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A Darkness at the End of the Tunnel

Buffy Episode 6.13 Dead Things
Air Date: 05Feb02

Some of you may have noticed that I didn't write my usual analysis of 'Doublemeat Palace'. See, usually I really enjoy picking apart each new Buffy episode, but that one just felt like a chore I had to get around to. In a nutshell, it was fine. As Chris said (and I'm paraphrasing), it was a perfectly decent comedic break that would have fit in well in the first or second season, but the show has supposedly matured beyond that. The only thing that left an impression on me (pointed out by James who's receiving one of these emails for the first time) was the dispassionate look on Buffy's face as she and Spike were gettin' it on stand-up style. But overall it did nothing to develop a season that's in desperate need of development. Dr.Whedon to O.R., stat!

On to 'Dead Things'. I really liked this episode, and I'd call it the best of the last 6 by far. They actually addressed some of the more important issues that had previously been forgotten (damn this season's recurring bouts of amnesia!). Three important plotlines got a substantial push forward last night:

The Legion of Nerdy Doom's rise as Sunnydale's super villains. They needed to see some real world consequences to their wave of geekly terror. When reality came in the form of a champagne bottle to the skull of lovely Katrina, the gap between who's naughty and who's nice widened. Jonathon and Andrew are learning quickly that they don't have the stones to really be evil, and it's also becoming clear that Warren has the capacity for much darker deeds. Hands up everyone that can see A & J eventually working with the Scoobs to stop an out-of-control and armed-to-the-teeth Warren. Even if there's no Big Bad this season, Warren could conceivably serve as a medium-sized bad (and who knows who he could end up in cahoots with – maybe an angry Amy, out to whip Willow for giving her the straight arm?) On the lighter side, the nerds' infighting was hilarious as always. The lightsaber duel while Warren was in the bedroom with Katrina, Andrew's anger at Jonathon for touching his copy of Frampton Comes Alive, and Jonathon's threat to curse Andrew with his "magic bone". I love long shots of the nerds when we see how short Jonathon is!

Spike & Buffy, and the whole "You came back wrong" thing. It's about time she remembered to actually check into that, and the truth ended up being deceptively simple. Some spoiler site said previously that it would end up being the worst thing she could have imagined, which ended up being true. There's nothing wrong with her, so she's got nothing and no one to blame her Spike addiction on but herself. "Please don't forgive me" is one hell of a heavy line and it's been stuck in my head since she was sobbing it into Tara's lap.

I love the parallels between the nerds carelessly using Katrina, and Spike & Buffy's relationship. Is Buffy exploiting Spike's love, or is Spike exploiting Buffy's vulnerability and neediness? And while we're on the topic of our William, it was nice to see his shadier side surface last night on the catwalk at the Bronze. I had forgotten that he was once a cold blooded creature of the night, as opposed to the lovesick puppy following Buffy around with his blankie over his head. He had a real Dracula vibe, stepping out of the shadows and talking the talk. Chilling...

Someone on AICN mentioned something last night that's leading me to make a prediction. Earlier this season, Tara was briefly discussing The Hunchback of Notre Dame with someone (either Buffy or Willow). She said something about how you shouldn't feel pity for Quasimodo at the end, because he was a monster who's motivation wasn't ever to do good, it was just to possess this woman he was obsessed with. Sound familiar? Now that it's been brought up, I'm thinking it reeks of Whedonesque foreshadowing. Will Spike be the Hunchback of Sunnydale? Will the story play out the same, and will it end with his death? Joss & Co have already confirmed that an important character will die this season. Spike is probably the one that viewers would most freak out over if he was killed off. So wouldn't it be just like Mutant Enemy productions to do it? Marti Noxon recently said there won't necessarily be a Big Bad this season so much as a Big Bad Climax. How about Spike giving up his life to save Buffy AFTER she's rejected him, redeeming him once and for all in her eyes as well as the eyes of the rest of the Scoobs? You want a Big Bad Climax? How about Willow finally going berserk with black magic, and Spike dies protecting Buffy from HER?

Okay, what's next? Oh - Willow and Tara. I've missed Tara, and it was good to see her back in an episode. Their breakup is one of the most important things that's happened this season, and it's high time the writers got back to it. But as a sidenote, yesterday I was defending Tara as a likeable character, but didn't it seem like her usual shyness was leaning towards brain damage last night? Sometimes she looks at people like she's seconds away from falling asleep. "Amber, your mouth's hanging open again. Crap, she's drooling. Cut! Can someone bring me a tissue?"

Anya was extra-beautiful when she was explaining the time-shifty demons in the graveyard to Buffy and the others. It's too bad that she & Xander had to fade back to being The Friends Who Are Off Getting Married, but I won't complain because the episode was pretty content heavy for everyone else.

What's with Swing Night at The Bronze? Is it still 1998 there?

We even got a cliff-hanger in this episode, since Buffy now has to go and deal with the fact that the nerds killed Katrina and tried to pin it on her. Hopefully it won't be 2 or 3 episodes before she remembers to do that.

Okay, I'm drained and that's about all I can come up with for now. Talk to you all soon (in a day or so when you've finished reading this novel).


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