Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | September 3, 2013

Podcast #123: Entropy

Here’s the podcast for Season 6, Episode 18 – Entropy

Comfort time

Comfort time

Download: Entropy

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The next podcast will appear on Monday 9th September 2013 for episode nineteen of Season Six: “Seeing Red” with more of the Trio and all the Scooby relationships.

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  1. Normal Again

    My take on this episode is probably not quite what Joss had in mind but I think its interesting non the less. If the Buffy we have watched for the better part of six seasons is located in the ‘Jossverse’ I like to think the Buffy in the institution was from the ‘realverse’, the universe we the viewers occupy. The Buffy from this world would still have the same destiny, fated to hunt vampires, demons and the forces of evil. Unfortunately she is trapped in a universe where those creatures don’t exist. When the Buffy of the Jossverse is called at fifteen years old, the Buffy from the realverse found her consciousness pulled into the world in which her destiny lies. When the demon injects our Buffy with its venom, she starts to trade consciousness with her realverse self. This explains why Buffy is sometimes talking and sometimes simply still while she is traveling to the realverse. Her body is occupied by a mentally unstable version of her self.
    It is sad to think of it that way, that the cost of her destiny is the sanity of all the other versions of Buffy in all the magic free universes, but at the same time I think it also adds more importance to the Jossverse Buffy’s story. She would be nothing without her calling.


    I’m going to use this episode as a chance to share my love of Dawn. The girl is in mortal danger every other week, she is technically only a year and half old, her mother is dead and to top it all of she is going through puberty. Take all this into account and I personally have no problem accepting the fact that she is basically a screaming ball of negative emotions.
    Part of that acceptance comes from moments like the ones in this episode. Much like every other member of the scooby gang, Dawn has spent the past year so wrapped up in her own problems she misses the fact that each and every member of the gang is drowning in their respective problems. In this episode Dawn becomes one of the first members to step passed that self involvement and reach out to another in their time of need. She is the one who fully understands Buffy’s reaction to viewing the video. Buffy has made several near slips when discussing Spike with the gang. Had Willow actually been listening to Buffy for the past year, she would have been able to put the pieces together and fully comprehend the situation. In fact she probably would have caught on much sooner. I like the fact that it is instead Dawn who connects the dots and is able to be there for our slayer.

    As for Spike and Anya. Well that happened. Now these are easily my two favourite characters but the first watch of this scene infuriated me. In retrospect I can see this was not only true to character but almost inevitable once they both became single but it is still always a difficult moment for me to watch. Sometimes when I watch that episode I just skip the scene altogether and assume they where playing checkers.

    Tara’s speech is quite simply beautiful. She comes into Willows bedroom reminding us of the shy girl she had been when Willow came to her bedroom back in New Moon Rising. Now she speaks with confidence and infuses her words with force and assurance when she describes the complications involved in their relationship. Even when she asks Willow to kiss her there is no more than a touch of vulnerability in her voice to showcase how far she has come. This is a perfect full circle moment for the character and great final tribute.

    Seeing Red.

    This is going to be a hard one to write so I’m going to start with the easy stuff and work my way up.
    I absolutely love the fact that the source of Warren’s power is a set of incredibly fragile balls. What it lacks in subtlety it makes up for in accuracy.

    In true Joss fashion, Amber Benson finally makes the credits just in time for her death scene. Had I not been as giddy as Dawn was that, as Spike would say, the birds where flying again I surly would have seen that as the omen it was. For me this is the most painful and unexpected death not only in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but in Joss Whedon’s entire body of work. I almost always skip this episode when I re watch the show in part because I typically start crying during the final scene of Entropy when Tara comes to Willow. Joss did pay us Tara fans one kindness though when he made Tara’s final day on earth was one she would probably describe as perfect.

    Before I move on to the infamous bathroom scene I would like to specify that Rape is never okay. It is at best an act of a truly disturbed person, and most often an attempt by the depraved to prove their power. I in no way defend the act in reality or in fiction.
    That being said I believe this situation requires a few qualifiers. Spike absolutely did not set out to rape Buffy. He was convinced the Slayer had romantic feelings for him and felt she would feel that again if they had sex. It was only in the heat of the moment that he decided he was going to make that happen. I am not saying this in his defence, on the contrary the fact that rape was his first instinct is unequivocal proof that Spike is an evil soulless creature with very little control of his base instincts. During his existence he has raped and murdered thousands upon thousands of people, it is literally in his nature. The question I find myself asking is why did he stop with Buffy. She may have snapped him out of it when she kicked him across the room, but she was still hurt and Spike is a serious threat to the slayer even when she is at her peak. So what was it then that stopped this soulless creature from committing an evil act.
    He asks this himself when he goes back to his crypt. “What have I done? Why didn’t I do it?” He knew Buffy would never forgive him, never trust him again, so it was not in hopes of winning her back again. What was it that made him walk away.
    With his declaration that Buffy would get what she deserved and his exit of town with only three episodes left to the season it appeared more than likely that a chip less Spike would return as season seven’s Big Bad, but as grim as the situation looked I took hope from the fact that he didn’t actually do it.

