Drinks Taken: 31
Vamps Dusted: 0
Follow the whole rewatch here!
Last week, Stephanie had the pleasure of recapping two of the very best episodes in the series, in which the Scooby Gang sings some songs and learns they ripped Buffy from heaven, and Tara and Giles both leave for different reasons–Tara can’t take more of Willow abusing magic (and abusing her), while Giles realizes that Buffy won’t ever deal with anything as long as he’s around. It’s devastating, and IT’S ABOUT TO GET WORSE.
We’re entering the dark side of Season 6, so brace yourselves, because you’re about to become far too acquainted with two drinking rules in particular. Can you guess which ones?!
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There’s an extremely outdated pop culture reference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
Now let’s raise a glass to Amy, a rat no longer! (And then take it back, because Amy sucks.)
Rather than the standard Buffy vs. vampire fight, the episode begins with a regular old mugging. Buffy is delighted by the novelty of it, until Spike jumps in to help and ends up letting the bad guys escape because he didn’t realize they were humans, and therefore he can’t hurt them. “Way to go with keen observiness, Jessica Fletcher,” Buffy quips (do we get to drink if the pop culture reference was already outdated at the time the episode was filmed?). Spike is jonesing for more kissing, but Buffy swears that it’ll never happen again and stalks off, with Spike proclaiming that she has no one else but him. Yep, we’re off to a healthy start here!
Cut to Willow, sitting in her room and missing Tara immensely. She starts talking to Amy the Rat, and hey wait a minute, has that cage been there the whole time?! Willow realizes she can actually just do a reveal spell to find the right transformation spell, and bibbidi bobbidi boo, Amy the human girl is back! And they have a lot of catching up to do.
While Amy is recovering from the shock in another room, Buffy walks in and begins to confess to Willow about getting physical with Spike. Gah, how things would’ve been different if that convo had happened! But Amy walks in, suprising Buffy, and the moment is gone. But at least we get to drink when Amy asks, “Did you hear about Tom and Nicole?”
Meanwhile at the Sunnydale Museum, the Trio is breaking in to steal a big sparkly diamond when the security system, a.k.a. “a guy named Rusty,” shows up to stop them. They freeze him with a Freeze Ray, because they are that geeky, and make off with the gem for purposes not yet revealed. After hearing about the frozen guard on the news, Buffy arrives to investigate and runs into Spike. She finally attempts to be honest with him and admits that she kissed him because she’s depressed, but he simply doesn’t get it (or doesn’t want to).
I wish I could take a minute to say that I’m relieved that Buffy realizes she’s not in a good place, but there’s no time for that, because the next second, Spike grabs her, and then she punches him, and when he returns the fist, his chip doesn’t hurt him. He hides it, though, and Buffy ends their fight by calling him evil and disgusting, which she’s clearly thinking about herself. Convinced that he’s no longer “housebroken,” Spike tries to attack a girl in an alley, but his head immediately lights up with pain, so… that chip ain’t broken.
In better news, Tara and Dawn are being totally adorable with their “Movie & Milkshake Fun Day.” Tara reassures Dawn that she will always be there for her, and it’s so sweet, while Dawn clearly wants to Tara to get back together with Willow pronto–so much so that, after the movie, she convinces Tara to stay at the house and keep her company until someone (Willow) gets back. Unfortunately, Willow is out with Amy, and the two begin abusing magic (and therefore my liver) like it’s going out of style. Amy clearly lacks Tara’s conscience, and Willow relishes the company of another witch who doesn’t think twice before, say, turning people into sheep. The only magic Willow declines is Amy’s enchantment over a hot lesbian, but the memory of Tara does little else to stop the witch duo from transforming the Bronze into crazytown.
Spike shows up at the Trio’s lair and threatens to break a limited edition Boba Fett figure unless Warren will analyze his chip. Sensing an opportunity for an alliance, Warren agrees and finds that the chip is functioning just fine, which means Buffy isn’t 100% human. It makes sense but also, whoa!
Over at the Magic Box, Buffy, Anya and Xander are having no luck researching “a frost monster who eats diamonds.” But they can all agree that Willow is using magic way too much, though Buffy quickly comes to her defense after she sees herself in Anya and Xander’s comments about Willow getting a taste of being bad and then going wild. Gah, just BE HONEST WITH YOUR FRIENDS, BUFF. As they head out for the night, Buffy pieces together the (unknownst to her, Trio’s) recent criminal activity and wonders, “Is it me, or do these things seem–” “Lame?” Anya interrupts, and they have no idea just how lame.
