The camera pans across Spike's crypt to the sounds of passion, pain and breaking objects, eventually focusing on Spike and Buffy catching their breath underneath the carpet. Buffy is more comfortable in the vampire's presence now, and they note with some amusement that they're having an ordinary conversation post-coitus, instead of Buffy thumping Spike and fleeing as per usual. Buffy isn't in a hurry to do so until Spike starts raving about how she's an animal in the sack. When Buffy starts looking for her clothes, he asks Buffy what their relationship means to her. Buffy continues to deny there's anything between them except sex, so Spike pushes the envelope by offering her a set of handcuffs. "Do you trust me?" Buffy's response is an unconvincing, "Never".
The next day Buffy seems unusually cheerful at the soulless grind that is the Doublemeat Palace, unconsciously rubbing her wrists in a tell-tale manner. She has arranged a meeting with Tara in the lunchroom, asking her to check out the spell the Scoobies used to bring her back from the dead. Buffy wants to find out if she really did 'come back wrong'.
Meanwhile the Trio have built the Cerebral Dampener, a Mind Control device they can use to turn any woman into their Sex Slave. Warren checks out a restaurant for suitable candidates while Andrew and Jonathan watch from the surveillance van and make suggestions. Annoyed over their bickering, Warren dumps his earpiece in a martini glass and approaches someone familiar — his former girlfriend Katrina, last seen in "I Was Made To Love You". Warren attempts to reconnect with his ex, but when Katrina makes her contempt for him clear he resorts to the Cerebral Dampener, which immediately converts Katrina into an obedient automaton who addresses Warren as "Master".
Buffy tries to make quality time with Dawn, only to discover she's already arranged to spend the night over at a friend's place. The Scoobies try to cheer Buffy up by taking her to the Bronze, but she refuses to join her friends on the dance floor, instead wandering up to the catwalk. As Buffy looks down on Xander, Anya and Willow dancing happily below, Spike appears behind her. Despite Buffy's feeble protests he starts to have sex with her, whispering in Buffy's ear that she doesn't belong with her friends, but in the shadows with him.
Back at the Trio's lair, the nerds drool over Katrina, who's dressed in a French maid outfit and is pouring them champagne. Warren declares first dibs on the girl, promising to hand her over when he's finished. As they start making out however, Katrina calls Warren by his name instead of "Master". Oops! Turns out the effects of the Cerebral Dampener have faded. She starts yelling that what they're doing is rape, shocking Jonathan and Andrew who clearly haven't put much thought into the ethics of what they're doing. Realising his ex is about to go to the police, Warren knocks her down with a champagne bottle and tells the others to charge up the Dampener again. The problem is, the blow has killed Katrina.
It's their first murder and the would-be supervillains start to panic. They can't afford to dump the body as there's a link between Katrina and Warren, who's determined not to go to prison (or if he does, he's not going to take the rap alone). Warren declares he has an idea to solve both their Katrina problem and their Slayer problem.
That night Buffy makes a listless effort at patrolling the graveyard, only to end up at Spike's crypt. The two sense each other from either side of the crypt door, but when Spike pulls it open Buffy has done a runner. As Buffy walks through the woods muttering that she mustn't think about the evil bloodsucking fiend, a woman's scream provides a welcome distraction. Buffy sees Katrina being chased by cloaked demons, but when she tackles one he vanishes, leaving her alone in the woods as ghostly voices whisper accusingly. Time starts to jump erratically between Spike catching up with her, Spike and Buffy fighting the cloaked demons, and Katrina collapsing in tears before them. In the confusion Buffy hits Spike and later Katrina, who rolls away down the hill. When Buffy follows, she finds Katrina's body and assumes she killed her. Buffy goes into shock and has to be dragged away by Spike. 'Katrina' (actually Jonathan using his shapeshifting device from "Life Serial") returns to the Trio's surveillance van, where Warren and Andrew congratulate themselves on having got away with murder. Jonathan doesn't look as pleased.
