Buffy 6×20: Villains

[Review by Mike Marinaro]

[Writer: Marti Noxon | Director: David Solomon | Aired: 05/14/2002]

“Girl is running on pure fury. I’ve never felt anything like it.” – Rack

The truth is, gentle readers, that we haven’t felt anything like this before either. “Villains” is a near-perfect episode that lets Willow’s magic — which has been slowly building and occasionally crackling for four years now — blow wide open, and in chilling fashion. This is what four years of build-up warrants! Actually, it warrants more than just one episode of this kind of awesome, but I’ll address that in my next couple reviews.

Alyson Hannigan absolutely steals the show this entire episode, and deserves loud cheering for it! Willow storms into the Magic Box with her opening salvo, and sucks all the dark magic books dry. I really have to commend the effects in this scene: they look creepily great, especially the red text moving up Willow’s skin. Her icy-cool detachment from reality is extremely, well, chilling. The scene where Willow matter-of-factly saves Buffy’s life and then softly — but in a fake way — addresses Xander and Buffy afterwards is particularly praise-worthy. That’s a tough emotional state to pull off on screen, but Aly nailed it.

The scene where Willow magically stops a bus that she believes Warren is in is wonderfully charged as Buffy frantically tries to give her ‘motivational speaker’ talk to get Willow to back down, but it isn’t close to working right now. Xander also tries to appeal to Willow’s senses by telling her “You said it yourself, Will – the magic’s too strong, there’s no coming back from it.” Willow responds, in what is possibly the line of the episode, “I’m not coming back.” Wow. On this series we can take her belief in that at face value.

Although most of this episode is a frenetic charge to hunt down Warren, I want to take the time to applaud the details. Willow’s creepy blood-soaked locator spell, for one, is darkly poetic: she finds Warren through the blood of his victim. Once found, I really enjoyed the scene in the woods, which is also extremely creepy yet super cool. I love every moment of this sequence, from the effects to the acting to the dialogue. Just wonderful.

When the big ‘talking’ scene came, I found myself impressed with how the writers dispensed with unneeded dialogue and just jumped right to the heart of the matter. Willow is able to very quickly get to the heart of Warren’s reality when she, nearly immediately after finding him, makes a mirage of Katrina appear. This leads to Warren bluntly showing the disgusting man he is, once again. How he expects to win over Willow’s sensibilities after everything he’s just said and done is beyond me, yet he tries nonetheless, and to no avail.

Willow’s flaying of Warren is honestly — and to this day — probably the most shocking thing I’ve ever seen on television. Seeing a main character of a show rip the skin off another human being, and then have that fact be a part of the character from that point on is truly daring and quite unique. This act makes the “bored now” reference to Vampire Willow in S3 all the more relevant and startling. Although I won’t shed a tear at Warren’s death, Willow’s method of execution is particularly brutal. Flaying? Jeez! After this act, there’s certainly no denying that the show’s earned our fear for not only Willow, but everyone around her.

Before I let Warren disappear into the flame for good, there’s a few remaining things to mention. It’s been pointed out to me that there are some parallels between Warren and Spike at work in recent episodes, especially “Seeing Red” [6×19] . I can definitely see a bit of that. It’s interesting how each of them reacts to their respective bad deeds: Warren gloats and then tries to run away out of fear for himself while Spike is confused and also runs away, but with resolve to correct his deficiencies and become a better individual. It’s obvious who made the right choice, and who made the wrong choice here. By the end of this season, though, both Spike (as we knew him) and Warren (literally) are dead.

“Villains” is an extremely face-paced episode of Buffy, but there is one noticeable moment when the action calms down. This is the significant morality discussion between Buffy, Xander, and Dawn at the Summers’ house. Personally, I think this conversation is brilliant because it is not only relavant to the situation at hand, but it also is a checkpoint in Buffy’s development as a leader. I pointed out in my review of “Consequences” [3×15] that “Buffy doesn’t have a lot of answers because she’s still young and figuring out things for herself.” Although Buffy always had a core foundation of good values, she didn’t really know how to defend how she felt and give real-world application to those values, as she was experiencing things for the first time.

Buffy’s changed over the years; she’s grown, matured, and learned. In “Villains” we now see a Buffy that defends Warren’s right to life, despite what he’s done, and with a strong conviction. We don’t see doubt in Buffy’s stance anymore — she knows what she believes in and makes a case to back it up. Xander and Dawn want him dead, but Buffy makes the case that “the human world has its own rules for dealing with people like [Warren].” She goes on to say that “There are limits to what we can do. There should be.” These words feel very much built from her experiences, especially with Faith in S3, who wanted free reign to do whatever she wanted to do.

Although I admire Buffy’s moral conviction and feels she’s correct, I also won’t shed a tear when Warren dies. I say Warren’s fair game for Willow, but in no way does she have the right to go after Jonathan and Andrew. That’s really stepping over the line. I’m glad that, although Buffy doesn’t want Willow to kill Warren, she still makes a distinction between that and killing innocents like Jonathan and Andrew. And yes, they’re not completely innocent, but in terms of murder, they are.

To wrap my thoughts up, I’ll say that this is a pretty unique episode of this series, from the tone to the pacing to content. I’m very proud of the writers that they are still willing to take risks with their characters, and that they’re sticking to their own rules. Natural deaths cannot be revoked. Likewise, major character-altering events cannot be undone. This gives the entire series a much larger sense of authenticity and reality than it would have otherwise possessed. I cannot thank the writers enough for these attributes.

“Villains” is, simply put, a relevant and significant character moment for Willow that is extremely dark yet still a complete blast to watch. It combines many of the best elements of S6 while dropping the lagging bits. I don’t feel it quite deserves the transcendence of a perfect score due to a lack of a little more underlying intelligence, but it’s about as close to one as it gets.

 


Minor Pros/Cons (+/-)

+ Clem! He’s the only “happy” part of the episode.
+ Jonathan’s terror of being in “the big house” really solidifies the theme of the season: “This is real life and nobody’s coming to get us.”
+ I totally admire Spike’s guts in actually fighting for the return of his soul. Although he knows he needs the soul to have any shred of a chance of making things right with Buffy, I honestly believe he has no idea of what he’s really getting himself into.
+ Although obvious from Willow’s point of view, I still like the writers pointing out that Anya would have dealt out Willow’s vengeance on Warren for her if wished, but Willow wants to do this herself.
+ Warren being mocked by the demon community right when he feels at his highest. This takes him down quite the big notch and makes him realize how much trouble he’s gotten himself into.
+ Warren going to see Rack is a nice use of a throwaway character from a previous episode. He can “feel” Willow’s after Warren, being fueled by “pure fury.”
+ Dawn comes home, alone, to find Tara dead. After all that’s happened this season and last, I have the utmost sympathy for this poor girl. She ends up spending the whole day cowered in a corner, staring at Tara’s dead body, weeping. Very sad.

– Spike sure got far fast! Is he in Africa or something? That’s stretching believeability a bit.


