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As You Were theory

Faded90

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I posted this as a comment on another threat but thought I’d post it here to see anyone’s thoughts. I’ve always hated this episode and I always just saw it as a badly written garbage episode by Riley’s fanboy but I’ve had this theory for a while - it’s the only thing that makes sense for me 😂


I’ve always viewed this episode barely being able to be considered canon. The entire episode is just very mean towards Buffy’s character as well. The Buffy depression arc has been fantastic but this episode veers into ‘tragic Buffy’ in a way I really don’t like. We have multiple people comment on her burger smell, she’s got super speed but apparently is unable to catch the garbage truck and falls asleep on the couch under her dirty coat for some unknown reason to really add to the ‘sucks to be you Buffy!’ Feel this episode has. We also have Buffy apologise for why her relationship with Riley ended, pretty much taking full blame when we’d had a whole arc in S5 concluding in I was made to love you where Buffy came to the realisation that Riley barely giving her a chance to mend things was actually really unfair

My headcannon has always saw this episode as Riley’s ‘Awakening’, a daydream where you think up of how you’re going to show your ex what she’s missing. It fits together perfectly:

Why Joyce’s death is never once referred to (because then Petrie would have to acknowledge that Riley was being a self absorbed mess in what turned out to be the last few months of Buffy’s Mothers life)

The Spike thing - I’m not a Spike apologiser but the Doctor storyline made zero sense for Spike’s character. I understand he’s evil and could see him in a stupid scheme but an international arms dealer selling demon eggs to foreign governments? Come on now, plus there’s no way he keeps them in the place he’s been having sex with Buffy for months - Particularly when Buffy seemingly comes by unannounced . This plot is never ever mentioned again

Why pretty much everyone fawns all over Riley in an extremely odd way. Buffy has never been a particularly flirty person even with guys she really likes but in this episode she’s almost embarrassingly the doe eyed girl. Everyone treats him like he’s Jonathon in Superstar and it’s very weird

His Mary Sue wife who is brave and strong but also just humble enough to Buffy. She apparently has the perfect advice for Xander and Willow, advice that none of their best friends are able to come up with. In the next few episodes though that advice turns out to be useless as all 3 main scoobies problems descend even further - almost as if their advice was never given

Like in Awakening where Angel is super cool and heroic Riley has apparently now became a badass that he never really was before. He now has a cool new scar, makes witty one liners and a crazy cool car. He apparently knows ‘who to beat for information’ (something Riley never did when he was in the show before) . Also he’s in a covert ops squad, which is so covert he and his wife get picked up by a helicopter in the middle of the Main Street in Sunnydale, really? Not very covert is it

I see the Spuffy breakup scene as the only ‘canon’ thing in this episode, literally not a single other thing in the episode is ever referred to again. I see no holes in my theory 😂
 

DeadlyDuo

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It's an interesting theory and you're not the first to suspect that this episode is not what it appears.

Spike is clearly not the doctor, this is proven by his complete lack of knowledge on handling the merchandise. Someone posted the theory that Riley actually saw Buffy and Spike having sex on the front lawn and so he knew Spike wasn't the doctor but told Buffy that he was so that she would break up with him which she did.
 

Faded90

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It's an interesting theory and you're not the first to suspect that this episode is not what it appears.

Spike is clearly not the doctor, this is proven by his complete lack of knowledge on handling the merchandise. Someone posted the theory that Riley actually saw Buffy and Spike having sex on the front lawn and so he knew Spike wasn't the doctor but told Buffy that he was so that she would break up with him which she did.
Yeah I’ve read that theory before as well. I definitely agree about the Spike/Doctor thing. I just find pretty much every character’s behaviour in this episode very off. I know Joss has stepped back a lot but I assume he had to rubber stamp scripts and I’m amazed this script made it through any kind of Joss filter
 

thrasherpix

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As a daydream it could work (as opposed to taking the episode at face value)...especially as Riley sees Buffy as preferring vampires, and likely felt betrayed that Buffy was hiding Spike from the Initiative in season 4 (not unreasonable on his part), so could imagine that they're having a thing (and maybe some informants told him of it, hoping to make sure he never actually went back).

