Monday, 18 August 2014


Episode dailies

WRITER: Doug Petrie
DIRECTOR: Doug Petrie


Out of the blue Buffy's former lover Agent Riley Finn drops back in to Buffy's life asking for her help to track down an especially nasty demon he's followed through central America and back to Sunnydale. Riley is also after a rumoured local black market dealer known only as 'The Doctor' who is planning to sell the demon's highly prized eggs to a foreign power. But Agent Finn hasn't come back alone. He has brought his new wife with him.


Re-evaluating what a healthy relationship actually is. Moving on. Self forgiveness.


A Suvolte demon. The Doctor.


Riley's back! I always liked Riley and Marc Blucas' portrayal. I thought Riley had a rough ride from the fans just cuz he wasn't Angel. I mean, God forbid Buffy should ever have a healthy relationship with an honest to goodness human being who is just a nice, reliable, dependable guy. Sheesh! This time Riley is in full-on 007 stealth mode but is essentially the same nice, thoughtful, gentleman he always was...except now with a brand new wife, Sam, another special opps soldier who is just as nice, respectful and capable as he is. Nice one Agent Finn.

Action/stunts: There are quite a few good fight sequences here and I especially liked the dam rappelling stunt. Kinda reminded me of the opening of Goldeneye, though not a bungee but rather Riley and Buffy doing a line drop down the face of a rather high dam. Cool.

Willow: Willow is almost back to her old self in this episode. She is chirpy and gets positively giddy in places chatting to Sam. Loved how she wanted to hate her being Riley's new love but just couldn't.

Buffy sees the light: finally, seeing what a good and healthy relationship looks like (Riley and Sam) Buffy forgives herself and decides to move on by ending it properly with Spike, leaving his dark crypt at episodes end and literally walking out in to the light. It's a beautifully written and played scene between Buffy and Spike with Buffy calling Spike by his real name, William, with the look on his face showing that he knows she means it this time.


Dawn: Again, Dawn manages to make everything about her...even Riley's leaving Sunnydale in season 5. Arghh!

Questionable parenting: Buffy lets Dawn go out with Willow to the Bronze until 11pm on a school night? Really? Good parenting Buff. Plus earlier Dawn reminds Buffy it is trash day. Cue we see Buff chasing after and missing the trash collection. In a previous episode we've seen Dawn swanning off to school leaving a sink full of dishes for Buffy to clean after working a double shift. Um, does Dawn actually do anything at home? Does she have any chores at all? Sheesh! And for that matter what about Willow? She still lives there too. If I was Buff I'd kick em all out.

Wedding plans: is it just me or is the whole Anya/Xander wedding planning thing getting to be really tiresome? I have a low threshold for wedding fluff anyway (giant waste of money I say) so it just makes me roll my eyes and groan.


Buffy's dazed reaction to seeing Riley back. “My hat has a cow!”


Riley: “I want to explain, I just don't have time. I've been up for 48 hours straight tracking something bad, and now it's come to Sunnydale.”
Buffy (dazed): “My hat has a cow.”

Sam: “We better regroup. Buffy, I hate to impose further, but... you got a safe house?”
Buffy: “I, I have a house. I-I think it's safe. Sometimes you can't even leave.”

Willow: “Just so you know? I'm prepared to hate this woman any way you want.”
Buffy: “Thanks, but no. I don't wanna seem all petty.”
Willow: “Well, that's the beauty! You can't, but I can. Please. Let me carry the hate for the both of us.”
Buffy: “Go nuts.”

Sam: “I gotta tell you, Buffy, I'm a little bit intimidated. I mean, patrolling with the real live Slayer, you're like... Santa Claus, or Buddha, or something.”
Buffy: “Fat and jolly?”
Sam: “Legendary. And it's not just slayer status I'm talking about. It's you.”

Riley: “Wheel never stops turning, Buffy. You're up, you're down... it doesn't change what you are. And you are a hell of a woman.”

Buffy: “I'm using you. I can't love you. I'm just... being weak, and selfish...”
Spike: “Really not complaining here.”
Buffy: “...and it's killing me. I have to be strong about this. I'm sorry... William.”


Spike's record collection can be seen in the moment before Buffy shoots it - "The Keller Family Sings" plus the soundtrack album to "The Wiz" are visible.

On Buffy's rejection letter for readmission to UC Sunnydale, her address is printed as 1630 Crestview instead of 1630 Revello. Oops!

Ivana Milicevic who plays Riley's wife Sam played the small villainous role of Valenka in Bond film Casino Royale (2006)


It's a Finn old time for sure. 3 (out of 5)

Sunday, 17 August 2014


Spike's muscle his pants.

