Dead Things

Written by Steven S. DeKnight
Directed by James A. Contner

Perri's Review | SunSpeak

Perri's Review

Previously on Buffy, the Vampire Slayer -- is it possible for anyone to have missed the thing where Buffy and Spike are shagging? And Buffy came back from the dead, but Spike thinks she came back wrong. The Legion of Dorkness has been revealed to Buffy, Dawn is still pissed at the universe, and Tara and Willow are still broken up because of the magic addiction thing.

And we start out with the tail end of yet more shagging (if you'll pardon the phrase). The camera finally pans to Buffy and Spike on the floor under the rug, completely wiped out. They actually manage a few minutes of civil post-coital conversation before Spike blows it with an attempted compliment: "I was just trying to keep up. The things you do. The way you make it hurt in all the wrong places. I've never been with such an animal." Buffy immediately informs him she's not an animal, mildly freaked, and begins her retreat. "What is this to you?" Spike asks as she scrambles for her clothes. "This thing we have?" Buffy tells him, "We don't have a thing. We have... this." Spike: "do you even like me?" Buffy looks at him. "Sometimes," she admits. "do you like what I do to you?" he pushes. She squirms, than answer being very obvious. Then he leans over, pointedly dangling a pair of open handcuffs. "Do you trust me?" Her answer is a little faster this time. "Never."

Meanwhile, the LoD has had to change headquarters, and Andrew's not real happy to have everyone in his basement now. "How can I trust you not to touch my stuff? Actually living with supervillains was not part of the deal." He and Jonathan get into a girly pushy fight, before Warren interrupts to tell them that the "cerebral dampener" is ready to be charged. That's Jonathan's job, since magic is apparently required. They all don red glasses, Jonathan performs a short ritual , and light bursts from his hand and into the device on Warren's work bench. "With this device, we can make any woman we desire our willing sex slave," Warren announces triumphantly, as the other two gape at the possibilities. "And I know just where to start."

It's another cheerful day at the Doublemeat Palace, and Buffy's working the front counter. Tara arrives and Buffy goes on break to talk to her in the back room. She has a favor to ask of the witch, who initially thinks there's a problem with Willow -- or Willow's powers. But Buffy has other problems. She confesses to Tara that Spike can hurt her now; she wants Tara to go over the spell Willow used to bring her back, to see if she really did come back "wrong". Tara tries to reassure her, but ends up promising to go over the spell. That night, the LoD heads out to test their new Fiendish Device (TM); Warren goes tolling at a singles bar while the other two monitor him over a video camera in his tie tack, calling out their picks among the woman in the bar, delighting in their newfound power over the female of the species, and essentially acting like sex-crazed chauvinist piglets. But Warren seems to have a specific target in mind, and finds her -- a familiar face, no less. He deactivates the link to the other two, and settles next to his ex-girlfriend Katrina, who is less than thrilled to see him. "It's the seeing you part that's throwing me here, Warren, because I thought I was pretty clear with the never wanting that to happen again." She's still carrying a major grudge over Warren's robotogirlfriend April, and her ensuing attack on Katrina. She gets up to walk away, and Warren almost begs her to stay and talk -- obviously, he's desperate to get her back. But when she informs him in no uncertain terms that "just looking at you makes me want to vomit," he goes for the big guns. Or rather, the small device. He slips on his red shades, the device flashes... and Katrina stares, empty-eyed, at her ex. "I love you, Master," she says robotically. Warren tears off his glasses and smiles triumphantly. "I love you too, baby."

Buffy arrives home in search of a shower and companionship, and blinks in panic. "Is there singing? Are we singing again?" Xander doesn't look over from where he and Dawn are waltzing around the living room; Anya tells her they're teaching Dawn to dance for the wedding reception. "Want to go for a spin?" Xander offers, lowering a giggling Dawn into a dramatic dip. Buffy passes on the dancing and a trip to the Bronze, ready to collapse for some quality time with little sis. Who has quality time with her friend Janice planned, and it's been double-checked and everything. "I didn't think you'd care," Dawn tells her. "You're never home, so..." Dawn takes off, leaving Buffy to reconsider the attractions of the Bronze, and the booze to be found therein.

