Buffy 4×09: Something Blue

[Review by Mike Marinaro]

[Writer: Tracey Forbes | Director: Nick Marck | Aired: 11/30/1999]

This episode is a big bag of fun. There’s certainly more substance here than in “Pangs” [4×08] , especially since it directly involves Willow who’s making observations about other characters. There’s also a lot of really key insights made by other characters as well. This is really quite amusing to watch and contains some very memorable comedic scenes (i.e. “Giles, help! He’s going to scold me!”). It isn’t quite able to match “Doppelgangland” [3×16] , which is the perfect example of what I’m looking for in a comedy-heavy outing: tons of humor and hefty character development. It’s still extremely funny, though, and does offer up some substance.

At the beginning of the episode Riley and Buffy have a little chat. He tries to explain that he likes Buffy so much because she’s a mystery. That’s sure not going to last very long (as is evident in S5). He does win some points with her by calling her both mysterious and beautiful. Later on we see Buffy and Willow having an evening chat about Riley while patrolling. Buffy asks some pretty tough questions which are seriously worth thinking about. She says, “I have to get away from that bad boy thing. There’s no good there. Seeing Angel in LA.. even for five minutes.. hello to the pain … But I can’t help thinking – isn’t that where the fire comes from? Can a nice, safe relationship be that intense? I know it’s nuts, but.. part of me believes that real love and passion have to go hand in hand with pain and fighting.” She’s admitting to herself here that she is attracted to the “bad boy thing” — it gives her passion in the relationship. This whole conversation sets up the future problems she’s going to have with Riley. She gets the normal boyfriend, but she isn’t passionate about him. Riley begins to notice this fact about Buffy in S5, which is the primary motivation behind his actions in “Into the Woods” [5×10] . He ends up trying to conform himself to be what she wants and fails miserably at it because it’s not who he is.

Anyway, over at Giles’ place we find Spike amusingly chained to a bathtub. Spike understandably doesn’t want to give away too much information about the Initiative because he’s worried Buffy will stake him afterwards. Even in the pathetic situation he’s in, Spike is still extremely observant. He’s the only one who notices that Willow’s “hanging on by a thread” over the news that Oz is settling down somewhere else. This skill will come in handy for him when he verbally picks apart the Scoobies later in the season. It’s also worth pointing out that at the end, neither Buffy or Spike seem all that disgusted by their little love session. We know Spike has that subconcious love for her working behind the scenes, so that kiss couldn’t have turned him off too much. Buffy, as mentioned above, was just recently discussing her attraction to “bad boys.” She may not like Spike right now, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t sexually attracted to him.

I really liked seeing Buffy and Riley out on a picnic together. We don’t see Buffy outside in the day like this very often. Riley’s car speech to her is very analogous to sex. Buffy says, “Cars and Buffy are, like .. un-mixy things.” He replies, “It’s just because you haven’t had a good experience yet. You can have the best time in a car. It’s not about getting somewhere. You have to take your time. Forget about everything. Just…relax.” Now replace the word ‘car’ with ‘sex’ and ‘in a’ with ‘having’ and the connection is made. Ultimately Riley’s right though, she really hasn’t had a good experience yet. Riley also knows that she got used by Parker, so this is some really slick dialog by him. One other thing I want to mention is how touching Buffy is later in the episode when she tells Giles she wants him to be the one to give her away at her wedding. Even though she’s under the spell, this offer is very sincere and genuinely touches Giles. Very sweet!

Willow gets herself in depression mode and it really begins to affect everyone. She ruins the mood of Buffy’s picnic with Riley, is drinking beer, hurts Xander’s feelings (“‘Oh, poor me.. I live in a basement.’ Yeah, that’s dire.”), and once again turns to black magic. When Giles hears that Willow tried to do a dangerous spell, especially with how emotionally unstable she is, he reacts with a look of grave concern. Willow gets defensive about it, which makes sense because Buffy was attacking her ability in “Fear, Itself” [4×04] . She interprets Giles’ concerns as attacks and ends up accidentally casting a spell on him. This is where the fun really begins. After he leaves, Willow moves on to Buffy for sharing her pain. The problem is, Buffy needs to go capture Spike (which she amusingly finds in two seconds, just like Willow said). So, Willow tries to talk with Xander who attempts to excercise his ability to “see and know.” This time she snaps back at him and says, “Oh, yeah? Let’s-let’s look at your bio. Insect Lady, Mummy Girl, Anya…You’re a demon magnet.” It’s funny and it’s 100% certified true.

All of this inadvertant spell casting Willow’s been doing apparently got D’Hoffryn’s attention, because he pops up out of nowhere and offers her the chance to become a vengeance demon. When she refuses and says he just misunderstood what was happening he, at first, sounds incredibly angry with her. But instead of hurting her he simply sighs and says, “Oh well. Here is my talisman. You change your mind, give us a chant” and instantly sends her back to where the chaos is happening. The way the scene with D’Hoffryn is shot is positively hilarious. It’s cool that he sees something in Willow now that makes him believe she could be a great force of vengeance, which she actually does become in “Villains” [6×20] .

When Willow breaks the spell, everyone is looking at her with big “what the hell” faces. The scene then abruptly cuts to piles of cookies which she cooked to help let everyone forgive her. It’s fun to note that her shirt says, “Speak no evil.” Cookies help heal the current repercussions, but they certainly don’t solve the root problem. Notice we don’t see Giles, the person who’s consistently been telling Willow be careful, eating a cookie? It’s likely because she has everyone but him fooled about the danger of her growing powers. This is a really good episode. There’s a ton of memorable humor along with some fascinating character development.

Minor Pros/Cons (+/-)

+ Buffy’s quick dusting of the vamp that interrupted her important conversation with Willow.
+ Buffy feeding and ridiculing Spike, who’s chained to a bathtub with a “Kiss the Librarian” novelty mug and a straw.
+ Willow’s reaction to seeing all of Oz’s stuff gone. She knows he’s not coming back for sure now.
+ Spike desparately wanting to see Passions on the TV.
+ Willow de-ratting poor Amy into a human for a second and then turning her right back!
+ Buffy and Spike switching from wanting to tear each other apart to kissing each other.
+ The entire Buffy/Riley conversation about her wedding to Spike. “You’re ruining my happy day.”
+ Spike making fun of Buffy’s name. “It’s a terrible name.”
+ Xander’s reaction to seeing Buffy and Spike all over each other.
+ Buffy saying “well, we’re all tired of it” in response to Willow’s moping.
+ Buffy always thinking she’s immune to spells when she’s under one.
+ Anya not being able to remember D’Hoffryn’s summoning spell.
+ Buffy telling Riley she was just messing with him about marrying Spike.
+ The big end fight scene came off as long and a bit too silly.


