As You Were

Written by Douglas Petrie
Directed by Douglas Petrie

Mike Z's Synopsis | Perri's Review | Christina's Review | SunSpeak

Mike Z's Synopsis

Editors's Note: Everyone give a warm round of applause to guest synopsizer Mike Zimbouski , who came through in a pinch to help us get caught up and, more importantly, saved me from having to rewatch this stupid episode, which I flatly refused to do. Mike, I love ya, man!!!!

Previously on Bonanza: Riley flew away in a big machine like a little girly-man. Buffy howled mournfully into the dark after him like a lost prairie dog. Then all kinds of horrible stuff happened to Buffy, among which shagging Spike and getting a McJob could theoretically be included, And Xander and Anya are getting married, the merits of which may also vary according to viewer's perspective.

It's a slow night at the Doublemeat Palace; Buffy's scraping hamburger dust off the grill into a white plastic bucket that's sorely disappointed that it's not being puked in. She's being assisted in this by the condescending, officious MBA-to-be who is her supervisor, and when we say "assisted", we mean "talked down to in a spur-forth-latent-desire-to-wrap-spatula-around-throat level of obnoxiousness." He drops a reference to Machiavelli which sails over Buffy's head, and makes a daringly blunt, or thuddingly tactless, depending on your grade level, reference to Buffy's less-than-academic status. Buffy informs him she's reapplying to college, and he reacts as if she's expressed a plan to go without bathroom breaks for the next six years, then leaves her to scrape gum off tables. Buffy muses on her indefinite future with La Palace, and begins to feel the gnaw of empty time at her soul.

On her way home, she is visited by a curse staggering in its diabolic vindictiveness; she can't get the Doublemeat commercial jingle out of her head. Fortunately, something far less scary appears; a vampire. She and it begin to tangle, but not before she puts the bagged take-home for Dawn carefully out of the way. The fight is quick and to the point, and no quarter is given until the vampire gets a whiff of Grease-In-Ear Buffy. Upon discovering she's chock full of Doublemeat goodness, he cries off; obviously a free-range man. Buffy is stung to the quick, then remembers she can kill him and does so. But as we all know, no amount of killing can take away the bad smell.

She's two steps from the doorway when, Jedi-like, she senses Spike waiting for her. No amount of paranormal power is needed to guess what he's thinking, however. Buffy puts up a half-hearted argument, but once dragged safely out of earshot of Dawn, her protests shrink into a resigned sigh. A variable amount of minutes (shall we start a pool?) later, a more disheveled and grass-stained Buffy appears in the Summers kitchen. She gives Dawn the Doublemeat doggie-bag, but Dawn, while appreciative of her sister's efforts, has had her fill of both cow and chicken. Willow come in, and remarks on Buffy's tousled appearance. "Some vamp get rough with you?" Dawn asks. "He's not getting any gentler," Buffy mutters, then quickly moves to cover her gaffe. Fortunately, Willow and Dawn are easily led along a different conversational path; they both have plans to spend the night Bronzing with the XanderAnya, and they encourage Buffy to join them. But she demurs, and settles in for a long night of steam-cleaning.

At the Bronze, Xander and Anya are approaching saturation level with wedding preparations. Anya can't bear to look at the seating chart again, and bouquet planning is causing Xander's oft-bruised masculinity to flake and erode. Dawn tries to make with the cheery convo, and is quickly barked away. She goes over to Willow, who is decidedly more sunny; she's agog at the prospect of seeing and having the odd actual conversation with Tara come the nuptials. Dawn suggests calling her, but Will gets that panicked face we know so well. Still, she says, beaming, "if I did call, she wouldn't hang up on me."

