Buffy the Vampire Slayer S07 E06 – I can hear the bells

Previously: Anya murdered an entire frat house, leading Buffy to the conclusion that she had to kill her. Luckily, Willow came up with an alternative plan, and now Anya’s human again.


Kirsti: I’m gonna go ahead and start by saying that I refuse to give out gold stars, because we would literally be here all day, because I just checked the transcript and the word “him” appears like 50 times in this episode. (S: A sound policy.) After the previouslies, we’re at Xander’s Gift Apartment. He walks in the front door, informing Spike that he’s now going to be living in the Cupboard Under the Stairs. (Fine, it’s the walk-in closet, which Xander is now claiming is a room. But HOW COULD I NOT?) He informs Buffy that he hates this plan (you’re not alone, Xand), and she reminds him that Spike – who’s hovering in the doorway – needs an invitation to enter. Xander reluctantly gives one while I’m busy being distracted by Buffy’s sudden and horrific fringe. God, what is it with the lead female characters in the Whedon-verse and unexpected hideous bangs?

Lorraine: I’m not as offended by the bangs as I am by the Spike and Xander living situation. Some of you might think this is because I hate Spike (legit reasoning) but it might also be because Cordelia’s bangs are the worst forever and ever, amen. All bangs by comparison raise nary an eyebrow.

K: Fair.

Buffy says that Spike needs to be out of the basement and that he has a soul now and blah blah blah. Dawn and Xander are all “Yeah, I’m sure that’ll be super reassuring when he attacks you again.” She says that no one will be attacking anyone, but jumps a mile when Spike grabs her arm. (L: sdfjoiewnfodisjdwoijjknsd. -_-) He apologises for startling her, then says that he’s going to go. She informs the audience that he’s already stopped talking to invisible people, so clearly being out of the basement is a good thing, then gets awkward and sends him to the Cupboard Under the Stairs before walking out of the apartment.

Cut to the bleachers on the football field at New Sunnydale High the next day. Buffy and Dawn are sisterly bonding while also perving on the football players who are training. They talk about Spike, with Dawn trying to understand how Buffy feels. Buffy says that mostly she hates him, but sometimes she’s on Team Feels. Dawn’s both confused and on Team Heartless Cow, and says that she doesn’t understand how having a soul helps Spike because Xander had a soul when he left Anya at the altar. She then starts to word vomit her confusion over why people get into relationships in the first place. Part way through, Buffy heads back to the office with a, “bye, rant girl.

Dawn continues to rant after her for a second, but stops mid-sentence when she spots the cute quarterback putting on his letter jacket. The theme to A Summer Place plays as she watches him leave. Off in her daydream, Dawn leans in the direction that he goes, and falls off the bleachers with a squeal. Cue wolf howl.

Lor: DAWN THIS SEASON SO FAR. Man, I love that girl. All of her tough questions to Buffy are legit and while I appreciate Buffy’s “it’s complicated!” sentiment (because it is.) as a viewer I wanna know everything Dawn asked about. I also love her for trying to understand her sister and quite nearly forcing her to talk about it when we all know Buffy would rather keep quiet and run away.

Sweeney: Letting Dawn speak for the audience has probably been the greatest use of her position with the gang. The Team Dawn flag just waves all by itself now. Like magic. (If Dawn were here she’d make a Hogwarts joke.)

K: Season 7 Dawn is made of solid gold awesome. 

After the credits, Buffy’s at Anya’s apartment fighting a demon. The place is trashed, and Anya’s keeping her head down as Buffy fights. She suggests from the floor that maybe the demon is looking for a different Anyanka. Buffy kills the demon and helps Anya up. Anya thanks her for the life saving – apparently D’Hoffryn has decided to take her out after all – then bluntly asks her to leave. Buffy doesn’t. Anya insists that she doesn’t need help, then amends that to not WANTING help after glancing around the apartment, and says that she needs time to work out who she is. Buffy says that she understands but that she doesn’t want her friends alone right now because something bad is coming. Anya reluctantly agrees, saying that the Scoobies probably need her help anyway because Willow’s only good at strategising when she’s evil, and Dawn’s pretty useless all round. (L: NUH-UH.) (S: THEM’S FIGHTIN’ WORDS, ANYA.)

That Segue Magics us over to New Sunnydale High, where Dawn is standing alone, psyching herself up for something. Down the hall, we see the quarterback from earlier talking to a couple of cheerleaders and another dude. His hair reminds me of Brian from The Backstreet Boys, so I’m gonna go ahead and call him BSB Quarterback. One of the cheerleaders is on crutches, and is making an awkward plea for them to cheer on chairs. Dawn appears and greets BSB Quarterback, whose real name is RJ. My name is better, so I’m sticking with that.

The others roll their eyes at Dawn’s presence, and she makes awkward small talk about how much of a bore her English teacher is. BSBQ says that he liked that teacher, and Dawn does an opinion 180. She gets interrupted by the other dude, who completely ignores her and asks the non-crutches using cheerleader to please make the girls at try outs the following day jump up and down a lot. Ew. Dawn quietly says that she’s heard the team could get to the finals this year, and that causes some back and forth about whether BSBQ or Jock Friend is the more likely choice for quarterback. Dawn word vomits about the importance of the quarterback, and the others look at her awkwardly for a second before walking away and leaving her alone.

Lor: Man I suffered a ton of second hand embarrassment in this scene. Watching TV with a social anxiety is sometimes really difficult. #firstworldnotaproblem

Sweeney: MEGA +1.

K: YUP. Cut to Dawn going through boxes in the basement at Chez Summers before cutting again to cheerleading try outs the next day. All the girls trying out are in work out gear except Dawn, who’s wearing Buffy’s old cheerleading uniform and looking like she has no idea what she’s doing. (L: NOSTALGIA.) She gets called up to try out, and smiles at BSBQ who’s watching with Jock Friend from the bleachers. Dawn proceeds to do a really awkward cheer about how great BSBQ is, culminating in her trying to do a cartwheel and instead faceplanting into the floor. She gets a snarky “Thank you. Very…spirited” from the bitchy cheerleader from earlier, and a pained expression of awkward turtle proportions from BSBQ.

Chez Summers that night. Buffy’s trying to persuade a crying Dawn to come out of the bathroom. Dawn appears to say that Buffy couldn’t possibly understand and that BSBQ will never notice her now. Buffy unhelpfully mentions that he probably already noticed her, what with the falling in public and all. Dawn slams the door and yells at Buffy to go away. Xander comes upstairs, and Buffy tells him that it may not be the best night for videos, what with all the crying. He says that it’s better than spending time with Spike, and Buffy gives an “ain’t that the truth” nod. Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking…

Lor: There was definitely an eyes raised to the sky deal I’m choosing to interpret as, “legit point.” Maybe Spike talks through movies.

K: Probably.

Xander suggests ordering pizza because teens in a snit like that. Dawn yanks open the door and says that it’s not a snit, she’s heartbroken because the guy of her dreams hates her now. Buffy spots something on the floor behind Dawn and asks what it is. “Just the end of my life,” Dawn says tearfully before storming off to her room. The thing on the floor turns out to be Buffy’s cheerleading uniform, hacked to pieces. “Remember when she used to have a crush on me? I miss the much cuter ‘me’ crush…” Xander says from the doorway.

