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Seeing Red rewatch my thoughts (non AR)

Btvs fan

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So I re-watched SR and for me it's as bad in 2020 and as first viewing 2002.
Now I loath the AR and think the whole set up around it was false but done in order to justify it. But there is more than that to this episode which I will focus on given the AR has been talked to death.
So this is a non AR Seeing Red discussion.
First we have the Buffy/Xander conversation. They may as well have had Xander look straight to the camera and talk directly to the audience with his "I never forgot what he really was line" which felt geared more to the audience by frustrated writers than Xander to Buffy. Also Buffy should've pointed out that's not a reason to explain letting him take care of a 15 yr old girl more the opposite but she doesn't she just acquiesced to it. "I'm not sleeping with him"

Putting Amber Benson in the Credits simply to kill her character off is cheap. The loveywovey scenes and Dawn's squeaking (which I find meh anyway) all exist to further Tara's death. After changing Willows arc from instigator to passive. They needed something to bring about Dark Willow. So Tara was gonna be Dead meat. Its not good. Whether it was because of AH pull or JW live for the Willow character, it doesn't matter the original Insecurities driving her lust for power should've been the arc with Tara as the Witch who would help stop her.

Then we have the Warren storyline. Despite some fine effort by the Trio actors the whole story is just ridiculous. Thankfully Buffy has an ex machina Disk with all there plans and they encounter Xander at the Bronze, so she knows where they will be.
Some really bad directing in this scene. The extra that Warren starts to hit on just does nothing but stand a smile even when her boyfriend comes back and Warren beats him up. Then the other 3 girls he hits on again do nothing but sit and smile as he does his Daddy routine before Xander arrives and saves them. For a "feminist show". This is not a great scene for women.

Anyway back to the bank heist . The fight scene between Warren and Buffy is atrocious. Buffys double does a flip over the Warren double for absolutely no reason. It makes no sense in the context of the fight or the moves they were both doing beforehand. It was just bad. So Buffy crushes his balls and wins the end. Then Warren takes off his jacket to reveal a jet pack to get away with. Now I want you to remember that he took off his jacket because in the next scene when he shows up with a gun, he has his jacket and its dust smeared. Like what did he go back to a crime scene and get it 🤷‍♂️
Then we get to Tara death and Willow going dark eyed.
Overall 2/10 even without the AR its still a poor episode that's preachy and juvenile and slightly misogynistic all in one. I really dislike this episode and with the AR it's a 0 out of 10 I consider it to be the worst episode on the show show . Anyway what are others thoughts ?
 

vampmogs

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I'm going to follow your lead and avoid discussing the AR.

Overall I agree that Seeing Red isn't a great episode but I wouldn't go as far to say it's the worst episode of the show. Personally, whenever I'm doing a rewatch this episode is always feels like a bit of a fresh air now that everybody's secrets are finally out in the open. Characters are finally talking about things as opposed to the relentless secrecy and hiding and it feels like some progress is finally being made both character-wise and plot-wise.

But I must admit that whenever people list this episode as one of their favourites I'm never really sure why. It seems to frequently boil down to "X happens and then Y happens" which, ok, fair enough, it's a pivotal episode for 2 reasons, but people rarely praise it for being particularly well-written. Is it simply enough that "things happen?" I don't know. But I don't find that script to be particularly remarkable and, at times, it's actually deeply offensive to me. And I rarely say that about any episode of BtVS, even the ones I like less than Seeing Red.

I agree with some of your criticisms. The Buffy vs Warren scene really is terribly choreographed. Warren may be physically stronger than Buffy but Buffy has 6-7 years of martial arts training up her belt. At the very least, she should be quite capable of dodging Warren's attacks and dominating him from a technical standpoint. Instead, she's slow moving and can barely block a punch. But S6 is without a doubt the worst choreographed season of the series since S1 and this scene in comparison to some others (I'm looking at you All the Way and Older and Far Away) isn't the worst of it. Sadly, long gone are the days when "Buffy" could throw about 5 powerful jabs judo-style in mere seconds. You just have to suspend belief and pretend she's still a formidable martial artist as nothing in the series suggests she's meant to have grown weaker. In fact, we're specifically told she's meant to have grown more powerful *shrugs*

I don't have an issue with Buffy finding the whereabouts of the bank heist. That's no more contrived than any other setup.