The morn arrives, and with it the garbage truck. Buffy, who has fallen asleep in the living room beneath the now grass-free (but I'm betting still Spike-scented) coat, is awakened by the medley of grinding gears and reverse alert, but apparently Slayer reflexes are not all they could be before that first cup of coffee. The truck pulls away, leaving a girl standing in the middle of the road with two bags of trash feeling like a simp. She returns inside, and Dawn comes downstairs to remind her that it's garbage day. Buffy reads the morning mail; included is a letter that tells her she's missed the deadline to apply for spring semester. As she absorbs this latest flaming spear in her future, she sees Dawn's got books and coat, and asks her where she's going. "School," comes the bemused response. Buffy offers help getting her off, but it's a done deal, and Dawn says a very sweet goodbye, almost completely disguising the undercurrent of longing. Buffy is left facing a stack of rather hoary dishes.

At work, Supervisor-Guy is still expounding on game theory in food service. I bet this guy's a big Frank Zappa fan. He directs Buffy to counter duty, and Buffy, now completely convinced that nothing fun or exciting or even different will ever come her way again, shlumps to the register to attend to the common folk, and the shock of what she sees practically blows out her synapse network. Riley's standing there in full commando dress.

And he's not asking for extra sweet 'n' sour sauce. He's coming off two-day non-stop pursuit of something decidedly less friendly than the Snuggles fabric softener bear, and he's looking for help. Buffy's paddling madly to keep up, but her hat has a cow on it, her clothes are made from a used barbershop pole and she can't get over how tall Riley seems. Riley takes her utter shock in stride, and patiently explains what's at stake; as much as he'd like to give her a chance to regain her balance, there isn't time. Is she in? As the manager comes over to inquire about Buffy's seeming reluctance to aid the economy and the customers peer anxiously around Riley's back, Buffy does some mental weighing--then decides it's time to get to work. She removes the Holstein hat and follows Riley out, leaving the manager yelping futilely.

Outside, Riley starts to apologize for not calling beforehand, but then he begins beeping, and you know how that goes. As he fidgets with the widget that's helping him track a Savolti demon (wasn't that the name of the guy who owned the restaurant on The Sopranos?), Buffy, struck by the (literally) from-a-previous-life sight of Riley fiddling with a military gizmo, begins giggling. Riley looks askance at her, and she apologizes, saying "...all that James Bond stuff; it's so cute. I forgot." Riley is less than amused, but immediately goes back into Mulder-mode, outlining the demon's modus operandi for Buffy; they apparently breed like the spiders in the Tron video game, and he's determined to get to this one before the timer runs out. The impromptu debriefing is interrupted, however, by the mission objective, who is in the process of taking out an ice cream cart. As bystanders panic as only Sunnydalers can, Riley asks Buffy, "Ready for this?" "Yes, please," she replies, profoundly grateful to be given a situation she can handle completely.

Riley has a National Forest Service badge (can't you just see Riley chasing Yogi and Boo-Boo?) and hastily shouts the requisite cover story about a wild bear. They engage, but the demon throws them off and heads for darker corners. They follow, and find, only to lose again. Riley decides a large, black, four-wheeled vehicle is called for, and wouldn't you know it?

In the car, Buffy and Riley actually have five seconds to catch up. They start with post-battle banter, which gets more intricate when Riley asks Buffy how she's doing. "Complicated question," says Buffy. Riley is thrown for a beat, but concurs, and says he's got "some big stories" to tell her.

"Did you die?" asks Buffy.

Confused, Riley gives the seemingly obvious answer.

"I'm gonna win," she sighs.

Riley registers that, but lets it go for the moment. He gives her some lightweight armor to change into, and she finds she's comfortable enough to do so with him in the car. Buffy inquires lightly about the commando career, and by the end of the conversation they've both gotten their first smile out of each other. And Riley loves Buffy's new haircut.

Meanwhile, in a vehicle that's decidedly less moving, Xander and Anya are stuck in Beltway traffic on their way to the airport to pick up lovable old Uncle Rory, he of the schnapps-breath and colorful anecdotes. Anya is less than tingly at the prospect of drunken uncle sleepover, and Xander doesn't like it any better, but he's family. Despised family, but for Xander that's something of a redundancy. Anya's anxious to get back before any more of her demon friends arrive, and Xander wonders as to the logic of Anyafriends and Xanderkin inhabiting AnyaXander home. Anya, however, has reached her limit on nuptial strategizing: "Planning this marriage is like staging the invasion of Normandy." "Without the laughs," Xander agrees. He half jokes that they should elope, and it snaps against Anya's last nerve: "It is going to be our perfect, perfect day if I have to kill every one of our guests and half this town to do it." In frustration, they switch bags of chips.

