PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS A SPOILER-RICH ZONE

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

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

I Am Aud

 Episode 7.5: Selfless. Original Airdate 10.22.02

"Anya grants a young woman's wish, and the violent and deadly act of vengeance leaves everyone stunned. Buffy must put aside her feelings for her friend and take action before more people die. Meanwhile, flashbacks depict how Anya became a vengeance demon, and Willow returns to college."

Daniel's Thoughts:

  • Omg, an Anya episode! I guess she was prepping in that last ep she wasn’t in.
  • Weird advice Dawn is giving Willow, “just assimilate,” basically. This says a lot about Dawn.
  • At least Xander seems worried about Anya. As does Buffy. Willow just kinda shrugs. Fuck Willow.
  • Oh man, my poor Anya. She’s gone a bit too far.
  • I love this fake language Anya & Olaf have made.
  • And all the bunnies in the house!
  • “You speak your mind and are annoying.”
  • So, in her human life, Anya liked bunnies and was charitable. I like that her rabbit-fear stems from a good time in her life ruined.
  • And here’s non-gelled Spike. Even in an Anya episode, we have to focus on crazy-Spike.
  • Ugh, First Buffy’s arm is on Spike. No touching! SHENANIGANS. They’re so inconsistent with the first and that’s one of the many problems with this big bad.
  • And here’s real Buffy.
  • I do like Willow is going back to college.
  • Tho, I’m surprised Willow even would say, “hey” to Anya when randomly seeing her. But, ya know, she wants to tell someone about getting back into college so I guess Anya will do.
  • Hey, does Willow actually seem happy for Anya? Weird.
  • You can see the blue screen getting ready to show something CGIish.
  • “Hide your babies and your beadwork!”
  • The dialogue in these flashbacks is just the best.
  • And I love the change in film when it focuses back on “Aud” and D’Hoffryn.
  • This history of Anya is so overdue. It’s so good.
  • Aww, Halfrek is so proud of her friend’s mass murder.
  • Anya looks really cute. I love her as a brunette.
  • Anya’s apartment is so full of antiques. I love it.
  • I guess? Willow is trying to help? She doesn’t understand Anya one bit – maybe if she tried earlier, this wouldn’t have happened.
  • Creepy CGI spider attacking Buffy is actually not bad.
  • Buffy only needs one sword, Xander.
  • “I have to kill Anya.” Whatever, such bullshit.
  • St. Petersburg! I was just there two weeks ago!
  • I have to admit, I’m enjoying Xander’s impassioned speech. I don’t agree with Buffy at all in this.
  • Though, she is right that she had to kill Angel and she did....eventually.
  • And I love so much that the fake message, “Kick his ass” from season 2 finally came back to bite Xander in the….well, ass, though Buffy never truly realizes it.
  • I really wish there was more of this Willow. I wish Drew Goddard wrote all the episodes. This is the Willow I can get behind. The one that cares more about herself and her immediate circle. Not the usual Willow who can’t let anyone else in.
  • “Buffy’s coming to kill you.” “She’s coming to try.”
  • Ugh, I don’t like this. I don’t like Buffy and Anya accepting that this is just “what we have to do”.
  • Oh man, the stab. When I first watched this, I thought that was it.
  • I love love love love that there’s a OMWF flashback that we didn’t see.
  • SHENANIGANS. I can’t believe how badly they got her hair in this flashback.

  • To be fair, her hair was all over the place in OMWF:
But the wig is still terrible and not even the same color.

  • Heheheheheh, and the prequel to the mustard song. “I’ll never get it out!”
  • And it’s such a fucking great song, too: “I’ll be his Mrs.”
  • It’s not just a great song, musically – but it shows just how much in love with Xander Anya was and why she was so incredibly hurt when Xander stood her up at the alter. And no one was getting that. No one at all.
  • “lame-ass made up maiden name.”
  • Oh that beautiful dress.
  • And then the jarring cut to Anya’s stabbed body. Just like the device used in “The Body” when Buffy imagines Joyce’s life being saved and then it jarringly cuts to her dead body.
  • “It’s like somebody slaughtered an Abercrombie and Fitch calendar” Heh.
  • And Anya is willing to die for this. Not just die, but have her soul taken.
  • And Hallie dies in such a horrible way.
  • “Never go for the kill when you can go for the pain.” Oh man, that’s such a good line.
  • And D’Hoffryn’s ominous prediction…. We all know how that turns out.
  • “What if I’m really nobody?” And that's Anya's real fear.  I can't wait til they explore that in the rest of the season. /sarcasm
  • And I really hate this piece of direction here. Xander has the final word and he walks away. Anya should be the one who walks away.

