Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | July 23, 2013

Podcast #118: Older and Far Away

Here’s the podcast for Season 6, Episode 14 – Older and Far Away

Anya freaks out

Anya freaks out

Download: Older and Far Away

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The next podcast will appear on Tuesday 30th July 2013 for episode fifteen of Season Six: “As You Were.” That’s the one where a certain former member of the main cast returns to town.

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  1. Hey guys,

    Joss was recently a guest on the Nerdist podcast. Go take a listen it was a really fun episode on past and present projects.

    Check out this great Podcast:

  2. Thanks William, will do (I did get your message)

  3. The “Reverse smurffette” idea certainly puts to rest the majority of my xander issues, especially since earlier today I was just arguing with a friend about how the gender ratio was incredibly off after giles, angel, and oz left. The two of us couldn’t come to an agreement, but I look forward to conceding next time i see her.

    HOWEVER! The Sumrfette was still a smurf. Being the token male in a huge female cast doesn’t mean he has to be normal and incidental to the plot. I do agree that his development has been in tiny, one-off stuff as opposed to Willow’s season long arcs, and while that is different, I still don’t like how the development doesn’t stick that well.

    As for Older and Far Away, I did rewatch it as it is technically a “gimmicky” episode. One thing that you didn’t address is that this is actually a “Bottle Episode” meaning the main action takes place inside of a single location. This is typically a cost saving measure, as it is much cheaper and easier to produce an entire episode in one room, usually with just the main cast. On the other hand it also acts as a great tool for writers, getting the entire cast into one incredibly long scene is always fun.

    This is a bit of a stretch, since the party doesn’t start until a bit later in the episode, the Summers house is much larger than the average “bottle,” and the cast is increased by more than a few.

    I don’t love or hate the episode, just thought I’d lay down some trivia on you. Some of the best bottle episodes I’ve seen are Seinfeld’s “Chinese Restaurant,” Friends’ “The One Where No One’s Ready,” Community’s “Co-operative Calligraphy” and “Remedial Chaos Theory,” as well as Family Guy’s “Brian and Stewie.” Angel did a Tabula Rasa like one called Spin the Bottle as a possible reference to the trope. Additionally, Joss Whedon’s Firefly did one every few episodes. “Objects in Space” is the best. Not the best bottle episode, just the best episode. Of anything.

    • Smurfette wasn’t a real smurf. While her origin story doesn’t really parallel Xander’s, she was created by the Smurf enemy Gargamel to cause unrest and jealousy amongst the all male Smurf land.

  4. My first thought of this episode is in what way does Spike think having sex on one side of a tree in Buffy’s front yard is a solution to not wanting to be seen. But then I remembered that they had sex on the balcony of the Bronze and realize that’s a silly question.
    My next thought upon seeing Riley’s face is whether he cut himself in the face to try to seem tougher, and also that it’s almost cute that he still sucks at being inconspicuous in public, what with his black ops outfit/overall/kevlar thing. And oh he is always so serious. Also, his wife really annoyed me the whole episode, because her acting sucked.
    On to more serious/thoughtful comments. As much as I cheered when Riley left and vowed that I never wanted to see his face again, I think it made a lot of sense to bring him back at this point in Buffy’s life as a catalyst for her breakup with Spike. It made sense to me that at this point in her life, that a part of Buffy might have felt like Riley was the answer to all of her problems. She’s been drifting, and he was constant and dependable (if you subtract that whole vampire whore thing). I think anyone can relate to that feeling of wanting an ex back to fix your life, even knowing that you broke up for the right reasons. It also makes sense that seeing him could reorient her to her morals and cause her to break up with Spike.
    Things I did not like: I don’t quite buy this Doc thing from Spike. I guess he’s an amoral guy and we have never been sure of exactly what he did for money. I suppose he had to get more creative after he got the chip, but it seems a little risky when he has Buffy as a constant visitor. I feel like the risk that she would find out and be furious with him and potentially leave him, would’ve been enough to keep him from doing something that stupid.
    Overall though, I liked the episode, and loved the last scene with Buffy and Spike. James Marster’s face is perfection.
    Also, love the podcast. I’ve been listening weekly since about halfway through season 4, (and have since caught up on the backlog), but have only commented a few times. Just wanted to say hi again and thank you for keeping me entertained when I have to drive around for work.

    This episode made me really sad. They show Buffy as such a pathetic person in here, which is obviously to counteract how put together Riley is, but it doesn’t seem completely in line with other episodes this season. Yes, she’s got things she’s working through, but she seemed completely out of it here, forgetting that Dawn goes to school and stuff? Weird.

    I also kind of wondered why Riley bothered to enlist Buffy in killing the demon because Sam seemed to be able to kick its butt a lot better than anyone. In an attempt to make Buffy even more pathetic, apparently they took her strength down a notch.

    Not even one mention of the trio here. They are good hiders!

