Buffy the Vampire Slayer S07 E07 – Here we go.

Previously: Sunnydale High School Love Spell, Take 2.

Conversations With Dead People

Sweeney: The episode kicks off with tight shots of a band plugging stuff in and starting to play. An actual title card shows off the episode title, which already makes this episode all fancy like.

Kirsti: Can we give a gold star to a title card? Or is that just too easy?

Sweeney: Given that saying the title is literally it’s job, no.

Moody music plays while we get back-to-back shots of Buffy in the cemetery, Spike listening alone in the Bronze, and the band playing. Eventually Willow joins the montage party, passing out in the magical UC Sunnydale library we haven’t seen in a while. Dawnie comes home to an empty house, where Buffy left her cash to order food. The music ends just as Buffy sits down to a grave with a hand popping up. “Here we go.” Wolf Howl.


I only have half an idea of what episode this is, so I can’t yet confirm/deny that I share everyone’s love for this episode, but I definitely enjoy the teaser, which already makes this episode a step up from it-was-all-down-hill-from-the-previouslies, “Beneath You.”

Lorraine: I really like the teaser too. I was skeptical at first, because I thought it would be cheesy or over dramatic, but by the time Buffy says, “here we go,” I was intrigued. The song is so mournful and everyone in their separate scenes, all lonely like… It gave me feels for the characters in their own situations.

Sweeney: After the Wolf Howl, we see Andrew and Jonathan driving and bickering and I can see that Adam Busch, Azura Skye, and Kristine Sutherland are in this episode so I definitely do know what this episode is and I’m now pumped. Anyway, Mexico didn’t work out for the repentant duo who are returning to Sunnydale because they want to make things right. They are “outlaws with hearts of gold.

K: The return of the duo also brings one of my favourite Andrew lines: “It eats you starting with your bottom.” I think I find it hilarious because I know just enough Spanish to mangle my way through things in a similar fashion.

Sweeney: Buffy fights vampires, while Dawn talks to her pizza. She gets some on Buffy’s t-shirt, but doesn’t worry too much, deciding Buffy will just assume it’s blood. She turns the music up loud and plays with Buffy’s weapons, damaging an arrow when she fires it into the wall. It’s all rather adorable and exactly what the Slayer’s little sister should be doing when left home alone. When she moves into the kitchen the music shifts and it’s interesting because this show tends to err on the side of pop rock or alt rock but the only other time I recall hearing Latin music like this was when Buffy was washing dishes during S5.

K: I had exactly the same thought, and I did actually wonder if it was the same music as when Buffy broke down and cried in the Space Cockroach episode.

Sweeney: We can see that someone is shadow-lurking outside, but Dawn’s too busy with her music and microwaving marshmallows. The shadow-lurker(s) sneak(s) into the house.

Library Whose Infrequent Appearances Kept A Name From Sticking. Willow wakes up to find CASSIE talking to her about how impressed she is with the size of the library. Us too, girl. Willow’s confused by Cassie’s presence, but Cassie assures her that she’s really there because “she” asked her to go talk to Willow. Willow asks for clarification on that pronoun and Cassie goes on to say that “she” still sings to Willow even though she can’t hear it. Willow chokes up and responds, “Tara?


Chez Summers. Dawn has now settled down in front of a movie with her marshmallow. Her friend (L: Kit!) is clearly not watching the same movie, though. She hears a noise and insists it was the same one she recently heard. The door blows open and Dawnie can barely shut it. She goes to turn the horror movie off and finds that she can’t. Even after she unplugs it, the movie stays on. Yeah, that sounds like a fantastic reason to never watch horror movies again. (Unless you’re watching them alone-together with the internet, of course.)

K: Truth. Also, DAWNIE, GIRL. GET OUT OF YOUR CREEPY-ASS HOUSE. I think it says a lot about Dawn this season that she stays in the Creepy House of Creepiness on her own rather than running for help. 

Sweeney: Yes. I have loads to say about that at the end of the post, but for now: YES.

Cemetery. Buffy continues to get her vamp-fighting on when the vampire stops because he recognizes her. He let Buffy copy off of him in high school and Buffy awkward lies that she TOTES remembers him.

Chez Summers. All of the noise-making appliances are now on and appropriately terrifying Dawn. She starts smashing them in order to force them to turn off, and is mostly succeeding in starting fires. In the kitchen, the stereo – the one playing the music we heard Buffy cry over her mother to – suddenly cuts out before Joyce’s voice comes over, saying Dawn’s name. “Mom?

Lor: A+ destruction to the Summers home. I would most definitely beat the crap out of my possessed appliances.

Sweeney: After a Not Break we return to the cemetery where Buffy’s newly-vamped, former-classmate Holden continues to try to jog her memory with every random interaction they had. She insists that she didn’t recognize him with the vamp grill. B asks him what he’s been up to (besides going to Darmouth) “Well, apparently dying.” That earns a laugh from Buffy. He majored in psychology and took a year off to do an internship at Sunnydale mental hospital. They chat about former classmates and he loses the vamp grill, but is a touch confused. Buffy informs him that he can do the whole face-changing thing and apologizes for him being a vampire. He insists that he feels great – “connected to a powerful all-consuming evil that’s going to suck the world into a fiery oblivion.

K: Meanwhile, I’ll be over here fangirling, because JONATHAN WOODWARD!!!! Welcome to part 1 of what will soon turn out to be a Whedon Hat-trick. Also, y’all should go check out his profile picture on IMDB, because it’s fabulous.

Sweeney: He asks how she’s doing, specifically the cemetery-lurking with the stake and cross. She reveals the whole Slayer thing that she’s been up to since high school. He informs her that there were a lot of crazy rumors about her in high school, with her general absence, affinity for crosses, and hypothetical “really old guy” boyfriend. Continuity shots for mention of nanosecond boyfriend Scott Hope, who said she was gay. He has since come out of the closet. “Men. Do I know how to pick ’em.

The conversation turns a Psych 101 corner (which Buffy picks up on) when he says that identifying her lack of connection earlier (re: his connection) was a telling phrase. It wasn’t really her phrase, though — he totes started that. Regardless, Buffy insists that she’s connected to a lot of people as the zoomy cameraman shows us her cellphone on the ground, a few feet away, ringing.

Chez Summers. Dawn is bandaging her foot while crying and pleading with Buffy to pick up because she doesn’t know what to do. She picks up the stereo and orders it to “do it again” because she heard it. She looks around the room and then the lights cut out. When they come back on, things are piled creepily and there is blood on the wall spelling out “Mother’s milk is red today,” with a bloody handprint below.

K: I’m too busy hiding behind a cushion to see the bloody handprint because DEAD JOYCE APPEARS ON THE SOFA BEHIND DAWN WHEN SHE TALKS TO THE STEREO AND NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE.

Lor: It was insanely creepy. Between these creepy bits and crying Willow, I paused this episode a lot to compose myself.

