BSV Forum - General - Episode Discussions

Once More with Feeling: Episode Discussion

Dec 12 2008 08:37 pm   #1sosa lola

- I don't remember but did Willow take the herb to bed after she used it? And if the incident of "forget" had happened a week or days ago, shouldn't Tara have found the herb earlier?

- "Just hoping no one knows" and then "Thanks for noticing" contradict each other. She acts happy and peppy so no one would notice how miserable she is, but she's thanking the vampire for noticing her lousy swing. Unless, she doesn't mind strangers to notice, as long as they're not her friends, because if her friends knew they'd suffocate her with love and care and strangers would just notice and that's it. She's glad that someone noticed that she's off, making her feel that someone was at least paying attention to her suffering.

- "Alive" expresses exactly how Buffy feels, she doesn't like misery or look for it –which I've heard before in discussions- she wants to be alive, be that happy girl again, but she can't help her inability to be other than miserable. 

- XANDER: Respect the cruller. And tame the donut!
Anya passes by en route to the counter.
ANYA: That's still funny, sweetie.

Who says that Anya never feels embarrassed by Xander's silliness?

- Giles now stays at a hotel? It's obvious his stay is temporary. It's weird that Buffy never thought about that.

- It's also weird that the Scoobies didn't discuss the weird music when they had arrived at the Magic Box or never jumped to the phone the second it happened at called each other.

- Xander is the only one, other than Buffy, who seems troubled –he repeats "it's disturbing" twice- and he's the one pops up with the questions about the whole singing bit. And the one who's determined about it not happening again and they should stop it. Do you think it's deliberate on Joss' part so we won't suspect that Xander is the one who summoned Sweet? And how can you explain that from a character's point of view?

- I love when a character guesses right We have Buffy guessing that Kathy is a demon in S4, Xander guessing that the Lunch Lady at school is the one behind the death threat in S3, and now Giles guessed that a dancing demon is behind it… if only we have Willow guessing the big bad right and then complete the circle with the core four.

- Willow's guess is a call back to Nightmares when they were stuck inside Billy's dream.

- Then Xander insists that they should work it out, and then blames witches. It takes amazing self-control to hide the truth in a song about guessing "who's responsible," especially when the magic is about them singing their hearts out.

- Some fans like to believe that Dawn summoned Sweet and that Xander was covering for her to save her from being taken to hell. However, this falls flat, because Dawn steals the necklace after the singing started to happen.

- I love the confidence Willow builds inside of Tara, she really deserves that song Tara sings for her. Tara came out of her shell and developed into a confident young woman because of Willow's love and support.

- Some assume that Xander and Buffy's parental "No, it's not" to Dawn's fond comment about the romantic idea of Tara and Willow having sex is about the whole gay issue. But I think it's more about the sex thing, and them not wanting Dawn to make stupid choices because she thinks sex is romantic.

- ANYA: You don't have to go to work?
XANDER: Nah, I shut the crew down for the day.

It's cool that Xander gets to have his own guys and be their boss as the age of 19–seeing as he got promoted since The Replacement- seriously, who would have thought that Xander would be more successful at a very young age… Cordelia would kill herself if she knew.

- It's apparent that both Xander and Anya love each other, but both of them are scared about the whole marriage thing. They dislike some aspects in each other –point me to a couple who doesn't- and they're insecure about their capability to make the other happy. For Anya, she's afraid when her beauty fades, Xander will like her less. For Xander, he fears that the money he earns isn't enough to satisfy Anya on the long run.

- XANDER: It's like, I didn't wanna be saying things, but they just kept pouring out.

At least, you didn't reveal the biggest secret of you summoning Sweet.

- XANDER: Okay, but we're sure that the things are related: the singing and dancing, and burning and dying.
GILES: We're not sure of much.

Xander should have confessed at this point.

- I liked the talk between Xander and Giles about Buffy needing their help and them being there for her as much as they can. I wish Giles listened to Xander when he said that Buffy needs time to adjust to being back, maybe Giles would have postponed his departure a little.

- I'm surprised at Spike's sarcasm when he talked about Buffy appearing every night, since he was offering her to patrol with him in the last episode. Unless it was him covering his happiness with bad boy mask again. It won't last long before he gets disappointed when he learns Buffy came for info and nothing else and then tries to kick her out.

- "I died so many years ago, but you can make me feel like it isn't so." Buffy makes Spike feel alive? Does he mean that his feelings for her make him alive? 'Cause other than a few nice talks, I can't recall Buffy make Spike feel like a living being.

- "And you can't tell the ones you love, you know they wouldn't deal." Other than Xander, I think no one would object to Buffy having feelings for Spike. Unless he meant about her being in heaven, because later he says "whisper in a dead man's ear, it doesn't make it real."

- "Rest in Peace" shows Spike standing up for himself, which he'll blow up later, because despite the song, he can't stay away from her. Buffy does listen to him and leaves him alone. Spike is the one who doesn't want to leave her alone. Sigh, love.

- Willow and Tara fighting can be a disturbing image, 'cause no one is used to seeing them fight, especially Dawn. They had been raising her all summer and they had always appeared loving and caring to each other, so I can understand how it frightened Dawn to see them fight, they're almost like her parents at this point.

- Dawn, unlike Buffy, wants others to notice her "loneliness." Why does Dawn feel lonely? Everybody is showering her with love and care as much as they can. Maybe she thinks they don't give her enough attention, or else they'd have noticed that she steals. I'm assuming she can't go to her friends because she's grounded for what she had done last episode.

- "Standing" is about Giles realizing the serious problem of Buffy's care-free attitude when it comes to being an adult who's responsible for a teenager. Giles is stopping Buffy from growing up, his presence makes her entirely depended on him (which we've seen in S5 when she wanted Giles to deal with Dawn, and he disagreed because it was her responsibility). Buffy stopped looking for a job because Giles gave her the check and now she stopped taking care of Dawn because Giles is around to do it, what more will she stop doing because Giles is around?

- Giles is struggling with what's best for Buffy and what he wants. He wants to stay and be there for Buffy, he wants to take care of her and lead her to the right path, wants her to relax and be happy and he'll take care of everything, wants to be the father she doesn't have anymore. However, this won't do good for Buffy on the long run, because one day, Giles will die or be too old to take care of her, so he knows that Buffy needs to learn to stand up on her feet and be an adult as soon as possible.

- "Lethe's Bramble. Used for augmenting spells of forgetting and mind control." No wonder Tara is freaking out. What if Willow played with her mind all along? What if she was controlling how she felt? What if she made her love her? All these fears must have been running in her mind, she can't trust Willow anymore.

- WILLOW: We're not just gonna stay here.
GILES: Yes we are. (looks intently at Buffy) Buffy's going alone.

Giles has a point about Buffy dumping her responsibilities on him, but he is being irrational here, demanding everybody to let Buffy handle it by herself. Buffy had come this far because of her friends' help. Take that away from her, and she'll be like the other slayers.

- SPIKE: Gah! Don't be a stupid git. There is no-
GILES: If I want your opinion, Spike, I'll- I'll never want your opinion.

Harsh. I guess he's too determined with his decision, he's not in the mood for objections.

- It's weird that Xander and Willow agreed to Giles' demand… I remember in S2 when Buffy didn't turn up after last night, Xander and Willow were eager to go and look for her. Giles had ordered them not to, but they had ignored him and still attempted to go and look for her. Why aren't they standing up to Giles now?

- Poor Spike, wanting to help Buffy, but she threw his previous demand for him to leave her alone in his face. Spike asking Buffy to stay away from him must have stung bad, that's why Buffy responded that way.

- "To save the day or maybe melt away. I guess it's all the same." She was already feeling like she was going through the motions, hating life and wanting the old relief of nothingness. Now there's nothing to live for when everybody in her life wasn't there for her, leaving her alone. "I will walk through the fire, 'cause where else can I go?"

- Spike is talking himself into leaving Buffy alone. It's not worth if she won't acknowledge what's he's doing for her. She must be laughing at his pathetic love, better she dies so he'll be rid of her. Sadly, love makes us pathetic.

- Glad to see Giles reconsidering his irrational order to Buffy. He's gambling with Dawn's life and putting Buffy in danger… demon-type-danger isn't like adult responsibility. A slayer needs a watcher, something Giles doesn't realize.

- Xander's angry stare at Giles while he says "What if Buffy can't defeat it?" making Giles know that it's his fault if Buffy got killed makes me happy. Yes, this is the Xander I know. I also love Anya backing him up with "were needed" and that they shouldn't be sitting around doing nothing but glare at Giles.

- "Whistle while you work so hard all day to be like other girls." Buffy still wants to be a normal girl, or live like normal girls, despite her freak out when she lost her slayer powers.

- Buffy seems to be having some sort of a resentment toward her friends because they still hadn't figured out why she's miserable. "Thanks for noticing." "But why I froze not one among them knows and never can be told." "Still my friends don't know why I ignore the million things or more I should be dancing for." The way she used her hand as if to shield herself from the sight of her friends gave it away.

- "Well, that depends on if they let you go, on if they know enough to know, that when you've bowed, you leave the crowd." I'm not sure how to explain these lines, someone help?