WRITER: Drew Z. Greenberg
DIRECTOR: Michael Gershman


It's Buffy's birthday and the gang are throwing her a party at her house. They will all be there, including Tara. Buff is bringing a female friend from work while Xander is bringing a male friend from work in an attempt to match him up with Buffy. Meanwhile Dawn is feeling ignored and lonely seeing as how all the adults are always busy with their own life stuff, often leaving the teen all alone and mopey. Called out of class, Dawn goes to see the new guidance counselor who she tells her troubles to, wishing that people would stop leaving her. Unbeknownst to Dawn the guidance counselor is in fact Hallie, Anya's Vengeance Demon friend. Hallie grants Dawn's wish without the teen knowing. And come the night of the party everyone who turns up to celebrate at 1630 Revello finds that they are unable to leave once the party is over. Add in to the mix a jealous Spike and a demon who keeps popping up trying to maim and kill and the gang are in for one wild night. And following day. And following night...


Teen angst – abandonment, loneliness, anger, whole-world-revolving-around-me-ness


Hallie the Vengeance Demon, a nasty demon with a big sword, but most of all Dawnie.


Jealous Spike: Spike acting up when he sees the guy Xander brought to hopefully pair up with Buff. James Marsters does snide and childish rather well.

Clem: Spike brings his loose-skinned demon pal Clem to the party who we last saw playing kitten poker with the vamp. Clem is a nice, easygoing, friendly sort who enjoys watching cartoons and just generally being a nice bloke. Actor James C. Leary helps makes him such a likeable and loyal sort that Clem very quickly became (and remains) a firm fan favourite.

Tara: Amber Benson is great here, especially when she defends Willow by facing down Anya who wants the red headed Wiccan to do some magic to get them out of the house, thus putting addicted Willow in danger of falling of the magic wagon.


Dawn: Now, this is nothing against Michelle Trachtenberg who is a fine actress and who does her best here. No, it is the writers who are to blame. Dawn is unbearable and insufferable. She is in full-on whiny tantrum throwing brat mode. Her histrionics are teeth grinding and whatever sympathy we may have had for her quickly evaporates. Plus she is a total klepto now too. Sigh.

Birthday hell. It's Buffy's birthday, which never EVER goes well. You'd think Buff's friends would have learned by now to keep it low key and just avoid any fuss. Dear oh dear.

Dull. Quite frankly this is a rather tedious and dull 'bottle' episode being mostly shot on Buffy's house set. Conceptually it's all about Dawn's issues which I'm afraid by this point have gotten beyond annoying. The demon that turns up now and then to flail his sword at the gang is not scary at all and is merely a clunky plot device to try and add some kind of action to a story about inaction. Oh, and the less said about the sap Xander brings for Buffy the better.


Tara's “Hey! You're gonna back off,” to Anya. Go girl!


Buffy: “How are you doing?”
Tara: “The word "gulp" comes to mind.”

Spike: “I had ... a ... muscle cramp. Buffy was, uh, helping.”
Tara: “A muscle cramp? In your ... pants?”

Spike: “So, you ever think about *not* celebrating a birthday? Just to try it, I mean.”

Tara: “She said no, and that's it. You're not gonna make her do something that she doesn't want to. And if you try...You're gonna have to go through me first. Understood?”

Richard: “You have some weird friends.”
Xander: “News from the file marked 'duh.'”


Dawn shouts "Get out, Get out, Get out, Get out" at Buffy and the gang. She did the same thing to Buffy and Joyce in season five's birthday episode, Blood Ties.

The episode title is a quotation from J.G. Ballard's autobiographical novel, Empire of the Sun. The book was made into a movie by Steven Spielberg in 1987.

Hallie and Spike's odd surprise at seeing each other is cute seeing as how actress Kali Rocha also played Spike's love interest Cecily in season Five's Fool for Love. Maybe Cecily went on to become a Vengeance Demon?

When Spike opens the front door at the end of the episode his reflection can be seen in the frosted glass next to the door. Oops.


Please, let me out of this episode. 2 (out of 5)


Interesting video about the Trio and their misogynist psychology and how it relates to geek culture in general.

WRITER: Steven S. DeKnight
DIRECTOR: James A Contner


The Trio (Warren, Jonathan, Andrew) test out their new gadget – a cerebral dampener which they intend to use on beautiful women to turn in to their mindless sex slaves. Warren uses it first on his ex Katrina, taking her back to the Trio's lair dressed as a French maid with the intention of having sex with her before letting the other two nerds have their go with her. But before Warren can have his way with Katrina the dampening effect wears off and she tries to escape...only to be hit over the head by Warren and killed. Scared that Buffy will find out what he did Warren gets Andrew and Jonathan to help him pin Katrina's death on the Slayer with the use of some perception bending magic. Wracked with guilt by a death she wasn't actually responsible for Buffy decides to turn herself in to the police...much to the fury of Spike and to the delight of a secretly observing Warren.