Spike, waiting for Buffy in the alley, immediately confronts her, and when she punches him, he throws it right back and admits the truth about his chip. “You came back wrong,” he snarks, which, RUDE, and then they explode into a brutal fight, which takes them into an abandoned townhouse (someday, I want to see blueprints of Sunnydale’s downtown area). Between blows, they taunt each other, and when Spike repeats that he’s in love with her, Buffy spits back, “You’re in love with pain.” Also true? And then, in this most famous (infamous?) Spuffy scene, their fighting transforms into a violent makeout session, culminating in Buffy unzipping Spike’s pants (which takes him by surprise) and engaging in literal earth-shattering sex with him. It’s CRAZY.
How many times do I have to take a drink?
20, and that doesn’t count drinks for all of Willow’s spells at the Bronze that we didn’t see happen (but certainly saw the effects of).
Is Amy Still a Rat?
Nope! (Just wanted to include this category one more time.)
Headlining at The Bronze
The band Virgil is playing when Amy and Willow arrive, but after a while, Willow decides to change them to, what else, an all girl pop punk band (Halo Friendlies).
Stylish Yet Affordable Boots Hair
Both Anya and Buffy rock some fabulous new hairstyles in this episode, with Anya sporting extra blonde, retro glam locks, and Buffy making pigtail braids look sophisticated.
I decided that some episodes are going to need an entire category devoted to Andrew, because Andrew. This is one of them.
First up, Andrew’s Mission Impossible-inspired museum heist ensemble. I think it’s the glasses that really elevate the look.
Next up, Andrew’s attempt to bond with Spike, showing he has zero future as a foreign diplomat:
Dawn and Tara, who both fell asleep on the couch, wake up the next morning to discover that no one came home. Cut to the shattered townhouse wreckage where a very naked and banged up (hey-o) Buffy and Spike are lying on the floor. Buffy immediately starts looking for her clothes and wonders when the building fell down, WOW, okay. Spike is feeling himself, and although Buffy insists this will never happen again, it only takes one note of antagonism for them to start at it again. But then Spike puts, nay, shoves his foot in his mouth (“I knew the only thing better than killing a Slayer would be f-,” at which point Buffy cuts him off), and they begin throwing barbs at each other. Buffy informs Spike that he’s just convenient, while Spike claims he’s done being her whipping boy, and the only thing I believe is when Spike says, “I may be dirt, but you’re the one that likes to roll in it, Slayer.”
Amy and Willow arrive home after a long night of magic abuse, and Willow is obviously surprised to see Tara, who hears Amy’s stories about Willow’s power and is NOT happy (drink). Buffy gets back around the same time, and Dawn (who would’ve been home alone all night were it not for Tara) assumes she’s been out fighting a big bad: “You’re beat from monster wrestling all night.” Yeeeeeeeah. The quiet in the kitchen is pregnant with secrets, and it’s all so very awkward and weird and sad.
Later at the Magic Box, Xander and Anya–who’s been looking at bridal magazines instead of old books–once again express their concern over Willow’s overuse of magic. “She’s acting different,” Anya tells Buffy. “She’s not herself.” All Buffy can hear is those words directed at herself, and she continues to defend Willow as a way to ignore her own issues. Because that tactic always ends well!
Willow, alarmed by the fact that she tapped out her magic reserves the night before at the Bronze, tells Amy she needs to cool it, but then our former furry friend suggests they go see a warlock who can boost their powers. Clearly, the fact that Amy is so eager to get magicky literally a DAY after she was released from the prison of her own spell should be a huge warning sign that she is not to be trusted, but in case that wasn’t enough, the warlock’s name is Rack. RACK. Which is short for SKETCHVILLE, USA. His cloaked waiting room is crawling with junkies, and then he brings Amy and Willow into his office and proceeds to “take a tour” of Willow’s power, whispering, “You taste like strawberries.” GROOOOOSSSS NOOOOOO. All of a sudden, tribal music starts playing, indicating that Amy and Willow are about to start tripping balls, and Willow ends up on the ceiling, high as a kite, until she sees a demon appear and then drops to the floor. Later, at home, she begins to sob in the shower, and then she does a spell to inflate Tara’s clothes so she can curl up with them. It’s heartbreaking but also, Willow, CUT IT OUT WITH THE MAGIC.