Sweeney: From this point on, every cut to Dawn is insanely terrifying. Also, I missed this brief initial shot of Joyce and I’m kind of glad because the times I did see her were sufficiently horrifying.

The lights cut out again and everything goes back to normal afterwards. A thumping noise starts up, though. Dawn cries out and asks why whatever it is is doing this. The noise accelerates and then stops when Dawnie lays out her patented scream. She stands up and says, “Once for yes, twice for no. Mom?” One thump. She asks again, the thump is repeated. “Are you OK?” Two thumps. “Mom? Mommy?” (a bit of a “The Body” callback in that.) “Are you alone?” Two thumps. Then the house starts shaking.

New Sunnydale High School. Jonathan and Andrew break into the New New New Wiggins Library all Mission Impossible style. Jonathan considerably more successfully than Andrew. They walk through the halls chatting and informing the audience that they are there to find something, which they will then alert Buffy to, thereby saving Sunnydale. “Then we join her gang and possibly hang out at her house,” adds Andrew, ever the fanboy. They resolve to find the principal’s office (which we know to be the new Hellmouth entry point) and start from there. They split up (bad move!) but not until after they have a fun little exchange testing their walkie talkies. As they walk off, Jonathan calls back to Andrew to ask if he really thinks they’ll let them join their gang. Aw! Jonathan! You’re almost awkward-hug levels of precious right there.

K: Seriously, you guys. This episode gives me Jonathan Feels. 

Sweeney: Once Jonathan is gone, WARREN D: D: D: rounds the corner to ask congratulate Andrew on doing a great job. Andrew is freaking out, adding that Warren leaving him freaks him out, what with him once having left him by dying. Dead!Warren has convinced Andrew that he’s on the verge of becoming a god – contingent upon whatever Jonathan is going to do. They start quoting Star Wars back and forth, and it’s an exchange I kind of enjoyed in spite of including Warren. How did that happen?

Lor: This is probably indicative of this being Fake Warren. I’m on to you evil thing in the basement.

Sweeney: Glad that we’ve now confirmed that Fake Warren, played by The Evil Thing In The Basement is preferable to actual Warren.

UC Sunnydale Library. Willow’s confused by how Cassie can be there but not Willow. Cassie says that it’s because Amber Benson refused to come back and play this part Willow killed people and part of her punishment is not being able to see her girlfriend’s ghost? That’s some Angel the Series level “explanation” from The Great Contrivance Spirit.

Lor: At least here, it’s more understandable, contingent on who we learn this actually is. “Yeah… yeah… your girlfriend couldn’t be here ’cause of…. murder rules and stuff.” Nice going, Evil Thing in the Basement.

Sweeney: Willow cries out that she misses Tara so much and I’m a little distracted by Azure’s amazing eyebrows as she nods her head. Cassie says that Tara is crying and she misses Willow too and wishes she could touch her. ”


Cassie assures her that it will and can. Willow’s not sure how that’s possible, since she’s gone. Cassie says that Willow’s not gone – she’s strong like an Amazon.

We see a blonde sitting next to Spike at The Bronze before we cut back to the cemetery, where Buffy is laying on a sarcophagus while Holden sits on a headstone and listens as she rehashes her ugly relationship history.

Lor: I was so taken by Buffy laying on this grave, on account of her having died once, that the realization of her being the patient here came second. It was an ewlol moment.

Sweeney: He accuses her of being afraid of commitment. He says that she’s in some pain – that he enjoys being evil – but should also ease up on herself. Buffy jokes that it would be pretty cool if she had a patent on bad relationships. (Would this give her legal grounds to sue ELJ?) (K: IF ONLY…) More banter when Buffy informs him about the word “sire” and Holden says something about how cool it would be if they became nemeses which is another continuity shot that I have totes been waiting for. “Is that how you say the word?” Buffy responds, because the word gave her and Warren so much trouble earlier.

Holden realizes that this banter will ultimately have to end in favor of a fight to the death. Buffy solemnly agrees and he notices that she’s less into that then he is. They argue about how reasonable it is for Buffy to be sure that she’s going to win and he abruptly shifts gears by asking who is to blame for her parents’ divorce. Buffy sits down to discuss. Buffy’s pretty sure that her piece of shit father cheated, in addition to all the other reasons he’s the shitbaggiest of them all. Holden suggests that she destroyed her relationships with her belief that she’s better than men, which she claims gets that bloodlust pumping, but not really because they keep bantering. She says that she doesn’t think that because she’s become kind of a mess. “Buffy, I’m here to kill you, not to judge you.

K: I kind of adore that line.

Sweeney: Buffy goes on to say that she behaved like a monster to Spike while also letting him completely take her over. (Which is supposed to be the part where we say that Spike’s pattern of abuse was totally fine because Buffy feels responsible for all her ignored non-consent. Wheeee! See, the fact that Buffy did things she regrets means that Spike’s totes in the right for everything but the AR, OBVI! Obvi…Just when I thought I’d get through this without pissing anyone off. LOLCUTE.) (K: I’m actually kind of proud of the fact that we can still find reasons to rant about Spike in an episode in which he has NO LINES WHATSOEVER.) (L: It’s a talent, really.) (S: I’m less talking Spike than about particular arguments I was forced to have until I wanted to gouge my eyeballs out, generally prompted by the HORROR of failing to mention/flail about him. Some days I’m more relaxed about that trauma than others.) Holden tells Buffy that there’s nothing wrong with her and hits her over the head with a piece of a tombstone. After a Not Break, they fight and Buffy’s extra-pissed. Because of nonsensical reasons, they end up diving right through a stained glass window.

Chez Summers. There are flashes of lighting only happening in/around the house and in those flickers of light, Dawn can see a corpse-like Joyce on the couch. GUYS THIS IS TERRIFYING AND IDK HOW I’M GOING TO SLEEP TONIGHT. She also sees a demon that’s black and almost slimy looking, sitting on top of Joyce, choking her. Dawn gets her own terrifying voice on, ordering the thing to back the fuck off so Joyce can talk. OK, Dawnie, you work that crazy voice. Dawn goes looking for the ax, which flies through the air, almost taking her head off. The door blows open and the demonic voice orders her to get out, but Dawn shuts the door and shouts, “NO!” instead. WHY? JUST GET OUT. DON’T BE A HERO! Sorry, sorry, another of the million reasons why we could only blog our way through Sunnydale.

K: True. I would be out that door in two seconds flat to round up people who actually know what the fuck they’re doing. BUT. As I said before, I love that Dawn is now sufficiently a member of the Scoobies that she stays to fight on her own, rather than relying on everyone else. You know?

Sweeney: I do. I’m getting to that, swearsies. Patience. (But obvs TEAM DAWN FLAG!)

She’s my mother. I’m staying.” Flash of dead, white-eyed Joyce that will haunt me forever.