  6. I’m glad Cordia pointed out that calling Dawn’s problems insignificant compared to Buffy’s in high school isn’t really fair. I don’t find Dawn insufferable or overly whiny because I do think she’s gone through a lot and has legitimate reasons to be an extra angsty teen. I just don’t think the writers are doing a good job of conveying that in an emotionally resonant and sympathetic way, and I completely agree with you both that she doesn’t feel like a real person as a result of that. The discussion about Buffy sabotaging her own bodyguard business by not putting up with sleazebags made me laugh. That is so true and also sounds like it would be incredibly entertaining. Maybe that IS a route the show should’ve taken, it would’ve lent itself to good comedy 🙂

    I don’t hate As You Were but it’s probably one of my least favorite episodes in the show. The whole demon and Doctor plot is so cringe-worthy, especially that moment Riley comes into the crypt and keeps calling Spike the Doctor in this dramatic voice like he’s in a bad soap opera. Who knows, maybe that aspect of it was a joke and that’s what they were going for. That scene where Buffy demands that Spike tell her he loves and wants her makes me so sad for her. I probably should be feeling bad for Spike because he’s the one being used but it’s hard not to feel bad that Buffy’s hit such a low point in her life. I do like that she breaks it off with him at the end of the episode, but even that scene is shot a little oddly. Spike’s “I’ve memorized this tune, love, I think I have the sheet music” line is great, it always stuck in my memory.

    • In all my basking of Riley’s amazing return I forget to mention Dawn much in my voicemail. I have no problem with Dawn’s problems being less than “important” than Buffy’s but the problem is they haven’t shown me how hard Dawn’s life is at all. I assume losing so many people so quickly would be hard but that’s it I’m just assuming. I think this really just a common season six problem. I haven’t seen Willow hating how she was in high school since this season. I haven’t seen Xander be unhappy with Anya and their relationship until this season. It’s just like the writers are screaming it Dawns high pitched squeals that only dogs can hear that these things are happening but I don’t really believe any of them.

    • While I agree that people’s problems are always important when looked at from their perspective, the problem is that the show never really looks are Dawn’s problems from her perspective. In the Zeppo, we see the main core of the Scoobies’ problems from Xander’s outside perspective, and they seem funny and over-dramatized. That’s fine because we were already invested in the characters and the drama. But they always show Dawn’s issues from an outside perspective, especially in season 6. Last time we really had a Dawn-centric episode was Real Me, and that was before we even knew who and what she was. I cried with Dawn in the Body. I felt for her throughout most of season 5, actually. Now? Not so much.

      Oh, Riley. Why? Why did they bring him back? Was there a huge clamoring from the fans to see him again? Was it just a giant middle finger to the audience for never really accepting him? Did the writers just feel bad for the actor since he probably couldn’t get any jobs after he left the show?

  7. Riley had enough time to say “we are in such a rush blah blah blah – can’t fill you in etc” about 3 times, but not apparently enough time to say – what ever you do don’t kill the demon. Even the characters react to this as incredibly stupid.

    Liked line “I have a cow on my head”.

    Sorry comment late and short but kids on school holiday…..

  8. The good: I liked the emotional moments between Buffy/Riley and Buffy/Willow that it took me quite a while to realize that this episode kind of sucked.

    – Buffy and Riley worked well together. Riley came across as a genuinely sweet guy who realizes that he wasn’t right for Buffy but will always love her, Buffy’s confusion with her life was plain, and the show made a nice point that Buffy needs to move forward; she can’t go back to Giles or Riley to solve her problems.

    – Willow’s “I’ll hate Sam for you” and “What a bitch” were very cute and reminded me of the old Willow-Buffy dynamic.

    – I did like Riley’s line about being a forestry agent hunting down a rogue bear.

    The bad:

    – It was totally contrived to have Riley forget to tell Buffy not to kill the demon, or for this military organization to only bring two operatives. Riley and Sam didn’t act with the professionalism of professional soldiers; they acted like children playing secret agent.

    – Sam was terrible. She had all Faith’s bad qualities and none of the good ones, and having all the other characters talk about how great she was just made it worse.

  9. I’m more interested to here Derek and Cordia’s reaction to the episode lol.

    I thought this was just meh. It’s not good certainly, but is it awful? No.

    The return of Captain Cardboard. *yawn*

    The Good:

    I liked seeing Buffy finally take a stand at the end of the episode walking away from Spike. Like her getting reassured by Riley. And like Spike staying in character with “you think I haven’t tired to love you? You know what I am, but you come to me all the same.” And him “not really complaining here” About being used by Buffy.

    The Bad/The Unknown:

    The Actress that played Sam was pretty atrocious…kind of fitting that her and Riley would end up together. Yeesh.

    I thought it was so funny(in a bad way) seeing Dawn’s character completely flip demeanor. It seems like the writers were holding on to the whiny teenager card for a while and now that it ended last episode(Older and Far Away) they just want to move on. Honestly I dont want to harp on this too much because I’d much rather have a non whiny Dawn. It’s just that there really is no transition for the character here, they seem to just use her to fit whatever they need.

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