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


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

I Think This Line's Mostly Filler

Episode 6.7: Once More, With Feeling. Original Airdate 11.6.01

"Sunnydale is alive with the sound of music as a mysterious force causes everyone in town to burst into full musical numbers, revealing their innermost secrets as they do. But some townsfolk are dancing so much that they simply burst into flames, and it becomes clear that maybe living in a musical isn't so great after all."

Daniel's Thoughts:

  • I love this opening.  It’s so old school musically.  Which Joss is a big fan of.
  • Emma’s face in the moon.
  • Oh, it’s so well directed!
  • Guest starring Hinton Battle!
  • Anya & Xander reading “tomorrow’s Bride” with an incredibly hideous Bridal gown on the cover.
  • The fights!  With the choreography!  It’s just so! So West Side Story!
  • Dancing Vamps! 
  • “How can I repay-“ “Whatever!” 
  • What a beautiful opening number!
  • “That’s still funny, sweetie,”  Anya’s a good girlfriend.
  • I love all the talk when they realize: Anya: "And we were arguing and, and then everything rhymed and there were harmonies and the dance with coconuts."
  • Xander.  Why are you theorizing?  HE KNOWS.  Yet, he blames it on witches. "It was very disturbing," he says.
  • IT COULD BE BUNNIES!  I love that the stage directions say, “Like Alanis Morissette.”
  • And Anya’s shirt btw?  Amazing cut.
Gives her flexibility to rock!

  • Buffy: It doesn’t matter because we will all solve it together!  That’s how we work!  Remember Glory? Her, apparently, either.
  • Hey I’ve died twice!
  • OMG Giles’ harmonizing is so awesome.  He has such a great voice.
  • Hugs & Puppies!
  • David Fury! They got the mustard out! 
  • “I gave birth to a pterodactyl” “Oh my God, did it sing?”
  • Not subtle, ladies. “The volumey-text”.  *eye roll*
  • Hey look, a real park! Location!
  • What are Tara & Willow wearing?  They’re like weird medieval fair geekiness.
Which way to the medieval fair, m'lady?

  • “I know what they see in me.  You.” Aww.
  • Under Your Spell is a sweet song that really shows off Tara’s head voice.  She’s not the greatest singer in the world but they really knew how to write for her.
  • Love the random dancers in the background.  Cause see? They're extras, so they're dancing in the background.  You don't see Willow & Tara dancing behind other people.
  • You make me commmmplete.  Subtle writers, subtle.  And ‘spread beneath my Willow tree?'  Yeah.
  • Also that that made it past the censors.  Go UPN.
  • “I think it’s romantic.” “No it’s not.”  What?  Why not?  Is it because they’re both women? Shut up Buffy & Xander. (I assumed they meant it wasn't romantic, people uncontrollably singing, based on Dawn's next line, but you're right, the context makes it ambiguous. Kind of like Black Widow's line about monsters in Age of Ultron - Z)
  • I mean, the guy burning up?  That’s actually pretty scary.
  • Anya’s hair, also.  The 1940s ‘do is amazing. And another Anya outfit win.
And I like Xander's PJs. Total win for the costume designer here.

  • Xander/Anya duet.  So well written.  I love the 40s wackiness of it.  The He Said/She Said of it.
  • “She eats these skeezy cheeses that I can’t describe.”