New Sunnydale High School. The boys are in The Basement of Don’t Go In There 2.0 and have gone in a big circle. Andrew spots a very dead looking Warren standing in front of a door. It reminds me of Donnie Darko, though I imagine everyone will have a mental reference of choice here, probably older and more accurate ones too. (K: SNARK LADY MINDMELD. Seriously, all I could think of was Donnie Darko.) Andrew assures Jonathan that it’s totes through that door. Inside, Jonathan agrees and Andrew starts digging.

Inside the mausoleum they’ve just tumbled into, Buffy again gets Psych 101’d into letting Holden up, though she has him poised for the kill. He says he has no cares or worries, besides whether some hot girl attended his funeral. Buffy makes a comment about how she “knows” that sex and death and pain are all the same damn thing to vampires. Holden OMGs over this (sidebarring on whether or not the Buffyverse is concrete on the existence of God) and asks if her last relationship was with a vampire.

Elsewhere, said vampire is walking through a neighborhood with the woman from the bar.

UC Sunnydale Library. Willow goes on to talk about how she lost herself after Tara, above and beyond acceptable responses to grieving. Cassie says that it was the power, but Willow says that the power is in her. Cassie says that things are clearer where she and Tara are and Willow has to just stop and never use it ever again. Giles told Willow that it’s not quite that simple, but she’s going to be OK. “She says…you’re not gonna be OK. You’re going to kill everybody.” Zoomy cameraman gets all up in Willow’s horrified face.

Basement of Don’t Go In There 2.0, they’re still digging, only now they’re close. Jonathan excitedly remembers his locker number. Then he starts to go on and wax nostalgic about how much he misses high school and all the people he knew there. Andrew, who is less nostalgic, sees Warren standing behind Jonathan and says that none of those people want to talk to Jonathan or even care about him. Without even a hint of defensiveness (and only a touch of the sadness you’d expect) Jonathan responds, “Well I still care about them. That’s why I’m here.” Yup, that’s some awkward-hug-worthy shit right there, Jonathan. I CARE ABOUT YOU TOO. The cameraman pans up so we can see just how horrifying and demonic looking the thing they’re digging up is.

Chez Summers. Dawn is getting her magic on, determined to cast the thing out so that her mother can talk to her. Dawnie, this magic might be – as Giles might say – a bit above your pay grade. She gets thrashed about the room and a slice across her cheek for her trouble, but she keeps on keeping on, because Dawn is becoming such a little badass in her own right. (K: FOUR FOR YOU, DAWNIE)

Psych 101 w/ Dead People. Buffy’s talking more about her relationship with Spike, and she talks about how she didn’t want to be loved – she wanted to be punished and hurt, like she thought she deserved. She says she feels lower than anyone. (Which, again, someone feeling so low and worthless that they want to be hurt doesn’t exonerate others from hurting them. Tra la la la la #unpopularopinions) She adds that none of her friends and family have ever been through what she’s been through, being the Slayer and, as such, sometimes feels better than them. She says it doesn’t make sense, but he says it all just adds up to her feeling alone. That, however, is their cue to get with the fighting. Buffy thanks him for listening, and starts to say something about “that stuff with Spike,” and Holden’s ears perk up at the mention of Spike’s name.

Elsewhere, he and the blonde are arriving at her apartment.

Chez Summers, Dawn continues to cast her spell, even as the room is being destroyed and her face is covered in blood. The howling finally stops and she collapses to the floor. She gets up, then, to find her glowing, angelic mother standing over her.

UC Sunnydale Library. Cassie says that she’s there because she and Tara wanted to warn Willow, and basically that even so much as one spell would be enough to set her down the Kill Everyone Around Her path. Willow is panicking, because she’s not sure that’s possible, especially since Giles said that wasn’t the best idea. Her repeated mentioning of Giles is giving me feels, both because he’s absent and because she sounds like a much younger Willow with the deferential way she speaks about his advice. (K: I hadn’t thought about that. BRB, HAVING FEELS.) Cassie says that there is one thing that Willow could do and it would allow her to see Tara and not speak through Cassie. “It’s not that bad. Really. It’s just like going to sleep.” Willow gets SRSBSNS, older-seen-some-shit!Willow face and stands up, demanding to know who Cassie really is.

We get quick cuts of Holden informing Buffy that Spike is the one that sired him, just as he bites the woman’s neck.

Chez Summers. Glowy Joyce is telling Dawn that things are coming. “I love you and I love Buffy, but she won’t be there for you. When it’s bad, Buffy won’t choose you – she’ll be against you.” With that, Joyce disappears and Dawn cries out to her not to go, and is left sobbing and battered in the ruins of the house. (K: Somewhere off in the distance, Xander senses the damage to Chez Summers and rubs his hands with glee. #randomheadcanon)

Basement of Don’t Go In There 2.0, with Warren standing behind him, Andrew stabs Jonathan in the stomach. WHY, ANDREW, WHY?

Lor: AW MAN. REALLY RIGHT NOW? Why? Because Jonathan showed character growth and seemingly learned his lesson. THANKS, JOSS.

Sweeney: Library. Cassie says that the suicide push was apparently a step too far, though she shrugs that Willow seemed like easy pickings. She goes on to taunt Willow about a hypothetical suicide scenario and it’s ghastly and horrifying (you know, how discussing the potential suicide of a character should be). Cassie gets all up in Willow’s face, telling her that she doesn’t yet know anything about pain, and what’s coming will make the last year seem easy. (PLEASE GOD NO.) “The whole good-versus-evil, balancing-the-scales thing? I’m over it. I’m done with the mortal coil. But believe me: I’m going for a big finish.” Willow responds with the big S7 quotable, “From beneath you it devours,” Cassie corrects that it’s not it but her, and then turns into some insane self-consuming demon and disappears.

Lor: Ew.

Sweeney: The song from the beginning picks back up again as we watch Jonathan bleed out, filling the metallic demonic-symbol-emblazoned thing they’ve unearthed. Spike finishes his siring/snack. Buffy stakes Holden. “Can I spend the night alone?” finishes the song. End credits.

GUYS! YOU LIKED THE EPISODE AND I LIKED THE EPISODE! Remember when that was a thing we all did? All of us, hanging out, liking stuff together? Good times, man. Good times.

So let’s discuss. We had a minor but wonderfully effective format tweak – we covered one fairly cohesive narrative by showing five completely distinct, non-overlapping stories. (All featuring “conversations with dead people” though we didn’t really see the conversation Spike was having.) I loved the slightly different pacing of the different stories, as well. They featured slightly different high and low moments but all came to something climactic – and yet still distinct – at the same time.  Aside from the obvious reasons I appreciated the silence of Spike’s story, it actually worked really well to set up the delayed reveal for its purpose. We always jumped to him when some other lines of dialogue seemed to match what we were watching with him. It was a nice, subtle bit of misdirection.