* When Willow asks Buffy what she thinks of Riley she responds, “I don’t know. I really like being around him, you know? And I think he cares about me.. but.. I just.. feel like something’s missing.” Willow says, “He’s not making you miserable?” Buffy comes back, “Exactly.” This dialog is already foreshadowing the failure of their relationship. Buffy’s not passionate for Riley and at this point in her life and she actually wants that even though she doesn’t fully realise it here. This same discussion pops up again in “Into the Woods” [5×10].




62 thoughts on “Buffy 4×09: Something Blue”

  1. [Note: Grounded posted this comment on February 24, 2006.]

    This ep is hysterical, even if it has that strange ‘bubblegum’ quality that a lot of S4 eps have. I crack up every time Buffy says she’s immune because she’s the slayer.

    “She may not like Spike right now, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t sexually attracted to him.”

    I don’t think it’s fair to say Buffy’s attracted to Spike in any way whatsoever at this point.


  2. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on February 24, 2006.]

    I don’t know about that. I didn’t directly say she was attracted to him in any way here (or I at least I didn’t mean to), but I’m not ruling out the possibility. I’ve met a lot of people I hate but still find incredibly attractive. I think it’s possible Buffy sees Spike this way, and that’s what I was trying to say. He disgusts her as an individual right now, but she prolly thinks, at least to herself, that he’s a ‘hottie.’ (word she uses in “Lessons”)


  3. [Note: Grounded posted this comment on February 24, 2006.]

    To be fair, you could say that about almost any pairing you like on TV since so many of the actors/actresses are…um…easy on the eyes? 😉


  4. [Note: 20questionsgenius posted this comment on February 24, 2006.]

    I love this episode; it’s my very favorite one of the entire series. I bet that probably makes me seem shallow, but I cannot help it. This episode has too many funny things going on. It’s my favorite because I can watch it and laugh every single time, and know that for now, things are right in the world of Sunnydale, at least on the surface. Later on, with some of my very favorite episodes I love watching them, but I finish them with this sad feeling because really how many episodes of Buffy end happily? Not too many. Also, it’s shameless but I love seeing Buffy and Spike together, he is too sexy for words. And the way Buffy is, not being all that worried about Giles and his blindness and not trying to protect Xander and Anya during the final fight scene because she’s too preoccupied with kissing Spike and making sure he’s ok, was some interesting foreshadowing for how Buffy will be when she really is involved with Spike, not noticing Willow’s problem, not taking very good care of Dawn etc. Also, I think that Buffy probably did have some latent sexual attraction to Spike already. Like MikeJer said, Buffy doesn’t like Spike one iota right now, but that doesn’t mean she cannot be physically attracted to him. I know guys that I think are pretty big jerks, but damn if they aren’t extremely hot. Plus, with Willow’s spell there has to be some grain of truth or probability to it for it to work. When Willow wills her heart to be healed now, it doesn’t work, because alas, getting over someone whom you loved so much doesn’t work like that. Also, she wills the book to speak its words to her, and obviously there’s no possible way for that to happen. But when she tells Giles he doesn’t see anything we can believe that is possible because Giles already needs glasses, so there’s something to work with there. And Xander really does attract a lot of demons. So, I think there had to be some spark, some attraction between Spike and Buffy for their “engagement” to have happened in the first place. And one question, when Buffy is sitting in Spike’s lap and they’re talking about wedding plans, what is Spike writing? Is it wedding plans, because if so I’m gonna go find that scene and kiss the screen right now.


  5. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on February 24, 2006.]

    I don’t think loving this episode beyond reason makes you shallow at all. I mean, I gave it a 90 (A-). I think this might be AaronJer’s favorite episode too.

    It’s excellent material and incredibly hilarious. I just feels it lacks the lasting value that “Doppelgangland” has, which is a similar comedy-based episode. In “Doppelgangland” we see Willow decide to start making big changes with herself as a result of her experience in that episode. That’s why “Something Blue” is just a smidgen under “Doppelgangland.”


  6. [Note: 20questionsgenius posted this comment on February 24, 2006.]

    I haven’t seen “Doppelgangland” in so long, but so many people seem to love that episode. I remember thinking that was a really cool episode but that was before Willow became my second favorite character. So i think im going to go back and watch “Doppelgangland” again, that one and “The Wish”.


  7. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on February 24, 2006.]

    After seeing the entire series a few times before reviewing it, I’ve come to like “Doppelgangland” even more than the previous times. I enjoyed it enough before, but I never really noticed a lot of the changes it actually brings to Willow. It turns out it’s one of the biggest Willow episodes in the first 5 seasons and it’s kind of camoflauged by wonderful humor. There’s a lot of eps like that, where when you rewatch it you realise its place in the whole and have even more respect for it.


  8. [Note: cayayofm posted this comment on February 26, 2006.]

    Talking about Dopenganglands. Mikejer you recently watched Pangs where Anya says: “so this is Angel”, it seems like she does not know who he is, but Angel and Anya met in Dopelganglands, they don’t actually talk but they have various scenes together and I belive that they both are together when they sent Vampire Willow back.


  9. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on February 26, 2006.]

    Hmm. I’ll have to put in my DVD and check that out. I think they do notice each other at the very end of “Doppelgangland” when they’re sending Vamp Willow back.


  10. [Note: jun posted this comment on May 20, 2007.]

    Actually, Spike makes the comment about Willow hanging on by a thread before she finds out that Oz is settling elsewhere. It’s this discovery that makes her miss the meeting she’d arranged with Giles for the following morning (to try a truth spell on Spike).


  11. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on November 5, 2007.]

