Written by Drew Z. Greenberg
Directed by James A. Contner
The Trio are chasing vampires through a cemetery on...stake-mounted fourwheelers? That’s unexpectedly awesome. Still, the vampires get away, and apparently they have some kind of crucial disk the Trio need. Buffy intercepts the vampires, and Warren sneakily grabs the disk and scarpers. Spike is being super obnoxious, holding one of the vampires at bay and offering to stake him if Buffy will just tell her friends about the thing they had. If not, he can drop him back down for her to fight. What a gentleman. Buffy isn’t feeling particularly afraid of her friends finding out the truth anymore, since she recently tried to kill all of them and they forgave her instantly. He drops the vamp, who immediately charges for Buffy. She stakes him easily. Spike doesn’t get it; if she thinks her friends won’t mind that she was sleeping with him, why’d she stop? She doesn’t love him, that’s why. He seems skeptical. Great.
Xander is having a beer...somewhere? Where the heck is this? Oh, his apartment. Okay, it was from a really weird angle. He goes outside. Anya is lurking nearby!
Willow catches Tara coming out of her class, and they have a pretty nice, somewhat flirty conversation. Tara knows about Willow’s irrational worries about that other girl, and she (without prompting) clarifies that they’re just friends. Willow asks her to coffee, and they’re dorks about it.
Buffy and Dawn are walking along a street, Dawn telling Buffy about all the stores she stole from. Buffy wants to go look at the puppies in the pet store, but Dawn isn’t very interested. What town are they in? This street does not resemble Sunnydale’s Main Street, which is the only street Sunnydale has ever appeared to have.
Jonathan is working on some project, and he wants Warren to leave him alone. This project will supposedly be the one that helps them achieve all their goals. Warren and Andrew are in secret cahoots, and they plan to betray Jonathan.
Xander walks into his apartment and finds Anya in there. He’s really glad to see her. He wants to explain what he did. He wants to fix everything, and he still loves her. She’s still very confused about what happened. He feels like things didn’t have to go the way they did; he could’ve spoken up sooner about his issues. She’s angry about that, because she still wishes the wedding had happened. He finally says he does want to marry her, some day. She doesn’t appreciate the belated honesty. Her face morphs into vengeance demon face, but it seems she can’t use her powers against him. She tries to wish horrible things on him, but nothing happens. She shoves him aside and storms out.
Anya is having lunch with Halfrek, and whoa why is Anya’s hair suddenly curled like an ‘80s mom? It was normal in just the previous scene.
Maybe it’s supposed to be symbolic of how frustrated she is right now. Anyway, Halfrek is particularly happy about a piece of vengeance (sorry, justice) she just did on a deadbeat dad. Paper-cuts from any paper he touches that isn’t a child support check. Ha! (But dang, that makes me even more disappointed that Hank Summers wasn’t a part of S6. With him being such a crappy dad in recent years, he would’ve been a major target for Halfrek!) Anya isn’t listening to her fun story because she’s moping about not being able to curse Xander. If Anya can get someone else to wish vengeance on Xander, that would work.
Buffy is making pancakes for her and Dawn! Dawn is somewhat alarmed by how unusually elaborate breakfast is, and she correctly realizes that Buffy being extra solicitous in an attempt to make up for nearly getting Dawn killed last week. Buffy insists that this isn’t guilt, it’s genuine wanting to spend time with Dawn. Dawn is okay with that, but she’d rather hang out with Buffy than have Buffy hang out with her. Like patrolling! Can she go patrolling? Big no. How about research? Ugh, come on! There are options for civilians to participate in Plot A!
Willow and Tara are at the Espresso Bean, and Willow is describing the adventures the Scoobies have had since their breakup. Right now, she’s on “Doublemeat Palace.” They’re having a very good time, and Willow seems very keen to not come across as too hopeful they’ll get back together. Anya joins them. Willow hugs her! Yay hugs!