I also don't mind the Buffy/Xander argument, either. Both characters behave as you'd expect them to which to me is a mark of good writing. Xander's moral arguments about Spike's nature is something Buffy herself has been grappling with all season. It may feel like the writers are trying to directly lecture the audience in that scene but it's something Xander would absolutely say, so I have no issues with it. The problem with that scene is the Anya-shaped elephant in the room and her impressive body count but, let's face it, that's been an issue since S4.

I agree that the Willow/Tara scenes are annoyingly contrived at this point. Between Jenny/Giles, Wes/Fred and Willow/Tara (not to mention Topher/Bennett in Dollhouse) Joss has well and truly become a parody of himself here. I quite liked Passion as the tragedy was that Giles/Jenny were on the cusp of a reconciliation but Angelus took away that chance. But Joss' pattern of putting couples back together and making them really happy just so he can brutally kill them off is now repetitive and contrived. Let's hope he's moved past it for The Nevers.

My main issues with this episode revolve around the scene-that-shall-not-be-named. But that aside, I don't find Seeing Red to be a particularly great or bad episode.
 
Athene
Athene
Buffy really did her back in that day...twice :(

Btvs fan

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I'm going to follow your lead and avoid discussing the AR.

Overall I agree that Seeing Red isn't a great episode but I wouldn't go as far to say it's the worst episode of the show. Personally, whenever I'm doing a rewatch this episode is always feels like a bit of a fresh air now that everybody's secrets are finally out in the open. Characters are finally talking about things as opposed to the relentless secrecy and hiding and it feels like some progress is finally being made both character-wise and plot-wise.

But I must admit that whenever people list this episode as one of their favourites I'm never really sure why. It seems to frequently boil down to "X happens and then Y happens" which, ok, fair enough, it's a pivotal episode for 2 reasons, but people rarely praise it for being particularly well-written. Is it simply enough that "things happen?" I don't know. But I don't find that script to be particularly remarkable and, at times, it's actually deeply offensive to me. And I rarely say that about any episode of BtVS, even the ones I like less than Seeing Red.

I agree with some of your criticisms. The Buffy vs Warren scene really is terribly choreographed. Warren may be physically stronger than Buffy but Buffy has 6-7 years of martial arts training up her belt. At the very least, she should be quite capable of dodging Warren's attacks and dominating him from a technical standpoint. Instead, she's slow moving and can barely block a punch. But S6 is without a doubt the worst choreographed season of the series since S1 and this scene in comparison to some others (I'm looking at you All the Way and Older and Far Away) isn't the worst of it. Sadly, long gone are the days when "Buffy" could throw about 5 powerful jabs judo-style in mere seconds. You just have to suspend belief and pretend she's still a formidable martial artist as nothing in the series suggests she's meant to have grown weaker. In fact, we're specifically told she's meant to have grown more powerful *shrugs*

I don't have an issue with Buffy finding the whereabouts of the bank heist. That's no more contrived than any other setup.

I also don't mind the Buffy/Xander argument, either. Both characters behave as you'd expect them to which to me is a mark of good writing. Xander's moral arguments about Spike's nature is something Buffy herself has been grappling with all season. It may feel like the writers are trying to directly lecture the audience in that scene but it's something Xander would absolutely say, so I have no issues with it. The problem with that scene is the Anya-shaped elephant in the room and her impressive body count but, let's face it, that's been an issue since S4.

I agree that the Willow/Tara scenes are annoyingly contrived at this point. Between Jenny/Giles, Wes/Fred and Willow/Tara (not to mention Topher/Bennett in Dollhouse) Joss has well and truly become a parody of himself here. I quite liked Passion as the tragedy was that Giles/Jenny were on the cusp of a reconciliation but Angelus took away that chance. But Joss' pattern of putting couples back together and making them really happy just so he can brutally kill them off is now repetitive and contrived. Let's hope he's moved past it for The Nevers.