The LoD is getting their booze delivered by Katrina, still zombied and in a really stereotypically French maid costume. The dorks toast to their success at finally getting dates, even if they do have to be mind-numbed into submission, and the debate over who gets the first chance with their new Katrina the live-action Barbie doll kicks into gear. Warren wins by virtue of being the oldest and the meanest, draping himself over her shoulder. "Don't worry, you can play with her all you want. After I'm done with her." He leads her into another room, leaving the boys to sip their champagne. What ensues sets my teeth on edge more than I can tell you. Katrina performs according to orders, slamming Warren against a wall in her 'enthusiasm'. "I missed you so much," he tells her in between kisses. "You never should have left me. Say it." She looks at him, still blankly. "I never should have left you, Master." He demands she tell him she loves him; when she complies, he tells her, "I love you too, baby. Get on your knees." She begins to comply -- and a huge cheer of relief arises from every woman and decent guy in the viewing audience when her eyes suddenly clear, and her personality visibly returns.

Katrina brushes Warren away as she surges to her feet, taking in her surroundings. Katrina's not stupid; she comes to remarkably accurate conclusion very quickly. The other two are playing with their lightsabers [literally; get your minds out of the gutter] when she storms back out to the main room. Warren calls for the dampener, as Katrina demands, "You were going to share me with these two dorks?" Andrew tries to sound impressive; "Hey, we're supervillains. Call us master." He tries to set off the dampener, but it hasn't been recharged, and produces only a fizzle; he and Jonathan are left as observers to Katrina chewing Warren up one side and down the other. "She's your ex?" Jonathan finally realizes. Andrew: "Dude, that is messed up." "Oh, you think? You bunch of little boys playing at being men? Well, this is not some fantasy, it's not a game, you freaks! It's rape!" They hadn't thought about it like that before; Jonathan and Andrew shift uneasily, their expressions getting sick. Katrina turns back to Warren, telling him she'll make sure he gets locked up for this as she storms out. Jonathan and Andrew grab her, but she downs both of them with blows that would have done Buffy proud; it's Warren who grabs her as she starts up the stairs, and gets her nails raked down his face. He grabs a bottle and, as she reaches the top of the stairs, smashes it over Katrina's head. She falls in a heap and Warren backs away, telling the other two to charge the cerebral dampener. They creep closer, staring at Katrina's limp body. Warren doesn't seem to notice, repeating the order to charge the dampener. It's Andrew who checks Katrina's pulse, and comes back with his hand covered in blood. "She's dead."

The Legion of Dorkness, predictably, freak. Andrew starts crying and Jonathan is very close to tears, shaking his head in denial. Warren is trying to think it out, as Jonathan demands, "What did you do? What the hell did you do?" Warren immediately pins him to the wall. "We did this. You and me and Andrew. We all did this." Andrew is practically catatonic, still kneeling by Katrina's body, whimpering until Warren yells at him to shut up. Warren's brain is kicking back into gear, trying to figure out how to get rid of the body. It's too big for Jonathan to teleport, and Andrew can't control anything that he could summon to eat it. Jonathan is also starting to think -- Katrina was Warren's ex-girlfriend, so there's link from her to him, a link the Slayer can follow back to them. "It was an accident," Andrew says. "We should turn ourselves in." Jonathan is ready, but Warren won't hear of it. "We have two problems -- the body and the Slayer. Well, what if there was a way that we could take care of them both... with one big stone?" the other two are listening.

At the Bronze, said Slayer is watching Xander and Anya attempt a jitterbug, as Willow watches in appalled fear. "We're not gonna have to do that at the wedding, are we? 'Cause there's this last thread of dignity I've been desperately clinging to." For the record, Buffy appears to have black electrical wire wrapped around her throat, and looks like the victim of a murder mystery. Which is not as funny as it sounds, given the context. But she take a second to check on Willow's current magical status and to apologize for not being around. "that's okay, we know you've been all tied up," Willow assures her. Buffy blinks, taking that literally. The dancing fools reappear before she can give herself away, dragging Willow off to dance. Buffy excuses herself to locate more beer. She sits for a while though, watching her friends, before wandering off to get her drink. Which she doesn't get, making her way up to the catwalk that overlooks the Bronze instead. She looks down on the revelry, separate from it, until Spike's voice comes from behind her. "See. You try to be with them, but you always end up in the dark. With me." He comes up behind her, leaning in close and following her eyes down to the trio on the dance floor. "What would they think of you, if they found out all the things you've done? If they knew who you really were." His hands runs down her arm and to parts lower; Buffy protests quietly, but gives it up as his hand snakes under her skirt. Some movement are completely unmistakeable; Buffy's eyes close as she moans. "No, don't close your eyes," Spike purrs, and she obeys. "Look at them. That's not your world. You belong in the shadows. With me. Look at your friends, and tell me you don't love getting away with this. Right under their noses." Buffy doesn't say anything, but her eyes are sad as they rest on her friends, and her body moves against Spike's.

