Buffy 4×03: The Harsh Light of Day

[Review by Mike Marinaro]

[Writer: Jane Espenson | Director: James A. Contner | Aired: 10/19/1999]

Wow, “The Harsh Light of Day” is a loaded episode with a comparatively irrelevant stand-alone plot on the side. There’s a big difference between the stand-alone style of “Living Conditions” [4×02] , where there’s very little character insight, to this one though. Spike’s back, Harmony’s a vampire, Buffy and Parker have sex, Xander and Anya have sex, and more. There’s a lot to talk about, so let’s begin!

While we get some interesting material involving Anya and Harmony, the focus here is squarely on Buffy. She goes through quite the emotional roller coaster and it’s all perfectly woven into the main story. The episode begins at the Bronze with Buffy lusting over Parker through his reflection, which in retrospect turns out to be a telling metaphor. (Side note: Using a mirror to spot someone is a tested technique which I myself have used on a few occasions.) Willow gets Buffy to admit that she is “having lusty wrong feelings” towards Parker and adds that it’s not wrong to have those feelings because they’re both “grown-ups.” Unfortunately, I think Willow is being a bit too short-sided and aggressive here. Some people have sex just for the sex, like Parker, but to others sex means something more, like Buffy. So jumping into sex based purely on “lusty wrong feelings” isn’t a very smart move for Buffy — it will only set her up for being hurt.

The big problem with Parker is that he doesn’t just come out and say he just wants sex. He manipulates Buffy into thinking he’s a considerate nice guy who genuinely wants to learn more about her, and not just enough so he can get her into the sack. Normally I’d say that Buffy’s too smart to be duped by this routine, but I’ve got to admit that Parker’s got his game down perfectly. When I first watched him talk with her I, like Buffy, thought he was what he seemed. He snags sympathy points from fake stories about his dad dying and says stuff like “I’m not doing the deep, get sympathy routine.” Yet he is doing the deep, get sympathy routine and it is really tough to tell whether or not he’s geniune. He takes a chance when telling Buffy “It made me think about, you know, living for now,” but she buys it and Parker knows he’s got a ripe one.

All of that leads to the party where Buffy decides to “make a choice” and have sex with Parker. With Angel gone, life in a dorm, and her strong desire to move past Angel, I do understand where she’s coming from. The following morning Parker outright lies to her and says he’ll call her later. At this point Buffy feels really good about her decision (“it was nice”) and is absolutely excited about developing what she shared with him into something more. Gellar acted the hell out of this episode, from the early scenes with Parker to the decision to make “a choice” to the nervous excitement afterwards with Willow to the anticipation, heartbreak, and confusion that follows. Willow keeps pointing out how everything’s a discovery. While that is more or less true for what the characters are experiencing, I personally never felt there was much to discover in college aside from how to get my ass kicked by exams in a whole new way. Of course I’m a pretty atypical college student in more ways than one, so maybe imparting my own experiences aren’t that useful in this case.

Buffy’s personal woes are wonderfully weaved into the search for Spike, which has become a higher priority. While Buffy is searching she is constantly checking her messages, anxiously awaiting Parker’s promised call. The call, of course, never comes and Buffy collapses on her bed in pain. She’s able to eventually track Parker down and finds him using his sympathy speech on another girl already. Parker says he “had fun,” and Buffy replies, “You had fun? Was that all it was?” In Buffy’s mind sex is an intimate experience that is indicative of something more (a sentiment I certainly agree with). Parker says, “I’m starting to feel like you felt what? Some kind of commitment? Are you sure that’s what you want right now?” The truth is, yes, that is what she wants right now. She wants a boyfriend, a lover, and a companion. It pains me tremendously to see Buffy think that Parker’s cold reaction is her fault and to see her even apologize to him. I really feel for her and am right there with her. No one likes to be used, and that’s what Parker did here.