    This is another great episode. Spike/Buffy is truly hilarious. I love how she thinks she´s immune to the spell because she´s the Slayer, she thinks that later on “Him”. And I find it very curious that in this episode they´re all sick of Willow´s moping and can´t stand it anymore. Did they all forget about Buffy? That when her life is crumbling apart she mopes a lot. Just an interesting thing to look at.


  12. [Note: gabrielleabelle posted this comment on November 10, 2007.]

    Any episode with Spike kissage makes me happy. I’m such a shallow fangirl. And SMG and JM are awesome together.

    I did think that the group was a little callous towards Willow. Yeah, it’s not fun when your friend’s all mopey. But given the amount of Buffy angst they’ve put up with, I think they can allow Willow her fill. Just seemed a little insensitive for them to rag on her about it.

    And I’m sure Buffy finds Spike hot (who wouldn’t?) but I doubt she thinks of him as attractive at this point. After all, he did just try to kill her a few episodes ago. Kinda puts a damper on any lusty feelings.

    For Spike’s part, I tend to think that he feels passionately towards Buffy. Without the chip, he directs that to a murderous rage. With the chip, though, he channels it into an all-consuming, obsessive love. Course, he doesn’t realize what’s happened until next year when he starts on his redemptive road.


  13. [Note: bigmoneygrip posted this comment on October 31, 2008.]

    Another great one! Some of my noticings:

    D’Hoffryn is a pretty decent guy, for a demon, I must say.

    The prop guys did a real good (and very realistic) job when Buffy first gave Spike the mug of blood when he was in the tub. When she took it away from him and he kept the straw, you saw this thick, red gross stuff dripping out of the end. The could have used red kool aid or something else, but the fact that they used realistic, thick, fake blood is fantastic.

    I am laughing so hard at Spike, a.k.a. William the Bloody, mean, nasty, homicidal vampire, being hooked on soaps. “Timmy’s down a well” I wonder if that is the actual storyline, or if Spike is doing a “Timmy and Lassie” thing?

    Is Buffy cracking? At the end, Spike just has his torso tied to the chair with his hands free.

    “I don’t get a cookie?” Willow stuffs one in his mouth.

    Spike: This is the crack team that foils my every plan? I
    am deeply shamed.


  14. [Note: Adam posted this comment on January 14, 2009.]

    I love this episode. Every episode (and season) of Buffy manages to possess a different quality of the show. Something Blue is a great example of top notch comedy in BtVS.

    I’m sure this already has been realized, but since I couldn’t find this mentioned here (or unless I skipped it somehow) I need to point out some fun little foreshadowing in the beginning of the episode. It shows Riley putting up a banner which says “lesbian alliance” and as we all know Willow becomes a lesbian a little later in the season and just the next episode (Hush) she meets Tara.


  15. [Note: Emily posted this comment on May 3, 2009.]

    Once again, Joss and the others show amazing continuity, because once again, it’s Spike who is able to really see what’s going on with the people around him, while everyone else is oblivious. Just like back in “Lover’s Walk” (3×08), when he saw that Buffy and Angel were still in love with each other, he now sees that Willow is still in pain, when nobody else could. Very well done.


  16. [Note: Leelu posted this comment on May 3, 2009.]

    Yes, the “Timmy down a well” was a real storyline on Passions, if I remember correctly. (I would watch it off and on…it was so bad that it was hilariously good. haha)


  17. [Note: Jayde posted this comment on May 29, 2009.]

    Someone mentioned the end where Spike just has his torso tied up. I love that moment, it really shows that he’s not a threat to them anymore.

    Plus the expression he makes when he’s chewing the cookie is priceless.


  18. [Note: Selene posted this comment on July 8, 2009.]

    While I find most of this episode hilarious, one part of it pissed me off to no end: Buffy and Xander’s insensitivity to Willow’s very real pain:

    Xander: Willow and her griefy-poor-me mood swings — so, so tired of it.
    Buffy: Well, we’re all tired of it…

    This is especially hard to take from Buffy as Willow listened to her (Buffy’s) whimpering about Angel for months and months (and even at the beginning of the episode!) yet they expect Willow to just get over Oz’s betrayal and abandonment in a matter of weeks? Some friends they are.


  19. [Note: Lee posted this comment on December 3, 2009.]

    I suspect that Buffy and Spike were already attracted to one another at this point. Willow’s spell caused them to get engaged. It never caused them to fall in love. Buffy and Spike did that on their own.


  20. [Note: KatieJ posted this comment on December 5, 2009.]

    Other than being uproariously funny, and perfect for Spike/Buffy fans, this episode left me thinking about ideas of intention and self-honestly. I was recently (well its been some months) laid off, and I can really appreciate Willow’s motivations and actions better. I truly loved and cared for my job, and my friends are just plain sick of hearing about my grief process. I was left wondering how unintended Willow’s spell outcomes were, really. She’s a little, too “whups did I do that?” because she deep down wanted to hurt those she loved most for not giving her the compassion she needed at that moment. Boy, that’s a nice sentence. Requiring others’ energy to feel ok about your own emotions can also be a mark of an addict, looking ahead to S6.


  21. [Note: Nathan.Taurus posted this comment on January 25, 2010.]

    A bit of a hit an miss episode for me. I almost laugh uncontrollably at Spike telling Buffy, “That lip. Gonna get it, gonna get it.” And to a lesser extent her response of, “What’s wrong with Buffy?” and Giles’ “Ah, such a good question.”

    Buffy tormenting Spike in the bath tub about being impotent and flaccid then offering her neck to him. That is just cruel and unusual punishment, I mean, who doesn’t want that neck, really?

    Willow depressed was what brang the episode down, and the demon fight at the end.


  22. [Note: ProphecyGirl posted this comment on February 12, 2010.]

    On a foreshadowing note,when I rewatched this episode recently I was reminded of JM’s fabulous delivery of “Dont I get a cookie?”.

    Not only is that a hilarious line but I think it foreshadows Buffy’s famous ‘cookie dough’ speech in Chosen really well and also when asks her to “give him a crumb” to show him he has a teeny chance with her in Crush.

    It’s VERY possible Spike wanted to ‘be the one to enjoy (Buffy’s) cookies’ even then. It would explain alot of his actions/reactions to her.