Buffy rehashed some of the isolation themes we’ve already delved into a little bit with her depression, but this time with greater emphasis on her status as The Slayer as the cause for that isolation. She’s died twice. She is the law. She will always be set apart. It’s unsettling because there’s this feeling of, “BUT WE ALREADY DID A WHOLE SEASON OF BUFFY’S CUT OFF,” but at the same time, her points are very real and valid. It’s noteworthy, though, that she’s become so self-aware on that front.

The Dawn bits were truly nightmare-worthy and also showed us how strong she has become. There were a few moments where she was bordering on raising-my-mom-as-a-zombie insane, and obviously my personal inclination was to say, “GREAT! LEAVING NOW!” to the demonic voice, but I loved seeing her hold strong and finish the spell. As with the entirety of this episode, there’s a lot of, “What does this all mean?” stuff to be resolved later, but within the space of this one, I appreciated seeing her strength.

Willow’s conversation successfully got all under her skin and played at her insecurities, but I love that instant recognition, at the mere suggestion of suicide, that under no circumstances would Tara suggest such a thing. And I know that the original plan had been for Tara to fill that role, and the hasty explanation for her absence was kind of silly, but Azure Skye did a fantastic job (again.)

The Andrew/Jonathan opening schtick was easily the weakest part of the episode for me. There’s a certain nostalgia factor to having them return, specifically in this very meta sense that they are the comic relief nostalgia tucked in with some very heavy, dark nostalgia. The high school callbacks during Buffy’s conversation achieved that more effectively, IMHO. However, it was ultimately brought around to a really nice place; I never thought I’d say it, but the arrival of Warren was sort of the upswing moment. I love everything they did with Jonathan here. His little arc really is fantastic – from the boy who made a million random appearances before feeling so invisible he was ready to commit a dramatic suicide, to the magically gifted 21-year-old who has seen some shit and is digging up a basement because he wants to set things right and because he truly cares about other people. We’ve watched him struggle with his identity and wishes to stand out and be noticed. Now he really just wanted to belong, but was content to just know that he’s done good. The best part in all of this is that Jonathan’s arc felt fairly seamless. He’s a character that really did just get used and abused by the writers as-they-needed him, but nothing about that flow feels inconsistent to me. And of course he dies in this episode that works so hard to establish why he’s lovable. I’m a little torn on my thoughts/feels on that part.

That’s a really long-winded way of saying that this was every bit as flail-worthy as everyone promised. Let’s drink to that.

K: I totally agree with everything you said about Jonathan. I’ve kind of been on Team Feels where Jonathan’s concerned pretty much from the get-go as a result of the whole abused-by-the-writers thing. And it makes me sad panda that his story ends like this. BUT STILL. I LOVED THIS EPISODE. REMEMBER WHEN THAT WAS A THING THAT I DID??? It was pretty much a perfect blend of serious, amusing, feelsy, and absolutely fucking terrifying. There were so many hints back to previous seasons and previous episodes – which seems to be what season 7 does best – and constant reminders of how far these characters have come. Especially Dawn. Sure, staying in the house might not be the best decision. But she’s fully embracing her Junior Watcher role, and I LOVE IT. Although I didn’t miss her screaming… 

Lor: As a first time watcher, this episode seemed to really swing things into gear for the season. “Here we go,” says Buffy in the teaser, and we finally get a taste of what the evil in the basement is planning, besides whispering crazy nothings into Spike’s ear. What a great episode for fans of character progression. This is Buffy, take her of leave her. The Slayer, all alone even when she isn’t, inferior about her superiority complex, either unwilling or unable to connect, but always, always trying.

There’s a lot that I suspect here, that I won’t know for sure, but since Cassie was not really Cassie, I fear Joyce was not really Joyce, but that seed of doubt was firmly planted in our little Dawnie. I hope she’s able to see past it, like Willow did, but I’m not confident. Dawn is younger, has seen less, and got to see her dead mother bathed in white. Shit’s rough.

I don’t get what Spike was doing here. I know we saw him bite a woman, but chip, anyone?

This really did make me look forward to how this season will progress and how ultimately this story will end.


Next time: Is Spike really behind a series of disappearances throughout Sunnydale? Find out in S07 E08 – Sleeper.


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.

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.

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  • Democracy Diva

    All the love I’ve had for Jonathan since his first appearance on the show – it all feels vindicated by this episode. Buffy’s therapy sessions with a new vampire – it had that balance of hilarious and horrific that to me, defines this show at its best. It was something that felt like early-season Buffy, but not in a redundant way, just in a return-to-form kind of way.

    Angelic Joyce makes me weep big fat ugly tears all over my laptop.

    • it had that balance of hilarious and horrific that to me, defines this show at its best. It was something that felt like early-season Buffy, but not in a redundant way, just in a return-to-form kind of way.

      YES. That.

      +1 to the rest of this comment as well.

    • Melbourne on my Mind

      Fist bump of solidarity over Jonathan vindication feels.

  • Ashlea K.

    I love this episode so much. Guys, you loved this episode too! This is getting to be more common this season and it makes me happy! 🙂

    This ep was so artistically done, and a perfect blend of feelings, humor (I just love Andrew & Jonathan) and such freaky ass horror. There are only a handful of Buffy episodes that really scare the absolute shit out of me and this is probably the worst one. The flashes Dawn has of her mother and then the demon on top of her. Eeeek! Also, when Cassie’s mouth stretches out and then eats herself. OMG I remember watching this and being all “Her mouth is getting too big. It’s too big. Oh God, stop!”.

    “Anchovies, Anchovies you’re so delicious. I love you more than all the other fishes.” I hate anchovies, but this is presh.

    I did not fangirl over Johnathan Woodward, only because I can see the future and I hate his face so much.

    • Zovc

      I didn’t mention it, but the anchovies song was a result of Jane Espenson’s anger over Dominoes getting rid of anchovies. Why anyone actually likes anchovies is beyond me, but the song was amusing.

      V svaq vg fgenatr gung crbcyr ungr Genpl, ohg vs nalbar qbrfa’g ungr Xabk, gurl’er penml. Fgvyy, ng yrnfg Xabk unf n crefbanyvgl, hayvxr zbfg Natry ivyynvaf.

      • Ashlea K.

        That’s so interesting about the anchovy song. Yeah, I don’t get the anchovy love, but every time I hear someone say something about them, I sing that song 🙂

        V ungr uvz fb zhpu orpnhfr V nofbyhgryl nqber Serq gb ovgf. Gur snpg gung ur ratvarrerq ure qrngu jnf rabhtu gb znxr zr qrfcvfr uvf snpr sbe nyy gvzr. V qvqa’g jngpu Sversyl hagvy nsgre Natry raqrq, fb V nyernql unq gung ovnf ntnvafg uvz.

      • I also hate anchovies, but that’s fantastic.

    • Melbourne on my Mind

      I think I only fangirl over Woodward as hard as I do because I mostly associate him with Firefly, and I love that episode. I mean, I love all the episodes, but I love that one extra hard.

      • Ashlea K.

