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Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Same Time, Same Place

Willow: "I just got back."
Anya: "Just got back as in, you're all better, or just got back to bring about a fiery apocalypse of death?"

Well, that was terrible. I may have to rip this episode to shreds. Pun intended.

Stephen King said once, and I'm paraphrasing, "If I can't terrify, I'll horrify; if I can't horrify, I'll go for the gross out." Grossing us out is occasionally excusable, but I really think this was over the top, and not in a good way. Shame on you, Buffy Powers That Be. Gnarl was too ooky and cringe-worthy for prime time network television. We need specific MPAA ratings to warn us about things like this.

I do understand the obvious karmic point behind Gnarl, i.e., skin-ripping Willow all alone, paralyzed, being eaten by a skin-ripping monster. Making Willow the victim of something so horrendous immediately makes her more sympathetic, and more forgivable for what she did to Warren. Plus, they did introduce the skin thing last season, and it was important to address it again when Willow returned to Sunnydale. But couldn't they have found a more tasteful way to do it, pun intended?

I did like the non-demon parts of the episode. The "mutual no-see-ums" idea was very good, with only the demon members of the cast seeing Willow. It was fascinating seeing the same scene twice from different perspectives, especially the basement scene with Spike.

Anya is a lot more likeable as a reluctant vengeance demon than as Xander's annoying girlfriend, isn't she? That thing about having to file a flight plan before teleporting says it all; vengeance isn't working out for Anya any more, and I'm sure Something is Going to Happen in that department. The Willow/Anya scenes were great, although it was sad to see Willow's demon-finding spell finally happen with Anya instead of Tara.

And haven't we all fantasized about a pose-able Dawn? "Shall I make her salute?" I probably would have laughed a lot harder at that if I hadn't been cringing during the scenes where Gnarl was eating bits of Willow.

Was Spike doing a multiple personality thing? I think he was William ("what's a word means glowing? It's gotta rhyme"), because that was a reference to "Fool for Love" (Cecily effulgent) and "Hells Bells" (Buffy glowing); and then he was more like sarcastic, evil Spike with the "button button" thing; and possibly chipped Spike when he was talking about the Slayer and "her boy". Or maybe I'm just projecting, because I have no idea what he meant by slips and authorization, other than the obvious school reference. In the woods scene, Spike was saying, "William's a good boy. Carries the water, carries the sin. It's supposed to get easier, isn't it? It's supposed to help, but it doesn't. It's still so heavy." Poor baby.

The blue shirt of goodness is back. Unfortunately, it's getting dirty. I'm not caring for the nasty comments about Spike involving leashes and smells and so on.

So the walls in the basement of Sunnydale High move around. I think that's kind of cool. Probably not good for Spike, who's living there. Although if you really think about it, a basement is one step up from a crypt, isn't it?

Bits and (eww) pieces:

— We finally saw the Magic Box, and it's condemned. I wonder if it will ever open again? I hope Giles was heavily insured.

— Has Willow moved back in to Buffy's house? Did she and Buffy switch rooms? (Makes sense, with Tara actually dying in the other room.)


Buffy: "We've heard the crayon speech a few times. Not that it's not great, of course."
Xander: "I saved the world with talking from my mouth. My mouth saved the world."

Buffy: "She kind of didn't finish."
Dawn: "She didn't finish? She didn't finish being not evil?"

Xander: "Is he throwing a tasteful British wiggins?"
Buffy: "Oh, with extra wig."

Willow: "Wait, Spike's what in the what-ment?"
Anya: "Insane. Base."

Anya: "Well, as it turns out, teleporting isn't a right, it's a privilege. I withdrew a vengeance spell last week, and this is my punishment. I can only teleport for official business. I have to file a flight plan and everything."

Willow: "Is it like you're scared of losing that feeling again? And that having it be okay to hurt people? And then you're not in charge of the power anymore because it's in charge of you?"
Anya: "Wow, that was really over-dramatically stated, but, yeah, that's it."

Dawn: "He laps up the blood. You could say it's like his natural beverage."
Xander: "You're terrifying."

Xander: "Well, we could ask some questions over at Willy's place."
Buffy: "Or, we could be smart. Sorry, Xander."
Xander: "What?"

Xander: "Dark and dank. I was hoping it'd be dark and dank."

Xander: "It'll be all right. We'll get you fixed up. You'll be doing limbo in no time."
Dawn: "Yeah, as a pole."

Buffy: "I'll call Anya. She can watch her."
Xander: "Right, she'll love being called for vomit watch."

Buffy: "That's magic, right? I mean, when most people when they meditate don't get extra skin, right. 'Cause Clem should, like, cut back."

One out of four stakes, and that's for the "no-see-ums," Spike's ravings, and pose-able Dawn. Please, Buffy Powers That Be, give me better than this!

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


  1. All I can say about this episode is "ew ew ew ew ew!"
    I did not like seeing Gnarl eat Willows skin. It was worse than the Go Fish episode back in season 2.
    But I did like the "invisible" storyline to this episode - very clever.

  2. I don't generally object to gore, but ick. This was over the line for this particular show - the flaying, the skin eating (there was absolutely no reason whatsoever to show this in such lingering detail), the "eyeball" solution. Way too much. This was actually my least favorite episode in some time because I honestly thought the main plot was cruel and pointless. I think the writers have tortured Willow enough lately. How about some drama that's just drama without being absolutely gut wrenchingly terrible (in this case, literally) for the characters?

  3. Hahahaha, jesus. I suppose that's one way to make her atone. Well, Gnarl was cool, but his guilt-tripping style was seriously annoying, as was Willow worrying that her friends really left her. The skin-eating bothered me less than the eye-gouging solution, even though we don't really get to see that one as explicitly. I just can't handle ANY eye stuff.

    Didn't like this episode. Not that I lost any sleep over Warren but this felt like a... bad, almost infantilizing comedown. But I can't really think of what else they could've done without making it look like they're sweeping her murder under the rug. It's fine. Dawn and Anya kept me going.

    But Spike is still babbling sporadically... I want him back already :(

    Oh yeah, I've been cracking a grin every time I watch the last season's (sigh) opening credits sequence, because they showcase that segment of Willow scream-blasting Osiris lol. I love it. nAAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWW!!!
    Though now the Tara dust-blowing bit is gone and I desperately miss it.

  4. >>> they did introduce the skin thing last season, and it was important to address it again when Willow returned to Sunnydale. But couldn't they have found a more tasteful way to do it, pun intended?

    I actually think that the answer to that question is "No".

    The thing is, I think that flaying is just a topic that cannot really be dealt with in any real way without entering the realm of distasteful grossness. I think that the only way to tastefully bring up flaying at all is to skate past it too quickly to let anybody actually focus on it - like they did when Willow flayed Warren.

    I suppose that maybe flaying wouldn't gross out the audience much if the victim were a robot that couldn't actually register pain. After all, that worked for having someone drawn and quartered when that happened to the BuffyBot.


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