Friday, April 19, 2013

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Older and Far Away.

episode 114.
airdate: 12 Feb 2002.

Before I start, I was thinking a bit more about Buffy and Spike's relationship. The writers are definitely playing with the abusive relationship here. On the one hand (the hand I usually hold), Spike is obsessive about Buffy. He's verbally manipulative, but I think this is borne of knowing that she will never love him. He's grasping at her the only way he knows how as a soulless being. Though he will ultimately attempt to rape her, the abuser in this relationship is more often Buffy. She is "using" him, by her own definition. She also batters him often, as seen above in the picture and in the last episode when she did that to his face. For at least two years she has had no respect for his privacy at home, breaking in more often than, wait, has she ever knocked? Granted, he ultimately doesn't complain, but how much of this is feeling controlled by her? He loves her sooooo ridiculously much, that he's not going to bitch if she uses him, beats him, and disrespects him. She's also ashamed of him. Before I called him obsessed, that it wasn't love, but I'm starting to think it IS love. It's not smart love, but there it is. Ultimately, he would do anything she asked of him, and right now, she's asking for pain. If she wanted some other kind of lovemaking/relationship with him, he'd comply with that too. Spike only looks the part of bad boy...he's always been ruled by his heart, however misguided. The fact that Spike is mostly in the background in the comics is an oversight, because his character and his relationship to Buffy was going somewhere. I guess maybe it just ends up mutual warrior respect between B and S, and that's pretty epic (I haven't read all the comics yet, so I'm not up to date on everything that happens there--I cannot WAIT to get caught up with the comics after this month is over!), so I can hang with that too.

Onward with "Older and Far Away": Buffy's birthday party is tomorrow night and B is running out in the middle of dinner to patrol. Dawn is feeling neglected, as per usual. Buffy is fighting a weird red swordsman-type demon. He liquefies and goes into his sword when B was down. She thinks he ran away and left his sword, so she confiscates it. "Shiny." Dawn tries to recruit peeps to go with her to the mall to shop for B's birthday gift, but everyone has other plans. Dawn really hates spending time alone, apparently. When she gets home later, she has a bunch of stolen goods, including a leather jacket. The next day she gets called out of class to the guidance counselor's office. It's Halfrek in human form. I don't know if we're supposed to recognize her at this point? Obviously she looks different without the demon face. She tells her sometimes she wishes she could make people stop "going away". I love that in parties on Buffy there are introductions for any odd characters attending the party, reasons for them to be there. On Friends there was always a ton of extras in the background and you're like, "When did they ever hang out with anyone else? Come on!" Anya and Xander invited a boy over they think B might like and B invited someone from work. Tara is coming. Willow is nervous and looks really cute. Tara looks beautiful, as per usual. I think Tara is my style goddess. She's wearing black lace and velvet and a nice Victorian-style necklace. Spike shows up with Clem.

Gift-time: Willow gives her a lame back massager, Dawn gives her the leather jacket she stole, and Xander gives her this amazing weapons chest he built himself. As soon as Sophie (B's friend from work) shows up, Halfrek appears from the shadows of the porch and says "Wish granted." Everyone is SOO stuck there now. The party seems really fun. Everyone dancing and Monopoly-playing. Everyone sleeps over. They don't realize they can't leave until the next morning when they're all watching cartoons. Tara and Willow bond for a second. Dawn gets pissy when they all want to leave and goes to sulk on her bed. This makes them suspect she might have done something. She screams her patented "get out get out get OUT!" They decide they need to do a spell, but Tara didn't bring any supplies. Willow admits she squirreled a few things and surrenders them to Tara. She does a spell to "release" them, but instead it releases what was in the sword and they still can't get out. The demon has the ability to liquefy into things, like the floor and the walls. The guy Anya and Xander invited for B gets stabbed by the demon. I love horror when the characters are all trapped in a small space together, like "Cube". The demon intermittently emerges from the walls to wreak havoc. Xander gets the wrath of the sword, but Anya is already freaking out about being trapped, so he puts on a brave face for her. That's super sweet. M does that for me when the tornado sirens go off. He packs the backpack out of my sight and keeps his emotions inside. So sweet.

Dawn is being really immature. She confides in Buffy finally, lamenting that she's alone. Tara says she thinks she's tried everything they can do, magically. Anya brings up that they're trapped with an "incredibly powerful witch"...Willow, but no one is talking about it because she's off the juice. Anya gets a little confrontational. Xander agrees with Anya. Just one little spell. Willow says no. Tara defends her. Awesome moment.

During the confiding, Dawn mentions the guidance counselor and that she's new. B puts it together real fast and asks her if she made any "wishes" to her. Anya, still freaking out, starts going through Dawn's room and finds some of the stuff she's been stealing. So now they know about her klepto-ing. Anya is very upset, understandably, because most of what she stole was from the Magic Box. Buffy realizes the jacket gift was stolen too. Anya realizes when B tells her Dawn made a wish to a guidance counselor that it's her friend Halfrek and calls her to them to make it right. When Halfrek arrives she gets stabbed by the demon. Spike and Buffy fight it and B stabs him with his sword to trap him within it again, then destroys the sword. So he's dealt with...Halfrek is fine, she can heal herself. She recognizes Spike (she's the same actress that played his love interest right before he turned). Cecily, I think. They don't explain it, but she calls him "William" and she sort of giggles and fluffs her hair a bit after recognizing him. Cool.

Halfrek explains that Dawn was in pain.  She refuses to reverse the spell.  Then she realizes she's trapped in the house with them too, so she breaks the spell so everyone can leave. Willow explains to Tara why she kept the magic stuff, as a sort of safety net, like "What if things get bad, like really bad?" Tara tells her things did get bad, really bad, and she didn't cave--"Time to work without the net." Xander and Anya take injured boy to the hospital and everyone else leaves too, but Buffy makes a big-sis-hero gesture and stays with Dawn.