Buffy 6×05: Life Serial

[Review by Mike Marinaro]

[Writer: David Fury and Jane Espenson | Director: Nick Marck | Aired: 10/23/2001]

Here’s an episode that just misses the mark of excellence. “Life Serial” is a very enjoyable yet slightly flawed outing which continues the slow burn to the, well, hyper excellerated burn that will happen in “Once More, with Feeling” [6×07] . What it does right is balance the darker issues running in the background with a mature flavored candy-corn surface. In other words there’s some solid value and, thanks mostly to the Trio, it’s hilarious.

The plot — Warren, Jonathan, and Andrew trying to test the Slayer while she tries to put some of her life back together — functions as a means to showing how complicated it will be trying to find a new purpose in life. It also shows how fragile Buffy is and how easily she gives up when things don’t go perfectly the way she wants. Everything focuses squarely on Buffy, although it’s important to notice how much more interested Giles is in regard to many of Buffy’s answers to tough questions about her life.

This begins when Dawn asks how Buffy’s trip to see Angel was (damn networks!!). Giles perking up with great interest in Buffy’s response says a lot by itself. He wants to see if she’s going to take charge of her life and only ask him for assistence, not complete control over all the unpleasant things she doesn’t want to have to deal with right now. When she answers a different question, Giles bluntly asks her what’s next with her life. Dawn’s even excited to hear Buffy’s hopefully determined response, but instead all both of them get is confusion. As Warren will correctly say later, “it’s like she’s completely without focus.” Buffy’s first thought is going back to school, of which she was sad to be forced to leave in “Tough Love” [5×19] . Instead of just going with it, she seeks Giles’ agreement first.

In the past, Buffy often going to Giles for opinion and agreement over life-changing matters was expected, and even healthy. But now that Buffy’s mom is dead (and dad forever neglectful), Giles knows it’s time for Buffy to step up, grab ahold of her life, and start making autonomous, adult decisions. Disappointment immediately becomes Giles because he knows this is something Buffy is capable of; how she handled the Glory crisis, particularly in “Tough Love” [5×19] and “Spiral” [5×20] , proved it. But taking control of your inner demons proves to be a much, much harder nut to crack. This is, in a nutshell, what S6 is entirely about and a big reason why I love it. It realistically depicts just how impossibly difficult and time-consuming it is to break out of horrible habits and emotions.

It’s at this point when the plot kicks in. The Trio throws three tests at Buffy aimed to gain (what turns out to be mostly inaccurate) information about her. Only in this state could Buffy ever be more than annoyed by the pranks the Trio pulls in the first half of the season. First we see Buffy giving university another shot. This is a scene that really shows how utterly sophisticated and confusing college can be when you’ve been out of it for a while. Willow nails it when she later tells her “you’re not dumb. Just rusty.” It’s unfortunate for Buffy that, combined with the Trio’s time inhibiter, she’s just not in the emotional space to be persistent and keep trying. It’s also interesting to see how Buffy’s language has gotten harsher along side her life. You can see a “what the f…” come out right as the scene amusingly cuts away.

Feeling unjustly stupid about her aptitude for school she decides to use Xander’s help in getting her a construction job, definitely a possible fit for her strength. It’s funny just how small and meek she looks here (with pink lunch bag in hand)! This just makes it all the more fun to see the shock of all the other workers when she easily picks up an incredibly heavy metal beam right after being ridiculed. As she works she talks up a storm to her new co-workers who are getting angered by how quickly she’s working. Everything was going surprisingly well until Andrew’s summoned demons attack and then all the guys blame Buffy, thereby getting her fired. It’s a shame these demons Buffy dispatches are so incredibly hokey as it takes some of the fun out of the scene.

After failing in the workplace of, once again, no fault of her own she decides to stoop to retail, a fate she earlier claimed is worse than death. This entire sequence of scenes is not only positively hilarious, but also go to reinforce how easily Buffy’s giving up. All the differently abrupt ways Buffy tries to alter the time loop fail to break her out of this painful cycle. At one point she even has a quick succession of confusion, anger, and tears. It’s not until she calms down and reasons her way through does she break out of it. This whole sequence represents a large part of her struggles to come — being stuck in a ‘loop’ of destructive behavior until she takes a calm step back from her emotions and reasons things through all that confusion, anger, and tears. It’s interesting to note that Buffy does fairly well at everything she tries, but the Trio and her lack of persistence keep mucking things up.

After all the pain of the day, Buffy runs to Spike and starts drinking. A lot. In a not-so-with-it state she blurts out “life is stupid.” Well, yes, it very often is stupid and one of a whole lot of different things, both good and bad. Spike points out that she is the type of girl who’d enjoy throwing punches and getting information the rough way. This is something he’s seen in her for a long while now dating back to “Fool for Love” [5×07] and “The Weight of the World” [5×21] . Attention is brought to this again because of where their relationship is heading. Spike then elaborates this time, saying “your life’s gonna get a lot less confusing when you figure this out” … “You’re not a schoolgirl. You’re not a shop girl. You’re a creature of the darkness. Like me. Try on my world. See how good it feels.” It turns out Spike is going to get his wish before too long.

Although right now Buffy just wants to ignore her problems with the closest bottle of alcohol, her agreement of Spike’s suggestion goes a bit deeper than it appears. We find out in “All the Way” [6×06] that Buffy’s thoughts about Spike have become more sexual. That, combined with the fact that the only person she can stand to be around is him, creates some interesting development. Here, though, this entire kitten poken sequence feels very date-like and would probably constitute their first (mutually speaking, of course). A few things I just plain enjoy about this part of the episode are Buffy’s incredibly entertaining reactions to chugging down big gulps of alcohol, Spike’s subsequent amusement, cheating at kitten poker, and Clem! Instead of the usual ‘boyfriend wants to play cards with his buds but the girlfriend is bored’ we get a neutered vampire wanting to play cards with his demon buds but the Slayer is bored. Very fun situation!

In the midst of all of this Buffy comes back home to Giles: the warming effect. He instantly makes her feel safe, taken care of, and warm again. This is when he gives her a check to help her get back on her feet, saying “Go easy on yourself, will you? I mean, you don’t have to figure the whole thing out at once, you know, job and everything. You’re pushing yourself too hard.” The check is intended only to do just what I said: help her get back on her feet. Buffy’s gratitude is heart-warming, recognizing that having him around reminds her of having her mom alive.

