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Recap / Buffy the Vampire Slayer S5E14 "Crush"

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"I knew ... before you did. I knew you loved the Slayer. The pixies in my head whispered it to me."

Spike: I love you.
Buffy: Oh God...

Directed by Daniel Attias

Written by David Fury

The Bronze re-opens after its repairs and refurbishment following the damage caused by Olaf the Troll, and Buffy watches as her friends dance. Spike shows up and starts discussing the bar menu with Buffy, who is confused at the fact he seems to be attempting to carry on a regular conversation with her. Willow reveals that she is suffering from headaches and nosebleeds as a result of her teleportation spell. Buffy spots Ben and offers her thanks to him for looking after Dawn.

A train pulls into Sunnydale Station, but when no one gets off the porter boards the train and finds all the passengers dead, before he too is attacked.

Buffy returns home and Giles suggests that Dawn be treated normally. Harmony, trying to get Spike sexually aroused, engages in a game in which she pretends to be Buffy. Buffy reads about the train murders and concludes that it's a vampire and not Glory. Buffy searches for Dawn and finds her with Spike, listening to one of his scary stories. Dawn admits to her own crush on Spike, but really shocks her sister when she says that Spike has a crush on Buffy, making Dawn's interest irrelevant.

Buffy and Xander investigate the train and Buffy confesses the possibility of Spike loving her, though Xander finds it very funny and is more concerned with Dawn's crush no longer being on him. Buffy finds her mother and sister talking in the kitchen with Spike; Joyce subsequently explains that Spike arrived to apologize for the situation with Dawn. Spike tells Buffy that he believes he knows where the vamps from the train are.

On a stakeout in Spike's car, Buffy is unnerved by some of Spike's behavior, such as offering her bourbon, asking her what kind of music she likes, and the fact that he is doing this for free. Buffy and Spike enter the vampires' lair, but the vampires immediately run off at the sight of the Slayer. Buffy realizes that the warehouse is a long-established vampire nest, and thus they couldn't have been involved in the train massacre. When Spike goes so far as to unwittingly hold the door open for her, Buffy finally demands to know why he is acting like this and if everything that just happened was Spike's version of a date. At first, Spike loudly denies it, but then asks, in a hopeful manner, "Do you want it to be?" Buffy is immediately disgusted. Despite Spike's pleas and confessions, Buffy refuses to listen to him and denies that there is something between them, insisting that Spike is still a dangerous villain and, being soulless, is incapable of such emotion. Having completely and brutally rejected Spike, Buffy departs the warehouse in horror and disgust. Despondently returning to his crypt, Spike is greeted by his sire and longtime love, Drusilla.

Drusilla tells him of the events in Los Angeles and tries to convince him to return with her. She's already aware of the chip in his head and tries to convince him he can be evil, even with the chip. Harmony arrives and yells at Drusilla for hurting Spike, however Spike quickly kicks Harmony to the curb, announcing that not only is Drusilla back—he's back. Joyce and Willow talk to Buffy about the problem with Spike and tell her she has to make it clear to Spike that there is nothing between them. Buffy agrees, but tells Willow to do "something" for her while she is out...

Spike and Drusilla dance at the Bronze before Dru spots a couple on the catwalk for them to feed on. She snaps the neck of the girl, offering her to Spike before taking the guy for herself. Spike hesitates initially but soon vamps and bites.

Buffy discovers the extension of Spike's lair underground and a shrine dedicated to herself. As she returns to the surface, Buffy finds Spike and Drusilla waiting for her. Spike watches Drusilla shock Buffy with a cattle prod. After the Slayer collapses, Drusilla turns to Spike, only to be shocked herself as he seizes the cattle prod and uses it on her.

