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


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

One Down

Episode 6.20: Villains. Original Airdate 5.14.02

"Enraged after Tara's death at the hands of Warren, Willow turns to the Black Magics to exact her revenge."

Zelda's Thoughts:

  • Last episode and now this episode have these scenes that feel unnervingly realistic, and not our accustomed heightened reality - the attempted rape scene, and here the EMTs running to Buffy, prone on the grass and bleeding. Banally utilitarian in soundscape.
  • And then we have Willow conjuring Osiris. This will end well.
  • And Buffy's completely in shock, blinking with a slightly confused expression. Not even crying in pain.
  • "How is this natural?" That line kills me.
  • Oh look now Tara's NOT in the credits. *growls*
  • "Think they'll let my aunt bring me my discman?" 2002, LADIES AND GENTS!
  • "Sure, he's a nice murderer who keeps his word."
  • Oh the demon bar. I'd forgotten all about it.
  • "I was gonna eat you myself during the commercial." I love this. It's just so ... the humor of the mundane.
  • I love that Anya , with her vengeance demonsense, knows something has happened. She knows Willow's a live wire.
  • I love this image of Willow absorbing the text into her skin. One of my favorite effects on the show. 
So cool.
  • Oh god, poor Dawn. Why didn't Xander try to call her at school, get her to the hospital? She has to find Tara like that.
  • Ugh a scene of Rack and Warren. Everyone here sucks.
  • Warren's vanity knows no bounds. He assumes the demon world gives a shit about his little heists, would even have heard of the Trio (great name there, bub), and they just don't care. They recognize real power, and they know what danger looks like, and it doesn't look like Warren in a popped collar.
  • Buffy's flatlining. Does this count as a third death?
  • "It's so small." Such good acting from AH. I think other people would want to infuse it with vulnerability, but she's completely detached. It's surprise, a scientific curiosity. But the only space she has left for emotions is the cold fury reserved for Warren.
  • Here's how you know Willow's full to the brim with dark magic: even her eyebrows are black.
  • So. It's a well done trick of Warren's, infusing his bot with his essence to trick Willow. But it does lead me to ask - did he have Warrenbot just lying around, just in case? I don't believe he had time to build one that quickly, so it had to already exist. And if he had a robot self lying around, why didn't he use his double for any of his heists? [Maybe it's reserved for sexytime? -D] [Now I want that "threw up in my mouth" gif again ...-Z]
  • "I didn't want to leave her alone." God, poor Dawn. She's just been sitting here with her. "I don't understand."
  • "Being a Slayer doesn't give me a license to kill. Warren's human." // "So?" // "So the human world has its own rules for dealing with people like him." // "Yeah, we all know how well those rules work." // "Sometimes they do. Sometimes they don't. We can't control the universe." It's helpful when Buffy - and the show - reminds us of the lines of morality here, the difference between fighting supernatural evil and vigilantism.
  • Did Clem really just yell "suffering cats!" as an expletive! Isn't that like humans yelling "spaghetti"?
  • Clem has a point. How many crypts are wired for electricity? Smart to squat in Spike's place.
  • Look you guys, Spike drove his motorcycle to AFRICA. THE COUNTRY OF AFRICA. (Update: apparently he's in Uganda)
  • Willow coming back up from the axing, so terrifying and awesome. 
(Thanks Lucas for making the gif!)
  • "It wasn't personal, that's all." // "Well, this is."
  • "You are really asking for it, you know that?" wow his shitbaggery knows no bounds.
  • "Because you deserved it, bitch!" Seriously, why does comics Amy hook up with this sexist piece of shit? I get that she's gone evil, but he's evil AND a misogynist.
  • Also I'm pissed he gets saved in the comics. Fuck that shit.
  • Oh god, so two things from when I first watched this episode. When she said "Bored now," I gasped. I got chills. I may have screamed. It's such an amazing and horrifying callback to VampWillow from The Wish. So concise and horrifying (and rewarding for fans with a good memory - and even a nod to when Angel hinted that our evil selves aren't so far away from our human selves as we'd like to think). Thing 2 - Actually seeing Warren getting flayed traumatized me.
  • But this episode was awesome, you guys. Such an amazing and unexpected move to make with her character, and yet completely grounded because the writers did the prep for this years in the making.

