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


Monday, June 27, 2016

Aw Puppy!

Episode 7.2: Beneath You. Original Airdate 10.1.02 

"A giant worm-like  creature begins stalking a young girl [woman]. As the gang begins to investigate, they realize its appearance in Sunnydale may be linked to Anya."

Zelda's Thoughts: 

  • Another 2002 memory for you: I remember getting super excited when I found out the title, as I immediately thought of Buffy and Spike's conversation near the end of Fool For Love, when she says he's beneath her (echoing Cecily's reproof). Here, as with the title of Lie to Me, the title of the episode operates on a number of levels (Ronnie the worm, The First, and this callback)
  • Germany! Time for our Run Lola Run homage.
  • Bad move, sound mixers/foley artists. The Bringers shouldn't be making grunts. They're mute.
  • Heh. It's actually a fairly good bit of misdirection, planting the "from beneath you it devours" line - which is about The First and the Hellmouth - and then having the ep be about this big underground worm thing, and trick us into thinking that's the thing from beneath us, all devour-y.
  • Is Spike hunting rats a callback to Angel in that alleyway in Becoming?
  • "speaking for everybody who are me in the car" OMG I LIKE DAWN IN THIS SEASON I FORGOT I STOP HATING DAWN
  • Seriously, DB Woodside's delivery is amazing. The post-bastinada joke stuff. "No one ever knows what that thing is."
  • Can we go visit Giles (okay fine, we can visit Tony Head) in England? His place is very pretty
  • Gasp Spike is here. And he got his roots retouched. And his shirt is reeeeeally tight.
  • Oh look, Buffy kept Spike a secret and now everyone's mad at her. That's fun.
  • Hey Dawn and Xander, stop punishing Buffy. She's the one who got almost-raped and it's up to her how she handles her trauma. Stop judging her.
  • So we see later that Spike is not steady and sane, so what is this scene? Did The First leave him alone and let him focus? Or is he under the "Never Leave Me" thrall? We definitely see that he's preternaturally calm and collected in subsequent episodes when he's under thrall. But he's not trying to sabotage Buffy right now, nor is he about to go feeding, which hurts that theory. I can't really find a good in-canon explanation for this current bout of sanity, except to keep the viewers off-balance as much as possible.
  • And now I'm again mad at the writers for how they - many times this season - try to deliberately keep us off-balance by basically trolling us with lies. There's misdirection and then there's this shit. *glares at Giles and his chopped off head*
  • I wonder if Spike genuinely believes it was the three ghost-things in the basement that made him crazy or if he knows the truth. I mean, he doesn't know it's specifically The First who's been tormenting him, but he knows someone has, to the degree that he can't trust his own senses. Especially when it looks like Buffy or Dru. So I now have a follow up question - did The First find him right after his soul was restored, or only after he returned to Sunnydale? Did his guilt drive him a li'l bit bonkers and then The First jumped in to finish the job, or is it all The First? How did he get back from Africa anyway? Did he ride his motorcycle the whole way? Did he ride it underwater? Did he befriend the sea creatures while he did so? Are mermaids real, and if so, can they sing? SO MANY UNANSWERED QUESTIONS, YOU GUYS.
  • A+ to Dawn for being awesome and scary and protective of her sister.
  • "I can't say sorry. Can't use 'forgive me.'" Okay but you could maybe TRY STARTING THERE? IDK. JUST A THOUGHT.
  • I get the in-canon morality that the souled demon is not responsible for the un-souled demon's actions - it's how we were able to trust Angel again in Season Three. But like. Remorse is still a thing. As is apologizing. The writers can't make the attempted rape about Spike's feels, okay? It should be about Buffy's. It's her show, it's her trauma, and this is like the last we ever hear of it, on her end.
  • Man, this scene in the Bronze is a mess. All the "banter" about who used to date whom, who boned whom, feels really forced and awkwardly phrased and unnaturally placed and just flat out clumsy first-draft stuff, all for the purpose of landing on Nancy's joke about who hasn't slept with each other yet. The only bit I like is the Xander/Spike eye glance to troll the slash shippers. But the lead up is just clumsily done and it's not funny.