    • I just want to take a moment to comment on Robin’s Anya issues. It has never been specified that a vengeance demon looses their soul when they are transformed, and as you have pointed out the Anya character is not that much different as a demon than she was as a human. Although we have not yet been given specifics as to what time period Anya initially lived in, I feel it is safe to assume it was long enough ago that violence and murder was considered justice as often as it was considered a crime. Anya did not see the acts she preformed as evil because she had never existed in a society that saw those acts as evil.
      Therefor I think Anya’s state should be filed in the unknown section. Although the reborn vengeance demon was quick to fall back on her old methods in an attempt to scorn Xander, is it not possible that her subconscious knew this would not work? I think the question here should be how will her years living with the scoobies, and abiding by the societal norms we currently have in place effect the curses she inflicts this time around. Can Anya still be the same vengeance demon she was before knowing everything she knows now?

      • Sorry to keep commenting but I have one quick clarification. My blog, although on an unfortunate and temporary hiatus due to a recent lack of computer, is named Buffy the Vampire Slayer Remember When. I unintentionally left you all to wonder on that in my initial post.

  2. Entropy

    As far as Spike’s motivations for revealing his relationship with Buffy go, I thought it had a lot to do with a couple of things. First, Anya wondering out loud about whether Xander ever wanted her the way she wanted him seemed to hit home with Spike. And then, when Xander started on his slut-shaming speech to Anya, she told him, “I felt bad, and he was just there.” It sounded to me like an echo of Buffy’s “You’re just convenient.” After which, Buffy chimed in with her “didn’t take long.” I wasn’t surprised he told; I was surprised it took him so long.

  3. And everyone rejoiced when Buffy finally said, “Xander, what I do with my personal life is none of your business.” No, just me? I’m sorry, but Xander constantly policing his friends’ love lives is one of his most unattractive character traits. As far as I can remember, Buffy teased him about Cordelia but never openly judged him for cheating on her. When he left Anya at the altar Buffy accepted him with open arms and even defended him when approached by her. Yet after their conversation the second he sees Spike’s jacket he immediately thinks it’s okay to storm into the bathroom and tell her off again? What!? Thankfully I think this might be the last time Xander puts Buffy on a pedestal and then berates her for not behaving the way he wants her to. I’m still glad they make up at the end of the episode, too.

    In the Entropy podcast when Cordia said it was awkward blocking to have Spike basically motionless while Xander was hitting him I thought of Spike’s line in this episode, where he’s telling Buffy that she should have let Xander kill him. It’s the same attitude he had in Lover’s Walk when Dru dumped him (he complains that she wouldn’t even cut off his head), except in that episode it’s played for laughs.

    The attempted rape is a horrifying scene and I really dislike it as a writing choice. On one hand, I understand why the writers decided this would be plausible. Spike and Buffy’s relationship was extremely violent and abusive, their encounters often beginning with her refusing him and then giving in (please do not interpret this as me putting any blame on Buffy because that’s not at all what I mean), and Spike is still a soulless vampire. On the other hand, it feels really out of character for him. He was always trying to manipulate her to “join him in the dark” but I find it hard to believe that it would ever escalate to him forcing himself on her like this. I also dislike the choice to have Buffy be injured right before. I think that being attacked by Spike like that would shock her to the point of being unable to immediately fight back; instead injuring her has the writers’ fingerprints all over it.

    Other random notes:
    – I don’t really have anything to say about Tara’s sudden death except that I love that character and it is very sad to see her go.
    – Buffy’s exasperated “oh, come on” basically sums up how I feel about the Trio (as well as Warren’s raging misogynistic dialogue).
    – How weird is that scene where Spike soliloquizes about things changing before riding off on his motorcycle? It’s really awkward to me.
    – To end on a positive note: I love Buffy’s flip to avoid the buzz-saws. How badass.

    I have a feeling this is going to be a very difficult episode to discuss and grade, but I’m curious to see what Robin, Cordia, and everyone else have to say about what is perhaps the most controversial episode of the show.

  4. This is like the worst day to be Buffy (except the day her mom became the body). She gets injured, nearly raped, and shot.

