Buffy 7×02: Beneath You

[Review by Mike Marinaro]

[Writer: Douglas Petrie | Director: Nick Marck | Aired: 10/01/2002]

Here lies an episode that ultimately works because of how generously it spreads around its solid character work and follows-through from last season. It also happens to contain one of the best scenes in the entire series, which makes a part of me want to give it an A just for the one scene. The plot of “Beneath You” is kind of lame, but it doesn’t take up too much time and is used simply to set the character interactions in motion. Want a summary? Here: Anya does vengeance mojo on a man for an unknowing angry woman, and then is later convinced to undo it. There, that’s it. This episode really doesn’t try very hard to hide the fact it’s entirely about the characters, so I’m just going to dive into what’s really important, which happens to be what the episode excels at.

Speaking of character interaction, the entire early scene in Xander’s car with Buffy, Xander, and Dawn is simply sublime and kind of sums up my fondness for this episode — it represents classic Buffy, but with all of it coming from a more wiser place. Buffy still looks positively happy and glowing, Dawn looks a lot more well adjusted, and Xander looks solid but a little lost. When Xander tells Buffy and Dawn how lucky the kids are to have Buffy watching them at the school, I just melted. In particular, his comment to Buffy about how he is grateful for her was incredibly genuine and sweet. Once again, like in “Lessons” [7×01], it just feels like these two have something deeper than friendship here. But, alas, that’s something for us (or maybe just me) to dream about on our (my) own.

Another leftover from “Lessons” [7×01] that I’m still enjoying is Buffy’s giddy excitement for her new advising job at the high school. This feels totally genuine and is really fun to see. It’s interesting that the first chance Buffy gets to be alone in the new high school, she checks on Spike. This tells me that she’s clearly been thinking about him since she found him in “Lessons” [7×01]. Despite the attempted rape of last season, she can feel that something’s very different about him now. At the very least, she can’t just leave someone like Spike unattended in the basement of the high school her sister is going to. This is followed up with Buffy telling Spike he needs to get out of there in “Selfless” [7×05].

When Spike later appears, Buffy is willing to work with him, but is still very cautious and justifiably snippy around him. Spike tries to hide his craziness in “Lessons” [7×01] by blaming it on the manifest spirits. Later, after Spike tells Buffy he’s changed, she tells him that she believes it, but says, “I just don’t know what you’ve changed into.” I don’t think Spike fully knows that yet either. Buffy’s approach to Spike so far is incredibly wise: she doesn’t react purely on emotion, but rather uses a combination of slayer instinct and emotional distance/caution to get at what Spike’s game is. This continues to showcase Buffy’s enhanced maturity this season, as this is not a reaction I’d expect from her in previous seasons, yet makes perfect sense here.

Xander gets some attention in “Beneath You” as well. Ever since Xander left Anya at the altar, he’s returned to being, as he says, “a dateless nerd.” I think I’ve used that phrase before to describe myself, so I can definitely relate. Buffy astutely points out that maybe the whole leaving-Anya-at-the-altar thing hasn’t yet overcome the passage of time. That makes sense to me, anyway. It’s not going to be easy to start dating after an experience like that! With that said, he definitely gives it a shot with Nancy: the girl who’s dog got eaten. At first, she’s worried the Scoobies will think she’s crazy. Amusingly, she soon finds out the Scoobies are crazy. Haha. This girl is like someone who’s never watched Buffy before and is watching this episode. Too much backstory! For the rest of us, though, it’s simply wonderful.

Nancy jogs Xander’s senses and makes him realize that Anya is the root cause of this whole monster problem. Ah, poor Xander. Almost gets a date, but then it gets scared away. Anya uses Xander’s behavior at their wedding as an excuse for what she’s doing. Xander finally stands up: “And sooner or later, Anya, that excuse just stops working.” Nice! Anya’s getting really impatient with herself and escalating her vengeance deeds, although still willing to reverse them. This is the kind of nuanced attention that is so often ignored as unimportant by both TV writers and viewers, but is the bread and butter of a show that will keep my attention.

While Buffy, Willow (which I’ll get to in a bit), and Xander each got a nice dusting of characterization this episode, Spike is really where the true focus is. Apparently a lot of fans are pissed that Spike ended up getting so much attention this season because of the screen time he took away from the other characters. Personally, Spike has, from day one, been a character I wanted to see more of and get more development. The fact they turn him into one of the most focused-on characters this season is a huge positive for me.

No season can heavily focus on every character. While I can sympathize with the desire to focus on the “core four” in the show’s final season, the concept of the core four just doesn’t hold as much value to me in Season 7 that it did earlier in the series. I believe the writers purposefully did this to be more realistic to life. People grow older and change; relationships evolve and rarely remain what they used to be. Yes, the core Scoobies are still very close, and are still good friends, but their relationship with each other hasn’t been of the innocent tightly-knit warm and fuzzy variety since S2. Nor should it be like that anymore, after all that’s happened. By S7, making Spike a central part of the story makes sense to me and, personally, I absolutely love his role and development this season. I’ll get more into the details as the episodes progress, but I feel “Beneath You” begins the trend of developing Spike in a riveting manner.

Spike makes his awkward entrance into the plot of “Beneath You” by bursting into the scene where Buffy, Xander, and Dawn are discussing what to do about a worm monster eating a girl’s dog. Spike shows up offering help in his totally out-of-place tight blue shirt, which he will later accurately call a “costume.” Spike is trying to cover up the mess that’s inside his head at the moment, and is only thinly pulling himself together here to try to help Buffy. His voice is so much softer now — gentler, you could say. When Buffy tells Spike “everything about you is wrong,” you can see, in his eyes, the pain and acknowledgement of that fact — he actually believes it now.

Later in the episode, at the Bronze, in one of the most refreshingly comical Buffy ensemble scenes in quite some time, Anya realizes that Spike has a soul now — she can see right through his “costume.” This moment between the two of them is both fun and unpredictable. Anya’s flipping out in amazement. The moment Spike realizes she’s on to him, he starts trying to break up the situation. It takes a brawl to make that happen. Great acting from James Marsters here. When Buffy steps in between them and starts beating on Spike, he goes into full-on attack mode in the hopes to conceal his soul. He pulls out all the stops here, saying “working out the personal issues, huh?” and “ooh, up for another round at the balcony then?” Although he does his best to return to form, the moment something serious happens, this costume just melts away. By the way, I absolutely love the references to “Dead Things” [6×13].

That “serious” situation happens almost immediately after Nancy runs away in response to the punches being thrown. This leads to an amazing scene when Spike stabs the now human-again Ronny (Nancy’s ex-boyfriend). Spike just flips out in shock and pain. He says, “right, wrong” as if still trying to work out what those terms even mean to him anymore, which is particularly curious considering what the First was feeding him at the end of “Lessons” [7×01]: “It’s not about right. It’s not about wrong. It’s about power.” He’s totally confused now that his whole concept of morality has another layer to it. He also seems a bit tormented by the fact that he can’t just turn off these new feelings (“Calling quits, if only that was an option”). Spike still appears to be hounded by the First, yelling into the air, “What are you screaming about!? I can hear you!” This obviously makes a lot more sense than it did the first time I saw it.