        I watched other shows before Firefly so I already had that against him. I just can’t even. Ugh. That Firefly episode IS amazing, though 🙂

    • Kendra

      Johnathan Woodward’s other non-Firely Whedon character. UGH. I don’t want to think about that right again. Not yet.

      • Ashlea K.

        I’m so sorry for the trauma. Just know that it’s shared.

    • Alicia

      I love that Dawn’s song makes me feel a certain appreciation for anchovies, because I hate them too!

      • Ashlea K.

        Ugh, anchovies. On the plus side, now when someone mentions them, I have a cute song to sing instead of vomiting. So, yay? 🙂


      Will definitely repeat this to myself next time I watch this.

  • Clément Polge

    Well, I don’t really like this episode…

    The Dawn sequence is way too scary for me, I had to change pants like 8 times during this episode. And I’m having a bit of trouble with the acting as well, or maybe just her voice who’s a bit too high, IDK, but it wasn’t really enjoyable… Though it was nicely written and everything, just not my thing.

    The Willow sequence disturb me a lot for not having Tara. The actress still did a great job, but that kinda stopped me from getting in it… Again with the nice writing and all though, but all the build-up seems kinda irrelevant.

    The trio duo uno sequences are cool and pretty funny, but like with Willow I get a feeling of “all that for that”.

    The Buffy sequence is the best of the 4 to me, and I really enjoyed this big deep into this character’s psychology.

    The Spike sequence, well, was ok, and strangely the one with the biggest pay-off: it’s short, and yet its conclusion leave us with so much interrogation (as Lorr mentioned: chip ? Did he also motorcycle to a dechipping cave in Asia ?)

    I’m also not a fun of storyline jumping… That’s why I didn’t like the Lord of the Rings beyond the first movie, and that’s why I can’t really get into this episode either. I probably would enjoy it more if i could watch the 4 sequence back-to-back rather than intertwined.

    If I remember correctly (which, let’s be honest, is a big if), it’s also the episode that sort of marks the beginning of miscommunication big time in this season… I guess we’ll have to see, but I realised it was nowhere near as bad as I remembered in earlier seasons, so maybe that’ll be the case here too.

    • Wilhelmina Upton

      I can appreciate this episode for what it’s doing/trying to do but like you, I’m not on Team Flail here. I’m not even completely sure why. My favourite part is probably the one between Willow and Demon!Cassie because like Willow, I at first (back when I first watched this) thought this was real and only realised later how wrong I was about it.

      Buffy’s therapy session was nice and desperately needed but I didn’t care for it that much and Dawn’s exorcism? How about no! I’m still shaken. While Dawn has proven she is getting stronger as a person and a character I hate that they used Joyce to plant the seed of doubt into her.

      Jonathan, poor Jonathan, I really liked his character and somehow I can’t believe he is gone.

      Sorry Polge, I used your comment to comment on this post but it kinda fitted.

      • Clément Polge

        Damn you Germans, always invading on our stuff 🙁

        For Joyce:

        V npghnyyl yvxr gung gurl hfrq ure, vs gur Svefg pna nccrne nf nal qrnq crefba vg jnagf, vg znxrf frafr fur’q tb sbe gur fjrrg fcbg…

        Gung’f jul V unir fb zhpu vffhr jvgu Gnen’f nofrapr, vg znxrf ab frafr sbe gur Svefg gb abg fgenvtug gnxr ure sbez. V jbhyqa’g zvaq vs vg jnf n fpurqhyvat pbasyvpg, ohg gung ehzbe nobhag orvat Nzore Orafba ershfvat gb ercevfr gur ebyr orpnhfr Gnen fubhyq “fgnl tbbq naq cher” vf fb vashevngvat gb zr, vg’f ceviryvrtvat zrffntr bire fgbel va n qbrfa’g-znxr-frafr jnl…

        • Wilhelmina Upton

          So sorry. I’ll invite you to my next orgy, or send you a hooker for Christmas, let me know what you prefer.

          I never even noticed the absence of Tara or at least that it was weird she wasn’t the one talking to Willow. What you said makes total sense though.

        • Idriss Boukhanef

          Jryy, V guvax gur jevgref qvq n tbbq wbo jvgu vg, orpnhfr vg znxrf “frafr” va n jnl. Gur Svefg Rivy fnlf Jvyybj pna’g frr Gnen orpnhfr bs jung fur qvq, cynagvat frrqf bs qbhog nobhg ure hfr bs zntvpf evtug sebz gur irel ortvaavat bs gur pbairefngvba. Nf vg’f n erpheevat vffhr guvf frnfba, V qvqa’g ernyyl unir nal ceboyrzf jvgu vg, naq V rira sbhaq gung n tbbq jnl gb gnxr nqinagntr bs Orafba’f nofrapr.

          • Jojo

            Vs fhvpvqr jrera’g gur gbcvp V jbhyq nterr creuncf. Ohg univat Gnen gel gb pbaivapr Jvyybj gb pbzzvg fhvpvqr fb gurl pbhyq or gbtrgure jbhyq or gbb cbjreshy, bqqyl rabhtu. Gurer’f rabhtu ceboyrzf jvgu fhvpvqrf gung V’q npighnyyl or nsenvq gung guvf pbhyq cebzcg fbzr sebz xvqf jub ner tevrivat be va n ybg bs cnva.

    • Zovc

      Huh. Was I the only one who didn’t think the stuff with Dawn was super scary? To me it had a creepy atmosphere, but it didn’t exactly build up to a big reveal or anything.

      Interesting that you don’t like intercut storylines. I definitely would have liked this episode less if the stories had been told uninterrupted. It provides for a nice break when one segment gets to intense or feelsy. It’s also interesting you brought up LOTR, since the books actually DO tell the stories uninterrupted and it makes the Frodo/Sam/Gollum parts drag rather badly.

      • Clément Polge

        Yeah each time I said that about the movie people tell me it’s the same in the books, but I don’t like that in a book either 🙂 Unless I’m *really* invested in each storyline, because then I will peek ahead to see what character’s coming up and feel excited for that. But the fact that I can peek ahead is key 🙂


      It’s funny that you mention the trio/duo/uno sequences being funny…because the humor in those bits were probably some of the only real flat moments in the episode for me. WOMP.

      The shortness of the Spike sequence was part of what worked for it. You kept waiting to hear dialogue or learn more about what was going on, but we only saw him in these short little snippets, usually with Buffy talking over it. And, again, I mean this purely from an artistic, storytelling perspective – it greatly enhanced that payoff.

      Storyjumping is definitely a personal taste thing. I enjoyed it, but obviously if that’s not your thing, this episode won’t be either.

  • Zovc

    Yay, three out of three Snark Ladies approve of this episode! I’d offer to make a plaque that said that but A: It might never get used again and B. I can’t use graphics applications to do anything but make maps.