Anya very unsubtly tries to steer the conversation towards Xander-hate. This is cut together with shots from her having similar conversations with Buffy and Dawn. To her annoyance, none of them will wish horrible consequences on Xander. Dawn tries to talk about working off her stealing debt instead. (Seriously? She can’t just return the stuff?) Buffy doesn’t appreciate Anya emphasizing her pattern of failed relationships. Willow and Tara are mostly just confused that Anya is trying to use the lesbian angle to get man hatred out of them. Anya ends up indignant and hurt that everyone seems to be taking Xander’s side over hers.
Cue Xander walking up to Casa Summers right when Buffy and Anya are talking about this. Anya storms off again, and Buffy stops him from following her. He should let her cool down. He angrily kicks a garden gnome, shattering it. Buffy at first thinks this proves her point, and then she thinks she doesn’t own a garden gnome, so what’s this thing doing here? It has a camera in it! Xander thinks it’s Spike. For some reason, Buffy doesn’t immediately counter with “What? You think Spike has the technical know-how to set up a surveillance camera? And that if he did, he’d put it somewhere with this bad an angle on my bedroom window? Please. This was Warren.”
No, she actually goes and shows it to Spike, demanding answers (based on Xander’s accusation, but apparently she does believe it). *facepalm* Spike does a big speech about how what they have is real and she can’t deny it. She’ll allow him to believe his feelings are real, but she’s never had them. She tries to tell him to move on, but he snarls at her to leave.
Anya is ranting to Halfrek about how she couldn’t get anyone to wish a horrible fate on Xander. Halfrek isn’t surprised. Anya’s been going to all the wrong people. She needs to find someone who doesn’t adore him. Like, say, Spike, who just walked in, and with whom Xander has been butting heads even more frequently than usual lately. He’s at the shop to buy stuff for a numbing spell. Anya is psyched because Spike hates Xander, but she’s never granted the wish of a guy before. Halfrek tells her she’s being silly and leaves her to it. Instead of getting a spell for Spike, Anya gets a bottle of whiskey out from under the counter.
Willow is trying to trace the camera’s signal to its source. Only now do Buffy and Xander realize that Warren is a likely suspect. Ugh. Pathetic. Buffy is so sick of the Trio being a pain in her butt.
Cut to the Trio. Jonathan does a spell that is a complete ripoff of Raiders of the Lost Ark to reveal the location of some treasure they’re after. But then the map catches fire, because unlike in Raiders, Jonathan wasn’t projecting the light onto a miniature of the city, but on an actual paper map. Whoops.
Anya and Spike are steadily working their way through the whiskey. Spike has been complaining about Buffy (without using names). Anya wants to focus on Xander. Spike is on board with the idea of Xander deserving to suffer. We briefly cut to both the Trio’s lair and then Buffy’s dining room, where Willow is honing in on a signal. Spike and Anya lose focus on their anger as they instead get wistful, and annoyed that they landed in the situations they’re in. They’re also very drunk, though. Willow discovers there are other cameras.
Anya and Spike both don’t much care for the Scoobies, but they like each other okay. Spike admires Anya’s bluntness, and he thinks Xander is a moron for finding it rude. Anya is clearly finding him charming. The other cameras Willow’s finding include ones at the Bronze, Doublemeat, UC Sunnydale, and Xander’s construction site. She keeps digging to find the rest.
The whiskey bottle is empty now. Anya appreciates Spike talking to her. She feels like this is the first good conversation she’s had since the wedding. She misses Xander and she keeps torturing herself with the idea that this is her fault, or that maybe he was never in love with her the same way. Spike strokes her cheek and tells her she’s amazing. The mood shifts rather quickly from there. They almost start kissing. Anya doesn’t know what they’re doing, but Spike says they’re moving on. Then she goes for it. He doesn’t mind that she’s only doing it because she’s lonely and drunk and he smells good.