  • I do like when Anya's able to see Spike's soul. It's just a cool touch, and I love her reaction. "Oh my god. How did you do it? I can see you!"
  • Aaaaaaand Spike has snapped. Because his behavior now is definitely not that of remorseful soul-y Spike, or of out-of-his-senses Spike, or of preternaturally calm Spike. So is this thrall-Spike?
  • "You don't want to see [D'Hoffryn] angry. Trust me." Oh how right Anya was.
  • And then stabbing re-humaned Ronnie activates Spike's chip ... which seems to break him out of his bravado/thrall, and send him back into scattered wits Spike, full of nonsense and metaphor.

Also, I consider this a deliberate callback to the same move
 in Fool For Love

  • Oh look, more undelivered promise of awesomeness to come: "This? Just the beginning, luv. A warm-up act. The real headliner's coming, and when that band hits the stage, all of this ... all this ... will come tumbling in death and screaming, horror, and bloodshed."
  • The fact that Spike knows "from beneath you it devours" is confirmation that it's about The First, and not about Ronnie the Worm.
  • "I know this is bad, but it could be worse." // "Oh, it will be."
  • I don't care what the haters say, I love this final scene in the church. Such good acting from both SMG and JM. Really well shot too. 

  • "It didn't work. Costume. Didn't help. Couldn't hide."
  • "I dreamed of killing you. I think they were dreams."
  • Buffy's face when Spike mentions Angel, "He should have warned me." That's when she figures it out.
  • "And now everybody's in here, talking. Everything I did ... everyone I - and him ... and it ... the other, the thing beneath - beneath you. It's here too. Everybody." I remember spending so much time parsing this line, when the episode first aired. It sounded like there were three beings he was referring to, and I was sure one of them was The First, but what about the other two? And I connected it to Anya's bit about "I can see you" and my confusion as to why he was de-crazified earlier and I wondered if there was somehow some kind of personality split within Spike, and what that meant. Reading it now, it seems more clear - there's 1 - current remorseful Spike; 2 - The First; and 3 - "the thing beneath [Buffy]" - a direct callback to their conversation in Fool For Love - the thing beneath Buffy is the monster, the soulless vampire, the thing from which current crazy Spike now feels a sharp disconnect (his excuse for not apologizing about the near rape thing?). Spike still feels the monster inside him.
  • The other thing I keep thinking about is, Spike got his soul because "it's what [Buffy] wanted." He spent the last season and a half using Buffy as his moral compass, his lodestone, because he had no internal one. And he's always one who's been guided by his heart that way. But in order to be a man worthy of Buffy, his moral compass needs to come from within, and that's what his soul is supposed to be. But he's too broken to know how to use it yet, and The First is feeding on that. Basically Spike is just a hot mess right now.
  • "To be the kind of man who would nev- to be a kind of man." the way his voice breaks on that line, oof

Daniel's Thoughts:

  • Frankfurt Germany! This will be theme for at least a few more episodes, right?
  • This is about the same time as Alias and it’s no coincidence that this potential looks like Sydney Bristow, my other favorite kick-ass female hero.