Back in “Surprise” [2×13] I proposed the idea that Buffy simply wasn’t emotionally mature enough to have sex yet. That isn’t a problem anymore though. The mistake she makes here is that she jumped in the sack with a guy she only knew for a week. This is thankfully an experience she learns from. For now she has to deal with the consequences of her hasty rush to move past Angel, and nobody knows how to force Buffy into seeing these consequences better than Spike. In their fight outside he gets some really truthful jabs in and jumps right to the heart of the matter. He says, “So, you let Parker take a poke, eh? Didn’t seem like you knew each other that well. … Did he play the sensitive lad and get you to seduce him? That’s a good trick if the girl’s thick enough to buy it.” While these comments are blunt and pouring salt in a wound, Spike is completely correct in his analysis of the situation. He also gets her stirred up enough to gain her focus back and snatch the gem from him.

This whole ordeal is succinctly captured by Willow’s helpful “he’s a poophead” speech. Buffy still wishes that she can make it work with Parker. Even after Parker and Spike’s comments she still has trouble believing that someone actually just used her for sex. Buffy still feels that it’s her fault he doesn’t want anything to do with her beyond that. In time she’ll fully realize the only thing she was at fault for was falling for it. I have to say I am extremely impressed with how carefully, naturally, maturely, and in-character all of this was dealt with. Kudos to the writers (and Espenson) for having Buffy’s second sexual experience be an important event that’s not washed over. I also like the ripples we see from this in the next couple episodes.

Buffy’s not the only one encountering problems with a second sexual encounter. Anya’s back in town and is very confused about how relationships develop. She’s spent a thousand years inflicting vengeance on the unfaithful, so she knows how to deal with the end of relationships, but the beginning of them is completely new territory for her. She takes her usual direct approach and succeeds in confusing the hell out of Xander. She comes on strong and he can only respond with “Anya. Slow down there. In fact, come to a screeching halt. See these things kind of have to develop on their own.” She then understandably asks, “Okay. How?” Xander then proves he doesn’t have any answers: “I don’t know. I just – happens.” Later on she stops by his room in the basement and, in a hilarious scene, drops all her clothes and proposes to have “sexual intercourse” with him. His response is to squeeze a juicebox empty and shake. Awesome. To his credit he attempts to resist her nude physical advancement by saying that they aren’t ready for this yet, but he quickly gives in. Afterwards they don’t look particularly satisfied and appear to be even more confused.

We find out that Spike’s new girlfriend is Harmony of all people. At first it seems ludicrous that a vampire like Spike would allow himself to be with someone like her, but once we begin to see how their relationship functions things begin to make more sense. The only way that Harmony can gain Spike’s affections is through sex, and we can see that Spike’s not satisfied by it at all. He’s nice enough to take her out to a party, but after a while his limit is reached and he just stakes her. Fortunately for her she was wearing the invulnerability gem at the time. Spike’s noticeably different now that Drusilla isn’t in the picture anymore; he’s a lot harsher. Listening to Harmony run on about France all day is likely a large part of why he’s acting this way, because in “The Initiative” [4×07] we see his swagger briefly returned to him when he escapes an Initiative holding cell. Even though Harmony is incredibly annoying, I can’t help but feel sorry for her when she remains loyal to Spike and doesn’t tell the Scoobies where he is.

It all ends on a really fitting note. We have Buffy, Anya, and Harmony all walking outside physically near each other, but emotionally isolated. They all seem to realize that sex isn’t the key to lasting happiness and that it often leads to much confusion. All in all this is a superb and probing episode which really focuses on the characters. My only complaint lies with the main plot of Spike trying to retrieve the gem — it’s just not very interesting. Also, we know Spike isn’t going to get to keep something that makes him invincible, so no real tension is generated. Although that fact slights the episode a notch, it’s still close to top notch. All the characters are in a really new, uncomfortable, and unexplored state. “The Harsh Light of Day” successfully reflects that feeling and does it in vivid style.

 


Minor Pros/Cons (+/-)

+ It’s awesome that they care enough about continuity to keep bringing Devin, from Oz’s band, back. He’s been around since early S2!
+ Harmony actually chatting with Willow before biting her, and then running off with the warning that her boyfriend will be mad.
+ Over the last couple of seasons Angel has been referred to as a ‘puppy’ several times.
+ Jobless Xander working at jobless Giles’ home.
+ Buffy indirectly calling Spike the most tolerant guy in the world because Harmony is his girlfriend.
+ Buffy and Parker running into Spike and Harmony at the party.
+ Harmony revealing that Spike is searching for the gem and that Drusilla dumped him for a fungus demon.
+ Buffy’s burst of laughter in response to the thought that her and Spike dated before.


