In our discussion this time, we talk about Kristine Sutherland crushing it in every scene, how much we love Anya, and that damn rubber snake.
We hope you enjoy! Thanks for joining us for Season 5, Episode 8: Shadow.
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One thought on “Episode 96: Shadow”
I’ve never been a big fan of Glory, honestly. We learn fairly quickly that Glory is super strong, and then all the plots between that point and the last few episodes of the season just feel like a series of contrivances. Even the reveal that she’s a god doesn’t hit very hard for me. Instead of interesting plots, there’s a lot of talking, either people talking about how powerful Glory is, or Glory ranting at her minions, and eventually at Buffy. This makes the season drag, for me, even though there are some interesting (and devastating, and enraging) points along the way.
Maybe it’s because the villains I find the most compelling on BtVS have relationships – Angel/Spike/Dru, The mayor & Faith, the dynamics of the trio, even Maggie Walsh and her ties with Riley in season 4. Glory kind of has that with Ben, but since the two literally can’t exist together at the same time, there’s not exactly any rich interaction between them. And Ben himself never gets enough screen time to be in any way interesting for me. Glory to me feels like the mayor without Faith. Pontificating and threatening until the finale showdown, and not much else. Beyond all that, though, I just find Glory’s whole character just kind of annoying and dull, but obviously that’s just a personal thing.
Your conversation regarding the aversion to Spike smelling Buffy’s clothes/underwear reminded me of a brief conversation I had with another fan the other day about Xander. They noted that Xander was a character people tended to react to more harshly because his more annoying traits felt realistic, and common, as opposed to the much more fantastical nature of the crimes of Angelus and soulless Spike. There’s no easy real-world parallel for not having a soul, and most of what Angelus and soulless Spike do are objectively much worse than anything Xander does, but Xander’s shortcomings (like the way he deals with his feelings for Buffy early on, or his upcoming rant to her in Into the Woods, or the way he treats Anya sometimes) are much more grounded in real world behaviors, and therefore people (generally, I think) react more strongly to them.
Spike objectively acts very creepy in many parts of season 5 (stalking Buffy, smelling her things, eventually kidnapping her to try to force her to ‘admit her feelings’), but there’s still a level of fantasy there – for instance, what he does with the Buffybot – having Warren create essentially a second Buffy so he could have sex with her exact likeness – is objectively gross. But that’s not something people have really dealt with in real life. It still falls in the realm of fantasy. Spike is also given some more grand romanticized moments this season (being tortured by Glory and refusing to give her any information); but either way, it’s mostly very much separated from the real world (and again, he has no soul, cementing that separation). This is also why I think his attempted rape of Buffy in ‘Seeing Red’ was so upsetting for so many people. It was an incredibly graphic scene, but it was also showing a very real thing that can happen to women, and I think that really broke with the more fantastical elements of Spike and Buffy’s relationship and Spike’s actions generally. These aren’t the only times the show tackles real issues this way – we’re right in the middle of one with Joyce – but Buffy’s relationships with Angel and with Spike have generally tended to be more fantasy-based (I’m thinking of the somewhat comparable scene of Angel feeding on Buffy in season 3 – it was clearly depicted as a metaphor for sexual assault, but it stayed in that realm of metaphor, as opposed to what happened in ‘Seeing Red’).
So, a lot of rambling there, but basically, I think this is why Spike’s smelling of Buffy’s things hits in a different way. Thanks for another great episode! The next one is so, so silly in a lot of ways, and I look forward to your discussion on it.