of their sakes. Riley was okay except for the not informing Buffy about the mission part and the fact that he lets Buffy flirt with him without telling her he is MARRIED. His speech was decent, except for the part where he basically tells her that she smells bad, looks horrible in her uniform and that her romantic choices suck. Sam didn’t bug me that much, she seems like a perfectly nice person, just pretty boring like her husband. So yay them I guess.

    But it does give me HUGE Spike feels like whoa pretty much from start to finish. I can’t help it.
    It’s depressing that Buffy’s so ashamed of Spike and afraid of being found out that she can’t let him in her house. I’m sure Dawn and Willow wouldn’t give a crap if he joined them for a while. I know he was looking for sex, but I think he really just wants for Buffy to let him in, and sex is the only way she kinda sorta does at the moment, so he’ll make the most of that fact.

    The “Tell me you love me”, “Tell me you want me” “Shut up” scene is so sad to watch. The look of surprise and hope on Spike’s face is heartbreaking (to me). And he looks so eager to see her when she arrives at the crypt. This is the most obvious example of Buffy using Spike as far as I can tell. She just wants to feel better about herself and doesn’t care about how it might affect him by asking for those words, especially since she normally dismisses him when he tells her he loves her. It actually reminds me a lot of the scene in Dead Things when Warren tells Katrina to say “I love you, Master” and then tells her to “get on her knees” because that’s where she belongs.

    And I HATE that Buffy punches Spike to shut him up in front of Riley. And then knocks him to the ground later when he’s trying to explain. He was probably lying but still it made me cringe so hard, along with all the “Spike’s so stupid” stuff. His “All you’ve ever done is play me” speech hits home for me how much Buffy’s behaviour truly affects him and how he doesn’t understand what she is going through, or why she acts the way she does. He sounds like he’s on the verge of tears. And Buffy just rolls her eyes. The “Can you shut him up?”, “Not so far” exchange that Buffy and Riley have right then really infuriates me. It’s so cold and dismissive on Buffy’s part. It made me really hate her in that moment. I know that Spike’s just done something stupid and amoral but that disregard is a big button for me in their relationship. She’s been doing it since she rolled her eyes all the way through his OMWF song. It really bothers me for some reason. Probably because I get the Spike feels at the drop of a hat. I almost can’t watch this scene.

    In the break-up scene it gets to me how resigned Spike sounds when he asks if Buffy is there for some ‘cold comfort’, cause that’s all he’s good for right? No other reason she would be there. And that he immediately assumes she would throw him over for Riley at the first opportunity, which actually could be plausible if Riley wasn’t married. The break-up was the right thing to do, even though it still hurts to watch from Spike’s side. Buffy saying “it’s killing me” was really the only thing she could have said to make him understand that she was really serious this time, not playing games anymore. Because he doesn’t ultimately care that she is using him, even if it hurts, as long as she still comes to him. But he does care that it is killing her. The look on his face though. Initially they were going to end on a close up of Spike. There’s a daily that shows his whole reaction that is ABSOLUTELY heart-wrenching to watch. Brilliant acting. But I think it actually makes more sense to end on Buffy. It is her show after all, and her journey this season.

    And his poor crypt that he put so much effort into decorating! It always really bothers me when people’s homes/belongings get destroyed in TV shows. Especially if it’s books. Book destroying hurts my soul. Anyway, I think the state of Spike’s crypt at the end is a pretty a good representation of what he is now feeling. Devastated and destroyed. He really has nothing now.

    Wow that was long and ranty! I know, I know, Spike’s my woobie in case you hadn’t already noticed. I swear I channel him when watching some of these episodes. So I feel kind of devastated by the end of this episode too. Now I’m upset:( Time to find something happy to do lalala.

    • Jojo

      Oh yeah – to come to him asking to tell her he loves her and wants her – and then call him an idiot, punch him, tell Riley she keeps trying to shut him up – sorry, kinda classic domestic abuse going there. Destroying his home without making any attempt to apologize or even notice. Because no one would doubt that if a big bad needed beating down the scoobies would go get Spike but no one will care about him other than that. I’m glad that Willow was there to stand up for Tara when she screwed up.

      And yes – the acceptance that all she has ever wanted him for is sex – that is painful to watch. All of this – and the fact that Spike doesn’t try to push once she says it is killing her.

      • Raluca

        I kinda disagree a bit Jojo. She doesn’t want him just for sex – things would be so much easier if she did. She looks for comfort as well – I commented above that she asks for his love and the sex is nice for a change, no violence and kinkiness, just plain old missionary position sex :). And then Riley comes in, just in the moment she allowed herself to fall asleep next to Spike 🙂

        • Jojo

          I think this is the first time she ever came for that kind of comfort. And it didn’t turn out all that well once Riley came in. What happened after that made him realize that all he had as far as she was concerned was a little cold comfort from the cellar dweller. At least that was what I meant to say.

          • Raluca

            Yes, it does look like she is in just for “cold comfort”. But she isn’t and she knows it and she hates herself for it. If she accepted that she can like Spike (or parts of him) at least at times, it would be easier for her and things won’t go where they eventually will (maybe) 🙂

          • Jojo

            Well, if she can accept that soulless Spike can love her, she has to wonder why Angelus can only try to rip her apart.