[Score]

90/100

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45 thoughts on “Buffy 4×03: The Harsh Light of Day”

  1. [Note: Barbara posted this comment on March 27, 2007.]

    I like this episode, but I usually like any episode with Spike in it. He’s HILARIOUS. Anyway, I would hit Parker in the head with a frying pan, and I would make sure there was hot oil in it.

    Like

  2. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on November 3, 2007.]

    I think this is a fantastic episode. And part of it is because I love how they dealt with the Parker issue. This is not gonna go away soon, she still mopes around for two or three episode but all of that feels natural and right. That shows us that Buffy is not some unbreakable hero, that nothing hurts her but the contrary. Buffy feels and hurts like the rest of us and that for me is great. I don´t like when in some movies or shows they show a hero that is completely flawless and unreal. This just doesn´t happen with Buffy. She really thought that Parker was a good guy and now she blames herself for falling for his act. Very good writing.
    I also love the fact that Spike is back. This guy is amazing and him with Harmony is really funny. We get Anya back and she tries to figure out her feelings for Xander.
    All in all, a very good episode focused on all the characters.

    Like

  3. [Note: gabrielleabelle posted this comment on November 9, 2007.]

    Yay! Any episode with a shirtless Spike is a good one (part of the reason I shallowly like S6 so much).

    Fangirl drooling aside, I was also taken in by Parker’s charm, but was surprised when Buffy jumped into bed with him so quickly. Buffy obviously isn’t very up on relationships, which isn’t surprising considering her only real experience with guys is with a 200+ year old vampire. Not exactly your typical scenario.

    I know Riley’s not very popular among fans, but I do feel that he was useful in giving Buffy a (somewhat) normal relationship. Putting aside the Initiative stuff, Riley and Buffy got together by dating and flirting like two regular people. Something she really hadn’t experienced before.

    Uh…but that’s not really relevant to this episode at all. Anyway, yeah. Shirtless Spike. Good stuff.

    Like

  4. [Note: Kyarorin posted this comment on March 22, 2008.]

    One thing I really liked in this episode (after seeing the Angel series) is the little continuity moments that make its way so far back. In the fifth season of Angel, Harmony proclaims that she’s a “right biter”, and here we see that’s true. Of course, this pales in comparison to the shrimp dimensions that make its way onto both serieses, but still fun.

    Like

  5. [Note: lee posted this comment on May 4, 2008.]

    this is the ep that got me into btvs, i saw it n was v.impressed, i was hooked. The fact smg is so stunnin made me keep watchin at 1st, but spike! what a character. If u put this with ‘in the dark'(angel S1E3) as a 2parter, it almost as good as suprise/innocence. also, anya is a big improvement on cordy. dontcha think?

    Like

  6. [Note: Bree posted this comment on October 3, 2008.]

    Again, another great episode. This episode really is awesome. I especially love the scene where Buffy is waiting for a call from Parker. The music is really great there. However, I don’t think it meshes well with the spike scenes. I also agree with how the whole parker thing is handled. it was very realistic. i also like anya’a mention of condoms because they are almost never mentioned on televison. one thing i’d like to mention is that when a friend of mine saw this episode she didn’t like the ending scene because she thought it represented the girls getting jilted by their boyfriends and she didn’t like xander being comapared to parker and spike. however,i took it the same way as mikejer, where they thought that sex would make them happy and it didn’t. however, now that i look at it i cna see how she made that conclusion but i still don’t agree with her. finally, i really didn’t like spike in this episode. sure, he gets a lot of funny lines (as always) and james marsters is gorgeous (as always) but the way he treated Harmony! Grr! I mean he was very abusive and i felt really sorry for harmony. that kind of behavior is why he’s never been my favorite character. I mean, he’s hilarious, hot, complex, and extremely well acted but he’s still not my favorite. if it were an award for most complex character or most character development he’d win, but he’s not my favorite because i base my favorites on how much i actually LIKE them. Although, of course that dosn’t mean i’m incapable of appreciating some yummy spike shirtlessness.