Buffy awakens to find herself chained up in the underground space below Spike's crypt, Drusilla tied to a pole across from her. Spike professes his adoration and offers to kill Drusilla to convince Buffy of his love. He threatens that if Buffy does not return his love, he'll untie Drusilla and let her kill Buffy. Spike asks for only a small sign that Buffy could love him. Buffy rejects Spike again and he goes into a rage about women being so difficult. Harmony arrives and shoots Spike with a crossbow bolt. While Harmony and Spike fight, Drusilla breaks free and goes after Buffy while the Slayer is still chained up. Spike saves Buffy. Realizing that the Spike she once loved is gone forever, Drusilla leaves Sunnydale heartbroken. Harmony leaves Spike, telling him it's completely over between the two of them. The minute she leaves, Buffy physically attacks Spike and storms off.

Spike quickly tracks Buffy down and desperately attempts to get her to talk things over with him, but Buffy makes it very clear that he is no longer a part of her life, and he is to stay away from her and her family and friends from now on. Undeterred, Spike attempts to follow her into her house, but discovers that she has had his invitation revoked. As he spends time recovering from this, Buffy merely glares at him with disdain before shutting the door in his face.

Tropes in this episode include:

  • Abandoned Warehouse: Where the two vampires are hanging out. The trope is lampshaded by a deleted line where Buffy comments, "Is there any other kind in Sunnydale?"
  • Actor Allusion: Harmony refers to Drusilla as "Morticia". Mercedes McNab was in The Addams Family and Addams Family Values.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Xander bursts into laughter on finding that Spike has fallen in love with Buffy.
  • Alone in a Crowd: Buffy at the Bronze. Until Spike bothers her. And then she sees Ben.
  • All Take and No Give
    Harmony: What about me, Spike? You forget about me again? The actual girlfriend? I gave you the best... bunch of months of my life! I thought I could change you, Spike. I thought maybe if I gave and I gave and gave, maybe you'd come around. Maybe be a little nicer. Stop treating me like your dog. But now I see it's you. You're the dog. Who needs to be put down.
  • Answer Cut: Showing it was Spike who stole Buffy's cashmere sweater.
  • Attack the Injury: After shooting Spike with a crossbow, Harmony grabs the bolt and twists it to gain an advantage in their fight.
  • Badass Decay (In-Universe): Spike is indignant when Dawn says she feels safe with him.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": Harmony playing Buffy.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: Spike asks for a response to his Love Confession. Buffy lowers her voice; "Spike... (Spike leans in hopefully) ...the only chance you had with me was when I was unconscious."
  • Blatant Lies: Spike's lame ending for his scary story, once Buffy enters his crypt.
  • Buffy Speak: Xander is Payday Man!
  • Butt-Monkey: Spike ruins any chance he has of getting back together with Drusilla because of his love for Buffy, and then Buffy rejects him. Harmony flounces off in the meanwhile. In the end, he's left three times scorned.
  • Call-Back:
    • Spike's offer to kill his sire/paramour out of love for Buffy is not without precedent, as Angel did exactly that with Darla in the first season. This won't be the last parallel between the Bangel and Spuffy relationships that Buffy will refuse to see or admit to.
    • Drusilla knew Spike was in love with Buffy even before he did. This was shown in "Fool for Love".
  • Captive Date: Spike resorts to knocking Buffy out and chaining her up so she can't keep leaving in the middle of his Love Confessions.
  • Chalk Outline: After the railway carriage massacre, Buffy accidentally sits down on a victim outline.
  • Clothing Reflects Personality:
  • Cool Car: Spike uses his black DeSoto for the stakeout with Buffy, but we never see it after this episode.
  • Comically Missing the Point
    Buffy: You don't know what feelings are!
    Spike: I damn well do! I lie awake every night—
    Buffy: You sleep during the day!
    Spike: Yeah, but— [through his teeth] You are missing the point.
  • Continuity Nod: Reference is made to the Bronze being repaired after Olaf's rampage in "Triangle". Spike complains that the blooming onion, which he mentioned liking in that epiosde, has been dropped from the menu.
  • Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind: Drusilla is about to kill Buffy when Spike tackles her to the ground, then lets the Slayer out of her chains.
