Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Smashed

Spike: "I'm in love with you."
Buffy: "You're in love with pain."

How like this show to do something so... off the wall, pun intended. Don't most shows spin out sexual tension between two characters until all of the juice is squeezed out of it? Okay, okay, we've been waiting awhile, but still...

I'm not really into sex scenes on TV, but I found the Buffy/Spike thing to be very powerful and erotic. Why so erotic, I asked myself, as I rewound the last ten minutes of this episode several times? :) Was it because Buffy was the aggressor? Because the writers gave Spike his fangs back before it happened, which I thought was inspired? The way they trashed the building around them in their frantic attempts to hurt each other? Actually, I think it was the looks on their faces as they were doing it that got to me. My mouth is still dry.

What is it about the whole Buffy/Spike thing that I love so much? Is it mostly Spike? Spike is a much more interesting vamp than Angel; he doesn't have the safety net of a "soul" to direct his behavior, which makes him such a wild card, but it's also been established from the very beginning that Spike is also a fool for love, and that love motivates nearly everything he does. Is Spike now dependent on the chip to physically back up his emotional choices? (How about him in the alley talking himself into biting his prospective victim?)

I'm really liking this darker Buffy, too. Buffy's interior confusion about her own desires as she is dealing with the loss of both Joyce and Giles, monumental depression, her return from the grave and her subsequent exploration of her darker side make her actions totally believable, at least to me. We do stupid things when we're unhappy, don't we? She needs someone. He's there.

Spike might be happy with just sex for the time being, but what if he starts wanting more and Buffy can't give it to him? She doesn't see him as a person; he's a thing, a monster, and she is definitely using him with no regard for his feelings. We may be moving into a love-to-hatred-turned type of situation. I love it.


Moving on to the not as strong B-plot, there was fun to be had here ("How have you been?" "Rat. You?" "Dead") but mostly there was discomfort as Willow moved further and further away. Willow thinks Tara left her "for no good reason?" Buffy can't even talk to her? Willow and Amy have moved into a Bewitched/Sabrina kind of zippety-do-dah witchcraft (there was even a reference to the talking cat), more evidence that Willow may be the big bad this year.

Anya and Xander very carefully told the audience what was motivating both Willow and Buffy, and I quote: "Responsible people are always so concerned with being good all the time that when they finally get a taste of being bad, they can't get enough." And "It's got to be seductive, just giving in to it, going totally wild." You think?

Last but not least, we get more of our supervillain trio, which I am really enjoying. It's delightful how the Giles-less Scoobies can't match what's going on (a frost monster who eats diamonds? Exploding lint?) to any known demons. Is this the first time Buffy has faced humans? (Except maybe Professor Walsh?)

So if Buffy isn't human any more, what is she? I'm sure she still has a soul, that she's still Buffy. I guess I'll tune in next week and see what happens. You think?

Lots of bits and pieces:

-- The frozen guard being removed from the museum looked like a scene from the sixties Batman series.

-- Tara is still spending time with Dawn. Good. I love Tara and I don't want her to disappear, like Riley. Plus there are cool plot possibilities.

-- Dan observed that if Darla (twice dead) and Angel (not quite normal vampire) could make a baby, Buffy (twice dead) and Spike (not quite normal vampire) should perhaps consider birth control.

Quotes:

Spike: "I thought they were demons."
Buffy: "Way to go with the keen observiness, Jessica Fletcher."

Spike: "You'd think if the government was gonna put a chip in my head, they'd at least make it so I could attack criminals and that sort."
Buffy: "Yes, because muggers deserve to be eaten."

Spike: "You're a tease, you know that, Slayer? Get a fellow's motor revving, let the tension marinate a couple-a days, then bam! Crown yourself the ice queen."
Buffy: "Need a few more metaphors for that little mix?"

Andrew: "How come he gets to play with all the cool stuff?"
Jonathan: "Because I'm allergic to methane and you're still afraid of hot things?
Andrew: "I know."
Jonathan: "Besides, the tank kept making both of us tip over, remember?"

Andrew: "Won't he tell on us?"
Warren: "And say what? Two guys and a mime took me out with their freeze ray?"

Amy: "Hi Buffy."
Buffy: "Hi. How've you been?"
Amy: "Rat. You?"
Buffy: "Dead."
Amy: "Oh."