    I really love all the segments, although over here in “Meh to Dawn Corner” it seems as though the Dawn parts are lacking. I’m not particularly easy to scare, so that’s part of it. However, I got a good chuckle out of Kirsti’s “Somewhere off in the distance, Xander senses the damage to Chez Summers and rubs his hands with glee. #randomheadcanon”. The Duo sections are surprisingly feelsy for me as well. Jonathan’s speech about wondering how everyone is doing is perfect, and may have convinced me to go to my high school reunion. As for Buffy’s superiority complex and her inferiority complex over the former, it seems to me that’s probably something most superheroes have, they just aren’t as honest about it. Willow’s scenes…FEEEEEELS! “It’s not getting better” is particularly heartbreaking for me so thanks a TON for that gifset. I love Willow’s realization that Tara would never want Willow to kill herself. Also, Alyson Hannigan’s expression after Not!Cassie disappears is amazing acting.

    Cassie appearing instead of Tara doesn’t bother me because if the entity’s reason for appearing was to get Willow to kill herself, it makes sense to tell Willow the only way she can see Tara is to die.

    And now a message of explanation from your Friendly Neighborhood Person Who Doesn’t Like Dawn That Much: Dawn is indeed very strong, verging on badass in this episode. However, there are a lot of characters in fiction who are both strong and exceedingly unpleasant. I am not saying I find her unpleasant, but it takes more than strength for me to find a character interesting. It doesn’t help that Ms. Trachtenberg is continually outshined by her castmates.

    • Melbourne on my Mind

      You’re welcome for my random headcanon.

  • SnazzyO

    I really liked Holden’s talk with Buffy. It takes an outsider for her to open up but she needed that, I felt.
    Dawns stuff is legit SCARIER-THAN-99%-OF-THE-HORROR-MOVIES and on TV, well done TeamWhedon.
    I thought AH hit it out of the park with her Tara feels and then turning all SRSBSN.
    I also have Jonathon feels.

    I’m sad the planned Xander/Jesse bit (Eric what’shisface wasn’t avaialble) didn’t get done because that would have brought some nice S1 feels and showed some character insights for my beloved Xander. *sigh*

    But even without Xander, I still think this is an excellent episode with appropriate creepiness and insight.

    • Idriss Boukhanef

      Well, I don’t know how Jesse would have fit in but I trust the writers it would definitely have been interesting.

      I also read there was a planned Anya/Halfrek bit but the actress wasn’t available either, which is a shame because it would have been a great follow-up to Selfless.

      • JEL

        With respect to Amber I’ve seen both that she didn’t want to tarnish the memory and that there were scheduling problems. The latter I’ve read or heard from Amber herself. It could be that both are true as apparently scheduling problems are a very real thing. There are the examples the people above note about the other actors. Scheduling problems affected AtS season 5 several times.

  • kat

    Y’all need to lay off Spike. The abuse he goes through this season is painful enough

    • LOL. Sometimes we are snarkier than others and our relationship with him is a strugglebus. I enjoyed his mini plot in this episode! It was well handled…but I’m probably never going to have happy smiley shit to say about Spuffy; that wound is deep. Fortunately there’s a lot less of that in the episodes ahead, of memory serves!

      • Clément Polge

        There’s a Buffy/Spike/Angel threesome in the comics.

        You’re welcome.

      • Kendra

        I have trouble regaining my previously positive Spike feelings during Season 7 as well. If my memory serves me correctly, it’s not really until the last stretch of episodes that I come around to him again, but it does get better from here on out.

        • Jojo

          I agree – it does get better. I’ve been marathoning with my older granddaughter and we’re on season 3. I have to say that, much as I love Spike, a season without him is restful. Not sure if any of the Snark ladies will ever really like him, but from here on in we do start getting an idea of what Spike is like with a soul. Lor asked me once what a soul did for a demon – this kinda answers that.

  • Anagnorisis

    I love this episode, I love how it’s filmed and written (with four different writers, one for each scene!) and different tones. And the music! It’s definitely in my Top 10.
    I do complain about Tara not being here, I know Amber Benson didn’t want us to remember Tara like this since she is not really Tara but something Eevil and yeah, I get it, but it would have been so much powerful to have her there instead of random Cassie, it’s not the same.
    So much respect for Dawn in here, I’d be so useless in a situation like that. The other night I saw a cockroach next to the computer and screamed and jumped and run away and didn’t used that part of the house until my dad came home XD
    The Scott Hope being gay thing is a reference to Fab Filippo playing Ethan Gold in Queer as Folk. In my head canon, they are the same person, Scott felt through a portal that connects Sunnydale with QaFverse, changed his name and started dating Justin. He will come back at some point and date Andrew, because Scott Hope/Andrew Wells is my random OTP (he does like blond(e)s!).
    I need to write that fanfiction some time.
    Sorry, I’m back.
    Evil!Warren is better than Actual!Warren lol, so true.
    The black demon with Dawn is the same they used in Same Time, Same Place, but painted black, really! XD
    Alternative ideas for this episode that didn’t get to exist: Xander talking to Jesse and Anya talking to Hallfrek
    The Phych things where ok, they didn’t make me angry like the majority of therapist/psycholoy/psychiatry things on television do, so yay!
    Anyway, goodbye Jonathan, RIP, you were one of the most interesting characters this series had and your character arc was fascinating.

  • Idriss Boukhanef

    I always get teary at Willow and Fake Tara conversation. I love Willow, I loved Tara and I loved them together. Plus, she says “strong like an amazon” and it’s a callback to The Body and it kills me a little more.
    Dawn gets all my love and I even accept to get past that high pitched voice that made me want to throw myself in a river on first viewing. And that means a lot.
    Anyway, I loved this episode very much even I wasn’t fond of The Jonathan/Andrew bits. The rest was gold, and the construction in itself is very original and shows how daring of a show Buffy is.

    • I did on first watch. Watching it now was one of those things where I was all, “Oooh, I’m glad I’m recapping right now, because I know I’d be getting teary-eyed right now.”

      I’m always glad to see someone come around on Dawnie. <3

  • Shea Foley

    This is one of the episodes of Buffy that consistently terrifies me (After Life being the other). The Cassie exit is especially something I have nightmare about (along with the Joyce-corpse flashes). As far as Spike’s storyline goes, I think he’s probably the “dead person” in that conversation. Love this episode, and it perfectly sets up the rest of the season IMO.

    All the Jonathan feels 4EVER!!

    • Clément Polge

      If you’re referring to the “All featuring “conversations with dead people” though we didn’t really see the conversation Spike was having.” line, Sweeney is actually saying that the Spike segment doesn’t actually feature a conversation, not that it doesn’t feature a dead person 🙂

    • (1) Yes, the thing Clement said is accurate – I do get that he was the “dead person” in that conversation 🙂

      • Policy of Madness

        I thought the Spike conversation could go both ways. He’s dead, but the lady was dead, too, and just didn’t know it yet.

  • Jojo

    Arguments you were Forced to have…because someone disagreed with you? Not sure you can have an argument unless both people feel pretty much that exact way. Kinda like the fact that if Buffy accepts some responsibility, you seem to feel all Spike fans would insist he therefore has no reponsibility. Again, haven’t actually seen that posted here from any Spike fans. It is a unique take on this reality, but you can see both having responsibility.