Riley and Buffy have tracked the demon to its lair; it's not far away, but the first step is a lulu. It's at the bottom of a large dam; the only way down is grappler and rope. Buffy gives off a decidedly tickled air at the prospect of holding onto Riley for seventy feet or so, and he doesn't seem revulsed at the notion either. In fact, a lot of their banter is starting to sound downright familiar; Buffy even calls him "Agent Finn" playfully. They land, and the demon attacks in short order. Riley is hurt; Buffy calls after him, and renders the demon threatless before seeing to him. He braces himself against her, they breathe hard for a moment--and then a slim, similarly-black-clad girl climbs down beside them and inquires what exactly Buffy is doing with her husband.

You can almost hear the muted trombones wail. Buffy looks stunned; Riley looks caught; Sam (as her name turns out to be) is amused. And the demon is awake. Sam goes after it; Riley looks on admiringly. Buffy, still reeling, puts out a few information feelers. Riley responds: four months, no kids, and he meant to tell her. Riley looks way too much like William Shatner in this shot. They met fighting demons (Riley and Sam, not Shatner) and as this one throws Sam to the ground, Riley decides to reenact the initial meet. As they battle the demon, Buffy is thrown out of her shock and jumps into the fray, snapping the creature's neck in due course. But a dead demon wasn't what Riley and Sam had in mind. It's Riley's fault for not telling Buffy, and he and Sam get into a minor spat which turns into what's obviously good-natured ribbing. They decide to regroup at Buffy's house.

Upon entering the homestead, Riley sees Dawn, who greets him with a decided lack of affect. Xander and Willow are more welcoming; guess who gives the big hug and who settles for the manly handshake. Sam is introduced, and it's congratulations all around for being married, including a preemptive one from Riley to Xander. Buffy looks like she wants to melt into the paneling. Willow offers to be the hostile best friend for Buffy, but Buffy admits she already likes Sam. Undeterred, Willow offers to absorb all Buffy's excess bile. Riley lays it out for the gang about the demon, then cuts it off upon being made aware of Dawn's presence; but this barely registers with Buffy. As noted, the demon is here to make little baby demons, and the name of the game is to find it before the pacifiers made of human skin get handed out. Xander interrupts the plan with wedding questions, while Buffy is forced to admit that she's made it more difficult to find the nest by killing the demon. Sam impresses the world by reassuring Buffy and simultaneously solving Xander's placecard problem. She also explains that there's a fellow called "The Doctor" who's holding the eggs for sale to an unscrupulous foreign military, and asks Willow if she can play magickal Sherlock Holmes for them. Now it's Willow's turn to be inadequate; she shamefacedly admits that the magic thing went a little wrong, and bails.

Riley formulates a plan: Buffy and Sam track the nest, while Riley searches for the Doctor. Neither Buffy nor Sam seem brilliantly enthused about this prospect, but they swallow whatever objections they have. Before Sam leaves, she goes to Willow and apologizes. Willow's wallowing in shame, but Sam relates a story of a couple of shamans she knew who got addicted to magicks and didn't make it back. "I've never met anyone with enough strength to quit before," she said. Willow looks less downmouthed.

