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season seven  >   beneath you


Once again, we open on a young lady running like the dickens, only not. Seriously, she’s, like, jogging at a leisurely pace. Through and around some techno club in Germany. Some people have accused Joss of ripping off Lola rennt. This is ludicrous. Her hair is pink, people, not red. And would Lola sport those bangs? Not bloody likely. Besides, Lola actually ran, hence the “rennt”. So, to be clear, he’s not ripping off Lola. Techno music and a Germany setting do not a rip-off homage make.


Besides, anyone with half a brain knows he’s totally ripping off Alias.


So mysterious girl number two is stabbed, and we see a completely clean knife re-sheathed. Apparently the effects department took a vacation that day. But it doesn’t matter, because what does matter is that the dying-German-but-not-Lola girl turns her head towards the camera and intones “From beneath you, it devours.” Ooooo, spooky.


Buffy wakes up with what passes for a scream of disinterest. I would to, if I woke to Dawn perched on my bed. Dawn, somehow forgetting the very, very important lesson (one would assume it to be important, since it was a recurring theme last week and all) that everything is real, promptly dismisses Buffy’s dream as a dream. Buffy, in a serious case of misdirection (bad director! Bad!) riffs unconvincingly and uncaringly on how there are more girls like the German girl out there, and that they’re going to die as she hops out of bed and stares out her window. Dawn stares right along with her. Because they’re going to see whatever it is they’re looking for. Right out there on their lawn. In the middle of the night. Right. There.


Somehow they miss the big homage to Bugs Bunny spinning its way through town.


When we return to Sunnydale, we are cheerfully riding along with Xander, Buffy and Dawn to school. Xander and the gang blah blah blither over the fact that he’s not feeling the dating thing yet. Dawn is excited that Buffy is going to be at school, then remembers what a psycho she was last week and is not so excited. Who cares if she can save your ass, if she’s going to kill your social life, right? Hey, don’t worry Dawn, Giles killed Buffy’s, and look how that turned out! Just look at all her….friends. Right. Moving on. Buffy, seemingly having forgotten about all those other girls that are going to die, meets with the principal in her new cubicle, is bequeathed with the power of detention and does absolutely nothing useful.


Somewhere in all this we go back to England where Willow tries to con Giles into letting her stay and Giles, that bitch, sends her home without him. Giles, it seems, is doing his best to continue to disappoint the hell out of us. The hellmouth is opening, Giles. What, exactly, are you going to do about it in merry old England? Besides sit on your ass, twiddling your thumbs? Remember the last time you did that? Yeah, Willow erected the most phallic temple this side of the Pecos. Shouldn’t you consider these things when sending a recovering crackwhore back to her den? Shouldn’t you?

Oh, wait, never mind. Everything’s connected…I remember hearing that somewhere…I’m sure he can just send a Paraguayan flower to Sunnydale whenever they need him, and all the badness will go away. I don’t know what I was worrying about. Pffft. [But, Giles! We miss you! Come back! -SP]


A woman we’ve never seen before, and after this episode will never see again, walks her dog around Sunnydale. She walks her dog like I walk my dog, only my walks involve more use of the “F” word. However, no longer! The guilt would kill me. I mean, what if I just got done yelling at psychomutt to just go already, and then she got eaten by a giant, underground creature completely stolen from Tremors’s prop department? I’d feel real bad.


This does happen to the girl we shall now call Nancy. Nancy runs screaming into the arms of one Xander “dating leper” Harris. Xander immediately takes her to hang out in Buffy’s living room. Since Buffy and Xander are now sad, sad people with no friends, Dawn is allowed to sit in on the meeting. It makes the room look fuller. They better make some friends soon, dammit, I am NOT sitting through the Scrappy Gang hanging out, all “whine whine whine, you always say I’m too young and emotionally unstable to play with the mace.” They talk, Nancy is remarkably easy going about everything that just happened, and Buffy goes the easy way with her “beneath you…” premonition and assumes it’s the Tremor snake (hereby referred to as “Tremmie”). Because it’s always that simple. And would, therefore, fix that pesky problem of all those other girls like not-Lola dying--you know, she needs a name. Let’s give her a name. I’m going to call her Antje. That’s a good, used-to-be-my-name-in-high-school-German name. So, it will prevent all those other girls like Antje from dying. Or at least from her having to worry about them. And everyone’s happy!