I also felt this ep was being especially mean to Buffy, even if that seemed to be the theme of this season. At least everyone else is experiencing their own tragedies and it's supposed to be that Life is the Big Bad, why not Riley as well? To twist the knife. And I can't help but think how much Joss-shows seem to have a surprising amount of make the female cry because she rejected some guy (almost as common as pregnancy tropes), from Willow crying over Xander to Inara crying over Mal. I didn't mind it at first, but after awhile it started to irk me, and this episode could be seen as a variant of that.

I still like the other theory better, though.
 

DeadlyDuo

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Yeah I’ve read that theory before as well. I definitely agree about the Spike/Doctor thing. I just find pretty much every character’s behaviour in this episode very off. I know Joss has stepped back a lot but I assume he had to rubber stamp scripts and I’m amazed this script made it through any kind of Joss filter
As you said, this is very much a Riley's fanboy episode. Into the Woods was written by Noxon (the one where Xander describes Riley as "the one who comes along once in a lifetime") so since she was running Season 6, she was probably more than happy with the Riley bias of this episode.
 

Myheadsgonenumb

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It also makes no sense timewise. Now maths and Buffy have never ever been friends from Spike's ever vanishing years (from barely 200 to to 126 to 120) to Doyle being a qualified teacher whilst barely out of school himself (he has his teaching credentials before he meets his wife and the pair of them were not even 20 when they got married) but 'As you were' possibly takes the biscuit. Riley leaves in ep 10 of season 5 - first aired mid December 2000, and he returns in ep 15 of season 6 aired late February 2002. He has been gone a whopping 14 months - which isn't very long to nurse a broken heart, meet someone new, fall in love and decide this is the real deal and not a rebound and get married. Riley tells Buffy they've been married four months almost - so he married Sam ten months after leaving Sunnydale, which is a very quick turnaround on meeting your wife, knowing her less than a year (although positively restrained when compared to Doyle). And yet Sam's description of what happened is 'my first fire fight I met Riley. We started talking, you know, first about tactics, missions, stuff like that. And then about you ...The only thing that could help Riley out was time. Lots of time. Took him over a year to get over you.'

In which case, I hate to break it to you, Mrs. Finn - but Riley didn't get over his ex until at least 2 months into your marriage.

So - whilst 'it was all Riley's day dream' clearly isn't what was intended and was it supposed to be canon (they make it clear when we are watching dream sequences) I certainly think it's a theory with legs. Like, Riley has just met Sam, and he's daydreaming about marrying her and going back to Sunnydale to rub Buffy's face in it. That would be a decent explanation of the woeful timeline, because you don't have to have a realistic timeline in a day dream.
 

Faded90

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It also makes no sense timewise. Now maths and Buffy have never ever been friends from Spike's ever vanishing years (from barely 200 to to 126 to 120) to Doyle being a qualified teacher whilst barely out of school himself (he has his teaching credentials before he meets his wife and the pair of them were not even 20 when they got married) but 'As you were' possibly takes the biscuit. Riley leaves in ep 10 of season 5 - first aired mid December 2000, and he returns in ep 15 of season 6 aired late February 2002. He has been gone a whopping 14 months - which isn't very long to nurse a broken heart, meet someone new, fall in love and decide this is the real deal and not a rebound and get married. Riley tells Buffy they've been married four months almost - so he married Sam ten months after leaving Sunnydale, which is a very quick turnaround on meeting your wife, knowing her less than a year (although positively restrained when compared to Doyle). And yet Sam's description of what happened is 'my first fire fight I met Riley. We started talking, you know, first about tactics, missions, stuff like that. And then about you ...The only thing that could help Riley out was time. Lots of time. Took him over a year to get over you.'

In which case, I hate to break it to you, Mrs. Finn - but Riley didn't get over his ex until at least 2 months into your marriage.

So - whilst 'it was all Riley's day dream' clearly isn't what was intended and was it supposed to be canon (they make it clear when we are watching dream sequences) I certainly think it's a theory with legs. Like, Riley has just met Sam, and he's daydreaming about marrying her and going back to Sunnydale to rub Buffy's face in it. That would be a decent explanation of the woeful timeline, because you don't have to have a realistic timeline in a day dream.
Yeah agreed. The timing of their marriage never made any sense. So this couple who we are shown have this amazingly healthy marriage either got married when Riley was still pining for his ex or he’s spent the vast majority of their relationship pining for his ex
 

Priceless

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I think it's more likely to be a Buffy daydream than Riley's. Buffy is depressed and this fits in with everything she feels about herself and her life. Here Riley is, happily married, something Buffy may have thought she and Riley would have had. She's trapped in a relationship with Spike, which she can't escape so she brings Riley back to break them up because she can't do it herself. The Doctor/demon eggs is a silly plot device because it's all in Buffy's head. Does she see Spike as some kind of Doctor? Even though she doesn't want him to, he's the only one who can minister her the pain relief she needs . . .

