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Buffy the Vampire Slayer S07 E08 – Shame corner

, and on January 6, 2014 · 83 comments in Buffy the Vampire Slayer,Season 7,TV

Previously: The Big Bad shows up and tricks Dawn and Willow into conversations. Buffy has a heart to heart with a new vampire she eventually slays.

Sleeper

Lorraine: We took a break. It was nice. It’s over now.

Buffy visits Xander at 4:30 in the morning, looking for Spike, who isn’t there. Xander asks if Spike’s in trouble, and Buffy says she hopes not.

Cut to In Trouble Alley where Spike for reasons I’m sure will be explained later, proving that Spike is a good boy (I swear I haven’t watched ahead) is burying a dead woman’s body while humming.

Kirsti: The use of humming in place of music dramatically ups the creep factor for me. That and the fact that what he’s humming is a song that my brother’s choir used to sing…

Lor: Wolf Howl.

After the credits, we get an establishing shot of London, England. A London man gets home and notices a knocked over vase. He calls out to a woman, only to find her dead, on the floor, knife wound to her back. London Man is attacked from behind by a ninja. London Man fends him off okay, but the ninja cheats and uses super ninja speed to sneak up behind London Man and stab him anyway.

Sweeney: While rounding up things for the Traumaland Awards, we discovered our penchant for wasting clever nicknames on characters who die very quickly. It’s a sign of how good we’ve gotten at TV that we can now recognize who is worth an elaborate nickname.

Lor: Sunnydale, CA. Willow runs into Chez Summers, calling for Buffy. Dawn is sitting in the living room amongst the wreckage of Conversations With Dead People. Dawn tells Willow that she spoke to Joyce. Willow shares that she saw something too that looked like someone that it wasn’t. It was the Big Bad, the one they knew was coming. Well, that was exactly what not!Joyce said too. Dawn thinks, or really wants to believe, that there is a possibility it was really Joyce.

K: I still have debates with myself about whether or not it was Joyce. Because why would the Big Bad go to so much trouble with Dawn after literally just walking into the library and being all “HEY, WILLOW. KILL YOURSELF.”? You know?? But then on the other hand, why would Joyce be all “Buffy won’t choose you”?? Gah.

Sweeney: It’s definitely ambiguous. That said, it was about getting under their skin to weaken them. In both cases, it preyed on deeply held fears and combined that with words from their greatest loss. Willow was told that she’d destroy the world for real and that Tara believed it to be so (and, more to the point, didn’t believe in her). Dawn was shown big supernatural terror, meant to make her feel helpless — she stepped up like a badass, but it would have been a silly tactic with Willow, given her magical gifts — and then given the final punch of confirming a deeply held fear: that Buffy, the one she loves/needs most would let her down.

I’m not saying there’s a right answer and I second your internal debate, but I also see why it would make sense to go to such destructive trouble with Dawn and not with Willow. The trauma was very specific.

Lor: I’ve been operating under the assumption that it was a fake Joyce. I see the ambiguity as well, though.

Xander’s Gift Apartment. Xander, under the guise of being totally objective on the subject of Spike as a murdery murderer, plays bad cop to Buffy’s doubtful cop. B doesn’t want to believe that Spike is out siring people, and says he still has the pain chip she saw working recently. Xander brings up the fact that he hurt Buffy perfectly fine (an argument that wouldn’t work if Buffy just said, “I don’t count because I’m undead.”) (S: But using your words is so hard! And how would there be PLOT and CONFLICT if people did that?) and also says that Spike could be faking it. Xander’s point is that they just don’t know either way. Buffy says Spike is different now. She feels it.

Speak of the bleached devil, he arrives and asks if there’s any trouble, on account of it being an early hour. Buffy stammers over an explanation, and Spike thinks this is his hint to butt out. He heads for his Cupboard Under the Stairs, but Buffy stops him and asks how his night was. He returns the question and she fishes by telling him that she had to kill a vampire she kind of knew, Holden Webster. Spike’s all, “ROUGH. Okay, goodnight.” and leaves.

K: The whole conversation between them was really intense and the knowledge that Xander’s just sitting there watching them have this hella intense conversation and not saying anything is weird.

Lor: Xander thinks Spike’s cool reaction to Holden was suspicious. Buffy has to get home to check on Dawn, but they need to keep an eye on Spike. Buffy says, “we” but she means “Xander.” He can’t, though, because he has a big client meeting. Xander consistently going to work is a favorite thing of mine. It’s the opposite of the Pretty Little Liars being out of school at all hours of the day. Or else, being in school but never being in or around a classroom. (S: +1! Yay for characters having real jobs and stuff!) Anyway, Buffy says babysitting Spike is serious and they have to get someone to do it.

Cut to Anya that morning saying she won’t do it. Xander opens the blinds as he points out that she already agreed to do it. That was before he told her Spike was killing again. If you are setting up a babysitting job, “your charge might be killing people” is super important information to hand out beforehand. (K: Truth. And applies similarly to horror movies involving demonic children.)

Xander, now sounding more like Buffy, says they don’t actually know that Spike’s killed anyone lately. Anya asks if he’s searched the Cupboard for clues like scalps or necklaces of human teeth. On that note, Xander tries to head out, saying Anya will be safe since there is plenty of sunlight. Considering Spike combats the sun with blankets and hats: LOL. Anya wants a weapon, but if Xander says if Spike tries to leave, she should just let him go and call Buffy. Xander assures her she’ll be fine, and she yells that she’d better be because if she gets sired, she’s going to bite his ass. Xander: It wouldn’t be the first time.

Chez Summers. Buffy runs up the stairs, yelling for Dawn. Willow is just leaving Dawn’s room, and explains that Dawn’s fine and has just finally fallen asleep. Buffy asks what the hell happened downstairs and Willow offers that “hell happened.” The Big Bad who has been promising to devour started chomping, and it started with Dawn and Willow. She explains what they saw and the very convincing lies it told. Buffy tells Will about Holden claiming Spike sired him. Willow thinks maybe Holden was a fake out, but he “dusted real enough.” Buffy doesn’t want to believe that Spike is killing again, but if he is, she wants to see it for herself and be there to stop him.