    Love this episode. Obviously I’m a huge B/S fan

    I’ve been in love with JM ever since I saw him on a interview talking about Buffy conventions saying “France was very…intense. I mean, they they tried to physically rip my clothes off.” The obvious terror on his face when he said this was adorable!


  23. [Note: AttackedWithHummus posted this comment on March 28, 2010.]

    How is it possible that with all these Spike/Buffy comments not one person has complained about not including the most shamelessly hilarious foreshadowing of all: the Spike/Buffy Season 6 relationship? It is similar in nature as is. It’s extreme, frowned upon, and although Spike may put on his tough exterior he is all for it while Buffy says “I don’t even really like him.” Of course the magnitude doesn’t compare, all is conditional here, and they are open about it, it is still most certainly extra-humorous looking back.


  24. [Note: Alie posted this comment on June 12, 2010.]

    Hi! First of all, your reviews are great and dead on. I also love how you point out stuff that I don’t even think about until I watch the episode a second time. Just a note, this episode foreshadows way more than you may think. This episode foreshadows Willow’s growing power that leads up to her becoming evil. It also says a lot for Buffy and Spike’s relationship. I love it when Buffy’s talking about Spike to Riley:

    Buffy: I really think you’ll like him.Well, nobody really likes him…..

    Riley: I’d just like to clear up a few things-

    Buffy: I don’t really like him…

    Riley: Buffy.

    Buffy: …but I love him. I do.

    This really foreshadows their undescribable relationship.

    Anyway, I won’t go into too much more detail because I think you touched on everything else.


  25. [Note: John posted this comment on January 12, 2011.]

    Absolutely hilarious episode, one of the standouts of S4 for me. I did find it a bit unfortunate that they would so callously say they were tired of Willow moping around when Buffy was doing the same thing last season. To be fair, though, Buffy was in a far worse situation than Willow was and also didn’t complain about it nearly as much to her friends, I think. Buffy’s problem has always been that she tries to deal with her problems herself, and thus I’d imagine that there probably wasn’t as much Buffy moping over Angel as there was Willow moping over Oz.


  26. [Note: Afterthebattle posted this comment on March 16, 2011.]

    “If I had any real power I could have made Oz stay with me.” – I find this line incredibly scary! And it foreshadows how Willow erases Tara’s memory of their argument in All The Way.


  27. [Note: A posted this comment on April 17, 2011.]

    (About the sexual attraction thing- I don’t think that the fact that he’s tried to kill her is necessarily a turn-off. I mean, Faith’s very upfront about the fact that slaying makes her horny, and remember in season five-

    Buffy: “You got off on [killing].”

    Spike: [raised eyebrow] “Well, yeah. Don’t you?”)


  28. [Note: baunger1 posted this comment on May 13, 2011.]

    A phenomenal episode. I agree that it has the same quality as Dopplegangland, in the sense that it’s very, very funny, but also contains an enormous amount of foreshadowing: Willow’s inappropriate use of magic, magic as vengeance, references to forgetting spells, and, of course, Spike’s and Buffy’s entire season 6 relationship.

    I think Spike and Buffy have been unconsciously attracted to each other from their very first contact in School Hard. Spike stalks her in a very sexual way at the Bronze, and she suggests putting down their weapons so they can fight hand to hand. There’s always been something between them; it just changes and grows and comes to the surface as the series continues.


  29. [Note: SpikeFan posted this comment on May 13, 2011.]

    Yes I agree with you on the massive amounts of foreshadowing. Even Giles being blind playing a clairvoyant role. In later seasons Giles is not as much in the loop about Buffy’s life and his role as her watcher slowly disintegrates over time. Willow of course gets her first taste of powerful magic which is the premise of season 6.

    There was even the momentary foreshadowing of the return of Amy from rat form.

    This episode’s greatest foreshadowing was of course Buffy and Spike’s relationship played out as many wished it could have, but alas for the sake of the show could not be that happy and sparkly. This episode was genuinely hilarious and had some very good dialogue between the characters. Plus the scene when Buffy is feeding Spike in the bathtub with the Kiss the Librarian mug is genius, one of my favorite screen shots of all time.


  30. [Note: Shiny posted this comment on June 24, 2011.]

    Just a comment on the people who felt Xander and Buffy’s attitudes towards Willow’s depression were unfair – they weren’t simply bitching about her ‘griefy-griefy poor me’ state; they were also largely complaining about her “mood swings”. Throughout the whole episode, Willow hurls thoughtless and sometimes intentionally derisive insults at her friends, and I think Buff and Xand were justified in being sick of taking that abuse.

    I did think the way Buffy said “Well, we’re ALL sick of it” was delivered pretty callously, but of course she’s busy being on cloud nine planning the wedding from hell due to a spell gone wrong, so she’s not exactly herself at present.

    I enjoy the episode, but I find the Buffy/Spike gooey stuff gross and cringeworthy rather than funny, but it’s fun watching the characters’ reactions. I think there are much funnier comedies and don’t really get why this one gets so much praise, but then everyone’s sense of humour is individual.


  31. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on July 16, 2011.]

    Foreshadowing: Buffy says: “we may be in a forgetting spell later” and that is what happens in Tabula Rasa when Willow erases her memory for most of that episode.

    Also, the discussion between Giles and Willow about using magic reminded me of how he will scold her in Flooded, though in the latter, she is already more frightening.


  32. [Note: Sam L posted this comment on March 21, 2012.]

    While I don’t love this episode, it does have one of my favorite exchanges —

    ANYA (talking about Willow & Oz): If I still had my powers, I would liquefy his entrails for her.

    XANDER (visibly horrified): That’s sweet.



  33. [Note: Jade Ferral posted this comment on June 11, 2012.]

    I just recently re-watched Something Blue, and one of the biggest things that stood out to me was the contrast between Buffy and Riley’s interaction and Buffy and Spike’s interaction before the spell. Buffy and Riley’s interaction seemed awkward and unnatural, and some of their lines just didn’t seem to fit. Whereas with Buffy and Spike, each retort just flew out of their mouths with no hesitation– it was like they were born to interact with each other. That’s just what it seemed like to me.


  34. [Note: ItAin’tAeschylus posted this comment on August 8, 2012.]