Unfortunately, before she leaves the room, she tips Giles off to the unfortunate fact that Buffy’s accepting this money for the wrong reasons. Buffy says that “this… makes me feel safe. Knowing you’re always gonna be here.” Giles doesn’t want Buffy to feel like she can come to him everytime she needs something important taken care of in her life, or everytime she’s low on cash. Giles wants her to grow up, take care of her own family, and handle adult responsibilities. This is because, ultimately, Giles won’t be around forever. Even if he didn’t choose to leave in “Tabula Rasa” [6×08] , Giles can’t be the one to give Dawn the kind of discipline and love that only Buffy can. He can’t be the one to pay for everything in the household. He also can’t sit and watch Buffy continue to act like she’s a kid still when she’s really not anymore, and not just from a responsibility standpoint. Most of all, he simply wants to see Buffy grow up, find strength in herself, and move onto the next stage of her life. This moment definitely gets Giles thinking it’s time for him to leave which he hopes will force Buffy to face herself: her biggest challenge yet.

In the end, “Life Serial” turns out to be better than I initially thought, although it’s still marred by a handful of nagging bits of hokiness. Between all the laughs is some solid character work for Buffy which keeps her development moving forward to new and interesting places. I have to say I’m quite pleased with the balance achieved here.

 


Minor Pros/Cons (+/-)

+ Willow’s “I’m a breast girl” remark goes to show how abrasive her magic use has made her. That comment’s out of place at the dinner table. I love Giles’ reaction.
+ Buffy brings home chicken while Angel brings home ice cream. Ah, the wonders of comfort food. This implies their meeting didn’t go so well.
+ Andrew’s spray-paint of the Death Star on the van. Hilarious.
+ Buffy continuing to crack incredibly morbid death jokes that aren’t amusing anyone around her.
+ Andrew rigging the van to honk out the Star Wars theme song. Awesome!
+ Jonathan’s magic bone.
+ The references to Star Trek: The Next Generation (“Cause and Effect” ) and the X-Files.
+ The Trio’s big argument over who was the best Bond.
+ Jonathan glamoring into an uber corny demon with the proportional strength of, well, him.
+ The Trio laughably thinking they have important information about Buffy based on her reflexes while drunk.

– Warren’s time inhibiter doesn’t make a bit of logical sense in the way it’s executed.
– The Trio’s overdone awe with “free cable porn.” I don’t think these guys are fourteen years old…


Foreshadowing

* Giles’ reaction to Buffy’s final words of the episode hints at his, more permanent, departure.


[Score]

83/100

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74 thoughts on “Buffy 6×05: Life Serial”

  1. [Note: Dingdongalistic posted this comment on March 9, 2007.]

    Here’s an episode that just misses the mark of excellence. “Life Serial” is a very enjoyable yet slightly flawed outing which continues the slow burn to the, well, hyper excellerated burn that will happen in Once More, With Feeling (6×07). What it does right is balance the darker issues running in the background with a mature flavored candy-corn surface. In other words there’s some solid value and, thanks mostly to the Trio, it’s hilarious.

    I like quite a lot about Life Serial, and think there’s some quite solid stuff under the surface, definitely more than in Flooded and what’s there is better executed to boot. Unfortunately, all of this is undermined by the emphasis on comedy. Although some of this is good (I like the idiotic Star Wars jokes as well as the argument over bonds – who hasn’t had that argument – and the reference to Monty Python is always welcome!) but the majority of the comedy is too lightweight and unimportant to justify it’s emphasis in the episode, detracts from the better material there. Some of the comedy is absolutely dire as well, the Trio become annoying very quickly, and their constant ogling of “free cable porn” makes me want Willow to kill them now. Overall, although Life Serial is reasonably decent, I wouldn’t say it set a standard of particularly high content.

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  2. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on March 9, 2007.]

    Does comedy have to be important to be welcome? Using “Pangs” as an example, my answer to that would be ‘no.’ I felt the majority of the comedy here was highly entertaining and a welcome entry in such a dark season. While the darkness is left more to the background, that’s alright, because we’ve had plenty of that to start the season and there’ll be plenty more after this. All in all, “Life Serial” is a really enjoyable episode with both comedy and value, and also some flaws.

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  3. [Note: Dingdongalistic posted this comment on March 9, 2007.]

    Well, I’m not at all fond of Pangs, perhaps for that reason, but I more meant that the comedy was too lightweight and irrelevent to the main theme to justify its status and hold the episode together. I’m not painstakingly fussy about how much importance to the main plot comedy has, but when it forms main segments of the plot in Life Serial I do feel that it needs to have more of a connection to the themes.

    It’s not just that I feel makes it unnecessary and in fact detractive, it is, to quote myself, that:

    “Some of the comedy is absolutely dire as well, the Trio become annoying very quickly”

    which detracts from the comedy that is good as well, which further hurts the serious themes of the episode.

    Anyway, I’m glad you liked it, but I wouldn’t use it as a particularly high benchmark for quality or comedy, just as I wouldn’t use Pangs. I do feel, however, that the comedy in Pangs is a lot better, and I don’t feel that was particularly brilliant either.

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  4. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on March 9, 2007.]

    I agree the comedy in “Pangs” is better (and there’s much more of it), but I also feel that the comedy is fairly brilliant in its ability to make me laugh every 30 seconds. The plot in “Pangs” is fairly retarded (much worse than the plot in “Life Serial”), but the comedy is so furious in its frequency that I can’t help but love it. Even though it’s my vote for funniest episode, I still had to keep it away from the A-range because of its problems, just like I did with “Life Serial.”

    Additionally, the only joke that I felt was dire from the Trio here was the “free cable porn.” Otherwise, I really enjoyed it.

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  5. [Note: MrB posted this comment on March 9, 2007.]

    In previous seasons, you could get a laugh at Buffy’s expense because you *knew* that she was going to prevail. Such is less the case in S6.

    I have often felt that Life Serial crosses the line of being mean. Maybe that’s just me, but that’s why I never really appreciated the humor in it.

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  6. [Note: elim posted this comment on March 9, 2007.]

    First of all, I like your reviews a lot and I am quite a fan of season six. That said, I can’t stand this episode. It’s not as bad as, say, “Teacher’s Pet”, but I find it the worst episode of the last three seasons.

    The plot made no sense whatsoever. What exactly were the trio supposed to be testing? How were they able to know what happened during the mummy hand saga? Why did everybody think that going back to college would help alleviate Buffy’s financial situation? How come nobody noticed when Buffy was frozen in time, even when she was falling down in super-slow motion on a crowded campus in broad daylight? And why did Buffy make those “Blaaah” noises when she drank the whiskey? Does anybody actually say that when they eat or drink something they don’t like?

    Also, in the classroom scene, it’s one thing for Buffy to not understand what the professor was saying, but its another thing entirely for every other student in the class to be able to rapidly and confidently answer all of those questions.

    The worst part, however, was the second act. Aside from the three hokey demons, the construction worker stereotypes were downright offensive. When Buffy’s working crappy jobs this season to make ends meet and when Xander’s doing the same in season four, we’re supposed to sympathize with them, but apparently everybody else in the same situation is just a stupid lazy bum. And how come none of them thought it was odd that Buffy could pick up a steel girder weighing a few hundred pounds in one clean movement without breaking a sweat.