Foreshadowing

* The expression on Buffy’s face when she hears that Anya’s got her vengeance on again shows her extreme concern, and heavily hints at their confrontation in “Selfless” [7×05].


[Score]

96/100

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91 thoughts on “Buffy 6×20: Villains”

  1. [Note: Paula posted this comment on December 7, 2008.]

    Just from reading this first review I can tell you’re on a roll, Mike. 🙂 Which is great! I’m moving on to the next review right away, but a couple of comments:

    Although he knows he needs the soul to have any shred of a chance of making things right with Buffy, I honestly believe he has no idea of what he’s really getting himself into.

    Oh, agreed, absolutely. Nor is there any way he could. I doubt even Angel could have put it in such a way that anyone soulless could have truly understood, although that may be just the way I personally think of the difference between soulless and ensouled.

    Spike sure got far fast! Is he in Africa or something? That’s stretching believeability a bit.

    I don’t believe this is in any sense supposed to be happening at the same time as the Scoobies are facing Willow in Sunnydale. Yes, Spike is in Africa (I believe that by the language spoken to him by the village people, one can tell it’s supposed to be Uganda – or “generic” Africa, in any case), and it no doubt took him a month at least to get there. But since there’s no Buffy summer season S6b, and we needed to see what Spike was up to, we get to see it here.

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  2. [Note: wilpy posted this comment on December 7, 2008.]

    I agree with Paula, there’s no indication that the Dark Willow events and Spike events are occurring at the same time. In fact there is a finger painting on Glowy-Eyed Demon’s wall of Dark Willow flaying Warren (or someone flaying someone else) so it’s reasonable to assume the cave scenes came AFTER this happened, which, in real time, hadn’t even happened yet.

    Great review as always, Mike. The one thing I didn’t like about this episode was the magic stunts at the end, and the cartoonish words they used to summon them. They looked a bit silly. The only one I liked was the gooey thing that grew over Willow and trapped her, but mostly because she burnt a whole through it with her eyes. Creepy!

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  3. [Note: Marshal posted this comment on December 7, 2008.]

    Fantastic review and all that, as always.

    One thing I was to point out that I feel you failed to mention, and something that usually goes kind of unacknowledged, is the cringeworthy acting on the part of both SMG and Nick Brendon when they learn of Tara’s death in the desert road scene. I don’t know if this was just horrible acting or intentional on the writer’s parts, but don’t you think their reaction was abysmal at best? Especially considering Buffy’s bold decleration about Tara in Family, “She’s family”. I though her reaction to her demise in this episode was on par with breaking a nail. It could be argued that being a Slayer has desensitized her to death, but still, COME ON, at the very least she should show some grief with the knowledge of how badly this has messed Willow up.

    “What? Tara’s dead..? Oh… no… well, anyway, you still shouldn’t kill Warren”

    That damn scene always gets under my skin, and is a blemish on an otherwise kickass episode.

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  4. [Note: faile posted this comment on December 7, 2008.]

    I just have to say, those screencaps brought me the chills.

    Having watched all of Buffy just a month ago, everything’s still fresh and Tara being my favorite character, these last episodes of S6 hit me like no other season finale did. Heck, like no other TV episodes ever has. It was so hard to watch and yet so … compelling. I believe that’s what Joss & co. was saying when they insist that “we know we’re doing the right thing” re:Tara. Some weak points aside, this is a great arc for Willow. AH was so good, what else can I say. I still wish though that they came up with something a little less extreme (though I’m with you that Warren’s fair game to Willow). I know I’m just one fan and my Tara love is what pretty much ruined S7 for me, but there should have been some light at the end of the very long tunnel that is S6. It just left me physically drained.

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  5. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on December 8, 2008.]

    Great review, mike, although at first I was a little sad the ep didn´t get a perfect score but still, this review is awesome and having a 97 sure cheers me up. I also agree with you when you say Aly steals the show. This ep is dark, chilling and just perfect in my eyes.

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  6. [Note: wilpy posted this comment on December 8, 2008.]

    Marshal, I completely agree, I HATE the reactions to Tara’s death. Dawn’s was pretty good, but we didn’t see much of it.

    I shouldn’t blame the actors for it, having said that. They’re just directed to act in a certain way. If the director wanted a bigger reaction, he would’ve gotten one. It’s ridiculous how they reacted so passively, especially considering how much of an impact Tara had on that season. She was the *mother* of the season, the second Joyce, and X and B cast it aside as if they hardly knew her.

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  7. [Note: JohnF posted this comment on December 8, 2008.]

    Hi Mike; this is the first time I’ve replied to one of your reviews, although I’ve been reading them for a long time and enjoyed them very much.

    Of all the BTVS characters, Willow has been my favourite for a long time and the transition from the gentle, sensitive Willow to the Willow in the last three episodes of this series is a huge challenge for AH – and how well she did. From the gentle accent and kindness of “normal Willow” to the chilling monotone of “dark haired Willow”; it’s hard to believe it’s the same person.

    Of course, it’s very hard to feel anything for Warren; this was the episode in which Willow and Tara came together again – two of the loveliest people you could imagine (it’s impossible not to love Tara), only to be torn apart by the stray bullet of a maniac with a gun.

    It really is a magnificent episode.

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  8. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on December 13, 2008.]

    Hi JohnF, thanks for your comment! If you want to talk more extensively with myself and other great fans, I encourage you to register on the forums (click on ‘discussion’ at the top). I’m glad you’ve been enjoying the reviews though. 🙂

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  9. [Note: Richie posted this comment on January 22, 2009.]

    Now, I may be missing something here, but you say in your review –

    ‘Warren gloats and then tries to run away out of fear for himself while Spike is confused and also runs away, but with resolve to correct his deficiencies and become a better individual’

    I always thought that Spike went to get the CHIP out of his head, but the demon ended up giving him his soul back instead… It seems like you think that that was his intention from the start. It’s a while since I watched S6, so I’d like to hear your opinion on this.

    Great review as always though Mike, no more to say other than Warren had it coming, and evil Willow is about the scariest villan ever on BtVS!

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  10. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on January 22, 2009.]

    Richie, I heard in a commentary or an interview from the creators that Spike was going there with the intention of getting his soul back. The writers made his words sound ambiguous for the sake of surprise for the viewers.

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  11. [Note: jarppu posted this comment on January 22, 2009.]

    Plus, Spike himself says he sought out his soul intentionally in Angel season 5 (episode ‘Destiny’). It’s so weird that there’s still confusion over this issue. I never had that.

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  12. [Note: O_Hai posted this comment on May 22, 2009.]

    Alyson Hannigan totally rocked it in these last few episodes. Her range as an actress is really quite impressive, something I never realized until I started watching the series. Man, is she scary here, or what? That scene with she and Warren in the forest is easily one of the most chilling scenes in the series.

    I too loved the effects in this episode, especially the text running up her skin. Spooky as hell! I can see why the effects team got a number of Emmy nominations; they do some fine work!