Eventually Spike just implodes and runs off. This, fortunately, leads to the, what should be, famous church scene. This is one of, if not the, best scenes in the entire series. Right from the start of it, a shirtless Spike sets Buffy on edge. You can tell she’s thinking “what the hell is this!?” She tells him, “no more mind games, Spike.” He responds, “no more mind games? No more mind.” When Buffy touches Spike, he immediately recoils: “Hey! No touching! Am I flesh? Am I flesh to you? Feed on flesh, my flesh. Nothing else, not a spark… fine! Flesh then. Sod it through, get it hard, service the girl.” Wow, talk about scars left from last season. This dialogue is telling me that Spike is very morally confused on how to react to Buffy anymore. He’s very much hurting because of his part of what happened last season. But Buffy also used Spike, which is why he brings up the point that, before, he didn’t have a soul, so he was just flesh to her. When Buffy throws him across the room as he starts unbuttoning his pants, he realizes “right, girl doesn’t want to be serviced, because there’s not a spark.”

Spike goes on to look around the church and ask, “aren’t we in a soddin’ engine?” This line to me translates as somewhat of a joke from Spike. What’s interesting is that he’s speaking from the perspective of not having a soul, and is using the “the engine” as a metaphor for the church, or God. So I think the joke is saying, ‘hey, we’re in a church aren’t we? Hook me up with a soul [spark] so that I can get it on, because that’s what Buffy wants.’ It’s said in a very broken and sad tone, though, which tells me he’s just saying it out of desperation and confusion, rather than intending it to have any legitimacy. It’s clear, though, that Spike definitely still loves Buffy, but he’s unbelievably confused right now on how to interpret it. It’s like he’s… no, he is experiencing the world through new eyes. Everything’s different now.

Buffy, very confused now, demands some concrete answers out of him. Spike tells her, “I tried to find it, of course … the spark! The thing that’ll make me fit. Because you didn’t want…” At this points he bows his head, like he’s ashamed of even explaining himself to her; ashamed of putting even the hint of blame on her after what he did to her. Spike continues, “I dreamed of killing you. At least I think they were dreams.” Could this also be referring to the attempted rape? I think it could also just referring to his vampiric nature and history mixing in with his soul. He goes on, “You made me weak. Thinking of you. Holding myself, spilling useless buckets of salt, over your… ending.” This is likely referring to Buffy’s death in “The Gift” [5×22].

It’s not until Spike mentions Angel that the reality of the situation fully hits Buffy. Spike says, “Angel should have warned me… They put the spark in me, and now all it does is burn.” This is me getting chills at this point. From this point on, Spike’s soul just spills out onto the floor of this church, which is symbolically relevant in terms of the themes of forgiveness and self sacrifice — both terms metaphorically layered throughout this beautifully realized scene. Spike asks both Buffy and what seems to be God if getting a soul is what they wanted from him — at the very least, we know that Buffy constantly told him in previous seasons that she could never love him because of the lack of a soul.

When Spike says, “and now everyone’s in here, talking, everything I did, everyone I… and him [Spike’s concience manifesting as his perception of God’s punishment]… and it [the First] … they all just tell me to go… go, to hell.” When Buffy asks him why he’d go get his soul, Spike rightfully snaps back: “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. And she shall look at him with forgiveness, and everyone will forgive, and love. And he will be loved. So, everything’s okay, right? Can we rest now? Buffy, can we rest?” It’s these final words, overlayed with Spike wrapping his now scorching body around (hugging) a large cross, that the episode ends.

Honestly, I almost don’t even want to analyze this moment any further — it can be appreciated both on a thematic level and a visceral level. Spike’s unrequited love for Buffy mixing with his sorrow over what he’s done in his un-life, especially to Buffy, is beyond compelling — it’s spellbinding. Spike wants forgiveness for what he’s done, even though he feels, to some extent, that he doesn’t deserve it. He simply wants all the agony to stop — he wants his guilt over the destructive nature of their relationship last season to be put to rest. ‘Redemption’ is the word.

This entire scene only works as well as it does because James Marsters is a mind-blowingly great actor. It never really hit me until I originally saw this scene, but this man puts everything he has into this scene. This is some of the most naked, raw, and emotionally real acting I’ve ever seen in my life — television and movies. So major kudos here to James Marsters for sending chills down my spine and bringing me to tears, the same as it does to Buffy. This is a huge moment for the character of Spike, one that so emotionally tethers us to where the character is at now, post-soul, it boggles my mind in its succinct power.

Seeing a soulless demon recognize its inherent limitations and seek out a soul for completion and love — despite not fully knowing that really means — represents one of the most compelling stories of redemption I’ve ever witnessed. This scene in “Beneath You” wonderfully tackles the emotional fallout of that decision. If you’re not affected by this moment, from an acting perspective and from a character perspective, then we must really be watching different shows. To this day, this scene represents one of the top moments of television I’ve ever witnessed in my life. It is creepy, slightly amusing, and utterly heart-breaking. Thank you Joss Whedon, thank you James Marsters, and thank you Season 7!

Before wrapping this review up, I have a few words to say about Willow. I’m really liking that Willow has serious reservations about returning to Sunnydale prematurely. This concern also happens to be the center of her arc this season: overcoming her fear of losing control. Willow’s arc also directly overlaps with one of the central themes of the season: power. Willow obviously has a lot of power these days. The problem is that she is struggling in learning how to use it properly. In Season 6, she used it out of selfishness and a lack of discipline. This season, being aware of her weaknesses, she must learn how to control the magic within, and use it in a healthy and wise manner (“What if I go all veiny and homicidal again…?”). This is not an easy thing to do, and it represents Willow’s final arc that, personally, I find fairly satisfying. This arc does address the fallout from last season, and in a very thematic way.

Also touched on is Willow’s concern for how she’ll be recieved by her friends back in Sunnydale, a subject that gets the attention it deserves in “Same Time, Same Place” [7×03]. Although we all have a good idea that her friends will still be accepting of her, albeit a bit less trusting, I can understand that Willow would still be very nervous about it. It’s events like what happened in S6 where true friendship is tested. What happens next is tackled in the next episode.

Although “Beneath You” is marred by a silly demon-of-the-week and a somewhat slower pace, the character material, especially for Spike, is really first-rate. This is definitely one of those Buffy episodes where the character development and interaction are so appreciated that it rises above its mediocre plot, which I barely noticed or cared about. In the end it’s an overall unspectacular but quite decent episode.


Minor Pros/Cons (+/-)

+ The Run, Lola, Run inspired opening.
+ It’s nice to see Buffy getting prophetic dreams again. “Back to the beginning” indeed. πŸ™‚
+ Continuity! Buffy brings up Principal Flutie based on a comment Wood makes about being eaten alive. Awesome!
+ Buffy asking Wood if he admired her work at the Doublemeat Palace. His response: “I’m a vegetarian.” The look on Buffy’s face is great here, as you can tell she’s thinking about the fact that the DMP burgers are made from vegetables. This is just totally fun banter.
+ Nancy gets very scared off by the crazy confrontation with Spike. Things must sure look nuts from her perspective. Poor Xander: “She’s not calling me.”
+ The scene where Nancy is trying to work out all the relationships in the Scooby group, gets totally confused, and then asks “have any of you not slept with each other?” Xander and Spike then exchange a hilarious look. πŸ™‚

–Β The cheesy worm monster. The CGI, from the tremors-like effect on the ground to the actual thing itself, is very poor.
–Β Although Spike going crazy is fun for the whole family, the way the early scene was shot in the basement, when the earthquake occurred, felt cheap to me.