Except for Spike.

Who now shows up, decidedly less crazy then when we saw him earlier. Oh, did I forget to mention that? He was crazy in the school basement, chasing rats and babbling. It didn’t seem important. But he’s sane now, has re-bleached his hair and is wearing the tightest, bluest, gayest shirt I have ever seen him in. Seriously. It’s very distracting. Buffy’s so disturbed she can hardly look at him. Or maybe it was that rape thing. Who knows? So she’s all stand-offish, Xander’s all “get out get out get out, we hate you” and Dawn’s all pouty because Buffy didn’t tell her that she saw Spike in the school basement. Dawn, by the way, is wearing a very, very ugly shirt. I know I was concerned that the new costume guru wouldn’t be able to fill Cynthia’s shoes, but I’m thinking she seriously overshot the mark. [It's not just ugly. It's something only an 80-year old English teacher would wear. And not a cool 80-year old teacher, either. A sad old woman who lives alone and has no TV. And thus doesn't know that no one ever would be caught wearing these clothes outside. - SP]


Spike says he wants to help, not atone, and he and his tight blue shirt and Buffy go demon hunting after warning everyone that this thing is probably really, really strong. Probably stronger than anything they’ve ever dealt with before. Like a giant Mayor-snake. Or the US Government. Or a Hell god. It’s strong. With this in mind, the very mortal Xander is sent home to guard Nancy and Dawn stays home to do homework. Hey, when Buffy had to save the world, the math suffered, babe. Get those priorities straight. And change that shirt.


Buffy and Spike have a talk at the hole Tremmie left behind. Spike says he can’t apologize but can say that he’s changed and he understands her being skittish. Buffy says she’s not being skittish, he tried to rape her and she doesn’t have words for what she’s being, she knows he has a secret. He says well, you’re a bitch so I’m not telling you. Or something like that. But in a much more understanding way, as I’m sure any Spuffyist will tell you.


Meanwhile, Xander and Nancy are sadly and pathetically hitting on each other in her lobby. It appears that one might call the other eventually, when Tremmie interrupts the supreme awkwardness of the moment by bursting through the tile. Xander, having lived on the Hellmouth since he was naught but a wee lad, begins to think this might not be a coincidence. Turns out, Nancy wished her ex-boyfriend Ronnie out of her life. And the light above Xander’s head turns on. For the first time in many, many years.


Cut to the whole gang, which sadly only includes Buffy, Xander and Spike. Oh, and Nancy, along for the ride. We interrupt Anya hilariously attempting to coerce a young lady into wishing her boyfriend spineless to just pause in horror at her dress. What crack is this wardrobe queen on? It’s just. The collar. When did the memo go out that lime green trim should be used with a dark blue material with patterns on it? WHEN? Did Cynthia leave detailed instructions? Were they taken seriously? Who on earth would take “The girls like lots and lots of ugly necklaces and, oh, and try dark blue and lime green on Emma, it’ll bring out her eyes” seriously? [I think the new designer misread the script that said "Anya has been a demon since the olden days and wreaks havoc on the world with her vengeance" and thought it said "Anya just got here from the olden days and wreaks havoc on the world with her horrid Puritan outfits." -SP]


Buffy and the gang, not to be distracted by Anya’s complete lack of fashion sense, snark on her for being all vengeance-y. Xander demands she turn Ronnie back, to which Anya replies “Bite me, Harris.” Gotta tell ya, that gave me a happy. But this isn’t about me. It’s about Anya having to live by rules and an end zone and codes of conduct. She then replies that they can’t understand because they’re all so “human.” And she manages to look confused when saying this. Which I thought was just Emma Caufield’s disgust at having to wear that outfit, but Searing Pain thinks it was for all those people out there that erroneously believed Spike to be human after last season’s fiasco. I didn’t even know those people existed, but then I’m so fucking spoiled I thought I’d already seen episode seven, and it just turns out I’d read spoilers so detailed it was like I’d seen it. So, there you go. Apparently there were people out there that thought he was human. Perhaps that shirt was a bit of misdirection too! You know, to err is human?


