Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | June 3, 2013

Podcast #113: Smashed

Here’s the podcast for Season 6, Episode 9 – Smashed

Time to bring the house down

Time to bring the house down

Download: Smashed

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The next podcast will appear on Monday 10th June 2013 for episode ten of Season Six: “Wrecked.” That’s the one where Dawn and Tara wake up to find no one’s come home.

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  1. Last episode: Amy says she wants anything but cheese to eat. This is a reference to her rathood, but it is also an in joke, as the actress who plays Amy, Elizabeth Anne Allen, is lactose intolerant.

    On Wrecked:
    I feel like I may be in the minority here (I hope not), but I really like this episode. This is mostly due to the last 10-15 minutes, or from the car crash on. I realize that the drug addiction metaphor is laid on thick, but for me, it works. We get a pretty powerful scene in which Willow finally hits rock bottom. It takes almost killing Dawn for her to shake off the denial and finally realize how low she’s sunk, and how addicted she is to the magic. When she cries out to Buffy that she needs help and then goes to hug her, it guts me every time. This is in large part credit to Alyson Hannigan’s acting. Holy crap can that girl cry. She is incredible when it comes to those emotional scenes. Most underrated actress ever in my opinion. Anyway, back to the story. When they return home, we finally get a Buffy-Willow heart to heart, something which has been missing all season long. It’s so great to see those two really communicating again. And here also we see where Willow’s real problems lie. Deep down, she is still the same insecure girl she was in high school. She wants to feel important, and respected, and even powerful which is why magic became so important to her. It gave her that power, and people generally respected her for it. Amy, at the beginning of this episode, fills the same role that 4th and early 5th season Tara did. She praises Willow’s magical ability, and talks about how powerful she is. The emotional character moments are some of the best parts of Buffy for me because they’re so well done. The fact that this episode has those moments is what makes me like it so much.

    Other stuff:
    I wonder if Willow tasting like strawberries has anything to do with her conjuring the guy in the strawberry costume last episode. Haha. I sincerely doubt it, but it’s a fun connection nonetheless.
    Spike suggesting a lo-jack for Dawn is pretty funny, and actually not a bad idea.
    I tried the peanut butter and banana quesadillas. They’re actually not that bad.
    Anya thinking Martha Stewart is a witch and that she is the freeze monster, as well as her discussion of wedding attire and traditions combined with Xander and Buffy’s reactions also added comedy to a generally dark episode. That whole scene with Xander, Anya and Buffy is great.
    The scene where she inflates the dress of Tara’s was pretty heartbreaking. She’s obviously pretty lonely with Tara gone.
    The meat party joke was just bad…poor writing.
    Don’t even wanna know what the Yak cheese is for.
    Rack is played by the same guy who played vampire Zachary Kralick in Helpless, Jeff Kober.
    Willow driving the car using gestures is similar to Anya and the ice cream truck in Restless.
    If you YouTube “Alyson Hannigan Buffy Dailies”, there is a video with dailies from this episode and the next, Gone, showing the takes for several of the scenes. For this episode in particular, you can see the individual parts of Willow’s first “trip” at Rack’s broken down. I’m a film major, so I find this stuff fascinating anyway, but it really is cool to see how they filmed some of those shots. It gives you an appreciation for what the editors have to do to make those shots look seamless when they are put together. I do warn that if you haven’t yet watched Gone, you may want to wait a week before watching it for spoiler purposes, but it’s worth checking out.

    Ding Dong Daddy is the cartoon Tara and Dawn wake up to (there is a clip of the same cartoon that appears in the scene on youtube), Martha Stewart, Bride and Joy magazine, the “assume” expression which Dawn butchers, Joan Crawford, and a reference to Faith’s views on slaying when Dawn says Buffy is such a pig after she kills things.

    • Yes! Someone agrees with me! We can be friends.

      • I’m glad to hear that someone enjoyed the episode as much as I did 🙂 Most of the reviews I’ve seen have been pretty critical of it.

  2. This episode’s a weird one for me. When I first watched the show I was already hooked by S6, watching really quickly, and basically accepting everything at face value. The magic addiction ‘metaphor’ didn’t bug me that much the first time around, aside from some dialogue and annoying plot points. Most of the time reading reviews and discussions about this show has enhanced it. In this case, though, reading and rewatching make it hard to not be incredibly disappointed by this storyline. There’s no subtlety to it, plus it takes Willow’s fantastic arc that started way back in S2 and makes it less interesting and way more clunky. Willow’s problem isn’t just with magic itself, it’s with power and an unwillingness to take real responsibility for her actions.