Buffy heads into Dawn’s room carrying her shredded uniform. She seems uncommonly attached to something that she wore for a grand total of one episode… ANYWAY, Buffy sits down on the bed next to Dawn and says that everything will be better in the morning especially as she doesn’t really know BSBQ at all. Dawn insists that she does, she knows his soul. Buffy’s taken aback because the previous day, Dawn didn’t even know he existed. Xander says that letter jackets have magical powers that make all the girls swoon. (L: Say that louder, we couldn’t hear you over the foreshadow…) Dawn insists that it’s not a crush and that she loves BSBQ. Buffy “bitch, please”s her, and Dawn says that she doesn’t want advice from the Dysfunction Queen who has no idea what real love is before yelling at them both to get out.

Sweeney: Dawn might be lovespell crazy right now and that sass was worthy of a, “Way harsh, Tai,” but she’s also not wrong. Probably a good idea for Buffy to tack a little asterisk and some fine print on her relationship advice.

K: Valid point. New Sunnydale High the next day. Dawn walks towards BSBQ’s locker just in time to overhear Jock Friend informing BSBQ that the coach has made him starting quarterback for the game on Saturday. BSBQ looks hurt while Jock Friend walks away with a smirk. Dawn storms after Jock Friend, and insists that he can’t do this to BSBQ. He’s all “LOL, WHATEVS,” and that the best man got the position. She informs him that no one’s better than BSBQ, and then pushes him down the stairs. The zoomy cameraman zooms in on her face. She gives a little “did anyone see?” eyeflick, but no other reaction. Fade to black.

After the Not Commercial Break, Dawn’s in Principal Wood’s office. Buffy’s there too. Principal Wood asks Dawn what happened, and she tells them that Jock Friend fell down the stairs. Wood asks why Jock Friend would say Dawn pushed him, but she tells him that maybe he lied because he’s embarrassed about being clumsy. Wood buys this because apparently Jock Friend is a serial liar. Okay, show. Whatever.

Lor: I really would’ve loved to hear the follow-up conversation with Jock Friend. “She pushed me down the stairs!” “Well, you shouldn’t have said your dog ate your homework.”

K: Wood says that he’ll have to call the coach and tell him, and Dawn gushes that at least there’s still BSBQ. Buffy gets the zoomy cameraman treatment as her eyes narrow in suspicion. Dawn says that she’s sorry it happened and leaves.

Lor: She leaves her bag on the chair and one second later we see her walking through the halls with it. Continuity fail I only noticed because I thought Buffy was going to go through her bag and find something to explain why Dawn’s acting fishy.

Sweeney: Same! It was a weird and glaringly obvious bit of continuity fail.

K: YES. That drove me insane.

In the hallway, BSBQ runs up to Dawn because he’d heard that she got called to the principal’s office. She makes a Monty Python joke, then headdesks because OMG CUTE BOYS DON’T LIKE MONTY PYTHON. He touches her shoulder, and she looks down at his hand then back up at him, her face aglow.

Basically, this.

BSBQ thanks her for That Thing That She Totally Didn’t Do, and then says that he was thinking of heading out later if she wants to meet up. Dawn does her best not to squee, and almost succeeds.

Cut to the Bronze that night. There are a lot of people dancing to music that doesn’t seem danceable, while Buffy, Willow and Xander sit at a table. Xander wonders why having a soul doesn’t cause Spike to pick up his wet towels, and Willow says that maybe he feels really bad about leaving them there. (L: LOL.) Buffy points out that showering is a refreshing change for Spike, then spots BSBQ on the dancefloor. She points him out to the others as Dawn’s crush, then the crowd parts enough that they can see a girl in skintight jeans and half a shirt getting her sexy dance on with BSBQ. Xander’s a fan. Buffy calls the girl a “slut-bag hussy” and says she’s glad Dawn’s not there to see it just as the girl turns around to reveal that it’s Dawn. Buffy stares in horror while Xander gaggily “oh God”s repeatedly and Willow whispers that she’s right there with him.

Shortly thereafter, Dawn walks off the dancefloor and up to the bar. Buffy confronts her, because Dawn lied and said she was going to the library. Also, Buffy informs her that “Anna Nicole Smith thinks you look tacky.” (S: GIRL. How quickly we forget our own high school wardrobe.) (K: Exactly. Dawn’s tight jeans and half a shirt are nothing to Buffy’s multitude of bra-less micro-dresses and knee high boots.) Dawn says that she looks good and that BSBQ thinks so too. Buffy says that she’s going to have a little chat with him, and Dawn grabs her arm, demanding that Buffy not embarrass her, and who does she think she is, Joyce? Buffy snaps that she’s glad Joyce isn’t around to see Dawn acting like this, and Dawn tears up. Buffy apologises, but Dawn says that Buffy just can’t stand someone else getting attention before grabbing her jacket and storming off.

Out in a deserted alley (always the best place to be in Sunnydale!), Dawn hears a noise. For some ridiculous reason, she thinks it’s BSBQ and calls his name. Instead, it’s Bitchy Cheerleader. She tells Dawn to stay away from BSBQ. When Dawn refuses, they end up in a full-blown, hair-pulling catfight. Buffy steps in and breaks it up. Bitchy Cheerleader kicks her in the shin and runs away.

New Sunnydale High the next day. Principal Wood shows BSBQ out of his office and suggests that he do his own homework in future rather than getting young girls to do it for him. BSBQ “whatever”s in reply, and Principal Wood sasses away. Buffy calls BSBQ over and tells him that they need to talk about the girls. She says that she knows how guys like him work, turning on the charm to get whatever they want. He’s putting on his letter jacket as she’s talking. When she turns back to face him after he puts the jacket on, her whole attitude changes. She says that she knows how hard it is to lead a team, then gets distracted by his body and asks how often he works out. Then she gushes about how she’s really not that much older than him, only with added sexual experience. He smirks a little, but just then another faculty member walks into the office. Buffy clears her throat, and sends BSBQ back to class. She watches him go with a lovesick expression as the theme to A Summer Place plays. Fade to black.



K: A+ gif selection, Sweeney.

After the Not Commercial Break, we’re at Chez Summers. Buffy calls Dawn into the living room, and informs her that she talked to BSBQ and that she thinks he likes Dawn. Dawn’s thrilled, and insists that Buffy tell her everything. Buffy tells her a few good things, then says that he said Dawn came on too strong. “Oh my God. I’m the pushy queen of slut-town,” Dawn says in horror. Buffy tells her that it’s fine, but to lay off a bit and let BSBQ be the one to sweep her off her feet rather than the other way around, and that Buffy will look out for her. Dawn leans her head on Buffy’s shoulder gratefully.

Cut to school the next day. Buffy bursts into a classroom and informs the teacher that they need BSBQ in the guidance office. BSBQ follows her out of the room. She leads him into an abandoned classroom. He’s confused at first, but she points out that there’s one of him and one of her and that he was the one in maths class so should be able to figure it out. In the hallway, Dawn tells herself that it’s not coming on too strong to just peer in the window of his classroom. Oh, honey. Nooooooo. She looks in and sees that his desk is empty, and is a little confused.

In the abandoned classroom, Buffy asks BSBQ about playing football, and he says that no one understands how much time it takes up. She tells him that she understands because she was juggling extra-curricular stuff in high school too, and that Principal Snyder was always on her case. He wishes out loud that someone would get rid of Wood for him. Buffy kisses him. He pulls back after a second, and is all “You’re basically a teacher!” She insists that she’s not, and they kiss some more, leaning back on the desks. In the hallway, the bell goes. Dawn peers into classrooms as people pour out, then comes to the empty classroom. She peeks through the window and looks horrified then heartbroken. She runs out of the school.