- I loved the reactions of the Scoobies to Buffy's reveal that she had been in heaven. Giles' shocked stare, Xander looking down horrified, Willow walking backward, horrified, and tears forming in her eyes, and then you have Anya's sad silence. I wish we had Tara's reaction, it interests me more than Giles' because she was involved in the spell.

- The shock of Buffy's reveal paralyzed everyone from jumping in and stopping Buffy from burning. Only Spike who had just arrived, already knowing the shocking news, was able to save her.

- Aw, even when she's angry with her, Tara still comforts Willow. Must be the reveal that Buffy was in heaven.

- The Xander summoning Sweet issue. A large part of fandom saw it as out of character and they're about three groups.

Group 1 thinks that it's unlikely for Xander to cast a spell irresponsibly after what had happened in Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, because he had told Willow in Lover's Walk that he had learned from that lesson and he would never get involved with casting unsupervised magic.

Group 2 thinks that it is likely for Xander to make the same mistake, because after all, lots of humans do make the same mistake twice even after they had learned from the first one, it's real life. But, what's un-Xander-like is that he hadn't confessed to doing the spell after he had learned about people combusting into flames because of it.

Group 3 thinks that Joss didn't care much for characterization and continuity and he had only chose Xander to do the spell so we could have the "Do I have to be your queen?" joke.

Personally, I think group 3 nailed it, lol. But, because we accept BtVS with all its flaws, I think the reason Giles didn't yell at Xander and Xander not showing remorse at this time is because they were too shocked with the revelation that Buffy had been in heaven. I think Xander's guilt of pulling Buffy out of heaven overpowered the guilt of causing people to die from his spell at that moment. Now, I don't have a logical explanation to why Xander hadn't confessed earlier about doing the spell to Giles when things went out of hand (like he had done in BB&B). Story-wise, they can't have that because it'll ruin the "mystery", but character-wise… no explanation comes to my mind.

- "Oh, bigger this." There was a discussion at some other forum that Spike scoffing and leaving in the middle of the song is a metaphor to him rejecting belonging to the Scoobies and preferring to stay as a lone wolf.

- Buffy makes Spike feel alive, but to Buffy Spike isn't real, still she uses him to feel.

Dec 12 2008 09:16 pm   #2Guest
"Thanks for noticing"
That was a sarcastic statement.

It's also weird that the Scoobies didn't discuss the weird music when they had arrived at the Magic Box or never jumped to the phone the second it happened at called each other.
Well, Xander wasn't surprised.  And my guess is that if they talked about the singing, then they'd more than likely have to bring up what they talked about.  Even Buffy hedges the subject matter of her song.

Xander is the only one, other than Buffy, who seems troubled –he repeats "it's disturbing" twice- and he's the one pops up with the questions about the whole singing bit. And the one who's determined about it not happening again and they should stop it. Do you think it's deliberate on Joss' part so we won't suspect that Xander is the one who summoned Sweet? And how can you explain that from a character's point of view?
Xander, as the guilty party, doesn't want anyone to suspect him.  He still wants to know whether he and Anya get their happy ending, but he can't do that unless they sing more songs.  Also, he would look wicked suspicious if he were to be nonchalant about the whole thing.  By saying "It's distrubing" twice, is perhaps a slight show of hand from Joss. 

Some fans like to believe that Dawn summoned Sweet and that Xander was covering for her to save her from being taken to hell.
That's silly.  Also, I've never heard that before.

I'm surprised at Spike's sarcasm when he talked about Buffy appearing every night, since he was offering her to patrol with him in the last episode.
What sarcasm?  When he tells her he has no info, or the "the sun sets, and she appears?"  If the latter, then there was no sarcasm there--just a matter of fact statement.  If the former, then it was because he was getting pissed at that point.

"I died so many years ago, but you can make me feel like it isn't so." Buffy makes Spike feel alive? Does he mean that his feelings for her make him alive? 'Cause other than a few nice talks, I can't recall Buffy make Spike feel like a living being.
It's a poetic statement, and not literal.  Being around the person you love like that, makes your proverbial heart soar.  You warm, you flush, your heart races...and the fact that he "feels" that to an extent is quite a feat since his heart doesn't beat.

Unless he meant about her being in heaven, because later he says "whisper in a dead man's ear, it doesn't make it real."
I'm fairly certain it's that--it's about her confiding in him, not hanging out with him.

"Rest in Peace" shows Spike standing up for himself, which he'll blow up later, because despite the song, he can't stay away from her. Buffy does listen to him and leaves him alone. Spike is the one who doesn't want to leave her alone. Sigh, love.
He only shows up at the Magic Box when he has info--he learns that Dawn is taken to be some demon's hell bride, and he only shows up at the Bronze because he knew Buffy was in danger.  If none that was going on, I'm sure he would have sulked (and not brooded, mind you), just a bit longer.  At least until that shark demon shows up.

Why does Dawn feel lonely? Everybody is showering her with love and care as much as they can. Maybe she thinks they don't give her enough attention, or else they'd have noticed that she steals.
I don't know--Dawn's around, and they're around...but it's more than that.  No one really talks to her.  I get it, but it's hard to explain.  Like, they're "phoning it in" in regards to Dawn, if that makes any sense.

Giles has a point about Buffy dumping her responsibilities on him, but he is being irrational here, demanding everybody to let Buffy handle it by herself.
He just wanted her to snap into action, and stop being so lacksidasial.  I don't know what else to say about that.  Except maybe, the situation being what it was, it was technically a good one to choose only because of the extraordinary circumstances.

~Scarlet
Dec 12 2008 09:31 pm   #3Guest
I remember in S2 when Buffy didn't turn up after last night, Xander and Willow were eager to go and look for her. Giles had ordered them not to, but they had ignored him and still attempted to go and look for her. Why aren't they standing up to Giles now?
I have no idea what s2 ref you're making...Anyway, maybe apart of them agreed with Giles, or maybe they just were listening to "Daddy," cause if anyone would know what to do with Buffy, it'd be Giles.

Spike asking Buffy to stay away from him must have stung bad, that's why Buffy responded that way.
That, and I secretly suspect she didn't want to burst into song in front of him   Or have him sing again, and hearing his true feelings is something that was too much to hear.

Now there's nothing to live for when everybody in her life wasn't there for her, leaving her alone.
Well, Spike was willing to be there, but she didn't want it.

Xander's angry stare at Giles while he says "What if Buffy can't defeat it?"
I'm not so sure trhat was an angry stare...though he was second guessing Giles' idea of letting Buffy go it alone.

"Well, that depends on if they let you go, on if they know enough to know, that when you've bowed, you leave the crowd
If they had let her...rest in peace   When you bow out, the show's over.  You leave the crowd, cause your performance is done.

The shock of Buffy's reveal paralyzed everyone from jumping in and stopping Buffy from burning. Only Spike who had just arrived, already knowing the shocking news, was able to save her.
I found that damn interesting that not one of them made a call to action.  I do think that if Spike hadn't known previously, he would have jumped in anyway. 

Group 2 thinks that it is likely for Xander to make the same mistake, because after all, lots of humans do make the same mistake twice even after they had learned from the first one, it's real life. But, what's un-Xander-like is that he hadn't confessed to doing the spell after he had learned about people combusting into flames because of it.
In s7, he relishes his botched "BBB" spell, so he didn't fully learn his lesson. Also, if he had let Willow do her spell in "Lover's walk," minus the Spike interruption, maybe he wouldn't have lost Cordelia, which I'm sure he regrets.  I do think it was OOC for him not to have said anything when there was the slight connection of the singing and dancing to the dancing and bursting into flames bit.  If he had told,that joke still could have come in.  They would have been able to research the demon...yeah, a "Xander is a demon bride" joke is a piss poor excuse to not have the character tell everything he knows once people start burning to death, especially since it wasn't even a laugh out loud moment.


"Oh, bigger this." There was a discussion at some other forum that Spike scoffing and leaving in the middle of the song is a metaphor to him rejecting belonging to the Scoobies and preferring to stay as a lone wolf.
It's "Oh, bugger this."  And it had nothing to do with him being a lone wolf--it was about all of that fluffy singing, showing all those tender feelings that was so yuck worthy to him.  And I don't blame him.  Very soggy, that

Buffy makes Spike feel alive, but to Buffy Spike isn't real, still she uses him to feel.
Yeah at that line, I think if I were Spike, I would have stopped singing and went, "Buh?"

~Scarlet
Dec 13 2008 12:29 am   #4Eowyn315
Giles now stays at a hotel? It's obvious his stay is temporary. It's weird that Buffy never thought about that.
Maybe she just figured he hadn't had time to look for a new apartment yet? He certainly hasn't given any indication to them that his return to Sunnydale is only temporary, and the Scoobies can be a wee bit self-centered, so probably no one thought much of Giles' living arrangements...

It takes amazing self-control to hide the truth in a song about guessing "who's responsible," especially when the magic is about them singing their hearts out.
That's a good point... how did he not blurt it out against his will, the way everyone else seems to?