In the daylight of the next morning, Willow and Xander make their way to the magic shop, but the banter breaks off as Tara emerges from the shop. Xander excuses himself quickly, leaving the two alone in an excessively awkward conversation. Willow remarks on the grimoire Tara is carrying, presumably research for Buffy, and Tara tries to cover. "It's okay," Willow tells her. "I didn't expect you to stop doing magic just because... you don't have to hide it. I'm... doing better." Tara promises her that she was checking on her, she as just looking for Buffy. "I haven't seen her since last night," Willow says. She's not around much these days. We kind of miss her." She doesn't take her eyes from Tara's face, and the subtext is pretty much text. "I'm sure she feels the same way," Tara says, then retreats, after asking Willow to tell Buffy she needs to talk to her. "Will," Tara calls as she starts to walk away. "I'm glad you're doing better." It's not much, butt Willow will take it.

That night, Buffy patrols alone, as Spike waits inside his crypt. He perks up at something outside and listens at the door, as Buffy approaches slowly and hesitantly, stopping close enough to the door to touch it. But when Spike opens the door, she's gone. "Don't think about the evil bloodsucking fiend," Buffy chants as she strides away determinedly. She hears screams in the distance and stops to toss a "thank you!" up at the Powers That Be before racing off to the rescue. Then things get weird. A robed demon leaps out to attack her, tossing her to the ground, but it's gone when she stands back up. A girl lies weeping on the ground, then is gone, voices whispering accusingly in Buffy head. Then Spike is at her feet, bleeding, wanting to know what she did that for, then it's the middle of a fight with two robed demons. She stand in confusion as Spike tells her he knew she was outside the crypt, then he's back at her feet, and the girl is crying again. In the confusion of flashes and fight, Buffy and Spike manage to fight off the two demons attacking them, but Buffy is grabbed from behind and accidentally punches the girl; she goes rolling down a hill as Buffy watches in shock, then races after her, leaving Spike to kill the demons. He does so, then tears down the hill after Buffy, and finds her sitting over the body of the girl. "She's dead," Buffy breathes. "I killed her." Except that the girl -- Katrina -- creeps out from behind the trees, and watches from a distance.

Confused and in shock, Buffy can't move. Spike finally drags her to her feet and away from the body. "Listen o me, Buffy. Buffy! It was an accident.... I'm going to get you home, and you're going to crawl into your warm comfy bed and stay there! I'm going o sort this out," he promises. "Trust me." A camera zooms in on them, and Warren holds his hands up inside the LoD's van. "Two problems, one stone." The back door open and Katrina creeps inside; the spell melts away and it's Jonathan, wincing from the Slayer's punch. "Some of my best work," he says sarcastically. "What happens now?" Andrew asks nervously. Jonathan's response oozes bitterness: "The night's young. There's gotta be some more girls we can kill." Warren tells them to stick to the plan. "Buffy thinks she killed Katrina. It's her problem now."

Spike succeeds in getting Buffy home to bed, but her nightmares chase her in, as she dreams of sex and murder, and wakes in her own bed, still in patrolling clothes. Moving quietly, she goes into Dawn's room and wakes her little sister. "I love you," she says, and Dawn sits up, knowing something's wrong. "I know I haven't been everything I should be, everything Mom was, but I love you. I always will." Dawn: "Why are you talking like this? Buffy?" Buffy: "Dawn, something happened to night. A girl. She was hurt. I hurt someone." Dawn: "Oh my god. Is she all right"? Buffy. "No. I'm sorry." Dawn hugs her sister as it sinks in, and Buffy tells her, "There's something I have to do. I have to tell what I did. I have to go to the police." Dawn pulls away. "But... what's going to happen?" "I don't know," Buffy tells her sadly. Dawn's voice takes on an edge. "They'll take you away. Won't they?" Buffy repeats her apologies, but Dawn wants none of it. "no, you're not. You're never here. You can't even stand to be around me... You don't want to be here with me. You didn't want to come back -- I know that. You were happier where you were, now you want to go away again. Then go," Dawn tells her, turning away to bury her face in her pillow. "You're not really here anyway."

