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Positives and Negatives - S6

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  • Positives and Negatives - S6

    I just thought I'd set this up for starting tomorrow because I had a quiet five mins. As before, this is just for fun.

    Taking one episode a day, try(!!) to choose one thing about the episode that you think is positive and one thing that is negative. They don't have to be big things about the story, plots, characters (although they can be), more superficial observations are also very welcome and may bring up some variety.

    Feel free to comment/discuss any thoughts posted too (and also to join in ad hoc or play catch up too if you miss a day or so and want to).


    Day 1 - Bargaining (pt1)
    Day 2 - Bargaining (pt2)
    Day 3 - After Life
    Day 4 - Flooded
    Day 5 - Life Serial
    Day 6 - All the Way
    Day 7 - Once More, With Feeling
    Day 8 - Tabula Rasa
    Day 9 - Smashed
    Day 10 - Wrecked
    Day 11 - Gone
    Day 12 - Doublemeat Palace
    Day 13 - Dead Things
    Day 14 - Older and Far Away
    Day 15 - As You Were
    Day 16 - Hell's Bells
    Day 17 - Normal Again
    Day 18 - Entropy
    Day 19 - Seeing Red
    Day 20 - Villains
    Day 21 - Two to Go
    Day 22 - Grave

    - - - Updated - - -

    Huh, we're catching up to my current rewatch so when we go past I'm going to be pouring over transcripts then on trying to remember the eps better to pick things, ha.

    I think the Bargaining two-parter is probably my favourite season opener, it's fantastic. These two eps and After Life set so much of what is to come in the season out. So the first part first...

    Bargaining pt1

    Positive - It's really hard to pick something because the ep gives so much insight into the emotional situations for the group and the interactions with the Buffybot tell us so much (Dawn lying beside it is heart breaking). But to go for something possibly a little less obvious I'm going to pick the interaction between Spike and Giles in the scene of the gang patrolling at the start. I love Spike's journey across the series and after the potential we saw for him in S5 we'll find the limitation in S6 and it is great how they start showing both really clearly in the opening parts. Spike has stayed and is helping the scoobies fight which is a huge thing for him to choose to do. We come to understand that he still wants to keep his promise now and protect Dawn. His hair, always a good indicator of the character's mood, is less helmet and defensive and more the tousled, softer look for somewhat integrating with the humans. But his nature still sees him struggle. So we see in this scene him helping but also letting Giles fear for his life because he has casually lit the vamp and is sure that'll be enough. It's pretty careless and taunting him afterwards too is more of the same, though there's clearly some camaraderie along in there too. It's caustic and funny, but there's a serious negative point in there as well and it's this layering in the writing that is BtVS at its best.

    Negative - Giles choosing to leave. Buffy's final words don't obligate them to stick together and everyone's life is their own. There are parts of me that feel that Giles has every right to choose to go. But when I look at the others trying to keep the hellmouth safe, supporting/caring for Dawn and putting their lives on the line every damn day (and all for free compared to him too of course), well then I struggle to see his exit in such a reasonable light.
    Last edited by Stoney; 19-04-18, 10:46 AM.

  • #2
    Day 1 - Bargaining Part 1

    Positive: SMG is fantastic as the Buffybot. She's so nice and polite to everyone, and her punning is excellent. It just feels like she wants to fit in and not disappoint anyone, but she knows deep down that she's not the Buffy they really want. She has a relationship with everyone, she understands how Spike's attitude has changed, Dawn finds comfort in her, Giles is persuaded she doesn't need him and Willow 'fixes' her; all things the real Buffy will face and feel when she returns. Really, Buffybot is Buffy! It's such a clever way to write her and lays out the whole season for Buffy in this one episode.

    Negative: How could they think The Slayer, who saved the world on a regular basis, would end up in Hell. It just feels like that's an excuse, born out of Willow's grief.


    • #3
      Bargaining part 1

      Positive: Willow. I love that scene where Willow explains Xander the why. There's so much determination and passion in her eyes, it's palpable how much she loves and misses Buffy. I absolutely admire Will's resolve, her single-minded dedication, her fierceness, her willingness to break the rules and do whatever it takes to bring Buffy back and, most importantly, her skill. She's amazing in this episode.