Daniel's Thoughts:

  • Ambulance at the Summers house brings back memories of Joyce. But they’re here for Buffy, not Tara. Because Xander called 911 and Willow did not.
  • Except…I don’t exactly blame Willow. Tara isn’t dying, she’s already dead.
  • But…here’s the beginning of dark Willow.
  • Annnnnd Tara is gone from the credits.  Remember that one time she was in the credits. Fuck you, Joss.
  • Discman! 90s/2000s reference.
  • Ugh, everything about the trio makes me sick.
  • Why exactly does Warren think he’s so indestructible walking into a demon bar?
  • I was gonna eat you myself during the commercial, but now I think it'll be more fun to let the Slayer de-gut you.” – Random vamp because he's 100 times smarter than Warren.
  • Anya’s outfit is adorable.
  • The effects here – the words draining into Willow’s hands and body – so awesome.
  • And apparently all the magic makes her voice deeper?
  • Dawn finding Tara dead…
  • UGH, Rack. Although Rack>Warren any day. [It's a slim margin, but ... yes, 100% - Z]
  • Xander is watching the surgery? Is that a thing that can happen? Meredith Grey tells me it cannot.
  • It sounds like Buffy flat lined – even for a moment before Willow took the bullet out.  I know that wouldn't call another Slayer but it should be addressed.
  • OK, so Warren made a Warren-robot. Sure. So I guess Rack put his ‘essence’ in the robot? Eh, ok. Sorry, just figuring all that out.
  • Ha. Meanwhile, through all this – the bus and all its passengers are just hanging out.
  • This looks like the road at the end of Chosen.
  • Dawn didn’t call 911 either…Poor Dawn.  Another mother-figure gone.
  • And finally someone called the coroner.
  • They do mention that the police were there but we don’t see them. There’s a lot missing. I mean, did they tell them that Buffy was shot too…and there and ok? Did the police put an APB out on Warren?  Did they question Buffy and Xander as suspects?
  • Buffy keeps arguing for not killing Warren – since he’s human – but it’s interesting that everyone else is arguing against her.
  • Maybe we should go to the magic shop for a spell. (also maybe we should check in on Anya? You know – the one you say is your friend?)
  • Creepy finding-spell with the blood on the shirt and all.
  • Mmm. Bugles. I wonder if those still exist.

You know you guys did this, too.

  • If this were a few years later, Spike would totally have Netflix.
  • The demon that Spike seeks has cool glow-in-the-dark eyes. I so want my eyes to be glow-in-the-dark. (for science...)
  • It’s really weird that Anya’s been a vengeance demon for a while now and Xander’s just now realizing it.
  • “When?” “When do you think?”
  • Wow, axe in the back.
  • “Axe not gonna cut it.” Oh, Willow. Now that you’ve gone all dark-super-villain, you have to be with the puns. [I ... actually didn't catch that that was a pun. I'll show myself out. - Z]
  • Hey it’s Katrina! Dead Katrina!
  • Damn, all the men in this episode are having fun with the B-word.
  • Wow, Warren has a really hairy chest. It’s like a sweater.
  • Man. What happens to Warren? From the bullet torture to the lips sewing to the skinning…Probably the grossest death in Buffy-verse history. This is like horror movie death. And yet? No one has deserved it more.

It's like something out of Hellraiser

  • Oh man, it’s just so horrific.
  • One down.


Z: Did the screen actually say where they are?
D: No. Where are they?
Z: Africa.
D: How'd he get to Africa?
D: I always assumed that it was some tribe in southern California or New Mexico or something.
Z: Yes, Sunnydale - in addition to its airport, train station, bus depot, amusement park, docks - has an African village.