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

    “Warren gloats and then tries to run away out of fear for himself while Spike is confused and also runs away, but with resolve to correct his deficiencies and become a better individual. It’s obvious who made the right choice, and who made the wrong choice here.”

    I just wanted to again point out something interesting (I think you mentioned it in a previous review, Mike, or maybe I saw it in a comment)- it’s the soulless vampire who makes the right choice, not the human being with a soul. Just goes to show that even people with souls can be evil- can take their soul and turn it inside out.

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  14. [Note: wagdog posted this comment on July 2, 2009.]

    I too was disappointed with the Scoobie’s reaction to Tara’s death and overall the handling of the ‘what-happened-to-who’ sequences seemed fairly clumsy. Perhaps that was intentional to convey the feeling of confusion surrounding the whole situation but for me it was a distraction.

    Also, didn’t anybody else cringe when they were out in the desert with the bus? That scene evoked too many (bad) memories from the Winnebago with Knights of Benedryl (or whatever..) fiasco from earlier. And I applaud the writers for showing us how strong Willow has become but how could she be thrown off by a robot? In general that scene just felt out of place and contrived.

    Quibbles aside, I really enjoyed watching AH strut her stuff. It’s amazing how good the cast of BtVS are when given good material to work with. Bravo to all for consistently pulling off great performances week after week!

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  15. [Note: Leelu posted this comment on July 2, 2009.]

    @wagdog: She was thrown off by the robot because Rack had put about a bajilliondy enchantments, etc., on it, and on Warren himself. She eventually saw through those spells, just like Rack assumed she would, but they were really just intended to buy Warren some time to get away.

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  16. [Note: wagdog posted this comment on July 3, 2009.]

    @Leelu: Rack, I had forgotten about that. Thanks! This is my first time through the series and I miss many of the finer details.

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  17. [Note: Lyn posted this comment on August 24, 2009.]

    Can I point out the irony of the series – for all the demons and supernatural big bads we’ve seen, all the blood and magic superpowers, the villain that does the most damage (character-wise) in the end are just 3 human men who only want to be evil due to their own insecurities – and they use a gun.

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  18. [Note: Jim posted this comment on October 18, 2009.]

    Slightly disappointed that you brushed over the Warren/Rack alliance and the various instances over the past few seasons that had lead to it but still a fantastic review as always.

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  19. [Note: Clyde posted this comment on October 18, 2009.]

    Yeah, that scene between Warren and the ever-brilliant Rack said a lot about the cut background arc of the season. The chemistry was electric.

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  20. [Note: Cirrus posted this comment on November 17, 2009.]

    Great review, but there’s something you talk about here and in other reviews: the reason Spike goes to Africa.

    I was completely under the impression that he went there to get his chip out, not to get his soul back. Hence why the end of the series – “We will give you back… your soul!” was a big cliffhanger and totally surprising, because it’s totally what I was expecting. The way he left and what he said before riding off on his bike, and the way he was acting while fighting in Africa, it just… really seemed like he was going for his chip — ‘the way he was before’. It makes a lot more sense to me.

    Is it just me who thinks this? >_> This is totally confusing, I thought I understood why he did it.

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  21. [Note: Leelu posted this comment on November 17, 2009.]

    @Cirrus: The writers were leading us to believe that he was getting his chip removed, yes, and then gave us a twist with it being the soul replaced. The only thing I’m not ever quite sure of is whether Spike was fully aware he was fighting for his soul or not.

    I wonder sometimes if perhaps he thought he was fighting for his chip, but the Powers That Be (or whoever it was) knew what he really wanted deep down, and so gave him his soul instead.

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  22. [Note: Masbrillante posted this comment on November 23, 2009.]

    I really don’t understand the confusion about Spike’s soul excursion. The dialogue seemed purposefully contrived to be ambiguous, a red herring to make us think that Spike was going to go back to being evil. I always took his comment about going back to how he was before to going back to being William.

    Besides, I just don’t think that wanting to be evil again is consistent with Spike’s character development. He was horrified by what he did to Buffy, not just because he hurt her but because of what it said about all of his “progress” thus far. His conversation with Clem showed that. If Spike really wanted to be evil again, why not just find an evil doctor to help him out or something? Why go all the way to Africa for that? It just seems like such a stretch. I think that by the end of Season 6, Spike wants the ambiguity gone, but he’d rather be the type of man that Buffy can love. Even if you rate all his actions as selfish, it would be more in his self-interest to come back in a state that was lovable to Buffy than to kill her. He did have evidence that there was potential.

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  23. [Note: Shannon posted this comment on November 23, 2009.]

    I’ve noticed that the people who most vehemently claim that Spike was out to remove his chip are typically also rabidly anti-Spike. They’d rather believe his purpose was evil because it better suits their view of the character.

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  24. [Note: Person posted this comment on December 26, 2009.]

    Die, Die, My Darling by The Misfits is playing when Warren is being an idiot in the bar, bragging about how he “killed” Buffy.

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  25. [Note: Thedancingslayer posted this comment on April 25, 2010.]

    The scene where Willow kills Warren is disturbing on so many levels. Still, I can’t help but think somebody should have done that ages ago!

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  26. [Note: CoyoteBuffyFan posted this comment on December 30, 2010.]

    I know I probably shouldn’t be saying this but, my goodness, Evil Willow is so freakin’ cool! Lights breaking as she walks into rooms, the power she has, making people bend to her will, extracting the bullet, pulling the axe out of her back. Everything — just so bad ass! Made all the more fascinating because it is WILLOW! Mousy little Willow from high school. It is even more interesting because you can FEEL the rage that is driving her and can even empathize with her even as she is doing naughty deeds.

    And the killing of Warren was certainly gruesome, it was shocking and raw and awesome in the context of what was happening. And it is hard to feel any sympathy for him, even though he is a human. He was giddy at the thought that he killed the slayer and felt no remorse for killing Tara or Katrina. He only had concern for himself. He even left his “partner in crime” to rot in jail. He is just as bad as those soulless vamps and demons IMO. The thing she does with the bullet to Warren is twisted but appropriate. Perfectly done killing scene (I know that sounds bad).

    Dawn finding Tara is heartbreaking. As annoying as she can be, no young girl should have to find a friend like that. I really, truly felt horrible for her in this episode.

    I also love the scene where Xander finds out that Anya is a vengeance demon again. Just that simple statement “No, not left over”. It is understated, which I think it has to be given the other events going on but a great scene nonetheless.

    And for those who thought the reaction of Buffy and Xander about the death of Tara was disappointing, I didn’t see it that way. I think they didn’t have time to let themselves grieve because they needed to stop Willow from destroying herself. It can happen that people distract themselves from thinking about something painful by concentrating on something else and in this case that something else is a big problem. I like to think that in the time between Grave and Lessons, they do some heavy grieving for Tara.

    This episode would get a P in my book. Love it, love it, love it!

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  27. [Note: Leo posted this comment on May 3, 2011.]

    actually Willow did NOT kil Warren. He returns in the Season 8 comic series. I think it was Amy who saved him just on time.