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  7. [Note: bigmoneygrip posted this comment on October 26, 2008.]

    Yay, Spike’s back! Favorite parts:

    The tracking shot going down beneath the city to the cavern.

    Spike dragging Harmony – Harmony: “Ow!”

    Spike’s talk about Sunnydale being the place where he’s gotten his ass kicked a lot.

    Spike fights Buffy while wearing his duster. Seem it would be a disadvantage.

    Oz admiring Giles’ record collection.

    Like

  8. [Note: bigmoneygrip posted this comment on October 27, 2008.]

    Oh, and the vampire Spike is talking to in the cavern, with the red-plaid lumberjack jacket, he sounds just like Mohinder does in Heroes.

    Like

  9. [Note: Sam posted this comment on December 2, 2008.]

    One of my faves from S4. I also love some of the foreshadowing here. Despite my general dislike of S6, I love how Buffy casually sleeps with Parker in this ep [to the sexy strains of Bif Naked’s “Lucky”] just in time to have Spike show up and make disgusting comments about their one-night stand. Two seasons later, he’ll be pulling her into a violent, self-destructive sexual relationship!

    This is a hot, hot episode.

    Like

  10. [Note: Rosie posted this comment on January 28, 2009.]

    Buffy gave the Gem of Amara to Angel? Was she out of her damn mind? I don’t care if he had a soul. It was a soul given to him against his will. Okay. I realize that she was eighteen years old and still infatuated with him. But . . . was she out of her damn mind?

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  11. [Note: Rosie posted this comment on January 28, 2009.]

    “Two seasons later, he’ll be pulling her into a violent, self-destructive sexual relationship!”

    Actually, it was the other way around.

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  12. [Note: Rosie posted this comment on January 30, 2009.]

    “Buffy’s personal woes are wonderfully integrated into the search for Spike, which has become a higher priority. While Buffy is searching she is constantly checking her messages, anxiously awaiting Parker’s promised call. The call, of course, never comes and Buffy collapses on her bed in pain. She’s able to eventually track Parker down and finds him using his sympathy speech on another girl. This is when she fully realises that she just got used and manipulated. Parker says he “had fun,” and Buffy replies, “You had fun? Was that all it was?” In Buffy’s mind, having sex is a sign of a serious relationship, and a sentiment I certainly agree with. Parker says, “I’m starting to feel like you felt what? Some kind of commitment? Are you sure that’s what you want right now?” The truth is, yes, that is what she wants right now. She wants a boyfriend, a lover, and a companion. It pains me tremendously to see Buffy think that Parker’s cold reaction is her fault and even apologize to him. I really feel for her and am right there with her in her confusion of the entire situation.”

    As much as I want to sympathize with Buffy, I realized that if she and Parker had become serious, she would have ended up using him to get over Angel. In fact, that is exactly what she did when she had sex with him. Just as she will use Riley for the rest of the season and in early Season Five.

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  13. [Note: Suzanne B posted this comment on February 2, 2009.]

    I agree with Rosie. I would have NEVER given Angel the Gem of Amara. There was always the chance that he would revert to Angelus. That would be extreme badness.

    I loved the part when Buffy and Parker run into Spike and Harmony. The way Spike looks at Parker, like a nummy treat, cracks me up.

    Great review, Mike! I’m very excited to see season 7!

    Like

  14. [Note: Stilicho posted this comment on October 25, 2009.]

    Barbara wrote: “I like this episode, but I usually like any episode with Spike in it. He’s HILARIOUS.”

    To go back to the first comment, though it’s been quite a while: Especially for all those who like Spike, but also for all others, I strongly recommend to watch the ANGEL 1×03 Episode “In the Dark”, picking up after THDOL and relating to how Oz visits LA to hand over the Gem to Angel and Spike following him. He’s just as hilarious there, his “impersonating” of Angel at the start awfully funny! I recommend the other crossover episodes as well, of course (like 1×08, “I will remember you”, which picks it up after “Pangs”).