Favorite Lines:

Zelda: "I miss Ferris Matthew. Broadway Matthew, I find him cold." - Andrew. It's funny because it's true.
Daniel: Xander: When? Anya: When do you think? 

Arc/Continuity Stuff:

  • Recurring: Final appearance of Tara (in corpse form) ;(, The disintegrated Trio, the demon bar, Rack, Clem, Katrina, DARK WILLOW
  • Xander and Buffy know Anya's a vengeance demon now 


Anya's Hair - blonde, ponytail, sideswept bangs
Dead Humans - 1 (even if this gets undone by the comics)
Dead Undeads - 1 (Warrenbot)
Dead Flashbacks - 0
Buffy Breaks a Door - 0
Evil Reveal - 0 (We're not counting Willow because it wasn't a surprise reveal so much as a plot development)
Unevil Reveal - 0
Shenanigans Called - 0
Apocalypse Called - 0

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Metaphor Balls of Misogyny

Episode 6.19: Seeing Red. Original Airdate 5.7.02

"Willow and Tara wallow in their togetherness [wtf is that phrasing? - Z], but things aren't as happy everywhere else. Buffy has to face both Xander and Spike, whilst tracking Warren and Company to foil their next move."

Daniel's Thoughts:

  • Aww, look how happy Tara and Willow are! THIS WILL LAST
  • Pretty risqué for 2001, showing Willow and Tara in bed together post-coital and kissing. They came a long way from just a couple of years ago when they couldn’t even kiss.
  • I like Tara being all wise.
  • It’s sad knowing Tara will never leave that house…
  • Ha. Even Dawn knew about Buffy/Spike before Willow.
  • Poor Xander? No. No, Dawn.
  • Oh man, I love this Indiana Jones – Last Crusadeness of this scene with the buzzsaws. Nice reference for the nerds. And what great visual effects for the time.
  • “We need to get Warren and the others before anyone else gets hurt.” You know, like someone in this room being shot and killed.
  • Yay! “He’s a man, look no further.” Heh.
  • Oh man, Anya is so bitter. It’s so sad. But it’s also so funny. And the show cuts her off…because that was gonna continue for a while.
  • Scary looking cockroach demon. Gross.
  • Vodka-Blood, the brunch drink of vamps. I dig it. But really, why is Dawn there?
  • You know, for once I’m on Spike’s side. I think everyone’s mad at him because of their own dumb reasons.
  • Why is everyone all, “how could you do that to her?” Nothing? They were just sleeping together. And Buffy was the one who broke it off.
  • Spike assumed Buffy didn’t care. He wasn’t doing it to hurt Buffy. He was doing it to feel better. Why on Earth can’t he sleep with someone else when Buffy rejected him? And it’s not like Anya is Buffy’s best friend or anything. It’s not like he slept with Willow. Or Xander – (I’ve read slash on that last one.)
  • They’re all so gross – the trio. Such tiny annoying little boys. They can’t even trust each other.
  • Xander opens door, says nothing. Me: Shut up, Xander.
  • Buffy: “She loves you….you know that.” I think on my first watch, at this point, I really thought Anya and Xander would get back together. Even though I hate Xander (and my hate grew upon rewatch after rewatch), I just wanted Anya to be happy.
  • But also, again, Xander seems more upset about Buffy than Anya. Which, another reason why I hate him so much.
  • Buffy: “Xander, what I do with my personal life is none of your business.” DAMN RIGHT.
  • Ugh, Now Xander is walking alone to a sad song. You don’t deserve the montage of sad song walking, Xander.
  • Xander: It’s a good thing I’m part fish. YOU WERE AT ONE POINT!
  • Warren gains ultimate power and…he uses it to hit on chicks… And also somehow thinks that’ll help.
  • Oh no, I actually forgot this part happens in this episode. Damn it, Spike.
  • And this, retro-actively is why I can never root for Spike. This, among other things. But this is just way too upsetting to watch.
  • Andrew’s drink. Tell me again how he’s …ahem, heterosexual?
  • Ok, I guess it’s not about hitting on chicks….and more about getting even with bullies. Sad but kinda reasonable. But also really sad.
  • Who barges into someone's bathroom with accusations? (Xander does.)
  • Yeah, blame it on the chip, Spike.
  • “You really have a problem with strong women, don’t you?” Yeah, you nailed it, Buffy. That’s exactly who Warren is.
  • That roller coaster looks awesome. I wonder where that is.
  • So this is an interesting turn of events. Why is Jonathan helping Buffy?
  • The sight of Andrew jetpacking into a ceiling and falling to the ground is amazing.

