Buffy 6×10: Wrecked

[Review by Mike Marinaro]

[Writer: Marti Noxon | Director: David Solomon | Aired: 11/27/2001]

Between the wonderful Buffy/Willow parallels and the potently revealing Buffy/Spike scenes, you’d think we’d have the beginnings of a great episode. But oh no, it turns out those two pieces are the primary things keeping this episode afloat. Here lies, at least what many people consider, another major candidate for the title of “worst episode in the entire series.” Just like “Beer Bad” [4×05] , the ‘significant other,’ I can’t, in my right mind, agree with that assessment — there’s plenty worse than this in S1 (and “Where the Wild Things Are” [4×18] for that matter).

But I’m not going to stand here and simply defend this episode against all the bile thrown at it. Instead, I’m going to outline its strengths and very apparent weaknesses. “Wrecked” actually does earn some of the bile thrown at it, especially when it comes to how poorly Willow is (mostly) characterized in what begins here and is carried over into a few subsequent episodes. But I beg of all you, gentle readers, to please take a step back and be willing to see what “Wrecked” actually does right! Yes, there are things it does right, so let me jump right in to explaining them.

It’s the ‘morning after’ for Buffy and Willow and the fact that everyone is out of the Summers’ home besides Dawn and Tara solidifies, even further, how Tara is the only one fully there for Dawn when she needs someone right now. I really love the relationship these two have developed while everyone else is all caught up in their own shit. Speaking of being caught up, check out Buffy having a seriously hard time pulling herself away from Spike after an entire night of crazy sex times (to put it very softly). In what is likely the best scene in the episode, Buffy only notices that the house came down around them when she wakes up the next morning. There are cuts and bruises all over her along with, even more interestingly, Spike.

Buffy’s clearly completely disgusted with herself over her actions here, and she should be. Although she claims her reason for bolting right there is because she left Dawn alone all night, we can see that that’s not really the entire truth. This is made all the more evident when Spike grabs her and starts touching her (again, going with the subtle here). Buffy says “stop!” Spike simply responds, “make me.” What’s interesting here is that we all know Buffy could easily make Spike stop in this situation, but she doesn’t. Instead she gives into her urges and starts kissing him again. This is particularly important to take note of because it directly relates to Spike’s attempted rape of Buffy in “Seeing Red” [6×19] , of which I’ll definitely cover later.

Here, though, we quickly see that their kissing is becoming a lot more than that. Unfortunately for Spike he makes a big mistake by blurting out, “I knew the only thing better than killing a slayer would be-” This comment not only puts on display what we’ve known for a while is one of Spike’s perverted fantasies (i.e. wanting consensual sex with a slayer), but it also underscores Buffy’s current limit to the degradation she’s willing to be a part of.

Spike thinks that vampires simply “get you hot.” Buffy’s response, though, is both truthful, brutal, and actually quite mean: “A vampire got me hot. One. But he’s gone. You’re just… You’re just convenient.” Even though Spike’s still an fairly evil creature, I’ve got to sympathize with his reaction here. Ow. Spike’s been fueling this fire to an extent, but Buffy’s just being downright bad here — to herself and to Spike. Buffy is clearly trying to convince herself this isn’t big deal, but Spike doesn’t buy it for a second and calls what happened a “bloody revelation! … I may be dirt… but you’re the one who likes to roll in it, Slayer.” The acting in this entire scene is superb.

Buffy’s response here is also extremely foreshadowy of her actions to come. Although she is open to Spike about it now, it’s something she feels she can’t tell anyone else. It’s not until “Dead Things” [6×13] that she fully realizes the effect that using Spike for sex is having on her. Many people find the Buffy/Spike relationship as something awful but I, once again, feel the opposite. The reason why is summed up by Buffy and Spike themselves. Buffy tells him, “Get a grip. Like you’re God’s gift.” Spike’s reply of, “Hardly. Wouldn’t be nearly as interesting, would it?,” is extremely true, and is my entire point.

The fact that Spike is a soulless, murderous vampire yet Buffy has had and continues to have extremely rough sex with him translates to some extremely compelling television for me. Why is this so compelling you might ask? Well, it’s because it is completely believable based on the characters’ histories and the build-up that goes straight back to Buffy’s near suicide attempt in “Bargaining Pt. 2” [6×02] . Then “Once More, with Feeling” [6×07] succinctly summed up the need for Buffy to feel anything to make her suicidal and depressive tendencies disappear. This is precisely why Spike himself says “wouldn’t be nearly as interesting” if he was “God’s gift.”

Through this physical relationship, it appears Buffy has largely accomplished her goal of feeling something other than the cold, but what’s left in its place is a huge emotional mess that’ll take a good part of the season to figure out and work through… as it should be. After all, how many people just ‘get over’ wanting themselves dead and/or having an addiction in just a few weeks? Exactly…

Later, while trying to find Dawn, Buffy tells Spike that their night together was the most perverse, degrading experience of her entire life. Even though that seems to be intended as an insult to Spike and an excuse for her to end it here, Spike’s response of “yeah, me too” instead diffuses her digust. Spike also tells her that he’s in her system now and that she’ll crave him for sexual pleasure. As we know, he’s not wrong here even though Buffy’ll never openly admit it.

As has been demonstrated by all the awesome I’ve just pointed out in regard to Buffy and Spike, “Wrecked” does an extremely admirable job of showing us the why and the how of this joining and is even willing to dig a bit deeper. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Willow. First I’d just like to make a mention of Tara. As Willow and Buffy straggle home, they find Tara and Dawn in the kitchen together. Amy essentially blurts out what Willow did the previous night, which completely spoils Dawn’s lie about Willow doing better. Tara just has to rightfully bolt at this point. Good for her!

Here’s where the positives start to disappear though. Amy describes Rack to Willow, and it’s already far too obvious that this episode’s plainly and openly about drugs. My problem with this is twofold. First is that “Wrecked” is just so damn heavy-handed and un-subtle in its approach of the topic. Second is that, even if this was an episode that subtly paralleled drugs via addictionish magical symptoms and nothing more, the episodes that follow it prove to be this one’s utter downfall and skid Willow’s character development right off course from the promising direction it was headed.

Instead of continuing the theme of control and power that Willow had started way back in the beginning of the series, “Wrecked” derails that course and tries to launch a new idea that Willow’s problem all this time was a simple substance abuse, which is honestly a much less interesting problem even if it was protrayed better. Even though the end of the season and S7 largely correct this flaw, it doesn’t alter the fact that the middle of S6 suffers because of it. This, in reality, is “Wrecked”‘s biggest fault, and it’s a big one at that.

The ‘drug’ scenes here are simply heavy-handed. The down and out people waiting for the dealer to give them the goods, the crazy psychadelic trips, the spinning, the wacky music, etc. All way overdone. You know something’s wrong when Willow’s crying in the shower and I simply don’t care because of how poorly what she went through was handled. Additionally, Amy later scavenging Buffy’s house for magic weed? Come on… how much more over the top do we really need to go here? Oh yeah, a car crash with Buffy’s little sister!

The ‘withdrawl’ scene at the end is just another over-the-top touch. If we have to see this detour in Willow’s character development, couldn’t it at least be something unique to magic rather than treating her situation as if she was on actual drugs? Buffy and the garlic gloves are much better, but I’m a little confused on whether garlic would do any good anyway. We’ve never seen garlic mentioned or shown to do anything to vamps before.

Even though the Willow thread was handled extremely poorly here, there’s still some great dialogue in the conversation between Buffy and Willow towards the end. Willow finally admits that the reason Tara left was because of her magic overuse. It’s also here, where we finally get an awesome piece of truth about what Willow’s problem truly is: “I mean, if you could be regular Willow or super Willow, who would you be? … Who was I? Just some girl. Tara didn’t even know that girl.” See, now that’s more of what I’m looking for! Willow’s magic use was always a cover for the insecurity inside her — something that gave “mousey” Willow power. Tara didn’t, in fact, ever know Mousey Willow, which is why her admission of that is so refreshing to hear. For proof of this, please direct your attention back to the Buffy character bible that is “Restless” [4×22] .

I just wish the rest of Willow’s material in this episode was as interesting as this brilliant flash of insight. At least we’ve got Buffy, who when Willow goes on about what she’s done lately, shows realization via her eyes that she’s done personally disgusting things as well (although not nearly as bad as what Willow’s been doing). Willow’s comments about being free of herself exactly reflects how Buffy feels about sex with Spike — her ability to get away from her resurrection depression. It’s even more interesting to me that even though Buffy is the one to give Willow the pep talk, she herself ends up enjoying the freedom of being ‘gone’ in just the next episode. Clearly Buffy recognizes her problem, but can’t stop until well after she, too, bottoms out like Willow. It’s an unfortunately truth in life that realizing you have a problem is a long way from actually doing something about it.

Before wrapping this review up, I just want to mention that the Magic Box sequences researching the stolen diamond go on for too long. The endless research of something obviously not in the books they’re looking in gets pretty boring after so long. Although I like that Buffy would rather sit and stare aimlessly at books than go to Spike for help at this point. I also like how she makes a ton of excuses for Willow’s behavior that, as I’ve already pointed out, very clearly — and she knows it — parallels herself.

Overall, this is a very problematic episode that still has some really good material in it. Although I understand why people have problems with it — and valid problems they are — I do not understand why everyone just calls it a lost cause altogether. Big problems? Yes. Still some great scenes mixed into it? You bet! It’s those handful of quality moments that really keep this episode from diving into the nebulous wasteland that is the D-range. It really doesn’t deserve an F either because, although it failed at part of what it was trying to do, it succeedly wonderfully at the other. I only give out F’s when everything fails. For all of “Wrecked”‘s problems, it still has great Buffy/Spike interaction, a great Buffy/Willow scene, and solid pacing (sans Magic Box scenes). All those large pluses have to count for something, don’t they?


Minor Pros/Cons (+/-)

+ Dawn saying Buffy looks all “sore and limpy.” Poor Dawn’s left all alone and doesn’t have a clue what’s going on around her other than things keep getting worse.
+ The idea that too much magic causes its user burnout.
+ The entrance to Rack’s place is pretty neat.
+ How scared Rack is when sensing the amount of pure power Willow’s accumulated and doesn’t even know she has yet.
+ Willow magically re-animating one of Tara’s outfits. Very touching!
+ Dawn making peanut butter and banana quesadillas. Awesome!
+ I love the subtle “hungry and horny” reference Dawn unknowingly makes: “[Buffy’s] such a pig when she kills things.” It gets us thinking about Faith, which is particularly important, thematically, in “Dead Things” [6×13] .
+ Buffy turning around while Spike puts his clothes on. I love Spike’s comment about having her “blushing eyes.”
+ Cool effect of Willow magically scorching the demon.