Zelda's Thoughts: 

  • You guys, I have exciting news. I just watched Magnolia for the first time, and I now understand the "respect the cruller and tame the doughnut" line in OMWF!
  • I'm so excited for this episode! So much awesomeness PLUS SINGING.
  • Dawn's little "do whatever anyone else does" instructions for Willow is absurd and doesn't seem that in character, but if we take it as a tonal set up for the theme of the episode, of Anya adopting new ideas and identities based on where and when she is, on whom she's with, then it makes a kind of forced sense.
  • But then Dawn says of Anya, "She should try acting like everyone else more," and it's tragic because even if the thesis is correct, that Anya builds her identity around other people, she's still the outcast, even among her "friends" (both demon and human, especially this season), no matter her attempts to assimilate.
  • I wonder why Anya stuck around to see the carnage this time. With both Ronnie the worm and Cordelia's wish in S3, she cleared out of the scene until she was pulled back in.
  • AHHHHHH THE FUN BEGINS. AUD AND OLAF AND ALL THE BUNNIES.
  • "Your logic is insane and happenstance, like that of a troll."
  • "You speak your mind and are annoying." See? She's always been this frank and she's always been a bit of an outcast. It has nothing to do with being a former or current vengeance demon.
  • Trivia: they intended to have the Swedish dialogue of Aud and Olaf dubbed in (comically out of sync), but then the actors were so kickass at actually learning it that they let them do it.
  • "But she'd see the sky when we were inside, and it'd make her so happy ... Now I see her."
  • So the First's agenda now is it wants Spike to ask Buffy for help - is that just to get him near her, where he can be activated with the song, and take her out of the equation?
  • Real subtle costume choice, First!Buffy wears white. Real Buffy wears black.
  • Both Buffys have the same little braid in the front because (more trivia!) this was SMG's wedding hair and she wore it like this the entire filming of the ep, which was right before her wedding.

  • Willow's actually pretty friendly and happy to see Anya on campus. I'm assuming it's more just her general good cheer about things going well in Willowland.
  • "Run! Hide your babies and your beadwork!" "The troll is doing an Olaf impersonation!" "Hit him with fruits and various meats." I just love it all so much.
  • "I talk to them but they don't talk to me, except to say that 'your questions are irksome, and perhaps you should take your furs and your literal interpretations to the other side of the river.'"
  • "My name is Aud." // "Perhaps. But Anyanka is who you are." The second man to whom Anya attaches herself, the man from whom she receives her new identity.
  • Aw Halfrek. You'll be dead soon and we'll kind of miss you.
  • Did I brag yet about seeing Halfrek (Kali Rocha) in Richard III with Peter Dinklage? Because that's a thing I did.
  • The shift is immediate. With Hallie, Anya was conflicted, guilt-ridden, worried and sad. Willow shows up and Anya brittles up, turns defensive and defiant, believing what she did was right, calling out the hypocrisy of Willow coming after her.
  • "I am a vengeance demon! Do you understand that?" // "No." // "Try. They got what they deserved." The desperate way she clings to that line, willing it to be true.
  • I don't know why, but the way Xander says, so frustrated when he touches the webbing, "aw sticky!" is hilarious to me
  • Our Buffy is the best Buffy. She throws the axe into the tree and kills the spider demon.
  • Aw Anya caused the Russian Revolution. And is a communist.
  • "You're talking about work." // "I'm talking about life. Vengeance is what I do, Halfrek. I don't need anything else. Vengeance is what I am."
She's like Georges Seurat, except with vengeance instead of pointillism.

  • TIME FOR ANOTHER AMAZING SCENE. You guys, I remember watching this episode the first time and cheering so damn loudly when Buffy bring up Xander's "kick his ass" from the S2 finale, re: Angel. YES BUFFY YOU CALL HIM OUT. YOU ARE THE LAW AND THE LAW IS NOT MOCKED.
  • Although I do have a small issue. I get that no one remembers what Giles learned in The Wish, that the way to undo the spell is to break the Vengeance Demon's talisman, not stab her through the heart, but everyone knows after Hallie failed to die in Older and Far Away. Why is it all "I have to kill Anya," and not "I have to destroy her talisman and take her out of the vengeance game"?
  • Here it comes! "I killed Angel." [everything stops] "Do you even remember that? I would have given up everything I had to be with - I loved him more than I will ever love anything in this life, and I put a sword through his heart because I had to."

