Buffy Season Four: Spoilers and Foreshadowing

The Buffy Re-Watch continues! We're keeping spoilers out of the review comments, but they're very welcome right here. Post anything you like about the fourth season of Buffy and how it relates to the entire series.

We're assuming everyone who reads or posts comments in this thread HAS SEEN IT ALL, including all of Angel. (We'll have a separate spoiler post for Angel.)

Seriously! If you haven't seen both series in their entirety yet, leave now -- or you're certainly going to be spoiled! You can always come back and post a comment later. It'll be here.

There are a number of Buffy/Angel crossover episodes. Here is my crossover guide.

39 comments:

Josie Kafka said...

Speaking of hair (as I am in the comments on "The Freshman"), I could always tell the roommate wasn't a keeper because she had such silly hair. I lived through the late 90s; we saw that hairstyle often, but rarely done quite so badly.

sunbunny said...

"I hope it's a funny aneurysm." *hysterical sobbing*

ChrisB said...

Could the Riley introduction be any more of a meet-cute? If the new viewers don't get that he's going to be around for a while...

Annie said...

First time I saw this episode I came away thinking Riley was going to be interested in Willow, which would have been refreshing (Although I wouldn't have been pleased if she was interested back)

sunbunny said...

From your review of "Harsh Light of Day" 'The two of them have an odd chemistry.' *giggle* I also love the way Buffy laughs when Parker asks her if she dated Spike. I think it's fairly clear the PTBs weren't planning that romance at this point....right?

I really wish Spike had killed Parker. Like, really. I guess it's more realistic. Unfortunately, vampires aren't always around to kill the terrible people who treat you badly. Sigh.

Billie Doux said...

A lot of fans were shipping Buffy and Spike all the way back in season two, but as far as I know, and I could be wrong, some of the writers were resisting the obvious chemistry between Buffy and Spike because it seemed like a parody of Buffy and Angel -- and Spike was supposed to be evil. I specifically remember David Fury saying several times that Buffy could never love someone like Spike. And James Marsters wasn't told that he was going to be Buffy's love interest until the beginning of season six. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall in the writers room during the fifth and sixth seasons.

Anyone else have the inside scoop?

ChrisB said...

Count me as one of those who shipped Buffy and Spike right from the beginning. But then, my propensity for the bad boys has been well established here...

:-)

ChrisB said...

It struck me watching "Wild at Heart" that, already, Willow's first instinct when she is angry and/or in pain is to turn to dark magic.

I wonder if this was intentional, even so early in her being a witch.

Suzanne said...

I had to laugh reading your original review comment, Billie, when you wondered if maybe Xander and Willow would get together after Oz's departure, considering what is coming. ;)

sunbunny said...

"Wild at Heart"

I never realized before, but after Professor Walsh is attacked, she lingers for a minute and stares at Oz and Veruca. Hint that she's more than she seems? Also, I always found it strange that she would warn Buffy about the 'wild dogs' she saw if she was hip to the whole supernatural thing (do Buffyverse werewolves look like dogs? Nope.) but now I realize that she knew full well they weren't dogs, but she still knew they were dangerous and didn't want her innocent students to get hurt.

I'm not the biggest Riley fan, but the moment between him and Buffy after he saves Willow is really great.

I really want to draw some kind of comparison between Willow's actions here and her actions when Tara dies, but I know the situations are completely different. Still, I kind of enjoying imagining Willow going all Dark Willow on Veruca.

Why did Riley (or whoever Buffy ran into on her Veruca search) not mention to Professor Walsh that they ran into a blonde coed with a tranquilizer gun?

sunbunny said...

I feel like I'm hogging this thread, but oh well.

In "The Initiative," Spike is still able to hit people without pain. He escapes the Initiative without wincing and is able to get away from Riley and Co. at the dorm. In later episodes, he can't do anything violent without his chip kicking in.

Spike asked if Nazis were behind the Initiative. At the time, a funny throwaway comment, but in "Why We Fight," Spike did have a run in with Nazis looking to experiment with/on vampires so it makes sense he would remember that.

Riley's whole 'girls need to be taken care of but boys can take care of themselves' thing will become a serious issue later (and my main reason for disliking him).

Quoting Billie's review, "James Marsters is finally in the cast! Which was of course a major clue that he wasn't going to die in this episode." .... Tara *cries hysterically*

Billie Doux said...