Buffy and Sam are on patrol in the cemetery, and Sam explains why she was nervous about working with Buffy; she's in awe in the presence of a real Slayer. Buffy's not feeling very awe-worthy, but is interested in what Riley had to say about her to Sam. Sam says he didn't talk about her for a long time, and then relates the story of how they met; she was working with the Peace Corps until demons attacked their village. Riley and his guys got her out, and she decided peace was overrated. Buffy confides, without malice, that she wishes things had worked out differently with her and Riley, and Sam nods in understanding. "The only thing that helped Riley get over was time," she says. "It took him a year to get over you." "I'm glad he's over me," Buffy almost bleats, as her heart gets another shove through the paper shredder. Sam then further twists the knife: "So, you seeing anyone new?" Buffy would pay hush money not to answer this question. "Better no guy than the wrong guy, that's for sure," Sam sighs. Okay, that's it; Buffy tells Sam they should split up. Sam immediately assumes she's a weight on Buffy, but Buffy assures her she just needs to go see an informant who is better handled alone. Sam says okay, and "Don't worry about Rye and me, we're good." This much Buffy had ample evidence of.

And the door to Spike's crypt bangs open once again. Matching urns by the doorway? Someone's been watching HGTV. I wanna know what Spike's reading. Buffy's all business; she needs information. Spike tries to sidetrack her, but is himself completely derailed when Buffy bursts out, "Tell me you love me." "I love you," a taken-aback Spike replies. "You know I do." "Tell me you want me," she says. He gets this one right, too, and wins the grand prize. Buffy drags him onto the bed, and clutches at him like a drowning man.

That mysterious amount of time later (see, now you're wondering) two sleepy people (well, the "two" and "sleepy" part are right, anyway) are awoke by clatter outside Spike's crypt; someone's entered the boudoir uninvited. Buffy is suddenly really really awake, and Spike vastly amused, at the sight of Riley standing in the doorway. Riley stares at the tableau, unflinching, while Spike hurls every possible jab he can think of Riley's way in an attempt to get that salt good and in there and Buffy develops a deep and abiding interest in Spike's fitted sheets. But the authentic visual of an image that had sent Riley into paroxysms of unworthiness before does nothing to faze him now as he cooly replies, "That's not why I'm here--Doctor."

Spike's grin crumbles ever so slightly, but he keeps at Riley, bringing up the vampire-hooker bit. But Riley still doesn't blink; he's got the information he needed and it's led him here, now all he wants to do is find the eggs. Spike continues to prevaricate, and Riley punches him, but then Buffy intercedes, saying it can't be Spike who has the eggs. "No need to defend me, love," Spike says, and Buffy punches him, to a fair sample of Riley's amusement. Nevertheless, Buffy presses on: "He's too incompetent. It's just Spike, Riley--" "Right," Riley says, looking at Buffy with no small measure of incredulity. "Deadly, amoral, opportunistic--or have you forgotten?" He begins to search, and a shamed Buffy agrees to accompany him. Spike isn't happy, but there's not a lot he can do about it. Buffy's still protesting Spike's innocence, but the words die in her throat as they sight several large grey pupae in the basement. Spike tries to cover, and gets knocked flat by Buffy, who tells him "no more games." Spike gets up, and there's more hurt than bluster in his protest this time: "That's bloody funny coming from you! No more games? That's all you've ever done is play me. You keep playing with the rules you make up as you like. You know what I am. You've always known. You come to me all the same."

"Can you shut him up?" Riley asks.

"Not so far," she sighs.

But a bigger annoyance than Spike looms; the eggs were supposed to be frozen so they couldn't hatch. But they weren't, and now they can. Buffy and Riley take on the junior crawlies while Spike makes himself scarce. They defeat the hellspiders, of course, but between gunfire, hungry demonspawn, and the eventual hand grenade, Spike's place gets a cleaning of the most severe kind.

Meanwhile, explosions of a different sort are buffeting Xander and Anya. Beset by bellicose brethren and diffident demons, they've retreated to the safety of el baño. Sitting on the lip of the bathtub, Xander is trying to explain something to Anya, but she thinks he's merely extolling Riley's virtues, and is bored by it. Xander haltingly elucidates: Riley and Sam have a great marriage, and Xander has no idea what their wedding was like. This takes a minute, but it does sink in. The couple smooch and sit, content to listen to the sound of crockery smashing.