[Score]

62/100

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102 thoughts on “Buffy 6×10: Wrecked”

  1. [Note: Dingdongalistic posted this comment on July 27, 2007.]

    To me this, overall, just has the edge over Smashed as an episode. Yes, it’s got many flaws, but the unsubtly people complain about was already present in Smashed, and no worse than in that episode, and on the character front it works well, certainly far better than Willow’s late season development, despite the execution of the ‘drugs’ story – and even then, despite the unsubtly and unsuitability of the execution, it still works, because of its character and general concept believability. Payoff often works better than build-up, and generally this is a case in point. It shouldn’t, however, have come midseason, as it resulted in the next string of episodes that were mainly unnecessary and just plain boring.

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  2. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on July 27, 2007.]

    I also though this episode had major flaws, but I still like it. Scenes between Buffy and Spike worked very well for me, I loved the reanimation of one of Tara`s dresses(like you mentioned), that was awesome and just the scenes Buffy/Willow. For me, Alyson Hannigan did a good job in this episode. But I still say that, even though the Willow thing didn`t work out for me, I don`t know why but I don`t like when they`re comparing magics to drugs.
    BTW, good review and I was still kind of surprised by your score. I feel that this episode, for me has a score of 55.

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  3. [Note: WorldWithoutShrimp posted this comment on July 27, 2007.]

    I liked your review, and it got me thinking about some things in this episode. I haven’t seen it in a while, but I must say that the main problem is that the drug metaphor really doesn’t make that much sense compared with what we have seen of Willow and magic in the past. The episode does have strengths, which you have pointed out, and I’ll add that if you are willing to buy the metaphor, this actually is a sort of decent episode about drugs. It is just a horrible episode about magic as it has been portrayed thus far in the series. I agree with buffyholic that Alyson Hannigan’s performance was good, and I’d add that the bad Bronze magic scene in Smashed kind of sets up the viewer for the bungled analogy they use here, but… still.

    I disagree that drug addiction is not a very interesting problem. A truly great series which I recommend wholeheartedly to every is Homicide: Life on the Street, and while that was not about drug addiction per se, it was about the effects that drugs and drug-related crime had on the city of Baltimore. While this isn’t the place to be singing Homicide’s virtues, I’m just going to say that if they really wanted to do a magic-drug analogy from the beginning in Buffy, they could have made it very interesting. But they didn’t. And it is not.

    BTW, mikejer, the picture on the front page links to your review of “Smashed”, not to “Wrecked”.

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  4. [Note: Dingdongalistic posted this comment on July 27, 2007.]

    “I haven’t seen it in a while, but I must say that the main problem is that the drug metaphor really doesn’t make that much sense compared with what we have seen of Willow and magic in the past.”

    Doesn’t it? We’ve seen her constantly addicted to expanding and going further with her magic since season 5; stands to reason that the power and feeling have an addictive quality.

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  5. [Note: WorldWithoutShrimp posted this comment on July 27, 2007.]

    I guess so, but it never seemed like using magic had drug-like symptoms. There certainly was an addictive quality, but it was never shown to be like a real-world drug.

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  6. [Note: bookworm posted this comment on July 27, 2007.]

    okay, I say it again: I’m much softer towards “wrecked” than you are right now. I was pissed off with the turn it took, but right now, I made up my mind towards it a little different.

    as you say, mike, recognizing a problem doesn’t mean doing the right thing to solve it. and that’s what’s happening here. By understanding her problems just as “drug abuse” Willow clouds her judgement on what nature the problem is kind of, which leads into the big crash by season end…

    trying to solve a problem the wrong way only helps so much… and I think it’s a powerful experience in real life, to find out only after years of what nature the problem you have is/ was…

    btw, even I don’t like Rack, the cloaked place, “the tour”, I still like the trips. they’re cool…

    oh, and I want to point out again, that Buffy wanting Spike to want HER and not just another skank, points out her superiority complex about herself, not the degrading thing…

    And Buffy waking up horrified is not an emotion she should feel, but an emotion which is totally in character. Buffy wouldn’t be herself if she was just cool about it… but if she would be, I wouldn’t have a problem with it. Torturing herself because of wanting to live up to the picture she has of herself makes it harder to accept the missteps… she knows why she’s doing it, she knows what she wants from Spike, and instead of explaining these things in a cold c.s.i.-like manner to Spike and Willow, she beats herself up over it…

    which Buffy from season eight wouldn’t do anymore…

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  7. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on July 27, 2007.]

    I know what you`re trying to say, bookworm. But for me that doesn`t work. As for Rack, I only don`t like him in Two To Go.
    I have to say that I don`t find any Buffy episode bad, even the average ones have some good qualities, like this one and please, don`t attack me but Gone and DMP have good qualities too.

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  8. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on July 27, 2007.]

    Ok, lots to respond to.

    First, DD: I can’t agree with you at all here. “Wrecked” is way more in your face than “Smashed” (aside from the Willow/Amy magic fest at the very end of it). And while I wouldn’t mind as much if they had taken the addiction route with actual magic, they instead went with an over-the-top, cliche, and blunt drug episode. This episode is barely even about magic. Why couldn’t what Rack gave her actually have her do very wacky magical things. For example, instead of thinking she was in space (like anyone who’s wacked out can), she should have literally been in space. Additionally, Willow’s abusing and addicted to magic, sure, but that’s only a by-product of her root problems, which are only briefly discussed in the excellent Buffy/Willow scene. There’s just far too many problems with the execution of this episode on the Willow front.

    WWS: I actually agree with you. I also didn’t mean to say that all drug stories are less interesting, but rather that a blatant drug story is less interesting for Willow based on her character development before this. And, btw, thanks for the heads up on the link. It’s fixed.

    bookworm: I’m glad you recognize that it’s in Buffy’s character to be disgusted with herself after that experience. But if she didn’t feel bad about it, I would definately have a problem with it because I don’t care which way you cut it, a human having sexual relationship with a shady, soulless vampire is never a good thing. It’s simply not healthy (from an emotional standpoint) no matter which way you cut it.

    buffyholic: I also think “Gone” and DMP have good qualities.

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  9. [Note: Dingdongalistic posted this comment on July 27, 2007.]

    I guess so, but it never seemed like using magic had drug-like symptoms. There certainly was an addictive quality, but it was never shown to be like a real-world drug.

    Certainly, but that doesn’t rule it out. And I tend to think that if something demonstrates an addictive quality, it can almost certainly be made into a drug if there’s the demand.

    First, DD: I can’t agree with you at all here.

    Heh. Wouldn’t have been the first time.

    “Wrecked” is way more in your face than “Smashed” (aside from the Willow/Amy magic fest at the very end of it).

    To me, that’s a good amount of it. Despite which, the episode is also just as unsubtle in moments earlier. Wrecked merely carries on in the same trend. It goes towards a more direct parallel, as well, which is a pity, but all in all it’s just as unsubtle overall.

    And while I wouldn’t mind as much if they had taken the addiction route with actual magic, they instead went with an over-the-top, cliche, and blunt drug episode.

    This is a problem, and they should have focused on the addictive and corruptive effects of the magic’s power and effects; and it is a major problem with the episode, but one I think was introduced by Smashed, and was a problem with this story as a whole in its execution post Once More With Feeling.

    This episode is barely even about magic.

    This is where I start to disagree.

    Why couldn’t what Rack gave her actually have her do very wacky magical things. Instead of thinking she was in space (like anyone who’s wacked out can), she should have literally been in space.

    This is far from the only aspect of the magic as drugs metaphor execution, and in other places is is more directly magic and its effects. There is a large problem, however.

    Additionally, Willow’s abusing and addicted to magic, sure, but that’s only a by-product of her root problems, which are only briefly discussed in the excellent Buffy/Willow scene. There’s just far too much problems with the execution of this episode on the Willow front.

    All agreed, but the magic as drugs metaphor still works, mainly because it’s such a believable metaphor. It’s severely flawed compared to Buffy’s average standard with such, but compared with the average standard the season was heading in, it works a lot better than it should have. As for what happens after, however.

    I also think “Gone” and DMP have good qualities.

    Oh dear. This, I hope you realise, is leading to a major clash between us. 😉

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  10. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on July 27, 2007.]

    DD: I didn’t say “Gone” and DMP are good episodes, just that they have good qualities within them. Although maybe they are good episodes. Maybe even GREAT! You’ll just have to wait and find out. :p

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  11. [Note: Dingdongalistic posted this comment on July 27, 2007.]

    “DD: I didn’t say “Gone” and DMP are good episodes, just that they have good qualities within them. Although maybe they are good episodes. Maybe even GREAT! You’ll just have to wait and find out. :p”

    I suppose even I think that they have one or two good qualities in them… And your current score of ‘F’ on the episode page looks promising, to say the least. :p

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  12. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on July 27, 2007.]

    Haha. I’m sure you’re aware of this, DD, but I want to be clear so no one else is confused: what DD is talking about is just the episode template that will load for every un-reviewed episode. So no, every episode from “Gone” onward is not getting a score of ‘F.’ 🙂

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  13. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on July 27, 2007.]

    Mikejer, I can`t wait for your reviews on DMP, Gone, Older and Far Away and most importantly, Dead Things.I have a feeling they`re gonna be quite a surprise!

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  14. [Note: Dingdongalistic posted this comment on July 27, 2007.]

    Oh yes, I knew :D. Sorry, old habits die hard and all that, but I got used to doing that trick to try and read stuff early that people had put up but thoughtlessly forgotten to link to on other sites. Still, it worked a couple of times on here, too, which is partially why I got a response to your review of ‘Spiral’ up so quick. Sorry.

    …even if I did muck up the blockquote html tags. For some reason you have to wrap p tags around them if you want them to work when using these things, which is why I only bother for long posts.

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  15. [Note: Dingdongalistic posted this comment on July 27, 2007.]

    I’m just looking forward to the review of Normal Again, and expecting something very detailed. So no pressure. I also hope you’re not as easy on Gone as Ryan was on Double or Nothing and Couplet. (No offence, Ryan, just PO and all that.)

