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05 October 2016 @ 01:08 am
Something special. Or blue.  
And we're back. Apologies for the unintentional hiatus - various family and fandom things got in the way. But at least we have a pretty special episode to return on. Music to the heart of any Spuffy fan, but sheer hilarity for almost any viewer. This is the Buffyverse, though. There are dark overtones.

Willow is sad, but finds sniffing clothes soothing. (Giles did tell her knowledge should be smelly, after all.) It's all she has left, poor moppet, since Oz went. His room is full of their memories, balm to her soul.

Riley has shocking news for Buffy. He is, in fact, a lesbian. (foreshadowing of a sort, do we think?)

Buffy's hair looks like she's had another sort of shock, mind you - a Van der Graaf type.

Riley actually asks her out. Well, for a picnic. Daytime dates are a fairly new experience for Buffy.

Buffy and Willow are discussing men, loss, slaying. All the usual stuff. A vamp is irritating enough to get in the way, and Buffy deals with him effectively.

Other vamps can be irritating. Much more so, and for much longer. Mind you, I think I would be quite annoying if I were chained up in somebody's bath.

Spike wants food and comfort. Buffy wants information from him. Neither is getting what they want, both are really, really irritated.

Even when he has a mug of blood, Spike is less than helpful.

Though Buffy is a naughty taunter

Giles is fed up with both of them. Perhaps Willow could try a memory spell?

Willow's doing OK, thinks Buffy. Spike disagrees. With his ability to see what people actually feel, he knows she's hanging in by a thread, at most.

That thread is about to break. Willow drops by Oz's room to have another sniff. It's empty. She is not a happy Willow.

Giles would really like to take a shower. Alone.

Buffy and Riley have their picnic. He is astonished to find she doesn't drive, and offers to take her out in his car.

Willow comes to join them, as full of sunshine and puppies as ever.

At the Bronze the Scoobies are talking about Willow. Who is dancing the dance of the brave little toaster.

It's also the dance of the exceedingly drunk and exceptionally unhappy little witch. Xander reminds her of Buffy's experience with the demon drink. Anya reminds him not to think about Buffy in a Raquel Welch fur bikini.

Willow just doesn't see why it has to hurt so much. Why can't the pain just go away, poof!?

Perhaps it can. Instead of a memory spell Willow gets up during the night and performs a "my will be done" spell. In a rather grand bathroom.

It doesn't seem to work, however, not even as much as unbending a Q-tip.

Giles is worried about Willow, which inevitably turns into a lecture - she really needs to pull herself together. Of course he sees what her problem is

no he doesn't, Willow feels. He doesn't see anything. She has a flashy-eye moment.

And Giles has problems with his vision.

He can't even see to cast a spell on a bolshy vampire.

So the vampire nicks the keys and runs off.

Willow bemoans her lack of power. A decent witch could have made Oz stay. Or at least unmagicked Amy. Behind her, Amy appears

and then becomes a rat again. The girls' night in continues till Buffy is summoned to look for Spike

and that annoys Willow too. After all, he's likely to be just outside. And so he is.

That crisis is over quickly, then. Spike does identify where the Initiative exit was before the inevitable slapping around. Then Buffy marches him back to Maison Giles.

Giles is really suffering with his sight now, but the two are squabbling too much to notice.

Xander visits Willow, but gets nowhere.

She's far too self-obsessed sad. And cross because everyone is putting her needs last. Xander's a demon-magnet and Buffy and Spike should just get married. Nobody, including her, notices more flashy-eye moments.

Suddenly, though, Spike is on his knees.

Of course it's yes! They are in love and engaged.

Giles is aghast.

There is much canoodling.

And Buffy asks Giles to give her away. He is flattered despite the insanity of it.

Buffy really is living the dream.

Giles is now totally blind, though. Spike points out they can probably help with a spell; after all, Giles is more or less his father-in-law now, isn't he? Buffy goes off to get supplies, but stops to do a little window-shopping on the way.

She meets Riley and shares the joyful news. She doesn't like her fiancé, who is "totally old", but she does love him. Riley feels the need to go somewhere away and be ... away.

Xander's make-out session with Anya is interrupted by demons. Yes, plural.

Giles is really suffering.

Buffy is in love, so barely notices.