Away from the scene of battle, Riley and Buffy are less than loquacious. She tentatively asks what's next for him; turns out the couple is on their way to Nepal. Just as haltingly, he brings up the fact that he's authorized to dispatch Spike, and does Buffy want him to? Buffy really doesn't, although it kills her to say so. She can barely look at Riley as she admits, "I'm sleeping with him. I'm sleeping with Spike." "I had actually noticed that," Riley says, not harshly. "And then you come back," Buffy continues, her voice rising, "and did you wait until your life was absolutely perfect and then send that demon here so you could throw it in my face?"

"You think this was easy for me?" Riley responds, astounded.

"Yeah!" Buffy says. "I think it was a rollicking adventure. Fun for the whole family."

"I was terrified about seeing you again."

"Well, I'm sure my incredible patheticness softened the blow for you."

Riley reacts to that. Doesn't want to grasp it. "I don't know what you're talking about."

Buffy begins, "Please don't patronize--"

But Riley just needed a second to regroup. "You want me to say I liked seeing you in bed with that idiot? Or that blinding orange is your very best color?...Buffy, none of that means anything. It doesn't touch you. You're still the first woman I ever loved, and the strongest woman I've ever known. And I'm not advertising this to the missus, but you're still quite the hottie." Big cheers for Riley. Everybody give him a big hand. He goes on to admit he's been lucky, and Buffy hasn't. But "the wheel never stops turning, Buffy. You're up, you're down; it doesn't change what you are. And you are a hell of a woman." Buffy looks at him, drinking in his words like they were tonic. She tries to apologize for how things ended between them, but Riley says there's no need.

By this time Sam and the others have caught up to them; Sam's relating wedding anecdotes to Xander (who hopefully didn't mention the helicopter idea to Anya, for his own sake) and exchanging emails with Willow, who just looks full of hate, oh yeah. As they banter, Riley attempts a reconciliation with Dawn, who at last gives him a grudging hug. They say their goodbyes as the helicopter approaches, and the gang waves a fond goodbye as they're carried away. Then they stride off, but Buffy's got something to do.

Spike's picking through the charredness that is his home when she arrives. He makes the requisite snide comment about Riley, and Buffy tells him he's gone. Then Spike proffers the requisite come-on, but she brushes it away, and tells him she's not here to beat up on him, either. She should have remembered what he was capable of. Spike then guesses the next bit: it's over. He's a tad skeptical. "I've memorized this tune, love. Think I have the sheet music. Doesn't change what you want."

Buffy, for the first time(?), admits it; she does want him. "Being with you makes things simpler. for a little while."

"Well," says Spike, the first note of worry beginning to creep into his voice, "I don't call five hours straight a little while."

"I'm using you," Buffy says. "I can't love you. I'm just being weak, and selfish--"

"Really not complaining here--"

"--and it's killing me."

The expression on Spike's face is nothing short of a small poem.

"I have to be strong about this," Buffy says. "I'm sorry--William."

Spike is lost in it. He stands, agape, trying to take it all in, as she turns and quietly walks out. She doesn't look back.

Perri's Review

A.K.A., why Perri refuses to ever watch this stupid episode, or refer to it as anything other than "This Stupid Episode" again. Because every single character's brains fell out somewhere during the teaser, and didn't crawl back in until sometime after the end credits rolled.

I'll keep this brief, because frankly, I don't even like thinking about this episode. At the three-quarters point, I had to stop the tape in disgust to call Chris and beg her to tell me it regained intelligence at some point. She was unable to reassure me. I watched the rest through gritted teeth and with liberal use of the mute button.

First things first -- I like Sam. She's sweet, she's funny, she's intelligent, she has no compunctions about teasing the hell out of Riley whenever necessary... all extreme Mary Sue aspects aside (as Riley is healed of his Issues by the power of Twue Wuv), she's fun and I could have tolerated her, even enjoyed her, if she hadn't been surrounded by previously intelligent people turned stupid.