      Negative: I think that Buffy was brought back too early. I'd like to see at least one more episode with just the gang dealing with the Hellmouth and preparing the resurrection. I know that there's a non-canon comic about it and it's pretty cool but still, I want to see Willow at the black market, I want to know how she obtained the necessary scrolls/books, I want to see the scene where she mentioned the resurrection for the first time. It's not like there's not enough time in this season.


      • #4
        Day 1 - Bargaining Part 1

        Positive: The scene with Giles in the airport and how he hugged everyone of them: Willow is clearly his favorite as he saved the best for last, and the way Xander first went for a hug while Giles simply extended his hand to shake Xander's. When Xander was about to shake his hand, Giles just pulls him into a hug, and my God the way Xander closes his eyes -- most wasted opportunity Xander/Giles' relationship.

        Negative: I really wish Buffy didn't return so soon. I wanna see more of the Scoobies without her.
        Made by Trickyboxes
        Halfrek gives Spike the curse that will change his entire life. Teenage Dirtbag


        • #5
          Day 2 - Bargaining Part 2

          Positive: It's got to be a resurrected Buffy trapped in her coffin and having to fight her way out. Such powerful imagery, along with the other Buffy (Bot) being torn apart, not subtle perhaps, but so much meaning; resurrection and destruction are the same for Buffy. I also like how Dawn calls the Bot just Buffy; she gets it. (I consider Dawn to be girl-Buffy for much of Season 6 so it all ties in for me. I love Season 6 )

          Negative: Xander being so dismissive of the BuffyBot, wanting to abandoned it to the demons, blaming it for leading the demons to them. He really doesn't get it, which is totally in character but still annoys me. His platitudes to the real Buffy and his line 'she'll be fine' just add to the annoyance.


          • #6
            One thing I forgot to mention about the first episode: Xander's line "And I wanted to buy you a can of Old English 800, 'cause, you know, England, and you, and ... because at the time it sounded really funny. But the guy who lives in the box in front of the store, he, uh, wouldn't buy it for us."

            How come the gang were able to drink alcohol in the Bronze in S5 and now Xander can't buy alcohol because he's not 21 yet?

            Day 2 - Bargaining Part 2

            Positive: Xander being the first to realize that they'd brought Buffy back to life in her coffin and being so disgusted with himself and his friends about it. I love it when the show remembers that Xander is smart.


            ANYA: It's just, how are we supposed to fight these guys? (Everyone looks at her) I mean, we can take a vampire or two, sure, but there's a whole cavalcade of demons out there ... (uncertainly) I mean, I think this, you know ... it, it takes, um ... I mean, I ... we need...
            XANDER: Buffy.
            ANYA: (softly) Buffy.
            WILLOW: (harshly) Buffy...

            That was so cheesy and overdramatic and FALSE! I hate how the Scoobies are reduced to a bunch of idiots just to drill the fact that they're lost without Buffy into our heads. With Willow and Tara's powers, Xander's experience fighting vampires for six years, and Anya's knowledge in demons you could freaking take a cavalcade of demons. It also annoys me how much fuss was made in the first part with them fighting those vampires especially with Spike and Giles with them.

            I miss the three teenagers who used to fight alone in the summer between S2 and S3 and managed to stop a good number of vampires. It's just so annoyingly sad how they've turned out.
            Made by Trickyboxes
            Halfrek gives Spike the curse that will change his entire life. Teenage Dirtbag


            • #7
              There are just so many things across these episodes, great layers/depth to where everyone is emotionally and through that glimpses of how their summer has been.

              Bargaining pt2

              Positive - Spike's little smile looking out at the destruction and saying it 'looks fun' as an emphasis again on the side within him that isn't in line with the moral boundaries he'll need. These subtle touches really are brilliant. And around all that we get him also continuing to protect Dawn and have continuity too in seeing the potential he has as well. (Plus, this then leads to the moment of him stealing the bike which is just cool. )

              Negative - The bikers destruction of town, the instant fires and store raiding it's all really clich├ęd. But it creates a great visual for Buffy's sense of returning to hell, so I forgive them, I was just trying to think of a negative.
              Last edited by Stoney; 20-04-18, 12:04 PM.