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  15. [Note: Stilicho posted this comment on October 25, 2009.]

    Ok, a teaser:

    “Say no more, evil’s still afoot, and I’m almost out of that nancy-boy hairgel I like so much. Quickly! To the Angel-mobile! Away!” – Spike, pretending to be Angel in ANGEL 1×03 (see comment above). Part of a much longer monologue… and much more great scenes with Spike.

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  16. [Note: fray-adjacent posted this comment on June 1, 2010.]

    I always thought of the Parker encounter as a real-life version of what “Innocence” is a metaphor for.

    Also, I disagree that what happened is Buffy’s fault. Sure, she made a bad choice, but it was based on mis-information! Parker manipulated and lied to her; if there is fault to be assigned, it goes to him.

    I love the title, “The Harsh Light of Day.” Rhonda Wilcox, in her book Why Buffy Matters, wrote an interesting essay about light being used to symbolize pain in BtVS, most obviously for vampires, but, as the series progresses, for Buffy as well.

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  17. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on June 17, 2010.]

    fray, while the bulk of the blame certainly goes to Parker for his behavior here, Buffy still has to accept a certain responsibility for her hasty choices. It’s not like she made a smart educated choice at the time and it just turned out bad. Buffy reacted — made a “choice” — far too quickly in an effort to get over Angel. If she would have been more careful and learned more about Parker, she would have found out the type of guy he is without having to endure the pain of his indifference. The truth is, as Willow learns in “Something Blue,” that it takes time to get over something so close to your heart (e.g. Angel). There’s no ‘quick fix.’ That haste is most certainly Buffy’s fault, although that is the only thing she is at fault for here.

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  18. [Note: nathan.taurus posted this comment on August 30, 2010.]

    Good:

    Sarah Michelle Gellar is really pretty in this ep.

    Anya and her people skills. “Go away”.

    Another very romantic scene for Xander’s next fling.

    The reaction Buffy gives to Parker about the query of her dating Spike.

    ‘Bif Naked’ playing while Buffy and Parker dance, talk and…..you know.

    Buffy v Spike in the sunlight.

    Bad:

    Out of character Willow taking “glued to their seats” realistically. She isn’t stupid.

    Harmony. She is no Drusilla.

    The campus is deserted when Spike and Buffy fight. Xander finds them fast.

    Like

  19. [Note: nathan.taurus posted this comment on August 30, 2010.]

    James Marsters talks about the actor who played Parker.

    “The dude that played her first boyfriend, that was mean, that was so nice but that used her, Parker? Nice guy. But, he was a smoker, and he’d smoke right before the kissing scenes which was like, rude – he just really didn’t think – so poor Sarah’s just kissing like an ashtray – and she just happened to say, boy I really hate that, and so yeah, I brush my teeth. I wanted her to enjoy it”.- James Marsters. June 2000 (Nocturnal 2K)

    Sarah is really professional in the kissing scenes because I never noticed her not liking it. That shows a good actor.

    Like

  20. [Note: Flo posted this comment on October 13, 2010.]

    I agree that the romantic entabglements are very nicely done here.

    However I still can’t get over the fact of how pointless the Gem of Amara plot is. Especially how easily Spike loses it in his first fight with Buffy, after we’ve been continuously told how terribly powerful it would make him. What a waste!

    I hope it is at least put to good use in Angel, because it could make in interesting trophy for vampires to fight over.

    Like

  21. [Note: John Roberts posted this comment on October 16, 2010.]

    Alright now, this is much better. I whined after Living Conditions how I wasn’t happy with S4, but this was what the doctor ordered. Three Romances and a Fight. Subtlety has returned, as the themes and characters are skillfully interwoven. Of course, the return of the Spikester didn’t hurt.

    The Gem of Amara is hilarously stupid but hey, that’s OK. The characters were not.

    Like

  22. [Note: John Roberts posted this comment on October 16, 2010.]