108 thoughts on “Buffy 7×02: Beneath You”

  1. [Note: WorldWithoutShrimp posted this comment on March 1, 2009.]

    It is always a joy to see you’ve posted new reviews, mikejer. This one is insightful, as always. I gotta say, your description of the church scene is spot-on. It is certainly by far one of the best scenes of the series..

    And I never quite got the argument that Spike ruined S7 either, primarily because I think he was one of the best parts of S7! While I think the lack of Core Four (not the old group dynamic, but rather the unfortunate lack of focus on Xander, Willow, and Giles–though they all had good moments in this season) is a flaw of S7, I don’t think the fact that ANOTHER interesting character got GREAT development is the problem. I, personally, think the Potentials are the problem, along with a meandering story arc, but that’s a discussion for a later time…


  2. [Note: Paula posted this comment on March 2, 2009.]

    Great work, Mike! I’ll probably return to some of the deeper points of this episode later, but for now just a question:

    The scene where Nancy is trying to work out all the relationships in the Scooby group, gets totally confused, and then asks “have any of you not slept with each other?” Xander and Spike then exchange a hilarious look. πŸ™‚

    Yeah, but well, why? I feel like I’m probably stupid and missing something, but why would these two both glance at each other here? I could understand Spike looking at Xander, but Xander, not to put too fine a point on it, knows both Buffy and Anya have slept with Spike. And both of these guys of course know that they haven’t slept with each other. πŸ™‚


  3. [Note: Leelu posted this comment on March 2, 2009.]

    Has anyone else noticed that Spike seems much heavier/softer this season? Normally, he’s all lean, compact muscle. But in this season, his face is much fleshier, as is his torso. It’s hard to see any muscle definition at all.

    I wonder if this was intentional, a subtle visual way of making him seem more human, or if maybe James just got “fat.” I personally, think the former.


  4. [Note: buffyholic posted this comment on March 2, 2009.]

    Great review, mike. You really nailed the final scene perfectly. I also don’t see how people view Spike as having too much development. Honestly, Spike’s arc and Buffy’s arc are one of the reasons I love this season. I also agree with your score and I have a great love for this episode. The monster is lame, but the character interaction is too good!


  5. [Note: Sam posted this comment on March 2, 2009.]

    Yay, another review! (In fact, three more reviews. Hooray!) I’m not as fond of this one as you are, Mike (it’s mostly a filler episode until the great final scene), but I’m glad to see you back with more. The one scene I loved was, of course, the Anya scene in the Bronze. In fact, my favorite exchange is
    Xander: Well, you can unembellish now.
    Anya: Bite me, Harris!

    I guess we are going back to the beginning, ‘cuz that dis was straight outta high school!


  6. [Note: Farah posted this comment on March 2, 2009.]

    While I loved Spike’s story for this season, it doesn’t mean that Xander, Willow and Giles should be put in the background, “especially” in the last five episodes! This is the last season. Those three were there with Buffy from the beginning, they should be as important, if even more important, than Spike or Faith or Wood.

    I think S7 started out strong, but then lost it in the middle, but I admit that the Spuffy/Spike story was written well, perhaps the writers should have gotten someone who’s interseted in the characters Xander, Willow and Giles to remind them of them from time to time. Maybe remind them how to actually “write” those characters. I’m waiting to see how you’ll review Empty Places, because to be honest, no matter what Buffy does, I can’t for the life of me, see Xander, Willow, Giles and Dawn throwing her out of her house. That’s just lazy writing and totally out of character. She’d tried to KILL them in Normal Again, and was forgiven right away for God’s sake.


  7. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on March 2, 2009.]

    Farah, I agree with you to an extent. I just, here, wanted to make the point that we shouldn’t put down Spike’s awesome development because others aspects of the season were flawed.

    As for “Empty Places,” let’s leave that discussion for later. πŸ™‚


  8. [Note: Adam posted this comment on March 2, 2009.]

    Thank you for the review! I already expressed my great dislike for season 7 but I think there are actually some standout excellent episodes. However, Beneath You is not one of them. Everything is poorly written except the last scene. I would’ve scored this episode lower than you– like a B- or a C .


  9. [Note: Sarah posted this comment on March 2, 2009.]

    My favorite moment of this episode is the noise Anya makes when she hears about the puppy then “Ohh puppy!” and Xander responding, “Wait, that gets your sad noise? People’s lives are in danger, and you give it up for the Yorkie?”

    It makes me laugh every time.

    That blue shirt though was hideous, costume or not.

    My take on the not ripped anymore Spike, since the soul, the touch of insanity he was experiencing distracted him a bit from the working out. No longer patroling, demon fighting, no more violent sex, he lost the six pack. Ironically, he looked healtier for it IMO. Prefer “soft” Spike to emaciated Spike of season 6.

    What I found most fun about Spikes insanity, was his moments of clarity came in the form of snark. “Well, yes. Where’ve you been all night” “Manifest spirits controlled by a talisman, raised to seek vengeance. A four year-old could figure it.”, “I’m insane, what’s his excuse?” It so fits his character.

    Overall, the main plot, the monster were weak, but the episode had bright shiny moments, glowing even.


  10. [Note: AaronJer posted this comment on March 5, 2009.]

    You get a totally different view of Spike’s insanity when you already know that he actually IS seeing people… that he’s not actually crazy at all. It makes the snark moments of clarity make perfect sense. If a rationally thinking person was surrounded by something that was trying to make them THINK they were crazy, that’s exactly the kind of response you’d get.


  11. [Note: HarFang posted this comment on March 5, 2009.]

    Thank you Mike for that great review! I’ve been waiting for it ever since I found your site! I never tire of watching that final scene, and I’m left speechless every single time. Even dubbed, it still retains all its power.
    It’s not only that Marster’s is great though: the scene itself stands out simply because this is the only time on the show that a major character gets to speak so much with barely any interruption. On second thought, villains actually get to speechify a bit (and Buffy will get there too… ugh), but those scenes are shorter and the monologue aspect is usually mocked. Here, Whedon took a very big risk by taking a whole episode and making it a mere pretext for a theatrical set piece, one which solely rested on the shoulders of one actor.
    Still, I know that there are people who dislike Spike as a character (or who preferred badass Spike) and I can understand that they would find it annoying to see Whedon nudge Buffy aside to better focus on a character who ought to have been killed off five years ago. (Though honestly, why anyone would dislike Spike in any state…)


  12. [Note: Sarah posted this comment on March 5, 2009.]

    “not actually crazy at all” I don’t think I can agree completely with this statement or imply that Spike at this point is a “rationally thinking person”. The First is manipulating his vulnerable state of mind, but it is a fractured state of mind. “I dreamed of killing you. I think they were dreams.” This is a perfect example of him trying to rectify, trying to understand past thoughts, past actions with his new conscience, in my opinion. Even if he hadn’t had the most evil of evils whispering crazy nothings in his ear, I think he would have returned to Sunnydale broken; maybe not stinky, wild haired, basement living broken, but broken.

    His snark response seems to be a reflex, fractured mind or not. Again I just enjoyed seeing it, as it was rare this season.


  13. [Note: Tom L posted this comment on March 6, 2009.]

    “Beneath you” is a really great episode.