With hugs. She didn’t say that.

Gift Apartment. Anya is on the couch, the sun’s gone down a bit, and she’s looking at Spike’s door. Get some magazines, girl. She decides to go poke around Spike’s Cupboard Under the Stairs instead, armed with a stake. I guess Xander has a few spares hanging around. Or maybe she used her down time to fashion one. YEAH. Spike is sleeping naked, covered only by a well positioned sheet. His room is a lot larger than whatever refashioned closet they led us to believe it would be. Harry Potter is somewhere thinking, “bitch, please.”

Anya looks through Spike’s clothes, and she doesn’t notice when he wakes up. He grabs her hand suddenly, and asks her to explain just what she’s doing. She hesitates for a second before claiming she came for sex.

Spike is not interested. He tries to let her down easy, and though Anya was half-assing her proposition, the rejection appears to genuinely sting. She says it must be because she’s fat or because of her hair cut. Spike says he loves her new do. Anya: Sure, as a friend. I think Anya just put her hair in the friend zone. Spike says he needs his pants and Anya hand them to him, and we get a final shot of Anya still straddling him.

K: I hate everything about this scene. EVERYTHING. 

Lor: We cut to Anya sitting in the living room with those magazines I recommended for her! Spike exits his room fully clothed. Anya is facing the camera, her back to Spike as he says he didn’t mean to hurt her feelings. Without facing him she says she’s fine. He leaves. Anya waits a beat and picks up the phone to call Buffy and let her know Spike is on the move.

Sunnydale… promenade? There’s a lot of people milling about. A street musician is playing a harmonica. As Spike passes him, he changes the song to Early One Morning. Spike hums along. Buffy is a few paces behind him, but she has to hustle to keep sight of him in the crowd. Spike approaches a young woman in a belly shirt and we see them whisper to each other flirtatiously before he leads her away.

K: Two things here: 1. This is the busiest that Sunnydale has ever been. EVER. In the entire seven seasons of the show. And 2. I call bullshit on anyone meeting and charming a girl into leaving with them in under ten seconds. 

Lor: I’m sure there are a few Spike fangirls who would disagree with #2.

In an alley, Spike and Belly Shirt flirt and kiss. Buffy walks into the alley and Spike looks at her as she says, “You know you want it. You know I want you to.” Spike sinks his teeth into Belly Shirt and drinks only a sip because he’s wasteful. WASTEFUL I SAY. He de-vamps and runs out of the alley. Not!Buffy morphs into not!Spike and quotes Early One Morning: How could you use a poor maiden so?

Cupboard Under the Stairs. Spike is sleeping again. Buffy flips him off his bed. Probably a terrible way to wake up. Buffy asks if Spike killed the girl. He’s confused. Buffy saw him walk off with a girl, but didn’t see anything else. Spike claims they only talked to each other is all, and he couldn’t even kill her anyways. Buffy acknowledges the chip and Spike gets upset.

“No, not the chip! Not the chip, dammit. You honestly think I’d go to the end of the underworld and back to get my soul and then— Buffy, I can barely live with what I did. It haunts me. All of it. If you think that I would add to the body count now, you are crazy.”

If I cared about Spike, that would be a good little speech.

Buffy huffs about Spike picking up drunk co-eds because he’s “hungry for conversation,” and he figures this is jealousy talking. Buffy denies it but he insists. She tries to bring up Holden, but Spike cuts her off, saying that sure, he talks to other women, but only because he can’t talk to her.

As daft a notion as “Soulful Spike the Killer” is, it is nothing compared to the idea that another girl could mean anything to me. This chip—they did to me. I couldn’t help it. But the soul, I got on my own—for you.

Guys, if you are ever going to go to a Fear Factor cave to get you a soul, let it be for yourself and for no one else. Official #SnarkLadyadvice (S: Saving lives and soulless existences alike!)

K: Meanwhile, I’m busy hating the “you’re jealous” thing and all the guilt trips that he dumps into the conversation and pretty much everything ever. Remember when we covered School Hard and I fangirl flailed over Spike’s arrival? How times change…

Lor: I feel like I should apologize. Sorry.

Spike passes time with other woman, but for him, it’s still all about Buffy. She changes the subject back to Holden and his claim that Spike sired him. Plus, Buffy was following him and he looked a tad too much like he was on the prowl. Spike doesn’t remember exactly what happen because his boring chats with Buffy-stand-ins all bleed together. Buffy thinks maybe he’s also forgetting a bunch of murders. Spike finally says she doesn’t have any proof, and she replies that she’ll get some.

Chez Summers. The Scooby Gang (minus Xander) are gathered and Buffy tasks them with helping her find evidence. Dawn very strategically asks about the vampire who told her about Spike, saying that they were all lied to that night. Willow says maybe not. Even though the Big Bad is evil, it doesn’t follow that it was also lying. Anya: I used to tell the truth all the time when I was evil.

Anya suggest looking for an uptick in dead people with neck injuries, but there are none. There are, however, 10ish new missing person reports. Dawn hopefully asks if this means Holden was telling the truth. Buffy again says maybe.

Sweeney: Dawn fishing for someone to subtly confirm/deny what maybe!Joyce said makes my heart hurt. I’ve got Dawn Feels for days, as everyone knows,  and I get where she’s coming from. That said, my Buffy empathy trumps all others and it sucks that she’s not even getting the opportunity to defend herself against this accusation by way of a sisterly chat. It makes sense, given how shitty they are at having open, honest sisterly chats, but it hurts my feels all around.

Lor: Spike is getting dressed to go out for the night. In his jacket pocket, he finds a pack of cigarettes which causes him to flash back to the girl who gave them to him, who he then killed. He’s shocked.