  • Drew Goddard was such a gift to the writing staff.
  • "Someone has to draw the line and that is always going to be me."
  • "You get down on me for cutting myself off, but in the end the Slayer is always cut off." More set up for the season arc that (though we don't know it) is leading us to Buffy's sharing of the power, activating all the Potentials. Uh I mean spoilers and stuff.
  • Willow is actually behaving waaaaaaaaaaaaaay better than usual regarding Anya this episode. First she was friendly to her, then she didn't tell Buffy until she was sure, trying to reason with Anya first herself (knowing what conclusion Buffy would reach once she knew), and telling Buffy she can't go along for the fight. And then summoning D'Hoffryn, trying to find a way around this problem, a way out, that won't shatter all her friends.
  • "Xander, you've always seen what you wanted to." BUT SOON YOU WILL LOSE ALL DEPTH PERCEPTION. I'm a terrible person.
  • "Are there any friends of yours left you haven't tried to kill?"
  • Because the writers are cruel beasts, Anya doesn't get to finish "because I'm a vengeance demon" before she gets stabbed through the heart. (and Buffy's to blame. She gives vengeance a bad name.) (I'm so sorry, you guys.)
  • I know Daniel called it out, but I have to second how bad Anya's OMWF wig is.
  • OH NO MUSTARD ON MY SHIRT. HOW COULD YOU SERVE MUSTARD.
  • So, since they used David Fury and Marti Noxon for that bit, does that mean it's canon that the Mustard Shirt Guy is in a relationship with the underwear-less Parking Meter Gal? And that they live near Xander?
  • I remember when I found out they were giving Anya a flashback ep, hoping against hope that meant a new song AND THEN IT DID LOOK WE GOT A NEW SONG. And she's delightful.
  • "It makes financial sense as well."
  • GOD WHEN SHE'S IN HER WEDDING DRESS. SO HAPPY. IT HURTS.
  • In the commentary they talk about how important it was that, even though she gets impaled in demon face, when we cut back to her post-flashback, she's in human face.
  • "You know better than that, Buffy. It takes a lot more to kill a demon."
  • "Stop trying to save me, Xander!"
  • Okay so I am kind of remembering an interpretation of this fight that Buffy wasn't deliberately fighting with her all, that she wasn't actually intending to kill Anya, but to get Anya to stop. I'm willing to accept this read. (found it! Snark Squad)
  • "But I'm not sure if anyone's bothered to find out what Anyanka herself really wants." Good fucking question.
  • "Actually, funny historical sidebar -"
  • This is a great shift for D'Hoffryn - even though he's a demon, he's been kind of the cute and cuddly funny father figure demon. But with this, we see a line clearly drawn. He is not our ally, and he never will be. BECAUSE HE - AS A VENGEANCE DEMON - WENT FOR THE PAIN.
  • Such a harsh death for Hallie.
  • "What if I'm really nobody?"
  • Ugh, such a good Anya episode, you guys. Such amazing writing, such a good performance, such good arc stuff. TOO BAD THAT'S ALL WE GET OF ANYA THIS SEASON except for comic background stuff and the horrible OOCness of her and everyone in Empty Places
I couldn't find a good place for this gif but I love it and let's end
on a high note, shall we?


Crossfire!

D: It’s weird how much I liked Willow in seasons 1-3 and how much my hatred has grown for her since.
Z: The timing works out for Anya’s entrance, doesn’t it?
D: Yeah, I guess it does.

Favorite Lines:

Daniel: "I talk to them but they don't talk to me, except to say that 'your questions are irksome, and perhaps you should take your furs and your literal interpretations to the other side of the river.'" - Anya
Zelda: "Mrs. Anya Lame-ass-made-up-maiden-name Harris." - Anya

Arc/Continuity Stuff:

  • Recurring: Olaf, the First, UC Sunnydale, D'Hoffryn, Halfrek, "from beneath you it devours"
  • Allusions to Anya's predilections include trolls, bunnies, and economic philosophy
  • Shoutout to Dru watching the sky through the ceiling.
  • Willow has D'Hoffryn's amulet from when he gave it to her in Something Blue
  • Shoutout to that time Buffy tried to kill all her friends
  • Anya is no longer a vengeance demon
Stats:

Anya's Hair - brown, shoulder length, wavy, sideswept bangs (present day only)
Dead Humans - 0 (we're not counting the 12 frat boys or the guy in the woods, since that wish gets undone)
Dead Undeads - 2
Dead Flashbacks - 5
Buffy Breaks a Door - 0
Evil Reveal - 0
Unevil Reveal - 0
Shenanigans Called - 2
Apocalypse Called - 0

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