Anya and Xander are dishevelled; they have barely managed to shake off the demons.

Astutely, Xander notices Spike is not tied or chained up. Buffy breaks the joyful news.

(Does that pose remind anyone else of Spike and Dru in School Hard?) Xander is gobsmacked. "How? What? How?" Three excellent questions.

And the penny drops. Giles and Xander must be suffering from a Willow-spell. Not Buffy, of course. She's the Slayer and probably immune.

Willow goes home. Sadly.

A demon appears and snatches her away in a flash of light. By the time the Scoobies, plus a bickering Spike, arrive, all that's left is the sort of burn on the carpet that will be really difficult to explain to the dorm authorities at the end of the year.

Spike is more interested in Buffy's fluffy clothing. Not in a good way.

Anya gets it. Of course - it has to be D'Hoffryn.

It is. He's making Willow an offer he doesn't want her to refuse.

She doesn't believe she's caused any harm.

But the Scoobies are in a graveyard. And there are more demons.

The only place to go is a crypt, and blocking the door will only work so far.

It's mayhem. Buffy has hardly any time to snog Spike. She makes some, though.

Willow is aghast as she is shown what is happening and politely turns down the offer. D'Hoffryn is surprisingly unenraged and opens a portal.

And, poof! Willow is here and undoes her spell.

Buffy and Spike stop mid-snog.

Yes, it's that revolting. So Willow has to do much cookie-baking to assuage her guilt and apologise.

And Spike gets a cookie to shut him up. Who needs to know all the details of Buffy's wedding plans?

Yes, the cookie-dough is baked.

And Buffy manages to explain things to Riley. She was just joking.

Really. Just a joke.


So, I may just have gone a little overboard on the screencaps there. Can you blame me?

This episode, between Pangs and Hush, often appears in "10 best" lists. It's on mine. As so often, there's a really serious theme at the heart of the story - love really does make you do the wacky, and loss, heartbreak and loneliness can cause immense damage. It's worth noting that, amongst all the hilarity, there is a grain of truth in many of the spells. Xander actually is something of a demon-magnet, from the giant mantis onward, and is in a relationship with an ex-demon right now. Giles sometimes perceives things less clearly than he thinks he does, as we will see in the future. In this season we begin to see the cracks in the facade - just like all parents of young adults, he is not all-knowing and gradually this becomes clear. He certainly doesn't see how hurt Willow is.

And as for Buffy - she will tell Spike she loves him, one day, without a spell. And he will be deeply in love with her. Foreshadowing or sowing a seed? Hence sprang many, many pages of Spuffyfic at least.

Willow's magic goes wrong. How unusual. Willow wants to use magic to make all the pain go away at once, to make everything work right for her. Again, how unusual. The offer of demon-status is seriously-meant, and brings her to her senses, but there is a real warning here of the dangers of going too far, of abusing and exploiting power. We may just see more of this.


So, favourite lines/scenes? I have too many to list, I confess. Superb acting from the cast - real ensemble work and fabulous interaction, from Anya's "Off-topic, Xander" to Willow's cookie-mania. Pain, bewilderment, genuine joy, acute embarrassment - all nailed.

Anything you don't like? If you dislike the Spuffy relationship even the comic form may not amuse you. Is Willow too whiny or her friends too uncaring or inactive? Is Riley believable in his courtship of Buffy even after the bizarre bridal-shop meeting?

Please share your feelings, likes, dislikes, quotations - whatever you like.

All caps courtesy of Screencapped.net

Butterflysnogged on October 5th, 2016 03:26 am (UTC)
As a Willow fan, I struggle with this episode. We have seen Willow support Xander and Buffy through their break-ups. Willow dated Oz almost as long as Buffy and Angel dated... He was her first love, her first kiss, her first first. I don't blame her for trying a spell to make the pain go away. I think that's something that at least I can relate to. I hate when people call her self-obsessed and whiny. She's just trying to process her loss in her own way.