A little later, Buffy is still sad, but determined. She makes it to the end of an alley right outside the police station before Spike demands from behind her, "What do you think you're doing?" He grabs her and hauls her back into the alley, throwing he r to he ground. "Sorry, luv. Can't let you do that." Buffy's still determined to turn herself in, even after Spike points out that the police won't believe her story of demons in the woods and time going wonky. And he's already ditched the body. "It doesn't matter now. No one will ever find it." Which would be more comforting if two police offices didn't walk past, talking about the body that washed up out of the river. "Oh, balls," he swears in disgust.

"There still isn't anything to connect this to you," Spike tells Buffy, but she's set on her course. "It was an accident. It just happened," he tells her yet again. "Nothing just happens," she says through her teeth, and starts to walk past him. he grabs her and drags her back. "You are not going in there." Buffy: "I have to do this, just let me go!" Spike: "I can't. I love you." She stares him down. "No, you don't." His voice shakes as he demands, "You think I haven't tried not to?" Rationality has gone out the window; she responds by punching him hard enough to send him flying across the alley. "Try harder." He responds by chasing after her and throwing her to the ground away from the mouth of the alley. When she gets back up, his game face is on. "I won't let you throw your life away over this." Buffy: "It's not your choice!" Spike asks in genuine confusion, "Why are you doing this to yourself?" Buffy: "A girl is dead because of me!" Spike: "And how many people are alive because of you? How many have you saved? one dead girl doesn't tip the scales." Buffy: "That's all it is to you, isn't it? Just another body." She punches him again. "You can't understand why this is killing me?" She hits him again, and he tells her, "That my girl," not fighting back. She knocks him to the ground. "I am not your girl!" she half-screams, whaling away on his face. "You don't have a soul! There's nothing good or clean in you! You are dead inside. You can't feel anything real. I could never be your girl!" She keeps hitting him, totally out of control, under his face is battered and bloody and human again. It finally registers, and she pulls back, horrified. Spike almost manages to smile. "You always hurt the one you love, pet."

With a sob, Buffy gets to her feet, and walks out of the alley, as Spike tries to call after her, unable to follow. She makes her way into the police station almost totally numb, but the desk sergeant is too busy to talk. As she waits, she hears the ID come in on the body -- Katrina Saunders -- and the face and name finally click. She flashes back to a year-old conversation she witnessed between a girl named Katrina -- and her boyfriend Warren. When the desk sergeant turns to her, she's gone. Back in Slayer mode, she marshals the Scooby Gang and they come up with answers by the next day -- time warping Ricindi demons. She tells them Warren was responsible -- "You always hurt the one you love." Dawn is sitting at a distance, but finally asks, "Does this mean you're not going away?" Buffy tells her she's not going anyway, and tries to approach her, but Dawn bolts to her feet and leaves. Buffy turns back to the Scoobies, trying to hide her hurt. "They're not going to get away with this."

But they think they are. Katrina's death has been ruled a suicide, and Warren is riding high on success. Not even the Slayer can bother him now. "We got away with murder," Andrew says slowly. "That's... kinda cool." A smile spread over his face, and Warren grins, looking from him to Jonathan. "Yeah," Jonathan echoes, watching his 'partners' with a wary face, and sick eyes. "Cool."

In the Summers living room, Tara delivers the results of her research to Buffy. "I checked everything. There's nothing wrong with you." Buffy can't believe it, but Tara is certain. "I said there's nothing wrong, but you are different. Shifting your body from where you were, funneling your essence back into your body -- it altered you on a basic molecular level. Probably just enough to confuse the sensors or whatever in Spike's chip. But it's all just surface or physical stuff. Wouldn't have any more effect than a sunburn.... You're the same Buffy. With a deep tropical cellular tan." Buffy tries to take it in, asking Tara to check again, she must have missed something. Tara shakes her head in confusion -- there's nothing to recheck. "I promise, there's nothing wrong with you." Buffy: "There has to be. This can't be me. It isn't me. Why do I feel like this? Why do I let Spike do those things to me." She's on the verge of tears; Tara only takes a moment to get it. She blinks, then adjusts. "he's everything I hate. He's everything that I'm supposed to be against,. But the only time that I ever feel anything is when... Don't tell anyone, please. They would look at me like.... I just couldn't." Tara promises not to tell, then asks, very seriously, "Do you love him? It's okay if you do, he's done a lot of good, and he does love you. And Buffy, it's okay if you don't. You're going through a really hard time, and you're...." "Buffy looks at her. "What? Using him? What's okay about that?" Tara shakes her head. "It's not that simple." Buffy's not buying. "It is. It's wrong. I'm wrong. Tell me that I'm wrong. Please don't forgive. God, please don't forgive me." Buffy collapse in wracking sobs, falling to her knees with her head in Tara's lap. The other girl holds her silently, letting her cry.

