Buffy 4×11: Doomed

[Review by Mike Marinaro]

[Writer: Marti Noxon, David Fury, and Jane Espenson | Director: James A. Contner | Aired: 01/18/2000]

This is a really good episode with a terrible plot, which is quite possibly the most inept of the entire series. The plot itself is not funny, it’s hokey, and it really tears apart the show’s respect for the hard work other villains go through to try to end the world. Apparently all it takes nowadays is the blood of a man, the bones of a child, and a talisman. After watching this, how does the writer not expect us to beg the question, “how in the hell does this world even exist right now if that’s all it takes to destroy it?” Even in the midst of great character continuity, I can’t help but be disgusted by how insulting this plot is. This is a giant complaint which drastically pulls the score down. I can handle silly, sloppy, or useless plots, but not completely inept ones. While I’m at it, I’ll just pass right over the fact that “we’ve already done this” before, many times.

Anyway, lets move on to the good. First off, I’ve got to point out how much I respect Whedon and the writing team for letting us hear the conversation that was left open at the end of “Hush” [4×10] . Lesser shows would have taken the easier route and just given us little hints about what happened. Instead we get an interesting exchange between the two of them. Riley starts it off by commenting on her strength and speed. Her response, “Also passionate, artistic and inquisitive,” goes to show that she is still bothered when defined completely by her Slayerness. Even though she’s accepted her role as the Slayer she still, at least deep down, will forever want to be recognized as a human being. This theme goes back to the beginning of the series, but the most recent example of it is in “Homecoming” [3×05] .

Riley shows up in the cemetary later and his presence and location likely bring back memories of Angel. Boyfriend who fights demons in the cemetary with her. She might have even remembered the final picnic her and Angel shared in the cemetary, the one in “Choices” [3×19] when she said the Mayor didn’t know what he was talking it. Her relationship with Riley is now looking pretty ‘doomed’ and she’s terrified that she’ll end up just being hurt again. Riley’s response to all this skepticism is strong. He says, “Buffy, I’m thrown by this, I’m confused… But I can feel my skin humming, my hands, my every inch of me. I’ve never been this excited about anybody before. I’m not trying to scare you, and I’m not going to force myself on you. But I’m, by God, not going to walk away because I think it might not work.”

This Buffy and Riley conflict continues all throughout the episode. Later on Riley tells Buffy she’s self-involved and has a “doom and gloom” outlook on life. To Riley it really is an adventure and he doesn’t know what she’s been through. Buffy has to be self-involved, to an extent, to do her job. I really sympathize with both of them though. Riley’s just ignorant about what he’s getting himself into and Buffy’s genuinely worried about being hurt again — she has every right to be. It’s unfortunate that at the very end of the episode we see Buffy completely disregard everything she told Riley earlier. I don’t fully understand why she would change her mind, and especially that quickly. Riley happened to help her out during the big fight, so that was enough to convince her they can successfully work together? I think that’s the point they were trying to get across, but I’m not convinced at all. We find out later that even though Buffy decides to have a relationship with Riley, she never does fully open up her heart to him like she did with Angel. This way she can still have a relationship without risking that pain. The fact she’s closed off her heart stems directly back to the events of “Becoming Pt. 2” [2×22] , which left a permanent scar on her heart that won’t be fully healed by series end.

Xander, on the other hand, has a new job as a pizza delivery guy. It’s nice to get an update on his ever-changing stable-job search. This job obviously isn’t going to last very long. The focus, though, is definitely on Willow and Spike here. While at a party Willow spots Percy (the guy she tutored back in high school) and walks over for a chat. He is polite enough to her but when his girlfriend says he was checking her out, his defense is to put down Willow and call her a nerd behind her back. Of course she overhears this and is genuinely hurt. She’s worked hard to create a new persona for herself in college with the new hair and her huge appetite for powerful magic.

In a few words Percy was able to make Willow doubt the change in herself — he makes her feel like a nerdy high school girl again, even though she isn’t that person anymore. I know exactly how this can feel, though, as there’s been times when I thought I knew my stuff when someone with more self-confidence came along and made me feel like I hadn’t learned anything at all. When the group gathers to discuss the dead guy Willow found, we find out that she’s more upset about Percy’s comment than the fact she was trying to sleep next to a bled dead guy. I also love how she sounds like she’s all upset about the murder. She says, “There was so much blood, and there – there was a symbol, and Percy said I was a nerd!” This is another wonderful BtVS moment of mixing drama with humor.

There’s a couple things happening with Spike here as well. On the surface it seems like the writers are using him purely for comic relief, and the character is suffering as a result. If you look a little further, though, there’s a lot more going on. Early on we see Spike still stuck in Xander’s basement. This is Hawaiian Spike, who’s stuck wearing a Hawaiian shirt and looks completely pathetic. Xander tells him that he’s not even worth beating up, and we can immediately tell that this severely hurts Spike. We see this through James Marsters’ fantastic subtle face gestures which he’s so good at. This is the moment Spike reaches the low point of his existence. He’s so useless and frustrated that he tries to stake himself. This is entirely in character based on what we’ve seen of him earlier, especially in “Lover’s Walk” [3×08] . When I first watched this episode I was beginning to get concerned that they were ruining Spike, but now that I know what’s in store for him I realise all of this is just natural development based on what he’s been through, and that he’ll regain a lot his ‘cool’ early in S5.

Once he’s saved from staking himself he discovers he does have a weapon to hurt the Scoobies after all. His speech to Willow and Xander about how useless they are is simply wonderful. This plays off of Percy’s nerd comment to Willow earlier, and Xander’s lack of job stability. Plus, as is usual from Spike, there’s just enough truth thrown in (how they’re just Buffy’s sidekicks and that she’s too soft to cut them loose) to get them thinking about it. Spike’s huge grin after realising how successful he was at making Willow and Xander feel more worthless than him says it all. Anyway, this episode has a lot of good character development while unfortunately possessing, quite possibly, the most inept plot in the history of the series. The former barely saves it from the pit of despair (a.k.a. below a C-).

 


Minor Pros/Cons (+/-)

+ Buffy shocking Riley with how much knowledge she has on the Initiative.
+ Riley not knowing what the Slayer is.
+ Spike trying to hit Xander with a wrench. His head explodes in pain and Xander doesn’t even notice. haha.
+ Forrent perceiving the demons as animals.
+ How often partiers and frat boys die on BtVS.
+ Buffy flips back up and accidentally attacks Riley.
+ Buffy referring to Faith’s coma in her relationship debate with Riley.
+ Riley’s excuses for his outfit. “Paintball!”
+ Spike desparately wanting to go out and kill things while Xander and Willow just want to watch TV.