    It has probably your favorite scene of all time and you gave it a B ? Yes, I realize a scene doesn’t make an episode, but, this episode works so well. Plus, the CGI monster does not bother me. Actually, I think it was the better CGI stand-alone episode monster they made (just compare it to Fake The Snake). Personally, I would’ve given t an A-. It’s as good (or better) as Entropy. Or maybe I just overrate the episodes that come before Sleeper…

    But here is where obviously have different opinions:

    “No season can heavily focus on every character. While I can sympathize with the desire to focus on the “core four” in the show’s final season, the concept of the core four just doesn’t hold as much value to me in Season 7 that it did earlier in the series. I believe the writers purposefully did this to be more realistic to life. People grow older and change; relationships evolve and rarely remain what they used to be. Yes, the core Scoobies are still very close, and are still good friends, but their relationship with each other hasn’t been of the innocent tightly-knit warm and fuzzy variety since S2. Nor should it be like that anymore, after all that’s happened. By S7, making Spike a central part of the story makes sense to me and, personally, I absolutely love his role and development this season. I’ll get more into the details as the episodes progress, but I feel “Beneath You” begins the trend of developing Spike in a riveting manner.”

    My problem is not just the lack of core four attention. See, season 5 is my favorite season of BTVS. And the core four interaction is really different from what we had up until season 4. Because Dawn, Joyce’s subplot and Spike as a scooby are all thrown in the mix. And I love it. It gives the show a fresh direction. But Xander, Willow and Giles still got a lot of GOOD developments.

    Also, SMG and Marsters have a terrific screen chemistry, that was put to great use in season 5. Season 7 is mostly just a waste of their talent (I’m talking about the season as a whole).

    I’m not done. I have to go now, but I’ll post more about your paragraph later…


  14. [Note: Tom L posted this comment on March 6, 2009.]


    Spike became a central part of the show through S5 (no wonder he is on the DVD cover). The problem is that there is TOO MUCH attention devoted to his character in S7, and most of it sucks.

    See, in season 3 we had a heavy focus on Faith, who had just been to the show, but the other characters’ stories blended well as the season progressed. This doesn’t happen in S7.

    My biggest problem with Spike’s development is that it feels like Mutant Enemy wrote the last two years with the constant thought of pleasing the audience with a Spuffy scenario. While it worked in S6, I can’t say the same for S7. I’ll comment more about this when you post your Never Leave Me review.

    About the core four, it’s natural that Giles wouldn’t get as much development as he did until S5 since he is not in all episodes. But Xander being underused? And Willow with her crappy fear-to-use-magic issues? Unforgivable.

    Back to Beneath You:

    The fight scene in the bar is all kinds of fun, but I do have a problem with it: when Spike attacks Anya we don’t even see Xander’s reaction. So he just stood there and did nothing? That would be really out of character…

    Also, this:

    NANCY: I thought you were Xander’s ex-girlfriend.
    ANYA: I am.
    NANCY: But you and Spike…
    ANYA: Had a thing.
    SPIKE: Didn’t last.
    NANCY: But weren’t you Buffy-
    SPIKE: Briefly.
    BUFFY: Never serious.
    BUFFY: Is there anyone here that hasn’t slept together?
    : (Xander and Spike exchange a glance and then look away from each other quickly.)

    Priceless. Exactly the kind of Scooby interaction we don’t get in future episodes (and when I say scooby, I include Spike, Anya, Dawn, Tara…). Also, I bet Anya and Buffy exchanged an off-camera look as well! Hee.

    I think it’s of everyone’s knowledge that the church scene was rewritten by Joss. Did anyone here ever read the scene by Doug Petrie? Well, it’s a cool version, and I wish Joss had included some bits of it. Doug had a really good insight into Spike’s character. But the scene, the way it is, is all kinds of awesome too. Not my favorite, and not the scene that defines what this show is about, but still terrific. And I still like Spike here.

    Beneath You is the kind of episode that can only happen when a show has the amazing background BTVS does. And it’s great!


  15. [Note: wilpy posted this comment on March 7, 2009.]

    A good review, I agree with mostly everything.

    I’ve talked about it on the forum before, but I think the final scene represents a lot of what the season, nay series (although s7 focused on it the most), not just feminism but the male reaction to feminism. Spike goes from this guy who treats his women like crap (Harmony), like objects (Buffybot), like prizes (Buffy) and like a sick patient (Dru). He is, though a great character, fairly misogynistic at times and clearly doesn’t get women (‘Crush’: “what the bleedin hell is wrong with you women?!”). It’s only when, in s6, he’s desperate for love and respect that he realises a soul will remedy this. This gender politics is best summed up in the line: “Why must a man do what he mustn’t? For her, to be hers…. To be a kind of man.” — Men “must” bend the rules in regards to how women are treated because it’s ‘God’s’ intention for humanity to be equal, but men equally “mustn’t” because it’s misperceived as weak if men don’t comply to being the dominant one in relationships. It took Spike all his life, a near-rape and a torturous quest to realise this. It’s interesting especially in comparison to the episode ‘Dirty Girls’, which is all about the male perception of women and the objectification of them.

    I give the episode a B. I like nearly all the scenes, adore the last scene (I think it’s the best scene I’ve ever seen on TV), but the episode’s not standout by any means. I enjoy the Nancy perspective of the whole gang, it makes the show seem so ridiculous with all the dirty laundry! Ha!

    Tom, I have to disagree about Petrie’s scene. I love Petrie, but boy, I thought it sucked to high hell in comparison.


  16. [Note: wilpy posted this comment on March 7, 2009.]

    One more thing I thought was particularly interesting, and Mike, you’ll love this if you didn’t catch it already: in the scene in the Bronze when Buffy and co are first accusing Anya of avenging, there’s this little exchange:

    Anya: I’m working here.
    Buffy: We noticed.

    And she puts a very sharp looking knife down on the table. For those people who claim that Buffy’s reaction in Selfless was blindsided and unbelievable, this little nugget proves that she really WAS considering that Anya was a threat well before her final decision to kill her.


  17. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on March 7, 2009.]

    All excellent points wilpy. Also, nice job pointing out that knife. I had noticed that, but it ended up getting forgotten when I put the review together. Bad me! πŸ™‚


  18. [Note: Nix posted this comment on March 7, 2009.]

    wilpy: Spike’s problem, I’d say, is a fairly common one: he puts the women he loves on pedestals. Some of them like that: Dru certainly seemed to.

    (Of course, he has another problem, perhaps even bigger than the soullessness: his only romantic relationship *ever* was with a raving loony, and it lasted for over a century. You might get some rather strange habits and expectations as a result. Personally I’m surprised Spike came out of that as sane as he did.)


  19. [Note: wilpy posted this comment on March 7, 2009.]

    Nix, I agree that Spike certainly puts women on pedestals, but equally he seems to like to take charge in a typically masculine way. He seemed to love the women he loved like there was no tomorrow, but he could never seem to understand them (until he got his soul), and was reluctant to treat them in a way that wasn’t demeaning to their femininity. Of course, Dru required his physical help, and Harmony needed to be put in her place sometimes, but there was still something off about the way he treated his girls. And no wonder, he was soulless!


  20. [Note: Paula posted this comment on March 9, 2009.]

    Another thing perhaps worth mentioning here is how the title of the episode can be understood in a number of different ways:

    * As a reference to Buffy’s (and Cecily/Halfrek’s) line “You’re beneath me” to Spike in “Foof for Love”
    * Likewise to the monster of the week (Ronnie the “worm”)
    * Likewise to the First Evil and its favorite threat (“From beneath you, it devours”)

    …anybody got more?


  21. [Note: wilpy1 posted this comment on March 9, 2009.]

