Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Something Blue   Rewatch 
August 26, 2015 9:11 PM - Season 4, Episode 9 - Subscribe

As Buffy and Riley grow closer, Willow continues to experience great pain over Oz's departure. She turns to magic, casting a spell that her will be done. It ends up making her angry comments reality, most notably that Buffy and Spike should get married.
posted by yellowbinder (7 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This episode is super silly, but has a great deal of interesting bits thematically, and ones that connect to the larger arc of the series, so it’s not a throwaway. I enjoy it a great deal.

First, we have Riley’s “Oh yes - I am a lesbian” admission, adding fuel to the AU where Riley dates Willow, and hinting at what is to come next episode. His “is that a conversation I actually had, or one I was just practicing” resonates with introverts everywhere so much, it might as well be on a Buzzfeed gifset.

“Riley seems so solid. Like he wouldn't cause me heartache.” Aw, sorry, Buffy. Not allowed. Continues the “I like my evil like I like my men – evil” bit from last week, and highlights what will eventually destroy their relationship. Oh, and with that weird driving-as-sex-metaphor talk. I am firmly with Buffy on the whole driving-for-fun-is-weird thing (actual driving).

“Kiss the Librarian” ok sure I will wait did I type that out loud

Spike observing Willow and saying, “she’s hangin’ on by a thread” continues the theme of Spike being the one to really understand human dynamics. It’s always the outsider who is able see these things. Xander may be branded as “the one who sees” but frankly Spike is often much better at it. This may be more true of Xander by the last couple of seasons, as Spike becomes more integrated into the group, and Xander becomes the outsider by virtue of having no supernatural abilities.

Speaking of supernatural, is this the first reference to Spike’s “Passions” obsession?

There’s also a “Brave Little Toaster” reference! That movie scared the bejesus out of me as a child. Again, “drinking anything ever is bad” ok we get it show. Willow and Giles both reach for the booze first thing this time.

I love that Buffy asks Giles to give her away at her wedding. That is a future plotline we’ll never get a chance to see, oh well, but I can dream.

Spike and Buffy are hilarious here, as is Giles. I love that Buffy always insists she’s the only one unaffected by spells that are affecting her. Wedding planning is a nightmare even for the living. I now want to see one of those trashy wedding TLC shows but with a wedding planner who specializes in the undead. The argument over whose name is less classy…hahaha. Spike insulting Joyce is a bit too far, though. He likes her. Not that he doesn’t insult the people he likes. I don’t know.

This is also the first time Spike helps out Giles as part of the gang (he does help at the end of season two, but it’s a little different).

Xander: (Baffled) How? What? How?
Giles: Three excellent questions.

Xander: Can I be blind too? (These never fail to make me laugh embarrassingly)

We see Willow developing her penchant for out of control magic and vengeance, that will become worse and worse until season six. When Buffy says “we may be into a forgetting spell later,” I can’t help but cringe (as awesome as "Tabula Rasa" is, ow my heart). Really, it all stems from two things: the need to avoid unpleasantness, and the need to be in control. I think her speech to Giles about “Everybody cares. Nobody wants to be inconvenienced. You all want me to take the time and go through the pain, as long as you don't have to hear about it anymore” is really quite astute and devastating, applicable to many things (not just teen relationship angst). One of the interesting points The Body makes in the one supernatural fight it contains is that life goes on in the midst of devastation. We have to ask ourselves, how do we grieve, and help others grieve, and still function?

As a type 1 diabetic who loves Willow dearly, her “We could eat sundaes and watch Steel Magnolias and you can tell me how, at least I don't have diabetes” line is literally my least favourite line of the entire series, but that is personal bias.

Amy gets de-ratted for a brief, shining moment! I know they brought her back, but without that knowledge, the first time I saw this episode, man, was that both awesome and a hell of a tease for the fans. Talk about acknowledgement of continuity. Also, I’m pretty sure one of the spell books they look at has the "Gingerbread" symbol on it (I think) for the double reference.