  • Aww, Tara’s shirt is cute. I hope it doesn’t get stained with something.
  • Oh geez. That’s good aim. Right through the heart.

Zelda's Thoughts:

  • Ugh. Must we?
  • Oh but look how sweetly it starts, with Willow and Tara all snuggly
  • Ah, Willow finally noticed the Spuffiness of S6
  • So um. I get that it's funny when Tara just tells Willow bluntly "they've been sleeping together," but she chases it with "I promised her I wouldn't [tell]" but ... it's okay to tell now? Way to keep the secret, Tara.
  • "She probably really needs someone to talk to." Yeah friendshipness!
  • Awwww Dawn ships Tara and Willow more than the internet even. It's really cute and sweet.
  • It's also heartbreaking, of course, because we know Tara's become one of Dawn's mother figures and she's already had two of those die on her and number three is coming soon to a television near you.
  • Buffy's leather jacket is way looser than I believe she'd wear, if not for the upcoming stunt action with the buzz saws. It needs to be believably far enough away from her skin when it gets sliced across the front.
  • "We'll stop." // "Oh you better not!" Dawn's ship is sailing!
  • Aw Anya. So mad she can't even hear her mark start wishes.
  • Sometimes I wonder if it was scenes like Jonathan in the giant demon skin suit that drove Danny Strong to become an award-winning screenwriter.
  • JM's acting the hell out of this scene. His voice is so small and controlled, knowing if he were to try to speak at full volume he might break.
  • Hey Dawn, what you're doing right now? It's not fixing things. Also hey Spike, what you're now thinking about doing right now? It will really not fix things.
  • Look, you guys. The Orbs of Nezzla'khan aka METAPHOR BALLS OF MISOGYNY.
  • Xander needs to stop being a shit and start being supportive of his friend, and not slut shame her.
  • "You could have told me." // "You didn't want to know." EXACTLY. "What I do with my personal life is none of your business." ALSO EXACTLY. I'm so impressed with how gently she's handling this conversation, considering how shitty her "friend" is being to her.
  • Man, this shot of Sad Anya dusting the shop is reminding me just how pretty the Magic Box set is. Just in time for the show to demolish it, just to hurt me.
  • I'm impressed Tara actually seems to have bedhead in this scene. I thought that was anathema to TV women unless they're making a deliberate joke about it.
  • Warren's motivations are always so transparent. He sees a guy who made him feel emasculated years ago, and that's who he zeroes in on.
  • Fuck. It's the bathroom scene. I don't want it.
  • So, most of the fans know now that this plotline came out of a story one of the female writers of the show told the others, of trying to force her soon-to-be-ex into sex in order to save the relationship, and ... it just doesn't work in the translation. It's just. I can barely watch this. Buffy struggling. Spike spidering over her, all in black. The weird, wide, far away shot alternating with these intense weird close ups. She's weeping, he's tearing at her robe, THIS IS NOT OKAY. It's not a sad desperate last attempt at reconciliation, especially not how it's played here. It's attempted rape.
  • At the time this aired I felt incredibly betrayed - though not by Spike, by the writers. This felt so far out of left field, so out of character with what we'd been dealing with, even with his consent issues we've seen earlier. It's obv on a different level than the out of character stuff that happened for the sake of the joke in The Zeppo, but it makes me distrust the story, when I see the characters behaving differently than I think they should.
  • And then of course we'll see that the writers mostly used that moment to further Spike's story and his redemption, and give nearly no time or space to Buffy, who is not only our protagonist, but the victim of the attack and the one who more deserves our sympathy. It was a misstep in every possible way, this plot development. There are other ways to drive Spike off to "Africa" to get his spoiler.
  • I don't know if there's any good way to discuss this scene/plot. It's one of the biggest mistakes the series made, and it's revealed a lot of toxic rape apologist bullshit and victim blaming in the fandom. Love Spike and Spuffy though I do, there's not a way to make this scene okay. I barely know how to begin to talk about it, and I don't really feel like I'm even close to the person who should try.
  • It should also be noted that Buffy's being victimized by Spike is what will lead Xander to "forgive" her for her relationship with Spike. So yeah he's doing GREAT this episode.
  • Oh look, Spike's the one having traumatic flashbacks of that time he attacked someone. I mean, what even?
  • Clem is here to attempt to rescue this episode. He's got hot wings!
  • "It isn't supposed to be this way. It's the chip! Steel and wires and silicon. It won't let me be a monster, and I can't be a man." Gosh, no wonder JM thought Spike was going to get his chip taken out instead of his soul installed. I get the writers wanting to red herring us for the finale reveal, but it's a disservice to mislead the actor too. I think JM could have handled the ambiguity but instead he's playing the chip stuff pretty hamfistedly.
  • "What's the matter, baby? You never fight a real man before?"