Even Spike's lines "You know what I am ... " are all about Buffy's pov, how she feels about herself. The whole episode is about Buffy's feelings about herself and her life. In Season 7 when Spike calls Buffy 'One hell of a woman', he's saying what Buffy needs to hear, what she wants to hear and imagined Riley saying.
 
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white avenger

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Spike was framed by Riley, pure and simple. Nothing beyond that explanation makes even a lick of sense.

How did Riley know that Buffy worked at the Double Meat Palace? He had had no contact with the Scoobies the year before.

Why would he have a full combat uniform in her size just ready for her to change into? It certainly wasn't Sam's spare, because Sam was a much larger girl than Buffy.

Why would Riley have not told Buffy, the Slayer. that the mission was to capture the Suvolte, not kill it?

For that matter, how would a creature like that be "leaving a path of death and destruction from South America all the way to Sunnydale," and nether the Scoobies nor the Watchers' Council heard anything about it?

And, how could a creature that size lay a brook of eggs larger than its own body mass within the short time that it had been in Sunnydale?

If Spike was actually dealing with international weapons dealers, why were there no reprisals when he couldn't deliver on the goods that he had promised to sell them?

Why did Riley express no surprise whatsoever at finding Buffy, obviously naked, in bed (okay, on top of a crypt) with Spike?

And where was Sam? She left Buffy in order to go and find Riley, which gave Buffy the opportunity to visit Spike in the first place, and no military operation such as they were apparently on would be without some form of electronic communication, if it were nothing more than ordinary cell phones.

And, speaking of Sam, how could an ordinary Peace Core worker, meet, fall in love with, marry, become as skillful a demon fighter as she obviously was, to the point that she could join an elite U S Army Special Forces unit assigned to fighting demons AND rise to the rank that she could rise to a fank at least equal to, if not higher than, her veteran husband?

(just a few unanswered questions from this episode)
 

Faded90

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Spike was framed by Riley, pure and simple. Nothing beyond that explanation makes even a lick of sense.

How did Riley know that Buffy worked at the Double Meat Palace? He had had no contact with the Scoobies the year before.

Why would he have a full combat uniform in her size just ready for her to change into? It certainly wasn't Sam's spare, because Sam was a much larger girl than Buffy.

Why would Riley have not told Buffy, the Slayer. that the mission was to capture the Suvolte, not kill it?

For that matter, how would a creature like that be "leaving a path of death and destruction from South America all the way to Sunnydale," and nether the Scoobies nor the Watchers' Council heard anything about it?

And, how could a creature that size lay a brook of eggs larger than its own body mass within the short time that it had been in Sunnydale?

If Spike was actually dealing with international weapons dealers, why were there no reprisals when he couldn't deliver on the goods that he had promised to sell them?

Why did Riley express no surprise whatsoever at finding Buffy, obviously naked, in bed (okay, on top of a crypt) with Spike?

And where was Sam? She left Buffy in order to go and find Riley, which gave Buffy the opportunity to visit Spike in the first place, and no military operation such as they were apparently on would be without some form of electronic communication, if it were nothing more than ordinary cell phones.

And, speaking of Sam, how could an ordinary Peace Core worker, meet, fall in love with, marry, become as skillful a demon fighter as she obviously was, to the point that she could join an elite U S Army Special Forces unit assigned to fighting demons AND rise to the rank that she could rise to a fank at least equal to, if not higher than, her veteran husband?