The Legion of Dorkness committed murder, albeit accidentally, and managed to frame Buffy for it, leaving themselves in the clear.

Buffy finally told Tara about her relationship with Spike, after Tara told her she didn't come back wrong, just different.

Spike and Buffy grow more dysfunctional by the day. See below.

Thank god!!!!! I've been saying for about six weeks before this aired that Buffy needed to tell someone, and the best candidate was Tara. I'm delighted to be proven right. And even more delighted that Buffy is finally out of denial as to just how deep she's gotten in with Spike. I never thought we'd hear the words, "I'm using him," cross her lips, and now that we have, she can finally start dealing with that. Honestly, at this point, I don't care if it leads to a break-up, because breaking up with Spike properly will require her to treat him as a person, rather than a sex toy or a punching bag. Which is all I ask. But it takes a hell of a lot to get Buffy to the point that she finally loses it. I'm torn about how bloody-mindedly determined she was to go to the police, even though I can see why on several levels. Faith looms large, everything that happened because they didn't go to the police after Faith accidentally killed the Mayor's aide. What would have happened if they'd confessed to the accident then and there -- how much of Faith going Dark Sider was because they didn't. And it's not the first time Buffy has thought she's killed someone -- a few years ago, she knocked Ted down the stairs. The part of her that isn't a Slayer is still a 21-year-old girl who knows she did something terrible, and needs to confess it. To do What's Right. On the other hand, Dawn wasn't wrong -- prison is a great place to go to not have to deal... with Spike, with being 'wrong', with a troubled little sister, with a life that is hell. Buffy has responsibilities -- as sister and Slayer -- that she has no right to walk away from because of an accident, however tragic. Could she have lived with herself if she hadn't, though? There were no good choices to make, so Buffy did what Buffy always does -- she fell in love with the hard choice, the one that meant walking away from a life she doesn't really feel equipped to deal with anyway. Now she's got to actually start dealing with it -- we'll see how she does. But crying on Tara is sure as hell a good first step.

And Spike.... Grr. You know, Spike's problems aren't even vampire/evil problems. They're guy problems. He has Issues about being abandoned (he and Dawn should start a club), about being rejected in favor of other people. Cecily was a total bitch to tossed him aside; Dru ran off first with Angelus, then with her chaos demon. So he's going to isolate Buffy as much as possible from everyone and everything who could possibly take her from him so she can't leave him. And I want to smack the hell out of him (although not with the enthusiasm Buffy showed) for being a total manipulative jackass, then send his butt to therapy until he learns to share. He's got the loyalty and devotion part of being in love down really well, but until he figures out that Buffy can't ever be only his, this whole relationship is a massive Bad Thing.

Do I want to talk about the beating in the alley? No. It was the train wreck we've been waiting for, when the violence that's always been far too much of their relationship boiled over. Buffy went from using to abusing, and Spike let her, and I don't know which one of them is more horrible and more pathetic.

Tara, in contrast, is an angel. Without the knee-jerk emotional reactions to Spike that the other Scoobies have (with good reason, admittedly, but which they are never going to get past), she could be mostly objective when dealing with Buffy's confession. She offers no judgment, just unconditional support, giving Buffy the freedom to break down and get it all out of her system. Just having someone else around who knows everything, that Buffy can lean on instead of supporting, and without the nasty codependent aftertaste that Spike leaves, will hopefully give her enough stability to start dealing with life instead of hiding from it in sex. Which will be good for all parties concerned. Thank god for Tara.

Must resist urge to smack Dawn. It's usually easy, since I have sympathy for the poor kid -- 15 is a sucky age in general, without the stress of a dead mother, a dead-and-resurrected sister, an absentee father, and not being real to add to it. The child is one great big ball of fear and anger and confusion, with nowhere to aim it, and being neglected by Buffy as she tries to get her head together is so not helping. Do I want to smack her? Yes. Will she grow out of it? Yes. Does she need massive therapy? God, yes. And soon, before she really goes over the edge she's currently teetering on.

