|Written by:||Douglas Petrie|
|Directed by:||Douglas Petrie|
|Starring:||Sarah Michelle Gellar as 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:||Marc Blucas as Riley Finn (Special Guest Star)|
Ivana Milicevic as Sam Finn
|Co-Starring:||Ryan Raddatz as Todd|
Adam Paul as Skanky Vamp
Marilyn Brett as Lady
Alice Dinnean Vernon as Baby Demon Puppeteer
Riley returned to Sunnydale to hunt a demon.
The episode opened with a pretentious Doublemeat Palace manager lecturing Buffy on Machiavelli as they closed the restaurant for the night. Buffy walked home through a cemetery and was ambushed by a vampire. It was about to bite her, but it decided that it did not want to eat someone who smelled like fast food. Buffy was offended and staked it.
Buffy returned home to find Spike waiting for her. She claimed that she did not want Dawn to catch her with Spike in the house, so Spike decided that they should have sex outside. Buffy protested, but not that much.
Afterward, Buffy presented a squished Doublemeat Medley to Dawn. Dawn was appreciative but very sick of fast food. Dawn and Willow tried to drag Buffy to the Bronze, but Buffy was too tired. Dawn seemed more excited to go to the Bronze than she was disappointed that Buffy would not be going.
At the Bronze, Anya and Xander debated seating and table arrangements as he did a lot of nervous eating. Willow was in a good mood, and Dawn correctly guessed that it was due to better relations with Tara after the previous episode.
The next morning, Buffy was late in getting the garbage out. The mail contained more bad news, a letter from UC Sunnydale saying that she was rejected for readmission because her application was late. At work, she put up with more pretentious babble from the manager before going to the front counter and seeing an ex-boyfriend, the one who does not have his own spin-off show on another network.
Riley spent so much time telling a stunned Buffy that there was something big that he had no time to explain what that something was. Whatever it was, he needed her. Her mind eventually became coherent enough for her to go with him, despite the protests of her manager.
Outside, Riley explained that he was tracking a suvolte demon, which is both very nasty and breeds like the creatures that most frighten Anya. Just as Riley explained this, it appeared. Riley claimed that it was a wild bear, and the townspeople might have believed him even though it looked nothing like a bear. In any case, Riley and Buffy were able to fight it off.
Riley and Buffy pursued it in his fancy new vehicle. Rather than explain what was going on, Riley took the opportunity to make small talk with Buffy. They stopped at the top of a dam. Of course, the suvolte was at the bottom of the dam, so they rappelled down.
The suvolte was ready for them. They had another struggle that ended with an unconscious suvolte and something that looked like it would become a tender moment for Buffy and Riley. Instead, a woman rappelled down and asked what Buffy was doing with her husband.
The suvolte woke up, and Riley's wife, Sam, decided to take it on. After a bit of a fight, Buffy decided to give them a wedding gift and finish the demon off. Sam was mildly disappointed, which surprised Buffy. Apparently, they were only tracking the demon. Sam cut the body open and said that they were too late. They decided to go to Buffy's house.
Dawn still had lingering resentment from Riley leaving so suddenly. Xander and Willow were more pleased to see him, although, as Buffy's best friend, Willow was willing to hate Sam as much as Buffy wanted.
Sam and Riley finally gave us the exposition. They were hoping that the suvolte would lead them to its nest. The problem was not so much that the eggs would hatch, letting many nasty demons loose in Sunnydale. The problem was that a dealer called "The Doctor" was going to trade the eggs to a foreign government, who would let the suvolte hatchlings loose in civilian areas.
Sam wanted Willow to try a locating spell, but a very hurt Willow refused. Instead, Buffy and Sam were to look for the nest while Riley went to the various demon bars that he haunted toward the end of his stay in Sunnydale.
Buffy and Sam patrolled in a cemetery as Sam told the story about how she met Riley. I will spare readers the details. Buffy clearly had regrets over losing Riley but was uncomfortable telling Sam about them. Sam asked whether Buffy had anyone new in her life. This made Buffy even more uncomfortable, so she suggested splitting up.
Buffy went straight to Spike. She claimed that she wanted information, but it was clear that she wanted something else instead. Having already done it in a collapsing house, the balcony of the Bronze, against the wall of the Doublemeat Palace, under a rug, and in Buffy's back yard, they tried a new location, Spike's bed.
After they were finished, Riley burst into the room. Spike was amused, and Buffy was embarrassed. Spike assumed that Riley was jealous, but Riley believed that Spike was The Doctor and had the eggs. Spike had no idea what Riley was talking about, and Buffy believed that Spike was not competent enough to be the Doctor. However, the eggs were in his basement.
Spike tried to explain that he was holding them for a friend (probably the real Doctor), but neither Riley nor Buffy wanted to hear what he had to say. Riley noted that the eggs were not frozen. This meant that there was danger of them hatching.
In fact, the eggs started to hatch as they spoke. Riley gave Buffy a shotgun to fight the hatchlings off. Buffy proved why she usually sticks to medieval weapons. They climbed upstairs, where Buffy took Riley's grenade belt and dropped it down the hole, blowing up the hatchlings.
Riley said that his mission was to take out the suvolte eggs, but he was authorized to take out The Doctor. He asked if Buffy wanted him to do so. This devolved into a comparison of their lives. Riley seemed to figure out what was upsetting Buffy and gave her a bit of a pep talk.
Buffy stepped aside as Sam, Xander, Willow and Dawn arrived. They said their good-byes with a few hugs before Riley and Sam were carried up to a helicopter. Buffy went to visit Spike. She said that she realized that she was just using him. He did not mind being used that way, but she said that it was killing her. She broke up with him.