I'm surprised at Spike's sarcasm when he talked about Buffy appearing every night, since he was offering her to patrol with him in the last episode.
I didn't really hear it as sarcasm. Although, as his song indicates, he is clearly frustrated by the fact that she does show up all the time, but she's only there because talking to him "doesn't make it real." I think his offer of patrolling was really more of a "let's hang out" thing disguised as work, and Buffy turning him down sent him the message, "We only spend time together on my terms, when I decide to see you." Spike's been very patient and holding back his feelings for her since her resurrection because she needed a friend, but the cracks are starting to show - he wants more, and it frustrates him that she's dangling it in his face but won't give it to him.

"And you can't tell the ones you love, you know they wouldn't deal." Other than Xander, I think no one would object to Buffy having feelings for Spike. Unless he meant about her being in heaven, because later he says "whisper in a dead man's ear, it doesn't make it real."
Yeah, I think he's talking about heaven here, not Buffy's feelings for him.

Giles has a point about Buffy dumping her responsibilities on him, but he is being irrational here, demanding everybody to let Buffy handle it by herself.
Yeah... I think Giles picked the wrong issue to take a stand on. I mean, Buffy's never been one to foist her slaying responsibilities off on other people. It's the everyday stuff she tries to avoid. So letting her face a demon alone doesn't really solve the problem at all, and Giles just kind of looks like a dick for acting like that.

Why aren't they standing up to Giles now?
Honestly? I think so that they could set up the next song, where Buffy's all alone ("So one by one, they turn from me" ) and the Scoobies can all march over to the Bronze in a group once Giles changes his mind.

Spike asking Buffy to stay away from him must have stung bad, that's why Buffy responded that way.
I think Spike's song really freaked her out. Here she was, thinking she had a safe place to go, a no-strings-attached, easy relationship she could depend on, and Spike goes and ruins it by admitting he still has feelings for her (which she should have known, but I think she was trying to ignore it because that wasn't what she needed him to be). He's basically saying, "Show me this is going somewhere or leave me alone," when she's clearly not in any position to do the former. So yeah, she's probably a little resentful, and throws it back in his face.

Personally, I think group 3 nailed it, lol.
I agree. I think it's one of those times where the story mechanics overshadowed the pesky character issues. Xander couldn't confess earlier, or it would ruin the reveal. And if it had been any one of the girls, Sweet wouldn't have just given up and gone home. (Although, honestly, I would've preferred a better conclusion than that, which might be why I wrote a big dancing fight scene in my OMWF fic, lol.) Much like Xander in this episode, Joss just wanted the singing and dancing, and didn't think about the consequences.

And my guess is that if they talked about the singing, then they'd more than likely have to bring up what they talked about. Even Buffy hedges the subject matter of her song.
But other than Buffy, it's not like anyone had anything to hide in their songs. They were singing about doing dishes and coconuts, nothing earth-shattering. I would think they'd be more curious about why they all burst into song. It seems like they were all embarrassed and thought it was just them - which, considering this is Sunnydale and weird shit happens all the time, you'd think they'd be used to it by now.

I have no idea what s2 ref you're making
That was "Innocence" - Buffy and Angel had gone off to fight the Judge, and never checked in (because they were doing the nasty). The next morning, Willow and Xander want to go to the factory to find them, but Giles and Cordelia are like, "You're just gonna die if you go." But Buffy walks in before they can get out the door, so the argument gets tabled.
Writing should feel easy, like a monkey driving a speed boat.
Dec 13 2008 12:39 am   #5Scarlet Ibis
But other than Buffy, it's not like anyone had anything to hide in their songs.
That's not totally true--I'm sure they all fudged it a bit.  We learn later that Anya sang a solo in s7, where she feels a bit unsure of herself, so my guess is maybe they all sang something a bit more personal, and didn't feel like sharing.
"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly."
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Dec 13 2008 12:53 am   #6nmcil
- "Alive" expresses exactly how Buffy feels, she doesn't like misery or look for it –which I've heard before in discussions- she wants to be alive, be that happy girl again, but she can't help her inability to be other than miserable.

I had a chance to watch the episode last night - it was great seeing it again - and I too was struck with her "alive" line - it does suggest that she wants to get back to being able to live her life again, but what happens when you contrast this line with the scene when her solution to Sweet is to just exchange places with Dawn.  It seems to me that there is a a contradiction between her Fire song and what her real actions are. 

Can't discuss much just now - off to an appointment  - Just want to say how very much I enjoyed watching this again - and how terrific all the interplay between the the scenes that feature Buffy and Spike - wonderful.  Even something as simple as walking and black coats both wear - Buffy walk with narrow and tight movement, her coat is like tight armour - Spike walk with bigger and more swagger than probably in the entire series and his coat is always in motion, spread out from his body. 

I hope that many more of our readers will take part in the discussion of this episode - this is a perfect time to treat yourself to watching OMWF again and doing some "Buffy Talk" with other members here at BSV - Love to hear from you -
” Recent evolutionary models have demonstrated what politicians have long known: the best way to get people to collaborate and to think like a group is to identify an enemy and charge that “they” threaten “us.”

Michael Tomasello is co-director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
Dec 13 2008 01:03 am   #7Scarlet Ibis
Even something as simple as walking and black coats both wear -
Oh yeah--totally forgot about the matching outfits thing. Buffy with the blood red shirt, as well as Spike, which is the last time we ever see that red button down from so long ago
"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly."
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Dec 13 2008 08:10 am   #8sosa lola
Xander, as the guilty party, doesn't want anyone to suspect him. He still wants to know whether he and Anya get their happy ending, but he can't do that unless they sing more songs. Also, he would look wicked suspicious if he were to be nonchalant about the whole thing. By saying "It's distrubing" twice, is perhaps a slight show of hand from Joss.

Xander is such a great actor then Perhaps, it is an in character thing, seeing as he hides the real reason for why he sleeps outside in Christmas and both Buffy and Willow believed him before Cordelia busted him on his lie.

That's silly. Also, I've never heard that before.

Seriously? Never? OMG, many fans actually believe Dawn was the one who summoned him and Xander was covering for her. I guess they think it's more logical and in character than Xander summoning Sweet. But then, many fans choose their own canon no matter what you do.

I don't know--Dawn's around, and they're around...but it's more than that. No one really talks to her. I get it, but it's hard to explain. Like, they're "phoning it in" in regards to Dawn, if that makes any sense.

I guess while everybody is around Dawn all the time, they're not actually interested in her life and still consider her a child. Perhaps that's why she feels lonely.

I have no idea what s2 ref you're making...Anyway

It was the beginning of Innocence:

Xander:  (looks at everyone) What's up? Where's Buffy?

Willow:  She never checked in.

Giles:  If the bus depot is as empty as the... docks and the airport...

Xander:  Do you think this Judge guy's already been assembled?

Giles:  Yes.

Xander:  Then Buffy could be... Okay, we gotta find 'em. (thinks) Um, we
gotta go to that place, that, uh, that factory. That's where they're
holed up, right? (looks back at Willow and Jenny) Let's go.

Cordelia:  And do what? Besides be afraid and die.

Xander:  Well, nobody's asking you to go, Cordelia. If the vampires need
grooming tips we'll give you a call.

Giles:  Cordelia has a point. Now, i-i-if Buffy and Angel were, were...
harmed, then we don't stand to fare much better.

Xander:  Yeah? Well, those of us who were born with feelings are gonna
do something about this.

Jenny:  Xander.

Willow:  No, Xander's right! My God, you people are all... Well, I'm
upset, and I can't think of a mean word right now, but that's what you
are, and we're going to the factory! (starts out)

Xander:  Yeah! (follows)

Just then Buffy comes into the library.

Willow:  Buffy!

Xander:  We were just going to rescue you.

Willow:  (throws Giles a look) Well, some of us were.

I'm not so sure trhat was an angry stare...though he was second guessing Giles' idea of letting Buffy go it alone.

It was a glare -I've always seen it as a glare, his eyebrows were furrowed and he looked angry- and Anya backs me up when she says "sit around and glare"

In s7, he relishes his botched "BBB" spell, so he didn't fully learn his lesson.

I think it was more about him enjoying having girls seeing him as hot, sometimes you think fondly of your past advantures but you don't wanna relive them again. From Lover's Walk:

Xander:  Is that a spell book?

Willow:  (tries to obscure it with her hand) No, no, no! Chemistry book.

Xander:  Wait a minute. This is love spell stuff! You're doing a love
spell?

Willow:  No! Of course not! This is a purely scientific...

Xander picks the book up and shows her its title: "Witchcraft".

Willow:  ...de-lusting spell... for us. I thought it would go better if
you didn't know.

Xander:  (raises his voice) Are you nuts, or have you forgotten that I
tend to have bad luck with these sorts of spells?

Willow:  (raises hers back) But you said you wished that these feelings
could just go away.

Xander:  Yeah, I wish for a *lot* of things! I told you I wished I was a
fireman when we were in sixth grade, but you didn't follow through on
that!

Willow:  I can't do this anymore, Xander! I mean, this whole 'us' thing
is... bleagh!

Xander:  So, do you really need to resort to the black arts to keep our
hormones in check?

Willow:  (calmly) At this point, I'm thinking 'no'.

Xander:  I'm gonna get the lights, (walks) clean this place up before
they get here (clicks them on) and start asking questions.