Back home Buffy's guilt over what happened spills out in a dream. She sees herself having passionate sex with a handcuffed Spike, raising her stake to kill him, then plunging it into Katrina's chest instead. She awakens determined to turn herself in to the police. Buffy goes to tell her little sister who isn't impressed, accusing Buffy of running away from her real-life problems, notably Dawn.
As Buffy is walking up to the police station, Spike pulls her into an alley. He tells Buffy that he's disposed of Katrina's body, but then overhears two policemen talking of a body found in the river. Regardless, Spike is determined to stop Buffy from turning herself in. He vamps out and tries to stop her physically; when Buffy hits back he encourages her to work off her angst on him. "That's it, put it all on me. That's my girl."
His words infuriate Buffy, who knocks Spike to the ground and savagely beats him, shouting that she'll never be his girl and decrying Spike as an evil soulless thing. Spike reverts back to his human face, now swollen and bruised, and says only; "You always hurt the ones you love, pet." Shocked over her actions, Buffy walks in a daze into the police station, but before she has a chance to confess she overhears the desk officer noting down the name of a missing person — Katrina Silber. Buffy remembers Warren addressing his girlfriend as Katrina the year before, and leaves without turning herself in.
At the Magic Box the Scooby Gang's research reveals that the cloaked demons Buffy encountered are Rwasundi. They come from Another Dimension, and their appearance in this one causes time to appear to jump erratically. The coroner has ruled that Katrina's death was accidental, but Buffy is convinced the Trio are involved.
Tara has good news for Buffy; she didn't come back wrong. The resurrection has given Buffy the equivalent of a molecular 'sunburn', a slight alteration on the cellular level which is enough to fool Spike's chip but not alter her in any significant way. Buffy is aghast at this; if there's nothing wrong with her, how can she excuse her actions with Spike? Tara is surprised but not judgmental about their relationship, saying it's alright if Buffy loves Spike, as she's convinced Spike truly loves Buffy, and if she doesn't that's OK as well. This only makes Buffy feel worse; she breaks down crying in Tara's lap, begging her friend not to forgive her.
- Accidental Murder: Warren probably intended that bottle to hit just a bit less hard.
- Anatomically Impossible Sex: See Right Through His Pants.
- Armor-Piercing Question: "Do you love him?"
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Being exposed to a Rwasundi demon can cause vivid hallucinations and "a slight tingly scalp".
- On a meta level: Longtime viewers of the show are probably so accustomed to the use of Bait and Switch that it can be genuinely surprising when the opening scene, which sounds like Buffy and Spike having a Destructo-Nookie, turns out to actually be exactly that.
- A Description Cut implies that Warren is going to use the Mind Control device on Buffy, but he's actually after his ex-girlfriend Katrina.
- Basement-Dweller: "Why can't we have a lair with a view?"
- Bastard Girlfriend: Buffy is devastated over how she had become this.
- Bat Deduction: Just the mention of Katrina's name is enough for Buffy to remember their encounter in "I Was Made To Love You", and realize Warren is setting her up.
- BDSM: The sexual control games between Buffy and Spike. However there are no Safe Words or discussions on what is Safe, Sane, and Consensual, largely due to Buffy's reluctance to discuss anything about their not-a-relationship. This will backfire on both of them in "Seeing Red".
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted; Spike hasn't had his handsome face bashed up this badly since "Intervention".
- Berserk Button: Spike calling Buffy "my girl" triggers a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown. That or the realization she had become Faith, sort of a mirror to Faith's Grand Theft Me / Rage Against the Reflection in "Who Are You."
- Big "SHUT UP!": Warren when the rest of the Trio start panicking over Katrina's death.
- Black and White Morality: Buffy can't love Spike as he's an Evil Bloodsucking Fiend, but thinks it's equally wrong to have sex without love, or to enjoy kinky sex that helps her cope with her post-resurrection trauma. She insists it's impossible for Spike to love her as you can't love without a soul. The Slayer is meant to slay vampires and protect the innocent; instead she's killed an innocent woman and shared her bed with a vampire, therefore Buffy needs to be locked up. And the Scoobies would surely be disgusted with Buffy's Dating Catwoman relationship as she is; when Tara responds with sympathy and understanding, it's the final straw.