    I have lots of thoughts on “seeing red”

    First, the whole tone was so gritty and realistic. The threat wasn’t fancy demon magic, but a guy who couldn’t see the signs for stop (“see red” in other words), and a gun. Spike was this ugly desperate red-faced man in the bathroom scene. He wasn’t even vamped up. And Warren just steps around the corner, small and upset to shoot Buffy. Tara’s death was just random unintentional chance.

    These realistic episodes (like the body) are so painful because they stand out against a background of supernatural threats and the deaths of countless no-name vampires that we don’t care about. It makes a ‘real’ death shocking.

    Finally, as a Spuffy fan, I absolutely hate the bathroom scene. In my mind there is no coming back from that and it means the end to any possible relationship between Spike and Buffy.

    I wish Spike had had his vampire face on during the rape scene. I’m not sure what the writers were trying to say by his human face, but I think the scene would have a totally different tone and been easier to watch if he’d been vamped.

    • Picking up on your point about wishing Spike had been in vampire face during the near-rape. It’s interesting to me that Spike has shown his vampire face to Buffy only twice this season: once during Tabula Rasa when he thought he was a superhero, and again in Dead Things when he was trying to keep her from turning herself in.

      The human characters on this show, meanwhile, have been amassing an impressive number of less-than-heroic acts:

      – raised Buffy from the dead with the full support of the Scoobies,
      – erased her girlfriend’s memory.
      – erased the memories of all of her friends.
      – nearly got Dawn killed after bringing her to Rack’s.

      – summoned Sweet, who ended up killing people, but didn’t confess until it looked like Sweet would take Dawn away.
      – left Anya at the altar.

      – used Spike for sex for a large part of this season.
      – beat Spike so badly that he still had bruises the next episode, and then left him to fend for himself.

      – left Buffy right at the time she arguably needed him most.

      – may or may not have raped Katrina, but did kill her and attempted to get Buffy to take the blame for it.
      – Shot Buffy and Tara.

      And these are just the ones I could think of from the top of my head.

      It seems to me that Spike being in his human face at the time of the near-rape is purposeful, and fits in with what seems to be an exploration of the monstrousness of people. Just a thought.

  5. The whole rape scene really didn’t feel right to me (obviously i don’t mean that in a rape isn’t right sense – god we are all qualifying ourselves a lot discussing this one…) Trying to work through why…

    – partly I just really hated seeing Buffy as a victim – it was incredibly unpleasant and difficult to watch. It also seems a bit out of character for Buffy to be so helpless. We are given the excuse of the earlier injury but it still seems unlikely she would be so vulnerable.

    – I found the style of the scene quite heavy handed, it feels like it is saying “we know that rape is really serious” but it gave it an inappropriate edge of soap opera drama

    – the show has often used vampire attacks as a metaphor for rape and I think it would have been preferable to stick to that – I could imagine quite a lot of possible plot scenarios that might have been interesting. What if Spike had tried to turn Buffy? It would seem a more vampiric reaction rather than a rape attempt which is (depressingly enough) a very human action

    And I think I now hate Clem. The scene in Spike’s crypt is fascinating as he tries to work out his motivations after the attack. The line “What have I done? Why didn’t I do it?” is delivered perfectly and so sums up the conflict he’s going through. I guess he couldn’t have said everything as a monologue but did he have to have the scene with a ridiculous loose skinned demon with chicken wings talking about Knight Rider? It was a weird tone difference.

    Poor Tara…..I liked her character but never so much as to feel really upset at her death. I loved her last line about Willow’s shirt – she always has more concern for someone else than for herself.

    Sorry – just wanted to add something about Normal Again.
    I really liked Cordia’s idea of the twin universes but if they had split just after Buffy had first become a slayer than in the Insitution world there would have still been demons and vampires but no functioning slayer so wouldn’t the world have ended at one of the points when Sunnydale Buffy saves it…..

  6. I knew before I started watching the show that Willow discovered she was a lesbian and her girlfriend died by a gun shot through a window. I think I happened on a Wikipedia entry or something. So ever since Tara was introduced, I was waiting for this scene, so it didn’t catch me off guard. (Thought it was going to be earlier, actually.) Before Seth Green left the show, Oz was supposed to die, and cause Willow’s black eye reaction, so maybe this is why Tara wasn’t much of a character up until recently. It also seemed unlikely that the bullet would have gone in that trajectory from Warren’s shots, directly up into the 2nd story window.