Even so, I actually don't mind that Xander made the spell, hey, repeating old mistakes even if you had learned from them is human. We do it all the time. I just don't think Joss handled it well, because just like in BB&B, Xander would talk when things go out of control, especially seeing as people are dying because of this spell.

It's "Oh, bugger this." And it had nothing to do with him being a lone wolf--it was about all of that fluffy singing, showing all those tender feelings that was so yuck worthy to him. And I don't blame him. Very soggy, that

That's how it was to me, but you know when fans think too deep about stuff. Sometimes what happens on screen is what happens on screen, not everything has a deep meaning.
Dec 13 2008 08:24 am   #9sosa lola

That's a good point... how did he not blurt it out against his will, the way everyone else seems to?

Especially when he had said things to Anya in their song he didn't wanna say. "That's why I'll never tell her that I'm petrified."

I wonder why Xander and Anya never discussed their fears after this episode. They seemed to have glossed over them and went on to wedding planning.

I think his offer of patrolling was really more of a "let's hang out" thing disguised as work,

That's how I've seen it when discussing last episode. Spike knows Halloween is a vamp-rest-day, but he offered her patrol to hang out with her.

Spike's been very patient and holding back his feelings for her since her resurrection because she needed a friend, but the cracks are starting to show - he wants more, and it frustrates him that she's dangling it in his face but won't give it to him.

Word. Sadly, he gets betrayed by his song

Much like Xander in this episode, Joss just wanted the singing and dancing, and didn't think about the consequences.

Well, Xander is based on Joss

That's not totally true--I'm sure they all fudged it a bit. We learn later that Anya sang a solo in s7, where she feels a bit unsure of herself, so my guess is maybe they all sang something a bit more personal, and didn't feel like sharing.

They don't have to say the personal stuff. They could have just said the silly things they sang about like washing dishes.
 

Dec 13 2008 09:04 am   #10nmcil

quoted]- "Whistle while you work so hard all day to be like other girls." Buffy still wants to be a normal girl, or live like normal girls, despite her freak out when she lost her slayer powers. - Buffy seems to be having some sort of a resentment toward her friends because they still hadn't figured out why she's miserable. "Thanks for noticing." "But why I froze not one among them knows and never can be told." "Still my friends don't know why I ignore the million things or more I should be dancing for." The way she used her hand as if to shield herself from the sight of her friends gave it away. - "Well, that depends on if they let you go, on if they know enough to know, that when you've bowed, you leave the crowd." I'm not sure how to explain these lines, someone help?

First - thanks so much for the great summary you have been doing for episodes - big help.

At this point, I'm not sure that this line refers back to earlier series but more like Buffy is trying to be normal as in feeling connected to life - not particularly "normal human girl life." The metaphor of "fire" is both one of purification and life giving energy - that is why, IMVHO, fire is used in her song but fire and color red, which Spike also wears, is also a symbol of passion, action, danger but also energy. This is such a beautiful and layered use of metaphor, it would be easy to see her going to the fire as something bad, but when you take into account her last scene with Sweet, one extremely important lyric is about song and opening up the heart. Buffy's heart and passion for life is her path back to finding her way in this world again. That Spike first sings about his love and how his heart would break his chest is his metaphor for finding life again in love. For all his anger and bravado, Spike is all about coming to Buffy in help - the tragedy of his role is that he tries to come to their relationship with a heart filled with love and passion for her. Buffy comes to the relationship will a heart that is empty and with uncontrolled passion. Things between Buffy and Spike can't be real because they start from such contradictory position, nor can her friendship with her friends be real, as in their past, because she felt such anger, but wanted to repress and control what she feels. Again, we look to the tragic contrast of her relationship with Spike and how she will attempt to use him, to feel warmth and passion, but it will always be empty because there is not truth to sustain the reality of love. But not only Buffy will suffer, they all will suffer from their secrets.

Before their closing curtin and that kiss there was actually a start of a what could have been a friendship and mature relationship between Buffy and Spike. If you look at their ending scene in "All The Way," they actually share smiles and have a lovely moment that is reflective of people who respect and like one another. By the time of "Tabula Rasa" - their slate changes to the start of their downward spiral of passion, anger, violence and heartbreak.

You will notice that the image from the art book that Tara gives Buffy shows an image of The Ectasy of St. Theresa. It’s fascinating choice of image as St. Theresa was also a woman of strong passions and convictions – she too was a very strong woman who worked to serve people and her God. But where Theresa got everything right in her choices for the life she endeavors to live, our warrior made so many terrible mistakes.

Quote about St. Theresa:

 

Teresa knew well the continued presence and value of suffering (physical illness, opposition to reform, difficulties in prayer), but she grew to be able to embrace suffering, even desire it: "Lord, either to suffer or to die." Toward the end of her life she exclaimed: "Oh, my Lord! How true it is that whoever works for you is paid in troubles! And what a precious price to those who love you if we understand its value."

Buffy, I don’t think, valued Spike in season six after OMWF. This is strictly my opinion – not remotely suggesting that the writers had this point of view. This can also be said of Willow’s treatment of Tara. Xander and Anya suffer from this to a lesser degree but come to similar end with their fiasco wedding.

” Recent evolutionary models have demonstrated what politicians have long known: the best way to get people to collaborate and to think like a group is to identify an enemy and charge that “they” threaten “us.”

Michael Tomasello is co-director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
Dec 13 2008 09:48 am   #11nmcil
Group 1 thinks that it's unlikely for Xander to cast a spell irresponsibly after what had happened in Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, because he had told Willow in Lover's Walk that he had learned from that lesson and he would never get involved with casting unsupervised magic. Group 2 thinks that it is likely for Xander to make the same mistake, because after all, lots of humans do make the same mistake twice even after they had learned from the first one, it's real life. But, what's un-Xander-like is that he hadn't confessed to doing the spell after he had learned about people combusting into flames because of it. Group 3 thinks that Joss didn't care much for characterization and continuity and he had only chose Xander to do the spell so we could have the "Do I have to be your queen?" joke.

The joke goes even further than this -Joss Whedon loves musicals and when you have the scene with Giles, Xander and  Anya - Xander wears a shirt with a maple leaf pattern which indicates sugary sweet syrup - we also have the sweepers, as in sweep it under the covers and also sweep away the fears that he has, plus it's a neat tribute to another musical and the chimney sweeep dande scene from Mary Poppins.  The dance scene with Xander and Anya is another nice bit that points to Flower Drum Song and the scene with that same scenario between another couple - there is even a picture of oriental couple on the newspaper that Xander is reading. 

Another visual connection Buffy's wearing of the number 8 which has many symbols associated with it from the religious and mystical - games of chance - pool - astrological, literary, etc.  All the characters have been wearing numbers since Bargaining - Buffy also wears the lucky horseshoe charm necklace and Spike wins with his 8 high clubs straight.

   
I just loved this series, there is so much there for the viewers to enjoy.
” Recent evolutionary models have demonstrated what politicians have long known: the best way to get people to collaborate and to think like a group is to identify an enemy and charge that “they” threaten “us.”

Michael Tomasello is co-director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
Dec 13 2008 05:47 pm   #12Eowyn315
Seriously? Never? OMG, many fans actually believe Dawn was the one who summoned him and Xander was covering for her.
I've never heard this, either. Could just be different fan circles - I could see why Xander fans might want to fanwank it so that their favorite character's not the one responsible. But since I interact with very few Xander fans, I wouldn't have heard that as much as you might have.

I wonder why Xander and Anya never discussed their fears after this episode.
Maybe they weren't really hearing each other? You know, the way Giles is singing his song right in front of Buffy, and at the end she's like, "Did you say something?" It's kind of a cliche of musicals to have someone singing a song in front of people, yet no one around can hear the song. Or even multiple people singing the same song, and not hearing the other parts (Les Miserables has some great examples of this). It's possible that Xander and Anya were each singing their own part and not listening to the other's part, so technically what they sang about is still secret.
Writing should feel easy, like a monkey driving a speed boat.
Dec 13 2008 06:35 pm   #13Scarlet Ibis
It's possible that Xander and Anya were each singing their own part and not listening to the other's part, so technically what they sang about is still secret.
I think that's true for some parts of the song--like in the beginning, Anya's still talking as Xander's singing, so I don't think she's listening, but then they start arguing and interrupting each other before Anya starts "dancing crazy," and then the duet.  I don't remember if they revealed their real fears during that time of the song, though.
"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly."
https://www.facebook.com/FangirlNovel
Dec 13 2008 08:39 pm   #14sosa lola
I've never heard this, either. Could just be different fan circles - I could see why Xander fans might want to fanwank it so that their favorite character's not the one responsible. But since I interact with very few Xander fans, I wouldn't have heard that as much as you might have.

It's not only popular with the Xander fans, I've seen it in general forums as well like Buffy Boards and Buffy Forums, and had been said by fans who dislike Xander, but thought Dawn would have been a better choice.

Maybe they weren't really hearing each other?