  • Courtly Love: Spike's Love Confession to Buffy hits several points of this trope. Given his past as a Victorian-era romantic poet he may even be acting it out, consciously or otherwise.
  • Death Glare: Willow offers to back Buffy up with some scowlin'.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Spike offers to kill his sire to prove his love for Buffy, an extremely meaningful thing in vampire culture. To Buffy, however, vampires betraying vampires is just normal evil behavior, so while she's perfectly happy to see Drusilla dead, it proves nothing to her about his feelings.
  • Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: Spike stops by the Summers home to apologize for worrying Joyce about Dawn's absence, and ends up sticking around to chat with both Joyce and Dawn.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Spike, three times over.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Buffy, Willow and Tara discuss The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
    Tara: Quasimodo's actions were selfishly motivated. He had no moral compass, no understanding of right. Everything he did, he did out of love for a woman who would never be able to love him back.
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu
    Anya: Xander, I think you may have hurt his feelings.
    Xander: And you should never hurt the feelings of a brutal killer. [ponders] You know, that's, uh, that's actually some pretty good advice.
  • Door-Closes Ending: Sorry Spike, changed the locks.
  • Emerging from the Shadows: Drusilla's introduction.
  • Evil Is Petty: Spike steals money from Xander at the Bronze to buy himself drinks.
  • Even the Girls Want Her:
    Harmony: I told you: I don't do threesomes unless they're boy-boy-girl. Or Charlize Theron.
  • Failed a Spot Check: While searching the train, Buffy and Xander miss a doll with its eyes bandaged in an overhead luggage compartment, which would have told them that Drusilla was back in town.
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: Spike's tirade is interrupted by his ex-girlfriend Harmony shooting him In the Back.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Averted; Spike tries to play on the help he gave to Buffy in "Blood Ties". Buffy is not impressed.
    Spike: It's just, we took on that Glory chippie together, I was right there with you, fightin' the fight.
    Buffy: Actually, you were sleeping the sleep of the knocked unconscious.
  • Fool for Love: Spike, of course.
  • Foe Romance Subtext
    Spike: You can't deny it. There's something between us.
    Buffy: Loathing! Disgust!
    Spike: Heat. Desire.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Buffy sitting watching her friends dance, in contrast to her eagerness for such fun in previous years—this happens more often as Buffy becomes weighed down by her responsibilities and isolated from her friends.
    • For the Spuffy relationship in Season 6. Buffy denies Spike's feelings and is disgusted by the whole affair, Spike won't take no for an answer, neither side really understand the other, and there's a definite sadomasochistic aspect about it all.
    • Xander's belief that a Spike/Buffy relationship is too ridiculous to worry about; his willful blindness continues even after the two have begun their Secret Relationship.
    • Spike pleads with Buffy for an indication, no matter how slight, that his love might not be unrequited. Although Buffy shuts him down here, Spike finally gets that sign in "Intervention".
  • Freudian Slip: Buffy has been tipped off that Spike is in love with her.
    Spike: I got a bit of info you might be keen on knowing.
    Buffy: Sorry, all out of cash. Why don't you hit on Giles— hit up Giles!
  • Geographic Flexibility: Add a train station...
  • Get Out!: Buffy makes it clear to Spike in no uncertain terms that she's disgusted by him in this manner:
    Spike: So we had a fight. It's not our first, love, and it doesn't change anything—
    Buffy: It changes everything, Spike! I want you out. I want you out of this town, I want you off this planet! You don't come near me, my friends, or my family again, ever! Understand?
  • Ghost Story: The ultimate version of this trope—scary stories told by the monster himself! Buffy comes across Dawn in Spike's lamp-lit crypt, eagerly listening to the vampire tell the story of how he murdered a whole family, and then heard the faint sound a child's gasp in a pitch-dark coal bin so he— (Death Glare from Buffy) had her adopted out to a nice family that didn't put their children in coal bins. Dawn is not impressed by the lame ending.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Drusilla killing the railway conductor.