Outside, she sits down on a planter box and cries. Xander appears, and asks if she’s okay and if “that guy in the jacket” has done something. She says that she doesn’t want to hear his name any more, and Xander’s confused because he didn’t mention his name. Dawn informs him that “that guy in the jacket” is what she called him in her head before she knew that his name was BSBQ. She cries some more, and Xander suggests that he go and get Buffy. “NO! I don’t ever want to see her again,” Dawn snaps. Xander’s confused, and Dawn says that she’s upset because of BSBQ AND Buffy. Cut to Xander bursting in the door of the abandoned classroom to find Buffy straddling BSBQ, her shirt mostly off. BSBQ is still fully dressed. Xander informs Buffy that it’s time to go.

Sweeney: Let’s leave the faculty/student relationships in Rosewood, please?

K: Pretty pretty please.

Cut to Chez Summers. Dawn’s crying on the sofa. Buffy tells her that “crying isn’t going to make his love for me go away, you know.” Dawn cries even harder. The Scoobies look on in confusion. Xander suggests that they’re under the effects of a love spell, and Buffy’s all “You’re right!” before insisting that the spell is only effecting Dawn. Willow and Anya say that they’re working on breaking the spell. The two of them and Xander get back to work while Dawn and Buffy bicker about which one of them loves BSBQ more. It culminates in Dawn running off to her room to cry some more.

In the dining room, Willow says that people forget how dangerous love spells can be. That throws Xander into a season 2 flashback:


Lor: I was going to agree with Xander but then I found the recap and saw we named it, “Needs Less Xander.” Things change, yeah?

K: Season 7 Xander, much like season 7 Dawn, is awesome and has made me forget his past indiscretions.

Anya gives him a spectacular judgey side-eye. Buffy comes back in to announce that Dawn’s locked herself in her room. Meanwhile, Willow’s used the internet to track down info on BSBQ. Buffy insists that they look for a picture. Xander realises that BSBQ’s brother was a few years ahead of them at school, and that maybe they can use that as a way in.

Segue Magic over to Xander and Spike walking up to BSBQ’s brother’s house. Xander informs Spike that the guy was a massive jock in high school who had everyone wrapped around his little finger. They ring the doorbell, and the door opens to reveal a chubby scruffy dude in a pizza delivery uniform. Xander and Spike stare in confusion. Inside, Xander tells Pizza Brother that he knows a girl who’s dating BSBQ and that he wants to know if he’s a good guy. Spike wanders around the room, turning angel statuettes to face away from him. (DON’T BLINK) Pizza Brother tells Xander that BSBQ used to be a total nerd – into comic books, writing poetry, on the Model U.N. But then his brother blossomed. Xander asks how, then Spike spots a picture of Pizza Brother on the mantel wearing a letter jacket. Pizza Brother’s all “Oh, right. I gave him my jacket when I graduated, and my dad handed the jacket down to me. He told me he met our super-hot mother while he was wearing it.” Xander joins the dots and insists that they have to go.

Chez Summers. Willow’s getting frustrated because none of her anti-love spell spells have worked. The doorbell rings, and she opens the door to find BSBQ standing on the doorstep. He’s wearing his letter jacket. He asks if Buffy’s there, and Willow tells him to leave. Anya appears to back her up with “No Buffy for you. Leave quickly now.” He says they should tell Buffy to call him and walks away. The theme to A Summer Place starts playing and they both stare after him wistfully. Cut to Willow and Anya standing in the foyer fighting over which one of them loves BSBQ more. Buffy and Dawn come downstairs, and Dawn’s horrified that everyone she knows is doing this to her. Buffy points out that BSBQ has a penis, which isn’t really Willow’s cup of tea. Willow says that she can work around that.

The four of them bicker about who loves him the most. Willow says it’s her because she’s willing to look past him being the wrong gender. Dawn says she needs him and Anya says that she’d kill for him. That leads Buffy to decide that, as the Slayer, she should kill Principal Wood to make BSBQ realise how much she loves him. Willow says that she’ll use magic to make him into a girl. She heads upstairs, and Anya heads out the front door with a plan of her own. Buffy heads to the living room, and informs Dawn that she doesn’t stand a chance. Dawn sadly agrees.

Sweeney: Very Rosewood, indeed. Pedobears always seem to win out over age-appropriate suitors. Sorry, girl.

K: Poor Dawnie. This throws us into a four-way split screen showing each of the girls. Upstairs in her room, Willow prepares for a spell. Buffy, driving as spazzily as she did in Band Candy, pulls into the school parking lot and gets out of the car with a bazooka. Outside a bank downtown, Anya – dressed in black and carrying a sack – pulls a balaclava over her face. Dawn walks along side some train tracks, then lies down on them. Fade to black.

After the Not Commercial Break, Willow’s casting her spell. Crystals start to float in the air around her as she invokes Hecate. Just before she utters the last word of the spell, Xander slaps a hand over her mouth. Willow’s pissed about having to start over, and demands that he give her crystals back because she doesn’t have much time. “Much time before what?” Xander asks. She tells him that Buffy’s planning on killing Principal Wood, and that… He interrupts and says that they’ll start with that.

Cut to Principal Wood sitting in his office, going through papers at his desk and listening to jazz. Through the window, we see Buffy walk up and aim her bazooka. Just as she’s about to pull the trigger, Spike tackles her. They run in and out of frame a couple of times, then Spike grabs the bazooka and runs off. Buffy follows. Principal Wood turns to look out the window in confusion, but they’re already gone.

Lor: Fantastic. I giggled a lot.

Sweeney: This show doesn’t always do the slapstick stuff right, but this was perfect.

K: It really was. Outside, Spike stops running when he reaches Willow and Xander. Buffy’s not far behind. She demands to know what Willow’s doing, and she says it’s a locator spell. Buffy asks who they’re looking for. That throws us across to Dawn lying on the train tracks. A train whistle sounds in the background. Xander’s car pulls in not far from her, and the gang pile out. But Buffy and Willow get distracted by the thought that Anya’s already seducing BSBQ. Xander points out Dawn lying on the train tracks and the rapidly approaching train. Buffy sprints towards her, hitches a ride on a train going the other way, and arrives just in time to drag Dawn off the tracks before she gets hit. She asks Dawn what the hell her plan was, and Dawn says that she knew she couldn’t compete with Buffy, but if she killed herself, BSBQ would always know that there was someone who loved him enough to die for him. Buffy tears up and tells Dawn “No guy is worth your life – not ever,” which is excellent life advice, really. That leads to crying and sisterly bonding over how hot BSBQ is.

Sweeney: Feels like it’s a bit of a contrived kink in the love spell, but I’m choosing to see it as the overwhelming power of SISTER MAGIC winning the day.

K: Sister magic triumphs over all. Cut to Xander and Spike sneaking about downtown. They rush up to BSBQ, who’s on a date with Crutches Cheerleader. Xander grabs him while Spike rips off his letter jacket. Cut to the jacket being burnt in the Chez Summers fireplace. Buffy asks Xander if he wanted to try it on, and he refuses to answer “on the grounds that it didn’t fit.” Willow and Buffy are disgusted with themselves, while Anya looks shifty and says that they were under a spell and are therefore not legally or morally responsible for their actions.

Lor: Someone’s got their rent paid for a while, I’m guessing.

K: It’s only fair, seeing as how Willow destroyed the Magic Box.