    I especially like the scenes of Spike chained up in the tub. You can almost see the electricity snapping when he glares at Buffy. The way she teases him and gets physically closer to him as the scenes progress also suggests there’s chemistry between them. I find something oddly intimate in the way Buffy is feeding Spike, and the way the two look at each other while she does. Why didn’t Giles feed him? After all, Buffy’s the Vampire Slayer, not the Vampire Feeder. Great mock-serious delivery by SMG of the line “He’s going to scold me!” Giles is hilarious in his dismay at the way Buffy and Spike are going at each other; and as usual, Marsters’ facial expressions and vocal delivery is very nuanced. Finally, I like Spike in his “hungry vampire” makeup with the dark-ringed eyes and pale lips, all punk/goth and arsenic chic.


  35. [Note: Janice posted this comment on November 5, 2012.]

    This is the episode that leaps to my mind when I need a laugh – I can just think of the bathtub exchange between Buffy and Spike and and I start grinning. The snap and patter between SMG & JM is wonderful, even if the writers had no intention of taking Buffy and Spike “down that road” at the time, the episode really is the entire B/S relationship in a microcosm. And it’s just damnably funny from beginning to (almost) end, excluding Buffy going to patch things up with Riley. An episode this funny begs for a better ending. (Such as the final scene in “Pangs”.)One of the things that I find interesting is that S4 is the season in which magic becomes a metaphor for Willow’s sexuality (in addition to the “magic as power/magic used inappropriately” theme that becomes Willow’s arc.) Her first attempt to use magic “inappropriately”, if my memory serves, was the vengeance spell she couldn’t bring herself to finish against Veruca in “Wild at Heart” after she discovered Oz had cheated on her. Then the spell in SB can be read as “masturbation”, particularly when compared to the spell Willow and Tara perform together in “Who’s that Girl” (both are performed within magical circles.)


  36. [Note: Summer posted this comment on December 26, 2012.]

    I like your comment about Willow Janice. It’s interesting because this whole season is exploring sex more. Sex as power (Parker/Buffy, Willow, violent bite/rape metaphors), sex as part of a long term relationship. spike’s “impotence” and more evidence that killing demons gets you all hot and heavy! hehI like the double entende of the episode title.


  37. [Note: Arachnea posted this comment on March 1, 2013.]

    A truly funny episode with lots and lots of character work.

    What’s happening to Willow is very insteresting and very scary because she has powers and is willing to use them for her own purpose. We see the first steps for Giles to try to warn Willow about the dangers of dark magic and the vengeance demon in chief wanting to recruit her is a great tip off !

    Someone said there had to be some basis for the spell to work and I think it’s alright to believe that Buffy can be (unconsciously) sexually attracted to Spike: when discussing fighting with Faith, they both acknowledged that it could be compared to a sexual rush of adrenaline. Even under the spell, she says “I don’t like him” and it’s very true, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t want him. As opposed to Riley who is honorable and safe (I’m talking relationship), Spike has the spark; Buffy is a slayer, she needs the danger. As for Spike, well, he’s obsessed with (killing) her.

    About the protests of Xander and Buffy being sick of Willow’s sorrow, I don’t think it’s out of character for this episode. In the group, from season 1 to 3, Willow was the only one capable of comforting her friends. In season 4, she continues by being there all the way with Buffy after Parker; she was also listening to Buffy complain about a roommate even though hers seemed far worse that Buffy’s – before they became crazy. Now she’s the one in need and is truly depressed, but we’ve seen her being really mean to Xander even when he tried to comfort her. I truly believe he’s not sick of her sorrow but of her harshness. Buffy has also grown, she’s learned a lot about pain and I liked her a lot when she was defending Willow or tried to soothe her. But as we see throughout the seasons, the pain of her friends makes her feel uneasy; plus, she’s got too much in her mind to observe them carefully. It’s no wonder that Spike is the only one to really see that Willow is depressed and needy, as seen before, one of his qualities is a deep understanding of human emotions and beheviour. And it’s also no wonder that Willow turns to magic when her best friend decides to go after a harmless vampire instead of staying with her.

    I’m not saying that Willow is not at fault or that Buffy is a bad friend ! I’m just saying it’s much more complicated than black and white and that’s one of the reasons this show is so good. All the characters have consistent qualities and consistent flaws with which we can all relate.

    What I said seems very serious for an episode that tells a story with humour, the writer’s team have made it again. Deep story told with huge comedy, bravo :).


  38. [Note: Nebula Nox posted this comment on January 9, 2014.]

    Love the title. Something Blue refers to a wedding, and of course it also refers to Willow’s depression.


  39. [Note: Spuffy4eva posted this comment on January 18, 2014.]

    I was going to raise this point too-Spike and Buffy were never commanded to fall in love. I am an enormous Spuffy fan, as my name suggests, so I love this episode and all the foreshadowing it holds.


  40. [Note: NJ88 posted this comment on February 22, 2014.]

    I absolutely love this episode.

    As the reviewer said. The perfect mixture of comedy and character progression. Only slightly behind Dopelganged.

    The ONLY issue I have with the episode is the characters actually getting sick and tired of Willow being upset about the Oz situation. It wasn’t long ago, she’s just found all his stuff moved out, of course she’s going to be upset about it. To disregard it as a lot of them do is a little out of character for me. They would be supportive I’m sure. It was only recent afterall.


  41. [Note: Foxman posted this comment on April 6, 2014.]

    I don’t find their reactions to Willow’s grief particularly out of character at all. As others have mentioned, the dialogue refers more to her “mood swings”, ie her cruel comments to Xander, her substance use to deal with her feelings, as being the source of their exhaustion. Besides, who hasn’t been exasperated by the moping of good friends at some point in their lives? It’s not honorable, sure, but the Scoobies aren’t painted as the paragons of virtue and absolute goodness. The moral gray areas that abound are hallmarks of BtVS and AtS. I always think of Giles’ line in “Lie to Me” as being representative of this: “The good guys are always stalwart and true. The bad guys are easily distinguished by their pointy horns or black hats.”

    Plus, there’s always the characters’ remarkable self-involvement. Buffy in particular.


  42. [Note: ericas623 posted this comment on May 31, 2014.]