The next day, Dawn is fending for herself with peanut butter and banana quesadillas until Willow offers to take her to the movies. (Is anyone on this show still going to school?) Dawn, starved for attention, is so eager to hang out with her, which makes what happens next even more brutal. After Willow asks about Tara, she takes Dawn on a detour to Rack’s office, where she makes Dawn wait for like THREE HOURS (and miss the movie, ugh!) while she gets magic high. Once again, Willow sees the demon, but it doesn’t harsh her buzz–she walks out of the office with all-black eyes and a manic happiness.
At the house, Buffy discovers Amy stealing from Willow’s room. “It’s not what you think it is. It’s sage!” Amy cries. “It is what I think it is,” replies Buffy. Amy is in full-on withdrawal and immediately spills the beans about Rack. After a fruitless search for the hidden office, Buffy recruits Spike (whom she finds naked in bed, naturally) to help. “Dawn’s missing,” she tells him. “Again? You ever think about a LoJack for that girl?” he asks, making me realize how much more complicated this show would have to be if Find My Phone had existed.
Dawn, understandably freaked out by Willow and the whole sketchy situation, wants to go home, but before Willow can “pop” her back (that probably wouldn’t have worked out anyway), the demon from Willow’s trip shows up and strikes Dawn across the face. She kicks him, which is awesome, and then she and Willow get away in a car that the latter basically drunk drives with magic. They crash, of course, and though Dawn does an admirable job of defending herself when the demon catches up to him, she definitely would’ve been killed if Buffy hadn’t shown up, delivering an epic flying kick to the demon’s face. They fight, but it’s Willow who actually kills the guy by burning him up with a spell. Buffy and Spike rush to Dawn’s side as the Slayer tells Willow to stay away from her sister. The look of disgust and betrayal on Dawn’s face when she stares at Willow is chilling, and then she slaps her across the face! Willow collapses, repeatedly crying, “I’m sorry,” and after Spike takes Dawn away, Buffy delivers some straight talk. Willow admits that she needs help, and then later, when it’s just the two of them back at the house, Willow admits that she has an addiction. “If you could be plain old Willow or Super Willow, who would you be?” she asks Buffy, who gently replies,”You don’t need magic to be special.” Unfortunately, I don’t think Willow really believes her, and while Buffy admits that she understands Willow’s need to escape her self, she doesn’t go so far as to admit her own burgeoning addiction with Spike, so when the two besties agree that they have to make better choices and put their loved ones first, you know that this is far from over. The episode ends with Willow, tossing in bed and feeling the effects of withdrawal, while Buffy huddles up in her room and stares at all of the garlic bulbs she’s strung up.
How many times do I have to take a drink?
A Note From a Spuffy Apologist
I won’t argue that the current relationship between Buffy and Spike is healthy by any stretch of the imagination, but I do want to point out a few things. First, I appreciate the fact that Spike continues to express his love for Buffy in spite of, well, everything, and even though he’s clearly in denial about her feelings for him, his motives are still rooted in love. Don’t @ me! (JK, you can totally do that in the comments.)
Secondly, we’ve always known that Spike is a pretty twisted individual, so it makes sense that he is totally cool with this set-up, in spite of the fact that it’s toxic for both of them. I say that not to redeem or vilify their current relationship, but because it provides some important context for Spike’s character.
Rack is played with perfect ickiness by Jeff Kober, who has 137 acting credits to his name, meaning I instantly recognized him without knowing how. He’s been on General Hospital, The Walking Dead, Timeless, Sons of Anarchy, and most relevant to this episode, “Creepy Guy” on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
Rack’s Office Water Cooler
What the hell was in that?! It sure wasn’t H20!
Anya the Episode Slayer
Gotta say, Anya is killing it lately! She doesn’t pussyfoot around Willow’s abuse of magic, and she’s the only one providing any kind of comedic relief, which we desperately need right now.
In Memory of J.D. Peralta
The episode credits begin with this title card, which refers to Marti Noxon’s assistant who died the month this episode originally aired.
Welp, we did it! We got through it together! And if you’re me, with whiskey!
So, regardless of whether you’re a Spuffy fan or not, what was your reaction the first time you watched that scene in “Smashed”? I remember LOSING MY MIND and rewinding it to make sure I hadn’t misheard the sound of the zipper. It was pretty scandalous for prime time TV at that point.
Join me in the comments for a *civil* debate on this whole mess, then tune in next week as Kandis recaps “Gone” and the ultra depressing yet iconic “Doublemeat Palace.”