|Written by:||Marti Noxon|
|Directed by:||David Grossman|
|Starring:||Sarah Michelle Gellar as The Buffybot and Buffy Summers|
Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
Emma Caulfield as Anya
Michelle Trachtenberg as Dawn Summers
James Marsters as Spike
Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
|Guest Starring:||Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles (Special Guest Star)|
Franc Ross as Razor
Amber Benson as Tara Maclay
|Co-Starring:||Geoff Meed as Mag|
Paul Greenberg as Shempy Vamp
Joy DeMichelle Moore as Ms. Lefcourt
Bru Miller as Teacher
Robert D. Vito as Cute Boy
Harry Johnson as Parent #1
Kelly Lynn Warren as Parent #2
Hila Levy as Pretty Girl
Note: The region 1 DVD treats Bargaining Part 1 and 2 as a single episode. However, in all other respects, it is really a two-part episode. For the purposes of handing out awards and scores, as well as to avoid an exceptionally long page, I will treat "Bargaining" as two episodes on two separate pages. I will use Buffy gasping for the first time as the cutoff point between the episodes because it was used as the cutoff between episodes when the episode was split for syndication purposes.
As Giles prepared to leave Sunnydale, the other surviving characters plotted to resurrect Buffy.
The episode opened with Spike, Tara, and Giles pursuing what Tara thought was an out-of-shape vampire. Tara had tried to confuse it with powder, but the plan seemed to have backfired. As Tara and Giles stopped to catch their breaths, Willow telepathically warned them that the vampire was sneaking up behind them. A well-thrown ax sent it in the direction of the Buffybot. The others caught up to it, and Tara and Giles managed to hold it while Spike beat up the vampire. It recovered and did very well for itself until Spike dropped a lit cigarette down its pants.
Meanwhile, Xander and Anya were going to join the fight, but Willow telepathically warned them of another vampire. Despite using her knowledge to sneak up behind it, the vampire still had the advantage until the others arrived and the Buffybot staked it while uttering a fairly surreal catch phrase.
Afterward the group talked about the need to perfect the Buffybot's programming so that it could fool the evil element in Sunnydale into thinking that a slayer still protected the Hellmouth. However, it was still very difficult for the characters to have someone around who looked and sounded sort of like Buffy.
The next morning, the Buffybot started making sandwiches. Unfortunately, she did not stop, so there were far too many. Fortunately, Xander arrived and started to alleviate that problem. In the course of the conversation, we got a bit of exposition. Hank Summers had been in contact with Dawn but did not know that Buffy had died. The characters were afraid that he might take Dawn away from Sunnydale. In the meantime, Willow and Tara had been raising Dawn.
Xander wanted to work on the Buffybot's fighting skills, but Willow was more worried about parent-teacher day. Somehow, the Buffybot managed to fit in and even impressed the teachers more than it should have when it started a discussion on the quality of the cafeteria food.
At the Magic Box, Anya got upset when Giles planned to take a personal Ramadan effigy with him to England. She wanted it to stay in inventory of the store of which she is about to be a partner. Part of her frustration came from being impatient about Xander not wanting to make their engagement public and about Giles taking his time to leave for England and leave Anya in control of the Magic Box.
That night, Spike sat with Dawn as Xander, Willow, Anya, and Tara met. Dawn did not think that she needed a sitter because she was no longer a key or did not open anything anymore. Spike was not in the mood to leave her alone.
Meanwhile, a young woman was walking alone at night. This being a season opener on a new network, there were probably a large number of new viewers, some of whom might have been surprised when a vampire jumped out and grabbed her. It was about to bite her when the Buffybot showed up. At very least, this was one of the more intelligent vampires who knew to run away at the sight of what he thought was the slayer. He tried to flee and managed to bash its head with a bottle when it caught him. This opened up some skin (or whatever the bot was covered with) revealing circuitry. It also messed the bot up enough that it simply bounced off a wall over and over again. The vampire was happy to escape.
Anya was able to to get the Urn of Osiris on eBay. This meant that it was "time," which freaked Xander out a bit. He thought that they should not raise the dead—that is, Buffy—without a lot of discussion and thought. The other three were ready to proceed. Tara believed that this was different from Dawn's attempt to raise Joyce because mystical energy killed Buffy, not natural means. Furthermore, nobody knew where Buffy's soul went. Theoretically, she could be suffering torment in hell. Xander was convinced.