    I liked buffy´s speach about “being a slayer does´t give a licence to kill” Reminds me of season 3.

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  28. [Note: Tom posted this comment on May 15, 2011.]

    “actually Willow did NOT kil Warren. He returns in the Season 8 comic series.”

    And that should’ve been the first indication the comics would suck.

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  29. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on May 15, 2011.]

    @Leo:

    My reviews look at Buffy only within the scope of the television show, not the comics and not the original movie. The TV show is it’s own piece of work with a definitive start and end, and I’m evaluating it on its own merits. To add to that, I have no interest in reviewing any of the comics, as they don’t feel connected to the show at all beyond a loosely shared history; the comics are another thing entirely, and one I happen to dislike quite a bit.

    On top of all of that, from what I know of Season 8 (which is mostly confined to its first half), Warren’s continued existence there is a colossal continuity error on Whedon’s part, as Warren appeared as the First in “Conversations with Dead People” [7×07], among other Season 7 episodes, which can only happen if the person did, in fact, die. So no matter which way you cut it, Willow did kill Warren here in “Villains.”

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  30. [Note: debisib posted this comment on May 26, 2011.]

    after willow ripped his skin off (warren), she torched him into evaportaion. his body was burned to nothing… idk if u just walk away from that.

    Anyway, Just watched this, got chills when she said “bored now”.

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  31. [Note: Mash posted this comment on May 31, 2011.]

    RE:Warren – I know Josh admitted S8 Warren was a mistake, but I think it would make sense if we think that Amy resurrected him since his death was magical. That way the First could take his form while still returning in S8.

    RE:Dawn – This is the episode where I started to be ok with Dawn [I didnt have issues with her in S7]. She really began to mature here and of course I was so happy with her speech to Buffy about how protecting her never works. Its so true! I always thought it was so insane that Buffy never saw that and tried to shelter Dawn like fragile glass. It was always understandable to not want Dawn physically fighting, but come on! Not allowing Dawn to do research, be a part of general conversation, be involved generally in LIFE – thats beyond ridiculous!

    Sidenote: I was rewatching S5 & S6 on DVD back to back and came to the following; Buffy constantly, constantly says “I know”, “I promise”, “its ok” and “Ok?” [sometimes as “mmk?”]. This has drove me CRAZY – its so annoying when you hear it back to back! I guess week to week it was ok to handle. Its a terrible attempt at trying to sound reassuring or on top of things!

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  32. [Note: Keaton posted this comment on September 4, 2011.]

    Sry, but I don’t buy it. I love Spike, he is extremely cool, but when he talked to the demon in that cave in Africa (and before that too) he said things he wouldn’t say if he really wanted his soul back. He simply had no reason to lie there, so why did he talk about the chip in his brain and not about his soul? No, he wanted to become the badass vampire he was before the Initiative implanted the chip, not the weak, vulnerable human being he was before Dru turned him. He already has all the characteristics he had when he was human, with being self-involved, self-pitying and still not able to hurt a fly (except the woman he loves or whatever it is he feels of course). While he was a vampire no one could hurt him emotionally and he could do whatever he wanted. I guess he simply misses that.

    His relationship with Buffy led to a complete desaster and he knows that there is no way to win her back. How could his human soul possibly help him there?

    Some here claim that his words were misleading on purpose and that this was a trick the writers pulled but I don’t believe that.

    About Angel S05 (didn’t see it until today):

    Whatever Spike tells there doesn’t necessarily prove anything, he could (and probably would) just lie, because the truth would be rather ugly.

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  33. [Note: Joe posted this comment on September 4, 2011.]

    I’ve always interpreted Spike’s words in this way: HE thinks that he wants to have the chip removed and become a badass vampire, but the demon in the cave knows that subconsciously what he really wants is to get his soul back–the demon can see what he truly desires, aside from what he tells himself.

    Now I have nothing in the show to support that, but oh well.

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  34. [Note: meh posted this comment on October 16, 2011.]

    I simply love this episode, it give us what we’ve been wanting to see for a long, long time; Willow simply explodes in this episode, and it’s awesome to watch!

    Also, one of the things that is so great here, is that the show doesn’t skirt the moral issues of what’s happening, neither in this episode, in the upcoming ones or the Season 7 episodes dealing with what occurred here. Willow isn’t possessed by a demon, she may be amped up on the all that dark magic, but she’s still Willow in the sense that what she’s doing is her responsibility. Many other shows wiuld try to take the easy way out of this, but this one doesn’t.

    Thanks for the review, I’m re-watching all the episodes now and reading your review before each episode to help me pay attention to things. I’ve watched this episode several times, but its impact when watched after all the rest in mind-boggling.

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  35. [Note: meh posted this comment on October 16, 2011.]

    Also, I forgot to add, in continuation to the fact that the show does not bypass the moral issues inherent in Willow’s actions, is that we’re shown that Dark Willow is actually -more evil- than Vamp Willow, showing that even as a demon Vampire, Willow herself embodies far more evil than a demon

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  36. [Note: nathan.taurus posted this comment on December 10, 2011.]

    Good:

    -The smile on Warrens’ face quickly turns to fear. At Racks’ place the same happens. I love seeing him freaking out.

    -Willow saving Buffy’s life.

    -Dawn saying what so many people were thinking.

    -Xander’s car is purple! Could be pinkish-purple.

    -The locator spell is poetic. Great if we had it in real life.

    -Spike: “Did you do the finger paintings…nice.”

    -The ending. Warren’s line to Will, “Oh, shut up!” Yeah, that really helps your case. Flaying? Holy crap, Willow! If Season 1 Will could meet Dark Willow.

    Bad:

    -The silly drug/magic metaphor still being used this late in the season.

    -Willow stopping the bus. First she speeds it up and then stops it just in time. Passengers would be everywhere if it actually happened.

    -A previous episode where we see or hear about the Warren-bot would have been good to be able to call back on.

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  37. [Note: meh posted this comment on December 16, 2011.]

    I forgot which episode, but Willow wears her “evil shirt” in another one in this season. Does anyone remember which episode that was?

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  38. [Note: nitramneek posted this comment on December 30, 2011.]

    nathan.taurus: If Season 1 Will could meet Dark Willow, season 1 Willow would brush & floss and do her homework till the cows come home. Willow flaying Warren is the most shocking thing I’ve seen since Angeles snapped Jenny Callender’s neck and placing her body in Rupert Giles bed in “Passion”. Great review as always Mike. Bored now.

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  39. [Note: JustJenna posted this comment on April 16, 2012.]

    I was also disappointed in Buffy and Xander’s lack of reaction to Tara’s death. There was much more reaction to Jenny’s death, and while one could argue that the group has become more desensitized with time, one could also argue that Tara had become part of their family – the mother figure if you will – where Jenny had not. Tara had also never betrayed them, and the group had all grown much closer to her, excepting Giles.