– The demons want to end the world, yet they leave Giles alive? Why?
– The demons are trying to open the hellmouth…again. *sigh*
– There’s just a big hole in the ground the demons jump into to make the world end. How? Why?
– I like Spike’s ‘moves’ after he discovers he can hurt demons, but the music is incredibly hokey and his line, “I’m a bloody animal!,” is terrible.


[Score]

60/100

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60 thoughts on “Buffy 4×11: Doomed”

  1. [Note: Dingdong posted this comment on June 2, 2006.]

    I’ve just seen Doomed, after having recorded it yesterday, so I looked up your review, mikejer.

    I agree with practically everything you say there, but I must say the critisms you raise don’t effect my enjoyment as much as they evidently did for you. I have to admit, the plot is rather dodgy, but personally I don’t think it affects the episode all that much. The reason for this is that I don’t think that dodgy plots are as rare in the Whedonverse as people might like to think. For instance, “The Zeppo” takes the piss even more than this episode regarding the apocalypse. I know this was in the interests of parody, but in all honesty I’m not sure if “Doomed” isn’t also. Another example is “Happy Anniversary”, which is actually very similar to “Doomed”. That was an episode which had, if possible, a more inept plot than “Doomed”, yet redeemed itself with great character comedy and development. Or maybe it’s just the fact that I’m less interested in good plots and more interested in good writing, charcterisation and acting in television – after all I started watching television regularly with Star Trek, so I had to be lax in the area of contrived circumstances and plots! 😉

    By the way, this definately is not a criticism of the review. I’m just interested as to how different people’s enjoyment was affected by the plot shortcomings.

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

    Most of the time, I completely agree that characterization > plot. Whedonverse plots are rarely ever very original. I think this comment sums it up, “I can handle silly, sloppy, or useless plots, but not completely inept ones.”

    It’s just too brainless and too hokey for it not to greatly affect my feeling on the episode. It would have gotten an easy F if there wasn’t a lot of awesome character interaction in it. Those scenes save it from complete suckiness. But as a reviewer I can’t completely disregard the plot when considering evaluation of an episode. And this plot is so inept and hokey that it brings the episode down. Imo. But generally I really do agree with you.

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  3. [Note: Grounded posted this comment on June 2, 2006.]

    Spike’s attempted suicide in a hawaiian shirt is enough to save Doomed from it’s own terrible plot. 😀

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  4. [Note: Dingdong posted this comment on June 3, 2006.]

    But better still is James Masters’ redering of the English Accent faking an American one – priceless!

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  5. [Note: Dingdongalistic posted this comment on January 17, 2007.]

    I know it has a contrived plot, but I’ve always loved this episode. It has great humour, characterisation, wit and some deep themes and knows not to take itself too seriously. I much prefer it to “The Zeppo”, which was the same except without the deep themes, wit and good characterisation.

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  6. [Note: Tranquillity posted this comment on March 27, 2007.]

    Just watched this episode and was struck by how many corn-ball lines are used throughout – the writing seemed so amature! for my money, one of the worst written episodes ever, and it took three of them to do such a bad job!

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  7. [Note: jun posted this comment on May 22, 2007.]

    Heh. I wonder if three people were required just to try to salvage as much as could be from the earlier efforts of others.

    I still like this ep, though. I’m on a S4 rewatch; I’d forgotten how much I love it.

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  8. [Note: Austin posted this comment on August 26, 2007.]

    “We find out later that even though Buffy decides to have a relationship with Riley, she never does fully open up her heart to him like she did with Angel. This way she can still have a relationship without risking that pain. The fact she’s closed off her heart stems directly back to the events of Becoming Pt. 2 (2×22), which left a permanent scar on her heart that won’t be fully healed by series end.”

    I am really confused by Buffy’s relationship with Riley. He says that she doesn’t love him, as do you, mikejer, but then why does she run to the chopper when he is leaving and why is she so heart broken? And is the emotional scar from Angelus’ actions or from the fact that she had to stab angel? And since he came back, isn’t it really just because he left her, which means that it’s nothing really extraordinary since rough breakups happen all the time. Like I said, I really don’t understand Buffy’s relational woes.

    I would really like to hear everyone’s oppinions, is there a thread on the discussion board about Buffy’s relationships, and if so, could someone point me to it?

    Thanks

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

    Okay, the plot is very, very bad but I think that the dialogue and character interaction is wonderful and really elevates the episode a little. The dialogue is very witty.
    I think you were a little harsh on this episode. I think it deserves a 66, at least. But that´s my opinion.

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

    I’m with you on the plot. On first viewing, I didn’t like this ep (with the exception of Spike’s speech at the end). But when I rewatched it, I focused on everything but the plot and came out enjoying it. I understand the parallel they were trying to make with the “doom” of the apocalypse and the “doom” of Buffy in relationships. But the ritual and attempted apocalypse just come out hokey.

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  11. [Note: Tony posted this comment on July 17, 2008.]

    I never had realized how cheesy the plot was before I read this. I personally just hate the whole Buffy/Riley relationship. Riley is definitely one of the worst characters in my opinion. But yeah, Spike at the end in Xander’s basement is hilarious.

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  12. [Note: Jaden posted this comment on July 20, 2008.]

    well alot of big bads create apocalypses over different amounts of times. big bads like the mayor and glory had pre-determined plans which defined and shaped the plot of the season while other big bads like angelus and dark willow took only about a minute to get their plans underway. but still i did strongly dislike the overuse of apocalypses (it makes me question what makes the season finale ones so special.

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  13. [Note: Dave posted this comment on May 29, 2009.]

    For me the episode gains a few bonus points for finally (and incredibly belatedly) showing us the resulting damage to the high school since “Graduation Day- Part 2”. The school was like home for three years and it’s not until this episode that we get to see what became of it after the explosion, although I would have lied a better shot of the remnants of the library. Special props to Xander for referencing the Mayor, since chunks of the demon snake were still laying around in the wreckage. That’s one of the things I love about BtVS, they never forget the past.

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  14. [Note: Nix posted this comment on July 13, 2009.]

    Hm. Another parallel: the spot where Buffy says ‘No’ to Riley is the same place from where, one year from now, Riley will leave, and Buffy will arrive too late to take back a no.

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  15. [Note: Lollypop75 posted this comment on August 10, 2009.]

    I’m rewatching Buffy, and am surprised by how much I’m actually enjoying Season 4. I quite enjoyed this episode.

    I was a bit confused by one thing in your review. You didn’t get why Buffy suddenly disregarded all the reasons *not* to be with Riley in the end. Watching Doomed this time round, I was pretty sure that the reason she thought she and Riley were doomed was from the earthquake. The last time Buffy experienced an earthquake, she died, and she’s understandably anxious this time around, and as a result is feeling somewhat pessimistic.

