Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Crush   Rewatch 
November 25, 2015 8:27 PM - Season 5, Episode 14 - Subscribe

Spike reveals his romantic feelings for Buffy, who disgustedly rebuffs him. Drusilla arrives hoping to entice Spike to come play with Angel and helps him reconnect with his old evil self.
posted by yellowbinder (9 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
OK, now this episode truly marks a low in failing to kill vampires. It's not just that Buffy just punches Spike after he tied her up and almost set Drusilla on her, she also lets Drusilla, the insane evil vampire live. I think the writers sometimes forget what Buffy's day job is!

Other than that absurd conclusion, this is a good episode, with Spike's feelings come into a head. At his worst, Spike is a scary misogynist, and that's at full force here, as he ties up Buffy and Drusilla and demands that they listen to him. I think his character evolution in this season is earned precisely because of episodes like this, but it could be argued that the writers are a little flip floppy in how dangerous he is. Oh well: we'll see that in full force in 6.

We also have Buffy being interested in Ben, he being the only unattached male on the show who's not Spike (maybe she wouldn't have slept with Spike in 6 if she'd just signed up for e-harmony or something...). Luckily this plot line will not go too far, I wonder if the writers could sense the lack of chemistry there.

-Buffy doesn't know about it, but Spike actually kill someone in this episode.
-"I'm drowning in you Summers."
-"We can love quite well, if not wisely."
-Cute moment where Tara looks for change and Willow provides it. Just fun background stuff
-"The sodding onion got remodeled off the menu"
-The first and only appearance of the train station
posted by Cannon Fodder at 12:10 AM on November 26, 2015 [2 favorites]

Buffy doesn't know about it, but Spike actually kill someone in this episode.

I think 85% of fandom has collective amnesia about this episode, because tons of people are still spouting the idiotic "Spike was harmless once he was chipped, so it was ok for the Scoobies not to stake him" argument, which really, really, cannot be supported given Spike's actions in this episode.

There's also a sizable contingent that seem to feel that Buffy was being unfair and species-ist against demons when she assumed that Spike couldn't truly love her. I think it's perfectly reasonable for Buffy to have doubts about Spike's "love" for her and what that means, when that "love" leads him to kidnapping her, threatening to kill her, and then offering to kill Drusilla (whom he supposedly "loved" as recently as three years ago.)

Onto other parts of this episode. I find Tara kind of irritating in this exchange:

BUFFY: Poor Will. Still getting those headaches?
WILLOW: Fewer and further between, but...yep, they're still exercising their visitation rights.
TARA: Honey, in case you didn't hear me the first six thousand times, no more teleportation spells.
WILLOW: Well, it's just we have squat in the way of Glory-fighting arsenal, and ... another run-in with her and my headaches and nosebleeds are gonna be the least of our problems.

If Willow hadn't done that teleportation spell in the previous episode, the world would have ended, so I think that Willow's completely right that her headaches and nosebleeds are a small price to pay. (And since Tara doesn't have an alternative solution to The Glory Problem, I'm not sure that categorically forbidding future teleportation spells is a great idea.) I'm also rather annoyed that Giles (in Blood Ties) and Tara (in this episode) are making hand-wringy comments about how much advanced magic Willow is doing, without offering to take on some of the load. It's not like either one of them is helpless in the magic department, even if they aren't as powerful as Willow is now.
posted by creepygirl at 10:42 AM on November 26, 2015 [4 favorites]

While Spike did, technically, kill in this episode, Drusilla had snapped his victim's neck first (so I assumed while she was still alive, she was basically paralyzed, which got around the whole "Spike can't hurt people" thing). Not that it lets him off the hook, of course.

I enjoy this episode because I think Drusilla is a lot of fun in general, and I like when Harmony shows up. But I like it less and less the more I've watched it. (Although I appreciate Spike knows how he feels is pretty messed up. Although that's kind of the only time.)

(And the way the show -- overall -- treated Willow really bothers me. Willow's power was necessary when they needed it but once they didn't ... well ...)
posted by darksong at 12:00 PM on November 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

I always assumed that Dru was the one who killed that woman.
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:11 PM on November 26, 2015 [2 favorites]

(maybe she wouldn't have slept with Spike in 6 if she'd just signed up for e-harmony or something...)

You know, they never come right out and SAY this, but Buffy only tends to maintain long-term relationships with guys who are, like her, super-strong. And things went downhill with Riley once he WASN'T super-strong anymore. Not to put too fine a point on it, but I don't think Buffy is all that sexually compatible with normal human men, because she could snap them like toothpicks.
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:15 PM on November 26, 2015 [3 favorites]

Do you know, I somehow missed that Dru killed the person first. That actually totally makes sense! Still pretty, you know, evil....

To be fair, I think Tara is doing the overprotective lover thing with Willow, Oz did similar beforehand. I also suspect it was thrown in there as a way to explain why they don't just use that very effective tactic every time Glory turns up again. You're right in that there is a split of pressure on Willow to both do magic and control it, but I do think that's deliberate, and that's where drama stems from. Contra the excesses of Season 6, Willow's magic wasn't all about fun, after all her first major act of magic was restoring Angel's soul. It's not that Willow is wrong about magic being necessary, but she lacks the wisdom to know when it is and when it isn't.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 12:41 AM on November 27, 2015

To be fair, I think Tara is doing the overprotective lover thing with Willow, Oz did similar beforehand.

I think there's a difference in the way that Oz expressed his concern:

WILLOW: I don’t know. Then again, what is college for if not experimenting? You know, maybe I can handle it. I’ll know when I’ve reached my limit.
OZ comes up to them: Wine coolers?
BUFFY: Magic.
OZ: Ooh, you didn’t encourage her, did you?
WILLOW: Where is supportive boyfriend guy?
OZ: He’s picking up your dry cleaning, but he told me to tell you that he’s afraid you’re gonna get hurt.”
WILLOW with a smile: Okay, Brutus. (Oz just looks at her) Brutus – Caesar? (Willow looks form Oz to Buffy) Betrayal – trusted friend? (Makes stabbing motions with her banana) Back stabby?
OZ: “Oh, I’m with you on the reference, but – I won’t lie about the fact that I worry? I know what it’s like to have power you can’t control. I mean, every time I start to wolf out, I touch something –deep – dark. It’s not fun. But just know that what ever you decide, I back your play.

To me, that treats Willow as someone who is allowed to make her own decisions, even ones that worry him.

"Honey, in case you didn't hear me the first six thousand times, no more teleportation spells." is an authoritarian "don't do it because I said so" kind of communication. Like if Willow isn't on board with what Tara thinks she should do, it's because she didn't hear Tara the first six thousand times. There is no acknowledgment that Willow might have heard Tara, but disagreed with her about the necessity of doing another teleportation spell.

Also, I would say that here, Willow is right and Tara is wrong about the necessity of using magic.
posted by creepygirl at 8:18 AM on November 27, 2015 [5 favorites]

I'm just here to say this one of my absolute favorite episodes.
posted by miss-lapin at 1:24 AM on November 29, 2015

My favourite part of this episode, on rewatch, is when Harmony shoots Spike and gives him one to go on with. I don't really like Harmony much overall, but given what a stupid, entitled prat Spike is being, it is pretty satisfying to watch him being taken down by the vapid blonde girl he always underestimates. He does treat her like a dog. Go Harmony!
posted by Athanassiel at 3:37 AM on December 6, 2015

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