          • Heather Bungard-Janney

            The previous conversation is why I love fanfic. But again – I haven’t seen this episode, so bear with me – it seems as though maybe the events in this episode are trying to tell Buffy she’s not *allowed* to have comfort or anything peaceful or healthy with Spike, regardless of what she wants.

            Yes, she should own her choices, but I’ll grant her that it’s hard for her to do that when she gets shamed, berated, and lectured on her choices repeatedly whenever she does try to own them. That she gets all this flack from people who really shouldn’t get a say in her life is irrelevant. She is used to having to either defend her every decision, or hide them so she won’t have to defend them.

            She can’t let herself take comfort from Spike even though that’s exactly what they HAD before the sex started. She can’t let herself go back to trusting him because she’s so convinced that her friends will have a collective conniption. I wish she’d been in therapy at some point so she could realize that, if they’re not in bed WITH her, they really don’t get a say in who she chooses to be with.

            Oh, and this goes back to my argument about “how feminist is Joss really?” since she lets her male friends – because it’s Riley, again – sway her life choices, her feelings, her influences. A man who has NO room to talk to her given how he treated her is now back and being all perfect, and walking in at the exact moment she’s actually starting to drop her guard… and Riley may not have planned that but the writers most certainly did.

          • Ashley Menvielle

            A+ Joss’s brand of feminism is really very problematic and full of subtle and not so subtle sexism and sexist tropes, so I’m always glad when they get pointed out and discussed. Your last point aboutthe writers is really spot on.

          • Raluca

            Well, if she didn’t care about her friends’ opinions, it’d be easier for her, but she does; also, it’d be easier if she didn’t think her friends might judge her , but I don’t think it’s possible for them not to – when we choose friends, we have certain reasons and we like certain things about them, and I guess the “being all judge-y” part is also one of the reasons B actually chose them as friends. Am I making any sense? 🙂
            I do not like the Scoobies, not a bit. Never did. I like Tara and Anya, but not the core Scoobies. Nor do I like B too much – I like the powerful and independent part of Buffy, but not her self-righteousness. 🙂 So I am biased and admit it. Tara would never judge – and she doesn’t; I guess being gay makes you more prone to understanding others’ choices without judging so much.
            But Xander would be awful to B if he found out about Spike, and Willow will be partially disgusted as well. And this is why B hides the Spike thingie from them. Remember, back in S3, she also hid Angel from them, so she realizes it is in their nature to be all judge-y.

            Joss is pretty feminist, IMO. I think the “letting her male friends sway her life choices…” is more meant to show what such “letting” leads to, rather than enforcing said letting as desirable. Again, not sure I am making sense.

          • Heather Bungard-Janney

            Hmm, fair point about the “letting” but I still don’t like seeing it. Her so-called friends can really treat her like crap.

          • Raluca

            That’s what friends are for 😛

    • Ashley Menvielle

      Yes, that whole scene in the crypt after Riley and Buffy both punch and then basically say shut up, now Spike bothers me too. It makes me feel for Spike and for Buffy too, actually. All the people in her life have their version of her that they want and need her to play into; Riley, much like Xander, I think puts her up on a pedestal of ideal hero and give her tons of crap when she doesn’t live up to that gilded image. She’s not perfect, she makes mistakes, she hurts like everybody else but it’s almost like she’s not allowed to with them, and the Scoobies all do that to her. She plays into her role of hero for all of them and I think that’s what she’s doing in that scene where she plays along with Riley in Spike bashing bc Riley was a time before her mother was dead, before she died, a more innocent time at least in her mind so she goes back to that I’m the hero and the world is black and white thinking that allows her to ignore what she feels for Spike and whatever grey areas he inhabits in her world view. Tara is the only person as far s I recall who doesn’t expect anything from her or has some idealized vision Buffy feels pressured to deal with: this episode needs more Tara! But seriously, fuck some of the crap going on in this episode or just fuck this episode, it’d be simpler.

      • Alicia

        Great points about Buffy. My Spike feels just take over at that point so I don’t really think about why Buffy is behaving the way she does. I hate that she cares what Riley thinks because he should be irrelevant. And Xander is pretty awful about giving her crap, I agree. Being a hero sucks.

        I guess by this point I’m just a little sick of Buffy’s back and forth when it comes to Spike. I wished she would just own her decisions instead of taking it out on him. But I guess she does when she breaks up with him, so that’s good. Basically this episode makes me feel like that guy in the ‘Leave Britney Alone’ video.

        • Ashley Menvielle

          I kinda hate that she cares what Riley thinks too. It’s part of where my rage for him and this episode come from I think. I totally understand feels taking over, look at all those unbiased comments I wrote above about wanting to kick Riley in the nads! Totes unbiased! Lol NO.

          This episode hurts to watch and a great deal of it comes from how much this episode humiliated Spike and Buffy to get its point across, which is that Riley has a steely, handsome face-oh wait!. Buffy getting in on the Spike hating with Riley is a huge part of that pain. This episode, oh this episode.

          • Alicia

            Yeah the humiliation is hard to take. That combined with steely handsome perfect Riley like you said. Oh well, it’s over now.