    I just caught a replay of this episode, and I definitely agree that there is a glimmer of sexual attraction between Buffy and Spike. I didn’t notice it before, but there is a pause after Willow breaks the curse and Spike and Buffy stop kissing where you can see Spike’s reaction. The look on his face is anticipating, and only after Buffy’s response does he voice his own disgust. I think that was intentionally edited so it shows some sexual attraction, at the very least for Spike.


  43. [Note: Lydia posted this comment on June 20, 2014.]

    I really love this episode, its so funny and insightful too. Everything about it is just fun, I love the Spike and Buffy interaction by the bathtub when the spell kicks in, and the way Giles is truly annoyed by their behavior. “If these two don’t kill each other I might lend a hand.” Haha. Plus, any episode with Spike kissage is a good episode, nuff said.

    Buffy and Spike have so much chemistry, as many mentioned earlier, it is interesting that the spell demanded that the two of them get engaged but mentioned nothing about falling in love and yet they did. Anya and Xander were really cute and Willow was, well, Willow. Its scary that she was suggesting keeping Oz with her by using magic, that’s just wrong in so many ways. It’s sad that none of her friends are beginning to see her descent into darkness, because the seeds for Dark Willow are truly being planted. Spike is very perceptive when he isn’t trying to kill anyone, isn’t he? I feel like instead of Xander, he’s the one who truly ‘sees’ everything, anyway that’s a debate for another season and another episode. I even liked Riley in this episode, “I don’t think “no” is a strong enough word.” hahah! I ship Spike and Buffy, but I think Riley is what Buffy needs, a nice, stable, guy (or what he seems like until they find out that maybe he isn’t as nice and stable as he seems) before she jumps into bed with yet another vampire. Anyway, everything about this episode is awesome and its a BtVS classic that has the ability to make my day.


  44. [Note: Nix posted this comment on July 16, 2014.]

    I can’t help but think that Pangs, AtS’s I Will Remember You and this episode constitute something of a three-parter. The connection between Pangs and I Will Remember You is obvious: the one triggers the other. But IWRY and Something Blue both involve Buffy and romantic involvement with a vampire: the first involves her last romantic involvement with one vampire, the second her first romantic involvement with another one. In both cases they are effectively artificially induced (one by changing the vampire’s soul, the other by changing Buffy) and in both cases they are more or less forgotten or reset.

    Some of this is the inevitable consequence of a show with a limited number of major character pairings available — but that these happen in consecutive episodes that were I believe aired on the same night (or, at the most, on consecutive weeks — the information I find on this is conflicting) is a bit of a dead giveaway.


  45. [Note: Courtney posted this comment on April 29, 2015.]

    Buffy: “I’m getting married! Can you believe it?”
    Riley: “I don’t think no’s a strong enough word.”

    This whole scene gets me eeeeeeverytime.

    “Okay it’s late, and I’m very tired now so I’m gonna go far away now and be…. away.”


  46. [Note: blueraptor posted this comment on June 23, 2015.]

    beer is a way, spell’s too…

    talking to friend is a great way…. very helping…

    but the main way is that the pain must be faced by herself….


  47. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on August 14, 2015.]

    This episode and Wild at Heart pretty much confirmed that Willow was going to end up in a bad place at some point (S2 and S3 had some more subtle foreshadowing but here’s where they start to lay it on) and unfortunately the heavy emphasis starting here is partly what doomed the pay off later on since we were kind of expecting and hoping to see it and when it happened it was kind of a letdown. Subtler foreshadowing is the way to go and thankfully another show learned from this mistake which if you see some of my Season 6 posts you’ll know what I’m referring too. *wink*


  48. [Note: Krssven posted this comment on August 18, 2015.]

    If you mean Magic = Drugs was a letdown, yes it was. Dark Willow when she arrived was not. Part of Season six’s problem was that by the time a genuine villain turned up, there were only three or four episodes left.


  49. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on August 18, 2015.]

    Yah but even Dark Willow herself wasn’t able to live up to the expectations from all the build-up.


  50. [Note: Krssven posted this comment on August 21, 2015.]

    How so? For me, the Dark Willow episodes were everything I expected/wanted and more. If you’d asked me to write down what I thought would happen after ‘Seeing Red’ I’d have probably written:

    – Willow powers up
    – Willow kills some or all of the Trio, either way definitely Warren
    – Buffy finally gets her ass kicked by someone close to her
    – Willow (with a freer tongue now she’s evil) criticises Buffy for sleepwalking
    through an entire year after she had the decency to bring her back to life
    when she thought she was in Hell
    – Giles turns up at some point, to nobody’s surprise
    – They either stop her, or Dark Willow joins up with Buffy to defeat something
    even worse.

    It worked for a lot of people – for me it really yanked the season out of the fire. All of the rubbish we sit through in that season is paid off in spades when Dark Willow first appears. It’s the only part of the season other than the musical that I look forward to and that stands up alongside other Buffy seasons.

    Hindsight doesn’t help the Dark Willow storyline. We tend to focus on Willow’s development in seasons 2-5 and forget that S6 (addiction to magic aside) was the sharp end of that arc. Everything leads to Dark Willow in the finale of S6 and it’s a massive payoff. It feels like one big continuity/fan nod to all the people that struggled through the season. Buffy finally gets some sense knocked into her – by her best friend of all people, with Willow gleefully pointing out more than a few truths (that Dawn is annoying, Buffy needs her ass knocked back down to earth, Willow is still the mousy teenager she always was inside, and none of them even noticed or helped her etc etc).

    Willow as a villain is everything the show needed at that point – someone who was gleefully self-aware and genre-savvy in comparison to what had been done before. Look how easily Willow gets rid of Buffy when she’s being an annoyance – ‘I know you love to save everyone, so go follow my Nerd-seeking fireball! Oh look, she ran away, never expected that…’ she knows the real threat is currently Giles and she’d rather not keep zapping Buffy unconscious. She’d rather have her out of the way. Her personality is such that the only way anyone could’ve saved her, was how Xander did. I love what he says to Willow at the end. It’s not a great speech, but it’s full of heart and how when it all boils down, they really are still best friends and always will be.