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  16. [Note: Dingdongalistic posted this comment on July 27, 2007.]

    Okay, a little more from me:

    Instead of continuing the theme of control and power that Willow had started way back in the beginning of the series, “Wrecked” derails that course and tries to launch a new idea that Willow’s problem all this time was a simple substance abuse,

    I don’t think Wrecked was ever trying to insinuate that her problem all the way was this substance abuse, merely that the effects and control of it led to that. It was supposed to lead up to the greater themes of power and control later in the season. Unfortunately, placing it as early on as it was was perhaps a mistake, because that’s what leads to episodes like Gone, Doublemeat Palace, All the Way, and that one about Dawn that doesn’t do a lot. It also, as I’ve said above, does draw on the progressing overall themes in Willow’s character development, just not brilliantly and with a misplaced focus.

    which is honestly a much less interesting problem even if it was protrayed better. Even though the end of the season and S7 largely correct this flaw,

    I think the end of the season derails Willow’s characterisation far more than Wrecked, particularly in the important themes. Wrecked delves into a specific narrow aspect to Willow’s season-wide themes, whereas the finale completely derails them into something far, far more simplistic than they were ever about.

    it doesn’t alter the fact that the middle of S6 suffers because of it.

    Well, I think the middle of S6 suffers far more because of Wrecked’s placing than its specific problems.

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  17. [Note: rick posted this comment on July 27, 2007.]

    Mike, I’m impressed by the review, but not by the score. I tend to agree with DD on this episode…it falls in the B range for me. Most of the problems with Wrecked lay in the fact that it starts off a theme which is rather boring and characterization which is poorer than it could have been. But what they do with Willow, fundamentally, is not unbelieveable…just unsubtle. And I can’t slash the ep too much for that. Thus I tend to agree that Wrecked isn’t bad because of itself, but because of its placing in the season.
    Like you, Id prefer if they had skipped the addicition metaphor, but in truth, I have to say it’s completely believable.
    Score: 75 (which may be a little too high I admit)

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  18. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on July 27, 2007.]

    Rick, I just find that the large amounts of bluntness in this episode significantly hurt it. They just go way overboard with hitting you in the head with Willow’s ‘drug’ addiction. I find that those chunks of this episode are really hard to watch.

    The lesser (in terms of screen time) rest of the episode is actually pretty good. In terms of how to weight the good and the bad, taking into consideration the episode’s main focus is Willow, not anyone else, I think my score is just right. It’s not the abysmal episode people make it out to be, but it’s certain not B-worthy either. Looking at the episode in the best way possible, I’d give it a 65 (C), but that’s about all I’d concede score-wise at this point.

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  19. [Note: monkeypants posted this comment on July 27, 2007.]

    If garlic really wards off vamps, shouldn’t she just eat a lot of it? Then she wouldn’t have to worry about him kissing her.

    I agree with everyone who says that the whole power/control dynamic of magic was a way more interesting storyline than one of drug addiction, but I don’t think it’s really fair to say that a magic-drug metaphor is completely out of left field. Let me try to think of some examples….”No Place Like Home,” when Buffy did that trance thing, she was totally smoking up. See the incense to cover the smell, the towel in the door, the lighting/effects when she was in the trance. It reeked of her getting high…Giles’ whole deal with his dark past reminded me of 60’s drug culture but I haven’t seen that episode in awhile…And wasn’t there stuff in the beginning of Giles not wanting Willow to do spells, acting as if they were sort of, for lack of a better term, gateway drugs. There are probably others as well.

    Don’t get me wrong, the magicks-drug-addiction storyline was less interesting, poorly executed, and subtle as a sledgehammer, I’m totally on board – but I just don’t get it when people say there’s never been any sort of relationship/analogy between magic and drugs.

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  20. [Note: WorldWithoutShrimp posted this comment on July 28, 2007.]

    Magic had a certain drug-like quality in “The Dark Age”, but it had been used as metaphors for lots of things before “Wrecked”, and usually not drugs. The problem with “Wrecked” is that the concept of useless drug-spells like the ones that Rack is pushing is ridiculous. Just because magic is addictive doesn’t mean there are spells which act EXACTLY like real-world drugs. “Wrecked” isn’t even a metaphor any more; Willow is actually taking drugs, just supernatural drugs.

    I stand by my comment that a drug storyline could have been just as interesting, if they had gone that way from the beginning and really explored all of its possibilities, but coming at this stage in the series, it just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

    Having said that, I don’t think “Wrecked” is absolutely awful or anything. I would probably even give it more points than mikejer. But I do think that the basic concept of the episode was a mistake.

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  21. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on July 28, 2007.]

    I agree, WWS. Everything not related to Willow`s drug adiction worked fine for me. But I still say that Willow underwent through really major changes.

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  22. [Note: Mez posted this comment on July 29, 2007.]

    Just to be picky:

    While they’ve never USED garlic against vampires in the show, it’s been MENTIONED as an option twice.

    1) In The Harvest, Buffy is giving Xander a list of vampire fighting options. Including: “garlic, crosses, stake through the heart. Got it. Anything else?”

    2) In Buffy Vs Dracula, Willow is discussing what they’ve researched, and says: “Mostly stuff we already knew. Turn offs: Wood, fire, crosses, garlic. Turn ons: nice duds, minions, long slow bites that last for days…”

    So, technically, garlic does work against Buffy vamps.

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  23. [Note: LibMax posted this comment on August 22, 2007.]

    I always thought drugs was a poorly-chosen metaphor for Willow’s magic problem for the reason MikeJer identifies – Willow isn’t looking for a “high,” she’s looking for power. But something that’s easy to overlook in this episode is that a lot of the most blatant “It’s drugs, man” imagery comes from Amy, and I’m pretty sure it’s intentional on her part.

    Think of the scene with Amy and Buffy in Willow’s room, where Amy is clutching the baggie of sage and acting all strung-out and pathetic. She deliberately wound up The Slayer and sent her, furious, after Willow. I wish there’d been a shot of Amy grinning at her handiwork after Buffy left to underline the point, but it’s clear in retrospect, from Doublemeat Palace and other episodes, that Amy is Willow’s enemy and deliberately trying to destroy her. Which means the druggie act was all part of the plan to freak Buffy out.

    BTW, I never liked the reason advanced in The Killer In Me for why Amy hated Willow. It seems obvious to me that there’s a much better reason. Willow let Amy rot in that damned cage for, what, three years? Three of what should have been the best years of her life, in youth, beauty, health, and power. How much of that time did Willow spend actually trying to bring Amy back? Maybe two or three weeks altogether, out of three years? And when Willow finally did bring Amy back, simply by giving it a moment’s thought (!), it was because her girlfriend had walked out on her and Willow was feeling lonely.

    I’ve always wondered if ME avoided that explanation of Amy’s feelings toward Willow because it would have come too close to putting Amy in the right, or at least giving her a valid point.

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  24. [Note: LibMax posted this comment on August 22, 2007.]

    About the garlic, didn’t they use strings of garlic bulbs as a prop during at least one or two of the uninviting spells, when Willow undid a vampire’s invitation into Buffy’s house? The one of these I remember off the top of my head was in Crush, an episode which might have been named solely for the look on Spike’s face when that door shut (crushed).

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  25. [Note: Tranquillity posted this comment on September 9, 2007.]

    i pretty much agree with the review. the Buffy/spike scenes are really good and i think you made a good point about tara and dawn which i shows the real amazingness of the show – that two characters who have rarely shared a solo scene in the past could carry off a ‘mother-daughter’ scene with no hint of contrivance. Also i always thing its interesting that Buffy dismisses Spike by saying that he is just “Convenient” when there is plainly nothing ‘convenient’ about him at all!

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

    Personally, I think all this episode was missing was a PSA drug factoid stated at the end(1 in 4 teens experiment with drugs…or something like that). I’m not fond of being preached to, and I felt like I was in this episode. The metaphor went way beyond heavy-handed. What clinched it for me was Amy steal sage…stealing sage??? WTF?? Get that girl to the grocery store!

    I find it much more interesting to think of Willow as becoming addicted to the POWER that magic gives her. Not the actual magic, itself. And that’s actual something that is done at the very end of the season (which I actually, enjoy).

    But I would definitely add points because we get not one, but two naked Spike scenes(fangirl moment. okay, it’s over).

    I really don’t think the Buffy/Willow parallel works incredibly well. Having sex with Spike like she is is bad. But not bad on the level of nearly getting your best friend’s sister killed. And I know that Buffy’s behavior is completely in character, but it’s hard for me to watch how she treats Spike during most of this season. Course, Spike rises to the occasion for the most part and gives as good as he’s getting (which culminates in Seeing Red…which is an episode that I usually just can’t watch because it upsets me too much).

    I think the hardest part is that Spike truly doesn’t understand how damaging the relationship is for Buffy. In his mind, he’s having fantastic sex with the woman he loves. He doesn’t understand why it’s so bad, and he doesn’t understand her attitude toward him. That’s something he won’t be able to fully grasp until he goes and gets himself a soul, which allows him to realize what was actually going on.

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  27. [Note: wilpy1 posted this comment on March 8, 2008.]

    A couple of neat moments of characterisation in an indisputably dire episode shouldn’t justify it as a recommendable episode, in my opinion. ‘Wrecked’ is easily one of the worst episodes of the series. ‘Where The Wild Things Are’, ‘Teachers Pet’, and ‘I Robot You Jane’ might have it beat, but that’s not saying much. ‘Wrecked’ is just bad TV.

    As for the Willow arc of season six, I agree with Dingdongalistic in that an episode like this dealing with Willow’s abuse of magic should’ve been later on in the season. It would’ve been far, far more interesting to see Willow overcome with her power, and her personality suffering more and more for it. The heavy-handed drug parallels are plain cringeworthy. An addiction to power itself is far more interesting a concept than the recycled drug shit we have to endure in most dramas. I’m so glad season 7 got that back on track. (Although, after the drug metaphor in s6, I have doubts that the sudden semantic change of what magic meant on the show wasn’t conveyed so well. I mean, Willow goes to the equivalent of rehab, and yet she’s still using magic. It’s now strictly seen as ‘power’, but the drug thing still permeates the theme, and I’m not sure it gives the right impression…)

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  28. [Note: jun posted this comment on March 16, 2008.]