          • Ashley Menvielle

            “Oh well, it’s over now.”
            Yes! Thank God! Not gonna lie, I was dreading the recap and discussion of this episode. Not because I thought it would get flamey or anything, you”re all lovely people with lovely varied thoughts, but because it’s such a painful episode for me. Of course there’s more pain to come before this season ends…. but at least this one is behind us!

    • Raluca

      Actually, my take on this is a bit different. Ever since the beginning of Dead Things, Buffy has been treating Spike a bit different, i.e. she actually made small talk about NKOTB posters, she turned down Richard in front of him in Older and Far Away, and now she actually fell asleep in his crypt, by his side (not in his arms, of course, but if you watch closely they kinda move in their sleep and it looks like they are getting a bit closer under the sheet). Then reality hits in the form of Riley and reminds her she is the Slayer and cannot have feelings for a monster (which she does – not love, but it is not just sex either).

      I get Spike feels too, not only because of brilliant acting by JM, but also because I can relate to him – I understand his position, how he can accept anything just to be close to her, how he is annoying in his pursuit of a woman who doesn’t want him and how hurt he is by her rejection.

      • Alicia

        Good points. Now I remember that Spike had his arms wrapped around himself in that scene. I bet he’d rather be holding Buffy:(

        • Raluca

          Yes Alicia, I remember that too. 🙂 I also remember wondering how come she managed to fall asleep in the vicinity of a monster who is a disgusting, soulless thing who can now hurt her without the chip firing 😀

      • Heather Bungard-Janney

        This being an episode I haven’t watched, I wish this perspective had been discussed in the recap above.

  • darkalter2000

    Riley left episode 10 last season. Very few timeskips were used because Joyce was diagnosed with a brain tumor and the day to day was very important so most timeskips happen after this episode. It was still summer when Riley left.

    Buffy then fights Glory and dies to save the world. We go to months later after she died and she is raised sometime the next summer. It has been almost a year since Riley left. Riley then decides “Damn the torpedoes, Full speed ahead!” and marries Sam on a helicopter without ever really dating her but having got to know her through conversations during and between missions.

    This is, of course, only a theoretical timeline. The show almost never gives us hard dates but in season 5 episode 13 is Buffy’s Birthday and in this season episode 14 is her birthday. So that is the only thing I can point to as an exact yearly movment. Timelines in a show that give no dates are hard.

    • The married in the helicopter on a whim thing is important to note. The worst part of the timeline for me though was that they’ve been married for four months, Riley’s been gone for a year, and Sam says it took him a year to get over her.

      That could be easily explained, though, by that just being a conversational guestimate, not a scientific measure.

    • Zovc

      While I like the idea of more time having passed for the characters than the actual gap between episodes, Giles hangs a Winter Solstice/Hanukkah/Christmas/Kwanzaa/Gurnenthar’s Ascendance banner in the Magic Box in “Into the Woods”, which I doubt he would do before the first of December. Still, what you suggested makes way more sense than what the show is telling us.

  • wlreed

    It’s been enlightening to me to see other people’s reaction to Riley in this episode. I am going to have to go and think deep thinky thoughts because when I think about my Riley dislike this is the first episode that comes to my mind. I really don’t care for him here, but at the same time I really love that Buffy starts to pull out of her illness and tries to start being herself again. I hate the way Buffy finds out about Sam. You were playing catch up on the way to the mission and didn’t think to mention the wife? I know it needed to be done that way for the dramatic purpose but that doesn’t make me hate it less. I also don’t like the speech. I like the effect of the speech and what it does for Buffy, but it always struck me as a tad condescending. Seeing how others feel about it has made me reconsider, but I had such an intense reaction the first few times through I don’t know if I will be able to change how I feel about it.

    • Alicia

      Yeah the speech is a little condescending. He starts off by insulting her! He’s pretty much like, it doesn’t matter if you smell really bad and the uniform looks ugly and ew Spike but it’s okay because I still like you and my opinion is what matters *pats on head*.

      • I didn’t get condescending. Buffy is self-loathing (Well, I’m sure my incredible patheticness softened the blow
        for you…) and he starts to respond, but she comes back with a, “Riley, please
        don’t patronize…” She doesn’t want to hear, “NO. EVERYTHING IS PERFECT! YOU ARE AWESOME!” because THAT would be more alone the lines of condescending.

        He then calls Spike an idiot, calls her uniform blinding orange and references the burger smell. None of that is particularly untrue, or an insult to Buffy directly. Riley’s opinion of Spike was formed long ago, and this episode didn’t do much to improve it. She does wear a uniform that is bright orange. She works at a burger joint. He’s stating facts about her life because the point is that none of that makes up who she is.

        • Alicia

          It’s just a little galling coming from him considering how he left. The whole episode has been piling on Buffy and now she gets a pep talk from the guy who was visiting vamp hos and giving her an ultimatum last time she saw him? And she apologises to HIM? And he’s presented like this perfect special man who’s all wise and stuff, telling Buffy how it is. It’s too much. I haven’t actually rewatched recently so I may change my mind. But this episode makes me grumpy as you might be able to tell by my other posts:)

          • That’s the point of it, I think though. This is THAT guy! The terrible one no one liked! The pep talk isn’t, “I’m better than you neener neener!” but, “the wheel keeps turning.”