  • I like how this scene really snaps Jonathan out of it (took him long enough, but still). It's Andrew screaming "Kill her!" that finally wakes him up to what they're doing.
  • The fact that Warren thinks he's smarter than Buffy is also hella laughable.
  • Not a big fan of the queerbaiting with Andrew's crush on Warren. Just commit to it, writers. Gayness isn't a punchline.
  • Spike's on his motorcycle trip to AFRICA.
  • Man. We're approaching magic bullet time. THIS WOULD BE SO EASY TO FIX, YOU GUYS. Either move Tara closer to the window and fix the bullet hole trajectory, or move Willow and Tara to the kitchen before Warren's gun goes off. It's just such bad physics. I just don't get why NO ONE CAUGHT THIS during production. Put them in the damn kitchen. Problem solved.
  • Much like S4, S6 has seen our Scoobies not communicating. We're reconciling just in time for Willow to go dark.
  • We just remembered that Tara finally made it into the opening credits for this ep (neither of us were paying attention at the time), as one final troll from the writers before they killed Tara. Fuck you, writers.

  • I remember a lot of rumors about Tara's demise were circulating, and I think the episode itself even leaked early online. Then Steven DeKnight, the author this ep, went on the message boards, all "Guys, come on, we wouldn't kill Tara!" He's a lying liar who lies.


Warren: Oh, Relax. All right, you'll each get a whirl, soon as I'm done playing with them.
Daniel: With his balls.
[Daniel and Zelda giggle like middle school boys]

Favorite Lines:

Daniel: "And then you get all excited with the tingly anticipation, but wait! Not so fast! There's the apocalypse, and the back from the grave, and the blah blah blah blah blah, and by the time you're finally standing there in that beautiful expensive white dress you've dreamed about ever since you became human, he's gets all heebie-jeebie and decides, "you know, I'd rather just go steady."" - Anya
Zelda: "I got hot wings!" - Clem

Arc/Continuity Stuff:

  • Recurring: the Trio, Clem
  • Sunnydale has an amusement park


Anya's Hair - pin straight, blonde, shoulder-length
Dead Humans - 1
Dead Undeads - 3
Dead Leather Jackets - 1
Dead Flashbacks - 0
Buffy Breaks a Door - 1
Evil Reveal - 0
Unevil Reveal - 0 
Shenanigans Called - 0
Apocalypse Called - 0