    Actually, Buffy and Xander’s non reaction to Tara’s murder reminded me of S1 Willow’s reaction to Jesse’s death. A momentary sad “Oh” followed by “Well, at least you guys are okay.” She’d known Jesse for much longer than she’d known Buffy, arguably as long as she’d known Xander, and for her to be relieved that Buffy was alive in his stead was just unbelievably bad writing and completely out of character for the very compassionate and loyal Willow.

    On another note — did anyone else wonder what Willow did to Osiris? It looked very much like she hurt him, if not killed him. If she has the power to do that, my guess is that she has the power to bring Tara back all on her own, she just doesn’t know it yet.

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  40. [Note: VeloxMortis posted this comment on May 18, 2012.]

    I have one small issue with the flaying, why did he burst into flames, I think it would I have been more striking if his skinned body was just left in the woods (not that it wasn’t striking already).

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  41. [Note: MonkeyTruth posted this comment on May 28, 2012.]

    I agree that the “bored now” comment is creepy and it suggests that after becoming a vampire you have some of your original personality, just twisted. That’s disturbing but makes sense given what we know of Spike/William, and is hinted at in S3’s Dopplegangland (I think it is after Willow’s great “I’m so evil, and skanky, and I think I’m kinda gay” line; Buffy tries to reassure her that it’s just the demon, but Angel starts to say “well actually” but then wisely shuts up). So S3 Vampire Willow acts the way she does partly because of the darkness that is inside Willow, a darkness we all have in ourselves in different ways. And we finally see that in Willow now, three seasons later. It points out what MikeJer has said repeatedly about this series (and this season, which I’ve only recently appreciated) that the character progression is fantastic – especially for Willow (despite the clunky magic-is-addictive plot line).

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  42. [Note: Ryan ONeil posted this comment on May 28, 2012.]

    I think the plot line would’ve been less clunky if they had emphasized that magic was addictive, rather than an addiction (think sex, internet and gambling rather than drugs, cigarettes and alcohol), although I thought that the gang accidentally oversimplifying the problem instead of addressing Willow’s main (self-esteem and control) issues worked effectively in that we got to see what happened when they addressed the wrong problem first.

    Although it did feel like the writers hadn’t thought it out that far and also fell for the “addiction rather than addicting” idea, and accidentally made it work. Like when they realized that Spike had not thought through the timing details of dividing the group for Adam, and they had to make it his mistake rather than theirs.

    Also, my interpretation of the problem Jenna noticed: when Buffy and Xander found out about Tara, they had already spent a lot of effort on trying to get Willow to calm down and stop hurting people, so however powerful that sentence would’ve been if they didn’t also have something else to focus on, they have learned to compartmentalize immediate threats. Also, they might already have so much “get someone to calm down” emotion chemicals going through their brains that they accidentally used it on themselves. Like when you’re mad at somebody, and you start talking to someone else, you don’t instantly get rid of all of the anger chemicals simply because the new person isn’t the one you started because of.

    You can’t just turn emotion on/off like a switch, so even if they would’ve emphasized grief and mourning to themselves had they found out under “better” circumstances than Willow going off the wagon, hijacking a bus and strangling what they all thought was a human being, they already had really strong emotions going for some time (“Willow needs to stop!”), so a few words that Tara died was still just a few words, and a few that Buffy and Xander probably didn’t completely believe, rather tried to think that Willow had to be mistaken until they saw the body and had more time to process.

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  43. [Note: Alex posted this comment on May 29, 2012.]

    I agree with you, Ryan, about the reaction to Tara’s death. I don’t doubt that Buffy and Xander were very upset by it, but I think they had to stay focussed on the problem at hand and probably didn’t allow themselves to grieve properly until later. If they had broken down and cried about Tara at that point I think it would just have fuelled Willow’s anger even more, so they couldn’t let themselves do that.

    It’s kind of a shame that we didn’t get to see a funeral or some other kind of remembrance for Tara, but I think that the action had ramped up so much by this point that a funeral scene would have just slowed things down too much. So instead, we get Dawn’s wonderful scenes to make up for it.

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  44. [Note: Beth24 posted this comment on June 10, 2012.]

    As far as the whole Spike argument goes, I don’t think there’s any possible way he went to Africa with the intention of getting the Chip removed. And not just because the writers have explicitly stated that the only reason they played it for ambiguity was for the surprise payoff at the end.

    But also, to me it makes no sense for him to travel all that way and endure magical trials to remove the Chip, which was put in his head by humans, and is something scientific, not magical. Getting your soul back is obviously magic, and must be extremely hard to come by, hence the journey to Africa. But just as magic can’t reverse death by a natural order, I find it hard to believe that a dark magical demony force thing could extract that little chip by magic. It just jars.

    If he had wanted to remove the chip he would have tried to do it another way.

    Although I should point out that I came to this conclusion only after some reflection – when I saw it I TOTALLY thought it was about the chip. But then I think Spike would have had a deep-rooted knowledge of the laws of science and magic.

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  45. [Note: Janice posted this comment on June 29, 2012.]

    I was surprised and a little disheartened by the initial lack of reaction to Tara’s death as well, but then as a viewer (I just watched the series a month or so ago for the first time in marathon sprints) I was definitely shocked and grieving for her myself (as much as one can for a fictional character). It certainly was as shocking to me as Jenny’s death, and perhaps worse, emotionally, even though I knew it was coming at some point.

    I assumed that Willow told them in the car what had happened while they were chasing the bus, and was surprised no one had thought to ask “Is Tara ok?” when Buffy, at least, would have known that she was in the house with Willow (whereas Xander probably did not. I also got the sense through the season that Buffy and Tara became close in a way that Xander and Tara did not, so I can excuse his failing to even ask.)

    However, Ryan’s post does give me a perspective on the notion that I hadn’t thought of before; so it may be correct from that sense. (It just felt insufficient to me as a viewer. Oh well.) It’s made up for however in the scene of Buffy and Xander finding Dawn and Tara’s body – as with Jenny’s death, the show doesn’t flinch from showing how horrible death can be.)

    The repeat of “Bored now” was fantastic (as someone else pointed out, it shows that the darkness was inherent in Willow, whether as a vampire or a witch, and not part of a demon essence); all the more so because the phrase brought back a pleasant memory of The Wish and Dopplegangland and the phrase’s comical effect there (as well as Willow’s personality back in season 3) – therefore Warren’s flaying immediately after is all the more shocking. (I remember thinking to myself watching it, “This is HARDCORE.”) Possibly the most shocking thing I’ve seen on a TV, with the possible exception of Jenny’s death, and Giles finding the body in his bed in Passions?

    The thing that makes it shocking as well points to how well the show’s creators, and Aly Hannigan, built up and evolved the character over the seasons – it’s shocking because this is Willow doing it. (And earlier in the seasons, if anyone had turned I’d have imagined it would be Xander. But then again I never really could feel the same affection for his character after he dumped Anya. but that’s another story.)

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  46. [Note: Jacob posted this comment on August 1, 2012.]

    Great episode, I had actually forgotten how extreme Warren’s death scene was. I also doubt Buffy would still be championing her ‘no killing humans’ attitude if it was Dawn in Tara’s place. But oh well.