And about those Issues... I'm not Riley's biggest fan, but I liked him. It was unfortunate that his Issues chose to take precedence at the absolute worst point in his relationship with Buffy, and "nothing so ill-became him as the manner of his leaving", but he was a kick in the head when he was first introduced, he was a good ally pre-Issues, and he was a good guy. I had no objections to him coming back -- I wanted it, at least to get some resolution to that relationship. But my idea of resolution is not Riley reappearing Issue-free, with a perfect wife, and a perfect life, after barely a year. And I mean completely Issue-free, to the point that he barely blinks at finding Buffy sleeping with Spike, whom he violently hates both on his own merits, as a vampire, and particularly in relation to his crush on Buffy. Sorry, not buying it. And let's discuss his inability to work the phrases "I'm married" and "we need it alive" into the conversation. The first, maybe. The second? Get real. The whole thing was unconvincing, insulting to Buffy, and way insulting to the audience. Sure, the contrast was an easy way to make Buffy wake up and realize how screwed up her life is.... but it was easy, and frankly, I expect better than lazy writing from the Buffy crew.

And Buffy. Let's talk Buffy. With a major menace on the loose, she takes the time to go bounce on Spike instead of going to hunt, just so that Riley can figure everything out and walk in on them. Sorry. No. Not unless Buffy's devotion to duty -- which has been even stronger since she came back from the dead -- fell out of her head along with her brains.

And Spike. Assuming he is an international criminal (not beyond Spike's abilities, given what we know), selling black market demon eggs, there are certain things Spike would not do. Spike would not store anything potentially worth lots of money without making damn he knew how to keep them in salable condition a) so that nothing deadly got loose in Sunnydale where Buffy would have to fight it and b) because he would never risk losing his investment over sheer carelessness. Choose which motivation you think is stronger; it doesn't actually matter. He would also not use the street name 'the Doctor', because someone using the street name 'Doc' almost got Dawn killed, almost got Spike killed, and did get Buffy killed. Not to mention the fact that it's just a non-cool name. There was no reason given for the demon eggs, nothing resembling justification. Nada. Except that Spike woke up that morning and was stupid.

Ever since the crush-on-Buffy plot, Spike's brains have been slowly dribbling away. When we first met him, he was The Big Bad in every sense of the word -- he was smart, he was motivated, he was scary. Impulse control-challenged, yes. Low boredom threshold, yes. Stupid? Not on his worst day. I have no objections to Spike gaining some humanity, because I like him, and I like having people I like being not totally evil. But when gaining humanity apparently equals losing his brains? I object. Particularly when the entire point of him doing something spectacularly careless and stupid was purely to make Buffy 'remember what he is' and break up with him for real. There are better reasons, legitimate reasons, like her beating the crap out of him, like the fact that he keeps trying to isolate her, like that fact that she refuses to admit she's in over her head... all good reasons to break up with him. He's stupidly hiding demon eggs in his basement and more stupidly allows them to hatch? That's not a good reason. That's lazy writing, more careless characterization, and one more reason to change the channel over to Gilmore Girls.

Thus endeth the rant, because I've already put more thought into this episode than any of the writers did.

Rating: Can I give something a zero? Well, no, because Sam was almost fun, and there was a good line here and there. But the gratuitous helicopter exit was as inane and annoying as the characters, and I'm giving this one 1 star out of five. And now I'm going to burn the tape.

Christina's Review

Otherwise known as "Everybody's Free (To Be a Moron)".

Stuff I liked:

  • Xander calling Sam & Riley "Nick and Nora Fury" - too perfect and funny.
  • Xander & Anya's eating/bitching binge as the Guests from Hell arrived. They are in almost exactly the place my sister was, 48 hours before her wedding. As well as every other bride I've known. That's why *I'm* eloping.
  • Umm..... well, the setup stuff with Buffy's Day from (and Life from) Hell was amusing. Couldn't tell you why, but I enjoyed it. Maybe because it was the ordinary stuff that grounds the show that we rarely get to see.
  • And oh! Geek-Vamp complaining about the smell! Hehehehehee! Seriously dude, if you're going to insult the Slayer's hygiene, be prepared for the stake, man. That was just priceless.

    The rest of the show... grrrr.