On the sofa, Dawn tells Buffy that she feels awful for the way she acted, and like a complete idiot for not realising it was a spell. Buffy comforts her. Willow, meanwhile, asks Anya what she was going to do for BSBQ. She awkwardly says that she wrote him an epic love poem. Just then the radio switches over to a news update on the masked bandit who robbed a downtown bank. Anya quickly hits the power button, then asks who wants ice cream because it’s her treat. Fade to black.

This episode has actually grown on me this time around. While I’m completely over the Summers’ Tragic Magic Vagina Curse, this episode was surprisingly entertaining. And, much like The Zeppo, the “Xander saves the day” stuff was well played. Despite the “Ugh, Spike” sentiments that his presence brings, his lack of lines for most of the episode helped to minimise those sentiments as much as possible. So while I wouldn’t go so far as to say it was a GOOD episode, it was an entertaining episode. And sometimes – especially after last episode’s suckerpunch to the feels – that’s what you want.

Lor: The middle seemed to drag on just a bit, but the comedy portion of it picked up again by the time Anya and Willow got hit with love spell. It’s incredible to me how so far season 7 has managed to not only call back to so. many. episodes. but also is managing to capture the spirit of the early seasons with these standalone episodes. Peppered in this way between some meaningful plot and character developments, it’s making for a very enjoyable start to season 7. Also, Buffy’s bangs grew on me. She and Willow both looked beautiful his episode.

Sweeney: As much as I feel like the show should have ended after S5, all of the awesome callbacks are not only fun reminders of where the show has been but fitting inclusions for the final season. It does a fantastic job of bringing things to a close while still building out the world in a lot of other ways.

Also, so much Team Dawn goodness.


Next time: A Whedon trifecta, the return of some familiar faces, and a whole lot more than the gang bargained for. Find out more in Buffy the Vampire Slayer S07 E07 – Conversations with Dead People

Marines (all posts)

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

Sweeney (all posts)

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

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  • Ashlea K.

    I had so much secondhand embarrassment for Dawn in this ep, especially in the hall and at cheerleading tryouts. It was hard to watch. Poor Dawnie 🙁

    Buffy with the rocket launcher and Spike tackling her was the ABSOLUTE BEST.

    Also, I’m sure everyone has seen this but a while back there was a thing going around with Bella Swan saying “Edward you watch me sleep at night, you treat me like a child and you think about eating me for dinner. I would willingly throw myself off a cliff for you.” And then it has Buffy saying “No guy is worth your life, not ever” and it says I’m so glad I grew up with Buffy and not Bella. PREACH.

    • Wilhelmina Upton

      I’ve seen a couple of similar memes and I’m always like: PREACH!

    • Zovc

      I’ve seen that and other BtVS/Twilight comparisons, and while I didn’t grow up with either of them, but there’s no doubt the Slayer is infinitely better.

    • Melbourne on my Mind

      I’m pretty sure I mentioned in our first ever Buffy post that I wanted an “And then Buffy staked Edward. The End.” t-shirt. I still want one, although now it would have “and Christian” on it as well. Christian Grey may be human, but a stake to the heart would still dispose of him nicely!

      • Ashlea K.

        I could definitely be down with a “And then Buffy staked Edward and Christian Grey. The End.” t-shirt. A stake takes care of lots of problems. Also, whether CG is human or not is debatable 😉

  • Clément Polge

    I’ve quite mixed about this episode, it’s really just “ugh, GET ON WITH IT” for most of it with just Dawn finding new and exotic ways to embarass herself, which is one of my tv pet peeve, but it really picks up once Willow and Anya get hit by the spell too, and it becomes hilarious for that last quarter.

    Also Anya got the best end of that spell, Dawn almost committed suicide, Buffy almost killed her boss with a bazooka, Willow apparentely annoyed a goddess, and Anya ? She robbed a bank and is now rich. I want to get hit by a spell like that too.

    Talking of bazooka, I headcanon that this is the bazooka that destroyed the Judge in that amazing episode who gave us the amazing crotch-kich to Angelus. Aaah, sweet memories…

    • I always assumed it was intentionally supposed to be the bazooka from Innocence because where the heck else would she have gotten that from? It goes along with all the other callbacks to the past seasons too.

      • Clément Polge

        Well she could keep a stock, you never know when you’re gonna need a bazooka or three.

        She could have given him a name though, her stake is Mr Pointy, so maybe Mister Kablooey ?

        If only a slayer died after naming the bazooka, sigh…

      • Ashlea K.

        Yeah, I always assumed they keep it after they destroyed the judge. Or maybe there is a stockpile in the Initiative ruins?

        • Clément Polge


          • Ashlea K.

            NGL, your comment just made me LOL so hard I almost want to sprinkle my comments with “Initiative” just to get that response.

          • Wilhelmina Upton

            +1 and 1430 for you, Ashlea

    • Melbourne on my Mind

      Excellent point – I never even stopped to consider where the bazooka came from. Headcanon accepted.

  • I don’t know what this says about my fashion sense, but I loved all of Buffy’s outfits in this episode. Huh.

    Anya is my favorite. Emma Caufield’s delivery of every love spell line is amazing, “AJ is my best friend and my dearest darling,” LOL. SMG is really great at playing out-of-character Buffy too.

    • Wilhelmina Upton

      Emma C is fantastic! Anya and Dawn, so much love for these characters!

  • Democracy Diva

    Hairspray references, one of the best Jennifer Lawrence gifs ever, and the gifset of Willow saying she can work around the penis? You guys wrote this recap just for me, didn’t you?

    While Buffy carrying the bazooka was completely hilarious, my primary reaction was, “In what universe does the Slayer need a bazooka to kill a regular person?” Great visual gag, but also total nonsense. Worth it, though, for Principal Wood glancing towards the window and then going back to his work. Slapstick at its best.

    It’s nice to know the show is still capable of these semi-stand-alone, funny, genuinely enjoyable episodes, like in the good old days before season 6 broke all of our hearts into a thousand billion pieces.

    • Melbourne on my Mind

      A+ for that last sentence.

  • lev36

    That cheerleader with the crutch is none other than Riki Lindhome of the fabulous Garfunkel and Oates! If you haven’t heard any of their stuff, google it; it’s hilarious. Sorta an American version of Flight of the Conchords.

  • SuzyLee

    I always really enjoy this episode, I kind of love cringe inducing comedy so it really appeals to me, even as I’m hiding behind my fingers squirming with empathetic embarrassment.

    The scene with Buffy and the bazooka is for my money, hands down, one of the funniest moments of this show ever, perfection. And the four-way split screen with all of them, brilliantly cheesy, and then suddenly sombered by Dawn on the tracks, I think that’s well done. Buffy’s speech to Dawn at the end about a boy never being worth her life makes me cheer each and every time, yay sister magic! I also kind of love the way Spike raises his eyebrows when RJs brother mentions RJ having written poetry, makes me snigger just a little. Xander and Spike’s ‘plan’ for getting the jacket is pretty funny too.

    There was actually a fair bit cut from Buffy and Dawnie’s talk at the beginning of the episode, some of which I wish had stayed in:

    (From the shooting script)
    And I’m even trying to understand
    that. A little. The rape part.

    He didn’t. I mean, he tried-

    Not that. I just… You guys had
    sex a lot, right? It’s not like you
    were strangers. Weren’t you ever…
    (hard to say)
    … being kind of rough with each
    (off Buffy’s look)
    Anya said some stuff-

    I really should’ve killed her. Dawn,
    it was complicated. But I’d broken
    it off with him. I didn’t want to

    (gets it)
    Oh. Oh… That must have been…
    I’m sorry. I’m sorry for even asking.

