Buffy, pulling herself out of her grave

About:

Title: Buffy S6.E01 “Bargaining: Part 1” + S6.E02 “Bargaining: Part 2”
Released: 2001

Drinks Taken: 31
Vamps Dusted: 3

 

Follow the whole rewatch here!

How have we made it to Season Six already? I guess we can chalk this up to Hellmouth Time the pandemic. So, last week, Glory/Ben’s plans to kill Dawn, a.k.a. activate the Key, were foiled when Buffy jumped into the portal and sacrficed herself. Giles murdered Ben just to be safe (appreciate that), while Xander and Anya got engaged, and imagine if that had been the end of the series?!

But… it’s not. Consequently, our rewatch continues, with an updated drinking game. I can tell you right now, I’ll be making liberal use of that missing Giles rule. 

Buffy eagerly watching a pitcher of beer being poured into her glass.

The Buffy Season Six Drinking Game Rules

Drink once every time:

A vamp is dusted
A scene takes place in a cemetery
Giles removes his glasses
Willow misuses magic
Tara gets upset at Willow misusing magic
Anya or Xander mention being engaged or their wedding
Spike and Buffy are the epitome of Bad Romance
Warren, specifically, is the worst

Drink twice every time:

There’s an extremely outdated pop culture reference
A vampire is invited into a house
There’s a callback to previous season shenanigans
Dawn steals something
Buffy emotes existential dread
The “Trio” makes a pop culture reference
You really miss Giles

Cheers to a new season, and new credits (damn, Alyson Hannigan must have a killer agent, and also, already missing Giles, drink), and new haircuts* for everyone!

*With the exception of Spike’s Justin-Timberlake-No-Strings-Attached-Curly-Do. That’s a big NOPE from me.

Xander, Dawn, Willow, Tara, and Anya at the airport with a Bon Voyage Giles sign

6.1 “Bargaining: Part 1”

The episode begins in the classic Buffy way: a fight in a cemetery. But this time, there’s no Slayer, just the Scoobs and the BuffyBot. Willow is keeping watch from the roof and feeding the team intel via their minds, WHAT. While it’s sweet to see them all working together, it’s clear that this isn’t sustainable, especially when Giles gasps, “I’m fine, I just need to die for a minute.” They’re using the BuffyBot to keep up the pretense that the Slayer is still alive, but how long will the Underworld fall for it? Not long, it turns out. 

Cut to the Summers’ house, where Tara and Willow are living with Dawn and the BuffyBot, and they’e about to face their greatest challenge: Parent Teacher Day! Miraculously, BuffyBot’s logical/inane responses totally fly with the teachers. The Bot heads out on patrol while Spike sits for Dawn, who once again DOES NOT NEED A SITTER, but whatever, it’s nice to see how much Spike cares about the Little Bit. Unfortunately, BuffyBot has a run-in with a vamp in a Hanson shirt (sweet) who hits her with a bottle, revealing her circuitry. He rushes off to spread the word: the Slayer is a robot! 

Over at the Magic Box, we learn that Giles is moving back to England and leaving the store to Anya. I am a fan of one of these choices, guess which one! Anya is sick of waiting for Giles to leave, and she’s also dying to tell the Scoobies about her engagement with Xander. But the gang has a bigger secret: they’re trying to resurrect Buffy, and they haven’t told Giles, Dawn, or Spike. Xander is worried about the dangerous, unintended consequences of such a spell, and while Tara acknowledges that it’s wrong, she reminds them that they agreed to do it–and that Xander made Willow a “Boss of Us” plaque which I really wish had made a cameo. Just when you start to wonder WTF, Willow voices their nightmare: what if Buffy is trapped in some hell dimension, like Angel was? And just like that, I get why the gang is trying to bring her back. 

With that said, the BuffyBot is preeetty great, telling Spike, “You know I admire your brain almost as much as your washboard abs,” even though Spike asked Willow to remove “all of the love stuff.” He’s embarrassed, as he should be, and while the bot is a poor replacement for the Slayer, that doesn’t stop Dawn from crawling into bed with her while she’s charging up, just to pretend to be close to her sister. It’s weird to describe that scene and then say it’s sweet but… it is.  

Giles can’t stop wondering if Buffy would’ve been better off without him (the answer is a clear NOPE), and now that she’s gone, he’s not sure why he’s still in Sunnydale, so he finally decides to make his exit and slip out quietly. The Scoobs are having none of that and find him at the gate (this was clearly filmed before 9/11) to give him a proper and adorably awkward good-bye, complete with gas station gifts and big hugs, and I’m trying to remember if I thought he would be back when this episode originally aired or if I just sobbed, “WHYYYY!” at the TV. As he steps into the jet bridge, the gang’s facial expressions make it clear that they have no idea what they will do without him.

Meanwhile, Hanson Vamp spills the beans about the BuffyBot to a biker demon at a bar (I miss Willie’s), and Mr. Sons of Anarchy promptly kills him then leads his gang, named the Hellions because they’re not the creative type, to Sunnydale to wreak havoc to the tunes of thrash metal. Reeeeally glad they’re not the Big Bads of the season.

After knifing a deer as an offering and making all of us uncomfortable, Willow leads Tara, Anya, and Xander in the ritual at Buffy’s grave to bring her back using the Urn of Osiris. (Anya found it on eBay listed by a desert gnome in Cairo and got him to throw in a limited edition Backstreet Boys lunchbox, because that girl knows her capitalisim.) Things get REALLY intense, like Willow vomiting a snake intense, and then the Hellions ride up in pursuit of the BuffyBot, who’s been programmed to find Willow when she’s injured, which she is. One of the motorcycles breaks the Urn, and the Scoobs, assuming the ritual didn’t work, flee the scene. But OH THE SPELL WORKED, and we see Buffy’s desicated corpse transform back to a healthy body as she comes alive… trapped inside a coffin.