(just a few unanswered questions from this episode)
Yeah the entire episode is full of plot holes. It’s the tiny things that bother me and lean towards my ‘it’s a daydream’ theory. You mentioned about the Kevlar uniform, why would Riley think that Buffy ‘I’ve patrolled in this halter many times’ would need a new outfit let alone have one Taylor made ready for her. Why would Buffy even bother getting changed, I can’t think of a single other occurrence where she’s not been perfectly happy in whatever she was already wearing? It’s Buffy’s doe eyed schoolgirl thing that I find most jarring, Buffy was never even like that with Angel I can’t imagine her ever being so overt in flirting like that (I wouldn’t have a problem if she did in general, it just has never been something she’s done before)

I found Sam pretty much teeth gratingly perfect. She’s beautiful, she’s badass but still remains humble to Buffy.she has perfect advice pretty much for anyone that crosses her path. Oh and she was in the Peace Corps. What a bitch!

the entire episode reads like really bad Riley fanfiction that no one asked for
 

Myheadsgonenumb

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I don't know that Spike was framed by Riley - Spike doesn't seem surprised to see the eggs in his crypt or claim its a set up, which he would have if it was. I believe he was holding onto them for someone else, like he says, and I believe he was doing this because he had promised Buffy he would get her money. It's his way of rescuing her from the Double Meat Palace, which makes sense because it's a terrible idea which will kill a lot of people and Buffy would never agree to, but Spike's "good" actions are always coloured by his soulless way of looking at the world meaning he just sees 'get money save Buffy' and not 'Buffy will be angry about all those dead people'.

But I agree Riley is keeping Buffy in the dark about some things on purpose, he may not necessarily consciously acknowledge that he is hiding a wife to spring on her and make her feel bad, and not mentioning she is not supposed to kill the demon so she will kill it and feel bad, but I do think he is motivated by a certain amount of rubbing Buffy's nose in it. And he already knew about Buffy and Spike and waited until they were together to show her what Spike was up to.

I don't think he actually knows if Spike is the doctor or not, I don't think he cares - but he's happy to let Buffy believe that to get his revenge on Spike.
 

AlphaFoxtrot

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Most likely, they just dropped the ball on the Marc Blucas episode. Another one of the reasons why I think Season Six works better if some time has passed since Buffy's death, like everyone's mid-twenties now, and college is well behind them, and the gang is stuck in a quarter-life crisis.

I was a grad student who hung out with Graduate Students back in college, who in turn, I had mentors who were in their late twenties. If Sam was twenty six, she would have a lot to offer to a 21 year old Willow, although it doesn't seem that way. Of course, 26 was closer to Fred's age, and I wouldn't take advice from her on anything but Country music and advanced physics.
 

Puppet

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I don't know that Spike was framed by Riley - Spike doesn't seem surprised to see the eggs in his crypt or claim its a set up, which he would have if it was. I believe he was holding onto them for someone else, like he says, and I believe he was doing this because he had promised Buffy he would get her money.
My theory is that both are true; Spike was holding those harmless demon eggs and Riley found out and framed him by making Buffy think he was holding dangerous demon eggs.
 
Myheadsgonenumb
Myheadsgonenumb
but those demon eggs hatch and start attacking them! Unless Riley tricked Spike into holding the eggs (and I'm here for a 'Riley IS the doctor' theory) Spike has hold of those eggs of his own volition and Buffy sees for herself they are dangerous

spikenbuffy

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Lol, Spike seemed on the defensive when Buffy & Riley wanted to go downside of his crypt to check if he had demon eggs. Spike looked like he didn't wanted Buffy to see those eggs. He hid something & plotted a evil scheme behind Buffy's back.
 

thrasherpix

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Or maybe Spike found the eggs, didn't know what they were or how they got there (or Riley somehow arranged for him to get them so he could bust him later, typical entrapment techniques that I'm sure he's well versed in), but when Buffy bursts in to interrogate them, he lies out of self-preservation.

Disclaimer: I really can't remember exactly how that scene goes and I'm not willing to play it again right now.
 

Myheadsgonenumb

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It's a pretty simple scene. Buffy and Spike are post coital, Riley comes in starts calling Spike 'the doctor', the pair of them get dressed - Riley heads down to the lower level of the crypt, Spike tries to stop him, Buffy follows after saying Riley must have it wrong. They get into the lower part of the crypt, the eggs are there - Spike says he's holding them for a friend. Buffy is angry. Spike has his little emotional outburst about how she knows who he is but still she comes to him, Buffy in unimpressed - the eggs hatch, they drop a grenade into the lower part of the crypt and run.

Yes the whole thing can be a day dream of either Riley or Buffy, in their heads it makes sense for Spike being the one to blame, but trying to claim it's actually happening but that Riley somehow snuck the eggs in there and Spike thinks admitting to knowing about them - and getting emotional about it - when actually he doesn't is his best defence is bending the edges of canon until they break.