    Additionally, Amy later scavenging Buffy’s house for magic weed?

    I was just watching this yesterday and I had to stop after this scene, because it was late and I realized I didn’t want to sacrifice sleep to watch such crud.

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

    just incase your reading this n aint seen it, it IS a good episode, the mini arc of eps 9, 10, and 11 were great i thought, with Buffy nSpike on top form. it rounded off a v.good first half of the season. Disc 3 is 85/100.

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  30. [Note: Joseph posted this comment on May 30, 2008.]

    I would have liked if the drug take had been the take of ONE of the scoobies – Buffy would have a different take on the overuse of magic, Willow a different take, Xander and Anya and Tara and Dawn, all reflecting a different part of what one huge thing Willow was going through. This one was just boring to watch sometimes.

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  31. [Note: Llinnae posted this comment on June 12, 2008.]

    Unlike most people I found this episode to be a very insightful exploration of the origins of addiction. Although I agree that a drug/magic metaphore on a pysical level would be contrived, the parallel between Buffy’s sexual addiction and Willow’s magic addiction demonstrated that the addiction represented had psychological levels, as with, arguably, any other addiction. (For example Spike telling Buffy that she would “crave” him showed the parallel between emotional and physical addiction). This episode raised the question of whether addiction is primarily the result of a substance’s power or the “victim’s” emotional vulnerability (in other words was Willow’s addiction to “magic” due to the magic’s physical power over her body or the psychological power it allowed an insecure- as shown numerous times, notably in “Restless”- personnality to experiment with?).
    Aside from this point raised, I also like this episode because I feel that it was vital for the rest of the season. Willow simply had to sink this low in order to quit cold turkey and therefore rend her return to the magic in the season’s finale that much more powerful and effective.
    The psychological aspect of this addiction is furhter demonstrated by the fact that Xander pulling at Willow’s heart strings acts as the cure for her self-destruction, antoher link to the magic being a metaphore for addiction in general, not just a physical drug addiction.
    For these reasons and the fact that the acting in this episode was extremely well done, i feel that this episode has been misjugded due to ppl’s quick, one-dimensional interpretation of the drug metaphore. “Wrecked” deserves at least a B+ in my opinion!

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  32. [Note: Llinnae posted this comment on June 12, 2008.]

    Furthermore, the fact that this episode has received so many comments shows that it can be interpreted in different ways or at least that it makes ppl think about it enough to form strong opinions.

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  33. [Note: Seymour posted this comment on August 9, 2008.]

    Sadly, I think this episode makes people think mostly because they are wondering “why is this episode so dissatisfying?” Buffy works as a show in part because of the strengths of its metaphors. Being a vampire can stand for any number of things: raw sexual passion, for being isolated from mainstream society, or for the destructive behavior of a guy the morning after. Metaphors work best when they are not a one-to-one replacement; otherwise metaphor degrades to mere allegory which becomes much more simplistic and less resonate. I don’t think any of us would have been interested in watching 7 seasons of Pilgrim’s Progress done with vampires.

    In this episode, all the metaphors for magic (power, temptation, mystery, sex, insight, spirituality, etc.) get reduced to a simplistic magic=drugs equation. Not only that, it is done in such a way which invalidates the previous meanings and nature of magic on the show. As Mikejer mentioned, the only real exception is Willow’s “just some girl” insight, which brings back a bit magic as a means to power, and helps re-establish Willow’s motivations a bit.

    It’s sad, because I do like the parallels of Buffy’s and Willow’s both giving in to the darker sides of their natures, Buffy’s defense of Willow’s early actions in the episode, and how believable Buffy’s attempts to escape from herself through sex are.

    I just wish magic had been handled better this part of the season, because it both is wasted potential and antithetical to how magic is handled in the rest of the series.

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  34. [Note: Tom_ posted this comment on August 12, 2008.]

    In addition to what Mez pointed out, we do see garlic being used before.

    In Passion, we see garlic at the Summers’ house, near the door I believe, and also in Cordelia’s car, which is freaking funny since she had thought she was in dangeour for having invited Angel to her car before he became Angelus.

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  35. [Note: Tara posted this comment on March 22, 2009.]

    Wrecked is a difficult one for me to rate. The Buffy-Spike scenes were brilliant: I’m so glad we got to see the ‘morning after’ scene. I also liked the reference to Angel, which is something that happens quite a bit this Season – a nice foreshadowing to Spike getting his soul in Grave.

    Unfortunately, the Willow scenes – the bulk of this episode – were just plain awful. The Willow-on-drugs was so blatent that I hesitate to even call it metaphor.

    The whole ‘magic addict’ angle pissed me off a lot. Especially as I thought Willow’s magic arc started promisingly at the beginning of the Season and was well set up; she was becoming over-reliant on her magic, and starting to abuse her power. That in itself was sufficient to carry the storyline. We didn’t need images of Willow in a slutty outfit stoned out of her brain, spinning round on the ceiling. It was both ridiculous and, to be honest, rather patronising. I always liked Buffy for it’s subtle use of metaphors that didn’t beat its viewers over the head with its message.

    Anyway, how do you get ‘addicted’ to magic in the first place? Reliant on it, sure. Using it for the wrong reasons, undoubtedly – just look at Ethan Rayne. Giles acknowledged in The Dark Age that the feeling of power is intoxicating, but how do you become physically addicted with an actual high and then burnout and withdrawal from magic, for God’s sake? how do you become physically addicted with an actual high and then burnout and withdrawal after only one visit? Are there Class A drugs stashed in those seemingly innocent ingredients that Amy tries to steal? Did Rack stick a needle into Willow’s arm while he was doing all the crazy magic shit on her? That must be one strong magic drug to get you hooked on your first attempt. Especially as Amy has been a rat for the last three years and still needs that fix of Rack-y goodness.

    And on the subject of Amy, what the hell was with the scene of her breaking into Buffy’s house to steal sage? You know, sage. A herb that can be picked up at any grocery store. I think it was that point when the episode curled up and died for me.

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  36. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on May 28, 2009.]

    What is going on with Buffy is just so juicy. This material just blows me away and it´s just too delicious to ignore. They dropped the ball with Willow, sure but what is going on with Buffy/Spike and its parallel to Willow is amazing and compelling to watch everytime.

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  37. [Note: Emily posted this comment on June 13, 2009.]

    I’m just curious as to which way the season should’ve gone with Willow’s character. Everyone- well, mostly everyone- is saying that they should’ve gone with the power metaphor. But *what* should they have done with it? *How* could the story have worked out the way it did, if they hadn’t used this metaphor? You’re saying that they should’ve continued to work with the power metaphor, but *how*? What could the storyline have been?

    I agree that the metaphor was *very* unsubtle- it just about smacks you in the face with its subtlety. And I don’t like it either. I also don’t like the discontinuity- magic at first being a power thing, and it’s now a drug thing. (Not that it’s 100% discontinuous- you can say that Willow’s been getting addicted since S5.) But what else could they have done? Any suggestions?

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  38. [Note: Leelu posted this comment on June 13, 2009.]

    @Emily: Yes, Willow’s been getting addicted since season 5, but it was an addiction to the POWER that she felt from using it.

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  39. [Note: Emily posted this comment on June 16, 2009.]

    @Leelu: I’ll quote my comment from “Lessons” [7×01]; let me know what you think.

    –Giles says to Willow, “This isn’t a hobby or an addiction. It’s inside you now.”

    Could it be that Joss never meant to say that Willow’s magic problems were an addiction, but rather that this is what everyone thought it was? Tara, as well as Giles here, both seem to understand that it’s not about addiction, but about using magic in the right way. Everyone else, including Willow herself, misunderstood and thought that she had to go cold turkey in order to fix the problem. But that, along with the catalyst of Tara’s death, caused her to go all out as Dark Willow. Maybe if they’d understood that it wasn’t an addiction, they would’ve been able to solve her magic issues like the coven did. But without this confusion, we wouldn’t have gotten the development of Willow the way we did. That’s why Joss did it this way.–

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  40. [Note: Selene posted this comment on July 14, 2009.]

    While I’ll agree that the Amy-Willow-Rack scenes were beyond heavy-handed (it felt like they were using Olaf the Troll God’s hammer to get the point across) the Willow ‘just some girl’ scene is worth going through everything else in the episode to see. Alyson Hannigan can tug on the heart strings better than anyone.

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  41. [Note: Leelu posted this comment on July 14, 2009.]

    @Emily: Sticking with the mental addiction to power that the use of magic gave her would have led to Dark Willow just as, if not more, easily. I feel that even her relationship with Tara was at least partially about power–with Tara, Willow was powerful by being the dominant in the relationship (which was new to Willow), and she was also Tara’s superior in raw magical power/prowess.

    I don’t believe Willow was ever physically or mentally addicted to magic itself. That is why I really hate what they did to her magic arc in this season. The writers spent the previous seasons slowly, subtly, and sometimes not-so-subtly building this arc based on her growing mental need for the feeling of power she gained from using magic, only to completely trash all that work in a few episodes this season.

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  42. [Note: Leelu posted this comment on July 14, 2009.]

    @Emily: As to how the power aspect would have gotten her to go dark, it’s quite simple…power always corrupts. Even Buffy will probably eventually become corrupted. No one is good enough not to get corrupted, especially when they have access to the potentially unbridled power that Willow is privy to through her magic use. She has some fairly extreme innate magical ability, and a mental need to not be “weak, pathetic, and nerdy Willow.”

    We’d already seen evidence of this through many of her actions. She has no qualms with performing taboo magics; she seems to be developing a lack of care for where the ethical lines are for her magic use.

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  43. [Note: Nathan.Taurus posted this comment on December 6, 2009.]

    The great Buffy/Spike intro scene and then not much at all. Dawn’s line of having “a meat party in my mouth.” was both funny and a little creepy considering she is still only 15. Notice at first Willow smiles slightly on the two shot then when the camera pans on her face she is shocked at what Dawn just said.

    The only other redeeming thing I could find was Amy threatening to barf because of “super strength” shaking her.

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  44. [Note: triggerhappy posted this comment on January 31, 2010.]

    One thing I found hilarious was when Spikes , ‘I knew the only thing better than killing a slayer would be f-‘ then Buffy goes ‘What?!?’. Ah, saved by the angry outburst.