    I’m glad Tara didn’t show up – I think it would have been too effective for me. Particularly watching Tara try to get Willow to kill herself. I adore Holden – would love to have a series with him – vampire shrink! He and Buffy interact so well! The Dawn thing was creepy but it loses it’s effect over a few watchings.

  • Policy of Madness

    Okay, I did seriously like this episode. No criticism from me. A first? The structure was great and the bookending song bits were just right.

    It was hilarious to me when Cassie said that the UC Sunnydale library is SO BIG. This library looks like a corner to me. I attended a 3rd-rate university and the library is 4 stories tall with stacks so close together that two people can’t pass between them without getting intimate. UC Anything should be better than that.

    “Buffy goes on to say that she behaved like a monster to Spike while also
    letting him completely take her over. (Which is supposed to be the part
    where we say that Spike’s pattern of abuse was totally fine because
    Buffy feels responsible for all her ignored non-consent.
    Wheeee! See, the fact that Buffy did things she regrets means that
    Spike’s totes in the right for everything but the AR, OBVI! Obvi…Just
    when I thought I’d get through this without pissing anyone off.

    Do people actually say this? Wait, what am I thinking, this is the Intertubes, of course there’s someone who says this. LOL

    I thought Buffy was doing good with this bit. She was using “I” statements! In general I was not a fan of the Buffy/Holden interaction, even though it worked in the context of the episode, but I liked how she phrased her problems with her relationship with Spike. How she treated Spike and how Spike treated her are mutually interacting but morally separate issues, and Buffy correctly separates them. I wasn’t expecting to see something that sophisticated on my BtVS and it was a pleasant surprise.

    • Clément Polge

      ” How she treated Spike and how Spike treated her are mutually interacting but morally separate issues, and Buffy correctly separates them”

      Yes to that, totally agreed.

      As for the library, I’m in a big university, and my library isn’t 4 stories tall… But it’s mostly because we have a SHITLOAD of libraries, rather than one big one, so each still feel pretty big.

      (basically, we have three libraries for each subject – maths, bio, IT, and so on… Each subject having a library for people doing working on their license, one for people on their master, and one for PHD/teacher)

      So if UC Sunnydale is anything like this, it could still be considered a pretty big library, taking into account the fact that it’s a specialised one.

      • Policy of Madness

        Yeah, maybe. Our campus is physically pretty small (although it’s not a small school in terms of enrollment) and everything is kind of crushed together. Still, this library set is about the same size as the African American literature section at my school. Or the reading nook.

        I am put in mind of Star Trek, where the Enterprise’s corridors were really open and spacious in order to make room for all the many cameras and shit that were necessary to fit into the set. It’s just not enough to tell me that this library is SO BIG when all I see of it is the reading nook.

        • Melbourne on my Mind

          We saw more of the UC Sunnydale library in the first episode of season 4 (although it still didn’t look THAT BIG). So I’ve always worked on the theory that Willow’s hanging out in a previously unseen corner of the library for the duration of this episode.


      Yeah, we’ve seen more of the library in other episodes, and I operate on the assumption that we’re just not seeing all of it. Because no, that little corner of the library, is not passable as a UC library.

      Yeeeaaaah, certain parts of the Intertubes can’t be unseen and so I can’t completely remove them from my viewing experience.

      How she treated Spike and how Spike treated her are mutually interacting but morally separate issues, and Buffy correctly separates them.
      Yes. This. I’m definitely proud of our fictional heroine for that.

      • Policy of Madness

        I’m a very critical person, and I’m not actually a “fan” of this series, I’m just watching it because y’all are hilarious and awesome and because I have free access to it on Amazon. I recognize that these things together make me excessively critical at times and that it’s unfair of me. I try to work on it!

        You said elsewhere that you regretted part of that comment. You shouldn’t. This is your site and you control what is on here, and if that’s how you feel then you shouldn’t feel like you need to censor yourself. This is not CNN and you don’t actually have to give fair play to all sides of the story. LOL

        • Zovc

          Agreed. The Snark Ladies should say what they think 🙂

        • LOL. I could sidebar for days and days on the idea of presenting both sides in a news story. The short and relevant version is that sometimes both sides aren’t of equal merit. BUT I DIGRESS.

          I’m waaaaay past apologizing for expressing an opinion – I only meant that I wish I had expressed that particular one differently.

          ANYWAY: I love all of your critical thoughts and commentary. You always have interesting and thoughtful things to say and being less a “fan” of the show probably helps with that. It’s funny, because Buffy sort of marked a tipping point in the blog – it’s the first time we were legit FANS of the thing. (Eventually – Lor really wasn’t at first.) I enjoy the critical contributions. We try for that but usually have way too many feelings.

          • Policy of Madness

            I’m with you there: not every side deserves fair play, even on CNN. Definitely not on a private blog. I understand what you mean about expressing it differently, but speaking personally and only for myself, I liked how you did say it. 😀

            I enjoy the shows, don’t get me wrong. I’m just not in love. Forever Knight has my vampire heart and Joss Whedon can never take that away. And I do recognize the irony in that, since FK is super-campy and cheesy and wow, is that Angel in Toronto? Let me know if I ever get too snippy. I do try to work on it!

  • Kendra

    I love this episode! I think it’s a creative way to really get the main plot of the season rolling, even though we’ve heard from the First before. There was something that claimed to be the original script that had dialog between Willow and Tara (don’t know if it’s real or not) that’s been floating around online, and I completely understand why Amber Benson didn’t want to reprise her role one last time. It’s so good, but incredibly disturbing coming from sweet Tara.

    • Yeah, I definitely have some issues with Tara being the one to to suggest Willow commit suicide. It crosses a bit of a line for me. (Though I’m sure Amber Benson could have nailed the truly terrifying thing that would have been.)

      IDK if it was mentioned by Lor or another commenter, but it also just makes a fair bit of sense for The First to play the whole, “You have to die in order to see Tara,” card.

    • darkalter2000

      Rot13 my friend. Baddies not revealed yet get a rot13 .

      • Kendra

        Oops! I wasn’t sure if it had been mentioned yet or not, but I thought it was obvious. I edited my comment to make it more vague, though in case first-time watchers haven’t figured it out yet.

  • Alicia

    I don’t have much to say about this episode, though I feel like I should because I think it’s really good. Willow’s section was painful and became really disturbing by the end. Dawn is such a BAMF, I ADORE her so much! Poor Jonathan, his little speech before he died was kind of heart-breaking. I didn’t really miss Xander or Anya, though it would have been interesting to watch him talk to Jesse, as was one of the ideas. And then we have Buffy. Her section was the most interesting for me, and I really want to pull it apart because I love all the insights into her character that we get. But I can’t get my thoughts together, it’s annoying:( I feel like she isn’t at all an introspective person normally, so it was nice to hear her talk about her issues, especially since she was so hard to read in season six.