Surely a far more sensible course of action, on finding the eggs and suspecting a set up, would just be to get rid of them - any old how, throw them in the river - doesn't matter. And if he thought there was a chance he could tell Buffy without getting the blame then going to her and saying there were some demon looking eggs in his crypt and he thought maybe she should take a look would be a sensible thing to do too. But taking the blame when he isn't to blame for reasons of 'self preservation' makes no sense whatsoever. He knew they were there, he knew it was his fault they were there and he knew he was caught.

It makes more sense if the whole everything was a set up by Riley - from the Suvolte, to the eggs to the everything. The Doctor isn't real, he is an invention of Riley's - or - playing semnatics- Riley is the doctor, but his scheme is very different to the official one. His squad have a pregnant suvolte, they are transporting it and will be going past Sunnydale so Riley hatches a plan. He waits until it has given birth and arranges for the eggs to be 'sold' on the black market to 'foreign governments' - his squad thinks they've been stolen, but actually he has passed them on to an old contact to be held and 'found'. He then releases the suvolte over Sunnydale, the squad thinks its escaped (which explains how it has been causing carnage between south America and So Cal and no one has heard anything about it - it hasn't, it has actually been travelling in containment, Riley is lying.) Then he heads into Sunnydale to do this whole secret agent covert ops, by the way look at my wife - isn't she perfect? revenge scenario on Buffy.
Obviously he does a bit of spying before he makes contact - and finds out that Buffy is sleeping with Spike, which makes him even more determined for revenge - so he goes to find Buffy at work where she is at her lowest, tells her she needs to change because she can't do covert ops in bright orange and hands her all his fancy kit, only one absail thingie, lots of flirting ... oops here's my wife, that'll show you for sleeping with Spike.
He doesn't tell her not to kill the suvolte because he doesn't really care - Sam thinks its a tracking mission, but he knows he can get in contact with the person holding the eggs any time he wants. But added bonus points for making Buffy feel extra awkward.
Then he sends Sam and Buffy off to patrol together, despite the fact it is clearly unnecessary for Buffy to have someone with her patrolling in her own town. But he needs to go off alone to speak to his contacts. He just intended to be the one who 'finds' them and calls Buffy in for back up just in time for her to see him take care of the situation and realise just how much he doesn't need her. But it gets even better than he imagined! His contact has handed the eggs onto someone else, they were getting too hot to handle, he was getting twitchy - and there was someone dumb enough and looking for money for his girlfriend to take on the risk, so he handed it on to a third party - and what do you know, the third party is only Spike!
So he heads to crypt, turning off his comms so Sam can't get in touch with him, he doesn't need her for this moment - and sees Buffy going inside. He waits it out, waiting for his exact right moment - possibly using his infrared camera we see in 'The Initiative' to check on whats going on inside (though that doesn't bear thinking about) and then picks the right moment to walk in - just as the after glow is wearing off for Buffy and the after shame is settling in, catches her with Spike and reveals that Spike was the doctor all along (even though he knows full well he wasn't).
Then - with Buffy mad at Spike and Spike's home and heart in tatters, he rings up the squad to tell them the situation is contained and asks for a chopper to get him at his location, and then smugly informs Buffy he has orders to 'take the doctor out' - which she forbids him to do, so he imparts his words of wisdom on her and then leaves with his wife in the most dream sequencey action movie esque way possible, one final act to prove to Buffy how amazing his life is - whilst she has nothing but Spike, and now Riley has ruined that for her.

But again - that is stretching canon until it breaks. There is nothing beyond the fact that the script is not a particularly good one to support any of the theorising. It probably is just bad writing and we are supposed to take it at face value. The writers had a very different view of Riley to most of the viewers - if they can think they wrote Buffy to be the one at fault in Into the Woods, then they can be dumb enough to write this hot mess and think any of it makes sense.
 

white avenger

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Why would Buffy even bother getting changed, I can’t think of a single other occurrence where she’s not been perfectly happy in whatever she was already wearing?
The first couple of Seasons, Buffy pretty consistently patrolled at night in what looked a dark sweat suit or some sort of exercise outfit (Maybe she planed on telling Joyce that she had been "working out" somewhere if the issue ever came up) She did.of course, sometimes fight in what would be considered her street clothes, but those weren't planned confrontations. By Season 4, when Buffy is living in the dorm, her patrol wardrobe becomes much more fashionable, sometimes even running to leather pants, maybe because she was no longer operating out of her home, so didn't have to answer to her Mom about ruined, often expensive, clothing. Then, in the last couple of Seasons, when she would have been paying for her own clothes, and would have been on a tighter budget, the more expensive stuff was usually replaced by jeans and less expensive clothing in general.