    But then she beats the evil, and I guess realises that sometimes things work out, so she’s willing to give it a try. Makes sense to me.

    Actually, just going through what I’ve written and I’ve remembered the conversation in her room where she says they both need to process before anything happens is before the earthquake. But I think if the earthquake and potential apocalypse weren’t an issue she would have decided to go for it.

    (I don’t think I’ve used the word earthquake this many times in 3 paragraphs since I was 14 in a Geography lesson.)

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  16. [Note: G1000 posted this comment on May 22, 2010.]

    What was so “inept” about this plot? It wasn’t particularly interesting, but it wasn’t nearly as awful as “Beer Bad” or “The Pack”. And the character development made up for it big-time. This one gets a B from me. It’s way better than “Pangs”, for a start. So far, I’m loving this season.

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  17. [Note: Tom posted this comment on September 11, 2010.]

    Doug Petrie gave an interview explaining that this was a tough episode to write. He was due to write the episode alone, but he was also getting married. So, the script was handed to Jane and Marti, only they didn’t have much time either.

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  18. [Note: Flo posted this comment on October 9, 2010.]

    I think the plot was indeed meant to be ironic, parodying the frequent apocalypses in the first three seasons.

    In fact, it is pretty much a revisiting of Buffy’s high school days (the visit by Percy, the world ending “again”, the hellmouth in the old school).

    Where it becomes a bit hazy is why we are revisiting high school. I suppose it has to do with Buffy leaving behind her traumatic experiences of the past (dying in the season 1 final, having to kill her first love in the season 2 final), and she has to be reminded by Riley that she is no slave to her destiny, and that the world goes on even after “the end of the world”.

    I suppose what this episode is supposed to mean – in regards to Buffy – is that she has to get over her past to gain new hope and move on with her life. Or something like that…

    The problem is though that Buffy didn’t really seem to have a problem with getting on with her live before, and that the references to the past are all somewhat random and inconclusive (or maybe my interpretation of them is just projection). It never really becomes clear why she has to get back to high school in this episode.

    Also I agree that the plot with the three demons is incredibly bland. It feels like they wantet to spoof those “end of the world” episodes but couldn’t come up with a good ieda to do so.

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  19. [Note: Nix posted this comment on October 16, 2010.]

    The plot isn’t actually quite as idiotic as it seems at first sight. It looks like any man’s blood would do (and personally I think the demon did the world a service by knocking that guy off), but the talisman has to be *one specific* talisman, and it looks like the child’s bones have to be *one specific* child as well: the symbol carved into the chest of the man is identical to the symbol over the mausoleum in which the child’s bones lie. (We never learn who this child was, but presumably someone mixed up in dark mojo of some kind.)

    So this is a rare combination of artifacts by any standard, not least given that it’s just luck that the talisman is anywhere near Sunnydale at all.

    (Where the plot fell down was in making this stuff obvious. It took me five or six viewings to realise it…)

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  20. [Note: John Roberts posted this comment on November 1, 2010.]

    This episode feels like a “pause,” following 3 straight terrific episodes. The writers collected their breaths, filled the 45-minute slot, and thought about cool future stuff.

    But nothing like a 60 in my book, better than that. Perfectly competent stuff that become more than competent when Spike was on the screen. (Very very good decision to make him a regular. Bad decision to leave out Anya in this episode, like Spike she gives a welcome jolt to the proceedings.) As for the demon plot, the Opening of the Hellmouth has become such a cliche that I don’t think it *can* be done seriously. So I regarded this as parody proceedings, a mood that seemed to be echoed by the cast, with all its eye rolling.

    I have no problem with Riley so far, don’t understand the dislike. Sure he’s not a fun character like Spike, he’s a straight man, but he’s not a whiner or a punk or a smirker or a bore, either. And he’s a bright enough fella. You guys would probably love Riley if he had fangs. 🙂

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  21. [Note: Osiris posted this comment on January 13, 2011.]

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned the awful Giles dub job in the scene where he and Buffy discuss the earthquake (start of Chapter 3 on the DVD). Obviously, ASH had to dub over his lines in post-production for whatever reason (maybe a microphone malfunction?) But it just sounds awful and distracting. It doesn’t even sound like ASH, it sounds like someone doing a bad impersonation.

    As for your review – I very much enjoyed the opening paragraph. It mirrors my sentiments exactly. This is one of my least favorite episodes in the series, in the same league as ‘I, Robot’ and ‘Beer Bad’. Tom’s (the commenter above) story about this episode being rushed due to outside factors does not come as a shock. Although, Tom talks about Doug Petrie, Espenson and Noxon, where as the credited writers are actually David Fury, Espenson and Noxon. If you could post a link to the Doug Petrie interview Tom, that’s be great.

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  22. [Note: PippaHall posted this comment on July 30, 2011.]

    I just didn’t like it when Riley said “..and I’m not going to force myself on you..”

    as if you should have to confirm that to someone!

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  23. [Note: Lunatic on a pogostick posted this comment on August 28, 2011.]

    I think to discredit this episode so greatly because of the bland hokey plot is a real shame mainly because the real strength and reason ive awlays loved this series was its characters,there growth and interactions and this episode has plenty of that. Sure the plot wasnt the strongest but in general the series never had the greatest and original plots.I can excuse the poorly executed plot when i consider what it was trying to do,in forcing the characters to look back on there pasts,specificly buffy and her failed relationship with angel,spike on the big bad he used to be and willow on the nerd weakling persona she thought she had shed.Its not a perfect episode but i dont think the plot should derive from the score so strongly.

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  24. [Note: Rosie posted this comment on September 8, 2011.]

    I would have given this episode a “B-“. The plot regarding the demons’ attempt to end the world struck me as rather lame. But the biggest strength about “Doomed” was the character developments for Buffy, Riley, Willow and Spike. And I have a deep suspicion that the demonic plot was nothing more than a catalyst for the characters’ development. So, I’m giving this episode a “B-“.

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  25. [Note: Lucy posted this comment on September 9, 2011.]

    I’m so glad you mentioned Tony Head’s weird dubbed voice in the courtyard scene with Buffy, Osiris! That bugs me every time!

    Not as much as it bugs me that Buffy comes so so close to not being with Riley! I’m always shouting at the screen when she changes her mind back at the end. Stay away Buffy! He’s really really boring!

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  26. [Note: Rob posted this comment on October 22, 2011.]

    The cartoon physics needed for Buffy’s jump into the hole to catch up with the third demon always bother me. At least I get to hear Spike say “Xandurrr” shortly thereafter.

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  27. [Note: Rob posted this comment on October 22, 2011.]

    Maybe one of Buffy’s special abilities is being able to accelerate in a free fall faster than 9.8 m/s²?

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  28. [Note: nathan.taurus posted this comment on November 2, 2011.]