    That said, I do like the last scene between Buffy and Willow. It brings it back to the psychology of the character. Willow acknowledges that she wants to be special, and it was a good touch to have her mention that Tara didn’t even know the girl she was in high school. I also liked her pointing out that Buffy doesn’t have a choice with the ‘whole super thing’ – it makes me think of her not wanting to be Buffy’s sidekick in S4, and her taking more risks to be helpful against Glory in S5. Buffy’s understandably a little cold throughout their talk but still wants to help out her friend, and probably partly blames herself for what happened to Dawn.

    Speaking of that, it’s hard to believe that Buffy would actually leave Dawn all night without saying anything, but I guess she did assume Willow would be around. Because I was marathoning the show I also wasn’t thinking much about the gradual changes in the characters, but I do remember when I first watched the episode suddenly realizing – whoa, this is not high school anymore; Buffy’s grown up a lot. I like how Spike doesn’t take her attitude, telling her she can act as “high and mighty” as she wants. Judging by her facial expressions after she calls him convenient I don’t think Buffy necessarily wants to be saying these things, but she is unable to be honest about her true feelings and choices. Instead she treats Spike like she did before the end of S5, which doesn’t work at all now that they’re sleeping together.

  3. Here’s something completely unrelated to Wrecked (and if you want my opinion it’s best to keep it buried). I recently found this tumblr of a person who is watching Buffy for the first time and she is posting screencaps and commentary of moments that bother them in a given episode, whether it be plot holes, characters acting stupid or just general cheesiness. They recently got to Ted as you can imagine are having the proverbial field day with it.

  4. Although I like this episode I’m not sure I like the addiction metaphor – it’s laid on a little thick. The final scene with Willow suffering withdrawal symptoms, and Buffy sat on her bed, surrounded by strings of garlic and clutching a cross to her chest is sad. Both characters are clearly terrified of what they are becoming, and so are desperately attempting to regain control of the situation. It’s also interesting to consider the disastrous turns Willow and Buffy have taken since Giles and Tara left their lives. Both characters felt they were acting on behalf of their loved ones’ best interests, but it seems that without their guidance and support Buffy and Willow really are falling apart. When Willow collapses, sobbing at the end of the episode, my heart just breaks for her. Magic is her entire identity now and it’s betraying her. She’s completely lost and needs help.

    Both women are struggling with deep, dark issues within themselves. Willow’s addiction to magic is out of control, and Buffy’s lust for Spike and the fiery violence that comes with him are filling her with self-loathing. We get to see some great exchanges between the two here, which I’ve missed in previous episodes. It seems pretty clear that Willow and Buffy’s friendship still hasn’t recovered since the resurrection, but at least it proves that they will still be there for each other.

    Dawn’s comment right before she and Willow leave the house reminds me of Faith. “I’ll leave a note for Buffy on the fridge. It’s always the first place she goes after patrolling. She’s such a pig after she kills things.” When Faith first told Buffy this, Buffy acted disgusted at the idea, claiming she sometimes craves low fat yoghurt, but now in Season 6 we see how much she now has in common with Faith. Not only does she apparently ‘pig’ out after slaying, but she is now craving other things too as this episode demonstrates, and I just like the parallel it makes. Faith, the dark, troubled slayer was notorious in her using of men, and Buffy seems to be going the same way.

    I’m not sure if this has mentioned before but the actor who plays Andrew also played one of Harmony’s minions (I think that was in Real Me).


  5. I really loved this episode when I first watched it, in a very cringe-y ‘no, Willow, no!’ kind of way, and I didn’t have nearly as much of an issue with the drug analogy as you guys do xD For me, I’ve always interpreted as the difference between caffeine, and cocaine- the magic that Willow can tap into on her own, largely white even in its darker moments, in comparison to Rack’s, is like caffeine- you get a bit of a buzz, you want to keep doing it, and yes, you are probably a little bit addicted but it’s not that noticeable unless you’re chugging fifty cups of coffee a day. I feel like, were it not for Amy, Willow could have gone on with her caffeine buzz magic, pretty much indefinitely.

    However, when Amy introduces her to Rack’s magic, it’s a whole other beast. This is ‘cocaine’ magic, nothing like Willow’s ever encountered before, and we see the effects that are entirely different- she gets a huge high from it, then a huge low, and that’s probably something Rack would have intended- after all, where would his business be if the junkies could just take one hit and go? Or if his product was like something they could produce themselves?

    I’m not saying there aren’t holes in this story (where would Rack get that kind of magic anyway? Presumably he is actually human…?) but we have seen Willow with that slight buzz- nothing even particularly major, just her glee, her want to do more that has been so much the focus of the start of season 6- after doing magic, before, so this doesn’t feel completely out of the blue to me.

    What does bother me though- where the hell did Amy find this guy? She’s been a rat for three years! I don’t imagine she’s been keeping in touch with her magic dealer network, which I wouldn’t have assumed she even had pre-rat. For someone who’s only been human a few days, she is remarkably well-connected.

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