Spike doesn't seem surprised to see the eggs in his crypt or claim its a set up, which he would have if it was.
Spike's reaction, or lack thereof, at seeing Riley might in part at least be due to hia soullessness, combined with his sheer contempt for Riley. With no soul, Spike would have almost certainly felt neither embarrassed nor ashamed at being caught in such a compromising position by Buffy's ex-boyfriend, especially since Riley's assault rifle would have been no more effective against a vampire than rather painful harsh language. Bullets might hurt, but they would have been no real threat to a vampire.

In fact, to me, it seemed more like Spike was gloating at a replaced rival for Buffy's affections than anything else.

b, post: 1435850, member: 15410"]
Spike doesn't seem surprised to see the eggs in his crypt or claim its a set up, which he would have if it was.
[/QUOTE]

This was just after Buffy had said something like, "Spike can't be the Doctor, he's too stupid." That coming from one of the only two humans Spike has ever cared for since his mother died might have distracted him from any proper reaction in that situation.

My theory is that both are true; Spike was holding those harmless demon eggs and Riley found out and framed him by making Buffy think he was holding dangerous demon eggs.
As to the eggs, we have only Riley's word that they were dangerous, or that they even were actually Suvolte eggs, and unless they were in some sort of larval stage at first, had no resemblance to Mama. They might have been the eggs of some other creature planted in Sunnydale by someone with specific motives for making Spike look bad. Riley, for example.

Lol, Spike seemed on the defensive when Buffy & Riley wanted to go downside of his crypt to check if he had demon eggs
But wouldn't he be just as defensive if Riley were invading is home for any other sort of reason? If Riley's assault rifle was useless against Spike, Spike was equally defenseless against Riley as long as the chip practically kept him from even thinking harmful thoughts about any human.

It's a pretty simple scene. Buffy and Spike are post coital,
And the only one who seems either surprised or embarrassed by the situation is Buffy. Spike gloats and Riley just stands there, as stone faced as if the three of them were standing together at a bus stop. Now THAT seems more strange to me than just about anything else in that episode.

My final argument for a conspiracy theory, regardless of who provided the conspiring is that there was never any real follow up at any time later that year or the next. A plot to provide unscrupulous arms dealers with super destructive (supposedly) killer demons, and the subject is just dropped the next day. No one ever tried to get any information from Spike about where the eggs had actually come from, why he was holding them, who the "friend" was for whom he was holding them, and not even who the potential buyers were to have been. One episode, ind the subject just went away forever.

My eleven year old grandson could write a better story than that.
 

Faded90

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It's a pretty simple scene. Buffy and Spike are post coital, Riley comes in starts calling Spike 'the doctor', the pair of them get dressed - Riley heads down to the lower level of the crypt, Spike tries to stop him, Buffy follows after saying Riley must have it wrong. They get into the lower part of the crypt, the eggs are there - Spike says he's holding them for a friend. Buffy is angry. Spike has his little emotional outburst about how she knows who he is but still she comes to him, Buffy in unimpressed - the eggs hatch, they drop a grenade into the lower part of the crypt and run.

Yes the whole thing can be a day dream of either Riley or Buffy, in their heads it makes sense for Spike being the one to blame, but trying to claim it's actually happening but that Riley somehow snuck the eggs in there and Spike thinks admitting to knowing about them - and getting emotional about it - when actually he doesn't is his best defence is bending the edges of canon until they break.

Surely a far more sensible course of action, on finding the eggs and suspecting a set up, would just be to get rid of them - any old how, throw them in the river - doesn't matter. And if he thought there was a chance he could tell Buffy without getting the blame then going to her and saying there were some demon looking eggs in his crypt and he thought maybe she should take a look would be a sensible thing to do too. But taking the blame when he isn't to blame for reasons of 'self preservation' makes no sense whatsoever. He knew they were there, he knew it was his fault they were there and he knew he was caught.