K: Damn those cigarette flashbacks. As if cigarettes weren’t bad enough for you already, now they make you have murder flashbacks too…

Lor: This is either a anti-smoking or anti-murder PSA. Maybe both.

Xander is in the living room watching TV. Spike comes out of his room and Xander jumps right up to stop him from leaving the apartment, as those were Buffy’s instructions. Xander stands between Spike and the door, and starts to list all the reasons Spike can’t leave. Spike punches him in the face and knocks him out cold. He grabs his head in pain, but then shakes it off and walks out. The chip is kind of stupid.

Sweeney: Season 7′s rehashing everything from the show’s history, including stupidly bending all of its established rules for the sake of convenience. It is its own kind of consistency, if nothing else.

Lor: Aimee Mann is onstage at the Bronze. I don’t know her, but the Internet is helpful. She sings relevant lyrics as Spike asks the bartender and a waitress if they know anything about the blonde lady he remembered from his murder flashback.

Xander phones Buffy to let her know Spike is gone.

Spike is now on that upstairs portion of the Bronze. He’s watching the crowd and drinking from a flask. He’s approached by a young woman who comments on how intensely Spike is scanning the crowd. He shortly explains that he’s looking for someone. This doesn’t stop the girl from sitting down and flirting. Spike tries to get her to leave, but instead she vamps out and asks if he wants to take everyone out, one by one. Spike tells her to get away, but the vamp girl reveals that she knows Spike from before this moment: You didn’t seem so shy when you were biting me. I’m not asking if you wanna be soul mates, just figured you’d wanna have some fun.

Upset by this revelation, he starts to fight the vamp girl, and eventually dusts her as she falls over the railing. Her dust falls down by the dance floor. The music stops and everyone is stunned for a few seconds. Aimee Mann starts singing again.

A Sunnydale night club. (K: THERE’S MORE THAN JUST THE BRONZE?!?!?!?!?!?) (S: WEIRD.) There is a long line outside. Buffy walks up to the bouncer, who tells her she can walk right inside if she wants. Must be that sexy turtleneck. Buffy isn’t here to boogie, though. She wants to know if the bouncer has seen Spike.

 

Bouncer says that Spike’s been there often, and always leaves with a pretty girl.

Back at the Bronze, Spike finds a payphone. The band is getting off stage as Aimee Mann says, “Man, I hate playing vampire towns.” Spike calls Buffy and tells her that he’s remembering things. He gives her an address and tells her to meet him there. He hangs up and turns around to find not!Spike standing there. Not!Spike says it isn’t time yet, and that Spike is going against the plan.

We cut to said house, where Spike is leading Buffy into the basement. Not!Spike is blocking Spike’s way, saying more stuff about these events being out of order. Spike firmly tells not!Spike that he isn’t there. Buffy finally comes down the stairs and tells Spike to get to showing what he needs to show. He admits that he’s remembered killing some folk, and he think he’s buried the bodies in this basement. This basement has a dirt floor. Huh.

Sweeney: There’s a lot to be said for the careless treatment of unnamed characters on this show. However, the owners of this house were probably some Dexter-style victims in that their dirt floor basement screams #CREEPYASSHIT.

Lor: If you have a dirt floor basement, you are asking for bad things in your life.

Buffy asks why he did this and Spike begins to say that he doesn’t know, when not!Spike starts singing Early One Morning. Spike is mesmerized by the song, which now we understand is a sort of trigger for sleeper vamp Spike. He vamps out and attacks Buffy, even using some broken glass to cut her arm. Buffy tries to shake him out of it between punches, but things get even more complicated when the fresh vampires start breaking out of their graves. Buffy knocks Spike away and starts to fight all the vampires.

K: Okay, so. While it’s all very dramatic, this whole “People sired across like a month [or at least several weeks] rising simultaneously” thing is bullshit. Because usually, it’s a “day after death” or “day after burial” deal, right? Stop fucking about with your canon, Whedon!! #confusion

Sweeney: There’s been a higher-than-normal volume of that crap this episode.

Lor: Not!Spike and Spike are chatting during this. Well, not chatting. Not!Spike is telling Spike to drink from Buffy. A couple of vampires have bested her, and are holding her by the arms now, allowing Spike to approach her and lick the wound on her shoulder. But alas! The blood causes all the murder memories to come flashing back to him because of reasons. He’s completely shocked and horrified. He stumbles away from Buffy, into a back corner of the basement. Buffy breaks free from the vampires and uses the handle of a shovel to stake all the remaining vampires quickly and easily.

K: It’s pretty epic. I approve.

Lor: In his Shame Corner, Spike holds his head in misery. Not!Spike tells him that Buffy is going to kill him.

There is a straggler vampire now trying to break out of her grave. It’s an older woman. Buffy helps her out and then dusts her: Sorry, ma’am, but it’s my job.

Buffy walks over to Spike and he opens up his jacket, exposing his heart to her, and asking her to do it quickly, because “he” said she would. Buffy asks who “he” is and Spike’s claim that it was him, “I was here the whole time, talking and singing,” doesn’t exactly explain things, but thankfully, Buffy understands that something was down in the basement with them. Buffy tosses her weapon and Spike cries that he needed that. He can’t cry the soul out of himself and he’s feeling all the deaths. Buffy explains that something is playing with them all. Spike asks for B’s help and she grants it to him. Not!Spike is sitting near them, sneering.