    The Good:

    -Spike. The shirt. The stake. The fighting. The ending.

    -Riley’s codename of ‘lilac’.

    -Returning to the high school. Good effects to show the ruins.

    -Riley and his great excuse for being at the school.

    The Bad:

    -Noxon, Fury, Espenson and Whedon all had a hand in this one. Shocking.

    -As mentioned, the awful dubbing sound of Giles.

    -The demon stops the door from closing at the party even though he isn’t leaving yet.

    -No Seal of Danzalthar anywhere to be seen at the Hellmouth opening.

    -Buffy and her extreme acceleration while free falling. Maybe you’re right, Rob.

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  29. [Note: Less newt posted this comment on August 12, 2012.]

    Why are Willow and Xander not upset that Buffy didn’t tell them Riley is a “commando”? Why are they suddenly not bothered by the commandos’ existence? Hiding important facts from her friends (e.g., Angel’s return in S3) is a character flaw of Buffy (and, a few episodes ago, of Oz) that has caused some major drama in its day…but here they don’t even blink?

    Also, Riley’s speech in the middle of town is way out of line, and I am upset with Buffy for kissing him after that conversation. I could deal with her dealing with her issues quickly, but I can’t deal with her never discussing the hurtful things he said at that time. A heartfelt follow-up conversation at the end of the episode would have been much more interesting than what the writers chose.

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  30. [Note: Gon posted this comment on January 31, 2013.]

    I just saw this episode (had’nt seen it for ages) and loved it. I really enjoy Buffy autoparodic episodes such as this one, The Zeppo and (to a lesser extent) Storyteller.

    I think the end-of-the-world is meant to be silly. I understand that the concept of a cheesy apocalypse might feel insulting. I agree we do ask ourselves “how I am supposed to believe in this world?”. But I always get that same feeling and always make that same question when the Scoobies face horrible deaths and just move on. This episode plays exactly with that idea: first Buffy make a big speech to Riley about her mission as a slayer; then, when she find Willow, who just saw a dead guy, they’re both only interessed in the fact Percy called Willow a nerd.

    Teenage feelings and angst have been the most important part of the show so far. Apocalypse and mithology serve that purpose. I feel like this episode is confirming that to the audience and saying, in a funny way, “that’s right, we do ask you to accept it”. This doesn’t mean, of course, this is the only level of Buffy. But that’s hat make the show interesting to me: it can play in different scales and still works.

    One other thing I admire in this episode (and in season 4 in general) is how they always manage antagonic characters to mingle and it doesn’t feel awkward. I’m talking about the Scoobies and Spike here but also, in other episodes of season 4, of the Scoobies and Anya (or, previously, the Scoobies and Cordelia). I just love that dynamic, and though I understand they couldn’ keep it forever, I do miss it after season 5 (with same exceptions: yesterday I rewatched s7 “Same Time, Same Place” and was happy to find it again).

    One last note to say I love Spike and Xander interaction in this episode. I think they could really work as a love couple. I’ve read somewhere that during S3 Joss Whedon had decided he wanted to turn Willow OR Xander gay later on the show – but hadn’t choose wich. I guess Oz leaving just made him pick Willow. I alway imagine how the show would have been if Xander was the one Spike would fall in love with and by whom he would fight for a soul. It’s just an alternative reality, I’m not saying it should have been like that (yes, I understand that being in love with the slayer has other meanings). Anyway, that would have been also a nice way to keep Xander important during the future seasons – instead I feel they diminished both Xander and Anya characters with a relationship who had mostly comic purpose and got a bit boring at the end.

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  31. [Note: Niko posted this comment on March 31, 2013.]

    I have to disagree with a few things you guys are saying.
    Seems totally plausible that she would change her tune and be with Riley.
    Besides the fact she does really like him, he’s the first person romantically to ever call her on her shit, so to speak. She’s letting fear get in the way of something that could be good, making him pay for what happened with others. What he says is a bit mean-spirited, but far from untrue. Once this hits home, she realizes she’s on the verge of losing this chance, of sabotaging herself.
    So she decides to dive in head first. Buffy is a very romantic, hopeful individual, there’s no way she doesn’t go for it.
    Also, although a little overly hokey (like the episode on general), the demon appeared to have armor on and be very large and bulky. I’d imagine Buffy weighed significantly less, and would therefore be much more aerodynamic, thus able to gain ground while going down the Hellmouth.

    Overall, I’d give this episode a B. Very sloppy, but it definitely felt more enjoyable to me than The Zeppo and Pangs (sans the brilliant Dickens-esque Spike scene).

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  32. [Note: nathan.taurus posted this comment on August 7, 2013.]

    On another rewatch it is said Percy had a football scholarship. He played basketball in season 3.

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  33. [Note: Nebula Nox posted this comment on May 21, 2014.]

    I enjoyed this a lot. It is wonderful how each of the characters feels doomed by prior decisions and perseonae, especially from their times in high school, so much so that they feel as if they can’t move forward:

    Willow’s stuck with the label of nerd, even though she articulates, quite accurately, that she has moved way beyond that

    Buffy is also stuck with her expectations regarding relationships, so much so that she refuses to listen to Riley, even though he makes an excellent case

    Xander really is stuck in the basement, and he is not trying to take himself out (he will later)

    Spike is troubled by his condition and is willing to kill himself because he sees nothing for himself in the future

    It is very telling that these four return to the ruined high school. In a way, by seeing the ruins of the high school, they are able to recognize that it no longer defines them. They are not as doomed as they perceive themselves.

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  34. [Note: Amos D posted this comment on May 26, 2014.]

    I know this review is old and outdated, but I can hardly believed how many folks are missing the obvious thematic punches of this episode. This was an above average, possibly great episode poking fun at all of BtVS’s hilarious, unvelievable idiosyncrasies and giving us a peek at Buffy’s college girl Slayer crazy melodramatic head.

    The first scene opens with Buffy confronting the shocking, harsh reality of who Riley really is. “Not again!” She’s probably thinking with her extremely bad history of a boyfriend involved in all her demon stff. Her world is shaking around her and then, boom, earthquake. She immediately jumps on the crazy train to apocalypse town and starts seeing doom and gloom all around her. Even the awful ASH voice dub enhanced the episode for me. It added to the surreal atmosphere and ridiculous schtick that “the world is ending” (possibly) again! ASH was talking to her about real life, but his voice sounds disembodied and distant to Buffy who doesn’t want to confront and think about that right now, it’s all apocalypse all the time for her.