    This episode isn’t as bad as some other episodes. I just dislike when Buffy is like, ‘One! Vampire GOT me hot. But he’s gone now’ and ‘What did you expect, to read the newspaper together and play footsie under the rubble’. That just bothers me for some reason. But Season 6 rules! Just parts of it kinda suck.

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  45. [Note: G1000 posted this comment on May 29, 2010.]

    I thought this one was actually not that bad. I agree that some of the drug-related stuff was pretty heavy-handed, but not all of it. And there were some really powerful scenes. It’s the worst episode I’ve seen so far in season 6, but it’s far from bad. I’d go with a B-.

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  46. [Note: G1000 posted this comment on May 29, 2010.]

    One of the reasons I don’t hate this, by the way, is that I don’t feel that it’s just about Willow becoming “addicted” to the magic. After her break-up with Tara, she decided to basically do more and more magic to make herself feel better. That led to her going to Rack because of the promise of more power. I don’t think she knew exactly what Rack’s style of magic was all about at first. So I don’t think they shifted the original themes all that much. Of course, at this point the drug stuff starts to go a bit overboard, but still…

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  47. [Note: Nathan.Taurus posted this comment on May 29, 2010.]

    G1000: Your line about Rack giving her more power reminded me of the storyline for Season 7. “It’s not about right. It’s not about wrong. It’s about power.”

    As Willow said later in the episode ‘Two to Go’, she was always picked on through junior high, high school and up until college and now she has the power, she is the strong one. Unfortunatley the writers used the drug metaphor a little too much when they could have used her lust for power as the reasoning behind her visits.

    I still stand by my previous comment though about this episode.

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  48. [Note: Lunatic On A Pogostick posted this comment on July 27, 2010.]

    I too think that the drug metaphor is poorly done,but when considering it as just purely a story about addiction it works well,specificly williows addiction to the power that magic givers her.As well as the fact that her want of power is because of her insecurities,because all addicition is spawned from personal issues and insecurties.

    So for that and the awesome buffy and spike interactions i d give the episode a score a little higher.

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  49. [Note: John Roberts posted this comment on October 7, 2010.]

    Seymour – “Sadly, I think this episode makes people think mostly because they are wondering “why is this episode so dissatisfying?” Buffy works as a show in part because of the strengths of its metaphors. Being a vampire can stand for any number of things: raw sexual passion, for being isolated from mainstream society, or for the destructive behavior of a guy the morning after. Metaphors work best when they are not a one-to-one replacement; otherwise metaphor degrades to mere allegory which becomes much more simplistic and less resonate. I don’t think any of us would have been interested in watching 7 seasons of Pilgrim’s Progress done with vampires.”

    Two years later, but dang … that’s a really good paragraph, thanks for writing!It works both as a discussion of metaphor vs. allegory, and also as an explanation of this show’s success. Whedon does a great job of using complex imagery than can’t be interpreted in a straightforward way; it lends itself to various views.

    For example, I’ve been thinking throught the Becoming I scene when Angel observes the pre-slayer Buffy, and Joss gives Buffy a lollipop and has Angel peering out of the car, stalker-like. A Lolita reference that subverts the pure notion of Angel — just as Joss subverts that notion shortly thereafter by having Angel do a peeping tom outside Buffy’s bathroom window. Yuck. Which reminds us of those times that Angel just pops up in her bedroom in S1/S2. Yuck again.

    But it’s not that Angel is Humbert Humbert either. It’s a brief image that darkens Angel’s character, adds a gloss to our early observations of Angel, but is far from being anything like the final word on Angel’s motivations.

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  50. [Note: CoyWoteBuffyFan posted this comment on December 17, 2010.]

    @Selena — I mostly agree. I still think the lead up to the ending scene could have been done better but the talk between Buffy and Willow at the end is just fantastic. Willow’s honesty about her own insecurities and “plain Willow” vs. “super Willow” pulls at the heartstrings. How many of us can relate to that? I suspect most. As we grow older we get more comfortable in our own skin but as young people the need to find something that makes us special seems so important.

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  51. [Note: lilmissy posted this comment on March 31, 2011.]

    if you look really closely when buffy and spike wake up in the first scene buffy is wrapped in spike jacket or duster whatever its called

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  52. [Note: serenissima posted this comment on October 28, 2011.]

    i knoq im behind here, but maybe you still check these comment boards? lol

    this might seem weird, but i actually like the heavy-handedness of the metaphor of magic as substance abuse. i dont agree with the statement that ‘Instead of continuing the theme of control and power that Willow had started way back in the beginning of the series, “Wrecked” derails that course and tries to launch a new idea that Willow’s problem all this time was a simple substance abuse…’

    In fact, many substance abusers have been known to use drugs because they have feelings of being out-of-control and insecure, and the drugs make them feel strong, powerful, in control, and important. then they get hooked on that feeling. the two concepts dont derail each other; rather, they walk hand in hand and both seem especially appropriate for Willow.

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  53. [Note: serenissima posted this comment on October 28, 2011.]

    that was supposed to say *know*

    i also wanted to add this little anecdote: willow is shy and insecure. she begins to use to magic to feel stronger in the group, to feel good about herself. she slowly becomes advanced to magic and the feeling of power and control it gives her, the ability to overcome, for a short while, her deeply rooted insecurities. however, she finds herself alienating people around her, yet she refuses to claim any responsibility. enter amy, who’s as advanced as she is and is happy to do more and more magic with her, plus supply her with a connect when she feels burnt out. mayhem ensues.

    now replace magic with, say, ‘cocaine’ and advanced with ‘addicted.’ i kind of always felt like magic was more than just a control and power thing, it IS also a substance abuse thing

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  54. [Note: Gemma posted this comment on December 7, 2011.]

    Having read many of your reviews and re-watching a lot of this season. I have a new found appreciation for this season which is unprecedented for how dark the show has been. Don’t get me wrong. I find this aspect of the show refreshing and a big thumbs up to the writers is deserved. They did something that was risky but ultimately well thought out and good. This season concentrates on Buffy needing or endeavouring to finding her place in the world again. The season does this well, especially with the three episode opener and Once more with feeling which was a bit of a curve ball in its own right, allowing the characters development to be put out there all to see allowing the show to take a different turn.

    On to Wrecked. I won’t discuss Willows character arch in this episode to much because if i’m honest i didn’t like the drug metaphor. Yes WIllow is going through addiction to magic but Willow has two many layers to her personality for me to 100% buy that she would put Dawn in danger. However this has not been the first time WIllow has turned to a crotch of support in the form of addictions, the episode after Oz leaves Something Blue she reaches out to magics and alcohol to feel better. That can be considered a foreshadowing moment to her character development.

    Buffy and Spike’s morning after was well though out. Seeing Buffy deal with her inability to feel. she is lost and doesn’t want to find her place at the moment, she feels nothing because she can’t come to terms with her friends having pulled her from heaven when it was her time to die. Her choosing to be with Spike is a great way for her to connect again. Buffy finally gets that real death wish Spike talked about in Fool for Love.

    An underlying theme of slayer-hood has been the feelings you get afterward, the satisfaction. Buffy couldn’t get enough of the slaying in season five when having the spent the night with Riley she goes out and slays a vampire, her being under Dracula’s thrall highlighted her attraction to the dark side and this ultimately to Spike. The only thing Buffy wanted to feel was pain, i think because she felt bad that she was having feelings for a vampire who soulless and her not wanting to be alive.

    Thats just my take on it.

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  55. [Note: keekey posted this comment on December 7, 2011.]

    The focus in the Smashed/Wrecked is on destructive choices that Buffy and Willow make, but Spike’s character arc also suffers a significant setback here that I think parallels Buffy and Willow’s to some degree, which is part of the reason I find these two episodes interesting (although definitely flawed). Spike’s been conditioned by the chip towards better behavior but he also clearly over the course of Season 5 and Season 6, up to this point, has been trying (with varying degrees of success) to live up being the sort of person Buffy would spend time with and maybe even love. In this sense, he’s sort of like a recovering addict–trying to put together a new life, make good choices, and avoid falling into old bad patterns. He’s been patrolling with the Scoobies and protecting Dawn. In Life Serial, he’s abashed when Buffy calls him out for cheating and, in All the Way, he’s at least somewhat embarrassed that she’s caught him stealing from the Magic Box. In Tabula Rasa, while under Willow’s spell, he even assumes that he’s a good vampire with a soul.

    But all of Spike’s good behavior and good intentions go out the window in Smashed–first, when Spike thinks his chip isn’t working (thereby removing the conditioning element of his rehab), and then, when he thinks Buffy’s came back “wrong” (thereby knocking Buffy, his inspiration, off her pedestal). Spike is absolutely thrilled to think he no longer has live up to any sort of ideals with Buffy. I think that’s the primary reason he’s delighted when he tells her that she came back “wrong”–now that she has a little bit of demon in her (or so he thinks), he feels like he’s off the hook for any of his own unsavory demon behavior. And Buffy seems to affirm this by giving Spike exactly what he’s wanted (or thought he wanted) at the end of Smashed. In Wrecked, Spike repeatedly notes to Buffy that things have changed in their relationship–he knows she likes to roll in the dirt now. Again, it seems like the primary take away for him is that he no longer has to work to impress Buffy with any sort of aspirations to being a better man. Consequently, Spike reverts to being much closer to his Season 2-4 persona than we’ve seen in a long time (although not quite, his experiences during the past few seasons have changed him in ways that he can’t shake off). It’s kind of fun to see some of the old Spike’s swagger here but it’s also kind of sad because ultimately it’s going to lead both he and Buffy down a very dark path until Season 7.

    Also, on a completely different aspect of this ep, I think LibMax makes a very good point about Amy’s later revealed hatred of Willow. I often thought during the series that Amy was going to be really pissed off at Willow once she finally got out of the rat cage!

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  56. [Note: jules posted this comment on December 11, 2011.]

    Whether or not this was intentional on the writers parts, notice that Buffy specifically uses the term “freak show” to describe her relationship with Spike in this episode, the exact words Angel uses to describe the Bangel relationship in the season 3 sewer break-up scene when he is trying to dispel Buffy’s delusional notions of a Happily Ever After. I really hope that it was intentional, because it would show a great bit of continuity with Buffy’s character and THAT is certainly not something that a 17 year old girl is likely to ever forget hearing from her “true love”.

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  57. [Note: x factor posted this comment on December 11, 2011.]