    Now for the attempted rape scene. I’ve read and participated in several discussions where fans feel that the AR was completely out of character for Spike but I disagree and feel that it shows his true character, how he isn’t really thinking of Buffy but how he wants to be with her at any cost. The discussion they have immediately prior really shows the differences between Buffy and Spike and how they experience love. He is still a monster, the writers have showed this over and over. (Interesting blog about the rape scene — caution major spoilers: I was also in a discussion where the other person said basically “well, you play with fire and you get burned” which is really terrible and we don’t talk about Buffy together anymore. I know Spuffy fans hate this scene but to me if feels like a natural progression, and that comes from someone who loves the Spike/Buffy pairing.

    • What was the context in which your friend said that? I’m with you RE: the attempted rape. It’s not out of character and I feel it came about fairly organically. The way Spike’s demonic side comes out at random, something like this was always a possibility.

      • Quite literally that Buffy had it coming for sleeping with a soulless vampire.

  7. Wow. That one word pretty much sums up the last half of the episode. Between Spike and Buffy, and then Buffy and Tara getting shot….I have no words. This episode, more than almost any other episode (including the Body), is really hard for me to watch because of those moments. Despite that fact, this episode does a pretty good job of setting up the end of the season, as it should given that there are only 3 episodes left.

    The Spike/Buffy scene in this episode was the complete opposite of the Spike/Willow scene in season 4. This one wasn’t meant to be joked off, it was meant to be a serious and scary scene and plot point. I read an interview with James Marsters (which I looked for but have not yet been able to find) in which he stated that he had a difficult time with this scene and has refused to do one like it since because of the context.

    Amber Benson’s only appearance in the opening credits.

    I find some irony in the fact that Amber Benson and Adam Busch started dating shortly after Buffy ended considering the whole his character shoots her character thing.

    On the last post, I mentioned that I simply hated the trio. Really, a more accurate statement would be that I hate Warren. Jonathan and Andrew, while not great characters this season, don’t annoy me as much as Warren does. Jonathan obviously has some moral compass given the fact that he has questioned Warren ever since Katrina’s death, and he chooses to help Buffy defeat super Warren during this episode. Andrew is simply the lost puppy who needs someone to follow because he doesn’t know how to stand on his own two feet. That line of his at the jail kind of solidly puts it out there that he has had a crush on Warren all season as well, and has been trying to earn his love. Maybe it’s the fact that Andrew and Jonathan by themselves would pose no real threat that makes me slightly more sympathetic to their characters. I’m not sure. Warren is a mysogonist, and a psychopath. Even when he gets his super strength, his big plan for the night is to go rob a bank truck. Not exactly the apocalypse that Angelus, the Mayor, or Glory were threatening. He’s essentially a bad human rip off of Adam, who still posed more of a threat despite being a not so great big bad. Plus, Warren’s strength lies in two fragile little balls. There’s no way that there’s obvious metaphor written all over that. Obviously after the fact he does some damage with a gun, but it’s out of revenge for Buffy ruining his previous pathetic plot. Also unlike the other villains, he’s evil just because he can be. Not because he’s a demon and it’s in his nature, or because he’s a god who just wants to go home. There is no depth to his reasons for being evil.

    The only moment of comedy in this episode: evil uno-the sinister yet addicting card game – courtesy of Xander

    Also, the scene where Tara’s blood sprays on Willow’s shirt apparently took around 16 takes to get right. They only had 2 shirts which they had to wash after each take which meant that for many of the takes, the shirts were soaking wet. During a 2002 panel Alyson Hannigan and Marti Noxon said it was a nightmare to shoot because they had so much trouble getting the blood in the right spot.