Chez Summers. Spike is sitting apart from the group, wrapped in a blanket. Anya asks if Buffy believes Spike’s story. She does. She saw how out of control he was in the basement. Xander: Oh, an out of control serial killer. You’re right, that is a great houseguest. Dawn is all, “SKKKRT. Is he staying here?” but Buffy doesn’t know yet. She just doesn’t want to let Spike out of her sight. Willow is also unconvinced but Buffy isn’t keeping Spike around just to help him. She wants to use him to get information about the Big Bad, seeing as how Spike’s spent the most time with it. Then we get this bit of heavy-handed, spoon fed dialogue:

Buffy: Look, there’s something evil working us, and if we are ever gonna have a chance to fight it, we need to learn everything we can about it. This thing has been closer to Spike than any of us.
Willow: And if you want to understand it….
Buffy: I’m gonna have to get close to Spike.

Ah, yes, I see now. Please, definitely fill these next few episodes with Spike. I understand completely.

K: STABBY STABBY STABBY HULK SMASH. There, that’s the next few episodes recapped!

Sweeney: We will be recapping the remaining episodes via Twitter. 140 characters or less!

Lor: We head back to London, where we started the episode. Giles walks into London Man’s house and sees the dead woman on the floor. He calls out for London Man and soon hears his sputtering breath. Giles cries over the London Man’s body, but his eyes flutter up and he delivers this last message to Giles: Gather them. It’s started. He doesn’t, however, warn Giles that the ninja is right behind him with an axe.

LEAVE GILES ALONE.

 

Next time: Xander and Anya interrogate Andrew and Buffy takes Spike prisoner in S07 E09 – Never Leave Me.

 

Lorraine (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. Reconciling my aversion to leaving the house/wearing pants with my deep desire to explore everything is my life's great struggle. I like language; semicolons bring fantastic things to the party, like letting it last longer.





Kirsti (all posts)

I'm a grad student who's staring down the barrel of 30 and I still live with my parents because I'm super broke. My degree is in information management, which is a fancy way of saying librarianship, which is a fancy way of saying "I get to read young adult books and have it count as studying". I have an inexplicable love for 90s television, eat too much chocolate, and tweet about the random crap that happens to me on public transport more than I should.





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  • Clément Polge

    “If I cared about Spike, that would be a good little speech.”

    And Spike lovers everywhere stood up and cheered and applauded ! Anyway, I agree that this was a nice little speech, too bad they felt the need to continue it with – as Kirsti pointed out – a mx of “you’re jealous”, guilt trips, and other random bullshit. Oh Spike, it’s really one step forward two steps back with you.

    That fight at the end is total bullshit to me and one of the reason i get super bored with the fight scene: Buffy seems to struggle against them, get “immobilised” (basically she has one vampire more-or-loss holding each of her arm, OK SHOW), they keep the position for FUCKING EVER, and then she realises “hey, i can fight back !” so she kill them all in one move. Ok, cool move, but still, YAWN through the whole sequence.

    I also liked that scene with Anya proposing sex to Spike, because it reminds me of that Big Lebowski scene with the vagina monologue about men getting disarmed by the word vagina: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xs3OWJ53rHE the whole second part with Anya getting insulted ? I could have done without. I would have seen her feigning disappointment and getting out of here instead, or is she forgetting she’s looking for trophies of his potential victims ?

    That’s kinda my opinion on the whole episode: a lot of the scenes would be improved by removing half of what happens. That vampire in the bronze didn’t need to flirt with Spike for so long before revealing herself either (it looks stupid and makes me yawn too).

    Anyway, I haven’t rewatched the next few episodes yet, but we’re at episode 8, it’s time we get some spike, this show is Called “Spike the Never-slayed Vampire” after all. Wait, it isn’t ? What did I watch then ?

    • Ashlea K.

      I completely agree. I tried so hard to find things I liked in this episode, but it seemed every time I found something, in the next few seconds I would be disgusted again.

      I love the scene where Anya sneaks in and tries to ad-lib her way out of being caught but then she starts getting hurt because he won’t have sex with her and trying to seduce him and I hate the world again.

      Spike started to be sweet about the whole soul thing but then he starts in about Buffy being jealous and I kinda want to Hulksmash his face.

      In short, I really don’t like this episode even though parts of it are necessary for the developing plot.

    • Zovc

      Yep, that fight is thirteen different kinds of stupid and the end move being as cool as it is doesn’t make up for the contrivance that got us there. But, consistency is not this show’s strong suit, I suppose.

      • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

        The lack of consistency really starts to wear, man. On Twitter yesterday someone was telling me that nothing in the Buffyverse is consistence so they don’t expect Spike to be consistent so they love him forever. Meanwhile, all these eye roll worthy moments make it hard for me to remember why I (used to?) like this show.

        • Zovc

          The lack of consistency can be irritating, but the universe is not my chief reason for watching this show, so it only pisses me off when they make a mistake *this* egregious.

          • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

            Agreed about the universe. From the beginning, the mythology was my least favorite part about a show about a vampire slayer. At this point though, the characters are starting to suffer from some of this inconsistency. And the characters I maybe still kind of care about are on the back burner. Meh.

          • Zovc

            Yeah, looking back over the series, the characters tend to have at least one OOC moment each season, so the inconsistency in characterization is not something new to season six or seven. Still, don’t stop liking this show :)

          • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

            I’ll try.

        • Clément Polge

          Well, that was probably me, so I’ll expand now that I’m not limited to 140 char :)

          What I meant, basically, is that I like this show for the character, witty dialogues, as well as the occasionnal greatness (The Body, OMWF, Restless), and the stories are good enough for me to care about them. Consistency though ? Vampires can die of a match and then live forever under the sun providing they wear a sombrero. Joyce is sacrificied to plot SO. MANY. TIMES. So is Xander. So I don’t really mind Spike’s inconsistency, because that’s really not something I’m looking for in this particular show.

          By the end of my first watch, I was pretty over this show though, I think I felt kinda like you do right now: overuse of contrivance, overuse of misscommunication, some dragged-out storyline of UGH, … It got better for me on my rewatch because I expected those, so I was in a different mindset… But that’s just how I work: I tend to excuse flaws on rewatch when I like a show because I know not to focus on those.