My main issues with this episode revolve around the scene-that-shall-not-be-named. But that aside, I don't find Seeing Red to be a particularly great or bad episode.
Just to be clear. I find it the worst episode (0/10 )with the AR included but without it, it's still really bad, just a 2/10 and that's just for the acting.

Agreed with a lot of your points ie Giles and Jenny and Fred/Wes.
 

katmobile

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I'm going to follow your lead and avoid discussing the AR.

Overall I agree that Seeing Red isn't a great episode but I wouldn't go as far to say it's the worst episode of the show. Personally, whenever I'm doing a rewatch this episode is always feels like a bit of a fresh air now that everybody's secrets are finally out in the open. Characters are finally talking about things as opposed to the relentless secrecy and hiding and it feels like some progress is finally being made both character-wise and plot-wise.

But I must admit that whenever people list this episode as one of their favourites I'm never really sure why. It seems to frequently boil down to "X happens and then Y happens" which, ok, fair enough, it's a pivotal episode for 2 reasons, but people rarely praise it for being particularly well-written. Is it simply enough that "things happen?" I don't know. But I don't find that script to be particularly remarkable and, at times, it's actually deeply offensive to me. And I rarely say that about any episode of BtVS, even the ones I like less than Seeing Red.

I agree with some of your criticisms. The Buffy vs Warren scene really is terribly choreographed. Warren may be physically stronger than Buffy but Buffy has 6-7 years of martial arts training up her belt. At the very least, she should be quite capable of dodging Warren's attacks and dominating him from a technical standpoint. Instead, she's slow moving and can barely block a punch. But S6 is without a doubt the worst choreographed season of the series since S1 and this scene in comparison to some others (I'm looking at you All the Way and Older and Far Away) isn't the worst of it. Sadly, long gone are the days when "Buffy" could throw about 5 powerful jabs judo-style in mere seconds. You just have to suspend belief and pretend she's still a formidable martial artist as nothing in the series suggests she's meant to have grown weaker. In fact, we're specifically told she's meant to have grown more powerful *shrugs*

I don't have an issue with Buffy finding the whereabouts of the bank heist. That's no more contrived than any other setup.

I also don't mind the Buffy/Xander argument, either. Both characters behave as you'd expect them to which to me is a mark of good writing. Xander's moral arguments about Spike's nature is something Buffy herself has been grappling with all season. It may feel like the writers are trying to directly lecture the audience in that scene but it's something Xander would absolutely say, so I have no issues with it. The problem with that scene is the Anya-shaped elephant in the room and her impressive body count but, let's face it, that's been an issue since S4.

I agree that the Willow/Tara scenes are annoyingly contrived at this point. Between Jenny/Giles, Wes/Fred and Willow/Tara (not to mention Topher/Bennett in Dollhouse) Joss has well and truly become a parody of himself here. I quite liked Passion as the tragedy was that Giles/Jenny were on the cusp of a reconciliation but Angelus took away that chance. But Joss' pattern of putting couples back together and making them really happy just so he can brutally kill them off is now repetitive and contrived. Let's hope he's moved past it for The Nevers.

My main issues with this episode revolve around the scene-that-shall-not-be-named. But that aside, I don't find Seeing Red to be a particularly great or bad episode.
I think Buffy is still dealing with physical trauma of the being kicked around before the AR and the phycological trauma of it so that's why she's slow and under confident.
 

NothingVentured

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I wouldn't put it all that high on any list but it's far from the worst, IMO. But I didn't mind the AR and the argument before it was one of the most real discussions on the show.

The rest is just frustrating more than bad to me. The Xander PSA would not have been so bad if the you-know-what didn't happen about a scene later. And I will never not be weirded out about Xander just waltzing into the bathroom.
 

