Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | April 1, 2013

Podcast #105: Bargaining (2)

Here’s the podcast for Season 6, Episode 2 – Bargaining (2)

Buffy sees her own grave

Buffy sees her own grave

Download: Bargaining (2)

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The next podcast will appear on Monday 8th April 2013 for episode three of Season Six: “After Life.” That’s the one where a mysterious force begins taking over the Scoobies.

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  1. “Someone call Joss to make Cordia the Vampire Slayer happen.” What? Does my “brilliant” script mean nothing now?

  2. As for “Afterlife” I remember the first time I watched this being really bored while watching it. I remember watching this right after both parts of Bargaining and I was really interested in the Buffy depression stuff and everything else was incredibly boring to me. On rewatch I enjoyed the demon storyline more but Buffy is still the most interesting part of this episode.

    I am Anya fan but with Bargaining Part Two and this episode I’m finding her characterization troubling for the first time on the show. They had this problem with Cordelia where they make her abrasive all the time in an episode. The problem with that is obvious some of the jokes will land but more often than not Anya being abrasive is not going to fit the situation.

    The other thing with the Scoobies in this episode is that Willow is incredibly unlikable to me. This is not a negative to the episode. It is a big sticking point with me when a character on a TV show is made to be unlikable. The trouble is that you can have someone like Forrest who were made to hate and he had no depth other than being in love with Buffy’s boyfriend. Willow to me is like Xander being a immature douche in high school. For now it is really interesting to watch Willow become so selfish and becoming a bully. I have never felt that Willow, even if she had the best of intentions, should have raised Buffy. For the record though I don’t think Willow has the best of intentions, she raised Buffy because she couldn’t let her go. The constant repeating the belief that Buffy was in Hell I don’t buy that Willow legitimately believed that. I think she convinced herself that Buffy was in Hell and that she had to raise her. I think she forced everyone else to believe that but in her heart of hearts she brought Buffy back because she couldn’t accept she was gone and maybe a little bit to test her powers. I think that is part of her reason to not tell Giles (and Spike) if she tells Giles there is a chance that Giles would logically explain to Willow that Buffy is not in a Hell dimension.

    It’s not Willow’s selfish reasons for bringing Buffy that intrigue me about her behavior though. The fact that she wants thanks is very revealing to me. As much as she might have wanted her best friend back she wants praise for how “awesome” a witch she is, she wants that praise. She wants to be Buffy and the thing about Buffy is that Buffy doesn’t want that praise.

    So let’s get to Buffy, I don’t want to bring the podcast but I love how they are handling Buffy coming back from Heaven, making it an allegory for depression. Let’s say that I have some very personal experience with depression and there is so much about in the way that Buffy acts and the way she is written that nails that feeling. Even her desire to be around Spike because of the specific way that Spike speaks to her the way that no one else will. It’s a risky move making your main character so passive but they have pulled it off so amazingly for now.

    Also I’m sure it’s going to be touched on but once again it was reinforced how amazing a hero Buffy is that she will lie to her friends to spare their feelings no matter how much she is hurting. I think it makes sense that she confesses to Spike. I think she would confess to Giles if he was there and her “I miss Giles” line is her expressing the desire to talk to him about her feelings and being back from Heaven. I honestly don’t remember if she does admit to Giles personally that she was in Heaven but when he reappears I don’t think that she will because she just needed to get it out to someone and Spike is the one person around who she could.

    As for Spike, James Marsters is amazing as ever. The scene with Buffy in his crypt is a little bit odd because it is completely believable to me that Buffy would not say anything in that scene and he would continue to talk but it is a little bit manipulative. it is designed to get Spike to deliver that monologue and it’s pretty obvious. It is a good speech don’t get me wrong and as cynical approach as I may have to TV at time I am a sucker for a good romance. There is something deeply romantic to Spike saving Buffy every night in his dreams but at the same time it is line with Spike’s unhealthy obsessive personality. Better was the scene with Xander and him seeing Buffy, the edge of Spike that so desperately needs to be there for me to buy him as character is still there but so is his devotion to Buffy which needs to be there for him to continue to be on the show.