  • Grand Romantic Gesture: Spike clearly considers offering to stake his former love and sire for a chained-up Buffy to be the height of devotion and sacrifice.
  • Guy on Guy Is Hot: "I told you: No threesomes Unless they're boy-boy-girl. Or Charlize Theron".
  • Heel–Face Turn: Spike offers to "turn his back on the whole evil thing" if that's what Buffy wants.
  • He's Back!: Spike violently rejects Harmony for Drusilla.
    Harmony: Why? Because she's back?
    Spike: No. Because I am.
    • Played With in that, for all his bluster, he can't fully commit to it and ends up rejecting Drusilla for yet another mad shot with Buffy.
  • Hollywood Healing: Drusilla still has some scars from when Angel set her on fire, though not enough to mar her looks.
  • Hollywood Torches: In Spike's crypt. Buffy grabs one to illuminate her search.
  • Ice Queen: Buffy, from Spike's perspective.
  • I Do Not Drink Wine: Averted; Spike drinks bourbon.
  • If I Can't Have You…: Spike chains up both Buffy and Drusilla, and declares he'll stake his his vampire ex-girlfriend as a sign of his love for Buffy. When Buffy is unimpressed, Spike says he'll release Drusilla to feed on her unless Buffy gives him the faintest crumb of hope that someday he might have a chance with her. He either changed his mind or was bluffing all along, however, as he jumps to Buffy's rescue despite her brutal rebuttal of his affections when Dru wrestles her way out of her binds on her own.
  • If It's You, It's Okay: A throwaway line reveals that Harmony feels this way about Charlize Theron.
  • Ignore the Fanservice: Harmony, dressed in a nightie, tries to tempt Spike to bed. He says he's not tired.
  • Interrupted Declaration of Love: Spike's Anguished Declaration of Love is interrupted mid-sentence by a very alarmed and grossed-out Buffy. He chains her up so she'll be forced to listen to the whole spiel.
  • Karma Houdini: Drusilla. She never answers for her train massacre or the victims she murdered at the Bronze.
  • Kinky Role-Playing: Harmony invites Spike to tie her up. Spike instead gets her to dress up as Buffy for some roleplay and roll-in-the-hay.
  • Lack of Empathy: For all the comic shenanigans, Spike casually steals from Xander, boasts to Dawn of murdering an entire family, uses and abuses his girlfriend Harmony, participates with Drusilla in the joint murder at the Bronze (he does hesitate to drink from the body, though possibly just because he's worried the chip will fire), kidnaps Buffy to force her to respond to his affections, and completely fails to see why this behavior would fill Buffy with revulsion, assuming she's just Playing Hard to Get.
  • Laughing Mad: Spike's Love Confession is interrupted by Dru's "laugh track."
    Drusilla: I knew it. I knew before you did that you loved the Slayer. The pixies in my head told it to me.
  • Let Me Get This Straight...: Drusilla fills in Spike on events in Angel, such as Darla's return from the dead and Angel setting them on fire. Spike has trouble believing it all, and actually says "let me get this straight".
  • Long Bus Trip: Drusilla no longer appears as a villain in Buffy or Angel after this, except in flashbacks, until the comics.
  • Love at First Punch
    Joyce: Honey, did you somehow, unintentionally, lead him on in any way? Send him signals?
    Buffy: Well, I do beat him up a lot. For Spike, that's like third base.
  • Love Hurts
    Xander: Listen, Bleach Boy, I don't have a chip in my head. I can do far more damage to you than you can ever do to me.
    Spike: [distracted watching Buffy chat up Ben] Yeah? Like you could ever hurt me.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Spike talks of his Inconvenient Attraction as if it's an Assimilation Plot by Buffy.
    Spike: You think I like having you in here? Destroying everything that was me, until all that's left is you, in a dead shell. [scoffs] You say you hate it, but you won't leave.
  • Mad Love: Spike fully admits it, not that it slows him down at all.
  • Manly Tears: Spike returns to his crypt teary-eyed after Buffy rejects his first Anguished Declaration of Love.
  • Mood Whiplash: Buffy quietly asks Giles if they should continue going easy on Dawn due to recent events. When he advises her to keep things as normal as possible, Buffy rounds on her sister for stealing her cashmere sweater.
  • Must Be Invited:
    • Spike tells a story of how he forced a woman to give this by holding her husband hostage.
    • Spike goes to follow Buffy into her house, only to bounce off the threshold as Willow has done a de-invite spell. The episode ends with Buffy closing the door on his shocked face.
  • Neck Snap: Drusilla killing the couple at the Bronze, so Spike can feed without his chip firing.
  • Never My Fault: Spike during his rant on bloody women. It's Buffy's fault for making him fall in love with her, it's Drusilla's fault for making him come back to Sunnydale because she dumped him, and Harmony's just ganging up on him with the others. None of said women are very impressed by this argument.
  • Not a Date: Spike invites Buffy on a stakeout of a vampire nest, offers her a Quick Nip and tries to make conversation about her taste in music. When the vampires turn out to be less than aggressive, Buffy goes to storm out only to find Spike holding the door open for her, and so she suddenly asks Spike, "Is this a date?"
    Spike: A d—? Please! A date? You are completely off your bird! I mean... do you want it to be?
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Dawn says there's no difference between Angel's soul and Spike's chip. Buffy responds, "I can't listen to this!"
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Drusilla is certifiably off her rocker, driven insane by Angelus and in almost every appearance was a Cloudcuckoolander. However, when Spike tries to reunite with her she is the picture of sanity and is clear-headed enough to be hurt and upset over him falling for Buffy.
    • When he makes the ultimatum of either him staking Dru or letting Dru kill Buffy, Dru is quite coherent in her response that she would much prefer the latter.
  • Oblivious to Love: When Dawn states point-blank that Spike loves Buffy, big sis reacts as though she misheard, not believing (or wanting to believe) that such a thing is possible.
  • One-Word Title
  • Open Mouth, Insert Foot: Buffy compares Spike to a Serial Killer locked up in prison. Spike replies: "Women marry them all the time!"
  • Paper Tiger: Implied. Spike threatens to loose Dru on a bound Buffy if she can't admit that there's something between them, but when Dru breaks free on her own, Spike jumps to Buffy's rescue.
  • Parental Hypocrisy of the older-sister kind: Buffy argues that Dawn "cannot have a crush on something that is dead and evil and a vampire." Dawn promptly calls her out on it.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: Willow and Tara read The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which draws parallels between Quasimodo and Spike. Buffy mentions renting the movie, however she jokingly implies with her mention of "singing gargoyles" that she didn't rent the 1939 movie but the animated version.
  • Power at a Price: Willow still has headaches from the teleportation spell she did in the last episode.
  • Precocious Crush: Dawn on Spike, though she denies it.
  • Punched Across the Room: Buffy's final rejection of Spike is of her decking him across the face with enough force to send him flying across the room and into his Stalker Shrine, smashing it to pieces.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis! / Rhetorical Question Blunder
    Buffy: Which question do you want me to answer first?
  • Put on a Bus:
    • Last appearance of Harmony, though she does become a secondary character in Angel and come back in the Buffy comics.
    • Also Drusilla's last non-flashback appearance on either show, not returning in person until the Buffy and Angel & Faith comics.
  • Quick Nip: On their stakeout, Spike offers Buffy a hit from his flask. She's grossed out by the idea that it might be blood, but even more so at the thought of sharing a drink with him.
    Buffy: Ewww.
    Spike: It's not what you think, it's bourbon.
    Buffy: Ewwwwww...
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder:
    Spike: What the bleeding hell is wrong with you bloody women? What the hell does it take? Why do you bitches torture me?
    Buffy: Which question do you want me to answer first?
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Spike and Buffy bust into a vampire lair. The vamps get up ready to fight, and say "Slayer!" Then they run away.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: Spike tackles Harmony, then we have an off-screen gasp. "Oh, Spike!"
  • Shaking the Rump: Lampshaded by Harmony when she says that the only thing Spike will see of her is her ass walking away—unwilling to give him even that pleasant sight, she decides to back away instead.