              • #8
                Bargaining I:

                Positives: I think this is probably my favourite season opener of the show. It probably benefits from S5 ending on such a huge cliffhanger so there's really a lot of meat for the S6 opener to chew on. I could list a lot of things I love about it but one scene I do really love is the moment Dawn sneaks into Buffy's bedroom at night and snuggles up to the Buffybot (which looks like a corpse) for some cold comfort. It's heartbreakingly sad and the scene moves me every time. I really don't get how people can hate Dawn or dismiss her as "whiny." She lost her mother and sister in less than a year, it's a miracle she functions as well as she does.

                I also love all the scenes of the resurrection spell. It's perfectly ominous and creepy. I admire that they weren't there with the really horrifying shot of Buffy's corpse as well - I still find it awful to see Buffy like that.

                Negatives: They really de-power Spike in this episode. It's hard to imagine he has such difficulty against the sumo-sized vampire that he can't take it on his own or even without the Scoobies helping him. This doesn't seem like the same vampire who could practically go toe-to-toe with Buffy or Angel.

                Bargaining II:

                Positives: The scenes of Buffy digging out of her grave are really horrific but very well done. As are the shots of Buffy walking through the fiery streets of Sunnydale. Say what you will about some of the weaknesses of S6, and there are some I will grant you, but they did a fantastic job with Buffy's return. They're certainly earning her resurrection from death which is really important narratively as otherwise it would cheapen her sacrifice in The Gift.

                I also love the moment Buffy tears apart Razor's gang in probably less than 2 minutes flat. The fight scene itself is really pretty brutal (the shot of Razor's gang beating Buffy with their baseball bats is really pretty violent) but the scene displays the extent of the Slayer's raw power. She shrugs off their blows as if they're nothing.

                Negatives: Other than the scene where they find the Buffybot torn up, I find that the Spike/Dawn scenes are kind of pointless in this episode. I mean, you have to show what they're doing obviously, but they don't really do anything interesting. Every time the episode cuts to them I am just impatient for it to get back to Buffy or the Scoobies reactions to her. Although, I do agree with Stoney that the moment Spike grins at the Biker Demon's terror and destruction is pretty pivotal for his story this season. Even at soulless Spike's most noblest moment (which I'd argue the S6 openers are) he still gets satisfaction out the demon's causing mayhem and the terrorised scream of the woman in her home. It'll be important going forward.
                Last edited by vampmogs; 20-04-18, 12:58 PM.
                "The earth is doomed!" - Banner by Nina


                • #9
                  Bargaining part 2

                  Positive: There are some quality action scenes in this episodes - Spike kicking the road pirate out of his bike, Buffy trashing the entire gang, Willow casting, what is that thing even, an angry snowball? Even Tara gets all axe murder-y! Nobody messes with my girl. So awesome!

                  Negative: Anya is just the worst, trying to tell the fresh-out-of-the-grave Buffy about her wedding. Oh my god! Would you just stop talking? Just shut your mouth. Please. I love Anya, she's incredibly entertaining and has a lot of good traits but there's no consistency to how she's written. Sometimes she's a normal, fairly affectionate even, person with some quirks and sometimes, like in this scene, she's an insane, coked out of her mind narcissist.


                  • #10
                    After Life

                    Positive - There is so much to love in this episode, so many great scenes for the characters and insight gained into individual and group dynamics. I like how the ghost works as a reversal of Buffy with it's mind present but its physical form phasing in particular. And it's an excellent episode for Spike and Buffy, individually and in how they interact so I could pick any number of moments for that. But, as it's becoming a theme, I'm back on Spike's overall path again. The revello scene in particular between Spike/Dawn and Spike/Buffy is very revealing. I love the mix we see again in Spike which pushes his season arc. There's his visible concern for Dawn but his violent threat alongside it (not that I think he'd do it to her obviously, it's more an example of where his mind goes and what he has been, somewhat still is), which is then followed by his realisation/awe that it isn't the bot before him but Buffy. His care, concern and gentleness, his understanding of what she has been through is so beautifully portrayed by JM. But it inherently includes an acceptance and lack of horror that she has experienced death and clawing from her grave because he isn't horrified by that in human terms and mostly sees it as something that connects them more strongly. It reveals some of how they will connect and Spike will be able to help her and also where his lack will come to matter too. Again there's so much that sees his potential and what is within his motivations/character that will lead him to make the choice he does by the season end, but it is being shown alongside the moral limitations and lack of human lines/boundaries too, the need that will drive him there.