          Also, I didn’t have to blog about each episode, watch on such a regular schedule (which sounds like the worst part for me), or engage the fandom, so my tolerance for bullshit was much higher ;)

          • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

            I guess my issue was that we called those things like we saw them when we saw them (entire tags dedicated to sunlight, Joyce being yelled at for her bad parenting, etc) but when we got to Spike, I often felt like I received a blank stare and a, “BUT NO.” response. But… yes. It bothers me more with Spike, for whatever reason, but probably because he’s sold as something more than a Joyce or even a Xander. Maybe, IDK.

            I don’t know if I want to “expect” these things. It’s like people getting “used to” the cold weather. WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO?

            (I’m mostly kidding. I get it.)

          • Clément Polge

            Yeah I get that, and I don’t want to sound like I’m saying “you would have LOVED HIM if you didn’t blog about him” either, the points you raise are all valid, and it can just boil down to personal taste towards a character.

            Spike does come with an outrageous amount of contrivance to try to graft-him-onto-the-gang-but-not-quite. He’s always one foot in, one foot out, and that can be a bit grating too, especially since the one foot out is often doing some pretty nasty stuff (S4′s Yoko, S6′s abuse, …). He does get special treatment.

    • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

      There were a few of these bullshit moments throughout this episode. In the grand scheme of things, one of the reasons I’ve not been able to appreciate Spike as a character is how much of this bs he’s surrounded by. But anyways, back to the point, THAT FIGHT. When she stood there waiting to be eaten by Spike, I’m pretty sure I rolled my eyes so hard I blacked out. I couldn’t even comment on it. I just had to move on.

      I thought that was a weird choice to have Anya get truly upset. I mean, I get that she’s always been a little insecure, but UGH. It wasn’t needed for the scene and was generally a questionable decision.

      Agreed. It was aggressively mediocre as I said in today’s Angel. I didn’t even have any thoughts about it at the end. It just happened, I watched it, the end.

      GREAT, POLGE. JUST GREAT. THIS IS BAD NEWS.

      • Alicia

        I don’t think Buffy was just standing there because she couldn’t have fought back. I think if she actually thought Spike was going to eat her she would have sprung into action. I think she was kind of watching him and probably wondering why the heck he was licking her arm (aside from obvious vampire reasons) instead of going for her throat.

        I don’t think that Anya was truly upset at all, but more just huffy and a little offended. She wasn’t crying into her magazine over it. Obviously YMMV on that.

  • Kendra

    I’ve never been able to decide whether I think that was fake!Joyce or not. It’s just so different from the way that Big Bad usually appears.

    • Clément Polge

      That’s actually what makes me think it wasn’t her, it all just seem staged, I agree that it doesn’t really look like The First M.O., but it would make even less sense if it wasn’t staged, because then, what would justify all the physical manifestation ?

      • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

        IDK. Like I said, I was operating under the notion that it was not!Joyce. I didn’t really thing to question it until Kirsti/Sweeney brought it up. I guess I just didn’t put it past the First to go to any extremes.

    • mjkbk

      I figured from the start that it wasn’t our Joyce. Why would being dead/in heaven confer prophetic abilities (“Buffy won’t choose you”) which in turn can be communciated to the living?

  • http://stephaniec.tumblr.com/ stephynee

    Spike sleeping naked was ridiculous. Poor JM can’t catch a break with the nudity even when he’s not all season 6 abtastic.

    This episode contains my least favorite pun of the entire series, “one bite stand.” NO STOP.

    The dirt floor basement was pretty believable to me since I live in a house with a scary murder-basement. No dirt floors, but there is a big gaping hole filled with water, and none of us are sure what it’s supposed to be. We just try not to look directly at it.

    • SnazzyO

      Your basement scares me.

    • Ashlea K.

      I’m so not good with basements anyway and your basement sounds scarier than most. I love that you just try not to look directly at the big water-filled gaping hole in the basement. IF I DON’T LOOK AT IT, IT’S NOT THERE! :)

      • SnazzyO

        And if your foot accidentally touches it, does a huge monster with tentacles come out and start grabbing at your ankles? IDK. We may need to get you to move, because I can’t live with this basement imagery now.

        • Ashlea K.

          But what if by fighting the basement monster, she learns she’s a Slayer? It’s quite possible I watch too much TV.

          • Clément Polge

            Or maybe she’ll die and the Winchester will come see her mother after reading about it in the paper. Do we really want to take that chance ?

          • Ashlea K.

            Sigh. Not Steph. I would sacrifice a lot for the chance to “work a case” with Dean Winchester, but she’s one of my absolute favorites, so NO.

          • http://stephaniec.tumblr.com/ stephynee

            I love you guys.

          • Ashlea K.

            WE LOVE YOU TOO.

          • Clément Polge

            You’re reminding me of the scene in Tangled with Rapunzel and her “mother”, with the “I love you – I love you more – And I love you most”.

          • http://stephaniec.tumblr.com/ stephynee

            FLOWER GLEAM AND GLOW. LET YOUR POWER SHINE.

            Feel free to comb my hair or whatever.

          • Clément Polge

            So it means that Ashlea is the creepy abducting lying deceiving self-centered mother ?

          • http://stephaniec.tumblr.com/ stephynee

            Yes.

          • Ashlea K.

            You ARE a troublemaker! MAKER WHO MAKES TROUBLE! ;)

          • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

            What are the odds? I mean, I figure by this point if she were she would’ve broken a frozen yogurt machine before or, say, destroyed a man with her vagina. There are signs.

            (Never enough.)

          • Ashlea K.

            Well, she’s never told us she DIDN’T do those things, so I’m holding onto hope.

            I will confess that when I first glanced at this comment, I thought it said destroyed a frozen yogurt machine with her vagina. I really need to pay better attention.

          • Clément Polge

            Is it me, or are we currently wondering stuff about Steph’s vagina ?