- Blank White Eyes: Katrina in Buffy's dream.
- Bondage Is Bad: Zigzagged Trope; Buffy is shocked by the things she got up to with Spike, yet her cheerful attitude the morning after implies she found it therapeutic as well.
- Came Back Wrong: Averted — funneling Buffy's essence back into her body during her resurrection caused some basic molecular changes which were enough to confuse Spike's chip, "but it's all surfacy physical stuff". This is not what Buffy wants to hear, as it means her actions with Spike can't be blamed on some demonic aspect of her.
- Casual Kink:
- Clothing Reflects Personality: Recovery!Willow wears dark, somber clothes, which is especially obvious during her scene with Tara who is wearing bright red — a noticeable change from Season 4 (when Tara wore blue and Willow wore red) and foreshadowing for Dark!Willow.
- The Confidant: Tara for Buffy re Spuffy.
- Continuity Nod: Willow has checked that Dawn is actually staying over at Janice's place after the events of "All The Way". Buffy's alarm over finding Dawn dancing with Xander ("Are we singing again?") refers to the Musical Episode "Once More With Feeling" when everyone expressed their emotions through song and dance.
- Creepy Monotone: Mind Controlled Katrina.
- Cuffs Off, Rub Wrists: Buffy appears to refuse Spike's offer to handcuff her, but the next day is shown rubbing her wrists and hiding her bruises from Tara.
- A Darker Me: Buffy refuses to join the Scoobies on the dance floor of the Bronze and retreats to the upper balcony, where she finds Spike waiting.Spike: You see...you try to be with them, but you always end up in the dark, with me. What would they think of you, if they found out all the things you've done? If they knew...who you really were? (Spike starts to lift Buffy's skirt)Buffy: (faintly) Don't...Spike: Stop me. (Spike takes Buffy from behind; Buffy closes her eyes and moans) No, don't close your eyes. Look at them. That's not your world. You belong in the shadows, with me. Look at your friends and tell me you don't love getting away with this, right under their noses.
- Dead Serious: Until this episode, Warren seemed like a Harmless Villain and Buffy dismissed him as a "pain in her ass"... and then Warren brainwashes Katrina, nearly rapes her before it wears off, and then kills her to prevent her from escaping. The icing on the cake is when he uses magic and time-distorting demons to convince Buffy she had accidentally killed Katrina, though Buffy realizes the truth just before she turns herself in. From here on out, Buffy realizes how dangerous Warren really is and swears to bring him to justice.
- Deconstructed Tropes: Erotic Mind Control and Foe Romance Subtext.
- Deleted Scenes: The sex scenes were edited down heavily.
- Description Cut: Used for Double Entendre gags — e.g. Spike bonking Buffy at the Bronze, to Xander limping along the next day rubbing a groin muscle (which he pulled while dancing). Or Buffy (after Dawn rejects her to spend time with Janice) demanding, "Frosty nectar. Now please." to the Trio celebrating with champagne.
- Destructive Romance: Fully demonstrated in this episode, with Spike trying to dominate Buffy sexually and Buffy seeking to retain control by denying Spike emotionally.
- Destructo-Nookie: Buffy and Spike's furniture-smashing habits during sex are once more demonstrated.Buffy: We missed the bed again.Spike: Lucky for the bed.
- Disposing of a Body: The Trio and Spike both run into difficulties. Andrew is asked if he can summon a demon to eat the body, but he says that any demon big enough to do so would be too difficult to control. "It would go for us first."
- Dissimile: The Trio are checking out a bar full of women for their Sex Slave.Andrew: We can really have anyone we want.Jonathan: It's like candy.Andrew: Juicy, pulsating candy.