    The only people that could actually derive “enjoyment” out the B/S portion of this episode are B/S shippers who enjoy watching characters drown in their own filth. I can admire and compliment the sizzling chemistry and dialogue in their morning after scene but ultimately, there is no enjoyment or satisfaction there.

    This show was never about sadomasichism until the writers destroyed its soul for the sake of ratings.

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  58. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on December 11, 2011.]

    Generalizations are easy to make but hard to prove, x factor. In this case I can help you out: you’re wrong. I know this because I derive plenty of enjoyment out of the Buffy/Spike material in Season 6, and it’s not because I’m a shipper who enjoys “watching characters drown in their own filth.”

    I enjoy watching television that is well-written, shows consistent yet evolving characterization, and evokes earned emotion. I appreciate most of the Buffy/Spike material in Season 6 because it provokes thought, self-reflection, and is generally very adeptly written. I don’t enjoy seeing characters hurting themselves at all — not directly — but I get tons of enjoyment out of thinking about why they’re in that situation and what can be learned from the mistakes that they’re making. I also get enjoyment out of seeing a well-written and emotional journey, even if it’s a dark and tumultuous one, so long as that journey was worth taking in the end.

    If you spend a little more time thinking about the overarching messages of the season (or the entire series, for that matter) you’d come to realize very quickly that the show never became about sadomasochism or anything of the sort. It’s actually quite the contrary to that.

    You may not enjoy the darker aspects of the show, and I can respect that. But don’t go around making generalizations about others.

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  59. [Note: OrzBrain posted this comment on January 18, 2012.]

    There is a very interesting callback in this episode to “Listening To Fear” from Season 5. In “Listening To Fear” when Tara and Willow are in their sleeping bags up on the roof looking at the stars we have the following dialog:

    Willow: You know, I used to love to look up at them when I was little. They’re supposed to make you feel all insignificant, but … they made me feel like … like I was in space … part of the stars. (points) There’s … Canis Minor … and … (points) and Cassiopeia.

    Tara: (smiles, points) And the big pineapple.

    And what form does Willow’s drug trip take? Being part of/in the stars.

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  60. [Note: Helen posted this comment on March 16, 2012.]

    At least you can say that Buffy warns us when an episode isn’t going to be good. I mean, “Beer BAD”, “BAD Eggs”, “WRECKED”…. And “I Robot, You Jane” has to be one of the worst sounding titles of Buffy ever.

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  61. [Note: SomeMeddlingKid posted this comment on December 19, 2012.]

    That is exactly what I was wondering too. In and of itself, the whole “magic = drugs” concept actually intrigued me. However not for Willow and certainly not this far into her character development. I didn’t enjoy the sudden shift from “power” to “getting high” either. However, like Emily, I really don’t know where the writers could have taken it. Giles had left. Tara had left. It had reached a point where Willow simply had to do something which crossed a line to the point where the Scoobies would no longer support her. This would have majorly screwed up all the other important events of the season.Willow would need to be at odds with the Scoobies by roughly midseason, thus taking the villain ball from the Trio and possibly having them leave the picture. I wouldn’t really have minded that. But then this would have cast a dark tone over all the following events (Xanya’s wedding, Doublemeat Palace, Buffy’s party). Willow would need something to fight with the Schoobies over and after last season it would need to be something major. I suppose I could see her secretly helping some powerful villain with a greater-good idea in a “Faith meets Mayor” style relationship, all while keeping it secret from the Scoobies. But that would have rendered her a lackey for the greater part of the season which is no better than cold turkey plot. The season simply wasn’t engineered to have Willow rise to power- it is more than likely it would have come across as hokey and Willow would have looked petty and foolish. Willow’s addiction to magic stemmed from a need for power but also from her emotional impulsiveness. That was best represented in her sudden vengeance spree. Willow simply couldn’t have progressed up to being a Big Bad via aqcuiring more and more power because ultimately she’d have no motivations to do anything truly evil and noone to do them with. Willow would never get as far as that. “Avenging Tara” was really the only option the writers had for Dark Willow and I think, all in all, they pulled it off beautifully.

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  62. [Note: SomeMeddlingKid posted this comment on December 19, 2012.]

    *I really don’t know where else the writers could have taken it besides the “magic addiction/cold turkey/sudden relapse due to vengeance” route.

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  63. [Note: David posted this comment on December 31, 2012.]

    I like this episode the way I see it is slowly we have been seeing while wanting to use magic for all situations and thus developing a addiction to it. Then when Tara leaves she feels vunreable and then it when Amy catches her and convinces her to go “wild” However it did annoy me slightly that she carrried on doing the excalty thing that drove Tara away in the first place yet she still wants Tara back. Overall I like this and the previous episode dealing with Willows addiction to magic. Also props to Alyson for the excellent acting after the Dawn car crash scene and her breaking down.

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  64. [Note: Arachnea posted this comment on March 7, 2013.]

    Can I tell you how much I dislike this episode ?
    It destroys everything subtle that has been done with Willow’s addiction until now (cf my previous comments in the season). We really didn’t need to see Amy in withdrawal or a bad dealer’s scene. Or Willow floating on the ceiling. It alienates the subtle points and doesn’t allow the viewers to see the point.

    Willow stealing a car, casually using magic and have an accident would have sufficed: the step that makes her realise that’s something’s wrong. So I’m going to forget the bad and get to the point that “wrecked” makes.

    What we have doesn’t derail Willow’s arc; the hints and the built-up we’ve had from season 4 and 5 plus the lack of guidance led to the addiction, its stages and Willow’s behaviours. After the delusion, the denial, the love of the product, we finally come to the realisation and the cry for help. Now, the slow process of the curing can start, with its ups and downs and many relapses.

    What I mean about the coherence is that what basically led Willow to addiction and to want more power is her pain: her weakness was how she sees herself, an insignificant and useless girl -> Her perception is that with more power, she’s more of a woman -> To achieve that goal, she used magic -> No one was there to guide her, limit her, reassure her to make her change her path -> The power of magic corrupted her vision of the world and reality -> Her cravings for power led to the addiction -> the addiction destroyed who she was.

    Thanks to those who followed my interpretation of Willow’s arc from the beginning ;). I know I’m very much alone with my way of thinking and accept the other points of view. I believe my professional part has taken over :p.

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  65. [Note: Hubert posted this comment on September 5, 2013.]

    I completely disagree with all of the complaints about subtlety. Willow’s magic addiction isn’t a drug metaphor: it’s an actual addiction. The point is that it isn’t a metaphor. One of the reasons that i think people are dissatisfied with Season 6 is that it completely demystifies the world around Buffy. Instead of Buffy being engaged in something supernatural that is a metaphor for an abusive relationship, she actually has one. The metaphors are gone, so it doesn’t feel like the same show. Again, this is all done on purpose, and I think it’s brilliant.

    I also disagree with the idea that Willow’s addiction doesn’t fit with her previous characterization or somehow simplifies her problem. To me magic represents Willow’s feeling of power. She and Tara do magic together as a metaphor for sex because Tara’s dependence/idolization of her gives her a feeling of power. It’s black magic that is addictive, and gives her a rush of power and a high, for obvious reasons. This is why in S7 Giles tells her that the magic inside her isn’t an addiction- Willow’s power is isn’t rooted in darkness. Like all power, it’s what you do with it.

    While not a great episode, I just don’t think that it’s as bad or as out of character as, well, mostly everyone else.

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  66. [Note: naras posted this comment on September 5, 2013.]

    I agree with you Hubert. I have noted that the “addiction problem” is that for american audition! For me this Willow is perfectly “in character”.
    The authors have said in interviews that in season six “the metaphors are gone”

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  67. [Note: Waverley posted this comment on September 6, 2013.]

    I both agree and, respectfully, disagree. I think the problem people have is that Willow’s very in character and real addiction, built up carefully over 4 seasons, is not brought to fruition or expressed in any original way but merely through the same outcomes as TV/movie portrayals of drug addiction, which had already been done hundreds of times before. Rack’s place is set out like a crack den, the ‘trip’ Willow goes on after she gets her first hit of magic from Rack (complete with stereotypical sixties trippy music and drug-like freak out) had been done in many a drug-related movie before (take the baby crawling on the ceiling in ‘Trainspotting’ for instance), the way Willow behaves and talks to Dawn after the two visit Rack is very much like someone who’s high on drugs and the manner in which Willow goes cold turkey and gets the shakes had also been portrayed on screen countless times before in movies and TV shows dealing with drugs.

    Whether or not the writers intended to create a magic-as-drugs metaphor it seems they ended up doing so by using standard-issue drug-story conventions and devices (and sometimes even terminology) at almost every crucial point dealing with Willow’s addiction in mid-season (e.g. those mentioned above). The way this was portrayed at the beginning of the season (Willow lying to the Soobies in ‘Bargainning’, breaking away from Tara in ‘Afterlife’ and arguing with Giles) and at the end with Dark Willow was far superior (excepting the ‘Who’s your supplier?’ drug-style reference to Giles). BtVS was of course a great TV show, probably the greatest, in large part due to its originality. So the writers busting out all the done-to-death drug-realted TV tropes for the culmination of a carefully planned six year long arc was, I imagine, what rankled with most people.

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  68. [Note: Hubert posted this comment on September 6, 2013.]

    That’s a very fair assessment, although I think that Evil Willow is the culmination of her arc, not Wrecked. I also feel like this drug arc is very intentional. I think it meant to serve as a kind of bait and switch. We see this, the scoobies see this, and think that this is the big deal concerning Willow for the year. It ends up being pretty small potatoes. I do agree, though, that Willlow’s trips and her and her other scenes in this episode were rather cliched. But I still feel them to be necessary in a way. I suppose what I mean by that is, if Willow had been able to come to the heart of her problem at this point, there never would have been Veiny Willow. At this point the Scoobies are still being beaten soundly over the head by life. They haven’t learned their lesson, and so Willow is still incapable, as are her friends, of seeing the true nature of her problem: her insecurity etc. So they have her go cold-turkey from magic and think that they’ve cured her, and they never have to look any deeper.

    Again, I wouldn’t give this episode an A+ or anything like that, I just think that, as part of the buildup the end of the season, it works reasonably well, and helps cement the idea that we’re not dealing in metaphors anymore, we’r dealing with reality. Perhaps there could have been a slightly less cliched reality, but oh well…

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  69. [Note: T.G. posted this comment on December 7, 2013.]