            Plus we’ll never know about the FroYo machine, because I don’t think she has one on her sheep cottage where she’s hiding from the repo man looking to recover her student loan.

          • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

            If the repo man were smart, he’d be reading this blog, and now he knows where Steph is. GOOD GOING, POL-GEEE.

          • Clément Polge

            But maybe I’m PURPOSEFULLY FEEDING HIM FALSE INFORMATION. She’s actually jet-setting in Miami, wearing sheep fur.

          • Ashlea K.

            We totally have Froyo machines on Sheep Mountain. Also, the Student Loan people better not find our hideout because you can’t keep a secret, Polge! ;)

    • Zovc

      “One bite stand” is just ludicrously bad. It needs to be erased from the time-space continuum.
      Also, your basement sounds like the one in “The Devil’s Backbone”, so take the appropriate steps to deal with the ghost you certainly have.

      • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

        That whole conversation went on for so much longer than necessary I barely registered “one-bite stand.” But you and Steph are right: HORRIBLE.

        • Clément Polge

          When we’re starting to think of S4 as the good old days, we know something’s wrong, but it still had the best pun of ever:
          “- the slayer ? I thought this was a myth.
          - Well… You were myth-taken”

          • Ashlea K.

            I LOVE THAT PUN. SO MUCH.

          • http://stephaniec.tumblr.com/ stephynee

            This is my favorite one too. It’s all about the delivery.

          • Zovc

            Yeah, the important thing there was the acknowledgement of the pun. If Buffy hadn’t made clear that she was a little embarrassed, it wouldn’t have been as good. Also, that was a lot wittier, too.

    • Melbourne on my Mind

      I’m so glad Australia doesn’t do basements. Because that sounds terrifying.

    • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

      I let out a big UGHREALLY? when I saw Spike naked. It wasn’t even naked, it was the strategically lowered blanket that was the most groan worthy. But, I mean, if it were Captain Malcom Reynolds, I’d be cheering. I recognize my bias.

      That said, Spike is such a huge, walking bit of fan service. JM will never catch any breaks.

      WHAT. WHAT IS YOUR BASEMENT. PLEASE DON’T KILL ME.

    • Alicia

      Apparently JM stopped working out between seasons six and seven in the hope they would stop taking his shirt off. It clearly didn’t work. I think I counted the episodes he appeared in a state of undress and it’s actually more in season 7 than in season six! Although he’s not as naked this season.

  • darkalter2000

    Lor: WASTEFUL I SAY.

    I laughed so hard I accidentally sacked myself! Also, yes! There are vampires in Ethiopia having to eat starving Ethiopians and there Spike is tossing away grade A blood! Wasteful. You get back to that corpse and drink till it is empty mister!

    This episode, despite being boring as a whole, has one of my favorite moments in the series:

    Aimee Mann: Man, I hate playing vampire towns.

    Look at the utterly casual way she diagnoses Sunnydale a “Vampire Town”. Not all normal people in Buffyverse are ignoring the supernatural. She doesn’t like it, but she doesn’t pretend she doesn’t notice. I love the idea that sometimes people figure out the world is fucked in ways they didn’t imagine and sometimes just go on without letting it change them on a fundamental level. How many people have figured out Buffy secretly and just kept it to themselves? They see her dust a vamp and just file away the info for emergencies. This is my head-canon.

    • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

      “There are vampires in Ethiopia having to eat starving Ethiopians and there Spike is tossing away grade A blood!”

      Best. ANOTHER REASON FOR ME NOT TO LIKE SPIKE. ;)

      That Aimee Mann moment was pretty fun. You watch them just sort of keep playing after the dusting and to have her acknowledge that she knows what happened? Nice. Good head canon.

  • Policy of Madness

    I can’t say much on the ep (having computer troubles, laptop won’t play Amazon for some reason so I can’t watch it yet) but I will say that I thought it was apparent that Joyce is Not!Joyce. All of the rigamarole and ritual served to make Dawn invested in the appearance of Joyce. After all, she fought hard, endured terror and pain and flying debris, and performed an exorcism or something which was resisted every step of the way.

    She won her victory, and her prize was a cameo by Joyce. This makes her invested in Joyce being Joyce – if Joyce is Not!Joyce then all of that effort and facing her terror was for nothing. It makes everything she endured worth jack-all, and she endured a lot for it to be worth nothing. She’s going to resist the notion that it was all for nothing much more strongly than she would if Joyce had just stopped by for a cuppa and a gentle chat.

    It was a nice bit of storytelling, I thought.

    • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

      I agree! And you explain it well. The First had to make sure that Dawn would believe her information, tested against reality and her relationship with her sister. This was a hard earned victory and like you say something she’s more likely to hang on to. I like this piece of storytelling more than if this was actually Joyce. And I don’t really even buy Joyce coming from heaven to be all, “hey, your sister is going to sell you out. BYE.”

      So, yeah.

  • http://www.shewhohesitatesislost.blogspot.com/ Isa

    Happy New Year Snark Ladies, even if 2014 is the year this all Buffy recapping comes to a close!

    • Melbourne on my Mind

      Same to you, Ms. M!! And there are other things in the pipeline that you may or may not be interested in…

  • Angi Black

    Two short things because I’m high on cold meds. One – smoking obviously leads to murder, I mean fuck cancer. this shit is serious. And two – Amiee Mann was the lead singer of ‘Til Tuesday. Their big hit in the 80′s was Voices Carry. She has excellent solo albums. You should check her out.

    • SnazzyO

      One – smoking obviously leads to murder, I mean fuck cancer. this shit is serious.
      Clearly.

    • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

      I looked up that Voice Carry song on Youtube. Aimee Mann’s hair. HER HAIR, GIRL.

      • Angi Black

        Dude, right? That skinny braid is the top of the tops in 80′s hair lore. It’s so much in the lore that Sam Winchester will need to look it up one day.