    I think it might also be a bit of a sexual innuendo. There’s a lot of talk about sex and the attempted rape in this episode. It’s almost like a crude allusion to that.


  22. [Note: Sam posted this comment on March 9, 2009.]

    This message is for Farah, when she contrasted the actions of Buffy’s friends in “Normal Again” to their actions in “Empty Places”.

    “Normal Again” is one of Mike’s favorite episodes, so out of respect for him, I’m not going to go down that road again. However, Farah, even disregarding the plot, there are literally dozens of reasons why NA cannot be trusted. If you’re interested in finding out why, please e-mail me at samtheman81@earthlink.net and I will go down the list for you.


  23. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on March 9, 2009.]

    Sam, please don’t feel like you can’t discuss certain topics and episodes on this site just because I have a vastly different view. I really have no problems with people having an intelligent discussion, regardless of my views. As long as you make a case for your opinion, all is well. Although, I will say that for longer discussions, the forum is the best place to be. πŸ™‚


  24. [Note: Sam posted this comment on March 11, 2009.]

    Hooray, a forum! I’ve been so eagerly anticipating your reviews that I totally forgot you have a discussion board. Thanks, Mike. I appreciate it. πŸ™‚
    I just don’t want to introduce myself to the forum by starting a rant about why I hate one particular episode–people are going to think I’m sour.


  25. [Note: Sam posted this comment on March 12, 2009.]

    Actually, I tried to register with the forum and it wouldn’t let me. Something about an administrative error. Oh well…


  26. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on March 12, 2009.]

    Sam: Make sure you enter ‘buffy’ (no quotes) into the interests section of the form. This is used to prevent spam-bots from registering on it, and you can change it later if you want.


  27. [Note: Maddy posted this comment on March 14, 2009.]

    Great review! Although I would have marked it a little less…
    I thought that the’Worm monster’ was incredibly cheesy and that the ‘Buffy’ makers could have done this episode a big boost by just changing that one character.
    I loved James Marsters acting in this ep, but I found him almost unbearable to watch as his t-shirt was far too small! I know this is a trival flaw but it drove me mad. lol I think a little OCD going on there?
    Also, I think that a lot more tension could have been added it would have give his a little bit of a lift, just some people sneaking up on charactes etc… would have helped it a lot.
    But overall (yes, I am going to stop whining now) I thought this episode wasn’t too bad and was OK to watch. Just couldn’t work out the title meaning? Perhaps referring to the giant worm thingy in the ground??
    Oh, and also great last scene! very touching.


  28. [Note: Emily posted this comment on June 17, 2009.]

    Maddy, I’ll quote Paula’s comment above for you:

    “Another thing perhaps worth mentioning here is how the title of the episode can be understood in a number of different ways:

    * As a reference to Buffy’s (and Cecily/Halfrek’s) line “You’re beneath me” to Spike in “Foof for Love”
    * Likewise to the monster of the week (Ronnie the “worm”)
    * Likewise to the First Evil and its favorite threat (“From beneath you, it devours”)”

    The church scene gets me every time I see it. Especially when he says, “Can we rest now? Buffy? Can we rest?” I really hurt for Spike here.

    I understand that people would get annoyed at the fact that the Core 4 don’t get as much screen time in this season. For me, it was never a big issue. I love S7, and I *adore* Spike’s development in this season.

    Great review, Mike! I was always curious about what others thought of the church scene. I was always very touched by it, but my friends never really cared. Nice to know there are others out there who appreciate it as well!


  29. [Note: Sam posted this comment on July 11, 2009.]

    I noticed some foreshadowing in this episode. When Spike arrives in Buffy’s house and she says “what are you, the champion of the people now or something?” which ties in with the whole necklace thingy in Chosen.

    Apologies if that was already mentioned!


  30. [Note: Tara posted this comment on July 20, 2009.]

    I agree with your rating here, Mike. While the church scene is pure P material, the rest of the episode (though hugely enjoyable, especially the Bronze scene) just isn’t quite strong enough to justify anything above a B grade.


  31. [Note: GSilver posted this comment on July 27, 2009.]

    With the whole “who hasn’t slept together” part, I mostly got the part that Xander hadn’t slept with Buffy, and that was the point of the close up on him, not necessarily him glancing at Spike, other than as a reminder of who had.


  32. [Note: Zhorn posted this comment on September 5, 2009.]

    Just to add a little info to this episode in light of your wonderful reviews i’ll mention another pearl the makers carfully planted in the “run lola run” scene. Since the scene takes place in Frankfurt (Main), Germany, the lyrics of the accompanying song are, therefore german: “From beneath, to devour”.


  33. [Note: Lucy posted this comment on October 20, 2009.]

    The Spike glancing at Xander thing? That was supposed to be a joke. ie: have Spike and Xander slept together?

    I wasn’t a huge fan of the Church scene at the end. I loved what they did with Spike this season, and I don’t even have an intelligent reason why I don’t care for that scene. Just whenever it comes up I think “oh no, I have to sit through this again”


  34. [Note: Nathan.Taurus posted this comment on January 1, 2010.]

    I don’t think the great ending can save the overall episode ranking for me. The giant, poorly done demon slug is just a bit too silly. It comes after Nancy in her buildings foyer and with all that noise and shaking no other resident comes out to see what is going on?

    The Bronze scene with Anya’s little head turn and response of “Bite me, Harris”, always makes me laugh, as does Spike and Xander looking at each other after Nancy comments over who hasn’t slept together.

    The opening scene reminded me of ‘Alias’. I thought it was Sydney wearing a wig and on another mission.

    Mike: As Spike now has a soul I think when he says “everything I did, everyone I…and him”, that he is just referring to someone he killed as Angel remembered everyone he had killed once he got his soul back. Also, Spike being told to “go to Hell” reminds me of the AtS episode when he almost did.


  35. [Note: wytchcroft posted this comment on February 21, 2010.]


    (yes it’s the real me – or as they say in my native cockerney “it’s the real me”)

    re “aren’t we in a soddin’ engine?”

    i actually think this is to foreshadow the submarine in Angel 5 (Why We Fight) because that’s exactly where he is then. It still makes sense as foreshadowing but i think it’s been left over from when Spike was to spin-off into the Faith show and Why We Fight would have been a guest role only acting as crossover between the two.


  36. [Note: DFAS Giles posted this comment on July 9, 2010.]

    Re: Spike not being as buff this season. I remember reading somewhere that JM was tiring of the endless shirtless scenes being written for him, and was deliberately trying to encourage writers to keep the shirt on! Apologies if I am just passing on unsubstantiated gossip.

    Mike, you’ve noted JM’s excellent acting in this review, and elsewhere, and I wholeheartedly agree. I think the acting skill is in large part responsible for why so many viewers love a character we should quite rightly hate much of the time. JM’s ability to communicate great depth of feeling perhaps makes us feel a little more sympathetic towards Spike, even in scenes of brutality or conflict, simply by injecting “those looks” into the frame, the ones that show us how violence can mask vulnerability. I wonder what our reactions to the character would be if Spike were played by a different actor.

    Thanks as always for the thoughtful reviews and comments.


  37. [Note: yippers6 posted this comment on October 9, 2010.]

    it would be awesome if the next episode continued from right here at the end and buffy answered the question that spike asked.


  38. [Note: Vertixico posted this comment on October 22, 2010.]