    It’s okay. I get the question. I’ve
    asked it myself a few times.

    Buffy’s fringe bugs me every time I watch this though so I’m glad its not just me, its especially bad in the scene at the Bronze and yes lol to Buffy having any moral high-ground when it comes to judging Dawn’s outfit. Spike’s presence it this episode is completely surplice to requirements, he’s pretty much only here because they need him out of the basement before the next episode.

    Speaking of the next episode; I love it and it is wonderful and will most certainly continue the theme of yay team Dawn!

    • Ashlea K.

      The next episode is Conversations with Dead People, right? IMO one of the creepiest, most wonderful eps of Buffy.

      • YAY! I’ve already said a hundred million times that my late season memory is restricted more to arcs than particular episodes (save for a few exceptions) and that’s EXTRA true in this season. So I’m preemptively excited! Based on the title, I have a vague guess, but YAY for S7’s continued success at not being S6! Good job, S7! You do your non-S6 thing!

      • SuzyLee

        Yes it is. And yeah I agree 100%, its pretty darn amazing <3 Its incredible how much they pact into that one episode as well, although I believe it overran slightly.
        Also highly recommend the DVD commentary for this episode if anyone owns the DVDs and hasn't listened, its pretty damn funny.

        • Clément Polge

          I HATED this episode on first watch… Because I thought each segment would only last for a while, so I was really waiting for each to end and the real stuff to begin.

          Also the guy Buffy talk to (BTW, he’s a Whedon trifecta) has a face that makes me want to punch him. I’m being completely irrationnal I know, but still… It might be linked to his Firefly character though, whom I positively loathe.

          • Ashlea K.

            For me, it’s linked to the part he plays in ANOTHER Whedon show that makes me HATE, HATE, HATE him. So yeah, I get it. I just loved that the whole show has this art-y different feel and it’s so genuinely creeptastic. Also, it gives us Dawn’s anchovy song. I don’t agree with the sentiments about anchovies but it’s the greatest. So much plot development as well with all these undercurrents. I love it and I can’t wait 🙂

          • Clément Polge

            Well, I don’t remember my feelings on second watch (though I warmed up to it a bit), and third watch will happen any day now, so we’ll see 🙂

            And yeah, there’s also that, but I saw him in that after I saw him in Buffy, so that didn’t taint my first watch feelings 🙂

          • Ashlea K.

            It’s been so long since my original viewing. All my rewatches are viewed with this future knowledge. I’m not even sure what I thought when I watched it the first time 🙂

          • SuzyLee

            I think it does tend to be a bit of a Marmite, love it or hate it kind of episode, I definitely fall on the love it side of things but I guess I get why some people don’t.

            Ha ha I totally get what you mean about that guy, yeah his Firefly character doesn’t help, also vg jvaqf zr hc gung gurl hfrq uvz ba Natry naq qvqa’g qb nalguvat gb znxr uvz ybbx (be rira gb or snve npg) qvfgvapgviryl sebz Ubyqra, ng yrnfg jura Gbz Yrax jnf va na rneyvre rcvfbqr bs Ohssl, orsber gheavat hc nf Naqerj, ur jnf inzcrq gur ragver gvzr fb vg jnfa’g yvxr tynevatyl boivbhf vgf gur fnzr thl. V qba’g unir n ceboyrz jvgu npgbe erhfr npebff gur Jurqbairefr, gung’f n Wbff unyyznex nsgrenyy, ohg jura vgf fcrpvsvpnyyl jvguva gur fnzr ‘irefr, vg whfg tengrf zr n yvggyr, fghcvq V xabj. Cyhf lbh xabj Xabk tbg Serq xvyyrq fb abg urycvat uvf pnfr nal…

            Anyways I’m glad they made this episode, IMO, so awesome because it helps balance out what will concurrently be going down in LA, sigh.

        • Ashlea K.

          It’s one of my favorites of the episode commentaries! Truly hilarious 🙂

      • Melbourne on my Mind

        Pre-Snark Squad Kirsti LOVED Conversations with Dead People. I really hope that Snark Squad Kirsti loves it too.

        • Zovc

          I’m not exactly Season Seven’s biggest fan, but I wouldn’t change a single frame of “CWDP”, so you’ll probably like it.

          Gur Svefg qbrfa’g ernyyl jbex nf n ivyynva zbfg bs gur gvzr, ohg vg’f cresrpg va Pbairefngvbaf.

    • Alicia

      Are they trying to say that rough sex leads to/has a connection to rape there? Cause that’s an idea I’m not happy with. Or am I completely off-base?? I’m a little confused by what Dawn is trying to say in that part of the exchange. It’s also late here so my brain may not be working properly;)

      • Ashley Menvielle

        I don’t think you are off base with not liking that idea at all. I agree with you, I think the dialogue here and what it seems to insinuate about issues of consent, sex in general and rough sex in particular, are more of the same theme of Buffyverse sex is usually portrayed as a very problematic and negative thing the show has going on that I have a really hard time dealing with on re watches now.

  • lev36

    Other random thoughts: I have trouble understanding any of Principal Wood’s dialogue. I hear him talking, but he’s so gorgeous my brain just shuts down and all I can do is stare at his eyes.

    The patented Dawn squeal is so cute! I love it. But her sexy dance made me feel like a Rosewood perv.

    We don’t have “maths” class here in America. We have “math” – we don’t need it plural because we obvs have the one, true math. None of your suspicious foreign plural kind.

    The Charlie’s Angels split-screen shenanigans were hilarious – the bazooka being the absolute best – except throwing in Dawn’s train-track despair gave the comedy a classic Whedonesque dose of pathos at the same time. Laughter and feels!

    • Clément Polge

      Seeing how you call EVERYTHING that has number math, including a lot of stuff that isn’t actually math, you might as well use the plural.

      • Zovc

        The “S” at the end of “math” is the work of the Devil! My car gets 40 rods to the hog’s head and that’s the way I like it!

        • SnazzyO

          My car gets 40 rods to the hog’s head

          • Zovc

            I tried to find a clip of it, but on The Simpsons Grampa says “The metric system is the tool of the Devil! My car gets 40 rods to the hog’s head and that’s the way I like it!”. I was pretty sure that reference would either entertain or confuse people. One checkmark in the “confuse” box 🙂

    • Alicia

      I think ‘maths’ makes sense because it’s mathematics not mathematic. We call it maths where I am too;)

  • Wilhelmina Upton

    I’m so glad Kirsti mentioned the bangs in the beginning because they really looked awful. There is a way SMG can wear and I haven’t disliked them consistently throughout this episode but I’m not a fan.

    From the moment Anya and Willow were hit with the spell this episode was awesome. Man, I enjoyed their banter! Also they were both looking really nice this episode.

    • Ashlea K.

      The Anya/Willow banter WAS especially stand-out. I have been enjoying their interactions this season!

      • Wilhelmina Upton

        AGREED! They are fabulous.

      • Zovc

        I always enjoy Willow/Anya scenes. Alyson Hannigan and Emma Caulfield are hilarious enough in their own, but together? Fahn-tastic!

        • Ashlea K.

          They were a bit grating in S6 together (Triangle is one episode that comes to mind) but so was all of S6 so I won’t hold that against them 😉 This season, though…MAGIC.

          • Zovc

            Well, “Triangle” is actually Season Five, but confession time: I like “Triangle”. I’m not saying it’s a great episode, but I think it’s pretty damn funny. Like this episode, actually.

          • Ashlea K.