    It should be noted that the vast majority of “apocalypse” scenarios Buffy has faced at this point have rarely been apocalypse level scenarios. Our heroes just *think* they are and act as such–but the viewers can obviously see when dangerous threats are little more than lcoalized dangerous threats (not the end of the “world”). The “Judge” Buffy killed with a single rocket launcher was never going to end the world. The Zeppo already poked fun at the gang’s hilarious overreactions to certain crisis events that they think will “end the world.”

    To make a long story short at this point, Riley accuses buffy of *wanting* the doom and gloom–that her negative outlook produces a self-fulfilling prophecy of pain. Which is exactly what we’re seeing onscreen–played up for hammy effect so the viewers can see that the situation genuinely is very silly. Nevertheless, buffy is getting “sucked back in” to her high school days and all the pain from that period. Our side characters Willow and Xander are experiencing something similar in the B plot. And Spike is obviously going through an idenity crisis as well.

    After being drawn to the “source” of their pain, they see the ridiculous burned out shell of a hellhole that is their high school. That’s really the place holding so much power over them? They all find the strength to cast off (at least some of) their baggage and move on–Spike *literally* finding the strength to fight again (and something new to fight “for,” potentially).

    Having come full circle, Buffy comes back to Riley to make amends for her melodramatic freakout. Ironically, Riley is in the beginning stages of starting to do the same thing (my secret identify, oh noes!). Fortunately, Buffy stops him with her new found strength to cast an anchor and be real about her situation. At least for now, nothing is in their way.

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  35. [Note: Lydia posted this comment on June 22, 2014.]

    This isn’t an excellent episode, but I agree to an extent that it doesn’t deserve all the criticism it gets. So the plot is hockey, tell me something I don’t know. The characters are the main focus and they’re perfect.

    Spike was so funny throughout this episode. It made my day when he tried to cover up who he really was in front of Riley, “Xandurrr” xD. “Come on! Vampires! Grrr! Nasty! Let’s annihilate them. For justice and for the safety of puppies, and Christmas, right? Let’s fight that evil! Let’s kill something!” I sometimes incorporate elements of this speech into my everyday conversations. For instance, “Let’s go get a cup of coffee. C’mon! Coffee! For just and for the safety of puppies…” And usually nobody laughs because they don’t understand. *sigh*

    I don’t hate Riley like most people in the fandom, but I’m not a big fan of his character either. Most characters on this show are extremely complicated and that’s why I think someone as simple and outward as Riley just doesn’t work here. Anyway, I like this episode, if I were grading, I’d give it a B- at least.

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  36. [Note: Sasukespecialman posted this comment on June 22, 2014.]

    I would laugh, but it is the particular style of dialogue that drew me to Whedon’s shows, moreso than all the other stuff.

    I agree about Riley being a bit off. I think the mistake was departing from the “he is a normal dude” angle to the “he is a super military dude that is weaker than Buffy” angle on the character. I found him *much* more engaging in season 5 – even with the silly vampire are sucking thing – because they finally seemed to just make him a normal dude trying to integrate into Buffy’s very abnormal world. I understood and appreciated his emotional state, if not his actions, far more in season 5, and was sad to see him go. But, I have never been a big fan of the Spike-Buffy combination and find it a major turn off for me in the later seasons.

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  37. [Note: Joy posted this comment on June 22, 2014.]

    I actually like Riley but agree that his character doesn’t exactly work in the show. It’s a sad testament to Buffy’s world and Buffy herself that a good, decent, uncomplicated man can’t be what she needs.

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  38. [Note: FlyingPenguin posted this comment on July 5, 2014.]

    I have to cast my lot with the defenders of this episode. Inept plot? I don’t see it that way at all. I do agree that in all seriousness, the accumulation of near-end-of-the-world events throughout the series raises questions about how the world could possibly still exist (especially if you consider the possibility of people in places other than Sunnydale trying to end the world). But I don’t really care (or at least I don’t care any more than I do about other ways in which the show’s basic mythology is a bit sketchy), because it’s entertaining.

    And look–apocalypse plots, and demons trying to open the hellmouth, are not a “cliche.” They’re a recurring motif. Once you establish that the hellmouth exists and could potentially be opened, and that if this happened, it would be really bad, but that there are evil things that want it to happen–well, how can you not have someone trying to do it every now and then? And consider, too, that the show does something different with the idea on different occasions–which (in my opinion) successfully keeps it from ever getting old. Sometimes the stakes feel really real and it’s edge-of-your-seat suspenseful atmospheric drama; other times, humor is wrung out of it (jokes about needing to know the plural of “apocalypse,” etc.) As others have pointed out, there’s a definite element of the show poking fun at itself involved. Honestly, I just don’t see what the issue is here!

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  39. [Note: Calon posted this comment on August 25, 2014.]

    I think one thing people tend to forget about this episode is that it was the first episode of Buffy to air in the 21st Century. It’s easy in retrospect to overlook the immediate context in which things were written.

    Season 4 overlapped with the new millennium and however silly the whole frenzy there was around that time may seem now, some people genuinely considered the possibility that they were “doomed”, what with the y2k bug and impending apocalypse etc. This episode pokes fun at that sentiment (hilariously imo) and shouldn’t be taken as anything more seriously. If you watch this episode with that perspective in mind you can enjoy it a lot more and see there is a lot of great comedic writing here.

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  40. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on August 25, 2014.]

    That’s an interesting angle on the plot of this one. Nice catch! I’m not sure it entirely resolves my issues with it, but it does give me something new to consider next time around.

    Thanks for the comment! 🙂

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  41. [Note: MichaelJB posted this comment on October 3, 2015.]

    I think one of the things this episode tried to accomplish (still rather ineptly, I definitely agree with you there), was to have Buffy physically return to the Hellmouth/Highschool (both metaphors at this point for all of her previous trauma), see the ruins of it, and triumph over the evil for. And note that it is Riley who literally pulls her out of that hell. I think that’s why she’s willing to be with him at the end – to some extent, at least, she conquered the past pain. And the way out of it was help from him.

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  42. [Note: Freudian Vampire posted this comment on December 22, 2015.]

    I just rewatched this episode and after Riley and Forrest’s conversation about the Slayer I realised what a waste it is that, despite the name and lyrics being absolutely perfect for the show, Buffy has no songs from arguably the greatest thrash band of all time.

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  43. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on January 30, 2016.]

    I got to say it kind of bugged me in this one that they just brought Percy back just to have him be an asshole, even though he seemed he may have learned something prior to this. It’s the same problem I have with Hank Summers and arguably Amy too in that they just have characters return to just have them turn into major assholes inexplicably (or at least mention they’ve become assholes). It just comes across as cheap writing that’s only meant to manipulate the strings of the characters or plot. And a show that people pride for it’s effectiveness in character that just ain’t cool.

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  44. [Note: Samm posted this comment on January 30, 2016.]

    How was Percy out of character? And at first he was actually being nice to Willow, and only acted like he did in front of Willow because he was terrified of her.