    Somezthing that you might find interesting or at least a nice Bonus is the music in the beginning sequence =)

    As i am german, i understand the text the women are singing, which is basically “Von der Tiefe, es verschlingt dich” … although it is not very… common use of words, it is a word by word translation of “From beneath it devours”


  39. [Note: yippers6 posted this comment on October 23, 2010.]

    No offense but i thought the first spike scene was awesome and hilarios especially him talking to the rat


  40. [Note: yippers6 posted this comment on November 27, 2010.]

    I bet buffy feels bad for beating him up after what he just went through to get the soul and also for being angry at him to he just didn’t want her to see he had a soul.


  41. [Note: Jonny posted this comment on December 25, 2010.]

    I love the Shakespearean dialogue the writers give Spike this season – just beautiful writing and of course JM really delivers in performance. I agree with the review that the scene at the end of this episode is one of the great scenes from the whole series, wonderful writing and the way it is lit and shot is brilliant.

    I disagree that weak CGI distracts. The worm was a bit silly but it wasn’t supposed to be taken too seriously – we know almost straight away it is a guy Anya transformed not an actual demon. The pavement getting ripped up was pretty effective. And I’m a dog lover so the yorkie getting eaten got my sad noise too!


  42. [Note: CoyoteBuffyFan posted this comment on January 1, 2011.]

    I liked the Run, Lola, Run homage at the beginning. Plus, I like how they have established a little recurring opening. It ends soon but it was kind of fun anticipating the next opening.

    I was just thinking about how I never thought that Spike was being made crazy by an outside force. Even with the First doing its thing at the end of the first episode, I think that when I first watched it I thought the First was all a figment of Spike’s imagination. I thought Spike was just crazy because of the trauma stemming from the guilt of all his past deeds upon getting a soul. This was reinforced when he started acting crazy again after he stabbed the human Ronny. It is interesting to watch it again knowing what the First is and what it is doing.

    I do like how this episode tries to get us to think that this monster is the one that is referred to in “From beneath you, it devours”. So tricky, those writers.

    And I loved Dawn telling Spike that she’d light him on fire if he hurt Buffy. I think Spike liked it too!

    Is it wrong that I still heart Anya even though she is making horrible things happen in the world? I mean, who else says “Oh penis!” LMAO. Xander was absolutely right though that Anya could only use the “you left me at the alter so I’m lashing out” excuse for so long. And that time has passed.

    Someone mentioned Spike’s reference to being a champion. I liked this touch since the word “champion” is used quite often in AtS to describe Angel. It was a good use of it here.

    The ending scene between Spike and Buffy is fantastic. Although this isn’t my favorite season, it has some of my favorite isolated scenes.


  43. [Note: John posted this comment on January 9, 2011.]

    I really like a lot of this episode, for the reasons you stated. The early parts, particularly the car scene, are just awesome and totally classic Buffy. It was great to see some of the “core four” interacting as friends again, and the references back to the glory days of the old Sunnydale High were nice. I treasure this kind of stuff because it really evaporates as the somewhat useless secondary characters roll in as the season goes on. That didn’t make the entire season bad, but it was a damn shame they couldn’t really come full circle with a focus on the core four once again. Would have been a more fitting end, I think.


  44. [Note: Al posted this comment on May 3, 2011.]

    I agree with your review overall, especially regarding the ending sequence with Spike. That scene has got to be one of the most awesome scenes that I have ever seen on television. Actually that scene was the main reason I decided to leave a comment here. It just resonates so deeply (with me anyway) that it was gratifying to see that other people thought and felt the same way about it.

    The fact that “…Spike wraps his scorching body around (hugging) a large cross while asking Buffy “Can we rest now? Buffy, can we rest?” just grips you with the sheer agony that this man, this tortured soul, is going through. A surcease for him is burning himself on a cross (all religious connotations aside) while laying himself down to rest. Just powerful stuff visually and emotionally. I totally agree with you that that has to be one of the most heart wrenching, gut wrenching displays of humanity to come across the screen in a long time. Almost ironic as its coming from a vampire.




  45. [Note: smallprint84 posted this comment on May 19, 2011.]

    I also feel a bit sad for Spike in the scene when Dawn says to Spike when they’re alone, he’d better not hurt/ touch Buffy again, he wakes up in fire.

    D: “you vampires sleep right?”

    S: “yeah, what’s up niblet?” (Dawn’s sweet nickname given by Spike).

    D: “if you hurt her, touch her. You wake up on fire.”

    Spike later says to Buffy when her sister sudden gets so deeply scary.

    They had such a sweet big brother/sister bond.


  46. [Note: Dave posted this comment on August 14, 2011.]

    A big 10/10 from me. Even though the plot really was quite poor, it felt more like a means to an end and therefore it played out just fine.


  47. [Note: Dave posted this comment on August 19, 2011.]

    Also, did anyone else notice the last line Spike says in the alleyway?

    “Poor Rocky”, and he chokes up. That really hit me, it shows his compassion is really there.


  48. [Note: serenissima posted this comment on November 2, 2011.]

    i adored this episode and i do really believe it deserved an ‘A’ rating off that last scene alone. i especially liked the phrase ‘Hey! No touching! Am I flesh? Am I flesh to you? Feed on flesh, my flesh…’

    In a sense, Buffy was the vampire for much of her relationship with Spike… she ‘fed on his flesh’ for her own selfish needs. It was a really powerful statement about the darkness that is always within the Slayer.


  49. [Note: Gon posted this comment on November 15, 2011.]

    I think the monster was a way to introduce the theme of danger coming from the ground and the sentence used during the season (that’s why the german girl said it). The plot didn’t look so cheap to me.

    It is very similar (the way of moving, the capacity to feel were people are headed, the looks) to the 1990’s film “Tremors” from Ron Underwood.


  50. [Note: Gon posted this comment on November 15, 2011.]

    About Xander-Spike glance:

    I think there are some hints about Xander possibly being gay or bissexual in the show (his reaction to Larry’s admission of homossexuality, his devotion to Jonathan in Superstar, the fact he made Anya bye a Backstreet Boys lunchbox from ebay, etc). There’s some litterature about that in the net.

    And I really think there’s been some clues during BtVS about a non-admitted attraction Xander felt for Spike. There were other looks. There was, of course, his speech to Buffy when he had seen Buffybot sleeping with Spike in S5. And when he surprised Spike “exercicing” in bed (making love to invisible Buffy)in S6 he had a very strange reaction.


  51. [Note: Dave posted this comment on January 1, 2012.]

    I’m a hard-arse bastard, nothing really affects me outwardly. But man, when Spike’s practically begging for forgiveness in the Church? Brings me to tears. Such a powerful scene, the review did it wonderful justice in the sense that, there’s nothing revealed that the reader couldn’t have picked up on. Like you said, it’s wonderful on a thematic and visceral level. Great stuff.


  52. [Note: Pomadora posted this comment on July 2, 2012.]

    i love how spike asks buffy if she can hold the torch (flashlight) and she flinches at his touch (while examining the broken pavement). lots of emotions there in one little scene. he is basically asking her if she still cares. and she kinda does but she is still obviously traumatized.


  53. [Note: Lilly posted this comment on July 17, 2012.]

    I know I’m biased because I despise Xander and want him to be eaten by maggots (yes, I hate a fictional character. Shut up) but I hate it when he tells Anya off for using the left-at-the-alter excuse and that he thinks his ex is making his life horrible. Actually, I hate it everytime Xander condemns someone. Damn you Xander! Damn you and your beady eye(s)!