    As for Spike, yeah I think that he went there to get his soul back and not have his chip removed. You could argue that his request was, on the surface, to have his chip removed, but even then I think he would have inherently wanted to stop being a ‘thing’, as everyone likes to point out.

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  47. [Note: RaeScott posted this comment on September 22, 2012.]

    I’m pretty sure Spike wanted his soul back and NOT his chip removed. He actually confirms this himself in “Beneath You” (7×02)(which is also well explained in the review for that episode) when Buffy asks him why he went to get his soul back and he replies: “Buffy, shame on you. What must a man do what he mustn’t for her, to be hers. To be the kind of man, who would never… to be a kind of man.” He didn’t want to be an evil soulless being anymore because he knew Buffy could never love him without “the missing piece, the spark”.

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  48. [Note: TheShanshuProphecy posted this comment on October 18, 2012.]

    Agree that this is a great episode & the payoff for all of Willow’s magic angst is spectacular. I just have one problem with this episode (and it’s not how buffy/Xander react to the news of Tara’a death).The scene at the start where Willow summons Osiris is the most problematic – mainly because it has such narrative significance and such hokey effects – not very long ago, Willow needed to go to extraordinary lengths to summon Osiris and ask for buffy’s life – the urn, the blood, the tests. But now she can bypass these rituals and summon him directly to demand Tara’s life be restored because her power is so strong – wonderful stuff. So why do we have such awful effects? The ‘face’ of Osiris is so campy that it underscores the seriousness trying to be conveyed by AH.

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  49. [Note: Ryan ONeil posted this comment on October 18, 2012.]

    Maybe it’s because seeking an audience with Osiris (or a messenger thereof) – begging him to do something but not having any power over him – is easier than directly forcing him to do something?

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  50. [Note: Ryan ONeil posted this comment on October 18, 2012.]

    I was thinking that it was easier for Willow to contact Osiris in 6×20 (when she was just summoned him without any preparation) than it was for her in 6×1 (when she had to go through an elaborate blood sacrifice with an ancient relic) because her own power was sufficient to contact him so that she could beg for Tara’s life (despite the fact that he could and did refuse), but she was not powerful enough to force him to bring someone back to life even if it was possible, so she had to use the blood ritual in Buffy’s case (instead of / in addition to her own personal magic) to exert enough power over Osiris to force him not to refuse.I’m pretty sure that if Willow had had the same power when Buffy was killed closing the portal, she could’ve still contacted Osiris to bring Buffy back (as her death had been unnatural). However, she would just be asking him, not binding him through more powerful magics, and he would still have had the option of refusing her despite the unnaturalness. Willow didn’t want to take that chance, so she used the ritual’s power to be absolutely sure he would obey her.In that case, it’s a good thing that she didn’t go through any preparation in this one, because despite the extra power over Osiris it would still have been a waste of time comparable to Angel 2×9.Does that help?

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  51. [Note: TheShanshuProphecy posted this comment on October 18, 2012.]

    yes – I actually meant in m original post that the concept of Willow being able to summon Osiris without the ritual was written well & helped highlight how much her power had grown – my issue was/is with hokey effects which I think detract from the scene – maybe I was unclear in my original post.Thanks for the response 🙂

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  52. [Note: Latecomer posted this comment on November 3, 2012.]

    There was one thing that bothered me here that I don’t think anyone else has mentioned yet. And I’m not sure there’s any way I can raise this issue without making myself sound like a sociopath, but I’m going to try! Osiris had told Willow explicitly, that very same day, that death by mystical force leaves open the possibility of resurrection but death by human means does not. Given that circumstance, I found it implausible that Willow used mystical forces to kill Warren, whom she must have wanted to remain permanently, irrevocably, dead. She could and should have killed him by human means. I realize that option would have deprived Joss & Co. of the shocking “instant flaying” image, but if that shock value was really important to them, they still could have had Willow use magic to torture Warren, before killing him “by human means.” Why, after learning that the manner of Tara’s death made Tara ineligible for resurrection, would Willow have failed to ensure that Warren was ineligible for resurrection, too?

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  53. [Note: Ryan ONeil posted this comment on November 3, 2012.]

    If I may:1) The magic wasn’t what killed Warren, it was the pain and blood loss, otherwise anybody in the town killed by demons could be resurrected with the proper resources.2) Even if somebody dies supernaturally, I think I read that resurrection only brings somebody back in the condition they were in before the supernatural death, so even if the fire was what killed Warren instead of blood loss, and the fire was mystical instead of mystically-sparked, it would still have brought Warren back flayed and he would bleed out anyway. Hence, Willow couldn’t just burn Tara and bring her back with magicks, because there would still be a bullet-hole.3) Willow probably wasn’t thinking that rationally,4) and magic had already been Willow’s answer to everything even when she was.5) If that made you sound like a sociopath, then there’s something wrong with half the people here 🙂

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  54. [Note: Latecomer posted this comment on November 4, 2012.]

    Thanks, Ryan. It’s my understanding that Warren died from the flaying, which was accomplished by magic, such that a resurrection would have restored Warren to his pre-flayed state. The fire, I think, was just Willow disposing of the remains — cremation, if you will. For that reason, I still think that even if Willow used magic to torture Warren for a while first, she should have killed him the old-fashioned way. Just by way of example, she could have retrieved his axe (presumably she could have accomplished the “retrieval” part WITH magic, to save time) and then used it either to behead him or perhaps just to bisect his head into two parts. And really, if shock value was what Whedon wanted, in some ways having Willow manually wield a weapon that way to sever Warren’s head and/or just splatter his brain matter everywhere arguably could have been MORE horrifying than the magical “insta-flay” that Willow accomplished without even getting blood on her hands. It may be you’re right that Willow just didn’t think it all through about “mystical forces” killig vs. killing by human means, but I find that . . . unsatisfying.

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  55. [Note: Iguana-on-a-stick posted this comment on November 4, 2012.]

    I think the solution is easier:Even with the “supernatural death” loophole it took a -huge- amount of effort to resurrect Buffy. Willow needed all her prodigious power to fuel it and all of Anya’s demon-market contacts to procure the necessary items. Some of those items she used were the last of their kind.I’d suspect that resurrections of humans in the Buffyverse is something that would happen a few times a century at best. So who on earth would rescue Warren? Who is around who even has the power, let alone the tools and the motivation?The odds of someone bringing him back even if it is somehow possible are so remote as to be negligible.

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  56. [Note: Latecomer posted this comment on November 4, 2012.]

    SPOILER for the “Season Eight” comic books — not that I’ve read them, or ever intend to, but I’m told as follows: Warren actually WAS brought back to life (by Amy), and engaged in more villainy, but eventually he perished again. That he came back at all just ticks me off; he of all people should have been permanently, irrevocably, dead in S6.

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  57. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on November 4, 2012.]

    I can quite easily look at the Buffy television series as its own self-contained text — because it is. 🙂

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  58. [Note: TheShanshuProphecy posted this comment on November 5, 2012.]