Willow is zeroing in on other cameras, but the Trio know someone’s hacking their feed. They start shutting everything down, but they see what’s going on in the Magic Box at the same time Willow does. Spike and Anya are having sex on the research table. Because Warren is an idiot, he initially thinks it’s porn. Come on, haven’t you been spying on these people for several months now? And hasn’t Spike threatened you on at least two occasions? You don’t recognize them? Andrew seems to have a crush on Spike.
Xander and Buffy come around to look at Willow’s laptop. They’re both stunned and hurt. Dawn comes home and sees it too before Willow has the presence of mind to shield her eyes. Willow notices Buffy’s reaction with confusion. Buffy leaves. Dawn follows. Xander leaves too, only he grabbed an axe first. Finally!
Buffy and Dawn are in the backyard, and it’s all out in the open now. Dawn isn’t mad at her. In fact, she’s very sympathetic. Willow finds them to warn Buffy what Xander’s up to.
Spike and Anya are fixing their clothes, making uncomfortable eye contact. He leaves, only to be greeted by Xander’s attempt to behead him. Xander throws him around a bit. He wants to beat the crap out of Spike, and he definitely wants to end with staking him. Anya comes out and tries to stop him. Buffy gets there and pulls Xander away. Anya tries to explain that it didn’t mean anything; she was lonely and Spike was there. This doesn’t make Xander feel less betrayed, but she doesn’t think he has the right to be the one who feels betrayed. They accuse each other of being immature. Xander strikes a rather low blow by saying he feels sick looking at her because she had sex with that. Which makes Buffy feel just great, so of course that’s when Spike drops that truth bomb. Xander leaves, horrified and disgusted. Buffy glares at Spike before following Xander. Spike starts making a wish about horrible things happening to Xander, but Anya stops him.
An end-of-episode sad song starts up. Anya goes back into the Magic Box and starts cleaning up the mess she and Spike made. Tara comes to the doorway of Willow’s room, talking about how things fall apart. Putting them back together takes time. But right now she doesn’t care about the long, hard process of making up. She’d like to skip to the kissing part. Willow is fine with that!
I weirdly like “Entropy.” The Anya/Spike drunk sex doesn’t upset me because I’m not hugely invested in Xander/Anya and I despise Buffy/Spike to the core of my being, so mostly I just look at that through the lens of Anya’s character development, and I actually consider it a very significant moment. I’ve been waiting three seasons now for Anya to start learning that vengeance isn’t as wonderful and just as she’s always believed, and this is the first time that really gets addressed. I think it does an excellent job of showing both Anya and the audience that revenge, particularly in a relationship setting when the other person already feels horrible for what they did, isn’t actually satisfying and can actually make things much worse. I also like it for Buffy’s side of the story. She continues to do better at reconnecting to her life and her friends, and she seems stronger and happier than she has all season. The Trio as usual drag the story down a bit, but at least they’re clearly building to something significant, so they’re slightly more intriguing than usual. And the break between Jonathan and the other two really helps with that as well. Willow and Tara have fixed things (or at least gotten to a point where Tara is willing to do the rest of the relationship repairing from within said relationship rather than prior to resuming it), and even though I’m Willow/Oz for life, it does seem like they very much earned getting to this point.
Buffy is no longer terrified and ashamed at the thought of her friends learning about her and Spike! Not that she’s racing to tell them anything, but Spike has fewer and fewer sources of leverage to use against her, and it’s obvious how freeing she finds that. She seems much more genuine and enthusiastic about spending time with Dawn than she has for the entire season, and she’s not crippled by remorse over what she did in “Normal Again;” she can actually just be engaged with her friends’ lives. I like how understanding she is of Xander in particular. She can see what Anya can’t: that he’s already punishing himself so much for what he did that literal punishment would be really harsh. More about Dawn, though; it really is ridiculous that neither Buffy nor Dawn have realized that there are ways for Dawn to be involved in Buffy’s Plot A stuff without putting herself in mortal danger. She could help Buffy with training, and Buffy could show her some moves. And she could definitely help with research, since she’s actually a confirmed bookworm.