            Again, as a point of reference, she’s also gotten some form of this pep talk from Spike who was doing something with demon eggs this episode, and who went to go try and eat a lady when he thought he could, and who tried to kill Buffy multiple times in the early season. He’s allowed to change, and have many opinions on Buffy’s like and who she is and isn’t, but Riley can’t give her a pep talk?

            Buffy also apologizes to Spike at the end, in a relationship that has been utter SHIT on both their ends. Spike has done some straight up BAD things to Buffy, and still she apologizes.

            I don’t think the apology was needed, by the way, on Buffy’s end as far as Riley is concerned. Her apology is “I’m sorry for what happened between us,” though which is whatever. Riley messed up at the end, but they both played their parts, I suppose.

            My main point is that it’s interesting to see the Riley hate in this episode when I’ve seen Spike get so many free passes for similar behavior!

          • Raluca

            I do not think she apologizes in the sense that she feels bad for telling Spike it’s over and thus hurting him even more – I do not think she feels sorry for him at all at this point. I think she hates it that she feels something for him (not LOVE, as most seem to define it, but definitely more than just sex) so she is happy to be rid of him (or so she hopes this’ll happen). So her “I’m sorry, William” is more like “I don’t give a crap how you feel right now, because I really really need to do this for myself, this is killing me, so I’ll stop, and to hell with you if you don’t like it!” 🙂 Which is ok from Buffy’s POV, because she really does feel bad and needs to get out of it. But very not ok from Spike’s POV.

          • Alicia

            I think I sort of explained further up where I’m coming from, if it even made any sense. I know Riley has really good intentions and he can absolutely give her a pep talk but it just bugs me. It’s not really a rational reaction I guess. I hate that it’s specifically Riley the character but I don’t actually hate Riley the person in-verse? I’m more annoyed at the WRITERS for setting it up this way. The whole situation feels condescending in terms of Riley’s specific function in the story as compared to Buffy’s current situation. Arrgh, making points is hard *pouts*.

            But I absolutely did not mean to be all Riley’s pep talk sucks because ew Riley is so awful and the worstest but Spike is the most bestest person ever so what he says is amazeballs cause he’s Spike. His thing was one comment from having actually seen everything play out. He doesn’t fulfill the same function in the story as Riley does here. He’s not brought in specifically by the writers to give Buffy a pep talk, he was just there commenting on a situation because he’s a regular character with a connection to Buffy.

          • Heather Bungard-Janney

            Well, Riley-hate is a sport and a hobby and one finds it difficult to give up when presented the opportunity to engage. 😀

          • FAIR! I can hear you all having so much fun. There is so much merriment! The Spike hating arena is empty, though. I mostly just kick a ball to Sweeney, and sometimes she kicks it back, but sometimes she just walks away for a nap.


          • Heather Bungard-Janney

            🙂 He’s hard to hate. He’s not presented as a villain anymore, he’s a series regular, and he’s DOING IT WRONG but he does care. I know how much of a double standard that sounds like – I’m trying to present it as “he’s a demon trying to be human and failing”, which when you think about it means that everyone who is treating him horribly is engaging in a double standard, judging him for what a rotten human being he is. Spike hasn’t been human in over a century, and as a vampire he was DESIGNED to be bad at it.

            Put another way, when Anya gets it wrong it’s played for humor and we get mad at Xander for constantly belittling and condescending to her. When Spike gets it wrong… the Scoobies despise him, this season the writers try to make it something twisted and dark (and often succeed) (remember Season 4 when he tried to do his laundry and ended up having to wear Xander’s clothes?) (remember Season 2 when he teamed up with Buffy and had to be reminded not to eat the police officer? or his pride in Dru’s killing Kendra was played for a laugh?), and the Snark Ladies don’t cut him much slack either.

          • Raluca

            Even when James Marsters pointed out how bad it was for people to be team Spike, as he is wrong and evil, I couldn’t hate him. I could never hate him, no matter what he does 🙂

          • Clément Polge

            When Anya get it wrong, she says something awkard about sex or bunnies, when Spike “get it wrong”, he creeps up on Buffy or try to kill a woman to see if he can…

          • Heather Bungard-Janney

            I admit I’m reaching here, but when Anya first got it wrong, she showed up in Xander’s home and announced they were in a relationship, while standing there naked, and didn’t appear to give him much of an avenue out of the situation.

          • Clément Polge

            I can’t really remember the exact way the scene plays out, but I remember that it comes from a misunderstanding on the way things work on Anya’s part.

            And notice that even though Anya hasn’t been human for 10 times as long as Spike, she still comes as pretty forward, and ask for explanation when rebutted. Spike comes in your back and when told no decides to finger you.

            Even here, I’m not sure you can really compare the two.

          • I said this somewhere below but this is why I dislike the entire construct of his character. He cares but he can’t care because he isn’t built to care but he’s kind of learned to care but only care a little and in so much as is good for the story but not so much to keep him from doing bad things but he cares so when he does bad things, we can see past it. AHHHHHH. 😉

            I like the comparison to Anya! I think I get mad at Xander not because he’s wrong, but because he claims to love Anya, and yet he never sides with her. He never accepts her for her (sometimes horrible, brash) self. That’s my issue with Xander! We have said to Anya, “NO GIRL. STOP.” plenty of times, but I think her actions are more innocuous than Spike’s It is worth noting, though that Anya has never expressed any remorse for her vengeance demon actions, which is why I’ve always found it funny that Xander ended up with her.

