Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | July 31, 2013

Cordia’s Review: S6, E15 – As You Were

As You Were
Season 6, Episode 15
Original airing: 2/26/2002

My Rating: 48

The Good-ish: Overall, I was underwhelmed by this episode. I thought most things were overdone while a few things were just ok. The only bit I really liked was Sam’s apology to Willow in the kitchen. But the reason I liked it was how Sam seemed to indicate that it really is BLACK magic that’s so bad and addictive and damaging. I feel like this draws a bit of a line between what Tara does and what Willow did before and after she started visiting Rack. It helps me feel like all the years of Willow’s magic advancement leading up to now weren’t completely kicked out the window by the connection to drug addiction.

The OK: I’ve added a third category this week to cover Anya and Xander’s blah-ness and the Buffy/Spike stuff.

Anya and Xander are stressing about their wedding and I didn’t find it particularly entertaining. I suppose it’s good to tell the audience the wedding is coming next week, but the perpetual chip eating wasn’t funny.

The real struggle for me with this episode was Buffy and Spike. Obviously, this is a big moment for them and a shift in the whole show for Buffy taking back some of her morality and self-confidence. But it all fell flat to me. I failed to get swept up in the moments as I normally do and I had no emotional connection. I think a part of that was how it felt like Buffy was making all of these decisions in reaction to Riley – who the show seemed to be presenting as the type of person she should be with. We already know a relationship with a thick-headed Type A isn’t going to work for Buffy, so I didn’t really buy into that.

The Bad: It’s hard to bring back a character who wasn’t beloved and use him in a role of such importance. Riley comes across as incompetent and, at times, stupid. I was not happy to see him and I wasn’t thrilled with the idea that he’s the catalyst to “fixing” Buffy’s life. I’d have preferred Giles or Oz or someone of similar connection to who Buffy REALLY is. Riley never saw her fully; he saw her as his girlfriend.

Riley’s inability to tell Buffy not to kill the demon or that he’s married made him look stupid. These are important facts to bring to Buffy’s attention and I feel like this was the show trying to implicate how great Buffy and Riley were together. See them working as a team again? See them staring longingly into each other’s eyes? Isn’t it wonderful? No. No it’s not.

Now, I might have actually liked Sam, if she wasn’t so incredibly perfect. A flaw or two would have really helped round out her character, but instead she says the perfect thing to each character at the perfect moment to help calm them or lead them to a realization. It defines her as a plot point and not a person. It’s frustrating to me as a viewer because I know the show is capable of doing so much better than that, even with a minor character.

And to round out the complete and utter use of a character as plot filler, we have Dawn. In the beginning of the episode, she’s suddenly sweet, sympathetic, respectful, and understanding. It’s a pretty sharp contrast to the Dawn we’ve seen the rest of the season. Where did this change come from? And yet, it all goes away too. As soon as Riley walks in she’s sullen and spiteful again. It’s understandable for a teenager to be moody, but the broken record with Dawn is how the show never shows us anything from her point of view. She’s always flat and two-dimensional and created to suit the situation. It’s a true disservice to any character in a show as multi-dimensional as Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Favorite Moment: My favorite moment is the only one I really liked in the episode, which was Sam talking to Willow in the kitchen. See The Good-ish.

The Bottom Line: This is an important episode to the Buffy/Spike arc, but it falls flat. Perhaps it’s left over feeling from hating Riley, but I disliked his involvement and the hint that he was still the perfect guy for Buffy. Dawn and Sam are too on the nose while Anya and Xander are just annoying.

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