Also...I really don't care much for Spike/Buffy. I do agree that the one shot does look like the scene from School Hard.
Dannachasingdemons on October 5th, 2016 04:37 am (UTC)
I agree with you about Willow. She's always been so supportive of Buffy, Xander, and Giles. But now that she's been dealt a heartbreaking loss, they seem less willing to let her grieve on her own timeline.
(no subject) - gillo on October 5th, 2016 11:26 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - chasingdemons on October 6th, 2016 01:22 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shapinglight on October 6th, 2016 09:23 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - chasingdemons on October 6th, 2016 12:54 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shapinglight on October 6th, 2016 01:03 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Shapinglight: wavy hair Buffyshapinglight on October 5th, 2016 07:25 am (UTC)
I feel very sorry for Willow here. It does seem like Spike is the only one who sees through her facade of pretending to be okay.

Of the others, I guess they're just behaving in the callous way young adults often do behave. It's not nice, but it is believable.
(no subject) - gillo on October 5th, 2016 11:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shapinglight on October 6th, 2016 09:25 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - gillo on October 5th, 2016 11:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shapinglight on October 6th, 2016 09:26 am (UTC) (Expand)
Shapinglight: happinessshapinglight on October 5th, 2016 07:33 am (UTC)
I may be wrong (I wasn't online when this episode aired) but surely even people who didn't like the Spuffy relationship enjoyed it at the time, because it is very funny (and back then they probably thought Spuffy was never going to happen in reality and they were safe just enjoying the comedy)?

As I said to snogged above, I think the way Xander, Anya and Buffy react to Willow's continuing misery is pretty accurate. Young adults can be quite cruel and dismissive of others' pain that way - even if it's been caused by something that's happened to them. They're too young to have learned just yet that there isn't a magical moment when grief just disappears.

I do admire the way Willow's personality is built up over the seasons. She does need to control things. She does, in certain sitatuations where she doesn't feel in control, feel the need to alter the situation to get control back. Something Blue is an early pointer of what will happen in season 6.

The Buffy/Spike in this episode is hilarious - especially their interactions with Giles. My favourite line is probably the one where Giles hears them start kissing again and says, "It's all right. I have more scotch." :)

I love Riley in this episode. Again, he's a complete sweetheart - and that includes him helping with the Lesbian Society banner. He's adorable.

Edited at 2016-10-05 07:35 am (UTC)
gillo: Spike tiny smilegillo on October 5th, 2016 11:45 pm (UTC)
I love the fruit roll-ups gag, but the way Buffy and Spike can't stop bickering even when they are in love and engaged is hilarious, like an old married couple. "Mr and Mrs Big-Pile-of-Dust"!
Trepkostrepkos on October 5th, 2016 07:41 am (UTC)
It's wonderful! I especially love how Spike immediately turns from rebel vamp to conventional old fart , given the chance! (It's like Giles is his father-in-law! He's going to be the breadwinner!) Also love the perceptiveness ...
I'm definitely in the "Willow's friends are unsympathetic" camp; if they weren't prepared to deal with her being sad, they should have been more tolerant of her being a bit drunk for one night.

Edited at 2016-10-05 03:37 pm (UTC)
Shapinglight: wavy hair Buffyshapinglight on October 5th, 2016 04:33 pm (UTC)
they should have been more tolerant of her being a bit drunk for one night.

Agreed. It's not even like she's so drunk. She's certainly still coherent.

As for Spike, he's probably come over all Victorian at the thought of being married.

Edited at 2016-10-05 04:34 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - gillo on October 5th, 2016 11:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shapinglight on October 6th, 2016 09:29 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - gillo on October 5th, 2016 11:46 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shapinglight on October 6th, 2016 09:30 am (UTC) (Expand)
Infinitewhaleinfinitewhale on October 6th, 2016 01:45 pm (UTC)

Honestly, I come down on the side of Buffy and Xander on this one. It's not like Oz just left. It had been 3 episodes at this point. They've all been trying to help through it. They're all supportive of her and she's antagonistic toward them in this ep, particularly Xander. It's one thing to want commiseration from friends, it's another to expect them to put their lives entirely on hold for you, which is what Willow seems to want. At this point, they've held her hand, cursed Oz out, stayed with her, tried taking her out... What exactly are they supposed to do? Which is kind of the point, I suppose. You have to just wade through the grief. The script mentions more than a couple times that Buffy and the gang are really helpless with her.
Shapinglight: wavy hair Buffyshapinglight on October 7th, 2016 10:04 am (UTC)
I am kind of torn, I must admit. I really feel for Willow and understand why she would want to skip over the stages of grief and get to the end of it quick as possible (and it's not like she sets out to bespell everyone else. It's herself she wants to fix). I also feel bad for her that behind her back, the others are discussing that they're sick to death of her pity party.