          • Heather Bungard-Janney

            Xnder pretty much never sides with the people he claims to care about. With Cordelia, he kissed Willow. He judges Buffy CONSTANTLY MAKE IT STOP SHUT YOUR UGLY FACE XANDER. And then of course all of this with Anya. And spoilers.

          • Raluca

            And it’ll get worse… Xander and judging, I mean 😛

          • Jojo

            Buffy has had every important male in her life leave her at this stage – her father, Giles, Angel, Parker, Xander (to Anya) and Riley. I think that is a good part of the resentment toward Riley – the he doesn’t get to come back and lecture. Spike stayed and tried to help – and when they were just talking he did help a lot. Once he sang and she kissed – disaster, but not desertion.

    • I wish Riley had been up front about the wife and the mission too, but I think the point was that seeing each other had an effect on both of them– maybe more so than either could’ve predicted. I mean, it’s not exactly the same, but Buffy didn’t open with, “Hey how ya been? Let me tell you about who I’m sleeping with!” They weren’t so much playing catch up as much as they were being awkward in each other’s presence. Where to start after a year? How do you bring up, “I’m married now?” I do think Riley could’ve handled it better, but I also see where I probably would’ve failed in the same situation. Or I would’ve been all, “MARRIED NOW.” and ran away like a big spaz.

      This is super interesting to me, all the hate the speech is getting. This is how it plays out in my mind:




      LOL. It’s all in the perceptions, I guess!

      I often have the same feelings when people comment where I’m all, “HUH.” about how they see it, but I’m also sure it won’t change the way I feel. It’s fun, though, right? 🙂

      • wlreed

        It is fun, and gives me new stuff to think about, which is always good. And I don’t dislike the speech itself, exactly, it’s just the way Riley comes across to me. Like you said, it’s the perception thing. I definitely see the other side better after reading your opinions, but it is nice to know I wasn’t alone. And I really do love how it makes Buffy stronger, and I don’t know if there is anything else that could have done that at this point. So yay for progress.

        • It’s important to note, I think, that it wasn’t that it was Riley, per se. It’s more important that he represented the past, before the long string of events that brought Buffy to this low point. It was less about him and more about who she was when she last saw him.

          • wlreed

            Fair enough and true. Deep thought is in order (I hope my conclusion for this isn’t 42 because that just won’t be helpful)

      • Alicia

        All I will say is that Spike has been there through the transition point from what her life has been to what it is now. At that point, he was the only one she’d opened up to about anything. Riley doesn’t get to spout stuff like that as soon as he comes back after how they broke up. But I know he’s not actually a woman hater!

        • That’s why it had to be Riley, I think, because he’s a thing that doesn’t touch this last, terrible, no good, fucked up year of her life. Riley can’t actually help her out of this and neither can Spike, to be sure. She’s got to figure a way out of this herself, which is why Riley flies away and she breaks up with Spike, but she’s still left with the perspective each of them have left her with. Riley– not spouting off about what her life ought to be at all, but rather reminding her that no matter what is happening, she’s something so much more than all of it. He doesn’t say, “dumb Spike!” or “quit the DMP!” but rather, “none of this touches you.” And Spike, who has been there for her and is the only one who allowed her to feel anything at all, but who she has been using and to her own detriment.

          • Alicia

            I know it had to be him, because he hasn’t been there. He’s an outside perspective from a better, happier time in her life. So I actually agree with you, but that’s what makes me grumpy about it! That it’s Riley specifically because of how they parted and because of how happy and perfect he is at the moment. It just feels wrong to me, I can’t really explain it. But the important thing is that Buffy took away something good from it. A lot of my opinion comes from how Riley is presented as a character the whole episode, rather than because I actually think he’s doing something bad in-verse, if that makes any sense? I don’t even know what I’m saying anymore. I’m pretty sure I said something completely different down further somewhere!:D

            With Spike in DMP, well he’s just being Spike. He’s not Buffy’s ex come back from a bad break-up with a perfect shiny life. His role is different and the circumstances are too.He’s not looking down at her from a high position.

          • Raluca

            I do not like Riley – never did, never will. And I do not understand why his relationship with Sam is something to be desired. I do not desire that cheesy shit, nosir!

            Buffy apparently does want what Riley has with Sam, hence her breakup with Spike, since she can never have that with him. And that, there, is the issue for me – expectations vs. reality. In any relationship we have, we want something different that is actually being given – with functional relationships, we think we get it and get happy; with dysfunctional ones, we think we don’t get it and are miserable. Buffy breaks up with Spike not because she doesn’t love him, but because she doesn’t love him as she THINKS she should. Am I making any sense?!

          • My feelings on Riley went from “not too bad!” to “BORING.” to “GET HIM OFF MY SCREEN,” and then to feeling slightly bad for him once he was gone, because apart from the bad things he did, he was just BAD for Buffy. That sucks.