    P.S. As for Buffy Hairgate (I can’t believe I actually care) her hair definitely seems like it was red, it not as blonde as Buffy was when she died. I assumed her Daphne hair was a wig but there is definitely a reddish tinge to her hair. I have to assume that BuffyBot’s hair was the wig but honestly I’ve spent too much time on this already so I’m going to stop.

    • Re: hairgate. I always thought that hair kept growing for awhile after someone died, so I assumed that it had grown a little and that her natural color was showing through her apparent blonde dye job. Hard to get to the salon whilst dead. That was how I rationalized it in my head.

  3. I don’t recall the monster of the week being particularly impressive, but it does have genuinely creepy moments and facilitates excellent character interactions. I have a feeling I’ll be saying this a lot this season, but the Buffy/Spike stuff really makes the episode. James Marsters in particular shines, from his first look at Buffy to his interactions with Xander to the wonderful delivery of “Every night I save you.” Great contrast between him yelling at Dawn, threatening to drink from her brainstem, and tenderly holding Buffy’s bleeding hands. Dichotomy in personality and behavior makes a lot of the characters on this show vibrant and fascinating to watch. I also love Buffy’s silence and stillness in the crypt scene – you don’t really know what’s going on in her head because I doubt she really knows what’s going on in her head. She’s just drifting, trying to be “here” as she says at the end of the episode.

    Never have I liked or sympathized with Dawn more than in this episode as she maturely struggles to deal with Buffy’s resurrection. Her repeated “Guys, back off” to the Scoobies is fabulous. Perfect sisterly thing to do. It’s just a shame that she unintentionally says exactly the wrong thing at the end, telling Buffy that everyone just wants to see her happy. Very much in-character for Buffy to then lie in order to give them what they want.

    Is Willow’s terrifying red shirt thing – can’t wait to hear what Cordia has to say about THAT – supposed to signify how absolutely terrifying Willow’s character is becoming? Because otherwise, I have no clue what the costume department was thinking xD I don’t mind that Dawn wants and needs her sister back in her life, making her lunch, giving her a sense of normalcy (well, as normal as it can get in Sunnydale). But the fact that Willow is just so darn proud of herself and is waiting around for a pat on the back is kind of sickening now that we know Buffy was in heaven. The Scoobies choose an ignorance is bliss route this season when it comes to Buffy’s depression, which is sad especially for Buffy & Willow, who were always my favorite Scooby friendship. Gonna wait till Flooded to talk more about Willow, though, since there’s a LOT going on in that episode with her. But the word “hubris” comes to mind.

    Aaaand now we’re at the final scene. This scene makes me angry with the Scoobies, the writers, and us – the audience – for bringing Buffy back to life. Sarah Michelle Gellar’s line delivery is great. It doesn’t feel scripted, it feels like Buffy’s really looking off in the distance, trying to make sense of what’s happening, and just speaking her thoughts. I love a lot of Buffy’s quips and speeches, but these quiet moments are always the most affecting and heart-breaking. Some comparable moments where the emotions are just as palpable and real are the scene with Angel in Forever and the scene in the training room with Giles in The Gift. I love that Spike returns the favor she gave him earlier by just sitting, listening, being there.

  4. I loved everything about the scenes with Buffy and Spike. When he first sees her, the slow recognition, the hesitation when he goes to touch her shoulder, him trying not to smile as he tells her how many days it’s been, and then how he leaves to GO CRY (so sad!) when the Scoobies arrive. It was such a well crafted scene. Buffy seems drawn to Spike.

    The ghost monster kind of bored me. There are so many things going on with our characters here that it kind of seems like white noise. It’s a good idea in theory that raising Buffy had a price (or gift with purchase!), but it kind of fizzled for me.

    I only caught one reference this go ’round (I claim distraction by Spike and Buffy’s amazing chemistry), Dawn and Xander talk about speaking pig latin around the demon as “secret code”.