As for our villains.... Warren has always had a serious problem seeing people as people instead of objects, which Buffy is getting firsthand experience with herself. But where Buffy snapped out of it this week, Warren has slipped further and further in. For all his declaration of love for Katrina, that was rape. And it was murder. And he doesn't regret any of it; he' s just smug that he didn't get caught. Does the word 'sociopath' mean anything to anyone. Warren scares the hell out of me, thank you -- he's the one thing we've never had on Buffy. An entirely human evil.

I regret that Andrew is young enough, and not morally strong enough yet, to not follow Warren's lead, but I'm incredibly relieved that Jonathan, at least, still has hope. He's not Warren -- he can feel for other people once he's been dope-smacked out of his self-centered riffs, and he can be sickened by what he's done. He's scared of Warren, but I have to believe it's only a matter of time before he hates himself and the other two enough to do what he has to to get out. Or to stop them. Best Moments:
The entirely adorable opening conversation between Buffy and Spike, of course setting up the painful ending to the conversation.

Buffy asking Tara for help. Thank god, as much for someone remembering Tara as something other than an adjunct as Willow as for Buffy asking anyone for help.

Dawn and Xander dancing -- a very sweet, fun moment, which set up the low-key confrontation between Dawn and Buffy even better for that sweetness.

Katrina telling the LoD off, and their appalled reactions to the word 'rape'. the metaphor for date rape drugs was powerful, and gorgeously well done.

And Katrina's ensuing death scene was equally powerful. All three members of the LoD delivered bravura performances -- really outstanding work.

SMG and James Marsters were fabulous for the entire third and fourth acts -- the shock of the body, Spike trying to protect Buffy, and that hideous fight in the alley. I never want to watch it again, but damn, it was well done.

The LoD turned into another set f awesome performances with their last scene -- Warren's smug insanity, Andrew's dawning awareness of power, and Jonathan's growing fear of himself and the others were perfectly played.

And Buffy breaking down was heartbreaking and long time coming. Kudos to SMG and Amber Benson.

Questions and Comments
This entire season is turning into a subtextual treatise on personal and social perception. As I mentioned, both Buffy and Warren have been having a problem seeing other people as, well people. I've been complaining for weeks about Buffy's refusal to deal with Spike as a person rather than a thing/vampire/evil thing/souless creature, etc. He may be all of the above, but as long as she's shagging him, it says more things about her than about him if she continues to treat him like a thing.

Spike, for his part, has always had a problem with perceiving other people as real -- it's part of being a Evil Killer (TM). Buffy is real to him now because he knows her, when before she was just The Slayer, something to be fought and killed. Katrina, on the other hand, is real to him only as a dead body that could get Buffy in trouble. He dumps her in a river and genuinely doesn't understand why Buffy is willing to give up everything because of her death. He's a little ahead of Warren, but he's still go some way to go.

As does the Legion of Dorkness. Warren and the other two were doing with Katrina what Buffy did with Spike -- she was a possession to Warren, a toy to Jonathan and Andrew. As a random stranger, it's fine with J and A for her to be mind controlled, but the second she becomes Warren's ex-girlfriend, she takes on an identity, and the whole thing is suddenly questionable. Then she becomes a person with the word 'rape' and, to Jonathan at least, it flat out wrong. Buffy and Jonathan both manage to make the leap in perception that makes someone else real. Andrew almost did, but couldn't carry through without making himself less of a person in his own perception; Warren offered him an out from his guilt and he took it. And Warren... Warren isn't going to make that jump, it looks like. And that's going to get ugly.

What makes someone a person? What others see in you, or what you see in others? No answers as of yet, but they seem to be cruising towards it.

Rating: 4.5 stars out of five. The strongest episode yet of the season, powerful, heartbreaking and -- ahem -- pulling no punches. Stand-out performances from everyone concerned -- including the editing department, tight writing, great continuity. Some things were resolved, something things were escalated, some things were set up, but it was never anything less than gripping.