  • He’s so stiff when he dances.  Fred Astaire, he is not.  The choreography is wonderful.
  • They’ve really captured an amazing moment in time with this scene.
  • Xander's apartment looks even more like a set with the camera angles.
  • “When I get so worn and wrinkly that I look like David Brinkley.”
  • Hey a real street!  They really went on location for this one!
  • “Clearly our number is a retro pastiche….”  Well you did have your break away hit with the Bunnies part, earlier. 
  • Marti Noxon has a good voice!  We don’t get to hear the ending of this song, “hey I’m not wearing underwear.”  (It’s very light.)
  • And the sweeping guy!
  • “We pulled her out of a hell dimension.” NO YOU DIDN’T.
  • Anya patting Giles. Amazing.
  • Buffy has learned from her past drinking.
  • “What else would I want to pump you for.  I really just said that didn’t, I?” Ha.  Foreshadowing L
  • Spike’s face, when he realizes he’s singing.  So good.
  • James has got a pretty awesome voice, too.
  • SHENANIGANS!  Why is there a funeral at night?  I mean first of all.  Funerals don’t happen at night.  Second of all, this is Sunnydale.  Why would they go to a graveyard at night when it’s Sunnydale? (Because MUSICAL. - Z)
  • Dawn's right: Math always seems better when you’re singing about it.
  • Aww.  When Tara realize that Willow brain-raped her. (And a lot of people would argue, actual rape too…since Willow took away Tara’s ability to consent to the sex the night before – in the last episode.)
  • The ballet Dawn and the dummies do is really graceful and powerful.
  • Also, creepy dummies.  They give Buffy the wig.  Or maybe she got over that because of Sid.
  • Hinton Battle!  His make-up is awesome.
  • Oh man. I really want Joss Whedon to write a Broadway musical.
  • “I’m just worried this whole session’s going to turn into an 80s training montage”.  If only!
  • So glad that Anthony Head didn’t leave before this episode aired.  He’s so amazing in it.   And such a beautiful voice. 
  • Buffy’s stunt double is an amazing athlete.
  • Sarah’s a pretty good athlete, herself.  Her double might have to do a lot of work, but she still has to know how to punch and look like she knows what she’s doing.
  • I just realized….Tara’s shirt.  It looks like the one where she gets…spoilered.
  • And this duet.  Tara & Giles sound beautiful together.  It’s so sad.  They both realize what they have to do.  She sings a lot in her head voice, but I like her natural chest voice better.
  • The dummy sounds like Christian Slater.
  • “I’ve seen these underworld childbride deals.  They never end well.  Maybe once.”  Heh.
  • “Would you say it’s a breakaway pop hit or more of a book number?”
  • And I think this is my favorite song, "Walk Through the Fire".  And there really are so many amazing ones to choose one.  I love all of them.  But this one.  The melody; the message; the solo and the group parts.  Each line captures everyone’s personality.
  • “So I will walk through the fire cause where else can I turn?”
  • “I’m free if that bitch dies…I better help her out.”
  • “Beady eyes is right, we’re needed!”
  • And the imagery!
  • Every time a fire truck passes me (and it’s NYC so it’s often) – I start singing the end of this song. But not too loud, because, ya know, singing “let it burrrrrn” when a fire truck passes might be considered in some circles as insensitive.

  • “I think this line’s mostly filler.”
  • She needs back up! Anya! Tara!
  • The Bronze is looking extra special!
  • This song has a lot of verses….and it’s basically saying the same thing.  It’s a tad repetitive.  But here it is.  What she finally wants to tell everybody but could only do so in song.
  • And everyone’s faces when they realize that Buffy was not in a hell dimension…but safe in heaven.
  • And Buffy’s manic dance.  She’s so good.
  • And Spike to the rescue…ugh.  Couldn’t Giles catch her and stop her from burning up?
  • Ugh.  And this reveal, which Z and I are categorizing as an evil reveal, just feels like lazy writing.  Especially since it makes Xander a murderer.  Indirectly, sure, but his spell caused the death of at least one human that we know of which they don’t acknowledge.
  • Anya’s face when Xander says, “does this mean I have to be your queen.” Heh.
  • And I don’t know why Sweet didn’t go for it.  Would have saved a lot of misery.
  • The hand in hand choreography in “where do we go from here” is awesome.
  • And Spike’s the first one to have the spell wear off.
  • “Get your kumba-ya-yas out.”
  • Ugh.  Their first real kiss.  Spike & Buffy.  Kill me.
Danger, Will Robinson!

Zelda's Thoughts:

  • Why would Buffy's alarm go off at 7 if she has no job to get to? Or is it just to see Dawn off? Okay, let's go with that.
  • And see, Buffy's been apparently doing better, but she's back to apathy this episode. It's inconsistent and it bugs me. They all knew it was leading up to this ep, they should have planned better.
  • "She ain't got that swing" DOUBLE MEANING, DO YOU GET IT?
  • This is my favorite choreography:

  • I love that Buffy's I-want song is about how she doesn't have any wants.
  • Tara's pretty corset! Yay pretty corset. Willow's dress is dullish.
  • "Merciful Zeus!" // "We thought it was just us!"
  • "Well, I sang, but I had my guitar at the hotel ... that would explain the huge backing orchestra I couldn't see and the synchronized dancing from the room service chaps." // "And we were arguing and then everything rhymed and there were harmonies and the dance with coconuts." // "There was an entire verse about the cous-cous."
  • Aw man, Giles's first theory was so right.