            I don’t covet Siley either. I don’t think you are supposed to covet the cheesy as much as the Mr. Cardboard met Mrs. Cardboard and it worked out for them, even though he left Sunnydale broken, and she met him after everyone she knew was massacred. Bad shit happens, but sometimes, some things end up okay. Don’t we all want to end up okay? 🙂

            I think that’s what Buffy wants. She probably is seeing their relationship through the hazy of perfection and distance, but she also feels, I think, that she isn’t happen. I think Buffy breaks up with Spike because of what she says, “it’s killing me.” Her participation in this relationship has always been selfish, and I think it’s ending is selfish as well.

            You make perfect sense! 🙂

          • Raluca

            Thanks. I was not sure I managed to convey my thoughts, as usual. I am not criticizing her for thinking that Riley+Sam is what she wants, I am just observing that she thinks she wants that and knows she cannot get it with Spike. So she dumps him. Which is ok for her, but not for him. 🙂 Hence his reactions to it, which I cannot comment, as… spoilers 😀
            I don’t think Buffy can ever have what she thinks she wants though, and the sooner she accepts that, the happier she will be. Again, expectations vs. reality. When we accept what we have is all we can get, we are content and happy. Unhappiness stems from wanting something else than you have.

          • I agree that seeing Riley had a lot to do with it, my own thoughts just sort of add on to your own. It wasn’t only about seeing those two and wanting that. I think it was about being reminded of who she was just a year ago. I think it was about finally truly realizing and accepting (after that horrible, “tell me you love me, shut up” scene, UGH) that she IS using him and it’s terrible for him but also for her. I think was about realizing that Spike isn’t who she tries to convince herself that he is.

            So she dumps him, but it’s not okay for her. It’s hard, because she wants him and she wants to keep feeling things, and because he’s convenient and because it’s habit now. It’s not okay for her, and it’s not okay for him and I hope neither of them do anything stupid because of it, BUT UGH. SPOILERS. 😉

            It’s so hard watching Buffy realize that she can’t have what she wants. No one ever wants to give into that thought, you know? It’s like what Dawn was saying about how Buffy will never be a doctor or a lawyer and what Spike was saying about something like the DMP killing her. Giving into that place hasn’t made her happier at all. She wants to hold on to the idea that she can have her happy ending, and it’s the tragedy of the Slayer that perhaps she can’t. Resignation might not be the answer to her happiness, I believe, and it’s a thin line between acceptance and resignation.

            BUFFY FEELS. D:

          • Raluca

            No Buffy feels here, sorry not sorry. Plenty of Spike feels, though. 🙂
            I don’t think it’s easy for her to dump him, and they will make further mistakes, too. Spoilers 😀
            I think she feels more than just sexual attraction though, and this is what is annoying to me. She feels something else and she doesn’t like what she feels, so she takes it out on him. If she accepted what she feels, it’d be different – not them being together, but she wouldn’t hate herself so much for it. She came close to kinda accepting she feels something else when she had Tara’s shoulder to lean on. Now she KNOWS something is there, but she wouldn’t analyze it. So she dumps Spike with no regard for his feelings – hence my Spike feels 🙂

          • I don’t think she can accept what she feels because as you said, she doesn’t like how it feels! And as she said, it’s killing her. To accept it at this point would be hurting herself and to what end? She doesn’t know what she’ll find if she does, but she does know that she doesn’t like whatever “more” she’s feeling.

            I think she had a little regard for his feelings (she did apologize sincerely) but she is acting in a mostly selfish way here, but she has to give more regard to her own feelings than Spike’s feelings, just as Spike will continue to act in a way that is best for him, and for nobody else.

          • Raluca

            I don’t have feels for Buffy because I’ve been on the receiving end of “I don’t want you, GTFO”, same as Spike. So I relate and sympathize with him here. And generally 😀
            I had feels for Buffy when her mother died. I will when something will happen to her (spoilers). But now I don’t. 🙂
            I know I should, but I don’t.

          • No worries! It gets more complicated to explain straight character feelings and preferences. I get that! 🙂

            I think Sweeney made a good point, though, about how it’s completely relateable. I was sitting down in some sweatpants stuffing my face with a bagel when I first saw my broke-my-heart-ex and it was AWFUL. These things rarely happen when it’s best for you. Buffy said as much.

      • Jojo

        That may be in part because Spike is part of her life, and however inept, he does love her and want to help her – while Riley comes from perfectville with his trophy wife to try and kill a contrivance in a plot that makes little sense and then leave in a burst of triumphant music.

        I know you really can’t stand Spike but I don’t think you believe he is warning her that she will fall into the frier or get attacked by a spatula. And I know dead end minimum wage mindless jobs and they really do kill your spirit and drain you to exhaustion. Buffy really is better than this. There are far better ways for her to make a living. So if it were Tara or Willow who said this to her would you still hate it? Because some of what you complain about seems more like “I can’t stand Spike but I would approve if someone else did/said it.”

        • I don’t think he is warning her she’s literally going to die– I think he’s trying to give her his version of the pep talk! I think his was a little cruder than Riley’s. I don’t quite see that Spike’s pep talk is totally great and he cares for her and loves her and Riley’s is groan worthy and awful because he’s been gone for a year. He’s her ex. He cannot speak to things that have happened, and he isn’t trying to. He’s speaking to the person he knew, which is as valid as Spike thinking he knows Buffy based solely on this last, crazy messed up year of her life.