Willow returned home to find the Buffybot. Apparently, it was programmed to find Willow when it was damaged. Willow started to repair it, but it alienated Spike by repeating some comment that was probably programmed when it was still a sexbot.
The next day, the Buffybot trained with Giles. He tried to get it to work on its breathing, even though it did not need to breathe. Anya questioned the strategy of imparting Eastern philosophy on a robot. When Anya left Giles expressed guilt over Buffy's death even though he did his job as a watcher. The Buffybot asked why he was still there.
Meanwhile, in a demon biker bar, the vampire who escaped the Buffybot was telling a demon about his adventure, albeit with some embellishment. The demon brought the vampire to the demon leader, Razor. Razor was very interested to hear that Sunnydale was slayerless. The vampire wanted to tag along as the demon gang took over Sunnydale, but Razor simply decapitated him before deciding to head out.
In a natural setting, Willow—dressed in all white—called a fawn to her. She then stabbed it with only a bit of guilt. At the Magic Box, she hinted that she got the final ingredient from the black market. The others were very nervous in anticipation of raising Buffy, but Anya found a distraction. Giles left a note saying that he decided to slip away to England quietly.
Willow, Xander, Dawn, Anya, and Tara went to the airport to say goodbye. They gave him a farewell card and some gifts that they quickly bought at a gas station. They decided to have goodbye hugs before he boarded his plane.
That evening, as about 15 demon bikers rode toward Sunnydale, Willow, Xander, Anya, and Tara formed a circle around Buffy's grave. Willow poured fawn blood into the urn of Osiris and wiped a bit on her face. She started to chant and poured the rest of the blood on the ground. The spell started to kick in. Slashes formed on Willow's arms. Blobs formed and crawled around under her skin. Eventually, she vomited a snake.
Meanwhile, the demon bikers arrived and started all sorts of vandalism in the center of town. Spike looked outside and sort of envied them. However, his desire to protect Dawn came first. The Buffybot tried to intervene and quickly found itself surrounded. Razor slashed it with his knuckles, confirming that she was a robot. It proceeded to beat up on them before going toward Willow. Razor called on the demons to pursue.
Willow was surrounded by a red visual effect light when the Buffybot led the bikers to her. The demons rode around, and one ran over the urn, destroying it and its magical power. The characters felt threatened, but the demons were mostly interested in the Buffybot.
Xander grabbed Willow and sent Anya and Tara away. A demon tried to grab Anya, but Tara sent a blue visual effect ball at the demon and freed Anya. Meanwhile, deep underground, a decayed Buffy suddenly transformed to her normal self and gasped to life.
Unlike in most season openers, things of consequence happened in this episode. It would be important even if it were not a season opener.
If one accepts that Buffy could not be part of this episode on account of being dead, this episode does a good job at introducing the characters and the relationships between them. I especially like the fact that it did not shy away from showing the Willow and Tara relationship. If anything, it was more explicit than it had been previously, which is not saying all that much.
If a character is to be raised from the dead, this is how to do it. As Doc said in "Forever," if it were easy to do, everyone would do it. Instead of the simple methods seen in "Some Assembly Required" and "The Zeppo," resurrection should be nearly impossible to do and should have serious repercussions. If not, then death would have no meaning and all loved ones, such as Jenny Calendar and Joyce, could be brought back.
It was bad enough in season five, but Amber Benson's exclusion from the opening credits after being such an important part of the show for a season and a half is inexplicable. I hope that she fired her agent.
Spike, The Buffybot, Giles, Tara, Xander, and Anya fought two vampires during the teaser.
The demon bikers arrived in Sunnydale and started to wreck havoc.
Later, they attacked the Buffybot, but it managed to fight them off and escape.
It led them to Willow, where they caused more havoc and tried to capture Anya.
The Buffybot supplied its share of humor with its surreal puns and its surprising ability to fit in on parent-teacher day.
Giles and Anya had an immaturity bout that shamed even Xander.
Anya bought the Urn of Osiris and a Backstreet Boys lunchbox on eBay.
Xander was worried about the morality of raising the dead.
Willow was worried that Buffy was in hell.
A sad Dawn cuddled with the Buffybot.
Willow, Xander, Anya, Dawn, and Tara said goodbye to Giles.
Willow and Tara tested the new network's censors with their second on-screen kiss.
Xander and Anya argued over whether they should announce their engagement.
Willow and Tara cuddled in bed.