    The episode only had three things going for it: the evil trio’s conversations, the mummy hand and the introduction of Clem. That’s enough to save it from the ranks of “Teacher’s Pet” or “Where the Wild Things Are”, but not by much.

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  7. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on March 10, 2007.]

    “The worst episode of the last three seasons.”

    Wow, that’s quite a claim! Although parts of the ‘tests’ didn’t make a lot of sense (as I pointed out in the review), a lot of your concerns here are either not quite valid or just aren’t of major importance to me. Let me briefly answer many of your questions:

    “What exactly were the Trio supposed to be testing?”
    -They want to be the crime lords of Sunnydale. With Buffy constantly around, it seems clear that they’d want to know how they can throw her off her game so that they can distract her from what they’re trying to do all year (and they actually successfully do this for a long time due to the Scoobies’ other issues).

    -The mummy hand saga was the result of a camera they crammed in a skull inside the Magic Box (which plays a big part later in “Entropy”).

    -Admittedly going back to school wouldn’t really help her financial problems, but it’d at least help her get back to some sense of normality after being, ya know, dead which is honestly a good thing.

    -The time inhibiter didn’t make any bit of logical sense (as I pointed out), so you’re right to complain here.

    -Buffy’s “blaah” noises were hilarious. I’ve seen people do weirder stuff than that when they start chugging down various kinds of alcohol.

    -The students in the classroom was a little bit exagerrated to emphasize a point, but I have seen classes where most people are actually consistently involved in class discussions and reading topics. It’s rare, but it does happen.

    -The three hokey demons at the construction job are, well, admittedly hokey. But they’re really not very important either.

    -I didn’t have a problem with the construction workers. I don’t doubt many people in that profession would react the way they did if they saw Xander bring in a small-looking girl in for construction work. And they were very surprised when she started lifted the metal beams.

    Most of these complaints are plot-related which, if decently serving the characters, just don’t bother me much (although they do bring the score down a bit). Most of the character work was well done, plus the episode provided some hilarity (in a season with appropiately much less overall).

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  8. [Note: Tranquillity posted this comment on March 10, 2007.]

    Buffy brings home chicken while Angel brings home ice cream. Ah, the wonders of comfort food. This implies their meeting didn’t go so well

    Yes one of the truely great mysteries of our time: What did happen at that between cities reunion? A popular choice for exploration in fanfic i believe.

    RE: the trio
    Yes, they are annoying, yes they are incredibly immature and yes, they are just plain mean to buffy. this is because they are three, too smart for their own good nerds who are only concerned with themselves and their game of ‘taking over sunnydale’ Only Warren is truely evil. I think it is a nice bit of forshadowing when warren and andrew conspire to lower jonothan’s mark (when the mummyhand was clearly the best test)as it shows the true power structure of the trio.

    oh, and i love kitten poker.

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  9. [Note: Dingdongalistic posted this comment on March 10, 2007.]

    The episode only had three things going for it: the evil trio’s conversations, the mummy hand and the introduction of Clem.

    The only one of those things I actually find going for the episode is the last one. As for the other ones, the mummy hand was far too lightweight to really work as well as it needed to, and the trio’s conversations were, as usual, the worst bits of the conversation for me.

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  10. [Note: Dingdongalistic posted this comment on March 10, 2007.]

    oh, and i love kitten poker.

    The Kitten Poker was brilliant simply because it was such a quintessential Jane Espenson concept – completely idiotic but quite funny.

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  11. [Note: elim posted this comment on March 10, 2007.]

    I put in that whiskey comment as a joke, but I guess it didn’t translate well into text. That being said, I think most people would scrunch their face in and suck through their teeth.

    Anyway, as crime lords its clear that they’d want to test Buffy to know how to defeat her, but the “tests” themselves don’t actually seem to be anything other than pranks. Thay said they her “speed strength and reaction time” but I don’t see how the tests could be useful for gathering such information. As for the camera in the skull, Giles, Anya and the customer only remembered what happened in the last time loop. How were the evil trio able to remember what happened in each loop? Was the skull also a magic bone?

    Finally, about the construction workers, when Buffy picks up the girder, she’s completely revealing that she has superpowers, despite the fact that she previously had to let Larry beat her up so he wouldn’t find out, and make up crazy excuses when she accidentally told Riley she was going patrolling. Now, despite demonstrating to all the construction workers that she has superpowers, their only reaction is along the lines of “Wow, I can’t believe I just got punk’d by a girl”. Then, when she continues to flaunt her superpowers, the construction workers are either too stupid to know that what she’s doing defies the laws of physics, or they’re so lazy and greedy that the only thing that they care about the fact that they won’t get paid as much. Finally, when the demons attack and the construction workers see the demons and cower in the corner crying because of how scared they are because of the demons, in the end they’re more concerned with protecting their masculinity than the fact that they just got attacked by demons who melted into water after being killed by a scrawny girl with superpowers.

    I don’t think anyone, construction worker or otherwise, would act like that in that situation, and the whole thing seems to be set up so people can get a few laughs about how dumb and lazy construction workers are. It would be like if, in “Doublemeat Palace”, they had removed the joke where Buffy can’t work the “simplified” cash register, and replaced it with a joke about how fast food workers are so dumb that they can’t even work a cash register.

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  12. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on March 10, 2007.]

    Re – time loop: the spell worked so that Buffy remembered what happened. So why would it be so hard to buy that the people who casted the spell did it in a way so that they remembered too? I really don’t even see this as a problem. And sure, the Trio’s “pranks” weren’t all that effective, but that’s kind of the point. These guys are not very mature. I think you’re expecting something out of the Trio here that they just aren’t are.

    Re – construction workers: you’re right to an extent and it is played largely for laughs, but it’s not a terrible stretch to think that some people would react in that way. I never got the impression it was trying to say anything about “all” construction workers in the slightest.

    Regardless of some of these plot details, what’s going on with the main characters is of far more interest to me. I’ll admit I review episodes with a weighted emphasis on what’s going on with the characters rather than the plot. I’m at the point where I’ve seen the series so many times, the plot in of itself is almost irrelevant. It’s how it relates to the characters that matters to me.

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  13. [Note: Latoya posted this comment on May 12, 2007.]

    I love this episode. I love season six.

    I loved that Buffy kept drinking even though she couldn’t stand the taste. She was intent on getting drunk. I love that Spike smiled when she made the faces/sounds. Too cute. “Okay, you have had so too much to drink, I’m cutting you off”.

    I understood everything that those college students were talking about and Buffy would have to if she had read it on paper/online instead of hearing it in a zoom zoom conversation. As soon as one idea sinks in another person would say something and you just want to say “wait, I haven’t processed yet!”.

