PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS A SPOILER-RICH ZONE. If your diet requires you to dine on television spoiler-free ... good luck with that.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I Love Syphilis More Than You

Episode 4.3: The Harsh Light of Day. Original Airdate 10.19.99

"As Buffy gets to know a charming student named Parker, Spike searches for a ring that, according to legend, makes the wearer invincible."

Daniel's Thoughts:

  • Hey the Bronze!  Dingoes!
  • What is with Devin’s midriff shirt?
Not a great look, Devin...

  • Is the Bronze walking distance from UC Sunnydale?
  • I love Harmony.  “Big snake, huh?”
  • Good continuity considering the last we saw of Harmony was her getting bit by a vamp.
  • Hey Anya’s sorta…in the credits.
  • But yay! Emma’s first episode in season four!
  • Parker. Oh he’s good.  It’s the long con of sexual conquests.  How do you consciously pretend and lie for so long just to get a girl in bed?
  • Buffy, stop being so na├»ve!  AH hell, who am I kidding. I would have fallen for it too. (and have.)
  • YAY! Anya!
  • Devon and Harmony dated?  Nice retcon, right there.
  • Hey it’s Spike!  Yeah, I still like him at this point.
  • Hey, I've been to that frat party…
  • No one notices that that guy looks half dead?
  • Gem of Amara.  The stuff of legends.
  • Prime opportunity to stake Spike.  Missed. Why exactly?
  • I don’t like Anya’s dress but at least it’s easy to slip off.
  • Speaking of Antonio Banderas – rent The Skin I Live In.  Seriously.
  • “Behind me figuratively.  I’m thinking face to face for that actual event” 
  • Everything Anya says is awesome.
  • UGH – Parker is so SWARMY.
  • OH BUFFY, SO VULNERABLE. I mean…she can’t be buff Buff all the time…
  • It’s a montage! "Even Rocky had a  montage!" - From Team America!
  • Nice catch!
  • This episode gives me way too many college flashbacks.
  • Hey! Look how long it’s taking for Spike to burn up! How convenieeennnttt.
  • I want Buffy to be strong and realize Parker is an asshole and not worth her time but...the story is still realistic.

Zelda's Thoughts:

  • I'm still doing my Cher imitation. Turns out I'm really good/annoying at it! New skill for the resume!
  • Goddammit Willow. Pink sweater again. Why does the costume designer hate me. If I knew it was gonna turn into a thing I would have never started commenting on it, but now I can't let go of it.

  • Buffy's having lusty wrong feelings.
  • So I guess the Bronze, formerly a high school hangout, is now a cool college hangout? Just go with it!
  • Harmony's a vampire!  Yay? I like Harmony, but only in small doses. Too much, and she gets annoying. Like the Trio. And like her appearance on S5 of Angel.
  • I'm not even going to bother trying to track if Buffy's scar from Angel's bite will ever appear after this episode, because I doubt it.
  • "I'm dark and brooding, so give me love." YES WE'RE ALLOWED TO MAKE FUN OF ANGEL NOW. IT IS CANON.
  • It's the Xander and Giles Show! For men feeling useless and impotent in Buffy's life!
  • "You should lock your door." Anya, answered my question from The Freshman.
  • "I need to talk to Xander ... go away!" Emma Caulfield's delivery is flat-out flawless. I'm so glad she's back.
  • "And the whole you-used-to-be-a-man-killing-demon thing. Which, to be fair, is as much my issue as it is yours." This is why they're adorbs.
  • I love Anya because she wants to learn, she wants to do the human thing.
  • "Yeah we came to warn you about the angry puppy." Oz's little squint as he makes sure he's playing along to the correct lie.
  • Hey, Spike got himself a British vamp minion. Those have got to be rare in Southern California. Only the best for our Platinum Baby.
  • Spike's relationship with Harmony is confusing to me. How did they meet exactly? And whyyyyyy were they drawn together? I genuinely can't figure the circumstances. I mean, I sort of understand why they would hook up, I just don't know like ... how they would be thrown together? Spike would be looking for a rebound, someone who wouldn't take him for granted (and be certifiable). He clearly loathes Harmony, but finds her sexually interesting enough to keep her around. Harmony, meanwhile, has always been a follower, one to glom onto someone more powerful - first Cordy, now Spike. Harmony has low enough self esteem that I can see her staying with him even with how shittily he treats her. Spike seems to be staying with her more out of laziness? Watching their scenes together are sort of funny, sort of ... painful? It's an unhealthy relationship, but then so was Spike/Dru. But it's unusual for Spike, who usually gives himself entirely over to his partner, be it Dru or Buffy. Here, he's giving barely anything, except hostility. And his beautiful muscled torso, I guess.