    + 1 to Iguana & MikeJI also think that the terms mystical and magical are not so easily collapsed in the Buffyverse – Willow using magic power to flay Warren is not necessarily a mystical death but a magical one – i’m not trying to be semantic here but I do think that there is a difference. Yes, the magical draws upon the mystical but Willow was a human when she killed Warren, not a mystical force.

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  59. [Note: Alex posted this comment on November 5, 2012.]

    I was going to say pretty much exactly what Iguana said. Even if the manner of Warren’s death made him eligible for resurrection, he’s still dead*. To resurrect him would be a seriously big deal, requiring huge amounts of power and magic – we’re led to believe that Willow is one of very few people who have managed to pull this off without a hitch. And she also indicates that the spell she used won’t ever be able to be used again, because the urn of Osiris got destroyed during the course of it.So I don’t think Willow would care too much about the very remote possibility of someone resurrecting Warren, even if she had time to think it through rationally (which she clearly isn’t doing here). And, as Ryan pointed out, it’s very much in keeping with Willow’s character to have her use magic for this.*I have read the S8 comics, but when watching the TV series I still view this as Warren completely, definitely dying here. The comic book explanation is not that Amy resurrected him, but that he never died at all. I can’t remember the exact details, but it’s something like Amy hiding in the bushes and secretly whisking Warren away at the point where Willow thinks she’s set fire to him. She can’t restore his skin, though, so keeps him alive through magic.Someone asked Joss how, if Warren never died, he had appeared as a version of The First. And Joss’s reply was basically ‘oops, I forgot about that’. Sigh.

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  60. [Note: Great Whazoo posted this comment on December 13, 2012.]

    I completely agree with Richie’s assessment regarding Spike’s true intentions. I’ve also noticed how Clem’s friendship with Spike, who’s been relegated to only killing demons, hasn’t been discussed, especially since Clem should have been killed by Spike during one of his rages. It shows that there’s stronger things going on here other than the “chip”.

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  61. [Note: alfridito017 posted this comment on October 28, 2013.]

    I think it is debatable if what Willow did was right. Did Warren kill Tara? Yes. But did he deserved to be killed? No, because isn’t it just vengeance? It doesn’t make it right because at some point you have to draw the line. With Willow, she crossed it when she flayed Warren which made it scary for me when I watched it. Yikes, beware dark Willow Rosenberg.

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  62. [Note: Nebula Nox posted this comment on November 11, 2013.]

    The confusion regarding Spike is due to the writers putting misdirection in the story over the logic of the story. There’s no reason for Spike to go to Africa to get the chip out; it would make sense for him to find another doctor and do that if he wanted (or find some vampire who used to be a doctor – they must exist).

    We have to recall that Spike is, as he puts it “love’s bitch” – when he loves, he does everything for love – although not always sensibly, which is why he is a “fool for love.” So it makes sense that he would try to get a soul, to go above and beyond what anyone else has done. I actually don’t count Angel, as it was forced upon him.

    Spike is a creature of extremes.

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  63. [Note: Crazy Chicken posted this comment on December 18, 2013.]

    its strange – i always had the notion that some part of Spike – the demon side in the drivers seat before a soul however trapped by the chip really just wanted to be an uncaged animal again – that the man took the wish, what he wanted and turned it around so that the human part of him got his wish – a soul and kept the chip intact….it is only when he has a soul that he gets that a part of him – the human part longed to be whole and that this part of him got the soul for her…

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  64. [Note: Rick posted this comment on January 6, 2014.]

    Regarding Buffy and Xander’s reaction to Tara’s death- I can’t single it out as a problem because I think that the entire scene with the bus is dreadful, including the performances.
    No one on the bus reacts at all to Willow stopping the bus, calling Warren out and killing him (the Warrenbot) while they watch. Then they all sit quietly while Willow chats with Buffy and Xander. Alyson Hannigan is weirdly flat here, as are SMG and NB. The whole scene is staged weirdly and just doesn’t work IMHO.
    I always cringe during this scene, and am always happy when it’s over and the plot moves on.

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  65. [Note: Spuffy4eva posted this comment on January 19, 2014.]

    Something bad always happens to Tara in episode 19-getting chased by Werewolf Oz, getting brain-sucked by Glory, getting SHOT BY WARREN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  66. [Note: Nebula Nox posted this comment on February 25, 2014.]

    I sort of have the sense here that Tara’s death is Willow’s being punished for raising Buffy from the dead. After all, it is unlikely that Tara would have died if Willow had not done that. (And there would have been no 6th season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, because Buffy would be dead. Perhaps too many hypotheticals.)

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  67. [Note: Tiff posted this comment on February 10, 2015.]

    It’s hard for me to believe Spike was intending on getting his soul back when he was using really violent language to describe his motives. Like “bitch thinks she’s better than me” and “get comfy slayer. Cuz when I get back things are gonna change.” Which implies she’ll be less “comfy” upon his return. Going to have to disagree that love is the driving force here. As far as subconscious desire; I’d say it’s more plausible but Spike would probably have borderline personality disorder or something. Not like being undead for centuries wouldn’t effect ones ability to form healthy relationships or anything.

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  68. [Note: NightLady posted this comment on February 11, 2015.]

    great review! I agree with the score and with the analysis. I never stopped to think about the parallels between warren and spike, so thanks for pointing it out. And I would add Willow to the mix. Two humans choosing to go bad, a demon choosing to do the right thing. It makes me love Spike’s character even more

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  69. [Note: NightLady posted this comment on February 11, 2015.]

    oh, comment was cut out…

    About Willow, I didn’t like the ‘magic addiction’ theme and to me she was more addicted to the power it gave her but yes, she was indeed great here. I just didn’t like her look at all. Her dress, her hair… is it only me? And I think her stopping at the hospital before going to hunt warren wasn’t fitting!

    I would like to know what do you think about Buffy going to Spike after the AR. She looked disappointed to know that he had left and asked Clem when he was coming back and it surely was an unusual reaction for someone who was almost raped.

    Finally the scene of Willow killing warren. I think he was just as great. I’m not a big fan of the actor because I’ve never watched anything else he did and because of the character he played in Buffy of course, but his acting after Willow magically sewed his mouth and while the bullet was killing him was truly good.

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  70. [Note: Boscalyn posted this comment on February 11, 2015.]

    I think the Warren/Willow parallels are much, much stronger than the Warren/Spike ones throughout the season– nay, the entire series– as a whole. They’re both brilliant nerds who are so terrified of being alone that they’ll do anything to be in a relationship. Initially, they’re more sycophantic, but once they get a taste of power and start asserting themselves, they completely dominate the targets of their affections. Most tellingly, both violate their girlfriend’s mind and commit sexual assault, and both of them more or less get away with it.

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  71. [Note: NightLady posted this comment on February 12, 2015.]