  • Ship Tease: Spike/Buffy and Ben/Buffy. So Spuffy and... Buffy?
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shout-Out to Shakespeare: Drusilla's "We can love quite well, if not wisely" is paraphrased from Othello.
  • Sick and Wrong: Buffy actually looks physically sick when she gets confirmation that Spike really is in love with her. Even Spike acknowledges there's something off about Dating Catwoman.
    Spike: ...this, with you, is wrong. I know it. I'm not a complete idiot!
  • Speak of the Devil
    Tara: Let's just call She Who Cannot Be Named another name. Let's call her—
    Buffy: [seeing a familiar face] Ben!
  • Stalker Shrine: Buffy is visibly freaked when she goes down into Spike's crypt and finds a shrine with his Buffy dummy, drawings and photos of her, plus items of an intimate nature.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Spike, from Buffy's perspective.
  • Static Stun Gun: The cattle prod used to knock out Buffy, and then Drusilla.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • Xander laughs over the idea of Spike being in love with Buffy.
      Xander: I mean, how upset can you really get over one of Spike's fevered daydreams that's not gonna happen?
    • Spike is telling Buffy that she can't just shut him out, when he discovers that Willow can.
    • Played with when Buffy says that hopefully Spike has already gone back to wanting her dead, right after Spike has hooked up with Drusilla to start killing again. Turns out to be a Bait-and-Switch though.
  • Valentine's Day Episodes
  • Vampire Dance: Spike and Dru dance to the music of "Key" by Devics while selecting their next victims.
  • Verbal Backspace
    Joyce: Well, I'm relieved that you're home. Because to be honest, I wasn't feeling all that safe with you gone. [Giles looks injured; Buffy gives mom a Meaningful Look] At first. And then I, um, remembered that, um, Rupert was here and I felt much, much safer.
    Giles: Yes, well, thank you for the little backpedal...
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: After Spike saves Buffy, Drusilla says sadly that she can't help him now and leaves. Given Spike's uncertain loyalties, Buffy clearly figures it'd be pushing her luck to chase her.
  • Villainous Rescue: Harmony, in typically clumsy fashion. Her attempt to kill Spike is a disaster but she does cause enough havoc for Dru to slip her bindings and Buffy to work on doing the same.
  • Villains Out Shopping: The two vampires in the abandoned warehouse are cooking up popcorn and going through some stolen CDs.
  • Villain Over for Dinner: The fact that Spike appears to be worming his way into Dawn and Joyce's good graces alarms Buffy just as much as his Love Confession.
  • Visual Pun: As the Victim of the Week enters the railway car where Drusilla has feasted, there's a sign saying DINER.
  • Waking Up Elsewhere: Buffy is tasered, and wakes up in Spike's basement Chained to a Rock.
  • Wall Glower: Buffy watches while her friends dance happily. Spike's attempt to start a casual conversation is rejected in turn by Buffy.
  • Wham Line
    Dawn: Spike's totally into you! Oh, come on. You didn't notice? Buffy, Spike is completely in love with you.
    Buffy: Huh?
  • Wham Shot: Spike learns he is not longer welcome in the Summers household when Buffy has his invitation reversed.
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: Inverted from the usual; Buffy refuses to accept that Spike's obsession with her is love, as "you can't love without a soul."
    Drusilla: Oh, we can, you know. We can love quite well. If not wisely.
  • White Shirt of Death: The first couple of victims shown in the railway massacre are wearing a white sweater or clutching bloody paperwork.
  • Why Didn't I Think of That?: According to the script, this is Spike's immediate thought on Buffy telling him the only chance he had with her was when she was unconscious.
  • With My Hands Tied: Buffy has to fight Drusilla with each hand chained to a pole.
  • Woman Scorned: Harmony tries to kill Spike after being dumped for Drusilla, then Buffy.
  • The Woobie (In-Universe): Harmony's blondie bear.
    Harmony: Well, you've got some nerve showing up here like this. After all this time. After breaking my sweet boo-boo's heart. [Drusilla looks at Spike and mouths, "boo-boo?"] Do you have any idea how hard it's been to break down the walls he put up after you left? I mean, serious trust issues.
  • You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious: Spike calls Buffy by her family name "Summers" while making his Anguished Declaration of Love.