Btvs fan

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I think Buffy is still dealing with physical trauma of the being kicked around before the AR and the phycological trauma of it so that's why she's slow and under confident.
What do you think of the non AR portion of the episode?
 

DeadlyDuo

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Putting Amber Benson in the Credits simply to kill her character off is cheap.
Agreed and, because of the placing of the episode in the Season, it came across as odd that she just randomly started showing up in the main credits. Either Tara's death needed to happen in a season opener- The audience wouldn't question her being added to the main credits since she had been a regular more or less since the middle of Season 4 so her death in the first episode of the new season would come as a shock, or she needed to be in the main credits for a couple of episodes in order to lure the audience into a false sense of security. As it stands, Joss may have well just gotten a flashing neon sign to appear with the words "this is the episode Tara dies" as soon as AB's name flashes up in the opening credits.

The loveywovey scenes and Dawn's squeaking (which I find meh anyway) all exist to further Tara's death. After changing Willows arc from instigator to passive. They needed something to bring about Dark Willow. So Tara was gonna be Dead meat. Its not good. Whether it was because of AH pull or JW live for the Willow character, it doesn't matter the original Insecurities driving her lust for power should've been the arc with Tara as the Witch who would help stop her.
I think it would've been more tragic if Willow and Tara had never got the chance to reconcile. Maybe have a scene where they agree to meet up and talk things through, giving hope for a reconciliation, but then Tara dies before that talk can even take place. Tara doesn't even have to be murdered, an accident could cause her death, eg show her on the way to meeting Willow when an accident occurs eg she steps out into the road without looking, distracted by someone calling her on the phone, and Willow's turn to the dark side is because she ODs on the magic in order to try and numb her pain.

It's kind of telling that they had Tara list all the things that would need to happen for a proper reconciliation and then have her say "let's just skip it" so that she and Willow are back together for Tara's death.

The worst part about Tara's death is that it means we're forced to endure Kennedy in the next season.
 

Ethan Reigns

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@DeadlyDuo

If Tara died from natural causes, we would never have had Dark Willow, which was a worthwhile part of the story and an end to Season 6.
 

WillowFromBuffy

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I like the episode. If the writer are speaking through Xander, then I don't mind, because Xander has made it abundantly clear ever since Spike was chipped two seasons ago that he never did forget what Spike was.

I also don't think Will and Tara can be compared to the gratuitousness of Fred and Wes and Topher and Bennet. Will and Tara had been happy before. Their relationship wasn't just cooked up to create an ad hoc emotional beat. Tara's death after their reunion makes sense narratively. Will has kicked her habit for Tara, so now she loses the thing she's been holding on to. And nothing can take away from the fact that the scenes between them are really sweet.

Warren showing up with a gun is a great twist after the silly magic ball. It points back to "Dead Things," where they start out with silly neural dampener and then end up with less silly bludgeoning by champagne bottle. The Trio's magic is never very effective. Warren can only kill with mundane weapons, until Willow makes herself so powerful that she can survive even the axe he plants in her spine.
And I will never not be weirded out about Xander just waltzing into the bathroom.
He doesn't waltz in. He storms in, carrying Spike's duster.
 

vampmogs

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He doesn't waltz in. He storms in, carrying Spike's duster.
I find that just as bad. I mean, what exactly was Xander intending to walk in on there? Buffy and Spike mid sex? Regardless of his feelings about them he had absolutely no right to barge into her bathroom hoping to catch her in an intimate and exposed act.

It's so enraging. Between Spike just waltzing into her closed bathroom and then obviously violating her, and then Xander charging him during the same night, Buffy literally cannot take a damn bath in the privacy of her own home without the men in her life intruding on that privacy. Ugh, I hate it.
 
WillowFromBuffy
WillowFromBuffy
Do rapists usually knock?
T
thrasherpix
It's season 6. Buffy must suffer. If it's not suffering 24/7 (with the exception of something good just to make the coming suffering even more painful) then it's not "realistic." (I'm being snarky at the season, not you.)