Dead German Potential                            Sydney Bristow

  • Buffy nightmare! I wonder if she had a dream about the Istanbul girl.
  • From beneath you it devours…. Oooh.
  • More crazy Spike… ok.
  • Xander and Buffy talking about Anya being a vengeance demon as if…it’s not a problem…yet.
  • Wood is such a dork. I love it.
  • Hey, Willow is still in Westbury, England….in Giles’ MANSION. Man, his house is big. (I think that’s actually ASH’s house.)
  • Random woman walking her dog and she’s a dick because she’s all like, I shoulda gotten a cat. DOGS RULE, woman.
  • Nancy doesn’t even seem to care that her dog’s been eaten up.
  • Hey, Spike’s not crazy since this morning and he had time to peroxide his hair.
  • Why haven’t they Spike-proofed the house since he left? Since you know, he attacked Buffy.
  • I mean seriously, he got over his craziness pretty quickly.
  • “Something’s coming” - does he not remember speaking to all the big bads that weren’t actually there last week?
  • Seriously, Nancy, your dog just died.
  • Ooh, Dawn being over-protective little sis – I like it.
  • There’s really no reason Buffy would be working with Spike right now. Not just because of what happened last year.  He's been MIA all summer and she just saw him acting all crazy-pants in the school basement.
  • Why is Spike lying? Why not just tell her? He did this for her. And maybe it would make her less scared of him – to know that maybe he’s not a threat anymore.
  • FLIRTY NANCY. YOUR DOG JUST DIED. I like the actress, though, she’s kinda funny.
  • She’s kinda too pretty for Xander, though.
  • What is with Anya’s clothes this season? She’s dressed like an old woman.
  • Anya:

I think my grandmother had this blouse

  • Awww, Puppy! THIS IS WHY ANYA IS MORE AWESOME THAN NANCY (OR ANYONE ELSE). She’s upset about the puppy. Seemingly the only one.
  • Oh, yes, Anya knows! She knows about Spike! It’s such a great revelation.
  • Dude, Spike punching Anya. Not cool. Why is Xander not doing anything? What the hell?
  • Hey, Buffy is defending Anya’s honor. That’s nice. Fucking Xander.
  • And here’s what’s weird. Angel and Angelus are such polar opposites. But Spike is just no different from err…soul-Spike. William? Nah, still Spike.
  • “Sooner or later, that excuse stops working”. No, it doesn’t, Xander. That “excuse” started it all; started her on a downhill spiral and it won’t stop until it’s fixed. You, asshole.
  • Hey, naked guy!
  • Man, more crazy Spike. (bored now.)
  • Hey, now Xander is actually being kinda nice to Anya. That’s new.
  • Hey, remember those few years in the early 2000s when girls wore these like lingerie type shirts? Glad that’s over.
  • Well I’m glad this wasn’t stretched out too much. I’m glad Buffy knows that Spike has his soul.
  • Hugging a cross….sizzling but not burning up like another vamp would…

[context: Zelda recently went full-Khaleesi with her hair]
Spike: *shows up with freshly-bleached hair*
D: (to Z) And it took you six hours to peroxide your hair?
Z: Yes, but for roots it would only take like an hour and a half.
D: So he had time after being crazy this morning.
Z: Yes.
D: And apparently stopped by H&M as well.
Z: And they didn't have his size so he bought smaller.

Crossfire, Part Deux!
Nancy: *hits on Xander*
D: Your dog just died!
Z: It's not like her husband just died!
D: No, it's worse!

Favorite Lines:
Zelda: the final scene. not a particular line, just the whole scene, acting and writing.

Arc/Continuity Stuff:
First appearance: "From beneath you, it devours"
Recurring: potential and bringers, Principal Wood, Giles
Shoutout (the second) to Principal Flutie

Anya's Hair - brown, retro flip
Dead Humans - 1
Dead Undeads -0
Dead Potentials - 1
Dead Doggies - 1
Dead Flashbacks - 0
Giles Unconscious - 0
Giles Cleans His Glasses - 0
Buffy Breaks a Door - 0
Evil Reveal - 0
Unevil Reveal - 0
Shenanigans Called - 0
Apocalypse Called - 0

1 comment:

  1. I detest Crazy Spike. I detest "Sensitive he has a soul now Spike" I super detest Season 7 Spike in general. This season just felt like one big fanfic about the lurve between Spike and Buffy at the expense of all of the other characters.

    I think I could have stomached a relationship between them better if season 6 hadn't happened and especially the attempted rape hadn't happened. As it is, it was a horrible decision, if the writers wanted a relationship between Buffy and Spike, to include the rape and then give him a soul to make up for it. Horrible and irresponsible decision.

    If they wanted to include the attempted rape, Spike should have gone full blown evil. If they wanted him to remain a good guy, the attempted rape should never have happened.