- Dec 16, 2011
Great music at the end of this episode when Buffy is running to try and catch Riley.
The older I get the less and less time I have for Riley's insecurities and ultimatum. What a plonker.
In retrospect, Buffy and Riley have very different models for a good relationship, Buffy's giving as much as she's comfortable with and Riley thinks there should be more dependency.
What annoys me is Xander's presumption that she's in the wrong and taking him for granted. Buffy's relationship-as-part-of-your-life-not-all-encompassing is a perfectly good model, as long as both parties are ok with that.
But problems or not, who was to 'blame' etc, Riley was the one who had the Buffyverse analogy for a seedy affair and Buffy was the one going through big trauma. Bad Riley.
Buffy, what did Xander do to you ???
Xander, it was not an ultimatum
No, you're right. I didn't like it either, and I don't think it's an unpopular opinion, actually.This may be an unpopular opinion but I actually don't like the Xander/Anya scene at the end at all.
After watching Xander verbally slap Buffy as if she's to blame for the downfall of her awful unhealthy relationship with Riley, because she doesn't make him feel "needed" enough (while her mom was near death).. Xander then returns to Anya and gives her some monologue about how he loves her because he makes him feel like a "man" as Anya would, seeing as her entire existence revolves around Xander and having sex with Xander. It seems like Xander saw Buffy was being defiant of Riley, made him realize how good he had it with Anya.
This whole episode rubs me the wrong way. The narrative is saying Buffy is in the wrong because she wasn't emotionally needy enough to prop up Riley's masculinity (and let's be real this was Riley's issue), and Anya gets rewarded at the end by her boyfriend because she is just that.
Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but really didn't like how this episode went. It'd be 10x better if it just ended with Buffy confiding peacefully with Willow (who would have had Buffy's side unlike Xander), and no desperate-run-after-Riley scene from Buffy. #BuffyDeservedBetter
This one was much better than I remember. For about 90% the drama was really compelling. Great acting from SMG, Brandon and Masters. Love Spike's gutted look as he regrets seeing Buffy hurt at finding out about Riley's secret.
The ending is well excuated. I like too that it leads to Xander professing his love to Anya. But the ending with Buffy and Riley is total misfire. Buffy has every right to be upset with him. She's in the right and he's in the wrong. Yet the writing turns it back around and suggests she should go back to him on her hands and knees. Plus Xander acts like an ass. Sorry just wrong!
Agreed about the writing turning things around with Buffy. Riley was pretty much gas lighting her and the writers seemed to have Buffy accept it. Both at the time and now, it feels more like frustration from the writers at the fans not getting this awesome character they created.
Backstory is that the Network forced Joss to Ax him as they felt he was bringing down ratings.
Another thing was the Fake staking. I'm a Spike fan but that was so ridiculous and done by Marti just for an act break 🤦♂️
For me I think the biggest issue is that Buffy is 19 and Riley is expecting her to be ‘cookies’ when she’s still ‘cookie dough’. She’s working herself out, she’s in an intensely traumatising time of her life and is just trying to drag herself through it all while taking over as the head of her family. I don’t think Buffy ever just sees Riley as a ‘sex doll’, she’s incredibly supportive in S4 even through Riley’s boss trying to kill her, him accusing her of cheating on him and acting like a major douche when he’s going through withdrawal (ok I should let him off on that one). He doesn’t ever once talk to her about how he’s feeling, he just expects her to read his mind. She is completely prioritising her sick Mother at this point and is trying to balance her life and at 19 maybes isn’t managing it perfectly. I think Riley and Xander are shockingly unfair to her in this episode, they place basically all responsibility for the relationship onto Buffy’s shoulders - she is the one that needs to adapt to him and any time he does something wrong is because of something she didn’t do rightIn Riley's defense, Buffy has rarely come forth to him for emotional release so far this season; it's just been sex, sex, and more sex in this relationship. I could understand that Riley wanted more out of it, to have Buffy open up to him and trust him enough to lean on him as someone who could listen to her problems (more than just being a sex doll). Maybe that's a little harsh on Buffy, but other than that volleyball scene in the first episode, I don't think the relationship gets any deeper than just "let's have sex." Like I said in the previous episode discussion threads, there's really no compelling reason why Buffy would love Riley other than him being Joe Normal. What has Riley done for her that makes him "the one"? Look at Sparmony for instance: Spike got bored quickly as well because there's nothing in Harmony's personality to connect Spike with other than sex, unlike with Drucilla (or even Buffy for that matter).
Don't get me wrong on this: Riley is definitely wrong here for cheating on Buffy. I'm definitely not justifying his behavior. But as LadyLavinia said on the first page of this thread, there's blame to go around for both sides when it comes to why the relationship broke down; more so for Riley for being self-centered and his poor way of handling it, but even before learning about Joyce's illness, Riley feels more like an outsider than Tara even. Everyone almost serves a significant purpose in the Scoobies, but Riley is merely Buffy's sexual fodder this season. There's really no real reason why this stale relationship would work out (see Xander and Cordelia). There's no emotional connection between the two and there's no "after sex bliss" like the ones we see for Bangel. I don't know what Buffy sees in Riley to ever hook up with him or stay as long as she did; did she become his girlfriend just because he's an average guy who spits out creepy and passive-aggressive lines? What's the play here? And as for Riley, he should've broken up with Buffy instead of cheating on her. But instead, he's too busy feeling sorry for himself to consider Buffy's feelings on this. As her boyfriend, it's his responsibility to break up if he truly thinks that the relationship isn't working out even after numerous attempts, not cheat. Cheating is never the answer.
In fact, seeing how Xandelia worked out, it seems like another attempt of Whedon's to justify cheating. You know, even sitcoms like "Friends" had healthy break-ups where two people just confess to each other that it isn't working out and that there's no connection, and they would break up without cheating on each other (Roschel notwithstanding). It's as if TV writers believe that relationships need to end with a dramatic bang instead of being more mundane.
And good lord, this whole "goodbye" conversation between Riley and Buffy is just cringeworthy, the way he repeatedly grabs her and forces her to listen to his justification of cheating would've made me think Whedon wrote this if I didn't look it up (Marti Noxon scripted this episode). The lazy expository way of telling the audience something we've known from the beginning: that there is no emotional connection between the two. It's such a horrid scene that belongs to some trashy soap opera, not primetime television.
This episode was so poorly handled right down to Xander's eye-rolling speech siding with Riley and that horribly cheesy Buffy running sequence in the last few minutes. What is this, Days of Our Slayer's Life? In a rush to write off a character that overstayed his welcome, Marti Noxon leaves a stain on an otherwise consistently quality season. It's far worse than the likes of episodes like "Beer Bad" because it consciously justifies an appalling behavior (as opposed to merely being comedically bad). For a show that inspires empowerment in young women, this episode feels like the antithesis to that and teaches them that they should blame themselves for their spouse's cheating.