Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Seeing Red   Rewatch 
March 3, 2016 8:07 AM - Season 6, Episode 19 - Subscribe

The gang reacts to learning of Buffy's relationship with Spike, and the vampire attempts to force his way back into the slayer's life. Buffy stops Warren's latest power play with an assist from Jonathan, but Warren reappears with deadly consequences.
posted by yellowbinder (7 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Man, I don't think I remembered that the attempted rape and Tara getting shot happened in the same episode. This might be the most brutal hour of the entire series.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:45 AM on March 3, 2016 [3 favorites]

And the worst was, "Oh hey look fans, Amber Benson's in the opening credits for the first time! Yay, let's celebrate! Oh..."
posted by wabbittwax at 10:46 AM on March 3, 2016 [8 favorites]

The attempted rape never rang true with me and honestly is highly problematic in terms of Spike's role in s7.
posted by miss-lapin at 7:31 PM on March 3, 2016 [4 favorites]

yeah, I think they weren't 100% sure where they were going with the rape, and it sure seems like they decided to do something other than what this episode would suggest.
posted by skewed at 7:56 PM on March 3, 2016 [2 favorites]

Honestly even without a soul, I just can't, at his worst, see Spike as a rapist. Angel? Yes. Evil Angel I can TOTALLY see as a rapist, but not Spike.
posted by miss-lapin at 8:14 PM on March 3, 2016 [2 favorites]

I can absolutely see Spike as a rapist, especially in the context of a relationship where the boundaries of consent were regularly violated. A lot of men are rapists after all, so it doesn't really surprise me that the soulless vampire might be one. This is the writers taking Spike as far as he can go. I don't mind this choice, in particular Spike's confusion and anger about his own actions, his inability to deal with the emotions he feels, but it does cause problems in 7. They needed a shift change after this, and the soul helped, but it is difficult to plot a romance between Spike and Buffy after this event. They... sort of... deal with Buffy's feelings towards Spike, but they can't be sure. It doesn't help that 7 will slightly rewrite how events went down in 6.

This episode also features Xander being the absolute worst version of Xander. Thankfully he does apologise at the end of the episode, but he is so utterly unpleasant this episode. He's less likable than Warren.

Killing Tara was... hmm. Well it was planned all along, sure. The whole credits thing is tedious, something Whedon wanted to do since Season 1, although frankly Amber Benson had deserved her name in the credits for a long time (Emma Caulfield, after all, had managed to get them. I guess she had a better agent.) I'm going to declare myself fairly ignorant of depictions of lesbians in the media and say that until it was pointed out to me, the idea of a vengeful lesbian lover as a trope was pretty new to me; I know it did genuinely offend a lot of gay people at the time, and that's a massive shame, and it didn't help that magic, which was formerly a metaphor for homosexuality, became a metaphor for power and addiction, and combining the two had unfortunate implications that the writers just hadn't thought about.

-"Real love is grand and passionate. It burns and consumes." If vampires can love, perhaps they can only love in one way.
"I don't know what I'd do without you and Will." Oh Xander, you had to say it didn't you.
-The fact that the shooting is so effective is kind of annoying, because the Slayer is in fact almost killed by one bullet, and other than Darla, no-one has ever tried or will try again to just shoot her!
posted by Cannon Fodder at 12:19 AM on March 4, 2016 [3 favorites]

The whole credits thing is tedious, something Whedon wanted to do since Season 1

I think this episode sets some kind of record for failures to realize that changes in context can change viewers' reactions:

1. Putting Jesse in the opening credits, then killing him off before viewers got really invested in him, is sort of stunty but probably not a big deal. Doing the same thing to a beloved character who'd been on the show for 2.5 years is a completely different beast. Especially when just about every hetero long-term love interest got at least some time as an opening-credits regular (Carpenter, Caulfield, Green, Blucas, Boreanaz, Marsters). And when the Willow/Tara relationship had been treated ridiculously unfairly (the network was fine with "Buffy and Riley fuck until supernatural forces are unleashed" as a plot point, Anya could yak non-stop about the sex she and Xander had, but Joss had to threaten to quit to get a gentle, comforting Willow/Tara kiss in The Body.)

2. Killing off Tara, one member of a relationship that was pioneering in terms of representation, is a very different thing than the original plan to kill off Oz. And the "dead lesbian" trope is still alive and well all these years later; I'm seeing the same frustration play out with a lesbian character being murdered in a different fandom right now.

3. James Marsters has said that the idea for the attempted rape came from a female writer who was in a failing relationship, thought everything could be fixed if they just had sex, and basically forced the guy to have sex. The writers didn't realize that flipping the genders for the attempted rape would change the dynamics of it.

I can absolutely see Spike as a rapist, especially in the context of a relationship where the boundaries of consent were regularly violated. A lot of men are rapists after all, so it doesn't really surprise me that the soulless vampire might be one.

Yeah, to me it doesn't seem shockingly out of character for Spike.

In Lover's Walk, he's willing to use a love spell (magical coercion) to get Drusilla back, and is only dissuaded when he decides physical coercion is the way to go: "I'll find her, wherever she is, tie her up, torture her until she likes me

Then there's Crush, where he kidnaps Buffy, threatens to kill her if she doesn't love him, and later threatens to kill Drusilla (whom he supposedly loved as recently as two years ago) to prove his love.

Then he has the Buffybot built, a machine who looks like Buffy, but who can't refuse Spike because she's programmed to have with sex with Spike.

That said, I would have been delighted if they'd found some other plot device to send Spike on his quest for a soul. Especially (like a lot of other characters' worst excesses in Season 6), it made things difficult in Season 7.
posted by creepygirl at 2:02 PM on March 6, 2016

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