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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Doomed

Giles: "It's the end of the world."
Everybody: "Again?"

Buffy finally came out (as the Slayer) to Riley. And Riley (Marc Blucas) officially joined the cast; I didn't see that coming.

I do like Riley, despite his disturbing resemblance to someone I know who didn't turn out to be a good person; it will be interesting to see what they do with him. That scene at the end where Willow and Xander saw through his rather pathetic paintball subterfuge was a lot of fun. I also enjoyed the symbolism, with the reopening of the Hellmouth representing the huge black pit of another romantic mistake. Can Buffy handle another doomed "office romance?"

What I really enjoyed most about this one, though, was Spike's suicidal depression and his subsequent discovery of an outlet for his aggression. "For the sake of puppies and Christmas... let's kill something!" I really do adore James Marsters' Spike, and although I've been enjoying what's been happening so far with him this season, I was wondering how the writers would be able to truly integrate him into the cast without changing his character. Well, they did it. I'm impressed.

The nerd/geek discussion was cute. And Percy deserves what he gets if he prefers that insecure bitca to Willow. Not that Willow would stoop to Percy.

Bits and pieces:

— Was this yet another averted apocalypse?

— Okay, you astrologers out there. When is Buffy's birthday, if she's a Capricorn on the cusp of Aquarius?

— I really liked Riley's sidekick, Forrest; I hope they do more with him.

— Did you notice the poster of sports balls on the back of Riley's door? Buffy and Willow have a chocolate poster on the back of their door. Given the recent men/sex and women/food discussion we've been having on my feminist sci-fi discussion list...

— Riley has a utility belt. How caped crusader of him.

— Where did Spike's jeans come from? Major blooper there.


Buffy: "I really thought that you were a nice, normal guy."
Riley: "I am a nice, normal guy."
Buffy: "Maybe by this town's standards, but I'm not grading on a curve."

Willow: "I was in the library during the quake, almost got buried under some nineteenth century literature. And I don't have to tell you how hard it is to dig through some of that stuff."

Giles: "I completely understand your anxiety."
Buffy: "Oh, good. Because I'd hate for my little untimely horrible death concern to be ambiguous."

Riley: "What's a Slayer?"
Forrest: "Slayer? Thrash Band. Anvil-handed guitar band with delusions of Black Sabbath."

Buffy: "Wow. I wasn't sure where the party was, and then I saw the flashing lights and the ambulance, and I was like right, of course. Death, carnage, it's a Buffy party."

Willow: "It was carved into his chest, like a big creepy eye."
Xander: "It's kind of like the CBS logo. Hey, could this be the handiwork of one Mr. Morley Safer?"

Buffy: "I told you. I said end of the world and you're like poo-poo, southern California, poo-poo."
Giles: "I'm so very sorry. My contrition completely dwarfs the impending apocalypse."

Riley: "I'm serious. You have this twisted way of looking at things, this doom and gloom mentality. You keep thinking like that and things will probably turn out just the way you expect."
Buffy: "You know, there is nothing more dangerous than a psych grad student."

Giles: "The Word of Valios is the name of a talisman, not a book. I blame myself entirely. I had it here."
Xander: "You had it here? Okay, first I thought you were being to hard on yourself, but..."
Giles: "I bought it at a sorcerer's estate sale. I really only glanced at it once; I thought it was a knock off."

Spike: "Come on! Vampires! Grrr! Nasty! Let's annihilate them. For justice and for the safety of puppies, and Christmas, right? Let's fight that evil! Let's kill something!"

Let's say three out of four stakes,

Billie Doux reviewed all of Buffy and Angel, so she knows the plural of apocalypse.


  1. Were it not for Spike this would be a one out of four stakes episode for me. He pushes it up to a two, maybe even a three.

  2. Ah, the yearly attempted opening of the hell mouth. Those demons just never learn do they.

    Spikes speech at the end of the episode about annihilating demons was the best part. I love that being able to kill something again was the only thing able to get him out of his suicidal funk.

  3. So I've watched and even enjoyed the last few episodes, but I kinda lost my commenting mojo. This one was fun enough to get me going again - mostly due to Spike. Gotta love his joy at his new aggressive outlet. Please, someone tell me Riley ends badly and soon. I don't know why I can't like him, but I can't.