    And then Hank, who has seen a total of 30 second screen time doesn’t have enough time to have a character to change inexplicably, and been mentioned from season 1 as someone who you can’t trust.

    And Amy, you mean someone who has spent years as a rat, trying to deal with her issues with magic only to have her only friends to abandon her? I wonder why she became spiteful…

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  45. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on January 30, 2016.]

    Regarding Percy if he was indeed acting the way he was because he was terrified is that the sort of person you’d talk about as a nerd behind their backs.

    I’m not exactly sure when they said in Season 1 that Hank couldn’t be trusted (I’m not even sure they confirmed he cheated until Conversations), but before Becoming Part 1 he was generally shown to be a pretty decent person and didn’t seem to mind hanging out with Buffy when he did (which includes a whole summer between Seasons 1 and 2). But then we’re told he doesn’t care anymore offscreen (even though he was willing to see Dawn in between Seasons 5 and 6).

    Amy probably has the biggest reason to go rogue though she does seem to go to awful extremes.

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  46. [Note: Iguana-on-a-stick posted this comment on January 30, 2016.]

    If you watch Hank in season 1 and 2, he appears to be an okay sort of guy. Not the best father in the world, but someone who cares about Buffy, even if he doesn’t quite know what to do with her.

    Then later he becomes the poster guy for terrible fatherhood, in that he doesn’t even come back when his ex-wife dies and leaves his children to fend for themselves. It makes me feel like the writers just wanted to pile more responsibility on Buffy and so came up with the easiest method to write him out of the story.

    I also agree that Amy’s general terribleness in season 6 comes out of nowhere. Admittedly, we never really knew her in season 1, so it’s not completely out there, but it’s still a weird little plot. Makes me feel like the writers wanted to have a bad influence on Willow, and so assigned the first character they had available. (Sense a theme here?)

    Percy, though, I don’t really mind, since he was always a pretty shallow kind of guy and his behaviour makes sense. I agree with you there.

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  47. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on January 30, 2016.]

    I’d like to thank this individual for giving some details of that scene cause I just rewatched that part and couldn’t figure out for the life of me figure out what was going on. I thought ASH had a cold or something.

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  48. [Note: Samm posted this comment on January 30, 2016.]

    Well i mean with Hank not being trustworthy, because Buffy always had a fear that he wouldn’t turn up, which was indicated in season 1. And eventually he did fail to turn up, and then that was the end for Hank. But maybe it was a bit forced, but i can’t say i know Hank well enough to say he would never do anything like this. But the show never really focused on the parents, so it doesn’t really go against anything in that regard either.

    @ iguana regarding Amy, maybe they could have given us a better view on her psyche. But in season 2 she started to use Magic for the benefit of herself, like with the homework and then did a dangerous spell with Xander. She then did that spell to turn her into a Rat. So i definitely believe she may have started to become like her Mother a bit.

    And in season 6, after having a traumatic experience, being a rat for years and her old life is now over. She resorts to the only way of life she knows, which is magic and probably for the first time has a magic inclined friend. Who then later abandons her, which is probably the tip of the iceberg and she becomes a really spiteful person. And i find what happened in season 7 quite interesting, which i believe is the root of her problem. Everyone forgave Willow for her mistakes (which were much worse) and no one gave Amy a second thought and left her to rot away. The lack of any real friends for Amy lead to her downfall imo.

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  49. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on January 30, 2016.]

    The thing with Buffy’s fear in Season 1 is that it wasn’t really anything that a kid in a divorce scenario wouldn’t normally have. That it was her fault and that she was gonna get ditched. The ending of the episode at least implied that her fears were somewhat unfounded.

    Looking back and seeing other thingI also could have used more Willow resentment, though more from her friends if anything since they were the ones they screwed over.

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  50. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on January 30, 2016.]

    One thing that seems a bit odd is that Tara is not in this episode. Maybe they didn’t want to force her into the show too early but it’s weird you have to wait a whole other episode for he to show up.

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  51. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on January 30, 2016.]

    I noticed that Willow was wearing a Bunny Dog Walking shirt this episode. Anya would not be happy about that. Maybe she decided to wear it since she wouldn’t be around.

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  52. [Note: Krssven posted this comment on March 14, 2016.]

    There’s nothing really wrong with the plot of this episode. As normal it’s tossed aside as irrelevant in the face of discussions of character interactions. Sometimes I think it’s too easily forgotten that this is an Urban Fantasy show – it has tropes common to fantasy and some science fiction, but is also set in our modern day (the Buffy POV has always been that it is the ignored, normally unseen underbelly of the real world, hence the constant pop-culture references).

    The plot is less distinguished than some Buffy or Angel episodes, but not overly so. Some demons want to open the hellmouth – not original, but the point I think you missed is that it’s highlighting how much the Scoobies’ lives have drifted from their early days. They’re so busy ‘At College!’ that they’re forgetting that Sunnydale will always have its apocalypse demons, catastrophes and vampires. Most also don’t notice that at this point (and for most of S4) it’s the Initiative who are doing the most anti-demon/vampire work, not Buffy et al. This helps to subtly set up them ‘overreaching’ and being saved by the Scoobies in ‘Primeval’.

    I feel sorry for Riley, knowing what happens in the following season. All the Riley-haters must have had an impact, but I seriously like his character. He’s a perfect type of guy for Buffy, is in her world, and is 100% committed to her in a way she rarely seems to be with him. I’m not one of those fans that prefer Buffy with a certain character (which is a 14-year-old mentality) to the point of hatred of the others. I like Angel, Riley and Spike as great characters, and all three as foils for Buffy work in different ways. Buffy always wanted a ‘normal’ life with a ‘normal’ guy. Riley was the chance to prove that her attitude wasn’t just ‘woe is Buffy’ and she was able to pull off a real relationship. But she couldn’t handle having him in her world once he was completely disconnected from the Initiative. Her Slayer=better complex won’t let her treat him as an equal, so he is automatically a Scooby. Why does she treat him differently to the others? Willow and Xander have patrolled with her plenty of times. This is more of a comment on future episodes than ‘Doomed’, though.

    In response to one of the first comments on this review, I must defend ‘Happy Anniversary’ (Angel S2 ep). That episode’s plot is very effective, works as a good distraction from the main arc of the season and is actually quite concerning in places. It’s very effective on a first view hearing Lorne describe reading the future of a man in his bar, and finding he doesn’t have one!

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  53. [Note: Sara posted this comment on March 15, 2016.]

    I can see your point on the Urban Fantasy reminder about the story but it also doesn’t excuse the sloppy execution of the story of the episode. If the plot had been better executed & fleshed out, it would definitely be a shining example of what you meant in regards to the Initiative doing the vast majority of the hunting. How it stands, it’s jolting & seems trite; just tossed out there as a means to fully integrate Riley into the Scoobies. It’s not organic as it could & should have been.