    I have nothing against Riley. Okay, not true, I still think his exit from Buffy's life was poorly timed and too abrupt and contained too much blame. But he, himself-- I always liked the guy. So who stole his *brain* before he showed up?

    1) Always tell the Slayer if it's a dead or alive hunt. Otherwise, she defaults to "dead." 2) He couldn't mention he was married on the nice long trip in the Jeep to the dam? Say something about how the fatigues Buffy was wearing were his wife's, or a version of them, or how they're meeting Sam there? It would've killed him to point this out? No, he had to be Secret Agent Man and not even pick up on the vibes Buffy was sending him because she was feeling like Desperate Girl with No Life? The hell? 3) He didn't call for backup when he figured out where the eggs were? Hello? Stupid much?

    Buffy's Dumbness Day: 1) Okay, she's feeling a little dumb - missed garbage day, missed getting the application in on time months ago, hating her life, having sex with Spike before she goes home to Dawn. But *why* oh *WHY* would she stop in the middle of a life-or-death hunt to have a sexfest with Spike? I can't see it. I can see going to him for help with the hunt; I can see being depressed after they came up empty, and having comfort sex. I *can't* see having sex *first*. That is BEYOND DUMB. 2) Riley shows up and she's desperate to feel in- charge and Slayer-y, sure. But was it just me, or was she biffing some of that stuff in order to give him his macho back? Because she killed the HST damn easy as soon as she realized he was married. That is, again, way way dumb. (The biffing-on-purpose, not the killing it). 3)She ditches Sam, who yes, knows what she's doing but is still in a real dangerous area, in the middle of the graveyard? Ack. Was she trying to get the woman killed?

    Spike's Stupidity: This is just terribly annoying. Spike's brains have never been consistently portrayed on the show, but the thing is, he *did* used to be at least competent. He'd have kept the damn eggs refridgerated if Buffy hadn't boinked the brains out of him this season. He wouldn't have had sex with her first, either--- he would've done a bit of distracting-searching, proving that the eggs weren't anywhere in Sunnydale, before getting her back to the comfort/distraction sex. He wouldn't have kept eggs like that in his crypt; he'd have had it somewhere more secure and less suspicious. He's got no interest in infesting Sunnydale with those things either.

    I could go on, but it's just sad. He's impulsive, impatient, sure--- but he's also the guy that dug up most of Sunnydale looking for the Gem of Amarra, the guy who figured out how to cure Dru and got the Order of Taraka on Buffy's back as a damn decent distraction while he worked on it... he is not a *moron*.

    I kept wanting to hate Sam, but then after I accepted that she *wasn't* evil or judgemental, I realized I was pissed off at Riley for 2) above. He could've sent a postcard from the honeymoon, damnit. And he's just fine now, a little more than a year after Buffy dumped him/he dumped her--- but how long have he and Sam been married? Rebound much? And that nasty little vamp- sucking problem, that's just history? No issues at all? Did they *have* to make Buffy look this pathetic by pumping up Riley this much?

    They pushed Sam at us too hard too; the over-the-line point was her talking to Willow, though I didn't feel forced to mute until she started deconstructing Riley & Buffy's relationship in the graveyard. She's a lot like Xander or Willow, an ordinary person dragged into weirdness who's adapted really, really well. Which is why Riley likes her, I suppose. She's more like him than Buffy ever was. Which is fine. I just still want to smack Riley. Even if he did give Buffy the damning- with-faint-praise accolade of strong, beautiful, and "still a hottie."

    Their exit was a horribly over-the-top cliche that I still liked. Riley didn't deserve an exit that cool, but I'll let it go for Sam's sake, since she was neat. And at least Riley said good-bye to Dawn, who was having issues with him and deserved to.

    *sigh* Done now. Tell me if it was just me, okay?

    Stupid, stupid ep...