On the other hand, they don't say that to her face, and it's understandable they'd want to let off steam in safety (ie. where she can't hear them). It can be very emotionally draining dealing with someone in the state Willow's in, no matter how you feel for them.

In other words, I as usual can't make my mind up as to the rights and wrongs of it so I'm just going to sit on the fence. ;)
(no subject) - infinitewhale on October 7th, 2016 10:58 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shapinglight on October 7th, 2016 11:54 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - infinitewhale on October 7th, 2016 07:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shapinglight on October 8th, 2016 12:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - infinitewhale on October 8th, 2016 06:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Rebcake: btvs_chantrebcake on October 6th, 2016 04:01 pm (UTC)
I have trouble seeing how the Scoobies are anything less than sympathetic and caring with Willow. They spend time with her, agree with her that it's hard, and Buffy explicitly tells her that it takes time to get over — speaking from experience.

Willow: I just can't stand feeling this way. I want it to be over.
Buffy: It will. I promise. But it's gonna take time.
Willow: Well, that's not good enough.
Buffy: I know. It's just how it is. You have to go through the pain.

Even Giles has a pretty good grasp of what's going on, but he comes to her pain from the point of view of somebody who's been there before, and lived to tell the tale. She doesn't want to hear it.

Willow is behaving like "nobody understands my pain", when everybody understands it. It's just that they can't solve her pain, which seems to be what she really wants. That she dismisses Xander's problems as unimportant doesn't win her points, either.

I for one am relieved when the whole thing gets silly!
Shapinglight: happiest man on earthshapinglight on October 7th, 2016 10:09 am (UTC)
I for one am relieved when the whole thing gets silly!

Well, me too. And as usual since writing my comments at the top, my sympathies have veered away from Willow and towards Buffy and Xander. It's true that everyone's pain is unique to them, but it's wrong for Willow to extrapolate from that that her pain is worse than anything her friends have suffered.

Really, it's a good thing for everyone that it all devolves into silliness.
kerkevik_2014: Donna / Woman_of_kerkevik_2014 on October 6th, 2016 08:27 pm (UTC)
Didn't Riley accidentally out himself that ep? :-)
Shapinglight: happinessshapinglight on October 7th, 2016 09:58 am (UTC)
No, it's the next one.
(no subject) - kerkevik_2014 on October 7th, 2016 10:02 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shapinglight on October 7th, 2016 10:11 am (UTC) (Expand)
slaymesoftlyslaymesoftly on October 8th, 2016 12:44 am (UTC)
This is what happens when I'm not around for awhile - I miss the discussion about one of my favorite episodes! And I agree with everybody! LOL I do think Giles and the Scoobies were a little hard on Willow, although once someone pointed out that they'd been supporting her for a few weeks already, I can understand their wanting to get on with their lives. The idea that Buffy shouldn't have left to catch Spike is really the big one - I can understand thinking Giles should cut her some slack. TBH, I don't remember what caused her to call Xander a demon magnet, so don't know if that's defensible or not. But the entire rest of the episode is so very much fun. And Spike and Buffy are the funnest. At the time, while I was excited to see Spike coming back as a regular character, I was still all about supporting Buffy in her choices, so happy that she had Riley. I enjoyed their over-the-top smooching and wedding plans for the humor in the situation, not because I immediately thought - oh wow! Of course they should be together! LOL The fan fic came later - when we had a reason to imagine them as a couple. Of course, once that happened, going back to SB for inspiration for earlier Spuffy was the natural thing to do. :)
Shapinglight: Something Blue Gilesshapinglight on October 8th, 2016 12:51 pm (UTC)
It is a fun episode to jump off from for ficcing purposes. I've done so myself and had a great time doing so.

Actually, of all her interactions with her friends during the early part of the episode, I think Willow's behaviour towards Xander is the worst. She's quite nasty to him. I suppose you could say that it's a sign of things to come with how she regards his relationship with Anya, but that's by no means clear.