    The parallel between Warren and Spike wasn’t mine, really, I was answering to the writer of the review and as I understand it, it isn’t about them sharing the same personality or history but more as a contrast: one human that doesn’t feel guilt for his evil deeds and chooses to carry on being evil, the other demon that even without a soul is able to feel remorse for the bad thing he has done and chooses to change to fix it. That’s why I mentioned Willow, because in this episode she makes a choice and doesn’t regret it, much like Warren albeit for better reasons (imo). But looking at their pasts I don’t see as many similarities as you do, especially about the ‘violate their girlfriend’s mind and commit sexual assault’. Willow never sexually assaulted Tara! About the violating, I agree but still see a big difference between the two: Warren made his ex girlfriend who hated him a sexual object, to rape her and let his accomplices rape her (and ended killing her), while Willow made Tara (who loved her) forget they had had an argument. It’s a bad thing, I’m not denying it but nothing even remotely similar to what Warren did.

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  72. [Note: Krssven posted this comment on July 20, 2015.]

    What happens at some point before the S8 comics is that Amy manages to find/create a ritual that resurrects Warren just before his death. It unfortunately (for him) brings him back as a skinless zombie that is only alive because of the magic that keeps him animate. The reason they need him is for his superscience expertise, because the main villain of S8 has to contend with a lot of magical/mystical defences set up by Willow. He dies again when the magic on him wears off after the end of magic.

    Don’t knock the comics until you’ve actually had a look at them. There’s some great stuff in there, and to be honest, it feels perfectly fine as a continuation. The characters are obviously who they should be and it’s very well written. The only misgiving I have is their overuse of what would be very effects-heavy events on a TV show. It isn’t what we would’ve got had it continued onscreen, but in a way that’s a good thing.

    On Spike, he only ever intended to get his soul back. He says as much in S7 and later in Angel S5 that he won his soul (which he considers superior to having it thrust upon him like Angel did). He never intended to get the chip removed – that was a writer fake-out to keep us guessing and make the ‘we will return…your SOUL!!!’ line at the very end of S6 a big surprise.

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  73. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on December 13, 2015.]

    I just realized that it’s a bit silly that it took so long for anyone to notice that anything was going on upstairs while they were working on Buffy. Sure they were busy and distracted at the time but you’d think someone would have noticed something, particular when Willow was conjuring up all the wind and smoke and stuff (unless this is another sign of Sunnydale incompetence). Also outside of connecting it to the title you kind of begin to realize that Willow’s eyes going red basically connected to nothing since we don’t see it again after the ending of that episode and her eyes usually turn black if anything. Ironically both eye colours can reflect demon eyes in Supernatural now that I think about it.

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  74. [Note: Robert posted this comment on December 29, 2015.]

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned that during the morality conversation the picture of Joyce was prominently displayed next to where Dawn was sitting. That was a nice touch, especially since during this conversation they mentioned why bringing Tara back (and their mother) would be wrong, because they weren’t supposed to control the universe even if they had the power to do so. Poignant stuff.

    I admittedly took a while to warm to this season, mostly because it was difficult for me (and I would assume most other fans) to watch our beloved characters implode one after the other, but on closer viewing I think this is probably the most gripping, well-written season of the seven. The last few episodes provided some of the best payoff, not just for season 6 but as the reviewer mentioned particularly for Willow this has really been building for her since her introduction to magic at the end of season 2. This was brilliant and worth the wait.

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  75. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on December 29, 2015.]

    Interesting observation though that picture was in that spot since at least Dead Things so I doubt it was in the director’s mind when they shot the scene.

    I’ve developed some problems with the scene though since it not only shows a bias towards souled individuals compared to non-souled ones but the whole assumption on not being able to control the universe on questionable justifications. SFDebris covered similar ground when he talked about Star Trek’s Prime Directive in his video on the topic.

    Check out my topic about Demon Ethics in the forum if you’re interested.

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  76. [Note: Squamate posted this comment on July 2, 2016.]

    It’s weird that most people assume that Willow hurt Osiris itself in the opening scene. The transcript to the episode indicates otherwise:

    WILLOW
    Hear me! Keeper of darkness-

    Now Tara and Willow are enclosed in a swirling burst of light and mystical power – and the room is suddenly filled by the enormous HEAD of an incredibly imposing demon. His voice BOOMS as he looks down on Willow and Tara.

    IMPOSING DEMON
    Witch! How dare you invoke Osiris in
    this task?

    Willow, desperate, appeals to the creature.

    WILLOW
    Please. Please… Bring her back-

    IMPOSING DEMON
    You may not violate the laws of
    natural passing-

    WILLOW
    How? How is this natural?

    IMPOSING DEMON
    It is a human death, by human means.

    WILLOW
    But I-

    IMPOSING DEMON
    You raised one killed by mystical
    forces. This is not the same – she
    is taken by natural order. It is
    done.

    WILLOW
    No. There’s got to be a way-

    IMPOSING DEMON
    It is done.

    Willow, trembling, screams – and it is horrible, full of rage and pain so deep it has no end…

    WILLOW
    NO!

    The scream unleashes a terrible energy. Suddenly the demon is engulfed in a blaze of white light and heat – HE CRIES OUT IN HORRIBLE AGONY, DYING.

    OFF THIS IMAGE – WE GO TO WHITE.

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  77. [Note: Sirena posted this comment on February 16, 2017.]

    “The scene where Willow matter-of-factly saves Buffy’s life and then softly — but in a fake way — addresses Xander and Buffy afterwards is particularly praise-worthy. That’s a tough emotional state to pull off on screen, but Aly nailed it.”

    You’re right, Willow is definitely creepy and disturbing this episode. Willow’s entire attitude when she enters the hospital is wrong (for lack of a better word). The fact that she orders the doctors to leave without concern that Buffy might die is telling. Yes, she saves Buffy but she does it in such a cold and detached manner. Even the expression on her face as she watches Xander hug Willow is creepy. It is as if she cannot feel the proper emotions at that moment.

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  78. OMFG!!!!!! I wasn’t a great fan of Tara, but I did find myself saddened by her death and what that did to Willow. But Dark Willow is AWESOME. BAD ASS. I love it. Someone mentioned the lights bursting when she walked by. in the forest, the trees bend when she walks by. I love how they depicted her. Not the greatest fan of S6, but Dark Willow makes it worth it.

    I’m not sure I completely buy this idea that only someone who died by mystical means can be brought back to life. We’ve seen more than one spell in this series for bringing someone back to life. How many people actually die of mystical means? If I was a powerful sorcerer and had a “bring someone back to life” spell, I’d hardly if ever get to use it.

    And what about the spell Dawn was using to bring back Joyce? I know that Joyce was coming back wrong, but I don’t remember that that was necessarily a result of the spell. I left that episode with the idea that someone might be brought back to life whole if the caster really knew what they were doing. I’m going to chalk it up that there’s more than one way to bring back someone from the dead, it can be done with someone who’s died a natural death, but not Osiris’s way, and that there’s something special about Tara’s death precluding her being brought back.

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    1. Hi Poltargyst,
      I’ve watched that episode many times and I’ve never thought about this little inconsistency. There are episodes from season two and season three that have resurrected characters that weren’t killed by mystical forces.

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