I seem to remember a lot of fanwanking about the Initiative turning on Spike's chip remotely after he escaped. :)

And of course, I disliked Riley for the same reason. He had an awesome girlfriend and kept freaking because she was a superhero and stronger than he was. Spike was always cool with Buffy being stronger than he was.

Annie said...

I've never really thought about why I don't like Riley much... that exchange with Buffy, while funny, is really annoying. He's also kind of dull for a top secret commando guy. I breathed a sigh of relief when she doesn't get to the helicopter on time, he didn't deserve a second chance then anyway, visiting vamp whorehouse is a red card move for sure.

Spike fighting his way out of the initiative and to a lesser extent, the dorms is weird on a re-watch, but its more fun that we don't know of his 'problem' before his exchange with Willow which is pure gold.

ChrisB said...

I never thought about Spike escaping from The Initiative until just now. I don't care because, as Annie says, the scene with Willow is one of the great ones and not knowing only makes it better.

sunbunny said...

I wasn't sure where to put this. Here seems as good a place as any. A series of gifsets chronicling the many, many parallels between Buffy Summers and Dean Winchester: http://whataslayeris.tumblr.com/tagged/buffyxdeanparallels

*spoilers for all of Buffy and through season 8 of Supernatural*

ChrisB said...

sunbunny -- that is fantastic!

Annie said...

Pangs -

More foreshadowing of the dangerous path Willow is on with magic.

I can't remember the exact quote but something like 'there some great spells that work better with an ear in the mix' Buffy responding 'that's a nice little you've got yourself there'

Josie Kafka said...

Sunbunny, great link!

sunbunny said...

Aside from all the Spike/Buffy stuff in "Something Blue" (Billie, your comment about their chemistry made me laugh), there's also a lot of Willow + magic = badness. Buffy even says "I think we may be into a forgetting spell later." Tabula Rasa anyone?

Buffy and Willow's conversation also reminds me of that time (no idea which episode) Spike is trying to bait Riley and tells him he "just isn't dark enough" and that Buffy "likes a little monster in her man."

Abby said...

Re: Spike being able to punch his way out of the Initiative, I never noticed the discrepancy before either. My first thought (retcon) is maybe Prof. Walsh's attempts to make them supersoldiers made them not exactly human anymore. I don't remember, is Spike shown unable to fight Initiative goons later on? Which isn't to say that I think the writers meant it that way. Much more likely to be a continuity error...

ChrisB said...

I had forgotten that Tara enters our world in "Hush." The chemistry between the two is electric, right from the start. And, I love the way that in a "silent" episode, Willow helps Tara find her voice.

Notice the final scene between the two of them. As they talk, Tara's stutter becomes less and less until, finally, it disappears all together.

I love these two together!

Billie Doux said...

The only couple I loved more than Buffy and Spike are Tara and Willow. Sigh.

Juliette said...

I was so ready to be annoyed at the show making Willow a lesbian, which I thought was a cheap ratings-grabber - and then we actually met Tara. And I loved her, and I loved them together. One of TV's best couples :)

ChrisB said...

I'm surprised by all the negative Riley comments. I absolutely adored him and felt that the writers could have done so much more with the character -- especially after the end of the Initiative. And, although it was too late at that point, he could have played a really big role towards the end once Giles leaves.

Having said all that, I always shipped Buffy and Spike, so I guess Riley did have to go eventually...

Lamounier said...

Angel and Buffy broke up, Angel left. Oz and Willow broke up, Oz left. Riley and Buffy break up, you know the tune... I think the writers developed a pattern there, and since many fans never liked Riley, the writers wrote him out of the show. But I agree with you, ChrisB, they could’ve done much more with the character. I actually like his ten-episode arc on season five, it’s the kind of psychological stripping Whedon and co. got really good at on seasons five and six.

I never shipped Buffy and Spike, which is why I find upsetting that the show spent so much energy on their non-relationship on season seven.

sunbunny said...

I first watched the Buffy in reruns, often out of order, so I think I saw the Riley can't deal with his girlfriend being stronger than him arc of season five before the meet cute and sweet romance in season four. I just wasn't destined to like him. :/

Billie Doux said...