    It makes sense that The Trio would remember all of the time loops since they created them. Remember whenever something supernatural happened in the early seasons and only the scooby gang and Buffy would remember it. Or at least they were the only ones not faking amnesia. Sunnydale residents are often in massive denial.

    The construction workers did not come off as stupid or too sexist to me. I mean, the boss said that they were a week behind and out one worker. Xander says he will bring someone to help and it turns out to be a 5′ 2” 105 lb girl in pigtails with a daisy in her hair.

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  14. [Note: Latoya posted this comment on May 12, 2007.]

    I loved Tara showing Buffy that Art Appreciation book. Willow yelling at Warren for bumping into Buffy. Giles handing Buffy a glass of water when she came out of the bathroom after throwing up. Buffy’s amazingly gorgous shirt in the speed walking scene outside, looks much better without the sweater.

    “In this scenario I am your mother?”
    “Do you want to be my shiftless, absentee, father?”
    “Is there some sort of rakish uncle?”

    It was mean for The Trio to do this to Buffy (and everything they do to her throughout the season). Especially since season six is her first 8 months being back. That is barely three months longer than she was dead. And this episode took place within her first month back.

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  15. [Note: Austin posted this comment on August 31, 2007.]

    Love Buffy’s whiskey expressions!!

    Notice spike’s chip doesn’t go off when he is rough with Buffy, don’t know if it would have normally, but I think so, he grabbed her and took her out of the bar pretty forcefully

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  16. [Note: gabrielleabelle posted this comment on November 14, 2007.]

    I make the bleagh noise when I down whiskey shots. Hell, I make that noise when I take cough syrup. Buffy’s drinking greatly amused me.

    Plot issues aside, I enjoy this episode a lot. The only thing I just can’t get past is the first “test”. I try not to think too hard about the whole “what was Tara seeing while Buffy was speeding through time” thing, but it bothers me to the point where I just can’t enjoy that segment.

    Everything else, though, I’m okay with.

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  17. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on December 30, 2007.]

    This one is very funny. I mean, it has some flaws but I have a great time watching it. I can´t stop laughing about the mummy hand, it´s hilarious. And the trio is just pathetic, in an amusing way.

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  18. [Note: Jaden posted this comment on June 5, 2008.]

    im sorry to say this but i completely 100% agree with elim. the episode lacked a credible plot, especially the second half which seemed to drag pointlessly on, had bland and repetitive attempts at humour and feels irrelevant to the story arc yet managing to fail horribly at being a successful stand alone. the episodes plot was so simple that the episode was unable to contain a climax and instead arrived abruptly at the end leaving the audience wondering when it was meant to get good. overall i actually think that this episode ranks as the worst (i know this is a strong claim) in the series as without a climax the episode was entirely pointless.

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  19. [Note: Paula posted this comment on September 8, 2008.]

    It really bugs me from time to time that we’re never told anything about that meeting of Buffy and Angel between the last episode and this one. It’s implied that it was “intense” and didn’t go too well. That’s all.

    Did she tell him the truth, that she got pulled out of Heaven and isn’t at all happy to be back? If not, why? I’d guess that she really hoped meeting Angel would make a big difference in the way she was feeling, and obviously it didn’t. Didn’t she tell him, couldn’t he understand her, or is it just that he was unable to help her in any way? Aagh.

    (The fact that Angel didn’t afterwards, say, call Willow and tell her that the Scoobies had got it all totally wrong and Buffy was borderline suicidal is sort of suggestive, but maybe Buffy persuaded him not to – or maybe that’s what they argued about…)

    I suspect the writers never could come up with the essence of that meeting, either, which is why it’s never been written up in any shape or form.

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  20. [Note: bigmoneygrip posted this comment on November 25, 2008.]

    This is one ep that needs a second viewing to fully grasp its message. There are so many little, subtle things that are intertwined within and its relationship to the series as a whole – I needed to see it again to say “oh, yeah”.

    That being said – I dunno about the kitten poker. I guess it is cute, but when I saw it, I felt the need to pet and love on my cats. Weren’t they cute, though? Love the cute, cute, cute mewing!

    I’m ashmed to admit that I got all of the geek/nerd/sci-fi references by the Trio.

    Love how Buffy is using tongs to try to get the hand, then in the next scene, the hand has the tongs!

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  21. [Note: Sam posted this comment on December 6, 2008.]

    Another piece of foreshadowing: During Jonathan’s test with the magic bone, when he asks them all to hold hands, Andrew reels back in panic and says, “With each other?” Warren replies, “Well, you know what homophobia really means about you, don’t you?” That’s funny, because in Season 7 it’s hinted that Andrew is, in fact, gay, and that he has a crush on Xander.

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  22. [Note: Guido posted this comment on March 15, 2009.]

    I’m afraid I may be in the minority when I say that the trio’s high-tech capabilities (and anyone else’s for that matter) are incongruous and jarring in the context of the otherwise mystical Buffyverse. The world of vampires, demons, and magic are what forced Buffy into her reluctant role as a slayer. I love the series, and forgive many of its flaws, but the high-tech science fiction seems intrusive and inconsistent with the world as described to us in the beginning. Remember vampires, demons, incubi and succubi?

    I find that Ted and the Buffybot, the surgical re-animation of a dead football player, time-shifting micro-chips, and all the other highly scientific stuff totally mess with the verisimilitude that is so artfully constructed and cohesive in the vast majority of other episodes. Sure, science fiction is “believable” in its own context, but I find it extremely difficult to reconcile why such unbelievably futuristic science is possible in a world which, from the very beginning, was presented to us as a demonic world intruding on an otherwise normal place with normal people. Buffy came to us wanting to be a normal girl among normal high school kids. When some of those kids (Willow included) began doing way-too-PhD stuff, it took something away from that original idea.

    Robots, and the like, makes it seem like writers were running out of ideas. I believe the show could have been just as powerful if it stayed true to its “Hellmouth” beginnings throughout the series. Warren and his gang could have turned deliciously evil in so many other ways (summoning demons, for example), and could still have supported the story (Willow’s revenge fest, for example). Fine, a van full of Apple computers. But robots? They lose me on that stuff.

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  23. [Note: Paula posted this comment on April 22, 2009.]

    There’s a casual moment in this episode that I for some reason like a lot, in the back room of the demon bar when Buffy initially protests against the kitten poker and Spike takes her aside. Right there, when he’s about to put a hand on her shoulder and talk to her, and Buffy shoves it away with an immediate, fluid and decisive movement and Spike backs off at once.

    Spike is already showing a tendency here to try to drag Buffy down on his level, but you’re right Mike, their night out in this episode is very date-like. And in many ways something to look wistfully back to when they actually start their secret, violent and all kinds of unhealthy affair a few episoded ahead.

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  24. [Note: Tara posted this comment on May 19, 2009.]

