Written by Jane Espenson
Directed by Michael Gershman
Giles is helping Buffy and Dawn do the dishes at the Summers’ home. Dawn goes to her room, and Giles asks how they’re doing. They’re getting through things. It’s still hard, but they almost have a routine. Giles suggests they start training again, but Buffy wants to delay that a while longer. She worries that being so intense with the slaying is making her hard and cold. She thinks that’s why Riley left, and she’s afraid Joyce didn’t know how much she loved her. Can she become the perfect Slayer and still be capable of love? If so, then she doesn’t want it anymore.
Giles has an idea for how Buffy can find answers. A vision quest! Buffy doesn’t want to leave Dawn, but Dawn thinks it’s a good idea. The Scoobies can protect her for two days. Buffy insistently tells Dawn she loves her (she’s trying to make sure she’s still comfortable with loving people and with letting them know how much she does).
Warren has completed Spike’s order. It’s a sexbot that looks and sounds like Buffy, and it apparently has tons of extra, custom-designed programming. There isn’t a word strong enough to convey the level of creep factor, degradation, and grossness Spike has just reached. Warren manages to skedaddle after the Buffybot boots up and distracts Spike by snog-attacking him. Ewwwwwwwww.
Glory is lying on her couch. She’s upset about how belligerent Ben is getting. Her minions try to console her. We find out she’s an exiled god. Jinx is recovering from Ben’s ineffective stab attack. Glory instructs her minions to do recon on Buffy to figure out likely Key candidates.
Giles drives Buffy out to the desert. The camera filter is blistering with heat hazes, which is a confusing choice considering the heavy winter clothing Giles and Buffy are wearing.
Buffy will be out in the desert meditating for two days, with no food, water, or shelter. Giles gets the meditation ball rolling with a ritual that involves a circle of twigs, a magic gourd, and one of his old books. The ritual (which, to Giles’s embarrassment, resembles the Hokey Pokey) will summon a spirit guide to take Buffy to the actual sacred meditation site.
That ritual is amazing. I think I need to see it again. Looped.
In his crypt, Spike is playing with his horrifying new toy. This involves pretend fighting and lots of really terrible “I know you’re bad but I can’t resist you” type dialogue. Followed by horizontal snogging.
Giles is working on the less embarrassing part of the ritual now—the part with the old book. Buffy walks through the desert and encounters a mountain lion. This is her spirit guide. She follows it and ends up at a place that seems familiar to her.
Tara has cast a warding spell at Xander’s apartment, which is where Dawn is staying while Buffy is gone. She thinks Willow could do a stronger spell, but she has chem lab. While Tara, Xander, and Tara are chatting, Dawn sneakily steals Anya’s earrings off the lamp table. One of Glory’s minions is lurking outside, spying on them.
Spike and the Buffybot are spooning. It’s talking about how impossible he is to resist and how exciting it is that he’s evil. It continues spouting romantic dialogue of paperback romance novel quality. It tells Spike it loves him, then asks if it should start that program again. He doesn’t like it shattering the illusion of it being the real Buffy (if that was what it took to shatter the illusion, then Spike must be trying really hard to believe it, because the Buffybot doesn’t act anything like Buffy).
Willow leaves her chem lab, reluctantly allowing her lab partner to walk away with the lab report. A minion tails her down the street.
Spike is falling asleep, so he doesn’t notice that the Buffybot is heading out to go slay monsters. Uh oh.
Giles waits at his car with a thermos of something (tea, I suppose). Buffy is still sitting on her boulder out in the desert. Nothing’s happened yet.
Buffybot runs into Xander and Anya in the graveyard. We catch a glimpse of the Buffybot’s point of view, which is primarily full of files about Spike, but also has rudimentary information about the Scoobies. It asks Anya how her money is doing. Anya very much appreciates the question. *snort* They ask the Buffybot how the vision quest went. Does not compute. Xander is getting very weirded out, and that’s when Spike comes running to get the Buffybot back. The bot is extremely happy to see Spike and keeps trying to grab his hand or take his arm. He tries to pass it off as Buffy punching and antagonizing him. He suggests they split up to take care of the many vampires roaming around. Luckily for him and his crappy cover story, three vampires emerge just then. Xander and Anya take one, Spike takes another, and the Buffybot takes the third.
Glory’s minions are watching the battle, and they notice how much “Buffy” seems to concern herself with Spike’s safety. Once the vamps are all dust, Spike and the bot tell Xander and Anya to just head home. After they leave, the Buffybot starts running a program I’m going to assume is called “strange post-battle horniness.” It needs Spike’s help to deal with that.
Xander and Anya are heading home, discussing Buffy’s vision quest. Xander’s not sure it went very well, and he’s especially concerned about Buffy because she didn’t ask about Dawn. They go back to check on her and find “Buffy” straddling Spike’s crotch and moaning while telling him how big and bad he is. Thankfully, everything’s covered up. Xander and Anya are too appalled to speak.