          IDK how I would feel about Tara or Willow saying it because it didn’t happen. And I would also know to what end they were saying it. I don’t hate his words as much as his repeated intent of trying to pull Buffy away from everything, so that they can shack up in his crypt for the rest of forever.

          My complaint is about Spike at all, but was rather meant as a way to ask, “why is this speech from Spike okay (according to most of the comments we received, and this speech from Riley not okay?”

          The answer seems to be, “because Riley is tooooo good and too boring.”

          He was always pretty boring.

  • Heather Bungard-Janney

    This is one of the few S6 episodes I haven’t seen ever, so I can’t say much except that my fanfic bias is strong. 🙂 THANK YOU for pointing out the timeline thing with Riley, because it makes him look really suspect (if that’s what you’re going for and as a Spike lover I totally am). If the timeline fits his words, then he moved on really, really quickly from this woman he loved so very very much (so much that he turned to seeing hookers on the side when she made him feel inadequate).

    Riley does seem in many ways to rub his perfect life in Buffy’s face and I have to wonder – she does know Spike better than Riley, who’s incapable of seeing past Hostile 17. So – fan debate time – was Spike really the Doctor, was he really just holding them for a friend, or (as fanfic enjoys suggesting) was this a setup on Riley’s part because he’s an asshole? (Fanfic is fun, leave me alone, I regret nothing.)

    Having said that, thank you also for including this speech here. It is good to see that he’s able to show her that she is not defined by her circumstances. I wanted to question why she was able to hear this from him and not from her friends but I think … hmm. He’s willing to acknowledge that Buffy is in a bad place and has no vested interest in “making her better” in order to serve his needs. Both he and the Scoobies expect Buffy to be the Slayer, but on her friends’ part it’s a matter of them wanting her to hurry up and get back to normal and having their heads buried too far in their own issues to be of any help to her at all.

    “I’m using you, and it’s killing me – William” – way to twist the knife, there, Buffy. I know the Snark Lady consensus is that Spike is creepy and wrong for her and okay, fine. But we’ve seen him genuinely care for her in the past and for her to bring up his most human side – his real name, which they pretty much never use – and use THAT while saying that being with him is killing her… that strikes me as cruel or at least unnecessary. It isn’t his human qualities that are hurting her.

    (Again, in fanfic, people like to ask – if this relationship was killing Buffy, what was it doing to him? But I admit to a really strong bias and willingness to ignore canon so I’m trying not to ask that question here; the best answer I could give was that neither of them are good for each other, as being with Buffy has made Spike less human than he’s been in a long time.)

    I meant for this to be a short comment. Dammit. Anyway, thanks for your viewpoint. It’s refreshing even though – no, because – I am tempted to disagree without delving into reasons in the way that you have. Thank you for that.

    • Raluca

      My question is usually different: if she hates him so much, how come she never uses the de-invitation spell on him again? It’d be easy to keep him out and show him you WANT him out – she used it in Crush, remember?!

    • JEL

      I blame the timeline problems on the writers. (They’ve excused other such problems by saying they can’t count.)

  • JEL

    One point that I think is semi-important that doesn’t seem(*) to have been brought up is:

    When Buffy tells Riley that she is sleeping with Spike, that is the first time she has said that out loud. She in fact says it twice in order to really hear how it sounds which I thought was a nice touch by the writers & actor. In Dead Things she does say enough to Tara for Tara to conclude what was going on, but she doesn’t actually say what she is doing. Personally I think that acknowledging what she was doing out loud is partly what gives her the impetuous to break it off right afterwards. Without naming / acknowledging what she was doing to herself, she couldn’t then say to herself I don’t want to be doing this anymore.

    * I’ve only searched to see if anyone else mentioned “sleeping with Spike” as important not having time to read all the comments. Love or hate Season 6, I think everyone would have to acknowledge it certainly creates the most discussion!

    • Raluca

      LOL… I am curious what will happen when we reach some episodes down the line 😛

  • Alex

    I’ve really enjoyed reading all these comments, so many different views to consider!

    I’ve never been a Riley hater and might even go as far as to say that I quite liked him at times, though his relationship with Buffy definitely drags on too long (I always forget that he’s still around in Season Five, because it feels like it should only have lasted about half a season) and Marc Blucas really isn’t the best actor. So I kind of like having him come back and seeing how things have turned out for him. Having said that, they definitely lay it on way too thick. It’s only been a year, so presenting him and Sam as some kind of ‘happily ever after’ story is ridiculous… but then I think that’s addressed nicely with Riley’s ‘wheel keeps turning’ speech. This ISN’T the end of his story, and that’s the whole point.

    It’s interesting to me that so many people see Riley’s speech as condescending, though. I didn’t get that from it at all. I would have found it condescending if he’d been all ‘DMP, that’s a great job, good for you! Soon you’ll have a star on your badge and everything!’ But instead he’s honest: her job sucks, her love life sucks, but neither of those things make her who she is. I think that if I were in her position, that would be exactly what I needed to hear.