            My bad. I’ve been internet-ing all day and my brain is somewhat fried. It’s kind of amusing at times but mostly it just annoys me. Still, even an annoying episode of Buffy to me is still better than 99% of television ever. 😉

    • Melbourne on my Mind

      Thank you for backing up my hatred of her fringe.

      • Wilhelmina Upton

        Always! I have a coworker with the ugliest fringe I’ve seen since looking at my kindergarten pictures. She seems to be total into fringes though because she asked me twice if I considered getting one which is a stupid thing to ask someone with curls. Team #UnitedAgainstUglyFringes, yo!

  • darkalter2000

    Willow’s “I’m right there with ya” gets me every time. 🙂

    • Zovc

      To be fair to both of them, Dawn did apparently take a crash course at the “Faith Lehane School of Dancing and Fashion”.

      • Melbourne on my Mind

        1430 to you.

  • Zovc

    I very much enjoy this episode. It’s like they remade “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered”, but since the show doesn’t expect us to root for RJ, we avoid a lot of thorny moral issues (I almost wrote “sticky” instead of thorny there, but NO). The scene with the rocket launcher* is probably my favorite, but pretty much anything Willow and Anya say under the love spell is comedy gold, with my favorite line being “Now I have to start all over. Hecate hates that!” Xander and Spike’s “plan” is also genius-“I refuse to answer on the grounds it didn’t fit” 😉 The idea that a soul doesn’t make you pick up towels, but makes you feel guilty for not picking them up is classic overthinky-Willow, too, so I appreciate that.

    Also, since I don’t watch Pretty Little Liars, I’ve lately been confused about your discussion of the age gaps in romances there. How many relationships like that are we talking about, and what’s the average age difference?

    I can’t remember if I knew that song was the theme to A Summer Place or not, but that is an epic piece of continuity- In “Inca Mummy Girl” (Oz’s first appearance), Devon asks Oz what a girl has to do to impress him. Oz’s awesome Ozian answer is “It involves a feather boa and the theme to A Summer Place”, which kind of brings up some questions about what Oz and Willow did in private.

    Buffy had really terrible bangs in “Amends”, too, so these are nothing new, and, besides, nobody’s hair could be as bad as Cordy’s. On the plus side, none of the rest of the female cast of either show consistently have bad hair, and Willow’s was really nice in this episode, which is good since there are some questionable hair times ahead for her (nowhere near Buffy/Cordy levels, though). And Willow’s outfit was kind of a perfect blend of nerdy and hippy I feel weird to have spent so long talking about fashion. I suppose it’s just because the women of the cast were looking very good, even with Buffy and Anya’s unfortunate hair (brown isn’t a good look for EC).

    I must confess I’m not on team “Dawn is Great”. The scene on the bleachers is fine, but any character but Connor or Riley would have improved it with their own personality contrasting against Buffy’s. Dawn doesn’t have much in the way of personality. This season does the best they can with her, so she doesn’t annoy me, but I still would say I’m neutral on her as a character.

    *That is completely the rocket launcher from “Innocence”, by the way.

    • Clément Polge

      “That is completely the rocket launcher from “Innocence”, by the way.”

      Great minds think alike.

      For Pretty Little Liars, it’s mostly that the main characters are 4 teenagers in high school (so, like, 16-17) getting hit on with an alarming regularity by grown-ass men with jobs and all (so, like, 25+).

      And the worst is that we sometimes get flashback where they’re even younger, and still getting hit on by said men.

      • And a lot more of the ick comes in context. Like Aria is an immature baby being hit on by her TEACHER. Which, NO. Spencer was getting hit on my her sister’s fiance. WTF. It’s just so much gross all around.

        • Clément Polge

          And yet, when you put it this way, I can’t help but laugh.

          • Zovc

            In the words of Ellis Carver- “Seek therapy”

  • Carmenpoing

    I was really interested to see how this review would go because my feelings on it are so weird. Overall, I kind of hate the episode because the plot is kind of icky and there’s so much contrivance all over the plot. But at the same time, there are so many individual funny moments that it’s almost worth it to sit and squirm through the plot. And I could watch the zany bazooka fight all day long, so that helps.

  • SnazzyO

    I unreasonably like this episode. It’s light and frothy and has some of my favorite Buffy moments:
    – The bazooka in the background bit is seriously in my Top 10 comedy moments
    – I like the “Dad”-tone Xander takes when he tells Buffy to get off the boy and go home; he’s so UNFAZED. Just another day at Sunnydale High. I find that hilarious.
    – Willow’s commitment to working around “it”
    – The look Spike and Xander share when they realize Willow is trying to turn RJ into a girl
    – Spike turning around the angels. I don’t know if that was scripted but it works on multiple levels — one the “angels” are literally judging him now that he has a soul and B) he hates Angel.
    – Willow’s sly ‘right there with ‘ya’
    – Anya. Just about everything but especially her interactions with Willow
    – the Charlie’s Angels vibe to the four screen shot

    In short, I really like this episode even tho many are more brilliantly written. I find it good for laughes.

    • Jojo

      I think he is also a Whovian. Even the small ones can do damage.

    • Alicia

      Xander’s pretty awesome in this episode in general!

  • Policy of Madness

    Can I mention that the Willow-is-153.5%-gay retcon is my least favorite retcon of the series? Her childhood crush was male. She had a good long relationship with a dude that, at least from here, seemed both sexually and emotionally fulfilling. I have no problem with the notion of her being attracted to both men and women, and in fact I sort of assumed up until now that she is bisexual. That’s the only way I can reconcile what I saw in earlier seasons with what I have seen more recently.

    And now I’m expected to believe that she is so gay she is completely incapable of being attracted to a person with a penis?

    Good job, though, with the split-four-ways screen. That was pretty amusing and reasonably inspired.

    • JEL

      I have seen posts in other blogs from posters stating that they were lesbians who found Willow’s experience believable. So it might exist in RL but be rare and not matching other people’s experiences.

      On the other hand if it is not whether it is possible but whether it is consistent, then it is a retcon they have been pushing for a long while. For example fairly early in season 5 in Triangle there is the exchange with Anya:

      ANYA: Oh, and you don’t want anyone else to have him. I know what broke
      up him and Cordelia, you know. It was you! And your lips!

      WILLOW: No it was not! Well, yes it was so, but … that was a long time ago. Do you think I’d do that again?

      ANYA: Why not?

      WILLOW: Well, hello, gay now.

      What might be an explanation is that Willow is herself a bit unsure of her “gayness” & her relationship with Tara and so back then keeps insisting she is gay (it also gives her a reason to feel less bad about no longer feeling the same about Oz) and now continues to do so both out of habit and loyalty to Tara. If she was uncertain that would explain how the argument in “Tough Love” went from being about magic to whether Willow was really gay. Because she had secret doubts. What with everything that has happened since she might well be subconsciously more determined than ever to deny that the changes she experienced with Tara were anything less than “all the way”.

      It works for me. And your comment made me think about this a bit more for the first time (after seeing others make this comment too). So thank you for that.

      (I don’t expect it to work for you if you feel that strongly. I’m comfortable with that.)

      • Jojo

        I’ve heard the ‘must be bi’ argument. Most people start out attempting to fulfil society dictates. Sexuality is a continuum – a lot of people take time to discover where they belong. Yes, Willow loved Oz for a lot of reasons but I’m not sure sexuality was one of them. It always seemed to me that her relationship with Tara was way hotter and more openly sexual. I’m willing to trust Willow on what she feels at this point in her life.