    Now, I have to disagree about the Buffy & Riley relationship. On the surface he was a great choice for her but the problem is both of them; Buffy & Riley. Neither one were really at a place where it was truly healthy for them to be together. Riley was basically a rebound for Buffy while Riley had issues with being “needed.” He had to have Buffy need him instead of want him in order to not fall apart as shown with him allowing the vampire girls to drink from him & him explicitly saying he felt needed by them unlike he did with Buffy. It really had nothing to do with a better complex for Buffy or Riley being a jerk. They both just had very different emotional needs that the other couldn’t possibly satisfy given who they were & what they needed. To ask that of either one would be to sacrifice another person & their happiness just for the happiness on the other; destroy one for the other. Neither one is the bad guy there & BOTH handled it horribly.

    So, it’s a resounding no that Riley wasn’t perfect for Buffy nor was Buffy perfect for Riley given each of their emotional needs especially at the time they had been together. It was destructive for them to be together. But, I’m also one who thinks all of Buffy’s relationships weren’t good for either her & the guy she was with at the time.

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  54. [Note: Krssven posted this comment on March 15, 2016.]

    How exactly is the plot sloppy? I need evidence and analysis before I’ll buy any claim that a Buffy story is sloppy or badly written. ‘Bad writing’ is thrown around so much these days by people on this site (not necessarily you) that never put pen to paper in their lives.

    Actually I meant the entire season when talking about the Inititative. They do this for whole portions of the season – we see them doing the patrols, taking out demons etc that the Scoobies used to do on a nightly basis. That really dropped off in this season, but it allows the Initiative to do what they do but also be saved by the Scoobies later, because the Initiative treats HSTs like a regular enemy soldier rather than something that can pull your arms and legs off. The Initiative certainly aren’t dumb or incompetent but they struggle with anything outside their military expertise. Once a soldier turns up to take over, they get worse in that regard.

    Riley’s issues arise NEXT season, not in this one, once he realises Buffy doesn’t love him like he loves her. There’s very little in his characterisation that hints at this until a few episodes into S5 ie the point where he has to be written out. Riley was the type of guy Buffy needed – solid, dependable and completely into her. He loved her as much as Angel in my opinion. You see him go through the various stages of attraction and love for her all the way through this season. The problem is, Buffy isn’t ready for a committed relationship and won’t admit that to herself. She complains constantly in S2/3 about wanting a normal life (though still wanting Angel). Riley was her best shot at a normal relationship that also was able to share the nighttime existence she has as the Slayer. Slowly it becomes obvious though she doesn’t want him in her Slayer world. Riley’s primary problem (not that big of an issue for me) is that he’s a bit ‘all American man’ – he wants Buffy to ‘need’ him in some unspecified way. When he realises she doesn’t really love him, h goes off the rails. So yeah, most of blame has to be on her – having watched these episodes many times, and with her crucial Xander-assisted realisation in S5 (that she’s about to lose him and whether she feels like she CAN love him or not), it’s the only conclusion I can draw. Buffy realises way, way too late that Riley loves her in a way she really wanted – that’s why she tries to get to him. She’s too late though. It’s Xander again that points out to her the crucial feelings she can’t ignore, and that sometimes she has to make a decision herself regarding love rather than pushing the blame onto the other person.

    I can see our mileages vary on this, but for me it’s pretty clear. Like I said I don’t have particular love for any of Buffy’s men over any other, but for the most part she doesn’t make life easy for herself. I’ve known and met many women like Buffy, I’m sad to say.

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  55. [Note: Sara posted this comment on March 15, 2016.]

    Whoa there, tiger. There’s been a couple of badly written episodes throughout the series as a whole & saying there hasn’t is naive at best & disingenuous at worst. I, Robot Jane in Season 1 comes to mind. Definitely not the best written episode & the execution was sloppy. Go Fish in Season 2 is another example of a “sloppy” episode of Buffy. Where does it really fit in the overarcing theme of the season & what’s it’s exact purpose to the story being told? Hard to answer that one so it’s “sloppy.” That’s just to name a couple.

    NOTHING is completely & fully well written in fiction. There’s always a couple of things in any story that make you cringe because the execution of it could’ve been done so much better. Saying nothing in Buffy was badly written is allowing the fan to take over which is understandable but can get in the way of things; especially a CRITICAL look at it in retrospect. Calm down. You can still like & love something & still see & call out the flaws in it. I say that because how you’re approaching this seems to be that nothing can be wrong with it since you like it & anyone who says otherwise is attacking it. Is that what you’re meaning to do? I’m leaning to no personally speaking but I could see how someone else might say that you are.

    I was talking about the 4th season overall as well AND his arc in the next season is vital to this one. This one sets that up & they go hand in hand. Saying his issues arise in Season 5 isn’t the truth. They start in Season 4. For example, his mistrust of Buffy while he finds out the Initiative isn’t what it seems. He flat out doesn’t trust Buffy in 4×14, “Goodbye Iowa.” He actually holds her at gun point & demands answers. He turned on her when he should have known better. Was it understandable? Yeah. His mentor was just brutally slaughtered. She died from a wound that a stake could have made. Buffy had plenty of motive to do it. Walsh did just try to kill her herself. Walsh clearly had her secrets which Riley saw she had but didn’t question it because of his military training but it was still there & he still saw it.

    Then there was Riley accidentally sleeping with Faith in Buffy’s body in 4×16, “Who Are You?” Seriously? Riley could see that something was off with Buffy & he slept with her anyway. He didn’t once question & become truly suspicious that something was up with her & sleeping with her at that time probably wasn’t a good idea. Not once. That shows several things. Riley really didn’t know Buffy. He already wasn’t close to her at that point. She held him at arm’s length even then. He wanted to be close to her & she kept him out even while e was still in the Initiative, still super solider boy. She never let him in to begin with because of what happened with Angel, who she was still in hopelessly in love with even then, & Parker who was her first trying to immediately replace & rebound from Angel with.

    Was Buffy doing Riley wrong & choosing to make her life harder on herself? Yes AND no. It’s both. She wasn’t initially trying to make her life hard. The opposite actually. That’s made clear over & over again with how she tried to pursue some kind of happiness. She wanted to be happy. She wanted a “normal” boyfriend after Angel because she still had it in her head that she could have that being the Slayer when she couldn’t. She was still rebelling against being the Slayer especially after all the pain & heartache it had caused her. What she hadn’t gotten through her head yet wad rebelling & trying to fight it was pointless & just made things worse. The part of her deep down knew that but she was still in denial. Was wanting a “normal” boyfriend a wrong sentiment per se? No. It was only natural for someone to reach for the opposite of something when the other side had caused them so much pain. Who wouldn’t do that no matter how pointless it wound up being in the end? I don’t know of anyone who wouldn’t. It’s only human to do so.