"The episode: Ow. Ow. Ow. :-/ The wild speculation: O.k., Lizbet last night came up with a properly frightening Big Bad for the season (since Willow doesn't seem to be headed there any more): Warren and Amy team up. Yikes. I could so see that. I could so see that messing with Willow's new- found sobriety when she has to use magic to save the gang (I see that happening regardless). I could also see Jonathan becoming Scooby-like by the end. I mean, the Geek Troika is obviously not an equal partnership here: Jonathan and Andrew are essentially LARPing evil villians -- they're having fun being "eeeeevil". Warren's actually serious, and getting more of a taste for it the further they go." -- Dianne

"Per their reactions last night: Warren -- still scary, getting worse. Andrew -- we really don't know him or care, but definitely starteing to get sucked into Warren's undertow. Jonathan -- we know him, we love him. :) Plus, he's the only one with serious reason to appreciate and to feel indebted to Buffy. He's also seeing the undertow and is _not_ at all comfortable with it. If he sees it getting more serious -- particularly with an attack on Buffy herself, which Warren seems prone to -- I can definitely see him sneaking over to the Magic Box and 'fessing up to Buffy. (Heck, I half expected him to do so last night. He was *so* not happy about that whole sitch.) Plus he has that whole cool morph thing down. :) Either that or his ability to be a Troika mole, or both will probably end up invaluable in the inevitable May showdown. I could even see him eventually ending up a Scooby, _a la_ Anya or Spike. "
"I know Mutant Enemy has this habit of foregoing what we expect and sending things off in another direction, but if Jonathan doesn't come around, then neither past character development nor Danny Strong's performance mean anything."
"Oh, I totally think they will. The question is whether he'll survive that decision or not. And whether he'll make that decision on his own, or be backed into it by circumstances. There's always the possibility of Willow cornering him--- she's scared the heck out of him on previous occasions involving interrogation and Jonathan being guilty of something. Like that incident with the pool. :> But maybe that's just my warped little brain being amused." -- Dianne, Catherine S and Chris

"I would love to see him turn into a Scooby -- the poor guy's been hanging around long enough that it would be nice to see him get his chance, although I suspect before he turns things around he may very well go to far beyond the pale for forgiveness to be possible.Warren is the only one of the three with a social clue. It was distressingly apparent that Jonathan and Andrew are so socially backward that it didn't occur to them that what was happening to Katrina was rape until she pointed it out to them. They have this real disconnect between girls = sex objects and girls = people. But then, despite Jonathan's tall pretty prom date, and, uh, the twins in *Superstar*, I suspect Warren's the only one of the three who ever *had* a girlfriend. Not that this makes any of it okay. But I was really surprised Jonathan even considered framing Buffy for the killing. (Kinda wonder if it had come down to it, if he would have come forward.)" -- Catherine S.

"I think Jonathan would be an real asset as a Scooby. It's another guy for Xander to hang out with and much as Xander may not want to hear it - they certainly have enough in common to get along perfectly well. He can debate who the best Bond was and the details of this movie or that movie as well as any of the trio I. Isn't it Xander who's always renting the movies? And Jonathan - like Willow - has a grasp of the technical that seems absurdly competent (I'm still shaking my head over Willow's one glance assessment of the invisible ray plans) and unlike Willow, he has a pretty darned solid grasp of magic that he seems to control pretty well. I don't doubt too much that Jonathan decide to do the right thing when the chips are down (possibly before). Will he survive to do it or survive the attempt I don't know. But even at what might be considered the lowest point in his life (Earshot), he never intended to hurt anyone else. He was gonna kill himself and was stunned when he realized that Buffy thought he meant anything else. What's clouding the "right and wrong" thing for Jonathan right now is that he found a group to belong to. For someone who wants that sooooooo much, that can screen anything esle pretty darned effectively." -- Deb

"I'm not condoning it, but I think he's so used to Buffy being invincible that until he saw her crying over Katrina, he was probably thinking she'd get out of it, somehow. Or figure it out. When it actually worked, he looked even sicker than he had before." -- Chris

"Did I mention how thrilled I was, that Buffy finally sucked it up and: (a) admitted that sometimes she likes Spike (b) asked someone for help on the 'you came back wrong' thing, (c) that that someone was Tara, the only one who could handle *and* be helpful about it, (d) that she told Tara the whole truth of why this was bugging her, and (e) admitted that either she's using Spike, and that's wrong; or she has feelings for Spike, but that it might not be good that she does?" -- Chris