Willow and Tara are watching TV at Xander’s apartment and not having fun. Dawn is asleep somewhere offscreen. Xander and Anya arrive with the news that Buffy is insane and sleeping with Spike. Willow tries to be understanding rather than judgmental, but she stops as soon as Tara agrees with Xander about Buffy being insane. Xander volunteers to go talk to Buffy.
Buffy—the real one—wakes up on her boulder, in front of which is a roaring fire. Something is lurking on the other side of it. It’s the first Slayer, from “Restless.” Buffy asks her about love, and if she’ll lose her humanity. The first Slayer tells her that she’s full of love and she loves with her whole being. Buffy’s been pulling away from it because it’s so intense. Buffy needs to embrace the love inside her so that she can access her gift.
Spike is standing against the wall of his crypt, having a smoke. Someone’s approaching, and then the Buffybot pops up into view from below Spike’s waist. Excuse me for a moment while I go vomit. Spike buckles his belt and sends the Buffybot to hide in the lower room and not come out until he says so. In comes Xander. He doesn’t want Spike to take advantage of Buffy while she’s grieving, and he’d be more than happy to stake Spike if he won’t back off. Why not just stake him, then?
Glory’s minions break in—quite a few of them. They knock Xander down, then dogpile Spike until they can carry him off in restraints. The Buffybot reemerges, looking for Spike. He’s gone, but Xander is still unconscious in the crypt. The Buffybot comes to Xander’s apartment hoping to recruit everyone to look for Spike. Willow talks to it on the balcony. She’s worried about Xander, but the Buffybot is only worried about Spike. The bot admits unabashedly to having sex with Spike. Willow struggles to wrap her head around that and not be judgmental. When is Willow going to realize this isn’t Buffy? Really? Not even when the Buffybot insults Angel using British jargon?
Xander arrives at the apartment with the news that Glory’s minions abducted Spike. Everyone is very worried because Spike knows Dawn is the Key. Tara stays at the apartment to watch Dawn while Xander, Anya, Willow, and the bot head out to gear up and head to Glory’s place.
Buffy’s confused by the first Slayer’s message, and she doesn’t get any less confused when she clarifies that Buffy’s gift is death. Having just lost her mom, she doesn’t see how death can be a gift, or how it can be connected with love. The first Slayer and the fire disappear.
Glory’s minions bring Spike before her. But she instantly knows he’s not the Key because he’s a vampire. The Key has to be pure. Also, vampires can’t even be brainsucked. The minions insist that Buffy was particularly protective of Spike, so Glory decides he’s not entirely worthless to her. She has a look at him, then punches him across the room and drags him around by his bottom lip. Then she tosses him on her bed and starts digging around in his innards with her index finger. Owww.
Buffybot leads the way into Buffy’s house. Xander passes out weapons from the large weapons chest in the living room. Buffybot has no suggestions for where they should look for Glory. Willow sends it to get weapons from Buffy’s room so they can talk out of its earshot. Xander’s confused by Buffy’s determination to rescue Spike when he thought the plan was to kill him before he could rat Dawn out.
The real Buffy comes in, bummed about her vision quest. Xander, Willow, and Anya immediately start trying to give her an intervention about Spike. She is very confused and then very grossed out. The Buffybot comes back downstairs just when everyone is getting angry with each other. Buffy is completely appalled by the implications of her, and very annoyed with everyone else for not being able to tell the difference between her and a robot. They all get more grossed out when they realize what Spike had the Buffybot built for. Buffybot changes the subject by reminding them that Glory has Spike. Buffy’s first idea is to kill Spike.
Spike is dangling by the wrists from a chain while Glory tortures him for information. Seems like he’s about to give up the Key’s identity.
Buffy and the whole gang (plus the Buffybot) are at the spot where she killed the cobra monster, trying to find Glory’s place. Giles is very indignant when Buffybot mispronounces his name. They split up to check out nearby buildings for signs of Glory.
Spike tells Glory the Key is Bob Barker. The minions are about to charge off to abduct Bob Barker, but Glory isn’t as stupid as them. She doesn’t appreciate being lied to. Spike laughs. He starts insulting Glory. As gods go, she isn’t very impressive. She kicks him so hard he flies off the chains and through the door behind him. Which gets him a bit closer to the exit, so that’s nice. He misses the elevator, but he pries the doors open and topples onto it as it goes down. Buffy and Xander arrive just when the minions are about to grab Spike again. They fight the minions. Spike collapses. Giles and the Buffybot join the fight. Buffybot takes a blow to the face and shorts out, but they all get away in the end.
Later at the Magic Box, Willow pokes around in the Buffybot’s circuits. Xander and Giles arrive, and Buffy hopes they’ve disposed of Spike. All they actually did was dump him off back at his crypt. Buffy needs to know if he told Glory about Dawn. Xander feels kinda sorry for Spike for the beating he took.