        • Policy of Madness

          Willow is not real. She doesn’t actually feel anything. She can’t be trusted on any count, because she only says/feels/is what the actor and writers and creators behind her put into her mouth and head.

          What I see, as a viewer who basically mainlined the series up to this point is a main character that was straight, because it never crossed anyone’s mind in the early seasons to have a main character who is anything but straight (see: Larry the gay dude, who was a punchline in his featured episode). Then in later seasons they decided to give Willow this character arc of discovering her inner lesbian. It came out of nowhere, but I could absolutely buy it because sexuality is more fluid and continuous than many people like to believe. I know people who are basically straight but are more sexually flexible if the other person is the same gender and really special. That’s what I saw Willow turn into. It was a retcon, but it was a retcon I could easily accept.

          I don’t accept that her entire relationship with Oz was =intended from the start= to be Willow, gay woman, fulfilling the societal expectation to have a heterosexual relationship with a person that she would otherwise consider only a good friend were that societal expectation not in place.

          That’s why I see it as a retcon and an annoying one. I don’t like to feel that Willow’s gayness is pasted on. I was sold the Willow/Oz relationship as a very deep and fulfilling one, and now I’m expected to believe, retroactively, that it was what you say it is supposed to be. And I don’t.

          • Alicia

            Yeah, Willow’s relationship with Oz is pretty confusing considering later stuff. I’m not sure WHAT the audience is supposed to make of it now. I just generally don’t think about it;) Which isn’t helpful I know.

          • Policy of Madness

            LOL I was successfully not thinking about it until this episode, when Willow is all A PENIS IS AN ABSOLUTE BAR TO ANY RELATIONSHIP WITH ME! I mean, there are many ways to handle a retcon, but only a few to deal with one of this magnitude. They’ve generally been using the “don’t mention it and let the fans fill in the blanks for themselves” method, which is the least clunky. But then they mention it here, and I am smacked in the face with this massive retcon of Willow’s character, and I can no longer just not think about it.

          • Alicia

            Yeah it’s definitely pretty bluntly put in this episode. It would have been better to have left it. It’s also done for humour, (which I know is something that can bug you). Maybe Joss and the writers felt that they had to take a strong stance reinforcing the Willow is completely gay idea because of the climate at the time. That they wanted to make it completely clear that Willow wasn’t just ‘experimenting’. So something like a more fluid sexuality was off the cards. IDK

          • Policy of Madness

            Humor is not innately bad, it just bothers me when it’s used inappropriately and creates a tone problem. The tone of this episode was hilarious (tbh the jokey tone of it made Dawn’s attempted suicide kind of squicky for me, because suicide is not a joke, which was the reverse kind of problem – the suicide attempt breaking the funny tone, as opposed to a joke breaking a serious tone).

            It’s unfortunate how they played it here, because of course there is a meme that homosexuality is transmissible, and so we need to keep gays off TV and away from kids because the kids will catch teh gheys. That’s pretty much how it looks from the outside. Willow was straight with perfectly socionormative heterosexual relationships, she met gay Tara, and she caught the gay disease and now won’t even look at a penis. I know that’s not the intention, but I’m squicked now in a way I wasn’t before this ep.

          • Jojo

            I just think Willow fell for OZ in high school because he was cool and in the band and he was Oz.. Then Oz was unfaithful and he left. When Willow was older she fell in love with Tara, and at that point realized she was a lesbian and stayed with that. It’s not all that unusual in the LGBT community for someone to have done some exploring before they settle down to what they discover. Since I am not Willow, I take her personal label to be accurate.

            It’s an odd age – remember obnoxious Larry – crude as hell and sexist – until he came out of the closet.

          • Policy of Madness

            “Since I am not Willow, I take her personal label to be accurate.”

            Except Willow does not label herself. She can’t. She is fictional. The writers taking care of her dialogue and the actor who delivers it are the ones who label her.

          • Jojo

            And that is the difference between Doylist and Watsonian. 🙂

          • Policy of Madness

            LOL. I feel like I have to say it, though, because the sentiment you’re expressing here is one that I would be 100% behind if Willow were a real person. I would absolutely support a person in whatever label they wanted to give themselves (or reject for themselves), regardless of how that jived with my preformed expectations of what the label suggests.

            I’m not behind it with Willow because she isn’t real. And that’s the only reason. So I needed to say it.

          • Jojo

            I can completely understand! There are things that the writers and producers did that annoy the crap out of me at times – things that are seriously OOC, at least in my opinion. They did tend to decide to make rather radical character changes that were needed as plot points. Like the AR, which was done just to give Spike a reason to get a soul.

      • Policy of Madness

        That hadn’t occurred to me (that she’s being most emphatically GAY GAY GAY because she wants to convince herself more than anyone else). It’s a tidy explanation, it just doesn’t seem to fit with what I see on the screen. What I see on the screen is a somewhat sudden decision by the creative powers to make a straight character gay. Therefore i can’t buy it as anything but a retcon.

        “I have seen posts in other blogs from posters stating that they were lesbians who found Willow’s experience believable.”

        I don’t doubt that’s true. Everyone is different. Willow is a fictional character, though, so she can go through things (being completely straight with no thoughts of gayness, then one season later being completely gay with no thoughts of straightness) that aren’t necessarily realistic for those of us who are not fictional. If a RL person displayed the same abrupt about-face I would not question whether it is “realistic” or not because obviously it would be. IOW fictional characters can be retconned whereas real people cannot, and I just see this as a really blatant retcon and I can’t see it as anything else.

        • JEL

          “What I see on the screen is a somewhat sudden decision by the creative powers to make a straight character gay.” The writers & Joss did lay some groundwork for this in Doppleganger in season 2. (Willow’s comment about vamp!Willow that “I think I’m kind of gay.” and Angel’s acknowledgement that is likely to be a reflection of Willow’s personality.) I would agree that it isn’t clear what they planning to do with that since it didn’t come up again for 2 seasons & probably they weren’t sure themselves. But it seems like with Doppleganger they gave themselves the option to move in that direction later.

          • Policy of Madness

            Hang on, I am liking this discussion but I must run to work. BB in a few hours.

          • JEL

            And in fairness, in the commentaries and other statements Joss has said they did decide suddenly to take Tara & Willow in that direction when they saw the chemistry between Allyson & Amber. So you aren’t wrong in that. But through luck or something they had managed to give themselves something on which to base that change – they had at least hinted that Willow might not be straight that once.

          • Policy of Madness

            I couldn’t tell you what my original reaction was to that line, because I didn’t even remember it had occurred. So, it made a big impression on me I reckon. 😀

            However, I went back and watched the relevant part of Doppelgangland and it seemed like Willow was reacting to the “vampire sensuality” thing that vamp!Willow has (almost alone out of all BtVS vampires, like none of them have it except her lol) along with vamp!Willow licking her neck. So yeah, it was a good (and possibly lucky) decision, but IMHO does not make Willow’s rock-solid gayness later any less of a retcon.

            Retcons are not terrible, don’t get me wrong. Every property does them, it’s almost inevitable. What bothers me the most about this one is that the end result almost looks like a textbook example of “gayness is contagious so if we keep gays away from our kids they won’t ever become gay themselves.” This one comes with a delicious side of seduction-into-evil-witchcraft at the same time, just to make extra sure to twig negative social sexual memes. I was fine with Willow being sexually fluid, and now I’m not fine with her suddenly affirming that she is nothing! but! gay! given the story to now.

  • JEL

    Two comments (and apologies is someone else has already said these things).