"And wow, was she overdue for that cry on someone's lap. Between post-trauma, recent almost-killed-a-girl trauma, Dawn-hates-me trauma, and Spike-loves-me-and-it's-really-messing-me-up-to-have-sex-with-him, she was either going to need a tranq or a straitjacket if she didn't get that out soon. A couple years ago, that would've been Willow's job, but thankfully we have Tara, who is not in recovery, is quite sane and forgiving and kind, and willing to listen. Yay!" -- Chris

"So does Warren in a different way. I'm not sure he saw (or wanted for that matter) much difference between a real girl and a bot girl."
"Oh, he saw a difference; at least he did last year. But he still views people --- all people--- as his objects for his convenience and amusement. He would've gotten bored with her in sex slave mode, and turned her over - ick! - to his friends in a while. He never granted her the right to her own feelings. He's the same with the other two members of the Brotherhood of Evil Morons. Everyone exists for him, and nothing else. He's a sociopath. gahhhh." -- Deb and Chris

"I think it's partly that he learned the Wrong Lesson from that episode. He preferred Katrina to April because she was *real* and had her quirks and her interesting human side. Now he's trying to turn Katrina into April. He's forgotten why he preferred her, or maybe he's decided Real Girls are too much of a risk because they just might reject him for being, uh, the kind of guy who'd try to do the kind of things he tries to do." -- Catherine S

"The real question isn't is Warren psycho or Jonathan salvageable, but: which way is Andrew going to jump? He looks like he's going evil now. But how far will he be willing to go?" -- Chris

"I'm curious what other people thought about Tara's take on Buffy/Spike. I suspect none of the Scoobies would be able to look at it with the same degree of perspective. Sure, she was taken aback, but she pointed out that he has done a lot of good, and he really loves her. And/or that it's okay for Buffy to "use" Spike, if that's where she's at. Personally, I'm with Tara. I admit it, I'm not terribly invested in "Spike is Evil and Must Always Remain Evil Because He Hasn't Got a Soul" -- I adored the Evil Spike of season two, and I adore Spike/Dru, but I like complexities and grey areas far more than I like absolutes. The character certainly *has* done a lot of good, mostly at the end of s. 5, but also in "Once More With Feeling" where he is the one who rescues her from the incendiary dancing with his "Life isn't bliss, life is just this, it's living . . . you have to go on living, so one of us is living." Plus, if he's capable of being Other Than Evil, even without a soul, the Buffyverse is suddenly much more complex and interesting. I don't think the show's been handling the "growing up" part as well as it handled the high school years, *but* that kind of complexity . . . that *is* all about growing up and learning about the world."
"Thank you! I keep hearing this from some people on other lists, and while I agree that it's a problem, and if he got the chip out, it could become a *real* problem, I think that withholding judgment in light of all the good he's done since S5 is at least being fair. The black-and-white good-and-evil designation they came up with in Season 1 doesn't wash any more. Not after Angel's Season 2 Beige Arc, and not after we've met so many demons (Doyle, Lorne, others) who are essentially good, and we have no idea if they have 'souls' per se. We may have never seen another 'good' vampire without a soul either, but Spike's been put through some extraordinary circumstances. I don't know that we can judge him by the same standards. We just don't know enough. My $0.05 worth." -- Catherine S and Christina

"I think Spike's been so invested in her being a demon of some sort (and btw, wondering when Cordy's "part demon-ness" is going to show up again on Angel) because he's so desperate for her to not reject him that he'll grab onto whatever he can. Definitely not his finest hour, but he's as much pitiful as he is threatening in his insistence."
"Oh, good, someone else is saying this. Yeah, the boy's so worried she's gonna leave him (like Dru did) that he's trying to control her by making himself her only option. "You don't belong with them, you belong in the shadows" --- hello, she's *always* lived in the shadows, Spike. You want her in the dark, where the others can't reach her and take her away from you." -- Catherine S. and Chris

"It's not at all fair to her, and it ignores some of the real, basic differences between them--- Spike didn't care about Katrina being dead, not as a person; he was only concerned about the practicalities of Buffy not being arrested. Meanwhile, aside from her guilt issues (which were rearing their head and taking the nearest outlet) Buffy was also sad and aghast about the girl as an individual. He's not built like that. That's part of being soulless, I think. So he doesn't get that she *needs* the light, needs her friends, needs the stuff he doesn't get or like in order to be whole. He's kidding himself, if he thinks his little strategy is going to work long-term." -- Chris

"Jonathan's face when she said the word rape was genius and Danny Strong is a god." -- Deb

Back to Episodes.