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'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' recap: Spike and the Slayer, engaged

Season 4 | Episode 9 | “Something Blue” | Aired Nov 30, 1999

Buffy and Riley flirt awkwardly around the UC Sunnydale campus (“Say, don’t you just love a picnic?”). It’s weird to see Buffy go for this guy, after Buffy and Angel’s passion stemmed from a much hotter having-to-work-with-your-mortal-enemy plotline. We know Riley’s up to some fascinating military business on the side. We know Riley is on a mission against forces of evil, which must eventually cross with Buffy’s. Still, compared with Angel, corn-fed Commando Riley comes off as woefully milquetoast.

Buffy’s feeling some hesitation, too. One minute she’s swooning over Riley’s muscles (“Those are good arms to have”) but the next, she’s wondering why Riley hasn’t made her miserable yet (“I just feel like something’s missing”). Haven’t we all had this conundrum after dating a bad boy? After visiting Angel in L.A., Buffy can’t help but think, “Isn’t that where the fire comes from? Can a nice, safe relationship be that intense?” Preach, sister. No one wants a vanilla romance, but separating passion from pain is especially hard for the Slayer.

Lots of TV shows settle for the classic conflict between the good guy or the bad boy. But Buffy isn’t Buffy without a wrench in the mix. Enter Spike, just as bad a boy, but newly neutered and held captive in Giles’ bathtub, promising information about the Initiative in exchange for blood in a novelty mug. Before now, Spike hasn’t been any kind of love interest for Buffy, but this episode finally positions him differently in the eyes of viewers: What if?

Note: Giles

Buffy tries everything to get information out of Spike, but they’re both stubborn. She chains Spike up, refuses him blood and taunts him with her exposed neck, but it doesn’t get any information out of him. They keep up weird, playful banter, while an exasperated Giles practically begs to have his bathtub back.

Willow offers up her services for a truth spell. Appreciative, Giles gives her the green light and applauds her work ethic after her breakup with Oz. But Willow’s not better. While putting on a brave face for her friends, Willow continues stopping by Oz’s old room and smelling his clothes. Surprisingly, only Spike notices: “She’s hanging on by a thread! Any idiot could see that.” And he’s right. He’s also so, so right about loving the old soap Passions, but that’s not important.

On a night out with the gang, Willow gets drunk and starts mouthing off to everyone, annoying all her friends. At her wit’s end, Willow conducts a spell to cause her will to be done, to heal her own heart. Can’t blame her. If I were a witch, I’d try that too. The spell doesn’t work immediately, so Willow figures it was a dud. But when Giles confronts her about forgetting the truth spell she promised to do, Willow argues he doesn’t “see anything” about what she’s going through. Giles quickly leaves, having trouble seeing anything on his way out. The spell did work and her will is done every time her emotions run high.

Later, Willow vents to Xander about Buffy leaving her alone to watch Spike, saying if Spike’s so important, Buffy should just marry him. Immediately, Spike is down on one knee, proposing to Buffy at Giles’ house. This is the best scene all season. I know not everyone is a Spike fan, but about 90 percent of Buffy fans are, and seeing those crazy kids kiss for the first time could’ve broken the Internet today. I mean, it must have at least lit up those AOL chat rooms in 1999. That’s what we had back then, right? Chat rooms?

The WB

While heading out to the magic shop, Buffy runs into Riley and joyfully declares her engagement to Spike. Confused, hurt and overwhelmed, Riley books it. Back at Giles’, Buffy happily heats up pig’s blood for Spike, sits on his lap and tries to nail down wedding invitations for their ridiculous names. “Do you want William the Bloody or just Spike? Because either way it’s going to look totally weird.”

Meanwhile, Xander tries to bone down with Anya in his parents’ basement, but they’re suddenly attacked by several demons. Why? Because Willow stopped by earlier and rambled on about all Xander’s exes, calling him a demon magnet. I’m going to guess this plot point took place because the Buffy monster makers had a few extra costumes/masks to try out, with no backstories to go along with them.

Xander and Anya run to Giles’ house, where everyone finally realizes all this weird stuff happened because of Willow’s spell. The gang goes to find Willow, but she’s been taken by a whole other demon, D’Hoffryn. It’s the same demon who turned Anya into a vengeance demon over 1,100 years ago. D’Hoffryn offers Willow a job as a vengeance demon, because her pain is so great and her magic is so powerful.

Back on campus, Xander’s demon magnet status keeps getting the group in trouble. Three gnarly monsters chase the gang into the graveyard, giving us a brief, spectacular taste of what it would be like for Buffy and Spike to work together (it’s awesome). Willow turns down D’Hoffryn’s offer and teleports back to help her friends just in time.

Willow recites the reversal spell and the demons disappear, Giles regains his sight, and Buffy and Spike engage in mutual squealing after coming to their senses. Willow bakes everyone cookies in apology and Buffy pretends like she was just joking to Riley the night before, by the magic shop. Buffy commits to pursuing her chemistry with Riley and swears she’s over the bad-boy thing … for now. Spuffy fans, unite!

Big bad of the week: Willow, with some glorious foreshadowing of her witchy powers to come.

Quote of the week: “Relax, just think of my lips as the Fruit Roll-Ups of love.” —Xander, attempting to seduce Anya in his parents’ basement.

Heinous ’90s fashion of the week: Buffy’s crimped hair. God, anyone’s crimped hair ever.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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