  8. Seeing Red,
    Well this was a depressing episode. I don’t know what was the most heartbreaking moment, Spike basically raping Buffy or Buffy getting shot or Tara dying or even Tara in the opening credits, I’d heard that in the very first episode Joss wanted to put Jesse in the opening credits so that we’d think he’d be safe and then BAM! so when I saw Tara in them after basically being a regular for 3 seasons, I immediately got scared.
    So, a comparison I wanted to make to the rape scene that not many people will understand is one to the Divergent book series by Veronica Roth. In the dystopian world everyone is divided into factions, Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave-turned violent), Amity (the peaceful), Erudite (the intelligent) and Candor (the honest) and each faction is obliged to wear certain coloured clothes, Abnegation- grey, Dauntless- black, Amity- red and yellow, Erudite- blue and Candor- black and white. Anyway, in this scene Buffy is wearing a simple grey robe while spike is wearing a black T-Shirt/pants combo, Buffy is selfless and defenseless in this scene while Spike is attacking her, almost a mirror image of what happens at one point in the book. That scene was actually probably the most heartbreaking scene, up to that point Spike was a 75% comedic character who was fully in love with Buffy and yet now we see a glimpse of the Spike who threatened Willow with the broken bottle, and now he’s left Sunnydale for goodness knows how long.
    Okay, so, question about that, Spike already knows that he can hurt Buffy, if he didn’t before he does now and yet when he goes on about how Buffy’s gonna see a change, he seems like he’s saying that he’s getting his chip removed but he can hurt Buffy or does he want to hurt her by other means (like Angel)?
    Let’s talk a bit about Tara now; they couldn’t just do that could they? Could they? I was not a big fan of Tara until she broke up with Willow and since then I’ve been liking her more and more and more and now when I’ve finally put her in at least my top 10 characters Joss goes and kills her! Thanks a lot. Dawn’s reaction to them was so cute and I’m pretty sure I may have been the same way or I would’ve been if I didn’t suspect something bad was going to happen to Tara. And now Willow’s 90% likely going to go back on magic (and by the look in her eye [see what I did there?] it’s gonna be darker than we’ve seen before) thanks to Warren, stupid Warren- he’s now made it on my list of top 2 least favourite characters (after our dear Captain Cardboard of course), anyway on Warren now, I hate him as I’ve made clear before, he took a gun to Buffy’s house, a gun, he now just wants to kill Buffy with a human weapon and of all types a gun and we don’t know if he’s gonna succeed, although judging by the one and three episode seasons we’ve got I’m pretty certain we’ll be saved. Anyway, if he gets away without consequences I’ll be pretty damn upset with Joss Weldon. Also, one last thing Buffy and Xander’s make up scene was really heart warming in a heart breaking episode especially the ‘Let’s not find out’ although I’m pretty sure they might find out soon thanks to evil little Warren.
    All in all an amazing episode and a great set up, I’ll give it an 82.

    • I love getting to hear people’s first reactions! This was entertaining 🙂

      • Thank you!

  9. Seeing Red:

    The Good:

    – After all the freeze rays and invisibility rays and magic orbs, it’s striking how all it takes to bring Buffy down is a gun. I’m reminded of Darla using guns way back in Season One, and how Buffy was just as off balance then.

    – The gun and the attempted rape are both a lot more “real” than we’re used to on Buffy, where the vampires have a gentleman’s agreement to fight Buffy with karate instead of firearms. It’s very effective, but every time the writers poke at the rules of the universe, I can’t help thinking maybe the whole thing is just some girl’s hallucination, or worse, just a show.

    – I liked the theme of how complacent the group has gotten about danger. Buffy assumes she can just tell Spike to move on without him going back to being full time evil, Dawn thinks Spike is her friend, and Willow assumes she can always track the nerds down tomorrow. They all turn out to be badly wrong.

    – I thought Jonathan in the demon suit was pretty funny.

    The Bad:

    – Sometimes, the show mixes comedy and drama together well, but this was not one of those times. Clem and Andrew are unwelcome comic relief in all their scenes, and Andrew is basically doing the Smithers joke from early Simpsons, where every line he says is basically a signpole to “I’m gay.”

    – Speaking of putative comedy, I don’t care at all about Anya and Xander’s bar conversations, and they make me care less about Xander and Anya. I care about Xander and BUFFY’s relationship, because it has some weight, and I am interested in whether it can survive Xander’s judgmental douchery, but I really don’t care at all about Xander and Anya.

    The Nitpicks:

    – What are the police going to charge Andrew and Jonathan with? Being dressed similarly to the guy who robbed the armored car? Can’t they just say they thought they were dressing up for some nerd game, and didn’t know Warren was going to rob the car?

  10. Just listened to the Seeing Red podcast, and had a follow-up thought on Spike’s face during the rape scene.
    Remember back in season 3, when Buffy made Angel drink from her after Faith poisoned him? She smacked him until he went vamp-face, and then he instinctively drank from her. We all pretty much forgave him, on the presumption that once she “activated” his vampire instincts, it was nearly impossible for him to control his actions.
    With that in mind, if Spike had vamped out in the bathroom with Buffy, and then later said “What have I done, why didn’t I do it” etc, I don’t think it would have been so meaningful. It might have come across more of a “I have this vampire nature I can’t control” rather than “I am an evil thing who loves Buffy and that doesn’t change how I’m evil but I’m still human enough to be conflicted about it.” Or something like that.
    Going forward a bit, not to be spoiler-y, but there could also be a comparison to Willow – how do we feel about her actions when she is “black-eyed,” and what she might feel later about what she does with black eyes? Compared to the examples of Angel and Spike. I’m curious what people think.

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