  • And it's a cool subtle move - Buffy's "theory" is that it doesn't matter. The rest of the Scoobies (except Giles) takes it as an empowering speech that they can conquer anything. Giles sees that it's actually Buffy not really caring what caused it or why it's happening.
  • The Mustard Song. So absurd. So wonderful. And hi, David Fury!
  • "It's not just us."
  • "I'm a hair's breath from investigating puppies."
  • OMG NOT the parking lot! This calls for a shot!
  • Tara's so beautiful in this scene. And her voice soooooooooo pretty. TOO BAD HER HAPPINESS IS BASED ON A LIE. BAD WILLOW, BAD.
  • It's sad because Tara thinks she's making a cute joke, "I'm under your spell." But it's literally true, as she realizes in the reprise.
  • The dancing's kinda awkward tho, ngl
  • And more "Hey, we're on UPN now!" as Tara levitates.
  • That's some very fancy footwork. Sorry, tap dancing dude.
  • I love this duet!!!!!!!!!!
  • It's interesting, bc neither Xander nor Willow can really sing. But Nicky throws himself so fully into the number that it's still delightful.
  • Their PJs, so cute.
Best headline is best.

  • "This is my verse, hello!" LOVEEEEEEEEEEEE
  • Yeah my commentary here is not gonna be helpful. I'm just so happy. When each song starts, I'm like clutching my head in excitement.
  • "We could really raise the beam in makin' marriage a hell!" I love that line omg
  • Aw hi Marti Noxon! You sing your heart out.
  • Witness Arias. *snorts*
  • "The sun sets and she appears." mhm
  • And his face "wtf is happening aw goddammit ok FINE I guess I'm gonna sing out my feels let's do this"
  • I love this song I love this song. The choreography of it, so good.
  • I'd agree with Daniel about his shenanigan of the nighttime funeral, but it's a musical - all sorts of nonsense is happening. Giles had a huge backing orchestra and (something else). In other words,

  • Shenanigans! They dig six feet deep for graves, right? James Marsters is NOT six feet, and yet he's able to poke his head out easily over the top of the grave.
  • Man, I loved Tara's corset, but this yellow shirt is just super not flattering.
  • Oh man, Tara's face when she realizes. I have my issues with Amber, but she is GOOD this episode. This episode is why it took me a while to recognize her weaknesses as an actor.
  • Dawn's song sucked (deliberately so, and it was a fun little undermine to abduct her mid-song), but the dance is pretty delightful, a heightening even on the violence that is already heightened above reality in general on this show.
  • Fun trivia: The three Dummy Henchmen were the same three demons Buffy battled in her first song, and the three dancing with brooms during Giles's walk-and-talk with Xander and Anya.

  • This is the first scene I ever saw of Buffy ever. Excellent start. Hinton Battle is incredible in this song, and I love that they hired someone who could REALLY do song and dance so we could have a real number written for someone with the full skill set.
  • Plus we get more of Dawn dancing.
  • "I can bring whole cities to ruin, and still have time to get a soft shoe in." Love it.
  • ugh, what would this season have been if Tony Head didn't want to move back home? It doesn't fully make sense to me that Giles thinks the actual best thing for Buffy is for him to leave. Most people at Buffy's age are still semi-dependent on their parents, at least if they're still in college. He thinks he's standing in the way of her growing up, because he thinks she's just not dealing because she's not ready to grow up. It's actually about her depression. If he knew that, would he have stayed? Been her support as she worked through it until she came out the other side? God, poor Buffy. Things are about to get so much harder.
  • The camera work in this episode, it just makes sets we know, like Xander's apartment or the Magic Box, look huge and beautiful, rich with color and depth.
  • "Wish I could lay your arms down, and let you rest at last. Wish I could slay your demons, but now that time has passed."
  • "Wish I could stay." it's okay, I didn't need to be happy
  • Buffy's face. Realizing she no longer has Giles backing her up. All she has is herself, and she doesn't even feel herself. She feels hollow. She'll save Dawn, because it's Tuesday, but she doesn't have much of an opinion on it. It's her duty, but that's all it is.
  • This, guys. When this song happened, the first time I watched. My mouth was hanging open. I couldn't deal with how good it was. How much it was what I love about musicals. How much I suddenly cared about a character I didn't know. Because I didn't know who any of these people were.
  • Also hello to the beginning of my crush on Spike:
That's it, that's the moment.