    One thing I’d have rather seen is Willow stay Dark post-season six and return a much more interesting character in season seven. I always thought her arc was pushed rather roughly aside after ‘Same Time, Same Place’ in favour of more Spike shenanigans. It would’ve been nice to see her of a more ambiguous morality post-Tara, responding to people mentioning her flaying of Warren with ‘And? He killed my girlfriend! What would you if you had the means?’ She could’ve been an interesting character to put beside Faith. Instead, all those characters are largely swept off the table in the season’s character plotting in favour of the little Buffy figure and the little Spike figure, all alone in the middle of the chessboard.


  51. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on August 21, 2015.]

    You see the thing is your expectations were based solely on Seeing Red from what you say here whereas my expectations looking back (and kind of from seeing Dark Willow on the Season 6 cover) started from roughly around Season 4 where they showed her dark malevolence and rage problems.

    It started out well enough with the build-up in Season 5 and the start of Season 6 but then they kind of put that train to a halt by having her stop going dark (let’s not even get into all the drug metaphor problems). Then we have her eventually turn to evil not be because she desired power or had a philosophy that opposed her friends but because a guy randomly killed her girlfriend and she desired to go after him. Not only does this mean that this could have happened at pretty much anytime but that her motivations become way less interesting since it’s about getting revenge as opposed to being manipulative and desiring power (though I see this mostly in retrospect and reading some of the critique of it on the site).

    The problems with this plot turn became even more problematic for me in retrospect after having watched Supernatural and reading more critique since they have Willow become all crazy looking and stuff to further emphasize that she’s gone rogue and probably most weak is that there is barely any personal dilemma between Buffy and Willow. In Supernatural you were invested in the person who was going rogue and the friend of said person cause they both had decent points and you really felt like the rift between them was tearing them apart and when the guy finally crosses the line the friend has genuine fear in the dark being that lies before him. It’s that passion that really made that story work and it’s not really there in this Dark Willow story as Buffy just debates the ethics of killing Warren without Willow being present and she doesn’t seem overly emotional when trying to stop Willow from continuing her rampage. It lacks investment. Also Willow’s decision to go after Andrew and Jonathan is pretty dumb and only makes sense if the magic or grief is messing with her mind or this is some kind of Dark Knight situation where she needs to go after everybody who was vaguely responsible. Also as I’ve mentioned in the forum topic about the subject comparing the arcs in both this show and Supernatural and what you seem to be alluding to is that the consequences for Willow’s actions aren’t really felt THAT much and more could have been done with it whereas they seemed to do that fairly well in Supernatural.


  52. [Note: benny posted this comment on August 21, 2015.]

    (willow from something blue)”can I just make it go poof ?”…

    even with the all the power she collected and equipped with herself, I think she’s still run away from her “negative” feeling… face the sadness of losing Tara, grieving, keep going to the “right path”… that’s why she keep going with the killing even after killed warren…

    I think to be a real tough dark willow, she must mentally strong, first…?


  53. [Note: Krssven posted this comment on September 4, 2015.]

    First, I haven’t seen Supernatural and with the amount of TV watching I get to do these days compared to when I watched Buffy as it aired, I probably never will. Buffy needs to stand up on its own terms, not in comparison to another modern-day occult show. I remember hearing (and laughing at) the comparisons to Charmed, which isn’t in Supernatural’s league based on the two episodes I’ve seen of it.

    Don’t try to second-guess what I meant – I was referring to predicting what would happen immediately after ‘Seeing Red’. My expectations for the character stretched all the way back to Willow’s dabbles with magic in Season Two; with the possible exception of the addiction storyline, everything fit with what the expectation was as the show went on and the fans saw where they were going with Willow. Dark Willow was an inevitable part of what was going to happen to her. It was confirmed to me in her attack on Glory in S5 that, likely in the next season, Willow was going to truly go off the deep end. We just didn’t think Joss would do THAT to us again and kill someone off, but it was what was needed. It was the only thing that would make Willow not care about anything (even surviving) except vengeance.

    Becoming a real, villainous ‘evil’ character wasn’t truly in Willow’s nature. That’s why the others find it so shocking when she catches and actually kills Warren. She wasn’t just hurting, she actually wanted and demanded revenge. If they’d done it subtly, it might have ended in an equally awesome way. There were many potential paths that could’ve ended with the Dark Willow storyline, but by popular accord it was a fantastic way to end the season after putting up with so much Spike/Buffy ‘plot’.

    For me, the confrontation between Buffy and Willow is inevitable because Willow now desires vengeance while Buffy sticks to her whiter-than-white interpretation of why humans can’t kill humans. I think the exchange is less about Willow and more about Buffy. Not killing ‘people’ has been Buffy’s mantra for the whole series and she projects that morality onto other people. That’s why in ‘The Gift’ Giles explains to Ben that Buffy is a hero, and isn’t like ‘us’ before quickly killing him while Buffy is distracted. Willow is correct though, this attitude of Buffy’s is pissing people off and has done for a number of years. Sometimes, people deserve what they get and yet the one who probably has the most literal blood on her hands is the one who constantly moralises.

    In short, Willow does have a point. Warren killed Tara but Buffy has also forgotten that he also murdered Katrina. Buffy’s POV is understandable but is also naive in that shiny heroic way that only Buffy herself can be. Everyone else is on the human scale of morality; Buffy is for some reason a self-declared paragon. I completely understand why she goes for the other two nerds – she knows they’re Warren’s lackeys and they’re the next logical target for someone with such extreme murderous rage. Remember that Willow didn’t actually see what happened, all she knows is that a bullet came through the window and killed Tara and that Warren did it. She most likely assumes that this was an attack planned earlier by the Trio – not that unreasonable an assumption. When Willow saw the Trio herself in earlier episodes, they were always as a Trio. In her anger she’s just making them guilty by association.