Casual and not-so-casual misogyny. The objectification of women. When love isn't really love but is something dark, cruel and destructive.


The Trio but chiefly Warren, a selfish and cruel misogynist.


The subject matter: This episode is partly about when love isn't really love but is instead something dark, cruel, selfish and destructive. For as well as The Trio and their heinous plan we also have Buffy trying to discover why she lets Spike do the things he does to her.

Katrina: The episode is also about men objectifying women, seeking power over them and seeing them as nothing but objects to be used for pleasure. At first the story is played rather light and semi-jokey. But once the Trio's scuzzy plan starts being put in to action, when we see poor Katrina blank eyed and dressed like a cheap sex doll about to be used and abused it becomes anything but. It becomes truly uncomfortable viewing. Just as it should. What is also great is Katrina, the spell wearing off, telling the Trio the hard brutal truth of what they were about to do to her: rape. This shocks Andrew and Jonathan. They hadn't even considered what they had planned as rape. Warren though? He doesn't care. Also, it's great that Katrina doesn't react as a victim. Despite knowing what the Trio had planned for her she isn't a screaming helpless wreck. She is mad as hell at them. She is furious and offended and tells them exactly what she thinks of them. Unfortunately though Warren makes sure she doesn't get away.

SMG brings the pain: The episode ends with Buffy, having secretly asked Tara to check out the spell that brought her back to life to see if anything went wrong, breaking down in front of the Wiccan when Tara tells her the spell worked fine and nothing is wrong. Buffy hates herself for what she does with Spike, for allowing it to happen. And the last we see of her in this episode is crying her eyes out in Tara's lap confessing all. SMG is fabulous here. She pours her heart out to Tara and begs Tara not to forgive her for what she has been doing. It can break your heart to watch it.


Dawn: Unlike many I've never been a Dawn hater...BUT... really Dawn? You're gonna make everything about YOU? Even Buffy's (misplaced) guilt over Katrina's death? Littlest Summers sure does get the bratty thing going on in this part of the season. And it only gets worse next episode.

Bad joke: The 'joke' about Spike telling Buffy he's got rid of Katrina's body and it will never be found...only to then overhear a policeman say they found a girls body in the river. Okay, first, its not funny. The subject of the joke just isn't funny. At all. Also, how bloody inept does this make Spike? He can be a bit reckless, sure, impulsive even. But he isn't a totally useless idiot.

Humour: Apart from the completely misjudged joke above this is a laugh free zone. Even the bungling Trio antics are tinged with so much darkness that no smiles can be cracked. This is something that doesn't happen very often on this show. And it feels weird.

From behind: Okay, I'm no prude but do we really have to see Spike taking Buffy from behind while they are alone together on the balcony of the Bronze watching the Scoobies below having a good time? This is about as low and as grim as you can take poor Buff. We are losing her, the hero. She is heading for rock bottom, if not already there.


Buffy breaking down to Tara at the end. Powerful and emotional stuff. Hats off to SMG.


Buffy: “I've been thinking about doing something to my room.”
Spike: “Yeah?”
Buffy: “Yeah, I think the New Kids On The Block posters are starting to date me.”

Katrina: “You bunch of little boys, playing at being men. Well, this is not some fantasy, it's not a game, you freaks! It's rape!”

Buffy (repeatedly punching Spike in the face): “I am not your girl! You don't... have a soul! There is nothing good or clean in you. You are dead inside! You can't feel anything real! I could never... be your girl!”
Spike (taking the punches): “You always hurt... the one you love, pet.”

Buffy: “He's everything I hate. He's everything that... I'm supposed to be against. But the only time that I ever feel anything is when... Don't tell anyone, please.”
Tara: “I won't.”
Buffy: “The way they would look at me... I just couldn't...”
Tara: “I won't tell anyone. I wouldn't do that.”
Buffy: “Why can't I stop? Why do I keep letting him in?”
Tara: “Do you love him? I-It's okay if you do. He's done a lot of good, and, and he does love you. A-and Buffy, it's okay if you don't. You're going through a really hard time, and you're...”
Buffy: “What? Using him? What's okay about that?”
Tara: “It's not that simple.”
Buffy (crying uncontrollably): “It is! It's wrong. I'm wrong. Tell me that I'm wrong, please... Please don't forgive me, please... Please don't... Please don't forgive me... “


The song playing as Buffy stands outside Spike’s crypt trying to decide whether to enter is ‘Out Of This World’ by Bush.