    Side note: I know you guys are going to tell me it happens all the time … but a cad like Parker bedding a hottie *once* and then dumping her? Never saw it in my entire life — and I’ve seen plenty of frat guys hitting upon freshmen women, or HS seniors wooing underclasswomen. Those guys keep coming back for more until the girl wises up.

    But it does make for better theater to have Parker do the one-and-out thing. So I could live with it, although I didn’t believe.

    Like

  23. [Note: fray-adjacent posted this comment on December 29, 2010.]

    MikeJer, I just saw your 6-month old response to my comment. I re-read your review and I totally agree with you. Obviously I misinterpreted your statement before, and I’m not really sure how since you state it so clearly. Sorry.

    Also, I’m impressed with how quickly you whipped out these reviews of the first few seasons, and by how much your writing improved in that time. It looks like you wrote this within about a year of writing your review of “Welcome to the Hellmouth”!

    Like

  24. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on December 29, 2010.]

    I originally did, although you should note that I actually silently updated this review sometime within the last year. It was kind of a trial run of my current polish pass. This is the only episode that’s silently gotten that treatment though. Unfortunately I don’t remember when I updated it specifically, as it was before I built the “updated” subtitle functionality into the reviews. πŸ™‚

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  25. [Note: deadlego posted this comment on April 29, 2011.]

    I give this one an A. Great episode which really made me feel for buffy (which is an impressive feat considering what a heartless bitch I am!),I takes a lot for me to really feel invested in a character enough to fel hurt for them. I do feel this again for buffy many times during the next few seasons, but this episode is the first one that really does it for me so far. I have really felt for willow in the past seasons and for giles in passion but this is the first episode in which I can really feel and identify with buffy’s pain. ‘becoming 2’ is horrible for buffy and SMGs acting is top notch in it and 99.9% of the time in general so that’s not a problem, but killing angel was a necessity and big love and big loss will happen.

    here though parker (who actually has a soul, apparantly) hurts buffy in a sickening way just for kicks. buffy can take on the apocalypse and has slain so many monsters,but here it’s everyday life that’s effecting her. it just feels so real.

    I don’t believe there is anything wrong with casual sex but only if both people know where they stand. A just sex and friendship situation without comittment can be fine as long as there is respect there. some guys(and probably girls too) genuinely get off on lying and conning girls into sleeping with them, actually preferring it to just sleeping with a girl who is up for some casual fun. it’s a power thing, that way they have taken something from a girl that they would not have given up willingly if they knew it would be a one off.

    sorry for the rant but i hate people who behave this way, i can imagine how horrible, dirty and used buffy feels:-that is why buffy wants to believe that it is something wrong with her or her ‘bubble buffy’ scenario, however far-fetched. It’s in a way easier to believe that there is somthing offputting about one’s self that stopped the other person wanting you, than that they set out to use you from the beginning and therefore you gave yourself so intimately to someone so nasty.

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  26. [Note: smallprint84 posted this comment on August 1, 2011.]

    another dvd-menu spoiler from this ep., picture of Spike.

    And I agree, Nathan.Taurus: Sarah is very pretty and cute actually this whole season.

    Like

  27. [Note: smallprint84 posted this comment on August 1, 2011.]

    Also go watch the very satisfying part 2 AtS S1 ep.”In the Dark.”.

    Spike is great in that too.

    + Harmony revealing that Spike is searching for the gem and that Drusilla dumped him for a fungus demon. > Yes and we get to see this, in “Fool For Love”

    Like

  28. [Note: Mash posted this comment on August 7, 2011.]

    “And the amazing part? Still more romantic than Faith.” Both πŸ™‚ and :-/ at the same time.

    I think Buffy should have been able to see through Parker’s act but to be clear – that is NOT an excuse or pass for him. Still a grade A deceptive “poophead”.

    Like

  29. [Note: nathan.taurus posted this comment on October 26, 2011.]

    I still think this episode is great but must add another criticism anyway.

    Buffy informs us that she and Parker have been seeing a lot of each other for a week. I cannot believe that someone would lie and play with someone for a whole week just to dump them once they have slept with the person. Parker started out nice and what he said to Buffy in the episode was true, unfortunately, he becomes another victim of bad writing against men for the sake of hurting Buffy.