How many times do I have to take a drink?

17

Vamps Dusted

3

Bloody Good Snark

The fact that Spike has zero clue about Giles’ sex life doesn’t detract from this synopsis. 

Botty Good Snark

Willow’s humor programming skills aren’t quite there yet. 

Giles for Life

At the airport:

“I was trying to avoid a scene, really.” – Giles, explaining why he tried to slip away.
“Like we’d make a scene.” – Willow.
“Not you, me.” – Giles. CUE THE WATERWORKS.

Grr, Metargh

Tara, gesturing with a finger puppet
Gif via sunnydale-scoobies
Tara: Grr, argh.
Dawn, wearing a football helmet, riding behind Spike on a motorcycle

6.2 “Bargaining: Part 2”

The episode begins right where the premiere left off–the BuffyBot is in desperate need of service; Willow is unconscious; and the Scoobs agree to split up into the Woods and meet at the Magic Box. When Willow wakes up, with Xander by her side, she despairs over the broken urn, because there are no others, meaning they can’t perform the ritual again. But little does she know (and thank god she doesn’t), Buffy is back and clawing at her coffin lining, and it’s downright awful to watch. 

The Hellions (one of whom is named Razor, really?!) are cruising through Sunnydale on a mission to destroy, and after spying them on the street, Spike doubles down on protecting Dawn, which makes me go awww, I’M SORRY, I’M A SPIKE APOLOGIST. He ends up stealing a bike from the demon gang in a very badass way, then yells, “Let’s fly, pigeon!” to Dawn, who dons a football helmet before climbing on. The image of them riding together (thankfully preserved in the credits) is one of my favorite moments in the series. 

Tara and Anya make it to the Magic Box, and gotta say, I wish there were more just-Anya-and-Tara scenes in the show, because they’re so cute and daffy together. Tara performs a finding spell, which looks like a ball of light that zooms up to Willow and Xander (“How long have you known that your girlfriend’s Tinkerbell?”) in the woods and leads them back to the magic shop. At a loss for what to do, the Scoobs clearly miss Buffy (and Giles, drink), but Willow resolutely declares, “We’re it, gang,” Except they’re not, because Buffy emerges from the grave like a vampire and realizes that she was dead, until now. She wanders, super disoriented, into town, and approaches the Hellions, who have chained BuffyBot up to several bikes which they drive away, dismembering her. Way harsh! She runs away and smack into the Scoobies, who discover with shock that Buffy is back, and she’s acting like a scared, cornered animal, because they resurrected her only to leave her in her coffin. (Xander’s horror is especially compelling here.) 

The Hellions ride up and corner our crew while the leader basically threatens murder rape which is a REALLY disturbing jump from just cruising around and setting cars on fire. Instincts kicking in, Buffy approaches Mr. Hell on Wheels and beats the crap out of him before moving on to the rest of his gang. 

Spike and Dawn encounter the remains of the BuffyBot, who wakes up, extra creepy-like, and tells them that the other Buffy was there. In a panic, Dawn runs away and eventually reaches Glory’s tower, where she finds Buffy at the top. The whole structure is as unstable as the Slayer’s mind (“Because the tower was built by crazy people, and I don’t think it’s holding up very well,” says Dawn), and though Buffy wants to jump, she can’t help but save Dawn as everything comes apart, and they slide down via a pulley whirling in smoke like a cartoon. On the ground, Dawn embraces her sister, telling her she’s home, and we’re left with the haunting image of Buffy’s stricken face.

How many times do I have to take a drink?

14

Vamps Dusted

0

Stylish Yet Affordable Funeral Attire

I will never forgive whoever decided to bury Buffy in this black sack. 

Buffy, with unkempt hair, wearing a baggy black dress

Somebody Give Tara a Bronze Axe Trophy

Tara, after killing the Hellions leader: “Nobody messes with my girl.”
Xander: “Tara, nice axing.” 
Tara: “My first.” 

Anya’s Bunny Phobia, Take 500

WTF, Emmy Voters

I mean, just LOOK at the pain on Buffy’s face. It’s absolutely heart-wrenching. (Also, drink.)

#QuarantineLife

Seriously, though, in hindsight, this scene is even more gutting. 


So, what do y’all think about Willow’s decision to bring Buffy back? I feel like the show gives her a solid motivation (thinking Buffy is in hell), but it also reveals how the lines between light and dark are blurred in her mind (foreshadowing). Should the rest of the Scoobs have put up more of a fight against resurrecting her? And is it in line with Giles’ character to leave them when he knows the situation isn’t going to improve? 

And is Buffy clawing at her coffin the most pure moment of horror in the entire series?

Also, do you think the similarity in the episode names between “Becoming: Part 1 & 2” and “Bargaining: Part 1 & 2” was intentional?

Join me in the comments then tune in next week as Kandis recaps “After Life”* and “Flooded.” 

*So glad my fellow member of Team Spuffy gets to write about that one.

Sarah splits her time between Dallas and Austin, and believes there is no such thing as a guilty pleasure, which is part of why she started FYA in 2009. Growing up, she thought she was a Mary Anne, but she's finally starting to accept the fact that she's actually a Kristy.