    *goes to write fanfic (poorly) where Xander dies horribly*


  54. [Note: Amelia posted this comment on July 24, 2012.]

    Haven’t read the comments so not sure if I’m repeating anyone here, but I always thought the title “Beneath you” was a reference to Season 5’s episode ‘Fool for Love’. As in, Buffy previously claimed Spike was beneath her, now he has a soul (but is now cray) the statement is not as certain as before. Spike tried to make himself better/on her level, yet somehow still ends up beneath her.


  55. [Note: ItAin’tAeschylus posted this comment on August 10, 2012.]

    Just agreeing with everyone on Marsters’ acting in this episode. I was so pleased the writers took advantage of his talent and stage training and wrote him a scene like this, something Spike could really sink his fangs into. Marsters’ theatrical experience (and also the writer’s) is wonderfully apparent here. It was a pleasure to witness something with such apparent roots in classic theatre on “regular” TV. I wish Spike had scenes of this quality and gravitas all through the season.


  56. [Note: Great Whazoo posted this comment on December 19, 2012.]

    I’m surprised that I haven’t read any comments on Buffy’s single tear at the very end, while listening to Spike’s commentary! I believe that her look had her remembering what torments Angel had to endure before returning, both from the gypsy curse that first brought him a soul, to the Cladaggh ring dropped on the floor of the old mansion (when Buffy realised it was time to move forward) and Angel falling on it from a hell dimension. I believe the tear indicated her realization of what Spike endured to get his soul back and the effects it was having on him. I think she may have hope for him starting from this point.


  57. [Note: Ellie posted this comment on December 24, 2012.]

    Just wow. That’s all I have to say about that last scene. Television at its absolute best. Whilst the rest of the episode may be pretty mediocre, this scene just leaves me breathless. And Amelia I really liked that connection – I think you’re probably right – continuity is one of the things that Buffy does best. I also think that props should be given to the writers due to the fact that, even after all Spike has done, culminating in attempted rape (yes, I know he didn’t have a soul but it was still hard to watch!), our hearts still break for him in this final scene. The acting, the monologue, the cinematography… just wow.


  58. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on January 7, 2013.]

    I wouldn’t consider myself a “shipper” of any relationship. I just think that in Season 7, or perhaps post-series, it might have stood a shot.


  59. [Note: Summer posted this comment on January 7, 2013.]

    Ahhhhh. well, I agree with you there! It was nice seeing them all cozy together in the car with Dawn in the back, like mommy and daddy.


  60. [Note: Arachnea posted this comment on March 15, 2013.]

    I believe so too Ryan ;-). However, I also believe that Buffy is full of love and was capable of giving Dawn the attention she craved and deserved during the summer. That’s why we see Dawn more confident and well-adjusted. Though I would have liked to see more insight about how she dealt with Tara’s death. Of course, a happy life can’t last in Sunnydale and Buffy will revert to neglect her sister, though this time, Dawn has matured and she took strength in all her precedent suffering.

    I believe that Buffy’s reactions towards Spike are totally believable. The rape attempt was painful to watch, but it wasn’t the usual rape attempt: usually, the victim is completely and totally a victim because she/he hasn’t given signs to authorize such an act. That’s the thing that bugged me with this storyline, that the victim – Buffy – had led a soulless vampire to react to: no = yes; violence = sex. That doesn’t make Spike any less guilty, but let’s not forget that in real life, the victim is often suspected of being responsible and in this case, as much as the attempt is despicable, the victim is partially responsible, which sends a very ambiguous message and I’m very uncomfortable with that.

    I believe that an attempt is traumatizing, but Buffy fortunately didn’t experience the violence of the rape itself, the act of being pierced through your flesh, intimacy and mind. It makes it “easier” to see past it, in this case because she knows what difference a soul can make because of her experience with Angel. Her body response when Spike hands her the torchlight was spot-on: you can intellectualize and rationalize, but the body will always remember. That’s why she can never have sex with Spike, but will be able to give him love, empathy, respect and help.

    Thanks for this wonderful review that says it all about the final powerful scene.


  61. [Note: WCRobinson posted this comment on August 11, 2013.]

    I am sure you’ve mentioned this somewhere, but I couldn’t recall it from the review… but surely there is a link between the episode’s name – Beneath You – and the way Spike is put down by Cecily and Buffy? In Fool for Love, they both say “you’re beneath me”, and here Spike is kinda accepting it? I’m beneath you; he completely changed himself, got his soul back, for Buffy.


  62. [Note: Monica posted this comment on August 20, 2013.]

    Well I am definitely one of those people you mention who look down on the season for its huge focus on Spike.

    But getting to this episode, I actually think this is a much poorer episode than rated. I think most of the character work was too minimal and admittedly boring to save this from its equally boring plot.

    The ending, however, was beautiful. The acting and cinematography was amazing, my only issue was I wish he would have apologized to Buffy instead of becoming the victim in all this. But this was possibly the only time I didn’t think the insaneSpike plot wasn’t….awful.


  63. [Note: Nebula Nox posted this comment on November 23, 2013.]

    I thought the “and him” Spike was referring to, was “and Him” – God. They were in a church, right?


  64. [Note: Buffster posted this comment on March 18, 2014.]

    Do people still discuss stuff on here? I started watching BTVS this year itself, just a few weeks ago to be honest, and I keep coming to this site after episodes to see what other people thought since I wasn’t exactly active in the fandom all those years ago…anyhow I’m grateful for this forum and your reviews are almost always spot on, and fun to read, mike! It also intrigues me that your not biased to any character or ship (not really) which makes your reviews totally fair for the reader. Anyway, I always come down to the comments to read the discussions since I’m probably too late to take part in any of the discussions myself. Oh well! =)


  65. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on March 18, 2014.]

    Yeah, people definitely still discuss stuff here. You’re probably not going to see a lot of action on the comment threads anymore though. The regulars here get into more involved discussions nowadays on the Forum usually — you should join in!

    I’m also in the process of updating my older reviews, so you’ll see new comments whenever I rewrite one of those reviews. I’m going to post new reviews for the Season 2 finale soon, so you can follow those updates as well.

    Thanks for the comment! I try my best to keep an open mind to all the characters and their journeys, so I’m pleased you find that to be true. πŸ™‚


  66. [Note: Buffster posted this comment on March 19, 2014.]

    Yay that’s great!I look forward to doing that, I love Buffy so much I’m pretty sure I’ll be doing a hell of a lot of rewatching since I noticed that after reading a lot of your reviews on episodes I’ve been able to understand what they mean a whole of a lot better!

    I can’t wait to catch up with your other reviews too! Thanks for replying!
    And can I just say I think your review of this episode was spot on? I loved most of it, despite the silly plot… The acting and especially that last scene, gave me chills! And even about the fact that it’s great that Spike’s character is getting so much attention this season, and I’m not just saying this because he’s one of my favorite characters ever πŸ˜‰


  67. [Note: MikeJer posted this comment on March 19, 2014.]


    Whether one loves or hates Spike emotionally, I don’t see how anyone could not at least find his arc intellectually fascinating. He’s such a complex, multifaceted, and interesting character. Throw in the soul here in Season 7? What a character! Spike is definitely in my Top 4 Buffyverse characters (likely 1: Buffy, 2/3: Spike or Wesley, 4: Willow). πŸ™‚


  68. [Note: Toony posted this comment on June 1, 2014.]