    One last thing I kept meaning to mention... I am thoroughly glad that Buffy finally sucked it up and broke up with Spike. If she honestly felt she couldn't feel something for him, this was the right thing to do. And it's not like the relationship he was trying to pull her into was a smart, sane one; he was trying to isolate her from the others, make himself a priority, because he didn't want to be ditched. His issues, not hers. However... I get the impression she broke up with him more out of embarrassment and denial than out of respect for *his* feelings. Or out of a wish to get her head together. Especially since she does seem to have feelings for him that are not just of the lusty variety; she let him down as gently as possible. That symbolic 'stepping into the light' thing she did at the end was more than a bit heavy-handed. Okay, maybe it was a mix of "I'm screwed-up and not good for anyone right now" and "Wow, I can't believe I've let things slip this bad" that got pointed up when Mr. Perfect Finn showed. But....

    See, they've just been avoiding her feelings for Spike, mostly. She doesn't want to hurt him, I believe that. At least, not any more than she already has. She doesn't like that about herself. And she is not in love with him; I believe that easily. But she does like him, and if she could find a way to trust him, it *could* be something more. I haven't heard anything beyond "bloodsucking vampire" as a reason why she feels she *can't* be with him.

    I dunno, it just seemed like she was blaming the relationship for her life not going well, you know? When that's a symptom of her being screwed up, not the cause. Again, I'm not remembering her last words to him well enough to be certain I'm on-base here. Anyone with greater insight is welcome to clarify this for me."


    "I agree that it's nice to see the "normal everyday stuff" but seeing it just get SO beyond her and so out of her control also makes me wonder why she isn't getting any help. There are three able bodied young women in the house and seeing the stack of dishes practically to the ceiling and hearing that dinner has been doublemeat for so many nights in a row makes me wonder if Willow's addiction isn't actually an allergy to housework. I know Willow and Dawn have school and home work but come on, kids - pitch in a bit." -- Deb

    "He never mentioned meeting ANYONE there and that's weird too. He could have said "and oh, we'll meet the rest of the team there." Or "Sam will catch up" and the gender mix up from the name Sam could have given them the "wacky misunderstanding of comedy gold" so popular on sitcoms. Since they didn't go for the obvious (as has been their usual tactic lately), I assume he really DIDN'T expect her to show up so fast. But he SHOULD have mentioned it on the way, I agree." -- Deb

    RE: Slayer Defaulting to Dead "Maybe he figured she remembered his organization trapping demons for investigation? Even though she never agreed with that, it backfired spectacularly, and he apparently hasn't been doing it recently? He must also have forgotten to mention the brain-sucking demon that is currently using him as a host to absorb waves of common sense from those in the vicinity." -- Amparo

    "That bugged me a bit. Okay, I can see that there are quite a number of witches in Sunnydale. And out of those, a few have become addicted to magic. But enough of them have overcome the addiction to form Willow's "Spellcasters Anonymous" group. Having Sam go on about how strong Willow is for quitting--sure, it took a lot of self-control, but Willow knows it isn't as rare an accomplishment as Sam made it sound." -- Amparo

    "Although it does point up the limited nature of Sam's experience. Somebody mentioned that she came across as trying too hard, and I agree -- this falls into the same category. She's been at this for less than a year, and Riley is thrusting her into the middle of this group of people that she's heard all about and who represent (especially Buffy) "the best of the best" in the demon-fighting game. Combine that with a natural impulse to jump in and offer any and all help that's even remotely in her power (and Peace Corps experience would have already taught her that a lot more is in her power than she may previously have thought), and you get the quasi-Mary-Sue we saw Tuesday night. I say quasi because she's not *actually* omnicompetent, she's just one of those people who feels it necessary to try to be. Knowing a couple of shamans who went down the tubes doesn't make her anything resembling an expert on magic or magic addiction, but she spoke up anyway to try and get her foot out of her mouth with Willow, and as part of the big effort she was making all through the ep to fit in with, if not her idols, something damn close. I liked Sam, can you tell? *g* And not just in comparison to how unfavorably the people around her were coming off in the ep (which I agree with on examination, even if I didn't have the same immediate reaction to it as Kiki or Deb)." -- Val

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