Buffy comes marching into Spike’s crypt dressed in the Buffybot’s outfit. He can barely move. Spike is confused that Willow fixed the Buffybot instead of melting it down. Buffy volunteers to go tell Glory who the Key is so that Spike doesn’t have to, but he stops her. He says he’d rather die than give Dawn up to Glory and see Buffy hurt so badly. Buffy is so touched that she kisses him, which is when the game of her being the Buffybot is up. She starts to walk out. He asks about the Buffybot. She says it’s gone, and it was gross. But she appreciates what he did for her and Dawn.
There is very little about “Intervention” that I like. Buffy’s vision quest and Giles’s hokey pokey dance are intriguing and hilarious, respectively. The Scoobies failing to tell the difference between Buffy and Spike’s shiny new sexbot is a travesty, one I’d like to blame the writers for more than the characters, because it’s very difficult to imagine that the same characters who made April as a robot in about two seconds flat would fail to recognize that this weird perky Buffy-shaped girl with a Spike obsession and unnatural speech patterns isn’t actually Buffy. Is that why Dawn, Giles, and Tara didn’t interact with the Bot? Because they would’ve figured it out immediately? I can understand Anya not getting it, but Willow and Xander? Then again, perhaps there’s precedent for them being oblivious. They didn’t figure out Faith was in Buffy’s body—Tara did. But that’s not all! While they’re being possibly out-of-character for not recognizing the difference between Buffy and a sexbot, Spike is being out-of-character too by appearing to be loyal and in possession of pure motives. In the same episode in which he’s romping around with a sexbot. Bullcrap.
It makes sense that Buffy would come to the conclusion that she’s losing her ability to love after Riley ditched her (blaming it on her). She never once said “I love you” to him—at least, not onscreen, but something that important can’t just be assumed to have been communicated offscreen. But just because she never managed to love Riley as deeply as she loves Angel doesn’t mean she’s incapable of loving. Riley wasn’t the one for her, and maybe she’s a little gunshy about loving someone so deeply because of how much it hurt when Angel left, even if he didn’t have much of a choice.
*smacks Xander* I’ll give him points for knowing something was wrong with Buffy, but he really should’ve figured out she was a robot. It shouldn’t be so easy for him to come to the conclusion that Buffy has terrible judgment and is incapable of dealing with her own emotions.
*smacks Willow too* You live in a world where people can get their souls sucked out, swap bodies, get possessed by hyenas, revert to teenage immaturity by eating chocolate, become a cave man by drinking beer, get engaged to evil vampires because of a willpower spell, and have robot doppelgängers. Stop assuming your friend is crazy when this stuff happens and start assuming Plot A shenanigans!
Anya’s reaction to the Buffybot is probably the best thing about the Buffybot existing. She’s so delighted to have someone effectively speaking her language for a change, and it’s both hilarious and a little sad. Does she spend most of her time feeling a bit self-conscious because of how weird everyone thinks she is? This must have been such a relief. Too bad it wasn’t for real.
Last time, Dawn was feeling very unloved by Buffy because of Buffy’s unending list of funeral-related chores, so it’s really nice to see her encouraging Buffy to go do the vision quest. It proves that her turnaround at the end of “Forever” isn’t the kind that just vanishes after one episode.
I’ve argued with many Spike fans who claim his refusal to out Dawn to Glory is irrefutable proof that he’s changing for the better, even though he has no soul. Unless someone can explain to me how it’s possible for someone to change for the better with no soul, I don’t buy it. What seems more likely is that he didn’t tell Glory about Dawn because screw Glory. Spike deliberately leaps into battles he knows he might lose. He insults people who have power over him all the time. Ever since he turned, he’s had suicidal levels of bravado and defiance. So of course he wasn’t going to tell Glory anything. And as to what he tells the “Buffybot” in his crypt at the end of the episode, I refuse to believe that a vampire wouldn’t be able to instantly hear and smell the difference between a robot and a human woman. Now, after Willow does a bunch of her own tinkering to make the Buffybot a better replica, it’s more debatable, because she could’ve used magic to do what technology can’t, but there’s no evidence that Warren has any particular magical skill. It makes more sense that Spike has learned to be more subtle in the way he tries to score points than that he somehow is capable of being selfless now, so my firm headcanon is that he pretended not to know it was the real Buffy until the kiss so that he could cast his refusal to tell Glory anything in the best possible light.
Giles has been letting Buffy set the pace with their training this season, but I like that he’s willing to push her when he feels that she’s holding off for the wrong reasons. And of course, watching him do that ritual is a delight.
“The guys who work with Glory...you said they’re kind of like hobbits with leprosy?”
“What the hell is that, and why is its hair that color?”
The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.