    Three reasons I love this episode:

    – Buffy’s expression every time she downs a shot

    – The entire Magic Box sequence, particularly the infuriating bell and Buffy stamping on Giles’s glasses and breaking down

    – “Timothy Dalton should get an oscar and beat Sean Connery over the head with it!!”

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  25. [Note: Stilicho posted this comment on May 21, 2009.]

    There is also a hilarious Monty Python reference by the Trio:
    “This Mummy-Hand has ceased to be! It is an Ex-Mummy-Hand!”

    I think this refers to the “Dead Parrot Sketch”.

    Like

  26. [Note: Stilicho posted this comment on May 21, 2009.]

    Paula wrote:
    “It really bugs me from time to time that we’re never told anything about that meeting of Buffy and Angel between the last episode and this one. It’s implied that it was “intense” and didn’t go too well. That’s all. (…)I suspect the writers never could come up with the essence of that meeting, either, which is why it’s never been written up in any shape or form.”

    This post (#21) is older, but to be sure one can state that it is alleged that the writers couldn’t come up with the story because of some kind of network rivalry (quote from the Wiki article about “Reunion”, a Buffy comic that also relates to this meeting):

    “The reunion between Buffy and Angel took place offscreen from the TV show, as Angel was aired by WB Network, and Buffy by UPN. Since UPN and WB were rivals, full blown crossovers were more difficult during this period.”

    I can also imagine that the writers did not want to treat this meeting, which had to take place sometimes, in detail because of the problematic implications of its potential outcomes (also summed up by Paula).

    Like

  27. [Note: Susan posted this comment on September 26, 2009.]

    I love this episode despite the flaws that have been brought out by all of you. I love the date-like feeling of Buffy’s night out with Spike, the fact that she goes to him when she has a problem and feels closer to him in many ways than shes does to her friends. I really do enjoy the face and noise that she makes each time she has a drink, and I love the comment she makes when Spike asks someone to stake him. I’m a huge fan of the entire series but I have to admit loving some of the stand alone episodes like Pangs, Something Blue, Tabula Rosa, and this one, mostly for their sheer entertainment value, but also for their incredible Spike-value.

    Like

  28. [Note: Sunburn posted this comment on November 13, 2009.]

    Yeah, agreeing with pretty much everything Latoya said above.

    Buffy’s whisky reactions were hilarious and about the cutest she ever looks, IMO. I love the humour in this episode, even the stupid stuff like Warren and Andrew giggling over Jonathan’s magic bone. There’s a puerile part of my brain that finds it extremely amusing too.

    As for the plot holes, the one about no-one else noticing Buffy slowing down is a good example of why I don’t understand why these bother people. If we are to believe that Warren was capable of making a robot that matched Buffy in every detail, if we are to believe that they can make a machine that slows down time for Buffy,and one that makes her invisible and slowly kills her… why cavil at the minor detail of Tara not noticing?

    I can sort of understand how it would bug people, but I don’t see the point of allowing it to.

    Like

  29. [Note: Miscellaneopolan posted this comment on November 25, 2009.]

    In response to Guido’s comment about the incongruity of robots and other advanced technology in the Buffyverse: meh. I think it has a lot to do with how much more technically advanced Buffy’s primary audience (read: the young and intelligent) is compared to the show’s creators. Joss Whedon has admitted on more than one occasion to being completely inept when it comes to science. Speaking as a lost cause myself, I can say that, to a lot of people, magic and advanced technology are pretty much indistinguishable. To Ludites like us, things like robots and time-altering microchips fit in just fine alongside vampires and werewolves.

    Also, one should consider the common pool from which much of Buffy’s rogue’s gallery is drawn: old movies and TV. Flicks about vampires, zombies, ghosts and whatever else were placed in the same camp as flicks about killer robots and mad scientists. The Buffy writers probably grew up watching this stuff, so it’s no surprise that they feel comfortable grouping the whole lot together. In the end, it just isn’t a big deal, but I can see how this kind of thing might bug a technically knowledgeable person, and I think that as people in general become more scientifically adept, it’ll be harder to get away with in fiction.

    As for the episode itself: another meh from me. It doesn’t give us any new character insights or advance the season’s plot in any meaningful way, so it succeeds or fails on the strength of its individual moments. For my money, the first segment is stupid, the second is hokey, and the third and forth are both pretty funny. Still, nothing too earth-shattering.

    I did bust a gut the first time I saw the mummy hand sequence, though. “Go with slug!”

    Like

  30. [Note: Nathan.Taurus posted this comment on December 3, 2009.]

    I didn’t understand how the time inhibiter works either. Somehow the Trio can randomly speed up hundreds of people in bursts that stop and start, then continue it for a huge amount of time before they self destruct the thing.

    The greatest parts for me were Buffy and the time-loop-mummy-hand and all of Buffy drunk. Am I the only one who thinks she is both cute and hilarious when she is drunk?

    The way she looks for a second then tilts her head after she said that she would stake Spike and the way she says that kittens are “stupid currency” always crack me up. And of course the Trio fighting over the best Bond.

    So I only really liked the last half or so.

    Like

  31. [Note: Alan posted this comment on March 15, 2010.]

    ” We find out in “All the Way” (6×06) that Buffy’s thoughts about Spike have become more sexual.”

    “Giles won’t be around forever. Even if he didn’t choose to leave in “Tabula Rasa” (6×08)”

    Thanks a bunch for those very specific spoilers.

    I’m watching this show for the first time. I look for a review to give me insight into that episode, not to be told all the major plot points in the following episodes.

    I gave up the “televisionwithoutpity” reviews because they were doing that non-stop. In the first season reviews they were referring to season 7 events.

    Maybe most readers here are hardcore Buffy fans who rewatch the series every year. But try to remember that some of us would like to find out things when the show tells us and not before.

    Like

  32. [Note: Alan posted this comment on March 15, 2010.]

    And as for the episode itself; after Buffy and Spike came out of the card party and saw the van, Spike just hung back and did nothing at all. Why didn’t he step up when the “demon” appeared? Why didn’t he get on his motorbike and follow the van when it drove off? He could catch it and stop it, or certainly follow it, easily.

    Spike is all about protecting Buffy now; he would be very serious in trying to find out who is screwing with her. The writers aren’t ready for the confrontation with the Nerd Masterminds yet, so the opportunity was just ignored.

    Like

  33. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on March 15, 2010.]

    Alan, most of my reviews have spoilers from other episodes all over the place. I reviewed the show well after it had aired, so you can’t expect there to not be spoilers. The reviews would be a fraction of what they are if I wasn’t coming from the perspective of having seen the entire series several times before and pointing out how an episode planted certain seeds for future growth or set up certain plot threads. Plenty of others have already done reviews that don’t come at it with the complete view of the series. My reviews are best consumed after you’ve already seen the entire series before. Otherwise, read them at your own risk in terms of spoilers.