I (of course) saw it all when it aired, and didn't like Riley much. There was something about him -- maybe his insecurity about Buffy being a superhero? -- that just rubbed me the wrong way, even though Marc Blucas did a good job and Riley was mostly likable.

I was deeply, deeply, deeply into Buffy and Spike. I don't think I've ever shipped any couple as much as I did them.

M said...

Same here, Billie. I can't think of a fictional couple I have loved more than Buffy and Spike. It was one of the most complex relationships I have ever seen portrayed, for good or bad, romantic or not. I also always liked that Spike respected and admired Buffy's superior strength.

Unlike poor old Riley. He looked good on paper...tall, handsome, kind, and corn-fed. I always liked him. Unfortunately, even his cool job couldn't keep him from being super boring.



sunbunny said...

There's a reason Spike referred to him as "Captain Cardboard."

M said...

hahaha...oh, Spike. Always so insightful and funny.

Great link above, sunbunny. I would be hard pressed to decide who I love more, Buffy or Dean.

M said...

PS...still laughing, sunbunny.

Victoria G said...

I always liked Riley, who was a nice guy and certainly very easy on the eyes. His problem was that he didn't ask enough questions; he was always ready to follow orders. In many respects his relationship with Buffy was a great learning experience for him - but they couldn't make it long term. Buffy, on the other hand, always challenged the status quo - as did Spike, from the other direction. Buffy and Spike remind me of the yin and yang symbol.

ChrisB said...

That scene between Tara and Willow with the rose in "A New Man" is the best kind of foreshadowing. Looking at it now, it is incredibly sexy.

ChrisB said...

And then we get to "The I in Team." Tara's smile as she closes the door and the fact that Willow doesn't come home should tell us everything we need to know.

These two are such a great couple. It's fun to re-live the beginning of this troubled relationship.

Remco said...

The Initiative:
"-- James Marsters is finally in the cast! Which was of course a major clue that he wasn't going to die in this episode."

*snicker* If it were up to Joss, actors would only ever enter the cast on their last episode. ;)

Lamounier said...

Willow and Tara’s scenes are somewhat weird on retrospect. The subtext of Tara’s “I couldn’t forget that spell we did the other night” (or something like that) was comical knowing what’s coming on “Who Are You?”. Also, Amber Benson is not a very good actress at this point and I thought Tara was bordering-on-annoying way too cute on “Goodbye, Iowa”.

Anyway, I like to think of BtVS seasons 4 to 7 as an audiovisual memory of how the treatment of homosexuals couples evolved on TV, and how committed to the cause Buffy writers were.

ChrisB said...

From Billie's review of "This Year's Girl,' A Riley/Angel scene would be much much fun, wouldn't it? Oh yes! The upcoming confrontation is one of my favorites in all seven seasons.

Lamounier -- I agree with your comment above completely. The Tara/Willow relationship is not only one of the great lesbian relationships ever shown on TV, it is one of the best full stop.

Lamounier said...

It’s really obvious rewatching the show that “Superstar” was intended to be the Phase Zero of Dawn. There’s also the interesting contrast that on season five no one searches for a way to reverse the spell that inserted Dawn on their memories. They just accept her and that’s it.

Lamounier said...

Super Buffy on “Primeval” made me think of how the Shadow Men wanted to give her more power on “Get it Done”. It was implied then that the First Slayer was stronger than the average slayer. So was she as strong as Super Buffy? And why did the subsequent slayers had less power?

It’s clear the source of the slayer’s power is The First Evil, what with Prime Evil and all (courtesy of Billie’s long second review of “Restless”), but while on “Primeval” the spell the Core Four performed made Buffy stronger and wiser, the power the creators of the slayer wanted to give Buffy on “Get it Done” would make her less human, which is what the First Slayer seems to be. That’s an interesting difference and one that highlights why Buffy is so successful as a slayer: she does not walk alone.

On rewatch related comments:

My friend who got hocked on the show watched all of it already. He marathoned his way through seasons four to seven (he’s on vacation now) and he sent me a message yesterday saying he had finished the series and was crying devastated by Anya’s death. He loved the series, fell in love with Spike, season five was his favorite (while watching it, he sent me a message thanking me for getting him into watching BtVS) and tomorrow we are having lunch together to discuss Buffy! I’m so happy. :) I plan to post some of his newbie impressions on the comments through the rewatch. There aren’t many, though, since he watched everything so fast.