    This episodes last half was hilariously bad! I guess they made willow arc “magic as drugs” to make it more relatable? I guess its not too bad of an idea, but this is buffy 😦 I want it to be less in your face with its themes :/

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  70. [Note: Textbook With Arms posted this comment on March 13, 2014.]

    This is in response to a discussion of Willow’s magic arc that began in the S7 review comments (# 155 and 156), which is more suitably discussed here.

    Thanks for responding, MikeJer!

    – QUOTE –

    1. I’m not sure if I ever called Willow’s addiction arc “inconsistent” with what we’d seen before. It’s possible I have and I just don’t remember though. My problem is less with inconsistency in the effects of magic and more in the direction it took Willow’s arc mid-season. The choice to take Willow in that direction and focus on “drug” addiction rather than finally addressing her underlying flaws was a disservice to the character, I felt, after all those years of flawless build-up.

    When I mentioned that you saw Willow’s arc as inconsistent, I meant, as you say here, that you felt that the show should have been dealing with her ‘underlying flaws’ as a character, as you put it, her psychological issues with control and power, rather than suddenly bringing in a physical drug addiction metaphor. I can certainly see where you are coming from there. But my point is that I just saw Willow’s use of the far more physically addictive dark magics in ‘Wrecked’ as bringing to a head, to herself and others, the deeper, psychological control issues that she has with magic that led her to visit Rack in the first place. Thus I don’t see ‘Wrecked’ as a derailment of Willow’s arc. Willow’s misuse of magic is related to her insecurities and need for control, which leads her to start dealing with more powerful types of magic that becomes physically addictive (and as I said in my previous post, the physical nature of magic use is consistent throughout the show’s run), thus bringing her destructive relationship with magic to a head. She tries to cut it out of her life entirely, but this fails because, when she’s faced with a devastating emotional situation, she loses control again. She hasn’t learned to live productively with magic, which she does do in S7. There is nothing in this developmental arc that I find a ‘disservice to the character’.

    – QUOTE –

    2. The other problem with mid-season Willow is that the writers botched the delivery of even doing an addiction arc. “Wrecked” comes across like a PSA (way too much crammed in one episode, including a cliched car wreck), the spirit of which infects several episodes after it. It’s just too heavy-handed! It spoils the story they were trying to tell.

    In terms of you not liking the way the addiction arc was handled, fair enough. This aspect is highly subjective, of course. I like ‘Wrecked’, because I find it emotionally powerful. But each to their own.

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  71. [Note: Freudian Vampire posted this comment on March 13, 2014.]

    I think that what Mike finds to be most frustrating about “Wrecked”, which I can certainly sympathise with, is that the addiction story deprives us of any resolution to her real, underlying issues – her desire for power and control and her insecurity, which she directly comments on in “Two to Go”. Whether you consider the addiction story to be powerful or not, it is taking precedent over five years worth of character development that was building in a different direction.

    Now, if you believe, as I do, that her magical addiction was misinterpreted by the Scooby Gang and her real problems resurfaced at the end of “Seeing Red”, then “Wrecked” becomes less of an issue. But if don’t buy this explanation, and I can see why some might find it a tad far-fetched, then “Wrecked” seems suspiciously like a cop-out.

    As Mike always emphasises, character continuity and consistency are paramount in ensuring Buffy’s success – they’re the two attributes I feel it consistently nails to a degree unprecedented for network television. “Wrecked” does away with everything we thought we knew about Willow for another story entirely. Whether you find it emotionally powerful or not is subjective – but it’s not where Willow’s arc was heading. And that’s quite disappointing.

    Personally, I don’t think the episode is as dreadful as some say – and I certainly do not think it to be the worst episode of the season. That dubious honour goes jointly to “Doublemeat Palace” and “As You Were”. So, if we’re going to delve into the realms of numbers and letters, I’d probably give it a 69 (C).

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  72. [Note: Kyle posted this comment on March 13, 2014.]

    I don’t have as much of a problem with the middle of season six as Mike does. To me, it covered the physical issues of Willow’s use of magic, albeit, in an extremely heavy-handed way. This is paralleled with Buffy’s physical urges. Willow was becoming too involved physically (and mentally/emotionally) in magic. Buffy was solely becoming too physically involved in Spike.

    Where their problems truly differ is in the fact that Buffy was not emotionally invested (in Spike); Willow was (in magic). This is precisely why Willow’s problem was more dangerous than Buffy’s. Buffy could’ve (and did) break off her physical investment with Spike and her problems would be one major step closer to being resolved (which they were). Willow, on the other hand, could not do that. Like I said, Buffy and Willow’s problems primarily differ due to the fact that Buffy was not (as) emotionally invested in Spike. Willow, however, was emotionally invested in magic primarily, therefore, her problem had to be rectified on the emotional level not the physical one.

    Willow tried to solve her problems with magic by physically cutting herself off from it. It didn’t work. Her problems just resurfaced, forcing her to confront her emotional pain. She failed, for the most part.

    Ultimately, what season 6 showed us was that when we become emotionally obsessed in something, it does not work to merely cut ourselves off from the object we are obsessing over. Eventually the core of your problems will catch up with us in the end, often unexpectedly, as was the case with Willow.

    While the middle of the season was rather weak, its weaknesses, in my opinion, are fairly simple and lie mostly in the execution.

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  73. [Note: Sasukespecialman posted this comment on March 13, 2014.]

    That’s a really interesting interpretation of the middle portion of the season! I hadn’t read it that way before and it does seem as if there might be more weight to the “addiction” metaphor than it seemed at first glance. I agree, though, that the execution is pretty poor and heavy handed overall, which really hurts the effectiveness of the story.

    Nice piece!

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  74. [Note: DianaD posted this comment on May 9, 2014.]

    Honestly, I like the link about Willow’s growing dependence on magic and ”drugs”. In one of my university classes, substance abuse and addiction was developped.
    What is neat about this subject is that it no only covers drugs but also can cover a variety of other problems such as alcohol abuse, compulsive or pathological gambling, compulsive buying or shopping, internet addiction.
    Addictive behavior = any habit that has gotten out of control, resulting in a negative impact on a person’s health. Characteristics include reinforcement, compulsion or craving, loss of control, escalation and negative consequences, which are pretty well portrayed in this episode with Willow.

    Also, we saw that there are no single cause of addiction, instead it a complex set of factors that can vary from one’s person situation to another:
    -Individual characteristics (Willow has been in the past insecure about her being judged as ”a nerd”, she has’nt really made peace with the person she was in high school, and as she told
    Tara earlier on that she would not have been interested in ”plain” Willow in high school, and her ”nightmare” in a previous episode was that Buffy removed a layer of her so that she ended up in front of the class in a nerdy attire and the whole class mocked her)
    -Substitute for effective coping abilities ( Willow does not really have a coping strategy and has been more and more relying on magic to resolve her problems)
    -Environmental factors or aspects of the specific behavior or substance ( She has just broken up with Tara and is not really facing her feelings about it; Amy’s presence is not helping as she is the one to encourage her behaviour and introduces her to a darker aspect of magic with the dealer).
    The pattern of use may be constant or intermittent, and physical dependence may or may not be present.

    I feel like the show adresses well Willow’s increasing use and dependence of magic. They characterized it well and I do not how else they could have portrayed it.
    I loved the shower scene, where Willow is crying because she knowns that she has lost control and is attempting with the water metaphor, that she is ”drowning” and attempting to find cleanse herself of her actions to regain her purity (which is also illustrated in 6×04 in Flooded, where Buffy is trying to repare the small leak of water from the pipe but her actions actually worsen the situation, as it results in an explosion of water. Its a strong symbol of what Buffy is trying to do: she needs/tries to ”repair” herself but the impact of her experience is so overwhelming: it ”explodes” inside of her and she has little control over it)

    “Willow’s constant “it’s not magic!” outbursts, which are pretty irritating, and Amy’s characterization from this point on. I hate her dialogue to Willow about “how it made you feel.” ”
    (from review episode 6×12)
    I honestly find it intruiging and that it fit well with the recovery from Willow’s ”addiction” to magic, as a person will often burst out more often because the others around her do not trust her (Xander suggesting that Willow may be the cause of Buffy’s invisibility) and I think it illustrates she is on a step of recovery, which must be pretty difficult. It is interesting to really think about how Willow felt when she had this power at hand and actually how any other person would ”feel”.
    They may have overplayed the physical dependence part but at least it gives us insight on how hard it is for Willow to stop using magic. Afterall, it must be hard to stop using something you used to use all the time. Addictive behaviour can present or not physical dependence and do not simply stand for drugs (compulsive shopping,…).

    In this season, as some have pointed out, it goes by slower and is more ”boring” because no great villains have really been introduced with a motive by the midseason…
    I like the concept that no great other villains are there because as this season shows that a person can be its ”own ennemy”. They are good and bad parts that constitute a person and they need to find a balance in between, so that the bad ”parts” do not take over a person. It is quite and interesting developement in season 6, as we see Buffy at her lowest points, where
    she does not have the will to live anymore (”depression”) and Willow struggle with magic and her later grieving of Tara, which balances her out in a very deep dark way, and also Warrren as we see him at the beggining only wanting material things and ”girls” but we later see that he has not clear boundaries and that rape, murder does not affect him at all if it is the way to achieve what he wants.
    This season adresses human characterics and layers, and I feel like it gives a lot of character development.

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  75. [Note: Firewalkwithme posted this comment on August 13, 2014.]

    I don´t know if it has been mentioned yet but Willow´s drug-vision of the demon carrying a lifeless body could foreshadow Tara´s death, right?

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  76. [Note: TheTad92 posted this comment on August 14, 2014.]

    Yes, the metaphor in this episode was, at times, incredibly cringe inducing. However I’m not sure the shift from Willow”s problem being power to addiction is actually all that problematic.

    In fact, I think it is actually a realistic shift. Whilst willow’s problem is indeed rooted in her love of her newfound power, it seems to me that it becomes the ‘feeling’ of power and control that became addictive, not necessarily the power and control in themselves.

    Clearly, willow associates and achieves this feeling with and through magic. She becomes addicted to the source of her power, not the power itself.

    Whilst this is plausible, the actual implementation of the drugs metaphor was too heavy handed. Amy in particular had some real cringey lines of dialogue regarding Rack.

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  77. [Note: Boscalyn posted this comment on August 14, 2014.]