Willow has the ability to communicate telepathically that she showed at the end of "The Gift." She was worried that Buffy was suffering in hell and needed to bring her back. This drove her to murdering a fawn.
Anya was the only character who was ready to move on after Buffy's death. She was also upset that Xander had kept their engagement a secret because he was waiting for the right time to tell everyone.
Spike feels guilty about Buffy's death and is overcompensating by being excessively protective of Dawn.
Giles also feels guilty about Buffy's death. He decided to leave Sunnydale and live in England again.
Tara agreed to raising the dead despite her concerns about using magic for selfish reasons that she expressed in "Forever."
Xander was not sure that raising the dead was a good thing and did not want to announce his engagement to Anya.
Dawn has bonded with the Buffybot as the closest thing to a sister as she has.
Willow and Tara are now living in Dawn's house.
Giles had left for England.
Demon bikers are rampaging throughout Sunnydale.
Buffy is now alive.
In the real world, this was the first episode shown on the UPN network, which had just pledged a lot of money for the final two seasons of the show. This was the first opportunity for the show to demonstrate that it was worth the money.
This was an easy choice. Willow set out to do the near-impossible, even for her, and succeeded. Tara gets credit for rescuing Anya from a demon biker, and Anya gets credit for securing the Urn of Osiris.
This was not much of an episode for figuring things out. Xander figured out that the resurrection spell might not be a good idea, but he did not know why. Therefore, Anya gets this award for finding the note that said that Giles was leaving for what must be one of the cheapest awards of the entire show.
The Shempy vampire might be a candidate for getting himself decapitated at the demon bar. However, it still managed to defeat the Buffybot. The Buffybot gets the Goat for leading the demon bikers straight to Willow and the others, which interrupted the spell.
What was Tara thinking when she tried to do physical activity with that long coat she was wearing during the teaser?
It is quite plausible that even a town the size of Sunnydale would have an airport, perhaps even an international airport. However, these airports tend to be "international" because of one or two scheduled flights to Mexico or Canada. It is not plausible that it would have runways large enough for planes that would fly several thousand miles. Most likely, Giles would have had to catch a flight to Los Angeles and transfer to a flight to London rather than take a plane that would go there itself.
Commentary by Writers Marti Noxon and David Fury covered both parts of the episode. This commentary was typical of joint commentaries in which neither felt responsible for saying something interesting all the time, so there are long pauses in which we hear what we would hear if we just watched the episode. There are general spoilers throughout the sixth season. Insights include:
"Oh, poor watcher, did your life pass before your eyes? Cuppa tea, cuppa tea, almost got shagged, cuppa tea?" Spike
"That'll put marzipan in your pie plate, bingo!" Buffybot
"I got her off those knock-knock jokes." Willow
"Oh, who's there?" Buffybot
"You know, if we want to be exactly..." Xander
"She'll never be exactly." Spike
"I know." Xander
"The only really real Buffy is really Buffy." Tara
"And she's gone." Giles
"If we want her to be exactly, she'll never be exactly. I know. The only really real Buffy is really Buffy, and she's gone who?" Buffybot
"That's all schools are, you know, just factories spewing out mindless little automatons... who go on to be very valuable and productive members of society, and you should go because Buffy would want you to." Spike
"You found the last known Urn of Osiris on eBay?" Tara
"Yeah, from this desert gnome in Cairo. He drove a really hard bargain, but I finally got him to throw in a limited edition Backstreet Boys lunchbox for... [Xander coughs] a friend." Anya
"Who made you the boss of the group?" Xander
"You did." Anya
"You said Willow should be boss." Tara
"And then you said 'let's vote,' and it was unanimous." Anya
"And you made her this little plaque that said 'boss of us,' and you put little sparkles on it." Tara
"Sorry I questioned you, Spike. You know I admire your brain almost as much as your washboard abs." Buffybot
"She's not the descendent of a long line of mystical warriors. She's the descendent of a toaster oven." Anya
"You got butterflies, baby?" Willow
"More like bats." Tara
"You wanna look at the money? I find it always calms me." Anya
"We brought you some lovely parting gifts. It's American, get it? Apple pie? To remind you of all the good food you won't be eating." Anya
"And a monster, sort of a Sunnydale souvenir, we thought. Grr, argh!" Tara
"I'll take really good care of your money." Anya
Highlight the space after each question to find the answer. It is strongly recommended that you do not do so if you have not seen episodes through the episode indicated.