    First on a personal note, this might be the hardest episode for me to rewatch. Which seems a strange thing to say after episodes like “The Body” and “Seeing Red”, but watching Dawn make a fool of herself just makes me feel horrible for her in a different way than I feel watching all the others. Perhaps it is knowing how hard it is to go back and face all your peers after royally screwing up. (Some teens can’t manage it; you have to send them to a different school to start over.)

    Secondly I agree that Buffy is a bit of a hypocrite in her criticisms of Dawn at the Bronze. However she is Dawn’s parental guardian and being a parent or a parent substitute changes how one views things. Lots of parents find themselves struggling (mostly unsuccessfully) to stop their teenagers from doing the same things the parents did when the parents were teenagers. Knowing how badly things could turn out makes parents feel compelled to try even when they are self aware enough to know it probably won’t work and even if they attempt different tactics than their own parents. (Less self aware parents simply try the same things that their parents did with equally poor success.)

    It goes with the role you see. Like how becoming treasurer for a non-profit organization turns a person from someone willing to spend anything for a good cause to anal about the bottom line and telling everyone how we are all going to go broke if we don’t change something. That goes with that role. Wanting to help your children & steer them on a “better path” even when it isn’t helpful just seems to come with the parental role. It is a scary & humbling thing that even if you manage to behave differently than your parents you find yourself understanding their side of the parent/teenager divide and even agreeing with them. (Or more generally, the parent/child divide.)

    Compounding the impulses inherent in the role are the fact that Buffy has had very little experience parenting a teenager and is reacting here out of anger & fear without thinking which rarely makes for good parenting. Plus there is the fact that I’m sure Dawn could still be taken away from her if Dawn gets into certain types of trouble.

    So I agree Buffy does a very poor job parenting in dealing with the situation. She is not perfect and she makes mistakes. The question is whether she does better later. (As (was allowed) to happen in season 6.)

    So I’m also ok with her being a bit of a hypocrite. I can see why she made this mistake.

    (There is very little that is like being a parent. That is why parents usually like to hang out with other parents because they feel that their prior non-parent friends “just don’t get it”. I’ve probably said that before back in my defending Joyce days.)

    • Alicia

      I like your points about parenting. I have absolutely no experience with it, but I can see it must be very difficult to navigate. Buffy is often not the greatest. But she is trying, which is MILES better than in her general neglect in season six.

    • Ashley Menvielle

      Fantastic points about how hard parenting is and how becoming a parent, as Buffy has to Dawn, changes a person’s outlook on things. It is fair to point out Buffy’s hypocrisy when it comes to clothing choices, boy is it fair, but it is just as fair to point out that she is looking at Dawn’s clothing, and more importantly her actions in that outfit and why she chose to wear that type of clothing, as Buffy the parent now and not just as Buffy, who wrote tiny skirts in her high school days, the sister or friend.

  • JEL

    One minor correction: It is Anya that points out BSBQ physical presence comes with a penis. (A more likely the source than Buffy given their characters. Buffy is a bit of a prude most of the time.) The GIF even shows Anya saying that so I’m sure that is just a typo.

  • Jojo

    I have some real problems using suicide as a punchline to a bad joke. Sorry not sorry – suicide is not corny and fun. With teen suicides on the rise, even back then, it seems even more wrong.

  • Alicia

    What’s up with the girls on this show slut-shaming each other and themselves? It makes me uncomfortable. It’s like in some season 1 episode when Buffy holds up an outfit to herself in front of the mirror and says something like “I’m an enormous slut” and then something else with the other outfit. It’s really disturbing to hear Buffy call someone a “slut-bag hussy” for DANCING. And it’s even worse that it turns out to be Dawn. Xander (and Willow) checking out Dawn was so gross too. The stuff with Buffy and RJ was really icky and awfully cringe-inducing as well! Those kind of spells do bring up consent issues. But that seems to be par for the course with the Buffyverse. What if Buffy had gotten even further with RJ? Ew.

    Other than that I quite like this episode. It has some great comedy in the latter half. I’m with everyone who thinks the rocket launcher scene is awesome! Poor Dawnie though! I found it funny that Buffy only believes that Dawn is under the spell. It was a great call-back to ‘Something Blue’ when Buffy thinks she has “some kind of natural immunity” to Willow’s spell in that episode. Hee.

    I liked that Dawn questioned Buffy about Spike, even if her answers were less than clear. It just shows how complicated her feelings are regarding him. Sometimes Buffy needs a little push otherwise she’ll avoid and deny until the cows come home (and she beats up the cows too). I loved her line about her actions not being ‘coddling’ and the “Go to your closet!” part too. Spike looks kind of hilariously confused there.

    Speaking of Spike it’s completely weird seeing him so quiet and reserved. It’s kind of freaky actually. You know something’s wrong with Spike when he’s not talking or snarking! I did love he and Xander teaming up to get on the case, and their most brilliant plan later though. Them living together makes me nostalgic for season 4. They were so funny together. The difference in Spike between those points in time is pretty huge. Except that he doesn’t seem to improved where laundry is concerned:D

    • Ashley Menvielle

      Love and very much agree with this comment of yours, Alicia. Great observation about the slut shaming issue. It’s not new to this season, and Xander isn’t the only culprit when it comes to using it, sadly. The girls of this show do it to themselves, as per your example, and each other, Buffy was shaming Cordy a lot in S2 and Buffy and Willow constantly did it to Faith in S3, which one could argue is a realistic thing girls do to each other, which everyone has their own experiences (also don’t like the implication when that argument comes up that girls just treat each other that way and its normal so don’t comment on it because it’s not true for everyone’s experiences and the writers are using it so it can and should be discussed), but I say it’s just sad. Slur shaming on this show seems to be used primarily in two ways: a) a way of trying to get laughs, she dresses like a slut lol and that’s the whole joke, b) a way of showing conflict or underlying tension between two or more characters ex: Xander constantly calls Cordy a slur because she annoys him and then because he’s secretly attracted to her and is frustrated he can’t have her, or Buffy is jealous of Cordy getting attention from Angel, well she dresses slutty so there, OR hey, Faith is open minded sexual and is very comfortable talking about sex in specifics and in general so she must be a slut say Buffy and Willow and etc. Sorry I guess I’m getting a little ranty but I stand by my assessments that this is just another example of sex, and female sexuality in particular being treated very ickily in the show. Of course there are exceptions, that does not mean there is no pattern, nor does it invalidate the pattern of treating sex as negative, exploitative and painful for the characters as this show does again and again. Sigh, no cookie for you Joss and the writers, not when it comes to this topic and all its nuances.

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  • I spent most of this episode cringing. It did get funny at the end, but through almost the whole thing I thought it would get to a point, but then it wouldn’t. I was pretty confused until the culprit turned out to be the jacket, and then I saw what they were trying to do with the humour. Weird episode though. Tons of “oh god, I can’t look, I’m TOO EMBARRASSED for them”.

    • Cringing and feelings of deep second-hand embarrassment? Sounds about right.

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  • SonicRulez

    I like the bazooka scene, but that’s about it. I just cringe too hard at the Dawn stuff.

    Is it not more accurate to say Willow is bisexual? I suppose society just wasn’t where it is now. They really hammer her in as gay though as if the Oz stuff never happened.

    I really hate the “C’mon Xander, wouldn’t you want to take a spin?” I feel like that could’ve been a nice moment for him to say no, because he would never try and mystically manipulate women into loving him. He learned that lesson. Instead it’s a gag, just like the flashback to BB&B. I know it’s a comedic episode, but I still don’ like it.