- Distracted By The Sex: Buffy is neglecting her Slayer duties because of her Secret Relationship, which only adds to her feelings of guilt.
- Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Buffy tearfully reveals her relationship with Spike to Tara. She begs Tara to not forgive her; not out of anger, but because she's so disgusted with herself that she doesn't think she deserves pity.
- Double Meaning: The Willow/Tara conversation is ostensibly about Buffy, but actually about how they miss each other.
- Double-Meaning Title: Spike is dead; an "evil twisted thing" ("Smashed"). Buffy fears she's becoming dead inside. Katrina is dead for real.
- Double Standard: Rape, Sci-Fi: Averted.
- Do You Trust Me?:Spike: Do you even like me?Buffy: Sometimes(Buffy can't look him in the eye)Spike: (holding up handcuffs) Do you trust me?Buffy: Never.
- Elephant in the Living Room: Tara and Dawn are careful not to mention the word "heaven" to Buffy.
- Erotic Dream / Bad Dreams: Buffy's dream of having sex with a handcuffed Spike are mixed with her killing Katrina.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good:Spike: Why are you doing this to yourself?Buffy: (tearful) A girl is dead because of me.Spike: And how many people are alive because of you? How many have you saved? One dead girl doesn't tip the scale.Buffy: That's all it is to you, isn't it? Just another body! You can't understand why this is killing me, can you?
- This becomes inverted when Spike says that he won't let Buffy turn herself in because he loves her. Buffy responds by savagely beating Spike, implying that she's the evil thing who can't comprehend Spike's selfless actions.
- Evil Feels Good: Andrew's reaction to having gotten away with murder.
- Flashback Cut: When Buffy hears Katrina's name mentioned at the police station, she has a flashback to the scene in "I Was Made To Love You" when she saw Katrina with Warren.
- Fan Disservice:
- Warren making out with a brainwashed Katrina.
- Spike er giving Buffy some back door service on the Bronze balcony. Some fans even insisted it was so gross that it had to be an Imagine Spot; unfortunately, a later episode has Spike talking about it.
- Fauxtivational Poster: Tara meets Buffy in the employee lunchroom at the Doublemeat Palace, which has posters urging DEDICATION, PRODUCTION and COOPERATION.Tara: I have this sudden urge to dedicate my productive cooperation.
- Game Face / Fang Thpeak: Spike confronting Buffy in the alley.
- Go-Go Enslavement: Katrina serves the Trio in a French Maid Outfit.
- Grievous Bottley Harm: Warren accidentally kills Katrina by hitting her over the head with a champagne bottle.
- Hearing Voices: Buffy, thanks to the demons called up by the Trio.
- Heel Realization: For both Buffy and the Trio:
- Buffy realizes she's been using Spike for her own selfish needs while refusing to treat him with respect.
- Jonathan and Andrew realize that Villainy isn't a game, that what they're doing is actually evil, and freak out. Warren, the first full-fledged villain, has been there the whole time.
- He Is Not My Boyfriend: Played for Drama with Buffy beating Spike in a rage, shouting that she could never be his girl.
- Heroic BSoD: When Buffy thinks she's killed an innocent woman.
- History Repeats:
- Buffy likely has the events of "Bad Girls" and "Consequences" very much in mind. Faith accidentally killed a civilian during a melee, tried in vain to dispose of the body by dumping it in water, and argued afterwards that the death of one person didn't matter compared to all the lives she had saved.
- To Season 2's "I Only Have Eyes For You". Buffy, depressed and unwilling to join her friends on the dance floor, retreats to the catwalk of the Bronze and rejects a boy who makes advances to her there. The events of that episode enable Buffy to start forgiving herself for her ill-considered actions motivated by her illicit passion for a vampire. In this episode she is unable to do either.
- Similarly, the last time Spike put Buffy in bondage down in his crypt was in "Crush", when she refused to acknowledge any attraction between the two of them.
- Humans Are the Real Monsters: Or to be exact; humans with souls can be just as evil as the soulless.