Spike: You don't got the stones.
Buffy: Oh, I got the stones. I got a whole bunch of … stones.
Does this exchange make anyone else think of “It’s a big rock. I can’t wait to tell my friends; I bet none of them has a rock this big”?

Willow’s “we’re all doomed to [relationship] badness” calls back to the end of “I Robot, You Jane,” showing that little has changed in three seasons.

So basically, this is a humour episode that winds up foreshadowing everything. The weirdest thing is (and I’m sure there are plenty of differences of opinion on this) that most of the stuff that seems like a crack fanfic here actually comes about in a largely developed, organic way (and a largely different tone).
posted by ilana at 9:30 PM on August 26, 2015 [4 favorites]

Ilana kind of nailed it with her post above, but this is a really splendid episode. Season 4 of Buffy has a habit of producing lots of jewels of episodes without anything to really bind them together. And as such it makes me really like this season. While the show has played about with misfiring magic before, it's at it's most entertaining here, primarily driven by Buffy and Spike's sudden engagement. My favourite thing about it is that they still seem to be aware that they loathe each other, while completely under the effects of the spell.

This is also a "goodbye to Oz" episode, in that we get to see Willow really taking her grief on board. Buffy got to have one of these, so why shouldn't Willow? How much of the foreshadowing of this episode is intentional or not is an open question really. Certainly, Willow's tendency to go towards spellcraft in a crisis again and again is a theme the show has consistently been hitting for a long time.

-D Hoffryn gets a name!
-"Oh well. Here is my talisman. If you change your mind, give me a chant." This will hang round for quite a while before being used again!
-"This is the crack team that defeats my evil plans. I'm so embarrased"
-"Stop that right now. I can hear the smacking."
-Giles being touched by Buffy wanting him to give her away
-Everyone gets annoyingly judgy at Willow for getting drunk. I feel like everyone who has a bad break up is allowed at least one drunken night before facing judgment.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 12:05 AM on August 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

It's interesting that while all of her friends are getting a bit frustrated with Willow, the only one she really lashes out at is Xander. She doesn't just tell him he doesn't see, or wheedle for him to stay the way she does With Buffy, but first brings up the basement thing - which we know is a sore point, and so does she - but then brings up his history of supernatural romances and has a go at Anya to boot. I suspect he may be copping it more because of their romantic history - he's as close as she can get to taking it out on Oz.

Willow's not allowed to drink but Giles is? Ok she is under-age but it seems unfair.

Spike previously bonded with Joyce over Passions.

Overall, a hilarious episode that also advances the plot. Definitely one of the strong ones and yeah, part of why S4 is equally tied with S3 as my favourite.
posted by Athanassiel at 5:05 AM on August 27, 2015 [1 favorite]

"This is the crack team that foils my every plan? I am deeply shamed" is one of my favorite Spike lines.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:26 AM on August 27, 2015 [4 favorites]

This is my comfort viewing ep. Whenever I feel down this is my go to netflix ep. (and if netflix loses buffy...well my relationship with them is done)
posted by miss-lapin at 4:20 PM on August 28, 2015 [1 favorite]

I want to go back to the point about her friends being so easily annoyed with Will's sudden inability to be what they need. I was and still am annoyed by this. None of the characters actually has to confront that at least PART of the problem is the expectations they lay on Will. Sure Spike notices that Will is hanging on by a thread. I don't think that's just because of his acumen or being an outsider, but also because he has nothing invested in Willow being hyper functional. The rest of the characters despite knowing she should be heartbroken still expect her to be hyper functional Will and this surely contributes to her desire to recover from Oz. Her line about everyone wanting her to go through it but no one wants to be inconvenienced seems amazingly true and yet none of the other characters really ever think about it as right after this she turns into a cookie baking machine. I would have liked in the resolution for the other characters to acknowledge maybe she wasn't the only one who was guilty of something in this scenario.
posted by miss-lapin at 10:35 AM on September 6, 2015 [3 favorites]

Oh man, I feel sorry for anyone who didn't know what Passions was...even for soap operas it was way fuckin out there. I loved it for a couple summers where I was able to watch while school was out.
posted by LizBoBiz at 10:05 PM on February 11

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