  • SnazzyO

    My first thoughts:
    1) Did Buffy get ANY sleep? I’m feeling she’s sleep deprived here and that screws with your mind.
    2) I understand that LOLPD of Sunnydale is useless but shouldn’t someone let these people’s families know about the murder basement? But there are no corpses, just dust so no anonymous tip is going to get the job done. This of course leads me to the realization that they probably never told Jesse’s parents what happened to him. Or that girl from School Hard. It’s bad enough if someone dies and the family buries them and then Buffy has to stake them. But if they don’t even know they’re dead? That’s sad.

    3) I like that Xander and Anya can talk now.
    4) Dawn feels.

    • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

      I’ve never given thought to the families of those dusted. I mean, in most cases, if these people are buried in a graveyard, it means their families got to say goodbye. With Spike’s victims, they were missing persons (though that’s probably a quick turn around time for these people to be reported as missing…). No one will ever know what happened to then. That is sad.
      :(

  • Jojo

    Guys, you may well want to put the Buffy and Angel reviews on temporary (permanent) hiatus due to severe Spike and incest allergies. You’re right – much of the last episodes does deal with Spike and if you find the whole soul and demon thing to be too contrived and poorly conceived the final redemption arc will probably just be aggravating for everyone. I am sure you have a list of shows that you want to snark instead.

  • Zovc

    Aaaand this episode starts the “Buffy and Spike show”. Seriously, I wouldn’t mind all the Spike-centric plots if they weren’t SO. DAMNED. SIMILAR. Not to mention that episodes with Spike/Buffy “A” plots often have no “B” plots.

    The Billy Idol thing never fails to make me laugh, though.

    The commentary for “CWDP” states that the same entity was talking to Willow, Dawn, and Andrew, by the way.

    The trigger thing is stupid, but I’ll talk about that next episode. The song they picked, however, is very catchy and creepy, so points to the show there. Also, is anyone from Canada? I ask because I understand “Never Leave Me” is the theme song for a popular children’s show there.

    • Alex

      I hadn’t realised how similar all the Spike-centric episodes were, but you’re right. I actually had it in my head that this episode, the next one and at least one other were all the same episode, which rather proves that point!

    • http://thelatepartygirls.com Lorraine

      That line about, “and now I have to get close to Spike,” was like a punch to the face. So bad. Not getting the Buffy and Spike show off to a good start at all. I forgot to snark about how I got 2 Spikes in my episode (OF COURSE) but it seems that the joke will be on all of us as we go forward. Everyone loses!

      Oh, good to know. I guess it’s cool that the show leaves itself open for a little ambiguity but I’m glad that it isn’t actually Joyce.

      That song always reminds me of Pride and Prejudice. Mary Bennett sings it in one of that adaptations, I’m pretty sure the 1980 version with Elizabeth Garvie. I watch P&P adaptations whenever I’m feeling blue. #truestory

      • Ashlea K.

        I figured that line would cause you to *facepalm* ;)

      • Alicia

        I don’t think it really becomes the Buffy and Spike show at all. But the season does start off with not much Spike and by the end he does have more screen time in comparison to the beginning. Although I’m not sure that’s saying much since a lot of the early episodes he’s in one scene, so.

        Don’t worry too much about it though! You’ll be okay:) I think things might be less bad than you think(hopefully). There’s lots of other stuff going on too.

    • Ashlea K.

      Agreed that all the Spike-centric plots are SO similar. I never noticed that before the recaps and now I can’t UN-notice it ;)

      I LOL’d at the Billy comment and also at Aimee Mann finally acknowledging the weirdness of Sunnydale. Awesome.

    • http://stephaniec.tumblr.com/ stephynee

      I have a bit of memory blockage on the a lot of details from this point onward, but I always thought that season 7 felt pretty Spike-Lite aside from the next episode and one more coming up. Even up until this point he hasn’t really been around much aside from mumbling in the school basement 1 minute per episode. Now Angel on the other hand… That’s going to be a real treat for Lor.

      • Zovc

        Unfortunately for the sanity of the Snark Ladies, Spike plays a pretty major role from here on out. In fact, in the last ten episodes of the show, he has more lines than anyone but Buffy. It’s gonna be a bumpy ride on both shows.

        • Clément Polge

          I think that’s the worst thing you could have said. I can hear Lorraine tying her noose, Sweeney burying her head in the snow until she loses any sensation, and Kirsti… Well, it’s Australia, she just gotta walk for a few miles and she’s bound to find some deadly creepy creature, right ?

          • Zovc

            Honesty is the best policy, right? But…liars prosper. Oh, life is confusing. My condolences to all who may be upset at this development. I was just trying to help *sheepishly slinks out of the room*

            And, from what I understand, Australia is indeed a giant deathtrap.

          • Melbourne on my Mind

            I knew what I was getting into, and therefore have no one to blame but myself.

        • http://stephaniec.tumblr.com/ stephynee

          REALLY? I must be having a brain blockage or something because I have watched this series at least 15 times through and I can’t remember anything important that he does. I will be on high Spike alert while watching rest of the episodes.

          • Clément Polge

            Well…

            Gurer’f na rcvfbqr nyzbfg ragveryl qrqvpngrq gb uvz, jvgu gur zbgure synfuonpx, jura ur svtugf ntnvafg Jbbq, ohg bgure guna gung, gurer’f nyfb gur cneg jurer Ohssl trgf fuhaarq ol gur cbgragvnyf naq Fcvxr vf gur bayl bar gb fgnaq ol ure fvqr.

          • http://stephaniec.tumblr.com/ stephynee

            I do remember this stuff, but other than that, the show never feels Spike-centric. At least to me. I might change my mind watching again now that I am noticing Spike stuff more than I ever have.

          • Clément Polge

            I don’t really remember either to be honest, save for the stuff I just rot13′d.

            It might also just be because on the one side we have the scooby gang with its numerous members, and on the other side we just have Spike. And most of his scene, if i recall correctly (which I probably don’t) are on one-on-one with Buffy, all of that contributes to make him pop more than other characters with more various interactions.