  • "One by one, they turn from me. I guess my friends can't face the cold." Buffy feels more and more isolated. Maybe that's even the reason she tells them (aside from the power of the spell) - maybe if she lets them in, tell the truth, they won't turn from her. If they know why she feels empty, maybe they'll stop demanding from her and start supporting her. Oops, that didn't work.
  • "What if I kill you?" // "Trust me, won't help."
  • "She needs back up. Anya, Tara." IT'S SO CUTE. GO SING BACKUP, LADIES.
  • It's such a profound and sad request Buffy makes - here in this world where everyone's singing, she has nothing to sing about. "Where there's life, there's hope. Every day's a gift. Wishes can come true. Whistle while you work so hard all day." - just platitudes - she can say them but she doesn't believe them.
  • And here it is. "There was no pain."
  • "I live in Hell, 'cause I've been expelled from Heaven."
  • Buffy's so sad. Willow's breaking down. It's all out there now. And nothing's been fixed. So Buffy will keep dancing until she reaches oblivion again.
  • "Life isn't bliss, Life is just this - it's living." It's not much of a hopeful comfort Spike offers, but it is a pragmatic one - it's not always a joyful life, but you keep going anyway. It's the only way to heal.
  • Ugh this is such a weird cop out, to have Xander as the summoner of Sweet. I hate it. Because Xander WOULD have spoken up. Yes, he's done bad spell stuff in the past, but he came clean pretty quickly when things went wrong. The way he played dumb earlier when people are dying? Fucking bullshit. I think it's lazy writing. There are plenty of reasons to dislike Xander (I refer you to Daniel to elaborate),[He's the worst! - Britta] but this one feels cheap because it feels out of character - not the spell, but the lying about it until the end.
  • "The battle's done and we kind of won, so we sound our victory cheer: Where do we go from here?" - Giles's delivery is absolutely amazing, and the line itself - "kind of won" - I just love it.

  • I love it too, as far as what it means. They hold hands, they think they're connected, but this season is all about isolation, about them separating into their various pains. They walk alone in fear.
  • Spike invoked The Music Man. My kinda man.
  • "This isn't real, but I just wanna feel." Much like Spike, I missed the nuance of that line the first time, when I was deep in my shippingness.
  • ...I have issues

Hey, did you guys know there's a bunch of karaoke tracks on the dvd? We may have done all of them just now.

Favorite Dialogue Lines:

Daniel: "I've seen some of these underworld child bride deals and, and they never end well. Maybe once." - Anya
Zelda: "It was like we were being watched, like there was a wall missing in our apartment. Like there were only three walls and not a fourth wall and MY TOES ARE NOT HAIRY." - Anya

Favorite Musical Lines:

Daniel: "I hope she fries. I'm free if that bitch dies! I better help her out." - Spike
Zelda: "If my heart could beat, it would break my chest." - Spike

Favorite Song:

Daniel & Zelda:

Arc/Continuity Stuff:

  • Recurring: Giles, Tara, Anya's fear of bunnies, Dawn's kleptomania
  • Willow's theory is a callback to Season One's Nightmares
  • Callback to Xander's funny syphilis.
  • Tara's wearing the lethe's bramble that Willow used to wipe her memory because this show is super fucked up sometimes.
  • Tara now knows Willow's been messing with her memories
  • Buffy finally admits she was pulled out of Heaven, not Hell


Anya's Hair - honey-colored, messy in a ponytail before it's magically transformed into MGM musical curls
Dead Humans - 1
Dead Undeads - 3
Dead Flashbacks - 0
Giles Unconscious - 0
Giles Cleans His Glasses - 0
Buffy Breaks a Door - 1
Evil Reveal - 1 (Xander for summoning Sweet)
Unevil Reveal - 0
Shenanigans Called - 2
Apocalypse Called - 0


  1. 1) I love that your recap is basically just a transcription of the episode, because it's all so awesome.
    2) You guys keep complaining about Buffy's inconsistency with returning, but I always felt that was indicative of good days and bad days with her recovery.
    3) I love Xander and know you guys are not fans, but yes. Stupid, stupid Xander. There is a theory that he was lying and just covering for Dawn--it doesn't make much sense, but it's slightly better than the stupidity of him being quiet while people were dying.
    4) No shenanigans on why Buffy couldn't hear Giles' song during "Standing In Your Way"? Or on Spike attacking people during his song? Or on how, exactly, they defeated Sweet?

    1. 1) Yes and YES!
      2) I never got into the depression inconsistency conversation. I haven't really gotten into a crossfire with Z about it because it was something personal to me that I didn't feel like bringing up. BUt yes, you're right. There are good days and bad days; good moments and bad moments.
      3)Xander's a dick. I like that theory,but Dawn seems so adamant that she didn't do it. Dawn lies, yes. But I really don't think she was lying about this.
      4) I wouldn't put shenanigans about Giles' song - because musicals. People sing; other people don't hear them.
      4b) I missed Spike attacking people which should def. be a shenanigan. I have to watch that scene again.

    2. 2) Okay, I may have to back off on this point, but it was never made clear to me what was going on, and on first watch of this season, I was beyond confused about Buffy's arc.
      4) Yes, musicals excuse many things.
      4c) Sweet gave up because he didn't want to marry Xander (who would?) ... I guess. And because he knew he had accomplished his task of Ruining Everything. And because he knew the musical was done. And a good musical doesn't outstay its welcome.