- I Did What I Had to Do: Spike dumping Katrina's body in the river.
- In the Hood: Rwasundi demons.
- Ironic Echo:
- Warren calls the robotic Katrina "perfect". In "I Was Made To Love You" Warren had built the April-bot, but ended up leaving his "perfect girlfriend" for Katrina, who was more interesting and unpredictable.
- "Do you trust me?" Dream!Buffy asks a handcuffed Katrina the same question before staking her.
- "You always hurt the ones you love." Spike tells Buffy this after his beating; Buffy repeats it to the Scoobies when explaining why she thinks Warren may have killed his ex.
- Ironic Echo Cut:Buffy: We need to find Warren and the others. Whatever they've done, they're not gonna get away with it.Cut to Warren: We're gonna get away with it.
Voices: What did you do? What did you do?[Smash Cut to Spike laying in front of her with a bloody nose]Spike: Bloody hell, what'd you do that for?
- Buffy when time went all David Lynch.
- It Doesn't Mean AnythingSpike: What is it to you? This thing we have.Buffy: We don't have a 'thing'. We have this.
- Make It Look Like an Accident: The Trio make Buffy think she killed Katrina. Jonathan uses a glamor to take on Katrina's appearance, then after Buffy hits him the Trio leave Katrina's dead body while Buffy is distracted fighting the Rwasundi demons.
- Making Love in All the Wrong Places: Spike and Buffy shun the bed for rough sex on the floor. Later they have sex on the catwalk at the Bronze while Buffy's friends dance below. Averted in Buffy's guilt dream, where they're in bed like normal lovers.
- Meaningful Echo:
Spike: I love you.
- In "Surprise" just before Buffy and Angel first make love (turning him into the evil Angelus) he says, "I love you. I try not to, but I can't stop." Here Spike pays the price of Buffy's unresolved angst from that affair.
Buffy: (upset) No, you don't!
Spike: You think I haven't tried not to?
Buffy: (punches Spike clear across the alley) Try harder!
- Joyce asked Buffy, "Do you love him?" after finding out about her daughter's relationship with Angel in "Passion".
- Her Talk to the Fist reaction to Spike's "That's my girl" can also be explained as an Angel reference (see "Enemies" — Angel: "You still my girl?" / Buffy: "Always") as well as echoing Faith's "There's my girl" response to being punched by Buffy (after she taunted Buffy over her dark attraction to vampires).
- "Dawnie, I have to." Buffy's words to Dawn before her Heroic Sacrifice in "The Gift" are used to justify abandoning her little sister to give herself up to the police.
- Spike challenging Buffy to stop his advances is similar to Dracula's "Stop me, stake me" taunt when she's under his thrall in "Buffy vs. Dracula".
- Mind-Control Device/Hypno Ray: The Cerebral Dampener.
- Modesty Bedsheet: Buffy and Spike somehow end up underneath the carpet.
- Moral Event Horizon: Warren caving in Katrina's skull signifies his becoming as big of a Big Bad as the rest of them.
- Moral Myopia: The other members of the Trio discover that Warren has brainwashed his ex-girlfriend.Jonathan: She's your ex?Andrew: Dude, that is messed up.Katrina: Oh, you think? You bunch of little boys, playing at being men. (yelling) Well, this is not some fantasy, it's not a game, you freaks! It's rape!
- Mood Whiplash: The moment when Katrina is freed from the mind control device.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Buffy's expression after finding Katrina's body and beating Spike in the alley.
- "No" Means "Yes": Buffy with the handcuffs, and at the Bronze.
- Not So Different: Buffy is familiar with Faith's views on men and how she treats them. The Destructive Romance with Spike leads the Slayer to realize she is as bad as Faith. Buffy is absolutely freaked.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: The Nerd Trio stop being a joke when Warren kills his first victim.
- Oblivious Guilt Slinging: The Scoobies keep saying things that remind Buffy of what she's up to with Spike, e.g. "We all know you've been tied up" and "You've been going at it too hard, slinging the doublemeat and pounding the big evil."