Perhaps in the beginning when they were praising each other, but later, when they started listing the other's fault it's obvious they were hearing each other. Not to mention when they were with Giles later, they looked at each other in anger and yelled, "My eyes are not beady." "My toes are not hairy." So, they must have been listening to each other.
Dec 13 2008 10:24 pm   #15Eowyn315
Yeah, true. Most of the song, it wouldn't really matter if they heard it because it's just petty stuff. It's the last verse (from "He's swell" to the end) that really matters, and it's kind of hard to believe that they wouldn't - as Scarlet put it - stop singing and go, "Buh?" if they heard what the other was saying. The only other thing I can think of is that maybe they just wrote it off as normal pre-wedding jitters, and didn't give their fears the serious consideration they deserved. They're both clearly freaked out at having said those things when they're telling Giles about it, so maybe they'd rather just pretend it didn't happen than have to say those things to each other's faces without a cutesy soundtrack.
Writing should feel easy, like a monkey driving a speed boat.
Dec 13 2008 10:44 pm   #16nmcil
The entire point of this episode is setting the foundations for the rest of the season and with Spike, even beyond - Hidden fears and emotions and their inner demons that will come out.  Sweet makes it clear that things don't end well as their future will become their what is in their hearts and minds and suggested in their songs -
” Recent evolutionary models have demonstrated what politicians have long known: the best way to get people to collaborate and to think like a group is to identify an enemy and charge that “they” threaten “us.”

Michael Tomasello is co-director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
Dec 14 2008 12:56 am   #17Spikez_tart
XANDER: Respect the cruller. And tame the donut!  - Calling Dr. Freud! 

I didn't think the Xander as the culprit thing was well realized.  Was there some foreshadowing that I missed?  It just seemed to pop out of nowhere.  In favor of the Dawn was the real culprit - she pulls off a lie at the end about picking up the necklace and forgetting to put it back and she's the only one who doesn't get her little secret - shoplifting - aired. 

I'll never want your opinion - Why is Giles throwing down on Spike all of a sudden?  Doesn't Spike get any credit for helping out while Buffy was dead?

Numbers on the shirts - one of the writers - maybe Jane E - claims on the DVD interviews that the numbers were just the fashion that year.  I think the costume department sneaked in one on the writers.  Hah hah - we can sneak in a symbol if we want to.

Pretty sad that of all Buffy's friends, only Spike thinks Giles is being a jerk and immediately offers to help her.  It takes the rest of them five minutes to say gee Giles, you're full of it. 

Also, Buffy is going to fight a demon and doesn't take a weapon.  She doesn't fight him at all.  She should have been ready to whack his head off.  Maybe this is another Buffy ready to commit suicide by demon kind of moment.






If we want her to be exactly she'll never be exactly I know the only really real Buffy is really Buffy and she's gone' who?
Dec 14 2008 11:32 am   #18sosa lola
They're both clearly freaked out at having said those things when they're telling Giles about it, so maybe they'd rather just pretend it didn't happen than have to say those things to each other's faces without a cutesy soundtrack.

Which is a mistake from both of them. Discussing their fears might have been the best way to go, perhaps it would have saved them lots of heartache and headache. Anya had gotten over her fears with time, Xander didn't.

Why is Giles throwing down on Spike all of a sudden? Doesn't Spike get any credit for helping out while Buffy was dead?

I think it's more about Giles being too determined with his decision, he's not in the mood for objections. He wants Buffy to rely on herself, learn how to do things without the help of the others. Giles chose the wrong way to do it, but his intentions were those of a father who wants his daughter to be able to face life on her own. Spike getting in the way was the last thing Giles needed at the moment.

Pretty sad that of all Buffy's friends, only Spike thinks Giles is being a jerk and immediately offers to help her. It takes the rest of them five minutes to say gee Giles, you're full of it.

This is why I pointed at the Innocence scene where Giles asked Xander and Willow to stay put and not look for Buffy, Xander and Willow ignored him and were able to go find her and save her.

I don't think Buffy's friends were okay with Giles' orders for Buffy to go alone, but unlike Spike, they resepct his opinion, especially by this point of the series. However, Xander and Anya didn't stick with "sit around and glare" and expressed their displeasure with Giles later, showing that even though they respect him, he didn't make the right decision.
Dec 14 2008 08:27 pm   #19nmcil
While Spike and Giles may have different ideas about Buffy's need of help or taking responsibility in several scenes, when it really comes down to the wire and the real life actions - both Giles and Spike contradict their songs and do help Buffy.  Giles very quickly begins to question his plan and call for Buffy to begin her path of "taking responsibility" -

One thing that I personally do not like about the Buffy-Spike story treatment up to OMWF and "Tabula Rasa" is the big contrast between their more friendly status and the anger and contempt that Buffy shows toward Spike.  We go from their last scene together in "All The Way" all the coming to Spike for companionship and help to his saving her life in OMWF to her deep feelings of anger or disdain, whatever we want to call it when she first sees him as in the Randy Giles costume entrance and turns her head away.  We have the same intense anger and turning away repetition - followed by her apparent chase of Spike and their intense kisses back at the bar.  I get it that having their close encounter and kissing  in the hidden place, away from friends foreshadows what they become from this moment on.  But I feel that something was missing, and for me an important something, about why she has all these contradictions.  I understand that good story telling calls for the reader to bring in their own analysis as part of the experience - but I still wish that a little more exploration of her thought process for understanding of Spike and how she interacts with him had been part of her arc. 
” Recent evolutionary models have demonstrated what politicians have long known: the best way to get people to collaborate and to think like a group is to identify an enemy and charge that “they” threaten “us.”

Michael Tomasello is co-director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
Dec 15 2008 02:49 am   #20Spikez_tart
is the big contrast between their more friendly status and the anger and contempt that Buffy shows toward Spike.  We go from their last scene together in "All The Way" all the coming to Spike for companionship and help to his saving her life in OMWF to her deep feelings of anger or disdain, whatever we want to call it when she first sees him as in the Randy Giles costume entrance and turns her head away.  - The transition from friendly Buffy to mad Buffy was very rough.  I suppose it was because she went to see Spike in OMWF and he kicked her out, then he offered to help her fight the demon and she says I thought you didn't want to be around me, and he rips her apart.  Then, he saves her and she ends up kissing him in the alley.  She whipsaws back and forth until your head is about to spin off.
If we want her to be exactly she'll never be exactly I know the only really real Buffy is really Buffy and she's gone' who?
Dec 15 2008 08:59 pm   #21Eowyn315
In favor of the Dawn was the real culprit - she pulls off a lie at the end about picking up the necklace and forgetting to put it back and she's the only one who doesn't get her little secret - shoplifting - aired.
But it still couldn't have been Dawn, because she didn't even have the necklace until well after the singing had started. The whole point of Sosa bringing up that theory was to point out that it was a load of crap.

One thing that I personally do not like about the Buffy-Spike story treatment up to OMWF and "Tabula Rasa" is the big contrast between their more friendly status and the anger and contempt that Buffy shows toward Spike.
I didn't see it like that at all. I thought it was pretty gradual. We first see Buffy being awkward around Spike in "All the Way," and the discussion on that thread suggested that it was because after spending all night with him (practically a date), Buffy was finding it harder to ignore his feelings for her, as she'd been doing since she came back. Spike also reveals some disappointment at being rejected - he can pull it together enough to help out when Dawn goes missing, but he's not exactly hanging around afterward.

Then, in OMWF, Buffy comes to Spike for information - which is a pretty normal thing for her to do - and Spike gets all bad moody because she's not there just to hang out. Further prompting has him revealing his true feelings in song, which, as I mentioned earlier, freaks Buffy out. Spike doesn't want to be friends. Buffy doesn't want a relationship. They're kind of at an impasse. If it weren't for the magic musical spell, I think Buffy probably would have taken him at his word and left him alone. Instead, of course, they kiss.

Now Buffy's even deeper in the hole. Even though "This isn't real, but I just want to feel" makes it clear that she's not kissing him because she has feelings for him, Spike now thinks that she does. What can she do? The friends thing is completely off the table - Spike can't take back his song, and neither of them can take back the kiss, so they can't go back to the way things were before without Willow's forgetting spell. Buffy's not interested in a relationship, so her only option is to keep her distance from Spike. (Of course, we know how well that turns out.) I also think Buffy is overreacting a little, because she is a little bit attracted to Spike, even if it's only physically, and so she goes to even greater lengths to prove she's not at all interested in him, even though her actions (kissing him again) betray her.
Writing should feel easy, like a monkey driving a speed boat.
Dec 16 2008 05:35 am   #22nmcil
One thing that I personally do not like about the Buffy-Spike story treatment up to OMWF and "Tabula Rasa" is the big contrast between their more friendly status and the anger and contempt that Buffy shows toward Spike.

Let me try to clarify what I was trying to say.  It seemed to be able to be much more friendly or show less anger toward one another - but then we have what to me seems like decided change Buffy's behavior in "Tabula Rasa."   After they share that kiss in OMWF, Buffy's not wanting to talk about it, I think would be confusing to Spike - it was a big deal and Buffy just wants to ignore it.    When he shows up at the Magic Box her first reaction is to turn her face away from.  I saw that as a sign of rejection, it could equally be seen by someone else as Buffy being uncomfortable with his presence.  After they get their memories back, during the fight and at the bar, my interpretation is  that Buffy wants to  reject or ignore him.  Buffy, IMO, shows a great deal of anger toward him at the end of the fight scene - she again repeats they turning away from him and walks away from him.  The bar scene again shows her face turn away and rejecting him  -  then we have their intense kissing scene.  This to me is a big change in her behavior and what I was trying to describe in with my previous post; simply my interpretation.