Looks like we’re going to have to deal with that pedestal Xander had Buffy on. The biggest problem I have with the extreme revulsion with which Xander responds to learning that Anya (and Buffy) have slept with Spike is that if he thought Spike was so disgusting and evil, why was he okay with nobody staking him? He gave Angel a harder time than he’s been giving Spike (actively hating Angel while merely being disdainful of Spike, most of the time), even though that’s the opposite of what makes sense. If he was going to react this badly to Buffy/Spike and Anya/Spike, then he should’ve been campaigning for Spike’s staking on a regular basis. But I’m also interested in Xander’s behavior with/about Anya before the Anya/Spike sex. Comparing the way Xander acted after Cordelia and Oz caught him and Willow snogging with the way he’s acting after leaving Anya at the altar, you can see that he’s grown up a lot. In S3, he slipped very easily back into his S1/early S2 pattern of petty arguments and insults with Cordelia, and it felt like his initial attempts to apologize were more about what he wanted than what she needed. This time around, he’s fully accepted his own fault and he’s completely torn up by his empathy for Anya. Hopefully that won’t change now that Anya has gotten her (somewhat unintentional) revenge.
If Anya had already begun to realize that vengeance isn’t always good (or, more accurately, is almost never good), then this episode wouldn’t have worked at all. I’m not sure that excuses the show for never making her deal with that before now, but I do think it played out very powerfully in this episode. She starts out deeply hurt but still a little bit hopeful that Xander will tell her what she wants to hear (that he does want to get married and he just made a mistake). When he doesn’t, she lets her hurt and anger take over and uses them in the way she’s always used them: revenge. In 1100 years as a vengeance demon, the only side she ever saw of failed relationships was the side of hurt and betrayed women. She has never had an opportunity to empathize with any of the men (not that they necessarily deserved it—some probably didn’t feel bad about what they’d done at all). So now, when Xander is clearly punishing himself quite effectively, she can’t comprehend what that means. She thinks he must suffer physical pain, even though emotional pain is what actually changes people. When she can’t get anyone to wish him that pain, she eventually loses momentum and has to start dealing with her own pain, at which point she becomes vulnerable and miserable enough to make a terrible, alcohol-influenced choice. When she stops Spike from wishing badness upon Xander, it’s clear that the lesson has sunk in. She might not fully understand why vengeance is wrong yet, but she’s lost her taste for it.
Dawn’s reaction to learning about Buffy/Spike, aka the reason Buffy was never around for a few months, was a pleasant surprise. Her moods have been so unpredictable all season. I couldn’t remember if she was going to throw another fit or not, so I was really impressed when she was so understanding about it. She and Buffy are making real progress in their sisterly relationship. I also like how Dawn is humbly accepting whatever she's going to get for all the stealing.
Even as much as I dislike Spike, I was shocked that he would actually threaten to sic a vampire on her while she was already struggling in a fight with another one if she didn’t do what he wanted. As all of his strategies fail one by one, he’s getting more and more frustrated and more and more sinister in his approach. Now, he’s back to the attitude he had in S5, of having convinced himself that Buffy feels the same way he does, no matter what she says to disabuse him of that notion.
Like with Xander, it’s interesting to see how much Willow has changed since her relationship problems in S3. This time, she’s extremely keen to make sure she isn’t infringing on Tara’s boundaries. She’s hopeful, but also very humble and accepting of whatever Tara decides is fair, which proves that she understands she was in the wrong and that Tara was right to leave. Progress! Now let’s just tear all that down, shall we?
“Hey, a pet store! You didn’t take anything from there, did you?”
“A pocket full of goldfish. It didn’t work out.”
“Those are metaphor intestines! You’re not in any real pain!”
The Watcher's Diary
In this blog, I'll be reviewing, analyzing, and generally fangirling over excellent television. Exhibit A: the Whedonverse.