    Although this fact is pointed out very clearly at the top of the “About” page, that page used to be where the news page is now, so to be fair the site could be more clear about this. I’ll consider putting up warnings on every review so there’s absolutely no confusion for anyone going forward.

    Like

  34. [Note: Alan posted this comment on March 15, 2010.]

    Actually, I haven’t found any decent reviews that don’t have spoilers.

    Perhaps you could indicate some of the “plenty of others” that you mention.

    And mostly yours haven’t been bad in that respect, but to see the exact episode number of two major upcoming events really took the edge off. I’ll pass on reading any others then if you’ve that’s a general feature.

    And no, I never saw the “About” page. I came straight in via Google search.

    Like

  35. [Note: Alan posted this comment on March 15, 2010.]

    Thanks…

    Yeah, I see (now) you did give a spoiler warning on your About page, but I just Google for “Buffy” plus “episode title” plus “review” and found the pages like that, never saw the top level pages.

    And like you, I came to Buffy after seeing Firefly and thinking Whedon made it worth a look. (I did see the original Buffy movie, which was okay but didn’t seem promising as the basis of a series.) Neither show were broadcast here, I got them all online.

    Like

  36. [Note: Zaphe posted this comment on March 18, 2010.]

    @Alan, I feel your comment about Mike’s reviews contain spoilers a little bit unfair. He did put up warnings and it is not his fault that you came through differently.

    This is a free service, without any Advertisments, etc. I, for one, really really appreciate that he spent all these times and effort writing and putting up the website for us all to enjoy. Since I am foreigner, Mike’s insightful reviews made me understood and enjoyed the series so much more, even the episodes I didnt like the first time I watched it.

    Like

  37. [Note: Alan posted this comment on March 28, 2010.]

    Unfair? There are spoilers. It’s customary to avoid, or at least warn, of spoilers in a review of any show, movie or book. Of course they aren’t malicious, but the fact is that most people now navigate around the web by search engines, so you can’t assume that anyone arrived at a page via whatever link you think they should have. I came via the page

    http://www.criticallytouched.com/buffy/reviews.php which indexes all the reviews, and that does not have any warnings on it. Might be an idea to add some.

    NOW I know that spoilers abound here so I read at my own risk.

    I wouldn’t have mentioned this again, but I don’t believe I was “unfair” to bring this up. I wouldn’t be here at all if I didn’t think the reviews were insightful.

    Like

  38. [Note: G1000 posted this comment on May 28, 2010.]

    Pretty disappointing episode after the first four, though at times very funny. Spike playing poker for kittens was just great, and Willow’s line (and Giles’ reaction) was fabulous. I would disagree, though, that it shows how “abrasive” she’s become. I didn’t get that feeling at all. It was just a throwaway line.

    Like

  39. [Note: Elbie posted this comment on June 5, 2010.]

    Here’s my Angel/Buffy meeting theory:

    She tells him everything about being in heaven and how difficult it is now to be back and to fake happiness and strength for the benefit of her friends and Dawn. In actual episodes we can see how emotionally weak she is even to drown her sorrows with whiskey. So, she probably makes a move or at least attempts to make a move on Angel. She wants him in a comforting way similar to how she eventually takes Spike. While Angel wants to take her, he rejects her because now, more than ever, she must go back to her “normal” life (same reason he left her in season 3) and Angel offers her nothing normal. As well, he can probably sense that she doesn’t have the same love for him as he has for her. It wasn’t what she wanted to hear (hence fried chicken) and it wasn’t what Angel wanted to say (ergo ice cream).

    But – this is just my theory.

    Like

  40. [Note: Jason posted this comment on September 5, 2010.]

    Why can’t this series do one scene in a classroom that actually feels real? Have these writers never been to college?

    Love the show but… come on already!

    Like

  41. [Note: yippers6 posted this comment on October 29, 2010.]

    fist how was spike cheatng and second buffy thought SPIKE was the one that was drunk ? i thinked he should have gave her a wierd i’m not the one that’s drunk, you are look.i loved how she couldn’t fight jonathon because she was so drunk.

    Like

  42. [Note: nathan.taurus posted this comment on November 30, 2011.]

    I still love the Buffy-drunk-and-cute moments.

    If the Trio can distort time and do magic then if would be no problem in killing Buffy if they wanted to. So I feel (still) that the magic time speeding parts were really over done and unbelievable. It leads to drunk Buffy falling over when she kicks Jonathon and rescuing kittens so it doesn’t lose a huge amount but, it does lose a lot.

    “-which by the way is stupid currency.”

    Like

  43. [Note: Gemma posted this comment on December 17, 2011.]

    Tara’s words echo the theme of this episode, ‘everyone is in a hurry’. Not only does this sum up Buffy’s first test put to her by The Trio but it also identifies Buffy’s feelings of her friends an where they are in there lives, something which she mentions once more in All the Way when she says ‘its only been 3 and 1/2 months what else have i missed’ in acknowledging Xander and Anya’s upcoming wedding.

    The opening scene sets the tone of what this episode is about when Giles asks Buffy what her plans her. Her answer is i don’t know. Buffy’s friends are in places that give their lives meaning and prospects but Buffy is at a stand still. She endeavours to find her place in the world with trying different things, school, construction and retail. She even enters Spike’s world to see what that was like. This episode defines the season, Buffy is trying to find her place, she doesn’t know where she belongs. She has been in this state from the episode Afterlife.

    The three tests the she encounters act as a great comedic interlude for the season, it is by far the funniest episode of the season thus far. The Trio’s arguments and divergent personalities make for some great amusement, escalating any episode they’re in.

    Buffy’s relief is short lived, when Giles offers her a cheque and she thanks him, tells him she feels safe and that knowing he will always be there assures her that she will be ok. Giles picks up on the negative of this statement. The longer he remains as Buffy’s financial and parental crutch she won’t take a healthy step over the line of responsibility she is slowly and reluctantly encroaching over. This makes palpable Giles leaving again, instead of feeling anger or annoyance at him for this we resonate with him. The decision he has made or is on the verge of making is one he hasn’t or won’t come to lightly, it is his ability to do the hard thing for the better much like in The Gift. This can be considered the best thing he can do for Buffy. To force her to be cohesive and stand tall, to become amenable to taking control.

    Like

  44. [Note: nitramneek posted this comment on December 28, 2011.]

    One thing I would like to know, where did the trio get all the money to pay for all the “toys” they have? Are they secretly robbing banks, liquor stores or stealing money from kiddies piggy banks? I would like to think they’re trust fund babies. If they are and I where them, I wouldn’t be living in Sunnydale. New York City perhaps, London, Paris, the French Riveria or maybe luxurious accommodations in San Quentin’s death row?