    Couple nitpicks: how on earth did Dawn get that white shirt on Buffy without smearing blood all over it? Her knuckles are still bloody! Also, bandaging her up is totally forgotten once the Scoobies arrive. I also wondered if Buffy was offended that her friends (well, Willow) just assumed she went to Hell.

    • I apparently spend too much time thinking about Buffy because I just remembered that Spike shoved Xander against a tree. Shouldn’t his chip have activated?

  5. Responding to Derek: I have watched the series four times through (with the exception of some of season 7) and never thought about Willow perhaps lying intentionally, fooling herself and others, that Buffy was in a hell dimension. It didnt occur to me that she may have known in her heart that Buffy was safe and in a good place. Good observation on your part and definitely another layer to Willow’s character.

  6. Robin and Cordia: I’d been listening to your podcasts religiously but then my iPod caught a virus, so I fell behind. I’m trying to play catch up but am only on 5.8, so I apologize if any comments I make have been thoroughly covered. I wanted to say, though, that this podcast is precisely what I was looking for in a Buffycast, and I look forward to each discussion. Kudos.
    In regards to Buffy season 6: there are some good aspects and some over-the-top in ridiculousness aspects, which will come later. I don’t want to cover too much and head into spoiler territory, so hopefully I can get caught up on past podcasts and give my input as the episodes are discussed. Overall though, I would have been content if Buffy had ended with the season five finale being the series finale. The downsides of seasons 6 (and especially season 7) don’t overall make Buffy post-season five as great as it had been.

  7. This episode has a gentle pace and the monster isn’t particularly interesting or threatening but it’s keeping my interest in the consequnces of returning Buffy from the dead.

    It had one of the rare scenes where I felt for Dawn – when she is trying to clean up Buffy. I just wish it had stopped after her first remark of “There you are, knew you were in there somewhere” which is such a mum thing to say. I found it really sad that Dawn was trying to take her mum’s role – it didn’t need the following line – when she says “do you remember mum used to say something or another” to really rub it in but it was still good.

    And the Spike interactions were great. The contrast between their quiet conversation and the scoobies all bursting in made it more believable that Buffy would feel more comfortable confiding in Spike.

    I think my favourite scene is the one in the garden the morning after the weird events happen when Buffy comes out to join the others and tries to be her old self as much as possible but you can tell she is really isn’t up to it.

    The revelation that Buffy was actually in heaven is a great plot twist that I didn’t see coming the first time I watched it (although I am generally rubbish at seeing plot twists coming). I love stories where something terrible has happened but all due to another’s good intentions going awry.

    Don’t know why the conversation between her and Spike at the end had to take place in daylight though – the low sun thing seemed a bit random as we’ve seen vampires get burned at the first glimmer of sunrise. Just seemed a weird choice and was rather distracting

  8. Goodbye Buffybot, you’ll be missed. On reflection, I think she might be my favorite side character. A bunch of observations:

    – I can’t say whether a rediculously human robot built near a Hellmouth has actual human emotions or just appears to, but it’s interesting that we have empathy for something that appears to have human feelings even when we suspect it might not. That quality of generalized empathy is something that Buffy has, as shown by her reaction to April, but Spike doesn’t have even for actual humans (or vampires) who he doesn’t know.

    – In one of those Joss zeitgeist coincidences, April appeared in February 2001, and Buffybot died in the Fall of that year. In between those dates, Steven Spielberg released AI, a movie that was all about rediculously human robots and their programmed emotions. That was based on a classic sf story, Supertoys Last All Summer Long, which was hopefully on the writers’ minds as they wrote April and Buffybot.

    – In hindsight, I think Ted could have been much better, although not necessarily actually good, if Ted had shown some of the vulnerability and confusion that April and Buffybot showed. There’s something both threatening and kind of sad about a character who can’t adjust to the times, even murderously so, but the episode only captured the former.

    – Lastly, I love Buffybot, but wouldn’t have wanted to see more of her. She was around just long enough to be interesting, and to present what was IMHO a very effective death scene. Whedon liked to kill his characters, and is good at it, and I thought this one worked well.

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