                    Negative - The ghost having that evil gloating moment of revealing it had been listening in and so learned that it needed to kill Buffy before trying to race off to do so.


                    • #11
                      After Life

                      Positive: Those scenes with just Buffy and Spike are all excellent. There's that, sort of, profound quality to them and the chemistry between actors is evident. Probably my favorite moments from this pairing, angst-free too!

                      Negative: Buffy lying to her friends. Again. I don't understand it, I don't wanna understand, she has gross emotional problems and things are not okay between us. And this isn't about post-resurrection trauma and whatnot, Buffy's been doing that since high school. And it's always the same story, sooner or soonish her great, big, dramatic secret is exposed and everybody learns the truth. Can't she just, like, character develop past it already?


                      • #12
                        After Life:

                        Positives: The scene with Anya cutting her face is so creepy! BtVS never really scares me, but that scene did.

                        Also, Spander!!! So hot! I loved when Xander took Spike's words to heart and discussed them with Tara, who was too defensive.

                        Negatives: Willow's red Elmo shirt! My eyes are bleeding.
                        Made by Trickyboxes
                        Halfrek gives Spike the curse that will change his entire life. Teenage Dirtbag


                        • #13
                          Day 3 - After Life

                          Positive: Spike's face when he realises it's Buffy and not the Bot is just so wonderful, and the way Buffy accepts his help tending to her hands. That whole scene, when their eyes meet and Spike says '. . . 148 today, but today doesn't count does it,'. Just beautiful

                          Negative: I think it was a bit silly having Dawn think there was even a tiny chance that Willow would send Buffy back. There's no way that would ever have happened.

                          - - - Updated - - -

                          Day 4 - Flooded

                          Positive: Giles and Willow in the kitchen 'I'm not a bad guy!' 'You rank arrogant amateur' 'I'm very powerful and maybe it's not such a good idea for you to piss me off!'. OMG what a stunning scene, the atmosphere fairly crackles with underlying resentment and anger. The writing and acting are amazing. Willow and Giles at each other's throats, who would have thought such a thing could happen. (See I didn't go for the amazing Spuffy backsteps scene )

                          Negative: Jonathan has not learnt anything and keeps making the wrong choices. He joins the Trio and knows they'll have a run in with Buffy at some point as they're on the wrong side, already making deals with demons and robbing banks and talking about hypnotising Buffy and making her their sex slave. Yuk, you deserve what you get little man.


                          • #14

                            Positive - This isn't a strong episode but even if its a little blunt I actually really like the metaphor of the system underneath it all straining to bursting under the pressure for Buffy as she struggles to cope.

                            Negative - Why isn't Giles, who is still presumably on the payroll, on the damn phone to the council demanding that they pay Buffy like she did for him.

                            Life Serial

                            Positive - I think Buffy trying everyone else's life when she is feeling so lost works really well and I love the whole trying on Spike's world crypt drinking scene/kitten poker the most. Predictable choice I know but it shows her inherent disconnection from being a creature of the night and she is just delightful drunk. Her response to the booze is too cute, her mocking of Spike's 'world' as lame is really funny and Spike's responses to her throughout it all are just great.

                            Negative - It has to be Giles again. Just give her a basic wage and stick around to support her having been through an incredibly traumatic series of experiences.


                            • #15
                              Day 5 - Life Serial

                              Positive: I like that Buffy doesn't feel that she fits in anywhere, that nothing she does makes sense to her, others don't accept her or can't give her the support she needs. The only place that does make sense and she feels completely accepted is with Spike. The writers are building up their relationship really well and allowing us to see why Buffy would turn to Spike when this is what her life has become.

                              Negative: The Mummy Hand bit does nothing for me, I find it dull, which may be exactly what they were going for, so you feel exactly as Buffy does. So it could actually be a very creative positive