    Glad to see Spike back…finally. But I could have gone a long stretch without ever seeing Harmony again.

    Like

  30. [Note: Alex posted this comment on October 27, 2011.]

    Mike, I was going to say the same thing. I’ve seen men do exactly that, and much worse.

    And I think Harmony is great! But to each their own.

    Like

  31. [Note: Alexei posted this comment on April 1, 2012.]

    I always kinda thought that Buffy sleeping with Parker is rushed. What happened to epic B/A love? its been only 2 episodes…

    Like

  32. [Note: Gemma posted this comment on April 16, 2012.]

    I thought that Buffy sleeping with Parker was done to highlight that people make mistakes especially at college, its sort of a leap but when Buffy is searching for her pants after waking up alone in Parker’s room she says everybody needs pants. To me, at this moment i’m thinking everybody needs mistakes, its how we grow as a people.

    I love the contrasts running along side Buffy and Parker in the form of Anya and Xander. In this scenario Anya is Parker only she is straight up with Xander telling him she only wants sex to get over him, unlike Parkers manipulation of Buffy. The difference being is that Anya afterward falls hard and fast for Xander and the pair make a great couple.

    The closing scene with Harmony (Who i love! She’s such a fun and light character and like Cordelia she has hidden layers we get to see), Buffy and Anya all walking alone but yet together, highlighting Spike’s earlier comment ‘love hurts baby’

    Like

  33. [Note: johnc posted this comment on May 28, 2012.]

    Fray – thank you so much. I have to get that book. Also loved the title – The Harsh Light Of Day — the light that can destroy vampires and the light you wake up to the night after a big mistake.

    Like

  34. [Note: Less newt posted this comment on August 8, 2012.]

    John Roberts, 23, I largely agree. Also, I really love your comments, partially because they’re insightful, and partially because I like to pretend that the Chief Justice is a closet Buffy fan.

    MikeJer, 18, I agree, so long as you mean that Buffy “makes a choice” (that moment when Buffy takes the bait and kisses him back always goads me) too quickly for her. (And, from your review, etc., I’m pretty sure you do.)

    Like

  35. [Note: Summer posted this comment on December 24, 2012.]

    Poor Buffy. For all her slayer prowess she can still get played. It’s an important reminder for us about how far Buffy has to go on her path to adulthood. Xander has an interesting parallel. Here’s a guy who’s not trying to jump into the sack… but he comes up short. Unfortunately, he’s pretty powerless against strong women coming on to him even though I think Xander really does believe in sex and connection. Ah well. I had no problem with the B plot. Everyone knows Spike pretty much sucks at every big plan he tries to pull off. Unless he gets Buffy’s help!

    Like

  36. [Note: Ryan ONeil posted this comment on January 31, 2013.]

    Not just the two episodes, but the whole summer between the different seasons.

    That she apparently spent struggling with a porn addiction πŸ™‚

    Like

  37. [Note: Gon posted this comment on February 13, 2013.]

    What about Willow/Oz relationship in this episode?

    When Oz save Willow from being attacked, Harmony says something like “fine, hide behind your boyfriend”. She won’t be doing that for long.

    I also think this dialogue has meaning:
    DEVON “We’ll do great in LA. We’ll have them glued to their seats”
    WILLOW “Aren’t they supposed to dance?”
    OZ “We could glue them to the dance floor”
    Later, DEVON says to Oz “I didn’t mean with real glue. You got that, right?”

    Perhaps I’m reading too much in here, but it felt to me like the writer was saying that, normally, guys don’t understand Willow-talk (she was joking, of course) and Oz is somehow an exception to this (he goes along with to joke). It reminded me of S5 episode “Family”, when Xander tells Buffy he doesn’t understand half of what Tara says.

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  38. [Note: Arachnea posted this comment on February 27, 2013.]

    Another good episode with three sex-stories, all different but all related.