NothingVentured

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He doesn't waltz in. He storms in, carrying Spike's duster.
Walk, waltz, saunter, barge, storm, trundle, Are we parsing words now?

He had no business in the slightest going in there. If Buffy and Spike were going at it on the floor, that's their business.
 
darkspook
darkspook
And she had business to disrespect him shamelessly and insult his intelligence by fooling around with Spike in 'Gone' infront of Xander?

WillowFromBuffy

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Walk, waltz, saunter, barge, storm, trundle, Are we parsing words now?

He had no business in the slightest going in there. If Buffy and Spike were going at it on the floor, that's their business.
I'm not parsing words. Xander has spent the night fuming in self righteous anger, he has drunk all the alcohol he had at home, then he has gone to bar to drink more, where he was beaten up Warren, after which he ran to Buffy, found Spike's duster and saw saw red. He is not waltzing. If he was waltzing, it would be weird.
 

vampmogs

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@WillowFromBuffy I'm afraid I'm a bit at a loss as to what point it is that you're actually trying to make either about Xander or Spike? ("Do rapists usually knock?").
 

WillowFromBuffy

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@WillowFromBuffy I'm afraid I'm a bit at a loss as to what point it is that you're actually trying to make either about Xander or Spike? ("Do rapists usually knock?").
To me, it seems perfectly natural for Spike not to knock. He has come there to win Buffy back, and he isn't going to take no for an answer. Spike entering the door uninvited warns us as to what is about to happen. He has no respect for Buffy's privacy or her expressed wishes.

As for Xander waltzing in... waltzing implies lightheartedness and nonchalance. Xander is in a drunken self righteous rage. He feels very strongly that Buffy has some explaining to do.

Rapists and drunk angry people will sometimes not knock.
 
Cheese Slices
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I genuinely don't think he entered the bathroom with raping Buffy on his mind

vampmogs

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To me, it seems perfectly natural for Spike not to knock. He has come there to win Buffy back, and he isn't going to take no for an answer. Spike entering the door uninvited warns us as to what is about to happen. He has no respect for Buffy's privacy or her expressed wishes.
I guess where my confusion lies is that I never said it was unnatural or unexpected? I simply was saying that it pissed me off. I'm saying that it's enraging that he has no respect for her boundaries and that I hate the fact that Buffy has two men walk into her bathroom in 1 night which neither of them have any right to do. I wasn't saying it was unexpected or OOC or any of those things. I was simply sharing my feels on how aggravating I find it to be.
 

WillowFromBuffy

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I guess where my confusion lies is that I never said it was unnatural or unexpected?
You said that Xander storming in with Spike's duster would have been just as bad as if he had been nonchalantly waltzing, which I didn't know quite how to interpret. If Xander wasn't as angry as he is, then his actions wouldn't make sense. As it is, I don't think he quite knows what his intentions are, he is probably making it up as he goes, but I would be much more confused if he lightly waltzed across the threshold.
 

vampmogs

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I said it'd be just as bad because there's no justification or excuse for him to walk into Buffy's bathroom, when the door is locked, and he expects her to be in a state of undress, and quite possibly in an intimate sexual act, regardless of whether he charged in or "waltzed" in. I don't care why he walked in or how he walked in. Either way, he had no right.

And I think his intentions were very much to catch her in the act and to berate her - "You call this not seeing Spike anymore!?" He expected to walk in on them together and "catch her red handed." It's gross AF.
 
Athene
Athene
The door wasn't locked?
darkspook
darkspook
I would say AR is gross AF. Walking into a bathroom expecting to find your friend screwing a bad guy who she claims she is not seeing anymore is just bad.

WillowFromBuffy

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But that's appropriate, right? The episode is called "Seeing Red." It is not called "Casually Strolling Into Private Spaces."
 

vampmogs

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It's appropriate yes, but again, I feel you're having a discussion from a Doylist perspective (i.e. it made sense for the writers to script the characters these way) whereas I was talking about the scene from a purely Watsonian POV. I wasn't critiquing the writing, I was critiquing the characters for being jerks who invade Buffy's privacy.
 
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