    How the hell did Amy even know about Rack? How did she know his magic was good if she’d been human for all of twenty hours? Maybe she got magic from him in the interim between S2 and S3, but this is never specified. Unless Rack can commune with gerbils, we have YET ANOTHER PLOT HOLE.

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  78. [Note: TheTad posted this comment on August 14, 2014.]

    Well I just assumed she knew him from her pre-pellet days. Especially considering how little time she thinks has elapsed she would naturally assume he was still around. It turned out she was right.

    Still, my life would be better for never having met Mr. Rack with his magic crack.

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  79. [Note: Freudian Vampire posted this comment on August 14, 2014.]

    Amy was never that heavily into the dark arts when she was a human. See in “Gingerbread” the scene where she is in a Wiccan study group with Willow, implying that they are all progressing at similar rates, or are at least learning together – why would Amy do that if she were powerful enough to do things like her little show at the Bronze in “Smashed”? Why would she keep relying on the same rat-spell for everything, one she wasn’t even capable of undoing? It is, as Boscalyn says, YET ANOTHER PLOT HOLE.

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  80. [Note: Boscalyn posted this comment on August 14, 2014.]

    And even if she DID know him before her brief voyage into ratdom… wouldn’t that completely ruin the point of Gingerbread? If magic is equivalent to hard drugs, MOO would be entirely justified in protecting their children from the occult.

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  81. [Note: Keith posted this comment on August 15, 2014.]

    I pretty much hated this episode, save for one moment. Right after the car crash, Willow breaks down and admits her problem, her and Buffy hug, and Buffy has this dead look on her face. No emotion, no signal that she is at all affected by what is happening to Willow, or even cares. I think this really put a fine point on how far down Buffy had fallen into depression and despair.

    Also, I don’t believe that the addiction metaphor itself is problematic, it’s the ham-handed way in which addiction just sort of took over as the central focus of Willow’s story arc. Instead of it being the power that Willow becomes addicted to, it is the high of the magic itself. Tying that in with the subtle changes in Willow’s character that had come from her growing power would have made for some powerful stuff, but they just didn’t pull it off.

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  82. [Note: Alex C. posted this comment on August 15, 2014.]

    I agree that it’s an effective moment, but I think that Buffy’s failure to be affected (at the time) by her friend’s predicament has far less to do with her own emotional state, than with the fact that Willow almost got her sister killed through her stupid antics.

    Regarding the addiction metaphor, I think that the problems with it go beyond just a ham-handed execution. Watching through the episodes in season six, I get the very strong impression that the writers wanted to create a parallel between Buffy and Willow, and their failure to manage their respective ‘addictions’ – and this parallel was supposed to be the heart of the story. Unfortunatly, this fails to resonate as a theme because both plotlines are so unevenly handled, and so the season as a whole feels extremely choppy.

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  83. [Note: Keith posted this comment on August 15, 2014.]

    I think it’s both, and I think that moment really lends an air to Buffy’s assistance in Willow’s recovery that she’s doing so more out of habit and necessity, than out of love or caring for her friend. As Buffy sang in OMWF, she’s just going through the motions, and not just in regards to slaying vampires.

    I think this highlights the rift between the two characters that never really heals, which is both metaphorically and literally shown in “Grave” by the fact that Buffy is isolated from Willow when she comes back from the brink. What’s interesting is that “Grave” shows their distance as mainly Willow’s fault; I’m not sure this is totally fair to Willow, but it certainly makes sense within the confines of Season 6.

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  84. [Note: Alex C. posted this comment on August 15, 2014.]

    Disagree about the rift never healing – the ending of “Same Time, Same Place” marks the point where their friendship is definitely back on track, in my eyes (even if it gets disrupted again by the later events of season seven).

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  85. [Note: Keith posted this comment on August 19, 2014.]

    Back on track, maybe, but nowhere close to where it was. Perhaps it would have healed completely given more time and no coming Ubervamp apocalypse, but Buffy just can’t help but isolate herself.

    I think what is stark about Buffy’s reaction in “Wrecked” is that, prior to her resurrection, we couldn’t really comprehend a scenario, even with good reason to be very angry at her, where Buffy would have zero empathy for a Willow that was going through such a heavy problem. Credit to the writers that the buildup to this moment felt so organic.

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  86. [Note: Alex C. posted this comment on August 19, 2014.]

    Sorry, but I do not buy your interpretation that Buffy has “zero empathy” for Willow going through her problem. In that one moment, Buffy is understandably too angry at Willow to care much for her, but thereafter, it is made quite clear that she cares a great deal about what is happening to her friend, and will on several occasions reproach herself for being so caught up in her own emotional issues that she wasn’t able to do a better job of tackling the problem.

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  87. [Note: Keith posted this comment on August 20, 2014.]

    I didn’t mean for the whole time, I meant in that moment. Certainly she shows care and concern for her friend. But it’s not anger on her face when Willow breaks down and they hug after the car wreck. It’s blank. Nothing. I don’t think it means she no longer cares about Willow, but in that moment, partly out of anger, partly because of the deeper issues between them, she just isn’t able to summon even a shred of giving a shit about Willow’s problems. An unexpected response from Buffy that feels right given the circumstances. Powerful stuff.

    She does a better job afterwards of showing concern and empathy afterwards for what Willow is going through, but it’s pretty half-assed – she really seems to be going through the motions of caring for Willow, even though I don’t doubt that she cares a great deal deep down. Throw in the fact that Buffy kept leaving Willow alone and vulnerable to go and have sex with Spike, something she didn’t feel she could trust her friend enough to tell her about, and it’s clear the friendship had mostly fallen apart by the end of the season.

    I like the moment at the end of Wrecked because it highlights how deeply the friendship had been rocked by the resurrection much better than words or song really could, and sets up the continued deterioration of their relationship for the rest of the season.

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  88. [Note: Peter Luke posted this comment on October 16, 2014.]

    I don’t agree at all with the score. This episode is really edgy and prepare Willow to be dark Willow. Without this episode, Dark Willow would feel way too forced. So I don’t agree at all.

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  89. [Note: nathan.taurus posted this comment on December 8, 2014.]

    Dark Willow was coming for years, ever since season four. She was going to curse Oz forever just to show how crazy she was getting back then. Magic is magic and Willow was just liking it because it made her stronger and she was good at it. She goes off the rails because she invest too much into it. It has nothing to do with drugs…. it is not a drug. It is magic or energy as proven by the first five seasons. Luckily it is dropped soon afterwards, but it still leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

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  90. [Note: Vincent posted this comment on April 10, 2015.]

    I really don’t understand why you have a problem with the drug/magic metaphore. I really liked this episode, and I think Willow got to this point because she resurrected Buffy. It made her feel stronger than ever, and I think it turned her into a “magic addict”. That’s pretty logical to me.
    But you know, it’s a matter of interpretation.
    To be honest, unlike mot of you, I’m kind of upset when it comes to Buffy and Spike. I tend to find it a bit boring, and I don’t like seeing Buffy in this position.

    (Again, sorry for my english, I’m doing my best)

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  91. [Note: Pathbeyondthedark posted this comment on April 10, 2015.]

    Lol, I find myself being the self-appointed delegate for explaining our (myself and most on this site) common understanding of the series in a way maybe you can appreciate. I hope I’m not being annoying.

    The problem Mike and a lot of us have with this episode isn’t the drug metaphor per say (although I personally believe it should have not been used), it’s the fact it’s so heavy handed and lacks the subtlety that most of the rest of the series is exceptional at. Basically, it’s thrown in your face and beats you over the head with it. We enjoy media that trusts the audience to understand the theme or reference without it having to being outright told to us. In this case, it’s not just given to us on a silver platter, but constantly reminding us throughout the 42 minute run time.

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  92. [Note: Freudian Vampire posted this comment on April 10, 2015.]

    Plus, magic=drugs is a vast oversimplification of what was previously a very interesting psychological problem. Willow’s not a junkie – or wasn’t a junkie – and turning her into one steamrollered everything the writers had done with the character previously. Thank God they rectified it with “Seeing Red”.

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  93. [Note: Vincent posted this comment on April 10, 2015.]

    Freudian Vampire : Well, maybe she wasn’t a junkie UNTIL what happened with Buffy, and Tara, etc.
    … but all of those horrible events made her cross an other line…

    Therefore, I agree with you, Pathbeyondthedark : some things are not really subtle…

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

    Seems a bit harsh to say that Buffy SHOULD feel disgusted for her actions. Sure destroying that building probably wasn’t the best thing but sleeping with Spike is definitely not the worst thing one can do. After all their both consenting adults and as Tara says in Dead Things the guy’s done some good recently so he’s not a complete waste. In fact the disgust is probably what is fuelling a lot of the bad stuff that occurs between this relationship since in her mind it gives her the right to treat Spike like crap. So yah disgust really isn’t the thing one should turn too after sleeping with someone, you know as long as it isn’t a family member and your not into incest (shrugs).

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  95. [Note: RickyTVD posted this comment on October 1, 2015.]

    I don´t get why Spike said that the best thing to kill a slayer is to have sex with one, when he´s said a million times that he loves her, instead of telling her that in that intimate moment, even though it wouldn´t have made her feel anything, at that time. It was just so stupid of Spike. And I don´t know why Buffy feels so disgusted with herself, she clearly likes Spike, and even though he´s a soulles vampire, she can have feeling for him, but yes, he needed his soul to fully know what love is and start truly changing

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  96. [Note: MichaelJB posted this comment on November 23, 2015.]

    It’s so interesting to me to read such negative reactions to this episode, when for me this has always been one of the most engaging and memorable episodes of the entire series. I love how spot-on and unapologetically direct the episode’s drug metaphor is. And I don’t think, as you put it, that this was a choice between going in a direction of Willow’s issues with power and control and her issues with substance abuse. In my experience, substance abuse IS about power and control… It’s about the feeling of power and control that the substance brings (in the short run), and more importantly, it’s about there being both a lack of power and control in other aspects of one’s life. Willow has just lost the love of her life as a consequence of her own addiction, and more and more, she’s been losing her very self to that same addiction. It’s circular, because it’s also why she got addicted in the first place. And the terrifyingly fast rate at which that abuse and addiction can spin out of control is reflected well in this episode – to me, at least.

    As a minor other point, I also loved the sequence where Willow seems to be flying in outer space. It reminds me of her comment about growing up, looking at the sky, and feeling like she was “part of the stars” (“Listening To Fear”).

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