Amy: "It's crazy, all the things that've happened since I went away."
Buffy: "No kidding."
Amy: "Snyder got eaten by a snake... high school got destroyed..."
Buffy: "Oh, Gatorade has a new flavor. Blue."
Amy: "See? Head spinning. People getting frozen... Willow's dating girls... and did you hear about Tom and Nicole?"

Tara: "Good god, that's a lot of shake. I mean, I know, part of our big movie and milkshake fun day, but ... good god, that's a lot of shake."
Dawn: "Helps to wash down the Raisinettes."
Tara: "Promise me that you will eat something green tonight. Leafy green, not gummi green."

Willow: "I keep expecting her to do, like, ratty stuff, you know, licking her hands clean, shredding newspaper, leaving little pellets in the corner."
Buffy: "Let's definitely not leave her alone in the house too long."

Spike: "Examine my chip, or else Mister Fett here is the first to die."

Spike: "Help me out here, Spock, I don't speak loser."

Willow: "I know. Xander engaged, I couldn't believe it either."
Amy: "It's just so weird. So what's she like?"
Willow: "Thousand-year-old capitalist ex-demon with rabbit phobia."
Amy: "Well, that's so his type."

Xander: "So, what did Captain Peroxide want?"

Let's see, how would I rate this episode? Maybe I won't. I'd have to rate it in two sections and take an average,

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

4 comments:

QRS said...

"The frozen guard being removed from the museum looked like a scene from the sixties Batman series."

And given who we're dealing with: most likely deliberate.

Anonymous said...

What's brilliant about what's been happening with Spike/Buffy is that aside from the actors having so much on-screen chemistry that what's happened from OMWF to Smashed - really what's happened this entire series - is just fun (and hot), the viewer is completely torn. One one level you want this to happen and you're totally rooting for it but on the other hand you know that this is just another tragically doomed situation that can only lead to trouble - Spike's in love with Buffy in an unhealthy, obsessive way; Buffy's in lust with Spike also in a selfish, but entirely different, way. SMG's performance emphasizes brilliantly how Buffy's completely depressed and is desperate for a way out. What a wonderfully flawed hero, but a hero nonetheless.

magritte said...

I guess I'm alone in this but I just found the Buffy/Spike scene repellent. And although there have been some very strong individual episodes in season 6, I have major reservations with the overall direction of the show.

As far as I can tell, the closest thing to a principal antagonist this season (unless it's Willow) is the would-be supervillain trio and I just can't stand them. Apart from not feeling remotely threatening, every time they're on the screen I feel like I'm watching an episode of Big Bang Theory. Yuck!

The lack of a strong antagonist wouldn't be as much of a problem if I were feeling invested in the characters. But With Giles gone and Buffy and Willow increasingly unlikeable, I'm not feeling much connection to anyone on the screen. I think I'm going to give Buffy a rest and come back to it later on. Some shows (like Supernatural), I've done that with and been able to find my enjoyment again, but others--Like Heroes--I just gave up on.

Lamounier said...

This is a quite good, unusual episode, but not without its flaws. It's very season six, with a heavy focus on the characters and not much of a monster plot. There is a tediousness in the characters' lives that sort of carries itself into the episode. Not that it's a tedious story, but it certainly has a different beat.

I'm not crazy about Buffy and Spike going from fighting to having sex. I like their banter during the fight, but all these years later, I still don't know what drives Buffy to kiss Spike during the fight. I get that she is attracted to him, but I think there is something missing in the scene that could justify the transition from fight to sex. The sex itself is pretty wild, though. The building falling down, that gorgeous score in the back. SMG and James Marsters dove into the scene and it shows.

I like Buffy and Anya pointing out that whatever "big bad" is around is lame, but the frozen guard is beyond lame and no self awareness from the writers can save it. I mean, he should have died from being frozen, yet we are told that he will be fine eventually. Huh?

Another thing that is weirdly written is Willow and Amy having fun at the Bronze. What are the magic rules there? Do people remember anything that happened?

Poor Xander and Anya stuck at the Magic Box. They should have had Xander stop by the Summers' house and see Amy.

It's was a nice touch to have Amy mention Joyce. And the dead/rat dialogue is always great to rewatch.