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: When Buffy finds out she's not a demon, she responds, "This can't be me!" and pleads with Tara to say that she Came Back Wrong after all.
- Oh...Balls!: Spike saying he's gotten rid of the body, only to overhear the police say it's just turned up in the river.
- Open Mouth, Insert Foot: Their brief Friendship Moment is ruined when Spike tells Buffy what an animal she is in bed. Buffy looks uncomfortable and starts muttering excuses about how she has to get back to Dawn.
- Percussive Therapy: Played for Drama instead of the usual Black Comedy. Spike encourages Buffy to work off her anger on him. Buffy is shocked by the damage she inflicts.Spike: That's it, put it all on me. That's my girl.
- Plot Hole: Spike not realising that Katrina has been dead for some time, as well as the coroner not noticing there was no water in Katrina's lungs, even though she'd been found in the river.
- Power Perversion Potential: The Trio invent a Mind Control device and immediately use it to pick up chicks.
- Prison Rape: Katrina's Famous Last Words (apart from "get off me!") are "I'm gonna make sure you get locked up for this, then we'll see how you like getting raped!"
- Rage Against the Reflection: Buffy savagely beats an unresisting Spike, describing him in terms that clearly mirror her own fears over what she has become."You don't have a soul! There is nothing good or clean in you. You are dead inside! You can't feel anything real!"
- Right Through His Pants: Done to especially weird effect in their exhibitionist scene on the top level of the Bronze, where both Buffy and Spike are not only nearly fully clothed, but standing on their own two feet, in a way that (given the height difference between them) would make sex pretty difficult. As TV Without Pity put it, "And then they got it on in some kind of anatomically impossible way. Is Spike walking around the Bronze with his pants around his ankles, or what?" Many viewers assumed he was pleasuring Buffy with his hand, though this is apparently not the intention. Unless Buffy lets Spike put it anywhere?
- Rule of Symbolism: Most of the Spuffy scenes, notably Buffy's dream and the scene at Spike's crypt where Buffy/Spike try to touch each other from either side of the door.
- Separated by the Wall: Buffy, patrolling the cemetery, is drawn to Spike's crypt. Spike's vampire Spider-Sense tips him to her presence and he touches the door anticipating her entry, as Buffy does the same thing from the opposite side. But when Spike pulls open the door Buffy has already fled.
- Smash Cut: Used for the time jumps Buffy and Spike experience while fighting the Rwasundi demons.
- Soft Glass: Averted; the champagne bottle used to kill Katrina doesn't break.
- Subtext: Plenty in regards to Faith. The accidental murder and cover up in "Bad Girls", her sex games in "Consequences" and "Who Are You", and the Rage Against the Reflection in "Who Are You." Although Faith is never brought up the similarities and implications are clear.
- Tempting Fate:
- Buffy is grateful to be distracted from thinking about Spike when she hears 'Katrina' scream.
- Spike says no-one will find the body right before hearing two police officers mention they've found the body.
- Buffy likes the way Spike has done up his crypt. A couple of episodes later she fire-bombs it with hand grenades.
- They Were Holding You Back: Although Spike doesn't try to do anything evil to Buffy's friends, he does imply she's better off throwing away her attachments to join him on the Dark Side.
- This Is the Part Where...: When Buffy and Spike realise they're having a Friendship Moment, Spike notes this is usually the part "where you kick me in the head and run off, virtue fluttering". Later when Buffy comes up with the Dawn excuse to leave, he mutters with bitter resignation, "And she's off "
- Tome of Eldritch Lore: Brekezikrieg Grimore.
- Values Dissonance: (In-Universe); Spike believes he's helping Buffy by pushing the limits of her sexuality and disposing of Katrina's body. He's unable to see that these acts are only making her feel more wretched.
- Visible Boom Mic: A light on its stand can be seen in one of the shots when Buffy is fighting the demons.
- Your Makeup Is Running: Jonathan when he's impersonating Katrina.