It makes more sense if the whole everything was a set up by Riley - from the Suvolte, to the eggs to the everything. The Doctor isn't real, he is an invention of Riley's - or - playing semnatics- Riley is the doctor, but his scheme is very different to the official one. His squad have a pregnant suvolte, they are transporting it and will be going past Sunnydale so Riley hatches a plan. He waits until it has given birth and arranges for the eggs to be 'sold' on the black market to 'foreign governments' - his squad thinks they've been stolen, but actually he has passed them on to an old contact to be held and 'found'. He then releases the suvolte over Sunnydale, the squad thinks its escaped (which explains how it has been causing carnage between south America and So Cal and no one has heard anything about it - it hasn't, it has actually been travelling in containment, Riley is lying.) Then he heads into Sunnydale to do this whole secret agent covert ops, by the way look at my wife - isn't she perfect? revenge scenario on Buffy.
Obviously he does a bit of spying before he makes contact - and finds out that Buffy is sleeping with Spike, which makes him even more determined for revenge - so he goes to find Buffy at work where she is at her lowest, tells her she needs to change because she can't do covert ops in bright orange and hands her all his fancy kit, only one absail thingie, lots of flirting ... oops here's my wife, that'll show you for sleeping with Spike.
He doesn't tell her not to kill the suvolte because he doesn't really care - Sam thinks its a tracking mission, but he knows he can get in contact with the person holding the eggs any time he wants. But added bonus points for making Buffy feel extra awkward.
Then he sends Sam and Buffy off to patrol together, despite the fact it is clearly unnecessary for Buffy to have someone with her patrolling in her own town. But he needs to go off alone to speak to his contacts. He just intended to be the one who 'finds' them and calls Buffy in for back up just in time for her to see him take care of the situation and realise just how much he doesn't need her. But it gets even better than he imagined! His contact has handed the eggs onto someone else, they were getting too hot to handle, he was getting twitchy - and there was someone dumb enough and looking for money for his girlfriend to take on the risk, so he handed it on to a third party - and what do you know, the third party is only Spike!
So he heads to crypt, turning off his comms so Sam can't get in touch with him, he doesn't need her for this moment - and sees Buffy going inside. He waits it out, waiting for his exact right moment - possibly using his infrared camera we see in 'The Initiative' to check on whats going on inside (though that doesn't bear thinking about) and then picks the right moment to walk in - just as the after glow is wearing off for Buffy and the after shame is settling in, catches her with Spike and reveals that Spike was the doctor all along (even though he knows full well he wasn't).
Then - with Buffy mad at Spike and Spike's home and heart in tatters, he rings up the squad to tell them the situation is contained and asks for a chopper to get him at his location, and then smugly informs Buffy he has orders to 'take the doctor out' - which she forbids him to do, so he imparts his words of wisdom on her and then leaves with his wife in the most dream sequencey action movie esque way possible, one final act to prove to Buffy how amazing his life is - whilst she has nothing but Spike, and now Riley has ruined that for her.

But again - that is stretching canon until it breaks. There is nothing beyond the fact that the script is not a particularly good one to support any of the theorising. It probably is just bad writing and we are supposed to take it at face value. The writers had a very different view of Riley to most of the viewers - if they can think they wrote Buffy to be the one at fault in Into the Woods, then they can be dumb enough to write this hot mess and think any of it makes sense.
I agree that I think we were absolutely supposed to just accept that everything in the episode is legit and like you say they seem to view Riley wildly different to many in the fandom. Joss has called him ‘the one who got away’ and I don’t think many would view him as that at all. I think the problem is that the episode is just so badly written and full of holes it ends up making people WANT to create alternative theories to explain the cluster**** of an episode it is. The Spike/Doctor thing is only a very small part of why I hate the episode so much, there’s just so much going on that doesn’t make sense
 

Priceless

Scooby
Joined
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Location
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The show is written from Buffy's pov, and in her view, from what she sees, Riley is the one who got away. She even goes chasing after him. As You Were is definitely from Buffy's pov, which is why Riley is seen as some kind of saviour, because that's what Buffy craves in the moment.
 

WillowFromBuffy

To be or not to evil.
Joined
May 11, 2019
Messages
1,135
Age
32
I think people make way too big a deal out of this episode.

1. The Scoobies all really liked Riley, especially Willow and Xander.
2. Riley has always been a competent soldier.
3. Buffy is in a rough patch currently, as Riley points out.
4. Spike is evil. This scheme may be beyond it, which may be why he fricks it up. It is also very likely that he had a partner.

That is all.
 
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