Things are getting darker. 4 (out of 5)

Saturday, 16 August 2014


WRITER: Jane Espenson

DIRECTOR: Nick Marck


Needing money to pay the bills and generally help get herself back in the black, Buffy takes a job at The Doublemeat Palace, a local franchised fast food joint where she is forced to wear an embarrassing uniform (complete with cow/chicken hat) and flip burgers and serve customers for minimum wage. Of course, being Buffy The Vampire Slayer, it's soon obvious that something strange is afoot at The Doublemeat Palace with staff members disappearing and strange secrecy around the food's apparent secret ingredient. What's more Spike continually hanging around trying to tempt Buff away from her new life on the bottom rung of the service industry ladder doesn't make things any easier for our girl. Poor Buff. And did I mention that hat? Hoo boy!


Real life. Paying the bills. The soul crushing monotonous drudgery of going through the motions of daily life, just trying to keep ones head above water. Oh, and poking fun at the fast food industry.


The monster with the phallic worm thing that extends out the top of its head to eat people with. Yeah, it's as weird and as gross as it sounds. Yuck! Oh, and working at a fast food joint.


Funny. This ain't the greatest of episodes but being a Jane Espenson script it does bring the funny in a few key places, mostly at the expense of poor Buff and in poking fun at life working at a fast food restaurant.

SMG. Put this girl in the worst most embarrassing uniform ever with that god-awful hat...and she still looks as cute as a button. Plus she also provides another excellent comedy performance. Buffy's reaction watching the Doublemeat Palace training video showing how cow and chicken are brought together in to one swirly meat-like substance is priceless.

The penis worm monster. It is quite frankly weird and yucky. A pretty good physical and make-up effect though that is just the right side of silly while keeping one foot firmly planted in the gross camp.


The 'lets poke fun at fast food joints' is amusing at first but I'm not sure it warrants a whole episode. It isn't that subtle either portraying the staff as dull, greasy, zombiefied stiffs who are like that due to the soul crushing nature of their job rather than anything supernatural. It's just all a bit obvious.

Also, mixed in with the fun and silliness are moments of darkness with Spike showing up to taunt/tempt Buff and her then sneaking away for (literally) soulless sex with him up against a burger bar wall. This feels grim and rather jarring in tone. Also seeing Buff apparently helpless against the vampire, unable to enforce her own will, is kinda distrubing too. But hey, that's season six for you.


Our first sight of Buff in THAT hat.


Anya (to Xander & Willow): “But super-villains... want reward without labor, to make things come easy. It's wrong. Without labor there can be no payment, and vice versa. The country cannot progress. The workers are the tools that shape America.”
Buffy walks in wearing her new fast food uniform complete with silly cow/chicken hat
Buffy: “Good to know. I was kinda feelin' like a tool.”

Buffy (watching Doublemeat Palace's graphic meat production video): “Holy crap!”

Manny (about the Doublemeat video): “Interesting, isn't it?”
Buffy: “Oh yes! Like how the cow and the chicken come together even though they've never met. It's like Sleepless in Seattle if, if Meg and Tom were, like, minced.”

Buffy: “I'm working. Go away.”
Spike: “Yeah, and you chose to be in the consumer service profession, and I'm a consumer. Service me.”

Buffy (manic): “Stop! Stop! Everyone, you have to stop! Stop eating! No, you can't have this! It's not beef! It's people! The DoubleMeat Medley is people! The meat layer is definitely people! It's people! It's people! Probably not the chickeny part. But who knows? Who! Knows!”


The whole idea of Buffy's that people are the main ingredient of the burgers was the theme of 1973 sci-fi flick Soylent Green.

Doublemeat Palace was first heard (but not seen) in a TV commercial Amy watched in ep. 6.9 'Smashed'.

SMG's first acting gig was a Burger King ad at the age of four. And it got her sued. She was named in a lawsuit filed by McDonald's because in the ad Sarah said, "Do I look 20 per cent smaller to you? I must have at McDonald's because their hamburgers are 20 per cent smaller than Burger King's." McDonald's sued Burger King, the advertising agency, and Sarah herself.

Believe it or not Doublemeat Palace is the Buffy episode that got Joss and co. in to the most potential trouble with the network. Forget sex scenes, gay relationships, horror, violence.. Making fun of fast food was then a cardinal sin in US broadcasting. The ep proved extremely unpopular with sponsors with some even pulling out of the show because of the episode.


It's not a Whopper at 2.5 (out of 5)