            But yes, we’ll have to see, I might be completely wrong ;)

          • http://stephaniec.tumblr.com/ stephynee

            Yup. And I’m sure that hating him just makes one minute of him in an episode feel like, “WHY WAS THIS WHOLE EPISODE ABOUT SPIKE.”

            V unir zber ceboyrzf jvgu uvz ba NgF fvapr ur rffragvnyyl cbcf hc bhg bs ab jurer naq orpbzrf gur zbfg vzcbegnag punenpgre ba gur fubj arkg gb Natry.

      • Alicia

        This is exactly what I was thinking. After the next episode, the two after that have hardly any Spike. Then after that he’s never in more than half an episode apart from that one you mentioned, I’m pretty sure. Some episodes he gets one, maybe two scenes. It’s not more than he’s been getting in seasons 5 and 6. And the season up til this episode has been particularly Spike-Lite, like you said.

  • Wilhelmina Upton

    I don’t really care that much for this episode except the ending because POOR GILES!! Don’t you hurt Giles, you sick little twisted bastard thing! Yes, I take my Giles love very serious, thank you.

    • Melbourne on my Mind

      We all do.

  • Christine Tran

    “Okay, so. While it’s all very dramatic, this whole “People sired across like a month [or at least several weeks] rising simultaneously” thing is bullshit. Because usually, it’s a “day after death” or “day after burial” deal, right? Stop fucking about with your canon, Whedon!! #confusion”

    Maybe they born really slow. They ARE Spike’s progeny and those vampire genes have probably been diluted from all the , Lannister-eqsue shenanigans going on between the fang gang bloodline lol dunno

  • Alicia

    I completely forgot about there being a recap until now, darn it. It seems so long since the last one. I hope you Ladies had a fantabulous break!:) I really enjoy this episode because we get to see such a nice range of emotion from Spike’s character. Evil smirk-y Spike(even though it’s not actually him), worried Spike, angry Spike, sexy Spike, anguished Spike etc etc. And two Spikes on screen at once is never a bad thing in my opinion:D:D

    I like his concern over Buffy having to kill someone she knew. Spike is adorable and awkward in that scene. I also like Xander’s CSI-like breakdown of the situation. He’s really matured and is really pleasant to watch in this season. I think maybe the situation with Anya in ‘Selfless’ has made him less quick to judge others. It was always irritating that he seemed blind to Anya’s own past and his general acceptance of it when judging Buffy and/or Spike.

    Buffy’s conviction that Spike is really different is interesting. The soul means a lot to her for obvious reasons, given her past with Angel and her relationship with Spike. I feel bad for her having to contemplate killing another vampire lover, and find it understandable that she wants proof before she decides to go there. She does care about him. I do wish that she’d told her friends about the chip not working on her. They really have no idea about what went on in that relationship do they?

    I love the scene with Anya very much and think it’s hysterical and so awkward. Great comic timing displayed. I love the comment about the stake being kinky(Spike seemed to enjoy it with the Buffybot) and the exchange about her haircut. I like that Spike did seem concerned that he’d hurt her feelings.

    • Alicia

      I love Buffy and Spike’s argument in his ‘closet’(LOL) Buffy/Spike arguments are like crack to me. They just crackle. Hee! I think it’s awesome how indignant Spike is about the idea that he would want to keep killing after the soul and that he hates the idea of the chip being a factor in his behaviour. His line about it still being all about Buffy for him made me aww. He’s got it bad, that hasn’t changed. I do think that he is lonely and craving connection at the moment. The slight feeling-sorry-for-himself vibe doesn’t bother me because Buffy instantly calls him out on it.

      She is definitely affected by Spike’s statement about getting the soul for her. I absolutely don’t think that was his only motivation in getting it. One thing I love about this show is that the characters have complex reasons for doing what they do. That’s what makes it so fun to discuss. I really like the distinction Spike makes between having something forced on you and choosing for yourself. I enjoy seeing him display some of his old fire and passion again after being so subdued recently. I like that he’s so angry about Buffy’s accusations and is ready to defend himself, even if he’s completely wrong, poor thing. I’m proud of him for taking it seriously and calling Buffy as soon as he realises what he’s done.

      Buffy’s Billy Idol comment is classic. I wish I could have seen that conversation! It’s interesting that in this scene Buffy refers to Spike as being hot for the second time this season. It’s not something she would ever express before. I do think that the bouncer’s assumption of Spike being her boyfriend and his portrayal of Spike-as-player ties back into the earlier Buffy/Spike argument. I think the way both these scenes are framed suggest that this is not just about the murders for Buffy. It’s also about her and Spike’s whole relationship, which is why I don’t think that Spike is necessarily off-base with his accusations of jealousy on her part. I think there is more than one layer of meaning there.

      Apparently JM had a lot of trouble with the licking of SMG in the basement. Like he just couldn’t do it and found it weird. Spike in game face stalking towards Buffy though? Wow HAWT. I’m serious.

      The next scene is beautifully done. Spike’s “Do it fast, okay?” line and the way he opens his jacket ready to be staked gets me right in the heart every time. Damn he’s pretty when he cries. I like that Buffy joins the dots about the song, Spike’s abrupt shifts in behaviour and his obvious bewilderment and despair over the whole situation. Smart girl. I do think she wouldn’t have hesitated to kill him if he had been willingly killing again.

      Spike has the courage to ask for help when he really needs it and Buffy agrees to, not just out of the practicality of Spike being useful in figuring out the Big Bad, but with compassion too. The image of Spike silent and wrapped in a blanket in her house is pretty striking.

  • mibamonster

    “Guys, if you are ever going to go to a Fear Factor cave to get you a soul, let it be for yourself and for no one else”
    Actual favourite advice, ever. Not that I’m looking for a soul, but good to keep in mind jic

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