I always enjoy watching this episode and like seeing OMWF, Tabula Rasa  and All The Way  together.

 
” Recent evolutionary models have demonstrated what politicians have long known: the best way to get people to collaborate and to think like a group is to identify an enemy and charge that “they” threaten “us.”

Michael Tomasello is co-director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
Dec 16 2008 06:42 am   #23Scarlet Ibis
I understood what you meant nmcil. 

When he shows up at the Magic Box her first reaction is to turn her face away from. I saw that as a sign of rejection, it could equally be seen by someone else as Buffy being uncomfortable with his presence.
I too saw that as rejection/annoyance.  Buffy only wants to deal with Spike on her terms, and by him showing up in the daytime at the Magic Box (even if it had nothing to do with her), takes that away from her.  Buffy is a control freak, and X factors like Spike make her angry.

After they get their memories back, during the fight and at the bar, my interpretation is that Buffy wants to reject or ignore him. Buffy, IMO, shows a great deal of anger toward him at the end of the fight scene - she again repeats they turning away from him and walks away from him. The bar scene again shows her face turn away and rejecting him
Yeah.  She doesn't want to look at him, or condescend to speak to him.  But apparently, he's not allowed to walk away, even after being rejected.  If she didn't want to talk about it, she could have said as much (as she did in FFL).  But, by rejecting her attraction to him, she's trying to reject all his parts--his ears--as well.
"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly."
https://www.facebook.com/FangirlNovel
Dec 16 2008 08:21 pm   #24Eowyn315
I think I understand what you're saying, nmcil. I do see the repeated rejection/turning away on Buffy's part. What I'm trying to say is that I think this is a direct result of what's happened in the previous two episodes - the breaking down of Buffy's illusion that she and Spike could just be friends. She changes her behavior because he's changed his tune (literally) - she was friendly to him when he was willing to take friendship. But now that he's asked for more, she's completely backing away. She's rejecting him both verbally and physically because she doesn't want to give what he's asking for.

The kiss isn't giving him what he's asking for. She's not consenting to a relationship, or offering to spend more time with him. Maybe that's the way he interpreted it, but I don't for a second think that was Buffy's intention. The kiss is her trying to take something else that she wants - she wants to feel something, and she discovered in OMWF that apparently kissing Spike was the only way to do that. I don't know if it was a moment of weakness on her part or a conscious decision (I'm leaning toward moment of weakness), but I think the reason she kisses him again is because she can't stand feeling the way she does, and right then, sitting at the bar, that seems worse to her than any fallout with Spike over the kiss would be. Later on, I think she probably regrets it - she realizes she shouldn't have given in, because she still doesn't want a relationship with Spike, but now he's just digging his heels in deeper to get it, because now he's got two kisses on his side. The first one was easy to write off as a fluke - spells, emotions running high, people make mistakes. The second one is harder to get around, and they both know it, but Buffy's going to do her damnedest to try.
Writing should feel easy, like a monkey driving a speed boat.
Dec 16 2008 08:44 pm   #25Maggie
She changes her behavior because he's changed his tune (literally) - she was friendly to him when he was willing to take friendship. But now that he's asked for more, she's completely backing away.

Spike's song definitely is a turning point in the relationship.  It's interesting that while Anya and Xander don't hear each other, and there are other places where people don't hear what the others are singing, Buffy most definitely hears Spike on this song. 

Still, I think there's more going on here than just "Buffy wants to be friends; Spike wants more than that."  Spike's restlessness started in All the Way (at least), when Buffy comes barging in and then refuses to apologize for not acting civilized.  He's starting to get the feeling that she doesn't even really want to be friends with him -- not in a meaningful way.  Indeed, his song starts with the complaint that she's confiding in him not because she sees him as a friend, but rather precisely because she does NOT see him as a friend.  She doesn't see him as a real person.  And he's getting ticked about it.  Don't forget what Spike said in the Gift.  He was resigned to her not loving him.  But he really values that she treats him like a man.  She's started to back off from that.  (And I think her reasons for backing off from that is that she really, really doens't want to admit that Spike is her real friend in contrast to her so-called 'real' friends.  And she's stuck on that because to admit that Spike is her true friend is to align herself with the demon world over against the human world.  Lots of interesting tensions for both of them around this -- with the tragedy being that they sink closer to the demon world; when even Spike has said that what matters to him is that she treats him as a human).

I think the subtle but real signals she's sending about how she does not regard him as a really real person is what makes Spike start to focus more on the sexual tension between them.  Because at the same time that she's withdrawing some of the "treat him like a man" stuff, she IS dropping in sexual innuendo (All the Way, in the scene right before the song), and once she starts acting on that he thinks that must be real for her (a girl like her treats sex as something real).   It pretty much all goes downhill from there.  Their mutual misunderstandings are really sad.  And they are both complicit in how bad it ends up getting.  But I do see Buffy as the one who tips over the first domino.
Dec 17 2008 04:05 am   #26Eowyn315
Spike's restlessness started in All the Way (at least), when Buffy comes barging in and then refuses to apologize for not acting civilized. He's starting to get the feeling that she doesn't even really want to be friends with him -- not in a meaningful way.
I agree. I think earlier in the thread, I pointed out that her rejection of his suggestion to patrol was a signal to him that she wasn't interested in spending time with him unless it benefited her. That's only reinforced when she comes to his crypt because there's trouble. (She didn't want to patrol when he suggested it, but when she feels it's necessary, she assumes he's willing to go along.)

I also think Buffy's picking up on the change a little bit - hence her awkwardness in the Magic Box basement in "All the Way." However, I don't think she really gets that there's a problem until Spike lets it all out in his song.

she IS dropping in sexual innuendo
But that's totally inadvertent. She's not intentionally being provocative; that kind of stuff just seems to slip out when she's nervous. And I think the reason it's slipping out is because Spike's feelings for her are on her mind, because spending this much time together (particularly in "Life Serial" ) has started to tip her off that he's not just her undead sounding board, that he might actually want something in return, and that kinda freaks her out.
Writing should feel easy, like a monkey driving a speed boat.
Dec 17 2008 08:39 am   #27nmcil
I would like to bring in Buffy's Fire Song as an important part of her individual story and the Buffy-Spike arc.  Everything that relates to Buffy and Spike in the entire episode clearly puts them together - the wear the same clothing, black coats and red shirts, the walk alone in the alley ways, they both reference their hearts and they both reference feeling alive - Buffy not connected to life, Spike connected to life via his love and his reactions to her.  We are presented with an  inversion of  resurrection, she feels dead and Spike feels alive.  What I want to know is what is Joss Whedon saying when he clearly works  these two broken character together, when Buffy goes to Spike repeatedly for help, when she gives voice to her secrets, she actively pursues Spike to engage in sexual acts,   Spike also is drawn to her and wants very much to connected with her as a man, not just a vampire.   Getting back to Buffy's  fire symbolism and how Joss uses these two characters throughout the episode.   

Life is fire, an energy force,  life is passion and feeling, being connected to people and things, feeling joy and pain both  all the things that Buffy needs to live - but Joss has her interacting with Spike from the start of the season he places them together.  Spike saves Buffy (in contrast to his failure in The Gift)  Buffy saves Spike from The Shark and his vamps; working together again for mutual benefit.   Is Spike, in spite of all the anger, violence, misconceptions, denials, delusion, fighting, and brutality that their relationship breaks down to the Fire that she needs?   Is Joss making Buffy and Spike the mutual fire that eventually will bring about their resurrection metaphorically?  Willow brings Buffy back, but is Spike, even if Buffy thinks that everything about them is wrong and empty and devoid of meaningful connections, the fire that she needs or am I totally delusional in thinking that as impossible and crazy as it seems, Spike was a big part of The Fire that helps her connect with life again?  

The metaphor of Buffy and Spike as two faces of life, the dark and the light, having to complete each other as a whole life force I think is applicable, but is my Spuffy perspective  reading much more into the treatment and lyrics of OMWF in the Buffy_Spike relationship? 
” Recent evolutionary models have demonstrated what politicians have long known: the best way to get people to collaborate and to think like a group is to identify an enemy and charge that “they” threaten “us.”

Michael Tomasello is co-director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
Dec 17 2008 03:00 pm   #28Scarlet Ibis
Is Spike, in spite of all the anger, violence, misconceptions, denials, delusion, fighting, and brutality that their relationship breaks down to the Fire that she needs? Is Joss making Buffy and Spike the mutual fire that eventually will bring about their resurrection metaphorically? Willow brings Buffy back, but is Spike, even if Buffy thinks that everything about them is wrong and empty and devoid of meaningful connections, the fire that she needs or am I totally delusional in thinking that as impossible and crazy as it seems, Spike was a big part of The Fire that helps her connect with life again?
I don't think you're delusional--I definitely think that he was.  In fact, it probably could have happened that much quicker and more efficiently had Buffy let herself feel anything.  Instead, she was closed and cut off.  I personally think a big part came from the fact that Spike, being dead and soulless and not real and all, could feel more than Buffy, and from that came a resentment.  Spike says as much in "Entropy," and there is definitely a truth to it.