Now that the worst episode of the sixth season has aired, it is all uphill from here.
Much of the plot of this episode did not make sense. See Imponderables below.
This episode failed to follow up on issues raised in the previous episode—such as the revelation of Dawn's shoplifting—and looks like it will leave the issue of Spike's involvement with suvolte demon eggs hanging.
Buffy fought a vampire during the teaser.
Riley and Buffy fought a suvolte demon outside the Doublemeat Palace.
Later, they fought the suvolte at the bottom of a dam.
Buffy blew the suvolte hatchlings up after failing to do any good with a shotgun.
Willow was amusing when she did her best friend duty to hate Sam.
Buffy had to work with an ex-boyfriend and found that his life was going much better than her life.
Buffy has broken up with Spike.
Spike waited for Buffy with one thing on his mind.
Xander and Anya made wedding plans.
Buffy and Spike were in bed together.
Willow does not appear to have any more romantic feelings for Xander. She is already thinking about when it might be appropriate to reach out to Tara again.
Buffy realized that she had been exploiting Spike's love for her. She finally realized that she had enough of that and ended her relationship with him.
Xander is very nervous about his upcoming wedding and has been compensating by overeating.
Anya is very stressed over her upcoming wedding.
Riley is now married and enjoying a good life. He does not appear to be bitter about the breakup of his relationship with Buffy.
Dawn still has lingering resentment toward Riley for leaving so suddenly.
Buffy has broken up with Spike, assuming that we believe her.
Buffy has finally recovered from being dead and earned her second MVP in a row. This time, it is for blowing up the suvolte hatchlings.
Riley gets this award for figuring out that Spike was the one with the suvolte eggs.
Spike gets the Goat for being used by The Doctor and for no longer being used by Buffy.
Many people assumed that Buffy's tenure with the Doublemeat Palace would be over when she walked out in the middle of a shift. This would be true of most workers who do not know a secret that would bring the whole company down. Buffy, on the other hand, can get away with this.
Much of this episode does not make sense. One example is Riley not briefing Buffy on the important points of the mission. During the fourth season, Riley always described the mission at the beginning of the briefing. He did not dilly-dally with small talk. He directly stated whether it was a "bag and tag" mission or a mission to kill the demon of the week. In this episode he spent a lot of time saying that he had no time to explain what was going on. Later, while driving to the dam, he made small talk rather than explain important details.
Spike's involvement did not make sense. I can see him trying to do something to get money so Buffy does not have to work at the Doublemeat Palace. This would be more than what Willow, Dawn, Xander, Anya, or Tara are doing. However, he would not be so careless as not to follow instructions. He was always more impulsive than careless. Most likely, someone else is The Doctor and is using him.
Riley's marriage also makes little sense. It had only been about 14 months since Riley left Sunnydale. We are supposed to believe that, in that time, he was able to mourn the loss of his relationship with Buffy, get through any rebound relationship that he might have, meet someone worth marrying, get to know her well enough to know that he wanted to marry her, get engaged, and get married with about four months to spare. Riley is not a particularly impulsive person and was not in a position that lent itself to meeting people or forming close relationships. Admittedly, the wedding did not sound like it was that elaborate.
There is one circumstance in which a marriage would make sense, if Riley got Sam pregnant. He is definitely the sort who would do the honorable thing and marry someone he impregnated. However, this could not happen because the whole purpose of having him return to Sunnydale was to contrast his successful private life with the mess that is Buffy's. A shotgun marriage would not accomplish that. However, he did not answer the question when Buffy asked if there were any children.
The Buffy/Spike Relationship was not a good relationship in the sense of each person being good for the other, but it was a good relationship in the sense of being interesting. Joss Whedon has said that happy relationships are boring and prefers unhappy ones. I do not believe that is it necessarily true, but it appears to be in this case.
Buffy's relationship with Spike served only to distract her from her real problems. She experienced a loss, that of being in heaven. She needed to mentally process this loss and of the fact that four of the closest people to here were responsible for that loss. Distractions only keep her from doing what was necessary to get to a mentally healthy state. Meanwhile, Spike was stuck in a situation in which he loved Buffy far more than she loved him. This left him vulnerable to exploitation, even if it was a very enjoyable exploitation.
This relationship was still interesting. I read reviews from many people who, when they were in their twenties, were in a relationship with someone bad for them but stayed in the relationship because the sex was good. They very much related to Buffy and Spike's relationship. I have never been in such a relationship, so I cannot say whether they got it right. However, it seemed real.
"When I was little, I used to spend hours imagining what my wedding to Xander would be like, and now I look at them, I just think 'hee, hee, hee!'" Willow
"My hat has a cow." Buffy
"I got some big stories to tell you too if we ever get half a second." Riley
"Did you die?" Buffy
"I'm gonna win." Buffy
"These things, never useful." Buffy
"So our wedding is not our marriage." Anya
"Separate things. One fills me with a dread akin to public speaking engagements..." Xander
"And that would be the wedding." Anya
"Which will be over soon." Xander
"But our marriage..." Anya
"That lasts forever." Xander
"You want me to say that I liked seeing you in bed with that idiot or that blinding orange is your very best color or that that burger smell is appealing?" Riley
"You smelled the smell?" Buffy
"Buffy, none of that means anything. It doesn't touch you. You're still the first woman I ever loved and the strongest woman I've ever known. Now, I'm not advertising this to the missus, but you're still quite the hottie." Riley
"The 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." Riley
"I'm using you. I can't love you. I'm just being weak and selfish..." Buffy
"Really not complaining here." Spike
"... and it's killing me. I have to be strong about this. I'm sorry, William." Buffy
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.