    Buffy unconsciously uses Parker as a rebound.
    Parker uses Buffy to have sex (and probably to gloat with his friends).
    Spike uses Harmony as a rebound and of course, abuses her because he has no love for her (he’s vampire after all).
    Anya uses Xander to explore her human nature, but with no ill intentions.
    If you take the constrast with Willow/Oz, you see what a healthy relationship is about: love, respect and understanding.

    All of this is serious material and very well used. And I don’t believe the writers were trying to make a man look like a jerk, because there are some very decent men on the show. Here, we have a taste of reality: Buffy makes an error in judgement and wants things to go well too fast; Parker is seen making the same kind of speech to another girl, it must be his weekly or monthly routine: getting girls to have sex with him and this is definitely not unreal !

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  39. [Note: Nebula Nox posted this comment on June 9, 2014.]

    Buffy’s sex with Parker reminds me of Spike and Anya. Spike and Anya are both experienced enough to know that they are moving on by making that choice, but in a sense that is what Buffy is doing too. She may expect more from Parker, but in reality it is just a step away from Angel.

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  40. [Note: Lydia posted this comment on June 10, 2014.]

    J’adore! This episode is perfect, its got everything that I love about this show. One of my friends who had a hard time liking Buffy (Even AFTER episodes like Passion and Innocence, go figure.) became hooked with it exactly after this one. She said she appreciated that Buffy, for all her Slayer prowess, can still get played. And I couldn’t agree more. Also goes without saying but SPIKE, Anya and HARMONYYYY xD

    Parker, my new candidate for a Spike Happy Meal was manipulative, shallow and out to get laid. Buffy was basically on the rebound without realizing it. I enjoyed the running theme of ‘sex’ and ‘heartbreak’ in this episode (A little taste of S2, eh?). I liked the part at the beginning where Buffy was watching Parker’s reflection, not Parker. Interesting upfront symbolism there. I really love the music they used here, especially Bif Naked’s “Lucky”, I wish Buffy had been dancing with anyone other than that cockroach. Riley, Spike, Angel I don’t care who. Anyway, lots of scenes I quite enjoyed. Anya and her blatant ways of getting a guy to swoon its like she’s this adorable robot, “We can have intercourse now.” Haha. Xander squeezing his juicebox! I also liked the Spike/Harmony scene where they talk about turning Antonio Banderas into a vampire and he later says, “I love syphilis more than you.” It was a little rude, I almost felt bad for Harmony; hilarious nonetheless.

    It was interesting how Parker thought that Spike might have been Buffy’s ex. Her reaction to that? The stale laugh? God, that was hilarious, ironic too. I loved it when Spike and Buffy were oddly telling each other off on their respective dates. Spike looked like he wanted to eat Parker for breakfast (And I say to that, please kill Parker. Repeatedly.) Anyway, you can already feel the tension and chemistry between the two. I always liked the thought of Buffy and Spike as counterparts. There is something primal and passionate about it, much more interesting to watch (for me) than the gooey stuff with Angel even though Angel and Buffy DO share some really nice moments, they take it overboard sometimes.

    I can’t explain in words how much I enjoy all the puppy references to Angel. Everytime someone uses the word ‘puppy’ on either BtVS or AtS, I think of him. “Oh, the Angry Puppy!” Haha. I recall Spike’s comment from “In the Dark”, “Now I’m just a big, fluffy puppy with bad teeth!” I also love everytime the characters must cover up a supernatural thing or event from regular people.

    On a side-note, its interesting how here Buffy is dealing with the ‘harshness of daylight’ while Angel is ‘In the dark’.

    Anyway, Anya, Spike and Harmony are around again. Color me pleased.

    Like

  41. [Note: nathan.taurus posted this comment on November 28, 2014.]

    One thing I never really thought of until now is the ending shot. It is trying to make the viewer feel bad for the 3 women walking on campus and yet only one deserves it. Anya wanted the moment with Xander and initiated it so we should feel sorry for Xander if we feel sorry for Anya. Harmony is a waste of screen time and is evil so we can’t feel sorry for her either. Buffy is the only one of the three that I feel sorry for.

    Spike could have used that Gem in ‘Chosen’.

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