And to forgive is, well. I’m not sure I can forgive the clothes in this episode. I’m really not sure who Anya pissed off, besides D’Hoffryn, but nobody deserves that dress. Anyway, Spike trots up to Anya all menacingly and snarks that he’s not human, and the misguided souls who missed any interview anyone on the staff gave over the entire summer who actually believed he was human probably believe he’s just being all mannish here, and gets all rough with her. Anya snarks that he can’t have her again, he snarks he doesn’t want her, Nancy snarkily asks if there’s anyone here that hasn’t slept together and, interestingly enough, Xander and Spike exchange a look of guilt, rather than the more obvious choice of Xander/Buffy. Go go slashy goodness! If we don’t see a flashback scene involving Xander and Spike and romantic candlelight soon, I’m going to be seriously disappointed. [Oh there'll be a flashback scene alright. And if ME refuses to show it, well we here at boils and blinding torment might just have to step in. We're here for you. -SP]


This too brief moment aside, Anya gets all up in Spike’s face, asking him how he did “it” in wonderment. Spike starts to freak and belts her a good one. He then, rather unnecessarily, runs over to where she landed and proceeds to beat her some more. Just to prove he’s bad and evil and the opposite of changed, one would assume. Anya pops up all demony and threatens to kick Spike’s ass. Spike, still with the bravado, is all “bring it on”, but Buffy steps in, because it’s all about Buffy, tells him he hasn’t changed and begins wailing on him. Which, to be fair, Spike sort of deserves at this point. He’s being a total wanker, goading her on, asking if she’d like another go in the balcony, you know, the usual men-being-asses kind of thing. [Spike then pops all demony himself, possibly shocking those who were unspoiled and were fooled by the misdirection fairy telling Anya to play the "human" card while quizzing Spike. I say possibly of course, because I have no idea what it might have been like to watch that scene, or any scene really, with unspoiled innocent eyes. Hey, I could be innocent. It could happen. -SP]


Xander spoils her fun by telling her Nancy, aka wormbait, has run away. Buffy tracks her down over rooftops with Spike chasing, while Xander tells Anya blaming him doesn’t work anymore. Poor, poor Anya. First that dress, now her crutch is taken away. Buffy swings from the rafters on a mysteriously appearing rope and rescues Nancy before she gets eaten. I guess she didn’t see Tremors. Jump on the car, you idiot! Spike hops down, and dear god, when did I get this wordy? Anyone else thinking back fondly on the days of my Season One recaps? Two or three paragraphs…man, those were good times.



So Spike. He’s hopped down. He pushes the Buffster aside and fights Tremmie, who turns back to Ronnie just as Spike shoves a metal rod though his shoulder. Spike screams in pain, and the last two remaining unspoiled, naive people on the planet yell out “what the fuck, they left in the stupid chip?” in unison. Spike goes all wonky and possibly a bit schizophrenic as the guilt kicks in along with the chip. There seem to be lots of voices in his head. And they all seem to be rather pissed. Buffy tells Spike to stop being a baby and tries to take care of Ronnie, Spike goes off about enjoying the show and how from beneath you it devours, then runs off, Nancy insults Anya when she and Xander run up, then runs away, Xander worries that she won’t call him ever and Anya stands there, very, very aware that it’s about to get much worse.


Buffy runs after insane-o boy, catching up to him in a church. Having gone full-blown mental again, but keeping a firm grip on his hair gel this time, Spike hands Buffy his shirt and says it didn’t work. His disguise, of sanity and tight shirts I assume, didn’t work. There’s lots of crazy talk, many shots of Buffy looking like Buffy does, and one attempt to “service the girl”. It’s good to see the guys at ME keeping up their 8pm time slot standards. Much babbling about sparks and Angel not warning him later, and Buffy finally catches on that he has a soul. I’m not sure if SMG is trying to convey horror or confusion or anger or all three, but I’m pretty sure that JM’s supposed to convey craziness and patheticness. And he’s doing a pretty good job. All he wanted to do was be loved by her and give her what she deserved and be the kind of man that would never…I assume he’s alluding to the rape here, but he could just as well be alluding to “beat vengeance demons down while they’re wearing ugly dresses.” I’m voting for the former, though. We end on Spike hugging a cross and smoking like Denis Leary, asking Buffy “can we rest now?”


Note: This scene was reshot. I would really, really, really love to compare the two. So, if anyone out there has a script or a clip of what was, I would be your best friend. And dedicate something to you. And maybe even name my imaginary pet frog after you! How can you refuse! You can send it to


Remember! My frog!

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