  • Hah Buffy's face as she realizes Spike is dating Harmony.
  • I loves you James Marsters.
  • Harmony is the worst evil planner ever. "Let's tell Buffy our whole plan!"
  • A disco ball, Xander? Really?
  • Xander's juicebox had a premature ejaculation. Xander's juicebox really likes naked Anya.
  • Shirtless Spike is enjoyable. But Harmony is annoying.
  • Buffy, your shirt has no back. That looks kind of uncomfortable.
  • Yay "Lucky" is such a pretty song. Totally singing along the entire time. Out of tune. Guess my Bif Naked impression isn't as good as my Cher one.
  • Aw Buffy. It's sad because right now it seems like a nice morning after, but we know better.
  • "I love syphilis more than you." Does this mean Spike is in love with Xander?
  • d'aww Willow is a good friend.
  • Harmony's hair is gorgeous.
  • "A place which has witnessed some truly spectacular kickings of my arse." Man has a point. He's used to being a Big Bad, but Sunnydale just sees him get like paralyzed and burnt up and fun stuff like that. He really should never come back again except YAY HE DOES.
  • :( Sad Buffy Tiems.
  • I like the costume detail that Spike's nailpolish is always really chipped off.
  • "I thought maybe you'd look taller." Oh Harmony. No one on this show is tall. Except Riley.
  • Hi Katie Loomis! 
"I'm next!"

  • Parker, Resident Douchecanoe. His casual language "you'd like her a bunch," his complete lack of investment in maintaining any contact with Buffy now he's bedded her.
  • "Is that all it was?" // "What else was it supposed to be?"
  • Ugh. Ugh, Parker, ugh.
  • And poor Buffy, trying not to cry in front of him, she's confused and she's trying to be an adult but she doesn't play this way.
  • Hi Spike!
  • "Sun beaming down in a nice, non-fatal way. It's very exciting. Can't wait to see if I freckle."
  • Okay, here's what I like about Spike's incredibly crude taunting of Buffy's one night stand with Parker - I think it throws into harsh relief how much ALL THE BAD here is on Parker, and not on Buffy not being, what, mature enough to handle casual sex. She's still not all better right away (I point our attention to the forthcoming Beer Bad), but I think giving her those words, and not just Spike's face, to fight against, is a bit helpful.
  • "Maybe you made a mistake but that's okay." Yes, Buffy, listen to the wise Willow.
  • "He's a poop head." YES BUFFY LISTEN TO THE WISE WILLOW.
  • "I think you're missing something about the whole Poop Head Principle."
  • And we have three sad, rejected girls, walking the saddest walk of sad walks. Of course, Anya's is easily fixable, as that was mostly a misunderstanding. But both Buffy and Harmony need to realize their respective rejectors are Poop Heads (yes, I love Spike, but he's being a poop head in boyfriend terms).
  • I suppose I should also be deep and say something about the episode title, "Harsh Light of Day," which is about looking at things clearly, in bright light, with a sober mind. Buffy (and we) have been looking at Parker through loveydovey shades. And also Spike did that walk in the sunshine thing. (fittingly, his crossover ep on Angel is "In the Dark") But as far as final tableaux go, I find it interesting that all three women, facing the heartbreak of rejection, aren't making their Sad Walks in that harsh light of day, but in the dark of night. Yes, I know, Harmony's a vampire, blah blah blah. I'm just pointing it out.

Favorite Lines:

Daniel: “I have condoms.  Some are black.” - Anya
Zelda: "Everybody, Giles has a TV! He's shallow like us!" - Xander

90s Factoid:

This whole look from the lead singer of Bif Naked

Arc/Continuity Stuff:

  • Recurring: Devon, Parker, Harmony, Spike.
  • Harmony's a vampire now.
  • Apparently Devon dated Harmony. Was that before or after he dated Cordelia?
  • Dru dumped Spike again - she left him for a fungus demon this time.
  • Xander and Anya's first time.
  • Buffy uses her Sunnydale yearbook to try to track down Harmony.
  • Buffy and Willow live in 214 in Stephenson.
  • Sex with Buffy turns men evil. 2 out of 2 = proven statistic.


Oz's Hair - red
Anya's Hair - long, brown, and confusing
Dead Humans - 0
Dead Undeads - 0
Giles Unconscious - 0
Giles Cleans His Glasses - 0
Buffy Breaks a Door - 0
Evil Reveal - 1 (Harmony. Parker doesn't count.)
Unevil Reveal - 0
Shenanigans Called - 0
Apocalypse Called - 0


  1. Every time I watch this episode, I get mad at Buffy for falling for Parker's BS but then I remember that when I first watched this episode, I totally fell for Parker's BS too. I just always feel the need to protect Buffy in this episode because I hate it when she's all sad.

    1. I completely agree. I fell for Parker's BS too. (As I have for some real-life Parkers). I think it's this need we have for Buffy to be stronger than we are.

  2. Buffy's second time waking up to an empty bed after sex. :(

    On the bright side, it leads to a subtle moment I really love when she sleeps with Riley later on and is surprised that he's still there when she wakes up. Despite the lameness of that relationship, I adore that scene.

  3. I can't remember if I fell for Parker's act, knowing me I probably did. He was very convincing, the bastard has obviously spent a lot of time perfecting his act so it will work even on girls like Buffy who don't have sex with guys they haven't known very long as a general rule.

    I definitely get that we want Buffy to be stronger and not fall for it but I think the show wanted to have that scenario because it's so common, especially at university. So it's another way that viewers can watch the show, see a familiar scenario they may have experienced in their own lives and take comfort from the fact that Buffy got through it the way she always does.

    Oh and yeah I always found Harmony and Spike's relationship very odd and would love to see how they met.

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