The metaphor of Buffy and Spike as two faces of life, the dark and the light, having to complete each other as a whole life force I think is applicable
I'm actually going to disagree here.  Light and dark is too cut in dry/right and wrong is too simplistic (and non-existent) in that sea of gray.
"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly."
https://www.facebook.com/FangirlNovel
Dec 17 2008 08:23 pm   #29nmcil
I think of the two faces, the light and dark making a balance and a completion - all of  the forces that make up human life.  Buffy can't have love, joy, and peace here on this plain without having to face all the sorrows and pain that come with living - same as Spike and all the Scoobies - and the full range is a mixture that, as you call it "that sea of gray" (by the way, this sounds like a title just waiting for a story).  But the mixture of gray is founded on the black and white, life and death life force and I think of all the gray as finding wisdom, knowledge and lessons for how to live ones life with as much balance as you can create. 

With Willow and Tara, had Willow respected that a relationship is not only the wonderful good times, but also the painful times, she would not have turned to magical easy fix.  she lost everything and it is all mixed and layered, but I think that the primary layer is that lack of balance in the black/white-life/death cycle; she can't have love without pain and sorrows.  Buffy can't have Spike and the feelings that she wants to get from him without without accepting that he too is a life made of good and bad - thus all she will ever find and get from him is a temporary escape and while she goes to him over and over, everything is empty of life and corrupted.  While the sexual act can be one of the most profound and life sustaining experiences, without love as Buffy wants it, what does it become but a corruption of herself and Spike.  What are the writers trying to do with this character and her hunger for the sexual act with Spike?  Why do they have her using sex and his love, for it is love on his part, in this complete denigration of the act of love so totally out of balance?  Buffy does not want Spike in the real areas of gray, she wants  him to be the convenient "no man evil other" that can be seen, used, abused, and then discarded as her needs dictate. 

As much as the writers attempted to make them equal in their destructive and negative behavior, it is very difficult for me to not see Buffy as the primary negative force because, as she said repeatedly that she does not love him, could never love him, and will never allow any reality of true love to enter in their relationship. 

This is such an interesting and compelling relationship - why have this strange disconnect away from Spike's changed feelings, love and his reaching out to Buffy with his trashy, sleazy and utterly disrespectful comment to her about the only better thing than killing is fucking (paraphrase) - was it just an easy segue to allowing Buffy her equally brutal "your just convenient" line?  What is the viewer meant to take away from this scene?  Is it all that "sea of gray" that Buffy needs and wants to see as only Spike Blackness?  Everything is on the "downward spiral" from this point; all that passion, love, hunger, and need to such a pitiful and painful ending.  Kali the Destroyer is one of the ways that I tend to apply to Buffy and Spike in Season Six - their is no resurrection without first having to face death and transformation.

Sorry for the ramble - I often wish that I were a writer so that I could organize and communicate my ideas without all the ramble.
” Recent evolutionary models have demonstrated what politicians have long known: the best way to get people to collaborate and to think like a group is to identify an enemy and charge that “they” threaten “us.”

Michael Tomasello is co-director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
Dec 18 2008 12:52 am   #30Scarlet Ibis
why have this strange disconnect away from Spike's changed feelings, love and his reaching out to Buffy with his trashy, sleazy and utterly disrespectful comment to her about the only better thing than killing is fucking (paraphrase) - was it just an easy segue to allowing Buffy her equally brutal "your just convenient" line? What is the viewer meant to take away from this scene?
I was saving this for the episode itself, but since you brought it up--

That comment, in my opinion, was for Spike to see if she really cared.  In that moment, Buffy is trying to leave, referring to the whole deal as "a freak show," and when Spike tries to get her to stay, she doesn't stay for him--she stays for the impending sex that he offers.  So, he wanted to see if that was truly all it was to her.  Notice he laughs/smiles when she gets angry, saying, "Is that what this is about?  Doing a slayer?"  I'll save the rest for the "Smashed" thread.

But the mixture of gray is founded on the black and white, life and death life force and I think of all the gray as finding wisdom, knowledge and lessons for how to live ones life with as much balance as you can create.
When you first said that, I thought you were referencing Buffy=light, and Spike=dark, as so many are prone to do.  I just wanted to point out that it isn't that simple--not even close   But that isn't what you meant...so never mind.
"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly."
https://www.facebook.com/FangirlNovel
Dec 18 2008 05:17 am   #31nmcil

I watched the "Special Features" of Season 6 again, and it helped with my questions - I wish that there was a special dvd that was devoted to an in depth discussion of this season.  Joss Whedon states that this is the darkest place they ever took Buffy and Willow - plus the treatment of Xander-Anya and the changes that they gave Tara was also very good info. 

Still not sure why Joss Whedon chose  to have Buffy find her way back to life through all they horrible and destructive sexual relationship with Spike - but it makes a splendid use of metaphor and it certainly gave us the most intense and heart wrenching season of all.  Season Six is still my favorite of the entire series - there are some great episode in Season Seven, but taken as an entire season, this one burned all these character into my heart and mind.

Thanks much for sharing your ideas on these discussions -

” Recent evolutionary models have demonstrated what politicians have long known: the best way to get people to collaborate and to think like a group is to identify an enemy and charge that “they” threaten “us.”

Michael Tomasello is co-director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
Dec 19 2008 01:15 am   #32Eowyn315
Still not sure why Joss Whedon chose to have Buffy find her way back to life through all they horrible and destructive sexual relationship with Spike
I would say it's probably a combination of a lot of reasons. For one thing, there's the direction of Spike's character arc. They knew they were building up to him doing something so horrible it would prompt him to get a soul, and the AR would make even less sense if it hadn't been preceded by a destructive, violent sexual relationship. Also, there's Buffy's character arc - she's supposed to hit rock bottom in this season, and I suppose she could have done that in a lot of ways, but how many of them would have involved Spike in such a way that it prompts him to get his soul? Plus, it's a terrifically evil way for Joss to give Spuffy fans what they've been wanting... in the worst way possible. (And we know he's all about not giving fans what they want...) They had to take the Spuffy relationship somewhere - they'd built it up too much not to go there at all, but they obviously wouldn't want a retread of the Buffy/Angel star-crossed lovers thing. This relationship is about as far from Bangel as you could get, and it leads to Spike getting a soul in a way that's the opposite of Angel, which I think was also important. And finally, it fits thematically - Buffy's seemingly uncontrollable need for Spike parallels Willow's addiction to magic - it's most blatant in "Wrecked," but I think throughout, Buffy is portrayed as not being able to help herself when it comes to the sex with Spike. She knows it's wrong, and she hates that she keeps going to him, but she keeps doing it anyway, because she needs it. She needs the feeling she gets from it - it's like her version of a drug high. And like Willow, she finally has a moment where she realizes she can't be dependent on that, and she quits cold turkey.

Oh, and it gives us more naked Spike. 'Cause that was clearly a priority of the writers that season...
Writing should feel easy, like a monkey driving a speed boat.
Dec 19 2008 03:01 am   #33nmcil
I totally loved the way that they use Giles in his medley song to reference "the spark" - that was a splendid reference to Buffy and Spike and what their future will bring to them -

naked Spike, definitely a nice bonus when it is an important part of the story - not so nice when they just drape cloth over him to sexify a scene like they did, IMO, with the scene that has Anya looking for evidence.  He may look wonderful and sexy, but it always comes off as a bit on the silly side to me.
” Recent evolutionary models have demonstrated what politicians have long known: the best way to get people to collaborate and to think like a group is to identify an enemy and charge that “they” threaten “us.”

Michael Tomasello is co-director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
Dec 19 2008 04:43 am   #34Guest
Their sexual relationship isn't that violent, though......at least not in a lingeringly harmful way. It's kinky, and it's probably more kinky than most people do, but really....so what if they have wild vigorous sex that makes them fall off a bed, or just go straight for the floor? So what if they bite each other a bit....no blood was drawn, that's shown, and neither one complained that they were getting hurt too much physically. There's a perception because of what a lot of fanfic writers have written, but really, they had kinky sex, not violent sex. Look at what's on screen. They're super beings who wear each other out in mutual sex - normally, no one would give a flyin' flip.

The destructive part is in how they treat each other emotionally, and from Buffy, verbally. They stop talking about anything meaningful, and the shame they build because Buffy insists it be secret is what's really the nail in the coffin........not the sex itself. The relationship isn't even that long. I've used mascaras longer than these two were together.

CM
Dec 19 2008 05:00 am   #35Scarlet Ibis
It's kinky, and it's probably more kinky than most people do, but really....so what if they have wild vigorous sex that makes them fall off a bed, or just go straight for the floor?
That's true.

I'm willing to bet it was no more kinkier than Xander and Anya, which makes the whole "Why do I let him do those things to me?" really, UBER lame.

But I'll just say this--the breaking stuff and not making the bed and stuff like that?  Was more of a Buffy thing, I'd wager.  Whenever Spike and Harmony or Spike and Dru got busy, it was typically on a bed.  With Harm, it seemed to be slow and tender (even if he was at times thinking of someone else). At the very least, no furniture (or buildings) ended up broken or in disarray.