    Like

  45. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on December 28, 2011.]

    A demon they hired robbed a bank, nitramneek, in “Flooded” — the very bank Buffy was trying to get a loan from, actually.

    Like

  46. [Note: nitramneek posted this comment on December 28, 2011.]

    Sorry MikeJer I know, but I was making with the funny! Btw I love your reviews,being a newbie I find them very intelligent and insightful. I first started watching BtVS last year after subscribing to Netflix. Judging a book by it’s cover I always thought it would be a dumb show. I truly admit I was TOTALLY wrong. I now absolutely adore BtVS. I have become a true fan. It has finally replaced the Orignal Avengers as my favorite series. Yes Mikejer it has been, for me, an incredible journey. I totally agree with you, it’s about the characters, I love them now like family. I discovered your site not long ago, and thanks to you Mike, it has made made my continued journey with those characters even more of an enjoyable experience. Thanks Mike for all your hard work.

    Like

  47. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on December 28, 2011.]

    Ah, obviously that part of the joke went totally over my head. 🙂

    Don’t worry too much about thinking it was a dumb show: most of us (me included) have been there before. I’m glad you’re enjoying the site!

    Like

  48. [Note: BGAP posted this comment on March 9, 2012.]

    Instead of just showing the challenges of plugging back into school mid-semester, I wish the writers would have come up with some way for the first test to point out the downside of academia, in the way the other two tests reflected the downside of the construction and retail job. With construction, the demons brought out the macho/sexist quality of the job setting, while the ‘time loop’ subtly (and brilliantly) reflected how retail is often an endless repetition with customer service, (albeit in real life it’s with different customers) Still, a very enjoyable episode, especially because it reminded me of my advanced college classes when students would compete to offer up the most high minded abstractions that had nothing to do with real life, and then after college, with a humanities degree, when I had to work in construction and then retail to make ends meet.

    Like

  49. [Note: Rob W. posted this comment on July 14, 2012.]

    It’s really hard for me to have any sympathy for Giles here in early season six. Giles wants what, his own life? He’s told Buffy at different points that the Slayer role is a sacred obligation. If so, then as her watcher he is no less bound by this obligation. ‘Til death do us part, like a marriage. Willow saw it correctly back at the end of season three when she turned down the many offers from better schools out of state. Why would she want to be doing anything else? How could she go off and make a life as a professor or doctor or whatever somewhere else, knowing what’s going down in Sunnydale?

    What’s worse is that Giles actually draws a salary, while Buffy, who is at much higher risk and paying a much higher personal price, gets nothing. Possibly that’s because slayers rarely survive long enough to make a transition to adulthood, or it’s the patriarchal nature of the Council. Is it really such an act of sacrifice that he gives her money here? This BMW-driving watcher?

    Really, of course, her living expenses should be paid by Sunnydale, if not the UN, but if we accept that all this has to go on in secret, and that the Council isn’t going to reform its stodgy traditions, then Giles ought to be 100% in on the deal, and Willow and Tara, if they’re going to be living at 1630 Revello, need to be paying rent from their scholarship money or however it is they were paying for the dorm rooms before.

    Buffy isn’t the only one who needs to step up to the plate here.

    Like

  50. [Note: Gemma posted this comment on July 14, 2012.]

    I think that Giles leaving in this season was the right decision; albeit a harsh one.

    Going back to season five and Joyce’s death, Buffy relied on Giles that little bit more-note the episode tough love when Dawn was having problems with school and Buffy went straight to Giles asking him to be the one to put his foot down and be the parental figure. Events with Glory and then ultimately Buffy’s death prevented her from truly fulfilling the role she had been forced to play with Joyce’s death.

    Her resurrection in season 6 and her inability to reach out to her friends, to re-form the bonds of friendship and love with them and Dawn made it that ever so much harder for Buffy to grow into the mother figure and her resolute to not learn these lessons meant that she turned to Giles again, note the money he gives her in Flooded, the way she asked him to take care of the bills when she went to meet Angel and then once again asking him to be ‘dad’ to Dawn in the All the Way.

    If Giles hadn’t left and forced Buffy to be independent and yes alone (the harsh bit) she may never have been ready to show Dawn the world in Grave or walked back into the light with her friends after ending the relationship with Spike.

    I can resonate with people when they say that what he did was wrong, it did leave a vulnerable cut off Buffy but it was a lesson and a transition she needed to go through. I also recall that in the episodes toward the end of season 6 when he returned Buffy herself told him he was right to leave, but as i said i see both sides.

    Like

  51. [Note: Rob W. posted this comment on July 14, 2012.]

    These are excellent points, Gemma, and I agree that ultimately Giles has to step back and allow Buffy to find strength in herself. Especially if the series is at some level really not about vampires, but about growing up in the real world. I do very much appreciate how Buffy stands alone in the end rather than having to be completed by a male character of some sort, even though it saddens me that part of the mechanism has to be another Giles betrayal in Lies My Parents Told Me.

    We know that Buffy will soon need every ounce of that toughening in order to deal with the First, but that’s only in hindsight. I have to wonder what S6 might have been like if Giles had stuck around and if everyone had chipped in so that Buffy could have kept her focus on her calling and not had the life drained out of her by her financial responsibilities.

    But then I am always doing this, trying to wish away the very events and actions that create the conflicts, and thus the eventual resolutions, that draw me to BtVS in the first place.

    What Giles should have said to Willow in the kitchen in Flooded, for instance.

    Like

  52. [Note: Nina posted this comment on January 17, 2013.]

    Really wish they showed the reunion between Buffy and Angel! Damn network feuds! What made you think it didn’t go too well? What you think happened? I think Cordelia and Wesley did a good representation of what happened haha

    Like

  53. [Note: Nebula Nox posted this comment on October 30, 2013.]

    If the Council could supply a salary to Giles as a Watcher, why on earth couldn’t they give something to Buffy as a Slayer? It seems to me that supporting her financially – and other slayers in the past – would be extremely logical and reasonable.

    Like

  54. [Note: Ryan ONeil posted this comment on October 30, 2013.]

    But that would be admitting that Slayers were real people, rather than weapons to be replaced whenever necessary and/or convenient.

    Like

  55. [Note: Boscalyn posted this comment on April 18, 2014.]

    Admittedly I’m not a Bond fan– he always struck me as way too macho– but Sean Connery gets away with sexual assault and accidentally causes a lesbian’s death in Goldfinger, right? No wonder he’s Warren’s favorite.

    Like

  56. [Note: Boscalyn posted this comment on April 18, 2014.]

    Okay, so I looked this up and apparently the Bond debate is SUPER RELEVANT. From TVTropes:

    “On the subject of the Trio, rewatch their argument about different James Bonds. Warren prefers Connery, a swaggering “ladies’ man” who gets away with sexually assaulting women. Jonathan likes Roger Moore – charming, funny, by far the least gritty (something Warren, of course, mocks him for). Andrew, always the most awkward, sticks up for fandom underdog Timothy Dalton.”