    Now we get to Buffy’s little trip to LA with 1×08 of Angel which was during the events of Buffy Season 4 which was directly after 4×08 “Pangs.” Angel became human & they rekindled their relationship sleeping together several times & BUFFY wanting to keep the relationship with Angel going. Yes, this was before the real start of her relationship with Riley but it says everything where BUFFY was mentally & emotionally. Buffy was already starting to have feelings for Riley but her heart was still firmly with Angel. She started her relationship with Riley not remembering what had happened between her & Angel in LA but how & where she was emotionally & mentally didn’t get reversed since she had come to LA in that position & she only remembered being in LA for 5 minutes. She started the relationship with Riley still being ANGEL’S girl but thinking it would never happen with Angel. She was trying to move on from Angel making Riley the rebound guy. Was she purposely making him a placeholder for Angel for all intents & purposes? No. She honestly was trying to move on. She just couldn’t because she wasn’t truly ready to. So, no, she wan’t making her life harder. At least not intentionally. She was actually trying to do the opposite but failing miserably at it because she didn’t take the time to assess herself & where she was at emotionally & mentally BEFORE taking the action of trying to move on that many people do in real life.

    After the events of 4×16 “Who Are You?” mentioned above, the relationship with Riley isn’t the same. It was just starting to get great development between them but Buffy shuts him out for the most part again after that. Riley couldn’t tell that something was wrong with her & that it wasn’t her. Yeah, it was magical hijinks but the emotional thing & somewhat mental thing was Riley should have been able to tell that at least something was off & that would mean not to sleep with her at that time. Who knows what it could be given their lives. No matter how innocently, Riley did betray Buffy’s trust then & he never really got it back. What could have possibly gone through her head? If we take her actions as any indication & how the focus of them for the most part was the sexual pull between them, Buffy started to see Riley a little bit like Parker. Add that to her hardcore experience of guys turning bad on her once she slept with her driven home by both Angel & Parker and you got Buffy keeping him at arms’ length for the rest of their relationship.

    Then, finally, we add to the mix the events of Buffy going back to LA after Faith to get revenge for what she had done in 4×15 & 4×16, particularly sleeping with Riley. She’s hired by Wolfram & Hart to kill Angel in 1×18 “Five by Five” of Angel. She finds Faith but Faith is dealing with the stuff that started to come out at the end of “Who Are You?” & Angel protects Faith from Buffy. IN Angel 1×19 “Sanctuary,” Angel brutally tells Buffy they aren’t a part of each other’s lives anymore & to get out of his city unofficially breaking up with her yet again. It pisses her off because, surprise, surprise, she still loved Angel. If Angel had been the opposite & opened to a relationship & openly stated he still loved her, she would have dumped Riley in a heart beat especially after having slept with Faith. The only reason she takes Riley’s side for the most part in 4×20, “The Yoko Factor” is because of how Angel treated her in LA.

    So, it had always been about Angel when it came to Buffy & Riley. Did Buffy consciously & purposely try to make it out that way? NO. She was actively trying to move on from him but she just still loved him. Riley was a replacement & placeholder for him in reality despite what either one, Buffy or Riley, had consciously wanted. The issues with Riley in Season 5 are just the snowballing of all that. He was trying to force Buffy into something she wasn’t emotionally willing to do & that puts blame on his doorstep. You don’t go & blame someone for a bad choice of letting vampires drink from you because YOU need to feel needed & you don’t by the person you’re with. That’s the time to start reassessing the relationship you’re in long before you go that far.That’s on him. You also don’t give them an ultimatum; be with me or I’m going to run away. If you’re feeling without purpose & what to get back into something, you just do it for YOU. If the relationship fails because of it then maybe it wasn’t a good relationship & neither one of you really loved one another as much as you thought you did.

    Yeah, our mileages differ on this greatly & for it’s also pretty clear after seeing the episodes dozens of times over the years. Buffy’s not all to blame for the tragedy that was the relationship with Riley. And that’s what it really is; a tragedy. They both were &, by turn, they both weren’t. It takes TWO for a relationship & neither one was fully there. They wanted it in theory but neither one was willing to compromise or work through the issues. Both were “my way or the highway.” BOTH. How neither were to really to blame was both were young & didn’t know what they really wanted. Neither really took the time to really evaluate themselves, their individual needs & wants & to take a cold hard look at whether or not the other was meeting what they needed. It was really a case of young love. Neither were developed enough to have the kind of relationship the other was demanding from them. And, for the record, NO ONE makes it easy on themselves. Everyone, at some point, takes the hard road when they had that road shown to them from others around them. Sometimes & for some things, everyone has to learn things/something the hard way until the lesson fully gets through. Another part of just being human.

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  56. [Note: Krssven posted this comment on March 18, 2016.]

    A long an interesting read that also confirms everything I said. Their issues as a couple revolve around her feelings, her behaviour, HER obsession with Angel and not truly moving on from it. She needed to at least be straight with him about what Angel meant to her and what her past was. I got the impression Riley had to piece together his info on Angel because Buffy clearly had been limiting it.

    Sloppiness does not mean ‘where does the episode fit’. That’s the essence of a standalone – it stands alone. Sometimes (more common on Buffy and Angel than other shows) the thread of the season can be seen – why else is Angelus in the episode? Angel was absent from some atandalones earlier in the season. The main difference is he has major arc significance now – so it’s part of the episode. So I’d like to see a breakdown and evidence of it being a ‘sloppy’ episode and how you actually define this. These words are thrown around without being explained or justified.

    I also disagree with the assessment of him being expected to somehow ‘know’ someone isn’t the one in their actual body. Really? Buffy/Faith dresses pretty much how she normally does in that episode. She actually appears in that costume more than once. Because her behaviour is slightly off and more sexually aggressive (something not uncommon in sexual relationships), he’s supposed to instantly know. The only person that notices is Tara, and it’s obvious Tara has some magical abilities (she even says ‘her energy was wrong’) and observation skills that the others either don’t have (Willow) or aren’t paying attention (Xander). Even Spike doesn’t really notice – he assumes Buffy is just winding him up. I’d say this here is far more of a foreshadow of what Spike is both feeling and where he will go in the future – he’ll later realise that something was possibly up with Buffy that day. So it would’ve taken some observational and behavioural skill to notice that Buffy was actually someone else. And no, the ‘well it was easy to tell’ argument doesn’t work because the viewer is coming from a perspective of already knowing, and none of Buffy’s actual friends even notice. It takes the observant outsider to realise something was very amiss.

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