Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Smashed   Rewatch 
January 27, 2016 8:51 PM - Season 6, Episode 9 - Subscribe

Reeling from her breakup with Tara, Willow de-rats Amy and the two go on a magic bender. Spike realizes he can hit Buffy, and the two get physical. The trio freeze their way through a museum heist.
posted by yellowbinder (3 comments total)
WILLOW: What's the matter, Amy? You lonely? (opens the cage) Oh, we need to get you a nice companion rat (takes Amy out of the cage) that you can love ... play with ... and grow attached to, until one day they leave you for no good reason.

This is the last word we hear from Willow on-screen about the memory spell. She thinks Tara broke up with her for “no good reason.” She doesn't think she did anything wrong.

This is why I’ve been complaining about the reconciliation without the lack of an on-screen apology. Not because I think apologies fix everything, but because Willow at no point, on-screen, admits that the memory spell was wrong.

Tara is a woman with a strong sense of right and wrong (I disagree with her sometimes about what is right and what is wrong, but I don’t doubt the strength of her convictions). In Season 6 she has plenty of confidence to stand up for what she believes in. I just don’t see her getting back together with Willow unless Willow admitted the memory spell was wrong. (I could see other characters doing taking back a partner who had performed a memory spell on them without any acknowledgment of wrongness—for example, Cordelia thought it was just adorbs that Xander tried to violate her mind with a love spell in Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, and later on, Xander was willing to date Anya even though Anya (while human) tried to kill Willow—it just seems wrong for Season 6 Tara.)

I don’t buy Willow’s “magic sobriety” as an implicit admission that the memory spell was wrong. If she’d embarked upon “magic sobriety” immediately after the first memory spell, maybe. But she doesn’t do it then, and she doesn’t do it after the second memory spell/the breakup, either. It’s only after she starts letting a creepy warlock “taste” her and accidentally physically harms Dawn that she decides to give up magic. And Willow doesn’t choose to return to magic when she briefly thinks Tara has moved on—because the magic sobriety is something Willow is doing for Willow.

Also, Tara is very painfully aware, through her biological family, that it’s possible to be abusive and controlling without casting a single spell. So I don’t buy her taking back Willow without an admission that the memory spell was wrong, and that’s far too big an admission for me to accept happening off-screen.
posted by creepygirl at 9:10 PM on January 27, 2016 [5 favorites]

I don't think we're meant to think Willow is right here. She's clearly, clearly wrong throughout this entire episode. It's true that there is no on screen explicit apology (well, actually there is, but it's clear that she's not actually sorry for the magic, just sorry she got caught), and I think that is a massive mistake, but, to continue the discussion we've had across three threads now :);

1)Tara explicitly wants to skip to the end of the make up. This won't actually work, and is probably a really bad idea, but we don't get to see the consequences because of the bullet. And again, I'm sympathetic towards her actions here because I've pretty much exactly done them (to a cheating partner, not, you know, a magic user)
2)There's nothing to say that Willow might have apologised again. But, you know, the bullet

I think this is the "good" episode of this two episode arc. I love Buffy and Spike literally bring a house done on them. It's absurd and over dramatic, but hasn't Buffy always been about over the top metaphors? Willow's addiction, meanwhile, is still (mostly) rooted in power in this episode. Her abuses involve using magic to control reality in meaningless ways. Unfortunately Rack is about to wreck this all, but at the moment her character is making sense. I do think the magic they use is a bit goofy here, and if Amy was as powerful as she apparently is in this scene, why didn't she just magic everyone in Gingerbread?

Unfortunately the writing of magic on this show is repeatedly sloppy and inconsistent. At this point it doesn't matter so much, as most of their problems can't be solved by magic, but whenever Willow gets in a fight again you might want to ask why she doesn't just magic her opponent into a cage or any other number of absurd things she does in the scene at the bronze.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 1:34 AM on January 28, 2016 [2 favorites]

Though it's quite funny, I'm kind of sorry this is the last meaningful interaction between Buffy and Amy:

AMY: By a giant snake thing. (nods) Okay, still adjusting. Hi Buffy.
BUFFY: Hi. (awkwardly) How've you been?
AMY: Rat. You?
BUFFY: Dead.

They've both been abruptly yanked back to human existence by Willow (in both cases there was a bit of a selfish motivation on Willow's part, and not much thought beforehand about the returnee's potential adjustment difficulties). It's too bad they couldn't have talked a bit longer (or at another time) about their common ground.
posted by creepygirl at 10:15 PM on January 31, 2016

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