    Although I think Holden is a neat character, and the cemetery therapy session is a clever way of doing it, I wish she had talked to someone who she wasn’t going to kill afterwards. It has a feel of “Whisper in a dead man’s ear, doesn’t make it real” to it. Poor girl really needs REAL therapy I reckon, the amount of issues she has!

    “Which is supposed to be the part where we say that Spike’s pattern of abuse was totally fine because Buffy feels responsible for all her ignored non-consent. Wheeee! See, the fact that Buffy did things she regrets means that Spike’s totes in the right for everything but the AR, OBVI!”

    “Which, again, someone feeling so low and worthless that they want to be hurt doesn’t exonerate others from hurting them. Tra la la la la #unpopularopinions”

    I love you all, but sometimes quotes like these about Spike really confuzzle me, because I feel like like I’m really really missing the context. I don’t always read all of the comments, so I’ve probably missed the arguments referenced. But as I haven’t read anything like the rather extreme stance (re:Spike being okay or exonerated) you seem to be mocking/disagreeing with, statements like these just make me go buh? I’m unsure as to exactly what/who you’re addressing/snarking about. It’s like listening to one side of a phone call or something! Just had to be honest about that. It’s a thing with me:D I do get that you feel strongly about these issues.

    I agree that Spike’s behaviour isn’t fine just because Buffy’s wasn’t either. I feel the same way about it the other way around as well. In my opinion the AR does not justify her earlier behaviour. I feel they were both pretty awful in different ways and that they sort of pulled each other down in a spiral of badness. I’m actually really proud of Buffy for acknowledging and taking responsibility for her share of the bad in their relationship, because it often isn’t easy to admit being wrong. It’s admirable I think, and a good step towards learning and healing from the experience.

    • Excellent point about how non-introspective Buffy is, though I’d add that this is WHY she could only talk to someone who she was about to kill. Homegirl definitely needs some therapy but she’s in the extra challenging position of essentially needing help because of her inability to ask for help.

      I genuinely regret part of the first comment. i shouldn’t have said it, but because you’re asking for that context: scenes like this were – to borrow a phrase Clement is fond of – plucked from the future to justify the present throughout S6. In the endless rounds of argument (in which things were dragged out until they were unpleasant, we would draw back, and the same people with whom things had previously gotten nasty would come around either innocently asking why we weren’t “playing” any more or outright demanding that we respond to them) we were often told that our lack of sympathy for Spike was inherently wrong because of Buffy’s later guilt and that’s some bullshit. With regard to the second opinion, that you say is not unpopular: quite frankly, I don’t think Buffy’s guilt is as cut-and-dry as a person who has done wrong. I have no sympathy for S6 Spike because of his repeated violations of Buffy’s non-consent coupled with the fact that his behavior was all about manipulating and belittling Buffy – telling her she belongs in the darkness and only he understands her and blah blah blah. I know you already know that I feel this way and I already know your opinion. But to give you the context you feel is missing: when we expressed those feelings, we would be told repeatedly (in the same post, by the same people) that we were just wrong because Buffy would one day express guilt for her behavior.

      AND SO: when I say that I am “ruined” I mean that I couldn’t even watch this scene free from the context of having had that conversation a thousand times. I’m aware that this is a unique, personal relationship to the material. But it’s mine, so I shared it.

      Again, it was stupid of me to include the first comment and I was going to take it out, but when I went back in to reply, the other girls had both responded to it sooooo I did the extra stupid thing of making the stupid comment worse. I’m sorry for that.

      (On the other hand, my second comment is one that I had no intention to retract because I, personally, feel it’s important context to Buffy’s confessions and this being a blog where I express my opinions, well…)

      I do hear your point and I agree – it’s the whole two wrongs don’t make a right and at this point the most important thing is how everyone moves on and grows from that. As you said, Buffy’s expressed remorse for the parts she feels responsible for, which is certainly an important step toward healing.

      • Alicia

        Thanks for providing context! I read some of the discussions, but I think I stopped reading before they got really unpleasant because I’ve seen a lot of it before and it’s just tiring really.

        “scenes like this were – to borrow a phrase Clement is fond of – plucked from the future to justify the present throughout S6”

        “we were often told that our lack of sympathy for Spike was inherently wrong because of Buffy’s later guilt”

        Okay I completely missed (or possibly have forgotten) those parts, which is why I was confused as to what you were talking about. It makes a lot more sense now:) Don’t apologise for writing the comment! I was just really curious as to what exactly you were reacting to. Now I get it.

        We definitely see some things quite differently, which probably doesn’t help with the not quite following! I can see why those arguments stick with you, similar things have happened to me too. I’m sorry for making you rehash all this stuff further. It’s probably the last thing you want to talk about AGAIN.

        I’m always interested in different viewpoints and I’m someone who will always say so if I don’t get something. I’m difficult like that:D:D

        Thanks again for taking the time to reply!

  • darkalter2000

    I personally rank Jonathan as one of my favorite non-gang characters in Buffyverse and was sad to see him go. His “i care about them.” always gets me. I wish I was the kind of person who cared enough about his enemies, acquaintances, and “people who didn’t know I existed” alike to risk life and limb for them.

  • Ashley Menvielle

    Love this episode and I love the fact that all you Snark Ladies were able to enjoy this one, and the last few (besides BY) if I’m not mistaken? This is a good thing :). You all have had to deal with the not so pleasant stuff that lurks in fandom and I’m very sorry that you had to go through that experience. I hope it’s something that will fade over time (not your dislike of Spike or certain storylines to be clear, if you hate those forever that’s totally fine because they are your feelings), and that your love of the good stuff in the show, and characters will show through that trauma. I’ve dealt with the “I don’t like/understand your view point, it differs with mine and my experience, so I’m going to attack/argue with you about it because how dare you have expressed it in the first place thing” that I think you were talking about in the recap and boy is it not the funs. I read through most all the comments and it even stressed me out seeing some of what happened and it wasn’t even directed at me, so I can see how that would “ruin” something for you.

    Cheers to moving on from that business with this season. I know some of you wish that the show has ended after S5, and that’s totally fine but maybe this re watch will change some opinions on that too. If not, that’s also fine, I’m just excited to see how all your feels will end up feeling this season and mine too!

    Also late comment is late but I’m back and I missed y’all, so here have all my feels :).

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  • The Buffy wiki says the song playing on Dawn’s radio is the same one that Buffy was crying to way back when! Good ears.

  • SonicRulez

    One of the true tragedies of the series. Jonathan finally seems like he GETS IT and that’s when he dies. I want so hard for it to be Andrew instead, but that’s not the way the arc works. I think there is meaning to there being a bit of a “Too little too late” theme. Jonathan was offered many opportunities to be good and he never took them. This is where you end up.

    Great episode. Weird as heck that this episode features literally 0 Xander just because. Like it’s such a random trivia tidbit.