  4. Yay for a fellow Riley disliker!

    My favorite non-Spikecentric aspect is the juxtaposition of the Scoobies' methods and the Initiative's, particularly the recital of the poem vs. the matter of fact observations about the demon's size and appearance. I like that we see how each method has its strengths and weaknesses. It would've been easy to make the Scoobies look like the only competent ones and the Initiative to look like puffed up amateurs, but Joss acknowledges that technology has its perks.

  5. "Come on! Vampires! Grrr! Nasty! Let's annihilate them. For justice and for the safety of puppies, and Christmas, right? Let's fight that evil! Let's kill something!"

    I sometimes incorporate elements of this speech into my everyday conversations. For instance, "Let's go get a cup of coffee. C'mon! Coffee! For just and for the safety of puppies..."

    And I usually trail off there, when I realize no one understands me. Sigh.

  6. Well, I don't dislike Riley. I don't like him either. I just find him boring. I guess he's too much like militar Ken to me, and whenever the show tries to make him something other than "Buffy's new love interest" it feels fake to me. I find this very curious, because love them or hate them, I find that Buffy and Angel always pull interesting characters at least.

    I like that they give Spike something to do here other than sulk and be useless, because I was finding him pointless. While I adore James Masters, and I think the show benefits from Spike's kind of humor, I've never been a complete hardcore fan. To me, Spike workd really well in small doses, but I always found that the show was a bit too obssesed with him for my liking. But, as of now, he's definetely welcomed and cherished.

    It's good to see the main arc advancing as well, even if I believe said main arc is weaker in general than some of the stand-alone's of the season.

  7. I will go against the group here and say that I really, really like Riley and have since the books dropped on his head. He's a good guy who goes from thinking he's this badass to realizing that a girl is more so than he. Not only that, he is falling for said girl. I think that would mess with anyone's head.

    But, let's hear it for Spike, again. I love what the writers did here by giving him a reason to live and a way to integrate him into the Scoobies.

  8. Good episode, don't have much to add except where I come in the Riley likometer... I'm really not a fan and find him dull and kind of annoying and it always seemed weird to me that he was in the opening titles.

    My favorite quote comes from Xander when he says to Spike 'you're not the big bad anymore, you're not even the slightly naughty' I'm sure I've got the words wrong but that's the gist of it.

  9. Three cheers for Riley from me. His girlfriend kicks ass and he doesn't even seem to care that she could easily beat him up. He is just in awe of her. And nothing like a good apocalypse to make a doomed romance something you should give a try. I adore Spike and I agree that he made this episode particularly at the end. He is some weird combination of brutal and mushy soft emo. I agree that the writers were brilliant for figuring out a way to get him into the Scooby gang.

  10. This is a solid episode, but there’s something off about it. It was like “Buffy, the procedural show”, the plot felt so safe and calculated. Was that intentional?

    I loved the teaser, Buffy was on fire on that conversation with Riley, wasn’t she? In fact, I liked all their conversations. They both had valid points, and it was nice to see how much Buffy has grown. She still sees her calling as something she’s stuck with, but her attitude is totally different and she’s much more accepting of it (losing her powers on Helpless must have changed her perspective on being a “regular girl”).

  11. I’m happy too, Billie. I wanted to catch up on the rewatch before season five, because seasons five and six are my favorites, so hopefully I’ll be able to follow the rewatch from now on.

  12. One of my favorite scenes in this episode was when the two groups of Buffy and co. in Giles' apartment, and then Riley and co. in the underground camp were each discussing the demon. You have Giles reading a poetic description of the demon, compared to Riley reciting vital stats. The military thinks the demon's on no discernible path, while the Slayer + her posse know 'it's not digging up the bones of a child for fun.' Willow complains that they have no way of knowing where the demon has been, and it cuts directly to Riley saying that they're lucky the demon has a wide pheromone range because that enables them to track where it has been! It displays the difference between research tactics, the depth the two groups will go to understand the motivations of the demons, and that they have each other's missing pieces. Comparing history vs. technology or something like that, but probably a metaphor to the struggle going on between Riley and Buffy during the episode as well. Like, they have different reasons for getting into the biz, and they have different tactics, but if they were together they might be a pretty effective unit.


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