    I also don’t agree that anything but Willow is in control here – there is a strong link made between Willow’s anger and her use of the dark magicks to boost her own power (she only ‘comes down’ when she lets go of the rage and gives in to her grief). She needs to be angry to keep herself going, which is why Xander is the only one who could talk her down. Xander is the only person besides Tara Willow could never really harm, because she knows he’s honest and loves her whatever she does. Because Willow is always herself and it’s not ‘the magic talking’ is why the writers made a point to put in such brilliant dialogue for her. Buffy even flat-out says ‘but this can’t possibly be you, ‘Willow’ wouldn’t want this!’ (or words to the effect). Willow responds that of course she’s herself, she WANTS this and genuinely doesn’t care whether she survives, she’s going to kill who she holds responsible and the people she (rightly or wrongly) holds as jointly responsible. Its puzzling to see others wrestle with this one – when Willow abused magic before, she was always herself. There is no evil magical bogeyman that arrives with the magic to make her walk around. Giles himself further reinforces this, and tells us what we knew a long time before S6, when he explains to Willow during her rehabilitation that there is no ‘light’ and ‘dark’ magic, that the distinction is entirely with the user. There is no evil magic without evil intent, and vengeance has been used to justify some pretty horrific crimes throughout history.

    The consequences of it are not kept moving as themes into S7 enough. That doesn’t mean the Dark Willow storyline didn’t work, because it did, and fan testimony has proven that (couldn’t really beat those Buffy review/message boards back in the day…if there was a common thread about season six back then it was that it mostly sucked, but then we got Dark Willow which is worth watching it for alone). What Whedon’s people got wrong was shoehorning too many characters into S7 that served no purpose, sidelining Willow except as Kennedy’s love interest (die Kennedy die was also a popular theme). We were promised a ‘back to the beginning’ approach with high school stories and less angst for the sake of angst, but it was horribly mis-sold. They really messed up in S6/7, but I still somehow managed to enjoy them overall.


  54. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on September 4, 2015.]

    Yah but even taking Buffy on it’s own terms Supernatural handled this story a lot better.

    Not saying there isn’t a conflict between Buff and Willow.

    Not really sure that the whole “no really good or evil magic” thing really holds up since a lot of peope use the phrase “dark magicks” some stuff obviously seems more evil than others.


  55. [Note: Krssven posted this comment on September 7, 2015.]

    I’m sure you feel it did, but not having seen it I can’t comment on Supernatural. Buffy is its own show, not something I compare to other shows I’ve seen, because 99% of them are inferior. I’m sure that show had its own flaws in its own plotlines.

    Reading an evil spell doesn’t make you evil, nor does channeling magic through the scythe for a spell make you ‘good’. It depends far more on the caster. This sits really well with Buffy’s themes and characters. Having truly good/evil spells/magic doesn’t fit with all the complexity we see in this show, nor with magic as its been used up to this point.

    For example the spell Amy/Catherine uses in ‘Witch’ is not evil written on a page, but it becomes evil when you trap someone in a trophy forever. Willow isn’t using ‘evil’ telekinesis when she skins Warren or ‘evil’ fire when she incinerates him.

    Its hinted though you can have objects or books tinged with ‘dark’ magic, possibly from the intent in their use or exposure to the corruption of the originator of the spell. I think it ties in with some fans’ attempts to say ‘ah, but Willow wasn’t in control, somehow the magic was’ in her pursuit of the Trio (Buffy tries that angle, but Willow rejects it; I love that whole exchange and how genre-savvy/self-aware Willow is at that point). In his review of ‘Two To Go’, Mike also makes this too-easy assumption that first person/third person Willow are somehow different – they aren’t. Third-person perspectives are common in fiction, because it allows a character to be easily self-critical without the dialogue becoming too clunky. Willow makes those observations about herself, TO herself, as much as they are addressed to the person (Buffy) in front of her. We as viewers know that she’s right, but we wish that she wasn’t. That’s what makes the Dark Willow arc so good, not just the magical hijinks. It’s the astute character observations that Willow is allowed to make, now that she’s thrown off all inhibitions and worries about offending people. If I have an issue with it, its that most of her observations are about Buffy and herself rather than everyone. Despite that, Buffy deserves the dressing-down she gets here, and a lot of fans cheered when Willow just told Dawn to STOP WHINING or she’ll turn her back into an energy ball. Good times.


  56. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on September 27, 2015.]

    More foreshadowing: Buffy states “there might be a forgetting spell later on” what ends up happening in Tabula Rasa.


  57. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on December 22, 2015.]

    I find it kind of amusing that Spike views Giles as his father in law here and will think he’s his actual father in Tabula Rasa. Oddly enough in both cases he was under a spell by Willow.


  58. [Note: Paula posted this comment on December 30, 2015.]

    I agree with everything in the review but with the foreshadowing part. Because while it might seem like there is no passion in the Buffy and Riley relationship, Buffy learns throughout this season and the next one that Passion and the constant intensity is not the most important thing like she states in Season 6 “Seeing Red” when she tells Spike that the Passion will consume the relationship. I loved the review tho I just think you could also see it from that point of view, seeing how buffy has evolved.


  59. [Note: Samm posted this comment on December 30, 2015.]

    I think she wants to have a safe relationship, but deep down she knows that it isn’t enough for her. She wants the passion


  60. [Note: Krssven posted this comment on March 7, 2016.]

    The main thing I disagree with in these retrospectives is that Spike is already subconsciously in love with Buffy. He’s obsessive about her, but in Season 4 he’s still the vampire he was before. If he had no chip, he’d have killed Willow. He even has to remind everyone what he’s like in ‘This Year’s Girl’ when he says they need to remember that he hates them all and would quite enjoy watching Faith torture and kill them. Even in S5, when Spike thinks he’s had the chip removed, he STILL tries to kill Buffy but can’t when it activates. When he does finally realise he’s fell in love with her later in S5, he throws himself into it because, he’s Spike 🙂 that’s what he does.

    I agree that there’s an obsession there with Spike, but Spike by his own admission is obsessed with Slayers from the moment Angelus told him about them. One retcon scene in S5 (the scene with Dru)
    doesn’t mean he ‘always’ loved Buffy – Drusilla was psychically ‘seeing’ his connection with her, emphasised by his alliance with her. I’m not saying Spike hasn’t always found Buffy attractive (he’s a lover and a fighter, but also a man with eyes), but him being in love with her at this point is a massive stretch of the supporting evidence. We know it happens, but that doesn’t mean it was on his mind all along. That’s a retrospective view that cherry-picks the supporting evidence and ignores his actual actions and words. At this point, he’s only just moved on from Dru.


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