Seeing Red (Steven S. DeKnight)
The teaser finishes and straight away I’m calling the makers of Buffy bastards as Amber Benson appears in the credits.
Andy and I had a very long discussion about this episode after we watched it.
[Followed by a discussion about the implications of “Normal Again” and sexual violence on TV and particularly in Mad Men.]
We discussed the ambiguity of Spike’s attempted rape of Buffy. If Spike was human and if Buffy was an ordinary woman and if they hadn’t been involved in a violent abusive relationship then there would be no ambiguity. It seems an appropriately sad and tacky culmination to the Buffy and Spike relationship. The fade to black for an advert break was pretty outrageous though. I hadn’t actually given the incident any thought at any time because I was distracted by the other important event so it made a change to consider it.
I asked Andy for his reaction to Tara’s death (I hesitate to call it murder when manslaughter seems more appropriate) bearing in mind that Andy isn’t an obsessive Tara fan and doesn’t read much about the show. He felt her death was undramatic and that the sex and the kissing and the intimacy were in poor taste considering what unfolds.
I can only agree.
I find it really hard to separate my thoughts about Tara’s death based on season 6 alone and those based on subsequent events (or non-events) because they are all tangled up together.
The way season 6 was designed means that Tara’s death is necessary for Willow to go dark. Buffy or Xander wouldn’t have done. It had to be a lover. It could have been Oz. They could have cheated and had Willow think Tara was dead when she wasn’t but that wouldn’t be dramatically satisfactory. If Tara has to die why is it so undramatic?
They have just back to together, they are a hot sexy couple (who knew?), they appear to be happy and in one measly episode it’s over. Tara was interesting. She had a relationship with Buffy, She even had friends (do any of the other Scoobies have friends? Real friends? Janice. Gotcha.) If Tara had been offed in season 5 who exactly would have cared? I may have just understood why Tara is interesting in season 6 – so we can miss her.
[caption id="attachment_1651" align="aligncenter" width="535" caption="And all the winds go sighing, for sweet things dying. "][/caption]
I do know one concrete reason why I dislike her death so much and that is because it is so unbelievable. The scriptwriters (or just Steven S. DeKnight) know they have to kill her but they don’t take any care to make it plausible. She hugs Willow and impossibly sees Xander arrive in the garden. Warren’s final shot must have taken the amazing ricochets to enter her body the way it does (it looks as if it’s horizontal and as if it was directly fired at her) to kill her instantly and to splatter her blood over her lover.
I have read that the ricochets aren’t actually impossible but to a layperson who knows nothing about guns it seems impossible. If they had been in the kitchen then I would be placated but then if they had been in the kitchen then the whole sex and then death thing wouldn’t be there to rankle.
Putting Amber Benson in the credits suggests a lack of respect to the character (and to the actor…). I often wonder about that. I think it speaks volumes of an unknown nature that AB didn’t come back for ‘Conversations With Dead People”. I don’t suppose we shall ever know the complete story but Amber if you are reading this…!
It is so lame in many respects. Warren was a genius because he was the first person to realise the most likely way to kill a Slayer is to shoot her.
The lovey-doveyness in the episode doesn’t assuage my discomfit at Tara returning to her violator. Willow may be off the drugs but she hasn’t muttered a word of apology for what she did. It may have happened off screen but I guess it wasn’t deemed important enough to show us.
I have never seen a single minute of any of the rest of season 6 and all of season 7 since my initial dazed and rushed viewing. It will be interesting to see if I can watch the rest without seething over my other problems with Tara’s death.
Also: poor Jonathan. He was betrayed by Warren and what’s his name who is such a weasel. In spite of myself I do laugh at the antics of the Trio. The jetpacks were stupidly OTT but it was funny to see Andrew hit the roof.
I'm disappointed that I haven't written a more profound entry on this episode but that's the way it goes I suppose. Thanks Amber, thanks Tara and thanks to Joss, Marti and co for creating her.