<--is basing this on what was shown on the screen.
"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly."
https://www.facebook.com/FangirlNovel
Dec 19 2008 07:12 am   #36nmcil

I suspect that when  viewers in-vision  to their sexually  violent relationship - it is not the sexual acts but as you state, their brutal emotional treatment of each other - experimental non-traditional sexual practices or rough and intense sex does not have to be violent.  After "Smashed" I don't think we ever see them  engage sexually at that violent level - not until the tragedy of Spike's attempted rape. 

I've been watching the Special Features of Season Six - I think it is good to go back as listened to what Joss Whedon and the writers say about the series periodically.  helps to get answers to some questions that one is thinking about now while it also helps to clarify one's  own ideas and interpretations.

” Recent evolutionary models have demonstrated what politicians have long known: the best way to get people to collaborate and to think like a group is to identify an enemy and charge that “they” threaten “us.”

Michael Tomasello is co-director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.
Dec 19 2008 10:06 pm   #37Spikez_tart
Buffy is a control freak - she totally is, which makes it surprising that she's so reluctant to boss Dawn around and take control of her own life.

Buffy takes a kiss from Spike/takes what she wants - This is similar to her actions with Faith when they go on a store busting spree -  Want Take Have.  Buffy wants sex so that she can feel better, she takes it from Spike. 

Dark and light coming together - I think this is the whole point of the Spuffy relationship.  Spike is Buffy's darked (Id) side and together they make a complete adult. 

A point - When Buffy is about to dance herself to death, she sings that she wants a reason to go on living and Spike (and no one else) appears at her side.   Later, when Buffy and Willow are sitting on the street curb (after Willow nearly gets Dawn killed by a demon) Buffy says she didn't want to die, which is a change for her since coming back from the dead.  This is the next episode after she has sex with Spike.  He is possibly all that's keeping her from kiling herself or allowing herself to be killed.

I'm willing to bet it was no more kinkier than Xander and Anya, which makes the whole "Why do I let him do those things to me?" really, UBER lame.  I have wracked my brain trying to imagine what a modern girl like Buffy could possibly consider too kinky.  While Buffy is in Faith's body, she makes a crack to Giles about "Bondage Fun" so she doesn't seem to upset by that idea.  In the scene where Spike holds up the handcuffs, apparently they've never used them, but he does have a bunch of bite marks.  What's the big whoop about that?  Buffy does dream that she's having sex with Spike will he's handcuffed to the bed, and that appears to be upsetting to her, but she isn't hurting him while that's happening. 



If we want her to be exactly she'll never be exactly I know the only really real Buffy is really Buffy and she's gone' who?
Dec 19 2008 10:25 pm   #38Scarlet Ibis
"Bondage Fun"
Handcuffs (or shackles, as Xander laments in season 7) really aren't a big deal in the Buffy/Angel verses.  Giles handcuffs Joyce (or she handcuffs him), Wesley owns handcuffs for sex play, and I'm sure Anya and Xander have had their fair share as well.  But if Spike, a soulless vampire is into it, well, it must be "dirty."  Maybe Buffy thought pure missionary and nothing else is how decent "normal" girls behave.  Whatev.

(side note:  It isn't always about kink, but about trust, if your partner allows you to cuff them or vice versa)
"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly."
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Dec 20 2008 12:21 am   #39Eowyn315
Their sexual relationship isn't that violent, though......at least not in a lingeringly harmful way.
Well, that's kind of the point, isn't it? The fact that their regular sexual activities involve destruction of houses, breaking furniture, and scratching/bruising each other is what makes Spike think it's okay to force Buffy to have sex again in "Seeing Red." If it wasn't considered "normal" for them, wouldn't it be a much more egregious thing for him to try to use force when she's said no? It's because he doesn't realize this is different from all the other times - that at its core, it's a misunderstanding, not a crime - that he's able to do this and not have it be utterly unforgivable.

I agree with you that the violence and the destructiveness are two separate aspects of their relationship. Using both adjectives in a row wasn't meant to imply they were the same thing (that would be redundant), just that both aspects contribute to how they end up at the AR.

I'm willing to bet it was no more kinkier than Xander and Anya, which makes the whole "Why do I let him do those things to me?" really, UBER lame.
True, but consider who Buffy has been with prior to this. I really doubt that the sex with any of those guys was as kinky as this. Maybe it would have been, if she'd had more than one night with Angel and Parker, but she didn't... and we know Riley wasn't really satisfying her, so I'm betting this is a whole new experience for her. And for a white-bread girl like Buffy, I can see how kinky sex might be shocking to her, and it might be disturbing to discover that she - the supposed "good girl" - has these deep-seated desires.

Sure, Anya likes kinky stuff, but they all treat Anya like she's weird for it - even Xander, who's obviously doing it with her. If he's embarrassed for people to know what he and Anya do together, how does that help Buffy to see kink as something normal? Just the opposite, I think. If everybody cringes when Anya says things like, "We've enjoyed spanking," how should Buffy expect them to react if they knew what she and Spike did?

Maybe it's just a matter of privacy (although my friends and I talk about sex pretty openly, so this level of privacy among best friends seems excessive to me), but if they all treat kink like a dirty little secret, that's how Buffy's going to perceive it - as something to be ashamed of.
Writing should feel easy, like a monkey driving a speed boat.
Dec 20 2008 02:18 am   #40Scarlet Ibis
If everybody cringes when Anya says things like, "We've enjoyed spanking," how should Buffy expect them to react if they knew what she and Spike did? Maybe it's just a matter of privacy (although my friends and I talk about sex pretty openly, so this level of privacy among best friends seems excessive to me), but if they all treat kink like a dirty little secret, that's how Buffy's going to perceive it - as something to be ashamed of.
But it wasn't a privacy issue--with Anya, it was an "inappropriate kind of talk" issue, which she usually did in front of parental figures like Giles and Joyce, and sometimes (well at least that one time in "Blood Ties" ) in front of Dawn.  The point was that everyone knew they (Anya and Xander) were into somewhat kinky stuff, which was only the tip of that iceberg, and sure, Xander was a tad embarrassed (because it was inappropriate talk, and not because he didn't enjoy indulging in those things), so from a logical train of thought?  What's done behind closed doors with your partner doesn't necessarily have to be discussed or blurted out in front of a group of people like Anya, but it doesn't make it bad either.  Clearly Xander accepted it.  Anya as well (who used to dole out vengeance for over a thousand years) thought it was fine and not disrespectful to her as a woman.  I find it incredibly odd that neither Willow or Anya shared sex secrets with Buffy, and I'm willing to bet that before Spike, they both had the most non-vanilla stories to tell.  Or when she could read minds, and she got snippets of her mom and Giles' one time sexcapades--their was nothing kosher about it (on the hood of a police car, out in the open with cuffs--there's no way that at least some of that wasn't in Joyce's thoughts, since she was thinking about sex with Giles, and that's where and how it happened). 

Honestly, I think it just circles back to the un-souled part of the equation, and nothing else.

ETA:  Cringing doesn't mean "dirty little secret," but more along the lines of TMI--"Do what you do, but we don't want to hear all the details."
"Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly."
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Dec 20 2008 02:35 am   #41Guest
The fact that their regular sexual activities involve destruction of houses, breaking furniture, and scratching/bruising each other is what makes Spike think it's okay to force Buffy to have sex again in "Seeing Red."
No, no, no, I don't think that's what he was about there at ALL. We'll save SR until we get to SR, because that's a whole long topic we've already covered on this board before, but no, just no.
Dec 20 2008 04:35 am   #42Eowyn315
with Anya, it was an "inappropriate kind of talk" issue, which she usually did in front of parental figures like Giles and Joyce, and sometimes (well at least that one time in "Blood Ties" ) in front of Dawn.
But it's not always... Xander reacts the same way when it's just his friends - the "We've enjoyed spanking" comment that I mentioned happens when just Willow, Xander, and Anya are in the room, and Xander sends cards shooting all over the place when she says it.

I agree with you that it's odd the Scoobies never talked about sex with each other - my friends and I do it all the time, and a comment like Anya's would possibly produce giggles, but not embarrassment.
Writing should feel easy, like a monkey driving a speed boat.
Dec 22 2008 02:44 am   #43Spikez_tart
their regular sexual activities involve destruction of houses, breaking furniture, and scratching/bruising each other  - We can't compare Spike and Buffy's rough house sex with that of mere mortals.  If any human did some of the stuff they do, they'd be in the emergency room getting a cast or two.

it might be disturbing to discover that she - the supposed "good girl" - has these deep-seated desires.  - I agree, the real problem for Buffy is not that she's doing these things, which she certainly learned about ad nauseum in sex education class, but that she likes doing them.  That is scary for her.

Maybe it would have been, if she'd had more than one night with Angel and Parker, but she didn't... and we know Riley wasn't really satisfying her, so I'm betting this is a whole new experience for her. - I'm sure that Angel the Vampire is a very kinky guy, but sadly, Buffy didn't experience any of that.  If she had, she might not have been so freaked about what she was doing with Spike.


If we want her to be exactly she'll never be exactly I know the only really real Buffy is really Buffy and she's gone' who?