    Sam IS a problem to me, though. The writers so clearly want me to love her (Buffy’s ‘I kind of love her too’ line at the end really confirms that for me) but if they wanted me to like her then they should have given her a better first line. I know they needed a dramatic reveal for the marriage but I can’t believe they couldn’t have found a better way than ‘what are you doing with my husband?’ which feels like SUCH a dick move on her part. Just have her introduce herself as ‘Agent Sam Finn’, or something!

    And then the worst part is the way that the rest of the Scoobies react to her. I can buy Xander swooning over Riley having a super-hot, badass secret agent wife, but Willow being all ‘don’t forget to write!’ was serious overkill. And then there’s that helicopter scene at the end…

    • Ashley Menvielle

      Yes, love all your points here! It feels like the writers had very specific things they wanted us to feel in this episode, one of them being as you say: Sam is so awesome you, guys! Buffy and Willow like her so you must toooooo! Umm, show don’t tell writers. This episode is just so heavy handed to me and that helicopter scene at the end just pretty much exemplifies how much it doesn’t work for me.

      Now, based on the wonderfully varied discussion we got about the episode and the Riley speech I’ve been thinking of another character that I totally would have bought the speech coming from (bc the speech isn’t bad in theory, Lor has made me realize I don’t hate it per say): Cordelia.

      Maybe I’m crazy but I think I would love the speech coming from her bc she’s awesome, knows pre depression Buffy and isn’t an ex but an ex-Scooby, so she easily fits the bill of outsider who doesn’t try to sugar coat anything for Buffy. But she is from the simpler days and knows how awesome Buffy is as the Slayer, so I’d have no prob hearing her give this speech to B. Plus Buffy could see how has Cordy has changed too! IDK maybe from now on I’ll just imagine her saying the speech to Buffy and being happy in pretend land….

      • That would have been really awesome. I have no problems with the episode or Riley as deliverer-of-the-speech, but yeah, I totally dig that idea.

      • Alex

        ‘Show, don’t tell’ is exactly what I was trying to say re. Sam! Thanks for summing it up so neatly. I always resent being made to feel like I MUST like a particular thing or character – it’s just lazy writing where you can’t be bothered to actually make something awesome, so instead you just have your characters repeatedly mention how awesome it is and hope that the audience will buy it. Nope.

        Interesting idea re. Cordelia! I could totally see that working, though the circumstances would of course be really different. The timing would have been perfect for crossover magic too, because Cordelia could have swung by Sunnydale en-route to her vacation with Groo. Gah! The more I think about this, the more pissed I am that it didn’t happen 🙁

        • Ashley Menvielle

          Yes! It would have been perfect timing for crossover magic! I know I really wish they had gone this Cordelia route, but oh well :(.

          Glad you and Sweeney don’t think I’m crazy for the idea.

          You’re welcome! I”ve been reading Jenny Trout’s Buffy re watch the past couple days and she enjoys pointing out show and tell moments in the show, so I gotta give her credit for putting the phrase in my mind so I could then apply it to this ep, especially the strong you-should-like-Sam vibe in it. Lazy writing is exactly what it is and I resent it when it crops up on the show too, well anywhere, but especially this show.

    • After Riley and Sam leaves, as Willow is heading out she turns to Buffy and whispers “what a bitch”. I couldn’t decide if that was real on her part, and the “don’t forget to write!” was just her being overcheery, or if she really did like Sam and just felt the need to remind Buffy that she was going to bring the hate on Buffy’s behalf.

  • SonicRulez

    Even in the face of I Robot, You Jane and other stuff like that, I think this is the worst episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Sam is such a Mary Sue. Every character loves her immediately because she’s literally perfect. She’s the single survivor of a black ops team, she relates to Willow and Xander instantaneously, and even Buffy cuts through all of her insecurity to gush about her. The Doctor storyline is dumb too, it’s so OOC for Spike. He’s had some silly plans and ideas, but monster trafficking? Since when? The monster that makes no dang sense, by the way. Riley, how is the monster rare if it also lays a billionty eggs and you’ve already killed a number of them. They must not be that rare. Bad monster plot + everyone acting OOC + Riley (sorry not sorry) = the worst.

    The scene at the end is magic. I can’t deny that. It’s Buffy finally deciding that she is gonna pull S6 out of this bleak and awful storyline even if she has to do it single-handed. I get chills from “It’s killing me.” I’m not much for fan-fiction. I’m certainly not a creative mind and everyone’s got a hot take, but….you guys wanna hear my fan-fiction?

    This episode should’ve been Crossover Magic. You wanna do “Buffy’s ex returns and has totally moved on from her and is well-adjusted, so it makes her realize that she needs to be better” as a plot point? Angel and Cordelia return to Sunnydale. You get Angel meeting Dawn (which we never got). You get Angel and Spike which is quality TV about 100% of the time. I would love to see Anya and Cordelia have a Tactless Off. You can do more of the everyone sees it but them Cangel stuff. Drop a line at the end about them needing to get back to LA to see the baby. Plus (and you guys who read my blathering know I love mentioning it) we come full circle on Amends. Buffy set Angel back on the right path 3 years ago and now he’s in a place where he can return the favor. Bammo, 10/10 episode. I’ll be accepting my Alternate Universe award any day now.


    • Arian_foe

      Meh episode for me, neither did I hate it or love it. But this idea? GOLD! I wish it would have been like this!