    3. Sure. But then he'd leave you at the altar because a demon pretending to be him in the future told him it might not all end well.

    4. You have to read the subtext. He really left Anya because he was secretly in love with me. It was in a deleted scene.

    5. That's not canon, Paul. Just like the com-ix.

    6. 4) I just assumed that, since Buffy was doing a slo-mo, "80s training montage", Giles wasn't sharing "real" time with her as he sang.

      In the funeral scene, Spike throws folding chairs every which way, then grabs the priest and looks at him. He doesn't actually hurt anyone--and then Buffy intercedes. Maybe the intent wasn't there, so no chipgraine?

  2. Oh, and my favorite line, which I didn't get until the fiftieth watching or so since it was overshadowed by Marti Noxon: "I was able to examine the body while the police were taking witness arias." -Giles

    1. there's so many lines they sneak in, in this episode! There's the witness arias, the cous cous, the fourth wall line of Anya's that I ADORE.

  3. Also, true story: In 2007 I ran my first marathon, and my ipod broke. The only thing that got me through the last few miles was singing the entire song to OMWF to myself as I ran.

    1. Nice! I was definitely singing as much as I could remember this weekend when I was stuck under the hot air helmet at the salon.

  4. "And see, Buffy's been apparently doing better, but she's back to apathy this episode. It's inconsistent and it bugs me. They all knew it was leading up to this ep, they should have planned better."

    Eh... this is exactly pretty accurate from a real-world depression pov. There can be whole weeks of "good" days and then there's a whammy. Not sure if it was intentional on the writers' part, but at least the real world supports it.

    Great review, guys!

    1. Yeah. I should have spoken up on that front. My bad.

    2. Luckily, a lot of us are depressed! Er, I mean... I'll just--I'll see myself out.

    3. I'm going to apologize/address this in next week's post. Thanks for pointing it out, ignorance will get you every time!

    4. I'd even go so far as to say some of her displays of happiness were an act for her friends. Almost as if life were a show, and she were playing her part. ;)

    5. I'd hazard a guess that SMG thought the depression might wrap up sooner than it did, and played the "happy" stuff as more genuine than it actually was. Kind of like how JM acted like Spike wanted his chip removed instead of his soul restored.

  5. I love the "Some people-""-she will never learn" part too!

  6. "Shenanigans! They dig six feet deep for graves, right?....."

    Actually, many modern graves in the U.S. are around 4 feet deep.

  7. Firstly must say that without doubt this is the best episode of a programme ever. Aside from the Zander reveal (more about that later) it is literally perfect in every way.
    Every single song is brilliant. And agree that Dawn's, whilst very annoying, is perfect for the scene and for Dawn. Also, her dance is brilliant and she looks so sleek and slim rather than her ususal clumsy awkward self which must have been nice for MT.
    I remember when we saw a glimpse of this episode in the season preview and I just thought 'how ridiculous - I am going to hate this'. Well I could not have been more wrong.
    My favourite song is when Tara and Giles sing together. So beautiful and it just perfectly blends together.
    It is so amazing that the songs are excellent in their own right and so enjoyable BUT also they bring the plot forward and develop the characters further.
    Zander season one could have been forgiven but clearly this reveal is crazy…even if he summoned it in innocence he would totally have come clean after someone died.
    Love that your Spike moment is here. Ahh there are so many. Mine is quite random. When he is being operated on the table in season 4 and says "come on doc. You'll do me right" - So hot! Favourite moment this episode is before the line "you're scared…" when he "mmmhmmms".
    Future shenanagins - Anya looks so different in this episode than she does in the future flashback (oxymoron much) in season 7.
    I love that Joss made them all sing. Poor AH but makes it so realistic.
    I also am not quite sure what was going on with Willow and Tara's outfits and yes found it funny (odd funny) that their song had some serious sexual moments (the first time I watched it I was like "really - is this 'com…' thing just unfortuante wording) and yet was followed by that odd Buffy and Zander "no it's not," comment. It did seem slightly homophobic but maybe you are right with your explanation.
    Sorry this is all over the place. Love this episode. I still put it on out of sequence if I am having a bad day. Just genius.
    That's all

  8. apologies my need to get it all out meant that i spelt xander wrong repeatedly! i'm just cross with him for his silly spell...

  9. My favourite line, from Xander of all people:
    "Does this mean that I have to be your queen". Oh, the double entendre.

    "If my heart could beat it would break my chest but I can see you're unimpressed"

    Also, when Tara walks into the column and she and Anya start laughing. This is when they're Buffy's back up (haha) dancers.

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