    So do Vampires who regain their souls develop a split personality? When Angelus first regained his soul and his killing sank in he was devastated and it was as if he had two persona’s, Angel and Angelus. It’s really hard to think of Angel as being Angelus with a soul, it’s more like he’s Liam with the memories of Angelus.
    Spike on the other hand is completely different with his soul it’s like he regained his conscience rather then ousted a monster from his body.


  69. [Note: Odi et Amo posted this comment on June 1, 2014.]

    This topic is pretty divisive and muddled. In short – whatever the writers want.

    In detail…you will likely find as many explanations, rationalizations, and opinions as there are fans of BtVS & AtS.

    Many, for instance, believe that Spike without a soul retained part of his human consciousness as William. He was always a bit less mindlessly, carnally evil than the run-of-the-mill vamp and, even sans chip, certainly was nowhere near Darla and Angelus – he bargained with Buffy in Becoming, he cared for Drusilla even though he admitted she was Angelus’.

    Perhaps the degree to which a vampire retains human qualities/consciousness is related to the manner in which and the conditions by which they were sired. Spike, sympathetic and compassionate by vampire standards and a heartbreak of a human, was sired out of a desire to find love and connection with one another. Drusilla, loony as a vampire and meek, religious, and prude as a human, was sired after having been psychologically and physically abused and confronted with the reality of her worst fears. Darla, a brutal vampire and a morally questionable human, was sired by none other than the Master to cheat a death that she had brought upon herself. The legendary Angelus was sired after the worthless Liam had been out drinking and had fought with his family.


  70. [Note: Nebula Nox posted this comment on June 3, 2014.]

    Perhaps an episode for cat lovers? Right after Nancy complains about her dog taking too long to do his business – and saying she should have gotten a cat – the Yorkie is devoured…


  71. [Note: Nebula Nox posted this comment on June 19, 2014.]

    Another comment on another rainy evening — just noticed that during one of the conversations between Buffy and Spike, she asks him when he became a champion of the people. And yet that is what he will become at the end.


  72. [Note: Yes, beneath you posted this comment on June 28, 2014.]

    ‘Beneath you.’ In the last five minutes, Spike definitely steals the show. And Buffy’s reactions–they’re superb, as always. Angel, I always felt, was a soap opera-like heart throb. His sad, soulful eyes and tall stature were all that he had. When he really had to act, he was a disappointment. His impression of a soulless vampire in Season 2, for example, was an embarrassment. Spike, on the other hand, knew how to play a range of characters. The final scene in ‘Beneath You’ shows his exceptional acting ability. His embrace of the cross is magnificent, Shakespearean. It’s one of the highlights in a great series. Well written and well acted.


  73. [Note: Sunny posted this comment on July 9, 2014.]

    You think Angelus was an embarrassment? I have to respectfully disagree,and don’t understand why Angel is being brought up as an example in the first place. Angelus was fantastic, IMO a much more entertaining and better written character than soulless Spike, who was very inconsistent, drawn out waaay too long, and had no purpose for a while except for being there for comedic purposes.

    That aside, this episode doesn’t appeal to me much. The worm makes me cringe. However, I do love the scene at the Bronze between Xander, Buffy, Anya, Spike, and that girl. I also like when Dawn told off Spike, but no disrespect intended, it did NOT seem like a brother/sister moment to me. Spike was shocked that Dawn wasn’t going to continue being his fangirl anymore, which speaks volumes. Spike *had* attempted to rape her sister, and by threatening Spike, Dawn showed her loyalty to Buffy. From Dawn’s perspective, he had betrayed her and Buffy, and there was no going back to following him like a lovesick puppy from then on.

    The church scene was directed well, but I just found it *so* overdramatic for my tastes. Then again, Spike has a thing for theatrics.


  74. [Note: Peter Luke posted this comment on November 1, 2014.]

    The last scene made me some tears in my eyes. they use the same kind of music for the final Spuffy scene in Chosen. It really foreshadows the rest of the Spuffy arch for the rest of the season.


  75. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on July 11, 2015.]

    I kind of feel like the final scene is a little overrated. It’s good but it’s not quite legendary. The tense/language does seem oddly Shakespearian though.


  76. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on December 4, 2015.]

    I’m wondering if one can make some parallels with Willow and Spike here. Spike puts the blue shirt and acts different than he feels and describes it as a costume. Willow has also been known to wear costumes of sorts as described in Restless and of course literally in the Halloween episodes. Given that both these characters will get a berating from Buffy in Get it Done perhaps it’s not unreasonable.


  77. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on December 4, 2015.]

    And as Mike has said in the past blue is a pretty prominent colour in the series so maybe it’s all connected some how. Or it’s a bunch of crap, who knows?


  78. [Note: MichaelJB posted this comment on December 19, 2015.]

    Another excellent review! I also wanted to give a shoutout to the Episode’s title, “Beneath You,” which has an interesting triple meaning: 1) “From beneath you it devours.” 2) The worm-demon being, physically, beneath them. 3) Most importantly, a throwback to Buffy (and Cecily) telling Spike, in “Fool For Love,” “You’re beneath me.”


  79. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on January 14, 2016.]

    I’ve actually got to wonder how much the “from beneath you it devours” line actually applies to the First. Sure it tends to hang out in Hellmouths and under Christmas trees but it’s not like it was doing a whole lot of devouring from there.


  80. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on January 14, 2016.]

    Considering this I’m wondering if that phrase for RTD’s meme/phrase arcs in Doctor Who where you say something a bunch of times to build interest for when it’s finally revealed. Though I think even those may have had more relevance.


  81. [Note: Jeremy G. posted this comment on January 14, 2016.]

    I find it just a little odd that, two comments ago, you theorized that a bit of possible symbolism in S7 may just be “a bunch of crap” and are now nitpicking the most obvious bit of symbolism in the whole season.

    Season Seven just can’t win, can it?


  82. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on January 14, 2016.]

    What about the beneath you part though. Is the First really beneath anyone outside of being in the Hellmouth some of the time?


  83. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on January 14, 2016.]

    So essentially it’s just some pretentious line to build-up momentum then, at least according to Google Images, which also rightfully pointed out how “starting from your bottom” at least got some humour out of the whole thing.


  84. [Note: Jeremy G. posted this comment on January 14, 2016.]

    That sounds like reverse thinking. “It eats you, starting with your bottom” is funny precisely because it’s the literal reading of the phrase, and the joke is that Andrew doesn’t realize it’s metaphorical when he says it.


  85. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on January 14, 2016.]

    I assumed the joke was that Andrew or Jonathan mistranslated the Mexican version of the phrase.


  86. [Note: Samm posted this comment on January 14, 2016.]

    The Doctor Who catchphrase arcs have zero relevance. And this is why, i could change the catchphrase arc to i like to eat food, and it would be just as meaningful and important than what it is initially.

    The “Beneath You” phrase has more meaning to it.


  87. [Note: LouisLittForEmperor posted this comment on January 14, 2016.]

    I suppose though it’s lack of reflection by the halfway point purports it to be more for the sake of the mystery as opposed to the meaning.

    Even “death is your gift” was more interesting since it could have had multiple meanings before the truth was revealed.


  88. [Note: benny posted this comment on January 16, 2016.]

    just thinking, And sorry If someone offended by this, but isn’t it more appropriate if the bad dream is about the attempted rape? since this episode is more abput spike anyway? ?


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