    Like

  57. [Note: Grt2001 posted this comment on June 22, 2014.]

    My favorite parts of the episode are when Buffy makes faces and noises while drinking and the faces Spike makes while they are drinking. His expressions are cute and sexy.

    Like

  58. [Note: FlyingPenguin posted this comment on October 12, 2014.]

    For me, this episode is pretty great up until the scene at the end with Giles giving money to Buffy–and it’s at about this point that the first of my many big problems with season six really starts rearing its head. I would like to echo and expand on what Rob W. said in comment #53 above; I have long felt that not only Giles, but the show is horribly unfair to Buffy in this season. The money issue is the most obvious example. From season 1 on, the show has made the point that Buffy has a job–and an incredibly burdensome and dangerous one that she alone can do, at that. Very unfairly, though, it’s a job for which she is not paid–but Giles is! What’s more, at this point in the series, it even happens to be the case that Giles is only getting paid because Buffy demanded that the Council pay him (including back pay!) back in “Checkpoint.” Yet despite all of this, Giles giving money to Buffy in her dire need is treated like a generous favor, and Buffy’s relief at having Giles to fall back in is taken as a sign of her not stepping up and shouldering adult responsibility?! She’s been shouldering adult responsibility since she was 15 or so–and in my opinion, Giles owed her that money. He wouldn’t have an income himself if not for her!

    More generally, I get that the show was trying–in the spate of episodes from here through “Once More, With Feeling”–to say that Buffy is shirking responsibilities and becoming dependent on Giles, and so therefore he needs to leave in order to force her to stand on her own. I get that thematic idea. And I completely agree that there are times when a mentor/parent figure needs to do that. This wasn’t such a time, though. Buffy, to the extent that she was shirking responsibilities, wasn’t doing so because she was lazy, or wanted to be a kid, or lacked experience with functioning independently. She’d “stepped up” before, in ways way out of proportion to what is normally asked of someone her age, again and again (hell, in past seasons her friends often criticized her for going it alone too much, and not letting them help her!). Everyone knew that she could do it–and that Giles being there to help and support her had not “stood in the way” in the past. What’s different now is that she’s very recently traumatized on a level that most people can’t even really imagine, let alone relate to. This is not a time for stepping back and forcing her to “woman up.” This is a time for extra support!

    Rob’s other point–about lacking sympathy for Giles “wanting a life” in light of his history of emphasizing to Buffy that her slayerhood is a sacred calling–is also well-taken, and something that hadn’t ever explicitly occurred to me before.

    Like

  59. [Note: Vincent posted this comment on April 8, 2015.]

    A refreshing episode. I haven’t seen the rest of the season (I’m watching it right now, and I’ve never seen it before) but, even if the Trio is funny, I HOPE it’s NOT season 6 arch ? Because leaving Glory, The Key and all for… this ? It would be really lame.

    Besides that, like I said, it’s a refreshing episode. Really funny, really entertaining. I think, indeed, that after all the drama around Buffy’s temporary death, we NEEDED a funny moment. It’s done.

    Like

  60. [Note: Boscalyn posted this comment on April 8, 2015.]

    I mean, they do become the season villains, but the arc of the season is much more based around the core four coming apart.

    Like

  61. [Note: Pathbeyondthedark posted this comment on April 8, 2015.]

    They personify the theme of this season in more ways then one. The first being that Buffy is forced to tackle becoming an adult, and the fact her “nemeses… nemesisis…?” (I like the Trio as you can see) are ordinary humans reflects this. They aren’t super beings, not fantastical in nature.

    But more so then that, they are the path Buffy has chosen not to take: the easy route. They represent being trapped in childhood. Their obsession with all things “geek” in nature, stealing rather then earning, playing “villain” rather then actually being “villainous.”

    However, trust me, there’s more then meets the eye at this point when it comes to the Trio and their development, as well as to the “big bad” dilemma you’re speaking of. I don’t want to spoil it, but I think you should give them a chance to develop as the season continues with those things in mind, as well as the season itself. It may not end as you would expect.

    Like

  62. [Note: Vincent posted this comment on April 9, 2015.]

    Ok, I trust you. Don’t get me wrong, they’re fun (although a bit too cliché, with the porn, the hundred of geek references… but it was a long time ago so… maybe it wasn’t that cliché at the time), but for the moment I tend to find him really random, like a patchwork of funny characters with no apparent purpose.

    Anyway, like I said, I trust you. But I just have a question : at this point of the season, what’s their aim, exactly ? Apparently they don’t want to kill Buffy, so what do they want to do ?

    Like

  63. [Note: Pathbeyondthedark posted this comment on April 9, 2015.]

    That’s kind of the point, they have no real aim… yet. They are just playing around, like children. They’re acting out a fantasy which contrasts with Buffy having to face reality. They’ll come across as “lame and not intimidating” and that’s just how they were meant to be for the purpose of Buffy’s arc. Near the end, they’ll realize through one of them committing certain actions that it’s not all fun and games and through two instances specifically, that there are real consequences to said action and their “fantasy” comes crashing down around them.

    It gets intense near the end and everything should come full circle as to the purpose for you. You may just have to put up with their “randomness” for the time being. Just know it’s not all goofiness with them the entire way, they’ll wake up eventually and realize how insignificant they are.

    Like

  64. [Note: Courtney posted this comment on May 9, 2015.]

    The Trio’s overdone awe with “free cable porn.” I don’t think these guys are fourteen years old…

    We watched the same episode right? Free cable porn is the most action I’m sure any of these guys (robots aside) have seen. Lol

    Like

  65. [Note: Boscalyn posted this comment on May 26, 2015.]

    Okay, but that list has “Back and Back and Back to the Future” from Farscape on it.

    Which is not a good time loop episode, let alone good television.

    Like

  66. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on May 27, 2015.]

    Not sure why you despise that episode so much Bos. I mean it ain’t the greatest thing ever.. but at least it ain’t Jeremiah Crichton 🙂

    Like

  67. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on August 7, 2015.]

    Having now seen the White Tulip episode I’d say the best part of that one actually the very end. It gives you a lot to think about.

    Like

  68. [Note: MichaelJB posted this comment on November 16, 2015.]

    I love how the “fast forward” and the “time loop” are featured in the same episode. This is such a strange dichotomy, but on a metaphorical level, I feel like this matches up very well to where Buffy is right now – on the one hand, time and the world seem to be moving on and simply passing Buffy by (the visual of her crouching motionless while the world blurs in motion around her is incredibly powerful), while at the same time, Buffy is caught up in the seemingly motionless and mundane world of her new adult responsibilities.

    Like

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